C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ali regales legal luminaries from India, Pak
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, December 9
The golden jubillee celebrations of the Punjab and Haryana High Court got off to a majestic start with an array of legal luminaries from India and Pakistan hailing the two greatest singers of our times- Ghulam Ali and Raj Gayak Hans Raj Hans.

The Chief Justice of India, Mr Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, was the chief guest on the occasion, and was accorded a warm welcome by the sitting judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, led by the Chief Justice, Mr Justice D.K. Jain, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and the Finance Minister, Punjab, Mr Surinder Singla.

The Rock Garden was beautifully illuminated, and statues made by Nek Chand were installed at the entrance to welcome the almost 4000 guests.

The legendary ghazal maestro, Ghulam Ali, mesmerized the audience with his soulful ghazals. Adulations flowed as he started with, “Fassle aise bhi honge , yeh kabhi socha na tha...” reflecting the old ties between the Punjabis on both sides of the border. He embellished the ghazals with couplets from other ghazals while doling out his all time hit,” Kal chaudhavin ki raat thi...” . Hardly had the cheer stopped when he augmented the tempo with a Punjabi classic,” Chambe diye band kaliye...” before moving on to delicately rendered,”Dil mein ek lehar si uthi hai abhi...”.

The maestro established an instant rapport with his mesmerized audience, who sent in one request after another. The popular ghazals were followed by the classical ones, including “Hungama hai kyun barpa...” , “Woh kahani phir sahi...” and “Chupe Chupke...”.

Despite a sore throat, the Ustad displayed mesmerizing vocalism with his usual hynotising effect. His accompanists included Arshad from Mumbai on the guitar, Amjad Chaudhary on the tabla, Abral on the santoor, Matloob Hussain on the sitar and Allaudin Khan on the dilruba.

Earlier, Hans Raj Hans enthralled the gathering at the Rock Garden with his ghazals and sufiana kalam.

The audience burst into appluase as he rendered “Mera Sohna Sajan Ghar Aaya...”, as a welcome to Ustad Ghulam Ali. He rendered Sufiana kalams of Shah Hussain and Sultan Bahu.

In a close interaction with The Tribune, Ghulam Ali shared his views on music trends and tradition. Unlike many compatriots influenced by western music in the realm of classical music, he reiterated his commitment to the promotion and propagation of the ghazal, thumri and classical arts. My disciples, the foremost being my sons Mazar Ghulam Ali, Amir Ghulam Ali, Sazzad Ali, Naim Ali, and Maqbul Bali.



VIP guests arrive for HC golden jubilee celebrations
Our High Court Correspondent

The illuminated building of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the eve of the golden jubilee celebrations in Chandigarh.
Effervescent Glory: The illuminated building of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the eve of the golden jubilee celebrations in Chandigarh. — Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, December 9
The Chief Justice of India, Mr Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, Judges of the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi, arrived here today to participate in tomorrow’s functions to mark the golden jubilee of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Meanwhile, another delegation of Judges and lawyers from the Lahore High Court arrived here today to participate in the celebrations.

Led by the Lahore High Court Judge, Mr Justice Khwaja Mohammed Sharif, the delegation comprised eight Judges and nine advocates. They were received at the Wagah Indo-Pak border check-post by executive members of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association and law officers of the Punjab Government.

However, the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court did not arrive with the delegation. The reason for his no-show was not made public.

As per the schedule, the main function will begin at 10.30 am with the arrival of the chief guest, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

The Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice D.K. Jain, will welcome the guests and give a brief history of the High Court.

His address will be followed by addresses by Mr Atul Lakhanpal, president, Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, Mr Justice Ashok Bhan, Judge, Supreme Court of India, Mr Hans Raj Bhardwaj, Union Law and Justice Minister, CJI Y.K. Sabharwal.

The CJI will be followed by Gen S.F. Rodrigues, Governor, Punjab, and Dr A.R. Kidwai, Governor, Haryana.

Thereafter, President Kalam will deliver the keynote address.

The formal vote of thanks will be presented by Mr Justice H.S. Bedi, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court.



