C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PGI doctor ‘jumps’ to death
She had no rift with husband, says father
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 19
Dr Babita Kaura (38), an Assistant Professor in the PGI, is suspected to have jumped to death from her flat on the third floor of an apartment of PGI doctors in Sector 24 here late last night.

The police neither recovered any suicide note nor found any immediate cause of the alleged suicide.

The police suspected it to be a suicide as per preliminary investigations. But it called a team of forensic experts from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) to rule out any foul play. The CFSL team in the evening re-constructed the scene of crime to find out whether she committed suicide or was killed. The preliminary investigation indicates that her fall from the third floor could not have been accidental.

Her body was found lying in a pool of blood around midnight and was rushed to the PGI, where she was declared “dead”.

She is survived by her husband Dr Deepak Kaura and two children.

Dr Babita was with the department of Immunopathology and her husband runs a private nursing home in Sector 15. Dr Babita’s children—son Karan (12) and daughter Annie (5)—were inside the flat when their mother is suspected to have took the extreme step. Deepali, sister of Dr Deepak Kaura, was also in the flat when the incident occurred.

Deepali told the police that Dr Babita was sitting with her in the bedroom of the Sector 24 flat around 11: 45 pm yesterday. Dr Babita left the room saying she had to make a phone call. After a few moments she heard a loud noise of slamming of door. She ran to the drawing room, but Dr Baibita was not there. Then she went out in the balcony of the house and Dr Babita was even not there. She said she went downstairs in the lawn in front of their house to look for her sister-in-law.

She saw Dr Babita lying in a pool of blood on the floor.

The father of the deceased, Mr Sant Kumar Jindal, told the police that his daughter had no rift with her husband at present.

Police sources said that Dr Deepak Kaura was with his parents in Sector 19 when his wife is suspected to have committed suicide. Deepali had talked to her brother a few minutes earlier asking him to join her on dinner. Her brother had told her that he would be late. The police had found unused food in the house indicating that the family did not take dinner before Dr Babita is suspected to have committed suicide.

According to the police, Dr Babita had also talked to her parents about the medical reports of a patient known to the family around 11.10 pm yesterday.

The sister of the deceased, Ms Seema Gaur, who is an IAS officer posted in New Delhi and whose husband is with the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), refused to talk to mediapersons.

A servant working in a house on the ground floor in front of which Dr Babita was found lying dead told Chandigarh Tribune that they heard somebody calling loudly for Dr Babita in the night.

He said he had just retired for sleep then. After a few moments he heard a loud thud and everybody came out. The police said a definite clue could be known after postmortem and after statements of a few more persons were recorded.

The family members of Dr Babita reportedly told the police that the couple had some dispute till six months back but they had iron out their differences after that.



PGI faculty expresses shock
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
“We have lost a very bright, imaginative and interactive medical scientist.’’ This is how the faculty at the PGI here reacted today after learning about the death of Dr Babita Kaura of the Department of immunopathology at her residence in Sector 24 on Tuesday night.

Dr Babita, 38, was associated with the PGI for more than 10 years. Born in June 1967, she joined the institute here as an MD student in the Department of Pathology after completing her MBBS from Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, in 1989.

After completing her MD from the PGI in 1994, Dr Babita joined the Institute as an Assistant Professor of histopathology in April 1998 and later shifted to the Department of Immunopathology in December 1999.

Expressing shock at the demise of his colleague, Dr Sunil Arora of the Department of Immunopathology, said, ``It was an unexpected and a very sorry news. She was in fact working in the department till last evening.’’

The institute faculty described Dr Babita as a very active pathologist, who was handling typing and cross match services for tissue transplantation at the PGI. After receiving her initial training in Molecular Typing from the All India Institute of Medical sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, Dr Babita in fact went to New York University, USA, recently under a programme for further training in the field.

She was also in the process of setting up an advanced facility for bone marrow transplantation at the Department of Immunopathology.

A condolence meeting was also organised at the PGI today where Director Prof K.K. Talwar, Head of Department of Histopathology, Prof Kusum Joshi, Head of Department of Hematology, Prof Gurjeevan Grewal and a senior faculty member of the Department of Immunopathology, Dr Sunil Arora, among others expressed their sympathies for the family of the deceased.



