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Hannah’s parents seek information about Kohli
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , July 14
With the Punjab police remaining clueless about suspected murderer of British student Hannah Foster for 14 months, her parents here today made a public appeal seeking information about the suspect Maninder Pal Singh Kohli.

Hannah’s mother Hillary Foster and father Trevor Foster today met mediapersons here to make an appeal to the public at a press conference. They were also accompanied by the investigating officers in the case and a large number of mediapersons from England apparently to build public opinion in India to send a signal to the Punjab Government and the police to speed up the hunt for Kohli.

Mr Foster told the press conference that he would meet the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, and senior police officials to bring the suspected killer of Hannah to justice after 15 months of the incident in Southampton in southern England.

The involvement of the British media in the case, including BBC, Sky Television and ITV, is apparently to build a public opinion in a state from where a large number of NRIs are based in the UK. The public opinion could affect social relations between the British and Punjabis.

The British media also tried to ascertain from the local journalists as to how much interest the case has generated in India and the response of the Indians towards the trauma of the Fosters. The Fosters said they would be available to the Indian media for the next three days for interviews.

The sobbing father of Hannah appealed to the people and those close to Kohli to let them know about his whereabouts. They announced an award of Rs 50 lakh for the one who provides them with information about Kohli. The information could be given on toll free phone numbers 1600121233 (from BSNL phones), 01245047848 (from Touchstone phones from India) and 08000329937 (from England). The e-mail is fostershotline@yahoo.com. He said the confidentiality of the person passing on the information would be maintained as he would get a code number to claim the reward later if his information was found to be true. Mr Foster said Hannah, who abhorred violence in any form and was a brilliant student, did not deserve such a callous death at such a young age. He said she was to get selected for medicine education in a university.

The couple made it clear that they would meet police officers of Punjab to know as to what had been done with regard to whereabouts of Kohli in India.

When asked what he had to say about the India-based family of Maninder Pal Singh, Mr Foster said he respected father of Kohli and pitied him for their plight due to their son’s suspected crime.

When asked if there was not a delay of nearly one-and-a-half month on the part of the British police to alert the Punjab police about the involvement of Kohli in the crime to let him slip away from his Mohali-based home, Mr Foster said it was the British police which had to deal with the matter.

AN ITV correspondent, Sara, who had been covering the case since the disappearance of Hannah on March 14, 2003, said the case was one of the most high profile ones in England because of a stranger’s involvement in the crime also because Hannah was a “Talented and loveable child.”

Investigating officer of the case Allan Bretts told The Tribune that they had conclusive evidence to suggest that Kohli was involved in the crime. He, however, refused to share the evidence.

  • Mohali SP Rakesh Aggarwal said a case was registered against the family of Kohli in March, 2004, for allegedly sheltering him between 19 and 29, 2003, in Mohali. Kohli’s family members have been questioned about his whereabouts. Hannah’s body was discovered on March 16.
  • Patiala SSP, A. S. Rai, who is monitoring the case after Kohli’s parents shifted from Mohali to Patiala, said Kohli has not made any contact with his father or his wife and two sons in England and it was confirmed that he came to India after the incident. He said there was no clue about Kohli’s disappearance.
  • Paul Greer of the BBC from Southampton said the case was very high profile and it seemed the people in India were sympathetic towards the Fosters.
  • Mr Trevor Foster said his opinion has not changed towards Asians after the incident but for Kohli. Mr Foster said he did not care about the expenses incurred on his India mission. He father said he hoped that the joint effort of the British and Punjab police would bear fruits. The family said It was trying to keep the memory of Hannah alive by periodically calling her friends at home. Ms Hillary said one of Hannah’s friends had been selected for medicine education in a university. They see in her success the aspiration of Hannah being fulfilled.



UT Administration to computerise land records
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Following the Andhra Pradesh model of computerised efficiency, the Chandigarh Administration will be computerising all records of residential and commercial property in the city in the next few weeks.

The work to have details of property available online has started in the Estate Office which deals with files of property valued at crores of rupees. At the moment the target is to have high-value properties like commercial, institutional and big residential properties on the computer, says the Estate Officer, Mr Arun Kumar.

The USA-based company, which was developing the software, has completed the task. The company is at present testing the software in the Estate Office. Since the requirement for property is typical in nature, the software contains performas which need to be filled in by the computer operator. Requirements of the members of the public will be like no objection certificates and also orders for transfer of property. Properties with lesser value will be put on the computer later.

