C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Fire services lack fire
Kalka has only 1 fireman against 17 posts
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 23
Fire services in the district remain in a dismal state — thanks to the indifferent attitude of the government.

Thirtythree of the 47 sanctioned posts are vacant in Panchkula and 16 of the 17 posts in Kalka. Interestingly, the Kalka station has a fire engine, but it has never been used as three posts of driver are vacant for more than one year.

The Panchkula station, too, had 18 employees till a few months ago. However, the Urban Development Department had transferred eight of them to other urban estates. While four of them have joined new posting, the remaining are under transfer. As of now, there is just one station fire officer, two leading firemen, nine firemen and two drivers.

The guidelines for fire safety specify that a leading fireman, four firemen and a driver have to be present in a single shift. However, the present staff are barely sufficient for two shifts.

The state Finance Department had sanctioned 47 posts almost three years ago, including 26 posts of firemen, nine each of leading firemen and driver/operators and one each of fire officer and assistant fire officer. But these posts have not been filled, though the previous government had initiated the process.

Besides the fact that there is a shortage of firemen, there are only three fire engines catering to the entire district. The guidelines say there has to be one fire engine per 50,000 persons. The population of the township is nearly 4.50 lakh. Even the Municipal Council has made a request to the Urban Development Department for the purchase of a fire engine.

“We have deposited Rs 12 lakh with the Director Supplies for the purchase of a chassis of a jeep fire engine and fire engine last year, but because of audit objections the purchases have now been made. But we are trying to expedite the matter,” said a senior council official.

Residents lamented that they were forced to pay fire tax for the overall improvement of fire services, but instead of improving the facilities they still had to rely on Chandigarh in case of any emergency.



Subsidised food at PCA for cricket buffs
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 23
After hosting successfully the Challenger Series for the NKP Salve Trophy 10 days ago, the PCA is girding up its loins to welcome the India and Sri Lanka teams for the day-night one-day match on October 28 here.

The preparation for the big event has begun at full pace at the stadium. Two cricket strips are being prepared for the match. "After assessing the behaviour and results of relaid pitches in the Challenger Series held recently here, we decided to prepare the two tracks. One will be the same, which was used in the finals of Challenger Trophy on October 13 this month. The other will be that which has been especially prepared with 60 per cent of clay contents offering variable playing conditions like bounce, spin and also pace-off wicket", said Mr M. P. Pandove, honorary secretary of the PCA.

However, the decision to select the final pitch out of the two will be taken by the sub-technical committee, comprising PCA curator Daljit Singh, Intikhab Alam and D. P. Azad on October 26, after seeking the requirements of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

To facilitate the spectators during the match, the PCA authorities have decided to provide eatables and drinks on subsidised rates inside the stadium. "This time the spectators would have no extra burden on their pockets to fetch eatables and drinks as these would be available at subsidised rates which would be much lesser than the prevailing prices of their respective restaurants.

Even soft drinks, ice cream and mineral water will be sold less than the MRP at the stalls put up inside the stadium", said Mr R. P. Singla, co- chairman of the Boarding Lodging and Hospitality Committee of the PCA.

To ensure this, the PCA authorities have decided to waive the stall installation charges from the interested companies with the condition of not increasing the rates.

Both the star-studded teams will arrive in the city on October 26 and will be put up in Hotel Taj GVK.



Thai pavilion a big hit at CII fair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The four-day CII’s Chandigarh Fair at Parade Grounds concluded with large crowds thronging the venue on the last day to get the best deals. The Thai Pavilion stocking a bouquet of products from 25 companies and 125 Indian exhibitors displaying an array of their best wares in the other five concurrent fairs drew a large number of people, particularly during the weekend.

The Thai Pavilion turned out to be a big hit all through the exhibition. Almost all stall managers seemed thrilled as the sales were beyond expectations. The jewellery, flowers, glassware, furniture etc, all Thai items, found their way to Chandigarh homes as well as in the satellite townships. "We have been participating in various trade fairs and getting good responses for our quality products,’’ said one of the exhibitors. “Here too it has been good.”

The fair was also the venue for new launches as companies are spending huge amounts on marketing campaigns to woo the buyers. One such launch at Consumer Expo was designer stationery under the French brand name “Maped”. Mr Jateen Mehta, Manager of the local agency, was a happy man as he had sold out the entire stock even before the fair was over.

Divali being round the corner, the furnishers were also happy by the response to their new launches of furniture items. Mr Satish Dogra, Deputy Sales Manager, Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Co. Ltd., said, “We launched a range of new items in home furniture and the visitors showed a keen interest in almost everything as a lot of orders have been booked and a lot many items sold over the counter”.

