C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


SC for deducting relief from cops’ salary 
Torture of boys at Panchkula
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, October 18
The Supreme Court today said that the six officials of the Crime Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the Haryana police would have to pay compensation to the poor boys allegedly tortured by them at a Panchkula police station recently, which was recorded in a sting operation by a TV channel.

Directing the CIA Inspector-General to submit in writing in the form of an affidavit as what action had been taken against the guilty police officials, a Bench of Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice Arun Kumar indicated that the compensation had to be deducted from the salary of the personnel involved.

The court allowed two weeks' time to the Inspector-General to submit the affidavit, expressing dissatisfaction over the oral submission of the Haryana Government counsel that five police officials had been suspended and one has been arrested in the case.

Describing the action of the police personnel as shocking and gross violation of human rights, the court said the amount of compensation would be determined by it only after receiving the affidavit.

Ordering the fixing of the matter three weeks after the receipt of the affidavit, the court said it had to be made clear in the written reply that why the children were called to the police station, what was the reason for their torture.

The issue was brought before the court by human right activist lawyer Aeltemesh Rein.

The court had issued notices to the IG of the CIA, its SSP and Panchkula station SHO on October 10.



Bail for Head Constable
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 18
Head Constable Jagmal Singh was today granted bail by a local court. He is one of the main accused in the illegal detention and assault of a 14-year-old by the CIA staff. He was arrested yesterday and remanded to judicial custody.



Fear of stigma bares hollowness of ‘Goonj’
AIDS group chief stays away from functions
Payal Pruthi

Chandigarh, October 18
The sound of the AIDS alert, Goonj, today failed to move the president of the Chandigarh Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS, a group formed on September 2 as an initiative by the UT State AIDS Control Society. Faced with discrimination and stigma from her own family members, the president failed to show up for the inauguration of the “drop-in centre” and also for the other events.

Her absence not only raised questions in the minds of those present but also put the other members of the network in doubt. Out of the total 58 members, most of whom are from Punjab, only seven turned up for the inaugural function. The network consists of nine executive members and 25 general body members.

Reportedly even after a number of counselling sessions and phone calls, the president could not be persuaded to make a public appearance. Talking to The Tribune, advisors and officials present at the “drop-in centre” said the fear of stigma is very deep rooted and despite numerous attempts the discrimation compounds if the infected person is a woman. An HIV positive couple, who had come from Fatehgarh as members of the network, said they were disheartened to see such a response.

However, the founders and organisers said full psycho-social support will be provided to the members and all possible steps would be taken to reduce the stigma attached to the HIV infected persons.

Dr S.K. Sandhu, President of the Family Planning Association of India, Mohali branch, however, said the problem of stigma would take some time to be solved as the mindset of the people had to be changed. She added that today’s initiative was a step forward in this direction.

Manmohan Sharma of the Voluntary Health Association of India, Punjab branch, said “drop-in centre” was not the solution of HIV/AIDS and efforts should be made at the grassroot level before forming such centres. Usha Rai from the Population Foundation Of India said full support should be provided to the women who were HIV positive and the beliefs and attitudes of the people should be changed.



Goonj fails to make required “goonj”
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

College students shine

The 40 odd posters Government Art College students made on the theme of AIDS awareness attracted everyone’s attention for their impressive and professional execution. NACO has selected some for use in its publicity campaigns.

Chandigarh, October 18
Not all alarms ring a bell. At least the one set so laboriously to awaken Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to the AIDS menace did not ring one. It was sounded bang on time but it waned before creating a resonance.

At 4 pm when sounds of solidarity to the cause of AIDS prevention should have filled the city heart, there were a few noises only in the Leisure Valley — the official venue of “Goonj”, a mass AIDS awareness campaign organised in Chandigarh today. People on roads, in houses and restaurants observed silence for some reason and the collective, unified voice that was to scare away the HIV virus fell “weak”.

From the dais of the Leisure Valley, the few gathered VVIPs, including Union Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss, Haryana Governor Dr A.R. Kidwai, Union Health Secretary and Secretaries, Health, Punjab clapped to make the symbolic noise. The only exception was Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda who captured everyone’s attention for his whistle blowing act.

