C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

From fame to shame
4 of six-member gang held; 5 mobikes recovered
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Known for their achievements in different spheres earlier, they are now in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Their real face came to light when the local police arrested a group of youngsters involved in crimes, including auto theft and staging a snatching incident to dupe their employers of Rs 1 lakh. However, earlier they were known for modelling, bodybuilding and motor rallies.

The crime branch of the Chandigarh Police claimed to have busted a six-member gang with the arrested of four of its members and has recovered five stolen motor cycles from their possession. Among those arrested is Yogesh Lakhani, a resident of Super Cooperative Society in Sector 48. He had won the second position in the Indian motor bike category in the Raid-de-Himalaya rally recently. Interestingly, he reportedly rode to victory on a stolen bike.

Giving details of the sequence of events that led to the busting of the gang, Inspector Satbir Singh, in charge of the crime branch, said on October 2, the police arrested Amit Kumar of Phase VII, Mohali, along with a stolen Bajaj Calibre motor cycle (CH-03-N-1367). During interrogation, he named Gurjit Singh of Sector 28 as his accomplice. The police arrested Gurjit Singh, a model and bodybuilder, on October 4 and recovered two stolen motor cycles from him.

During his interrogation, Gurjit told the police about Yogesh, who runs a shop, Narain Automobiles, in Sector 48. The police said he had stolen a Hero Honda Karizma motor cycle (CH-03-V-8850) from the Sector 44 market on April 13. He was using the motor cycle by displaying a fake number (PB-27-A-4067) on it. Yogesh told the police that he had also given a stolen motor cycle to his friend, Manpreet Bhatia, to participate in the rally.

The Inspector said during questioning Yogesh exposed his friend, Manish Sharma, an accountant working with Sector 22-based money changer — Paul Merchants, who had stagemanaged an incident of snatching of Rs 1 lakh on October 5. Following his revelation, a police team arrested Manish from Dera Bassi today.

Manish told the police that he had conspired with his accomplices Chetan and Khiyali Ram to stagemanage the snatching incident. On that day, he, along with his colleague Vinod Kumar, went to a Sector 8 bank and withdrew Rs 1 lakh of the company. As per the plan, Chetan and Khiyali Ram reached there and snatched the bag. A case was registered in this regard on a complaint of Vinod Kumar.

The police said Chetan and Khiyali Ram were yet to be arrested and efforts were on to trace them.



Statement of Neha’s friend recorded
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 9
The police today recorded the statement of Pralobh Singh, Neha Thakur’s friend who was with her on the night of the incident, in connection with the case involving Gursewak Mann. The police also recorded the statements of some other witnesses present on the occasion. An inspection of the washroom where the incident occurred was also carried out.

Police officials visited North Park and the area where Gursewak Mann and his NRI friend were allegedly found clicking pictures of Neha, a PU student hailing from Kangra. They said the plea that the NRI friend of Gursewak was clicking his photographs seemed untenable. It was “impossible”. they said.

After a round of the place, they said the area where the washroom was located was not a place with aesthetic beauty.

They must have been clicking the girl. However, we can say this with surety only once we have the mobile in our possession. We went looking for Gursewak Mann at his residence, but the place was locked. We will send out teams in search of him shortly,” the police said.

Meanwhile, Pralobh Singh corroborated Neha’s statement. Gursewak and his friend were clicking photographs of the complainant. he said. When asked to hand over the mobile to delete the pictures, Gursewak Mann got into an argument with Pralobh Singh and even shoved him to one side when he tried to take the camera, he added.

Chandi Mandir SHO Amar Singh and another personnel have been transferred to police lines for “mishandling” the case. The case has also been transferred to the CIA branch of the district police.



City Beautiful’s roads not that beautiful
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Mounds of mud lined up along the road separating Sectors 20 and 21 make things tough for vehicle drivers in Chandigarh.
Mounds of mud lined up along the road separating Sectors 20 and 21 make things tough for vehicle drivers in Chandigarh. — Tribune photo by Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, October 9
Roads of City Beautiful are not an easy ride for drivers any longer. Not just the increased vehicular rush, the drivers are also faced with uneven bumps, poor re-carpeting, piles of mud, shoddy job on slip roads, unmarked speed breakers and uncomfortable bumps at roundabouts at different places all over the city.

Poor street lighting on majority of the inner roads is another vehicular concern, which has also resulted in fatal accidents. The issue grabbed majority of the discussion time at the recently concluded Municipal Corporation meeting.

The road from Transport Chowk to Tribune Chowk is a bumpy ride. The massive patchwork on the entire stretch is worn out and potholes have re-emerged at a number of places. The heavy vehicular traffic makes it a case of urgent repair, said Mr Devinder Singh, a daily commuter.

