C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


HUDA Estate Office in the dock
Delay in possession to be probed
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 28
Hundreds of persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes/Tribes, backward classes, war widows, disabled soldiers, challenged persons, defence and paramilitary personnel categories have not got possession of residential plots allotted to them by HUDA in March last year.

Though they were allotted plots in a regular draw of lots held in March, the HUDA authorities have failed to offer possession , claiming that the forms of these persons in reserved categories were incomplete. However, the allottees say that they are being harassed by HUDA and they had completed all formalities and submitted the documents to consolidate their claim.

Relatives of Mr Sonu Dhiman, who was allotted a plot against a reservation for physically challenged persons, today met the HUDA, Administrator, Ms Neelam P Kasni, and complained that they were being harassed.

Officials inform that a majority of the applicants from the reserved category in the housing scheme floated for Sectors 4 Mansa Devi Complex, 12, 12-A, 17, 21, 23, 27 and 28, have not been issued allotment letters and offered possession. As many as 774 plots in these sectors were reserved under various categories.

As many as 3,145 plots were offered by HUDA in the above mentioned sectors in October 2003. However, since the number of applications for plots in Sectors 23, 27 and 28 were much less as compared to the plots on offer, 2,135 plots were allotted in March last year. The applicants in the general category were allotted 1,361 plots and 62 plots went in the oustees quota.

A year on, the HUDA authorities have failed to send notices to the allottees from the reserved categories nor has any step been taken to convert these plots into the general category or other reserved categories as specified under HUDA rules.

“It is only after all documents are found complete, that the applications are considered for the draw. If any document is found missing even after the draw, the applicants could have finished all formalities within a fortnight and then given possession,” lamented another allottee.

Ms Kasni has ordered an inquiry into the episode. She said she had asked the Estate Office to submit a list of all allotment letters issued to persons in reserved categories.



Housing society’s allotment cancelled 
Observers’ role questioned
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The allotment of flats in Progressive House Building Society Private Ltd have been cancelled by the authorities concerned following a member exposing bunglings in the draw of lots held on Holi. Deputy Commissioner and Registrar of Cooperative Societies Arun Kumar today ordered the cancellation of the allotment. 

He has passed an order to hold the draw of lots in his presence in his office with the entire proceedings being videographed. This was stated by members who met Mr Kumar here today.

The society has 600 flats in Sector 50-B and the project is estimated to be worth around Rs 50 crore.

Sources said one of the participants in the draw of lots ran to the podium when he allegedly saw an office-bearer getting a chit from another, office bearer who was sitting in the second row on the podium.

Interestingly, this was taking place in front of the three observers from the Registrar of Cooperative Society.

The police team remained a mute spectator despite those seeking to stall the proceedings asking them for help for stoping the illegal activity and booking the office-bearers. In fact, the police team present on the spot got engaged in a verbal dual with a senior citizen who was spearheading the opposition to the continuation of the draw of lots.

The sources said after all this the observers wanted to continue the process and even reportedly offered to put the allotment of office-bearers again in the draw. A large number of office-bearers were able to get flats on the ground and first floors. With the opposition to this rising one of them ran from the spot, apparently to avoid getting beaten up.

One of the participants then approached the Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Mr S. K. Setia, who immediately ordered the suspension of the allotment. But Mr Setia’s subordinates acting as observers refused to take his verbal orders communicated through the participant.

The participants alleged that later it was discovered that the chits (of names and numbers) were kept in two buckets. The chits were computerised. But later some handwritten chits were also found from the spot. These slips were being supplied from the rear row, an eyewitness said.

According to participants, the president of the society was seen letting slips fall from his hand after they had been unfolded. But he was getting folded slips through another person which raised suspicion among those present.

Mr Arun Kumar while confirming the incident, said the accountability of the government employees who went as observers will be fixed. Meanwhile, the officer-bearers of the society remained inaccessible on phone despite repeated attempts.



