C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


 

58 cases of suspected cholera reported in city
Unhygienic conditions in colonies to blame
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Tall claims by the Health Department notwithstanding, cholera is spreading its wings in the city with at least 58 cases of suspected cholera being reported at General Hospital (GH) in Sector 16 here today.

However, officials sources confirmed that about 25 persons had reported for treatment and only two children had been admitted in the hospital.

According to sources, the cases have been reported from the construction site of housing building societies near Colony No 5 where polluted drinking water is blamed for the spread of the disease. The Health Department’s machinery geared up to tackle the disease late in the evening today. The department swung into action following the detection of three positive cholera cases.

At the GH 16, the patients were accommodated in a special make-shift ward, which was converted from a trauma ward. Chaos prevailed at the ward with panic-stricken relatives running helter-skelter.

Late in the evening, an ambulance was stationed at the colony and a child specialist, a general physician and the para-medical staff posted in the area to face any emergency. The residents have been advised not to drink water from the running taps and chlorinated water tankers have been pressed into service.

As part of the awareness campaign, the colony residents were being asked to take precautions through public address system to avoid the water-borne diseases. The residents have been advised to drink only boiled water and keep the area clean.

Officials highlighted that at least six water samples have been taken and sent to laboratories for tests. The confirmation of the cholera cases would be known in a day or two, they added.

Meanwhile, Dr G Diwan, Deputy Medical Superintendent of the Sector 16 GH, has been appointed the monitoring officer to keep a watch on the suspected cases of water-borne diseases.

Even as the officials claimed that the situation was well under-control and there was no need for alarm, panic gripped the thickly populated area. Rumour mongers had a field day and it was quite a task for the officials to convince the public.

While the Health Department was on the job, the Municipal Corporation authorities were yet to wake up from their slumber and insanitary conditions ruled the roost.

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Padiala surrenders at Kharar
Kulwinder Sangha

Kharar, July 6
The junior vice-president of the SAD, Mr Rajbir Singh Padiala, who has been booked in connection with the murder of two persons at an SGPC election rally here on July 2, surrendered at the Kharar police station tonight.

Mr Jasdev Singh, DSP, told The Tribune that Mr Padiala came to the police station along with two others. He was being questioned and would be produced in the court tomorrow.

The DSP said Mr Padiala surrendered to the police after 9 pm. He handed over his three licensed firearms — a .32-bore pistol, a .12-bore gun and a .315-bore rifle — besides some ammunition.

Two persons were killed and three injured in an incident of firing at a rally in Anaj Mandi here. The rally was to be addressed by among others by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD President.

Harveer Singh and Paramjit Singh were killed in the firing. The three injured persons were Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang, senior vice-president of the youth wing of the SAD, Mr Sukhdev Singh and Mr Sajjan Singh Bawa.

Both Mr Kang and Mr Padiala had been booked under cross FIRs along with five others. The police said that teams had been sent to nab Mr Kang and others.

The houses of Mr Kang and Mr Padiala were also searched yesterday by the police. A sum of Rs 8 lakh, gold jewellery worth about Rs 5 lakh, foreign currency and a large number of bottles of foreign liquor were seized from Mr Kang’s house in Mohali.

During the search of Mr Padiala’s house in Padiala village, near here, the police seized 310 Canadian dollars, one air-gun, six swords, one carbine, a gold necklace, two arms licences, one passport, and some live and spent cartridges.

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Another day of harassment for students, parents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
On the second day of admissions to colleges in the city, there was no end to harassment of students and their parents.

Most of the colleges today announced to have filled seats in the commerce stream. Left-out seats in the stream in other colleges saw parents running around.

The admissions to arts and science streams are expected to continue for another day. Most parents rued the decision of Panjab University to discontinue the system of centralised admissions.

At Government College, Sector 11, the cut-off percentage for the remaining seats in B.Com was 81 per cent. For the BCA course, the cut-off percentage was 60 per cent.

Admissions were going on to BA, BSc (medical) and BSc (non-medical) courses. All seats in MSc (IT) and MCom courses had been filled, said Prof Balwinder Singh, Principal of the college.

