Wednesday, April 23, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Land mafia occupies prime piece of land
Top govt, police officials involved
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, April 22
Throwing all norms to the winds, land mafia, allegedly in connivance with senior Punjab police officials and top functionaries of the Punjab government, has encroached upon a piece of prime land at Lohgarh village owned by the Zirakpur Nagar panchayat.

Located along the bed of the Sukhna choe, the piece of land measuring about 2.5 acres was earmarked by the civic body for setting up a sewerage treatment plant.

Interestingly, the officers of the civic body expressed their ignorance when asked about the issue even though work was going on a war-footing for raising the boundary wall to fence the land right under the nose of the civic body.

Inquiries by The Tribune team at the site revealed that certain senior police officers in Patiala along with certain top functionaries of the Department of Local Government of Punjab have allocated the work for raising the boundary wall to a private contractor.

Workers on the site revealed that work on raising the boundary wall started on Monday morning, while bricks were unloaded on late Sunday night.

Sources revealed that the land mafia — some contractors, politicians, top police officials, bureaucrats and employees of the Revenue Department — active in this part of the state had a meeting in a house in Zirakpur in March, and subsequently the strategy to grab the piece of land was given shape.

As per the revenue records of the Zirakpur Nagar panchayat, the said land was Lohgarh village’s shamlat land which was transferred to the Zirakpur Nagar panchayat after formation of the civic body. There was no such record that the land was sold or was leased out.

Residents of the area confirmed that a police personnel of the Dera Bassi police visited the site thrice and also paid visits while the boundary wall was being raised on Monday evening.

On the condition of anonymity, a resident of the area claimed that members of the land mafia often drove luxurious cars to the area after having cold drinks and snacks in a dhaba located along the Chandigarh-Ambala highway adjacent to the land in question.

Mr Narinder Sharma, president of the civic body, expressed his ignorance, saying no such case was in his knowledge. He, however, said a team comprising the Assistant Town Planner and Building Engineer of the civic body would be sent to the site for inquiry.

The Deputy Director of the Local Government of Punjab, Mr Ashok Kumar Sikka, said, ‘‘I am not aware of the fact. I will check, and if any construction is going on there, it would be stopped immediately’’.

Mr Balwinder Singh Brar, DSP, Dera Bassi, ruled out the involvement of any police personnel in the case.

Meanwhile, resentment prevails among residents of the area over the alleged land-grabbing by the mafia. The residents were of the opinion that instead of eradicating corruption, the ruling Congress has boosted it manifolds.


Bodies of woman, daughter found in water tank
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
Unaware of the tragedy that had struck the family with the first rays of the sun, six-year-old Divya played a perfect mother to her two and half-year-old sister Nisha. Little did Divya realise that her mother, Neelam, along with her sister Radha, had jumped to death in a water tank of a water boosting station in Sector 33 here this morning.

The police, however, believes that the woman had accidentally fallen into the water tank, while she was fetching water. A case of negligence has been registered against the operator at the water tank, Gurmukh Singh, for leaving the door of the boosting station open.

Both the bodies were retrieved from the over 10-foot-deep tank by firemen. The family of the deceased runs a laundry business from a jhuggi at a short distance from the boosting station. Neelam used to go to the boosting station to wash clothes and fetch potable water. She was holding her two and half-year-old daughter Radha when she reportedly jumped into the tank.

A relative of the deceased, Sita, told the TNS that Neelam was upset over the poor health of Radha, who was suffering from a heart ailment. “She had visited different doctors to get medicine for her daughter but was told that there was a hole in the heart of Radha and she would not survive for long”, said Sita. It was Sita who first noticed that Neelam had not returned back from the boosting station.

Sita said: “I noticed the slippers of Neelam outside the boosting station. Then I went inside the station and saw that the lid of the water tank was open. I got panicky and informed my husband.” The operator at the boosting station had gone to a nearby market to have tea. Apart from the children, six male members lived in the jhuggi of the deceased. The husband of the deceased, Hari Chand, had gone to work in Sector 45.