The art lovers got a chance to pick and choose from the variety available. Quite pleased with the sale, Capt Satish Sharma from Uma Gift Mart said, “The taste of the public is changing. People are tired of synthetic and plastic and coming back to ethnic and antique’’. He said the helmets and bird feeders made of cast iron were the major attraction at his stall.



SC order will boost NRI investment in city
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Terming the recent Supreme Court judgement giving relief to the non-resident Indians (NRIs) having properties in Punjab and Chandigarh as “landmark”, a leading criminal lawyer has hoped that it would give a boost to the NRI investments in the region.

“The judgement will come to the rescue of the thousands of the NRIs having properties and the prospective investors, who will now feel secure to invest in the real estate sector,” Mr Amar Singh Chahal, who had been taking up such cases for the past several years, told Chandigarh Tribune here today.

Advocating the need for the preparation of an inventory of the NRI properties in Punjab and Chandigarh, Mr Chahal stressed the need for the setting up of a “special cell” to protect the prime properties from the “anti-social” elements.

Deciding on a bunch of appeals of the tenants against the Punjab and Haryana High Court judgement holding the rights of the NRI to claims their properties, the apex court recently ordered that the NRIs could evict tenants from their houses under the East Punjab Urban Rent Registration Act, 1949, if the same were required for their “genuine” use.

“Section 13-B of the Act gives right of ejectment to special category of landlords, who are NRIs and owners for premises for five years before action is commenced, the order said.

“If implemented in letter and in spirit, the apex court decision will go a long way in bringing foreign investment to the country,” Mr Chahal added.

Meanwhile, echoing almost similarly sentiments, another advocate at the District Courts, Mr Gurdial Singh, said the authorities concerned were duty-bound to protect the properties of the NRI, who had strong roots in the country of their origin. The government’s gesture in protecting their properties would earn a lot goodwill among the NRIs, he added.

Mr B.S. Malhi, another advocate, said the SC judgement was “timely” and in consonance with Indian Government’s polices of safeguarding the NRIs’ rights.



Tough going for motorists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Motorists on the Chandigarh-Ambala National Highway faced a tough time today as the bridge on the Ghaggar near Bhankarpur was closed for traffic.

Though traffic was diverted from Zirakpur towards Rajpura and Ambala and from Barwala towards Dera Bassi, a large number of commuters faced problems. A number of public vehicles halted on one side of the bridge, from where passengers walked towards the other side and boarded vehicles.

The traffic moved at a snail’s pace near the Zirakpur-Rajpura chowk. Policemen had a tough time in controlling the traffic.

Officials of the PWD (National Highways), Punjab, said the repair work would be completed by tomorrow.

The 50-year-old structure was damaged after a span developed cracks. Though the cracks were temporarily filled and the traffic was restored, the permanent repair is now being undertaken.



UGC NET camp at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
More changes are expected in the syllabus and pattern of the UGC NET in the coming years. The intention of the UGC is clear regarding that because in December 2004 Paper-I syllabus was changed and for June 2005 Paper III pattern was changed. Again in June 2005 also Paper-I was also not as per expectations.

This was stated by Prof D.C. Kataria, an expert of the UGC NET exams, while addressing the students in 4th UGC NET awareness camp held at students centre, Panjab University, here, today.

The camp was organised by the Panjab University Campus Student Council and Aryans Educational and Charitable Trust. More than 600 students from Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and HP participated.



IAF may press heavy-lift copters to fly machinery
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
The IAF is planning to press the Mi-26 heavy-lift helicopter to airlift heavy machinery to remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir, which were devastated by an earthquake a few days ago.

According to a senior IAF officer here, the helicopters, the largest and heaviest in the world, are ready to fly from their base here. Specific tasking instructions from the Western Air Command are being awaited.

One restricting factor in operating the giant Mi-26 in that region, officers said, is that the small size of helipads, which are primarily designed to accommodate helicopters up to the size of the Mi-17 medium-lift hoppers. Also, the Mi-26s huge rotor dimensions make it difficult to operate in confined mountainous terrain.

Officers said the Mi-26 could take up to 25 tonnes of load and if required, relief material could be air dropped or heavy machinery like diesel generators could be carried underslung.

The Mi-26s were also used to airlift bulldozers to Kinnaur district in Himachal Pradesh earlier this year after flashfloods washed away several bridges and stretches of the national highway. In the past, the IAF has used the Mi-26 to ferry heavy loads to difficult areas for disaster management during natural calamities.

On an average, three IL-76 sorties and seven An-32 sorties are being flown by 12 Wing here to airlift relief matter from various places to Srinagar. The relief operations are in addition to regular air maintenance sorties to Leh and Thoise, which become a priority as winter approaches.



Passing Thru

Mohammad Nasir, coach, Pakistan Wrestling Federation
Mohammad Nasir, coach, Pakistan Wrestling Federation

Is this your first visit to Chandigarh?

