C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Police swoops on Paradise Solutions
11 computers, documents seized
Tribune News Service

Police personnel load a computer seized during a raid at Paradise Solutions in Sector 34
Police personnel load a computer seized during a raid at Paradise Solutions in Sector 34, Chandigarh, on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, April 4
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Chandigarh Police today seized 11 computers and several documents from Paradise Solutions Private Limited, a Sector 34-based firm, three of whose promoters have been charged with defrauding eight persons of more than Rs 1 crore.

The leader of the search party, Deputy Superintendent of Police Devinder Singh Thakur, said they hoped to get vital information from these computers and documents about the alleged fraud committed by Jatinder Handa, his wife Mamta Handa and Vinod Chaudhary. The three were booked for fraud on April 1.

The EOW team today swooped on the fourth floor of SCO 91, 92, and 92 housing the office of the controversial. outsourcing company.

The promoters of the company had shifted the office from SCO 110 and 111 in Sector 34 to the present address after a complaint was lodged against them in January.

The search was carried out after the EOW procured a search warrant from a local court. The police party broke the lock of the office.

Meanwhile, investigation into the case revealed that the company had four bank accounts with ICICI Bank, Sector 9, Punjab National Bank, Sector 34, Bank of Punjab, Sector 34 and IDBI Bank in Sector 8.

The police has not been able to locate the accused. It has been found that Jagshir Kaur, wife of Ranjit Singh Sandhu, based at Barnala, was one of the directors of the company.

The company had initially demanded a deposit of Rs 2.5 lakh from the interested persons for giving them data entry job work of Rs 1 lakh each per month. All of them were returned Rs 1 lakh in the first month but later, the payment was stopped.

The three accused then lured the eight complainants to re-invest the earned amount with the company for getting more job work. All of them fell into the trap.

The EOW, during the investigation, found that one Manjula Kalia of Hamirpur had given the accused Rs 25 lakh to get the job work in proportion to the investment.

Mr S.K. Harjani, the Director of Harjani Infotech Solutions Private Limited, Industrial Area, Phase II, told the police that he had given Rs 33 lakh to the accused. Mr Vinod Kumar Malhotra of Sector 11 B had given Rs 2 lakh. Brig S.S. Ahluwalia of Sector 16 gave Rs 6 lakh. Mr Param Sharan Singh Goraya of Leading Minds Private Limited, Sector 49, gave the accused Rs 2.5 lakh. Mr Jatinder Singh, a partner in the Data Matrix Consultant, Sector 26, invested Rs 15 lakh. Mr G.S. Randhawa, proprietor of Ransons Reliant Solutions of Mohali invested Rs 12.5 lakh and Mr Manjit Singh Dhillon, a partner in Scot Infonet Technology, Sector 34, had given the accused Rs 5 lakh.



Over 1 lakh given polio drops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
More than one lakh children below the age of five were administered polio drops in the third phase of the Pulse Polio immunisation campaign in the city today.
“A total of 1,04,809 children were administered polio drops at various booths set up by the Health Department,” said Dr C.P. Bansal, Director, Health Services, UT.

He said children who could not come to the booths to take the polio drops would be covered during a house-to-house search in the next two days.

Booths set up in slum colonies, including Colony No. 5, Dhanas, Maloya, Ram Darbar and Karsan, drew a good response.

The UT Health Department had set up 461 booths, including 51 mobile teams to cover all sectors and villages in the city. In order to ensure that all children, including those travelling, were covered, seven booths had been set up at entry points in Panchkula, Mohali and the PGI. Booths had also been set up at the railway station and the bus stand.

Apart from 1,800 Health Department employees and anganwari workers, voluntary organisations like the Rotary International, the Lions Club and the Servants of People Society were also involved in the campaign.

The tentative dates for the next two rounds of the Pulse Polio campaign have been fixed for October 10 and November, 21, officials said.

Mohali/Kharar: As many as 34,296 children were administered polio drops in various parts of Mohali and the Kharar township along with 200 villages of the Gharuan block during the special campaign the Pulse Polio Immunisation programme here today.

