C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Jubilation over SC verdict on SYL Canal
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 4
It was a celebration of a different kind. Celebration for getting water via the Satluj Yamuna Link canal. The city was illuminated and sweets distributed among people.

As soon as the Supreme Court verdict in the long pending SYL canal case became known in the afternoon, there was jubilation. Leaders of various political parties came out on the roads to celebrate and distributed sweets. In government offices, officials congratulated one another as soon as they heard that the apex court had today allowed Haryana’s plea for expeditious construction of the part of the SYL canal which fell within the territory of Punjab and directed the work to be executed by a Central agency in view of Punjab’s attitude not to implement the apex court’s directive in this regard.

Hailing the decision, the state secretary of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Mr Amardeep Chaudhary said that the SYL canal was the lifeline of Haryana.” The state of Haryana is finally getting its due share of river waters,” he said. He urged the Central government to expedite the construction of the canal in Punjab so that the river waters could begin flowing in Haryana.

He along with other members of the INLD gathered at Majri Chowk in Old Panchkula and distributed sweets. Enthusiastic party workers also stopped the vehicles passing by, and offered sweets to the occupants

According to the directions issued by the state government, all government buildings in the township were illuminated and wore a festive look in the evening. In Chandigarh, the Chief Minister’s residence and the Mini Secretariat in Sector 17 were also illuminated.


Fake IT return racket busted
Lawyer, Chartered Accountant arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The Operation Cell of the Chandigarh Police has arrested two persons allegedly involved in making fake income tax returns for procuring loans from banks. The racket is likely to have caused a huge loss to the exchequer and the banks if such returns had been accepted by the banks. It also could have led to evasion of tax if these had been accepted by the department.

A lawyer and tax consultant of Sector 37, Mr Aman Sharma, and a Chartered Accountant, Mr Ravinder Singh, of Sector 41 have been arrested in this connection by a special party of the Operation Cell.

The police is examining if income tax and bank employees are also involved in the racket along with the lawyer and the CA.

The police today claimed that it had recovered stamps of the ITO Solan, the Food and Civil Supplies Inspector, Panchkula, and a few sealed and blank Saral forms from the possession of the kingpin of the racket. The duo was allegedly charging around Rs 5,000 for showing an annual income between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.25 lakh.

The Operation Cell formed a raiding party to arrest the two after it got information that these persons were making fake IT returns.

The Regional Manager of the ICICI, Mr Anuvir Singh, and a Sector 28 resident, Mr Rajesh Kumar, formed part of the team as a shadow witness and a decoy customer, respectively. The other members of the team were from the police.

Mr Anuvir Singh and Mr Rajesh Kumar approached the fake income tax return makers to get an IT return. The deal was struck on the payment of Rs 5,000. The customer was asked to wait for 10 minutes. The duo brought an income tax return for two years along with a lawyer’s certificate. At this, the police raided their office in SCO 94, 95 in Sector 17. The return had a dispatch number along with a seal to make it look real.

This is the second such incident of fake document racket of the Income Tax Department having come to light. Earlier, the Income Tax Department itself had informed the police that some people had attempted to get income tax refund through fake documents.

The police is investigating as to how many such fake returns were made and submitted with which banks. It is also trying to ascertain if such fake returns had in fact been cleared by the bank staff for the disbursal of loans. In such a situation, the role of bank staff also comes under scanner.

The police is also trying to find out if such returns are being used to get loans more than the eligibility or help those who can not avail loan because of their low income which does not fall in the tax net.

The police also suspects that the seal and the despatch numbers might have been issued by the Income Tax Department’s staff in some cases.

The police is suspecting that loans procured through these fraudulent means might not have been repaid. The availability of the seal of the Food and Civil Supplies Inspector indicates that these persons might also have been arranging fake residential proof for the purpose.


Education Dept increases seats for Class XI
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
It will not be cakewalk for the high scorers seeking admission to senior secondary classes in the top-rated government schools in the city. This year, the cut-off percentage is expected to break all previous records.

Expecting a high demand, the UT Education Department has increased around 430 seats in the science and commerce streams, depending upon the area specific demand for the subjects.

The department has also added a number of subjects in the vocational stream in schools where the demand of the surrounding population was for such subjects, said a senior official of the Education Department.

The move to increase the number of seats for Class XI has also been propelled by the rising the cut-off percentage. Last year, the cut-off percentage for commerce and science stream touched 71.2 per cent and 84.4 per cent, respectively. The cut-off percentage for the two streams has been going higher in the case of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sectors 16, 33, 35 and 37.

