C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ponty & Co. corner city liquor vends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Chandigarh Administration has netted Rs 83.09 crore from the auction of 78 liquor vends today, recording a jump of Rs 9.32 crore.

The phenomenal jump of Rs 9.32 crore in the bid money is just next to the rise of Rs 9.59 crore witnessed in 1997-98 when prohibition was imposed in Haryana.

A comparison of revenue realised by way of auction over the years shows that there is a steady upward trend in revenue realisation. In the past 10 years it has more than doubled.

The rise is seen as an attempt by Punjab liquor vendors to control Chandigarh which has cheapest liquor prices. If the Chandigarh market is controlled then smuggling of liquor from the city to Punjab can be checked.

The vends were auctioned in four groups (18 each in three groups and 24 in the fourth). The entire process took about an hour. The auction was held at the Tagore Theatre, which was packed to capacity.

Heavy police arrangement had been made as it was estimated that contractors would bring not less than Rs 50 crore for depositing a part of the licence fee if the auction went in their favour.

According to the Deputy Commissioner, the contractors have already deposited around Rs 15 crore with the Excise Department as initial amount.



Prices to go up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Prices of liquor and beer are set to rise next week in the city as the liquor trade in the city fell in the hands of the cartel of liquor traders with Ponty Chadda, Manjinder Singh (a nephew of Amrik Singh, a Punjab MLA) and Pawan Singla being the main leaders of the group.

A senior member of the cartel said, “The trade will now be controlled and prices will rise marginally”. The new liquor lobby will take control of the trade on April 1. Such was the fierce competition that this year the group of vends in Mani Majra reportedly suffered losses.

Old timers in the trade explained that all groups which bid in the auction were inter-related to each other and will now control the trade. The 78 vends in the city are divided into four groups and they have been taken over by Krishan Kumar and company, Manjinder Singh and company, Shiv Lal and company, Amarjeet Sidhu and company. Interestingly, the group which is known as Manjinder Singh and Company had one of the 18 vends in the city in the last bid. Today its partners and their associates emerged as the single largest party. The only opposition will be from Krishan Lal and Company.

The traders today shrewdly bid for groups of vends as one of them, Shiv Lal, bid for a group of 24 vends and was later seen touching the feet of Ponty Chadda.

However, this may also stop illegal sale of liquor in slum colonies where bootleggers buy two or three cases of liquor and then sell on per peg basis from their homes. Buying on per case basis is about 30 per cent cheaper when compared to per bottle basis. Earlier, the vend owners used to give out cases to slum dwellers in bulk, but now this will not happen. 



15 pc seats for poor in private schools
Tribune News Service

Panel to fix fee and salaries

A nine-member committee, headed by the Deputy Commissioner, has been constituted to fix fee structure for students in private schools to whom land has been allotted by the Chandigarh Administration on concessional rates will also fix salaries for teachers and other staff.

It will submit its report in the next few days.

Chandigarh, March 29
In a major policy change, the Chandigarh Administration has decided to reserve 15 per cent of seats for students belonging to economically weaker sections of society in private schools, which were allotted land on concessional rates in the past. The policy will become effective from the 2005-2006 academic session.

Now the students will pay nominal fee and it will be on a par with what is being charged from the students of government institutions. The new policy envisages that all students, irrespective of caste, creed and economic status, have access to high quality education, says a spokesperson.

The policy will be implemented in letter and spirit in all classes in private schools. To ensure that proper reservation is given to deserving children, a nominee each from the Education and the Social Welfare Departments will monitor the entire procedure adopted by the schools.

Earlier, only 5 per cent reservation was given to underprivileged students in the private schools that got land on concessional rates and was being followed more in the breach.

The policy to ensure that quality education percolates down to the poor sections of society was conceptualised by the UT Administrator, Gen. S.F. Rodrigues (retd).

All schools under the policy will have to advertise and select such students for admission from the 2005-06 academic session.

Meanwhile, the Administration has also formed a committee to fix fee structures. The nine members of the committee included the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Estate Officer, the Director Public Instruction (S), the Director Social Welfare, Mr S. Mariya, Principal of Sector 10 DAV College, Mr J. P. Singh of Principal, St. Kabir School, Sector 26, Mr Harold Carver, Principal of St. Stephen’s School, Sector 45, Sister Maria Christi A.C. Principal of Carmel Convent School, Sector 9, Ms Sarita Manuja, Principal of DAV Public School, Sector 8, and Ms Surinder Tangri, former Principal of the Government College of Education, Sector 20.



Pak tourists looted in Delhi, taxi driver let off without case
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Even as citizens of India and Pakistan were enjoying the fruits of new-found bonhomie between them, unscrupulous elements also tried to make the most of the situation.

One such group of criminals took six Pakistan citizens for a ride, before leaving them stranded on the Delhi-Ambala Highway. Before that, the criminals allegedly relieved the tourists of goods and gifts worth over Rs 1 lakh.

The Pakistan nationals were allegedly looted by a gang that included the taxi driver whom they had engaged for a trip to Ajmer Sharif and New Delhi.