Buying a slice of moon!
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Buying property is always exciting and more so when the property is located right where you can keep your eye on it all the time, for instance, the moon. The last few days have seen newspapers reporting about people who have managed to buy a chunk of the lunar landscape. 

Citing some “loopholes” in the treaties that govern and control the exploitation of outer space and planetary bodies, certain individuals have been offering plots on the moon.

One suspects that the current extraordinary boom in real estate prices has something to do with it, but people seem to be rushing to these lunar realtors to pick up land deeds. Maybe it has more to do with people hoping for better governance and politicians on the moon’s idyllic surface — if and when people are able to travel there.

“Whatever is the reason, it is almost certain that any money changing hands is only going to rip off the gullible and enrich the smart ones”, says a high court lawyer, Mr Harpreet Singh Giani, an alumni of the Hague Academy of International Law and the only Indian to have worked at the International Criminal Court, The Hague.

For starters, the use or exploitation of the moon and other celestial bodies is prohibited and regulated by the Moon Agreement, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979. It was ratified by nine states and an additional five have signed it. The agreement came into force in July 1984 after ratification by the fifth country, he says.

Quoting an Article from the agreement, he says: “Neither the surface nor the subsurface of the moon, nor any part thereof or natural resources in place, shall become property of any state, international intergovernmental or non-governmental organisation, national organisation or non-governmental entity or of any natural person. The placement of personnel, space vehicles, equipment, facilities, stations and installations on or below the surface of the moon, including structures connected with its surface or subsurface, shall not create a right of ownership over the surface or the subsurface of the moon or any areas thereof .”

He adds: “Those hiding behind the non-ratification of the agreement by countries such as India or the US, any student of international law would be able to point out the transformation of a treaty-law into customary international law, making the treaty binding upon even those who have not signed on the dotted line. Countries can always choose to accede to the agreement in terms of Article 19. This is especially pertinent given the UN General Assembly’s resolution dated December 5, 1979, wherein the entire Assembly adopted without vote the hope that the agreement would be adopted by as many states as possible”.



PU to approach Punjab Govt for better share of grants
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Showing concern over receipt of lesser than expected share of grants from the Punjab Government in university financing, Panjab University has constituted a committee to meet the Chief Minister and voice its concerns.

The university receives its grant from two sources, Punjab and the Centre. The Punjab Government is expected to contribute 40 per cent of the total deficit share while the remaining 60 per cent comes from the Centre.

The university is not getting its due share from the Punjab Government for the past several years.

Reliable sources said the university had constituted the committee seeking "release of arrears pending with the Punjab Government."

The committee will meet Capt Amarinder Singh, the Chief Minister. The university says it has initiated the move with a view to "avoiding further increase in the fee structure".

It was pointed out that the "Punjab Government's share worked out to more than Rs 25 crore annually for the university.

But it was getting an average of only about Rs 16 crore. The university has no option but to shift the burden to the students, so that was why there was a hike each year."

The members of the committee include Dr Prithipal Singh, Dr Deepak Manmohan, Mr S.S.Virdi, Principal Tarsem Bahia, Principal A.C.Vaid and Dr Ronki Ram.

A senior fellow of the university Senate said "there had been several moves earlier to ask the Punjab Government for release of its due share of grants but to no avail. In fact, whenever students voice their concern against the fee hike they should first target the government.

The university does not raise the fee to trouble its students. It is forced to do so because of financial compulsions."

There has been demand from a section of the academia in the past that PU should request the government to grant it the status of a central university. This will not just improve the financial stability of the institute but also provide opportunity for better research facilities.

There is, however, an important segment of the academia who will prefer the university to be attached with Punjab, more because of 'sentimental reasons'.

The immediate provocation for constitution of the committee was the burning of effigy of theVice-Chancellor by members of the Students Organisation of Panjab University last week over the annual fee hike, reliable sources said.

Prof K.N.Pathak, the VC, said "the Senate in 1999 decided an annual hike of 10 per cent in the tuition fee. The amount is very minimal.