The gathering, for its part, hooted and banged on drums and vessels to join “Goonj” — the second mass mobilisation campaign (the first happened in Hyderabad) organised by the National AIDS Control Organization and the State AIDS Control Societies of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. When asked, a student said, “We hooted because we were told to.”

Intentions of the effort apart, there was something about the gathering that defeated the purpose of Goonj. Most participants were students from government schools across Punjab and Haryana - brought in to make the function a success. Unaware of the lofty purpose of the event, they were more concerned about returning. Unavailability of drinking water at the venue worsened the situation.

A student told The Tribune, “We don’t know much about the event although we know a little about AIDS. We came because were told by our teachers.” “Goonj” could perhaps have struck a chord had it been structured in a different way, felt some youngsters while others enjoyed the function for the room it made for pop concerts by Jasbir Jassi and Hans Raj Hans.

That few people’s heart was in the event was clear from the way many participants left the venue when the Union Health Minister was speaking about AIDS and its ramifications. The most embarrassing moment was when the gathering that had left during Mr Ramadoss’s speech came back when Jasbir Jassi returned to present another song.



Educate youth on AIDS: Ramadoss
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
“Goonj” the second mass mobilisation campaign organised by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and the State AIDS Control Society of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh today marked the culmination of the week-long awareness campaign at the Leisure Valley here where political figures, performing artistes and well-known celebrities congregated together.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr A. Ramadoss, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, emphasised on the need for youth to be empowered with correct and authentic information to enable them to protect themselves and live responsibly. He added that AIDS was not just a health problem but a developmental issue as well. He said a national AIDS council had been formed which is headed by the Prime Minister and this would help in framing policies integrating all other departments of the government. He added the ongoing campaign was centered on the youth and a similar campaign would start in New Delhi from December 1.

The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, administered the AIDS awareness oath and an AIDS alert was sounded at 4 pm. AIDS torches were also lit and rallies were flagged of as part of the programme.

Dr S.Y. Quraishi, Special Secretary Health and Director-General of NACO, said similar initiatives were in the pipeline and a mega event was being planned for World AIDS Day.

Sufi singer Hans Raj Hans, Punjabi pop singer Jasbir Jassi and cine artiste Preeti Sapru shared the dias.

Earlier during the day, a bus ride for dignitaries was organised on “Hop On Hop Off” bus. A Voluntary Counselling and Testing Centre (VCTC) at Community Health Centre, Mani Majra, was inaugurated by Dr Quraishi.



Workshop on AIDS ends on a heartwarming note
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The Population Foundation of India’s workshop meant for mediapersons writing on HIV/AIDS issues served more purposes than one.
Besides exploding myths about the diseases that is spreading menacingly across the country, the workshop brought the participants together as a cohesive group interested in helping those down with the HIV virus.

Not only did it raise pertinent issues related to the diseases, its causes and preventions, it also inspired the participants with fresh ideas to combat the disease. The group activity was well structured and coordinated, courtesy Ms Usha Rai and her team from the PFI.

By the end of the two-day workshop, every mediaperson attending it was more of a creative artiste than an objective reporter. The four groups of participants presented skits, posters, jingles and slogans on issues pertaining to AIDS awareness. At many occasions, they stepped into the shoes of infected people and responded accordingly to their situations. Most presentations struck a chord as they raised vital points without losing relevance or sensitivity.

The highlight of the concluding day of the workshop sponsored by UNDP was the impromptu speech by Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune, who wove his words beautifully to bring home the significance of direct messaging. Congratulating the participants for the sincerity of their simple yet potent presentations, he made lavish references to Mahatma Gandhi and his mastery of the art of direct messaging and communication.

Gandhi’s Salt March came under focus here with Mr Dua talking about it as a remarkable example of “serialisation and its impact”. He said: “Unlike politicians of the day, Gandhi could feel the pulse of the nation. He knew the psychology of people. So when the British passed a rather foolish law, he chose to use the opportunity to raise mass awareness than to write few letters to the Viceroy and get the law annulled. He did that because he wanted to send a direct message across the country and to make his point he used ‘salt’ as a unifying factor because it was and is used by the poorest to the richest.”

Least interested in garnering publicity for himself, Mahatma Gandhi, Mr Dua said, undertook a 128-day-long travel and “made a story on each of the 128 days of his Salt March.”

