C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Fewer guests from Pak this time
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Unlike the last year’s Indo-Pak Test match played at PCA Stadium at Mohali in March, this time the stadium is likely to be bereft of Pakistan cricket enthusiasts during the Pakistan-New Zealand one-day match on October 25. The reason: cricket fans in Pakistan could not get visa due to the closure of Indian High Commission on Id holidays.

Where the number of guests from across the border was more than 3000 last year, this time the PCA authorities expect only a handful of Pakistan fans during
the match.

“The government gave us the sanction of sending tickets to the neighbouring country only the day before yesterday and that, too, in the evening. Acting swiftly, we dispatched 1000 tickets to the Pakistan Cricket Board. They received the dispatch yesterday. But, only a handful of tickets could be sold as most of the fans were unable to get visa due to Id holidays from October 23”, said Mr G.S. Walia, honorary treasurer of the PCA.

Earlier, we got an assurance from the Commission authorities that the office would be open on October 23 to issue visas, but the office was found closed today, added the PCA official.

According to the information, a ticket counter was being set up at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore by the PCB in collaboration with American Express Bank.

“At the moment, we are not informed of exact number of the tickets sold out there, but it is confirmed that the number is very low. If the tickets will not sell out, we will make those available for Indian spectators”, said Mr Walia.

On the other hand, city residents, along with local hoteliers and shopkeepers, expressed disappointment over the uncertainty shrouding the arrival of the guests from across the border on Wednesday.

The hoteliers and shopkeepers had offered big discounts to the guests from Pakistan on their last visit.

“We were hoping to see our four Pakistani friends, who stayed at our house for six days last year. But, now we are uncertain about their getting visa for even the match on October 27. This is really disappointing”, said Mr Madhusudan Sharma, a resident of Sector 38 West.



Consumer forum order goes missing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
It has taken over nine months for the district court authorities to tell an applicant that it never got a complaint from the District Consumer Redressal Forum, recommending action against an insurance company which had filed a false affidavit in case of an insurance claim filed by the applicant.

The applicant, Mr P.N.Wanchoo ( 82), an NRI, had sought directions from the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) to trace an order of District Consumer Forum dated September 29, 2005, which had been sent to the district courts for implementation.

Mr Wanchoo in his application had stated that the orders of the District Consumer Redressal Forum-I had gone missing.

In the orders passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate on June 14, 2006, it has been stated that the forum had ordered for sending the complaint to the CJM court but no complaint had been received till date from the forum. The applicant got a copy of the CJM's order on September 25, 2006.

It may be mentioned the orders recommending the action was sent to the district courts in October, 2005. The complainant had been moving from pillar to post to know about the fate of the order which was issued after he had moved an application against the insurance company in 1999.

After failing to trace the order, despite having the dispatch number and date on which the order was sent to the district courts, Mr Wanchoo had moved an application in the court of the then Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ms Neerja Kalson, seeking issuance of necessary orders to trace the order.

Mr Wanchoo said in July, 1990, when militancy was at its peak in Kashmir, he had to abandon his house and valuables.

He telephonically came to know from his neighbour that his house had been damaged due to a fire in the adjoining house.

In November, 1990, he filed an insurance claim with National Insurance Co Ltd. The company fixed the loss at Rs 9,000, which he did not accept.

During the pendency of the case before the forum, the insurance company filed an affidavit which was contested by the complainant. The forum in its orders observed that the complainant had stated that he was in the USA at the time when the company had claimed that a meeting had taken place between the two parties.

The forum observed that it was prima facie the mala fide intention of illegally closing the genuine case by forging documents and submitting them in the forum on oath. 



Is UT power tariff plan flawed?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Are consumers in Chandigarh paying more for electricity than what is due from them? ‘‘Yes’’, says Maj-General Sudesh Kumar (retd), a former Additional Director General of Signals.

