Monday, July 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Aided colleges in a spot
No grant, wages of staff withheld
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

While financial constraints, following non-release of grant, are a genuine problem, the case of SGGS College, Sector 26, has yet another twist.

Former teachers of the college, who have not received their retirement benefits, have given a representation to the DPI and asked for his intervention. This is said to be another reason for holding back grant.

Sources, however, said the non-payment of salary was a consequence of a “problem” between the management and the Principal, although the management had adequate funds. This was evident from the fact that everyone in the sister institute, GGS College, had already received payment, they said.

Chandigarh, July 27
The managements and staff in private colleges are at the receiving end following the non-release of 95 per cent grant by the UT Education Department for the past five months. Faced with the paucity of funds, these colleges are holding back salaries of their staff.

Seven aided colleges of the city have not received their quarterly grant for payment of salaries to the teaching and non-teaching staff.

The grant has been withheld by the UT Education Department to look into the funds collected by these colleges from students under various heads.

Confirming that the grant has not been released, the DPI (Colleges), Mr Dilip Kumar, said, “Private colleges are known to collect funds under various heads which are not accounted for. We have summoned records of all these colleges and asked them to give details of all fines and funds collected at the time of and after admissions. Once we are satisfied, the grant will be released without delay.”

The teaching and non-teaching staff of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, have not received their salaries for the month of June. Payment of salary for the month of July is also unlikely as there is no possibility of the release of grant in the near future.

With a teaching and non-teaching staff of nearly 700, the managements of private colleges are in a tight spot. The Principal of one of these colleges said, “Though it cannot be denied that the non-release of grant has resulted in a major financial crunch, we are trying to ensure that the salaries of the staff are paid on time. Their salaries are a priority.”

Meanwhile, colleges have already started setting their records straight to forward these to the office of the DPI. The management of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College is likely to approach the DPI first.

“The holding back of grant has no justification. However, if the teachers can go on strikes to urge the government to give 95 per cent grant, they can certainly approach the DPI and ask for the release of grant,” says Mr Bharpoor Singh, secretary of the Sikh Education Society that runs the SGGS College.


Varsity panel to review PF interest rate
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Panjab University will review the interest to be paid on the provident fund to its employees, both teaching and non-teaching. A university committee had recommended that an interest of 7.5 per cent be paid from January 1, 2003, to June 30, 2003 instead of the present rate of 10.75 per cent.

The Syndicate, after a detailed discussion, has decided to send the issue for review to a committee comprising Prof A.C. Jhulka, Prof Bal Krishan and Prof V.K.Bansal.

Mr M.G. Sharma, Finance and Development Officer, at a meeting earlier had pointed out that “the committee for working out the interest to be paid to the employees on the PF had recommended a payment of 10.75 per cent quarterly for the period between July 1,2002 to June 30,2003. However, during the period it has been observed that the rate of interest has fallen sharply. Consequently, the interest earnings which are likely to be received during this period would go down”.

“In addition, the realised return on the university’s investment made with the UTI is much lower than what was expected”.

A shortfall of Rs 6,16,08,590 in the returns during this period had put a “severe constraint on the university’s ability to pay the recommended interest of 10.75 per cent quarterly”, he said.

The university has decided to look into possibilities of alternative investment (like EPF) to give maximum benefit to the employees. 


Police to arm villagers, says SSP
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 27
The police has decided to arm villagers following a spate of dacoities and robberies in Chandigarh’s periphery during the past one week. Villagers, chosen by the police, will be given firearms under the village defence scheme.

Stating that police patrolling had been stepped up, the SSP, Ropar, Mr Gurpeet Singh Bhullar, said today that meetings with sarpanches and prominent residents in the periphery villages ad been held. “We have decided to give weapons to those villagers who are trustworthy, ex-servicemen and licence-holders. They will be given permission to use the weapons as part of village defence.”

“Thikri pehra” in villages had been strengthened any emergency. “Mounted police patrolling had been increased at Mullanpur because the Jayanti-Ki-Rao choe which made it difficult for the police to traverse the area on foot.

