C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Sec 17 losing trees to pilferers
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
While the Chandigarh administration has set up “Greening Chandigarh Task Force”, which is entrusted with the task of greening the city, it is oblivious to the fact that trees are being pilfered right from the heart of the city i.e. Sector 17.

For, thieves are busy axing and nicking trees from the open area adjacent to the office of the deputy commissioner in the city centre.

Under the “watchful” eyes of the officials of the Chandigarh administration, the thieves have already chopped at least 15 trees in the past few weeks.

While some have been fully felled, others have been severed from the trunk. Some others have dried up due to lack of care.

The area is being maintained by the Chandigarh municipal corporation.

On being asked, officials of the horticulture wing of the municipal corporation promised to inquire into the matter.

Hundreds of people pass through the area to commute between different parts of Sector 17.

The area is part of the site where the administration had planned to build an 11-storeyed building. However, due to traffic congestion and shortage of parking space, the plan had to be shelved.

The area from where the alleged pilfering of trees is taking place is in bad shape. No effort has been made to beautify it.

It has become a thoroughfare for those who plan to park their vehicles near the deputy commissioner’s office.

This area is the only unplanned patch between Sectors 17 B and 17 C. The administration has not bothered to beautify it and has left it to the time when further planning is done.

The ongoing construction work on the TDI mall (erstwhile Jagat cinema) has also caused damage to some trees.

A proposal to construct a multipurpose block is lying pending with the architect department.



Mayoral Poll
2 BSP councillors join Cong
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The BSP today received a major jolt when two of its councillors joined the Congress just two days ahead of the mayoral election. Ram Sumer Morya and Vijay Singh Rana of the BSP announced their decision to quit their party and join the Congress.

Blaming the changing policies of the BSP, which they said discouraged them to work for development, the two councillors said their loyalty had thus changed grounds.

With the defection, the Congress tally in the house has gone up from 13 (plus one vote of MP) to 16 out of total 36 votes. The Congress already had a majority in the house.

Nine nominated councillors, eight from the BJP-SAD alliance and now three from the BSP will vote for the next mayor on January 1.

Incidentally, Rana had been seen as a close confidante of BSP convener Harmohan Dhawan. Rana had accompanied Dhawan when the latter formed the Chandigarh Vikas Manch and left the Congress. His leaving the party comes as a big jolt to the BSP.

Morya was also the lone BSP councillor in the MC before Dhawan’s entry into the BSP.

Morya was also seen with Dhawan on December 25 when his name was announced as the contesting candidate for the post of senior deputy mayor. However, the next day, Sarita Devi filed the nominations for the post instead of Morya.

Morya said: “Seeing the BSP divert from its aim to work towards the development of the Dalits, I decided to join the Congress as the overall development of my ward was my aim.”

A beaming Pawan Bansal said the party was now confident that they would win all three posts of the mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor. “BSP now stands liquidated. We are close to victory,” he said.

Bansal added that the Congress had and would remain united. The defection of BSP councillors had silenced many critics who suspected a repeat of cross-voting by party councillors.

Senior Congress councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma, who had earlier called Pradeep Chhabra’s nomenclature as unjust, was also present amongst party delegates and councillors today.

The Congress also welcomed the new incumbents amidst celebrations at a party organised at Chandigarh Club in the evening.

Harmohan Dhawan, however, alleged that the Congress had won over their party members over consideration.

BJP condemned the act and called it horse trading by the Congress.

BJP asks BSP to join hands

BJP’s local unit secretary Arun Sood has appealed to BSP convener Harmohan Dhawan to join hands with them to counter the Congress strategy to win the mayoral elections. “If the BSP wants to defeat the Congress, this is the only option left with them. They should come and join the BJP-SAD alliance,” he said while talking to The Tribune. If the BSP joins us, we can together act as a deterrent to the Congress,” he added.



CBSE goes online for pupils in distress
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has come up with a helpline for students coping with examination fever or looking to build concentration while studying.

In addition to the conventional helpline, CBSE national counsellor Madhu Behl has for the first time introduced “online helpline” — kbdav@glide.netin — to make things more effective and easier for students.

This helpline will open from tomorrow and students can access it without disclosing their identity and discuss their problems.