Now settled in Chandigarh, General Kumar says the new power tariff, which was implemented in August last year, was flawed. ‘‘The innocent, unsuspecting consumer may not realise it but a careful look into the system is revealing,’’ he says.

The monthly rates fixed are in two slabs. Consumption in slab I attracts a rate of Rs 1.65 per unit up to 150 units whereas consumption beyond 150 units per month, which falls in slab II, causes a liability of Rs 2.90 per unit for the entire consumption. This means that if the consumption is 151 units (which is one unit more than slab I limit of 150 units), the consumer has to pay at higher rate for all these 151 units which is almost double the amount that he should otherwise pay if the slab system is applied as per universally accepted norms’’, reveals General Kumar.

The catch in the game, however, is this two-slab system, in its present form, coupled with the two-month billing cycle. It is essential that power consumption is recorded on fixed dates to ensure that the consumer pays for the rates in the correct slab. Because the consumption is recorded on two-month basis, it is impossible to know the exact consumption in any particular month. The recording staff visits each household once in two months and they do not follow a fixed-date pattern. If there is a holiday or a Sunday or the meter reading staff is sick or on leave, the meter readings, which are on the threshold of slab I, can easily jump across to slab II by even one day’s delay in recording the readings. The very purpose of fixing the tariff on the basis of monthly consumption is defeated if it cannot be determined accurately. This causes heavy loss to the consumer (and of course profit to the Administration).

There are a few occasions in a year when the consumption of power drops. Firstly, when the weather is changing from winter to summer around March, most consumers stop using heating  appliances like geysers, heaters, etc. Secondly, a similar situation again takes place around the month of October when ACs, coolers, etc are switched off and even the fans are used for lesser number of hours. Thirdly, a good number of consumers move out of station for reasonably long durations to cause less consumption of energy during their absence.

For a population of over nine lakhs, Chandigarh has an estimated two lakh domestic power meters. Considering that one-fourth amongst these consumers may be lavish and must be indulging in higher consumption, the city will still have 1.5 lakh consumers who are paying at higher rates of slab II despite being eligible for lower slab for saving energy.

He has eight questions for the engineering department.

Is the present tariff designed to be consumer friendly?

Is it a fair one?

What prompted the UT Administration to deviate from the universally accepted slab system?

How have they arrived at the magic figure of 150 units for slab I?

What was the compelling reason to levy fixed charges of sanctioned load as additional monthly charges over and above the actual consumption by each consumer?

Why has the consumer below poverty line been totally ignored against the much publicised government policy?

Why did the Administration feel shy to involve representatives of the consumer in formulation of the new tariff policy for its wider acceptance?

Does the Administration have a feedback system to know the reaction of the consumer and redress his or her concerns whenever a new policy is implemented?

When contacted senior officials of the UT Electricity Department stated that the tariff policy in UT is based on the national tariff policy, which is based on two parts, tariff fixed charges and energy charges. Fixed charges are being charged to do away the infrastructure cost while it is the purchase of power that calculates the energy charges. This tariff is applicable in the city since 2005.

According to the officials the tariff was earlier being charged under nine categories with different tariff rates. However, it created confusion and to do away with it they made a two-slab system in which up to 150 units were given at a discounted rate for the weaker sections. The argument that the officials give is that if the consumption is above 150 units, then the consumer is wealthy enough to pay more and will thus be charged accordingly.



Vet pharmacists join seniors in stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Catching the Punjab Government on the wrong foot today, 250 freshly passed-out veterinary pharmacists joined hands with their seniors in the ongoing agitation, stating that they would not work under service providers (veterinary officers on contract).

The pharmacists had completed their training (batch 2004-06) from the Veterinary Pharmacists Course Training Centre, Patiala, on October 17. Instead of applying for job, they joined hands with their seniors and they all, 450 in number, have announced in unison to wage a war against the state government.