The path-breaking Judge from Pakistan
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Former Lahore High Court Judge and president of the Lahore HC Bar Association Fakhar-u-Nisa Khokhar being welcomed by Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association president Atul Lakhanpal (third from right), secretary Lokesh Sinhal (extreme right) and former Haryana Advocate-General Mohan Jain (left) on her arrival in Chandigarh on Thursday evening.
Former Lahore High Court Judge and president of the Lahore HC Bar Association Fakhar-u-Nisa Khokhar being welcomed by Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association president Atul Lakhanpal (third from right), secretary Lokesh Sinhal (extreme right) and former Haryana Advocate-General Mohan Jain (left) on her arrival in Chandigarh on Thursday evening. — Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan 

Chandigarh, December 9
The Supreme Court ruling upholding a Muslim woman's right to claim maintenance from her divorced husband created a storm in "progressive" India, forcing the legislature to overturn the judicial verdict in the Shah Bano case. However, a similar judgement in the "puritan" Pakistan motivated the legislature to make a law supporting the judicial edict.

The Pakistani Judge, who passed the "very bold" judgement, Justice (Ms) Fakhar-u-Nisa Khokhar (retd), is here these days to participate in the golden jubilee celebrations of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. "I come from the Lahore High Court, which is the mother of the Punjab and Haryana High Court," says Justice Khokhar, who is the first woman president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association and is heading a delegation of advocates from Lahore to Chandigarh. She was the first puisne Judge of the Lahore High Court before she retired on December 20 last year. Justice Khokhar was due for promotion as the Chief Justice but was superseded in 2002, perhaps because of her "very bold judgements in matters relating to family and public affairs".

Though a High Court Judge is debarred from practising before the High Court or the subordinate judiciary for two years after his retirement under the Pakistan Constitution, he can contest the elections of the Bar Association. "I was inspired to contest the election by Sir Achhru Ram who contested the Bar Association elections twice after he retired as the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court in early 1900s. It was 22 years ago that a woman had contested the Bar body elections but she was defeated."

After her retirement she compiled her landmark judgements in a book. "My Judgement", a copy of which she presented to the former Advocate-General of Haryana, Mr Mohan Jain, who hosted a dinner for the Pakistani delegation last night. She proudly tells her "brother Mohan" that she is a Rajput Khokhar.

In a case parallel to the Shah Bano case, Justice Khokhar granted maintenance to a woman for two years after "Idat" (mandatory period of abstinence for a woman after divorce) for breast feeding her baby. The judgement was made a law by the Punjab Assembly. "I gave the custody of the child to a dancing woman on the ground that the man claiming custody of the child had not only married the woman knowing well that she was a dancing girl but allowed her to continue her profession in Dubai after the marriage also."

The public interest litigation (PIL) is popular in Pakistan also. Justice Khokhar remembers a case which came before her by way of a PIL. A Hindu had donated his property for an educational institution before migrating to India. However, the local body wanted to convert the property into a shopping plaza. She not only quashed the decision of the local body but also passed strictures against it, saying that "it is unfortunate that while a Hindu has donated his property to promote the cause of education of women among the Muslims, representatives of the people, instead of furthering the cause, are trying to subvert it."

Talking about "Hadood laws", Justice Khokhar says: "As a lawyer I think when a religion allows a man and a woman to marry each other, why should Hadood laws be implemented. A strong positive legislation is required to check the police from misusing the Hadood laws. It is for the legal community to save people living in far-flung areas from bad customs and traditions by strengthening the judiciary and enforcing law."

She says democracy provides for a strong judiciary and stops the executive from interfering in the judicial affairs.



Elaborate security for Kalam’s visit
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 9
The Chandigarh police today claimed to have made elaborate security arrangements in wake of the scheduled visit of the President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to the city tomorrow. Taking a serious note of recent terrorist threats, the local police is leaving nothing to chance and security rehearsals were carried out during the day to check the arrangements.

The President is scheduled to preside over the golden jubilee celebrations of Punjab and Haryana High Court. As per the tentative programme, the President will arrive in the city around 10 am and be at the high court till 12:30 pm before proceeding to Punjab Raj Bhavan for a vegetarian lunch.

An alert notice has been issued by the Chandigarh police for the President’s visit. A meeting of the senior officials of the Chandigarh Administration and police was conducted today to work out the programme.

The security agencies provide security cover all along the route through which the President’s cavalcade would pass. Sharpshooters of the police would be stationed atop high-rise buildings all along the route. As a part of the rehearsal a mock exercise was conducted this afternoon with at least 20 vehicles. The cavalcade went from the airport to the venue and the entire exercise lasted for about two hours. During the exercise small traffic jams were witnessed on the route.