8-yr-old girl drowned in Sukhna choe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
An eight-year-old girl was today found drowned in the polluted water of the Sukhna choe along the Kajheri village.

Priyanka (8) had gone to buy chocolates from the market yesterday morning but did not return till late night. Her body was today found in the choe with chocolates still clasped in her fist.

The family and the police were looking for the girl since last night. The body was detected by the father of the girl, Ram Sumera, when villagers suggested him to go to the choe to find out if his daughter was in the killer nullah. The nullah had seen several accidents, especially during the monsoon season, when water flows over the causeway near the village. Villagers said dangerous gases emanating from the choe might have caused the girl to fall unconscious while she was crossing it, causing her to fall in the choe.

Ram Sumera said Priyanka had taken Rs 5 from him at around 9 am yesterday to buy eatables but she did not return. A labourer at a junk dealer shop in the village, Ram Sumera said he tried to locate her throughout the day but did not succeed. He then approached the Sector 36 police station last evening. Police teams also tried to locate the girl but without success.

Ram Sumera said last night Priyanka’s two-year-old younger sister and her mother Ramvati were becoming restless about her. Ram Sumera was today advised by other residents of the village to look into the water of the choe along the village. Ram Sumera went on a search to meet the horror of his life when he saw the face of his daughter in the highly polluted water. The police was called and the body was taken out. The father burst into tears when he saw that a chocolate was held in her closed fist despite the girl having died.

Priyanka used to take care of her younger sister.

Villagers said pollution in the choe due to sewer being released from Attawa village was a great danger to the lives of Kajheri residents.

Meanwhile, the Sector 43 Residents Welfare Association had complained to the authorities that dangerous gases were emanating from the choe, posing a threat to the lives of the people.



Rs 7 lakh stolen from hotel
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 19
Cash worth Rs 7 lakh has been stolen from the office of the managing director of G.K. International Hotel in Sector 35 in a continuing spate of thefts and burglaries the city.

The managing director of the hotel Paramjit Singh Tung was yesterday morning handed over Rs 7 lakh by his accountant after tallying accounts. Mr Tung reportedly kept the money in a brief case and left for lunch at around 2 pm. Mr Tung locked room 101, which was his office, and handed over the keys at the reception.

The managing director returned at 4.30 pm to find his briefcase opened in the room and the money missing.

However, the manager of the hotel, Mr Anu Krishan Bansal, had a different version, saying he got a complaint from an unidentified guest that his Rs 7 lakh had been stolen. He had forwarded the complaint to the police. It is surprising that the manager of the hotel could not identify the person who was living as a guest in the hotel, as hotels are required to keep details of the guests.

The Station House Officer of the Sector 36 police station, Mr Jagbir Singh, said the theft allegedly took place from the room occupied by the owner of the hotel.

The police has questioned a large number of employees of the hotel to get clues about the theft.

In another incident, Mr Jatinder Kumar of Burail village filed a complaint that two gold chains, a gold necklace, three gold rings, two silver sets, one mobile phone and Rs 15,000 were stolen from his residence on the night of January 15.

There were three reported incidents of theft and one of attempt to burgle a shop reported on January 17. A British woman, who was on a business trip to India, reported that her bag containing $ 30, debit cards and a direct bank card was stolen from her room (number 1014) in Hotel Sunbeam, Sector 22. In another incident, Mr Swinder Singh of Sector 8 reported to the police that his handbag containing Rs 2.5 lakh, gold and diamond ornaments was stolen from the City Club during a marriage party.

Another victim of theft, Ms Anu Dasai of Sector 15 Panchkula, filed a complaint that her bag containing a gold chain, a pair of earrings, two credit cards, one viza card, a mangal sutra, cash worth Rs 8000 and some other articles was stolen from Fun Republic in Mani Majra. While Mr Roshan Lal, owner of a shop in Mauli Jagran, Mani Majra, reported to the police that the locks of his shop were broken in an attempt to commit a theft on the night of January 16. The police said it was an attempt to burgle the shop as no loss of property was reported to them.

