Chandigarh Tribune
Wednesday, January 5, 2000,
Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


House robbed, 4 beaten up
From Bipin Bhardwaj

ZIRAKPUR, Jan 4 — A gang of a dozen unidentified miscreants broke into a house in Anand Vihar Colony of Bartana village on Monday midnight and brutally beat up four residents — Narinder Pal Singh, his wife, Harpreet Kaur, daughter Salauni and Joginder Singh. They also robbed them of valuables and pelted bricks on the house whose owners tried to switch on the bulbs and raise the alarm.

Seriously injured, Mr Narinder Pal Singh was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 of Chandigarh where he was referred to the PGI Chandigarh, for immediate operation.

According to Mrs Harpreet Kaur, wife of Mr Narinder, wearing shirts and Kale kachhe, about six robbers armed with sticks and batons, forcibly broke into the house from the main door at about 2.00 a.m. They threatened us with dire consequences if we raised the alarm in defence. Some of their accomplices took positions in front of the neighbouring houses. As Mr Narinder and his wife woke up and opened the door, the miscreants entered the house and asked for Rs 1000 in cash and the keys of the almirah for valuables.

“Two of them started breaking the almirah with bricks and took away two golden earrings, tops, jhumke, a garland and a gents’ ring, while other removed my bangles and golden ring leaving scratches on both of my wrists. They kicked me in my abdomen and slapped me and then removed the jewellery. After hitting my daughter, Salauni, they dragged my husband, Narinder, out of the house and injured him”, she added.

Telling her woes, 10-year-old Salauni said: “The robbers entered the house and beat up my mother, hit me on my nose and dragged my father to the street and hit him hard on his head”. “They threatened us not to raise the alarm, otherwise those who shouted for help would be killed. Speaking Hindi and Punjabi mixed, the miscreants were wearing Kale kachhe and shirts, added Salauni.

Hearing the noise, Mr Raj Kishore, a neighbour, tried to open the door. The miscreants pelted bricks braking the windowpanes of his house. Another neighbour, Joginder Singh, a tenant, tried to open the gate of his house. He was also given a beating by the robbers, who had taken positions at different places adjacent to the house. He received minor injuries.

“The armed miscreants gave an open challenge to the residents to face dire consequences if they tried to be smart,” said Mr Baldev Raj, a neighbour”, and fled from the spot. The whole operation took about one hour.” The neighbours then gathered and the police was informed. The injured Narinder Pal was taken to Sector 32 hospital.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr H.S. Bhullar, could not be contacted for comments.

“After this fourth robbery case in the past four months, the residents of this belt are feeling insecure as there is no night police patrolling in the villages as well as in the colonies,” said Mr Pyare Lal of the same colony.Back


Gurpurab on Jan 14, holiday today
By Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — While all government offices, educational institutions and banks will remain closed tomorrow on account of the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, a majority of gurdwaras in the city have decided not to celebrate Gurpurab tomorrow, but on January 14 as per the conventional calendar.

Though no nagar kirtan procession was taken out yesterday, still the administration declared a half-day holiday in all schools to enable students and staff members to "join the procession".

The controversy over the dates of celebration of various religious occasions and festivals began after a decision taken by the Jathedar of the Akal Takht to follow the conventional calendar. Though the Akal Takht had approved January 14 as the right day for the celebrations of the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has appealed to the sikhs to celebrate it tomorrow.

In Chandigarh, perhaps two gurdwaras — one each in Sectors 35 and 44 — will celebrate Gurpurab tomorrow, while the rest of the gurdwaras have decided to go by the decision taken by the Nagar Kirtan Tal Mel Committee.

According to Maj N.S. Rangi (retd), Chairman of the committee, Gurpurab will be observed on January 14 and a nagar kirtan procession will be taken out on January 12.

The procession will begin from the Sector 34 gurdwara and move through various sectors, including Sectors 33, 32, 20, 21, 22, 23, 36 and 37, before terminating at the Sector 38 gurdwara.

Major Rangi said though the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee had set up a six-member committee to sort out the "problem", it had been decided to follow the regular calendar till the committee gave its report.

However, since the Nagar Kirtan Tal Mel Committee had already decided to celebrate Gurpurab on January 14, it will go ahead with the celebrations. Major Rangi said the committee would approach the administration to declare a half-day holiday on January 12 to enable people to participate in the nagar kirtan procession. The committee would also urge the administration to declare a public holiday on January 14 as a tribute to Guru Gobind Singh.