On informing the police control room (PCR), a fire tender was sent to the spot. The body of the child was the first one to be recovered. The body of the woman was taken out later after the water tank was emptied. An official at the boosting station said the entire water in the tank was being pumped out as the stored water had been contaminated.

According to the police, the operator had left the door open due to which the woman got access to the tank. The operator was arrested under Section 304 A of the IPC and later bailed out.

Sources in the locality said the family of the deceased used to keep a duplicate key to the room of the boosting station. The deceased had apparently left her slippers out before jumping into the tank.

Meanwhile, a 22-year-old woman of Sector 37 was declared brought dead at the Sector 16 General Hospital here today. The deceased, Reeya, had taken an overdose of a sleeping pill.

The police has not ruled out the possibility of foul play. According to the information, the deceased, hailing from Aligarh, had left her husband at Aligarh and was taking classes for being a beautician. A police official said Reeya was living with another girl, Muskan. Another married girl, Shalini, was living in another room of the same house. In a statement given to the police, Muskan said: “Reeya had complained of dizziness and they had taken lunch together. After taking the lunch, Reeya went to sleep. When she did not wake up, I went into her room.”

She was referred to the Sector 16 hospital from the Sector 23 dispensary. The police has recovered two empty foils of the pill from the room of the deceased. The autopsy will be conducted tomorrow.


Bank cashier flees with Rs 20 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The Sector 22 branch of Punjab National Bank (PNB) was “robbed” of Rs 20 lakh by its own head cashier late last evening. The loss came to light when the head cashier, Raj Pal Singh Chandoke, did not report at an office of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) where he had gone to collect cash.

After searching for the employee, nervous officials of the bank informed the police in the wee hours of this morning. The wife of the employee, Ms Tarvinder Kaur, who is employed in a school, was unaware of his disappearance.

Enquires reveal that the 40-year-old head cashier, who has been employed with the bank for the past 19 years, reported on duty at 10 am yesterday and remained there till 3.30 pm. He told the officiating manager of the bank, Mr Harjinder Kumar, that he was going to the LIC office. Around 4.30 pm, Mr Satpal, an employee of the LIC, rang up to say that Raj Pal Singh had not come to collect the cash. Sources in the bank said the head cashier was assigned the duty to collect money from the LIC office, located nearby, daily.

Yesterday, the employee put the cash into a bag and left the bank premises. After search, the bank officials rang up the wife of the cashier at her residence in Phase 7, SAS Nagar. The bank safe was opened in the evening after a duplicate key to the safe was procured from the bank’s Head Office in Sector 9.

The police has registered a case under Sections 409 and 420 of the IPC on a complaint by Senior Manager of the bank, Mr Ashok Kumar Kakkar.

Raids were being conducted at SAS Nagar and Ambala to arrest the head cashier.


Overcrowded school vans: challaning drive on
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 22
In less than a fortnight after a story on private vans being used for ferrying schoolchildren appeared in Chandigarh Tribune, Haryana’s Director-General of Police M.S. Malik has written to Chandigarh’s Inspector-General of Police Rajesh Kumar asking him to “look into the matter”.

Mr Malik, in his letter, has also asked the IGP “to issue necessary directions for the safety of the schoolchildren”. A copy of a complaint addressed by several parents was also forwarded to the IGP.

Confirming the information, Chandigarh’s Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Amitabh Dhillon said action had already been taken in the case of a particular van being used for carrying school students in violation of the safety norms. A challaning drive was on and action was being taken against the violators, he added.

A meeting was, nevertheless, held in the afternoon yesterday among the parents, the Principal of the school concerned and Chandigarh School Bus Operators Welfare Association president Manjeet S. Saini.

The Principal said Mr Saini was requested to take a decision after looking into the matter. He was clearly told that the safety of the students was of paramount importance and should not be compromised with, the Principal added.

Mr Saini, on the other hand, said a decision would be taken within a week. He again clarified that tourist buses were used to carry children only in case of a breakdown, not otherwise. This, he asserted, was done to avoid harassment and inconvenience to the school students and the staff members. He added that tourist buses had contract carriage permits. Tax was also being paid to the authorities concerned.

