C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Builders promote scheme declared void by SC 
PUDA Act violated in nagar panchayat limits
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, April 24
The constructions under the Town Planning (TP) scheme have come under a cloud following the alleged violations of the Punjab Urban and Development Authority (PUDA) Act in the Zirakpur nagar panchayat limits for the past over five years.

The scheme was reportedly declared void by the Supreme Court in July 1994 in a case (Yogendra Pal vs Municipality Bhatinda (SC -1994 (3), RRR-118). Despite of the apex court ruling, the scheme is still being promoted by land promoters and builders for their vested interests’ projecting it as “people-friendly”.

After the judgment in which the apex court had declared Section 192 (1)(c) of the Punjab Municipal Act 1911 null and void, the Punjab Government had made important enactments — the Punjab Regional and Town Planning Act, 1995, and the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulations Act, 1995 — for regulating colonies, buildings and apartments.

To implement the court ruling, the state government had also created a single nodal agency — PUDA. However, sidelining the enactments, property dealers and builders, in connivance with bureaucracy and politicians, have allegedly been flouting the SC provisions in the Zirakpur nagar panchayat and other municipalities in the state, with PUDA remaining a mute spectator.

Sources in the nagar panchayat revealed that the scheme was widely misused by the powerful builders lobby, which directly bought the land from farmers. The lobby then gets its proposal sanctioned from the nagar panchayat authorities after passing a resolution in the general house of the elected members of the civic body.

The civic body then passes a resolution for the development of the land under the TP scheme. The copy of the resolution is passed to the Department of Local Government, Punjab, for its formal approval.

Interesting, the civic body authorities invite objections from general public by issuing public notice in less-circulated vernacular dailies, weeklies and other tabloids which often go unnoticed.

A senior official in the Town Planning Department, claimed that the TP scheme was perfectly in order and its main aim was to benefit the general public, particularly middle and lower sections of society. Certain relaxations in the payment of charges and land use have been made in the scheme to make it less cumbersome, he added.

Meanwhile, Mr FS Nagra, president of the Commercial Welfare Association, Godown Area, Zirakpur, has written to the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, to hold an indepth inquiry into the scheme.

Alleging a nexus between the builders and the nagar panchayat authorities, Mr Nagra said the laws were being flouted openly to cheat the investors on a large scale.

Mr BR Bajaj, Principal Secretary to the Department of Local Government of Punjab, held the TP schemes valid. He claimed that the SC had declared a clause (relating to provisions of internal roads, parks and other open spaces of the TP Scheme) void.

He, however, added that the irregularities by the builders and getting the land developed under the scheme and the publication of the public notices inviting objections in less-circulated vernacular dailies, weeklies and other tabloids would be checked.

When contacted, Mr AS Chhatwal, Chief Administrator, PUDA, claimed that it was for the local government to see whether the rules were being flouted. The local government is responsible for the violations being done by the land developers and colonisers.



Man in jail after setting wife on fire, children land in new home
After 5 months of trial, they finally have shoulders to cry on
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
That cold, brutal night is still fresh in their memory. And the most they remember of it is — fire — which their father had caused in a mad rage. He had hurled “countless” abuses at their mother and had nearly burnt her alive when she asked him where he had been all day. It was but by chance that Meera survived, perhaps only to see what became of her four children she so desperately desired to raise with care and dignity.

But that was not to be. Meera’s world crashed in a split second, so did her children’s. For five months, the hapless mother, admitted to the PGI’s burn injuries ward, waited in vain to see her children. But none of the relatives cared to do her the favour. She was reeling under 60 per cent burns inflicted by her husband Mewa Lal who is still atoning for his crimes at Model Jail, Burail.

After months of desperation, an ailing mother had some luck yesterday when her children paid her a surprise visit, courtesy two volunteers of the PGI Child Line who got to know about the case during a routine awareness camp they were conducting in Bapu Dham Colony few days ago.

Behind their parents’ back, the children were literally homeless. They avoided entering the Bapu Dham house which was a grim reminder to a cold blooded tragedy that ruined their lives. Manju, one of the volunteers, informed The Tribune, “We were conducting an awareness camp when a rickshaw puller told us about these children who were enduring difficult times, all by themselves. While the youngest child, all of six months, has been adopted by a neighbour of Meera, the others were found to be in a very sorry state. Meera’s eldest son is six year old and you can well imagine how the children lived without guidance for all these months.”

