C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Pre-monsoon showers hit city
Chandigarh-Kishangarh road washed away
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Pre-monsoon showers finally hit the parched sun-burnt city in the wee hours this morning, giving city residents temporary relief and a reason to celebrate this first shower. While it brought joy on the faces of the rain-starved residents, it also brought with it the usual woes of power breakdown, flooded roads and roundabouts as well as snapped telephones lines, typical of the season.

The worst-hit by this first heavy downpour was Kishangarh village where water flooded all the roads and homes of residents. It also partially washed away a part of the Kishangarh-Chandigarh link road, leaving trucks stranded. The airport, Raipur Khurd and colonies, too, were not spared of the fury of this first rain.

It not only exposed the ill-preparedness of the municipal corporation but threw the officials in a tizzy as the heavy downpour continued unabated for a good about three hours, washing away the tall claims of the MC about monsoon-preparedness.

At the airport, employees had a tough time draining out the two-feet water which collected due to a choked drainage system. The colonies and all low-lying areas were inundated with rainwater. Fire tenders were pressed into service to pump out rainwater in Palika Bazar, the CRPF camp at Dhillon complex and Rajiv Vihar at Modern Complex where nearly three to feet of water had chocked the roads.

City roundabouts presented no different scene. Flooded roundabouts led to stranded vehicles on the roads. In southern sectors, the roads were liberally dotted with pot-holes, an outcome of today’s 103 mm rainfall recorded by the Metrological Department.

The Chief Engineer, Municipal Corporation, Mr S.K. Khanna, however, maintained that they received no complaint from anywhere in the city and the first heavy shower only showed that the MC had done its homework well by launching a pre-monsoon exercise of removing wild growth around drains to provide for quick drainage.

While most parts of the city had to go without electricity owing to high velocity winds till about noon since yesterday night, the low-lying colonies, especially Colony Number 4 and 5 as well as Ram Darbar, were plagued with innumerable problems brought by the rain.

The water entered their homes, damaged belongings as they hurried to save whatever they could. While power could be restored in most colonies by later afternoon or evening only, high voltage in Dadu Majra led to burning of electrical gadgets in 100-odd houses. Telephones went dead and telephone lines snapped at a few places in the city.

The Meteorological Office recorded a maximum temperature of 30.4°C and a minimum temperature of 24°C with 100 per cent humidity.



Downpour brings misery at Kishangarh
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 26
The heavy downpour brought misery to over 100 families of Kishangarh village as rainwater that came from the catchment areas of lower Shivaliks washed away a kuccha bundh on the north of the village. The families were put to a great hardship when water entered the streets this morning.

The water current also washed away the berms of a road that links the village with Chandigarh. The problem aggravated as the trenches, dug by some telecommunication companies along the Chandigarh-Kishangarh road, caved in and some electricity poles were uprooted.

The rainwater blocked the pipes, laid under the bridge on the Chandigarh-Kishangarh-Suketri village, creating a flood-like situation.

Strong current of water also washed away goods and construction material stored by some villagers outside their house.

A newly constructed road linking the IT Park with the Chandigarh-Panchkula road was also broken at many places. Over six heavy vehicles also got struck on this road as it caved in at various places.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, a villager, Sant Singh, said the UT Administration had constructed the bundh last year to divert the storm water from the IT Park. Despite repeated requests to the administration for constructing a pucca bundh nothing had been done as yet.

Villagers complained that though they had informed the authorities concerned about the flood-like situation in the area yet no help had arrived.

Meanwhile, a team of the Public Works Department officials visited the area in the noon and pressed machinery to raise the level of the bundh. Officials at the site refused to comment on the issue.



Heavy rain exposes poor state of basic amenities
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 26
Last night’s heavy downpour laid bare the poor state of basic facilities in the township. While roads caved in at some places, telephone lines and electricity wires bore the brunt of the heavy showers.

Residents of Phase 3A complained that there was no electricity since 4 am till early afternoon. They had been told by officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board that some lines had been damaged during the rainfall.

A large part of the parking space caved in the Phase V market. A shopkeeper said his car was stuck over the large crack that had been formed on the road. “I could neither move it forward nor reverse it. In both cases it would fall into the ditch that had been formed,” said the shopkeeper. Pushpjit, a resident of Phase X, said the rain had caused disturbances in telephone lines and their phone had stopped functioning.

A watchman, Lok Bahadur (60), was electrocuted this afternoon while he was filling water in a cooler.

The watchman lived with his family on a closed factory premises in Mohali. According to the police, it seemed that Lok Bahadur was electrocuted due to the electricity wires having shot following the rain this morning.



30-year-old colony reduced to rubble
PUDA ends 2-day demolition drive, razes 1,400 houses
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 26
Today could well be a red-letter day in the history of Mohali. The 30-year-old unauthorised Guru Nanak Colony was wiped off the map of the township today. The two-day demolition drive by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) ended today after each one of the 1,400 houses was razed to the ground leaving a large heap of rubble at the place.