Regarding the allegations of speeding, he said the drivers were not allowed to go beyond 30 km an hour. On the internal roads, the speed limit was restricted to 10 km an hour, he concluded.

Meanwhile, another representation, signed by at least 13 parents, was submitted to the Principal concerned. Asking the school authorities to take immediate action, they asserted that “separate authorised school bus operators” should be asked to fetch the KG class children.

This, they asserted, was essential as the timings of the KG class students were different from other students. Moreover, the safety of the children would, thus, be ensured.


Swiss Embassy team visits Panchayat Bhavan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
A two-member team from the Swiss Embassy today visited the city to get first-hand information about the case of the Swiss national, Edwin Bosshard, who was found dead in a room at the Panchayat Bhavan in Sector 18 here on April 19.

The team comprising a legal attache, Dr Tizanio Balmeli, and a lawyer, S. Rizwan Ali, went to the bhavan and inspected the room where the body of Edwin was found. The officials also visited the Sector 16 mortuary to look at his body. The team was received at the railway station by Edwin’s local friend Mr Anil Aggarwal.

The officials took a copy of the FIR and photos of the scene of crime from the police. The officials of the Swiss Embassy said they would prefer to wait for the outcome of the viscera before arriving at any conclusion. The police has already requested the authorities at Patiala to give the report of the viscera at the earliest.

Mr Aggarwal said the family members of Edwin were being contacted to know about their future plans. As Edwin had converted to Hinduism and his last wish was to be cremated in India, his friends were waiting for his family members to arrive from Switzerland, before taking any decision.


Low cost portable water-testing kit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
A low-cost portable water testing kit, claimed to be the first of its kind in the country, has been developed for use by school students by the Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) here.

The kit will enable users to know whether the water is fit for drinking or not, or if it contains bacterial growth. Being a simple kit, consisting of a few chemicals and testing papers, schoolchildren will be able to prepare such kits in the chemistry laboratory at their schools under technical supervision.

The users will be required to put a few drops of chemicals in the water, following which the colour of water will change in accordance with the amount and types of impurities present in the water. A chart has been provided in the kit for determining the level of impurity indicated by the changing colour.

The kit can determine physical and chemical impurities as well as bacterial presence in the water. While physical and chemical tests produce instant results, the test for bacterial presence requires around 12 hours.

The kits will be made available to schools in urban as well as rural areas. Each kit, which, besides chemicals, also includes a carrying box, beakers, test tubes, measuring cylinders as well as strips of pH paper for determining the acidic and alkaline nature of a liquid, costs approximately Rs 1,000.

PSCST officials told TNS that presently, only imported kits are being used in India and no kit has been designed in the country for use by students. Presently,one such imported kit being used for professional work costs Rs 35,000.

PSCST officials further add that inputs from schools could be used by regional pollution control agencies to carry out dedicated pollution tests to monitor the levels of pollution in different areas and take preventive steps accordingly.


No chicken disease in Barwala belt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The newly formed Broilers Farmers Association of Chandigarh today sought to allay a widespread apprehension in the city that broiler prices were falling here because of the outbreak of a chicken disease in the poultry belt of Barwala.

In a statement issued here, Mr Charan Pal Singh, president of the association, said while it was true that the prices of dressed chicken had fallen from Rs 65-75 per kg a couple of months ago to just Rs 49 per kg now, the decline had nothing to do with the outbreak of disease in certain poultry farms of Barwala. The fact of the matter was that the formation of a poultry farmers association had led to the elimination of middlemen who were “exploiting the market and earning a handsome profit at the cost of the poultry farmers”. The association had decided to follow the pattern of other cities like Pune and come out with wholesale rates of the live chicken ex-farm for sale in the city.

The association would like to assure the public that no disease was affecting the birds which remained fit for human consumption.


Mohali’s City Park makes headway
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar, April 22
A beautiful park which may well occupy the pride of place in the town is coming up in Sector 68 here. In fact, the first phase I of the ambitious project is nearing completion.

The 18-acre park, which is being undertaken by PUDA at a cost of Rs 4.5 crore, will have, among other features, water bodies, a waterfall, an amphitheatre and an open-air theatre.