The SSP said meetings with village heads would be held on a regular basis. A centralised control room system in every village would decide who was to do what in the event of a crime.

Sources in the police said villagers did not take “thikri pehra” seriously. “It plays an important role in preventing crime in the late hours as the villages are spread over a large ara and miscreants strike and flee with case,” said a senior police official of Ropar.

Additional police personnel have been deployed at various points on the Chandigarh-Patiala road for checking especially during the late hours.

“We have requested farmhouse owners to install alarm systems at their farms to alert neighbours an emergency. This experiment has borne good results in Kharar,” said Mr Bhullar.

A special migrant labourers’ verification drive had been launched in the township today. Stating that colonies bordering Chandigarh and SAS Nagar would be thoroughly combed starting from today. The SP, Mr Harcharan Sing Bhullar said 10 persons had been rounded up in a colony in SAS Nagar.

The SSP said other than the Bapu Asa Ram dacoity which remained unsolved, the Ropar police had been able to make breakthrough in most cases. 


Robberies on the rise
Tribune Reporters

Dacoities in Patiala and Ropar
districts in 2003

* July 24 (Banur, Rajpura) - Father, son killed and four family members, including a 10-year-old girl, were seriously injured.

* July 25 (Palheri, Kharar) - Three persons injured seriously.

* July 3 (Mullanpur - Garibdass, Kharar) - One person was killed and two injured.

* May 4 (Chapparchirri, Kharar) - Cash, gold and jewellery snatched from an Ambala businessman.

* May 1 (Seonk, Kharar) - Five injured at Asa Ram Ashram, Rs 1 lakh looted.

* April 28 (Salamatpur, Kharar) - Family members foiled a robbery bid.

* March 5 (Kansal, Kharar) - Five persons were injured, cash jewellery looted.

* March 2 (Lalru, Rajpura) - Masked robbers killed a clerk employed with Ambala Municipal Corporation and injured two.

* January 10 (Devinagar, Dera Bassi) - Five houses robbed of cash and jewellery.

* January 6 (Saidpura, Dera Bassi) - Four houses robbed of cash and jewellery.

Chandigarh, July 27
The adjoining areas of Chandigarh are increasingly becoming prone to robberies and dacoities. During the current year, such incidents have claimed at least four lives and injured several people as on date.

The city’s periphery has also become a sanctuary for inter-state gangs involved in murders, robberies and other heinous crimes. The simple reason being that criminals move around in Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana for shelter taking advantage of lack of proper coordination among the police of the two states and the UT, Chandigarh.

Senior Punjab police officials admit that the shortage of staff was hampering their investigations. According to them, thikri pehras (community vigil) could go long way in checking incidents of robbery and dacoity.

During the past five years there has been phenomenal increase in population of Dera Bassi, Zirakpur, Kharar and dozens of villages around Chandigarh. Most of the inhabitants are migrant labourers who had come from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other states.

However, the police claims to be doing its best to solve the robbery cases and prevent such incidents but criminal activities seem to be increasing day by day.

Having failed to get results from the local police, a complaint was recently filed in the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) regarding a case of robbery at Bapu Asa Ram Ashram at Seonk village in Kharar tehsil. Taking cognizance of the matter the PSHRC directed the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) to conduct an inquiry into the case by an officer not below the rank of the Superintendent of Police.

Mr D.D. Puri, a resident of Mullanpur Garibdass, while talking to TNS alleged that the rapid increase in criminal activities around Chandigarh was a result of lack of cooperation among the police of Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana. Several other persons of various villages whom The Tribune contacted were of the view that had the UT police being sharing information with that of neighbouring states the criminal activities would have been undercheck.

However, when contacted, the Director-General of Punjab Police, Mr M.S Bhullar, said the Punjab police was in touch with the police of neighbouring Haryana and Chandigarh and information regarding inter-state gangs of criminals was shared on regular basis.

“Besides the police, state intelligence officials hold regular meetings with each other to share vital information regarding criminal activities of inter-state gangs involved in murders, drug-trafficking, robberies and thefts”, he added.

The modus operandi of the robbers around the city, in most of the cases, seems to be almost similar.

