Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
AP heading for President’s rule?
Fraud marriages a serious issue: Dhalla
This coffee king from Chandigarh is on a high
Ministry seeks list of pending govt cases
At 84, his spirit is still green
Buddhadeb misusing police,
5 killed in Mumbai service lift crash
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
New delhi, January 9
January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate the occasion since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, the greatest Pravasi, returned to India from South Africa, to lead the country’s freedom struggle and changed the lives of Indians forever. As the curtain rang down on the ninth edition of the annual jamboree of the great Indian diaspora, questions are being raised about the relevance of hosting the meet at a huge cost to the exchequer without any significant returns.
A debate now rages on whether Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) deserve special treatment by the government which rolls out a red carpet for them even as the common man in India grapples with his day-to-day problems, the back-breaking inflation being his biggest worry.
The common refrain in the country is that NRIs should not be given any special treatment. After all, they decided to go abroad and sought a better living there. Why should they be given tax breaks which are not available even to the people who work tirelessly in India to make both ends meet, is a frequently asked question.
Take the case of NRIs settled in the Gulf, a tax free haven. Top businessmen from the Gulf spend nearly 175 days in a financial year in India but still do not pay taxes. Under the Income Tax rules, they are liable to pay taxes only if they stay in this country for more then 180 days in a financial year. Ostensibly, this is the reason why the NRIs in the Gulf are vehemently opposing a move by the government to levy taxes on their income if they stay in India for a period of 60 days in a financial year, arguing that they face a whole lot of socio-economic problems in the country they have chosen to reside in.
Do they really face problems in the Gulf? Why can’t they return to India if the situation is so bad?
Every year they assemble in New Delhi during the winter and the NRIs make tall promises of investing financially, emotionally and intellectually in the country of their origin. But facts and figures don’t do justice to their grand announcements. They also crib and complain more than anyone else. Now that the government has granted them rights to participate in the electoral process, they are insisting that they be allowed to cast ballots online, much against the norms of the Election Commission. The near empty halls at Vigyan Bhavan during the PBD celebrations this time again bear testimony to the fact that the annual event is more of a ‘tamasha’ meant for NRIS to do networking with top Indian leaders and seek more benefits for themselves in different areas, especially in the property market.
The ninth PBD was aimed at showcasing the North-East but very few delegates took the trouble of even visiting the stalls set up at the venue by the eight states in the region. If the event was truly meant to attract investments in the North-East, the PBD could well have been organised in the region. The NRIs surely would have had no problem in reaching the North-East if the event was held there. Thankfully, the next PBD will be held in Jaipur and not in New Delhi.
It is time for the government also to put its house in order. It desires NRIs to go and invest in the North-East when the people of the region still do not consider themselves as part of the national mainstream. They have to be made to feel that they are part and parcel of the Indian society. The connectivity to the North-East and the ongoing insurgency in some of the states there are other major issues which would obviously not help the cause of the region. The government also has to create a more conducive environment for the NRIs to invest in this country by liberalising rules and regulations and simplifying procures. After all, no NRI is going to put his money in India unless he is sure of good returns.
Even in China, most overseas Chinese have made investments in Taiwan and Hong Kong because of low-costs involved, and not in mainland China. We should not expect NRIs to invest blindly in India out of sheer love for their homeland. Charity begins at home is a proverb which has outlived its utility.
AP heading for President’s rule?
Hyderabad, January 9
Justice BN Srikrishna Committee’s report recommending united Andhra Pradesh, with sufficient statutory safeguards for backward Telangana region, has further accentuated the regional divide and prompted statehood supporters to harden their stand.
With pressure mounting from their constituencies, the elected representatives of the ruling Congress and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party are finding it difficult to delay the precipitating action.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which has been in the forefront of the statehood agitation, has warned of en masse resignations by elected representatives from the region if the UPA government failed to introduce a bill in the budget session of Parliament on creation of separate state.
The sub-regional party has already started putting pressure on Telangana leaders from other parties to be prepared for sacrifices. Amidst fluid political situation and growing friction, the state Governor ESL Narasimhan, who has been camping in New Delhi for the last three days, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday and briefed him about the developments. He had earlier met UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and explained the emerging situation.
This has further fuelled speculation in political circles that the Centre was preparing for invoking Article 356 in the state if the situation further worsens and the elected representatives start resigning from their posts.
The Governor has also met Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Defence Minister AK Antony during his current visit. He is learnt to have submitted a detailed report to the Centre on law and order implications of the ongoing Telangana agitation.