At present the hardware is being readied. The networking is on to link various computers on all three floors of the Estate Office. A computer counter will be set up in the Estate Office for people once everything is ready.

The staff is being trained for handling the software. The aim is to reduce the inconvenience to the members of the public. Officers who have to clear the files will have ready access. Everybody will not be able to know about the records. In the present system of files it takes a long time to just call for a file. Computerisation will also result is faster transactions and reduce the clout enjoyed by Estate Office babus.

The employees have been divided in small groups to put the files on the computer. Each week about 400 files are being added to the computer list.


First Sikh Lord Mayor of Leicester comes calling
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
While admitting that Sikhs were increasingly participating in public life in the UK, Mr Culdipp Singh Bhatti, the first Sikh Lord Mayor of Leicester, today said the trend was more pronounced among the first generation Sikhs.

On a private visit to the city today, Mr Bhatti, who enjoys a formidable reputation both in academic and official circles of UK, said the entry of young Sikhs in UK’s politics was not commonplace yet.

Referring to the second generation of Sikhs, he said, “They are well educated, and therefore they have their own mindsets. It is difficult to talk them into joining public life. But we are trying our best to encourage youngsters. We want to allow fresh ideas to gain ground. This is especially important for minorities’ interest.”

Having served as an educationist for 20 years in the UK, Mr Bhatti went on to join the political ranks in Leicester. After leaving India where he graduated from Khanna in Punjab, he studied economics and mathematics in the UK. After teaching for two decades he ventured into politics and later chaired several committees like Finance, Property and Recreation in Leicester. The high point in his career came when he was elected the first Sikh Lord Mayor of the area in 1996.

Said Mr Bhatti, “After 24 years the Labour Party lost power in Leicester in 2003. I am now part of the Opposition. Our work is to closely monitor the functioning of the Cabinet, forward suggestions, and guard the interests of minorities in our region.”

Currently Mr Bhatti is the Chair of Finance, Resources, Equal Opportunity Screening Committee. Mentioning that young Sikhs felt more bonded abroad, he said, “They have even started disposing of properties in India. The second generation of Sikhs is Indian by colour but their thinking and judgment is completely westernized. They don’t want to return, though many of us do.”


Preview show by NIFD students
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 14
To judge the garments prepared by the fourth semester students of fashion design for the forthcoming Annual NIFD Passing Out Fashion Show a jury presentation was organised by National Institute Of Fashion Design (NIFD), Chandigarh, today.

NIFD students presented a mini show and local models, which jury members evaluated.

The students displayed delicate work on rich fabrics like crepe and glass nylon to give shape to striking silhouettes in an ethnic round ‘Taj Mahal’. The theme was based on white color. The collection was sincere tribute to the monument, which carries the eternal love story.

There was good display in black net with a string of beads and sequins in flared gowns, skirts and trousers in refflssi luminous round.

Soft hues were used in trendy garments. Another interesting round was salvation . Tints and shades of orange, yellow added element of light to collection. The different techniques of tie and dye, burning effects and crochet were depicted.

The show ended with talsen round in which designers tried to team every style line to mix and evolve and created a line of outfits with a difference.

In all 14 rounds were held. The garments were judged by a jury of eminent personalities including designer of film ‘Water’, Ms Dolly Ahulwalia Tiwari, designer Ms Dimpy Gujral, star Cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s mother Ms Shabnam Singh, Director Of Dhillon Group Of Industries, Ms Manjit Dhillon and President of Thursday Ladies Club, Ms Jayshree.

Ms Shabnam said, “The creations were very innovative. Students have come up with a lot new trends and styles. I liked the salvation round the most.”

Ms Dimpy Gujral, who has an eye for the unusual, said, “The students have done very well and I feel that more bizarre an outfit, better it is.”


Epidemic waiting to happen in Burail, says Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Burail village is waiting for an epidemic to happen, according to the Mayor, Ms Kamlesh, who visited the area, here today. “Burail has all ingredients for an epidemic. Its open drains; littered open spaces and foul smell are a cause of concern as far as the health of the people in the area is concerned. The contractor will be dealt with strongly for non-performance,” she said.

Accompanied by the Medical Officer Health, Dr GC Bansal, the Joint Commissioner, Mr KS Kalson, the Chairman of the Sanitation Committee, Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, and the area councillor, she inspected the entire sector and expressed her dissatisfaction over the sanitary conditions.

Interestingly, there were only a couple of sweepers on the job when the inspection was carried out. They, too, were without uniforms while the other sweepers were absent from duty.

