C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Panchkula-Kala Amb bridge collapses
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

 Toka (Panchkula), July 7
A vital bridge, across a seasonal choe here, linking Panchkula through Mattanwala with Kala Amb and beyond, has collapsed after dangling dangerously for over two years.

While three spans of this bridge had collapsed two years ago, the remaining two spans developed cracks recently and the structure is damaged beyond repair. Hundreds of trucks carrying river bed material (RBM) from the stone quarries and vehicles are now being forced to drive through the rivulet, as no approach road has been constructed.

Thanks to the heavy traffic, mainly trolleys carrying RBM, on this 100 metres long, 14 feet wide bridge, it has collapsed much earlier than its estimated lifetime. The structure is just 24 years old, though the estimated lifetime of the bridge is about 80 years. This bridge allows a short- cut of 8 km to travel to Naraingarh, Kala Amb and subsequently to Uttaranchal before Barwala. Officials in the Public Works Department (Bridges and Roads) say that the bridge would have to be reconstructed.

A senior official in the PWD said that when the bridge had sagged two years ago, they had called in experts from Roorkee to assess the damage on the bridge and reasons for this sagging. It was found that because the structure could not take on the heavy traffic load, three spans had developed deep cracks. Earth and brick support was given under the damaged spans to make the bridge functional for light traffic but with the two remaining spans developing cracks because of heavy traffic passing through this, it has collapsed. An estimated 500- 600 vehicles (including about a 100 heavy vehicles carrying bricks, River Bed Material etc.) ply on this bridge daily.

It may be noted that the water in choe was earlier passing through all five spans of the bridge, but now flows through only one span. This bridge had been constructed at the cost of Rs 50 lakh almost two decades ago, and the cost of constructing a similar structure is almost double Bridge linking P’kula with Kala Amb collapses now. “Tenders for constructing a new bridge, keeping in mind the increased traffic on the road would be floated soon. In the meantime, we will construct an alternate diversion, so that commuters are not inconvenienced,” he said.

The danger of using this bridge had been looming large for quite some time and frequent representations had been made to the PWD authorities but these fell on deaf ears, complained residents of Toka and Shiamtu, who are the worst affected by this damage to the bridge. Since the Kot- Khangesara road here had been transferred to the marketing board in 1999 for its repair and maintenance, the representatives from these villages were referred to the Marketing Board authorities, who in turn, turned them back to PWD, on the pretext that the structure had been constructed by the latter. Interestingly, the Marketing Board has again turned the road back to the PWD last year. 



City cops get Hawara’s custody
Tribune Reporters

Sources say keeping Hawara in the city will be a headache. Sooner or later, he will have to be shifted to the Model Jail in Burail where the trial in the assassination case is on.

As of now, the trial cannot be held at any other place except the jail as a notification earlier issued by the Chandigarh Administration prohibits the accused in the case from moving out of the jail.

Chandigarh, July 7
More arrests are likely to follow the arrival of Babbar Khalsa International’s alleged chief Jagtar Singh Hawara.
Eighteen months after he tunnelled his way out of Model Jail in Burail village here, Hawara, also the alleged assassin of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh, was brought to the city by the Chandigarh Police from the national Capital late this evening.

Soon after he reached, the Chandigarh Police claimed that Hawara would be interrogated regarding the involvement of others in his escape. Besides jailbreak, he would also be questioned on other matters, said Inspector Satbir Singh — looking into the case against Hawara. The alleged militant would be produced before the area Magistrate tomorrow.

Hawara was arrested by the Delhi Police last month in connection with twin blasts. The Punjab Police returned disappointed as his custody was handed over to a special team of the Chandigarh Police that had left for Delhi.

Even as news about his arrest reached the Chandigarh Police headquarters in the afternoon, few cops and commandos could be seen patrolling the area around the operation cell in Sector 26 police station where Hawara was to be lodged. Rather, there were more photographers than the police.

However, the Chandigarh Police had made elaborate arrangements for his transit. In fact, two police Gypsies, accompanied by a riot-control vehicle, were sent to fetch him. His movement was kept a “secret”. Even the police control room was kept in the dark about the time of his arrival in the city.

