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Guarded reaction by Hannah’s parents to Kohli’s arrest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
The murdered British girl Hannah Foster’s parents kept their fingers crossed on hearing the news of the arrest of the main suspect, Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, after 15 months.

The disbelief of Kohli’s arrest is strong even amongst the police officers investigating the case in Britain as they said it was yet to confirmed that the person arrested in West Bengal was Kohli.

Their response to the news that Hannah’s suspected murderer had been caught only two days after they appealed to the Indian people to help them arrest Kohli was mixed with “joy and caution,” a police officer accompanying the Foster family told The Tribune.

However, touched by the response of the people of India, media and the police, they expressed their gratitude to them at a press conference here today.

Media persons gathered in the lobby of the Mountview Hotel hoping for their comment but it took the Fosters two hours to give their response. The Fosters also kept their phones hung up during the day.

Sharing their feeling at the news of Kohli’s arrest, Mr Foster said “We are trying to keep our emotions in check after hearing that Kohli had been arrested.”

Mr Allan Bretts, the investigating officer in the case, told The Tribune that the DGP of West Bengal today informed him that Kohli had been arrested last night in Darjeeling while trying to cross over to Nepal.

Mr Bretts said he would leave for Darjeeling to confirm if the person who had identified himself as Kohli was really Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, the prime suspect in the Hannah murder case. Mr Bretts said when he shared the information with the Fosters they were joyous but at the same time cautious lest he should turn out to be somebody else.

Disbelief of the Fosters is apparent because of the fact that a person who could not be traced by the Indian police, could have been arrested only two days after media and the people gave the grieved family a sympathetic response.

Mr Bretts, who was with the family when it went to Patiala to meet the SSP, Mr S. S. Rai, indicated that he would be leaving tonight for Darjeeling for Kohli’s identification. He said his response would come once it was confirmed that it was Kohli who had been arrested. Mr Bretts said he would then move a court to seek Kohli’s extradition.

The British police may go in for a DNA test of Kohli for confirming that he was Maninder Pal Singh Kohli.

Ms Morag Scotts, who has been liaisoning between the police and the Fosters since Hannah’s disappearance on March 14, 2003, said the family was not yet building up hope. However, she said they were very happy when the information was given to them that Kohli had been arrested.

Ms Scotts said she had been with the family through thick and thin. She was keeping the family posted about what the police was doing in the case.

Ms Scotts said the police of Hampshire would consult its legal agency to give any response to the media.

Ms Scotts praised the Fosters as “kind and courageous people” indicating that their attitude was crucial in cracking a difficult case in the United Kingdom.

When asked if he would take a relative of Kohli for his identification Mr Bretts said “probably not”. Mr Bretts said he would go to Darjeeling to satisfy himself that the person arrested was Kohli. The Fosters kept aloof and even sought the help of the hotel security to keep the media at bay. 
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Kohli’s brother feels relieved
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 15
Mr Ishtpreet Singh, Maninder Pal Singh’s brother posted as constable in Punjab Police, today said his family was relieved with the arrest of Maninder. ‘‘I am not competent to comment but I feel that our family would be spared
the constant police surveillance and mental tension that we have been going through for the past one year,’ ’he said.

Mr Ishtpreet Singh added he thought his brother was innocent. ‘‘We can just hope that justice will prevail. If Maninder is innocent, he will be let off,’’ he said. Maninder Pal Singh’s parents shifted to Patiala from Mohali while Ishtpreet, serving in the DGP’s office lives in Chandigarh. ‘‘He has not been in touch with any one of us since he left Mohali last year. I came to know that he has been caught while I was in office. Now I am watching him on TV. He too is saying that he was innocent,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Mohali police will take legal advice regarding the FIR lodged at Mohali against Maninderpal Singh. ‘‘The FIR is not against Kohli himself but against those who could have been harbouring him. But that is not enough to arrest him here or bring him here,’’ said Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, Superintendent of Police, Mohali. Mr Aggarwal added that during investigations, ‘‘if it is found that Kohli was provided shelter by his relatives or friends here, then we would be taking action.’’

Mr Aggarwal said Kohli would most likely be extradited from Kolkata to the UK where he would face a trial.
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Ex-servicemen sore over non-acceptance of demands
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
Ex-Servicemen and their widows are sore over the fact that despite repeated assurances successive governments have not done much about their long-pending demands, including one-rank one-pension.

