C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Daylight robbery at Mohali  cash,
gold worth lakhs looted
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

A police official with Mrs Gurpritpal Kaur Bains at her residence in Sector 71, Mohali, after the robbery.
A police official with Mrs Gurpritpal Kaur Bains at her residence in Sector 71, Mohali, after the robbery. — A Tribune photograph

Mohali, July 5
In a daylight robbery, four unidentified youth wielding revolvers decamped with cash and gold worth lakhs of rupees from an industrialist’s house here in Sector 71 today. The robbers committed the crime at gun point in the presence of the businessman’s wife and servant. Before escaping on motorcycles, the robbers also drugged the wife and the servant, rendering them unconscious.

The incident happened just after 1 pm at house number 3396, Sector 71. The owner of the house, Mr Surjit Singh Bains, was in his cement-pipe factory, near Banur, when the robbers struck. Mr Bains’s wife, Gurpritpal, was alone in the house with the servant Bhokhan. Their two children were off to school.

Relating the incident, a shaken Gurpritpal Kaur said, “Two men rang the bell at the back gate. I went out and opened the door. They asked me if this was the house of the person who dealt in pipes. I nodded, but realised that the two were upto no good. I tried to close the gate on them but one of them pushed the gate. They took me inside the house by force and made me and the servant stand in a corner of the drawing room. Then they opened the front door and let in two more men, who too had guns.”

The four, according to Mrs Bains, were speaking in chaste Punjabi and started asking for valuables. While two of them pulled Gurpritpal from room to room the other two kept the servant at gun point. They ransacked every room, took out all stuff from the almirahs. “‘I let them have all cash that was in the house totalling Rs 70,000. They kept asking for the gold. They would often point the gun at me,” she said.

‘‘I had never seen the four robbers before. I have been working in the house for the past 20 years,” said Bhokan.

“When they had ransacked the whole house, taking all valuables, they told me to remove my ornaments, which I did. They put all cash, the gold and everything else in a bag. Then they poured some liquid on a handkerchief and placed it on my nose. I did not faint immediately as I remember them pouring the liquid on my face.

Then in a delirium I heard Bhokan shouting,” said Mrs Bains.

Mrs Bains’ daughter Naina came home from school while the robbery was going on and realised that something was amiss at home. She rushed to a neighbouring house for help. Harpal Singh, a handicapped friend of the family who lived next door, came to the house using a hockey stick to walk. “The robbers made Harpal sit in the next room and escaped on their bikes. Harpal tried to run after them and even hit one of the robers with the stick, said Harpal’s brother.

The SP, Mohali, Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, reached the spot with the SHO, Phase VIII, Mr Sukhjit Singh Virk. The family is being questioned. The police said according to the information they had gathered the four were not wearing any masks and had come on motorcycles without number plate.

The four, two of them turbaned and two with shorn hair, seemed to know that there would not be many persons in the house and had struck after planning the whole operation. “The four had used different entrances for getting in the house and even parked their vehicles separately so that they could escape,’’ said Mr Virk, adding that a case had been registered.


Houses of Kang, Padiala searched
Tribune Reporters

Mohali, July 5
After obtaining search warrants from a Kharar court, Punjab police sleuths today searched the houses of absconding Akali leaders, Kiranbir Singh Kang and Rajbir Singh Padiala. The two, booked on the charges of murder of two party workers at a rally in Kharar on July 2, continued to evade arrest for the fourth day today.

A sum of Rs 8 lakh, gold jewellery worth at least Rs 5 lakh, $ 730 and £ 20 and a large number of bottles of foreign liquor were seized from the Kang’s house in Sector 69, Mohali. A team led by the DSP Kharar, Mr Jasdev Singh, along with the SHO, Kharar, Mr Ramandeep Singh, carried out the search accompanied by professional lock breakers, a camera team and two councillors of the township. Other than the unaccounted for liquor and cash the police did not find any incriminating documents or weapons from the house.

However, two floppies were found in an almirah. A computer was also seized. Besides, an Indian passport of Kang’s wife Neena and American passports of his children Ravneet and Daneshwar were also seized.

We will be releasing a list of various properties owned by Kang within a few days, said Mr S.P. Singh, SSP, Ropar. ‘‘But you must highlight that an Akali leader, who is supposed to be a God-fearing baptised Sikh, is rolling in illicit liquor and money,’’ he added.

Kang’s counsel, Mr Anil Kaushik, along with two lawyers put on duty by the Kharar court, also reached the Kang’s house to oversee the search. ‘‘The court had deputed lawyers to get search conducted in their presence but the police had already started their operation before we reached,’’ said Mr Kaushik.

Kiranbir Singh Kang, senior vice-president of the Youth Akali Dal, was booked for the murder of Paramjit Singh at the Kharar rally. Himself injured in the crossfire, Kang was admitted to the PGI from where he escaped. Kang has also been booked in many other cases, including murder and attempt to murder at Chandigarh, Mohali and Ambala.