All six had come to India to watch the recently-held India-Pakistan Test match at Mohali. After getting their visas extended, they hired a taxi in Mohali to visit Ajmer Sharif, Jaipur and Delhi. At Ajmer Sharif and Delhi, they purchased goods and gifts worth over Rs 1 lakh.

In their complaint sent to the Punjab Government and the Punjab Police, Ashwak Ahmed Awzal and his fellow tourists have claimed that they hired the taxi driven by one Dewan Singh in Mohali. Throughout the journey to Ajmer Sharif and other places, the driver behaved in a very suspicious manner.

In Delhi, the complainants have alleged, Dewan Singh was found talking to some persons, whom he introduced as friends.

On the return journey from Delhi, on March 12, they stopped at a roadside dhaba to take dinner. It was then that the driver, who was standing near the taxi while others were eating their dinner, started shouting that two persons had forcibly driven the taxi away. All the valuables were also in the taxi. Head Constable Rajinder and another cop from Alipur police station, who arrived at the spot, took the driver along for questioning.

The tourists were told to go as their visas were lapsing the next day. They were allegedly assured that the driver had been arrested and the FIR would be registered soon.

However, the Pak nationals later came to know that the driver had been let off without any case being registered.

In their complaint, Mr Awzal and the others have stated while they received huge welcome at Punjab and Chandigarh, they left disappointed due to the incident in Delhi.

According to sources, Punjab Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh, who was also sent a copy of the complaint, has forwarded it to the Delhi Government for action.



Kathak queen who minces no words
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Kathak queen Sitara Devi makes a point during a conversation in Chandigarh
Kathak queen Sitara Devi makes a point during a conversation in Chandigarh on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, March 29
It’s hard to believe Sitara Devi has 83 long years behind her. The fire in the rebel is still intact; the pride of performance still very much there. Ask the kathak queen what has changed about her life, and trust her to tell you, “We would not be, if we changed…”

In Chandigarh today to accept the first ML Koser and Shobha Koser award instituted by the Pracheen Kala Kendra, Sitara Devi made a trademark appearance. She looked every bit a shining star and roared to tell what ailed the state of art affairs in India. The firebrand had earlier turned down the Government of India’s Padma Bhushan. Years later, the most celebrated Indian artiste thinks no higher of the government as she declares, “I never call politicians to my shows. They spoil the sacred ambience in which we worship art. Also, they want invitations. If they have an esteem to save, we have some too.”

As for the award, Sitara Devi stands by her earlier remark that nothing less than a Bharat Ratna would do. She decided to accept the Koser award because it comes from artistes and not from “some bunch of politicians who have no respect for the nuances of art”.

Reasoned the living legend, “When I danced as a 16-year-old Rabindra Nath Tagore honoured me as the ‘Kathak Queen of India’. His remark is my best accomplishment. I don’t need the government to remind me of my contribution to the field of kathak. I come from the family of Pt Sukhdev Maharaj who gave Kathak its modern form. Had it not been for him, Kathak would have been nowhere. Kathak originated from the Benaras tradition which my father founded. the Jaipur gharana was coincidental; the Lucknow gharana emerged die to the patronage of Wajid Ali Shah, who is no longer revered by modern-day dancers.”

Mincing no words, Sitara Devi lambasted Kathak Kendra, New Delhi, for the pettiness of its instruction. She dared the kendar saying it taught crude versions of Kathak which best qualified as “mujra.”

For her part, Sitara Devi never directed dance for any film which did not suit her artistic sensibilities. A pioneer who took kathak to films, Sitara Devi said, “I worked in many films along with Gopi Kishen. I even directed the song “Madhuban mein Radhika nache re” which featured Kumkum. But I always kept the reins firmly in hands so I could pull back when I wanted.”

Strangely, Sitara Devi who lived a no-holds-barred life never allowed the easiness of her lifestyle to spill over to the performance space. There was a time when she refused the temptation of earning Rs 1500 which she commanded by virtue of being a Bollywood superstar. And this she did for the sake of pure dance, which is better known by its rarity these days!



Call it quits Sourav, say fans

The verdict is clear: Sourav Ganguly should quit as captain of the Indian cricket team. Of the cross section of cricket buffs that the Chandigarh Tribune interviewed, very few rallied behind Sourav. However, the anger against him for losing the third Test is palpable. Excerpts from interviews:

