C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

MC poll to be held in 26 wards
Alterations made in 5 wards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
In the coming elections to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, the total number of wards will be 26. A notification in this regard was issued today by the Secretary, Local Government, Chandigarh Administration.

Certain alterations have been made in the geographical boundaries of the wards. A senior official told Chandigarh Tribune that to fulfil the demands of the political parties for rationalisation the population in different wards, some modifications in at least five of the wards had been made.

Objections had been invited from the public following the submission of a draft proposal regarding delimitation of wards. Earlier, the population in different wards varied between 19,000 and 40,000. Now, the population in each ward had been calculated to be around 34,000. Some rationalising of the SC population had also been done, said sources.

The changes have been made following recommendations of a three-member committee on the delimitation of MC wards.

As per the final notification, two more Sectors, 2 and 11, have been included in Ward No. 1, which has been represented by Mr Chander Mukhi. The geographical boundary of Ward No. 2 has changed with the addition of Khuda Lahora Labour Colony.

The west of Sector 39 has been included in Ward No. 9 while the Grain Market has been incorporated in Ward No. 7. Sector 43 has been moved from Ward No. 10 to Ward No. 12.

Another significant change is shifting of the Ram Darbar residential area from Ward No. 22 to Ward No. 23. Otherwise, no major change has been made in Ward No. 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25 and Ward No. 26.

The SC population in different wards varied between 1000 and 20,000 — the highest figure of 20,000 being in Ward No. 5, which comprises Sector 25 Kumhar Colony, EWS Colony, Dhanas, and other nearby areas, and 10,675 in Ward No. 6, comprising Dadu Majra Colony, Dadu Majra and Shahpur. Now, the difference in SC population has also been rationalised.

The following is the composition of wards.

Ward No. 1: Sectors 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Ward No. 2: Sectors12, 14, 15 and Khuda Lahora Colony.

Ward No. 3: Sectors 16, 17 and 22.

Ward No. 4: Sectors 23, 24 and 36.

Ward No. 5 : Sectors 25, Kumhar Colony, Janta Colony, Sector 25 (West), LIG Colony (Dhanas), Milkman Colony and Housing EWS Dhanas, Site and Service Dhanas, (Aman, Chaman and Ambedkar colonies).

Ward No. 6: Dadu Majra Colony, Dadu Majra and Shah Pur.

Ward No. 7: Maloya, EWS Colony Maloya, West of Sector 39 and Grain Market.

Ward No. 8: Sectors 37, 38 and 38 (West).

Ward No. 9: Sectors 39 and 40.

Ward No. 10: Sectors 41, Buterla, Sector 42 and Attawa.

Ward No. 11: Sectors 53 (Nehru Colony), 54, 55 (Housing Board), 55 Indira, Kamal and Adarsh colonies, Furniture Shops in Sector 56, Rehabilitation Colony, Palsora, and Palsora village.

Ward No. 12: Sectors 43, 52, EWS LIG Colony, 61 and Kajheri,

Ward No. 13: Sectors 49, 50, 51, (Nizampur Burail), Colony No. 5 , Sector 51 Brick-kiln, Nizampur Kumbra, Sector 51, sub-jail, Nimpur Kumbra and Sector 63.

Ward No. 14 : Sectors 45 and Burail.

Ward No. 15 : Sectors 34, 35 and 44.

Ward No. 16: Sectors 20 and 33.

Ward No. 17: Sectors 18, 19 and 21.

Ward No. 18: Sectors 27, 28 and 30.

Ward No. 19: Sectors 26, 26-E, Bapudham Trangt, Camp II Phase II, Sector 26-E, Transport Area, Sector 26-E, EWS Housing Board, Bapudham Trangt Camp I, Phase I, Bapudham Trangt, Camp III, Phase III and Madrasi Colony (huts).

Ward No. 20: Sector 29, Industrial Area Phase I, Industrial Area, Phase I, Sanjay Colony (slum), Industrial Area Phase I, and Industrial Area (Phase I Colony No. 4).

Ward No. 21: Sectors 32 and 46.

Ward No. 22: Sectors 31, 47 and 48, Industrial Area and Phase II (entire).

Ward No. 23: Karson Colony, Phase II Ramdarbar, Indira Awas Colony, Hallo Majra, Bair-Majra, Faidan-Burail and Char-Taraf-Burail,

Ward No. 24: Mauli Complex (Railway Colony), Ambedkar Avas Yojna, Mauli Complex (Charn Singh Colony), Bhagat Singh Colony, Vikas Nagar, Shivalik Enclave and Mauli Complex (Housing Board).

Ward No. 25: Old Mani Majra (NAC), Shanti Nagar, Mari Wala Town, Thakur Dwara, Chandigarh Housing Board 1 and 2 (Modern Housing Complex) and Mohalla Govindpura.

Ward No. 26: Dhillon complex, Motor Market, Pocket No. 8, Darshani Bagh, Subhash Nagar, Adarsh Nagar, Pipli Wala Town, Gawala Colony, Indira Colony, Indira Colony (rehabilitation), Old Indira Colony, Race Course and IT Park.



Councillors not keen on MC poll on Dec 10

Chandigarh, October 25
With only a few days left to decide the date for the Municipal Corporation elections, councillors are not keen to have the election on December 10.

According to sources, the councillors are not too keen to have the elections on December 10 as a large number of weddings are scheduled for that day. It has been learnt that in a communique to their respective party leaderships the councillors have expressed reservations about the date on which the election is going to be held. In fact, all community centres and grounds of the MCC have been booked for December 10.

Mr Tarvinder Dhingra, OSD to Joint Commissioner, confirmed that there was a heavy booking for December 10. TNS



Pak team’s cricket gear goes missing
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 25
Much to the shock of the high-profile Pakistan team, their cricket gear went missing from their kits while they were practising at the PCA Stadium here last night.