I don't understand the students' point in burning my effigy six years after the decision. Let us hold a dialogue with the government asking it to give us our due grants so that we don't tax the students".



2 SHOs shifted
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 28
The Inspector General of Police, Chandigarh today ordered the transfer of two SHOs with immediate effect day. The SHO of Sector 17 police station, Mr Nanha Ram Kadian has been transferred to Sector 39 police station, while the SHO of Sector 39 police station, Mr Prem Singh Malik has been transferred from Sector 39 to Sector 17 police station.

Mr Prem Singh Malik was transferred about two weeks ago to Sector 39 police station from Sector 19. 



Confusion, chaos at PU to get roll numbers
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Non-delivery of roll numbers for annual examinations resulted in the usual chaos at the examination branch, Panjab University, here today, where over 500 students, appearing as private candidates, queued up for duplicate admit cards. PU examinations begin on March 30 with compartment papers while practicals of some subjects are already on.

Students from all over Punjab and other states had a harrowing time waiting their turn in the long queues for getting duplicate admit cards.

Claiming that the university had not applied its mind while fixing days for issuing duplicate roll numbers, students rued that they came to the university on Holi on March 26 but were not allowed to enter the campus for being “outsiders”.

“The university had announced that all those candidates who do not receive their roll numbers by March 24 should seek duplicate admit cards on March 26 or 28. I came all the way from Ferozpore for the roll number on a festival, “ a student maintained.

However, all those students who did show up at the appointed time and date were not allowed entry on the grounds that all offices were closed and that they had no identity cards. Consequently, everybody showed up today and confusion prevailed as the branch officials tried to manage the rush and issue admit cards.

When contacted, the Controller of Examination, Dr Sodhi Ram, said this year the branch had despatched the roll numbers by post as had been decided by the university Syndicate.

The COE dismissed the rush in the branch for duplicate cards which far exceeded the number he quoted. “Any candidate who comes to collect the roll number is accompanied by his father, brother, sister or friends. This is what adds to the confusion. The actual candidates are very few in number and we issued admit cards within half-an-hour of their arriving,” he added.

However, this was in sharp contrast to the actual scene at the branch where students had to wait for three to four hours before their turn finally came to get admit cards.

Interestingly, the problem of non-delivery of roll numbers has been exhaustively discussed at the Senate and Syndicate meetings. Every year, just after the examination, the issue occupies centre-stage and reforms are suggested. The situation, however, remains unchanged at the end of the session when students, invariably, are forced to run from pillar to post for duplicate roll numbers. 



Passing Thru

Gurmukh Singh
Gurmukh Singh
Secretary General, TSFI

Since when you are holding this post?

I was nominated as Secretary General of the Table Soccer Federation of India last July by the general house.?

How do you see the growth of this new sport in India?

As far as I know, this indoor sport is not new in India as many clubs, institutions had been playing it for years.

How many units are affiliated to TSFI and what are its plans?

At present more than 12 units from entire India are affiliated to our federation and we have released a detailed calendar for holding national meet and other regional tournaments.

What other concrete steps are being taken to promote this sport?

This sport requires very little investment and thus convenient for even schools who can have one or more table and children can also utilise their skills and enjoy the sport during school hours.

Is this sport limited only to clubs?

Not at all. At present the International Table Soccer Federation with its head office in Italy organises a number of tournaments at the world level and we are also preparing our team so that by 2006, we hope to put up a strong national team for the world meet.

— Arvind Katyal




Once a year, mediapersons play the political game during the elections of the Chandigarh Press Club. This time, the polling was on the Sunday following Holi. It was quite a turnout and the results were declared late in the night, after which it was feasting time. 

Shocking indeed!

An open electricity junction box is a shocking matter. Tribune photographer Karam Singh took this photograph last week at the Chandigarh-Zirakpur border. The electricity department should pay attention to this immediately as it could prove fatal for those crossing the railing. Is anyone listening?

This is one time when the club comes alive and old-timers as well as the young make it a point to be there. As long as the campaign is on, there is anxiety and some backbiting too but it ends with the announcement of the results. Then all is forgotten in joint jubilation.

