C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


A day of strikes
ATMs run out of cash
Tribune Reporters

  • MC worst hit by the strike.
  • Low water pressure in upper floors but MC denies this
  • Road in front of the ISBT, Sector 17, blocked for more than 30 minutes.
  • UT calls in attendance registers.

Chandigarh, February 24
Acting on a call given by some central trade unions, thousands of employees of the Chandigarh Administration and the municipal corporation went on day long strike in protest against the recent judgement of the Supreme Court which banned the strikes.

The employee unions were also protesting against the economic policies of the Union Government. This brought routine public dealing work to a stand still as people stayed away from offices and attendance of employees was thin.

Employees of the Electricity Department and other departments of the union territory hold a rally in support of their demands in Chandigarh
Employees of the Electricity Department and other departments of the union territory hold a rally in support of their demands in Chandigarh on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph

The Administration invoked the principle of “no work no pay”. All attendance registers of various departments have been called in. All heads of the departments have been asked to submit a detail list of those present in the offices today. Employees were told to be present in the office and those on medical leave will be dealt on case-to-case basis. Those who have taken leave due to emergency will also be dealt on a case-to-case basis, official sources said.

Striking employees today criticised the alleged anti-employee, anti-people policies of the Centre. They were being implemented under the dictates of World Bank, the IMF and the World Trade Organisation. These were ruining the economy of the country, they said. The retrenchment, and closure of industries and unemployment were off-shoots of these policies, employee unions claimed.

Employees under the banner of the Federation of UT Employees and Workers assembled outside their offices. They then proceeded towards the ground in front of the Parade Ground, Sector 17, where they held a rally. Industrial workers also observed a strike under the banner of CITU Chandigarh and employees working in boards and corporations.

The Electricity and Water Supply Employees began the strike last night. It will continue till midnight tonight. Though there were no major breakdowns, cash counters remained closed during the strike. There was heavy deployment of police at the 33 kv and 66 kv substations

Employees also highlighted their local demands such as restoration of central service conditions, treating transferred employees from the Administration to the Municipal Corporation as on Deputation. These also included notification of draft rules, regularisation of services of daily wage workers, withdrawal of notification regarding electricity regulatory commission, settlement of seniority as per court orders and release of bonus.

Employees of various departments like, the Electricity, the Water Supply, the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking, the PWD (Roads), Maintenance, Horticulture of the Administration and municipal corporation observed a complete strike. Some other department employees like the Indian Council for Child Welfare, the Housing Board, the Central Craft Institute, Government College, Home Science, the BDPO and Forest and Medical Officer of Health took part in the strike as a symbolic action.

Meanwhile, work at the municipal corporation was severely affected as majority of the employees and workers abstained from work. A senior official confirmed that nearly 99 per cent workers from the electricity wing of the corporation were absent from duty.

Mr K.B. Sharma, Chief Engineer of the corporation said “the complaints about poor services were baseless as the corporation checked the water supply throughout the day and there was no fall in any supply”.

However, certain residents of Sector 38-west, particularly those residing on the top floor complained of a very low pressure in the morning. Similar complaints came from certain residents of Sector 36 (first floor).

Mr K.B. Sharma said the corporation had arranged at least 11 government tankers and 20 private tankers to meet the demand in case the need arose. Tankers were sent to Sectors 41 and 22-D.

Corporation employees also gathered at Matka Chowk under the banner of the Coordination Committee of Government and Municipal Corporation Employees and Workers.

The Punjab and Chandigarh Medical and Sales Representatives Union (PCMSRU), today took out a torchlight procession in the city in pursuance of their demand to defend the right to strike.

A large number of medical representatives from Punjab and Chandigarh participated in the strike which was marked by dharnas and demonstrations.

The general secretary of the union, Mr A. Sawhmey, said that the strike was being observed not to press for any economic demands of the workers, but to defend the right to strike in the face of the prohibitive order of the Supreme Court in this regard.

Services in public sector banks and insurance companies in the city were also paralysed today as their staff and officers joined the nationwide strike.

Counters in the public sector banks wore a deserted look but the private sector and multinational banks functioned normally.

