C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


11 fire cases in 30 mins
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Nearly dozen fire incidents in different parts of the city, though minor, kept the fire department officials on toes in the latter half of the day today. Among the incidents, firemen had a tough time controlling the blaze in the jungle area in Sector 49 this evening, as the fire spread in the dry shrubs in the area. Besides, three jhuggis belonging to Sadhu Ram, Gorakh Singh and Mani Singh were gutted in another fire that broke out in Sanjay Colony in Phase I, Industrial Area, this afternoon.

A cloud of smoke engulfed the Sector 49 area within few minutes, triggering panic among residents of the nearby area. Onlookers helped the fire tenders by providing them a passage making human chains and diverting the traffic.

“I called up the fire department at 101 and the line got connected to the Mohali fire department. Instead of providing any help, they curtly replied that the area falls under the Chandigarh fire department and disconnected the line saying it was not their job to inform their Chandigarh counterparts,” passerby Vipul said.

The fire broke out in huge trenches in the overgrown area making it impossible for the fire tender to reach there. The firemen tried to douse the flames from a distance by splashing water, which could not reach the core area.

According to fire department officials, more than 10 incidents of fire were reported in half an hour, between 6:30 pm to 7 pm, making it a tough time for the firemen.

Among other minor incidents, fire was reported in Sector 42 (Bank Colony area), Leisure Valley in Sector 10, near State Bank of Patiala in Sector 8, near Guru Har Krishan Public School, Sector 40-C, Opposite the Sector 31 police station, Sector 19, Sector 38-West, and near railway line in Manimajra.

A fireman told The Tribune that areas around the green belts were dug up making these inaccessible for the fire tenders. “Thus, a lot of time is wasted even after the firemen reached the spot on time,” he said.



2 killed, 15 hurt in bus-truck collision
Our Correspondent

Ambala, April 19
Two persons were killed and 15 others injured when a Haryana Roadways bus collided with a truck on the Ambala- Kaithal road near Naggal village this morning. The deceased were identified as Vishal Shaily (11) and Sunita (32).

Three of the injured Krishna (35), Maninder Kuar (20) and Surender Pal (30). They were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. Other 12 injured were admitted to Civil Hospital at Ambala City. The names of other injured are Sucha Singh, Surender Singh, Maninder, Sahil, Sandesh, Buta Ram, Amroh, Nayab Kaur, Veenu, Krishna, Abhishek and Nayab Singh.

The bus was coming from Ismailabad to Ambala City, while the truck was going towards the Kaithal side. According to an injured person, the bus driver was overtaking a car, which led to the accident.

The SHO of the Naggal police station Narender Singh, ASI Inderjeet, ASI Atma Ram and head constable Phool Singh took out the injured passengers from the bus and transported them to Civil Hospital in the police vehicles.

Kharar: A student was killed in a road accident, while other sustained serious injuries, when their scooter was hit by a bus.

The two youngsters, both underage, were riding a scooter. When they reached near Mamupur village on the Kharar-Morinda road, a private bus hit them hard.

The FIR said the impact of collision was so great that the scooter driver, 17-years-old Gagandeep, a resident of Hasanpur village in Kharar, swung almost six-foot high and fell down with great velocity.

The pillion rider, Ramanvir Singh, a resident of Ropar, got entangled with the bus, which dragged him nearly 10-foot away from the accident site.

Gagandeep’s father Tarlochan Singh took him to the PGI, Chandigarh, where he died on his way to the hospital. Ramanvir is admitted to the PGI with serious injuries. He had come to his paternal grandparents in Hasanpur village.



Candidates’ wives pitch in for campaigning
Smriti Sharma

Tribune News Service

(1) Shashi Bala Jain, wife of BJP’s Satya Pal Jain, (2) Naina, w/o Anwar Ul Haq, (3) Madhu Bansal, w/o Pawan Bansal, (4) Satinder Dhawan, w/o Harmohan Dhawan. Tribune photos

Chandigarh, April 19
While the candidates for Chandigarh’s lone Lok Sabha seat are slugging it out with the soaring mercury each day, their better halves are not far behind either.

For the wives of all four candidates of the main political parties, the Congress, BJP, BSP and RJD, are not only matching steps with their husbands in campaigning but are also going ahead in more ways than one.

One thing that’s common among Madhu Bansal, wife of Pawan Kumar Bansal, Shashi Jain, wife of Satya Pal Jain, Satinder Dhawan BSP’S Harmohan Dahwan’s better half and Naina Chaudhary RJD’s Anwar-Ul-Haq’s wife is that all four have geared themselves up for the forthcoming battle and have become an indispensable part of the ongoing campaigning for their husbands.

