C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Burail jail staff indicted
Report says they provided facilities to escapees
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
The staff of the Model Jail, Burail, here connived with the undertrials of the Beant Singh assassination case allowing them to escape on January 21 this year. An inquiry conducted by R.S. Gupta Committee says the staff provided them facilities and overlooked jailbreak indications.

The committee was set up to look into the administrative lapses at the Burail jail following the escape of the three undertrials in the Beant Singh assassination case, Jagtar Singh Hawara, Paramjit Singh Bheora and Jagtar Singh Tara, and Dev Singh, an undertrial in another case. The report, submitted to the Chandigarh Administration, was discussed at a conference of senior officers today.

The committee says the curtains were drawn against the undertrials barrack grills blocking visibility of jail staff. The staff ignored complaints regarding playing television on high volume during night hours. Sounds of continuous running of the tap and sharpening of an instrument used to emanate from the barrack. A 1,000-litre over-head tank had been installed above the barrack, which was disproportionate to their requirements.

The sewer lines were heavily blocked on November 2 and 29, last year. These were cleaned with a high pressure hose of the Chandigarh Administration. This should have alarmed jail officials about where from the earth was coming into the sewer.

The Chief Engineer has been asked to hold an internal inquiry as to why nobody went into the details of how the sewer was blocked inside the jail.

On how the jail officials conspired with the undertrials the report says, “The jail was not run as per the jail rules.” The cardinal principle of thorough and surprise physical checks of the barracks and cells during the day and night was discarded. “The searches were either conducted on paper or were a clear eyewash.”

Visitors were allowed anytime and for longer duration than permitted. Specific instances of how Baljeet Kaur, one of the key persons facilitating their escape, was allowed to meet her husband, Lakhwinder Singh, 12 times within 22 days from December 31, 2003, onwards. Normally a meeting if allowed 3-4 times. “This could not have been possible without the collusive attitude of the prison authorities,” says the report. Baljeet Kaur’s husband is a convicted terrorist and she conveyed messages through him to the three escapees.

The jail staff allowed the trio to move around freely within the prison and meet prisoners for hours whom they desired. The last ones being for seven to eight hours on December 31 , 2003, and January 12, just days before they escaped. Quoting another instance the report says, “The permission to Jagtar Singh Hawara to meet Abid Mehmood, an alleged Pakistani spy, showed total complacency of the jail staff and collusive with escapee prisoners.” Though not mentioned in the report this was done to get addresses in Pakistan.

The report says: as a result the control on the prison by the jail authorities got diluted. The jail staff had to resort to compulsory segregation of the undertrials. The three coerced the jail authorities to shift them to barrack No 7. The undertrials met their objective in settling to a barrack closer to the main wall of the jail. Another undertrial, Dev Singh, was kept with them as cook which was against jail rules. This was crucial as it provided isolation of the barrack from outsiders like cleaning of barracks.

The committee also says some mechanical tools were used in digging the tunnel and these were probably taken away by the escapees with them or the conniving jail staff removed these from the scene of occurrence.

The report also tells how the undertrials tried digging another tunnel in May or June, 2002, but this was abandoned after the tunnel collapsed due to water seepage. This was 92-feet in length at a depth of nine feet. It also tells how the three were living a life of luxury. The barrack was full of mattresses, quilts, blankets, clothes, carpets, aquaguard, food provision like 50 kg of onions, desi ghee, coolers and heaters. A direct power connection has been taken. These items provided comforts and also helped in keeping secrecy.


Nothing new in report

THE report has failed to bring out any new angle to the jailbreak conspiracy. The report seems to be as a repetition of what has already come out in criminal investigation carried out by the police.

The committee says jail staff connived with the undertrials but it is silent on why they connived with them. Was it money or fear generated by the escapees or their sympathisers?

The report has not pointed out at the crucial failures of the system. It says the jail staff allowed the trio to become an unconstitutional authority within the prison, but it does not say why this happened. The three were shifted to a barrack which was nearer to the main wall of the jail, but who actually allowed it?

The report says on January 25, 2004 existence of an old plan to tunnel the way out was highlighted in the Media. The Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) found a 92-feet long tunnel. But the report does not says who conducted an inquiry into this episode. The matter was then hushed up and senior officers were mislead.

All indicators of connivance or what the jail staff overlooked, pointed out in the report, have already been extensively reported in the media.

On role of police

The Chandigarh Police has got what can be termed a “soft words” in the jailbreak conspiracy. The inquiry panel is headed by Mr R.S. Gupta, a former IG of the Chandigarh Police, and one of the two members is Mr Gaurav Yadav, the local SSP.

The report says the mandatory searches of the barrack were an “eyewash”. It blames the jail staff for the same but does not blame the cops who gave okay report for the barrack as late as January 14, a week before the jailbreak incident.

The report says the police team was not used properly by the jail authorities. And also the police officer in charge of the anti-sabotage team should have informed his superiors of the deficiency in using the police force properly. It was lapse on part of the supervisory officer to monitor how the technical team was being used on such an important assignment. Harsh words like “conspiracy” or “failure” or “connivance” are not used for the police.

One point which goes in favour of the police is that they claim to have made requests to jail officials to completely vacate the barracks to focus on anti-sabotage checks.

