Sunday, August 12, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



CHB denies refund to 1,800 persons
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
As many as 1800 middle class salaried families of the city are at the receiving end due to Chandigarh Administration and the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB). The CHB refuses to refund a sizeable portion of the money deposited by these people to participate in the co-operative housing society scheme in Sectors 48, 49 and 50.


* Residents wanting to opt out of co-operative housing society scheme not getting full refund of their initial deposit.

* CHB, cites an order of the Chandigarh Admn, while refusing to refund a portion of money paid by the 1800 persons wanting to opt out .

* The collections from these persons upto Rs 2.5 crore.

* Sources say money was collected to meet the high land acquisition costs. Admn claims it interest thus cannot be returned.

* This “anti-people” move will cost each member upto Rs 19,000.

* About Rs 8 crore collected under this head from salaried class middle class people lying in the coffers of the CHB.

The CHB, citing a March 2000 order from the Finance Secretary, Chandigarh Administration, is holding onto a whopping Rs 2.40 crore deposited collectively by these residents in March 1998. This money was collected by the CHB under the head of “interest” following a Punjab and Haryana High Court judgement. This was over and above the earnest money deposited by these 1800 persons through their respective co-operative housing societies.

Now these 1800 residents do not want to participate in the scheme because of high cost of land and have asked for their money back from the CHB. The CHB is refunding the earnest money but not this special collection under the head of “interest”. Members seeking refunds are an aggrieved lot as the CHB has said it would pay only 10 per cent interest on the amount. Interestingly, when anyone delays payments, the CHB slaps a penal interest of 18 per cent.

The ordeal for members of co-operative societies started in 1991 when about 6,000 city residents, who were members of various co-operative societies, deposited 10 per cent of the cost of land at the rate of Rs 750 per square yard. The Administration refused to allot land saying it had asked for 25 per cent of the cost and not 10 per cent. The case of allotment dragged on for years before the High court, in December 1996, decided that these persons be allotted land.

During the intervening period the Chandigarh Administration hiked the price of land from Rs 750 per square yard. The Administration refused to allot land saying it had asked for 25 per cent of the cost and not 10 per cent. The case of allotment dragged on for years before the High court, in December 1996, decided that these persons be allotted land.

During the intervening period the Chandigarh Administration hiked the price of land from Rs 750 per square yard to Rs 2,500 per square yard despite protests from all sections. Members of co-operative societies were asked to pay the remaining 15 per cent of the cost but at the new rates. Besides this another Rs 19,817, 13,802 and Rs 10,570, were collected from category A, B and C members, respectively.

The CHB referred the matter to the Administration which suggested “the interest paid by the societies on the earnest money deposited with the board in pursuance of the High Court judgement dated December 18, 1996, is not to be refunded to the societies which seek refund of the earnest money as whole or in respect of any member, as it is not part of the earnest money”. Aggrieved members who put up their case through the Housefed, say this payment was part of the enhanced earnest money collected on the condition that the cost of acquiring land had gone up.

Sources in the CHB say the idea behind all this is to avoid adjustment of this special interest collection into the accounts of the 4,200 members who have opted to pay for the lands and construct flats. This is collaborated from CHB noting.



Cracks in SAD city unit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The rift in the Chandigarh unit of the Akali Dal widened today with the local unit president, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, vowing to expel two of his general secretaries for supporting rebel Akali candidate, Ms Harjinder Kaur, whose supporters claimed that they had been assured by the senior party leader and Union Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, against any such action.

While Mr Riar said today that he had the authority to expel those whom he nominated, Ms Kaur's camp said that Mr Dhindsa had told them not to worry about expulsion as only the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was authorised to expel party office- bearers.

A local SAD general secretary, Mr N.S. Minhas, said Ms Kaur was fielded only after informing Mr Riar and claimed that the local unit president had told them that he was not putting up any candidate for the Mayoral election.

He claimed that Mr Riar did not take the party in confidence before deciding on contesting the election.

Meanwhile, the Acting Congress Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, and a Councillor, Ms Suneeta received the notices issued by the party for not attending the Mayoral election meeting yesterday.

The Congress president, Mr Bahl, told Chandigarh Tribune that the party had taken a serious view of “indiscipline” and would take an action after receiving of their reply.

He said disciplinary action against Mr Kala would be taken immediately after the completion of three-day notice period. Mr Kala, however, said that he would file reply to the notice and was not afraid of expulsion.

