C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC moots financial power for top officials
Sidetracks waste disposal issue
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Major decisions

More powers for Senior Deputy Mayor, Deputy Mayor
Stray cattle impounding charges up
Paid parking in Industrial Area, Phase I
Hotel site converted into shopping mall
Major auction of commercial sites okayed
Decision on garbage processing unit deferred

Chandigarh, December 27
The Congress-dominated Municipal Corporation today proposed to empower Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor with powers to spend more money on development work without having to seek a prior approval.

Taking several other important decisions affecting the working of the corporation councillors, the monthly meeting of the civic body revised the impounding charges for stray cattle.

This has been done with the objective of clearing city roads in keeping with the directive of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

But what would come as a disappointment to most city residents was the failure of the MCC to take up the issue pertaining to the garbage processing unit, proposed to be set up at Dadu Majra village.

The matter is likely to come up in the next meeting. The proposal assumes significance for the city as the corporation proposes to generate power from waste disposal.

The impounding and feeding charges for stray cattle, as proposed by Mr Surinder Singh, Congress councillor, were accepted. As per the new rates, sheep and goat when impounded will be released after a payment of Rs 350 and bull, camel, horse, pony and mare after paying Rs 1,000.

An amount of Rs 200 has been fixed for buffalo and cow and Rs 350 for calf. Piglet will be released after the owner paid an amount of Rs 500.

An agenda item moved by Senior Deputy Mayor Pardeep Chhabra, seeking more powers for Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor was also accepted by the House without any discussion.

The proposal envisages to place a sum of Rs 20 lakh and Rs 15 lakh at the disposal of Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor, besides certain other privileges.

The meeting also approved the conversion of 2.62 acre hotel site in Sector 35 B, which could not be auctioned recently, into a shopping mall site.

A major auction of commercial sites in Mani Majra, Mauli Jagran and Sector 39 also got the nod of the 30-member House.

On a resolution moved by Ms Lalit Joshi Bhardwaj (Congress), the meeting decided to introduce paid parking in Industrial Area, Phase I.

Earlier in the day, a personal remark made against former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee by newly-elected Congress councillor H.S. Lucky kicked up a row with BJP and SAD councillors staging a dharna inside the House.

The situation took an ugly turn when Kamla Sharma, Rajesh Gupta (BJP) and Harjinder Kaur (SAD) had to be removed from the House by marshals.

The trouble started when the councillors went on their feet wanting to know from the Mayor about the deferment of the December 24 meeting till today.

As the Mayor and other Congress councillors tried to reason with BJP-SAD members saying that the meeting was postponed in the wake of the death of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, the remark by Mr Lucky about the health of Mr Vajpayee led to protest by councillors, much to the embarrassment of local MP Pawan Bansal.

Finally, nominated councillor K.S. Raju persuaded the BJP-SAD members to come back to the House. Normalcy returned when Mr Lucky apologised for his statement.

Later, the issue of Rs 37 crore as surplus funds with the corporation raised a lot of din with members saying that there was no need to impose property tax if the civic body had the amount.

Commissioner P.S. Aujla clarified that the money was to be spent on ongoing projects of the civic body.

A proposal regarding single shift for safai karamcharis from 6 am to 3.30 pm moved by Chander Mukhi Sharma was also passed and the areas of Sector 29 and Sectors 8 and 9 along Madhya Marg would be covered under the scheme in the first phase.

The provision of free parking for councillors and recommendation regarding the stay of present and former councillors at Punjab and Haryana bhavans at New Delhi at official rates was also approved.



City to get continuous power supply
Admin to pay extra for excess power
Tribune News Service

Power deal

Administration admits shortage of power but assures no cuts for now
Heavy fines to be paid for excess power
To pay around Rs 5.70 per unit for excess power
No increase in power tariff for consumers
Consumers advised to switch on geysers with thermostat at night
Power situation critical between 6 am and 9 am.

Chandigarh, December 27
City residents can heave a sigh of relief as the proposed rotational power cuts in the city will not be imposed for the time being. The Chandigarh Administration today decided to pay fines to buy power at higher rates and postpone the decision on cuts.

The administration will pay a whopping Rs 5.70 per unit for the power it draws beyond the allocated quota.

The Engineering Wing of the administration currently supplies power at the rate of Rs 3 per unit after working out various tariffs for domestic, industrial and commercial users.

To make up for the expenses incurred, the administration will write to the Government of India for funds.

The Chief Engineer, Mr V.K. Bhardawaj, today issued a statement saying that there was shortage of power during morning hours.

He requested city residents to conserve power and suggested the use of storage geysers at night, as the thermostat suspended power supply to the geyser when heated. This would help save consumers from paying extra money.

The Chief Engineer said the city was getting less power from the generating stations.

