C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Burail jailbreak case
Court frames charges against 13
Tribune News Service


  • Sedition charges dropped
  • 2 CRPF personnel discharged
  • Accused to be tried for bailable offences

Chandigarh, April 11
Almost 15 months after the sensational Burail jailbreak case in which three alleged assassins of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh tunnelled their way out of the high-security Burail jail here, a local court today framed charges against 13 while discharging two CRPF personnel.

However, Mr Balbir Singh, Additional Sessions Judge, dropped sedition charges against the accused, including former jail officials, the daring escape of Jagtar Singh Tara, Jagtar Singh Hawara and Paramjit Singh Bheora.

The order, however, discharged two CRPF personnel Kashmir Singh and Jagir Singh since their prosecution was not sanctioned by the Central Government. The order is seen as a severe jolt to the prosecution and comes after about 15 months of the registration of the case against the jail officials and undertrials, including an alleged Pakistani spy, Abid Mahmud.

Besides the alleged Pakistani spy, D.S. Rana, D.S. Sandhu, V.M. Gill, P.S. Rana, all jail officials, Sher Singh, Subeg Singh, Nand Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Baljit Kaur, Narayan Singh Chaura, Gurvinder Singh Goldy, and Gurnam Singh, all undertrials are being tried in the case.

Sources said the dropping of Sections 121 and 121-A of the IPC, which deals with waging war against the state, and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) was the highlight of the court order. While dropping these charge the court framed charges under Sections 217,222 and 224 of the IPC, which were bailable offences.

This will mean that the judicial magistrates will try all accused while a majority of the charges are bailable.

Meanwhile, the framing of charges under bailable offences sent a wave of happiness among the accused and their defence counsel. “The addition of Sections 121 and 121-A was uncalled for and with its dropping the prosecution case is on its way out,” Mr Deepak Sibal, a counsel said.

Terming the prosecution case as “bogus”, Mr A.S. Chahal, another counsel, alleged that the undertrials had no role to play in the escape of the trio and at best it was a case of “dereliction of duty” on the part of the officials.

Mr Arvind Thakur said the Sections relating to sedition were added only to deny bail to the accused and they had to spend over 14 months in jail due to the “vindictive” attitude of the prosecution.

Pleading innocence, D.S. Rana told the Chandigarh Tribune that he had faith in the judiciary and hoped that justice would be done.



PGI gets ready for PM’s visit; PU feels left out
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The Postgraduate Institute (PGI) here is busy getting its roads recarpeted and refurbishing its interiors to welcome Dr Manmohan Singh on his maiden visit as the Prime Minister to the Institute on Wednesday. But across the road Panjab University resent their unexpected omission from the Prime Minister’s itinerary.

This is because it happens to be Manmohan Singh’s alma mater, where he spent eight years as a faculty member after completing studies from the Department of Economics. A disappointed faculty said he would be wholeheartedly welcomed, if he chooses to come.

“The Prime Minister is coming to the PGI for the annual convocation. Probably we got a little late to invite him,’’ says Vice-Chancellor (VC) K. N. Pathak today.

But reading more into the development is Senator S. S. Virdhi who recalls, while talking to The Tribune, that he had taken a detailed letter on behalf of the VC to the Prime Minister in December on his visit, which has not been responded to so far. “There were several occasions befitting his visit and when I met him in Delhi I presented him with the VC’s detailed letter inviting him on any of these. But so far he has chosen not to visit,’’ he says.

Speculations are rife on the campus that the Central Government is annoyed over the fact that no nominations from the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development and from the Punjab Government were accepted as members of the Senate last year. This might have led Dr Manmohan Singh, who taught in the Department of Economics here from 1957 to 1965, not to visit the campus till date.

Eager to get due in form of pension for the PU employees, president of the Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) Ronki Ram says that since the Prime Minister plans not to visit PU, their delegation will try to meet him outside the campus in this regard. “We are trying to get in touch with the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, so that we are able to meet the Prime Minister and talk about our demands. Or else we will have to go to Delhi for the same,’’ adds Dr Ronki Ram.

Meanwhile, whitewashing and the painting, of the interiors is in progress at the PGI to give it a last minute facelift.



Tight security for PM’s visit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Almost all Chandigarh police officers and 1,000 personnel, including those from the CRPF, will be guarding the city for the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to the city on April 13.

The Chandigarh Police will carry out a dry run on the possible routes of the Prime Minister to find out if there are any chinks in the security.

The senior officers have held meetings to give a final shape to the security arrangements as per the Blue Book prescribing security arrangements for the VVIPs.



