C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rotational power cuts in city likely
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
As severe winter sets in the city is headed for a major power shortage, where cuts will have to be imposed or else the Administration will have to pay a heavy fine for drawing more power than its allocation. Sources in the Administration said a decision will be taken on the basis of continuity of the cold-wave conditions.

The official date of cuts may be announced this week or at the most next week.

In the summer the Administration ended up paying close to Rs 30 crore as fine. A repeat of this will mean financial losses.

In the past two days unscheduled power cuts for 20 to 30 minutes have become common in areas where the power feeders are getting overloaded.

Sources in the power sector said there was no other option as the gap between the demand of power and the actual supply had increased in the past three days. Officials admitted that feeders were tripping due to sudden loading, especially between 7 a.m and 9 a.m. This is the time when geysers in most houses are switched on.

Already the Northern Region Electricity Board (NREB) has made it clear that heavy fines will be imposed on anybody drawing more power. The overdrawing of power in the past three days has already attracted fines. This means buying power at Rs 6 per unit during peak hours like it happened in summer.

If the cold wave, continues, rotational power cuts will be imposed in the city for the rest of the winter.

The Engineering Department has already brought to the notice of the Chandigarh Administration that as on today the allocation of power from all sources was between 111 MW to 140 MW. This varies as per peak hour and non-peak hour allocations. The actual allocation to Chandigarh is 218 MW. However, a cut has been imposed in view of the general shortage of power in north India, bringing down Chandigarh’s allocation also.

The peak demand between 7 a.m and 9 a.m is already touching 170 MW and meeting the balance is getting tougher with each passing day, said an engineer.

The sources in the Administration said more allocation would be sought from the Centre as Chandigarh had a profit-making power provider and should not face cuts.

The decision when to impose rotational power cuts will be taken by the Adviser to the Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma. The Administration will also decide.



Weather blues: flights cancelled, trains delayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
Thick fog blanketed large parts of the region, throwing normal life as well as rail and air traffic haywire. Descending right from morning, fog disrupted the movement of vehicular traffic along the Rajpura-Patiala road, besides throwing flights and railway traffic out of schedule. At some places, the visibility was as low as 20 metres. In the evening, the condition was particularly bad. The day temperature in the city today fell by 3.6°C.

While Indian Airlines and Jet Airways cancelled both their flights to Delhi, almost all trains arrived behind schedule. Commotion prevailed at the Chandigarh airport, where Indian Airlines took long to finally call off its flight at 5 pm, much to the harassment of passengers who had been waiting from 1 pm for the 3 pm scheduled flight to Delhi. Among those who could not make it to Delhi due to the cancelled flights was Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman, National Commission for Minorities.

Jet Airways also cancelled its 2.40 pm flight to Delhi. Meanwhile incoming flights to Chandigarh were also cancelled due to bad weather conditions.

The situation at the railway station was even worse, with almost all trains arriving behind schedule. While the Kalka-Howrah Express was cancelled due to fog, seven trains arrived late.

Among the trains that were delayed due to low visibility was the Sadbhavna Express, which arrived eight hours late. Its scheduled arrival is at 10.05 am. The other trains that arrived late were the Kalka-Jodhpur Express, which came three hours later than the scheduled arrival of 5.20 pm); the Himalayan Queen arrived late by two hours (scheduled arrival 10.20 am); the morning Shatabdi was late by one-and-a-half hours, while the Jan Shatabdi came in 45 minutes late. The evening Shatabdi ,which normally arrives at 8.20 pm, came 40 minutes late today.

Also delayed was the Paschim Express, which comes from Mumbai to Kalka. As against the arrival time of 3.05 pm, the train reached three hours late.



Unprecedented step by consumer forum
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The Chandigarh District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-II has taken an unprecedented step to implement its order regarding registration of a conveyance deed of a property. The forum appointed an advocate as the Local Commissioner, who acted on behalf of the Estate Officer to get the deed registered.

