C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Corpn swallows poor man’s money
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Bapu Dham resident Satish and hundreds like him can barely believe what the welfare wing of the state has done to him.

He has been literally robbed of his hard earned money by those responsible for securing it. He is shell-shocked over the way the staff of the Schedule Caste Backward Class and Minorities Financial and Development Corporation, UT, went about defrauding thousands of poor who had availed of the loans under various empowerment schemes of the corporation.

From April 1, 2004 to April 30, 2005, the corporation staff, in connivance with some officials, had been conveniently cheating poor people of their money. They pocketed thousands by entering into loan accounts much less money than the loanees had actually paid.

The modus operandi was simple - while receiving the loan amounts and entering the same in words, the carbon paper was not kept purposefully. In some cases very old carbon paper was used so that the impression on the counterfoil was not readable and was easy to alter.

After the original receipt was issued to the loanee, lesser money was entered in his/her counterfoil. In several cases, whereas the people had deposited thousands, only a few hundreds have been deposited in their accounts, leaving the default figures unchanged.

For many safai karamcharis who barely earn to make both ends meet, the news came as a shock. When they returned to clear the dues, they found the amount was much higher than they had thought.

The matter of large scale embezzlement of public money came to light a few days ago when an anonymous letter was received at the office of Ms Madhavi Kataria, MD of the Corporation. The letter warned the authorities of the scam whereby several poor from city’s colonies like Bapu Dham, Deep Complex, Palsora, etc, had been left high and dry.

On enquiring, the authorities recovered 75 doubtful receipts which confirmed the fact that embezzlement had indeed taken place. All receipts had been issued by a woman clerk of the corporation who has been suspended for having indulged in malpractices in as much as showing less amounts in official copies of loan receipts than those mentioned on the original receipts issued to loanees.

Preliminary enquiries have revealed that the accused had pocketed Rs 39,900 between April 2004 and April 2005.

Further enquiries are on, and the UT Chief Vigilance Commissioner is also posted of the matter. A CBI team has already visited the corporation office to take into possession receipt books between the said period.

While the extent of the damage is yet to be ascertained, officials in UT Social Welfare wing confirm that those wronged during the tenure of former corporation MD Mr Gurdip Singh would be compensated for.

“Once the amount of money embezzled is determined, we will begin the recovery proceedings. Those who defrauded the poor will have to pay back from their own accounts. Several heads will roll once the enquiry report is tabled,” said an official.



Cheating spree of woman ends
Held for duping banks of lakhs of rupees
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 13
A woman allegedly duped 20 banks of lakhs of rupees in the city, Panchkula and Mohali in connivance with her husband who is now cooling heels in the Burail jail. The woman kept dodging the police for almost a year since her husband was arrested.

Indu Jagota, a resident of Sector 56, was working as a domestic help to hide herself since her husband was imprisoned. Indu said she was doing the work of a domestic help as she had run out of money and her son refused to support her.

She is an expert in producing forged documents of mortgage and property to raise a loan and not return the money later. She was dismissed from the Haryana Social Welfare Department for allegedly embezzling funds as a clerk.

But her cheating spree came to an end today and she will probably join her husband in the Burail jail. She was arrested by a team of the Sector 31 police station.

The police had the information that she was going to meet her husband today in the jail. Following the information the police laid a trap and arrested Indu from near Sector 17 Football Stadium.

In one of the complaints dated June 6, 2004, lodged by Mr J.C. Duggal, Branch Manager of the State Bank of Patiala, Phase I, Industrial Area, he alleged that Indu had got a loan of Rs 1 lakh from the bank by submitting forged documents. After investigating the matter, a case of cheating was registered under various Sections of the IPC, but Indu remained elusive.

There was another case of cheating registered against him by the Economic Offences Wing of the UT police on January 28, 2004, in which HDFC Bank, Sector 36, reported to the police that Indu had duped the bank of Rs 3.20 lakh taken in the shape of a loan to buy a plot. She had pledged a fake registry to obtain the loan.