The admission in the government-run schools was done through a centralised system.

Sources in the department said as per the schedule for holding the interviews for admission to Class XI, approved by the Education Secretary, the interviews would begin from July 2 and go on till July 17.

This year, the department has started a science stream at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 8.

The seats in the science stream from Senior Secondary School (non-model), Sector 27, have been given to the school in Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra.

It had been observed that there were only 32 students in the science stream at Sector 27 school. Most of them were from Panchkula and Mani Majra.

In the government schools, the existing number of seats in the science and commerce stream was 2,600 and 1,200, respectively. Last year, the department had given additional seats to the schools in Sectors 8, 32 and Mani Majra.

To accommodate the additional students instructions have been issued to schools concerned to upgrade their infrastructure facilities. The limited seats in the private school in the city, offering the science and commerce stream, have added to increased demand at the government-run schools.

Mr D.S. Mangat, DPI (Schools), Chandigarh, said the cut-off percentage in the science and commerce stream was rising over the past few years. He said the increased seats would be added as per the demand.


Burail temple idols handed over to Govt Museum
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 4
The mystery shrouding the discovery of idols from a temple in Burail moved towards a solution today with UT Deputy Commissioner Arun Kumar handing over the idols to the Sector 10 Government Museum authorities for further studies.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune this evening, the DC asserted that the authorities had been asked to keep the idols — as many as 11 in number — in safe custody. The museum authorities have also been asked to maintain “proper sanctity”, he said.

The museum authorities said they would try to verify the age to which the idols, reportedly belonging to the Digambar Jain community, belonged. They would also study the effects of their presence in this part of the region.

The idols, historians in the city claim, can open a new chapter about the city’s history, once it is confirmed that the deities belong to the Jain community. They insist that “Jain sculptures are rare in the region”.

The idols, believed to be at least 2,000 years old, were dug up by labourers digging in the basement of Burail’s Pracheen Shiv Mandir. The deities were subsequently took into possession by the UT Administration.

The temple authorities had claimed that the idols were unearthed between May 29 and June 1 while the labourers were digging in the basement. The temple sabha’s general secretary, Mr Kashmiri Lal Gupta, had asserted that the idols, carved out of stone, had been pulled out with great care.

Residents and experts, who had a look at the discovery, had claimed that the idols were of Lord Mahavira in standing and sitting positions. Sculptures carved in the shape of an elephant and a lion had also been found. Some of the idols, they had added, were broken.

Meanwhile, the residents continued to throng the temple even today after reading about the excavation in the newspapers. Even though the idols had been taken away, they continued to pay obeisance with folded hands.

Several residents, religious heads and organisations also demanded preservation of all such “pracheen” temples in the city. They added that the UT Administration should ensure the adoption of steps to preserve the temples. The Archaeological Survey of India’s intervention in maintaining the sites was also demanded by them.


Priyanka Gandhi, husband visit Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 4
Ms Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and her husband, Mr Robert Vadra visited the town last evening to meet the latter’s uncle here. The couple had reportedly flown to Chandigarh, along with members of the SPG, and went to Mr Vadra’s uncle’s residence in Sector 2. It is learnt that the local police was also not informed.

After staying for the night, the couple reportedly drove off to an undisclosed destination in Himachal this morning.


The Indian starmaker goes West
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
N Chandra is among the finest practitioners of cinema in India. He is also the best exemplifier of thematic diversification in films. From "Ankush" and "Pratighaat" to "Tezaab" and "Tejaswini", his films have been about different tales told from the core of the heart. He is now about to direct an English film, based on the short story of a psychiatrist from the USA.

Notwithstanding the tone of scripts, Chandra has always used cinema as a medium to convey something deeper and purposeful. And for this honesty, he has paid a price.

In Chandigarh as one of the judges of Zee Big Break finals, the film maker, recalled days of his struggle, "Success always comes at a price. Years ago when I wanted to make 'Ankush', no one was ready to back me financially. But I was convinced about the theme of my film. I sold off my house, my wife's and sister's jewellery and made the film. It was a resounding hit. It was meant to be. Ever since, I have made films only when I have felt the urge to share something with my audience."

Chandra traces his cinematic sensibilities to his mentors Vijay Anand and Gulzar. He admits, "Vijay Anand remains my all- time idol. I have never seen a better director than him. He had the skill to handle films as varied as 'Johnny Mera Naam' and ' Guide'. I always wanted to imbibe his range. Gulzar sahib also inspired me immensely. I assisted him in all his films from 'Mere Apne' to 'Aandhi'."