Bull in the Capitol!

One knows well the havoc a bull may cause in a china shop. However, it is different with a bull in the Capitol Complex of Chandigarh. “Corbusier sketched bulls incessantly. There are thousands of bull images in his sketch book. The architect was inspired by the authority which the animal stands for,” revealed Prof Vikramaditya Prakash of the Faculty of Architecture, University of Washington, Seattle.

Delivering a lecture at the College of Architecture here, he dwelt on Corbusier’s fascination with the bull and went onto say that the Assembly building in the complex had an uncanny resemblance to a bull.

“Corbusier was clearly aiming for a heightened sense of authority (which the bull exemplifies) when he designed the building. If you look closely, it comes across as a self-confident building,” he said.

Bullish encounter

Bullish encounters are on the increase as far as Sentinel’s calling goes. Last week a wayward bull was captured by municipal corporation staff. In another case, the staff was going with two bulls in an open truck when one jumped on the road between Sectors 20 and 30. The bull hit a scooterist who fell on the road. The staff did not bother to stop for the bull or the man.

Tributes to theatre

After very long, Chandigarh witnessed an inspiring celebration on the occasion of World Theatre Day on March 27. Far from being a ritual, the show organised by Neelam Mansingh and the Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi turned out to be interactive and absorbing. The audience enjoyed the earthy melodies of folk artistes. Theatre folks wrote their tributes on a cloth placed at the entrance of the Punjab Kala Bhavan open-air theatre. Theatre director Anuradha Kapur’s lines touched many a heart.

“Theatre fills empty places/spaces in our lives”.

Vanishing trade

There was a time when one would hear the calls of “bhande kali kara lo” in the streets of the city. However, it is no longer heard as brass utensils have gone out of the urban and semi-urban lifestyle. But there are some people who still go in for periodical nickel-plating of their “prized” brass utensils. There needs are catered to by Devki Nandan in the Bajwara rehri market on weekends. Working as a peon, he practices this old calling and supplements his income.

Art from waste

Vijay Pal Goel and his wife Madhu make art from waste. In the space allotted to them in Sector 36-D stand a huge train, aeroplane and space shuttle. This place attracts visitors and children from many schools who send students here for a workshop on art from sanitary waste. However, the Administration refuses to lend a helping hand in its upkeep. A shopkeeper, Rajiv Goel, paid for the painting of art creations and the couple themselves tend the green patch.

Laughter kitty

The laughter club initiated in the city by Dr Madan Kataria is quite popular and two sessions are held here every week. The man who set everyone laughing, was in the city last week and participated in one of the sessions.

A new concept in the city is “laughter kitty” for women. Women meet once a fortnight for such a kitty in Sector 37.

Best, worst deals

Best deal: German car, Chinese food, American salary and Pakistani wife.

Worst deal: Chinese car, German food, Pakistani salary and American wife.

— Sentinel



Petrol sales face (re)cess in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
With the Punjab Government proposing a cess of 50 paisa on petrol and Re 1 on diesel, the prices of petrol and diesel will not only be higher in Mohali than those in Chandigarh and Panchkula but the variation would be more as three different rates already exist in the township due to octroi and distance from the oil supply depots. The implementation of the proposed cess would spell bad times for the neighbouring pumps in Mohali and Zirakpur.

Earlier, the price of diesel in Mohali was less than that in Chandigarh and Panchkula. While it was available for Rs 25.86 per litre in Mohali, the same was priced at Rs 26.03 and 26.14 per litre in Chandigarh and Panchkula, respectively. But after the cess of Re 1 is implemented it will be the costliest here at Rs 26.86.

The price of petrol is lowest in Panchkula (Rs 37.91 per litre), whereas it is Rs 38.35 in Chandigarh and will be Rs 41.96 per litre after the cess in Mohali.

