C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


NRI robbed of Rs 50,000
Looter nabbed near Sec 43 bus stand
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
A man coming to his village in Punjab from the United Arab Emirate has allegedly been robbed of cash and belongings worth Rs 50,000 after giving sedative-laced eatables by a co-passenger in a CTU bus coming from Delhi.

The man, Resham Dass, was coming to Happowal village under Banga police station from Delhi where he arrived by a flight yesterday.

Dass boarded a CTU bus (CH01 G 8170) where he was looted at the Sector 43 Inter-State Bus Stand here this evening. Dass is still unconscious and in General Hospital in Sector 16.

However, the man who robbed Dass of his money and belongings was nabbed from the forest area near the bus stand within a few minutes as driver and conductor of the bus tipped off the police about the incident.

According to the police, Rajinder Pal of Garhi village in Nawanshahar sat next to Dass and allegedly offered him eatables at Pipli where both of them had their lunch.

Dass fell unconscious at the bus stand. Pal then picked up a bank draft of Rs 18,000, Rs 1000 in cash, a mobile phone and 50 notes of the UAE currency and ran away. However, the driver and the conductor of the bus saw the alleged robber searching pockets of the unconscious man. The driver and the conductor chased the robber but he ran away with belongings into the forest.

A team of police from the Sector 36 police station encircled the jungle and caught the alleged robber along with the stolen belongings of Dass.

The police team took Dass to General Hospital where he is not yet fit to record his statement.

The police team took possession of the luggage of Dass and kept it in safe custody. Station House Officer of the police station Jagbir Singh said the bags were locked and would be handed over to the man once he regained consciousness.

The man from the UAE was identified by the passport he was carrying in his pocket. The family of the man has been informed about the incident. According to the police, Pal befriended Dass on board a Delhi-Shahkot bus by saying that Pal was also from the area and was going to the same place.

According to the police, the size and the number of bags indicate that the man was coming from abroad. According to the police, the passport of the man shows a visa up to 2007 and that he had gone to the UAE in 2004.

The police is interrogating Pal to know if he was involved in any other such incident which had happened on the route.



At last! a project to check water-logging in Mohali begins 
Tribune News Service

The laying of storm water drainage pipes in progress in Phase V of Mohali on Tuesday
The laying of storm water drainage pipes in progress in Phase V of Mohali on Tuesday.— A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, February 8
Residents of Phase V of Mohali are set to have respite from the problem of water-logging in the area during the monsoon this year with the PWD (Public Health) starting work on a Rs 1.06 crore drainage project.

The laying of the additional storm water drainage pipes follows several directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court over the past three years. The project, aimed at draining the rain water into the Sukhna Choe, will be completed in six months’ time giving relief to thousands of residents in Phase V and the surrounding areas, source said.

Mr Tejinder Singh Sudan, a practising advocate in the District Courts here, along with 14 other residents, had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging that both the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) and Municipal Council (MC) had been dilly-dallying on the provision of additional drain pipes in the area, where water from several other areas of the township accumulates during the monsoon.

While the flood-like situation had existed during the rainy season for years, the situation has assumed alarming proportions during the past few years “due to environmental degradation and non-availability of any outlet for the rain water, the PIL had alleged.

Last year, the residents had also moved the court under Section 151 of the Civil Procedure Code for passing appropriate directions to the authorities concerned to show the compliance of the interim orders and to place on record the status report on the implementation of the schemes prepared to overcome water-logging.

Meanwhile, talking to Chandigarh Tribune here today, Mr Sudan said with the completion of the project the residents would heave a sigh of relief. It is unfortunate that the residents had to take recourse to legal remedy for their genuine demand of draining out of rainwater which played havoc with their residential and commercial property.



Ambulance, hearse services integrated
One control room for city, Panchkula, Mohali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
With a view to providing better services to people in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, ambulance and hearse services in the three areas have been integrated and one telephone number will now monitor 27 ambulances and eight hearse.