With the police yet to get clues of thefts and burglaries in the beginning of the year, Rs 4 lakh worth of goggles were stolen from a shop in Sector 17 on Monday. A day before, $ 3000 and Rs 85,000 were stolen from the Saini Bhavan in Sector 24. On the same day, Rs 70,000 and jewellery were stolen from a house in Sector 44.

Apart from these major theft incidents, there have been minor ones, indicating that some gang might be at work in and around Chandigarh which the police has not been able to trace. Surprisingly, a large number of thefts are taking place during the day. 



Poor response to property tax scheme in UT
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Ten days after the levying of property tax in the city, only five units out of the 10,000 odd in the categories of commercial, industrial and institutional lands covered under the scheme have deposited their tax.

A senior official while talking to The Tribune said that the public reaction to the tax announcement was slow despite the fact that they would be saving a huge amount of tax in case they made timely payments.

In the first stage, people have been asked to fill the self-assessment forms. The scheme is optional and is valid till February 10. The UT Administration has levied three per cent property tax on the annual rateable value of commercial, institutional and industrial lands and buildings from November 22, 2004, onwards.

The MC has stressed that by opting for the voluntary self-assessment scheme they can save 25 per cent of the tax, which will be charged by the corporation from those assessee who fail to adopt the scheme. In case of delay in timely payment of tax it has been clearly pointed out that, “In case the corporation had to make the charges it could also determine the actual market rent of the property concerned by scrutinising Income Tax returns of the unit concerned.”

The parties concerned have the option of paying the tax for the ensuing year in lumpsum or in two half yearly instalments. A rebate of 10 per cent will be given if the assessee deposits complete tax on the due date or before it.

It has been clearly pointed out that the corporation is empowered to revise the property tax every year, however, the assessment made under the scheme will not be revised for at least next three years.

A section of the commercial unit owners are trying to argue their point of view with the corporation. Prof C.S. Aulukh from Panjab University said, “I want to highlight the problems being faced by those whose property was facing legal cases.

We are being paid peanuts as rent by the tenants and to further our woes the UT Administration asks us to give tax also. The case deserves a fair hearing. “Mr Virender Sharma, an advocate, said.” We are being asked to pay tax for the property which lies unutilised”.

The properties of all sectors have been divided into zones. The zoning of property has been done after evaluating criteria like locations and rental value of the areas concerned.

The city has been divided into five groups. Sector 17 is a single unit of Group 1. The Group V will have sites earmarked for specific purpose like institutions, clubs and petrol pumps.

Buildings in Zone A of Sector 17 will have the highest rent fixed at Rs 20 per cent square feet.

In a related event the Shopkeepers Welfare Association, Sector 23, today held a protest demonstration against the Congress-ruled Municipal Corporation for imposing property tax.

Mr Naresh Mahajan, president of the association, said in a press note that hundreds of shopkeepers demonstrated against imposition of the property tax.



Last date for submitting factsheets extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The Excise and Taxation Department of the Chandigarh Administration has extended the last date for the submission of factsheets for obtaining new registration number along with certificate.

A TOT Registration number (TRN) or VAT Registration Number (VRN) is required up to 6.2.2005. The Deputy Commissioner-cum-Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, informed that the registration procedure along with the proforma of factsheet to be submitted by the dealers have been made available at website www. pextax. com and www.chd.nic.in .

Dealers can download the prescribed proforma or get it printed at their level or obtain from the office of the Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner Office, Sector 17, Chandigarh. He further added that the office shall remain open on February 5 and 6 (Saturday and Sunday) to collect the factsheets under VAT.

He further said that any dealer can approach the department for obtaining the proforma, and in case of any assistance needed, information can be had personally from the department or on telephone nos. 2703019 or 2702928.

He added that VAT is going to be implemented with effect from April 1 for which all necessary arrangements have been made.



Magazine funds in govt schools unutilised
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Funds worth lakhs of rupees, collected from students for bringing out the annual school magazine, are lying unutilised in government schools in the city.

A majority of government schools have not published their annual magazines for the past several years, as Principals are reluctant to get the printing job done from the Government Printing Press in Sector 18.

It is mandatory as per an order issued by the Chandigarh Administration to have the magazine printed at the Government Press.

Aimed at encouraging the art of writing as also to highlight the achievements of students in various school-level events, the magazine is meant to be an annual feature for the schools.