Behl said: “This initiative has been taken for those children who want to talk about their problems at length but do not want to disclose their identity. I had experienced that a majority of students failed to narrate their problem on the phone. Students hesitated to open up to their parents, further getting isolated. This mode of communication will help them explain their problems at length.”

“I had experimented this move with children of my school and there was a good response. Often introvert children came up online and talked openly and once comfortable, they even met me personally. So, I am going to introduce this mode of communication at national level”, said Behl, also principal of KB DAV School, Sector 7. Though the CBSE opens its helpline from February 1 till March 31, this helpline will open from tomorrow. “The early start will help students who are already taking pre-board examination,” said Behl.

The counselling will be done in two phases. The pre-face counselling will help students decrease their stress level and alleviate their fear of examination. The post-face counselling will cater to students after their results are declared. Behl added that personal counselling was undertaken only under compelling circumstances when parents of the students were helpless or when students were in depression. The parents, too, can approach the counsellors.

CBSE officials added that teachers who wished to volunteer must send their credentials and confirmation by filling out ‘willingness forms’ and send on fax (2251586) or email to secy-cbse@nic.in by January 15.


kbdav@glide.netin; 9417006590; 0172-2782192 (7.30 to 8.30 am & 8 pm to 10.30 pm); 0172-2792433 (10 am to 4.30 pm)



Her dream to revisit Shimla remained a dream
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

This file photo dated June 28, 1972, in Shimla shows Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto shaking hands with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as the former’s daughter Benazir Bhutto (second from right) and Indian foreign affairs minister Swaran Singh (r) looks on.
This file photo dated June 28, 1972, in Shimla shows Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto shaking hands with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as the former’s daughter Benazir Bhutto (second from right) and Indian foreign affairs minister Swaran Singh (r) looks on. — AFP photo

Chandigarh, December 29
Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s death has given birth to not just short messages of condolence on the mobile phones of city residents, but also to the recollections of brief meetings and glimpses of the “dynamic woman”.

That’s right! The dust of time has just not been able to leave behind a varnish of forgetfulness on their ever-so-fresh memories. So many of them still recall with enthusiasm the sight of sprightly and “strikingly charming” 19-year-old girl as she bought gramophone records from shops along the Mall in Shimla during her visit to the summer capital of the British Raj with her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan.

“She was apparently very fond of music,” calls back Sector 18 resident-cum-retired branch manager with a multinational firm Man Mohan.

“The way she looked for the records was enough to tell you that Benazir was in tune with the latest at that time.”

Man Mohan adds: “It was in July 1972. Over three decades have passed, but I can still see her in bell-bottoms and floral shirts, being trailed by the media of both the sides. I Am sure everyone remembers her friendly demeanour and simplicity.”

Young city hotelier-cum-member of the Chandigarh Tourism Advisory Board Ankit Gupta’s memories of bumping into her are not that old. And what he has to say about the little encounter is enough to tell you about the affable aspect of Benazir’s personality, which knew no boundaries of geography, religion, caste or creed.

Gupta, also the managing director of Himani-35, was in Zurich, along with his family, for holiday in October 2006 when the much-treasured meeting took place. Even though over a year has lapsed since then, it’s all etched in his mind.

“Sitting in a park one pleasant evening, my mother Asha Gupta was calling my little son when a passerby turned her head on hearing Hindi language,” he says.

“Are you from India? Was the first question she asked pleasantly after walking over to us. It was then we realised she was none other than Benazir.”

What followed was very different from the customary hard talk one would have expected to have with the ex-Prime Minister of a country that once shared acrimonious relations with your nation.

“For around 10 minutes, it was nothing but heart-to-heart talk between people still having a lot in common, despite the conversion of religious boundaries into geographical borders,” says Gupta.

“And when she came to know about our family’s long and continuous association with Shimla because of our hotels there, Benazir was actually pleased. By calling to mind even the minutest details of her visit to the Queen of Hills, Benazir made it apparent that she was still very fond of the hill station and would love to visit it again….” 



Sukhna will wear new look
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Come January 31, the city will wake up to a new Sukhna Lake. At least that’s what the UT administration promises to offer as it moves ahead with plans to spruce up the lake.

Among the new features will be a renovated Mermaid restaurant, which could never take off. It’s now being overhauled along with the lake’s sculptural features like the triangular structure at the entrance which is being landscaped.

