C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


 

City records 58 mm rainfall
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
The city and its neighbouring areas recorded heavy rainfall of 58 mm till about 5.30 pm today. Some areas of the city reeled under the impact of heavy rains all the day. The worst affected were residents of Kishangarh. Houses damaged due to heavy rains in the past bore the brunt of rainfall yet again when water entered the residential premises.

As damaged roads in this area have not yet been built, people found it very difficult to drain water that kept entering their houses.

In another development, the bridge over the stream in Sector 42 again developed cracks today.

After a continued spell of rain, the bridge developed many fissures making the movement of traffic difficult.

Palika Bazar in Sector 19 faced a familiar problem. The entire basement was filled with water and shopkeepers kept themselves busy clearing water and packing their valuables.

The fire brigade was called to clear water from many shops of this market which faces the problem of water accumulation every time it rains.

Meanwhile, weather experts at the local Met office say the rain will continue for another day. 

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Rain a curse for Zirakpur residents
Incomplete sewerage work a hazard
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, August 17
The monsoon has virtually spelt curse for residents of this area with the Punjab Sewerage Board failing to complete the work of laying the sewer pipelines in Bartana village for the last over three months.

Though the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat has deposited huge sum with the Punjab Sewerage Board for the purpose a long time ago, yet the authorities concerned have hardly taken the job seriously. They are not simply bothered about public convenience.

The abandoned work of laying sewer lines in various colonies in Bartana and other villages, has been putting public to a great hardship.

At many points roads that were dug up by the authorities for the laying of the pipes have not been refilled. These are proving death traps for the common man. The board authorities have neither installed signboards nor light reflectors to make the road users aware about the presence of these deep pits, complain residents.

Mr Ajay Kumar, a resident of Saini Vihar colony in Bartana, said all four approach roads to the village had been blocked by the unfinished sewerage project. The roads, along which the sewer pipes had been laid, have not been repaired so far. During rain it becomes almost impossible to enter the village, he complained.

Worst affected are students and office-goers who have to wade through knee deep slush on the Zirakpur-Bartana link road to board buses for their respective destinations.

Mr Jaspal Singh, a resident of Bartana village, said during the digging of trenches board employees had damaged many water supply pipes thus affecting various colonies adversely. The water supply to the affected areas has not been restored following which the residents are forced to get potable water from neighbouring colonies.

The defunct streetlights at various places have further compounded the problems of the residents. In absence of street lights at various places, theft activities have increased complained the residents.

When contacted, Mr Narinder Sharma, president of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat said the civic body had been paying money to the Punjab Sewerage Board authorities for the laying of sewerage in the area. To finish the project in time and repair the damaged roads and water pipelines was the responsibility of the board authorities, he added.

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Cable operators beam select channels
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Cable services in the city and satellite towns of Panchkula and Mohali were crippled today following an indefinite strike by cable operators in protest against the decision of the Central Government to bring them under the service tax net.

Siti Cable and Prime Channel —two major multi-system operators (MSOs) providing services in the region — went off air this morning, depriving lakhs of subscribers of their favourite programmes on pay channels. However, some news channels were made available to the subscribers.

Cable industry sources said the indefinite strike, call for which had been given by the All-India Cable Forum against increase in the service tax from 8 per cent to 10.2 per cent in the Budget-2004, would continue till the government withdrew the decision.

It was a dull day for a majority of city residents, who were confined to their homes on account of heavy rainfall since morning. With pay channels off air, news channels were the only source of “entertainment” for them.

A substantial number of viewers switched over to VCD and DVD players preferring to watch their favourite movies. Housewives had to miss their date with their favourite soap operas. The plight of children too was no different as they had to go without Cartoon Network and Pogo besides other educational channels.

In Panchkula, viewers were denied of their daily dose of soap operas as all pay channels remained off air because of the strike. Though entertainment channels were available for a few hours in the morning, cable operators here decided to join the stir later in the day and only news channels were provided throughout the day. The director of the Panchkula Cable TV System, Mr Dilbagh Singh Nain, said the strike would continue until their demands were acceded.

Meanwhile, Mr S.K. Nayar, president of the Indian Citizens Forum, said it was unfair that cable consumers were forced to suffer because of the strike against the government’s decision to bring cable operators under the service tax net.