As a part of the security measures the local police has carried out massive operation to verify the antecedents of recent settlers in Chandigarh, virtually converting the city into a police cantonment.

Search operations were carried throughout the day at the inter-state bus terminuses in Sectors 17 and 43. Passengers boarding buses were thoroughly frisked. Their bags and baggage were also searched. Special checks were also carried at the railway station, hotels, motels, guest houses and even dhabas, all over the city.

Even late in the evening, traffic police personnel could be seen patrolling the length and breadth of the city.

A senior officer added that snipers belonging to the operation cell of the Chandigarh Police, along with Home Guard personnel and other cops, had been “heavily deployed”.



MC eyes land in UT villages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
After the successful auction of residential site in Mani Majra which fetched Rs 108.01 crore, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation is now eyeing the unacquired land in the UT villages.

Anticipating that once the control of the villages was vested with it, the land worth crores of rupee in the villages would come under its control, the corporation plans to utilize it for various purposes. In the agenda item being brought in the forthcoming meeting of Finance and Contract Committee, the corporation plans to spend around Rs 40 crore for paying the land compensation.

Sources said citing the case of Notified Area Committee, Mani Majra, when the land had been acquired during the early nineties for development of residential-cum-commercial complex, officers in the corporation said the land was being used for the same purpose.

The sources did not rule out the possibility of the corporation earning several crores by auctioning prime chunks of land in the villages. The corporation has sought information regarding the unacquired land from the Land Acquisition Officer (LAO).

Another reason for acquiring the land is said to be the renotification of certain more function to be performed by the MC.

The land falls in Badheri, Bahlana, Bair Majra, Burail, Dadu Majra, Daria, Dhanas, Hallo Majra, Kaimbwala, Kejheri, Khuda Alisher, Khuda Jassu, Khuda Lahora, Maloya, Mani Majra, Mauli Jagran, Raipur Kalan, Raipur Khurd, Sarangpur, Shahpur Cholian and Tatarpur.



Match or no match, city is ready
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
Whether or not Chandigarh gets to host the one-day international between India and England, scheduled for the end of March, 2006, the Chandigarh Administration is already on the job to upgrade the existing facilities to make it a fit venue, with all the state-of-the-art facilities.

Mr S.K. Sandhu, Finance Secretary, said, “Whether we get the match or not, the stadium will be fully equipped to host one well before the expected date. The Administration has earmarked Rs 6.7 crore for the upgradation project and work has already begun in full swing.”

Mr Sandhu said the stadium would have an electronic scoreboard. The seating capacity of the stadium, which was approximately 20,000, would be increased to at least 25,000. The stadium would have the latest super sopper ground equipment (water draining machine), besides other facilities.

Special attention was being paid for creating a cafeteria with good facilities for the general public. There would be a new block for players as well.

The venue, in the past, had come under question as a suitable match-hosting venue for want of adequate infrastructural facilities, an electronic screen for showing the score, a well-equipped media box and space for more spectators.

Officials of the UT Administration are engaged in the job of quick completion of the renovation project. “Without compromising on the quality of work, special care is being taken in maintaining the green cover of the stadium. The existing trees will also not be touched to make any alterations”, Mr Sandhu said.

The stadium as a venue for a cricket match had been in the news recently over whether it would get the opportunity to host the match or not. Putting all controversy to rest, a two-member team of the Board of Control of Cricket in India, consisting of newly elected Joint Secretary M.P. Pandove and Executive Secretary Ratnakar Shetty, would inspect the facilities at the stadium.

They would be here to recommend as to whether the stadium here could be made ready for hosting the one-day match between India and England. The committee would visit the stadium between December 13 and 15.

The stadium, in the past, had been a venue for at least four one-day internationals, one Test and a three-day match between the West Indies and Board President’s XI. England played India twice in one-dayers at the venue, in 1985 and in 1993. The venue witnessed a Reliance Cup match between Australia and New Zealand in 1987 and an India-Bangladesh match in 1998.

An India-Sri Lanka Test was the only Test played at the stadium. A three-day tie between the West Indies and the Board President’s XI was also hosted. Narendra Hirwani, a spinner, was discovered during this match.