Dr Satpal Singla, in charge of the campaign said here, 20,474 children were administered polio vaccine drops in the rural areas today, while 11,195 children were given the drops in Mohali and 2,627 in Kharar.

Dr Singla said that 160 booths were put up in the rural areas where almost every village had a booth within the range of 1 km. In Mohali, 68 fixed booths, four mobile and three transit teams covered children in the 0-5 year age group while 11 booths were put up at Kharar.

Other than the district heath authorities, a large number of health workers and members of the Rotary Club Mohali went about various places in the township to oversee the immunisation programme.

The Ranbaxy Community Healthcare Society, Mohali, also participated in the programme by setting up booths at Mohali village. A total of 531 children were give OPV drops as a part of the campaign by the society workers. The team would be visiting approximately 2400 houses during the II day of the campaign during the house to house survey to cover the children for the immunisation.

Panchkula: The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr O.P. Chautala, today kicked off the Pulse Polio campagn by administering polio drops to children in Jalali village, near here, today.

In a press note, Panchkula Deputy Commissioner said the district administration had targeted to immunise 71,000 children aged up to five years. The Health Department had constituted 317 polio administering booths, 299 transit and 134 mobile teams. Around 1,250 employees from the Health Department, “Anganwari” workers, education department and non-government organisation were put on duty. Besides, 60 vehicles were pressed into service.

Dera Bassi: Over 24,733 children were administered polio drops in the subdivision here today.

Dr Ram Kumar, SMO said 135 teams of the Health Department with the help of seven mobile team immunised children in slums, villages and other areas.

Besides, paramedical staff of the National Dental College, Dera Bassi, “Anganwari” workers, social organisations and government employees also took part in the drive.



Six-month term for ad hoc principals
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Putting an end to the practice of allowing ad hoc and temporary principals in government and private colleges to continue indefinitely, Panjab University has approved a six-month term for all such temporary college heads in its affiliated colleges.

Further, directing colleges to begin the process of selection of a principal three months in advance of the retirement of the current head, the university has asked them to have “principals-in-waiting” instead of taking recourse to the provision of appointing ad hoc heads.

These directions have come after it was brought to the notice of university authorities that most colleges were being run by the seniormost faculty members for indefinite periods, sometimes till their retirement, and the resolution of allowing the seniormost lecturer to officiate as principal as stop-gap arrangement was being misused. The resolution, moved by Senator Charanjit Chawla, was adopted by the university in 1997-98.

It was also brought to the notice of the university authorities that unable to meet the qualification of appointing a candidate with a Ph D as principal, laid down by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in 1998, the college managements had chosen the easy way out and carried on day-to-day affairs by giving financial powers to these heads. However, all these colleges had conveniently chosen to ignore the provision, unanimously approved by the Senate in March, 1999, that any candidate with 25 years experience would not be required to have a Ph D to be eligible for appointment as principal. Also, the Senate had termed the new guidelines of the UGC, making a Ph D mandatory, as “unrealistic”.

With these facts at its disposal, Panjab University had constituted a committee, comprising principals and senior faculty members of the university, at the PU Senate meeting held in December last year. Their report was tabled in the recent meeting of the Senate and found favour with the House which approved the recommendations.

Along with laying down guidelines for colleges, the report also mentions a set procedure for dealing with colleges which fail to adhere to the university directions. While denial of affiliation to erring colleges for any new additional subjects has been suggested to begin with, disaffiliation has been suggested as the last resort after de-recognising the principal’s signature and rejection of examination forms from the college fail to yield the desired result.

At present, of the 250 colleges in the region, there are 80 colleges with ad hoc heads in all three universities, Panjab University, Punjabi University and Guru Nanak Dev University, taken together.



Burden off students’ shoulders
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Students of government schools in the city will no longer be compelled to buy additional textbooks and exercise copies, reducing the number of books they have to carry to school.
This also means that the bookseller’s bill will not be that heavy, at least when a parent asks for a set of books prescribed for a government school. The UT Education Department has prescribed low-priced NCERT textbooks, a practice seldom followed by private schools.

