C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Woman, 7-yr-old son found dead
Husband booked for murder, abetting suicide
Tribune Reporters

Sukhwinder Kaur
Sukhwinder Kaur

Navjot Singh
Navjot Singh

Chandigarh, July 18
The discovery of three bodies in a day sent shock waves here today.

For the first time perhaps in the city’s crime history, a mother allegedly killed her minor son before hanging herself to death. In the suicide note penned down on a wall of her Sector 45 house, the woman mentioned that she could not afford to let her only surviving child live a life of utter neglect after her death.

Sukhwinder Kaur’s 13-year-old daughter had died three years ago in a road mishap. In the note, she forbade her husband Amarjit Singh Behniwal to even touch their bodies and begged forgiveness from the God for the act.

Analysing the circumstances leading to the deaths, police officials, looking into the matter, said “Sukhwinder’s love for her son made her kill him”. They added that strained relationship with her husband was obviously the reason behind the extreme step.

Giving details of the dual-death case, the sources said Amarjit Singh Behniwal, a former chief officer in the merchant navy and currently running his own resort in Bharatgarh near Ropar, returned home at 10.30 last night after about two days, unaware of the tragedy.

After finding the front door of the top floor apartment “locked”, Behniwal called up in vain his relatives and friends to find out whether the “victim” Sukhwinder Kaur was staying with them. He then scaled the common side wall after taking his neighbour into confidence.

Mr Behniwal broke the gallery and the kitchen locks after borrowing tools from the neighbour to enter the back room.

He found his son hanging from the ceiling fan with a “dupatta”. He entered the next room to discover his wife also hanging from the fan.

The cops received a call from Mr Behniwal about the incident at about 11 p.m.

Preliminary investigation carried out by the police revealed that Sukhwinder killed her seven-year-old son Navjot Singh (Navi) at about 6 on Sunday morning, scribbled the suicide note with a black crayon on the room wall and then ended her own life.

The cops added that “something must have instigated her to take the step abruptly”. For, there were no signs of her being “disturbed for long”. The dry clothes, meticulously hanging on a line in the gallery, suggested that she had no plans of resorting to the offence a day before the incident.

A visit to the scene only confirmed the fact that Sukhwinder “had not given up living” as everything in the house was spic and span. Her neighbour said Sukhwinder was “absolutely possessive about her son”. In fact, she would run after Navi with a bottle of water every time he would cycle in the sun.

Chandigarh’s Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) S.S. Randhawa said Behniwal had been booked and arrested for abetment to suicide and murder under Sections 306 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code on the statement of Sukhwinder’s brother.

In his statement before the police, complainant Raghbir Singh of Delhi said his sister was pushed to the edge by her husband. Accusing Behniwal of constantly harassing his sister, he reportedly told the media in a resigned tone that he and his family were not interested in pursing the case against him. “He has ruined us and my sister. But in the process, he, too, has lost everything....”

On the other hand, younger brother of the accused Jagtar Singh said Behniwal was sharing a harmonious relationship with his wife and family. In fact, he was staying in Chandigarh for providing “the best” to the family. “Otherwise, he would have moved down to Ropar district where he was running his business.

He added that depression due to the death of her daughter was the reason behind the step. “She was undergoing treatment in a private clinic in Chandigarh,” he said.

In the other incident, the body of a 45-year-old cook was found under mysterious circumstances in a Sector 7 house by a roommate. He told the media that the cook — a father of five — was under great pressure as he had not been paid salary for two months.

Sources in the local police said the exact cause of Harish Chander’s death would be ascertained only after receiving the post-mortem report.

But added that he had apparently died due to stress and strain of urban existence.

His body was taken by his relatives to his native village in Nainital.

Police role suspect

Is the Chandigarh Police trying to shield the accused? Though senior police officials deny the allegations, their conduct has not been above suspicion. Contrary to the common practice, the police carried out the investigations after locking the doors. The media was kept waiting outside the house for over three hours.

Even after the completion of all formalities, the media was not allowed to enter the quarters. The bodies were simply wrapped up in white sheets and taken away in a police vehicle.

Chandigarh’s Inspector-General of Police Satish Chander agreed that the police should have acted in a more transparent manner. Following his intervention, the media was briefed about the incident by the DSP concerned and taken to the spot late this afternoon.

Unanswered questions

Even though the Chandigarh Police today described the deaths as a “clear-cut case of suicide”, the sources agreed that there was more than what meets the eye. They added that it was still not clear why Sukhwinder hanged her son instead of simply strangulating him.

Intriguingly, there were no signs of struggle suggesting that the boy was either drugged before being hung, or else was convinced into it. “Why take all the trouble when you can easily put a seven-year-old to sleep?” the sources questioned.

They also questioned the intention behind scribbling the note on the wall instead of jotting it down on a piece of paper. “It is a known fact that matching handwriting on wall is not so easy,” they said.

The sources added that they were also looking into the possibility of Behniwal having a duplicate key. “If Behniwal had a key to the apartment, the entire case would take a different turn as he could have entered the apartment before or after the offence,” the sources added. They did not rule out the possibility of Behniwal creating evidence by calling in the neighbours.



