C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Two village boys drown in muddy pool
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 28
Two teenage boys lost their lives when they fell into a pool at Bakarpur village, near here, yesterday. The two — Amandeep Singh (14) and Avtar Singh (16) — were neighbours and were playing in the evening when the incident took place.

Inconsolable families of the two children who drowned in a pool at Bakarpur village, near Mohali, on Tuesday. Inconsolable families of the two children who drowned in a pool at Bakarpur village, near Mohali, on Tuesday.
Inconsolable families of the two children who drowned in a pool at Bakarpur village, near Mohali, on Tuesday. — Tribune photos by Vinay Malik

According to villagers, a group of children were playing football on an empty piece of land on the village outskirts when the ball fell in a nearby pool. “Amandeep went near the pool to take the ball out but slipped and fell in the water. He shouted for help and Avtar too jumped in to save him, but he also drowned,” said Mr Gurnaib Singh, a resident of the village.

Bittu, Avtar’s younger brother, who witnessed the incident raised the alarm and ran to the village to call the elderly. However, by the time the villagers reached the spot, the two boys had been consumed by the muddy water.

“Since none of us knew how to swim, some labourers working in Avtar’s house were called in. They jumped into the pool and tried to look for the boys. It took over two hours for them to take their bodies out,” said Gurmeet Singh, another resident. As the news of the incident spread, a pall of gloom descended on the village. Almost the entire village reached the spot and followed the inconsolable parents as they carried the bodies to their houses. The two children were cremated in the village this morning.

Some villagers alleged that the owner of the land where a crater had been dug was responsible for the accident. The crater, which had been dug to sell the earth, was later filled by rainwater.

“According to the Land Act, a landowner cannot dig beyond 2.5 feet. Here the pool is as deep as 17 feet,” said Gurnaib Singh.

He said the villagers had forced the owner to stop the digging about a month ago. “There is a plain ground near the pool which is used by children to play and now a religious body has opened a centre there. Women of the village go there for evening congregation. The place is frequented by many throughout the day and we demand that the pool be filled immediately,” he said.

The villagers added that they had informed the SDM, Mohali, about the cause of the accident. “We had to take his permission to cremate the children since the police had taken away the bodies for post-mortem examination,” said Amar Chand, another resident of the village. The villagers said the two children were good friends and studied in the same school. While, Avtar was a Class IX student, Amandeep studied in Class VII.

“Their fathers are government servants. One works with the Public Works Department, while the other is in the Irrigation Department," said a village resident.



Employees’ bodies on strike today; no plying of CTU buses from 5 am to 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Residents of the city need to be prepared for uncomfortable times tomorrow because of a call for a one-day strike by different employees’ organisations.

The Administration says it is well geared up to meet any situation, while the employees’ organisations maintain in case they boycotted work, the residents will naturally suffer.

Keeping in view the strike call by different employees’ unions tomorrow, the Administration has decided to implement the principle of “No work, no pay”. The defaulting employees will be liable for disciplinary action, it has said.

The nationwide strike call given by the Central trade unions and employees’ federations has been supported by the coordination committee of government and MC employees and workers.

The convener of the committee, Mr Rakesh Kumar, said employees of the transport, health, electrical, water supply, horticulture, mechanical, road and health departments and the Estate Office would observe a strike and participate in a rally at Matka Chowk.

The employees are demanding regularisation of daily workers, restoration of Central services conditions, treating transferred employees of MC on deputation and implementation of the pension scheme for the CHB employees.

The strike has been supported by the CTU Workers Joint Action Committee. The union said no bus of the CTU would be allowed to run between 5 am and 1 pm. If the Administration tried to suppress the agitation, it would be extended to full day, the union warned.

The strike call has been also supported by the Federation of UT Employees and Workers, the Defence Employees Union, the Electrical Workmen Union, the Chandigarh Housing Board Employees Union, the Northern Zone Insurance Employees Association, the General Insurance Employees Union, the Indian National Bank Employees Federation and the Indian National Bank Officers Organisation.



