C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Sidhu re-elected president of HC Bar Association
Our High Court Correspondent

Mr Anmol Rattan Sidhu (right) and Mr Jagjit Singh Gill (centre), newly-elected president and treasurer, respectively, of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association (HCBA) with their supporters after the declaration of result.
Mr Anmol Rattan Sidhu (right) and Mr Jagjit Singh Gill (centre), newly-elected president and treasurer, respectively, of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association (HCBA) with their supporters after the declaration of result. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, April 30
Mr Anmol Rattan Sidhu was today re-elected President of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association (HCBA). He defeated his only challenger Rupinder Khosla by a margin of 63 votes. Mr Sidhu secured 691 votes while Mr Khosla got 628 votes.

The contest was keenly contested, with both candidates leading at one point or the other. It was only after over half the votes had been counted that Mr Sidhu managed a good lead over Mr Khosla.

Mr Sidhu had defeated Mr Khosla last year also.

A total of 1327 advocate-members of the HCBA cast their votes in the elections. The total eligible voters this time were 1509.

Among the other winners were Mr S.S. Salar (vice-president), Mr Munish Jolly, (honorary secretary), Ms Gargi Kumar (joint secretary) and Mr Jagjit Singh Gill (treasurer).

Mr Salar (742 votes) defeated his nearest rival Mr Ram Avtar Yadav by a margin of 199 votes, while Mr Jolly was the hands-down winner for the prestigious post of honorary secretary. He clinched 825 votes while his nearest rival, Capt Sandeep Bansal (retd), managed just 259 votes. The third candidate in the fray, Mr Narendra Hooda got 244 votes.

The battle for the post of joint secretary was also a very keenly contested one. However, in the end, Ms Gargi Kumar (475 votes) prevailed over Mr Hitesh Kaplish (474 votes). Her margin of victory, one, is the smallest in recent times.

For the post of treasurer, Mr Jagjit Singh Gill (498 votes) got the better of his nearest rival, Mr Chaman Lal Pawar (440 votes). Mr Pankaj Chugh, the third contestant, got 350 votes.

While three advocates — two senior advocates and one woman lawyer — have already been nominated as executive members, 17 other candidates had to ward off the challenge to become executive committee members.

Among those elected as executive committee members of the HCBA were Mr Baltej Singh Sidhu (722 votes), Mr M.S. Guglani (665 votes), Mr Gurbachan Singh Bhatia (594 votes), Mr Balbir Singh Jaswal (560 votes), Mr Sanjeev Gupta (554 votes), Mr Arun Sanghi (527 votes) and Mr Ujjal Singh Sahni (432 votes).

The other members of the committee are Mr Gurinderjit Singh (613 votes), Mr Harmanpreet Singh Prince (578 votes), Mr Sheetal Kumar Markan (500 votes), Mr Deepak Jain (498 votes), Mr Saurabh Khurana (495 votes), Mr Shahnaz Singh Goraya (495 votes), Mr Vikas Bali (486 votes), Mr Sumit Jain (438 votes), Mr Vishaldeep Goel (438 votes) and Ms Sadhana Trikha (423 votes),

According to Bar members, the elections conducted under the supervision of the Senior Advocate Rajinder Singh Cheema are the smoothest in recent years.

“Such impartial elections are a welcome step. Mr Cheema and his team have performed their duty in the most satisfactory manner. So much so that Mr Cheema and Mr S.D. Sharma, member of the election committee, did not cast their votes in order to remain neutral,” observed former HCBA secretary Sanjiv Manrai.


Chandolias dare grief
Mamta gets married in solemn ceremony

Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
It was a bitter-sweet moment and also one of great courage and fortitude. The tragedy-hit Chandolia family had pulled itself up from bootstraps to solemnise Mamta’s marriage today after seven members of the family had been killed in a car crash near Sunam on April 26 night. But hours before the wedding ritual could take place, news came that Mamta’s cousin, Prem Lata, had succumbed to her injuries at the PGI this morning.

