C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Kajauli to augment city’s water supply
Work likely to be completed before schedule
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh Morinda, June 30
Work on the fourth phase of the Kajauli Waterworks is progressing speedily and is likely to be completed by March, 2005, provided the project is not hit by paucity of funds. With the completion of the fourth phase, the city’s 50-million-gallons-per-day (MGD) water supply will be augmented by another 17.5 MGD.

The Public Health Department, Punjab, has already completed 80 per cent of the work on the additional pipeline, which would pump in more water at the Sector 39 Waterworks, easing the water situation in the city considerably.

The Superintending Engineer, Mr S.S. Ghuman, while explaining the project at the Kajauli Waterworks, said the department had laid a 21-km-long pipeline, while another 4 km of the pipeline would be laid shortly.

“We will complete the project before the scheduled date given by the UT Administration. Against August, 2005, the fourth phase would become operational by March if all goes well and full funds are made available in time,” he says.

“We are using pre-stressed concrete (PSC) pipelines for the supply since these are more durable and cheaper in comparison to the mild steel (MS) pipelines. The only drawback of the PSC pipelines is that their maintenance is a long-drawn affair, a leak repair taking as long as two days and cutting off water supply from that particular pipeline. In contrast, the MS pipeline needs welding to set things in order and takes a couple of hours for repair,” he explains.

A Government of India-funded project, the estimated cost of the fourth phase is Rs 51.38 crores, of which work to the tune of Rs 31.28 crore has to be carried out by the Public Health Department. Of this, the department has already received Rs 18.10 crore from the municipal corporation. The rest of the work on the fourth phase will be done by the municipal corporation itself.

However, while the executing department, the Public Health Department, has completed work to the tune of Rs 26 crore, the client department, Chandigarh, is yet to pay up and could end up as a bottleneck.

“We are short by Rs 6 crore as far as the payment by the MC is concerned. We have already submitted the fund requirement for different stages of the project to the MC. Though it was were supposed to have given us Rs 24.10 crore according to the estimated cost structure, we have got only Rs 18.10 crore so far. The actual cost of the project is already Rs 2 crore above what was estimated in 1995, when the work began. Getting funds usually gets delayed though we try to ensure that work carries on,” he says.

Interestingly, for the project, the Centre releases the grant to the UT Administration, which passes on the amount to the MC. The MC, in turn, is supposed to pass on the funds to the executing agency. This is where the Public Health Department gets into a sticky situation. The department has repeatedly represented to the UT Administration to directly hand over the funds to it, but to no avail.

“The Centre gives quarterly grants to the UT Administration. The MC also gets the grant as it is but pays us on a monthly basis. Streamlining this fund channel could benefit the speedy completion of the fourth phase,” he maintains.


How Sagar cracked kidnap case
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
It was a 12-hour tense operation of a Chandigarh Police team led by Mr S. C. Sagar, DSP (South), to force captors of banker Lekh Raj to release him with the help of the US police.

But it was not the first time that Mr Sagar had handled a difficult situation efficiently and judiciously. The only case he failed was Simran’s murder in his long career nearing retirement. The journey of the operation began with a doubt on the kidnapping drama to persuade the wife of hostage to operate on behalf of the police with the captors and keep her cool.

Mr Sagar got the clues after almost two hours of questioning the wife of Lekh Raj. An initially frightened wife of Lekh Raj became confident after persuasion by Mr Sagar. Mr Sagar, who has a high rate of cracking difficult cases, got support from SSP, Gaurav Yadav, who was monitoring the operation on a minute-to-minute basis. As soon as he got a clue that a marital discord between Inderjeet Kaur’s sister and her husband Jasbir Singh could have been the reason, Mr Sagar informed the possible leads to Mr Yadav who asked him to try this angle on a priority basis.

Mr Sagar drew up a team of officers who were to assist him. ASP Sanjay Kumar Jain, Inspector Mani Ram, Inspector Jagbir Singh, Sub-Inspector Jagir Singh, Prem Chand, Jaswinder and Ramesh started operations in Punjab to mount pressure on the captors as directed by Mr Yadav.

Mr Sagar and Mr Mani Ram stayed put in the house of the hostage along with Mr Jain, who monitored telephones.

Mr Sagar, who says it was his first experience of handling a kidnapping case where the risk of losing a life was very high, took the aggrieved woman in confidence and tutored her to negotiate with the captors.

The woman had identified Jasbir Singh and Tarsem who could have managed kidnapping of her husband.