Escorted by a team of 12 officers headed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Hawara arrived in the riot-control vehicle at about 9.35 pm. Clad in a blue shirt over cargo pants of matching hue, he was whisked away into the cell even as lensmen were ruthlessly pushed aside by the commandos on duty. A visibly-tired Hawara, with sunken eyes and in handcuffs, was later produced before the media.

After escaping from the jail in January last, Hawara, facing trial in the assassination case, had by and large stayed in Punjab. He had even tied the knot with a minor after posing as a non-resident Indian.

Earlier during the day, a Delhi court allowed the Chandigarh Police to take Hawara. Taking up the case, Delhi’s Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Madhu Jain ordered the Chandigarh Police to produce the accused before a local court in Chandigarh on Friday for obtaining a regular remand. Ms Jain further directed the Chandigarh Police to bring Hawara back to the capital on July 11 for appearing in a blast case.



City of frail hearts, says PGI study
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The state of Chandigarh's heart is a cause of concern. High on junk food but low on physical activity, Chandigarh residents, reeling under increasing stress levels face the wrath of urbanisation as more than seven per cent of its total adult population is suffering from coronary heart diseases. The incidence rate is not only five times higher than in rural areas and more than two times higher as compared to the semi-urban areas, but is also among the highest in the entire country.

In a survey completed by PGI's Community Health Department involving 7,000 persons in Chandigarh and rural and semi-urban areas in Punjab and Haryana, the findings make the residents to ponder over the state of their frail heart.

The comparative data has nothing for the Chandigarhians to cheer about. For, the city's incidence of coronary heart diseases (7.4 per cent among males and 7.1 per cent among females) is almost five times higher than the rural areas in Punjab (1.7 per cent in males and 1.5 per cent in females) and more than two times higher than the semi-urban areas in Haryana ( 2.5 per cent in males and 3.4 per cent in females).

“A staggering seven per cent of the city's adult population, above 35 years of age, suffers from coronary heart diseases. This incidence rate is among the highest in the entire country and it definitely indicates that the residents have a very unhealthy heart. The cardiovascular diseases are preventable if a person chooses to follow a healthy lifestyle. But unfortunately that is not happening in the city,” says the Head of the Department of Community Medicine, Prof Rajesh Kumar.

Rising affluence in the city is making the population highly inactive, more dependent on junk and fried food and completely stressed out — the immediate causes of cardiovascular ailments.

“It isn't the heart disease alone which is worrying the city residents. But the figures on obesity, hypertension and intake of fried food are equally dismal. These are the factors, which are in turn are responsible for causing various heart ailments,” adds the doctor. Almost half of the city's adult population is physically inactive and a similar number is suffering from obesity.

Not for nothing then, that the otherwise highly literate city has the need to have a cardiovascular disease prevention project, where even the general practitioners counsel the patients about the need to safeguard themselves from heart ailments. “Our deadline for completing the project ends in December this year, but seeing the unhealthy hearts in Chandigarh, we would urge the government to extend the deadline,” says Dr Kumar.

The health of a region is determined by the fitness levels of its people and going by the number of gymnasiums in the city, one would believe that the state of wellbeing in Chandigarh is probably at its peak. However, this is not the case.

The plethora of gymnasiums in the city all cater to an ever-growing segment of people who feel the need to exercise and burn those calories due to unhealthy lifestyles, eating habits and a largely sedentary work existence leading to chronic health problems associated with low exercise regimes and unwholesome eating.

Mrs Jasbir Kaur, owner of prominent gymnasiums in Mohali and Panchkula, believes: “Fitness has nothing to do with fat. I have overweight people who have built their stamina and health to comfortable levels and I have thin people who are extremely unfit and unhealthy.”

Micky, owner of Prime Bodies Gymnasium in Sector 32, believes that “Whoever eats needs to exercise because you need to balance your input with your output.” He recommends a minimum of one hour and 15 minutes of exercises at least 4 times a week to stay healthy. “40 minutes of cardio to get the heart rate to go up, 20 minutes of weight training to tone up the muscles and 15 minutes of abdomen exercises to keep the body in shape is a must”.

Along with exercising regularly, eating right is equally important. No binges should be indulged in but depriving or starving oneself is not advised by any of the instructors.

Shivani Khaneja and Sumita Bhargava, in-house dieticians at “Cleopatra”, slimming and beauty centre in Sector 8, believe it is important to take in the seven essential nutrients in a meal namely calcium, protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and fibre.



