C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


CBI books emigration official, 5 agents for forgery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The CBI today booked the city-based Protector of Emigrants (POE) and five recruiting agents, including one from Hoshiarpur, for allegedly sending 106 persons from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to Gulf countries on forged documents.

A large number of incriminating documents were seized in simultaneous raids from the Sector 9 office of the POE, four city-based recruitment agents and one in Hoshiarpur. No arrest has yet been made, sources in the CBI told The Tribune today.

The POE, Mr P.C. Bharadwaj, is the stamping authority on documents of immigration for unskilled and semi-skilled labour . Interestingly, the CBI had earlier booked Bharadwaj’s predecessor for allegedly being involved in the same activity.

Jaswant Singh of the Sector 2-based Singh Travels, Bhupinder Singh of the Sector 42-based B.S. Enterprises, Prem Kumar of the Hoshiarpur-based Asiatic Tour Services, Kavita Rani of the Sector 34-based Mudra Associates and Narinder Kumar Sharma of the Sector 34-based Shiv Enterprises were booked for allegedly generating forged documents with the POE’s help.

The CBI found that these persons were allegedly charging between Rs 5,000 and Rs 10,000 from each aspiring emigrant. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates are the countries where these persons were sent.

The CBI also informed the Income Tax Department about the recovery of at least Rs 8 lakh from the agent in Hoshiarpur.

The sources in the CBI said the agents used to generate a forged sponsorship letter of a company in the Gulf through computer scanning. The POE apparently ignored this forgery and did not check the veracity of these companies from abroad. The involvement of the POE was established as in a few cases, it was obvious from the documents seized by the CBI from his office and that from the offices of recruiting agents.

The racket was allegedly going on in collusion with the agents.

The recruiting agents used to get passports of the candidates and create details on certificates accordingly, the sources said.

The CBI has registered a case of forgery, misuse of official position and violation of emigration laws.



Doubts cloud closure of mathi project
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Even a year after the mid-day meal project of Working Women's Hostel, Sector 24, was abruptly abandoned, several questions about its "avoidable" closure remain to be answered. Besides causing losses to women who were drawing salary against preparation of mathis under the project, its closure also led to monetary losses which the UT Administration has not yet probed.

Although closure of the project was blamed on its mismanagement by a former hostel warden, investigations by The Tribune reveal that the blame may also lie elsewhere. To begin with, the project had been running successfully since 2002 when it started with the preparation of 5,000 mathis per day. The quantity of mathis to be prepared was later raised to 10,000 per day and then to 15,000 per day.

When the project was shelved, it was being managed by 16 women engaged in preparing 20,000 mathis per day. Sources tell that the profit from the project was about Rs 5,000 per day and it was providing salary to the tune of about Rs 1,500 to each employed woman. However, the scheme was dropped by the Director, Social Welfare, Mr Gurdip Singh, also MD, Chandigarh Child & Women Development Corporation, who allegedly also violated some rules while purchasing oil during the period of the project.

Whereas under rules, he could not have effected purchases exceeding Rs 2 lakh without calling tenders and giving wide publicity in national newspapers, he made purchases amounting to Rs 20 lakh. He also allegedly purchased substandard oil at the cost of Rs 685 per tin, whereas during that period (April 19 to July 22, 2003) Markfed ghee, considered much more nutritious, cost Rs 604 per tin (as on July 1, 2004).

Though a former hostel warden, Ms Kusum Kalra, raised the issue, no probe was held. Recently, she submitted a representation to the UT Administrator, informing him about the alleged unprecedented corruption and moral turpitude on the part of Mr Gurdip Singh, who was not available for comment despite repeated calls at his residence and on his mobile.

Ms Kalra brought the matter of purchase of substandard oil by him on record in the representation, supported with evidence. Interestingly, the purchase of this poor quality oil was discontinued after a former Secretary, Social Welfare, Mr G.K. Marwah, visited the mathi project site at the Hostel.

Besides, much government money has been unnecessarily spent in the project. The shed which the Social Welfare Department got constructed for the enhancement of space under the mid-day meal project now lies non-functional. While it is being used for all purposes other than those desired, enquiries reveal that the department has cleared the payment of Rs 51,000 as against the bill of about Rs 73,000. Even as purpose of the shed is far from being met, money continues to be spent without accountability.

Meanwhile, women who were rendered jobless following the shelving of the project have been frequenting the hostel in the hope that the same may be revived. Among them are Kamla Devi, Devki, Neelam, Kanta, Kamla, Tirth and Urmila.



Waiting to be a ‘thanedar’
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
They have been serving the police day and night for 20 years on an average, apparently to acquire the status of a “thanedar”, a position that, they believe, will enhance their position in society and the family, but there are stumbling blocks in their elevation.

Their wait seems to be agonising as a few of them (87 to be precise) have even got training for Assistant Sub-Inspector at the Phillaur Police Academy 11 months back and are expecting their promotion, only to be disheartened.

