C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Escapees’ counsel says they may have been killed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 3
Counsel for alleged assassin of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh — Paramjit Singh Bheora — alleged today that his client and three others were forcibly taken away by the jail authorities and other high-ups.

He said before proceeding further in the assassination case an inquiry should be held in the matter. Paramjit Singh and others had tunnelled their way out of Burail Jail last month

The media was not allowed to attend the proceedings in the special court in the Burail Jail premises today on the orders of the officiating Jail Superintendent, Mr S.K Setia.

Sources said the visit of Mr R.S Gupta coincided with the trial that was why media was not allowed in. Mr Gupta has been appointed Chairman of the committee appointed to probe the lapses on part of the jail administration which led to the escape of Hawara and others on January 21

The application was moved before the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr Balbir Singh in the special court room in Burail Jail. The hearing in the Beant Singh assassination case has been adjourned for tomorrow.

In his application counsel has claimed that Paramjeet Singh and the three others did not escape but were taken away forcibly from jail premises in connivance with the jail authorities and some other high-ups for the purpose of murder (or may have been killed by now)

Mr N.S. Minhas, counsel of another accused in the case, Navjot Singh, also moved an application requesting a direction to the Jail Superintendent to provide sitting arrangements for Navjot and his elderly parents during the period the latter's visits to the jail to meet their son.

Meanwhile, a local court today sent the seven persons, including the Jail Superintendent, who were arrested following the jailbreak, to judicial custody till February 17 after their police remand for 12 days ended.

These seven accused, jail Superintendent D S Rana, Assistant Superintendent P S Rana, Deputy Superintendent D S Sandhu, Havaldar Nishan Singh, Havaldar Inder Singh and CRPF constables Kashmir Singh and Jagir Singh were arrested on January 22.

They were produced in the court of the Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr Phalit Sharma who ordered their judicial custody. Even though the public prosecutor moved an application for the extension of their police remand, he did not argue for the same.

The public prosecutor moved an application for request to shift the accused in a Paitala jail. The judge has asked the defense counsel to reply on the application. All accused were later send to the Burail Jail.

The application to shift the accused to Paitala jail was made as family members of the jail staff were staying in the jail premises, said police sources.



They escaped despite floodlights
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, February 3
Former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh’s alleged assassins Jagtar Singh Hawara and three others are believed to have covered a part of the escape route within the jail premises despite floodlights being on. The fugitives had to run across the fields after crossing the tunnel to scale the boundary wall.

This came to light during the interrogation of Nairain Singh Chaura who had informed the police after he had tampered with the power supply to the jail.

When the supply was unexpectedly restored, Hawara had sent an SMS to repeat the act but Chaura expressed his inability. Instead he suggested Hawara to abandon the plan. The latter refused and scaled the wall, taking the risk of being seen by the security personnel.

Rain came to the rescue of Hawara as the CRPF staff on the watch tower supposedly went inside. The security staff had to withdraw as the glass cover over the tower had been broken, exposing them to the vagaries of weather.

Police sources said having changed escape plans twice, Hawara probably did not want to take any other risk. “Anything could have happened. The tunnel might have been discovered or Chaura might have been caught,” said an official.

The revelations of Chaura showed that the plan of Hawara was not so meticulous as it was being made out to be.



None given clean chit yet: Swami
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr I.D. Swami, today said the ministry had not absolved any official of blame for the occurrence of the January 21 Burail jailbreak.

Mr Swami, however, added that action against erring officials would be taken only after the inquiry report has been submitted.

When asked specifically as to why the SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, had been put on the three-member inquiry panel even as lapses of his department were being ascertained in the jailbreak, Mr Swami said the inquiry was to look into the role and laxity of all officials concerned and nobody had been given a clean chit.

He said the Ministry of Home Affairs would take action only after a inquiry report was submitted by Mr R.S. Gupta, former Delhi Police Commissioner, who is already in Chandigarh and will start work shortly. Mr Swami said that the ministry had taken a serious view of the episode and it was on account of this that an enquiry panel headed by a senior policeman has been set up.