Members of the management committees of various gurdwaras said they would participate in the January 12 nagar kirtan procession after the akhand path in the morning and celebrate Gurpurab on January 14 by organising special congregations and langars. Sikhs, they said, have been asked to illuminate their houses on January 14 to mark the occasion.

Meanwhile, the Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), today called upon the people to spread the message of secularism and universal brotherhood as propagated by Guru Gobind Singh. Congratulating people on the eve of the birth anniversary of the tenth Sikh Guru, General Jacob said Guru Gobind Singh's philosophy of religious tolerance and his struggle against injustice and tyranny was as topical today as it had been in his time.

Meanwhile, members of the staff of the Sector 47-D branch of Punjab and Sind Bank, in collaboration with members of the local Market Committee, organised a langar to mark the celebrations.Back


Fog in region delaying long-route buses
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — Fog over the entire north-western region has been delaying long-route buses by several hours as vehicular traffic continues to move at a snails pace. One of the worst affected is the busy Chandigarh — Delhi route as buses are taking up to 9 hours to reach the national Capital. Night services on the route are known to take even more time.

An envelop of fog remained in place for the third day in succession today. Due to this buses to all major cities like Amritsar, Jalandhar, Bhatinda, Ferozepore, Ludhiana, Patiala, Hisar, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Karnal, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Kulu, Dharamsala, Chamba , Mandi, Una and Jammu, among other cities, were being delayed by anything between 1 hour and 3 hours due to the dense fog.

Fearing a mishap on some hill routes, various roadways authorities have asked their drivers to stop the buses by the roadside and wait for the fog to clear way. The note of caution is more specific for the Chandigarh — Shimla sector and the Chandigarh — Una sector leading up to Kangra and beyond. A similar advice of caution has been given for the Ropar — Jalandhar sector where the road runs parallel to a canal.

Drivers had been complaining of fog that reduces visibility to just a few feet. Under such circumstances the chances of a bus rolling down the road into the gorge are very high. Thus the advise to stop in case of very dense fog, said a senior Punjab Roadways official. A Himachal Roadways official also confirmed that their drivers have been asked to very cautious and not to hurry.

A local Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) official said that drivers have been told that overtaking while driving in fog is to be strictly avoided. To make up for the delay due to fog, the time of break before the return journey has been reduced. No fresh speed limits have been imposed but the drivers are experienced and have handled such situations of dense fog in the past also, the official added.

Due to the late-running buses, city residents have had to re-schedule their departure from the city in case they want to board some long-distance trains or a flights from Delhi. Mr Girish Dhankar, who returned from Delhi this morning, said he was delayed by 4 hours. Fog lights on the vehicles do not help much. Slowing down the vehicle is the only option.

Due to the delay several buses are not running on time. The deluxe buses just do not reach their destinations in time. Thus their departure is also delayed from the other station, said a source.

A segment of passengers that has been hit are the daily commuters who come to Chandigarh from Ambala, Ludhiana, Kalka , Patiala, Parwanoo and Dera Bassi, besides other surrounding areas. The buses are delayed, thus making them late for office. Even on the return journey the passengers are delayed as the buses are behind schedule and the trains are also running late.

Meanwhile, the day time temperature in the city today plunged further as a thick blanket fog hung over the city skyline for most of the day. The maximum temperature was recorded at 11.8C, a bit less than 12. 4 yesterday.

This was also the fifth ever coldest recording of day time temperature in the city. Back


How savage can man get!
From Gautam Dheer

PANCHKULA, Jan 4 — Amar Circus, which enthralled the audiences here for around a month, finally saw its exit from the township to a new destination. However, it has left behind a shocking and doleful saga of the lone hippopotamus in the circus.

One among the many victims of cruelty against animals, the hippo, was reportedly blinded by the circus authorities some time ago . The ‘hippo’ named Amar, was brought to the circus about 8 years ago as a baby. Sources reveal that some time in the last year, at an undisclosed venue, the hippo was reportedly teased by some people in the circus. Following this, the animal got into panic and caused damage to men and material before she was finally brought under control.

The next morning was the last sunshine witnessed by the hippo. ‘’ Nashadar ‘’ , a toxic chemical, was reportedly sprayed into the eyes of the helpless mammal, as she was gripped tightly in chains.

