C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Devout throng city roads
People waited for hours on the roadside, some sprinkling scented water on the crowds
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
It was a historical moment as Jagrati Yatra of Guru Granth Sahib (gurta gaddi) went around various parts of the city today. The devout bowed their heads in reverence to the holy Guru Granth Sahib brought from Hazoor Sahib in Nanded, Maharashtra, and the weapons of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru.

A sea of devotees thronged city roads for a glimpse of the weapons and the holy scripture, which were carried in vehicles decorated with flowers. The weapons were on display in a glass case on a specially made bus with domes atop.

The Jagriti Yatra passes through Sector 22, Chandigarh

CONGREGATION OF BELIEVERS: The Jagriti Yatra passes through Sector 22, Chandigarh, on Sunday. — Tribune photos by Parvesh Chauhan

Devotees waited for hours on the roadside, some sprinkling scented water on the crowds filling the atmosphere with fragrance. The yatra started from Hazoor Sahib, popularly known as Sachkhand Sahib last year and is to go around the country to commemorate the tercentenary of the consecration of Guru Granth Sahib.

Shastars (weapons) of Guru Gobind Singh and other articles, including the likhit bir (handwritten), is part of this yatra. The Nagar Kirtan began form the gurdwara in Sector 8 at 7 am and went through Sectors 7,19,20, 21, 22, 23, 15, 38,40,37, 36 and 35. It concluded at the Sector 34 gurdwara, followed by a kirtan darbar from 7 pm at the ground opposite Gurdwara Sahib in Sector 34.

People riding camels and horses and Nihangs in their traditional attire headed the yatra. The police diverted traffic before the procession and cleared the road. However, excited youths were seen flouting traffic rules. Some performed stunts on their two-wheelers amidst the crowds.



Mohali gears up to welcome Jagriti Yatra
Tribune News Service

Preparations in full swing for the entry of Jagriti Yatra in Mohali on Sunday.
Preparations in full swing for the entry of Jagriti Yatra in Mohali on Sunday. — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, March 2
Even as the township prepares for the arrival of the Guru Manyo Granth Jagriti Yatra here tomorrow morning to commemorate 300 years of Gurutta Gaddi, the administration is working overtime to ensure that the event goes on smoothly.

The yatra has been in Chandigarh since yesterday and the sea of devotees thronging it has caused the yatra to reach at every scheduled spot late by at least four to five hours.

“This will not be the case in Mohali. The yatra will be received at 11 am sharp and begin its journey through the town after about half an hour,” said Mohali SGPC member Hardeep Singh and presidents of the Shatabdi Purab Committee. He added that the sangat had been asked to be present at the nearest gurudwaras by 9 am when special buses would bring them to the YPS roundabout where the yatra would be received.

Members of the Mohali Industries’ Association held a ‘meet and greet’ event at MIA Bhawan to welcome Dr P.S. Pasricha, former director general of police, Maharashtra, and president of the National Committee for Tercentenary Celebrations. He released a colourful Nanakshahi calendar depicting photographs of ‘bhagats’ whose ‘bani’ besides those of the Sikh Gurus, have been included in the Guru Granth Sahib.

President of the association T.L. Easwar informed that preparation for the celebrations have brought togetherness amongst the MIA fraternity.

Senior vice-president of MIA B.S. Anand informed that the Mohali Industries’ Association had made elaborate arrangements for according a warm welcome to the Jagriti Yatra. He said members of the association would assemble near PTL Chowk tomorrow to welcome the ‘nagar kitan’ where a stall of prasad and mineral water would be put up and a ceremonial band would play.

Chairman of Social and Cultural Affairs Committee Balbir Singh said arrangements had been made with Patiala Aviation Club on behalf of Sahibzada Ajit Singh Education Society Memorial Charitable Trust to shower rose petals on the yatra. He further informed that three welcome gates had been erected and several banners depicting ‘gurbani’ had been displayed on the route and industrial area road had been decorated with flags.

Elaborate arrangements have been made in the township for the yatra. Almost all roads have been lit up and decorated. Roadside trees have been trimmed to allow easy passage to devotees and some roads have even been repaired. A special fireworks show will also be held.



Rejoicing at Kaul’s home
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Anxious moments over, it was celebration time for a family in Sector 44 with the Indian colts lifting the World Cup (under 19) at Malaysia today.

Siddarth Kaul, the youngest member of the family, was part of the winning squad. He played a crucial role in the win, scalping two wickets for 26 runs.

“This is a beautiful beginning to my son’s cricketing career. This achievement is a milestone in his life,” said a proud Tej Kaul, former physiotherapist of the Indian cricket team and senior cricket coach with the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

“It has been my dream to make both my sons cricketers. My son played a crucial role during critical moments, reflecting his determination and mental strength. I can say, he has a bright future ahead”, he said.

Sidharth, who made his debut in Punjab Ranji in 2007-08 against Orissa at the PCA Stadium, claimed eight wickets in four matches of the World Cup.