While the going was easy for people having bank accounts in a private bank, those having only the nationalised banks accounts faced a lot of problems due to the closure of banks. The ATMs of some of these banks at few branches in Sector 17, 34 and 35 stopped functioning and people were not able to withdraw money as these ran out of cash after mid-day. One of the disappointed customer complained that there was no one to take charge after the cash capacity exhausted.

Many others grumbled about their problems in getting their money deposited, withdrawals, advance and other clearances. Generally bulk of financial transactions worth crores of rupees are carried out during the day.

The President of the All-India State Bank Officers’ Federation, Mr Amar Pal, who is also the joint general secretary of the All Indian Bank Officers federation, claimed that the strike was total, with all employees, including those working in the RBI and the UTI, taking part in the agitation. Even as some factions of the Congress supported INTUC and the Sangh Parivar-affiliated BMS stayed away from the strike, it did not have any bearing on the strike.

Addressing the employees during the rally held at Bank Square, he said their main demand pertained to wage revision as the same had not been revised since November 1, 2002. He alleged that the management instead of looking into their genuine demand was more interested in getting its own demands accepted. “What the Indian Banks Association is offering is not acceptable to us”, he added. The other leaders who spoke at the rally also protested against the Central Government’s move to privatise public sector insurance industry.

Earlier, employees and officers of almost all banks assembled at the local head office of the State Bank of India and marched in procession through the Bank Square for the rally.

Mr Amar Pal, warned the government of a long-drawn agitation, including an indefinite strike, if the grievances of the bankmen were not redressed immediately. “The rights acquired by the trade unions over the years cannot be allowed to be snatched”. he said.

MOHALI: The call for one-day nationwide strike to protest against the Supreme Court order banning strike evoked a mixed response here today.

While banks remained closed, offices of insurance companies were functioning. Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited protested against the Supreme Court ruling.

The employees Struggle Committee of the PSEB held a rally at the main office of the board here today. Mr Jai Kishan, convener of the organisation, demanded that the right to strike should not be withdrawn.

The protesters also demanded that the Electricity Act, 2003, should be repealed. More than 90 per cent of the employees took part in the protest. The PSEB Employees Federation (AITUC), the Ministerial Services Union and the Technical Services Union also joined the strike.

The offices of different insurance companies in the town remained open. An official of the United India Insurance said work was not much affected as it was carried out by Class I officers and some Class III employees. Similarly, an official of the National Insurance Company said only three employees out of a total of 17 took part in the strike. He said the employees were linked to three different unions but only members of one union stayed away from work.

Mr M.S. Bhangu, who works with the LIC, and is secretary of the Mohali unit of the National Federation of Insurance Field Workers of India, said though the office remained open, work was adversely affected. He said work was carried out by Class I officers. He said the SCs and STs union did not participate in the strike.


Man drives scooter into Sukhna Lake
Tribune News Service

Ajay KumarChandigarh, February 24
A Cable Ordnance Factory employee today drove his scooter into Sukhna Lake in the presence of hundreds of onlookers.

A Sector 29 resident, Ajay Kumar, after coming from the UT Guest House side turned towards the police post at the lake, crossed a barrier and drove down the steps into the lake.

He was seen going down the lake by constable Phool Singh and Home Guard volunteer Makhan Singh, who jumped into the lake to rescue him. He was taken to the Sector 16 General Hospital, where he regained consciousness after around two hours.

However, Ajay Kumar’s alleged suicide attempt resulted in an injury to a 20-year-old Panjab University student, Rishi. He sustained injuries on his head. Another person, Bhupesh who was sitting on the steps, escaped unhurt. The police has booked Ajay Kumar for attempting suicide under Section 309 of the IPC.

Ajay Kumar, however, had a different story to tell. He said “why should I commit suicide. I have a government job, a wife and three children. I am a happy man.”

He said he was coming from the Raj Bhavan side when an Indica grazed past his scooter on the turn near the lake. Following this, he lost balance.

He said after this he could not even apply brakes. The police has disputed his theory saying that one had to take a circuitous route to reach the steps near the police post and it was not possible unless it was a deliberate attempt.

The police said there were no scratches on the scooter nor did it hit any barrier. It said that Ajay Kumar in fact had pushed the barrier with his legs. The police later retrieved the scooter from the lake.