It may be recollected that the Engineering Wing had put the facts before the administration. The administration was left with the alternative of either paying heavy fine for power drawn more than its allocated quota or imposing cuts.

The administration had ended up paying around Rs 30 crore as fines for overdrawing power in the summer. 



Servant, one other held in murder case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The police today arrested a domestic help and his brother-in-law in connection with the murder of a 74-year-old retired Himachal Education Department official in Sector 21.

The servant, Prakash Lakda, and his brother-in-law Yakub, alias Raju, were arrested on the ground that they could not explain their visit to the house around the murder time, DSP (East) Vijay Pal Singh told the Chandigarh Tribune here today.

According to the police, Yakub was the last person to have visited the house of the deceased, Sundri Agnihotri, in Sector 21 before she was found murdered. He reportedly visited the house at around 11 am and the murder is suspected to have been committed between 12 noon and 12.30 pm.

According to the police, Yakub had stayed in the house for 15 days a month back when he came from Jharkhand. Yakub later took up a driving job and started living separately.

Yakub was not able to give a convincing reply as to why he had come to visit the old and lonely couple.

Yakub, during his stay at the Sector 21 house is suspected to have known about the wealth of the couple.

The police was told by one of Yakub’s friends in Panchkula that he was to visit a church and had not mentioned his plans to visit the old couple.

The servant, also from Jharkhand, came under cloud as he told the police that he had to collect a cooking pot from the Sector 21 residence.

Eyewitnesses told the police that Lakda visited the house at around 2 pm but left it in a hurry despite being told that his employer was serious and in a hospital.

Prakash was accompanied by a person who told the police that the servant had not collected any cooking pot when he left home.

The police said one of the almirahs was found open and the two allegedly knew about the presence of valuables and cash belonging to the old couple in it.

Yakub had brought a packet of dry food when he came from Panchkula. The packet was reportedly found in the room of the murdered woman.



Panchayat Samiti chairman voted out
Tribune News Service

Mr Mohinder Singh, who has been made acting Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti, comes out of the DC’s office along with his supporters in Chandigarh on Monday.
Mr Mohinder Singh (fourth from left), who has been made acting Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti, comes out of the DC’s office along with his supporters in Chandigarh on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, December 27
The Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti, Chandigarh, Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, was removed from his post today following a no-confidence motion against him. In a secret ballot, 13 out of the 15 votes were cast against him.

The Vice-Chairman of the samiti, Mr Mohinder Singh, will be the acting chairman. Notice to hold fresh elections to the post will be issued in a day or two. This will be seven-day notice after which votes will be cast.

Minutes before the polling, Mr Badheri submitted his resignation to the Deputy Commissioner, which was not accepted as the power to accept the resignation was with the UT Government and it needed a notice of 15 days.

In political circles the removal of Mr Badheri is seen as infighting within the Congress. Mr Badheri, a long-standing supporter of Mr Venod Sharma, has recently switched camps and joined the group of Mr Pawan Bansal.



PGI losing crores following withdrawal of ST concessions
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The PGI is losing crores of rupees thanks to a policy of the Chandigarh Administration due to which sales tax concessions to the PGI have been withdrawn since July 2000.

Prior to this, the PGI was getting sales tax concessions. The Administration, acting on the request of the PGI, is now trying to correct the anomaly.

The concession is available to all government hospitals, whereas the PGI has to pay about 8.8 per cent of sales tax on every purchase of medicines and machines. If the concession is given, the PGI’s tax liability comes down to less than half of 8.8. per cent.

Each sophisticated machine costs crores and payments in the past four years for sales tax is a few crores, sources said. A part of the PGI demand could be met immediately whereas the entire benefit would take some time as it required fresh approval of the UT Administrator, well-placed sources in the Administration said.

Since its inception in the latter part of 1950s and early 1960s, the PGI had enjoyed sales tax exemption. In July 2000, the Chandigarh Administration, which follows the Punjab pattern, issued a fresh notification for the exemption of sales tax for various medical institutes. Since Punjab left out the PGI, babus in Chandigarh also issued a verbatim notification, leaving the PGI out of the list of exempted hospitals.

Sources in the PGI said it seemed as an oversight. When the PGI was established, Chandigarh was not a union territory and rules and notifications of Punjab applied here. In 2000 when Punjab issued a fresh notification, the PGI was left out as Punjab did not enjoy territorial jurisdiction over the PGI.

The issue got vexed as Chandigarh is bound to follow Punjab as per the Reorganisation of States Act, 1966. Amendments, if any, require the approval of the UT Administrator.

The sources said exemption for the purchase of medicines had been approved and could be notified. However, the PGI’s demand that exemption be given for all purchases, needed fresh examination. Clearing this should not be a problem as the money saved by the PGI was used for humanitarian causes, officials in the Administration said.

The PGI Director, had written to the Administration, highlighting the problem being faced by the institute.



