C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Women ‘beaten up’ by cops
Say their men are in illegal detention
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 14
Residents of the Sector 25 Kumhar Colony, Chandigarh, today alleged that the Kharar police had picked up 10 men from the colony. They were being kept in “illegal” detention since Wednesday night.

Protesting against the “atrocities” of the police, they said over 10 women of the colony had also been picked up on Wednesday night, beaten up and then let off.

Relating the incident, the residents said the police picked up a group of over 50 residents of the colony, including and 40 women and children, and took them to the Kharar police station. “While the women were beaten up and let off on Thursday morning, the men were kept at the police station. They have not returned since,” said Mr Ashok Sabhawal, pradhan of the colony.

The police picked up the colony residents to question them about the tribe that allegedly murdered three persons in Chajju Majra village in Kharar on Sunday.

Mr Shiv Kumar, one of those picked up, told the Chandigarh Tribune that the police “came in a truck and started beating all those sleeping outside the colony wall. They used rifle butts to hit us and herd us into the truck. They also picked up our trunks and other valuables.”

The residents were then taken to the Kharar police station and kept there for the night.

“We were beaten up mercilessly. They did not ask us anything about the murders. The following morning they told the truck driver to leave us in the ‘jungle’. When the truck started moving, our children began to cry and the truck driver took pity on us. He left us at the Sector 38 roundabout and we came back home,” she said, showing wounds she alleges she received at the hands of the police.

She said one of the women they picked up was pregnant.

The colony pradhan said the group the police picked up was from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh and had been living outside the colony for the past two years.

“These people have langoors as pets and have contracts with Panjab University, Punjab Engineering College and the PGI to shoo away the monkeys. They earn over Rs 10,000 each season,” said Mr Sabharwal, adding that the group was not involved in any criminal activity since it earned well.

When contacted, the Kharar police denied having picked up the group. “We did pick up some persons for questioning after the Chajju Majra incident, but none from this place was picked up and we do not have anyone in illegal detention,” said the DSP of Kharar, Mr Rajbachan Singh Sandhu.

The residents, however, rubbished the police claim. “We have the names and photographs of those who have not been let off till date. They are Phoolchand, Sardar Prasad, Burma, Sahib, Hosla Kumar, Biru, Dadu, Jitender, Kailash and Guddu.

Three members of a family, including two brothers in their early twenties and their 65-year-old uncle, were bludgeoned to death in a brutal attack by a group of at least 15 persons in Chhajju Majra village recently.

The savage attack had brought the entire top brass of the Punjab Police to the scene of the crime. The police is working on the theory that the attack was the handiwork of criminal tribes that move across the state during these months.



UT cops to guard Hawara on Delhi trips
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The Chandigarh police has designated a special team to guard Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) chief Jagtar Singh Hawara every time he is taken from Burail Jail here to New Delhi for court hearings.

Hawara, who was nabbed by the Delhi police on June 8 has multiple cases pending against him in courts in Delhi, Punjab and Chandigarh. After a month’s interrogation by the Delhi police in connection with the cinema blasts, the court had, on July 8, handed over Hawara’s custody to Chandigarh police for trial in the Beant Singh murder case and Burail jailbreak cases after they gave an undertaking that they would produce him in the Delhi court whenever required.

On August 11, a Delhi court had issued contempt notices against the Chandigarh IG of Prisons and the Operation Cell DSP for not producing Hawara, violating an earlier undertaking. The court had also dismissed their petition seeking exemption from producing Hawara till the end of trial in the assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh.

Though Hawara, lodged in the high-security Burail Jail here, is transported in a police mini-truck, the police is not ready to take any chances with his security. 



‘Gandhi’ evokes no sympathy
Nirupama Dutt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The Independence Day celebrations in the city are a far cry from what the man draped in a dhoti and a lathi in hand, Mahatma Gandhi, had envisaged while leading the national struggle for free India. Market forces have entered the fray in force with multinational companies, business houses, hotels, restaurants and stores creating a spectacle of images for this day.

A particularly pathetic site on the eve of the Independence Day was a poor model dressed as Gandhi who was posted all day outside the office of a telecommunications company in Sector 35.

Standing as a statue for six hours is bad enough for the human body and to top it all he had to suppress hunger pangs.

