C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cops get vital clues to Quark staffer’s murder
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 5
The police has gathered vital clues to the murder of Sukhvinder Singh, a 35-year- old engineer and employee of Quark who was shot dead last night barely a few hundred meters from his residence in sector 69 here when he and his wife were taking a walk. Sukhvinder was shot in the neck and reportedly died while being taken to a hospital.

Sukhvinder was working with Quark since July 2000 and had recently been suspended by the company along with 11 others following allegations of misappropriation of funds while dealing with gas stations providing diesel to the company for power generation within Quark City.

The police led by Mr S.M. Sharma, IG Zone, said today that the Ropar police had important leads to the murder and was working on various theories, including whether the murder had something to do with Sukhvinder’s suspension from the company.

Sources in the police added that while those Quark employees allegeSdly involved in the bungling of funds were now being placed under the scanner for murder charges, the two gas station owners who were “supplying” diesel to the company would also be questioned.

The sources hinted that there were many other factors at play that might have led to his killing which could have been “timed” to make it look as if the suspension had something to do with it.

Interestingly, company employees told the police that Sukhvinder and his wife had filed for a mutual divorce some months ago but the two had resolved their problems and were to withdraw their divorce applications today.

The sources added that Sukhvinder had also got a job in Dubai for which he had appeared for an interview in Mumbai on December 3. He had returned from Delhi last afternoon and had also reportedly clinched a deal in the evening to sell off his brand new Mercedes.

However, it seemed Sukhvinder was also trying to sort out issues with Fred Ebrahimi, Quark Chairman. Mr Ebrahimi told the police that Sukhvinder and his elder brother Gurvinder, who is also a Quark employee, had visited him at his residence hours before the incident. Mr Ebrahimi said he had wanted to see only Gurvinder and his parents and refused to see Sukhvinder who was asked to leave.

“He came home and told this to madam over dinner,” recalled Ramu, a domestic help with the couple. “After that, they went for a walk,” he added.

The incident took place just after 10 pm opposite the main gate of Doon International School in Sector 69.

According to the police, the wife who is the sole eyewitness told the police that an unidentified assailant shot at her husband and ran away while they were taking a walk after dinner at about 10 pm near their house. As Sukhvinder fell, she bent down and supported him in her lap and shouted for help.

A couple who lives in a near by house came out hearing cries of help. “We saw her sitting on the road shouting for help but we were too scared and went back inside,” admitted Krishna, the wife.

The school’s peon on duty, Jasbir Singh, came out and helped carry the bleeding victim to Fortis Hospital where he was declared brought dead. The family insisted on rushing Sukhvinder to the PGI where too the doctors declared him brought dead.

While the wife accompanied by her father remained with the police throughout the day, none of the family members, including Gurvinder, agreed to talk to the Press.



Suspension, killing not linked: chief

While Quark Chairman Mr Fred Ebrahimi said today that Sukhvinder’s suspension from the company had “little” to do with his murder, he added, “Had I turned him to the police 10 days ago, it might have saved his life.”

In what could take the lid off a multi-lakh oil scam in Quark, the police would now also look into what led to the suspension of Sukhvinder Singh and 11 others about 10 days ago from the company. The company suspended its security officer Major Apinder Singh today in connection with the scam.

The police is also going through certain e-mails written by Sukhvinder and his wife to Mr Ebrahimi. The police said in one such e-mail, Sukhwinder’s wife had alleged that another senior official of Quark was responsible for the bungling and not Sukhvinder.

Giving a clean chit to that official, Mr Ebrahimi told the police that Sukhvinder and his group were neck deep in the bungling of funds which was going on for over six months. “When the company got suspicious, they ordered an internal inquiry, following which the suspensions were done. The embezzlement involved pilferage of diesel. For example, instead of the tankers carrying 4,000 litres into the campus, it would carry only 2,600 litres. To justify it, the group would record use of generation sets for 18 hours when actually, these were used only for 12 hours. Those who came to know about it were either threatened or lured with money,” said a senior police officer today.

