C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Dengue arrives in Ambala
6-year-old boy dies in PGI
Tribune Reporters

Ambala, October 10
Dengue marked its arrival in Ambala by claiming one life even as another suspected dengue case has been referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.

While Harsh of Langar Channi village died in the PGI on October 7, 10-year-old Navneet Kaushal of Kardhan was shifted to that hospital after he showed symptoms of dengue.

Six-year-old Harsh had been suffering from fever since October 1. After medication, he showed signs of some improvement. Thereafter, he suffered from body pain. On October 4, he was brought to Ambala Cantonment from his village and later referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, where he breathed his last on October 7.

Navneet Kaushal had also been suffering from fever for some days. He was brought to a private medical practitioner in Ambala Cantonment from where he was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, on October 8. He is also suspected to be suffering from dengue.

Residents of Langar Channi village said unhygienic conditions prevailed in the village. They said there was a dirty “johar” in the village. Unhygienic conditions were leading to breeding of mosquitoes in the village, they added.

Ambala DC O.P. Langyan said necessary steps were being taken to check the breeding of mosquitoes. “I appeal people to maintain cleanliness so that breeding of mosquitoes can be checked,” he said.

He said eight officers were monitoring the situation and all BDOs had been told to visit different parts of the area. In Ambala Cantonment and Ambala City, fogging had been started and more machines had been requisitioned for the purpose, he added.

PANCHKULA: One confirmed case of dengue was reported at the General Hospital, Sector 6, here on Tuesday. With this, the total number of cases has gone up to 22 in the district. The latest case was that of 40-year-old Sector 19 resident Meenu Thapa. Five more suspected cases are still under observation and the test results are awaited.

Fogging was carried out in Sector 19 and Abheypur from where suspected cases of dengue had been reported in the past.

Meanwhile, Mauli Jagran resident Arif, who reported at the hospital with symptoms of dengue, had joined the list of confirmed cases.

Information of the patient from Mauli Jagran has been passed on to UT health authorities.

MOHALI: An awareness campaign should be launched in the district to check the spread of dengue in the area.

Directions to this effect were given by Mr Arunjit Singh Miglani, Additional Deputy Commissioner (General), at a meeting with district officials here on Tuesday. He said all possible measures should be taken to educate the public about dengue and the preventive measures. He said insecticides should be sprayed, wherever needed. He said schools should also play a role in creating awareness among their students.

He also urged the SDMs to inspect schools and dispensaries falling in their jurisdiction.

Chandigarh: Even after three days of the death of Harsh, a six-year-old boy of Langar Channi village in Ambala, the PGI authorities and the UT Health Department are yet to confirm the exact cause of his death.

Though a report from the Community Medicine Department, PGI, submitted to the UT Health Department and the PGI authorities said the death occurred “probably due to dengue”, none of them was ready to confirm it.

The authorities concerned had not confirmed any dengue death in the city till late this evening.

A spokesman said 22 new suspected cases were reported at the PGI today out of which one was critical, while others were stable. With this, the number of dengue cases at the PGI has gone up to 69.

The GMCH, Sector 32, registered 40 new suspected cases out of which only two (one from Mubarikpur and another from Sector 45, Chandigarh) were tested positive, thus raising the number of confirmed cases to 29.

Only four patients reported at the Sector 16 General Hospital today.



Old tyres at CTU depots dengue-breeding nurseries
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Wornout tyres dumped at Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) depots in the Industrial Area are a perfect dengue-breeding ground in the city.

Most of the tyres have been lying in the open at scrap yards of CTU depot No. 1, 2 and 3 since the monsoon season. Water of the recently concluded monsoon still lies unattended in the tyres. As tyres and stagnant water are established nurseries of mosquitoes, the area needs the immediate attention of the Health Department to carry out fogging and anti-mosquito sprays to avoid the breeding of dengue mosquitoes.

Till date 135 patients with suspected dengue fever have been treated at the PGI and more and more are coming in for treatment.

“The increase in the number of dengue cases in the city every day is a cause for worry for us as we have to spend the whole day here among mosquitoes while performing our duty. Adding insult to injury, nobody from the Health Department has turned up till date to carry out spraying or fogging operations to kill mosquitoes or prevent their breeding”, rued a CTU worker at the depot.

Another official, said, “Earlier, these used tyres were put under cover by the former OSD, appointed by the then Governor. As he had left one year before, nobody cared about these after that. Around 600 workers do their duties under the threat in the depots at different timings every day”.

Demanding an immediate action from the authorities concerned, he said, “The good-conditioned tyres should also be retreated for further use while the scrapped tyres should be auctioned immediately. Further anti-mosquito spray should be carried out to prevent any mishap. Apart from these, preventive measures to check the threat caused by mosquitoes should be adopted on a regular basis.”

The workers also demanded that sheds should be erected immediately to cover the scrap.



Ban on child labour activated; children still at work
‘Will the govt feed my family?’ asks a working child
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Modified Child Labour Act

  • Momentum built after a minor girl servant was murdered in Mumbai and hung to a ceiling fan to pass the murder off as suicide. The child’s crime: she had used a lipstick.
  • Act prohibits employment of children in houses, roadside eateries, recreational centres, etc.
  • Domestic work covered for the first time, considering child domestics suffer physical/sexual violence and psychological trauma.
  • Act will be applicable to children below 14 years.
  • Labour Ministry contemplating to expand rehabilitative scheme of National Child Labour Project which covers 250 child labour endemic districts in India.