“No comments. All the best,” was all the Governor had said before leaving for Delhi when reporters asked him whether President’s rule was on the anvil. The UPA government is now caught in a catch-22 situation on Telangana tussle. It has to take a decision either way in a couple of months as the situation has come to such a pass that the government cannot afford to remain non-committal on the issue.
Adding to the Congress’ woes is the possibility of migration of party MLAs to Jagan Mohan Reddy’s camp. Jagan, son of former Chief Minister late YS Rajasekhar Reddy, is set to float a new regional party soon and start poaching the ruling party.
The Congress leadership is wary of the political backlash in Rayalseema and coastal Andhra regions if Telangana state is created. In such a scenario, it fears that Jagan may become a hero and sweep the next elections in these regions.
Several Telangana Congress MPs and MLAs have conveyed to the party leadership that they would be forced to quit their posts if Telangana bill was not introduced in the budget session. A broad-based meeting of Telangana Congress leaders is scheduled to be held here on January 11.
Fraud marriages a serious issue: Dhalla
New Delhi, January 9
Dr Dhalla, who in 2004 was the first Indian-Canadian and the one of the youngest candidates to get elected to the Canadian House of Commons, is a familiar figure at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas functions. She retained her seat as a nominee of the Liberal Party in both 2006 and 2008.
As a health care provider and owner of multidisciplinary health care clinics before her election, she has been taking up the issues related to recognising foreign credentials in Canada besides working for eradication of HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis.
During a chat with The Tribune, she admitted that property matters, fraud marriages, mushrooming of immigration consultants, growing trend of drug addiction besides the plight of senior citizens are problems that the overseas Indian community continues to grapple on a day to day basis.
“I have been pressing both the Canadian and Indian governments to have in place some laws or legal mechanism to check or prevent exploitation of the institution of marriage for fraudulent immigration or exploitation of spouses, especially girls. Central Registration of Marriages and a verification check about antecedents of those getting married should be in place,” she said .
“I have also been urging the Indian Government to have a reciprocal agreement with Canada over payment of pension. While those who migrate from India have to wait for 10 years to get old age pension, old people from some other countries start getting pension after three years of migration to Canada, “ she said. Because of the long wait for pension and other socio-economic reasons, some of the old people, especially from Punjab, are not treated well in Canada, she admitted.
This coffee king from Chandigarh is on a high
New Delhi, January 9
Now his company, Noble Group, has over 11,000 employees with 150 offices in 38 countries, including nine in India.
“If you take a cup of coffee, say at Barista or Coffee Café Day or any worldwide chain, it must have come with ingredients from our company. We cultivate 25 million hectares all over the world and grow coffee, coco, sugarcane and soyabean. We have a capacity to crush 22 million tonnes of sugarcane,” says Banga, who is here to receive a special award from the President of India as a prominent PIO.
An alumunus of DAV Senior Secondary School of Chandigarh, he has strong roots in the city. “I grew up in Chandigarh and had been visiting the city four to five times a year to look up my father there. Unfortunately, my father met with an accident and now lives with my brother in Delhi,” said he, maintaining that his association with Chandigarh, the Sector 8 Gurdwara, the PGI and several other NGOs engaged in social work continues unabated.
He had joined the England-based Gulf International in early 80s. The company posted him to Hong Kong from where he was transferred to Zurich in Switzerland.
“I did not like it in Zurich. I teamed up with my colleague, Richard S. Elman, and decided to quit and form our own company. What started out as a small commodities trading firm with 10 people in a small office in Hong Kong, we are now market leaders in managing the global supply of agricultural, energy, metals and mining resources. It is our company that controls electric supply in California,” he says.
While building Noble into a company like no other and depite living outside India for most of his life, Harinderpal Singh has never forgotten his roots. As Vice Chairman and a substantial shareholder of Noble Group, he has utilised his position to promote India on the world stage, help advance the economic and social development back home, and even enhance cross cultural ties between India and other nations globally.
“The success mantra of our company, he says, is that everyone believes that he is a part of the family. It is difficult to get in and even more difficult to get out of the Noble group,” he says maintaining that the company prides itself in looking after everyone as an equal participant.
Ministry seeks list of pending govt cases
Chandigarh, January 9
The Union Minister of Law and Justice, M Veerappa Moily, has also asked the ministries and departments to send the list to “the concerned Assistant Solicitor-General so that he may review each case”.