The agitating youths stated that they would not allow themselves to be exploited at the hands of service providers. Veterinary pharmacists (2001-03 batch) have already declared that they would not work under the service providers. They have been staging a protest outside the officer of the Director, Animal Husbandry, Punjab, in Sector 17. They have been demanding regularisation of their jobs or to be appointed as service providers in rural veterinary dispensaries. In the wake of the rigid stand taken by them, the government had tried to persuade the freshly passed-out lot to join the services.

The government had earlier, through an advertisement, announced that 400 veterinary pharmacists would be appointed as service providers in rural dispensaries. Later, the government had to take back its decision following protests by veterinary officers. The government had decided to appoint veterinary officers as service providers in dispensaries in place of veterinary pharmacists.

According to sources, the authorities concerned acted in haste in giving out provisional certificates to the pharmacists on the last day of their exams so that they could join the service without delay. However, the pharmacists had other things on their mind, and decided not to fall prey to the “divide and rule” policy of the government.

Earlier during the day, unemployed veterinary pharmacists held a protest march at Matka Chowk, Sector 17, here today. 



Dengue claims another life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Dengue has reportedly claimed another life at the PGI. Ms Asha Devi from Kangra in Himachal Pradesh died at the hospital of dengue late last night.

Doctors, however, refused to disclose the cause of her death. The official spokesman, who is supposed to brief the media about dengue, expressed ignorance about any such death in the institute.

Two patients, Harsh (6) of the Langarchanni locality in Ambala and Durgesh Nandini (28) of Patiala, have already died of dengue at the PGI.

Of the 51 dengue patients at the PGI, five are struggling for life. The authorities said 10 fresh suspected dengue cases had been reported at the PGI during the past 24 hours. So far, 388 patients had been treated for dengue at the PGI, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, 10 more cases were tested positive for dengue at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, today. The number of confirmed cases of dengue at the hospital has gone up to 71 since September 30.

Two fog generators today carried out fogging operations in sectors 2, 3, 4, 23 and 15, besides MLA Hostel. The fringe areas of Chandigarh, adjoining SAS Nagar, were also attended to by special squads of the Directorate of National Vector-Borne Disease-Control Programme, Chandigarh.



Society to groom twenty not-so-affluent youngsters
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Twenty youngsters from across the region, belonging to not-so-affluent strata of society, will from now on get an opportunity of improving their job prospects every year, besides walking down the corridors of life with much more confidence. For, a city-based “research and educational society” has worked out the modalities to annually “adopt and groom deprived students” belonging to this part of the region.

Besides this, “The Swift Fundamental Research and Education Society” has also invited applications for a free-of-cost personality development workshop. The students belonging to the reserved category, including the Scheduled Caste, the Scheduled Tribe, the backward class and other backward classes are eligible to apply.

Students living below the poverty line, or belonging to the economically weaker section of society, are also eligible for attending the workshop. The applications for the workshop, open to all age groups, can be submitted at the society’s Sector 47 office by October 30.

Giving details of the project, Dr Gopal Munjal, Chairman of the Ind-Swift Group — the organisation behind the society — says: The students under the "Personality Development Programme” will be provided free education. As a part of the curriculum, emphasis will be laid on the overall grooming of the students.

As such, the students will undergo special sessions and lectures in spoken English. Besides this, they will also be given an opportunity to polish their skills through a series of one-to-one interactive sessions, along with confidence-building conferences which include group discussions. The youngsters will further be prepared for job interviews in an environment conducive for confidence building.

The society Director, Mr Anshu Kataria, adds that the course will not only be practical oriented, but also tailored to meet the individual requirements of the students with the aim of boosting their confidence levels. As such, importance will be laid on the topics that are crucial for enhancement of self-confidence, competence and good organisation.

“Candidates nurturing the desire of improving their communication skills, but unable to achieve the same due to financial constraints can make the best use of the opportunity,” adds Kataria. “The course is a must for the underprivileged, yet hard working and dedicated youngsters seeking better jobs and promotion avenues”.

The group, under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) plan, has already reached out for approximately 20, 000 students in 104 government schools across the city.

