C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Property dispute suspected murder motive
Finger being pointed at Dr Arora’s sons
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 10
The sensational triple-murder case took a new turn today, with two brothers of victim Parveen Arora, who reached here from Lucknow, alleging that their sister, her son Anmol and her father- in -law K.L. Arora had been done to death over a property dispute.

The brothers of Parveen — Mr Maninder Sharma and Mr Chander Sharma — and sisters Vijay and Neelam, prevailed upon the police that the motive was a property dispute and not robbery.

Mr Chander Sharma has given a written complaint to the police, blaming Dr Arora’s sons — Dr Vinod Arora and Mr Subhash Arora — and the latter’s son Amit Arora for the murders. Amit Arora has been rounded up for investigations.

Parveen’s siblings maintained that Dr K.L. Arora was more inclined to will his moveable and immoveable assets in the name of Parveen and her son Anmol after the death of his son Vijay Arora in July this year. They alleged that the gruesome murders were executed by those who were unhappy by Dr Arora’s desire to will his assets to Parveen and Anmol.

The trio were found murdered at their house on Monday night. Dr Arora’s sons, worried after nobody answered the phone at their residence, had gone to check on them, when they found the house ransacked and all three family members clubbed and stabbed to death.

They alleged that now they suspected foul play in the death of Parveen’s husband Vijay Arora. Ms Neelam, younger sister of Parveen, said after the police had left yesterday, she went inside the house to look for clues.”The police had failed to notice that the almirah in Dr Arora’s room had been thoroughly searched and except for some papers, nothing was taken out of it. The assailants were probably looking for papers related to property. But my sister’s almirah, which is in the dining room, and where the assailants are suspected to have “enjoyed” lemonade after the crime, was lying locked,” she said. On opening the almirah today, Parveen’s sister found gold jewellery and Rs 60,000 in it. She said they would donate the cash and the jewellery.

Mr Chander Sharma said Dr Arora had transferred several of his bank accounts in the name of Anmol and made Parveen a co-signatory after the death of his son Vijay Arora. He said after Vijay died, Dr Arora had given him assurances that he would take care of Parveen and her son. “When I last came here, Dr Arora had transferred his bank accounts in Anmol’s name and I was a witness. We were reassured that Parveen and Anmol’s future was safe, but we never expected that they would be killed. The fact that Anmol had been stabbed several times proves that the assailants were taking out some enmity on him,” he said.

Tempers had run high between relatives of Parveen and Dr Arora’s sons - Dr Vinod Arora and Mr Subhash Arora, before the cremation today, with the former alleging that a property dispute was the reason for murder. Though the tension was then defused with the intervention of DSP Deshbandhu, later when the mourning relatives came back after the cremation, the tension mounted again. Mr Maninder Sharma, Parveen’s brother, said their late brother-in-law Vijay Arora and his brothers had never been on good terms.

“When he died, his brothers refused to participate in his last rites, and we performed the last rites. Even on Saturday, Dr Arora had been invited at Dr Vinod’s house for a family dinner, while my sister was not invited. She had stayed behind, and one of her friends, Ms Geeta, had stayed with her, “ he said.

Meanwhile, the police has included Dr Vinod Arora, Mr Subhash Arora and the latter’s son Amit Arora in its ambit of investigation. 

Was Vijay Arora also eliminated?

Was Mr Vijay Arora’s death a hit-and-run case? Or was he also eliminated? Parveen’s family members said today that after the entire family was brutally eliminated, they suspected foul play in the death of Vijay as well.

It is learnt that on the fateful night of July 26 this year, Vijay Arora had come back from work after having a drink at a friend’s place. He had spoken to his wife before he left for home. Almost three hours passed after he had told Parveen that he was on his way back, but there was no sign of him.

Since Dr K.L. Arora was away to the US, to meet his daughter, Parveen called in some friends for help. Vijay was found dead on the road dividing Sectors 2 and 4, with his scooter overturned near him. The family had then suspected that Vijay was killed in a road accident after being hit by a unknown vehicle.

However, relatives now maintain that there was no mark on the scooter which suggested that a vehicle had hit it.


Police in a fix over rising crime
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

* Old methods of controlling and weeding out criminals redundant.

* Curbing the movement of criminals a challenge for the police.

* The population of people over 60 years is close to 40 per cent and they are particularly vulnerable.

* Chandigarh Police had launched a scheme in 1998, especially for the aged, which was discontinued.

* A neigbourhood watch scheme began in January 2001, which is high on promises but low on implementation.

* A dedicated team of cops is required to operate the scheme.

* Panchkula and Mohali do not even have such a scheme.

* Cops say crimes like planned murders are difficult to detect and community has to join hands.

Chandigarh, December 10
Changing demographic profile of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, where a large number of migrant labourers have come to reside coupled with redundant methods of weeding out criminal elements is making the crime graph look frightening.