The family grieved for another young death but simultaneously went though the process of solemnisation of a wedding that has stirred the emotions of people across the city.

The Chandolia family of Daddu Majra, it may be recalled, had lost seven members of its family when the car they were travelling in met with an accident on April 26 night. They were returning to the city from Sunam after formalising the shagun ceremony of Mamta. Shell-shocked Mamata had blamed herself for the tragedy and had decided not to get married. However, she was persuaded to go through it in view of the family’s sentiments.

The marriage carried the stamp of the courage of the family, especially Mamta’s elder brother Hari Mohan, who asked his sister, mother, three aunts, two sisters-in-law and grandmother not to shed a tear. He stressed that though it was a bitter-sweet moment because of the deaths, the little one of the family had to be blessed with the same vigour as before.

With grief knifing her heart, Mamta struggled to smile as per the wishes of her brother. She was not told about her cousin’s death.

The ceremony was shorn of festivities like ladies sangeet but the decorations were in place. Hari Mohan told The Tribune that initially they decided to keep it simple but then he was reminded that his youngest sister should not be deprived of what she deserved. He said, “I have to don the mantle of my father and fulfil his wishes even after his death.”

The husband of Mamta, Kamal Nayan, said, “It is a relationship which is beginning with a shared sorrow. I would take extra care of the girl to help her forget the grief and give happiness to the Chandolias.” The partnership of sorrow had probably been written in the fate of the couple, as Kamal Nayan had lost his father after Mamta and he were engaged. The situation has perhaps made them understand each other’s pain.

Kamal Nayan said, “We had great dreams but the fate has ruined them.” However, he said, Hari Mohan has stood tall and given the entire family strength to get on with life.”

Mamta told The Tribune, “It was difficult to forget the tragedy and embrace my happiness but Bhaiyya told me to look at him how he was trying to fulfil the wish of our father, elder brother and uncles.” She said, “Hari Bhaiyya also told me that my happiness was an antidote to a sea of despair brought about by the tragedy.”

The mother of Mamta, Anjana, who is very upset over losing her husband, two sons, brother and his daughter, appeared to be stoic in her grief. Rather, she was worried about Hari. She said another adult in the family and Ramesh Chandolia’s son Sanjay Chandolia could not attend the marriage of his cousin as he had to take his college exams. Sanjay did not even miss the exams on the day when almost the entire family was wiped out.

The chanting of mantras kept on extolling the virtues of Gods, who will shower grace on the grieving families and bring back their happiness. It was an unusual marriage for the priest also who probably had not seen a ceremony with such a heavy backdrop of grief.

However, it was difficult for Mamta’s mother to hold back her emotions. She fell unconscious twice after bidding farewell to her youngest daughter. She, however, was not informed that her niece had also died in hospital.

Hari Mohan said, “I knew about the death of Prem Lata but did not disclose it throughout the day.”


Work on Kajauli water project hit
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 30
The much-publicised addition to Chandigarh and Mohali’s drinking water supply will have to wait, maybe even beyond next summers. Work on the fourth phase of the Kajauli water supply augmentation project has come to a virtual standstill, as the Chandigarh Administration has failed to make payments to the Punjab Government which is a partner in the project.

The project, expected to bring an additional 20 million gallons per day (mgd) from the Bhakra mainline canal to Chandigarh, was scheduled to be completed by August 2005. But till now, only 16 km out of the total 27.4 km of the pipeline from Kajauli in Ropar to Chandigarh has been constructed. According to Mr S.S. Ghumman Executive Engineeer, Public Works Department here, the delay is mainly due to the Chandigarh Administration failing to pay in time the money required for getting the construction done..

Punjab is responsible for laying 25.4 km of the pipeline from Kajauli to Mohali, after which another 2 km of pipe will be constructed by the UT Administration. A Central government project, all funds for the project are routed through the UT. The pace of work depends on how fast the money is transferred, first from the Government of India to the UT’s Finance Department, then to the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh, and finally to the Mohali Public Works Department.