The day for these women begins as early as 7 in the morning, and from dawn to dusk, they keep shouldering responsibilities, be it holding meetings, doing door-to-door campaigning or visiting colonies and lending ears to the grievances of slum women.

Satinder Dhawan, who has been contributing big time in mobilising the women for their vote and support for Dhawan over the years, has these days put her own social engagements (her Mahila Nayay Samiti which she is running for the last 20 years) on the back burner and making all-out efforts to see her husband win the elections. “ Everyday I hold around four to five meeting.” Her thrust, she says, is on inflation. It’s the women who are directly affected by the sky-rocketing prices of veggies, pulses and all other household items.

Ditto for Shashi Bala Jain, BJP’s Satya Pal Jain’s wife who has been looking after the mahila morcha for long. “Since these days temperature is rising fast, I have shifted my campaigning timings to evenings and mornings.”

“I have to be particular about timings because unlike men, women can be approached only at specific hours, for they have to manage homes, children etc.”

These days her social commitment with the Lioness Club, of which she is a member, has taken a back seat. “ Till elections are over,” she avers.

Madhu Bansal, sitting MP Pawan Bansal’s wife, who is managing all public meetings and sessions with women on her own and plans a day in advance, is confident of her husband’s victory even this time. “ His hard work is going to pay again and this time the margin would be bigger,” she claims.

Among these old pillars of city’s politics is a new name, Anwar Ul Haq, who is contesting for the first time. But more than him, it’s his wife Naina, alias Jannat, for whom the campaigning is turning out to be an eye-opener more than anything else. As 28-year-old, Naina puts it, “Because of my background, I never knew that there were colonies and villages which existed in the city. But as I am getting to know the ground reality by doing door-to-door campaigning for my husband, I have only realised that people of this city want change. And she doesn’t mind driving herself all the way to colonies and slums and rallies if there is any need, for it’s her husband’s victory that means most to her. An Obama can only do the trick here to make their living standards better.” And that change, she claims, she sees in her husband.

Well, it remains to be seen who finally gets the seat but these ladies are only proving the old saying - behind every successful man is a woman.



Clash at food street again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Despite the tall claims of the police to make Night Food Street a safe haven for night birds, lawlessness continues to prevail at eating joints as two groups of youngsters reportedly entered into a fracas late last night yesterday. The fracas flared up owing to a debate over vehicle parking.

According to sources, two groups of youngsters, who were in two cars, picked up a heated debate at Night Food Street around 1:30 am. They picked up an argument as occupants of one vehicle demanded way from the other, which was not given. At this, they began violent and it is leant that windowpane of one of the vehicles was shattered.

ASP (central) Madur Verma told TNS that a police team took both parties to the police station. As no one was injured in the incident, both parties reached a compromise and didn’t lodge any complaint. Both the parties were let go.

Sources said the some youngsters were Panjab University students. The police also claimed that no vehicle was damaged in the incident.

The ASP said they had already provided additional security at Night Food Street and a Gypsy was permanently deployed there.

This is not the isolated incident. On March 24, five youngsters tried to drag a woman sitting in her car and molest her at Night Food Street.

They sped away from the spot after the victim’s husband and her brother came there. The police had initially taken preventive measures into the incident and registered a case of molestation in this regard. 



Cong gets notice over banners in Sec 26
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
On the complaint of the BJP, the Chandigarh Election Commission has issued notice to the Congress today for putting up banners, without permission, in the Sector 26 grain market. The commission had sent its team to the market and after videographing the banners at the site, the team removed these from the market.

According to commission official, as per directions under the Advertisement Control Act, no political parties could put up banners for campaigning without taking prior permission from the Chandigarh Administration.

The official revealed that the Congress had not taken any permission for putting up banners so the commission had issued notice to it.

BJP party member Arun Sood stated that they had complained to returning officer R K Rao about it.



Cong-BJP slugfest hots up
Both parties harp on development

Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
The Congress and the BJP slugfest in the run-up to the May13 Parliamentary elections intensified today with senior leaders of both the parties taking potshots at each others' "lopsided" policies.

While the Congress pressed Union Culture Minister Ambika Soni into service, the BJP relied on Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal to woo the city electorate.

Surprisingly, both the leaders harped on development claiming that only their parties could take the country to the path of development.

In fact, Soni was unsparing in her attack on the saffron party for its "communal agenda" aimed at dividing the country on religion lines. Claiming unprecedented development in the country under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Soni was quick to remind the electorate that only the Congress could provide a stable and secular government at the Centre.