A case was also registered against her by the Haryana police in Panchkula in 2003. According to the FIR, Indu had taken a loan of Rs 50,000 from Syndicate Bank, Sector 10.

The police sources said she will be produced in a local court tomorrow.



Congress differences come to fore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Differences in the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee came out in the open in front of the observer for elections to the party office-bearers (including president) and the-CTCC members here today. The local unit is divided between the groups of Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament, and Mr B.B.Bahl, the president of the local unit.

The meeting of the office-bearers and the-CTCC members with the observers could not be held at the Congress Bhavan in Sector 35 earlier during the day because of unruly scenes and slogan-shouting by supporters of the rival groups. The observers met the leaders separately later during the day at another venue.

Mr Bansal’s group dominated the public show of resentment against Mr Bahl’s “non-performance”, as nearly 200 workers had assembled in the party office “on a special invitation”. The crowd started assembling around 10 am. A public meeting was held where a majority of speakers, as expected, spoke against Mr Bahl.

The observer, Mr Raj Bahadur, assisted by Mr K.B.R. Naidu, is here to see the election process of the party elections. The key positions include the president, three district presidents and members of the-CTCC. Mr Bahadur and Mr Naidu had a long session of interaction with party workers. Mr Bahl had just about a dozen odd supporters and there was a negligible public show of his strength. Those accompanying him included Mr Sunil Parti, general secretary, and Mr Chandermukhi and Mr Kuldeep Kajheri, both councillors.

When Mr Bahl arrived, the public at the venue got up and raised “anti-Bahl slogans” for about 15 minutes. Mr Bahl reacted mildly by saying “the scenario in the local unit of the Congress has been highlighted to the party high command and the observers. It is for them to take a decision”.

A senior party worker and his supporter said, “We have given all relevant information to the party high command and will never indulge in cheap political stunts like misguiding people”. In routine, such events are attended only by the-CTCC members and other office-bearers.

He said that in routine the election process was not selecting names and forwarding them to the party high command for formal approval.

He said “clearly in order to incite party workers, a note bearing names of Mr H.S. Lucky, president of the Chandigarh Youth Congress, Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, president of the District Congress Committee (Rural), Mr Pawan Sharma, president of the District Congress Committee (Urban), and Mr Rampal Sharma, vice-president of the CTCC, was circulated in the labour colonies”. The note said “in a conspiracy, efforts are being made to uproot villagers outside ‘lal dora’ and also to uproot religious places. The administration was also uprooting poor from labour colonies.”

Mr Bahl has been criticised for supporting the Administration.

Mr Bansal’s group was represented by Mr Subhash Chawla, general secretary of the CTCC, Mr Pradeep Chhabra, a former senior deputy mayor, Mr Kamaljit Panchi, Mr Subhash Kataria, media in charge, Mr Lucky, Mr Badheri and Mr Devinder Babla, a staunch Bansal supporter.



Garbage-processing unit cleared by MC
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh will employ the garbage-to-pellet making technology at the dumping ground in the city.

A decision in this regard has been taken by a committee constituted by the corporation, sources said today. The members of the committee included Mr P.S. Aujla, Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh from the Punjab Energy Development Agency, Ms Anu Chatrath, Mayor, and Dr B.R. Verma and Mr Surinder Singh, both councillors.

The decision is important because for the past more than a decade, the city had not even decided upon which technology best suited its requirements. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) grants for the second phase of the project worth Rs 9 crores were held in abeyance because the city had not decided upon the technology for garbage processing.

A proposal has come from JP Industries, which has a cement plant in Solan. The 900-crore plant there can utilise pellets in energy production, sources said. Although the energy produced from these pellets will be far lesser than the requirement of the industry, the establishment had shown keen interest.

The sources said that most of the garbage-processing units in the country had failed to deliver the required results.

It was pointed out that once the project formalities were completed, it was likely to begin within the coming three months. The project in the city is valued at Rs 15 crore.

