C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Car drivers survive mishaps
Tribune News Service

Whom the gods save, no one can hurt. A city-based newly married woman and a Mohali-based industrialist today escaped unhurt despite being involved in major accidents. In both cases, the cars they were driving were totally smashed. The cars bore the entire brunt of the impact, saving the lives of the drivers.

Mohali, April 15
A Santro car, being driven by a young woman, got off the road falling almost 15 feet down into a seasonal rivulet running parallel to the Chandigarh-Mohali road. The driver, Bindiya, who remained belted to her seat all through the fall, had a miraculous escape.

The incident took place at 9 am while Bindiya was on her way to office in Mohali. She had just crossed the furniture market when she mistook something on the road and swerved to her left.

The car went out of control and got off the road falling down into the ditch.

Wearing a belt, Bindiya did not immediately realise what had happened. The car came to a halt after some time barely a few metres before the roadside deepened into the seasonal rivulet.

Bindiya found herself stuck in the smashed car, but she managed to get out. She called her relatives using her mobile.

‘‘I was not driving fast. Thank God I was wearing a belt,’’she said. Bindiya, who got married in New Delhi about four months ago, had got this car as a wedding gift from her parents. Bindiya’s colleagues at Quark reached the spot.

‘‘It’s a miracle that the car driver has escaped unhurt. Look at the car and the fall. She is really lucky,’’said a Chandigarh police officer who reached the spot.

Chandigarh: The bonnet of a Hyundai Accent car on Thursday went below a stationary Haryana Roadways bus from the rear side when the car was hit by a Mercedes Benz on the road separating Sectors 21 and 22, near Piccadily roundabout.

However, no one was injured. Traffic was disturbed almost for 30 minutes at the busiest point of the city when there is traffic congestion because of lunch period.

The police has not registered any case as the parties whose cars were involved in the accident reached a compromise.

A policeman who handled the accident and managed traffic said there was red signal at the roundabout and the bus followed by the Hyundai car were standing when Mercedes Benz hit the Hyundai car from behind. The impact of the Mercedes bumping into Hyundai was so massive that car sandwiched between the bus and the Mercedes.

Friends of the driver of the Mercedes said the car was not fast as. They said it was bumper-to-bumper traffic when the accident occurred.

The windscreen and the bonnet of the car (CH03 L 2120) were badly damaged but the car driver, Mr Surjeet Singh, Managing Director of the Mohali-based Square Mineral Water Private Limited, came out unscathed.

The Mercedes (DL 3 C V 6019) is reportedly owned by Mr Sameer Lamba of Grande Catering Company Private Limited.


Minister’s relative arrested for ‘abducting’ girls
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 15
The local police last night arrested Jameel Khan, a relative of a Haryana minister, on charges of luring and “abducting” two minor girls of Sector 20 here.

Jameel and his two friends namely Sameer and Rahul had allegedly lured the girls yesterday. Sources said the “abducted” girls went around with the trio for over 10 hours before being dropped near Nada Sahib Gurdwara last night.

The girls reportedly had gone to the market where they were allegedly lured. However, the sources said the abducting theory was yet to be proved as there was no ransom demand.

The police was ascertaining whether the girls went on their own.

As the girls did not reach their home till late in the evening, parents started their search. Finally, they were traced near the gurdwara with the help of the police.

While the police arrested Jameel, the two other accused are at large.

The police registered a case this morning.

Jameel was produced in a local court and remanded in two-day police custody.

Meanwhile, the police has launched a manhunt to arrest the other accused.


Poll notification for Punjab, Haryana today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Contestants can file their nomination papers for the Lok Sabha poll with the Returning Officer of the parliamentary constituency on any working day, except public holidays, from April 16 to April 23.

According to Chief Electoral Officers of Punjab and Haryana, a formal notification regarding the elections would be issued tomorrow. There are 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab and 10 seats in Haryana.

The nomination papers would be scrutinised on April 24 in both states. The last date for withdrawal of candidature is April 26. The polling would be held on May 10 between 7 am and 5 pm.

The counting of votes would take place on May 13. The election process would be completed on May 25.