According to sources, payments from Chandigarh to Punjab have been too late and too little ever since the beginning of the project in March 2003. Things came to a head, when at the closure of the last financial year on March 31, 2004, payments worth over Rs 6 crore to the construction contractors were pending and there was no money with the public works department to pay them. As a result, the contractors who had been working on credit have brought the work to proceed at a snail’s pace.

“We have asked for another Rs 8 crore for the next quarter but there is no sign of that money too. For how long can we ask the contractors to work on credit? The work has come to a virtual stop now,” said Mr Ghumman.

Interestingly, Mr M.P. Singh, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, had, following a meeting to review the progress of the Kajauli water works on March 22, stated that the Kajauli scheme was set to be completed by March 2005. He had added that a sum of Rs 14.1 crore had been paid during the financial year and another installment of Rs 2 crore was being released the next day. ‘‘Despite that public statement, we got Rs 1.5 crore on March 31. By the end of the last financial year, the MCC had given us Rs 15 crore,” said Mr Ghumman.

The Finance Secretary Mr Karan Avtar Singh, said that Rs 17 crore had been budgeted in the next financial year for this project. But the MCC, too, is waiting for this money to arrive so that they can pass it on to Punjab. The MCC is just forwarding the money from the Chandigarh Administration to the PWD, Punjab,” said Mr MP Singh.

Chandigarh and Mohali get most of their drinking water supply from the canal and the tap-off point is Kajauli near Ropar. Three phases of the scheme have been completed so far and about 60 mgd of water is supplied. Out of this, about 7.5 mgd is Mohali’s share and the rest is Chandigarh’s. The demand goes up to 18 mgd in peak summer.


Golden jubilee of hydrographic office
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The National Hydrographic Office (NHO), while commemorating 300 years of hydrographic surveying in Indian waters, will also be celebrating the Golden Jubilee of its establishment at Dehra Dun on June 1.

The President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, will be the chief guest on the occasion. He will release a book “A Catalogue of Historical Marine Navigational Charts”. The book pertains to surveys of the Indian Ocean and electronic navigational charts of the Indian coast.

Though marine surveys of Indian waters had been going on for the past three centuries, the NHO, as an independent entity, was established in June, 1954. It was then known as the Naval Hydrographic Office and is the national authority for publication of nautical charts and other related publications.

Presently comprising a fleet of eight ocean going ships equipped with the latest marine surveying and cartographic equipment, the NHO’s responsibilities include engineering studies for coastal infrastructure development, off-shore hydro-carbon, mineral and energy exploration, pollution control, training hydrographers and liaisoning with international hydrographic organisations.

According to information available with the NHO, the earliest European charts of Indian waters were compiled in 1703 by John and Samuel Thorton of the East India Company. Until then charts of Indian waters were based on the interpretations of verbal descriptions of adventurous navigators who piloted their ships to India using legendary knowledge. The two pioneers were followed by Capt John Ritchie and Lieutenant Archibald Blair who surveyed the Bay of Bengal and the Andamans, respectively, in the late 18th century.

By the beginning of the 19th century, hydrography of the Indian waters assumed significant importance to warrant the appointment of a Marine Surveyor-General, with Capt Charles Court assuming office in Calcutta. The results of original surveys then were sent to England for engraving and publication.

After various periods of inactivity and changes, the Marine Survey Department was organised in 1875 under Commander Alfred Dundas Taylor. A few years later it was shifted from Calcutta to Bombay. By this time the department had been renamed as the Marine Survey of India (MSI). Except for the period taken by the two world wars, it continued to survey the Indian coasts.

In 1951, Capt J. Cursetji became the first Indian Officer to be appointed Surveyor-in-Charge of the MSI. On June 1, 1954, the NHO was established at Dehra Dun.

Besides the defence establishment, a number of other ministries and departments as well as several international organisations are using data generated by the NHO.