Then comes a call of captors, the police by then had set up a call monitoring device. Mr Sagar asked the woman to latch on the captors apparently to send a signal that she was not afraid for them to understand she would not buckle and the purpose of the kidnappers would be defeated. Mr Sagar asked the woman to threaten them that she had identified them and children of captors would be in danger. She kept on denying the police was not involved in her negotiations.

Soon, captors again rang up to check if their phones were tapped. As per advice, Ms Inderjeet Kaur did not respond. Then they rang up on her mobile. Again she did not respond. Then captors again rang up the woman, Mr Sagar writes negotiations on a piece of paper in bold and big letters for the woman to tell them. She agrees to talk to her younger sister Kiran in the USA to withdraw the case and hand over the children to her estranged husband Jasbir Singh.

The police asked the woman to talk to her sister and inform the matter to the police in California. Meanwhile, captors make contact with Kiran’s brother Ranbir when Inderjeet Kaur says she failed to persuade her sister.

A sergeant of the California police reached Kiran who recorded talks with captors as per the advice of Mr Sagar.

She brings this to the notice of Jasbir Singh also who spoke about and it was also recorded. Cassettes were handed over to the US police. Then Kiran got the Sergeant to talk to Mr Sagar. The American officer asks for an FIR, sections of the IPC, Mr Sagar’s designation and the Chandigarh police website. He confirmed the case and informed that a case had been registered.

The pressure of the American police reached captors who ultimately released the banker. Mr Sagar said he was afraid that any of his action involving the US police might have boomeranged and harmed Lekh Raj. He said Inderjeet’s courage kept him going chalking out a successful strategy.Back


Tribune copy produced in US court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , June 30
A copy of The Tribune downloaded from the Internet was today produced before a California court and the police there as a proof of how India had reacted to the kidnapping in Chandigarh allegedly masterminded by US-based Jasbir Singh.

Mr Ranbir Singh, alias Bittu, and his sister, Ms Kiran, produced the copy before the police. They quoted an American police officer as saying “Was it such a big issue in India”.

Police officers were quoted as saying that the coverage by the Indian media would go against Jasbir Singh, who has to appear before a court today.

Meanwhile, Mr Ranbir Singh told The Tribune that Jasbir Singh had gone underground and was not traceable after the registration of a case and if he did not appear before the court in a separate case of assault on his wife, he might face warrants from the court.

The sources in the USA said the decision on his arrest would be taken late night.


Kidnapping case: driver arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
The Chandigarh Police today arrested the driver of the Sumo (PB-07 6600) that was used to kidnap banker Lekh Raj from Sector 15 on June 28.

The police also recovered the vehicle from Dasuya in Hoshiarpur to develop leads about the persons involved in the kidnapping incident.

Raids were conducted as the police had received information that two kidnappers were seen in Punjab. However, the accused managed to escape minutes before the police reached there.

The police said a Dasuya-based Nihang, Baba Gurdev Singh, was one of the captors. A raid was conducted on his house.


Airline business booming in Dehli-city sector
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
Airline business on the Delhi--Chandigarh sector is booming as never before. Two scheduled airlines operating on this circuit, Indian Airlines and Jet Airways are reporting a record passenger traffic this year. Needless to say, revenues on this heretofore unlucrative sector too has gone up.

Both operators maintain that this year flights on this route are almost packed to capacity, which has never happened before. Indian Airlines (IA) is presently operating a 145-seat Airbus 320, while Jet Airways is carrying out operations with a 62-seat ATR-72. Both operate a daily flight on the Delhi-Chandigarh circuit.

Overall growth in economy, restoration of Leave Travel Concession for government employees and aggressive marketing, including special fares and packages, are being cited as the reasons for growth in this sector.

"We are carrying over 100 passengers from Chandigarh daily. This is about a 40 per cent increase over the last year," an IA official said. Though carrying about 100 passengers does not make operations profitable, it may be the break even point, officials said.

According to an IA official, about 50 per cent passengers from Chandigarh are those who undertake onward journeys to other destinations from Delhi. "We are offering special packages on high profile tourist and business sectors. It is much convenient for passengers to board an IA flight from here and then hop on to another aircraft at Delhi rather than going by train or car to Delhi and then check in," the official remarked.

Jet carried 30,000 passengers on this route last year, which accounted for an average load factor of 60 per cent. According to Jet officials, the airlines had raked in Rs 650 crore from operations in its northern region. This year, the revenues are projected to be higher by about 5 per cent.