It is learnt that for the next 15 minutes the seven-year-old hippo was writhing in pain. She rolled her body upside down in desperation with a hope to seek pardon from the ‘unconcerned’ master. In her final attempt to get away with the relentless misery, she scrubbed her head and eyes on the remnants of fodder, scattered on the surface.

Amar, finally gave up, and sat helplessly in a corner with her eyes open, yet unable to see the many thousands of audiences before whom she had to perform ahead.

Today, the hippo responds to the sounds of the ghungroo attached to a rod. For the circus officials, what matters most is to make the hippo walk zig-zag and perform tricks during the three-hour show and earn applause, not withstanding her handicap.

The last few moments of the hippo in the town, saw her trotting into the nearby puddle of water with her stocky legs. The episode has highlighted the enormous latent miseries of almost all the animals in zoos and circus, who are unable to express their woes. The inside story behind the cameras reveal most of these sagas. For them, not the jungle, but the people around are a part of the savage world.Back


Cleanliness drive in full swing
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — Alarmed at the deteriorating sanitary conditions, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) has started a special cleanliness drive in the city.

Under the campaign, which started last week, the city has been divided into four zones. Every day four sectors are being taken up in a phased manner and the follow up is done in the subsequent days, according to sources.

As part of the campaign, which had apparently been launched following repeated complaints from residents regarding the insanitary conditions, the garbage bins are being cleaned and the garbage littered outside the bins being cleared. The lime dusting of the pavements along the roads is being done and along certain roads they are painted black and white afresh.

Similarly, the toilets are being spruced up and vacated from the illegal occupation by certain unscrupulous persons. In fact, officials of the civic body, including the Medical Officer of Health (MOH), Dr S.S. Cheema, could be seen today getting the rooms adjacent to toilets vacated.

Stray cattle, which had become a source of nuisance for the residents, are being caught. Besides, stray pigs and dogs are also caught in the campaign which continued during the night time also.

A visit to different sectors today revealed that workers of the civic body were levelling road berms. Branches of the trees in certain sectors were being pruned so that the streetlight was not blocked and accidents could be avoided in the prevailing foggy weather.

Special emphasis was being laid on the cleanliness of the slums and labour colonies, the sources said, adding that from tomorrow 100 more sweepers would be deputed to clean the colonies.

The campaign will be continued and regular follow up undertaken, the sources added. Back


Missing files’ case set for burial
By Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Jan 4 — The stage has been set for a quiet burial of the missing files’ case which came to light exactly a year ago and had rocked the Chandigarh Police. As many as five officials, including two DSPs and one Inspector, had been suspended following an enquiry. While one DSP was reinstated, the others are still under suspension.

It may be recalled that the files pertaining to the murder of Inder Pal Gupta, local president of the Hindu Suraksha Samiti (FIR 177 of 1984), and Ganpat Rai, a resident of Uchahar, Rae Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh (FIR 85 of 1983), had been reported missing and had not only kicked up a major controversy but are a source of great embarrassment for the department even today.

Interestingly, the department has entrusted the enquiry to fix responsibility in this case to the same officer who had recommended the cancellation of the FIRs on December 20, 1999.

Several officers of the department have been airing demands to have the case examined by an independent agency. They have said that many points — ordering of fresh investigations in the case registered then, non registration of a missing file complaint, medical reports of doctors who examined the deceased and from the CFSL — had been left uncovered.

There had been a lot of hue and cry and questions had been raised as to how the interests of justice were manipulated and justice was denied to the bereaved families. It was so painful that the family members of one of the deceased had refused to speak out.

The case was first highlighted by The Tribune on February 4, 1999, under the heading “Files missing from the police station”. The then Home Secretary had ordered an enquiry by the Legal Remembrancer. The enquiry report not only lists certain officers as being responsible but also castigates the functioning of the uniformed force.

Other than the FIR report, there no other documents or reports were prepared by the investigation officers and the various reports mandatory in such cases had not been submitted. The report had established that the files which had been found later on were forgeries.

The report states that the file could not be original since the paper sheets have freshness in their sheen and the writing instruments are gel based inks which were not in vogue in 1983-84. The signatures of the investigating officer (IO) do not show ageing due to the passage of 15-16 years. The year too has been wrongly mentioned at many places.

This coupled with other inaccuracies show that “to what extent the protectors of law can go to cheat the public in general and the department in particular fully oblivious of their pious duty to uphold the rule of law and protect the citizens.

If the officials can go to such an extent of not investigating such sensitive cases of murder and are instead trying to shield the criminals involved, there could be no bigger shame for the police in particular and the state in general”, the report lashes out.

