C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Crackling bonhomie
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 8
At the PCA Stadium here, it was loud cheers and dancing to the beat of the ‘dhol’ all the way. Supporters of both teams, in a rare gesture of camaraderie, applauded for all players. The roaring sound of the ‘dhol’ even drowned the noise that aeroplanes flying overhead made.

The fluttering Tricolour and Pakistan’s national flag were not to be seen. Fans had to leave the “ paraphernalia” outside the stadium, as directed by the police.

“I brought the Pakistani flag from home to cheer for my team, but in vain. It is the flag which distinguishes a Pakistani fan from an Indian fan. Otherwise, where is the difference,” observed Shariq from Islamabad.

However, some smart supporters draped the flags around them to carry these inside. The ‘Maxican Wave’ time and again kept the stadium alive. The broke into a frenzied dance each time a boundary was hit.

Master blaster Sachin and offspinner Harbhajan Singh kept the stands entertained with their electrifying performances.

“Though Sachin could not complete his ton, he held the stadium captivated with his classy shots. Watching him play is a treat to the eye,” said Shaan, who had come with his friends.

Though the fans started coming early in the morning, yet many seats remained empty till 4 pm due to poor arrangements by the Punjab Police outside the stadium.

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Outside stadium, flop show by cops
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

No flags

Spectators were not allowed to carry flags inside the stadium. “We bought the flag on our way to the stadium for Rs 100. They have taken it from us. During the previous matches, the police had removed the stick and allowed us to carry the cloth.,” said Rakesh.

Protest

Aman Sharma, an AP photographer, alleged that the DSP (cyber crime) hit him when he was trying to enter the stadium. Photographers of national newspapers and channels walked out and sat on a dharna outside.

Mohali, November 8
The Mohali police failed in all aspects at the PCA Stadium here during the India-Pak ODI today.

While there was utter chaos at the entrance, a number of persons were seen selling tickets on the black market outside, the police choosing to look the other way. A policeman hit a cameraman, provoking a section of the media to go on a dharna that lasted two hours. To cap it all, the ‘polite’ police announcements said: “Line vich aao, pher na kehne ke police ne danda pherta. (Come in a queue or don’t blame us if we wield the baton).

Despite the fact that the stadium teemed with policemen, a good two hours before the match and till almost an hour into the match, unscrupulous elements were seen selling tickets on jacked up rates outside the stadium. Most had gathered behind the Phase IX market. A Rs 300 ticket of the general block was sold for anything between Rs 500 - Rs 1,000.

Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Yamunanagar, made a shocking revelation. “Along with my relatives, I reached here one night before the sale of tickets was to begin on November 1. We had to pay Rs 200 each to the policeman on duty for joining the queue. In the queue stood not more than four to five genuine buyers. Most were policemen, who bought the maximum number of tickets.

“We were offered shirts by the policemen so that we could change, come back, pay them again and get into the queue. Those in the queue who did not pay were shunted out and hit. One of my cousins was hit with a chair,” he said.

Some policemen even suggested to them to go to the bank selling the tickets and buy the Rs 300 tickets for Rs 1,000 each to avois so much hassle.

Spectators who were to enter through gate Nos. I to VI queued up, causing a big rush. Since the police had allowed vehicles to be parked opposite the stadium, each time a vehicle moved in, the barricades were lifted and people in larger numbers rushed in. Despite the announcements the police made to maintain discipline, chaotic scenes prevailed at almost all entrance points.

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They are here for Diwali, not cricket
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
It is not the fireworks on the cricket field but the festival of lights that has attracted most of the Pakistani fans to India.

Of course, fans from across the border were today present in the stadium to cheer up their team but their minds were occupied with the thought of seeing the much talked about illumination in the City Beautiful and around.

“Seeing Diwali celebrations in Chandigarh was high on our mind when we went to purchase tickets.” This was the first reaction of most of the fans from across the border.

“Actually, we have seen the festival many a time in Bollywood films. This would be the first time we are in India during the festival. Being part of the festival was a long time wish and I am excited that it is going to fulfil”, said Lahore-based Dr Abida Khan, who thanked the cricket boards for scheduling the match at Mohali on Diwali eve.