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Four more Amartex men held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 17
Even as four employees of Amartex Industries, arrested by the police yesterday, were released on bail today, the police arrested four other employees of the company for rioting and assaulting the staff of rival Gawritex Industries.

The four persons arrested by the police are Jarnail Singh, Puneet, Harkesh and Mehmood Naseem. All four are part of the security staff of the company and have been booked under Sections 148, 149, 323, 452 and 506 of the IPC for allegedly trying to take possession of the land in front of the Gawritex showroom and assaulting its security staff.

The police said the Managing Director of Amartex, Mr Arun Grover, was still at large. He, however, filed an anticipatory bail plea in the court today and notice has been issued to the state for tomorrow.

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Inquiry marked against teacher
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
In connection with the complaint by the father of a girl student against the maths teacher of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 37, the UT Education Department has marked a departmental inquiry into the matter.

The DPI (Schools), Mr D.S. Mangat, said two principals had been deputed to hold an independent inquiry to ascertain the truth.

The principal of the school has already forwarded the contents of her findings to the department.

It may be mentioned that Mr Baljit Singh Radhu, father of the girl, had alleged that the teacher had “ misbehaved” with his daughter.

Sources in the department said nothing substantial had been found in the allegations made by the father of the girl.

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Drop armed forces Act, say expert, sufferers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
“The Armed Forces Powers Act is a pugnacious piece of draconian law which violates the federal character of the nation and the Constitution. It provides the Army with absolute powers and legal immunity, eroding civic authority and civil space in the process.”

An expert on matters of the North-East, Kumar Sanjay Singh, said there were no two ways about repealing the Act which was oppressive in nature and had scuttled democracy in Manipur.

A faculty member of Delhi University, he was speaking to The Tribune, after his lecture on the Armed Forces Act organised by Critique, a students’ forum, at Panjab University, here today.

Stating that he had been closely watching developments in the North-East over the past 15 years, Dr Singh said the Act had created more disturbance that it had solved. “Actually, there is no point in empowering the Army without any corresponding checks. The Act has failed to remove insurgency in the North-East in the last over 40 years. What will the continuation of such an arrangement achieve for the state and its people,” Dr Singh questions.

Dr Singh adds that in view of the existing powers to the Army, the students’ organisations, human rights groups and political parties are virtually helpless. “In any kind of injustice that is meted out to the masses, it is these agencies which take up the cause of the common man and sustain democracy. In the absence of such pressure groups, the Army is getting away with impunity for its atrocities,” he maintained.

Three activists from Manipur who participated in the discussions during the lecture include Indra Kumar, Praema Hidam and Rahul Laiponjam. Painting a very grim and gory picture of the ground realities in the North-East, especially Manipur, they said that the virtual martial law in the state had suffocated democracy, taken away its very essence and thwarted all attempts of bringing normalcy. “The Armed Forces Special Powers Act has to go. There are no compromises on this, and no alternatives,” they said in unison.

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Petrol station on rivulet’s bank a hazard
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 17
The newly constructed petrol station on the embankment of a seasonal rivulet, passing through Mansa Devi Complex here has become a bone of contention between residents and the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA).

Residents of the area allege that a portion of the land allotted to the petrol station is a landfill on the natural course of the seasonal rivulet. They have approached the Estate Office, HUDA, asking the authorities how the agency allotted a site for petrol station that was on the course of a rivulet. It is just behind this land that the rivulet takes a turn. A portion of the petrol station is on the natural course of the nullah, complain members of Swastik Vihar Residents Welfare Association.

Mr Deepak Rai Walia, president of the Forum For Common Cause, says the flooding of Mansa Devi Complex during the flash floods recently, was because of the landfill in the rivulet’s course. “Water came gushing down from Chandi Mandir, since the natural course of the nullah had been blocked. Since the water did not find a smooth passage, it entered into buildings and in the basement of showrooms located nearby,” he said.

He said they had to call fire tenders for taking out water from the basement of societies and showrooms after the flash flood on August 3. It is alleged that inspite of the fact that the low-lying area of this rivulet has been land filled, the boundary wall of the petrol station is bricklined instead of being a concrete structure.

Residents allege that the safety concern of thousands of residents staying in 39 housing societies here and those working in 99 showrooms have been thrown to winds while allocating the site. They have demanded the relocation of the petrol station.