Concerned over the general trend of new editions of books being added every year, the UT Education Department has decided to do away with books and notebooks which are not all that necessary for a student. To review the books, the department has set up committees of teachers. The advice of the State Institute of Education and the Regional Institute of Education here was also sought on evaluation of the course content.

For example, the practice of using worksheets in the drawing subject has been done away with. Now, a student will have use simple drawing sheets, said Mr D.S.Mangat, DPI (Schools), Chandigarh. Drawing sheets have been introduced from Class 1 to Class V. For the optional subject of drawing — from Class VI to Class VIII — “Chittar Kala”, a book published by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), has been prescribed.

Two books of private publishers in English for Class VII have been replaced with books of the NCERT. A similar change has been made in English books for Class VIII. In case of social studies for Class VIII, a book of the NCERT (India and the World) has been introduced.

Besides, the practice of students buying atlases and dictionaries at the start of a new academic session has been discontinued. Mr Mangat said, “Students cannot be forced to buy new editions of atlases and dictionaries. It will be optional for our students”. The Education Department will reduce the number of books each year, the DPI said.

Instead of students being told to revise their lessons through practice books at home, teachers have been asked to conduct practice sessions in classrooms.



8-year-old boy hit by car, killed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 4
An eight-year-old boy was killed when a car hit him when he was riding back home on his cycle from a park in Phase 3A here this evening.
The victim Brahmjot Singh was declared brought dead at the Civil Hospital, here. The car driver Jagpreet Singh, also a resident of Phase 3A, has been booked by the police.

The accident took place barely a few hundred metres from his residence, house number 262 in Phase 3A. Brahmjot, along with some of his friends, had gone to play in the Central Park, nearby and the boys decided to return home at dusk.

Eyewitnesses informed the police that Brahmjot had just got out of the park gate and was on his cycle when he was hit by a speeding Maruti Zen HR 26 1793.

Gravely injured Brahmjot was rushed to the hospital but he died on the way.

Brahmjot was the only son of Mr Bhupinder Singh who also has a 13-year-old daughter.

Brahjot was a student of Government Model School, Sector 43 and had just been promoted to Class III.



Veteran actress leading life in poverty
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Sangeeta who? is the question we ask a friend who recommends that we meet the lady, and try to help her out in her hour of need. The famous Punjabi film actress, he says. We scratch our brains, and then emerges the picture of a demure woman with a sweet voice and earthy appeal. Sangeeta Mehta — one of the prominent faces of Punjabi cinema is now living a life of penury.

Deserted by her so called near and dear ones, as soon as her financial status began to decline, the woman who caused many a heart to flutter is now fluttering in her one room tenement for survival. A pale shadow of her ethereal charm, yesterday’s “Rani Kokila” is now an ageing renal patient, awaiting financial help so that she can get her dialyses done, and later get a kidney transplant.

Her doctors at the PGI have already told her that she needs to be on dialysis every alternate day. “ But I cannot afford it. Even the medicines for a week cost Rs 300, and I am in no position to spend more than this on my treatment. Whenever former colleagues and artistes collect some money, they take me for a dialysis, but I cannot afford to get it done on a regular basis,” she says.

The actress whose vivid potrayals of Punjabi village belle or the urbane girl in numerous movies, or as the heroines of the folklores she interpreted on stage, has been imprinted in the minds of Punjabi cine goers and theatre lovers. Known not only for the extravagant sets that she erected for her ballets and plays, but also for her off- screen(stage) extravagant lifestyle, the actress has now been forced to vacate her house in Sector 35, and move into a one room apartment, which she shares with another family of three.

In her heydays, Sangeeta Mehta had done various movies with veteran actors like Yograj, Guddu Gill, Raj Babbar and Sukhjinder Shera like ‘Guru Manya Granth’, ‘Putt Jatta Da’, ‘Roop Shaukina Da’... the list is exhaustive. But the woman had begun her career as a theatre artiste. It was in 1964, that Sangeeta- a Sindhi girl, had come to Chandigarh with her family. At that time, she was learning sitar from her guru, Sh Atam Praksahji. The melodious music emanating from the strings of her sitar, attracted theatre artiste and neighbour, Mrs Laj Bedi to their house, who finally persuaded her to join theatre.