Other events held during the year as part of the celebrations included an international seminar on hydrography, compiling a documentary, “Charting the Ocean” and the publication of a book, “Charting the Deep — A history of the Indian Naval Hydrographic Department”.


Providing shelter to street children
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, April 30
In India, over Rs 12 crore is spent annually for providing shelter to street children. Their insecurity can be gauged from the fact that girls in New Delhi have to pose as boys to escape sexual abuse. This was revealed by Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Social Justice, Ms Raj Sandhu.

Talking to The Tribune this afternoon during her short trip to Chandigarh, she said the problem of street children was worse in Ludhiana compared to other cities of the region. Ms Sandhu also visited different centres of Youth Technical Training Society (YTTS) during her stay. Mrs Sandhu also visited various centres of the Youth Technical Training Society (YTTS).

She revealed that for street children and other young victims of atrocities childlines were being funded by the government in as many as 55 cities. Since its inception in 2000, “1098 childline” had received over 5 lakh calls.

The childlines, she claimed, were set up after network with hospitals, police, educational institutions, residents and social welfare organisations was established. The groundwork was carried out by the Childline India Foundation.

The children on the street, she added, were not only subjected to physical and sexual abuse, but faced medical and financial problems as well. “Even if the children managed to earn something, the money was either lost or wasted”.

The intention behind setting up the shelters, she said, was to tackle the problem of drug and sexual abuse. “There are about 350 de-addiction centers in the country. Approximately Rs 29 crore is being spent on the centers,” she maintained. “Awareness is being created by NGOs in different schools and colleges for checking drug abuse”.

“The shelters,” she said, “not only provided safe place to sleep, but also bathing and medical facilities. Street children were also being provided free education, stationery, books and uniforms”.

She added that besides round-the-clock “drop-in” shelter for the street children, the Ministry of Social Justice was also supporting several other projects. Giving details, she asserted that about 350 such projects were being run and managed by NGOs in the country.

Regarding the implementation of Juvenile Justice Act, she said the staff should be trained to tackle the delinquents properly. The Act, she said, promoted adoption. The District Child Welfare Committee could handover the child for adoption, she elaborated.

Some of the juvenile homes, she lamented, were not in a good condition. “The state government should set up observation homes and special homes,” she added.

The Secretary concluded that support from society for all the projects. As such the people should come forward and donate liberally for social cause,” she said. “The donors would also benefit. They would get 100 per cent tax reduction.


Envoy for PU campus in Trinidad
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago can benefit from India in the field of higher education due to cultural commonalities between the two countries. The High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago to India, Pundit Maniedeo Persad, said this here today.

Giving a lecture on “ Cultural Commonalities between Trinidad and Tobago and India” at Panjab University, the High Commissioner said 98 per cent of the population had access to education at the secondary level, but only five per cent of it reached the higher education level due to lack of avenues there.

He said Information Technology (IT) and distant education programmes were the key areas where the republic was keen on getting assistance from India. “I called upon the Vice Chancellor of Panjab University to explore the possibilities of assistance. Setting up of a university campus in Trinidad and Tobago will be a welcome step”, added the High Commissioner.

Talking to reporters Pundit Maniedeo Persad said a lot of private institutions were offering higher education programme of US and UK universities, but these were expensive. The Indian universities provided cheaper quality education.

On the issue of trade between the two countries, the High Commissioner said he was touring different parts of the country to improve the volume of bilateral trade. Petro chemicals, plastics and IT were the key areas where the republic was keen on doing more trade.

Citing the cultural and social values practised by the people of Indian origin in the island nation, he said, it called for more interaction in all areas.

Delivering the lecture, he said 40 per cent of the population of Trinidad and Tobago was of people who had migrated from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. He explained in detail on how his ancestors had preserved the cultural and social values and gained in economic power. He said the Tulsi Ramanaya remained a source of strength for the Indian community there.

