Tuesday, August 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Eight-year-old child kidnapped in Mohali
Culprits warn against informing cops, Press
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 25
An eight-year-old child was kidnapped when he was coming back from school in Sector 71 here today.

It is reported that Harkaran Singh, a student of Class III at St Xaviers School, was kidnapped by two car-borne persons soon after he left the school. The junior wing of the school closes at 12 noon.

The parents of the child refused to talk to mediapersons about the incident. Nor were any police officials available to provide information about the kidnapping. It is learnt that the police had directed the family members of the child not to reveal any information to the Press.

It is reported that the child was kidnapped by some persons known to the family. After kidnapping Harkaran Singh, the abductors informed the family members on the phone that the child was in their custody and the family members were threatened not to approach the police or the media for the safety of the child. No demand was made by them but they said they would get in touch with the family again after some time.

It is learnt that after receiving the phone call from the kidnappers, the family members rushed to the school. They contacted the rickshaw-puller, Sat Ram, who used to take the child to the school and also dropped him back. It is reported that the rickshaw-puller told the family members that the child had gone with some persons known to the family.

However, Sat Ram, who is a resident of Colony No. 5 in Chandigarh, could not be contacted to know more details. Another rickshaw-puller, Sipujan, who also carried children of St Xaviers School told Chandigarh Tribune that he got to know about the incident when he came to pick up students of senior classes at 1 p.m. The parents of Harkaran Singh had approached Sat Ram to know the whereabouts of their child. He said the child was going in the rickshaw but at a little distance away from the school, some persons in a car approached the rickshaw and the child was handed over to the occupants of the car after Harkaran Singh had recognised them.

The reason behind the crime is not clear. It is reported that the parents of the child belonged to an average middleclass family and were living in rented accommodation in Sector 71. The father of the kidnapped child, Mr Gurdial Singh, deals in readymade garments and cloths and is running his business in the industrial area. It is said the family of Harkaran Singh does not have enmity with any one.

It is reported that the kidnappers were travelling in a Maruti car. The kidnapped boy is the youngest of three children, having two elder sisters. This is the second case of kidnapping of a minor returning from school in the town in just a month. Earlier on July 19 an 11-year-old boy, Gagandeep Singh of Phase II, was kidnapped from Phase IV, while he was coming back from Shivalik Public School here.


30-yr-old man drowns in rivulet
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, August 25
A 30-year-old rickshaw-puller drowned in the rivulet of Sukhna Lake towards the regulator end here today.

According to information, Gajram, a resident of Mani Majra, was going to Saketri Temple along with his cousin sisters — Meera, Seema and Ramputlie — and a friend on his rehri, when the incident took place.

Despite efforts by the Chandigarh Police to check cases of drowning from occurring in the Sukhna Lake area, such incidents continue to take place. Warning boards have been installed at several places at the lake. Though the police has also started patrolling on bicycles, little has been achieved.

Visitors to the area inform that children often bathe at the regulator end of the lake and in the rivulet feeding the lake. Though during most part of the year, the water in the regulator end and in the rivulet remains shallow, the area is swampy, which is dangerous.

Police sources said it was difficult to maintain a regular vigil around the lake area and it is people who should not enter into muddy waters.

A passerby, Mr Bajinder, jumped into the water to rescue Gajram but he failed to trace him. “He removed his shirt and dived into the water and never surfaced,” Meera told Chandigarh Tribune.

“When he did not surface, bubbles started coming out from the water. I sought help from some children playing in the water but they ran away from the spot,” she said.

The children who were swimming in the water were so terrified that they ran away leaving their clothes and sleepers behind.

Meera said her cousin had asked her mother to take her daughters to Saketri Temple before going back to Bareilly in the evening. She said he was happy and had showed no apparent signs of distress to indicate that he committed suicide. Meera’s mother, Munni, who came to the spot after hearing about the incident, said Gajram did not know swimming. She added that he was not a drug addict.

