C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Sukhi denies involvement in ‘kabootarbaazi’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 5
Renowned Punjabi folk singer Sukhi Brar today refuted allegations regarding her involvement in helping a young singer-dancer Baljinder Kaur to enter USA illegally.
Addressing a press conference, Sukhi said she would give up her singing career if it was proved that she had been involved in even a single case of ‘kabootarbaazi’ during her decade-long career as an artiste.

She further alleged that according to the information gathered by her in the case, an Akali politician had, in fact, taken the girl illegally to Canada from where she slipped into USA through the US-Canada border.

Conceding that she knew the girl well, Sukhi said that she had helped Baljinder in establishing her as an artiste but had no role in sending her to the USA. “I had kept her in my house for a few months and since she was not well also helped her get medical treatment. This all happened last year. In fact she told me that her husband had deserted her and gone to live in USA and she wanted to know where he was so that she could go to USA and join him there,” the singer added.

“I went to the USA alone in December 2003 and was there till March, 2004. I talked to Baljinder’s husband there and he told me that she had come to Canada. I was shocked since I had Baljinder’s passport. How could she go to Canada without her passport? Baljinder’s husband, Sukhvinder, told me that she had come with an Akali politician who had brought her there using a fake passport,” said Sukhi, relating the story to mediapersons.

Ms Brar added that she had borrowed Rs 3 lakh from Baljinder’s father on interest since she was short of funds following the opening of the Virasat Kala Kender in Patiala. “Baljinder called me from Canada while I was in the USA asking I should return that amount in dollars to her husband who would use that to take an apartment where he could keep Baljinder. I did that. First I paid $3000 to Sukhvinder than I asked one of my friends there to give the rest of the $3600 to them. The whole amount was thus paid back,” she said.

“When I came back here I found out that Kuldeep Singh had lodged a complaint against me with the Patiala police that I owed him Rs 3 lakh. The matter was in fact sorted out before the DSP, Patiala. The DSP talked to Baljinder and Sukhvinder over the telephone and was convinced that I had paid up the money. Regarding who took Baljinder there, I want to state that I will bring that girl back to India so that she can tell the world the truth,” said Sukhi.

She alleged that kabooterbaazi was being done in Punjab by many persons in the garb of religion and by the politicians themselves. But the artistes were made the target by the police, she said.

Pointing out that there was no FIR lodged against her in Patiala, Sukhi said she had gone to Dubai when she heard that same newspaper had reported of her alleged involvement in the case. “You can check my passport, I have gone to many shows abroad but never ever taken a single person with me. When I came back I met the DIG, Mr I.P.S. Sahota, and told him that the complaint had gone to the SSP Patiala who had marked it to the economic offence wing of the Punjab Police. Mr Sahota was convinced that I am not involved in this case at all,” she said.



Men in khaki to don new role
To provide free services to senior citizens
Tribune News Service

In order to contact the HOPPS cell, senior citizens will have to dial (0172) 2586692 or the police control room at 100 or (0172) 2582100. 

In yet another step towards turning people friendly, the Panchkula police will now be assisting senior citizens by providing them safety, succour and free services. The police is all set to launch HOPPS — Helping Old-Age People Police Scheme next week. 

Under the scheme, policemen will pay electricity bills, telephone bills, get pension of these citizens, provide them medical assistance and postal services. Policemen will also assist them in withdrawing or depositing cash from bank.

The police will also act as a family counsellor in case of dispute between couples or with children. The HOPPS cell will also arrange for meetings with the Welfare Department for redressal of grievances of senior citizens, and also help in organising medical camps from time to time. Besides, policemen will also ensure the verification of passport, arms licence, tenant or servant verification, according to the Deputy Superintendent of Police, City, Mr Rajesh Duggal.

“A special HOPPS cell has been created in the Economic Offences Wing building in Sector 1. Two non-gazetted officers, constables, lady constables and head constables each have been assigned to the cell. A mobile PCR jeep, a motor cycle and wireless set will be provided so that the staff can rush to the aid of senior citizens, as and when they are called,” he adds.

Any citizen over 58 years of age, living in Panchkula city and without any immediate able-bodied help, will be a beneficiary under the scheme. Senior citizens will just have to call the HOPPS cell, and policemen will reach them. The policemen will note the address and other personal details of senior citizens, and at the end of the month will submit a report to higher officials regarding the number of cases dealt with.

The scheme is the brainchild of the Superintendent of Police, Ms Mamta Singh. “The town has a large population of senior citizens, and most of them are staying alone. With limited resources, most of them cannot afford to keep manpower for doing their day-to-day work. The scheme is being initiated to inculcate a sense of security among the aged and for an easy access to all police units so that their grievances are dealt on a priority basis,” she adds.