“Mrs Bedi offered that I join the Amateur Art Centre, and after some persuasion, I joined the theatre group. I did several plays, and in between also ventured into films. They brought me further success, and life could not have treated me better. However, theatre remained my true calling, and I devoted my energies here,” she recalls.

It was not without reason that the tickets for her plays, which Sangeeta directed herself — “Sanjog” and “Kis ka Haath” were sold in black. The VVIPs of the region- including the Governors, Chief Ministers and ministers of Punjab and Haryana, would line up to watch her plays. One of the most famous plays directed by Sangeeta — “Rani Kokila’ was widely appreciated and is considered a benchmark in Punjabi theatre.

But the dream world that Rani and her husband had built, began showing signs of decay. As she began ageing, and theatre became a less attractive medium for masses, she shifted to doing character roles in movies and serials. She even took variety shows (consisting of folk songs, ballets and plays directed by self) abroad that were widely appreciated by the Indian diaspora in the US and Canada. It was then that they ventured into film production and suffered heavy losses. A family dispute also led to a fall in their dwindling financial resources.

Her husband A.D. Mehta died two years ago after suffering for 15 years from Parkinson’s disease. His long illness exhausted the remaining resources. Her only son, Bharat Mehta, too, moved on to Canada. “Since Bharat is not settled as yet, he cannot afford to have me with him for treatment. He occasionally sends me money, and that is how I manage my day- to- day expenses,” she says.



Danny stages comeback
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Glamour is but an illusion. At least that is what the self-effacing Danny Denzongpa feels after having been in the thick of stardom and after having alternated between hope and despair all this while. It was to overcome this monotony of life that the character actor took a long break from the world of cinema. For two years he has not been visible on the big screen nor has he featured on television, which last saw him at his emotional best in the famous soap — Ajnabi.

Now that much of the dead routine is over and done with, Danny is back in action, with all the energy and resolve needed to get on with something as challenging as cinema. During his brief halt in Chandigarh today, the famous boy from Sikkim who made it big in Bollywood, reflected on various aspects, starting with the “self-imposed” hiatus from cinema.

“Sometimes it becomes important to slow down in order to speed up. Of late, I had been thinking a lot about life in general and about how its quality could be sustained. In 2003 I signed no film nor did I accept offers on television. I took a year off to be with family. We went around the whole world, measuring its vastness, absorbing its beauty. I have two children who want some of my attention. That was why I was not being seen. Now that both the mind and body have been rejuvenated, it is time to get back.”

The comeback film for Danny will be Anil Sharma’s “Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon”, in which he plays a Pakistani Colonel. Referring to the current political scenario and the thaw in Indo-Pak relations, Danny said, “Many political parties have been after me to join their ranks. But politics is not my cup of tea. Political maneuvering looks good on screen, but in reality it can get quite murky. So I refused those offers. Now I am concentrating on my role in Anil’s film for which I am going to manali. I play a positive character who gets transformed by the end of the film.”

About the plethora of films on Indo-Pak relations being made, Danny said it was natural for film makers to buy from life. “The reality of our times is the driving force for cinema. Nowadays India and Pakistan are busy reviving their ties. So it is natural for this trend to show in films. I feel there is nothing wrong in experimenting with this theme, although some people feel such scripts are moth-eaten.”

After many years, Danny will be seen with Amitabh Bachchan, his long time friend, who also features in “Ab Tumhare Hawale...”. Happy about the development, Danny said, “We have worked in many hit films together, from “Khuda Gawaah” and “Hum” to “Agni Path” and now “Ab Tumhare Hawale...”. It is refreshing to be on the same sets as Amitabh. He is a great actor and a greater colleague. I also want to work with Akshay Kumar and Bobby, both of whom are very well known to me. I am very close to Dimple Kapadia’s family.”

But before the Anil Sharma film is released, Danny will be seen in a suspense thriller, “Shikaar” directed by Punjab’s very own, Darshan Bagga.