Adviser to the UT Administrator Lalit Sharma today inaugurated the integrated service at the office of the UT Red Cross Society, Karuna Sadan. The services will be coordinated through 24 hour control room and the telephone numbers are 2742000 and 2744188. Resident will have the option of calling up the Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh, at 2709000 or 2791000, or secretary, Red Cross, and SDM East Padmini Singla at 2653898.

People can dial these telephone numbers and get their requests registered. The requests will be processed by the control room. It will involve all agencies and decide according to the availability, said DC Arun Kumar, who is also the Chairman of the UT Red Cross.

The UT Red Cross Society has signed an MoU with various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like the Punjab Red Cross Society, the Haryana Red Cross Society, the Mata Mansa Devi Trust, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Sewa Society, the Shri Sanatan Dharam Mandir, Sector-15, and the Aggarwal Sabha, Sector-30, that provide ambulance and hearse services to the needy.

The MoU commits all NGOs to provide quality service to the citizens. All vehicles will be equipped with facilities like first aid box, oxygen cylinder and be in roadworthy condition.

Also, the UT Red Cross control room will coordinate with the police control room (PCR) to reach the accident scene.

The idea is to make optimal use of the resources available through proper coordination and networking. The UT Red Cross has also provided mobile phones to the drivers of ambulances and hearse of all agencies.



MC resolves to extend municipal limits
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, February 8
Municipal Councillors of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat today held a meeting and passed a resolution to include three more villages - Pirmuchhiala, Kishanpura and Gajipur - in its limits.

The proposal of including the villages was earlier submitted to the civic body by the panchayats of Pirmuchhaila and Gajipur villages. Following objections by three councillors (MCs), the resolution was dropped at a meeting held three months back.

Today the resolution was passed with a full majority of the MCs in the house. The copy of the “passed resolution” will be sent to the Department of Local Government of Punjab.

Mr Narinder Sharma, President of the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, claimed that the resolution for including the villages had been passed for the development of these villages. Residents, who were lacking basic civic amenities, would not feel deprived of their rights now, he claimed.

It was revealed that the resolution was passed following pressures from a local MP and other top brass political leaders. Moreover, almost all the MCs of the civic body dealt in property and they passed the resolution for their vested interest, shopkeepers of Zirakpur pointed out.

On the other hand, residents of various colonies flayed the decision of the Nagar Panchayat. They complained that the civic body authorities had failed to develop the villages, earlier merged to form a Nagar Panchayat. “How can three more villages be included in the limits of the civic body”? questioned Mr Suresh Mehta, a resident.

The residents also claimed that they had still been deprived of the basic civic amenities like potable water, sewerage system and treatment plant, round-the-clock electricity, mattled roads and streets, besides hospitals and community centers even after five years of the formation of the civic body.



Passing Thru

Anshuman Singh
Anshuman Singh, CEO (Domestic), Welspun, Mumbai

What does it take to be a management professional?

Though there is no substitute for hard work, being street-smart is an asset which executives must have. You have to be able to recognise a good opportunity even if it comes from an ordinary business house. The idea is to identify a job which gives ample opportunity to expand and experiment.

What is the trade potential for textiles in the region?

The northern region holds the maximum promise in the domestic market. People have paying capacity and are interested in spending money on quality buys. Companies across the board are looking at tapping this potential and capturing a major chunk of the market. We, too, are propagating the Home Fashion Concept which includes linen and furnishing to suit all pockets.

Whom do you look up to for inspiration and what is your guiding force in life?

I don’t look for inspiration from within my own “tribe”. I believe that Mahatma Gandhi was the best management guru and live by his teachings and ideals. When a job is undertaken with passion and devotion, it bears the desired fruit.

—Geetanjali Gayatri



Admn seeks MC’s reply on streetlight contract
Favouritism alleged 
Tribune News Service

Money overspent?

The administration has granted Rs 50 lakh to the MC from its Establishment Fund to carry out sanitation work. The MC exhausted its budget for 2004-05 by September, 2004, and submitted a supplementary budget of Rs 6 crore to the administration. It spent Rs 1.16 crore in excess till October, 2004 on development of parks, laying of mettled roads and cement concrete roads and sanitation.