PUDA issues resumption orders to 35 schools
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 11
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has issued resumption orders to over 35 schools running from houses in the township. These orders have been passed for all those residential sites that were found to be functioning as schools despite a fiat by PUDA that these be closed down by March 31. Issued by the Estate Officer, the orders equip the authority to get the occupants of these sites evicted after 30 days.

Sources said these orders were issued following survey reports on the status of these schools. According to the field reports, the management of a majority of these schools had admitted students for the new session and many of them were advertising for the same. More than 2,000 students are still studying in these schools. The largest among these schools was Lawerance Public Senior Secondary School, Industrial Area, with a student strength of 1,672 students.

The Estate Officer, PUDA, Mr Gurmeet Singh, said according to the rules, these schools had been given one month to explain their position after which eviction orders would be passed against them and in due course the property would be taken back by PUDA.

Last year, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed various agencies concerned of Punjab, Haryana and UT to ensure that schools in residential houses should be closed down before April 30, 2005. Notices has been issued to 73 schools to close shop before March 31. Over 10,000 students in Mohali had been told to shift through public advertisements.

“According to our reports, 37 schools had closed down. In fact, a majority of these schools have already been given proper school sites and the students have been shifted to the new buildings,” Mr Gurmeet Singh said.

In the resumption orders, the Estate Office has included a large number of private technical training institutes being run in various industrial and residential plots. These include Guru Nanak VBT Polytechnic in Phase I, Industrial Area, Art, Craft and Drawing Institute, Phase VI Industrial Area, Canadian Institute, Phase I Industrial Area, Mata Sahib Kaur Institute of Nursing, Industrial Area Phase 3, Printing Training Centre, Industrial Area Phase V, Industrial Training Centre, Industrial Area Phase II, Institute of Professional Studies, Phase VI Industrial Area and IELT Coaching Centre, Phase X.



Punjab and Haryana are MC defaulters
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The governments of Punjab and Haryana have not deposited the property tax with the Municipal Corporation and the arrears run to well over Rs 1 crore. The MC has forwarded the communication to the Chief Secretaries of the two governments seeking an early payment of the pending dues.

The amount under question is for the last financial year (2004-2005). The Governments of the two states will be required to make separate payments for the current financial year also. The corporation has issued notices to more than 1000 traders in the city who have not made payments for the tax in the previous financial year.

Property tax was introduced in the city last year. Users of commercial, industrial and institutional land were required to pay the tax for 130 days which was for the period between November 22, 2004 and March 31, 2005.

Mr O.P. Popli, Additional Commissioner, said more than 1,000 notices had been issued to the commercial and institutional establishments in the city. They had not deposited the due sums for the previous financial year. These defaulters are based in Sectors 16, 17 , 18 and 19. The process of issuing notices is also going on for the remaining Sectors.

Sources in the corporation said the MC had identified a total of approximately 4500 defaulters out of total nearly 10,000. The corporation realised a tax amount of more than 2.50 crore till Mach 31. Traders who deposit the tax till February 28 were to be given a rebate of 10 per cent. A fine of 25 per cent was to be levied on the delayed payments. The corporation can resort to collection through declaration of arrears of the land revenue through the Tehsildars or even resumption, sources in the corporation said.

People who paid voluntarily availed the facility of the self-assessment scheme. All those who have not paid till date are being sent the notices based on assessment by the corporation officials. The corporation has added a clause for the benefit of the traders saying that “ incase you have any objection to the proposed assessment you can submit objections within a month of the issuance of the notice”.

The parties concerned have been asked to deposit the tax for 2005-2006 by April 30. The corporation has also made the option of receiving the payment.



Colonel cashiered from service
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
An Army colonel has been cashiered from service by a General Court Martial (GCM) for allegedly diverting and illegally selling of CSD canteen supplies worth about Rs 35 lakh. The accused was the commanding officer of an infantry battalion at the time of his alleged acts. A large number of unit personnel are also said to be involved in the scam.

The GCM, presided over by the commander of an armoured brigade, Brig Sanjeev Langer, concluded at Dehra Dun a few days ago. The GCM's sentence has been forwarded to Headquarters, Western Command, Chandimandir, for confirmation.

Sources said administrative action had already been taken against the unit's then second-in-command, while a major from the unit is stated to be tried by a court martial for their alleged role in the scam. The summary of evidence in the major's case has been recorded.

According to sources, the colonel had faced seven charges under Sections 52, 63 and 69 of the Army Act for dishonesty, misappropriation of property and acts prejudicial to good order and military discipline. The court acquitted him on two of the charges, but found him guilty on the remaining five.

Sources said canteen goods meant to be transported from a depot in Meerut to Dehradun was allegedly being diverted to Ambala and being sold-off there. Duplicate bill books were reportedly being used for selling the goods and unit personnel involved in the racket used to make fictitious entries in their unit records later to account for the missing goods.

