C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Brutal Thrashing of Three
Naya Gaon SHO suspended
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 21
SSP R.S. Khatra today suspended Naya Gaon SHO Gurjeet Singh, who had in a fit of rage allegedly thrashed three persons last night.

The SHO, who was reportedly drunk at the time of the incident and accompanied by 10 policemen - some of them in uniform - used sluggers and rods to brutally assault the three persons.

The victims - Gurbachan Singh, Amit Kapoor and Deepak Thakur - alleged that the SHO was enraged after they refused to pay him Rs 2 lakh.

The SHO, they alleged, had demanded the money in the name of SSP R.S. Khatra. The victims were admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

According to the complaint given by the three to Punjab Chief Minister and the DGP, around 10 pm Gurjit called Kesar Singh, a cousin of Gurbachan, and allegedly asked them to arrange Rs 2 lakh, which was to be “urgently given to SSP Khatra”.

They alleged that Gurjit was drunk and used abusive language. They reportedly refused to give the money.

“Around 11 pm, Gurjit Singh, ASI Bant Singh, munshi Ramesh and 10 other policemen entered Gurbachan’s farmhouse and started beating him up. I was with Gurbachan and some other friends for a birthday celebration,” said Amit Kapoor, who is a property dealer and resident of Mohali.

Deepak Thakur, an employee of The Tribune and resident of Chandigarh, said he was at the scene with another friend who knew Gurbachan.

Incidentally, Gurbachan and Kesar Singh were among the main accused in the infamous Naya Gaon rape case. They are now dealing in property in the area.

“When Gurjit was abusing us, we tried to make him talk to our MLA Ujagar Singh Badali. Instead, he started brutally beating us up with sluggers. Many sluggers broke in the process. Our friends have kept the slugger pieces for fingerprints,” said Kapoor.

“When the policemen had their fill, the SHO asked his men to throw us in a well at a farmhouse,” alleged Thakur.

The three were taken to the Naya Gaon police station, where they were allegedly forced to drink from a bottle of liquor. Their mobiles and purses were taken away, and gold chains, watches and rings forcibly removed, said the three.

Gurbachan and Kapoor were then brought to the local civil hospital for a medical examination.

The application given by the police at the hospital stated that the two were found in an injured state by the roadside in Naya Gaon. The two were, however, admitted when the medical examination revealed that they were badly beaten up.

Thakur was allegedly detained for the whole night at the police station and was released around 1.30 pm.

The MLA Badali visited the three in the hospital this afternoon and on his complaint the SSP Mohali sent SP city Varinderpal Singh to inquire into the incident. A departmental inquiry has been marked into the incident.



Trees felled on World Forestry Day
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Cut trees to celebrate the World Forestry Day…. Ironical? Not quite, for this was what was exactly done by authorities of the Commonwealth Youth Programme Asia Centre, Sector 12, here today. A number of old shisham, mango, jamun and eucalyptus trees were chopped without taking mandatory clearance from the horticulture wing of the Chandigarh administration.

According to Chandigarh trees preservation order, not a single tree can be cut without the permission of the UT adviser. Deputy conservator of forests Ishwar Singh said apart from dead trees, permission had to be sought to cut trees.

Sources revealed that at least four tractor-trailers of felled wood had been sold to a private contractor. Some felled logs and leftover branches could still be seen on the scene. Ironically, the Asia centre of the CYP, which holds training programme for delegates of Commonwealth countries, has been organising regular programmes for protection of the environment.

Meanwhile, shocked by the illegal felling of trees at the behest of a finance and development officer (FPO) of the CYP Asia centre, its regional director Raj Kumar Mishra has marked an inquiry. He said he was out of town when the official felled the trees. Mishra said the decision to remove dead trees and eucalyptus had only been taken after consultations with the environment society of India.

“We will take strict action against the official, as it is a serious offence,” said the regional director. XEN, horticulture, Dilbagh Singh said permission had not been taken from the department and such an offence could lead to registration of an FIR.

The regional director, however, did not confirm the exact number of trees that had been illegally felled.



Mayor to ride in lap of luxury
F&CC okays Corolla as official vehicle
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The city mayor will now travel in luxury with the civic body deciding to buy a Toyota Corolla for him.

With the acquisition of the car, the mayor will join the league of VVIPs, including judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and ministers of Punjab and Haryana, who move in luxury cars.

The decision to buy the luxury car, costing around Rs 10 lakh to the civic body (market price is over Rs 11 lakh), was taken at a recent meeting of the finance and contract committee (F&CC) of the civic body for its “economy and comfort”.

It was argued that a luxury car behoving the status of the mayor of one of the most modern and richest cities in the country should be acquired.

Currently, the mayor, like a majority of officers, travels by Ambassador car. In fact, among the UT functionaries, the mayor will have second most-luxurious car after the Punjab Governor and UT administrator, who travels in a Mercedes.