Her friends, Ambreen Rehman and Urfa Malik, were more interested in enquiring about the shops and famous eating spots of the city from Indian spectators than watching the match.

“Watching the match was just an excuse for us to be here. I want to enjoy Diwali and shop for my family members”, said Urfa Malik, who was seen insisting her friends to leave the stadium in the middle of Pakistan’s innings to be part of the hustle bustle in the city markets.

“From where we can get top class sarees and blouses? Whether we get some special Diwali discounts from local shopkeepers during our shopping and what else should we buy from the city?” were the queries of the ladies from Lahore.

Another cricket buff Ali Rabanni, who came here along with his friend Salman and Rehman, said this time our purpose of visit was different. “Earlier, we came to cheer up our team but this time we are here to celebrate Diwali with our Indian friends. We will also purchase crackers and sweets tomorrow to celebrate it with fervour”.

Warm hospitality and affection being shown by the Indian people every time is the other major reason for many Pakistani people to come here again and again.

“We are in love with Chandigarh and we use to come here every year to meet our relatives. But this is the first time we get a chance to celebrate Diwali with our acquaintance. Like Indian people, I will shop a lot tomorrow and I have already prepared a long list for the purpose”, said Rimal Saqib, a student of eighth class.

“As my father Rafi Nasim is former secretary of the Pakistan Cricket Board so we get PCA invitation for every match held here. This time cricket match is not an important issue for me”, said Rimal, Naghma Saqib and Tania, all from Lahore.

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Diwali shoppers clog roads; cops of little help
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
It was a day of traffic jams. All roads leading to and from major markets remained chocked, giving Diwali shoppers a hard time. The traffic police helpline was of no help.

Traffic came to a standstill at the Piccadilly rotary in the afternoon with the agitating CTU employees blocking traffic in front of the Sector 17 ISBT for over an hour. This, coupled with the Diwali shoppers’ rush, worsened the situation. The cops tried to regulate the traffic, but in vain.

It took over an hour for motorists driving from the Tribune Chowk to reach Sectors 17 and 22. The worst-affected were Sectors 17, 22, 35, the Dakshin Marg, Madhya Marg, Sectors 18, 19 and Mani Majra. Roads leading to Mohali and Panchkula were choked too. It seemed that the entire city had come onto the roads.

Frantic calls to police helpline at 1073 provided no respite as the number remained busy. The scene was no different in and around market areas with shoppers parking vehicles in a haphazard manner. It was a mess at most parking lots. Shoppers at the Sector 22 market parked their vehicles in residential areas, putting local residents to inconvenience.

Long route buses on the Dakshin Marg caused bottlenecks, especially near the roundabouts at the Kisan Bhawan Chowk, Labour Chowk and the rotary near the Sector 20 gurdwara. The situation was the same on the Madhya Marg at the transport traffic lights.

To avoid traffic jams at the Madhya Marg, motorists from Panchkula took a de tour through the IT park road, burdening the narrow stretch.

As the day progressed, the situation turned worse with more vehicles pouring on the roads.The swelling crowds in markets necessitated deployment of policemen. When contacted, UT SP (Traffic) A.S. Ahlawat said there were traffic jams at all major routes. He, however, claimed that nowhere the jam lasted over 15 minutes.

He said special teams had been deployed at bust junctions to regulate traffic.

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CTU staff demand bonus, block traffic
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
Disgruntled employees of the CTU today blocked traffic in front of the Sector 17 ISBT, demanding bonus and other benefits. The agitating employees assembled at the main entry gate of the ISBT holding black flags and marched on the road raising slogans against the “indifferent” attitude of the authorities.

Within a few minutes, the road witnessed a massive traffic jam triggering chaos on other roads leading to the ISBT. The police reached there and made frantic attempts to regulate the traffic, which kept on piling on the roads creating chaos. The protesters staged a dharna on the road at 12:30 pm, which lasted for over an hour. The police was a mute spectator to the situation.