The Chandigarh Administration is learnt to have assured the Haryana Cricket Association, which is keen to host the match, that it would not spare any efforts to upgrade the facilities at the stadium in order to get the match played in the city.



130 oustees apply for plots in MDC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 9
The screening committee for the oustees of the Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 2 and 6 met under the chairmanship of the HUDA Administrator, Panchkula, Ms Neelam P. Kasni, to settle the claims of the oustees.

Though the final list of oustees to be allotted plots in Sector 2 and 6 of the MDC was not released, it is learnt that 130 applications were received. While 84 applications were received for the plots in the Sector 6 MDC, 46 applications were received for the Sector 2 MDC.

Though HUDA rules say that oustees can be allotted only two marla, 10 marla and one kanal plots, the oustees also staked claim for two kanal and 14 marla plots. Four oustees have staked claim for two kanal plots and 10 for 14 marla plots in the Sector 2 MDC, and nine oustees for 14 marla plots in the Sector 6 MDC. HUDA has a policy that an oustee is allotted a two marla plot if landless than 500 square yards is acquired.



Dera Bassi to have medical college
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, December 9
Long-dubbed as educationally-backward area, the Zirakpur-Dera Bassi-Lalru belt is set to emerge as a major medical education centre with the setting up of the Sri Sukhmani Institute of Medical Sciences and Research.

A brain child of Prof Avtar Singh, an educationist-philanthropist running a chain of educational institutions, including the local Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology, the management is toying with the idea of seeking a foreign loan for the setting up of the medical college.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Prof Avtar Singh informed that it was his dream to build a state-of-the-art medical institute at Dera Bassi. We are negotiating with a foreign firm for a Rs 100-crore loan for the setting up the required infrastructure for a medical college. The 32-acre prime land on the highway could be mortgaged for raising the loan, to be utilised for the development of infrastructure, he added.

In fact, the institute has already moved several steps closer to the establishment of the medical college. It already has a 50-bedded hospital and OPD running on the complex. The necessary approvals for the start of the nursing and dental courses, which get under way next year, had already been obtained by the management.

The start of the nursing and dental colleges are seen as precursors to the establishment of a full-fledged medical college.

The process for the setting up of the medical college, a long-pending demand of the residents of the subdivisional town comprising over 250 villages, was set in motion when the management acquired land on the National Highway 22 on the Chandigarh-Ambala road from the Tata group. Rallis India Limited, a Tata company, had already shut operations from here. The location of the hospital on the prime land on the national highway would be an added advantage for the start of the hospital. Besides, the four-laning of the Zirakpur-Ambala stretch of the highway would cut down travelling time between Dera Bassi-Chandigarh and Ambala-Dera Bassi.



Happy with cops, Quark institutes award
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 9
Terming the cracking of Sukhvinder’s murder case as a brilliant job done by the Punjab Police, Mr Fred Ebrahimi, QuarkCity Chairman, today said the company had instituted an award for the Punjab Police personnel who had solved the case. A corpus of Rs 25 lakh had been set aside by the company for the purpose, for which further donations would be solicited.

Stating that the past few days had been nightmarish for him, Mr Ebrahimi said he had treated Sukhvinder like his son. “Whatever his personal life, I am grieving his loss,” he said.

“Sukhvinder and his gang were involved in bungling crores from the company. Neki knew about this. She and the man she was involved with were using the money cheated out of my company. Sukhvinder was also giving large amounts of the money to his father-in-law for laundering. We have evidence to show this,” alleged Mr Ebrahimi.

“Still I offered to give Sukhvinder a second chance on three conditions: he should tell me the complete truth about the scam; he should return the entire amount that he had bungled to the company; and he should get psychiatric help. But he did not agree,” said Mr Ebrahimi, adding that he knew about Sukhvinder’s family situation.

“It was a sick relationship. Both were immoral and unethical and a criminal took advantage of both. I had warned Neki that this would lead to either Sukhvinder killing someone or someone killing him,” he said. Mr Ebrahimi said he and the other company employees too provided vital clues to the police, that helped them nab the culprits.

“I appreciate that senior Punjab Police officials, including the Punjab DGP, remained awake these three or four days, working tirelessly to solving the case,” said Mr Ebrahimi, adding that the media should project the police in a positive light when it did a good job so that it encouraged them to do better.