The report pats the Chandigarh Police saying it did “an excellent job with team efforts” and achieved an early breakthrough and unravelled the entire conspiracy. In the preceding paragraph, the report says the Punjab Police had deputed its Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence). Also the Punjab Police and the Intelligence Bureau coordinated their efforts. TNS

Jailbreak report: appoint full-time IG (Prisons)

The report says the Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh, who also conventionally hold the charge of IG (Prisons), has little time on hand.

“It is this aspect of inadequate attention to prison matters, which explains as to why no formal inspections of prison have been conducted by the IG Prisons. It is only contingencies and happenings like jailbreak which give an idea to the IG (Prisons) that all is not well with the management of prison.’’ It is a clear systematic failure and the report suggest that a full-time IG (Prisons) must be appointed.

Inspired by true stories

A book “True stories of great escapes” may have been the inspiration for Jagtar Singh Hawara and his fellow escapees. The tunnel they dug towards their freedom has many similarities with the methodology and strategies adopted in digging the tunnel and planning the escape.

Aspects like air circulation, lighting arrangements, a small chabutra for sitting within the tunnel and rounded edges of the horizontal portion, have been taken from the book, says the report. TNS


Couple in USA, booked in city
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
The Chandigarh police has booked a couple for allegedly breaking locks of a shop-cum-office (SCO) in Sector 22 B despite them being in the USA at that time.

Mr Tarlochan Singh and his wife, Ms Niranjan Kaur, left for the USA on November 2, 2003, and came back on March 25, 2004. However, they are accused of breaking the locks of SCO no. 1064-1065 in an FIR registered on March 6, 2004.

Mr Tarlochan Singh is running his business from SCO 1066-1067 in Sector 22 B before he shifted from SCO no. 1064-1065.

The couple got a phone call in the USA from their friends and relatives that the Chandigarh police was looking for them. The Chandigarh police had not contacted them.

The puzzled couple, spending time with their son, Mr Harjeet Singh, made a call to India to know on what charge they had been booked by the Sector 22 police post. Mr Harjeet Singh is the vice-president of a Delaware-based company, Spearhead Worldwide Incorporation.

Mr Tarlochan Singh’s visa record shows that he left for the USA on November 2, 2003 and was received in that country on the same day. Entries on his passport also show that he returned to India on March 25, 2004, but the FIR shows his presence in Chandigarh on the day of the incident mentioned in the FIR.

The couple told the Chandigarh Tribune that as soon as he got the information that the police was looking for him, their son advised them to go back to India to clarify their position before the police lest they should be unnecessarily arrested at the airport itself.

The businessman and his wife from Mohali have been hiding from the police ever since they came back to India and are exploring legal recourses to save themselves from the clutches of the police.

Mr Tarlochan Singh and his wife had planned to visit Canada before coming back to India but the registration of the case forced them to abandon their visit.

The couple has been abroad for at least 10 times earlier and had plans to visit the UK, Greece and Italy also.

The FIR quotes the complainant as reporting, “Today, when my manager, Shree Surinder Sharma, went to the SCO, he saw that Niranjan Kaur, Tarlochan Singh, Varinder Singh, alias Pappi, a person whose name is not known but is called by the name, Lingarh, Jaggi, Surinder Kumar and Subhash had gathered at the SCO and were trying break locks and enter the cabin of which I had taken possession yesterday.”

The complainant alleges that these persons were trying to throw out the articles from “his” cabin. He further reports that on getting the information, he reached the SCO and saw these persons breaking the locks. When questioned, Pappi allegedly took out a revolver and along with other persons threatened to kill the complainant.

The SHO of the area was not available for comment.


Proposal by thrashing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
A 20-year-old student of law of Panjab University allegedly sought to coerce a student of the Government College for Girls, Sector 42, into marrying him in full public view near the Sector 16 cricket stadium. Ajay Kumar allegedly stopped his motor cycle in front of the scooter of the 19-year-old girl and threatened her with dire consequences if she did not marry him.

Ajay allegedly held the girl by her arm before slapping her a couple of times in full view of the onlookers. The girl wriggled out of the grip of the boy and pushed him away but he got enraged at the rejection and hit the girl with his helmet.

When the people saw the drama, they pounced upon the self-styled lover and thrashed him before handing him over to the police. The girl had, in the meantime, given her parent’s contact number to the onlookers who called them up.

The girl complained to the police that Ajay had been chasing her since she was in Class X. Both of them are from New Indra Colony. The girl also revealed that Ajay had allegedly threatened her earlier also and the matter had been reported at the Mani Majra police station. Ajay is reported to have given the police an undertaking in writing that he would not repeat such acts.

The incident happened when the girl was returning home from her college. Ajay, however, told the police that he and the girl were in love but broke off as the girl refused to marry him because she was a Brahamin and Ajay was a Thakur. The girl, however, denied that she ever loved the boy.

The police has arrested Ajay and charged him under Sections 323 (injury), 341 (restraining), 354 (molestation) and 506 (threatening) of the IPC.


Plan to set up labs to test gold
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
To protect the interest of consumers, the central government has initiated a scheme to establish a nationwide network of laboratories to certify the purity of gold objects. Off-shoots of the scheme would also help gold exporters overcome procedural hurdles faced at foreign ports.

About 70 laboratories, where any individual can walk into and have any gold item tested for a small fee, are expected to be set up in the first year. While states are being encouraged to set up laboratories, some central government agencies like the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and the Minerals and Mining Trading Corporation (MMTC) are also going in for the same. The private sector is also permitted to join in under the scheme.

