C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mr Administrator, this is city’s problem No. 1
Cattle continue to stray, endangering lives
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Till date, in the current year, road accidents claimed 130 lives and 287 people were injured.

In 2003, 141 persons died in road accidents and 449 suffered serious injuries

It is estimated that on an average one life is lost in or around Chandigarh every week.

Chandigarh has around 5000 stray cattle, but only 1000 cattle can be kept in cattle ponds and gaushalas, leaving 4000 cattle to roam on roads.

Chandigarh, November 17
They make their presence felt everywhere in the City Beautiful. You can find them on the road divider, cycle tracks, roundabouts, traffic junctions, parks, almost everywhere, causing not mere inconvenience to residents, but serious injuries to many. Chandigarhians have now had to put up with livestock, especially cattle, strolling on the main roads for long.

As these stray animals often obstruct traffic, which, at times, leads to road accidents, Chandigarh saw various political parties rising above their political inclinations this day last year and pledge to jointly fight the stray cattle menace in the city. But a year later, cows, buffalos, bulls and horses continue to remain a major cause of accidents.

As lives continue to be lost, politicians and the municipal corporation are again beginning to take a back seat after the initial drive to take the cattle off the city roads. In all those cases where a person does not die, the incident does not even make it to the pages of a newspaper. The Administration has now started drawing comfort from the fact that the casualties caused by stray cattle have come down.

On Divali day, just four days before Gen S.F Rodrigues took over as Administrator of Chandigarh, a woman fell off the pillion of her husband’s scooter and died after her husband lost control while trying to avoid a stray cattle near Makhan Majra. The family of the victim may have taken it as a quirk of fate, but it will never be the same again for the family.

The name of Deepak Kumar of Sector 37 may not ring a bell in many minds, but this 21-year-old youth lost his life on the eve of Independence day this year when a buffalo came onto the road and hit his scooter inside Sector 37, just a little away from his home. The life for his father, Mr Ashok Kumar, is not the same, but all he can do now is to wish that the doctors at the PGI could do something better than declare him “brought dead”.

Promila, daughter of Mr Gopal Singh of Sector 25 was barely 23 when she died in a road accident involving a bull. The woman was going toward the lights of Sectors 23 and 24 when a bull suddenly came and hit her scooty near the Sector 15/16 - 23/24 roundabout. She was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital with head injuries, but could not be saved.

The number of people who have lost their lives to the whimsical moods of the stray cattle over the years are countless. The casualty also includes several police personnel. Head Constable Gurwinder Pal of the Chandigarh Police was knocked off his scooter by a cow on Vikas Marg in front of the Sector 41 petrol pump in broad daylight in October last year. ASI Maggar Singh, also of the Chandigarh Police had died after being hit by a cattle on Sarovar Path three months before Gurwinder Pal.

There are several areas in the city that are particularly infested by stray cattle. These include Vikas Marg passing by Sectors 48, 49, 50 and 51, roads adjoining Sectors 44 and 45, vicinity of Sectors 39, 40, 42, road dividing Sector 24 and 25, Dadu Majra Colony, roads linking Sector 38 with 38 West, road linking Sector 26 to Manimajra, etc. Dakshin Marg between Government Medical College and Hospital and the roundabout of Sectors 33/34-20/21, areas near villages like Burail and many more.

Most accidents that do not prove fatal are not reported and even the ones that are reported find a mention only in the Daily Diary Report under section 174 CrPC mentioning no accused. So the matter is never investigated and the cattle that caused the accident continue to remain on the roads despite claims that the cattle on city roads are being sent to gaushalas or rehabilitation homes. 



Fire destroys two shops in Sec 22
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
Electronic goods worth Rs 25 lakhs were destroyed in a fire that broke out in two adjoining shops in Sector 22, here today. Smoke from within the shops was first noticed by passers-by who informed the fire department.

Three fire tenders were rushed to the spot and it took over an hour to control the fire. The owners of the two shops also reached the spot and opened the shutters, making the operation to put out the fire easier for the firemen. Though the cause of the fire could not be ascertained, the two owners put the loss of electronic items gutted in the flames at nearly Rs 25 lakh. 



Probe into ‘slaughter’ of dogs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The Medical Officer Health (MOH) of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, Dr G.C. Bansal, today ordered an inquiry into the appearance of body parts of dogs in Sector 15 and other places.

Taking note of the Tribune report published, Dr Bansal today formed a two-member committee to investigate the matter. The Slaughter House Superintendent, Dr M.S. Kamboj, and Chief Sanitary Inspector of Sector 15, Rati Ram, have been asked to look into the matter, Dr Bansal said. The probe committee has, however, not been given any deadline for completing the inquiry. Dr Bansal said the matter is strange and serious and the time limit could have affected the quality of the probe.

He, however, said the department was interested in knowing the truth at the earliest to take a further action.

The scope of the inquiry is to find out if such parts of bodies of dogs had been found recently and that if the dog is being eaten.

The police, however, today remained unmoved saying it was not sure as to under what law an action could be initiated in this regard.