The cut-off percentage in vocational courses at GGDSD College, Sector 32, was 65. The admissions to BA and BSc courses were going on with cut-off percentage around 50 and 60, respectively.

At Dev Samaj College, admissions to BA and BSc courses were on.

The cut-off percentage for commerce stream at the Guru Gobind Singh College for Men, Sector 26, was around 78. Yesterday, the cut-off percentage (inclusive of the weightage) in a majority of the colleges varied between 80 per cent and 104 per cent.

There was a big rush of admission-seekers for career-oriented courses like BBA, BCA, BCA and MSc (IT).

As the day advanced, students with percentage between 60 and 80 could be seen running around to seek admission. The clash of admission timings added to the woes of the parents and students.

At the Government College for Girls (GCG), Sector 11, admissions to the reserved seats were made. All seats in the BCom I course at the college were filled yesterday. At MCM DAV College, Sector 36, 70 B Com seats were filled yesterday.

Revive centralised system, say parents

Once again different systems of admission being adopted by various colleges has brought the plight of students and their parents under focus.

Mr Deepinder Singh, a parent who has come from Naintal, said he had to purchase prospectus of different colleges and had to run around to know the status of admission of her daughter. The timings of counselling at different colleges clashed.

“Once the process is again centralised, the parents would have to fill just one form and know about the status of admission at one place. The money spent on buying prospectus of different colleges would be saved”, said Dr A.C. Vaid, Principal of GGDSD College.

The centralised system of admission was discontinued two years back after different colleges protested against it.

On the condition of anonymity the principal of a college said, “The centralised system exposed certain colleges that indulged in malpractices. It prevents them from making money by selling forms and seats”. Another parent, Mr Smasher Singh, said the university should take note of the harassment being faced by students. He said admissions should be an online process and the students should know the status of their application sitting at home. One should go to a college only to deposit fee.

Prof Balwinder Singh, principal of a college, said he was in favour of the centralised system as if lessened the harassment of students.

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Capt Batra’s family to be flown to Kargil to observe anniversary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
For the family of Capt Vikram Batra, one of the heroes of Kargil conflict, it will be a solemn occasion as they will be flown to Drass and Kargil for this year’s celebrations of the Vijay Divas scheduled on July 24.

The Army is to take us to the top of important peak 4875, now known as ‘Captain Batra top,’ said Mr Vishal Batra, the Captain’s twin while speaking to The Tribune today.

Tomorrow is the fifth death anniversary of the Captain who laid down his life at the same very peak named after him. He was then posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra (PVC), the highest battle honour in the country.

The Northern Army Command will be receiving the parents and brother of the Captain at Srinagar and from there take them to the icy heights of Drass and Kargil for the Vijay Divas.

Mr Vishal Batra, who is younger of the twins, said “for us the most important part will be the fact that the Army may take us to Captain Batra top.” This peak covers the entire Leh highway and is quite strategic for the Indian Army. This was a peak to be retained by the Army at any cost. A seven-hour bloody battle followed. This one too ended in victory, but at the price-of life of Captain Batra. He was shot at by a sniper while he was trying to rescue a junior officer.

A product of DAV College, Sector 10, Capt Vikram Batra wore the pips for the first time on December 6, 1997, when he passed out of the IMA, Dehra Dun. After getting training at the Commando School, the young pass-out from Palampur got his first posting at Sopore (Jammu and Kashmir). Three months later, he was off to Kargil. He led the party which captured Tololing (peak 5140). Early morning, the victory message was conveyed with a high spirited ‘Yeh Dil Mange More’. The media loved it, the youth of the country stood up and cheered. Captain Batra, then a lieutenant, became a hero that very day with TV interviews of the bearded soldier from the war location.

More recently Actor Abhishek Bachhan played the role of the Captain in JP Dutta’s LOC.

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Tehelka trial has become time-barred: GCM
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The General Court Martial (GCM) trying Major-Gen P.S.K. Choudhary for professional impropriety while dealing with fictitious arms dealers in the infamous Tehelka scam has accepted the defence plea that the case has become time-barred for trial.

