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Thefts, burglaries order of the day
Crime in Mohali: Mid-year review
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 7
Mohali saw a sharp spurt in thefts and burglaries in the first half of this year. But the condition worsened in the past fortnight. Daring burglaries and robberies were reported almost every day from the township. And while the police claimed that it was on the verge of a breakthrough, not a single thief responsible for these crimes has been nabbed.

As many as 236 cases were registered by the police here till July 15 compared to 364 cases registered in the corresponding period last year. While there were no murders in Mohali during this period last year, four murders have taken place here since the beginning of this year. While three of these were solved within weeks of their taking place, the last of these murders was solved previous week, almost five months after the murder took place.

The number of FIRs registered for burglaries showed a decline since last year, but the recent spate of daylight robberies and small burglaries this year has filled the residents with a sense of insecurity. The number of other thefts also showed a rise. Incidents of snatching and vehicle thefts have also increased since last year. The performance of the police in nabbing drug-traffickers and gamblers too went down.

Meanwhile, the Superintendent of Police, Mr Rakesh Agarwal, says that the total number of cases registered in Mohali went down, proving that the security scenario has improved. ‘‘Most of the vehicle thefts were solved. As regards the burglaries, we are preparing a complete list of all the criminals who have been arrested in Mohali in the past 10 years. These persons will be verified and we are hopeful that we will be able to get vital clues to these incidents.’’

The first half of the year saw a decrease in the number of accidental deaths. Twelve deaths were reported on Mohali roads, compared to 14 in the same period last year. The number of accidents went up from 32 to 36 this year. Most horrifying were two incidents in which car drivers who hit someone on the road offered to help the victims and posed to take them away in their car to the hospital. But they threw their victims in open fields, where they died. The police, too, let the car drivers get away with cases of rash and negligence driving against them.

Frequent changes in the top brass of the police only added to the problem. The township saw a change in the Superintendents of Police and also a change in the SSP Ropar. With each official having a different style of policing, none of the perpetual problems being faced by the rank and file of the police force could be solved.

The SHOs of various police stations complain of acute shortage of staff. ‘‘A police station should have 120 constables attached to it. But I am working with 30. Similarly, the number of ASIs is also half of what is required,’’ said Mr Sukhjit Singh Virk, SHO, Phase VIII, Police station.

People’s voice

Official version

Col H.S. Sangha
Col H.S. Sangha (retd.), president, Mohali Development and Residents Welfare Association, says: “The crime situation in Mohali is alarming. Everyday there is a robbery or burglary. The police has initiated some steps but nothing seems to have come out of these. Night-patrolling on cycles and on foot needs to be intensified. And we should have more policemen doing the rounds of the city in plain clothes’’.

Ms Amiteshwar Kaur
Ms Amiteshwar Kaur, Municipal Councillor and member of the Crime Against Women Cell, says: “There is no women police in the township to deal with problems pertaining to women. Even the Crime Against Women Cell is dominated by policemen, who have not been sensitised towards handling security problems faced by women.“

Mr Shyam Bansal
Mr Shyam Bansal, councillor and president of the Shopowners Association, says: “There is an urgent need for police patrolling in markets since the incidents of theft in small shops have increased. This has created a sence of insecurity among the shopkeepers.”

Mr Surinder Pal
Mr Surinder Pal Singh, SSP, Ropar, says: “The police is bound to ensure the safety of the residents. But the police is also part of the same society that it has to provide security to and suffer from similar shortcomings. With regards to the increase in theft cases, we will be showing results very soon.



Rain to return but with reduced intensity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
The monsoon seems to have receded, but that does no imply it will not return. Weather officials say rains will lash the region again, but not with the intensity witnessed a few days ago.

Officials in the local met office have ruled out any possibility of rain in the coming 24 hours. They said that the cloud formations over the region today should not be mistaken as indication of rain. Speaking to Chandigarh Tribune today, Mr Surinder Paul, Director, Met office, said there would be no rains for the next one day because the monsoon systems had drifted away from the region.

In keeping with its unpredictable mood this year, the monsoon is exhibiting an extremely fractured pattern. Experts say the discontinuity of weather systems will continue for a while, making predictions about rain a bit difficult.

Mr Paul said, “In the first place the revival of monsoon was delayed. When the monsoon systems activated, there was so much torrential rain. But now the fractured pattern has returned, and that accounts for the sudden temperature rise after persistent rains. We see no conditions for a monsoon build-up over the region at least for one more day. The formation of low-pressure areas is a must for rains to visit us again”.

For the time being, the monsoon formation has been diverted away from Chandigarh due to wind pattern and some other factors. The entire system has moved westwards across South Rajasthan. The chances of revival will develop only when a low-pressure area is created over the region yet again. Meanwhile, weather experts say no flood-like situation is expected.



