Sunday, June 3, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



2 children die in shed collapse
Abandoned shelter succumbs to rain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Tragedy struck the Colony No 5 as two children were killed and 10 others injured when a shed collapsed after rain accompanied by strong winds lashed the city this evening.

A view of the collapsed shed under which two children were buried alive in Chandigarh’s Colony no 5 on Saturday.
A view of the collapsed shed under which two children were buried alive in Chandigarh’s Colony no 5 on Saturday. — Photo Karam Singh

According to the information available, the children were playing cricket in an open space near the cremation ground in the colony. When it started raining heavily, the children took shelter under an abandoned shed.

Eyewitnesses said the wall of the shed collapsed as it could not withstand the rain and the strong winds burying the children under the debris. The shed with brick walls and the roof of the wooden logs had been abandoned since long and there was no information about its owners, said Mr Surinder, an eyewitness.

Another person said a number of residents had constructed illegal rooms by encroaching upon the government land and given these on rent. These sheds were potential death traps as these could collapse in heavy rain and winds, he alleged.

Panic gripped the area as soon as the news of the shed collapse spread in the colony. The police was called in and a number of colony residents reached the spot.

In the meantime, the police also reached the spot. With the help of the police, residents launched a relief operation and started removing debris. Cries of the injured children spread panic among the residents. The rescuers had difficulty in removing the debris as the rain hampered the rescue operations.

The rescuers also demolished certain “unsafe” structures near the mishap site so that such mishaps were not repeated in future.

The injured were rushed to the Government Medical College Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, and the PGI, where Irfan (13) was declared brought dead. Another unidentified child was also declared brought dead at the GMCH.

The injured, who have been admitted to the GMCH are Sanjay Khan, Sadam, Gianwati, Rekha, Salman, Aslam, Bola Ram, Sewak, Bobby and Sushil. They are out of danger, hospital sources added.

The police has registered a case under Sections of 304-A and 337 of the IPC against Dalbir, owner of the shed. However, the owner could not be traced, the police said.



Sharp showers lash city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Sharp showers, accompanied by a strong wind with the speed of 55 km per hour, lashed the city and its vicinity this evening, bringing welcome relief from the sweltering heat. The maximum temperature during the day was 37.2 degrees C.

The rain, which began about 5.15 p.m., caught many commuters unawares, forcing scooterists and cyclists seek shelter at bus stops and in market corridors. The showers, which continued for about half an hour, resulted in water stagnating near some roundabouts as well as in low-lying areas. While water around the rotaries cleared after the rain ended, several newly constructed slip roads told an entirely different story.

This is for the second consecutive day of rain in the city. Till 8.30 a.m., 3 mm of rain had been recorded. According to the weatherman, upper air cyclonic circulation over north Pakistan adjoining Jammu and Kashmir is the cause of the rain. The local met office had also predicted light to heavy rainfall accompanied by a thunderstorm or a squall in the region.



Repeat of Upahar averted
Property worth lakhs destroyed in Piccadily
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Alarm saved over 200 cine-goers from the fire that broke out in the Sector 34 Piccadily Cinema during the matinee show of Govinda’s ‘Albela’ here today. They escaped before the burning false ceiling of the hall could crash on their heads.

Property worth Rs 12 lakh was, however, destroyed in the fire that broke out at about 4 pm and spread due to the combustible material of the false ceiling of the hall’s balcony. Timely action by firemen and the cinema employees prevented blazing blocks of the ceiling from falling on the seats and, thus, averted a major loss. The hall interiors were partially damaged in the fire-fighting operation that continued for over two hours.

All expensive equipment, including the screen, the projector, the sound system and computers were saved. The power supply had failed as the cables in the false ceiling had been badly damaged, which made the firemen struggle in the dark.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, who reached the spot within minutes of the incident, has ordered an inquiry into the incident. Experts of Forensic Science Laboratory also reached the site for preliminary investigations.

The cinema management called off the evening show after the incident. It is still to take a decision on when to reopen the hall.