The police asserted it was ready to cooperative with Municipal authorities to investigate the matter.



Only 150 aspiring constables called
Police Dept to re-conduct physical test
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The Chandigarh police has decided to re-conduct a physical test for a few “select” rejected candidates amidst allegations of an “extremely” stringent test process for recruitment of constables held earlier.

Only around 5,000 candidates out of a total of 1.34 lakh had cleared the physical test conducted by a selection committee chaired by SP Traffic Amitabh Dhillon.

It is learnt that the Chandigarh police has called around 150 candidates for a physical test again tomorrow.

However, the decision to call only 150 candidates without inserting an advertisement for it seems questionable as a large number of the candidates would be left out in the race for selection without knowing that they could have appealed to the senior authorities against their rejection earlier.

The police authorities decided that those who had appealed against their rejection by October 25 would be called for the second physical test.

A new committee to be chaired by SSP Gaurav Yadav and having DSP (South) S.S. Randhawa has been formed to conduct the physical test for these candidates tomorrow.

Those who had appealed against their rejection either to the IG Rajesh Kumar or SSP (Headquarters) Virender Singh by the committee headed by Mr Dhillon have been called for a re-examination of their physical measures.

The candidates who have been called also include those who had approached the Central Administrative Tribunal against their rejection. The candidates had been contending both in the appeals before the senior police officers and before the CAT that the effort of the previous selection committee was to reject even those who could have normally cleared the physical measures.

The decision to re-examine few candidates came in the wake of the CAT saying that the candidates should have been provided an opportunity against their rejection. Earlier, Mr Dhillon was the appealing authority against their rejection.

However, the rejection rate of candidates was very high when the tests were held by the committee under Mr Dhillon. The sources said decision to hold the test for a few select candidates was taken couple of days before the Divali break.

The newspapers, during the recruitment drive, were flooded with rejected candidates’ complaints that nobody was listening to their appeals against their rejection.



Court orders attachment of Kang’s property
Shootout case at Kharar SGPC rally
Tribune News Service and Agencies

Mohali, November 17
Over five months after a shootout at an SGPC rally in Kharar on July 2, which had left two Youth Akali activists dead and three, including Youth Akali leader Kiranbeer Singh Kang, injured, a Kharar court yesterday ordered to attach his property besides depositing the cash and gold which was recovered from his house with the government treasury.

While disposing of an application filed by Kharar Station House Officer (SHO) Gurcharan Singh against Kang, his wife Navneet Kaur, alias Neena Kang and father Dharam Singh Kang, all residents of Mohali, seeking action under Section 83 of the CrPC, Judicial Magistrate Ranjan Khullar has passed the orders to this effect.

Besides ordering to attach a house of the accused in Mohali and an office on the Chandigarh road in Kharar, the court also ordered to deposit Rs 8,10,500, $ 720, UK pounds 120 and gold weighing 751.92 grams, which were allegedly found during the search of their Mohali residence on July 5, with the District Treasury Office in Ropar.

Kang had allegedly escaped from the custody of the Punjab police from the PGI, where he was taken for treatment of bullet injuries that he sustained during the shootout at the rally.

While the Kangs’ counsels reason that they were still seeking legal remedy before surrender, the police claimed that all out efforts were being made to apprehend the Kangs, who are suspected to be “enjoying” e political shelter outside Punjab.

Approaching the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking entrustment of investigations in the case to the CBI or any other independent investigating agency of any state other than Punjab, the Kangs’ counsels had attributed the proceedings against them to “political vendetta” as Kang was a close aide of the Badals.

Besides Kangs, the SAD state vice-president Rajbir Singh Padiala, his brother Tejbir Singh, both residents of Padiala village in Kharar, had also been named as accused in the shootout case. Except the Kangs, all other 14 accused in the case had, however, been arrested and a couple of them even granted bail.



High Court Registrar (Administration) shifted
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 17
Mr A.K. Sharma, Registrar (Administration), Punjab and Haryana High Court, whose transfer on this post was one of the main reasons for straining of relations between Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and majority of his brother-Judges, has been shifted.

However, the new place of posting of Mr Sharma, who was District and Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur, before being placed in the important seat of Registrar (Administration), has not been decided so far.

All that the order issued says is that Mr Inderjit Singh, District and Sessions Judge, Ropar, has been appointed Registrar (Administration) in place of Mr Sharma.

Mr Sharma, it is learnt, is being sent back to the field. His transfer orders as also the posting orders of District and Sessions Judges of some districts in Punjab and Haryana are expected to be issued after a full court meeting. He had been posted as Registrar (Administration) on January 20, 2004 by the Chief Justice.

The issue of posting of Mr Sharma as Registrar (Administration) in the High Court had snow-balled into a major controversy, with all the Judges, except Chief Justice Roy and Mr Justice Amar Dutt, refusing to clear his posting.

In fact, even after Mr Sharma had joined, Judges had demanded that he be sent back to his original post as the Full Court had not cleared the posting.

However, ignoring the stand taken by the Judges, the Chief Justice had refused to send Mr Sharma back.

