Thursday, February 6, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Watchman clubbed to death
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Sohan SinghChandigarh, February 5
In the wee hours today, a 45- year-old night watchman, employed at the Sector 34 office of Milkfed was brutally clubbed to death. The body of the victim, Sohan Singh, was found lying in a pool of blood in a corridor at the rear of the Milkfed office, in the Sector 34 city sub-centre here.

The police came to know about the murder at about 8 am this morning. The deceased, who was employed as night watchman with Milkfed for the past over 15 years, ran a tea-stall nearby. A police official said it appeared that the victim had a scuffle with the assailant(s) before the former was done to death.

A broken wooden stick, a broken liquor bottle and a broken piece of stone with bloodstains was found lying along side the body. The back of the victim’s head had virtually turned into a pulp, apparently after being hit by the stone.

A close examination of the crime site indicated that the victim, who made a bid to escape, was dragged for a few metres before being clubbed to death.

It appeared that the assailant(s) were taking dinner when the scuffle took place. Some articles of food, a cigarette butt and an empty bottle of liquor was found at the site. The corridor was being used during the night by some rickshaw-pullers, said a police official. Two worn-out beddings were found lying at the spot.

The night watchman used to sleep at the ground floor of the Milkfed office. A police official said Sohan Singh had yet to prepare the bed for sleep when he apparently went to the rear of the building. The police is trying to ascertain whether the victim went out on his own or force was used. The front door of the Milkfed office was found open in the morning. The wallet of the victim with some cash and identity card was found lying near his bed. The police does not rule out the possibility of the watchman having entered into an argument with the assailant(s ).

Inquiries in the area by TNS reveal that for the past few days some persons, camping in the corridor during the night had been creating a nuisance into an argument with any body who objected. A worker at a nearby restaurant said the miscreants had threatened to him.

A watchman of Nepali origin who was sleeping near the site of the murder last night told the police that he had heard “some drunkards fighting.” The watchman was in an inebriated condition when he was questioned by the police.

The DSP, South, Mr S.C. Sagar, said the family of the victim, which lives in Basolin Village in Jogindernagar (Mandi), Himachal Pradesh, had been informed about the murder. The brother of the victim reached Chandigarh this evening. A case of murder has been registered at the Sector 34 police station.

Police officials are questioning watchmen employed in nearby government offices in the city sub-centre.



LPG man will now carry scales
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Taking note of several complaints by members of the public regarding shortage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), the Chandigarh Administration today issued some instructions to oil companies that supply cylinders in the city. As per new instructions delivery of LPG cylinders to consumers direct from the godowns has been stopped. Raids will be conducted to check the use of residential cylinders in commercial activities.

Delivery men of all agencies will now carry a weighing machine in the delivery vehicle. Each cylinder should contain 14.2 kg LPG. The weight of cylinder is inscribed on the cylinder. In future, LPG cylinders will only be delivered at the doorstep of the consumer and that to against vouchers issued by the LPG supplier. Delivery men of various companies will observe a dress code and all of the them will be issued identity cards by this companies.

All supply vehicles will carry the name of the gas supplying agency, its telephone number and address. These decisions were taken at a meeting which was conducted by the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr I.S. Sandhu. Senior officials of Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil Corporation attended the meeting. Mr R.K. Dhodia state level oil coordinator, was also present in the meeting.



Wreckage found after 50 years
Rahul Das
Tribune News Service

Rola Heri, February 5
A metal piece, believed to be the wreckage of an aircraft that crashed more than 50 years ago, was found on the Markanda riverbed today.

The piece, believed to be the wing, was found by a farmer who cultivates vegetables on the riverbed. When the farmer struck the metal, he tried to dig it out, but failed.

Further digging revealed that it was a large piece of metal shaped like an aircraft wing. The police, was then informed about the discovery, at which, the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr Uday Shankar, reached the spot to take stock of the situation. The farmers had dug a large hole to make the aircraft piece clearly visible.