Panchkula, February 8
The Municipal Council is alleged to have bypassed all rules and regulations in allotting contract for streetlight maintenance in the township in February last year.
Over the past one year, lakhs of rupees spent by the council on maintenance of streetlights seem to have gone down the drain with defunct streetlights being a norm rather than exception.

From contractor depositing security even before the tenders were opened for the allotment of contract despite a negative report against him during the trial period, the MC authorities have flouted norms for the allotment of contract.

The district administration has now sought an explanation from MC authorities regarding allotment of contract for streetlights, while expressing dissatisfaction over defunct streetlights throughout the township.

A committee of officers formed by Deputy Commissioner Neelam P. Kasni to look into the maintenance of streetlights has also submitted that the defunct streetlights were not being repaired.

The administration, after examining the MC records, has asked how the contractor managed to deposit the security on February 3, 2004, though the tenders invited from various contractors were allotted on February 26, 2004.

This, pointed out a senior official, showed bias in favour of the contractor, who had deposited the security 13 days prior to the allotment.

“The contract was allotted to him on trial for a period of two months and it was to be extended to 10 months only after he managed proper maintenance of the streetlights. During this period, Junior Engineer (Electrical) gave a negative report against the contractor. This recommendation was ignored by the MC President and the contract was further extended by 10 months on May 18, 2004,” informed the administration official.

Since the contract for streetlight maintenance was allotted for Rs 30 lakh, it required the approval of the state government. “However, the MC President sanctioned the tender on her own. The MC can only sanction works up to Rs 3 lakh. Works to the tune of Rs 10 lakh require approval of the Deputy Commissioner and those over Rs 10 lakh require a sanction of the state government,” said the officer.

Defunct streetlights on almost all major roads and internal roads in various sectors were causing inconvenience to residents. To add to their woes, stray cattle on the roads, especially during night hours, were causing accidents.

It may be noted that the MC pays Rs 1.70 lakh of tax payers’ money each month for the maintenance of almost 8,400 streetlights. Prior to October 2002, when HUDA maintained streetlights, they paid a rate of Rs 6 per light point. Now a rate of Rs 25 per point is being given.

“The money spent has increased manifold, but the maintenance is poor,” says Councillor Naresh Rawal.



Decision on garbage processing put on hold
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
A decision on garbage processing in the city was again put on the hold at the meeting of the municipal corporation here today with the House still unclear about who could be contacted for processing care of their waste.

In the beginning of a long-drawn discussion on the issue, firstly, the House was not clear even on which technology should be employed for garbage processing. A senior official of the Punjab Energy Development Agency(PEDA) was called in the House. He said the technique employing “combustion” for processing garbage and enabling production of electricity was best suited. Dwelling on the technique of decomposition, he said “this one was ill-suited because the garbage was not separated for its different components”. The bio-degradable components needed to be separated. In the end the scheme would be not functional.

The corporation constituted a committee including the mayor, the commissioner and three or four councillors( to be decided later). The committee will submit its report within a month.

As per provisions of the Municipal Solid Waste(Management and Handling Rules, 2000) all MCs having a population of more than 1 lakh are required to set up a garbage-processing unit before December 31, 2003.

Mrs Kamla Sharma and Mr Rajesh Gupta, BJP councillors and Mrs Harjinder Kaur of SAD, staged a walk out alleging the MC inaction on a report by the SDM(East) which found the Mohalla Sudhar Committee of Ram Darbar guilty of misappropriation of funds. Mr Subhash Chawla got up and said the matter pertained to the MC so the DC office had nothing to do in the matter.



Workers hold dharna at Matka Chowk
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 8
Members of several bodies under the Joint Platform of Mass Organisations (JMPO) staged a dharna at Matka Chowk here today and submitted a charter of demands to the Punjab Government threatening to intensify the struggle.