“I have been an emotional wreck for these past few days. I was scared for my life also. I did not sleep in my house. There was a time when I actually considered going back to the USA. But I was advised against going back by the Chief Minister and the DGP,” he said.

Future undecided

Asked about the company’s future plans in light of this incident, Mr Ebrahimi said: “Corruption is a major problem of this nation. We will see how the matter is handled and then decide if we have to stay here in India and expand or not. If the truth is brushed under the carpet, we will like to wrap up our work here,” he said, adding that many others who had followed the company to Mohali would have second thoughts.

Mr P.S. Sehgal, the company’s MD, said the attack was more focused at him. “I believe that it is the result of animosity. This city does not have the maturity to handle corporate culture. In fact, I advised Fred against putting too much risk capital in this area,” he said, adding that the QuarkCity project would continue as planned. 



Rs 92.49 lakh penalty imposed on erring power consumers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The Electricity Wing of the Engineering Department of the Chandigarh Administration has imposed a penalty of Rs 92.49 lakh on the electricity consumers who were either found using unauthorised load or involved in the theft of electricity during the routine checking carried out from June to September, an official press note said here today.

The random checking of various residential, commercial and industrial premises on regular basis is being carried out by the field officers and the Enforcement Cell to curb the menace of theft of electricity and to detect consumers using unauthorised load which causes loss of revenue to the department.

During the checking carried out from June to September, as many as 417 consumers were found using excess unauthorised load and 159 number of theft cases were detected and penalty of Rs 92.49 lakh was imposed by the department.

The administration has requested all consumers to get their unauthorised load regularised and also to come forward to give information about the persons indulging in the theft of power. This will lead to improving the quality of power supply and enable the department to provide uninterrupted supply to people.



Senior citizens get Net training

Chandigarh, December 9
The Sector 30 branch of the State Bank of India, organised a Computer-Internet training programme for senior citizens of Sri Sathya Sai Old Age Home, Sector 30, Chandigarh. The two-week training programme which concluded today covered the basics of computers, use of MS-Office, e-mail and internet. E-mail Ids for the participants were also created during the programme and use of Internet banking was explained.

Mr Sanjay Sharma from SBI, Staff Training Centre, Panchkula, conducted the training programme. — OC



BJP stir threat over roads
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 9
The local unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party today gave a one-month ultimatum to the district administration for starting the repair of roads in the township.

Mr Ravinder Sehgal, President of the BJP unit of Panchkula, said the roads in the township were in a pitiable condition, which often led to accidents. “The Municipal Council has been taking lakhs of rupees as house tax and fire tax, but there is no development in the town. The external roads were repaired by HUDA, but none of the internal roads in the township have been repaired for several years now,” he alleged.

The BJP President said that though the Congress had promised to stop the house tax and dissolve the MC, during its election campaign, nothing had been done so far. He said the BJP would launch an agitation if work on road repair does not begin soon.

Mr Sehgal also said that he had asked all three party councillors — Mr V.K. Sood, Mr C.B. Goel and Ms Jagdamba Gupta — not to attend any informal meeting called by the Congress councillors, and toe the party line in all matters related to MC.

Later, he announced the new office-bearers of the district BJP.



VIP number for car fetches Rs 3.05 lakh
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
A Mani Majra-based firm today purchased the “prestigious” number 1 for registration of its vehicle at a cost of Rs 3.05 lakh at an auction conducted by the Registration and Licencing Authority (RLA), Chandigarh. An up market model of Maruti Alto can be bought in the same price.

Sources in the department said that the highest bid for the coveted number CH-03V-0001 was Rs 3.05 lakh when the bidding took place at the auction on Friday. The highest price for auction of number one during the last auction was recorded at Rs 5.05 lakh.

Since the firm is yet to get the vehicle registered, the make of the model of the vehicle to be registered could not be known, said an officer in the authority. The amounts in bidding for the first number of the new series registered went on “shooting right from the word go”.

For the number CH-03V-0002, only Rs 16,500 was bidded against the reserve price of Rs 15,000. The number CH-03V-0009 fetched Rs 42,500. The number CH-03V-00019 was bagged for Rs 25,000.

During the auction, it was pointed out that customers had the option of paying to take a number of their choice above 10. In case of more than one bidder, the number is auctioned.

A senior official said, “There was a rush for the first 10 numbers because they are thought to be status symbols. Another major reason for the heavy bidding is the superstition that people associate with the numbers based on numerology.”

