C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Man shoots at wife’s uncle
Suspected him of causing estrangement with his wife
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
A peon Morepal in the Punjab Forest Corporation was last night shot at point blank range in the neck allegedly by the husband of his niece. A Kishangarh painter Inderjeet (28), suspected that Indira Colony resident Morepal (40) was encouraging his niece Usha, married to the accused for seven years, to live separately from him.

Morepal was shot at in the Subhash Nagar locality last night while he was driving a scooter with Inderjeet riding pillion.

Inderjeet had called Morepal to his residence in Kishangarh for a dinner last night. After they had their meal and drinks, Inderjeet asked Morepal to accompany him to Subhash Nagar for collecting Rs 16,000 from a person. Morepal agreed to go along with him. On the way near Subhash Nagar, a person crossed road in front of the scooter. As soon as Inderjeet saw the man, he asked Morepal to stop and park the scooter.

The person, who had crossed the road, then came near Morepal and caught hold of him. Inderjeet whipped out a country-made pistol and fired a shot at Morepal.

As soon as Morepal was shot, he raised an alarm to scare the alleged attackers. An injured Morepal then rode his scooter to the Mani Majra Police Station and reported the matter.

A Sub-Inspector Suniara Singh immediately called a person to take Morepal to a nearby dispensary. The doctor at the dispensary referred him to the PGI.

Luckily for Morepal, the bullet had only pierced through the outer layer of neck and passed through his shoulder. He is stated to be out of danger.

The police arrested Inderjeet today in the early hours from the outskirts of Kishangarh. A local court has sent him to police custody till July 10. The police has not been able to identify the person who caught hold of Morepal when Inderjeet shot at him.

The police has also recovered the country-made pistol and the used cartridge from near the shoot-out point.

Inderjeet apparently had a plan to eliminate Morepal a day before as he had invited Morepal to his house a day before but Morepal refused to come to his house in Kishangarh saying it was Tuesday and on that day he did not take liquor and non-vegetarian food.

Next day, Morepal himself brought meat from the market for the dinner.

Inderjeet has been married to Usha, a niece of Morepal, for seven years and has two children the eldest being around 4 years.

Usha has not been living with her husband for around four months. Inderjeet had a grudge against Usha’s uncle Morepal whom he suspected as responsible for souring relations between him and his wife.



More funds for city in Union Budget
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Despite doing quite well in revenue generation, the share of Chandigarh in allocation meant for development was reduced marginally in the Budget announced today while the non-plan segment, which goes towards account of salaries and running of establishment, was hiked by Rs 36 crore from last year.

On the other hand, the Chandigarh Administration has been asked to collect more revenue this fiscal year than last year. Chandigarh was asked to collect Rs 783 crore last year but the collection was Rs 823 crore. This year the target is Rs 821 crore.

The Union Finance Minister, Mr P Chidambaram, fixed a sum of Rs 890.96 crore as the total expenditure for City Beautiful. The budgeted estimate for 2003-04 was Rs 857 crore. This includes both the non-plan and plan expenses.

Within non-plan expenditure, energy has received the highest allocation of Rs 271.19 crore, followed by education (Rs 142.35 crore), housing and urban development (Rs 2.61 crore) transport (Rs 74.54 crore), police (Rs 69.41 crore), health (Rs 45.39 crore) and labour (Rs 4.22 crore).

In the Budget the plan outlay, which is meant for development, had been reduced but within the same outlay the allocation for education and transport has been hiked. This means there will be more money for new projects in these sectors. The outlay for power sector has been reduced by just Rs 5 lakh. This in real terms will mean nothing. In the past the Chandigarh Administration has been claiming benefits that it was a revenue surplus state and it generated more revenue that what it spent.

This year a major thrust in development will be on housing and urban development. The sector has been given the highest allocation of Rs 61.36 crore. This money will be used to cover the major plans of the Administration that is acquisition of land for development of Phase III sectors and acquisition of land for developmental works. Also establishment of botanical gardens, construction of a flyover at transport chowk and upgradation of the infrastructure and civic amenities available in the city and rural areas etc.

Since Chandigarh does not have a legislature, its entire expenditure is met directly from the Consolidated Fund of India. All its income goes directly to the Consolidated Fund of India. Therefore, a single demand covering all functions of the Administration is presented to the Parliament as a part of demands for Grants of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Therefore, Chandigarh, like other states, does not get the benefit of share of income in the receipts which accrue to the Central Government from Income Tax, Small Saving Schemes and other taxes shareable by the state governments on the basis of the recommendations of the Finance Commission appointed by the Government of India.