His name also figured prominently in the list of those involved in the murder of two children that took place at Siau village in 2001.

Yesterday, Kang’s wife, Neena, alleged that their house had been ‘illegally’ raided on July 2 midnight. However, the DSP, Kharar, and the SHO today denied having come to Kang’s house with their men on July 2. Sources, however, pointed out that since the police was unable to find Kang’s passport or any other important documents from the house, it was evident that the important stuff had already been carried away, either by Kang himself while fleeing the house.

KHARAR: Meanwhile, the house of Rajbir Singh Padiala, junior vice-president of the SAD was searched by the police at Padiala village, near here, on Monday.

The police seized 310 Canadian dollars, one air gun, six swords, one carbine (Belonging to the government), a gold necklace, two arms licences, one passport, 10 live and 10 spent cartridges of .12-bore gun and one live and one spent cartridge of .32-bore revolver. Some important documents were also seized.

The police team, headed by Mr Varinder Singh Brar, DSP, Anandpur Sahib, and Mr Sukhwant Singh Gill, DSP, Morinda, entered the house of Mr Padiala after breaking the locks. The search, which started around 10 a.m. went on during the day.

CHANDIGARH: A local court on Monday remanded supporters of Kiranbir Singh Kang, in judicial custody

Those remanded till July 17 included Taranvir Singh, Charanjiv Singh, Gurdevinder Singh and Raghav Sharma. They were arrested on July 2 night and have been accused of helping Kang in his escape from the police custody.

Padiala may surrender today

The Punjab police is expecting Rajbir Singh Padiala to surrender tomorrow. According to sources, a strong pressure is being put on Padiala through member of his family and friends and he has agreed to surrender before the police. A special meeting to discuss the matter was held by the DGP Punjab, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, today. The IG Range and the SSP Ropar were present at the meeting. Stating that the police was zeroing in on the two, Mr Siddiqui told The Tribune that two out of the six or seven accused in the two cases were in the police custody while the others were evading arrest. ‘‘We are conducting searches and raids are going on to nab the accused’’, he said.


10 months after Admn repeats promise on roads
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The Chandigarh Administration today repeated its promise that it had made 10 months ago regarding the recarpeting of all roads in southern sectors, said an official press note of the Administration today.

On September 6, 2003, a similar announcement was made when the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, held a meeting. He had taken a ride on a bus to see the conditions of the roads in the southern sectors. He immediately asked the Chandigarh Housing Board to re-carpet the main sector separating roads. But 10 months have gone and nothing concrete has taken place.

And today’s announcement was not an error. The matter was discussed at the coordination committee meeting between officials and the Administrator.

At the meeting today it was decided that all sector separating roads (V3 roads) would be handed over to the Chandigarh Administration for recarpeting.

The meeting also reviewed the progress on the repair and upgrading of roads in southern sectors. It was stated at the meeting that tenders in this regard the Chandigarh Housing Board was being finalised and work would start immediately after the monsoon. The upgradation would include laying of the centre verge, bringing the mercury lights on the central verge, laying of the pavements, horticulture work and upgradation of storm water drainage system, the statement added.

From September to March the housing board did no groundwork. The Tribune highlighted the matter in March and the Administrator “pulled up” its officials concerned. The CHB then floated a tender in April and opened the tenders in the first week of May even as the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections was in force. Now, sources said the CHB is mulling over the prices quoted in the tenders.

Meanwhile, at the meeting today the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr M.P. Singh, today informed the Administrator that during the past four years the V-3 roads could not be recarpeted as the focus of the MC was on V-4, V-5 and V-6 roads.

Now the fund-starved corporation has passed a resolution to request the Chandigarh Administration for one time re-carpeting of all V-3 roads. Similarly, work on roads allotted to the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation would also start immediately after the monsoon.


Cut-off lists haunt students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
The cut-off list for various post-graduate classes is haunting students giving them sleepless nights and anxious moments.

The only question before them is whether they will be able to secure a seat for themselves in the department of their choice and whether the cut-off percentage is going to be higher this time. Though the first cut-off list is expected in the next couple of weeks, students are keeping their fingers crossed.

“The cut-off is likely to go up for most of the courses as the number of applicants is increasing every year. This definitely has a bearing on the final outcome,” says a professor.

The cut off percentage for history may see a drop as 325 applications for 60 available seats have been received this year. Last year, the figure stood at 500, an official of the History Department said. The date for the first counselling session for the department is scheduled for July 12.

Courses like public administration and economics seems more in demand this year.

The Chairperson of the Public Administration Department, Dr R.K. Sapru, said they have received 310 applications so far. The growing popularity of this course due to its relevance in various competitive examinations was one of the reasons for increase in the number of applications. He added that students opting for this subject in the Civil Services exam too had fared well in the past few years.

The first counselling for the Department of Economics will be held on July 13. There has been no change in the number of seats in this course this year. The Department has received 438 applications for its 120 seats (including five NRI seats). The cut-off maybe 1 per cent up or down, a professor claims.