The model has been specially brought from Delhi where many poor people make a living by acting as models for weddings, parties and other gala events.

Poor men and women have to do the statue game in garments and conditions at odds with the weather. Some years ago an artiste had caused murmurs, no protest mind you, because he had held a winter show of ice sculptures in a private garden in Delhi. Placed on blocks of ice were men in scanty clothing.

The changed mood in Gandhi-land has sadly travelled from the Capital to the city. Using the day to advertise and market wares may be all right, but not at the cost of human exploitation.

However, since there is no society for prevention of cruelty to human beings, there was none there to shed tears for this man who has to turn into a statue, and all in Gandhi’s name.



Dope tests duty of sports bodies, say experts
Arvind Katyal

Pemoline is a stimulant and from a family of drugs known as central nervous system stimulant. The stimulant helps in alertness and ability to concentrate. The athlete is sometimes not aware of how strenuously he is doing workouts. Pemoline is convenient in another way in that it is a once per day drug. Unlike the other stimulants which begin working after the first dose, it takes a few weeks to begin working. In Neelam’s case, she might have consumed this drug many weeks before while in India or training abroad.

Chandigarh, August 14
Saturday was again a bad day for Indian sports when its ace veteran athlete Neelam Jaswant Singh was found to have tested positive for consuming banned drug Pemoline during the 10th World Athletics Championships in Finland.

Neelam, a Punjab-based athlete, has been accused of defaming the country after the 2002 episode of Sunita Rani, another Indian athlete.

Mr Gurbir Singh, senior member of the Indian Olympic Association and president of the Punjab Rifle Shooting Association, says that it is the moral duty of national sports federations to take into account the report of every ace athlete before clearing them for any international meet. Even if India does not have WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) approved accredited laboratory for dope testing, it is the duty of the Sports Authority of India to get the tests done from international laboratories.

He is of the view that Neelam must be given every opportunity to prove her point. A senior sports official who does not wish to be named says the national sports federations and the ambitious coaches are responsible for the state of sad affairs. He wonders why our athletes are sent to countries like Ukraine, which is under controversy for encouraging athletes via coaches to take steroids. He said Neelam was a seasoned athlete and one medal would not have made any difference in her overall life performance.

Another retired coach having taken many national camps says that athletes are not properly educated on the banned drugs. Whenever any athlete falls sick, he or she is advised prescriptions by the doctor. Whatever the doctor advises the athlete takes it without learning about the drug substance in a particular medicine.



Passing Thru

Rajinder Singh
Rajinder Singh (Jr), Coach, National Hockey team.

How do you assess the Indian Hockey team?

I think it is the most balanced team and is the amalgamation of physical and mental strength.

What are the areas you have emphasised to be improved upon?

Basically, we are working on all departments of the game-like forward line, mid-field, and the defence. We have focused on three “S”: speed, skill and stamina. We have a set of good players.

What are the arrangements for an emergency medical situation?

For the time being, the team’s medical needs will be looked after by a Germany-based Dr Joginder Singh.

How do you look at the infrastructure in Chandigarh?

Definitely, the best. The Sector 42 Hockey Stadium has state-of-the-art Astro turf and the city possesses a lot of talent too.

Are you satisfied with the arrangements made at Chandigarh ?

Yes, actually our aim is to bring back the lost glory of hockey and we least bother about other things.

— G.S. Paul



Beautification plan for Sector 17 gets under way
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
After being at the receiving end of the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) for years together, the commercial hub of the city, Sector 17, is getting a facelift.

In fact, the spruce-up plan seemed to have been initiated following the directions of the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), after a recent visit. Though carefully conducted by UT officials, the Administrator was apparently concerned at the sorry state-of-affairs during the visit to the city centre. And it was after the visit of the Administrator that the Administration had decided to sanction an amount of Rs 2 crore for beautification of the sector. While Rs 1 crore will be spent by the administration directly, the remaining amount would be spent through the MCC, according to sources.

Under the first phase of the beautification plan, the area from the Lyon’s Restaurant to the Neelam Cinema in Sector 17-E has got new railings and colourful paver blocks. An amount of Rs 10 lakh had come from the MPLAD Fund of the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, for this purpose.