Mr Gian Singh Birdi had approached the forum for execution of its order for the registration of conveyance deed of house No. 105, Sector 20-A, Chandigarh. The forum’s order was confirmed by the Union Territory State Consumer Commission as well as the National Consumer Commission. Mr Birdi alleged that though the appeals filed by the Chandigarh Administration against the forum’s orders had been dismissed, the orders were not being implemented by the Administration.

The conveyance deed was for conversion of leasehold rights to freehold. The Estate Officer had prepared the deed but he was not getting it registered. The forum asked the Estate Officer to produce the original deed before it. The Administration’s plea was that the special leave petition filed by it against the forum’s order was to come up for hearing in the Supreme Court. Therefore, the execution should be deferred till that time. The forum, however, held that since no stay order had been issued by the Supreme Court, its orders must be implemented.

The forum appointed Mr Pankaj Chandgothia, an advocate, as the Local Commissioner and directed him to get the deed registered.

It further ordered that “the Local Commissioner shall have the power and authority to do and perform all acts for and on behalf of the Estate Officer as are necessary to execute and register the deed.

The acts done by the Local Commissioner in this regard shall be binding on the Estate Officer as if these have been done by him. The Local Commissioner now stands in the shoes of the Estate Officer, executant.

Therefore, if necessary, the Local Commissioner may revalidate this deed under his own signatures with date.”



4 Estate Office employees booked
Plot allotment files found missing
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, December 22
As many as 71 files pertaining to allotments of plots to slum dwellers of Kumhar Colony, Sector 25, have been found missing from the Estate Office, forcing the Deputy Commissioner to lodge an FIR against four employees of the Estate Office.

The DC, Mr Arun Kumar, who is also the Estate Officer, had filed a complaint at the Sector 17 police station on November 11. A formal case against Harjit Singh, Superintendent, and Kapil Dev, Ashwani Thapar and Vinod Mudgil, all clerks, was registered under Section 409 of the IPC last night.

The files, which went missing from the Estate Office, were part of the record of the colony branch in the Estate Office. These plots are collectively valued at more than Rs 2.50 crore. Since the files are missing, it is difficult to find if they were wrongly allotted, well-placed sources in the Administration said.

They added that the local Member of Parliament, Mr Pawan Bansal, had raised the issue in parliament asking that “if the records in the colony branch had been computerised and whether all files were in order or not.”

There are more than 10,000 plots which have been allotted or given on annual lease to slum dwellers under various schemes. Since most allottees belong to the lower economic strata, their files have a few anomalies. The DC has already asked the allottes, whose files are missing, to come and report about the same.



Kin of defence personnel exempted from toll tax
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has, in a revised notification, included family members of armed forces personnel as well as NCC cadets among those exempted from paying toll tax.

The revised notification, though issued a few weeks earlier, is effective from this month. The list includes members of the regular forces whether on duty or not, members of the NCC and the Territorial Army when moving on duty, all family members of regular forces’ personnel, family members of irregular forces’ personnel when accompanying them as well as carriages and animals moving under military authorisation.

A local lawyer, Navdeep Singh, had taken up a case with the ministry for the exemption of toll for private vehicles of defence personnel under provisions of the Indian Tolls Act. A similar petition was also filed before the Human Rights Commission.

The ministry, thereafter notified that private vehicles of defence personnel were to be exempted from payment of toll tax. This was done after the matter had been referred to the Ministry of Law, which also opined that the Indian Tolls (Army and Air Force) Act was a special act and had overriding effect on all other acts or orders passed by the central or state governments.

Earlier this year, the Human Rights Commission also directed the government to ensure that defence personnel were not harassed by toll collectors.

While the ministry earlier notified that private vehicles of defence personnel were not to be charged toll tax, there were no clear cut orders on other entitled categories even though they were listed in the Act.



Focus on fairness of military’s judicial system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
With the Army witnessing several high-profile trials by the general court martial, including the infamous tehelka scam, instances of officers’ faking kills in Siachen and a major being tried for an alleged rape, attention has been focused on the fairness and objectivity of the military’s judicial system.