Prof M.K. Teja of the Sociology Department believes “sociology being a scoring subject, we are expecting more application in the coming days.” She also said 65 seats were available in the course and interviews for the same would be held on July 12.

According to an official of Political Science Department, the department has received 320 applications this year. The NRI seats have come down from 27 to 25.



Students' hopes on as admissions roll on
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
It was a day of harassment for students and their parents on the first day of admission to different colleges, both government and non-aided private, in the city.

Those looking for a college of their choice in the commerce stream were left disgruntled as the seats in all colleges were filled within a few hours of the opening of the admissions.

For commerce the cut-off percentage (inclusive of the weightage) at a majority of the colleges varied between 80 per cent and 104 per cent. There was also a high demand for career-oriented courses like BBA, BCA and M.Sc (IT).

Many of the students accompanied by their parents from distant places complained that they had to run from one college to another in the absence of a centralised system of admissions. The clash of admission timings added to the woes of the parents. Some took the risk of holding seats in two different colleges, hoping to get admission in the course of their choice.

Anticipating problems, the four government colleges on the instructions of the DPI (Colleges) had coordinated the admission timings to cause least harassment to the students. No such coordination was visible in case of the private colleges.

Depositing fee was another problem as there were limited fee collection counters at some of the private colleges.

At Government College for Girls (GCG), Sector 11, Dr Manjeet Kalra told the Tribune that the seats in B.Com I had been filled. The cut-off percentage (with weightage) was 91.2 per cent in the case of UT quota seats and for the general category it was 100 per cent. In BSc (computers) 37 seats were filled with cut off percentage of 67.8 per cent ( UT pool) and 75.5 per cent (general category). In BCA the aggregate cut off for the UT pool and general pool was 67 per cent and 76 per cent, respectively.

All seats in BCom I, both UT and general pools were filled at Government College, Sector 46. The cut off was 82.4 per cent and 86.6 per cent, respectively, for the two categories. For MCom, the cut off for the UT and general pools were 70.76 per cent and 71.76 per cent, respectively.

At the GGDSD College, Sector 32, the cut off percentage for BCom was 104.6 per cent and 98.4 for the general and UT pools. Dr A. C. Vaid, Principal of the college, said admissions in the commerce stream were over in the morning. The seats in BBA, BCA, BSc (biotechnology) had also been filled at the college.

Ms Vimal Bhargava, Principal of Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, said all seats in BCom and MCom had been filled.

At MCM DAV College, Sector 36, the principal , Ms Puneet Bedi, said the 70 seats in BCom had been filled.

Prof Balwinder Singh, Principal of Government College, Sector 11, said all seats in BCom had been filled. In BCA 33 seats had been filled with a cut-off percentage of 60 per cent. Admissions were going on in BA, BSc (medical) and BSc (non-medical). All seats in MSc( IT) and MCom had also been filled.

The BCom seats at Guru Gobind Singh College for Men, Sector 26, and BCA (general) had been filled. At Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, seats in BCA and MSc (IT) were expected to be full by tomorrow.

The Principal of Guru Gobind College for Men, Sector 26, Dr Kuldeep Singh, said the cut-off percentage in (including weightage) BCom for the UT and general pools was 101.2 and 99, respectively. For the BCA course, the cut off was 77 per cent for the UT pool and 81.80 per cent for the General pool. At Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, the cut-off percentage for BCom was 93.6 ( UT pool) and 75.8 (general pool). For the BCA course, the cut off was a low 55.8 for the general pool and 50.2 for the UT pool.


Finance Secy goes on 3-day leave
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The UT Finance Secretary, Mr Karan Avtar Singh, today proceeded on three-day leave. He has not been relieved from his posting. This means, he is with the Chandigarh Administration till the end of his leave. The Adviser to the Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, sanctioned of his leave.

His tenure ended on Sunday and he was expected to be relieved today.

He did not sit in his office on the fourth floor of the UT Secretariat, Sector 9, today morning. He went to meet the Adviser and then the Home Secretary, Mr Raminder Singh Gujral.

Sources said he wanted to return to his parent cadre of Punjab as he had been promised the post of the Finance Secretary of the state.

The Adviser was said to be keen that he continued till an incumbent joined or else this would create a vacuum.

Meanwhile, the Administration today made a fresh plea to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to allow Mr Karan Avtar Singh to continue till an incumbent joined.

The Administration has said that it has limited number of officials and it may not be able meet the requirements of the post of FS without a full-time appointee.


Chandigarh Calling

The days of love letters sprayed with perfume and sealed with a kiss are gone. Today, many couples communicate through e-mail and instant messaging. In the past five years, more and more people have discovered instant messaging and its romantic possibilities. Thousands of Web sites and chat rooms, for e.g. yahoo and hotmail have been set up for the hopeless romantics of the world, or even just the curious, who are wondering if they can find the man/woman of their dreams online. Most of the students who visit the cyber cafes for net surfing usually have some sort of romantic friendship online.