While the exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, initial investigations indicate that a sudden rise in the power load after the generator was shut off on the restoration of electricity supply might have caused a short circuit that led to the fire. The manager of the hall, Mr Ashwini Malhotra, said, “The fire broke out a little before the interval of the matinee show, due to a short circuit caused by an increase in voltage after an hour-long rotational power cut from 3 pm to 4 pm.”

He said his staff had already started putting out the flames before the arrival of the firemen. He said the hall had fire-safety equipment, though sources in the Fire Department said the staff had not used the other equipment except the extinguishers because none of them knew how to use it.

There was a panic among the cine-goers as they recalled the Upahar tragedy of 1997 before they came out of the 12 exits on the balcony and the upper stall on hearing the fire-alarm. Most of them used the exits on the left of the building because the fire was on the right side. Once outside, some of them even stayed on to see six fire engines and two bowsers fight the flames.

Many persons rushed to the hall on seeing the dense smoke. Among them were employees of the nearby office of the Food Corporation of India. While, Mr D.P. Ahluwalia, Assistant Manager of the store branch of the FCI, helped the cinema staff in putting out the fire, a few others called up the fire stations from wherever they could. Over a 100 calls were reportedly received at the fire station. The firemen reached the site within 10 minutes of this, as some of cine-goers had even used their mobile telephones to inform them.

The Chief Fire Officer, Mr G.S. Bajwa, who supervised the fire-fighting operation, said six fire engines — one each from the fire stations of Sectors 11, 17, 32 and 38, besides Industrial Area-II and Mani Majra — and two bowsers had been rushed to the spot. The firemen, who were about 40 in number, entered the balcony by breaking a windowpane on the right of the building as flames were first seen on the rooftop. Later, to flush out the dense smoke trapped inside the false ceiling and the waterproof asbestos roof, some portions of the roof had to be broken. Mr Bajwa said the firemen had used wooden poles they lay on the roof top to break open the roof. He said the fire could have been more devastating as the false ceiling had been made of combustible material like thermocol, tar coated asbestos sheets, power cables and wood.

A former Union minister, Mr Venod Sharma, who is one of the managing partners of the hall, said the ceiling had been made of plaster of paris to make the hall acoustically suitable. Rain water poured into the hall from the ceiling later in the evening.

Those who visited the site included the SDM (South), Mr Gyaneshwar Bharti, and the DSP, Mr S.C. Sagar. This is the second fire in a high-rise building here in less than a month.



Move to rehabilitate villagers
Residents of 11 rural pockets to benefit
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Villagers who were ousted 30 years ago to develop the second phase (Sectors 31 to 47), Industrial Area and expand the airport in city, can at last hope to get justice. The Chandigarh Administration is working on a policy to rehabilitate these families in a fully developed planned in one of the villages in the Union Territory.

As land in the sectoral grid has finished, there was no option other than allotting built-up flats to the oustees in the villages. Land is being identified in the villages for the purpose. As and when the enclave comes up, it will be on the lines of the Sector 38-West Scheme of the Chandigarh Housing Board which has almost gelled within the city.

The flats for the oustees would, of course, come at a price. However, a subsidy component would be inbuilt in some manner, said top sources in the administration. A policy was being worked out and all modalities would be looked into. Villagers say allotments should not be made the way rehabilitation colonies for slum dwellers are made.

In the past three decades, the Chandigarh Administration has rehabilitated several thousand migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. However, it’s for the first time that villagers with a Punjabi background who had been evicted for the development of city were being rehabilitated under some policy. As of date, no policy exists and this was admitted by the Chandigarh Administration in the Lok Adalat during a hearing on May 31.

In this case, the matter has been tragic as residents of 11 erstwhile villages — Shahpur (now Sector 38), Bijwara (Sector 35), Faidan (Sector 47), Karsan (Ram Darbar), Datarpur (airport), Bair Majra (airport), Madhrian (Sector 34) Jaipura (Industrial Area), Chuharpur, Kanthala, Bhaktapur-Bijwari — were uprooted without being issued even an oustee’s declaration certificate. These villages made way for posh sectors. Several acres of shamlat land were acquired without any compensation, allege villagers.