The bidders are required to deposit the money within three days, failing which a penalty of 10 per cent is charged on the balance amount. The recipient of the reserved number is required to get his vehicle registered within one month from the date of auction. In case the vehicle is not registered the auction stands cancelled.



Photo contest winners announced

Chandigarh, December 9
The Department of Tourism of the Chandigarh Administration has announced the names of winners of the photography competition organised on December 1, to promote the city as a tourist destination during all the seasons of the year.

Mr Pankaj Sharma of Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula, Mr Surinder Mohan Dhami (Chandigarh) and Mr Anand C. Shende from Government College of Arts have bagged the first, second and third prizes, respectively, in the first category in which the entire portfolios of six photographs submitted by them have been selected.

The winners of the category in which only one photograph has been selected are Mr Sarvesh Kumar of Government College of Arts, Mr Sanjay Kumbkarni and Mr Pawan Singh, both residents of the city. They have been awarded the first, second and third prizes, respectively.

Professional and amateur photographers were invited to capture the scenic beauty of the city to promote tourism.The prize distribution function and exhibition of the prize winning entries will be held on December 20 at the Government Museum and Arts Gallery, Sector 10. TNS



Union Bank staff stage protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
Members of the Union Bank of India Officers’ Association, Chandigarh unit, in accordance with the direction of their central leadership, staged a protest and handed over a memorandum to the Regional Head of the Bank at Chandigarh here today.

Mr M.R. Rana, general secretary and Mr Anil Malhotra, president of the association, have in a joint statement demanded untimely death of P.M. Vankar, an officer of the bank, who was transferred from Gujarat to Meerut and put on suspension the next day.

Unable to bear the shock, he had died of a heart attack. They further demanded an immediate halt on bank’s unethical policy of far-off transfer and suspension; appropriate compensation for the family of Mr Vankar, including compassionate appointment for a dependant; immediate re-transfer of other officers who have similarly been transferred out of their states and put on suspension there.

Mr M.R. Rana further stated that the present management was bent upon destroying all established norms of the bank and unleash a reign of terror. This has resulted in resentment among officers who have always been known for their commitment and dedicated services and have made the bank number one bank among all nationalised banks of the country. If the management continued with its adamant attitude, the officers will have no choice but to proceed on a day’s token strike on December 30, notice for which has already been served by their federation.



Kerala Bhavan stone to be laid tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 9
Mr T.K.A. Nair, IAS, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister, Government of India, will lay the foundation stone of the Kerala Bhavan at Phase XI here on Sunday.

Mr Raghunath Sahay Puri, Minister for Urban Development and Housing, Punjab Government, will be the special guest and Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, the guest of honor on the occasion. Construction of building shall also be started from this day onwards.

The Kerala Bhavan will provide a common platform as a cultural and literacy centre, to foster art, culture and civilisation of Kerala. The Cultural Centre will also arrange training programmes to develop a special combination of both the cultural forms of Kerala and Punjab.



Safe use of LPG cylinders stressed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
An Indane clinic on LPG cylinder safety was conducted at Government Nursing School at the Government Hospital, Sector 16, here today.

A press note said the clinic was conducted by the Indian Oil Corporation and M\s Sunshine Gas Company . Mr Rajeev Sharma, Deputy Manager of the local unit of the IOC, talked about safety procedures to be adopted for the use of LPG cylinders. In case of leakage, no electricity switch in the room should be turned off or on. The rubber tube should be replaced after every two years.

He said carrying of weighing machines should be made mandatory for the agencies while supplying the LPG cylinders. Every customer should verify the weight before accepting the cylinder.



Pistol recovered

Mohali, December 9
The Mohali police today claimed to have recovered the .32 bore pistol that was used for killing Sukhvinder Singh, the 35-year-old Quark engineer who was shot dead on Sunday night. Himmat Singh, alias Brandy, and Neki Nalwa, wife of the deceased had been arrested for having committed the crime.

Sources said Himmat had taken away the weapon from the house of his friend Vicky in Amritsar. The weapon reportedly belonged to Vicky’s relative and was lying in his house in Amritsar. The licence of the weapon had expired. The sources added that Vicky had been serving a term in Amritsar jail and did not know that Himmat, who had access to his house, had taken away the pistol.