Mixed reaction by industry to Union Budget
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
There has been a mixed reaction to Budget 2004-2005 from industrialists, traders and various industrial organisations of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

While manufacturing units and organisations have hailed the implementation of the value-added tax ( VAT) all over the country from April 1, 2005, small traders have opposed the same. Industrialists having their units in Punjab are sore that the state has not got any package of special incentives on lines of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttaranchal.

Mr Keshav Sachdev, President and CEO, DCM Engineering Limited, taking a balanced view of the Budget, said that it was a good Budget and would promote agriculture, biotechnology, food, IT, power and telecom sectors.

Expressing resentment on the hike in excise duty on steel from 8 to 12 per cent, he said steel was the basic raw material for most of the industries and since its prices were already sky-rocketing, the industrialists from the region would find it hard to compete in the global markets. Now that the government was firm on its commitment to implement VAT in the country, it should also abolish the Central Sales Tax (CST).

On the issue of service tax having being increased from 8 to 10 per cent and various other trades and professions coming under its ambit, Mr Manmohan Singh Kohli, member of the executive committee of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India, said it was a positive sign for many services. This will also help the government cover its fiscal deficits caused by concessions. However, the increase, which has been effected after a period of three years, should not be perpetual and on an annual basis, as that would burden the consumer.

Opposing the imposition of a turnover cess on industry, the Chairman of Kamla Dials and Devices Limited, Mr Rajendra K. Saboo, said this step would make the going difficult for export and import units. He was also critical of the move of the government to disinvest the loss-making public sector units ( PSUs) while leaving the profit-making units untouched. He said this would affect industrial growth.

However, he welcomed the decision to include units with an investment of Rs 3 crore in the small-scale industry sector and that it would give a boost to domestic production. It is good that the Finance Minister has focused on social sectors like education, health, rural development and employment generation.

Mr Amarjit Goyal, Chairman, Punjab Chapter of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, while accusing the Central Government of step-motherly treatment, said that a hike in the excise duty on steel from 8 to 12 per cent was bound to affect the industry in the state in view of the fact that exemption on excise duty and Central Sales Tax given to neighbouring states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttaranchal under special incentives package had already led to the closure of many industrial units and a few others were on the verge of closure.

He also welcomed the step regarding the introduction of VAT from April next year , as this would put an end to the problems faced by traders in sending goods from one place to another. Maintaining fiscal discipline, the Finance Minister has pegged fiscal discipline at 4.4 per cent, instead of 4.6 per cent last year and revenue deficit at 2.5 per cent instead of 3 per cent last year.

Mr A.M Sawhney, Director (Marketing), Punjab Tractors Limited (PTL), has welcomed the move to completely exempt the tractor industry from 16 per cent excise duty will not only affect the agricultural sector but also give a boost to the tractor industry.

The co-chairman of the Punjab chapter of the PHDCCI, Mr R.S. Sachdeva, said Punjab had once again been ignored in the Budget. While the Central Government still owes payment of subsidies to the tune of Rs 725 crore to the state since 1996, it has given a special economic package of Rs 3200 crore to Bihar.

“Increase in foreign investment will give a major boost to the telecom sector. Telecom is a highly capital intensive sector and by removing the cap on investment, the Finance Minister has removed a major hurdle in the expansion of the telecom industry, said Mr Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Televentures Limited. The exemption of excise duty on mobile handsets and exemption of customs duty on telecom grade optical fibers used by the telecom industry will make mobile phones more affordable.

Mr Satish Bagrodia, Chairman, International Affairs Committee, PHDCCI, appreciated the budgetary provisions made for education, health, agriculture and infrastructure, which has been given special attention as per the Common Minimum Programme.

Mr Rajeev Gupta, general secretary, Federation of Small Scale Industries, said the Budget was not as per the expectations of the industry. No effort had been made to widen the tax base. All revenue generation is expected from members of the public, while the government on its own has made no effort to reduce its expenses of its own.

The small-scale industry feels disappointed as nothing has been done to bring stability in raw material prices.



Farmer-friendly Budget: expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The sops doled out by the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, in the Budget presented by him in Parliament have brought cheer not only to the farming community but also the salaried class in the middle-income group.