For 30 years the villagers, led by an energetic Mr Angrez Singh Badheri, president of the Pind Bachao Committee, have been arguing that the compromise reached between the villagers and the Government of India in 1950 should be followed in their case too.

Under this compromise, when 17 villages were acquired for the first phase (Sector 1 to 30) development of the city a compromise was signed by the then Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jaswant Singh Uppal, on behalf of the government promising complete rehabilitation to the villagers. However, the same formula was not followed for these 11 villages. Meanwhile, 22 other villages were saved from acquisition in 1980 as a notification was issued that no more villagers would be uprooted. This makes it a set of three different rules for villages which formed a part of the Chandigarh master plan.

The biggest blow to the psyche of the villagers was that lands acquired by the Chandigarh Administration from these 11 villages was also used to establish rehabilitation colonies for slum-dwellers besides development of sectors.


Forum on civil aviation and tourism
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 2
The Union Ministry for Civil Aviation has joined hands with the ministries concerned in North Indian states to launch a forum to promote aviation and tourism in this part of the country.

The launch took place at a seminar on “Emerging Trends in Airlines Industry in North India — Vision 2005” held today under the auspices by the Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends (ITFT) in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Department, Punjab, and the Chandigarh Tourism Department.

It was attended, among others, by the Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, the Punjab Minister for Civil Aviation, Raja Narinder Singh and Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. While Professor Gupta will be the chief patron of the forum, Raja Narinder Singh and Mr Atwal have been designated as patrons. The forum with work out a concept on an integrated aviation plan for the North Indian states. The seminar was organised in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Department, Punjab, and the Chandigarh Tourism Department. The ITFT-Chandigarh would function as a nodal organisation for coordination, research and planning.

The forum would meet once in a quarter to work out the strategy and send its recommendations to the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism with an annual convention every year in rotation in all North Indian states.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta said that the domestic air transport industry experienced a very healthy growth of 9 per cent during the year 2000. He said during 2001, effective steps were taken to provide additional capacity on international routes for a short duration to meet the high demand during the period. Cargo had emerged as a key thrust area for growth and development activities in the aviation industry. At present 30% of India’s exports in terms of value went by air.

Regarding the discontinuation of the subsidy scheme to the civil aviation clubs in Haryana by the Director-General of Civil Aviation, the Minister said that the matter would be looked into.

He also appreciated the initiative of the ITFT-Chandigarh in organising the seminar and said the recommendations of the forum would be given due consideration by the Government to ensure an integrated development of the civil aviation and tourism sector.

Professor Gupta said that helicopter services would be launched to reach the Amarnath shrine. Plans were also afoot to air-connect all the industrial towns of the northern region. Amritsar would be directly connected with major cities of the world after the work at the airport was completed.

Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, said that the Punjab Government would soon form a committee consisting of members of the public and government officials to improve the aviation scenario. He urged the Union Aviation Minister to start direct international flights from Amritsar to other parts of the globe. He also urged the Minister to provide easy accessibility ‘‘not only to well known places but also to less known places’’.

Raja Narinder Singh, the Civil Aviation Minister of Punjab, said that the promotion of the airlines industry in North India, being labour-intensive, would provide employment opportunities to young people. The Minister sought the assistance of the Central Government for promoting civil aviation activities in the state.

Mr P.S. Narula, an NRI settled in Thailand said that India could be developed into a major tourist centre. ‘‘Foreign-born children of NRIs could be attracted to India for education, which would bring foreign currency to the country’’.

Mr S.C. Goswami, the Executive Director of the Airport Authority of India for North India, said that Rs 80 crore had been spent on the airport at Amritsar to make it an international airport, it would be ready by November-end in its improved form.

A number of senior managers of domestic and international airlines, along with officials of the DGCA, the IAAI, Indian Airlines, the State’s Civil Aviation and Chandigarh Aviation were also present on the occasion.

Dr Gulshan Sharma, Director of the ITFT, made an audio-visual presentation on the theme of the seminar.

Professor Gupta, who was the chief guest, released a video cassette on ‘‘India’s first tourism song’’.