“I will recommend strong action against the contractor. He has failed to adhere to the terms and conditions of the contract. The insanitary condition can cause serious health problems for the public. In view of his non-performance, strict action would be taken against him,” Ms Kamlesh said.

The team also inspected Sectors 42, 43, 44 and 44 besides the Shivalik Enclave area of Mani Majra. While insanitary conditions were prevailing in particular pockets of these sectors, the inspecting team was satisfied with the work being done.

“After what we saw in Burail, these sectors seemed clean in comparison, barring a few areas. The sore spots were most around the dustbins where garbage was piled up outside rather than inside,” Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma said.

The Mayor said that surprise inspections would be carried out routinely to keep the contractors on their toes. “If surprise checks can help in maintaining cleanliness in the city, we will do so especially since monsoons spell trouble for the public if insanitary conditions go unchecked,” she maintained. 


New device to regulate mixing of chlorine
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 14
Ingenuity is certainly independent of higher education. Mr Multan Singh, a 45-year-old pump operator, barely a matriculate, working for the Punjab Public Health Department has invented an automatic device to regulate the mixing of chlorine in water to make it potable. Using his own tools and raw material, Mr Multan Singh has installed the first such ‘jugaru machine’ at the department’s tubewell in Tangori village, where he works.

How many of us know how the chlorine is added to tubewell water to make it potable? ‘‘Most of the time, it is mixed as a solution in a bucket and poured manually into the overhead drinking water tanks. The chlorinated water is then supplied to our homes. This system, however, has many drawbacks. The chlorine supply is unregulated and thus while on some days our drinking water has an over dose of chlorine, at other times we end up drinking water without chlorine,’’ he pointed out.

An innovative creation, Mr Multan Singh’s device of pipes and valves, closed in a pressure box can regulate the mixing of chlorine in the water that is released to homes. “All that is required is a chlorine tank and this box. It is fitted into the already available pipe structure. It functions without using any additional power in the form of electricity or battery, using the force of the water pressure. Every drop of water that goes through this box has the right amount of chlorine in it at 2mg per litre,” he claimed.

While in majority of the tubewells supplying drinking water across the state chlorine is mixed manually by the pump operators, at some places the Department of Public Health has started using electricity run machines. “Those machines have failed on two counts. Since they run using tullu pumps, many a times the pumps cannot withstand the water pressure and stop functioning. Secondly, when the electricity goes off these pull back water and have to be put off immediately,” he said adding that the electricity run machines have to be put on and off separately while his machine is controlled by the pump.

The electricity machine costs the government over Rs 20,000 while Mr Multan Singh’s machine will cost Rs 12,000 each. “The machine that I have installed here is made of desi iron. So it is cheap. Chlorine corrodes the iron that I have used. But the government can afford steel boxes for my device,” he said.

Mr Multan Singh wrote to his department about his invention in April this year, but did not get an encouraging response from them. ‘‘I wrote to the SDO’s office in Mohali who sent a junior engineer to check if my machine worked. The JE was convinced about the utility and simplicity of my machine but since then, nothing has moved in the office,” he said. “In fact someone in the SDO’s office told me that I should remove my machine from the Tangori tubewell as the department was contemplating action against me for installing the machine,” he added.

Mr Manmohanjit Singh, Chief Engineer (South), Public Health, could not be contacted as he was out of station.


Quark to the aid of govt schools
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 14
Quark has come to the aid of some government schools which lacked various facilities in the Kharar area with company chairman Fred Ibrahimi promising to provide modern cooking gadgets and home appliances for the “Rasoi” facility in a Sohana school here today.

The facility at Government Senior Secondary School for Girls will be equipped with latest gadgets used in the kitchen to help girl students get acquainted with their use.

The Quark chairman, who visited the Sohana school with the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, also assured the teachers of the institution that the computer laboratory would be upgraded and latest software would be provided in this regard. But a curriculum had to be drawn out so that important topics were taught to students and teachers which could be some help in the future.

Mr Ibrahimi awarded a scholarship for higher studies to Ms Karamjit Kaur, who had topped the school in the plus two examination.

The Quark chairman told a gathering of students that at the age of 11 he had started working. He used to sell sewing material in a bazaar in Iran. He had very little money when he wanted to go to America and had to choose the cheapest mode of transport to reach there. And then he worked hard to achieve what he wanted in life.

He urged the students to “assume responsibility” instead of depending on parents or the government. He said more than 50 per cent of the senior managers in his company were women. “You have to be your best” to succeed in life.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said Quark had adopted a number of schools in the area which were in need of infrastructural support to help the coming generation. He said Quark, the single largest investor in this region, would be changing the face of the area socially and economically.