Clinging hard to his lessons, Chandra came a long way. He is now regarded as the maker of stars like Madhuri Dixit as also the all-weather director, who has dished out films with unimaginably varied flavours. The director says, "I could not have repeated 'Ankush'. Like mindsets, themes must change. The reality of yesterday may be an illusion of today. It is essential for a film maker to sense the difference and have the courage to portray it. I would not like to be typecast. I have many stories to tell, sad as 'Ankush' and happy as 'Style'."

Also known for his easy pace, Chandra is highly conscious of the quality of his films. He explains, "I am not just the director in my film. I am also the screenplay writer, the editor and the producer, which means one film I make, is as good as three. Also, I like to personally handle every aspect of my film. Not a single scene in any of my films has been shot in my absence."

Presently, Chandra is working on three scripts. The first, being made for Sahara, features Jaya Prada. It portrays challenges before working women. The other is an English film titled "Woman from Georgia". Says Chandra, "It is a love story sweeping across centuries and races. The third film is about a computer engineer and his return to ideals."

Chandra is also planning to set up an acting institute. He says, "We have few institutes and few trained hands. Although new age directors feel anyone can act, I believe acting involves technicalities that only an acting academy can teach." 


Water problem for slum dwellers persists
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 4
The Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mrs Seema Jain, failed to solve the problem of supplying clean drinking water to the slum dwellers in the township. Stating that a decision on the matter will be taken shortly, Mrs Jain, however, pointed out that since slum colonies were unauthorised, it was important to find out if these fell under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Council or PUDA. She added that in case a slum colony falls under PUDA land, drinking water will have to be provided by them to the colony dwellers.

Mrs Jain was talking to mediapersons following a special meeting with the Municipal Council authorities on the issue. However, despite the hour long meeting attended by the Municipal council executive officer, the Mohali SDM and the District Health Officer, no final conclusion on the issue was arrived at. Mrs Jain said that she had called the meeting to access the preparations made by the Public Health authorities for the prevention of a cholera or gastroenteritis breakout in the township.

Stating that the administration was taking all the requisite steps needed to tide over the possibility of the breakout of a water-borne disease here, Mrs Jain added that the administration would make arrangements for clean drinking water for residents of the slum colonies in the township. What these arrangements were, was, however, not spelled out by the DC.

The district health officer, Dr N.K. Singla, said that he had given the latest report of the water samples collected across Ropar to the DC. He added that out of the over 200 samples that were taken, 56 had failed and the water in these areas declared non-potable. ‘‘Many of the slums in and around Mohali had failed the test. These slum dwellers use hand-pumps for water and these should have been sealed by now. However, despite repeated requests and personal efforts of the district health authorities, the administration had not sealed the source of polluted water in these areas.’’he said.

The hand-pumps could not be sealed because the administration failed to make arrangements for alternative source of drinking water supply to the colonies. When Mrs Jain was told by media persons that the Municipal Council president had refused to make alternative arrangements in these slums, she said that she will look into the matter and wherever required MC will have to provide safe drinking water.

Mrs Jain was also informed by Dr Singla about the state of drinking water supply in Mirzapur. Meanwhile, the DC, Ropar, Mrs Seema Jain, announced that the Municipal Council library housed in the Sylvie Park Phase 10 here will start functioning within a month. She said that a nominal membership fee of Rs 100 and Rs 30 will be charged and the membership will be open to all. She added that residents will have access to the latest books and all leading newspapers for reading in the library. A library committee headed by the District Education Officer will be constituted to deal with the day to day running of the library.


At the Counter
Passport seekers continue to suffer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The Regional Passport Office (RPO), Chandigarh, recently moved to a bigger, spacious location. Long, spiraling queues, which were always synonymous with the RPO, are a thing of the past.

But, passport seekers continue to suffer, largely due to heavy rush and failure of various government departments to liaise properly.

Though the RPO authorities claim that time frames fixed for making various types of passports are being strictly adhered to by them, delays continue to be inevitable in passport-making.

“I applied for my son’s passport three months ago. But, till date we have not received NOC, from the police. He is a student and was planning to go abroad for further studies. But, I am not sure whether he will be able to go in these vacations,” said Harjeet Singh Chahal, who was making enquiries at the RPO this morning.

Mr Chahal alone is not facing this problem. Just one visit to the RPO is enough to bring out the quantum of the problem.

“Everyday, scores of people approach the office for information on how to get their NOCs expedited. But, it is not our job and hence we are unable to assist them. But, sometimes the delay in issuance of NOC is huge,” said an official.