Chandigarh, October 10
Eight-year-old Ganpat knows nothing about the law that guarantees him complete freedom from work. All he knows is that his day starts earlier than dawn and ends later than sunset when the UT Secretariat complex goes to rest after a day of hectic activity.

Ganpat has been working at a tea stall here — right under the nose of the Labour Commissioner UT, who might soon ensure he works no more. But for Ganpat, childhood is synonymous with work as work is the only means of survival. If the child were to sit at home, one of his six siblings might have to sleep on an empty stomach. And he wouldn’t like that.

Naturally, he was at work even today when the ban on the employment of children as servants came into force in Chandigarh. The ban follows the modified Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, which has been expanded to include as hazardous the employment of children in domestic and other trades such as dhabas, restaurants, hotels, motels, tea shops, resorts and other recreational centres. Anyone caught employing a child below 14 years in any of these areas could be punished with one-year imprisonment or a fine of Rs 10,000 or both.

But the ban spelt little change for Ganpat. When the Chandigarh Tribune team spotted him near the UT Secretariat building in Sector 9 today, he was busy washing the vessel in which his employer makes tea for visitors. In return for the serving and washing the child does, he earns Rs 20 a day, sometimes more depending on the employer’s earning. But the best part of the job is it gets Ganpat two square meals a day. Sometimes he is even allowed to take leftovers home with him.

Ganpat comes from a nearby area, where migrant labourers from Bihar have taken up work at a construction site. In the name of a house, he has a makeshift room which is almost empty. His father, Shanichar, works at the construction site and makes Rs 60 a day, while his mother Nirmala makes Rs 55 a day. The family has no support system, expect the one built by Ganpat and his 11-year-old elder brother Dhanpat, who also works at the site.

Not that the children don’t want to attend school. In fact, Ganpat loves the idea of study and play, but he wonders if the UT Administration can give food to his family if he goes to school. “How can I study if I know my father is not earning food for the family and my mother is sick?” the child makes an innocent query that will take long to be answered.

In Chandigarh and surrounding areas, hundreds of children were at work today, not out of choice, but out of compulsion. Sister Namrata from the National Domestic Workers Movement, which has conducted a survey of child servants in five colonies of Chandigarh, says, “The UT Administration says there are 99 such children in the city. That’s ridiculous. After the Act was announced we surveyed Mauli Jagran, Indira Colony, Colony No. 5, Bhaskar Colony and Bapu Dham, and found over 100 such children working in various trades in these areas alone. And we are still counting. Most of these children want to attend school, but they can’t because their families are too poor to lose the income these children bring. In most cases, the father is an alcoholic or a work shirker. Also, seldom do children get the money they earn. Their parents take the money most of the time.”

Like Namrata, Madhu Singh from the Chandigarh Child Welfare Committee, UT, also feels a rehabilitation package must have preceded the Act which, implemented constructively, can serve to secure lost childhoods. “For the law to succeed, it is important to educate parents of these children about the consequences of child labour. In cases where children are supplementing family’s incomes, the government must formulate schemes to bail the families out of financial crisis. Also, every working child must be earnestly counted and covered under the rehabilitation plan which must be announced at the earliest,” she says.



Rodrigues sets deadline for lake projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Setting a deadline for the completion of two water bodies and a botanical garden near Patiala-ki-Rao for the south-western sectors and a park in Sector 23 by the end of this year, the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), today asked senior officials of the Engineering Department to quicken the pace of construction and the execution of beautification plan.

He said the two lakes and the botanical garden would be inaugurated on Christmas. The park in Sector 23 would be dedicated to the residents on New Year, he added.

Accompanied by Ms Jean Rodrigues and senior officials of the Administration, including the Finance Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu, the Chief Engineer, Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, and the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Mr Ishwar Singh, General Rodrigues visited the area and took stock of the ongoing stone-pitching work on the bandhs. He asked the officials to build check dams and take rainwater harvesting measures for recharging groundwater.

He asked the Deputy Conservator of Forests to plan for creating a habitat for birds, viewing huts and promoting fish culture and other facilities harmonious with the environment at these water bodies.

He also asked the Finance Secretary and the Chief Engineer to prepare a comprehensive plan and a concept paper for the beautification of the entire stretch of 3.5 km for the southern and western lakes as a destination of choice.

He also visited the garbage dumping site near Dadu Majra.



Nutritional food to be served in hostels
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Menu cards in hostels of government colleges are in for a definite change and so are the rates for food from the next academic session. The change in the food arrangements will be complimented with an adequate infrastructure for physical workouts. The arrangements for the entire set-up will be in professional hands.

The Chandigarh Administration has drawn up an ambitious programme for improvement in the quality of food. The diet chart has kept the nutritional value of food items in consideration and big stress on a balanced diet, according to requirements of growing youth.

The diet chart is being supplemented with a matching Fitness-and-Fun programme as a part of their daily routine. The entire programme has been worked out under the chairmanship of Mr Krishna Mohan, Home Secretary.

The diet charts have been aptly complimented with adequate infrastructure for physical exercises. “All work, too much good food and no exercise does not serve our purpose. Facilities for physical activities and leisure are on top of our agenda”, a senior official said.

A special mention has been made for aerobics, yoga classes, long walks(particularly in November and February months), enhanced sports activities, refurbished gymnasiums and dance floors.