Sukhvinder was often sent on assignments to Europe and the USA and rose swiftly to the position of Head of Department, Electrical Engineering, and was “very close” to the Chairman. Mr Ebrahimi reportedly told the police that he tried hard to give Sukhvinder “one more chance” if he told the absolute truth and Sukhvinder even accepted and confessed to his crime partially, seeking to be forgiven by Mr Ebrahimi.



No sleeveless suits, churidaars for Shivalik teachers
Payal Pruthi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 5
At Shivalik Public School, Mohali, every teacher is a role model but in a different way. The rules of the school go a long way in shaping these role models. The teachers are given strict instructions not to wear sleeveless suits and churidaars. Sports shoes are also prohibited. The teachers have also been told not to keep their hair open and must even avoid red and black colours in their apparel.

The Director of the school, Mr D.S. Bedi, feels that such a dress code for the teachers not only reflects our culture but also helps in preserving it, besides generating role models whom the students will like to emulate. ``If a teacher wearing a sleeveless suit writes on the blackboard, she hardly enjoys any privacy or dignity,’’ opines the Director.

He adds, that the code also lends a certain uniformity which is very important in any school. Ony the sports teacher is allowed to wear sports shoes.

Most of the teachers have little choice but to adhere to the dress code. ``Not only are we prohibited from keeping our hair open but are also asked to tie them in a particular way,’’ said a teacher on the condition of anonymity.

The Director of the school has also instructed the students in B.Ed College not wear jeans but to dress up like would-be teacher.

A similar pattern is also observed at Shivalik Pubilc School, Sector 41.

Meanwhile, no government school in Chandigarh has any particular dress code for its teachers. Talking to The Tribune, Mr R.S. Goraya, Deputy DEO, says that no such instructions have been given to the government schools, though the authorities in the private schools may use their discretion and may have a reason behind such a policy. Ms Meenakshi Mohindra, Principal of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, says that there is no necessity of such a regimentation and the teachers should be comfortable, decent and dignified in whatever they wear and must look smart and active.



All set for 11-storeyed complex in Sector 17
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The heart of the City Beautiful in Sector 17 is all set to be pumping more vibrancy to shopping appetite of the visitors with all groundwork complete for an 11-storeyed commercial complex, which will be the highest building in the city.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr S.K. Sandhu, Finance Secretary, confirmed the development saying tenders seeking ‘Expression of Interest’ will soon be floated. The administration has earmarked 1.95 acres of land for the project in the existing vacant plot between the Jagat Theatre and the General Post Office(GPO).

Mr Sandhu said the 11-storeyed complex was provided for in the Master Plan of Le Corbusier, the master architect. There had seen several rounds of deliberations on the issue in the past. The matter had finally been settled with the administration deciding to go in for auction of the plot. The complex is now slated to be developed by a private developer and the venue can be potentially put to use for offices, plazas and other commercial establishments.

According to the plan, the complex will consist of two structures, one of which will be the 11-storeyed building and another one will be an adjoining two storeyed complex. A senior officer said the project was earlier stuck-up because the administration was considering three different possibilities of going ahead with the implementation. The avenues for the implementation of the project under consideration were appointing a consultant, keeping project details in own hands and the third option was the auction, a senior official said.

The official said a consultant was expected to make the commercial assessments and give the financial details before future plan of action. After careful deliberation, the administration recently has decided to go in for the auction of the plot.

Sources said that the administration, in the past, had organised a public debate on the issue and a section of the public had opposed the project saying that traffic management will be the biggest hurdle in the project as Sector 17 was already facing a problem of over crowding because of vehicular traffic. The administration has sent letters to the office of the Chief Engineer, Chief Engineer of the Municipal Corporation and the Fire Department, separately, in the past asking for objections on the project, if any.

It is learnt that the administration now has worked out the possibility of a detailed plan for management of the traffic at the venue. It has been pointed out in the plan that at least two floors of the basement should be a part of the complex which should cater to the traffic parking. There is also proposal for a sub-way connection to the venue from the ‘Jan Marg’.

The possibility of an alternative venue for parking because of an additional road route will be greatly beneficial in handling the crowd component in successful implementation of the project.



Property cartels push up prices
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The current boom in the real estate market is likely to continue, despite the unrealistic price hike. There has been no let-up in the transaction of property deals, even though most purchases are being made by property cartels.