A total of 41 murders have taken place in the three places this year. The number of migrants is close to 4 lakh in the collective population of about 14 lakh in the three places. And most of them have not been verified thanks to cumbersome procedures. Police officials here say that verification demands sent to places in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh or even Nepal never come back with information. Even residents are reluctant to get servants verified.

The triple murder in Sector 4 of Panchkula on Sunday showed that neighbours knew nothing, of the incident.

Schemes to have community policing like the neighbourhood watch scheme running in Chandigarh look fine on paper. In private, senior officials admit that cops on beat duty just cannot possibly meet all elderly people everyday.

Panchkula and Mohali have no scheme like this. In November 2002, there was a proposal to launch a neighbourhood watch scheme in Panchkula on the pattern of Chandigarh but it never materialised.

In Chandigarh, the police in the past five years has not formalised a policy of handling such things. Before the neighbourhood watch scheme was launched in January 2001, Help the Aged Police Scheme (HAPS) was started in 1998. This was inspired by a scheme in the USA. A police officer is required to visit the ‘adopted’ elderly once a month. HAPS was also to provide help in depositing bills and even fetching grocery items. Without specially dedicated staff and additional force, this was stopped.

Then started the neighbourhood watch scheme. Air Marshall Randhir Singh (retd), Chairman of the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations Chandigarh (FOSWAC), puts it candidly, saying people like the area councillor who were supposed to be coordinators have their own agenda and such things are not on their priority list.

Besides area councillors, a police official is also a coordinator. Meetings regarding neighbourhood watch scheme were supposed to be held twice a month and the SHO concerned was to attend at least one of the meetings. Residents say these things slow down after a while and nobody shows up as the schedule is never adhered to.

Resident welfare associations were also to provide vendors and salesmen with identity cards. This also remains on paper. Everybody seems to be self-centered and does not react on seeing anything unusual, says Air Marshall Randhir Singh. SSP of Chandigarh Gaurav Yadav says the community has to join hands to protect itself. At present, the culture in the three places is where neighbours do not know each other.

One problem which the police has on hands is how to control the entry of criminals. The three places blend into each other, giving easy access to criminals to roam around at will. Mr Gaurav Yadav says, “We have 18 special nakas at entry and exit points but he admits that all points cannot be sealed and by no yardstick can all vehicles crossing over into Chandigarh or just passing through checked.”

The population of the aged is increasing in the city, Panchkula and Mohali. The police is faced with the huge task of controlling organised crime where the elderly are easy targets.

In Chandigarh alone, thousands of aged people out of the total population of 9 lakh live alone. Though the Census Department is yet to come out with details on age-group basis, a clear signal can be had from the 1991 census, which says that nearly 40 per cent of the 6.42-lakh population is over 60 years.


Panel meeting on fee hike inconclusive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The meeting of the committee constituted to look into the fee hike proved to be inconclusive here today even as the student representatives of the Government College for Girls, Sector 11 and 42, Ms Annpurna Singh and Ms Gayatri Bawa, staged a walkout.

“We were under tremendous pressure from our college heads to attend the meeting on fee hike, as the voice of the students. We did so hoping we would be heard. Instead, the members of the committee seemed indifferent to our demand for more representation on the panel,” the two complained.

“It is a one-man show where the chairman, Mr R.S. Gujral, does the talking and everybody nods. Nobody is willing to hear us out. The only option with us in such a situation was to walk out and we did just that,” said Ms Annpurna Singh.

Meanwhile, the members discussed the fee structures of other colleges of Punjab and arrived at the conclusion that the fee after the hike was lesser compared to the fee structures of other colleges without the hike.

The committee also discussed various options before the Administration to meet the deficit as well as various permutations and combinations of a gradual hike in fee annually. The committee also took up the case of catering to poor students in colleges and how a hike could affect them.

The next meeting of the committee is slated for December 17 before which the Panjab University Senate would meet and give a decision on whether the Administration has the “right” to impose decisions regarding fee hike in colleges affiliated to the university. In the light of this decision taken by the Senate which meets on December 14, the committee would proceed on deciding the issue.

In yesterday’s meeting of the Panjab University Syndicate, in reply to a query made by Mr Ashok Goyal, the Registrar, Dr Paramjit Singh, who is one of the two nominees of the university in the committee on fee hike, informed that he had already clarified the stand of the university.


Uday to be cremated with US military honours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
India-born US army trooper Uday Singh will be cremated here tomorrow with full US military honours, with the Commander of the US Army’s Pacific Command, Lieut-Gen James Campbell, and the officiating Deputy Chief of the US Mission, Mr Walter North, along with a ceremonial guard and pallbearers escorting the body to Chandigarh from New Delhi tomorrow.