However, the factionalism again came to the fore in the BJP with one section of it accusing the other of flouting the party direction of not going to the house.

Members of one group said that they would meet the National BJP president, Mr Janakrishnamurthy, to complain about certain party members going against the party directions.

They also said that newspaper clippings showing the party councillors going to the House would be sent to the high command.

Sources in the Administration said that Mayoral election could again be given a chance before completion of one month of the creation of vacancy of the post. The Congress Mayor, Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, had resigned from his post on July 21 and Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala has been the Acting Mayor since then.



Renewed campaign to dislodge city BJP chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
A section of the local unit of the BJP, including eight councillors, has launched a renewed campaign to dislodge its local party president, Mr Dharampal Gupta, for his alleged failure to manage ally party SAD and making efforts to perpetuate a Congress Mayor.

A group of the party has sought time from the national party president, Mr Janakrishnamurthy, on Tuesday to inform him that the local party group led by Mr Gupta has caused damage to the party image by pitting an ally party’s members against each other and favouring one member of the ally party, which might have a negative effect on the relationship between the two parties ahead of the Punjab and municipal corporation elections.

They said Mr Gupta and his supporters had turned the party into a private one by not consulting councillors on whether SAD councillor, Mohinder Singh should be put in the fray or not.

The group said it had already talked to party general secretary, Mr O.P. Kohli, on the issue and would again meet him.

It said by interferring in the democratic process and getting the mayoral election meeting stalled midway, the Gupta group had created an impression that Union Home Minister Lal Krishan Advani had intervened in the local affair which was an effort to tarnish the image of party leader.

Sources in the anti-Gupta group said after the party had decided not to participate in the elections, its priority should have been that the alliance partner got the seat which the Gupta group “sabotaged”.

They said the Gupta group also painted the party as an anti-democratic force by not allowing the election process to be completed despite legal provisions requiring that no quorum was needed for an election meeting of the corporation.



MC dissolution by next week: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The Chandigarh unit of the BJP is expecting dissolution of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh by the next week after the House failed to muster quorum for the Mayoral election yesterday.

‘’House may be dissolved by the next week” BJP sources told Chandigarh Tribune here today.

A delegation of the BJP-SAD alliance, which piloted a resolution for the dissolution of the House on August 8 which was passed by the corporation unanimously with no vote against it, had met top Administration functionaries a day ahead of the Mayoral election to have the house dissolved before the poll, sources said.

The impression they gathered after talking to the Administration was that the Mayoral election process was on and the decision on the dissolution of the House could only be taken after the Mayoral election.

This indication galvanised the BJP into making attempts not to let the House complete quorum and in this connection they started persuading official Akali Dal candidate, Mr Mohinder Singh, not to enter the House to ensure that the quorum was not complete.

The BJP also approached one nominated member to persuade him not to come for the election meeting of the House ahead of the Mayoral election, sources said.

The party kept on telling Mr Singh that he should not enter the house lest it should complete the quorum as his defeat was staring in the face as his rebel Akali rival, Ms Harjinder Kaur, was likely to be supported by nominated members in the house.

The BJP’s reasoning was that nominated members would not support a candidate who was backed by a section of the BJP which had never hidden its opposition to the nominated members.

The BJP leadership also said that as nominated members would not like the House to be dissolved they would back Ms Kaur who was reportedly to be backed by two Congress members present in the House at that time.

This situation prodded the BJP leadership to look for an opportunity to somehow get the House proceedings stalled on technical ground which came their way as soon as the Presiding Officer, Mr Harish Bhanot, adjourned the meeting for lack of quorum.

As Mr Bhanot had announced that there was no need of quorum for an election meeting, but the House wanted late-comers to be given an opportunity to cast their votes, the BJP leadership caught him on a legal point referring to section 60 of the MC Act which confers the House convening authority only on the Divisional Commissioner and not on the Presiding officer.

The BJP’s assertion was that Mr Bhanot adjourned the meeting keeping in mind Section 58 of the Act which says that quorum is required for any house meeting, but the same is not required for an adjourned meeting.

Once the election meeting was adjourned, a delegation of the BJP comprising leader of the SAD-BJP, alliance Mr. Deshraj Tandon, SAD President, Mr Gurpartap Singh Riar, BJP councillors, Mr Gian Chand Gupta and Ms Ranjana Shahi, went to the Adviser to the Administrator, Ms Neeru Nanda, requesting her to dissolve the corporation in the wake of yesterday’s meeting fiasco.