D.P. AzadIt is high time for Ganguly to quit the team. He should vacate space for young talented players like Yuvraj Singh and Mohammed Kaif. Ganguly’s approach seemed casual and lacks an extra effort. We have a readymade skipper in Rahul Dravid, who produced excellent results whenever the responsibility of the captaincy has been given to him. Ganguly should be shown the door.
— D.P. Azad, cricket coach
Mohinder SinghEvery player has a bad phase during his stint in the game and Ganguly is no exception. He deserves sympathetic consideration as he is passing through a rough phase now. We should not forget that he has been the most-successful Indian captain . He has shown his captaincy skills many a time to save crucial matches. So he should be given more chances to prove himself in Test cricket.
— Mohinder Singh, secretary, CCA
Sukhwinder BawaThe performance of Ganguly as a batsman has not been up to the mark for a long time. Looking back one can see that lots of chances have already been given to him to prove his worth in the team but he has failed everytime.
— Sukhwinder Bawa, SAI coach
Surinder Singh ‘Baijee’Every cricket enthusiast knows about the contribution of Ganguly to the Indian cricket team as a captain and player. So we cannot judge his abilities as a cricketer on the basis of his performance in just one Test series with Pakistan. He should take some.
— Surinder Singh ‘Baijee’, secretary, CCA
Richa SehgalOne should look at the records of matches played by the Indian team under the captainship of Saurav before critisising him at this juncture. He is the most successful captain of India and need not prove his worth. In my opinion he needs some rest.
— Richa Sehgal, captain, MCM DAV
Sumit KambojNow Ganguly is like a hurdle in the way of young stars and this hurdle should be removed immediately in the interest of cricket and country. The selectors have a better choice in Rahul Dravid, who showed good captaincy skills in certain international matches earlier. So he should be made captain and the chance should also be given to Yuvraj in Test cricket.
— Sumit Kamboj, upcoming cricketer
Pooja JoonHe should not remain as captain but could be retained as a team member. Dravid is the ideal choice for the captaincy. Some rest from the hectic job of captaincy could do wonders to his batting skills. The high pressure of leading the team for a long time seemed to taken its toll on Saurav. Of course, new players should find a place in the Indian squad.
— Pooja Joon, MCM DAV cricket player



Passing Thru

Rabindra Narayan, President, ETC Punjabi channel
Rabindra Narayan, President, ETC Punjabi channel

What is your strategy for competing with other channels?

We try to be different from other channels. I think people are coming back to their roots and my channels are providing them entertainment steeped in traditions. It has brought real culture of Punjab to the fore. We cannot make ‘Saas Bahu’ kind of serials, we show Gurbani on our channel which is being appreciated by viewers.

What do you have to say about Punjab and its culture?

The state has a glorious history and its ancient wisdom is reflected in its folklore. I think Punjabis are the most passionate people and whatever they do they do it with zeal.

What are your future plans?

We have planned to launch talent hunt contests. We will be also producing three feature films shortly.

What brings you to Chandigarh?

We are organising a talent hunt show and looking for fresh faces. The auditions were held today in the city beautiful on Tuesday.

— Swarleen Kaur



UT to have home for women in difficult circumstances
Social Welfare Dept will raise the shelter in Nari Niketan complex
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Working Women’s Hostel on revival path

The Working Women’s Hostel in Sector 24 is being revived with the efforts of the Social Welfare Department. Along with the current capacity of 72 inmates, the hostel will have an additional complex with a housing capacity of 156. The foundation stone plaque for the second phase, to come up at the cost of Rs 1.43 crore was unveiled today by Mrs Jean Rodrigues, wife of Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd). The new look hostel will have facilities like gymnasium, beauty salons and vocational courses. The second phase will come up by April 2006 and the cost will be shared by Government of India (75 per cent) and the UT Administration the UT Engineering Department is already giving the hostel a facelift.

Chandigarh, March 29
Chandigarh has finally decided to wake up to cause of women in difficult circumstances. If the latest commitment of the Social Welfare Department, UT, is anything to go by, the city will soon have the much needed shelter for women who find themselves grappling with a life of indignity due to circumstances other than law.

These women could be victims of domestic violence, could have been forced to abort a female foetus, could have been turned out of the house at night, or could have been habitual to battering.

Speaking to The Tribune today, Director, Social Welfare UT Ms Madhavi Kataria said the proposed shelter would come up in the compound of Nari Niketan in Sector 26. However the new Home would have a separate entrance and would come up as an independent entity.

At present, the only arrangement Chandigarh has for women caught in distress situations is Nari Niketan which came up to house women in conflict with the law. Said Ms Kataria, “The idea behind Nari Niketan was to provide temporary accommodation to women charged under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act. Also it covered those that fell in the gambit of Juvenile Justice Act.

The essential clause is - women and children in conflict with the law. But we have had to place even mentally challenged girls here because there is no other place for them. During my last tenure I had raised a separate building to house women who have other problems like feoticide and domestic violence. The department will now revive the old building.”

The building with a capacity to house as many as 100 women is located inside Nari Niketan and has enough space to hold regular vocational training sessions.

With the Social Welfare Department proposing to open the building, women in difficult circumstances will have a temporary shelter and vocation to care for themselves during the period of stay away from home.

Also, the new shelter would facilitate segregation of women with mental disabilities from those that are physically fit. Said Ms kataria, “The idea is not isolation but healthy segregation so that inmates are provided the ambience they deserve.”

The department has already prepared a year long vocational course schedule for the women inmates of Nari Niketan as well as the shelter. This has been done in collaboration with the Government Polytechnic, Chandigarh.



Govt asks MC to hike water, sewerage rates
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali,l March 29
The Municipal Council here has been directed to hike water and sewerage rates in the town according to a notification issued by the government. The issue is likely to be put at the council meeting to be held in the first week of April.