On the other hand, the mother of Ajay Kumar said her son was a habitual drunkard and had often been involved in accidents and clashes with people.

Ajay Kumar could not remember the complete number of the car which, he said, had hit him.


BBA students face grim future
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Hundreds of students of the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) course in colleges affiliated to Panjab University face a grim future because of non-absorption in the industry. The students also have a poor chance of getting admission to the postgraduate courses.

The students who have already completed the BBA course are being forced to enroll themselves for other skill-oriented courses. The high fee of the course is another deterrent, said the Principal of a local government college.

Some colleges in the city have already discontinued BBA classes. In Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, the BBA classes were discontinued last year due to poor response. Ms Vial Baraga, Principal of the college, said more students were opting for the commerce stream.

The BBA classes have also been discontinued at the Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, after a few students opted for the course. The classes have also been discontinued at two government colleges in the city. Mr. P.S. Sangha, Principal of the Guru Gobind Singh College for Men, said the course was introduced in 1998 without any planning. No area specific surveys were carried out to find out the job prospects. No proper counselling was being done for the students who had opted for the course.

The only course, which would follow the BBA in the natural hierarchy, is the Masters in Business Administration (MBA). But there is no reservation for BBA students in MBA admission. Even if a section of these students are adjusted, it will still leave out scores of them without a fair option for a post graduate course in an alternative stream.

Mr Carangid Chula, a Panjab University, Fellow said the Bachelor in Business Administration, Bachelor in Computer Application (BCA) and Masters in Science (Information Technology) courses had been started without proper planning. As there was no absorption in jobs, a number of colleges in the rural and semi-urban areas have discontinued classes. The course was introduced due to political pressure, he added.

Jasper Singh, who passed out of a local college, said, “We cannot make it in economics and we cannot do English. The course does not have any value in the job market. There is virtually no industry, which offers jobs on basis of the BBA qualification. The degree was thought off as a prelude to an MBA. Another student, Interpret Singh, said, PU has limited seats for MBA. Naturally, all cannot get admission.


No female foeticide in Pak
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Semee HussainChandigarh, February 24
The problem of female foeticide which is beginning to skew male:female sex ratio in the Punjab-Haryana region and has become a big problem for the health officials in this part of the country is almost totally absent in the Pakistani Punjab.

“We have no such problem in our state”, said Dr Semee Hussain, Physician Cardiologist, F.J. Medical College, Lahore, who is part of the delegation of Pakistani doctors currently on a visit to India. She told TNS here today that the desire for a male heir was as strong among the people there as it might be here in India. But because of the strong religious belief that female foeticide was against the tenets of Islam, it was rarely practised.

She was amazed to learn that ultrasound machines were being used for sex determination of the foetus in pregnant mothers in most cities of the Punjab-Haryana region and that in some districts, female-sex ratio was down to about 750 females for every 1000 males. She was appreciative of the government efforts to curb the practice by banning the use of ultrasound machines for sex determination at medical clinics. Dr Hussain said that although ultrasound machines were as prolific in the big cities of Pakistan as they were in Indian cities, there misuse to determine the sex of the baby was not rampant. “Of course, when a baby girl is born, there is not much of a celebration in the family”, she admitted. “They tend to go into some sort of a depression. But after a while it is life as usual. And those who do not have a male heir, they try to produce more children. The practice of having more than one wife lends another dimension to the problem.

“Therefore, overpopulation has become one of the biggest problems of Pakistan as it is in India. It will be useful for the two countries to work together to curb population growth”.

She pointed out that in certain areas of Pakistan, like in the NWFP, people preferred to have daughters because of the monetary compensation they received from the bridegroom’s family at the time of their wedding.


PU finalises 240 teaching days
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Panjab University has worked out an academic calendar comprising 240 teaching days for the 2004-05 session for its 106 affiliated colleges and departments of the university.

At a meeting chaired by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, here today, the committee comprising college principals and lecturers as well as professors of the university, finalised 200 teaching and 40 examinations days, also counted as teaching work, for the new session.