Tense relatives dial London
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Celebrations by the city residents over the United Kingdom, winning the 2012 Olympics here come lined with a tragedy. Hardly had Chandigarhians with a UK connection begun to rejoice and plan their distant visit to London when they were shocked by the horrific news of a catastrophe falling the British nation in the wake of London blasts.

While the explosions have shaken the people all over the world, back home here, worried parents, anxious relatives and tense families spent the day dialling London, watching television and waiting for “good news” of the safety of their kith and kin. So far there is good news!

With telephone lines jammed and contact difficult to come through, it was a restless few hours they spent before managing to at least get the “good news” that kept them on the edge of the seat all day.

Like the family of Wg Cdr I.S. Aujla, a resident of Sector 36, whose son and daughter-in-law are in London. “The news came as a bolt from the blue and since we heard it on television, we didn’t get a moment’s rest. Since then we have been on the phone and have failed to get through. Though we haven’t been able to get through to our children, a relative of ours has confirmed they are both fine. While my son is stuck in office, his wife, Anjana, is caught in a traffic jam,” Wg Cdr Aujla said.

Ms R.B. Singh, a school teacher, had returned from work and was resting when a call from her daughter, Sonu Singh, who is working in London, woke her from her siesta. “The first thing she said was that all is well with her. I was surprised since I had come back only on July 4 after visiting her. It was then that she told me about the blasts and I couldn’t help but cry and cry. She told me that everyday, Thursday being an exception, she takes the same tube in which the blasts took place. It was sheer luck that today was Thursday and she was supposed to report late to work,” said Ms Singh.

Recalling her conversation with Sonu, Ms Singh added, “Sonu said the scene was horrific and that she will have to stay in office all night since all traffic had been stalled. This news came by mail. Internet has proved to be a big boon with telephone lines jammed and communicating with not easy.”

Watching the pictures of injured people on television and the news of the toll mounting had octogenarian Jaswant Singh’s heart pounding. He added, “My son is a doctor in London and uses the tube to commute everyday. As the figure of two dead rose to 12 and those injured shot up from 90 to 150 and still counting, I was desperate to get through to him. With the telephone network jammed, there seemed no way to reach him. In the end I managed to establish contact with another family there who assured me of his safety.”

A resident of Sector 15, Mr R.K. Puri, believes London is a safe country but today’s blasts have convinced him that there is no security that can’t be breached. His son, Adhaar Puri, who has gone for higher studies, stays in Central London which made him more vulnerable.



Cong groups’ show of strength to impress high command
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

The acting President of the CTCC, Mr B.B. Behl, said the candidates had won independently with support of the Congress and there was no need for show of strength at this juncture. In my opinion, all 10 members, including those of the BJP, should have been invited for tea. Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal declined comment.

Chandigarh, July 7
The differences in the local unit of the Congress came to the fore at a press conference here today with one group parading winning candidates in the recently concluded Zila Parishad elections. The group is backed by Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, member of Parliament.

The conference was organised a day after the acting President of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC), Mr B.B. Behl, issued a statement hailing the victory of the party in the elections.

The show of strength was to impress the party high command.

The move was in anticipation of the announcement of the name of new President of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress and the impending election to the post or Mayor, Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, sources in the party said.

At today’s press conference, the Zila Parishad members present were Ms Kuldeep Kaur, Ms Rajvant Kaur, Karnail Kaur, Manmohan Singh, Dyal Singh , Dharminder Singh and the Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti, Mr Didar Singh, who is also ex-officio member of the Zila Parishad.

It may be mentioned that the members of the Zila Parishad have yet to take oath of office. After the oath-taking ceremony, the election of the President of the parishad will be held.

Replying to a volley of questions from mediapersons, Mr H.S. Lucky and Mr Pawan Sharma, both members of the CTCC, said the candidates had the support of the Congress.

They categorically denied the candidates had any link with Mr Behl. Mr Devinder Singh Babla and Mr Subash Chawla were also present.

Mr Didar Singh, whose wife is a potential candidate for the chairmanship of parishad, was instrumental in the ouster of Mr Bhupinder Singh Badehri from the Panchayat Samiti. Mr Lucky and Mr Pawa Sharma had stood by Mr Badehri, said to be a confidant of Mr Pawan Bansal.