Inability to access the Police Control Room through mobile phones at 100 delayed the process of seeking help, as those who attempted to contact the police on their mobile phones were oblivious of the fact that the PCR could only be contacted at 112.

Pawan Kumar, Rafiq and Bipin Kumar, passersby, jumped into the water to help police retrieve the body.

Pawan Kumar from Saketri along with others made several attempts and finally succeeded after putting in almost one hour of effort.

Pawan Kumar found the body and was helped by others in retrieving the body.

It is uncertain whether Gajram committed suicide or jumped into the rivulet to take a bath. Family members of the victim could not assign any reason for the possibility of a suicide. On the other hand, they were perplexed at the decision of the deceased to suddenly jump into the water after removing his clothes.

The water was not deep at the spot where Gajram had taken a plunge but he apparently got stuck in the silt settled at the bottom.

Meanwhile, the police claimed that it was their divers who located the body in the water. It has decided to reward its four divers.

It is pertinent to mention here that on Wednesday last, Gopi, a resident of Nehru Colony, was washed away in the rising N-choe, near Kajheri village. In the past two years, at least 10 persons (those who committed suicide are not included) have met watery graves in and around the city.


Man stabbed to death
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 25
Jagdish Kumar (27) was stabbed to death by three youths in Ram Darbar, Phase I, here tonight. He was stabbed at least six times. This is the third murder in the city in this month. Tonight’s murder, said the police, was a result of group rivalry.

Some friends of the victim alleged that a resident of the same area, Chottu, was the main accused. He was carrying a knife, they said.

The police has rounded up several persons of the area for questioning. The police is looking at the enmity angle because of the past record of the victim. It is also said that Jagdish, a taxi driver by profession, was a drug addict.

One of the attackers was clean-shaven and the rest were wearing turbans, said area residents, who witnessed the incident.

Jagdish was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where doctors declared him brought dead.

The police said Jagdish had quarrelled with another youth of the area three days ago. The next day he was attacked with a brick and had sustained head injuries.

According to residents, Jagdish was bleeding profusely after being stabbed. “He walked towards a chemist shop after the incident, but fell on the ground,” said a witness.

However, the police said nobody was ready to name the assailants. His family was so disturbed that it was not ready to talk to mediapersons. Jagdish is survived by wife, and one-and-a-half-year-old son, Tanu. His father, Shyam Lal, is employed as a security guard at the Punjab and Haryana Secretariat. The police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC.


Octroi imposed on companies having godown in Zirakpur
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, August 25
Tightening the noose around companies which are evading taxes by misusing the proximity of Zirakpur to Chandigarh, the Punjab Government has decided to charge octroi from those having major storage and forwarding godowns in the area.

The actual sales of these companies are made in markets of Chandigarh and its neighbouring towns like Panchkula, Kalka, Patiala, Ropar, Nangal and even parts of Himachal Pradesh like Una, Solan and Parwanoo.

About 280 multinational and Indian companies are stocking goods in their godowns in Bhabhat village within the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat limits. Once octroi is imposed, the civic body will earn an annual revenue of about Rs 5 crore.

The companies have built their godowns in the village along the Chandigarh-Ambala highway to evade taxes in Chandigarh and the Panchkula municipal limits. The companies are selling goods by billing from Zirakpur, thus causing huge losses to the state exchequer.

A notice to impose octroi was issued by Mr A.K. Dubey, Principal Secretary to the Punjab Government, Department of Local Government. The notice says : “Octroi is liable to be charged on all goods, so imported within the municipal limits of the nagar panchayat, for consumption, use or sale therein.”

The notice is an amended version of one issued on September 4, 2001, by Mr Rajesh Chauhan, the then Principal Secretary of the Local Government, Punjab, regarding the imposition of octroi.

The latest order of government also says that a multinational company had earlier filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court over the issue. Following the dismissal of the petition by the court on May 20, 2003, the company had to pay octroi charges to the nagar panchayat.