The Law Minister has also made it clear that Additional Solicitors-General may appear in important matters on the “request of the ministry/administrative ministries/Assistant Solicitors-General, or at the instance of the court directions”. A communication in this regard has been sent to all Union ministries and departments, Additional Solicitors-General and others concerned.
The communication, the copy of which is with The Tribune, has also made the Assistant Solicitors-General responsible for the “smooth and effective conduct of central government litigation in the high courts”.
It says: “The pending cases of the central government in the respective high court will be consolidated and a list of pending cases will be prepared counsel-wise, so that the Assistant Solicitor-Generals can review each case and ensure that necessary steps required on the part of the Union of India are taken promptly by the counsel concerned and administrative ministries or departments"
BJP spokespersons Shahnawaz Hussain, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Ravi Shankar Prasad, who incidentally all come from Bihar, are on the warpath these days. The reason: They rarely get an opportunity to articulate the party’s position on any subject as they are invariably beaten to it by one of their senior leaders. Arun Jaitley clearly leads this pack. Being a hot favorite with the media, especially television news channels, Jaitley is ready with a sound byte whenever there is an important announcement to be made, even before the official spokespersons are briefed about what is to be shared with the media.
This is exactly what happened last week when the BJP core group met to chalk out the agenda for its national executive meeting at Guwahati. Even as the spokespersons were seeking details about the talking points for their press briefing, they were told that Jaitley had already spoken to the media. The aggrieved trio is often heard complaining about being marginalised since “one senior leader (LK Advani) has started writing a blog, another (Sushma Swaraj) has taken to tweeting while the third (Jaitley) is first off the block with his comments on TV cameras.” Last heard, the three spokespersons were planning to form a union to seek redressal of their grievances.
Stains too dark to hide
When commerce minister Anand Sharma invited select audience for the public release of a commemorative volume, “ Journey of a Nation: Indian National Congress; 125 Years” at a five-star hotel last week, the basic purpose was to showcase the grand old party’s “glorious” past. But, much to the host’s embarrassment, the panelists invited for the discussion stuck a discordant note when they described the “dark days of Emergency” and the demolition of the Babri Masjid as the two black spots in Indian history. Clearly uneasy over these references, Sharma made it a point to “intervene” after the panelists finished with their presentations even though the minister was not slated to speak since he had already had his turn. A flustered Sharma then went on to explain that Indira Gandhi had personally admitted it was a mistake to impose the state of Emergency, thereby suggesting that this issue is a closed chapter. In fact, this book has spoken about Sanjay Gandhi in a positive tone in the chapter on Indira Gandhi’s tenure. It is in sharp contrast to another party publication titled “Congress and the Making of the Indian Nation” which blames Sanjay Gandhi’s “authoritarian” ways during the Emergency for turning public opinion against the Congress.
When commerce minister Anand Sharma invited select audience for the public release of a commemorative volume, “ Journey of a Nation: Indian National Congress; 125 Years” at a five-star hotel last week, the basic purpose was to showcase the grand old party’s “glorious” past. But, much to the host’s embarrassment, the panelists invited for the discussion stuck a discordant note when they described the “dark days of Emergency” and the demolition of the Babri Masjid as the two black spots in Indian history. Clearly uneasy over these references, Sharma made it a point to “intervene” after the panelists finished with their presentations even though the minister was not slated to speak since he had already had his turn.
A flustered Sharma then went on to explain that Indira Gandhi had personally admitted it was a mistake to impose the state of Emergency, thereby suggesting that this issue is a closed chapter. In fact, this book has spoken about Sanjay Gandhi in a positive tone in the chapter on Indira Gandhi’s tenure. It is in sharp contrast to another party publication titled “Congress and the Making of the Indian Nation” which blames Sanjay Gandhi’s “authoritarian” ways during the Emergency for turning public opinion against the Congress.
What is Diggi up to?
Congress insiders are currently busy speculating over AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh’s unusual display of aggression whenever he takes on the BJP and the RSS (which happens quite frequently), especially the latter’s links with right wing terror groups. The more charitable in the party say the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister is only emulating his political mentor, senior party leader Arjun Singh, as he goes about positioning himself as a vocal supporter of the minorities. This, according to his supporters, will help the Congress in the upcoming assembly elections in Assam, which has a sizeable population of minorities. Digvijaya Singh happens to be AICC general secretary in-charge of Assam. However, his detractors maintain that the wily Thakur believes that his hardline position on the RSS will win him further brownie points with Nehru-Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi. Then there are still others who are convinced that the senior leader has his eye on the long overdue Cabinet reshuffle and the AICC revamp which is now slated to take place in the second half of this month.