Asked why candidates backed by rival groups in the Congress had contested the Zila Parishad elections from Kajehri, Palsora, Hallomajra, and Kishangarh villages, they said it generated healthy competition. The election was not fought on the party symbol, they added.

There was no need for show of strength, Behl; Bansal says no comment 



Grain market waterlogged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The Grain Market in Sector 26 is entirely water-logged.
Mr Raj Kumar Bansal, a former president of the Market Association, said sewers in a significant area were blocked. “The water pools are a perfect setting for the nurturing of mosquitoes and flies. The stench in the area is nauseating”, he said.

Mr Bansal pointed out that trenches were dug up at several places all over the market by telecommunication companies for laying of underground cables. These were not filled up properly after the work was done.

Similar complaints about trenches were being made by residents of different sectors, yet the administration had not initiated any action.

Residents of Sector 28 too complain of driving problems because of the dug up trenches by a telecommunication company.

Mr Kapoor Singh Gill, an industrialist, said during June a telecommunication company had dug up trenches three to five feet deep from one corner to the sector to the other. The slush caused by rains had blocked the drains.

Mr Kapoor’s Toyota went down the road because of loose earth in one of he holes. “The repair is going to cost me more than Rs 3,000.



RITES approached for monorail project
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Monorail is the most accepted alternate mode of transportation being worked out for implementation in the city. The administration has even toyed with the ideas of electric trolley buses. However, there is a general agreement on the monorail system argued as most economically and ecologically viable system for local requirements.

The Chandigarh Administration has approached the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) for consultancy services in the proposed monorail project to cater to the travelling hassles of the local commuters amidst the tables of rising population.

Official sources said that a draft proposal has been forwarded to RITES asking for consultancy on all aspects of laying the network(including routing), even if the project was finally handed to another agency for implementation. The administration has initiated the work on chalking out details of MOU.

Sources said that the administration had decided that the project will finally be given on BOO(Build, Operate and Own basis) to the party finally chosen for execution of the plan. After going through details of different projects on mass travel, it was felt that monorail was best suited to the local requirement.

RITES is a multi-disciplinary consultancy organisation associated with Indian Railways which was set up more than 25 years ago. It started its work with Railways, mostly abroad. At the moment RITES has 35 projects in 13 countries.

The city will soon have to shift to a mass travel system because the population of the city and the neighbouring townships of Mohali and Panchkula is well over 20 lakh. At a high-level meeting held under Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Urban Development Minister in Delhi, recently, the message of reducing the number of vehicles on roads was underlined in cities of big populations. This was only possibly in case there is a shift over to the mass transportation systems.

The UT Administration had first toyed with the idea of a monorail way back in 1997 when Craphts Consultants had made a presentation. After a gap of nearly eight years the company once again made a presentation earlier this year in February. The administration had earlier also consulted the Planning Commission which had suggested that monorail system was best suited to the requirements of the city. The Craphts had submitted a report on “Comprehensive transportation plan for Chandigarh Capital Complex and Development of Mass Transportation Related Option” in 1997. The administration had also witnessed a presentation of the Metrail India.

The UT Administration at one point of time had toyed with the idea of having electric trolley buses but the system would have meant buses running on the existing roads, thus not helping in reducing congestion. It was also felt that monorail was the most silent, environmentally compatible, pleasing, safe and economically viable system best suited to the city environs.



HUDA fails to act in time yet again
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 7
The monsoon is here, bringing with it relief from the scorching summer. Failing to learn a lesson from last year’s experience when large tracts of land were washed away by floods, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has failed to move in time to safegaurd its land.

Though officials in HUDA claim that their proposal for constructing retaining walls along the Singh Nullah choe (to the tune of Rs 3.82 crore) has been approved, work has not yet begun.

“We have dug the base of the choe to ensure that even if water comes gushing down, it does not affect the HUDA land along the choe,” they say.

Though the matter regarding creating a passage for rivulets flowing through the city into Punjab, by removing encroachments on the nullahs, has been taken up at various levels between the two state governments, the encroachments on the course of nullahs remain. This could again lead to flooding of Sector 19 and the Industrial Area.

In case of Rajiv Colony and Indira Colony, which were practically submerged under water last year, HUDA failed to act until the first heavy showers on July 5 once again flooded the two colonies.

Only yesterday JCBs were installed in the nullah to remove earth and dig it deeper to prevent floods.