They attack in a group of eight to 12 persons armed with automatic weapons, iron rods and batons. Interestingly, the incidents of robberies take place early in the morning, sometime between 2 am and 3am when people are fast asleep.

Sources in the Punjab police add that in some cases dreaded Kale kachchewale gangs were involved but migrant labourers had carried out most of the robberies.


Admn mollifies Sabzi Mandi traders
Allows temporary sheds to fruit sellers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
After the anti-encroachment drive at Sabzi Mandi, the Chandigarh Administration has granted several concessions and accepted long-pending demands of traders, apparently to mollify traders who threatened a strike.

The Market Committee chairman, Mr Kuldeep Singh, announced at a press conference today that the Administration had agreed to allow tarpaulin sheds by fruit sellers up to 15 feet from their shops till a permanent shed is made.

He said the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, allowed extension of the sheds after he was told that the ban on wooden boxes for apple had been imposed and the card boxes, now used, would not be able to withstand the rains.

However, the shopkeepers would have to give an undertaking that they would remove tarpaulin shed as soon as a permanent arrangement for a shed was made. Those who refused to remove temporary sheds would be penalised.

Earlier, the shed had been extended up to 27 feet, almost to block the thoroughfare.

The Market Committee chairman supported the removal of encroachment, from the market saying it came as a big relief to the visitors who would now have an easier access to the market.

He said the Administration had also permitted the reopening of the guest house for farmers on top of the market committee office which had been closed in 1987 in the wake of militancy in Punjab. The Market Committee spokesman, Mr Ramvir Singh Bhatti, said the Administration had given positive signals on allowing the committee to spend on rural development.

The Market Committee chairman said the Administration should be appreciated for the cooperation it was extending in cleaning the grain market through a recent contract of Rs 80,000 per month.

Mr Kuldeep Singh said the Administration had also allowed Rs 11 lakh for laying internal roads, including concrete ones, in the market.

He said Administration was also asked to speed up the process of the development of the Sector 39 grain market to decongest the area.


BSNL to set up telecom system in Iraq
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will make a foray into war ravaged Iraq to set up a modern communication system, declared its Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Mr Prithipal Singh on a visit to Chandigarh this morning.

The BSNL is holding talks with American and Kuwait based companies which have bagged the contracts for re-establishing a communication network, Mr Prithipal Singh said while adding that final details will be known in a weeks time. He refused let off details like who is the foreign partner or how big will be the contract. Mr Singh, however, added that so far BSNL and the foreign company have been talking on a one to one basis and the talks are not through the Ministry of External Affairs.

All this recognition is primarily on the basis BSNL’s strength in laying a communications network which is now recognised internationally. Already BSNL is laying a rural telecom network in Nepal and Kenya is also showing interest.

All this, claimed the CMD of BSNL, was due to the phenomenal growth shown by the company in the past couple years. BSNL is already India’s second largest mobile phone company in terms of number of connections. After ushering the mobile phone culture the BSNL will now usher in an Internet culture, Mr Prithipal Singh said while adding that capacity to have 20 lakh internet connections was being created.

The future lies in providing value added service on fixed line phone. These include answering machine service which is free of cost and has been launched in Ludhiana. The next in line is broadband services. High speed Internet and voice services will be carried through the same copper wire which is presently used for telephone cables.

BSNL launches new system for Internet users
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
It is like making a dream come true for Internet users. The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) today launched a new system for accessing the internet. The user will not need to lock his money in prepaid internet hours or be restricted due to the validity period of the connection. Also no forms are to be filled up and BSNL’s scheme will cost just 10 paise a minute or Rs 6 an hour. This charge will be added to the phone bill and sent to the user.

Besides the usual call charges the customer will be billed for actual usage of the Internet only and the system is totally secure, said the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of BSNL, Mr Prithipal Singh, while launching the scheme here today. He was here to also inaugurate the newly commissioned building of the staff inspection quarters in Sector 20 here.

On the latest scheme, called ‘Netone- accountless internet access”, Mr Prithipal Singh said the user would be billed only for actual usage. The user should be BSNL landline user. Phones of other private companies will not work. The bill for internet usage will be added with the normal telephone bill. The scheme is at present only for users in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.