Brig (Retd) Sant Singh, president of the Indian Ex-Services League, in a press note issued today said even dignitaries of the stature of the President and Prime Minister had gone back on their categorical announcements made in public and the joint session of the Parliament sometime back. “Even the recommendations of the Parliament standing committee on defence matters for accepting these demands have become casualties in the bureaucratic minefield,” he said.

Their four main demands pertain to grant of one rank one pension, doing way with 33 years of service condition to earn full pension, discrimination in grant of disability pensions and lateral induction of early retirees into other government services. The executive committee of the league at its meeting held here yesterday resolved that the apex body at Delhi be approached to seek meetings with the Prime Minister of India and Defence Minister to press them for the acceptance of these demands.
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Monsoon to elude city for another four days
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
Rains will remain elusive for at least four more days and moisture content in the air will also swell in all likelihood, further exasperating weather conditions. At least that is what weather officials at the local Met Department conclude after studying the “not-so-encouraging” monsoon trends this season.

Little rains over the past few days have occurred due to high moisture content building up in a few pockets over the city. However, weathermen that more rains cannot be predicted in the coming four days because of a weak monsoon condition this time around. This, they say, is the break monsoon period which has conditions that discourage rains. The predominant reason behind the elusive attitude of rains despite the arrival of monsoons is lack of low pressure system formations over the Bay of Bengal.

Speaking to The Tribune today, Mr Surinder Paul, Director at the local Met office, said the current weather phenomena could be explained by two factors. “The foremost reason is the absence of formations of low pressure systems over the Bay of Bengal. It is these systems that activate the monsoons in our region. But this time even the low pressure belts are shifting towards the foothills of the Himalayas, away from this area in particular. Also this time their movement is not northwesterly.”

The normal trend is that low pressure belts move northwesterly and then intensify, thus activating the monsoons in this part of the country.

However, this time these belts have not intensified. Instead they have dissipated, and nearly fallen flat, hitting the rains below the belt.

Another cause behind meagre rain is that the western disturbances this time have taken the monsoons towards the foothills of the Himalayas. Said Mr Paul, “The revival of the monsoon is likely only if favourable conditions persist. Low pressure systems over the Bay of Bengal are a must to intensify rains. Or else, the situation will remain much the same. For another three days, we see no possibility of rain in Chandigarh”.

Meanwhile, moisture levels in the air are soaring. The intolerable heat this morning was generated by an 89 per cent level of humidity in the air around. Moisture is likely to rise further.
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Property registration to cost more
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 15
Registration of sale deeds of property in Panchkula will now cost more. The Panchkula Administration today issued the enhanced Collectors’ Rate, used as a benchmark by revenue officials to register the sale of property. The new enhanced rates for property in the district have come into effect immediately and will lead to an additional revenue worth several crores each year.

There has been a quantum jump of almost 10 to 25 per cent in the saleable price of property in urban areas and a 25 per cent increase in the saleable price of property in rural areas as per the new notification. On an average, registering the sale deed of a 10-marla property in developed sectors of the township will now cost about Rs 16,000 more, while the registration of the sale of a one-kanal property will cost Rs 32,000 more.

The new rates show a jump of Rs 300 to Rs 1,000 per square metre in residential property in various sectors of the township. The new rates of saleable commercial property, notified today, have seen a rise of Rs 7,000 per square metre and Rs 50,000 per acre in rural areas. Officials say the new rates for commercial property have been decided keeping in mind the reserve price fixed by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA). They say the Collectors’ Rate, which is revised each year, was increased marginally, and this is the first time that the rate has been increased substantially.

Since the new rates came into effect from today, a number of people who had come to the revenue office to get the sale deeds of property registered, were left high and dry, with the registeration fee and stamp duty also having been increased. The new rates were decided by a committee comprising the SDM, Panchkula, the District Revenue Officer and the Tehsildar, Panchkula.

The commercial rate in 13 villages falling in Panchkula town has been fixed at Rs 26,500 per marla, while land up to 2 acres on both sides of the state highway from Nadda village to Ramgarh is now Rs 10 lakh per acre, and from Ramgarh to the district border with Ambala, and from Old Panchkula to Chandi Mandir on the highway Rs 7 lakh per acre.

