C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Panchkula woman’s throat slashed
Victim struggles for life as assailant escapes
Tribune News Service

Burglary suspected motive

Residents of Marketing Board Colony say that the motive of attack was burglary. They allege that though they are staying in a VIP sector, there was no safety and burglaries were reported frequently. Mr Ishwar Nath Sharma, a resident of the area, said since it is the employees who stay here, most burglaries happen during daytime.

Panchkula, November 24
A youth, claiming to be an associate of her husband, gained entry into the Sector 14 house of Mrs Neelam Devi this afternoon, and slashed her throat. She is now struggling for her life at the PGI, Chandigarh.

The incident took place around 1 pm, when Ms Neelam Devi was alone at her residence in Marketing Board Colony, Sector 14, here. Incidentally, the house falls in the high security area of the township, a few yards away from the residence of the Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police.

The victim told the police that she was chopping vegetables in the living room when a youth knocked at the door. “He told my wife that he had come to meet me, and had taken an appointment from me. She opened the door and let him in. He requested for a glass of water and just as Neelam turned towards the kitchen, he attacked her with a butcher’s knife,” said Jaipal, husband of the victim, who is an employee of the Marketing Board.

The assailant reportedly slashed the right hand side of Neelam's neck at two places. “She told me that she struggled to free herself from his grasp and bit his hand. While trying to escape another attack, she tried to snatch the knife and in the process, received injuries on her hand. The assailant, in a fit of rage, again attacked at the nape of her neck,” said Jaipal. He said that he did not have any enemies nor did he know the assailant. He said that his wife had informed him that he was wearing a black jacket and trousers, with white sports shoes.

All this while, the woman was crying for help and her neighbours, Sukhbiri and her daughter Geeta, came out of their house. As they walked right inside Neelam's house, the assailant threw his first victim and the weapon on one side and charged at Sukhbiri. He pushed her on the ground and tried to flee. When Geeta tried to stall his way, he showered blows on her face.

By this time, 18-year-old Rohit Bhalla, who stays on the ground floor of Neelam's apartment, had heard the two women screaming for help. As he rushed upstairs, he spotted the assailant coming downstairs and pinned him to the wall. He, too, cried for help, but the assailant managed to free himself. Rohit followed him for a long distance, but he managed to escape. However, his grey scooter (HR-49A-1279), was left parked outside the house.

In the meantime, a large crowd had gathered at the spot and the police was called. The victim was rushed to General Hospital, Panchkula, from where she was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Police sources say that from the scooter they have identified the assailant as Manbir Singh of Himshikha Colony, Pinjore. A case has been registered against him and police parties have been sent to Himshikha Pinjore to nab him.



Boy sues INSCOL
Seeks Rs 97 lakh for losing leg
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 24
Alleging that owing to negligence on the part of a city-based private hospital, and physiotherapy clinic and a Panchkula-based private doctor, he had lost his leg, a 15-year-old boy, Abhishek Ahluwalia, and his parents today filed a complaint in the UT consumer court seeking a compensation worth about Rs 97 lakh.

It has been alleged that the doctors at private hospital had not given adequate and sufficient medical treatment in time to Abhishek who had suffered a simple fracture in his left leg. As a result of gross negligence on the part of the doctors, Abhishek’s one leg had to be amputated.

Claiming compensation for medical negligence under the consumer protection Act, Abhishek Ahluwalia, a Class IX student at St John’s High School, Sector 26, his mother, Ms Anuradha Ahluwalia, and father, Mr Anil Kumar Ahluwalia, has filed a case against the INSCOL hospital, Sector-34, physiotherapy clinic, Sector-8-C, and a Panchkula-based private doctor. The General Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector-32, through its Director has also been made party in the case to support the complainant’s plea.

Going into the background of the case, Abhishek’s parent’s stated that it was a minor internal knee injury which Abhishek sustained while playing football in St John’s School on July 11 after which he was taken to a private hospital.

Abhishek was operated upon by a consultant orthopaedician at private hospital on July 11. He was readmitted on July, 13 with numbness, swelling and blisters all over his leg.

On July, 18, he was put on a ventilator. Finally when the case became unmanageable he was shifted to the GMCH-32. The doctors there informed them that he was already suffering from multi-organ dysfunction and his heart, liver and kidney had been affected. The doctors at the GMCH-32, amputated his leg as there was a threat to Abhishek’s life.

Meanwhile, the doctors denied the negligence on their part finally led to amputation.

They had also suggested that the amputation could be due to infection, which was very high in any government hospitals.

The family of Abhishek Ahluwalia, along with the Shivalik Enclave Residents Welfare Association, had presented a memorandum to the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, and also to the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare seeking strict action against persons due to whose alleged negligence Abhishek’s one leg had to be amputated.