Mr Gupta has been asked to submit his report in two months' time.

Meanwhile, Mr Gupta today clarified to mediapersons that the inquiry would be confined to the lapses committed by the jail authorities and into the conduct of those who were supposed to supervise their work.

He said that the committee would not inquire into the role of the police in the episode.



Cops have no role in jail administration: R.S. Gupta
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The chairman of the three-member committee probing “lapses of jail administration and those supposed to supervise it,” Mr . R. S. Gupta, today informed that the committee was not inquiring into the role of the police in the entire episode.

“The terms of reference are confined to inquire into the lapses of the jail administrator and those who are supposed to supervise,” the former Commissioner of Delhi Police R. S. Gupta said here today.

When asked why the role of the police was not being inquired, Mr Gupta said as per the jail manual the police had got nothing to do with the jail administration.

When told that the public impression is that the entire machinery including the Administration and the police, failed in its duty Mr Gupta said this was not the scope of the inquiry he was conducting.

Mr Gupta, said the police and jail administration were two separate things.

Mr Gupta, who started the probe today after his retirement from the Delhi Police on January 31, today visited the jail and held several meetings with the officials concerned with the issue. However, he refused to divulge his impressions saying “This would be known only after the completion of the inquiry.”

The other members of the committee are Municipal Commissioner M. P. Singh and SSP Gaurav Yadav. Mr Gupta said that the inquiry would be very open and transparent. He said the committee would put out an advertisement in the newspapers seeking information from the public on the jailbreak issue.

The advertisement is likely to be finalised tomorrow, Mr Gupta said.

The former senior police officer said that the public would be given at least a week’s time to provide information for the purpose. About the officials who would be required to give information and documents, Mr Gupta said the committee would contact them. Mr Gupta said the inquiry would be open to all those who wanted to provide any information.

Mr Gupta refused to comment whether the committee’s report would be final.

When asked if he was satisfied with the composition of the committee, Mr Gupta said it was a balanced one with experience of both investigation and administration being with its members.

Mr Gupta said, however, if there was any need of taking any member or advice, the committee was free to decide on the matter. Mr Gupta said he today met the Administrator, Justice O. P. Verma, (retd) Advisor to the Administrator Lalit Sharma apart from the officials concerned.

Mr Gupta did not specify who are covered in the inquiry, saying whoever was linked to jail administration and its supervisory role.

When informed that the police used to go for periodic checks, he said jail authorities could have asked for anybody’s help but the police had nothing to do with the internal checking of the jail.



Punishing wardens futile, says CM

Chandigarh, February 3
Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh has said there is “no point arresting and penalising jail wardens after the escape of three assassins of the former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh from Burail Jail when ‘real culprits’ continue to occupy key positions.”

Talking to mediapersons after presiding over a meeting at the Punjab Bhavan today, he said the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, should take responsibility for the jailbreak. “He should explain how the incident had happened on January 2.” TNS



Admn shifts stance on commercial sites
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Change in policy 

  • Major commercial properties like shopping malls to be on leasehold basis.
  • Might hamper economic activity as buyers will not be interested in leasehold property.
  • Major companies can only be tenants.

Chandigarh, February 3
The Chandigarh Administration is all set to take a step in the reverse direction and go back to the “control raj”. It has decided to auction the upcoming 11-storeyed commercial tower in Sector 17 and also the shopping mall in Sector 44 on leasehold and not on freehold basis, as is the norm.

This means people who buy space in these two projects at exorbitant prices will not be owners of the land, rather they will have to pay a fixed annual ground rent to the administration. Around two years ago, the administration had decided to auction all properties in the city on freehold basis. The new policy of the administration comes as a surprise and may discourage buyers, as they will be required to pay 2.5 per cent of the total sum of the plot as ground rent every year. This means if a plot is sold at Rs 80 crore, the bidder will have to pay around Rs 2 crore each year for the next 33 years.