In fact, the beautification plan got underway in 2002 when a meeting of the MCC resolved to spend the income from parking fees on the its maintenance, particularly on the construction of the roads and the installation of the streetlights, claimed Mr Pradeep Chabbra, area councillor.

Complimenting the engineering wing of the MCC and the civic body Commissioner, Mr P.S. Aujla, Mr Chabbra, said the concerted efforts of the officials have borne fruit. And the administration had also been liberal with its assistance. Subsequently, the sector was declared as “bin-free” and landscaping was done at the entrances from Sectors 16 and 18.

Talking about the future plans for the sector, a corporation official said an amount of Rs 20 lakh had been earmarked for the sprucing up of the areas in front of the Sahib Singh and Sons parking lot and the Trendsetter lane.

Besides, two toilets on the build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis would be built near the Centre State Library and the Anand Complex. One such complex is already functioning at the Circus Ground.

Efforts were also being made for the uninterrupted functioning of the fountains and the water bodies in sector. In fact, the private firms were also being approached for their maintenance.

Mr Chabbra said the night sweeping for the sector would get underway soon. The installation of the tourist information centre in the Plaza area is an attempt to promote tourism in the sector, officials highlighted.

The upkeep and the maintenance of the sector had left much to be desired over the years. Since it was a purely commercial area and “non-voting” area, there are allegations that the MCC has been giving it a raw deal.

There had been muted protests over lack of maintenance and a section of the Sector 17 traders had even gone to the extent of demanding that it should be taken out of the purview of the MCC. Since it was city centre and tourist attraction, the administration should directly control it and be responsible for its maintenance, it was argued.



Photo-journalist cremated
Scribes’ union seeks relief for bereaved family
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 14
A photographer of a daily vernacular working in Kharar was electrocuted while on duty on the night of Friday. The victim, Ajay Kumar Thakur, in his mid-40s had gone to cover the case of electrocution of two migrant labourers at a shop under construction at Balongi village when he came in contact with a live wire. The two migrants Raj Kumar and Moti Lal, who survived the electrocution, were admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Sources revealed that when Thakur came to the spot and went upstairs to take photographs, he came in contact with the live kundi wire, which was not visible due to darkness. ASI Barma Singh, in charge of Balongi police post, who was just behind Thakur, had a providential escape.

Earlier migrant Raj Kumar had received a shock while making a kundi connection from a 440 volt live power supply line passing along the shop. He fell on Moti Lal, who was standing downstairs. Since Raj fell down with live kundi wire, Moti also received shocks and he became unconscious.

Thakur was the one of the first to reach the spot. He also called an ambulance for sending the electrocuted labourers to the hospital besides informing the police. All shops in Balongi remained closed for the day to mourn the death. Thakur who is Survived by wife Reeta Devi, daughter Pooja (15) and son Ashish (10), was cremated last evening.

A case under Section 304-A of the IPC and Section 39 of Indian Electricity Rules Act has been registered against contractor Satpal Singh of Balongi, who was given the contract to construct the shop, Raj Kumar and Moti Lal, on the statement of shop owner Tarlochan Singh, at the Kharar police station.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ) has announced help to the family of Ajay Kumar Thakur. CPUJ state president Vinod Kohli and Ropar district convener Nitin Jain urged those media groups, with which Thakur was attached, to come forward to extend adequate help to the family of photo-journalist, who had died while discharging his duty.

Expressing heartfelt condolences and sympathies with the bereaved family, the CPUJ leaders appreciated the services of Thakur for not only showing courage in covering the incident notwithstanding the risk involved but for also shifting the injured migrants, who had received electric shock before his electrocution, to hospital and calling the police to the spot.

They said to seek adequate compensation to the photo-journalist’s family and government job to the next of deceased’s kin, a delegation of the CPUJ would soon call upon the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.



Beware of pits, mounds on roads
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, can earn revenue from motor companies by leasing them out some road stretches to be used as “shocker-testing tracks”!
One such track lies on the roundabout of Sectors 46-47-48-49. It is virtually impossible for vehicles to move on this road as some stretches on the road are full of potholes and uneven mounds. Some of the pits are more than three feet long and deep enough to cause a serious accident.