Investigations into the affair had held 37 unit personnel, including some officers, culpable of misdeeds. At least three personnel have been dismissed from service. While more trials by court martial in this case are expected, sources said others had been dealt summarily and had been awarded varying degrees of punishment.

Sources revealed that the whistle on the scam was blown during Operation Parakram, after one of the JCOs allegedly involved got "a bit more greedy and demanded more money for the siphoned-off goods." The period of diversion established is 2001-2.

After the brigade commander concerned received a tip-off, preliminary inquiries conducted by a major found prima facie evidence of wrong doing. Following this a court of inquiry was ordered, in which the culpability of those allegedly involved was established and disciplinary action against them was recommended by the General Officer Commanding 14 Infantry Division.

Such was the extent of the scam and involvement of unit personnel that when the case was presented before the then GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lieut-Gen S S Mehta during a routine review of Judge Advocate- General's branch, he is learnt to have remarked that rather than to destroy the unit by conducting dozens of courts martial, the unit be disbanded.

It was reportedly on the intervention of the Colonel of the Regiment that the move was aborted. The scam notwithstanding, the unit had a good professional record and is reported to have done well in counter-insurgency duties in Jammu and Kashmir where it was moved some time ago.



Abandoned at Nabha, rehabilitated in Chandigarh
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Until yesterday, 95-year-old Rosy had nowhere to go to and no one to call her own. But today her world is different. Loneliness has suddenly vanished into thin air and long lost affections are making a comeback.

Too depleted to realise the good that has happened to her following a Tribune report, highlighting her plight, Rosy was happy sipping her drink of Fanta, the first offering made to her when she entered her new home in the Sector 15 Old Age Home this afternoon.

Separation from the families of Sector 8 where she spent years was not easy for Rosy. At first, she was apprehensive to leave the gurdwara where Mr M.M. Batra, her caretaker for years, had lodged her when she returned in a hopeless state from Nabha where her son lives. Finally, Rosy agreed to move to Sector 15 on the promise that she will have her Coke daily! And so did she the moment she landed in the Sector 15 Old Age Home following the orders from the Punjab Raj Bhavan, which took keen interest in rehabilitating the abandoned woman.

The wife of Punjab Governor, Ms Jean Rodrigues, visited Rosy at the gurdwara this morning. After spending some time with the old lady who firmly believes in the power of prayer, Ms Rodrigues ensured that she got a home by the afternoon. Things moved fast after that and by noon, Director, Social Welfare, UT, Ms Madhavi Kataria, had passed the orders to lodge Rosy in the Sector 15 Home, meant for destitute people. Rosy was later escorted to the Home by people from the Social Welfare Department and the Batras who have long been looking after her.

At the Home, Rosy was welcomed with open arms by everyone, especially the volunteers of the Lions Club which runs special classes in age care. She was shifted to the wheel chair because she could barely walk. Then she was introduced to other inmates who shared her trauma and consoled her. For her part, the old woman looked lost, repeatedly expressing a desire to return to Sector 8. But when convinced that her new home would be better than the streets of Chandigarh, Rosy calmed down. She was also much concerned about her tattered clothes and bedding which was left behind in the gurdwara. She kept enquiring until these things were by her side.

Her next concern: “Where will I pray?” That was when the authorities took her to her room where volunteer Ravneet Singh will be in charge of her care. Inside the room, the forsaken woman had the first taste of “served” food. As the attendant fed her with care and attention, Rosy could barely hold her tears. She said, “Maine to aaj tak maang kar khaya hai. Yeh aaj mujhe tray mein khana kaise mil raha hai?” (I have been begging for food till today. How come you are serving food in a tray today?)

As the realisation of “restored dignity” dawned on Rosy, she smiled, though faintly, and blessed all those who came together to secure her sunset years.



Passing Thru

Mr T.S. Baweja
Mr T.S. Baweja, producer, Bollywood, Mumbai

What brings you to the city?

I am here to look for a new face for a heroine for my new film- main tension mein hoon. I am launching my son Johny in the film in the lead male role and I am now looking for someone to play the lead female role.

What kind of film is it going to be?

As the name suggests it is going to be a comedy film. Paresh Rawal, Johny Lever and Om Puri will be in the film. Also we are going to rope in Dharemedra in a guest appearance.

Are you thinking of making any Punjabi film?

There are not enough returns in producing Punjabi films. Also the reach of Punjabi films is limited to Punjab and overseas. Moreover, personally, Punjabi films have yet to come of age as far as quality of production is concerned.

What future do you see for Punjabi films?

Punjabi films are definitely improving. Mr Manmohan Singh has done a commendable job when he made asan noon maan vatana dan and jee ayaan noon. I asked him to direct a Hindi film for me but he said he would like to just focus on Punjabi films for some time.