Jet officials say that if the present trend continues into the next season beginning October, they may replace the ATR on this route with the larger Boeing 737, which can accommodate 120 persons. Jet had earlier been using the Boeing on this route, but had discontinued due to low load factors.

Airline business the world over had dropped sharply in the aftermath of hijacked aircraft being used as missiles by terrorists to strike the twin World Trade Center towers in New York on September 11, 2001. It was only in 2003 that the airline industry began emerging from the doldrums.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) too foresees an increase in traffic, both scheduled as well as unscheduled, on this route. The expansion of the Chandigarh airport to accommodate more aircraft is based on this perception. Sources in the airline industry reveal that two scheduled private operators are "actively" considering to commence operations from Chandigarh. The growth in passenger traffic from Chandigarh is also generating more revenue for the AAI, which charges operators Rs 200 per passenger on account of facilitation fees.


SSC ‘discontinues’ clerical cadre test
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
Thousands of job aspirants for the post of the lower division clerks(LDCs) will be a disappointed lot with the Staff Selection Commission(SSC) discontinuing the examination.

The examination, which was an annual feature, has not been held by the SSC for the second year in row, giving sleepless nights to thousands of unemployed youths.

Reliable sources told The Tribune here today that since there was no demand for the LDC posts from the departments, the SSC had decided to discontinue the examination. The SSC decision will leave thousands of unemployed youths in the lurch, who will have to look for other job opportunities.

It may be recalled that till 2002 the SSC used to hold a combined all-India test for the recruitment of LDCs and stenos for filling over 5,000 posts all over the country.

On account of lack of vacancies, the commission decided not to hold examination last year and this year. However, the test for the recruitment of stenos is slated to be held on October 10.

The gradual phasing out of the examination is seen as part of the Central Government’s move to downsize the departments for increased efficiency and conserve resources. With Central Government offices going in for a major computerisaton drive there is less emphasis on manpower, a senior officer posted here said.

Moreover, there is a conscious effort on the part of the departments to present an “officer-oriented” look and the LDCs hardly fit into the new scheme of things devised by the government, he added. However, the recruitment of stenos is likely to continue as the officer would be requiring the personal assistants(PAs) for a long time to come, sources said.

The LDCs’ examination was one of the most-popular examinations with thousands of aspirants from various regions applying for it for thousands of posts every year.

The SSC used to receive requests for recruitment from level two. While the offices of the central ministries based in Delhi forwarded requests to the commission headquarters, the regional offices were requested by the field offices to fill the vacancies.


Power shutdown irks Panchkula residents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 30
Residents of the district were forced to sweat it out because of frequent power breakdowns in the past 24 hours. The power supply to Panchkula, Kalka, Pinjore, Ramgarh and Barwala has been erratic and frequent power breakdowns were witnessed since yesterday. Officials in Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) inform that the Ramgarh Madanpur sub station developed a technical snag this morning, which led to erratic power supply today. They were thus forced to get power supply from Bhakra through the 132 KV Pinjore sub station.

Officials in UHBVN say that though the fault in the Madanpur substation was rectified, the internal power transmission system developed a fault and power transmission and supply were affected. It was thus that the feeders in the Industrial Area were shut down to improve the power situation in the township.

Senior officials inform that four of the five industrial feeders were completely closed for two and a half hours, from 3 pm to 5.30 pm, after a message was received from the Power Controller, Haryana. One of the feeders, in BEL Factory, was allowed to function partially. With the power supply to the industry being cut, 7 MVA of load was decreased on the Industrial Area sub station, and thus the power situation improved.

Meanwhile, residents of the neighbouring townships of Pinjore, Kalka and Barwala,too, have been suffering because of erratic power supply. Ms. Swaroop Kumari, a resident of Railway Colony in Kalka, complained that frequent power tripping and unscheduled power cuts are a norm in the town for the past one week.

Officials in UHBVN claim that the power crisis was all over the state and there was a shortfall of 100 lakh units in the state. However, with the Haryana Power Utilities (HPU) now making arrangements to buy power from other power generation corporations and trading companies, the situation was likely to improve from tomorrow. They, however, warned that power cuts on industrial consumers would continue in case additional power was not made available. 


17 Survey of India officials retire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
Seventeen employees of the Survey of India were given a warm send-off on their superannuation here today. Maj-Gen M.J.S. Virk, Additional Surveyor-General of the Haryana Geo-spatial Data Centre, Chandigarh, was the chief guest on the occasion. He appreciated the sense of dedication to duty of the retired officials.