Most people dealing in property business say that the current boom is artificially created with financiers pumping in their money in real estate, thus jacking up prices. But with property giving much higher and quicker returns than gold, or even investment in shares and bonds, those with a few lakhs to spare are joining hands to form consortiums, which are now dealing in more than 50 per cent of the transactions taking place here.

Businessmen, traders, exporters, agriculturists and government officials — anybody with extra lakhs to spare is investing in property, albeit for a short-term gain. Within days of a deal being struck, the property is sold off after making a neat profit. The consortiums being formed have anything between four and 10 members.

It is because of these consortiums that the property prices in the city have gone up by 300 per cent since October 2003. After the Chandigarh Administration introduced the Apartment Act in 2001, a large number of builders stepped in the real estate business here, buying old houses as investment and are now selling these at huge profits.

The amendment in the Rent Control Act (East Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949 was amended in year 2002) increased the faith of the investors in real estate, thus helping in the current boom. the growth of the information technology sector in the city and the neighbouring towns of Panchkula and Mohali, too, has created a need for more houses, helping in the boom.

Property dealers in the city say that in spite of the artificial hike created by these cartels, the sufferer is the consumer, who is being forced to shell out these impractical prices. Trade pundits insist that the price of a four kanal plot in the city varies from Rs 7. 50 crore to Rs 8. 50 crore, two kanal plot from Rs 4-6 crore; and that of a one kanal plot varies from Rs 2 - 2.5 crore. “The market price of a 14 marla house in the city varies between Rs 1. 5 crore and Rs 2. 5 crore, depending on the sector and location of the plot. A 10-marla house is being sold for anything between Rs 90 lakh and Rs 1.25 crore,” said Mr Amarjit S. Sethi, a leading property dealer in Chandigarh.

Interestingly, though the property dealers insist that transactions are being made at these exhorbitant prices, they fail to explain why the above quoted prices are not applicable in case one is a selling the property. 



Notice to Admn on house to Bitta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The Federation of Lawyers Against Corruption (FOLAC) today served a notice on the Chandigarh Administration regarding alleged unauthorised possession of a government house by the chairman of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF), Mr M.S. Bitta.

Served under Section 80 of the CPC, the notice alleged that Mr Bitta was allotted House No 77 in Sector 7 when he was a minister several years back. However, even years after he ceased to be a minister, Mr Bitta did not vacate the house which amounted to "corrupt practices" besides putting burden on the state exchequer, it alleged.

The notice claimed that Mr Bitta had not even paid the market rent of the house as per rules. Even the administration had remained a mute spectator on the issue and had failed to get the house vacated or realise the rent.

It urged the UT Collector to take action against Mr Bitta as per the directives of the Supreme Court failing which legal action would be initiated.



Alagh pessimistic about Hong Kong WTO meet
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Noted economist and former Union Minister for Planning and Power, Y.K. Alagh, has predicted the failure of the sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to be held in Hong Kong next week. His predication is based on the hypothesis that “the agenda is not in keeping with the interests and needs of the Third World”. India, he said, having emerged the leader of the developing nations would oppose the agenda at the meeting of trade ministers from 148 countries.

“It will only be a repeat of Cancun 2003 as the developing economies christened as G-20 at Cancun had grown to become G-33, frustrating all attempts to create fissures. During Cancun, developing countries took a united stand in refusing to open their markets without concessions from rich countries on their agricultural subsidies resulting in a failure,” he told The Tribune.

According to him, the G20 group, led by regional powers like Brazil, India and China, emerged have emerged as a new force for the US and the EU to seriously contend with. This altered scenario could make it difficult for Director-General Pascal Lamy to achieve a multilateral agreement.

Prof Alagh recalled the role played by India in setting the agenda for WTO’s Special Committee on Agriculture after the Doha round.

Prof Alagh was in town along with a host of important political scientists to participate in a three-day International Consultation of Identifying Peace Issues for research in South Asia organised by the Institute for Development and Communication (IDC), Chandigarh, in collaboration with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), New Delhi at the Extension Centre of IDC at Mohali. Important delegates include Prof S.D Mani, Professor, School of International Studies, Jawharlal Nehru University, Dr Pramod Kumar, Director, IDC, Dr Liaqat Ali, formerly of the World Bank, Prof Johan Galtung, a known authority of Conflict Resolution and Director, Transcend: A Peace and Development Network, Prof Mubarak Ali, historian, Prof Mohammad Salim Khawaja and Prof Mohammad Waseem from Pakistan, Prof Paul Wallace and many other eminent academics from Sri Lanka, USA, Canada and host of other countries.