Listing various achievements of the Congress during five years, the minister said, the party was committed to uplift of the downtrodden and safeguarding the interests of the minorities.

On the other hand, Dhumal wanted the voters to rid the country of the "weak and indecisive" Congress-led UPA government, which was like a sinking ship being abandoned by most of its allies.

Soni patted the UPA government for its excellent track record in the service to "aam aadmi". Dhumal picked up holes in the Congress' claims of working for the common man. Corruption and terrorism had touched new heights during the Congress regime, Dhumal alleged.

Congress candidate Pawan Bansal and the BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain came down heavily on each other for their alleged failure on various fronts. While Jain alleged that Bansal had cheated the people by not fulfilling any promise, Bansal played the development card to the hilt.

Jain termed the Congress' five-year term as badli (transfer) and badla (revenge) regime. However, Bansal concentrated on the development projects undertaken by the Congress regime at the local-level in the past five years.

Meanwhile, Jain also sought the support of Ujjagar Singh Wadali, Akali Dal MLA from Morinda, Gurpartap Singh Riar, senior Akali leader, and Jasjeet Singh Bunny, son of the late Capt Kanwaljit Singh.



BJP nominee worried over Sonia’s rally on April 30
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 19
The worries for the BJP-INLD candidate Ratan Lal Kataria in the race of member Parliament from Ambala constituency seems to have increased as the Congress president is scheduled to address rally organised in favour of party candidate Kumari Selja. Selja while interacting with mediapersons here today disclosed that the rally of party being organised on April 30 at Ambla would be addressed by Sonia Gandhi.

The worries of BJP over the issue have valid reasons. The Congress rally addressed by Sonia May 16, 2004, at Ambala during last elections not only made the party workers work for the win of party candidate, Selja, who was being considered as outsider till then, was able to register a historic win securing votes more than total number of votes polled to the candidates fo three candidates of main parites of BJP, INLD and Bahuja Samaj Party.

Even Ratan Lal Kataria, who was again fielded by BJP from the constituency as joint candidate of BJP-INLD agreed to the fact that the rally of Sonia on May 2, 2004 was the main reason behind his defeat during previous Lok Sabha elections.

“I was leading in the fray last time till May 1, 2004, however the gathering in Congress rally which was held to meant for many constituency around Ambala proved a big jolt for his chances to reach Parliament,” said Kataria after his first meeting with at Panchkula at party office early this month.

Selja who was polled 415,000 votes, while Kataria secured only 1,80,329 votes that time. The INLD candidate Balwant Singh who stood third after the results could get only 15.45 per cent of total polled votes. While Balwant Singh got 1,30,972 votes the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Chanderpal could manage merely 57028 votes.

The BJP on the other hand also started preparing to counter the Congress rally by inviting at least one of its star campaigner.

“The efforts were on to ensure that the prime ministerial candidate Lal Krishan Advani or Gujarat Chief Minister Narender Modi address the rally of party to be held at Ambala, the day for which would be shedueld near April 30 when Congress has planned for its rally,” said Sanjay Ahuja, the spokesman of party from Panchkula. In addition to it Kataria would hold drawing room meetings of workers and supporters on April 24 in Panchkula, said Ahuja.

Meanwhile Selja, who was in the town addressed meetings of party workers at eighteen places including Saketri, Mansa Devi Complex and Maheshpur village.


IPL shift blow to business
May snowball into an election issue
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Shifting of IPL-2 to South Africa has not only dealt a severe blow to the Indian tour and travel industry reeling under severe recession crisis, but may snowball into an election issue in the ongoing general elections in the country.

While hoteliers in Mohali, Chandigarh and Dharamsala are upset at a huge loss of possible business that events like IPL bring along with them, BJP candidate from Hamirpur, Anurag Thakur, considers it a major failure of the Congress-led UPA government to permit Rs 1,000 crore-business slip away to South Africa.

“Dharamsala would have been on the international map as it was scheduled to host four of the IPL games. Each game would have brought not only cricket buffs from within the country, but also from abroad. This would have given a major boost to our tour and travel industry. For Himachalis, tourism is the biggest industry that has been sustaining this hilly state. Taking away of this event has blown a deadly economic blow to a small state like Himachal Pradesh and a town like Dharamsala,” said Anurag Thakur.

The situation in Chandigarh and Mohali is perhaps no better. Hoteliers and those in travel and tourism business had been hoping for a respite from the growing impact of recession during the current edition of the IPL.

“We have lost substantially on rooms rental as well as the restaurant business,” said Jagan Chaudhary, a senior functionary of the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO), that runs a chain of hotels, including Mountview, Shivalikview and Parkview in the city.