However, PUDA spared for just a day various religious structures in the colony since most of these places had started special paths to avoid demolition.

One of the biggest drives ever, PUDA had deployed over 300 policemen for the job other than over 300 of its own employees and a fleet of trucks, bulldozers and tippers besides other machinery.

Out of the thousands who were rendered homeless following the drive, only a few hundred could finally be accommodated at the alternative site given to them by PUDA near the Jagatpura village. Following a survey conducted by PUDA in 2002, families occupying houses here were shifted to the new site. Many of those who could not get a place shifted their belongings to other places by the evening.

Heart-rending scenes were witnessed throughout the day with men and women milling over each other requesting PUDA officials to assign an alternative site to them too. When the drive came to a half in the evening hundreds of homeless people were seen at the site with their children in tow sitting on the road with their belongings.

While strict discipline was maintained by PUDA officials in granting of alternative plots, allegations that some PUDA officials had “promised” plots in Jagatpura on payment were also made by the residents of the colony.

Among those who had gathered in the colony laying claims to alternative sites were the colony

“Many well off persons having bundles of papers visited the colony to prove their claim over the kuccha houses here. They told PUDA officials that they were the original occupants of these houses and had given these on rent nearly two decades ago. They wanted a plot at Jagatpura village,” said a police officer on duty.

The shifting process attracted other persons keen to make a quick buck. “We are ready to offer Rs 20000 to Rs 30,000 to any one here who offers us his share of the plot they have been given at Jagatpura. The plot there is worth at least Rs 5 lakh,” said a car borne property dealer who refused to be named.

The Additional Chief Administrator of PUDA, Mr Yashvir Mahajan, who was at the site throughout the day, said the entire operation had been conducted smoothly. Praising his staff he said the police too had worked hard to ensure that the whole operation was carried peacefully.

“We now have over 9 acres of land free of encroachments here. We should be able to develop this land in the coming two months,” he said adding that the removal of the colony had also met the long-standing demand of residents of Phase X who were unhappy with the shoddy conditions prevailing in their neighbourhood due to the presence of the squatters.

Stating that the demolition of the religious structures had been delayed by a day as special paths had been started all of a sudden by those running these places but these structures would be removed as soon as the path ends tomorrow, Mr Mahajan added.



Homeless in rain, evacuees put up a brave front
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 26
As if being rendered homeless was not enough, residents of Guru Nanak Colony in Phase X who shifted to Jagatpura village had to suffer the vagaries of nature also throughout last night without a roof on their heads.

Sitting on heaps of their meager belongings or on bare ground members of over 500 families began their first day in Jagatpura on a tough note. Manwhile, the elaborate arrangements made by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) to provide comfort to the homeless families till the time they made their houses here, were literally washed away by the heavy rain last night.

The road that led to the site caved in this morning bringing the entire exodus from the colony to a halt outside the village. A huge traffic jam followed. However, PUDA pressed its men into repairing the road. Hours later the caravan of trucks reached the site. The site itself was in a pitiable condition. Gone were the tents that had been put up to accommodate the residents. These had been washed away due to the rain. Since the site had been levelled only recently the entire place was a mass of slush.

However, the slum dwellers who had probably gone through much worse in life took it all in their stride. “We at least have piece of land to call our own.

We had been living for 20 years in the Guru Nanak Colony on rent and here we will at last build our own house,” said Ram Bheet, a painting contractor.

Residents were also glad that even if the rain had ruined most of their belongings, specially the wooden furniture, at least it was not hot. “We were dreading that our children would be shelterless in the scorching heat,” said Seti. Drinking water and langar was also provided to the evacuees.

Interestingly, most of the residents who reached the site with their belongings were having problems saving their electronic goods from the rain. Many of them had coolers, refrigerators and televisions. Almost everyone had beds, chairs and some had even sofa sets. “We have collected all this over the years. We are not rich as you might think but we are also not living a hand to mouth,” said Puran Chand, a shopkeeper. 



Allegation of injustice and lack of concern
PUDA’s demolition drive

Mohali, June 26
Discontentment was rife among the “residents” of the Guru Nanak Colony, Phase 10, here as hundreds claimed to have been rendered homeless during the two-day demolition drive of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA).

The scene at the colony was one of total chaos with residents sitting out in the open with their meager belongings and the bulldozers razing to the ground their homes in the background. Residents complained that they had been standing in queues since 6 a.m. yesterday but had still not got any permanent documents certifying their allotments.

A majority of the populace comprising daily labourers and self-employed persons were worried over their fate in the absence of any aid reaching them. They complained about the injustice and the lack of concern on the part of the government too. They alleged that the authorities were allotting plots to the ‘outsiders’ and the influential people while the poor inhabitants, who have been living in the area since years, were being sidelined.