The court's decision, announced today, has been sent for confirmation to the Chief of the Army Staff, who is the GCM's convening authority. If the decision is confirmed, the GCM proceedings will come to an end and the accused would not be tried for the charges levied against him. The GCM, being presided over by Lieut-Gen A S Chima, is being held at Ferozepore Cantonment.

In a sting operation, tehelka.com, a news portal, had caught several senior Army officers, bureaucrats and Defence Ministry officials on video tape while allegedly demanding and accepting bribes. The tapes were publically aired on March 13, 2001. The Army, had thereafter, ordered a court of inquiry (COI) into the matter, on which final decision was taken by the GOC-in-C, Western Command in June.

Major-Gen Choudhary had been placed under suspension immediately after the tapes had been aired. The GCM trying him had convened in May this year. The defence had argued that since three years had elapsed from the time the alleged offences were made public, the case had become time-barred. General Choudhary is facing three charges under Section 52(f) and 63 of the Army Act, which deal with intent to defraud and acts prejudicial to good order and military discipline, respectively.

The general officer, who was then posted as the Additional Director General (Weapons and Procurement) at Army Headquarters, had allegedly demanded Rs 1 lakh and a gold chain.

Meanwhile, former Editor (Investigations) in tehelka.com, Mr Aniruddha Bahal, who had masterminded and executed the sting operation, titled Operation Westend, deposed before the GCM trying Col Anil Sahgal in the same case. Colonel Sahgal is among the three officers facing court martial proceedings in the same case.

Deposing before the court, Mr Bahal said that Colonel Sahgal had met tehelka operatives on three occasions and was paid Rs 20,000 on two occasions. The first meet was at his residence in September, 2000, while the second at Hotel Park in Delhi, where two call girls had been arranged for him on his demand. He was accompanied by Lieut-Col B.B. Sharma. Colonel Sharma's services were terminated for his alleged involvement in the tehelka scam. Mr Bahal deposed that from the perusal of the recorded conversation, it could be said that Colonel Sahgal was aware of the presence of call girls in the hotel even before he was taken to the room.

The Tehelka journalist stated that Mr P Sashi, an assistant working in the Ordnance Services department of the Master General of Ordnance's Branch, where Colonel Sahgal was then posted, had asked the tehekla team for Rs 5 lakh, out of which Rs 3 lakh were to be given to Colonel Sahgal. Everything, he said, has been recorded on tape.

Meanwhile, the prosecution counsel, Mr Arvind Moudgil, told media persons that though there had been a reasonable delay in examination of witness, it was because of parallel proceedings being undertaken by the Phukan Commission, investigating the matter, and requirement of witnesses in different cases associated with the scam.

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MC to focus on Mani Majra
Sports complex, 10 schools to be set up
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Mani Majra seems to be in for better days. The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has decided to focus on the sustained development of the township. A sports complex, 10 additional schools and a host of other facilities, including commercial complexes, are to be set up in the near future.

A bustling township with a population of more than one lakh, Mani Majra is older than Chandigarh and is the second largest urban settlement of the Union Territory. But over the years, development has by and large bypassed it because of the UT Administration’s preoccupation with the City Beautiful. Even a casual visit to Mani Majra is enough to reveal the haphazard growth chaos on the roads, rather primitive sewerage system, erratic power and water supply, to name only a few problems.

The Chandigarh Housing Board did set up a “Modern Housing Complex” at Mani Majra more than 15 years ago but this too is separated from the old township by a wall. Therefore, the divide between the modern and the old settlement remains in tact. Large parts of public land in the township have been encroached upon by various sections of the society thwarting plans drawn up by the Administration to modernise the township.

According to Mr M.P. Singh, Commissioner, Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, about 385 acres have recently been acquired by the Administration in Mani Majra and a compensation of more than Rs 13 crore has been paid to the owners. But large tracts of the acquired land are under the possession of the encroachers. In some areas housing colonies have come up while in others nurseries have been developed.