Emphasising the role of media — both print and television — in projecting India and its problems in the right earnest, Mr Dua said the media was smitten by glamour. “Some papers covered the last year’s budget as if it were some cabaret. The entire coverage was profit inspired, and the real message was lost somewhere. Most of the national dailies are also distant to the problems bothering the nation,” he rued.

Poverty, lack of healthcare facilities and unemployment, he added, were the actual challenges for India. While admitting that AIDS was a menace which needed effective combat, he said we also needed to discuss unemployment and its ramifications.

Earlier, Mr Dua gave away prizes to participants wishing they took journalism as a mission to serve society.



Home away from home for HIV patients
Infected men conceal disease from wives: counsellors
Tripti Nath and Ishwar Dhyani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
People living with HIV/AIDS can now look forward to a temporary home away from home at the Red Cross managed Community Care Centre at Khuda Ali Sher here.
Funded by the State AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh, through the National AIDS Control Organisation, the centre offers patients counselling and treatment for a fortnight.

Inaugurated by the Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, General S.F. Rodrigues and his wife Jean Rodrigues on May 6 this year, the centre caters exclusively to the special emotional and medical needs of People living with HIV/AIDS.

Dr Tanma Mohanta, in charge of the centre, said that they had so far counselled and treated 140 persons infected with HIV. These include 92 new and 48 old cases. “At present, four such patients are being counselled at the centre. While two of them are infected with HIV, the other two have been diagnosed with AIDS.’’

Sharing their experience with the patients, Dr Mohanta and the Administrator, Atinder Kaur, said that while some persons frankly discuss their HIV status during their initial round of counselling, others tend to mislead them. This applies more to those HIV infected persons who have been promiscuous.

“Nobody wants to admit that he has done something wrong in his life. We have also come across infected persons who try to conceal their HIV status from their wives. We try our best to convince them to tell their family the truth to prevent transmission of infection to their partners. We advise them to use condoms.

In some cases, we have discharged our social responsibility by taking their wives into confidence.

The partners react with anger and helplessness. In some cases, we have found that they have already passed on the infection due to their refusal to use condoms. Male to female transmission of HIV is very high. Most of them are looking for cure and come to us with newspaper clippings quoting claims of cure for HIV/AIDS.”

Dr Mohanta says that their coordinator, Shikha Narang visits the Immuno Deficiency OPD clinic and the Anti-Retroviral Therapy Centre at the PGI to reach out to HIV infected persons.

“Most of the persons counselled at our centre are from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Uttaranachal. There are very few from Chandigarh. The centre has 10 wards where such persons can stay free of cost for 15 days.”

HIV/AIDS patients also have the option of visiting the Maloya Health Centre for counselling where SACS and the Servants of People Society are running a targeted intervention project.

The project has been entrusted to Sandeep Mittal who has worked in the Department of Community Medicine at PGI. Apart from ensuring the availability of condoms in its front room, the Centre has also identified 20 community based depot-holders to enable people to collect condoms after office hours.

These depot holders include grocers, chemists, mechanics, auto rickshaw drivers, commercial sex worker and men having sex with men.

Volunteers at the centre also demonstrate the use of condoms for the benefit of youths.

The Centre has also identified eight such holders in Kajheri. The Centre depends on SACS for the supply of condoms and its average monthly requirement of condoms is 4000.

The Servants of People Society at Lajpat Bhavan is running a drug de-addiction centre And an Interactive Voice Response System.

The helpline gives information to callers in English, Hindi and Punjabi.



Car rally marks AIDS day
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 18
The local Rotary Club and the Mohali Industries Association (MIA) organised a joint car rally here today to mark AIDS awareness day.
The rally, which was flagged off by the Mohali SP, Mr Varinder Pal Singh, from Rotary Bhavan in Sector 70, passed through main roads of the town and culminated at MIA Bhavan in the Industrial Area. It was led by the president of the club, Dr B.S. Chandhok, and the MIA president, Mr Balbir Singh.



Tribune Impact
Police “brutality”: HP rights panel moved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI), a local human rights organisation, today moved the Himachal Pradesh Human Rights Commission and the National Human Rights Commission against alleged brutality of the Himachal Pradesh police on Sector 40 resident Suresh Kumar.