The decision will have an impact on at least half-a-dozen institutions, including two government colleges in Sector 11, Government Home Science and Government Polytechnic in Sector 10, Government College for Girls, Sector 42, government college, Sector 46, and Government College of Education, Sector 20, besides others.

The Principal of Government Home Science College has been made the coordinator of all activities in the area and a quarterly report will be submitted to the DPI, Colleges.

The department is also considering reduction in the rentals for contractors for better investment in quality food. The process of meeting different college officials has already begun and a detailed diet chart is being worked out. The action plan has underlined better cooking methods, awards and appreciation for a healthy kitchen, gauging mess acceptability through user polls and correct food combinations, besides others.



CPM asks Centre to cut petrol, diesel prices
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The CPM general secretary, Mr Prakash Karat, today urged the Manmohan Singh government to slash the prices of petroleum products, especially petrol and diesel, as their prices in the international market had gone down.

Speaking to a group of mediapersons here, Mr Karat, who had come to attend a meeting of the State Committee of the Punjab unit of the party, said the oil price had come down about 20 per cent in the international market and its price should be lowered in the country accordingly. When asked why the CPM had toned down its criticism on the issue of the rapid rise in the prices of essential commodities, Mr Karat said it was not true.” Our party has taken a strong stand on this issue”, he added.

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s recent observation that the Left parties would be on board with regard to the resuming of the process of reforms in various sectors in the country and on enhancing the share of private investment in national insurance companies, Mr Karat said his party had given a nine-page note to Dr Manmohan Singh, asking him to change the direction of the policies being pursued by the UPA government at the Centre. “We held discussions with the government on this issue last week and will meet again”, he added. He said the Union Government had been taking a lot of decisions without consulting the Left parties.

“We have many areas of concern and want the Union Government to take care of those areas. One of these is the implementation of the Employment Guarantee Scheme in the spirit in which it was framed. There are many loopholes and reports of the misuse of funds and the government should tackle such problems”, he added.

Asked about Mohammad Afzal, who has been sentenced to death, Mr Karat said that the party had not taken any stand on this issue yet. He said the mercy petition of Afzal was with the President and there were constitutional provisions to deal with this issue. “Let the President take a decision in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution”, he added.

He said his party would make its stand known on the nuclear test conducted by North Korea. “Our leaders will meet tomorrow to discuss this issue”, he added. “We will come out with a detailed response and an editorial will also appear in our party organ”, he added. “It is not a simple issue and has many aspects”, he said. The USA had been pushing North Korea into a corner for several years.

Talking about the problems of farmers, he said the crisis on the farm front was deep-rooted. It required to be tackled from various angles. He said that farmers were facing trouble in states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra because the growing of cotton had become unviable. Farmers were not getting loans at the rate of interest promised by banks, he added.

Forcefully supporting the recommendations of the National Farmers Commission, Mr Karat said the commission had made certain significant recommendations, including the creation of a price stability fund, for farmers. Such recommendations should be implemented at the earliest. These should not be put in cold storage, he added. He said that duty on the import of cotton had been reduced to 10 per cent and it was not in the interest of farmers. The crisis at the farmers’ level should be tackled at the earliest, he said.



Corbusier’s designs seem like poetry in stone: expert
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Raj Rewal
Raj Rewal

Chandigarh, October 10
At a time when Chandigarh is vying for an inscription on UNESCO’s heritage list, the observations made by celebrated architect Raj Rewal seem pertinent. In Chandigarh today to participate in the city’s heritage week celebrations, Rewal steered the debate on the relevance of Chandigarh’s architecture in the desired direction and offered a new perspective to it.

He insisted upon the authorities to leave the city alone for at least the next 50 years. “A city of 50 years is like a five-year-old child. You don’t mess around with it.

You leave it alone,” said the architect, who co-founded the Architectural Research Cell and also taught at the Delhi School of Architecture after graduating from there.

The soul of Rewal’s talk was the element of romanticism, reflected so very generously in everything Corbusier was ever associated with. No wonder the master architect’s designs seem like poetry in stone and his concrete almost rushes to communicate.

In Rewal’s words, “The finest thing about Corbusier’s buildings is the spiritual vibes they exude. You enter a space he has nursed with his talent and you don’t want to leave until you have prayed.

The best part of this feeling is it is not individual. I still remember the trip I undertook to Corbusier’s Assembly Building in Chandigarh. Even our bus driver was inspired to comment that he felt like praying inside the hall.”

Hoping the poetry of Chandigarh would continue to survive and inspire generations, Rewal, the man behind the built works of the order of Nehru Pavilion, the Asian Games Village and the World Bank, drew the attention of experts and students to everything that is basic about the city.

As he did so, the issue of sustainability in architecture came to the fore and with it came the feathers in Chandigarh’s cap. The brightest among them being Corbusier’s dependence on nature as a source of architectural design.

“Corbusier has woven the element of sustainability into the very foundations of Chandigarh. He has dwelt on the basics of construction and has shown the way forward for sustainable town planning.

The idea of harnessing the sun was initiated for the first time by Corbusier and he worked upon it tirelessly until he had mastered it,” Rewal mentioned, making copious references to the hallmarks of Corbusier’s designs, including sun breakers, ribbon windows, roof terraces and other elements of design that let the sun in.

