Friday, August 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Coke, Pepsi bottles seized
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
Though the UT Food and Health authorities today swung into action and seized samples of Coke, Pepsi and other carbonated drinks from the bottling plant in Darua and other public places in the city, but in the absence of micro-testing facility at the Punjab and Haryana laboratories, other agencies having such sophisticated equipment are being approached.

The authorities today collected over 12 samples of the popular cold drinks from the High Court, Inter-State Bus Terminus, Sukhna Lake and other public places. "The seized samples have been sent to the Punjab and Haryana laboratories in Sector 11 and now it is their responsibility whether to test it themselves or approach a place where this facility is available," said a senior health official.

The analyst at the Haryana Laboratory, Mr P.K. Nayyar, said samples of seized cold drinks had been received from the UT Food and Health authorities. "Since we do not have the Gas Liquid Chromatograph (GLC) which is required for micro-testing of the cold drinks to check for any insecticide contamination, we shall be sending it to some other place like the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), where this facility is available," Mr Nayyar said.

The health officials said their primary objective was to take samples from the bottling units so that the retailers and shopkeepers were not harassed as a result of the latest controversy. "Though we have taken soft drink samples but the fact remains that the pesticide contamination is in the water used by these units, which is generally supplied by the Municipal Corporation, as is the case in Chandigarh," said a health official. As such the level of pesticide contamination will depend on its content in the water being supplied by the corporation or any other government agency, he added.

Mr Nayyar, said since the standards laid down for these cold drinks do not fall under the purview of the Prevention of Food and Adulteration Act, they don't have the GLC equipment. "A proposal to acquire this equipment, worth Rs 15 lakh has already been sent to the Ministry of Health and we are likely to get it with the assistance of WHO ," he said.

He, however, added that they would test the samples for prohibited sweetening agents, sugar content and harmful colouring agents. Mr Nayyar said the report of these would be received by Monday. "In the past also we have been testing seized samples of the cold drinks , both branded as well as of local makes, and it is mostly the latter which have been found to be contaminated," said Mr Nayyar.

Shopkeepers and retailers in the city admitted that there was a substantial decline in the sales of these cold drinks as people were showing preference for juices, which they considered safe.


Yeh dil maange no more!
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

The members of the Independent Schools Association today decided to immediately ban the sale of soft drinks in the school canteens. However, the government schools are still undecided on the ban. The Principals of the schools said they were waiting for an official word from the Education Department. 

Chandigarh, August 7
The youths who once branded Pepsi and Coke as kings are now spearheading campaign against these in their colleges. Even before the principals could act on the findings of the Centre for Science and Environment and ban the 12 major soft drink brands, the sales have plummeted to an all time low in college canteens.

With almost no sale in college canteens which once did brisk business until the CSE bombshell exploded on Pepsi and Coke, the students are abstaining from these drinks. While DAV College in Sector 10, has banned aerated drinks, the students went a step ahead to lodge their protest by spilling the contents of the bottles." It is a display of our anger against the two companies who have 'addicted' us to this poison,” the protesting students said in unison.

At Dev Samaj College for Women in Sector 45, the contractor has been asked not to serve Coke and Pepsi. ‘‘We have asked the contractor to remove the crates from the college premises so that students are not tempted to have these drinks," says Pricipal V. Bhargava.

In the Chandigarh College of Architecture, Sector12, the students have not only shunned aerated drinks but have found a healthier substitute in Verka milk and lassi. While the consumption of Pepsi and Coke have registered a sharp fall , the Verka outlet has been the gainer. "I am waiting for a detailed report before banning the drinks," Principal Rajnish Wattas said.

Principal of Government College for Girls, Sector 11, Usha Wahi, added that the college would go ahead and ban the sale altogether in a day or two. While the session has not started in the Government College of Education, Sector 20, Principal S Tangri said the contractor would be asked to ensure that Coke and Pepsi do not find their way into the canteen. In Government College, Sector 11,Principal Balwinder Singh has also asked the canteen contractor to stop the sale of soft drinks as a precautionary measure.