At least 80 Constables have also been trained to be promoted as Head Constables, but they are also stagnating as their seniors are not getting promotions despite vacancies created due to promotions, retirements and deaths. However, the Chandigarh police today broke the trend, promoting 13 Constables to Head Constables. Yesterday, three Head Constables and a Sub-Inspector of the Police Control Room were promoted.

There is a feeling in the lower rung of the police that their promotions are not taken up very promptly as there is a major change in their status and life after promotion as Assistant Sub-Inspectors. They do the thankless job of the police, sometimes not even properly equipped.

Wives and children of a few of them keep pestering them as to why they have not been promoted despite vacancies. Sometimes this leads to bickerings in the family, says an aspirant awaiting promotion.

Uniform, cap, boots and belt also change on becoming an ASI. The position and symbols are much coveted by policemen. A star is added to their uniform. The three red-blue-red stripes that have to be carried, sometimes for 18 to 20 years, are not so liked when promotion is in sight.

Constables fear the day they have to retire as Head Constables. A senior officer in the Punjab police states that he tries to ensure that a retiring policeman is given promotion to the post of ASI to raise his status. No monetary benefit is given by the Punjab police in such cases.

Amidst the agonising wait for promotions, the Chandigarh police is reportedly considering recruiting ASIs directly, furthering pushing them in to despair. Sources in the police say promotions of Head Constables are due, but the decision is getting delayed as senior officers are examining if the vacancies have to be filled through direct induction of ASIs.

Twelve ASIs were promoted in July, seven retired recently and four died, creating 23 vacancies. Those who completed their training in August last year have not yet been promoted, apparently because a policy decision is yet to be taken.



No disinvestment in BSNL, says minister
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Putting the controversy over the disinvestment in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to rest, the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Dr Shakeel Ahmad, said here today that the government-controlled telecom giant was doing a “fine job” in meeting the requirements of the telephone subscribers.

Clarifying the UPA government stand on disinvestment, Dr Ahmad said the interests of the government employees would be kept in mind while taking any policy decision on the vexed issue.

However, the merger of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) is under the active consideration of the government, he added.

Unveiling an ambitious plan to reduce the number of persons in the waiting list for the landline connections, the minister said over 80 per cent of the total pendency of 17.53 lakh would be cleared by the year-end and the rural-urban divide with regards to connectivity narrowed considerably.

This had been made possible following a major shift in the government policy under which the subscribers living up to a distance of 5 km from the nearest telephone exchange would be provided with a new telephone connection as against 2.5 km earlier.

Hinting at strict action against the private telecom operators for bypassing the rural areas, Dr Ahmad informed that BSNL would release over 70 lakh cellular connections by the end of this year and of these 2.5 lakh connections would be in Haryana.

Answering a specific query on the alleged favouritism shown by the previous NDA government to certain private operator, the minister said the government was seized of the matter.

The minister said the ministry was toying with the idea of starting an inter-state money transfer scheme on the pattern of the International Money Transfer Scheme for the persons working in other states.

Earlier, the minister reviewed the functioning the Haryana Circles of the BSNL and the Department of Posts and Haryana State Informatics Centres.



Haryana to have 2.5 lakh new BSNL mobiles by year-end
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The Haryana circle of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) will add 2.5 lakh new mobile connections to its existing subscriber base by the end of this year, the Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Dr Shakeel Ahmad, said here today.

Addressing a press conference at the UT State Guest House, Dr Ahmad said the waiting list for about 18,000 connections in the circle would be considerably reduced by the year-end.

Dr Ahmad, who reviewed the performance of the Haryana BSNL and postal circles and the National Informatics Centre (NIC) in the morning, claimed that the functioning of the Haryana police would be streamlined following the development of a unique software by the NIC.

The BSNL Chief General Manager, Mr Gokul Singh, claimed that with over 2.5 lakh existing mobile connections, the BSNL was the number one mobile operator in the state. It was planning to provide over 1 lakh wireless in local loop telephones by the end of this financial year.

Ms Meera Datta, Chief Postmaster-General, said the department had chalked out an elaborate programme to celebrate 150 years of the Department of Posts, beginning October 1.



Bansal loyalists demand Bahl’s removal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The visit of the Union Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Dr Shakeel Ahmad, to the city today brought to the fore the simmering differences between the MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, and the CTCC chief, Mr B.B. Bahl.

At separate meetings with the minister, both the factions used the occasion to score political points. While the Bansal loyalists demanded the removal of Mr Bahl for his “incompetence” to lead the local unit, the Bahl faction, however, demanded the reconstitution of telephone, postal and IT advisory committees to “reward” the loyal party workers.

The differences surfaced right at the airport when both factions welcomed him “separately”. Thereafter, the scene shifted to the UT Guest House where Bansal loyalists, in a show of strength, urged the minister to apprise the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, of the feelings of the party cadres.