The highlight is the restructuring of platforms where boats are parked. The area will be replaced with jetties. The administration has already allotted tenders for the work which is estimated to cost Rs 12 lakh.

Made of fibre glass, the jetties will be more in conformity with international standards. “The work is in progress and will be completed by January-end,” said a highly placed official in the tourism department, which has approved Rs 34 lakh to make the lake and its surroundings more vibrant.

The restaurant will be renovated at a cost of Rs 17 lakh while Rs 5 lakh has been set aside for landscaping.

  • Mermaid restaurant will be renovated
  • Fibre glass jetties being planned
  • Rs 5 lakh set aside for landscaping



What are Bollywood stars planning for New Year’s Eve?

As New Year’s Eve rolls in, the Bollywood brigade is planning to whoop it up in different ways.

While Priyanka Chopra, Suniel Shetty and Sonam Kapoor plan to make it a family affair, Bipasha Basu, Malaika Arora will entertain their fans with performances and others like Tusshar Kapoor are going to welcome New Year with work.

Priyanka Chopra: I’m shooting till December 30. Then I have one day to spend with my family. After the New Year, I am off to Bangkok to shoot a commercial for a beauty soap. My wish? That my father remains well and my films do well!

Suniel Shetty: I’m off to spend the year-end with my family in our Khandala home and that includes my parents, of course. I’d want my family to be happy and complete in 2008. On the professional front, I want my production company Popcorn Entertainment to march ahead.

Bipasha Basu: I’m working on New Year’s Eve. I’ll be performing at Marriott. Then I’m heading to Kenya for a week’s holiday. I hope in 2008 I’ve loads of fun and I do great work. I’d like more travel for myself and less violence for the world.

Tusshar Kapoor: I can’t travel out of Mumbai for the New Year because I’m shooting. So it’d be just close friends home on December 31. My only wish for 2008 is to see my films get a smooth release.

Sonam Kapoor: I’m actually working this New Year in Jaipur. But my parents, sister and my best friend are coming to visit me.

Arshad Warsi: I’m off to the mountains in Uttaranchal with my family. I wish the world would take global warming seriously in 2008.

R. Madhavan: I’m off on a cruise with my wife and son in Singapore. My wish? I want to spend lots and lots of time with my family in Chennai in 2008. In 2007, I was home for all of 28 days.

Raveena Tandon: I’ll be with my husband, my two children and friends at a friend’s house in Alibaug. I want to get back to some work in 2008.

Esha Deol: On the 31st I’m with my old school friends. In 2008, I want a role that will challenge me as an actress. Waiting with fingers crossed. I’ve kept my dates free. For the rest of world, I pray for peace.

Urmila Matondkar: I’ll be working during New Year’s Eve. As for my wish list for 2008, do you have the time?

Shabana Azmi: I’ve no plans for New Year. I guess I’ll go with the flow in the coming year.

Mona Singh: This may sound boring, but I’ll visit gurdwaras on New Year’s Eve to thank god for all he has given me. Then I’ll spend the day with the family. I’ll party at night with friends. In 2008, I hope I get that one big role in Bollywood.

Perizaad Zorabian: This New Year is special because it’s my first as mummy to baby Zaha. Playing mummy, daddy and baby is like living in a fairytale.

In 2008, I want to balance out my family life with my career.

Rahul Khanna: I’m spending the New Year with friends in the USA and looking forward to a year of interesting and fun-filled roles.

Arbaaz Khan: This year for the New Year’s I’ll be at our family farmhouse in Panvel with my parents and brothers. Earlier, during the year-end we’d head to Goa or Dubai. In 2008 I want to quit smoking. My son is growing up and I don’t want him to feel it’s okay to smoke because daddy's doing it.

Malaika Arora: I’ll be in New Delhi performing for Country Club. In 2008 I want my new TV show and my feature film “EMI” to do well. — IANS



Mauli Jagran to get bus shelter soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Mauli Jagran village located on the border of Panchkula would soon get a bus shelter, community centre and sampark centre. This was announced by adviser to the UT administrator Pradip Mehra during his visit to the village yesterday. The adviser took note of various problems faced by the villagers.