The announcement with regard to persons having income up to Rs 1 lakh not required to pay any income tax has come as big relief to the salaried employees in the middle-income group. It is people-friendly, say a majority of city residents. It is neither popular nor populist.

Welcoming the maiden Budget of the Finance Minister to be a ‘dream Budget’ Ms Sarbjit Kaur, a private school teacher said raising of income tax exemption limit to Rs 1 lakh would afford the required relief to the middle class people caught in the day-to-day grind.

“The Budget favours the education sector as it exempts education loans up to Rs 7.5 crore from any guarantee. It will go a long way in helping parents see their dreams of sending children abroad for higher studies come true,” said Mr Manmohan Saluja, who works in a private firm.

Another city resident, Mr Devinder Singh who terms the budget to be for the poor is of the view that the move to give free compulsory education to children up to the age of 8 years will help children of poorer sections have an access to education.

Senior citizens, in particular are enthused about the 9 per cent return announced by the minister on their savings. Daria Singh said “My savings are my biggest source of strength in my old age. The special incentive by the government has come as a boon at a time when the rates of interests in the banks are low . It has given them a new ray of hope, he adds

Mr Amar Nath Gupta, legal adviser of Chandigarh Tent House Federation, is opposed the move to bring services of the tent houses and taxis under the net of service tax. “It will be hard to extract 10 per cent service tax from people, who in the wake of competition were already the actual rents for the goods and services being provided by them.”

Geeta Bhatia, who works as an engineer in Punjab Tractors Limited (PCL) is excited about the special measures announced to promoted growth in the biotechnology sector. “This will make available employment opportunities available to large number of unemployed engineers. In the absence of proper job opportunities, engineers have to take to administrative jobs.

Terming the Budget to be agriculture-friendly, noted agriculture expert, Mr S.S. Johl said exemption of excise duty on tractors and agricultural implements will not only benefit the big farmers but also help the farm labourers get these implements and handtools at much cheaper rates. He has also lauded the steps providing insurance cover to crops and livestock and direct marketing of the produce.

Mr S.K. Nayar, president, Citizen Welfare Association, Panchkula, said the salaried class has been totally ignored in the Budget. The move to reduce the rate of interest on PPF and GPF from 9.5 per cent to 8 per cent, income tax exemption to only those whose income is up to Rs 1 lakh and a cess of 2 per cent on education were big dampeners for the salaried class employees.



Ex-servicemen welcome Budget
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The substantial hike in the defence Budget, announced by the Finance Minister in Parliament today, has brought cheer among the service community here. The UPA government has allocated Rs 77,000 crore for defence during the 2004-05 fiscal, a real term increase of about 18 per cent over the revised estimates of the Budget presented by the NDA government in the last fiscal.

While the hike is more than welcome as the services require money not only for modernisation and procurements, but also for capital expenditure, there is a feeling that a system needs to be devised for judicious use of defence funds.

Air Marshal R.S. Bedi (retd), former Director General Perspective Planning said, “The previous NDA government had signed a large number of contracts for equipment and the present government will have to honour these.”

Proposals pending before the government include acquiring French Scorpene submarines, 125 multi-purpose fighters for the Air Force to replace ageing Mig-21’s, modernisation of infantry and artillery and procurement of personal gear for the soldiers.

“There is a feeling in certain sections that increase in the defence budget may result in an arms race with Pakistan at a time when bilateral relations are improving,” Lieut-Gen G.S. Kler, former Director General Military Training said. The government has also decided to do away with the Rs 25,000 crore three-year non-lapsable fund for defence modernisation, a step which has not gone down well with the service community. This was done on the grounds that the previous government had failed over the years to spend allocated defence funds.

“Hikes in the budget are useful only if there is a roll-on system for funds to prevent surrendering unused money,” Cmde R.S. Mundi (retd) said.



PEC notified deemed varsity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The Chandigarh Administration today issued a notification to implement the deemed university status of Punjab Engineering College under the University Grants Commission Act.

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development had notified in this connection in October last year, but today’s notification is crucial as it decides about the status of PEC, its finances, professors and employees.

  • PEC to be fully autonomous
  • All employees will now work for the PEC society
  • At a later date they will have an option to revert to the government service
  • Employees will get all benefits

There will be a change in the status of PEC. It will be a fully funded autonomous body from its present status of being a Department of Chandigarh Administration. The Punjab Engineering College Society, formed for this purpose, will run it.