It further mentions that “the inquiry has exposed the working of the police station and the supervision by senior officers. This is not being done and the formalities are completed without any application of mind by the officers. This shows lack of interest and devotion to duty on the part of a disciplined force.”

The report also held “successive SHOs of the police station (east) after 1985 responsible for these two cases despite receiving numerous reminders from the DSP’s office. In this context, the DSPs, East, are also responsible for not proceeding against the guilty officers on coming to know that there had been no headway in these two FIRs ”.Back


Ex-serviceman assaulted again: 3 booked
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Jan 4 — In connection with the assault on an ex-serviceman of Kumbrah village on December 25 last, the local police registered a case under Sections 323, 324 and 506 of the IPC against at least three persons late this evening.

Sources in the police said the registration of the case became necessary as the suspects, who had been roaming free, today again attacked the victim, Cpl Jaswant Singh (retd), and his wife. The injured woman was admitted to the Phase VI Civil Hospital.

Only yesterday, the Rashtriya Raksha Dal had criticised the local police for protecting the suspects in the case, who had tried to take possession of the land owned by Cpl Jaswant Singh at Kumbrah village. Political patronage to the suspects had been alleged by the victim.

Following this incident, the Station House Officer of the Phase VIII police station has been transferred.

Snatching incidents: According to unconfirmed reports, chain snatchers agaian struck in Phase VII here on Tuesday. The officials at the Phase VIII police station did not confirm the report.

Only a few days back, a bag of a woman resident of Phase X was snatched by a scooter-borne youth on December 31. Sources in the police said a suspect in the chain-snatching incidents was being questioned by the police.


Dowry victim: A city resident has lodged a compliant against her in-laws for harassing her for bringing inadequate dowry.

According to the police sources, Preeti Walia reported that she had been ill-treated ever since she had married Jagjit Singh Ahluwalia. She has named her in-laws for subjecting her to physical and mental torture.

A case under Section 498-A and 406 of the IPC has been registered.

Complaint registered: The police has lodged a complaint against Padam Singh, Bal Krishan, Ravinder Singh and Baljinder Singh, and their accomplices, who attacked and seriously injured Mr R.K. Singla, President of the Burail Market Association.

A case under Sections 147, 148, 149, 322 and 506 of the IPC has been registered against them.

Bootlegger held: The police has arrested Shiv, a resident of Colony Number 5, on the charges of possessing liquor beyond the permissible limit. As many as 12 bottles were seized from him. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Gambler caught: The police has arrested Raj Kumar, a Palsora Colony resident, for gambling at a public place. A case has been registered.

Car stolen: Ravinder Kumar, a resident of Sector 37, reported that his car (CH-01-B-4123) has been stolen from his residence. A case has been registered.


Liquor seized: The police has arrested Pawan Kumar and has seized 150 pouches of country liquor from him. In another incident, the police arrested Roshan, a resident of Azad Colony, and seized 25 pouches of country liquor from him.

Cases under the Excise Act have been registered.

One injured: Capt Hem Raj (retd), a resident of Sarot village in the Solan district, in a complaint lodged with the police, alleged that he was injured when a speeding car (HR-51-4004) hit him in Kalka.

A case has been registered.Back


Heater sales still cold
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, Jan 4 — Cold weather conditions in the past few days have failed to push up the sales of electric gadgets in the town. Anticipating a good sale season, shopkeepers have stocked up an array of heating gadgets in a varying price range.

A survey of different markets here revealed that the maximum variety with price tags to suit all pockets was in the room-heaters segment. An unbranded room heater was being sold by a shopkeeper in Phase V market at Rs 200. The price of the same item past year was Rs 175. Enquiries reveal that the prices of room heaters had have increased by at least five per cent. Another variety of the item was being sold at Rs 350. A branded gadget was being sold at between Rs 350 and Rs 450. The price of the branded room heaters had increased by ten per cent.

The maximum variety was available in the blower segment with the prices beginning from Rs 450 and going right upto Rs 1,300. The unbranded blowers, including some locally made ones, were were being sold at between Rs 450 and Rs 800. Mr Gurpal Singh, a shopkeeper in the Phase 3B2 market, said, "The prices of blowers have increased by around eight per cent. The only item which has registered a satisfactory sale was blower." The top blower brands in the market were being sold at between Rs 1,200 and Rs 3,000.