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Workers’ rally in front of assistant labour chief’s office
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 17
Workers’ unions of different industrial units of the town held a rally in front of the Assistant Labour Commissioner in support of their demands here today. Demanding the revival of units that had been closed down, they presented a memorandum addressed to Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, Mr Shisram Ola, Labour Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister and Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, to the SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma.

Mr Ramji Dass, general secretary of the local unit of the Trade Union Council, and Mr Shahid Ahmed, president of the Punwire Employees Union, said in the memorandum that a number of factories like Punwire, Punjab Power Packs and Punjab Electro Optics System had closed down due to wrong policies of the NDA government.

Even the Congress government had failed to revive the factories even when it had promised at the time of the Assembly elections in 2002 and before the Lok Sabha poll to revive these.

They said Electronics Systems Punjab Limited (ESPL), Punjab Recorders, Punjab Communications Ltd and Kharar Textile Mill, were on the verge of closure. The companies were facing such a fate due to “misutilisation” of funds by managements in connivance with bureaucrats.

They demanded that an inquiry should be held into the matter by the CBI and criminal cases be registered against the erring officials.

Several complaints had been lodged against the Managing Director of Punjab Recorders for allegedly supplying sub-standard products to the defence.

The union leaders demanded that the salary of the employees of Punjab Recorders and the retrenched staff of the ESPL be paid as they were being harassed by the management.

They further demanded that privatisation of the Punjab State Electricity Board be stopped immediately, rate of interest of the EPF, which had been reduced to 8.5 per cent, be raised to 12 per cent, amount withdrawn from PCL under the share money buy back scheme amounting to Rs 36 crore and VRS amounting to Rs 12 crore be returned back to the company funds.

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e-governance project set to take off
Tribune News Service

Highlights

  • Payment of power, water and sewage bills.
  • Sales tax
  • Issue of bus passes and weekend tickets.
  • Issue of senior citizen cards and disability cards.
  • Issue of birth and death certificates.
  • Domestic servants and tenants verification.
  • Booking space for functions

Locations: Sector 18, 43 and Mani Majra to start on September 1. The remaining in Sectors 15, 10, 47, 9, 23 and Industrial Area to start on October 1 

Chandigarh, August 17
The Chandigarh Administration has launched a pilot project for starting the much awaited “e-governance” project. Totally computerised offices are being set up at three locations across the city to collect various taxes, levies, bills, even issue bus passes or birth and death certificates, from September 1.

Six more centres will be ready by October 1. The offices will be known as Sampark Centres. Public dealing of these departments will be carried out at new locations.

A pilot project on how to deal with the public is on at the Information Facilitation Centre in the UT Secretariat, Sector 9. Price Waterhouse Cooper, consultants of the administration, had suggested that such centres were must to save time.

Computers have been installed in these centres and have been connected through optic fibre network. These centres will eliminate the time taken to travel to various offices and take the functioning of the administration to the people’s doorstep.

The Director (IT), Mr Vivek Atray, said: “We will introduce work like payment of challans for traffic offences and registration of vehicles in the next round.”

At present, the bill collection centres of the Engineering Wing have been refurbished to house the Sampark Centres. The administration has already carried out a mass training campaign for employees.

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Residents want underbridge at road crossing
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 17
Residents of a number of villages have demanded construction of an underbridge at the crossing linking Kambala and other villages to the Phase IX Industrial Area here. A similar demand has also been made by the Industrial Welfare Association of the area.

Dr Jasmer Singh of Kambala village and Mr Prabhjot Singh Sandhu, president of the Industrial Welfare Association, Phase IX, told mediapersons at a press conference here today that the Railways had initially planned to construct a bridge over the road crossing that linked the villages to Mohali. Later, the authorities decided to change the plan and construct the bridge between Kambala and Kambali villages, which would adversely affect residents of these villages.

They said if this was done, the road linking the industrial area to these villages would be diverted and residents would have to travel another 4 km to reach Mohali.

Dr Jasmer Singh said residents of the affected villages had met Railway officials in this regard. A representation had also been sent to the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, after which a meeting with Railway officials was held at the office of the SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma.

At the meeting the officials said that it was not feasible to construct a big bridge at the road crossing.

The SDM then requested the officials to construct a small bridge. He said on August 11 an SDO of the Railways had told them that a representation had been sent to the higher authorities. He said 32 acres falling between the Chandigarh-Ludhiana railway line and Mohali had not been acquired by PUDA so far.

