C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No chances of unanimity for Mayor’s post
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
There are no chances of unanimity over the choice of candidate for the post of the city Mayor in the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee as is evident from the party councillors making rounds of the party high command in the national Capital. It is reliably learnt that the final selection will be made at the behest of the party high command. Hectic activity comes in wake of the very little time gap before the election on January 1.

One of the major reasons for no decision yet is the candidates lobbying with the two major power centres of the Congress in the city. The differences between the groups of Mr B.B. Bahl, president of the local unit, and Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament has led to the prospective candidates lobbying for their posts, individually and along with their groups.

There is absolute unanimity between the two groups that the choice of the Mayor, Senior Deputy and Deputy Mayor candidates will be left to the party high command. Mr Janardhan Dwivedi, general secretary of the All-India Congress Committee and in charge of the local unit, will announce the names. “The name is expected very shortly”, a councillor said.

More than 10 councillors have visited New Delhi during the past few days and met Mr Bansal, saying they had full faith in his leadership and that he should be given the names to the party high command. The councillors include Mr Subhash Chawla, Mr Pradeep Chhabra, Mr H.S. Lucky, Mrs Geeta Rani, Mrs Lalit Joshi, Mrs Anu Chatrath, Mr Balraj Singh, Mrs Kamlesh, Mrs Harpreet Babla and Mr Surinder Singh. Sources said that the likely names on the list of the MPs include Mr Pradeep Chhabra, Mr Surinder Singh and Mr H.S. Lucky.

Mr Bahl while talking to The Tribune said he had not recommended any names in written. However, he has had a talk on the issue and it was highlighted that following the elections of the corporation a meeting was held under the chairmanship of the party observers. The meeting was also attended by Mr Bansal and Mr Munish Tewari, a senior party leader. It was decided that the posts of the corporation will be given on rotation basis and there should be no repeat.

Going by the remark of Mr Bahl, the only prospective candidates for the three top posts are Mr Chandermukhi, Mr H.S. Lucky and Mrs Shyama Negi.

President’s remark about rotation of posts is not acceptable to certain old time office bearers. “Geeta Rani was the Deputy Mayor twice. The post of the Mayor was a responsible post and there was nothing wrong in repeating an eligible candidate”, a councillor said. The name of Mrs Harpreet Babla also featured during discussions for an office. However, seniors say that she was fresh in the party and needed more ground-level experience.



Grid failure throws life out of gear
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
Normal life in the city was thrown out of gear today morning following a major power failure during the early hours here today. The failure of the Northern Grid led to a blackout in the city at about 7.15 a.m.

Flights were cancelled, working at hospitals disrupted (particularly in conducting operations) and life in common household and offices was adversely affected following the sudden power breakdown.

Normal supply returned to certain Sectors at about 12.30 p.m. But supply in the whole city was restored at around 2 pm. An official press release said that the supply was interrupted due to tripping of some of transmission lines of the Northern Gird. The exact cause for the failure of the grid was still being ascertained till late evening.

Working in the hospitals was badly affected. Official sources confirmed that even the emergency supply remained affected for at least one hour in medical institutes, including the PGIMER during the morning hours.

It was pointed out that functioning of the Intensive Care Units and the Critical Care Units also suffered. In fact, a number of serious operations, lined up for early morning, could not be carried out.

Sources said that there was no power breakdown in certain areas of the city including pockets of Sectors 7, 32 and parts of Manimajra.

“Certain areas were unaffected because of the supply from the Dhulkot supply centre which is separate from the Northern Grid supply line. We were able to supply electricity to the emergency services through the Dhulkot Grid within less than an hour of the power collapse,” a senior official said.

Emergency services in private hospitals were also severely affected. Government hospitals, including the PGI, were barely able to manage the emergency services.

Office goers also had a tough time. Amit Sharma, a student of B Com III, said: “I had to attend my class without taking a bath which was very discomforting. Water from the taps was nearly freezing”.

Mr Naresh Trehan, a bank employee, said he had to come without shaving and had several other difficulties. He said: “We could not switch on our computers until a generator was on”. Neetu Jain, an airlines booking clerk in Sector 17, said, “More than a dozen customers had to return empty handed since morning because we could not do bookings. A walk around the market showed that work had been affected in many other offices as well.” Market places were resounding with the noise of generators.



