Wednesday, July 19, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


SC upholds CHB’s plea
From A Legal Correspondent

NEW DELHI, July 18 — The Supreme Court while allowing an appeal by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has ruled that building residential floors over a commercial construction on the commercial plot allotted by the public authority on concessional rates would attract the prohibition entailed in Section 6 of the Board regulations, barring allotment of residential plot to spouses or any dependant.

"Even though the plot is allotted as a commercial plot, if it is permissible to build a residential flat above the commercial plot, and is constructed, then such a residential flat will come within the prohibition in Regulation 6(1) of the Chandigarh Housing Board (Allotment, Management and Sale of Tenements) Regulations, 1979, the court held.

A two-Judge Bench comprising Mr Justice M. Jagannathe Rao and Mr Justice D.P. Mohapatra delivered the ruling while setting aside the judgement of April 29, 1999 passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi, and the orders of the State Consumer Redressal Commission, Union Territory at Chandigarh and the District Forum.

Allowing the appeal of the CHB against all three consumer forums, the Supreme Court judges upheld the cancellation of a residential plot by the Board made earlier to the wife of an allottee of a commercial plot in the Motor Market and Commercial Complex at Manimajra, Chandigarh, on freehold basis by the Notified Area Committee.

The residential two floors were built by the allottee upon the ground floor commercial construction according to the required plans. His wife, Narinder Kaur Makoi, applied for a residential plot after filing the requisite affidavit that her spouse or dependant did not possess any residential accommodation. The Housing Board made an allotment of plot in her favour initially and later cancelled it on discovery of the facts.

Upholding the cancellation, the Judges said," It must be realised that these plots are allotted on concessional basis and the relevant regulations must therefore be interpreted in such a manner to save their real purpose so that the plots are available, as far as possible, to the largest number of persons, and for preventing the same family members — husband or wife or dependants, from getting more than one plot or house."


45-year-old record of rain in city broken
One dies of electrocution *** Vehicular traffic disrupted
By Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 18 — Continuous rain in Chandigarh since yesterday has broken a 45-year-old record for maximum rainfall in a day. The local Meteorological Department had recorded 262 millimetres, or 26.2 centimetres, of rain between 8.30 a.m. on July 17 and 8.30 a.m. today.

The previous highest rainfall for one span of 24 hours was on September 26, 1955, when it had rained 234.9 millimetres, or 23.4 centimetres. The Director of the local met office, Mr S.C. Bhan, explained that the met office measures rainfall at 8.30 a.m. and also at 5.30 p.m. The reading for one day or 24 hours is observed between one morning and the next.

Mr Bhan added that the present spell of rain would continue as another system, that would result in rain, was presently over Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh and was headed this way. While confirming about the record rainfall since yesterday, Mr Bhan said the cloud cover that caused the rain had extended up to 6 kilometers skywards. This was considerably high.

Meanwhile, incessant rain continued in the city and its surrounding areas today. Between 8.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. the city had recorded 3 cm of rain. The maximum day-time temperature was recorded at 27.3 degrees celsius, 7 degrees below the normal average for this time of the year.

The rain also led to the death of one person, who was electrocuted. The deceased, Ram Tej, aged about 40 years, a resident of Bapu Dham colony, died due to electrocution from a kundi connection he had taken from a nearby electricity pole. His jhuggi collapsed in the water. As he was retrieving his belongings, he came in contact with the wire used for the kundi connection, resulting in his death.

Besides, this a newly built road in the busy Sector 22 market caved in as an underground storm water pipe running under the road, caved in. On this road a jeep was stuck in the 4-feet-wide crater. A truck, carrying computer paper worth lakhs of rupees, overturned making the paper wet. On the same road, a car was also stuck. The pipe also crossed the road dividing Sectors 22 and 17. Workers of the Chandigarh Administration put in efforts in pouring rain to fill the crater and keep the traffic of long-route buses moving.