As part of its healthcare programme for educational institutes, the group has handed over free first-aid kits to the schools. Besides, a team of doctors from the group has visited several government schools for spreading health awareness. A training workshop on health related issues has also been conducted for both the teachers and the students of the government schools.



Watch out

Karanveer a DAV Coaching Centre, Sector 8 product, is likely to give Delhi batsmen a tough time with his dodging leg spin bowling during the three-day match of the Col C.K. Naidu U-22 Cricket Tournament, starting at Feroze Shah Kotla Stadium tomorrow.

The right arm leg spinner has made the city proud by representing the country’s under-19 team in England in June-July. Karanveer was also member of the Punjab Ranji camp held last year.



In Town

Hungarian musicians, the Calcutta Trio, will present an Indian classical music show at the Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, on Tuesday starting at 5 pm. The college in collaboration with the Indian Association of Friendships with Foreign Countries, New Delhi, will be hosting the event.

The Hungarian group is led by the world renowned sitar player Peter Kozma, a student of the sitar maestro, Pandit Ravi Shankar, accompanied by Peter Sezial on the tabla and Dr Andras Moinar on the tanpura.



Chandigarh Calling
IAF aid to special children

Photo: Manoj Mahajan

A day before Divali, the Air Force’s No.25 Squadron handed out financial assistance to special children of personnel serving with the squadron. Also, scholarships were given to children of squadron personnel for academic excellence.

The financial assistance and scholarships were given out of the squadron’s own resources and funds. It has now become an annual welfare feature and the assistance is meant for meeting medical expenses of special children.

The scholarships and financial assistance cheques were handed over to the students and their parents by the squadron’s Commodore Commandant, Air Vice Marshal Dhiraj Kukreja. He had commanded the squadron from May, 1995 to March, 1998.

Air Marshal Kukreja has earlier served as Air Officer Commanding, Transport Training Wing, Yelahanka, and Principal Director, Plans, in Air Headquarters. He is also the first Air force officer to undergo the prestigious postgraduate degree course in National Security Strategy from the National War College, Washington.

Scientist brings laurels to PU

Prof Ravindra Kumar of the Centre of Advanced Study in Geology, Panjab University, has brought laurels to the university by participating in the fourth international symposium on “Monsoon, tectonics and paleoclimate/palaeoceanography in East Asia and its marginal seas” at Pusan National University, South Korea. He spoke on “Tectonics climate linkage and rise of the Himalayas”. Thirty scientists from Japan, China, Korea, the USA, the UK, Taiwan, Sri Lanka and India participated. He highlighted problems of environmental change that is being caused not only on account of the natural processes but also anthropogenic factors such as increasing population and exhaustion of natural resources.

Mighty machines

The under-construction flyover at the Zirakpur-Chandigarh crossing may be causing traffic snarls for commuters but the mighty machines at work here are making everyone stand up and take note. The big cranes, drilling machines, run by the yellow-capped workers of the National Highway Authority of India, have an audience of their own with people finding it hard to take their eyes off them.

Stuck in festivity

Divali may be over but it has left memory of unprecedented traffic jams for the city. Most crowded, however, was the day of Dhanteras, on the 19th when almost every roundabout in city had festive shoppers trying to get back home with the big shopping bags in hand. The traffic snarls may have started the debate over whether to get rid of the beautiful roundabouts or not to ease the traffic on the roads. Traffic can well be handled with better management though and not getting rid of the roundabouts, which have become a mark of the City Beautiful.

Sandy roads

The other day a friend had a fall on the road dividing Sectors 27-C and 28-D. The reason: a thick layer of sand was lying accumulated on the roadside which he could not see as the streetlights were off and his scooter skidded on the sand. Thankfully, he escaped unhurt. But the Administration must make every effort to remove sand and such material from the roads and ensure a safe drive. The road labourers must be pressed into action soon after a rain or squall is over.