The body is being flown to New Delhi from the US on a commercial flight and is expected to reach here by road at about 9.30 am. The honouring ceremony will be held at Uday’s parental house in Sector 18. General Campbell and Mr North would depart after the ceremony, following which cremation will take place in the Sector 25 cremation ground at about 1.30 pm. The US Defence Attache, Col Steve Sboto would also be present at the ceremony.

During the ceremony, expected to last about 30 minutes, a seven-member contingent will present a guard of honour to Sgt Uday Singh, draped in his Class-A uniform. A three-shot volley would also be fired by the guard as a mark of respect to their fallen comrade. Buglers from the Indian Army’s Gorkha Regiment will also be in attendance.

The ceremony will also feature flag presentation to Uday’s family. The US flag will be removed from the coffin, folded into a triangle in a stipulated manner by the pallbearers and handed over to a family member.

Though no official representative from the Indian Army or the government is being expected at the funeral, some colleagues of Uday’s father, Lieut-Col P.M. Singh, (retd), who had served in the Indian Army earlier, would be present.

This is for the first time that a foreign army will conduct a military funeral for one of its soldiers in India. The 21-year-old trooper was killed in Habbaniyah in Iraq on December 1 while serving as a gunner with the US’ 34th Armoured Regiment. Uday’s ashes will later be flown to the Arlington National Cemetery near Washington DC, where the US Army had wanted to bury him.

The entire area around Uday’s house will be sanitised by the Chandigarh police and will be cordoned-off during the duration of the ceremony for security reasons.


Hi-tech Gypsies to check traffic violations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Traffic rule violators beware! Hi-tech Gypsies loaded with video cassette recorders, breath analysers, speed guns, laptop computers and night-vision devices have been added to the fleet of vehicles of the Chandigarh Traffic Police for surprise checks.

Three such Gypsies were today flagged off by the Adviser to the Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, at an official function.

While breath analysers and speed guns have already been fitted, laptop computers and video cassettes recorders would be fitted in the vehicles soon, a police official said.

The vehicle also has equipment for setting up a temporary picket to start checking vehicles anywhere.

One vehicle will be made available to each division — South, Central and East — to check traffic violations.

The Delhi police had successfully deployed such vehicles to strengthen its surveillance.

Apart from these vehicles, five new Gypsies were added to the fleet of Police Control Room vehicles, taking its total number to 30.

The Police Control Room Gypsies will replace five PCR motor cycles under Industrial Area, Sectors 31, 34, 36 and 39 police stations. It will increase the access of the police in the highly populated southern sectors.

The motor cycles withdrawn will be used for patrolling in villages. Addressing a gathering at the function, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Rajesh Kumar, said the Chandigarh police hoped to replace all motor cycles in the PCR within three years to provide the force added teeth.

He said the Chandigarh Administration should help the police in its plan, adding that with the replacement of motor cycles with Gypsies, the police would be able to respond to a distress call faster.

He said Gypsies, because of easily visible instilled confidence in residents and could immediately handle accident cases.


Slapping incident: Principal goes on indefinite leave
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The Principal of Government Model High School, Sector 28, Mr Subhash Aggarwal, involved in the slapping of a Class X student of his school, has proceeded on indefinite leave beginning today while the District Education Officer, Ms Rajesh Chaudhary, given the responsibility of carrying out an inquiry into the incident, submitted her report to the DPI (Schools), Mr DS Mangat, here today.

While action on the report is expected within this week, the Principal, Mr Aggarwal, when contacted, said he did not attend office today and that his going on leave had nothing to do with the incident.

He, however, added that he had some domestic obligations to fulfil and could not say with certainty when he would be back in office. “As soon as my work is finished I will be back,” he said.

Meanwhile, the parents of the “victim”, Parul Sharma, stuck to their demand for the termination of the services of the principal.”We want justice and we want to ensure he is not able to get away with hitting anybody’s child. This will be a lesson for the others as well,” said Mr Satya Prakash Sharma, father of Parul.


300 cops have high BP, 240 overweight, 200 diabetic
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Doctors found 300 police personnel suffering from hypertension, 240 over weight and 200 diabetic out of a total of 475 checked up today in a health check up camp.

These dangerous health indicators were of the 40 plus aged police personnel below the rank of Inspector.

The doctors, during a special check up camp organised by the Chandigarh Police and Fortis Heart Institute, also noticed eye irritation, throat infections, respiratory discomfort, skin ailments, impaired hearing, chest diseases, anxiety, palpitation, alcoholism, weakness, restlessness, mental and work stresses amongst the police personnel.

Annoyance with noise was also a problem with the police personnel, a doctor said.

The dietician providing consultation to the police personnel said despite these health problems, the policemen had revealed they had lot of tea and coffee, normally skip their lunch and generally have paranthas, curd and butter in the breakfast.

The dietician said this diet had been aggravating the problems of the police personnel.

