C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Report on ’84 riots damned
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 8
“Three thousand murders, but not a single murderer identified or punished till now. Is this what you call justice?” questioned an agitated Hardeep Singh, a victim of the 1984 riots here today.

Reacting sharply to the contents of the Nanavati Commission Action Taken Report that was tabled in Parliament this morning, members of the 200-odd families who shifted here in 1984 were an infuriated lot.

Demanding action against Union Minister Jagdish Tytler and MP Sajjan Kumar for their alleged role in getting Sikhs killed, the victims rejected the report that had given a virtual clean chit to the two.

“I lost my father and my four brothers in the riots . Was I left alive to see this day? No action has been taken against any one of those who came to my house, doused petrol on my father and brothers and killed them. Then they burnt our house down. After 21 years we have no justice and now no hope is left,” said Inderjit Kaur who is living in Phase 11 with her family.

“Everything was carried out in connivance of Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler, H.K.L Bhagat and Dharamdas Shastri. These persons should have been hanged long ago. Instead all that the governments did was constitute commission after commission and look at the result. Tytler and Sajjan have been let off today,” alleged Harpal Singh, who came to Mohali from Delhi after his house was looted and is now the general secretary of the Sikh Danga Pirat Parivar Society.

Members of over 200 families shifted to Phase 11 following the implementation of a rehabilitation scheme in 1984. The victims admitted that when Dr Manmohan Singh, a Sikh, was made the Prime Minister, they had hoped that justice would prevail. “But today all hope has died. Even if the report has recommended inquiries against Shastri, P.G. Gavai and S.C. Tandon, we know that nothing is going to come out of these. The PM has played the same role that Giani Zail Singh played during the riots — watch like a mute puppet even while people of his community were being wronged,” said Surinder Kaur, another victim.

“Who says there is not enough proof against Tytler and Sajjan? They were at the forefront, organising the riots. The police was told not to help us. It was the Army that came later and helped us and we dared to come out of our houses,” alleged Lakhvinder Singh.

“The Akali government got us these houses. but the Congress government asked us to pay heavy penalties on the houses later. I lost my father-in-law in the riots. We have brought up our children in filth and poverty. Now they are jobless. The riots ruined our future generation too,” said Mrs Gurmail Kaur whose house in Trilokpuri, New Delhi, was burnt down. “I have not been given a house,” pointed out Gurdial Singh.

The victims are planning to meet the Prime Minister. “We demand immediate resignation of Tytler and Sajjan Kumar,” said Mrs Paramjit Kaur, councillor.



7 ITBP jawans hurt as grenade explodes midair
during training

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 8
Seven ITBP jawans were injured when a fellow jawan, undergoing arms training, lobbed a grenade which exploded in midair.

The incident took place this afternoon, while an arms training of jawans of 18 ITBP Battalion from Jalandhar, was going on in the firing range near Bhudd here.

The police says that one of the jawans while practicing lobbed the grenade which exploded in midair before hitting the target. The splinters from the grenade injured jawans standing below.

The seriously injured jawans were first admitted to a hospital in Naraingarh, from where they were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.

The injured jawans have been identified as Brajesh Misra, Paramjit Singh, Rajesh Kumar, Mangleesh Kumar, Ram Kirpal, Gajraj and Anil Kumar. While rest of the jawans are out of danger, Paramjit Singh and Brajesh Misra are in a state of shock after sustaining serious injuries.

Senior ITBP officers from Bhanu reached PGI to take stock of the situation and reported the entire incident to senior officers of the 18 Battalion in Jalandhar.

The police says that the ITBP training in the Bhudd firing range takes place every three months. 



Yog Raj’s petrol station account sealed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Sales Tax Department of the UT Administration today sealed the bank account of the National Service Centre, a Bharat Petroleum petrol pump in Sector 17 owned by Yog Raj Singh, a former cricketer, for failing to deposit the tax of over Rs 1 crore, sources said here today.

The payment had been split into smaller instalments. However, on non-receipt of the amount by the due date, the bank account was sealed, the sources added.

A senior official said the “pump might also be sealed.”

Yog Raj Singh told The Tribune that “I have argued with UT officials that I was going through a very bad phase in my business and that I should be given some time (2-3 years) to clear all my dues.

The charges added up to nearly Rs 60 lakh because I could not attend to my business in the past couple of years because of family problems. I have requested the Administration to waive the heavy interest money.”

He said: “I am not running away from here. I am too proud a man to even ask my son Yuv Raj Singh for any financial help. I am making the payments on a regular basis.

Certain payments were held up because my money is stuck in certain old deals.”



City wakes up to newborn care
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
A high neonatal mortality rate is the latest challenge for the health authorities in Chandigarh.

Currently, 14 per 1,000 births, the rate may be slightly better than the national neonatal rate of 26 per 1,000 but it is high for a city like Chandigarh which has three well-equipped medical institutions.

Small wonder that those in charge of affairs during the second phase of the Reproductive and Child Health Programme (RCH) have set the target of reducing the neonatal mortality rate (NMR) from 14 per 1,000 to 11 per 1,000 by 2010. In 2003, 209 of the total newborn in the city died within 28 days of birth.