The road dividing Sectors 39 and 40 is a tough time for the machine and equally so for the travellers. The patch of road behind Panjab University near the choe of Khuda Ali Sher is best advised not be travelled by motorists because of worn out patch of ‘baaji’.

The road dividing Sector 39 and Maloya is in a miserable state for motorists. “The small patch of road, as we enter from Mohali, gives a very tough time to my car and I see the two wheeler drivers taking the bumps daily. I have heard that each patch of road is taken up for repair after a fixed time. This patch, however, is the same from the past more than a year”, Mr Dharmesh Johar, a businessman, said.

The slow carriage roads along the Himalaya Marg and the Madhya Marg need an immediate attention of the administration. The visibility of the side track is very poor for commuters. The lighting is very poor for slow carriage roads which are full of bumps. “The slow carriage roads are not a neat job”, Dr Mohinder Singh, a retired lecturer, said.

The Dakshin Marg which merges into a single road on the road dividing Sectors 25 and 38 is a commonplace for road accidents, particularly during the night. A haphazard roundabout is also very poorly marked. The road turning left and dividing Sectors 38 and 38(West) is definitely a traveller’s nightmare even during the day. The holes are very deep and definitely injurious to vehicle body, as well.

Sizeable number of roundabouts, all over the city, are very bumpy. “Unwanted jumps near the roundabout are very dangerous, particularly for the two wheelers”, Rashmi Saini, a BA III, student said. The roundabout of Sectors 19-20-7-30, 25-37-38-24 and several others are very poor kempt.

Work on the slip roads is being carried out very shoddily. Slip roads have been dug up on the stretch of the Dakshin Marg and majority of them are lying unfinished.

The mounds of mud on the road dividing Sectors 20 and 21 are a perpetual threat for the drivers. “I had a very narrow escape last evening because It was difficult to manage on the road among the pile of the mud. The light of vehicles from the opposite direction is blinding”.

Mr Brij Bhushan, a retired engineer, said: “It will be not incorrect to say that there is a big difference in upkeep of roads in the northern as compared to the southern sectors. The north gets an elitist attention as is evident from the existing facilities and also in upkeep”.

A senior official said: “We carry out all the repair work and new projects according to a fixed schedule and without any special concessions to anyone”.



Passing Through

What brings you to the city?

I have come here to launch the regional office of Anandrathi Securities in Chandigarh, which will cover the states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Since this region has the fastest growth for investment, especially in the wake of a younger, affluent working class and highest per capita income, we are expecting a good response for the entire wealth management. We will soon open district headquarter branch offices in all districts of these states.

What all services will be offered by your branch office here?

We will offer an array of financial services and products like wealth management, stock and commodities broking, depository services, insurance broking, mutual fund distribution and investment banking. We will be targeting a lot of NRIs in the region and will be managing their entire assets, including real estate.

What are your overseas expansion plans?

Within the country, the group is operational through over 300 locations and its operations expand to Bangkok and Dubai as well. We are in the process of setting up a subsidiary in Singapore. Besides, we are also looking at the UK, South Africa and Australia for expansion.

— Ruchika M. Khanna



Watch out

Major-Gen Himmat Singh Gill, former Chairman of the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi, member of the Sahitya Akademi, Delhi, and a prolific writer himself, is in China for a writers’ conference which begins on October 10 and will conclude on October 20.

The 10-member Indian writers delegation represented by stalwarts from most Indian languages will exchange ideas, writings and musings and attend lectures and visit places of historical interest during their 10-day cultural interaction, at the invitation of the Chinese Writers Association, Beijing. 



In Town

Union Minister of State for Defence Production Rao Inderjit Singh will be the chief guest at a meet-the-press programme to be organised by the Chandigarh Press Club today. A son of a former Haryana Chief Minister, Rao Birender Singh, Inderjit Singh is MP from Mahendragarh and is considered to be a powerful politician of what is known as the Ahirwal region of Haryana.

This is his first official visit to the city as the Minister of State for Defence Production. He is a keen golfer, talented swimmer and an international shooter, who represented India in SAF Games and Commonwealth Games.



Chandigarh Calling
Mother goddess atop a hazardous stage

The festive spirit is on a great high in the city. However, while celebrating various festivities caution is often thrown to the winds. So it is with this precarious stage built for a jagrata in Sector 29. Tribune photographer Parvesh Chauhan brings a picture of this pyramid built with rickety hired tables. Once draped this pyramid will look good, but if one table gives way, it could mean injury for devotees. Some rules and regulations need to be observed in the making of pandals and setting up a stage so that accidents do not mar the celebrations.