The Superintendent of Police at Ambala, Mr Hardeep Singh Doon, said the aircraft wreckage had been found by chance. “Air Force authorities have been informed about the discovery of an aircraft wreckage,” he said, “and we have been told that the aircraft crashed more than five decades ago.”

A visit to the spot showed that the wreckage was buried deep. A large hole had been dug and a part of a wing spaning 12 feet could be seen in it. The place where the wreckage lay is inaccessible by road and one has to cross the dry Markanda riverbed to reach the spot.

Mr Faqir Chand, 75, of Rola Heri village, said an aircraft had crashed in the area in 1947. “I was a boy then. The aircraft crashed on the riverbed and hit the embankment before coming to a stop. We had never seen an aircraft, and, in those days, the area was not connected with road,” he said.

He said that the pilot of the ill-fated aircraft had survived the crash and told villagers to get him assistance. “The pilot had sustained injuries on his legs and as far as I can remember, the aircraft was not burnt in the incident,” he said.

At that time, no attempt was made to retrieve the aircraft. “When we visited the site after three years, the wreckage, covered by the sand of River Markanda, still lay there and it has been there ever since,” said Mr Faqir Chand.

At the time of filing the report, the digging was still on. It had become clear during the digging that the part that was visible was of an aircraft. A JCB machine was being brought to the spot, so that, the digging could be made quick.

Policemen stood guard at the spot and they had a difficult time keeping the curious onlookers at bay. The villagers were surprised at the discovery.

The part of the wing that is visible does not bear any number or identification mark. An attempt was made to look for these under the painted wing by scratching it, but no success was achieved.



Amitabh Dhillon to be UT SP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has cleared the name of Mr Amitabh Dhillon, a 1997-batch Haryana cadre officer, for the post of Superintendent of Police (Traffic and Security) Chandigarh. Sources in the Administration said a communique in this regard was likely to be received in the coming days.

At present, Mr Balbir Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police (Traffic and Security) is working against the post of Superintendent of Police. 



No sign of wall even after seven months
Our Correspondent

Mullanpur, February 5
Shattered windowpanes, broken gates, waterlogged area and cattle — this is the condition of the new building of a government school which was inaugurated by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in July. The building, was constructed at a cost of Rs 1.2 crore, was donated by an NRI.

The Chief Minister had announced that the government would struct a boundary wall around the school but so far there is no sign of the wall even though the government had reportedly sanctioned the money.

Ropar Deputy Commissioner Seema Jain said: ‘‘As announced by the Chief Minister, Rs 8 lakh had been sanctioned for the wall from the Chief Minister's discretionary fund’’. Dispelling fears of villagers that the grant may lapse, she said, the construction would start within a month’’.

Lala Lajpat Rai, Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab had sanctioned some money for the setting up of a stadium in the school and the foundation stone for the same was laid on October 16. However, it lies as it is.

Mr Nathu Ram Puri of UK who had donated the building, during a recent visit to the village, had said it seemed the ‘‘building had become nobody's baby’’.

The area around the school is no better with heap of garbage and choked nullahs. Schoolchildren complain that in the absence of a boundary wall, cattle often stray in the compound. ‘‘The school playground has turned into a sanctuary for cattle and there are several small pools of water,” a villager said.

The Principal could not be contacted.



Rights of aged ignored: experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The police and the crime analysis wing in the country has paid insignificant attention to crime against the aged. This reflects poorly on the administration and society, said Mr Sugan Bhatia, member of the SAARC Countries Forum on Productive Ageing, here today.

Mr Bhatia was speaking at the inaugural session of a national seminar on “Neglect, abuse and violence :the aged in India” being organised by the Centre for Women’s Studies and Development, Panjab University. Mr Bhatia referred to increasing cases of violence and mental tension for the aged. He referred to productive employment for the aged as one of the solutions.