The Judges had opposed his posting on the ground that as per Article 235 of the Constitution no member of the judicial service can be transferred and posted out without the consent of the Full Court.

On February 25, all Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, except the Chief Justice and Mr Justice Amar Dutt (both abstained) unanimously passed a resolution that “without the concurrence of the Full Court no member of the judicial/superior judicial service be transferred and posted out of cadre, whether by way of deputation or otherwise”.

However, Mr Chief Justice Roy dubbed the resolution as “extremely unfortunate” and said that the resolution was not even on the agenda of the meeting. He declared it “void ab-initio and not binding”.

However, on March 17, at a Full Court meeting, all Judges except the Chief Justice resolved that Mr Sharma be asked to resume his duties back at Gurdaspur. The Judges also decided that the Chief Justice had no authority to declare their earlier resolution void.

This meeting was held after the Judges gave a notice asking the Chief Justice to convene an “emergent meeting of the Full Court” to discuss, among other things, the posting of Mr Sharma as District and Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur, in the light of resolution passed by the Full Court on February 25.

Later, on March 26, the Chief Justice directed the then Registrar-General Pritam Pal to inform the Judges that it was not possible for him to relive Mr Sharma.

Meanwhile, Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar has been designated Inspecting Judge of Kurukshetra in place of Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar, who has been transferred to the Delhi High Court.

Mr Justice Pritam Pal will be the Inspecting Judge of Faridabad.



Rodrigues gets cracking on his first day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
A day after Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) took charge as the administrator here, he sought a report on all projects awaiting implementation over the years.

General Rodrigues held a meeting with his Adviser, Mr Lalit Sharma this morning, and discussed works that needed immediate attention.

He was briefed about some projects and the reasons for delay in their completion. The Adviser appraised him about some projects that had been put up with the Union Government or at other levels.

The Administration has been asked to list details of all ongoing projects and even those which are in the pipeline. The Adviser also gave an overview of the city. He shared a draft of all works pertaining to the city after seeking information from various departmental heads.

During the meeting, the General identified the points which needed his immediate attention. Sources said the General was keen on solving problems of people and wanted first hand information.

Separately, the Adviser held his weekly meeting with all secretaries today.

Later in the day the General also met his Principal Secretary, Mr D.S. Kalha and other staff members.



Need to improve Army-media interface, say experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
While calling for a change in the archaic rules concerning army-media interaction, experts called for a synergy between the Ministry of External Affairs, the Defence Ministry and Army Headquarters for requisite and adequate projection of the army's operations having international ramifications.

Stating that in the present era briefings have to be multi-dimensional, requiring close interface among different establishments of the government, former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan and Australia, Mr G Parthasarthy said the political spin-off of proper media management could have a strong and long-term impact.

He was speaking at a seminar on army-media interface, organised by Western Command at Chandimandir today.

Citing an example of the successful Indian military operation in the Maldives during 1987, he said that the images of Indian power projection and military intervention to restore a democratic government, being splashed across the world exposed Pakistani propaganda against India.

During the 1999 Kargil conflict, allowing electronic media into the battle zone, he said, was the best thing to do as it drastically altered the perception on the other side that the Indian forces were tired due to constant deployment in counter-insurgency operations and unable to fight in tough conditions.

Media policy pursued after the Kargil operations ended, however, was flawed, he said.

The Army did not take correspondents, specially the foreign media up the hills to show them what it had done, which led to the United States taking credit that it had helped India win the war by pressuring Pakistan to withdraw.

Projection of hysterical relatives on TV during the time of the hijacking of an Indian Airlines aircraft to Kandhahar was a major flaw in handling the situation as it became clear to the Taliban that the Indian Government could yield to pressure, Mr Parthasarthy said.

"We should have the foresight not to allow emergence of situations which could be exploited by the other side," he remarked.

Former Vice-Chief of the Army Staff, Lieut-Gen Vijay Oberoi, said that there was a need for an attitudinal change among soldiers as well as scribblers to improve army-media interface.

He listed inadequate organisational structure, archaic rules, inadequate training and information about each other's roles and requirements and the prevailing mindset as factors hampering effective army-media interface.

He said that despite recommendations of the Group of Ministers to reform the publicity department of the services, which is controlled by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, it remains mired in a hierarchal and cumbersome system of information handling.

Stating that the existing secrecy rules, which are old and restrict interface, need to be scrapped, he added that subordinate commanders needed to be authorised to interact with the media.

"There is a strong case to improve army-media interface. What is needed is an open relationship between the two," he said.

He added that there were several policy letters issued by Army Headquarters which authorised officers down to a battalion commander to interact with the media, but admitted that at times the interface was personality-based rather than policy based.

Giving an overview of media as a tool of information warfare, former Signal Officer-in-Chief, Lieut-Gen Harbhajan Singh said that that it was not only events on the battlefield, but also reports of the battle that had an effect on the course of war.

Information, he said, was the most valuable commodity in war.

In the information age, influence, power and success go to those who can disseminate credible information, he said.