Anjali, a daily labourer, related her tale of woes. A widow, she had been living here for the past 25 years.

“They destroyed my house (No. 585) and are now asking me to get my husband first before I can be given a plot. How can I bring him and fulfil this condition of theirs?” she asks with tears in her eyes.

Ansi Devi, a resident of house number 34 in the colony, said PUDA officers refused to allot a plot in her name even though her credentials were in order and asked her to get her husband who’s currently working in Muscat.

Many similar instances when reportedly bona fide occupants of the demolished houses failed to procure a roof over their heads alleging that others got hold of the plots using unlawful means. However, the PUDA Estate Officer, Mr Dilraj Singh, denied all allegations of ‘foul play’ on part of the PUDA officials.

He insisted that PUDA officials had personally gone door to door to verify the credentials of each occupant and the allotment was done on the basis of that survey.

He added that there was a possibility of outsiders taking undue advantage of the situation and trying to lay their hands on the PUDA plots.

Regarding the fate of religious shrines within the colony, Mr Dilraj Singh said these had been built by residents for their own convenience and did not, in any way, bear the stamp of government’s approval.



42-year-old touches power cable, dies
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 26
The rain came as a wonderful respite from the inclement weather, and the residents revelled in the ‘showers of blessings”. But even as most of the people rejoiced in the early morning rain, one person lost his life when he accidentally touched a live electricity cable after the rains.

The incident took place in Barauna Kalan village near Raipur Rani, when 42-year-old Parmeet Kumar accidentally touched a live cable in his fields. He was immediately rushed to the Raipur Rani hospital, where he was declared dead.

In another incident, 68-year-old Purshottam Das was seriously injured when he tried to lift his electric fan from outside in the pouring rain. The victim was sleeping in the open when it started pouring around 5 am. As he rushed in for cover, he reached out to take along his table fan and was electrocuted.

Elsewhere in the district, people woke up to a pleasant morning as the scorching heat of previous days led to a cool breeze and showers. This also create problems of lack of drainage of water in some parts of the city.

In Sector 12, Councillor Manvir Gill alleged that the storm water drainage was not proper as the road gullies had not been cleaned. Reports of water logging were also reported from Sectors 19, 15, 12- A and 10. 



BA III, MA I (history), MA II (pol. sc) results declared
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 26
The results of BA III, MA I (history) and MA II (political science) conducted by Panjab University in April/May have been declared. The result gazette will be available at the new enquiry of the university tomorrow at 4 pm onwards and also on the working days afterwards.

The result will also be available on the university website www:puchd.ac.in and can be accessed through SMS at 4 pm tomorrow. To know the result through SMS, the candidates should go to ‘writing message’ on the mobile, type code no BAIII, MIIISI, MPSII then leave space followed by the roll no and send it 700.

No result enquiry will be entertained on the telephone.



Jaswant plays down George comments on NDA disunity
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
In an obvious reference to the Gandhi-Nehru family, the Opposition Leader in the Rajya Sabha, Mr Jaswant Singh, today warned of the danger of an institution that considered family above the nation.

The “family culture” propounded by the Congress could not lead to prosperity and we “need to fight against such a system” which put one particular family above nation, Mr Jaswant Singh, told reporters here.

In fact, an Emergency-like situation had been created by various acts of omission and commission of the Congress. However, he parried a question on whether the AICC chief, Ms Sonia Gandhi, was acting as the “super Prime Minister”.

He was here in connection with a function organised to felicitate over 50 BJP workers, who were jailed during 1975 Emergency imposed by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, here.

Coming down heavily on the UPA for not giving any rights to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, who was an “able and responsible man”, the former Finance Minister said in Congress the dynasty ruled the roost posing a serious danger to the country.

However, he tried to play down the statement of the NDA convener, Mr George Fernandes, about disunity in the NDA, saying that various constituents would sit together and sort out the differences.

Terming the UPA as a convenient arrangement between the Congress and the Left, he alleged that it was neither united nor progressive. In fact, since the basic ideology of the UPA constituents differed, their alliance was only for “vested political interests.”

Accusing the Left parties of having extra-territorial loyalties, Mr Jaswant Singh alleged that these parties had failed to watch the interests of the common man as had been demonstrated by their stand on the recent oil price hike.

Lambasting the UPA government for its poor handling of the Bihar situation, the senior BJP leader announced that the party would go in for an alliance with the Janata Dal(United) in the Bihar poll.

He said the Congress was responsible for the problems in Jammu and Kashmir and Assam and it was behind “attack Sri Harmandar Sahib and anti-Sikh riots”.



Passing Thru

Manminder Singh Narang
Manminder Singh Narang, Managing Director, Nuway Organic Naturals India Limited

What brings you to Chandigarh?

I am here in connection with the setting up of a vodka manufacturing unit at Devi Nagar in Patiala district.

What aims this project envisages?

