C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Sec-34 immigration firm booked for fraud
Police acts after Kharar resident ‘duped’ of Rs 2.3 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Tightening its noose around “immigration companies” cheating people on the pretext of sending them abroad, the local police on Sunday registered a case against Scotch Education & Immigration Service, based in the Sector 34, following a complaint lodged by a Kharar resident claiming the firm duped him of Rs 2.3 lakh.

The police said the firm’s owners, Dhaliwal and Seema, were booked after Yaman Khan, a resident of Siswan village (Kharar), located in Mohali district, alleged the firm did not send him abroad even after he had paid Rs 2.3 lakh, nor had the firm return any of the money.

Sector-34 police station officer Kirpal Singh said the firm had promised the complainant he would be sent abroad on a work permit, but never made it clear where he would be sent. “The complainant stated that after repeated requests his money was not refunded following which he decided to file a compliant”, he added.

According to police officials, during preliminary investigations it was found the firm had not been registered and was operating illegally.

Kirpal further said after allegedly cheating the complainant the firm’s owners closed down their office a few months ago and had yet to be traced. “At present we’ve received only a single complaint against the firm. During our investigations we’ll be checking on other clients of the firm to establish whether there are more victims”, he said.

Sources close to the police said the addresses of the firm’s owners are being traced. Meanwhile, no arrests have been made in the case so far.

On the basis of the complaint a preliminary investigation was initiated and a case under section 420 (forgery) & 120 (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and section 24 of the Immigration Act, 1983 was filed against the firm’s owners at the Sector 34 police station.



2 more cases against Healthyway
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
A day after a team of the UT Police raided the Sector 42-based office of Healthyway Immigration Consultancy and registered two separate cases of cheating against them, two more cases of cheating were registered against the company this evening.

Sector 36 police station SHO Inspector Sukhbir Rana said two more clients of the company approached the police with their complaints of being duped by the company. A case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC was registered.

The travel agency, operating for the past 10 years, is in the dock for allegedly providing fake documents for obtaining visa in return for money.

One of the fresh complainants, Avtar Singh of Patiala, alleged that he had applied for a visa through Healthyway Immigration Centre, Sector 42-C, Chandigarh, and had paid Rs 1.1 lakh to the company. However, neither was he sent abroad, nor did he get a refund.

Another complainant Mandeep Singh of Samrala district, alleged that he paid Rs 1.75 lakh to the company on its promise of sending him to UK. He was also duped by the company.

The SHO added that the company owner was absconding and raids were being conducted to nab him.

A team of the UT police again visited the Sector 42 office of the company to check records. Sources said the Chandigarh police had decided to take the assistance of Punjab and Haryana police regarding all cases registered against the company at the Sector 36 police station.



AWACS, aerial refuellers to shift base to city
Indian Air Force to assign all IL-76 airlifters to one squadron
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
In a move to rationalize deployment of its heavy lift aircraft, the Indian Air Force is merging all its Ilyushin IL-76 strategic freighters into a single squadron that is to be based at Chandigarh. In addition, the newly acquired Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and the IL-78 midair refuellers are also expected to operate from the city for a specific duration for operational reasons.

Sources close to the IAF said the No 44 Squadron (“Mighty Jets”) is moving here along with its IL-76s from Nagpur. The No 25 Squadron (“Himalayan Eagles)”, which operates a mix of IL-76 and Antonov AN-32 aircraft, will be moving to Baroda with its AN-32 aircraft, while the IL-76 aircraft it leaves behind will join the ranks of the 44 Squadron.

The Himalayan Eagles would be virtually snapping off links with the great mountains, as it will carry routine transport and communication roles alongside the 11 Squadron at its new base in southwestern India.

Both squadrons are scheduled to be fully operational at their new locations by the end of this month. While the 25 Squadron was raised at Chandigarh in 1963 and has since remained here, the 44 Squadron was also raised here but later moved out to Agra and thereafter to Nagpur. It is the only transport outfit to have been awarded a Battle Honour and one of its former commanding officers was awarded a Mahavir Chakra for gallantry during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war.

The rationale behind the move, IAF officers said, is two-fold. Given the limited serviceability of the IL-76 fleet on account of paucity of spares as well as time and cost factors associated with their overhaul by foreign vendors abroad, it was felt prudent to maintain a single establishment of this fleet. Since the IL-76 planes based here were employed for logistic support to army formations in Jammu & Kashmir, additional aircraft would enhance the air maintenance effort.

Equipped with AN-32s, the 48 Squadron (“Camels”) based here is also actively engaged in air maintenance along the Himalayan frontier, ferrying in troops and cargo and air-dropping supplies to forward posts.

The second reason, the sources said, is that the Nagpur base is being vacated and refurbished to accommodate the Boeing C-17 Globemasters. A deal for procuring ten of the US-made aircraft, which have three times the payload carrying capacity of an IL-76, was signed last month and the fist of these planes are expected to arrive in 2013.