The police is now trying to contact other government departments like HUDA, Health, Power and banks to contribute their services for the benefit of senior citizens. The police has also sought the help of NGOs to assist in the functioning of the cell. Help has been sought from NGOs running free ambulance service to provide ambulances to the cell.



Ila loves exploring man-woman ties
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
Call her a maverick out to make a point or a feminist in search of an audience, Ila Arun is at home with all introductions. She will allow you the liberty to judge her, run her down, even dismiss her offerings as frivolous, because she has never let go of that one childhood lesson her mother gave her: “Nindak nere raakhiye aangan kuti chhavaye, bin paani sabun bina nirmal hoye subhaye.”

You hardly expect a spiritual reference from a non-conformist like Ila but that’s the way she is and she ensures you take her seriously. “I do welcome criticism, but I certainly prefer healthy criticism,” says Ila who is here to stage “Jameela Bai Kalali,” one of her six women-oriented productions.

Making no efforts whatsoever to safeguard her “reputation”, Ila takes pride in the fact that had been striving for something purposeful as a woman. With K.K. Raina as director of her theatre group Surnai, Ila has written six plays. Five among these have been adapted from other languages, including “Jameela Bai Kalaali” which is an adaptation of Mario Vargas’s “La Chunga”.

Directed by Raina, the play has been imbued with folk elements by Ila. She has set it in Jaisamler to keep the theme closest to the original where references to deserts abound. The story is about a nondescript bar run by Jameela (Ila) who develops a strange liking for this girl who arrives on the scene one night. The two spend a night together and the next morning Chameli (Rajeshwari Sachdev) is gone forever.

The mystery is troublesome, at least for the men who frequent Jameela’s bar. Ila explains, “Since they don’t know the truth they invent versions of it. The play shapes up as a hide and seek between reality and fantasy. In between I explore the psychology of men and their perceptions about women. It has been an interesting project. We have staged the play 130 times.”

But Ila is confident that the play would emerge as fresh as ever when it is staged tomorrow at Tagore Theatre under the aegis of the Durga Das Foundation, The Tribune and Spice Telecom. The cast of the play that includes Rajit Kapur, Ravi Jhankal and Gurmit Mitwa will also add a sparkle to the production.

As Ila readies to play Jameela for the 131st time, she also voices her fixation for women-related themes. “Plays based on relationships between men and women attract me the most. My play, “Riyaaz”, explored the dimensions of marriage. I went deep into the psyche of man and woman to understand what makes a marriage rot. I discovered that just as practice (riyaaz) makes a musician perfect, marriage would also last if partners cared to practice its nuances,” says Ila who will shortly feature in the Shyam Benegal film “Netaji”.



Ila Arun’s play addresses women’s issues

One is very much impressed with the profile of Surnai, the theatre group that boasts of a celebrated cast. For two decades now, a motley group of people including K.K. Raina, Ila Arun, Rajit Kapur, Rajeshwari Sachdev and Ravi Jhankal have been treating meaningful themes from portals of their organisation in Mumbai.

Today all of them landed in Chandigarh to give the city a taste of their theatrical treat. K.K. Raina heads them all and even as we wonder what must have brought such fine talent together, he begins to delineate the concept of “Jameela Bai Kalaali”, adapted from Mario Vargas’s play “La Chunga.”

“It is a multilayered play that offers deep insights into the psyche of men and women. In its first premise it bares the tendency of people to invent truth to suit their convenience. When faced with mystery, characters in the play field varied versions to arrive at conclusions. The final and the true version unfolds in the climax giving the play its winning edge. Scripted by Ila, this play addresses many issues concerning women including the challenges they face at workplace - a bar in this case,” says Raina.

While Ila plays Jameela in this production, to be staged at Tagore Theatre tomorrow, Rajeshwari Sachdev plays Chameli, the character around whom the mystery is woven. Interestingly, Rajeshwari has been with the production through its 130 presentations, so have Rajit Kapur and Ravi Jhankal. IN fact, this one happens to be the first Hindi play of Rajit Kapur, otherwise involved with English theatre.

As for Surnai, it has, till date, produced the following plays: “Jethwa-Oojli” (a musical), “Riyaz”, an original play by written by Ila Arun, “Jayaz-Najayaz”, an adaptation from Albert Camu’s “The Just”, “Partein”, adapted from Elexi Arbozov’s “success Woman”, “Jameela Bai Kalaali”, “Beech Bhanwar Mein”, “Goonj”, adapted from Authol Fuguard’s “Valley Song” and “Agnileek”, written by Bharat Bhushan Agarwal. TNS



Additional booths set up for PU Senate poll 
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
Panjab University has created 29 additional booths in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi for the forthcoming elections of the graduate constituency of the Senate. With this, the total number of booths for the elections where over two lakh voters are expected to cast their vote on September 19, is up to 266.

While 23 booths have been created in Punjab alone, three booths each have been made in Haryana and Delhi after the matter was raised by Mr Ashok Goyal, Senator, during a meeting of the Senate held on August 25.

The additional booths have been created in consonance with the decision of the Syndicate taken in July which had decided that any place having 200 voters or more was entitled to a booth in addition to the booths at the district headquarters. Also, it had passed all the booths existing in the 2000 Senate elections without modifications in the list.

However, the Registrar, also the Returning Officer for the elections, Prof. Paramjit Singh, of his own, had abolished a number of booths in violation of the Syndicate decision at a number of places where the number of voters was well over the 200 mark.

At the Senate meeting, it was said while the 200-mark was not adhered to in finalising the lists by the Registrar Office, it was also pointed out that Himachal Pradesh should be made an exception as far as this number was concerned.

More booths for the state were advocated on grounds that the voters would have to travel long distances to cast their votes if booths were allocated to the district headquarters. This demand, however, yielded no results and no new booths came up in Himachal Pradesh.

At the meeting, Mr Goyal had said that while the list of booths released by the university should be revised, he had sought an inquiry and fixing of responsibility into the cutting down of the number of booths approved by the Syndicate.

Sources said that the university authorities had dispatched these revised lists of booths to the candidates free of cost as was decided at the meeting of the Senate.

The graduate constituency is the largest constituency of the Senate and contributes 15 elected representatives to the highest decision-making body of the university. Any graduate who has passed out from a college affiliated to Panjab University at least five years before the election or postgraduate from the university is eligible to enroll as a voter for this constituency. 



They defied caste to get married only to be chased by police
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
A 23-year-old Ms Iram Sultana did not think in her wildest dreams that her nine-year-long wait to get married to a low caste neighbouring boy Mohammed Shabbir (36) on August 26 this year will set the Punjab police after them. Despite being 23 and getting a graduate degree, Ms Sultana’s pleas before the Malerkotla police that she and Mohammed Shabbir were married on August 26 this year, the police refuses to accept that she had not been kidnapped.

Ms Sultana said she had produced her “nikahnama” but the police was still after her husband for allegedly abducting her. An influential advocate father of Ms Iram did not accept the nikahnama, so did the police.

Immediately after getting married, the newly wed couple disappeared from Malerkotla but the police pressure on the boy’s family continued, as a result the business of his father and himself was closed, they told reporters here today.

She said that the police was learnt to have registered a kidnapping case yesterday against her husband.

Mohammed Shabbir said that his brother-in-law Jamil Ahmed and the father of a friend Khushi Ahmed were picked up by the police to allegedly put pressure on them.

Ms Iram said she married her lover on August 26 after her family members fixed her engagement with a relative for September 1 against her wishes. Iram, a Pathan, said her parents were opposed to her marriage with Mohammed Shabbir as he was Kamboj by caste.

A matriculate 36-year-old poultry farmer Mohammed Shabbir said he had fallen in love with a 14-year-old neighbour Ms Iram Sultana and went steady for nine years before getting married after she completed her graduation and became an adult.

Ms Iram said that her parents were opposed to their marriage on the ground of Mohammed Shabbir being from a low caste and strata.

Iram, flanked by her husband, issued a written statement to reporters saying “… I married Mohammed Shabbir with my full consent at Malerkotla. There was no compulsion on me at the time of marriage. I was not kidnapped by anyone. There was an affair between us for years.” She further says, “I am happy with my husband. There should be no harassment of my in-laws,” Ms Sultana said.

The couple also distributed to media persons a copy of their nikahnama.



India survived due to secular approach: Ex-President 
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
“How to create a secular state in a religious society was the most difficult task before the first Prime Minister of the country, Jawaharlal Nehru. Even in Europe the tolerance rose only after the religious beliefs weakened. In India religious beliefs did not weaken, still we were able to create a secular state. We can be proud of it.”

This was one of the reflections of the contemporary scene as perceived for the former President of India, Dr K.R. Narayanan, who was delivering the second lecture in the series of lectures organised by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) in the memory of Mr P.N. Haksar, a veteran diplomat, administrator and scholar, here today.

Dr Narayanan said India could not have survived as a nation but for a fair secular approach adopted by us. Apart from Nehru, credit for keep our secular credentials must go to Mr Haksar, who was closely associated with the first Prime Minister.

However, he regretted that the values which made India great were no longer being practiced by politicians. The political system had degenerated into an electoral system. But, Dr Narayanan was not in favour of the presidential system of government, which, he felt, was not suitable for a pluralistic society like ours. He said the parliamentary system provided an escape from revolutions as under this system more people could get an opportunity to get power.

He said the ills of the parliamentary system could be fought if the youth joined politics in a large number instead of shunning it by saying that the politics was a corrupt game.

Dr Narayanan said the India’s economic history of the first 20 years of its independence was grossly underestimated. Planning dominated this period, which was a “period of doctrinatism and socialist. It was also a period of common sense and democratic sense.” He, however, added that unlike the countries like Japan and Korea, India could not do much with land reforms during this period.

He said Nehru was afraid of tampering with the prevailing system land holdings too much. As a result of this the agriculture remained in private hands, while the heavy industry was in the government control. But it was wrong to say that Indian economy was socialist. In fact, he said, it was a mixed economy. Unfortunately, the public sector did not enjoy the degree of freedom it should have.

Dr Narayanan said now not much could be done in the field of land reforms. However, the distribution of wasteland among the landless along with requisite financial and technical assistance could still make an impact in this field. He said only economic development and social justice could improve the lot of the poor.

He said the judiciary had to be supported in its endeavour to stem the rot by the public opinion, the executive and Parliament. However, as long as the people had the right to vote fearlessly, there was a scope for improvement.

He said economic liberalisation started under Mrs Indira Gandhi in the early eighties. But this era was short-lived. The economic liberalisation again picked up under Dr Manmohan Singh as the Finance Minister in 1991. He said though privatisation and globalisation with human face was our slogan, which, he hoped, would be implemented. 



Service personnel may be registered as voters 
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
In the backdrop of the recently introduced proxy voting scheme and postal ballots receiving a poor response, the Election Commission of India may register service personnel as voters at their respective place of posting itself and delegate certain powers to local military authorities for compiling and revising nomination rolls.

A communique received yesterday from the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India, Mr T.S. Krishna Murthy, by an ex-servicemen's organisation here contains a handwritten note by the CEC that the matter will be considered by the Commission shortly.

Former Director, Sainik Welfare, Punjab, and president of the All- India Veterans Core Group, Brig G.S. Ghuman (retd), had written to the CEC a few days ago, highlighting the lacunae in the present system of proxy and postal ballots.

The letter regretted that chief electoral officers in the states have never carried out any house-to-house enumeration in respect of armed forces and para-military personnel since Independence. Nor have they created any facility for the same despite constitutional and legal provisions.

Proxy voting, introduced with much fanfare in the general elections for the first time this year after a lengthy struggle, received a very poor response. A major lacunae in the scheme was that family members of service personnel had been left out of the nomination rolls due to an oversight. The same was the case with postal ballots, with just around 1 per cent troops reportedly availing this facility.

In 1995, the then Adjutant General had issued an Army Order (AO 15/95), which stated that service personnel could get themselves registered as voters at their place of posting. However, no Special Army Order was issued as desired by the Election Commission (EC) and instead Army Headquarters decided to give the matter wide publicity only without creating any administrative backup for registration of soldiers and their family members at their place of posting.

The letter also requested the EC to intervene and issue appropriate instructions to all chief electoral officers of all states to nominate assistant registration officers from within army units and establishment for quick and efficient compilation of electoral rolls. It has also sought revision of electoral rolls automatically, based on movement and transfer orders issued to Army personnel.

Brigadier Ghuman had also been invited to give a briefing before the three service chiefs at Headquarters, Integrated Staff, Ministry of Defence, last month, where issues concerning voting rights for service personnel and remedial measures for shortcomings in the present system were presented. 



Banks go on hiring spree; look for agricultural officers
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
Agricultural graduates in the region can look forward to some job opportunities as public sector banks are going on a hiring spree to pick up agricultural officers.The banks are keen to engage the graduates either on a contract basis or on an experimental basis for a short term of three to six months.

The hiring is being done as a fallout of the Finance Minister's directive to increase the focus on rural areas and double agricultural credit within threeyears.

The banks have already started the recruitment process as the kharif crop season is on and they do not want to lose time.

A senior official of the local branch of the State Bank of India said the bank had set up an agro- business unit which would focus on both backward linkages—linking farmers with suppliers of inputs—seeds and fertilisers and forward linkages covering processors who buy products. More than 400 officers would be appointed to look into matters relating to rural finance and agricultural loans.

Officials of nationalised banks like Punjab National Bank, the Bank of Baroda and the Bank of India have been visiting agricultural universities like Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar and other such institutions in the region to pick up graduates.Interviews are being conducted at various places, but the final appointments may take some time.

Even some of the private banks like the Bank of Punjab have undertaken the recruitment drive. "The rural economy has picked up and there is now scope for home and car loans also,'' said a senior official of the Bank of Punjab.

The graduates will be asked to do marketing work, interact with farmers at the grassroots level, promote the use of good seeds and pesticides and also the awareness of the bank's products.

Mr N. Ramachandran, DGM, Chandigarh region of Allahabad Bank, said the current recruitment drive would go a long way in giving necessary filip to the agriculture sector. The field officers would help farmers in outsourcing credit, thereby saving them from the clutches of money lenders and commission agents. Various schemes had been introduced to ensure that the farmers were able to pay back loans. 



UHBVN schedules power cuts 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 5
After reeling under unscheduled power cuts for almost one week now, the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) has announced scheduled power restrictions on all categories of consumers.

Officials in UHBVN inform that light load restrictions (only two phase power supply) will be imposed on industry for 11 hours - from 7 pm to 6 am daily. This would mean that the industry in the district cannot carry on its operations for these 11 hours.

Other than this, a 45 minute power cut will be imposed on domestic and non domestic consumers in the morning , and a half an hour power cut in the evening. The morning cut will be imposed between 5 am to 7 am - depending on system conditions (whenever the system frequency is less than 50 cycles per second). Similarly, the power cut in the evening will be imposed between 6 pm to 7 pm, inform officials.

Because of less rains and poor inflow of water in the rivers and dams during this year, the hydro power generation in Northern India has been severely hit. Haryana is facing a shortage of almost 50 Lakh Units (LU’s ) a day, and inspite of overdrawing power from the Northern Grid, the shortfall cannot be met.

Officials say that with the kharif crop in fields at the tail end of watering, agriculture sector is gaining importance for running tubewells, and power cuts are being imposed on urban consumers.



Mansa Devi Complex traders’ woes
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 5
The shopkeepers of Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 5 market have alleged that, they are suffering huge losses because of the step-motherly treatment meted out to the market by Haryana Urban Development Authority.

In the past one year, two shops in the market have closed down their operations, while two others have put up boards for renting out their shops after closing business. The shopkeepers say that HUDA authorities have failed to provide an entry to the market from Panchkula, and their customers, including retail and wholesale customers from Himachal and Haryana, can reach them by first entering neighbouring Chandigarh. The market is located on the Chandigarh-Panchkula border, opposite Nau Gaja Peer.

The market has 17 Shop cum Offices, of which business is being carried out from eight SCOs. Mr Sanjay Sahni, of Ganpati Indoors here, says that earlier there was an entry to the market from Sector 7, Panchkula, which was later closed down by constructing a verge on the road. “When I started business here, annual turnover was Rs 1 crore. After the entrance from Panchkula was closed, the annual turnover slipped to Rs 30 lakh- thus I am thinking of closing shop,” he adds.

Adds Mr Pawan Aggarwal a hardware dealer here,” There is no storm water drainage facility in the parking area. Even mild showers ensure that the parking area is flooded, and the shops are “marooned”. We have complained to HUDA authorities several times, but to no avail. Rather, we have been told that all public health amenities in the market were completed in 1998. “

Shopkeepers say that they have invested lakhs to buy the SCO’s in auctions by HUDA, and the authorties should ensure that the market was developed properly. 



Hospital row: society awaits action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
Agitated over the closure of B.D. Hospital in Sector 23, the Blood Diseases Hospital Society, which owns the hospital, awaits action against Delhi-based Swaran Singh and his son Manjit Singh.

The society has alleged that the father-son duo had fraudulently taken possession of a part of B.D. Hospital in 1997 by supplying false sales documents, in which they had stated that a portion of the hospital had been sold off to them by the then chairman of the society, Mr K.N. Dubey. While office-bearers of the society say no such sale ever took place, this tussle over the ownership, however, has rendered the Rs 15-crore hospital virtually deserted for several years.

Addressing a press conference here today, the chairman of the society, Mr Sukhdev Khanna, has alleged that Swaran Singh, who belongs to Anand Niketan, New Delhi, along with his son, had withdrawn a sum of Rs 65,000 from the society’s bank account in November, 2003, by allegedly forging signatures of the then chairman of the society, Dubey, who died in January last year.

“We have filed complaint with the police, but no action has been taken so far,’’ said Mr Khanna.

Mr Khanna, along with other officer-bearers of the society present at the conference, alleged that Dr Hardip Singh, who is related to Swaran Singh, was running a private clinic in a part of the B.D. Hospital building on the ground floor and were not letting anyone enter the hospital building even as Swaran Singh had earlier admitted before the local commissioner that the first and second floors of the hospital belonged to the society.

“Earlier this year, we had made a request to UT Administrator O.P. Verma for handing over the complaints relating to forgery, cheating and breaking of lock to the CBI, but in vain,” added the chairman.



Park land for school stirs hornets’ nest
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
The allotment of park land to a private school by the Chandigarh Administration in Sector 19-C has stirred a hornet’s nest, with residents threatening to move court.
Terming the allotment as “illegal and unjustified”, the residents alleged that the construction of another school in the congested vicinity would deprive them of a green belt and add to the noise pollution level as Sector 19-C already had three schools.

In fact, the only green belt near a row of houses in Sector 19-C had been shrinking over the years, alleged Mr R.L. Malhotra, a resident. About 15 years ago, a government school was built on land reserved for the development of a park. Later, following residents’ protests, the adjoining area was developed as a green belt, said Mr R.L. Batta and Mr R.K. Chauhan.

However, with the beginning of the construction of the school, the last stretch of the green belt will be a thing of the past. After years of dithering, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh(MCC) had installed iron railings for the development of a green belt recently at a considerable cost, added Mr S.M. Saroj.

The amount seems to have gone down the drain with the construction of the school getting under way, alleged Ms Saroj Beri and P. Usha Chadha. And with no hope of reversal of the decision, the only option left for the residents was to move the court, warned Mr Malhotra.

Acting on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Chandigarh Administration had allotted sites to 34 educational institutions earlier last year. However, in its own wisdom, the Administration allotted the school sites in green belts, triggering a protest by residents. The schools functioning from the residential areas are to shift to their new buildings by next year.

The purpose of shifting the schools from the residential areas would be defeated if they were allowed to be built on the green belts. Apart from losing the greenbelts, the problem of nuisance of schools functioning from near the residential area would not be solved, the residents alleged.

It was in Sector 19 that Le Corbusier created Chandigarh with green belts, ensuring a harmonious living. The eating-up of the green belts by such land-grabbing in the guise of schools will turn it into another polluted and congested city, added agitated Mr Saroj.



Housing societies lack basic amenities
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, September 5
Residents of various housing colonies within the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat limits have been facing inconvenience due to lack of various basic civic amenities including inadequate water supply, absence of streetlights and metalled roads.

Members of various resident welfare associations, including Parwati Enclave Residents Welfare Society, Bartana, Green Park Colony Residents Welfare Association, Lohgarh and Govind Vihar Residents Welfare Association, Bartana, complained that the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat had been ignoring the guidelines of the Punjab Municipal Act 1911, Section 96 (97).

Contrary to the Act the civic body authorities had not been providing them with the facilities for which the residents had deposited the required money to the department, alleged the members of the societies.

Advocate Baljinder Singh, a resident of Green Park Colony, complained that the inadequate water supply to the colony for the past two months had been forcing the residents to draw water from handpumps. Though the residents had been paying water cahrges to the authorities yet for potable water they had to depend on neighbouring colony residents.

Mr B.R. Sharma, a resident of Parwati Enclave Residents Welfare Society, Bartana, complained that the defunct streetlights at various places had compounded the problems of the residents. In absence of streetlights at various places, the residents also feared thefts, added Mr Ajay Kumar, a resident of Govind Vihar Colony in Bartana.

No official of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat authorities was available for comments.



Woman threatens self-immolation
Alleges police connivance with daughter’s kidnappers 
Tribune News Service

Gulzaro with a photo of her kidnapped daughter in Mohali on Sunday
Gulzaro with a photo of her kidnapped daughter in Mohali on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, September 5
Gulzaro, a resident of Kambala village, here is going through the most harrowing days of her life. After the death of her young son three years ago, Gulzaro is now clueless about the disappearance of her 16-year-old daughter, Sona. Allegedly kidnapped by three youths of the village, two of whom are in police custody, there is no news of her since August 20.

Giving an ultimatum to the police, Gulzaro today threatened to immolate herself outside the Sohana police station in case her daughter is not traced by the police. She alleged that the police was conniving with kidnappers and was aware about her whereabouts.

Alleging that the police was not taking any action against the culprits, Gulzaro today said she was being pressurised by the villagers and the police that if withdraw the case registered against three boys of the village her daughter will be restored to her. ‘This means that the police knows where my daughter is but are not helping me because they want me to withdraw the case” she alleged.

Recounting the incident, Gulzaro said she and her husband Mustakh, earned their living from a fodder-cutting machine installed at home. ‘‘About a month ago, I had a fight with a village youth, Vicky, over the use of the machine. He along with his cousin Rintu abused my widowed daughter-in-law. I went to Vicky’s house and but his mother also misbehaved with me. The panchayat intervened and a compromise was reached.

“On August 20, my daughter Salamat, alias Sona went missing from her tailoring class in Phase XI. The police, instead of helping us, is telling that we have hidden her to take revenge from the three boys. The police is conniving with the culprits and asking us to withdraw the case against Rintu, Vicky and a landlord’s son, Rakesh, and our daughter would be given back to us.

This shows that the police knows where our daughter,” is Gulzaro alleged.

When contacted the SHO, Sohana police station, Mr Vinod Sharma, said two out of three persons named in the FIR had been arrested and efforts were on to nab the third person, Rakesh, who could have a clue to the whereabouts of the girl.



Onam celebrated
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 5
Onam commemorates the home-coming of the great Emperor, Mahabali. He sacrificed his life for the sake of his people. The festival promotes the spirit of Love, Compassion, equality and prosperity.

Demonstrating the festive spirit Onam was celebrated by Sree Ayyappa Seva Samiti , Mohali, an organisation of Malyalees residing in and Mohali at Sri Sanatan Dharam Mandir Phase IV Mohali today. The Samiti is a socio religious organisation promoted by a few Malayelees to promote the spirit of oneness in the name of Lord Ayyappa.

The function was inaugurated by the president of the Samiti Mr Hariprasad. The programme started with a prayer and Ranga Pooja.

Cultural programmes were also presented today at the occasion including a traditional dance item of Kerla “ Thiruvathirakali”. This traditional dance which was the main attraction was performed by school children. Thiruvathriakali is a graceful and symmetrical group dance of women.

Then prizes were given to the winners of various competitions which were held on August 15. Karthyayani Amma Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Mr Aneeh Chandran and Ms Samrithi Menon who stood first and second respectively in the Class X. Harbaksh Kaur Mejie Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Ms Divya and Ms Venecia N. Paulose who stood first and second in plus two examinations.

Later on Onam feast was also served to everyone on Banana leaves in the traditional way.



ISKCON devotees celebrate Janmashtami
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 5
As part of Sri Krishna Janmashtami celebration, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) organised a nagar sankirtan here today in which hundreds of devotees from all walks of life participated, according to Akinchan Priya Dasa Prabhu, a spokesman of ISKCON.

Chanting Hare Krishna Mahamantra and dancing to the tune of Mridanga and kartal, ISKCON devotees took out a large procession in the city which started from Sector 43.

Devotees also had rounds of parts of the city to propagate the sacred message of Srimad Bhagvadgita of Lord Krishna.

Main attraction of the programme was a spiritual drama “Shakshi Gopal” on the life of Lord Krishna staged by the children of ISKCON devotees in the evening on the temple premises. Krishna prasadam was distributed among those present.



Monkey creating nuisance caught

Panchkula, September 5
After a gruelling three-month chase the Wildlife Department officials caught a monkey that was creating nuisance in Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 4.

The monkey was arrested by the Wildlife Department officials led by Inspector Sada Ram. Six madaris from Chandigarh were also brought in to assist in today’s operation. A trap was laid for the monkey and the simian was caught in a net in the afternoon.

The simian was later released by the Wildlife officials on the Morni road. The monkey menace in MDC, Sector 4, was causing a lot of problems for the residents. The monkey would stray into people’s houses, pick their clothes hung for drying, or scare away children. The matter was reported by the Resident Welfare Association chief, Mr Inderjeet Ahluwalia to the Wildlife authorities and for the past three months the latter were trying to nab the monkey. TNS



French Rotarians bring ‘gift of sight’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
The Rotary Club of St Marcellin in France has gifted 500 spectacles to the Rotary Club of Chandigarh for distribution among the needy.
The gift was handed over by Rtn. Claudette Bonnetron to the president of Rotary Club Chandigarh, Rtn. Baldev Aggarwal.

Speaking at the simple ceremony, Rtn. Aggarwal said that the club was running a ‘gift of sight’ project in Bapu Dham Colony, where it operated the Rotary Mini Family Welfare Centre, where an eye specialist checked eyesight of residents regularly every week. The people, who could not afford spectacles, would be provided these. He said that the club would also organise a camp to conduct cataract surgeries free of cost for poor people this year. 



Expedite probe into murder case, urges SBI

Chandigarh, September 5
The State Bank of India has taken up the case of the murder of one of its officers, S.K. Dhingra, posted at the Kalbog Branch in Himachal Pradesh with the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, who has assured an expeditious headway into the case.

In a statement issued here, Mr S.N. Mahajan, Deputy General Manager, Shimla, termed reports as baseless and said that the officers could have been targeted as he was strict in recovering loans. He said that the police was working on several theories and such rumours could create panic among the people and bank employees. — TNS



Former Army officers’ meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
It was a memorable time for officers of the Ninth Short Service Commission as they got together at Chandimandir to observe the 34th anniversary of their becoming commissioned officers today.

About 30 officers, a large number of whom are now retired. along with their families attended the event, held at the Environment Park adjoining the golf course in Chandimandir. They had passed out for the Officers Training Academy in September 1970. Bon homie prevailed as memories were revived and experiences shared.



Balmiki convention from Sept 10
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 4
The Haryana Balmiki Mahasabha will organise a three-day national Balmiki convention here from September 10. This was disclosed by the Chairman of the National Balmiki Mahasabha, Mr Banta Ram, today.

Addressing mediapersons, Mr Banta Ram, said the convention will focus on creating a new awareness about the rights of people from their community. “We will focus on the student and service class community, who are educated, and can impart the awareness of rights to the less fortunate members of the community,” he said. Speaking to mediapersons, Mr Raj Kumar Nahar, said they were expecting hundreds of Balmikis from all over the country to participate in the convention. He said the mahasabha would also provide financial help to poor students and poor girls for marriage.



Plug leakages, say villagers
Our Correspondent

Kharar, September 5
The Gram Vikas Sabha of Jandpur village has demanded that leakage at certain points from the Kajauli pipeline be plugged immediately.
General secretary of the sabha Tarsem Singh said here yesterday that the leakage had been brought to the notice of officials of the Department of Public Health at Mohali, but they had passed the buck, saying that the problem was related to public the health wing of Chandigarh.

He said the authorities concerned had put some employees on patrol duty in the area from where the Kajauli pipeline passed but even they were not aware of the leakages.



7 hurt as two cars collide
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 5
At least seven persons were in an accident involving two cars and two cyclists in Phase VIII Industrial area here today. According to the police while five of the injured have been admitted to the Phase VI Civil Hospital, two others have been rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh.

The police said that a couple Deepika and Sandeep driving an Indica (HR 61 Temp 9230) were coming from the Industrial Area towards Quark media house when they had a head on collision with a Lancer (PB11N 5235) occupied by at least four persons including a woman. The clash led to the Indica turning turtle injuring the couple seriously. The Lancer occupants Sukhwant Singh of Fatehgarh Sahib, Amandeep Singh, Jasbir Kaur of Ropar and another unidentified person were also injured. While the unidentified person ran away in an injured state, Jasbir Kaur who told the police that she was the wife of one Tirlok Singh from Ropar and away from the Civil Hospital later. Sources added that the Lancer occupants were allegedly drunk and driving recklessly when the accident took place.

Two cyclists, Shiv Kumar and Moti Lal, both from Sector 25, Chandigarh who were caught in the clash were also injured. The have been admitted to the Phase VI, Civil Hospital.



Nepalese crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Lalru, September 5
A Nepali national was crushed to death by an unidentified vehicle while he was crossing the Kalka-Ambala highway near here, early this morning.
According to the police, Manbahadur, a resident of Vasana in Liva area of Nepal, was crushed to death by a vehicle while brother-in-law, Roshan Lal, had a narrow escape. Manbahadur was running a vegetable shop at Kotkhai in Shimla.

Both were on their way back to Himachal from Dehli and had stopped near here for the night. While crossing the road to give answer of the call of the nature early this morning, a speeding vehicle heading towards Delhi knocked Manbahadur down. He succumbed to his injuries on the spot.

The driver of the vehicle sped away from the scene after the accident.

The body was later sent to the Civil Hospital Rajpura for post mortem.



Immigration firm manager held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 5
The Economics Offences Wing of the Police has busted another immigration racket operating from the township and detected a fraud of over Rs 6 lakh Complaints against immigration firm, Fly International, are still pouring in.

A complaint against the firm was received by the police on June 12, from a Hoshiarpur resident. He had alleged that the proprietor of the firm, Rahul Chaudhary, and his manager, Rosy, had duped him of Rs 2. 40 lakh on the pretext of sending him to New Zealand.

Four more complaints of fraud were received against the company. Ms Rosy was today arrested by the police, while Rahul is still at large.

In-laws booked: The police has booked Sanjeev Verma, his father Bal Krishan, brother Tilak and sisters Seema and Jyoti on charges of harassing Sanjeev’s wife, Ashu Geeta, for bringing insufficient dowry. The complaint was lodged by Ashu Geeta.

Security guard injured: Nihal Singh, a 40-year-old private security guard, was injured after his scooter was hit by a car at Sector 6 lights this morning. He has received head injuries and is admitted to General  Hospital here. 



Lottery vendors raided
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 5
The Mohali police today cracked down on lottery vendors in the township allegedly running satta here. Police teams conducted raids in Phase 1, Phase VIII and Nayagaon under the over all supervision of DSP Mohali Harpreet Singh.

The police also rounded up a few persons for interrogation and said to have recovered diaries from them on which they would keep records of the various satta deals. The DSP confirmed the raids and said innocent people were being lured by the lottery agents. TNS


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