To be set up in collaboration with the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation the Rs 28 crore project envisages the utilisation of surplus and low quality potatoes to produce value-added products like Vodka, which is colourless and odourless alcohol. It will require potatoes to the tune of 85,000 metric tonnes.

How will the industry address the environment concerns?

The 100 per cent of the treated effluent will be utilised within the complex through recycling, leaving zero discharge in the environment. It has negligible smell due to use of better technologies.

What is the future of the potato-based projects in India?

India is the third largest producer of potatoes in the world. However, the potato growers here continue to be in adversity as of a total of 1.6 million tonnes production, about 17 per cent valued at about Rs 53 crore is lost every year.

— Pradeep Sharma



Power supply restored after 18 hours
Phone lines out of order
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 26
Residents of Sector 35-C had to face a hard time for about 18 hours when the power supply to the area got disrupted at 1 pm yesterday. The supply was restored at 7 pm in the evening today. They made several calls to the electricity board but to no avail.

Though the rain brought some relief yet the power cut affected the aged and the infirm.

A retired Air Force officer, a resident of Sector 34, said, “My father, who is 100 -year- old, had to go through a tough time in this sweltering heat. Our little children also had a harrowing time”. He alleged that the power supply to the hotels of Sector 35 was not disrupted. “It were the residents who always had to pay a heavy price,” he complained.

The power supply to Sector 16 also remained disrupted for about eight hours today.

On the other side telephones remained dead at Sector 21 and Sector 20 for a long time.

Several residents of Sector 21 and Sector 20 have complained that their telephone lines have been rendered dead. They have urged the Telecom Department to restore their connection immediately.



Army mobilises engg units
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The Army sector headquarters at Pooh in Himachal Pradesh got just 10 minutes’ warning about the increase in water levels in Sutlej, which submerged two Army garrisons and washed away some military equipment. However, no loss of life was reported and military personnel as well as civilians have been evacuated to higher reaches.

The Western Command has mobilised its engineer regiments at Ambala and Chandimandir for rendering aid to civil authorities in the affected areas along the flooded river. Bridging equipment as well as other specialised equipment is being moved up to Himachal Pradesh. “We have our contingency plans and these were put into effect immediately,” a senior officer at Western Command said.

While the IAF has placed two squadrons of Mi-17 and Mi-8 choppers on standby at Sarsawa and Hindon, the Army Aviation Corps too has been activated. Since the Army’s Chetaks and Cheetahs are smaller that the IAF choppers, they would mainly be used for recce, observation, communications and signals.

The Army would also be assisting the Border Roads Organisation in the repair and maintenance of the roads and bridges affected.

The water level started rising after the embankments of an artificial lake formed last year on the river Pare Chhu, a tributary of the Sutlej, apparently gave way. Heavy rains in Tibet adjoining Himachal Pradesh had caused a landslide, which had blocked the flow of the river and formed a large lake.

“Water level in the river started rising at about 11 am,” a senior officer at Chandimandir said. “There was no indication about this, which suggests that the walls of the lake gave suddenly.” he added. An avalanche is being cited as the probable reason for the embankments breaking.

The Army would be monitoring the situation and directing relief efforts from Chandimandir. A coordination centre has also been set up in Shimla for working with the civilian administration. The Indo-Tibetan Border Police, which has a strong presence in the state, has also been geared up for rescue works.



3 more Railway TA units being raised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Following requirements projected by the Ministry of Railways, the Territorial Army (TA) is raising additional Railway TA units. A number of such units existing earlier were converted into infantry battalions when a restructuring exercise had been undertaken about four years ago.

According to TA officers, three new Railway TA units are in the process of being raised and these are expected to be functional in a few months’ time. One of them will be based in this region. The TA already has three Railway units

Railway TA units were raised during the 1970s as a result of frequent strikes and trade union disputes. These consist of operations as well as maintenance staff, and when mobilised, are capable of operating trains for a distance of 320 km.

Except for a small number of permanent cadre drawn from the Army, majority of the personnel in these units are regular railway employees. A Railway TA unit comprises about 1,000 personnel, including 23 officers.

In 2001, six railway units were converted into infantry battalions. This, according to sources, was done to meet the increased requirement for infantry units as well as to relieve pressure on the regular infantry deployed in counter-terrorist operations and internal security duties. At present, a large part of the TA is also deployed in Jammu and Kashmir on internal security duties.



JCO fighting for disability pension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
After serving the Army for 28 long years, a retired JCO is now pitted against bureaucracy for release of his disability pension. Despite the pension being recommended by a medical board, Subedar Dharam Pal Singh has been running from pillar to post to get the same released.

A resident of Badwali village near Ropar, he had joined the Bombay Sappers in July, 1977. Some time ago, while on service he suffered a stroke and was subsequently retired. A release of the medical board comprising specialists placed him in low medical category (B-Permanent) and recommended that he be granted disability pension.