Besides Mountview, the only other five star property in the city, theTaj, too, has been affected because of shifting of the IPL. Many in the trade believe that after recession, shifting of IPL out of India has been second major blow to tour travel and tourism industry in the country.

International tourist traffic slows down in summers because of the heat. But holding of IPL had raised hopes that the industry would come out of this financial crisis because of the growing popularity of the shortest version of instant cricket.

“We are trying to retrieve some of our plans that we had in place before IPL was moved out,” said Jagan Chaudhary, revealing that entire sixth floor of Hotel Shivalikview had been decorated with cricket theme.

The Whisper Bar with LCD screen will provide cricket buffs not only special snacks christened after terms and names of big stars of cricket, but also some interesting mocktails like Ayla India, Dad’s punch, Googli and Hat-trick cola.

“We are trying to develop a new cricket-conscious clientele as the 20-20 form of the game has become a buzz word in sporting cities like Chandigarh and Mohali,” said Chaudhary.



UT ‘discriminates’ against librarians
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
In a case of prejudice against the UT cadre librarians, the Chandigarh administration has been unable to extend stipulated Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) benefits to them. This move has put about 100 UT cadre librarians in a difficult situation as compared to their counterparts in Punjab.

Ironically, the UT communique, specifically mentioning it to be based on the UGC- recommended Punjab government notification, stated that the benefits of this scheme would be effective from September 1, 2007, whereas the Punjab government notified these benefits to be applicable w.e.f. January 1, 1996, and the pay fixation of Rs 14,940 from July 27,1998.

This implied that those who had been stagnating at lower grades for years, would suffer financial recurring and the worst sufferers were those employees who retired between 1996 and 2007, as they would not claim any benefit. Whereas, the Punjab cadre employees had been enjoying the benefits from the date mentioned in the notification.

“The date of application of the benefits (September 1, 2007) has no mention in the Punjab government notification and the most intriguing part was that no justification for deviating from the Punjab pattern has been given by the administration. It took 18 months to the administration for taking a decision in the matter, but ultimately choose a date that has no relevance anywhere,” rued general secretary of Chandigarh Library Association Jaspal Kaur.

This discrimination is being meted out despite the fact that the UT administrator, vide notification no 10/39/01-SE.1/2460, dated November 20, 2007, had recommended that as per the recommendation from the UGC, the advantages of the scheme should be extended to all university and college librarians w.e.f. July 27, 1998.

The administration has recently adopted the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission, whose first phrase was to groom and strengthen the library scenario to transform an unequal society into ‘egalitarian’ and ‘progressive knowledgeable society’.



Cancer in Women
Experts for regular radiological screening
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
A continuing medical education programme on radiological imaging of women in the middle age, perimenopausal, was held at the GMCH, Sector 32, here today. The theme of the conference was radiological investigations of benign and cancerous diseases in women. Over 150 delegates from Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi attended the conference.

Prof Raj Bahadur, Director-Principal of the GMCH 32, inaugurated the CME. In his inaugural address, he highlighted the rising cases of cancer in women, affecting breasts, uterus and ovaries, which is a worrisome thing.

“New technological advancements in radiology are especially useful in detecting cancers of these organs at an early stage so that effective treatment can be instituted,” he said. He called upon the medical fraternity to educate the masses to report early to the doctors for the early detection of cancer.

Dr Brij Thukral, vice-president of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association, gave a talk on current guidelines on the screening of breast cancer. He gave detailed information about the need for surveillance for this cancer in women in the perimenopausal age.

The simplest and most effective method of detecting early stage of the disease is by the technique of mammography, which should be done periodically, said Dr Suman Kochhar, head of the radiodiagnosis department at the GMCH 32, the organising chairperson of the conference

She further said that cancer of the cervix is the commonest cancer in women in India. It is largely preventable if women undergo regular screening for it. Any suspicious lesion should be investigated seriously. “Women with family history of breast cancer are especially prone to develop this cancer and they should be regularly screened for it,” added Dr Suman.

Prof PK Srivastava, head of the radiodiagnosis department at KG Medical College, Lucknow, discussed different radiological techniques, including ultrasound, mammography and MRI of breast lesions. He said these modern imaging techniques had totally changed the diagnostic perspective of cancer of breast.

Dr Bhattacharya from the PGI, Chandigarh, educated the delegates on the role of PET scan in gynaecological malignancies. He said this technique is especially useful in detecting the spread of cancer. He informed that the PGI had recently procured this machine, the only one in the northern region.