They often went hungry, sometimes even begged for food, though at others they were fed by neighbours. Said Sunil, “We used to sleep in our house but we were very afraid. So we used to bolt the door from inside. No one came to live with us.” Soon after the children were spotted by Manju and her colleague Kewal, they were brought to Ms Madhu P. Singh, member, Chandigarh Child Welfare Committee, who took up their case for rehabilitation.

She told The Tribune today, “We have lodged a DDR under Juvenile Justice Act. These children have no one who can care for them. Their mother is still recuperating from her burn injuries while their father has a long jail term to serve. We have categorised them as “neglected” and have placed them under the care of Mother Teresa Home in Sector 23.”

The children will have a new home, finally, but they did not leave until they had bid their mother goodbye. Yesterday they went to see Meera at the PGI. The ailing mother was naturally caught by surprise. She was being visited for the first time in five months. Overwhelmed, she kissed the children repeatedly. She even changed their clothes. They had new sets, thanks to Manju and Kewal, the two volunteers of the PGI Child Line who cared to look beyond their allotted spheres of work. And this made all the difference!



Cong workers seek Bahl’s ouster
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Dissatisfaction over functioning of Mr B.B. Bahl, president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, came to the fore today with the party workers seeking his resignation over non-performance.

Participants at a convention at the Congress Bhavan, Sector 35, raised their hands at the general house seeking ouster of Mr Bahl.

The “unpleasant” scenes were witnessed in the morning when the party workers assembled at the bhavan. The doors of the hall were later closed.

Workers raised slogans of “Bahl hai hai”. “How can Mr Bahl close the office doors when the party was organising a party function? This is not his private property,” Mr Kamaljit Panchi, an office-bearer said.

The development is interesting in the light that the party high command is going to announce the local president in the near future. The ongoing tussle within the city Congress unit is because of the differences between Mr Bahl and Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal. The convention was organised by the pro-Bansal group.

Speakers hit out at Mr Bahl for not abiding by the popular sentiments of the party workers and instead supporting the Administration on the anti-people moves. Special references were made to his support for the Deputy Commissioner and the UT Administrator.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, has earned the ire of the party for removal of Mr Bhupinder Badheri as the chairman of the Market Committee and the party had gone against the Administrator for his plan of uprooting the encroachments in Mani Majra.

Mr Ram Pal Sharma, vice-president of the CTCC, said, “We are not against Mr Arun Kumar and Mr Bahl as individuals. We are against their anti-people stand. It is time when the party workers want a change in the local leadership.”

Mr H.S. Lucky, president of the local Youth Congress, said, “After the parliamentary poll people had great expectations, but the local administration is not helping in implementing the UPA programmes and policies for their welfare”. He said ‘urban renewal’ in the name of breaking homes of people was meaningless. It actually meant providing them with better infrastructure and facilities. He also spoke about release of bonus to the UT employees.

Mr Pardeep Chhabra, a former senior deputy Mayor, said Mr Bahl had run away to Delhi because he did not have the courage to face the public queries over his functioning. He never heard to the demands of the party workers instead he has “locked the party headquarters”.

Mr Subhash Chawla, a former Mayor, said the party was forced to organise a convention because Mr Bahl did not convene a party meeting despite several reminders. Mr Pawan Sharma, president of the District Congress Committee, said the Administration was unnecessarily harassing poor people by uprooting them from their homes which they made many years back in Mani Majra.



Youths on bikes go berserk
Break windscreens, windowpanes in three Sectors
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 24
This wild-goose chase could well make it to the world’s best police chase videos. Probably taking inspiration from the runaway success of Bollywood flick “Dhoom”, a trio on a mobike went berserk as they broke windscreens of cars and windowpanes of houses in various parts of the township, even as 15 police vehicles went on a blind chase.

The three were on a motor cycle (CH-03J-7991) and went on rampage at around 6 p.m. Eye witnesses say that the miscreants were on a Black Pulsar mobike and would pelt stones on cars parked at the roadside or hurl the stones on the windowpanes before zipping away.

Wg. Cdr. V.K. Sahni, a resident of Sector 12, said his relatives were visiting him from Amritsar, and had parked their Fiat car outside his house.