The loyalists, including several councillors of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), like Mr Pardeep Chabbra, Senior Deputy Mayor, Ms Anu Chatrath, Mr Subhash Chawla, Ms Shyama Negi, Ms Lalit Joshi Bhardwaj, all councillors, wanted Mr Bahl not to become “inaccessible” to the party workers.

They were joined by the Chief of Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress (CTYC), Mr H.S. Lucky, Mr Bhupinder Badheri, president of the Market Committee, Mr D.D. Jindal, Mr Devinder Babla, senior leaders. Mr Bansal was also present in the meeting.

On the other hand, Bahl supporters, including Mr Sunil Party, Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, Mr Kuldip Singh, Ms Shrestha Mehta and Mr Surinder Bhatia, also put up a spirited defence. Without wasting much time in finding faults with the other faction, they demanded that the various advisory committees should be recast as they were packed with the BJP men.

Sources said the minister did not make any commitment with either group.



Air Deccan flights for Chandigarh, Amritsar
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Air Deccan, the low-cost airline, is all set to spread its wings in the North of the country for better connectivity. The Bangalore-based airline plans to introduce at least seven new flights in north India by the end of October.

Talking to TNS from Chennai, the airline’s Managing Director, Captain G.R. Gopinath, said as part of its expansion plans Air Deccan plans to launch its flights from Delhi to Jaipur, Dehra Dun, Kanpur, Agra, Chandigarh, Jammu and Amritsar in north India.’’

The airline is in the process of getting 11 new airbuses, three of which it has already received and delivery of another two will be taken by February. It is also hopeful of getting at least five more smaller ATR aircraft in the next few days. Two of the ATR aircraft to be received shortly will be stationed in Delhi and will be used to launch flights from Delhi to the smaller cities in north India, he said.

“We will be offering majority of the seats in the domestic sector in the price range of Rs 1,200 -Rs 2,000 and a few in the price range of Rs 500 and Rs 1,200,’’ he added.

Capt Gopinath said the induction of the two ATR aircraft will see the airline offering 70 flights-a-day on its network with the smaller aircraft alone. The airline also has a fleet of Airbus A-320 aircraft, which ply on the domestic trunk routes and addition to the new airbuses will only ensure connectivity between all parts of the country.

The airline also plans to offer non-stop flights between Chennai and Delhi and between Chennai and Mumbai in the next 15-20 days. Currently, the airline offers a connection between Delhi and Chennai, through Hyderabad. Besides, the airline also plans to offer a link between Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

Even in this case, 75 per cent of the seats on the Chennai-Delhi sector will be offered in the price range of Rs 500 and Rs 5,500.



Seasonal flu affecting residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Changing season is leaving city residents with sore throat and mild fever. As summer is gradually making way for winter, more and more people are getting affected by seasonal flu.

“A number of patients are coming with infection in throat and with mild fever and body ache. These symptoms are found in both children as well as adults who are getting these infections. The main cause is the changing weather and exposure to varied temperatures during the day ,'' said a senior doctor at the General Hospital, Sector 16. The health centres and the dispensaries in the city are getting a number of patients complaining of fever, attributed primarily to the changing season.

The doctors, however, are advising people to take precautions in respect to exposure during the day and their daily diet intake. “Care should be taken these days in what one eats. For instance, chilled water and other chilled drinks should be avoided and care need to be taken in exposure to varied temperatures in 24 hours,” added the doctor.

Fever, body ache, mild headache and feeling of general discomfort are the symptoms of the flue and these can remain for three to four days.



Staff paid by MC, works elsewhere
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, September 29
While development works in the town are suffering due to financial constraints, lakhs of rupees are being wasted by the Municipal Council on the payment of salaries of employees who are working in office other than those of the civic body.

Nearly 20 employees of the civic body are working in the head office of the Department of Local Government at Chandigarh and the local SDM’s office here. Besides, a number of safai sewaks, who are employees of the council, are allegedly working unauthorisedly in the homes of government officials. All of them are drawing salaries from the civic body here.

Apart from this, a number of staff members of the council are also considered as surplus as the council does not require their services but they get posted here due to political links. Whenever such a transfer is done, a new post for the staff member is created for justification and the civic body is compelled to bear the additional financial burden in such cases.

The council at present has two executive officers, three accountants, four sanitary inspectors, nine junior engineers, two superintendents and one head draughtsman. The council does not have a post of head draughtsman.

Sources say that among the persons working at the head office of the Department of Local Government, are Mr Vijay Kumar Malhotra, personal assistant-cum-superintendent, Ms Neeru Sethi, accountant, Ms Gurpreet Kaur, clerk, Mr Pirthi Chand, Mr Jaswant Singh and Mr Nirmal Singh, all drivers, Mr Resham Singh, chowkidar, Mr Manohar, Mr Des Raj, Mr Som Pal, Mr Suresh, Mr Lavinder, Ms Shanti, Mr Jaspal and Mr Satpal, safai sewaks. Mr Pritam Singh, a gardener, is working in the Mini Secretariat at Chandigarh.