Mehra asked officers to get the bus shelter constructed within one month and upgrade and expand the existing school from Class X to XII before August 15. The village would also get a doctor placed in Mauli Jagran health sub-centre by the coming Monday. CTU buses would also be deployed for taking the students of the village to different schools and colleges in the city directly from the village.

Mehra discussed various issues raised by the villagers, which included construction of one more sampark centre. 



Police all set to deal with hooligans
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 29
The district police is all set to rein in drunken drivers and hooligans on the New Year’s Eve.

SP Sandip Khirwar convened a meeting of all SHOs and DSPs in this regard here yesterday.

Instructions to the SHOs of all police stations have been issued to ensure the deployment of adequate police force at all venues of celebrations. The DSP, in charge of security, has been asked to ensure checking near all important hotels, restaurants and resorts in the district.

All SHOs will be deployed for night patrolling till the New Year celebrations are over.

While DSP, headquarters, Abhey Singh will be the security in charge at Sectors 1, 6, 5, 9 and 10, the responsibility for the security near Gymkhana Club, Sector 3 and North Park will be with DSP (city) Ram Chander Rathee. Similarly, Kalka DSP will supervise activities in his region.

ASP Maneesh Chaudhary, however, will control the traffic situation.

Meanwhile, all hotels, resorts and clubs are all set to cater to their clientele on the New Year’s eve.

The Element Club at North Park Resorts will present a pole dance by Russian dancers. Punjabi singers Gurtej Tej, Jatinder Singh, Lakhi Singh and Dharamveer along with comedians Jaggi and Sukhi will perform at The Red Bishop resort run by Haryana Tourism in Sector 2.

The two Gymkhana Clubs in Sectors 3 and 6 have also arranged for music and dance troupes for entertainment of their members.



City hoteliers lure New Year revellers
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
City hoteliers are offering more than just a cocktail of wine, music and scrumptious snacks on New Year’s Eve. They are also dishing out special offers on a platter for making the big day better for the revellers.

And it’s not just surprise gifts that the hoteliers have added to the special menu of celebrations. They have come out with unique selling propositions that promise trip to the foreign lands. This is not all. They are adding glitter to the whole event by offering diamond ornaments for facilitating you to sparkle like a gem.

If you are having any doubts, go to the Score-8 on the big day’s eve. The lounge bar, 30th Latt and Absolut Vodka have all come together to organise a red carpet party on New Year’s Eve. The joint is all set to score over so many other hotels, bar and restaurants by offering you a chance to win two nights “Super Star Cruise Virgo” to Kuala Lumpur. You do not have to worry about going there alone. For, the ticket is for couples.

You also stand a chance of winning diamond rings, and even semi-precious jewellery set. The stuff is a part of a lucky draw. The fun doesn’t stop here. All guests purchasing entry tickets for the great eve bash also receive as many as many eight coupons.

These entail entry into the Lounge on four consecutive Saturdays from December 31. You also have discounts on food and beverage during lunch and dinner at the Score.

Rendezvous-26 too has come out with a unique concept. It is actually offering you a chance to party without the tension of leaving behind the kids with a baby-sitter on New Year’s Eve.

That’s right. You can actually take your kids along to the joint for the baby’s night out. For, the joint is organising a party with kids. It only means that you can take your under-12 kids along with you to the New Year Eve bash, merrily.

Fast food joints like Yo! China too has come out with gifts for you, and your kids. You get a toy with every kids meal. Also, for making the celebrations all the more spirited, the joint is offering a beer mug free with a single combo. Grab it, folks! 



Beware, gas geysers can be fatal
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 29
The city witnessed two deaths in the bathrooms during the past week. A young girl in Sector 32, Chandigarh, was found unconscious in the bathroom on December 14. Three more persons at Doraha near Ludhiana were found unconscious under similar conditions. One thing common in all these cases was a gas geyser, which was installed in the bathrooms.

Deaths were reported from New Delhi, Mandi (HP), and Bangalore under similar circumstances a few years ago.

A paying guest at Sector 32 was rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, in an unconscious condition. Her fellow paying guests informed the doctors that she was found lying unconscious in the bathroom after she went to take bath. However, before taking bath she returned from the bathroom complaining of suffocation, said the other inmate of paying guesthouse.

The patient was totally disoriented when she was admitted to the hospital, said doctors at GMCH. The girl, after the treatment, was not able to recollect the sequence of events, said the doctors.