Decision to close fee counters likely today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
A decision on the closure of fee counters in city colleges till the committee constituted by the UT Administrator gives its report, is expected tomorrow. A delegation of students, led by the president of the Panjab University Campus Students' Council (PUCSC), met the Adviser to Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, here today. They were assured that the same would be conveyed to the Education Secretary, Mr RS Gujral, by morning.

Even as the indefinite fast by girl students of colleges to press the authorities for the closure of fee counters in city colleges completed four days, council president of Guru Gobind Singh College (GGS), Sector 26, Madhumeet, was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 16, by the police after she was taken ill in the evening.

Taking her place, the vice-president of GGS-26, Manmeet Kaur, joined Annpurna Singh of the Government College for Girls (GCG), Sector 11, and Harpreet of the Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, at GCG-11, in the indefinite fast.

Meanwhile, the process of filling of forms for examinations to be conducted in April, 2004, by the Panjab University started in city colleges though studies continued to be disrupted for another day. While students went to their classes to collect the examination forms, they did not attend classes, leaving their rooms after getting their forms in hand.

Claiming that the police was not allowing any visitors to the council members who were on indefinite fast, an office-bearer of the council at GCG-11, alleged that the students were asked to stay inside the college campus or leave. "It is ridiculous that the students were not even allowed to make any queries about the health of their council president," the council member said.

Students at GCG-11, the venue for the protest, said two lecturers from GGS College took away Madhumeet, claiming that regular classes were on at the college. Her parents were called up over the phone and asked to urge her to discontinue her fast which she refused and came back to GCG-11.

The students also attempted to hold a procession from outside MCM DAV College, Sector 36.

"We are hopeful that the Administration will suspend collection of fee till the committee gives its decision and help restore normal functioning in colleges. We will wait till tomorrow before deciding the future course of action," the students said.



CAT candidates still in shock
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

‘I was offered paper for Rs 2.5 lakh’

Approached by an unidentified man over the phone, a resident of Sector 7, upset with the paper leakage, claimed that he turned down their proposal. “On Friday afternoon, a man called up and told me that he could give me the CAT paper in advance at Rs 2.5 lakh and explained to me that we would need to stay at a hotel till the morning of the examination and sent straight to the centre. I spoke to my friends and seriously thought of pooling money to get in. However, my conscience didn’t allow me to take recourse to cheating even if it made my career and earned me a pay packet of Rs 10 lakh,” he stated.

After taking this decision, he informed his parents who were appreciative of the fact that he held on to family traditions and did not cheat despite the attraction of getting into the top management institute.

Chandigarh, November 24
It was back to books and mock tests for CAT candidates a day after the paper-leakage expose left them numbed. Saddened by the revelations, most of the students were dejected and disheartened, adding that paper-leakage had made getting into study-mode all the more difficult.

“I am under shock since yesterday. It is amazing that the top six management institutes in Asia cannot maintain secrecy in conducting one examination. What can we expect from the many other bodies conducting entrance tests? I am just hoping that I get into a positive frame of mind very soon. The CAT paper is usually full of surprises but this, surely, surpasses all, “says Swarid Sharma, a graduate from the Punjab Engineering College (PEC).

Having done well in yesterday’s paper, a product of Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, Sahil Trehan expressed skepticism over the conduct of examinations down the years. “I was to join a company on January 1, next year. However, I will have to forgo my job to prepare all over again for the paper or delay my joining if the company is willing. Who knows the paper might have been leaked all these years? This kind of leakage has put the entire examination system under the scanner. In fact, I got a call on my mobile and the voice at the other end asked me if I was appearing for the examination and if I wanted the paper. I dismissed it as some kind of a joke, unwilling to believe that the CAT paper, too, could be leaked,” he rues.

Lamenting his fate, Bhavpreet Goyal claims, “I went into the examination hall very confident of myself and came out disappointed. With this leakage, we will have a tougher paper and I don’t know how I will fare. To keep the tempo of studies going for another two months, it would mean more rounds of coaching institutes and greater devotion to studies.”

“The cancellation of the CAT paper has put us in greater trouble with regard to applying to other institutes affiliated to CAT . Now, we will have to dole out more money to apply in every institute rather than wait for our CAT score before seeking admission,” says Mandeep Dhir, a student of post-graduation in Panjab University.

“We will have to give a ‘60-days to CAT capsule’ again to all the CAT aspirants preparing with us without charging any extra money. We are working on preparing new all-India level tests to act as fillers and keep the students in touch with the basics. Whatever happened is really sad since this is rated as the toughest and most prestigious exam in India,” informs Ms Guneet, Centre Manager, of the local IMS Learning Centre.