“Our ancestors had named places in the new land after the names of the places of their origin like Chandernagar, Faizabad and Berrickpur”, said the High Commissioner. He said the Indian community had failed to keep speaking Hindi alive.

Professor Jitendra Mohanm, National Fellow, ICSSR, New Delhi, Professor S.K. Sharma, Dean University Instructions, Panjab University, and Professor Laxminarian Sharma, also spoke.



Cop dragged to death, two teenagers held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The local police today arrested two teenagers of Sector 40 for allegedly killing a traffic policeman, Silk Ram, near the Aroma light point in Sector 22.

Vijay Kumar and Sachin Bansal today surrendered when the police rang up the father of the driver of a Santro car, which was identified by eyewitnesses. Silk Ram had last night stopped the car being driven by one of the youths as the driver seemed underaged.

When the policeman Ram asked for the licence, the driver closed the power window and the hand of the constable got stuck. The driver allegedly in his attempt to flee dragged Silk Ram for at least 15 feet, causing his death.

The constable was taken to the Sector 16 General Hospital, where he was declared brought dead. The police has filed several charges against the teenaged youths.



Bansal’s promise on pension, PF benefits
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
“I will accord top priority to remove unnecessary delay in disbursement of pensionary and provident fund benefits to the retiring employees”, said Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal of the Congress while addressing a gathering of government employees as a part of his campaign for the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

He said the procedures for the disbursement of pensionary and provident fund benefits of government employees needed to be streamlined on the lines of the Indian armed forces where a retiring soldier got his pensionary and provident fund benefits the very next day after retirement.

He addressed a large gathering of traders in the Grain Market, Sector 26, organised by the Grain Market Association. Mr Bhim Sen Garg, the president of the association and other office bearers, including Mr Raj Kumar Goyal, Mr Bal Kishan Bansal, Mr Raj Kumar Bansal, Mr Prem Chand Gupta and Mr Sajjan Kumar Bansal welcomed Mr Bansal. They donated Rs 2.51 lakh towards his election campaign.

The group of Bardana Traders weighed Mr Bansal in coins and donated Rs 31,000 towards his election campaign. Mr Bansal, overwhelmed by spontaneous and warm reception, said that it was cherished desire to make Grain Market, Sector 26 one of the best in the region.

Mr Bansal addressed a large gathering of the Muslim community at Jama Masjid, Sector 20, organised by Mr Mohammad Azmal Khan, Mr Salim Akbar, Mr Khalil Ahmed, Mr S.S. Khan, Mr Mohammad Sadiq, Mr Mohammad Saqil Ahmed and Dr Hasan. The gathering promised their full support to Mr Bansal and donated Rs 31,000 towards his election campaign.

Mr Bansal visited Sector 20-C, Mauli Jagran and Raipur Kalan and addressed the meeting of local residents.


These candidates lack hope, not voice
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Little financial backing and limited vision mar the chances of certain candidates in the fray for the parliamentary elections for this constituency.

However, such candidates have raised important social and political issues, making their presence noticed in the overall perspective.

Mr Ibrahim Siddiqui, a resident of Hallo Majra, has no cash in his account and is interested only in raising his voice against all political parties for having ignored the interests of the migratory labour in the city. Mr Surinder Chauhan, claiming to be a dedicated RSS worker, is expressing his dissent over the BJP naming Mr Satya Pal Jain as the BJP candidate. He has made allegations of corruption against Mr Jain.

Mr Bhupinder Pal from Bathinda is for the scrapping of the policy of reservation in jobs at the national level. He feels that the government should instead provide opportunity for equal education to all classes of society. Ms Rekha Sharma is contesting only to mark her protest against the non-implementation of 33 per cent reservation in Parliament for women.

The issues may be serious and need attention. However, the perspective of presentation is narrow and equally narrow is the target audience.

A senior Congress leader, on the condition of anonymity, said: “There is one category of contestants who see elections as an opportunity just to be in the limelight. Then there are candidates who have a point to make. However, their area of mass appeal is narrow and does not fit the image of a person who is supposed to handle a wide range of issues in Parliament”.