According to sources, staff shortage in the RPO is a major factor for delays. There are just 65 to 70 employees, including the Regional Passport Officer, to deal with over 16,000 applications every month.

The Chandigarh Regional Passport Office caters to the needs of the people of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

“We had 100-odd employees about eight years ago. In those days, we were dealing with at the most 8000 applications per month. But, now while the number of applicants has almost doubled, the staff strength has actually gone down by 30 per cent. But still we are doing our best,” says an official.

Another problem that people face is the proper dissemination of the information. Despite repeated attempts of the authorities, awareness about the ways and means of the passport office leaves much to be desired.

This partially explains the continuing involvement of touts in passport making.

“I had such a bad experience two years ago when I got my passport made, that this time I straightaway went to a tout who promised to get my wife’s passport made within one month,” claimed Rajinder Bawa of Panipat.

RPO officials agree that touts continue to operate. They attribute this to the ignorance on the part of the public.

“Nobody can claim to have undue influence on our staff. Everything is computerised,” officials state.

However, Gursharan Singh Bedi, a retired Central government officer, maintained that despite tall claims, the functioning of the RPO was still not good.

“The staff is neither courteous nor helpful. For small problems, we have to go to senior officers, including the Regional Passport Officer. Also, the entry of touts should be banned,” he suggested.

When contacted, the Regional Passport Officer, Mr Arvind Kumar, acknowledged that a lot remains to be done. “But, we have streamlined everything to a large extent. We are also educating public about the various steps to get a passport made. However, let me also clarify that almost 50 per cent of the people who come to this office are those who have already been issued passports but want to get something amended,” Mr Kumar added.


Was accident victim wearing helmet?
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 4
A controversy has arisen over whether Vimla Saini, middle-aged woman, who died in an accident near Sohana here yesterday was wearing a helmet or not. While sources stated that the Sohana police had recovered a broken helmet at the accident site. Vimla’s neighbour Krishan Chand along with on lookers had told The Tribune that Vimla was not wearing the helmet.

However, sources added that the helmet was found near the site of accident and was identified as belonging to Vimla by her husband Sukhbir.


Cong men support helmets for women, meet Verma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
A delegation of Congress party workers today met the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), and sought his intervention on the issue of wearing of helmets by women. It urged him to direct the Chandigarh Traffic Police to make wearing of helmets by women "compulsory". However, women whose religious sentiments are hurt should be exempt from the law. The delegation comprised Mr Kuldip Singh, a municipal councillor, Mr Sunil Parti, Mr Sunil Chopra, Mrs Sharestha Mehta and Mr Surjeet Choudhary.

The delegation said, in the meantime, steps should be taken by the traffic police and the Chandigarh Administration to educate women about the benefits of wearing a helmet for their own safety. Efforts should also be made to convince the Sikh organisations about the benefits accruing from following the rules relating to the wearing of helmets.


Army wives gift chairs, tables to schoolchildren
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) will be distributing 500 study chairs tables to school- going children of Army personnel. The first lot of these chair and tables was presented to a few children residing in Chandimandir, by the president of the AWWA, Mrs Anupama Singh, at a brief function organised at the military station today.

Mrs Anupana Singh emphasised on the role of education in shaping the life of an individual and contributing to the national development. The incentive, involving an expenditure of about Rs 2.3 lakh, was part of a series of activities started by the Western Command unit of the AWWA.


Domestic help held for theft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
A domestic help was today arrested for allegedly stealing a TV set and other household items from Sector 18 residence of Col H.B.S. Pannu (retd), Regional Manager, Jet Airways, almost a month ago.

A TV set and a few decorative pieces were stolen from Colonel Pannu’s residence when they were away.

Colonel Pannu and his brother A.S. Pannu, who lives on the second floor of the same house believed that Rampaul could not have committal the crime as he had not left home after the incident.

Rampaul, who was introduced by a Brigadier friend of the family had been working for the past two years. The family, however, did not get his antecedents verified by the police.

The involvement of Rampaul, servent, hailing from Jailpaigurhi came to the notice when a junk dealer Suresh Kumar of Attawa was questioned by the police as to where he had got a costly Sony TV set from. The police had seen him carrying the TV set on a bicycle. When questioned Suresh Kumar revealed that the set had been sold to him by the servant of Colonel Pannu. The junk dealer was arrested yesterday and Rampaul today.

Following the revelation, the police raided the house of the servant and seized three fax machines, two sewing machines, a tape recorder, several telephone sets and a music system.

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