They require to have high protein diets, fibrous food, cut down on extra oil and cereals and should at least have fruits and vegetables in the lunch instead of ignoring it because of erratic time table.

The dietician said there was a need to regularly educate the police personnel about diet to help them overcome their health problems.

Psychiatrist Dr Amresh Singhal said he found a number of police personnel with mental and work stress, anxiety, palpitation, weakness, restlessness, depression and alcoholism.

He said few of the persons were found caught in the vicious cycle of depression- alcoholism and alcoholism-depression which reinforce each other.

Apart from medication, the doctors were giving the police personnel tips about meditation and breathing exercises which could be done during small breaks of work. They said these were most important for the police personnel caught in tension.

The psychiatrist said he was not sure that the police personnel have a higher percentage of mental stress than normally found in 15 per cent of the city’s population.

A survey is required to find this out, he said.

The complete health check of a batch of 475 police personnel was today conducted by the Fortis Heart Institute.

The health check up camp was inaugurated by the Administrator Justice (retd) O.P. Verma in the presence of Inspector General of Police Rajesh Kumar, SSP (Headquarters) Virender Singh, SSP Gaurav Yadav, SP (Operation) H. G. S. Dhaliwal and SP (Traffic) Amitabh Dhillon, among others.

Most of the DSPs and Inspectors were also present on the occasion.

Health experts from Fortis said medication, regular exercise, diet planning, stress management and modification in life style would help the police personnel in high stress overcome their health problems.


Army pays 95 cr compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The Army has so far paid about Rs 95 crore to farmers of five border districts in Punjab and Rajasthan as compensation for use of their fields and damage caused to crops due to deployment of the Army or laying minefields during Operation Parakram.

According to a statement issued here today, about Rs 41 crore has been disbursed in Sriganganagar district of Rajasthan, followed by Rs 26 crore in the neighbouring district of Ferozepore in Punjab. About Rs 6 crore has been disbursed in Bikaner district, while Rs 20 crore and Rs 2.5 crore have been disbursed in Amritsar and Gurdaspur respectively.

The Defence Ministry has also approved about Rs 3 crore as ex-gratia payment to landmine casualties in the two states. The amount ranges from a maximum of Rs 2.5 lakh for fatal casualties to Rs 1 lakh to the injured, depending upon the degree of disability as certified by district medical officers.

Since release of this grant was getting delayed, the Western Army Commander had earlier used his discretionary powers to sanction 25 per cent of the amount payable as interim relief, during which amounts carrying from Rs 25,000 to Rs 62,000 were paid to the families affected.

The statement added that of the 89 civilians who had lost their limbs, 29 were fitted with artificial limbs by various NGOs, with the Army contributing Rs 3.15 lakh towards cost of limbs and hospitalisation expenses. A team from the Artificial Limbs Centre, Pune had also visited Punjab and Rajasthan in July last and inspected all cases requiring artificial limbs.


Land prices touch a new high
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The prices of residential property in the city reached new high today at the auction for residential plots even as they may not have witnessed a hike like commercial property which had doubled in an auction two days ago.

The Chandigarh Administration netted Rs 44.24 crore by auctioning 69 freehold residential sites. The collection was Rs 12.57 crore over and above the reserve price for these plots. This is about 30 per cent more than the collective reserve price of these plots fixed at Rs 31.67 crore

The average overall price by calculating the sale of all plots on per square yard basis works out to be Rs 16,820. Last year this was Rs 12,672. The boom in rates can be gauged from the fact that last year Rs 14.74 crore were collected by auctioning 41 freehold residential sites.

The Estate Office wing of the Chandigarh Administration, which was the auctioning authority, held back 30 plots due to paucity of time. These sites will be put up for auction the next time. In the past three days of auctioning of commercial and residential property the Administration has netted a whopping Rs 101 crore.

Last year the Administration had to hold back 9 one kanal sites due to lack of good bids. This year a site in Sector 32.d fetched a whopping 1.02 crore.

In today's auction one of the highest bids ( when calculated on a per square yard basis ) was in the category of 5 marla ( 125 square yard) plots. The highest bid in this segment was for a Sector 32-A plot which was auctioned at Rs 37 lakh. The per square yard rate works out to be Rs 28,237. The reserve price of the plot was Rs 15.36 lakh. Last year a plot in the same locality was auctioned for about 22 lakh.

In the 10 marla (250 square yard) segment the highest bid was for a Sector 38-C plot which was auctioned at Rs 65. 10 lakh. Last year the highest bid in this category was Rs 34.70 lakh for a plot in Sector 33-A .

Among the demand were the 15 marla plots. The highest bid in this segment was for Rs 73.10 lakh for a plot in Sector 37-A. This is one of the biggest jump last year a plot of the same size in Sector 37 was auctioned for Rs 39 lakh.