Pole damages ‘Gulf War’ car
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
A Toyota Corona car that survived Scud missiles in Kuwait and was driven down 9000 km to India through Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan during the 1991 Gulf war was here today partially damaged when an electricity pole fell on it.

The pole fell when a road roller carpeting a cycle track on the Sector 33 and 34 dividing road hit a wire. As a result, the pole holding the wire was pulled down to be broken in two pieces in Sector 34.

The 1989 model car bearing registration number CH03 C 5114 was parked in front of house number 1282 in Sector 34 when the pole fell on it, its owner G. S. Kohli told The Tribune.

None was injured. Surprisingly, even the driver of the road roller escaped unhurt. One resident said he came out of his house after hearing a loud thud followed by failure of electricity.

Mr Kohli, however, said his car was very special as it had survived the Gulf War I. Mr Kohli said he travelled by the car from Kuwait to India in 1991.

Mr Kohli said after Kuwait was attacked by Iraq, the air link between India and the Gulf countries had snapped. He said during that period he along with three other Indians decided to reach their motherland by the same car. In such a situation, the United Nations talked to the neighbouring countries to let the escapees pass through their territories via road. Mr Kohli said he had picked an electrician and a mechanic along with him while escaping from that country. Kohli was then serving in the Public Health Department of the Kuwait Government. He said the performance of his car was excellent as it did not develop any snag during the 26-day of escape journey. He said he had to pass through Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan while reaching India. Mr Kohli said rest of the persons aboard the car were dropped in Chandigarh and then they proceeded to Delhi.

Mr Kohli said he could have reached India in around 12 days had the Pakistan Government allowed him permission at that time. Mr Kohli said he had to stay in Pakistan for at least seven days to get the necessary permission to reach India. Mr Kohli and three others left Kuwait to stay in Iran for a week. Kohli’s in-laws then lived in Iran.

Today’s accident occurred a day before Mr Kohli was to leave for Dubai on a business trip. Kohli has been in the Gulf for the past 26 years.



Inmate sustains head injuries in lock-up 
Relatives allege torture, cops term it suicide bid
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 4
An accused in police custody was rushed to hospital today following serious head injuries. While the police stated that the accused banged his head against the lock-up grill, relatives of the accused claimed that the police tortured him. The accused, Jagjit Singh (30), was booked by the police for attempting suicide following the incident.

Jagjit Singh, a resident of Taqipur village, near Mullanpur, was arrested by the anti-goonda squad of the Mohali police on April 1 on the charge of trespassing. The next day he was also booked under the Arms Act and a country-made revolver, along with two cartridges, was recovered from him. Jagjit Singh was remanded in police custody till April 6.

However, he was rushed to the Civil Hospital here this afternoon with a bleeding head. Policemen from the Phase I police station accompanied him to the hospital where the doctor on emergency duty stitched his wounds. A friend of the accused, Mr Gurbachan Singh, who is also the vice-chairman of the Kharar Block Committee, alleged that Jagjit Singh had been booked in a false case by the police at the behest of the SHO, Phase VIII, Mr Gurcharan Singh. ‘‘Gurcharan Singh and Jagjit Singh’s brother Baljit have a long-standing dispute regarding some shops and property in Mullanpur due to which he wants to trouble Jagjit,’’he told The Tribune.

However, the SHO, Phase I, Mr Bhupinder Singh, denied that the police had picked up Jagjit at the behest of the Phase VIII SHO. ‘‘Jagjit Singh was picked up by Inspector Gurmukh Singh of the anti-goonda staff,’’ he said, adding that Jagjit Singh had also been booked under Section 309 of the IPC for trying to kill himself.

Sources in the police said Jagjit Singh, along with a gang, was involved in various land-grabbing incidents in the Mullanpur area and with his arrest the police would be able to nab other members. However, Jagjit Singh’s brother-in-law Sajan Singh of Nadah village said Jagjit was a farmer and lived a low-key life with his family. ‘‘He has never been involved in such activities,’’ he said.

The police said the anti-goonda squad had caught Jagjit Singh following a complaint by a Kansal village resident who had alleged that Jagjit Singh along with some other persons, threatened him at his residence. 