Says Pramod Sood, a part-time bank employee, “I believe going on the Internet to meet others (not just boy/girlfriends) is a good idea. I have been dating with my girlfriend from Delhi for two years whom I met online. We chatted for a month every night for a couple of hours,” he said. “Then we started calling each other,” he added.

Abha Mehta, a law student in Himachal University says: “In one perspective, you get to know the person on the inside before you see them. When you meet, you already know them.”

Cyber cafes have now gone hi-tech and most of the users who come to do chatting prefer webcam communication as it makes it possible to see the person on the other side, discloses Mr Vibhu, a Panchkula-based cyber cafe owner. But still most of the people feel that going online to start a romantic relationship is just like fooling each other. There are advantages and disadvantages of going to meet people.

He is my only companion and I, his sole possession. He has seen better days with me. Days when we travelled with Bengali film stars in Kolkata. When he supported his loved ones. When he got his three sons married. When he was young.

Now, he stays with me in the market of Sector 27. We came to Chandigarh way back in 1975. In 1996, his 50 years of experience as a taxi driver came to a halt, when his eyesight got weak and he was afflicted with several ailments. Though he seldom complains, he can afford just a meal a day and lives on a pension of Rs 200 promised per month, but given after a delay of eight months. He walks many a time to the State Office, 4 km away, to enquire about his pension. But, no one bothers to talk to him and he returns empty handed. High self-esteem precludes him from taking financial help from people in the vicinity.

My solitary friend prays at the gurdwara everyday. Although, he is still lively and talkative, I am the only one he can talk to. His four sons have left him to his plight. Only his second son and grandson come once in a while to enquire about his health. He, like any other senior citizen of India, wants the government to help the elderly, especially those who are homeless. He is Bachan Singh (89 years) and I am his 1965 model Ambassador.

Eucalyptus threat

Huge eucalyptus trees are posing a big threat to houses in Sector-20. Residents allege that despite their repeated complaints, officials have not taken a serious note of it. The uncontrolled growth of the trees has made it difficult for the residents to live in their houses, especially during the rainy season. There have been a number of incidents tin which falling branches have caused damages to the houses.

Recently, a 40-foot long branch of a eucalyptus tree fell on the house of Mr Sham Lal Kalia and blocked the road causing inconvenience to both residents and commuters. However, the recovery van of the Chandigarh police was called upon to remove it. No officials from the Municipal Corporation have visited the site yet. According to Mr Kalia, several representations on the issue have been made in the past decade to the corporation, but to no avail.

He said residents could not sit in their courtyards. Excreta of birds and dry leaves in the houses had become a common problem for all.

The Residents felt insecure to park their cars outside their house. Moreover, it was also a hazard for kids who play there. Even the branches of the trees were not being pruned. Capt S.N. Sharma, secretary of a welfare association said.

No star tantrums

Raj Babbar’s son Arya appears to be exceptionally disciplined. The other day while shooting for his latest film, “Dil Humko Dijiye”, he was more than just conscious of his father’s presence. All out to impress Raj Babbar, who is playing his father in the film, Arya made a great conversation, admitting to the fact that his father has been a hard task master, and that he never allowed his children the privileges which parents of other star sons and daughters allow.

Perhaps it was this very aspect of Arya’s upbringing which has made him “least fussy” about life and habits. Unlike many actors who love to flaunt their success, or at least that of their fathers and mothers, Arya was not only forthcoming, he was also very friendly to everyone on the sets. Sometimes, he was even more outgoing and vocal than his woman lead Gracy Singh, who did sprinkle around bits of those star tantrums.

While some said Arya had no right to act pricey because he had not yet delivered a hit, the conscientious ones knew exactly why he was humble. So obedient of his father he was that even before entering an air conditioned room on the sets the other day, he sought permission from him.

Rail link

The delay in completing the Chandigarh-Ludhiana rail link is certainly a cause of irritation for the city residents. For, one of the vital overbridges which passes through the city, is yet to be completed.

Obstructions set up on road dividers where the work is under way, have become a cause of road accidents. Scaffoldings lying on the road sides are an eye sore.

Foster father of pigeons!

Blessed souls are those who take a little time off from their awefully hectic schedule for the care and comforts of those who need them the most. Chaman Lal, a city rickshawpuller, is an inspiring example to be cited. A foster father to a pair of pigeons, Chaman takes time off from his routine job to rear the pigeons that he brought from nearby bushes in Sector 16, adjacent to the General Hospital, after freeing them from the clutches of a prowler.

‘‘These are like my own progeny with whom I share my agonies and ecstacies as I retire from my work at dusk and caress them. I instantly forget about my pangs and privations as I meet them after day’s arduous work. Their cooing in different tones reflect their deepest sentiments for me. Seeing me in a melancholic mood at times, they seem to comfort me with strange body language and their eyes tear-filled,’’ Chaman said.

Chaman has created a natural habitat for these feathered friends in a special cage placed precariously over a tree trunk. He locks it up to ensure safety for them from the prowlers as he leaves for his work.