Playful spirit

Boys will be boys, or, shall we say, men will be men? They came from far-flung areas of Punjab to talk about the vital problems that ail today’s political system and also to give solutions. But that does not mean that a rally has to be all dry. After all the big talks during a rally which was held by a prominent party last week, when the langar time came, the men turned into little boys and behaved the way that reminded us of Oliver Twist’s famous line ‘give me some more’. Taking rotis in one hand they jostled with one another for the coveted sabzi. But then who is complaining? What is life after all without a little bonhomie and playful spirit?

Theatrical style

They are a “unified language” as he calls it. In fact, the story of Manipuri theatre legend Kanhailal is also the story of his wife Sabitri, a fact that this esteemed theatre personality acknowledges unabashedly. “I am incomplete without her for she is the main force behind me. I am not a director in the conventional sense of the word because I simply give the ideas and she develops them.” Renowned for her melodramatic theatrical style in acting and for reviving and maintaining traditional forms of theatre, especially of her region, Sabitri is the muse in Kanhailal’s art, helping them both achieve distinction wherever they go.

Contributed by Vijay Mohan, Vishal Gulati, Anuradha Shukla, Tarundeep Aggarwal, Parbina Rashid and Gayatri Rajwade.



Cleaner, but noisier Divali this year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The massive public awareness campaign about the increase in pollution levels because of excessive use of crackers on Divali seems to have registered well with the city residents. This explains why the sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide levels in the city on Divali night were found to be within permissible limits.

However, loud crackers being burst everywhere ensured that the noise pollution level in the city was much beyond the standard value.

Releasing the results of ambient air quality and noise levels on the Divali night, the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee, however, said the Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) levels, though lower than last year, exceeded the permissible limits (200 µg/m3).

The committee had monitored the air quality and noise levels at seven different locations in the city—Sectors 9, 22, 29, Panjab University and in Kaimbwala, Manimajra and Kajheri villages. It was found that the highest sulphur dioxide level was noticed in Sector 9 (8.5) as against the permissible limit of 60µg/ m3. The sulphur dioxide levels at all locations were found to be lower than those last year.

Similarly, the highest nitrogen oxide level was found in Panjab University (24 µg/m3) as against a permissible limit of 80 µg/m3. However, the levels of nitrogen oxide were higher than those in the previous year when the maximum level recorded was 18 µg/m3.

Though the SPM levels at all locations are lower than last year, the suspended particles, except in Kaimbwala, exceeded the limits at all occasions. The standard value of SPM is 200 µg/m3 and the highest levels were recorded at Mani Majra (424 µg/m3).

They also found that the sound levels exceeded the permissible limit of 55 db (from 6 am to 10 pm) at all locations. Other than in Sector 29, sound levels at all locations were higher than the last year.

Last year, the highest noise levels were reported in village Kaimbwala (88.1 db), while the highest noise (99.8 db) was recorded in Panjab University, between 10 to 11 pm, when the permissible limit was 45 db. At none of the locations was the sound level below the permissible limits at 10 and 11 pm. 



Fauji Beat
First battle of Independent India

LIEUT-COL Ranjit Rai was informed on October 26, 1947, that he had to fly his unit, 1 Sikh, which was on internal security duty at Gurgaon to Srinagar. At the break of dawn on October 27, the first Dakota took off from Palam with instructions that if the Srinagar airfield was in the enemy hands, it should land at Jammu.

After landing at the Srinagar airfield, Colonel Rai set out with a company of his unit in the vehicles provided by the National Conference towards Baramula to block the road and prevent the enemy from advancing towards Srinagar.

When Colonel Rai was deploying his men at the Green Hill near Baramula, the enemy, which was already there, launched a fierce attack on our company. Colonel Rai was hit by a burst of automatic fire and fell. Most of his men fought heroically and fell around him. Colonel Rai, who was awarded the Mahavir Chakra (posthumously), was the first Commanding Officer to sacrifice his life for the Independent India.