This additional expense will add to the running costs of the business and will hamper growth. Companies wanting to open shops or outlets can at best be tenants of the owner and not partners or part owners.

Industry-watchers says leasehold system will reduce the cost of the premium building by around 50 per cent and the estimates of netting Rs 80 crore will be unrealistic.

The same problem will arise in the case of shopping mall in Sector 44. “Why should a cinema exhibitor or a restaurant owner pay ground rent?” asked sources.

Officials in the Chandigarh Administration said the move was aimed at keeping some source of revenue for the government in the long run. The land in city is running out fast and the administration plans to make money through ground rent.

All over the country the government has got itself out of the business of real estate. The best would have been that the administration auctioned the plot and given the buyer a free hand.

The 11-storeyed commercial tower in Sector 17 shall be built in an area of 1.54 acres with a covered area of around 5 lakh sq ft. Places like Gurgaon, Noida and Panchkula have already taken the lead in the field of shopping malls.

Interestingly, the administration has realised that it has to take the money from the bidder. In both the cases there will be a 30-day period for the bidder to deposit the entire sum. The craze for the 11-storeyed tower is more as it will be located right opposite Jagat Theatre and the administration aims at netting a sum between Rs 70 crore and Rs 80 crore through auction.

In the building, the administration will keep one full floor, measuring around 40,000 sq ft with itself for auctioning at a later stage. One good thing the administration has done is to allow more internal freedom. A shop inside the tower has to be of at least 500 sq ft and there is no upper limit. The tower will have four storeys of shopping malls and food courts; and on the upper floors will be offices of companies. Parking will be in the basement.

The auction for the shopping mall in Sector 44 will take place before that of the 11-storey tower. The mall in Sector 44 has also been approved by the administration for auction. It will have a multiplex cinema halls, retail and entertainment facilities and shall be spread over an area of 2.50 acres with a built space of around 1,36,000 sq ft. 



General lays stress on army preparedness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Enhancement of the Army’s Operational preparedness and promoting the esprit de corps are among top priorities laid down by Lieut-Gen J.J. Singh on formally assuming charge as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Command at Chandimandir Military Station, near here, today.

In his special “Order of the Day” issued on the occasion, General Singh has also stressed upon improving the quality of life of all ranks and welfare of ex-servicemen and their families.

On his first official day at Headquarters Western Command, General Singh was received by the Chief of Staff, Lieut-Gen P.K. Grover and the Major-Gen-in-Charge, Administration, Major-Gen K.S. Rao, The new Army Commander was presented a guard of honour by a contingent of 15 Gharwal Rifles commanded by Major Rakesh Krishnan. A large number of officers, JCOs, other ranks as well as civilian employees were present on the occasion.

Earlier, he laid a wreath at the Command War Memorial, Veer Smriti and paid tributes to the martyrs. A ceremonial guard reversed arms and the Last Post was sounded by buglers.

Prior to assuming the command of Western Command, General Singh was the GOC-in-C, Army Training Command (ARTRAC), Shimla, where he was instrumental in giving the Army a discernable thrust towards modernisation by streamlining training through adoption of training techniques, principles of jointmanship and a vision of a modern and progressive future. One of the notable achievements of his tenure was the evolution of the “Doctrine for the Indian Army” — a landmark document which lays down guidelines for the army of the future.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Gen J.J. Singh was commissioned into 9 Maratha Light Infantry in August, 1964. He has seen a variety of first-hand combat experience in over 12 years and was wounded while leading troops in counter insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir. His earlier appointments include Additional Director General of Military Operations, GOC of an elite strike corps during Exercise Poorna Vijay and Operation Parakram and military attache in Algeria.

Decorated with PVSM, AVSM and VSM, General Singh is also the Colonel Commandant of the elite Maratha Light Infantry.