The members agreed to begin the academic session from July 5 against July 1 in previous years for all on-going classes. A margin of five days has been provided to accommodate the Lok Sabha elections.

This year, the colleges have been also asked to display the time-table for the on-going classes on their notice boards before they close down for the summer vacation.

It was decided that a copy of the same should be sent to the Registrar, Panjab University, as well. The decision has been taken to ensure all colleges begin the new session on time instead of citing poor attendance in classes as a reason for the delay in starting the session.

According to the academic schedule, admissions would be held from July 5 to 17 for under-graduate and post-graduate classes and late admission would be allowed from July 19 to 24. The admission with the permission of the VC would be open from July 26 to August 31. Classes for these students would begin from July 19.

While the first term would be from July 5 to September 25 followed by autumn break from September 26 to October 3 during which supplementary examinations would be held, the second term would stretch from October 4 to December 24.

A winter break from December 25 to January 2 of next year would be followed by the final term, January 3 to March 31. Announcing the schedule of the final examinations to be held in 2005, the committee fixed its date from April 1 to May 15 though the practical examinations would be conducted in the third week of March. In 2005, the summer vacation would begin from May 11 and continue till June 30.


Jagtar panel wins Tribune staff union election
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 24
Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu was declared president of The Tribune Employees Union in an election held today. His panel won all the 12 seats of office-bearers.

Out of 25 executive committee seats, his panel bagged 24 seats. In all 1,009, out of the 1,046 votes, were cast.

Mr Sidhu was declared winner for the post of president. He defeated Mr Vidya Rattan by 669 votes. For the post of senior vice-president, Mr Rajiv Kaplish defeated Mr Narinder Singh Bhullar by 658 votes. For the two posts of vice-president, Mr Mohinder Nath and Mr Uttam Chand defeated Mr Samuel Benjiman and Mr Harmesh Chand by 660 and 662 votes, respectively.

Mr Anil Gupta defeated Mr Mohan Verghese by a margin of 675 votes. The other office-bearers were: secretary — Mr Parmod Bansal; office secretary — Mr Ramesh Dhiman; finance secretary — Mr Raman Sharma; joint secretaries — Mr Sandeep Sharma and Ghansham Pandey. Mr Om Vir and Mr Naveen Pun were elected propaganda secretaries.

The executive members elected were: Mr Sukhbir Singh, Dr Joginder Singh, Mr Gian Singh, Mr Arvind Saini, Mr Ram Singh Thind, Mr Niranjan Pal, Mr Ravinder Kumar, Mr Surinder S. Walia, Mr Ram Murti, Mr Puran S. Dadwal, Mr Dinesh S. Guleria, Mr Rajinder Singh, Mr Ashok Kumar-III, Mr Ramesh Chand Sharma and Mr Joginder Kumar Bhatia.

Mr Puran Chand Sharma, Mr Narpinder Singh, Mr Jagir Singh, Mr Sushil Kumar Tiwari, Mr Vikas Diddi, Mr Ajay Thakur, Mr Kasturi Lal, Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Raj Kumar-I and Mr Surinder Kumar were declared elected unopposed.


Kharar MC to present 446 lakh budget
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 24
A Rs 446 lakh budget for the year 2004-2005 is proposed to be presented at a special meeting of the Municipal Council scheduled to be held on February 26.

An increase of more than Rs 100 lakh has been proposed in the budget this year. Major part of this amount will be spent on development works. Last year the budget was Rs 342 lakh.

A sum of Rs 278 lakh have been proposed to be spent on development works while Rs 142.40 lakh have been proposed to be spent on establishment and Rs 25.60 lakh on contingency.

The civic body earns its income from a number of sources, the main being the octroi. The council has proposed to earn an income of Rs 180 lakh from octroi and Rs 95 lakh in the form of building fee. The sale of property within the MC limits is going to fetch Rs 50 lakh, while an income of Rs 35 lakh has been proposed to be earned from the payment of water bills. The proposed income from sales tax and excise duty is Rs 25 lakh and from house tax Rs 22 lakh.