Brushing aside the critics of Corbusier’s Chandigarh, Rewal built an argument in favour of the city being allowed to take its own course under carefully structured regulations. “We are changing rapidly and new architectural materials are being experimented with.

In times of change, we must focus our attention on the one thing that Chandigarh symbolises perfectly - a sense of spiritualism and awe, coupled with an almost-mystic grandeur like the one inspired by the Secretariat Building.

It rises to life in the backdrop of the Shivaliks and is so well-conceptualised - it spells power,” said Rewal, as he sat in the simple, austere, brick-faced courtyard of the Chandigarh College of Architecture - just one of the several poetic designs that emerged from the genius of Corbusier.



Dimpy’s wife wants case transferred to CBI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Accusing the Chandigarh Police of going slow in the murder of her husband Prabjinder Singh Dimpy, who was shot dead at Sukhna Lake on July 7, his wife Pawandeep Kaur reitrerated her demand for the transfer of investigations to the CBI.

Addressing mediapersons, Ms Pawandeep Kaur, accompanied by her father, Mr Hardeep Singh Kadian, and her mother-in-law, Ms Gurpreet Kaur, said they had completely lost faith in the Chandigarh Police and wanted the CBI to unravel the mystery behind the killing. She went on to say that the police was in fact trying to shield the accused, who were roaming freely while they, the victims, were living under constant fear.

When asked about political pressure, Pawandeep Kaur asserted that in the end of June this year, her mother-in-law received a message from Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, son of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, through Mr Mantar Singh Brar and Mr Kiki Dhillon, saying that she should stop her son from political activities or else he would be eliminated. She further added that later Sukhbir Singh Badal himself called her husband several times threatening him to keep away from political activities.

Claiming that as her husband enjoyed considerable support in Kotkapura, Faridkot, Mukatsar, Lambi, Gidderbaha and Bathinda constituencies, he was considered to be a threat by the Badals to their political interests. She also claimed that Dimpy was approached by the father-son-duo to join their party, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD-Badal), but the latter declined their offer. Dimpy was planning to contest the Kotkapura Assembly seat this time. She alleged that she had a confirmed belief that Sukhbir Singh Badal and Prakash Singh Badal had a direct role in the killing of her husband.

Mr Hardeep Singh Kadian said the police had not properly investigated the role of Harneev in the entire episode. Expressing disbelief over the functioning of the police, he said how come it was possible that the Chandigarh Police failed to make a sketch of the assassins as Harneev was the sole eyewitness of the crime. He claimed that Harneev’s neighbours had said they heard a gun shot at her residence on that night. the police did nothing in this direction.

He added that UT SSP Gaurav Yadav and Inspector Satbir Singh had kept them in the dark claiming that they would soon nab the accused. On the other hand they had not questioned the role of close associates of Badals Sandeep Bhau and Rocky. On the contrary, they were released by the police after two hours of questioning following intervention of top SAD leaders.

He said the family had been living under constant threat and the Punjab police was not providing any security to them despite their numerous requests. Ms Gurpreet Kaur said she waited for 12 days seeking an appointment from Punjab’s Governor but was denied any audience.

When contacted Inspector Satbir Singh said the police was investigating the case and was not under any pressure. About the role of Sandeep and Rocky, he said they were under suspicion but nothing questionable had so far come against them during investigations.

Despite repeated efforts, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal was not available for comments.



6 injured in PU clash
Sanjeev Bariana and Chitleen Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
At least six students belonging to the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) were brought to the Sector 16 General Hospital late tonight with serious injuries after an alleged clash with the activists of the SOPU (Students Organisation of Panjab University) took place in Hostel No. 6 on the campus.

Senior university officials, including the Director, Student Welfare, Nawal Kishore, rushed to the hospital where the injured students were being treated.

Mr Nawal Kishore refused to comment saying that the SOPU leaders were with him till about 8.30 pm for checking child labour on the campus. “Only after verification and investigation, I can comment,” he added.



Watch out

Seventeen-year-old Kinshuk Sharma, ranking sixth in boys under-18 section, made a flying start in the DSL National Tennis Championship which started in New Delhi on Tuesday. Kinshuk made short work of Vinayak Sharma 7-6, 6-2 and Moan Chillar 6-3, 6-1to enter the next round.

His further progress will be watched with tremendous interest as he will also be playing in the men’s singles also where country’s top seed in the under-18 section and his city mate, K. Sanam Singh, also made a winning start defeating Divyanshu Singh 6-3, 6-1 on Tuesday.



In Town

Jeff Gralnick, Special Consultant (Internet and New Media Technologies), NBC News, will be in town on Wednesday for an interactive discussion on “Trends In Global Media”. The discussion is being organised by the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy of the United States of America at the Chandigarh Press Club.

Jeff Gralnick has a career spanning 45 years in broadcast news.



Passing Through

What are McDonald’s expansion plans in the North?

We are planning to open at least 12 more outlets in the tier II towns of Punjab and Haryana. These will be located at Ludhiana, Amritsar, Patiala, Rajpura, Bathinda, Nawanshahr and Jagadhri, besides five outlets in Chandigarh itself. In fact, Chandigarh will get a new outlet early next year. Also, after our tie up with BPCL and HPCL, we will be opening 100 new outlets across the country.

What is the reason for the huge success of McDonald’s in India?