Himmat also used the pistol to fire shots in the air at the marriage party that he went to attend following the murder. The police today registered a separate case against Himmat at the Zirakpur police station for firing shots in the air.

Meanwhile, a Kharar court today remanded Neki in judicial custody. She was presented in the court today following the end of her one-day police remand. TNS



Rickshaw-puller held for minor’s rape
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 9
The local police today arrested a 24-year-old rickshaw puller on a charge of raping a minor girl in Sector 52.

Sources in the Sector 36 police station said a case of rape had been registered against Ram Kaler of Sector 52 colony on the basis of a complaint lodged by the 15-year-old victim. The accused, an unmarried man, was arrested from his residence this afternoon. The girl was known to him and used to visit his house.

The victim alleged that Ram Kaler called her to his house for doing some cleaning work around 10 a.m. and raped her. Her mother, who works as a domestic help, was not at home at that time.

The matter came to light when victim’s mother came back home and found the girl missing. She went in search of her in the locality and found the girl at the accused’s house. She reported the matter to the police and acting on her complaint, the accused was taken in custody.

The police got the medical examination of both the victim and the accused done at the Sector 16 General Hospital. The medical reports confirmed the rape and also the age of the victim. The accused would be produced before a local court tomorrow, said the investigating officer of the case.



Three call girls arrested
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 9
The Raipur Rani police today claimed to have busted a flesh trade racket by arresting five persons, including three call girls.

A team of Raipur Rani police today raided the house of Raksha Devi, alias Ranjhan, and arrested her along with two call girls and two customers — Parveen and Chaman Lal. Raksha Devi and one of the call girls have been arrested several times by the police. Raksha Devi has been arrested for the fourth time today.

One killed: A scooterist, Shiv Kumar of Shiamtu village, was killed after his scooter had a head-on collision with a three-wheeler near Raipur Rani this evening. Shiv Kumar was working in a flour mill and was returning home when the accident took place.



15 held in assault case
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 9
The Pinjore police today arrested 15 persons, including the main accused, Harpal Singh and his son Nirmal Singh, in the Maulawali assault case.

The accused, including four women, were produced before a local court and remanded in judicial custody.

One of the accused, 80- year-old Darbara Singh, was released on bail. They had allegedly assualted Piara Singh and his four family members last morning.



Police inaction compounds loss of stolen goods
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, December 9
It’s nothing but double jeopardy. First, thieves and burglars break into your house and decamp with valuables, and then, cops do little to recover the stolen goods.

Quoting figures, sources in the police say 1,287 cases of theft and 209 cases of burglary were reported to the local police from January till November 30 this year. Out of these, 88 cases of theft and 21 cases of burglary were reported to the police in November alone. In a substantial number of these cases, cops were unable to recover the stolen goods.

No wonder, a substantial number of victims allege that the job of the city police ends with the registration of cases. Nothing much is done in the name of investigation.

Disagreeing with it, the UT SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, maintained that the police had a good record in recovery in theft cases. In 50 per cent of the cases registered with the police, the stolen items were recovered. It was a very high rate compared to that of the Capital and even advanced countries, he said.

On the other hand, a Sector 2 resident and a social worker, Ms Ranbir Talib, alleged, “Acting on the complaint is apparently the last thing on the minds of the cops. They do not even bother to hand over a copy of the first information report (FIR) even after 20 days of filing the complaint.”

Ms Talib told Chandigarh Tribune that her husband lodged a complaint of theft with the Sector 3 police station on November 24. She added that the thieves entered their house on November 23 and decamped with jewellery worth over Rs 10 lakh, along with a laptop and a camera.

Ms Talib, a Director of the Chandigarh Women and Child Development Corporation, alleged, “Since day one, the police seemed to be least interested in the carrying out proper investigations. They enacted the drama of picking up fingerprints and also brought sniffer dogs to our house to gather ‘vital clues’. Rest aside solving of the case, they even failed to tell us how many persons were involved in the theft.”

She further alleged that they had expressed suspicion about certain unscrupulous elements, but the police was apparently not interested in questioning them properly.

The SHO of Sector 3 police station refuted the allegations while maintaining that the matter was being investigated and the fingerprints picked from the spot and that of the suspected persons had been sent to the laboratory for examination and the reports were awaited.