A laboratory is being established by BIS at Mohali near here, which is expected to become functional by September, while the first such laboratory to be set up by a state government started at Cochin a month ago. “We have taken up the scheme with all state governments,” Mr Naveen Chawla, Secretary Consumer Affairs in New Delhi said while speaking to TNS today. “The center is also willing to provide subsidy to the state government for establishing its first laboratory,” he added. He was here to discuss the modalities of setting up gold testing laboratories in Punjab and Haryana with the respective chief secretaries. Punjab is expected to set up its laboratory at Ludhiana.

India is the world’s largest importer of gold, with about 800 tonnes coming in annually. The next in line is Turkey, which imports about 130 tonnes, while countries like Britain import 20-40 tonnes annually. About 65 per cent of the gold which comes in goes to the rural sector. Out of this, 15 per cent is used as security against agricultural problems. “Gold, hence, forms an important aspect part of social security and in this light there should be adequate checks on its quality,” Mr Chawla said.

Presently, there are 14 centers in the country where gold can be “hallmark” according to standards laid by BIS. “This is not enough,” he said. “We would like to have one laboratory in every district,” he added. New laboratories coming up in the next few months include 35 in the states, 14 in MMTC and 10 in different government organisations. The cost of equipment for one laboratory is stated to be around Rs 35 lakh.

Mr Chawla also pointed out that presently, Indian gold objects cannot be sold in the foreign market unless they are certified by the agencies of the country concerned, for which exporters have to pay. If the Vienna Convention is signed, the laboratories here can be upgraded and the “hallmark” issued by them would be recognised by other countries under the Common Control Mark practice, he said.


20 pc internal assessment okayed for PG courses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
An internal assessment of 20 per cent for all postgraduate courses being offered by Panjab University was approved with effect from the 2004-05 session, by the PU Academic Council at its meeting, here today.

Fifty per cent of the total marks for assessment would be based on three house tests to be conducted during the session. Out of the three tests, marks of the best two tests would be considered for marking. While 15 per cent of the total would be awarded on the basis of performance in surprise tests, the rest of the internal assessment would take into account class participation (10), attendance (10) and term paper (15) of the student. The under-graduate courses already have an internal assessment of 10 per cent.

Prof P.P. Arya and Prof Indu Banga raised the issue that introduction of internal assessment could put the students at a disadvantage and they could be victimised. To this, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, said in case of a dispute between the faculty and students, the Chairman would be authorised to resolve the matter. The Academic Council also gave its nod to major changes in syllabi of courses every three years by the Board of Studies (BOS) with the provision that minor changes could be effected annually.

However, the item pertaining to 40 per cent pass percentage for internal and external M.Ed examinations separately was referred to BOS since there was no provision for re-appear in internal assessment. The council decided to extend the “Special Diploma” in fine arts to mentally challenged students by another year despite the fact that no applicants came forward for the course last year.



The Bharatiya Janata Party painted the whole town saffron on Friday when Mr Satya Pal Jain went to the election office for filing his nomination papers for the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

A big procession began from the party office in Sector 33 accompanied by a band of drummers. A number of supporters could be seen dancing on the entire route till Sector 17. The road till the Deputy Commissioner’s office was decked with party flags and banners.

When Mr Jain entered the office premises the rest of the supporters were enthralled by a magic show. The magician showed a box and said “ I am putting the vote for Mr Bansal (Congress) in one cabin and for Mr Harmohan Dhawan (INLD) in another”. He put the paper for Mr Jain in the third chamber. He closed the box and waved a band. When he opened the boxes the votes of Mr Bansal and Mr Dhawan had vanished.

“This is just a trick. You (people) have to show the real magic by casting a vote for Mr Jain”, he added.
Garbage dumped on a Mauli Jagran road by contract workers of the area to protest against the non-payment of their salary
Garbage dumped on a Mauli Jagran road by contract workers of the area to protest against the non-payment of their salary.
— A Tribune photograph

Photo by Parvesh Chauhan

A number of children dressed as mythological characters accompanied the procession. Majority of them did not know the name of the candidate in whose support they had travelled from Dadu Majra. “Here we have come to buy a ticket”, one of them said innocently.

Award of excellence

The Principal of the Kendriya Vidyalaya II, located on the III BRD campus, Mrs Sudesh Prakash, has been recently honoured with the prestigious “Rashtriya Gaurav Puruskar” award of excellence. This is in recognition of her meritorious services, outstanding performance and remarkable role in the field of education. Dr Bhishma Narain Singh, a former Governor of Tamil Nadu, presented the award.

Cheating? Where’s the proof?

A week into the examinations of undergraduate and postgraduate examinations and novel cheating techniques are beginning to unravel. The students seem to have graduated from carrying chits to examinations halls, going by the changed ways of the students.

At Panjab University, a student managed to sneak out his question paper from the hall to his friends waiting outside. The “friends” were busy scribbling answers for the examinee when they were caught. An Unfair Means Case (UMC) was registered.

However, girls seem to be far more advanced and bolder when it comes to cheating. In a girls’ college, an invigilator caught a girl copying from chits of paper. As soon as the invigilator threatened to register a case against the girl, she snatched the chits from the former’s hand and swallowed them. Elated by her action, she told the invigilator that a case could not be registered since the proof was gone. She went scot-free.