Dr Pam Rajput, director of the centre, introducing the topic, said it was to think about the rights of the aged, instead of thinking of their welfare alone. ‘Functional ageing” aimed at searching work avenues for the old was an important area which needed attention to felicitate their working and enhance their societal contribution, Dr Rajput said.

She said going by the figures, there would be a 107 per cent increase in the number of aged between 1991 and 2016, while the projection for the overall population growth was 49 per cent only.

Prof B.S.Chavan, head of the department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Mr P.H.Vaishnav, a former Principal Secretary, Punjab Government, and Mr Onkar Chand, vice-president of the Servants of the People Society, were present at the inaugural session.

The seminar concludes tomorrow.



Smriti Upavana — UT’s forgotten dream
Tribune News Service


Smriti Upavana was to be maintained jointly by the Save Sukhna Lake Society and the UT Forest Department. It was conceptualised in 1988 by the then UT Adviser, Mr Ashok Pradhan. Its layout was planned by a former UT Chief Architect, Mr O.P. Mehta. The project was executed by the then Chief Engineer, Mr S.S. Virdi. The garden was meant for preservation of rich flora. The idea was to involve the public in the conservation of plants.

Chandigarh, February 5
There is something highly deceptive about the entrance to Smriti Upavana, a huge stretch of densely vegetated land at the back of the Lake Club. While the gate of this Upavana, inaugurated in 1988, bears the inscription “Vanaspatic Garden (Botanical Garden), UT”, its interior and its facade present a contrasting story.

Ever since the garden was inaugurated by the then Governor of Punjab Mr S.S. Ray, who planted the first sapling of a banyan tree here, its condition has gone from bad to worse. In 1991, the 200 acre stretch of land, upon which the garden stands, was declared a reserve forest and brought under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1962.

The condition is bad today, so bad that the foundation panel, laid inside the garden to mark the birth centenary celebrations of Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, lies smudged with yellow paint; the adjoining pond which has a beautiful fish-mouth sculpture installed to enhance its beauty lies in a shambles; and the exterior of the garden is in a state of mess, with villagers using the space for easing themselves.

As Smriti Upavana cries for its share of attention, the UT Administration is busy planning a botanical garden in 180 acres of land acquired in Sarangpur. The project has been widely appreciated for its ability to further the task of conservation and preservation, along with research. But Smriti Upavana should also be paid attention as it was earlier supposed to come up as a botanical garden.

UT officials, when contacted, brought out non-feasibility of maintaining this garden. A Former Deputy Conservator of Forests, Mr H.S. Sohal, clarified, “This place is not fit for plantation as it is already densely planted. It also poses a problem of water logging.” Mr Ishwar Singh, Conservator of Forests, UT, also argued that it did not make sense to plant more trees in the garden that was already densely planted. “We have now shifted the focus to the new botanical garden that would serve the purpose of conservation and research.”

Today this garden is all about thorns, damaged tiles and a smudged foundation panel, which bears unsavoury remarks inscribed by love lorns. Its gates remain locked and the surroundings stink. Ironically, the foundation panel reads: “This imaginatively planned garden lying between the magnificent Capitol Complex and the Sukhna fully blends with the excellent backdrop of the blue Shivaliks to infuse a concern for ecology and environment among the residents of Chandigarh.”



Tailor in need of donations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Even though it had always been difficult to make both ends meet working as a tailor in a boutique, 38-year Harish Sharma who requires Rs 1.25 lakh for cardiac surgery is losing out hope as he has no money for the operation.

“For the past four years, I kept ignoring my health, despite acute pain as I knew that with my meagre earnings it would not be possible to even spend a few hundred rupees on my treatment,” explains Harish. Doctors at the Cardiology Department of the PGI have asked him to arrange for the money at the earliest so that the surgery can be performed.

Being the sole bread-earner of a family of four, his wife says they have no money for the operation. They have a 15-year-old son and a13-year-old daughter.

He has been asked to deposit the money by February 14.