His elder brother, Uday Kaul, a regular playing member of the Punjab Ranji team, has been chosen by Preity Zinta for the IPL’s Mohali team.

“Before every match, Sidharth would call us. Today, he sought special blessings. I advised him to concentrate on the weakness of the batsmen,”said Kaul.

Said joyous mother Sandhya Kaul: “I got nervous during the match, but I was sure that my son would come successful. God has been kind to us.” Sandhya is a former 10-time national gymnastic champion. She has represented the country in Asian Games and the Olympics.

Praising Sidharth, PCA treasurer G.S. Walia said: “Kaul is a talented and determined cricketer. He will definitely make it big.”



UT notice has farmers on roads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
A public notice on the category of landowners eligible for alternative sites under the national policy of rehabilitation and land acquisition today drew protest from members of the Manimajra Farmers Welfare and Environmental Protection Society today.

Around 272 acres of the land is being acquired in two phases for the IT park.

Staging a dharna, the protesters questioned the “prerogative” of the Chandigarh administration in interpreting the applicability of the policy to farmers and landowners. The clarification in the notice was in violation of the national policy, they alleged.

Brig Kuldip Singh Kahlon (retd.), vice-president of the association, said the unsigned notice of the administration did not conform to the national policy.

Hardial Singh Johl, a horticulturist, said the policy applied to all projects where involuntary displacement of people took place and thus the claim of the administration that the policy applied to projects wherein 400 or more families were affected was incorrect.

The association said in case of a project involving involuntary displacement of less than 400 families en masse in plain areas, adequate administrative arrangements had to be made by the appropriate government for the rehabilitation and resettlement of affected families as per the policy.

Shamsher Singh, former sarpanch (Manimajra), claimed that the administration had acquired about 400 acres for the IT park and out of this, not more than 20 per cent of the land had been utilised during the past four years.



Veggie prices hit the roof
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
The soaring mercury and failure of winter rains has sent the prices of most vegetables skyrocketing. In the past week, prices of most seasonal vegetables have gone up by 25 -75 per cent.

From Rs 10-Rs 15 a kg four days back, tomato prices shot up to Rs 20 a kg today. Long gourd, bitter gourd, lady’s finger and brinjal (all reach the city from West Bengal) have seen a price rise of 25-30 per cent in the past four days.

Vegetable vendors say that with a shortfall in supply from the eastern state and high demand, the prices have gone up by almost Rs 10 a kg for each of these vegetables. Vijay Kumar, a vegetable vendor in Sector 9, Panchkula, said these vegetables reach here once in four days, leading to a gap in demand and supply.

While the prices of onions, turnips and capsicum have remained stable, those of carrots, cauliflower and peas have shot up. Carrots are selling at Rs 12-Rs 14 a kg as compared with Rs 10 a kg, three days back, while cauliflower prices have increased from Rs 10 a kg to Rs 15 a kg. The price of peas, too, has shot up from Rs 10 a kg to Rs 15 a kg-a rise of 50 per cent in three days.

The only solace for the common man is that the price of mushrooms has gone down by Rs 5 per packet (100 gm). Mushroom prices had shot up from Rs 15 a packet in the beginning of February to Rs 20 a packet in mid-February.

With the marriage seasonon, leading to a huge gap in demand and supply, the mushroom prices had touched Rs 150 - Rs 200 a kg.

The soaring prices of vegetables has irked residents, who claim that it has upset their household budget. Anupam Singh, a housewife from Sector 49, says the high prices have made the vegetables out of reach of the common man.

“The rising prices has ensured that about 70 per cent of the total household budget now goes into buying groceries and fruits and vegetables. Family entertainment and outings have taken a backseat as we find it difficult to spare money for these,” she says.

The solace for the common man lies in the fact that while vegetable prices are soaring, prices of most fruit have remained stable. While grapes, oranges and bananas are all selling at the same price as during last week, the price of apples has gone up by Rs 10 per kg.



28-yr-old killed as his bike hits truck
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
A motorcyclist was killed when he rammed into a truck on the traffic lights near Amartex Industry here today.

The deceased has been identified as Kamal (28), a resient of Pipliwala in Mani Majra, Chandigarh.

Kamal was returnig home after attending the marriage of his friend at Zirakpur, said his father, Mohan Lal, a bank employee. He was doing running a catereing business along with his two brothers and got married three months ago.

Kamal banged into the truck when it suddenly came to halt at the traffic lights.



Haphazard construction choking NH-21
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
A hassle-free journey between Ambala and Chandigarh remains a distant dream, despite the four-laning of National Highway 21 and construction of a flyover at Zirakpur after spending billions of rupees, thanks to the haphazard construction on both sides of the highway.

Violating the norms of maintaining the sanctity of a national highway, every inch on both sides of NH-21 is either under construction or on sale for shopping malls, residential projects and shopping complexes till the Ghaggar river near Dera Bassi.