The delegation pleaded that as the House could not muster quorum even for an election meeting, there was no need of calling a meeting for the Mayoral election again.

The delegation said as the BJP with 13 members and the Chandigarh Vikas Manch member, Ms Satinder Dhawan, had decided not to take part in the election and the Congress was also divided on the issue, the next meeting for the same purpose was likely to meet the same fate.

The BJP members feel that prolonging this situation will only amount to keeping alive the corporation through artificial support when the House itself has passed a resolution for its dissolution.



Police told to book 4 persons
Tampering with civic body records
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 11
A Rajpura court has directed the Dera Bassi police to register a case against the executive officer, two other employees and a former vice-president of the local civic body for tampering with the records of the civic body.

Directing the Station House Officer of Dera Bassi police station in this regard, the Judicial Magistrate (first Class) of a Rajpura court said a case should be registered after proper investigations by the investigating agency against Jai Kishan Sharma, executive officer, Mohan Pal Singh, clerk, Amarjeet Singh, house tax clerk, and Brajesh Gandhi, a former vice-president, of the Municipal Council, on the complaint of Mr Chander Kumar Gandhi, a resident of Mohalla Chaudhriyan. The Magistrate further directed the SHO to record the statement of the complainant to register a case and start inquiring into the matter.

Earlier, Mr Chander Kumar Gandhi, the complainant had alleged that the accused had tampered with the records of his house with the civic body. In his complaint, he had alleged that the civic body had changed the number of rooms of his house from four to three, increasing the number of rooms of his neighbour’s house from two to three.

They had written the word “collapsed” before the house of Mr Kanti Prasad, his neighbour, against whom he had filed a litigation in the court. He had complained that the word was written before the house with an intention to hurt him. He further alleged that this was done by the house tax clerk with the connivance of the executive officer.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Gandhi said a representation had also been given to the Director of Local Government, Punjab, in April 2000. Following this the Director had instructed the executive officer of the civic body to look into the matter.

The MC had issued show-cause notice to Mohan Pal Singh, clerk, asking him to file a reply within 15 days, explaining the allegations levelled against him.



IAF to shift operations from city
Presidential Fleet Review in mid-October
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The Air Force will shift its operations from Chandigarh to nearby airbases for the duration of the Presidential Fleet Review, scheduled to be held here in mid-October, it is learnt.

According to sources, 12 Wing here, which is tasked with the crucial responsibility of air maintenance of forward posts in the northern sector, will carry out sorties to Thoise and Leh as well as air dropping missions along the Line of Control from other bases in the vicinity of Chandigarh due to space and air routing restrictions.

While there are several airbases from which heavy transport aircraft can operate, sources say the Ambala airbase is the most viable option. This is because Army units tasked with liaisoning with the Air Force are based here. Technical back-up for maintenance and administration of the aircraft and aircrew will also be easy due to proximity of Ambala.

Sources add that about 100 aircraft from the vintage piston-engined biplanes to the latest Su-30 aircraft will take part in the fleet review. It is learnt that the aircraft will arrive in Chandigarh about a week prior to the grand event. During the duration the visiting aircraft are here, IAF operations will be shifted elsewhere as the parking space for aircraft based here will be taken up by the winged visitors.

A stretch of 500 to 1000 metres of the runway is being widened for the purpose of parking and manoeuvering of the participating aircraft. The aircraft participating in the flypast will operate from several airbases, including Chandigarh. About 700 airmen will take part in a parade, which will be reviewed by the President.

The local authorities here have received a grant of about Rs 4 crore for making arrangements, which include re-building and re-furnishing the Officers’ Mess, widening roads, re-designing the main entrance to the Air Force station and other civil works, including repairs to buildings, structures and parking areas, and renovation of the Air Traffic Control Complex.



Security beefed up at airport
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
With Independence Day just around the corner, security around the Chandigarh airport has been tightened as a precautionary measure. As a part of the security drill, security forces have started profiling passengers, while the entry of visitors has been banned till August 16.

While there have been no specific threats or reports of a possible strike by anti-national elements here, sources reveal that the step has been taken following instructions received from higher authorities.

The security of the Chandigarh airport is being handled by the Central Industrial Security Force, which took over the duties from Chandigarh Police a few months back.