Mr Manwar Singh of Chawla filling station, Phase VII, Mohali, says, “The variation in rates will hit petrol station owners in the township for people commute daily to Chandigarh and Panchkula for their jobs or other odd chores. They will get their tanks filled from there due to lower prices. While they will gain anything between Rs 3.11 to Rs 4.05 per litre in case of petrol, they stand to benefit by 73 paisa to 84 paisa per litre in case of diesel.

The variation in rates in Mohali (between 35 and 65 paisa per litre) is due to certain petrol stations falling within the octroi limit and few others being out of it. In few other cases the price difference is between 15 to 32 paisa per litre as some get supply from Ambala while the others get it from Bathinda. The price is less where the supply is from Ambala depot and more in case it is from Bathinda, said another petrol station owner.

The following will be the rates of petrol and diesel in Mohali after the proposed cess is implemented in the state.




Rana Sodhi’s official car involved in mishap
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 28
The official car of Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Chief Parliamentary Secretary of Punjab Government, hit an autorickshaw near the Sector 3, 4, 9 and 10 roundabout this afternoon, injuring the autorickshaw driver, Vikas. Both parties reached a compromise after the car driver gave Rs 2,500 to the driver.

According to the police, Sarabjit Singh, the driver of the car (PB-12-F-2036), was coming from Sector 9 after getting the car filled from a petrol station when both vehicles collided. The impact was so powerful that the autorickshaw overturned.

The driver suffered head injuries and bruises on his limbs. Mr Sodhi was not travelling in the car when the accident occurred, said the SHO of the Sector 3 police station.

No case has been registered in this regard.Back


Fast food to pep up Punjab’s bland tourism
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 28
The Punjab Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) would open fast food joints at Mohali, Kurali, Karatarpur, Morinda and Sultanpur Lodhi. A project for the construction of these joints in the state has been sanctioned by the Centre.

Giving details of the project, Mr Jagjit Puri, Director, Tourism, Punjab, who is also the Managing Director of the PTDC, said these fast food joints would be opened by the end of the new financial year.

He added that these would be run as joint ventures involving private partnership.

The joints would be spread over more than two acres of land with the government spending Rs 40 lakh each as the cost of the land and construction of these joints.

"The project is aimed at encouraging tourism in these areas. The fast food joints would be located at suitable places in these townships. While in some towns, land has already been identified in others we would be doing so soon," he said.

All these locations are on the highways and the government is aiming to provide good eating joints for highway travellers and general tourists.

"Water Lily in Ropar is doing very well. It is a joint venture. We are earning something out of it. Similarly, the Oasis restaurant in Karnal is a good example to follow for Punjab," he said

Confirming that the Union Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned Rs 2 crore for the project, Mr Puri said the Punjab Government would construct these and lease them to private parties.

"These would be in line with other joints running in various places in Punjab including Ropar, Madhopur and Sanghol. Experience has shown that the joints which we have given out to private entrepreneurs are doing better and are a source of earning for the government," he said.

"We have however been incurring losses in the ventures we had undertaken on our own. Going by this we would be also laying down a strategy by which these joints would be leased out to private parties," he added.

Mr Puri noted that the Government of India had given a one-year deadline to finish these projects.

And the response from the fast food and hotel industry is also encouraging.

"It is a wise step. The earlier they do it the better. The government should govern and leave business to businessmen. Making money is not a simple task. It is a question of being involved.

The government cannot be involved at the level a businessman can," said Col A.B. Singh, owner, Hot Millions, the oldest fast food joint in the city. 



Plan to restore Sukhna’s glory
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The Administration now plans to restore Sukhna Lake to its old glory. Besides starting the desilting operations, the idea is to create a water body, which will help promote water sports like canoeing, kayaking and sailing. Also a biodiversity-cum-aquatic habitat is to be developed. The northern side of the lake will also have a bird sanctuary.

The popular weekly event “Sunday Sailing”, which was very popular in the 1970’s and 1980’s, would be revived, said the Secretary (Finance) Mr S.K. Sandhu.