Alleging that their gear had been stolen, Pakistani cricket team manager Talit Ai complained to the SAS Nagar police, which later registered a case under Section 380 of the IPC. The incident took place last night when the team came to practice under floodlights for the match against New Zealand, scheduled for today.

According to sources, two bats, two pairs of shoes and two pairs of batting gloves were found missing from the kits of Abdul Razzaq, Rana Naved, Younis Khan, Umar Gul and Imran Farhat. The kits were lying in the lounge of the PCA when the incident took place.

Surprisingly, the PCA authorities showed total ignorance of the issue. When contacted the Honorary Secretary of the PCA, Mr M.P. Pandove, denied that such an incident took place at the stadium.



Fleming’s sixer injures spectator
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 25
The excitement of witnessing fireworks by batsmen of New Zealand and Pakistan turned into trauma for Hardhik Jain, when a sixer slammed by New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming off a Rana Naved delivery hit his right eye at PCA Stadium, Mohali, today.

Hardhik was enjoying the one-day match at the Terrace Block with his family when the incident happened all of a sudden. ‘‘The shot was so fast that he (Hardhik) could not judge that the ball was going to hit him in the eye’’, said an eyewitness.

Fortunately, the doctors’ team was sitting near Hardhik, and doctors immediately provided first aid to Hardhik, whose eye was bleeding profusely. ‘‘We gave him an injection for pain and put some eye drops immediately for relief’’, said Dr Manjit Singh, an eye surgeon at Civil Hospital, Phase VI here.

Hardhik, who according to Dr Singh suffered ‘‘blunt trauma with vitreous haemorrhage’’, was referred to the PGI for further check up.

Giving details about the injury Dr Singh said he suffered an internal injury and chances were that he may lose sight or have blurred vision. ‘‘We will examine the eye tomorrow and conduct some scans to know about the exact condition of the eye. He will take more than two months to get normal again’’, said Dr Singh.

On the other hand, the Honorary Secretary of the Punjab Cricket Association, Mr M.P Pandove termed the incident as unfortunate and assured that the expenses of the treatment would be borne by the association. 



Roadside to hospital, but her agony continues
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 25
The unidentified woman who was brought to the General Hospital, Sector 6, from the Ramgarh-Barwala road, got a name — Renu — today, and by her own admission. Cleaned and “dressed”, she was a slightly better picture as she lay on the stretcher outside the Emergency though the police today showed a complete lack of interest in investigating the case. So much so that a medical examination of the patient has not been carried out even after 24 hours of her getting admitted to the hospital.

Having gained strength after she was administered glucose, she had tea and biscuits but didn’t talk much though she made an effort to understand and be understood. However, the policemen who had acted as good Samaritans yesterday, today chose to cold shoulder the woman, maintaining that she was “not in her senses”.

When The Tribune team arrived at the hospital and made an effort to speak to her, she tried to speak but finally chose to disclose her identity by writing after a lot of coaxing. She wrote that she belonged to Bhanumani and her name was Renu.

She added in the written note that three unidentified men picked her up from near a school, raped her and threw her on the Ramgarh-Barwala road from where she landed in the hospital. Seemingly in a state of shock though the police stuck to its stand that she was “mentally unsound”, she withdrew into her shell after disclosing her identity.

Inquiries at the Emergency revealed that after “depositing” her at the hospital, the cops had just not bothered to come back. This despite the fact that hospital authorities had repeatedly tried to contact the Sector 6 police post.

When apprised of police inaction and Renu’s statement, the DSP, Mr Om Prakash, called ASI Satbir Singh, and asked him to identify the people who could help in understanding the woman’s language and proceed accordingly.

By evening, nothing had moved in the police register. The police claimed that an application had been sent to the doctors, asking for a medical report of the victim, which the doctors denied.

On being asked why a medical examination had not been conducted so far, the doctors said they did not have a consent for it. A spokesperson of the hospital said medical examination can be conducted only if a person himself approaches the doctors for it or the police makes a request in this regard.

“The police has to take initiative which it has not done that so far despite repeated reminders to them. The patient cannot understand our language and we can’t understand what the patient wants to say. This is a complicated case but we have to 
follow the rule book. We can’t proceed on our own,” he said.

ASI Satbir Singh said the victim probably belonged to Siliguri and that they had identified a few men who could read the language.

The police said her statement would be recorded tomorrow in the presence of the people who knew her language.



  ‘Time to focus on human resource development’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
There is no doubt that the real wealth of a nation is its people and nothing is more important than the development of human resources. Human resource will continue to play a significant role in the socio-economic development of a country. Thus, developing human resource should be included in our national planning.

This was stated by Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Punjab Minister for NRIs, here today. He was speaking after inaugurating an international conference on investment opportunities for infrastructure for human resource development and education for employment in the service industry, as part of the Think India- Think Punjab Agenda, 2006.

Mr Samra said higher education being imparted in the state “has to be of good quality, if we have to compete globally for scientific and technological expertise”. Mr Samra also released a copy of the backgrounder prepared by ITFT, Chandigarh.

The conference was organised by the Punjab Government and IPCSI (International Punjabi Chamber for Service Industry).

In his keynote address on strategic approach towards HRD for employment generation in service industry, Dr Robert Inbakaran, from RIMT University, Victoria, Australia, said Indian universities should have vocational, industry-focused syllabi incorporating new and emerging international trends.

Mr N.S. Kalsi, Commissioner, NRI Affairs and Secretary IT, Punjab, and Prof L.R. Verma, Vice-Chancellor, HP University, also spoke. More than 200 principals from Punjab attended the conference.



Youth’s torture case: tempers fly high at PGI Emergency
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Patients in serious condition, paramedical staff as well as doctors on emergency duty had a harrowing time as Punjab Police cops accompanying Naresh Kumar, a 16-year-old youth from Morinda, who was allegedly tortured by the police, created an atmosphere of terror for almost six hours in the Emergency OPD of the PGI late last night.