“We suddenly heard a round and went out to check. Then somebody told us that three boys on the motor cycle had broken the windscreen of the car. As we informed the police, we heard of a similar attack on the car of Brigadier Boparai, also a resident of Sector 12,” he said.

In Sector 11, Ms Paras Prashar, who was visiting her parents had parked her Palio car outside the house, when the motor cycle-borne youths came along and broke the windscreen. Her father said that the gang was possibly operating since yesterday, as the windowpanes of some houses, including Ms Paras’ house in Sector 12 were broken yesterday.

The windowpanes of the house of Mr C.L. Chawla, immediate neighbour of Ms Paras, were also broken by the trio today. Mr Chawla’s son also tried to follow the accused but they managed to escape.

In Sector 12-A, the windscreens of three cars, two Maruti cars and a Santro, were broken by the miscreants before they sped away. Mr P.S. Gaibi, whose car’s windscreen was shattered, said all three cars were parked on the same road. Incidents of breaking of windowpanes were also reported from houses in Sector 4.

The attack by the three youths lasted for about two hours and they broke windscreens of at least six cars and windowpanes of several houses in Sectors 4, 11, 12 and 12-A. As the news of “gang breaking windscreens of cars” spread, there was panic in town.

Meanwhile, special police teams were formed, nakas were laid and police control room vehicles combed all areas from where incidents were being reported. However, till the filing of this report, the police had been unable to nab the accused.



Women caught snatching chain in bus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Two women in their late thirties today allegedly snatched a chain of an old woman inside a CTU bus near the Motor Market bus stop in Mani Majra. However, the chain-snatching women had a bad luck, as son-in-law of the victim, standing at a distance, immediately noticed the two women snatching the chain from his mother-in-law.

V. K. Mandal, an army man, saw his mother-in-law Sabi Devi being robbed of her gold chain and pounced upon one of the women, who tossed the chain towards the other woman. Both women were later caught by the public.

According to the police, Sabi Devi had come to the city from Calcutta to visit her son-in-law.

The women were later handed over to the Mani Majra police. They are from the Sansi community and had come to the city today from Sangrur.

Sabi Devi said the two women first cornered her inside the bus before committing the offence. They first jostled around in the bus to throw the victim off guard.

The women have not yet confessed to committing any other crime in the city. It is not clear if a man was accompanying them.

Meanwhile, the Sector 34 police station also today arrested two youths from Burail and recovered a purse and a gold chain, which was snatched by them from a woman when she was passing through Sector 33.

The snatching incident took place late last month. Atul, alias Lucky, and Pramod, alias Vicky, in their teens were arrested after the police got a tip-off.



Major struggling for freedom fighter's status
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Sixty year after an Army officer raised his voice against British occupation and had to subsequently leave the service, a 90-year-old retired major is continuing his struggle to seek freedom fighter status and military pension.

During the freedom struggle, Major Gurdit Singh had taken part in an anti-British political procession in February, 1946 at Erunakulam. He had carried Subhash Chander Bose's photograph and had raised slogans.

For this act he was court-martialled by the British Government in May, 1946. He pleaded guilty before the military court and was dismissed from service. For him the freedom movement took precedence over all other matters.

He has been trying to get freedom fighter status but to no avail. Post-independence, he applied for re-instatement in the Army during August, 1948. He was allowed to submit his resignation officially to regularise his British time dismissal. Thereafter, the issue got mired in bureaucracy and time and age took its toll. and he kept running from pillar to post.

He returned to his village in Punjab as a destitute and disheartened person. His health began to decline and he got infected with tuberculosis. In ill health and without any source of income, he is dependent on his son-in-law's children and is staying with them at Pipria Keram village near Shahgarh in Uttar Pradesh.

Major Gurdit Singh had joined the then British Indian Army in June, 1934 as a soldier and became a commissioned officer in 8/12 Frontier Force Regiment in May, 1941. He was commanding 145 GT Company of the Royal Indian Army Supply Corps in 1946.

It was in December, 1989 that Army Headquarters finally made a copy of his service record available. He had served seven year in the ranks and five years as a commissioned officer.

"Since he had completed 12 years of service and his court martial sentence was expunged by his resignation, his case should be considered for pro rata pension," president of the Ex-servicemen's Grievances Cell, Lieut-Col S S Sohi (retd) said.