City gears up for the change
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Chandigarh is gearing up to allow changes in the building bylaws and new additions to the general layout to meet the requirements of the changed times, which have been accentuated by the burgeoning population in the city particularly over the past decade.

The Chandigarh Administration during a meeting of the Advisory Committee with the Home Minister recently has said that planning on account of the changed times was being studied in a “perspective plan”. The planning will be forwarded to the “quarters concerned for approval”.

The administration has said that initiatives for amendments had been taken over the past several years pertaining to the building bylaws and related issues for development of the city.

The argument for change was relevant in the context that the city was originally planned for a population of around six lakh, which has crossed 11 lakh.

With the coming in of the Information Technology sector in the city and also in the neighbouring towns of Mohali and Panchkula, the city is going to be burdened with more population influx, which will cast challenging questions to the available infrastructure and the habitable area.

A number of original residents of the city have expressed their concern at the burgeoning population graphs and the changing face of the city. The number of cars is more than six lakh in the city alone, which is causing bottlenecks on the roads.

A senior official of the UT Administration said: “We are very concerned about the growth plans of the city. Certain problems are cropping up because of the increased population but there is no turning back. We have to work out alternative sources. I feel alternative modes of mass transport like the monorail, which could be a solution to traffic bottlenecks.”

The agenda for the committee meeting said: “Except for initial planning, Chandigarh seems to have been developed on ad hoc basis without perspective despite formulation of a Chandigarh Urban Complex Plan long back. While there has been rigidity to amend bylaws according to changing needs of time, there has also been indifference regarding enforcement of building bylaws. As a result, alterations and additions have been carried out over the years on a large scale in over 90 per cent of the flats and houses, particularly in Phase II of the city.”

A senior official said on recommendations of an advisory council recently, the administration had allowed greater flexibility in construction material. An increase in height of second floor on the SCOs had been allowed. Plots of “kanal” and more could have two gates and height of nine feet had been allowed for additional covered area in the rear courtyard of “marla” houses.

The city also planned to demolish more than 500 single-storey houses to make way for four-storey flats in the prime Sectors of the city.

This category of houses pertained to Class III and IV employees and were located in Sectors 11, 23 and 27, besides certain others. The city had more than 3,000 houses in the category and a large number were worn out. These were utilising huge open spaces, which could be utilised to construct more houses.



‘Ganguly, Chappell feud will affect team’s performance’
G. S. Paul/Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Ajay Sharma
Ajay Sharma, former 
Test player

Kuldip Bishnoi
Kuldip Bishnoi, president, Bishnoi Cricket Club

Sushil Kapoor
Sushil Kapoor, Manager, PCA, Mohali
D.V. Duggal
D.V. Duggal, cricket analyst

Anil Sharma
Anil Sharma, PCA umpire

Chandigarh, September 28
It's an uneasy truce the BCCI has worked out between the warring Indian cricket team captain, Sourav Ganguly, and coach Greg Chappell. The controversial e-mail just blew the lid off the undercurrents of tension between them. The Tribune team spoke to cricketers on the likely impact of this truce on the game on the field.

"There is definitely no doubt about the credibility of both Ganguly and Chappell, but no sportsperson of such stature is without an ego. The friction between the two will definitely affect the team's performance because both matters most in building a strong team. Whatever Chappell has alleged must have some grounds. Chappell is looking forward to 2007 World Cup and is emphasising more on fitness, stamina and efficiency. On the other end, Ganguly's glorious past as captain could not be forgotten. Though Ganguly is a big name but it is the performance that matters. And he is passing through a lean patch. He must put up good cricket to justify himself to remain in the team." — Ajay Sharma, former Test player.

"If there was any feud between Ganguly and Chappell, it should not have come out of the dressing room. It is not the first time that such a conflict occurred, but it never came out so openly and the public only had perception about it. Because of the friction between the two it would be a hard time for both of them to make a good rapport with each other, which is very vital for the team. The selectors should also go by the performance of the players not by the name and if Ganguly's attitude is affecting the performance of the team he should be asked to quit because no player is bigger than the game. We have good names in our squad but not good performers. This is the plight of our team." — Kuldeep Bishnoi, president of the Bishnoi Cricket Club.