CAT foolproof, says ex-member of panel
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 24
Dr B.K. Mohanty, a former member of the Common Admission Test (CAT) Group, responsible for admissions to various MBA institutes in the country, including six Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), stated today that the CAT is one of the most credible examination system in the world.

Talking to mediapersons at an institute here, Dr Mohanty denied any knowledge of what he thought could have led to the CAT paper leak yesterday affecting over a lakh students in the country.

“The CAT is a foolproof examination. There is simply no loophole anywhere in the process involving the preparation of the test paper,” he said.

Explaining the process briefly, Mr Vipin Dewan, Director of the Centre for Management Training and Research Institute, stated the process of examination preparation is a year-long process and involved the six IIMs, each one of which had an admission committee. “Every committee has a chairman and these six chairmen comprise the CAT group. Every committee formed is responsible for a specific function and the members also change every year,” he said.

“The question papers are prepared from a common question pool prepared by the question paper committees of the IIMs. The other management institutes which also use the CAT for their admissions are not involved in any way in the process of question paper preparation. The total number of people involved in the complete process is just around 40,” said Dr Mohanty.

Answering a question whether the inclusion of other management institutes in the test has brought down the credibility of the examination, Dr Mohanty said he was not aware of what the system being followed now was. “I was the Chairman of the IIM, Lucknow, admission committee from 1998 to 2001 and since then I have not involved myself with this process,” he said.

Reiterating that the system of examination is extremely honourable and takes care of every possibility, he said since paper leak had occurred, it would be wise to simply wait for the responsibility to be fixed by the CBI and then see where changes were required.



Number of women with AIDS doubles in region
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Breakup of AIDS cases in the region statewise (till Oct)

UT      Haryana       Punjab     Himachal Pradesh

780      313             248                  144

Chandigarh, November 24
Gaining a firm foothold in the northern region, the AIDS epidemic with almost 1,500 full-blown cases is assuming alarming proportions, as the number of women being gripped by the killer disease has doubled during the past five years.

The number of patients from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and UT receiving treatment at the PGI, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) and General Hospital here is 830. The scant treatment facilities coupled with the stigma attached to the disease make the situation abysmal for the patients, leaving them with little option but to seek refuge at the PGI.

As compared to 1999 when only two women fell victim to AIDS, they are now fast catching up with men as out of a total of 22 deaths that took place last year, six were from the fair sex. The high risk of mother to child transmission has still not been recognised fully as a majority prefer to label it as a disease of the poor man.

The number of people who have been found to be carrying HIV virus from the city and neighbouring states till the end of October is 2448. "This excludes the HIV positive people who figure in the individual list of infected persons in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, though the chances of some common names cannot be ruled out," explains a health official, while admitting that the situation was becoming grim in these states, falling in the low prevalence category.

During the past five years there have been 86 AIDS deaths. However, it is felt that some of the AIDS deaths go unaccounted, as many patients do not divulge their real name and address while seeking treatment for fear of stigma.

Lackadaisical execution of the interventional schemes to reach out to the vulnerable population has forced the health authorities in Haryana to close all such programmes for the time being. Even though the situation in Haryana is the worst with 313 cases, as compared to 248 in Punjab, the quality of services at some of the voluntary counselling centres has been under question.

Punjab takes the lead as far as the highest number of HIV positive persons are concerned with a figure of 1254, followed by 372 in Haryana, 257 in Himachal Pradesh and 149 in Chandigarh.

Despite huge amounts being pumped into various programmes, the national AIDS Control Organisation has expressed displeasure over the quality of counselling, testing, attendance and maintenance of confidentiality at the Voluntary Counselling and Confidential Training Services centres opened to combat the epidemic.

"The focus being on high-prevalence states like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra, doctors and other professionals requiring specialised training in AIDS have to go to Mumbai when the PGI can be equipped to take on the responsibility effectively," opines a senior PGI doctor. So far there are only three centres of excellence in the country in Chennai, Mumbai and Imphal, where hands on training and standardisation of procedures and quality assurance are imparted.



NCC cadets to be trained in border management
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The National Cadet Corps (NCC) has mooted a special training programme for its cadets in border areas which will help in effective border management and strengthening the third line of defence during hostilities as well as in peace.

The proposal also envisions an additional 30,000 vacancies in border districts, which are proposed to be funded by the Central Government.

“The NCC came under pressure during Operation Parakram as well as during the Kargil conflict,” Brig D.S. Dhillon, Deputy Director General, NCC, said. “We would like an establishment where cadets can effectively contribute towards the management of borders and undertake active supportive roles for the armed forces,” he added.