Out of the proposed expenditure of Rs 278 lakh, Rs 98 lakh have been proposed to be spent on installation of new tubewells, construction of public buildings, streets and drains. A sum of Rs 45 lakh have been proposed to be spent on the payment of power bills related to supply of water and another sum of Rs 22 lakh on power bills related to streetlights. A sum of Rs 18 lakh has been proposed to be spent on the disposal of solid waste and Rs 17 lakh on the repair of streets and drains. The proposed expenditure on laying new pipelines for the supply of water and disposal of sewage is Rs 15 lakh while Rs 12 lakh have been proposed to be spent on the maintenance of water supply and sewerage system.

Out of the last year’s budget of Rs 342 lakh, the council had achieved a target of Rs 296 lakh by January 31 and was confident to achieve the entire target by March 31.


Riar announces alliance with BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Burying the hatchet, Mr Gurpratap Singh Riar, president of the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal, announced alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party for the forthcoming parliamentary elections. The alliance was announced formally at a press conference here today.

The BJP-SAD alliance is an established fact in Punjab to which the local unit is also attached. Mr Riar had not accepted an “unconditional” alliance earlier with the local unit of the BJP. He was demanding a Sikh candidate for the poll “as decided earlier”. The BJP had sent a press note, some time back, announcing an alliance at the local level. The SAD had sent one saying there would be no alliance till a Sikh candidate was nominated.

Mr Riar said “the alliance had been struck as per the party high command decision. There was a difference of opinion and not a dispute over any land or property. We discussed and we settled our differences.”

Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former member of Parliament, said, “Our hearts have understood each other. Now our common agenda is to record a historic victory by removing the Congress to the far background”. Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, president of the local unit of the BJP, said the progress ensured by the BJP during the past five years was a sure reason for the party victory.


Autorickshaw owners protest impounding of vehicles
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 24
A large number of autorickshaw owners went on strike here today in protest against the impounding of vehicles by the Chandigarh police.

The protesters gathered near the bus stand in Sector 62 and raised slogans against the Chandigarh Administration. The vehicles remained off-road for more than an hour. The protesters demanded that the impounded vehicles should be released without imposing any penalty, failing which they would be compelled to go on strike again.

Mr Rajinder Singh Randhawa, vice-president of the Sahibzada Ajit Singh Autorickshaw Union, told Chandigarh Tribune that more than 20 vehicles were impounded by the police today. He said when they plied their vehicles in Chandigarh, the police there asked them to show documents relating to road tax and also the road permit. As these documents were found missing, the police resorted to challans and even impounding of vehicles.

He said some of the autorickshaw owners had met officials of the State Transport Authority, Chandigarh, yesterday regarding their problem. There they were told that vehicles could be plied in Chandigarh after getting the meters functional. Moreover, not more than three passengers were to carried at one time.

He said the autorickshaw owners were ready to pay road tax and also get road permits but the authorities concerned were not conceding to their demand. He said that a penalty ranging between Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 was imposed by the police and it was very difficult for the owners to pay this heavy amount.

He lamented that autorickshaws from Chandigarh plied freely in Mohali and no action was taken against them. He said passengers from Mohali had to go to Chandigarh as number of offices and other establishments were based there.


Money was to be returned after probation: firm
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Three R Info Systems Private Systems Limited, whose sacked employees yesterday alleged that their security money had been forfeited, today said the money was to be returned after the confirmation of their services. Presently, they were on probation.

The company, in a press statement issued by Manager Business Development Khush Sharma, said the company spent a hefty sum on their training.

He said the appointment of an “agent” with the company was subject to overall performance during the training and suitability of assignment.

The company representative said in case of these probationers, their services had been terminated due to their poor performance.

The complaint by these former probationers aimed at spoiling the reputation of the company and force their way back into the company, he alleged.

The employees had themselves signed documents agreeing to these service conditions, he added.


Rebate in power tariff for companies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Making a concession for IT companies, the Chandigarh Administration today allowed 5 per cent rebate in power tariff for companies which satisfy the definition of companies under the “ information services”.

The export turnover shall be verified by the Department of Customs or the Software Technology Parks of India. This verification report must be submitted to the SDO concerned within six months of the close of the financial year. The rebate will be available with immediate effect, an order issued by Secretary, Engineering, said today.