BBC features on Indian World War II soldiers
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
To mark the enormous contribution of Indian soldiers during the Second World War, the BCC is making a series of news features to be aired during the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of the war next year.

The series, being made by former noted BCC correspondent, Mark Tully, will be broadcast on Radio-4, stated to be the most prestigious speech radio channel in Britain. The producer of the features will be Vanessa Harrison, who has a number of acclaimed Radio-4 features about India to her credit.

Mark Tully has already written to several veterans, defence experts and historians here, seeking their assistance in research and for tracking down World War veterans in the region.

“The BBC wishes to mark the enormous contribution of more than two million Indian soldiers made to the war, not just in Burma, but in all campaigns,” Mr Tully has stated in his communique to veterans here.

“It is widely recognised that their courage and sacrifice has not been sufficiently acknowledged in Britain,” the communique added.

About 2.5 million Indian soldiers had taken part in campaigns around the globe during the war. Noted among them are the operations in Burma, North Africa and Italy. In fact, Indian soldiers made up about 90 per cent of the British 14th Army, which fought against the Japanese in Burma. Three Indian divisions, the 4th, 5th and 10th had fought against Rommel in Africa and later five divisions, including the 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th had fought in Italy. Indian soldiers also had a significant presence in the Middle East as the allies had maintained a strong posture there to pre-empt any invasion by Germany through Russia.

Indian troops also formed a substantial part of the Army Service Corps and animal transport establishments in continental Europe. Other theatres where Indian troops fought included Ethopia, Greece, North-West Province, Indonesia, Malaya and Hong Kong. Indian soldiers had won 31 Victoria Crosses, the highest British award for gallantry.

Mark Tully has also written to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, seeking his assistance in the project. In fact, the Chief Minister’s father, Maharaja Yadavindra Singh of the erstwhile Patiala State was said to be the most visible prince during the war, having visited troops at the frontline in several war theatres. Patiala state had contributed several regiments to the war effort.

Among the notable persons expected to take part in the features are Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, who was decorated with the Military Cross and Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Viscount Slim, the son of 14th Army’s Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshal William Slim and former Speaker of the British House of Commons, Lord Wetherill, who had commanded a Jat Squadron of 19 Lancers are among British officers contributing to the project. Incidently, Field Marshal Slim belonged to the Sixth Gurkha Rifles. Lord Wetherill had come to India about two years ago to look up former troopers serving under him.

“Searching for veterans is an exhaustive task. There are not too many surviving and since they are not drawing pension, there is no data bank to look up,” city-based defence analyst Mandeep Bajwa, who is undertaking research for the project, said.

“We are not only looking for soldiers, but also doctors, nurses, cooks or even barmen to present various facets of the war. The producers would also like to visit a village where families have traditionally sent their sons into the Army for generations and look at the motivation for enlisting,” he added.



RS member to lead protest by Punwire union
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 27
A Rajya Sabha member and the general secretary of the, All-India Forward Bloc, Mr Debabrata Biswas, will lead a demonstration by the Punwire Employees Union against the Punjab Government on January 12.

The demonstration will be held in front of the Punjab Governor’s residence in Chandigarh.

This was decided today during a meeting of Mr Biswas with members of the Punwire Employees Union. Talking to mediapersons following the meeting, Mr Biswas said he had taken up the issue of the revival of Punwire with Congress President Sonia Gandhi. “On December 16, I was told by union leaders that a part of the company had been sold by the official liquidator following orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The fact is that efforts to revive the unit were at an advanced stage.

I brought this to the notice of Ms Ambika Soni at the Prime Minister’s residence that evening. She was surprised at the knowledge,” he said.

According to a press note issued by the president of the union, Mr Shahid Ahmed, today, Mr Biswas was apprised of Punwire’s sale and its revival plans. “The sale of Punwire property in piece meal would hamper the revival prospects of Punwire.

This would also give wrong signals to the employees who are ready to lay down their lives but would not allow the sale of the company,” he said, adding that 28 employees of the company had died during the past four years.

Mr Biswas felt sorry that once a blue chip company that had been appreciated by the defence forces for telecommunication equipment was in such a bad shape today.

Showing a letter, Mr Biswas stated that he had written to Mr Chander Shekhar, Union Labour Minister, about the revival of the company. He said the Central Government had been requested to stop the sale of the company and given a chance to revive it.

According to Mr Shahid Ahmed, the company’s building at B-77, Industrial Area, Phase VII, had been sold by the company’s liquidator for Rs 3.11 crore. The buyer is Winsome Company based in Chandigarh.

The employees also decided not to allow the buyer to shift any of the machinery inside the building to Punwire’s other building.



Team of Sun Group to visit Punwire today
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 27
A delegation of the Sun Group, a Delhi-based global investment group, will visit various buildings of Punwire here tomorrow. Members of the Punwire Employees Union said the group was interested in buying the closed company and revive it. A meeting with the Finance Minister, Punjab, regarding this was already held on November 5.