A senior official said the corporation had studied detailed reports of different garbage-processing units in the country, including Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. In fact, a team of the corporation, led by a former Mayor Ms Kamlesh, had visited Hyderabad. The report did not clear the project. All of these garbage-processing technologies had shown big lacunae to fit in the city’s requirements. Residents in the colony, adjoining the Dadu Majra dumping ground, can now heave a sigh of relief. One of the existing pits of garbage was full and had not been covered because of the unavailability of funds by the CPCB. The board withheld the grant because no decision would be arrived at on the garbage-processing technology. The foul smell and related health hazards were a cause of concern.



Calf gets MC blow before birth
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, May 13
A newly born calf became an alleged victim of the Municipal Corporation (MC) of Chandigarh even before it opened its eyes in the world. The calf has been feeding on bottled milk for the past five days, as its mother was seriously injured when the cattle catchers of the MC hit it with their truck. The cow is admitted in the veterinary hospital in Sector 38.

The hapless cow belonged to Ram Singh of the Milk Colony in Dhanas. According to Ram Singh and eyewitnesses, on May 8, the Municipal Corporation staff came to the Milk Colony to catch stray animals. The physically challenged wife of Ram Singh was grazing her cows in the area. On seeing the approaching MC vehicle, the animal panicked and began to run here and there. The MC employees chased the animal in their truck and in the process hit cows, as a result of which a cow died on the spot and another one, which was pregnant, received fractures on her loin. With the impact of the hit by the truck, half of the foetus came out from the womb of the cow.

Two of the MC employees were allegedly in an inebriated condition, said the villagers. After the incident, they sped away in their vehicle leaving the dead and injured animals behind.

On seeing the condition of the injured cow, villagers rushed the cow to the Sector 38 veterinary hospital, where the injured cow was operated upon, giving birth to a calf, which is now being fed milk from a bottle.

The cow today tried to stand on its feet but failed.

Meanwhile, lawyers for the Human Rights International (LHRI) has sent a complaint to the Administrator and former Union Minister Maneka Gandhi in this regard. The LHRI activist Arvind Thakur said doctors in the hospital were on leave when the injured cow was brought there. However, the attendant staff worked on the animal with compassion, he said.



2 child marriages come to light
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 13
Children, aged between 10 and 15, danced around to celebrate the marriage of their 12-year-old friend and his 17-year-old cousin from Tibbi village. The brides aged 8 and 14, respectively, both sisters, sat coyly as they were married off at Bakshiwala Tibbi village in Pinjore on May 11.

As word of the child marriages spread, the district administration ordered an inquiry. Senior officials say that the Block Development Officer has been asked to look into the matter and submit his report at the earliest.

But even before the administration turned its heat on the families for circumventing the law by allowing child marriage, the families along with the 12-year-old groom and his 8-year-old bride have gone underground. His 17-year-old cousin, and his 14- year-old bride are, however, staying in Tibbi, near Barwala.

It is learnt that the 12-year-old groom had lost his father a few years ago. He is a student of Class V at Government High School, Bunga. The school authorities say that he has not been attending school for the past one week. “When we inquired, we were told that he is away because of a wedding at home. On the day of the marriage, about 15 other students of his class were absent, and only then I got to know that it was Aslam’s wedding,” informed a teacher at the school, requesting anonymity.

Interestingly, several of the two grooms friends were part of the baraat (marriage procession) that went to Bakshiwala Tibbi on Wednesday. While the older groom’s bride came with him, the younger bride was left with the parents and would join him after a few years.

However, as the administration and local police got wind of the child marriages having taken place, the young “couple” and bride’s family had left the village.

While villagers say that the marriages have taken place, the grooms’ family has reportedly told the BDO, Barwala, that the younger boy was only engaged to be married. Only the 17-year-old boy was married, they claimed.

With a large number of child marriages being recorded in the rural areas of the district, the Child Welfare Department had requested the panchayat members in villages to administer oaths to villagers against child marriage. However, in many villages, residents have reportedly refused to cooperate, say officials.



9-month-old baby’s arm amputated due to doctors’ ‘negligence’
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Merely nine months’ old, and Ravneet Kaur has become a victim of fate. Her entire left arm was recently amputated at the GMCH-Sector 32 due to the alleged negligence of the doctors treating her for diarrhoea at the Civil Hospital, Samana.