Readers Write
Enforce work culture in govt schools

This refers to a news report “Nationalise school education, advocates Johl” (Chandigarh Tribune February 11 ). Prof Johl’s views as regards higher education deserve attention by all concerned. But his suggestion for the nationalisation of school education is wide off the mark. A government schoolteacher’s employment up to 58 years of age, annual increment, yearly bonus and time-scale promotion, irrespective of performance, are guaranteed. In the event of death while in service, irrespective of its cause, at least one member of his / her family gets employment on compassionate grounds. The same is applicable to supervisors, inspectors and higher officials in the department concerned. As rightly stated by Prof Johl, “the lack of accountability in government schools and absence of correlation between salaries paid and work done is responsible for the plight of education”.

As the name implies, government schools are already with the government. Prof Johl’s suggestion , therefore, leaves only private schools for being “taken over by the government”. Wouldn’t it mean levelling down of the quality of school education whereas the need is to bring up the standard of education in government schools to the level of private schools? Instead of nationalising private schools, the government should take more interest in improving infrastructure in government schools and try to enforce some work culture in the system to produce results so as to compete with private schools. The government should spend more on education instead of giving free power and water and other sops like shagun etc to buy votes.

A good government model school within a radius of 5 km, with free transportation, facility should be available to every child.

The annual increments, yearly bonus, time scale promotion to teachers and higher officials in the department should be according to performance for which strict yardsticks be laid down.

Dalip Singh Ghuman

Is Panchkula safe for living?

Daylight robberies and thefts have made Panchkula sectors unsafe. In the recent past, every third day, there is some act of robbery, theft, snatching of chains, and unearthing of flesh-trade racket etc. Mostly senior citizens, pensioners and government servants and a little percentage of businessmen have made their homes here, considering it a modern and pollution free city adjoining Chandigarh. But recent happenings have forced them to move to unearthing of flats, which are comparatively safe. Sectors 2,4,12 and 12A are more prone to untoward incidents. The administration should give this problem a serious thought and some immediate concrete steps should be taken to restore the confidence of residents. Citizens on their behalf should also help the law-forcing agencies. No domestic helpers be engaged without police verification. Is Panchkula safe for living?


Ban processions on highways

It has become customary to take out processions (shobha yatra) a day before any religious festivals. Followers of that particular religion or sect participate in large numbers. The procession passes through all major roads, streets and markets. Some devotees en route offer snacks, bananas, oranges etc to the participants. Volunteers putting a specific coloured scarf over their heads, some of them holding lathis and other such things, control (stops) the traffic in their own way.

Schoolchildren are made to walk along the whole stretch without bothering about the climate and their individual endurance. Teachers accompanying are usually seen scolding and sometimes slapping the students for one reason or the other.

Disposable plates, leftover food, banana peels, orange peels are all littered on the road making it messy and dangerous for the pedestrians and the vehicles. Traffic is blocked for facilitating easy passage of procession. Police personnel too become helpless to allow emergency vehicles to pass due to the jam.

Most of the participating devotees even do not know about the importance of the day, but they just keep on singing religious chants. Such processions should not be allowed on the national highways and congested places, where there is danger of a stampede or a long traffic jam.

Dr Pawan Dviwedi

A disheartening decision

The BJP government has ruined its own slogan for the coming elections “Feel good factor” by announcing that the auction of commercial property would only be done on a leasehold basis. It is most disheartening decision without thinking repercussions.

As a matter of fact we had been representing to the UT Administration and the Ministry of Home Affairs to allow the conversion of lease-hold commercial property to free-hold as had been done in the case of residential houses by paying conversion fee.

The owner of a smallest booth (‘8x13’) in Chandigarh will lose Rs 1 crore in 100 years by paying 2.5 per cent lease money in first 33 years, and next 33 years at the rate of 3.75 per cent and last 33 years by 5 per cent lease money to government. How much he will save from this smallest shop. I hope honourable and learned administrator will cancel this order immediately.

Babu Singh


Congress dharna today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Congress workers led by Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP, and Mr B.B. Bahl, President of the local unit of the party, will sit on dharna in Sector 17 tomorrow, an official press note said here today.

The Chandigarh Congress has decided to oppose the decision of the UT Administration for auction of commercial sites on leasehold basis instead of freehold.