Prof Galtung presented a model for redressal of conflict in Nepal, Myanmar, Kashmir and Sri Lanka. According to him the solution best suited for Sri Lanka was an asymmetrical federation with bicameral legislature, while Nepal should go in for Maoist goals with democratic means under a constitutional monarchy.

For Kashmir he recommends merging of Laddakh and Jammu regions with India, giving Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir to Pakistan and turning to Kashmir valley into an independent state under joint governance of India and Pakistan — a confederation with open borders.



Chandigarh Calling

Season to bask in the sun: The December sun is the most sought after commodity these days when the chill has finally set in. Just a few months ago people were doing all they could do to shut the sun out of their homes and lives but now each ray of sunshine is precious. Such is the song of the seasons for the likes of us living in extreme climates. Basking in the sun is the greatest luxury in these cold months and Tribune photographer Pradeep Tewari brings this charming picture from the Panjab University campus where students are caught taking a nap outside the library. Well, this is a case of catching a few winks while the sun shines.

Ball boy: The city wiz-kids are doing wonders, it seems. Twelve-year-old Garry Amor Singh from Saint John’s is one such tennis buff. Selected as a ball boy for the Australian Open Tennis Grand slam out of 300 people at a camp organised at Delhi, this young lad is justifiably excited. For, he’ll be seen in action in January, 2006, with top-notch tennis players. An active member of the Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association, this boy seems to have tennis flowing in his veins. No wonder, he practices tennis or four to five hours daily. Though presently excited about meeting the bigwigs of tennis at this international tournament, this boy dreams big. He wants to be a Tennis star himself! A product of Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association, this tennis-lover is among the bright city kids who are into sports right from their childhood.

Political shaadis: It was a week of the weddings of the bigwigs of the Punjab sarkar. Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal’s son’s wedding was in Chandigarh and media adviser to the CM Bharat Inder Singh Chahal’s son’s wedding in Patiala. Bhattal and Chahal do not see eye to eye and are considered opponents. However, guests at the two parties found that the snacks were the same. How come? Well, both had hired the services of the same caterer called Palli. The brands of the liquor were different. The Bhattals went in for ‘100 Pipers’ and the Chahals for ‘Black Dog’.

Uncle DJ: And now to more common weddings for the week was full of them. At a marriage, a child was heard shouting, “DJ walle Uncle aa gaye”. Marriages these days are not complete without music and a DJ in tow. Whether, the orchestra man-turned DJ walla can mix the sounds well is of little importance. There should be music loud and clear so that everyone can dance to fill.

Hockey league: The pre-launch function of the Premier Hockey League on December 1 by big-time sponsors at the Taj has given a ray of hope for the national sport to come up again. The event to be held on January 5 in the city has everyone excited. The new floodlights are likely to come up by the end of this month at the Sector 42 hockey stadium. The Chandigarh Hockey Academy boys will have the great opportunity to watch this PHL and of course the chance to groom themselves for the better days for Indian hockey.

Bumpy ride: You must have got bored with the bumps of everyday life. Now if you want to have a bumpy ride we will tell you the road. On the Sectors 20,27,28 and 29 roundabout, you find potholes, bumps and everything you can imagine that can give you the jerks of your lifetime. No vehicle shocker can save one from the trauma. Will the Municipal Corporation do something about it?

Amitabh SMS: The illness of superstar Amitabh Bachchan has been a matter of concern to his fans. So the SMS brigade has been active and here is one playing on the ads he appears for saying: (Read Amitabh’s Stomach Ache): Excessive intake of Chyavanprash, Pepsi zyada ho gya, Hajmola kam pad gaya and teeka bhi nahi lagvaya hoga!