Jagjit’s woes

A Jagjit Singh concert in the region is cause for much celebration and bonhomie if the photographers — professional and amateur — were anything to go by. Not only was the event a photo-op for the press fraternity, but with camera phones becoming the order of the day, most concert goers did not miss the chance to rush forward and grab a ‘frame’ on their phones. As for the concert, the spunk was missing and the maestro seemed put off. “I did not enjoy the concert. I was just fulfilling my duty. There was no rapport with the audience. I could not get a response.” Surprising, since the city talked of little else in the run-up to the show.

Gifting orchids

How does gifting a real live potted orchid along with a bottle of health for your plants sound? At the recently concluded Celebrations Fiesta’06 exhibition at Hotel Shivalik View, Sector 17, bang in the middle of clothes, jewellery, linen and even aquariums, orchid blooms potted and smiling in the Chandigarh heat caught the eye for the sheer inventiveness of being. No silken scarves and tissue dupattas in this little niche to woo the women or any spunky trinkets to indulge in. Instead what was on offer were these lovely purple beauties. That is not all; the stall even offered fortified liquid plant food with vermi-compost and neem granules promising to convert even an “ordinary garden into a dream”. Marketing flowers and gardens is sure getting savvy these days!

Make-up magic

For city women who had nowhere to go for that party perfect look their prayers have been answered. Vidya Tikari is here to lend a hand. To let you know why she is such a big name in the glamour industry, her magic wand was at work full time as she turned city women into stunning beauties all in ten minutes at a special makeover workshop. The renowned make-up artist looked unbeatably picture perfect herself as she turned jeans-clad girls into party Cinderellas and much more. Right from the hairdo, to makeup, the master artist had her team along to give that magic touch to the fair ladies.

Hot to handle

Petrol pump owners opposite Holy Family School in Zirakpur apparently found the scantily clad bust of a woman standing seductively inside a water fountain bang on the road too hot to handle. Visitors found the bust too jarring for their sensibilities and the owners then resorted to covering the bust first with a lungi and now she has been covered with a green sari complete with a pallu over her head. As any passerby would tell you it makes for a better sight than before.

Yoga for all

The tri-city is in the grip of yoga exercises during programmes in the early hours at parks. Under the aegis of the Patanjali Yog Peeth, Hardwar, the residents of Panchkula celebrated their yoga annual day this Sunday at Sector 20. Prem Ahuja, in charge of Panchkula said, said: “Within one year we have started 15 free yoga classes by trained teachers from Swami Ramdev. Our target is to spread the message of good health, longevity through free yoga and pranayam exercises in every colony and village.”

Contributors: Gayatri Rajwade, Anuradha Shukla, Sunil Minocha and Nirupama Dutt



Penniless patient in need of aid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Suffering from chronic renal failure Pappu (29), a resident of Varsat village in Karnal district, has been waiting for treatment under a lot of stress and agony at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, for the past over two years.

A hawker by profession, Pappu has been passing his time in the PGIMER by surviving on the langars being served by good Samaritans. The sheds and corridors of different buildings of the institute have been providing him shelter during night time.

After being diagnosed with renal failure at a local hospital in Karnal, Pappu was admitted to PGIMER. Pappu’s family is unable to bear the expenses of his treatment and surgery as this father has also been suffering from some chronic disease. The ailments have virtually buried the family under debt.

Pappu has been surviving on inadequate medicines that he purchase whenever some one donates some money to him.

According to doctors, Pappu requires immediate kidney transplant and needs nearly Rs 2 lakh for the surgery and treatment. The actual cost might fluctuate depending on the material used for the treatment.

The youth is in desperate need of financial assistance. The donations could be made for Pappu’s treatment through the PGI’s Poor Patients Relief Fund. The donors could also contact the Public Relation Officer at 0172-2756003.



Fast unleashes festive fervour
Bazaars buzz with buyers
Smriti Sharma

Chandigarh, October 9
Red, blue and silver festoons and frills and bright lights, envelop most of the market places that are buzzing with activity on the eve of Karva Chauth today. Festivity marks the mood as women go all out to buy shingaar articles for the big day.

From buying clothes, to bindis and bangles; getting intricate henna designs applied on their hands, upper arms and ankles, to buying dry fruits and sweets, women are swarming the market places. Right from morning till late evening, brisk business was conducted and the rising prices of essential commodities failed to deter the shoppers in festive mood.

A visit to various market places revealed that glitter is the buzzword this year. Right from embedded stones to the shimmering bangles in shades and hues, to Arabian mehndi, clothes with sparkle splashed all over, to sequined foot wear, every woman seemed ready to jazz up her style.

But the real rush is for those getting mehndi applied. Each market in the city was flooded with the artists and their demure customers. In spite of his age, Subodh, a 12-year-old boy from Bihar, is earning popularity, and more than Rs 1,000 a day by applying mehndi.