Interestingly a new facet emerged in the 10 marla segment a plot in Sector 21-B which is located in the middle of Chandigarh was auctioned for Rs 63.70 lakh which was lesser than the highest bid in that category. However, bidding for a two kanal plot in Sector 21-A touched a new high as the price was recorded at Rs 1.645 crore.


NGO launches fund-raising project
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Mr Jeroninio Almeida Invest just 20 minutes and Rs 8.22 everyday and create a legacy of a better balanced society and the world without any disparity. Sounds interesting?

This is just what the Action Aid India, an NGO , which has been working aggressively in the country for the betterment of impoverished groups, is offering. Mr Jeroninio Almeida, Chief Executive and Director, Fund Raising, Action Aid India Society, launched an innovative concept of “Karma Mitra “ at a media conference here today. A short audio video presentation on activities of the NGO was also made.

“Karm Mitra,” according to Mr Almeida, is a unique donor loyalty programme where both the donor and the recipient community is benefited at the same time. While the donation helps the underprivileged in meeting their day-to-day requirements, the donor gets returns worth three times more on his or her donation. Based on the philosophy that when people do good they should get good things in return, “Karm Mitra” is a first of its kind of concept in the world in terms of its packaging and marketing strategy.

Said Mr Almeida, ‘‘It is an endeavour to bring like-minded, socially responsible and caring individuals on a common platform who want to and can create a better world for the marginalised and exploited strata of the society. Donation in India has largely been for charity. This programme is not about child adoption or religion but the intention is to advise people to become a part of the larger community that will work for the betterment of certain unprivileged groups, which need immediate attention’’.

“Karm Mitra” will propel the fund raising spectrum in the developmental sector. To market this unique concept, we have tied up with direct selling and marketing agencies, financial institutions and corporate houses. Also multi-level marketing channels over the major metros in the country are being explored to spread awareness about the product, added Mr Almeida.

‘‘From small acorns grow mighty oaks. The idea is to garner a large community of “Karm Mitra” who bring in their small contributions for a big cause. Beneficiary communities will then stand to benefit from the volume of funds and support of “Karm Mitra,” added Mr Almeida.

‘‘Karm Mitra” has been developed to expand the giving market and is a concept that we have developed not only for society but for the development sector globally. We would be glad to share our experiences with other charity organisations that would like to emulate and develop a product like “Karm Mitra“, he added.


‘Mashaal rally’ on World Human Rights Day
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, December 10
Holding candles in their tender hands, about 200 children and women marched up and down the Sector 17 Plaza during “mashaal rally” organised to mark World Human Rights Day.

As the twinkling flames illuminated the area, the participants raised slogans against female foeticide. It was organised by Indian Council of Social Welfare, in collaboration with Aastha foundation, along with Shishu Niketan School in Sector 22.

The rally was led by honorary general secretary of Indian Council of Social Welfare, Ms Shareshta Mehta. A board was set up at the plaza for the general public to sign against female foeticide.

At another rally, about a 100 women volunteers of Yuvsatta, in association with Chandigarh Social Welfare Advisory Board, marched to convey message against female foeticide in Colony No 5.

Students of Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, observed Human Rights Day at NSS camp in Government School, Khajheri, by organising a rally, here today.

In the rally flagged off by the Principal, Dr (Ms) Satinder Dhillon, the NSS volunteers raised slogans like ‘Bano sakshar.’ ‘Jeo aur jeene do’, ‘Padho-padhao, gian badhao’. Students from Akar Shakti Public School also joined the rally to spread the message.

Women and children from the village also joined the volunteers in the rally. The aim of the rally was to promote the message of human rights. On the way, the volunteers also encouraged the villagers to join them to pass on the message of human rights to their friends and neighbours.

The Lawyers For Human Rights International(LHRI), in association with other human rights organisation, including the Human Rights Law Network and the Lawyers For Social Reforms and other social organisations today organised a candlelight peace march in Sector 17 to observe the World Human Rights Day.

Members of the organisations participated in the hour-long march and distributed human rights education material to the public.

The press secreatry of the LHRI, Mr Arunjeev Singh Walia, said the procession was organised to express solidarity with victims of human rights abuse, who had been guaranteed protection of law and international mechanisms of human rights in the form of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a UN charter.

The president of the LHRI, Mr Amar Singh Chahal, said the participants also expressed displeasure at the failure of justice delivery system while trying offences involving communal violence. The large-scale acquittals in Gujarat in 2001 and anti-Sikh carnage in 1984 in the country were a blot on the legal system of the country, where the court was a helpless tool of repression against the victims who were forced to turn hostile in their depositions before the Court, he added.

The Regional Tibetan Youth Congress Chandigarh (RTYCC) also organised a candlelight vigil in memory of those who had given up their lives during the freedom struggle, stated a press note issued by the RTYCC here today.