In Punjab, for instance, there are just two NCC units based in districts adjoining the international border with Pakistan, with one located at Gurdaspur and the other at Ferozepore.

“Presently, the NCC is a highly urbanised establishment. A cadet in Chandigarh or Ludhiana may not be able to contribute towards effective border management like cadets belonging to towns and villages in border areas can,” an officer said.

Though the NCC charter restricts its cadets to non-combatant roles, they can conduct duties such as refugee management, directing traffic, escorting convoys in rear echelons, building shelters and guarding property. “During Operation Parakram, NCC cadets from Gurdaspur were involved in escorting military convoys in rear areas, while cadets ferried ammunition to forward posts during the Kargil conflict,” Brigadier Dhillon said.

NCC officers said during Operation Parakram cadets had also carried out numerous civil-defence drills, conducted lectures on public safety, manned air-raid sirens and interacted with the civil defence authorities.

Brigadier Dhillon said the organisation was also considering asking the Centre for additional vacancies on the pattern of those in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East, where all training costs were borne by the Central Government and emphasis was laid to enroll cadets from border regions.

Besides providing a pool of disciplined and motivated human resource in border areas, the proposed peacetime activities of the cadets include educating residents of border areas, conducting social welfare activities and also acting as the eyes and ears of the establishment.



Pesticide-free rice developed for diabetic patients
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Mr Vijay Setia, Director, Chaman Lal Setia Exports Ltd, a Karnal-based rice exporter, has claimed to develop pesticide-free basmati rice, especially for diabetic patients through internal R&D. Priced between Rs 40 and Rs 50 per kg, this rice will be sold under the brand name of Maharani and Begam. He has also succeeded to penetrate the Japanese market, for the first time by any Indian exporter.

Mr Setia was in town to launch his pesticide-free brand Begam and diet-rice Maharani specially developed for diabetic patients. Talking on the sidelines of the function, he disclosed that 20 per cent of the world’s total diabetic patients, numbering over 33 million, were Indians. About 12 per cent of the urban population in India was suffering from diabetes.

Himself a diabetic, Mr Setia said, “Rice is never recommended by medical practioneers or endocrinologists for diabetic patients because of the immediate conversion of carbohydrates into sugar thus raising GI index in blood that will need extra insulin in the body. The company has processed selected varieties through special methods to give better taste for normal and diabetic diet.”

He claimed that a case study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) had established that some rice varieties had special features of having moderate GI and could be consumed by diabetic patients after treatment. The company was processing these varieties under ‘special conditions.’

He said the rice industry was heavily using pesticides as aged rice was preferred for eating and for its cooking quality, but it required one year or more period. For safe storage, pesticides and fumigants like malathion, DDVP, methyl bromide and aluminum phosphide were frequently used. Under the WHO guidelines, these pesticides had to be phased out because of their harmful effects on human health and environment.

He claimed that 183 countries had signed an international treaty in 1991 to phase out these fumigants (methyl bromide) by 2005 for developed countries and by 2015 for developing countries. Their company was among the few companies in the world “to develop post-harvest technology to prepare pesticide-free basmati rice that had been certified by renowned laboratories like Omic Lab of the Japan, SGS Lab and Gujarat laboratories.”

Mr Setia, former vice-president, All-India Rice Exporters Association, claimed that they had developed ‘’special technology to treat rice that would be soon patented” through in-house research and development activities.



CSIO scientist honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
In recognition of his outstanding work in the field of research, design and development of advanced instrumentation for a variety of scientific applications, Dr M.A. Shamshi, Head of Geo-Scientific Instrumentation Division at Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), here has been conferred with the status of Scientist Emeritus by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.

An alumni of IIT, Delhi, his contribution has been primarily in developing instrumentation for disaster mitigation, earthquake monitoring and risk assessment, snow and avalanche forecasting and geo-physical safety of hydro-dams and nuclear power stations.

A statement issued here today said the emeritusship was initially for a period of three years after superannuation and extendable for another two years. Dr Shamshi, who had joined CSIO 35 years ago, was to retire next month.

During this period, he will pursue research at the CSIO to evolve a seismic alert system to limit damage during earthquakes, besides coordinating a project to develop hi-tech instrumentation for railway safety.



MC tightens noose around eateries stealing water
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The art of stealing water has been apparently perfected by a number of eating joints here.

Be it drawing water from a public standpost or buying it from a neighbour, the joints are eating into the pocket of the fundstarved civic body, thanks to the ignorance of the Municipal Corporation.

Officers of the civic body have little idea about the amount of revenue loss on account of the illegal practice going on for the past many years. The Chandigarh Water Supply bylaws — which clearly spell out that water used through the public standposts and lavatories would be charged at a rate of Rs 400 per stand post per month in the markets — have been allegedly given a silent burial by the officers concerned and their political masters.