Yet another suicide by woman at Sukhna
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 18
About one-and-a-half month after the alleged Chandni Bansal suicide case, another young woman drowned herself in the Sukhna Lake this evening. The police is yet to identify the victim.

Giving details of the incident, sources in the police said the victim was seen jumping into the lake by passers-by at 8:30 pm. She reportedly jumped from a staircase near the lake tower. The police at the lake police post were informed.

Constable S.R. Rao jumped into the water to rescue her. By the time, he pulled her out and a police team shifted her to hospital, she was dead.

The in charge at the Sukhna Lake police post said she was declared “dead” by doctors at the General hospital in Sector 16. The sources, giving description of the victim, said she was five feet and two inches tall. She was wearing a brown salwar suit. She had a black dupatta.

Her hair, shoulder length, were in a band. No document or article could be found to establish her identity.



When death chased him
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 18
Destiny could not have been more cruel to 35-year-old Prashant. He fell off the roof of his house, got electrocuted after being entangled in electric cables and as he touched the ground he was run over by a bus.

The incident took place this evening, while the victim was standing on the roof of his house in Lower Karari Mohalla, Kalka. Eye witnesses say while looking down from the roof, he slipped. As he was falling down, he came in contact with electricity cables.

As soon as he touched the ground, a bus coming from the opposite direction, ran him over and he died on the spot. A case has been registered.



Hawara, aides confess to killing doctor
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 18
The local police today claimed that Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) chief Jagtar Singh Hawara and his two other accomplices, Jogadass, alias Joga, and Samir alias Toni, had confessed to the killing of a Fatehgarh Sahib-based doctor for allegedly passing information regarding their activities to the police.

The sources in the police said Bassia village-based Dr Jasbir Singh, a registered medical practitioner was running his clinic in Chunni village in Fatehgarh Sahib district. The accused reportedly informed the police that Dr Jasbir had links with terrorists as well as with the police.

Hawara and his aides are said to have told the police that the doctor was passing information to the police, which had eventually resulted in the elimination of several of their members.

They further told the police about Balwinder Singh, alias Jatana, and Charanjit Singh, alias Channi, active terrorists of the BKI who had induced Hawara into terrorism at the instance of Baldev Singh Hawara.

Baldev Singh Hawara was the district chief of the BKI for Ropar. Hawara joined his gang and later worked with Jatana and Channi.

The sources said Hawara was determined to kill the doctor for his ‘sins’. He hatched a conspiracy after his escape from the Model Jail in Burail village with Joga, Tony and Inderjit Singh, alias Kamal, of Barnalipur village in Ludhiana.

Inderjit Singh reportedly arranged for a Maruti car for all of them and they went to the clinic of Dr Jasbir on September 30, 2004.

A spokesman of the Chandigarh police said Jagtar Singh Hawara armed with an AK-47 rifle, Tony with a 30 bore pistol and Joga a mobile phone reached near the doctor’s clinic. As soon as Dr Jasbir started his scooter, Hawara and his aides intercepted him by blocking his way with their car driven by Inderjit.

Tony reportedly opened fire on the doctor but missed him. Thereafter, Hawara fired at the doctor with his rifle and killed him on the spot. They then sped away in their car.



Civil aviation directive on air safety
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has directed all owners and operators of private aircraft to ensure that aircraft or helicopters in their possession are not used for hire, reward or any kind of remuneration.

Citing a recent air crash in which an aircraft registered under the private category was ferrying persons who were not employees of the company to which the aircraft belonged.

A DGCA directive issued earlier this month states that in the interest of air safety, there would be no exceptions to the above directives.

The DGCA directives, however, do not apply to those holding non-scheduled operator licences.

The directives assume significance as a large number of aircraft, owned by commercial firms or individuals for their own purpose, are made use of by other parties. It has also been noticed that during elections, the demand for private aircraft shoots up. Over the past few years, there has been a noticeable increase in the numbers of privately owned small fixed-wing aircraft as well as helicopters in the country.

Referring to the incident which prompted these directives to be issued, the findings of the DGCA were that the load and trim sheet for the aircraft were not prepared and the aircraft had been overloaded.The incident, however, had not been specified in the recently issued directives.

Stating that the centre of gravity of the aircraft had been close to its rear, resulting in the aircraft becoming tail-heavy, the DGCA’s opinion on the accident was that the pilot had taken a steep left turn before reaching safe height and had retracted flaps prematurely. Due to this the aircraft stalled and crashed.

Advising all operators to circulate these findings about the preventable accident among their pilots and engineers, the DGCA also found that the documents about the aircraft were not being maintained properly and some of the maintenance schedules were missing and were prepared after the accident.



NIFD to showcase designs in Vancouver
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD) designers are all set to showcase their designs along with top designers of the world at the Vancouver Fashion Week 2005 to be held in Canada. NIFD has acquired the distinctive honour of being the only design institute of the country to have been invited to showcase their students design collections at the prestigious fifth Annual Vancouver Fashion Week.

It is a unique opportunity for the graduating NIFDians to display their designing talent and get access to ‘top-of-the-line’ placement opportunities as they will be visible on an international platform, to buyers and designers from all over the world who will attend this event.