In Sector 20 the supporting walls of booths built in place of a rehri market sunk into the earth by several inches. At other places, water accumulated in several low-lying areas, while vehicular traffic was disrupted. Water entered houses in Mauli Jagran rehabilitation colony located on the eastern side of the city. Fire engines were pressed into service for several hours to drain the water. Administration officials also visited the site.

Water also entered the palika market in Sector 19, damaging goods kept inside various booths. Water also entered houses in Sector 15-C and Sector 35-C. The same was the story in colony number 4, colony number 5 and Maloya. The Acting IGP, Mr Ajay Kashyap, issued instructions to SHOs concerned to keep a watch on seven points in the city that were prone to flooding. One such point is the causeway on the short cut running through Industrial Area Phase-I to reach the railway station. A Gypsy was stationed to keep a watch if the water level rose above the causeway. Rain continued in the morning, resulting in thin attendance in offices and schools.

Residents of house nos 2305 to 2318 in Sector 27 were faced with the fury of rain as water entered their homes damaging several household items. When several requests to the authorities yielded nothing, the hapless residents then sent a telegram to the Tribune office.


Waterlogging in different pockets of the district kept the residents on their toes throughout the day even as the officials of the administration and police personnel helped them tide over the situation.

Over 40 houses reportedly suffered losses of electronic items as water from an overflowing nullah entered the homes in the adjacent row, while there was knee-deep water in the front of these. Later, residents got together and called in a bulldozer to remove the part of the road obstructing the water flow. The level came down only after three hours of effort and cement slabs were laid to bridge the gap in the road.

The officials of the Haryana Urban Development Authority said the problem of overflowing of the nullah arose on account of the reducing of space for the storm water drainage by laying of pipes." From 10 feet, the area was reduced to 4 feet. Repair work will be undertaken once the water in the nullah subsides and the rain stops,’’ the official said.

In Alipur, a village on the Panchkula-Barwala road, waterlogging owing to construction of a boundary wall by the HSIDC, put the villagers to great inconvenience. The wall had to be broken down at three to four places before the water flooding the houses could be drained out.

Interestingly, the villagers had met the Deputy Commissioner last week and highlighted the problem which had come up because of the construction of the wall. They had stated that the wall had left no space for drainage of water from the village. The officials of the HSIDC had been called in and had been entrusted with the responsibility of working out a solution.

The residents of Sector 10 faced the problem of flooding in nearly 100 houses where furniture and electronics were removed much before the water found its way inside. The General Secretary, Mr ML Sharma, suggested to visiting HUDA officials that the flow of water in the affected lane of houses be checked by raising humps at regular intervals on the stretch.

Meanwhile, the Financial Commissioner (Revenue), Mr LM Goyal, and the Commissioner, Ambala, Mr Chander Singh, visited Rajipur, where a small bridge had developed cracks. Accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr SK Monga, and the Superintendent of Police, Ms Kala Ramachandran, the team carried out an inspection of the area and ordered the propping up of crates with boulders at all problem points.

In Mallah, the team asked for the putting of the crates and boulders in the river bed to ensure that the river did not change its course and water was diverted in the direction it should go instead of attacking the road adjoining the bridge. Inspection of the work in progress at the site of the breach was also carried out by the team and it was expected that the road would be motorable by tomorrow if it did not rain.

In Sector 21, where a stretch of the bridge over the Ghaggar was washed away yesterday afternoon due to change in the course of the Ghaggar, repair would take a week, officials informed. They added that a breach was inevitable wherever the water changed course and came onto the road since these were not made to withstand water pressure.





Ghaggar continues to threaten crops
From Bipin Bhardwaj

DERA BASSI, July 18 — The swirling waters of the Ghaggar continued to threaten crops and livestock in villages along its banks for the second consecutive day today as officials of the drainage department remained on the red alert, apprehending a mood swing in the furious Ghaggar. The river was flowing at 70,000 cusecs, much below the record high of two lakh cusecs yesterday. however, rain water from several surrounding villages flowed into the Ghaggar, thus adding to the flow of water.