Flights cancelled, trains delayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
All three flights to and from Delhi to the city were cancelled for the second day today due to bad weather in Delhi. Officials at the Chandigarh Airport said the flights of Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Deccan were cancelled as they didn’t take off from Delhi due to bad weather.

Sources said if the weather did not improve in Delhi the flights were expected to be cancelled for a third day tomorrow also.

Meanwhile, the morning Shatabdi from Delhi arrived two and a half hours behind its scheduled time of 11 am at 1.30 pm. The Himalayan Queen from Delhi arrived an hour and a half behind its scheduled arrival time of 10.20 am at 12 noon.

The Railway authorities attributed the delay to poor visibility and bad weather at Delhi.

The Jan Shatabdi in the morning was late by 10 minutes from its scheduled time of 10.30 am due to the failure of the Northern Power Grid, the sources disclosed.

The railways booking at the Bus Stand and the railway station remained unoperational during the day as the UPS crashed due to the power failure in the morning. However, backup was later used. The evening Shatabdi was, however, reported to be on time.



‘Illegal’ road escalates land prices
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 23
The “illegal” road constructed by some private colonisers from Sector 20 to the three villages of Peer Mashala, Gazipur and Kishanpur has led to spiralling real estate prices in the three villages. These villages have now formally been included in the Zirakpur Notified Area Committee.

There was no road from Sector 20 towards 1,300 acres of land (now prime) in these three villages. Only small approach roads from Zirakpur lead to this land, just behind Sector 20 here. Till a year ago, there was a dead end at the Punjab- Haryana boundary in Sector 20.

But as the proposal to include the land in these villages in the NAC gained momentum last year, colonisers, began eyeing it as having great potential for carving out colonies - but only if there was a direct approach road from Panchkula. A proposal was first floated by the colonisers to HUDA, asking it to streamline the boundaries of the storm water drain from Sector 20 towards Peer Mashala, so that the two sides could be used as roads.

However, after this proposal was turned down by the Town and Country Planning Department, Haryana, the colonisers allegedly in connivance with the Urban Development authorities in Panchkula, constructed a road leading to these villages from Sector 20. Massive colonisation started in the three villages of Peer Mashala, Gazipur and Kishanpur, as fields got converted into plots for farmhouses, Group housing societies and shopping malls.

Irrespective of the environmental impact or the threat to these plots because of the turbulent Ghaggar, the embankments of the mighty river (it generally swells in the monsoons and scours the embankments) have now been carved out as plots.

Interestingly, with the land mafia (politicians, top cops and bureaucrats from Punjab and Haryana) operating in Zirakpur and pouring finances in this belt, the property prices have spiralled in the past two years. From Rs 1,200 per sq yard in 2003, the property prices are to the tune of Rs 12,000 to Rs 14,000 per sq yard now. As a result, in order to gain from the speculation, property here is changing hands fast.

Officials in the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, when contacted said the Block Development Officer had been asked to report how the road was constructed. However, HUDA officials have not taken any action over the illegal construction of the road. HUDA officials, however, say that the illegal road carved by the colonisers is actually a panchayat rasta (a small pathway), which has been converted into a wide road. 



Dera Bassi set to make debut in Assembly
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, December 23
After making strides in the fields of industrialisation and education, the strategic town on the Ambala-Chandigarh highway is all set to make its political debut in the Punjab Assembly.

If the recommendations of the National Delimitation Commission headed by Justice Kuldip Singh are implemented, Dera Bassi would send its own representative to the Assembly following the 2007 Punjab Assembly elections.

According to the recommendations, the Banur assembly constituency has been bifurcated to pave the way for the constitution of the Dera Bassi constituency. In fact, the commission had already urged the elected representatives and the electorate to file objections and suggestions by December 27. The suggestions and objections received by the commission would be deliberated upon at a public meeting in Patiala on January 18.

The commission had recently gone for large-scale reorganisation and dereservation of Assembly and parliamentary constituencies in Punjab inviting the ire of the political parties. While the number of the assembly constituencies would remain 117, the reserved seats would go up to 34 from the present 29. Meanwhile, the people seemed to have welcomed the creation of a separate Assembly segment for Dera Bassi-Lalru industrial belt.