In fact the red blood cells in the body contain haemoglobin, which carries oxygen to different parts of our body, said Dr B.S. Chavan. However, carbon monoxide (CO) has 200 per cent more affinity with haemoglobin (Hb) than oxygen. Hence, Hb carries CO when a victim inhales it and the oxygen carrying capacity of Hb is drastically reduced, he said.

The body organs do not get the oxygen leading to hypoxia. Hypoxia can lead to confusion, subsequently to coma and then death, said Dr Chavan.

The combustion in the LPG-fuelled geyser leads to the emission of carbon monoxide gas, which is odourless and colourless, said the experts. Within minutes of being exposed to the gas, the victims are poisoned and rendered unconscious, the doctors said.

“The carbon monoxide gas replaces the oxygen in the body when inhaled due to which the brain go dead rendering other organs motionless and longer exposure to the gas means a certain death”, said Dr Navneet Sharma, associate professor, PGI, Chandigarh.

People in the country found it a cheaper alternative to electric geysers and were opting for the wrong installation of the geyser, which was the reason behind the incidents, said a dealer in the geysers. The geyser and LPG cylinders should be installed outside the bathroom or in the open area and the water can be supplied through hose to the bathroom, said the dealer.



No ‘out of the ordinary’ activity along Indo-Pak border
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The assassination of Bhutto and subsequent developments in Pakistan could have long term implications for regional security, but, there had been no immediate impact on the prevailing situation along the international border and the line of control (LoC).

While the Border Security Force (BSF) had stepped up vigil along the western frontier, the border deployment of its Pakistani counterpart, the rangers, had over the past few months, thinned out due to heavy commitment in internal security.

There had been apprehensions in the security establishment that the ongoing turmoil may result in an increase in attempts at infiltration or cross-border smuggling. It was also believed that if Pakistani forces launched a crack-down on extremist elements in the wake of the assassination, terrorist elements may try to slip across the LoC to escape the heat.

According to a senior BSF officer, there had been no reported move by the BSF to move in additional forces to beef up its strength along the western borders. All agencies concerned, are nonetheless “reading the situation continuously”.

BSF officers said no significant or “out of the ordinary” activity had been reported along the border since Thursday.

Though infiltration attempts are generally at night under the cover of darkness, day time vigilance along the LoC had also been stepped-up. Pakistan had also taken an unprecedented step of withdrawing some troops from the LoC, to re-deploy them in counter terrorist operations in the west.

The feeling in security circles is that with Pakistani troop deployment along the borders thinning down, it is unlikely that militarily things may hot up along the fence.

According to an officer, forces guarding the border had not reported any significant or alarming activity from the other side over the past few months, since Pakistani forces became deeply involved in anti-terrorist operations and internal security duties in its north-western region.



DAV College BPEd row: Committee formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Raji P. Shrivastava, director, Higher Education, Chandigarh, constituted a committee to discuss the feasibility and viability of shifting BPEd III students of DAV College, Sector 10, to Government College, Sector 11, here.

It is pertinent to mention that these students were in a catch-22 situation as the College has failed to obtain recognition from the NCTE (National Council of Teacher Education), New Delhi, for the four-year degree course as well as the requisite affiliation from the Panjab University.

A fine of Rs 1 lakh has also been imposed by the Panjab University for admitting students to the BPEd course without first getting the requisite affiliation from the university.

On account of these problems, the principal of the college, S. Marriya has approached the director, Higher Education, UT Administration, to adjust these students in Government College, Sector 11.

The committee would have the principal, Government College, Sector 11, as chairperson, R.S. Brar, lecturer, Physical Education, as member convener, principal, DAV College, Sector 10, H.S. Singh, lecturer, Physical Education, Government College, Sector 11, as members, besides a nominee of the Panjab University as member.

The committee will also discuss the already charged fee to be transferred to GC-11, or transfer of infrastructure of the DAV College to GC 11. The committee would also go into the reasons on account of which the college failed to get recognition from the NCTE.



New Year
Special kids in for surprises
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The New Year will ring in a few surprises for the severely-disabled children. With a view to integrate them with the mainstream, the Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children (GIMRC), Sector 32, has chalked out an ambitious plan.