Judicious use of money crucial, feel defence experts
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
While the setting up of a non-lapsable fund for defence modernisation has been largely welcomed by the defence community in and around the city, questions have also been raised over its control and utility.

Senior defence officers are of the view that the defence forces would be benefited by the fund only if the process of utilising money was streamlined and adequate, and committed financial planing was undertaken.

The 9.5 per cent hike in the defence budget has also been welcomed, though analysts feel it just about covers the inflation and escalation costs.

The government has made a provision in the Interim Budget, presented in Parliament today, for a Rs 25,000-crore non-lapsable fund for modernisation of defence forces. The government has also proposed a hike of Rs 6,300 crore in the defence budget, pegging it at Rs 66,600 crore compared with last year’s revised estimates of Rs 60,300 crore.

“The prime question here is who would control the purse strings,” Air Marshal Randhir Singh (retd) pointed out. He hoped that it was not just an election gimmick and feared that if bureaucratic control continued, things would remain the same with the armed forces being deprived of any real benefit. “On face value, these things look good. But when you look at reality, you have second thoughts,” he remarked.

“It is not a matter of how much has been allocated, but how much is actually spent,” Lieut-Gen Depinder Singh, former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command, remarked. Stating that the quantity of money had never been a problem for the defence forces, he said its utilisation by the powers ought to be more sensible. “If we are able to correct this trend, it would be helpful,” he said.

The Defence Ministry had proposed two years ago that a non-lapsable fund for modernisation would be set up. The announcement of the fund, officers said, was a strong indication that the government intended to go ahead with the several major arms deals that had been hanging fire for the past few years. These include six French Scorpene submarines, Advance Jet Trainers, Russian SMERCH multi-barrel rocket launchers, medium and heavy calibre artillery guns, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, radars and surveillance equipment and aircraft upgrade packages.

Agreeing that the fund is a good thing, Cmdr R.S. Mundi, a retired naval officer, was of the opinion that such a fund would give better dividends if the decision-making process was integrated and streamlined.

On the hike in the defence budget, analysts here find nothing to gloat over, with the increase being seen as relative to rising costs. At 66,600 crore, India’s defence budget would be just about 2.12 per cent of the GDP, as compared to 4 per cent in Pakistan and a hefty 6 per cent in China.

Lieut-Gen G.S. Kler (retd) said given the escalation costs, the hike was just marginal. “Most of the defence budget goes towards the pay and allowances of troops, leaving very little for modernisation,” he said. “Keeping this in view, the non-lapsable fund is a very good thing. It should have been introduced much earlier with a quick and efficient decision-making mechanism in place,” he said.



Missing child found murdered
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 3
The seven-year-old boy who went missing from Shahi Majra village here on January 26 has been found murdered. His body was found today.
According to sources, the body was found in a nullah near the Quark offices in the Industrial Area here late tonight by the police.

It is learnt that it was not a case of kidnapping for ransom, as was suspected by the police earlier. The boy, Amit, the sources said, had been allegedly sodomised and his body dumped in the Industrial Area. The kidnapping drama was reported to have been enacted by the suspect to divert the attention of the police.

The sources said Amit was murdered on the night of January 26 itself to prevent him from exposing the perpetrator of the sexual crime.

The SP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, who has been personally monitoring the case, confirmed the death of the child.

The sources said the suspect, Meharban, a brother of an STD booth owner in Shahi Majra village, ran away to Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh after allegedly committing the murder. From there, he made a telephone call to the family of Amit at his brother’s STD booth demanding Rs 1 lakh for releasing the boy. He directed the father of the boy, Mr Achhe Lal, who runs a grocery shop in the village, to hand over the amount by 7.30 pm today near a bridge at Ambala.

The SP had sent a team of police personnel to Saharanpur from where it arrested Meharban. The team returned here this evening. On questioning, the suspect allegedly admitted to having committed the crime. He told the police that he had thrown the body of the child in the nullah after killing him.