The Medical Adviser on Pension in the office of the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (PCDA), however, rejected the recommendation, stating that the “constitutional disease was not related to military service”.

In a representation forwarded to Army Headquarters and the PCDA, on behalf of the JCO, Lieut-Col S S Sohi, president of the Ex-servicemen’s Grievances Cell, has stated that Dharam Pal had suffered the medical disorder (MCA Territory Ischaemic) due to tough service conditions and the condition subsequently aggravated while on duty. He was also treated at military hospitals for this and the same is also recorded in his discharge book and other service documents.

“Documents show that the disability was totally attributable to military service,” Colonel Sohi said. “The disability recommendation was rejected by the medical adviser without even seeing or examining the individual concerned, which is totally unfair,” he added.



Dalit bodies’ ultimatum to Centre on SC certificates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Leaders of various Dalit organisations today served an ultimatum on the Union Government to resolve the issue of the issuance of Scheduled Caste certificates.

Addressing a press conference here, the Dalit leaders warned that if their demands were not met, they would hold a protest rally outside the residence of the Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, in New Delhi on July 10.

They alleged that the Union Home Ministry had only delayed the case of issuing of the SC certificates by transferring the case to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Prominent among those who were present at the press conference were Mr Mukesh Kumar, president of the Chandigarh Scheduled Castes Welfare Association, Mr Brij Lal, president of the Rashtriya Dalit Morcha, and Mr B.R. Tisawarh, general secretary of the Chandigarh Pradesh Valmik Sabha.



Fond of fighting for the rights of Asians
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
New York-based Indian, Dr Parveen Chopra, is a proud man. For long he has fought for rights of Asians and Indians, and now for his services two prestigious awards have been conferred upon him this year.

The latest has been the Ellis Island Medal. In January he was given the Dr Martin Luther King Junior award and he was the first Asian to get such honour.

Dr Chopra is in India for a brief visit. Having studied from Panjab University where he did his masters in sociology almost 35 years ago, he loves coming here. Talking to The Tribune, he said “the awards are prestigious and it feels nice to get them.” Having spent his formative years in Shimla, Dr Chopra says fighting for the rights of the community has been satisfying for him personally.

The soft-spoken Dr Chopra joins an elite band of Ellis Island awardees. These include former US Presidents Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, Nobel prize winner Elie Wiesel, singer Frank Sinatra, billionaire Donald Trump and General Colin Powell, to name a few.

Dr Chopra has been fighting prejudice and discrimination against Indian, Asian and American communities. He once spearheaded a movement in Jersey city organising community protests against the police department and local government officials. In 1990 when Indian merchants in Queens New York became target of violence, Dr Chopra organised demonstrations.

He has also been the first Asian — American to have served on the Human Rights Commission in New York. He made contribution in fighting against discrimination in employment, housing and business establishments. He then went to serve in the commission of Planning in Nassau country where he lives. This involved hearing and taking decisions in areas of land use, zoning, density, environment, transportation and economy. 



Geriatric care course concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
A two month course in “Geriatric Care” concluded yesterday at the Old Age Home in Sector 15. The batch consisting of 10 participants between the ages of 17 and 30 were given course completion certificates and the evening was marked by a function comprising a group dance and ghazal performance by participants.

The programme teaches people on how to interact with the elderly and take care of them. This includes medical help, local care and safety of the elderly in their surroundings and also teaches young people on how to intermingle with them. According to the warden, Mr S S Sehgal, “It is important for people to know how to treat the old people in their families and at homes. With the government planning to open several such homes for old persons, we need youngsters to come up and train in geriatric care. Old people are the repositories of experience and knowledge in our society and we need to cherish and nurture them.”

This is the second batch to have been given this training and another one is beginning on July 4.



Protest rally by Punwire employees
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 26
Members of the Punjab Wireless Systems Employees Union, Mohali, today staged a rally outside the premises of the factory today, marking the 31st year of the establishment of the company.

The employees of the company were joined by the former employees of other companies that faced disinvestment and closure in Mohali. The former employees of Punwire demanded the re-opening of the company and the re-employment of its 

According to a press note issued by the president of the union, Mr Shahid Ahmed, the employees warned that in case Punwire was not revived by the Congress-led government in the state, the employees would ensure that the Congress government loses the next elections in the state.

Listing their future plans, he stated that a massive protest march would be organised on June 28 that would end at the SDM Mohali’s office. Following this a dharna this be held there by the employees. Similarly on July 5 employees from all over the state under the umberalla of the All India Trade Union Council (AITUC) would be organised at Patiala.

Mr Ahmed said over the past five years since the closure of the company over 30 employees of the company had died some had even committed suicide. “On June 26, 31 years ago the foundation stone this once blue chip company was laid. And look at the its condition now?” said Mr Ahmed. 