Population explosion, who cares?
Raveen Thukral

As the great Indian dance of democracy gets underway, it's raining promises everywhere. Politicians are back on the streets and are making all sorts of promises - from cheap rations to even banning computers and English in schools- to woo the voters and it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that they are even willing to offer the moon, if only someone would ask.

Since politicians are said to be the best judges of the pulse of the people and they do get elected even on absurd promises, it's only natural for the hopes of the common man to soar during election times. While aspirations of people from different strata of the society may vary, who wouldn't want access to basic amenities like better roads, clean drinking water, uninterrupted power supply, quality healthcare, good education, employment avenues and better infrastructure that could bring about a qualitative change in one's life?

I am sure that everyone in this country would love to see that day when people don't have to get up in the wee hours of the morning to either line up in front of the common taps or fill up water in their houses; when they don't have to stand in long queues to board busses, trains or buying rations; when they don't have to look for sifarish to get their children admitted to schools, colleges or hospitals; when they don't have to spend nights and days without electricity supply; when they don't have to think about how to manage two square meals a day; and when jobs are available for most if not all. In short when there is enough of everything for everyone.

This situation may sound utopian but is it something too much to ask for even after 62 years of independence? Isn't it an irony that after so many years, elections are still being contested in most parts of the country on the issue of bijli, sadak and panni?

So the question is will things change after this election? Well, even at the risk of sounding a pessimist, I strongly feel that these basic issues would continue to dominate many more elections to come as no political party seems serious enough to deal with the issue of population growth, which continues to be the biggest impediment to the country's progress.

The rate at which we are growing, by 2025 we will cross the population of China and touch the 1.5 billion mark. Figures indicate that the total population of Australia is added to India every year with 16.29 million births.

Thus no infrastructure development, howsoever fast paced it may be, can match this kind of population explosion. And as long as this mismatch exists, basic amenities will continue to elude majority of the population.

The commitment of our political parties to deal with this issue can be gauged from the fact that while the Congress manifesto is totally silent on it, the BJP has devoted a few lines to “stabilisation” of population. The reasons for their silence are obvious as they do not want to upset their vote banks by raising this contentious issue.

Population control seems to be no longer the agenda of the government's of the day as hardly one gets to see any concerted campaigns on it. While millions of rupees are being spent, and rightly so, on prevention of Aids by propagating protective sex etc, nothing is being talked about having less children. Those DAVP campaigns of ‘hum do, hamare do’ later changed to ‘hum ek, humara ek’ of the 70s and 80s are no longer heard or seen.

A couple of weeks ago The Tribune had carried an article on the Oped page, “Population growth hurts development”. It stated, “during the last elections in 2004, we were 108 crore - an increase of over five crore over the census figure of 2001. Today in 2009 we are 116 crore - an absolute increase of over 13 crore from the 2001 level and by the next national elections in 2014, we will be 124 crore”.

The article also stated that while there was a decline in population growth rate in the country since 1981, four major states, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh continue to defy the trend. BIMARU states, which account for 204 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats, constitute nearly 40 per cent of the country's population and will contribute well over 50 per cent of the population growth in the coming decades.

While middle class people like us living in Chandigarh are extremely lucky and cannot complain on the condition of roads and water and electricity supply like our counterparts living in other towns, things even here are going from bad to worse. The traffic on the streets is becoming chaotic by the day, housing has gone beyond the reach of most people, admissions in schools are hard to get and every year about 8000 children are left out, queues at the PGI or any other government hospital are only becoming lengthier and jobs as such are hard to find.

I shudder to think what will happen 11 years later (in 2021) when the population of this city would touch 19.5 lakhs - 10.5 lakh more people than what we had in 2001 - at the current growth rate. More chaos, I am sure.

But do these politicians really care? Electioneering in the city has been on for quite sometime but I haven't heard any of the candidates talking about this issue. Why so? What are they scared of? Such problems can only be met when confronted squarely and not by keeping mum.

Write to cityeditor@tribunemail.com



City Scope Letters
Politics easy to inherit, difficult to retain

This is with reference to Raveen Thukral’s article ‘Frittering away a legacy’ in Chandigarh Tribune dated April 13.

It is easy to inherit politics but difficult to retain. Rash judgements, unwarranted decisions and irrelevant ambitions cannot go parallel with a political legacy. After Capt Kanwaljit Singh’s demise, his son Bunny exhibited immature behaviour by resigning from the SAD and decided to contest as an independent candidate from Patiala opposing the SAD.

The youth must remember that no profession, particularly politics, can be inherited with success if there is no aptitude to learn the same.

Capt Kanwaljit was not happy the way he was treated by the party, his ambition of becoming the finance minister might not be suiting to Badal, keeping the party interests in mind.