Information, he added, can be used to play on the minds and hearts of the population, politicians, soldiers and leaders, and can be used to manage the perception of power centers as well as international organisations.



Cashier dupes employer of Rs 8.98 lakh
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 17
A cashier working in a private company duped his employer to the extent of Rs 8.98 lakh, the police has registered a case of cheating in this regard.

Hardum Singh of Pal Merchants in Sector 22-A filed a complaint that Sunil Rana of Sector 40 who was working in his company as a cashier and accountant withdrew Rs 8.98 lakh in September 2003. When the company made an inspection of accounts the embezzlement was detected. A complaint was filed in July this year, said the police.

No arrests have been made.



Campaign Trail
Vote for someone who cares for you: Verma
Municipal Corporation byelection
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
“We have had enough of ‘outside’ rule and got nothing in return. Vote for an insider who cares enough for the sector to bring about some development and doesn’t merely use us as a step to further his political ambitions.”

So goes the appeal made by the Chandigarh Vikas Manch’s candidate, Dr O.P. Verma, during his door-to-door campaign for the by-election of Ward 11 of the Municipal Corporation. Having lost the seat to his nearest rival, BJP’s Gian Chand Gupta, by 26 votes, he is hopeful of a win in the by-election.

A resident of Sector 20 for over 35 years, Dr Verma is troubled by the fact that the two councillors who have represented the ward in the past have done nothing so far as developing the area is concerned. Both were non-residents of Sectors 20 or 33 which comprise Ward 11.

“They forgot all about us after they got their votes because they were never concerned about our problems. I will usher in development,” he emphasises during his meetings with various resident groups and market welfare associations.

During his interaction with residents, he asserts that the corporation elections are not about political parties. “This election shows how alive a candidate is to the local issues of the sectors and the problems of the residents,” he says.

Once he is through with personal meetings and addressing small groups of residents, Dr Verma shifts his focus to market in the evening where he went from shop to shop urging the businessmen to vote for him.

This over, he takes time to plan for the next day. Guided by elderly residents, Dr Verma chalks out his strategy and assigns duties to his supporters.



Admin open to allowing 10-storey residential blocks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
The Chandigarh Administration has kept its options open to allow 10-storey high residential blocks after practically rejecting the report of the Chandigarh Perspectives that had suggested against having such high-rise blocks.

The Perspectives, a body of architects and planners, was asked to study the matter and it submitted a report a fortnight ago.

Now the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has been asked to identify newer areas where such high-rise buildings could be raised.

It does not mean that the original plan to have high-rise blocks in Sector 63 is shelved. Sources said the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, has even asked the CHB chief to look at the economic angle of constructing such high-rise blocks.

High-rise buildings are one of the key options being studied, sources pointed out to tide over paucity of land.

A fortnight ago the Perspectives had submitted a report saying it was against allowing any such high-rise blocks. However, it had left the final decision to the Chandigarh Administration.

A subcommittee of the Perspectives, which has leading architects on the body, is not of the view of the changing the city skyline.

The CHB originally asked for permission to build 10-storey blocks for three bedroom HIG flats, each having a covered area of about 1,500 sq ft.

This will require a height of 33 m or 115 feet. At present, the residential blocks in Chandigarh are not more than 37-feet high. The Administration referred the matter to the Perspectives.

Initial studies have brought out that common services like lifts, water supply pumping ducts, cost of maintaining common services become viable only after going seven-storey high.



Villagers protest against demolition of toilets
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 17
Residents of Mataur village protested against the PUDA for demolishing public toilets in the village.

A large number of persons gathered in the area soon after the enforcement wing started the demolition and raised slogans against PUDA.

The enforcement wing of PUDA returned without completing the task of demolishing the entire block, comprising around 32 toilets, as tempers ran high there.

A number of villagers later gathered in front of the office of the municipal council in the evening and raised slogans against it. They criticised the council for failing to carry out development work in the village. Mr Harpal Singh, a resident of Mataur, said the residents of the village had been paying octroi to the civic body for the past about eight years but the council had failed to provide them even basic facilities.

He said estimates for laying sewer in the village had been prepared more than a year ago but no work had been carried out.

When the council could lay sewer in Mohali and Shahimajra villages, why could the work not be done in Mataur village, he asked.

The toilets had been constructed by PUDA more than five years ago and had been handed over to the council for maintenance.

In October, the PUDA authorities wrote a letter to the council in which it stated that a part of the area where toilets had been constructed had come under the development scheme of PUDA. As such the higher authorities had ordered the demolition of the toilets.

The issue was discussed at a monthly meeting of the council held on October 29, where it was unanimously decided that the demolition of toilets should not be done till the sewerage was set up in the area as it would create problems for residents.

The decision was conveyed to the PUDA authorities. But on November 10, PUDA sent another letter to the council stating that the council had no right to take any decision regarding the demolition of the toilets as these had been constructed by PUDA on a piece of land owned by it.

PUDA officials directed the civic body to get the power connection to the toilets disconnected as these would be demolished soon. 