Most died of causes that could be prevented with efficient neonatal care. Of the 209, 27 per cent died of birth asphyxia and 25 per cent of septicemia and meningitis. About 21 per cent died of low birth weight while 10 per cent and 7 per cent died of hyaline membrane disorder and congenital malfunction, respectively.

“The direct cause of death among neonates is lack of attention at the time of birth,” said a senior doctor. Right now, several neonates are sharing beds in hospitals across the city. While the PGI has 100 per cent occupancy in this section, the General Hospital, (Sector 16) claims the occupancy rate as 150 to 200 per cent. The occupancy rate in the GMCH, (Sector 32) is about 60 to 70 per cent.

The Health Department is reported to have given a nod to the proposal of setting up neonatal intensive care units in all community health centres (CHCs) of the city. Each such ICU will have four beds, to be raised to 10 in due course of time. Better neonatal care services for periphery have also been proposed. While Sector 22 and Manimajra polyclinics already have the status of CHCs, the one in Sector 45 will soon be upgraded.

It is, however, learnt that the UT health authorities have shelved another proposal of providing emergency ambulances for neonatal care. This, despite the fact that PGI had consented to train and monitor the staff to be deputed for such an emergency service. The reason cited was lack of funds.



Beant case trial resumes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Beant Singh assassination trial resumed today at the high security Burail jail here, almost after three months.

The CBI Special Judge, Mr M.M. Sharma, ordered the jail authorities to present all accused in the case before the court on the next date of hearing i.e. August 17. Today only the main accused and the alleged chief of the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) Jagtar Singh Hawara was present in the court.

The Judge also ordered the re-examination of the two prosecution witnesses, Mr Vijay Kumar and Mr Nanha Ram, both Inspectors with the Chandigarh police. 



Inspector helping accused in Naya Gaon gang rape case shifted
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The infamous Naya Gaon gang rape case took a dramatic turn today with the Special Investigating Team (SIT) revealing that Inspector Jagjit Singh, Station House Officer of Kurali police station, was also taking extra pains to help the accused.

The three-year-old case, reopened for investigation on the intervention of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on July 18, has led to the arrest of eight of 12 main suspects so far.

Not only has the Inspector been transferred to the Border Range, his role and conduct in the case would be subject to further probe by SIT. Investigations reveal that the Inspector, in his alleged endeavour to defend the accused, including Sub Inspector Amanpreet Singh, had made more than 100 telephone calls from his mobile phone to the Judicial Officer handling the case. So much so that on the day the demand for further remand of the Sub-Inspector was to come up on July 22, Inspector Jagjit Singh not only made calls from his mobile phone but also received some calls from the official telephone of the Kharar Court.

The SIT officials maintain that the team would be “probing further the role of the Inspector and nothing beyond. The police is conscious of its role and limitations.”

It started when a minor girl of Khuda Ali Sher, daughter of a police constable, was raped at four different venues on different dates by a group of eight people. The victim ultimately delivered a premature baby on March 1, 2003, before a formal complaint of rape against the accused was lodged with the Mohali Police station on March 7. She was subjected to sexual orgies in Sector 37 in Chandigarh, Naya Gaon, in a Panchkula hotel and at Bachan Farm House in Karoran village.

Unsatisfied with the police investigations, the victim and her parents filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court apprehending that the police was trying to hush up the case as the culprits were not only history sheeters but also wielded a lot of influence. It was also alleged that the culprits had threatened to abduct/kidnap entire family of the victim, keep it in illegal detention and make it sign blank papers in their favour.

The apprehensions of the family came true when it was kidnapped, kept in illegal detention and then taken to a court where the victim was asked to make a statement under Section 164 Cr P C in which no mention of any rape or sexual harassment was mentioned. Instead, she was forced to make a statement that she had gone to her friend Mary’s house where she took some milk and fell unconscious, Since she was a patient of asthma she thought she fell unconscious because of asthmatic attack. About the child, she said that it may be because of her boy friend.

At one stage, Mr Justice K.S. Grewal, made an observation that “in this day and age, they — parents of the hapless girl — have propounded the theory of immaculate conception with the help of Mary of Naya Gaon.” He had issued directions to the SSP, Ropar to ensure proper investigations in the case.

Subsequently, the family moved an application in the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking withdrawal of earlier petition in which investigations in the rape case for bringing the culprits to the law had been sought.

The Division Bench referred to an observation made by Superintendent of Police of

Internal Vigilance Cell which said that “Sub Inspector Gurjeet Kaur, Incharge of Police Post at the PGI, Chandigarh, recorded the first statement of the victim where she clearly gave the names of all the rapists. It is very hard for an unmarried girl to complain about rape, if it has never happened. Later on she might have changed the statement but her first statement is likely to stand as true.”

The Division Bench further observed that it was a crime against the society, “It is not compoundable. Very serious allegations have been made and till now the accused have been able to frustrate all attempts to get at the truth.

“Balkar Singh, who, we are told is a member of Police force working in the Punjab Police headquarters, is being forced by elements, who have scant respect for the process of law to beat a retreat from the stand taken by his daughter and his comrades in uniform have apparently forsaken him and his family in their hour of need, which to our mind is unfortunate. Faced with this situation, with a heavy heart, we are forced to intervene and deny this request of the petitioner to withdraw this petition.

