C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Ryan fiasco: Parents move HC
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The aggrieved parents of Class X students of Ryan International School, Sector 49, Chandigarh, today filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking directions to the CBSE to allow their wards to take the forthcoming Class X examination scheduled to commence from March 2, 2007.

They have also prayed that the respondents be directed to make arrangements for the petitioners to appear in the written and practical exams.

Despite a typing error in the petition, the petitioners managed to file it at the registry of the high court. According to Mr Dinesh Ghai, “there was a minor objection raised at the time of filing of the petition, but considering it negligible, it was submitted and we were able to get the computer receipt of the registry of the high court.”

Dwelling further, Mr Ghai said two more petitions would be submitted by other parents to the court tomorrow and the petitions are likely to come up for hearing on Thursday, as Wednesday is reserved for pending matters.”

In the civil writ petition under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution, the petitioners pleaded before the court for directing the respondents/authorities to allow their children to appear in the CBSE Class X examination scheduled to be held in March 2007 by granting ‘special permission’ to them.

It is pertinent to mention here that the 81 students of Class X of Ryan International Public School, Sector 49, Chandigarh, are in a catch-22 situation as they are not sure whether they can appear in the forthcoming examination or not. The examination is scheduled to commence on March 2, 2007. The school is yet to get affiliation from the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

According to Mr Rakesh Verma, who is heading the parents’ association and is a lawyer by profession, “We have full faith in the judiciary and have asked the court whether the students can be granted permission to appear in the examination through any other affiliated branch of Ryan International School or any other affiliated school at Chandigarh to save careers of the innocent students. Otherwise, great injustice will be done to the students for no fault of theirs.”

“We have prayed before the court that if this is not possible at this juncture, then the court should direct the authorities or governing bodies concerned to expedite the procedure for grant of affiliation of Ryan school or any other appropriate measure. Our aim is to save the careers and year of the innocent students”, said Mr Ashwinie Bansal, another parent.

Presenting brief facts, the petitioners asserted that the parents approached the school for admission of their wards and paid hefty amount in the shape of donation and fee. They were told by the authorities specifically that the school was affiliated to the CBSE. Later, through newspaper reports, they came to know that the school had not been granted affiliation by the board.

The petitioners further said that they questioned the Chandigarh Administration’s attitude and questioned how the school was allotted the site by the Administration despite the fact that the school was not affiliated to any recognised education board.

It has been mentioned in the petition that through Regional Office of the CBSE at Panchkula on January 9, 2007, they came to know that the affiliation application pending is for the session 2008-09 not for the current session. 



Speed kills three young men
Tribune News Service

Bricks lie strewn on the road due to the impact of the accident. Inset Karam Singh (left) and G.S. Virk
Bricks lie strewn on the road due to the impact of the accident. — Tribune photograph

Karam Singh 

G.S. Virk

Chandigarh, February 5
Three youths were killed and three critically injured when the car they were travelling in rammed into a roundabout on the road separating Sectors 9 and 10 near MLAs’ Hostel in the wee hours today. The injured were admitted to the PGI, where the condition of one was stated to be critical.

All those travelling in the car were in their early twenties, except one, who was 34-year-old. All of them belonged to affluent families of Chandigarh, Noida and Mumbai. While one of them was a college student, the other five had done MBA from reputed institutions in India and abroad.

The police said the accident took place around 3.15 am, when the Honda City car (HR-26-K-5289), which was apparently being driven at a high speed, rammed into the roundabout. The impact of the crash was so strong that the car was thrown into the air. It landed on the ground upside down and was mangled beyond recognition. All victims were struck in the mangled car. The police had to requisition a recovery van and cut the doors of the car to pull out the victims. Those sitting on front seats were killed. The car was coming from Matka Chowk side.

A police official said the bang was heard in the police station located around 1 km from the spot. The portion of the roundabout where the car hit was crashed and the bricks got scattered in an area of around 30 feet. “The spot inspection revealed that the car driver was not aware about the roundabout and by the time he realised his mistake, the vehicle was out of his control. The long skid marks on the road indicated that he applied brakes to avoid the impact, but it was too late by that time,” he added.