— Chitleen K. Sethi



Chandigarh Calling

Chuckles around the dripping orange bars are childlike and the happiness is evident in the pleasurable slurps. On the road opposite the Rock Garden, as the breeze swirls fallen leaves, seven rickshaw-pullers stand huddled, crowding an ice-cream cart and choosing, the orange bar over lime green, cherry pink and cola black ice-lollies. “I love ice-cream,” says Binod, an orange smile forming on his upper lip, oblivious to his rickshaw getting a sound rocking in the gusts of wind. A dust-ridden orange bar is more likely the flavour of this summer!

Lahore bandwagon

Organisers for the World Punjabi Congress have collected quite a ‘barat’ of delegates for the meet at Lahore from April 16 to 21. It seems that nearly 500 delegates from the country would be attending this meet. The organisers will extend their hospitality to only one-third of them and the rest will bear their own expenses.

Mouth-watering melon

Watermelon has arrived in abundance in the city declaring the advent of summer. It is selling in heaps by the roadside. The mouth-watering watermelon is the first crop that has come from Rajasthan. Fruit-growers there share the expense of a truck and the fruit is loaded and brought here for sale. Since it is an annual affair, fruit vendors also pay ground rent to the Administration. Tribune photographer Parvesh Chauhan clicked this picture on Monday.

True or false

A woman colleague had an interesting experience recently. The rickshaw-puller who brought her to office was more polite than others. He refused to take the fare of Rs 10 and pleaded for Rs 100 instead to pay his daughter’s fees. He said he had been ill and without work and it was the last day or she would not be admitted to Class IX. A Rs 100 note was given to him. Only later, the doubt came that it may not have been for some intoxicant.

A blow for fitness

Not only are residents of Chandigarh fitness conscious but also the instructors take their job seriously. A coach in a gym took the liberty of slapping a client just because she refused to adhere to the guidelines given. His argument was that the reputation of the gym was at stake and “uncooperative” members like her had to be put in place. The woman’s husband thrashed the coach. Some women deterred by the aggressive behaviour, dropped out.

City’s Gurgaon

The rapid development in Zirakpur has brought this obscure town some notice. Since people are moving here for residential and commercial purposes, it is being hailed as Chandigarh’s Gurgaon. The dusty place that it once was is now looking bright with banquet halls, hotels and fine houses.

Vintage fare

The bioscope has made a stop in the city weaving a kaleidoscope of smiling film stars. Babu Ram, ‘proprietor’ of this age -old mechanism, talks of Madhubala’s legendary beauty. Is this for real? “Of course,” he answers. The ‘cinema’ has just come back from a cattle fair near Phagwara. “I charge Rs 10 per viewing,” he winks conspiratorially. “The young ones have never seen a ‘baeesco’ before,” he adds. We pay Rs 50 before we go. We may never see one after this.

Craft bazaars

City folks would once crave for handicrafts and other artefacts that could be found only in Delhi’s Baba Kharak Singh Marg emporia. However, these are now available at the doorstep courtesy the many crafts bazaars organised from time to time in the city. Scout around well and some great bargains can be struck. People find these exhibitions useful for buying gifts.


Usually, musical religious congregations are irksome, especially during the night. But a Ramayan path on the TTTI campus in Sector 26 evoked no resistance. In fact, people came out of their homes to listen to the melodious singing. It was a group of Class 1V employees from a college of Uttar Pradesh. Using traditional instruments, they sang so well from the epic that the people were mesmerised. — Sentinel



City pools gear up for summer
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The city has prepared itself to beat the scorching heat. A number of swimming pools in various clubs and centres have been renovated with added facilities.

Chandigarh Lake Club: The all new pool is there to keep you cool. New tiles have been put up and more bathrooms and toilets are being constructed. The passage to the pool has been renovated with new enclosures.

All this for Rs 175 pm for members of the club and Rs 125 pm for dependants. Non-members can also enjoy these facilities at Rs 650 pm. “There is little work left, but we will make it operational by April 15.

There are separate timings for ladies i.e. 4 am to 5 am and we are going to engage a lady coach.

The timings for men are 5 am to 6 am. Late evening timings 6 pm to 9.30 pm is for families.

Better light arrangements have been made for the purpose”, said Mr Reet Mohinder Singh, GM of the club.

Chandigarh Golf Club: A permanent member can enjoy the state of the art swimming pool for full season for Rs 1050 and Rs 800 for dependants. While the monthly charges are Rs 530.

The timings are 6 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 9.30 pm. “A life guard and a coach have been deputed and they remain there till closing hours,” Capt Vijay Rekhi, GM of the club.