Capt Kanwaljit would have understood the reality of politics, and hence, never showed his frustration openly. Bunny should not have left the party, annoying senior leaders and joining the party again. Though he has joined back the party, things would never be the same for him.

One must understand and think 10 times before one speaks and think before you take a decision, legacies cannot be encashed easily with a casual attitude.

Capt (Retd) Amar Jeet Kumar, Mohali


I interacted with Late Capt. Kanwaljit Singh during my posting as Patiala Commissioner other assignments. I am unable to comprehend the present situation i.e. why his son Jasjit Singh Bunny left the SAD.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family cannot be blamed for supporting Bunny in his tough time. And hence, I would also like to wish Bunny a good life and a bright career.

RN Gupta, Former Financial Commissioner, Punjab


I agree with Raveen Thukral’s opinion that Capt Kanwaljit’s son Bunny initially looked committed to his father’s convictions, but after his father’s demise he dismantled the edifice that Capt Kanwaljit had built in his life. What he considers an immediate gain, will be his ultimate loss. However, sticking to his declared stand would have earned him, if not immediately, definitely over a period of time.

Rajpal Singh


By raising a voice at the bhog ceremony of his father, Capt Kanwaljit Singh regarding his resigning from the party, Bunny has certainly shown his immaturity and has cornered him for the future to come as he has spoiled his political career.

The Badals were graceful at the last ceremony of their friend and thereafter also as they were successful in bringing back Bunny, which might be their political compulsion but behaviour of Bunny was childish in raising the voice, which nobody does.

Being graceful always pays and Bunny should learn to be as in the Punjab politics graceful leaders irrespective of political affiliations get praised.

R K Garg


Jasjit Singh Bunny had resigned from the Punjab’s ruling party and announced that he would contest the Lok Sabha elections as an independent candidate from Patiala just a day after immersing the ashes of his father.

The entire political fraternity was surprised at his decision. The move had embarrassed the Akali Dal as he did not even wait for the completion of the last rites of his father.

But after the bhog ceremony, Bunny took a U-turn and joined the party again. Now he would be a loser in the party and the political circle.

Sahil Garg, Chandigarh


I do not appreciate the views expressed in this article by the author because of the fact that this was just a minor issue of Jasjit Singh Bunny, son of late Capt Kanwajit Singh, resigning from the party and again joining it later. In today’s vicious political system, such incidents do take place everyday across the country. Even big political players change their outfit daily, what to talk of Bunny who is just a drop in the ocean.

SK Khosla

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



Battle for fifth pay panel relief not over yet
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
A decade after the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission (FPC) were implemented, a number of ex-servicemen continue to fight for their benefits. More ex-servicemen have moved the High Court to get revised pension they can lay claim to after certain anomalies in the FPC were redressed.

Taking up a petition filed by several ex-servicemen who retired before January 1996, seeking sanction of revised pension from January 1, 1996, instead of January 1, 2006, Justice Ajai Lamba of the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued notices on Friday to the Central government and others concerned.

While the recommendations of the FPC were implemented with effect from January 1, 1996, the revised pension after removal of anomalies was sanctioned with effect from January 1, 2006. The date of sanction is being challenged by those affected.

The petitioners, all personnel below officer rank, have contended that fixing January 1, 2006, as the cut-off date was arbitrary, discriminatory and unconstitutional as commissioned officers were granted similar benefits with effect from January 1, 1996.

Further, even the Government of India’s letter dated June 7, 1999, was amended on the recommendation of the group of ministers (GOM) and the contents of the original letter were applicable from January, 1996. Hence, they were entitled for the arrears of improved pension with effect from January 1, 1996, and not from 2006, the petitioners claimed.

As no benefit or revised pension was being given to the PBORs retiring before1996, the government set up a committee of the GOM in January 2005 to look into the issue.

In pursuance of the recommendations of the GOM, the Ministry of Defence issued a letter on February 1, 2006, regarding the improvement in pension of PBORs by removing the anomalies. This had the effect of carrying out amendments in para 2.2(a) of the ministry’s letter dated June 7, 1999.



‘India capital of diabetes’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
“Tropical infections need to be diagnosed early as they are responsible for more than 25 per cent of global diseases,” said Dr JS Chopra, former head of the neurology department, PGI, at a national conference “Tropicon 2009” at PGI here today.

Over 500 eminent neurologists and physicians from all over the country attended the conference. In his inaugural address, Dr Chopra said in India TB, malaria and leprosy formed a major burden on society.