Contributors: Arvind Katyal, Anandita Gupta, Rajiv Bhatia, Paramvir S. Bains and Nirupama Dutt



2 docs accused of demanding money
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 5
Two patients at the General Hospital today accused a surgeon and an anaesthetist of demanding and accepting money from their relatives on the pretext of getting them medicines for the patients at wholesale prices.

The relatives of the two patients alleged that they had given money to the doctors thinking that their kin would be properly operated upon.

The Senior Medical Officer of the hospital, Dr Kamla Singh, said she had conducted an inquiry into the incident and the patients had retracted their statements.

“I have warned the doctors that such an incident, if it has taken place, should not be repeated,” she said.

Ram Singh was operated upon for piles at the hospital around 10:30 am today.

His friend Ramesh Kumar, who accompanied him to the hospital, told Chandigarh Tribune that the surgeon demanded Rs 2,000 from him, saying he would use the money to buy medicines at wholesale prices.

“We gave him the money after Baldhar, another patient Basanti Devi’s son, said he had given Rs 2,500 to the surgeon for the same purpose,” he added.

The surgeon, when contacted, denied that he had demanded and accepted money from the patients and claimed that the allegations were levelled to defame him.

The anaesthetist refuted the allegations, saying he had never met the kin of any of the patients.

“I was inside the operation theatre, giving anaesthesia and monitoring the patient,” he said.

The matter was brought to the notice of Dr Kamla Singh, who asked for the files of the patients and asked a two-member team of doctors to assist her in the inquiry.

She later said the patients had withdrawn the charges.



Air Marshal Chaturvedi arrives at 3 BRD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command, Air Marshal K S Chaturvedi, arrived at No. 3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) here on a three-day official visit today. On his arrival, he was received by the Air Officer Commanding, 3 BRD, Air Cmde R.K. Srivastava.

The Maintenance Command chief will review a ceremonial parade tomorrow and address officers, airmen and civilian staff posted at 3 BRD, which is the IAF’s largest helicopter maintenance establishment. He will also inspect sections and sites at the depot and review ongoing projects.

A graduate of BITS, Pillani, Air Marshal Chaturvedi was commissioned into the IAF in 1969. Prior to taking over as AOC-in-C, he served as Air Officer-in-Charge Maintenance at Air Headquarters, dealing with all maintenance and logistic activities, and Senior Maintenance Staff Officer of the Bangalore-based Training Command.

He was also responsible for re-orienting specialised technical training in the IAF to enhance flight safety.



Residents complain against digging
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Residents of Sector 40 are complaining against the telephone company that has dug up a large number of trenches all over the sector.
The Residents Coordination Committee has pointed out that it is not known to the public as to whether the company has got permission from the authorities concerned.

Nobody knows as to where the company has been authorised to lay the cable and for what purpose is the land being dug up.

Mr S.K. Khosla, general secretary of the committee, MIG-I houses, Sector 40, has said the committee has demanded an inquiry in this regard and has requested the Municipal Corporation to apprise the people through a public notice as to whether the company has got the requisite permission and if so, for what purpose and where the cables are to be laid as a lot of money is involved in filling up the trenches after the digging is over.

The ditches are endangering the lives of residents during darkness as any mishap can take place.

Earlier too, a contractor, while installing tiles in the berms of the park facing houses 2850 to 2885, had caused intensive damage to the water pipes, which had been got replaced by the residents after spending about Rs 15,000.

The contractor was yet to make the payment even after the passage of a month.



BSF proposal to recruit widows of its personnel
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The Border Security Force (BSF) is proposing to recruit widows of service personnel who have died in harness, as regular combatants in the force. This is being done to ensure adequate rehabilitation of eligible widows whose husbands.

The proposal to recruit widows comes in the backdrop of the BSF planning to raise an all women's battalion. Being combatants, they would be wearing the BSF regulation accoutrements and would have to undergo professional service training similar to their male counterparts.

A senior BSF officer told The Tribune here today that the authorities were receiving a large number of requests from widows for rehabilitation, but the scope for employment in the BSF establishment and other welfare ventures was quite limited.

Officers said the women so recruited would be attached with regular BSF battalions on active deployment where the need of women constables is warranted.

The strength of women combatants would depend on local requirement.