The government has proposed to hike the water charges for residential areas from the present rate of Rs 1.80 per thousand litres to Rs 3.20 per thousand litres. The proposed rates for water supply for commercial activity are Rs 6.40 per thousand litres against the present rate of Rs 5 . Sewerage cess was also to be hiked.

Reacting to the notification issued by the government in January this year, and received by the council recently, the councillors said that the proposal would be opposed at the meeting of the House.

According to sources, the government had earlier issued a notification to hike water and sewerage rates in the town in 2003. The proposal was then put up before the House and was twice kept pending as there was a general disapproval in this regard. It is learnt that the notification had later been withdrawn by the government. However, sources said that now a fresh letter had been issued stating that the earlier notification stood and should be implemented at the earliest.

The council president, Mr Kulwant Singh, said that since the government had issued a notification the matter would be put up at the meeting. The final decision in this regard would be taken by the members of the House.

He said the water and sewerage rates should not be hiked as they were already on the higher side in comparison to various other towns in the state.

Mr N.K. Marwaha, a municipal councillor of the ruling group, living in Phase III B-1, said the proposal had earlier been rejected in 2003 and now we would again oppose it. He said that the water supply system should he handed over to the civic body according to the provisions of the Municipal Act. He said once this was done the council would be able to supply water to the town at almost half the cost.

He said the water supply system was in the hands of the Department of Public Health (DPH) which was working on behalf of the council but was not answerable to the latter. He alleged that officials were given no account to the civic body even when the work of bill collection was being done by them. He said the rates were being hiked to cover the expenses. There was overstaffing in the DPH and the consumers were being burdened for that.

Moreover, there should be no discrimination in connection with the sewerage cess which had been fixed at different levels depending upon the size of the House.

Mrs Manmohan Kaur, a councillor living in Phase II, said she would object to the proposal of the government. Water and sewerage were part of the essential services and the government should not unnecessarily hike the rates. The government should generate income from other sources instead of taxing people. If this went on unchecked poor people would not even be able to afford adequate quantity of water. Moreover, the sewerage was not being maintained by the department concerned. Residents had to hire people at their own level to get blocked sewers cleared.



Paid parking imposed in more Sectors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Municipal Corporation has decided to impose paid parking in Sectors 22, 34 and 35 at its monthly meeting here today. The provision for paid parking in the city already exists in Sectors 8, 9 and 17.

Mrs Anu Chatrath, the Mayor, said a five-member committee would be constituted to work out details of the facilities expected at the parking from the contractors. Out of the total amount collected on the parking contracts, as much as 25 per cent would be spent on the development of the area concerned.

Mr Pradeep Chhabra, a councillor, earlier said, “it was always wise to implement the paid parking after getting a report of satisfactory services from the existing centres. The contractors in the existing paid parking were not following the regulations of the corporation because of which daily commuters faced a lot of hardships”.

Mrs Kamla Sharma and Mrs Harjinder Kaur also pointed out the need for reports of satisfactory services before allowing the paid parking in new areas.

Mr Chhabra said the corporation should work out a ‘multi-pass system for the paid parking”.

The corporation will seek permission of the UT administration for extension in the last date of filing property tax. Mrs Harpreet Kaur and Mr H.S. Lucky had sought extension of date till April 30. Mr Lucky argued that “people were late because the scheme was introduced this year only so people had certain confusion”. The corporation had earlier extended the date till February 28. Interestingly, people who paid later have already deposited an additional 25 per cent of the total amount.

The corporation deferred the item pertaining to the allotment of additional land to petrol pump at Mani Majra on the Chandigarh-Kalka road. Mr C.K.Sawhney said the rates approved for the sanction of land were old( 2003). He said the corporation should take into account, at least, the current rates. The House was not very clear even on the exact location of the plot sought as an extension to the current land of the petrol pump.

Mr Subhash Chawla said the corporation should take due care in including members of different committees while discussing issues related to them. “The Mayor and the Commissioner today had a marathon session of discussions with Mrs Santosh Chaudhary, chairperson of the National Commission on Safai Karamcharis. Mr Pradeep Chhabra who is the chairman of the committee was not even informed about the development. Such instances should be avoided in future”.



Sector 17 sanitation privatisation deferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Municipal Corporation has deferred the privatisation of sanitation in Sector 17. A decision in this regard was taken today following a meeting of Mrs Santosh Chaudhary, chairperson of the National Commission of Safai Karamcharis, with Mr P.S. Aujla and Mrs Anu Chatrath, Commissioner and Mayor of the Municipal Corporation, respectively.

The decision means that nearly 75 per cent of the total area in Sector 17 will remain the workplace for safai karamcharis of the corporation. Rest of the area is already privatised. Earlier this month the corporation had decided to introduce private sanitation in Sector 17.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Mrs Chaudhary said Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, local MP, who also attended the meeting, gave an assurance that two buses to facilitate travel of slum children to schools would be started soon.

She said the commissioner assured representation to safai karamcharis on the purchase committees of the department. “Since it is the karamcharis who work in the field they have better knowledge about the equipment they employ,” she said.