The Administration, some time ago decided to regularise some of the residential colonies spread over an area of 53 acres. Accordingly, some parts of the acquired land was denotified. As regards the remaining encroached land, steps are being initiated to get it vacated. A drive will be launched by the Land Acquisition Officer later this week to remove encroachments. Initially, the operation will be carried out on pocket no 8 measuring about 55 acres. 
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Rail Budget evokes mixed reaction
Pradeep Sharma & Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Railway Budget presented by the Railway Minister, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav, evoked mixed reaction in the city.

Though welcoming the decision not to hike the passenger fare, a cross-section of the citizens were of the view that the provision of the passenger amenities would be the first casualty with the revenue generation getting the back seat.

Terming the Railway Budget as an “economist’s nightmare”, economist Indu Singh said it could have given a relief to the common man but the provision of the passenger amenities had been given a short shrift. A little thought at revenue-generation could have taken care of the safety and facilities in the Railways, she argued.

Revenue generation without taxes was a tricky business and the current Budget’s success would be keenly watched by countrymen, she added.

Saying that safety, punctuality and cleanliness are going to be the victims of resource crunch, Mr Jagdish Pal Singh Kalra, general secretary and spokesman of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, was of the view that a little increase in the upper class fare was in order to finance railway projects, which have long gestation periods.

Mr Rajan Khetarpal, an advocate, while welcoming the Railway Budget, said the already inflationary conditions had made the rail travel a costly affair. Efforts should be an cutting the wasteful expenditure and coming down heavily on ticketless travellers, which were playing a havoc with the financial condition of the Railways.

Echoing similar sentiments, Dr Usha Gupta said the railway fare was already on the higher side. He particularly welcomed the decision to offer free travel to unemployed youth and the allotment of the bookstalls at the Railway stations to war widows and members of backward classes.

“It’s been a little difficult to believe that there has been no hike in fares. What else could a passenger ask for?” exclaimed Mr Abishek Sharma, a frequent rail traveller.

A majority of people whom TNS spoke to expressed satisfaction with the Budget, which has not effected any increase in the passenger fares or freight charges. On the contrary, with a view to motivating unemployed youth, they have provided for free travel in second classes for those travelling to appear for interviews for government jobs.

However, people in the region are generally sore that not even a single special train has been introduced for Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. But some are of the view that commuters of Punjab and Haryana will benefit travelling by the Delhi-Udhampur Uttar Sampark Express.

Youths have hailed the decision to make travel in the second class free for unemployed persons travelling to various places to appear for examinations and interviews for government jobs. Mukesh, Naveen and Parul said they would now be able to try for Central government jobs even at distant places for free travel in trains by showing the valid documents will take off monetary load from their parents.

People have also expressed their concern over the lack of security on trains. Mr Sandeep Arora, an engineer, has hailed the allocation of Rs 215 crore for security gadgets to check frequent rail mishaps. He said if the Railways was able to make a difference to their security infrastructure, there is nothing like a journey by train. He also welcomed the announcement with regard to refund on the RAC tickets within five days.

Women are upbeat about the measures taken for ensuring their security and safety during travel. Seema, a frequent traveller, is of the view that the recruitment of women TTs to check tickets in women’s compartments will travel even safer for women travelling alone. Harvinder Kaur Sabharwal, a housewife, has lauded the step to set up helplines in the compartments specially reserved for women to prevent the entry of vendors and other outsiders. She hopes that at least this time the railways would focus on providing better facilities to passengers with more emphasis on security.

Industrialist Bhimsen Bansal engaged in the manufacture of tractor parts while welcoming a deduction of 10 per cent in the freight charges on heavy machinery in the Budget, said, “Indian industrialists facing tough global competition will stand to benefit from this.” He also lauded the minister for not increasing the passenger fares for any of the sections and hoped that the Railways would be run more professionally.

Coolies at the railway station, who are not much affected by the Budget or did not have an idea of the Budget, were happy on some of the facilities which would be made available to them.

Kehar Singh (55), who has been working since the age of 15, is happy that the Railways authorities will provide them with sheds to take rest. They wanted Mr Laloo to give some extra benefits to the old ones, who are deserted by their families and had no place to go. “It could be a nominal pension or a place to stay for the rest of their lives,” he said.

Another coolie, Baisakhi Ram, was happy about the special travel concession passes for their wives. Roop Lal hailed the step wherein coolies from one station can now work at the other nearby stations.