The plan to raise an all women's battalion was mooted during the BSF conference in Shillong earlier this year. "The requirement for women combatants was being felt for a long time as a lot of women workers were passing through the fence along the international border to work in fields," a BSF officer here said.

There are pockets along the border, both on the western as well as the eastern frontiers, where traditionally only the women folk go out to work in the fields.

Till now, the BSF had an ad hoc arrangement to search women workers returning from the other side of the fence. At times the services of the wives of local village panchayats members were availed, while at certain times one of the women workers was asked to search other members in the group.

The BSF would be the third para military organisation to have women combatants.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) already has an all women's battalion, commonly called the Mahila battalion, which has been actively deployed on internal security duties.

The elite National Security Guards (NSG) has also inducted women Black Cat commandos, the first batch of which passed out from the NSG centre last month.



New communist party formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
Nine communist factions working in 14 different states today decided to form the Marxwadi Bharti Communist Party (U). Mr Jagjit Singh Layalpuri, veteran Communist leader, has been made convener of the party.

Mr Jagjit Singh said the new party would hold its congress in February. A breakaway faction of the Punjab CPM headed by Mr Mangat Ram Pasla has also merged in the party. At the February congress, party’s programme, party-line, political resolutions and party’s constitutions would be made public.

Mr Pasla, who was also here, said the new party had been set up because the CPM had abandoned the party programme that was adopted in 1964. He said some communist leaders had played the role of villains in the movement for peoples’ democratic revolution.

The leadership of the new party said though the CPM criticised the policies of bourgeois parties, it implemented the capitalist policies in West Bengal where it was ruling. All its propaganda against the capitalist policies was a fraud, they added.

Among the leaders present at the time of formation of the party were Mr Prem Singh Bhangu, Mr Harkanwal Singh, Mr Chander Shekhar and Mr Tarlochan Singh.



City BJP Chief bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Ram Chand Mahajan, father of Yash Pal Mahajan, president BJP unit of Chandigarh, died last night.
He was 91. He is survived by four sons and three daughters.

Satya Pal Jain and other senior BJP leaders paid floral tributes to the deceased. Senior leaders of the RSS, the Sewa Bharti, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, the Mahajan Sabha and various other social organisations of the city also paid their tributes. 



Power men hold march
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Employees of the Electricity Department today marched to various offices all over the city seeking participation in the ‘boycott of work on December 7’ and complete strike on December 8.

A press note here today said the demands of the employees of the Electricity Department re-designation of posts of RTMs and ALM from the date of regularisation, stoppage in the reduction of pay, jobs to the next of the kin of the deceased employees and to the discontinuation of privatisation, besides others.



Fauji Beat
Restraint needed in accepting civil admn’s requests

It has become a fashion to call the Army at the drop of a hat. No doubt, the secondary role of the Army is to provide aid to civil administration. But this does not mean that the Army’s help should be asked for any and everything that the civil administration does not like to do.

The other day, the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation requested the Army to get garbage spread over 14 acres of land near Warriana village cleared. The Army readily agreed to undertake this task and the Vajra Corps put its engineer regiment on the job. Neither was it correct for the civil administration to request the Army to clear the garbage, nor was it right for the Army to accept this request because this has set a wrong precedence.

There is no city that does not have garbage clearance problem, Chandigarh is one of them. Would it be possible for the Army to accept such requests from the other municipal corporation also? Why have these corporations at all, if they are not to do their specified duties? The Army should not misconstrue the civil-military relations to overdoing things. On the one hand the Army often cribs that it is called out too frequently for helping the civil administration and on the other it provides help on unjustified requests.Why this dichotomy?

Woes of ECHS members

In the last Army Commanders Conference, the Chief of the Army Staff, General J.J. Singh, gave orders that the welfare funds should be utilised for the purchase of medicines and medical appliances for the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) members.

The Command Hospital, Chandimandir, it is understood, does not have enough welfare funds to purchase medicines. Incidentally, in 2003, this hospital was spending over Rs 1 lakh for the purchase of medicines every day when on an average more than 1,000 outdoor patients were drawing medicines from the hospital dispensary every day. This was the time when no patient left the hospital without all the prescribed medicines. Since bulk of the canteen profits accrue from the sale of CSD stores to the ex-servicemen. There is no reason why more funds should not be allotted for their welfare from this profit.