The Principal Secretary has ordered that goods consumed, used or sold within the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat jurisdiction are liable for payment of octroi after the same were brought into the limits of the civic body.


Postgraduate students get special chance for improvement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
Panjab University has decided to give a special chance to postgraduate students for improving their previous results.

A decision in this regard was taken by the Syndicate at its meeting held here today. It was decided that one special chance be given to MA, MSc and MCom students who had passed their examinations between April 1994 and April 1998.

However, the grace period of five years for these students had already expired.

The chance will also be extended to students who had taken two chances of improvement in their examination after 1998 without improving their results.

Students will be required to appear in the examination under the existing syllabus on payment of Rs 2,500 as special fee.

The university has decided to refund the extra money paid by the students while clearing their dues. “The excess fees paid to the university will be refunded after forfeiting 10 per cent of the total charges”.

The university will constitute a special disciplinary committee for campus students. The committee with the Dean Student Welfare as the chairman will include the Dean Student Welfare (Women), the Dean University Instructions, the Director of the Campus Sports, Prof P.S.Jaswal, Dr Keya Dharamvir, Dr Satyavir Singh, Dr D.V. Rai, Dr Veena Sachdeva and the vice-president and the secretary of the student council.

It has decided to introduce Diploma in Translation (English to Hindi and Punjabi) in affiliated colleges. It has instituted Prof Pradeep Kumar Memorial Lecture in the Department of Political Science.

The Syndicate has cleared at least 12 appointments in the University Institute of Engineering and Technology. It has decided to go into details of the proposal of promotion on merit regarding non- teaching employees as suggested by the Registrar. It has decided to constitute a committee under the chairmanship of Prof H.S. Soch to go into details of the policy. Other members are Prof R.D. Anand and Prof V.K. Bansal. The matter was raised by Prof Charanjit Chawla and Mr Gopal Krishan Chatrath. The university had suggested that instead of routine promotions based on seniority alone, it should pick up meritorious people for promotions which was in the academic interest of the institution.

The Syndicate did not approve the proposal to open an account with ICICI Bank, saying this was against the regulations.

The issue of the staff of Guru Nanak College, Ferozepore, not being paid salaries for over an year was raised by Professor Chawla. It has been pointed out that the college did not even deposit the Provident Fund of the employees for the past five years.

Principal P.S. Sangha criticised the attack on the Principal ‘by an opposite camp’ of DAV College, Hoshiarpur, recently.


City put on high alert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Chandigarh Police today beefed up security and surveillance at the entry points to the city, vital installations, markets and other public places and declared ‘high alert’ in the wake of Mumbai blasts.

The inter-state bus terminus has virtually been sealed at both entrance and exit points. Special deployment of police personnel has been made at the bus stand, according to SSP Gaurav Yadav.

Though the police has no specific information, a strict watch is being maintained, according to a senior police official.

Pickets were put up at various places between 5 pm and 8 pm. The police checked a large number of passengers coming to the city and going outside at the bus stand. Vehicles entering the city were also checked.

All DSPs, station house officers and in charges of police posts have been directed to put up pickets at vital installations and markets to keep a check on terrorist activities in the area, if any. Vigil has also been intensified at various religious places.

Security at the bus stand, the railway station, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the UT Secretariat and hospitals has been enhanced.

Police officials on PCR vehicles have been asked to keep an eye on the movement of suspicious elements.


Rehabilitate oustees, panel urges commission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Pind Bachao Committee — a society of at least 5000 families of 11 UT villages — has approached the Chairman, National Commission for Minorities of India, Mr Tarlochan Singh, seeking his intervention to rehabilitate the original residents of the city.

Mr Angrez Singh Badheri, President, Pind Bachao Committee, in a memorandum to the commission today alleged that justice was being denied to them as they belonged to the minority community.