The Punjab Police cops even thrashed a Municipal Councillor of Morinda, who was accompanying the victim’s family, inside the Emergency OPD while the PGI security staff and UT police personnel present on the spot remained mute spectators.

The Emergency Medical Officer on duty, Dr Sonia, had to call the police to bring the situation under control.

Tension had been brewing outside the Emergency OPD after the family members, along with Mr Jagpal Singh, Municipal Councilor of the area, and members of the Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI) reached the hospital.

Mr Jagpal Singh and the SHO of Morinda, Mr Balwant Singh, had an altercation. The SHO allegedly thrashed the councillor and threatened him of dire consequences.

According to the eyewitnesses high drama was witnessed inside the Emergency OPD in the presence of UT police personnel and the PGI security staff.

Following the incident the UT police and Punjab Police have deployed cops in and around the Emergency OPD to avoid any untoward incident.

The doctors attending on the victim said Naresh was ‘‘under observation and his condition was stable’’.

However, after getting the news of torture of Naresh Kumar by Morinda police, scores of residents of Morinda today reached the PGI. Up in arms against the police, the villagers have been camping around the Emergency OPD.

Meanwhile, Naresh Kumar today regained consciousness. He recalled that cops had picked him up and took him to a police station. He said the cops had hung him upside-down and tortured him.

Naresh was allegedly picked up by Morinda police station staff on the allegations of the selling narcotics. He had been booked under the NDPS Act. Naresh was to be shifted to Juvenile Home in Ludhiana but he was illegally detained in the police station in violation of the rules, claimed LHRI local president T.S Sudan.

He was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Morinda, by the police without informing his family members. Naresh was referred to the PGI after doctors in Morinda expressed inability to tackle the case, added Mr Sudan.

The local unit of LHRI has decided to approach the Punjab State Human Rights Commissioner to seek action against erring Punjab Police officials for torturing Naresh Kumar and his family apart from framing them in false cases.

Meanwhile, the UT police today registered daily dairy reports (DDR) on the complaint of Mr Jagpal Singh, Municipal Councillor of Morinda, against Balwant Singh, SHO, Morinda. In his complaint Mr Jagpal Singh has alleged that Balwant Singh had thrashed him and had torn his clothes. A DDR has also been registered against Mr Jagpal Singh on the complaint of Balwant Singh Majitha in which he has alleged that Jagpal had been trying to take Naresh away from the hospital. 



Stamp duty to be lowered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Selling and buying of property would soon be cheaper in the city. On a communiqué from the Union Government, the Chandigarh Administration has agreed to rationalise the stamp duty rate by bringing it down from the existing 6 per cent.

The new rate of stamp duty would be notified soon after seeking approval of the UT Administrator, said a senior official.

The Administration would get Central assistance under the National Urban Renewal Mission (NURM) Scheme as the Union Government has linked Central assistance to states with stamp duty reforms.

In 2002, the Administration has reduced stamp duty from 12.50 per cent to 6 per cent. The reduction in stamp duty would make selling and buying of property cheaper. It would prevent under-valuation of property, as a result revenue collection in the city will go up.

Meanwhile, sources pointed out the collectors rate — a benchmark for sale and purchase of property — would be hiked by the year-end to offset any loss in revenue. The collectors rate is fixed by the Administration as the minimum price of any property.

It may be mentioned that all states have agreed to rationalise their stamp duty structure to a uniform level of 5 per cent under the scheme so that the housing sector received the required fillip. With rationalisation of stamp duty, purchase and sale of properties would become a convenient transaction.

The rationalisation of stamp duties has become compulsory in view of pressures on property as the housing sector all over India has been growing at the rate of 30 per cent and contributing 52 per cent to the national GDP.



Watch out

Satinder Kumar Sharma
Satinder Kumar Sharma

Satinder Kumar Sharma, a city-based hockey umpire, will supervise the match between the teams of Services and Orissa during the 62nd Senior National Hockey Championship underway at Amritsar on Wednesday.

Satinder, a Grade I umpire of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), recently umpired matches in the World Cup hockey at Monchengladbach (Germany) in September last. He also looked after the Champions Trophy held in Terressa (Spain) from July 22 to 30.

Satinder becomes the first Indian to complete 75 international matches after he supervised the Champions Trophy final between Holland and Germany.



In Town

Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting, skipper and ace batsman of the World Cup Champions, Australia, will interact with 50 odd children from different schools of the city. The event has been organised by ING Vyasa Bank here for Thursday. Ponting will give valuable tips to the children — all between 8-10 years — about cricket.

Watch out for the cricketer as the Australian team takes on India under the floodlights at the PCA Stadium, Mohali, on Friday.



Passing Through

Sonny Shaw
Sonny Shaw; a hardcore supporter of the Kiwi team, who follows the team all over the world. 

Do you follow only cricket teams or support other games also?

No, I do not follow only cricketers. I also go along with rugby, basketball and netball teams of New Zealand. I have been out of the country for the past six months for the purpose.

How do you assess your skipper Stephen Fleming, who made a world record by leading the side in the 194th ODI against Pakistan on Wednesday?

Fleming is really a great player. For the past four-five years, he has been displaying good batting skills and accumulating a lot of runs in the process. On the other hand, I am also witnessing my 207th one-day match of my team. Besides, I have viewed 93 Tests also.

How do you find Chandigarh?

Though this is my second visit to the city, I could not see it properly because watching the matches is always on my priority list. However, it is a nice place and I like the passion of the Indians for the game.

— Akash Ghai



Rajputs, Banjaras fight over piece of land
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Raipur Rani (Panchkula), October 25
It's Rajputs versus the Banjaras over a piece of land at Shahpur village where might seems to be right. One Rajput family headed by 60-year-old Chaman Lal is holding the entire Shahpur to ransom. While women live in morbid fear of Chaman Lal and his sons, the village panchyat, too, has failed to make him fall in line.