The grant-in-aid already sanctioned for 2004-05 will become operative from October 1, this year. The Budget for PEC for the current financial year will continue to be handled under the respective heads of account by the Chandigarh Administration until September 30. However, from 2005-06 onwards, the Chandigarh Administration will every year, sanction funds based on the grants given in the last financial year.

The society will prepare an annual budget. The rules guiding the determination of future grants will be finalised by the Administration separately in consultation with the society and with the approval of the Government of India, if required.

All posts sanctioned by the Administration for various departments and sections of PEC will stand transferred to the society.

The officers, teachers or other employees, shall continue to work in their respective positions, without any special allowance for such work.

The terms governing the employees will be “ foreign service without any deputation allowance”.

The salaries will remain the same with the same rights and privileges relating to pension, leave, gratuity, provident fund and other matters.

The transferred employees shall have an option to revert back to the government service or to seek a permanent absorption in the society.

The permanent absorption of the government servants as employees of the society will take effect from the date on which their options are accepted by the Administration and on and from the date of such acceptance, such employees shall cease to be government servants and they will be deemed to have retired from the government service.

The employees, who opt to revert to the government service, will be re-deployed through a surplus cell of the Administration, provided sufficient corresponding posts are available.

For pension, the Administration will discharge its pensionary liability by paying in lump sum as a one-time payment to the Pension Fund to be created by the society.

All other service conditions of such absorbed employees in the society would remain the same and no service condition would be modified to the detriment of the employees, the Administration said.

Until decided otherwise by the Administration, the Chief Engineer, UT, Chandigarh, will continue to attend to all maintenance works relating to buildings, roads, electrical installations, water supply, sewage disposal and drainage on the college campus as per existing procedure. The Administration will allot the necessary funds to the Chief Engineer, UT, Chandigarh, for such works.

The land of PEC will be transferred to the society on a permanent basis. The Chief Administrator, Capital Project Chandigarh UT, will issue a necessary notification in this regard. The society will not dispose off any immovable property without prior approval of the Administration.

The new academic programmes of PEC as a deemed university will be implemented from the next academic session. Regarding the possibility of the introduction of NRI seats/ NRI-sponsored seats and possible increase in tuition fee for students, the matter would be left to the society.



Mango fest from July 10
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 8
Haryana Tourism, in association with Department of Horticulture is all set to hold its annual Mango mela at Yadavindra Gardens, Pinjore from July 10 to July 11. This is the 13th time that the mela is being held.

This was announced by Mr Bhaskar Chatterjee, Financial Commissioner and Secretary, Tourism, and Mr K.S. Bhoria, Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary, Agriculture, while addressing a press conference here today. The mela will be inaugurated by Mr Om Prakash Chautala on July 10 , while the prize distribution function will be presided over by the Agriculture Minister, Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu.

This annual event invites mango growers and authorised mango products manufacturers, agricultural universities, general public and housewives to send mangoes and mango product entries, in display and competition sections. The event is organised each year with the aim to celebrate the king of fruits and to generate awareness among public. Mr Bhoria said intensive efforts are being made to bring the best of mango growers of the region. “The festival will also provide a unique opportunity to the mango growers to exchange notes about its cultivation and marketing,” he said.

Cultural programmes like gidda, bhangra, Haryanvi group dance, kal belliya, Rajasthani folk dances etc will be organised in the day, besides competitions in mango cutting, mango tattoes, fancy dress etc. Fireworks and live performances by pop singers Ms Harshdeep, Ms Harleen, Harjit Harman and Shankar Sahney is planned for the evenings.



Rotary Club office-bearers installed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 8
Mr N Paul Sabharwal was installed the president of the Rotary Club, Panchkula, for the year 2004-05, by Mr Rajneesh Garg last night.

Unfolding his centennial projects for the year, Mr Sabharwal said the main emphasis would be on traffic awareness in which schoolchildren from the township would be associated. A sports park would be created in the township, a roundabout would be taken by the club for maintenance and tree plantation would be taken up on a bigger scale.

He said the ongoing projects at Rotary House like free homoeopathic dispensary, education to slum children, beautician course and stitching and embroidery course will be continued to uplift the weaker sections.