The new notification says that if a person has possession of land as a tenant according to revenue records for the past 12 to 30 years, and intends purchasing it, this land will be valued at one-third of the rate otherwise fixed for the land. If the possession of the land is for over 30 years, the price for possession will be fixed at one-fourth the new price of the land.

Yearly depreciation of 1 per cent , after five years, will be allowed on old houses subject to confirmation by way of occupation certificate issued by HUDA or any other authority. The rate of unfinished houses and structures will be treated as half of the covered area’s rate, if so confirmed by HUDA or any other competent authority. 


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Bank employees call for strike on Aug 24
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
The United Forum of Bank Unions has given a call to bank employees in the country to observe strike on August 24 against the dilly-dallying tactics being adopted by the Indian Banks Association( IBA) with regard to the revision of pay of bank employees.

Making an announcement in this connection here yesterday, Mr N.K. Gaur, joint secretary of the All-India Bank Employees Association, said the decision to proceeding on the one-day strike had been taken following a prolonged discussion among various leading employees unions of of various banks.

Mr Gaur said for the past 20 months, negotiations were going on with the IBA regarding the revision of salaries of employees. But the IBA was using tactics to delay the revision of salaries of employees. He said that the last pay revision pact was signed by unions with the IBA in 1997 for five years and that lapsed on October 31,2002. Since then, about 10 lakh bank employees were insisting for revision of salaries. However, the IBA was trying to dodge them on one pretext or other.

Mr Gaur said bank employees had been exhibiting maximum patience and adopted positive approach in the negotiations but the IBA had adopted a very rigid and unreasonable attitude. The IBA wanted free mobility of bank employees as far as their transfers and postings were concerned but unions wanted it should be restricted to a radius of 40 Kms in a district where employee was posted, said Mr Gaur.

Before going for strike, employees will hold demonstrations, mass rallies, dharnas at district headquarters and state capitals.
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Punwire union asks govt to clarify stand
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 15
The Punwire Employees Union along with members of other unions in the state held an all party convention here today. A resolution was passed urging the state government to clarify its stand on the issue of Punwire’s revival before July 21.

Mr Shahid Ahmed, president of the Punwire Employees Union stated that the next course of action by the employees would be decided once the stand of the government was known on the issue. ‘‘In case the state does not react, Punwire employees would sit on dharna outside the Congress Bhavan in Chandigarh from July 22 to July 26,’’ he said.

He added that they had ended their three-year-old strike on the basis of a promise made by MLA Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh. ‘‘Mr Bir Devinder Singh was to attend today’s convention but he could not. He will be addressing the members on July 21, at Chandigarh,’’he said.

Several municipal councillors of the township including Mr B.B. Maini, Mrs Deep Kaur Shyan, Mr Amrik Singh and Mrs Manmohan Kaur, attended the convention.

Yesterday, Mr B.S.Baidwan, past president, Mohali Industries Association and CEO, Ajay Electrical Industries Limited requested the new Finance Minister, Punjab, Mr Surinder Singla, to convene an urgent meeting of the core group formed to consider the revival of Punwire. 
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Former Air Force man still flies high
Kuldip Dhiman

From Kochi to Chandigarh, and from radars to computers, Junior Warrant Officer Vincent Joseph (retd) has come a long way. The transition was not easy, but he and his wife Rani Vincent, do not complain about a few bumps that troubled them when they set up their computer repair workshop in Chandigarh in 1994. And now Vincent is a leader in his field handling all sorts of computers and peripherals.

For someone with a 15-year experience in the IAF as radar technician who got special training in Moscow, computers came quite naturally. Foreseeing the computer revolution that was about to take place, Vincent, rather than go back to his native Kerala, set up shop in Chandigarh. “Chandigarh was my last posting, and since my family liked the place we decided to settle here.”

What about the complaint that the computer repair market has gone bust? “The prices may have gone down, but not the volume,” says Vincent. “The volume has indeed gone up. Most importantly, if you are good at your work, you need not worry. The problem is that there are those who just do a six-month diploma and set up shop. Such people have a lot to worry about. But if you have solid background in electronics, and have a diploma or degree and long experience, there will always be enough work. Besides, there are no short-cuts in this line. You have to keep updating your knowledge by reading books and professional magazines.” This is quite clear by the volume of work that is handled by Vincent and his team of 8 technicians.