Reacting to a news report published in Chandigarh Tribune today, the complaint, filed through the general secretary of the local LHRI unit, Mr Arvind Thakur, said the life, liberty and security of Suresh Kumar was in danger as the police was “pressurising” him to “hush up” the matter.

Demanding a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the victim, the complaint stated that the police high-handedness had given a bad name to the much-touted “people-friendly” image of the Himachal Government.

This kind of attitude will act as a deterrent to the inflow of the tourists to the hilly state, it added.

Suresh Kumar, who was on his way to Chandigarh along with his friend Dashmesh Singh, after visiting religious shrines in Bilaspur district was allegedly shot at from the point-blank range near Swarghat on September 21.



PSIEC commercial sites fetch 86.31 cr at auction
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 18
Creating history of sorts in the state, two commercial hub sites of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) in Industrial Area Phase VIII B here were auctioned for a whopping Rs 86.31 crore today at more than double the reserve price.

One site measuring 8787 square yards was reserved at a price of Rs 25 crore but was auctioned for Rs 56.31 crore. The successful bidder from Parsavnath Developers, New Delhi, later told mediapersons that construction of a world class hotel-multiplex-shopping plaza on lines of such hubs in Dubai and USA would begin on the site next month. The other site measuring 4042 square yards was reserved at the rate of Rs 12.5 crore and fetched Rs 30 crore from Shalimar Estates, a Panchkula-based company.

The hubs located in Phase VIII B Industrial Area are part of the upcoming IT city being developed by the PSIEC and would include space for a multiplex, a shopping mall and a hotel among other commercial components.

The two sites adjoining Quark City attracted the country’s top real estate developers, including the TDI and DLF groups from Delhi. A US-based company Brewstea Developers was also here to bid at the auctions. Other than these companies a host of leading companies from Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, including Gateway Group, HB Estate Developers, MGF Land Developers and the JMD group.

The PSIEC chief engineer announced during the auctions that PSIEC would widen and strengthen the roads leading to the area and also develop green parks in the vicinity.

The PSIEC Board of Directors had also cleared a floor area ratio (FAR) of three and a maximum permissible height of 65 meters for these hubs. Up to 100 per cent ground coverage has also been permitted and these sites have been made fully transferable.



Man commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 18
Stung by desertion of his second wife, a 55-year-old man allegedly ended his life this morning by consuming poisonous substance in Sector 21 here.
According to information available, Sawan Prashad, a domestic help servant consumed some poisonous substance at his employer’s house this morning.

When his condition deteriorated he informed his employer and was shifted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. where he died.

The police, while quoting the employers of the deceased, said the first wife of Sawan died a few years ago. He remarried in June this year. His second wife began living with him along with her children, but she left him. Sawan had undergone depression by the desertion of his wife.

Ruling out any foul play, the police has initiated the inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Cr PC in this regard.



Jolt to small savings movement
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
In a jolt to the small savings movement, the postal department has asked for closure of all the public Savings Bank (SB) accounts in which crores of rupees have been invested under various small savings schemes. All such public accounts would be treated as irregular after December 31, 2005.

The order would affect hundreds of such public accounts which had been opened by various government departments, especially government schools and other state department.

The order follows a decision by the Ministry of Finance that no interest will be paid on the accounts which involve transaction of money from one department of government to another.

However, the orders would have no bearing on the ‘individual’ accounts. The Director, Postal Services (Headquarter), Punjab Postal Circle, Ms Sukhwinder Kaur, confirmed the orders.

The ministry in a communiqué to the postal department said all existing saving bank (SB) accounts, other than the individual accounts, will not earn interest beyond December 31, 2005, failing which the postal department was not liable to pay any interest on such accounts. Sources in the postal department disclosed that the instructions had been passed all the beneficiaries concerned.

The sources said the government had amended the Government Saving Bank Act, 1873 and the Government Saving Certificates Act 1959 through the Finance Act, 2005.

As per the amendment, only individuals can invest in various small savings schemes.

The amendment follows an objection by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) regarding payment of interest from government to government.

Last year, a Member of Parliament (MP) from Tamil Nadu, had deposited the funds given under the MP Development Fund with the Postal Saving Bank account.

