Monday, November 4, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cell-shocked in Burail jail
Phone, cash, weapon seized from accused in Beant case
Our Correspondent


 * Beant Singh, the then Chief Minister of Punjab, is assassinated on August 31, 1995.
 * Suspect arrested in September 1995.
 * Trials begin in 1996.
 * Balwant Singh and Jagtar Singh Tara confess that they planned the assassination.
 * ABOUT FOUR YEARS AGO: explosives are smuggled into the jail in the form of ‘laddoos’.
 * Reports come of a tunnel being dug in the jail by some of the accused in this case.

Chandigarh, November 3
A serious breach of security in Model Burail Jail came to light here today after a mobile telephone, a battery charger, a sharp-edged weapon, a rope and Rs 44,000 were found in the barracks of three persons facing trial on the charge of assassinating a former Punjab Chief Minister, Beant Singh. The information is according to top officials of the UT Administration. The items were seized from the barracks housing Paramjit Singh, Jagtar Singh Tara and Jagtar Singh Hawara.

The mobile telephone had been hidden behind the base plate of a tube-light. The Administration top brass, however, did not say what kind of a mobile-phone set it was, but said the service provider had been approached to obtain records of all incoming and outgoing calls that had been made from the number. The Administration was trying to find out whether or not some persons of the jail staff were involved in providing the undertrials with these items. Strict action awaited such persons, said a top official of the UT.

Sources said there had been an argument early today between the undertrials on the killing of a former sarpanch of Khuda Ali Sher village. Jagtar Singh Hawara, reportedly, supported one of the rival groups in this case. When the jail authorities tried to intervene to make peace, the three men, allegedly, started abusing the Deputy Superintendent of the jail, Mr D.S Sandhu.

Mr Sandhu had been receiving threats from the accused for the past two days. The matter was reported to the UT Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. Ramsekhar, and the Subdivisional Magistrate, Mr Prithi Chand. These officials told the jail staff to separate the fighting undertrials and search their barracks. The separation and search led to the seizure.

While the mobile telephone and its accessories were found from the barracks of Parmjit Singh and Jagtar Singh Tara, the cash was found hidden in the barrack of Jagtar Singh Hawara.

Beant Singh and several others had been blown up by a human bomb outside the Punjab Civil Secretariat here. Nine persons — Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara, Paramjit Singh, Shamsher Singh, Balwant Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Gurmeet Singh, Nasib Singh and Navjot Singh — are facing trial for their alleged role in the assassination. They have been charged with murder, attempt to murder, criminal conspiracy and violations of the Explosive Substances Act. Balwant and Jagtar Singh Tara have confessed that they were involved in planning the assassination.


Festival shoppers choke traffic
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 3
The city is out on roads today, not to participate in any rally, but to shop for Divali and visit fairs. The traffic police and parking-lot attendants are in a jam, literally. There were several freak accidents on the city roads today, but drivers were in no mood to fight or register cases against each other; so, they moved on.

The paid-parking lots in Sector 17 were packed to capacity. “Today being Sunday, the government offices in the sector were closed; otherwise, parking would have been a nightmare here,” said a police official. There was a heavy traffic on almost every road of the city, with even heavy motor vehicles moving at snail’s pace.

There were traffic policemen at roundabouts and traffic lights, but none was interested in issuing tickets to violators. Their main concern was to ensure smooth traffic and avoid traffic jams.

Hundreds of vehicles were seen parked on either side of the road in Sector 15. The scenes in Sector 34 and Mani Majra were not much different. Motorists were honking horns and pushing through the rush in Sector 22, where festival shoppers and visitors had made it difficult for everyone to cross the road.

A visit to Sectors 15, 19, 34 and Mani Majra today showed that drivers had parked vehicles wherever they had found vacant spaces. The traffic police was in no mood to take notice of such haphazard parking.


Doctors ready for Divali emergencies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The PGI and all other hospitals in the city are open on Divali to provide citizens with specialised services in cases of burns and cracker-burst injuries. Doctors have said that one should avoid self-medication in case of such emergencies and seek immediate medical help.