Congress insiders are currently busy speculating over AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh’s unusual display of aggression whenever he takes on the BJP and the RSS (which happens quite frequently), especially the latter’s links with right wing terror groups. The more charitable in the party say the former Madhya Pradesh chief minister is only emulating his political mentor, senior party leader Arjun Singh, as he goes about positioning himself as a vocal supporter of the minorities. This, according to his supporters, will help the Congress in the upcoming assembly elections in Assam, which has a sizeable population of minorities. Digvijaya Singh happens to be AICC general secretary in-charge of Assam.
However, his detractors maintain that the wily Thakur believes that his hardline position on the RSS will win him further brownie points with Nehru-Gandhi scion Rahul Gandhi. Then there are still others who are convinced that the senior leader has his eye on the long overdue Cabinet reshuffle and the AICC revamp which is now slated to take place in the second half of this month.
At 84, his spirit is still green
Dehradun, January 9
Sitting in the bright sun with his wife Vimla Bahuguna receiving birthday wishes from supporters and dear ones, he talked of wrong policies about the Himalayas. “The government could only think of having bigger dams to solve the water crisis, but that is not the ultimate solution as the situation has worsened over the year in the Himalayas due to the construction of various dams,” he said.
He suggested the most suitable and environment friendly solution to preserve the “water bank” of the Himalayas would be to plant trees on the slopes of the denuded hills all over the mountain range.
“I will be waging a battle for the future of the earth and mankind till my last breath, but now the youth of the country will have to come forward to take up the mission to green the Himalayas,” he said.
Dr VN Sharda, Director, Central Soil and Water Conservation Research and Training Institute, Dehradun, had also come to greet Sunder Lal Bahuguna with his senior scientist colleagues.
On being asked about the growing energy needs of the state and the country, Sunder Lal Bahuguna said the hill slopes should be entirely covered with fruit and nut trees and the rivulets should be used to produce electricity in the valleys in a decentralised way.
“If the present trend continues, there will be difficulty in getting fresh water in near future, leading to a major crisis. Only tree plantation can help us in saving the Himalayas,” he said.
Bahuguna has been involved in various struggles, including the freedom struggle, in the Tehri area since his early age. “I was banished from Tehri and had to run away to Lahore disguised a Sikh in pre-Independence days,” he recollects.
After Independence, he participated in the “Bhoodaan Andolan” of Acharya Vinoba Bhave and took lead in the “Chipko” movement to save trees in the Garhwal Himalayas. In the 90s, he launched a campaign against the construction of the Tehri dam, which finally came up after the formation of the state of Uttarakhand. “They have caged the Bhagirathi and turned a living river into a dead one. Since my childhood, I had watched the Bhagirathi flowing from the window of my village home,” he recalled.
Vachaspati Maithani had come from Uttarkashi to greet his mentor. He had studied at the Saliyara Ashram set up by Sunder Lal Bahguna and his wife for Dalits, poor and the downtrodden. Vijay Zardari of the “Beej Bachao Andolan” had also come to pay respects to the octogenarian crusader as Dr Anil Joshi of the Himalayan Environment Studies and Conservation Organisation played host.
Despite his age, Sunder Lal Bahuguna is agile and on the move. “I had been to jail several times and continue to move around to spread the message of environment conservation,” he added.
Buddhadeb misusing police,
Kolkata, January 9
Talking to mediapersons here today, the law minister alleged that the Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had been misusing the police and the administration for gaining the party’s interests and the recent incident of killing of innocent people at Lalgarh was the outcome of his misusing of the police against the rival parties.
He said the Assembly elections were in the offing and hence, it was the chief minister’s duty to maintain peace and normalcy for ensuring the free and fail elections.
The Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee also criticised the chief minister’s mishandling the law and order situation. The law and order situations have been speedily deteriorating in the state for which the chief minister and CPI(M) were primarily responsible, he alleged.
Mukherjee alleged violence and killings had been taking place almost every day in some parts of the state and the chief minister had failed to stop them. It is disgraceful on the part of Bhattacharjee that he cannot properly run the administration and the police”, he remarked.
The finance minister said P Chidambaram had rightly pointed out that the chief minister should first stop the on-going political clashes.