It is learnt that the police has also arrested Mohammad Iqbal, the STD booth owner and brother of Meharban, in this connection. It is alleged that after the crime, Meharban told his brother about it who allegedly helped him to make a plan to escape and cover it up by making it look like a case of kidnapping for ransom.

The sources say that members of the family were called tonight by the police to identify the body.



Be at seats during public dealing 
hours, MC officials told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
In an important decision, the Mayor has asked all officials of the Municipal Corporation to be present at their seats to hear public grievances during the time fixed specifically for this purpose every day.

Nearly one hour, 11 am onwards, is fixed for officials to hear public grievances every day. This schedule is displayed outside the rooms of most of the officials. Officials can be personally contacted on all working days except Wednesday. However, there have been complaints about non-availability of officials during the fixed hours, as they are busy attending meetings.

The issue has been highlighted by Mr Chandermukhi, a Congress councillor. “More often than not when we go to the room of any official during the public meeting hours, the official concerned can be seen discussing corporation issues with his subordinates. If this can happen in the presence of a councillor, one can imagine the plight of the general public,” he said.

Mr Chandermukhi said: “The general public has just four hours every week to contact officials. They travel from different sectors to the corporation office and in several cases make more than one visit.”

Ms Kamlesh, the Mayor, confirmed the decision. She said: “The circular had been issued to officials concerned in public interest.” It was up to officials to ensure that they devoted the time fixed for hearing public grievance because the basic function of the corporation was public welfare, she said.

The note will be forwarded to the Chief Engineer, Medical Officer Health, XENs and other staff in the corporation, sources said.

Mr Chandermukhi said the circular should not be misconstrued. In fact, the administration could also take cue from the development and ensure that the same was followed in other offices.

He is of the opinion that all officers concerned should have a clear programme of action each morning and they should devote the scheduled time to hear public grievances. The first step in this direction will have to be initiated by seniors who should set an example by not calling their juniors during this hour.

A corporation official said: “How can we ignore the orders from the seniors. The matter can be settled only if written orders are issued.”



Banned autos back on city roads
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Following the directions of the Supreme Court, the Chandigarh Administration had taken a bold step last year, banning auto-rickshaws more than 15-year-old in the city.

But most of these auto-rickshaws are again on the road, though their owners had sold them to scrap dealers. They have been sold to operators in Zirakpur, Mohali and Kharar.

The insiders said out of 2,000 auto-rickshaws registered in the city, about 500 such vehicles were discarded in the city on the directions of the Chandigarh Administration.

The owners sold them to scrap dealers, but some people in Zirakpur, Kharar, Panchkula, Mohali and surrounding towns purchased these. With new engines and repairs they have again appeared on the city roads in “connivance” with the traffic police.

A survey of city roads revealed that these banned auto-rickshaws with CHV series (registered before 1988) are running on city roads, especially on the periphery. Mr H.S.Sahni, president, Chandigarh Autorickshaw Taxi Union, alleges that these auto-rickshaws are being run in connivance with officials of the State Transport Authority and traffic police and causing pollution in the city, besides affecting local operators.

He says, “About 500 operators had sold their auto-rickshaws to scrap dealers at an average price of Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000. After some repairs, the dealers sold them to operators in neighbouring towns and they are running these on the city roads now without fear. While we are paying instalments to banks after purchasing new autos, these operators are making money by just spending Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000.”

Most of the discarded autos are being run on the Zirakpur-Government Medical College, (Sector 32), Panchkula-Railway station and Mohali Phase VII - Kisan Bhavan, (Sector 22) routes. Passengers say they find these autos even cheaper than local transport buses.

The auto-rickshaw operators say that as per the modus operandi, the owners of these abandoned vehicles are paying Rs 50-Rs 100 per month to traffic police personnel manning nakas on these routes.

Says Mr Ram Pal, a commuter: “We have no idea which is an abandoned auto. As long as the charges are just Rs 5 for travelling up to Zirakpur as against Rs 10 charged by bus, I am least bothered.”