It is also felt that due to the lack of finances, these candidates are operating only at a local level. “Most of the voters in the city are not even aware of their existence. Mr Chauhan may have made his presence felt because of inflammatory speeches at press briefings, however, he has no poll material to hand out to the masses, A senior Bharatiya Janata Party office-bearer said.

Col J.S.Dhami, a resident of Sector 42, said: “I was impressed to hear the voices with a difference. However, there is not much content in their argument to make it a larger issue. I do not even recognise these candidates,” he said.

Mr Ranvijay Singh, a voter, said the victory margin in the last parliamentary election was just a little over 5,000. In case the strategy of these candidates of appealing to select audiences in the city worked, it could have a telling impact on the final result.


I will work for slum-free city, says Independent candidate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
"I will work for a slum-free city and ensure the removal of all encroachments,” This was stated by Mr Arvind Jain, an Independent candidate in fray for the local seat in the coming parliamentary elections, while addressing a press conference here yesterday.

“ I am fully conscious that the agenda to make the city slum free is not a populist one as is being resorted to by certain political parties. Migrant labour has to be provided a home. There should be at least some systematic planning,” he said. He made a mockery of slogans being given by Mr Satya Pal Jain of the BJP that he will end lal dora.

Mr Jain said he would work for the abolition of the leasehold system in the city. He alleged that both the Congress and the BJP MPs over the Past 13 years had shown disinterest towards the welfare of the citizens. Criticising Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal of the Congress, he said Mr Bansal might be a good man, but he had proved to be non-performer in safeguarding the interests of the people.

He also criticised the leadership of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal. He said in an open discussion among prominent candidates, organised by the mandal recently I was not called “ which was sad neglect of the voice of the traders”. He pointed out that several demands raised by the mandal had already been notified and “ they are not even aware of the reality”.

He alleged that the election office was unfair in tearing away his poll material pasted on certain shops. “Flags and posters of prominent parties can be seen all over the city and they are not being questioned and we are being targeted”, he said.

Mr Arvind Jain highlighted his agenda which included change in building bylaws, abolishing leasehold system, new sales policy, slum-free city, more small-scale industries and ensuring basic amenities for all.


First vote
Tone up civil administration

My first vote is not a thing for playful joyousness or to be taken lightly. It is my power, the consciousness of my mind, which has to be pressed on the right button for a future for all of us. My vote will only go to the deserving candidate who should be realistic. He should have the calibre and potential to fulfil the aspirations of the youth and not be a propaganda outlet to feed us on false promises. My first vote has to be effective, remembered, cherished and the results quantified lest it demoralises me into making it the last vote.

My vote will go to the candidate who will ensure a just governance for citizens and who will tone up the civil administration, as today’s civil servant is neither civil nor a servant. I will vote for the candidate who will counter dishonesty and ensure that we improve our place of being the seventh most corrupt nation of the world.


Temperature down, roads flooded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
A downpour this evening further lowered the temperature as normal life was thrown out of gear. The rain forced most residents to remain indoors, giving a deserted look to the commercial areas in the city.

Vehicles could be seen stranded at several places as the heavy rain resulted in water-logging on roads. The rail traffic was also disrupted.

At some places trees were uprooted by the strong winds. A pole supporting an 11 kv transmission line was seen leaning precariously on to a road leading to the railway station from Manimajra.

The squall also led to the uprooting of a tree in Sector 36-D and power failure in the area as it fell on power lines. A resident of the area said repeated complaints to the MC office for removing the tree from the road went unheard.

The local meteorological office said cloudy sky with a few spells of rain or thundershower was likely to continue tomorrow. Till 8 pm, the observatory at the Air Force station had recorded 13 mm rainfall. The maximum temperature was recorded at 30.6° Celsius, down from 31° C yesterday. The minimum temperature was recorded at 19.8° C.