Although a security check post to verify the antecedents of passengers as well as visitors at the road leading to the airport has been functional for some time, the movement of vehicles outside the entrance to the terminal building has been restricted. Vehicles now have to unload passengers and luggage in the parking lot itself instead at the entrance to the building as was the practice earlier.

Sources add that plainclothes personnel are keeping a watch on activities in the parking lot. Further, security personnel are also “profiling” passengers once they enter the terminal building. “It means that a person's behaviour while he is waiting or moving around is studied to see if there is anything unusual,” a security functionary said. Patrol teams as well as quick-reaction teams have also been deployed. Even the movement of airport employees and airlines personnel within the premises is being regulated.

Movement of vehicular traffic and persons through the airport's VIP gate is now strictly as per protocol laid down by the Bureau of Aviation Security. Even senior government functionaries, who earlier used to pass through the VIP gate, are now restricted.


Question your councillor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Mr Des Raj Tandon, representing ward 3, has been asked several uncomfortable questions by the residents of the ward, expecting him to act through the Question your councillor series. TNS asks readers’ questions to the councillor for his answers, which are reproduced below.

Question: Majority of the backlanes in Sectors 16 and 22 continue to be dirty. Wild growth of congress grass and garbage dumps have led to the breeding of mosquitoes and flies in the area. The general sanitation in these sectors and adjoining areas is far from satisfactory and heap of garbage can be seen lying at various places? What have you done in this regard? — Mr Sadananda, president of Sector 16 Plot Owners Association.

Answer: With a view to clear these backlanes, I had got a proposal passed in the MC, wherein it was decided that the residents of a lane should collect money to procure the material and the MC would provide labour free of cost to make these lanes pucca and put gates, but the response to the same was not encouraging. Only three lanes in Sector 22 and one in Sector 16 have been spruced up as part of this drive. Besides this, all the backlanes in Sector 16 have been cleaned at least thrice and others in Sector 22 twice. I have got some money spent on getting two lanes cleared earlier also, but I am not in favour of spending money on this from the ward development fund.

As regard the general sanitation, I admit that the situation can be much better if the officers and safai karamcharis on duty perform their duties more diligently. Though I have been personally taking up their complaints with the health wing officials of the MC, residents are also partly responsible for this deteriorating condition. Keeping all this in mind, we had mooted the proposal for privatising sanitation in the city.

Question: The menace of stray dogs and cattle on the roads is leading to serious accidents and needs to be focused upon on priority basis. What steps have you taken to clear encroachments from across the footpaths as well as provide some more along the V-4 and V-5 roads to ease out traffic congestion and make roads safer for pedestrians? — Mr S.L Kashyap, general secretary of Sector 16 Plot Owners Association).

Answer: The Municipal Corporation has failed in controlling the increasing menace of stray dogs and cattle all over the city. I have taken up the matter with the MoH several times and they have assured me that they are looking for a solution in terms of sterilisation of these animals ass approved by the F and CC. The health wing officials have expressed their inability to do much in view of the shortage of manpower and in many cases have to leave the animals after taking the challan money.

I am concerned about the provision of footpaths and have been striving hard to clear the existing footpaths from encroachments done by rickshaw-pullers, small-time artisans and private bus operators. I had drawn out a detailed proposal to provide footpaths on the entrance of the road separating Sector 22-A and B, but rickshaws continue to be parked on these road berms. The solution to the problem lies in the Administration providing alternate sites to artisans. At many places footpaths have not been provided due to the encroachment by the residents on the road berms.

Question: The road in front of Sector 22-C showrooms is in a deplorable condition and the residential area behind this is plagued with the problem of encroachments by rickshaw-pullers. What have you done to redress the problem of shopkeepers and people of this area? — Mr Mukesh Sahni, a Sector 22 resident.

Answer: I have taken up the matter with the road wing officials, who have told me that recarpeting of this road will be done along with the parking area in front of these showrooms as the estimates for the same have been passed accordingly. The encroachment in the area will be removed by the enforcement staff before the recarpeting work is done.

Question: Roads are dug, but the mud is left all along as such, creating problems for the residents. Private buses are parked on footpaths across the residential area in Sector 22. What have you done to redress these problems and what solution you have in mind? — Mr O.P. Sobti, ex-president of Sector 22 Welfare Association.