It is popular because of its price and taste. Localising the menu has helped solidify our foundation. And we keep experimenting as we create new markets. We are using spices suited to the Indian taste and created new versions like Mac Veggie, Mac Aloo Tikki, etc.

Is the focus more on low-price and high-volume sales?

Yes. Because India always lacked low-priced, high-quality branded products. We cannot have a product which a majority of the local population cannot afford, and expect it to be popular.

— Ruchika M. Khanna



Approval given to MC agendas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The Finance and Contract Committee of the Municipal Corporation accorded approval to various agendas, including permission to install cellular transmission towers at various water works/complaint centre locations in the city after seeking offers from different cellular companies.

The committee has approved other important agendas, including conversion of Janjghar, Sector 23, into guest house-cum-community center; estimates for establishing water meter testing laboratory in Sector 32 (waterworks); estimate for providing, installing, testing, commissioning of transformer 800 kva capacity and other allied works contingent thereto at water works, Sector 37.

The committee also passed two supplementary agendas, including estimate for designing, supplying, erecting, testing and commissioning of electric pumping set along with other connected works at pump house, Ph-III at water works, Sector 39, and permission to install transmission towers on buildings of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation; estimate for designing, supplying, erecting, testing and commissioning of remote computer surveillance system for tube wells at MCC building, Sector 17, Waterworks-I&II, Mani Majra and Indira Colony, Manimajra.

In addition some agendas were recommended for general house meeting, including estimate for designing, supplying, erecting, testing and commissioning of 2 nos. new clear water pumping sets and other contingent works thereto at waterworks Sector 37 were also cleared among others.



126 fighter planes to be inducted into IAF: Rao
Tribune News Service

Rao Inderjit Singh
Rao Inderjit Singh

Chandigarh, October 10
The Union Minister of State for Defence Production, Rao Inderjit Singh, said here today that the phobia of inquiries often delayed the purchase of equipment for the defence forces in the country. He admitted that as a result of delay in purchasing defence equipment, the number of squadrons with the Indian Air Force had come down from 39 to 30.

Rao, who was the chief guest at a meet-the-press programme organised by the Chandigarh Press Club here, said 126 fighter planes would be inducted in the Air Force within next five years to phase out MIG-21s by 2011. Companies from the USA, France, Sweden and England had shown interest in supplying the fighter planes, which would be inducted in phases. These fighter planes would be more advanced than the F-16s Pakistan was planning to purhcase from the USA. He said 66 Hawk advanced jet trainers purchased from Britain’s BAE Systems would soon begin arriving.

He said there had been a decline in the number of incidents of MIG crashes. Such crashes had been reduced to 0.16 per 10,000 hours of flying from April to September this year from 0.44 in 2004-05.

He also said that production of anti-material rifles had started in an ordnance factory at Trichi. The state-of-the-art rifle can use 13.5 mm and 20 mm bullets.

Answering a question Rao said the defence procurement policy was aimed at introducing the increased levels of transparency and accountability in the arms purchase process.

The Union Defence Ministry had agreed in principle to set up second Sainik School in Haryana provided the State Government agreed to deposit Rs 20 crore with it. The state already has a Sainik School in Kunjpura, near Karnal.

Admitting that the country was short of officers in the defence forces, he said the government had recently taken initiative and had chalked out a strategy to attract the intelligent youngsters to the defence forces.

On the issue of Special Economic Zone in the state, he said he had written a letter to the UPA Chairperson, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to incorporate some of his suggestions. These suggestions included allotment of shares of the company developing the SEZ to the farmers, plots to farmers on the pattern of HUDA and the developer should ensure development of all villages falling in the jurisdiction of SEZ.

He said that in Haryana, the SEZ was being set up near Gurgaon on barren land. With the setting up of the SEZ, a large number of employment opportunities would be generated for the benefit of the people in the State.He refuted the allegation that the land was being given to Reliance Industries Limited on a throw away price. He made it clear that no undue favour had been done to RIL.

He said the UPA Government had taken steps to remove anomolies in pension being given to the defence personnel.



NCC to raise polo team soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
As part of its drive to give an impetus to sports and adventure activities, the National Cadet Corps (NCC) will be raising its own polo team in the near future.

“The process is well under way and we will be on the national polo scene in about a year’s time,” Additional Director-General, NCC, Major-Gen R.K. Karwal said here today. “We are procuring polo horses, which are different from riding horses and are selecting the best men for the team,” he added.

Various options for getting suitable polo trainers are also being studied. The NCC already has experienced riders and a number of Remounts and Veterinary Squadrons spread across the country.

General Karwal was in town to review NCC activities and discus various administrative and training issues with senior officers here. He also interacted with NCC cadets at an ongoing naval training camp at the Sukhna Lake.

The NCC, he said, is also proposing to reign in prominent sports personalities like tennis star Sania Mirza, cricketer Mohinder Singh Dhoni and Olympian shooter Rajyavardhan Rathore to act as the organisation’s brand ambassadors.

He said government sanction had been accorded for increasing the number of seats for C-Certificate holders from 64 to 80 in the Indian Military Academy and from 100 to 120 in the Officers Training Academy. He said while the vacancies reserved for NCC cadets in the Army were fully subscribed, the same was not so in the case of the Air Force and the Navy, where qualitative requirements were different.

He said that with the cadet strength of the NCC being increased from the present 13 lakh to 15 lakh, there would be a requirement of an additional 140 officers. “Seventy officers would be from the regular Army, while the remaining would be those who have left the Army prematurely for various reasons other than disciplinary grounds, or short service officers, including women,” he said.