All quiet on the campus

With the examination season on in full swing in local colleges and Panjab University, student activities have come to a standstill. While youngsters can no more be seen chilling out at their favourite haunt, the Student Centre on the campus, the university library is bursting at its seams with students. Students’ organisations, too, are quiet for a change. After a hectic March which saw seminar after seminar being hosted at the ICSSR, literary activity, too, has been suspended till the beginning of the next session. Life on the campuses, it seems, will return only with the students in the new session.

Special attraction at Pinjore

In a bid to attract more tourists, the famous Yadavindra Gardens at Pinjore have added another special attraction with the addition of an amusement park. Aimed at children, the park was a big draw with the crowd during the just-concluded Baisakhi festival.

The amusement park at the entry of the garden boasts of popular games like go-carting, bumper boats, bumper cars, fun shooters, water wars, train ride and hit strikers.

However, one wonders whether the Haryana Tourism, which manages the garden, will be able to maintain the initial euphoria.

Soaring high

City student Pragati Trikha is on Cloud 9 these days. After shooting along with Rani Mukherjee and Preity Zinta for Yash Chopra’s yet-untitled new film, Pragati has all the reasons to be soaring. But she wonders if her starry dream will last forever. Back after the long last schedule with the actors, who shot at Hoshiarpur, Pragati says she still can’t get over Rani Mukherjee.

In fact she is happier because the actress even obliged her with a photograph, which she is busy flaunting among her friends these days. Pragati’s only regret is that she could not get a shot with Preity Zinta, whom she equally adores. Among the few girls from the region who were selected by Yash Chopra to feature as school students in his forthcoming production, Pragati is still smitten with the stars who made her feel special. She is already looking forward for the next schedule, which is unlikely.

The last schedule, shot in a village school in Hoshiarpur, had Rani and Preity playing teachers. Yash Chopra would not have thought a small city girl would let down this much of his secret. In fact, none of his actors were permitted to talk anything about the film. The director, however, failed to tutor a school student on the matter!

Wedding season

A large number of weddings fixed for the auspicious day on May 10 in Chandigarh are giving sleepless nights to the candidates contesting the forthcoming parliamentary poll which is also fixed for May 10.

The candidates and their poll managers are worried that voters of the city, who have displayed a generally laidback attitude towards the elections in the past, may prefer to fulfil their social obligations to the neglect of their other duties, leaving the candidates high and dry.

According to one estimate, not less than 200 weddings are scheduled to be solemnied in the city on May 10. This has forced various political parties to redraw their poll strategies. One political party has launched a house to house survey in all the wards of the city to identify households where weddings are scheduled to take place on May 10. As many as 4000 party workers have been drafted for the purpose. Once these households are identified, the attempt would be to persuade them to exercise their right to franchise between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. on the D-Day before attending the wedding parties.


Jain promises to get A-status for city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Mr Satya Pal Jain, BJP candidate for Chandigarh seat, today promised to secure A-class status for Chandigarh which would entitle government employees posted here to get DA and other benefits on the Central Government pattern.

Addressing a rally of government employees near the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat, he dubbed the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana as “anti-employee” and said both of them had failed to improve the employees’ lot. On the other hand, the Vajpayee government at the Centre was making life easier for its employees. Mr Jain said that the Haryana Government employees, in particular, were a disgruntled lot and were determined to teach a lesson to the Chautala government in the forthcoming elections.

Mr Jain also promised to get I-cards issued to all senior citizens of Chandigarh which would provide them with hassle-free access to medical and other facilities. Senior citizens would also be provided with television sets in community centres.

Mr Jain addressed separate meetings of the employees of Bank of Baroda, Sector 22, doctors and nurses in Government Medical College, Sector 32, besides rallies in Sector 40 and 41. He inaugurated the election office of the party in Sector 46.

Meanwhile, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, president BJP, Chandigarh, today convened a meeting of the election campaign committee of villages. This committee comprises of approximately 17 villages, 11 sarpanches, about 80 panches and other prominent persons of these villages.

Mrs Baljit Kaur, a CPM leader joined the BJP with a large number of her supporters. She took membership of the party in the presence of Mrs Asha Verma, president of Mahila Morcha, Mrs Shashi Bala Jain, vice president, of the Morcha and Mrs Kamla Sharma, former Mayor and Prabhari of the morcha.


BJP cheated India, says Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Mr Pawan Bansal, Congress nominee for the Chandigarh seat, today called upon the people of the city to topple the BJP government at the Centre as it had failed on all fronts.

Addressing a gathering in Mani Majra, Mr Bansal highlighted the scams during Mr Vajpayee’s tenure as Prime Minister and said this BJP government had spent hundreds of crores of rupees on its unreal ‘India Shining’ campaign whereas actually India had been cheated by the BJP. He stated that the so-called ‘feel good factor’ was valid for only rich people who had money to deal in shares, property etc. The salaried class, retired people and farmers had gained nothing but misery as the interest rate had fallen sharply to further dilute their purchasing power. The Vajpayee government had failed in foreign affairs and defence matters as well.