Even the adviser to the administrator has a Maruti Esteem as his official car

Officials highlighted that though a symbol of authority, Ambassador scored low on fuel economy and high on maintenance. The Corolla fared much better on these counts.

Recently, the High Court had reportedly purchased 37 Corollas for judges and their performance was stated to be good, an official added.

In fact, officials claimed that the civic body had struck a “good bargain” with the company, as it had purchased the vehicle at a “government discount” of around Rs 1 lakh.

Of various options debated by the F&CC for the purchase of vehicle, the choice narrowed down to Corolla for its luxury features besides its price, the sources added.



ICL bouncer held for assault
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 21
A bouncer deputed by the organisers of the ongoing ICL tournament was arrested for thrashing spectators at Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex today.

According to assistant superintendent of police Manish Chaudhary, the accused, Sunil, along with others attacked Himanshu and his friend Pradip Phogad, both residents of Sector 14, Panchkula, when they were talking loud during break.

However, a woman constable present on the scene came to the rescue of the victims, while the bouncers escaped from the scene.

By then fans had gotten enraged and before the situation could get out of hand the police arrested the accused, who was identified by the victims and fans. The police took the victim for a medical examination and registered a case under Sections 323 and 506, IPC, against Sunil.

The bouncers at the ICL were involved in a scuffle a few days ago and they got off scot-free when they tendered an apology with the police and victims.



Accused breaks out of CIA lockup
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 21
The working of the CIA staff, Panchkula, came under the scanner once again after an accused of theft reportedly fled from its custody here last night.

Superintendent of police Sandip Khirwar said Karan Singh, who was under police remand till tomorrow, managed to flee after breaking the grill of the lockup at the CIA police station in Sector 26 late last night.

The accused was arrested by Panchkula police on March 18. According to sources, the 20-year-old well-built accused broke an iron grill of the lockup while a constable, Rajbir, was on duty. The building of the CIA police station is located at an isolated place in Sector 26. Khirwar has suspended Rajbir for delinquency and a case registered.



Pulses go pricey
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
As the veggie season fades away and mercury soars, prices of pulses, too, have shown an upward trend.

Over the past one week, the prices of all pulses and legumes have shot up by Rs 8-10 a kg.

Blame it on forward trading or on shortfall in production, the fact is that the prices of most pulses have gone up 15-27 per cent.

With pulses being a staple dinner in most city homes, the common man will be hurt the most.

The highest rise has been witnessed in the price of chana, which has gone up by over 27 per cent. From Rs 36 per kg a fortnight ago, the prices have shot up to Rs 46-48 a kg now.

The price of rajmah has gone up from Rs 46 per kg to Rs 54, while that of chana dal has shot up from Rs 36 a kg to Rs 42 now.

Prices of all other pulses like mah, moong, kale chana, soybean dal have gone up by Rs 4-6 per kg.

Traders in the city say this is just the beginning and the prices of pulses will go up further, once the summer arrives.

“The winter vegetables will go away, leading to a high demand of pulses. Since the production is low, the gap in demand and supply will lead to a further increase in prices,” said Rakesh Vasudeva of Top Department Store, Panchkula.

Sources added that the future trading of commodities was leading to a hike in prices of most essential commodities.

“Commodity trading is successful only in developed countries where the food budget is less than 10 per cent of the household budget. In India, where the food budget is over 70 per cent of the average household’s budget, a slight variation in the economy will lead to a major shakeup in the economy,” says S.D. Sharma, a banker.

Besides pulses, prices of all edible oils, basmati rice and spices, too, have seen a sharp rise.



PML Scheme
Haryana, Delhi yet to take Central aid
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Their claims of giving Punjabi its due status notwithstanding, both Delhi and Haryana have overlooked the 100 per cent centrally funded Promotion of Minority Languages (PML) scheme. Only Himachal Pradesh, which asked for appointment of 100 Punjabi and as many Urdu teachers under the scheme, has already been given sanction to make the recruitments.

D. Purandeswari, union minister of state for human resources, informed the Rajya Sabha yesterday that only Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Mizoram applied for sanction of language teacher posts under the PML. All requests were accepted and necessary funds have been released to the beneficiary states. She was responding to a question raised by Tarlcohan Singh of Haryana.

Meanwhile, Tarlochan Singh in separate letters to Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dixit and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda reminded them that either there were no Punjabi language teachers in schools or effort was being made to recruit them and post them in schools where students wanted to opt for Punjabi as a subject. It may be pertinent to mention here that the previous Indian National Lok Dal government had amended the Haryana State Languages Act declaring Punjabi as the state’s second language. For the past more than four years, this amended Act has not been implemented in the state.

The Haryana government has neither initiated any move on its own to recruit Punjabi teachers, for its schools, nor sought to benefit from the centrally funded scheme. In Delhi, though Punjabi was taught in some schools, but there has been an acute shortage of Punjabi teachers. No fresh recruitments have been made for the past several years to fill the vacant posts.