Welcoming measures to improve the cleanliness of the railway stations, telecom employee Virender Bhandari said, “If toilet discharge system was introduced in the renovation of toilets this time, more people from higher classes will take to rail travel.”

Expressing resentment over the 33 per cent increase in the parcel charges, businessmen Mr Rajesh Garg and Mr Manish Singla feel that even as the minister had watched the interests of all sections of society, he had been unfair to them as every day they spend a major chunk of their income in sending expensive goods from one corner of the country to other.

Mr Zora Singh, an ex-servicemen, while terming the Rail Budget to be pro-poor, said that 75 per cent concession on the tickets of martyrs families wives was indeed a tribute to their sacrifices.

Director of the Punjab Khadi Board, H.C. Uprati hailed the decision of the Railways to use khadi in trains, which will not only boost their sales but will also create large employment opportunities in rural areas.

Special sops to deaf and dumb and blood cancer patients have also been welcomed.

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Laloo overlooks city demand
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Despite being the joint Capital of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh was not given a single now long-distance train even as the Railway Minister, Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav announced 32 new trains across the country while presenting the Railway Budget for 2004-2005 today. Residents of the city wonder when will this imbalance be set right? Demands in this connection in the past two decades by successive local MPs have only fallen on deaf years.

Mr Manjit Singh, general secretary of the Taxi Union, said some more new long- distance trains should have been introduced as the plying of only a few trains from here fall much short of expectations of the local people. “The business of taxi and auto operators was getting affected as the flow of commuters is not much due to lesser number of trains,’’ he said.

Pancham, who often travels in Lucknow Express said there was need for extending this train beyond Lucknow so that people travelling to Gonda, Bahraich and other nearby places took lesser time to reach their home. Another labourer, Dinkar, said nearly 70-75 per cent of commuters travelling by this train hailed from these areas and had to face problems reaching home.

City residents biggest demand is of having-south-bound trains. More trains linking the city to the metropolitans were required to cater to the growing demands. Representatives of the Chamber of Chandigarh Industries also feel South-bound trains are the need of the hour.

Even as Mr Yadav talked about Chandigarh-Ludhiana, Chandigarh- Morinda rail link and early completion of the same for better connectivity, he did not specify budget allocation or time period for the same. President of the Mohali Welfare Association, Mr Albel Singh, stressed, the need for early completion of the rail link as the traffic flow on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road had increased manifold.

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Exporters hopeful of sops in Budget
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Exporters are hopeful of getting some special sops from the government in the coming Budget to be presented on July 8.

A majority of the exporters feel that export-oriented units (EOUs), that export 100 per cent of their production, should be exempted from service tax. President of Punjab and Haryana exporters unit Gurbir Singh has appealed to the Finance Ministry to further increase the amount and period of tax exemption for them.

He has also requested the ministry for setting up a special economic zone.

Their another demand pertains to exemption on the tax which they pay on selling DEPB credit taken under the duty instalment pass book (DEPB) scheme.

They have also sought a change in the policy of transfer of units to the special economic zone. At present only those export units can go to the special economic zone (SEZ) that have only 20 per cent domestic machinery and the rest 80 per cent imported from outside.

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My Budget

CAN we have a Budget that goes beyond offering mere sops? One, which not only pushes the economic growth beyond the 7-8 per cent mark, but also enhances the quality of life, gives the middle class a breather and creates a sustainable environment for growth and development.

I would want a Budget, which brings a qualitative difference in our lives. One where the yawning gap between the rich and the poor is bridged. One in which major emphasis is laid on improving the quality of primary health, reducing unemployment and providing better education facilities. Only after achieving these parameters, we can walk the road towards economic well-being.

With technology taking over our lives, it would be a step in the right direction if the Finance Minister reduces taxation/duties on electronic items, maybe grant subsidies in order to “connect” the nation at every level. At the same time it wouldn’t be a bad idea to offset this deficit by increasing duties on commodities like tobacco, cigarettes and alcohol.