City noisy, SPM level above limit, says analysis
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
Although air and noise pollution on Divali day continued to decline as in the past four years, noise levels on the night of the festival exceeded the permissible limits at all locations in the city.

Kajheri and Sector 22 with their 90 decibels noise level on the night of November 12, top the list of noisiest locations in the city, while Manimajra, Sector 29 and Panjab University follow with 79.7, 79.4 and 76 decibel levels, respectively.

Last year on Divali night, the highest decibel count was recorded at Manimajra 100 decibels, followed by Kaimbwala which had 97 decibels. Chandigarh Pollution Control Board (CPCB) authorities said the noise levels had reduced significantly since the past year, although they continued to be hazardous.

At all the seven locations where the CPCB set up monitoring stations to study the effect of environmental pollution on the Divali night, noise levels recorded were beyond the permissible limit of 45 decibels. Also, the difference in the noise levels recorded a day before Divali and Divali has been found to be significant, with the decibel count almost doubling up on the festival night in every case.

Decibel count recorded at seven monitoring stations at 10 pm on November 11 and 12, respectively is as follows - Sector 9 (44 and 88 decibels respectively); PU (40/76 dB); Sector 22 (42/90 dB); Kajheri (42/90 dB), Sector 29 (71/79.4 dB); Kaimbwala (46.4/66.4 decibel) and Manimajra (66.1/79.7 decibel). CPCB data shows that sound levels at all the locations it tested, expect Section 9, Sector 22 and Kajheri, are lower than the previous year.

As far as the air pollution goes, SPM (suspended particulate matter) levels also exceeded the permissible limits at all locations. Manimajra recorded the highest SPM level of 588 micro grams per cubic metre on Divali day. The permissible limit is 200. Other zones with high SPM levels are Kaimbwala (462), Sector 29 (363) and PU (311). The only saving grace is that SPM levels at all locations except Sector 29, this year are lower than the previous year.

Speaking about the analysis of air and noise pollution related data collected from seven monitoring stations today, Member Secretary, CPCB, Mr P.J.S. Dadwal said sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide levels recorded in the air on the Divali day were within permissible limits at all locations.

The highest sulphur dioxide (So2)limit recorded in the city on Divali day was 28.6 micro grams per cubic metre in Manimajra. Kaimbwala and Sector 29 also recorded a high SO2 level of 25 micro gram cubic metres each. Another finding is that except in Sector 29 and Kaimbwala, SO2 levels this year are lower than those recorded last year. Nitrogen oxides at all locations are less than the previous year, the highest level recorded this year being 24 micro grams per cubic metre, in Manimajra.



Shiva for crusade against MNCs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
A winner of Right Livelihood Award, Dr Vandana Shiva, today called upon people to launch a crusade against multinational national corporations (MNCs) saying that they are endangering the economic freedom of the Third World countries.

Delivering a lecture on “Economic freedom for common man” to mark the beginning of the martyrdom fortnight of Lala Lajpat Rai here, Dr Shiva said the patenting of seeds and water was an attempt by US-based MNCs to colonise the developing countries. The attempts of the MNCs to patent seeds and water — the very basis of the human existence — should be opposed tooth and nail, she added.

Farmers must have the right to use seeds of their choice and the right to use water as they were the blessings of God for all human beings, she asserted.

Expressing concern at suicide by farmers in Punjab and Andhra Pradesh, Dr Shiva said this was due the monopoly of the MNCs over agricultural inputs and trade.

Dr Shiva proposed to set up an “organic food counter”, which is being produced by members of her organic farming organisation, Navdanya, at the Lajpat Rai Bhavan.

Earlier, Mr Onkar Chand, chairman of the Servants of the People Society, while paying rich tributes to Lalaji, said his teachings should serve as inspiration for present-day politicians.

A former Governor of Kerala, Justice S.S. Kang, said creating awareness about the dangers posed by the MNCs, the World Bank and the IMF was the need of the hour. The society administrator, Mr P.S. Soni, proposed a vote of thanks.

An exhibition of rare books and Lalaji’s memorabilia was also inaugurated by Dr Shiva. 



Dharna against hike in petro products’ prices
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 17
The local unit of the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) sat in a dharna in front of the municipal office, Phase VII here as part of an all-India protest to mark the historic November Revolution Day. Members of the SUCI were protesting against the latest steep hike in the prices of petroleum, diesel and the LPG. Similarly protest dharnas were held in many districts of Punjab.

In a press statement released today, Mr Avtar Singh, president, state committee, criticised the Central Government for the way it has tried to “befool” the people by reducing just Rs 1.26 in petrol price, whereas the price of crude oil has decreased from $ 56 per barrel to $ 46. The poor and middle class families of India were suffering due to the policies of globalisation and liberalisation leading to poverty, unemployment and inflation, he said, adding that the latest hike in the prices of petro products would further deteriorate the living conditions of common people leading to more suicides and tension.