A group of experts and representatives of various organisations were consulted and after due consideration, it was decided to engage the services of National Ship Design Research Centre (NSDRC), Vishakhapatnam, (under the control of Ministry of Shipping, Government of India), as the Consultant. The Administration has already entered into an MoU with the NSDRC, for consultancy on desilting of the lake. The centre has submitted a draft project report and made a presentation in front of the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd).

The methodology of desilting, cost analysis and time frame for implementation have been suggested and the report is under active consideration of the Administration for final acceptance.

The desiltation project for increasing the pond water depth from its present 11.7 feet to its optimum depth will be completed in three years. It would increase the storage capacity of the lake considerably.

The area to the west and northwest is being developed into a biodiversity-cum-aquatic habitat and the northern area will be a fauna -cum- bird sanctuary.

The hilly catchment area of the lake (ie the Shivalik foothills) is ecologically sensitive and geologically unstable. It is prone to soil erosion which is increasing due to excessive biotic interference.

Due to excessive soil erosion, huge quantity of silt flowed into the lake during the previous years, which resulted in reduction in its storage capacity. In Sukhna Lake Reserve Forest, fruit and other trees have been planted with a view to check soil erosion. These trees attract a lot of birds, butterflies, bees and micro-organism and thus, improve the bio-diversity of lake and its surroundings.



Harassed by monkeys, Mohali resident moves PSHRC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) is no longer a redressal forum for persons victimised by the human beings. Harassed by the monkeys, a Mohali resident, Mr Narinder Singh, today moved the commission for directions to the Mohali authorities to check the monkey and stray dog menace.

Acting on an application moved by a resident of Phase II and human rights activist, the PSHRC Chairman, Justice NC Jain, fixed March 30 for taking up the case.

Going into the circumstances for the filing of the complaint, the petitioners alleged that on March 22 Narinder Singh was attacked by two monkey near the Phase II gurdwara. Even as the simians attacked him, he was saved with the intervention of the passersby. However, he sustained injuries on his toes and knees in the process.

The application alleged that the monkeys were a source of nuisance as they terrorised the residents at will and destroyed the clothes left for drying in the sunshine. The eatables inside kitchens and refrigerators were also not safe for the monkey. On the other hand, the stray dogs have made the venturing out of the general public into the city a difficult job.

Despite the fact that a representation was sent to the SDM Mohali to take appropriate steps to save the lives and liberties of the residents, nothing seemed to have been done, it was alleged.

Moreover, it was also alleged the population of the stray dogs had gone up manifold during the recent past and the local authorities had failed to check this.

Not only at night monkeys and the stray dogs are on the prowl during the day and terrorise the residents. The application has sought appropriate directions to the authorities concerned to put an end to the monkey and stray dog menace.



All set for CPI rally today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
All is set for the mass rally by the Communist Party of India (CPI) at the Parade Ground, Sector 17, here tomorrow ahead of the 19th party congress. The general secretary, Mr A.B. Bardhan, will be the main speaker at the rally.

Giving this information here today, Mr Shameem Faizee, secretary of the national council, informed that top leaders of several parties, including the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will take part in the inaugural session of the CPI congress at the Nehru Park on March 30.

Three documents — Political resolution, political review report and the report on party organisation — will be deliberated upon by over 700 delegates and fraternal delegates from about 30 foreign countries during the congress at Kisan Bhavan, Sector 35, he said.

The congress will elect the 125-member national council, which in turn, will elect other office-bearers on the concluding day on April 3, the chairman of the reception committee, Dr Joginder Dayal, said.

Besides, three seminars, to be organised by the local chapter of the Joshi-Adhikari Institute of Social Science, will be held on the Panjab University campus as part of the congress. Noted environmentalist, Dr Vandana Shiva, prominent economist, Prof G.S. Bhalla and Prof Sucha Singh will be principal speakers at the first seminar on March 31.

The panel for the second seminar on “WTO and globalisation” will include a former Prime Minister, Mr V.P. Singh, Ms Medha Patkar, Mr S.P. Shukla, a former Union Commerce Secretary, and Prof H.S. Shergill of PU.

