C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Four of family asphyxiated in house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
A 32-year-old industrial worker, his two daughters and a son died due to asphyxiation in a room of their house in Hallo Majra village here today.

The lone survivor of the family, the wife of the worker, Sheela (30), is fighting for life at the GMCH, Sector 32.

The entire family, barring Sheela, was wiped out in the incident. The family had lit the fire in a bucket to heat the room last night.

The family, which was sleeping in the room, was asphyxiated as windows of the room were apparently shut to protect them from cold.

Rajesh Kumar (32), his daughters Rinku (10) and Jyoti (8), and his son Suraj (4) were found dead in their house near the dispensary of the village when neighbours gathered outside the house after the family did not open the door till this evening.

The bodies have been kept in the mortuary of the General Hospital as there is no one in the family to cremate the bodies.

Sunaina, a neighbour, said when she returned from her office, she went to meet Sheela, but no one responded from the house. She kept knocking at the door for some time.

Meanwhile, neighbours gathered outside the house and started knocking at the door frantically.

After a wait of over 10 minutes, the door was opened by Sheela, but she fell unconscious as soon as she came out. The survival of the woman and her staying unconscious till evening has surprised many.

The neighbours tried to bring her back to consciousness but she did not respond.

A few of them then found the woman’s husband and her children lying unconscious inside the house. They checked on them and tried to revive them but they did not respond.

The police was informed and it immediately reached the spot. The police then called in a newly inducted trauma vehicle to take the woman to the hospital.

The woman is said to be stable.

The landlord of Rajesh Kumar, Inderjeet Singh, said the family members were quiet liked by neighbours due to their helpful nature.

Rajesh Kumar and his family had shifted to this house just a month ago and they were earlier living with Darshan Lal in the same locality.

The family is stated to be from Bihar. Rajesh Kumar was working with a factory on plot No. 69 in Industrial Area, Phase II.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Arun Kumar has announced free treatment to the woman along with a suitable compensation to her.



Ban on liquor flouted with impunity
Ruchika M. Khanna and Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune Reporters

Liquor being sold from a partly-opened vend in the Industrial Area, Panchkula, on Wednesday.
Liquor being sold from a partly-opened vend in the Industrial Area, Panchkula, on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan.

Panchkula, February 2
A few hours before the electorate of the Kalka Assembly constituency got down to appoint the new ‘King’, the political opponents in the fray were out to woo them. And not just by promising them ‘Bijli, Paani and Sadak’.

As the winter evening fades into night, the tipplers began having a field day. The fact that district administration had ordered the closure of all liquor vends falling in Kalka constituency was not a deterrent for them.

A visit by the Chandigarh Tribune team to different slum and labour colonies in Panchkula revealed how the men were waiting for liquor since 7.30 in the evening.

“I came back from work early, and am waiting for the political parties to come and distribute the liquor pouches. Almost all parties have been coming here for the past three days, and giving liquor,” said Setu Ram, a resident of Rajiv Colony.

He said that ban on the sale of liquor by the administration was ineffective, as most parties had stocked liquor for distribution almost three to four days ago.

By the time, it was 8 pm, some Tata Sumo vehicles quietly reached this slum colony, and vanished in the narrow bylanes where offices of the three main political parties were located.

These vehicles were bearing stickers of various political parties, and after around 15 minutes, the Sumos quitely left the venue.

The heavy stream of rush to the office of this national political party , and the meat and pork shops, and rehris serving boiled eggs, left nothing to imagination.

Ms Asha Rani, a resident here, lamented, “Now, there will be quarrels and fights in all houses. They will come back late in the night and create nuisance.”

Similar was the story in Azad Colony near Sector 21, village Budanpur and Indra Colony. Tipplers could be seen standing around the meat and egg rehri shops. The police deployment was almost negligible, and hardly any cops could be seen checking the distribution of liquor.

Though most of the liquor vends in the township remained closed, at several places along the Panchkula- Kalka highway and Industrial Area, an employee of a vend could be seen sitting outside.

Just when a customer came in, the shutter would open slightly, and liquor would be sold off. However, it was vends in the neighbouring districts that were playing the spoil- sport. Though the liquor vends on Panchkula-Zirakpur border remained closed. The small ‘window’ on the shutter had been left open to sell off the liquor.