“We would appreciate if Shri Sumedh Singh Saini, Inspector-General of Police, is made to head the special investigating team (SIT) to be composed of such officers as the officer may require to enable him to go into the matter and finalise the investigation,” the Bench said.

After the SIT started investigations, eight of the 12 accused, have been arrested. They include five of eight alleged rapists — Kesar, Ram, Sham, Tari and Rinku. The remaining three rapists - Ramkesh, alias Panch, Gurdhian and Gurbachan - are still at large. Of the four accused of abduction of the family, three have been arrested. Only Mohinder, alias Tunda, was absconding.

Yesterday, the police had recovered 43 lakhs in cash from the locker of the wife of Gurbachan, alias property dealer.

Incidentally, some of the suspects in the Naya Gaon case had joined Jagtar Singh Hawara in Burail jail in a hunger strike. Mr Gurkirat Singh, a grand son of late Mr Beant Singh, in a statement lauded the role of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in ordering fresh investigations in the case. He said that besides the role of police officers, conduct of the judicial officers should also be investigated by a senior judicial officer.

“The absconders in the case — Gurdhian Singh and Gurbachan Singh - have close links with Jagtar Singh Hawara. When they were together in Burail jail, they had jointly gone on hunger strike against the jail staff. Their role in Burail jail break case should also be investigated,” said Mr Gurkirat Singh.



Chandigarh Calling
It’s a poor track record

THE city is growing and the traffic blues are growing with it. The number of automobiles in the city is phenomenal. Driving is no longer hazard free and more so in the peak hours. The cycle and rickshaw tracks have been made in the city to tackle the traffic hassles and also ensure safety for those pedalling along high-speeding vehicles. It was also hoped that these tracks would help people to turn to cycling for reasons of health and environment. However, the condition of these cycle tracks is pitiable. There is no lighting and the tracks have potholes. The rains have made the conditions worse. There are ditches full of water and wild growth all around. So far it is a poor track record. Tribune photographer Manoj Mahajan brings to us the hazards of the cycle track in the stretch from the Picadilly Chowk to Sector 44.

Saviour cop

Imagine the surprise of a passenger travelling in a shared auto from Chandigarh to Mohali, when the man sitting next to her caught hold of the driver by his collar. A woman had signalled to the auto driver to stop, he had not but had shared a risqué joke with a friend sitting next to him. The next thing one saw was the cop, who was in plainclothes, pounce on the driver and announce, “Eh Punjab police hai, Chandigarh police nahin. Tere ghar vich behen nahin, teri eh majaal ki tun kisi ladies nu is taran bolein.” The driver did not know what had hit him, and was taken by surprise.

Dancing devotees

The revelry of the Kanwarias is watched in silence by a drug smouldering babaji, sitting placidly on the small bridge going towards the Mundan Ghat at the Mansa Devi temple. The religious fervour of the Kanwarias is awe-inspiring. Their halt at the temple at Panchkula, complete with a wedding band playing techno-rock bhajans at full blast, is a time to display their delight and religiosity! The devotees dance enthusiastically clad in flaming saffron clothes, men, women and children hopped in unison to the frenzied beats before embarking on their final journey to the Pracheen Shiv Mandir to pray and offer their kanwars. Babaji, also clad in orange, looks on unimpressed. He has seen this sight before. “I am the true disciple of Shivji. I sit here all day long. I live here. I offer my gratitude every single day.” The question is tempting. How? He waves us off with his hands, for its time for his drug induced mantra recitation and we will have to come back another day for this deep answer!

Buying a car

Buying a car is no mean business today! It involves amongst other more mundane things like mud guards and foot mats, an evoking of the gods for their blessings. Considering the havoc wrecked by vehicular traffic on the roads, perhaps this is not a bad idea! The process starts in all its splendour with a photograph being taken, at the dealer’s, as proof of having been handed over the car. Once this is dispensed with, a dishevelled coconut is produced accompanied with a small cup of mishri to sweeten the moment. This is not the end of it. The car is then taken straight to the mender with a stopover at a local mit hai walla, the car is blessed by the panditji, a mouli is tied to the left indicator of the car to bless it and Om is etched out in red vermilion on the bonnet to grant it special safety boons! Only then does the car make its first journey to its house.

Chana masala

Ranjit, has traversed all the way from Pataliputra to this city in search of a livelihood and has been feeding the wandering hungry for twelve years now. For this chana kulcha wallah has his culinary skills honed in and his recipe for the roadside channas include some unusual additions! His creation consists of lovingly adding the condiments to the chanas, mixing it all up in a leafy katori and serving it to in his rather dubious surroundings in Sector 29 amidst a virtual colony of flies hovering dangerously low! Yes, there is a variety on offer. You can have them straight, boiled in salt water with a dash of lemon or you could have the works with chopped up onions, tomatoes, green chili and masala. However, in between these two extremes is the banana flavored version with red chili flakes which gives a slightly gooey sweet zest to the vigorously stirred and slightly mashed chanas!