In addition to a big shopping mall on the Zirakpur crossing, three others are coming up on the side of the flyover.

The addition of traffic emanating from the malls would add to the already choked highway which is full of traffic emerging from the houses, commercial complexes and marriage palaces.

The construction of the flyover at Zirakpur was allotted to GMR Expressways Private Limited on Built-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. The company now has bagged the order of constructing a flyover at Baldev Nagar in Ambala city along with the widening the Ambala-Zirakpur road.

The national highways are laid to bear a traffic load of between 30,000 and 40,000 vehicles every day, said Colonel Sanjiv Puri, chief project manager of GMR.

The setting up of shopping and residential complexes right on the roadside would increase the load on this stretch at an alarming pace and the situation could become worse within a couple of years.

In fact, the road here is going to lose the character of national highway if huge traffic emanating from the huge residential and commercial complexes will hit the road directly, he said.

Thousands of vehicles bound for shopping malls and housing complexes on the road would prove a big hurdle in the smooth flow of traffic, said Colonel Puri.

In order to keep national highways free from traffic bottlenecks, the Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2002 has empowered the NHAI for control of access to the national highways.

Section 38 says no person other than the highway administration or a person authorised by such administration in this behalf shall construct, install, shift, repair, alter or carry any poles, pillars, advertisement towers on highway land or across, under or over any highway except with the prior permission in writing by the highway administration for such purpose.

However, the Act has been rendered useless as the NHAI has no control over issuing permission to the construction being done on the sides of the highway with the permission of district authorities.

“In fact, the widening and strengthening of roads have resulted in a spurt of construction. People have started setting up commercial ventures on the road side and there is no control over it,” said Puri.

Even government agencies were not bothering to adhere to the rules. “The electricity department personnel at Zirakpur have erected electricity poles under the flyover without the permission of the contractor. At Baldev Nagar, a pole had been erected on a carriageway making it useless and it had to be shifted from there,” said Puri.

The construction along the highway will also reduce the life of the road as it is leaving no space for the drainage of rain water.

In fact, the road would become a drain as the construction underway along the highway was at a higher plinth level. The life of bitumen reduces by one-third when it comes in contact with water and this reduce the life of the road drastically, said Puri.



New variety of paddy developed
To be launched in Punjab, Haryana today
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
The Rs 280 crore Krishidhan Seeds has developed a new hybrid fine variety of paddy, KSL- 810, which will be launched in Punjab and Haryana tomorrow.

This variety will be launched across the entire paddy-growing belt along the GT Road (NH 1) in the two states.

This new variety of seed has better aroma and resistance to diseases, like rice blast, than the existing varieties, like PUSA 1121 and the PR (parmal) hybrids.

This variety also has a shorter maturation period than the other varieties -- it takes 105 - 110 days for the seed-to-seed maturation as compared to 150 days maturation period required for other super fine varieties of paddy.

This variety has been developed by Dr F.U. Zaman, who had earlier developed RS- 10 variety. Dr Zaman, who now heads the research and development wing of Krishidhan Seeds, has modified the RS -10 variety and created the long grained KSL - 810.

Talking to TNS, Sanjeev Jain, national business manager, Krishidhan Seeds, says this hybrid super fine variety will be launched in Sonepat, Panipat, Karnal, Kaithal, Yamunanagar and Ambala in Haryana and in Patiala, Rajpura, Sangrur, Ludhiana, Moga and Amritsar in Punjab. “This year, we propose to sell 2,000 quintal of seeds in these two states and expect to cover all paddy growing areas here,” he says.

He says as of now the maximum area under paddy cultivation in Punjab and Haryana is under varietal paddy - both parmal and fine rice. “Though some hybrid varieties are also planted in this region, these are mostly parmal. Thus, we see a huge market for our variety seed in the two states, which contribute the maximum paddy to the national pool,” he adds.

The company had conducted field trials and trial marketing in the region last year to see the acceptability of this paddy variety in the country. The field trail was held on over 500 acres of land in the two states, along the GT Road. “The results of the field trials show that the average yield is between 28-30 quintals per acre.

When the crop was brought to the mandis, it fetched a price of Rs 1500- Rs 1800 per quintal. Now, this paddy variety is fetching a price of Rs 2,300 per quintal in the market,” claimed Jain.

He says this variety will have wide acceptability across the country. “We have already launched this variety in Western Uttar Pradesh, and will be launching it in Jharkhand, Bihar, Maharashtra and Gujarat,” he adds.



Raj indulging in petty politics, says ex-DGP Pasricha
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 2
“Raj Thackeray is indulging in petty politics. Non-Marathis are safe in Maharashtra and Mumbai welcomes all,” said P.S. Pasricha, a former DGP, Maharashtra.

In his first interview after his retirement on February 29, Pasricha talked about his four-decade innings in Maharashtra as a police officer.

“Thackeray’s statements have little impact in the state. Thousands of migrant workers leave for Holi each year around this time, but this time they left a few weeks earlier. That is why it seemed like an exodus. Raj might have won the 100-metre race but lost the marathon,” he said.