Tarlochan Singh in his letters to Shiela Dixit and Bhupinder Singh Hooda said though the Congress, the ruling party in both the states, took pride in claiming to be champion for the cause of minorities, its apathy towards Punjabi was shocking. “I hope Punjabi language is at least treated as a minority language in Delhi and Haryana,” he added. Under the Promotion of Minority Languages, Punjab also did not make any use of the scheme though it faces a shortage of Urdu teachers.



‘Mediation can prevent unnecessary litigation’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
He rides a bicycle wearing a crash helmet to the courts in England. But here in Chandigarh, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Nicholas Addison Phillips drew attention for his insistence on creating awareness on the need for mediation to avoid unnecessary litigation.

Addressing a gathering during a seminar on the ‘Role of courts in alternative disputes resolution’ at the Rock Garden today, Lord Phillips said some judges did not believe in encouraging rival parties to go in for mediation.

In several cases, even the parties were not in a position to understand the need for mediation. As such, it was imperative to create awareness on the need for alternative disputes resolution (ADR).

Lord Phillips said even though the court of appeals did not agree to it, he was in favour of making ADA mandatory. “It would not be contrary to human rights of a litigant as he had the option of coming back in case of a grievance.”

He was here on the invitation of International Centre for Alternate Dispute Resolution, the International Law Association’s Punjab and Haryana Chapter and Asia Pacific Jurists Association (APJA).

Lord Phillips added that in England they even had ADR helplines from where a caller could get all the details of the mediation procedure.

Laying stress on pre-litigation mediation, he asserted methods for dispute resolution were extremely successful in England and recent trends showed there was an inclination among the Indian public to adopt such measures.

Earlier during the seminar, Justice Surya Kant said the method of mediation through Nyaya Panchayats, in existence before the adoption of the British form of justice, had been successful for years.

He added that it made communities come together on the principle of forgive and forget. Summing up his views, Justice Kant said ADR was by far the most tried and tested alternate method to ensure speedy and economical justice.

High Court Chief Justice Vijender Jain said ADR was not a recent phenomenon, although its formal and systematic organisation had only been expressed in recent times.

Justice M.M. Kumar suggested that in a country like India where arrears were piling, cases involving small amounts up to Rs 1 lakh should be compulsorily referred for settlement outside the courts. Justice Rajesh Bindal effectively summed up the benefits of ADR by saying: “Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbour to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker, the lawyer has superior opportunity of being a good man.”

Addressing the gathering, Union law minister H.R. Bhardwaj called upon lawyers to extend full support to help him bring about a change. Bhardwaj added that so far he had not received full support of the legal fraternity. Quoting an example, he said the court of appeals could not be set up at the Supreme Court due to this.

He also asked the lawyers to be vigilant and carry out a debate to find out the reason behind the delay in dispensing justice.



Increase in retirement age of judges
Govt to develop consensus
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Literally pronouncing a favourable verdict on the issue of increasing the retirement age of Supreme Court and high courts judges, Union Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj today said the UPA government was “trying to develop a consensus” among the political parties.

Talking to The Tribune after addressing a seminar on “Role of courts in alternative disputes resolution” organised at the Rock Garden here, Bhardwaj said consensus was essential as the matter was to be given a go ahead by Parliament.

The assertion is significant as one of the recommendations made by the Justice Venkatachaliah Committee to review the working of the Constitution concerns the age of judges of the Constitutional courts.

The committee had suggested 68 years as the retirement age for the Supreme Court judges, and 65 years for the high court judges. As of now, a Supreme Court judge retires at 65 and a high court judge at 62. It is increasingly being felt older the judge the greater would be his contribution in the dispensation of justice.

On the issue of appointing judges from among the members of the minority communities in the country, Bhardwaj said the government was on a constant look out for talent at the high court level.

Even as the demand for a separate high court for Haryana continues to hang fire, Bhardwaj said the current system of common high court for both the states was working fine.

“The Punjab and Haryana High Court is doing good work and no one can have any grudges as both the Jats and the Sikhs are adequately represented,” he said, while refusing to openly comment on the issue.

Bhardwaj said the process of appointing additional judges for reducing the pendency of cases in the high court was on and fresh names were being actively considered for elevation; from among the lawyers and the judiciary.

“As of now several names have been received from the high court for elevation and the matter is being dealt with expeditiously,” he asserted, adding that the warrant of appointment was likely to be issued soon after “the holidays” in April.



Holi spirit grips city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
City residents are all geared up to celebrate the festival of colours - Holi - tomorrow. Many were seen buying sweets, colours and exchanging good wishes in the city markets today The markets are flooded with Chinese colours, ‘pichkaris’, sprays and other such items. “Chinese style Holi is in,” quipped Avinash, a shopkeeper in Sector 20. “I have a variety of water balloons and modified water guns on offer this time,” he added. “I bought lots of water balloons and a water gun with a Spiderman carved on it,” said Aditya Thakur, a resident of Sector 29. “My exams are on but I love celebrating the festival,” said Anubhav, a student of SD College. Some are even planning excursions. “My family is already in Holi mood.We are even planning an excursion to Shimla after the holi tomorrow,” said Komal Chawla, a homemaker.