Out of all cases referred to hospitals on Divali, the maximum are of eye injury. “A day after Divali, we get a lot of eye-injury cases from not only the city, but also the entire region,” said one of the doctors in the PGI Department of Ophthalmology. The hospitals here will remain open round-the-clock on Divali to take up such cases.

Doctors say that mechanical injuries due to bullet bombs and flying missiles cause maximum damage, leading to high chances of a permanent loss of vision. “When the eye is hit directly, the retina gets torn and the blood vessels get damaged, ,” says a doctor.

The other types of eye injuries include thermal injury, caused due to flares from ‘anar’ and ‘phuljaris’, where only the layers of the eye are affected and the injury is superficial.


Panchkula cries for water, as Admn ducks issue
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 3
The township still has a long way to go before it can get its share of 18 cusecs of drinking water from the Chandigarh Administration under the Chandigarh Water Supply Augmentation Bhakra Main Line Kajauli Scheme.

While the UT Administration is drawing 60 million gallons per day (mgd) from the said scheme, no decision has yet been taken on when water will be released to this satellite township. Following a serious shortage of water here, the district administration, through the state government, has decided to take up the matter with the UT authorities later this week.

Since there is no natural source of drinking water for the township, the water supply here is mainly through tubewells. A large number of tubewells here have dried up over the past five years and the ground water-table is declining rapidly. Thus it has been decided that the state government will take up the issue with the Chandigarh Administration at the earliest so that the problem can be solved.

The present daily drinking water requirement of Panchkula city, including Panchkula Extension and Mansa Devi Complex , is of the order of 78. 27 mgd and the present availability of water is 27. 48 mgd. Thus there is an additional daily requirement of 50. 74 mgd.

Sources also inform that the size of pipeline to be laid from the Sector 39 water works in Chandigarh to Sector 1 here will also be discussed. The present size of laying pipeline is too big in diameter and thus the prohibitive cost of laying the pipeline. Sources say the state government is sceptical of investing Rs 100 crore on the pipeline project in order to get its share of 18 cusecs of water from the Bhakra main line scheme. At a meeting to be held for later this week, a presentation will be made for reducing the diameter of the pipeline so as to reduce the cost.

The authorities claim that alternate sources of water need to be tapped because of the ground water-table in the district declining rapidly. It is not possible to augment this shortfall by installing more tubewells — which can further deplete the underground water. A total of 60 million gallons of water is pumped up from Kajauli daily. Presently all this water is being used by Chandigarh and SAS Nagar. Water from Kajauli is also being used by the Headquarters Western Command in Chandi Mandir.

The demand for water is increasing at an exceptional rate and the gap between availability and demand of water is also increasing. The issue of getting water from Kajauli has again gained importance with the water works at Sector 39 becoming operational. This will reduce the cost of laying the pipeline for Panchkula, inform sources.

The project of constructing a dam on the Ghaggar was stalled a few years ago. However, the authorities say that even after Panchkula gets its share from the Bhakra main line, there will be a shortfall of 28 mgd for which an alternate scheme for the augmentation of supply (tapping of Ghaggar water by constructing low height dams ) is being considered.


PUDA loses Rs 15 cr to Amb Sahib body
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, November 3
In a battle that is best not fought, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) stands to lose more than Rs 15 crore worth of prime commercial property to the local Parbandhak Committee of Gurdwara Amb Sahib, here. According to sources, after a year of holding meetings and trying to reach a compromise, PUDA is seriously considering to let go of their claim over the land encroached upon by the gurdwara in the proposed Central Business District, Sector 62.

Sprawled over this prime commercial property, the Amb Sahib religious structure occupies almost 12 acres of land when it reportedly owns only six acres. The administration has, over the past one year, tried to convince the gurdwara committee to stick to their six-acre of land so that the development of the rest of the area can be started as designed. But the committee has its own logic.

Gurdwara officials state that the gurdwara is older than both Chandigarh and SAS Nagar and is now a historical place and should be, in fact, preserved. “The Amb Sahib Gurdwara Sahib Committee owns almost six-acre of land in the form of scattered plots in the rest of SAS Nagar which has been acquired by PUDA but no money has been paid to us,” states Mr Silvinder Singh, manager of the gurdwara.