Another major loss of revenue is from the free supply of drinking water through standposts and water tankers in slum colonies dotting the city. There are about 500 stand posts in the slum colonies and about 30 trips are made by water tankers during the peak season, said an officer of the Public Health Department. Inquiries reveal that Rs 300 per tanker has to be charged for the water supplied through tanker. But it seems that the rules have been swept under the carpet.

For political reasons, the corporation is allegedly ignoring the loss in the slum and rehabilitation colonies. But it is tightening its noose around the owners of the eating joints. The surprise checks carried out recently by a team of the municipal corporation on educational institutions and eating joints — which revealed evasion of water tariff and sewerage cess to the tune of lakhs of rupees — was an indication in this direction, said an elected councillor.

The checks have brought the corporation close to unearthing a major scam involving certain eating joints which were “stealing” water from the public supply lines. The corporation staff had on last Saturday found that two popular eating joints in sector 8 were stealing water from a standpost.

Sources in the corporation said a majority of the joints in the city did not have a regular water connection. The booth sites in which the joints were running had been sold several times. This means the trade for which the booths had been allotted had been changed.

To meet the requirement of water, the owners of the eating joints steal water from a public supply line or “illegally” buy water from their neighbour, said an officer of the Public Health Department. An eating joint was found pumping water in its storage tank from a water standpost.

The Mayor, Mr Subhash Chawla, said a survey would be done in each sector to ascertain the number of authorised water connections and the strength of the eating joints to calculate the revenue loss.

Sources in the corporation said ever since the last survey was carried out four years ago, the institutional and commercial premises in the city had undergone expansion. But the same has not been intimated to the corporation. The consumption of water and number of sewer connections, especially in the sector markets had increased over the years.



Motivate youth to join armed forces
Col Pritam Bhullar (retd)

NEVER was there any shortage of manpower in the Army during the British regime. But in the independent India, when a soldier is required to fight for his own country, the shortage in all the three services continues to mount with every passing year. Measures to attract the youth to join the defence forces have failed.

Since the right type of young men do not opt for the Army, a very few of the candidates make the grade in the Services Selection Boards (SSBs). Same is the case for jawans. In the recruitment rallies, most of the candidates do not get the minimum qualifying marks i.e. 45 per cent.

If the dazzle of the Army uniform has faded, it is because the respect that an Army man used to get during the British time has totally gone. The only way to restore the Army to its pristine glory is to give it the place that it had in the years of yore. If this happens, we will be able to lure the right kind of the youth to the armed forces. Besides, the ex-servicemen and war widows must be given their due so that the youth does not turn away from opting for the Army on seeing the formers' plight and helplessness.

The motivational campaigns to attract the deserving youth from colleges and schools must be vigorously continued by the Army for in our country the public knows very little about the defence forces.

Demands of military men

The ex-servicemen have a large vote bank of over two crore, including their families and more than 60,000 pensioners are added to this every year. Despite this, they have not been able to get their due from the ruling parties for the past several decades. Before every election, political parties make promises to the ex-servicemen to fulfil their long-pending demands, if elected. But after each election, the party that comes to power, pours cold water on its warm promises.

This time again, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Defence, Mr Madan Lal Khurana, presented the 20th report in the Lok Sabha on the welfare of servicemen and ex-servicemen a few weeks ago. The report, which was also laid on the table of the Rajya Sabha, contains a sizeable number of demands.

If the past experience is anything to go by, these demands will be forgotten after the elections. To quote only one example, the Congress government in 1986 set up a "high-level committee" under the chairmanship of the Secretary in the Department of Personnel to go into the problems of ex-servicemen. Even today, these problems remain where they were in 1986.

This time, the welfare of servicemen has also assumed importance because of the introduction of proxy voting provision for them. Now over one million serving personnel can exercise their franchise by proxy. It is time the servicemen and ex-servicemen made the political parties realise through their large vote bank that their demands can no more be neglected.

Ranikhet reunion

The Kumaon and Naga regiments celebrated their 12th and sixth reunions, respectively, at Ranikhet recently. Naga Regiment was raised out of Kumaon Regiment following the Shillong Accord in Nagaland. Since the Nagas are affiliated with Kumaon Regiment, their joint reunion is held after every four years.

Raised in 1788 as XIX Hyderabad Regiment, Kumaon Regiment is one of the oldest and most decorated regiments of the Indian Army. This is the only regiment which has produced three Army chiefs — Gen S.M. Srinagesh, Gen K.S. Thimayya and Gen T.N. Raina. Not only that, the first and the second Param Vir Chakras (PVCs) were also awarded to this regiment. Major Somnath Sharma of 4 Kumaon was awarded the PVC in Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 and Major Shaitan Singh won this award in the Ladakh sector in 1962. Incidentally, both the officers won this award posthumously.