Punjab, Haryana told to remove disparity in reservations
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The National Commission of Scheduled Castes has asked the states of Punjab and Haryana to do away with the disparity between various scheduled castes with regard to reservation in jobs and other benefits. The directive, if implemented, may have far-reaching consequences.

The commission has cited a judgement of the Supreme Court for seeking this change. Officials in the states are presently studying the court judgement quoted by the commission for doing away of this “ reservation within reservation.”

Certain castes in the list of notified Scheduled Castes get special preference for job reservation while others do not get the same preference. In Haryana the Scheduled Castes have been put in two categories. Those in block B are Chamars, Jatia Chamars, Rahgars, Raigars, Ramdasias or Ravidasias. The remaining 36 castes are in block A. Both the blocks are offered 50 per cent reservations.

Similarly, in Punjab 50 per cent of all vacancies in government jobs have been reserved for Balmikis and Mazabhi Sikhs, if available, as first preference among SC candidates.

The communiqué from the commission has come after the Supreme Court in a judgement on November 6 last year said that any legislation that takes away the benefit of reservation from one group of SCs must be held unconstitutional.

The apex court has said: “ It is not in dispute that the state can lay down a legislative policy as regards to extent of reservation to be made for different members of the backward classes including Scheduled Castes. But it cannot take away the said benefit on the premise that one or the other group amongst the members of the Scheduled Castes has advanced and, thus, is not entitled to the entire benefit for reservation.”

Quoting this the director of the state office of the commission based in Chandigarh, Mr Tanzin Wangyal, says the anomaly has to be corrected in light of the court order and has shot of letters to the Chief Secretaries of both the states asking for a correction.

An official explained that this classification had been done as it was felt that a “creamy layer” had emerged amongst the SCs which was cornering benefits. The “reservation within reservation” has aimed at removing the disparity as certain SCs have no representation in the government sector

As per the latest census report, Haryana has a 40.91 lakh SC population, which is 19.30 per cent of its total, while Punjab has 70.20 lakh SCs and they form 28.90 per cent of the state population.



Pattabhiraman takes over as GOC-in-C, Western Command
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Lieutenant General S. Pattabhiraman formally assumed charge as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Command in Chandimandir Cantonment, near here, today.

Prior to being elevated as Army Commander, he was serving as Director-General Information Systems at Army Headquarters. He takes over from Lieut-Gen J.J. Singh who has become Chief of the Army Staff.

On his arrival at the Command Headquarters today, General Pattabhiraman paid homage to the martyrs at the Veer Smriti war memorial. Thereafter, he inspected an impressive guard of honour presented by a contingent of the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment. A large number of officers as well as other ranks based in Chandimandir attended both the ceremonies.

The Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen P.K. Grover, introduced the Army Commander to the Principal Staff Officers and Advisers at Command Headquarters. He was also briefed about various operational, training and administrative matters pertaining to the command.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, General Pattabhiraman was commissioned into 102 Engineer Regiment in December, 1966, and has held various command, staff and instructional appointments during his 38-year career. Besides commanding a brigade in the Rajouri Sector and later the 54 Infantry Division, he served as the General Officer Commanding, 11 Corps in Jalandhar.

In addition to a stint as the Military Adviser in the Indian Embassy in Turkey, he has held instructional appointments at the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun and the Army War College, Mhow. A paratrooper, General Pattabhiraman is also Colonel Commandant of the Bombay Sappers.



Zee channels go off air
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 2
The cable price war is costing dear to hundreds of cable television subscribers in Panchkula and in nearby Notified Area Committee of Mani Majra. After the cable operators here refused to agree with the Zee Network authorities for paying the increased subscription rates, the latter stopped beaming its 17 odd pay-channels to hundreds of homes here.

The cable operators say that only if subscribers agree to pay Rs 25 extra per connection could they begin beaming the Zee package. These channels have been off air for six days now. The subscribers, who have already been burdened with a hike of Rs 35 per month since January, are unwilling to take on an additional hike.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had revised the price ceiling on tariff and increased it by 7 per cent after taking into account the rate of inflation. As a result, the cable subscribers have to pay Rs 300 a month per cable connection. In case of a second connection Rs 100 will be charged.