According to Aditi Srivastava, Vice-President, NIFD, “We are looking at designers who will project an international appeal with an Indian flavour to their work. Everyone has brought out a good collection, unfortunately only a few will be selected.

NIFD is the only institute which has been invited from this country, to participate in the Emerging Designer Category. NIFD is holding its ‘passing out’ shows all across the country and the best designs will be selected by a specially appointed jury under noted designer Ashley Rebello. The best student designs will be featured at the Vancouver Fashion Week. Ex-NIFD students will also be selected by the jury to showcase their collections in the Established Designer Category.

“Our short-listing begins today we have our first show at Surat, followed by Ahmedabad tomorrow. As many as 10 students from the existing batch will be selected and five people from the alumni will be selected to display their work,” adds Aditi.

Vancouver Fashion Week will showcase the latest Spring / Summer 2006 collection as designers share their creative visions, the aim being to showcase Vancouver as the next fashion capital.



Passing Thru

Neelam Andrade
Neelam Andrade, Professor of oro- maxillofacial surgery, Nayar Hospital and Dental College, Mumbai.

How popular is oro-maxillofacial surgery?

Not many people are aware about this but it is picking up. This surgery can do wonders as it not only gives one good looks but one can also get rid of diseases. In a way it saves life and makes you look good also.

What is your opinion about the City Beautiful?

I am visiting the city for the second time. Chandigarh is a well-planned city and a majority of people here are educated and aware about the oral and facial surgery. One of my students is posted at the PGI so I in a way I am connected to the city.

Any future plans?

I am very passionate about my work and I will continue to teach this subject. I feel I have to go a long way and have to learn much more from the life. Apart from teaching I am doing private practice and will continue with that.

— Swarleen Kaur



Chandigarh Calling

Monsoons have brought a world of relief to the city residents, but not so much to Met Department people. Continuously hounded by media persons eager to know reasons behind rapid weather variations, Met officers can’t but look for riders like “but this is normal”, “but this is insignificant”, “no changes from yesterday please”, “but you called earlier also” and many more. But the best escape route they take is “We just sent the forecast to your office. Are you not there?” But they know well that there is ‘No Escape’.

Train to Kerala

It was a big event for the little Kerala that exists here in the city. The local Kerala Samajam was at the railway station in full force to give a grand send-off to the Chandigarh-Kerala Sampark Kranti Express on Wednesday. Bedecked with marigold flowers, the weekly train took off on it’s maiden return journey to ‘God’s Own Country’. Tribune photographer Manoj Mahajan captures the people fondly giving the one last glance to the train going home with its first passengers. Not just the Malayalis but others too have welcomed this rail link, for the next LTC could mean a holiday in Kerala.

Taj times

GVK Taj has triggered activity in City Beautiful. The long-dead social circles are vibrant yet again. And everyone is talking about the new five-star, its soothing façade and its happening interior. While people do their bit, Taj caretakers are also out to make news. The other day they were riding the crest with the visit of Kareena Kapoor. A day later they had a special lunch invitation for environment architect Nek Chand who could barely respond to the gesture. Thanks to the Taj, lensmen, keen to click him in the act of eating, swarmed the unassuming Chand. For once, Nek Chand’s celebrity stemmed from “dal-roti”. And while his Rock Garden was out of the news, Taj was in it.

Coloured view

Ever wondered why the vendors in apni mandis use red, yellow and green coloured umbrellas during day time and illuminate their shops with colourful green and yellow lights after sunset? Well it has nothing to do with colour therapy or aesthetics. In fact it is a unique way of lending a healthy colour to veggies and fruits. During the day time the bright light of sun filters through green and yellow coloured umbrellas casting a healthy glow of these colours on veggies that may otherwise be discoloured and stale and in the same way after dusk the fluorescent lamps covered with green, red and yellow coloured paper serve the same purpose, making buyers pick up things which may not be that appetising in natural light

Manbhari is here

Corn is a favourite cereal up north what with makki di roti being the staple diet along with Sarson da sag. The city folk take corn in varied varieties all year round, what with popcorn a favourite with the young when they go to movies. Then there is boiled corn, a la America, now sold at kiosks. But nothing can quite match the delight of the corncob or what we call in desi lingo as chhali and bhutta. With the rains come vendors who roast it on live charcoal, rub it with salt and lemon. So these days munching corn one recites Hari thhi manbhari thhi…

Taken for a ride

A first-timer to the city had a vexing story to tell. She got out of a prominent hotel in Sector 22 to catch an auto-rickshaw to the fabled shopping plaza, the ‘happening’ Sector 17. The auto-rickshaw wallah was most courteous, even helpful! “Yes, ofcourse I can take you wherever you wish, in fact if you tell me what you are looking for I can take you to the correct shop, a fair price one!” The girl was naturally thrilled. The ride was fixed. On reaching a few minutes later, she fished out her wallet to pay, only to be informed that the trip which took less than two minutes would cost her an unearthly Rs 70. The same ride back cost her paltry Rs 20. Autorickshaws are now the dire object of her ire!