Police tightens security
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Keeping in mind the festival of Holi tomorrow, Chandigarh traffic police have made elaborate arrangements to check any traffic violations. Nakas will be set up in front of busy markets, the ‘Gheri’ route and other identified spots.

According to SSP S.S. Srivastav a rehearsal for the same was held today. He said that senior police officers would be deployed in sensitive areas. Some areas where nakas will be laid include Sector 10 and 11, the market of Sector 15, Museum Chowk, Kiran Cinema, Sector 22, etc.



MC Poll
Candidates flout rules with impunity
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 21
Candidates contesting the municipal council elections have installed banners and hoardings at any available place in the city giving it an ugly look. They have installed the huge hoardings and banners anywhere and everywhere without the permission from the authorities concerned resulting in defacement of the public property.

Although, the district administration has issued instructions to use only the demarcated places after depositing the amount of Rs 10 per sq feet and getting permission from the executive officer of the MC, no candidate had got any permission.

The Congress candidate from ward No 2 has installed at least half a dozen banners on the electric poles in the locality even as the administration had allowed the open space on the left and right corners in the markets of Mansa Devi Complex and Swastik Vihar and two parks in the area.

In ward No. 5 too, the Congress candidate was not far behind in making the mockery of instructions issued by the administration. Banners of the Congress can be seen installed on the power poles right on the roundabout of Sectors 5, 6, 7and 8.

The candidates of other political parties contesting the council polls, like the Indian National Lok Dal and the BJP, and Independents are also not far behind. All candidates contesting from ward No. 10 in Sector 16 have installed big hoardings at a common place near petrol station and no permission slip was attached to any of the hoarding. However, the space for the purpose here was allocated on the sides of market and parks in the locality.

The hoardings of candidates of the BJP and the Congress, along with an Independent candidate, from ward No. 14 are installed on the road dividing Sectors 15 and 16 and, that too, without any permission slip

The authorities on the other hand claimed to have taken action against the defaulters. “Our employees are on the job to remove the unauthorised banners and hoardings,” said O.P. Sihag, executive officer of the MC. The violations were being videographed, which will help in penalising offenders, he added.



Conserving heritage in Haryana, Punjab
Leading conservation architect restores outer walls of Pinjore Gardens
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
In June last, the Red Fort steered past tough competition from 43 entries to make it to the World Heritage Site list of UNESCO. It was not by chance that the monument got its due after twice failing to register itself on the world stage.

There was a design in that victory. Behind the design was Gurmeet Rai, India’s leading conservation architect, who prepared its Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan. The plan ensured for the fort an inscription on the coveted UNESCO list.

At that time, Gurmeet had said, “The Red Fort is more than a Mughal monument. It is a national and international icon.” A year later, she is opening her heart out for the Pinjore Gardens, which she is now on conservation work for the Haryana government. “These gardens are a milestone. After the Shamilar Gardens of Kashmir and Lahore, these are the most important in the narrative of the Mughal garden architecture. We were lucky to have bagged the project, luckier to see that the garden’s landscape plan was still close to the original,” Gurmeet today told The Tribune in an exclusive interview. She was on the site visit to the Pinjore Gardens, where outer walls had been successfully restored.

What, however, bothers the architect is the distortion of the garden’s central access. That apart, she sees in it a tremendous potential to be a torchbearer for the region. This potential has roots in the garden’s water channel system, which is the soul of any Mughal Garden.

“We have prepared a traditional water management system for the Pinjore Gardens, which are fed to a great extent by waters from the ancient “kunds”. The idea is to revive the garden’s central water channel by linking it to the “kunds”. Water from kunds will be purified and taken to the garden for use. It will go down to the farmers and benefit their crop. If approved, the system will lead the way for others in the region,” said Gurmeet, referring to her lasting interests in Punjab, where she is working on the Integrated Tourism Development Plan for Amritsar. Its highlight is the restoration of the Rambagh Gardens and the Gobindgarh Fort, the only fort of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in India (the rest are in Pakistan).

Another prestigious project in Gurmeet’s hands is the first cluster of the freedom trail, which Punjab earlier proposed to mirror its role in India’s freedom struggle. Gurmeet’s firm - Cultural Resource Conservation Initiative - is preserving the Anglo-Sikh battle sites, including Aliwal, Mukti, Ferozeshah and Sabraon, in the circuit.