Sources in the cable industry say that Zee Network has increased its subscription rates by over Rs 29 per connection, since January 1 this year. The Zee package, which includes Zee TV, Zee Cinema, Zee English, Zee News, Zee Business, Trendz, Reality TV, Zee Movie Zone, CNN, ETC, Cartoon Network, CNBC Hindi, besides channels in Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi and Bangla, was available to the cable operator for Rs 55 per connection till December last year. After the TRAI allowed a 7 per cent hike, the Zee package was available for Rs 58.85. In January this year Zee Network reportedly included HBO in its package (this channel was earlier a part of Sony TV) and increased the subscription rate by Rs 25 after bifurcating its package. The second package includes HBO, Pogo, CNBC Hindi, VH1 and Awaaz channels.

Cable operators state that Star TV is also likely to increase its subscription rate by Rs 18 per connection after it bifurcates its package into two and include Disney 1, Disney 2, Star One and Hungama TV. The Star package, sources add, is now available for Rs 60 per connection, and with a second package, it will go up to Rs 88 per connection.

On their part, officials at Zee Network insist that there is an under declaration of the cable subscribers by operators in Panchkula and Mani Majra. They inform that though there are over 20,000 cable connections in Panchkula, the operators have declared only about 7,000 connections. “Though they make profit from 14,000 undeclared consumers, they are indulging in arm twisting tactics with the channels to avoid paying the enhanced subscription,” the Zee Network official added.



Passing Thru

What brings you to Chandigarh?

It is my first visit to India and I came to Chandigarh to conduct workshops on teaching new techniques and trends of hair colouring to Indian hairdressers.

Have you worked with any celebrity?

It has been almost 11 years in this profession now. I have worked with various fashion designers and a lot of international celebrities, including Cate Blanchette, Jodie Kidd, Anbella Sciora, Josef Klir and Sophia Kosalaki. Currently, I am working in Andrew Jose’s Academy as a creative director.

What are your achievements?

I have solely inspired and executed all colour concepts for the spring/summer and autumn/winter collection for international academies like Andrew Jose of London and Prague and Antony Whitaker, Sydney. I was chosen as exclusive colourist for hairdressing awards by Antony Whitaker in 1998, 1999 Australia, and Andrew Jose in 2001.

What is in vogue in hair fashion?

Colours like honey, golden, spice browns, and coppers besides reds are in. Highlighting with a particular shades makes a strong fashion statement. Indians should ensure that their hair colour should match with the whole look.

— Swarleen Kaur



Power supply restored to Hallo Majra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
After remaining without power for over a week the Chandigarh Administration today restored the supply to over 800 dwelling units, located outside the lal dora at Hallo Majra village.

The power to the dwelling units is being supplied through a private contractor under the bulk supply scheme. The power was restored after the Electricity Department took an undertaking from the contractor, Mr Rakesh Mishra, in this regard. It is learnt that the contractor owes around Rs 12 lakh, including a recovery of Rs 2.50 lakh from the consumers. The contractor has been given 15 days to clear the amount.

The contractor claimed that he had been unable to pay the money to the Administration as he was unable to recover the cost at which he was buying power from the department. The losses were on account of line losses and failure to recover the amount from the consumers.

However, the residents blame the higher rates at which the power was being supplied to the residents. Demanding reduction in the tariff at which they were being supplied the power, they added that power was being supplied to unauthorised slums at half the rate.

Mr B.S. Rawat, general secretary of the Deep Complex Welfare Association, said they were being supplied power at a rate of Rs 2.74 per unit plus 10 per cent per unit on the total consumption as recorded by the individual electronic meters. This comes to around Rs 3.02 per unit.

On the other hand, the charges for slum dwellers were Rs 1.69 per unit. In a representation to the local Member of Parliament, the residents have demanded individual power connections.



Bahl ‘mishandled’ MC panel poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Carrying on with their tirade against the president of local unit of the Congress, Mr B.B. Bahl, the three district presidents of the Congress, have shot off a letter accusing him of mishandling the election to the two seats in the crucial Finance and Contract Committee (Fand CC) of the Municipal Corporation.