On a visit to the GMCH-32 here for the second operation of the girl’s shoulder after the amputation last month, her father Paramjit Singh rues if the doctors were more responsible, the girl would not have gone through so much pain. “Ravneet was just suffering from diarrhoea when we took her to the Civil Hospital. We never knew that we would have to pay such a huge price for a common ailment,’’ he says.

While the innocent child is yet to fathom the indelible effect of the incident on her entire life, her father, a granthi at the gurdwara at Sondhewala village, near Rajpura, wonders if his child’s future could have been different. Due to the wrong administration of IV fluid at the hospital under Dr Prashant Gautam, the girl had to lose her left arm, he alleges.

The family alleges that after Ravneet was administered IV fluid on April 4, her arm swelled and turned blue the same day. “We were sent back the same evening and the doctors told us that there was nothing to worry. But after three days when I took note of Ravneet’s shrivelled figure and a lifeless arm, I panicked. I took the child to the GMCH here where the doctors told me that her arm would be amputated since the glucose had been wrongly administered. Since then, two operations on her arm have been performed,’’ says Paramjit Singh.

Ravneet’s mother worries over the bleak future of her daughter, fearing that more than the physical disability, the social stigma would ruin the child’s life. “She has done no thing to deserve it. Her life has become tough right from the beginning,’’ says Sukhwinder Kaur.

The family has moved an application in the Consumer’s Court for compensation. Though Dr Gautam could not be contacted, the Civil Surgeon, Patiala, Dr S.K. Garg, while talking to The Tribune said an inquiry had been marked into the incident. “We have not set any time limit for the submission of the report, but senior officers are looking the matter,’’ he added.



Monopoly of local miners continues
Outside bidder forced to surrender contract
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 13
The state government’s claim of success in breaking the monopoly in mining of minor minerals from the 55 quarries in the district seem to have fallen flat, after one of the successful bidders, who is from outside Panchkula, has been forced to surrender the contract.

Harish Aneja and Company, a consortium of businessmen from Delhi, Sonepat and Rohtak, was awarded the contract for 15 quarries (Zone I) on the Nalagarh road, during an auction on May 10. As against a reserve price of Rs 1.14 crore, the contract was awarded to them for Rs 4.13 crore in an open auction.

The partners in the company, however, say that they were forced to quote an astronomical price in order to retain one zone from the local mining contractors. “But after paying such high royalty, we will suffer losses. Moreover the local mining contractors have a tie-up with stone crushers in Burj Kotian, where all the river bed material will be sent. The stone crushers can refuse to take our material, and we will be incurring further losses,” he says.

The partners in Harish Aneja and Company had taken the mining operations here on a 10-day permit, till the auction was held. But as they had taken away this permit from local contractors (who had taken two previous permits since April 1, 2005 ), the stone crushers in the district went on strike. The owners of these crushers were partners with local mining contractors. Since the crushers were on strike, the mining contractors who got the last permit since April 30, had to suffer losses to the tune of Rs 7 lakh a day, as no stone crusher was ready to pick up the mined minerals.

Alleging that the Department of Mines and Geology, Haryana, too, did not offer any protection against such practices by local contractors, they had no option but to surrender the contract. “We have asked the Department of Mines to set up a new stone crusher zone on the Pinjore- Nalagarh road, where we are allowed mining of river bed material. This will not only solve our problem, but also help in generating additional revenue as crushers can feed the growing demands of construction industry in the neighbouring industrial towns of Himachal — Baddi and Barotiwala,” informed a partner in Harish Aneja and Company.

Ban on mining in Aravallis in Faridabad and Gurgaon by the Supreme Court has brought quarrying for minor minerals to the Ghaggar river and various rivulets of Panchkula on the forefront. The auction of 55 minor mineral quarries in the district two days ago, had yielded a sum of Rs 35.46 crore to the Department of Mines and Geology, Haryana, against a reserve price of Rs 14. 25 crore — an increase of 250 per cent. Of the six zones created by the government, the local mining contractors, supported by the owners of stone crushers in Burj Kotian, here, and Mubarikpur in neighbouring areas of Punjab, got contracts for four zones.