“It depends on the politicians if they want to strengthen the policing system. If they encourage, the system can become stronger, bigger. If they don’t, the police continues to work with public support and the Press to maintain law and order,” he remarks.

Recounting his first challenge as young traffic chief of Mumbai in the early 1980s, the former DGP says he suggested major changes in the traffic movement in the city.

“It was virtual revolution as we tried to facilitate the pedestrian. But my ideas met with great resentment from motor associations and shopping area groups. The politicians were under pressure but finally my stand was vindicated and the reforms implemented,” said Pasricha, who is now a PhD in traffic management and has also authored several books on the subject. “The solution to traffic problems lie in education, but a more stringent licensing system is also required,” he said.

Recalling that the Sikhs and the Christians in Mumbai helped the most in bringing the riot-struck city back to normal life in 1993, Pasricha said: “Langars were organised, YMCA came to offer help in a big way and we managed to create a harmonious environment after the riots. It was challenge as riots in Mumbai had a tendency to recur.”

“But”, warned Pasricha, “the biggest problem which Maharashtra would need to keep an active watch on is the Naxalite movement. I became the DGP in 2005 and my first gift was the killing of policemen in Bhiwandi. We decided to tackle it like a war.”

When asked about the 2007 Tehelka expose that alleged that Pasricha was involved in a real estate scandal, he rubbished it as false. “I had exposed an encounter specialist and this was a reaction to that. The committee set up to probe my financial deals gave a clean chit to me and now a CID inquiry is on to find how my returns were stolen from the home department.”

In the city for two days with the Guru Manyo Granth Jagriti Yatra, Pasricha says his second innings has just begun.



Disabled soldier fights for pension arrears
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
After a battle to get his disability pension restored, a retired jawan is now battling the bureaucracy to get the arrears, accumulated over nine years, released. Daya Ram of the Dogra Regiment is running from pillar to post, but to no avail.

A resident of Hamirpur, Daya Ram was granted disability pension in 1991 after he had suffered frostbite injuries while deployed on Siachen Glacier. The disability pension, however, was suddenly stopped by the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (PDCA) in November, 1997.

No review medical board was conducted before stopping his pension. He took up the case with the PCDA as well as the Dogra Regimental Centre and finally in 2006, he was asked to appear before a review medical board in Delhi. The board maintained that he was eligible for disability pension.

Though his disability pension was restored, the authorities refused to release arrears for the period that he was not paid. No reason was given to him for this. He has written to the defence secretary, Army chief, controller of defence accounts as well as the regimental records officer for payment of arrears, but is yet to hear from them.



Heritage walk annoys Manimajra Fort occupants
Jasleen Kaur

Chandigarh, March 2
The heritage walk at the Manimajra Fort this morning hardly turned out to be a walk, with visitors walking around the property only for a few metres.

Among those who came were officers of the UT administration and Haryana and members of INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) of the Chandigarh chapter, which has proposed to conserve the fort.

But there is a problem. It is yet to arrive at a settlement with the legal custodians of the property who have been maintaining it for 40 years. The fort is being looked after by a trust whose members occupy the property and are unwilling to accept outside help for its restoration.

“We won’t have anyone do anything with the fort. How can the administration use it as a tourist spot when we are living here?” a trustee asked today.

The administration, however, is determined to promote the fort for the purpose of tourism. Vivek Atray, director, tourism, and co-convener of INTACH, Chandigarh, said: “We want to promote the property and will take everyone along. The idea is to preserve it. We are working out a settlement with the occupants.”

V.K. Kapoor of INTACH said INTACH had been shortlisted for the conservation of the fort and two other properties in Chandigarh’s vicinity.

“This fort is on its last leg and is made ugly by weeds and bushes. People have no knowledge of it. Nobody comes here or knows about its history. It needs restoration,” he said, adding that a project report on the fort’s conservation would be prepared within six months.



Abducted boy reunited with kin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Rajat, who was reportedly kidnapped by a sadhu from UP and was found outside the PGI emergency five days ago, was sent to his maternal and paternal grandfathers who came from Bopa village in Muzaffarpur (UP).

“We got a message from the police at the Bopa police station that Rajat had been spotted in Chandigarh. We were delighted. For Rajat’s mother, who has been sick since he disappeared, this news came as a life-saver,” they said.

Rajat spoke with his family over the phone and identified the voice of his father and sister. “The boy gave us details of his family, home address and the name of his village. We took the help of the Chandigarh police control room to approach the Muzaffarpur control room, which was then asked to flash wireless messages about Rajat to all police stations in the area,” Madhu Singh, member of the Chandigarh Child Welfare Committee.

The boy shivers to think how a sadhu took him away and abandoned him outside the PGI emergency.



Constable’s daughter hangs herself
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Kavita, a 17-year-old daughter of a constable with the Chandigarh Police, reportedly hanged herself at her Dhanas house here this evening.