The retired officials are Mr O.P. Charaya, Mr Amar Nath, Mr Sadhav Singh, Mr Ram Lal, Mr Rajbir Singh, Mr Din Dyal, Mr Ram Sanjiwan, Mr Dev Singh, Mr Mahma Nand, Mr Joginder Singh, Mr Chandi Parshad, Mr Hari Dutt, Mr Raj Narayan, Mr Surat Singh, Mr Shambhu Parshad and Ms Mona.


Panchkula Diary
Cactus park inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 30
The Chief Secretary, Haryana, Mr A N Mathur, today inaugurated the Cactus park developed by HUDA near the Sector 10 and 11 roundabout. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mathur appreciated the efforts of HUDA authorities to develop and beautify the corners of sectors. He said more such parks should be developed. The Superintending Engineer, Horticulture, Mr Jogi Ram, said the park had been developed by using rare species of cactus, and said they had made provisions for developing more corners of sectors as parks.

The Municipal Council has launched a month long cleanliness drive in the township, beginning today. The MC President, Ms Seema Chaudhary said special teams of safai karamcharis had been formed for this drive. As part of the drive, road dividers and roads will be cleaned, congress grass and malba dumped along roadsides will also be removed. She said different days had been earmarked for launching the drive in different areas.

The plots and booths in the Sabzi Mandi and grain market will be sold by the Market Committee on July 8, in an open auction. An official press note said 44 shop plots and 16 booth plots would be auctioned in the Sabzi Mandi, while 62 shop plots and 36 booth plots would be auctioned in the Grain Market. 


Rajyoga camp on July 4
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 30
A novel technique of Rajyoga meditation has been evolved by the international institution of Brahmakumaris for self-empowerment of those who face mental tension and worries.

To overcomes tensions of daily life, a retreat-cum-Rajyoga camp is being organised at Brahmakumaris Sukh Shanti Bhavan in Phase VII here on July 4. As many as 50 persons above the age of 18 will be allowed to participate in the camp on a first-come, first-served basis.

According to B.K. Prem, in charge of the local wing, the camp will consist of three sessions. She said the first session would be on enlightening the self, the second would reveal the truth about the eternal source of energy while the third would deal with linking/developing relationship with the divine.

She said though no fees would be charged for the camp, it was compulsory for each participant to attend all three sessions. The registration for the camp would remain open on July 2 and July 3.


Husband, son tested HIV positive too
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 30
The husband and four-year-old son of the woman, who was detected as HIV positive by doctors in General Hospital last week, have also tested positive. The woman, who is a mother of three, was admitted to the hospital, for brain tuberculosis on June 20. She was being administered treatment by Dr Sanjay Malik. The woman then developed pus in her stomach and an operation to drain the pus was done on her on June 24. It was during routine tests before the operation that the hospital authorities found that she was HIV positive.

It was thus decided to check her other family members for the virus. While the two elder children have tested negative, the husband and the youngest child are HIV positive.


Tribune journalist retires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
Mr Ashok Kumar Puri, Senior Sub-Editor, The Tribune, retired here today after putting in more than 41 years of service. Mr Puri joined The Tribune at Ambala on June 24, 1963, as a proof-reader.

He had been handling Business Tribune for the past 13 years.

Mr Puri was given a farewell party by his colleagues. Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune, appreciated Mr Puri's sense of duty and dedication towards his work. Mr Dua wished Mr Puri a happy and peaceful retired life. 


Tribune employee retires
Tribune News Service

Ram Samajh Singh Chandigarh, June 30
Mr Ram Samajh Singh, senior head havildar, The Tribune, retired here today after serving the organisation for nearly 38 years.

He joined The Tribune at Ambala in 1966.




Hit-and-run victim succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 30
Manjit Kaur, a hit-and-run accident victim, died at the PGI today. Fifty-year-old Manjit was a resident of Sector 27, Chandigarh. She, along with her husband, met with an accident on Monday evening near the Swami Ram Tirath School while on their way to meet someone in Phase V.

According to the police, the two were hit by an unidentified car which sped away towards Phase V residential area. Both Manjit and her husband Sukhdev Singh (55) sustained serious injuries and were rushed to a private hospital nearby from where they were shifted to the PGI.

Mr Jaspal Singh, a relative of the family, alleged that the car was being driven by the wife of a retired police officer who lived in Phase V and the police had noted down the number of the car but were trying to save the accused.