The MLA said Quark and two other foreign companies were planning to invest nearly Rs 3000 crore in the area. They would be generating jobs for almost 1 lakh people. There was a need to start a movement to prepare students of the area according to the requirements of these companies so that they were able to get jobs after completing their education.

He said Quark had a foundation which spent Rs 2 crore to Rs 3 crore each year on works related to public welfare. He said he had approached the Quark chairman to spend part of the money on the welfare of students studying in government schools in this area.

He said the company had agreed to spend funds on providing proper infrastructure in schools located at Landran, Gigemajra and Desumajra villages. It had also promised to get a building constructed for Government Senior Secondary School, Kharar.

He said the government school at Sohana had 10 computers out of which only three were in working order. Only four teachers out of a total strength of 60 were able to operate computers.


This 3-year-old needs help to survive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Barely three years old, Sarika is battling for her life at the PGI. With a hole in her heart, this daughter of a labourer at Railley village, in Panchkula, Harishankar, needs help. Doctors have estimated that Rs 50,000 would be required for the child’s operation and the cost of treatment and medicines would be additional.

``Over a year, we have been taking rounds of the hospital to get her treated. Initially we had taken Sarika to the General Hospital in Panchkula but the doctors referred her to the PGI,’’ said her father. ``She used to get high fever almost every alternate day for the past one and a half year and the medicines would not help much as the fever would recur. It was then that her cardiac problem was diagnosed by the doctors.’’

The doctors attending to Sarika have said surgery is the only course of treatment. Contributions to the Poor Patient’s Fund at the PGI for Sarika can be routed through the Public Relations Officer, Nehru Hospital, PGI. Telephone: 2747585, extension: 6003.


Snag hits 14,000 telephones in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 14
Nearly 14,000 telephones in the town remained out of order for more than two hours due to a snag here this morning. The disruption in the services began around 10 a.m. and the problem could be set right only after 12 noon. Mr A.S. Sandhu, Divisional Engineer, said nearly 10,000 phones linked to the E-10-B exchange and 4,200 to the Fetex exchange became non-functional when the power supply to the two exchanges got disrupted.

He said the main switch of the battery system, which functioned whenever power supply failed, got damaged last night due to sparking. Engineers were called to repair the switch, but somehow they could not set it right. The switch was replaced today by the electrical wing of the department.


A 520-foot-long wall mural
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
As Haryana Tourism’s ambitious heritage village project at Rai awaits a formal opening on July 15, the man behind its artistic inspiration looks back on the project with a fair amount of satisfaction.

An alumnus of the Lucknow College of Art, N.K. Sathi has been involved in “Mhara Gam” (my village) project from the stage of conception. Not only has he infused the space of the resort, located at Rai, about 35 km from Delhi, with elements that serve as perfect representations of Haryanavi culture, he has also added an exquisite appeal to the area by way of his deftly executed mural binds. The best among his creations which instantly capture the visitors’ attention, is the 520- foot-long wall mural, which covers an area of about 4,000 sq ft.

With his larger than life work that spells the elegance of Haryana’s culture, Sathi has created a history of sorts. Interestingly, this is just one of the many artistic feats accomplished by him earlier. These include the inventive interiors of Phulkari Emporium in Sector 17, chambers of Prime Minister and the President of the Congress at the Mattaur (now Mohali) Congress sessions held in 1975, and also the pandals of NAM Summit at Harare in 1986. Sathi has also been designing the structures at the famous Suraj Kund fair, organised annually.

At Rai, he has retained the earthy feel of a Haryanavi village by giving a mud wall look to his mural. Bits of mirrors on the work add an extra sparkle to it. Moreover, these mirror pieces are reflective of Haryana’s rich tradition where women use them for embellishing the garment.

The rest of the folk furnishings at the resort, shaped like a “haveli”, also draw from local elements. Tattoo designs inside the structure have been crafted with paper mache, a popular past craft of Haryana. 


Illegal structures removed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
A team of the Chandigarh Housing Board today removed illegal structures in 10 flats in Sector 45-A and Sector 45-D. The occupants had encroached upon government land and constructed illegal balconies.

A team of the CHB started work this morning with the help of labourers.


Abandoned girl dead
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 14
Eight-year-old Pooja, who was abandoned by her brother and detected as suffering from tuberculosis, died at General Hospital last night. The girl was cremated by a non-government organisation, Aggarwal Sabha this morning. The Municipal Council authorities had earlier refused to perform her last rites.