5 killed in Mumbai service lift crash
Mumbai, January 9 According to Chief Fire Officer UK Tatkare, the cause of the service lift crash is not known. “The locals and police had rushed the victims to the Sion Hospital and then we were informed,” Tatkare said. According to police, the service lift of an under-construction 25-storied building, opposite the Ruia College in central Mumbai, in which the six labourers were seated suddenly crashed.
Mumbai, January 9
According to Chief Fire Officer UK Tatkare, the cause of the service lift crash is not known. “The locals and police had rushed the victims to the Sion Hospital and then we were informed,” Tatkare said. According to police, the service lift of an under-construction 25-storied building, opposite the Ruia College in central Mumbai, in which the six labourers were seated suddenly crashed. — IANS
Chandigarh is arguably the country's most pampered city. It is the seat of two state governments and a Union Territory (UT); boasts of the highest density of VIPs, both actual and self-proclaimed, who revel in a feeling of impunity; has the country's third highest literacy rate; and is ever eager to showcase the lineage of the Americans, Polish and the French (the city's architects came from these three countries) in addition to carrying the weary and clichéd' tag of 'city beautiful'.
It is also the only major UT governed entirely by civil bureaucrats and police officers posted on deputation and headed by an Administrator, a political appointee. Since the Administrator's primary role is Governor of Punjab, his interest in Chandigarh's governance, therefore, swings between the over-involved (recent examples: General Jack Fredrick Ralph Jacob and General Sunit Francis Rodrigues) to indifference (Justice R.S. Verma and Shivraj Patil). The absence of political representation (other than a sole Lok Sabha member) is both a curse and a blessing - an absence of a 'politicians ownership' and the consequent involvement and responsiveness versus none of the political interference and pressures associated with the archetypical Indian politician.
Over the years, Chandigarh has grown in sectors - from an initial 30 to the present 63 (although there are eight missing sectors) - and in population, which is estimated at 12 lakh. The growth of neighbouring Mohali and Panchkula has further added to the UT's demographic pressures. Besides, Chandigarh's reputation of being a well planned city has also attracted migrants from the backwaters of mainly Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. As a result, population in the UT's 18 colonies (read slums) and 16 villages have expanded to bring about a change in the city's demographic profile and contribute to urban Chandigarh in three major respects - labour, domestic help and crime.
Over the years, urban Chandigarh has undergone a silent social change. Following economic liberalisation, the noughties, in particular, witnessed a rise in the number of working youth following the entry of both the service sector and, to an extent, IT companies, to the UT. But even so, Chandigarh still remains a backwater for aspiring educated youth since it still does not offer them the vast career opportunities and exposure associated with major metropolitan cities. This means making a career elsewhere which involves leaving behind (and rendering vulnerable) one's parents. The relatively faster pace of life and an increase in wealth and ambition has made people more individualistic and insensitive. The concept of the mohalla, that is characterised by greater integration and involvement between people, has since long been on the decline.
The responsibility of maintaining law and order in a city with an estimated 12 lakh population lies with a questionably equipped police force comprising a mere 4,408 policemen assisted by 600 India Reserve Battalion personnel and also 1,362 home guard volunteers who are currently paid a paltry per diem of Rs 100. The Chandigarh Police is marked by several peculiar characteristics - (a) divisions, factions, coteries and lobbies; (b) well entrenched vested interests and corruption; and (c) an abject lack of exposure among all policemen up to the rank of DSP who circulate between a mere 11 police stations, a police lines and the headquarter across a relatively tiny geographicasl area. As is the case with key-level UT Administration bureaucrats, the police too is headed by a curious mix of deputationist Indian Police Service officers belonging to the UT, Punjab and Haryana cadres, all of who have varying interests, involvement and reasons to be posted to Chandigarh.
Like elsewhere in the country, the institution of the beat constable who is supposed to know his ilaqa is a phenomenon of the past. It is therefore not surprising that the constabulary at police stations remain mostly ignorant about people residing in their respective jurisdiction. Police patrolling, if any, is invisible while police-public interface is severely limited in a well laid out and planned city, which with its precise rectangular sectors, should be making policing (and governance) relatively smooth and easier.
In the end it is not always about facts as it is about perceptions. And the perception is that people in Chandigarh are gradually beginning to feel unsafe, a phenomenon which was not associated with this UT in the past. Crime cannot be eliminated altogether and like any police force anywhere, the Chandigarh Police too has its genuine limitations and problems. But it can do more to reduce, deter and effectively investigate crime. The police needs to seriously introspect on its functioning and take remedial measures. But it would be simplistic and reductionist to solely expect the police to keep the city safe. That responsibility lies with each resident.