Though the principal amount was spent on development, the interest amount remained unaccounted following which an objection was raised by the CAG.

Almost all the government schools in Punjab have opened small savings accounts with the postal department under different heads in which the money charged from the student fee is deposited.

The interest earned from the account was used for various activities. Similarly, security money sought by various government departments was deposited in the name of the respective department.

A teacher with a government school in Ropar, said that the school had no option but to open an account in the bank.



Passing Thru

N.R Ramanujam
N.R Ramanujam, Managing Director, Canbank Investment Management Services.

What is the purpose of your visit to the city and what is the scope of this industry?

I am here to launch CanInfrastructure Scheme in the region. It will focus exclusively on infrastructure-related companies. Mutual funds constitute only one-tenths of the size of the banking industry in India, hence there is lot of scope for the growth of this industry.

What is the objective of the scheme?

The objective is to generate income/capital appreciation by investing equities and equity-related instruments of companies. The scheme shall invest in equity and equity-related instruments in the infrastructure sector up to 100 per cent and in debt and money market instruments up to 25 per cent.

What will be your focus in future?

We will formulate strategies for the dispersion of mutual funds to semi-urban and rural markets. The focus will also be on conducting regular programmes for investor education.

How do you find the city?

It's clean and green. I am impressed by its sprawling open spaces and neat row of trees along the roads.

— Poonam Batth



Cops lock horns over jurisdiction
Snatching victim harassed
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, October 18
The victim of a snatching incident got a taste of red-tapism today as instead of making efforts to trace the snatchers, the Mohali and the Chandigarh police officials kept on debating over the issue of jurisdiction for more than three hours. However, in the end, the Mohali police succumbed and received a complaint from the victim.

It all started when a Palsora resident, Ms Saroj Rani, who had come here from Tanda in Punjab disembarked from a bus at the Mohali-Chandigarh Barrier at around 7 am on Monday. She was on her way home and stooped to buy something from a hawker near a liquor vend on Phase VI and Sector 55 dividing road. Two scooter borne youngsters stopped near her and one of the youngsters snatched her purse and they sped away. She raised an alarm but in vain. Her purse contained Rs 15,000 and a mobile phone.

She called the police control room and Mohali police personnel reached the spot. The Mohali police told her that the area did not fall under their jurisdiction and she should report the matter to the Sector 39 police station. At the Sector 39 police station she was told to go to the Palsora police post. Officials at the Palsora police post went with her to the spot and said it fells under the jurisdiction of Mohali police.

Mr Sarabjit Singh, brother of Saroj Rani, who is in Punjab police, told Chandigarh Tribune that fed up with the attitude of the police they called the Mohali police. Officials of both Chandigarh and Mohali police debated over the issue for a long time and ultimately the Mohali police received their complaint.

The Station House Officer of the Phase I, police station in Mohali, Mr Jagdish Singh, confirmed that they had received the complaint. He insisted that though the area falls under the Chandigarh police’s jurisdiction, they had to take the complaint as the Chandigarh Police had plainly refused to accept the complaint and the victim was subjected to unnecessary harassment. He added that he had informed his senior officers about the incident.

He further added that efforts are on to trace the miscreants.



Promised journey turns into nightmare
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
They promised him a journey to heaven. And a Patiala resident, P.S. Sidhu paid a city-based travel agent full amount for a “foreign holiday” to Dubai and Mauritius. But he was reportedly not given the tickets. When he asked the agent to return the money, the full amount was not given back — this is what he is claiming.

Feeling aggrieved, Patiala resident P.S. Sidhu has now approached the Chandigarh police. In a complaint addressed to the UT Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Sidhu has sought the registration of a cheating and criminal breach of trust case against the agent under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.

Mr Sidhu has claimed that even after paying the full tour expense in advance, he was repeatedly asked to hand over additional money. As a result, the trip could not materialise. Later on, the travel agent deducted Rs 7099 from the full amount.

Expressing apprehensions regarding the misuse of his passport, Mr Sidhu has complained that it was returned after a long time. As such, the passports could have been used for the purpose of human trafficking and committing other offences.

He alleged that an accused got traveller cheques worth $ 500 issued on his and his wife’s passport. Claiming that an offence of cheating had been committed in the process, the complainant said foreign exchange was issued without obtaining their signatures.