The NCC has also introduced career counseling and personality development as part of their regular training curriculum. This capsule is not oriented only towards entry into the Armed Forces, but is designed to prepare students for a range of career options in the civil.

General Karwal said that the NCC was also starting a youth exchange programme (YEP) with Australia.



HAL overburdened, says minister
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Terming public sector aviation giant Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to be overburdened, Minister of State for Defence Production, Rao Inderjit Singh said that several measures were in the pipeline to improve the performance of defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs).

Reacting to a recent report by the Comptroller and Auditor General highlighting serious flaws in the MiG-29 maintenance process, the minister said that a proper inquiry would be held into the issue and remedial measures would be taken.

He said that at present HAL was the only agency in the country catering to the aviation needs of the forces and as such it was under tremendous pressure.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the level of efficiency at HAL, Mr Rao said that the government was considering bringing in technical graduates at various levels, preferably IIT graduates who have had a wide experience in the private sector, to give an impetus to activities at HAL. “A policy in this regard is on the anvil,” he said.

On the issue of suspension of MiG-29 flying operations for undertaking exhaustive checks on the fleet in the aftermath of a crash near Ambala earlier this month, he said that reports on the investigations and findings of the technical experts were yet to reach his office.

The MiG-29 is in for a major mid-life upgrade involving incorporation of better avionics and radar, increase in range and some structural modifications, which were to be undertaken by HAL in collaboration with Russia.

Increase in capability is being considered important in view of the IAF’s dwindling squadron strength. Even Parliament’s Standing Committee on Defence had raised the issue of the MiG 29 upgrade several time recently. Mr Rao, howver, said that he had no information on the current status of the project.



Seelam Sohi stakes claim on Banur segment
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 10
Even as the Punjab Assembly elections are almost four months away, the electoral scene in the Banur segment has hotted up with Ms Seelam Sohi, senior Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee(PPCC) leader and widow of veteran Congres leader Ravinder Singh Sohi, today throwing her hat in the electoral ring.

The announcement assumes importance in the wake of several contenders for key constituency, currently being represented by the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) stalwart Capt Kanwaljit Singh.Ms Sohi had lost the 2002 elections to Capt Kanwaljit Singh by a narrow margin of about 700 votes.

In fact, at a function to mark Sohi's birth anniversary here today, a host of leaders, including the president of the Mohali district unit of the PPCC, Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, virutally endorsed the candidature of Ms Sohi,who is also the PPCC general secretary.

While Mr Sidhu was guarded in his support for her candidatrue saying that choosing a candidate was the prerogative of the Congress high command from a panel of candidates recommended by the PPCC, Mr Malkit Singh Dakha, PPCC general secretary,went full throttle to support her. The presence of the president of SAD(Longowal), Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, surprised even Congressmen.

The gathering virtually proved to be a show of stength for Ms Sohi with hundreds of her supporters thronging the Sohi Resort run by the family.Talking to The Tribune, Ms Sohi asserted that she was very much in the race for the Banur Assembly segment as she and her family had devoted their whole lives to the service people of the area.

In may be recalled that the Banur segment had many contenders from the Congress, prominent among them is Ms Deepinder Singh Dhillon, vice-chariman of the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), who is credited with several development works in the assembly segment.



A voice of reason in Pakistan
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Kishwar Naheed
Kishwar Naheed

Chandigarh, October 10
Even after writing on women's issues for 46 long years, poet Kishwar Naheed has lost none of her fire. As one of Pakistan's best-known feminist poets, her prose echoes the struggles of women she chronicles so poignantly in her verses.

"I used to think that when I turn 40 women's issues would be coming to an end, but now at the age of 66 years I realise that we take one step forward but two steps back and the spirit of women is still being coerced into submission," she says.

In the city to be honoured by the Haryana Urdu Akademi, Panchkula, she says despite having travelled all over India, coming to Punjab has been the culmination of a long cherished dream. "But it saddens me that while tomatoes and ginger can be sent from here to Pakistan, books and writings cannot. It seems to me that despite being so similar and having the same issues to deal with, we are afraid of each other's real intellectual capacities," she says.

In a country dominated by the voice of its men, her writings come as a breath of fresh air, in a voice that is distinctly feminine and one that moves the women who read and hear her. "People have been writing about women, romancing them but what a woman thinks or writes has never been accepted," she avers.

Her poetry, as a result, goes beyond the 'prescribed' norms of femininity touching on gender issues, sexuality, the need to emancipate men and not women and most of all human relationships. "Most people have not written about the maturity of love. What is it to be alone not lonely, to take death as reality, not tragedy and of old age where you can see everything growing but not you?" she explains.

It is therefore not surprising that Kishwar is more than just a voice of reason in her country; she is part counsellor, part psychologist, serving as a cathartic medium for women needing to talk, of women who draw their strength from her writings.

It is from these women that Kishwar in turn draws from. A process that goes back to Partition and the plight of women then, her annoyance at women writers being criticised simply for being women and the continuing abuse against women, till today.

Born in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh in 1940, Kishwar's family moved to Pakistan after Partition when her father was arrested for being a part of the Muslim League but growing up as a woman in Pakistan was also not easy either. Especially since Kishwar went against the tenets of her society by being the first girl in her family to go to college, to get a Masters degree, join the civil service and even marry someone of her own choice. "It is important for women to exercise their own options, but exploitation in the form of sex, beauty and body, is intolerable," she says vehemently.