The advantages are that the user need not pay up in advance for buying internet hours which have a time limit. Normally internet service providers ask for advance payment and impose time limits on usage which means a waste of money as a user has to pay in advance and then is forced to either use the internet hours within the sitipulated time frame or forgo the hours.

As a security measure the user can log in to the internet only through one’s own phone number and this will be treated as the “user name” after the online registration is completed. The password will be filled in by the user. The user will able to access the net only the phone number from which the initial registration has been done. The master server at the exchange will not recognise any other telephone number. This is like a security feature, BSNL officials explained.

BSNL will also be launching its hand held Wireless in Local Loop (WLL) service in the city by having a 10,000 line capacity exchange for this. The WLL connection will be available for as low as Rs 20 per month. There will be four user options for the customer to choose with regards to buying the hand held WLL set. One the customer can bring his own set, second he can use a set provided by BSNL, third he can take the set on instalments or fourthly pay just Rs 20 a month as insurance charge and use the set. The fourth option has been immensely popular wherever BSNL’s hand held WLL service has been launched.Back


Coming to grips with children’s issues
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Long before medical journals began featuring articles on how handy acting skills could be for doctors, Dr Mohan Agashe was already wedded to theatre. Along with stalwarts like Dr Shriram Lagoo and Jabbar Patel, who also passed out from the Pune Medical Institute, Agashe formed the vital link in the network that imbued the Marathi theatre with richness.

Today, as the Director of the Maharashtra Institute of Mental Health, Pune, Agashe is promoting issue-based theatre for children, besides honing psychiatric skills to develop therapeutic uses of theatre.

Presently involved with Grips (German term meaning understanding with wit), the German genre of children’s theatre, Agashe heads the Theatre Academy Grips Project run by the Maharashtra Cultural Centre. He was recently awarded the Order of Merit by the German President, especially for his production, “Par hame khelna hai,” that hits hard at the communal divide among children. Inspired by a news item in the wake of the Mumbai riots, the play voices the feelings of kids who are forcibly admitted to community schools by parents.

On his way back from Spiti, where he was shooting for Pooja Bhat’s “Paap”, Agashe talked to The Tribune more about Grips than his roles in “Gandhi”, “Bye Bye Blues” or “Perfect Murder”. He also voiced disgust over the growing popcorn culture.

Having worked with Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, Govind Nihalani and Gautam Ghose, Agashe feels that present-day movies are like junk food that upsets the stomach.

“I'm looking for refined cooks who could serve wholesome meals as Satyajit Ray used to serve. I saw potential in Kundan Shah and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, but they are now going downhill,” he said. Remembering Ray, Agashe said, “He was an economic intellectual, who could offer the the best with minimum resources. Today’s film-makers will decorate the entire set because they don't know where they want to shoot,” he stated.

Known most for his portrayal of Nana Phadnavis in “Ghasiram Kotwal”, which has been staged 900 times, Agashe went on to act in “Nishant”, his first Hindi film. Then he featured opposite Om Puri in “Sadgati”, Dilip Kumar in “Mashaal” and Raveena Tandon in “Agni Varsha”.

Of all his roles, Agashe remembers the one in “Gandhi” most fondly. “I played the catalyst in Gandhi’s life. It was a minuscule but significant role. When Gandhi was making the speech against racial discrimination in South Africa, I proclaimed: ‘I can die for this cause.’ My statement led to Gandhi’s satyagraha.”

After playing Nana in “Ghasiram Kotwal”, Agashe faced trouble doing theatre because his performances began to be compared. He says, “I wanted to get away from theatre. While in Berlin, I saw a stage performances by Grips, a form of rebel theatre for children. Recognised in German schools, Grips staged plays on issues vital to children, like lack of playgrounds, extortion in schools, etc. I came back to spearhead Grips in India. We have produced many plays which reveal the aspirations of children.”