Chandigarh Club: The pool was thrown open from April 3. Members will have to shell out Rs 400 for three months and Rs 1,000 for full season.

Same fee structure will be applicable to dependants. Besides, members’ guests will have to pay Rs 50 per visit. “To cope with heavy rush, we have terminated the membership of all 5,000 honorary members this year,” said Mr Mukesh Bassi, president of the club.

Yoga and Nursery swimming pool, Sector 23: Since cleaning process and some renovation work is still going on, but we will open it soon”, said Mr J.S. Negi, District Sports Officer. A special pool for children between the age group of 5 and 10 is in the offing. Charges for adults are Rs 1,400 and for students Rs 1,500 for full season.

Panjab University: The pool will be opened for the season from April 18 till October 31. Charges for students are Rs 50 pm, but the outsiders will have to pay Rs 500 pm.

Enrollment will be made on first-come-first-serve basis. There are separate timings for ladies and families.

PCA Complex, Mohali: The swimming pool, which was inaugurated by Pakistan cricket team skipper Inzamaam-ul-Haq on March 7 is likely to be functional by month end.

Mohali Club: The swimming session has already begun from April 1. Charges for members are Rs 1,000 for full season and Rs 300 pm while non members have to dole out Rs 500 pm to take a dip.

Gymkhana Club, Panchkula: The pool will be thrown open from April 13 onwards. Charges for members are Rs 350 pm and Rs 200 pm for dependents while guests will be charged Rs 50 per visit.



Threads of faith around 100-year-old peepal
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 11
A tree steeped in varying hues of red — from bright crimson and gold dupattas to the scarlet threads — the over 100-year-old peepal tree outside the Mansa Devi shrine here is covered with these ‘threads of faith’. Devotees believe that the goddess grants people’s wishes if they tie red cloth to the branches or the trunk of that tree.

Hundreds of devotees visiting the shrine during Navratras tie dupattas or sacred thread (mauli) around the tree or the iron cage surrounding of the tree. As a result, the tree has turned into a dazzling flame of red, standing tall in the precinct of the shrine.

The temple priests say the peepal tree is almost a 100-year-old and devotees have been tying red dupattas to it since then. Informs Pandit Sudarshan Lal, head priest of the shrine, “People seek a wish from the goddess and tie dupattas on the tree during Navratras. Later, when their wish is fulfilled, they come here and untie these”.

Meanwhile, thousands of devotees thronged the shrine on the third day of the Navratra fair today. Being a week day, the rush witnessed was less than what was witnessed on the first two days of the Navratras.



Fauji Beat
Why Army officers go to courts?

IN its recent letter to dissuade officers from going to courts against their supersession, the Military Secretary’s Branch at the Army Headquarters has failed to come out with any convincing argument. According to its figures, of the 183 officers who went to courts in the past five years, 15 have won their cases. This works out to over 12 per cent success, which should be considered quite encouraging.

Once an officer gets superseded, it makes no difference to him whether you call him “superseded” or “non-impanelled”. The damage, in any case, has been done to him. If such officers who are sizeable in number continue to stay in service, then they mark time with a dejected mind. A large number of them opt for premature retirement to seek a second career when they are still young.

Granted that there are a limited number of vacancies in the Army, but then a solution must be found to this problem. Most Short Service Commissioned officers who are sent out of the Army, end up at the Secretary-level in the IAS or at the DGP, IG-level in the police. But in the Army, they would not have gone beyond Lieut-Col and now Col (time scale) level.

The only solution to this problem is parallel placement of officers in paramilitary forces and other civil departments.

Medicines for ECHS members

As per the instructions from the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) authorities, the polyclinic at Chandigarh had displayed the information on the notice board regarding the medicines that could be issued by it. This mentions that the ECHS members can only be issued price vocabulary medical store (PVMS) list and not in vocabulary (NIV) list drugs. The NIV list contains only 429 medicines. This information was communicated to the readers in “Fauji Beat” column on January 4.

Writing on behalf of the Army Chief, General J.J. Singh,Brig K.M.S. Shergill from the ad hoc ECHS Cell, Headquarters Delhi Area, says that there are about 700 drugs in the PVMS list. To keep pace with the introduction of new drugs, he says, a revised list of 1000 PVMS drugs is awaiting government approval now.

Brig Shergill further says that the NIV list presently has 429 drugs. The NIV drugs being costly are procured by the commandants of hospitals. In addition, the officers-in-charge polyclinics in non-military stations also carry out the local purchase of these drugs, he adds.

Not withstanding the number of medicines in various lists, what the ECHS members rightly demand is that the government must meet its commitment of providing all the medicines that are prescribed by the specialists.