Do the Vincents miss Air Force life? “We do miss it,” admits Rani who refused to be photographed, “but the major problem was frequent transfers. And of course the pay was not so good. Now we have the money, but not the time! We hardly get time off, but we make it a point to visit our parents in Kerala at least once a year.”

Any problems integrating in a city far off from their homeland? “No,” says Vincent, “My Air Force background has exposed me and my family to various states and cultures. Our outlook is very cosmopolitan, and we and our two daughters are very happy here. In fact, my daughters love this place, and they speak Punjabi fluently.”
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Power cuts irk Mohali residents
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 15
The failure of the Punjab State Electricity Board to supply uninterrupted power supply to some parts of the town has the residents fuming. They feel harassed as they have to face unannounced power cuts and frequent disruption in the power supply.

Mrs Manmohan Kaur, a Municipal Councillor, living in Phase II, said that this year the power position was unsatisfactory. Though problems were faced every year by residents during the summer season, this time the position was worse. She said that the problem had been arising over the past about one month. A few days ago power supply got disrupted at about 10.30 p.m. and was restored only at about 2 a.m. She said that during the day also power got disrupted many times.

Mr Ajaib Singh Tung, a resident of Phase IV, who has had a bitter experience one night said that the power got disrupted at about 11 p.m. some days ago and was restored around 3 p.m. the next day after a breakdown of nearly 14 hours. The inverter systems in a number of houses failed that night and some of the residents sat in their cars after switching on the air conditioners in their vehicles. But for how long could this go on. He said that on most days residents had to stay without power for about two hours on an average.

Expressing similar views, Mr P.S. Virdi, president of the House Owners Welfare Association, Phase 1, said the area faced frequent unannounced power cuts. About four days ago power got disrupted at night a number of times leading to lot of inconvenience. He said even inverters failed when power remained disrupted for long periods. Mr V.K. Mahajan, Additional Superintending Engineer, said a snag that had developed at a substation which had been rectified and at present there was no major problem existing in the power supply, barring minor cases here and there. He said there were no power cuts in the town. Due to a failure in the monsoon, there was excess load on the system. He said he himself was monitoring the power supply.
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Cong seeks ban on demolitions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
A total ban on demolitions in the Union Territory of Chandigarh has been demanded by a deputation of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC), which met the Punjab Governor and Administrator of UT, Chandigarh, Justice O.P.Verma (retd) today.

The deputation, led by the CTCC chief, Mr B.B. Bahl, submitted a memorandum highlighting some of the major problems being faced by the residents of the UT. The deputation emphasised that all types of demolitions should be put on hold till need-based amendments to building bylaws in the city were carried out.

The deputation pointed out that over 70 per cent commercial, private and government buildings in the city had been resumed or were under resumption proceedings. Nearly 50 per cent of the residential buildings constructed before 1993 did not have completion certificates. Under the circumstances, immediate steps were needed to be taken to correct the situation.

The memorandum suggested that the committee on building bylaws constituted under the chairmanship of Deputy Commissio-ner some years ago should be revised to study and recommend suggestions put forward by residents on all types of properties, including commercial, industrial and residential.

The rehabilitation of slums through new modern schemes of HUDCO should be undertaken on a big scale. Loan on low rates of interest should be obtained and both private and public sectors should be involved in the scheme.
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Child dies as roof collapses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , July 15
An eight-year-old child tonight died when the roof on which he was sleeping collapsed in Behlana village, near the airport. The child has been identified as Arman of house number 260 in the village, according to the police.

He was taken to the GMCH where he was declared brought dead, the police said.

The cause of the roof collapse has not yet been ascertained. 
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Mother of three found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
A 24-year-old mother of three daughters was found dead under mysterious circumstances at her mother’s house in Indira Colony here today. Sonu slept on the roof of her house last night after she complained of stomach ache. She was also complaining about back pain, her family members told the police.