Dog’s day out

A peculiar sight greeted passersby on Dakshin Marg, near the CSIO. Dogs were being ferried down the road, in cycle drawn rehris, cycle-rickshaws and even a handcart. The first spotting seemed charming what with the dog, a sweet faced mongrel, looking most worried at being lugged around. The vision was too much to resist when the fourth such ‘haul’ passed by. It became imperative to ask what was happening. It seemed a small dog show was held amongst the slum dwellers nearby! An Alsatian won the honors. The ‘prize’ was a bottle of rum for the owner and a winter coat for the dog no less! According to Mangaram, the cycle-rickshaw puller, a large dog won the prize and the coat would not fit him! While the fate of the coat remains unknown, the rum would surely have been consumed by now!

Blend it

German deejay Germo was a great hit with the young crowds at Aerizzona, which hosted a special music evening. Although rooted in western musical traditions, the 37-year old played Indian music uninhibitedly, giving the crowds a very local flavour. The young couples could not help singing his praises, especially when he came down to the basics — Punjabi rhythms that were reminiscent of Apache Indian. Later Germo said he was smitten by the music of Apache, as well as Rishie Rich, the latest Indian pop sensation. That’s some blending!

Just a song

A singer may be quite different from the song sung. This was the truth that came home at the Press Club silver jubilee function when singing star Ashok Masti, who sang Do ghutt pee lain de with all emotion, refused to have even a drop of alcohol. He has never touched liquor and likes to sip nimbu-pani instead. So just a song should not carry the listeners away.

— Sentinel



HUDA acquires land in Ghaggar
Administrator asked to conduct probe
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 18
In a major faux pas, the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) acquired 402.75 acres of land falling in the Ghaggar river for floating residential plots.

As a result, the entire expenditure of Rs 23.36 crore paid as compensation to landowners, was rendered wasteful. The land was acquired for Sectors 25, 26, 27 and 28 of Panchkula Extension.

Now, the Urban Estates Department has asked the HUDA Administrator, Panchkula, to conduct an inquiry and initiate action against HUDA employees who misled the Joint Inspection Committee formed for land acquisition in year 1992.

In a letter to the Administrator, Panchkula, the Director, Urban Estates, has said even the Joint Inspection Committee of the department was formed by HUDA officials, and the latter had themselves sent the proposal for land acquisition.

“Thus, there is no role of the Urban Estates Department in this land acquisition. You are requested to take action against those employees who had misled the Joint Action Committee,” reads the letter.

The Director, Urban Estates, has asked HUDA to formulate guidelines/policy for such land acquisitions in the future. He has recommended that the Engineer-in-chief, HUDA, be involved in formulating the new policy as schemes for land acquisition are floated by HUDA.

The Urban Estates Department only acquires land on the requirements given by HUDA, and hands over the acquired land to HUDA.

This wasteful expenditure and overpayment by HUDA was also highlighted in the Transaction Audit Observations by the Comptroller and Auditor-General recently.

It was observed that HUDA had acquired about 1141.90 acres beyond the Ghaggar river and took possession of the land in June, 1992, after paying a compensation of Rs 17.36 crore.

However, in January 2004, the Chief Town Planner, HUDA, planned to float plots for Sectors 25, 26, 27 and 28 on land measuring 739.15 acres.

As the remaining area of 402.75 acres of land falls in the Ghaggar, no land development could be planned on this land.

In the meantime, the landowners of the 1141. 90 acres of land moved the court for enhanced compensation. In 1998, the District Judge, Ambala, awarded enhanced compensation at the rate of Rs 3.50 lakh per acre.

HUDA was asked to pay the enhanced charges of Rs 48. 84 crore (after deducting Rs 17.39 crore already paid to landowners).

Thus, Rs 23.36 crore was paid for land in Ghaggar river, which could not be developed.



Cop thrashes three college students
Placed under suspension
Bipin Bhardwaj

Panchkula, July 18
A constable of the Haryana Police, accompanied by his colleagues, thrashed three college students in the premises of Government Degree College, Panchkula, this afternoon.

A driver of Deputy Superintendent of Police Prerna Puri, Mr Kirpal Singh, and his colleagues reportedly drove a government Sumo car into the college premises after his younger brother, Jagpal Singh, a student of BA-I, sought help to teach a lesson to Ramesh Kumar, another student.

Taking a serious view of the incident, the Superintendent of Police, Panchkula, has placed Mr Kirpal Singh under suspension. The SP has marked an inquiry to DSP (City) Hemant Kalsan, sources said.

After entering the college premises, Mr Kirpal Singh reportedly took out a stick from the vehicle and attacked Ramesh Kumar, a resident of Raipur Rani village. He did not even spare his friends who rushed to help him. The cop was joined by his two colleagues.

According to eyewitnesses, Ramesh Kumar and Jagpal Singh had a mild scuffle after an argument in the morning. Threatening Ramesh with dire consequences, Jagpal Singh challenged him to meet him outside the college campus.

Minutes later, the Sumo reached the spot and the cops began to thrash Ramesh and his friends.