Police failure, a blot
Crime scenario in the city has undergone a sea change since the last decade with incidents of chain snatchings, daylight robberies and burglaries having become a part of the city life. Fear psyche has become all pervasive in the city environs and residents, particularly senior citizens, single working women and working parents are a worried lot.
Rising population, influx of migrants, ever increasing number of paying guests and widening representation of the rich and poor population are the biggest developments that have changed the crime graph in the town, slowly but definitely over the years.
What can a common man expect when a senior officer of the administration has been beaten up on the city roads.
. Rise in in Crime against women:
There has been a steep rise in cases of crime against women in the city in the last four years. The UT police have registered 680 cases, since 2007, of molestation, eve-teasing, rape, kidnapping, domestic violence, dowry deaths and murders. While the unsolved Neha murder case in which a 22-year-old girl was found raped and murdered in Sector 38 (West) continues to shock residents, they have also not forgotten the German tourist who was raped after being abducted from outside a hotel in 2008 and the rape of a mentally challenged Nari Niketan inmate in 2009.
Residents carrying heavy cash to banks have been targeted on the city roads, in broad daylight. The franchisee owner of Western Union Money transfer was robbed of Rs 15 lakhs, a day before Diwali, last year and in another case, a city businessman was shot at in Manimajra and robbed of Rs 7 lakh, in May last year.
Crime by migrants, servants, paying guests:
The Paying Guest(PG) accomodation have been the scene of many a crime in the city. Servants too have given reason for the public to worry. One of the incidents was killing an elderly couple in Kajheri in 2007. Names of migrant labour figures in majority of cases of thefts, burglaries and snatchings. In May last year, four labourers were arrested for killing a security personnel trying to save a theft of water pipes.
A former Principal of Punjab Engineering College, Sagar Sehgal, was duped of Rs 23 lakh in an online lottery scam .There were more than 20 cases of cloning reported in klast couple of months.
As per UT police figures, 80 percent of the accused arrested in snatching cases are addicted to drugs. Even as drug addiction is rising, the police has been unable to track the flow of drugs in Chandigarh.
Road rage, accidents:
Partying in the wee hours or going for a late night stroll in Chandigarh is no longer safe. Brawls, road rage, drunken driving and molestation incidents have seen a spurt. Accidents snuffed out more than 500 lives in the city in the last five years, alone.
What ails UT Police?
Fractions within the force hamper investigations: The city has 10 Deputy Superintendent’s of Police and sadly a close perusal of the ground shows existence of groups, lobbying for plump postings and fight for seeking credit. The group division has affected the police functioning, particularly, in the aspect of a coordinated movement. Poor co-ordination hampered investigations in the recent Khushpreet case, murder of Amarjit Singh, the owner of Sham Fashion Mall and the Neha murder case.
Short staffed: The strength of the Chandigarh Police has not grown proportionately to the growing population of the city which has left gaping holes in its normal functioning. With only 5008 police personnel manning a city with estimated population of over 12 lakhs, the police remain overburdened. A sizable number among those on the list are engaged in duties VIP security, Traffic Police, Police Lines, emergency duties like rallies and the like. City’s vehicle population of well over eight lakh is enhanced with a sizable number of vehicles, particularly, from the adjoining towns of Panchkula and Mohali. The size of 200 is proving too small in adequate handling of the menace and ensuring a smart flow on roads.
Problem of VIP security: Even as the police stations and specialized wings are crying for manpower, nearly a fifth of Chandigarh Police is busy guarding the Very Important Persons (VIPs) and the Very Very Important persons(VVIPs). While, the Personal Security Officers and personnel accompanying a VIP in pilot and escort vehicles come from the security wing of the police force, about 600 personnel are sourced from the reserve force which is supposed to deal with emergencies or law and order problems. These policemen are deployed at the VIPs’ residences as guards. The VIP Security wing of the UT Police force has around 360 personnel. Crime detection and law and order are the worst affected due to police deployed for VIP security.
Lack of co-ordination with Mohali and Panchkula police: The UT police have, every now and then, failed to coordinate with its counterparts in Mohali and Panchkula and specially, at times, when its required the most. The glaring example is the Khushpreet murder case where the Chandigarh police laid a trap in near Kharar and the police there was never informed. In addition, lack of co-ordination between Chandigarh and Panchkula police also came to light during the spate of ATM cloning cases that were reported across the tricity last year.