Candidates out to woo voters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the candidate of the Congress in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, today took out a padyatra in Ram Durbar(Phase I), a press release said here today.
Mr Bansal met the local residents and asked them abut the problems of their area. Mr Bansal also visited a mandir, masjid and gurudwara in the area.

The press note also claimed some BJP workers had joined the Congress.

Meanwhile, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, the candidate of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), today campaigned in the rural areas of the city, a press note of the party said here today. He went to Raipur Khurd, Makhan Majra, Behlana and Darua villages. He also went to Colony Number IV. The press note claimed some members of the BJP joined the INLD at Hallo Majra. Residents of Colony No IV said both the Congress and the BJP had failed to provide basic facilities in the area.

A ‘vishal traders sammelan’ was organised by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here today as a part of the ongoing campaign for the forthcoming parliamentary elections here. The sammelan was addressed among others by Mr Amrit Lal Goyal, president of the traders cell, Mr Satya Pal Jain, the local candidate and Mr Ravi Prakash Kansal, in charge of the cell. Mr Jain said traders community was facing a number of problems, particularly from the past five years. Mr Bansal, the Congress candidate, had done little to address their grievances during his tenure in Parliament the press note claimed some Congress workers today joined the BJP. A special function was also held at Kabari Market, Sector 52 besides a meeting of the colony cell which was presided over by Mr Jai Ram Joshi, a former president of the local unit.



Dissent rife in political parties
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Dissension is rife in all prominent political parties in the fray for the local seat in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
As the election draws near, the Congress, the BJP, SAD and the BSP are spending their time in managing the daily campaign schedule on the one hand and managing rebels on the other.

Things were going on smooth for the Congress until Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the Congress candidate for the poll, “dropped the bombshell” of Mr Devinder Babla joining the Congress in March. This led to a revolt by Mr B.B. Bahl, president of the local unit.

He said: “Mr Babla is welcome to support the party but he cannot be a member of the Congress until his membership is cleared by the local unit and the All-India 
Congress Committee.”

Mr Babla was earlier shown the door by the Congress when he had shown disrespect to Mr Moti Lal Vora, a senior party leader, during his visit to the city. He had also allegedly used derogatory language against Ms Sonia Gandhi, the party President.

The Congress camp had also witnessed differences when the name of the local candidate was being sent to the party high command. Certain party workers had objected to Mr Bansal’s candidature over senior leaders, including Mr Vinod Sharma, a former MP, and Mr Munish Tewari, a former president of the Indian Youth Congress.

It is felt that Congress camp is witnessing a big obstacle in its ongoing campaign activity. “A lot many fences need to be mended before the future course of action,” a senior leader said.

Mr Sunil Parti, a member of the executive, said the act of Mr Babla was unpardonable, so it could only be considered at the AICC level.

The BJP camp is also a divided lot. The name of Mr Satya Pal Jain has faced opposition from internal quarters to an extent that certain leaders camped in Delhi to meet with the party high command. The latest in the series was a press conference by Mr Sunderpal Chauhan, an RSS worker who has announced his candidature independently from the local seat. He is protesting the “anti-party” activities of Mr Jain. Divisions in party lines can also be gauged from the fact that a section of senior leaders of the party did not turn up when Mr L.K. Advani, Deputy Prime Minister, addressed a rally recently.

The missing faces included Mr Gian Chand Gupta, a former Mayor, and Ms Ranjana Sahi.

Differences in political parties have also come to light at grassroots level. This phenomenon is common to the parties with newspaper offices receiving a flood of handouts about some leaving the parent organisation and joining the rivals.

The BSP has shown the party door to Mr Rajender Makwana, president of the Municipal Corporation unit of the party, for anti-party activities.

Mr Makwana had called a press conference recently and had announced his displeasure at the name of Mr Hem Raj Kashyap being floated as party candidate for the local seat, saying he was an unfamiliar face in the city.

The SAD camp is also a divided lot. The camp led by Mr Gurpratap Singh Riar maintains that it was not allied to the BJP because there was no communication to this regard either from Mr Parkash Singh Badal or the Parliamentary Affairs Committee of the party.