The reason behind the death is yet to be ascertained even as the police ruled out foul play, quoting her parents.

According to the police, the incident came to light at around 7.30 pm when Kavita’s parents returned home from the market and found her study room on the first floor of the house locked.

When their knocks failed to get any response, they broke open the door and found her hanging from the ceiling fan hook.

No suicide note was recovered from there.

Kavita’s father, Yash Pal, posted in the traffic wing, said he and his wife went to the market. Kavita was preparing for her exam to be held on Tuesday.

The family did not notice anything amiss with regard to her studies or any other matter.

Her brother was in another room on the ground floor when the incident took place.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.



Man attempts suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
A 33-year-old man allegedly attempted suicide by hanging himself at his Sector 32 house here last evening.

He was admitted to the Sector 32 GMCH from where he was later discharged.

According to the police, Sonu was in an inebriated condition when he took the extreme step.

It was around 6 pm that his wife went out of the room and he tried to hang himself from the ceiling fan hook.

Just then she returned to the room and caught hold of him.



Blatant violation of building bylaws
Esha Fotedar

Mohali, March 2
The problem of unauthorised construction is not new in Mohali. Things have come to such a pass that residents have started behaving like self-appointed architects in gross violation of building bylaws.

Due to lack of vigilance exercised by the field staff of Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), residents do not care to get maps approved by the authority. It has resulted in mushrooming of unauthorised construction in different phases of Mohali.

Repeated surveys conducted by the GMADA in the past have revealed that residents do not care a fig for building byelaws. On its part, the GMADA also performs its routine ritual of issuing show cause notices to defaulters, which are eventually buried under files. As a result the housing board colonies in Phase 1, 2, 3-B1, 4, 7 and 9 have been converted into jungle of unauthorised construction.

When asked about the action being taken against defaulters Vijay Pratap Singh, chief administrator of the GMADA said, “The authorities are aware of the matter, a regulatory wing in the GMADA receive complaints against defaulters and take action accordingly.”

In view of various representations submitted by the law abiding citizens and residential association of Mohali, the matter regarding relaxation in building byelaws for need based changes is under active consideration of the GMADA.

When Sukhjeetpal Singh, estate officer of the GMADA was approached to clarify the stand, he said, “A committee has been constituted to look into the matter and submit its recommendation to regulatory authorities.” He, however, warned that in case of gross violation of building byelaws, the plots of the allotees would be resumed after issuing a show cause notice to them.

Some residents complained that they are facing a lot of problems due to unauthorised construction in the neighbourhood. While having a dig at the GMADA, a resident pointed out that “My neighbour has converted a MIG house into a maze of rooms meant for a large number of tenants.” As a result of this, it has badly affected the water supply to the entire locality and created unavoidable problems.



Councillors’ study tour by month-end
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Councillors are set to go for a study tour later this month. The destinations include Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

Submitting a report will be mandatory, but the report of the last tour undertaken by the councillors who went to Singapore and Bangkok, is still pending.

According to sources in the MC, earlier the plan was to include all councillors for this tour, but a number of councillors had already been to these places on their previous trip.

The MC is planning to include only those who were left out last time. A letter for approval has been sent to the immigration department and to the embassy, which will decide on the date of the tour.



Hike disability pension, urge parents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
The State Nodal Agency Centre of the ministry of social justice and empowerment organised a community awareness camp at Karsan here yesterday.

Organised by experts from the Government Institute of Mentally Retarded Children, Sector 32, the camp was organised to educate parents and other community leaders about the cause of mental retardation and its recognition in early stages, the nodal officer-cum-joint director of the GIMRC, Dr B.S. Chavan, said.

Renting a house, high cost of living and discrimination towards children and families were the issues raised by the parents. They urged the Chandigarh administration to increase the disability pension from Rs 250 per month to Rs 1,000.



Park site or grazing ground?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Residents of Housing Board Colony number 1 in Dhanas village are a harassed lot these days. Reason: In the middle of the colony there is an open space which has been earmarked for a park, the foundation stone of which has also been laid.

However, the site is being misutilised by residents of the nearby Milk Colony as a grazing ground for their cattle.

The open space looks more like a cattle shed and the stench of cow dung is unbearable. People here allege that that despite being provided a separate area for keeping their cattle, residents of the Milk Colony continue to graze cattle at the site of the park. They said that the filth has can cause a major health hazard.

Raj Kumar, president of Residents’ Welfare Association of the colony, said: “We have made a number of complaints and even met higher officials in the municipal council, but nothing has been done to check misuse of the park site.”

He alleged that the authorities have done nothing for the development of the area. “Despite the fact that foundation stones have been laid for a park and a community centre in the area, nothing had been done in this regard so far,” he added.

“The foul smell emanating from the site is unbearable. Ditches have been filled with dirty water mixed with cow dung, posing threat to the health of people,” said Sukhdev Singh, another resident.

Besides, poor roads, non-working streetlights and several other problems have made life hell for residents, he added.