Officials in HUDA say they have spent Rs 10 lakh this year for cleaning road gullies to ensure proper drainage.

They say within an hour of the rain having stopped, the rainwater flows into the drains and there is no waterlogging.

But the Municipal Council admits that road gullies in most sectors need to be made again. MC Chief Tarun Bhandari says he will take up the matter with the HUDA authorities.



“Peace” boats to greet President Kalam on Hiroshima Day
Greenpeace India launches peace initiative
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Come Hiroshima Day and origami boats — the unique tokens dedicated to world peace — will greet the President of India A.P.J Abdul Kalam.
Thanks to the sustained campaign which Greenpeace India activists have launched across India on July 1 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the bombing of their flagship SV Rainbow Warrior, conscious citizens of the country have joined hands to appeal that peace be given another chance.

They are doing so by supporting the Greenpeace in its efforts to recall the bombing of SV Rainbow Warrior, its flagship which was engaged in a non-violent protest against French nuclear testing in the Pacific atoll in 1985.

To remind the people about the tragic event Greenpeace volunteers, beginning from July 1, have been donning sailor caps and spreading the message of peace and disarmament. They are encouraging people to make origami boats that will be later be delivered to the President of India on August 6 - the Hiroshima Day. The boats will thus serve as symbols of peace.

As for the SV Rainbow Warrior, it was the famous Greenpeace Flagship which was bombed on July 10, 1985 for carrying out protests against nuclear testing in the Pacific. The bombing had resulted in the killing of Greenpeace photographer Fernando Pereira, one of the activists on board the ship.

Greenpeace Chandigarh coordinator Mr Manish Kumar informed The Tribune today, “While the bombed Rainbow Warrior is in its final resting place as an artificial reef in the Pacific seabed, Greenpeace is on its way to rebuild the fleet of ships and campaign towards a peaceful and green planet with the New Rainbow Warrior as the flagship.”

As a mark of respect to those who cared to fight despite odds and protest against armament, Greenpeace India has decided to continue its campaigning for the cause till July 15. The campaign will be wrapped to coincide with another catastrophe that rocked the prospects of world peace — the Hiroshima Day.

But that is not all business Greenpeace means. As Benson Isaac, Peace campaigner, Greenpeace India says, “That is unfinished business. The origami boat is a symbol of the spirit of The Rainbow Warrior. The message to those in charge everywhere in the world is Peace Now!! “.

“With participants ranging from pre-school children to their great grandparents, the origami boat gives everyone a chance to express their desire for peace,” said Manish Kumar.

The success of the campaign can be gauged from the fact that in Chandigarh alone, nearly 100 new persons are supporting the peace initiative everyday by folding origami boats, clearly demonstrating that there is a groundswell for peace. More and more people are being urged to follow the spirit of “The Rainbow Warrior.”

As part of the campaign, Greenpeace is also organising a special screening of the film called “You Can’t Sink a Rainbow.” The same is being shown daily to at least 30 students in different schools. Vivek High School is currently hosting the sessions for its students.

Tomorrow it will be the turn of another school to spare time and thought for the Rainbow Warrior, which is reminiscent of the fact that when a group of determined people strive to make the impossible happen, they succeed in generating a debate and leading conclusive action.

France finally stopped nuclear testing in early 1996 and closed the test site in the Pacific where the ship had sunk 20 years ago.



Junction boxes or deathtraps?
Tribune News Service

Junction boxes of streetlights are uncovered and are a virtual deathtrap
Junction boxes of streetlights are uncovered and are a virtual deathtrap. — A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, July 7
The open junction boxes of streetlights, and loose cables hanging from these in almost all sectors of the township, are a virtual deathtrap. Now, the Municipal Council is planning to float a tender to replace these junction boxes.

Not only are these junction boxes a deathtrap for stray animals as well as humans, but these also lead to fused streetlights as rainwater accumulates in the open junction boxes.

The Municipal Council President, Mr Tarun Bhandari, says though the streetlight contractor hired by the council had started working to replace the defunct streetlights, the problem could only be solved after the old junction boxes had been replaced, and new ones covered properly.

Incidents of stray animals getting electrocuted, when they come in contact with the open cables of the junction boxes on most roads are common in the township.