Under the plan, an extra facility is being created at Samarth, a permanent home for mentally-challenged children in Sector 15. Besides, a specially-fabricated bus is being procured to ferry these children to Samarth from their homes, sources told The Tribune. The severely-handicapped had great difficulty in mobility and were confined to their homes most of the times.

The special bus would have the facility of taking them to Samarth along with their wheelchairs, the sources said adding that tenders had been floated for the bus.

Dr B.S. Chavan, joint director of GIMRC, confirmed that the authorities concerned were creating extra space for these children at the area vacated by Cheshire Home. The main emphasis at Samarth would be the inculcation of self-help skills in these children and make them partially self-dependent, Dr Chavan asserted.

Procurement of the bus would go a long way in addressing the medical needs of these children as they could be examined at the hospitals, he added. Also, when they were outside their homes, their nutritional needs could be met in a better way.

Since the children would be out of their homes for almost half-a-day, it would also give some relief to their parents. Special games and extra-curricular activities were also being planned for the entertainment of these kids.

Dr Chavan said special educators would take care of the learning and entertainment needs of these children. Their very presence at Samarth, along with other ‘similarly-situated’ children and special educators, would act a morale booster for them as loneliness compounded their physical and mental problems, the sources added.



All-India Rose Show
PGI horticulture dept wins maximum prizes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
The horticulture wing of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) won the maximum number of prizes in the All-India Winter Rose Show held at New Delhi recently.

According to a press note issued here today, the PGI won 25 first prizes, eight second and eight third prizes at the show organised by the Rose Society of India.  Such an achievement was the result of the active participation of the team headed by Hem Raj Singh, assistant engineer (horticulture), who was assisted by his 17 subordinates, the press note added.



Worker killed in factory mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 29
A worker was killed and another got injured when the machine they were trying to move slipped and fell on them at a factory here last night.

The deceased has been identified as 45-year-old Birju Parsad.

According to information, the two were employees of Panchkula Steel Company in Phase I, Industrial Area, and had been staying on the factory premises.

Last night, they were trying to move a heavy machine that had arrived at the factory when it slipped from the rods being used to roll it down, crushing Birju and injuring Nihar Kant.



Govt lifts stay on development estimates worth Rs 2.5 cr
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 29
Stay on estimates for development works worth nearly Rs 2.50 crore, cleared by the municipal council in March, has been lifted by the department of local government, Punjab.

Estimates for development works worth over Rs 7 crore had been stayed by the government after municipal councillors of the opposition group complained to the principal secretary of the department that discrimination was done against their wards by president of the civic body Rajinder Singh Rana.

Rana said here today that he was informed by the executive officer yesterday that a letter had been received from the concerned authorities stating that the stay on the estimates for development works cleared at the council meeting on March 22 had been lifted. However, stay on estimates worth over Rs 4 crore cleared at the meeting of the council held on August 31 had still not been removed.

He said now the civic body would be floating tenders after which work order would be given. He said most of the estimates cleared at the March meeting were for providing patches on damaged parts of the sector dividing roads, clearing of berms of the main roads, removal of congress grass along these roads and painting of zebra lines on the main roads. These were common works and not related to particular wards and even then, the opposition councillors were leveling baseless allegations, he added.

Municipal councillors belonging to the opposition group had staged walkouts from the general body meetings of the council held on March 22 and August 31 in protest against “unequal” distribution of funds for development works in municipal wards. They had alleged that out of the estimates, worth over Rs 2.29 crore put up for approval at the meeting held on March 22, development works worth only about Rs 45 lakh were for the wards represented by the members of the opposition group. Later, they had alleged that estimates for development works worth about Rs 4 crore were put up at the meeting held on August 31 for clearance out of which only estimates to the tune of about Rs 32 lakh were for their wards.

Rana said all such allegations were baseless and opposition councillors merely tried to create hurdles in the way of the town’s development.

Opposition councillors, however, have been claiming that they had not requested the authorities concerned to put a stay on the estimates. They had just brought to the notice of those concerned that discrimination was being done against their wards.



Engineer asked to look into encroachment
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 29
Executive officer of the municipal council R.K. Mittal has asked the council’s engineer K.R. Verma to look into a complaint regarding the construction of a boundary wall by promoters of Rishi Apartments.