‘Tibet achieving new heights’
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, June 2
“Since ancient times, Tibet has been an inalienable part of China and, now favourable conditions exist for the development of the area,” said. Mr Zheng Qingdian, Political Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in India, here today.

He said Tibet had been made a part of China by the Yuan Dynasty as early as the middle of the 13th century. Ever since, it had been under the effective administration of China’s Central Government. In May, 1951, the Government of China and the local Tibetan Government had reached an agreement on a series of questions regarding Tibet’s peaceful liberation and signed the 17-Article Agreement, so that Tibet was liberated peacefully.

Mr Zheng Qingdian was inaugurating a four-day photographic exhibition on Tibet in Paragon Senior Secondary School, organised by the India-China Friendship Association of Punjab to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Tibet. He said, in 1959, democratic reforms had been carried out in Tibet and, in 1965, the Tibetan Autonomous region had been established.

He said regional national autonomy was practised in Tibet, allowing it to enjoy extensive rights to autonomy.

The Political Counsellor said Tibet had achieved great heights in political, economic, cultural and the other fields. It now enjoyed political stability, economic development and national unity and its people were content both with their life and work.

The people of Tibet enjoyed full freedom of religious belief and normal religious activities were duly respected and protected.

Mr Zheng Qingdian said, in 1998, the GDP in the Tibetan Autonomous Region had reached 9.12 billion yunan, an increase of 47.1 times compared to the GDP in 1959. The average life expectancy had risen from 36 years to 65 years. In 1996, the population of Tibet had risen to 2.44 million from less than 1 million, 96.4 per cent of which comprised ethnic Tibetans. The enrolment of Tibetan school-aged children stood at 83.4 per cent. The illiterate, and semi-literate who accounted for over 90 per cent of the Tibetan population, had reduced to less than 40 per cent of the population, he said.

Raja Narinder Singh, Punjab Minister for Public Health and Civil Aviation, who presided over the function, said China had an old heritage similar to that of India. He said China had been able to control population growth. In India, an enthusiastic attempt had been made to check population, but people had “over-reacted and the idea had to be dropped. Development plans would fail if the rise in population was not brought under control.

Mr Pawan Bansal, MP, said the Chinese set goals, fixed limits and achieved the objectives and India could learn a lot from them. “We have to ensure that the Asian region is in no way inferior to other parts to the world,” he said.

Mr Jiwan Tiwari, president of the Punjabi unit of the India-China Friendship association, spoke about Tibet in retrospect. He said the dispute between India and China was not of the border, but of the Dalai Lama “playing into the hands of imperialists”.



From modesty to ostentation
Tribune News Service

Cutting through a jostling crowd, economist Achal Kumar Anand enters the Sector 17 Coffee House only to find a group of college student screaming, shouting and back-slapping one another.

Pulling a chair, he makes himself comfortable, wipes beads of perspiration from his brow and regards the bleached hair youngsters with amusement.

He knows Chandigarh, once a city for the tired and the retired, is now pulsating with life, throbbing with energy that was unknown until a few years ago. Today, the youth is in the forefront, aspiring for the stars.

He does not mind the change. His only regret is that the city is fast losing "the intimacy and friendliness that was so prominent in the good old days when everyone knew everyone else and you had an identity".

"A stroll through the passages of Sector 22 or Sector 17 was like a visit to an extended family. After every few steps, you were shaking hands with someone or the other," he recalls. "I remember the time when I used to step out of my office during lunch hour and meet scores of acquaintances in the Coffee House. For half an hour everyday, we would discuss everything under the sun — right from T.S. Eliot to the changing political scenario in Delhi".

In those days, scholastic pursuits were on top of the priority list. "There were no discotheques and very few bars. In any case, drinking was not a passion. Instead of shedding the blues on the dance floors illuminated by multi-coloured blinking lights, we used to spend our spare time in the libraries. Or, we would go to an art exhibition, or attend concerts at Tagore Theatre".

That was a long time back. Youngsters go to classical music concerts even today but in cars with stereos blaring "Naag ishq da ladiya". Inside the auditorium, they munch popcorn and sip cold drinks as the maestro's dextrous fingers rap out mesmerising beats on the tabla.