Being centrally located in the Indian heartland, Nagpur is considered ideal to base aircraft having a strategic role. It was one of the reasons that the 44 Squadron was moved out of Agra to Nagpur in the 1990s. Other major transport airbases like Hindon or Agra are being considered unsuitable for the Globemasters due to ground space and air traffic issues. The recently acquired Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules planes, meant for special operations, are based at Hindon along with some helicopter units.

Besides the Paratroopers Training School and other units, Agra also houses the IAF’s midair refueling tankers, the IL-78s and the Bariev A-50 AWACS, both of which are based on the IL-76 platform. These aircraft are expected to shift base to Chandigarh temporarily as the main runway of the Agra airbase is due for recarpeting. The work, to be undertaken in phases, is expected to take several months.



MC men clueless on technical issues hampering garbage plant
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Officials of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) are clueless about the technical issues hampering the better functioning of the garbage processing plant at Dadu Majra.

The fact came to light at the first meeting of the special garbage committee constituted by city Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh. At a meeting held last Friday, it was pointed out that it had been four years since the MC had been pondering over the issue.

Interestingly, Additional Commissioner-I Sunil Bhatia (who is also heading the medical office of health) on being asked by committee members for the reason behind not initiating action against the company even after detecting a number of faults in the functioning of the plant, said he had not gone through the 5,000-page agreement signed between the company and the MC. As a result, no action could be taken against the company.

It is not for the first time that a special committee constituted to streamline the functioning of the plant has failed to act on the issue. In the last three years, four special committees were constituted for this plant by former mayors. But till date, neither the reports of the committees were discussed in the House, nor has any action been taken to improve the functioning of the plant.

On November 11, 2008, the House constituted a sub-committee with Congress councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma as chairperson to assess the technology and technical aspects of infrastructure and machinery. Interestingly, after two futile special house meetings convened by a previous MC mayor to discuss this report, no discussions were held on this topic, as the members of the sub-committee themselves raised a question mark on their own report and on the powers of the house to take action against the company.

In 2009, the MC medical office of health constituted a five-member committee to monitor solid waste intake, rejection and dumping of inert, rejects and semi-processed garbage by the plant at the dumping site. Although a report has been prepared and submitted to the authorities, no action has been taken till date.

Again in 2009, another committee of the Chandigarh pollution control board was constituted to investigate the reason behind the foul smell emanating from the plant. The committee had made recommendations to the MC and the company in its report, but all in vain since nothing has been implemented.


Committee sans technical support

  • In the special garbage committee constituted by the Mayor recently, there is no expert for technical support to the councillors who are members of this committee.
  • It is not known what will be the fate of the committee’s recommendations when the suggestions of the past four committees have not been taken seriously by the authorities.



College book bank a boon for poor students
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
In an innovative step aimed at helping underprivileged students of the Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11, a “book bank” has been set up to provide them books of seniors and study materials for one-year.

While students from the economically weaker sections can avail of the facility free of cost, other meritorious students can borrow books by paying a refundable security of Rs 1,000.

The library staff has initiated the process of collecting books with senior students contributing most of them. “We have finished our classes. Why waste the books when they can be of help to someone else, especially one who is meritorious and needy?” said Deepak Kumar, a final year student.

In order to expand the collection, the college library has received a grant of Rs 3 lakh from the UT administration to procure a fresh stock of books.

“However, in special cases where students can’t afford even the security amount, the study materials will be provided free of cost,” said Renu Oberoi, the college librarian.

“We were given a grant for total of Rs 6 lakh for purchasing new books, of which Rs 3 lakh has been set aside to create the book pool. Our college is the first to create such a system, although such book banks existed informally in the past in libraries or even at bookshops. Notices have been put up for seniors or teachers who wish to contribute to the book bank. Students who have completed their course can lend or donate their books,” she added.

“The refundable security deposit will be charged so that students don’t damage the books after borrowing them. However, we’ll definitely consider special cases where students from very poor families require books and can’t afford to deposit the security,” Oberoi stated.


Illegal religious structures continue occupation
Removing these a tall ask for administration’s officials; all faiths indulge in unauthorised encroachments
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service
A temple at the Haryana Roadways workshop in Phase I of Industrial Area in Chandigarh. tribune photo: s chandan; (Above right) A view of the mosque in the Vikas Nagar area of Mauli Jagran in Chandigarh
A temple at the Haryana Roadways workshop in Phase I of Industrial Area in Chandigarh. tribune photo: s chandan; (Above right) A view of the mosque in the Vikas Nagar area of Mauli Jagran in Chandigarh. tribune photo: parvesh chauhan; (below left) A view of the gurdwara at Sector 38 in Chandigarh; (below right) A view of the church at Sector 53 in Chandigarh. tribune photos: vicky gharu

Chandigarh, August 14
The removal of illegal religious structures from its valuable land appears to be a Herculean task for the Chandigarh administration.