Hearing the noise outside, the college principal, Mr O.P. Sihag, and some other teachers reached the spot and made futile attempts to contact the Superintendent of Police, Panchkula. Mr Hemant Kalsan, DSP (City), reached instead.

While narrating the incident, the victim told the DSP that Jagpal Singh had an argument with him when he was college for seeking admission some days ago.

“Today when I came to the college in connection with my admission, Jagpal Singh challenged me saying that he would teach me a lesson outside the college premises. In a few minutes, his brother reached the college and attacked me and my friends with sticks. They also kicked and slapped us”.

Ms Prerna Puri, DSP, working as Station House Officer at the Chandi Mandir police station, said Mr Kirpal Singh had been placed under suspension by the SP and an inquiry marked to DSP Hemant Kalsan.

Efforts to contact Dr R.C. Mishra, SP, proved futile.



Bomb hoax in Mani Majra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Panic gripped residents of Mani Majra this morning following a bomb hoax. Life returned back to normal only after the area was cordoned off and inspected by sniffer dogs only to find a bomb shell.

Police sources said the Army authorities had been alerted about the discovery near Sitla Mandir in the town. They added that the search was on to rule out the possibility of more shells in the area.

It all started about 9.30 am when labourers carrying out digging work for a telephone company discovered a shell. Instead of reporting the matter to the authorities concerned, they simply threw aside the shell. It was later discovered by a passerby, resulting into the triggering of a panic reaction. Within minutes everyone in and around the temple left the area for safer places as the din of blaring sirens of police vehicles filled the air. The police too helped in the evacuation process.



Repatriated staff without work
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
As many as 108 employees of the Municipal Corporation who have been repatriated to the UT Administration since July 1 following a CAT order are still without work.

The workers fear that no official record has been moved to assure them that they will get their salaries for the month.

A delegation of more than 20 employees today descended on the UT Secretariat to meet the officers. “We have no posting till date and have not even been assigned any office where we should report”, an employee said.

The staff includes clerical staff, 10 junior engineers, ministerial staff and draughtsmen. Following creation of the Municipal Corporation in 1996, the Administration, had shifted the employees to the corporation. The employees approached the CAT, which quashed the order of the Administration.

A new notification asking employees to submit fresh options was issued in June earlier this year, which had to be implemented within a month. “It is now more than a month, yet the notification has not been implemented”, an employee said.

Mr S.K. Sandhu, Finance Secretary, said the matter was being looked into and was likely to be settled within a few days.



Awareness drive on safe water to be stepped up
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 18
A meeting of State Task Force regarding water-borne diseases was held at the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, under the chairmanship of Mr D.S. Guru, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab.

The meeting was attended by Mr T.R. Sarangal, Managing Director, Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC), Mohali, Dr G.L. Goyal, Director, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, the Director, Local Government, Punjab, and representatives from the Department of Water Supply and Sanitation and the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board.

Mr Guru said public awareness about the use of safe drinking water through educational programmes and other mass-media activities should be stepped up. He directed the Director, Health Services, to ask civil surgeons of all 17 districts of Punjab to ensure the time-bound checking of ice factories and candy units in their respective districts.

He also directed the officers concerned that day-to-day reports regarding the checking of cut fruits and vegetables should be obtained from the civil surgeons.

He said district-level task force meetings involving various departments should be held regularly and the state task force should be briefed regarding the action taken in this regard.

Advertisements regarding the prevention of water-borne diseases should also be inserted in various newspapers. He also asked the departments concerned to ensure that the water sample reports were obtained within two days from the date of collection of sample.

During the meeting, the Director, Local Government, informed the Chairman that water chlorination units in 35 towns of Punjab had been made operational.

Mr Guru said in case of any emergency the state already had sufficient stock of chlorine tablets.



Drainage system gives relief to residents
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 18
Almost three years after a group of residents of Phase V here filed a public interest litigation in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the Punjab Government to provide proper rainwater drainage system for their houses, their wish has been fulfilled.

An alternative rainwater drainage system constructed at a cost of Rs 1.06 crore was now functional and would give much needed relief to several residents who had to suffer rainwater entering their homes every monsoon.

Stating that this was a big achievement a lawyer, Mr Tejinder Singh Sudan, who lives in phase V and had filed the PIL with 14 others, said that the government should realise its duties on its own rather than being forced to work through the courts,.

“Since 2002 we had been requesting the PUDA and the MC to help us. You have to see the condition of our houses, every time it rained we would be in ankle-deep water at home and in knee deep water outside on the roads. But despite our problem we did not get any relief. So we decided to go to the court. The High Court ordered the Chief Secretary Punjab to decide as to who would construct a drainage system to solve our problem. The court gave the government a deadline of June 30 this year. PUDA was asked to pay for the project while the Public Health Department was to carry it through,” explained Mr Sudan.

Delayed by just over a month, the drainage project was now complete and functional. “Residents of Phase 3B2 are facing a similar problem and have been contacting the authorities. The authorities should listen to them rather than wait for them to go to court,” said Mr Sudan.



Complaint against diagnostic centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Mr Balwant Singh, a resident of Mani Majra, has complained to the UT, Director, Health Services, against the poor services by a diagnostic centre run by the Panchkula Welfare Trust.