Mr Sandhu said most employees working in the industrial units in the area lived in these villages. The new link road would cause problems for them as they would have to travel an additional distance of about 4 km when coming to work here. Moreover, the new bridge and its approach roads were low-lying and remained flooded during the rainy season.

Dr S.P. Singh Rana said he had purchased a showroom in the Phase IX Industrial Area which depended on customers from nearby villages. If the link road was cut off, nobody would frequent the area and as such the money he and others had spent on buying showrooms and booths would go waste.

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Bank complains against JE
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Angry with the high-handed behaviour of the enforcement wing of the UT Estate Office, the staff of the Central Bank of India has complained to the Chandigarh Administrator.

In the letter, Senior Manager P.K. Mahajan, in charge of the Mani Majra branch of the bank, has urged the Administrator to act against officers of the enforcement wing for having “misbehaved” with staff members of the branch and also threatening them.

According to sources, the provocation for the strongly worded letter was an incident that took place yesterday.

Sources in the bank say enforcement wing staff, led by junior engineer (JE) Bhargava, entered into an argument with the bank staff on the issue of removal of a generator.

Bank officials claim that when they sought time to remove the generator, the junior engineer threatened to take away the generator.

The junior engineer allegedly tried to manhandle some employees. Timely intervention by the police and locals prevented the situation from taking an ugly turn.

In the complaint, copies of which have been sent to the Chandigarh Deputy Commissioner, the Reserve Bank of India, and the police, action has been sought against the erring JE.

The complaint also alleges that the generator of the bank was damaged by the enforcement staff. 

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I-Day invitations bore no names, says Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Clarifying that the administration had sent 25 invitation cards for 29 councillors, the mayor, Ms Kamlesh, today claimed that the cards received by her office bore no names on the envelopes.

“I was sent invitations on the eve of Independence Day with just one covering letter. The councillors were not sent the invitations by name, as has been the practice in previous years. Earlier, we would get cards with names of the councillors on them along with four additional invitations with each,” she said in a press note here today.

Ms Kamlesh added that she had written a letter to the Adviser to Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, stating that while the invitations were not personally addressed to the councillors, divisional rank officers had received the same by name. In her letter, Ms Kamlesh added that care should be taken to check recurrence of such unpleasant situations.

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Police registering ‘false’ cases

Chandigarh, August 17
The functioning of the local police has come under a cloud with a human rights body, Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI), submitting a “chargesheet” against it for its various acts of omission and commission to the Chandigarh Administration.

In a representation to the UT Administrator, the LHRI alleged that the police was framing common citizens in serious criminal cases. Demanding a probe into these cases either by an IPS officer or the CBI, the representation sought strict action against guilty police officials, who had been given regular promotions. The LHRI urged the Administrator to call an emergency meeting of senior police officials, in which its representative should also be invited. — TNS

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22-yr-old woman killed in brawl
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 17
Rekha, a 22-year-old housewife, succumbed to her injuries at the PGI here today. She was admitted to the hospital after she was injured in a brawl at Saheed Bhagat Singh Colony, Mauli Jagran.

It is learnt that Rekha along with her three-month-old daughter, came to her brother Noni’s home. She put some clothes to dry on a common wall with Iqbal Singh on August 12. That night at 10 pm, Iqbal and his brother, with two more accomplices, assaulted them with sticks and rods.

When her brother Noni came out, he saw them beating his wife, Bimla. As he intervened, they attacked him too. After committing the crime, they fled. Noni informed the police about the incident and the police took him, his injured wife Bimla and his sister Rekha to the Mauli Jagran police station.

After that, the police took them to the General Hospital, Sector 16. Bimla was discharged after administering medicine. But the condition of Rekha deteriorated and she was referred to the PGI on August 13.

Her brother says no police officer paid a visit to them in the hospital. On August 14, Sub-Inspector Sunita Bakshi came to them in the PGI and forcefully obtained his signatures on blank papers as her sister was not in a condition to give her statement.

He alleged that he repeatedly requested the police to get his medical examination done, but in vain. He was informed that the police had registered a case against Iqbal Singh and his brother under Sections 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC.

The following day, Rekha was operated upon twice in the PGI and in the wee hours today she died in the hospital.

Mr J.S. Khera, SHO, Mani Majra, said they had registered a case under Section 302, IPC. Iqbal Singh is working as a temporary constable at the Mauli Jagran police station.