The profit of the IOC has increased from Rs 2,284 crore (2001-2002) to Rs 7,004 crore (2003-2004), of the HPCL from Rs 787 crore (2001-2002) to Rs 1,903 crore (2003-2004) and of the BPCL from Rs 849 crore (2001-2002) to Rs 1,649 crore (2003-2004) whereas unnecessary burden had been put on common people.

Mr J. Singh appealed to the masses to launch a powerful, sustained movement to build an all-India level protest to force the Central Government to rescind the anti-people decision.



Temperature drop heralds winter nearer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
Winter drew nearer as day temperature fell by four degrees compared to yesterday. As against 28.4° Celsius recorded yesterday, the day temperature today remained 24.4 degree, the lowest recorded during this month.

Weather department officials confirmed that today drop was the most significant temperature drop of the season. Whereas the 
day temperature fluctuated between 27 degree and 28 degree Celcius throughout the past week, it fell to 24.4 degree due to two major weather phenomena.

Cloudiness which added to chill today is due to persisting western disturbance over Northern Pakistan 
adjoining Jammu and Kashmir and induced upper air cyclonic circulation over 
Central Pakistan adjoining North West Rajasthan.



Army using retired officers for training courses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
To offset the shortage of officers, the Army is now using the services of retired officers for conducting certain training courses for officers as well as jawans.

GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lieut-Gen J.J. Singh said on the sidelines of a seminar that the policy, conceptualised at Army Headquarters about a year ago was now being implemented.

The rational behind the move was to relieve additional pressure on officers posted in units which, for long have been understaffed.

“The Army felt that extra administrative responsibilities imposed on officers due to the shortage be reduced so that they can concentrate on training and other regular regimental activities,” General J.J. Singh said.

Retired officers are being hired to teach certain theoretical subjects like military history, current affairs and military law in training institutes and regimental centers and also to conduct certain courses like the pre-staff college training capsule for officers.

“It is better to have a retired officer who is fully prepared to teach rather than to have a serving officer undertake a task for which he may not be able to prepare himself fully due to a host of other commitments,” he said.

The Army estimates that it would take another 10-12 years to overcome the shortage of officers. An infantry unit, for example, which has an authorised strength of 22 officers is making do with just 12-14 officers.

Terming this to be a “peace-time” shortcoming, the Army Commander said that this deficiency could be made up in the event of hostilities breaking out by pulling out officers from non-operational establishments, training institutes and other organisations like the NCC.

Contingency plans in this regard exist in the Military Secretary’s branch at Army HQs, which is responsible for the management of the officer cadre.



Seminar to mark 50th anniversary of Panchsheel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
To mark the 50th anniversary of Panchsheel, the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) will organise a seminar, ‘‘50 Years of Panchsheel: Towards a New International Order Based on Genuine Multilateralism,’’ says Mr Butshikan Singh, Deputy Director-General of the ICWA.

Mr K Natwar Singh, Minister for External Affairs, will inaugurate it at Vigyan Bhavan tomorrow.

Among those expected to participate are Dr B B Thapa, former Foreign Minister of Nepal, Mr Ahmed Maher EI Sayed, former Foreign Minister of Egypt, Mr Jia Zhijie, Chairman, India-China Parliamentary Friendship Group, Mr Liu Shuqing, India-China Eminent Persons Group, Mr Nyunt Tin, Secretary, Myanmnar Institute of Strategic & International Studies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yangon, Dr Andras Balogh, Chief Adviser for International Strategy to the Prime Minister of Hungary, Budapest, Mr Sabam Siagian, Senior Editor and Director, ‘‘Jakarta Post,’’ Mrs Julia Dolly Joiner, Commissioner ( Political Affairs), African Union Commission, Addis Ababa, Prof Maria Renee Cura, renowned scholar of Indian Studies, Argentina and Dr Mubashir Hasan, president, Pakistan-India People's Forum for Democracy.



Boy leaves home in search of ‘freedom’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 17
For Bhupinder Kaur, a resident of phase XI here, the whole day today has been a nightmare. Her 14-year-old son Gurpreet, decided to leave home this morning, in search of freedom and a life of his own.

A class IX student of Saint Xaviers School, Sector 71, Gurpreet left a written note for his mother telling her that he wanted to work, and do something good in life. Gurpreet, according to his mother, seemed to weary of his school, where he was not performing well.

‘‘Yesterday, he had not been allowed to enter the school during the extra classes and was upset about it. His school Principal had called me to the school today. I took an auto to school, while he went on the cycle. I reached the school but he never reached the school,’’ said Gurpreet’s mother.

When Ms Bhupinder Kaur returned home, she realised that Gurpreet had come back home, changed out of his school uniform, and taken over Rs 4,000 from the house and left leaving a note.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Bhupinder Kaur said she was all alone here and very worried about her son’s welfare. ‘‘I have contacted all his friends, our relatives, but he is no where,’’ she said adding that her husband Mr Balwant Singh was in Italy for the past few months looking for opportunities to settle there.

‘‘Gurpreet is very independent minded. Last month he got his hair short. I don’t even have a photograph of him with his hair short,’’ she said adding that Gurpreet was her only son, eldest of three children.