Those willing to help him may contact him at Plaza Fashion House, SCO- 447, Sector 35-C.



Top up your life with pizzas
Harvinder Khetal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Things have spiced up on the pizza front for Chandigarhians, with a lot happening this week. First the MNC giant, Pizza Hut, announced its offspring from the marriage of the Continental fare with Indian style and herbs. Then, the homegrown chain of pizza outlets from Mumbai, Smokin’ Joe’s, launched its first store in the North after Delhi in the Sector 35-C lane of eateries in our very own city.

The USP of Smokin’ Joe’s is “fresh pizzas”. The three basic zones comprising a pizza — the base bread, the sauce of tomato puree and the formulated toppings of veggies or chicken — are all freshly made. And a topping that should go well with your wallet is their cost-effectiveness. Their 8” pizza is pegged at the same rate as a 6” one of a rival’s.

Lending credence to their claim is the success of the 26 outlets of Smokin’ Joe’s in eight cities of western India, serving sumptuous pizzas for over nine years.

The franchisees for Chandigarh are Col H.S. Sohal (retd) and his Merchant Navy officer brother I.S. Sohal. In fact, it was Mr I.S. Sohal who struck a deal with his Mumbai friends Nimal Momaya and Navroze Bilimoria, promoters of the firm, and joined hands with his brother who had been looking for some business since retirement.

Besides a host of pizzas, the blue-and-white tiled 40-cover joint offers unique pizza sandwiches made by stuffing salads into pizza pockets. The fillings in veg (cheese, veggies or potatoes) and non-veg (chicken, or bacon) varieties come in the Rs 60 to Rs 100 range. Or, if you don’t relish pizza, go for their garlic bread toasted with butter or cheese or embellished with chopped tomatoes and basil in olive oil.

Priced between Rs 75 and Rs 260, their pizzas are a treat in three sizes — 8” regular (serves 1), 10” medium (serves 1-2) and 12” (serves 2-3). And the toppings read like a veritable multi-cuisine pick. While you have the non-veg American pepperoni and veg California (tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, spring onion and mushroom) from the us of A, the chilli chicken and panir chilli along with Schezwan veg and non-veg and great Wall of China (spicy and tangy mix of fresh veggies) are a lift from the Communist country.

Also on the menu are the hot’n spicy mix of chicken, salami, mushroom and capsicum topping a la a Mexican delight and the Hawaiian fare comprising barbecued chicken, pineapple and spring onions.

Ok. Don’t be disappointed. The Indian tikkas and tandoori panirs also form a part of the choice off the plater, though I wish they wouldn’t add red colour to the panir. For those who prefer the Punjabi or the royal style, go in for the butter chicken or chicken nawabi varieties.

And if non-veg is a no-no, try their plain cheese (tomato sauce & cheese) which is also available in the Jain style of cooking for the more orthodox.



Prayer for Kalpana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
A two-minute silence was observed at a prayer organised by the Jhang Sabha to express grief over the death of Kalpana Chawla. Meanwhile, at a condolence meeting, members of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association also expressed sorrow over her demise.

The Panjab University Alumni Association, in a press note, expressed grief and condolence over the demise of Kalpana.



Demand to shift meat shops
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, February 5
Residents of Phase-I, demanding the shifting of the meat market from the area, continued their agitation for the third day today.

Though the dharna today was eaceful, the meat market remained closed. The protesters organised a ‘shabad kirtan’.

They had, yesterday, tried to block traffic on a road in front of the market.

Certain municipal councillors are also supporting the agitation. They said the meat shops had come up on an encroached land and were close to a temple and a gurdwara in the area. Religious sentiments of the people were hurt when birds scattered small pieces of meat picked up from near the meat shops.




Bhatia Gas Centre, Sector-22, has clarified that the insurance company will indemnify the amount to the gas agency as per the orders passed by the Consumer Court. This was inadvertently skipped in the news item published in Chandigarh Tribune under the heading. “Gas agency told to pay Rs 69, 500 to consumer”dated February 3.



Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Thakur Sukh Ram (70), father of Mr Jagdish Thakur a plate-maker in The Tribune Group of Newspapers, died hear today.

He is survived by his wife, son and two daughters.

The funeral procession will start from 3140, Sector 29-D, at 11.30 a.m. tomorrow.



Scooter theft in Sector 23
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Raj Kumar, a resident of Kansal village, in Ropar district has reported that someone stole his Bajaj Chetak scooter (No CH-01-V-1766) from Sector 23 yesterday night. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

LPG cylinders stolen
Amrik Singh, a resident of Sector 23, has reported that someone stole two LPG cylinders from his residence last night. A case under Section 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Battery stolen
Vrinder Singh, a driver at the General Hospital, Sector 16, has reported that someone stole battery from ambulance No CH-01-G1-0572, last night from the hospital premises. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

The local police has arrested six persons, Sohan Lal, Jatinder Kumar, Sat Pal, Parshotam, Rishi Pal and Rakesh Kumar, on charge of gambling.

A cash amount of Rs 1120 and two sets of playing cards were seized from them.

Two separate cases under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act have been registered.



Kapil opens bank branch
Our Sports Reporter

Chandigarh, February 5
Legendary cricketer Kapil Dev today inaugurated the first branch of the Standard Chartered, one of India's largest international banks, in Sector 9. Kapil Dev was recently appointed brand ambassador of the bank. The unique feature of this branch is that it will remain open all through the year. Others present on the occasion included Mr Jaspal Bindra, global head, Corporate and Institutions, Chris Low (India region).

Kapil Dev said the city had seen rapid development in every sphere and hoped that people would avail the facilities of the bank.

Later, in a brief talk with newspersons on the forthcoming World Cup, he said the Indian batting was quite strong and capable of beating any team. He, however, showed his concern on the bowling. He said batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid could scare any bowler. He said Australia was one of the strongest sides but still Indian players could show their best since they were capable.

Kapil Dev however defended Ajay Jadeja and said he was defamed in the peak of his career but actually it has harmed his career. Once a peak form was attained, it could be regained.



Oldest southern sector market losing out on
business, customers
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service


  • None of the streetlights are functioning in the market.
  • Old people have been falling due to a poor state of tiles.
  • Public toilet does not even have fittings and is not operational.
  • Recarpeting has not been done for long.
  • The wide space for tiles has not been utilised for parking.
  • Trimming of trees has not been proper.
  • There is no public water supply from the corporation leaving the shopkeepers to rely on handpumps dug up by the local people.
  • Water has been logging in the middle of the parking lot, spoiling the road.

BUSINESS in Sector 35-D market is no more flourishing. Shopkeepers here primarily accuse the authorities for ignoring the market but feel business was coming to the market till it was the sole market in the second phase of the city.

Development of markets in Sector 34, 36, 37 and 40 has offered customers a choice. The coming up of these markets has eaten into the business of the first market of the southern sectors.

The market, however, has been able to retain a large number of its old-timers due to a long stint of good business that started in the seventies .

Shops started coming up in 1970 after three years of allotment of plots for SCOs. Deva and Sons (now Akarshan Garments), Mafatlal, New Bhain Hatti, Central Bank, Krishna Tent House, Dharampal, Naresh Kumar, A K Confectioners and State Bank of Patiala are amongst those which have been in the market since early seventies.

The development of the market got a boost in the second phase starting between 1975 and 1980 when Nagpal Fabrics, Swan Agency of gift items and stationers along with others came to the market.

The front row of booths which came up in 1985 have added to the diversity of the market, having a number of cyber cafes and luggage carrier repair shops. The association of the market has members between 120 and 125 with around 36 shops and 33 booths. Rest of the businesses are being run from upper floors.