As you struggle to know how Agashe plays two roles with equal ease, he reasons, “I use my roles to balance myself. When I went to school, I was into extra-curricular activities. I grew up to realise that ‘extra curricular’ is a misnomer, because it is the extra curricular that hones your senses. The curricular only develops your thinking skills. So I entered the medical college knowing that I also wanted to do theatre. Because Maharashtra had the tradition of evening presentations, I found time to act...and my story rolled.”



Very few people seem to have mobile manners. That is why Rahul da Cunha, the celebrated theatre person who recently brought two classic productions to Chandigarh, made all possible arrangements to ensure that his actors are not disturbed by sounds during the progress of the plays.

Before opening “Love Letters” and “Class of 84”, the two productions in Tagore Theatre on July 22 and 23 respectively, the director made special announcements to keep interruptions at bay. One of them was: “Those found making unwelcome noises will be forcibly sent out of the hall.” Not just that, the director erected a special board on the sets of Class of 84. This board read, “Mobiles will be confiscated.”

The precautions served well and most of the visitors were seen switching off their mobiles or placing them on the mute tone. However, some obstinate ones still did not relent. Their mobiles rang and made unwelcome noises, much to the displeasure of actors Rajit Kapur, Shernaz Patel and Rituraj. The problem was that the machines kept ringing at sporadic intervals and there were no expulsion, as threatened earlier during the announcements.

“Roadways the larri”

About two decades ago the late Yamla Jatt, a renowned Punjabi singer wrote a song ‘‘Aa gaee roadways thi larri, naa koi booah na koi barri’’ symbolising the pathetic condition of Punjab roadways buses. It seems that the song is quite appropriate even today to describe the condition of some of the buses of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU).

Though the CTU has added about 50 new buses recently to its fleet yet it is still running old buses on the villages routes. The commuters of surrounding villages of Chandigarh have to travel by these worn-out buses. Rural passengers often complain that while the newly introduced buses are being run on the city routes, age-old buses have been pushed to the periphery routes. The passengers have to often push the buses to start them, as they decline to start due to frequent problems with their batteries. (see photo on top)

A cost-effective treat

The book show arranged at the State Library, Sector 34, by the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi has many interesting things to offer. Not only does the language publication exhibition boast of the best biographies a reader can ever dream of, it also offers classic literature at an amazingly cheap cost. So you can lay your hands on the biographies of Sikh gurus for a mere Rs 10 or 12. Also you can read all about the best Sufi saints of our times, also for a meagre Rs 12 or so.

The best bet in the exhibition, however, is English translation of Rabindra Nath Tagore’s works. Available in three volumes, covering poetry, prose and miscellany, this collection of Tagore’s translations, collected for the first time by the Sahitya Akademi, Delhi, is extremely rare and is available just for Rs 1200 (for all the three volumes).

New-look Tagore

The famous Tagore Theatre in Sector 18 is finally looking good. After months of overhauling undertaken by the UT engineering wing, the only decent indoor auditorium in the city has regained some fraction of its lost glory. The airconditioning has improved considerably, the seating arrangement has been looked into and the flooring has been taken care of.

Thanks to the revamp which was long awaited and called for, Chandigarh will not cut a sorry figure when it comes to hosting world class theatre productions. Interestingly, after renovation for months, the theatre opened to famous theatre shows, brought to the city by Rahul da Cunha’s group, Rage. While all was well with the venue, which even drew massive response for a change, the lighting and sound arrangement still was still not so much in place. The sound effects are the same as they were earlier, so was the impact of lighting. Perhaps UT will deal with these two things in the days to come.

No welcome

The Punjab Government which is facing a financial crunch, does not seem to have adequate funds to welcome its guests. Hundreds of people from different towns and villages of Punjab, who daily come to the Punjab Secretariat, to meet the ministers and officials have to face a difficult time since there is no arrangement of basic amenities like toilets, chairs or fans at the reception counter.

They have to stay for long to get passes to enter the building. The visitors coming from other states feel disgusted when they see that employees at the reception counter have kept glasses and jugs to save themselves from the leaking roof. The women feel embarrassed to see some males using the walls of the building to answer the call of nature.