Mrs Chaudhary also talked about the risk allowance for sanitation workers. “They work in unhealthy conditions and always run the risk of infection. The corporation has assured me that it would look into the matter,” she said.



MC meeting — a mismanaged affair
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The monthly meeting of the municipal corporation here today was a mismanaged affair. The House was scheduled to meet at 11 am. The meeting coincided with the visit of Mrs Santosh Chaudhary, chairperson of the National Commission of Safai Karamcharis. The MC meeting was postponed till 12.15 pm.

Mrs Chaudhary was scheduled to address a press conference after the meeting which went astray as the commissioner and the mayor entered the House to begin the proceedings of the House after 1 pm. Later, while the House was in progress mediapersons were called for a press conference of Mrs Chaudhary at about 2 pm.

Mrs Kamla Sharma and Mrs Harjinder Kaur said that the House could have been conducted by the senior deputy mayor or the deputy mayor in absence of the mayor. “No decency was shown even by informing the members of the House,” Mrs Harjinder Kaur said.

Mrs Anu Chatrath said “She was sorry for the delay in the commencement of the House meeting as she and the commissioner were engaged in an emergency meeting with Mrs Santosh Chaudhary”.

Reacting to the adamant behaviour of Mrs Sharma and Mrs Harjinder Kaur, Mr H.S. Lucky said “first they should apologise. These two members continued to raise their voices while ‘Vande Matram’ the national anthem was in progress when the House opened”.



Fading Red evokes little passion
Tribune News Service

Comrades in high spirits!

A Sector 22 wine shop, opposite the Parade Ground, was the most-frequented place after the rally as the rallyists made a beeline for the shop to be in "high spirits". Scores of rallyists from Punjab "celebrated" the success of the rally at a nearby ‘ahata’.

Most of them took their liquor quota back home since liquor is much cheaper in the city as compared to Punjab.

Chandigarh, March 29
The mass rally of the CPI on the eve of its 19th congress at the Parade Ground, Sector 17, here today evoked a moderate response clearly indicating that communism is fast losing its charm in the region.

A majority of the rallyists belonged to the older generation with only a marginal presence of youth in the crowd.

Ironically, the seeds of communism had found a fertile ground in Punjab during freedom struggle when Lahore was at the centre of this revolutionary movement.

But despite the lukewarm response to the rally, speakers from the podium claimed that it was a massive rally and one of the biggest rallies witnessed in North India after the CPI congress in Bathinda in 1978.

Earlier, cultural troupes from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh set the pace for the rally. Delegates from various states in colourful dresses showcased the unity in diversity of country.

Apart from the revolutionary leaders like Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru and other communist leaders, others who found mention at the rally were Hari Singh, Jangeer Singh, Satish Loomba and Sohan Singh Josh in whose honour the podium and the gates to the rally were named.

The rally, just a stone’s throw away from the most happening place in the city — Sector 17, brought out the contrast between the market economy and communist zeal.

While the markets were abuzz with shoppers purchasing consumer durables, leaders at the rally exhorted the people to rise to fight for their basic rights.

Books, journals on Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, in Punjabi as well English, were put on sale at the venue.

There were many onlookers for these literatures but these stalls did not manage a roaring sale.

Delegates from 31 countries and over 750 party delegates are participating in the six-day congress.

As the foreign delegates arrived at the podium there was a roaring welcome and there was a special mention of delegates from Cuba and China.

And the Cuban delegate did not disappoint the crowd as he raised the "Lal Salam" slogan in Spanish.

The delegates from Vietnam, which gave a tough time to the imperialist power— the USA — drew a thunderous applause.



5 habitual offenders set to lose driving licences
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 29
The Chandigarh Traffic police has recommended the suspension of licences of five habitual offenders (including three, who are disqualified for the second time for traffic offences) under Section 19 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, for one to two months from April 1.

They were booked by the police for various traffic violations.

The offenders who have been disqualified for the second time are: Subash Chand of Sector 15, Panchkula, he was challaned 15 times from August 6, 2000 to June 8, 2004, he is disqualified for holding a driving licence for two months. Murari Lal of Gobinpura of Mani Majra was issued eight challans from June 20, 2000 to December 8, 2003 and Saurabh Sharma of Sector 19-B was challaned 11 times from June 5, 1999 to July 12, 2004. They have been barred from holding a licence for one month.

Dupinderjit Singh of Sector 40-C was challaned as many as nine times from May 15, 1998 to December 23, 2004, Vikas Pathania of Kajheri village was issued 10 challans during September 7, 1998 to January 24, 2004. They are disqualified for holding licences for two months.

Till date the traffic police has recommended 144 cases for action to the Licensing Authority and action has been taken against 105 offenders.



Electronic eyes to watch HUDA working
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 29
In an effort to control corruption in Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), the Administrator, Panchkula, Mrs Neelam P. Kasni, has decided to install closed circuit televisions (CCTVs) all around the office.

Mrs Kasni informed TNS that 16 CCTVs will be installed in most of the offices in the HUDA complex here. As many as 16 CCTVs will be installed, most of them in the Estate Office within the next month, she said.