A board near the Green Hill reads: “In the ever green memory of brave soldiers of the Sikh Regiment who gave their lives so that the Kashmiris might live in freedom. They were the first Indian troops to come to their rescue on October 27, 1947. On this fateful hill was fought their first engagement”.

Is infantryman unskilled labourer?

Until a few years ago, the Infantry, unlike all other arms and services of the Indian Army, did not have an annual day, which it could call as the Infantry Day. It was only in the 90s that October 27, was picked to be celebrated as the Infantry Day.

The Infantry is not only the largest arm of the Indian Army but it is also the one which makes the maximum sacrifices in all wars. This is because it is the only arm that physically closes with the enemy to destroy or capture him. For the past several years, an infantryman is fighting a battle everyday, thanks to the surging insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and in the North East. Our Infantry has suffered more casualties in Jammu and Kashmir in the counterinsurgency operations since 1989, than the casualties it has suffered in all wars after Independence.

In spite of his sacrifices for the country, an infantryman’s rating as per the Fifth Pay Commission is equal to that of an unskilled labourer. Thats the reason as to why the Infantry has not only lost its pristine glory but has also become the most unattractive arm. The only way to attract the youth to opt for the Infantry is to bestow on it a special status with attendant financial benefits and liberal post-retirement concessions.

Defence Ministry justifies injustice

In our column of August 29, we had said the rank-pay-benefit case of the officers was in the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The case in brief is that on the recommendations of the Fourth Pay Commission, the government had granted the rank pay to the officers from the rank of Captain to Brigadier and equivalent in the Navy and the Air Force with effect from January 1, 1986. But while fixing the pay, the rank pay was omitted from their integrated pay.

It was Maj A.K. Dhanapalan (now retired) who had filed a case in the Kerala High Court in 1996, against the denial of rank pay to him. 
After he won the case in the high court, the Union of India filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the Supreme court, which was dismissed on July 10,2005. As a result of this, Maj Dhanapalan has got the arrears of rank pay.

The Ministry of Defence has denied this benefit to the other effected officers by saying that they should have taken up the issue while they were in service. The fault, obviously, lies with the ministry, which denied a sanctioned benefit to the officers. Maj Dhanapalan’s case has set a precedence for others to claim this benefit.

— Pritam Bhullar



Mona jaisi koi nahin
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
She has caught the nation’s imagination once again! Mona “Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin” Singh has proved she is the proverbial “beautiful swan” after her “ugly duckling” act on television, and this time with her dancing shoes on.

As one of two finalists (the other being the svelte Shweta Salve) on Sony Entertainment Television’s “Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa”, she has surpassed expectations by proving she can boogie and how.

In town with her choreographer Tobby Fernandes, she came dressed in perky pink to gather votes by petitioning her “sardarni” status. Charming and effervescent, she calls the show, her “true” makeover for “people are finally recognising me as Mona Singh”, she laughs.

However, it is not just this. The show seems to have done wonders for her physically too. She has lost eight and a half kilos and learnt half a dozen exotic dances like the rumba and salsa, which she had never even heard of. “Everyone thought I could not dance. Actually, to think of it, nor did I think I could do it,” she laughs. She puts it all down to Tobby’s faith in her, but really her hard work and training would put any fitness buff to shame.

As many as 500 stomach crunches a day, seven to eight hours of practice, running up 16 flights of stairs and lots of stretches and stomach twists, along with the first two weeks spent in rehearsing and exercising just on the beat of a song, seemed to have borne fruit.

And while Mona is the surprise package, due credit must go to Tobby for making her twinkle on her toes. A choreographer for 14 long years in Mumbai, Tobby’s forte is stage shows. However, “Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa” is a huge feather in his cap.

However, all that must wait for the show to end, so back to Mona and what he thought of her. “Her smile won me over. Even though she is a star in her own right, she is completely down-to-earth and the best thing about her is she never says no,” he smiles, acknowledging he has been pushing her to the limit to perform.