Addressing the gathering, Ranjit Singh, president of the CTU Workers Union, Chandigarh, and Narain Singh, general secretary of the union, stated that despite the fact they had submitted numerous memorandums to the authorities, nothing had been done to address their demands. On the contrary, the authorities had been pursuing “anti-employee” policies. The administration had committed gross injustice with the employees by denying bonus on Diwali.

Besides, they alleged, the authorities, instead of reinstating the drivers, booked under Section 304-A of the IPC, who had undergone punishment, had been dismissing them. Not only this, vacant posts of conductors, drivers and work-charge employees are also not being filled of late.

The representatives of the union asserted that they would not allow entry of private buses into the city at any cost. The practice was going on under political pressure, they alleged.

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700 structures regularised
Diwali gift for Deep Complex

Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
In a Diwali bonanza to residents of Deep Complex, Hallomajra, the Chandigarh administration has regularised 700 structures which stand on acquired land.

The decision will benefit hundreds of low income group families which have raised structures on 33.60 acres over the past eight years. Though the land was acquired for extension of the CRPF complex in January 1999, the administration never took possession of it .

This encouraged encroachers. From a few hundred structures, the number is now 700.

The Finance Secretary in his orders issued on November 7 has stated that under Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, the administration had withdrawn the notification. In 2005, the administration had decided to take possession of the land, affecting 800 residential structures. This had triggered protests. An official said a survey to identify the structures had already been done.

A number of constructions come up by 2005. Many persons got land registered in their names, increasing the number of stake-holders. The administration became strict on all construction outside 'lal dora' on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1997.

Registries were banned but the sale and purchase of land went on till 2002.

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Bonanza for theatre buffs
Five-day festival begins on Nov 11
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 7
Theatre is a collective art form that attempts to communicate and address the socio-political and cultural issues besides offering meaningful entertainment. The second five-day Chandigarh Theatre Festival-2007, to be organised by the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi in collaboration with the Punjab Arts Council, promises a theatrical bonanza for the city art lovers. All plays, both in Hindi and Punjabi, would be staged at the Randhawa auditorium of Punjab Kala Bhavan, Sector 16, from 6:30 pm onwards, said Kamal Tewari, akademi chairman.

The festival will open with a Punjabi play, ‘Anhi Gali da Mour’ written and directed by Dr Sahib Singh of the Adakar Manch, Mohali.

The Sandli Pairan Kala Kendra will present ‘Ek Gadha Urf Aldad Khan’ with certain aberrations tailored to suit the contemporary political environment on November 12. The group had invited acclaimed production designer and director Thakur Lekhraj from the Indian theatre department for the direction of the play. He had represented India at nine international festivals abroad and worked with top International theatre personalities.

The oldest theatre ensemble in the city ‘Abhinet’, with 33 years of excellence in theatrical arts, will present Tennessee Williams’s classic play ‘Glass Managerie’. The acclaimed and accomplished actor-director Vijay Kapur will display a Hindi play ‘Kaanch Ghar’.

‘Iss Garb te Chaleh’, revealing the double standards of some intellectuals and affluent Punjabis settled abroad, who twist social ideals, will be presented by the Sarghi Kala Kendra on November 14.

The Suchetak Rang Manch will provide the grand finale to the festival with their latest offering ‘Kujh Te Karo Yaro’ on November 15 under the direction of Anita Shabdeesh. The play has been scripted by Pali Bhupinder.

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Rock Garden celebrates 50 years
Discussions on art, peace mark Day 1
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
It was a quiet afternoon at Rock Garden today - just perfect for creative juices to flow and submerge the earthy spaces of Nek Chand’s wonder creation on the first day of its diamond jubilee celebrations. Inside the soundproof hall, which was inaugurated by UT adviser to administrator Pradip Mehra today, 40 conservationists discussed the challenges of art, ecology and peace throughout the world. They shared real life successes and failures and gave insights into the future of sustainable practices in the preservation of heritage sites like Rock Garden.