Power board’s decision on meters flayed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 10
The Welfare Action Committee of Phase VI here today described as arbitrary and illegal the action of the Punjab State Electricity Board in clubbing bills in the case of those consumers who had more than one power meter in their houses.

The secretary of the committee, Mr R.C. Jhingan, said where more than one meter was provided by the board in a house, it could not be considered as one dwelling unit because PUDA had passed the relevant building plan providing for a separate kitchen, drawing room, bedroom, etc, on the ground, first and second floors. In such cases the building contained three dwelling units and each unit had a separate occupant (tenant).

Every occupant had to be burdened with an electricity bill separately and the bills could not be clubbed as was being done by the board at present.

The committee secretary said the board had already provided separate meters for separate dwelling units in a large number of houses.

These meters had been running for 25 years or more for which separate security amounts had been deposited and the meter rent was recovered from the consumers on a regular basis.

He claimed that no one was misusing the concession clause as was alleged by the Superintending Engineer, Operations, Mohali.

The Board, before charging higher rates on the entire power consumption from consumers who had more than one meter on their premises, should first verify whether the owner of the house in question was misusing the concession clause or there actually existed a separate meter for each dwelling unit.

Mr Jhingan demanded the withdrawal of the board’s instructions to charge higher rates in cases of houses with more than one power meter.


Traffic comes to a halt as SAD workers greet Badal
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, December 10
Traffic on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway was disrupted for more than 15 minutes following a massive gathering of Shiromani Akali Dal workers, who received a former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal after a wait of over six hours at Mahabir Marriage Palace here today.

Accompanied by SAD general secretaries — Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Mr Baldev Singh Bhundar — Mr Badal reached here at 4.45 pm amid tight security in a Mercedes (CH-03C-0069). Holding saffron flags, a large number of SAD workers, who were awaiting the arrival of their leader since 10.30 am, approached Mr Badal’s car and garlanded him.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, MLA from the Banur Assembly constituency, came out of the car and thanked the gathering.

A few minutes after Mr Badal left the place, an imported luxury car, Parado, with a Delhi registration number (DL-1CH-0078) carrying Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, his wife Harsimrat Kaur, Mr Manpreet Badal, Babbi Badal and some relatives descended. on the scene. Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal thanked his supporters.

The SAD workers also offered ladoos to Mr Badal, his son and other leaders accompanying them. Ladoos were also distributed among the gathering. Workers of the Zirakpur unit of the SAD, the leadership of Mr Narinder Sharma, president, Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, had assembled at the venue with saffron ribbons tied to their heads.

SAD workers from Dera Bassi were lead by Mr Jagjit Singh Dalli, a former president of the Dera Bassi Municipal Council.

Traffic was restored on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway later.


X-mas spirit is here
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 10
With festival season around the corner, carol groups of Sector 18 Christ Church, CNI today started visiting the other members singing carols to welcome the birth of Lord Jesus.

The members plan to go from door to door, sing carols and prayers till December 20. The members have been divided into two groups so that the maximum houses can be visited.

According to Presbyter-in charge Rev. Darbara Singh, every evening the carol singing will start at about 6.30 pm and the prayers will be held at different houses of the members till midnight. Group I will cover Manimajra and Mansa Devi, while Group II will go around Naya Gaon today night.

On December 20, church cleaning will take place, while carol service in Hindi and English will take place the next day, along with Christmas Tree for Sunday School Children.

A shobha yatra, starting from the church will start at 11 am on December 22 and will terminate at the Sector 41 church. Midnight service and holy communion will be held on December 24.

On December 25 Christmas and holy communion service in Tamil will be held at 7.30 am followed by service in English at 9.30 am and in Hindi at 11.30 am. “Langar” will be served at 1.30 pm. New year service and holy communion will be held on January 1 next year. 


Insurance scheme for scribes launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The Haryana Governor Babu Parmanand today launched an insurance scheme for journalists which would provide security and help to the journalists and their families. The scheme was announced at the annual meet of the union.

Under the scheme each journalist would be insured for a risk of Rs 5 lakh while the premium would be borne by the Chandigarh Punjab Union of Journalists.

The Governor lauded the role of the Chandigarh-Punjab Journalists Union for initiating the scheme. In his address he regretted that the foreign media was trying to influence the journalists of the country and the journalists should maintain their distinctive style and should not compromise in their reporting on the traditional values like truth and non-violence.

He exhorted the journalists not to discriminate with any caste, class or community in their writings and focus on eradicating corruption, injustice, poverty and illiteracy so that India could emerge as a strong and prosperous country. He asked the journalists to write about the problems of people living below the poverty line and to visit the remote places to know the status of welfare schemes implemented by the Central Government. The Press should also highlight the problems of poor and the backward classes of the society in their reporting.