He's a law unto himself as he sits on a wooden bed amidst a lot of hay gathered and piled up for his cattle at the disputed "abadi" land. He hurls the choicest of abuses at the women from the Banjara families settled in Shahpur and at anybody who dares to ask him about the ownership of the land. Occupied by the Banjaras till a couple of months back, it was forcibly taken away from them by Chaman Lal.

"We used to tie our cattle on this piece of land and had stocked hay for them. This land belongs to the village and there is no individual ownership but it has been with the Banjaras ever since we can recall. One fine day, Chaman Lal just decided that he wanted the land from us. At night, he got a trolley and razed all our haystacks and dung cakes to the ground and set it on fire. Is there no law and order to check such bullies," asks a disturbed Jaswinder Kaur.

However, the dispute has its roots in votes cast for the panchyat poll. "Chaman Lal stood for the election of sarpanch over a year ago. However, Pavitar Singh, a Banjara, was elected sarpanch while Chaman Lal lost by one vote. He has put the entire onus of his defeat on us and has been devising schemes to trouble us since then. While we have withstood everything else, we cannot tolerate a drunk man making passes at us and using filthy language," adds Naseeb Kaur.

Supported by a few other Rajput families of the village, Chaman Lal refuses to budge from the disputed land. "I own this land and it has come down to me and the other Rajput families from their forefathers. These women should not dare to step on my land," he blurts out.

Justifying that razing of haystacks and setting these on fire, he says that's the only way to get his land vacated. "I have donated land to the government for setting up a tubewell. I have given land to so many others but I want this piece of land for myself. I can't compromise on this and I don't want to see these encroachers either on this land or in the village," he shouts.

Waving a compromise at those around him, Chaman Lal adds,"These women and their men have signed a compromise with me in front of the police. They cannot back out. Now, I am the owner of this land along with three other villagers." The villages insist that the compromise had been thrust upon them.

His tyranny has reached a point where his sons beat up a widow last week for setting foot on that land. The village panchayat and the sarpanch, Jogindro Devi, have decided in favour of the Banjaras but Chaman Lal listens to no directions.

"We conveyed to him that this is abadi land and belongs to the village. The Banjaras have claim on this land since they have been there for years. However, he refuses to move out. We can't do anything beyond that because he gets nasty," says panch Sher Singh.

The local Patwari, Mr Makhan Singh, says that according to tehsil records the land is a village property and belongs to nobody. He has forwarded the report to the Tehsildar. The police, on its part, has taken preventive action to ensure there is no breach of peace in the area. Beyond that, the officials maintain, the administration has to settle the dispute since there is no ownership.

The matter has been raised by the Banjaras at all possible fora, including the police, but everywhere they have been met by empty assurances and no results. Chamalal's tyranny continues unabated and everyday is a nightmare for them.

Chaman Lal and one of his sons also acted rough with the lensman of The Tribune, threatening to take away his camera for taking pictures of "his land" at the behest
of the Banjaras.



Retired Major may get pension at last
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Over seven months after the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed it to pay the Swatantra Sainik Sanman Pension from May, 1991, onwards to Major Gurdit Singh (retd) "within a period of three months", the Union Government has finally indicated that it plans to start paying the dues soon.

On February 28, a Division Bench of the High Court had directed the government to pay pension to the retired Major. The order also said the former Army officer would also be entitled to interest at the rate of 6 per cent per annum on the amount from May, 1991.

The Tribune had first highlighted the plight of the 92-year-old former soldier who had rebelled against the British, even though he was an officer in the Royal Indian Army.

Commissioned as an officer in the Royal Indian Army on May 15, 1941, Major Gurdit Singh (retd) participated in a procession against the British on February 2, 1946 at Ernakulam. Carrying a Congress flag and a picture of Netaji Subhash Chander Bose, he also raised anti-British slogans. He was brought to trial before a summary court martial and finally removed from service on May 19, 1946.

When the country gained independence, Major Gurdit Singh applied for re-instatement, pleading that he had fallen victim to an alien ruler. However, his claim was not accepted immediately and he was told to submit his resignation, which was accepted on August 30, 1948. He was assured that he would be entitled to all dues, and, if possible, would even be considered for fresh employment in the Army. But, that was not to be.

The powers-that-be refused to even acknowledge his sacrifice, let alone honour him. So much so, that he was even refused pension given to former Army officers or that sanctioned to freedom fighters.

After exhausting all options, including numerous representations to the authorities, Major Gurdit Singh gave up and settled in his village in Pilibhit. Soon, the family fell on hard times, with Major Gurdit (retd) performing odd jobs to earn a living.

But, his cousin, Major Narinder Singh Jallo (retd), refused to give up. He started writing to the government, the Army authorities etc, requesting that the wrong that had been done to Major Gurdit (retd) be undone and he be granted at least the Swatantra Sainik Sanman Pension. His representation made to the Army Headquarters failed to elicit any positive response, with the Army informing him that the service record of Major Gurdit (retd) had been destroyed and hence nothing could be done.

Then Major Jallo prevailed upon his cousin to approach the High Court for justice. During hearing of his petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the government took the plea that he was not entitled to any pension as he had been dismissed from service.

But, the court upheld the claim of the petitioner, telling the respondents to decide a claim with a liberal mind and not with an attitude of defeating a genuine claim.

A few days back, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs finally wrote to the former Major, asking him to send the necessary documents so that pension could be started.

"We have sent the necessary documents. Let's see what happens now," says Major Jallo.



French pilots to fly IAF planes to Leh, Thoise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Two French Air Force pilots will be getting a hands-on experience on the rigours of flying to the “roof of the world” when they strap themselves into the cockpit of IAF’s An-32 transport aircraft next month.