MC post poll postponed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 13
Mr Bharat Bhushan Maini is the candidate for the post of senior vice-president of the Municipal Council. The elections, which were to be held today, were postponed till May 16 as the government declared a holiday in connection with the death of Natha Singh Dalam, a former minister.

The ruling group held a secret meeting today to select the candidate for the post of senior vice-president.

According to sources, there were four candidates in the race. They were Mr Bharat Bhushan Maini, Mr S.S. Barnala, Mr Surjit Singh Garewal and Mrs Daljit Kaur. It was learnt that Mr Maini received the maximum number of votes during secret voting conducted by the ruling group though it has not been confirmed by councillors. The ruling group has always fielded the candidate who got the maximum number of votes during the secret voting held before the actual elections.

Last year, Mr Maini could not become the senior vice-president as Mr Phoolraj Singh managed to get more votes than him. The post of vice-president is generally given to members of the Opposition group. The term of Mr Phoolraj Singh as senior vice-president and Amrik Singh as vice-president expired on March 10.



Slum-dwellers to get flats on rent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
The Chandigarh Administration today assured a delegation of the local Congress, led by its President B.B. Bahl, that all future development of the city, including the provision of civic and transport services and changes in rules and regulations, will be carried out keeping in mind the changing requirements of the Union Territory.

The delegation was assured that a decision had been taken to rehabilitate the slum-dwellers in flats to be built for the purpose. At the same time, the Administration would not create an incentive for a greater influx by handing over the ownership of flats. The flats would be available on rent, a spokesperson of the Chandigarh Administration said.

The delegation was assured that the Administration was sensitive to the need for change in building byelaws to reflect current realities and future aspirations rather than past compulsions. For this purpose, a sub-group of the Advisory Council of the Administrator had been assigned the task of suggesting amendments to byelaws. The sub-group had submitted its report which had been circulated to various political parties and reactions were awaited.

Decisions in this regard would be taken shortly. The introduction of the Rent Act required balancing the interests of house owners with the interests of tenants. The matter was sub judice in the Supreme Court.

The delegation was told that the Administration would not permit vested interests to hinder the orderly growth of the city. The deputation raised the problems being faced by the hotel industry. They were informed that the Administrator had taken a separate meeting with the association concerned.



Corrupt should not be spared : BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Appreciating the stand of the Chandigarh Administration against corruption in public life, the BJP today demanded strict action against accused in corruption cases irrespective of their party affiliations.

The demand was raised by a BJP delegation, which called on the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues, today. Persons involved in corrupt practices, whether politicians or employees, should not be spared, the delegation conveyed to General Rodrigues.

The Congress leaders were trying to put pressure on the administration to withdraw corruption cases against certain party leaders, a press note alleged.

The BJP urged the Administrator that the “anti-corruption” drive launched by the administration against corrupt leaders must continue.

Demanding the regularisation of the houses constructed outside the “lal dora”, the press note wanted the release of electricity and water connections to these houses after regularisation.

The notices issued by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) to the alleged building bylaw violators should be taken back, the press note said and demanded the regularisation of the need-based changes in the CHB dwelling units.



UT skyline for sale
Apartments a relief to South
Jagdish Arya

I am in favour of having apartments on single unit houses for the following reasons:

1. To have a house/flat in Chandigarh is beyond the reach of a common man.

2. What to speak of the lower strata, even an honest Class-I officer cannot think of purchasing a house/flat in Chandigarh due to the skyrocketing prices of property.

3. The Southern sectors, which are heavily populated will get some relief if apartments are allowed in northern sectors. People will certainly migrate to the less populated sectors, if they find some suitable accommodation at reasonable rates in the shape of apartments. 4. Moreover, elderly people, who are leading a lonely life in northern sectors will find some companions in their neighbourhood.