Despite being octogenarians, Ms Raj Kumari Srinagesh, wife of the late Gen Srinagesh and Ms Marie Antoinette Raina, wife of the late Gen Raina, not only attended the reunion but also evinced great interest in all celebrations connected with it.



War veteran seeks protection
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
After fighting two wars against Pakistan in 1965 and 1971, city-based Lt Col Narinder Pal Singh is struggling against the state machinery for protecting him and his family. In a petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the retired army officer has alleged that he and his family were reportedly receiving threats eversince he refused to part with the agricultural land he had purchased in Dera Bassi.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioner claimed that he had purchased the land in Dera Bassi in 1989. On November 3, four or five persons came to his farmhouse and asked him to “write on certain papers”. On refusal, he was put in a car and taken to a hotel in Sector 10 where he was introduced to respondents Rashpal Singh and Mann.

The alleged abductors threatened him to execute certain documents regarding the land so that Rashpal Singh “could construct a big colony”. He was then, on gun point, forced to write a receipt regarding the payment of Rs 5 lakh “in lieu of token money of agreement”. The receipt, he alleged, was “got prepared under threat”.

The petitioner concluded that he and his family were being threatened by the respondents. Moreover, the police was neither registering a case, nor was protecting his life and property. Taking up the case, a Division Bench of the High Court, headed by the Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy, issued notice to the respondents for December 5.



Snag hits work at railway counters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
A technical snag in the computerised reservation counters at the Chandigarh Railway Station today resulted in a lot of inconvenience to people.

The snag could not be rectified till late this evening.

A number of persons complained that their inquiries regarding the reservation status were not entertained as the computer systems were down.

Due to the non-functional computers, the officials at the railway station found it difficult to procure a computerised print out of the reservation status of the trains leaving the station during the day.

For the Shatabdi Express which left the station around 6. 20 pm, the railway authorities had to arrange the reservation status list from the Kalka Railway Station. Sources at the Railway Station said the fault would be rectified by tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, the trains running on the Amritsar-Delhi and Chandigarh-Delhi sections were delayed due to some snag in the overhead power cable at Diwana near Panipat. The morning Shatabdi which left the Chandigarh station around 6.50 am, reached Delhi behind the scheduled time.

Due to some other reasons, the Bandra (Mumbai) to Chandigarh link Paschim Express reached at 4 pm, one hour behind its scheduled time. The Lucknow to Chandigarh train was also late by four hours. The Jodhpur-Kalka train was late by around two hours.



Jassi nite organisers accused of cheating
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, November 24
Disappointed over the poor arrangements during ‘Jassi Live’, organised by the Saffron Touch, a cultural club, over 12 property dealers, traders and residents today alleged that they were not provided facilities as promised by the organisers.

Certain property dealers of Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru alleged that the organisers in connivance with the police personnel and local government officials collected money from them for the show. ‘‘The organisers were also joined by certain local press correspondents of some vernacular newspapers,’’ alleged a Zirakpur-based property dealer.

Hitesh Kumar of Morniwala Kuan in Dera Bassi, who bought four tickets of the show for Rs 2,000, alleged that the organisers had promised food and other eatables in a ‘food coupon’ with a family ticket costing Rs 500. Despite tickets for the show being two expensive, the organisers provided the public worst sitting arrangement and no food counter was seen anywhere at the venue, he added. Some persons after consuming hard drinks, created nuisance and were even seen with police personnel deployed at the venue.

None of the club officer-bearers was available for comments while Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, DSP, Dera Bassi, denied any type of favouritism by the police personnel to the organisers.

Pop singer Jasbir Jassi performed in a cultural night ‘Jassi Live’ at a housing colony, on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, here on Sunday.



Road vacuum cleaner lying unutilised
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 24
A massive vacuum cleaner bought by the Mohali Municipal Council to keep the roads in the township clean has allegedly been lying in disuse for the past 10 months.

The machine, which cost the municipal council a whopping Rs 10 lakh, was bought over two years ago but according to some of the councillors, the machine has not been used for months now for no reason known to them. “The machine cost the municipal council so much and after that we even passed some amount for its repair. But now we are being told that the machine is used only when the roads are re-carpeted. But at least I have not seen the machine in operation since the past 10 months,” alleged Mr Manjit Sethi, a councillor.

The machine, which is now lying at the council’s store house in Industrial Area, according to the store keeper, is used but rarely. ‘‘The machine is used only when the roads are to be repaired. Whenever a remix has to be used we ensure that the road is vacuum cleaned and then the recarpeting undertaken. Some councillors, however, have a wrong impression that the machine is to be used for sweeping clean the roads. This machine was never brought for sanitation purposes,” said a council official.