The rain that continued for the second day flooded schools, fields, government offices and shops. A number of small bridges over the various rivulets that join the Ghaggar were also damaged. At some places residents and employees of the Drainage Department had to divert the water current by making temporary bundhs of sand bags and even by cutting roads. A special team was posted near the Chhat Bir zoo where the waters had been threatening to enter the lion safari.

The rain also damaged a portion of a newly constructed bridge over the Sukhna choe at Nagla village, near Zirakpur. Crops in several acres of land were destroyed. The water not only swept away trees along the banks of the river but also stray and wild animals.

Vehicular traffic was disrupted for more than two hours on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway which was under 3 feet of water. A minor breach has reportedly been caused by the strong water current at Budhanpur village. Employees of the department have constructed a temporary bundh with the help of 5,000 sand bags to strengthen it.

A number of villages, colonies and shopping centres in this subdivision were flooded with 3 to 6 feet of rain water, damaging goods, foodgrains, clothings and other household items of the people. People had to drain out the knee-deep water accumulated in their residences and cowsheds this morning.

The worst-affected areas were Singhpura, Bajigar Colony, Akali Kaur Singh Colony in Zirakpur and Kurali, Batoli, Alamgir, Tiwana, Hasanpur and Handesra villages of Dera Bassi subdivision.

A number of shops and industries in Zirakpur, Dera Bassi, Lalru and Banur were flooded with 2 to 4 feet of water which destroyed articles worth lakhs of rupees. Machines were used to pump out water.

A heavy and continuous downpour affected the presence of students in schools and colleges. The presence of employees also remained thin in various government and private offices.

A visit by a Tribune team to the affected areas revealed that residents in villages and colonies had to break the walls of their houses, cowsheds and shops to make way for the water.

Residents of Singhpura village, where the water level has gone up to 6 feet, broke a link road to make way for water.

Mr Sher Singh Sidhu, SDM, Mr H.S. Bhullar, DSP, and other officials visited flood-affected areas. Mr S.P. Singla, Chief Engineer, Drainage, Patiala, visited the spot where the Ghaggar had washed away a protective spur near the lion safari at the Chhat Bir zoo yesterday.


Fresh poll of MCC panel chiefs likely
By Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 18 — The elections of the chairmen and the Deputy Chairmen of the seven subcommittees of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) are likely to be held again.

According to sources, the way for the re-election has been paved following the legal advice received from UT Legal Remembrancer (LR) regarding the procedure followed for the elections of the chairmen and the deputy chairmen of the seven committees. The LR in his report has reportedly stated that the procedure similar to the election to the post of the Mayor should have been adopted as per the provisions of the law.

It may be recalled that three councillors, Mr O.P. Goyal (BJP) and Ms Surya Pandit and Mr R.S. Kailey (nominated), in written representations to the civic body authorities had alleged that the elections were not held as per the provisions of the law. They had further contended that their elections were illegal and they should be held again as proper procedure had not been followed in the conduct of the poll. Following their protests, the elections of the chairmen and the deputy chairmen of the two committees were not held.

In fact, the Mayor, Mr Shanta Abhilashi, had virtually nominated the Chairmen and the Deputy Chairmen of the committees. Also it was alleged that no nomination papers were filed by the persons who had been elected Chairmen and the Deputy Chairmen. This act of the Mayor was strongly resented by certain councillors, including Mr Goyal, at one of the meetings of the corporation.

Following their representations, the corporation had sought legal opinion from the LR. The sources added that following the observations of the LR the MCC was duty bound to conduct the elections to escape any legal complications in the matter.

If the MCC goes in far fresh elections, the validity of the decisions taken by the seven panels will also be questionable.

Meanwhile, Mr Goyal alleged that in spite of written representations, he had not been supplied the LR's observations. He said he would again approach the Commissioner and the Mayor tomorrow to make the observations of the LR public.