5. It will reduce cases of stressed/strained relations between owners/landlord and tenants.

6. There will be handsome receipt/revenue for the Chandigarh administration, which can be utilised for the development of the city.

7. The construction of apartments in the interior of Chandigarh will not reduce the beauty of Chandigarh. Rather it will add uniformity, and symmetry to the city houses.

8. No developing country, like India, can afford to ignore the skilled/unskilled workers, ‘medium income group’ people, while planning and setting up a modern city like Chandigarh.

9. Emphasis should be to beautify the villages falling within the municipal limits of Chandigarh to enhance the beauty of Chandigarh, which is on decline for the past many years.

10. In the end, by constructing apartments on single unit houses, there will be hustle and bustle in every part of Chandigarh. I appreciate the efforts made by the Chandigarh Administration to rehabilitate the downtrodden people living in slums. But providing apartments, common man, too, will be rehabilitated in the real sense up to a great extent.

The writer is an engineer



Man held for stealing LPG cylinders
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 13
The local police has arrested one person accused of stealing LPG cylinders. In a separate case, two persons were caught while carrying poppy husk, the local police said here today.

Mr Rajpal Dogra of Mouli Complex, Mani Majra, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Amar, alias Kuldeep, of Rajiv Colony, Panchkula, had stolen two LPG cylinders from outside his house on Thursday. The police later arrested the suspect from Mauli Jagran and recovered one stolen cylinder from his possession. A case has been registered.

Poppy husk seized

The local police arrested two persons from different places while they were carrying poppy husk on Thursday. Gurdeep Singh of Burail village was arrested from near a small roundabout in Hallo Majra village with 410 gm of poppy husk while Lakhwinder Singh of the same village was arrested with 900 gm of poppy husk from near the Baltana turn. Two separate cases under Section 15 of the NDPS Act have been registered in this connection.

Purse snatched

Ms Shushma Chaudhary of Sector 44 has reported to the police that two motorcycle-borne youths snatched her purse containing Rs 3,000 and one mobile phone on the Sectors 34 and 35 dividing road. A case has been registered.

Bag stolen

Mr Joginder Singh of Sector 63, Mohali, has complained to the police that his bag containing some clothes was yesterday stolen from his car, which was parked in the parking lot of Sector 17. A case of theft has been registered.



Cheat travel agent vanishes
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 13
A Sector 34-based travel agent has allegedly duped several persons of Rs 1.3 lakh on the pretext of sending them to Australia on work permit.

Mr Kanwarpal Singh of Phase 9, Mohali lodged a complaint with the police, alleging that Akshay Singh, alias Monty, of A to Z Consultants, Sector 34-A, had taken Rs 30,000 per person from him and others, promising them to send to Australia for six months on a work permit.

He told the police that they had paid the money about 10 months ago. They came to know about the fraud when one day they found the office of the accused locked. They were told that Monty had closed his office some time back.

A case of cheating has been registered under Section 420 IPC in the Sector 34 police station.



Mystery shrouds girl’s death
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 13
A teenaged girl of Sector 71, here died under mysterious circumstances today. The police and mediapersons reached the spot after getting the news that the Class VIII student had committed suicide. However, a doctor in the area stated that the girl died a natural death. It was reported that she was suffering from a mental problem for the past few years and was undergoing treatment. 



Bank celebrates 43 yrs by launching new scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 12
The State Bank of Patiala (SBOP), main branch, Kalka, celebrated its 43rd anniversary on Tuesday. Mr S.C. Dhall, Senior Manager of the bank, distributed stationery material to 43 school children on this occasion and sweets were distributed among the customers. The branch was set up on this day in 1963.

The SBOP, Kalka, has decided to introduce the Grahak mitra scheme for the customers of Kalka. Mr Dhall said after achieving the landmark of the 100 per cent computerisation and single window service, the bank has now introduce this service in order to provide better facilities to its customers. He said the service has been started keeping in view some of the difficulties the customers faced while filling up various forms to avail the services of the bank.

Mr Dhall said the customers would now be able to get all their work done without any problems.


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