Nishchay Bahl

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Presence of liquidator sparks protest by Punwire staff
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 6
Agitated employees of Punwire staged a protest in front of the factory gate here today in protest against the presence of the official liquidator and the inspection of the premises by parties intending to purchase the unit.

The protesters raised slogans against the Punjab Government and asked the prospective buyers to go back who, however, went inside the factory. A six-day inspection of the units by prospective buyers started here today.

The protesters said they had been given an assurance by the Punjab Government that Punwire would be revived but the presence of the liquidator and prospective buyers was proving it otherwise.

The liquidator, Mr B.K.L. Srivastava, said he had visited the Punwire unit on the orders from the court. He said two parties, one from Ghaziabad and another from Panchkula, had come for the inspection today and one of the parties had purchased five tender forms for the purchase of individual items from the unit. One tender form had earlier been sold to a party which was interested in purchasing the whole unit without even going in for the inspection of Punwire.

He said three IITs had been approached for carrying out an evaluation of the assets of the factory. He said the evaluation was finally done by two professors and four assistants from the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad. They had even given the names of 10 prospective buyers whom letters were written by the authorities concerned.

Mr Srivastava said the company could be revived if someone was ready to spend Rs 30 to 40 crore on the factory. If the government wanted to revive the unit, it could present an application in the court, along with the revival plan, requesting that the process of sale should be stopped. He said that the process of sale would take about four to five months.

Mr Shahid Ahmed, president of the Punwire Employees Union, said after the sale notice of the factory had been issued by the government, two more Punwire employees had died due to mental tension. He said employees would remain on relay fast till July 11 after which a big convention would be organised in Phase IIIB2. Later, on July 20 a rally would be organised at Matka Chowk, Chandigarh.

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Tribune impact
DC tells poultry farmers to mix insecticides
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 6
The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neelam P. Kasni, has asked poultry farmers of the Barwala poultry belt to mix insecticides in the feed being served to chicks and hens, so that the house fly menace in the nearby villages can be brought under control.

Swarms of flies in the villages of Kakrali, Toda, Jaaspur, Natwal and Mauli, 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.

The plight of villagers was highlighted in the columns of Chandigarh Tribune today. The Deputy Commissioner today also asked the poultry farmers to fumigate the area around their farms and improve sanitary conditions.
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City unfair to fair sex
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Sex ratio: the worst three

* Daman and Diu 710/1000
* Chandigarh 777/1000
* Dadra & Nagar Haveli 812/1000

Chandigarh, July 6
The City Beautiful seems to be unfair to the fair sex when it comes to the sex ratio as it has the dubious distinction of having the second lowest sex ratio--777 females per 1,000 males-- in the country.

This has been revealed in the latest census data, which is to be released by the Office of the UT Director of Census Operations, shortly. Among the seven Union Territories(UTs), only Daman and Diu has the lowest sex ratio of 710 females per 1,000 males.

According to data collected by Chandigarh Tribune, Pondicherry is the only UT where the females outnumbered males by 1,001 to 1,000. Pondicherry was followed by Lakshadweep (948) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands (846). The figure for Delhi stood at 821 and for the Dadra and Nagar Haveli it was 812.

Leaving aside the sex ratio, the Chandigarh, which remained a leader among the UTs in the literacy rate, has been pushed to the second place by Lakshadweep.The comparative figures for Chandigarh and Lakshadweep are reported to be 86.7 per cent and 81.9 per cent, respectively.

While three UTs--Delhi,Andaman and Nicobar and Pondicherry-- clocked literacy rates above 80 per cent, Daman and Diu was placed the second place from below with 78.2 per cent of the total population literate. The worst performer in this segment was Dadra and Nagar Haveli, where only 57.6 persons could read or write. Sources said lower sex ratio in Chandigarh was probably on account of large-scale male migration from UP and Bihar to the city.

Thousands of persons from these states migrated to the city leaving their families back which resulted in the adverse sex ratio, sources said.

Another reason, the experts felt, could be the preference for the male child by the population. In any case, the decline in sex ratio followed the general trend of the decline in the number of females in several parts of the country. The same reason could be true for the literacy rate not picking up in the city since a large number of the migrants workers were illiterate.