He said 80 per cent of the total oustees were Sikhs and 3 per cent were Muslims. He alleged that the Administration had come up with various rehabilitation schemes for the majority community living in slums, but none for them.

He claimed that the Minority Commission in its order to the Administration dated November 2, 2001, had asked it to provide special rehabilitation scheme on priority to 5000 minority families of Chandigrah, who were ousted when the city came up.

He lamented that the Administration had failed to come up with that scheme.

Mr Badheri alleged that the Administration had chalked out a rehabilitation policy for those who belonged to the majority community and were identified as rehabilitants under 1996 policy.


Abhishek’s mother meets Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 25
The Administration has sought a legal view on what can be done in the case of city lad, 15-year-old Abhishek Ahluwalia, whose leg was amputated.

The Shivalik Enclave Welfare Association and the mother of Abhishek met the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), today and demanded action against Inscol.

It was highlighted before the Administrator how a minor internal knee injury which Abhishek sustained while playing football in St John’s School on July 11 had landed him at Inscol Hospital in Sector, 34. The association alleged that it was due to the negligence of doctors at Inscol, that Abhishek lost a leg.


A school dedicated to nation

Located at Dagshai, barely 50 km from Chandigarh, on the national highway to Shimla, is Army Public School (APS). It was inaugurated on June 1, 1986, by Lieut-Gen H. Kaul, the then GOC-in-C Western Command.

The motto of the school is “Dedication to the nation”. The aim of the school is to provide quality education at a reasonable cost to the children of the Army personnel. A small percentage of seats is also reserved for children of civilians and NRIs.

Spread over 50 acres at a height of about 6000 feet, in one of the oldest cantonments of India, the APS, Dagshai, is amongst the best equipped co-educational residential schools. Affiliated to the CBSE, New Delhi, it admits students from class V to XII and is one of the very few schools which have introduced the IT stream at the senior secondary level.

Both in studies and extra-curricular activities, the school has created a name for itself in the country. Special emphasis is laid on games and physical fitness. Cross-country race is one of the very interesting events in the school in which senior boys cover a distance of 7.5 km, the others, including girls, run over a distance of 3.5 km. Many students have brought laurels to the school, among them, are Tithiya Sharma and Isha Jha, who have won the interschool and All India debate competitions.

Canteen liquor

Resentment of ex-servicemen against the Punjab Government is growing because of its decision to levy sales tax on the CSD items. So much so that the Indian Ex-servicemen League Punjab and Chandigarh had exhorted the ex-servicemen to boycott the Independence Day celebrations and launch protests against the government.

The Army liquor is alleged to be passed on to the civilians by the defence personnel, both serving and retired. In India, it is not the guilty who is punished but the innocent. If this was not so, then why the culprits were not caught and punished, rather than blaming the Army as such.

After the Army authorities announced in May last that the seals of liquor bottles would be broken after sale, the ex-servicemen not only showed palpable anger against this decision but also took it as an insult to them. Fortunately, this decision was not implemented.

The only way to stop the misuse is to keep an eye on those who draw their full quota from the CSD canteens every month. The authorities should be bold enough to catch the culprits, which is not difficult and the guilty must be taken to task. The present approach of withdrawing a concession from the Army for the fault of few black sheep is a step in the wrong direction. Incidentally, the Centre has also decided to take up a case with the Punjab Government for withdrawing sales tax on the CSD items. The Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, has also said that he would look into this case.

Veterans’ homes

The Army Headquarters is currently examining a proposal to construct senior citizens’ homes for serving and retired Army personnel near the Army Welfare Housing Organisation (AWHO) colonies at various military stations. To start with these homes will be built at Greater NOIDA, Pune and Bangalore.

Such homes are likely to be self-contained complexes with mess, medical, recreational, CSD and security facilities. Each dwelling unit will consist of a two-room set with a bathroom and kitchenette and will have a total plinth area of approximately 600 sq ft. The estimated cost of a dwelling unit is likely to be between Rs 9 lakh to Rs 12 lakh. These complexes will be funded and managed by the inhabitants.