Mr Bansal accused Mr Satya Pal Jain of adopting double standards when it came to dealing with people on living in hutments. He pointed out that when Mr Jain addressed the city’s elite, he talked about shifting the hutments of poor people out of Chandigarh but when he faced slum dwellers he started talking about rehabilitation of poor people.

Earlier, Mr Bansal undertook padyatra in Palsora village and addressed a large gathering there.


DC tells parties to follow EC rules
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 19
The District Electoral Officer and Deputy Commissioner, Ms Satwanti Ahlawat, today sought the cooperation of the political parties in implementing the Model Code of Conduct and other Election Commission rules.

Ms Ahlawat said no political party or candidate should create an atmosphere of hatred and seek votes on the basis of caste or community. Besides this, the political parties should avoid corrupt practices of bribing and intimidating voters.

She said the political parties should not hold any public meeting or gathering during the period of 48 hours before the end of the polling. She said transporting voters would also amount to corrupt practices.

She said the Election Commission had approved two vehicles for each candidate in each Assembly constituency. She said the political parties should also issue identity cards to their polling agents.

The political parties should inform the police about the venue and the time of the meeting well in time so that it could provide adequate force to maintain law and order.

She said keeping in view the Lok Sabha elections, Section 144 of the CrPC had already been imposed and carrying any kind of weapon banned in Panchkula.

She said the political parties should also print the name of publisher and printer on publicity material and submit a copy to the District Election Office.

If a member of any political party disobeys these instructions, he will be punished with a fine of Rs 10,000 and an imprisonment of six months. Action under Section 127 (A) of the Representation of People Act, 1951, would also be initiated for violating other rules.


Election observers arrive in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Three Election Observes, Mr Sheikh Khader Rehman, Observer for expenditure and Mr M.K. Srivastva and Mr T.R. Ramasamy, general observers, have arrived in the city.

Mr G.S. Patnayak, Special Observer, reached the city on Friday. The observers are staying at UT Guest House, Sector 6, Chandigarh. They are available on phone Nos 2740961 and 2740963.


MC chief seeks votes for INLD candidate
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 19
The president of the local Municipal Council (MC), Ms Seema Chaudhary, today undertook a “padyatra” in Sector 18 here to seek votes for Mr Balwant Singh, the INLD candidate from the Ambala parliamentary constituency.

The MC vice-president, Ms Kuljit Waraich, the Zila Parishad vice-president,Mr Sohan Lal, and the district president of the INLD youth wing, Mr Anil Upadyay, accompanied Ms Chaudhary.


Mohali facing water shortage
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, April 19
With peak summer around the corner, certain areas of the town have started facing water shortage.

Residents complain that water is supplied at very low pressure in certain areas and as a result does not reach even the first floor. Overhead tanks remain empty on many days. Complaints have been received from Phases IIIA, IIIB1, V, VII, and Sector 71.

Mr Manmohan Singh Langh, a municipal councillor from Phase VII, has complained that the area was facing shortage of water for the past about six days. On Saturday, water could be drawn from an outer tap in the front courtyard because of extremely low pressure.

Taps in bathrooms and kitchens were without water even at the ground floor on that day, he said, adding that the overhead tanks had become dry.

One tubewell sunk by the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board had failed to function. It was sunk again but its water had mud particle. He said some tubewells in Phase XI were not functioning and the canal water from Phase VII had been diverted to Phase XI, resulting in water shortage. He demanded that a booster plant should be provided to Phase VII.

Mr Manjit Singh Sethi, a municipal councillor staying in Phase IIIA, said the problem of water shortage in some pockets in the area has started in the first week of March. When the matter was brought to the notice of the authorities concerned, the situation improved only for some days.

He said some one-kanal houses in Phase III A and Phase IIIB1 were facing the shortage. He, too, demanded a booster system for the area.

Mr Sethi said a proposal for sinking two new tubewells was cleared by the House in August last year but tenders for the work had not been called by the civic body so far.

However, council officials concerned said the Directorate of Local Government had raised an objection in this regard. Though a clarification to the objection regarding new tubewells had been given, the matter was still pending. Mrs Inderjit Kaur, a resident of Sector 71, said with the onset of summer came the problem of water shortage. Water was being supplied at very low pressure and the overhead tanks could not be filled.

As such residents of the area were compelled to fill the overhead tanks with booster pumps. Water to this sector was being supplied by the Punjab Planning and Urban Development Authority.

Mrs Sita Devi, staying in a second-floor accommodation in Phase V, said water was supplied at very low pressure today. People living on top floors in the area would now have to get up early in the morning to store water, she said, adding that the problem started about three days ago.

Mr S.S. Ghuman, Executive Engineer, Department of Public Health, which is responsible of providing water to most parts of the town, told Chandigarh Tribune that the problem existed in Phase VII because it was almost at the tail-end of canal water supply area due to which the pressure got reduced. He said the problem in certain pockets of Phase IIIA existed because the area was at a higher level comparatively.

He denied that canal water was being diverted from Phase VII to XI. He said two tubewells had become non-functional in Sector 70 and some canal water had to be diverted to that area.

He said three new tubewells had been sunk in Phase I, II and IV. The Phase I tubewell was made functional yesterday and the one in Phase IV would be started tomorrow.

Water from the tubewell sunk in Phase II had sand particles, which was why its supply could not be linked to the main network, he added. The tubewells would be run with generator sets as the Punjab State Electricity Board had so far not given power connections. He said once all three tubewells became functional, residents would start getting better water supply.