Sweetened milk is here again
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar , August 7
With the sale of Pepsi and Coke plummeting in the township after the findings of Centre for Science and Environment were made public, sweetened milk courtesy Verka and Amul are here all the way.

Grocery stores and dealers in the township today said although sale had dropped substantially, it is not likely to continue has. “The effect of the report is not long lasting. People will return to consuming cold drinks once the issue dies down,” said Mr Daljit Singh, a shopkeeper of Phase V.

Meanwhile, the local health authorities stated that they have no directions from the district headquarters to ban the sale of cold drinks in the market. “There cannot be a government ban on cold drinks. Don’t people know that cigarette smoking is injurious to health but there is no ban on it. So why on cold drinks? Those who enjoy drinking they will,” said a doctor working in Civil Hospital here.

Heads of schools in the township, too, are coming out in the open against the sale of these drinks in the school. While some school principals said they were thinking to stop the sale of cold drinks in their canteens others stated that aerated drinks were in any case not encouraged in the schools. Mrs V. Tiwana Principal, Saint Soldiers School, said sale of such drinks had been stopped in their school.


Neembu paani in demand
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 7
People were back to fruit juices and “neembu paani” to quench their thirst in the sweltering heat, as the sale of Pepsi and Coke plummeted in the township after the findings of Centre for Science and Environment were made public.

A number of grocers and dealers in various parts of the township today said the sale had dropped by more than 30 per cent. As compared to this, a number of people were seen enjoying “neembu paani” and fruit juices from the street vendors. Dealers and grocers in various markets of Sectors 7, 8, 9, 11, 15 and 16 also reported an increase in the sale of packaged fruit juices and milk shakes .

Lawyers in the district courts also demanded that the sale of cold drinks in the court complex here in Sector 1 should be banned.

Meanwhile, the local health authorities, unlike in neighbouring Chandigarh, did not take any samples of the cold drinks, nor checked their sale. A top health official informed TNS that they had received no directions for taking samples of these aerated drinks. It is for the government to decide if these drinks are to be banned, he said.

A large number of private schools in the district have already decided not to allow the sale of most of these aerated drinks in the canteens. Mr Krit Serai, Principal of Satluj Public School, Sector 4, said they had asked the dealer to lift all bottles of these cold drinks from the school canteen, and replaced these with lemon water and fruit juices.

Mrs Rajni Thareja, Principal, Hansraj Public School, Sector 6, said these cold drinks had been banned in the school canteen for the time being and would be replaced only after the government gave clearance. “After all, it is the question of the health of hundreds of children studying in our school, “she added. Two other schools, Blue Bird High School, Sector 16, and Chaman Lal DAV School, Sector 11, have also banned the sale of these aerated colas in the canteens.


Report exaggerated, says Pepsi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
Terming the claims of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) as highly exaggerated, Pepsi today reiterated that all its products were not just safe but meeting all international standards. Amidst bans and protest against pesticide contamination in soft drinks, Pepsi, in a press note issued today claimed that regular testing and stringent quality norms for all soft drink products were being strictly followed to guarantee consistent quality and purity.

Pepsi, also contested the report of the CSE, saying that the government had laid out processes of accreditation that are carried out by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration for laboratories, to certify the capabilities of centres conducting such tests. "The CSE laboratory that has reported these results is not accredited or certified," they said.


Euro standards for soft drinks sought
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
The controversy over the presence of pesticides and insecticides in soft drinks of major brands like Coke and Pepsi have shaken the faith of the people in the MNC brands. Legal experts have urged the government to implement the Euro standards for the soft drinks at the earliest.

Though the retailers and companies’ spin doctors are trying to convince the customers that “nothing is wrong with the soft drinks” but a large section of public has expressed concerns about the role of the government and approach of the MNCs to deal with the findings.

Mr Bhim Sen Sehgal, an advocate in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, said: “The government and the multi-national companies are totally responsible for this criminal offence. It is serious crime committed by the MNCs in connivance with the administration and Public Health Authorities. Had such a thing happened in the USA or some European country, the companies would had to pay millions of dollars in compensation to consumers besides severe penalties and imprisonment for the company bosses.”