He has taken up Major Gurdit's case with the Defence Ministry, the Home Ministry and Army Headquarters, and has written to them. "He has been punished for life time because he had raised his voice against the British for the country's freedom. In the twilight of his life, all he wants is to die as a contented soldier and not as a punished criminal," Colonel Sohi added.



Private school teachers protest in Zirakpur
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chandigarh, April 24
Up in arms against the state government’s move to scrap private examinations being conducted by the Punjab School Education Board for middle, matric and plus two classes, thousands of members of the Punjab Private Schools Organisation held a stormy convention in Zirakpur, near here, today.

Teachers and owners of various non-affiliated schools in far-flung areas of the state assembled at a marriage palace and criticised the Congress government for introducing Open School System.

While addressing the gathering, various leaders flayed the government for taking away the constitutional right, right of education, from over two lakh students.

They also complained about the introduction of open school system which, they said, would lower down the education standards.

Mr Manjit Singh Kauli, president of the organisation, said that open school system would prove costly to the students as they would have to pay registration fee as well as the examinations fee.

To study English and Mathematics would not be feasible for the students while to study science subjects, it would be a dream for them in open school system, claimed Mr Tejpal Singh, district secretary of the organisation.

The leaders also said that the government should relax the terms and conditions for the non-affiliated schools so that more schools could get affiliation from the board. The private schools should be given a status of ‘associated’ schools.

The association also passed an agenda of its demands and decided to chalk out an action plan with the assistance of teachers of private schools in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

The association also threatened the ruling Congress government, saying that it would oppose it in the next elections. The association also claimed that the issue would be taken up with the Union Human Resource and Development Minister soon.



Passing Thru

Harysharan actor
Harysharan actor

How did you get involved in films?

To start with I was interested in theatre. After doing my masters in theatre from Panjab University, I got interested in acting on screen. I have acted in various Punjabi serials for Zee Alpha and Doordarshan, besides films like “Shaheed Udham Singh”, “Bishno Jatti”, “Jaali Passport” and recently “Nalayak”.

Has the revival of Punjabi cinema meant boom for actors?

Now, there is almost no difference between Punjabi and Hindi films, as both are produced on a similar level. Just as in Hindi cinema, the best technical know-how is being used to catch the fancy of the Punjabi audience. Now even established actors and directors from Bollywood are willing to work in Punjabi movies. It means boom time for Punjabi actors.

Now that you are an established actor here, will it help in your foray in Bollywood?

Indeed, being an established actor in Punjabi movies is working wonders for me as I scout for roles in Bollywood. Gone are the days when the portfolio of an aspiring actor will enthuse a director or a producer to cast him in his film. My work in Punjabi movies is my passport to success in Bollywood.

— Ruchika M. Khanna



Illegal religious structures face axe tomorrow
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
In a major development all religious structures encroaching upon the periphery of the dumping ground in Dadumajra will be razed on April 26. These include nearly 20 buildings engaged in religious ceremonies of the Hindus, Christians and the Sikh.

Reliable sources in the corporation said a detailed action programme had been charted out to clear the area for the development of a green belt. “Our aim is not to hurt the religious feelings of any community. We want to develop the green belt for the general benefit of the residents in the vicinity of the area.

The move is also directed at cleaning the periphery of the entire dumping ground for a planned garbage disposal”, a senior official of the corporation said.

Official sources said that “the UT Administration and the Municipal Corporation will complete the boundary wall to the south-east of the dumping ground. The move will also facilitate in completing the work related to providing a buffer-zone of green trees between the habitation area and the dumping ground as required under the provisions of Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000.

The matter was pending with the corporation following a petition in the Punjab and the Haryana High Court. The official sources said the court while dismissing a civil writ petition in its order on March 4 earlier this year said “ admittedly the structures in question, which are a gurdwara, a private school, a church, a temple and some residential houses, have been built up unauthorisedly on the land belonging to the administration. We also find that a green belt is proposed to be constructed between Dadumajra and the dumping ground. The writ petition is accordingly dismissed”.

It may be remembered that the municipal corporation at its meeting in September 2004 had passed a resolution which recommended to the UT Administration that the “unauthorised religious structures falling within the area of the dumping ground maybe exempted from removal keeping in view the religious sentiment of people residing there”.