Babli, a mehndi artist in Sector 22, said, ‘‘On an average, I apply mehndi on 25 to 30 hands a day’’. Price for the art varies from Rs 25 per hand to as high as Rs 150, depending on how intricate the design is’’.

Interestingly, as the crowds surged, so did the rates of different items. By late evening, the henna artists start charging anywhere between Rs 150 and Rs 250 per hand, but still there were enough customers.

It is not only the mehndi artists who are pulling crowd well-known hair care and skin care products manufacturing companies too are offering their products at discounted rates to woo the women.

Mr T.R Sachdeva and his son Mr Pravin Sachdeva, owners of Kohinoor Collections said, ‘‘It is one occasion when traditionally daughters-in-law buy gifts and clothes for their mothers-in-law, so light coloured cotton suits are an obvious choice keeping in mind their age and the weather’’. In fact, this year sales have gone up by 20 per cent as compared to those last year. The colours of the season, for the young women, though remain traditional pink, magenta and crimson’’.

The shopkeepers, however, feel that the rush is less as compared to last year. Though the sales have increased by 20 per cent in the last two days, the rising prices have put a dent on the shoppers’ splurge. Ms Shashi Sood of Standard Fashion Store in Sector 22, says, ‘‘Unlike past many years, rising prices of all daily goods have kept many shoppers at bay. A dozen bangles can cost anywhere from Rs 25 to Rs 150. A pack of bindis may cost you anywhere between Rs 10-35’’. But nothing to beat the festivity and the indulgence as the women, despite the inflation, seem quite willing to shop till they drop.



Contemporary meets conventional in sargi choices
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
It is not only about desi ghee this year as the sargi (traditional food eaten before sun rise on Karva Chauth) undergoes a sea-change incorporating contemporary along with conventional tastes.

Indeed as special days go, Karva Chauth, is extraordinary because this is one day when women get to indulge in eating pleasures in the morning before evoking the gods and praying and fasting for the health, success and safety of their husbands.

In fact, the traditional delicacies of Karva Chauth have only evolved over the years, infusing fashionable with the traditional, but without dampening the ardour of emotions.

Today the sargi encompasses cordon bleu too. Peep into cakes and bakes specialist Ashi’s home in Mohali (where she runs ‘‘The Bakehouse’’ along with handling the Browser Bookstore café, ‘‘Coffee Needs Company’’ in Sector 8) she has had to deal with some rather unusual requests this year. ‘‘I had to come up with something light, not very oily and motivating enough to eat so early in the morning,’’ she smiles. Ashi’s menu for one of her friends includes fruit salad with a dressing of lime and honey, buttermilk with ice-cubes made of fruit crushes and pinni made of atta, suji, besan, dal, til and ground almond, for all nutrition, she adds.

And that is not all. Amrita Tiwari, a newly-wed housewife in Sector 8 is all set for her first Karva Chauth with a slice of her favourite pineapple cream cake early in the morning. ‘‘My mother-in-law does not mind so long as it is eggless,’’ she explains.

In fact, giving in to popular demand, the newly opened Nik Baker’s in Sector 9 has a delicious array of cakes, cookies and breads on offer, all egg-less. ‘‘From atta, zeera and cashew nut biscuits to dry cakes like chocolate walnut and banana walnut we have it all for women who wish to indulge, albeit a little differently,’’ smiles proprietor Nikhil Mittal.

However, this in no way means that conformist taste buds are out. Abhishek Bajaj of Sindhi Sweets, Sector 17 insists sales are up by 30 per cent this year from last year and it is the desi ghee mithai that is picked up. ‘‘Ghee does not dry the throat like oil does and especially since water is not allowed till you break your fast, you need to have something that will soothe not irritate your throat,’’ he explains.

So apart from the required matthi and phenia it is their sohan halwa made of ‘‘wheat angoori’’ which is lapped up with orders for Karva Chauth, going up to two quintals in a single day.

Even at Baba Dairy, Sector 21 and 34, conventional mithai like kalakand, milk cake, rasgulla, dal barfi and even hot gulab jamuns are the order of the day. Obviously the mantra is pampering, comfort food and so long as the taste-buds rule, the sargi will remain a many-changing splendour.



Parlours rain discounts
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Karva Chauth — the yearly celebration of being married. Hanging like a soft fragrance somewhere amidst the usual ceremonies, the tinkling of bright red bangles and the soft rustle of a crisp new saree is the undeniable romance of the day.

Love overflows and while it keeps the wife smiling through the day, even when she does not get to drink a drop of water, the husband is, for once, all ears and all doting. The effort that goes in preparing for the day is certainly worth it.

‘‘Doubtlessly, looking beautiful is where it all begins. And this day is special,’’ points out Ms Shruti Puri who is working with an IT company in Mohali.