On the other hand, all leading eating joints and restaurants have reported that the sales of soft drinks have marginally declined. However, they felt that the reaction was temporary and the companies, which have budget worth hundreds of crores for advertising and public relations, would be able to “manage the crisis.” Mr Rajbir Singh of the Hot Millions, says. “The bad news has not really affected our sales. Unless the reports of an NGO against particular brands are verified by some independent agency, one should not take the findings too seriously.” However, sales executives at the Domino Pizza and other eating joints admitted that the sales have come down by up to 20 per cent in the past two days.

The legal experts feel that despite provision of punishment under the Prevention of Food and Adulteration Act, the government has not taken it seriously. The companies have simply mastered an art of ‘how to flout the domestic acts.’ Mr Jagdish Kumar, a senior official in the State Bank of India, said: “The news has created a panic in my family. We have stopped taking all these drinks at least for the time being. The government should come up with a full-fledged investigation report and no one should be allowed to play with the public health.”

Mr Rahul Rai, a sales executive, working at Bite ‘N’ Byte restaurant in SAS Nagar, said: “Till recently I had been hooked on to soft drinks, though it had badly affected my health. The news regarding the presence of pesticides, insecticides and DDT, in all soft drinks, have shocked me. If the government can force the automobile manufacturers to implement Euro standards to check pollution, cannot it force these MNCs to follow higher standards.


Warrant Officer meets NRI girl at YPS
Parents allege illegal confinement
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, August 7
Following directions by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a warrant officer visited Yadvindra Public School here to meet a Canadian citizen, Japneet Kaur, a Class X student of the school.

The warrant officer had been appointed by the High Court following a haebeus corpus petition filed by her parents alleging that their daughter was being kept in illegal confinement at the school by the Principal of the school in connivance with the police, the Vice-Principal and the SP (HQ) Punjab, Mr S.P.S. Basra.

However, sources reveal that Japneet had on August 4, in a written statement given to the SDM SAS Nagar, refused to live with her parents at their Sector 71 residence alleging mental and physical torture at their hands. As a result of which she had shifted to a “safer” place on orders of the SDM.

The Principal of the school, Dr Harish Dhillon, when contacted, confirmed that the warrant officer had visited the school at 11 pm last night and left after recording Japneet’s statement just after midnight. Sources stated that the officer was accompanied by Japneet’s parents, the police and the SDM. Stating that the matter was in the court, Dr Dhillon refused both to comment on the matter and allow mediapersons to meet Japneet.

Sources have also confirmed that the Canadian High Commission has asked for the immediate repatriation of Japneet, who is a citizen of the country. The Canadian High Commission has also made arrangements for her stay in Canada with the family of her friend.

According to the information available with Chandigarh Tribune, Japneet’s father, Mr Jarnail Singh, works as a truck driver there. Japneet, along with her brother, sister and mother Pushpinder Kaur had come to live in SAS Nagar in February this year. Both Japneet and her brother were studying in PPS, Nabha, and while she was shifted to the YPS here some months ago, her brother is in the hostel at Nabha.

Ten days ago, Japneet refused to go home from school and was shifted to the residence of the school’s Vice-Principal, Ms Komal. The Principal later complained to the police on her behalf. According to sources, she expressed her unwillingness to go back to her mother in Sector 71. She said she wanted to go back to Canada.

Mr Jarnail Singh who was then in Canada was called back and the family was taken to the SDM by the police. According to the sources, the SDM, after talking to Japneet and her parents, suggested that she be kept at a place that was mutually acceptable to both parties. “She was then shifted to the YPS,” said a source in the SDM’s office.

The SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, however declined to comment on the matter.


Plan to build dam on Ghaggar
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 7
The Irrigation Department, Haryana, has forwarded a proposal to the state government for constructing a dam on river Ghaggar near Diwanwala village here. The estimated cost of constructing it is Rs 72 crore.