But sources state that according to a deal which is still unwritten, these six acres are being considered as having been given to PUDA in exchange of the ones encroached upon. But when it was pointed out that the land encroached upon is of far higher commercial value than the ones given in exchange, Mr Silvinder Singh said, “It has become of commercial value to PUDA now, but the gurdwara has been here for over 300 years.’’

Neither the Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr D.P. Reddy, nor the Additional Chief Administrator, Mr Yashvir Mahajan, were available for comments.



Photo by Manoj MahajanVisitors to Chandigarh have long complained that finding directions in the city is as good as finding your way out of a maze. Now, 50 years after the city came up, the Chandigarh Administration has started installing road signs on all major roundabouts (chowks), indicating the roads.

The first road signs have come up at the roundabout known as the Matka Chowk. The yellow signs mounted on black poles now give a Delhi-like look to the roundabouts. Such road signs will now be part of the city roadview and will soon be installed on all major intersections.

Fifty years old

Fifty years ago on November 2, 1952, the Jain family bearing the losses of partition came to the city and opened the first shop of Chandigarh by the name of Cloth Palace. Originally hailing from Sialkot, the Jains had moved to Ambala and then to Chandigarh. Business was bad then recollects the oldest of the Jain brothers, the second generation of whom is now running the same shop from the same place. Slowly the city has grown and Sector 22 where Cloth Palace was opened is today the busiest market of the entire region. On Saturday the mother of the Jains cut a ribbon to mark the 50 years of the shop.

A major shopping festival is on with cars and electronics being offered as gifts and the Jains like all other traders of the area are in the forefront in managing the event.

Special guests

It may never be so good for 50 orphan children from Bal Niketan, 10 deaf and dumb children, 40 children from slums besides 10 children from Institute for the Blind. They got to celebrate Divali with Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), the Governor of Punjab. Punjab Raj Bhavan was decked up with coloured lights to receive the ‘special guests’ of the Governor.

The whole driveway, lush green lawns and the main building were illuminated for the special occasion. General Jacob decided to celebrate ‘Divali’ with the children to give them a sense of belonging. Attired in their new dresses children were eager to by near the Governor.

General Jacob enjoyed lighting “Phulljharis” and “Aatishbazi” with them. Tables loaded with sweets were laid up on the lawns of Punjab Raj Bhavan.

Driving blues!

Driving around was never so much of a problem, especially for the college boys and girls, who often take to the city roads without a driving licence in their bags. Although there has hardly ever been a problem in this connection, the days of comfort now seem to be over. The Chandigarh Traffic Police is all set to test the young drivers for their valid driving licences and challan them just in case they are found to possess none.

During the past week, the police authorities have even conducted random checks right outside the college gates, especially outside GCG-11, which is famous for girls driving without valid licences. No wonder the driving licence forms are suddenly in greater demand, now that the youngsters have realised that they can’t always have the cake and eat it too.

Beggars go Western!

The beggars of Southern sectors keep abreast of the latest in the modern world. Not only do they beg in style, they also keep track of which festive day falls when. While they have long been begging in the name of Divali, on October 30, they begged in the name of Halloween Day.

And before you could come to terms with how on earth they knew about the existence of any such day, they had even done their work. Now that’s called walking with the world!

Young admirers

Strange as it may sound, the four-day regional music festival organised in the city by Central Sangeet Natak Akademi managed to attract many viewers despite Dilvali preoccupation. The best part of the show was to see a large number of youngsters lining up to listen to the old musicians from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Uttaranchal and Jammu and Kashmir, who have been preserving rare musical traditions for long years. In most of the performances, the forte was held by men and women over 50 years of age, thus proving the point that the old are synonymous with rich tradition.

The most heartening fact was to see how young audience waited for hours to see the various performers from different states. That was the real success of the show. However, the second part of the show that comprised seminars at Gandhi Bhavan in PU was not a hit at all, courtesy the hype of students union elections of the PU. With everyone busy canvassing, the seminars wore a deserted look.