Sources said the company had on October 19 shown interest in investing in Punwire to facilitate its revival and had written to the Finance Minister in this regard.

Punwire, once blue-chip company worth Rs 500 crore, owes over Rs 600 crore to its various creditors. On April 12 this year, a 10-year revival plan was mooted by a core group formed by the government for the purpose under the chairmanship of the Finance Minister. During this meeting a revival scheme, prepared by Mr B.S. Baidwan, former president, Mohali Industries Association, was discussed.

Mr B.S. Baidwan had in September this year also written to Mr T.K. Nair, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, regarding the revival of Punwire. He had pointed out that funds required to restart Punwire were in the range of Rs 25 crore and while these funds could be provided by the Punjab Government, alternatively a suitable private promoter might be associated with Punwire who had the capability to induct the required funds.

In case the revival plan did not find favour with creditors, then the assets of Punwire might be transferred to a new company.



Neelam Cinema licence suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, today suspended the licence of Neelam Cinema until its management does not provide the required facilities.

The order said an inspection of the cinema hall was conducted on December 18 and it was found that the toilets were not clean and the seats were in a poor condition. The screen was also not clear and the projector was old.

The management was given a show-cause notice on December 20.



Chandigarh Calling

The exchange of hot words between the councillors of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) is not a rare sight. However, it was unusual to see a nominated councillor, Mr P.C. Sanghi, having a tiff with his counterpart, Dr K.S. Raju, during a meeting here on Monday.

During the course of discussion, Dr Raju objected to the use of world “foolish” by Mr Sanghi. However, after a verbal duel, Mr Sanghi relented and took his words back.

One of the Congress councillors was heard saying that the nominated councillors were fast learning the tricks of the trade from the elected representatives. How true!

Archery meet

The sports lovers in the city must be happy the way steps are being taken to popularise archery in the city. The three-day Junior National Archery Meet, having participation of more than 300 archers, will conclude on Tuesday at the DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8.

On the opening day of the meet on Sunday, the chief guest was not any minister, or bureaucrat but a former international volleyball player Balkar Singh, who was the captain of the Indian Volleyball team in 1980 and hailing from Pundri, Haryana.

His love for sport was noticed when he generously offered to give a grant of Rs 1 lakh to the Chandigarh Archery Association for the welfare of the players.

Traffic initiative

The UT Traffic Police has decided to check the motorists driving with high beams on. The police would initially start with educating the people to drive their vehicles on the low beam before issuing challans to the offenders, said the police sources.

The vehicles driving with the dazzling high beams pose danger to the vehicles coming from the opposite direction.

The police sources said prominent signboards would be installed on the entry points of the city to warn the motorists against the use of the high beam.

Police demand

The newly formed all-women police post at the Post Graduate Institute (PGI), incidentally the first all-women police post in the city, has a new demand for the authorities to take note.

The police women want that a special counter for the police should be provided for at the reception counter of the PGI's emergency so that all the Medico-Legal Cases (MLC) could be recorded more efficiently.

Unlike the other police posts, the hospital's post has the bulk of the MLCs that have to be immediately brought to the emergency for treatment after their particulars have been entered into the police records.

The demand has already been forwarded to the Director, PGI, and was also highlighted to the UT Administrator, Gen. S.F. Rodrigues (retd.), when he came to inaugurate the police post.

Cellphone crazy

The craze to grab the latest model of the mobile phone with sophisticated facilities is spreading like a wildfire.

The city youth are changing their phone models frequently and price is no deterrent for them.

What matters is to acquire the latest model and show off Phones with cameras are hot favourite among them. But most of the teenagers, whose parents are not willing to give them a latest mobile phone, keep it without informing their parents or teachers. It needs immediate attention as most of the youngsters misuse it.

— Sentinel



Pornographic site not Bansal’s
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
A day after the media revealed that a website appearing to be in the name of local MP Pawan Bansal ‘www. pawanbansal.com’ is loaded with a number of pornographic video clips and photographs, it is still accessible.

Tribune reporters today accessed the site despite the fact coming to the notice and the police claiming to have started investigation into a possible hacking of the site and loading it with porn material allegedly to defame the MP. The sources revealed that DSP (Crime) Om Prakash today visited Mr Bansal to record his statement.

When contacted, Mr Bansal told Chandigarh Tribune that he had not yet filed any complaint with the police as the police is supposed to take a suo motu notice of an “absurdity”. Mr Bansal, who himself has been a major contributor to Parliament passing the IT Act, said he was not aware of the content on the site.

The MP said he had opened a site to give information about him and his developmental works five years back. But he had not been keeping track of the site for the last two years. Mr Bansal said somebody seemed to have played a mischief.

The site now has hundreds of pornographic photographs and video clips. According to a media report, one domain name vendor codnik.com is offering the site to a buyer for $500. The site reportedly offers dating and free sex.

DSP Om Prakash during investigation found that the site had been created in the USA and it was not the same site which Mr Bansal had created years back. The site MP had created was in the name of Pawan Kumar Bansal and the MP did not renew his site after a year as he had not deposited the fee.

The Chandigarh Police says it would not register any case into the matter as the crime had allegedly been committed in the USA and that it was not in the name of the MP. During the investigation, it was found that Mr Bansal had not accessed the site since it was closed in 2002. The original site of the MP is not accessible. The police said even the Internet Protocol (IP) number of Mr Bansal did not tally with the porn site indicating it had got nothing to do with the local MP. The police said it could not close the site and it could only be done if the MP approached the company in the USA with his complaint.



Chatrath Cong candidate for Mayor’s post
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
Anu Chatrath The suspense over the Congress candidate for the post of Mayor is over with the party nominating Ms Anu Chatrath as its candidate for the top post, elections to which are slated to be held on January 1.

A decision to this effect was taken by the AICC secretary and observer, Mr Shakeel Ansari, after consultations with senior party leaders and councillors of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) here this evening.

According to sources, Ms Pushpa Sharma will be the party candidate for the post of Senior Deputy Mayor and Ms Sohan Lal Vaid candidate for the post of Deputy Mayor.

Mr Ansari, who was specially deputed by the party high command for the selection of the candidates, today met the members of the Territorial Congress Committee(TCC) and the councillors separately. Ultimately, a consensus was reached and the CTC chief, Mr B.B. Bahl, made the names public.

The Congress candidates will file their nominations papers tomorrow, the last date for filing the papers. The one-year tenure of the Mayor is reserved for a woman councillor.

One of the councillors, Ms Lalit Joshi Bhardwaj, has already been the Mayor, while the present Mayor, Ms Kamlesh, a Scheduled Caste candidate, completed her tenure on December 31.

Apart from Ms Chatrath, Ms Shyama Negi and Ms Pushpa Sharma and the current Deputy Mayor, Ms Geeta Chaudhary, were also contenders for the top post.

Insiders said the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, played a pivotal role in the selection of Ms Chatrath. Ms Chatrath’s father, Mr G.K. Chatrath, an old Congress warhorse, enjoys good rapport with all Congress factions.

Notwithstanding her closeness to the Bansal faction, she is seen as an”acceptable” candidate by the other factions.

Congress sources said the party wanted to project its urbane face before the new team of officials in the Chandigarh Administration and the MCC and Ms Chatrath, who also practisies at the Punjab and Haryana High Court, fit the bill.

On the other hand, Ms Sharma and Mr Negi, though senior to Ms Chatrath, scored poorly when it came to education and their rapport with various factions.

These facts seemed to have tilted the scale in favour of Ms Chatrath.

The BJP will announce its candidates for the posts tomorrow.



Fauji Beat
Fake killings: CO’s exoneration not justified

MAJOR Surinder Singh, a company commander of 5/5 Gorkha Rifles, has been dismissed from service and sentenced to three years’ rigorous imprisonment for fake killings in Siachen. Surprisingly, the then Commanding Officer (CO) of the unit, Col K.D. Singh, has been given a clean chit.

It is always the CO who gets a pat from the higher authorities when his unit does well. And it is again the CO who gets a bad name when his unit does badly. How can then Col K.D. Singh escape blame in such an infamous case, which has not only ruined the name of his unit, but has also defamed the Army.

The Brigade Commander had informed Col K.D. Singh in his official correspondence that the latter was in the habit of submitting wrong reports and concocting stories. He also doubted his reliability. From all accounts it was clear that the CO had committed many irregularities in his unit. On losing his identity card, Col K.D. Singh did not report the matter to the higher authorities as per the rules. Not only that, even a private fund was being raised by him by collecting money from the jawans.

No one can deny that the fake killings were carried out for winning gallantry awards and these had the connivance of Col K.D. Singh. The involvement of some senior officers was also brought out at one stage. It is a general feeling that if Col K.D. Singh was hauled up, then some senior commanders would have also been involved in this case. The exoneration of the CO was totally unjustified.

What about deflated ACRs?

The Military Secretary’s Branch at the Army Headquarters has recently issued instructions that in future any inflated Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) will be expunged from the officers’ dossiers. What it means is that if an officer has been getting seven or eight points in his ACRs earlier and all of a sudden he is given a nine-point report by his immediate superior officer, this report will be expunged from his dossier. The Military Secretary’s Branch has also pointed out that the number of inflated ACRs has been on the increase in the recent years. A survey carried out by this branch reveals lack of objectivity in a large number of ACRs.

It is sad that the reporting officers get more influenced by those subordinates who bend over backwards to please them. To reward them for this “quality”, the superiors become subjective and grade them much higher than what such sycophants deserve.