Air Force sources revealed that the pilots are scheduled to carry out joint sorties with IAF aircrew from the Chandigarh Air Force Station from November 15 to 17 when they fly to Leh and Thoise, the highest and forward-most airfields in India.

This visit is part of an IAF and French Air Force exchange programme. Two IAF pilots of the rank of wing commander had visited France last month. During their week-long tour, the IAF officers had flown the French C-160 transport aircraft. Broadly comparable to the An-32, the C-160 is a twin-engined turboprop.

Sources said the French pilots would be flying as co-pilots in the An-32 and may also get a chance to experience para-dropping supplies to troops posted in Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield.

Besides their three-day stay here, the French pilots are also scheduled to visit a couple of other Air Force stations in the country to have a glimpse of IAF activities and certain operating procedures.

Generally, fighters dominate exchange programmes and exercises. Commenting on the exchange programme on transports, an officer said that the IAF was perhaps the only air force which flew regularly to such heights under such challenging adverse conditions as prevailing in the frozen Himalayan heights, which perhaps evinced an interest in other air forces

Since opening its doors to foreign air forces for joint exercises and bilateral exchanges, the IAF has had a significant relationship with the Armee de l’Air, as the French Air Force is officially known.

The Armee de l’Air was the first foreign air force with which the IAF held joint exercises with fighter aircraft.

The exercise, Garuda — I, held over Gwalior in February, 2002, had exposed the IAF to air-to-air refuelling operations. The second part of the exercise, Garuda-II, held over Istres in France gave IAF aircrew the first-ever opportunity to operate in an AWACS environment.

About a year ago, the French had also expressed an interest to have an exchange programme among test pilots. According to reports, the IAF’s Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment (ASTE) at Bangalore was to be the nodal centre for this exchange.

Besides the French, the Americans and Brazilians too had wanted exchange programmes with ASTE, which trains IAF test pilots and flight test engineers and is the only centre of its kind in Asia.



Jain flays UT decision on merger of villages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
‘‘Despite a recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, submitted on August 2, that the rural identity of the 18 villages may not be disturbed, UT has gone ahead and announced the merger of five villages’’, stated Mr Satya Pal Jain, former MP, BJP.

‘‘We will make a representation to the standing committee against this,’’ he added. He was addressing a press conference at the BJP office ‘Kalam’ yesterday.

Mr Jain stated that it had been clearly stated in the committee’s report that the Zila Parishad and the Panchayati Raj institutions in 18 villages would come to an end should the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh be extended to these villages.

‘‘The decision of the UT is clearly going against the recommendations. It is astonishing that an issue which is so strongly recommended in a report on August 2 has been ignored,’’ added Mr Jain.

Mr Jain also stated that the building bylaws in the city should be amended and that a one-time relaxation should be given to residents who have made minor changes within their houses. The standing committee has clearly stated in its report that the situation in Chandigarh is similar to the one in Delhi. He further stated that the committee’s recommendation that the building bylaws of Chandigarh should be looked into once again, should also be considered seriously. 



S(park)ing a row
Temple management, residents lock horns over park
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 25
A park-in-the-making in Sector 9 has become a bone of contention among residents of the area and the members of a temple committee here. While the residents are keen on developing the vacant plot as a park as is laid down in the sector plan, the members of the temple committee want it to remain as an open area that can be put to various uses, including parking.

The Municipal Council has also passed a budget of Rs 3 lakh twice for the development of the park after the local councillor, Ms Jalmegha Dahiya, raised a demand for the same. After half the budget been exhausted, the project has run into trouble and work stopped midway following the dispute.

While residents want that the project goes ahead, a part of the wall around the park was pulled down by “some persons” at night, leading to resentment among the residents.

To supervise the development of the park, the residents have constituted a park development committee headed by Mr P.S. Sarin, a resident.

“We proposed the construction of a wicket gate on one side and a big gate at the market end. This has not gone down well with some people who want big gates at both ends to facilitate parking of vehicles in the park. This is in spite of the fact that we have left ample space all around the park. They must realise that once vehicles are parked inside, it will no longer remain a park,” he said.

Mr Des Raj Jain, one of the residents, said, “I bought a corner plot by paying 20 per cent extra only for the adjoining park. Not letting the park come up, especially when the money for the same has been sanctioned, is injustice. Why should a handful of people have the upper hand and alter the sector plan when they please?”

When contacted, a trustee of the temple, Mr G.R. Bhasin, said around one and a half years ago they had approached the MC for the construction of a parking lot outside the temple. “The fund initially came for a parking lot. Later, the residents demanded a park instead of a parking lot and we agreed to that. We only wanted big gates at both ends to facilitate entry of cars to allow parking at the time of a function. Now, despite an assurance from the councillor, they are not widening the gate area to 10 feet. We have nothing to do with the wall being broken down. We had no role in that,” he said.



City back lanes breeding ground for rodents
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Designed once to keep the city clean, dark and dingy service or back lanes in the residential areas are fast becoming breeding grounds not just for the mosquitoes but also for rodents and other disease-spreading organisms.

If these lanes are ruthlessly exposing the residents to the perils of acquiring hazardous ailments and are playing their part in the spread of epidemics, the health authorities in the city are just not bothered about it, apparently!

Cutting through the length and breadth of the northern sectors in Chandigarh, these lanes have practically disappeared under thick foliage of weeds and congress grass. Debris strewn all over the pathways and the presence of sludge all across only makes the matters worse.

A visit to some of the lanes in the posh northern sectors, including 18, 19 and 8, is enough to belie the claims of the UT health authorities regarding the adoption of adequate measures to prevent the spread of diseases like the dengue.

At many places, the residents have got together and taken upon themselves the task of getting the lanes cleaned up and re-carpeted with a thick layer of concrete after pooling in the resources. For the upkeep of the lanes, they have even installed gates at either side which are kept locked mostly.