The proposal has been prepared in association with officials of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), after being formally approved by the state government, will be sent to the Union Ministry of Environment for the final approval. Other than helping control floods, this dam will help replenish the groundwater and also promote tourism.

Officials say that a meeting of officials from the Forest Department, the Public Health Department, the Tourism and Irrigation Department will be held later this month to discuss the funding for this project.

It was earlier proposed to construct an artificial lake in Panchkula, on the lines of Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh. The project of constructing a lake here, on the lines of the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh, was envisaged by the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, two years ago. Since then, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) and officials of State Irrigation Department conducted several surveys along the river Ghaggar to identify the site.

However, the Irrigation Department decided to embolden the project , by constructing a low height dam so as to develop it from the point of view of encouraging tourism by including watersports, providing fishing sites, recharging the groundwater and providing drinking water to Kalka, Pinjore, the Chandimandir cantonment area and Panchkula. Also, with the Chandigarh Administration demanding about Rs 100 crore for releasing Panchkula’s 18 cusecs a day share from the Chandigarh Water Supply Augmentation Bhakra Main Line Kajauli scheme, it was decided to construct a low height dam- which would not only cost less, but also make available more water.

The low height dam, to be constructed near Pinjore, will also help in controlling floods in the downstream of the river, especially in large areas of Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. The Ghaggar is known to cause floods in its downstream, in Rajpura, Patiala and Sangrur in Punjab, and Kaithal and Sirsa districts in Haryana.

Other than being a major tourist attraction in the district, the construction of the lake would also recharge groundwater and thus sustain the already depleting groundwater table.

It may be noted that issue of the declining water table in the district is a major cause of concern and a large number of tubewells have dried up in the past five years. It is believed that at the present rate of fall in water table and the rate of withdrawal through tubewells, the groundwater reserves are not going to last for more than 20 years.


Mixed response to SC ruling on strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
The Supreme Court ruling which gave government employees no fundamental, statutory or moral right to strike work has drawn flak from various sections of the employees’ unions in the region.

In the ruling, the apex court said, “ Apart from the statutory rights, the government employees cannot claim that they can hold the society to ransom by going on strike”.

A cross-section of people has demanded that there should be some law which ensures that the public dealing in a government department do not come to a standstill in the wake of a strike. The right to strike on genuine issues has also been sought.

Mr Albel Singh Syan, a retired government official, said banning strike could go against the Fundamental Rights of the employees. “Strict action should be taken against the employees who do not perform their duty. There is provision in the service rules and service matters to take disciplinary action against the work-shirking employees.

Mr P.K. Vasudeva, circle president of the Income Tax Employees Federation, North-West Region, said the ruling might allow the government to suppress the employees and their unions. The genuine demands of the employees would never be met, Mr Vasudeva said.

There should be no bar on striking employees who were asking for their rights. The government should also be made responsible for guarding the rights of the employees, observed Mr Chandi Ram, a government employee in Panchkula.

The Chandigarh UT Subordinate Services Federation has said the ruling would affect the implementation of the accepted demands of employees.

Mr Sant Singh Saini, general secretary of the federation, said the ruling would arm the government.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) said the ruling was against the rights of the employees. Mr Prem Singh Bhangu, a politburo member of the MCPI, said the ruling was in violation of the Article 19 of the Constitution. A meeting of all trade unions has been called to discuss the issue.

On the contrary, the ruling has been welcomed by a section of the members of the public who lament that it is the public dealing which suffered the most during strikes. Parents have sought that the striking teachers should be brought under the ambit of the ruling of the apex court.


Bandh against Rent Act may be total
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
The Commercial Tenants Association’s protest against an amendment to the Rent Act tomorrow is likely to be total. The Association claims every shopkeeper, restaurteur, doctor, chemist, architect and chartered accountant will respond to the bandh call.

City traders will be holding a major protest demonstration at Matka Chowk tomorrow morning before assembling in Sector 17 with their families where former Union Law Minister, Mr Ram Jethmalani, will address the gathering.