And the city beauty parlours know this. Most parlours are offering special packages and promise to make you look gorgeous for the day.

Habibs, a parlour in Sector 9, is offering all those who opt for a hair cut, a 50 per cent discount on every other service. ‘‘This scheme will last for the entire festive season. Other than the routine schemes we have schemes for hair spas, skin and hair lightening, all kinds of facials and of course specialised hair cuts,’’ said Ms Varinder Ghumman, proprietor of the parlour.

‘‘At the various Cleopatra outlets a flat 50 per cent discount is being offered on all services. There is also a special ‘‘rich and creamy whitening ritual package’’ for a complete head to toe skin softening and anti-tan treatment. This includes paraffin dip, shimmer wrap, Ayurvedic hair spa and crystal wash and will cost Rs 1100,’’ said Ms Richa Aggarwal, the proprietor.

At Tress Lounge, Sector 8, a glow facial, bleach, manicure, pedicure, blow dry and arms waxing have been included in the special Karva Chauth package for Rs 900 and if make up and nail art is included then it will cost Rs 1600’’, said Maneesh Bajaj, owner of the place.

At In Style located in Mohali and Chandigarh the special Karva Chauth package includes a facial, face bleach, threading, manicure, pedicure and waxing Rs 800.

Naunihal Singh, owner of Strands Sector 35, said, ‘‘We are offering a package which includes a manicure, pedicure, facial, waxing, hair cut and free mehndi and nail art for just Rs 750. This package will continue till Divali without the mehndi. We are also offering free facial with hair colouring free pedicure and manicure with any service worth Rs 2000.’’



Time for empowerment of women, says Jean Rodrigues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Ms Jean Rodrigues, wife of Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, in a message on the eve of Karva Chauth, here today, called for more vigorous efforts for the empowerment of women and for enhancing their role in the social system, by giving them equal opportunities to participate in every field of activity. She strongly pleaded for creating more avenues of employment in public-private sector by imparting them quality education and training for upgrading their professional skills.

Ms Rodrigues further said this festival ‘‘has a great social and cultural significance in our society as married women observe a fast and pray to God for the long life, well-being and prosperity of their husbands. This auspicious occasion also symbolises their unflinching loyalty towards their spouses, in consonance with our Indian traditions’’.

Advocating the need for a major social endeavour at all levels for securing and safeguarding the rights of women and ‘‘ensuring dignity and pride for them in our homes and society at large’’, Ms Rodrigues said there was a need for promoting gender equality and making our women economically self-reliant. She said NGOs and social activists must come forward to fight the growing incidents of domestic violence and help the law enforcing machinery to give them due protection and support in difficult situations. ‘‘Another major issue of concern, which needs our special attention, is saving the girl child and strengthening opportunities for their nourishment and education’’, she added.



No (cycle) track of government funds
Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
In a classic case of wastage, the Chandigarh Administration first utilised its resources for laying a cycle track and then allowed it to be gobbled up by a massive parking lot. To make matters worse, nothing has been done to make a major portion of the parking lot usable.

As such, till date there is neither a cycle track nor a parking lot on this particular stretch, running parallel to the Lake Club adjoining the Sukhna Lake. In fact, there is nothing but vacant space lying neglected.

A visit to the parking lot reveals that the space has been lying in a state of neglect since long. Rather, it has never been put to use. As such, it has become a massive open-air toilet with so many migrants using the area to ease themselves.

Besides, there is nothing but congress grass and weed all around the place, even though the area is considered top on the agenda of tourists visiting the City Beautiful.

The area is providing a congenial environment for mosquitoes and parasites to breed despite the threat of dengue and other diseases. The authorities concerned do not seem to be bothered about it. Nothing else can explain the lack of cleanliness and hygiene in and around the lot.

Though the exact figures are not readily available with the authorities concerned, sources agree the losses due to miscalculations and shortsightedness on the part of the Administration is running into several “crores”.

The sources assert that the lot was carved out of the “original cycle track” almost a decade ago to accommodate the heavy rush of vehicles belonging to visitors to the lake.

However, in the process, officials grossly overestimated the rush and the space required for the parking of vehicles. “In their enthusiasm, the authorities — then at the helm of affairs — allowed encroachment on the track though the same was laid down to encourage residents into cycling their way to health. They created a parking lot covering nearly half a kilometre without realising that at any given point of time so much space would not be required for leaving behind the vehicles,” a senior officer in the UT Administration said.

He said now the authorities could neither dismantle the lot for creating a track again nor utilise the space.



2 IAF squadrons to get President’s Standards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
As recognition of distinguished services rendered by them, two air force squadrons, one a fighter outfit and the other a transport unit, are being presented the President’s Standards.