Living in the past

Chandigarh may have outgrown its old image of a city for the tired, retired and about to expire, but the authorities still believe in living in the past. If you are having any doubts about it, just take out your car and drive down to Sector 18, 19, 20 and 21 roundabout. Even though July is nearly over, you will still see a signboard describing June as “anti-malaria month”.

This is not the only time authorities have taken a long time to react. Often you see banners giving details of programmes which concluded over a month ago. Will the authorities start reacting?

What a road!

The newly laid out road dividing Sector 47 and 48 has developed several potholes, which are now filled with water. Among them, one pothole has caved in forming a 10 feet wide and two feet deep depression making it difficult and risky for two wheelers and four wheelers. One has to drive vehicle like snails on this half-kilometre stretch. One can see heaps of bajri, sand and coaltar.

Now school buses have changed their routes due to the bad condition of this road. As there is no small roundabout, some are using short cuts on this four lane road passing between kutchafootpath.

— Sentinel


UT in a fix over mobile toilets
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
This is one residue of the slums which will take a long time to clear. The Chandigarh Administration moved the slums but it still does not have a final plan on what to do with the blue-coloured mobile toilets that were provided to slum dwellers for their use.

Several of such toilets, each built at a cost of about Rs 1 lakh, are still parked in Sector 39 which is just opposite the Palsora colony and also in Sector 49 just next to the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony. The mobile toilets have become a source of nuisance for the residents who feel insecured as the toilets can be an ideal hiding ground for criminals and anti-social elements.

Conditions of the toilets is such that they just cannot be moved without repair. The tyres of the platform on which the toilets are standing have worn out. The axles have not been greased thus jamming the platforms which have a provision of being attached with a tractor or a truck for the purpose of moving them. These toilets were provided in the slums about eight years ago as the slum dwellers used to defecate in the open. The two major slum colonies where these toilets were parked have been moved out more than a month ago.

Sources in the Municipal Corporation pointed out that the toilets will first have to be repaired at the spots where they are presently parked. The condition of the structures is so bad that they just cannot be moved. One of the ideas in the MC on the use of these toilets is to re-vamp them totally with new fixtures and new fittings and of course new paint.

These toilets will then be put to use for people who demand them for religious processions, social gatherings like marriages held in the open where no provision of a toilet can be made. In the past the MC has received requests for mobile toilets from people who have booked grounds for holding social functions. The demand is also there whenever the Chandigarh Administration holds functions in the open.

Once the MC okays this proposal the toilets will be repaired and moved from the present parking spaces to one of the MC’s godowns.


Contests to mark 100 years of aviation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
The Chandigarh chapter of the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) will host a national-level quiz on aviation in October. This is among the events being organised to commemorate 100 years of aviation.

The society’s events coordinator, Wg Cdr D.P. Sabharwal (retd), said here today that 12 teams from all over the country would participate in these finals. Quizzes would be organised at the regional-level by branch offices to select teams for the finals. The Chandigarh branch is to organise its regional quiz in September, in which nearly 40 schools are expected to participate. The AeSI is also planning to show the finals on TV.

An exhibition on the history of aviation is also being held at Chandigarh. The exhibition will be taken to other stations as well and end at Bangalore, country’s aviation centre, in December.

An hour-long multimedia presentation on achievements in the field of aviation has been prepared by the AeSI’s Mumbai office which it plans to screen for students of selected schools to generate awareness on aviation and related activities. The local branch of the AeSI is also organising several other competitions for local school students. Essay competitions in Hindi and English are scheduled for August 21 and 23, respectively and a painting competition will be held on August 22.

The theme for all competitions is aviation. An ‘aviation news and events scrap-book competition’ for students is also planned. While there are prizes in all competitions, winning entries in the painting competition will also be part of the aforesaid national exhibition.


Scanty staff unable to cope with power complaints
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 27
Hundreds of residents had to bear heat and humidity for almost two hours, as shortage of staff at the Old Panchkula Electricity Complaint office prevented the rectifying of a minor fault.

It is learnt that power supply to Sectors 4, 20 and 21, was disrupted from 11.45 pm to 2 am last night.