City Park, which some officials of PUDA feel, has been wrongly named as it is also a “cultural centre” apart from being a park, will perhaps turn out to be one of the major attractions here for residents seeking relaxation and entertainment.

The park has two circular water bodies each having a diameter of 60 ft. These water bodies have high-jet fountains having a height of 40 ft. The two water bodies are connected by a channel which has been provided with finger-jets and vertical jets with height ranging between 8 ft to 10 ft. Another fountain having a height of 16 ft has been provided in the centre of the connecting channel. Every fountain has been provided with red, blue and yellow lights.

A waterfall has also been planned for the project. Sources say the plan has been rejected by the CA as it was found to be a costly feature. The structure needed for the waterfall was to cost between Rs 30 lakh and Rs 35 lakh. Moreover, the feature was not found to be very appealing.

In one corner of the park an amphitheatre with arched enclosure has been constructed. It has a sitting capacity of 100 to 150 persons. Efforts have been made to make the surrounding area quite appealing. Two big-sized earthen mounds have been prepared on which different types of ground cover are provided and saplings of special varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers planted.

A choe used to pass through one part of the park, the sullage of which has now been diverted into the main choe passing through Phase-IX. The sides of the choe have been turned into slopes. An open-air theatre with a sitting capacity of 600 persons has been constructed in this part. The base of the choe has been turned into a stage while steps have been constructed on one side of the slope for people to sit.

While providing greenery in the park it has been kept in mind that plants that flower in different seasons are planted so that the park was not devoid of flowers in any season. Some of the special varieties planted in the park include ficus benjamine, uniperus chinesis, brunfelsia, ixora coccinea, plumbago, juniperus prostata and mangolia grandiflora.

The entrance to the park has been provided a gateway with 25 ft high arches. The real beauty of the park will be witnessed only after the monsoon as at present the newly planted saplings and the grass cover were being adversely affected by the heat.

In the second phase, the park will be provided with rain shelters, a green tunnel, a stepped water channel and concrete pavers. A footpath on the outer ring of the park will also be constructed in the second phase.


We did not abandon Vandana: parents
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, April 22
“Kya koi apne bachche ko kahin chhod sakta hai? Mera pati to police ke pass apni ladki ke gum hone ki shikayat lekar gaya tha aur police ne usse hi pakad liya,” said Sunita, mother of six-month-old Vandana, while coming out of the court after getting a release order in the evening.

The police had arrested Jai Parkash, father of the girl, alleging that he had abandoned Vandana in General Hospital, Sector 16, on April 16. Since then the girl was in the possession of Charity of Missionaries, Sector 23.

After hearing his plea, the UT Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr C.L. Mohal, today directed the Charity of Missionaries to hand over the custody of Vandana to her mother.

The court observed that “mother is the natural guardian of the child and would take care of the girl,” acting on a reply filed by the UT police in the case that the custody of the girl be handed over to the mother in the interest of girl.

The parents of Vandana were in the court for about two hours to get the possession of their daughter. The father complained that the police had falsely implicated him in the case.

Narrating the incident, Jai Parkash, an ice-cream vendor, said that on April 16, Vandana was suffering from cold and chest pain and he had gone to the hospital to get her medical examination done.

In order to answer the nature’s call, he went to the toilet and left the child with some persons present in the hospital. After this, I become unconscious as I developed severe pain. When I went back to take the custody of the child, the police had arrived on the scene and a huge crowd had also gathered there. I could not gather courage to talk to the police as the people had already started accusing the parents of the child,” he claimed.

Adding further, he said “I also heard the police personnel saying that the father of the child would be taken into the custody for this unlawful act”. Thereafter he went home. Next morning, when he read a newspaper, he came to know that his daughter was in the possession of the charity home in Sector 23.

Giving details of the problem he had faced to get the possession his daughter, he said “I requested the charity home in Sector 23 to hand over the girl but officials refused and told me to approach the police.”

Thereafter he went to the Sector 26 police station to record his complaint where he learnt that a case in this regard was pending in the Sector 17 police station. When he approached the Sector 17 police station to registered his complaint, he was arrested by the police on April 20. Jai Parkash was later released on bail by a local court yesterday.