Sharp rise in vegetable prices
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 7
There has been a sharp rise in the prices of vegetables in the market in the past 10 days. Wholesale as well as retail prices are spiralling.

The prices of tomato, long gourd, capsicum, and pumpkin have swelled by 100 per cent. The peas are costlier by Rs/- 10 (wholesale/retail), the brinjal by Rs 3, the lady’s finger by Rs 3 and the cucumber by Rs 4.

According to Mr Brij Mohan, vice-president, Sabji Mandi Arhtiya Association, Sector 26, the price hike is the result of untimely rains. Earlier, the prices were hit by drought.

The recent spell of rains caused severe damage to local vegetation. Incessant rains and water logging are the major reasons for vegetable crop failure.

Damaged rail links with Maharashtra and Gujarat have also contributed to the hike in the price of onion as these come from these two states. Rains in the hills and damaged road links are some other factors which have led to the sharp hike in the prices of vegetables.

In Panchkula the prices of most vegetables have gone up after the flash floods on August 3. The prices of fruits have remained static, other than those of mangoes. But the increase in price of mango is because it is the last crop to reach the markets this year.

The price of potato during this season is anything between Rs 6 to Rs 8. Before the downpour earlier this week, potatoes were selling at Rs 10 a kilo (because of drought like conditions earlier). Now the vegetable is available for Rs 12 per kg. Onions have shown an increase from Rs 10 per kg to Rs 12 per kg.



BEL plans products for civilian market
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
Defence public sector undertaking giant Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) is drawing up ambitious plans to tap the international military as well as civilian market for its products. It is also expanding its base in the civilian market within the country by initiating several new projects.

"We are formulating a policy to export some of our products to SAARC, Arab and African countries," Mr Basavarajaiah, Director, BEL, Bangalore Complex, said. We have started a lot of initiatives and are working to come up with special products, including communication equipment, radars and encryption equipment towards this end," he added. Mr Basavarajaiah, who has earlier served as General Manager of BEL's Panchkula complex, was here on an official visit.

Stating that the export market was a thrust area, he added that the company was also looking towards contracts for maintenance and upgradation of existing military equipment in some countries.

BEL has been exporting some of its products, but the exercise has been limited to selling some equipment back on a work sharing basis to the country from where original transfer of technology for local manufacture of products was obtained. BEL presently has a range of 350 products, which includes various types of radars, surveillance equipment, communication equipment, electronic warfare systems and electro-optical devices. About 80 per cent of its products are for the defence sector.

"Our vision is to move from a Rs 2,800 crore turnover to a Rs 5,000 crore over the next two-three years, Mr Basavarajaiah said.

"Out of this we aim to generate 10 per cent from exports," he added. This implies that by 2006, BEL hopes to generate Rs 500 crore through foreign business. Last year, the export revenues were in the vicinity of Rs 50 crore. Further, a memorandum of understanding has signed with the central government for generating about $ 15 million worth of foreign business.

The Director said that BEL is also taking up solar power generation in a big way. Among projects in this field is the solar powered traffic signals. it has been installed in Bangalore and several other cities are on the anvil.

Another major project being executed by BEL is the Multi-purpose National Identity Card. The project's ongoing phase involves integrating photographs and finger prints of individuals with data on three million cards.

Simputer, BEL's latest development for the civilian market, has also created a lot of interest. It is an indigenously developed hand-held computer and several state governments have expressed a desire to use it in their e-governance projects.



18 Dogra to pay homage to Major Shankla
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 7
A contingent of 18 Dogra will be paying homage to Major Sandeep Shankla, who was killed in action during anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir in 1991, at the Shankla Memorial here tomorrow. For his actions during the operations he was decorated with Ashok Chakra, the highest peacetime gallantry award.

The Chief of Staff Western Command, Lieut-Gen P.K. Grover as well as other officers will lay wreaths at the memorial. A guard of honour will reverse arms and the bugle will be sounded as a mark of respect.

On August 8, 1991, Major Shankla was tasked to carry out a cordon and search operation in Zafarkhani village, when militants trapped inside opened fire on the search party from various directions. In the ensuing cross-fire, a soldier was hit and Major Shankla, unmindful of his personal safety, moved up and dragged the soldier to safety. He then rushed back to engage the militants and killed one of them.

In the meantime, two hand grenades were thrown at the officer, who showing rare courage, picked up one and threw it back at the militants, killing one of them. In the process he also received splinter injuries, but he fought on. He was again hit by AK-56 fire, seriously wounding him. He continued to engage the militants till he fell unconscious. While he was being evacuated, he succumbed to his injuries.