Major power shutdown
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 24
In a major power shutdown scheduled for tomorrow, residents living in Sectors 66, 67, 68, 69, Mohali and Kumbra, Sohana and Landran villages will be without power from 10 am to 5pm.

According to information provided by the SE Operations, Punjab State Electricity Board Mohali, the supply of power will be cut off due to urgent maintenance work on the 11KV Kumbra urban feeder.



Devotees throng gurdwaras
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 24
Even though offices, schools and colleges remained open in the city, a large number of devotees thronged gurdwaras all over the city for observing Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur’s martyrdom day. Kirtans and langars were organised.

The Punjab government had earlier declared November 24 as a holiday in accordance with the Nanakshahi Calendar issued by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee.

Schools in Mohali remained closed. Some schools in city will now observe a holiday on Friday. Principal of a private school in the city clarified that November 28 was not a holiday according to list released by the UT authorities

Cars moved at a slow pace on the road leading to the Nada Sahib gurdwara, near Panchkula, as the residents started visiting the gurdwara even before 9 a.m. Heavy rush was also witnessed in the gurdwaras of Sectors 34, 22, 8 and 19.



Show proceeds donated

Chandigarh, November 24
The local unit of the Alliance Francaise today donated proceeds of a show — Anokha — by the Compagnie Accrorap group held on October 3.'

Mr Manmohan Lal Sareen and Mr Bruno Plasse, president and director of the Alliance Francaise, respectively, presented the cheque for Rs 2 lakh to Dr B.N.S.Walia, secretary of the Blood Bank Society. A sum of Rs 1 lakh has been raised by the Alliance Francaise and various sponsors and another Rs 1 lakh by a generous source”. TNS



Two arrested, dacoity bid foiled
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 24
The police tonight arrested two persons allegedly belonging to an inter-state gang of criminals who were planning to kidnap son of R.K. Syal, Chairman, Golden Forest, to extort money, besides planning to carry out “major” dacoities in the city. Two country-made pistols and five live cartridges were seized.

The Operation Cell of the police said the gang, which has atleast five members, had planned to carry out a major dacoity in the city tonight but the bid was foiled with the police intervention. While both have a criminal background, according to the police some other members of the gang managed to flee.

One of the arrested persons, Satpal was earlier booked in the day by the Sector 39 police allegedly for demanding extortion money from three shopkeepers of Dadu Majra, in connivance with O.P. Saini, facing trial for killing manager of Kiran Cinema. Both O.P. Saini and R.K Syal are currently lodged in Burail Jail.

The other arrested, Sanjeev, a native of Kolkata, is wanted by the West Bengal police in connection with several criminal cases.

Acting on a secret information, the police raided a tube-well in Sector 26, where the members of the gang had assembled to give final touches to their “plan” and arrested the two, while their accomplices escaped.

Sanjeev came in contact with Satpal through O.P. Saini. The police said Rehman, had introduced Sanjeev to O.P. Saini. Sanjeev is a member of a Kolkata-based gang, led by one Arvind. Rehman is believed to be the brain behind several kidnappings and extortion cases, said the police.

About nine months ago, there had been a major exchange of fire and grenades between the Arvind gang and another Kolkata-based gang led by one Shiv in Kolkata. Sanjeev was wanted by the West Bengal police in this connection. After the incident, Sanjeev was staying in the city for the past three months.

Satpal, too, had been arrested by the Chandigarh police on several occasions in connection with criminal cases and was recently bailed out. A country-made pistol and two live cartridges were recovered from him, while a pistol and three cartridges were recovered from Sanjeev. The two will be produced in a local court tomorrow.



Two hurt in group clash
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 24
Two persons were injured when they were attacked upon by a group of seven-10 persons in Sector 22A last evening. A case has been registered.

According to sources, a group of youths reached a Sector 22 liquor shop at around 11 am in a car and a Gypsy. They reportedly entered into an argument with an employee at the vend. When Sanjeev, brother of vend owner, tried to pacify the youths, they reportedly took out sticks and iron rods hidden in the Gypsy and attacked Sanjeev, Rajkumar also sustained injuries in the attack.

A case under Sections 147, 148, 149 and 324 of IPC has been registered.

Thefts: Thieves reportedly broke into a provision store in Sector 26 and took away Rs 2.65 lakh. The alleged theft took place on the night of November 22. The police said the thieves entered the shop from a bathroom at the first floor and took away the cash, which was lying in an almirah. A case under Sections 380 and 457 of the IPC has been registered on owner.