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Panchkula Diary
Meeting to check encroachments
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 6
A meeting to discuss encroachments on the seasonal rivulet in Sector 19 here was held today.

The Subdivisional Magistrates of Panchkula and Dera Bassi met in the secretariat this morning, along with officials of the Revenue departments of the two states and officials of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). The issue of encroachment of the nullah in Sector 19, near Baltana in Punjab, with land grabbers changing the course of the nullah and its filling up was discussed.

It has now been decided that officials of Punjab and Haryana will go for a site inspection on Friday. It may be noted that the filling up of the nullah in Sector 19 leads to flooding of areas in monsoons that fall along the nullahs, especially the Rajiv Colony. The issue was taken up by HUDA to the Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula, who in turn asked the DC, Patiala to intervene.

Disaster management

A meeting of the disaster management committee was called by the district administration today. Officials of the Health Department, Forests Department, Pub Health, Municipal Council, besides the SDM’s of Kalka and Panchkula were called for the meeting.

The meeting was chaired by the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Barjinder Singh, and preliminary disaster preparedness of the various departments was examined. The District Health Officer was asked to be ready with a list of hospitals in the district, the beds and equipment available etc. The Public Health officials were also asked about the potable water supply sources in case of a disaster.

Since officials from some departments were not present, it was decided to hold another meeting shortly.

Elected

Mr Satisdh Gupta, Executive Director of Golden Laminates, has been unanimously re-elected as Chairman of the Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Panchkula district) for 2004- 06. Mr Dharinder Tayal has been elected General Secretary of the HCCI for the same time period.

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Steps to ensure transparency in Army recruitment
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 6
With a view to bringing transparency in the recruitment process of the army, the Recruitment Office, Ambala Zone has initiated certain checks to ensure that only deserving candidates get selected.

This was stated by the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neelam P Kasni today. She said that the Haryana State Sainik Board had received information about certain touts who were helping candidates obtain fake residence proof, education certificates and SC Certificates for recruitment.

Seeking cooperation from the public, the DC appealed that such touts should be reported to the administration so that the deserving candidates did not suffer and a transparency in the recruitment process could be achieved. She said the administration was on the alert and certificates were being issued only after thorough verification.

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Swan quits BJP

Panchkula, July 6
Senior BJP leader and former Director-General of Haryana Police Hans Raj Swan resigned from the party due to ‘ideological differences’ with the state party leaders here today.

In a statement issued to the press, Mr Swan, national vice-president of the SC Morcha of the BJP and executive committee member of the state unit, said he had been thinking of leaving the party for a long time. TNS

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Mohali robbery: sketch of suspect prepared
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 6
The police has prepared a computerised sketch of one of the four unidentified youths who has decamped with cash and jewellery from a house at gun-point here yesterday.

Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, SP, said the police had prepared the sketch of the assailant, who remained most of the time with the woman, who had been robbed. The sketch had been prepared on the basic of the information provided by the victims and had been sent to the CIA staff who were investigating the case at their own level.

Mr Aggarwal said finger print experts had been called from Phillaur to lift the prints from the place of crime. After developing these prints, they would be compared with the finger prints of various criminals that were available at a laboratory in Phillaur and Chandigarh. A report would be submitted by them in this regard in about two days time.

The robbers committed the crime at gun-point and decamped with jewellery and cash worth lakhs of rupees in broad daylight from a house in Sector 71 here. The house belonged to Mr Surjit Singh Bains, who runs a cement pipe factory near Banur.

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2 held for murdering taxi driver
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 6
The Chandigarh Police has arrested two persons from Gurdaspur on the charge of kidnapping and murdering a taxi driver of Lamba Taxi Stand, Sector 33. Driver Balwinder Singh, also known as Laddi, a resident of Chamkaur Sahib, was kidnapped by these persons after hiring a taxi for 10 days from the taxi stand, which is owned by Mr Kirpal Singh.