The last seminar on April 2 on “Socialism today:tasks ahead” will be attended by foreign delegates from Cuba, Venezuela and Brazil.



Fire Dept to get more manoeuvribility
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The Fire Department of the Municipal Corporation will soon have a hydraulic platform-cum-turntable ladder (Snorkel). The existing fire-fighting equipment in the city can at best manage fire at a height of about 35 feet, which means not more than three floors.

Reliable sources in the corporation said it was likely to get the equipment by April. The confirmation comes following the return of Mr P.S. Aujla, Commissioner, alongwith his team from Finland. The team visited the company supplying the equipment to study the latter’s viability and functional efficacy.

The Delhi Fire Department has five sophisticated hydraulic platform-cum-turntable ladders.

The turntable ladder has been purchased at a cost of Rs 3.5 crore. The fully computerised gadget can make the ladder to turn a full circle, providing greater mobility.

The department is also purchasing laser cameras which will aid in tracing the starting point of a fire. Heavy smoke blocks the normal sight during the firefighting operation.

The laser camera will help in tracing the main area of fire. 



Tributes paid to Swami Vivekananda
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 28
Floral tributes were paid to Swami Vivekananda at a function organised by the Directorate of Youth Services, Punjab at Giani Singh Musafir Auditorium, Sector 24 today. Mr Jai Singh Gill, IAS, Chief Secretary, Punjab, was the chief guest. He inaugurated a blood donation camp. Nearly 141units of blood was donated in the camp.

An amount of Rs 5,86, 116 for tsunami victims was also presented to the chief guest. Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP Chandigarh, presided over the prize distribution function.



Fire destroys marriage plans
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 28
Marriage of a poor man’s daughter next month appears to be in danger following a fire in Ram Darbar today that destroyed items kept for the marriage and the artificial limbs of the brother of the bride-to-be. The fire is suspected to have been caused by a leakage in the cooking gas cylinder.

Madan Lal, father of the girl, puts up a brave front even as the dream of marrying off his daughter seems shattered. He told reporters that he had collected dowry items and that the fire had also destroyed household items worth Rs 1 lakh.

He said the cylinder ran out of gas this morning and he sent his son to fetch a cylinder from a nearby agency. He said the cylinder was leaking. When they tried to put a regulator on the cylinder, it caught fire from a burning stove in the kitchen and the fire soon spread to the whole house. A neighbour said by the time the fire brigade reached, the house had been reduced to ashes.

Madan Lal’s neighbours arranged clothes for him and his family after the fire.

The SHO of the Sector 31 police station said it was a mere accident. He gave a clean chit to the gas agency while ruling out any leakage. He said the complainant should bring the leakage to the notice of the agency before taking it home. The agency had given him a stove and a cylinder on compassionate grounds, he added.



Accident victim dead
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 28
Sunil Kumar (17) succumbed to his injuries in the PGI today. He was admitted with serious head injuries after he was hit by a car at the Sector 36 and 37 light points on March 24.

Sunil Kumar, a resident of Sector 41 and a B. Com I student was the only son of his parents. On March 24 he left the home to attend the birthday party of his friend in Sector 34. His friend Pradeep and Sandeep came to his house to take him along with them on their motor cycle. They were triple riding on the motor cycle. When they reached at the traffic light point a car hit their motor cycle after which Sunil fell on the ground suffering head injuries.

The car owner, who was a Punjab police officer, lodged a complaint against the motorcyclists. He alleged that the boys were riding negligently, jumped the red light and the driver of the motor cycle, Pradeep was driving without a driving license.

Meanwhile, the police today handed over the body to the family after the post mortem.



2 juvenile delinquents held for theft
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 28
Two minor boys and a man employed as a peon with the Punjab and Haryana High Court has been arrested by the police on charges of theft. The boys were accused of stealing a mobile phone, a mobile charger and a car stereo from a car parked outside house number 1135 in Sector 8, some days ago.