At 59, he is a proud student
Deepti Verma

Chandigarh, March 2
“In the company of young, one is always young”, says Ripudaman Savrup, 59-year-old student who stood first securing 84 per cent marks in the first semester of MA-Police Administration.

It’s the first of his 10 degrees and diplomas which he is pursuing as a regular student.

“I never stayed in a hostel before. I want to experience everything in life and am enjoying hostel life now”, said Ripudaman. He is re-living his youth by staying at the PU hostel among youngsters.

Studying, studying, and studying.This is what he has done throughout his life. He continued to pursue his passion for learning during service and even after he retired as joint director, Punjab public relations.

He holds 10 degrees and diplomas, which include masters in English, sociology, political science and Punjabi apart from Sahitya Rattan in Hindi, History, B.Ed and diplomas in Tourism and Hotel Management, Industrial Relations and Personnel Management.

Akshat Mehta, Ripudaman’s teacher in Police Administration, 27 years younger than him, feels proud to have him as a student.

“He is disciplined, punctual, sincere and devoted student in the class. He is participative and is ready to learn new things. Teaching him has been a learning experience for me.”

“Hamlet” and “Bhagvat Geeta” being his favourite books and Kabir, Shakespeare and Christopher Marlow his favourite writers, Ripudaman speaks with passion about them:“Books are my first weakness and I also have my personal library. Learning is a lifelong, continuous and never-ending process.”

He has a book to his credit, which is a satire on the “achievements” of Indians after Independence. In the book embroiled him in a controversy and he was charge-sheeted.

Asked about his source of inspiration, he gives all credit to “God-who governors destiny”.



Himachal Journalists Forum members elected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Ramesh Sharma (UNI) and Nalin Acharya (Himprabha) have been elected as president and general secretary of the Himachal Journalists Forum (HJF) respectively, here today.

HJF is a body of media professionals from Himachal Pradesh working in print and electronic media in the tri-city.

Other office-bearers include Rajesh Deol (The Deccan Herald), senior vice-president; Vinay Sharma (FT) and Bhawani Negi (HT), vice presidents; Vikas Kahol (Mail Today), press secretary; Jaswant Rana (Dainik Tribune), organising secretary; Rohit Mullick and C Shamsher (TOI), joint secretaries; Chetan Thakur (Divya Himachal), secretary and Raj Kumar Sharma (India TV), cultural secretary. Dhyan Singh (Tribune) would be the treasurer of the organsiation.

Anand Bodh (IE), H.C. Sharma (PK), Manoj Mahajan (Tribune), Ranju Aery (Dainik Tribune), Shimona Kanwar (TOI), Tanveer Thakur (HT) and Vikram Kanwar (Aapka Faisla) would be members of the executive committee. 



New branch of CSCA opened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
P.H. Vaishnav, president of Chandigarh Senior Citizens’ Association (CSCA), inaugurated another chapter of the body on the premises of Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 37, here today.

Paramjit Toor, principal of the school, Rita Sharma, ward councilor, and senior members of CSCA managing committee were present on the occasion.

S.S. Lamba, president of the branch said: “We will try to provide a sense of security, medical help, entertainment and legal advice to senior citizens.”

The association already has five branches in Mohali, Sector 8, 15, 18 and Manimajra.

“We are planning to expand in the whole city.

First we will cover Punjab and then move to Haryana,” informed Vaishnav. D.S. Grewal, secretary general of CSCA, elaborated the grounds for formation of the chapter.



Small screen is his first love
Esha Fotedar and Deepti Verma

Chandigarh, March 2
For Vishal Puri, better known as Raj Bhasin of tele-serial ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’, small screen will remain the first love.

However, he is not averse to the big screen provided ‘any good role comes my way.”

Vishal was in city to promote his upcoming serial ‘Mera Sasural’ to be telecast on Sahara One from March 10. Prior to acting, this MBA-turned actor from Jammu proved his worth by penning the scripts of tele-serials such as ‘Kusum’, ‘Kahani Teri Meri’, ‘Kahin To Milenge’ and ‘India Calling’.

He has played a variety of roles in tele-serials such as ‘Sanjeevani’, ‘Piya Ka Ghar’, ‘Kasauti Zindagi Ki’, ‘Kesar’, ‘Main Aisi Kyun Hoon’, ‘Pyar Ke Do Maam - Ek Radha Ek Sham’, ‘Remix’, ‘Shhh… Koi Hai’ etc. When asked about his most challenging role, he said it was in ‘Mera Sasural’ as it demanded a lot of hardwork. “I am certain that this serial will surely change the prime time slot.”

As an advice to budding actors he said, “Being at the right place at the right time is very important. One’s success depends on hardwork and lots of good luck.”



New members for PECOSA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Punjab Engineering College Old Students Association (PECOSA) elected Dr Dharinder Tayal as its new president for the period from 2008 to 2010 during the annual general meeting of the association held here today.