The SAD group led by Mr N.S. Minhas maintains that the party is aligned to the BJP.

The only main contender away from the internal divisions is Mr Harmohan Dhawan, the candidate of the Indian National Lok Dal. He is building his camp from scratch because last time he had supported the Congress. It is an entirely new team this time.

The only major development is that Mr Babla, considered to be one of his strong men, has joined the Congress.



Only 58 pc city voters have I-cards
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, April 3
Over 40 per cent of the residents still do not possess voter identity cards in the city. According to an estimate, there are at least 5.03 lakh eligible voters in this parliamentary constituency. Only 58 per cent of them have voter identity cards.

The cards are necessary for the residents to exercise their franchise. No resident without identity card can cast his or her vote as per the instructions recently issued by the authorities concerned in this regard. The names of the residents can also be deleted from the voters’ list in the absence of voter’s identity cards.

Sources in the Administration reveal that a letter was issued to the Administration by the Election Commission last year in this regard. The authorities were asked to issue a 15-day notice to the residents without cards. They were also asked to initiate the process of deleting the names of defaulters.

Giving details of the procedure, sources reveal that the authorities were asked to first write to the eligible voters without identity cards. The authorities were asked to warn the defaulters that action would be initiated against them under the provisions of the People’s Representation Act.

In any case, registered voters can still get their identity cards issued as the Election Department of the Administration has extended the deadline from today. The previous deadline expired on March 31.

For them, a permanent centre has been set up in Sector 17 Central State Library. It would function from 9 am to 5.30 pm on all seven days, including Sundays and gazetted holidays till further orders.

The decision to extend the deadline is significant as this parliamentary constituency was recently selected under a pilot project for the purpose of issuing voter identity cards.

Sources in the Administration said that the aim of the authorities was to ensure the possession of identity cards by all residents before the Lok Sabha elections. They said that the defaulters included students, businessman and even service class. 



Bus-truck collision leaves 3 dead
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, April 4
Three pilgrims, including a woman, died on the spot while 40 were injured in two accidents on the Zirakpur-Lalru stretch of the Kalka-Ambala highway here late last night.
Three Vaishno Devi pilgrims died on the spot while 30 were injured, five of them seriously, when a private bus they were travelling in collided head on with a truck in Gholumajra village, 5 km from here, last night.

According to the police, a Jammu-bound bus (DL-IPA-5529), carrying 33 pilgrims from Delhi to Katra in Jammu, had a head-on collision with a truck (JK-02G-0139) loaded with potatoes. The bus driver was taking over a vehicle when the mishap occurred. While a woman pilgrim and the driver of the bus died on the spot, an unidentified passenger succumbed to his injuries at the PGI in Chandigarh.

The bus driver has been identified as Jatinder (24) of Delhi and the woman as Vimlesh (45) of Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh.

Some passerby informed the police, which reached the spot and got 28 persons admitted to the Civil Hospital in Dera Bassi. Some of the injured were referred to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, while two, who were critically injured, were rushed to the PGI.

Truck driver Harjinder Singh also sustained injuries. Following the accident, traffic came to a standstill for over six hours on the highway. Traffic was restored after the bus was removed from the site with the help of a crane.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Karan Sher Singh, Station House Officer, said a case had been registered against the truck driver. He said the owners of the bus had not turned up as yet.

He said the injured included a Muslim family of 13 members from New Delhi.

In another accident involving a Himachal Roadways Transport Corporation bus and a truck, 10 persons, including four railway employees, sustained injuries in Sarsini village near Lalru.

According to the police, the bus (HP-68-0107), on way to Dharamsala from Delhi, had a head-on collision with the truck (HR-68-0334) late last night.

Four railway employees — Sawar, Desh Raj, Shambhu and Kuldeep — who were in the truck, sustained injuries. Six bus passengers were also injured. A case has been registered.



Punwire staff hold protest rally
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 4
Members of the Punjab Wireless Systems Employees Union today participated in a protest rally at the Balongi barrier here. Employees leaders lashed out at the Punjab Government for having failed to deliver its promise of reviving Punwire.