Is this love or infatuation?
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 17

I wrote on my heart, ‘It is not thoroughfare’, Love cried and said “I enter everywhere.”

Sohail Sharma, a businessman while trying to give words to his emotions said,” she was a dearest friend of my sister. I tried to attract and to impress her many a times. She used to rule my dreams. Wherever I went her thoughts used to follow me”.

“One day expecting a positive answer I proposed her but she did not take a minute to reject me. All my dreams were shattered within seconds. I tried to forget her. But I couldn’t. Once I even tried to end my life. I just couldn’t visualise my life without her. Just no one could share my pain. When such feelings are one sided then it really hurts and it leaves no room for you to ask others to love in the same way”, he sighed.

He sought the help of a local psychologist. “But I couldn’t come out of it completely and now I have become schizophrenic,” he added.

According to a city-based psychologist, Dr Vandana Narula,” ideally love becomes fruitful only if the two minds and hearts share a common viewpoints. But one has to distinguish between infatuation and love.”

“One-sided love is like living in the clouds. You keep on thinking that one day this girl or man will be mine. With this self-solace you bear the bitterness of the heart. You prefer to remain happy with your self-projections and many times you do not want to come out of it. I must say that one sided love is never healthy and if someone is in this situation he or she should try to come out of it. Doing creative things can be helpful and in such cases counselling can really sort out the problem”, Vandana opines.



‘Plant more trees for eco balance’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
Forest cover in India has increased marginally over the past years to 20.56 per cent and it is for the first time since Independence that this has happened although the figure is still well below the 33 per cent mark, which is essential for ecological balance and stability. Students can contribute immensely towards afforestation, said Mr Ishwar Singh, Director-Environment, Chandigarh Administration, while addressing the Award Ceremony of the Green School Project at CII today.

Mr Ishwar Singh, however, cautioned the students against planting certain species of trees in large numbers, which could have adverse effects on their health. Although tree plantation has been taken up by most city schools, selection of the species needs greater attention. He also highlighted the 5Ps - population, parking problems resulting from a high density of vehicular population, pollution, parthenium, and polythene bags which have adverse environmental effects.

Mr Ishwar Singh gave away awards to some of the students who won prizes during the inter-school competitions on poster making, environment quiz and cycle rally held as part of the Green School Project during August-November. Mr B. S. Canth, Chief Manager, Indian Oil Corporation and Mr Chandan Banerjee,Zonal Manager, Mahindra Financial Services Ltd also addressed the gathering and gave away some prizes.

Earlier in the day, a cycle rally for school children was held at the Circus Ground. This rally formed the last in the series of inter-school competitions held as part of the project this year. 



Demonstration by SBP staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 17
Employees of local branches and offices of State Bank of Patiala today staged a demonstration in front of their main branch in Sector 17 in support of their demands, on a call given by the All India SBOP Employees Federation.

Their demands include appointment on compassionate grounds to the dependents of the deceased employees, implementation of the decisions already taken in the joint coordination meetings.

Among others who addressed the meeting were Mr Davinder Singh, President of All India SBOP Employees Federation, Mr V.K Tiwari, Regional Secretary, Punjab.



Traffic disrupted

Chandigarh, November 17
The traffic remained disrupted throughout the day today because of recarpeting of the road on the Dakshin Marg between the GMCH and The Tribune Chowk.

The police had to divert the traffic through Sector 29 and even short cuts were blocked. There was so much traffic that signal at the Sector 29 and 30 light points had to be switched off for two hours. OC



Role of press
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 17
Discussions on today’s role of mass media in building of society were held during the Press Day celebrations on Tuesday. The SDM Panchkula, Mr Virinder Dahiya, was the chief guest on the occasion. He said that the press should remain an independent entity.



Torture in custody: police yet to register case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 17
Jagmohan Singh Sarao who accused the police of ‘torture’ in custody early this month today alleged that he was kidnapped and beaten up by a group of unidentified persons, last night.

Talking to The Tribune from his bed number 2 in the Intensive Care Unit of General Hospital, Mr. Sarao said that he had gone to Sector 35 to get his mobile phone repaired last evening. He said when he came out from the shop at around 6 pm he was pushed into a silver colour Santro car by a group of persons at knife-point. He further said they beat him up in the moving car for nearly two hours before he was thrown out of the car. When he came back to his senses, he found himself lying at the roadside near the ITBP camp.

He further added that he was helped by two three labourers to get him a rickshaw that took him to Zirakpur police station from where his brother was informed about the incident. Later at around 11 pm he was taken to the General Hospital. The police is verifying the facts after recording his statement.



Family beaten up by former cop, fights for case registration
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 17
A couple was allegedly beaten up by their neighbour, who was a former policeman on November 15, but the police does not believe them. The police instead of registering a case has reportedly been pressurising, Mr Arjun Sharma, and his wife to reach a compromise.

Mr Arjun Sharma, a resident of 2335/1 Sector 45-C, told Chandigarh Tribune here that Devi Dyal, who is living at the ground floor in house No 2335, allegedly trespassed into his house in the morning that day and attacked their family.