12 water samples collected from slum areas
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 19
A team of officials from the Health Department collected 12 water samples from Shaheed Udham Singh Colonies, behind the Industrial Area, here today.

There are three colonies by the same name which are adjoining each other. Last week 10 water samples had been collected from Guru Nanak Colony in Phase X by health officials. All these samples have been sent to a testing laboratory in Chandigarh.

Dr Rana Harinder, Civil Surgeon, Ropar, told The Tribune that the exercise was being carried out for the past about eight days and would finish when all slum colonies of Mohali were covered.

This was being done as the season linked with water-borne diseases was approaching. She said that these slums were the grey areas and precautionary measures to check spread of diseases had to be taken well in advance.

She said that in the slums people were getting water from handpumps which was contaminated in most cases.

She said that the Municipal Council had been asked to provide water to the slum colonies in the town by tankers.

She said that in January medical check up camps had been organised by the Health Department to provide awareness regarding health, chlorination of drinking water in these colonies.

Dr Vandna Chadha, an epidimologist from Ropar, headed the six-member team that collected water samples.

It also distributed chlorine tablets for purifying drinking water to residents of the three colonies.

Dr Chadha said awareness regarding health and various diseases was provided in groups to the residents. Leaflets to this effect were also distributed in the area, he added.


Owners seek land instead of money
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 19
A delegation of the over 500 land owners of the Mohali sub-division, protesting against the acquisition of their land by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), today requested the authority to give them a share of their land after PUDA develops it in lieu of the acquisition money they were entitled to.

The delegation met the Land Acquisition Officer (LAO), PUDA, Mr Purshottam Singh Sodhi, today and through their counsel offered to follow this proposition, called the ‘pooling-in scheme’.

Villagers are protesting against the acquisition of land by PUDA to carve out new sectors in Mohali. Land owners of Sohana, Lakhnaur, Landran, Bermpur and Manak Majra villages had formed protest committees at the village level and submitted their objections to PUDA on February 19. Today, the LAO had called the villagers for a personal hearing before disposing off their objections.

According to the ‘pooling-in scheme’ proposed by the delegation, they will willingly give their land to the authority for developing it and carving new sectors out of it. But instead of the money, they have demanded a part of the developed land in proportion to the size of the land acquired. The landowners will be allowed to re-sell their share at their own rates. ‘‘This scheme is acceptable to us but not acquisition of land by PUDA for cash payment. We lose if we take money from PUDA,’’ said Mr D.P. Singh, one of the land owners.

The LAO asked the delegation to send this proposal to him in writing for forwarding it to the government. ‘‘The land owners first offered that they will form a society, develop their land on their own and sell it like estate developers do, paying PUDA the licence fee. However, later they made a verbal request for the pooling-in scheme. The scheme was followed by the government some years ago but discontinued later,’’ said Mr Sodhi.

PUDA had on January 24 advertised its first notification, dated January 19, 2004, with respect to acquisition of approximately 690 acres of land in these five villages. According to the PUDA notification, over 170 acres of land will be acquired in Sohana village, another 209 acres will be acquired in lakhnaur village, 21 acres in Landran, 124 acres in Bermpur and 162 acres in Manak Majra village. However, sarpanchs of five other villages, Maouli Baidwan, Raipur Khurd, Chilla, Manouli and Durali, had also joined these villages.


Children’s Home appeals for cardiac van
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 19
The claims of the NGOs regarding the welfare projects for the children notwithstanding, the “Shishugreha” (Children’s Home) at Bal Bhavan in Sector 15 here seems to have escaped their attention.

Now after functioning for over two-and-a-half months, the only government-run children’s home in the state has sent an SOS to NGOs to provide it with a cardiac van to take care of emergency medical needs of 17 infants. Besides this, the general public has also been appealed to help provide daily-use items for the abandoned infants.

Run by the Haryana Child Welfare Council, the Shishugreha functions under the supervision of the District Child Welfare Officer (DCWO), Mr Varinder Singh. Apart from him, seven caretakers look after the abandoned infants under the age of three years.

Though basic amenities are being provided to all children, yet the cardiac van was a must for taking the children to a specialised hospital in case of emergency, Mr Varinder Singh said. Since the abandoned children from all over the state were taken care of at the home, they were more prone to the serious ailments than the normal children, he added.

Sources said the council arranged the cardiac van in the emergencies but was not in a position to buy a new one keeping in view its financial health. On an average, the council had a budget of Rs 2,000 each child per month. The caretakers’ salary, maintenance of the building and other sundry expenditures are also borne by the council.

Meanwhile, the other daily-use items which the home require included gas stove, almirahs, dinning table, sandwich maker, study tables, sofa, centre table and electronic weighing machine.

The home was shifted to its present location from Chhachhrauli (Yamunanagar) with 22 infants on January 30. While two of the infants had died of illness in early February, certain infants had been adopted by the general public, mostly childless couples as the home is a recognised adoption centre.


Fauji Beat
Ex-servicemen disgusted with politicians

BRIG Mohinder Singh, president, Indian Ex-Services League (IESL), New Delhi, said the other day: “We should not vote for the political parties which have betrayed us in the past”. He further said: “The ex-servicemen should vote for only those candidates who are not corrupt, have a clean record and have genuine love and regards for the defence personnel.”