"Indian cricket is passing through the worst phase in cricket administration both off and on field. Greg Chappell wants to dominate but Sourav Ganguly is not the person to be cowed down. The patch up between the two is just an uneasy calm which would definitely affect the performance of the team in future. Moreover, there is clear divide between senior cricketers and young Turks led by Ganguly, which is again a bad omen for Indian cricket." — Sushil Kapoor, former cricketer and Manager, PCA teams.

"There is no smoke without fire. So there must have been some truth in the statements issued by Greg Chappell. I do agree that Ganguly is neither physically nor mentally fit. Chappell was very particular about the physical fitness of the players during his captaincy days and used to say "Catches win matches, drop catches lose matches". If Ganguly missed the practice session, the irritation of Chappell is just obvious. For the betterment of the team, both should forget the past and start a new innings." — D Duggal, cricket analyst and statistician.

"The BCCI should have solved the issue immediately after the news of rift between Ganguly and Chappell came out. The board should initiate the appropriate action against Ganguly for issuing the controversial statements. The patch up between Ganguly and Chappell is just a farce and the friction between the two will have long term negative effects on the team. In my views, Chappell was making good efforts in right direction as his aim was to prepare the team for the forthcoming World Cup 2007." — Anil Sharma, PCA umpire.



Abortion prompts girl to end life
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 28
Blaming herself for taking the life of her “unborn child” and fearing social stigma, a 19-year-old unmarried girl allegedly hanged herself from a ceiling fan in a Sector 21 nursing home, a day after getting her pregnancy terminated. Her body was found this morning. The staff of Sangeeta Nursing Home reportedly told the police that Ruchi Singh of Hisar had come for medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) yesterday.

She was accompanied by a boy and a girl. As per the register maintained by the nursing home, the boy’s name was Harry. Blaming herself for committing a sin by taking the life of her “unborn child”, Ruchi Singh in her suicide note declared that she was taking the step as her parents and the society would not accept her.

Letter “H” was also mentioned in the note. “In all probability, she tried to bail the boy out of the situation by not mentioning his full name and giving him a virtual clean chit,” sources said.

Addressing the person with name starting from “H”, she reportedly said their relationship was a brief one and that they could not live up to each others’ expectations. She also asked the person to take care of himself, a policeman said.

Giving details of the incident, the sources in the police said the suicide came to light around 9 am this morning when doctors at the nursing home were taking a routine round. Finding the room allotted to Ruchi Singh bolted from inside, they repeatedly knocked at it, which went unanswered. A ward servant was asked to peep through the ventilator. He saw Ruchi’s body hanging from a ceiling fan with a duppata.

The staff informed the police about the incident, which broke open the door. They video-graphed the scene and took the body into custody. The body was shifted to General Hospital, Sector 16.

The nursing home staff told the police that they had asked Ruchi to go home after the abortion, but she stayed back. They added that she was last seen at 11 pm moving in the nursing home, before she went into her room. The police said Ruchi was staying in the city as a paying guest (PG) and had given the address of her previous PG accommodation in Sector 21.

The police team went to the address mentioned in the register and came in contact with Gagan, a girl known to Ruchi.

Gagan had reportedly accompanied Ruchi yesterday to the nursing home. However, she told the police that she did not know where Ruchi had been putting up. The police also managed to contact Harry on his mobile phone that he had given to the nursing home. The police sources said Harry had a mushroom farm in Banur. Though he spoke to the police on the phone, he wasn’t found very forthcoming.

The senior police officers said they were making efforts to trace Harry. The police has informed Mr Udhe Raj Singh, father of Ruchi, who lives in Raniya, Hisar district.

The police said it did not know as to why Ruchi had come to the city and where she had been putting up lately.

A post-mortem examination of the body would be conducted tomorrow. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under various Sections of the Criminal Procedure Code.



Lieut-Gen Pattabhiraman pays homage to martyrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, paid homage to martyrs at the Veer Smriti war memorial at Chandi Mandir on the eve of his departure to New Delhi, today.