Out of the three city-based occupants, two died in the accident while one got injured critically. Thirtyfour-year-old Gurjesh Singh Virk, son of a Sector 33-based former IPS officer H.S. Virk, was killed in the mishap while his injured brother, Girish Singh Virk, was admitted to the PGI. He has suffered multiple injuries. Girish was reportedly operated upon and his condition was stated to be out of danger. Twentyfive-year-old Karam Singh Sekhon of Sector 8 was also killed in the mishap.

Girish, an international golfer, had recently completed his MBA from Scotland and come to India a few months ago. He represented India in several tournaments. He got a job in Kotak Mahindra two days ago and they had got together to celebrate the achievement, said a family friend.

Karam Singh Sekhon was settled in Canada after completing his MBA. He came to India a few days ago. Sekhon was the eldest of the two sons of his parents. His father was a senior officer in PUDA before he joined a private company.

Noida-based doctor V.K. Bhardwaj lost one of his sons in the mishap, while his other son is nursing his injuries in the PGI. His elder son, 24-year-old Arjun, was driving the car while his other son, 19-year-old Rohan, was sitting behind his brother.

Dr Bhardwaj told Chandigarh Tribune at the Sector 3 police station that Arjun was pursuing his MBA from Mumbai and was to complete the degree in June. He was selected by a multinational finance company during a campus placement a few days ago. “We have distributed sweets celebrating his achievement two days ago, unmindful of what the destiny held in store for us,” he added.

Dr Bhardwaj said since there were no roundabouts in Noida or in Delhi, his son probably was not used to driving in cities like Chandigarh. Both of his sons had reached the city from Delhi around 10 pm. They rang him up around 12.30 am saying they were taking dinner at Virk’s residence and would come back by Monday.

The police said the sixth boy had been identified as Yitesh Kumar, a resident of Andheri West, Mumbai. He was also a student of MBA and a friend of Arjun. His condition was stated to be stable. The police has registered a case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving against Arjun Bhardwaj, driver of the car.



Manmohan's visit: Commuters inconvenienced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The brief visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the city put commuters to a lot of inconvenience this evening.

As the cavalcade of the Prime Minister meandered its way from the airport to Punjab Raj Bhavan, the commuters en route were a harassed lot. Strict security arrangements coupled with traffic diversions tested the patience of motorists.

Since the timing of the Prime Minister’s arrival coincided with the closure of the offices, serpentine queues of vehicles were witnessed on the roads leading to the route of the VVIP cavalcade.

Tempers ran high as the agitated commuters exchanged hot words with security personnel over unnecessary harassment.

The Prime Minister is on Punjab visit to canvass for the Congress candidates in connection the Assembly elections to be held on February 13.



12,500 take board exam
Students get extra time
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Around 12,500 students appeared in the board examination for Class VIII conducted by the Chandigarh Administration for the government schools, here, today. The middle standard examination, which commenced today, would continue till February 28.

The examination started with the English paper. The three-hour paper started at 9.15 am, though the official time of the examination was 9.30 am. The students resented that no question was asked in the examination from the supplementary book this time. It was the first incident when extra time was being granted to the students of Class VIII for going through the question paper.

Forty-eight examination centres have been set up in various schools of the city and strict measures are being taken to check the use of unfair means.

According to sources, 16 inspectors, all principals of various schools, have been deputed by the administration.

According to Mr Surinder Kumar, an Inspector and Principal of Government Model High School, Sector 44, “Each inspector will have to inspect three centres on the examination day.”

Beside this, the DPI (S), Mr Ashwani Kumar, the DEO, Ms Kamla Bains, the Deputy DEO, Ms Rajesh Minhas, will also be on vigilance duty to make sure that the examinations are being conducted in a fair manner. 



PCO owners at ISBT overcharging customers
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Those operating STD/PCO booths at the Sector 17 inter-state bus terminus (ISBT) have been allegedly fleecing the public with impunity. There are complaints that these STD/PCO owners overcharge people and do not give bill even when demanded.

A number of persons using the services at these PCOs maintain that no digital display devices have been installed at these booths. Thus the customers are not able to see the dialled number, time of the call and the charges.

On being asked why display devices have not been installed, one of the PCO owners said: “Why should we spend extra money on buying these? There is no need to install such devices when we have monitoring machines to check the details of a call.”

Interestingly, most of them have put the phones outside the shops and machines have been kept on the counters inside the shops, making it difficult for the customers to check details while making calls.

“Not installing such device may be the modus operandi of these shopkeepers for fleecing the people. I am sure these PCOs have been overcharging the innocent consumers,” said Mr Surinder Singh, who commutes daily from Ambala to Chandigarh.