Haryana’s Chief Electoral Officer Urvashi Gulati said the nomination papers could be filed with the Returning Officer or the Assistant Returning Officer between 10 am and 3 pm, except April 18, which was a Sunday.

Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer G.S. Cheema said the nomination papers in Punjab could be filed between 11 am to 3 pm. These could be obtained free of cost from the Returning Officer or the District Election Officer. Typed, handwritten or photostat papers in prescribed form would also be accepted.

Ms Gulati said candidates belonging to the general category would be required to deposit Rs 10,000 as scrutiny fee with the Returning Officer at the time of filing or nominations. In case of Scheduled caste candidates, it would be Rs 5,000.

She clarified that candidates put up by a recognised political party would be eligible for the party symbol in case they fulfilled certain conditions.


Infighting may cost Congress dear in Lok Sabha poll
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The Congress never had it so bad before. Dissensions, defections and disobeyance of the Congress high command, both in Punjab and Haryana, may cost the party dear in the Lok Sabha elections.

Rocked by the decision of the Indian Youth Congress chief Randeep Surjewala to quit in protest against the denial of party ticket the Congress finds itself in shambles as several other party functionaries, including senior leaders, have also threatened to raise a banner of revolt in the coming days.

They may openly oppose the candidates forced on them by the high command.

Two Youth Congress leaders of Karnal, owing allegiance to Mr Randeep Surjewala, have not only decided to stage a dharna outside the residence of Congress President Sonia Gandhi but have also threatened to immolate themselves in case party ticket was not given to their leader.

The Congress high command has a difficult choice — Jai Parkash or Randeep Surjewala. But if the high command is finding itself in a piquant situation, it is because of its own doing.

Both in Punjab and Haryana the party high command failed to contain dissension for reasons better known to it.

Confrontation between Mr Bhajan Lal and Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Haryana and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his deputy Rajinder Kaur Bhattal in Punjab is no more a secret. Unfortunately, there are no peacemakers in either of the states.

The situation may not be to the liking of the high command in Himachal Pradesh either.

These confrontations have now spilled onto streets, villages, colonies, towns and cities of the two states.


BJP anti-farmer, says Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the Congress candidate from this parliamentary seat, today criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its anti-farmer policies. He said it was ironic that millions of Indians slept hungry while the government was exporting wheat to foreign countries. Hundreds of farmers have committed suicide all over the country.

He was addressing a rally of farmers at Congress Bhavan, Sector 35.

A large number of sarpanches and prominent people from UT villages called upon Mr Bansal to express solidarity with him. Mr Bansal criticised the government for sugar imports. He said the government was importing sugar at exorbitant prices while “our farmers are deprived of their deserving base price”.

Mr Bansal took out a padayatra at Mauli Jagran village, Vikas Nagar and Sector 26. He addressed a rally at the vegetable market and promised to work for a clean market in case he was voted to power.

He assured the shopkeepers in the Furniture Market near the Mohali barrier that he would urge the Administration to provide them an alternate site for a market.


Leaders throng villages for votes
They care little for us, rue residents
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Come election time and villages in the Union Territory become favourite “hunting grounds” for leaders of all political parties. Interest in the sizeable vote-bank is evident from the frequency of visits by candidates of the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian National Lok Dal.

The city has 17 panchayats for 18 villages. The population of about 90,000 here has approximately 45,000 voters. Leaders are paying noticeable attention towards villages.

“Villages located in the domain of the City Beautiful continue to be its poor cousins as a result of apathy of the UT Administration in giving them their rightful powers under the Panchayati Raj Act. The city does have a panchayat samiti and a zila parishad. There has, however, been no meeting for the past more than two years.” These sentiments were voiced by a cross-section of leaders from villages while talking to The Tribune. “It is election time and leaders of various parties are visiting our villages. They only seek votes and care little once the poll is over. Villages are never heard by the Administration. They only get copy of orders without any involvement”, a village Sarpanch said.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, chairman of the panchayat samiti, said earlier water and electricity connections in villages were given with the consent of the Sarpanch. The Administration had taken away the power in March this year. “We are living like refugees on land from which we were displaced to make the city.