Sources further say that Mr Ashok Kumar, clerk, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, driver, and Mr Ramesh Chander, safai sewak, are working in the office of the SDM here. Mr Sukhwinder Singh has been working with the SDM office ever since the office started functioning in the town.



Kidwai to take oath today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The Haryana Governor, Dr A.R. Kidwai, will take the oath of secrecy at the Punjab Raj Bhavan tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. here. He will take over as Governor of Punjab and the Administrator of Chandigarh as Justice O.P. Verma has proceeded on leave.

In a communiqué from Raj Bhavan, Dr Kidwai has expressed relief at the providential escape of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and others on Monday last when the Pawan Hans Helicopter in which they were travelling developed a serious technical snag, forcing an emergency landing.



Army recruitment from October 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Recruitment to Army for the categories of general duty constable, technician, technician (aviation), clerk or store keeper, technical and nursing assistant and to the post of Havaldar in the Education Core would be conducted from October 1 to 7 at Karan Stadium, Karnal.

While stating this, here today, the Director of Army Recruitment Office, Ambala, Col A.K. Chaudhary said in case of candidates of district Karnal and Chandigarh, the recruitment would be held on October 1 followed by the recruitment for the candidate of district Panchkula and Kurukshetra on October 2, district Ambala on October 3 and district Yamunanagar on October 4.

He said in case of the wards of ex-servicemen, serving defence personnel, war widows and widows of martyr soldiers of the district of Karnal, Kurukshetra, Panchkula, Ambala, Yamunanagar and Chandigarh would be held on October 5. The recruitment for the candidates hailing from these five districts and Chandigarh for the categories of technician, technician (aviation), clerk and nursing assistant would be held on October 6. Those candidates who had already applied and had been sent call letters for recruitment to the post of education core would be recruited on October 7.

He said those desirous of applying for posts should be born between April 1, 1984 and June 1, 1987. The candidate should also have secured a minimum of 45 per cent marks in Class X or had passed Plus II. Sikh Mazhabi and Ramdasia candidates should have passed matric.

He said the candidates clearing the medical examination during the recruitment drive would have to appear for a written examination on October 31 at Karan Stadium, Karnal. The results would be announced at the office of the Recruitment Wing in Ambala in the month of November.



Need to bring down infant mortality rate 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Acknowledging the fact that India needs to do something more than ordinary to take care of its infants, the Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, Prof N.K. Ganguly, talked about the number of new initiatives being taken in the country to curb the infant mortality rate.

The Director-General Professor Ganguly, while talking to the The Tribune about his recent visit to the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) here, shared the concern and said the other major economic powers in Asia, primarily the new economic giants of the south east Asia, have been tasting the economic success only by taking care of the fundamental problems of infant mortality, which was not the case in India.

Disclosing the new initiatives taken by the ICMR in various parts of the country, Professor Ganguly said separate programmes targeting the various crucial aspects of the problem have been launched. The director said the main cause of death among infants upto the age of six months in India was the respiratory track infection. To bring down the number of children infected by it in six leading states, including Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the programme has been launched to give orally administered vaccine for lactobacillus.

To tackle the problem of H-influenza B, another cause of death among the infants, Professor Ganguly said a major trial of the vaccine to check the infection will be launched shortly in the states most affected by the disease.

With a number of leading researches pointing to the deficiency of zinc in the newborns as a factor contributing to infant mortality, the programme on adding the zinc dosage in the ORS solutions has already been launched. “The deficiency of zinc among the infants is also a major factor for their death. That is the reason why we have now introduced a new form of oral rehydration solution (its new nomenclature is W-ORS) with the zinc content in it,” said Professor Ganguly.



Poor patient needs help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
A pregnant wife, an ailing father and a helpless sister. The penury stricken 25-year-old Deepak Kumar, hailing from Bihar, had a tough time arranging for a kidney donor within his family .He has been diagnosed with chronic renal failure.

Deepak's withered father narrates the tale of woes of his family. ``I first readied myself to donate my kidney for my son. The tests found me diabetic. My donating was ruled out. Deepak's wife was pregnant. So could not donate. I approached my married daughter. She agreed, but her in- laws refused.'' Deepak's younger brother Pardeep, 21, married only three months ago to donate a kidney. he has agreed, but we needRs1.5lakh for the operation. Deepak and Rameshwar are without job for quite some time.

Those willing to help can contact Rameshwar Singh at 84, New colony , Khuda Lahora, Chandigarh. Phone: 9417315704. The cheques can be given in favour of the Director , PGI, Chandigarh, through the Public Relations Officer , phone: 0172-2747585- extension 6005. 



Set up new wage board, demand journalists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ) organised a seminar on “Relevance of wage board today” for newspaper employees at Chandigarh Press Club, here today.

A number of journalists expressed their views and there was unanimity that wage board was a must for the journalists and non-journalists employees.

While speaking on the issue, Mr Vinod Kohli, president, CPUJ, said the last wage board was constituted in September 1994. Since then the newspaper industry had undergone a lot of changes. Keeping in view of rising prices of all items, there was an immediate need for a new wage board.