Seeking a thorough probe into the matter, he said the police should ascertain how transactions could take place without their being physically present in the bank, and that also without their signatures.

Seeking refund of the full amount, he said the police should ensure the payment of damages for numerous trips to Chandigarh, besides harassment caused to him and his family in the process.

A senior police officer, when contacted, said the complaint submitted through the “public window system” had been forwarded to official concerned with directions to conduct a probe into the allegations.

He added that a case of cheating and criminal breach of trust would be registered if preliminary inquiry carried out by the police established the commission of a criminal offence. “As of now, it is too early for us to comment,” he further added.



Council takes U-turn on water, sewerage charges
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 18
The local Municipal Council today took a U-turn on the controversial issue of the hike in water and sewerage charges urging the Punjab Government to impose a stay on the increase and reconsider the decision.

In what could be described as a major embarrassment to the ruling group, a general body meeting of the council decided to go back on its earlier resolution to implement the government’s orders to hike the charges.

The council also cleared proposals worth more than Rs 1 crore related to various development projects.

Surprisingly, Mr Yog Raj and Mr N.K. Marwaha, ruling group councillors, who at an earlier meeting of the council had backed the increase in the rates, today called for the reconsideration of the hike.

Mr Amrik Singh Mohali, opposition councillor, reminded Mr Yog Raj of his earlier stand on the issue and, commenting on his new stand, said: Aj votan bol diyan ne”.

Mr Kulwant Singh, council president, said the government had given directions to the Executive Officer to implement the new charges. An incentive in the form of funds was attached if the council increased the water and sewerage rates. He said had the council not cleared the proposal, the government could have implemented revised charges on its own level.

Opposition councillors said the civic body was forced to change its stand in view of widespread resentment and staging of protests by residents against the steep hike.

The meeting also took up the matter of giving a part of the newly constructed council building in Sector 68 on rent. It was decided to give the unused upper floors of the building on rent. Members felt that this would not only benefit the council financially but also prevent government departments from illegally occupying the vacant accommodation. However, Mr Manjit Singh Sethi opposed the proposal to rent out the accommodation.



Panel to review hike in sewerage charges
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 18
A committee has been set up to reconsider the hike in the water and sewerage charges here and in other parts of Punjab, the Minister for Local Government, Mr Jagjit Singh, said today.

The minister, who was talking to mediapersons after unveiling a statue of Dr B.R. Ambedkar at the Ambedkar Institute of Careers and Courses in Phase 3-B2, said the state government had increased the charges in order to get additional funds to provide better facilities in towns and cities. However, as he had received representations from Mohali and other places against the hike, the matter was referred to a committee.

When asked about apprehensions that fresh elections to the local Municipal Council might get delayed, Mr Jagjit Singh said a meeting of the board to delimit municipal wards had already been held. Another meeting would be held soon and the poll would be held on the “due date”.

Launching an attack on the previous Parkash Singh Badal government, the minister said it had done nothing for the welfare of Dalits. In fact, schemes which had been launched for the benefit of that section during the Beant Singh regime had been stopped during Badal rule.

Mr Jagjit Singh said Ambedkar Institute had been set up at a cost of Rs 2 crore through his efforts when he was a minister in the Beant Singh government. The institute, he said, had benefited Dalit students a great deal since its inception.

The minister said a dedicated social security fund of Rs 450 crore had been set up for the grant of old age and widow pensions and to help students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and backward classes with free books, scholarships and other benefits.

A press note circulated later among mediapersons said the government had provided Rs 189 crore during the current financial year for the all-round development of Scheduled Castes and backward classes. Stipends and scholarships were being provided to as many as 11 lakh students studying in Class 1 to post-matric level under the attendance scholarship, post-matric, pre-matric and promotion of education scheme. A sum of Rs 60 crore was being spend under this head.

Under the Ashirwad Scheme, a sum of Rs 6,100 was provided to SC and Christian families living below the poverty line at the time of the marriage of their daughters and also to widows and divorcees for their remarriage. There was a provision of Rs 24.40 crore to cover 40,000 beneficiaries during the current fiscal.