“Sabraon, located on the banks of the Sutlej, is historically very significant. It is the place where Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s famous general Sham Singh Attari died. The project will involve the conservation of the landscape around the battle memorials and the conservation of the museum created during the times of M.S. Randhawa. We will have interpretation panels so the visitors can have stories about the site,” Gurmeet said. The second cluster in the trail has locations related to radicals, including Bhagat Singh, while the third features Nabha and Jaiton.

Besides, Gurmeet is working on several other cultural heritage projects, which, she said, were gradually becoming a national priority. “I like to see how Punjab and Haryana have woken up to the fact that they can use huge central grants under the schemes available for refurbishing historic monuments,” she said, but not without stressing the need for changes in cultural policy at the national level.

Right now the conservation of national monuments is the sole responsibility of the Archaeological Survey of India. States are not obliged to preserve their heritage as a matter of policy. “We would want cultural preservation to be state’s obligation,” said Gurmeet.



Ex-servicemen not entitled to toll exemption, says NHAI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Ex-servicemen are not exempted from paying toll tax on national highways. The exemption is available only to serving armed forces personnel, whether moving in government transport of their private vehicles.

A communiqué issued by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on March 6 has further stated that a letter dated November 17, 2006, supposedly issued by its Delhi office providing for exemption to ex-servicemen, is a fake.

Over the past few months, various ex-servicemen organisations have been making the use of the aforesaid letter that mentions that besides serving personnel, ex-servicemen were also entitled toll tax exemption.

A section of serving and retired defence personnel has, however, raised doubts over the veracity of the letter since the Indian Tolls Act 1901 only provides for toll exemption to serving military personnel. Even the Supreme Court had in 2006 upheld toll exemption to private vehicles of serving defence personnel even if they were not on duty.

Many ex-servicemen had protested against toll collection on the basis of the said letter. An ex-servicemen’s organisation in Punjab had reportedly even obtained a stay from a district court on toll collection from retired personnel on the basis of the letter.



Insurance firm asked to pay Rs 2.8 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The district consumer disputes redressal forum has directed IFFCO-TOKIO to pay Rs 2.8 lakh compensation for deficiency in service to a resident of Patiala. The insurance firm was also asked to pay Rs 5,000 as costs of litigation. Major Singh bought a Maruti Zen for Rs 3.81 lakh and the policy was issued in June 13, 2005, for a year. The car was stolen on the intervening night of July 18, 2005, at Karnal. Singh registered a police complaint and a copy of it was supplied to the insurance firm for the claim.

However, the claim was repudiated by the insurance firm on the plea that as per the statement of various witnesses the vehicle in question was being used as taxi. The same was, however, rejected by the forum.



Residents’ views sought for development plan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
To develop Mani Majra and five villages including Hallomajra, Khajeri, Palsora, Maloya and Dadumajra, which have recently been transferred to the municipal corporation, in a planned manner, the MC has decided to seek views from the city residents.

A master plan has already been prepared by the UT administration for the development of Mani Majra in a planned manner. Facilities such as a five-star hotel, multi specialty hospital, sports complex along with a multi- purpose hall are planned. Widening of roads, new link roads, construction of an overbridge on the railway crossing is also in the pipeline.

The mayor Pardeep Chhabra said: “The plan includes up gradation of present infrastructure and provision of basic civic amenities. The MC would even look forward to construct a gymnasium and library halls. Upgradation of primarily and secondary schools as well as construction of new buildings would also be done.” “The corporation has already prepared development plans for these villages and any suggestions may be conveyed to the commissioner so that development plans are finalised,” added Chhabra.

The plan would soon be made available at the office of the MC chief engineer, New Deluxe Building, Sector 17, and also on the website mcchandigarh.gov.in.



My new album not a remix, says Sophie
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The ‘tantrums’ and ‘celebrities’ go hand in hand. Like any other celebrity Ek-Pardesi fame singer Sophie Choudry was a bit skeptical to interact with the mediapersons late in the evening at Tau Devi Lal Stadium today.

The UK-born singer finally agreed to spare some time for an interview after a lot of persuasion by the organisers. The damsel who tapped to the tunes of ‘Hey Baby’ also lent her voice to hit numbers, ‘Its Rocking’ and ‘Mast Kalandar.’

The perfect dancer took no re-takes throughout her performance.

The acclaimed music director Biddu discovered the talent of singing in her when she was 13. Sophie agreed to have started her career by singing back up for Shweta Shetty and Alisha Chinoy.

When questioned if there is a need of re-mixing the old songs Sophie questioned, “Do you think I have spoilt a song? Well it depends on the treatment you give to the song when it is being re-mixed." Talking on her new projects she said, "I have spent three years on my new album which is not a re-mix."

Excited about her next film release Sophie smiled, "In my next film Ali Bagh my role is not glamorous. I am playing the role of a psychologist in it."

A hardcore fan of ‘Formula 1’ racing Sophie also watches tennis sometimes. On cricket she said, "I love watching cricket. In fact, I have played the game for a charity match but it was a disaster."