The situation gets deteriorated significantly during the monsoon. The road is often inundated with water and it becomes difficult to make out potholes. The downpour has washed away parts of the road and what is visible are pebbles and uneven, bumpy stretches.

After the rains, sand gets accumulated on the sides of the road, making it more slippery and it gets dangerous for the motorists, especially for those riding two-wheelers.

Sunaina, a college student, who has no option but to use the same stretch of road while going to college, complained, “I often get a flat tyre of my Kinetic scooter while passing through this stretch. I am always apprehensive of missing my morning class”.

“The axle of my new car broke yesterday because of the bad condition of this stretch. I have no option but to use this road to go to my work,” rued K.K. Sharma, a bank executive.

Another death-trap exists at the entrance road of the Sector 20 gurdwara. It is a 4-foot ditch, deep enough to put the life on high risk, especially, during rainy days. The accidents are a common sight on this road. 



Plea to review rates for conversion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Industrialists of the city have in a communication to the administration sought a review of rates for allowing conversion. The rate of Rs 18,000 per square yard announced by the Administration is said to be “too high”.

An open letter on this issue has been sent to the Chandigarh Administration by Mr M.P.S Chawla, president of the Chandigarh Industries Association, Mr Arvind K. Mehan, on behalf of the Industries Association of Chandigarh, and Mr H.S Mamik, Chairman, Sub-Committee on Industrial Conversion Policy, Industries Association of Chandigarh.

“We are writing this letter to thank the Administration for reviewing the conversion policy and making it more investment-friendly. However, the press note issued by the Administration speaks of not being convinced on the two main issues — the adjustment of price of industrial land in the formulae to arrive at rate for conversion and conversion rate to be charged on actual ground coverage”, the letter says.

It has been pointed out that “the starting point is the average auction price of commercial property in the past three years being taken as the basis for the formula for conversion. This price works out at Rs 80,000 per sq. yard which has been set off by 50 per cent for specific reasons of lower FAR permitted and by another 50 per cent for locational disadvantage.

“The rate works out to be Rs 20000 per sq yard. This amounts to a charge of 166 per cent of the value of the land. This charge is unprecedented.”

“The second point was our request for conversion charge on actual ground coverage. This has been ignored. Here, we would like to request an open debate on this issue, if possible”, the letter adds.



Cultural shows a ‘nuisance’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Terming the weekend cultural shows at the Terrace Garden as a “nuisance” organised by the UT Administration, the Residents Welfare Association (RWA), Sector 33, has decided to approach the Administration to shift the venue for the same.

At its meeting held here today, the association resolved to approach the officials to seek immediate discontinuation of the show which was creating noise pollution.

The president of the association, Mr H.S. Virk, said senior citizens in particular were uncomfortable with the holding of the show in the garden. “The high volume of recorded music playing in the garden, presence of large crowds and a lot of anti-social elements from nearby colonies has made life miserable,” he said.

In a press note, the members of the association further claimed that it had vitiated the atmosphere of the sector and defeated the very purpose of holding the show. “We want the Administration to identify a new place for holding the cultural fiesta.,” he said.



Club adopts village
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 14
Mr Ranbir Singh, district governor, RI district 3080, paid an official visit to Rotary Chandigarh Shivalik today. He visited the club’s projects at village Chhoti Perch. The club has adopted this village for improving its infrastructure.

Addressing members of the club, Mr Singh impressed upon them to put sincere efforts for the betterment of the needy.

Mr Singh also visited the Rotary Club Panchkula. He installed interact President Mudita Bahugana at Bhavan Vidyalya. He also attended the installation ceremony at Government College, Panchkula, where Rotract Swadhin Bhardwaj was installed president of the Rotract Club.

In the evening, Mr Singh donated six mattresses at Saket Hospital, Chandimandir, on the behalf of Rotary Panchkula.



RC misplaced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The registration book of Ms Aparna M. Sridhar, number of Karnataka Registration Authority (KA-04-Z-6967) has been misplaced outside the office of Registration and Licensing Authority, Sector 17, Chandigarh.

The RC of flame-red Palio car, if found, may kindly be deposited at The Tribune Office, Sector 29, Chandigarh, An FIR has been registered at the Sector 17 police station.



Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity, under the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, will organise a seven-day photo exhibition at the office of the Municipal Complex in Sector 17, beginning tomorrow.