Endless wait for justice continues
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 22
“I will die by the time the court pronounces judgement in my son’s murder case. “My son, Inderjit Singh, was murdered 18 years ago in the city and I am still struggling to get justice,” an octogenarian, Allaha Singh, said yesterday while coming out of the court after the case was committed in the court of the UT District and Sessions Judge, Mr H.S. Bhalla, for trial. The hearing of the case is now fixed for May 6.

The case came up for hearing before the UT Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr C.L Mohal, who after hearing the statement of Allaha Singh that he did not want to record the statement of rest of the witnesses in the case, committed the case to the sessions court. Earlier, the court of the UT Additional District and Sessions Judge committed the case to the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate as the complainant had recorded the statements of 12 out of 42 witnesses in the case.

Allaha Singh’s 24-year-old son, Inderjit Singh, was murdered allegedly by his landlord and his son on July 7, 1985, in Sector 34-D. But the report of the post-mortem examination stated that the death had occurred due to asphyxia caused by hanging. Thereafter, the father of the deceased wrote to various officials and approached Mr Shiv Swarup, the, then, Adviser to the Punjab Governor for reinvestigation of the case. Taking note of Allaha Singh’s plea’s, a panel of doctors was appointed to re-examine the post-mortem examination report.

The report prepared by the panel revealed that the findings of the post-mortem examination given by the Dr S.K. Garg were not consistent with the findings in case of hanging. Thereafter, the case was registered against landlord and his son under Sections 302 and 34 of the IPC on November 24, 1985. The police, then, sought help of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL). As per the report, the deceased seemed to have resisted the attack. The blood sample was sent to the CFSL, Madhuban which opined that the case was that of murder and not a suicide.

The Chandigarh police had allegedly tried to close the case following recommendation of the Patiala police on February 27, 1988. Thereafter, the father of the deceased gave representations to the then Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court following which the case was reopened.

The CBI had also filed an application for the cancellation of the case registered against the landlord and his son. The CBI had implicated Allaha Singh and a police officer in the case for their alleged involvement in forging evidence in the case.

However, accepting protest application filed by Allaha Singh in 1995, the court had directed the CBI to conduct fresh investigation into the case. The case was handed over to the SP in the CBI, Mr Kirtti Chandra Kanungo (now DIG CBI, North-East region, Guwahati). After investigation, Mr Kirtti found that the death of Inderjit Singh was a homicide and not a case of suicide. The, then, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Sant Parkash, had examined 12 out of 42 witnesses, including CBI officials, police officials, Director of Forensic Science Laboratory, and the doctor who had conducted the post-mortem examination.


Misuse of funds by society officials
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 22
In a move that could lead to the surfacing of a building scam in the township, the Trade Union Council has alleged that the officer-bearers of the Mundi Cooperative House Building Society, Sector 70, in connivance with the then Assistant Registrar of Societies, Kharar, have misappropriated over Rs 1 crore rupees during the construction of the buildings.

Demanding a vigilance inquiry into the matter, the general secretary of the council, Mr Ramji Dass, in a communication to the press said a special audit was conducted on the insistence of residents of the society according to which financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 75.62 lakh were discovered.

Giving details, the audit report has listed five grave irregularities in the procurement and use of construction material for the cooperative society buildings. The report has also blamed various office-bearers of the society, along with some of the members. The report also states that the administrator of the society was the Assistant Registrar of Societies in Kharar and SAS Nagar during the period when the construction took place.

The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) had granted 3.27 acres to the society in 1998 in Sector 70. Most of these 194 flats are now occupied. The residents, however, complained about the quality of construction after which a private evaluator was asked to conduct an independent inquiry into the construction. Following his report, a special audit was undertaken by the Audit Department Ropar, and a report was filed on March 14, 2003.

The council has now demanded a vigilance inquiry into the matter based on the report of the auditor.


342 challaned for traffic violations
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, April 22
The police challaned 342 traffic violators during a special drive undertaken in the township here yesterday.