But at several other places, the lanes continue to be littered with garbage and rubble including construction material. “Passing through these lanes becomes practically impossible even during the daytime,” says young bank executive Neeraj Sharma staying as a tenant in a Sector 18 house. “The mosquitoes rising from the bushes and the thick undergrowth attack you callously”.

Another resident Dharam Chand recalls the time when the lanes were cleaned up “occasionally”! “Just after great Indian festivals like Divali, the sanitary staff would come in trucks and carrying away the garbage. In the process, they would get some sweets. But now even they do not come — not even once a year. And the aftermath is there for all to see.”

A senior Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh officer agrees that the lanes are seldom cleaned up by the staff but tries to wriggle out of the responsibility by attributing the phenomenon primarily to the shortage of manpower.

He adds that the authorities concerned were at one point of time considering the idea of doing away with the concept of service lanes, though these were meant for carrying garbage, for loading and off-loading purposes, and even for maintaining a healthy distance between two rows of houses.

As a part of the scheme, the service lane area was to be equally divided between the owners of houses on either side and handed over to them at nominal rates. But the idea did not click with many and was relegated to the trash can of memory.

The officer adds that the need of the hour is to streamline the garbage collection system and to make the rules regarding the disposal of garbage more stringent. “The garbage collectors often do not pick up the horticulture waste which is subsequently disposed of by the residents in the service lanes, along with other waste material. As such strict action should be initiated against such defaulters”. 



Paddy production short of farmers’ expectations
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The wheat-paddy cycle is taking a toll on the farmers settled in and around the periphery of Chandigarh. Even as the paddy procurement season is in full swing in the region, the farmers in the periphery have nothing to cheer about as there has been a steep fall in the paddy production this season.

Deficient rainfall, high cost of inputs and disease have spelled doom for farmers with a substantial number of them vowing not to grow paddy again. In fact, delay in paddy arrival, due to late sowing and the recent showers, has only compounded their problems.

“Growing paddy is simply not a profitable business,” Mr Balbir Singh, a farmer from Bhagat Majra in Mohali district, told Chandigarh Tribune at the Sector 39 grain market here recently. The deficient rainfall and falling water table were playing havoc with paddy production, he added.

Farmers said growing paddy was becoming an unviable proposition by the year. Mr Balbir Singh said growing paddy on an acre cost anything between Rs 5,500 to Rs 6,000. And the production this year had only been about 20 quintals per acre as compared to over 30 quintals last year.

Echoing similar sentiments, Mr Prem Singh, a farmer from Saini Majra village, said the “mysterious disease” coupled with decreasing government subsidies on input items such as fertilisers were pushing the farmers away from paddy production.

The produce per acre had been around 17 quintals as compared to about 27 quintals last year, Mr Prem Singh said. He was thinking of going in for diversification from the next year, he added. “However, there seems to be no marketing facilities for other crops,” he complained.

Mr Harjit Singh from Mehrauli village in Mohali district rued that with no alternative source of irrigation, irrigating paddy using tubewells was a costly affair. With the electricity supply remaining erratic and diesel price hike becoming a routine affair, the tubewell irrigation was becoming a costly affair, he added.

In fact, official figures corroborate the farmers’ claims. Till October 22, a total of 7,800 tonnes of paddy had been procured —7,200 tonnes by the FCI and 600 by arhtiyas. The figure for the corresponding period last year was 9,481 tonnes.

Though there had been a slight delay in the arrival of paddy due to late sowing, the quality of the crop had been good this year, said Mr Ashok Bahl and Mr Prem Kansal, manager and quality inspector of the FCI, respectively. The procurement, which started on September 25, was expected to pick up as the deadline of November 10 drew near, they added.

Meanwhile, Mr Sushil Mittal, president of the Arhtiyas Association, said the procurement till now had been only around 70 per cent of the figure during the corresponding period last year. The recent rains had damaged the crop to a certain extent with the moisture content going up, he added.



Mild lathi charge on Shiv Sainiks
Our Correspondent

Mohali , October 25
The police resorted to a mild lathi charge to foil an attempt of the supporters of the Shiv Sena to disrupt the match being played between Pakistan and New Zealand at the PCA cricket stadium here today.

The Shiv Sainiks, who wanted to stage a protest march till the stadium, could move only a few metres before they were stopped by the police who were armed with lathis and riot shields. The protesters tried to force their way through the policemen blocking the road but failed to succeed. When the police resorted to a mild lathi charge to scare away the protesters , a large number of them ran away from the spot. Later, the police rounded up a number of protesters, including senior leaders, who were then whisked away from Phase VIII in four buses. As many as 138 Shiv Sainiks were later booked under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPc.

The protesters raised slogans against Pakistan demanding that the Pakistan team should go back. They carried saffron coloured flags and placards on which anti-Pakistan slogans were written.

The Shiv Sena supporters first gathered near the PUDA Bhawan in Phase VIII and then moved towards the stadium around 2 p.m. The police, which had made adequate security arrangements to foil the attempt of the Shiv Sainiks, also took positions. Mounted police was also kept handy . Two SPs, Mr Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu, and Mr Harbaj Singh, supervised the operation.

Mr Jai Bhagwan Goyal, head of the north India unit of the Shiv Sena, alleged while addressing a gathering earlier that Pakistan had been carrying out terrorist attacks on innocent people in India. Whether it was an attack on the Ram Mandir or Parliament or incidents of bomb blasts in Delhi and Mumbai, it had always been suspected by the Indian Government that Pakistan had a hand in such activities. Pakistan had been allegedly indulging in terrorist activities in India time and again but even then the Indian Government had been extending hand for friendship with Pakistan. He said till now no terrorist had been handed over by Pakistan to the Indian Government and terrorist training camps were still going on in that country.