On this occasion, Deputy Commissioner, Neelam P Kasni, was the chief guest. The new office-bearers of the club include Mr Praveen Kumar Goel, vice president, Mr Vinod Aggarwal, secretary, Mr Sandeep Aggarwal, joint secretary, Mr Vinesh Bhatia treasurer, and Mr A.L. Aggarwal, vice president. Mr Pradeep Aggarwal, Mr Pradeep Prabhakar, Dr Maneel Grover, Mr Ajay Chabbra, Mr Mohinder Nanmdwani and Mr Vinod Aggarwal are the directors of the club.



Investigation his forte
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
From a humble salesman selling office equipment to an investigative journalist whose expose rocked the nation, to a novelist, it has been an eventful decade for former tehelka.com journalist, Anniruddha Bahal.

Best known for the sting operation he executed in 2001 while working with the news portal, where several top politicians, army officers and defence ministry officials were caught on video tapes demanding and executing bribes while dealing with fictitious arms dealers, he was also in the news for authoring a novel, Bunker-13. The novel, first published in 2002, has just recently been launched in the United States.

Having parted company with tehelka.com, which he conceived and co-founded with his former Indian Express colleague, Mr Tarun Tejpal in 1999, he has now started his own news portal, cobrapost.com.

Anniruddha, who was here to depose before a court martial trying one of the officers caught on tape, said that he was now carrying out research for a book on the genesis of the Islamic rage. He said that he was also writing a non-fiction book based on his impressions while travelling through the Middle-East as well as a fiction, the details of which he wants to keep under wraps.

A graduate from Allahabad, he said that he wrote his first book, A Crack in the Mirror in 1991, but is now out of print. "I always knew I would be a writer. Taking up journalism was a means of sustaining myself till the time I became successful," he said. His current novel, Bunker-13, he said, was doing well.

Anniruddha said that he had joined India Today in 1993. while on a trip to Delhi, he had, on impulse walked into the magazine's office and applied for a job. There after he worked for an environmental magazine, Down to Earth, Outlook, Financial Express and a cricket news portal, where he exposed match-fixing.

Looking back, he said that he never regretted the tehelka episode, even though he faced considerable harassment from the authorities later. "We were hounded by the income tax and enforcement departments, the CBI and the central government," he said. "The motive of investigative journalism was questioned, which was unfortunate," he added.

On the other side, the expose resulted in the government setting up a defence procurement board and legalising middlemen. Also during subsequent hearing by inquiry commissions, it was perhaps for the first time that video tapes were produced as primary evidence.



Greenpeace sets up office in city
Gitanjali Sharma
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Internationally acclaimed Greenpeace movement has opened its office in the city in order to “ initiate a direct dialogue with its citizens.” The office is headed by Direct Dialogue Coordinator, Mr Manish Kumar, and has a staff of 14 other volunteers. It is the first international voluntary organisation to set up base here.

This is the seventh office that Greenpeace has opened in the country. Greenpeace is headquartered in Amsterdam with its India head office in Bangalore. The voluntary organisation campaigns worldwide to protect oceans and forests , eliminate toxic chemicals, prevent climate change and ensure corporate accountability and liability. The non-profit body was set up in 1971 and shot into limelight when a handful of volunteers and journalists sailing into Alaska bore witness to underground nuclear tests being conducted by the USA. Over the years, Greenpeace has emerged as a strong voice internationally on environment-related matters.

According to Mr Manish Kumar, the organisation will reach out to the people of the city to create awareness about environmental issues and also raise funds for the movement. Over the last one week, it has initiated its awareness programme in Sector 17 and other popular market areas of the city. The 15 volunteers have so far managed to garner a ‘fair response’ from people from all walks of life. Each day, they visit different areas and talk to people in order to make them aware about the movement’s role in environment protection.

According to Mr Kumar, “Since Chandigarhians are already staying in a beautiful environment they have to be more sensitive towards the creation of a green future.”

Greenpeace has presence in 40 countries and three million supporters worldwide. In India, it has 15,000 supporters and has been focussing on environmental concerns since 1994. It has been backing the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal by demanding the removal of tonnes of toxic waste from the site of the gas tragedy. Interestingly, Greenpeace does not accept any institutional support, either government or non- government. Mr Kumar says people can support the cause by making a payment of just Rs 150 or more per month.

Mr Kumar said that beside carrying out a direct dialogue with people of the city, Greenpeace will attempt “urban outreaching,” which will include imparting educational sessions in schools on environment protection.