Over the past few days, the minimum temperature has registered an increase. According to the weatherman, the pleasant weather is a short phenomenon and the dry and hot conditions would return.


Harvinder murder case solved
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, April 30
The Dera Bassi police claims to have solved the Harvinder murder case by arresting a cousin — Jaspal Singh alias Palli — of the deceased here today.

Besides a string used in the crime, the police has recovered a mobile set and a SIM card belonging to Harvinder Singh alias Happy, from Palli. The accused and the victim were cousins and were residing in the same locality in Bhankharpur village.

Addressing mediapersons, Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Dera Bassi, claimed that Palli called Happy to consume liquor on the roof of a tubewell in Satabgarh village on the night of April 16.

Palli took Happy on the roof and pushed him down. Following this, Happy died due to head injuries. Palli then tied a string around his body and dragged it for some distance.

In the process, the string proved as a noose around his neck and Happy got strangled too, the DSP added.

After leaving the body in the fields, Palli hid the string in thickets but took the SIM card of the mobile phone along.

He also used the SIM card in making calls to Happy’s residential phone which put him behind bars.

The DSP claimed that during investigation, Palli admitted that he had given Rs 5,000 to Happy for getting some opium and a battery for his mobile set. The accused also admitted to having committed the crime, the DSP added.

Meanwhile, Palli, while talking to mediapersons, claimed that Happy fell after he slipped while he was coming down from the roof of the tubewell. He also admitted to having dragged the body and stolen his mobile set and wallet.

Palli said, “After coming to senses, I felt guilty over this sin. Since the police was after me, I approached Mr Gurdev Singh, a member of the village panchayat, and surrendered,”.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC against Palli.

It may be recalled that the body of 22-year-old factory worker, Havinder Singh, was found from the fields of Satabgarh on the April 17 morning.

Harvinder, a resident of Bhankharpur village, was a driver with a local factory and had returned from duty on April 15 evening. On the same evening, he had left home, saying he was going to a pesticides shop owned by his brother in the village but did not return. 


51 Chandigarh Police recruits pass out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Chandigarh Police today inducted 51 recruits into the force.

Advisor Lalit Sharma presided over the passing out parade of the third batch of the recruits.

Mr Lalit Sharma gave away the prizes to the recruits with good performance. Constable Sushma Rani won the prize for the best overall and indoor performance. Recruit Surinder Singh was adjudged the best for outdoor training. Head Constable Gursahib Singh was selected for the best platoon in outdoor training. Constable Dinesh Kumar was adjudged the best training instructor, constable Lekh Raj as best boy platoon commander and constable Gursevak Singh for the second best boy platoon commander.


Major-Gen Sharma lays down office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Director of Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment (SASE), Maj-Gen S.S. Sharma laid down office today after heading the organisation for seven-and-a-half years. The SASE Associate Director, Dr R.N. Sarwade, has been appointed director. He will assume office tomorrow.

A Defence Research and Development Organisation DRDO laboratory, SASE, is involved in studying snow and avalanche activity in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal and research in cold weather engineering.

Commissioned into the Corps of Engineers, General Sharma, has had a long stint with the DRDO. Besides undertaking pioneering work in avalanche study, he led the first Indian expedition to the Antarctica. He was decorated with the Kirti Chakra. He was appointed director of SASE while he was still serving with the Army. After retiring from the Army, he was absorbed by the DRDO.


Joint Secy visits centre for street children
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 30
The Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Social Justice, Ms Raj Sandhu, visited a centre for street children, run by the Youth Technical Training Society (YTTS), in Sector 38 West today. The children are taught the art of writing applications and notices in English at the centre.

According to the YTTS Chief Functionary, Col Ravi Bedi, Ms Sandhu appreciated the centre’s efforts to teach the underprivileged children in a mobile van equipped with computers under the Commonwealth Youth Programme.

Colonel Bedi said more than 25 students from the slums participated in the 15-day programme in which computer basics were taught, along with slide presentation.