He is taking over as Vice-Chief of the Army Staff at Army Headquarters.

Thereafter, he inspected a guard of honour presented by a contingent of the Maratha Light Infantry.

A large number of officers as well as other ranks attended the ceremony.

The General will be given a ceremonial send-off from the Command House tomorrow morning.

Commissioned into 102 Engineer Regiment in December, 1966, General Pattabhiraman has held various staff, command and instructional appointments, which include command of the Vajra Corps, defence attaché in Turkey and instructor in the Army War College, Mhow. He is also the Colonel Commandant of the Bombay Sappers.



Minimum tenure of Commanding Officers to be of 24 months
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
To facilitate the implementation of the first phase of the A.V. Singh Committee report on cadre restructuring, Army Headquarters has fixed 24 months as the minimum command tenure for officers in the rank of colonel. Earlier, the average command tenure in this rank used to be about a year-and-a half.

This, sources at Headquarters Western Command said, would enable timely absorption of vacancies in the rank of colonel, created by the implementation of the committee recommendations, which is aimed at reducing the age profile of commanding officers.

Citing recent policy letters issued by the MS Branch, which is responsible for officer-cadre management, sources said the criteria for appointments pertaining to the rank of major and lieutenant colonel had also been revised. With the implementation of the report, a large number of appointments tenable by officers in the rank of major, were upgraded to be filled by officers in the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

Army Headquarters has decided that the appointment of all second-in-commands of major units will now be considered as “command criteria” appointments, when the incumbent in this post is a lieutenant-colonel. Command criteria appointments are those posts for which certain qualitative requirements and stipulations are laid down.

Following the implementation of the recommendations, all command criteria appointments, to be considered for promotion to the rank of Colonel, will be all command criteria appointments which were held by majors before the implementation of the report.

Consequently, the list of such appointments, which were earlier applicable only to majors, will now be applicable to majors as well as lieutenant-colonels, sources added.

Besides, the Army has also increased the financial powers of officers commanding units and formations to incur expenditure from the Regimental Funds. This was done after the Adjutant General’s Branch received numerous requests from field commanders in this regard.

For expenditure in excess of the ceiling stipulated for different ranks, prior approval of the next higher commander has to be obtained, who can sanction expenditure up to the limit specified for his rank. For expenditure above Rs 10 lakh from the Regimental Fund, which is the ceiling laid down for Army Commanders, approval of Army Headquarters is required.



Rs 20 crore power boost for Mohali
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, September 28
The town is in for better days on the power front with the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) gearing up to begin work soon on a Rs 20 crore substation here.

The 220 kv substation in Sector 80 will come as a shot in the arm for the town, which is on the way to becoming a major IT centre in the country.

According to sources, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has already allotted 4.59 acres of land for the state-of-the-art power substation. The substation will act as another independent source of power supply ensuring a power system which will be reliable as well as free from fluctuations and disruptions.

The work on the project will start soon after PUDA gives physical possession of the land to the power board which has already deposited 25 per cent of the cost of the land (Rs 1.75 crore) with PUDA. Sources say that the board will get possession of the land in about a week’s time.

Mr Surinder Pal, Deputy Chief Engineer, told The Tribune that the power board had purchased land worth Rs 7 crore from PUDA for the substation. The money for the project had been sanctioned by the authorities concerned. The board would spend Rs 1 crore on civil works related to the project and another Rs 6 crore on electrical works. He said in addition to this about Rs 6 crore would be spent on transmission lines.

He said when the new 220 kv substation became functional it would be possible to shift the power load of the town on it during cases of emergency. A 66 kv ring main would be created. SF-6 gas breakers would be used for 220 kv and 66 kv substation while vacuum circuit breakers would be used in the case of 11 kv. He said these were fast fault clearing breakers.

He said the project was planned to be set up at Jhanjeri village earlier, in fact, he said, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had even laid the foundation stone of the 220 kv substation there. But the work could not be started as there was some dispute regarding the land needed for the project.

Mr Surinder Pal further said Quark was using 12 megawatt of power at present but needed 35 megawatt after further expansion. It would not have been possible to provide additional power to Quark with the existing resources.