Panchkula Diary
Ambulance given to health centre
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 8
The Red Cross Society, Panchkula, and the St. John Ambulance Society presented a new ambulance to the Community Health Centre, Kalka. The Deputy Commissioner and the President of the District Red Cross Society, Ms Neelam P. Kasni said the society had presented one ambulance to the Morni Health centre, one to the Raipur Rani centre, and two ambulances in Panchkula.

Power supply

To meet the increased demand of electricity consumers, particularly agricultural tubewells, the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam exceeded all previous records of power supply yesterday, by supplying 432.77 lakh units of power to consumers.

The demand of power in the agriculture sector had increased due to sowing of paddy and delay in monsoon. The nigam achieved the record of supplying maximum power inspite of several complaints, and 60 per cent of the total available power was supplied to rural sector for tubewells and light load.

Meeting held

A meeting of the officials of the Health Department and Public Works Department was held at General Hospital today to discuss the poor quality of construction work in the hospital. The Health Department officials maintained that the finishing of the flooring was band, and asked the PWD officers to get the job redone from their contractor. The PWD officers said a high-level committee had been set up to look into the matter.

Discussions were also held on the setting up of the new mortuary, as the old one had to be converted into an administrative block. The issue of constructing toilets near the emergency ward was also taken up in the meeting and the PWD officials were asked to identify a site for making toilets near the emergency block.



Cops beat up four of family
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Two allegedly inebriated policemen last night assaulted a family in Sector 47 injuring all four of them.

Mr Ramesh Goel alleged that the policemen who live on the first floor of flats in Sector 47 last night assaulted his family when he objected to parking their vehicle in front of the gate of the complainant’s house who lives on the ground floor in house number 3079 just below the flat of policemen Gurnam Singh and Bhupinder Singh.

Mr Ramesh Goel complained that he had given over dozen complaints to the police against the two policemen but the Sector 31 police station had not registered any case against them.

Mr Goel said his wife Veena Goel, elder son and another son got injuries and were discharged from the Sector 32 hospital after the first aid. He alleged that the policemen threatened that they would implicate them in some case if they went ahead with their complaint. The family was medically examined at the hospital. Ms Veena Goel and Vishal Goel sustained injuries in the head, while Mr Ramesh Goel and his younger son got fractures in their hands.

SHO Ram Gopal, however, said both sides got injuries. The matter is still under investigation

However, Mr Goel alleged that policemen were not medically examined.



Ex-soldiers can help police control thefts, says SP
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 8
The services of ex-servicemen can be utilised by the police to control cases of theft in the town.

This was stated by Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, SP, during a meeting held with residents of the town at the Phase XI community centre here this evening. He said it was not possible for the police to directly approach ex-servicemen but if some people were got together, the police could avail of their services. They could be assigned some responsibility for which they would be paid for.

This was the reaction of Mr Aggarwal to the suggestion put forth by Mr Harpal Singh, general secretary of the Residents Welfare Association, Phase XI, on how to control the increasing number of thefts in the town.

The SP said whenever a resident of the town went out of station, he should inform the police in this regard so that patrolling in that area could be intensified. He said the beat system was also being improved. Phase-wise police patrolling would be done.

Regarding the complaint put forth by Mr Parbhjot Singh Sandhu, president of the Industrial Welfare Association, Phase IX, in connection with the problem of theft created by junk dealers, the SP said that no junk dealers would be allowed to move in the area from 9 p.m. He said if anybody violated the orders given in this regard, he would be challaned under Section 109 of the IPC.

Another resident pointed out that the traffic police posted at various chowks in the town did not control traffic when the traffic lights were not functioning. They just kept standing on one side of the road without bothering to perform their duty.

To this complaint Mr Aggarwal said in future if such a problem was noticed by any resident, it should be brought to his notice immediately so that action could be taken against the erring staff.

The problem of drugs being consumed by youth was also discussed at the meeting. The SP said solid information in this regard could be provided to the police so that action could be taken. It was difficult for the police to raid chemist shops on mere suspicion.



Snag hits power supply
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 8
The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam suffered a major setback in its power transmission upgradation programme when the 100 MVA transformer in the Ramgarh Madanpur substation, that feeds power to the township, developed a technical snag.

Senior officials in UHBVN confirmed that the 100 MVA transformer at the Madanpur substation developed a fault when another 100 MVA transformer was being installed here. Sources say that the new transformer was being tested for their installation this morning when they observed gas leakage from the existing transformer.