Mr Ravinder Arora, president of the Punjab unit of the Shiv Sena, said matches could only be played with friends and not enemies. He said that Pakistan had always harmed the interests of India and as such the Pakistan team should not be allowed to play any match in our country.

Mr Arora further said last time when the Pakistan team had come to play a match at Mohali , nine visitors from Pakistan remained untraced till date . One of them was later arrested in connection with some terrorist activity.

He said Shiv Sainiks had come from almost all districts of Punjab to take part in the protest. The Shiv Sena supporters had also come from Haryana and New Delhi.



Parking chaos outside DC’s office
HC orders not complied with
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Apathy on the part of the Chandigarh Administration and the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has resulted in total chaos in parking areas outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office and other government offices located in the Town Hall Building in Sector 17 here.

As a result of this attitude, vehicles are parked on the road leading to the Deputy Commissioner’s Office. ‘‘The situation is further worsened when police vehicles used for producing suspects in the court of SDM, Central, are parked on the road,’’ said a traffic police official posted there.

A four-year-old order of a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court directing the Chandigarh Administration to vacate the underground parking lot in front of the Estate Office in Sector 17 and hand it over to the Municipal Corporation to make it functional has not been complied with.

Instead of being vacated one half of the parking lot is being used as a store by the Election Department and the other half is being used as record room by the Building Branch of the Estate Office. Another underground parking for two-wheelers in the vicinity of the Estate Office is also lying in disuse. A portion of the two-wheeler parking has been used to place a generator set and a rest room, the other half is also being used as a store. The entry to both parking lots has been locked by the officials concerned.

Hundreds of visitors come to the Estate Office, housed in the Town Hall Building, and other offices of the Excise and Taxation Department, Social Welfare Department, Election Department, Pollution Control Committee, Science and Technology, Regional Employment Office and some other offices located in the Town Hall Extension Building.

The parking lot for official vehicles has seldom any space as private vehicles of the government employees are parked there this leads to chaos as vehicles with ‘‘parking authorisation’’ issued by the Estate Office do not find space in the official parking area.

Inquiries revealed that about 1,000 vehicles are parked daily in the paid parking lots in the vicinity of the Estate Office. Due to shortage of space, two to three vehicles are parked in a row by the private contractors. The Traffic Police has put up a no parking board on the road but in vain. The situation is equally bad in the paid parking lot in front of the 30 Bay Building.



Abandoned body of male baby found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
A day after a woman was arrested for allegedly abandoning her newly born son, the body of another newly born male baby was found in Sector 16 here early this morning. This time also the parents were traced with the help of identification tag put on baby’s hands.

According to the police, they received information that a body of a newly born baby was found lying outside a house in Sector 16. The police reached the spot and recovered the body. The tag on the baby’s hands mentioned his mother’s name and acting on this the police traced the parents.

The father of the infant, Mr Mohinder Kumar of Palsora village, told the police that his wife delivered the child at around 1 am today. But the child did not survive and died a little while later. The doctors handed him over the dead body. As he was alone there and condition of his wife was serious following an operation, he put the body wrapped in a cloth beside a wall and went to look after his wife. He also told the police that he made efforts to contact his relatives so that they come for his help. When he returned after sometime he found the body missing and started looking for it.

Meanwhile, the police traced him and after verifying his statement handed him over the body.

When contacted the SHO of the Sector 17, Inspector Jagbir Singh, said, “We have verified his statement, which was found to be true. The body might have been dragged from the hospital by dogs, fortunately it was not damaged. Believing his statement no case was registered in this regard.”



Chetna rally on Oct 28
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 25
The Poorava Sainik Seva Parishad will organise a chetna rally at the Parade Ground, Sector 5, on October 28. Addressing a press conference, the local unit president, Gp Capt R.K. Sethi, said the rally would be flagged off by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijendra Singh.

He added that nearly 1,100 students drawn from different schools of the city would participate in the rally being organised to create awareness about social evils and an awakening against terrorism.

Captain Sethi said besides schoolchildren, defence personnel from all three forces, the Army, Navy and Air Force, would participate in the rally which conclude with a prize distribution function. This would be attended by Air Vice-Marshal Manjeet Singh.



10 booked for attacking Mohali resident
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 25
Ten persons armed with weapons allegedly attacked a Mohali resident in the Phase III Industrial Area here today .

All 10 persons have been arrested by the police and booked under Sections 307, 452, 148 and 149 of the IPC and Sections 25, 27, 54, and 59 of the Arms Act.

Mr Rajinder Singh Sohal, SHO, said Mr Jagdeep Singh Chhina, a resident of Phase III-B 2, was sitting in his office and holding a meeting with his employees when 10 armed persons barged into his office and demanded possession of the area . They claimed that they had purchased a share of his property from his close relative and, as such, the required possession should be given to them. When Mr Chhina asked them to show the relevant documents one of the persons, Avtar Singh, allegedly pointed a double-barrel loaded gun towards his chest and allegedly threatened him. All arrested persons had come in an Innova.

The SHO further said some employees working in the office immediately informed the police which hurriedly reached the scene and arrested Avtar Singh and others.

Mr Chhina said a company owned by him had got the toll bridge at Dera Bassi constructed. A family dispute over the property was going on and the matter was in the court. He alleged that he had right on about 75 per cent of the property, but a close relative allegedly wanted to grab that share. He suspected that the armed persons must have been sent to his office by the same relative.



Cops round up 5 for drinking in public place
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Police personnel of the Crime Branch of Chandigarh Police allegedly created a scene at outside a chicken corner in Sector 22 tonight.

The cops, who were five-six in number, came to the chicken corner and rounded up five persons sitting in two cars, on the allegations of consuming liquor at a public place. The cops maintained that the Deputy Commissioner (DC) had passed orders to take action against people consuming liquor at public places.