“It is surprising that nothing has been done for increasing limits of the lal dora of the city despite a burgeoning population. Families have grown and no alternative arrangements for housing have been made. The Administration included four villages (Burail, Badheri, Butela and Attawa) in the municipal limits while 18 have still been left out”, he added.

Mr Manmohan Singh, a former Sarpanch of Lahora village, said the Administration should be considerate enough not to destroy the already constructed buildings on the pretext of the lal dora. The price given to farmers for land acquisition is peanuts when compared with the prices in the adjoining areas, he added.

Dr Prabhu Dayal, a member of the zila parishad, said the parishad existed only on papers. “Our boys do not easily get admission in city schools, which offer quality education. The Administration should be considerate to at least reserve certain seats for good students in the best schools. Local residents should also get certain reservation in jobs”, he added.

The parishad and the samiti have no powers to spend money.

Mr Kulwant Singh, a former Sarpanch, said villages needed more financial powers. Leaders coming to villages should promise more independence for these and assure more care. He said Mr Bansal, during his tenure, had made a commendable contribution towards villages out of his MPLAD Fund.

Mr Angrez Singh, president of the Pind Bachao Committee, said, “Our land has been taken away and given to the population from outside. Our land is purchased at throwaway rates and the same is sold off to citizens at astronomical prices. A large number of us have neither land nor are our wards given due chance of employment”.


Jain to file papers today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Mr Satya Pal Jain, the candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, will file his nomination papers for this constituency tomorrow, the first day of the filing the nominations, a press note said here today. After filing his papers in the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Jain will address a public rally in Sector 17.

Mr Jain inaugurated the election office of the party in Ward Number 12 of the city which covers Sectors 18, 19 and 21. Addressing a gathering, Mr Jain said the leasehold system with respect to the commercial property as well as the residential property would be abolished in the city in case he won.

Mr Jain said he would work out strategies for new projects in the city to help the local population. Mr Jain was presented a siropa at the gurdwara in Sector 38(West). He also held corner meetings in Sector 37, Raipur Khurd and Mauli Jagran.

Mr Jain also paid his obeisance at Dargah Sharif, Sector 29.


2 Cong leaders join INLD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The election campaign of Mr Harmohan Dhawan, the candidate of the Indian National Lok Dal, today got another shot in the arm with two senior Congressmen joining his party here today.

Mr Dhawan welcomed Dr O.P.Verma and Mr Arun Kumar Bitta into the party. Mr Bitta said he had been a dedicated soldier of the Congress for over a decade and also held certain offices. “I am totally disillusioned with the functioning of the party so I have shifted my base”, he said.

Mr Dhawan while addressing a press conference reacted to the claims of the Congress that Mr Bansal made due expenditure out of the MP LAD fund.

“What difference does Rs 2 crore make when the annual Budget of the city was approximately 220 crore”, he said.

Mr Dhawan said he would work for some major project in the city which will not mean just growth but also a big opportunity for employment.

Mr Dhawan today visited Santsagar Gurdwara in Sector 38 (West). He addressed a public meeting in Mauli Jagran.


Kataria opens election office
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 15
The BJP candidate from the Ambala parliamentary constituency, Mr Rattan Lal Kataria, today inaugurated the district election office in Sector 2 here.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kataria appealed to the party workers to consider themselves as the representatives of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, and work for the victory of the party. Mr Kataria was weighed against a large lotus sized “ladoo”.

Later, the candidate visited Rajipur, Bakshiwla, Jyodiwala, Nandpur, Malla and Ishar Nagar. He appealed to the villagers to vote for the BJP.


Poll puts public grievances on hold
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Wait till May 11. No work can be done now. The elections are on. With this mantra on its lips, the Chandigarh Administration has folded its hands across its chest and is sitting pretty. Officials claim that since the model code of conduct for elections is in force since February 29, no public work can be carried out till the completion of the election process. Chandigarh goes to polls on May 10.

According to officials, till May 11 works like the sinking of tubewells to augment the drinking water supply in the city and the widening of the national highway passing through the city have been stopped. Even the repair of roads, that are full of potholes, and malfunctioning streetlights has been put on hold. It is claimed that the model code of conduct will be violated if public utilities are maintained, if not upgraded.