At present the town has only one 220 kv substation which is running to its full capacity and0 as such no future expansion is possible. When the new substation becomes functional, the power supply of a part of the town will be connected to it.



Roshni for disabled children
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
To the disabled children seeking rehabilitation with Roshni, a Rajpura-based NGO, this year’s Gandhi Jayanti celebrations will offer experience of a lifetime.

Blazing a fresh trail, the NGO caretakers, instead of holding routine rhetorical events on the occasion, will allow children to hold the centrestage.

The celebrations will feature inspirational talks by over 30 severely deformed children who have turned their destinies around by sheer perseverance. The idea is to follow the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi in letter and spirit, said Father Thomas KJ, who has, till date, corrected and rehabilitated 50 children suffering from varied degrees of disability.

Among star speakers on the day will be Mary TA from Kerala, who came to Roshni with hope of correction for her dysfunctional upper limbs. After six years of treatment and care, she began using her artificial hand with perfection. Today she is employed as a receptionist with a private firm in Kerala. What is more- she is even married to an able bodied man.

Suman Rani from Patiala will also speak on the occasion, to be celebrated at Thathi village in Amritsar. In Chandigarh today, she was upbeat about the event and rushed to mention, “I took four years to overcome my disability and convert my failures into opportunities. I learnt embroidery with the resources offered by Roshni.” Now Suman teaches embroidery to victims of polio in her home village — Chogowan.

Accompanying Suman to Chandigarh was Amandeep of Wadala village - also a disabled suffering from Arthrogryposis which stiffens joints and blocks movement. Ready with her speech, she said, “I never thought I could walk again but with treatment under Dr Ujagar Singh of Rampura Phool, I am improving considerably. I want to give a message to other disabled children that if there is a will there is a way too.”

Where on the one hand, Roshni will use October 2 to set a healthy trend by placing disabled children on the giving rather than the receiving end, on the other it will launch a campaign all over Punjab to locate and correct disabled children.

Said Father Thomas, “We have been operating in the remotest villages of Punjab and Haryana but there are many pockets waiting to be reached. Several disabled children don’t know where to go. At Roshni, we offer them correction and rehabilitation. Although our programmes are ongoing, we plan to start a more exhaustive survey from October 2.” Presently 110 disabled are enlisted with Roshni.

Another service on which Roshni plans to focus afresh is help for accident victims. Interestingly, all corrected children of Roshni are serving as contact points for people who have lost their limbs in accidents. Mary, now settled in Kerala, has referred three cases to Rajpura, from where the process of rehabilitation of the victim begins.

All these services will be discussed during October 2 celebrations by children fighting disabilities. The most heartening aspect of the event is that it will be hosted by father of Rajwinder, a disabled girl from Amritsar, who recently died due to Haemangioma which causes malignancy of cells. Rajwinder’s father however remains indebted to Roshni for making the fag end of his daughter’s life “less painful.”



Rally against move to acquire land
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The residents of Deep Complex, Hallo Majra, today took out a rally against the Administration’s move to acquire 33-acre chunk of land on which their complex has come up on the outskirts of the village.

Meanwhile, the indefinite fast by the residents entered the third day. Mr B.S. Rawat, a member of the Deep Complex Residents’ Welfare Association, said the rally was taken out after they failed to elicit any response from the officials concerned.

Before taking out the rally, Mr Satya Pal Jain, local BJP leader, Mr Didar Singh, Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti, Mr H.S. Lucky and Mr Devinder Singh Babla, local Congress leaders, addressed the gathering.

The residents said it was wrong on the part of the Administration to uproot the needy. “It has initiated the move after sitting on the issue for over seven years,” they alleged.

After an alternative site was given to the CRPF, the purpose of acquiring the land of Deep Complex held no significance, they contended.



Gunners celebrate 178th anniversary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The Regiment of Artillery celebrated its 178th anniversary at the Western Command HQ in Chandi Mandir Cantonment, near here, today.