The office bearers of the Association while addressing a press conference said the amendment to the East Punjab Urban Rent Act, 1949, made on November 7 last year, was a big fraud. The Administration does not have the powers to amend the Act. The Administration had wrongly cited a Government notification of 1975. The interpretation of the notification was wrong as the government of India had only delegated administrative powers to the Administrator and not delegated legislative powers, said the Association.

Section 20 of the Act clearly states that any amendment to Section of The Act, has to be presented before Parliament. This also includes Section 3 under which the Chandigarh Administration has carried out the amendment, the association said. It was up to the Central Government to make rules for the purpose and present it before Parliament, Chandigarh being a Union Territory is bounden to follow the Central Government.

Besides this Section 3, confers power for a class of building or rented land and is not applicable to all tenants as a class in itself. This was a clear violation of fundamental rights, president of the Association , Mr Arvind Jain. alleged.

The Association has demanded a CBI enquiry to expose the nexus between the high handedness of the officials of the Administration , property dealers and a handful of rich landlords. The matter needs immediate consideration and accountability of officers needs to be fixed.

The Chandigarh Paint Dealers Association and the Market Shopkeepers Association, in separate statements said they would join in the bandh call given by the Commercial Tenants Association. 

Rent notification may be withdrawn: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
The Union Ministry of Urban Development is “favourably considering” deferring or withdrawing the November 7, 2002 rent notification. This was claimed by the Traders’ Cell of the BJP today.

The assurance to this effect was given to a delegation of the cell led by its president Purushottam Mahajan by the Union Urban Development Minister Major General B.C. Khanduri, when the former called on him at Delhi.

The cell comprising its Acting President Amrit Lal Goel, general secretary Anil Vohra and Rohit Sood submitted a memorandum to the minister urging him to either defer the notification or withdraw it till a balanced Act to replace the rent notification was not brought about.

The memorandum suggested that a committee be set up to consult all sections, including tenants and landlords, for enacting to enact a balanced rent Act. The November 7 notification had virtually withdrawn the East Punjab Rent Act by scrapping protection from eviction to those whose rent was more than Rs 1500 per month, the memorandum said.

General Khanduri was told as most of the properties were rented at more than Rs 1500 per month, the notification had virtually nullified the East Punjab Rent Act.Back


Forest Department organises sapling
plantation drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
A sapling plantation drive organised by the UT Forest Department began near Sarangpur village on Tuesday. On the occasion, Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), planted the saplings of neem, peepal and burr.

The Deputy Conservator of Forests, UT, Mr Ishwar Singh, explained about the plan to develop the botanical garden and added that a herbal garden was being developed over 40 acres of land. Another 17 varieties of bamboo were raided along a seasonal rivulet passing through the botanical garden during last year. An arboretum spreading over 40 acre and ornamental plant section spreading over 10 acre would also be developed. Varieties of bamboos and canes would also be planted along the banks of the second nallah passing through the botanical garden.

Other features like development of the cycle tracks, pathways and the construction of the nature interpretation centre, meditation huts, bamboo huts, herbarium and museum will also be taken up in various developmental phases of the botanical garden. The total plan outlay for the garden is Rs 8.25 crores.

The garden has been connected with the nature reserve spreading over 350 acre along the left bank of the Patiala-ki-Rao through a causeway. A small orchid and nature trail have also been developed in the nature reserve.


Trade union leader seeks transfer of case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
In a petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Himachal unit President of the Indian National Trade Union Congress Amarjeet Bawa today sought directions to the state of Haryana and other respondents to transfer an attempt to murder case to any other place outside Panchkula district.

Mr Bawa, in his petition taken up by Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, claimed that they would not be safe if they went to Panchkula courts to attend the trial. Giving details, Mr Bawa asserted that as many as seven cases had been registered against him and his family due to political reasons and two attempts had been made on his life. He added that Panchkula’s Superintendent of Police (SP) Ranbir Singh was son-in-law of Union Minister I.D. Swami. Taking up the case, the Judge fixed August 12 as the next date of hearing.