The city is facing a drinking water crisis. Several tubewells at Mani Majra have gone dry. The national highway between Tribune Chowk and Piccadilly Chowk has to be widened, but it cannot be.

The Administration has given a clarification to the Municipal Corporation detailing how no work can be carried out. All roads in the southern sectors have huge craters. The Vikas Marg in the southern belt and several sector-dividing roads have no streetlights. In some cases, the lamps are to be replaced and this can not be done without dragging in the model code of conduct. It is being used as an excuse, says Mr Rathin Jain of Sector 41.

Among the major projects hit by this strict observance of the code include the Administration’s much-awaited e-governance project. It is awaiting a formal launch. All works of various departments are slated to begin on May 11. Even in the coordination meetings of the Administrator with senior officials, the tone is relaxed as no new works can begin.

Officials explain that each piece of work has to be approved. They say that even if a request is made to the Election Commission, the approval will come only after the elections are over. The commission, in any case, will not be concerned about a matter like the re-carpeting of roads in Chandigarh. A policy matter like liquor auctions was, however, allowed by the commission.

Sources say the tenders inviting bids for works are ready. The wait is for May 11. Several roads which are with the Chandigarh Housing Board have been lined up for double laning. Engineers say this is the best season for laying roads and “we are losing it”. From May 11 onwards the time will be less than two months before the monsoon hits the region.


Arvind weighed against coins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The Traders Welfare Association, Sector 22, today weighed Mr Arvind Jain against coins in a show of support in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. He weighed 84 kg.

Mr Jain thanked the association for reposing trust in him: Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal (Congress), Mr Harmohan Dhawan (Indian National Lok Dal) and Mr Satyapal Jain (Bharatiya Janata party) have all failed in safeguarding the interests of the people, in general and traders in particular”, he said.


Mystery shrouds PEC result
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The BE (Semester I of production and electrical) result of Punjab Engineering College (PEC) is shrounded in mystery. While Panjab University claims to have declared the result of the two streams on April 8, it has not reached the college. The examinations of the next semester of the two streams are beginning next week.

Officials of PEC, dealing with the declaration of results after receiving it from the university, said the examination branch of Punjab University had repeatedly told them that the result had been desptached to them last week by speed post.

However, it had failed to reach the college. Today, an official from the dealing branch of the college went to the university seeking a copy of the result. He was told that the result would reach the college in a day or two and that the branch had no spare copy to be given to him by hand.

“A large number of students are making enquiries about their result. We have no answers since the result is unavailable. Interestingly, we had submitted the complied result comprising sectional awards and marks of the practical examination by January 19 to the university. What took the examination branch so long in declaring the result is beyond our comprehension,” an official of PEC said.

Meanwhile, students, too, are anxious about not having received their result. “We are desperate for our result and have been waiting since the result of other streams started coming in. It is strange that for exams held in November-December, the university has not been able to give us our marks. We have even approached the university only to be turned away with the advice that the result will be sent to the college,” students of the production branch rued.


Military nursing probationers’ no to wear new uniform
Commissioning put off
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
The commissioning ceremony of probationers of the Military Nursing Services (MNS), which was scheduled for today, was put off after they reportedly refused to don the new pattern of uniform.

While there have been reports that several MNS probationers have been “detained” in New Delhi following the breach of discipline, there have been no such development in the Western Command theatre. Sources, however, maintain that some MNS officers as well as probationers were questioned by senior officers.

Eleven probationers were scheduled to be commissioned at Chandimandir today and there were reports that they, too, had refused to adopt the new pattern of uniform, which is beige in colour.

While admitting that there had been “some problems” concerning MNS probationers in New Delhi, a Western Command spokesperson said the ceremony scheduled for today had been postponed due to “administrative” reasons. They will continue to wear their white coloured cadet uniforms till further orders, the spokesperson added.

The pointblank refusal by MNS probationers to wear uniform stipulated by the authorities casts a shadow on military discipline. MNS officers are commissioned officers who come under the purview of the Army Act.