Ms Rajinder Kaur Riat, who made a local call to her brother from a PCO here, said, “To my utter surprise, the PCO man demanded Rs 4 from me. He said I had made two calls. As there was no digital device, I was not sure about the timing of my call. May be they have tinkered with the meters,” she said.

Most of these PCO operators do not give any bill on making a local call. Some of the PCO owners have even mentioned in writing “No bills on local calls”, thus flouting the rules. They said the monitoring machines for local calls were small and without a provision of issuing bills.

However, a telecom officer said it was mandatory for the PCO/STD owners to give bill for every call, whether it was an STD or a local one.

When the matter was brought to the notice of Mr P.S. Shergill, Director, CTU, he said nobody would be allowed to indulge in such illegal activities on their premises. “I will depute officials to check into the matter. If anybody was found indulging in such activities, we will definitely throw him out,” he said.



Palsora murder: Police clueless
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The local police is clueless about the identities of three youths accused of stabbing to death Bajinder Singh of Palsora village and also seriously injuring his father on Sunday morning.

Sources in the police said the investigating officers were trying to trace certain people suspected to have been involved in the killing. They added that Mr Punjab Singh, the victim’s father, had told the police that during the scuffle he hit one of the assailants with a heavy wooden log. Following this blow the man fell on the ground. However, his associates managed to take him away in their vehicle before some one could reach there. He was still not clear about the identities of the assailants but had told the police that he could identify them.

A police officer said they were on the lookout for the man injured in the scuffle in colonies. The officer added that some of the suspicious persons were not found on their respective addresses. The people of the colony had been saying that the assailants belonged to Badheri village.



Rotary sets up rainwater projects in schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Rotary Club (Chandigarh) today handed over a fully equipped air-conditioned blood donation van to the Rotary Blood Bank Society Resource Centre. The van, costing Rs 1.5-lakh, has a seating capacity of 18 and will help the centre in collecting blood from the city’s periphery.

The keys were handed over to centre chairman Rajan Kashyap during the official visit of District Governor of Rotary International (District 3080) Dhian Chand. President of Rotary Club (Chandigarh) Man Mohan Singh Kohli said this Rs 3.5 crore-centre provided 24-hour service to the hospitals and nursing homes in the city.

Talking to mediapersons later, Mr Dhian Chand said the Rotary Club had mooted new proposals for setting up of rainwater harvesting projects in schools and hospitals across the region. The club had also constituted the Rotary News Trust, which would sponsor students from economically weaker sections for a journalism course.

The club had already launched a water conservation project at Ambala’s Arya Samaj School, added Mr Chand.

He further said that the club would not only set up more such projects but also launch awareness drives on the need to save water through rainwater harvesting projects. At some places the projects were being carried out with the assistance of the local municipal authorities. Otherwise, the club was funding the projects with the help of the Rotary International.

For sponsoring the course in journalism the Rotary News Trust had been constituted. Any deserving student belonging to the economically weaker section of the society would be eligible to apply for a scholarship. The trust would pay Rs 25,000 to the selected student to undertake the course.

A hotelier by profession, Mr Chand said the Rotary was also making efforts to broaden the horizons of the youngsters as well as to bring them closer to their roots. For this purpose the club was offering international scholarships and conducting exchange programmes. As a part of it, youngsters from India visited other countries, including the USA and Germany.

The club, he said, would also present dental chairs to Panjab University’s new complex at Sector 25. Along with this, the club was undertaking activities aimed at helping the children living in slums across the region.

As a part of the slum development project, the Rotarians identified deserving students, who were not in a position to afford education. Help was, subsequently, extended to these students in form of books, uniforms and even financial assistance.

Quoting an example, Mr Chand said the club had adopted a Shimla girl belonging to a poor family. Though she had secured 93 per cent marks in Class X, the youngster was finding it difficult to continue with her studies. She was now about to complete a three-year course from an engineering college in Hamirpur.

Mr Chand added that in Chandigarh alone the club was involved in the organisation of health and vocational training camps. It was also running Rotary Balwari Schools in Maloya and Dhanas in the city. The club had also been bearing the entire cost of heart surgeries of many poor children at the PGI and Fortis.

Past Rotary International president R. K. Saboo was also present during Mr Chand’s visit to the Sukhna Lake for interacting with the media. 