When contacted, Mr Naresh Narwal, Secretary, State Transport Authority, said, “We launch special drives from time to time to check these vehicles”.



It stinks on Panchkula roads
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 3
With the Municipal Council(MC) dragging feet over the award of sanitation and streetlight contracts, residents of the township have been left in the lurch.
And this is despite the claim by the MC President, Ms Seema Chaudhary, that the contracts would be finalised by January-end.In fact, the residents have been forced to live in insanitary conditions for the past over a fortnight in the absence of any cleanliness work undertaken by the MC.

A visit by a Tribune team today revealed that overflowing garbage bins dotted the town,touted to be the Paris of India by former Chief Minister and resident of the town, Mr Bhajan Lal.

While the problem of overflowing garbage bins-made the lives of citizens difficult, the stray cattle menace compounded the problems. At an open ground in Sector 17 with scattered garbage, stray cattle had a field day.

Even as the MC takes it easy, the residents are up in arms. The president of the Citizens Welfare Association, Mr SK Nayar, alleged that after the formation of the MC, the civic amenities had gone from bad to worse.The residents had elected the residents in the hope that amenities, particularly sanitation, would improve.

However, hopes have been dashed to the ground with elected councillors more busy in infighting rather than thinking about the welfare of the citizens, Mr Nayar alleged.

Ms Anita Sharma, a resident of Sector 15 said in the absence of sanitation, the fear of the outbreak of an epidemic loomed large over the town.

The residents are at the receiving end whether to approach the MC or HUDA for the sanitation work.The distribution of works between HUDA and the MC had been far from satisfactory.

It may be recalled that the MC had cancelled sanitation and streetlight contracts at its meeting on January 23, finding fault with the works. At that time it was claimed by Ms Chaudhary that the terms and conditions of the contracts would be finalised by the end of January. Efforts to contact Ms Chaudhary proved futile.

The MC meeting had constituted a sanitation committee to work out a solution to the problem. However, with the Congress boycotting the sanitation panel, its functioning was doomed from the beginning.



Verma inaugurates toilet block
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
A bus queue shelter at the Chandigarh Housing Board chowk in Mani Majra and a toilet block at Government Press Chowk, Sector 8-C, here was inaugurated by Justice O.P. Verma, UT Administrator, here today

Justice Verma appreciated the idea of providing drinking water facility at each bus queue shelter. He said in addition to this facility, there should be a STD/PCO at each bus queue shelter and the area around should be made a green belt and beautified by BOT operators.

Later, the Mayor, Mrs Kamlesh, suggested to the Administrator that the toilet blocks at places where tourists from other cities came daily should also have bathing facilities and lockers. She said tourists coming from other cities, those attending court hearings or other work in the city could deposit their clothes in the lockers at a nominal charge instead of checking in at a guesthouse for such facilities.

The Commissioner informed the Administrator that the municipal corporation would earn a revenue of Rs 2.5 crore from bus queue shelters and Rs 52 lakh from eight public toilet blocks. The plinth area of each shelter was 200 sq ft with an advertisement area of 90 sq ft.

Provision has been made for drinking water as well as providing newspapers and making an adequate sitting arrangement for commuters in the bus queue shelters. The plinth area of public toilet is 7 sq ft with an advertisement area of 222 sq ft. Separate provision has been made for a public toilet block for physically challenged persons. Mr R.S. Gujral, UT Home Secretary, was also present on the occasion.



Workshop on pollution control today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The Central Pollution Control Board and the Central Pollution Control Committee, Chandigarh and Kanpur, respectively, will hold a workshop tomorrow to chalk out an action plan with regard to checking of pollution in the region.

Mr N.K.Gupta, Environment Engineer, Central Pollution Control Committee, stated that representatives of over 25 non-government organisations working in the field of environment and pollution control in northern states would participate in the workshop.

Some of the NGOs from far away places like Banaras, Allahabad and Gorakhpur will also participate.