Make ex-servicemen organisations transparent

Col Rajinder Singh Sohi (retd), advocate, who is president of the Ex-servicemen Welfare Society Ludhiana, had forwarded his society’s complaint to Brig J.S. Jaswal (retd.) Director Sainik Welfare, Punjab, in February 2004. The complaint contained serious allegations of corruption against the office of the Deputy Director Sainik Welfare (DDSW), Ludhiana.

Some of the points raised in the complaint were about charging money for Red Cross from officers, JCO and other ranks to countersign their applications for the purchase of cars/motorcycles. Money, he said, was also charged for giving permission to them for the purchase of attractive items from the CSD canteen and for the issue of ex-servicemen identity cards.

His reply to the complainant, Brig Jaswal had informed in March 2004, that “suitable instructions” had been issued “to ensure transparent functioning of the DDSW Ludhiana office”. Despite this, the complaints about rampant corruption in the Ludhiana office continue to come. The only way to stop such nefarious practices in the ex-servicemen welfare organisations is to investigate such complaints and take stern action against the culprits. The feeling has begun to grow among the ex-servicemen that when their own organisations cheat them what can they expect from others.

Chinese gun

This Chinese gun trophy was presented to 5th Battalion the Rajputana Rifles by the peoples Republican Army (PLA) in commemoration of the Indian Military delegation’s goodwill visit to China in October 1956.

— Pritam Bhullar



Women Helpline building gets 2 new rooms
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 11
In some cases women have been taking advantage of the Dowry Act and making unnecessary complaints to the police but the number of such cases is very low. This was stated by Mr Justice N.C. Jain, Chairman of the Punjab State Human Right Commission, while talking to mediapersons today after he inaugurated two newly constructed rooms of a building which houses the Women Helpline here. He said in most cases only women who were really being harassed complained to the police.

When asked why some commissions, which had been set up to look into various public complaints, could not take any action at their level, Mr Jain said all commissions, including high-powered ones, could only recommend cases though “more teeth should be given to them”.

Mr Surinder Pal Singh, SSP, Ropar, said Women Helpline set up in the town in June last year, had received 307 complaints, of which 224 cases had been settled amicably. One in a few cases FIRs had been registered and some even went to court.

Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, SP, also spoke on the occasion.



Rs 500 reward for information on encroachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
With the Estate Office suspecting that there is an organised land mafia working in the city, it has announced a cash prize of Rs 500 to those who provide information about land encroachers and grabbers.

The name of the information provider will be kept secret. Those who want to provide information could ring up the Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) at phone number 2700087 or SDO (Enforcement) at 2720600. If the information on verification is found to be true, the informer would be given the reward.

Deputy Commissioner-cum-Estate Officer Arun Kumar said a door-to-door survey was being carried out in slums. It had already been completed in Colony No 5. The survey was being carried out to limit the number of people who were to be relocated.

The identification drive follows reports that some people with vested interests are trying to bring in people from outside and create new slums.

Mr Arun Kumar has ordered an inquiry by a DSP against those who are behind facilitating new encroachments on public land as well as those encouraging violations of the Periphery Control Act.



Clear dues in 7 days cable operators told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The Municipal Corporation has issued a notice to the cable operators in the city to clear their dues for using the municipal land in seven days, failing which material like poles, cables and other apparatus will be confiscated.

In a press release issued by Mr O.P. Popli, the Additional Commissioner,” All cable operators have been asked to deposit the outstanding amount that became due after May 2003”.

The move is targetted mainly against the cable operators at the sector level. More than 50 per cent out of the 90 odd cable operators in the city are defaulters.



Programme on Guru Gobind Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
A special programme on Guru Gobind Singh will be telecast on April 13 (Baisakhi) on Balle Balle TV channel from 6.15 am to 7.15 am.

The programme is based on the life and teachings of Guru Gobind Singh. It has been prepared by the Guru Nanak Daata Baksh Lai Mission of Chandigarh.

The programme can thereafter be viewed on Internet at www.sikhvideos.org



Mohali areas to go without power, water
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 11
Some areas of Mohali would go without water supply and electricity through most of the day tomorrow.

According to the executive engineer GW division, Mohali, due to the repair of pipeline of Phase I (RD 8850), supply would remain suspended from 9 am to 5 pm.

Similarly, power supply to Phases I, II III-A, III-B1, IV and Madanpur village would remain suspended from 9 am to 5pm due to maintenance work.



Police transfers
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 11
Inspector Moti Ram has been transferred to the CID from the Economic Offence Wing. Bakhshish Singh has been posted as Inspector to the Economic Offence Wing.

Inspector B.S. Negi has been shifted to the Traffic Police from the CID, Inspector Gulshan Kumar from the Traffic Police to Police Control Room, Inspector Surinder Kumar Malhotra has been sent to the Traffic Police.