The UT Administration has “keeping in view the relevant provisions of the Municipal Solid waste Rules, 2000, an interim order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in July 2004 and to discourage all types of encroachments by individuals in the garb of religious institutions on public land” annulled the resolution of the corporation.

The officer said “developing a green belt around the dumping ground was in public interest at large.

The buffer-zone will also help is better maintenance of the area and separating it from the area of human civilisation”. The official added that adequate security arrangements will be made in the area during the anti-encroachment drive.



HP will meet power requirements of North: Virbhadra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Himachal Pradesh will be in a position to meet the power requirements of northern states for over one century by harnessing the entire identified hydel potential in the state. This was stated by Mr Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister, HP, while addressing the gathering of the newspaper employees hailing from Himachal Pradesh on the occasion of the fourth annual cultural function organised by The Tribune Employees HP Helpline Cultural and Welfare Society at Tagore Theatre today.

The Chief Minister said special emphasis was being laid by his government on harnessing total identified hydel potential which was one fourth of the total hydel potential of the country. He said that about 8,000MW of hydel power would be generated by different ongoing projects during the coming few years. He also said industrialists of the state were being given uninterrupted power supply which was one of the reasons why major industrial units were coming to the state.

Mr Virbhadra Singh said his government was concerned about the prevailing unemployment problem and was seriously working on exploitation of maximum employment avenues besides formulating policies and programmes for self-employment avocations.

He added the state had attracted an industrial investment of Rs 10,000 crore during the past two years, which could generate employment for 1.7 lakh persons on full industrialisation. He said the hydel power projects were the second sector which had a vast employment potential besides the tourism sector.

He said his government had made it mandatory to all entrepreneurs to provide at least 70 per cent employment to people of Himachal Pradesh at all levels.

The CM also said the state had labour friendly environment besides stable government and surplus power and all formalities for the setting of the industrial units were being completed by the special single window clearance and monitoring authority.

He said the state had achieved rural electrification of all census villages years ago in 1988 and many more villages were being provided potable water.

He also said the prestigious Dr. Rajendra Prasad Medical College and Hospital was nearing completion which would match the medical service standard of AIIMS and the PGI.

After his long address. The CM also appreciated the contribution being made by Himachalis residing in Chandigarh and other cities outside the state in the preservation of the state’s rich cultural heritage through various programmes.

After announcing the grant of Rs 50,000 to the organisers for their activities in Chandigarh, the CM also honoured Mr Hem Chand Sharma with the Himachal Gourav title for his meritorious services.

He then gave away prizes to meritorious Himachali students in Chandigarh. Earlier Mr Praveen Lakhanpal, president of the society, welcomed Mr Virbhadra Singh and apprised him of the various activities being carried by the society for Himachali people working in Chandigarh. He was also joined by Mr Jitender Awasthi in welcoming the CM.

A variety cultural programme was then presented to mark the occasion. Mr G.S. Bali, Transport and Tourism Minister, Mr Mukesh Agnihotri, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr T.G. Negi, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Mr B.D. Sharma, Director of Information and Public Relations and Mr Naresh Kaushal, Editor, Dainik Tribune were also present on the occasion.



Hardeep playing into Jagir Kaur’s hands: Riar
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 24
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) member from Chandigarh, Mr Gurpratap Singh Riar, has welcomed the rejection of the Unesco dossier for the Golden Temple, Amritsar, by the SGPC.

Addressing mediapersons during a press conference here, Mr Riar, however, alleged that the SGPC member from Mohali, Mr Hardeep Singh, was playing in Bibi Jagir Kaur’s hands and was being used by her to strengthen her position for the post of SGPC president in the next elections. “Hardeep Singh has stated that he had been given a copy of the dossier by the late Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Why is he making this statement when Tohra is not there to deny it? And why did he not talk about the dossier before?” he questioned.

Alleging that he had been given the dossier by Bibi Jagir Kaur himself, Mr Riar added that there was a political game being played in the garb of rejecting the dossier. “This is being done to embarrass Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, who was the president of the SGPC then, and Ms Kiranjot Kaur, who was the secretary SGPC, when the dossier was signed. Since the two will be contenders for the top posts against Bibi Jagir Kaur, the dossier issue is being kept alive for political gains,” he said. “Why did Hardeep Singh not raise his voice when he signed the dossier as part of the executive committee of the SGPC when Mr Badungar was the President?” he said.