Residents of the area said they had complained at the Electricity Complaint Office by 12 midnight, but the staff came at about 2 am and the fused transformer was rectified within five minutes.

Enquiries revealed that there were just three persons at the office, including a telephone attendant.

Two of them were rectifying a fault at another transformer, and as soon as they received the complaint they immediately left for Sector 20.

It is learnt that this complaint office caters to five sectors and Devinagar village. As the employees have only a bicycle to commute, covering a large area becomes a problem and they generally get late in reaching the complaint site.


Murdered XEN’s kin demands killers’ arrest

SAS Nagar, July 26
Family members of Mr V.K. Chopra, XEN, UT Administration, who was murdered here on February 17 has in a letter addressed to the SSP, Ropar, demanded the arrest of the remaining two killers of Mr Chopra.

The letter, written by Ms Neeru Chopra, wife of Mr Chopra, states that the two conspirators, Ravinder Sharma, a Junior Engineer with the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, and Parampal Singh Matharoo, a building contractor, who are the main accused in the case, had hired three professionals to kill Mr Chopra.

While Ravinder Kumar and Matharoo were arrested within a day of the murder, Brij Bhushan Sharma, a professional killer, was arrested within a week. However, the other two accused Anil Sharma and Nitin Sharma are still at large and are now pressurising Ms Chopra and her family to help release those arrested by the police.

Ms Chopra has also alleged that the two are known to certain police officials and other bad elements of the area and it is necessary to arrest them.Back


Four injured in accidents
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, July 27
Four persons were reportedly injured in two accidents on the Chandigarh Ambala and the Chandigarh-Patiala highways in the past 24 hours.

Three scooterists, Gurmail Singh, Jasbir Singh and Bhola, residents of Ambala village, sustained injuries after a crane (HR-38 D-5832) coming from the Ambala side hit their scooter (CHP 823) on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway near Silver City, Singhpura village, about 3 km from Zirakpur today.

The crane driver fled from the spot after the accident.

An unidentified person sustained severe injuries in an accident involving a truck and a cart on the Chandigarh-Patiala highway.

The truck (PBW-4187) belonging to a Bhabhat village brick-kiln, rammed into a cart parked along the road. The cart owner was seriously injured in the accident. After hitting the cart, the truck hit a scooter which was parked nearby.

The injured were taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, for treatment. Their condition is said to be stable.

The police has impounded the vehicles involved in the accidents.Back


Man held for stealing water taps
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 27
A resident of Sector 34 reported to the police that his Ciello car (CH03E 8725) was stolen from his residence on the night of July 25. Mr Roshan Lal of booth No. 122, Sector 24, also reported that his LML Vespa scooter (CH01T 4186) was stolen from near the booth yesterday. Two cases of theft have been registered.

Meanwhile, the police has arrested Bhupinder Kumar of Burail for stealing water taps from a newly constructed BSNL Colony in Sector 36. He was arrested red-handed while committing the theft. He has been booked under Sections 454, 380 and 411 of the IPC on the complaint of Mr Prem Chand, a government contractor.

Held for gambling
One Rakesh Kumar of Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, was arrested for gambling at a public place yesterday. He has been booked under various sections of the Gambling Act.


Indica recovered
The Morinda police has recovered an Indica car and booked two men for its theft.

A tip-off led the police to Beant Singh and Paramjit Singh, both of Rajpura, who it said used to steal cars to later sell off by preparing fake documents. When signalled to stop near a checkpoint on Sunday, the accused got out of the car and ran. The police caught Beant Singh, while Paramjit Singh escaped.

Beant told the police that this car (PB 02 AF 8396) was a taxi which they had stolen after attacking its driver near Nawanshahr.


Youth electrocuted
A 18-year-old youth was electrocuted in Chotta Haripur, Sector 12, this afternoon, while he was filling water in a desert coller. He was rushed to General Hospital, Sector 6, where he was declared brought dead.

Fatal mishap
A 47-year-old resident of Sector 4 here, Mr Vinay Arora, was hit by an unknown vehicle on the road dividing Sector 2 and 4 late last night. He was rushed to the hospital, where he succumbed to injuries.

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