The Talib case is not an isolated incident. As many as 12 tenants of a plot in Phase II of Industrial Area met similar treatment at the hands of the local police. They claim that one of the thieves was caught red-handed while stealing Rs 12,500. He was later handed over to the security guard of a private company, whose services were hired by them.

Yet, no action has been taken in this regard. The owner of the security agency assured action, but did not allegedly report the incident to the police. Later, the complainants went to the Sector 31 police station and the cops registered a daily diary report in this regard, the next day.

Harassed at the hands of the police officials concerned, they ultimately lodged a joint complaint to Mr Yadav on Thursday. In it, they alleged that the cops were not making sincere efforts to investigate the matter.

They further alleged that the owner of the security agency had not disclosed the identity of his security guard to the police, who was missing since then.

The police officer investigating the case said the case had already been registered in this regard and teams had been sent to trace the accused. So far, nothing incriminating had been found against the security agency owner.



Body identified, family cries murder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
A family of Allahpur village today identified as Foopinder Singh, the body of a young male found from open fields in Radiala village on the Kharar-Kurali road here yesterday. The body with a face virtually covered with blood was found by a passerby from the village who informed the Sahora police post.

The mother of the deceased told the police that her son was a truck driver and had been missing since December 5. She said her family had a long-standing dispute with some others in Allahpur. She alleged that her son had been murdered by the other party.

The police has, however, registered a case under Section 304 of the IPC. Sources said the police believes that Foopinder met with an accident and was thrown on the roadside by those who hit him but the family believes that he was murdered.

The family told the police that Foopinder was seen going out of the village on December 5 on a tractor trailer and later he was met by some car-borne persons. He also called his truck owners that he would not be coming on duty that night. However, he promised to be on duty the next day. But when he failed to report on duty, the truck owners contacted the family who had been since looking for him.

The body was shifted to the Kharar Civil Hospital evening for a post mortem.



Kingfisher Airlines eyes city
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
While the proposal to make the Chandigarh airport an international airport is still under consideration, airlines are making a beeline to start operations from here. After Deccan Airways it is now Kingfisher Airlines and Indus Airlines that have their eyes set on City Beautiful.

While Kingfisher Airlines has sent a proposal in writing to officials here to start operations, Indus Airlines, it is learnt, has yet to do so. But it has shown its interest.

Talking to TNS AK Verma, senior aerodrome officer at the Chandigarh airport, stated that a proposal had been received last month from Kingfisher Airlines and Indus Airlines. “We received a letter last month from Kingfisher Airlines proposing to start operations from here,” he stated. However, he was not sure when that would happen. “It is for them to come and check the ground realities. We welcome all,” he added.

When contacted in Delhi, Malini Nair of Kingfisher Airlines stated that new sectors were being considered. However, when they would be operational was yet to be seen. “We are keen on expanding and will be starting new routes. However, everything is still in the pipeline,” she stated. Apart from Chandigarh, the airlines is also looking towards expansion in the eastern sector, she added.

Kingfisher Airlines commenced operations with a brand new fleet of aircraft on May 9, 2005. Starting with just four flights daily, today, in a short span of six months, it offers 52 flights daily connecting key Indian business and holiday destinations. Last week it was also awarded the Best New Airline of the Year 2005 in the Asia Pacific and Middle East by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.



Lahore shopkeepers keen on trade with city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
The Traders Association of Sector 17, the Trade Promotion Council, Chandigarh, and Lahore-based shopkeepers are keen on trade between shopkeepers based in the two cities.

An indication in this regard was given by a visiting delegation of businessmen from Lahore, who were in the city on an invitation given by local businessmen. The Pakistani nationals were part of a bigger delegation visiting different cities in the North.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Ishad Gill, a Lahore-based jeweller, said the peace initiative between the two countries had opened new vistas of cooperation between the two nations. The similarity in language, culture and bonding was an added factor.

He said some Pakistani nationals who did not go back to their country after the last Test match at Mohali brought a bad name to their country.

He was accompanied by Mr Khurram Shahzad Gill, Mr Shakeel Gill, Mr Arshad and Mr Pream. The jeweller said he had invited Indian businessmen to Lahore to explore the avenues of exchange of business.

Mr Subash Kataria, member of the Trade Promotion Council, said the council would soon write to the Chandigarh Administration to write to the Ministry of External Affairs to allow a business trip to Lahore.


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