The four-hour drive that started at 4 pm was conducted by special teams formed by the SP, SAS Nagar, to check traffic rule violations in various parts of the township. The complete operation was divided into two parts during the first two hours, two-wheeler riders remained the target of traffic cops and in the remaining time a vigil was maintained on four-wheeler drivers.

Stating that the drive will continue for the next few days, the SP, Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, said the drive had been started to check increasing number of traffic violations in the township, especially by young two-wheeler riders.


BJP to launch agitation against MC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The BJP has threatened to launch an agitation against the Congress-ruled municipal corporation (MC) for a poor condition of sanitation, water supply, street-lighting, roads and lack of mobile toilets.

The party, in its state executive committee meeting held on Sunday under the chairmanship of Mr Yashpal Mahajan, threatened to launch an agitation if the MC failed to show an improvement in this regard.

The meeting, supervised by BJP National Secretary Om Prakash Dhanker, passed six resolutions on these issue, focussing on the pathetic condition of villages and colonies.

A resolution was specifically passed on southern sectors being ignored by the MC. “It is unanimously resolved ... that the party will highlight problems being faced by people and compel the MC to immediately solve them,” the resolution said.

The resolution said the general sanitation condition was deplorable with no proper system to keep the city free from garbage.

It said in southern sectors, the condition of roads, streetlights, water supply and sanitation was pathetic. The resolution said with the summers setting in, water supply had become a major problem.


VHP demands arrest of Ashok Gehlot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The Punjab unit of the VHP today demanded the arrest of Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and the imposition of President's rule in the state for allegedly trying to incite Hindus by arresting VHP leader Praveen Bhai Togadia.

In a statement issued here today, VHP vice-president Col Dharamvir and organisation secretary Krishan Murari also demanded from the Union Home Ministry that a high-level inquiry be conducted into the alleged conspiracy behind the arrest of Mr Togadia. The parishad leaders said the organisation would inform President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Home Minister Lal Krishan Advani about the conspiracy to incite communal tension.

They alleged that VHP leaders had been targeted to weaken their commitment to expose Congress leaders for trying to make a "foreigner" the Prime Minister of the country. The VHP leaders said the organisation was planning to chalk out a programme in Punjab to expose the conspiracy behind the arrest of VHP leaders. Amidst allegations that the VHP has increased its activity to polarise Hindus in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, where Assembly elections were due in November, the organisation said Congress chief ministers had targeted the trident distribution activity keeping in mind the forthcoming poll.


Save Sukhna
Multi-tunnel silt ejector needed

The Sukhna Lake was created simply by obstructing the flow of the Sukhna choe and other tributaries originating from nearby hills. It appears that no specific study was carried out on the sedimentation rate and prediction of sedimentation distribution in the lake. Had such studies been carried out, regulation of inflow and silt exclusion structures would have been provided in the original design itself. Even at this belated stage, inadequacy in the original design can be rectified by constructing the following works:-

1. Construct an intercepting channel on the north-east side of the lake for intercepting the flow of the Sukhna choe and all other small rivulets. This intercepting channel will consist of a stone-pitched right bank with cunnet on its left and the said right bank will join the existing outflow regulator, isolating it from the lake.

2. About 100 metre upstream of the regulator, construct an inlet without a gate on the intercepting channel for feeding the Sukhna Lake keeping its crest level sufficiently high.

3. Construct a multi-tunnel type silt ejector on upstream of their inlet along with a flushing channel discharging into the Sukhna choe downstream of the existing regulator.

Harmail Singh, XEN, Haryana Irrigation Dept


70 jhuggis around Golf course razed
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 22
More than 70 unauthorised jhuggis that had come up in Sector 3 around the Golf course were demolished by a team of the Enforcement Wing of the Haryana Urban Development Authorities (HUDA) here today.

Scattered around the Golf course, the jhuggis were razed with the help of an earth mover and a dozen of HUDA employees without any police force. The enforcement team took over two hours to pull down the temporary structures raised by the dwellers at the spot.


Woman crushed under train
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, April 22
A mutilated body of a 21-year-old woman was found on the Kalka-Ambala railway line at Dhakauli village, near here, this morning.