A few months ago, a young child died of electrocution, when he came in contact with the open junction box in a public park.

Because of the monsoons, there is heavy growth on all central verges of roads where the streetlight poles are installed. Since stray animals graze the grass here and accidents like these are a common occurrence.



Hike in petro prices flayed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 7
The Consumers Protection Forum has condemned the hike in the prices of petrol and diesel and the power tariff and demanded that the hike should be withdrawn.
In a press note the president of the forum, Mr P.S. Virdi, said petrol and diesel prices were increased four times in a year which was totally unjustified. The government should withdraw the hike and look for alternative measures for compensating the revenue loss.

He said the hike in the power tariff should also be withdrawn as it was an unnecessary burden on the consumers.

Instead the power board should try to plug loopholes, including theft of power for compensating the losses it suffered.

He said the government should regularise the rates charged by cable TV operators under the essential commodity rules so that the cable operators were not allowed to indulge in monopoly.

The department concerned should direct salesmen to carry weighing machines while supplying gas cylinders as complaints were received that underweight cylinders were being supplied to consumers.



Admin gives last chance to transferees to complete buildings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Transferees, who could not complete their unfinished buildings within the extended period up to March 31, 2005 have been given a one time final opportunity by the Chandigarh Administration.

This has been stated in the notification issued under the signature of Mr S.K. Sandhu, Finance Secretary, here today.

The notification said one time last opportunity will be given till March 31, 2006. Applicants will have to pay Rs 250 per square metre for residential, institutional and other categories of sites and Rs 500 per square metre for commercial and industrial buildings. “Applicants who do not carry out the construction of the building on vacant sites within the time limit will face action by the Estate Officer as provided under the rules”, the notification added.



Woman sustains burns
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 7
A woman living in the Commando Complex in Phase XI sustained 85 per cent burn injuries while cooking here today.
According to the police, clothes of Sukhwinder Kaur, wife of constable Iqbal Singh, caught fire while she was cooking food. She was immediately taken to GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh. Her statement has reportedly been taken by a Magistrate. Iqbal Singh is posted at a police post in Badali Alla Singh.



Conversion rates not fair, says panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The Chandigarh Industrial Association has sought an appointment with the UT Administrator to express their resentment against the rates for conversion announced for plots in the industrial area.
Mr M.P.S. Chawla, president, said the rate of conversion of the industrial plots was even more than the market price of the plots, which was unfair. The prices in case of the industrial plots were very high. 



Divested of charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Mr D.S. Baloria, Tehsildar has been divested of the charge to make registries following a complaint, sources said. 



Gang duping foreign tourists busted
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 7
A gang of cheats operating in Manali and Jaipur, accused of duping foreign tourists, was today “busted with the arrest of two members” by the local police here.
The gang was selling fake gems and stones to gullible tourists. Two other “members” of the gang are at large, said the police.

The two arrested persons, Alok Sharma, alias Ronnie, and Sahedu Din, alias Yogi, were today produced before a local court.

Addressing a gathering of mediapersons, UT Superintendent of Police (Headquarters and incharge of the Economic Offences Wing) Dinesh Bhatt said a case of cheating was registered in the Sector 17 police station on Wednesday on the basis of a complaint filed by a UK resident, Mr Mel Ashley Barton.

Mr Barton came to India as a tourist in the first week of June this year. He went to Manali for sight-seeing. There, he met four persons — namely Alok Sharma, alias Ronnie, Ram Manihar Sharma, alias Sebestian, Ashiq Ali, alias Mike, and Sahedu Din, alias Yogi, on June 13.

They befriended him and offered him gemstones at cheap rates. They reportedly showed him a ruby, sapphire, peridot and aquamarine.

Mr Barton said he came to Chandigarh with Alok and Sebestian on June 15. The next day, they went to Prince Jewellers in Sector 22. The accused sold him gems for Rs 2.34 lakh. The payment was made through a mastercard.

Thereafter, they told Mr Barton that it would not be safe to carry precious stones with him. They allegedly assured him that they would send the stones through a parcel to the UK.

They asked Mr Barton to write his name, address, passport number on the parcel. When the complainant objected to this, he was reportedly told that the parcel would reach him in London through their ‘network’. Mr Barton further said the parcel was made at the Post Office in Sector 30.