With the sector emerging as the market with the largest number of jewellery shops in the city, Rajeev Jewellery House, Bagga Jewellery, Gulmohar Jeweller and Hari Om Jewellers have been doing good business in this part of the market.

Narula Footwears, Selection Footwear and Leathera are amongst known names in the shoe business.

Kamal and Akarshan Garments are catering to the fashion needs of customers. Punjab handloom is one of the big dealers of curtains.

Supertech computers, Chandigarh TV Training Centre and Vision Asia are computer training centres having earned their names.

Guru Nanak Medicos Pvt Limited, one of the major 6 or 7 wholesale cum retailer outlets in the city, has been in the market for long and has been able to attract medicine businessmen here.

Sector 35 and this part have a large number of medicine shops as the dispensary of the sector was earlier in this part of the sector.

Presence of good doctors has also been helping the medicine business grow rapidly in this area. A diagnostic centre, Heart Care, has the facility of consultancy also.

Apart from cyber cafes, this area has number of beauty parlours like Attitude Beauty Parlour and Anu Beauty Parlour.

Italian furniture designs are available in the market in Timex Furnitures. Realising the importance of the market, Nathus have also reached the market.

The market probably has the largest number of shops of luggage carrier repair and sale with a cluster developing in booths.

One of the big crockery outlets Jain Stores has set up its shop in the market.

Few of shopkeepers who initially came to booths have shifted to the C Block of the market to be accommodated in SCOs.

The welfare association of the market has been active and has constantly been contacting the authorities to improve the condition of the market to help it improve business prospects of the market.

The association took an initiative of marking the parking lot with its own funds to manage the parking lot.

The association suggests that with the tiles not being changed for long, space for tiles could be reduced to create extra room for parking.

The association office-bearers say this measure would also reduce burden on the Municipal Corporation as it would have to fix tiles on less area after the reduction of the space for tiles.

The multiple activity market, however, seems to have lost the business focus competing with sector 17 and 22, which are bigger than this market.

The market has turned specialised in jewellery items due to proximity of a large number of shops in the entire sector, which has the highest number of them. However, the volume still seems to be far behind that of Sector 22 which has been doing a heavy business in the item.

The market will have to realise its changed situation no more having remained the sole market of southern sectors. It will have to collectively devise strategies of better service and creation of necessary infrastructure to bring back its glory.



British visa centre in city
Tribune News Service


  • Applications for British visa can be submitted at SCO No. 61-62, Sector 9, Madhya Marg.
  • Passports can be collected from here after the issuance of visas.
  • Details can be sought about documentation.
  • Those eligible for drop-box facility can submit their passports here.

Chandigarh, February 5
The British High Commission has opened a visa centre in the city. The centre will be operated by its Swiss partner, Visa Facilitation Service (VFS). It has been appointed by the British High Commission as their official outsource partner in India to handle administrative procedures related to visa application process.

The discretion to issue a visa or call a person for an interview still lies with the British High Commission. The VFS has no role or influence in the matter, says Mr Suprit Roy, project head of the VFS. An applicant getting a visa after an interview will ordinarily get his passport back after two working days from the date of the interview. The interview will be conducted in Delhi. After submission of application, persons requiring interviews will be informed the next day.

Counsellors at the local centre will guide the applicants about documentation and give appointments for interviews. An applicant can come in person or send his authorised representative or even a travel agent. Passports submitted here will be sent to Delhi.

Drop-box facility will be available to the persons who have visited the UK in the past 10 years or to those who have travelled to the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Switzerland or European countries during the past five years.



Saif, Kaif Frito-Lays ambassadors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Frito-Lays India, manufacturer of leading snack brands, today announced Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan and youthful fiery Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif as the brand ambassadors for Lays potato chips. The company also launched its newest flavour, Saif-n-Kaif hot and sweet chilly, Caribbean style to coincide with the World Cup.

Saif and Kaif will promote the brand and be involved in the ICC World Cup promotions.


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