Held: The police on Sunday arrested three persons, including two women, from different parts of the city allegedly for smuggling liquor and claimed to have recovered, 30 bottles of liquor. Those arrested include, Aruna, Neetu and Rajinder Singh.The police also arrested Kala Ram, Bir Pal, Bal Kishan and Banwari, all residents of Nehru Colony, for gambling at a public place on Sunday.



Disruption in supply of MS round steel resented
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The Chamber of Chandigarh Industries has expressed concern over the disruption in the supply of MS round steel ranging from 16 mm to 25 mm diameter by Rastriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) for the past over two months. The small scale units in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula are consuming about 700 metric tonnes of MS round steel every month to produce different products.

Mr A.L. Aggarwal, general secretary of the chamber, has claimed that SSI units, especially those manufacturing nuts, bolts, fasteners and auto parts, were facing severe shortage of MS round steel resulting in loss in production and employment for workers.

He said the RINL was supplying raw material to the CITCO depot for onward distribution among SSI units in the city. The delay on its part had caused disruption in the production of industrial fasteners and other products, putting the SSI sector in doldrums. The stock of MS round of 16 mm and 20 mm diameter steel had come to an end and the supply of steel from Vizag Steel Plant was also affected.

Mr Aggarwal lamented that steel producers had been arbitrarily increasing steel prices almost every month for the past one year. Keeping in view the woes of steel consumers in the country, he said, a high-level committee, headed by the Adviser to the Prime Minister along with the Steel, Revenue and Finance Secretaries, on November 10 had given one-month time to steel producers to correct imbalance. With existing custom duty rate of 25 per cent, said Mr Aggarwal, the steel producers were getting protection of about 31 per cent.

The chamber called upon the government to instruct the RINL to increase supply of 16 to 25 mm diameter round steel by at least 500 MT every month to the CITCO depot. The RINL should introduce a rolling programme of at least 1,000 metric tonnes of MS round per month for the city’s SSI units. The chamber also urged the CITCO management to make efforts to procure required quantity of raw material and approach the Secretary, Steel, for immediate dispatch of round steel.

Mr Aggarwal apprehended that SSI units would be forced to close down their shutters if the round steel supply did not improve soon.



New series of bank notes

Chandigarh, November 24
The Resrve Bank of India today issued the first series of bank notes bearing the signature of Dr Y. V. Reddy. The bank notes are in the denominatins of Rs 5 and Rs 10 and will be distributed through the RBI issue offices according to a press release.

Except for the signature of the Governor and the inset letter (capital letter “A” in the numbering panel) in the notes of Rs 10 denomination, the new notes will have the same design the security features of Rs 5 and Rs 10 denomination notes in the Mahatma Gandhi series. All bank notes in the denominations of Rs 5 and Rs 10 earlier issued by the RBI will continue to be legal tenders. TNS



Gas-run geysers in demand
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
With the onset of winter, people have sterled making rounds of electrical shops to buy water geysers and room heaters to keep themselves warm in the coming days. Dealers are expecting a business worth lakhs in the next few days.

Says Mr Kuldeep Singh of Udham Electronics Ltd, a showroom in Sector 22,” People have yet to start the purchase of room heaters and convertors, which usually picks up by the end of December or in early January. But there is heavy demand for gas run geysers.” Priced at about Rs 3500 in the retail market, the gas water heaters are extremely convenient to use as well.

One need not worry about the erratic power supply while using this geyser. Says Mr Kuldeep Singh,” Just turn on the tap and in less than 15 seconds, the gas water heater will provide you with flowing hot water tips. Likewise closing the tap instantly shuts off the geyser. Since the LPG is cheaper than electricity, using it is more economic than the electric geyser and is also absolutely free from the inconvenience of voltage fluctuations and the risk of electric shock.”

A number of brands with gas-run geysers have come up in the market. Dealers claim that even people having traditional electric geysers were opting for this new luxury. In case hot water was not needed, a cold water flow mode is also provided for normal water supply. Other features, they say include automatic sensor mechanism to stop gas flow in case flame gets extinguished during the operations, safety mechanism against overheating and automatic gas regulatory system.

The price range for a 25 litre geyser varies between Rs 1500 and Rs 3000 with steel body, Geysers with fibre body are priced at marginally higher price.

The dealers warn that one must check the ISI mark before buying any geyser, heater or heat convertor as a large number of local manufacturers, are using low quality raw material to manufacture these products. Mr Sushil Gautam, another dealer, said one could buy a non-ISI convertor for just Rs 500 as against a good ISI marked one for Rs 1200 to Rs 1500. He said the companies, which had introduced quartz heater with fan and water cooling last year, were expecting a quantum jump this year. It costs Rs 1800 to Rs 2000, he added.


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