The celebrations included a social function at the Shivalik Officers Institute, Chandi Mandir, organised under the aegis of Major General Artillery, Western Command, Major-Gen A.K. Sakhuja.

The Governor of Punjab, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), himself a gunner, was the guest of honour. During the social evening, he shared his memories with both young and old Army 

Lieut-Gen S. Pattabhiraman, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, and Vice-Chief of the Army Staff (designate), was the chief guest.

A large number of retired artillery officers residing in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali besides serving officers posted here were present on the occasion.

The Gunners’ Day is the nostalgic link between the glorious past and dynamic present of the gunners, with an eye on a promising future.

On this day, the Regiment of Artillery remembers its gallant gunners who gave their present for the nation’s future.

They have repeatedly proved themselves by their outstanding valour and indomitable resolve in providing accurate and devastating fire in battle.



Rodrigues for pro-active role of banks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, has called for a pro-active role by banks and financial institutions for bringing about social change, poverty alleviation and improving the quality of life of dis-advantaged sections of society. This, he said, could be achieved by reorienting and reinventing financial management policies and programmes of the banks.

Speaking at the centenary celebrations of Canara Bank here this evening, he exhorted the bank management to rededicate itself to pursuing the goals of service to the needy.

Emphasising the need for active partnership in promoting social goals, he said though India was going to be the third largest economy of the world in future, there was a need of introspection on ways to take along 260 million persons living below the poverty line.



Command Pet Animal Home
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
To end the inconvenience faced by Army personnel in looking after their pets during their absence from the station while on leave or on temporary duty, Command Pet Animal Home has been set up at Chandi Mandir. It was inaugurated by the president, Army Wives Welfare Association (Western Command), Mrs Lakshmi Raman, yesterday.

The pet home can house six animals at a time and Army personnel can get their pets admitted to the home before proceeding out of station. This facility has been created at a “no-profit, no-loss” basis. Besides board and lodging for the pets, the home will also provide health care facilities to the canine inmates. It is co-located with the 42 Military Veterinary Hospital.



Admn, leaders differ on land compensation
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Functionaries of the Chandigarh Administration and elected representatives do not see eye to eye on the issue of compensation for the acquisition of land in a UT village. This was evident during a meeting of Home Minister’s Advisory Committee held on Monday.

While elected representatives lamented that the administration was paying around Rs 20 lakh per acre as compensation but was earning around Rs 20 crore per acre on it, the administration in its reply stated that it was a non-profit organisation and no surplus revenue was generated from acquisition or from further allotment of land.

During the meeting, MP Pawan Kumar Bansal pointed out that the compensation being awarded to the persons, whose land have been acquired by the administration in Mani Majra, was “meagre” and not as per the “current market price”.

He demanded that enhanced compensation must be awarded to them in line with the present market price.

Councillor Kuldeep Singh Kajheri, who was present at the meeting, said compared to the compensation being paid in the neighbouring towns of Panchkula and Mohali, the compensation offered in the city was negligible.

In the note tabled before the Union Home Minister, the administration said a lot of funds were being invested from the Central Budget and the funds available were spent on providing infrastructural requirements of the residents.

About 30 per cent of the land went to open spaces, road and another 30 per cent went to create parks or green patches.

As per Section 23 (3) of the Act, the market value of land has to be determined with reference to the use to which the land was put on the date of issuance of relevant notification. The price of land has been determined on its market value as agricultural land.

It was also pointed out that all the land was not sold on auction. Some part of land was used for public utility and some of it was allotted at a subsidised rate of Rs 5,800 per sq yard.

The land was allotted to educational institutions at a rate of Rs 1,800 per sq yard and Rs 900 per sq yard (the last rate). The land was being given at a highly subsidised rate for rehabilitation schemes.

Only 10 per cent of the prime commercial property in the old developed Sectors fetched high rates in auction.

Thus the cost of land was recovered mainly from about 10 per cent of the auctioned sites whereas the rest went in welfare or development activities, the note said.

Chairman of the Panchayat Samiti Didar Singh said colonisers in Mohali and Zirakpur were offering high rates to land owners. He demanded that the government should give at least Rs 1 crore per acre.