However, most Principals have preferred not to utilise the funds, as the cost of printing quoted by the Government Press is almost double the price quoted by the private publishers. Even the quality of printing was not up to the mark.

Quoting specific instances, the Principals told the Tribune that the printing cost charged by the Government Press to print a copy of the school magazine was around Rs 90, whereas the UT Education Department was charging Rs 20 annually from each student up to Class X and Rs 25 annually from the students of Classes XI and XII.

“When we found that the cost of printing was Rs 95 per copy, we decided to collect the funds for two years before going ahead with the print order. There is no other option with us”, said the principal of a government school.

A senior officer in the Education Department said the amount of Rs 20 being charged from each student could not be hiked as per the norm. But since the money came from the students, it was not obligatory for the schools to get their work done from the Government Press, he added.

However, the Principals on the condition of anonymity said there was objection from the Audit Department when some schools got the printing done privately. Due to this reason most of the Principals have preferred not to touch the funds.

Faced with the same problem, the government colleges in the city have begun to the get their magazines published from private publisher, after getting the approval from the administration.

The Government College, Sector 11, paid Rs 70,000 to a private publisher for 1500 copies of the college magazine. For the same job, the Government Press had quoted around Rs 1,20,000. 



Villagers falling under ‘no construction zone’ cry foul 
Our Correspondent

Dappar (Lalru), January 19
Fearing evacuation by the defence authorities, over 4000 residents of 10 villages in the vicinity of the Ammunition Depot, Dappar, have been crying foul. They are likely to be displaced from their homes by the Ministry of Defence for the second time.

Passing sleep less nights for the past over three days, the villagers are in a quandary over the status of the movable and immovable property.

The panicky villagers of these villages, which are likely to fall under the proposed ‘no construction zone’ by the Ministry of Defence, have been forced to abandon their land holdings.

Over 3000 residents of 10 villages - Dappar, Gholu Majra, Chandiala, Baroli, Ber Majra, Amlala, Isapur Jangi, Hansala, Janetpur and Gajjopur - would be affected with the declaration of the area, within the radius of 1,200 yards from the outer parapet of the depot, a no construction zone.

A visit by The Tribune team to the affected villages revealed that the panic had gripped the villages. The villagers showed their helplessness saying that the defence authorities had decided to render them homeless.

The irate villagers claimed that the authorities had not paid compensation to the villagers after acquiring their land for the ammunition dump in 1964. Many villagers were not paid compensation from 1967- 69. The amount of paid compensation for the acquired land was much less as compared to the market value of the land at that time, claimed the villagers.

“The affected villagers were given the compensation of Rs 4,700 per acre against the market value of Rs 12,000 per acre. Some villagers have to knock the doors of the court to get the actual value for their land. Following the court directions, the villagers were later given compensation with a hike and interest on the actual value of the land,” claimed Mr Dalip Singh, resident of Ber Majra village.

Eighty-year-old Bachhitar Singh claimed that the authorities had acquired his 55 acres of land on the throw-away prices and forced him to construct a two bedroom house in the village. The authorities had been objecting on constriction activities in the villages since long, which had forced the residents of the area to live in old, ruined houses.

“Now the Defence Ministry’s move to ban constructions in 1,200 yards around the depot would force us to shift again or go for begging”, lamented Mr Bacchitar Singh.

Another villager, Mr Gulzara Singh, complained that almost half of the villagers had purchased land with the compensation they received earlier from the defence authorities. The ministry’s proposal to issue a fresh notification banning construction in 1,200 yards from the depot would further uproot hundreds of families.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, Sarpanch of Dappar village, claimed that number of the houses with regular water and electricity connections released by the Punjab Government have come up in the area.

He also pointed out that the authority itself had been constructing structures within the depot premises while imposing ban on the villagers.

He demanded that the government should provide a clear picture in this pretext so that the villagers might not be harassed unnecessarily. The government should rehabilitate the villagers instead of uprooting them, he claimed. 



Bar association detects “forgery”
Maneesh Chhibber
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 19
The Executive Committee of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association is scheduled to meet tomorrow afternoon to discuss a "serious matter of forgery" in its records.

According to available information, some employees of the association have been found to have tampered with record relating to finances of the association.

Sources say that a letter of intimation about the meeting was circulated among office-bearers and executive committee members.

The "forgery" surfaced today when the Canteen Committee of the association was holding a meeting to discuss the issue of non-payment of dues, including rent, by the company running canteens in the High Court complex. It is learnt that the company - which also runs a restaurant in Sector 35 by the name of Memorable Moments - has failed to pay the rent of the canteens for the past three months.

Its contract with the Bar Association makes it mandatory on him to pay Rs 1.32 lakh every month as rent. Interestingly, the company was required to deposit post-dated cheques of the rent amount in advance to the association but did not do so.

When contacted, Association Secretary Munish Jolly refused to say anything on the issue, adding that whatever decision has to be taken would be taken by the Executive Committee.

The same company also manages the rest of the canteens in the High Court complex, the rent for which goes to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. It was also awarded the contract to manage the canteen at the newly-constructed office of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana.

A member of the Executive Committee of the Bar Association, who refused to be quoted, told The Tribune that there had been complaints in the past also against the company vis-à-vis functioning of the canteens.

Meanwhile, the Executive Committee which met on January 17 did not take any final decision on the issue of grant of extension to the sub-committee for transfer of Judges. The three-month term of the five-member committee has already ended and its convener, advocate H.S. Gill, has sought extension till January 27 to prepare and submit the final report.



Passing Thru

Dr Ashok Kaushal, Coordinator, Geomatics Solutions Developer Group, CDAC,  Pune.
Dr Ashok Kaushal, Coordinator, Geomatics Solutions Developer Group, CDAC, Pune.

The CDAC, Pune, is known the world over for the creation of super computers Param and Param Padma. What next can one expect?

Now we are getting into what is known as grid computing as part of our Garuda project. This entails among other operations, a large number of computers working in tandem through broadband connectivity for very high speed data transfers and analysis.

Which are the other projects that CDAC is working on?

CDAC, Trivandrum, has come up with an automobile tracking system for the state transport department. Small box devices are placed in buses that would help the transport department keep an eye on the bus while it is on the move. CDAC would also be making these devices available for use to private transporters.

Is CDAC competing well with private software solution MNCs?

It is true that majority of our income comes from government projects and consultancy works for the government. But we are able to bag a large number of private assignments through open tenders also. Moreover, we have a strong component of providing high-quality training in various software related fields like multimedia etc.

— Chitleen K. Sethi



Police in a fix over girl’s ‘elopement’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 19
The Mohali police is in a fix over investigations into a case of a minor girl who reportedly eloped with her elder sister’s brother-in-law, got married and started living with him in UP. However, the girl’s parents approached the police alleging that the boy, Dhir Singh, allured their minor daughter, took her away with him and raped her.

Relating the story, police sources said two months ago, Dhir Singh had come from UP to live with his elder brother Ram Avtar and his wife, Sunaina Devi, in a jhuggi colony in Sector 68. He fell in love with Sunaina’s younger sister and both of them decided to get married. They eloped to Manali with the help of another relative and reportedly also got married.

The girl’s parents, however, complained to the police against Dhir Singh and the couple was called back from UP. They produced a marriage certificate before the investigating officer that showed the girl as a major. However, today the girl’s mother Premvati brought a date of birth certificate of her daughter showing that she was born in 1990 and was a minor.

When contacted, the SP, Mohali, Mr Rakesh Agarwal said the girl would have to undergo a medical examination to ascertain her age. In case she was found to be a minor, Dhir Singh would be booked for kidnapping and rape. The SP pointed out that the girl had also given a complaint to the police that her mother, Premvati, was trying to sell her in marriage and she had run away from home because of that. He added that this compliant would also be looked into and in case it was found to be true the girl would be sent to the Nari Niketan.

However, sources alleged the three policemen who had been investigating the case had been working under various influences and had been instigating both sides to give complaints against each other to the SP’s office. Sources added that one of the policemen had even helped the girl procure a fake marriage certificate to show to her parents.



CTU men return bag containing cash, jewellery
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 19
But for CTU employees’ honesty, a man would have lost Rs 35,000 and jewellery worth Rs 1 lakh.

Mr Joginder Singh, a teacher from Gurdaspur told Chandigarh Tribune that he forgot his bag containing currency notes and jewellery in a CTU bus (CH-01-G-5909) at the ISBT, Sector 43, this evening. He had boarded the bus from Dina Nagar in Gurdaspur with his family. After getting down from the bus at the ISBT, Sector 43, they boarded a local bus for Sector 17. It was in the latter bus that he realised he had lost his bag.

Mr Joginder Singh met a CTU official at the CTU inquiry office at the ISBT, Sector 17, and informed him about the bus in which he forgot his bag.

The official made an inquiry about the bus from the ISBT, Sector 43, and he was told that the bus had already left for the CTU Workshop in the Industrial Area in Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, the driver of the bus, Mr Dharam Singh of Chou Majra, and the conductor of the bus, Mr Jagdish Singh of Dhanas village, found the bag lying in the bus while they were cleaning it. They informed their Duty Officer, Mr Bhagat Singh, about the bag and handed it over to him. Mr Bhagat Singh informed the CTU inquiry officer at the ISBT, Sector 17, that the bag was found in the bus.

After that Mr Joginder Singh was called at the workshop, where the bag was handed over to him after confirming the articles lying in it.

Mr Joginder Singh was all praise for the honesty of the driver and the conductor. He has a marriage to attend in the city and he was carrying Rs 35,000 and jewellery worth Rs 1 lakh in the bag for the marriage.



Horticulture wing to set up complaint centres
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 19
The horticulture wing of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has decided to set up complaint centres in different parts of the town for the convenience of the public.

Residents cannot only lodge their complaints, which would be entered in a register kept at the office of junior engineers (JEs), but they can also give their suggestions regarding various aspects of horticulture.

Such complaint centres were being set up at seven different places in the town and JEs would be registering the complaints from different areas. The SDOs concerned have been asked to monitor the progress in this regard on a weekly basis.

Complaints from Sector 54 and 56 are to be made to Mr Gurpal Singh who would be available in his office in Sector 56 while complaints from Sectors 55, 59 and 71 were to be handled by Mr Sukhwinder Singh in Sector 59. Residents of Sectors 60, 61 and 70 would have to approach Mr Jagtar Singh in his office in the Special Park in Sector 70. Similarly, Mr Avtar Singh would be looking after complaints received from residents of Sectors 53 and 62 in the Leisure Valley in Sector 62 while residents of Sector 63 would have to meet Mr Surjit Singh in the plant nursery in Sector 63 regarding their complaints. Complaints from Sectors 64, 65, 65-A, 66 and 67 were to be made to Mr Kulwant Singh in his office in the Neighbourhood Park in Sector 65 and residents of Sectors 68 and 69 would have to approach Mr G.S. Bhatia in Sector 69 regarding their problems.



Flower festival from March 5
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 19
The two day Mohali Flower Festival would be held on March 5 and 6.

This was decided during a meeting chaired by the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Punjab, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, held in Chandigarh yesterday.

The festival jointly organised by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) and the Municipal Council (MC), would be held at Silvi Park, Phase 10.

The much awaited City Water Park in Sector 68 would be inaugurated during the occasion. The park built over an area of 10 acres has an amphitheater along with a light and music fountain. The park would be thrown open to the public during the flower show.

Various flower and plant competitions would be organised on the same pattern as last year. A painting competition for children would also be organised during the festival. However this year too no baby show would be organised. Shopping stalls and a small fair for the children would also form a part of the show.

The festival, however, this year would be a sombre affair in view of the tsunami tragedy, said a source. 



Power cuts plague Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 19
Unscheduled power cuts have plagued the town during the past several days adversely affecting routine and business activities. The position worsened since yesterday as repeated power cuts were imposed at night and even during the day today.

Residents complained why power cuts were not being imposed at fixed timings and that too after making prior announcements so that residents could make adjustments accordingly.

Mrs Manmohan Kaur, a municipal councillor staying in Phase II said the problem of power cuts was going on for the past more than 16 days but the situation had become acute since yesterday. Thoughout the day today power cuts were imposed at short intervals adversely affecting the household chores.

She said some streetlight points were not functioning for the past many days. These could not be got repaired because of unannounced power cuts. When employees of the council came to rectify the fault, there was no power.

Mrs Gurinderjeet Kaur, a resident of Sector 71, complained that long power cuts were adversely affecting the supply of water in the area. She said the sector was already getting inadequate supply of water and that too got further reduced because of power cuts. Moreover, washing clothes had become a problem because of unscheduled power cuts.

Mr Amarjit Singh, a resident of Phase XI said that frequent power cuts had made life miserable. Water supply in the area had got hit. He said the overhead water tanks were empty last week as water was received at low pressure due to repeated power disruptions. He said the situation worsened since yesterday. He said tenants living in the first floor accommodation of his house were worst affected due to the shortage of water.

Mr V.K. Mahajan, Additional Superintending Engineer, said that power got disrupted due to urban power cuts being imposed by the Power Controller of the Punjab State Electricity Board. He said that some unforeseen problem must have erupted at the power generation plant which resulted in frequent power cuts. He said the local PSEB officials were helpless in the matter. Power cuts were imposed in the town when directions were received from authorities concerned. 



Materialism blamed for decline in values
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 19
Mere materialism is prevailing in society these days which has resulted in a decline of moral values. There is a need to follow the path shown by Brahma Baba to attain world peace, harmony and unity.

These views were expressed by Mrs Satwant Kaur Sandhu, MLA, at a function organised by Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya at Sukhshanti Bhavan in Phase VII here in connection with 36th Ascension Day of Prajapita Brahma here last evening.

B.K. Prem, in charge of rajyoga centres of the Mohali circle, said that Brahma Baba was a “yug pursha” and a unique role model of karamyogi who dedicated himself alongwith his entire wealth, words, speech and actions for the welfare of mankind.

Free seven - day rajyoga training shivir also started at the Phase VII centre from today to achieve peace of mind.



Drive to make ration cards for poor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The Food and Supplies Department of the Chandigarh Administration has launched a drive for the preparation of special ration cards for those people living below poverty line and under the Antyodaya Anna Yojna.

The Deputy Commissioner-cum-Director, Food and Supplies, Mr Arun Kumar, said 35 kg of wheat or rice was issued to the below poverty line card holders at the rate of Rs 4.50 per kg and Rs 6.02 per kg, respectively, while the same quantity of rice is issued to the Antyodaya Anna Yojna card holders at the rate of Rs 3 per kg.

The card holders are entitled to draw their quota in instalments also. The DC further said the application forms were available in the office of District Food and Supplies Officer, Sector 17, Chandigarh, and on the mobile vans being run by the department which covers all villages and labour colonies. He clarified that all such families whose income does not exceed Rs 250 per month are entitled for Antyodaya cards whereas the families having their income upto Rs 300.91 per month are issued a BPL card.

He said that all eligible families could approach to the department for obtaining ration cards and in case of any assistance, the information can be had personally from the department or on telephone No. 2703956.



Employees resent bill collection privatisation
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 19
Members of the Technical Employees Union today protested against the Punjab Government’s decision to privatise bill collection and meter reading work in the Mohali circle.

Hundreds of workers of the board today collected outside the Mohali circle office in industrial area here and raised slogans against the Superintending Engineer.

The employees also burnt an effigy of the Superintending Engineer, Mohali, Mr S.C. Aggarwal.

The board had decided to give bill payment and meter reading on contract. The contractor was to begin work on September 1, 2004. The board would pay Rs 10 per connection per month to a private contractor for the two jobs.

Protesting against this move, members of the employees union had in a memorandum given to the Board Chairman, Mr Y. S. Ratra, pointed out that the board would lose over Rs 85000 per month under this new arrangement.

The board had gone ahead with the move despite widespread protest and the contractor had started his work in the villages that fell within the Mohali circle.



Councillor alleges misuse of parking area
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 19
A local municipal councillor has alleged that the parking area in the Phase X market was being misused by an eating joint in the area leading to inconvenience.

Mr Manjit Singh Sethi said two rehris selling soup were parked in the area and chairs were also kept around the rehris for people to sit which caused lot of inconvenience to people who had to park their vehicles near the market place. He said complaints made to the council failed to yield the desired results.



Rs 30 lakh collected for tsunami-hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The UT Red Cross Society has collected more than Rs 30 lakh from various agencies for the help of the tsunami affected areas.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, informed that the village panchayats of UT Chandigarh have contributed Rs 3.17 lakh, out of which Rs 2 lakh has been donated by the Village Panchayat, Maloya.

The Property Consultant Association of Chandigarh has contributed to the tune of Rs 2.16 lakh and the LPG Distributors donated Rs 1 lakh and the Gujjar Samaj Kalyan Parishad has also donated a sum of Rs 51,000 for the relief.

The Deputy Commissioner said the donations collected would be forwarded to the Prime Minister’s office by the end of this month through the Governor of Punjab-cum-Administrator, UT Chandigarh.

He expressed his gratitude to the donors and appealed that all should come forward for this noble cause.

Meanwhile, expressing their solidarity with the tsunami victims, the Chamber of Chandigarh Industry today presented a cheque for Rs 4 lakh to the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) as contribution towards the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund. 



Welfare committee gives Rs 33,500 for tsunami victims
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 19
Members of the Welfare Action Committee, Phase VI, here, have collected and sent Rs 33,500 as the first installment to the Prime Ministers Relief Fund for the tsunami victims. According to a statement issued by Mr R.C. Jhingan, secretary of the committee, the next installment would be sent after a door-to-door collection from the residents.



Accident victim succumbs to injuries
Our Correspondent

Lalru, January 19
After struggling for life for over a week, Sanjeev Kumar, a resident of Jatwar village in Ambala, who was seriously injured in an accident here on January 12, succumbed to injuries at the PGI, Chandigarh, late last night.

According to the police, Sanjeev Kumar (30) had sustained injuries after he was pressed between a wall and a tractor-trailer. An employee of the Pragati Paper Mill, Sanjeev Kumar was sandwitched when Birj Pal, driver of the tractor-trailer, was reversing the vehicle. Seriously injured, Sanjeev was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Ambala, and was later referred to the PGI.

The body was handed over to the family members this afternoon after a postmortem examination at the Civil Hospital, Rajpura.



Photos of two released in illegal exchange case
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 19
The Mohali police today released the photographs of two of the five accused in the illegal exchange case. The SP, Mohali, Mr Rakesh Agarwal, said Jagbir Singh was the mastermind behind establishing and running the illegal exchange in Mohali. He said Jagbir, a resident of Jagadhri, had been in merchant navy and had over the years, built contacts in foreign nations. “That helped him establish the exchange here with the help of his brother and other contacts,” he said.

Ravinder Chawla, a Mohali resident, was the only one arrested by the Ropar police in the illegal exchange case. The police is yet to arrest the four other accused in the case and is said to be conducting raids at various places in Haryana and Chandigarh to nab them.

The Mohali police had unearthed the illegal exchange on January 13. The functioning of the exchange had reportedly caused a loss of at least Rs 50 lakh to the Department of Telecommunications, other than being a possible national security threat. The exchange was running from a rented cabin above the Bank of Punjab showroom in Phase VII market.

The investigations into the case were transferred to the CIA staff, Ropar. The SSP Ropar, Mr S.P. Singh, had said that a gang of at least five persons was involved in running the exchange. Other than Ravinder, two brothers from Haryana, Jagbir Singh and Jasbir Singh, Gurparamjit Singh from Sector 35, Chandigarh and Sukhminder Singh from Ludhiana were allegedly involved in running the exchange. 



FIR registered 22 days after accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The Mohali police had registered FIR in an accident case 22 days after the mishap took place. The police yesterday booked a case under Sections 279/337 of the IPC against an unknown driver of a car that had caused an accident in Mohali on December 29, 2004.

Sukhvinder Singh, a resident of Phase X here, was injured when he was allegedly hit by an unknown person driving a Maruti car. Sukhvinder told the police that he was going on foot near the Punjab School Education Board on December 29 at about 11.30pm when he was hit by a speeding Maruti car. The driver sped away following the accident. The police registered a case in the matter yesterday.

Driver hurt

A three-wheeler driver Vinod Kumar was injured when his auto was hit by an Indica car at Phase VIII near the Punjab School Education Board. The three-wheeler was completely smashed in the accident.


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