Answer: Lack of co-ordination between various departments and cable operators is responsible for the mess created by road digging in several areas. Cable operators often dig these roads to check the faults and do not inform the MC about the repair to be done subsequently. When the mud is put back, the condition of the road is never the same. I will take up the issue of bus parking in Sector 22 with the IGP in the next few days, though I have already got a railing put all around the open space.

Question: There is no community centre in Sector 22 for holding socio-religious functions. The population of this oldest sector is about 20,000. Did you take up this issue during your tenure with the corporation? — Mr Yudhvir Sharda of Sector 22.

Answer: Though I am aware of this requirement of the residents and have taken it up, the same has not been possible due to non-availability of a proper site for the same. I kept thinking whether the open area behind the old electric substation in Sector 22 should be developed as a green belt or a community centre. Since the Residents Welfare Association also did not put forth a proposal , I got two parks developed there instead. This area can be looked afresh during the tenure of the next MC.

Question: Poor drainage in some parts of Sector 16 leads to flooding of houses in some low-lying areas. There is poor maintenance of the park in front of 13-type houses in Sector 16. — Mr Pratap Singh, a resident.

Answer: I have not received any complaint so far, but now that it has come to my notice, I will look into it. Road gullies had been made earlier to check the problem of water-logging in these areas and the problem had been contained to a large extent. 



Free treatment for poor patients

SAS Nagar
At a time when the cost of medical services is rising alarmingly, Gurdwara Kalgidhar Singh Sabha in Phase IV here has been coming to the rescue of the needy by providing them with free treatment.

Apart from this, the gurdwara has opened a stitching centre for girls to enable them to stand on their own feet. It also runs kirtan classes apart from teaching devotees how to read Guru Granth Sahib in a way that brings out the full meaning of the sacred words (“shudh path”).

These activities were started about eight months ago, though a homoeopathic dispensary has been functioning on the premises for about 20 years.

At the gurdwara medical centre, five wellqualified retired doctors regularly spare time for the poor, working as honorary consultants.

On Saturday two medical specialists, one of whom had retired from the Army and the other from the Indian Air Force, are available. Tuesdays have been fixed for the eye specialist, while an orthopaedic surgeon provides treatment on Wednesdays. On Thursdays a retired Head of the Gynaecology Department of Government Medical College, Amritsar, is available for consultation.

Mr Dalip Singh Malhi, general secretary of the gurdwara management, says the tests are done on Saturdays at the medical centre laboratory. Patients can avail themselves of the X-ray and ECG facilities besides 125 types of tests without any charge. The laboratory technician, who works elsewhere, is given an honorarium.

He says the gurdwara incurs an expenditure of about Rs 35,000 every month on the provision of free medicines and the laboratory facility.

Training at the stiching centre was earlier free of cost, but now a one-time charge of Rs 50 is collected at the time of admission to the six-month course. There are at present about 12 girl trainees, says Mr Malhi, though the number was higher during the summer vacation.

The president of the gurdwara management, Mr Amar Singh Sidhu, says the kirtan vidyalaya conducts free two-hour classes in the evening on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Musical instruments are provided to the learners by the gurdwara.

He says Giani Jagir Singh Kahlon teaches the niceties of “shudh path” to devotees, each of whom is provided with a “pothi”. Stress is laid on pronunciation and intonation so that the right meaning of each line is conveyed to the listener.



From scooters to jaunty jalopies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Haryana’s former Advocate-General Mohan Jain steps off the accelerator, depresses the clutch lever and sifts the gears again and again as he cuts his way through the cars parked on the either side of the road leading to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

It takes him over 5 minutes to find vacant space for parking his car. The former AG, however, does not grumble even though he has to go through the same process day after day. “Why should I complain? All this is an indication of prosperity in the profession,” he asserts.

Pointing towards the countless number of jaunty jalopies glistening in the morning sun, he says, “It wasn’t like this until a few years ago”.

Stepping out of the semi-limousine, he adds: “I remember the days when I joined the profession way back in 1977. Very few advocates had cars. I think the number was between 25 and 30. Most of the lawyers used to ride scooters. Others were reaching the High Court premises on cycles, even on buses and rickshaws”.

Those were the days when the highest fees handed over to an advocate was less than the bare minimum now paid to him. “An advocate at an average used to get something between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 for contesting a good case. This is the minimum he now gets”.

This is not all. Another reason behind the “dearth of money” in the profession in the 70s, even in the 80s, was less number of cases. “The awareness level among the residents of the region was less in days that are no more. Crime too was less. As a result, few people were moving the High Court for getting their grievances redressed. The state machinery too was more responsive. So many people were not forced to file petitions before the court for the repair of roads and streetlights, even for removal of garbage in front of their houses.