Mr Sharma, said his wife Sawitri was combing her hair at around 7 am that day when Sushil, the son of Devi Dyal, passed remarks on her. His wife prevented him from doing so, saying that she was of his mother’s age. But he did not stop and kept on teasing her, Mr Sharma said.

He further said, following this, his wife had a heated argument with them and after some time Devi Dyal, his son, his wife and daughter allegedly entered their house forcibly and started assaulting him with hockey sticks and rods.

When his wife and their daughters intervened they too were beaten up by them. Mr Sharma, and his wife received injuries on their heads and other parts of the bodies in the attack. “They attacked us so brutally that the blood was scattered on floor and their clothes were torn” Sawitri said before bursting into tears.

She further said Devi Dyal did not stop at that and even thrashed their daughter Sushma who is pregnant and is expecting a baby any day now.

Their other daughters were also injured in the attack and they received minor injuries. She also alleged that she lost her gold chain and two pairs of ear rings in the attack.

Mr Sharma, said Devi Dyal had reached a compromise with him on October 13, 2003 and on August 8, 2002. He further said both the times Devi Dyal confessed that he was guilty and the compromise letters were written with his own hands.

Alleging the police inaction the couple said the police did not visit their house even once. They wanted to show the blood marks to the police but they did not pay heed to their repeated requests.

They further said that on the other hand the police was forcing them to reach a compromise.

When asked about the allegation levelled on the police by the couple the SHO of Sector 34, police station, Mr Ajaib Singh Somal, said they have not received the medical reports as yet. The case will be filed when the reports will be available to the police.

He said they have registered the Daily Diary Report in this matter. He further clarified that the police is not forcing any party to reach a compromise. 



One killed, 2 injured in accident
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, November 17
One person died and two sustained serious injuries when a tractor-trailer on which they were travelling overturned after colliding with a Maruti car on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway. The accident took place near Chhat village, this afternoon.

Jarnail Singh, Rajinder Singh and Raspal Singh residents of Naraingarh Jhurgian village, were on way back home after selling vegetables in Kalka. Due to overturning of the vehicles, there was traffic jams on the highway. Jarnail Singh was crushed under the tractor-trailer, while Rajinder Singh and Raspal Singh were thrown off the tractor-trailer.

Jarnail Singh was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), at Sector 32, in Chandigarh, where the doctors declared him “brought dead”.

Rajinder Singh who was seriously injured, was also admitted to the GMCH with fractured legs, while Raspal Singh was discharged after he was given the first aid.

Mr Ram Dayal, investigating officer, of the case, said the car while overtaking rammed into the front right tyre of the tractor-trailer following which drivers of both the vehicles lost control which led to the mishap.

The police has impounded both vehicles and a case of negligent driving and causing grave hurt has been registered against the car driver at Lohgarh police post. 



Suicide by ITBP jawan
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 17
A head constable of the ITBP today ended his life by hanging at an abandoned under construction sentry post in the CRPF grounds near Behlana village.

He was under depression due to domestic problems, his colleague informed the police.

Paras Ram (40) hanged himself from a girder by a nylon rope.

The police received a call at around 11 am and found him hanging in the sentry post, the SHO of Sector 31, police station said.

He was wearing PT dress. A bottle of liquor was also found lying near the spot. No suicide note was found near the body.

The body was taken to the General Hospital Sector 16, said the police.

The post-mortem examination of dead body was conducted today.

The police said he Paras Ram belongs to Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC in the Sector 31, police station.



Mystery shrouds labourer’s death
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 17
A migrant labourer died under mysterious circumstances at Tolemajra village last night.

The deceased, Bhola, was lying frothing at the mouth in his room when he was seen by his brother. He was immediately taken to the local Civil Hospital where he was declared ‘brought dead’.

A postmortem examination was conducted at the hospital but cause of death could not be ascertained. The viscera had been sent for chemical examination to Patiala.

Bhola worked for a farmer, Mr Jagir Singh, and his brother had come to take him to Bihar as he was to get married in December. 



2 cars, 2 scooters stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 17
Two cars and two scooters were reportedly stolen from the city, the police said here today.

Suhil Goel of sector 21 reported to the police that his Bolero Jeep (PB-12-F-5781) was stolen from his residence, last night at around 2 am. He said that they heard a noise in the night and noticed a truck parked near their house. They ignored it and went to sleep again and in the morning he found his car missing. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered in Sector 19, police station.

In another incident of car theft, Mr Madav Shyam of Sector 21-A filed a complaint that his Maruti car (CH-01-D-0351) was stolen from his residence during the intervening night of November 15-16. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 19, police station.

Mr Ayay Singh of Medical College Jhansi in Madhya Pradesh reported that his motorcycle (PB-28-B-3700) was stolen from ISBT in sector 17 during November 6 to 16.

Mr Parmod Grover of Phase II, Ram Darbar filed a complaint that his scooter (HR-03-C-4879) was stolen from Kiran Cinema Parking in Sector 22. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 17, police station.


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