The Administrator said these would help her keep tab on the staff in her office as well as the Estate Office. “Many a time middlemen and property dealers keep sitting in these offices and affect the working of the staff. Also allegations of corruption in the Estate Office have been coming in,” she said.

She said the monitors would be kept in her office and that of the Estate Officer. The entire cost of the project is around 1.25 lakh.

Mrs Kasni, during her tenure as Deputy Commissioner of Panchkula had installed CCTVs in the DC office.



Brar’s boycott a hasty step, says Cong leader
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 29
The call for the boycott of Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, senior Congress leader, by the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) and few others was a hasty step and against the constitution of the party.

Stating this here today, Mr Harvinder Singh Sidhu, former vice-president of the PPCC, said Mr Brar had only voiced the feelings of party workers and the general public. He said the auction of liquor vends in the state was done in less than a minute’s time in favour of Ponty Chada with the state exchequer losing Rs 300 crore. Mr Brar had done no wrong by raising his voice against this as he had always been protecting the interests of the people.

He said that if liquor vend auction had been carried out in a transparent manner the state would not have lost such a huge amount and the government would not have had to propose a cess of Re 1 on diesel. This cess added a burden of Rs 200 crore on farmers who were already hit by natural calamities.



Surjewala inspects bus stand
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 29
The Haryana Transport Minister, Mr Randeep Surjewala, today inspected the bus stand at Panchkula and also saw Volvo bus to see if this luxury bus could be introduced in the state.

Mr Surjewala, accompanied by State Transport Commissioner, Mr Raminder Jakhu, visited the bus stand and examined the state of affairs at the bus stand. He was reportedly unhappy with the condition of public utilities and the dilapidated condition of roads at the bus stand, and asked the transport officials to make amends. He reportedly also promised to beautify the entrance of the bus stand.

It is learnt that Mr Surjewala had come here to examine the Volvo bus, and took a small ride in the bus along with Transport Department officials. He also talked to the members of general public and asked them about the problems they face at the bus stand and sought suggestions for improvement.



DC orders relief for girl’s marriage
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 29
The Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh, Mr Arun Kumar, has ordered a relief of Rs 10,000 out of the UT Red Cross funds for the marriage of the daughter of Mr Madan Lal, a resident of Ram Darbar.

Mr Lal has suffered a loss due to the fire incident that took place in his house yesterday. The DC said it would help Mr Madan Lal in arranging the marriage of his daughter, dowry items for whose marriage were burnt in the fire.

Chandigarh Tribune yesterday highlighted the plight of the family after its house was completely destroyed in the fire.



150 illegal structures razed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Estate Office today demolished around 150 illegal structures, including a religious and 70 commercial ones, for allegedly violating the Periphery Control Act in Dhanas Village.

Forty Estate Office personnel led by Land Acquisition Officer S. K. Setia, pressed into service four earth movers to remove the structures in nearly a five-hour long operation, which went off unprotected.

Official sources said there were 40 jhuggis which were demolished.

The demolished commercial establishments included dhabas, dairies and sanitaryware shops. The sources said the violation by the buildings spread across 30 acres of land. Around 50 police personnel were deployed with the demolition squad to guard them against violence from public.



Traffic disrupted after accident
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, March 29
Traffic at the intersection of Chandigarh-Ambala and Panchkula-Patiala highways was disrupted for over half-an-hour following an accident involving the car of the Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ), Una and an Army truck.

According to the police Mr KL Sharma, ADSJ Una, along with his wife and two sons, was on his way to Chandigarh from Poanta Sahib in his Zen car when the Army truck rammed into the vehicle.

Following the accident, vehicles following the Army truck also came to a halt thus leading to long queues of vehicles on either lanes of the highway.

The traffic police personnel at the light point and the Punjab police cops at the Lohgarh police post reached the spot. The case was later amicably solved as both the parties entered into a compromise.



43 postal employees honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
A facilitation function to honour postal employees of Punjab circle for their services in the promotion of International Money Transfer Service was held here today.

As many as 43 employees of the Postal Department were honoured by the Chief Postmaster General, Punjab circle, Mr L.K. Puri, for undertaking highest number of transactions during 2004. Post Master General, Mr K.L.Khanna, Director Postal Service (Head Quarter), Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, and Director (Finance), Ms Sharon Shefali Gupta, were also present on the occasion.

The department is running the service in association with the Western Union Financial Service. Started in April 2001, the service is currently available at 5,110 post offices across the country. In Punjab circle, the service is available at 544 post offices.

An official of the department said Rs 59.23 crore was transferred to the customers and the circle earned revenue to the tune of Rs 1.20 crore.



Panchkula resident wins Rs 1 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Mr Parveen Attray, a resident of Panchkula, was today announced the winner of Rs 1 lakh in the "Airtel STD Ghumao Lakh Rupay Pao" offer.

A visibly happy, Mr Attray said, "I thank Airtel for making me Lakhpati. I plan to utilise the money on social work. The new academic session is about to start, so I will provide books and stationery to underprivileged children."