A trained classical dancer, the master of remixes, claimed that she has been taking salsa dance classes these days.

The young lady can be referred to as a package of singer, dancer and jockeying. "I am happy to be able to do all the three. I had started as a video jockey, singing, dancing and enjoy doing all three," she signed off.



ISBT-17 shopkeepers rue slump in business
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The partial shifting of Inter-State Bus Terminus, Sector 17, to Sector 43 has adversely affected the business of shopkeepers at the Sector 17 terminus.With business suffering, these shopkeepers are now waiting for the completion of their one-year term of contract.

CTU authorities are also finding it hard to further auction the vacated shops. Though the authorities have reduced the reserve price by 20 per cent, there are no takers.

Most shopkeepers lament that they have been suffering losses as the number of visitors to the terminus has decreased drastically with the shifting of the Punjab and Himachal routes in January.

“Some eateries have already shut down as no one has shown interest in these shops,” said shopkeepers, preferring not to come on record.

Ruing the hefty amount being paid by them, businessmen claim that most of them have been paying around Rs 1 lakh per month.

“The sales at shops has dipped significantly. We had no idea at the time of auction that the shifting of routes would take place so soon. Now we are waiting for our term to complete”.

Adding to their woes, the shopkeepers cannot close down their businesses as they are tied down by the terms and conditions. The shops were given for a one-year term through auction by the Chandigarh Transport Authority (CTU).

“We have to suffer losses as we cannot close down our businesses midway.

If we do so we will have to lose our security deposit, which runs into lakhs of rupees,” said a shopkeeper, who runs an eatery on the premises.

Another shopkeeper says: “As we all are small businessmen, the authorities should look into the matter and do something to save us from suffering heavy losses.”



Devotees celebrate Gaur Purnima
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The local chapter of International Society for Krishna Consciousness ( ISKCON) celebrated Gaur Purnima - the appearance day of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu - in a nicely bedecked hall at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B, here today. A huge number of devotees thronged the temple on the occasion.

Earlier, in the morning a nagar sankirtan procession was held during which ISKCON devotees danced to the tune of mridanga and kartal.

It passed through several sectors of the city and concluded at Hare Krishna Dham. Main attraction of the programme was abhisheka of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the evening.

A discourse on the life and teachings of the Lord was also held on the occasion.



Minister dons new avatar
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 21
From a starched white kurta pyjama complete with a khadi jacket to a bright yellow and black Ram Lila costume, the change for Punjab cabinet minister Master Mohan Lal is stark. Anyone who saw him perform briefly at Jaspal Bhatti’s Mad Arts Acting School here last evening could hardly believe that this was the veteran BJP leader playing Ravana and not a professional actor.

But then Master Mohan Lal has been performing during Ram Lilas for years. “Ever since I was a child, I got the Ravana’s role. And once you get into this once, there is a tradition that you have to do it at least for 14 years,” he said.

The minister had to, however, pay for his choice of role in his political life. “The man who had been playing Rama with me at Pathakot also contested the last elections and I lost to him. It was difficult to get out of the image. But then this time over, I won as I believe that Ravana is what Ravana does and Rama is what Rama does. I do works like Rama and so I won,” he said.

Ready for any role offered to him by Jaspal Bhatti, he says he is Bhatti’s big fan. “I used to see him on TV and wonder how can this man perform so well? Now, if he wants me to work in a film with him I am ready,” he says.

Master Mohan Lal performed before the students of the school giving them tips on acting. “When you don the costume you don the personality as well. When I am Ravana I want to kidnap every woman and that is what needs to show on the face,” he said.



Jain flays Congress for demolitions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Senior BJP leader and former MP from Chandigarh Satya Pal Jain today blamed the Congress for demolition of houses of poor people in the city over the last four years of its rule at the Centre. Jain was on a visit to Sector 45-C where a massive demolition drive was carried out yesterday. He assured people of BJP’s support against anti-people polices of the Congress. “During the last four years, people of the city have been helplessly watching a political drama enacted by the Congress.

First their officers issue demolition notice to poor residents, then the Congress leaders go to those very people offering false assurances against demolitions,” Jain said, referring to Pawan Kumar Bansal’s inability to help the residents.Jain said if the local Congress leaders are serious about stopping demolitions, why don’t they get the relevant orders issued from the Centre.

“Let the Congress leaders clarify whether or not Chandigarh falls under the Central Government and whether or not the Centre’s writ runs here. Also let them clarify whether or not all senior officers of Chandigarh are appointed by the Centre,” said Jain, adding that the attitude of ruling party’s leaders was a cruel joke with the common man.



Tribune chief librarian dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The chief librarian of The Tribune, Kuldip Kalia, 57, died here today. Before joining The Tribune, which he served for about 30 years, he had served The Times of India, New Delhi.

Kuldip Kalia joined The Tribune in 1978 as librarian. He is credited with setting up and establishing the reference section of the library and was widely respected by his colleagues for his helpful nature and ability to ferret out information quickly and accurately.