Tibetans pay homage to martyrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Members of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress and the Regional Tibetan Freedom Movement yesterday staged a candlelight vigil to pay homage to the martyrs of the Tibetan Freedom Struggle, through silent protests. The vigil was kicked off from Panjab University in the evening.

The candlelight vigil was joined by all Tibetan students studying in various educational institutions and was well-supported by foreign and Indian students. The peaceful demonstration started from Panjab University, passing through Sectors 15, 16 and 22 it finally ended in Sector 17 Plaza. The students were bearing anti-Chinese placards and raising the slogans against the Chinese regime. On reaching the Plaza, the protesters observed two minutes’ silence in the memory of their martyrs.

Mr Baldev Pandey, general secretary and spokesman of the Chandigarh Youth Congress, addressed the gathering. He advocated freedom for Tibet and expressed concern over the mounting supremacy of China, which could pose a major threat to the world peace. Citing the example of American attack on Iraq, he said, whole world supported Iraq against this injustice while in the case of Tibet, the world seemed mute due to the Chinese supremacy.

Ms Kunchuk, president of the Regional Tibet Youth Congress (RTYC), said, “The candles symbolise the undying hope, courage and steadfast commitment of the Tibetans to struggle for freedom. We light these candles to illuminate the undying spirit of freedom from tyranny and terrorism. We would also like to pray for the innocent lives that were lost in the brutal terrorist attacks in the World Trade Center, America.”



Inquiry begins in NCC girl molestation case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
The Court of Inquiry (CoI) convened by the NCC to investigate into charges of molestation against a Lieutenant Colonel began its proceedings here today. It is being presided over by Col Balbir Singh from the Ambala NCC Group.

The officer, Lieut-Col S S Madra, who is posted with the NCC battalion here, is alleged to have molested the girl cadet during his visit to the NCC camp underway at the ITI, Sector 28, here.



Councillor, Sanitary Inspector bury the hatchet
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 28
The Joint Action Committee of the Municipal Council called off its agitation against the behaviour of a municipal councillor after a compromise was reached here today.

The scene of action had shifted to the office of the SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma, who had called both the parties. The SDM gave separate hearings to both the groups and asked them to bury the hatchet. Mr Sharma said that the Municipal Councillor, Mr Manjeet Singh Sethi, and the Sanitary Inspector, Mr Harbant Singh, hugged each other in his presence. The Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, had also visited his office in connection with the case, he added.

The committee had been holding rallies outside the council office since September 15 in protest against the behaviour of Mr Sethi. Mr Sethi had been saying that he had not misbehaved with any employee but had only raised an issue related to corruption which had annoyed council staff members.



PSEB staff gherao board official
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 28
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board gheraoed a senior Executive Engineer of the Mohali circle for failing to give a hearing to union leaders in connection with their demands.

The protesters later met the Deputy Chief Engineer, Mr Surinder Pal, and requested him to intervene in the matter so that the genuine demands of the employees were fulfilled. A letter was also presented to the Deputy Chief Engineer by members of the Technical Services Union.

Mr Lakha Singh and Mr Vijay Kumar, president and general secretary, respectively, of the union said over the past three months they had tried to meet the senior executive engineer, Mr H.S. Boparai, in connection with their demands but he was allegedly never ready to hold talks with them. They alleged that the said official misbehaved with them while they were holding the protest.

Mr Boparai, however, said despite a blanket ban imposed by the board on the transfers, union leaders wanted to get a lineman transferred by allegedly using pressure tactics. He said gheraos and holding of protests by the employees were against the service rules laid down by the board.



BJP warns PSEB on faulty meters
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 28
Members of the BJP Mohali Mandal met here on Tuesday under the chairmanship of its president, Mr R.C. Jhingan. The members condemned the action of the Punjab State Electricity Board to replace “accurate” meters with electronic meters.

The members added that the electronic meters were faulty and fast running and hence the bills had increased following the installation of these meters. 



Illegal custody: accuser fails to record statement
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 28
Mr Gurpreet Singh, who had accused the police of beating him up and keeping him in illegal custody, failed to turn up at the office of the SP here today for getting his statements recorded.