Police generates awareness about drug abuse
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 26
The Chandigarh Police today celebrated the International day against Drug Abuse and Ilicit Trafficking in its own way by conducting a special drive against drug abuse. The police arrested three persons from various places in the city and seized 27 grams of smack from their possession. In a separate incident a man was arrested for gambling.

The Chandigarh Police arrested Mohan Dhir, a resident of Mauli Complex and recovered 25 grams of smack from his possession. Similarly Pradeep Sharma, alias Bittu, of Mohali and Abal Singh of Sector 23 were arrested from Sector 25, respectively for carrying one grams of smack. In a separate incident Mohinder Kumar, of Dadu Majra Colony was arrested for in gambling in the same locality.

According to sources the UT, SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, had issued a circular on June 13 ordering all SHOs, DSPs and in charge of Crime Branch to observe the International Day Against Drug abuse and Ilicit Trafficking by conducting awareness seminars and spreading awareness in educational institutions in the city.

The SSP also asked the officers of the city police to keep a special vigil on these institutions and nab the persons indulging in drug peddling and drug addiction.



Man falls from roof, dies

Chandigarh, June 26
A 40-year-old man died after falling from the rooftop of his house in Deep Complex near Phase II, Ram Darbar, late last night. The police sources, while ruling out any foul play, said Karam Chand was sleeping on the roof and around 2 am fell from there accidentally.

He was rushed to the GMCH, Sector 32, where the doctors declared him brought dead. The police sources further added that Karam Chand was living alone in a rented accommodation. His family came today from Punjab and the body was handed over to them.

No post-mortem examination was performed on the request of the family. The police has, however, initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 CrPC in Sector 31 police station. — OC



Love flows in cool coffee shops
Saurabh Malik

Cool breeze coming out of humming AC ignites the flames of friendship, in fast food joints and coffee bars of the city.

Any doubts? Just drive down to the nearest youth hangout. You will find guys sitting on single-seater sofa sets with arms daringly placed around the shoulders of willing damsels, whispering sweet nothings in the din of thumping music. Cold coffee mugs are not really required as their quench their thirst looking into each others’ eyes.

“Gone are the days when bill-and-cooers used to chuck under the chin away from sun’s vertical rays in the rejuvenating shade of dense trees in the Rose Garden, or the Leisure valley,” says college student-cum-self proclaimed socialite Ankit Jain. “With temperature hovering above 40 degree Celsius and humidity dampening the spirits outside, more and more teenyboppers are finding their way inside the AC joints to let out the steam”.

His chum Shahid Khan agrees. Sitting on a comfy sofa with his “girl” in a coffee bar in Sector 11, the under-grad science student quips, “It’s kind of difficult to stick together in the sticky weather…. That is exactly the reason why we have shifted our base from the Bougainvillea Garden to this place”.

There is another reason for it, he admits . Thanks to the weather, we have just discovered that in here, there is no fear of cops lurking behind. Otherwise also, no one objects to your being private in public,” he says. “You see, the society is actually turning permissive. Also, Chandigarh is growing. Unlike 15 years ago, you can actually sit hand in hand with a girl in any fast food joint without your parents knowing about it”.

Sipping ice-cool water, Khan asserts with a naughty smile playing on his lips, “So, there is no reason for us to sit on the burning grass in this weather when we can actually savour life comfortably in these joints”.

As he sits with his back turned towards the crowd, students-turned-waiters working behind the counters smile. Polishing coffee mugs, they assert, “The number of such friends and lovers has gone up by almost 20 per cent ever since the sun started playing havoc. No wonder, you have to struggle hard for finding a place to sit”. That’s the way it is, folks.



BJP honours party workers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The local unit of the BJP today honoured 54 party workers, who were jailed during the 1975 Emergency imposed by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mr Jaswant Singh, who was the chief guest, honoured the workers by presenting them with mementoes at the “loktanter bachao divas” here today.

In his address, the former Finance Minister feared that the “dynastic rule” in Congress was again creating circumstances for an Emergency-like situation in the country. He urged the citizens, particularly the BJP workers, to be on guard against divisive forces.

Prominent among those, who spoke on the occasion were Mr Prem Sagar Jain, a former local BJP president, Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, local BJP president, Mr Parshant Arora, organisation in charge of Chandigarh and Punjab, and Mr RN Sehgal.

Out of the 54 workers, 20 workers were put in jail for a period of 19 months under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA), a press note added.



‘Review postal charges’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 26
The Department of Posts is charging excessive postal charges for sending death messages.

In a letter to the Secretary, Department of Posts, Delhi, Mr D.R. Sood rued that injustice was being done by the Postal Department in charging the excessive postal charges for messages in the shape of rasam pagri/chautha/uthala, etc. The messages are conveyed generally through cards.