Though the administration claims to have taken a tough stand against the fresh mushrooming of unauthorised religious places, as per Supreme Court directions, it is apparently finding it difficult to remove the earlier unauthorised structures.

Data with the UT estate office reveals the presence of around 295 illegal religious structures on around 350 acres in both rural and urban parts of the city.

A survey report (2005-06) of the UT estate office has stated that there are a total of 396 religious institutions. In the sectoral grid, there are 194 religious places (136 temples, 44 gurdwaras, seven churches, four mosques and three ‘dargahs’). Of these, only 101 are legal.

In colonies, the number of religious structures is 74 (56 temples, eight mosques, eight gurdwaras, one church and one ‘dargah’). In UT villages, the figure stands at 128 (88 temples, 25 gurdwaras, four mosques, four churches and seven ‘dargahs’). All these 202 religious structures are illegal.

There are 32 applications pending with the estate office for the allotment of religious sites. The survey report has stated that over the past two decades, the administration has acquired land on which 17 illegal structures are located.

Of these 17 unauthorised religious places, eight are coming in the way of development schemes and projects of the administration and yet, most of these continue to exist.

The administration has identified around 19 legal religious societies and trusts, which have been allotted land by the administration and yet, these have encroached upon government land around their premises.

‘Not easy’

It is not an easy task. Things like sensitivity, people’s faith in the institution and religious sentiments have to be considered before taking action in this direction. Whenever any such structure comes in the way of some development work or big project, the administration initiates action. We demolished around 30 such structures the previous year. Following directions from the apex court on a special leave petition, the administration did not allow a single illegal religious structure in recent times. We are strict over the issue as not a single such structure has come up in the past few years.

Brijendra Singh UT Deputy Commissioner

SLP pending

The Supreme Court, in its special leave petition (SLP 8519 in 2006, Union of India versus State of Gujarat and others), had issued certain directions to remove all unauthorised religious structures. The SLP was still pending in the apex court.



World-class facilities yet to chug in
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The project of the Northern Railway to upgrade the Chandigarh railway station has become a distant dream.

According to sources, the project, which was proposed by the then Union Railway Minister, Mamata Banerjee, while presenting the railway budget 2011-12, is still in its initial stages.

The Ambala division had already submitted an inception report to the railway ministry in New Delhi.

It was proposed that the station would have connectivity with the international airport, public facilities like a hotel, shopping mall and a food court. It would also have the mechanised parcel handling system besides additional facilities for differently abled persons.

Ambala Divisional Railway Manager PK Sanghi said the project was in its early stages and after getting the railway ministry’s approval, they would seek the services of consultants for preparing a detailed plan.

As per the plan, the railway station would have air-conditioned waiting rooms and coffee shops with wireless Internet accessibility. Budget hotels for overnight passengers and hi-tech CCTV cameras at strategic locations connected to a central surveillance room with about 20 odd monitors would be an added feature to keep a watch on anti-social elements.

The facilities suggested by the division had been planned keeping in view the spurt in traffic volume in consonance with the city growth rate and commissioning of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link and doubling of the Ambala-Chandigarh rail link.



Tricity scan

I-Day celebrated

On the eve of Independence day, 100 students from Bapu Dham studying in Government Senior Secondary School, Timber Market, Government Model High School, Police Lines, and Government Middle School, Bapu Dham, were taken to various places, including War Memorial, Rock Garden, Sukhna Lake and Jayanti Dam.

Students, who were part of the camp, are a part of an innovative ‘English Access Microsholarship Programme’, which involves teaching English to 100 students in the age group of 14 to 16 studying in government schools in and around Bapu Dham Colony. This is to enhance their English language skills so that they have a competitive edge in academic and professional life. The programme is funded by the US Embassy, New Delhi, and is managed by Yuvsatta, an NGO, with the help of education department, Chandigarh administration.

Patriotic fervour prevails

Aryans Group of Colleges (AGC) on Sunday celebrated Independence Day on its campus with enthusiasm and patriotic fervour. Patriotic songs were sung by the management and faculty members. Dr Anshu Kataria, chairman, Aryans Group, talked about the sacrifices made by freedom fighter. Prof DC Kataria said, “We should never forget the supreme sacrifice of our leaders. We owe them the freedom that we enjoy today. We should pledge to rid India of poverty, corruption and illiteracy.”

Chain fast

Rahul Bhartiya, coordinator, India Against Corruption for Chandigarh, tricity, along with Chandigarh IAC team and other NGOs, will be observing a chain fast to support “Anna Hazare” for the enactment of Janlokpal Bill on August 16 in Sector 25, Rally Ground, Chandigarh. “We had sought permission from the Deputy Commissioner, but did not get a reply. The purpose of the fast is to make people aware of Janlokpal and express solidarity with Anna Hazare. Our whole activity will be peaceful and in interest of society and nation,” a press release stated.

Channel launched

Study Centre 0601 of IGNOU has launched an SMS channel “0601ignou”. IGNOU has 1,400 study centres all over the country to provide easy access and effective support services to learners. For getting inputs on the latest developments, just type “0601ignou” and send it to 9870807070. The attempt will guide learners to plan their visit to the study centre.