Kuldip Kalia was promoted as chief librarian in 1993, the position he held till date. Ever diligent, he had been attending office till yesterday, despite his poor health.

He is survived by his wife, son and daughter. The cremation will take place on Saturday at 9 am at the cremation ground in Sector 25, Chandigarh.



Man crushed under tractor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Twenty-year-old Mohammad Rajhav was killed when his tractor overturned at the road separating sectors 19 and 27, here this afternoon. Mohammad was a contractor for Sector 29 gardens. He was on his way home when the hook of the tractor broke on a turning point.

The tractor overturned and Mohammed was crushed under it.

He was taken to Government Medical Hospital, Sector 32, from where he was referred to PGI where he was declared brought- dead.

Another person accompanying Mohammad escaped with minor injuries.



Welfare association’s annual function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Amrit Dhingra, president of Senior Citizen Welfare Association, MHC, Manimajra, today said that the annual day of the association will be celebrated at a function scheduled to be held at Kalagram, Mani Majra, on March 25. On the occasion, awards in the field of art and theater, sufi singing and services to senior citizens would be given. by Justice J.S. Narang, chairman of the Judicial Academy, Chandigarh.



CHB adopts an irrational attitude

The Chandigarh Housing Board has adopted an irrational and partial attitude while announcing the housing scheme for UT and High Court employees. I do not know how will people, who have single earning in a family, apply for the same in light of higher prices as compared to the prices fixed earlier, Rs 1 lakh for an MIG house (about 10 years ago).

Ignoring the other government servants belonging to the Central Government, corporations, autonomous bodies, for the said scheme is unfair. Where is the government, which is of the people, by the people and for the people? A government has no right to govern if it cannot provide ‘Roti, kapra aur makaan’ to its citizens.

What will a government servant do after retirement if he/she has no house of his/her own even after getting Rs 5-7 lakh of retirement benefits?

On behalf of PGI employees we had written to the Administrator, Chandigarh, pleading for including the PGI employees in the said scheme but last week we received a reply from the CHB that legally they are not bound to include us.

Subhash Chander, Chandigarh

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



Students protest against felling of trees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
A group of citizens, students and members of the civil society organizations, got together to protest against the cutting of trees on the Panjab University campus.

The students alleged that the trees marked in the auction list and the application for permission, were being cut.

Dr Gaurav Chhabra of NGO, Humlog, had captured the whole sequence of event in a camera and displayed the same to prove his case.

The video showed how the wrongly numbered trees were cut, how the SDO and other officials reacted to the complaint made by students and citizens. The students alleged that a false case was registered against Anurag, a student, who had sought information through the RTI Act.

”The university authorities auctioned 149 trees for over Rs 23 lakh to some private contractors after declaring them as causing threat to people and building. It was the duty of the forest conservator to verify independently whether there was any rationale behind the felling of trees,” said Gaurav Chhabra.

Students of Panjab University have decided not to celebrate this Holi and held a protest at the PU students centre against the registration of false criminal cases and against the illegal cutting of the trees on the PU campus. The INSO has also demanded for the independent and impartial inquiry into the registration of false cases and illegal cutting of the trees in the PU. 



Admn invites applications for certificate of honour
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The Chandigarh administration has invited applications for the presidential award of certificate of honour to Sanskrit, Tamil, Pali/Prakrit, Arabic and Persian Scholars and Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman for Young scholars in the aforesaid fields.

The UT home and education secretary Krishna Mohan revealed that under the award a one-time monetary grant of Rs 5 lakh to the scholars of the Sanskrit and Tamil while a monetary grant of Rs 50,000 per annum for life to the scholars of Persian, Arabic and Pali/Prakrit apart from a shawl will be presented by the president to each awardee.

There are 15 awards for Sanskrit, three each for Arabic and Persian and one each for Pali/Prakrit and Tamil. The distinction will be conferred on the eve of Independence Day in recognition of the outstanding contribution of various scholars of eminence over 60 years of age, in the field of Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian and Pali/Prakrit.

There are five awards for young scholars of classical Tamil in the age group of 30-40 years with a one-time cash grant of Rs 1 lakh.

Education secretary further revealed that there are five awards in Sanskrit, one award each for Arabic, Persian and Pali/Prakrit carrying one-time cash grant of Rs 1 lakh for the young scholars under Maharhshi Badrayan Vyas Samman.

The recommendations should reach the Ministry of Human Resource Development by June 15, 2008.



Principals dissatisfied by add-on courses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
A principals’ conference was held at Panjab University, recently. During the conference the principals of various affiliated colleges expressed their dissatisfaction over the way add-on courses running in their respective colleges were supported.

Many principals alleged that many colleges of the PU, had failed to declare the result for the last three years.

Speaking on the occasion, most of the principals said, even the newly formed add-on cell in the PU had failed to solve the purpose.