Leaking gates of Sukhna Lake
By Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 18 — Even as the Chandigarh Administration gears itself for the Asian Junior Rowing Championship at the Sukhna Lake in December, there is a leakage at the regulator end of the lake. Is the Administration aware of it? Now when the water level has risen to 1148 ft in the Sukhna following heavy rains in the catchment area, the gates do not enable storage of water in the lake.

Sources in the Engineering Department say that the gates have not been designed to control any water overflow. These have weathered over 42 years without getting any attention. During monsoon, the seals of the gates leak and about 12-foot storage capacity is lost in a few days.

The sources said in 1989, the Administration appointed Dr G.S. Dhillon, a water resource consultant with the CII, for the Sukhna dam renovation. Subsequently, an expert committee, comprising officials of the UT Engineering Department, the Drainage Department, Punjab, and the Bhakra-Beas Management Board, was constituted.

The first meeting of the committee was held in 1989. It suggested that the pond level of the lake should be raised by 3 feet from the bed level. However, the proposal was dropped apprehending backflow of water.

Again, a meeting held in 1991 recommended restructuring and remodelling of the gates to increase the storage of water between the crest level and the pond level. The job was entrusted to the Punjab Hydel Design Directorate. The Administration deposited a few lakhs of rupees with the Directorate, but till today no steps have been initiated to implement the decision taken in 1991.

Talking to TNS, Dr Dhillon said, apart from siltation, a continuous leakage of water was a major cause of concern. “The Administration lays stress on shramdan, but it is not bothered about the leaking gates,” he said.

An efficient electrically operated gate-control system, is required. Through hydraulic flushing, the silt deposits from the channel, upstream the regulator, could be dislodged.

Dr Dhillon said repair of the gates was overdue. In the case of gates getting overtopped during floods, the whole system could collapse with serious trouble downstream.Back


Plea for more bill collection centres
Tribune News Service

July 18 —

Time: 12:45 pm

Place: Electricity bill collection centre in Phase 1 of SAS Nagar.

Problem: Long queues of consumers and shortage of staff at the collection sub-centre.

Background: Though the number of consumers in the town have increased manifold, the Electricity Department had just three bill collection centres. While the Phase I sub-centre caters to the consumers from Phase I to Phase VII, a centre in Phase IX caters to the consumers of the remaining phases. Another centre at Phase VII Industrial Area caters to consumers from all over the town.

The consumers complain that a manual system of collection of bills wastes a lot of time. Mr Hargurdeep ( 65) said the time of accepting the power bills should be extended beyond 1.30 pm. The most affected are the consumers of Phase VII, who have to cover more than three km to reach the sub-centre.

The bill collection centre also needs a lot of attention. There is no drinking water facility for the staff of the Electricity Department. On many days there is collection of about Rs 3 lakh but there is hardly any security measures at the centre. The room housing the staff sans any protective grill and could be easily approached by unscrupulous elements

Official version: The officials say that three bill collection centres were as per the norms of population to centre ratio. They say that the collection process was soon being computerised.

Citizens speak: The consumers want that there should be separate queue for senior citizens and sitting arrangement for those who come to submit their bills. Mr Ranjit Singh of Phase IV demanded that there should be more counters for the collection of bills.


Should driving licence age be lowered to 16 ?

Umesh Sharma (17), plus two student: That the law gives the right to vote at the age of 18 only means that in the eyes of the law, a person attains maturity only at that age. Similarly, driving licences too should be given at 18. Some of us know how to drive geared vehicles, but most of us are not aware of the traffic rules. And even those among us who know the rules are sometimes careless. Jumping the red signal is the most common habit with exuberant youngsters. Thus, they not only endanger their own lives but also put others’ lives in peril. Driving licences should not be given to those below 18.