Claiming that they were ‘enforcing’ DC’s orders they went to the owner of the ‘Singh Chicken Corner’ and tried to take him along with them on the charges of allowing people to drink there. The cops told the owner that he was providing snacks to the occupants of car. When he tried to explain the cops did not listen to him and tried to drag him out. Following which, the owner, an elderly man, suffered an injury on his finger. The owner maintained that the occupants of the cars told the police that they had not purchased anything from his shop, but still the cops continued with their “action”.

He added that the cops let him go later saying that as he was an old man, they were letting him go and would complete their case with the persons who had already been taken into custody.

When contacted In Charge of Crime Branch Inspector Satbir Singh said police teams had been dispatched to conduct raids at places where liquor was being served without permission. Expressing ignorance about the Sector 22 incident he said the teams had not returned.



  2 booked for duping man of Rs 2.37 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Two persons have been booked for allegedly duping a Behlana village resident of over Rs 2 lakh.

According to sources in the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Chandigarh Police, Mr Harminder Singh of Behlana village lodged a complaint alleging that Manmohan Singh of Khudda Ali Sher village and Gurmit Singh of Baltana village sold him a plot in Rajpura and took Rs 2.37 lakh from him.

The complainant later realised that he was cheated by the accused and reported the matter to the police.

A case under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered.

Servant decamps with car

Mr Tara Singh of Sector 15 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his servant, Manoj Bhadur, took away his Indica car (CH-03-V-7213) from Sector 17 during the intervening night of October 21 and 22.

A case under Section 406 of the IPC has been registered.

Vehicles stolen

Mr Hans Raj Singh Sidhu of Phase III-B-1, Mohali, reported to the police alleging that his Maruti Wagon-R car (HR-29-D-0023) was stolen from the Sector 23 market.

In another incident, Mr Barjesh Ahuja of Sector 30-A lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his car (CH-01-R-0400) was stolen from the Sector 35 market on October 22.

Cases of theft have been registered.



Sector 42, a safe haven for thieves
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Sector 42 is fast turning into a safe haven for thieves. Nothing else can explain it than the rise in the incidents of thefts in the sector in the past few days.

Residents of the sector say they are living under a constant fear of thieves as no one knows whose house is going to be the next target. They rue that the rapid growth of encroachments in and around the sector besides the Attawa village becoming a safe haven for anti-social elements is making their lives miserable.

They allege that the police and the municipal corporation authorities have turned a blind eye towards these irregularities.After the recent theft of a brand new Maruti Alto car during the night of October 19 from outside house number 1134 in the sector, the police claimed that it stepped up vigil in the area.

Defying the police claims, the thieves struck at two houses late on Monday night and decamped with taps. Residents of the locality say that there have been a considerable rise in incidents of petty thefts, with miscreants stealing petrol from vehicles parked outside the houses and stealing gas cylinders from houses.

The junk dealers in the area are flouting the laws by encroaching upon the roads and have raised stores in parks. Slip roads are being used as parking lots by auto-rickshaw drivers and during the evening times, a road is converted into a fish market.

The heaps of construction material on roads are a common sight in the area, said a resident.



ASI accused of demanding liquor
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 25
The owner of a liquor vend today alleged that ASI Kuldeep Singh had demanded a case of liquor from him. The owner, Mr Kuldeep Singh, said the in charge of the Sector 19 police post, the ASI, had asked for Rs 2,000 cash to buy furniture for the Police Lines which he had given.

He maintained that the ASI came back last evening and demanded 12 bottles of liquor. When the owner expressed unwillingness to oblige, the ASI threatened to register a case against him.

Following the complaint, the Superintendent of Police, Mr Balbir Singh, transferred the cop to the Police Lines.

In the case of ASI Lipty Singh, who had allegedly sought a “Divali gift” from a scrap dealer, the police is proceeding with a departmental inquiry.

Sources in the department said they were proceeding against the ASI on two grounds — for bringing a bad name to the police force, for leaving their area and going out of their jurisdiction while still on duty. 



45-year-old man attempts suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Fed up by his prolonged illness, a 45-year-old man attempted suicide by jumping from the third floor of his Sector 38 residence here this afternoon.

The police has registered a case of attempt to suicide against him while ruling out any possibility of a foul play behind the incident.

While quoting the victim’s family, the police said Bishamber Lal, an employee of PUNSUP in Sector 34, had been suffering from paralysis and cervical pain for the past over 10 years.

His condition was still critical, said a police officer.

Giving details, sources in Sector 39 police station said Bishamber Lal fractured both his legs in the fall. The incident took place at around 3.30 pm and he was alone at home at that time.

He was rushed to the Sector 16 General Hospital from where he was referred to the PGI.



BSNL plans customer care unit in Mohali
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The complaints about the telephone enquiry number (197) of BSNL will be a thing of the past, as the company will start its 100-seater call centre to deal with enquiries from all over its Punjab telecom circle.

The call centre, which will also act as a customer care division of BSNL, will receive all complaints from across Punjab, Chandigarh and Panchkula and also inform the subscribers about the new schemes and offers. Senior BSNL officials informed TNS here today that the call centre would be set up in Sector 65, Mohali, with an initial investment of Rs 1.50 crore. The capacity of the call centre would be increased by another 50 seats by the end of 2007.

This will be the second call centre to be established by BSNL in the Punjab circle. A 15-seat call centre is already in operation in Patiala, which caters to the subscribers of the city and surrounding areas only. Three seats have been allocated to deal with the enquiries from Chandigarh so that the customers in the city are not inconvenienced.



Wine Merchants Assn formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Liquor traders in the city today formed the Chandigarh Wine Merchants Association and elected Mr Sat Pal Choujar as their president. Mr Choujar will pick up his own team from among the members.

The vice-president will be Mr S.S. Chinna, who had contested the election against Mr Choujar. The other members will be announced soon. The association will deal with price cutting by traders that is leading to loss of trade. The association will ensure that the minimum sale price of liquor is maintained.



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