No doubt, the inflated reports should be expunged. But then what about the deflated reports? The MS Branch has completely ignored this aspect. There are many cases where an officer who has been constantly getting good ACRs, gets an ACR, which pulls him down and mars the chances of his further promotion. There is no reason why this deflated report should not be expunged from the officer’s dossier.

The MS Branch should also exercise its mind on this important point as a large number of officers are denied promotion due to some stringy and biased superior officers.

Garhwal Officers’ Mess

No other mess in the Indian Army is so rich in games trophies as is the Garhwal Officers’ Mess Lansdowne.

In 1947 its collection of games trophies was next only to the array of such trophies of the Maharajah of Mysore. The vintage games trophies in the mess include tiger, leopard, lion, bear, musk deer, gurar, markhor, bison, thar and ibex heads.

All these were shot between 1901 and 1938. it is interesting to know that these animals were shot from Italy, Iran, Afghanistan, Bahraich, Tanganyika, British Garhwal, Pera, Nepal, Laldhang, Tianshan, Adnala, Ladakh and Ghutu. This shows the British officers’ interest in hunting.

Two artillery pieces at the entrance of the mess were captured by 2 Garhwal from the Turks in 1917. This mess made a beginning in a three-room hut in 1921. And today it has grown into an impressive building in the picturesque hill surrounding.

Pritam Bhullar



An apology for day care centres
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, December 27
Day care centres for children are in a sorry state of affairs with a majority of them being overcrowded, unhygienic and disease-prone. Run by the Indian Council of Child Welfare with funds from the UT Administration, the 55-odd creches in the city have students packed like sardines with 35 to 40 children accommodated in a centre meant only for 25 children.

Furniture at most places is broken, curtains torn and toys are reportedly over 10 year old. Negligence of staff and absence of proper day-to-day supervision by officers concerned are issues that have drawn no attention.

Without a cooler, fridge or even a telephone facility, the centres reflect callousness of the administration. In summer, it becomes difficult to save the food and milk from going sour and in case of an emergency, it is impossible for the staff to contact parents. To top it all, there are no safety measures like installation of fire extinguishers in any of these creches.

The president of the Indian Council for Child Welfare, Ms Paramjeet Kaur, said the centres lacked basic safety provision. Once when a bal sevika brought to the notice of the authorities a leaking gas cylinder in the night, instead of being appreciated, she was blamed for it. No precautionary measure was taken in this regard.

Ms Kailash Rani, in charge of the creche in Sector 26 said: “There are 40 children in this creche. During the six years of my tenure, no repair has been done.

The building is in a bad condition and the roof is dilapidated. Walls always remain damp. We have given written complaints many times but nothing has happened. Even parents come with a lot of complaints and say that at least their children should be safe and must get basic facilities.”

There is usually only one bal sevika and two helpers to look after 35 to 40 children.

Ten years ago they were trained to handle only 20 to 25 children. Since then no orientation or motivation programmes have been conducted for them.

Mr T.C. Chopra, organising secretary of the Indian Council for Child Welfare, admitted that basic facilities were lacking in the creches.

He said initiatives were being taken and there were many plans to improve the condition.

He also said approximately the total expenditure on the creches in the past six months had been Rs 43 lakh.



Tsunami waves: HCS officer has providential escape
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) and the Enforcement Magistrate of Chandigarh, Mr S.K. Setia, and his family have had a providential escape. Mr Setia was on a holiday to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands which were struck by the tsunami waves yesterday.

This morning, Mr Setia rang up his senior officers in the Chandigarh Administration, informing about his well being.

Mr Setia is reportedly cutting short his visit. He is an HCS officers on deputation to the Chandigarh Administration.



Rise in daylight burglaries
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 27
Even as Mohali residents spent a fearful year with daylight burglars having a free run, the one event that put Mohali on the international crime map was the sensational confession of Maninder Pal Singh Kohli, the main suspect in the rape and murder of British schoolgirl Hannah Foster. He had absconded from Britain after allegedly committing the crime on March 14, 2003. He allegedly spent 10 days with his family at Mohali from March 18 to 28. Following his arrest on July 15 by the West Bengal police in Siliguri district, he was brought to Mohali by the Punjab police. Within a day of his detention here Kohli confessed to have committed the crime. The rest is history.

A few months later, Mr Hardev Singh, the General Manager, PUDA, was arrested for allegedly ‘facilitating’ illegal colonisers in the state. He was arrested following police crackdown on illegal colonisers in the district. According to the police, Mr Hardev Singh was arrested on the basis of information provided by arrested colonisers Amba Prasad, Jai Dev, Sunil Saini and Gurinder Singh Bhatia. However the entire investigation lost steam as fast as it had built up.

In another major incident, Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang, senior vice-president of the Youth Akali Dal, and Mr Rajbir Singh Padiala, junior vice-president of the SAD, allegedly shot at each other’s supporters at a rally in Kharar on July 2. While Kang continued to evade arrest, Padiala surrendered before the police within a week of the incident.

Five murders took place in the township this year, all of which the police was able to trace. Starting with the sensational murder of a dancer at her house in Phase VII to the gruesome murder of a seven-year-old boy followed by the murder of a constable at Sohana village, the year ended with the murder of a villager by his neighbour over land. Two attempt to murder cases were registered out of which one on a bus stand employee remained untraced.

Out of the there cases of kidnapping registered by the police only one remained untraced.

The number of daylight burglaries increased this year from 49 to 67 and the police was not able to nab thieves even by the end of the year. The SP Mohali, Mr Rakesh Agarwal, pointed out that 17 of the total 30 vehicle thefts had been traced and 20 out of the 37 other thefts had been traced.

As many as 40 cases of cheating were registered by the police all of which were traced. Compared to last year there was a marginal decline in the number of cheating cases. Three cases of rape were registered, all of which had been traced and the accused were behind bars.

Stating that lottery as a system had been discouraged, Mr Agarwal pointed out that only 20 cases under the gambling Act had been registered as compared to the figure last year that stood at 80.

The number of accidents almost remained the same since last year. “Despite our efforts we have not been able to bring down the number of accidents. Out of the 82 accidents that took place during the year, 21 proved fatal, the SP said.

Mr Agarwal also added that 800 challans were being issued by the traffic police in the township every month. “The total seizure under the provisions of the excise act from the township had been of 10 lakh ml liquor during the year. Three kg of “afeem” and 368 kgs of “bhukki” (poppy husk) had been seized during the year under the provisions of the NDPS Act,” he said.

Mr Agarwal said the women cell of the police had been active throughout. “As many as 171 complaints had been filed in the cell out of which compromises were done in 117 cases. As many as 22 divorces took place and seven FIRs were lodged,” he said.

Mr Agarwal said the extent of heinous crime had come down this year as compared to last year though the number of daylight burglaries had gone down. 



350 attend Gujar parishad meeting
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, December 27
The Gujar Samaj Kalyan Parishad, Panchkula, held a meeting and passed a resolution to buy a 4 kanal plot in a centrally-located sector of the town today.

More than 350 members of the parishad from the urban and rural areas of Chandigarh, Panchkula, Kalka and Ambala areas participated at the meeting held under the chairmanship of Mr Shambhu Dyal Chechi, president of the parishad.

In a press note, Mr Pritam Singh Rawal, general secretary of the parishad, claimed that the members decided to pool money for the plot. It was also decided to construct a community hall and a dharamshala there. 



Unique X’mas for Reliance Info employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
For families of employees of Reliance Infocomm, it was a unique Christmas. Senior employees dressed as Santa Claus visited the employees’ residence here and distributed gifts to their kids.

Reliance Infocomm has around 400 employees in Chandigarh.

The company also organised a bash in the office after working hours, where all employees sang, danced and enjoyed the day.

The CEO, Reliance Infocomm, Mr Himanshu Kapania, said “Christmas is the representation of fun and frolic. We used to celebrate Christmas in our office with the employees. However, this year we decided to do something beyond it. Our senior officials dressed as Santa visited the residence of all employees, who have kids below 12 years of age and gifted them sweets and presents. The happiness on the kids’ faces and twinkle in their eyes was worth seeing”. 



Readers Write
Land prices beyond common man’s reach

The recent auction held by the Chandigarh Administration has taken the prices of real estate in City Beautiful to a new height.

The unprecedented boom in real estate has affected the nearby townships also. Unsuccessful bidders at the auction in City Beautiful have now moved to the suburbs.

The prices in the adjoining townships have increased manifold in just three or four months. The boom has attracted dealers from far away places and they, too, have migrated to these townships.

The mushroom growth of property dealers can be seen in Zirakpur. Businessmen there are unhappy with the market. On the other hand, property dealers, in connivance with financiers, are making money fast.

Owning a house in City Beautiful has become almost impossible. People, particularly those belonging to the service class, are planning to build dwelling units in the adjoining areas. In the absence of an appropriate authority, the prices are going beyond the reach of the common man.

Dinesh Kumar Sharma

Foundation stone

Outside Khukhrain Bhavan, Sector 35-D, close to the cycle track, there is a foundation stone laid by former Defence Minister Swaran Singh.

It is sad to see that it is in a pathetic condition. If those responsible for looking after it are not bothered about it, surely those who are running this bhavan can do something about it.

S. Kaur

An ugly area

Dumping of “malba” on vacant land behind the boundary walls of houses in Sector 21-D, from the Aroma chowk to the Piccadily chowk, has been going on for quite a long time. The officials concerned of the Administration and the Municipal Corporation seem to be having a good siesta and will perhaps only wake up when the problem assumes alarming proportions.

Besides, the maintenance of the green area on both sides of Himalaya Marg from the inter-state bus terminus towards Mohali must get due attention from the authorities if they wish to project a good face of City Beautiful to tourists. Failure on their part to remove “malba” will only result in creating more and more garbage points along this road. As an alternative, the maintenance of the green area by private parties should be considered.

H.S. Aulakh



Man arrested for assaulting widow
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 27
The police today arrested Sandeep Kumar, a resident of Phase 11, on charges of assaulting a widow, Amarpreet Kaur, living nearby. Sandeep Kumar is the son of an influential local woman leader.

Interestingly, while the police arrested Sandeep in the evening on charges of assault, at least 25 persons met the SP Mohali this morning with written complaints against his mother alleging cheating to the tune of Rs 30 lakh.

According to the police, Sandeep had along with another resident of Phase 11, Ranjit Kaur, allegedly beaten up Amarpreet Kaur, who lives near their house.

Amarpreet Kaur reportedly told the police that she was being forced by the two into indulging in unlawful activities for which she had refused. The two allegedly barged into her house today, shouted at her and beat her up. They took away her gold ornaments, police sources said.

SP Mohali Rakesh Agarwal said Sandeep was arrested in the evening while Ranjit Kaur was at large.

He added that he had, over the past few days, received a hoard of complaints against Sandeep and his mother, who claimed to be a local Congress worker. He said over 15 complainants had alleged that the two were involved in an immigration racket and owed at least Rs 25 lakh to various persons.

“We are still investigating these complaints after which suitable action would be initiated,” he said.

The complainants also met MLA Bir Devinder Singh during his visit to the SP office today and told him about their actions. Bir Devinder Singh, however, clarified to the complainants and the SP that she was not a Congress worker and if she was he would ensure that she was removed from the membership of the party.

He added that MP Ashwini Kumar had also complained to him about the activities of the woman.



GMCH worker held for raping minor
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, December 27
A class VI employee of the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh, has been arrested by the police for allegedly raping and keeping a minor girl of Mubarikpur village in his confinement.

According to the police, the girl was abducted by Suresh Pal, safai karamchari of the GMCH on December 18 night. He allegedly raped her repeatedly and abandoned in the hospital again after she suffered a fit on December 19.

According to the police, the girl had been missing from her house since December 18 evening after she left to meet her friend. The girl was admitted to the GMCH by some unknown person in an unconscious state. At the hospital, she came in the contact of Suresh Pal, the worker who promised to drop her at Mubarikpur village.

Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, DSP of Dera Bassi, said instead of helping the girl, Suresh Pal took her to his own residence in Ram Darbar and introduced with her brother and sister-in-law. During the night, Suresh allegedly raped her while the other family members were asleep in other rooms of the house.

On the very next morning, Suresh took her to Sukhna Lake on his bicycle and raped her in the nearby forest area. The girl again had a fit and Suresh admitted her to the GMCH again.

She was surprised when found Suresh missing in the hospital after she regained consciousness. She then approached the hospital authorities and subsequently informed her parents.

On the complaint of the father of the girl, Mr Pritpal Singh, the police has registered a case under Sections 363, 366-A and 376 of the IPC against Suresh Pal and arrested him this afternoon.

It may be recalled that the police has also booked Mr Jasbir Singh alias Lala, a youth of the locality, for abducting the girl. The boy was booked by the police on the complaint of the girl’s parents on December 20.



Tribune Impact
Case registered after two months
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 27
The local police has registered a case after Chandigarh Tribune highlighted that no case had been registered into the suspected kidnapping and murder of a Sector 28 youth despite complaints being made against a person for the last two months.

The story appeared under headline ‘Missing youth: 2 months on, no FIR’ yesterday. Mr Raghunath Singh Rawat, father of the missing youth, alleged that the city police was not registering an FIR, despite his written complaints to the Administrator, IGP and SSP.

The police has registered a case under Section 364 (kidnapping in order to murder) of the IPC against the suspect Harsh, resident of Sector 20-B, at Sector 26 police station yesterday.

Mr Rawat, a clerk in the UT Electricity Department, alleged that his son went missing on October 20. He lodged a complaint in this regard at Sector 26 police station. Later, he found out that Harsh was involved in the alleged kidnapping of his son. He made numerous complaints to the police to register a case against Harsh, but in vain.



Truck driver found dead

Chandigarh, December 27
Sohan Singh (40), a truck driver, was found dead under mysterious circumstances near the 66 KV station in Sector 47-C this morning.

According to the police, Sohan Singh was found dead near a slip road near the power station. There were injury marks on his face and head.

The police did not rule out murder. The body has been sent for a post-mortem examination. OC


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