Congratulating the winner, Mr Mandeep Bhatia, COO, Airtel, Punjab, said, "Airtel is always at the forefront of bringing innovative offers to its customers. This latest initiative has been specially designed not only to reward our valued customers but also to make them feel special." To participate in offer, an Airtel subscriber needs to make a minimum of 2 STD calls in a day and the customer automatically gets an entry coupon for a computerised lucky draw. The offer is valid till 31st March, 2005.



Trader found hanging in hotel room
Wrote ‘suicide’ note to Badal
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 29
Drained by a property dispute, a 42-year-old Nawanshahr trader here today ended his life leaving behind the responsibility of his 4 children and wife on Akali leader Parkash Singh Badal and others.

Ramesh Kumar Talwar (42), a resident of Durgapur village in Nawanshahr, allegedly hanged himself from a ceiling fan hook in room no 105 in Piccadilly Hotel, Sector 35.

The deceased had written about 20 letters to his family, friends and relatives, including one to the former Chief Minister of Punjab, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, urging them to take care of his four children and wife.

He had written to Mr Badal that as he was going to be the next CM of Punjab, he should visit his family.

He put all the letters in envelopes and wrote addresses also. He had also made a list of his belongings, said the SHO of Sector 36 police station.

The police said the deceased had tried to cut his veins with a blade as there were injury marks on his arms and wrists before he hanged himself.

According to the police, deceased was found hanging from the ceiling hook and a bucket was lying on the bed. He hanged himself with a towel and tied the cord of an air-conditioner to it. A bottle of whisky and 2 bottles of soda were also found in the room.

Ramesh had come to the city on March 27 and was a dealer of the Chandigarh-based Somany Tiles Company.

Last night he visited Sandeep Singh Bedi, a salesman of the company, at his Sector 70 house in Mohali.

Sandeep is also a distant relative of the deceased and he told the police that he left home for office yesterday leaving Ramesh behind. When he came back, Ramesh told him that his house was congested and he wanted to stay in a hotel.

Thereafter, both of them left for hotel Piccadilly and also. They bought a bottle of whisky which they consumed in the hotel. Sandeep said he came back from the hotel at around 9 pm.

It was only this morning that he received a phone call from Kala, brother-in-law of Ramesh, that Ramesh was not picking up his mobile phone.

He then called up the hotel staff who rang the intercom number of the room occupied by Ramesh, but there was no response.

Then he went to the hotel and the hotel staff opened the room with a master key, said the police quoting Sandeep.

The inconsolable Sandeep said when they departed last night the deceased called from behind and gave a tight hug to him.

The police said the family members of the deceased did not suspect any foul play in it. The post-mortem examination of the body would be conducted tomorrow, said the police.

Police sources said Ramesh had last night asked the hotel staff to wake him up at 6 am but when they did so he asked them to call him at 10 am.



Burglars strike at industrial units
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 29
Burglars took away cash and jewellery from two units in the Industrial Area here. They broke open some locks in three more units but were not successful to take away goods from there.

The industrial unit owners have made complaints to the police in this regard.

Mr Subhash Vij, who has a factory in Phase VII, said that yesterday when he came to his unit he found that the locks had been broken and the burglars had caused a lot of damage by breaking various items while carrying out searches. They took away some cash from the unit. In another case burglars reportedly took away cash and some jewellery from the room of a chowkidar engaged by a unit owner of Phase VIII. Locks had been found broken in three more cases. The police rounded up some persons for questioning in this regard.



Two accident victims dead
Our Correspondent

Lalru, March 29
Two youths, Sanjiv Kumar and Raj Kumar, both residents of Vichpari locality in Ambala City, who were admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh, after they sustained injures in an accident on the Kalka-Ambala highway near Jharmari village, succumbed to their injuries last night. Another victim, Lucky, is under going treatment at the Civil Hospital, Ambala.

The victims were going on a motor cycle (PB-11L-5418) towards Ambala when they had a head-on collision with an Indica car (PB-65B-6055) on late Sunday night. The driver of the car fled the scene and a case had been registered.



Four vehicles stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 29
Two jeeps, one car and a scooter were stolen from the city during the past 48 hours while the police arrested three persons accused of stealing in three different cases, as per the information released by the local police, here, today.

Ms Nilu Tuli of Sector 36-A reported that her Marshal Jeep (CH-03-N-2610) was stolen from her residence on March 27. Mr Ashok Kumar of Sector 40-C reported that his Tata Sumo Jeep was stolen from his residence the same day. In another incident, Mr Munish Kaushal of Sector 42 lodged a complainant that his Maruti car (CH-03-N-2238) was stolen from Hotel Park-In, Sector 35. In a similar incident, Mr Sita Ram of Phase IX, Mohali, reported that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH-03-D-0872) was stolen from Mauli Complex in Mani Majra, yesterday.

Held for stealing

Bablu Kumar of Bapu Dham Colony was arrested allegedly for stealing a TV belonging to Mohan of the same colony on Monday. The police has recovered the TV from his possession. A case has been registered. The police arrested Neeraj of Burail village and recovered a stolen rickshaw-rehri, from his possession on Monday. The complaint was filed by Kamlesh of the same village. In a similar incident, the police arrested Narinder Singh allegedly for stealing a cycle from Badheri village on Sunday.


