C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Poll fever grips city colleges
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, August 30
Government College for Girls, Sector 11, college campus is now bustling with election activities. The college is expected to hold elections to the campus students’ council and students have started pasting posters on the trees. Jasmine of BA III, is contesting for the president’s post as an independent candidate and Shailja of the Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) is likely to contest against her. However, the final decision of holding elections depends on the nominations of the prospective candidates.

The canvassing at Government College for Girls, Sector 42, was in full swing. The panel of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) led by its presidential candidate, Abhilasha, and the panel of the Students organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) led by its presidential candidate Rochika Chauhan, and their supporters were seen canvassing earnestly. Active participation of students was also seen at DAV College, Sector 10, Government College, Sector 11, and Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26. There was no campaigning at MCM DAV College, Sector 36, and Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26.



...PU yet to warm up

Though student unions are trying their best to catch the attention of students on the Panjab University campus, little seems to work. Apathetic to political flavours, students of the university have not warmed up to the election fervour. Though the students unions are left with a little time, the election din has still not reached the desired level on the campus. The usual show of strength and solidarity seems to be missing despite students bandying about the policies of their respective unions.

INSO car rally

The main attraction of today’s canvassing was the car rally organised by Indian National Students Organisation (INSO) on the campus. Various activists of the union got together and roamed in the whole campus, raising slogans in support of their union. Interestingly, the union managed to arrange more than 50 cars and taxi drivers.

ABVP, HAS’s panel

The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the Haryana Students Association (HSA) declared their panel for the Campus Students Council. Chahvi Bhatia, first year student of the department of Mass Communication, will contest for the post vice-president and Anup Gupta, third semester student of the Department of Law will contest for the post of Joint Secretary. After the declaration, the alliance panel under the leadership of Mr Satender Singh Dhayia, presidential candidate, went to various departments in the university for canvassing.

SOPU’s manifesto

The Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) in alliance with the National Students Union of India (NSUI) and Students Organisation of India (SOI) released its manifesto today. The manifesto has made big promises to students. The promises include providing facilities at hostels, improving quality of education, organising various cultural activities on the campus and forming a students grievance cell. It also assured the upgradation of library facilities and bringing changes in the infrastructure.

PUSU talks big

To attract the students’ attention, the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) talked about its achievements. It also released four pages of its achievements to the press making big claims. The union didn’t forget to mention how many dharnas it had staged and took credit for those things which it had never done.



Former PUCSC presidents fail to make career in politics
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Supporters of the NSUI during an election campaign at Government College for Girls, Sector 42, Chandigarh, on Tuesday.
Supporters of the NSUI during an election campaign at Government College for Girls, Sector 42, Chandigarh, on Tuesday. — Tribune photo by Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, August 30
The post of the president of the Panjab University Campus Student Council is looked upon enviously by students in the entire region, particularly from the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana. There are no elections to student bodies in both the states. In the light of the prime position that they have occupied, it is interesting to know that nearly all of the presidents of the past councils are struggling to find a decent place in the political parties they joined afterwards.

Kuljit Singh Nagra was the president of PUSU for at least six years before the elections restarted in 1997-1998. The “undisputed” leader of the university went on to join the Congress and despite “devoted party work”, he has not risen above the rank of a general secretary. “It appears strange because Nagra held a swaying command on the campus. Several political parties had approached him while he was on the campus. However, he missed the train at the right time and so is still struggling,” a PUSU office-bearer said.

Munish Anand was elected president of the first council in 1997. He was an NSUI worker and the party had joined the PUSU in a poll pact. Munish possessed a rare quality of wangling extempore speeches on problems facing students. “He lost interest in politics. It is important to point out that no one can think about a career in politics without adequate financial backing,” a close aide of Anand said. Munish migrated to New Zealand with his family. He is currently in the city for the past more than a couple of months.

Dayal Pratap Singh Randhawa was the leading force behind creating the identity of the Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) on the campus. Randhawa displayed dexterous ability in keeping his group in a united tangle during his tenure between 1998 and 2000. Students also appreciated his sincerity while listening to student grievances.

He is currently a practising lawyer and “nothing more than a Congress worker.”

Bhupinder Singh Bhuppi, a PUSU president of the council in 2000-2001, can be seen as an exception. He is a media adviser in the Haryana Congress which may not be a very senior position. His supporters believe that his commitment to party work will definitely take him to a decent position in politics.

Santokhwinder Singh Nabha, president of the council during the session of 2001-2002 as a SOPU candidate, is a practising lawyer. He was known to have Akali affiliations. However, he is totally out of news.

Malwinder Singh Kang rose from the seat of back benches in PUSU to become the council president. During his second tenure in 2003-2004, Kang showed that he had emerged a mass leader. He was approached by different political parties, and he chose to join the Akalis.

Interestingly, the Student Organisation of India(SOI) floated during the ongoing campus elections is known to be backed by Akali leaders. It is learnt that Kang was informed very late. This has upset him. He is canvassing for PUSU, his parent organisation.



Two suicides in city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 30
Angered by a quarrel with her younger sister over a money issue, a 19-year-old-married woman allegedly set herself on fire at her parents’ residence in the PGI this afternoon, here.

She was admitted to the hospital in a serious condition with 100 per cent burn injuries.

In another incident, a 20-year-old youth allegedly hanged himself to death at his Indira Colony residence this afternoon. However, the reason behind the extreme step is not known, said the police.

Geeta had a quarrel with her sister this afternoon over a monetary issue. The incident took place around 3 p.m. when Geeta reportedly demanded money from her mother to buy a hair clip, to which her younger sister Sangeeta objected and asked her mother to give her the money to buy a guess-paper. At this, Geeta and Sangeeta entered into a verbal dual and angered over the behaviour of her sister, Geeta went to the kitchen, poured oil and set herself on fire. Hearing her screams, her mother and sister rushed to her help and saw her engulfed in flames.

They shifted her to the PGI Emergency, where her condition is stated to be serious and doctors say that she suffered 100 per cent burn injuries.

Geeta had come to meet her parents on rakhi and was staying with them. Her father Ram Sanjeevan is a gardener in the PGI.

Giving details of the incident of suicide in Indira Colony, the police said Deepak, a 10+2 student was found hanging from a ceiling fan hook by his brother this evening. No suicide note was found on the body.

The family told the police that Deepak was alone at home as his mother and brother had gone to meet his sister at her house in Modern Housing Complex in Mani Majra around 3 p.m.

His father, Lachman Singh, an ex-serviceman, had also gone for some work.

Deepak reportedly bolted the room from inside and hanged himself with his mother’s dupatta from a ceiling fan hook. He was only wearing knickers at that time.

The suicide came to light when the mother-son duo came back and found the door bolted. When their repeated calls went unanswered, his brother peeped through a ventilator to found Deepak hanging. He then broke open the door and called the police. The police took the body into its custody and later sent it to the General Hospital for a post-mortem.

The family told the police that Deepak was behaving normally and they did not suspect that he could commit suicide. Deepak was feeling low as some boys had beaten him in the locality about a month ago and he took the incident to his heart.



Rs 66-crore wet-dredging project to desilt Sukhna
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
De-silting of Sukhna Lake, a long-pending project having varied opinions of experts, will be finally carried out using the wet-dredging method suggested by the National Ship Design and Research Centre, (NSDRC). This will cost Rs 66 crore and take fours year to complete. The money will be provided in the Chandigarh Budget.

The NSDRC had given three options to the Chandigarh Administration for de-silting Sukhna Lake. The three options, detailed in a project report, varied in the cost to be spent and time it would take to carry out the work. The first option would cost about Rs 85 crore at the rate of Rs 213 per cubic meter of silt if the work was to be done in two years. The second option given, of Rs 65 crore in fours year at the rate of Rs 145 per cubic meter of silt, seems to have been selected. The third option was to do the work in six years which would cost Rs 41 crore at the rate of Rs 95 per cubic meter.

The plan is to de-silt Sukhna Lake and dig deeper to increase its depth. As per the plan of the NSDRC it will float a small floating platform on the surface of the lake with a crane mounted on top to take out the silt. This platform is placed on pontoons - a floating deck.

The crane will be specially designed to lift silt out of water and deposit it on trucks to be carted away. To take the silt out the crane will have a system by which it will drain the excess water before depositing the silt onto trucks. The platform on which the crane will be mounted will be on pontoons. The platform can be moved anywhere in the lake depending on the requirement. The trucks will travel into the area where the crane is operating on a specially erected path on pontoons and this technique is used by the Indian Army also for erecting temporary bridges.

At present the top level of the lake is 1160 elevation feet. At places the depth of water is no more than six feet. The work, in three to four years, will take the depth uniformly to 1143 elevation feet, this having about 18 feet of water.

The Chief Engineer, Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, confirmed the development saying, “we are going ahead with their proposal. The main thing here is that we have engaged consultants who are experts in their fields and are very highly reputed for this kind of work. They have examined all possibilities before suggesting this method.” However, this is just the start. Tenders will be floated soon.

Ironically, in 2001, 70 acres of forestland along with 25 acres of private land was sought to be acquired by the Administration for the dumping of silt removed through a different method of wet-dredging.

The Union Environment Ministry did not give permission for forestland to be used for silt deposition and so the project stalled.

On the other hand, not a single meeting of the sub-committee of independent environmentalists and experts comprising of Gen (Retd) Baljit Singh, naturalist and conservationist, Dr G.S. Dhillon, consulting engineer for water resources development projects and formerly Chief Engineer, Research and Director, Irrigation and Power, Amritsar, and Dr S.P. Malhotra, former Engineer-in-Chief, Irrigation Department, Haryana, amongst other members of the Administration, has been held since its inception, in April this year.

The sub committee was to coordinate the execution of work with NSDRC on behalf of the Chandigarh Administration and to also give suggestions for proper implementation of the scheme.

According to Dr. G.S. Dhillon, “as a member of the de-silting committee no meeting was held and we have not been told of the recommendations. So it will be better for members to not get involved in the project after it has been approved. Any advice taken will only delay the matter.”



UT will not go Bangalore way, says Rodrigues
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, August 30
The Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator, Lieut-Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), today wooed the infrastructure technology sector to Chandigarh, promising an integrated development instead of merely creating IT parks.

Asserting that Chandigarh would not go the Bangalore way after the advent of IT during an interaction with top Infosys officials on the Infosys campus, the UT Administrator said an integrated approach was already being followed in the creation of infrastructure for IT needs. He said to make the 123-acre IT park established in Chandigarh an integrated whole, the Administrator had earmarked another adjoining 215 acres for IT services and other facilities like housing, community infrastructure and commercial requirements. “If 20,000 IT professionals migrate to Chandigarh, we will make arrangements for catering to one lakh people,” he said.

Unfolding his vision for Chandigarh, Lieut-Gen Rodrigues said the UT wanted to attract research and software development work which would enable the city become a true knowledge city. He said he wanted the IT sector to take into account the needs of the common man, adding that such an experiment if successful could be replicated in other parts of the country.

The UT Administrator said the IT industry would benefit by investing in Chandigarh as the IT park there had been declared a Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Besides this, he said, IT companies would be assured of a rich talent pool and the employees of a good quality of life.

Earlier, Infosys Chief Finance Officer Mohan Das Pai while giving a presentation to the UT Administrator and his team, including IT Director Vivek Atray, said concrete plans should be made to ensure that the Bangalore experience whereby infrastructure development had failed to match the growth in the IT sector, was not repeated. He said the problems being faced by Bangalore were there to be seen and adequate arrangements should be made to tackle them in advance.

Mr Atray said an investment of Rs 200 crore each had already been made by Infosys and DLF in the IT park in Chandigarh. He said Microsoft and America Online had also evinced an interest in investing in the park and more IT companies in Bangalore and other parts of India and abroad were being invited to invest in the facility.

The Governor visited the Infosys campus along with his wife Jean. He appreciated the world class facilities established by Infosys on its campus which include development centres, a high tech library, an amphitheatre, a state-of-the-art conference hall, studio, gymnasiums, food courts and green spaces.

Lieut-Gen Rodrigues is scheduled to visit the Infosys campus in Mysore tomorrow.



Scribe case: rape victim awaits justice
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 30
Even as the infamous Nayagaon rape case took political colours today, with political parties giving their opinion on the way investigations were being carried out in the case, the story of the 12-year-old girl who was allegedly gangraped for over one year and still awaits justice seems to be pushed in the shadows.

The girl, a student of class VIII, daughter of a Punjab police driver residing in Khuda Ali Sher, was allegedly raped by a group of men when she was barely 12 years old. For the next two years, the girl was repeatedly “used” by these men who also “offered” her to their friends.

The hapless girl complained to the police only when she got pregnant and delivered a child in the PGI on March 5, 2003. She gave the names of the persons who had been raping her to the PGI police, following which a case was registered in Nayagaon against Ramkesh, alias Kesha of Nadah village, Gurdhian Singh and Kesar Singh, both brother of Karoran village, Rinku, resident of Nayagaon, and Tari, resident of Karoran village, on March 7, 2003, under Sections 376 and 34 of the IPC.

Despite the heinousness of the crime, no arrest was made in the case till 2005 when the first arrest in the case was done by the Special Investigation Team (SIT). While Rinku, Tari, alias Avtar Singh and Kesar were arrested on July 20, Ramkesh and Gurdhian Singh absconded.

In a petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court in October 2003, the victim’s father Balkar Singh alleged that after the victim was discharged from the PGI on March 5, 2003, she, her younger brother and mother were abducted by the accused from Nayagaon and taken to Mani Majra where one girl Jyoti Sharma was residing. According to the petition, the next day Balkar Singh was also kidnapped by Gurbachan Singh, a resident of Karoran village and others, including Ramkesh, his two brothers Mohinder Singh and Sajan Singh.

The entire family, according to the petition, was kept in Mani Majra for about a month in connivance with the then SHO of Nayagaon Amarpreet Singh. Gurbachan Singh who was leader of this group was armed with .315 bore and .12 bore (small barrel gun) and would keep a constant vigil on the family. According to the petition, both Gurdhian Singh and Gurbachan Singh have a long criminal record and over a dozen cases ranging from murder, dacoity and land grabbing are pending against the two, including the murder of Pala Singh Nihang, a former sarpanch of Khuda Ali Sher.

The petitioner further stated that the group along with the SHO managed to brow-beat the family into giving a false statement before the judicial magistrate. In this statement, which the family claims was given under duress, the girl stated that she did not know the accused and was in fact a major and the real accused was Monu of Panjab University.

However, even as the Nayagaon police starting preparations for quashing the FIR against the accused following the girl’s statement, Balkar Singh filed a host of petitions demanding re-investigation in the case and police protection and another for the registration of a case against the accused persons for kidnapping the petitioners and keeping them in illegal detention and making them forcibly sign statements. The family, under immense pressure, reportedly changed its statements again till finally on the intervention of a Double Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, investigation of the case was handed over to the Special Investigation Team headed by the IG Special Operations, Mr Sumedh Singh Saini.

The Division Bench of Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Mr Justice Baldev Singh had on May 31, 2005, passed a strong order directing that the investigations in the case be completed within three months.

The court directed the Punjab police “to go into the matter expeditiously so as to restore the faith of the common man in the system and the capability of the investigating agency to bring to book the culprits, if guilty, and take action against any person who is using the process of law to gain unfair advantage till the cloud which as gathered over the present episode is clear.”

Till now, the SIT booked and arrested Jyoti Sharma and Babu Lal on charges of helping the alleged rapists. The then SHO Nayagaon, Amarpreet Singh, has been arrested by the SIT for not just in action but also on charges of being party to kidnapping the victim and her family.



Rape victim’s father seeks impartial probe
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 30
The father of the Naya Gaon girl, whose alleged rape by some influential persons is currently being investigated by a special investigative team (SIT) of the Punjab Police, today moved an application in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In his application, Mr Balkar Singh has sought directions to ensure that the SIT is allowed complete freedom in completing the probe into the case.

Alleging that the accused managed to get one of the investigating officers, Inspector Harbans Singh, SHO, Police Station, Kharar, suspended at a crucial juncture, the applicant has stated that challan in the matter is to be presented shortly as the statutory period for presentation of challan will soon end.

The applicant has also alleged that many attempts have been made to stop the investigations from reaching a logical conclusion.

He has also prayed that all FIRs in the case must be investigated by the SIT and not by some other agency.

After hearing counsel for the applicant, the Bench headed by Mr Justice Amar Dutt issued notice to the Punjab Government.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Government is likely to move an application in the High Court tomorrow, seeking permission to start a probe into the circumstances leading to the arrest of a journalist of a national newspaper by the SIT.

The inquiry would be held by the Principal Secretary, Home, Punjab, Mr A.K. Dubey.

The application would bring to the court’s notice the allegation of police high-handedness while carrying out arrest of the journalist.

It may be recalled that a team of the Ropar police, including personnel in civil dress, had allegedly picked up the journalist from his house without following the guideline pertaining to arrest of accused.



Punjab cops draw flak in scribe case
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 30
Various organisations have condemned the high-handedness of the Punjab police in arresting Gautam Dheer, from his Panchkula residence on August 27.

A meeting of various Resident Welfare Associations was held under the chairmanship of Wg Cdr H.L. Ratta (retd) this evening. The representatives of these organisations condemned the Punjab police for being “vindictive’ and arresting Gautam in an unbecoming manner.

If a senior reporter can be picked up and falsely implicated in by the police, imagine what they can do to a common man, the residents deliberated. “He was arrested without being told of the charges against him. He was manhandled by cops, bundled into a van and whisked away to an undisclosed destination. Had it not been for the strong protest by the media fraternity, the police would have continued to detain him,” said Mr Ratta.

The Citizens Welfare Association, too, has copndemned the Punjab police action. Mr S.K. Nayar, president of the Association, alleged that the Punjab police had not followed any rules and regulations to arrest Gautam.

“This is not the first time that the Punjab police has swooped down in a different district and arrested a person. A few months ago, a posse of Punjab police had descended at Old Panchkula and rounded up about 50 persons. The local police was not taken into confidence,” he said.

Mr Nayar demanded that the Punjab Government should take stern action against the errant cops.



Sister to seek Vajpayee’s help for Sarabjit’s release
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Ms Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh, who has been sentenced to death in Pakistan, will request the former Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to use his influence to get her brother released from Pakistan.

“I would be leaving for Delhi tomorrow to meet Mr Vajpayee,who is held in high esteem by the Pakistan authorities and also has good rapport with the Pakistan President, Mr Pervez Musharraf”, she said.

Accompanied by Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, Ms Dalbir Kaur, who had joined the BJP after quitting the Congress, said not only her brother but all other Indians detained in Pakistan jails should be released. There were many Indians, who had completed their jail term, yet they continue to languish in jails in Pakistan.

Asked as to why she had quit the Congress, Ms Dalbir Kaur said she remained active in the Congress for about 15 years but no Congress leader extended support to get her brother released.

“Even, I met the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, a few months ago and gave him all the relevant documents but nothing positive happened”, she said.

“There was enough evidence to prove her brother was Sarabjit Singh and not Manjit Singh as has been made out by the Pakistan authorities”, she said. However, Sarabjit Singh was never given adequate opportunity by Pakistan courts to prove his identity.

“As the things were progressing at the moment, I am hopeful that Sarabjit Singh would be released”, she added. “My brother was not involved in any wrong doing and not a member of any destructive organisation”, she asserted. The President of the Congress, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, should also use her good offices to help Sarabjit Singh, she said.

She said it would be nice if India and Pakistan set up a joint commission to identify Indians detained in Pakistan jails and Pakistanis detained in Indian jails. Those who were innocent and not involved in subversive activities should be released by both countries.

Mr Khanna said the Union Government had admitted in Parliament that there were 6730 Indians detained in various countries. As many as 79 of them had already been identified in Pakistan jails, he added. Efforts should be made to take the cases of all these persons and efforts made to get them released, he added.

Mr Khanna claimed that because of his efforts, a large number of Indians had been released from Pakistan. He appreciated the efforts made by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the Foreign Minister, Mr K. Natwar Singh, to arrange consular access. In fact, today Indian diplomats met Sarabjit Singh in Pakistan. Asked about Ms Dalbir Kaur’s joining the BJP, Mr Khanna said she became the party member about two weeks ago. The BJP was not playing any sort of politics in Sarabjit Singh’s case and had requested all politicians to rise above politics to extend support to him, said Mr Khanna. 



Passing Thru

Ritu Dhawan
Ritu Dhawan, Assistant Vice-President, Corporate Communications
-PR VLCC Healthcare Ltd

What is your role in VLCC?

I am involved with brand-building. We ensure that the right message is communicated to the industry and to our end users on what we represent and who we are. The beauty and well-being business is an upcoming and dynamic one, answering the needs of individuals because everyone has the power within themselves to look and feel good.

Is it possible to lose weight without exercising?

Yes, it is known as passive weight loss and is accompanied by a fitness module which is administering the right diet which we finetune to suit the individual’s needs and lifestyle. We are strictly against starvation, supplements and fad diets and do not give food packets at all. Our mantra is it is better not to lose weight than to lose it unscientifically.

What has made VLCC so successful?

We are a 360 degrees health, fitness and beauty solution. Of our 3000 employees across India, one-third are doctors, physicians, psychologists, physiotherapists and health specialists. If you keep good health, then you have a good mind and good approach to life.

— Gayatri Rajwade



Land identified for setting up cattle pound
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 30
The stray animal population in the township has become a cause of concern for residents. Even as the Municipal Council (MC) remains mired in political controversy because of factionalism among councillors, the civic body is unable to tackle basic issues, including the menace caused by stray animals.

Stray cattle, dogs and pigs roam about freely in the township. They not only spoil the ambience of the township, but also lead to accidents. Incidents of stray dogs and pigs attacking residents are getting quite common — even as the authorities decide to look the other way.

Though the MC has given a contract for the rounding of stray cattle, there is no programme to control the stray dogs and pigs menace. It has been two months since the contract for the rounding of stray cattle was awarded by the MC, but it has failed to show the desired results. The MC authorities say the cattle pound at Old Panchkula is small in size, so they cannot catch many cattle.

MC President Tarun Bhandari says they have now decided to acquire land for setting up another cattle pound. “We have identified some land at Bhairon ki Sair village. The village panchayat has offered us some shaamlat land for setting up the cattle pound. We will now request the district administration to allow us to use this land for the cattle pound. While the old cattle pound will be used for cattle whose owners let them off for grazing, the new pound will be used for keeping abandoned animals,” he said.

However, the MC has not taken any decision to control the menace of other stray animals. Residents rue that even as the council has embarked upon the scheme of registration of pet dogs, no scheme to control the hundreds of stray dogs and their menace has been finalised.

Residents complain that they are being forced to pay a fee of Rs 500 per pet dog, when the MC itself is not doing anything to control the stray dog menace.

Mr Bhandari, however, assures them that a proposal to sterilise stray dogs and shifting of piggeries from slum colonies and villages in the township will be taken up by the MC House soon.



Death Hole
5 sewers uncovered in Sector 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
More than five rain water sewers are lying uncovered in Sector 1 on the road adjoining the Chandigarh Club. Interestingly, these sewers are right opposite the official residences of the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana.

The road witnesses heavy traffic throughout the day. The traffic flow also continues during the night as a heavy rush of party workers from Punjab and Haryana make a beeline to meet their Chief Ministers.

A security man at the residence of the Haryana Chief Minister said,” Residents of the city might be well conversed with the terrain of the sector roads and are careful while driving through this route. These pose a big problem for the visitors from the adjoining sates, particularly during the night. Last week, a Scorpio car was stuck in a open sewer down the lane when the driver was trying to overtake another car”.



Punjab education board employees continue protest
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 30
Members of the Punjab School Education Board (Non-teaching) Employees Association continued their protest on the second day here today in support of their demands.

Employees organised a dharna and raised slogans against the government and authorities of the education board. The general secretary of the association, Mr Bhagwant Singh Bedi, said the protest was organised as the government did not want the board to remain an autonomous body.

Mr Karnail Singh Kaler, former president of the association, said the board did not get any grant from the government. A major part of the revenue was earned by the board by printing textbooks. If the government took over the working of printing, the board would be hit financially. It would not even be able to pay the salaries of the employees out of the funds collected from students by way of fees.

Union leaders said the protest would go on till the demand of the employees were conceded to.



Selection process faulty: TBRL candidates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Candidates appearing for the post of laboratory attendants in the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL), here, have alleged discrepancies in the selection procedure.

In a signed statement forwarded to the TBRL authorities, a large number of candidates have pointed out that they were asked to appear for physical tests, including a 1600-metre run. The candidates included girls.

They said that neither the advertisement for the posts nor the call letter for interview made any mention of physical tests. The letter only mentioned a written test and interview.

Speaking to The Tribune here today, the candidates said on reporting for the interview, they were told that the posts they had applied for would require them to do all sorts of menial work and physical labour. Though the eligibility for the post was matric pass, many candidates were graduates and post-graduates.

The Director of TBRL, Dr V.S. Sethi, was not available for comments as his office staff said that he was out of town. Others spoken to expressed their inability to comment on the issue.



Property conversion policy opposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
A number of industrial associations of the city have decided to unitedly oppose the property use conversion policy of the Chandigarh Administration. The administration has fixed a rate of Rs 18,000 per square yard for allowing the change in property use from industrial to commercial.

Mr M.P.S. Chawla, president of the Chandigarh Industrial Association, Mr H.S.Mamik, Industries Association of Chandigarh, and Mr Inderjeet Setia of the Chamber of Chandigarh Industries, in a joint press note, have said they are “convinced of the fact that no commercial activity is viable if the charges are not limited to Rs 3,000 per square yard”. They said small scale industrialists would definitely not benefit from the policy.

It has been pointed out that not a single industrialist has applied for conversion to CITCO, the nodal agency for the scheme.



CPUJ for freedom of press in Nepal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
On a call given by the Indian Journalists Union, the Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ) today observed the day as the ‘global day of action’ for press freedom in Nepal.

Condemning the imposition of press censorship and suspension of constitutional right to the freedom of expression in Nepal by King Gyandendra, members of the union handed over a memorandum to the Punjab Governor. The Governor was urged to forward the memorandum to the Napalese Embassy.

Expressing its solidarity with struggling Nepalese journalists, the union demanded that the king should reinstate the constitutional rights to freedom of press, speech and expression that existed before the declaration of a state of emergency in Nepal.

Mr Vinod Kohli, president of the CPUJ, who led the delegation, said the Indian Government should exert pressure on the king to restore the fundamental rights of the people.

Mr Charanjit Ahuja, general secretary of the union, said forcible shut down of newspapers had not only robbed the journalists of their rights but also of their livelihood. 



Rise in price of flats upsets members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Members of the Nirvana Cooperative House Building First Society Limited, Sector 49, are up in arms against the “unjustified” enhancement in the cost of construction by the management committee.

In a signed statement issued here today, the members alleged that there had been an “unprecedented” increase in the cost of construction during the past one year, upsetting the budgets of the members.

For instance, the cost of construction for a Category “B” flat was pegged at Rs 6.85 lakh in 2004. However, a letter dated August 20, 2005, of the society informed the members that the cost had been revised to Rs 9.49 lakh. Similarly, the cost of construction for a Category “A” flat had been hiked from Rs 9 lakh to Rs 12.5 lakh.

The letter has asked the members to make the final payment till September 30 to be eligible for the possession of the flats.

The members alleged that no balance sheet had been circulated among the members since the start of the construction. They also sought the status of the pending work of the society.

Meanwhile, in a representation to the UT Administrator, the members alleged that attempts were being made to declare certain members as defaulters to prevent them from contesting the elections of the management committee. They urged the Administrator to intervene so that elections were held in a free and fair manner.



Senior citizens resent truck parking site
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Members of the Senior Citizens Welfare Association, Manimajra, has complained that the new parking site for trucks near Durga Nursary in Manimajra has become a source of nuisance for the residents of the area.

The municipal corporation while earmarking the space for parking did not bother to keep in the mind the residents living in the area. The parking of trucks laden with apples in the area has led to in sanitary conditions as the truck use the open spaces for defecating.



Professor awarded Rs 5 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
A cash award of Rs 5 lakh was presented by the Punjab Government to Prof Kulwant Singh, a resident of Mohali whose son, Major Mandeep Singh, was awarded the Sena Medal for gallantry last year.

The cheque was handed over to him by Ms Raghbir Kaur Khaira, a PCS officer posted in the office of the Deputy Commissioner Ropar.

Major Mandeep Singh of 16 Garhwal Rifles had taken part in operations against ULFA militants on the Indo-Bhutan border in December, 2003. He, along with his men, had laid an ambush to trap militants escaping into India from the crackdown by the Bhutan Army, and had killed three of them.



Complex to be garbage-bin free

Chandigarh, August 30
The Mayor, Ms Anu Chatrath, yesterday launched the Sehaj Safai Kendra (SSK) scheme in the Modern Housing Complex to make the area “garbage-bin free.”

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Chatrath assured the residents that developmental works in the area would be taken up on a priority basis. Mr Balraj Singh, area councillor, was the guest of honour.

Earlier, Mr Amrit Dhingra, president of the Senior Citizens Welfare Association, assured full cooperation to Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) in the implementation of the SSK scheme. — TNS



Karamcharis stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 30
A dharna was organised by members of the Punjab State Karamchari Dal, in association with other employees organisations, outside the office of the Executive Engineer, Water Supply and Sanitation, in Phase II here today.

The protesters raised slogans and condemned the move of the government to go in far privatisation. They demanded that daily wage workers who had worked continuously for 89 days should be made permanent, service benefits be provided to all employees as was being done in the case of doctors, engineers and others. They said the Fifth Pay Commission should be set up at the earliest.

The dharna was lifted only when the official concerned assured of looking into the genuine demands.



Saini demands CBI probe into benami land deals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
Mr Sumedh Singh Saini, Inspector-General of Police, Economic Offences, today demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into all “benami” land transactions in the periphery of Chandigarh involving bureaucrats and those holding high positions in the government.

In a two-page letter addressed to the Director-General of Police, Mr Saini said the CBI was well equipped to conduct a comprehensive probe covering the entire periphery of Chandigarh. “Such a probe on a time-bound basis would be desirable in both the state and the public interest and would scotch all speculation and quell all controversies in this regard,” said Mr Saini.

In the periphery of Chandigarh, wrote Mr Saini, several IAS and IPS officers besides those holding high positions in the government have acquired “benami” land and indulged in illegal colonisation and construction.

During the interrogation of the organised criminals who have been arrested in the infamous rape case of a minor girl of Naya Gaon, Mr Saini said, several details of such transactions were revealed. Mr Saini is heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) holding the probe in the rape case.

“The SIT was proposing to take legal action on these revelations but in the meanwhile those arrested levelled allegations against me. In particular, a relative of Kesar Singh, who is a prime accused - now arrested - in the rape case and subsequent abduction and repeated coercion of the victim and her family, has levelled the allegation that I hold benami land in village Naya Gaon. As such it would be appropriate if an agency other than the SIT conducts a comprehensive and time-bound probe into the benami land holdings. The SIT would pass over all the information it has gathered,” wrote Mr Saini.

Mr Saini further said normally he would not have reacted to allegations made against him by organised criminals as these were their usual tactics. “But still I would like to state that I have no ‘benami’ land in Naya Gaon or any other place. I may mention that Kesar Singh is named in the FIR of the case and in a detailed petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court by the victim and her parents, it is difficult to understand how a wholly imaginary dispute over a wholly imaginary land holding can now be raised by accused named in the FIR more than two years prior to now. The comprehensive inquiry may also prove these allegations against me. The agency may be given a charter to probe into any financial irregularity, whatsoever, by me in the last 22 years that I have been in service,” he said maintaining that he would resign in case there was any prima facie substantiation of any “benami’ land, or financial irregularity saying that he would not ask for any evidence which would convince a court of law.

Prima facie substantiation with facts which would convince a common man would be suffice, he added.



IAF inviting bids for command & control system
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 30
The Indian Air Force is inviting global bids for establishing a state-of-the-art command and control system. A tender in this regard, valued at about Rs 450 crore, is expected to be issued by Air Headquarters next month.

The command and control system, which will revolutionise communication and decision making process within the IAF, will incorporate the C4SI (Command Control, Co-ordination, Communication, Surveillance and Intelligence) aspects, which have become the hallmark of present-day military operations.

According to Information made available by Defence Industry Daily today, the IAF system will be based upon NATO’s existing command and control network. It will also be a test of recent defence-related agreements signed by India with the United States and Israel as firms from these countries are expected to bid for the contract.

The IAF’s global tender also comes at a time when a bid made by a Chinese software and telecommunication firm for a highly classified defence communication network in India had set alarm bells ringing in South Block. This had also set off a debate in military circles about the consequences of outsourcing sensitive military projects.

The firm awarded the IAF contract will also be responsible for integrating the IAF’s current command and control, air defence, surveillance, early warning, electronic warfare, mission management and air space management systems with the new network.

Of concern to the IAF is also the security of its landline communication network. A recent Defence Ministry report termed it to be vulnerable to interception and encryption systems are being introduced to make it secure for voice and data communication.

The IAF is also introducing a host of new electronic warfare and signal intelligence equipment besides increasing the use of space-based applications for communications.



Youth held for stealing bike
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 30
A youth was reportedly caught red-handed while stealing a motor cycle, and in a separate case one person was arrested for stealing 15 kg of brass from the Industrial Area. A shop of electrical goods was burgled, said the local police here today.

Sources in the police said Gopal Singh, a resident of Baltana village, was arrested on the charge of stealing. The accused was caught red-handed by Dalip Kamat of Rampur district in Himachal Pradesh while stealing his motor cycle from near deep Palace Hotel in Mani Majra on Monday. In another incident a resident of Colony Number 4, Ram Adhar, was caught red-handed while stealing 15 kg of brass from a plot in Phase I, Industrial Area, yesterday. The police arrested the accused on the basis of a complaint made by Mr Sudesh Kumar Saini of Sector 4 in Panchkula. Two separate cases have been registered in the various police stations in the city.

Shop burgled

Mr Subash Chander of Gobind Vihar in Kansal village lodged a complaint with the police alleging that a video camera, a computer along with a UPS, speakers and a CD player were stolen from his cabin in SCO 1044-45 in Sector 22. He told the police that the thieves gained entry after breaking the locks during the night of August 28. A case of theft has been registered.


A resident of Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, Ms Jyoti lodged a complaint with the police alleging that her husband Rahul Anand, a resident of Sundar Nagar in Amritsar district, was harassing and maltreating her to bring more dowry. A case under Section 406 and 498-A of the Indian Penal Code has been registered in the Mani Majra police station.

Scooter stolen

Ms Beena Rani, Executive Engineer, Horticulture, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, filed a complaint to the police alleging that her Scooty (CH-01-X-3227) was stolen from outside the Municipal Corporation Building in Sector 17 on Monday. A case of theft has been registered.

Mobile phone stolen

Mr Ronak Singh of Sector 56 filed a complaint with the police alleging that his two mobile phones were stolen from his residence during the night of August 28. A case of theft has been registered.



Son of CRPF man hangs himself to death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 30
A 22-year-old son of a Sub Inspector of the CRPF, posted at the CRPF Group Centre, Pinjore, committed suicide by hanging himself in the wee hours today. The victim, Ashok Kumar, was under depression after he failed in an examination for the job of Audit Inspector.

The police says that Ashok Kumar, had done his postgraduation in science. He had appeared for the entrance examination, the result of which was declared yesterday.

He was depressed and after having his dinner, he went to his room. It was only around 2.30 a.m. that the victim’s brother, Govind Charan, found him hanging from the ceiling fan in his room. He had used a saree to hang himself.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings. The body of the victim was handed over to the family after the post-mortem examination.

One dead

A 24-year-old youth riding pillon on a motor cycle was crushed to death after a truck hit the mobike at Kalka on Tuesday. Ravinder Kumar was riding pillion with Sandeep Kumar on his mobike (HR-49 A- 3078) when a truck (HR-37-6027) hit the vehicle crushing Ravinder under its wheels.


A 50-year-old resident of Old Panchkula was seriously injured when a stray pig attacked her on Tuesday morning. The woman, Poorni Devi, received injuries on her hands, arms and legs. She was rushed to General Hospital, Sector 6, and was discharged after medical aid.



Car stolen from market
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 30
An Esteem car was stolen from Phase VII market here today.

The owner of the car, Mr Pritpal Singh, who is a resident of Phase X and was running a shop in Phase VII, had parked his vehicle in the morning. But when he came out in the evening he found his car missing.

This is the second incident of car theft during this month in the area. Earlier, a Maruti 800, belonging to Mrs Satwinder Kaur, an employee of the Municipal Council, was stolen from the same area. She had parked the vehicle in the morning but found it missing after office hours.


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