Joban Singh (16), plus one student: My answer to whether the driving licence age should be lowered to 16 is a definite yes. This is the 21st century and we have got to move with the times. What edge does an 18-year-old has over a 16-plus anyway? Who would like to depend on his parents for moving about in the city? If the Chandigarh Administration decides to give licences at 16, it will only bring the youths one step closer to independence. If someone is not mature enough at 16 what big difference would another two years make?

Ritika Madan (18), plus two student: At 16, one must be given a licence to drive two-wheelers at least, if not four-wheelers. It has become the need of the hour. The growing demand for tuitions, especially with the students of the ninth standard and above, has made them more and more dependent on their parents who often do not have the time to take their children, sometimes to two or three tuition classes. Travelling by local buses is a waste of time and, besides, it is not safe either. The youngsters need to be encouraged to become more independent. After all, we do place the fate of our country in the hands of 18-year-olds by allowing them to vote. Why can’t we then give a 16-year-old the permission to drive?

Prashant Sharma (17), passed plus two examination: That in the Western countries the minimum age prescribed for obtaining a driving licence is 16 and in India it is 18, leads to the strange logic that youngsters in the Western world mature faster than their Indian counterparts. Turning 18 is no guarantee for maturity. My suggestion to the authorities concerned is that they should put the 16-year-olds wishing to obtain driving licences through a driving test and it should be ensured that the process is corruption free. The burden of studies increases considerably at the plus one and plus two stages and one has to be sufficiently mobile to be able to attend tuitions.

Abhinav Grover (18), BE 1st year student: We are in the 21st century and going by the need to make the maximum use of our time, driving for a student by the time he is 16 becomes essential. So we might as well legally lower the driving licence age to 16. Driving licences, however, should be issued on the basis of strict written, practical and medical tests. If one is confident enough to drive on the road, there is no reason for him to depend on some others.

Sunil Dogra, an employee: So far as the question of youngsters getting a driving licence at 16 in the West is concerned, we cannot ignore the fact that they have better physiques than the youngsters in India. The law allows those below 18 to drive mopeds up to 50 cc. Before 18, the youths are not mature enough to handle geared vehicles like scooters, motorbikes etc. The number of vehicles on the roads in the country as a whole and especially in Chandigarh is increasing alarmingly. There are nearly five lakh vehicles in the city which is a very high number in proportion to the population of the city. Because of this there has been an increase in the number of accidents, many of them involving youngsters. They should, therefore, be discouraged from driving geared vehicles. If at all driving licences are to be issued before the age of 16, these should be given only after the applicant is made to clear a practical test. Parents should ensure that their children abide by the traffic rules. As fuel prices are rising day by day, they can encourage their children to use bicycles till they reach the 10th standard.


Chhibber bereaved
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 18 — Punjab's former Governor, Lieut-Gen B.K.N. Chhibber's mother, Saraswati Devi, died in a hospital in Jammu this evening.

According to the former Governor's son, Mr Sonam Chhibber, his grandmother had been ill for some time. He also said General Chhibber was in Jammu.


SPCA stops volunteers from entering hospital
By Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 18 — Has the Society for Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals (SPCA) closed its Sector 38 Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre to volunteers and donors? Yes, if a decision of the SPCA is any indication.

Certain volunteers have been prohibited from entering the hospital because of raising their voice against the working of the SPCA officials, particularly with regard to the management of the centre. The executive body of the organisation had passed a resolution about two months ago that these volunteers would not be allowed to enter the hospital as they had been obstructing the smooth functioning of the hospital. These volunteers used to feed and serve animals in the hospital out of their love for these creatures.

Last month it had been alleged that the mortality rate of animals in the hospital had shot up in the past year, primarily due to the “callous” attitude of the authorities. Even certain SPCA officials had admitted that the mortality rate of animals brought to the centre for treatment was increasing and had touched the 50 per cent mark.

The centre receives heavy grants from the UT Administration and the Animal Welfare Board of India. However, volunteers say that it hardly serves the purpose for which it has been set up and has been turned into a rehabilitation home for old and retired persons by some officials.