An early bird, Chaman’s day starts with arranging sufficient foodgrain, water and milk for them and their newlyborn chicks. He does not take even a morsel of food or a drop of water unless the dove family is fed.

When asked about as to who looks after them when he is off to his home town, Chaman said ‘‘I entrust the safety and care of my ‘family’ to a friend, also a rickshawpuller.’’

— Sentinel


My Budget

WITH two top economists of our country, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, crafting the Budget for us, expectations are bound to be high. Just out of college and into university, my obvious concern is the rising unemployment in the country.

Despite being armed with degrees from the best institutions of the country, the youth is faced with unemployment. There are qualified men, but no jobs. I am expecting the budget with focus on creation of more job opportunities while ensuring that the inflation does not go up.

The government should also step in to check the growing menace of paid seats, which is making education an expensive affair and a commercial venture. It is also taking a toll on the quality of education being imparted by institutes and universities.

I hope the Budget will take care of the income of the salaried class and bring about some relief as far as taxes on the common man are concerned. These should be no fresh taxes. The prices of cooking gas, petrol and diesel should not be hiked any further while granting loans for educational purposes should be made more liberal.

— Mannika Singh


Morcha candidate vows to oust Badals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Claiming to oust the Badals from the management of the gurdwaras, the Panthic Morcha candidate for the lone seat of the SGPC from the city, Mr Gurnam Singh, said the Badal family had knuckled under pressure of the Bajrang Dal and the RSS and thus lowered the prestige of Sikhism.

Mr Gurnam Singh claimed today that Mr Parkash Singh Badal had given in to all unjustified demands of the BJP-led government to see his son as Chief Minister of Punjab.

“The Panthic Morcha has been formed to deal with the betrayal of values of Sikhism, as has happened during the term of the Badal government. We have appealed to the public visiting gurdwaras to defeat the Badal family and free the gurdwaras of their control so that the honour of Sikhism can be restored,” he said.

He said the manifesto of the Panthic Morcha was to organise meeting every two months to discuss the problems being faced by the Sikhs and deal with issues that concerned them directly or indirectly. “Our aim is to bring back the Sikhs who have deviated from the principles of the Gurus,” he stated.


Where guests get tea with flies in it
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Kakrali/ Toda, July 5
Thousands of villagers of Raipur Rani block face a potential health hazard, thanks to swarms of house flies in the area.

Swarms of house flies, in the villages of Kakrali, Toda, Jaaspur, Natwal and Mauli, which fall in the second largest poultry belt of the country here, have made life difficult for the residents. The unhygienic conditions in the 50-odd poultry farms in this area and the open transportation of hen waste (to be used as manure in fields of neighbouring Punjab) is the source of these flies.

Villagers here are forced to live under a constant threat of an epidemic, and for no fault of theirs. Since house flies are known to be carriers of bacteria and viruses, villagers fear the spread of an epidemic. Residents of Kakrali village allege that a number of cases of gastroenteritis have been reported because of the house fly menace, but the administration has been turning a blind eye towards the problem.

During a visit to the area, The Tribune team saw that because of the house flies, even visibility in the area was affected. Mrs Seema Behal, a resident of Kakrali, says “The men folk go to the fields during the day and return only at night, when the flies have settled down. They thus escape the menace but women and children are left to suffer and bear the menace.”

Raj Dulari, a middle-aged housewife of Kakrali, says often the house flies fall into food. Drinking water, or even eating, is difficult, but we are getting used to this and consume food after throwing the flies that have fallen into the food. But we are more concerned about the health of our children and a number of children are suffering from skin allergies, she adds.

Karam Chand of Mauli says even performing normal chores is not easy because of the house flies. One cannot take bath, eat, or sleep during the day. The erratic power supply only aggravates the problem. We get power for barely four or six hours a day. If there is power, the house flies do not enter a room where an air-cooler or a fan is running, he says.

Mr Jagmail Singh of Kakrali village says, “Relatives have stopped visiting us because of the house flies. Even if they come, we cannot serve them tea without at least four to five flies falling in the cup.”

The villagers say for the past two years, the administration had been strict with the poultry farmers and forced them to mix insecticides and other medicines in the feed served to chicks and egg laying hens, and the fly menace was under control. “This year, because the administration has failed to take note of the problem, the poultry farmers have not mixed the medicines in the feed, which is causing the fly menace here. Also, the waste of hens is transported without being covered” alleges Mr Anil Kumar, Sarpanch of Kakrali. He adds that though the poultry farmers began fumigating the area yesterday, they have restricted themselves to certain pockets.



Panchkula Diary
ATM facility at UBI
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 5
The Union Bank of India has always been striving to provide efficient customer service. Keeping in mind the interests of the consumer, the Bank shifted its Sector 5 branch to a more spacious and fully computerised premises, with ATM facility, in Sector 8 today.