Yes. Earlier, I visited India in 1999 to participate in the Indo-Pak wrestling competition held at Anandpur Sahib.

What is the status of wrestling in Pakistan?

Actually, we don’t have sports culture in Pakistan. It’s only cricket that overshadows other sports. People seldom encourage their children to adopt this sport as their professional career. The reason is that it involves a lot of money and time to become a good wrestler.

What steps can be taken to promote this sport?

The children, who have inclination towards this game, should start getting training at the age of six. Wrestling matches should be organised at the high school and college level. My only wish is that like sumo fights and judo our “desi” style of wrestling should also get due recognition.

— G.S. Paul



Disabled battles for dignified job
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Even with his incomplete forelimbs, Mohinder Singh does a fine job of Divali divas. Everyday he goes to the wholesale market to buy them; then comes home and paints them.

And as he paints, his disability fades into oblivion. Both his arms, sliced from below the elbow, move well enough to create an artistic impression on the divas. The colours chosen are bright. People hate dullness and Mohinder knows that well. His wife Sushila - also disabled with amputated legs help him in this struggle for “respectable” existence. They will load the divas on the rickshaw and sell them to make some money.

While the couple makes a pretty picture of vitality against all odds, it does have tales of trauma to share. “I lost my arms to a fodder-cutting machine in 1986. I could well have succumbed to frustration and taken to begging. But it was the zeal of making a decent living which brought me to Chandigarh,” narrates Mohinder, who was terminated from his safai karamchari job in the UT Administration some years ago.

In Chandigarh, Mohinder began by pulling a rickshaw. He would tie a rope round his neck to apply brakes. First people used to give him derisive looks but soon they began respecting his determination. On another front, however, Mohinder was suffering. He developed sores in his arms - a result of a demanding physical job. His wife recalls, “He would cover his wounds so that we couldn’t see them. He kept pulling the rickshaw but his condition deteriorated. That was when he managed to get a government job.”

Enrolled with the Regional Employment Exchange, Mohinder was taken in by the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation as a safai karamchari on daily wages. He had never held a broom, but he learnt the “art of cleanliness”, as he puts it, “Anything that prevents you from begging is an art. I practiced cleaning with the broom for years, but one day I was asked to go home along with 50 others. Some clause in the rules prevented our continuation in service.”

While 50 retrenched employees recently got regularised by winning their case in the High Court, Mohinder’s case is still pending at the level of UT Home Secretary. The Labour Court has directed that he be paid his arrears and be regularised as a safai karamchari, but the Administration is yet to decide on the poor man’s fate.

For Mohinder, a permanent job with the UT Administration is the only big dream now. Having worked as a rickshaw-puller for years, he has depleted his energy. But it is love for his wife and son which is still driving him to the roads with a rickshaw to pull.

He says, “Divali is the only earning season for me. Otherwise I come home with less than Rs 40 a day. I have a 14-year-old school going son and an ailing wife. Money causes frustration at times. Otherwise we had enough motivation to last us a lifetime.”

While Mohinder waits for his due in a country where dignity of the disabled is protected by law, Sushila keeps busy shouldering her husband’s responsibility. She runs a small makeshift shop outside a school in the Bapu Dham Colony in Chandigarh and sells confectionary to children.

All this for the sake of dignity — of labour and of living!



Sangh members honoured
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 21
The BJP today celebrated the Jan Sangh Sthapna Diwas by honouring old Jan Sangh members from Panchkula, Mr Tilak Raj Khanna and Mr Tilak Raj Tilak. The duo were garlanded and presented shawls.

The function was presided over by state BJP President, Ganeshi Lal. Speaking on the occasion, he lauded the ideals of the Jan Sangh and said the party had always believed in an ideology of nationalism, which was being followed by the BJP.

Later, speaking to newspersons, he said the state BJP leaders would meet the Haryana Governor tomorrow, and present a memorandum against the deteriorating law and order condition in the state, especially in the newly created district of Mewat.

He said they would also take up the matter regarding only one BJP MLA being included in the Delimitation Commission, when five Congress men have been included.



Books released

Mohali October 23
Two poetry books — “Eh Marg Pardes Da” and “Saude Taqdiran De” — by Palwinder Barassvi were released and Kewal Manik a folk singer was honoured by the Sahit Kala Sabhyachar Manch, Mohali. The function was held here yesterday.

Mr B.R. Deewana welcomed the guests, Mr N.S. Rattan, retired IAS officer, and Dr L.R. Parwana, presided over the function. Mr M.B.S. Shergill, Principal, Paragon Senior Secondary School, Sector, 69, was the chief guest. — TNS



Man held for stealing mobile
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 23
The local police has arrested a Sector 32 resident on the allegations of stealing a mobile phone. A woman was arrested with 2 gm of smack while in a separate incident a Sector 29, a resident was taken in custody on charges of selling liquor illegally. Elsewhere, two persons were arrested from the Transport Area for allegedly indulging in gambling.