Air Force sources said the IAF’s 37 Squadron, a fighter outfit and the Chandigarh-based 48 Squadron, a transport unit, will be presented the Standards by the Supreme Commander, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, at a special function scheduled to be held at the Bhuj airbase on December 19.

Formed on Vampire aircraft in December 23, 1957, at Palam Air Force Station and raised with Sqn Ldr A.L. Bajaj as its first commanding officer, the Black Panthers, as 37 Squadron is called, was tasked with launching offensive action in the Eastern Sector as well as providing air defence cover in the Western Sector. A detachment of four fighters carried out strikes out of Guwahati, while 12 aircraft provided air defence cover to Hindon and the Capital.

During the Liberation of Bangladesh, the squadron had made 187 sorties out of Hasimara, comprising fighter reconnaissance, counter air and close support missions. It was associated with almost all battles fought on ground. Its then commanding officer, Wg Cdr S.K. Kaul, who later became the Air Chief, was awarded a Maha Vir Chakra.

Having operated the Vampire, Hunter and the MiG-21M fighters, it has recently converted to the MiG-21 Bison. Presently operating in the south-western Sector, it was also based at Chandigarh from 1983 to 1985.

Maintaining the vital air bridge to the strategic northern sector and airdropping supplies to soldiers stationed in Siachen, 48 Squadron was raised on the venerable Dakota aircraft at Barrackpore in November, 1959, with Sqn Ldr Chandan Singh as its first commanding officer. It was re-equipped with US-built Packet aircraft in 1961 and moved to Kalaikunda, near Kharagpur, during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, in support of fighter squadrons. Re-equipped with the Russian AN-32, the squadron was moved to Chandigarh in 1986.

Popularly called “Camels”, the squadron has rendered yeoman’s service to civil authorities during natural calamities like the Tsunami and the devastating earthquakes in Bhuj and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).



Fauji Beat
How comrades-in-arms turned foes

Never could one imagine even in the mid-40s that the British Indian Army, which had proved its mettle as a cohesive force in both the world wars, would be split one day. Being comrades in arms, the officers and men in the united India thought that they would continue to serve together even if the country was divided.

After Partition, at a party in Staff College Quetta, Brig Carington Smith, the then Officiating Commandant, proposed a toast to celebrate the birth of the two dominions. Upon this, Major Yahya Khan (later General in the Pakistan Army), who was an instructor at the college, came to the senior instructor, Col S. D. Verma (later Lieut-Gen in the Indian Army), and said: “Sir, this should be a day of mourning, not celebration. If we were together, we could be something strong. Instead we are being divided. With a feeling of deep hurt, Colonel Verma replied: “Yahya, you and I are soldiers. We cannot decide, arbitrate or talk about it.”

Little did Major Yahya Khan realise that at time that one day he as Army Chief of the Pakistan Army would fight a war against India. It was the political divide that divided minds and hearts of the soldiers and they fought four wars against each other. It is rightly said that a war is continuation of politics.

A neglected Army

With the announcement of the constitution of the Sixth Central Pay Commission headed by Justice B. N. Srikrishna on October 5, the government has proved once again that the armed forces can be left ignored. This time it was hoped that a member from the defence forces would be nominated on the pay commission. This was more than justified because of the distinctly different terms and conditions of the service of the armed forces as compared to the other Central Government services.

The bulk of the Army personnel retire in their 30s, whereas the civilian employees retire at the age of 60 years. The former do not get 50 per cent of their pay as pension because they cannot complete 33 years of stipulated services to qualify for it. The entire lot of the latter complete 33 years of service and get 50 per cent of their last drawn pay as pension. This is one of the large numbers of variations between the terms and conditions of service of a soldier and a civilian.

Since the pay commissions base their recommendations on the structure of the civil services, they cannot do justice to the armed forces. Having faced numerous difficulties in the past, this time, the Army Headquarters had taken up a case with the government that a member from the defence forces should be nominated on the Sixth Pay Commission. Do we need any further proof now that the service chiefs, for whatever reason, do not carry conviction with the government?

Staff College Officers’ Mess

On shifting from Quetta to Wellington after the Partition of the country in 1947, the Defence Services Staff College turned this building into its officers’ mess. The building needed certain additions such as a spacious anteroom and a large dining hall, etc.

This building has been in existence for more than 152 years. It was first occupied by 74th Highlanders in March 1854. The last to occupy it before Partition was 2nd Worcestershire.

Hearing aids

Those members of the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) who were waiting for the hearing aids since August 2005, should feel happy to know that the Central Organisation of the ECHS has cleared their cases. However, from September this year, a new policy for the supply of these aids has been evolved. Further details regarding the new policy will be discussed later.

— Pritam Bhullar



Body of Rohtang mishap victim to reach city today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The body of 20-year-old Mayank Tyagi, a resident of Sector 37, who fell to his death at the Rohtang Pass in Manali yesterday, is expected to reach the city in the wee hours of tomorrow.