“It was a long-pending demand of the residents and the separate Assembly constituency would lead to faster economic development of the area. This, coupled with the compact size of the assembly segment, would go a long way in fulfilling the aspirations of the electorate,” Mr Amritpal Singh, president of the local Municipal Council, told Chandigarh Tribune today.

The Banur Assembly segment is currently represented by the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) general secretary and former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh. The creation of the separate Assembly seat, which would include about 125 villages of the Dera Bassi, would dilute the areas under the Banur Assembly segment, which presently extends from Banur to Lalru, making is unwieldy affecting developmental works.

The separate constituency would also prove to be a boon for the industrial belt.



Cyclist killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, December 23
Amarjit Singh, a cyclist and a resident of Devi Nagar village, was run over by an unidentified vehicle and killed near Gholu Majra village on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, near here, late last night.

According to information received here, Amarjit was on his way to Devi Nagar from the Ambala side when he was hit by the vehicle. The body was handed over to his family after a post-mortem examination this morning.

A case has been registered.

Meanwhile, three persons were injured in a truck-bus collision near Rajpura early this morning. Besides the driver of the Punjab Roadways bus, which was on its way from Chandigarh to Patiala, a couple, Sant Singh and Sita, were also injured in the accident.



Withdrawal of security piques Amar Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
The otherwise purely “personal” trip of Uttar Pradesh strongman and national general secretary of Samajwadi Party (SP) Amar Singh to the city took political overtones following the alleged “withdrawal” of his Z category security cover by the UT police. Mr Amar Singh who was here to enact a brief role in Anil Sharma’s movie, “Aapne”, a Dharmender starrer, was infuriated after learning that his security cover had been withdrawn by the UT police without assigning any reasons.

Talking to newsmen at Rock Garden, the SP leader said the moment he landed at the airport from a chartered flight he was informed by the office-bearers of the party’s city unit that his security cover, comprising of a bullet proof car and escort vehicles, had been “called back”. Expressing surprise at the UT police’s move, Mr Amar Singh said this had been done at the behest of the UPA government, which for the past several months had been targeting his party in Uttar Pradesh.

Though he said that he would take up this matter with the Union Government, state party president Shivi Jaiswal said they had already written a letter to the UT IG. Mr Jaiswal claimed that Mr Amar Singh was in the city without a security cover and this was despite the fact that the party had given prior intimation to both the UT police and the CID. He said that it was surprising that after sending the bullet proof car and escort vehicles to the airport, the UT police decided to recall it just before Mr Amar Singh arrived. Efforts to contact the IG for comment proved futile.

Meanwhile, Mr Amar Singh supported the stand taken by the family members of deceased, Bishen Kaur, and said that as per traditions and ritual Kanshi Ram, who is the eldest son, should perform the last rites. “I am not going to politicise this issue but Mayawati is a women and she should realise that Kanshi Ram ji must come to perform the last rites of his mother”. Contrary to the stand of some parliamentarians against sting operations, Mr Amar Singh supported such investigative journalism and said that the guilty in the cash-for-questions scam should be brought to book. He supported the recommendations of the Bansal committee that all tainted MPs should be expelled from Parliament.



Forum directs PUDA to comply with orders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
An order of the Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum to levy PUDA for excessively charging an allottee, Mr Kulwant Singh, a resident of Mohali, has been upheld by the Supreme Court.

Information in this regard was today furnished by PUDA before the forum in a contempt case filed by the complainant.

Earlier, the allottee had filed a complaint alleging that he had applied for an MIG Super house for which the allotment letter was issued on August 10, 1998, at the price of Rs 7,51,600. A rebate of 10 per cent was available in case of full payment. Thus, the complainant was required to pay Rs 6,76,440 which was deposited within time.

Despite the full payment having been made, PUDA asked the allottee to execute a hire-purchase agreement, which was not required. However, PUDA did not give possession of the flat even though all the formalities were completed.

The counsel for the complainant submitted that as per the scheme, the possession of the flat was to be given simultaneously with the issuance of allotment letter. Though the allotment letter was issued on August 10, 1998, the physical possession was given after a delay of about 16 months on December 3, 1999.

PUDA contended that the possession was delayed because the allottee had failed to furnish the hire-purchase agreement in time.