According to the police, the suspects — Kulbir Singh and Shamsher Singh, both from Neel Khurd village in Gurdaspur — had thrown the driver’s body into a canal near Harchowal in Gurdaspur. They were then looking for a customer to whom they could sell the car. The police said Nishan Singh, Kulbir Singh and his cousin Shamsher Singh reached Chandigarh by a motor cycle (PB-58B-7593) on June 28. After dropping Shamsher Singh at Sector 34 gurdwara, Kulbir Singh and Nishan Singh reached the taxi stand and hired an Indica car (CH-03C-2438) for Rs 16,000.

While on their way towards Gurdaspur, they also picked up Shamsher Singh from Sector 34. They had an intention to make money by selling the car after killing the driver. After having their meals on the way, Kulbir Singh asked the driver to take rest and offered to drive the car himself.

After reaching a deserted place on the bank of the canal, Shamsher Singh and Nishan Singh, who were sitting in the backseat, strangled Balwinder Singh with a string. Kulbir Singh also helped them in their attempt. The trio then threw the body into the canal.

As the driver failed to return on scheduled time, Mr Kirpal Singh, owner of the taxi stand, got suspicious and complained to the police. He complained that two unidentified youths, who were riding a motor cycle (PB-58B-7593), had hired the car to Pathankot, but the driver did not return. He also claimed that the car was spotted in the Dera Baba Nanak area recently.

A case was registered at the Sector 34 police station on his complaint and an alert was sounded. A message was also flashed to the Punjab Police seeking help in identifying the whereabouts of kidnappers from the registration number of the motor cycle.

After nabbing Kulbir Singh and Shamsher Singh from their native place, the Punjab Police handed them over to the Chandigarh Police. The body of the driver was recovered from the canal. It was handed over to the family after a post-mortem examination. Kulbir Singh and Shamsher Singh were today produced in a court and were remanded in the police custody till July 9. Nishan Singh is yet to arrested.
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11 booked in group clash case
Our Correspondent

Lalru, July 6
The police has booked 11 persons of two groups of residents of Alamugir village for their involvement in a clash over lying of irrigation water-pipe-line, today.

On the complaint of Nirmail Singh, the police has booked Bahadur Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Gurdit Singh, Satwinder Singh, Bobby and Jaswant Singh. A case under Sections 336, 323, 148 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered against them at Lalru police station.

While Haquam Singh, Nirmail Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Dharam Singh and Jasbir Singh have been booked under Sections 323, 324, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the complaint of Bahadur Singh. No arrest has been made in this regard so far.

It may be recalled that 10 persons including a woman were injured, one of them seriously, in a clash between two groups of villagers in Alamgir village near here, on Monday afternoon. Seriously injured Jaswant Singh was referred to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 in Chandigarh.

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

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PWD employee found murdered
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 6
Ram Karan, a resident of Bahadurgarh in Jhajjar district, was allegedly found murdered in a forest near the local Railway station this afternoon.

According to the Railway police, Ram Karan was done to death with the help of a sharp-edged weapon as there were injury marks on the face, neck and chest. An employee of the Haryana PWD, Ram Karan had reportedly come to the Haryana Secretariat for official work.

The badly-bruised body of the deceased, who was allegedly murdered late last night, was spotted by the Railway police this afternoon. The police contacted his brother, Kishan Kumar, who reached the city to take the body. A case has been registered.

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Assault attempt on car owner
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 6
Two unidentified persons made an attempt to assault Mr Prem Singh, a resident of Kajheri village and snatched his car near Sector 46 wine shop, late last night. The car was later recovered by the police near Sector 47.

In a complaint to the police Mr Prem Singh, said the two unidentified youths who were standing near the wine shop requested him to drop him in Kajheri village. On the way they tried to assault him with a bottle but Prem Singh managed to get out of his Indica. The youths later sped away with the vehicle.

The car owner reported the incident to the Sector 34 police station. The police recovered the car abandoned near Sector 47. A case has been registered.

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Scooter thief arrested
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 6
The Chandimandir police has arrested Mani Ram Singh on the charge of stealing a scooter from the Chandimandir cantonment area. The accused is a tailor in Chandimandir, and had allegedly stolen the scooter belonging to Satnam Singh a few days ago. He was driving around the scooter after changing the number plate. The matter was reported to the police yesterday and he was arrested. The accused was produced before a local court and remanded in two days’ police custody today.


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