Though the opinion of veterans, when spoken to was that the system is by and large fair and free of prejudice, there are some shortcomings which need to be redressed.

“I strongly support the system as it is solid, impartial and based on evidence”, Lieut-Gen B.S. Randhawa (retd) said. “It is an open court where counsel are free to examine evidence as well as witnesses and everything is recorded,” he added. Ruling out the possibility of the court being influenced by senior officers, he said the process had a check-in-balance as the court’s proceedings had to be sent for confirmation where everything was examined again.

“As far as the laid down judicial process itself is concerned, it is very fair,” Brig Rajinder Kumar (retd), a former Deputy Judge Advocate-General in the Army and a practising lawyer, said.

“However, looking at it minutely, there are certain administrative aspects that are not being looked into and there are instances where highhandedness has crept in,” he added.

Ruling out a popular notion that verdicts in the court martial were virtually pre-decided, he added that a court’s impartiality lied in the fact that the members were from a different formation or unit to which the accused belonged and no pressure could be put on them. He, however, said the judiciousness of the members could not be commented upon.

Wg Cdr G.B. Singh (retd), an ex-Air Force JAG Officer and a practicing lawyer, however, put it bluntly.

“The system is in a bad shape. What is required is a military apellete tribunal which has been pending for a long time.”

Courts martial remain the bedrock for enforcing discipline in the Army. Any person subject to the Army Act or its equivalent in other services can be tried by a court martial for offences committed under the Act. A general court martial has the powers and jurisdiction of a sessions court and can award any punishment up to the death sentence.

Unlike a sessions court where there is a single judge, a general court martial consists of at least five members. Out of these, the court’s presiding officer has to be at least one rank senior to the accused, while the other four members are equivalent in rank to the accused, but cannot be junior to him.

The idea behind this is that any soldier accused of an offence should be tried and adjudged by his compatriots and that military tradition and ethos is also kept in mind when passing any judgement. An officer from the Judge Advocate General’s Branch, the Army’s judicial wing, is part of the court and renders legal advice to the members.

The verdict passed by the court is not final in itself. It is sent to the court’s convening authority for confirmation, which after due legal advice, may confirm it, reduce the sentence or even order a re-trial.

The process leading to a court martial itself is exhaustive and lengthy. Prior to the accused being brought on trial, the charges against him are investigated.

If the accused’s commanding officer is satisfied that a wrongful act has been done, he orders a court of inquiry into the matter, which determines the circumstances of the offence by examining witnesses and documents.

If a prima facie case is made out and disciplinary action is recommended, hearing of charge is conducted by the CO, where charges are read out to the accused.

The next step is recording summary of evidence (SoE), where the entire evidence against the accused is collected and corroborated.

At all stages, the accused has the full right to examine and cross-examine any witness or make a statement. Based upon the findings and recommendations of the SoE, a court martial may be convened.



Educating British Asians on Indian laws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
For easy comprehension of Indian statute and laws affecting British-Asians, two city-based lawyer brothers have penned down a book “Acting for Non-Resident Indian Clients”.

The book aims at answering several questions pertaining to Indian laws and their applicability to the Indian community. It also discusses problems encountered by them, including divorce, adoption, child custody and property issues — at least this is what the authors Anil and Ranjit Malhotra say.

The first copy of the book was opened by Rev Brother R.I. Meredith of St John’s High School during a commemoration ceremony held here this evening.

It carries a preface by Lord Slynn of Hadley, senior most Judge of the House of Lords, Westminster. The foreword has been written by a Supreme Court Judge Mr Justice Y.K. Sabharwal.

The authors assert that the idea of settling down in greener pastures, across the seas, attracts sizeable Indian population. But the problems created by such migration remain unresolved, largely.

The brothers, educated in London, add that the population of non-resident Indians has also increased multifold in alien lands, but family law disputes and other problems continue to remain unresolved for want of proper professional information and advice on Indian laws. Surprisingly, very little help is available even in the areas of matrimonial offences and problems arising out of child abduction.