“I was shocked when on visiting the centre about two months ago to feed animals, I was bluntly told by a caretaker that my entry had been banned. At first, I could not believe it, but had to do so when the next day. I received the same treatment when I asked him the reason for this, an official said it was the order of the SPCA President and he could not about it. The officials even misbehaved with me,” said a volunteer.

“I don’t know how can I serve animals now. Now, I do so by treating stray animals which are sick and injured,” said the volunteer. He said an NGO could not prevent volunteers from serving animals. Another such volunteer said the SPCA authorities had acted in a revengeful manner because the volunteers had told them where they lacked. The SPCA officials are not letting her feed animals in the hospital.

Both volunteers said the allegations that they had been interfering in the working of the SPCA were baseless. They said the ban on their entry was an outcome of the belief of officials that their “misdeeds” would be exposed if the volunteers continued to visit the centre. They alleged that a number of animals, particularly the small ones like dogs, were dying due to negligence on part of the officials while treating or sterilising these. “ I was a witness to a number of such instances where a dog died or its condition deteriorated after it had undergone an operation. Months after the operation, you can still see open stitches and wounds on Mamta’s belly.” Mamta, a bitch, was rehabilitated by a person after she was found in a pitiable state in the Sector 32 market, carrying her dead puppy in her mouth, in August last year.

Officials tried to prevent our photographer, Manoj Mahajan, from entering the hospital. He was told by an official that he had been instructed by the SPCA President not to let any mediapersons enter the hospital.

The President of the Chandigarh chapter of the SPCA, Mr Jasbir Ralhan, said certain volunteers had indeed been prohibition from entering the hospital “as per the provisions of the organisation’s constitution”. He denied that the animal mortality rate in the hospital was increasing. He also said old and retired persons had been employed by the SPCA because it could not afford to pay heavy salaries to young doctors.


Rain water floods houses
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, July 18 — Heavy monsoon rain resulted in flooding of houses in low-lying areas of Phase 5 here and threw normal life out of gear in the town and in its peripheral area. Although the local municipal council had undertaken a pre-monsoon exercise to clear the blocked storm water gullies, it took some time for the rain water collected on the roads to recede.

People visiting different markets were the worst affected as the recent trenches dug up by a private telecom firm to lay telephone cables caved in. In phase 3B 2 the back courtyard walls of at least two houses collapsed. A breach in a sewer line adjacent to house No 1031 in Phase 3B 2 was also reported.

A pocket of houses in phase 5 from (house Nos 1719 to 1783) was inundated by rain water. The House Owners Welfare Society lamented that no one from PUDA and the municipal council visited the area despite being informed. Later the residents gave a memorandum in this regard to the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Dr Upinderjit Kaur, who was in the town today.

In sectors 70 and 71 certain incomplete sections of roads were converted into cesspools of water. The link road to Manauli, Patran, Prem Nagar, Dairi and Chila villages in the periphery of this town was affected due to a heavy discharge in the seasonal rivulets. The badly damaged causeways connecting villages with each other further added to their woes. Report of rain water threatening houses in Mullanpur was also received.


Seminar on media's role
Tribune News Service

SAS NAGAR, July 18 — Conflicting views were expressed by academicians, journalists and scholars in a seminar on the Role of Journalism in Education organised by the Mohali Press Club in the Punjab School Education Board office here today.

Dr Kehar Singh, Chairman of the board, said the media should be unbiased. He stressed the need for encouraging the use of Punjabi through the print media. He said the media was not performing its duties as desired.


Jacob wants CTCC to review boycott decision
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 18 — The Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), has reportedly asked the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee to reconsider its decision to boycott the Administrator's Advisory Council meetings.

General Jacob reportedly told a deputation of the CTCC, which called on him yesterday, to participate in the meetings of the council. Due to lack of space, resources and some shortcomings in the basic design of the city, the Union Territory of Chandigarh is facing a lot of problems. He called for the active cooperation of eminent public men at all levels to tackle them.