Mr Gurinder Singh, in charge, GRP police post at Lalru, said the deceased Ramni Devi, a migrant labourer, was mowed down by a train while she was crossing the railway line.

Hailing from Bihar, she was residing in a rented accommodation along with her husband Kalu Ram and two children for the past couple of years. Some passers-by noticed the body and informed the Railway authorities.

A Railway police party from Lalru reached the spot and parts of the mutilated body were removed. The body was later sent to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for a postmortem examination.


Jewellery, cash stolen

Gold jewellery worth Rs 50,000, a camera and Rs 3,700 were stolen from a house in Dhanas milk colony here this evening. According to information, the occupants of the house had gone out for work when the theft took place. Mrs Asha Sachdev, reported to the police that she ran a tailoring shop in Sector 15 and her husband, Jitender, had a lottery business in Zirakpur. Both left the home in the morning. When the woman came back for lunch, she found that the front door was locked from inside and the back door was open. The police has registered a case.

In another case, Mr M.R. Masan, Controller( Administration) at the CSIO, reported that computer parts were stolen from the workshop of the institute on April 21.

Meanwhile, Sunil Kumar, a resident of Sector 26, reported that a TV, a camera and Rs 2,000 in cash were stolen from his house between April 11 and April 16, while he was away. In another case, Anshul Garg, a resident of Sector 11 complained that her two mobile phone sets were stolen from her car parked outside the Lajpat Rai Bhavan in Sector 15.


The Chandigarh Police has booked Gagan Deep Lamba, a resident of Sector 39, for allegedly taking Rs 2.91 lakh from Kusum Khosla, to send her son abroad. Neither was the boy sent abroad nor was the money returned. A case of cheating has been registered at the Sector 17 police station. The matter is being investigated by the economic offence wing.


Liquor claims life

A resident of Ratt-Tibbi village, near Raipur Rani, died after consuming liquor purchased from a resident of the same area.

The police said Khila Ram and his friend, Mohan Lal, had consumed liquor, which was purchased from Karnail Singh of the same locality on April 18. After consuming liquor, they went to their respective homes late in the night.

Health of Khila Ram deteriorated late in the night and he breathed his last, while Mohan Lal was admitted to a hospital.

On a written complaint of Mohan Lal, a case has been registered against Karnail Singh.

One injured

The police registered a case of rash driving against an unidentified car driver here on Monday.

According to the police, Mr Banwari Lal, a resident of BEL colony, in a complaint to the police, has alleged that his son, Nikhil Gupta, was hit by a car (CH-01Z-7080) on the road separating Sectors 4 and 12 on Sunday. The driver of the car sped away from the spot after the incident.

Six persons arrested

In past 24 hours, the police has arrested six person for gambling and creating nuisance at public places after consuming liquor.

According to the police, Raipur Rani residents, Ram Murti and Satish Kumar, were arrested near from Ravi Dass temple on the Shahpur road, while Ram Lok of Paploha village in Kalka and Binder Kumar of Kurari Mohalla were arrested from Mili Chungi and Ghandhi Chowk for creating nuisance at public places under the influence of alcohol.

In a case of gambling, the police has arrested Naveen Kumar of Sector 10 and Viney Kumar of Chauna Chowk, near Pinjore, while they were playing ‘satta’ on public places. Naveen was arrested near from Hotel Shagun and Viney was arrested near from Chauna Chowk. A sum of Rs 790 was also recovered from their possession.


Verka’s kheer being lapped up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
Kheer introduced by Punjab Milkfed a couple of months ago under its well-known brand name Verka has proven to be a runaway success.

“We are producing about 500 kg of kheer every day at our Mohali milk plant and I am happy to disclose that all of it is sold within no time”, said Dr B.M. Mahajan, Managing Director, Milkfed, in a talk with TNS here today. “We had introduced it to just to test the market and I must say that the response has been overwhelming. As a matter of fact, we are unable to the meet the demand.”

Dr Mahajan said right now kheer was available only in and around Chandigarh. Its introduction elsewhere in the state would have to wait till the Milkfed sets up additional production facilities.