No wonder, solicitors and litigants in the UK frantically look for professional opinions and advice when the problems arise, including validity of marriages solemnised in India, modes and means of divorce under the Indian law, besides legal formalities to be complied with for adopting children from India.

The solicitors also seek advice about remedies available in Indian law for enforcing parental rights in child abduction cases and other family law issues. Then there are other problems concerning succession and transfer of property, banking affairs, taxation issues, execution and implementation of wills and other commercial propositions for non-resident Indians.

“The book is aimed at creating awareness and momentum for bringing about fresh legislation in India to resolve such family law issues. It also provides at a glance, credible, reliable and authoritative information,” says Mr Anil Malhora, who is practising at the Punjab and Haryana High Court.



Bravehearts share joys of Christmas
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Swapna uses her toes to paint Christmas cards while Mary draws with her mechanical hand
Swapna (right) uses her toes to paint Christmas cards while Mary draws with her mechanical hand.

Chandigarh, December 22
“For those who lean on the sustaining infinite, today is big with blessing”. This message of Christ makes absolute sense when applied in the cases of Mary T.A. and Swapna who were born incomplete.

Devoid of upper limbs, the sisters-in suffering could easily have been cowed down by the handicap had they not learnt to draw strength from scriptures. But they vowed to fight against physical odds and use to the best of their ability whatever God had bestowed them with. Both victims of thalidomide, a controversial drug that caused some children to be born without hands, Mary and Swapna displayed exceptional talent on the artistic front, so much so that they took to designing greeting cards which now sustain them and many others of their kind.

The most interesting part of their creative activity is the source of their inspiration. Christmas is high on the girls’ priority when it comes to artistic expression, as their cards are laced with happy, joyous images of Christmas bells, trees, peacocks and soothing sceneries. Mary reasons, “Christmas is the time to turn to Lord Jesus’s message of sharing and concern. We were born handicapped but when we shared our pain with others like us, we realised that life was too joyous to be lost to suffering.”

Hailing from Kerala, both Swapna and Mary came to Chandigarh about five years ago when they read about the help Rajpura-based NGO, Roshni, was extending to limbless people. While Mary was lucky to get an artificial right limb as she had an inch of the stem to support it, Swapna had no stem to hold the artificial limbs. So while Mary got a mechanical hand which she uses to paint impressive sceneries, Swapna got nothing expect the encouragement to use toes to paint.

Says Father Thomas of Roshni: “Research has shown that thalidomide children are endowed with exceptional intelligence or artistic sense. Both Swapna and Mary painted very well and they normally painted landscapes, sceneries and birds. I encouraged them to take their skill seriously. They produced incredibly impressive paintings which I printed as greeting cards. We used the money for the girls and others who are suffering.”

Swapna and Mary have now returned to their homes in Kerala. While Swapna got a job at Idikki, Mary is still unemployed despite being armed with a diploma in fashion designing. Her greeting cards, however, continue to sustain her, as they bring joy to the lives of many who buy them ritually. Swapna also continues to paint. She is now pursuing higher training in art with the help of Rs 16,000 which she got when she left Rajpura some time ago.

Although the girls are gone, their greeting cards are still lying at Roshni’s Rajpura headquarters in 25, Gulabnagar, from where they are regularly picked up by Delhi and Jalandhar APJ schools, as also Chandigarh schools, including St Peter’s, St Stephen’, St Kabir, Mount Carmel and Shivalik Public School. That’s perhaps the best Christmas and New Year gift the two disabled girls can give to the world.



Anand Complex — a blot on the face of Sector 17
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The Anand Complex is proving to be a blot on the face of the heart of the city — Sector 17. Devoid of basic amenities, the complex seems to be nobody’s baby with the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) looking the other way.

In fact, with the complex under liquidation for the past about seven years, the 45 tenants are at the receiving end of the authorities. Although conceived in the original plan of Chandigarh about 50 years, yet the complex is still waiting for the toilets, putting the visitors and shopkeepers, particularly women, to a lot of inconvenience, complained Mr Kamaljit Panchhi, President of the Traders Association, Sector 17 (A and B).