"Going to concerts is now only a sign of pseudo-sophistication, a status symbol," asserts Mr Anand. "Recently, Swami Pitambaranand of Ramakrishan Mission said if Chandigarh's culture was now to be summed up in one word, it would be ostentation. How true! The moral timbre of yesterday is rapidly fading away in Chandigarh even as a Vedic city is coming up in America".

Mr Anand, however, does not expect the lifestyle of the residents to change. "Chandigarh of today is infectiously vibrant, vivacious and focused. It is a continuation of the past. I do not want things to change for it is a pleasure being here even now".


Ex-servicemen to hold rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
To protest against the “negative” attitude of the government towards the problems of ex-servicemen, members of the Indian Ex-Services League (IESL) will hold a rally in Delhi soon.

The president of the local chapter of the IESL, Lieut-Col J S Mand (retd), said here today that the rally would be held in September. He said the IESL had already taken up several issues like non-grant of one rank, one pension, discrepancies in the grant of disability pension, anomalies in pension applicable to personnel below officer rank, meagre medical grant and lowering the status of the services with the government.

Colonel Mand said yesterday delegations of the IESL had met the service chiefs as well as the Adviser to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. He added that while the points raised were under consideration, the government’s attitude on certain issues had been negative.


Board blamed for water shortage
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 2
While the area is facing a shortage of drinking water, the ruling group of the local Municipal Committee has alleged that officials of the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board are responsible for this.

In a press note issued here today by Mr Ranbir Singh, president of the Municipal Committee of Kharar, it has been said that in spite of spending Rs 25 lakh on installing two tubewells here, the water problem has not been solved due to a delay on part of the board.

Before the summer, the committee paid the board for installing these tubewells, but the board was not laying the pipelines to link these.

The committee has urged the Punjab Government to ask the board not to charge an additional 14 per cent surcharge from the committee. It said private companies could do this job at a much cheaper rate and in a shorter time.


Workshop on beauty culture concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
The three-week workshop on Beauty Culture organised by Centre for Development for Women, Canara Bank, Sector 34, at Kajheri village concluded yesterday.

The Deputy General Manager of the bank Mr M. V. Balasubramaniam presided over the valediction ceremony. As many as 35 participants were awarded certificates of vocational training.

Mr Balasubramaniam said the objective of the training was to provide income generating self-employment skills to women. 



Slum children offer shramdan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Several officers of the Chandigarh Administration, including the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, participated in the “shramdan” at the Regulator End of the Sukhna Lake here this morning.

According to a press note, prominent among those,who removed silt from the lake bed included Mr Puranjit Singh, UT Chief Engineer, Mr Ashk Sangwan, Joint Secretary (Home), Mr Vivek Atray, DPR, and Mr Jaswant Singh, PRO.

Various Haryana officers, including Mr Rajbir Singh, Mr T.C. Gupta and Mr Vijay Sethi, also participated in the “shramdan”. As many as 35 volunteers of the a slum school run by the Indian Council of Social Welfare also participated in the “shramdan”.


One killed, 8 hurt in mishap
Our Correspondent

Lalru, June 2
One person was killed and eight were injured in a head-on collision between a tanker and a car on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, near here, this morning.

The police said the car driver, Satbir Singh, succumbed to his injuries on way to hospital, while six of the family members were rushed to the PGI and GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

The truck driver, Ranbir Singh, were admitted to the PGI. The occupants of the car were on way from Delhi to Kharar in an Indica car (DL5CB-4975) when their vehicle collided with the tanker (HP-21-1827) which was going to Ambala.


Nirjala Ekadashi in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
On Nirjala Ekadashi today, a large number of ‘chhabils’ were organised in the city.

Volunteers offered sweetened water and ‘prasad’ to commuters on roads. The Sewak Dal of the UT Government Press organised an eye-donation camp, besides a ‘chhabil’ outside the Government Press in Sector 18.

The ‘chhabil’ organised by Sri Shiv Mandir Nav Durga Charitable Trust of Saketri outside the PGI was a big draw.