Milkfed has introduced a series of new products in recent months. These include new ice-cream flavours, paneer with long shelf life, economy size pizza, processed spiced cheese spread, desi ghee from cow’s milk and, of course, lassi and butter. All of them have been well accepted by the consumers.

It is now going to introduce a diet milk as well as yogurt with various fruit flavours.

All out efforts were being made to increase the capacities of existing milk plants by bringing modern technologies. Milkfed planned to expand butter manufacturing capacity from 15 MT to 30 MT per day by installing reconditioned butter manufacturing machinery. The ice-cream manufacturing capacity would be increased from 5000 litres per day to 10, 000 litres per day.

Dr Mahajan said the implementation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement and removal of quantitative restrictions had led to the flooding of the Indian market with foreign dairy products. The Punjab Milkfed looked upon it both as a challenge and as an opportunity to improve its own products. All the 10 milk plants of the Milkfed now conformed to international standards as per ISO-9001 specifications. Milkfed is also encouraging farmers to produce clean, good quality milk with low bacterial count for manufacturing milk products conforming to international standards. For this, Milkfed pays premium price to the producers. It has also decided to introduce new range of Verka milk products with better quality and packaging. Improved standards have already started show results; Milkfed did export business to the tune of Rs 10 crore during 2002-2003.


Pop songs catch up as mobile ringers
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
Songs like “Kanta laga,” “Dil chahta hai,” “Maine dil tum ko de diya,” “Sandeshe aate hain,” “Ladki hai,” “Ghar kab aaoge” and “Tum paas aaye” make you look for a TV set, a radio set or a music instrument. But these songs are fast catching up as mobile ringers and companies are trying to cash in on them in the market.

Cellular operators and handset manufacturers are trying to cash in on polyphonic ring tones. The ring tones based on film songs such as “Laila,” “Saathia” have become very popular these days. Cellular operators also send different tunes through the SMS.

Companies like Samsung and Sony Ericsson have come up with a new range of handsets made especially for higher-end customers who are ready to pay for new designs and added features. Nokia, Motorola and Panasonic are other major popular brands in the market. Besides different tunes, handset manufacturers are targeting young customers by offering handsets with added features like colour screen, camera, GPRS, MMS and polyphonic ring tunes.

These glittering handsets come in myriad colours such as rubby red, sapphire blue, pearl white and topaz gold. The price is anywhere between Rs 6,000 and Rs 40,000 per handset. Dealers say though the share of these handsets in the market has so far remained at about 10-15 per cent, yet sales are fast picking up.

Mr Anil Kumar Sanghi, GM (Marketing and Commercial), BSNL, claims that in the Punjab circle alone about 30-40,000 new mobile connections are being released every month. It offers a market potential worth over Rs 20 crore every month. Further, 10-15 per cent of the users are changing handsets frequently within months of buying a handset.

Mr Vinay Kataria, marketing executive at Paras Sales Corporation in Sector 35 here, a leading distributor of handsets in the region, says, “The market for handsets is growing at an exponential rate. Companies are adopting a two-pronged strategy to tap the market. One, by slashing the prices and secondly by introducing new models with added features.”

He points out that as the cellular operators are introducing the GPRS and the MMS technology in the region, the handset manufacturers have come up with a new range of models with these features. Sony Ericsson has brought in P800 model, claimed to be the first of its kind with a built-in digital camera, an audio-video player, an internet facility, a colour touch screen, handwriting recognition and the MMS technology at a price of about Rs 35,000. Nokia 3530 model is also available for about Rs 20,000 with camera and colour screen facilities.

Mr Kataria said over 5,000 handsets were sold every month in Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar. Reduction of prices has also affected the sales. For instance, he said, one could buy a new handset of Nokia 3315 for Rs 4,700 that was priced above Rs 5,300 last month.

He admitted that about 80 per cent of the market was still controlled by lower-end handsets, which included Nokia 3315 costing about Rs 4,700, Samsung 220 costing about Rs 5,000 and Motorola T 190 costing about Rs 4,300. However, the trend of buying a new handset was fast catching up as a class of customers was ready to pay a ‘little extra’ to have added features., he added.

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