The police today said they had been able to get the number of the car Maruti Zen (CH03 9881) immediately after the accident and had even traced the car to a house in Phase V Mohali, but they found the house locked ever since. Mr Charan Singh, ASI, who is investigating the case said the Mohali police would contact the Chandigarh police and Estate Office tomorrow to trace the person on whose name the car is registered in Chandigarh. He added that the case was registered yesterday in Mohali and the post mortem of the victim was carried out today.

Mr Sukhdev Singh, who has a shop in Industrial Area, Chandigarh and has three daughters, is still admitted to the PGI.


Flesh trade: two nabbed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 30
Continuing its drive against flesh trade in the city, the Chandigarh police today arrested two persons, including a teenaged girl, behind the Sector 17 petrol station this evening while the kingpin managed to escape.

On a tip off, the police laid a trap and sent a decoy customer. A deal was struck for Rs 1000. As the person took the money, the police arrested the accused.

The person arrested was later identified Karan from Nepal while the girl hails from Patiala. After questioning, Karan disclosed that Dara, a local resident, was the kingpin of the racket and was running the trade for the past few months.

The duo has been booked under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act and a case has been registered against them at the Sector 17 police station. The police also laid a trap to nab Dara.


Growth area in industry ‘in hi-tech sectors’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
The growth area for industry in Chandigarh lies in hi tech ‘clean’ sectors like services, IT, ITes, BPO and biotechnology, according to Mr R S Gujral, UT Home Secretary. Addressing an interactive session with members of the CII Chandigarh Council here today, he urged traditional industry to go in for upgradation and modernisation to develop a competitive edge in the emerging economic scenario.

Responding to the issues and concerns raised by industry, he assured members that the Chandigarh Administration would respond very positively to facilitate industry in its efforts to improve productivity.

Conceding that availability of land was a key issue in the Union Territory of Chandigarh, he said the future belonged to industries which offered more productive capital / output ratios, in sectors which offered maximum potential for greater value addition.

Describing the issue of physical connectivity of the city as a typical ‘chicken vs. egg’ situation, he said the upgradation of the airport, more rail links and faster trains between Delhi and Chandigarh were constrained by lack of adequate traffic. Initiatives on these fronts required a political impetus, he conceded frankly. In terms of road connectivity with the Capital, he said the dual carriageway on the Chandigarh - Ambala stretch would take care of a major bottleneck. As for hotels, the Taj GVK Hotel, which was coming up, was the first step to address the lacuna, while sustained demand for quality accommodation would catalyze more developments on this front, he said.

Mr H S Kandhola, Director - Industries and General Manager, DIC, UT, Chandigarh, said his department would work with industry in the Union Territory to resolve issues of concern. The issues discussed at the meeting related to setting up and maintaining infrastructure in the industrial area, setting up an agro testing lab, measures to handle hazardous waste, development of a sub city centre in Sector 34, infrastructure for multiplexes, temporary liquor vends on roadsides, telecom towers in residential areas, etc.

Responding to the suggestion to convert public transport vehicles to the more environmentally friendly CNG, Mr Gujral explained that the recommendation had been flagged two years ago, but faced constraints due to limited availability of CNG, and the logistical difficulties in transporting CNG by pipeline.

The UT officials also promised to look into issues relating to conversion of industrial properties from lease hold to free hold, transfer of CITCO shed leases and allotment of raw materials to SSI units.

Mr Krishan Goyal, Chairman, CII Chandigarh Council, while presenting issues of concern to the Secretary - Home, Chandigarh said that CII is currently working on a document on enhancing physical connectivity of Chandigarh. The CII was also working jointly with its member associations in Chandigarh, on developing a blueprint to guide the socio-economic development of the city over the next few years, he said.


Placement cell at ITI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
A placement cell has been set up at the Sector 28 Industrial Training Institute. Various leading industrial houses like GE Motors (India) Ltd., Faridabad; Sigma Freudenberg Nok, Mohali; and Micro Turners-II, Barotiwala; have conducted campus interviews here. Similarly, Auto Cop India Ltd., Delhi; Adlink Enterprises, Chandigarh; Contour Automotives, Dera Bassi; and Micron Instruments, Chandigarh; have conducted interviews at their workplaces.

In all 52 out of the 182 eligible trainees in various trades have been selected.

According to the Principal of the ITI, more companies like Procter and Gamble, Bhopal; Soloman Industries, New Delhi; are also likely to visit the institute shortly for conducting campus interviews for placement.

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