A result of this prosperity, the former AG believes, is that “better students” are now taking up law as a career. “Earlier, law was the last option for a large number of not-so-brilliant students. This is not to say that only mediocre scholars were taking admission in the department of laws. We had, and still have, some of the best brains in the profession,” he reveals. “All I am trying to assert is that law was not looked upon as a serious career option in the 70s. Things have now changed, thanks to all the money in the profession. For 300 seats, over 4,000 students take the test and the best of the best get admission in the process. And they all work with utmost dedication after getting the license”.



BJP counter-attacks Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The BJP today counter-attacked the Congress, asking why the Congress should not take action against local MP Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, for not obeying the party whip of being present in the Mayoral election meeting of the Municipal Corporation yesterday.

The BJP’s attack on Mr Bansal came as he was also a nominated member of the MC with voting rights and the party had directed its councillors to be present in the House for Mayoral election, she said. The hurriedly called press conference of the CTCC President and allegations on Mr Advani were meant to cover up the party’s embarrassment on its councillors, Ms Sunita and the acting Mayor, Mr Gurcharan Dass Kala, flouting its whip and openly opposing the party decision.

She said the party seemed to have been divided on the issue of attending the House proceedings and was controlled by one faction led by the Bansal-Bahl duo, with former Union Minister Vinod Sharma’s man Mr Kala being pushed to the corner to weaken the former minister’s group in the party.

Ms Shahi said the Bansal group preferred anybody else to Mr Kala to hold the Mayoral post, which had led to revolt in the party. She added that yesterday’s decision of the Congress was the last straw, with another former Union Minister, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, having already quit the party.



Janamashtami processions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
On the eve of Janamashtami, colourful processions were taken out in the city today.

A big procession started from Sector 38 and passed through Sectors 40, 41, 38, 37, 36, 35, 34 and 33 before culminating in Sector 32. A procession was also taken out in Mani Majra.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (Retd), today called upon the people to follow the eternal message of Gita which had been guiding the humanity since ages.

Extending his greetings on the eve of Janamashtami, General Jacob said the message of ‘Karma’ enshrined in Gita would continue to inspire coming generations.

Describing Lord Krishna as the greatest Karamyogi, the Governor said His teachings were all the more relevant today. General Jacob called upon the people to follow the path shown by Lord Krishna to free society from shackles of evil forces like fanaticism, communalism, fundamentalism and parochialism.


Boy drowned
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 11
A 13-year-old boy reportedly drowned in the Sukhna Choe here this evening.

According to information available, Gaurav, a student of Class VII of a school at Pipliwala town, had gone to the choe along with his friends. Police sources said Gaurav, who did not know swimming, entered the choe and drowned in the deep waters.

His friends raised the alarm and the boy was taken out by villagers. The victim was rushed to the PGI where he was declared brought dead.



Girl dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 11
A seven-year-old girl was killed when a car and an autorickshaw collided here today. The girl was travelling in the autorickshaw along with her father when the accident took place in Phase V. The autorickshaw overturned after the collision, injuring the girl.

The victim was taken to the PGI, Chandigarh, but she succumbed to her injuries. The car driver drove away from the scene.


‘Miss Congeniality’ fails to thrill
Rajiv Kaplish

Tired of gulping down tasteless Hollywood dishes? Sick of sifting junk in search of clean entertainment week after week? Suffocated by shameless assortment of cliches? Have heart. Here comes “Miss Congeniality” (Kiran).

It may not considerably improve your taste buds. It might not even come as a whiff of fresh air. It will definitely not prove to be your moment of redemption. But ,it will certainly blow your blues away.

At times crazy, at times clumsy and at others clownish, the film lays no claims to the contrary. With Sandra Bullock and Michael Caine presiding over the zany proceedings, the caper almost qualifies for being called a laugh riot.

For the storyline, there is FBI agent Bullock going undercover to bust a serial killer at the Miss United States beauty contest. No big deal, you may say. Fellow cop Benjamin Bratt and pageant consultant Michael Caine pitching in to help Sandra blow the lid off the sinister conspiracy. Nothing extraordinary, you may argue.

True, but trust Bullock and Caine to provide hilarious twists and turns to turn what might have degenerated into a potboiler into an entertainer. Trust also Bratt to overcome the limitations of his role to match in ample measure Sandra’s yen for comedy.