More grants expected

In a press conference, Panchkula MLA DK Bansal said with the conversion of the municipal council into a corporation, the development works would accelerate as the body could get grant from both the state and Union governments. He said he would request the Chief Minister to set up a separate branch of the municipal corporation in Pinjore and Kalka. — TNS



Chandigarh emerges as centre for immigration frauds
Local firms involved in more than 100 complaints from region
Sanjeev Singh Bariana/TNS

Chandigarh, August 14
Names of local immigration companies featuring in more than 100 complaints from different parts of the region has underlined the fact that immigration companies, under the garb of “consultancies”, have shifted their base to the city and Mohali from different parts of Punjab during the recent past.

At least four local firms coming on the police radar for faking documents to facilitate illegal immigration, during the past one week alone, is just a tip of the iceberg, showcasing rampant public indulgence in wishing to travel abroad which is being cashed in on by the immigration firms.

In fact, cases of fraud have come to light following a letter from the British Commission to the concerned police heads. A senior officer from Punjab said “The Embassy had rejected the cases under question with a clear note that the rejected cases could not apply for travelling to the UK for the next 10 years”.

While the police is proceeding against the Healthyway Immigration Consultancy, Sector 42, here, following raids yesterday, names of three more local agents are under the scanner of the intelligence agencies.

The bulk of the duped people belong to different parts of the region, mainly Punjab. Police sources confirmed that in an important shift, against the traditional rush from the Doaba belt, it was now people from the Malwa who topped the list constituting 80 per cent of the victims.

More than 30 cases of fraud have been registered in the UT alone this year so far. Chandigarh SSP Naunihal Singh said the number would cross the 100 mark as “there are several complaints pending.” Besides the Healthyway, we are waiting for official letter on the three other reported cases and shall proceed accordingly”, he added.

Sanjiv Gupta, ADGP (Crime), Punjab, confirmed an unspecified but a sizable number of cases under investigation. Gaurav Yadav, Commissioner (Jalandhar division), said “Following complaints, we had recently carried out a string of sting operations.” Rajpal Sandhu, SP (Jalandhar II), said the “agents were acting like consultants and befooled people when they came for seminars. In three different cases in Jalandhar, recently, the police has arrested four agents. More search operations are underway”.

Talking to The Tribune, Jaswinder Singh, a resident of Karheri village in Patiala district, said “I paid a Rs 66,000 to the company out of which the company charged Rs 48,000 as the consultancy fees. I had to show Rs 11 lakh in my fixed deposit account. I was asked to visit a bank in Rajpura for documentation of the FD which the company manager said was managed. This was followed by a rejection letter from the British Embassy and the Chandigarh Police calling us for questioning. I have submitted an affidavit speaking about the fraud.”

Mandeep Singh, a resident of Dhuri in Sangrur district, said “My wife Rubaljit Kaur’s case has been rejected with a clear instruction that we would not be considered for the next 10 years.”

Under Scanner

  • Companies working under the name of “consultancies”
  • At least four local firms under lens for faking documents to facilitate illegal immigration
  • 30 cases of fraud have been registered in the UT this year so far
  • Bulk of duped people belong to the Malwa belt of Punjab



Celebrating freedom
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
On the eve of 64th Independence Day, the Chandigarh administration organised a cultural bonanza at the Tagore Theatre, Sector 18, today. Adviser to the UT Administrator KK Sharma was the chief guest.

The colourful programme got off to a great start with a vandana presented by the students of KBDAV School, Sector 7. A patriotic dance was presented by students of Sacred Heart-26, which was followed by a patriotic song by Navodya Vidyalaya, Sector 25. A skit “Azadi de Parwane” showcasing the freedom struggle was presented by the students of GMSSS-37. Students of GMSSS-10 presented giddha. A colourful presentation was given by Manav Mangal School-21 on the theme of unity in diversity.

Sharma said it was the time to salute the martyrs, who gave their lives for the freedom of the country. He said it was good to see that youngsters were taking interest in patriotism. He suggested young people to work under the guidance of elder people for the welfare of the country. The Adviser congratulated teachers and students on putting up a fabulous 

The cultural programme was attended by Home Secretary Ram Niwas, Finance-cum-Education Secretary VK Singh, DPI(Schools) Sandeep Hans, DEO (Schools) Chanchal Singh and other senior officials of the Chandigarh administration.



RWAs get students’ backing
‘Differentiate between tenants, paying guests’
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Students residing in various sectors have started joining the section of resident welfare associations (RWAs) against the estate office for issuing notices to landlords without verifying if they have rented their premises to tenants or paying guests (PGs). Students in Sectors 15, 22 and 35, worried over the attitude of the administration, have written to RWAs, offering their support.

After failing to get relief from the administration over clearly defining PGs and conventional tenancy, members of the House Owners Welfare Association, gave a representation to local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal yesterday.