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Four theft cases registered
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 17
The Chandigarh police has registered four cases of theft and arrested two persons, according to a press note today.

Surinder Mittal, a resident of Sector 20-C, filed a complaint that his Maruti Zen (CH-01-Z-6947) has been stolen from Industrial Area, Phase I, Chandigarh. The police has registered a case.

In another incident, Maha Singh of Baknaur village in Ambala district was caught red-handed on August 16 while allegedly stealing a car (CH-03-6682) parked in front of house no. 188, Sector 19. The owner of the car, Mr Ashok Dadwal, of Panchkula, filed a complaint. The police has registered a case.

Ms Leela Sharma, a resident of Sector 28, reported that thieves entered her house and took away household items on August 13. A case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.

Satyavan of Mani Majra was caught red-handed while stealing four manhole covers from Manimajra Housing Complex. He was arrested on the complaint of Mr S.S. Bawa, a resident of the same locality. The police has registered a case.

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Youths snatch woman’s chain
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 17
Chain-snatchers struck again today. This time their hapless victim was a 54-year-old morning walker, Mrs Kanwal Garg. The victim, a resident of Sector 17 here, had gone for a routine walk in the morning. As she was walking on the road dividing Sectors 8 and 9, she noticed a youth following her and another on a motor cycle at some distance. The youth snatched her gold chain. Almost instantly, a motor cycle came towards them and the two youths fled. The police has registered a case.

One Dead: A 50-year-old scooterist, Inderjit Singh, was crushed to death when he was hit by a bus (HR-37-7048) on the road dividing Sectors 2 and 4 on Thursday morning. The victim was on his scooter (HR-03D-8477) when the bus hit him. The victim was an employee of MES, Chandi Mandir. He was on his way to Zirakpur for some work when the accident took place.

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Scooterist succumbs to injuries
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 17
A man was killed and two women were injured in two separate accidents in different parts of the city yesterday. Vijay Kumar, a resident of Dhanas village was injured when his scooter hit a cyclist last night. He was taken to the PGI where he succumbed to his injuries.

Cyclist Dalip Kumar of Sangari Wala village, has filed a complaint against the scooterist. The police has registered a case against the scooterist Dutta Ram, a resident of Shivalik Vihar of Naya Gayon, under Sections 279, 337, 304-A, of the Indian Penal Code, at Sector 11, police station.

In another incident of hit and run case, two women — Usha Devi and Veer Piari — both of Nangal Amba village, Jalandar district, were hit by a car near the Kajheri Chowk, last evening.

The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 337 of the IPC.

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3 held for illegal colonies
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 17
Three persons were today arrested on charges of carving out illegal residential colonies. According to the police, those arrested were Amba Prasad, Sunil Saini, both from Chandigarh, and Jaidev, a resident of Nayagaon. A case against them had been registered at the local police station on July 4 on a complaint lodged by the Inspector General of Police, in charge of the Economic Offences Wing.

The arrested persons had allegedly set up unauthorised colonies in the Kansal and Nayagaon areas.

It is learnt that the DGP, Punjab, had ordered an inquiry into complaints relating to the setting up of residential colonies in the state without getting approval from the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority.

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Market Pulse

Samsung draw: Samsung India Electronics Limited on Tuesday took out the first lucky draw under its promotional campaign “Balle-Balle Offer!” The draw was held at Samsung Digital Home, Sector 8, Chandigarh. The mega prize of Maruti car was won by Simriti Jagdev, 1101, Sector 8-C. Other winners were: Neeru, B.R. Chawla, Amit Jain, Krishna Banti, Nishan Singh, Hardeep Kaur, Cajj Devi, Madhu Bala, Ramandeep Kaur, Sumit Aggarwal, Amanjit Kaur, Amanpreet, Dimpy, Saroj Bala Mittla, Sanjay Piplani, Jasbir Singh, Garmotton Singh, Khamshenu, Rajesh Panwar and Karan Chand. — TNS

ANNIVERSARY: Cafe Coffee Day has completed a year in the city. It is the only coffee chair in the city and is part of mother brand, Coffee Day, the largest coffee conglomerate in the country. Mr Naresh Malhotra, CEO of cafe, addressed a press conference in Sector 35-C and highlighted firm’s future plans. — OC

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