Notice of motion

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for August 21 on a petition seeking the quashing of self-financing fee structure for three-year LLB course at Panjab University’s regional centre in Ludhiana. The petitioner, Harjit Singh, had also sought directions to the university to charge same amount as paid by students in Chandigarh. He had asserted that fee for six months at the university was Rs 4,400, while it was Rs 30,000 in Ludhiana.


Magic a stagnant art
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
Magic and soldiers make an odd combination. But for magician M.K. Pant it has been long association with the armed forces. More than half the number of shows he has staged in his career have been exclusively done for military personnel around the country.

“I think that I am the only magician performing regularly for the defence forces in the countries, though I am sure that there is definitely no one else at least in Eastern Command,” he claimed. He is at Chandimandir, near here, to perform for army personnel and their families for three days.

He said he liked performing for the defence forces as this was one profession where people required the maximum entertainment because of the service conditions and high levels of stress. “The audience is also disciplined and very courteous,” he said. He also holds shows for other organisations.

The regimental centres of Brigade of The Guards, Punjab Regiment, Mechanised Regiment, Sikh Regiment, Kumaon Regiment, Jat Regiment and the Armoured Corps, the National Defence Academy, Rashtriya Indian Military College, Himalayan Institute of Mountaineering, units located in high altitude areas, Air Force stations and a number of other military establishments are included in the list of places where he has performed recently. He has a file full of appriciation letters from various military units.

After serving as an executive with the Birla consortium for a number of years, he left the job to take up performing magic shows as a full time activity. The 57-year-old artist, who belongs to Almora in Uttaranchal, started learning tricks in 1970 and began by giving small performances at birthday parties, before moving on to performing larger shows for educational institutes, industries and finally defence establishments.

Defining his concept of magic, he said that the five letters of the word stood for mysterious, art, gossip, in and company. “Magic,” he remarked, “Is that mysterious art which creates gossip in company.”

The hallmark of a good magician, he said, is the tendency to mix with his audience and know what his own drawbacks are. Education, humour and the ability to captivate the audience by his conduct on stage rather than merely presenting a trick are characteristics of a successful magician, he added.

Though there are thousands of persons in the country who stage magical tricks as a source of earning their livelihood, Mr Pant said there were barely 20 well known magicians in the country. “Magicians are available at Rs 2 a kilo,” he remarked.

Mr Pant, however, is not happy with the state of affairs concerning this art in the country. “Magic is a stagnant art. There is nobody to think on how to raise its standard and make it more attractive,” he said. “It has been always the same old tricks,” he commented.


Ex-servicemen on boards urged to quit posts
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 7
The local unit of the All India Defence Brotherhood has appealed all ex-servicemen nominated to various boards and committees to resign from their posts in protest against the imposition of sales tax on certain items sold through the CSD.

Representatives of the organisation at a press conference here today said though the Punjab Government had rolled back taxes on certain items, it retained sales tax on items like cars, scooters, electronic and electrical goods, liqour, etc.

Lt Col A.S. Sandhu (retd), general secretary of the organisation, said the government did so on the plea that these were initially purchased by Defence personnel and later sold to civilians.

He demanded that the Ex-Servicemen’s Cell of the ruling party should disband itself immediately. He also appealed to all ex-servicemen to boycott Independence Day celebrations and other government sponsored functions and celebrate these at their own level.

Brig Harwant Singh (retd), president of the body, and Brig Kuldip Singh Kahlon (retd), former Director of the Punjab Sainik Welfare Board, also spoke. Brigadier Kahlon said the agitation would continue till the government withdrew the tax.


Two injured in mishap
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 7
Two persons were injured when a Gypsy and two scooters collided near Gurdwara Amb Sahib in Phase VIII here today.

The injured, Mr Devinder Pathak, a resident of Phase IX, and Mr Bagga Singh, a resident of Sector 70, were first admitted to a private hospital in Phase IX and then later shifted to Civil Hospital in Phase VI. While Mr Pathak got an injury on his head apart from getting his wrist fractured, Mr Bagga Singh got a clavicle fracture.