Reiterating that the Golden Temple, Amritsar, did not require the World Heritage Status, Mr Riar said the Golden Temple was a religious place and not just a historical one.

Mr Riar also demanded an inquiry into the use of lakhs of rupees in the preparation of the dossier. “The money that has gone into the preparation of the dossier runs into lakhs and it is the money of the sangat. The SGPC is answerable to the sangat for every penny that it spends. I demand from the SGPC chief that responsibility be fixed as to who caused this loss and he or she should be punished in accordance with the rules laid down by our religion, society and law,” he said.



Wish to volunteer? Here’s your guide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
If all goes well with the latest project of city-based NGO Yuvsatta, Chandigarh will soon have an army of volunteers. In what can be termed a unique project, Yuvsatta, in collaboration with the Dev Samaj College of Education, has designed a website meant for those who are willing to offer time in the service of others.

Named www.timedonation.info, the website encompasses almost every aspect of voluntary service relevant to the City Beautiful. It is a one stop shop for those looking for voluntary jobs. The website has been launched with technical guidance from the Rehabilitation Council of India and Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, New Delhi, and has been dedicated to the platinum jubilee of Gandhiji’s epic Dandi March.

Launched by the Director Social Welfare, UT, Ms Madhavi Kataria, at a special function held at Panjab University today, it features details of voluntary organisations operating in Chandigarh and the nature of volunteers they need for field and office jobs. Designed by Dr Anil Sarwal from DAV College, Sector 10, the website aims at gathering up-to-date information about local volunteering, details of organisations where people can offer services and values of volunteering.

Speaking about the project, Mr Pramod Sharma of Yuvsatta earlier said the idea was to inspire people to donate time, which was a rare commodity. He said Yuvsatta would update the site, as and when required. To begin with, the site has database on the All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society, Palsora, the Institute for the Blind, Sector 26, the Sadhna Society for the Mentally Handicapped, Mani Majra, the Sahayta Charitable Welfare Society, Sector 36, the Thalassaemic Children Welfare Association, PGI, and the Vatika School for Deaf and Dumb, Sector 19.

The occasion was also taken to stress the need to make Chandigarh a disabled-friendly city.

Another initiative Yuvsatta took today was promotion of Gandhian thoughts and literature among students by handing over 10,000 copies of Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography ‘The Story of My Experiments with Truth’ to heads of schools and colleges gathered for the function.

Later, greeting cards bearing famous quotes of Mahatma Gandhi were also released. These cards have been prepared by women of Colony No 5 at Kasturba Gandhi Kendra in Burail village.



Residents protest rehabilitation of migrants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Residents of Sector 38(West) today held a protest rally and a ‘dharna’ to condemn the decision of the UT Administration to rehabilitate the migrants of Gawala and Randhawa Colonies of Kishangarh village in the prime land of Sector 38(West).

Mr Manohar Kumar Garg, chairman of the Joint Action Committee of Sector 38(West), criticised the UT Administration for bad governance because it paved way for creating a new slum which would destroy the scenic environment in this model sector.

The sector faced problems of hygiene, sanitation, security and animal menace because of the adjoining slums, he said.

The protest rally organised a ‘dharna, blocking traffic for some time near the IMTECH, Sector 39 crossing. The procession then moved to the ‘Matka chowk’.

A delegation of representatives from Sector 38 (West) later went to the a Punjab Raj Bhavan and gave a memorandum of demands to the officer on duty.



Man falls from roof, dies
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 24
Ashutosh Radheshyam (53), a labourer at the grain market, Sector 26, died after he fell from a roof, said the police here today. The incident took place last night.
The police after receiving the information took the deceased to the General Hospital, Sector 16, where he was declared brought dead.

According to the police, the identity of the deceased are not yet clear. The man used to work and sleep at the grain market.

The police has also found some addresses of Delhi from the pocket of the deceased. A team has been despatched to Delhi in the morning today to further investigate the matter. The body is lying in the mortuary of the hospital.



PCL Chowk mishap: 1 succumbs to injuries
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 24
One of the five persons who was seriously injured in the accident that took place at the PCL Chowk here yesterday succumbed to her injuries at the PGI today.
Hardeep Kaur had lost her husband Harinder Singh and five-year-old daughter Sampreet in the accident. Five persons were injured in the collision between a car and a milk tanker in the mishap on Friday night.