He alerted that India had become a capital of diabetes and sounded a warning that by 2025, the numbers might increase five-fold and also increased other neurological diseases like stroke, which was now acquiring epidemic proportions.

Dr Manish Modi, assistant professor, the department of neurology, PGI, and the organising secretary, Tropicon 2009, also stressed on the need to diagnose the infections in the early stages and managing the neurological complications.

Dr Vinay Sakhuja, dean PGI, was the guest of honour and Dr Gourie Devi, president, tropical neurology sub-section of the Indian Academy of Neurology, was honoured at the inauguration.

In the poster-presentation competition, Dr Parveen Sharma and Dr Kusum Sharma from PGI won the first and second prizes, respectively.

Dr Jomal Mathew and Dr Vikas Sharma won the prizes in Tropicomania, a quiz on tropical neurology for postgraduate students.



SAD misleading voters: Soni
Tribune News Service

Ambika Soni addresses a rally in Mohali on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, April 19,
While canvassing for Ravneet Singh Bittu, Congress candidate from the Anandpur Sahib, Union Cultural Minister, Ambika Soni, said today that she wanted to fight form the seat but chose Bittu in her place. "He represents the youth. I have served the party for 40 years and we should give the youth an opportunity", she added.

Taking on the SAD for misleading people on the issue of development and electricity shortage, he said the past performance of the UPA government should be taken into account while casting vote. The voters should ask the SAD, reason for opposing the nuclear deal when it was going to benefit Punjab.

"I have worked for the development of the area and will continue to work for it", she added, while urging the voters to compare Dr Manmohan Singh with LK Advani. Earlier, Ravneet Bittu said the Badals were misleading voters and raising irrelevant issues and did not talk about development.

By raking communal issues, the Akalis were trying to divert the attention of the voters. He promised to set up a university and bring the industry to Anandpur Sahib and take other important issues directly with Rahul Gandhi.



BSP promises flats in Maloya
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh April 19
Harmohan Dhawan, BSP candidate from Chandigarh, undertook a padyatra in Maloya today.

Dhawan promised two-bedroom flats under "Garib Awas Yojana" on the UP pattern to the needy persons.

Later, Dhawan addressed a public meeting in Dhanas and assured it that if elected to power, he would regularise need-based changes in Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) flats and other houses in the city.

Meanwhile, the BSP (Ambedkar) today merged with the BSP, a press note claimed. Rakesh Kumar, president of the Congress unit of Palsora Colony and Dharma Devi, district general secretary, also joined the BSP.

Support to the Congress: The Chandigarh Social Welfare Council organised a “Jan Samarthan Samaroh” to extend support to Pawan Bansal, Congress candidate.

Addressing a gathering of residents of Sectors 48, 49, 50

and 51 in the precincts of the ESIC Society, Sector 51, Bansal said he was committed to initiating development plans for the benefit of the people of the area.

Satish Chandra Sharma, general secretary of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Council, thanked Bansal for his support in getting the GPA transfer policy cleared.



Mercury soars in city
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, April 19
Hot and dusty winds swept across the city on Sunday, making it unpleasant for Chandigarians as the city saw temperatures soaring five degrees above normal. Since daytime temperatures have steadily staying above normal, Met officials stated that a "loo-like" condition has already started.

As per Met official maximum temperature for Sunday at 39.2 degrees Celsius and the minimum at 23.2 degrees Celsius. The weather office also reported that strong hot surface winds prevailed in the city.

As per the met department there would be mainly clear sky with strong surface winds during day time but later in afternoon there are chances of partly cloudy sky.

People in the city had a tough time coping with the heat and the strong dust-laden winds.

"The summer has just started and it's already like a heat wave has hit us!" said Shahu, a businessman.

Amit Verma, who commutes on a two wheeler, said: "I felt like I was in a furnace. My arms were burning."



Man detained for selling beef
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 19
The police rounded up a Saharanpur resident from Mohali village on the suspicion of selling beef.

According to the police, suspect Akram was rounded up with 40 kg of meat. The incident came to light when Vineet Gupta asked him about what he was selling and he replied that it was bufallo meat. Gupta suspected that the man was selling beef and called the police.

The police said they had taken the meat into its possession and would send it for examination to confirm whether it was beef or not. A daily diary report has been registered in this regard.



622 donate blood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
As many as 622 volunteers, including 228 women, donated blood at a blood donation camp organised by Sant Nirankari Mandal at Sant Nirankari Bhawan, Sector 30, here today. UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar inaugurated the camp.

On the occasion, Kumar said this was a noble cause, which helped saving many lives. He further said during cases of accidents, the maximum deaths were due to the excessive bleeding and timely availability of blood could save many lives.