According to a press note issued by the CTCC, the Administrator told the deputation that some omissions and discrepancies may have crept in the constitution of the council, he asked the CTCC delegation to participate in the deliberations.

Mr B.B. Bahl, President, CTCC, assured the Administrator that a decision on the subject would be taken soon after consulting party workers and the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal. 


One held with liquor
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 18 — The police has arrested a resident of Kumhar colony and seized 39 pouches of liquor from his possession.

According to police sources, Kailash Chand was arrested from near his residence and the liquor was seized. He was booked under Sections 61, 11 and 14 of the Excise Act.

Cars stolen: Ram Darbar resident Balbir Kaur reported that someone had stolen her car, (CHK 5308). Mohali resident Balvinder Singh reported that his car, (CHK 3498) was stolen from a parking lot in a hotel in Sector 17. Cases under Section 379 of the IPC, have been registered.

Girl abducted: Mr Darshan Singh, a resident of Mani Majra, reported that his daughter had been abducted by Raju, who lived in the same locality. A case has been registered and further investigations are on.Back


Theft complaint fake: SHO
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 18 — The Station House Officer of central police station has written to the authorities that the alleged theft complaint which was lodged on July 6 was not genuine.

The complainants — Lakhbir Singh and Dharampal — had said three unidentified persons broke open the rear window of their car parked outside a house in Sector 23 with a hammer and took away Rs 6 lakh in cash.

According to sources, Lakhbir Singh, a businessman, and Dharampal, an accountant with a local firm, had withdrawn the money from the Sector 28 branch of Punjab National Bank to deposit it in the Sector 17 Canara Bank to clear some payments of the firm.

Queries from Canara Bank revealed that they had not refused to accept the money, as was being claimed by the complainants. The clinching evidence came in the form of finger-prints on the hammer, as they matched the prints of the complainants.

They also could not give a satisfactory reply as to why they were carrying such a big amount with them all over the city. Besides this, why did they lie about the actual amount withdrawn, Rs 22 lakh, sources asked.


IGP orders probe
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 18 — Taking a serious view of an accused being charged for molesting a minor whereas he had reportedly raped a minor, the officiating UT IGP, Mr Ajay Kashyap, ordered an inquiry here today.

According to sources, the eight-year-old, a resident of colony number 5, was lured by 35-year-old Anil Kumar and subsequently raped. The girl remained admitted in hospital for two days and discharged thereafter. Although the medical report and the statement of the girl reportedly corroborated that she was raped, a case of molestation was registered.

Sources said the accused was said to be a close friend of two cops who were on duty in the Sector 34 police station. They allegedly prevailed on the investigating officer and the matter was hushed up by registering a case of a lesser gravity.


Traders submit representation
Tribune News Service

PANCHKULA, July 18 — A delegation of the Panchkula Beopar Sangh met Mr Raj Kuwar, Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Haryana, here today, and explained to him the difficulties which would be faced by the shopkeepers on the enforcement of S.T. form 38-A and 38-B.

They handed over a representation to him, which was discussed in detail. The Excise and Taxation Commissioner assured the sangh that he would consider the representation.

The representation added that it would not be in the fitness of things to introduce the idea when the Value Added Tax (VAT) was being introduced with effect from January 1, 2000. They appealed to the commission that enforcement of such forms be dispensed with or at least deferred till the VAT system was introduced in the country.


 Traders criticise MCC 
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, July 18 — The Janata Rehri Market Committee of Mani Majra today criticised the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh for its lop-sided decision in constructing drains in some pockets of the township. The drains have been designed to the great inconvenience of some of the house holders at the instance of some influential persons.

According to Mr Satpal, President of the committee, the Assistant Commissioner of the MCC, Mr Ashwani Kumar, visited the area today but no action was taken to redress the grievances of the residents.

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