Mayank, a final-year student of BTT at MMBRS Institute, near Yamunanagar in Haryana, had gone on an excursion trip to Rohtang with 45 other classmates. The trip was organised by the institute.

According to the victim’s cousin, Anupama Sharma, the family rushed to Manali on Sunday evening. She said throughout the day the relatives and family friends were visiting the house after they heard the shocking news. Mayank’s father, mother, a brother and cousins had gone to Manali to bring back the body. She said they were expected to reach the city at around 4 am on Tuesday.

The Himachal police has confirmed the incident and said Mayank fell from the corner of a lake on the pass and fell down into a 1000-metre-deep gorge. Such was the impact of the fall that the body was mutilated beyond recognition. It took the police over four hours of gruelling labour to recover the body from the gorge.

The deceased was rushed to the Palchang Military Hospital where he was declared brought dead. The family members of the deceased were informed about the incident by the institute’s authorities.



57th Raising Day of Territorial Army held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Various functions, including a sainik sammelan, a barakhana for all ranks and a social evening at the Shivalik Officers Institute, Chandimandir, marked the 57th Raising Day celebrations of the Territorial Army (TA) here today.

The TA Group Commander, Western Commander, Brig J.S. Thind, exhorted all personnel to live up to the image of this unique “Citizen’s Force” and read out felicitations from the Chief of the Army Staff, GOC-in-C, Western Command, and the Additional Director-General, TA.

Placing on record his appreciation for the commendable job being done by the TA in counter-insurgency operations, the Army Chief, in his message said the “Terriers” have rendered remarkable in challenging conditions during wars, counter insurgency and natural disasters. He also lauded the role of the TA’s ecological battalions.

The TA was raised on October 9, 1949, by C. Rajagopalachari, the then Governor General of India.

It is a voluntary, part-time force in which gainfully employed civilians receive military training for a few days every year so that they may bear arms for the defence of the nation during an emergency.



Villagers, NSS volunteers pledge to avoid crackers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
On the concluding of a 10-day NSS camp organised by the National Institute of Nursing Education (NINE), PGI, at Sarangpur village, the villagers and NSS volunteers of the institute pledged to desist from bursting crackers on Divali. The camp concluded yesterday.

During the camp, the NSS volunteers made presentations on low-cost nutritive diet to young females. They also educated the village youth about maintaining personal and environmental hygiene, first aid, prevention of diseases like malaria, dengue and anemia.

A culture programme was organised by the volunteers and children on the occasion.

Earlier, Mr S.K. Sharma, president of the Environment Society of India, presided over the function and encouraged the youth for preserving nature.



Welcome parade in honour of new IGP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
A welcome parade was held today by the Chandigarh Police in honour of the newly appointed UT Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr S.K. Jain, in Sector 26, Police Lines, here.

The IGP inspected the parade comprising of three platoons of jawans, a platoon of lady police, motor cycle riders, mounted police and various vehicles, including the police band.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Jain, congratulated the police for its impressive parade. He advised the force to work hard with devotion and dedication to serve society in a better way. Among those present on the occasion were Mr Vivek Gogia, DIG (Head Quarters), Mr Gaurav Yadav, SSP, Mr Dinesh Bhatt, SSP (Traffic and Operations), all DSPs, inspectors and police officers from all units of the Chandigarh Police.



Traffic jam on Ambala road
Tribune News Service

Lalru, October 9
Thousands of motorists and commuters faced harassment following a traffic jam on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway in the wake an accident, near here, today.

According to sources, the accident occurred around 11.30 am when the driver of a truck applied brakes suddenly on the highway and a jeep rammed into the truck. An Indica car and a truck, in turn, rammed into the jeep. Some people sustained minor injuries.

Even as the police took time to clear the road, thousands of commuters, including those travelling in the state transport buses, had a tough time. For one hour there was complete chaos on the busy highway.



Kanshi Ram’s death mourned

Chandigarh, October 9
Various political parties and leaders expressed condolence on the death of Kanshi Ram, BSP supremo.

Dr Joginder Dayal, member, National Executive, CPI, Mr P.S. Deosi, Mr Bant Singh Brar, Mr Bhupinder Samber, all members, state Secretariat of Punjab state council CPI, also expressed deep shocks at the death. Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, Governor, T N, said: “He was a close friend and known for his simplicity.” — TNS



Ex-Tribune employee dead
Tribune News Service

Mr Sunder Lal Sharma Panchkula, October 9
A former employee of The Tribune, Mr Sunder Lal Sharma, died here this morning after a brief illness. He was 74. He retired from The Tribune as Sectional Head in 1992 after putting in 39 years of service. His cremation was attended by a large number of Tribune employees, friends and relatives.