Another item, unbranded radiant heaters were being sold at between Rs 350 and Rs 400. A shopkeeper in the Phase VII market said customers in the upper segment, preferred to shop in Chandigarh, due to more varieties of the products available there. In the heat pillar segment, some leading brands were being sold at between Rs 2,200 and Rs 2,400. Since the product was launched by a reputed company past year, its price had not increased much this year, said another shopkeeper.

The price of water heater ranged from Rs 750 to Rs 5,000, depending on its capacity and the brand name. With a price tag of Rs 800, a locally made water heater of a three-litre capacity was being sold at Rs 700 past year. A better quality of the item, of 25-litre capacity, was being sold at Rs 4,400. Past year, its price was Rs 4,000.Back


PAC reviews financial crisis
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, January 3 — The Punjab Arts Council (PAC), at its meeting held on December 30, reviewed the financial crisis brought about due to the failure of PUNWIRE to pay the interest dues on the corpus fund investment of Rs 65 lakh by the council in that company. The PAC has not received interest for two quarters, amounting to nearly Rs 6 lakh.

The council has decided to curtail its activities and to reduce the surplus staff. A sub-committee has been appointed for taking suitable action in this regard.However, the Thursday programme will be continued. The meeting also discussed the setting up of Punjab cultural centres in Los Angeles, Toronto and London, with the collaboration of NRI groups in those countries. Meanwhile the construction of the cultural complex is expected to start shortly.Back


Complaint system recommissioned
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, Jan 4 —The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam announced the recommissioning of the computerised complaint booking system, here today. With this Consumers will now be able to lodge their power supply complaints over the telephone without having to go to the complaint centres and the facility will be available round the clock.

To avail themselves of this facility, consumers will have to dial telephone numbers 579993 and 579994, after which, they will be required to follow the instructions given by the computer over the telephone. The town and its surrounding areas falling under the city and suburban subdivisions of the Panchkula division have been assigned specific area code numbers.

The complaint centre in Sector 15 has an area code of 51 and covers Sectors 10, 15 and 19, brides Industrial Area Phase I and II and the adjoining villages. The complaint centre in Sector 8, covering Sectors 7, 8, 9, 16, 17 and 18, Rajiv Colony, Indira Colony and Buddanpur village, has an area code of 52. The centre in Mansa Devi Complex (MDC) has a code of 53 and covers MDC Sectors 4 and 5, Swastik Vihar, Bhainsa Tibba, Saketri, Mahadev Wala and Mansa Devi Temple.

In Sector 11, the code is 61 and the area covered includes Sectors 2, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 12 A and 14, besides Rally and Hamirpur villages. With 62 as the area code, the complaint centre at Old Panchkula caters to Old Panchkula, Sectors 1, 3, 20, 21, besides Nada Saheb, Majri, Devinagar, Hameshpur, Fatehpur, Kundi and Chowki.

Also, a bijli sabha will be organised at Industrial area, Phase-II, on January 6 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. to redress the grievances of consumers and to sort out billing error and energy charges problems. Back


Yadavindra Gardens to get facelift
Tribune News Service

PINJORE, Jan 4 — The Haryana Tourism Development Corporation has undertaken a massive renovation of the historic Yadavindra Gardens here.

Mr Rajan Gupta, Managing Director of the corporation, revealed that the Union Tourism Ministry has released a sum of Rs 75 lakh for the proposed renovation of the garden. The Haryana Government has also earmarked a sum of Rs 50 lakh for the facelift of Rang Mahal, Shish Mahal and Jal Mahal. In order to provide a harmonised appearance of the garden to nearly 1 lakh tourists who visit this tourist spot every month, all water channels are being re-lined with blue ceramic tiles in various shades, style and pattern. Lights are being modified so as to provide more glorious view to add luster to the buildings in the premises of the garden.

The vagaries of weather had destroyed the contours and profile of the main entrance gate. The renovation aims at restoring to it its original features, contours and character as conceived and designed by Fadai Khan in the 18th century.

The corporation has also undertaken extensive renovation of Jal Mahal which is surrounded by water channels.

The main emphasis will be laid on modernising the car parking area. A few shops that sprang up during the past few years are being dismantled.

The gardens are a legacy of Nawab Fidai Khan, the Governor of the province. Himself an architect of repute, he had designed it on the patter of Shalimar Bagh in Lahore. Using the existing stream and the rolling level of the area to his advantage, he had created the only Mughal Garden where one could descend to the last step of pleasure.Back

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