The Tavera car was coming from the Phase III-V chowk side and the milk tanker from the direction of the Phase VIII bus stand when the collision took place. The rest of the injured have been identified Samraj, Jaspal Singh, Kamaljit Singh and Happy. All of them were travelling in the car being driven by Happy and returning to Jhingar village in Nawanshahr district. The family had come to meet relatives in Phase XI here. Jaspal Singh and Kamaljit Singh are still in the PGI. 



Tributes paid to Maskin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Rich tributes were paid to Giani Sant Singh Maskin at the three-day samagam organised by the Chicago-based Guru Nanak Mission.
According to Baba Daljit Singh, who heads the Mission, leading Sikh scholars and religious leaders joined the eminent raagi jathas to pay tributes to Giani Sant Singh Maskin, an epitome of learning.

Giani Tarlochan Singh, Jathedar of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, said the Sikh Panth needed scholars-cum-preachers like Sant Singh Maskin to project a correct image not only to younger generation but also to world at large.

Only preachers like Giani Sant Singh Maskin, he said, could give the true message contained in the holy Guru Granth Sahib.

“There is no dearth of preachers but most of them lack depth and knowledge of Sikh tenets,” he added maintaining that Giani Sant Singh Maskin visited each and every part of the world to spread true message of universal brotherhood and welfare of humankind as contained in Guru Granth Sahib.



Mehram Editor honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Punjabi journalist S.B.S. Bir, Managing Editor, ‘Mehram’ Publications, Nabha, was honoured with the S. Mehar Singh Rawel Memorial Patarkar Award for 2005 yesterday.

The award which carries a citation and a cash prize of Rs 15,000 was conferred by Mr Darshan Singh, Dean of the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, who was the chief guest on the occasion.



Arya sabha office-bearers get award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Mr Ravinder Talwar and Mr Raghunath Rai Arya, president and secretary of the Kendriya Arya Sabha, respectively, were awarded the Arya Rattana Award at Amritsar recently.
The award was given by the president of the Sarvedeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, New Delhi, for their contributions to the Arya Samaj.



Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Mrs Kamla Devi (65), mother of Mr Surinder Singh Rawal, Proof-Reader, The Tribune, died here today after a brief illness. Her cremation was largely attended. Uthala will be held on Wednesday, April 27, from 2.00 pm to 3.00 pm at Sanatan Dharam Mandir, Sector 46-B, Chandigarh. Her husband, Mr Mangal Singh, also served The Tribune at Ambala.



Gang of conmen, snatchers from AP gets active?
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
A gang of conmen-cum-snatchers from Andhra Pradesh is suspected to have become active again in the city nearly a year after they carried out several incidents in city and Panchkula.

A clue to the resumed activity of the gang, comprising members from a caste that operates on the pattern of few known criminal castes in North India, was provided yesterday when a person was duped of Rs 1.5 lakh when he was coming out of Punjab and Sindh Bank in Sector 17. Sources said the modus operandi of the conmen, who yesterday hatched the plot to dupe Anil Malhotra, has a striking similarity with the incidents that took place last year.

A woman Rashmi Gupta last year lost her purse in a similar incident when she came out of a bank in Sector 22. Another person lost his belongings when one person threw a cup of hot tea on him to divert his attention. The man turned back to see why he was feeling hot. In a flash, somebody took away his bag. This incident also happened in the same area.

Besides, the gang used children for the purpose. A couple of such incidents took place when one child tapped a window of a car to draw the driver’s attention to himself and tease him out of the car. In the meantime, another person of the same gang used to take away bags of car drivers.

The sources in the police said it could be the handiwork of the same gang. The police had arrested one person of this gang last year but by the time it carried out raids in Kurukshetra, the rest of the members of the gang had packed off.

The sources said it is generally a group of a minimum of six persons who carry out such incidents. One person throws currency notes, another draws a victim’s attention to the fact that some currency notes are lying and the third one strikes when the attention of the person is diverted. Two persons watch the entire scene from a distance to keep a large gang informed on mobile phones about the success or failure of the operation.

The Chandigarh Police found out that the person who was caught revealed that it was a gang of 80 persons and they were putting up at a dharamshala in Kurukshetra. A Chandigarh Police team reached Kurukshetra only to find out that all members of the gang had checked out from the dharamshala barely half an hour before the team reached the city. The sources said the gang was stationed at a safe distance of around 100 km when its members carried out strikes so that others were safe even if somebody was arrested in some incident.