Neutral position

The election held recently in all the city colleges saw little participation from the hostellers. The reason was not that they all suddenly felt homesick and left for home to celebrate Divali well in advance, but they just did not want to get caught in the crossfire, as hostellers are the worst to bear the burnt from the losing parties.

This happens every year, says one of the students from DAV College, Sector 10. “The hostellers get intimidated by aggressive campaigning tactics by various parties. So they opt for the easy way out, by putting themselves in a neutral position,” he adds.

Nottingham guests

Five British families has visited Chandigarh as a part of the family exchange programme organised by the Rotary Club of Chandigarh Midtown. Nothing unusual but wait till they reveal their place of origin. Sherwood Forest of Nottingham still does not ring a bell? Well, Sherwood Forest is supposed to be the area which harboured legendary Robinhood and his group of bandits.

The inspiration of Robinhood was very much evident among the visiting families. They have been working all their lives for the poor and handicapped in the third world countries. Their working method has not been “rob the rich and help the poor” adopted by Robinhood but they collect fund through variety shows and other means under the umbrella of Rotary Club in Nottingham and then help the poor.

Cosmetic allowance

Employees of both private and public sectors have been getting festival benefits prodding councillors in the city to demand the same from the Union Territory Administration.

A unanimous resolution was passed last week recommending higher allowances for Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor apart from councillors. The recommendation was readily approved by the Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), in part the next day. Arguments of councillors, mostly of the ruling Congress, had the House in splits couple of times.

Congress Councillor Ms Anu Chathrath in a lighter vein said the women councillors even needed to be compensated for more use of cosmetics required to maintain more public appearances. The Leader of the Congress in the Municipal Corporation Subhash Chawla also pleased councillors by saying “Compensation for a councillor was even less than that given to a daily wager.”

Councillors had a case for being compensated for the corruption-less services they are expected to provide to the people and virtually no support coming for costly electioneering from the people.

Punjab and Haryana Day

The people of Haryana and Punjab have been celebrating their days on November 1 but Chandigarh remains without one. The local unit of the Nationalist Congress Party this year tried to remind the city residents — mostly employees — why they did not have day of their own despite the city also getting an independent status of a Union Territory on the same day when Haryana and Himachal were carved out of the undivided Punjab.

The NCP’s demand seems both logical and politically smart as it would at least create sympathy amongst employees who could get a public holiday on the day.

The NCP chief Principal Gurbachan Singh went ahead by celebrating the day in one of the backward areas of the city.


A large number of serving and retired officers of Jammu and Kashmir Rifles (JAK RIF) residing in and around Chandigarh held a get-together here on October 29 at DSOI, Sector 36. Lt-Gen S.S. Grewal (retd), former Adjt Gen was among the veterans present on the occasion.

JAK RIF was the sole state force integrated, en block, into the Indian Army After Independence. Units of the regiment have served with distinction in war and peace, including Siachen, UN mission in Cambodia (UNTAC) and earned many gallantry awards.

Participants had nostalgic reminiscences of the years gone by. They decided to form an association and hold such get-togethers at regular intervals.

— Sentinel


Divali greetings from Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The Administrator of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen. J.F.R. Jacob (retd), today expressed the hope that the Divali lights would drive away the dark clouds of hatred while ushering in a new era of hope, aspirations, peace and brotherhood.

Extending his greetings on the eve of Divali, General Jacob said that Divali was one of the most colourful and captivating festivals which provided people an occasion for rejoicing and merriment. 


Three cars stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 3
During the past 24 hours, the police has registered three cases of car thefts from different parts of the city.

A Maruti car (CH01H 9001) of Mr Harjit Singh, a resident of Phase V, SAS Nagar, was reportedly stolen from the parking of Hotel Shivalikview, Sector 17, yesterday. Another Maruti car (CH01P 6836) of Mr J.K. Bedi, a resident of Sector 38-C, was allegedly stolen from his residence on the night intervening November 1 and 2. Mr Santosh Kumar, a resident of Sector 40, also reported with the police that his Indica car (CH03H 2993) was stolen from his residence on the night intervening October 31 and November 1.