Tile-laying work disrupts water supply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Tile-laying work on berms which was to be started in the Greenbelt facing house numbers 2850 to 2885(MIG-I ), Sector 40 C has put residents in an uncomfortable position. During the night of October 17 the contractor dug up the entire berm.

As a result of the digging operation done in a haphazard manner, a number of water pipes of house done got damaged causing a disruption of the water supply. The road facing the row of houses was inundated. Owing to the non-supply of water in the morning, a number of the children and the office-goers suffered.

Mr S.K. Khosla, general secretary of the Residents Coordination Committee, MIG-I Houses, Sector 40-C, said though after following complaints with the water supply and the Roads maintenance Departments of the municipal corporation, the water had been drained out of the road, but the water pipes need to be replaced. “Will someone compensate us for the public convenience?” he asked. He pointed out that the repair work was not complete.

At the time of digging operation, no official of the department concerned was present and on inquiry, it was revealed that the contractor did not inform the department of the work to be carried out, Mr S.S. Negi, president of the committee, said.



HUDA for rainwater harvesting
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 18
Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has decided to introduce community rainwater harvesting structures in the township.
With the ground water level depleting fast, HUDA has decided to construct rainwater harvesting structures in community buildings in various sectors here.

A sum of Rs 25 lakh has been earmarked for construction of these rainwater harvesting structures in the Panchkula Extension and the Mansa Devi complex. These will be constructed in the buildings of community centres, police stations, auditorium and government schools.

Sources inform that tenders have been floated for construction of rainwater harvesting structures in Community Centres of Sectors 12, 25 and 26 and in Sector 4 and 5 of Mansa Devi complex. Rainwater harvesting structures will be constructed in Sector 23 police station; Sector 5 auditorium; HUDA Complex in Sector 6; and Government Senior Secondary Schools in Sectors 19 and 20.

Officials say that since ground water is in the only source of water in Panchkula, the water table was depleting rapidly. Thus, the government had decided to introduce rain eater harvesting two years ago. Already, all houses being constructed on over 10 marla area here are required to construct rainwater harvesting structures.



Contractors’ plea to HUDA
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 18
The HUDA Contractors Association has resented the awarding of contracts for works in Panchkula to societies registered outside Panchkula district.
In a written representation to the HUDA authorities, the association has said cooperative labour and construction societies registered outside Panchkula have been vying for and getting tenders for the construction work.

“This is unfair and the rules clearly say that only the societies registered in one district should be awarded the tenders,” says Mr Satyanarayan Gupta, president of the society.

He alleges that ever since HUDA changed its policy regarding awarding of tenders to cooperative labour and construction societies rather than individual contractors ( for works up to Rs 20 lakh), the societies who are getting the tenders are now subletting these to individual contractors.

He says the policy should be reverted as more than 90 per cent of the contractors in Panchkula are taking up works for less than Rs 20 lakh. 



Raising Day of Corps of Military Police celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The Western Command Provost Unit celebrated the 66th anniversary of the Corps of Military Police (CMP) in Chandimandir Military Station near here today.
Senior officers Western Command along with a number of retired CMP officers attended a tea party hosted at Command Headquarters on the occasion.

Earlier, addressing a Special Sainik Sammelan, the Officer Commanding the Unit, Col S.K. Chauhan, greeted all ranks and their families. He lauded the hard work and dedication of all personnel in the performance of the multifarious tasks assigned to them.

The Corps of Military Police traces its origin to the tense months preceding World War II. The first Indian Provost Section was raised from 7 and 11 Indian Cavalry Regiments of the 4th Indian Division in 1939. On October 18, 1947, it shed its British legacy and was re-designated as the Corps of Indian Military Police. It was finally re-named as the Corps of Military Police (CMP) in January, 1950.

Chief of Army Staff, Gen J.J. Singh, Western Army Commander, Lieut-Gen Daljeet Singh and the Adjutant General and Colonel Commandant of the Corps, Lieut-Gen Mohinder Singh have, in their respective messages, commended the Corps personnel for their performance and devotion to duty.



Workers hold demonstration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
On the call of the Centre of Trade Unions (CTU), hundreds of workers today held a demonstration in support of their demands.
Addressing the rally, Mr Chander Shekhar of the CTU, came down heavily on the “anti-people” policies of the Punjab Government.