Mr Varinder Pal Singh SP, said that a message was sent to Mr Gurpreet Singh to come to his office so that his statements could be recorded but he did not come throughout the day. He said that statements of the SHO against whom allegations had been levelled by Mr Gurpreet Singh, were recorded by him but the case could make no headway as Mr Gurpreet Singh had not been able to give his statement so far.

The SP said that Mr Arvind Thakur, member of the Lawyers for Human Rights International, who had taken up Mr Gurpreet Singh’s case, asked to bring the latter to his office. He said that Mr Gurpreet Singh wanted to come to his office along with his father who runs a taxi and was out of the town today.



Crime Round-Up
Two houses burgled in Sec 22
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Thieves decamped with gold jewellery and other goods after breaking into two houses in Sector 22 here. Besides this, theft of two vehicles, including a car, and the snatching of a mobile phone were reported to the Chandigarh Police during the past 24 hours.

A spokesman of the Chandigarh Police said thieves took away two gold “kitty” sets, besides other ornaments, and Rs 12,000 cash from Mr Jatinder Kumar’s residence in Sector 22 after breaking opening the locks. A case of trespassing and theft has been registered by the police under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC.

In his complaint, Mr Krishan Grover of the same sector claimed that Rs 12,000 cash, along with other articles, were taken away from his house. A case of theft and other offenses has been registered under Section 457 and 380 of the IPC.

Mr Dinesh Chauhan of Sector 23 claimed that two scooter borne persons snatched his mobile phone from the vicinity of a petrol station in Sector 33.

In her complaint, Ms Anju Sharma of Sector 24 claimed that a stranger took her scooter (CH-01-M-7400) for a test-ride, but never returned. In both the matters, cases have been registered by the police.

Mr Ashok Tayal claimed that his Santro car (CH-03-S-5425) was picked up from outside his residence in Sector 15-B.

The spokesman added that Lajpat Rai of Ram Darbar was taken in custody on the allegations of gambling at a public place. A case under the provisions of the Gambling Act has been registered against him.



Hyundai unveils new offer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
Hyundai Electronics today announced its expansion plans to step up its business in the local market. The company has kick-started a new marketing campaign “Hyundai pe Hyundai” exclusively for the Northern region. Under this, customers will be given prizes and offers during the forthcoming festive season.

Giving details, Mr R. Venkat, Assistant General Manager (marketing), said the campaign came with a card, which assures a gift with every purchase of Hyundai products. Under the offer, a consumer can win a Hyundai Elantra car, motor cycles, foreign trips, Hyundai LCDs and Hyundai DVDs etc., including an assured gift with every Hyundai product like trendy travel bags, wrist watches, radio with AM/FM. All one needs to do is to illuminate and not scratch the card to know the gift.

Talking about the future plans, Mr Venkat said the company would be coming out with a new range of premium flat screen Plasma, LCD and colour TVs to achieve its growth target of 200 per cent this fiscal. “We also plan to double our market share in the colour TV segment in Punjab in the next one year and would be launching the 21” colour TV in the market shortly, particularly to cater to the rural segment.” The number of dealers would also be increased from 200 to 400 in Punjab.

The company would also be introducing a whole new range of home appliances like frost-free refrigerators, microwave said Mr Naveen Banga, Assistant General Manager (Sales). 



Show marks Canara Bank’s centenary celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 28
A cultural programme marked the centenary celebrations of Canara Bank here today. Staff and their family members presented a lively show, ‘Canara Bank in a Nutshell’. With snippets of Hindi film songs serving as the background, they recalled that the bank was founded by Subbarao Pai in 1906 with the aim of saving people from the clutches of moneylenders.

The customer arriving in a palanquin decorated with loan schemes and the bank offering the schemes with a bunch of balloons on the song ‘Maine tere liye hi saat rang ke sapne bune…’ was appreciated, informed Mrs Geeta Goyal, who put the show together.

The show ended with a glittering collage in shape of 100 showing photographs of bank executives, staff and customers.


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