It is this anger that still resonates within her. "Until women are treated as beings I will continue with my writings. The day my protests and my anger die, that will be the end of me as a writer. Till I can scream and shout people will hear," she declares.



Labourers organise rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
On a call given by the Federation of Indian Trade Union, labourers from Punjab and Haryana organised a rally from the local railway station to Matka Chowk in Sector 17 yesterday.

They were demanding abolition of the contract system, shelving of the privatisation drive pursued by the Centre and state governments and enforcing the labour laws properly.

They raised slogans against the alleged “anti-people” and “anti-poor” attitude of the government. They said the Central and state governments of both the states had turned a blind eye to the “just demands” of a large number of people and taking care of the interests of a few affluent persons.

Mr Raj Singh, general secretary, IFTU, Punjab, said the state had 20 lakh workers. Because of the anti-people polices adopted by the state government, the social, political and economic conditions were worsening day by day, he said. The rally also aimed at observing Bhagat Singh’s 100th birthday anniversary.

Prof Jagmohan Singh, nephew of Bhagat Singh, and eminent dramatist Gursharan Singh were also present there.

The general secretary of the IFTU said until the governments cancelled the false cases registered against labourers and met their demands, they would continue their struggle.

Actors from the Chandigarh School of Drama choreographed a few songs on the life and ideas of Bhagat Singh.

In the evening, the Joint Commissioner of the Department of Labour, Haryana, and the OSD of the Punjab Chief Minister came there to receive memorandums from them.



Screw found in restaurant dish
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
A family outing on the Karva Chauth evening for Mr Amit Mann and his friends turned out to be an unpleasant affair during dinner at Captain’s Retreat restaurant in Sector 35 here this evening when a screw was found in the ‘hare bhare kabab’ dish.

A visibly upset Mr Mann said, “I will lodge a complaint in the hotel book and see what I have to do next in order to highlight the issue. Such careless act could be dangerous”.

Mr Prit Pal, manager, said, “I cannot deny what our customer is saying. I can see the screw. He is right and can file the complaint. We shall look into the matter”.



Lakhani not to get prize money
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
In less than 24 hours after motor rallyist Yogesh Lakhani was arrested by Chandigarh Police on the allegations of participating in the annual Raid de Himalaya motor race on a stolen bike, the Himachal Motor Sports Association (HPSA) has decided to withhold the prize money which was to be paid to him.

Lakhani had bagged overall third position in the two-wheeler category in the annual race and was promised a prize money of Rs 20,000.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Motor Sports Club in India is also contemplating imposing a lifetime ban on Lakhani if he is found guilty of the offence.

Talking to TNS, Mr Vijay Parmar, President of HPSA said,‘‘All documents, shown by Lakhani before the event had been found to be in order provided these were not forged ones. On the other hand, his friend Manpreet Bhatia, who had participated by using someone else’s bike had submitted the authority letter of the owner as per our rules. Whether these documents were original or forged we can not say.

‘‘We are waiting for the outcome of the case. If Lakhani is found guilty, we will withdraw the trophy besides imposing other restrictions’’, said Mr Parmar.

Lakhani had won the Best Biker award in Raid de Himalaya in 2004 and had also bagged John Mark Janes Trophy.



Legal rights of mentally challenged discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
To observe the World Mental Health Day, the State Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, today organised a legal-awareness campaign for mentally challenged children at the Sadhana Society for Mentally Handicapped children, Rein Basera, Manimajra, here.

Mr R.K. Sharma, Member- Secretary of the State Legal Services Authority-cum-Judge Permanent Lok Adalat, while addressing parents of mentally challenged children, sensitised them about the legal rights and availability of free legal aid to mentally disabled.

He advised them to approach the office of the State Legal Services Authority, Sector 9, Chandigarh, in case of any legal problem.

Apart from sweets and fruits, published material like handbills and pamphlets were also distributed in an attempt to create awareness about the legal rights and free legal aid to the mentally challenged.



Concert to help poor children
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
In an effort to save the lives of poor children suffering from cardiac disorders, Spice Telecom, Rotary Club and its youth wing, Rotaract Club, Chandigarh, will organise a fund-raiser rock concert.

This live show will feature two of the leading bands in India — Parikrama and Indian Ocean. They will perform on October 13 at Leisure Valley here. The proceeds of the concert will go to the Chandigarh Rotary Club Service Trust for the Rotary Heartline Project.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Mr Man Mohan Singh, president, Rotary Club, Chandigarh, said, “Our mission is that no child should die in this region for want of money.” The club has already provided free cardiac surgery facility to 138 children since the start of the project in 2003 in association with the PGI, Chandigarh, and Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

This year, they hoped to rake in Rs 3.5 lakh through the concert and raise another Rs 3 lakh through individual donations, he added. “We hope to help at least 10 children with this money this year,” he said.



22-yr-old found dead; suicide suspected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The body of a 22-year-old married man was found on the floor of his single-room accommodation in Ram Darbar, here, early this morning.

Though no suicide note was found near the body , the police suspects that the man had committed suicide as a piece of cloth was found hanging from a ceiling fan in the room.