Smart move

A Maruti van driver tried to escape the traffic police by pasting a small sticker that read “Police” from a distance. But the extra smart cops on duty decided to make sure what it was. They stopped the van driver in his tracks, thinking they had caught an offender. The driver, on the other hand, seemed unfazed when the cops demanded a police verification card from him. He humbly replied: “But when did I say I am from the police? The cop lashed back at him: “You have pasted a “Police” sticker on your van.” Calmly, the driver replied, Please take a second look” The second look revealed that the word on the sticker was ‘Polite’. A smart move indeed!

— Sentinel



Passing Thru

Krishna Kumar
Krishna Kumar, Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT, Kanpur

What brings you to Chandigarh?

My son has got admission in the Mechanical engineering course at Punjab Engineering College. I just wanted to visit the campus and I also had some work here.

There is not much scope of higher studies in the aerospace engineering in India and students prefer to go abroad. What do you have to say about this?

Aerospace engineering is a highly specialised course which requires inter-disciplinary approach. It involves vigorous analysis. This particular diploma is highly focused. No doubt, the scope of higher studies and opportunities is higher abroad but in India it is likely to grow. We have come a long way since the 70s.

Do you have any suggestions for young astronauts?

Aeronautics is a young discipline in the country but there will be rapid strides in the near future. There will be huge opportunities and challenges for young astronauts. It is for them to grab the opportunity for their own betterment and for the betterment of the country.

— Swarleen Kaur



Row over Daria road alignment
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
A recent demolition drive by the Chandigarh Administration near Daria village to clear the passage for widening a road which will provide a direct link between the IT park at Kishangarh and the airport, has kicked up a controversy regarding the alignment of the proposed road.

Indicating apparent lack of communication between the office of the Land Acquisition Office (LAO) and the UT Engineering Department, the demolition was carried along a 500-metre stretch of land which does not fit in to the alignment of the road, if one goes by the planning norms and the availability of land. Logically, the alignment should be straight.

Inquiries reveal that a major section of the land for the proposed road has to be acquired before being handed over to the Engineering Department. Not convinced by the logic given by officers, the affected godown owners alleged that certain officials in the administration were inclined to change the alignment of the road in order to ensure that land owned by an influential godown owner was left out during the acquisition for the proposed road. If the straight alignment was followed, the godown loses a sizeable chunk of land, said sources in the administration.

Sources in the office of the LAO said the Engineering Department had been delaying the construction of the road. Mr V.K.Bhardwaj, Chief Engineer of the UT Engineering Department, said the alignment of the road would be decided soon in consultation with the Architect Department.

On the condition of anonymity, an officer in the Engineering Department said if the straight alignment was not followed, the road users would have to take an additional detour of around 300 metres. The road from Railway Light Point to Daria village and beyond will touch the Zirakpur-Kalka National Highway near Sector 21, Panchkula, and the Zirakpur - Chandigarh National Highway near the Hallo Majra junction.

The Land Acquisition Officer, Mr S.K. Setia, said the demolition had been done against the violations under the Periphery Act. He said the demolition had been done along the two proposed alignments of the road.

He had referred the matter back to the authorities concerned regarding the exact alignment of the road so that the land could be acquired for the road.

In violation of the guidelines, godown owners have stored raw material precariously close to the high-tension wire passing overhead.

Officials in the electricity department said as per the rule, neither any construction could be raised nor any material be stored under the high tension wire.



City remembers Major Shankla
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 8
Rich tributes were paid to Maj Sandeep Shankla, Ashok Chakra, on his 14th death anniversary at Sandeep Shankla War Memorial in Sector 2 today. A contingent of Major Shankla’s unit, 18th Battalion of the Dogra Regiment, presented a guard of honour to the gallant soldier. The guards reversed their arms and a two-minute silence was observed as a mark of respect to the martyr. Buglers sounded the Last Post, followed by the Rouse.

The General Officer Commanding- in- Chief, Western Command, Lt-Gen S. Pattabhiram, laid a wreath at the memorial, followed by Lt-Col J.S. Kanwar (retd), father of Major Shankla. Several veteran soldiers, including a former Chief of the Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik, Lt-Gen Surjit Singh(retd) also paid their homage. Others who paid their respects were the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijendra Singh, and the SP, Mr Balbir Singh, besides representatives from the Zila and the Rajya Sainik Board.

Major Shankla made the supreme sacrifice on this day in 1991 while fighting militants at Zafarwani village near Panjgam in the Kashmir valley. The operation resulted in deaths of nine militants and arrest of 22.

For displaying the highest quality of leadership and courage in the face of grave personal risk, Maj Sandeep Shankla was posthumously awarded Ashoka Chakra, the highest peacetime gallantary award.



2,000 transformers to be installed
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The Electricity Department of the Chandigarh Administration has planned a total revamp of the electricity distribution system in the city and villages, involving the installation of at least 2,000 distribution transformers.

Reliable sources said the total cost of the revamp, including eight power transformers, has been pegged at approximately Rs 88 crore. The capacity of each transformer will be 200 kv. Currently the city has transformers with capacity ranging between 220 kv, 300 kv, 800 kv and 1000 kv. The existing transformers need to be deloaded for bearing very heavy load affecting its functioning.

The entire circuit was proposed to be brought on to the “ring main”, which would facilitate uninterrupted power supply. This would provide for an alternate route for power supply in case the mainline supply was interrupted, sources said.

A presentation of the proposal has already been made by Mr V.K.Bhardwaj, Chief Engineer, to senior officials of the Administration. The matter will now need the approval of Gen S.F. Rodrigues, Governor of Punjab.

The Administration plans at least eight new power transformers. The major function of the new installations is to reduce the burden on the existing transformers and streamline the supply in case of an emergency. The existing load on the supply lines is 4.33 lakh kv to which an additional capacity of 4 lakh kv is proposed to be added.

One of the significant proposals is that the power supply line for the rural sector will have a double line. In city, when one line develops any trouble the department switches on to the alternate route immediately to maintain uninterrupted supply. In villages, people have to stay without electricity till error in the single route supply is corrected.

The proposal needs a mention in light of the statement of Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to UT Administrator, who at the recently concluded information technology conference announced that there would be no power cuts in the city after two years. Giving details a senior official of the department said, “the current efficiency of the electricity distribution in the city was 99.5 per cent which the department proposes to increase to 99.999. This will mean a total power cut of six minutes in a year. So the existing system needs a revamp”.

It was pointed out that one of the major reasons for frequent tripping during summers was the increased load on the transformers. The distribution system is the same while the load has increased, particularly because of a massive increase in number of air conditioners.

The official pointed out that each transformer should have the capacity to bear the load of another one in case of an emergency. Under the existing circumstances each transformer is a single unit and there is no back-up. Moreover, the UT plans to route the wiring through underground channels.

  • The Administration plans a total revamp of the electricity supply system in the city at an approximate cost of Rs 88 crore.
  • At least 2000 distribution transformers of 200 kv capacity will be installed as a part of the drive and eight power transformers have also been planned.
  • All villages in the UT will have a double line power supply.



Beauty campaign for a noble cause
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
This is a sensitivity campaign with a difference. For Pammy Kaul, international hair stylist, beauty and nail exponent, life is about “collecting good memories” and that is precisely what she intends to do at a workshop that she is holding for residents of the city.

Pammy and her crew of specialised trainers are planning to donate all the money that they have collected from the registration for the five-day workshop on beauty care to the Blind School in Chandigarh. The amount comes to about Rs 50,000.

“By the grace of God, we have enough and the mission is not to fill our coffers and go back. We want to do this because we believe in what we are doing,” avers Pammy.

She also intends to train some deaf and dumb children in specialised workshops. “Every individual deserves the same opportunities and a physical disability should not be the reason to refuse employment.

These children have a fierce will to learn and that is half the battle won.”

She also intends to continue training them every time she comes to India. “Even if someone is interested in the course and is unable to attend it due to financial constraints, we are willing to help,” she says.

In this venture is the support of friend Pramod Dewan, owner of Headmasters Salon where the training is scheduled to be held. Dewan is also willing to take on these trainees once their training is complete.

He has agreed to send his team to the Blind School once a month to give free haircut to the students.

Will Pammy be able to change the mindset of Indians with regard to beauty care? “I do not know the answer to this one.

But I am willing to try. Someone has to try. I am here to educate people, not convince them.

Do you know what your due is when you go into a parlour for your grooming? Do people realise how important hygiene and the use of correct products is?”

The training programme will be held from August 17 and is largely for untrained persons, besides a noble cause.



Couple, son hurt in LPG cylinder fire
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 8
It was a miraculous escape by five members of a family after their one-room house at Railla village caught fire because of an LPG cylinder leak.

Though the couple and their five-month old son was injured, their two daughters escaped unhurt. The presence of mind of Rekha to immediately disconnect the LPG cylinder from the gas stove averted a major tragedy.

The incident took place around 6 am, when Rekha was making tea for her husband Mahesh. The latter was in the bathroom, while her two daughters Mona and Barkha were sleeping in the room.

Rekha was holding her son Abhimanyu as she was making tea. Suddenly she saw that the gas pipe near the regulator had caught fire.

As she raised an alarm, she immediately disconnected the gas cylinder and started dragging it outside. She received severe burn injuries on arms, face and torso, while the baby received injuries on his legs.

As Mahesh and some neighbours rushed in, the curtains in the room caught fire. They dragged the two girls out of the room and immediately called for the fire brigade.

Mahesh too suffered burns on his arms. He along with his wife and son are now recuperating at the General Hospital, Sector 6. 



Kidney patient needs help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Prem Kumari, wife of Kishen Singh, resident of BPO, Andora, Amb, Himachal Pradesh, is undergoing treatment for failure of two kidneys. She is also a patient of diabetes and is being treated at the PGI, Chandigarh.

Her son, Ashwini Kumar, works in a private company in Mahavir, Hoshiarpur, earning Rs 3,000 a month and they are unable to bear the cost of treatment. If anyone wishes to help them, please contact Ashwini Kumar on 09872972964.



MC building nears completion
Kulwinder Sangha
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 8
An architecturally attractive building of the Municipal Council, being built at a cost of more than Rs 7 crore, is nearing completion.

The building, being built on a 1.10 acre allotted by PUDA in Sector 68 here, has been designed on a modern concept.

The work on the seven-storyed building is likely to be completed in about two month’s time and the civic body plans to hold the inaugration ceremony in October.

Mr Vinay Mahajan, Assistant Municipal Engineer, who is looking after the construction work, along with Mr A.K. Khanna, junior engineer, told Chandigarh Tribune that the design of the building was based on concept of open office. Except for senior officials, staff of the council would have work stations having computer points. Internal networking would also be there. A provision was there to make the office fully computerised in the near future.

He said two “scenic lifts” would be provided with gearless machine rooms. The lifts would have censor door openings. In case of power failures, the lifts would reach the nearest level and the door would open automatically.

The main enterance of the building would also have censor door which would automatically open and close. The building would have double insulated antelio blue glass on the sides. While the outer glass was reflective and toughened, the internal side of the glass was ecological so as to achieve optimum light transmission and acoustic effects. This would help in bringing down the original and recurring cost of air conditioning.

Mr Mahajan said the central courtyard would be retained as a green area with a provision for a fountain and it would be covered with a poly carbonate dome. The basement would have the parking facility while 14 billing counters would be located on the ground floor. Staff would be lodged on the first floor while the office of the council president and senior officials would be on the second floor.

The building is being completed only till the second floor for the time being.

Mr Kulwant Singh, President of the council, said it was a big achievement of the civic body to get an office building of its own. Till now the council was functioning from showrooms in Phase VII which were taken on rent. The council had to purchase land from PUDA to construct its building. He said future expansion of the town was kept in mind while designing the building. Even if the council was upgraded to the level of a corporation, the building would be able to accommodate the staff needed in this regard.



HUDA blind to 20-foot pit
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 8
The rains have once again exposed the poor quality of work being done by HUDA. The aftermath of the rains have led to large portions of land, right behind a row of houses, to cave in, thus threatening the foundations of the rear walls of these houses.

A 20-foot pit has emerged behind house number 283 after the rains led to the caving in of the plinth put by HUDA. The pit is at least 10-foot in diameter and is located on the footpath behind the houses.

Residents of the area say that a week ago, only a small portion of the land had caved in. “But as the rains lashed the city, the pit grew wider. Inspite of numerous complaints to HUDA officials, nothing has been done.

The officials just came and erected a temporary fencing around the pit to avoid anyone falling in,” say the residents.

They say that before the sector was developed, a seasonal rivulet used to flow here. After plots were carved out, HUDA officials reportedly filled in plinth in the rivulet to close the nullah.

Water is also flowing under the land. Residents say that the land caves in often after heavy rain. “Last year, after the floods, there was a cave-in near house number 483 which was filled only after a few months.

These pits are dangerous, they add. 



Raids across Ropar to nab killers
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 8
The Punjab police is on the trail of a criminal tribe that is reportedly responsible for the gruesome attack on a dairy farmer’s family at Chajju Majra village in Kharar yesterday.

According to the Ropar SSP, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, the police had been able to identify the tribe that had killed three persons and injured eight others.

He said raids were being conducted across Ropar since last evening and many persons had been questioned.

This is the third such crime to take place in the area in the past three months. The police has not been able to nab those responsible for the killing of four persons in Mastgarh and Tira villages near Mullanpur Garibdass here in May. Members of a criminal tribe of Rajasthan was thought to be responsible for the crime.

Similarly, the Kalandar gang that reportedly struck at Dappar and Chaundheri villages near Lalru and clubbed to death three persons, has not been caught yet.

Meanwhile, the condition of those injured in yesterday’s attack has improved at the PGI.

Meanwhile, a close relative of the family that was attacked yesterday alleged today that his house was also ransacked by some persons last night.

Gurdev Singh told the police that he was at Prem Singh’s house the entire day and went house in the night, only to find that the house had been ransacked.



Problems aplenty for complex residents
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chandigarh, August 8
Modern Housing Complex in Mani Majra is not so modern even though a large number of VVIPs and VIPs from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have been residing in this part of the city since long.

Narrow approach roads, blind curves, inadequate parking space, blocked storm water drains, absence of police patrolling have been dotting this densely populated area for the past several years.

Residents of the area complain that repeated representations to the authorities concerned have remained unheard. Thus putting the residents to a great hardship.

Because of inadequate parking space, a large number of residents of different societies within housing complex were forced to park their vehicles either on road berms, parks, or in front of their dwelling units. Many parks have been converted into parking lots, said Mr Rajan Khetarpal, a resident of the complex.

A few residents have even rented out space, out side their courtyards, for parking purposes.

The narrow approach and internal roads have also aggravated the problems as the area often witnesses traffic jam during officer hours. Long queues of vehicles could often be noticed in the morning and the evening. “To cross the internal roads, when residents have parked their vehicles outside their houses, is a tough task,” claimed Mr Baldev Raj, another resident.

The blind curves at different crossings in Modern Housing Complex (Duplex) have become accident-prone. The numbers of accidents have increased in the past one-year. Moreover, the blocked drains and open manholes have become death traps for the motorists and pedestrians, complained Mr K.L Aggarwal, president, Modern Housing Complex (Duplex) Residents Welfare Association, Mani Majra.

Mr Aggarwal also added that the absence of police patrolling in the area during night hours had made residents insecure. Mr Aggarwal claimed that they had given a representation to the former UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma, in July 2004 but nothing had been done in this regard as yet.



150 structures demolished
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, August 8
HUDA demolished over 150 structures that had mushroomed on the government land in Sectors 11, 14, 9, 10 and 15, here on Monday. Apart from this, four shed of house shuttering material have also been removed from Sector 25.

The concrete structures had come up on the HUDA land where the authorities have proposed to construct 28 shops.



4 held for murder of watchman
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 8
Four persons, including a woman, were arrested today in connection with the murder of a watchman in Phase III Industrial Area, here yesterday.

According to Mr Jagdish Singh, SHO of the Phase I police station, the arrested persons were Tek Chand, his wife Geeta, his brother Mohan Lal, and cousin of Geeta Yograj. They were arrested from bus stand.

Mr Jagdish Singh said the suspects had admitted that they had murdered Lalji. He said Tek Chand used to allegedly threaten the victim to vacate the factory as he claimed he owned the plot. As some property dispute in connection with the plot was going on, owners had sent Lalji to work as watchman. Tek Chand had been working there for the past several years and he did not like the presence of Lalji in the area. He was also living, along with his family, in a portion of the plot.

Lalji was allegedly murdered while he was sleeping and his body was found lying in the bushes yesterday. The police had registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC.



Man alleges mother set him afire
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 8
A 28-year-old man allegedly set himself on fire at his mother’s house in Sector 28-C this morning to reportedly implicate his mother and siblings in a false case. He sustained 8 per cent burn injuries and was discharged from the hospital.

A part-time mechanic, Jaswant Singh, a resident of Sector 33, was booked for attempt to commit suicide under Section 309, IPC, on the basis of a complaint filed by his mother Satya Devi.

The SHO of the Sector 26 police station said Jaswant Singh went to his mother’s house at around 9 a.m. and demanded some money. His mother told him that she did not have much money as she had to marry off her daughter. He then went to the pathroom and allegedly poured petrol and set himself on fire. He came out of the bathroom and started crying for help.

On seeing him engulfed in flames, his mother raised the alarm and his brother and sister poured water on him. They also informed the police about the incident.

The SHO said the police had recovered a small shampoo bottle, which he had brought along with him. There was some petrol in it.

The police rushed him to the GMCH, Sector 32, where doctors discharged him after administering first-aid.

Ms Satya Devi said she had disowned her son in 2002 due to his bad habits. Even the court had passed orders against him to visit her house.

Jaswant Singh, however, alleged that his mother along with his sister and brother poured some inflammable substance on him and set him on fire. He doused the flames by pouring water on himself. He said that his mother had bolted the front door of the house before setting him on fire. He added that he had gone there to fetch his tools.



Driver stabs employer
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 8
Following a heated argument a three-wheeler driver allegedly stabbed his employer late last night in Mauli Jagran here. In another incident son of a landlord allegedly abducted the minor daughter of his tenant.

Giving details of the incident, the sources in the police said the employer Ram Piare (35), a resident of Vikas Nagar in Mauli Jagran, alleged that Ranjit Singh, a driver of his three-wheeler, stabbed him last night. Ram Piare told the police that he was sleeping at that time when Ranjit came. They had a quarrel over some issue which turned violent following which Ranjit stabbed him in his belly with a sharp-edged weapon. He was shifted to the GMCH, Sector 32, where the doctors declared him out of danger.

The police has registered a case of causing hurt with a dangerous weapon against Ranjit Singh under Section 324, IPC.

Minor girl abducted

The local police has registered a case of abduction against Gulfar, a resident of Charan Singh Colony.

The police sources said the father of the victim told the police that his 16-year-old daughter was allegedly kidnapped by the son of his landlord on July 27. He had filed a complaint of missing the next day. Later he came to know about the involvement of Gulfar and lodged a complaint yesterday.

Vehicle stolen

Mr Parveen Kumar of Sector 45 reported to the police alleging that his Yamaha motor cycle (CH-01-D-5362) was stolen from the market place in Sector 21on Sunday. In another incident Mr Deepak Jain of Sector 11-B filed a complaint to the police that his Hero Honda motor cycle (PB-60-8194) was stolen from his residence during the intervening night of August 5.


The local police has arrested Vinod Kumar and Rakesh Kumar, both residents of Phase I, Ram Darbar, and Jasbir Singh of Phase X, Mohali, on the allegations of indulging in gambling. The police arrested them from near Phase I, Ram Darbar, and recovered Rs 170 from their possession. A case of gambling has been registered.



Chain-snatcher nabbed

Chandigarh, August 8
A chain-snatcher was caught by resident after the accused sped away on a bicycle after snatching a chain in Sector 44 here.

The incident happened this afternoon when Julie Anand was on her way back home. As she was about to reach the main gate of her house, a youth, who was on a bicycle, snatched her gold chain and sped away. She immediately raised the alarm and her husband came out. He chased the miscreant on his scooter and was able to nab him.

The accused was later identified as Maninder Singh of Phase VI, Mohali. He was later handed over to the police. A case has been registered. OC



Goods worth 6 lakh stolen
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 8
Thieves decamped with grocery worth Rs 6 lakh from a store-cum-godown in Balongi village last night. The store, Tamanna Enterprises, is on the Kharar-Mohali national highway and deals in the wholesale of grocery items.

According to the police, the owner, Mr Pankaj Bansal, came to the shop yesterday morning and left in the afternoon after closing the shop since it was Sunday. This morning, a neighbouring shopowner, Mr Iqbal Singh, called Mr Bansal and told him that the shutter of his shop had been pulled out and the shop had been ransacked.

It was found that the thieves had used a vehicle to pull out the shutter and transport the grocery. The thieves first tried to break open the locks of the shutter but when it failed, they tied the shutter handles with ropes to the vehicle and started the vehicle, pulling the shutter out, the police said.

The police did not reach the spot until several hours after the owner reported the matter to it. A single policeman came about an hour later and told the owner to report the entire incident at the police station.

As many as 175 bags of tea leaves, sugar, ghee tins, mustard oil tins and other grocery items were found missing. 



Women Army officers welcome tenure extension
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The government’s formal approval to extend the tenure of short service commission officers (SSC), including women, by four years has brought in a cheer for ladies in olive green. This has opened the door for them to move a step further up the hierarchy and wear the rank badges of a lieutenant colonel even if it will be for only a year or so.

Women officers, like their male SSC counterparts, will now have the option to serve for up to 14 years. Prior to this, their tenure was for five years, which could be extended by another five years. Moving up the ladder also means assuming greater responsibility and stepping into shoes no lady officer has worn before.

“The rank of lieutenant colonel does have its own prestige and being addressed as ‘Colonel’ would be great a boost to one’s self esteem and morale,” said a lady captain serving with the military intelligence at Chandimandir. “It is a positive sign and I believe it is moving a step towards grant of permanent commission for women officers,” she added.

The implementation of the recommendations of the A.V. Singh Committee report on cadre restructuring resulted in officers becoming eligible for promotion to the rank of lieutenant colonel on completion of 13 years service. Earlier, the eligibility was 18 years service.

Presently, women officers only get to command detachments or sub-units.

One question relating to the extension being raised is post-release employment. Considering the average age of commission to be 22-24 years, officers would be past 35 years. While it may not pose much problems for officers holding professional qualifications like engineering or law degrees, getting an alternative employment or starting a second career at that age may be difficult for others.

By extending the term of engagement to 14 years, the government had stopped short of the 15 years service period required for service personnel to be eligible for grant of pension. This is another issue for debate in defence circles.

Some are of the view that intake for short-service commission should be increased to keep the age profile young and allow undesirable elements to leave. This also reduces the pension bill, which according to estimates, is equal to or perhaps more that the Army’s salary bill. Others are of the view that the government should grant pro-rata pension without imposing conditions of minimum service. This, they feel, will make the services more attractive.



Developing IT at the cost of industry
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Chandigarh has emerged as the hottest information technology (IT) destination of South Asia, not because of the available infrastructure here, but due to the manner in which the Chandigarh Region has been projected as an IT destination. This has sent the price of real estate in and around the city to an astronomically high figure.

It is unfortunate that on the one hand the Chandigarh Administration is subsidising land prices to invite IT and ITES (IT enabled service) companies and on the other hand it has adopted double standards towards city industrialists who want to change the nature of their existing business to IT and ITES.

The Administration seems to have two sets of rules for public and private consumption. In Parliament, the Union Government has admitted that the city industry was passing through a rough time but the government would help it recover through diversification into the IT and ITES sectors.

This is contrary to what has been done on the ground. Chandigarh industrialists have been asked to pay a whopping sum of Rs 18,000 per yard as conversion charges (under the Chandigarh Conversion of Land Use of Industrial Sites into Commercial Activity / Services in Industrial Area Phase I and Phase II, Chandigarh, Scheme 2005) before they can be allowed to change the nature of use. This comes to around Rs 8 crore per acre.

At the same time, IT and ITES companies that want to establish themselves in the city are being offered the same at about Rs 1 crore per acre. Even at this rate, the Chandigarh Technology Park has become the most expensive in the country.

It is ironic that this price is peanuts when compared to prices of commercial establishments in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. In Chandigarh, a one kanal house today costs Rs 1 crore and up.

One wonders at the logic of the Administration to subsidise land prices for companies like Infosys that can easily afford to pay the price.

The land was given to it at a subsidised rate of Rs 30 lakh per acre. Similarly, the DLF had been given 12 acres at the rate of Rs 2.3 crore per acre after it deposited only 25 per cent. The balance will be paid to the Administration after the property has been sold / disposed of.

Motives are being attributed as to why the Administration is asking for Rs 8 crore as conversion charge from city industrialists.

It is alleged that officials of the Administration are under pressure from the DLF not to lower the conversion charges as this will make it impossible for them to sell developed areas in the IT Park at its proposed a rent of Rs 35 per ft per month.

The current rate in the industrial area in Chandigarh is said to be between Rs 15 Rs 18 per sq ft.

Even as there are hardly any takers for the Administration’s conversion policy for industrial plots, the industrialists are also questioning the logic of making CITCO the collecting agency for the conversion money.

It is the money to be paid to the government and the same should be deposited with a ‘head’ with the treasury”, even though the gazette notification dated July 11, 2005, says that the “funds will be used exclusively for the purpose of developing infrastructure of the industrial area”.


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