The police arrested the accused boys from Sector 9 last night.

They were produced before a local court today which sent them to a juvenile home. The police said the boys were likely to be involved in more cases of thefts.

In another incident, the police arrested Kulbir Singh, a peon at Punjab and Haryana High Court on the charges of stealing a mobile phone of Mr D.S. Ragav of Sector 24 on January 31, 2005.

The police arrested the accused from Mohri Jattan village in Ambala district yesterday and recovered the stolen property from his possession.

A case has been registered in the Sector 11 police station against the accused.

Camera stolen

Mr James Anthony Richardson, British national, reported to the police that his bag containing a camera worth Rs 18,000 was stolen near Kiran Cinema, last evening. In another incident, Mr Avtar Singh Grewal of PRTC Colony in Patiala reported to the police that a car stereo, a pair of head phones, mobile charger, pager and some other articles were stolen from his Tata Sumo Jeep (PB-11-J-0197), which was parked in Sector 8.The incident happened during the night of March 25.

In a similar incident, Ms Shabnam Shergill of Sector 9 filed a complaint to the police that her bag containing Rs 3,000, some injections, a belt and a driving license was stolen from her car (PB-33-A-7900), yesterday. The car was parked at the lake parking area.

Vehicle stolen

Mr Narinder Kumar of Sector 20, Panchkula filed a complaint to the police that his Maruti Zen car (CH-03-E-2458) was stolen from Sector 23-C, yesterday.

In a similar incident, Mr Kamal Khurana of Sector 45-C reported to the police that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (HR-03-A-0094) was stolen from the local bus stand in Mani Majra, yesterday.

Eve teasers held

The local police arrested two peersons on the charges of eve teasing in two separate incidents. Kamal Singh of Khuda Lahora village was arrested from Sector 10 market and Rajesh of Sector 22-C was arrested from Fun Republic in Mani Majra, last night. Cases against them have been registered in different police stations. They were later released on bail.



Department store burgled
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, March 28
Thieves struck at department store in Sector 9 and took away goods and cash worth thousands of rupees last night. The thieves entered the store by cutting open the locks of the shutters.

The theft came to light when the store employees reached there this morning. They subsequently informed Mr Vikas Kumar, manager of the store, and the police.

Mr Vikas said that the thieves took away Rs 20,000 in cash and items of cosmetics and goods worth Rs 40,000.

A case has been registered.



Class XII student goes missing
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 28
A class XII student living in Sector 66 here went missing after his uncle scolded him for not attending school and depositing the fees given to him for a competitive examination.

According to the police, Avikant Thakur, studying in Kendriya Vidyalaya, Chandigarh, had left home after his uncle, Mr Kapil Dev, scolded him for bunking school.

Mr Dev complained to the police that he had given Rs 3,900 to his nephew on March 25 for depositing the amount for a competitive examination. But he failed to deposit the amount. The next day he left home, for going to the school, but he neither reached the school not deposited the fees.

The complainant said Avikant pocketed Rs 700 from the fees for which he had scolded him. 



Loan scheme for minorities to be discontinued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The board of directors of Chandigarh Scheduled Castes, Backward Classes & Minorities Financial and Development Corporation today decided to discontinue the scheme of providing micro loan upto Rs 10,000 (without surety) henceforth.

The performance of the scheme was reviewed and found to be unsatisfactory. It was decided not to extend it and disburse the amount only in cases sanctioned upto March 31, 2005. The poor recovery in the past two years was viewed seriously and it was resolved to strengthen the recovery mechanism.

A subcommittee will be constituted for regular monitoring of recovery in which non-official directors will also be associated.

Mr Krishna Mohan, Home Secretary-cum-Secretary, Social Welfare, chaired the meeting. Mr Tanzin Wangyal, Director, National Commission of SCs/STs and Mr Harjit Singh, Deputy Zonal Manager, NSFDC, were special invitees.

It was also decided to constitute a subcommittee for selection of suitable candidates for vocational training by associating non-official directors.


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