Mr Hemant Mehta, a resident of Sector 21-D alleged that the sons of his uncle's landlord, G.P.Goel, Vikas and Vishal, and their servant Raju, had kidnapped him in a car on March 26. He said the accused beaten him up and threatened to kill him and later dropped him near his house. A case has been registered, but no arrests have been made do far. The police said both parties had lodged complaints against each other and investigations were on.



4 arrested for playing satta
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, March 29
The deputy director of Punjab State Lotteries, today conducted a raid at various lottery vends in Zirakpur and arrested four persons for playing satta in the guise of the state lottery tickets.

Lead by Mr Sadhu Singh, Deputy Director of the department, a team from the department with the assistance of local police, conducted the raid and nabbed Ajay, a resident of Mohali, Vikas of Saini Vihar Colony-Phase-III, Bartana, Surinder Singh of Burail village in Chandigarh, and Rajesh, hailing from Uttar Pradesh.

The police has also recovered some slips bearing some numeric numbers. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered against them at the Dera Bassi police station.



11 arrested for playing satta
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, March 29
Tightening noose around gamblers, the police has arrested 11 persons from different places for playing satta, here today. The police has also recovered a sum of Rs 9350 from them.

According to the police, Parveen Kumar, a resident of Sector 19, and Sawan Kumar of Mauli Jagran were arrested from the Sector 7 Rehri Market. Surmukh of Haripur village was arrested from Sector 4, Mukandi Lal of Old Panchkula at Truck Union, Mazri Chowk, Subhash Chand and Raj Kumar, residents of Bir Ghaggar village, in same locality.

Similarly, Sham Sunder and Satish Kumar, residents of Barwala, were arrested from Barwala market. Girdhari of Chandimandir was arrested from the same locality while Joginder Kumar of Mani Majra and Nirmal Prakash of Panjokhra district in Ambala were arrested from Gandhi Chowk in Kalka and Raipur Rani, respectively.

Cases under the Gambling Act have been registered against them.



Impersonator dupes attorney’s mother
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 29
A man duped an old woman of Rs 100 at her Sector 19-C residence today by posing himself as a peon working at her son’s office.

Mr Narinder Goel, a Deputy District Attorney at the Panchkula court told the Chandigarh Tribune that his mother Pushpa Devi (65) was alone at home when the incident occurred. His wife and children were off to the market.

Ms Pushpa Devi noticed a man outside her house standing with a scooter. Soon after, the man gave a knock at the door and asked her about Ms Goel.

She replied that her son was not at home at which the man asked her to open the door saying that he was working as a peon at her son’s office.

He then demanded money from her citing some urgency. The woman replied that she had only Rs 100 with her which she handed over to him.

When Mr Goel returned in the evening, her mother told him about the incident. He cross-checked from his office and found that her mother had been cheated.

The matter was reported to the police and the police had registered a DDR after recording the statement of Ms Pushpa Devi.



Traders to go on 2-day strike against VAT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
A two-day strike will be observed at the Grain Market beginning tomorrow to protest against the implementation of VAT in the city from April 1.

Local traders will hoist black flags in markets, wear black badges and hold demonstrations in their respective markets to express their resentment.

At a meeting of the executive of the Grain Market Association held today at Satsang Bhawan, here, it was decided that a bandh would be observed by the traders to protest against the provisions and structure of VAT. The members appealed to other market associations to press for a “consumer-friendly VAT”.

Earlier, a meeting of the office-bearers of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) was held on the issue of VAT. The members said the CBM was protesting against the implementation of VAT for the past two years in association with All India Udyog Beopar Mandal, Confederation of All India Traders at National-level by organising dharnas and rallies, bandh, meetings and seminars from time to time.

In spite of their best efforts, the government had failed to concede to their genuine demands and suggestions to have simpler, more transparent, hassle-free, people-friendly and convenient taxation system so that the financial burden on the consumers was avoided, they said.

In view of bandh call by the All India Traders body, the CBM has decided to give full support to the cause of the traders and will hold peace in different markets and burn effigies of VAT on different days.

Today’s meeting was attended by Mr Jagdish Arora, president, CBM, Mr Satpal Garg, Mr Subhash Sethi, Mr Jagdish Kaul Singh Kalra, L.C. Arora, Neeraj Bajaj among others.



Canara Bank’s gesture
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Mr Y.L. Madan, General Manager, Canara Bank, circle office, handed over 18 mattresses to the Society for the Care of the Blind, Sector 26. The bank, which is engaged in such social activities has already donated goods worth Rs 2.5 lakh and cash worth Rs 1 lakh from this circle in the current year.

General Rajender Nath (retd), Chairman, Society for the Care of the Blind, said the society was running a school for blind children, wherein hostel facility was also being provided to them in good surroundings. It has on rolls 130 children, including 36 girls.

General Rajender Nath (retd) said free education was made available to students up to Class XII and the school was affiliated to the Punjab School Education Board. Students of the institute mostly opted for music subjects and had brought glory to the institution by winning various awards and medals.


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