He said: “If the same message is conveyed by writing the same matter in hand on the post card it costs Re 1, but if the matter is got printed on the size of the card available from the printing press the charges are six times i.e. Rs 6. Again, if the printed card is sent by ‘Book Post’ in a separate envelop the charges for the postage would be Rs 4 while a printed sheet of the death message put inside the closed envelop would cost Rs 5”.

He urged that this aspect be examined at the highest level so that the postage charges for the printed matter of death messages through cards are not more than the postage charges for normal postal cards.



Keller awards instituted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 26
The National Handicapped Welfare Council, Haryana, has instituted five Helen Keller awards from the next year.

This decision was taken during the executive committee meeting of the council. Mr Keshav Chander Wadhawan, senior vice-president, said the award winners would be selected by a committee before the birth anniversary celebrations of Keller every year. The awards would be given to physically challenged persons for their contribution to their specific fields.

Members of the council also paid tributes to Keller on her birth anniversary. Her life history was read out after the meeting.



MLA chairs meeting
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 26
The Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, today chaired a meeting held on the preparedness of floods.

According to Mr Bir Devinder Singh, the heavy downpour last night had exposed the poor preparations of the municipal and district authorities with regard to water logging on roads.

The SDM, Kharar, and the Naib Tehsildar, Kharar, were among those who attended the meeting. 



Readers write
Delayed delivery of mobile phone bill an inconvenience

This is for the second consecutive month that my mobile No. (9417255529) bill is not received whereas landline No. (0172-2555584) bills are regularly being received at the same address.

Amazingly, when I contact phone No. (9417018023, Mr Vikash Goyal) of telephone exchange, Mani Majra, to enquire about the amount and invoice no. of the bill, he put me on phone No. 9417200033, who further asked me to contact phone no. 2578023 and 27399322. The person on this phone asked me to call after half an hour. Accordingly when I called at 16.30 hrs, the attending officials (one girl and one boy) showed their inability and asked me to go to Sector 34.

This is the state of affairs during this era of globalisation and competition. I have decided to surrender this phone. My suggestion is that bills should be bimonthly and sent through courier services to avoid harassment to the subscribers.

C.L. Gogia

Cable operators’s poor show

In Panchkula, Sony channel is shown in such a horrible manner that viewers get fed up with the transmission. Neither the picture is satisfactory nor the sound is clear due to the wavering picture and often sound is cut off completely.

As per the amendment to Cable Act-1999, each cable operator is required to show DD National, DD News and another local channel. Operator here is not showing DD Jalandhar (local channel) at all. In Mohali, DD Jalandhar is shown round the clock.

Only three sports channels are shown these days. DD Sports and Ten Sports channel have not been shown for over a fortnight now. I request the operator to improve the quality of transmission of the Sony channel and to show DD Jalandhar and two more channels on the cable.

Lieut-Col G.S. Dhillon

Give more travel sops to senior citizens

The 50 per cent concession allowed by the UT Administration to senior citizens for travelling in local buses has resulted in tremendous goodwill. If this concession is extended for outstation-bound UT buses, the senior citizens would gain more.

Considering health conditions of the senior citizens, long-distance travelling would be minimal but the gesture would bring appreciation for the administration and relief to the affected persons with financial constraints. Railways has already allowed such a concession.


Killer crossing

The crossing of Sectors 46-47-48-49 has indeed become a killer crossing. There is heavy traffic and every day some accident occurs.

A few drums placed at the centre are not of much use. The police is reported to have brought the perilous position of the crossing to the notice of the Engineering Department of the UT Administration.

It is understood that a proposal in this regard is pending with the Architecture Department which is requested to approve the architectural details of the works expeditiously so that the construction of the crossing, with suitable lighting arrangement, is taken up without any delay.

The lighting arrangement on road between Sectors 46 and 49 is still to be provided. This needs to be executed immediately.


Are authorities sleeping?

This is with reference to The Tribune news, dated 7.6.05, regarding robbery and killing of people at Zirakpur.

For the past three years or so, we have been reading the news that some people have been robbed, killed and injured by the robbers in one village or the other near Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

Even the innocent children and handicapped were not spared by these robbers. They have no religion, mercy and principles and have created terror in the minds of these villages.

People think hundred times before constructing their houses near these villages. People who have built their houses in such places are always terrorised and in the grip of fear.

I do not remember how many people have been killed, injured and handicapped by these butchers. This evil has not been checked so far but it is spreading further in these villages. It is also feared that this evil might spread to Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula in the near future if it is not checked with full vigour.

The victims of a natural calamity are compensated by the government but such people who are killed, injured and robbed by these robbers are not compensated anywhere. Previously this evil was prevalent in UP and Bihar etc.

But so far this problem has not been solved by the states of Punjab and Haryana. People have no hope of security. Who is responsible for all this? I think that concerned officers/officials who have been bestowed the duty to safeguard the property, life and liberty of the people are responsible.