Tayal is an alumnus of the college and did his production engineering in 1986. He is also member of Panjab University Senate and Syndicate.

Other members of the executive committee who were elected include Malvinder Singh, vice-president, Anurag Aggarwal, general secretary, R.P. Sharma, treasurer, Divya, joint secretary, Mohit Srivastava, joint secretary and K.K. Jaitley, chairman hospitality.



Lions Club celebrates charter night
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
The Lions Club, Chandigarh Central, celebrated its charter night at Kalagram here last night. Haryana Governor A.R. Kidwai was the chief guest.

The Governor appreciated the planning and execution of result-oriented projects of the club.

The club is conducting eye operations free of cost. It also runs Lions Bal Vidya Mandir, a school for slum children, and a camp for the handicapped.

The club honoured eight charter members who started the club in 1982. On completing 25 years, the club had constructed an 800- metre-long walking track in the Old Age Home at Sector 15-D. Vinod Choudhery, president of the club, gave away two tricycles to the handicapped.



Fauji Beat
Precedence warrant: Army being treated unfairly
Pritam Bhullar

At the time of Partition, the Commander-in-Chief was number two in the warrant of precedence. After the 1947-48 war, the service chiefs were made junior to the judges of the Supreme Court.

After the 1962 and 1965 war, they were made junior to the cabinet secretary and attorney-general, respectively. And after the 1971 war, they became junior to the auditor general. Now an effort is on to make the service chiefs junior to the defence secretary.

Although the decorative rank of Field Marshal was created after the 1971 war but no special status was conferred on it. It is most odd that even today a Field Marshal or his equivalent does not find any mention in the warrant of precedence. Still worse is that he is equated with a service chief in practice.

Since Independence the status of IAS and IPS officers has continued to go up while the defence officer’ status has kept plummeting. An SP, who used to wear the badges of rank of a captain, has changed his rank to that of a Lieut-Col since long.

In the Central Warrant of Precedence of 1937, an IG police is equated with a Brigadier. Similarly, an ICS officer (a deputy commissioner) with fairly long service was once considered equivalent to a Lieut-Col. But now a deputy commissioner (an IAS officer) with seven to eight years of service is equated with a Brigadier who gets this rank after about 25 years of service.

Thrice decorated JCO

Naib Subedar Chuni Lal of 8 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry in his daredevil act killed three militants by charging at them in the Kupwara sector on the night of June 23 last year. Having been seriously wounded in this action, he later succumbed to his injuries and was awarded Ashok Chakra (posthumously) for his exemplary courage and bravery on the Republic Day. During Operation Rakshak, he killed 12 intruders while beating back an attack in the Poonch sector and was awarded Vir Chakra for his gallantry.

In 1985, as a Sepoy, Chuni Lal volunteered for attack on the now famous Bana post and played a crucial role in its capture. In this action, he was awarded Sena Medal.

Employment for ex-servicemen

The Army had opened placement cells, called placement nodes, in 1999, to provide jobs to retiring Army personnel by liaising with the industrial houses and corporate sectors. The Western Command Placement Node was started in September 1999. Of the 4,186 officers, JCOs and other ranks who had registered their names for employment with this cell from 2000 to January 2008, 2,267 have been provided with suitable jobs.

In 2007, the Western Command Placement Node had provided jobs to 18 officers, 126 JCOs and 287 other ranks. Of the 12 placement nodes in the Army, Chandigarh Node achieved the second position in providing jobs to 66.11 per cent Army personnel from January 1, 2006, to March 31, 2007. This was because of a large number of corporate and IT companies having opened their offices in the tricity of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. More jobs for ex-servicemen are likely to be generated in Rajpura, Dera Bassi, Ropar, Baddi and Parwanoo in the next few years because of the rapid industrial development of these towns.



Levy either toll or road tax

In Punjab and Haryana, widening of roads is being done on a large scale. Albeit the step is good for overall development of our country, the adverse effect on the public is that road tax and toll tax both are being charged from them.

Whatever expenditure is incurred by the builders is collected from people through toll tax, which is not fair. During registration of vehicle, one time road tax is paid by the owner. Does it not include the cost of repair, widening and reconstruction of roads and bridges? Since fuel is also costly these days, the burden of these taxes hurts vehicle owners a lot, especially the middle class.

In 90-100 km distance from Chandigarh to Nangal there are four toll tax barriers and commuters have to pay from their pockets. Therefore, either road tax or toll tax should be charged from the public or part of it should be included in one-time road tax.

Raheim Bakash, Mohali



From Colleges
Fast-track selection drive for IAF draws crowds
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 2
Students of various engineering colleges in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and other places have displayed overwhelming response to the fast-track selection drive to be conducted by the Indian Air Force at Chandigarh Engineering College, Landran.

The registration process has been completed. As many as 1,200 engineering graduates and postgraduates and those going to passout in 2008 have already registered themselves.

The students can still participate in the drive through on-the-spot registration process. The students selected through this drive will be commissioned in the Air Force as Flying Officers after the completion of the training imparted by the IAF.