Surinder Sharma, president of the Sector-15 society, said groups of students had started approaching RWAs of certain sectors against the estate office for issuing notices to landlords without verifying if they had PGs or given the accommodation on rent.

“The fear of getting homeless has led to students writing to us and support us in our demand of differentiating between PGs and tenants,” he said.

He added that students residing in Sectors 15, 22 and 35 had approached them while those in other sectors had started contacting RWAs.

BS Kohli, a landlord in Sector 35, said he had rented accommodation to students after entering into a rent agreements and was not running PG accommodation.

A section of RWAs had recently approached the administration, seeking differentiation between PGs and rented accommodation before taking any further action against landlords. They said they would approach the high court against the issuance of notices if they did not get justice.

Over 50 landlords also gave a representation to Bansal, seeking his intervention. The issue had also become a topic of debate for RWAs in the monthly meeting of the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations Chandigarh.



255 issued notices for illegally occupying railways’ land
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur (Mohali), August 14
The railway authorities had issued 255 notices to encroachers who had encroached upon railway’s land at Dhakoli village. An official of the railway department said the encroachers had been told to appear before the railway authorities before August 27 to give their point of view on the issue. The official said if the encroacher failed to visit the station, strict action would be taken against them.

Following the railway notice, the work on a temple site on the railway land has been stopped. Holding the Punjab government officials responsible for overlooking the encroachments, railway officials said the state government had failed to lend the necessary support to the railways to redeem its land from encroachers in Zirakpur’s Dhakoli village.

Inquiries revealed that some of the encroachers had been illegally occupying the railway land for nearly 15 years now. To make the matters worse, the railway officials have found that some of the encroachers had also sold off the railway land.

Further, large chunks of land have not only been sold, but registries have also been executed.

The authorities concerned now apprehend that fake and forged documents could have been used for getting the sales deed registered.

The local government on other hand claimed that they had been informing the railway authorities about the encroachments on a regular basis. An official of the Zirakpur Municipal Council said only two months ago they had written a letter to the railways bringing to light the encroachments on their land. They added that the railway authorities wanted them to act against the encroachers, but their jurisdiction permitted them only to lend necessary help to the railways.

Varun Roojam, Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, stated that the land that was encroached upon belonged to the railways. He said, “We are ready to provide support to the railway authorities during the encroachment drive if they approach the local administration.”

A senior functionary in the railways said they had tried to undertake an anti-encroachment drive in 2008, which was met with stiff resistance by the locals. They added that unable to proceed against the encroachers, they sent a communication to the Punjab Chief Secretary recently. DRM, Northern Railway, Pardeep Kumar Sanghi stated that encroachments on the railway land in Zirakpur were as old as 10 to 15 years.



Another day of traffic jams at Zirakpur
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, August 14
A major traffic jam was caused due to the ongoing shopping festival at the Paras Down Town Square here today. The traffic came to a standstill at most of the intersections, causing harassment to daily commuters.

The traffic cops had challaned 10 vehicles for parking their vehicles outside the mall. Shoppers alleged that lack of parking space at the Paras Down Town Square forced them to park their vehicles outside the mall. They alleged that it had become a routine affair.

Ajay Kanwar, a resident of Chandigarh, alleged that the mall authorities were charging fee for parking, but failed to provide proper facility.

Mahavir Aggarwal, president of the Zirakpur Main Market Association, stated that the local administration should ask the mall authorities to arrange proper parking before organising any festival.



Fruit, veggie vendors continue to encroach highways
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, August 14
In violation of the direction issued by the Deputy Commissioner, Mohali, rehris continue to throng roadsides, which caused traffic chaos.

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Varun Roojam stated that he would talk to the SDM, Dera Bassi, regarding the violation and action would be taken against the violators soon.

A visit to the area revealed that fruit/vegetable vendors had encroached upon the area near Patiala intersection, Kalka intersection and the entry point of Zirakpur.

On August 4, the Deputy Commissioner had banned the rehriwalas from carrying out their business along the Chandigarh-Ambala and Balongi-Kharar national highways. The ban orders also restrained any business establishments along the highways from filling up the trenches dug up by the National Highways Authority of India. The ban is effective till September 26.

The directions have been issued to the authorities concerned to ensure free flow of traffic. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had also directed the authorities concerned to make sure that there were no obstructions in the plying of vehicles on these highways.



Security gates bring down theft incidents
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 14
The Mohali Police is heaving a sigh of relief with the security gates at the entry and exit points to the residential areas becoming operational, as the incidents of car lifting have registered a downfall.

In the past few months, 62 security gates have been made operational across the town. Statistics of car theft case reveal that in Phases IIIB1 and IIIB2 and Sectors 70 and 71, covered by the Matour police station, only seven cases of vehicle thefts were registered since January compared to 17 cases registered during the corresponding period last year.