All the political parties have betrayed the ex-servicemen repeatedly in the past. None of the MPs has ever taken up the demands of ex-servicemen in Parliament. To find a politician who is not corrupt and has a clean record in asking for too much in India.”

He also said: “The ex-servicemen should weigh up each candidate as an individual, rather than going for the party label.”

Insofar as the Chandigarh constituency is concerned, none of the present contestants has ever thought of the demands of the ex-servicemen. So far a majority of the ex-servicemen were indecisive about the candidate they would vote for.

The consensus among the defence voters seems to be that since no politician is going to do anything for them, they should vote according to their conscience.


If you are an ex-serviceman, his spouse, dependent or a widow of deceased soldier and need any help about your pensionary benefits, hospital admission, welfare, etc, then contact Western Command Ex-servicemen Helpline at the telephone number 2589624 or 2867624. This helpline service is set up in Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, and its director is Col Subash Chander (retd).

Inaugurated on September 15, 2002, the helpline continues to render a commendable service to the ex-servicemen. A few recent cases where the needy have been helped are quoted here.

On a request from an ex-serviceman, an ambulance from Command Hospital with a nursing assistant and oxygen facilities reported at the PGI within 30 minutes to evacuate Naik Braham Prakash to Command Hospital. Col Manmohan Singh was advised to report to Base Hospital, New Delhi, for admission to Escort Hospital. After his angiography, he was discharged on March 7. He signed a bill of Rs 16,000 for the treatment but did not pay anything because of being a member of the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS).

In just two weeks, the helpline has been able to get pensionary benefits to the widows of Capt K.S. Gill and Capt Gurbax Singh. The former’s family pension was enhanced form Rs 3,198 to Rs 6,000 with arrears of about 3 lakh and the latter’s from Rs 1,200 to Rs 4,000 with arrears of over Rs 1.5 lakh

Health scheme

The ex-servicemen should be happy to know that the main hurdle in the functioning of the ECHS has been removed by empanelling 275 hospitals, nursing homes and diagnostic centres all over the country in the first phase. This list has been drawn from 486 Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) hospitals and diagnostic centres. It includes 55 hospitals, which have been approved by the Railway Board. More hospitals will be empanelled after the approval of the Government of India.

In Chandigarh, only the PGI has been empanelled for the treatment of renal and heart diseases. The process of empanelling more hospitals in Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab is already in hand.

The ECHS members will get free treatment for all diseases in the empanelled hospitals and bills will be paid by the ECHS directly to the hospitals for the treatment. But in an emergency when an ECHS member gets treatment in a non-empanelled hospital, the payment made by him to the hospital will be reimbursed to him.

The ex-servicemen of over 75 years should be allowed to get admitted to an empanelled hospital without going through the polyclinic.

— Pritam Bhullar


Spiritualism real source of peace
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 19
A seven-day “Srimad Bhagvadgita and Srimad Bhagvatam Saptah Gyan Yagya”, which will conclude tomorrow, was organised by the Hare Krishna Prachar Samiti at Dusehra Ground, Sector 5, here under the patronage of Sriman Shakshi Gopal Dasa Prabhu, president, ISKCON, Kurukshetra.

Thousands of devotees thronged at Dusehra Ground to listen to the discourses, according to Bhawa Dasa Prabhu, spokesman of the samiti.

Sriman Shakshi Gopal Dasa Prabhu, while delivering a discourse on Srimad Bhagvadgita and Srimad Bhagvatam, made the people aware of the importance of spiritualism. He appealed to the people that if they wanted to get rid of evils, then they should adopt the path of spiritualism which was the real source of happiness and peace. “We should surrender to the almighty Lord Krishna and beg for his transcendental devotion so that after death we could attain his transcendental dham (Abode). Our passion for a materialistic world is the root cause of our sorrows. The nectar of devotion can purify our hearts and minds after self-realisation,” he said.


Clash over land dispute delays cremation
Bipin Bhardwaj

Lalru, April 19
Clash over an old land dispute between two groups of Dalits delayed the cremation of an 80-year-old woman for over five hours. This happened in Khelan Village, about 20 km from here, today.

During the clash, women of one group hurled dung-cakes on the other group and lied down on the ground to prevent them from cremating the body of Kartaro Devi, wife of Mr Raunki Ram.

Following the incident, tension prevailed in the village and the SDM, Mr D.R. Garg, along with the police, intervened to resolve the issue. The matter was finally settled after the members of both groups reached a compromise.

According to villagers, members of the Harijan community have illegally constructed houses on the panchayat land adjacent to the cremation ground. The Balmikis claim that the cremation ground belongs to them.

The Harijans today prevented the members of the Balmiki community from carrying out the cremation. They also allegedly fiddled with the funeral pyre.

Villagers complained that the problem had been going on for several years. Whenever a person belonging to the Balmiki community dies and the body is brought here for cremation, a similar situation arises.

The Chandigarh Tribune had highlighted the problem in July last year, but nothing has been done so far in this regard.

An official of the Panchayat Department, who visited the site, said a case regarding this disputed land was pending with the District Development and Panchayat Officer, Patiala.

Mr Garg said the revenue record of the disputed land would be verified and if required, a new cremation ground would be set up in the village.