The Mayor, Ms Anu Chatrath, will inaugurate the exhibition. Five panels depicting 130 photographs and a writeup on the Dandi March and freedom struggle will be on displayed.



TA volunteer awarded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
A city-based Territorial Army (TA) volunteer, Capt Navdeep Singh, has been awarded the Chief of the Army Staff’s Commendation as well as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command’s Commendation on the eve of Independence Day for meritorious services.



40-year-old held for rape bid
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, August 14
The police has arrested a 40-year-old migrant labourer for attempting to rape a minor girl. The incident occurred in a cluster of jhuggis located adjacent to Mansa Devi Complex, this noon.

According to the police, the suspect, Pappu, took a 3-year-old girl of his neighbour, Mr Shyam Lal, to his jhuggi and allegedly tried to outrage her modesty. While searching her daughter, mother of the girl noticed Pappu and her daughter in his jhuggi and she raised the alarm. Other dwellers of jhuggis assembled and the matter was taken to the police station.

Acting on the complaint of the girl’s mother, the police arrested Pappu from his jhuggi and a case under Sections 376 and 511, IPC, was registered against him. The police took the girl to the hospital and a medical examination was also conducted.



Clash leaves 8 injured
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 14
Eight persons were injured, two of them seriously, in a clash between two groups of villagers in Kheri Sundra village near here today. Two of the seriously injured have been taken to the PGI in Chandigarh.

The clash occurred following a land dispute among the two groups in presence of the police and members of the village panchayat.

Eyewitnesses said that members of both groups clashed and used sticks batons and sharp-edged weapons. They hurled stones at one another following which eight persons sustained injuries.

The injured - Gurdhian Singh, Surjit Singh, Pradeep Singh, Gian Singh, Ajmer Singh, Sukhminder Singh, Nirmal Singh and Kuldeep Singh - were taken to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi. Two of the injured, Gurdhian Singh and Ajmer Singh, were referred to the PGI. The police has started investigating the matter.



Mountview to get 5-Star status
Tribune News Service

A delegation of the Union Ministry of Tourism inspects the CITCO-run Hotel Mountview in Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Sunday
A delegation of the Union Ministry of Tourism inspects the CITCO-run Hotel Mountview in Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Sunday.

Chandigarh, August 14
Chandigarh will finally get its first Five-Star hotel. A six-member delegation from the Union Ministry of Tourism today inspected the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation (CITCO) run-Hotel Mountview in Sector 10 and recommended it a ‘Five-Star status’.

This would essentially mean that Hotel Mountview would now come on the map of internationally recognised hotels and it would allow CITCO to tie up with internationally know chain of hotels worldwide. Besides, a further expansion in facilities to customers was being planned. The members of the delegation that visited Hotel Mountview today were led by Mr V.P. Gupta, Deputy Director, Ministry of Tourism, and Mr Manbir Chaudhry, vice-president, Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India.

Besides the delegation had representatives from the Tour Operators Association, experts from the Hotel Industry and from the Institute of Hotel Management nominated by the ministry.

Explaining the difference 5-Star status would make to Hotel Mountview Mr Bir said “from a local hotel now we have joined the family of internationally known hotels”. Hotel Mountview had recorded an income of Rs 2.83 crore during the first quarter of 2005-2006.

“Now we expect the income to get a further boost”, he said.

The General Manager of the Taj, Sector 17, Mr Anil Malhotra confirmed that the hotel was still waiting for its ‘5-Star’ status, but expected it soon. “We have submitted the assessment application and hope that we, too, will join the 5-Star league soon”.

The 5-star status allows hotels to import airconditioning plans, crockery, cutlery etc at discounted excise and other taxes.

The staff at Hotel Mountview has taken the award as a morale booster and most of them say they would now have better opportunities to take up jobs in 5-Star hotels across the country.

Hotel Mountview has since long been providing 5-Star facilities to occupants of its 145 luxuriously furnished rooms and 11 suites, some with private balconies.

Besides, it has separate multi-cuisine and Chinese restaurants, a round-the-clock coffee shop, a health club, a business centre etc.

Located 14 km from airport, and 8 km from the railway station, the hotel has over five acres of landscaped gardens.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |