C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PEC student drowned in Manikaran
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, January 21
A pall of gloom descended on the Gulmohar Avenue colony in Dhakauli village after the news of the death of Sonia Deva, a budding engineer, reached here this afternoon.

A student of third year of aeronautical engineering at Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, 21-year-old Sonia Deva was drowned in Parvati river this morning. The young student could not have imagined that her desire to get photographed by the riverside would prove as an invitation to death.

Sonia, along with a group of her friends from PEC, had gone for an outing to Manikaran near Kulu. The girl is said to have paid obeisance at the Manikaran gurdwara right before she slipped into the Parvati.

Fierce as the current of the river was, Sonia’s body could not be recovered. Personnel of the Home Guards and the Himachal Police were labouring to find the girl’s body till the filing of this report. Unconfirmed reports also said that Sonia Deva had gone close to the river to wash her hands, when a current washed her away.

The students had gone to Manikaran on their own. Kulu DSP confirmed this saying, “The students had arrived at Manikaran last night through a private bus operator. They were not accompanied by any professor from their institute.”

According to information the recovery team was facing immense difficulty in fishing out the girl’s body on account of intense cold.

The scene at her Zirakpur residence was grim. Her mother, Rekha Deva, a widow, was yet to realise what had befallen her. Following the confirmation of Sonia’s death, she was taken to Sector 31 by some relatives. They told The Chandigarh Tribune tonight, “We have not yet disclosed anything to Sonia’s mother. We just brought her here on the pretext that Sonia had asked us to do so. We will break the news gradually.”

Neeta, Sonia’s neighbour and friend, was shocked to hear the news. She recalled with pain, “We were together on Lohri. Sonia was very upbeat that night. She was telling me that she would take tuitions so that she had enough money for her fuel and sundry expenses.”

Fate had earlier dealt a severe blow to the family when Sonia’s father R.R. Deva died after an attack of jaundice last year. Following his death, Sonia’s elder brother Sachin went into depression before leaving for Bangalore, where he is now pursuing an MBA degree.

Some family members have already left for Manikaran. Neighbours of Sonia Deva informed Chandigarh Tribune that her maternal uncle and a few other close relatives were on their way to Kulu.



No respite from cold wave
Maximum temperature dips to 15.2ºC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
There was breath of ice in the air today. And even before it was officially known, one knew it had snowed in Shimla. The temperatures in city continued to plummet due to the persisting cold wave in the region. Amritsar was hugely affected yesterday with minimum temperature dipping to as low as 2.8°C.

Officially speaking; Chandigarh was today warmer than yesterday. Met officials said the minimum temperature increased from 7.0 to 7.4 degrees today. However, the maximum temperature dipped from 19 to 15.2 degrees. The cold conditions are expected to prevail for the next 24 hours. Traces of rainfall today further added to the chill, which affected the poor most.

Giving details about weather conditions, local Met officials said light and moderate rain showers could be expected at some places in Himachal Pradesh. Haryana and Punjab, they said, would also see light and moderate rainfall, which will cause a further dip in the temperature. The Met office has also warned isolated pockets in Himachal Pradesh of heavy snow and rain.

In Chandigarh, yesterday and today have not been listed among the coldest days this season. The coldest day of the month was January 10, with a minimum temperature of 3.6 degrees.

In other parts of the region also, the day remained cold, with the minimum temperature ranging between 6.4 and 7.9 degrees. Ludhiana recorded a minimum of 7.9 degrees, while Patiala recorded a low of 6.3 degrees. Karnal was also in the grip of a cold wave with its 6.4 degrees of minimum temperature. Hisar was relatively warmer at 10.3 degrees.



Mining contractors in Ghaggar violate rules
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Jhalla (along the Ghaggar river), January 21
Throwing safety norms to the winds, mining contractors in the Ghaggar are digging the river bed as deep as 15 to 20 feet for stones required by the mammoth-stone crushing and construction industry.

The excessive and deep digging of the river bed by the miners here has been done in violation of the rules specified by the Department of Mines and Geology. The rules say that the river bed material (RBM) can be extracted only by digging trenches, and these have to be dug in steps to avoid caving in of the material.

A visit by a Chandigarh Tribune team along the Ghaggar, where the Department of Mines has allowed for mining of the RBM, revealed that all along the Burj-Kotian-Mandana road, the miners have been cutting straight on the river bed. At no place have the miners — mainly migrant labourers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and from adjacent villages — been digging in steps. There are hardly any places where trenches have been dug, instead huge tracts of the river bed are being dug for stones and gravel.

The unchecked deep mining of the river bed at most places has also spoilt the topography of the river bed, and leads to massive silt erosion when the seasonal river flows down during the summer months.

It is because of these violations in mining that a quarry had caved in here last evening, causing the death of a labourer. Another labourer, employed at the quarry that caved in, was seriously injured. However, it was business as usual in all quarries here today.

Lochan, a labourer, said the labour was paid according to the number of truck/trolley loads that they filled in a day . “We are paid Rs 180 for digging stones for one truckload, and Rs 110 per trolley load. Those who lift stone and gravel and fill the truck are paid Rs 140 for it. We are more inclined to do as much digging as possible rather than wasting time in digging in steps. We are able to fill as many as four truckloads a day. If we were to follow the step digging procedure, our output would be reduced by 60 per cent,” he says.

Most of the quarries have also employed children as young as seven years for the mining work. Labourers say that the children are employed only for lifting of stones and gravel and not for digging work. These children sit huddled near the edge of the quarry and sift through the gravel. In any eventuality of a cave-in, they could be the worst-affected. Kavita, 8, who was working at the mine, said she came to work at 7 in the morning and worked through the day till 7 in the evening.

Also, at several places, the miners have been illegally mining the RBM from near the bridges at culverts. Just under the bridge across the Ghaggar, near the Burj Kotian Crusher zone, the RBM is being dug unscrupulously. The rules say that mining of the RBM at should not be done at upstream distance of less than 250 metres and downstream distance of less than 125 metres from a small bridge, and at 1 km upstream distance and half-a-kilometre downstream distance from a big bridge.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neelam P. Kasni, said she had directed the District Mining Inspector, Mr M. R. Bhargav, to survey all quarries to check for excessive digging of river bed. “I have asked the local mining authorities to submit a report at the earliest,” she said.



500 houses being built for IAF men
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
Over 500 houses for Air Force personnel are to be constructed in Chandigarh, which will help in greatly offsetting the shortage of accommodation for married personnel. Chandigarh is among the 14 Air Force stations where dwelling units are being constructed on a large-scale under the Married Accommodation Projects (MAP).

It is after several decades that a large-scale construction of dwelling units is being taken up at Chandigarh. Construction of the houses presently accommodating IAF personnel was initiated in 1972.

The actual construction work is expected to begin in May. The project reports have been forwarded to the UT Administration. While the UT Engineering Department has already accorded sanction to the infrastructural works such as roads, streetlights, water supply and sewerage, sanction by the UT Finance Secretary is awaited. “A meeting concerning the project’s sanction and execution was held between the Finance Secretary and Air Force officers a few days ago. The final meeting is scheduled to be held later this month, an officer said.

Chandigarh has two major IAF establishments, No.12 Wing and No.3 Base repair Depot. The combined personnel strength of these establishments is several thousand. Twenty houses for officers in the bracket of squadron leader — air commodore and 283 houses for NCOs and airmen are to be built for 12 Wing. For 3 BRD personnel, 55 houses for warrant officers and 144 houses for airmen are being built.

The estimated cost of the project is about Rs 35 crore. The houses will come up in Sectors 31 and 47, where the IAF has 60 acres. The construction work is stipulated to take 18 months.

“The additional accommodation will do away with the waiting period,” an officer said. “Presently, the waiting period for married accommodation in Chandigarh is six months for officers, 12 months for warrant officers and up to 30 months for airmen,” he added.

The project envisioning the construction of 2 lakh married accommodation units all over the country. Under phase-I of the project, 79 military stations, including 14 Air Force stations, are to be covered at a cost of about Rs 4,000 crore. The largest Air Force project in this phase is at Ambala, where over 1,000 units are to be constructed. Work in some of the stations has already started, while those in remaining stations will begin this year.



TV channels in soup for over-exposing tsunami-hit Andamans
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The electronic media, especially certain national and regional channels, is expected to be in trouble for the “sweeping exposure” of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the outside world during the tsunami tragedy.

Informed sources in the islands told The Tribune on the phone yesterday that the

“action” to be taken against electronic channels, which resorted to “reckless coverage” of the islands’ sensitive areas, is being processed by the top brass of the administration of the islands.

One has to seek permission from the administration for the photography or video recording of some areas in the islands. But, official sources said, no permission was taken or sought from the administration by most of the channels. For security and strategic reasons, these islands have never been earlier exposed to the outside world.Certain areas in the islands are out of bound for foreigners and international agencies.The shooting of films is not allowed in most of the islands important from the security angle. India has a big naval base in that area.

Sources said that complaints have been made to the Union Government by certain NGOs seeking action against electronic channels for showing the video footage of certain endangered tribes.” It should not have been done”, said a senior officer. When the administration and police authorities were busy in removing the tsunami-struck populace to safer areas, video channels had a free”risks” involved in over-exposing these strategic islands to the world.

Certain air bases were liberally videographed and shown on TV channels, say sources. “It was highly objectionable from the national security point of view”, said the officer. Sources said that the administration of the islands would recommend the action to the Union Governments. “It was up to the Union Government whether to take legal action or to use some other measures in this regard”, said the official.

The administration is also devising a system to check such violations in the future.” We are very much concerned about what happened as far as media coverage of sensitive areas during the post-tsunami period is concerned and would like that in future the media should be given access only to the areas not important from the strategic point of view”, the official added.

Though it has not been officially confirmed, it appears that the Army’s top brass might have taken up this issue with the authorities concerned at the Centre.

In fact, electronic media not only created trouble for the administration by photographing sensitive areas and beaming the same from the skies but also created panic among mainlanders about the safety of their relations serving or settled in the islands.

The administration was flooded with telephone calls and queries through other modes from the mainland regarding the safety of those living in the islands.

“In fact the media has been focusing on devastated areas and it never showed the areas which were not hit by tsunami to the mainlanders. An impression was created as if all populated islands had been hit by tsunami when actually it was not the case. But the media did not tell the same to the mainlanders. If the media had shown the areas not hit by tsunami to the mainlanders, it would have helped the administration in a big way,” said the official.

Without any verification and checking with the official authorities, certain mediapersons flashed reports regarding the wiping out of some endangered tribes, which were later proved wrong.



Manual must to guide flow of funds during calamity, says expert
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
More often than not, developing countries are ill prepared to handle the flow of aid in times of disaster. The funds are there, so is the will to help, but there is no way to ensure that the accounting of aid goes on while it is being distributed to the affected areas.

In the given situation, the preparation of operation manuals for disaster management is a must, says Dr Sky Chadha, an expert in international aid management who has led projects across 67 countries.

In Chandigarh today, he spoke to The Tribune about the significance of operative manuals that can guide professionals in times of calamities like tsunami.

“Disaster Management Centres of all developing countries, including India, must work out a modus operandi for calamitous situations much in advance. In Bangladesh, we were the first ones to distribute aid to the cyclone-affected areas in 1991. And because we knew how to delegate responsibilities, we managed not to falter,” said the expert, currently international development advisor to the World Bank, UNDP, Unicef, USAID and Asian Development Bank.

Advocating the urgency of operation manuals on disaster management for developing countries, Dr Chadha said such manuals must list responsibilities of people, and very succinctly at that. “When a tsunami or a cyclone hits an area, there is no time to decide who will do what. The operation manual should detail all this so that no time is lost when a tragedy befalls a region.

Also the involvement of private sector in disaster management is a must,” says the expert who has been involved in several analysis studies on the flow of international aid, especially foreign aid for HIV/AIDS victims in Bangladesh.

Confirming that international donors were most concerned about the manner in which their funds had been used, Dr Chadha said it was sensible to identify NGOs that can receive foreign aid in times of calamity.

“I have worked in many countries and have supervised various aid projects. I have seen that donors are most comfortable sending money to internationally recognized NGOs. That spares them the embarrassment of non-utilisation of their funds as well as of apprehension in this regard,” said Dr Chadha, who happens to be the only Scandinavian with a doctorate in International Project Management.

He has also authored various development related books for Scandinavian donor countries, Unicef and Swiss Development Cooperation. Among his most acclaimed books is “Managing projects in Bangladesh.”

An Indian who went on to obtain a rare doctorate in international project management from Sweden, the expert has returned home after 25 years to establish a Regional Institute of Project Management. He is still working out modalities with the Indian government.

Highlighting the role of project management, he said the discipline was coming of age. “But we hardly have institutes imparting knowledge in this discipline. At my regional institute, I will make an attempt. The idea is to show some future to vibrant project managers of India.”



NGO to aid of immigrants
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
There is good news for all those aspiring to go to Britain through the legal route. A British NGO, Immigration Advisory Service (IAS), that provides legal advice to immigrants would setup an office in the city by summer this year.

Besides providing information on immigration laws and rules of Britain, the organisation would also spread awareness on illegal human trafficking.

A former Tory MP and Chief Executive of IAS (a national charity), Mr Keith Best, told The Tribune the NGO was set up in the United Kingdom in 1970 with the objective of helping hundreds of people who were refused entry into the UK. It provides free legal advice asylum seekers in their home country.

“There was a major change in UK immigration laws last year and the government proposes to keep on modifying the laws based on its perception of the kind of people it would like to induct into the country, thereby creating a need for people who are well informed and up to date with laws pertaining to immigration”, Mr Best said.

Having received an overwhelming response from the first IAS overseas centre set up in Bangladesh in 2000, the IAS has finalised the setting up of its first centre in India here. “The Jalandhar Visa office set up by the UK High Commission receives about 27,000 applications annually. Out of which nearly 20 per cent are turned down.

Advice to people on a no profit basis would help them save thousands of rupees in visa application fee, besides making procuring visas hassle free for eligible candidates”, he said. After Chandigarh, the IAS proposes to set up centres at Jalandhar before going to Lahore, Mirpur and Islamabad in Pakistan.

The decision to set up a centre depends on immigration applications and their refusal rate.

Mr Best said that since the IAS, a registered charity receives grants from the British government; as per the UK law this money cannot be spent on operations outside the UK. Therefore, the IAS will have to find ways to sustain itself, but will not change its character of being a ‘non-profit’ body.

He said that nearly half a million people arrive in Britain from across the world, this includes three lakh students, 30,000 spouses, 20,000 asylum seekers, an equal number with work permits and 1.85 lakh for permanent settlement. Most of these are from the Indian subcontinent.



Passing Thru

Nigar Khan
Nigar Khan

You spent your early days in Norway and Australia? What brought you to India?

I came here for the love of acting. The Indian film industry always attracted me. I was lucky to find a place in the music video “Chadti jawani…” which instantly became a huge hit. I had not expected so much of popularity in an alien land.

What do you have to say about the element of exposure in music videos?

It’s the way you perceive things. Exposure, to my mind, is essential to enhance sales. In a market-driven economy where the best product sells, it is one of those necessities. It’s dished out because it’s in demand. I don’t mind exposing because people like it that way.

How does it feel being labelled an item girl? Are you doing any films?

It feels very trendy. I have done item songs in “Rudraksha” and “Shaadi ka Ladoo”. As for films, besides “Short Cut” which I am here to shoot, I am doing two with my beau Sahil Khan and another one titled “Hello Kaun Hai” opposite Kabir Bedi’s son Adam Bedi.

What do you like the most about India?

I love the Hindi language which I can speak fairly well now. Also I love the food and costumes. I have fallen for Chandigarh. Its cold reminds me of Australia.

— Aditi Tandon



Reinforced security at Burail jail
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
It was on this night last year when Jagtar Singh Hawara, the alleged assassin of Beant Singh, and three of his accomplices escaped to freedom using a tunnel that they had dug. They would probably have been in jail for a longer period had it not been the rain that compelled them to flee earlier as they feared that the tunnel could collapse due to a heavy downpour. The weather was akin to today’s, but for the heavy rain at that time as compared to a drizzle today.

But for this daring escape, it is unlikely that there would have been a change of attitude regarding the security arrangements and human intelligence within the jail. “Now Burail jail has become like a fort with reinforced security after the sensational escape.”

A number of measures were taken post-jailbreak, the important ones being enforcing discipline, developing internal human intelligence and weeding out corruption at the lower level.

The IG-Prison, Mr Amitabh Dhillon, said the focus had been on following the jail manual apart from the recommendations made by the R. S. Gupta Commission. Immediate steps had been taken. However, those regarding engineering support were still pending, Mr Dhillon said.

The list of visitors is computerised to detect unusual number of visits by the people known to the inmates. One of the accused in the jailbreak case Narayan Singh Chura, had met Hawara a couple of times ahead of the jailbreak. The perimeter wall has been further secured. The temple and the gurdwara within the jail have been brought together and the tree inside the gurdwara has been trimmed. Emergency lights have been provided to all watch towers. The project of patrolling by a jeep along the perimeter has yet to be started. However, foot patrolling has been started. The jail has acquired sniffer dogs which will be sent for training. Dual electricity system has been introduced. The jail staff has been given self-loading riffles and pistols. Training of jail staff in martial arts will start soon.

The jail authorities intended to install jammers in the Burail jail immediately but the Union Home Ministry rejected their plea. However, the authorities will again approach the ministry in the wake of the Supreme Court order regarding installing jammers in the jails.

The jail authorities have removed ad hoc employees who were corruptible. Ex-servicemen have been employed so that they could not be brow beaten by the inmates as had happened before the jail break incident.

The sources said to encourage prisoners to share information with the jail authorities, a massive exercise had been undertaken to improve the relationship between the inmates and the prison authorities. A kaidi (prisoner) panchayat has been started which supervises the quality and quantity of food. This relationship has improved the flow of information to the jail authorities leading to several seizures of narcotics being transported inside the jail.



SSP told to probe victimisation of Palsora family
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the local SSP to probe the alleged victimisation of a Palsora family by the enforcement staff of the Chandigarh Administration.

The commission asked the SSP to look into the allegations contained in the complaint of Mr Puran Chand Saini and submit his comments within four weeks.

On behalf of Mr Saini, Mr Arvind Thakur, a human rights activist, had alleged that on October 24 last year, a team of the enforcement staff had visited his house on the pretext of sealing it.

This was despite the fact that a case regarding the house was pending in the court and October 25, 2004, was the date of hearing.

It was alleged that besides taking away Rs 30,000 in cash and jewellery worth Rs 1 lakh, the team threw household items out of the house.

When Mr Saini’s family tried to intervene, they were threatened by the staff with dire consequences.

Terming the incident as grave violation of human rights, the complainant alleged that no FIR was registered in the case by the Sector 39 police station.



Motor cycle stunts to feature at R-Day function
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The Republic Day celebrations this year are going to be a new experience for residents of city. The dare-devil motor cycle riders of the Chandigarh police will present stunts on motor cycles. Some adventurous children will also present horse jumping through a maze of obstacles.

The horse-riders of the Chandigarh police will carry out tent-pegging. These items have been introduced for the first time.

Deputy Commissioner Arun Kumar informed that brass band and pipe-band of the Chandigarh police will entertain the spectators by displaying their skills. The changes in the format have been brought about to inculcate a spirit of adventure among the children and citizens and also to make the programme more vibrant, he added.



Laying of underground cables by Connect annoys residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The digging of earth for laying telecom cables by the Connect Telecom company is giving sleepless nights to the residents of Sector 38 West, who allege that Connect has been digging and erecting poles in Pocket A of the sector without taking the adequate permission of the authorities.

The residents allege that the telecom company has erected poles whereas all the wires of telephones, electricity and street lights are underground.

The Residents Welfare Bodies have also appealed to the residents not to allow any unauthorised person to dig or erect poles in front of their houses, which is distorting the beauty of the sector.

The representatives say that a complaint has been forwarded to the administration and the police against the alleged illegal digging.

Interestingly Connect had earlier sought permission for digging for laying telecom cables from the Municipal Corporation (MC).

But they were clearly told by the MC officials in July last year that the roads in Sector 38 West do not fall under the jurisdiction of the MC. But this apparently did not deter the company, which went ahead with the digging, much to the annoyance of the residents.

Connect in fact had in December, 2004, had again written to the Chandigarh Administration, (under whose jurisdiction the roads in the sector fall) seeking permission for laying underground cables. The permission is still awaited from the administration, say the residents.



Reinstate credit card, bank told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chandigarh, has directed the Standard Chartered Bank to re-instate the credit card of Manu Monga, a Panchkula resident, within 15 days. The card had been discontinued following alleged non-payment of dues by Mr Monga.

In his complaint to the Consumer Forum, Mr Monga stated that since he had not received the credit card statements for some months of 2001, he could not clear his dues. Soon after he learnt about it, he settled the account to the satisfaction of the bank.

Despite his repeated reminders the card was not revived. He was later informed that some more amount was due to him.

Not only this, Mr Monga allegedly received some threatening calls concerning the matter. This forced him to move the consumer forum.

Holding that since the complainant had settled the outstanding dues, the forum stated that it was obligatory on the bank to reinstate the credit card within 15 days. The Forum awarded a sum of Rs 2500 as compensation to Mr Monga and imposed the litigation cost of Rs 550 on the bank.



Congress flays anti-encroachment drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The local unit of the Congress today criticised today criticised the anti-encroachment drive launched by the officials of the Municipal Corporation and the UT Administration in the Sector-26 Grain Market. Party leaders today announced that they would protest in case the corporation did not withdraw the orders.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Subhash Chawla, a former Mayor, said certain senior officials who favoured the BJP were initiating such action to malign the Congress-led corporation. He said, “The party was not in favour of encroachment however political parties and the market association of concerned markets should be taken into confidence before any decision”.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, president of the rural unit of the party, said the rehri owners should not be troubled with out prior information. Mr Devinder Babla, a party workers, said such a move was against the basic principles of democracy.

Mr Chawla said the storage bye-laws in the grain markets needed to be re-looked taking into account the increased population in the city and the corresponding increase in demand.

The BJP in a separate press release has criticised the Congress-led Municipal Corporation for harassing the traders of the city under the pretext of removing enroachments.



MC impounds truck
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The Municipal Corporation today impounded a truck (HR-01-GA 0503) which was disposing of Malba at an unauthorised place in the city. A press note said the truck was caught throwing the garbage on the berms dividing Sectors 15 and 16.

The coporation has warned the citizens that strict action would be taken against the defaulters who dispose of malba at unauthorised places. They have been asked to engage carriers which throw malba at the right locations.

The public has been asked to contact the MC authorities at 93160-74154 for lifting malba at a rate of Rs 2 per sq ft.



Chain fast of govt, MC staff enters 40th day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 21
The chain fast of the Co-ordination Committee of the government and MC employees and workers today entered its 40th day, a press release said here.

Gate meetings were organised in different offices.

The demands include: regularisation of daily wage workers, removal of 5 per cent ceiling on appointments on compassionate grounds; and framing of recruitment and pension rules for employees of the housing board.



Convicts clash in judicial lock-up
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 21
Six persons, who were sentenced to six years’ rigorous imprisonment in a case of dacoity, today clashed with each other in a fit of rage in the bakshikhana, and injured an accused.

The police said that Lakhwinder, alias Lucky, Sukhwinder, alias Kala, Babu Ram, Lokesh, Ajay and Rakesh, alias Chuha, started hitting each other and other accused in the judicial lock-up after the punishment was pronounced. In the process, Yograj, an accused in a theft case, was injured.

The police intervened and rushed Yograj to General Hospital, where he had epilepsy fits. After being kept under observation for some time, he was sent to judicial remand.

Earlier, Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr L N Jindal pronounced seven years imprisonment to Lakhwinder, Sukhwinder, Babu Ram, Lokesh, Ajay and Rakesh, guilty of a robbery near Pashupati temple in the Mansa Devi Complex. The convicted had committed the robbery in the wee hours on March 10, 2002.



Sohana to have sewerage treatment plant
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 21
Mrs Lakhvinder Kaur Garcha, the OSD to the Chief Minister, today announced that Sohana village would soon have a sewerage treatment plant in place.

Mrs Garcha was addressing villagers during a public gathering here today. According to a press note issued by Mrs Garcha, she distributed cheques worth Rs 50,000 each to the sarpanches of Sukhgarh and Sambhalki villages. The block committee officer, Buta Singh Sohana, informed Mrs Garcha about the problems being faced by the villagers and requested her to improve the living condition of the people living in these villages.

Many other representatives of the villages also spoke on the occasion.



Bag containing clothes found
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 21
Mr S.K. Chopra, a resident of Sector 47-D, found a bag containing two pants, two shirts, one yellow sweater and a packet of biscuits near Sector 19-20-27 roundabout today.

He then came to the Tribune office and deposited the bag there.

The rightful owner can claim the bag from the Industrial Area police station.



Gang of bookies busted, 2 arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 21
The Chandigarh police today busted a Ram Darbar-based gang of bookies which was active in the city. The police has arrested two persons and recovered five mobile phones from their possession.

Police sources said Ratan and Trilok Chand of Phase II, Ram Darbar, were soliciting the betting over a one-day match being played between West Indies and Australia in Brisbane (Australia). The police placed a bet over the phone through a decoy customer after confirming the presence of bookies at that place. Subsequently, a police party raided the premises of the bookies and arrested them.

About their modus operandi, police sources said they worked on mobile phones on which they received betting transactions. The police has also recovered a master mobile phone from them, which was used for receiving the latest international rates announced by their “master operators” from an unknown place.

The police also seized a TV used by the bookies to keep themselves update with the latest trends of the match with live telecast. After receiving the bets from customers, they confirmed the prevailing rates from their master bookies. If the staked results turned out correct they paid double the amount staked, otherwise they forfeited the amount staked. The whole business was being run on mutual faith, said the police.



3 juvenile delinquents arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 21
Three juvenile delinquents who have been stealing dry fruit and other eatables from shops besides cash were arrested today by the local police at Mauli Jagran.

With their arrest, the police claims to have solved two cases of theft in shops of Mauli Jagran on January 14 and 17. The SHO of the Mani Majra police station, Mr Dhan Raj Sharma, said all three miscreants were residents of the same locality and had taken to crime recently. They used to break the shutter of a shop using an iron rod and would usually steal dry fruit and other edible items besides cash.

The police working on a tip-off arrested the three from Mauli Jagran. It has recovered almonds, cashew nuts, bottles of edible oils and some cash from them. A case under Sections 380 and 447 of the IPC has been registered against them at the Mani Majra police station. They were later produced in a juvenile court, said the SHO.

Two cars stolen

Mr Hari Kishan Chand of Sector 56 here has reported to the police that his Maruti car (CH-01-T-8157) was stolen from the Sector 35 market on January 17. A case of theft under Section 379, IPC, has been registered at the Sector 36 police station.

In a similar incident, the Maruti Zen car (HR-61-AD-(T)-8788) of Mr Ashwani Singla of Sector 35 was stolen from his house on January 19. A case of theft has been registered .


The local police has arrested three persons charged with assaulting and threatening a resident of Ram Darbar here.

The police said Mr Ranjit Singh of Phase II, Ram Darbar, filed a complaint alleging that Surinder Kumar, alias Rinku, Bir Singh, alias doctor, and Pardeep Kumar, all residents of Phase II, Ram Darbar, had assaulted and threatened him when he was coming from a temple in the same locality. He was allegedly beaten up by the trio with batons before some people intervened and saved him. The assailants fled from the spot, but were later arrested, said the SHO of the Sector 31 police station. A case under Sections 341, 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 31 police station.


Ms Manjit Sharma of Sector 7, Panchkula, has reported to the police that her purse containing one mobile phone, one credit card of ICICI Bank, jewellery worth Rs 40,000, one gold membership card and Rs 600 was stolen from Metro Shoes, NAC, Mani Majra, yesterday. A case under Section 3 80 of the IPC has been registered in the Mani Majra police station.



Body of new-born girl found
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 21
The Kalka police today recovered the body of a new-born girl from near the railway station. The police says that the baby was a few hours old and the body was found wrapped in a piece of cloth at a secluded place near the railway bridge. It has initiated inquest proceedings and started investigation.



One held for smuggling liquor
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 21
The Mohali police today arrested one person on charges of smuggling liquor.

The accused Babblu Yadav, a resident of Bihar was arrested from Phase 10 here with 7500ml of country liquor from his possession. A case under various sections of the Excise Act has been registered.


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