The News Editor of Punjabi Tribune, Mr Shyam Singh, noted in his brief address that the newspaper employees had been taken for a ride by both the management and the government. He lamented that journalists themselves were to be blamed for this sorry state of the affairs. He exhorted the journalists to put a limited front against the exploitation.

The president of the Haryana Patarkar Sangh, Mr K.B. Pandit, said both the management and the government were not interested in constituting the wage board. He said the recommendations of the earlier wage boards too had been implemented by only 20 per cent newspapers. The government could force the managements to implement the wage board recommendations. He advocated joint fight on this front and suggested that different unions should join hands and a special coordination committee be formed to fight this common cause.

The president of the Tribune Employees Union, Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, said by constituting the wage board the government had not done any favour to newspaper employees, rather it was their right. He criticised the certain system adopted by the management to hire journalists. He endorsed the views of Mr Pandit that only coordinated efforts on the part of various union would compel the powers that be to take notice. He also said they should not ignore the non-journalist employees of newspapers as they were also part of this industry.

Mr Sanjiv Shukla of Hindustan said the contract system was breeding insecurity among the journalists and this system was causing tensions between the contractual and wage board employees. He also suggested that they should join hands with contract employees to put up a united front.

The acting Editor of Dainik Tribune, Mr Naresh Kaushal, too spoke on the occasion. He urged the management to take care of the issue of wages of employees as prices were rising and journalists too needed a decent standard of living.



Motorcycle expedition flagged off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
As part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of its Battle Honour Tiddim, the Third Battalion of the Fifth Gorkha Rifles has launched a motor-cycle-cum-mountaineering expedition.

The expedition was flagged-off from Chandimandir by Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen P.K. Grover today.

The motor-cycle leg of the expedition would pass through Pandoh and reach Palchan in Himachal Pradesh on September 30.

Thereafter, the team members would attempt to scale the 18,200 feet high Friendship Peak in Kullu district on October 8. The expedition, covering a period of 15 days would entail driving motor cycles on high altitude tracks and mountaineering over glaciated terrain.

The commanding officer of the battalion, Col R.S. Thakur, briefed General Grover and other senior officers from the command about the expedition. The 26-member team is being led by Capt Balwan Singh.

The battalion, which goes by the sobriquet Frontier Force, earned the Battle Honour Tiddim in October, 1944, for gallantry during the Second World War.

It accomplished the task of extricating a Jat machine gun company surrounded by Japanese forces in the north-east. The battalion, then commanded by Lieut-Col J.Maridim travelled about 100 miles from Imphal to Tiddim to take on the opposing forces, killing over 300 of the enemy.

The battalion earned one Indian Order of Merit, two Distinguished Service Order, one Bar to Military Cross, two Military Cross and 15 mentioned-in-dispatches.



From darkness to light, Geelani guides the path
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, September 29
Having suffered the vagaries of “unjust” detention, Syed Abdur Rahman Geelani, the Delhi University teacher framed in the Parliament attack in December, is now helping undertrials who have lost hope of justice.

In Chandigarh on Wednesday to address a public meeting organised at Punjab Book Centre this evening, Geelani focused the attention of the people on the lesser known aspects of police investigations and the justice administration system in India. He bared his wounds in the public while unpeeling the “deadly nexus between the police and the judiciary, out to harass political prisoners.” He almost drew a sketch of the torment which prisoners lodged in the Tihar Jail had to bear. More importantly, he talked of how sacred democratic institutions were crumbling under the weight of political manoeuvring.

It was to protect the rights of detainees and prisoners that likeminded people who campaigned for the acquittal of Geelani formed the Society for the Protection of Detainees and Prisoners’ Rights. Geelani was now playing a proactive role as member of this group, which also had on the panel Nandita Haksar, Geelani’s lawyer and human rights activist.

Haksar said: “There are two kinds of political prisoners. One section comprises those who are involved in the politics of issues and the other that features those who belong to the community or any other geographical area. Many of them are imprisoned. Human rights bodies have not taken any steps in this connection.”

Supporting Haksar’s claim, Geelani said, “Prisoners are treated like slaves in jails. Democratic institutions in the country are losing their teeth.” Recalling his two-year experience in Tihar Jail, he said prisoners were treated like prisoners of Fallujah jail. Geelani furnished names of two officers who had made him suffer in the Parliament attack case.

He said when he was in police custody, he was forced to sign the statement before reaching the court. Afterwards even the trial seemed quite perfunctory.

Geelani added that the charge sheet against him was filed much after the judgement was pronounced. He demanded better facilities for political prisoners. Alleging that the court was biased, he said there was a criminal nexus between the police and the judiciary.

Meanwhile, an exhibition of posters called ‘Lies of our times’ was also put up by the organisers. The exhibition displayed the lies told by the media and the police about the Parliament attack case.