Sonu came here 15 days back from the house of her in-laws in Jalandhar. However, there are couple of marks on her body, including the neck, the police said. The police has sent the body for a post-mortem examination. Her in-laws have been called.
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Saplings planted at Press Club
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
Chandigarh Press Club stepped into its silver jubilee year by celebrating its 24th annual ‘Founder’s Day’ here today. The function was marked by planting of a variety of saplings on the club premises by veteran journalists, past presidents and secretary-generals. Speaking on the occasion, the club’s founder president, Mr B.K. Chum, who led the sapling plantation ceremony, dwelt upon the club’s growth from a humble start to a premier media institution of the country. While appreciating the infrastructure development and multifarious activities at the club, Mr Chum called upon the members to keep up the professional standards of the institution and celebrate it’s silver jubilee in the most befitting manner.

Mr N.S. Parwana, Mr Akhil Gautam, Mr Sarabjit Pandher and the club president, Mr Ramesh Chaudhary, were among those who spoke on the occasion. Today’s function marks the beginning of the year-long silver jubilee celebrations which will entail a series of professional activities. The saplings were provided by the president of the Environment Society, Mr S.K. Sharma.
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Sector 47 resident loses documents

Chandigarh, July 15
Mr Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Sector 47, lost his purse containing money and important documents in Sector 47 market, here today.

The purse also contained a sum of Rs 1,000 and some important documents including licence, RCs of car and motor cycle, an ATM card of Allahabad Bank, voters card and insurance papers of the vehicles. OC 
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Woman arrested for burglaries
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 15
The crime branch of the Chandigarh police has arrested Bala, allegedly involved in over a dozen burglaries, from a house atSahnsi Colony in Sector 38-A, here today. The police also claims to have recovered gold ornaments from her possession.
In a press note, the police said Bala was arrested in a similar case registered under Sections 454 and 380, IPC, at the Sector 11 police station on Monday.

Apprehending her involvement in other cases, the police arrested her and during preliminary interrogation, she admitted to have committed burglaries in the city in the last a couple of years. The police has also recovered gold and other items that she had allegedly stolen from F-13 on the Panjab University campus.

Belonging to the Sahnsi comminity, Bala had deserted her husband a few years ago and was staying at Ghora Factory, Ludhiana. She took to crime along with her sister-in-law Kamla, who is also a registered criminal at Sector 39 police station, about 15 years ago, the police said. The modus operandi of Bala was that she used to move in streets posing as a rag-picker, identify a house and its owners movements and then commit burglary.

Bala has also admitted to have committed three more burglaries in the city for which she has been arrested. She was later produced before a court and was remanded in police custody till Saturday. 
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Two cases of chain-snatching
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 15
Two incidents of chain- snatching were reported in the town today. In both cases, two accused targeted women while the latter were walking towards their homes. The first case of chain- snatching took place in Sector 10 this morning when Parmeshwari Devi was walking towards her home. Two scooter-borne youths approached her from behind, and the pillion rider snatched her chain.

In the second incident, in the afternoon Ms Ram Rakhi (60) was targeted by two motor cycle-borne youths while she was returning to her house in Sector 16.

She was coming back from the nearby village of Budanpur after buying milk from a dairy when the two motor cycle-borne youths approached her and snatched her gold chain.
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Man commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , July 15
A 45-year-old resident of Colony Number 4 today committed suicide. Bhagwan Singh, father of three children, hanged himself from a ceiling fan Bhagwan, hailing from Uttaranchal, left a suicide note asking the family members and the police to cremate without a post-mortem examination. He said in the note that he was ending his life on his own.

Bhagwan Singh’s wife had been away for a month to Uttaranchal. His eldest son, who works in a local factory, noticed his father hanging from the fan.Back

 
 

LIC customers’ get-together
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 15
A customers’ get-together was organised by LIC of India, Chandigarh Division at Jeevan Parkash Building, Sector 17 here today. A large number of policy holders attended the meeting. Mr P.L. Vidyarthi, Marketing Manager of Chandigarh Division presided over the meeting and apprised the policy holders of the latest hi-tech changes made by LIC for better customer service, including the electronic clearance system for the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana.

Mr Vidyarthi highlighted the performance of the Chandigarh Division and said that the division stood first in north zone in terms of achievement of budget.

Mrs Dalbir Kaur, Customer Relation Manager and Mr Ashwani Aggarwal, Manager (Policy Services) replied to queries.

Mr S.K. Khaitan, member, Policy Holders’ Council, discussed the new modes of premium payment through bank ATMs and Internet. 
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