Sabharwal is Asst E&T Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The UT Administration has appointed Mr H.K. Sabharwal as Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, District II, Chandigarh. This has been done after Mr S.S. Parmar was repatriated to his parent cadre of Haryana.



Senior citizens return from Lahore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Members of the Chandigarh Senior Citizens’ Association led by Mr. V S Sodhi, Vice President, returned from Lahore, where they had gone to attend the convention of the old students of Forman Christian College on the invitation of the College Alumni Association.



Flesh trade rackets busted, 11 held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 11
The police today busted a flesh trade racket in Kalka, and another one at Mansa Devi Complex. They arrested six persons, including two women, on charges of immoral trafficking from the Housing Board Colony, Kalka. Two men Anil Kumar and Sajjal were allegedly using their wives in the racket.

The police crackdown was led by in- charge of the CIA Staff, Panchkula, Mr Mukesh Malhotra. A special team was constituted for the purpose, after decoy customer from amongst the policemen had tied up with the pimps or the call girls. Policemen in plain clothes were deputed near the house, before the accused met with the decoy customers.

Police sources say a deal was struck for Rs 2000, and Rs 500 were paid as advance, when the police team barged into the house and arrested the accused. Other than the wives of Anil and Sajjal, the latter was also using his two sisters-in-law in the sex racket, allege police officials. Sajjal had reportedly come here from Kolkata and the racket was in operation for the past couple of days. The Police added that Anil Kumar had been booked earlier too in a case of immoral trafficking.

In another case the police arrested Jaswinder Singh, Gurvinder Singh and Rakesh, and two women on charges of immoral trafficking from a house here today. A police team led by the SHO, Sector 5 police station raided the house after they had sent a decoy customer. A deal was struck for Rs 5,000 and Rs 500 were paid as advance.

All accused have been booked under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act.



NRI’s house burgled, cash stolen
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 11
An amount of Rs 50,000 and $ 5,800 was stolen from the house of a non resident Indian in Sector 2 here this afternoon.

According to the police, the house owner, Mr Kirpal Singh, an NRI from the UK, was away to a relative’s house in Mohali when the burglars struck. Only the room of Mr Kirpal Singh was searched by the miscreants, indicating that they knew where he kept cash.

He had gone to his relative’s place around 12. 30 pm. Later, his neighbour noticed that the main gate of the house was open, and he informed him.

The latter came back and found his house ransacked. Later the police was informed.

In another case of burglary, the house of Mr Krishan Kumar in Sector 4 was also ransacked, while he was out of station and his house was locked.



‘Kidnapped’ son of hotelier found
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 11
Arzoo, the 15-year-old son of hotelier and businessman, Mr Balbir Chaudhary, who was allegedly kidnapped on March 5, has returned home. Police sources said the boy was brought here from Shimla last night.

Earlier, Mr Chaudhary had accused Ram Lal, Vijay Pal Singh Dimpy, Amandeep and son of another hotelier, Minhal, of kidnapping his son. A DDR was also registered by the police in this regard on April 8.

Mr Chaudhary had reportedly declined permission to take the statement of his son.

Dimpy and Ram Lal had maintained that they were being framed by Mr Chaudhary because of an old rivalry.

They said since Dimpy had got Chaudhary booked in a case of fraud and cheating on the pretext of sending persons abroad, the latter was trying to get back at him and his friend, Ram Lal in the case.



Personal diary of victim found
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 11
A team of the Punjab Railway Police from Sirhind today carried out a search of the house of the in-laws of Arvinder Kaur, who had allegedly committed suicide by jumping in front of a train at Sirhind on March 29.

During the search the police recovered a personal diary of the deceased which was seized by Mr Bachan Singh, SHO, who headed the five-member team. The diary was neither shown to the parents of Arvinder Kaur, who were present in the house when the search was being carried out nor to a municipal councillor, Mr Phoolraj Singh, who was also inside the house at that time. Paramjeet Kaur mother-in-law of Arvinder Kaur, who was in police custody, had been brought along to her house in Phase III B1 here by the police party.

Later, while talking to madiapersons the SHO said that the diary would be sent to a laboratory in Chandigarh to match the handwriting on the suicide note which the police had recovered from Sirhind. He said the police could not recover any cash or gold from the house. The clothes of the deceased and some other items were handed over to the family members of Arvinder Kaur by the police.

The father of the deceased, Mr Surjit Singh Batra, alleged that he had given Rs 80,000 to the in-laws of her daughter at the time of the marriage. Later, Rs 4 lakh had been given when the in-laws allegedly made a demand for the money on the pretext of sending their son abroad.