They all appealed to the PU authorities to declare the result at the earliest so that; they are in a better position to explain to the students.

The students allege that classes for the add-on courses are not being held regularly. Already the university has discontinued about 27 add on courses in elective vocational subjects in the current session as there were very few takers for the courses. 



200 teachers participate in ‘Dare to Dream’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
Teachers were asked to be good role models and told to be positive inspiration to their students at a training programme christened as ‘Dare to Dream,’ organised by YUVSATTA and the UT education department today.

About 200 teachers teaching at various primary schools of the city participated in the programme. Inaugurating the programme Justice K.S. Ahluwalia, Punjab and Haryana High Court, said, “In this uncertain world, let us be a rock that the students can cling on to in case of any need.”

He reiterated that teachers compete with the communication era while teaching students nowadays.

S.K. Setia, DPI (Schools) gave inspiring examples reminding teachers of the important roles they play in young people’s minds. He said, “The present education system focused on academic achievements is not equipping children with capabilities and understanding about the importance of these values to enable them to tackle different situations and for taking rational decisions.”

Sharing their concern, international educationists Kim and Marga from Buhrmann Singh Creative Learning (P) Ltd, Germany, who were guest speakers of the day said, “Today’s dynamic educational process requires a teacher-student relationship that is different from what is prevalent today.” Giving the Gandhian mantra of “Walk the talk,” Prof Abinash C. Julka of Economics department, PU, said the teachers, never to preach something, which they themselves didn't practice.

Dr Satinder Dhillon who trained BEd students for more then two decades reiterated that the most successful strategy for maintaining discipline is to be loving, just and consistent and to ensure that lessons are thoughtfully prepared, allocating enough time for practical activities and group work. Madhu Bahl, principal of KB DAV Sr. Sec. Public School said participatory methods of learning are very effective in helping students to think, to express their views and develop confidence in them.

An interesting session of the day was on ‘Tools for Unleashing Creativity,’ by Poonam Singh, famous storyteller and editor, Preetlari. 



From Schools
Theatre-training programme for children soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
The Chandigarh administration is introducing theatre-training programme for the teachers in the schools of Chandigarh.

The UT home and education secretary Krishna Mohan revealed that training in theatre would equip teachers with theatre skills and help them using some of these in teaching various subjects with ease.

The officials disclosed that separate space in colleges or schools, including the necessary equipments exclusively for such workshops, would be made available. The administration has also decided to include theatre as a subject for students in their curriculum.

Workshop: It was a day with a difference for about 100 children of the Bapu Dham colony in Sector 26, here today. A drawing and painting workshop for the children was organised at Nepali Forest, here. The department of environment, Chandigarh, YUVSATTA, Government High School, Bapu Dham Colony and Creativity Connect Foundation, New Delhi, jointly conducted this event. The day began with a walk along the 7-km track in the forest early morning. The lake inside the forest and well were major attractions for the children. Then, they were given an opportunity to express their observations and thoughts about environment in drawing and painting. The eminent artists Shiv Singh and Ravinder Sharma helped the children in expressing their observations. Later, the senior artists selected the 10 best works of the children, which will be printed in a catalogue by Creativity Connect Foundation, under its programme Scribbles, aimed at promoting art and self-expression among children of all classes. Later, Ishwar Singh, chief wildlife warden, department of forest, had an interesting interaction with the children. 



PU Notes

Farewell: Students of the law department organised a farewell function in the university auditorium here today. Prof Naval Kishore, dean, students’ welfare, presided over the function. A cultural programme was also organised. Students of the sixth semester presented a self-choreographed skit titled ‘Sulagdha Punjab’. Dr M.S. Bains, convener, gave away the prizes to the participants and students who topped in the university examinations.

Seminar: The human rights and duties wing of the centre for emerging areas in social sciences organised a seminar on “Understanding Human Rights: Paradoxes and Promises” today. The seminar was organised under the 11th plan UGC Merged Scheme for Faculty Improvement. The theme of the seminar was to embark on identifying human rights education as single though not singular academic discipline with an applied and practical component. Dr Virendra Kumar, UGC, Emeritus fellow, presented the keynote address. B.K. Srivastava, director general, Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration, presided over the inaugural function and treated the audience with Vedic shlokas. — TNS



Truck driver gets year in jail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 21
A truck driver was sentenced to one-year imprisonment on charges of causing death due to rash and negligent driving by judicial magistrate Atul Marya yesterday. The convict is a resident of Himachal Pradesh. He was also awarded a fine of Rs 500.

The Chandigarh police had arrested accused driver Nand Lal on May 6, 2004 on charges of driving his truck in rash and negligent manner and hitting a local resident near Tribune Chowk.

The deceased was heading towards his residence on his two-wheeler. He was hit from behind and was taken to the GMCH-32, where he was declared brought dead. A police official was the only witness in the case.



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