Earlier, Mr Charanjit Ahuja General Secretary of the Union made a case for a pension scheme for journalists on the pattern followed in Uttar Pradesh where a fixed pension is assured on superannuation. The journalists and the state government share the payment of premium. Principal Secretary, Public Relations and Information Punjab, Mr D.S. Jaspal, who was present on the occasion, asked the union to provide details of the scheme so that the government could study its viability and possible implementation in Punjab.


Police clueless about student’s death
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 10
The police is still in the dark regarding the cause of death of a student of Chandigarh Engineering College, Landran, here yesterday.

According to the police, the parents of the deceased, Manjinder Singh Sandhu, had said that no suicide note was found and he had no enmity with anyone.

The police said that the last person Manjinder spoke to sometime before he died was his brother. He had reportedly asked his brother to look after their mother and father, but gave no reason for making such a statement.

Mr Satnam Singh, chairman of the college, told Chandigarh Tribune that Manjinder had attended college yesterday. The chairman said he had talked to the principal and teachers in this regard but could not say definitely what might have led to the death of the student.


PUDA to complete works in Sector 68
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 10
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) will finally take up the completion of various infrastructure development works in Sector 68 pending for over five years.

Vacating a stay order of over 60 Kumbra village residents, who had allegedly encroached upon PUDA land in Sector 68, the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently ordered them to shift from the encroached land by December 31. Following these orders, PUDA will now be able to complete the laying of sewer and water supply pipes in the sector and finish the construction of roads.

Sources said these persons had not given up their claim on the “bada” land outside the phirni of Kumbra village even though the land was acquired by PUDA more than five years ago. Following a litigation, the court finally ordered last week that in case the residents themselves do not remove their structures on this land by December 31, PUDA is free to remove them.

The court also directed PUDA to ensure that the encroachers were given alternative plots in the sector on half rates as promised, besides the compensation amount stored in the government Treasury.

‘‘Now PUDA will be able to finish the laying of roads, sewer pipes and water supply lines. Electricity and BSNL works are also pending,’’ said a source in PUDA.


Three jhuggis destroyed in fire

Mohali, December 10
Belongings worth thousands of rupees were lost when three jhuggis were destroyed in a fire here late last night. The fire broke out in Balmiki Colony in Phase VI around midnight when a lighted earthen lamp fell in one of the jhuggis. The flames then spread to two more jhuggis. The flames were controlled by the fire brigade. OC


Low water pressure today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Water supply will be restricted during morning and evening hours tomorrow as urgent repairs have to be carried out in one of the main water supplying lines from Kajauli. There will be no pumping of water from Kajauli to Sector 39 from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. There are a total of three pipes carrying water from the Bhakra Main Line Canal at Kajauli to Chandigarh. 


Readers Write
Encroachments pose threat to road-users

Readers are invited to contribute to the Readers Write column. The letters should be typed in double space or written legibly with the name and address of the writer and should not exceed 200 words. — Editor

Apropos news-item “MC loses crores due to illegal occupation” published in Chandigarh Tribune on November 30. I would like to draw the attention of the authorities concerned towards encroachments in Sector 46.

A visit to the sector will show how landlords have encroached upon land of the Chandigarh Administration without paying any compensation to the MC or the UT Administration.

Some encroachments are so troublesome that these can prove fatal for road-users. This is particularly so in case of corner houses.

The situation in Sector 46 is perhaps worst because landlords have encroached upon large chunks of land. The best way out is to impose some fine on the encroachers or levy cess or tax on these landlords. There is a need to form committees in sectors to monitor encroachments. Such committees should submit their periodical report to the MC authorities.



Reliance customer meet

I want to express my resentment against Reliance India Mobile. On December 2, the mobile major through SMS and advertisements in local dailies, including Chandigarh Tribune, invited its subscribers to a customer service meet in Sector 26.

Instead of attending to the problems, the meet turned out to be a collection drive of subscriptions and bills. And the catch was to offer gifts.

The gifts, besides a cheap jotter, was the “Up to Rs 1,00,000 mega saver” coupon book. Surprisingly, many a coupon had already expired. And those valid till December 31 this year, required the subscribers to spend thousands to get the benefit of coupons in a short period of around 29 days.

Instead of organising such customer meets and playing cruel jokes on subscribers, the company should send SMS, asking for clearing the bills.



Traffic jam points

With the rise in traffic in Chandigarh, most of the roundabouts, are proving nothing less than traffic jam “kendras”.

Take any roundabout- the roundabout — The Tribune roundabout the Labour chowk roundabout the main roundabout, near the main bus stand, the cricket stadium roundabout in Sector 16 — all are proving to be a mess.

At the peak hours in the morning and evening, many roundabouts present a chaotic scene. Most of the time, these witness traffic jams. The roundabouts ought to be changed into traffic lights.

To regulate traffic, the plying of tractor-trolleys should be banned at the peak hours from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. as was the practice earlier.