The police had arrested, Ravinder Singh, husband of the deceased. The mother-in-law had surrendered before the Patiala police some days ago. However, the brother-in-law of Arvinder Kaur, whose name also figured in the suicide note had so far not been arrested by the police.



Suicide bid by Mohali woman
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 11
A middle-aged married woman allegedly tried to commit suicide by setting her clothes on fire here late last night.

Ms Harpreet Kaur (46), a resident of Phase XI here, allegedly poured kerosene on her clothes and set these ablaze. Her husband and son were sleeping in the house at the time. It is reported that her two daughters were not at home when the incident took place.

According to the police, Ms Harpreet Kaur went to the kitchen to douse her clothes with kerosene. However, she cried out in pain when her clothes caught fire. The fire was also seen by some neighbours, who came running for help.

Mr Vicky, a neighbour, said water was thrown on Ms Harpreet Kaur to contain the flames. Later, he took a blanket from a neighbour’s house to wrap it around the victim. She was immediately taken to GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh, where she was reported to be battling for life tonight with serious burn injuries.

The police said that she was not in a position to give a statement. It was not immediately clear why she made the suicide attempt.

Meanwhile, a worker employed in an industrial unit here suffered burn injuries due to a spark. It is learnt that his clothes caught fire which was soon brought under control. According to the police he suffered about 20 per cent burns.



Six held for gambling
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 11
The local police has arrested six persons for gambling from various places in the city while a Qualis jeep and a motor cycle were stolen from the city, according to the information released by the police here today.

Mahesh Kumar, Sanjay Kumar and Tarun Chopra, all residents of Mani Majra were arrested from near the Public Health Centre in the locality and recovered some cash from their possession. In another incident, Mahesh Kumar and Manoj Kumar Tiwari, both residents of Mori Gate, Mani Majra were arrested for gambling at public place from near a wine shop in Indira Colony. Two separate cases have been registered under the Gambling Act.

In another such incident, Banwari Lal of Ram Darbar, Phase-I, was arrested for gambling from near rehri market in the locality.

Vehicles stolen

Mr Harbans Lal of Modern Housing Complex reported to the police that his Qualis jeep (PHR-68-T-2752) was stolen from his residence during the night of April 9. While Mr Nikhil Sagar of Vikas Nagar Rahon in Nawanshahr district lodged a complaint that his motor cycle (PB-10-Z-9361) was stolen from Shanti Kunj parking lot on Friday. Two separate cases of thefts under Section 379 IPC have been registered.


Mr Vikas Verma of New Tagore Nagar, Habowal Kalan in Ludhiana district reported a camera and some clothes were stolen from his car (PB-37-0054), which was parked at Gurdev Parking lot in the Sector 17 on Friday.

Smack seized

The police has arrested Sanjay Kumar of Daddu Majra Colony with 4.8 gm of smack from near 66 KV station, Sector 39, yesterday. A case under the NDPS Act has been registered.

Held for eve-teasing

Davinder Kumar of Sector 23-D has been arrested allegedly for eve-teasing from the same sector, last night. A case under Section 294 of the IPC has been registered.



Mobile technology exposition at CII from April 15
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The city will host a unique two-day technology event showcasing emerging mobile technologies, ‘Mobiletek 2005’, at the CII Convention Centre from April 15.

The event will be organised by Masterline, a company manufacturing telecom phone card, and the Department of Information Technology, Chandigarh Administration.

It would provide a platform where telecom operators and service, material and content providers relevant to the industry, will meet under one roof. The MD Masterline, Mr Naresh Nanda, said the event would be a meeting point for decision-makers.

“Since Punjab and Haryana are one of the richest telecom markets, our attempt would be to enable a customer to realise the value for his mobile set by educating him about the phone features and what he really wants,” Mr Nanda stated.

The Director, IT, Chandigarh Administration, Mr Vivek Atray, said since mobile technology was there to stay, there was need to gather as much information as possible. “Chandigarh’s profile is changing and it is on the way to becoming a business destination. We are willing to be partners in any such exercise,” he added.

Over 30 exhibition stalls would be put up. Various organisations and individuals ranging from mobile operators, service providers, handset manufacturers, operating system providers and SIM card manufactures would be invited.



Traders’ plea to PM on Rent Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Two days before the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the city, various organisations today urged him to intervene to bring about a balanced Rent Act for the city.

In a press note issued here, the BJP reminded the Prime Minister of his pre-poll promise of having a balance Act for the city traders. The UPA government should roll back the present Act and also put off the implementation of VAT, it added.

A balanced Act would be a big relief for the trading community, a press note issued by the Sector 11-D Market Welfare Association, said. A case to this regard is pending in the Supreme Court and the next date of hearing in the case is April 18.

Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), appealed to the Prime Minister to grant second language status to Punjabi in Chandigarh.


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