Staff opposes management move to dispose of printer cartridges
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 6
Members of the Electronic Systems Punjab Employees Union opposed the move of the management here today to dispose of boxes containing used printer cartridges which were lying in the factory for the past many years.

They said they would not allow this to happen until the management made it clear as to why these were being disposed of in an unusual manner. They said the truck, which was being loaded with the material, was parked outside the main gate, which had been locked by the PSIDC. Why could the vehicle not be taken inside the factory instead of loading it outside the main gate?

Mr Ramji Dass, general secretary of the Trade Union Council, said, How could we believe that only used cartridges were being loaded into the truck? May be some other material was packed into the boxes for transportation for which employees could be held responsible at a later stage”.

The president of the union, Mr Kultar Singh, alleged that the Managing Director, Mr Ashok Sharma, had employed five officials of the factory on contract basis when they had already availed the VRS benefit. These five employees had allegedly been given the authority to sign gate passes for the sale and purchase of materials for the factory.

It is learnt that in the evening the management had got the truck unloaded as the employees kept sticking to heir stand that they would not allow the material to be taken away in this manner.

Mr Ashok Sharma told The Tribune that the material that was being disposed off had been purchased from multinational company, Helwett Packard. The company had recently floated a scheme that if the used cartridges were returned, the compensation in this regard could be given in the form of printers. “We thought that by disposing off the used material, ESPL could get new printers which could later be sold to generate funds for running the affairs of the unit".

He said the company was running in losses and the figure in this regard stood at Rs 100 crore on March 31 this year. The BIFR had ordered the winding up of the company. The unit, which was preparing voter identity cards, had been asked to provide back-up data of nearly 2 crore voters to the Central Government by September 30 after which the formal winding up of the unit would start.

Meanwhile, Mr Kultar Singh said the union had decided to take part in the protest being held on August 17 for the revival of closed units.



German woman donates 1,500 euros
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
German woman Ms Erica Pruemm has donated a sum of 1,500 euros to sponsor the treatment of the children suffering from cancer at the Advanced Paediatric Centre (APC) at the PGI here. The money was handed over at the APC by Pruemm’s sister, Ms Inge Sharma, here today.

Ms Pruemm, who is a regular donor towards the cause, has been associated with the Cancer Sahatya Sahyog Association, an NGO working for the betterment of the cancer patients. Every year Ms Pruemm raises money in Germany by organising concerts and selling cards for the children affected with cancer and sends it to the children in the PGI. On the occasion, the students from the St John’s High School also visited the children affected with cancer.



Dera Bassi villages face Admn apathy
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, August 7
Scores of villages that lost connectivity with main roads and markets following torrential rain on Tuesday in the subdivision are still facing apathy of the authorities concerned.

With washing away of link roads and small bridges on various choes and rivulets, villagers have been forced to walk long distances to reach places of their work. Residents of a number of villages have been inconvenienced as water supply to these areas was hit adversely.

Telephones in certain villages are out of order even after a week of the heavy rain.

The Lalru-Bhagwas link road at Jandli village, Lalru-Handesra road at Basauli village, Lalru-Jaula Khurd road, Sarseeni-Sadhapur road, Mubarikpur-Ramgarh road, the Kakrali-Morthikri link road, Dera-Bassi-Isaapur-Bhankharpur road, Zirakpur-Bartana road and many others were washed away.

Woman folk have to trudge miles to fetch potable water either from natural water sources or from neighbouring villages.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Harpal Singh, a former sarpanch of Morthikri village, lamented that as the road linking their village with the Ramgarh-Mubarikpur road had been washed away, students had been facing a great problem in reaching their schools in time.

The gushing water also damaged, pipe-lines supplying potable water to many village, thus forcing them to consume contaminated water. Neither the Health Department nor the local administration has done anything to solve their problems, complained Mr Lakhwinder Singh, another villager.

Mr Sarabjit Singh, a resident of Lalru village, said though the health authorities organised a medical camp in the village, it hardly benefited the villagers. The affected villagers of Tiwana, Khajoor Mandi and over a dozen other villages have not received any monetary or other assistance from the administration, said Mr Prem Singh, a villager.



Two sisters drowned
Our Correspondent

Lalru, August 7
Two daughters of a shepherd were drowned in a pit located in the fields in Malikpur village, 10 km from here, this evening.

Students of Government High School, Malikpur, Kulwinder Kaur (13) and her younger sister Parwinder Kaur (10) had gone to graze their cattle when they fell into the pit and were drowned.

According to Mr Ram Aasra, father of the girls, the family got suspicious when the cattle returned home at 6 pm without the girls. Finding the girls missing, the family members raised a hue and cry. A hunt was launched.