Stating that even after two years of its reign, the Congress government had not shown any interest in the revival of Punwire, Mr Shahid Ahmed; president of the union pointed out that the employees would take out protest marches in all Lok Sabha constituencies against Congress candidates. It was decided that during the rally, the employees would take out a black flags march in Khanna on April 11, followed by a similar march at Patiala on April 18.

Punwire had closed down in 2000 following the unearthing of a Rs 500 crore scam in 1999 and a series of FIRs against the company employees and management. While the police has filed its challans in the case, the CBI is still investigating the various FIRs registered by the Punjab police.

Over 1300 persons were rendered jobless due to its closure. These employees have been now protesting for over 950 days and have a permanent protest camp at the Balongi barrier.



5.5 quintal ladoo offered on Hanuman Jayanti
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 4
Hundreds of devotees participated in the 13th Hanuman Jayanti festival organised by the Shri Vaishno Seva Mandal at Hanuman Mandir, Phase 3B2, here today. A massive ladoo specially prepared for the celebrations, was placed before the 32-ft-high Hanuman idol in the morning and unveiled after the aarti.

The ladoo, weighing over 5.5 quintals, was prepared on the temple premises, with special cooks called for the purpose. Besides, 56 dishes were prepared and distributed to the devotees.

The general secretary of the mandal, Mr Manoj Agarwal, said the celebrations began this morning with the bath ceremony of the Hanuman idol. A 12 kg silver crown was placed on the idol. Path and aarti were held by the Shri Ram Sumiran Satsang, Chandigarh. The ladoo was later distributed among the devotees.



5 buffaloes die mysteriously

Lalru, April 4
Five buffaloes died under mysterious circumstances at Dappar village, near here, last evening .
Owners of the milch cattle claimed that the animals died minutes after falling sick last evening.

The owners - Rulda Ram, Jiala Singh and Chhaju Ram of Dappar village - claimed that their cattle did not show any symptoms of disease and died soon after feeling dizziness. OC



Man dies after being hit by scooter
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 4
A resident of Raipur Khurd village here, Kikar Singh Katoch, died after being hit by a scooter near the Airport chowk last evening.
As per the police, Katoch started bleeding profusely after being hit. He was rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where he succumbed to injuries. A case under Section 279 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered against the driver of the scooter (CH-01C- 2561).

Snatching: Two unidentified youth reportedly snatched the purse of a Panchkula resident, Ms Anju Sharma, on the road dividing Sectors 27 and 30 yesterday. She later told the police that besides other things, the purse contained a mobile phone and Rs 2,500. A case has been registered.

Thefts: Thefts of two vehicles from different parts of the city in the past 24 hours were reported.

Mr Kinenedon of Sector 19-A reported that his motor cycle (PB-08-Z-7937) was stolen from near the Fragrance garden, Sector 36, yesterday. A Kinetic Honda scooter (CH-01-J-9716) of a Panchkula resident, Mr Abdul Salam, was also stolen from Sector 26 here yesterday.

In a separate incident, thieves allegedly took away a VCD player and a digital screen from the car of Mr Jujhar Singh Bedi, a Sector 45 C resident, yesterday. At the time of the theft, the car was parked outside the residence of Mr Bedi.



Woman sets self afire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
A woman allegedly immolated herself on her failure to put her crying child to sleep in Sector 46 here last night.
The woman was taken to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital with 50 per cent burn injuries. Jaswinder Kaur made every attempt to put her child to sleep, but he did not stop crying. She then allegedly poured kerosene on herself and set herself on fire.

The wife of Kulwinder Singh, she had been living in house number 503 in Sector 46. The police booked her woman for attempt to suicide.



BSNL shifts revenue unit

Panchkula, April 4
The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has shifted its Revenue Account Unit functioning from SCO 178 in Sector 5 to Telephone Exchange Building in Sector 20.

A press note issued by Mr K.S. Saini, Divisional Engineer Phone (CS), informed that the unit had been shifted to Sector 20 for public convenience. The new office would start functioning from Monday onwards, stated Mr Satya Pal, Principal General Manager, Chandigarh. OC


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