CMA observes founder’s day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
There is a need to evolve a consensus through mutual dialogue and constant interaction, for accelerating the pace of socio-economic development, with focus on empowering our disadvantaged people through their entrepreneurship skills.

This was stated by the Punjab Governor and Administrator, Chandigarh, Gen (retd) S.F. Rodrigues, while addressing delegates at the 32nd Founders Day function of the Chandigarh Management Association (CMA), organised here today. He stressed on the need for members of CMA and leading entrepreneurs to actively involve themselves in changing the face of society.

He said that the goal of a new and self reliant India can be achieved by bridging the large rich-poor divide, making every individual an equal partner in social change and improving our delivery services system. He said that we have the potential, capabilities, strength and the need to stretch the abilities of our people and improve their knowledge, confidence and competence by giving them opportunities of upgrading their knowledge and skills.

He said that the members of the CMA should make an attempt to take a lead in breaking the old barriers and lead a movement, aiming to give back to our society, following our rich traditions and the precious legacy of our gurus, saints and sages for serving the poor and needy.

General Rodrigues later presented lifetime achievement awards to Mr Pratap Aggarwal, Innovative Entrepreneur, Mr Vivek Attray, Innovative Manager and Creative Manager, Mrs Neena Singh.

Delivering the keynote address on “Challenges of Innovative Entrepreneurship” Dr P.K. Vasudeva, Professor, ICFAI Business School, Chandigarh said, “India has plenty of natural resources available, which should be used for the upliftment of poor.” Among others who spoke on the occasion were Prof Satish Kapoor, President of CMA, Mr Charanjit Singh, Past President, CMA and Mr J.N. Vohra, General Secretary, CMA.



'Industry should play active role on RTI'
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Right to Information Act is a reflection of a liberal and resurgent India that understands the power of knowledge in the hands of common man. This was stated by Mr Rajan Kashyap, Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab, during an interactive session with the industry, organised by the CII, Chandigarh, here today. He exhorted the industry to play a pro-active role to create awareness about the Act.

Deliberating on the initiatives taken by the Punjab State Information Commission, Mr Kashyap said, “The commission has been playing an active role towards dissemination of information. Till January 23 a total of 1,309 cases have been instituted and a total of 508 cases have been decided upon in totality - taking cognisance of its implementation.”

Mr Kashyap further said the information sought by the residents is now available on the official website of the commission the very next day a decision is taken. However, expressing concern, he further said a lot still needs to be done. He stated that to make the Act more effective, the seekers and the deliverers should be educated. In terms of pro-active information delivery, he said the Police and Public Works Departments and the district administration have to be on the forefront.

Earlier, Mr Partap K. Aggarwal, Chairman, CII, Chandigarh Council, highlighted that the Right to Information Act was a tool that could change the mindset of people. 



Businessmen want blockades removed
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 5
The Panchkula police is a determined lot when it comes to imposing its decisions on the public. After temporarily blocking inter-sector road cuts to streamline traffic flow, the police has now initiated the process of giving "concrete" shape to its ideas. This despite an outcry by the "badly hit" business community and greater chaos resulting from the blockades.

Even as work to extend dividers for blocking cuts has been initiated in Sector 11, the business community is in no mood to take things lying down. Up in arms against this decision and after having taken to the roads once to lodge their protest, a second round of protest seems to be simmering within the fraternity.

The Beopar Mandal chief, Mr Kuldeep Chitkara, said: "Last time the Superintendent of Police, Mr Balbir Singh, assured us that all blocked entries would be opened like before. He doesn't seem to have taken us seriously. We will meet him again and decide our course of action," he stated.

In the issue first raised by the Sector 7 association, Mr B.B. Kochhar, president of the market association, said, "Our business is down by 60 per cent due to these blockades. The police seems to be here not to see the convenience the public but to implement what it decides sitting in the Secretariat. Why doesn't the SP come and see the ground reality? This decision is leading to greater possibility of accidents and has become more dangerous. We will oppose it tooth and nail even if it means taking to the streets to be heard," he says.

In sectors where the barrier blockades have been set up, the public has made fresh pathways from dividers to suit their needs. This has further contributed to the existing traffic hazards. "People jump out of nowhere and the risk of having an accident has increased due to police action.