Tarsem Chand Goel, a shopkeeper of the area, has complained to the council that the promoters of Rishi Apartments had encroached on a 20-feet wide road next to his shop. He added that the promoters had constructed a boundary wall on the road leaving only five-feet space for the vehicles to move.

R.L. Mittal, promoter of the colony, however, denied the allegations pointing out that the construction had been done only on the area earmarked and approved for the colony by the department of local bodies under the town-planning scheme.



Books released at kavi darbar
Tribune News Service

G.S. Sidhu Damdami, editor, Punjabi Tribune, at a kavi darbar in Dera Bassi on Saturday.
G.S. Sidhu Damdami, editor, Punjabi Tribune, at a kavi darbar in Dera Bassi on Saturday.— A Tribune photograph

Dera Bassi, December 29
The Punjabi Sahi Sabha, in collboratoin with the Rotary Club, organised a ‘kavi darbar’ here today. G.S. Sidhu Damdami, editor of Punjabi Tribune, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Sidhu appreciated the literary achievements of the poets of the region. He released ‘Kudrat de Rang’, the latest work of well-known poet Gurbarchan Singh Azaad, and ‘Main Bolia’, ‘Joban Jaande Na Daraa’ by Giani Dharam Singh Bhankarpur.

Bhushan Dhainpuri  said poets should use simple language to touch the hearts of the readers.

A host of poets, including Hari Singh Dilbar, Dr Tarlochan Singh Anand, Manmohan Singh Daon, Dr Sarabjit Singh, Sukhdarshan Gamo, Ram Arsh, Malkit Kaur Basra, Manjit Kaur Ambalvi, Sufi Jagjit, Dr Gurmail Singh, Govardhan Gabbi, Prof Paramdeep Bhullar, Jaipal, Yadvindra Singh, Harbans Singh Dhiman and Darshan Banur participated in the kavi darbar. 



44 donate blood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Krishan Mohan, home secretary, inaugurated a blood donation camp at the Hotel Aroma today. The camp was organised by the Darshan Darvesh Foundation in association with the Rotary Club of Chandigarh.

As many as 44 persons donated blood, which was conducted by a team of doctors led by Dr R.S. Shah of the Rotary Blood Bank Society Blood Resource Centre, Sector 37.

Harjinder Kaur, Mayor of the municipal corporation of Chandigarh, Arvind Malhotra, president of the club, Kanta Swaroop Krishan, president of Blood Bank Society, were also present.



Dastardly act

The year 2007 will go down in history as the worst year for Pakistan. At a time when both Pakistanis and Indians were looking forward to stable and cordial neighbourly relations under the expected democratic governance of Begum Benazir Bhutto, hopes were dashed by her dastardly assassination at the hands of perverted Taliban terrorists. 

Now to add insult to the injury, Pakistan authorities are propounding various theories about her death. First day news was that she was shot by two assassins' five bullets, three in chest and two in head. They modified it to total three bullets. The latest disclosure now is that she was not hit by a bullet. She suffered fracture of the skull when she ducked after hearing the firing noise and in the process hit a lever of the sliding roof of the car. 

This is ridiculous and cannot be believed. There could not have been a lever for sliding the roof if at all there was one; she could not have hit it so hard as to fracture her skull. The roof of her luxury bullet proof car must be having electronic roof sliding system. Post mortem should have been performed.

D.B. Singh, Chandigarh

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4 vehicles stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 29
Four vehicles, including a car and SUV, were stolen from different parts of the city in the past 48 hours.

Shushil Kumar of Sector 43 reported that his Scorpio (PB-07-R-1677) was stolen from his residence last night. Vikram Kumar of Hallo Majra reported that his motorcycle (CH-03-S-6050) was stolen from his residence on Thursday. Dharambir Singh of Housing Board Colony, Dhanas, reported to the police that his Maruti car (CH-03-H-2470) was stolen from his residence on the intervening night of December 27 and 28. In another incident, Shuhash Chand of Charan Singh Colony, Mauli Jagran, lodged a complaint that his motorcycle (CH-03-H-9468) was stolen from his residence on Thursday night.

Four separate cases of thefts have been registered.


Vinod Kumar of Pipliwala Town reported to the police that Rs 42,700, three inverters, one amplifier and two DVDs were stolen from his shop last night. A case of theft has been registered.



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