The organisations included the CTU, the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation, the Mahasangha of Boards and Corporations of Punjab, the Federation of UT Employees and Workers, the Dehati Mazdoor Sabha, the Jamhuri Kisan Sabha, the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Naujwan Sabha, the Punjab Students Federation, the Janwadi Ishtri Sabha and the Electricity Board Employees.

Mr Kulwant Singh Sandhu, convener of the JMPO, condemned the Centre and state governments for implementing the policies of the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank.

He said the policies had created unemployment, closure of industries, layoffs, price hike and tax evasion.

Their major demands included the reopening of closed mills, regular supply of water and electricity to farmers, filling of vacant posts and grant of old age pension.

“District-level dharnas will be staged from February 14 to 28 and in March a dharna will be organised in Chandigarh,” Mr Sandhu said.

Mr Chander Shekhar, Mr Sukhdev Singh Bari and Mr Gurnam Singh Daud also addressed the rally.



Industrial worker alleges victimisation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
An industrial worker, Madan Lal, is running from pillar to post to get justice. After suffering a traumatic amputation of a portion of the index and middle fingers on his right hand, the victim has been shunted out by his employer, despite being declared fit by the ESI hospital.

The victim had been working in the company since 1987 and was injured while repairing a machine on September 23, 2004. Seeking justice, the victim has put his case in the court of the Assistant Labour Commissioner, Chandigarh. But he has little hope of getting justice there. The Assistant Labour Commissioner was not available for comments.

In a statement, he alleged that his employers, Every Freeweel Industries, Industrial Area, Phase 1, had claimed that he had resigned.

Denying the stand taken by his employers, he said, “I was forced to sign blank papers a few months back while I was working in the company.”

As per the documents provided by the victim, he was discharged from the ESI hospital in Ram Darbar on September 27, 2004. After a prolonged medication, the worker was declared fit on December 16, 2004. “But the manager refused to take me back,” he said.

On being contacted, the manager of the company, Mr Chander Parkash Sharma, feigned ignorance about the issue and asked the reporter to call him back after some time. The second call to the manager elicited no response from him.

Inquires with the local office of the Employees State Insurance (ESI) revealed that the case for disablement benefits had been referred to the medical board. As per the rule, the members of the medical board decide the nature and degree of amputation before deciding on the compensation.



Tribune reporter wins award 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
Senior Staff Correspondent of The Tribune, Ms Geetanjali Gayatri, has been adjudged the winner of the prestigious 'Chandigarh Press Club Award for the Best Investigative Report, while Mr Jaipal Singh, a staff photographer with the Indian Express, has won the 'Best News Photograph' award, for 2004. The awards were announced at the Press Club here today.

Ms Gayatri's expose on the fungus-infested mid-day meals in the government schools in Haryana was rated as an outstanding example of investigative reporting. The award includes a citation and a cash prize of Rs 10,000.

Mr Manish Tiwari, Principal Correspondent of The Hindustan Times, and Mr Jagwinder Patial, Special Correspondent of Dainik Bhaskar, won special 'Appreciation Certificates' for their investigative reports.

The selection committee comprised Mr Radhey Shyam, former editor of Dainik Tribune, Mr Om Thanvi, Editor, Jansatta, veteran columnist Mr Gobind Thukral, Mr Prem Kumar, former Resident Editor of The Indian Express, and Mr Jayanth N Pethkar, chairman, Department of Mass Communication, Panjab University, Chandigarh.

For the 'Best News Photograph' award of a citation and a cash prize of Rs 5000, Mr Jaipal Singh's entry on the funeral of an IAF officer was adjudged as the most evocative photograph with a powerful human angle.

Mr Manoj Mahajan and Mr Pankaj Sharma, both staff photographers with The Tribune, were given special 'Appreciation Certificates'. The entries were evaluated by a three-member panel comprising Mr Swadesh Talwar, regional photo editor of the Indian Express, senior photo journalist Mr TS Bedi of Daily Ajit and renowned artist Mr Shiv Singh.

The winners will be felicitated as a special function at the Press Club next month.