Having made musical stars like Sunita Rao, Mehnaaz, Anaida, Shaan, Sukhbir, Kay-Kay and even Leslie Lewis dance to his tunes, Tobby is as distinctive as they come. Known for his “mix and match” style (choreographing songs like “Kajrare” as a qawwali and the ultra-Punjabi “Nach Baliye” in Moulin Rouge Can-Can style), he personally loves Latin American dances and uses these moves liberally in his work, making his dance routines shine.

And as “Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa” gets ready to wind down this week on October 27th in a two-hour extravaganza, the actual winner may be in the hands of the audience, but for Tobby, it is his star pupil Mona, “for unlike Shweta who is a natural dancer, Mona has done something unique, danced like never before”.



Rich tributes paid to Subedar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
A commemoration ceremony to pay homage to late Subedar Joginder Singh, who was decorated with India’s highest gallantry award Param Vir Chakra (PVC) during the Chinese aggression, was held at Moga today.

Subedar Joginder Singh from the First Battalion of the Sikh Regiment was conferred with the PVC posthumously, for his devotion to duty, inspiring leadership and courage above and beyond the call of duty while leading his platoon in the defence of Tongpen La, ahead of Tawang in NEFA in 1962.

After a brief narration of his acts of gallantry, prayers were offered by priests from all religions at his memorial in Moga. Wreaths were laid by the Officiating General Officer Commanding, Golden Arrow Division, Brig S.S. Bhatia, Brigade Commander, Brig S.S. Gill, Deputy Commissioner, Dr Ravinder Singh, SSP, Mr P.K. Rai as well as other army and civilian officers. Buglers sounded the last post while a ceremonial guard reversed arms.

Subedar Joginder Singh’s widow, Mrs Gurdial Kaur, was also honoured on the occasion and was presented gifts by the Army.

It was on this day 44 years ago that he had made the supreme sacrifice while leading the survivors of his platoon in a bayonet charge at the enemy after their ammunition had expended.



Presentation on Battle of Laungewala made
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
A presentation on the epic Battle of Laungewala, fought in the deserts of Rajasthan during the 1971 Indo-Pak war, was made to members of the 46th National Defence College (NDC) Course at the site of the battle near Jaisalmer.

Brig K.S. Chandpuri (retd), then a major who, along with troops of 23 Punjab had made a heroic stand against Pakistani forces, briefed the NDC team, which included senior Army officers, IAS and IPS officers as well as officers from foreign countries who are attending the course.

According to military literature, the Battle of Laungewala stands out as a classic example of excellent cooperation between all arms within the Army and among the Army and the Air Force.

A mere company of men from 23 Punjab had held off an advance by 3,000 enemy troops supported by 45 tanks. The infantry put up a stiff resistance during the night and it was only when daylight broke that the Air Force was able to fly support missions.

The battle, immotalised by Bollywood in the film Border, forms an integral part of the curriculum in important army and air force institutes involved with training officers at the higher level.



Passing Through

Katie Marsh
Katie Marsh, teacher, Badsley Moor Infant School, Rotherham, UK

What is the purpose of your visit to India?

Other schoolteachers and I have come here under the Indo-British Teachers Exchange Programme. We want to get first-hand information about classroom teaching and other practices prevalent in India so that some improvements can be brought about in the education system in the UK.

What difference have you noticed in the education system here?

The students here are very well behaved and polite. The education system here is more formal as compared to that in British schools. In the UK, children are made to learn through play.

How many students are admitted in each class in the UK?

The student strength varies between 27 and 30, but it never exceeds 30 as it will then not be possible to pay adequate attention to students.

Do schools in the UK hold any interviews or tests for small children at the time of admission?

No. Students do not have to take any tests or interviews for getting admitted to schools. Their assessment is done on the basis of certain activities they perform and, later on, their monitoring is done accordingly.

How have you liked India?

It is wonderful. People are very friendly here and we were given a warm welcome. We participated in the Divali celebrations at the Golden Temple in Amritsar and it was marvellous.