Nigerian’s body lying unclaimed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 19
The Mohali police is in a fix over the body of a Nigerian citizen, who died here on April 10. The Nigerian’s body is lying unclaimed in the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Chandigarh, for the past 10 days despite the Nigerian High Commissioner having been informed.

The Nigerian, Antriaghe, who probably lived in Chandigarh, had come to visit his friend in Phase XI here but fell ill and was rushed to the GMCH, where he was declared brought dead. The police was informed, who requested the hospital to keep the body in the mortuary till someone from his family came to claim it.

Antriaghe’s friend Odomoses rushed to Delhi and informed the Nigerian Embassy about his death. “We then received a call from the embassy, saying that they will arrange for transporting Antriaghe’s body in a day or two. But since then there has been no news from them. Now we are in a fix as the hospital authorities are finding it difficult to keep the body,” said Mr Lakhwinder Singh, in charge of the police post, Phase XI, here.

Mr Lakhvinder Singh yesterday sent a fax message to the High Commissioner, Nigerian Embassy, New Delhi, to expedite the process, but there has been no response from them.


Four accidents and a blockade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Five hundred residents of the Sector 32 colony tonight blocked the Punjab-bound heavy traffic on the road dividing Sectors 31 and 32 after being witness to four accidents on the road during the day.

The residents have been appealing to the authorities concerned to repair the stretch of the road for years. The accidents took place at 2.30 pm, 2.40 pm, 7.30 pm and 9.30 pm.

After the last accident at 9.30 pm, the residents came out on the road, said Mr Ramesh Khandelwal, one of those leading the protest.

Mr Shiv Bahadur said he had noted the registration Numbers of 17 vehicles which had met with accidents during the past 20 days.

The blockade was lifted around 11 pm when the SHO of the area, Mr Ram Gopal, reached the spot along with a large number of policemen and persuaded the people to let the traffic pass.

The police officials confirmed that they had also written to the authorities to provide lights on the road.


Don’t disturb couples, cops told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
The top brass of the Chandigarh Police today instructed the subdivisional police officers to “eschew moral policing unless obscenity is visible.”

The cops were told at a meeting that they should ask their forces and staff not to disturb the couples sitting in parks and at public places and Sukhna Lake.

They have been told that unless there was a specific complaint of obscenity, the police must desist from the task of “moral policing.”

The communication from the top brass follows a number of complaints that the police had allegedly been harassing couples sitting at public places.


Man found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
A man was today found hanging from the ceiling fan of his house in Sector 41 here.

The deceased has been identified as Brajesh Kumar. His family members took away his body without a post-mortem examination. No suicide note has been recovered.


4 held on charge of smuggling
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 19
The Ropar police yesterday arrested four persons on charge of smuggling poppy husk in the district. The four — Mohammad Ali, Mushtakim, Iqbal Mohammad and Ghulam Sakri — were arrested by the CIA, in charge, Ropar, Inspector Tejinder Singh during a special drive yesterday near Kiratpur Sahib.

According to a press note issued by the police today, the four were travelling on scooters PB12-B-3716 and CH01-B-4433 with two large bags when they were stopped by the police. The bags contained 64 kg of poppy husk. On further investigation, the four revealed that another eight bags of the drug were hidden by them.

These bags were also seized by the police. A total of 320 kg of the drug was found with the accused. Three of the accused live in Muzzafarpur, Uttar Pradesh and the fourth is a resident of Dhanas village Chandigarh.


One killed in accident
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 19
One person was killed when the scooter he was riding hit a pole near the bus stand here today.

According to the police the deceased, Mr Kulwant Singh, a resident of Mundi Kharar, was taken to the Civil Hospital after the accident where he was declared “brought dead”.

Mr Bhagwant Singh, Sub Inspector, in charge of the City Police Station, said that Mr Kulwant Singh was coming back from a relative’s house along with his two sisters, Ms Charanjit Kaur and Ms Rajinder Kaur, and two children. All five of them were on one scooter when the accident took place. He said that Mr Kulwant Singh must have lost control on the vehicle which hit a pole. The other four also fell of the scooter but had minor injuries.

The police has initiated proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.


Punjab Roadways driver booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
A Punjab Roadways driver has been booked for allegedly trying to smuggle 4 kg of poppy husk from Ganganagar in Rajasthan.

The driver, Dilavar Hussain, however, fled when the poppy husk was seized from the bus. Poppy husk was seized when a Punjab Roadways Inspector, Mr Rajiv Dutta, carried out a surprise checking in the buses coming from out stations. The police has booked the driver under the NDPS Act.


Response to Elantra good

Chandigarh, April 19
The Hyundai Motor India Ltd recently launched Elantra, its flag-bearer model.

“Elantra will be filling the gap between the mid-size car, Accent and premium sedan Sonata,” said Hyundai Motor India, Managing Director J.I. Kim, at the launch.

Ms Gurmin Kaur, Sales Manager, Ultimate Automobiles Pvt Ltd, one of the local dealers of Hyundai Motor India, the response in the city was quite good. “We are averaging 15 customers daily who are taking a test drive of Elantra,” she added.

Brig R.K. Sehgal, CEO, Ultimate Automobiles Pvt Ltd, said, “With the launch of Elantra the Hyundai will further cement its position in the North. It already has a 35 per cent market share at present.”

Mr BVR Subbu, president, Hyundai Motor India, said the company expected to sell 8000 units of the car. TNS

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