The only electricity metre of 6 kw for the 45 shopkeepers is insufficient to meet their demand. There is hardly any provision of water in the complex and road gullies are not regularly cleaned. The trees need pruning and the parking lots are in a bad shape, complained Mr L.C. Arora, general secretary.

Insanitary conditions greet the visitors to the complex and open space adjoining the complex is filled with garbage. With sweepers failing to remove the garbage on time, foul smell puts off the visitors to the complex, seriously affecting the commercial activity.

Alleging “step-motherly” treatment to the complex and the adjoining area, Mr Panchhi said all attention of the authorities concerned seemed to be focussed on Plaza area of Sector 17. The “complete detachment” of Sector 17 (A and B) from the main shopping centre has put this area at a disadvantage so far as the provision of basic amenities was concerned, Mr Panchhi complained.

The adjoining area too is in a bad shape. The parking contractor allegedly get vehicles parked on the road behind the Bhagat Singh and Sons Petrol Pump. Large groups of people gather at the liquor vend adjoining the pump and drink in the open after 5 pm. In the absence of public urinals, the entire area stinks.

The shopkeepers have demanded that the wild growth on the vacant plots, which had not been constructed by the allottees, should be cleared. In fact, the association had undertaken to maintain these areas if they were cleared by the authorities.

The shopkeepers demanded proper layout plan for the overall development of the area. The shopkeepers alleged that the top functionaries of both the administration and the MCC had promised to redress the grievances at regular but nothing concrete seemed to have been done.



City man new PF federation secy-gen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
The newly elected secretary-general of the All-India Employees Provident Fund Staff Federation, Mr Vijay Kumar Sharma, today said he would strive to fulfill the long-pending demands of the employees.

Addressing the staff for the first time after being elected secretary-general of the organisation at the Regional Office in Sector 17, Mr Sharma, who belongs to Chandigarh, said he would work for the implementation of the accounts oriented organisations scale, creation of staff posts and filling of vacant posts so that the organisation could render prompt service to the EPF subscribers.

Earlier, he was welcomed by the Employees Provident Fund staff members of the Punjab region. The EPF unions of Chandigarh, Amritsar, Bathinda, Ludhiana and Himachal Pradesh region also welcomed him.

The general secretary of the Himachal Pradesh Region, Mr Deepak Sharma, Mr Ashwani Sharma, general secretary of the Amritsar union, Mr Kanwaljit Singh, general secretary, Ludhiana, and Mr Sohan Lal, general secretary of the Jalandhar union, also honoured him.

The election of the all-India EPF federation was held in Nagpur on December 18. Mr R.D. Rane was elected working president, Mr B.B. Pawar, Pune, Mr C. Rajan, Coimbatore, Mr Ashutosh Vijay, Jaipur, Mr G.S. Chattopadhyay, Calcutta, Mr Rajesh Shukla, Kanpur, were elected vice-presidents. Mr Vijay Sharma defeated Mr A. Malla Reddy of Hyderabad by 50 votes to be elected secretary-general of the organisation.



Power theft: police help sought
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 22
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has approached the police to book two residents of Phase XI on charges of power theft.

The PSEB authorities have imposed fines on the two families living in the LIG houses in Phase XI for indulging in power theft. While Anu Rani was imposed a fine of Rs 3,200, Rajinder Kaur was imposed a fine of Rs 1,200.

A team of PSEB officials, during a raid, found that two families were stealing power by stopping the pulse of the electornic meters installed on the premises with the help of magnets which broke the electronic circuit. As a result the consumption of power was not recorded by the meter.

The raid was conducted by a junior engineer, Harjiwan Kumar, along with other staff members.

The Additional Superintending Engineer, Mr V.K. Mahajan, said that it was perhaps for the first time that such a method of stealing power had come to his notice in the town. He suspected that the two families must have taken expert help to adopt such a method. A powerful magnet was needed to stop the pulse of the meter. He said that power theft was an offence under the Electricity Act and as such they had approached the police to register a case in this regard.

Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, SP, said no case in this regard had been registered so far, though PSEB officials had approached the police in connection with cases of power theft. He said he would see whether it was the responsibility of the PSEB to take action in such cases or was police help also needed. He felt that the PSEB authorities should disconnect power supply in cases where residents indulged in power thefts or should impose hefty fines. He said police cases were registered when residents drew power by using kundi connections. When power thefts were committed by residents living on the premises where meters had been installed, it was the responsibility of the PSEB to take tough action.

He said the police would help the PSEB to trace the source which supplied such magnets for theft.



Cured of leprosy, they have no place to go
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
Leprosy has been completely cured at Kusht Ashram, the home for leprosy patients in the city. The mandatory follow-up check-ups have also concluded and most of the inmates of the ashram fail to recall when the last leprosy patient was inducted within the community. Yet, the misnomer of a Kusht Ashram continues, even as the doctors now advocate that integration rather than segregation of the patients is the right approach towards tackling the disease.

“None of the 65 inmates here is suffering from leprosy. We are no longer taking any medications. But once we have been driven away from our homes, we have no other place to go to,” says 60-year-old Krishna, an executive member of the managing committee of the ashram who was once an employee with the Shipping Corporation of India at Vishakhapatnam.

His journey to this place, like many of his fellow inmates, began after the doors of their own homes were closed on him more than two decades ago when the disease was considered incurable and life threatening for the rest of the family. And thus, most of inmates here were either lying on the roadside when they were taken in the ashram or were simply begging to make both ends meet.

“I left my home and ended up here. It was 25 years ago. Now, this place is my home as I raised my family here,” says Krishna, now fully cured and staying with his wife, son and daughter-in-law.

And like every other person staying in the ashram, Krishna too is unwilling to go outside the walls of the ashram, which was set up in 1979.

The disease may have been treated but what its reminders — remain in the form of deformed limbs, which have rendered many here unfit to earn their livelihood.

With the ashram housing a dispensary, a temple, a cowshed, a community hall, a community kitchen and a one-room apartment for each family with a separate kitchen and consistent water supply, all funded by the administration with the generous donations the thought of leaving has never been a viable option. “Where should we go now? Our families won’t accept us back and no one will give us any work to earn a living. Its better to stay here than to struggle outside,” says another inmate.


Advocating that the no segregation of the leprosy patients should be done, the District Leprosy Officer, here Dr Vanita Gupta, says all patients detected with the disease in the recent years are staying with their families and getting the treatment. “The disease is fully curable and there is no need to keep the patients separated from their families. In fact, no separate homes should be set up,” she says.

Chandigarh falls in the moderate prevalence states as 2.9 persons per 10,000 are suffering from leprosy here. At present the figure of the leprosy patients in the city stands at 301, with majority of the patients coming from the urban slums and colonies, who are the migrant population.

“The neighbouring states, including Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have already declared themselves leprosy-free. In Chandigarh, the population is less in numbers, which increases the relative figure of the patients suffering from the disease. Another factor here for the prevalence of leprosy is the one third of the total population residing in the slum colonies,” explains Dr Gupta.

She says the stigma, which surrounded the disease, has reduced due ever since the multi-drug therapy has been discovered and started in 1980s. “For the less infected cases, the treatment is for three months and for the more infected, it takes a year to cure the disease,” she says.

“Leprosy is air-borne disease and only spreads among human beings. People should be cautious when any light coloured patch appears on the skin, as this can be leprosy. Though it is infectious but if good hygiene is maintained and overcrowding is avoided, the disease does not spread fast,” she adds.



Rules delay baby’s adoption
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 22
It’s been about a month when an issueless couple found a male child abandoned on a heap of garbage and all efforts to seek his legal adoption have proved futile. In the process, the infant, that would have found a home, is still at the Mother Teresa Home in Sector 23.