— Kulwinder Sangha



Martyrs’ status for ex-servicemen killed in ’84 riots sought
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 23
The ex-servicemen’s wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has demanded martyrs status and other benefits for the servicemen who were killed in uniform during the 1984-riots.

Col Partap Inder Singh Phulka ( retd), secretary general of the wing, told mediapersons at a press conference here today that families of the servicemen who were killed during the 1984 riots had demanded that apart from granting martyrs’ status to those killed , family members should be given facilities and financial aid as those given to red-card holders.

One member of every such family should also be given a job as per qualification as applicable to their Central civilian counterparts.

Colonel Phulka, who was present at the house of Mr Avtar Singh Jassal , father of late Capt Uppinder Pal Singh Jassal of 9 Assam Regiment , said the family of Mr Jassal was still awaiting recognition for their son and other benefits. He said Captain Jassal was killed while coming home on annual leave from Guwahati to New Delhi in November , 1984. Captian Jassal was commissioned in 1981 and became Captain in 1984. His unit was posted in Arunachal Pradesh at that time.

Colonel Phulka said he was denied information under the Right to Information Act, 2005, about Sikh soldiers who were killed in uniform in November, 1984.



PSEB officer made to return ‘bribe’ money
Tribune News Service

Lalru, October 23
In an unusual case, an Audit Officer of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), was today made to return a Rs 5,000 bribe he had allegedly taken from an employee recently.

The Audit Officer, belonging to the Ropar area, had allegedly taken the bribe from a cashier posted here while undertaking audit of the accounts recently. He had allegedly threatened the cashier with police action if the bribe was not paid.

However, when the Audit Officer visited the township here in connection with an official work today, he was “gheraoed” by PSEB employees. He was only let off when he returned the “bribe” money to the cashier, sources said here today.



5-year-old girl dies in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Lalru, October 23
A five-year-old girl was killed while eight persons were injured seriously in a road accident at Sarsini village, near here, on the Ambala-Chandigarh road early this morning.

The accident occurred around 5.30 am when the three-wheeler in which a Muslim family was travelling collided head-on with a Tavera. A tanker coming from the Chandigarh side also rammed into the three-wheeler, injuring the occupants.

The girl, identified as Niso, was killed while on way to the General Hospital, Panchkula. The injured — Imran Mohammad, Irfan, Julfan, Azad, Aksana and Honey — have been admitted to hospital. The owner of the Tavera has been admitted to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

The family was on its way to Ambala from Dera Bassi to catch a train to Saharanpur. It was going to its native place to celebrate Id-ul-Fitr, sources said.

Meanwhile, traffic was disrupted for some time in the wake of the accident.

The police has registered a case against the Tavera driver on a complaint of Imran Mohammad.



2 killed in Ramgarh road mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 23
Two unidentified youths were today killed in a road accident near Ramgarh. The two boys, on a motorcycle, were on their way from Kala Amb to Panchkula, when they were hit by an unidentified truck near Fun City. Both were rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6, here but declared “brought dead”.

Fight over Rs 50

In another incident, two persons sustained head injuries following a fight over Rs 50. Police sources said Jaiprakash and Amar Singh, both injured in the fight, were in an inebriated state when the incident took place.

Amar Singh said Jaiparakash owed him Rs 50. On asking for his money, Jaiprakash hit him with a brick on his head while the former maintained that Amar Singh hit him with a stick on his head. Both were seriously injured. A case has been registered against them.



3 held in theft cases
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 23
The police has arrested three persons in connection with various cases of thefts in the town.

According to the police, those who have been arrested are Vijay, alias Babloo, a resident of Phase V, Rupinder Kumar, alias Billa, hailing from Maujampur village of UP, and Sonu Bhardwaj, a resident of Palsora. They were presented in a court today and remanded in police custody for one day.

The police said they had admitted that a number of thefts had been committed by them. Some of the stolen items had been recovered from them, the police added.


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