GRADUATION: ‘Jeet-2008’, the graduation ceremony, was organised by Hotel and Catering Management Institute, Dera Bassi. General manager of Taj Anil Malhotra was the chief guest.

CAMPUS PLACEMENT: A joint campus placement drive was held at GGSCMT, Kharar, today by Bajaj Allianz for MBA students. As many as 180 students from different colleges attended this placement drive.

SEMINAR: Dr. I.T. Business School near Banur organised a seminar on leadership today. CEO of the institute Deepti Mahajan, while welcoming the eminent speakers from ICFAI, Panchkula, highlighted the importance of cultivating personal attributes which endear a person to others and also equips him to face the challenges of life. Rajesh Sandhi, senior manger, ICFAI, Panchkula, delivered a lecture on personality development.

AWARDED: As many as 34 students were awarded certificates during a function organised by Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Mohali, at Government Senior Secondary School, Morinda, today. The students had successfully completed a course in maintenance and repair of electrical gadgets.



From Schools
Tiny tots present cultural extravaganza
Tribune News Service

Children participate in a baby show held at Golden Bells School in Mohali on Sunday.
Children participate in a baby show held at Golden Bells School in Mohali on Sunday. — Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Panchkula, March 2
Children of Woodlands House School, Sector 8, presented a cultural extravaganza here on Saturday.

The programme started with ‘guru vandana’, a classical recital, while students of sections B and E of nursery presented aerobics and yoga, section C presented a play based on fairy tales.

UKG and LKG children recited both English and Hindi poems. The programme ended with songs ‘Heal the world’, ‘All things bright and beautiful’ and ‘God’s love is wonderful’.


BABY SHOW: Golden Bells Public School, Sector 77, organised a baby show here today. As many as 150 children, accompanied by their parents and grandparents from Mohali, Chandigarh and Panchkula, participated. District transport officer Balbir Singh was chief guest. He inaugurated the baby show and wished success to the young participants and their parents.

Principal of the school Gurjit Bawa thanked the chief guest, parents and teachers. The winners include: Krish, Chanpreet Kaur, Adimesh Singh, Divyanshi, Tushaar Jaggi, Vani, Abhayveer Singh, Himani, Sasmit Jha, Appurva, Pragun, Jasveen Seth, Harkeerat Singh, Ekampreet Kaur, Paaras Chadha, Kashvi Goyal, Adit Vashisht, Vedika Sharma, Smarveer Singh, Khushboo, Prajveer, Asmi Kawar, Arpit Singh and Swiyyahdeep.

ANNUAL DAY: Students of APJ School, Kharar, celebrated their annual day. Around 500 students from the junior wing participated in over 60 cultural items. Punjab minister for cooperation Capt Kanwaljit Singh was the chief guest while Jasjeet Singh presided over the function. School principal Jasvir Chander emphasised the need of value-based education.

FILM SHOOT: Famous Punjabi actor and father of cricketer Yuvraj Singh Yograj Singh visited Anees School here for the shooting of his forthcoming film ‘Bhola Singh 009’. He was accompanied by lead actress Satinder Kaur Satti. He interacted with the staff and students.



Promotion procedure same: DPI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
Responding to the memorandum of demands submitted to him, DPI (Schools) S.K Setia today clarified that the posts of principals will be filled according to the previous procedure.

He said the existing posts of principals would be filled on a seniority basis and no written test or interview will be conducted.

Moreover, promotions of UT cadre will be done through a department promotion committee.

The new heads have to undergo training including Civil Service Rules, RTI Act, conduct rules and national curriculum.



Judge Murder Case
Statements of 2 witnesses recorded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
The statements of two witnesses were recorded in the Patiala judge murder case in the court of the additional district and sessions judge, Raj Rahul Garg, yesterday. One of the witnesses was the teacher of the accused, Manjit Singh.

Manjit was accused of allegedly killing Vijay Singh. The witness, Muktiar Singh, had taught the accused gatka.

The other witness, Dr Amandeep Kaur, said the prime accused, Dr Ravdeep Kaur, had come with Manjit Singh to get a dental check-up done.

Vijay Singh, a judge at the labour courts, Patiala, was murdered on October 13, 2005.

The accused are in the Burail Jail. Investigations by the police revealed that Dr Ravdeep Kaur had given Rs 5 lakh to Manjit Singh, a resident of Sheikhupura village, Patiala, for the crime.



Home secy seeks reports on projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 2
The Chandigarh administration has directed all departments to ensure timely completion of ongoing and planned projects.

The home secretary said heads of department should monitor the progress of ongoing projects. He asked them to file a status report of the projects and submit it by March 5 in the prescribed format to the CEO of the Chandigarh Housing Board.

The status of the projects in five stages will be the planning stage, plan preparation stage, estimate framing by the chief engineer, approval and the expenditure sanctioned by the administrative department and the construction/implementation stage.



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