Outside, folk artists from across India weaved magic of their works. All of them - Pushpa Kumari, Mala Karm, Pradyumna Kumar, Montu and Joba Chitrakar and Kalam Patua - are part of a major Indo-UK project on the contemporary Indian art. Being driven by Emma Martin, curator of National Museum, Liverpool, and Minhazz Majumdar, head of Art Room in Delhi, the project seeks to collect the contemporary Indian folk art for the national museum at Liverpool.

Like other international delegates like John Maizels and Tony Rajer, founder trustees of the Nek Chand Foundation, Susan Crawley, associate curator of folk art at High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and Clyde Jones, a folk artiste from South Carolina, Emma spoke with nostalgia about Rock Garden. “I came here last year and struck a precious collaboration with Minhazz. We have since then collected works of Sonabai Rajua from Chhattisgarh, who just passed away. Now, we are working with Pushpa, a celebrated Madhubani painter from West Bengal," Emma said.

Montu makes pattachitras on contemporary themes like HIV/AIDS and even sings his paintings’ themes. “It’s an old art we have preserved for generations,” said Montu, whose presence added purpose to the festival. The festival was marked by a cake-cutting ceremony. Nek Chand did the honours.

Unusually silent, he seemed to be wistful about the future of the garden - as wistful as Maizels and Rajer. Both sought the establishment of a works department at the garden so that Nek Chand does not have to wait for official clearance to get even a small fault mended. Also, the garden needed to be preserved by the museum and not by the engineering standards, Maizels said.

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Road mishap victim’s mission to save lives
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Harman Sidhu with his book on road safety
BEYOND DISABILITY: Harman Sidhu with his book on road safety.
— A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, November 8
Harman Singh Sidhu has made a mighty wish this Diwali. “I pray people could learn to value their life and not throw it away on the roads the way I did,” says the young man, who was incapacitated in a major road accident in October 1996.

He could have saved his spinal cord had he followed basic rules of safe driving. But at the time of the mishap, he was resting his right arm over the headrest of another seat and was not wearing the seat belt. As a result his spinal cord was severely damaged in the car accident leaving him 100 per cent disabled.

Since then, Harman has been working on developing educational content and software on road safety. On the eve of Diwali, he has become the first Indian to develop a standardised educational book on road safety for use by school managements, police departments and students. First in the “Arrive Safe” series, the book is written for the understanding of children and adults. Haryana police department has already placed the first order for 3000 copies of the book which will be included in school syllabi. Another of Harman’s efforts is the development of road safety software to predict trends and alter enforcement strategies.

The most important of these is the Traffic Offenders’ Data Management software which manages traffic offenders’ information. “It has a detailed reporting system through which we can study trends and take required action. The idea is to profile every offence and find out if our challaning drives are reducing accidents. If not, they need to be changed. This software is in place in 14 districts and the rest are being linked. By year end, we will have a complete database of traffic offenders and will be able to prevent duplication of licences,” says Amitabh Singh Dhillon, SSP Kurukshetra, who as head of traffic management in Chandigarh was the first one to spot Harman’s talents and use them. At the time, Harman had developed Chandigarh Traffic Police Website which fetched him the Prince Michael Road Safety Award.

Since then, Harman has come a long way. Recently he played a protagonist in the UN-BBC documentary on road safety titled “Collision Course” and featured in WHO’s “Faces behind the figures” - an account of road traffic crash victims and their families.

But having done all this, Harman’s heart is restive. “I won’t be at peace until I see traffic sensibility becoming a norm. I am developing a lot of educational material with illustrations and animation. I only hope people use my website www.arrivesafe.org <http://www.arrivesafe.org> to see how to be safe. I don’t want them to be in my situation where none of the limbs work,” says Harman. He is now developing another software to help the police analyse accidents and detail vulnerable spots and situations.

Haryana police has already decided to use this software to analyse FIRs pertaining to traffic violations and predict trends. Besides, it is using the very-handy “Test for Licence Aspirants” developed by Harman. It is a two-hour power point presentation screened for people seeking driving licences.