The elections to the F and CC were held on January 31.

Mr Bahl, meanwhile, has refused to comment on the letter or on the letter in which Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri had yesterday levelled allegations that Mr Bahl was working in cohoots with the BJP.

Mr Bahl said, " Let us wait for a day or two as I was busy with electioneering in Ambala."

The three district presidents — Mr D.D. Jindal, Mr Pawan Sharma and Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri — alleged, in the letter, that Mr Bahl did not call any meeting to appoint the nominees of the Congress for the F and CC.

The letter further said," The Mayor, Ms Anu Chatrath, on her own approached you on January 26 with a request that a meeting of Congress Councillors be called. No meeting was convened. As a result four congress candidates filled in their nominations on January 27, which was the last day. These were Mrs Lalit Joshi, Mr Subhash Chawla, Mr Surinder Singh and Mr Kuldeep Singh Kajheri. "

The letter added that after contacting 12 of the 15 Congress Councillors and also a few nominated Councillors, it was found that Mrs Joshi and Mr Chawla were the best candidates. However, the letter continued, "You surprised everyone saying that Mrs Joshi and Mr Kajheri were the official candidates. This was your personal choice and not the choice of the Congress Councillors or the local MP.



Villagers’ plea on MC limit expansion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Members of gram panchayat samitis of different villages in Chandigarh have urged the UT Administrator not to bring their villages under the Municipal Corporation.

In a representation to the Administration the members said keeping the villages out of the preview of the corporation would be in the larger interest of the villagers.

There are 18 villages and 17 gram panchayats in the city.



Five two-wheelers stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 2
Three scooters and two motor cycles were reportedly stolen in the city, the local police said today.

Barinder Parsad of Sector 19, Panchkula, reported to the police that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH-01-L-9919) was stolen from NAC, Mani Majra, on January 31. A case of theft has been registered.

Vinod Kumar Khanna of Sector 49-A filed a complaint that his Honda Activa scooter (CH-03-Q-8535) was stolen from near the office of the State Bank of Patiala in Sector 22, yesterday. A case has been registered at the Sector 17 police station.

In another incident, Kumar Gaurav of Sector 15-D reported to the police that his scooter (PBQ-5596) was stolen from the Sector 20 market. A case has been registered at the Sector 19 police station.

Varinder Singh Negi of Hostel No. 6, Panjab University, reported to the police that his Bullet motor cycle (HP-27-A-0500) was stolen from the hostel parking lot, yesterday. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Amit Gupta of Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, filed a complaint that his Yamaha motor cycle (CH-01-L-8962) was stolen from his residence during the night of January 31. A case of theft has been registered.

Bindu of Sector 15 has filed a complaint against her husband Santosh Kumar and her in-laws — all residents of Rajiv Colony, Panchkula — alleging harassment at their hands for dowry. She was married to Santosh in November, 2000. A case under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC and Section 4 of the Dowry Act has been registered.

Gurmeet Kaur of Sector 71 reported to the police that a truck (HR-37-A-6048) driven by Om Parkash of Panch Lasa village in Ambala district hit her car near Transport Light point in Sector 26, yesterday. A case under Section 279 of the IPC has been registered.

Liquor seized
The local police has arrested Anveen Kumar of Palsora village with five bottles of country-made whisky from the village yesterday. A case under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.

Car stolen
M. Anjanneyulu of Pharmacology Department of Panjab University reported to the police that his Maruti car (HR-51-B-1680) was stolen from a parking lot on the university campus, yesterday. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

S.P. Puri of Sector 38 filed a complaint to the police that his servant, Attar Kali, stole gold ornaments weighing 30 to 35 tolas (15 rings, 16 pairs of tops, eight pandals, four diamond tops and one diamond ring) from his house, yesterday. The police has arrested the accused. A case under Section 381 of the IPC has been registered.

Lakhi Ram of Kishangarh village reported to the police that Avtar Singh of Indira Colony, Mani Majra, and another person, Harish, forcibly entered his house on January 31 and assaulted him. His friend, Nirmal Singh, who was present at the house was also beaten up by the accused. A case under Sections 448 and 506 of the IPC has been registered.