Ms Gurmeet Kaur of Sector 47 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Ashok Kumar of Sector 32 had stolen a mobile phone from her residence on Saturday. Acting on the complaint, the police arrested the accused later in the day and recovered the stolen property from his possession. A case has been registered in this regard.

Smack seized

The local police arrested Bano of Dadu Majra and recovered 2 gm of smack from her possession on Saturday. She was arrested from near Parajapati Bhavan in Sector 38. A case under Section 21 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act has been registered in the Sector 39 police station.

Liquor seized

Parmeshwari, a resident of Sector 29, was arrested on allegations of selling liquor from her residence on Saturday. The police seized six bottles of country wine from her possession. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered against her. She was later released on bail.


The local police arrested has arrested Ravi Kumar of Mauli Jagran and Suresh Kumar of Rajiv Colony in Panchkula for allegedly indulging in gambling at public places. They were arrested from near the Transport Area in Sector 26 on Saturday. The police seized Rs 580 from their possession and registered a case under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act in this regard.


A Horticulture employee was injured when his jeep was hit by a rashly driven truck near Tribune Chowk on Saturday. Mr Inderjit Singh of Sector 69 in Mohali reported to the police that he was driving the jeep when the accident took place, in which Mr Ram, a horticulture department employee sustained injuries.

He was shifted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital.

Acting on the complaint, the police arrested the truck driver Lalit of Phase I, Mohali and registered a case of rash and negligent driving against him under Sections 279 and 337 of the Indian Penal Code. He was later released on bail.



UP resident held with ganja

Chandigarh, October 23
The local police today arrested an Uttar Pradesh resident for allegedly carrying 14 kg of ganja from Kajheri village. The estimated market value of the contraband is Rs 70, 000, said the police.

Sources in the Sector 36 police station said 30-year-old Chandi Gupta of Khushi Nagar in Uttar Pradesh was arrested from near Kajheri Chowk this afternoon. During interrogation, Chandi Gupta told the police that he had brought the contraband from an Uttar Pradesh-based kingpin. He used to bring the contraband to the city through buses and delivered it in Punjab and Chandigarh.

Chandi Gupta reportedly told the police that he had brought the consignment for ‘Chedi’, a resident of Sector 25. He also informed about another buyer, Jeewan, a resident of Phase I, Mohali. Raids were conducted in Sector 25 and Mohali, but no one was arrested. Jeewan is a hawker and sells cigarettes, besides selling ganja in small quantities.

Chandi told the police that the contraband is smuggled through the Nepal border to India, from it is smuggled in the different parts of the country. The police sources added that Chandi had come to the city about two months ago to deliver 10 kg of ganja. He was given payment for only 2 kg of contraband. He had come to collect the outstanding amount and smuggle in a fresh consignment. — OC



Youth booked
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 23
The police booked a youth on the charges of attempting to kidnap two children from Sector 6 last evening. The youth, Raman, was picked up by the police after the grandmother of the children raised an alarm and called the police.

The accused was reportedly in an inebriated condition and had approached the children, Dhruv (7) and Shrey (4), while they were taking a stroll near their house in Sector 6.

The accused, who belong to Karnal, reportedly asked the children to accompany him. However, their grandmother raised an alarm. The police has booked him under Sections 364 and 511 of the IPC.



1 hurt in attack on house
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 23
One person was injured and property damaged when a group of armed persons attacked a house in Phase IX, here, today. According to reports, the attackers damaged belongings in the house. Acid was reportedly used in the clash. It is reported that there was a dispute over cable TV services in the area. 



Body found in market
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 23
Body of an unidentified man was found in the Phase VII market, here, today.

The police suspects that the deceased was a beggar aged about 50 years. He may have died previous night.

The body was sent to the local Civil Hospital for a post-mortem examination. The police initiated proceeding under Section 174 of the CrPC.



Airtel launches Divali bumper
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 23
Airtel has announced the launch of ‘Airtel Divali Bumper’ for its customers in Punjab. The lucky winner of the bumper will win Rs 11 lakh. There will be daily lucky draw winners who would win gift prizes worth approximately Rs 25,000 comprising digital cameras, colour televisions, gold coins and Nokia color mobile handsets or free ringtones or 10 local SMS for participating.

To participate, a customer needs to call 234 and answer a simple question. On giving the correct answer, the customer will get a participation number that will automatically be entered for the lucky draw contest. He can make an entry for the bumper as many times as he likes. The call charges are Rs 11 per minute.


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