Majority of the veterans in Chandigarh, SAS Nagar and Panchkula are keen on having such homes in this region.

Before a firm decision to construct these homes at various stations is taken, the Army Headquarters would like to know the views of serving and retired officers above the age of 58 years. They may like to forward their views to the Deputy Director General (Welfare), Adjutant General’s Branch, Army Headquarters, New Delhi.

Col. Pritam Bhullar (retd.)


Bag snatched at gunpoint
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 25
In a daring robbery, two gun-toting youths snatched a bag from a local resident in front of his Sector 7 residence this morning.

Mr Hari Krishan Kakkar, a financier who runs a business in Chandigarh, was about to leave for work around 8.50 a.m. when the incident occurred. As Mr Kakkar and his wife moved towards their car parked in front of their house, they noticed a white Maruti car (PB-42A 1754) parked a few yards away from their house.

As the couple was talking, two youths, one of them sporting beard, walked up to them and snatched the bag from the financier at gunpoint.

“The entire incident took place within a few minutes and we were too scared to react. Other than the two youths, I also noticed two masked men sitting in the car. We saw the car rushing towards the Chandigarh-Panchkula road”, said Mr Kakkar’s wife. She said the bag contained no cash, but only official documents.

Neighbours of the family said they had noticed the car parked near the victim’s house for over half an hour. Family members said they had no business rivalry or personal enmity with anyone. “Since Mr Kakkar is a financier, they probably thought that the bag contained cash”, said a family member.

Mr Desh Bandhu and Mr Om Vir, both DSPs, visited the spot and registered a case.


1 hurt in Mataur clash, 8 held
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, August 25
Eight persons were arrested in Mataur village, near here, today following a clash in which a woman was injured last night.

The clash took place among residents of two adjoining houses over a common wall between the two buildings.

According to reports, Baldev Singh raised the height of the wall to which Jagir Singh living in the adjoining house raised an objection and demolished it. A clash ensued in which Amrik Kaur was injured.

She was admitted to the Civil Hospital here with abdominal injuries.

There is already a dispute between the two families over a piece of land in the village.

The police arrested Jagir Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Sardara Singh, Jagdish Singh, Jarnail Singh, Ajmer Singh, Chhota Singh and Bhag Singh in connection with the violence.

A case has been registered under Sections 120B, 148, 149, 447, 452, 427 and 506 of the IPC.


Cyclist killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 25
A Panchkula resident, Vijay Kumar, died when his cycle was allegedly hit by a military truck (DI11811344) near N Area here in the last evening. The truck driver, Mahesh Kumar, was arrested and later released on bail.

According to sources, Vijay Kumar was injured seriously in the accident was rushed to GMCH, Sector 32 but he died on the way. A case has been registered.

Man hurt

Mr Harjit Singh of Sector 37 here was injured when a school bus (HR 55 3131) allegedly rammed into his Maruti car in Sector 38 West on August 23. He was later taken to General Hospital, Sector 16. A case has been registered.


Proprietor of Krishna Band, Sector 23, Mr Phool Chand, reported to the police that his servant, Garish Chand has stolen a bag containing some documents and Rs 50,187 yesterday from his shop in the night of August 22. A case has been registered.


Fatal mishap

Sharan Singh a resident of Phase 10, SAS Nagar, was killed in an accident today. He was crushed to death by a tractor trolley while going on a bicycle on the Ropar-Kurali road. The police has arrested the tractor-trolley driver and registered a case against him.


CTU driver kills self

Lalru, August 25
Ajaib Singh, a driver with the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking, committed suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at his home in Tasimbali village, about 15 km from here, this morning.

According to the police, Ajaib Singh was noticed in an unconscious state by members of his family around 9 am and was rushed to a private hospital in Ambala City. He breathed his last in the hospital in the afternoon. OC

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