A former MLA, Mr Tarsem Jodhan, alleged that certain Punjab ministers were colluding with the brick kiln owners for shutting down the brick kilns rendering over 3 lakh persons jobless.



60-year-old found dead
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 18
A 60-year-old man was found dead near Sector 45 Ekta Market, today. The police, however, ruled out any foul play in the case and said no injury marks were found on the body.

The police initially faced difficulty in identifying the deceased. Later, some shopkeepers told the police that the man had been seen wandering in the locality lately. He was a vagabond and used to sleep wherever he found a place. It was only later that the police traced the wife and son of the deceased in Mundi Kharar and informed them about his death. They identified the deceased as Madan Mohan.

Giving details sources in the Sector 34 police station said they had received a message around 11.30 am that the body of an old man was lying in Ekta Market in Sector 45. Eyewitnesses told the police that the deceased was last seen sitting at the place where his body was found.

The police said no injury marks were found on the body and it was shifted to the mortuary at the Sector 16 General Hospital. The police, while quoting the family of the deceased, said he was an alcoholic and used to stay away from home. He had been working as a hawker in Sector 21 before he took to excessive drinking.

Meanwhile, the police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this regard.



Woman held with smack
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 18
In a major breakthrough, the Crime Branch of the Chandigarh police today arrested a Delhi-based woman with 100 gm of smack valued at about Rs 10 lakh in the international market. The police said the woman was smuggling the contraband into the city from Delhi. Besides this the crime branch arrested one person for allegedly indulging in gambling.

Giving details, sources in the crime branch said acting on secret information, a team was constituted. Manju, a resident of Sector 20, Rohni, New Delhi was coming from Sector 17 light-point. On seeing the police, she tried to run away but was soon held by a constable. The police recovered 100 gm of smack from her possession.

The police said Manju during preliminary interrogation told the police that she came today to the city from Delhi to deliver the contraband. She told that she had been in smuggling for the past six months. 



Briefcase snatched
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 18
Two cyclists fled after snatching the briefcase of a Sector 46 resident early this morning. Besides this, the local police arrested a woman for allegedly stealing silver ornaments and Rs 500 from a house in Mani Majra. In another incident a house in Sector 31 was burgled and jewellery and Rs 10,000 were stolen. A car was also reportedly stolen in the city in a separate incident.

Giving details of the snatching incident sources in the Sector 31 police station said Mr Param Prakash, a resident of Sector 45, had lodged a complaint alleging that two youngsters who were riding a bicycle snatched his briefcase early this morning on Sector 46 and 47 dividing road. Mr Parkash told the police that he had disembarked from a bus and had boarded a rickshaw from near The Tribune chowk at around 5 am. Two cyclists overtook the rickshaw and snatched his briefcase that was lying near his feet. The briefcase was containing a mobile phone, Rs 1,000 and some clothes. He raised an alarm but in vain and the miscreants disappeared in a nearby locality taking advantage of darkness. A case has been registered in this regard.

Held for stealing: Acting on a complaint filed by Sonia, a resident of Indira Colony, Mani Majra, the local police arrested Seema of the same locality on the allegations of stealing. Sonia had alleged in her complaint that Seema was caught red-handed while stealing Rs 500 and a pair of silver ear rings from her residence. The police recovered the stolen property from the accused and registered a case in this regard.

House burgled: Mr Suresh Kumar Dahiya, a resident of Sector 47, reported to the police that one gold mangal sutra, two pairs of gold ear rings, two gold rings, an artificial necklace and Rs 10,000 had been stolen from his residence on Monday. A case has been registered in this regard.

Car stolen: Mr Bhola Ram, a resident of Sector 51, reported to the police that his car (CHI-0013) was stolen from his residence on Sunday night. A case of theft has been registered in this regard.



SMS to win diamonds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
SaharaOne TV channel has launched an interactive contest for the festival season to give an opportunity to its viewers to win diamonds. The contest, named “Kohinoor Ki Divali, Heeron Wali”, is on till October 31. Lucky winners will win diamonds worth Rs 45 lakh.

To participate in the contest, viewers just have to watch the thriller series Kohinoor and sms a unique number that will be flashed on the screen everyday during the show to 9090. Around 300 lucky winners will be selected randomly who will stand to win diamonds. 


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