“We have installed in our police lines at Ambala and Kurukshetra. Licence seekers are encouraged to see the presentation and then take the road rules test. Only those who pass the test are granted a licence.

Harman’s system has just put to end the poor licensing system — a major cause of road accidents in which 90,000 lives are lost every year in India.

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Admn gears up for Diwali

Panchkula, November 8
General Hospital, Sector 6, is geared up for Diwali with most specialists on call and a ward earmarked especially for patients coming in with burn injuries. While the police is on alert, the fire station, too, has been kept in all readiness to deal with emergencies of any kind.

Civil surgeon Dr Kamla Singh said besides the doctors on emergency duty, an eye surgeon, orthopaedician, physician and surgeon would be on call. While the doctors strongly advice against self-medication, they insist that in case of injury, a qualified doctor should be consulted immediately to avoid complication. “We are fully prepared for any kind of emergencies,” Dr Singh maintained.

Meanwhile, the police, too, kept a thorough check in markets and city roads and nakas were set up across the city. The fire station has also been asked to be on alert. — TNS

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Relief norm for medical test

Chandigarh, November 8
The Chandigarh administration has decided the reimbursement of the diagnosis test of CT coronary angiography will be in accordance with the policy of the government of Punjab for the employees and pensioners of UT. — TNS

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Letters

Senior citizens’ cells needed

On the pattern of Delhi and Rohtak, the Chandigarh administration should establish a senior citizen cell at each police station of the city. It will infuse confidence among the senior citizens besides providing them safety, security and assistance. All police stations should prepare a list of senior citizens in their respective areas of jurisdiction with their contact numbers. Patrolling parties should enquire about their well-being. They should be visited once a month and provided medical aid in case of need.

Tarlok Singh
Mani Majra

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030

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Two die in accidents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
A Rajasthan resident was killed in the wee hours today, while a labourer lost his life at the hotel James Plaza construction site in Sector 17.

Rattan Singh (40) of Rajasthan was found injured in critical condition near the Aroma lights at 12:30 a.m. A passer-by, Ranjit Singh of ManiMajra, saw him writhing in pain and informed the police. He told the police that the victim was hit by a car. The police rushed the victim to the PGI, where he was declared “brought dead”.

Manoj (30) fell from the sixth floor of the James Plaza hotel at 9 a.m. He was seriously injured and rushed to the PGI, where he was declared “brought dead”.

Inadequate safety measures at the construction site, was the cause of the mishap, the police said.

A case of causing death due to negligence has been registered against the contractor, Ajay Patel, on a complaint lodged by Bhanu Shah of Bihar.

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Man held for abducting minor girl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
The police arrested a Fatehgarh Sahib resident on the charge of abducting a 17-year-old girl of Sector 46 here. The girl was recovered from the accused and handed over to her relatives.

According to the police, Kamaljit Kaur of Sector 33 here lodged a complaint in the Sector 34 police station on Wednesday alleging that her niece was abducted by Amarjit Singh of Fatehgarh Sahib on Tuesday.

The victim came to Kamaljit’s home on Tuesday and was later abducted by the accused. The police traced the accused in Mandi Gobindgarh, where he works as an electrician, through his mobile call details. The police tracked his location and arrested him. The girl was handed over to her aunt last night, said inspector Prem Lal Chauhan, SHO of the Sector 34 police station.

The accused was today presented before a local court, which sent him to judicial custody.

Bike stolen

Uttam Kumar of Burail village reported that his Discover motorcycle (CH-03-V-6066) was stolen from near the Sectors 20, 21, 33 and 34 rotary during day time on November 2. A case has been registered.

House burgled

Subhash Nagai of Modern Housing Complex, Manimajra, reported that six water taps and other articles were stolen from his house after breaking locks, last night. A case has been registered.

Caught stealing

Inderjit Singh, emergency medical officer of the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital lodged a complaint against Ashwani Kumar of Burail, who was caught red-handed while stealing water taps from the hospital, this afternoon. A case has been registered in the Sector 34 police station.

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