YTTS president P.H. Vaishnav said their organisation was requesting Commonwealth youth programme officials to cover more slum areas under such programmes. 


Verma ‘reserves’ right to vote
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
The Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, has appeared to have backtracked on his decision of not exercising his right to franchise in the parliamentary poll in order to maintain strict neutrality.

A spokesman of the Punjab Raj Bhavan yesterday clarified that the remarks purported to have been made by the UT Administrator in the context of maintaining neutrality had been “misquoted and misunderstood”.


Lured into a bet, man cheated of Rs 1,500
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
A washerman was today duped of Rs 1,500 by four unidentified persons near the bus stop on the road separating Sectors 16 and 23 in the presence of several on-lookers.

One of the cheats was, however, captured by Tribune photographer Pawan Sharma on camera while he was threatening the cheated victim that he would be handed over to the police for gambling. The cheat also attempted to offer the Tribune lensman a bribe for not taking his photograph.

A resident from Gonda in Uttar Pradesh, Narendra was riding a bi-cycle when he was stopped by one of the cheats and asked to come near the shelter at the bus stop.

As soon as Narendra got off his bicycle, two persons engaged in an altercation apparently to attract his attention. A third person then asked the two to stop the argument whether a particular hole in a belt was in the middle or at an extreme end. The “intruder” bet Rs 100 saying it was in the middle. (Narendra told The Tribune later that the cheats had put a pen inside the folded and perforated belt.)

Not seeing through the stage-managed show, Narendra was also asked to bet on the issue. when the offer did not interest him, one person asked him to put the money on a guarantee of 100 per cent return. At this washerman bet Rs 100 initially, and then went on to bet Rs 1500, finally losing all. When Narendra asked the group to return the money, one of them threatened to take him to the police for gambling, which is a crime.

Narendra, who had come to the city only 15 days ago immediately fell at the feet of the cheats begging “mercy”.

The drama was witnessed by a group of several persons. A part of it was also seen by Pawan Sharma, who talked to both the cheat and the cheated.

Rickshaw-pullers near the spot told The Tribune that couple of days ago a tourist was also cheated in the same manner.

The matter has not yet been reported to the police.


30-year-old commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Thirty-year-old Mohan Chand, a resident of Sector 23 here, hanged himself to death today. He is survived by his wife Manju, nine year-old Suraj and eight-year-old Chand.

In his suicide note, Mohan Chand said his father was ill and he needed money for his father’s treatment but he was unable to do so as he had no money. He said he had spent Rs 4 lakh to make his friends and relatives members of the Japan Life company. However, the company had not cleared his dues of more than Rs 60,000, the suicide note said. He also said he had been meeting a manager of the company for the past year to get his dues cleared but to no avail.

Ms Manju said her husband had set the alarm clock for 5 a.m. last night. She said the ringing of the alarm clock woke her up in the morning. When she did not see Mohan Chand in the room, she went about looking for him. She was shocked to find his body hanging from the ceiling. He had used the scarf of his wife’s suit to hang himself. He had bought this suit for her last evening.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings on the basis of the suicide note under Section 174 of the CrPC. No action has been initiated against the company since the suicide note did not clearly mention that the company had prompted him to commit suicide. 


Cellular market growing, says Mittal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 30
Mr Rakesh Bharti Mittal, the new Chairman of the CII (Northern region), today said the pace at which the cellular market in the country was growing, it appeared that the number of mobile connections would go up from 2.7 crore to 10 crore in the next 2-3 years.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Mittal, who is also the Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti Teletech Ltd, said in view of the increasing mobile connections, BSNL and MTNL had lost nearly 20 lakh connections during 2003.

He said while in foreign countries if the number of mobile connections had registered an increase, the number of landline connections had also gone up correspondingly. The landline connections should be given priority as they were better providers of data services.

The private operators and the CDMA operators are cashing in on the facility of sending SMS (short messaging service) through landlines.

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