It may be recalled that the girl was abandoned by her brother at Ragunath Mandir, Sector 15, on July 11.

A social worker, Mr R.S. Ahuja, had found her crying inconsolably at the temple and later brought her to the hospital.

For several hours after her death Pooja’s body lay in a corner of the hospital. The body was then shifted for post mortem.


IFFCO gives Rs 52.47 lakh to Markfed

Chandigarh, July 14
India’s cooperative leader in fertiliser production, IFFCO, has given a dividend of Rs 52, 47, 150 to Punjab Markfed.

The dividend cheque was formally presented by Mr S.S. Anand, General Manager, Marketing, IFFCO, to Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, Chairman, and Mr S. S. Channy, Managing Director, Markfed, at a simple ceremony here today. — TNS


Tributes paid to Baldev Sahai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 14
Tributes were paid to freedom fighter Baldev Sahai, who had died on July 3 after prolonged illness, on the bhog of Sri Garur Puran and Rasam Pagri held at Lehri Shah Mandir here today.

While speaking on the occasion, the SDM Ropar, Mr Daljit Singh, former MLAs Giani Rajinder Singh and Shamsher Singh Rai, vice-president of the Punjab unit of the All-India Freedom Fighters Organisation Sat Dev Sharma, secretary Rattan Singh Bagi, Ropar unit president Bachan Singh, INA, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee treasurer Baldev Singh Kang, District Congress Committee president Amarjit Singh, DPRO Surjit Singh Dukhi, advocate H.S.Paul and DAV Senior Secondary School principal Naresh Gautam recalled the contribution made by Sahai in the freedom struggle of the country. 


Man held in shop for impersonation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
A Panipat resident has been arrested for allegedly impersonating to collect a payment of Rs 35,000 on behalf of a shopkeeper from a customer who had booked a microwave oven on credit.

Deepak Kumar was arrested when he went to a shop in Sector 22-B and demanded the delivery of a microwave oven on behalf of a Sector 10 resident, Ms Balwinder Kaur.

His trick was noticed by the shopkeeper, Mr Satish Kumar, who caught hold of him on the spot and reported the matter to the police.

Deepak Kumar was arrested.

The police said Deepak Kumar was in the shop when Ms Balwinder Kaur asked for the delivery of the microwave oven at her residence and to collect the money from there. The shopkeeper got the impression that Deepak was accompanying the woman while the woman thought that he was a salesman. Deepak Kumar first asked a salesman to give him the bill of the microwave oven but did not succeed as he was told that the bill would be sent along with the delivery. Then Deepak approached the woman to make the payment.

The woman refused to do so in the absence of the delivery and the bill. In the meantime, the woman rang up the shopkeeper informing him about his salesmen demanding payment without the delivery and the bill. Deepak again reached the shop asking for delivery and the bill.

He was told that it had already been sent to the woman. Deepak’s lie was nailed down at this stage and he was caught by the shopkeeper.


Debt-ridden youth hangs himself to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
A 21-year-old employee of Micro Industries today hanged himself to death and a debt- ridden employee of a sweet shop died of a heart attack in the Mauli Jagran area.

Sachin Kumar was found hanging from a ceiling fan when his mother returned from a social function.

No suicide note has been found but he was depressed, according to the police.

The incident took place when his mother went out for a social function and the younger sister to her school.

Sachin’s father had gone to Nagpur.

In another incident, an employee of a sweet shop in Rajiv Colony, Jai Bhagwan, died of heart attack. Jai Bhagwan had gone to his village for constructing his house and had taken a loan beyond his capacity to return.

He was away for two months. He was working in Mohan Sweet Shop.

Jai Bhagwan returned to Rajiv Colony only twodays back. 


Gas agency owner, watchman arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
The owner of the Nirmal Gas Agency in Mani Majra, Mr Nirmal Singh, and a night watchman of the agency, Ramesh, have been arrested for allegedly endangering the life of Bhim, Atul and Banta and destroying evidence in a July 11 fire.

According to the police, during investigation it was found that the gas connection in the small room of Bhim was not registered in the records of the agency and was illegal. The living room of the fire victim Bhim was also not as per the guidelines prescribed for a gas godown. The police said according to the guidelines, there could not be any residential construction close to a godown.

The police also said that the duo had also allegedly tried to destroy evidence of the fire by getting the victims admitted in a private hospital in Panchkula and removing the cylinder. The removed material was traced in Bapu Dham Colony.

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