The society also launched a signature campaign from Khatkar Kalan, the ancestral place of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, on the occasion of his birth anniversary, to protect political prisoners. The exhibition was being taken to various locations of Punjab by the Association for Democratic Rights and the All-India Federation of Democratic Youth.

The society had begun its campaign for the reform of conditions in jails like Tihar. “We want to expose the terrible conditions of their detention and tell stories of how these men maintain their humanity and keep alive their hopes for better future,” according to a press note.



Prof elected to IIPA council
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Prof S.L. Goel, a UGC emeritus fellow and former professor of Public Administration, Panjab University, has been elected to the executive council of the Indian Institute of Public Administration for the term 2004-2008.

Dr Sanjeev Reddy, Director, Indian Institute of Public Administration, has informed this.

This is for the first time that someone from the North has contested and won this prestigious seat. In all, 59 contestants, including former Chief Secretaries of Haryana and Maharashtra, had contested for 20 seats in the council.

Dr Goel has been placed at third position on the basis of votes polled on all-India basis. He is currently the Director, State Bank of India (local board), and the Director, National Horticulture Board, Ministry of Agriculture.

The Indian Institute of Public Administration was established in 1954.

The President of India is the patron and the Vice-President is the president of the council.

Dr Goel is engaged in a major research project: “Evaluation of primary health care administration in India with special reference to Haryana, Himachal and Punjab”.



Sector 17 traders protest against demolition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Traders in the city’s main shopping centre in Sector 17 closed their shops for about an hour this morning to protest against the demolition carried out in a shop in the sector.

The Estate Office had objected to a full frontal glass facade of the shop and also to modifications like staircase within the shop which had been made without the prior approval of the competent authorities.

The co-owner of the shop, Mr I.C. Bansal, said he was ready to pay the conversion fee for using the first floor for commercial purposes. He also said the building plans had not been passed by the Estate Office as the other co-owner had not signed the plans. He claimed it was not possible for him to get the signatures of the co-owner, however, he was willing to deposit the conversion fee even for the co-owner. The Estate office should allow the conversion after payment, he said.

The President of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, Mr Jagdish Arora, asked the Administration to stop all such demolitions till the proposed amendments to the building bylaws were announced. The mandal said the Estate office can overlook the internal stairs as these were permitted.

They termed today’s action as anti-trader. They said the shopkeepers were beautifying their premises as a large number of visitors come to Sector 17.



Hindi book exhibition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
An exhibition of Hindi books was inaugurated at the PGI here by the Director, Prof K.K. Talwar, at the institute’s library today. He said the exhibition would not only help in the promotion of the Hindi language at the institute, but would enhance interest in reading scientific and other literature.

He said more work should be done in the national language at the institute. He declared that the news bulletin would be published in Hindi.

Addressing the audience, Professor Talwar said all heads of departments at the PGI should explore the possibility of holding technical seminars in Hindi and implement the same at their respective departments.

The Dean, Prof Sudha Suri, the Medical Superintendent, Prof A.K. Gupta, and the Nodal Officer (Official Language), Prof Parmanand Kulhara, were also present at the inauguration of the exhibition, which would conclude on October 4.



MC to institute sanitation awards

Chandigarh, September 29
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has decided to institute the sanitation awards for residents welfare associations and market associations.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the sanitation committee held here today. It was decided to give two awards each in both categories every three months.

While the first prize will carry a cash prize of Rs 5,000, the second and the third prizes will carry cash prizes of Rs 3,000 and 2,000, respectively.

It was also decided to award best health supervisor, sanitary jamadar, and sweeper. The best sweeper will get a cash prize of Rs 1,000. TNS



IG to meet senior citizens
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 29
The Senior Citizens’ Council, Chandigarh, is celebrating International Day of Older Persons tomorrow at Shri Guru Har Krishan Model High School, Sector 38-D.

Mr Rajesh Kumar, Inspector General of Police, will be the chief guest. The IG will interact with the senior citizens about their safety and security. Mr Gaurav Yadav, Senior Superintendent of Police, will be the guest of honour.



Mass marriage

Mohali, September 29
The Punjabi Cultural Welfare Society will solemnise the mass marriage of 15 girls belonging to poor families at Guru Ravidas Bhawan in Phase VII on October 16. OC



Man found murdered in field
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 29
The body of a 25-year-old unidentified man who had allegedly been strangulated to death was found in the fields of Raipur Kalan village today morning. His head had been bludgeoned with a brick and a broken liquor bottle. The objects of assault were found near the body.

There were blood spots, but no signs indicating a struggle by the victim. The body was shown to the residents of Raipur Kalan and Baltana who had gathered at the spot in large numbers. The body was shown at labour chowks also but all attempts to get the body identified failed.

The police found the body without clothes. There were injuries marks on the head. A shirt had been tied around the deceased’s neck. The victim’s trousers covered with paint spots were found away from the spot.

The police has registered a case of murder at Mani Majra police station and has sent the body to the General Hospital, Sector 16. 