The new premises of the bank was inaugurated by the Chief Administrator, HUDA, Mr N.C. Wadhwa. Mr V.K. Khanna, General Manager, Mr R.K. Malhotra, Assistant General Manager, staff members, and customers graced the occasion. On this occasion, Mr Malhotra informed that this branch would shortly start online banking service for its customers.


The Management of Pallavi Hotel, Restaurant and Banquets today celebrated their seventh anniversary by rewarding their employees and giving incentives to employees on the basis of their performance in the past one year.

Mr M.S. Yadav, Secretary, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), was the chief guest and distributed cash prizes and incentives worth Rs 1 lakh to the employees. As many as 85 employees were honoured on this occasion, including the Manager, Mr R.S. Negi, Col Roop Chand Patial and Col D.S. Uppal.

Meeting called

The Municipal Council, Panchkula, has called a meeting of Residents Welfare Association (RWA), on July 7, to discuss the issue of maintenance of parks and doing away with polythene bags. An official spokesman of the MC said that the representatives of the RWA’s have been called to discuss on how to maintain the parks in the township. The MC has reportedly spent Rs 1.75 crore on developing these parks, but the committee of residents were not willing to take over these for maintenance. The issue on effective implementation of ban on polythene parks will also be taken up in the meeting.


Mr Sanjeev K. Chopra has been appointed state secretary of Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, while Mrs Jalmegha Dahiya, councillors from Sector 9 has been appointed as General Secretary of the Haryana Pradesh Mahila Congress.


Fauji Beat
Was Kargil a failure or victory?

Even after five years, Kargil continues to rattle the Army intermittently because it unveiled certain unsavourly realities. Many pertinent questions raised during and after the Kargil war still remain unanswered. Some of them are: Howcome the Pakistani intrusion in the 3 Mountain Divisional sector remained undetected for months together? What were our intelligence agencies such RAW, IB and Military Intelligence doing at that time? Why didn’t the local commanders follow the normal drill of gaining information about their frontages by sending patrols in their areas of responsibility? All this amply proves that commanders up to the division level failed to measure up to their basic operational responsibility. Yet there were only two sackings i.e. the Kargil Brigade Commander and CO 16 Grenadiers. Surprisingly, the GOC 3 Mountain Division escaped any blame.

In the Kargil operations, young officers earned praise by providing excellent leadership to the troops. Besides, what went in their favour was their physical fitness. And this was one of the major factors that contributed to the capture of Tiger Hill top. The Brigade Commander who had planned and conducted this operation told this writer then that a number of Commanding Officers (COs) were not able to influence the battle because of their higher age group.

The Kargil war was a failure of all the intelligence agencies and military commanders from COs upwards. But the young officers and troops turned their failure into victory.

Employment for ex-servicemen

About 60,000 armed forces personnel retire every year, majority of them in their thirties. All of them are well trained, disciplined and highly motivated. Unfortunately, in India, unlike in most other countries, this disciplined manpower is not utilised.

Since Independence, all governments have paid only lip service to this disciplined lot. So much so that even their demand of lateral placement in the paramilitary forces, which will make the latter more efficient has not been accepted so far.

Mercifully, it is again the Army that has come to help the ex-servicemen by opening the Army Placement Cells at the Army Headquarters and in all the Commands. The main task set for these cells is to give the employer the right kind of employee and the latter a job for which he is suited.

The results achieved by the Western Command Army Placement Cell from 2001 to 2003 are 20 per cent, 39.7 per cent and 25.9 per cent, respectively. In the three years, it registered 3408, 2345 and 4432 ex-servicemen, including widows for employment, respectively. Of them, 682, 932 and 1151 were provided suitable employment, including 12, 32 and 24 officers, respectively. The widows provided employment in these three years were 13, 18 and 9, respectively.

The Western Command Army Placement Cell (Tele No: 2589495. Mobile: 3248489) is located in the Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, Lieut-Col D.S. Sidhu (Retd) is its Deputy Director.

Senior citizens’ homes

With the joint family system having disintegrated, senior citizens, especially those above 80 years of age, feel very insecure today. In most cases, old couples have to live by themselves because their children are either away or they ill-treat them. A stage comes when most of the veterans cannot live alone and start looking for accommodation in senior citizens’ homes.

The Army Headquarters had floated a proposal last year to construct senior citizens’ homes for serving/retired Army personnel near the Army Welfare Housing Organisation (AWHO) colonies at various military stations. Each dwelling unit would consist of a two-room set with a bathroom and kitchenette. It will have a plinth area of approximately 600 sq ft and will cost Rs 9 to Rs 12 lakh. The veteran’s homes are likely to be self-contained complexes with messing, medical, recreational, CSD and security facilities. These complexes are to be funded and managed by the inhabitants.

To start with, these homes are coming up at Greater Noida, Pune and Bangalore. Those veterans who want to go in for such homes in Chandigarh, should forward their views to the Deputy Director General (Welfare), Adjutant General’s Branch, Army Headquarters, New Delhi.