The couple in question, Mr Ashwani Kumar and his wife Baby, found the child on the night of November 26. They took the child home and looked after him. The child fell sick and was admitted to a hospital for 10 days. The couple bore all expenses of his treatment. A local court sent the child to the orphanage on December 17.

All efforts of the couple to legally adopt the child have only met with bottlenecks. They have now almost given up hope of securing his custody. Flaws in adoption procedures are said to have shattered their hopes. They hope that a miracle or the intervention of some senior official could help secure the custody of the child.



X’mas gift for inmates of Old Age Home
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 22
Inmates of the Sector 15 Old Age Home woke up to a pleasant surprise today as students of Sacred Heart Convent School, Samrala, visited them to wish Merry Christmas.

About 70 students from the school came calling on the aged, who responded with great joy and warmth. The feeling of togetherness suddenly filled the otherwise gloomy ambience of the Old Age Home, which houses close to 50 inmates. The visit was coordinated by HelpAge India, which recently organised an educational-cum-fund raising camp at Samrala.

Mr Bhavneshwar Sharma, state unit head, HelpAge India, said, “We apprised the students of the problems of the aged and also raised Rs 52,000 from voluntary donations. This money will go to various age-care projects that we run across the state.”

The students, lead by Principal Sister Giles, interacted with the inmates for a while before regaling them with a cultural presentation.



Khalsa Chetna March begins
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 22
A Khalsa Chetna March, organised by various religious bodies in connection with the 300th martyrdom anniversary of the four Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh, started from Gurdwara Amb Sahib here today. The march will reach Fatehgarh Sahib.

Devotees in large numbers, boarded cars, jeeps, trucks and even on scooters, for the march. Shri Guru Granth Sahib was carried in a beautifully decorated palanquin.

Mr Paramjit Singh Kahlon, vice-president of the youth wing of the SAD, said a number of youngsters on two-wheelers led the march.

The SAD, the Bhai Khaniya Sevak Jatha, the Kalgidhar Sevak Jatha, the local Gurdwara Coordination Committee jointly organised the march. A kirtan samagam was organised at Gurdwara Ramgarhia, Phase III B1, in the evening.

The march later joined another march coming from Banur under the leadership of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Secretary, SAD, and former Finance Minister, at Landran where a rousing reception was organised. This march had started from Gurdwara Banda Singh Bahadur, Banur.

At Landran the march was welcomed by Ms Paramjit Kaur Gill, former sarpanch. Later, Avtar Singh Dhanoa, president of the Kharar Bar Association, and Ms Gill presented siropas to the “Panj Piyaras” and also to Capt Kanwaljit Singh.



Sikhi Gaurav March held
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 22
The Shatabdi Purab Committee organised a Sikhi Gaurav March for schoolchildren in connection with the 300th martyrdom anniversary of the four Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh here today.

The march started from Gurdwara Amb Sahib and after passing through various sectors culminated at the gurdwara in Phase VI. As many as 1200 children, in the age group of 7 years to 16 years, from nine schools took part in the march carrying placards.

Mr Hardeep Singh, SGPC member, said a competition was also organised. Sant Ishar Singh Senior Secondary School won the first position while Yeomen Public School got the second position. The consolation prize was given to Guru Tegh Bahadur Model School.



3 cops found underweight
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 22
As many as three cops were found to be unfit for blood donation, during a camp organised by the district police at the Economic Offences Wing of the police. These cops were found to be underweight, and thus could not donate blood, during a camp organised in association with the General Hospital, Panchkula. As many as 40 units of blood were collected in the camp.

At another camp, over 100 persons participated during a blood donation camp organised by Amartex Industries at its corporate head office here today. A cultural programme was also organised on the occasion.


A meeting of members of the Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Mazdoor Congress was held at Sector 7 on Tuesday. The party has been formed by Mr Sunil Shastri, son of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. The main aim of the party is to spread the ideals of the late Prime Minister among people, specially women, labourers and farmers. The party will contest all Assembly seats in the forthcoming elections to the Haryana Assembly.