3 youths hurt in clash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
Three youths were injured, one of them seriously, in a clash today in the Sector 41 market. Condition of Randhir Mallik is reported to be serious.
According to the police, Randhir Mallik and Mukesh of Sector 23 and Sukhbir of Palsora were attacked by six or seven persons led by Mukesh Sharma alias Rocky, Billa and six others. Billa and few of his accomplices are from Sector 40.

Rocky and Billa group was armed with hockey sticks, iron rods and batons. Malik, Mukesh and Sukhbir had received head injuries apart from other injuries on body.

Malik and Mukesh work with Ranbaxy while Sukhbir is associated with a private company. A case under Sections 147, 148, 323 and 307 of the IPC has been registered in Sector 39 Police Station.



8 held for stealing regulators
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
The police today arrested eight persons and recovered stolen property from Joginder (20) and four teenagers in the age group of 13 and 17 years, all residents of Hallo Majra,were arrested by the police today. They were carrying LPG regulators weighing four quintals on a rehri on the Chandigarh Ambala highway near an under-construction bridge near Hallo Majra. They allegedly stolen the regulators from a factory in Phase II of the Industrial Area.

Nanhe Ram— a resident of the Phase II was arrested by the Sector 31 police station. He was caught while stealing 60 kg iron from a factory in Ram Darbar.

Inderjit Singh and Sanjay Dass were arrested while going on a stolen motor cycle near Kajheri village last night. The motor cycle(HP-07-2026) was found to be stolen from 3610, Sector 35-D.



Four held, arms seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8Four persons were arrested for possessing three “kirpans” and a “pickaxe” here today. The weapons were seized from a vehicle parked in a parking lot of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Sukhjit Singh of Gurdaspur district, Manzoor Singh of Sangrur, Darshan Singh and Mishra Singh of Patiala were arrested under Sections188 of the CrPC for violating prohibitory orders.



Industrialists meet Finance Minister
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 8
Industrialists at a pre-budget meeting with the Punjab Finance Minister highlighted everything from power crisis to multiple taxes and lack of sewerage disposal in industrial areas.

Industrialists from all over the state, representing various businesses, gave inputs on what is ailing the Punjab industry and presented possible solutions. Though power crisis seemed the one common factor running through every district of the state, the members of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry lamented the unnecessary harassment at Information Collection Centres (ICC).

Their grouse was that the ICC centres at Banur, Balongi and Zirakpur, set up to keep tab on movement of goods from different states, were instead monitoring intra-state goods, causing harassment.

Seeking abolition of truck unions, as also doing away with multiple taxes on milk, the lack of adequate health care facilities in Lalru, setting up a display centre at Mohali to showcase Punjab’s industry was also suggested.

The industrialists also urged the minister to consider tax exemption in border areas as also encouraging rural industry in herbal and aromatic plants and oilseeds on the condition that jobs are reserved for local youth.

The industrialists from Mohali also demanded representation in the Municipal Council. “Ninety per cent of the revenue collected by the Council by way of octroi comes from the industry. However, our demands are brushed under the carpet. Inadequate street lighting, poor sanitation are among the chronic problems which are not addressed despite repeated representations,” Mr G.S. Bhatia, said.

The representatives of the telecom industry recommended that they should be exempted from octroi duty to give boost to the telecom industry and providing quality and economical services to the people while the pitiable condition of the steel industry also came in for discussion. The business community sought an industrial cluster scheme for the many cotton textile and spinning units in and around Dera Bassi.

Mr Amarjit Goyal, Chairman, Punjab Committee, PHDCCI, while delivering the welcome remarks, said to check flight of industry from Punjab to neighbouring states and to attract new investment, the state should prevail upon the Union Government to announce a package at least for the three border districts of Punjab. He also demanded abolition of octroi, once the multipoint sales tax comes into effect from April, 2005.

Responding to VAT provisions, Mr Surinder Singla, Punjab Finance Minister, informed the participants that the VAT ordinance will be released within a week’s time and Industrial Facilitating Act would soon be announced by the government. Punjab is set to implement VAT from April 1, 2005.


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