Power department blames citizens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Unscheduled power cuts in Sector 37 during the past four days have forced the residents to spend sleepless nights. Today around 9 p.m. harassed residents of Sector 37D rang up the Tribune Office to narrate their woes. Dr Jagdish Jaggi, president of the Residents Welfare Association, said that for the past four days power supply had been erratic in their area.

Officials of the electricity department said residents were overdrawing power and causing a crisis.



PRTC clerk falls and dies
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 2
The city police found the body of a Kurali resident named Dharma Pal (52 years) from near the Piccadilly Chowk, in Sector 34 here yesterday. The deceased was a clerk in the Punjab Roadways Transport Corporation.

According to the police, the victim suddenly fell on the ground while he was walking and was declared brought dead at the PGI.

The body was sent for post-mortem of which the report is awaited. The relatives of deceased have been informed.


Beams in houses and offices

Beams are seen in every home, office and shops. These are something impossible to avoid in a structure. Exposed beams are not lucky according to Feng Shui. Beams cause a great deal of problems such as stress and bad luck.

Beams can be of different sizes and shapes. Some can be massive while others angular. Sharp-edged beams can create stress in people working, sitting or sleeping under them. They create bad energies around them.

People living on the ground floor have many apartments over them. So one can imagine how many structural beams are hitting people living there.

Beams are supposed to have negative Chi. One can deal with these exposed beams by hanging wind chimes. Wind chimes soften the Chi coming from a beam. These chimes come in a number of rods. So, before buying them (wind chimes) one should be sure which kind of wind chime will be suitable to which kind of beam. I suggest not to hang any “number rod” wind chime under a beam, unless one is sure of the number of rods a beam needs. Wind chimes neutralise the negative energy of the beams.


Address your Feng Shui queries to:
Postal address: C/o F.S. TIPS
The Tribune, Sector-29, Chandigarh-160020.



Boy, girl abducted
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 2
A Mauli Jagran resident has alleged that his minor son was abducted by a couple of Bhagat Singh Colony on Thursday. According to the local police, Mr Sehdev reported that Dukh Sahai and his wife, Reena kidnapped his son while he was on his way to home from Bapu Dham Colony.

A case under Section 365 of the IPC has been registered.

In another incident, a Sector 55 resident alleged that his daughter was abducted by Major Singh of the same sector on Friday. The complainant alleged that the accused had committed the crime in alliance with his friend. According to the local police, the incident took place when the girl was on way to deposit the electricity bill in Sector 40.

A case under Section 366 of the IPC has been registered.

A Sector 23 resident Mr Harsh Kant has alleged that Nitan and Ashman, residents of the locality assaulted him. The complainant was injured and treated at the General Hospital, Sector 16.

Both accused have been arrested under Sections 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC.

Jewellery stolen:
House of Ms Archana Sharma, a resident of Sector 45, was burgled in the wee hours here today. The thieves took away gold jewellery, clothes and Rs 10,000 in cash.

A case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Car stereo stolen:
Mr Sudarshan K. Mahajan, a resident of Sector 8-C market reported that stereo from his car, which was parked in front of his shop, was stolen here yesterday.

A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Held with liquor:
The local police arrested three persons, including two women, from different parts of the city for carrying bottles and pouches of liquor here yesterday. Those arrested have been identified as Om Prakash (Sector 38), Seema (Janta Colony, Sector 25) and Koni (Janta Colony, Sector 25). As many as seven bottles of liquor and 87 liquor pouches have been seized.

Three cases under the Excise Act have been registered.



Loaded pistol missing
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 2
A 9 mm loaded pistol has been missing from the tent of security guards of a former Punjab Superintendent of Police, Mr Gurcharan Singh, for the past four days. Interestingly, two AK 47 rifles were also lying along the pistol but they were left untouched. A case of theft was registered at the Sector 17 police station, here today.

According to information, the pistol was stolen in Sector 23 on May 29 at about 1.30 pm. It is said that at the time of the theft there were at least four constables in the tent.

It could not be known how many cartridges were in the pistol as the constable against whom the pistol was issued is not in town.

Police sources said the constable Balwinder Singh, gunman of Mr Gurcharan Singh, returned from duty and kept the pistol along with two assault rifles before going to sleep.