Mr Gupta said, “The workshop will aim to build the capacity of participants and to identify some NGOs which can be handed over the projects of conducting surveys from time to time regarding noise and air pollution, industrial, solid and bio-medical waste management, besides the projects to check pollution.” 



Don’t give Bathinda seat to CPI: FCI men
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Hundreds of FCI workers from various parts of the state led by, Mr Kewal Singh, a former member of the Lok Sabha, today gathered here in front of the Punjab Congress Bhavan to oppose the allocation of the Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency to the CPI.

Mr Kewal Singh, who had won in 1991 on Congress ticket from Bathinda, said that the Congress was again in position to win the seat and it should not be given to the CPI. Last time, ignoring the claim of Mr Kewal Singh, the Congress had allocated the seat to the CPI, which was its electoral ally. Mr Bhan Singh Bhaura, who died recently had won from Bathinda as the CPI candidate.

Mr Kewal Singh, who has been a trade union leader in the FCI for long, is a member of the Congress party. 



Water shortage
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Residents of the Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, are facing acute shortage of water from the past couple of days.
Mr Amrik Singh, a resident, said there had been no water supply from the past two days.

The supply of electricity was irregular as well. “We had made several calls to the office concerned but to no avail”, he said.

Another resident said they did get water through tankers but non-availability of water through taps had put them to great inconvenience. The residents of the complex received water supply this evening, reliable sources said.



Zen car found abandoned
Our Correspondent

Lalru, February 3
A black Maruti Zen car was found abandoned on the Kalka-Ambala highway in Sarseeni village this noon. The car without a numberplate was parked on the highway in front of an industrial unit near here.

After noticing, the vehicle parked with windows opened in front of their industrial unit, the industry employees informed the managerial staff and, subsequently, the matter was taken up with the police.

Mr Karan Sher Singh, Station House Officer, Lalru, said possibly auto-thieves had stolen the car, removed its numbers plate and abandoned on the highway after removing its air-conditioner and battery.



RPO begins operations from new premises
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The Regional Passport Office today started its operation from its new premises in Sector 34 here.
On the new premises, nine counters for public dealing have been opened. Mr Arvind Kumar, Regional Passport Officer, told Chandigarh Tribune that due to procedural delays like getting water and sewerage connections, the shifting to the new building had been delayed. Adequate parking space had been created on both sides of the passport office.



“Imposter” beaten up by Youth Congress workers
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 3
A person, allegedly posing as the president of the Ropar unit of the All-India Youth Congress (AIYC), was beaten up by Youth Congress workers in the Phase III B2 market here today. It is learnt that the alleged “imposter” who kept asking for forgiveness was handed over to the police.

Mr Harpreet Singh Bunty, a resident of Phase II, has lodged a complaint with the police today in which he said that he was the president of the Ropar unit of the AIYC but a person by the name of Y.P. Malik was claiming to be the president by allegedly forging a letter of the Congress in this regard.

In the complaint, Mr Bunty said he had met Mr Malik about three years ago and he (Mr Malik) claimed that he was related to Mr Chautala and had high contacts. He said Mr Malik then asked him to give a post in the district unit of the Youth Congress and was made a general secretary but was soon removed from the post.

Mr Bunty said due to some business requirements he had to shift to Jalandhar. He alleged that in his absence Mr Malik allegedly forged a letter and started telling people that he was the district president of the AIYC. He urged the police to take action against Mr Malik.



Four hurt in clash over land dispute
Our Correspondent

Lalru, February 3
Four persons, including two women, were injured, one seriously, in a clash involving two groups of Jarot village residents over a land dispute near here on Monday. The members of both groups used sticks and kirpans, besides hurling stones at one another.

The injured have been identified as Surinder Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Ram Kumar and Ram Karan. Seriously injured Surinder Kumar has been admitted to the PGI in Chandigarh with wounds on his head and face while the others are being treated at the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi.