The camp was organised under the guidance of a team from the Blood Bank, PGI.

A team of more than 20 doctors and other staff, led by Dr. Usha Rao, Blood Transfusion Officer, PGIMER, Chandigarh, conducted the 7-hour blood collection operations.



Mishap victim succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 19
Kishore Chand, a resident of Sector 33, succumbed to his injuries at the PGI here today. The victim had been admitted to the PGI after being injured in a road accident by a canter near the PTL lights here on April 14. The police has registered a case against the canter driver, Sohan Singh, on the basis of a statement given by Kanwal Vohra, a relative of the deceased.

Drug peddler arrested

Bassi Pathana: The narcotic cell today arrested a drug peddler and seized 50 gm opium from him.

A police party, headed by Raghbir Singh, ASI, had erected a naka near Damheri Canal Bridge. During search of a motor cyclist, the police found 50 gm opium. He was identified as Jaspal Singh, resident of Mahant Pur in Jalandhar district. He admitted that he was involved in the sale of drugs in the area. A case under the NDPS Act was registered and he was sent to the judicial custody.



Ceremony in temple

Mohali, April 19
A “Shiva lingam” will be installed at Shri Vaishno Mata Temple in Phase 3B1 here for which ceremonies will begin from 8 am tomorrow .

A member of the Mandi Committee said the shobha yatra would start on May 21 at 6 pm. The installation would take place on May 22 at 10.30 am which would be followed by a bhandara. — TNS



No public hearing today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues will not hold his regular public hearing session at the UT Secretariat on Monday i.e. April 20, according to a press note.



Music students taken aback
Half of paper not from syllabus

GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
The April 17 evening was full of shock for students taking the examination of MA Music Part I (Instrumental) of Panjab University just after receiving the question paper.

The students were taken aback to find that half of the questions of the paper had been set out of the syllabus and other half was hard to understand.

The question No VIII asked the students to give classical analysis on four different subjects. It was only after consulting the Hindi version of the question paper that the students were told it was critical analysis which had been wrongly spelt as classical analysis.

“We could not understand how could a question be explained in a classical manner. It was only when we raised an objection, the supervisor consulted the Hindi version and came to know that we had to analyse the subject matter in a critical manner,” said the students, who were from Government College for Girls-11, Panjab University, and Government College for Women, Ludhiana.

Similarly, the students were asked to explain raga sudh kalyan, whereas later it was rectified that the correct term of raga was shudh sarang.

Undoubtedly, this lackadaisical and irresponsible attitude of the paper setter had put a question mark on the future of over 30 students who now demanded grace marks for the damage done to them.

“These blunders cost us precious one hour of the examination time and hardly anyone of us could attempt the paper,” rued the students.

The students of GCG have submitted a representation with the Registrar Examination, Panjab University, to look into the matter, but the outcome is still awaited.

Examination controller, PU, AK Bhandari, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.



1,500 take mock AIEEE
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Over 1,500 students participated in the mock AIEEE-2009 test organised by Continental Institute for International Studies (CIIS), Mohali, at Guru Nanak School, Sector 36, here today.

Aimed at testing the skills ahead of AIEEE ’09, the mock test was organised free of cost with a bounty of prizes aimed at encouraging the students who turned up from Punjab, Haryana and surrounding regions, apart from the local ones.

The huge turnover of the students exemplified their zeal and enthusiasm for writing the mock AIEEE test.

Informing about the immensely successful mock test Col Karamjit Singh, the institute director, said the mock test was held with an endeavour to support the students in preparing for various upcoming entrance exams.

This will also help them to evaluate the status of their preparation and to ascertain the areas where more preparation is required.

The students seemed upbeat and felt that this kind of exercise really benefited them and enable them to get the real feel of the upcoming exams.



Annual Day
Girls excel in academics
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Girls cornered all academic awards on the Annual Day of Centre for Management Training and Research held here today.

Vice-Chancellor of Panjab Technical University Dr Rajneesh Arora, who was the chief guest on the occasion, distributed prizes to the students for their excellent performance in academics.

Prakriti Mehta and Madhuri Khosla won first and second prizes for the overall performance during the session 2006-08 while Simrata Anand stood first and Prakriti Mehta second in the fourth semester. Sapna Kumari and Japneet Talwar won prizes for academic performance in the first and second semester. Besides, prizes were also distributed for sports and extra-curricular activities.

Institute director Vipin K Dewan said despite recession, over 50 per cent students had been placed in good organisations hitherto.

The students presented Saraswati Vandana, dandia, skits and bhangra.



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