In fact, the probationers concerned are already commissioned officers in accordance with orders issued by the Adjutant General at the Army Headquarters in August, 2003.

Interestingly, while the probationers were referred as “probationary officers” in earlier orders, the order postponing the commissioning ceremony issued just a few hours before it was scheduled to begin today referred to them as “nursing cadets”.

This is the second time that a controversy has arisen over MNS uniforms. In 2001, the uniform of MNS officers had changed from white tunics to olive green shirts and trousers as is worn by regular officers. Later, a move was initiated to revert the uniforms back to the white pattern, which had generated considerable resentment among the MNS officers. Several MNS officers even moved High Courts at various places seeking stay on the change of the uniform pattern.


Chhat Bir’s ‘Prince’ cremated
Our Correspondent

Chhat Bir, April 15
Conservation of wildlife at Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park suffered a major setback after Prince, a young male single-horned rhinoceros, died under mysterious circumstances in its enclosure yesterday.

Though the keeper of the rhino, enclosure had reported to his superiors about the health of the animal on Sunday, yet the case was dealt with casually. The zoo authorities tranqulised the animal only after Prince went aggressive and sustained injuries by dashing its head against the wall of the enclosure.

Talking to mediapersons, Mr Surjit Singh, a keeper of Prince, claimed that he informed the zoo authorities after watching the abnormal behaviour of the animal on Sunday. He said after that the health of the animal kept on deteriorating.

Yesterday, there was a drastic change in the behaviour of Prince as it turned violent and started jumping and running in the enclosure. “I informed the zoo warden and doctors, but nothing was done till the animal became aggressive, he said.

Prince, who had been on attraction at the zoo for over 21 years, was cremated in the fodder farm of the zoo after a post-mortem conducted by a team of veterinary doctors comprising Dr C.K. Singh and Dr Bhupinder Singh from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana.

Weighing about 3 tonnes, the carcass was cremated by using 40 quintals of wood and 30 litres of diesel. The remains after the cremation would be buried in a 15-ft-deep pit in the fodder farm, said Mr Kuldeep Kumar, Director of the zoo.

Mr Kuldeep Kumar claimed that the animal was given timely treatment. He said the cause of Prince’s death would only be known after reports of post-mortem examination arrived.

He termed the death of Prince a huge loss for the zoo.

Zoo staffers alleged that the zoo authorities had not taken blood of the animal for medical examination for the past couple of years. Had Prince been given timely treatment on Monday, the animal could have been saved.

The staffers claimed that none of the top officials, including the Director, the Deputy Director and the wildlife warden, resided in the departmental residences at the zoo and in case of an emergency, they were only available on the telephone.


Nostalgic moments for ex-EME officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
More than 60 retired EME officers and their wives settled here shared nostalgic moments as they attended a get-together organised by Major-Gen, EME, Western Command and Colonel Commandant, Corps of EME, Major-Gen A.K. Kher, in Chandi Mandir last evening.

Prominent among the senior officers who attended the function were Lieut-Col J.S. Marawaha, Major-Gen Gurdyal Singh, Brig W.S. Choudhary, Lieut-Gen D.B. Singh, Major-Gen P. Wig. While senior officers enjoyed interacting with youngsters, serving officers got to learn a lot from the veterans and assured that they would maintain high standards set by the elders.


Man commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
A 31-year-old unemployed father of two girls, Pawan Kumar, last night committed suicide at Daddu Majra. Pawan Kumar had last year jumped from the second floor of a house in an apparent bid to end his life.

Pawan was found hanging from a hook fixed in the ceiling of his room this morning. His family members reportedly told the police that he was a drug addict. Dharampal, father of Pawan, said his son had suicidal impulses.


Car driver robbed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 15
Four unidentified men robbed a government car driver here last night. He was made unconscious by a chloroform-laced handerkerchief.

The victim, Surjit Singh, spent the entire night in his car in an unconscious state while the four took out all his money from his purse. Surjit Singh was returning to the Phase VI Civil hospital after dropping the Director, Punjab Health Systems Corporation, at his residence in Phase V.

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