Mr Barton returned to London on June 17, but did not get the parcel. When contacted, the accused did not give a satisfactory reply. Realising that he had been cheated, he came back to India on June 28. He was told by the post office that his parcel may have reached Amritsar due to non-delivery.

A trap was laid in Sector 22 following information that the members of the gang were coming to Chandigarh along with another foreigner. A police team headed by Inspector Bakshish Singh nabbed the accused this morning. Mr Leland Richard Beaumont, a US national was saved from becoming another victim. 



3 vehicles stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 7
Two cars and a scooter were stolen from the city during the past 48 hours. The police arrested a woman on the allegations of stealing and another man for indulging in gambling.

Sources in the police said, Mr Vikas Kumar of Sector 45 reported to the police that his Indica car (CH-03-R-1290) was stolen from his residence. In another incident, a Maruti car (CH-01-N-2597) of Mr Deepak Gupta Sector 24, was reportedly stolen from Kisan Mandi of Sector 15. Similarly, a Kinetic Honda scooter (CH-03-P-8799) belonging to Ms Nidhi of Sector 40 was stolen from the parking lot of the Fragrance Garden, Sector 36, yesterday. Cases of thefts have been registered.

The local police arrested Seema of the Kachi Colony in Sector 25 for stealing a manhole cover. Ms Lajwanti, a resident of Sector 11, caught for red-handed while stealing the cover her residence.



Naya Gaon resident found dead

Chandigarh, July 7
A 70-year-old resident of Naya Gaon was found dead this morning near the Cricket Stadium in Sector 16, here. The police handed over the body to the family of the deceased without a post-mortem on the request of the family members.

The body of Kundan Lal, a tailor working in a shop in Sector 22, was noticed this morning.

The son of the deceased identified him and told the police that he did not suspect foul play. OC



Prevent chemical-related accidents, industrialists told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The Chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, Mr Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, today called upon industrialists to take adequate preventive measures to check chemical-related accidents in their units.

While inaugurating a two-day training programme here on emergency preparedness, prevention and management of chemical accidents in industries, Mr Bajwa said that accidents could be averted by taking necessary preventive measures. He said that the industrialists should give adequate attention to take all required safety measures in their units.

He said that the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry( FICCI), which were collaborating in the training programme with the board, were laying special emphasis to keep the environment clean. He said that the industry should change its attitude and extend all support to the organisations engaged in making this planet safer for human beings.

Addressing the participants in the training programme, Mr Nirankar Saxena, Joint Director, FICCI, said that there were more than 13,000 units generating 4.4 million tonnes per annum as hazardous waste in India. He said that much of it could be converted for use in industry itself. In fact the waste of one sector could be a raw material for other sector, he added.

Mr Malwinder Singh, member secretary of the board, said that the Bhopal tragedy not only claimed lives of 2,500 people but also ruined the lives of thousands others in the process.



PHDCCI: Trade via Wagah positive step
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) has welcomed the decision of the Pakistan Government to allow import of livestock, meat and vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, onions and garlic without any duty and taxes from neighbouring countries, through the Wagah border.

Mr Amarjit Goyal, Chairman, Punjab Chapter, PHDCCI, has pointed out that it is relevant to note that the Attari Road Land Customs Station (LCS) – Wagah border – is a notified route for import and export of goods from Pakistan by the Government of India under Section 7 of the Customs Act, vide a 1994 notification.

The opening of the land route for transportation of goods between India and Pakistan has been a long-standing demand of business communities of both sides, particularly those based in the northern region of India.

Mr Goyal said the PHDCCI had always maintained that trade through the land route between the two countries would enhance bilateral trade for mutual benefit as the freight cost would be substantially lower.

The PHDCCI has suggested that necessary infrastructure should now be created on other routes which had been opened or were proposed to be opened between the two countries like Srinagar-Muzaffarabad, Poonch-Rawalakot and Khokhrapar-Munnabao rail route.

Consumers and producers of both countries would benefit through availability of agri-produce in terms of quality and price.



SBoP branches to collect tax
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The Central Excise Commissionerate here has authorised the State Bank of Patiala in the northern area for collection of central excise/service tax.

Mr S.K. Lal, General Manager (Treasury), of the bank said authorised branches of the bank shall start collecting tax from July 12. Bank managers were explained about the system and procedures to be followed while accepting the tax from clients during a seminar held today.


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