This dissatisfaction level of the ECHS members is mounting with each passing day because of the non-availability of medicines with the polyclinics. Due to this, the medical specialists at the Chandigarh polyclinic, to quote only one example, write the prescription slips for the patients and send them to the Command Hospital to get the medicines from there. But they still do not get these medicines unless these prescriptions are counter-signed by the appointed medical specialist at the Command Hospital. This is because either the specialist at the hospital does not consider these medicines essential for the patients or these are not available there.This writer saw at least 10 such patients, on a particular day last week, who failed to get all the medicines prescribed by the polyclinic.

IAF’s only PVC

It was on December 3, 1971, Pakistan surprised India by launching pre-emptive air strikes on several Indian airfields, in Srinagar, Avantipur, Halwara, Ambala, Agra, Jamnagar, Jodhpur, Sirsa and Uttarlai. The Indian Air Force (IAF) gave a befitting reply to this by carrying out massive bombing raids in Pakistan. It was Fg. Offr. Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon who exhibited exemplary courage by taking off during the Pakistan air strike on Srinagar airfield to chase the enemy aircraft. He inflicted heavy damage on the enemy by making the supreme sacrifice of his life. He was awarded the Param Vir Chakra (posthumously). The IAF is proud of the unparalleled bravery of this officer for winning the first and the only PVC in the air force.

— Pritam Bhullar



Tributes paid

Chandigarh, December 5
Param Vir Chakra Day was observed at 14 Gorkha Training Centre (GTC), Subathu, to pay tributes to Capt Gurbachan Singh Salaria, who had made the supreme sacrifice during a United Nations mission in Congo on this day in 1961.

Floral tributes were paid to Captain Salaria at the Salaria Park, constructed in his memory. Wreaths were laid on behalf of Lieut-Gen Arvind Sharma, Colonel of the Fourth Gorkha Rifles and Brig P.C.S. Khatri, Colonel of the First Gorkha Rifles. — TNS



Five held for snatching
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The UT police today arrested five suspected robbers from the forest area near Burail jail. One country-made pistol, two live cartridges, besides two small swords and knives, were recovered from their possession.

With the arrest of these five the police claims to have solved at least six cases of snatching, which spanned across the last two years. Three mobile phones, one gold chain and two lady's purses and two Vespa scooters were also recovered from the accused.

DSP K.I.P. Singh said while the five were arrested, two of their associates managed to escape. The accused, Rishi Deep (20) and Phool Singh, both residing at Government Model High School, Sector 43 A, and Mohan Lal (20), Vishal Shama (20), Mahfooj (21) and Ayub Khan (25), all residents of Burail, used to snatch mobile phones and purses during evening hours, SHO Kewal Krishan said.

The accused who managed to escape are Raja Ram (27) and Nadeem. The police also recovered 20 g of smack from the possession of Ayub and 15 g from Mahfooj.

The police said more recoveries could be made as their interrogation was still on.



Rape suspect arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The Chandigarh police today arrested Manohar Kumar Gupta, alias Kaptan, a pimp, in connection with the alleged abduction and rape of a woman who is suspected to be part of a prostitution network.

Manohar, a resident of village Dhanas, has several cases of immoral trafficking registered against him. He was arrested by the police at Dhanas. The police claims to have recovered from him Rs 4,700 and mobile bills belonging to the victim.

Central Division DSP S.S. Randhawa and Crime Branch DSP Om Prakash claimed today that Manohar had forcibly taken the woman from the ISBT, Sector 17, on Friday night as she reached there to board a bus to New Delhi.

According to sources, a fight broke out between the two as the woman wanted to go to Delhi as her daughter was unwell.

However, Manohar insisted that she stay back the night to meet prospective clients from whom he had already taken the advance. It was here that a fight ensued between them and the woman, who was under influence of liquor, was dumped by them in the woods near Dhanas.



Jewellery, cash stolen from Sec 2 house
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 5
Cash and gold jewellery have been stolen from the house of Lt-Col D.S. Gill (retd), in Sector 2 here.
He and other family members were away to Kurukshetra when the burglary took place. When they returned late in the evening, they found the locks broken and the house ransacked. 


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