Injured: Bhag Singh, a resident of Ropar district was injured after the cycle he was riding was hit by a Maruti car near Picadilly chowk last afternoon. The car driver sped away from the spot. A case has been registered.

Snatching case: Two unidentified clean-shaven youths allegedly snatched gold ear rings and a gold chain from Ms Kamla Devi in Khuda Lahora here yesterday. In her complaint, she told the police that the two youths also threatened her of dire consequences. A case has been registered.

Five held: The police has arrested Kuldip Singh, Mukesh Kumar, Rinku and Sonu from Bapu Dham Colony yesterday allegedly for gambling at a public place. They were booked under Sections 13\3\67 of the Gambling Act.

The police has also arrested Sat Pal, a resident of Janta Colony, allegedly for selling liquor at a public place here yesterday. He was booked under various Sections of the Excise Act.


Theft: Gold jewellery, goods and Rs 1000 were reportedly stolen from a Sector 19 house during the night intervening November 2 and 3. The owner of the house, Mr Roshan Lal, was away to Solan with his family when the incident took place. It was this morning that his close relative came to visit him from Parwanoo and found the locks of all doors broken and the house ransacked.


2.5 lakh visit 4-day CII fair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The four-day CII fair closed here today, notching up record business enquiries and number of visitors. The organisers claimed that the fair generated business enquiries worth over Rs 20 crore and about 2.50 lakh visitors visited the fair from far away places of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and J&K.

A visit to the fair revealed that there was a heavy rush at the stalls of electronic goods, health products and garments. In the finance sector, the LIC, HDFC Standard Life Insurance, Om Kotak Mahindra, ICICI Bank and Birla Sun Life wooed the customers. The insurance companies had come up with new plans. Mr Rakesh Kumar, a development officer of the LIC, claimed that the new money back policy was much in demand.

A scene at the cellular operators was worth watching. If the Spice Telecom had come up with a group of dancing boys and girls, the Airtel was offering various incentives to book new connections. Despite poor arrangements at the BSNL’s stall, the people were ready to wait for form of its cellular services, yet to be launched. Defending themselves, the attendants said,‘‘ After all ours is a public sector company. We cannot play tactics of other players to attract customers. It is the tariff plan that is attracting them towards our stall.’’

The insiders, however, complained that the CII was charging heavy amount, despite the fact that it was paying just about Rs 25,000 per day to the administration. The CII officials, however, defended themselves saying that the cost of infrastructure, security and other paraphernalia was too high. They claimed that number of companies was ready to hire the whole area for the fair, but their purpose was to promote different sectors of the trade and not a single one.

The visitors profiled ranged from industrialists to entrepreneurs, academics and professionals to consumers from all walks of life. Among others, Lieut-General, J.F.R. Jacob (retd.), Governor of Punjab, Babu Permanand, Governor of Haryana, Prof Sampat Singh, Finance Minister of Haryana, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP, and Mr Vivek Atrey, Director, Information Technology, Chandigarh Administration, also visited the fair.

Mr Deepak Sood, Head-Trade Fairs, CII, said about 250 companies, representing diverse sectors of the economy, participated in the fair. He said the fair would be followed by a Textech 2002 — an international exhibition on textile technology— from November 14 to November 17, 2002 and AgroTech 2002, from November 30 to December 3 this year.


Jacob visits CII fair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The Administrator of Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), today made a silent, yet grand entry at the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) fair at the Parade ground here. The General had made it a point to go without his security and unannounced. The sole exception were his Personal Security Officer and the ADC.

Little children, goaded by their parents, rushed to take his autograph and have their photos clicked with the General. Young salesmen and salesgirls virtually mobbed him at all stalls with a request for photos. The affable General rode a simulator motor cycle. He then purchased a tandoor for himself and a golf hat.

Going around various stalls, the General politely turned down requests by various companies for signing visitor books. The General was a hit with officials of various companies managing the stalls as they were eager to explain to him their products.

An official of a private insurance company tried selling an insurance policy to the General who turned it down saying he was past the age. Children from Leh, who have been given admission to various schools here, met with the Administrator.

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