I think it is not needed since the district police does not have enough staff to check violators who have invented their own shortcuts. If they knew they did not have the wherewithal for such designs, they should not have initiated these at all," maintains businessman Preet Kumar, a resident of Sector 9.

Another resident in Sector 2, Ms Aruna Chaudhary, adds, "We are uncomfortable with this new set up since drivers driving on their side of the road can't be sure of what lies ahead. A scooterist may just choose to jump right in front of my vehicle and I am sure to be hanged. The police must re-open these blockades or provide staff to man these closures. Personally, I think installing lights at these crossing is a better option."

The Superintendent of Police, Mr Babir Singh, differs on the issue. "It's only a handful of people protesting. We are only doing it on the Chandigarh pattern and have decided that all these openings will be permanently closed," he said.

Admitting that there was paucity of manpower to man these closures which was leading to a mess on the busy roads, he emphatically added that these recent shortcuts too will be closed by installing railings. "We will get these railings installed and the Haryana Urban Development Authority will just have to do it," he insists while remarking that the public has not approached him to roll back the decision.



Railway panel holds meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The parliamentary committee meeting of the Ambala division of the Railways was held here today. It was attended by General Manager of the Ambala Division B.N. Mathur, Principal Chief Engineer, Chief Operational Manager, Chief Commercial Manager and MPs Sukhdev Singh Libra from Ropar and Nihal Singh from Ganganagar.

Mr Mathur stated that the stretch from Kazikund to Baramula in Jammu and Kashmir was almost ready and would be functional this year. “The 120-km stretch is a great achievement,” he added.

Stating that the work to make the city railway station a world class railways station were on, he further said, “Work has already started on the station and global consultants will also be roped in to tell us how to make it a truly global railway station.”



Health centre goes high-tech
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Extending another facility to the city residents, the Bharat Vikas Parishad, Punjab East, introduced a high-tech fully automatic clinic chemistry analyser at the Charitable Diagnostic Centre, at Indira Holiday Home, in Sector 24, here yesterday. Costing about Rs 15 lakh, the analyser would help in conducting various blood tests with speed efficiency and accuracy.

The Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal commissioned the machine to the public at a formal function. He appreciated the services for the parishad in the field of health care for the past over 14 years.

The parishad is likely to start cataract surgery at the centre, established in 1992, from the next financial year. Nearly 300 patients are availing various health facilities at the centre every day, claimed Mr Ashok Singhal, press secretary of the parishad.

Various diagnostic services like eco-cardiography, TMT, mammography, ultrasound, colour doppler and ECG are being offered by the centre at present, said Mr Ajay Dutta, parishad zonal chairman.



Childhood cirrhosis prevalent in region only
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Wiped out from the better part of the country, the ghost of Indian Childhood Cirrhosis (ICC) continues to haunt the children of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. While over 70 per cent cases are reported from Himachal Pradesh every year, Mandi district of HP has earned the notorious distinction of having the highest number. Its two neighbouring states Punjab and Haryana account for the remaining cases of the disease reported from the country.

Talking to The Tribune, Prof B.R. Thapa, Head of the Department of Pediatric gastroenterlogy, PGI, revealed that eight to 10 children, suffering from this disease, are admitted to the PGI every year and a majority of them belong to Himachal Pradesh. Hamirpur and Una are two other main districts that add to the number of the children suffering from the ICC. Bathinda district of Punjab and Kaithal and Kurukshetra districts of Haryana are also on this notorious list, pointed out Dr Thapa.

He said that the disease developed among bottle-fed newborns. Surveys showed that children belonging, especially to Brahmin and trader communities, were more prone to the disease due to their sound financial status. The disease had not been noticed in children belonging to the Muslim and the Christian communities, claimed Dr Thapa. The disease was discovered by former director of the PGI, Dr BNS Walia. It developed among children fed on milk boiled in copper utensils. During the boiling process a substantial number of copper particles were carried into the milk, which then accumulated in the liver and other vital organs of babies thus leading to liver damage. “The disease was discovered by Dr Walia after he conducted a study on livers, brain and other vital organs of children, who had been bottle fed from their birth till six months of age. The research showed their livers had gathered copper layers and had hardened,” claimed Dr Kartar Singh, Head of the Department of Superspeciality of Gastroenterology, PGI.

The traditional procedure of boiling milk in copper utensils and then feeding babies was still popular in these areas, he added.