Giving details sources in the Sector 31 police station said Sandeep Kumar, who worked with a tent house probably fell after the cloth with which he hanged himself snapped and that is why the body was found on the floor. A police officer said as the deceased was reportedly a drug addict and he might have died due to a drug overdose or could have taken some poisonous substance to end his life.

The death came to light at around 5 am when his family members saw him lying listless on the floor. The police received information at around 6 am. His wife told the police that Sandeep had come home late in the night and was under the influence of drugs. He talked to her till late in the night and went to sleep. She found nothing amiss with him.

The SHO of Sector 31 police station, Inspector Har Sahai Sharma, said, ‘‘Nothing can be said with certainty at this stage as the post mortem report is awaited. We have initiated inquest proceedings in the case as the family has ruled out the possibility of any foul play’’.

Sandeep had got married about two years ago and had no children. He was living with his father and wife in the single-room accommodation.



City resident robbed of Rs 1.85 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Two unidentified persons took away Rs 1.85 lakh from a city resident after distracting his attention by throwing some currency notes near him in the broad daylight in Sector 17 here yesterday.

According to the police, Mr Naresh Gupta of Sector 20 had gone to the Central Bank of India, Sector 17, to exchange worn-out currency notes. As he parked his scooter there, two unidentified persons, drew his attention on some notes lying on the road.

When he bowed down to pick up the notes, the miscreants sped away along with his bag containing the cash. He raised an alarm, but in vain.

A case of cheating and theft has been registered at Sector 17 police station.

In another incident that took place at Sector 43 last night, four persons allegedly snatched Rs 37,000 from a man after assaulting him.

Mr Umesh Kumar of Ram Darbar lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Sanjay, Varinder, Dinesh and Surinder, all residents of Phase II, Ram Darbar, had assaulted him and snatched his money.

The police has registered a case and arrested Sanjay, Dinesh, Varinder and Surinder.



Woman’s gold chain snatched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Two miscreants, who came on a motor cycle, snatched the gold chain of a woman in Sector 43 here this afternoon.

Police sources said Mr Nirmala of Sector 43 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that two unidentified youths, riding a motor cycle, snatched her gold chain outside her residence at around 1 pm.


The police booked a government employee for allegedly duping his department of over Rs 24,000 by producing fake medical bills. The police said Mr Ashok Kumar Sharda, senior hydrologist with surface hydrology division, Punjab, Sector 22, reported to the police alleging that Jatinder Sarwal, an employee of the department, produced fake medical bills worth Rs 24,931 for reimbursement. A case of cheating and forgery has been registered.

Man booked

The local police has booked a resident of Sector 35 for allegedly duping a man of Rs 3.5 lakh on the pretext of sending him abroad.

Sources in the Economic Offences Wing of the Chandigarh Police said Mr Rajinder Singh, a resident of Phase II, Mohali, had lodged a complaint alleging that Rajinder Chahal had taken Rs 3.5 lakh from him on the pretext of sending him abroad. According to the complainant, after taking the money the accused had started dilly-dallying. Fed up with the attitude of Chahal, the complainant requested him to return his money, but he did not pay heed to his requests. On this Mr Rajinder Singh reported the matter to the police and a case of cheating under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered in this regard.


Mr Bhupinder Singh, a resident of Daria village, reported to the police that his motor cycle (CH-03-W-5140) was stolen from the village on Saturday evening. In another incident, Mr Om Parkash, a resident of Mani Majra, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his motor cycle (CH-01-U-3783) was stolen from Sector 22 market on Saturday. Two cases of thefts have been registered in the Mani Majra and Sector 17 police stations.

Motorcycles stolen

Mr Shushil Singh of Saini Vihar, Baltana, reported to the police alleging that his Hero Honda Splendour motorcycle (CH-03-K-2224) was stolen from Sector 10 on October 6.

In another incident, Mr Satnam Singh of Sector 44-D lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his TVS Suzuki motorcycle (CH-03-W-6884) was stolen from his residence on October 2.

Two separate cases of theft have been registered.

Meanwhile, in another case Mr Shushil Masib of Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, reported to the police that his Maruti Esteem (CH-03-K-8172) was stolen from Sector 9 on Monday. A case of theft has been registered.



Workshop on WTO negotiations today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
A regional stakeholder consultation workshop on “WTO Agriculture and NAMA Negotiations: Identifying Products of Concern to India”, is being held in the city tomorrow. This is being organised jointly by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

This workshop will provide an opportunity to stakeholders to articulate their concerns on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agriculture and Non- Agriculture Market Access(NAMA) negotiations. The workshop will bring together representatives of state/ UT governments, civil society, consumer organisations, industry representatives experts and policy makers.



RBI told to fix valuation fee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The Chandigarh chapter of the Institution of Valuers has urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to fix a reasonable one scale of valuation fee for all banks.

The issue was raised during a workshop on ‘Valuation of Property’ organised to celebrate the Valuers’ Day. Mr Y.L.Madan, General Manager of Canara Bank, Chandigarh, who inaugurated the workshop, lauded the role played by the banking sector, engineers and valuers in the development of industrial sector and improving the economy of the country. He stressed the need to work with honesty and efficiency.

Mr B.L.Luthra, Chairman of the Chandigarh chapter of Institution of Valuers, said valuation of property and machinery was not a gimmick. Credibility of the borrowers should be thoroughly checked by the functionaries of the financial institutions to avoid ban loans. He said the NPA has touched an alarming figure.



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