Five thieves arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
The police today arrested five thieves, including the one who had stolen Rs 9,110 from a house in Sector 41-D.

The police recovered Rs 9,110 from Kumar Mohan, who allegedly stole the amount from house number 3060 in Sector 41-D yesterday.

The police recovered six bicycles from a Shahi Majra resident, Narinder Kumar, and sent him to jail without any remand.

A gold chain and a bangle were recovered from a Phase 7 Mohali resident, Rajinder Kumar. These had been stolen from the house of Mr Kuldeep Kumar in Sector 45-C.

A stolen mobile phone and a wrist watch were recovered from a Burail village resident, Surinder Kumar. These had been stolen from house number 138, Sector 46. Rohit Kumar was also arrested by the police for theft.

While Narinder Kumar has been sent to the jail, Rajinder was remanded in the police custody till February 26. Rest of them were sent to the police custody till tomorrow.

Meanwhile, auto thieves struck in Sector 20, stealing stereos of five cars last night. All four wheels of a vehicle belonging to Mr Liyaquat Ali, were stolen from in front of house number 662. Parts of some vehicles were stolen from in front of house numbers 651, 665 and 658. Sources said the thieves took advantage of the withdrawal of the beat staff for making arrangements for the strike by employees.

Vikram Garg, a resident of house number 3797, Sector 22-D, reported that his briefcase, containing Rs 20,000 cash, a cheque book of Canara Bank, registration of Santro car, was stolen for his car, parked in the Sector 23 market.

Mohan Lal, a resident of Punjab Rubia House, Kalia Complex, Gujran Wala Mohalla, Ludhiana, reported his Honda City was stolen from in front of his house in Sector 15-A.


Doctor held for carrying out MTP
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 24
With a view to preventing female foeticide, the Health Department raided a private clinic in Sector 10 and arrested a doctor while allegedly carrying out an illegal medical termination of pregnancy (MTP).

According to official sources, the team raided the clinic in the morning when the illegal MTP of Ms Sarawati was being done at the clinic of Dr Meenu Bansal in Sector 10. The District Training Officer, Dr Shail Gupta, the District Malaria Officer, Dr VP Kakkar, and Dr Ashu Gupta and Dr Usha Gupta comprised the team.The team also seized the equipment used in the illegal MTP.

The sources said the police was informed immediately and Dr Meenu Bansal was arrested and a case registered against her.

It may be recalled that the clinic is not authorised to carry out MTPs.The department had launched a campaign against the female foeticide under the PNDT Act.


Man stabs himself to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Ramesh Chander, a 45-year-old peon of the Panchkula-based Haryana Health Department, has stabbed himself to death in Sector 20 allegedly due to “discord in his family.”

No suicide note has been found from the spot. He was seen lying in a pool of blood by his neighbours who called the police which broke open the door of his house. Ramesh Chander’s wife and children live in Hamirpur district. The neighbours of Ramesh Chander had gone to Daddu Majra last night and when they returned in the afternoon they noticed the body lying in his room. Ramesh Chander lived in house No 1210-A in Sector 29-B.

The police today called a team of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) to rule out the possibilities of any foul play.


Scooterist crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 24
Sukhwinder Singh, an employee of the Panchkula-based Haryana Electricity Department, was today crushed to death by a truck on the Sukhna filling station traffic lights.

He was going to the office from his residence (519, Phase 6, Mohali) when the accident took place. Sukhwinder Singh was taken to the PGI where he was declared brought dead. He sustained multiple head injuries.

The driver of the truck fled from the scene leaving behind the vehicle. The police has impounded the truck (HR-37A-2509).


Thief on bail arrested again
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 24
The police here yesterday nabbed Dilbagh Singh, alias Bagga, a resident of Kajheri village, Chandigarh. According to the police, Bagga along with two others was involved in a series of thefts in Chandigarh and Mohali. While Bagga was arrested in April, 2003, his two accomplices had escaped. He was booked under Sections 451, 454 and 380 of the IPC and was out on bail.

The police said that he again got involved in incidents of theft in and around Chandigarh and was arrested by the Mohali police yesterday.

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