According to pediatric gastroenterlogists, the ICC is a form of chronic liver disease, exclusively seen in Indian children. With changing lifestyles, the disease has almost disappeared from the country. However, people should be educated about the risk and asked to avoid using copper vessels for boiling milk or cooking food.



Fauji Beat
Time to go beyond single service thinking

The retirement of Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, Air Marshal A.K. Singh, on January 31, took one back to exercise “Sanghe Shakti”, which can be quoted as one of the best examples of the army-air cooperation. This two-sided exercise was carried out in Ludhiana-Jalandhar area to practice Kharga Corps in offensive operations in May 2006. Approximately 20,000 troops, 350 tanks and more than 70 aircraft took part in this exercise.

What stood out in this exercise was the integrated planning and well-coordinated operations between the two services. Fighter aircraft from Pathankot, Adampur, Halwara, Ambala, Bathinda and Sirsa bases participated in the exercise. Besides, aircraft from as far as Gwalior were called into neutralise high value pinpoint targets with precision-guided munitions. The large-scale manoeuvres by mechanised forces were supplemented by para-drop of a battalion and heliborne operations.

If joint planning can be carried out for an exercise, why can’t this be made a permanent feature by integrating the three services under a joint head to coordinate and direct their efforts to a common aim? One of the major lessons of the Kargil war was that we should have a joint head. After completing all the formalities for a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in 2001, we have been dragging our feet on the implementation of this “historic” decision. It will be suicidal in the next war if we continue with the present outmoded system of single service thinking.

Hearing aids’ policy

According to the new policy invoked a few months ago, a digital hearing aid is sanctioned in about three weeks’ time and its cost varies from Rs 20,000 to Rs 60,000. After a case is duly recommended by two ENT specialists at the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, it is sanctioned by the Consultant ENT at the Army Hospital (R R Hospital), Delhi Cantt. However, for the analogue hearing aid, which costs up to Rs 20,000, the case is sanctioned by the ENT Department at the Command Hospital, Chandimindir.

All outstation Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) members needing hearing aids have to come to the Command Hospital for examination and recommendation/ sanctioning of their cases. According to the earlier procedure, the Officer-in-Charge (OIC), Chandimandir, polyclinic informed the members when their duly sanctioned cases were received back from Delhi. And then the local empanelled dealers provided them the hearing aids. But now, the OIC, Chandimandir, polyclinic has to send the cases after their sanction to the parent polyclinics of the members concerned.

This is causing a great difficulty to some of the outstation members. For, they have first to go to their parent polyclinics and then to stations where empanelled dealers are located.

After that, they may have to go to another station, which has a military hospital with an ENT specialist, so that the hearing aid can be tested and approved by him. Many cases of this nature have been reported from Himachal Pradesh.

Forgotten heroes

The ceremony to light candles by Armymen at the War Memorial in Bougainvillea Garden Sector 3, Chandigarh, on January 30, made one feel that the Indian Government and citizens were totally unconcerned about the sacrifices made by soldiers for them. In most other countries, such ceremonies are organised by the people. Over 50,000 Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives in World War 1, are still remembered in small towns of northern France and in the Flanders region of Belgium. Every night at 8, the people of Ypres in Belgium play the Last Post in the memory of soldiers from all over the world who laid down their lives while fighting there.

Since 2002, Mr Hans Vermeersch has been organising memorial concerts in the honour of the Indian Army. The UPA chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi, had laid a wreath at the famous Indian memorial at the Menin Gate on November 10, 2006, during her visit to Belgium.

— Pritam Bhullar



Two arrested for car thefts
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 5
The CIA staff led by Inspector Surjit Singh today claimed to have solved a number of car theft cases reported from the city last year with the arrest of Patiala residents, 29-year-old Ajay and 19-year-old Aman, here today.

Addressing a press conference, the Superintendent of Police, Mr Balbir Singh, said that the duo was arrested following a tip off and the police had recovered five cars which included a Maruti Esteem, a Zen, an Omni and two Maruti 800s.

Ajay, son of a Punjab Roadways employee, ran his own car accessories shop while Aman was a blacksmith. Both planned to make quick money by stealing cars for which they searched Chandigarh and its adjoining areas.

"We found that Panchkula was a more open city with no kind of risk involved in driving away in a stolen car. The city also had the fewest number of cars that had central locking which is difficult to break. We only targeted cars with regular locks which can be broken easily," Ajay said while speaking about the modus operandi.



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