Refresher course for DSPs

Chandigarh, December 22
The Chandigarh Police is organising a two-day refresher course for DSPs from tomorrow in the Police Headquarters in Sector 9 here. The Home Secretary, Chandigarh Administration, Mr Krishan Mohan, will inaugurate the course.

Sources said experts from various fields would interact with police officers on subjects like police-community relations, general behaviour of the police and to sensitise them towards the weaker sections of society, law enforcement and concepts of human rights. OC



Flesh trade racket busted, 2 held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 22
The Panchkula police busted flesh trade racket tonight by arresting a Delhi-based call girl and an accomplice of the pimp. The man, who was allegedly running the racket, Varinder Kumar Sharma, however, managed to escape under the cover of fog. According to the police, a decoy customer had tied up with the Mohali-based Varinder for supplying the girl for four days.

The decoy customer had struck a deal for Rs 20,000 (Rs 5,000 daily) for taking the girl to Shimla. Varinder reportedly came in a Cielo to Sector 20 to drop the girl and Rajiv Kumar, his accomplice. While the duo were talking to the decoy customer, Varinder, sensing trouble, fled.

The police informed The Tribune that the 18-year-old girl had been hired on a monthly contract of Rs 30,000 by Varinder. The girl and Rajiv Kumar have been booked under the Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act.



Sec 17 shop, two houses burgled
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 22
Goods worth lakhs were stolen from a shop in Sector 17 while two houses were burgled in the city according to the police here today.

Mr Vikram Nijhawan told to the police that more than 100 sets of mobile phones, digital cameras and other electrical gadgets were stolen from his shop SCO No. 4, Sector 17-E, last night. The exact loss is yet to be ascertained.

Mr Nijhawan said his neighbour informed him at around 8.30 a.m. in the morning that the shutter of his shop was open. He immediately rushed to his shop and found the shutter locks broken.

A case under Sections 380 and 457 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 17 police station.

Meanwhile, Dr R.K. Jain of Sector 44-B has filed a complaint that some jewellery, goods and some cash were stolen from his residence between December 18 to 21, when he was away. A case of burglary under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 34 police station.

In another incident, Mr Satish Kumar of Sector 27-D called up the police when he found the locks of house No. 1463, Sector 37-B, broken yesterday. The exact loss of property could not be ascertained as the owner of the house was out of station. The police contacted the owner of the house, Mr Bajinder Banonian, in Delhi, in this regard.

Satish Kumar, the complainant, is a relative of Mr Banonian. A case of burglary has been registered at the Sector 39 police station.



Tribune lensman harassed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 22
In a case of mistaken identity, Parvesh Chauhan, a staff photographer of The Tribune, was harassed for over an hour yesterday by a team of the Sector 34 police station.

According to information, the trouble started following a hit-and-run case in Sector 44 in which an LML scooter was involved. Inadvertently, the registration number of an old Bajaj Chetak scooter, previously owned by Mr Chauhan, was noted down by a passer-by. The scooter is currently with an acquaintance of Mr Chauhan at Raikot (Ludhiana).

A police team, led by Mr Harminderjit Singh, ASI, descended on the house of Mr Chauhan at The Tribune Colony and allegedly harassed him for over an hour. Mr Chauhan's pleas that his scooter was not involved in the accident, fell on deaf ears. The ASI threatened that he would be booked for negligent driving. The police officials cooled down only when they were told that the make of the scooter involved in the accident and that of Mr Chauhan's were different.



Caught for stealing manhole covers
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 22
One of the three persons, who were trying to steal manhole covers, was caught by residents in Sector 71 here today.

The thief was reportedly beaten up by the residents before being handed over to the police. The three persons wanted to steal manhole covers from a vacant house in the area. A tea vendor in the area saw the three scaling the boundary wall to enter the house.

He tried to chase the thieves but two of them ran away.



Biz Clip

Road show: Spice Telecom, organised a colorful road show on Wednesday. The show attracted a large number of people who watched tandem cycles roll on the roads. The riders displayed colorful headgear, personifying the spirit of festive season. OC


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