The sources said the person arrested last year said he could not remember in how many incidents he had been involved but said that there were many.

According to the police, the gang members, including children, are difficult to crack and probably trained in tolerating a possible torture either by the police or the public.



Girl commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
A 15-year-old girl domestic help in a Sector 40 house today allegedly ended her life in Palsora Colony apparently fearing her parents would question her delay in returning home from work.

Renu was found hanging from a ceiling fan in her house when her elder sister returned home.

The girl was allegedly feeling depressed and was afraid of her parents when she got late this evening, the police said. No suicide note has been found.

According to the police, when Renu got late, her parents despatched her elder sister to find out about her. Her elder sister saw Renu standing in Sector 40 with a friend but Renu gave the slip to her sister to head towards her house.

When Renu reached home, her younger brother was at home. She told her younger brother to inform her elder sister that she had returned. She also asked her younger brother to close the doors till he brought back her elder sister. When the brother-sister returned home, they found Renu hanging from a ceiling fan in her house.

The statements of the family indicated that the girl was depressed but there was no immediate cause to take an extreme step.



3 held for stealing plastic crates
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 24
The police today arrested three persons for stealing 12 plastic crates from a truck here. The accused Rambir Singh and Rajbir of Bapu Dham colony and Chander Ram of Madrasi colony were arrested on the basis of a complaint lodged by owner of the truck, Manoj Kumar, of Rani village, Kotla district, Bilaspur. The accused allegedly stole the crates from the truck at the Transport Light Point area.

Purse snatched: Sujata Chakrobarty, a resident of HPSEB colony, sarabhai district, Kullu lodged a complaint with the local police that her purse was snatched by two motorcycle borne persons, yesterday, near the sector 15,16 light point. The purse reportedly contained a mobile phone and Rs 1500. A case under section 356/379 IPC has been registered in the sec 11 police station.

Liquor seized: The police arrested Lodhi Ram, a resident of jhuggi no. L-149 LBS Colony Sector 56 and recovered four bottles of whisky from him. A case under Section 61, 1, 14 the Excise Act has been registered at the Sector 39 police station.

Thefts: Paramjeet Singh, a resident of the Badheri village, complained to the police that someone had stolen one gold chain weighing 15 gm, two Nokia mobile phones, one camera, two wristwatches, a driving licence and Rs 600 from his residence on the Wednesday night. A case 457/380 IPC has been registered at the Sector 39 police station.

Mrs Rakesh Sharma, a resident of the house No.225 Sector 20A, lodged a complaint with the police that someone stole her three Nokia mobile phone and Rs 26000 from her residence. A case under Section 380 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 19 police station.

Held for stealing: Varinder Singh of Deep Complex Hallo Majra was caught red-handed while stealing iron rods from Bhushan Factory, Phase I, Industrial Area, yesterday. A complaint was lodged with the police by one Komal Ram of Mauli Jagran. A case has been registered in this regard.



4 held for trying to outrage modesty of foreigners
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 24
Four inebriated youths from Punjab last evening allegedly attempted to outrage the modesty of two foreigners who had come to attend a training session in the Rock Garden.

The youths, however, were arrested when they tried to modest the girls, at whom, they had earlier passed lewd remarks.

According to the police, Karamjeet Singh, Mander Singh, Jagmohan Singh and Harjinder Singh, all residents of Maina village in Moga, indulged in obscene activities.

A case under Section 294 of the IPC has been registered and the accused were medically examined, said the police. The youths were later released on bail.

This is the fourth incident of an attempt to outrage the modesty of a woman in the same vicinity. Earlier, grand-daughter of a former Punjab Chief Minister and a US citizen was allegedly molested by a few car-borne youths. They also tried to kidnap the girl.

The incident followed the one in which a newly married Australian citizen, who had come for her honeymoon was allegedly molested in public toilet. 



Five arrested
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 24
Five persons from Shekhan Majra village were arrested by the Sohana police here today. The five, according to the police, had reportedly tried to grab land belonging to another villager.
The five Sarja Singh, Ranjit Singh, Naib Singh, Surinder Singh and Didar Singh have been arrested on the complaint of Dara Singh.


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