Superintendent of Police (city) Harpreet Singh said security gates were proving to be effective in checking thefts. He said the gates were also helpful in checking the movement of anti-social elements.

In the residential areas (Sectors 62, 63, 67, 68 and 69) covered by the Phase VIII police station, the number of car thefts during the past six months was eight and of these four had been traced. Similarly, the car theft incidents during this period in the areas covered by the Phase XI police station were 6, compared to 11 cases registered during the corresponding period of the previous year.

The security agency entrusted with manning the security gates had deployed young guards, for better performance, after replacing middle-aged security guards.

The guards have been given whistles, batons and torches. They had also been equipped with walkie-talkie sets that could be used in cases of emergency.

From security point of view it has been decided that the gates would be well illuminated so that residents could see from a distance that gates were locked. The gates would not be opened on a rotation basis, as decided earlier, but only one gate in each sector would remain open. Pamphlets would be distributed among residents so that they get to know which gates would remain open.



Consumer forum comes to rescue of cooperative society
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 14
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has come to the rescue of a cooperative society that was charged two inflated bills by the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL).

Holding the corporation responsible for deficiency in service, the forum, comprising of BS Mehandiratta, president, Dr SS Dhaliwal and HK Ghuman, both members, has directed it to rectify the bills and pay Rs 2,000 as litigation costs to the consumer, Pardhan Dudh, Utpadal Sahakari, Cholta Khurd village, Kharar.

In its petition before the forum, the society stated it was running dairy business and supplying milk to the Verka milk plant at Mohali. Its nine members are earning their bread and butter from this business. Its normal consumption bill of each month used to be between Rs 2,000 to Rs 7,000. But in 2009 and 2010, the society was issued bills of Rs 98,910 and Rs 2,47,030.

When a delegation of the society approached the PSPCL officials, they were told that the excess bill could have been generated due to some technical fault or a clerical mistake and that the complainant need not pay the inflated bill amount. On the suggestion by the officials, the complainant submitted an application in this regard to the SDO concerned but in vain.

In their next electricity bill they were asked to pay Rs 2,47,030. The delegation again approached the SDO concerned who said its previous application was pending and that it should submit a fresh application, both of which would be considered and forwarded to the committee for rectification.

The complainant also visited the office of the Superintending Engineer, but without any result. The complainant apprehended disconnection of the electricity meter, causing loss of its business.

The complainant also stated that it was never served with any notice under Sections 126 or 135 of the Electricity Act, 2003, before being asked for the impugned amount nor was it given any opportunity of hearing.

In a written statement, the corporation stated that the complainant was not a ‘consumer’ as the electricity connection in question was a commercial connection of the ‘NRS’ category and, therefore, the complaint was not maintainable in this forum.

It further pleaded that the original load of the connection was 0.68 kW. On the application submitted by the complainant, it was increased to 8.79 kW. It issued the bill to the complainant based on average consumption of the previous year. After increase of the load, the complainant was explained each and every detail of the electricity bills. The meter of the complainant was also changed.

After hearing both the parties, the forum allowed the complaint and directed the corporation to correct the bills and charge the complainant for only 28,556 units for the two billing circles from November 13, 2010 to March 12. 



open house response
Panchkula worst hit by stray cattle menace

The stray cattle menace has assumed alarming proportions in recent times. Panchkula is the worst affected since it is bound by villages on all sides. The most affected sectors are 4, 6 and 7, in addition to 12. The problem of grazing cattle let loose by their owners is augmented by filth and dirt lying everywhere.

Household waste is dumped all around, which serves as a treat for stray animals, including dogs. Fruit-sellers lining roads also attract stray animals. A visit to the Sector-7 market is an eye-opener in this regard. Groups of cattle are found sitting in the middle of the road. Nobody dares move these, which are not even affected by shrieking horns.

In Chandigarh, the problem is aggravated during the monsoon. Even the Madhya Marg is not immune to the stray cattle menace. There are several green belts, spots and empty spaces which are not looked after, which become a grazing ground for cattle. Such spaces should be enclosed and kept clean. Home Guard volunteers or the traffic police should at least endeavour to move cattle off roads to pavements.

There is a need to form a co-ordination body of representatives from all departments concerned, including the traffic police, the municipal corporation and the administration. A comprehensive and multi-pronged strategy needs to be adopted to solve the problem permanently.

Court interference will hopefully bring about a viable solution to this menace. The administration should be made liable for compensation in case of accidents due to stray cattle. Only when it becomes a financial issue for the administration will it find and implement solutions.

Pankaj Chandgothia

Take action against owners

Residents of the tricity are grappling with the problem of stray cattle. While cattle roam around freely throughout the day, civic bodies seem to have turned a blind eye to the problem. Freely wandering cattle come from unauthorised or unlicensed roadside dairies and cattle sheds. These cattle nap on busy roads, block traffic and cause traffic jams and accidents.

This menace is never taken seriously. Civic bodies are reluctant to rein in stray cattle and cattle-catchers are scared and disinterested. Licences of dairies and cattle sheds should be cancelled in case their cattle are found straying outside the premises. Water and power supply to illegal dairies must be disconnected.