Drug addict found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
A suspected drug addict yesterday died after allegedly taking an injection.

The body of Iqbal Singh (31), a resident of Sector 30, was found at the bus stop of Sector 30 last evening, according to the police.

The brother of the deceased and neighbours informed the police that he was a drug addict and used to take injections.

Iqbal, father of two children, had been living at the bus stop after his wife deserted him because of his addiction.



2 held in snatching cases
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 2
The police has arrested two persons who indulged in snatchings in the town.

The arrested persons — Sadhu Mohammed and Rajinder — were rounded up at a naka set up near the PCL, chowk by SHO Tarlochan Singh last night.

The SP, Mr Rakesh Agarwal, told mediapersons that the two suspects had admitted that they had done two snatchings — one in Phase VII and the other near Ivory Towers in Sector 70.

A purse of a resident of Phase VII had been snatched which contained some cash and a driving licence. In the second case the snatched purse contained a mobile phone and Rs 6000 in cash.

He said the police remand of the two would be taken for further interrogation. While one of the suspects worked as a mechanic the other was a taxi driver. They had opened up an account in HDFC bank. He said they had admitted that they had stolen two cars also.

The police was likely to get more information about thefts in the town from them, he added.



IT, defence officials land in CBI net
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The CBI today booked a Delhi-based defence procurement officer and an income tax officer during its simultaneous raids in Patiala and Ludhiana under the Prevention of Corruption Act. They have been charged with possessing property disproportionate to their known sources of income.

A CBI team seized documents showing Deputy Income Tax Commissioner, Y. K. Saxena allegedly possessing property and belongings worth Rs 1 crore against his income of Rs 24 lakh during his entire span of service. Saxena was promoted just 15 days back as Assistant Director of Investigation, Chief Income Tax Commissioner’s office, Ludhiana, sources told The Tribune here this evening.

The raids, which began early today, are still in progress.

Jagjit Singh Gill, a junior works manager in the Directorate-General of Quality Assurance, Ministry of Defence, came into the CBI net after the agency recovered property and belongings worth Rs 70 lakh against Rs 22 lakh of income during his service period. The sources said the CBI team could not find anything incriminating against Saxena but when the premises of his chartered accountant were raided, the CBI teams seized certain files and documents and Rs 15 lakh. The files and documents of indicated the properties allegedly possessed by the income tax officer.

The CBI team discovered that the defence personnel had a palatial house of 4,900 sq feet of built-up area.

Documents pertaining to 11 plots, Rs 1.5 lakh in bank, jewellery worth Rs 1.5 lakh and equity funds worth Rs 1.5 lakh were allegedly recovered from the house of the defence personnel.



65-yr-old man succumbs to injuries

Chandigarh, February 2
Bhagwan Din, a 65-year-old cyclist, succumbed to injuries early this morning in the PGI, today. He was hit by a truck near Hallo Majra village, late last night.

According to the police, Bhagwan Din was coming back from his job on cycle when a truck (HR-37-A-5574), driven by Surinder of Sakatpur village in Uttar Pradesh, hit his cycle from behind.

The victim suffered multiple injuries and was admitted to the PGI. Doctors said he had died of serious head injuries.

The truck driver sped away from the spot after the accident, but his owner produced him today before the police. The police handed over the body to the family members of the deceased after conducting the post-mortem examination.

A case under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC had been registered at the Sector 31 police station. OC



Azim Premji to visit city on Sunday
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The Chairman of the information technology giant, Wipro, Mr Azim Premji, will be in the city on Sunday. His company is reportedly keen on setting up a base in either Mohali or Chandigarh.

Officially, Mr Premji, the richest man in the country, is coming to deliver a lecture at the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in Sector 31. The Director of the Mohali-based Software Technology, Parks of India (STPI), Dr Sanjay Tyagi, said they were keen to show him the facilities at the STPI and also in Mohali and Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, in the past two weeks, a team of Wipro has been doing the spade work and collecting information on Mohali and Chandigarh. This includes a complete backgrounder on Lifestyle, facilities, connectivity and business opportunities. Already Bangalore based Infosys has arrived in the city.

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had visited Bangalore and briefed Wipro bosses on the technological potential of Punjab.


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