Photographer held for selling fake licences, certificates
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 10
A photographer who had been providing fake driving licences, PAN cards, date of birth certificates and academic certificates of various universities and education boards at his Sector 37 shop for the past six months was arrested today.

The computer and other related items used to generate the fake documents have been seized by the police. Several “driving licences” and “PAN cards” have also been recovered from his possession.

Davinder Singh used to tap potential customers and then generate documents on a computer at his shop. According to the police, Mr Ombir Singh, a resident of Sector 38 West, contacted Davinder Singh for a driving licence, for which he paid Davinder Rs 500. The ‘‘licence’’ (issued in the name of the Faridkot licencing authority bearing a number ‘14241\NDL’) was delivered to him in a couple of days.

However, on verification from the Faridkot licensing authority, Mr Ombir Singh found that the licence was fake. He reported the matter to the Chandigarh police.

Davinder Singh had also sold academic certificates of the Punjab School Education Board and the Panjab University. The accused would be produced in a local court tomorrow.


One killed in road accident
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, December 10
A Panchkula Sector 12 resident died on the spot while his companion sustained head injuries when a car in which they were travelling had a head on collision with a truck on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway opposite Nabha Sahib Gurdwara near here late last night.

According to the police the youth Baljit Singh (21) died in the accident and his companion Sonu (18) sustained head injuries when their vehicle had a head-on collision with the truck near Chhat village. The deceased and the injured have been identified a nephew and son of Mr Balwinder Singh, a Municipal Councillor of Panchkula, respectively.

The youths were on their way towards Rajpura when their car collided with the truck.

The body was handed over to the family member after postmortem at Civil Hospital in Rajpura. After the accident Sonu was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

After impounding the vehicles the police has arrested the truck driver and a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at the Lohgarh police post.


Verka lucky draws results
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 10
Ten persons were declared winners here in lucky draws held here today under two gold schemes launched by the local Verka Milk Plant.

Under the “Doodh piyo sona pao” scheme, aimed at attracting new members to the Verka family, about 5,000 houses were visited by milk plant officials in Chandigarh. They tested milk bought by consumers from local milk vendors and showed that impurities were present. The officials were able to add 453 families to the Verka customers’ list.

The winners under this scheme, which also covered old customers, were Ms Neelam, 3117, Sector 21, Chandigarh; Dr Rajiv Sethi, Civil Dispensary, Sector 8B, Chandigarh; Mr G.S. Palia, 763, Sector 40D, Chandigarh; and a resident (no name mentioned) of 767, Sector 22A, Chandigarh.

Under the second scheme, “Sone ka Sikka pao”, customers who had purchased Verka products worth Rs 400 or more from milk bars at Lalru, Ropar, Mohali, Morinda, Chandigarh and Anandpur Sahib were included in the lucky draw.

The winners were Mr S.B. Goel of Sector 9, Panchkula; Mr Mohinder Pal Singh, Sihomajra village, Ropar district; Mr Kirpal Singh, Kheragaju village, near Rajpura; Dr Manohar, Sector 3, Panchkula; Mr J.K. Sharma (mobile no. 09810027870); and Mr Amit Sharma, Amlala village, near Dera Bassi.

Two Chandigarh Verka dealers, Mr Amarjit Dua of Sector 7C and Ms Yashodhara Sharma of Sector 49, were also given gold coins for their good performance.

The Milk Plant authorities said officials would deliver the prizes to the winners at their homes.


MIA offer to Ethiopia
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 10
The Mohali Industries Association (MIA) today offered to set up an industrial park in Ethiopia to cater to the latter’s needs in various fields.

Making the offer at an interactive session here with Dr Teketal Forssido, Ambassador of Ethiopia to India, on “Industrial investment opportunities in Ethiopia”, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, general secretary of the MIA, said Mohali was the hub of industry in this region. It could do a lot in fields such as auto parts, pharmceuticals, information technology and electronics.

Dr Forssido said that trade between India and Ethiopia had been increasing over the past few years touching $72.6 million in the year 2002-03. He said agriculture, infrastructure, manufacturing, information technology, pharmaceuticals, water management and education were some of the areas that had immense potential for trade and investment in his country.

Dr Forssido spelt out various steps that his government had taken for boosting foreign investment to accelerate industrial activity. He said the Indian technology suited this Ethiopian requirements the most costwise as well as in terms of knowhow.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, president of the MIA, said both India and Ethiopia had vast agricultural economies. However, Indian entrepreneurs could help Ethiopia in the industrial sector too in view of the supremecy their country had achieved in various industrial fields.

The Ambassador was also taken on a visit to Jupiter Aqua Lines Ltd, Tynor Orthotics, Ltd, Veeco Switchgear (P) Ltd and Windsor Packaging (P) Ltd.

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