Owners who let their cattle roam on streets freely must be fined. Civic bodies should wake up to citizens’ welfare and employ cattle-catching squads. Cattle sheds should be constructed within suitable areas to keep stray cattle and sufficient staff should be employed.

Shruti K Chawla
Sec 38, Chandigarh

Eyewitness account

A few days ago, when I was travelling towards Sector 48 from the road near the 3BRD gate, I saw a youngster riding a motorcycle hit a bull and fall down on the road. I and a couple of youngsters travelling the same way rushed to the spot and helped him get up. He was bleeding profusely and had to be rushed to the GMCH, Sector 32.

This was not the first case I witnessed or heard about in the so-called planned city. The municipal corporation authorities need to set their house in order. While it is imaginable that stray cattle manage their way on to city roads if let free, the municipal corporation should set strict punishment for farmers from neighbouring areas who allow their cows to stray on city roads.

Col AD Singh (retd)
Sector 48, Chandigarh

Narrow escape

The previous week, we purchased a new Chevrolet. My father was driving when a bull suddenly jumped from across a road divider and came right in front of the car. The car hit the bull and the impact was so massive that even the bull was injured. Our car looked beyond repair, but mechanics managed to make it usable after a long operation.

The issue is handled too lightly by the municipal corporation authorities. It is question of food for cattle. At the same time, it must be the responsibility of owners to ensure their safety. Let the cattle travel towards the outskirts of the city.

A senior official with the municipal corporation said animals, usually found in peripheral sectors, went towards the city because of its green cover. Responsibility needs to be fixed and exemplary punishment given to offenders to deter them from letting animals loose on city roads in the future.

Jasleen Kaur
Sector 45, Chandigarh

Heavier punishment

The rule book of the municipal corporation needs a relook as far as the implementation of rules for keeping cattle off city roads is concerned. Instead of being taken away by the authorities and the imposition of a minor fine, the authorities need to be more strict.

It is a great idea to issue licences to cattle owners. Besides charging an annual fee, the municipal corporation should have a provision of cancelling licences and imposing a heavy fine.

We have read about Chandigarh being among the cleanest cities in the country, but the epitaph has little meaning for local residents unless those driving are fully confident about city roads being free from stray cattle. Citizens’ safety should be the top priority for municipal corporation and the clearing stray cattle off roads is a grave necessity.

Raj Chandok
Sector 28, Chandigarh



Hind Motors told to pay Rs 10,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Hind Motors to pay a compensation of Rs 10,000 to a Mohali resident for delay in changing the shell of a car.

The district forum comprising its president PD Goel and members Rajinder Singh Gill and Madanjit Kaur Sahota held that in view of the order dated February 21, 2011, the respondents had replaced the body shell of the vehicle free which was to be replaced within a month from the date of delivery at the workshop. The complainant handed was over the vehicle on March 3, but the body shell was replaced on April 8, 2011, and due to delay, the complainant was entitled for a compensation and litigation cost.

The forum also directed the respondents to pay Rs 5,000 as the cost of litigation.

Bhupinder Singh submitted that he had purchased an Indigo car from the respondents and brought it to the notice of the company about the defect in its mounting. He said the respondents repaired a part of the vehicle without his consent. The car started giving problem again. The respondents retained the car. He visited them and found that the defect was removed by welding instead of changing the chassis.

He alleged that the defect was a manufacturing defect, which could not be rectified by welding.

The counsel of the respondents pleaded that they had written to the company for chassis replacement, but it replied that this was not possible.



United India Insurance penalised Rs 2.74 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed United India Insurance to pay Rs 2,74,940 along with 12 per cent interest per annum from the date of filing of the complaint to a Mani Majra resident.

The district forum-II, comprising its president Lakshman Sharma and member Madhu Mutneja, while directing the respondents to also pay Rs 7,000 towards the cost of litigation to the complainant, held that the perusal of the FIR showed that the complainant and his driver had informed the police about the theft of their vehicle the very next day and had also tried to trace the car themselves.

The complaint was lodged by the Ludhiana police station only when they were unable to find the car.

In his appeal, Satinder Kumar submitted that he had insured his Indica car with the respondents and the IDV of the vehicle was Rs 2,74,490. His colleague borrowed the car along with the driver for a personal visit.

On way back, the driver offered a lift to some youths, who presented themselves as students of a Chandigarh college.

After travelling for some distance, the driver stopped the car near a dhaba to ease himself and left its engine running. The youths sped away in the car.

The driver informed the complainant, who further informed the police station - division No. 7, Ludhiana - the next day.

The police registered an FIR on December 1, 2009 after investigating the case.

However, the counsel for the respondents took preliminary objections that the vehicle driver had acted in a grossly negligent manner by giving lift to unknown persons and then leaving the vehicle in running condition with the key inside.