The Gypsy involved in the accident belonged to an SP in the Chief Minister’s security, Mr M.S. Farroqui. The driver of the vehicle, Surjeet Singh, was reportedly going to pick up a child of the SP from his school when the accident took place. The two injured persons were going on two different scooters. Surjeet Singh was arrested by the police and was later released on bail.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, and Kharar MLA, met the injured persons in the Phase IX hospital. When they told him that they would not be able to bear the expenditure of the private hospital, they were shifted to Civil Hospital.


Traffic stranded

Panchkula, August 7
The National Highway 22 (Panchkula- Kalka- Shimla) remained blocked for over one hour this morning at the railway crossing near Kalka, because of some repair work being carried on the rail tracks.

It is learnt that the Railways had decided to replace a section of the rail tracks, passing through the highway, as these had been damaged because as a large number of vehicles pass over these tracks. Thus, the highway was closed between 9.30 am to about 10.54 this morning. — TNS


Man dies of asphyxia
Tribune News Service

Panchkula , August 7
A 35-year-old man, Surmukh Singh, died of asphyxiation, when he went inside a tubewell to repair the motor. The incident took place in Bhareli village near here.

As the victim, found it difficult to breathe, he called for help and was lifted from the well. By the time he was taken out, he was unconscious. He was admitted to a Dera Bassi hospital, from where he was referred to the GMCH,. Chandigarh. He died at the hospital. The post-mortem was conducted at General Hospital, Panchkula, this afternoon.


Dr Laughter to visit city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 7
The guru of giggling, Dr Madan Kataria, after the grand success of his laughter clubs in USA, Australia, UK, Sweden and other countries will demonstrate his new yogic technique of laughter therapy in the city. 

A seminar is being organised at Parshuram Bhavan in Sector 37 on August 10 by the local chapter of the Laughter Club International.


3 held for thefts
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 7
With the arrest of three persons, including two brothers, the police today claimed to have solve three cases of theft. The police has also recovered some stolen goods, including television sets from their possession. The brothers have earlier been nabbed by the Panchkula police in seven different cases and the two were released on bail recently.

Those who have been arrested are, Narotam Ram and Tota Ram, both brothers and Nanha Ram. The police said their wives used to gather information on unoccupied houses for them.

According to police, Tota Ram was arrested from a market in Sector 8 while he was allegedly trying to commit a theft this morning. The other two were arrested after interrogation of Tota Ram. The police also recovered four television sets, two music systems, a blower and bicycle. All three accused are natives of Uttar Pradesh were currently staying in Butrela village here.

7 arrested for gambling: The police has arrested seven persons for gambling at public places and four persons for liquor smuggling from different parts of the city during the past 24 hours.

Vijay Kumar, Shiv Kumar, Iqbal, Inderpal, Nitin Kumar, Julafkar and Manjinder Singh were arrested from the jurisdiction of the Sector 26 police station for gambling at public place.

Chandu Ram, Dalip Ram, Lodhi Ram and Madan Mohan Bhandari were arrested for liquor smuggling yesterday. The police has also claimed to seize 15 bottles and 120 pouches of liquor from their possession.

Theft: Ms Vanita Gupta of Sector 30 reported that her Maruti car (PB 03 A 0001) was stolen from a parking lot of the PGI here yesterday. A Bajaj Chetak scooter (PB11 D 6066) of Mr Abhilekh, was also reported to be stolen from the Industrial Area, Phase I. Two cases under Section 379 of the IPC have been registered.

Snatching case: The police said on Thursday that Varun and Sandeep Rawat, who were arrested on August 5 allegedly for snatching a mobile phone from a girl student of Panjab University, were also involved in at least four other cases of snatching. The two had allegedly snatched two Nokia mobile phones from two girls in April. They had snatched a purse containing Rs 10,250 from a woman in Sector 9. The two had also stolen a mobile phone from a Kinetic Honda in Sector 17. Varun is a resident of Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra and Sandeep is of Sector 45. 

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