With snide asides of the participants, behind- the-scenes bickerings in the run-up to the show; federal agents acting like zombies; goof-ups of the leading lady masquerading as a model; and funny antics of Bratt and Caine, the film leaves no comical possibility unexplored.

The interludes between William Shatner and Candice Bergen threaten to split the sides some time. But mostly, they fail to evoke laughter.

It will be asking for too much to seek meaningful cinema from the chick-flick genre. So, suspend your disbelief and be part of the flow.



Man assaulted, robbed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 11
An SAS Nagar resident has alleged that four residents of Colony No 5 assaulted him and snatched Rs 250 from him.

According to the police sources Mr Baraham Kumar, a resident of Phase V, SAS Nagar has alleged that he was stopped by Bhaia Ram, Shambu Lal, Balbu Lal and Bhai Lal on the dividing road of Sectors 36 and 37 at around 10.15 pm yesterday. The accused assaulted him and snatched Rs 250 and his driving licence.

All four accused were later arrested and stolen property was reportedly recovered from their possession. The four were booked under Sections 392 and 411 of the IPC.

One held
The local police arrested Mandeep Singh and Dharam Pal both residents of Amritsar district for stealing a watch and music system from the residence of Mr Harinder Pal Singh, a resident of Sector 22 here. According to police, the accused were caught red handed. They were booked under Sections 454, 380 and 411 of the IPC.

Cars stolen
Mr R.K Wadhwa, a resident of Modern Complex Mani Majra reported with the local police that his Car (HNX - 8451) was stolen from parking of a Sector 17 hotel here yesterday. Mr B.L Gaur, a resident of Sector 35 also reported that his car (RPI-2837) was stolen from a parking near the Regional Passport Office, Sector 34 here on Thursday. Two cases under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Liquor seized
The local police claimed to arrest Inderjit Singh, a resident of Burail village from near STA office in Industrial Area, Phase II here yesterday and recovered 50 pouches of liquor form his possession. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.



Woman deprived of Rs 1.05 lakh
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 11
Ms Saroj Tak, a resident of Sector 28, filed a complaint with the police that some body had withdrawn Rs 1.05 lakh from her saving banks account by putting a forged signature on the withdrawal slip. The police registered a case under Sections 420, 457 and 468 of the IPC yesterday.

Ms Saroj said that she had deposited Rs 2 lakh in fixed deposit in the Sector 17 branch of the Bank of India on January 19. The withdrawal came to the notice of the complainant on March 30 when she got her pass book updated.

“To my surprise one of the entries indicated that a sum of Rs 1.05 lakh was withdrawn on March 19”, said Ms Saroj, who got a job of peon with Hartron on compassionate grounds after the death of her husband. She claimed that she had neither withdrawn the amount nor had authorised anyone to do so.

She said that she immediately brought the matter to the notice of the bank officials. Later a criminal complaint was lodged.



Police announces reward
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 11
The Chandigarh police has announced an reward of Rs 10,000 for information leading to the arrest of Harwinder Pal Singla alias Gaba, accused in the working still case unearthed in the Industrial Area, Phase I on July 25.

A case under the Excise Act, the Indian Penal Code and the Copy Right Act had been registered against Harwinder Pal and others. However, all accused are still at large.

The still was said to be engaged in the manufacturing of liquor by using names of various registered brands.

The police had also recovered a huge cache of empty bottles, pouches and labels of various brands of liquor, besides, a huge quantity of spirit.

Earlier, Harwinder Pal Singla had moved an application before a local court for an anticipatory bail which was rejected.

Information about the accused can be furnished to the Police Control Room (telephone number 100), the Deputy Superintendent of Police (telephone number 701874 (O) and 780883 (R) or Incharge Crime Branch on telephone numbers: 746097 (O) or 741100 ext. 415 (R).



Cement Plant
Tribune News Service

The two million tonne cement plant of Gujarat Ambuja Cements in Maharashtra is nearing completion. With this, the total annual production capacity of the company will go up to 13 million tonnes per annum.

SHOWROOM OPENED: Mr Jacob Kurian, Chief Operating Officer, Tanishq, a division of Titan Industries Limited, inaugurated its local dealer’s shop in Sector 17 on Saturday. On this occasion Tanishq will give a discount of 20 per cent. The scheme will continue till August 14.

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