Mr Sharma is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters. One of the sons, Mr B.P. Sharma, is an Executive in The Tribune.

The uthala will be held at Raghunath Temple, Sector 15, Panchkula, on October 12 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.



Consumer camp held

Chandigarh, October 9
The Welfare Association, MIG-I Houses, Sector 40-C, Chandigarh, organised a consumer awareness camp in collaboration with the Chandigarh Consumer Forum here.

The camp was inaugurated by Mr Shurbir Singh, SDM (South). Mr Singh appreciated the efforts of the association.

Col Sarwan Singh, chairman of the forum, highlighted its activities. — TNS



‘Clean vacant open spaces’

Mohali, October 9
The People’s Welfare Association has urged the authorities concerned to get vacant open spaces cleaned on a regular basis to prevent the outbreak of any epidemic like dengue fever, failing which the authorities will be held responsible for negligence. — OC



Kishangarh Gram Sabha
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The Chandigarh Administration has included Shastri Nagar Colony, near Bapu Dham Colony, and other nearby unacquired areas in the Gram Sabha, Kishangarh.



Varun murder case: fifth accused held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 9
Sandeep, the fifth accused in the Varun murder case, has been arrested by the local police at Sector 5. He was produced in the district court here today and sent to judicial remand.

With his arrest, the police has rounded up all accused in the case and recorded their statements. While local cable operator Manish Puri surrendered in court, Arshad was arrested by the police from Sector 11 a day after the murder, which took place on September 19.

Dinesh, alias Dipi, and Imran were arrested by the police after they were discharged from a hospital. All this while, however, Sandeep, was absconding. Last evening the police arrested Sandeep following a tip-off on his whereabouts.

It may be recalled that 24-year-old Varun Nath, resident of Dhakoli in Zirakpur, died of stab wounds while four others were injured in a drunken brawl between two groups in Sector 5, outside a liquor vend, on the night of September 19.

The son of a former merchant navy officer, Varun had recently shifted to Chandigarh and was working at a call centre.

The incident took place past midnight when Varun, accompanied by four friends, Sector-15 resident Varun, Devinder and two girls, Kamaljit Kaur, alias Chinki, hailing from Bathinda, and Minazh, a Kashmiri living in the city for the past few years, stopped to buy beer from a liquor vend in Sector 5. Police sources said Varun and the two boys went to the vend to buy liquor when another group of handful of local boys, four of whom have been identified, were coming out of the vend after consuming liquor.

Seeing the girls in the car, the boys, in a drunken state, began passing obscene remarks on the girls, which angered Varun and his friends. A scuffle followed in which the girls, too, were pulled out of the car and manhandled by the other group.

The situation worsened when the boys of both groups picked up empty soda and beer bottles lying outside, broke them and began attacking each other.

Varun received three deep stab wounds from a broken bottle. His friends, Varun and Devinder, were also injured while Deepak and Imran from the other group were also admitted to General Hospital, Sector 6, with deep wounds.



“Indo-Russian trade potential not fully tapped”
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Pleading for increased Indo-Russian trade, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to India, Mr Vyacheslav I. Trubnikov, said here on Saturday that traditionally good relations between India and Russia needed to be translated into mutually beneficial economic relations on a much bigger scale.

Addressing an interactive session on “Indian-Russian economic relations” organised by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) here, the Ambassador said the immense potential of Indo-Russian trade had not been realised in the recent years.

Dr Mana Mamikonian, a Russian delegate, admitted that in the post-Soviet era, Russia lost initiative in structuring international relations with several foreign countries, including India. The Russian side may not always understand the role which India allocated Moscow in its strategic plans. This situation was hampering the process of building trade and economic exchange between the two countries. The need of the hour was to strengthen political will, leading to better mutual understanding.

Speaking on the concrete aspects of cooperation in military industrial area, Dr Yury Bardakhchiev, said some element of mistrust in this segment may have been the result of the agreements India had initiated with the US in military and nuclear areas.

On the other hand, Prof RS Ghuman observed that there was a need to look into Indo-Russian relations in the context of the historical past and in the framework of the changed global scenario. Both countries should identify areas of mutual economic interest and look beyond military cooperation.

Another expert, Mr Satyapal, said that geographical and economic order had changed to a great extent since the first Indo-Russian agreement in 1950s. Dr SK Mangal noted the role the market forces played in economic relations. India and Russia needed to strengthen their time-honoured relations further towards trade relations based on trust and quality of goods.

The delegates suggested various measures to increase Indian presence in the commodity market and investment in Russia to identify ways to broaden Russian presence in the Indian market to explore opportunities for conducting cooperation on international economic and technological programmes.

The best way to go about this cooperation was between small and medium-scale enterprises in the two countries.



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