Further immediate information of the loss/theft was not given to the police and the insurance company, which was a violation of the terms and conditions of the policy. The FIR was lodged after 10 days.



Attracting Bollywood
Sec-11 college library hosts rare books
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Fascinating even Bollywood film-makers, searching for historic books like ‘Nana Saheb Peshwa and the Fight for Freedom’ by Anand Swarup Misra for their Sushmita Sen starrer “Jhansi Ki Rani”, the library at the Postgraduate Government College, Sector 11, has preserved a rare collection of ancient transcripts and books.

The library has preserved more than 200 rare books, of which at least 50 belong to the rarest collection of books and transcripts in the region.

Right from the book titled ‘Punjab’ by Mohinder Singh Randhawa, with signatures of Indira Gandhi on it, to a handwritten book of Mahadevi Verma, the library has dedicated a section to these rare books.

Yet another book, published in 1961, has translation of several English words into 16 Indian languages. Other books include ‘Larousse Universak/Nouveau’, ‘Gita in Pictures’, ‘Jafarnama Steek’ and ‘Bhartie Vivhar Kosh/ Narvane’.

College officials say all such books are now out of print and some are older than those found in Panjab University’s book-rich AC Joshi library. Most of these books have been published in the 1940s and 1950s.

“We have incorporated a special section in the library for rare books for the past between eight and nine years. We plan to digitize these to protect these forever. Experts visit us from across the country for research. Bollywood film-makers gave us the feedback that they could not find a particular book with pictures on Jhansi anywhere in the country,” said Renu Oberoi, college librarian.

“The process of digitization of these books is underway although the grants in this regard are awaited by the UT administration (sic). We have been consistently working on the maintenance of rare books and exhibitions are regularly held to create awareness about these,” said Jaspal Kaur, another librarian with the college.

Rare collection

The library has preserved more than 200 rare books, of which at least 50 belong to the rarest collection of books and transcripts in the region.



Rare manuscripts catching fancy of researchers
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
With 8,360 manuscripts on birch bark and palm leaves and 10,303 rare books, Lalchand Research library, brought originally from DAV College, Lahore, now in Pakistan, and re-housed at DAV College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, is a rare treasure for Indian and foreign researchers.

Not many scholars in the region know that this library, which was shifted to Chandigarh only in 1996, ensembles rarest hand-written manuscripts on subjects like astrology, astronomy, architecture, mathematics, epics, Vedic and religious literature, poetry, prose, drama, India culture and ayurveda, which are as old as the 15th Century.

Paper manuscripts numbering 6,462, which contain pictures illustrating the writings, are an asset in the library. Amazingly, extremely fast and bright colours have been used in the pictures which do not fade.

While some of these manuscripts have already been transcripted by an expert from South India, others are transcripted by scholars.

Preserved for over 50 years after India’s independence at Vishveshvaranand Vedic Research Institute (VVRI), Hoshiarpur, the time the library was being shifted from Lahore to India, a few trucks loaded with manuscripts and rare books were destroyed in riots during Partition, said sources.

Now at DAV College, Sector 10, not only are the pages of each manuscript laminated and preserved using lemon grass oil, but what adds to the glory of the library is the fact that every single manuscript and rare book has now been digitised, which means the library has maintained a soft copy of every page.

“We are proud to have this precious treasure house of knowledge in our college premises. The effort would be to help more and more research scholars avail benefit from the library,” said Shashi Gupta, principal, DAV College, Sector 10.



puta elections
Lobbies release poll manifesto
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
Lobbies contesting for the forthcoming Panjab University Teachers Union (PUTA) elections have released their poll manifestos.

Besides CAS promotions, the K Tankeshwar group has promised fresh recruitments, centrally funded status for the university, budgeted pension scheme and benefit up to five years of service to teachers who have joined the university at the age of 25 in terms of pension regulations. Other items on the agenda include medical reimbursement for female employees at par with male employees.

The Tankeshwar group has also promised faculty rooms and air-conditioned clinics, laboratories and a library, computers or laptops for each faculty member, along with a free-of-cost Internet facility, in residential areas.

On the other hand, the lobby headed by former PUTA president Manjit Singh and Akshaya Kumar, has promised promotions as per CAS. They have also promised recruitment of new faculty members in the university.

Singh’s lobby has also touched upon topics like enhancement of retirement age, better research conditions, processing of study leave for young PU faculty members and provision of Internet facility.



No teaching as college mourns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 14
A day after two BCA-II students of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26 - Manish Kumar and Yashwant - drowned in the Kaushalya at Parwanoo, the college suspended teaching for the day yesterday.

The management, staff and students held a condolence meeting at the college. During the meeting, a two-minutes silence was observed to pay tributes to the departed souls.

The staff and students expressed grief to the bereaved families. Principal HS Sohi said both were bright students and had actively participated in various activities. The College Gurmat Vichar Sabha has decided to organise a blood donation camp in the memory of the two students. The college management also decided to refund the entire fee of the two students.



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