Pritam Bhullar


Woman sets herself on fire; dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
A woman burnt herself alive at Hallo Majra, while a couple sustained burn injuries in a separate incident at Burail village here today.

Premvati, 20, wife of Ashok Kumar, allegedly poured kerosene on herself after getting annoyed with her mother-in-law and set herself on fire.

She was taken to the GMCH, Sector 32, where she was declared brought dead.

The police considers it to be a case of suicide, however, it is waiting for the family members of the girl to reach the city from Badaun to find out if there was any complaint of dowry harassment.

According to the police, Premvati set herself ablaze following an altercation with her mother-in-law over making ‘puris’. Her mother-in-law had asked her to make ‘puris’ for herself as others had taken ‘puris’ earlier. However, the girl started making‘ ‘chapatis’. Her mother-in-law told her that it was wrong as people would think that the daughter-in-law was not being fed well. This led to an altercation. Earlier, Prevati’s mother-in-law was cooking food for the family.

In a separate incident at Burail village, Umashankar (25) and his wife Gyono Devi (22) sustained burn injuries when a bottle of kerosene fell on the ground while they were cooking food.

Umashankar is reported to have suffered around 70 per cent burn injuries, while Gyano Devi has suffered around 25 per cent burns.

Gyano Devi, told a magistrate that her younger sister was keeping a bottle of kerosene in a shelf when it fell and kerosene spilt on the floor.

It immediately caught fire as a stove was burning nearby. They were engulfed in fire and were saved by their neighbours.


Sector 40 residents form united front
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
A meeting of the presidents and general secretaries of various residents welfare associations of Sector 40 was held here today. A united front of these associations was formed at the meeting with a view to pursuing matters of common interest.

Mr J. C. Verma was unanimously elected chairman of the united front. In a press note issued here, he said that the front would press the Municipal Corporation to launch a cleanliness drive in the sector ahead of the monsoon.

The front also urged the corporation to renovate and properly furnish the community centre in the sector. It lacked basic facilities, it was said.


Seven quintal substandard polybags seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Teams of the Chandigarh Administration today seized seven quintals of substandard and recycled polythene bags in the city. This was part of an ongoing drive against the use of polythene bags of unspecified thickness and recycled variety.

The teams comprised members of the Environment Department, Municipal Corporation and staff from the Estate Office.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, said use of coloured and poor quality polythene bags was a health hazard and it polluted the environment. The main users of such bags were the shopkeepers in the Grain Market, Sector 26. He said four shopkeepers had been challaned.


Woman alleges police highhandedness
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 5
Alleging police highhandedness Mrs Janki Devi, a resident of Maulijagran complex, has complained to the Senior Superintendent of Police against an Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) posted at the Maulijagran police post.

In the complaint, the woman has alleged that ASI Sunita Bakshi, illegally detained her son, Vijay Kumar, in police custody twice (on July 3 and 4) and released him only after taking Rs 10,000, every time.

She added that the police was trying to implicate Vijay Kumar in a case of abduction of a girl residing in their neighourhood. However, the police, after investigation, had come to know that the girl had eloped with a boy of the same locality.

She also alleged that the ASI misbehaved, used abusive language and gave her son a sound beating during illegal detention. Mrs Janki Devi has also sought inquiry and appropriate action against the police personnel involved in the case.

ASI Sunita Bakshi was not available for comments.


Materialism has “polluted” atmosphere
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 5
Discarding human values at the cost of materialism has shaken faith, compassion, harmony, mutual love resulting in polluted atmosphere, disintegration of families and a sick society which is crippled with corruption and exploitation.

These views were expressed by B.K. Prem, in charge of the local Rajyoga Centre, while presiding over Retreat-cum-Rajyoga Shivir at Sukh Shanti Bhavan in Phase VII here yesterday. She said it was important to keep a balance between materialism and spirituality.

The Retreat-cum-Rajyoga Shivir was attended by 50 persons, including a chief engineer, an industrial unit owner, principals, administrators, psychologists and others.


Stress laid on conserving energy
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 5
The need for energy conservation and the and implementation of energy-saving methods by the industry were discussed at a seminar-cum- workshop on energy saving here today.

The workshop was organised by the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (HCCI) in association with the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA). Members of the local unit of the HCCI attended the workshop.

Mr A.K. Aggarwal, Chief Engineer (Marine) and an empanelled member of the PCRA, spoke about various methods of reducing energy wastage in furnaces, boilers, electric motors and lighting applications.

Mr Amit Sharma, state coordinator of the PCRA also spoke on energy conservation and offered to do a free energy utilisation study of small-scale industrial units.

Mr Satish Gupta, chairman of the local chapter of the HCCI, spoke about the advantages of implementing these suggestions in industrial units.

Mr C.B. Goel, former state president of the HCCI, released a new industrial directory of the Panchkula Industrial Area on the occasion.


Working hours of post offices extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The working hours of 100 post offices in Punjab and Chandigarh have been extended by one hour for public transactions on all week days.