In his complaint to the police, Mr Ashok Kumar, alleged that Ram Kumar along with 10 others attacked them with sharp-edged weapons in which Surinder Kumar sustained injuries.

The complainant gave the names of Ram Karan, Rajesh Kumar, Vijay Kumar, Ashwani Kumar, Pyare Lal, Dharam Pal, Vinod, Narsingh, Sonia Rani and Suman Devi.

The police has registered cases under Sections 323, 324, 148 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code against Ram Kumar and his 10 accomplices with the Lalru police station. However, no arrest has been made in this regard so far. 



School principal booked again
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 3
Acting on a complaint, the Chandigarh Police has booked Jaswant Singh, Principal of Guru Gobind Singh Senior Secondary School, Sector 35-B. He has been accused of sexual harassment by a teacher. This is the second time he has been booked on a similar charge.

According to sources, a case under Sections 294 and 354 of the IPC has been registered against him. On June 5 last, he was arrested on similar charges. A female teacher of the school had levelled allegations of sexual harassment and criminal intimidation against him and a case under Sections 294, 354, 509 and 323 of the IPC had been registered.

The recent case was registered after DSP Vijay Pal Singh conducted an investigation into the complaint of the woman teacher. In her complaint, she had alleged that her services were terminated while she was still on probation.



Conference on business development 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February3
The Centre for International Trade and Industry (CITI) and the Small Industries and Development Bank of India (SIDBI) today organised a conference on “Business Development through Information Technology” for small and medium enterprises.

About 50 entrepreneurs from Chandigarh, Mohali, Lalru and Mandi Gobindgarh participated in the conference.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, president, CITI, said, “A recent survey of over 200 small and medium-scale units in Mohali had revealed that most of the units were still apprehensive about the use of software and hardware IT tools to increase productivity.

In fact, lack of knowledge about relevant products in the market were the main reason for low IT penetration in SMEs.” He added that CITI would provide a platform to IT companies like IBM and others to offer the required software and hardware at discounted price.

Mr P.J.Singh, general secretary,CITI, said,“The centre is providing consultancy to the small units free of cost with regard to exports and better management.

We have already tied up with the Chambers of Canada, Ethiopia and some other countries to explore market for various products in other countries.

The products include electric and electronic instrument, bathroom fittings and other light engineering products manufactured at Mohali.” Representatives of the IBM made a presentation on different software on the occasion. 



Cable operators in no mood to roll back hike
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 3
The directions of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) regarding the fixation of cable rates notwithstanding, the cable operators are in no mood to roll back the tariff hike. Even as the cable owners blame the pay channels for the unprecedented hike, the common subscribers are at their wits’ end trying to figure out what has triggered off the recent hike. In fact, the recent hike had come as a bolt from the blue for the harassed subscribers, who are already feeling the punch of the earlier hikes.

After the recent hike, the monthly subscription had gone up from Rs 300 to Rs 400 from the earlier charges of Rs 200 to Rs 300.

It may be recalled that two cable companies — the Panchkula Cable Network and the Panchkula Cable System — have a virtual monopoly over cable business in the town. Sources said both the companies have about 5,000 cable connections each although this figure is disputed by the observers.

Meanwhile, the administration whose record of enforcing the orders had been lacklustre, is trying to gear up for enforcing the TRAI guidelines. The guidelines would be enforced in letter and spirit in the days to come, an official said without elaborating.

On the other hand, the cable operators put the blame on the pay channels. Mr Rajiv Garg of the Panchkula Cable Network said the hike had become necessary as the Star package had hiked the price by about 58%. The Star package currently offered Star Plus, Star Movies, Star News, Star Gold, National Geographic Channel and V Channel.

Similarly, the increase in case of Zee package, which offered Zee TV, Zee News, Zee Cinema, Zee Music, MGM, Cartoon Network, Alpha TV, ETC and CNN, had hiked its subscription and connectivity charges by over 40%, Mr Garg said. 


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