A case under Section 380 of the IPC was registered after constable Balwinder Singh reported the matter.



Rape accused surrender
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 2
The two persons, who had raped a 17-year-old girl in a dharamsala at Kalka on Tuesday last, surrendered before the police here today. The duo had abducted the girl from Dadumajra.

Those arrested were Sonu Kumar, a resident of Sector 45 and Rajeev Kumar alias Raju who lived in Sector 29. The duo had reportedly abducted the girl from her relative’s house and took her to Kalka and raped her. The girl, a student of class XI in Shimla, had come to the city to visit her aunt.



Chandigarh Beopar Mandal meeting today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Fixing the date for the election to the post of the president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) and certain amendments to the constitution will figure prominently at the general body meeting of the mandal to be held here tomorrow.

According to sources, the meeting is likely to be stormy with members all set to raise the issue of “prominent traders”, who had been made members of the mandal. Over 80 per cent market bodies are the members of the mandal and normally the presidents and the general secretaries of these bodies are allorsed its membership.

“However, throwing norms to winds, certain leaders of the BJP have been made members of the mandal under the category of “prominent traders” and the issue is likely to be raised at tomorrow’s meeting. They are neither presidents nor general secretaries of any market body”, the sources claimed.

Besides, the recommendations of the constitution amendment committee, formed under a founder member, Mr Charanjiv Singh, will be placed before the general body meeting. Major recommendations of the committee include limiting the tenure of the president for two terms, reducing the financial powers of the mandal chief and bringing down the strength of the executive from one-third to one-fourth.

Perhaps the most important issue will be the fixing of date for the election of the mandal chief.

It may be mentioned here that the election to the mandal chief’s post had become necessary following the death of Inder Lal Batra on March 23.

Though a non-political body, the political importance of the mandal cannot be denied, particularly in the context of the ensuing elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh.

The mandal is the largest representative body of the city traders and approximately 136 members are eligible to vote for the post of the mandal president.



Small profit, big hazard
Our Correspondent

The roadside cigarette-bidi sellers in the city are earning their livelihood under the constant fear of the Estate Office. The Estate Office staff often swoops down on them and impounds their goods. They have to pay a fine of Rs 500 to reclaim their belongings.

There are about 300 such roadside entrepreneurs in the city. They work almost 12 hours a day and return home with Rs 50 to Rs 80. The margin on cigarettes is very small. On an average, a packet yields to the seller a profit of 40 paise.

Thirty-year-old Jagannath is handicapped person and has been selling cigarettes and bidis on a hand-operated tri-cycle near the Indira Holiday Home, Sector 24, for the last 12 years. His elder brother is a daily wage-earner and his father is employed in Panjab University. Jagannath, who has applied for an STD-PCO booth in the PGI, says there is hardly any profit in this business but he cannot do anything else. He says that Estate Office employees often challan him and a challan means a loss of Rs 500. “Two or more challans in a month means the loss of the whole month’s earnings.”

Ram Prakash sells cigarettes and bidis near the Panjab University Gate No. 1. “I have to keep standing for almost 15 hours a day,” says Ram Prakash. As he was talking to this correspondent, his eyes were on the look out for the Estate Office truck which comes to impound the belongings of roadside entrepreneurs. If he is lucky to spot the truck, he packs up his goods and disappears. The story is the same for all such entrepreneurs in the city.

On Thursday the city observed ‘No-Tobacco Day’. But after talking to about 25 such cigarette-bidi sellers, it came out that smoking by the youth has increased in the city. They say that many officers of government and rich men of the city buy cigarettes from them but they never bother to do anything for “us”.

They complain that the UT Administration rehabilitates those who encroach on government land but it has never done anything for these persons who are trying to make an honest living. They want that the Administration should give them identity cards and save them from harassment by the Municipal Corporation and Estate Office staff.


Bhattacharya is SBI’s Chief GM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Mr T.S. Bhattacharya has been promoted as Chief General Manager of State Bank of India. He was earlier the General Managar (Commercial Banking), SBI, Chandigarh Circle.

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