Gang of vehicle thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The Chandigarh Police today claimed to have unearthed an international gang of auto-lifters who were selling luxury vehicles in Assam and Nepal on forged documents.

The racket was busted when the Sector 17 police brought Dilip Pandey from Khushinagar in Uttar Pradesh on a transit remand in connection with the theft of a Scorpio vehicle stolen from the city on September 20 and 21. He was arrested when the Chandigarh Police informed about the theft of the vehicle to police in Assam, Punjab, Haryana and other state. He was arrested at a picket in Kushinagar district.

Dilip Pandey, during the preliminary investigation, told the Chandigarh Police that six or seven persons including a woman, were in the gang.

The gang members are based in Delhi, Chandigarh and Haryana. Pandey had earlier worked in the city as a driver as was fully acquainted with the city.

The police said the gang was equipped with electrical screw drivers to cut through the dashboard to connect the wires for ignition. They also opened the doors of the cars by removing the window glass. A battery-operated hand drill was used to break the steering lock. The auto lifters used to push the vehicle from the spot where it was parked and started the engine. The woman member of the gang used to stand guard while other members to broke the lock . The police says these gang members strike between 4 to 4.30 am.

They used to identify their target through reconnaissance during the day and then used to board a bus to Chandigarh either from Karnal or Delhi to reach late in the night in the city to carry out their operation.

They normally took 10 minutes for them to steal a luxury car. The stolen vehicles were then taken to Assam where another gang took charge of selling them and forge documents. The vehicles were finally sold in Nepal. These thieves generally targeted luxury diesel vehicles. The Chandigarh Police has identified all gang members and raids are continuing on them.



2 escape from Nari Niketan
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 29
Two girls fled the Nari Niketan in Sector 26 here last night. One of them came back today.

Meera and Meerath, aged between 20 and 22 years, escaped from Nari Niketan by scaling the gate of the Nari Niketan. Meera came back, today.

She said Meerath was talking about going back home.

The police was informed about the incident. Meera was interrogated today to get clues about Meerath. The police alerted its personnel at the railway station and the bus stand.



Man held on rape charge
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 29
A Sector 32-D-based property dealer was today arrested for allegedly having raped a 22-year-old married woman. The women who was his employee allegedly being raped by the man for the last three months.

Jagdeep Mahajan (32), who runs an STD booth and property dealing shop in Sector 32-D, was arrested after the girl complained to the police.

The girl had been working with the property dealer for the past nine months. The girl complained that Mahajan had allegedly been forcibly having sex with her for the past three months. She told in her statement that the man had been threatening her with dire consequences if she told anyone about it. The police has booked Mahajan under Sections 376, 366, 342 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code.

Woman dies

A mother of eight children died while cooking meals when the stove she was working on burst. Nashnori Devi, a resident of Colony No. 5 died when the burner of the stove blew up splintering fire on her. She caught fire immediately and ran outside.

Abandoned child dead

A one-year-old female child was found abandoned outside Mother Teresa Charitable Home, Sector 23, today. The child later died at General Hospital, Sector 16. The child was spotted at 6 am. The police received a phone call at around 10.45 am. The child was taken to general hospital as she was not well, where she died. Doctors said the child had pneumonia that led to her death.

Cyclist killed

A cyclist, who was hit by a Punjab Roadways bus yesterday, succumbed to injuries at the GMCH here today. Seema of Kajheri village was hit by the bus (PB-11-H-9864) near the road separating Sectors 51 and 52. A case was registered under Sections 279, 337 and 402-A of the Indian Penal Code. The police arrested the driver of the bus, Avtar Singh, a resident of Khamano in Ropar district.

House burgled

Ms P. Anand, a resident of Sector 10, reported to the police that the locks of house No 108 were found broken on Wednesday. Landlords of the house had not been living in it for the past-one-and-half year. A case under Section 379 of the IPC was registered.

Chain snatched

Ms Manpreet Kaur of Sector 22 reported to the police that two unidentified youths snatched her gold chain from in front of her house, on Tuesday. A case under Sections 379 and 356 of the IPC was registered.

Gambling cases

The police arrested Varinder Kumar of Indira Colony from the same locality and Ravinder Kumar of Kuldeep Colony in Kajheri from the same locality on Tuesday. The police recovered Rs 1,775 and Rs 465, respectively, from their possession and booked them under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act.

Liquor seized

Bshadi Lal of Janata Colony, Sector 25, was arrested from Sector 34 with seven bottles of whisky he was carrying illegally. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act was registered.

Vehicles stolen

Mr Naresh Kumar of Daon village in Ropar district reported to the police that his motor cycle (CH-03-E-7879) was stolen from the Sukhna Lake parking on Tuesday. A case of theft was registered.

In another incident, Mr Kulbir Singh of Khuda Jassu village reported to the police that his scooter (CH-01-Q-213) was stolen from the PGI parking on Tuesday. A case of theft was registered.