Some persons of the village tracing the footprints of the girls on wet earth reached a field and found chappals and stoles belonging to the girls on the bank of the pit.

The villagers then fished out their bodies.

Meanwhile, Mastaan Singh, a resident of Amlala village, was washed away by strong current of the Ghaggar river this afternoon.

Mr Mohinder Singh, a former sarpanch of the village and uncle of the victim, said Mastaan Singh, an ex-serviceman, was crossing the river when he fell.



Survey of locked houses by cops
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 7
In a special drive, the police today undertook a survey of houses locked in Chandigarh.

The motive behind the drive was to curb the rising incidents of theft in the city. Police officials from the rank of constable to DSP visited houses falling under their respective police stations. They educated people about the safety measures to be adopted to prevent such incidents.

The police found 1470 houses locked and interrogated 1050 suspected persons. The police sent information of the suspected persons to their native states to verify their past regarding their involvement in criminal cases.

Car stolen

Mr D.S. Thakur of Sector 27 filed a complaint that his Fiat car (CHK-1601) was lifted from his residence. The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC in the Sector 26, police station.

Liquor pouches seized

The city police reportedly seized 40 pouches of country-made liquor today. Amrinder Singh of Rajpura was caught while carrying the “Gulab” brand of country-made liquor illegally near Kanthala Gurdwara, at The Tribune Chowk.

The police has registered a case under Section 61/1/14 of the Excise Act, in the Sector 31 police station and bailed out the accused.



Minor raped by teenager
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 7
A minor girl was reportedly raped by a boy in his early teens on July 30. The foster father of the victim filed a complaint with the police that the accused took her to Sewa Bharti Bhavan, Sector 30, and raped her.

The girl complained of severe pain. She was taken to the doctor where the parents learnt about the crime.

Her parents filed a complaint with the Industrial Area police station and the police registered a case under Sections 376 (rape) and 506(threat) in this regard.

The police has arrested the accused and sent him to a juvenile home.



Police establishes murder case
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 7
The police has established that the person whose body was found near Baloti village, Morni, on July 27, had been murdered.

The murder was established after the chemical and viscera examination report of the victim was received by the police yesterday. The report says the victim, a 21-year-old male, was 
hit on his head by a sharp-edged weapon, which had resulted in his death.

The maggot-infested skeleton was found by some residents of the village in the wilderness on July 27. They had informed the police and the body was then sent to PGI, Rohtak, for a chemical examination.

Though the identity of the victim has not been established so far, the police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC.



Scooterist killed

Chandigarh, August 7
A scooterist was killed in an accident in Sector 26 yesterday. Ram Singh (50) an electrician was hit by a truck (PB08-D-3181), he received multiple injuries and was admitted to the GMCH, Sector 32, where he expired. — OC



Seminar on Linux implementations organised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
Large organisations can save as much as 50 per cent by adopting open source software solutions because of reduced licensing costs. This consensus emerged at the seminar on ‘‘Linux Implementation: The Future Ahead’’, organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry here yesterday.

Mr Vivek Attray, Director, Information Technology, UT, inaugurated the session and talked about the e-governance centre set up by IBM. As many as 100 participants from different corporates, banks, universities, IT industries, defence services and government officials attended the seminar.

Experts, in their presentations, shared their experiences and views about the implementation of open sources software covering applications available on Linux at desktop and server level. Adoption of such information can lay down a new infrastructure and advance the capabilities of the open source software solutions. Certain mature solutions such as DNS, web services and security and database services have already reached a critical threshold of utility and even customer dependency within the government.

The seminar focussed on innovative strategies and real time implementation on Linux as an open source with emphasis on solutions available on the desktop and terminal server level, mailing solutions to make the industry reap benefits in future.

Mr Ashish Gautam, country manager of IBM, gave his viewpoint on corporate governance and Linux and how it can help in improving economic efficiency and growth. He shared how a solution on open source for e-mail had saved the organisation a massive cost in licensing and operations. Mr Robert Adikins while talking about the basic philosophy of open source highlighted the need for various organisations, including the government ones, to adopt Linux/OSS.



Tent dealers plan protest tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
The Chandigarh Tent Dealers Society will organise a bandh and will close shops on August 9 to demand withdrawal of 10 per cent service tax on pandal and shamiana.

The All-India Tent Dealers Welfare Organisation has given the call for the bandh, which will be nationwide. The general secretary of the society, Mr Mohinder Singh, said a protest rally would be held opposite the Parade Ground, Sector 22, on August 9.



Radio Buzz achievement

Chandigarh, August 7
Radio Buzz, which pioneered the production of radio software in the city, has something to feel proud of. It has crossed the mark of over 1000 programmes. This was informed by its Director, Hardeep Chandanpuri, here today. OC


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