As a result of the fault in the transformer, the load from the Ramgarh Madanpur substation, that feeds power to Panchkula, Barwala and nearby areas, had to be shifted to the 132 KV Pinjore station. As a result, the UHBVN authorities had to impose half an hour power cut in all sectors and surrounding areas of the township.



Vulture care centre to become breeding centre
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 8
The Vulture Care Centre in Bir Shikargah forest near Pinjore has been granted permission to function as a Captive Breeding Centre for the endangered long-billed and white-backed Gyps species of vultures.

The permission was finally granted on July 6. The Centre had been allocated additional four acres of land, adjacent to the centre. Dr Vibhu Prakash, Principal Scientist, Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), said that they had also been granted permission for setting up a captive breeding centre in West Bengal, though the permission for setting up a centre was awaited.

He said that 25 pairs each of the long-billed and white-backed vultures would be bred in captivity here. Ornithologists the world over had decided that captive breeding of vultures was the only way to save the once most common scavengers, vultures, from extinction. Experts were of the view that vulture population was declining sharply and appropriate measures could not be implemented rapidly enough to prevent their extinction. The immediate launch of a captive management programme for endangered species of vultures could save the few hundred pairs remaining in the wild and check the rapid annual rate of decline.

Though initially the ornithologists and scientists were of the view that the vultures were dying because of a viral infection, it was now believed that the vulture deaths were a result of diclofenac (a non-steroid, anti-inflammatory drug). The birds’ exposure to diclofenac occurred through its use to treat diseases in livestock. Experiments done by the Paregrine Fund, a US-based group involved in research work on the vulture decline problem, revealed that vulture mortality was a result of kidney failure in the birds feeding on carcasses of cattle, which had been injected with diclofenac. However, experts had still not ruled out that a viral strain was afflicting vultures and causing their death.

As of now, only one vulture care centre exists in South Asia, at the Bir Shikargah forests near Pinjore. This centre has been set up by the BNHS and the Government of Haryana, while it has been funded by the Darwin Initiative and the Royal Society for Protection of Birds. It has been decided that the vultures that are caught can be kept at the Vulture Care Centre at Bir Shikargah till the time the captive care centres at West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh are ready. The Bir Shikargah centre will also act as a training centre for the other captive care centres.



Burail resident succumbs to burn injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
A 21-year-old resident of Burail, Umashankar, succumbed to his burn injuries at the GMCH-32, where he along with his wife were admitted on July 5.

He was declared dead last night. His body was handed over to his mother and brothers, who came from Unnao.

Umashankar and his wife Gyanwati (19) caught fire while cooking food. He is survived by a one-and-a-half year old daughter and his injured wife.

Gyanwati had sustained 25 per cent burn injuries, while Umashankar got 80 per cent burn injuries. Gyanwati, in her statement, had told the police that a kerosene-filled bottle fell on the ground while they were cooking food and fire spread in the entire room.

The post-mortem examination was done on the body before it was handed over to the family members.

Umashankar was employed at a private factory in Ram Darbar.



Police flashes messages to adjoining states
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The Chandigarh Police has sent messages to neighbouring police stations in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to get clues about the person who was dumped in the GMCH-32, Chandigarh.

The police action in this direction followed doctors assessment that the person dumped in the GMCH might have been shot an hour before he was dumped in the hospital.

The police today got the message flashed to Raipur Rani and Ramgarh. A team of the Sector Police Station has visited Banur and Dera bassi.

Ambala, Ropar, Patiala and Solan districts have also been informed to look for a person who might have been missing for the past couple of days.



Cash, jewellery stolen from house
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 8
Thieves decamped with cash and jewellery from a house in Sector 69 here yesterday. It is learnt that about 15 tolas of gold and Rs 57,000 in cash were stolen from the house and no one was at home when the theft took place.

The owner of the house, Mr Gurprem Singh, runs a shop dealing in spare parts in Sector 41, Chandigarh, and his wife, Mrs Paramjit Kaur, works in the State Transport Department. Both of them had left for work in the morning.

When Mrs Paramjit Kaur who came back in the evening, opened the lock on the main door, she found that it was bolted from inside. When she peeped inside the house, she saw items lying scattered. She informed her husband on the telephone about the incident. When Mr Gurprem Singh came, he found out that the thieves had entered from the back courtyard of the house. They broke the door of kitchen to enter the building. All the almirahs in the house had been searched.

The police has registered a case in this regard.


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