4 held for gambling

The police arrested Madan Lal from Majri Chowk, Shiv Kurana of Kalka from General Hospital, Rakesh Kumar from the General Bus Stand and Ajay Sharma from Gandhi Chowk, for gambling at a public place. The police recovered Rs 2,745 from their possession. Four cases under the Gambling Act were registered.

Electricity theft

The Subdivisional Officer filed a complaint against Raj Kumar, a resident of Indira Colony, that the accused was caught while stealing electricity in a raid conducted by his team. The police registered a case against the accused and sent him in one-day judicial custody.

Liquor seized

The police seized 240 bottles of whisky from a Santro car (DL-3-CS-0504) near Chandi Mandir on Tuesday night. The police arrested Jatinder, the driver of the car, Sanjay and Satinder. They were handed over to Excise Department officials.



20 passports recovered from conman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The Economic Offences Wing of the Chandigarh Police has recovered around 20 passports of different persons from Anoop Aggarwal who was arrested for allegedly cheating a man from Panchkula by promising to arrange a loan at 4.5 per cent interest. The recovery of passports came in the wake of allegations that he was allegedly duping people on the pretext of sending them abroad. Hence, no case in this regard had been registered with the Chandigarh Police till now. Sources in the police said Anoop Aggarwal could not produce any licence to carry on immigration activities. He is also not registered with the immigration authorities, the police said.

The sources said Aggarwal, who hails from Kota in Rajasthan, had been collecting money from people. According to the police, he had been disowned by his family settled in Kota.

A few of the passports were recovered from his house in Sector 37.

According to the police at least 20 persons have approached them with their complaints related to promises of sending them abroad made by Aggarwal.

The police said the victims were trapped by Aggarwal when they approached him to take loans on cheap interest rates. According to the police, Anoop Aggarwal had hired office space and vehicles with the money collected from people who had allegedly been cheated.



Bid to abduct 3-year-old
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 29
An attempt was made to abduct a three-year-old child by a resident of Shahimajra village from a jhuggi colony near Phase VI here today.

The attempt was foiled by a police patrol party in Phase I when it saw a person carrying the child under suspicious circumstances. The child was handed over to the parents soon after the incident.

It is reported that the abductor told the police party that he was trying to kidnap the child not for ransom, but because he did not have a child of his own even seven years after marriage and his wife remained depressed. The police said it was not aware of the incident.



Insurance staff oppose move to hike FDI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Challenges and tasks before the insurance employees were discussed during the 27th Biennial Conference of Northern Zone Insurance Employees’ Association, ( NZIEA) which got underway at the Makhan Shah Lubhana Foundation, Sector 30, today.

In his inaugural address, Mr K. Venugopal, general secretary of the All-India Insurance Employees’ Association vehemently opposed the proposed move to increase foreign direct investment ( FDI) in insurance, telecom and civil aviation sectors. Giving figures, he said private insurance companies operating in the country had brought only Rs 563 crore since 2000 as FDI whereas the LIC has paid Rs 2165.56 crore as dividend to the government during the same period.

Mr Venugopal also opposed the imposition of service tax on LIC premium and termed it to be outright awful because when a person purchases a risk cover on his life, he does so for his family. “This is a social necessity to save a family in distress”, he said.

He made a fervent appeal for an early settlement of wage revision of the LIC employees, which is long overdue and the All-India Insurance Employees’ Association has already given a call for agitation culminating in a one-day strike in November 2004.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, chief whip of the Congress in Parliament, assured the delegates that the issues of employees raised by Mr Venugopal would be taken up at various Congress platforms and attention of the ruling United progressive Alliance ( UPA) would be drawn towards it. He also assured that licences would be issued to private companies, both Indian and foreign, in accordance with laid out terms and conditions.

Among others who addressed the conference were Mr R.P. Manchanda, former president of AIIEA and Mr B.S. Sharma, general secretary of NZIEA.

Later, Mr Venugopal also handed over a memorandum seeking withdrawal of the proposed hike in FDI in insurance sector and the service tax imposed on the LIC premium to Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal.

More then 500 employees from the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir and UT Chandigarh, are attending the meet, which will conclude on October 1.

Meanwhile, the association has also demanded the merger of four public sector general insurance companies — United India, New India Assurance, Oriental Insurance and National Insurance, as was recommended by the Parliamentary Committee on Public Undertakings to avoid cut throat competition within the public sector companies.



ONGC, staff dispute settled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The long-pending dispute between the ONGC Mazdoor Union of Dhaban in Mandi district and the ONGC management was resolved at the Office of Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) here today.

The Regional Labour Commissioner (Central), Mr Navdeep Sud, handed over cheques for Rs 7.38 lakh to three representatives of the union. The settlement was reached following negotiations conducted by Mr K.S. Guru, Assistant Labour Commissioner (Central).

Mr Guru said this was the record amount given in settlement of any case under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, in the region comprising Himachal Pradesh and UT Chandigarh. The ONGC management and the union have lauded the efforts of the Regional Commissioner.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |