C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


1-room tenements for slum-dwellers
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
The Chandigarh Administration has drawn up an ambitious plan to provide one-room tenements to all slum-dwellers in the city, existing as on date. The tenements will be given on a rental basis.

The Administration has told the Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, that as per surveys carried out in the past, over 23,000 dwelling units will be required to rehabilitate all slum-dwellers, who are occupying prime land in 18 slum clusters in and around the city. The tentative cost of 60 acres of land under colony No. 5 alone is worth over Rs 175 crore, the Administration believes.

The information was tabled in writing by the Administration during yesterday's meeting of the Home Minister's Advisory Committee held in Delhi. To a query about rehabilitation of the slum-dwellers, the Administration enlisted various rehabilitation projects that were under progress.

Earlier, under the Licensing of Tenements and Services in Chandigarh Scheme, 1979, sites and services and low-cost tenements had been provided on ownership basis to slum-dwellers. The cut off date for eligibility for allotment under the scheme was December 8, 1996. The slums which existed as on December 8, 1996, were only eligible under the scheme.

Since the Administration proposes to rehabilitate all slum-dwellers existing as on date, it has been mentioned in the report that at present 23,483 slums families, living in 18 slum clusters, will be given one-room tenements on a rental basis. The plan is to rehabilitate all slum-dwellers and to use the vacated land for the purpose as earmarked in the land use plan.

Under this scheme, construction of 608 one-room tenements is at an advanced stage of completion. Construction of 2,272 one-room tenements is likely to begin in December.

For additional 20,000 dwelling units, land has been identified and the status is as under. Another 135 acres in Maloya have been earmarked for the scheme and the Administration intends to house 7,200 slum families there. The process of acquisition of land has already commenced. A fresh survey of Colony No. 4, No.5, Nehru Colony and some other settlements has been undertaken to ascertain the exact number of inhabitants.

As part of the rehabilitation programme, 2,912 one-room flats are coming up in Sectors 38 and 49.Under the project, the Chandigarh Housing Board has earmarked 14.81 acres in Sector 38 which will house 1,216 flats. The area earmarked for 1,696 flats in Sector 49 is 22.06 acres.

In the earlier stages, the CHB had constructed one-storeyed one-room flats in the Dhanas, Mauli Jagran, Ram Durbar and Indira Colony areas. Residents added more floors without seeking permission and indulged in certain other building bylaw violations.

Sources said following a survey during the tenure of a former Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, it was suggested that the one-room tenements be given out on a rental basis instead of handing out possessions. The suggestion had come following a discovery by the CHB that a large number of tenements in these areas had been sold out by the original allottee for small profits.



Theatre to make way for mall
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
The Jagat Theatre complex in Sector 17 is in a shambles. The walls and interiors have been demolished to spruce up the venue for a shopping mall and multiplex. The multiplex in the heart of the city will take lead over at least three more theatre complexes in race for a shopping mall in the prime area.

Currently, the only existing shopping mall and multiplex in the city is Fun Republic at Mani Majra. Mr Daulat Ram, a technical staff member at Jagat Theatre since 1964, said, “The times have changed and so have the requirements. The owners have taken a decision which we have to follow. Several staff members and I had an emotional bond with the theatre. We have spent our entire professional life here.”

The mall is strategically located as Sector 17 is the main shopping centre in the city. It is one of the most extensive modern shopping centres in the country. The area spread horizontally will require special attention for developing parking at the venue because currently the parking area available at the venue is not sufficient for a mall.

More than 20 shops on the ground floor were closed down a few months ago and workers are busy carving the shopping area according to a new design.

A spokesperson for the Delhi-based developers of the shopping mall said, “The state-of-the-art complex is designed to have a central leisure area with beautifully landscaped plaza.

The basement, ground and first floors will house retail activities while the second and third floors will have three theatres and a food court.”

The spokesperson said “This building is a perfect mix of nourishing food, vibrant entertainment and complete shopping experience for shoppers. The building is equipped with two capsule elevators exquisitely designed facade and clear glass and an escalator. Centrally air-conditioned and 100 per cent power backup make the whole complex international class. This complex is surely going to be one of the most happening commercial hubs of the city.”



Senior citizen walks to death in contest
Tribune News Service

Janak Raj Arora being examined at the General Hospital in Sector 16, Chandigarh
Janak Raj Arora being examined at the General Hospital in Sector 16, Chandigarh, on Tuesday.
— Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, September 27
A 72-year-old city resident walked his way to death at Sukhna Lake this morning during a “brisk walk” competition organised by Chandigarh Police and the Chandigarh Senior Citizens’ Association. He was rushed to the Sector 16 General Hospital where doctors declared him brought dead. Another walker was rushed to hospital after he fainted.

Giving details of the incident, eyewitnesses said Janak Raj Arora of Shanti Nagar in Mani Majra was enthusiastic about winning the race when he came to participate in the “Senior Citizens Brisk Walk” competition at around 6 am.

In the category of 70-75 years, he had to run 2.5 km, but fainted midway. Cops immediately gave him first-aid and later shifted him to the General Hospital at around 7.30 am. He was declared brought dead by doctors.

Police sources said the death could have occurred due to cardiac arrest. The family of the deceased refused to get the post-mortem examination conducted and the police later handed over the body to it.

A retired Superintendent of the Punjab Civil Secretariat, Janak Raj Arora, was living with his 25-year-old son Hanish Arora. His wife had died 14 years ago. Hanish, too, was bed-ridden after suffering from a spinal injury.

His other son works with a Delhi-based company. He had two married daughters.

Earlier in the day, the response to the “brisk walk” was tremendous with over 600 senior citizens coming in to take part in what is unarguably the most popular event in the yearly senior citizens’ calendar. Participants came from as far away as Ropar and Patiala, adding to the zest and spirit of the walk.

A jamboree with a festive air, the senior citizens sauntered around, greeting friends, catching up on news and enjoying the ambience created by the pleasant, slightly nippy weather.

Inspector-General of the Chandigarh Police Satish Chandra flagged off the walk at around 7 am.

A spokesman for the Chandigarh Police said nine events were organised for men and women. Later, the IGP presided over the prize distribution function. The president of the Senior Citizens Association, Mr P.K. Vaishnav, a former Chief Secretary of Punjab, and other senior officers, including the UT SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, were present on the occasion.

An informal interaction session was also held with senior citizens, in which issues pertaining to the security and care of senior citizens were brought to the notice of senior police officers.

Speaking on the occasion, the IGP emphasised the need for sensitising people to the concerns of senior citizens and finding quick solutions to their problems. He also welcomed the suggestions given by the senior citizens.

The results in order of merit are:

  • 60 to 65 years (men): K.C. Bagga, Kamlesh Kumar and J.C. Rana.
  • 65 to 70 years (men): Maghi Ram, P.L. Vadhera and Harcharan Singh.
  • 70 to 75 years (men): Lt-Col Amarjit Singh, Bachan Singh, J.S. Grewal.
  • 75 years and above age (men): Col Ajit Singh, Flt-Lt. J.S. Oberoi, R.S. Bajwa.
  • 60 to 65 years (women): Santosh Chawla, Kailash Rana and Santosh Kohli.
  • 65 to 70 years (women): Nirmal Bhatia, Amarjit Kaur, Surjit Kaur.
  • 70 years and above (women): Baljit Dhillon, Vimla Devi and Chand.
  • Veterans (Individuals who had earlier participated in state-level and above)
  • Men: Madan Lal Chitkara, Daljit Kumar and G.S. Virdi.
  • Women: Balbir Kaur Sekhon and Chanchal Saggar.



Spat between ’84 riot victims’ panels
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 27
Internal squabbles between various organisations representing the 1984 anti- Sikh riot victims, marred the process of filling forms by the victims at Phase XI gurdwara here today.

While the call for filling forms at the gurdwara had been given by the Danga Pirat Welfare Society being supported by the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), members of the Danga Pirat Katle-aam Society, being supported by the Congress, raised objections to the form-filling process pointing out that such forms had already been filled.

Atmosphere in the gurdwara remained tense throughout the day with members of both the groups breaking into heated arguments more than once. The Akali group was led by Ms Kashmir Kaur and the Congress group was led by Ms Inderjit Kaur.

The Kashmir Kaur group had announced this morning at the gurdwara that the SAD (Badal) would be collecting these forms and sending them to the Centre for the rehabilitation scheme to be announced by the Centre.

However by the afternoon members of the Congress group led by Ms Inderjit Kaur came to the gurdwara and started telling those gathered there that the forms had already been filled and there was no need for wasting their efforts.

Ms Inderjit Kaur told mediapersons later that their society led by its president Harjinder Singh had already got over 500 forms filled from the victims and these would be sent to the Central team, set up for the rehabilitation process.

On the other hand Ms Kashmir Kaur told mediapersons that the forms that were being filled today were the “original” forms that would be sent to the Centre. “What the other group had used as forms are just the photostat copies of a single form. These have also not been submitted,” she said, adding that she would be meeting the Central team in Mohali on September 29.

“I have been put on duty by the SDM to accompany the team while they take a round of the Phase 11 riot victims’ colony,” she said, adding that the process of filling forms would continue tomorrow. More than 450 persons filled these forms at the gurdwara today.

Mr Surjit Singh, president of the Danga Pirat Welfare Society told mediapersons that the form-filling drive would be carried out in Ludhiana on September 28, 29 and 30, in Patiala on October 1 and 2, in Jalandhar on October 3 and 4, and in Amritsar on October 5 and 6.



NCC cadet ‘molested’ by Army officer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
A girl cadet attending an NCC camp here has alleged molestation by a senior Army officer within the camp precincts this morning.

The matter was reported to higher authorities and a court of inquiry (CoI) has been ordered by the Directorate General NCC, New Delhi, to ascertain the facts.

The CoI will assemble tomorrow, an official spokesperson for Headquarters, Western Command, said. The officer against whom the allegations have been made is posted in an NCC unit in Chandigarh. He has been removed from his present position and has been attached to another unit in Ambala for the CoI.

The camp was being held on the premises of the Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Sector 28.

NCC officers said the facts were still sketchy and things would be clear only after the CoI submits its findings and recommendations.

The girl is studying in the Government College for Girls, Sector 11. She left the camp thereafter and forwarded her complaint to NCC authorities as well as the UT Administrator.

Parents of a number of cadets attending the camp as well as students gathered on the ITI campus after learning about the incident and demanded action against the culprit.



Captain’s mortal remains to be sent to Pune
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
The mortal remains of Capt M.M. Bokil, who died in a bridge collapse over the Sutlej in Kinnaur district earlier this month, were received at the Command Hospital here today and are being sent to his home town, Pune, with full military honours.

Wreaths were laid on the flag-draped coffin by the Chief Engineer, Western Command, Major-Gen Arun Bedi, Station Commander Chandimandir, Brig P.R. Sharma, Commander 474 Engineer Brigade, Brig G.D. Chaddha, besides a large number of officers representing various units located at Chandimandir.

A ceremonial guard reversed arms as a mark of respect to the officer who had laid down his life in the line of duty, while buglers sounded the last post followed by the Rouse.

The 28-year-officer is survived by his father, Mr Hemant Kumar Bokil and two sisters. He passed out from the Indian Military Academy in December, 2000, and was commissioned into 18 Engineers when the unit was located in Kupwara.

Captain Bokil was the second-in-command of the company reconstructing the bailey bridge at Kharo. The bridge collapsed on September 8, killing 34 sappers. His body, recovered near Powari on September 26, will be sent by road to Delhi from where it will be airlifted to Pune.



Rodrigues mourns death of Das, cops

Chandigarh, September 27
Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), Governor of Punjab and the UT Administrator, has condoled the sad and untimely demise of Mr P.M. Das, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Punjab, in a snow storm in Sikkim on Sunday.

In a press release here today, describing Mr Das as an outstanding and upright police officer, General Rodrigues said that he had served in different capacities in the Punjab Police and brought glory to whatever office he was in, during his long career.

The state police had lost a distinguished officer and a good human being. The Governor conveyed his sympathies to the members of the bereaved family. General Rodrigues also expressed sorrow over the demise of Sub-Inspector Inder Kumar and Head Constable, Nari Dhami, in this tragedy, who were part of the Punjab Police Adventure Club. TNS



Passing Thru

Jeff Wilson
Jeff Wilson, First Secretary, Press and Communications, British High Commission

What brings you to the city?

I am here for the launch of a tri-city Education UK initiative for Punjab being organised by the British Council. This initiative comprises informative road shows, a study UK exhibition and a series of seminars.

How do you like the city and what kind of an education initiative is being taken for the city?

This is my first visit to the city. It is a very planned and beautiful city. It is green and comes as a change from other crowded and polluted cities. Education UK is a nationwide initiative and Chandigarh is the first City to be followed by Ludhiana and Jalandhar. We are keen to take in students from the state and the city.

Many Punjabis have made a mark for themselves in the UK. We will be organising seminars and also road shows, where officials will interact with students and inform them about the various courses available.

What are your future plans in education for the city?

For the future we have no immediate plans. We are hopeful that many students will take this opportunity and clarify their doubts and have their queries addressed for studying in the UK. We have a British Library here from where further information can be gained.

— Amrita Dhaliwal



Array of activities mark World Tourism Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
The Department of Tourism and the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) organised various events and activities to highlight the importance of tourism and its recognised human, social, economic and cultural values on the World Tourism Day today.

The celebrations began with Indian Classical recital, Surnandan (a musical welcome), performed by Subhash Chandra Ghosh, a city-based exponent of Indian classical music.

He performed the recital with his self-designed musical instrument “Sarsvani” at Sukhna Lake promenade during early morning hours enthralling morning walkers.

CITCO along with students of the Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) welcomed tourists and visitors with flowers at the Chandigarh railway station and at the airport. Literature was also distributed among them.

A special discount on food and beverages was extended at CITCO-run eateries.

A picnic tour was organised for senior citizens. Two coaches from Old Age Home, Sector 15, were sent to the Nepli forest and one coach containing senior citizens from Sector 27 was sent to the Kansal forest.

Complimentary sightseeing tours on the hop-on-hop-off tourist coach were organised for tourists and children.

There was an enthusiastic response to a tourism quiz contest organised at the Food Craft Institute.

The Institute of Hotel Management organised a flower arrangement competition and a demonstration on bakery and cookery.

Shristi Sharma from the IHM won the fresh flower arrangement contest. Priyanka Jindal from Home Science College and Ridhi Bajaj from Dev Samaj College finished second and third, respectively.

Shikha Gupta from the IHM, Aarohi Tyagi from Home Science and Priyanka Jindal came first, second and third, respectively, in the dry flower arrangement contest.

The team of Faraaz Tanveer and Safrina Ali from the Institute of Hotel Management, New Delhi, won the quiz contest organised at the FCI.

The team of Vikas Kumar and Simrat Madaan from the IHM and Mohit Gopal and Jatinder Malik from Hotel Mountview came second and third, respectively.

Raman, Deepal Chauhan and Randeep were the winners of the salad competition at the FCI.



Blueprint on cinematic tourism presented
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, September 27
The Centre for Media and Entertainment Studies (CMES) celebrated the World Tourism Day here today by presenting a strategic blueprint on cinematic tourism to the Chandigarh Administration and authorities of the northern states.

The blueprint, which was released by UT Director Tourism Vivek Atray, reminded the states of the need to tap the vast potential of media and entertainment industry by giving a boost to their economies.

The blueprint suggested the Chandigarh Administration to have single window system for catering to the needs of prospective television and film producers who were keen on shooting serials and films in the city and the northern states.

Besides, it was suggested to have information on all potential locations in and around the city on the Chandigarh Tourism website.

Director (Panchayats) Amar Nath also released a blueprint for the adoption of Khudda Lahora village for its overall socio-economic development.

Meanwhile, Surjit Paatar, Rawail Singh, Nachattar Gill, Mangal Dhillon, Pammi Bai, N.K. Sathi were honoured for their contribution to art and entertainment industry. Sarpanch of Khudda Lahora Kamlesh was also honoured.



Cultural events organised
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, September 27
The Department of Tourism, Chandigarh Administration, organised various cultural events to mark the celebration of the World Tourism Day. A short play ‘Chandigarh ki Sair’ followed by a ‘Sham-e-Ghazal’ at the Sukhna lake and folk dances by Russian and Indian dancers at the Plaza remained the major cultural activities, besides many more programmes of fun and frolic.

The Delhi-based cultural NGO, Kala Varnam, in association with the Department of Tourism, presented a trio of accomplished dancers from Russia. Suzanne, Jandie and Ella took the centrestage performing the Isttiya cap dance amidst lofty applause from the crowd after Sonu Makkar and Asha Bhagat gave a grandiose start to the programme with a Rajasthani folk dance ‘Aao padharo mahre des’. They performed Haryanvi and Gujarati dances also while the Russians gave a scintillating spell of folk and jazz numbers. Their synchronisation with the Indian dancers, especially for the Punjabi song, ‘Kala chashma’ was applauded.

Noted ghazal maestro Shamim Iqbal from Malerkotla mesmerised music aficionados with ghazals at the lake. Be it the romanticism of Ham tere shehar mein aaye hain musafir ki tarah’ ‘Dil mein lehar si’ of the Sufiana qalam of Bulle Shah or Sahir Hoshiarpur’s Punjabi folk song, ‘Dhai din naa’, he graced the presentations with the expertise of an ustad. On public demand, the versatile Shamim doled out more ghazals immortalised by the invincible Ghulam Ali and Mehdi Hasan.

Earlier, the play, ‘Chandigarh ki Sair’, was presented by the Theatre Arts Group which aimed at projecting the beauty of the city was more of informative content than aesthetic excellence.



Heritage train may miss date with Durga Puja
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 27
The chartered super luxury train meant to run on the Kalka- Shimla and Shimla- Katleeghat heritage rail section, is likely to miss its date with tourists, during the Durga Pooja holiday rush that begins next week.

Though the Railways had announced the rates for chartering the train almost two months ago, the rates have not yet been notified. Railway officials say that they have been getting inquiries for booking the chartered train in the coming holiday season. But they are unable to make reservations because charges have not been notified.

The Railway officials had announced that the special chartered train on this heritage hill rail section, between Kalka to Shimla could be hired for Rs 34,580 (one way journey) and Rs 73,988 ( two-way journey) on a diesel engine. The charges for chartered train using a steam engine, between Shimla and Katleeghat was announced at Rs 27,848 (one way) and Rs 58,808 (Shimla- Katleeghat- Shimla). The chartered service for coaches run on steam engine have been introduced from Shimla to Katleeghat and back- because the picturesque journey is much preferred by tourists, and also because steam engines are slow and cannot run long distances.

Two super luxury coaches, manufactured by the Kalka Railway workshop here in December, 2004, are to be used for the chartered service. Designed on the lines of Railways’ flagship tourist train “Palace on Wheels”, these are the first super luxury coaches to run on the narrow gauge rail section. Besides the two coaches, a guard’s coach will be attached to the engine whenever the train undertakes a journey.

The coaches, interconnected through vestibules, have had successful trial runs between Kalka and Shimla and back, but their commercial utilisation will begin only after the rates are notified.

Decorated in rich white and gold hues, the coaches, have a seating capacity of 22 (12 in one coach and 10 in the other). The seating arrangement is such that single seater cushioned sofas face each other and a glass top brass table is designed between the two chairs. Ornate electric fittings in glass (lamp shades, reading lights and side lamps), electric fans and drapes add grace to the coaches. A separate provision for storing snacks and a bar has been included in the coaches, and brass trolleys have been placed to carry the eatables and drinks for the passengers. The Railways is looking at corporate houses and tourists from abroad for availing the service.



PMO, che(que)ck this out!
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 27
A local businessman sent a cheque for tsunami victims to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund in December last year. The cheque was returned to him after the last date for encashing it expired. Interestingly, he has now been issued a DO letter from the Prime Minister’s Office thanking him for “his generous contribution”, and a receipt for the contribution (which he never made).

Mr Randhir Malik, a businessman and resident of Sector 15 here, expresses his disillusionment, saying, “If this is the efficiency of the highest office in the country, where can one complain of the discrepancies in other government offices”.

Mr Malik was in Bangalore when the tsunami waves rocked South Asia and resulted in death and devastation on December 26, 2004. “I visited Kanyakumari and other coastal areas, and was distressed at the devastation caused by the killer waves.

I wanted to contribute, in whatever manner possible for the relief work. So, when I arrived back in Panchkula, I immediately sent a cheque for Rs 11,000 on December 31, 2004,” he says.

A cheque is valid for six months from the date of issue, and can be debited within this period. However, the cheque sent by Mr Malik was not put for encashing within this time frame, and was returned to him for the reason that it was “out of date”, with a request that he send a fresh cheque of the same amount.

“But within a month of the cheque being returned to me, the Director, PMO, issued me a DO letter (82 (23784)/2004-PMF/ 223261/841816), acknowledging my contribution and saying “...the Prime Minister appreciates the thoughtful gesture and conveys gratitude.” A receipt was also sent, even though no amount had been debited from my bank account, he said.



No-trust motion served by MC councillors
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 27
Thirteen councillors, including two BJP councillors, today submitted a notice to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Brijendra Singh, for a no-confidence motion against the MC president.

The notice has been signed by 15 councillors — Ms Renuka Rai Walia, Mr V.K. Sood, Mr C.B. Goel, Mr V.K. Kapoor, Mr Dalbir Singh, Ms Jalmegha Dahiya, Mr R.K. Kakkar, Mr Naresh Rawal, Mr Mohinder Singh, Ms Manveer Gill, Ms Amoljeet Kaur, Mr Om Prakash, Mr Pawan Mittal, Ms Jagdamba Gupta and Ms Kastoori Devi. Other than Ms Jagdamba Gupta and Ms Kastoori Devi, all other councillors were present when the notice was given.

The Deputy Commissioner is likely to appoint an HCS officer as the Administrator, who will convene a meeting of the MC House, where the MC president, Mr Tarun Bhandari, will face a no-confidence vote.

With the notice having been submitted, there is a renewed frenzy in the political scene. Ten councillors of the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) in the Municipal Council are again set to play a major role, as Mr Bhandari faces a no-confidence motion.

There are 18 councillors affiliated to the Congress, 10 to the INLD and three to the BJP. With the three BJP councillors having already decided on voting against Mr Bhandari, the scales in favour of or against the MC president, will depend on who the INLD councillors support and whether they remain united.



Admn to enforce no-work-no-pay rule for striking staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
Keeping in view a call of strike on September 29 by the UT Powermen Union, the Chandigarh Administration has decided to implement the principle of “no work no pay”, which will be strictly enforced. The employees have been advised to attend duty. The defaulting employees will be liable to disciplinary action.

An official press release here today said that the necessary arrangements for maintaining continuous power supply had been made and the consumers had been requested to cooperate with the Administration, as there were chances of failure of power supply due to “some untoward incident, which cannot be ruled out”.

The public had been requested to contact complaint centres in their area and control room for electricity complaints. They have also been requested to keep a vigil on electricity lines and if they found anyone indulging in sabotaging power supply lines they should inform the Police Control Room or contact the Control Room, Sector 17 at 2703242, 2773533 and Control Room, Sector 9 at 2742370 and 2743940.



Rescued girl refuses to go home
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
Ten days after she made it to the safe environs of Sector 19 Catholic Church in Chandigarh, life is beginning to change for 14-year-old Phulmati from Jharkhand.

But that does not take away from her tender mind memories of the past that drove her way from home in the first place. She is still overwhelmed with grief - the kind that stems from loss of dignity and she still hates to go back to her poverty-stricken past lest it forces her into unsafe hands yet again.

Reflective though, the girl has managed to gather the courage to recall what happened with her and her “five friends” who were allegedly trafficked from Jharkhand by a man named Dawood Topo.

He brought them on the promise of a lucrative future. Surprising, however, is the fact that despite Phulmati’s claims that there were more girls with her the day she ran away from the clutches of the accused, Haryana police sees little merit in the case.

So much so that 10 days after Phulmati was rescued by sister Namrata of Domestic Servants Movement, no enquiries have been conducted into the case nor has any arrest been made. The person in charge of investigation at the Sector 16 police post in Panchkula told The Tribune today that the girl’s language was incomprehensible and that she was the only one involved.

Later during the day when this Tribune correspondent met Phulmati at the Church, she told in clear terms the names of her other friends involved and “missing”. In an easily understandable language she said, “Dawood Topo brought us all from Jharkhand in a train saying that he will give us jobs in Chandigarh.

I was accompanied by Sukhmati, Rajni, Sangeeta, Laxmaniya and Pushgati. He took us somewhere and “molested” two girls. He had a knife in his hand and he asked two girls to unclothe. He also asked me to drink alcohol but I refused. Sensing danger I somehow managed to escape.” Phulmati said that she did not want to go back to her village as her parents were very poor.

It is strange, however, that the police has not recorded Phulmati’s statement, nor have they tried to locate the five girls she is repeatedly mentioning. Said voluntary workers monitoring Phulmati’s case, “If they don’t understand what she says, they can rope in interpreters and get going with the case. Who knows there is a massive trafficking racket waiting to be busted here?”

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Law Network which has been given the charge of Phulmati’s case has built networks in Ranchi to find out the whereabouts of the girl. Back in Ranchi Ram Mishra, who runs an NGO to fight trafficking of innocent girls, has been contacted to find how many girls are missing from the area in question.

He told The Tribune on phone today, “Dumri village to which Phulmati belongs has a dubious distinction in this regard. Several teenage girls are trafficked from this village on the pretext of jobs and are given away as domestic maids who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation by their employers.”



Fauji Beat
Army no more a holy cow

During the Raj, the Army was treated as a holy cow and the media covered it only when its work was to be lauded. We continued with the same system until about the early 90s. It was then that the Army started becoming more open to the media. At that stage, neither was the media trained to cover the Army well, nor did the Army know how to interact with it. After the start of training for the media at War College, Mhow, and for Army officers at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, things began to improve.

This is not to say that no mistake are made by the media or the Army today but what the Army essentially needs to learn is to accept constructive criticism from the media. For, if it accepted that no human is infallible, then let us also accept with good grace that the social get-together on the 58th Raising Day of the Western Command should not have been held. We all know that such functions have always been called off in the wake of tragedies. No rules or regulations support social get-togathers on such occasions.

Chandimandir polyclinic

The Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) polyclinic at Chandimandir, located in the Command Hospital is type C. It get about 70 patients on an average every day and has a medical staff of one medical officer and a dentist.

It is too much to expect from one medical officer to examine a large number of patients daily, prescribe medicines to them and refer patients to the Command Hospital or to an empanelled hospital. Similarly, it is difficult for a dentist to function without a hygienist. There is justification for this polyclinic to be upgraded to type B, so that it gets more staff to function efficiently.

The present accommodation of this polyclinic is also insufficient.

Defence officers to train youth

The biggest problem that the country is confronted with today is unemployment. We have about 45 million youths in India without jobs. It is heartening to know that the Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends (ITFT), or NGO located in Chandigarh, has accepted the challenge to tackle the problem of unemployment. To begin with, the project was started from Punjab after its inauguration by Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh on September 20. He assured Dr (Maj) Gulshan Sharma (retd), Executive Director, ITFT, that all help would be provided by his government.

The pioneer of the project will be 5,000 retired defence officers who will be trained to become human resource trainers/developers of the youths passing out from colleges, universities and the institutions. These youths will be equipped with employment skills so that they get absorbed in various sectors of the service industry.

The first batch of 70 defence officers is already undergoing training at Chandigarh.

An Egyptian trophy

This Egypt Bombay Native Infantry trophy is of 113 Infantry Centre, which is now the Grenadiers Regimental Centre. The trophy is in the Officers’ Mess of the regimental centre at Jabalpur. There are only such trophies. The other one is at a museum in Cario.

— Pritam Bhullar



MLA’s ‘kin’ challaned

Panchkula, September 27
A man claiming to be a close relative of Rana Gurmit Sodhi, MLA from Guru Har Sahai in Punjab, was challaned by the traffic wing of the Panchkula police this evening.

The man, Harvinder Singh, had parked his black Tata Safari near the DC office. The police found the vehicle had black film and a red light on top without any permission.

When inspector Davinder Singh questioned Harvinder for valid documents, he drew a blank. Harvinder said he was a relative of Rana Sodhi. The police, however, challaned him. — TNS



Labourer ends life
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 27
A 22-year-old labourer allegedly hanged himself to death from a tree near his residence at Faidan village, near here, late last night. Domestic problem is being cited as the reason behind the extreme step. In another incident, a Kishangarh village resident tried to kill himself this morning by jumping into Sukhna Lake. He was saved by a cop on duty.

Giving details of the suicide, the police said Sunil Kumar, wearing an undergarment, was found hanging from a tree this morning. The body was shifted to the Sector 16 General Hospital after the police was informed about the incident.

According to officials of the Sector 31 police station, Sunil was working as a helper in a Sector 22 shop. He came home last night at around 11 p.m. and went to bed after taking dinner.

The officials said Sunil, in all probability, waited for others to go off to sleep before taking the extreme step. They added that preliminary examination of the body suggested that he had hanged himself at around midnight.

Ruling out the possibility of foul play, the officials said there were no injury marks on the body. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this regard.

On the attempt-to-suicide incident, sources at the Sukhna Lake police post said 25-year-old Laxman of Kishangarh village jumped into the lake at around 10.15 a.m. today. Constable Anand Kumar, who was patrolling nearby saw him jumping into the lake. He jumped after Laxman and pulled him out of the murky waters.

The police officer investigating the case said Laxman was given first-aid and shifted to the Sector 16 General Hospital, where doctors said he was out of danger. Domestic problems were stated to be the reason behind the suicide bid, he said. The police has registered a case of attempt to suicide against Laxman under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code.

Omna, wife of Laxman, told the police that her husband left home at around 9.30 a.m. for work. He works in a Sector 17-based tailor shop. She said they had quarrelled at home this morning over a financial issue as they had taken a loan of Rs 20,000 for the treatment of their five-year-old daughter.

She said their landlord had threatened to throw them out of their rented accommodation and her husband was depressed over this issue.



CFSL employee found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
The body of a Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) employee was found in Sector 25 Janta Colony, while two residents sustained serious injuries in different road mishaps here today. Also two scooters, besides gold ornaments and Rs 37,000 in cash were stolen in separate incidents during the past 24 hours.

The body of Krishan Kumar, who worked as a sweeper with the CFSL before being placed under suspension, was found here this morning. Sources in the local police said he had arrived in Sector 25 along with his wife last evening.

Quoting his wife, the sources said she left the jhuggi alone late at night for their other accommodation in Sector 37 as Kumar was in an inebriated state. Before leaving she offered him a cold drink.

The sources said Kumar’s body was found in the jhuggi this morning by some colony dwellers.

A senior officer of the Chandigarh Police said there was no evidence to suggest foul play, but they were awaiting the post-mortem examination report.

He added that inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure had been initiated.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Chandigarh Police said Mehak Kennedy of Sector 46 was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, after a bus rammed into the scooter she was riding near Sector 45-46 traffic lights. The driver of the bus was taken into custody and later bailed out.

In another incident, Ajit Kaur of Badheri village was admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16, after being hit by an Indica car. The mishap occurred while she was walking on the road separating Sectors 40 and 41.

Cases of endangerment to human life due to rash and negligent driving and other offences have been registered in both incidents by the police.

Elsewhere, Ms Kiran Sood of Ludhiana claimed that her bag containing Rs 37,000 and gold ornaments was stolen from her car parked in front of a shop-cum-office in Sector 9. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

In his complaint, Gursatjit Singh of the Tribune Colony in Baltana claimed that his scooter (CH-03-L-4070) was stolen from a school in Sector 18, while Kishore Kumar of Sector 29 claimed that his motor cycle (CH-03-M-8041) was stolen from the Industrial Area, Phase I. Cases of theft have been registered by the police under Section 379 of the IPC.



Wife sees foul play in cop’s fatal fall
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, September 27
The wife of Constable Manmohan Singh, alias Mohni, who died under mysterious circumstances after falling from the top floor of the Police Headquarters earlier this month, today claimed that her husband had received two phone calls from members of the CIA staff minutes before his death on September 3. Paramjit Kaur’s assertion assumes significance as she has all alone being claiming that members if the CIA staff were behind her husband’s death.

Paramjit Kaur met the UT SSP yesterday and lodged her second complaint alleging the involvement of certain colleagues of Mohni who were behind him after the CIA staff busted a gang of liquor smugglers in Panchkula on August 24. She said Manmohan Singh received a call from the CIA staff at around 9 pm on August 23 for conducting a raid at 3 am.

In the earlier compliant to the police, she had alleged that her husband, deployed with the CIA staff, was being harassed by certain colleagues after huge quantities of liquor were seized in Panchkula. It was on the basis of information provided by Mohni that the police cracked the case, claimed Paramjit Kaur. She added that some members of the CIA staff wanted to favour the accused in the liquor seizure case, though her husband was against it.

Paramjit Kaur said her husband had warned her against getting anything from a stranger, as certain members of the CIA staff could hatch a conspiracy to implicate him in a false case of drugs.

The DSP (Central), Mr P.K. Dhawan, said as Manmohan was deployed with the CIA, there was nothing unusual about his receiving the calls from the staff.



JCO jumps to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
A 53-year-old JCO, Sub-Major Dhanwant Singh, reportedly committed suicide by jumping from the second floor of the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, today. He was suffering from diabetes, hypertension and gall bladder stones, and had been admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital earlier this month.

Dhanwant had asked to be taken to the toilet at about 12.20 pm. He asked for a change of clothes as the ones he was wearing were soiled. While the person assisting him went to get the clothes, he climbed out of the window of the toilet and jumped from the second floor.

Posted with Headquarters 19 Infantry Brigade, he was currently on leave. He belongs to Rajpura near Patiala. The local police has been informed about the incident. A military inquiry has also been instituted into the incident.



Girl commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 27
Janki, 21-year-old girl, allegedly committed suicide after consuming some poisonous substance at the residence of her maternal uncle in Sector 29 here today.

Police sources said Janki, a resident of Mauli Jagran, had come to the residence of her uncle from where she was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 32, around 4.30 p.m. following complaints of uneasiness.


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