According to the Chief Postmaster General of Punjab and Chandigarh, Mr LK Puri, this had been done as a result of the computerisation of the post offices. However, the business hours from Monday to Saturday will remain same.

The number of such post offices in Chandigarh is 22 and in Amritsar division of Punjab the number will be 7. Bathinda (4), Faridkot (4), Ferozepore (4), Gurdaspur (5), Hoshiarpur (6), Jalandhar (9), Kapurthala (4), Ludhiana city (14) and Ludhiana district (6), Patiala (10) and Sangrur (5) will be the other post offices where the timings have been extended.


Teenager raped in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 5
A 13-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a middle-aged man in Sector 25 yesterday. The incident was reported to the police today, who after getting the medical examination of the victim done, has arrested the accused, Mahinder Singh.

It is learnt that the victim, along with a few other children was sifting through the waste near Sector 25, looking for unripe bananas. It was then that the accused asked the girl to accompany him to a secluded spot, saying that he would help her get bananas.

The accused reportedly shooed away the other children, and once they were alone he raped her. He then threatened her with dire consequences. In the meantime, the other children accompanying the girl had heard her cries and raised the alarm. The girl’s parents were also called, and the police was informed today. The accused has been booked under Section 376 of IPC.

Arrest warrants issued: A local court today issued arrest warrants against the Sarpanch of Kakrali, Mr Leela Ram, who has been accused of selling trees from the village Panchayat land. A complaint had been made against him by a panch, Mr Rajeshwar, and the Deputy Commissioner had also issued a show cause notice to him.

Later, Mr Rajeshwar moved the court, seeking action against the sarpanch. The police then filed a cancellation report, but Mr Rajeshwar filed a review petition.

Booked: A local court today ordered the police to book five persons on charges of demanding dowry and harassing a woman of village Khatauli. The victim, Sona, has accused her husband, Sonu, his father Vikram, mother Pushpa and sisters Reenu and Meenu, for harassing her for getting more dowry. 


Woman pickpocket nabbed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
A married woman was today caught picking the pocket of a senior citizen on the Housing Board traffic point.

Reeta from Ambala cantonment was nabbed by the passersby on the spot when she allegedly picked the pocket of Sumer Chand (63) at the bus shelter on the Housing Board Chowk.

Reeta is a Gypsy. Sumer Chand, a resident of Sector 21, Panchkula, was heading towards Chandigarh when the incident took place.


10 hurt in group clash
Our Correspondent

Lalru, July 5
Ten persons, including a woman, were injured, one of them seriously, in a clash between two groups in Alamgir village near here, this afternoon. Jaswant Singh has been referred to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

According to eyewitnesses, the problem started when Nirmail Singh along with members of his group was laying a plastic pipe line for irrigation which was objected to by Jaswant Singh, and his friends. After the exchange of heated arguments, members of both the groups clashed.

Sharp edged weapons, sticks and stones were used in the clash. A person reportedly also fired in air, claimed Mr Dharam Singh, an injured admitted to Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi.

The injured have been identified as Nirmail Singh, Haquam Singh, Jasbir Singh, Sukhwinder, Jagir Kaur, Dharam Singh, Jaswant Singh Satwinder Singh, Bahadur Singh and Sukhvinder Singh. 


Jewellery stolen

Chandigarh , July 5
Three gold chains, two bangles, three pairs of tops, one ring and a camera were reportedly stolen from house number 2298 in Sector 35 here last evening.

Ms Poonam Gulati has said in her complaint that she had been to Ludhiana and when she returned in the evening, she found that the lock of the door of her house on the top floor was broken and valuables were missing. TNS


Sector 22 shopkeepers reject
‘Sunday-shopping’ move
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Shopkeepers of the city’s main trading centre, Sector 22, today announced that they would not open their shops on Sundays and refused to toe the line of the Chandigarh Administration which wants shops to open on Sundays.

The Administration wants to stagger the closed days for the two main markets Sector 22 and Sector 17 and asked the shopkeepers to open on Sundays and decide about the day they want to close.

The president of the Market Welfare Association, Sector 22-D, Mr Arvind Jain, claimed that the Administration was not even competent to issue a notification in this regard. Chandigarh was to follow the Punjab Shop Act, 1956, which had listed Sunday as a holiday. This Act was accepted in Parliament in 1966 when Chandigarh was made a Union Territory. Any amendment to this had to be made by Parliament and the Administration could not notify this, Mr Jain told reporters at a press conference this afternoon.

The only amendment to this had been made by Haryana which passed an Act of its own after its creation in 1966 to allow shops in cantonments to open on Sundays and close on Mondays, Mr Jain added.

A meeting of representatives of all markets in the Sector had been held and they had rejected the proposal of the Administration to open on Sundays, Mr Jain said. The shopkeepers were of the view that closed day on Sunday in a city like Chandigarh was required to devote time to family and also to social commitments. “We will not come under any pressure in this regard.

The Administration has called for meeting of shopkeepers on July 7. The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar has already held one round of meetings with the shopkeepers.

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