Government is spending huge sums of money on their salary, allowances, conveyance and other facilities. If these persons are not capable to perform their duty they should be questioned for their incapacity and lapses i.e. for not protecting the life and property of the people. It is high time that the government thought over and solved this matter seriously.

K.R. Raju,

Deterioration of basic amenities

We are entering 21st century but severely lacking the basic amenities. Problems like power shortage, bad roads, sewerage conditions, drinking water problem, poor sanitary conditions and air pollution are galore.

In the past 20-25 years, basic amenities have deteriorated a lot. Roads which are lifeline of the country are small and broken. It increases chances of accidents and also leads to more consumption of fuel.

Safe drinking water is scarcely available . There is no sewerage system in many towns and villages and heaps of garbage emit foul smell. Nobody can enjoy life in the absence of these facilities. No government has given attention and taken concrete steps to improve the basic amenities.

To improve the quality of the life, we have to improve all these amenities and government should give special attention to this which will lead to the real development of the country.

Deepak Saraf
Rampura Phul

Liquor lobby’s influence

The Chandigarh Administration seems to be hand in glove with the liquor lobby. They are looting the public without any benefit to the government exchequer. Some unscrupulous persons make a cartel and fix exorbitant rates of products.

Tomorrow, any other commonly used commodity may similarly be ‘managed’ and may be supplied to public at a cost which public cannot bear. The basic role of administration is not only to check the quality and quantity of a product but also to control its affordability to the public.

Will any higher authority wake up?

Ramesh Kumar and others



Woman killed as car hits scooter
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 26
A woman pillion rider lost her life as an unidentified car hit the scooter on which she was going yesterday and some cases of theft were from the city in the past 24 hours.

Sarla (62), a resident of Preet Colony in Zirakpur, was killed after a car hit the scooter she was riding near Hallo Majra Chowk, late last night. Darshan Lal, husband of the victim, told the police that he and his wife were coming from Sector 34 and were on their way back home, when a speeding Maruti car (number not known) hit their scooter from rear.

Mr Lal added that due to the impact he lost control over his scooter and both he and his wife fell on the road. Salra sustained serious head injuries and was shifted to the GMCH, Sector 32. Judging the seriousness of her injuries the doctors referred her to the PGI, where she later expired.

Mr Lal escaped unhurt in the accident. A case of rash and negligent driving has been registered against the unidentified car driver.

In another incident Vijay Kumar, a resident of Colony Number V, was caught red-handed while stealing a bicycle belonging to Mr Kulwant Singh of Majatri village in Ropar district on Saturday. The incident occurred in Sector 44. Mr Kulwant Singh later handed over the accused to the police. A case has been registered.

Mr Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Sector 45, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that someone stole taps from his house during the night of June 24.

Meanwhile, Ms Shalu, a resident of Sector 21, filed a complaint with the police that her car (CHK-1052) was stolen from Sector 9 on Saturday. In a separate incident, Mr Amandeep Arora of Sector 8 reported that his car (PB-08-G-2900) had been stolen from near Fun Republic in Mani Majra on Saturday. Two separate cases of theft have been registered in different police stations.

In a complaint to the police, Ms Sonia of Sector 61 reported to the police that an unidentified scooterist had snatched her mobile phone from near her residence on Saturday. A case has been registered at the Sector 36 police station in this regard.



14 cartons of IMFL seized
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 26
The local police seized 168 bottles of Indian Made foreign liquor (IMFL) from a picket point in Mauli Complex this morning.

The Sources in the police said, acting on a specific information, a police team was constituted to nab Vikas Kumar, a resident of Saidpur village in Yamunanagar. A picket point was set up near a Kerosene Pump in Mauli complex in Mani Majra. Around 6:30 am the police stopped a Trax jeep (HR-37-B-2269) and a search of the vehicle led to recovery of 14 cartons of various brands of the IMFL.

The sources added that during preliminary interrogation, Vikas admitted that he had been indulged in liquor smuggling for the past two months. He admitted that he used to buy liquor from Chandigarh and sold it in various places in Haryana like Karnal and Kurukshetra. A case under the Excise Act has been registered in this regard. The accused was later produced in a local court today, which sent him to judicial custody.



5 of family hurt in head-on collision
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 26
Five members of a family were injured in an accident on the Kharar-Mohali road this morning. The five were proceeding from Dasuya to Mohali to finalise the wedding of a daughter in the family. The accident took place when the Scorpio they were travelling in had a head-on collision with a truck going from Chandigarh to Ropar.

Sham Lal who was driving the car was critically injured along with Surjit Singh who was also sitting in the front. The two were rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh. The three sitting at the back of the car, Ram Lal, Babu Lal and Prithvi Raj, too, were injured and are admitted to the Civil Hospital in Kharar.

The accident took place next to the Court Complex, Kharar. The truck driver fled leaving the truck behind. The police has registered a case against the driver and impounded the truck. It said the truck was loaded with mangoes that were being taken to Himachal.


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