In a letter dated July 14, Mr Balwant Singh said “I am a heart patient under care of a doctor in Delhi. I had an appointment with him on July 9. On July 8, I went to the diagnostic centre twice for blood test. One test was conducted on me on an empty stomach and another after meal”.

He said he went to the lab in the afternoon seeking his report and the doctor reportedly told him that he did not get his sample.

“I had to miss my appointment in Delhi. A day earlier a blood sample of my wife was misplaced at the same place”, he said.

The complainant fears that such incidents put a question mark on the testing process and “there was every likelihood of patients samples being mixed”.

He has sought action against the centre.



100 and still raring to go
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 18
The long years have folded into wrinkles…her eyes have dulled the vision of reality, the ears have turned traitors and the once graceful gait has been reduced to a hunched totter.

But for Mrs Parmeshwar Kaur Johar who turned 100 today memories of past and a keenness to live in present have triumphed over her aged body. And this is also precisely the secret of her long life.

“She has seen a lot of pain and death in her lifetime. But that has not killed her spirit. My mother has never ever said no to hard work and whatever she undertook she did with complete enthusiasm,” said Mr B.S. Johar, Mrs Parmeshwar Kaur’s youngest son, who retired a few years ago from the Accountant General’s office in Haryana.

Parmeshwar Kaur was born on July 18 1905 at Lyallpur Pakistan and got married when she was just 16. She had four sons and two daughters. But by the time she was 35 she had lost her eldest son and husband to death. Parmeshwar Kaur shifted with her family to Allahabad after Partition, she saw her children blossom into a large loving family that now includes 15 great grandchildren.

“She also saw her sons die and early this year one of her daughters also died but we have not told her about her death. Its no use giving her pain at this age and she does not forget a thing,” said Rimmy her grand daughter.

When we went to meet her, Mrs Parmeshwar was busy looking at her birthday presents. “What material is this? This material was not there when we used to buy clothes. But it feels very nice,” she says moving a wrinkled hand over piece of cloth she got as one of her birthday gifts. Having acknowledged our presence she smiled an ageless smile and told her granddaughter: “Go get some samosas, and make sure they give the chutney with it. But I would eat only half a piece.”

Relating the memories how her family faced Partition, Mrs Parmeshwar Kaur recalled her brother traveled with a caravan that came from Pakistan to Jalandhar. “But we were left landless. In Karachi we were big landlords. I used to teach poor women how to develop skills like embroidery to earn their own livelihood. Then we shifted to Chandigarh with my son and after he retired we are in Mohali,” she said.

“I loved to watch films and would watch first day first show of many movies. I remember the film “Duniya Na Mane” which was my favourite for many years,” she recalls.



Fauji Beat
Armymen need better package

FOR more than a decade now, the Army has been continuing to be short of officers. Despite a host of measures having been adopted to combat the shortage, no dent has been made in it. No doubt, improving the terms and conditions of service, the disadvantages such as not allowing the bulk of defence personnel to earn 50 per cent of their pay as pension, retiring them at a young age, etc have made the Army unattractive. But to think that by removing all disadvantages, we will totally offset the shortage of officers is not correct. Notwithstanding, the Army must be given much better terms than what it is getting today.

The task of the Army with its inherent hazardous, risk-packed and unsettled life will always remain what it is today. We are living in a competitive world where the youth want the best package with a reasonably comfortable life. No wonder then that the corporate sector, Central services and state services are preferred to the Army service by the youth today.

The answer to this lies in making military service for two or three years compulsory for the new entrants in the civil services and other sectors, as is being done in several other countries such as South Korea, Israel and Italy. This will meet the shortage of manpower, besides providing a reserve to the Army during an emergency.

ECHS polyclinics

All medicines demanded by polyclinics should be provided to them. If it can be done at Gurgaon, Noida and New Delhi, then why can’t it be done in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and some other towns? There is no dearth of funds in the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) budget. The local purchase powers of the Commanding Officers of hospitals are also very liberal i.e. Rs 1 lakh and Rs 50,000 for an officer of the rank of Maj-Gen and Brigidier on a single item per transaction.

The building in which the Chandigarh polyclinic is located in Sector 11, is too small to meet its requirement. So much so that neither is there any place for the waiting patients to sit nor for the medical equipment to be fitted in it. And about 100 patients visit the polyclinic every day. After a delay of several months, the Ministry of Defence is likely to clear the de-hiring of the present building to enable the polyclinic to move to a more suitable accommodation in a southern sector.

During his last visit to the polyclinic, the Western Army Commander, Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, had sanctioned two ACs, one TV, some other utility items and an extra clerk for it. Some visiting patients have also made donations like pedestal fans, chairs, etc.

Ex-servicemen’s vacancies

Every state has fixed a percentage of vacancies for the retiring armed forces personnel. But this percentage remains only on paper. The plea taken by the state governments in support of this action is that ex-servicemen do not possess the requisite qualifications for the posts.

This difficulty can be easily overcome if state governments give a forecast of their retiring employees and the qualifications required to fill their posts to the Director General of Resettlement, Ministry of Defence.

The latter can then ensure that the retiring personnel are imparted necessary training to enable them to fill the vacancies.

First Bihar

First Bihar was inducted into the Batalik sector during the Kargil war in May, 1999, and was assigned the task of capturing of Jubar ridge, which is above the height of 16,000 feet. The unit captured Jubar and Tharu in platoon and company actions. First Bihar won 25 gallantry awards in the Kargil war and was also awarded Chief of the Army Staff’s “Instant Unit Citation”. The battalion has now been awarded the battle honour of Batalik and theatre honour of Kargil.

— Pritam Bhullar



Readers write
Power problems galore in Panchkula

I am a seventy-five-year-old resident of Sector 4 in Panchkula. I am a heart patient and I have not spent a single day without suffering due to erratic power supply in the area.

There is a violent voltage fluctuation and most of the time electricity supply is not restored the whole night forcing us to spend sleepless nights. Even the inverter fails to provide back up for such long hours. Whenever I complain to the UHBVN there is a blame game and not a solution to the problem. I wish that the UHBVN should be sued for deficiency in services. I rate Panchkula as a failed city in providing basic amenities particularly regular power supply.

I request to the authorities concerned to act to supply uninterrupted and unfluctuating supply of electricity.


Senior citizens denied benefits

The Chandigarh Administration has issued identity cards for senior citizens who have attained the age of 60 years. Besides other facilities, the card holder enjoys 50 per cent concession in CTU bus fares.

It is made compulsory by the administration that the card holder must be a resident of the UT. By this provision one who lives in Panchkula or Mohali cannot avail the facility of concession in bus fares, although most of the buses ply through these areas or touch them.

Why are such restrictions being imposed by these authorities where Railways make no distinction whether a senior citizen belongs to Chandigarh or Chennai?


Safety concerns

Your article on the safety of students in school buses (Chandigarh Tribune, July 7) shows your concern for the students. Six students had a miraculous escape when the bus in which they were being taken to school on the morning of July 5 overturned near Sector 11. The parents heaved a sigh of relief on learning that their wards were safe. Now, the parents are panicky though they cannot avoid sending their children to school in buses. The police and the administration should enforce strict compliance of the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and take action against the offenders.


Residents' woes

I am a resident of Grand Hotel, Ambala Cantt. The residents of the locality are facing an extremely tough time dealing with several problems, including sewerage. The vendors here have started parking their rehris near to the main entrance of the locality making it difficult for the residents to pass through. Besides, an alarming increase in the noise and air pollution has forced the residents to stay indoors. The entire area is littered with rotten vegetables, fruits and polythene bags turning it into a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Stray animals feel at home here. Accidents due to traffic disruption because of stray animals are very common.

The drains are choked and have not been cleaned from the past six months. Even the Municipal Councillor of the area has not bothered to visit after winning the elections in April.

Ambala Cantt

Uncovered manholes

One of the beautiful aspects of the city is that it offers pleasant walks along its pleasing boulevards.

But a serious problem has sprung up. The manholes with stolen lids are virtual death traps for pedestrians, especially during the dark hours.

The lids made of iron often got stolen and even replacing them does not solve the problem. The authorities should make cement covers for the manholes to avoid the thefts. Also such thieves should be brought to book.


Scrap written test

Panjab University has advertised six posts of Library Assistant in the newspapers in which nothing had been mentioned about the mode of selection. The university already has about 25 Library Assistants, who had been working for the past 5-6 years on a fixed pay of Rs 4000 p.m. Initially, these people were appointed one ad hoc basis in the pay scale of Rs 5480-8925 and worked for 2-3 years and in some cases annual increments were also given. But the dictatorial authority of the university converted their ad hoc appointment into contract appointment. Recently, the university has conducted a written test for these posts totally ignoring the work experience and length of service of the existing employees. In the past, a test for these posts had never been conducted. This has been done only to sideline the inservice employees. The new procedure of written test should be scrapped and all the existing employees and other candidates who have applied be interviewed and selection be made on the basis experience and higher qualification.




DGP intervenes to clear traffic
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 18
It is not everyday that the Director-General of Police, Haryana, gets to do what he probably did during his days of training . The DGP, Mr Nirmal Singh, today got down from his car and facilitated the clearing of a traffic jam on National Highway-73, near Ramgarh village.

The incident took place at around 9. 30 in the morning when two trucks had a head-on collision. Another multi-axle vehicle, that was passing by tried to evade the collided trucks and move ahead.

However, the multi-axle vehicle, too, overturned while trying to cross these trucks. As a result, there was a traffic jam on the road.

The police moved to the spot along with a recovery crane and tried to clear the trucks. In the meantime, DGP Nirmal Singh, who was on his way to Karnal, got stuck in the jam.

Ever the perfect cop, he got down to see the cause of the traffic jam. When he reached the spot, he called for two other cranes to expedite the process of clearing the road.

Senior police officers, including the Station House Officer of Chandi Mandir police station, rushed to the site. The traffic jam was cleared within 45 minutes.



Fresh tender allotted for Beant memorial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The UT Administration allotted a fresh tender to a company for construction at the Beant Singh Memorial in Sector 42, reliable sources said here today.

The work at the memorial had run into rough weather because the contractor had complained about rising costs in the construction job.

He has sought more finances and finally quit his job, sources added.



It took cops 5 years to arrest Yadav
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, July 18
It took Chandigarh Police nearly five years to arrest the prime accused in the Sector 24 wineshop double murder and robbery case.

Though Lachman Yadav was declared a proclaimed offender in the case by a local court, along with another accused Mewa Lal, soon after the incident, the police could not lay its hands on the duo for all these years.

The sources in the police headquarters said even now the police could hardly claim the credit of his arrest because Yadav was not tracked down by them. In fact Yadav was taken into custody on the basis of Mewa Lal’s statement. He, too, was not arrested by the local police.

A spokesman of the Chandigarh Police admitted that Mewa Lal was brought to the city on production warrant from Uttar Pradesh. During his interrogation he reportedly confessed his involvement in the case. He also furnished details about Yadav’s whereabouts. It was on the basis of his disclosure statement that Yadav was nabbed, he added.

Giving details he said a case under Section 460 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code was registered against the accused on the complaint of an employee, Mr Tilak Raj.

The Deputy Superinten-dent of Chandigarh Police, P.K. Dhawan, added that Yadav was working as a driver at the vend since long. Mewa Lal was employed on his recommendations.

Mr Dhawan added that Yadav was produced before the court of the competent jurisdiction this afternoon and was remanded to police custody. Further investigations were on, he said.

The accused had allegedly struck at the vend on August 17, 2000. After hacking to death two employees sleeping inside, they had reportedly decamped with nearly Rs 60 lakh.

The deceased were identified as 34-year-old Roop Lal and 28-year-old Nand Kishore. 



Undertrial in murder case escapes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Throwing dust in the eyes of the Chandigarh Police, an undertrial in a murder case being taken to Batala for a court date escaped from custody.

Following the incident, a case under Sections 223 and 224 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against an Assistant Sub-Inspector, besides two Head Constables and as many constables.

Sources in the local police said undertrial Kulbir Singh, along with co-accused Shamsher Singh, was being taken to Batala from Model Jail in Burail village for attending a court date.

The police party, along with the duo, reached the city on Sunday night. But instead of taking them to the appropriate place, they allegedly went to the residence of accused Kulbir Singh.

After having dinner, they went off to sleep only to find accused Kulbir Singh missing in the morning.

The sources said this was not the first incident of its kind. Recently, an alleged militant had escaped from the custody of the Punjab Police in Delhi. 



3 held for killing cow
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 18
Tension prevailed at Rajiv Colony here today when five persons of the colony reportedly killed a cow by strangulating it. At least 400 members of the Shiv Sena (Hindustan) gathered outside the colony in protest and gheraoed the police post.

The crowd was controlled past 10 pm when the police finally managed to arrest three of the five persons.

According to the SHO, Sector 5 police station, three persons — Telu, Salimuddion and Dhaka — were arrested. He said the three had told the police that they had killed the cow since it had turned “mad”.



Bank to introduce saving schemes
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, July 18
For the convenience of the high-end customers, the Bank of India will introduce two banking products — diamond saving deposits and diamond current deposits — the Chairman and Managing Director of the bank, Mr M Balachandran, said here.

While under the diamond saving deposits the customer will be required to maintain an average balance of Rs 1 lakh, under the other scheme the average balance of Rs 2 lakh would have to be maintained during a quarter, he said.

Talking about the business of the Chandigarh zone during 2004-05, Mr Balachandran said the deposits grew by Rs 119 crore to Rs 1,165 crore from Rs 1,046 crore. While the operating profit increased to Rs 40 crore from Rs 30 crore, the gross NPA declined to 3.8 per cent from 7.16 per cent.

The retail lending has gone up to Rs 318 crore from Rs 231 crore, Mr Tushar Dasgupta, Zonal Manager of the Chandigarh zone, said adding that housing loans had grown to Rs 87 crore from Rs 37 crore.

The bank deposits grew to Rs 1202 crore from Rs 1165 crore in the quarter ended June 2005. The zone earned an operating profit of Rs 19 crore and the bank had disbursed Rs 119 crore as the housing loan, Mr Balachandran added.



Punjab Khadi Board to evolve common policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The Punjab Khadi and Village Industries Board has decided to evolve a common policy to coordinate the activities of khadi boards. A meeting in this regard is scheduled for July 20 under the chairmanship of Mr Charanjit Singh Walia, Chairman of the board, here.

It is likely to be attended by the chairmen and CEO’s of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttaranchal, Chandigarh, Punjab and Delhi.

Issues like evolving a common policy for implementation of rural employment generation schemes, facility of sales tax/VAT exemption to KVI units, quality control of products to compete in international market, marketing of khadi and village industries products, would be discussed at the meeting.

The board, which had started special recovery campaign, is expecting recoveries worth Rs 2 crore during the quarter ending September, 2005.

Besides, it has also been decided to launch a new scheme of employment generation up to Rs 2 lakh for the poor and unemployed rural youth of the state.


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