The Forum had observed that “it is ludicrous that PUDA should demand a hire-purchase agreement from the complainant when he had already paid the full cost of the flat to them. Possession ought to have been given when he paid the full cost i.e. October 25, 1998. No valid reason is explained by PUDA for the delay in delivery which amounts to deficiency in service”

PUDA was directed to pay Rs 1,35,800 as penal interest at a rate of 18 per cent per annum from October 25, 1998 to December 3, 1998, on the cost deposited towards the flat along with Rs 2,000 as costs of litigation.

PUDA challenged the orders of the Forum by filing successive appeals before the State Commission, the National Commission and finally the Supreme Court, but all the appeals were dismissed.

Now, the Forum has directed PUDA to comply with its orders latest by January 25, 2006, to avoid contempt proceedings. 



Rare coins on show, not a cop for vigil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
Rare coins, medals and currency notes worth lakhs would be on show for three days at Panjab University here. There isn’t a single policeman on duty!

The university is hosting the 89th national conference and exhibition organized by the Numismatic Society of India. It has made it clear to the exhibitors that safety of their collection was their responsibility. The Chandigarh Police has no intimation of the exhibition.

Besides historians and archeologists who are reaching the City to address the annual gathering of coin collectors, scores of antique dealers are here looking for hot bargains. The Chandigarh Administration’s Sales Tax Department is all set to collect VAT from the deals.

Mr Farokh Todywalla, who arrived from Mumbai this evening, would be holding an auction of his collection on December 25. “I am here to sell coins, medals, bank notes,” he said. His collection includes coins from the 3rd century B.C. to the 1950s.

Prof N.K. Ojha of the Department of Ancient Indian history and Archeology, Panjab University said, “We would be present at the show and keep a tab on these deals”. “But we expect most dealers to register with us beforehand,” said Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu, the Additional Commissioner Excise and Taxation here.

However, Mr Subhash Kataria president, Chandigarh Coin Collectors Club has complained to the Administration and expressed his apprehensiveness about the sale of counterfeit coins.

Prof Ojha, general secretary, Numismatic Society of India, said over a 1000 delegates from across the country were participating in the conference and exhibition. “We have invited dealers for lectures as their knowledge of numismatics, at times, is better than academicians”, said Mr Ojha.



Changes in consumer Act suggested
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh, has recommended certain changes in the Consumer Protection Act, which will go a long way in providing better amenities and services to the city residents.

Since the amendments to the Act have to be made by the Central Government, the commission has forwarded the suggestions to the Home Secretary, Chandigarh Administration, for necessary action.

Disclosing this to the Tribune here today, Mr K.C.Gupta, president of the state commission, said the amendments would go a long way in protecting the rights of the citizens when it comes to poor service, inadequate health services and poor sanitation. If included, the amendments would make the government departments, municipal bodies and health authorities liable to pay compensation.

He said as the 20th anniversary of the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, was being celebrated tomorrow, more focus was being put on creating awareness among the consumers. He said the number of complaints coming to the commission were increasing every day.

“Despite awareness, consumers were being taken for a ride by multi-national companies, be it a cellular service provider, an automobile manufacturer or a health insurance company. The term and conditions are not specified clearly which amounts to unfair trade practice”.

Mr Gupta said for the fast disposal of cases, Lok Adalats were being held by the two district forums on every Friday and the information on the disposal of cases was being put on the website of the commission. “We have sought another district forum to speed the disposal rate”, he added.

The first consumer court was set up in 1989 and the second was established in 1997, pursuant to a writ petition filed by Mr Pankaj Chandgothia, president of the Consumer Courts Bar Association. As the institution of cases continued to be high, a proposal to form the third Bench was also now under active consideration of the Chandigarh Administration, Mr Chandgothia said.

Since its inception, the Chandigarh consumer courts have received over 24,000 complaints. In the current year, an average of five complaints was filed on each working day.

As per the figures issued by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, the state commission has the highest cases disposal rate of 98.19 per cent against the national average cases disposal rate of 69.87 per cent. Similarly, the district forums here are also the most efficient in the country with their percentage of disposal of cases being 97 per cent against the national average of 89 per cent.

Some of the landmark judgments in the recent past

«A five-year-old boy, Shreyas Chandgothia, who pointed out a printing mistake in the Tom and Jerry Chase Game marketed by world-renowned FUNSKOOL, was awarded Rs 25,000 as punitive damages by the state commission.

«M/s Hyundai Automobiles was directed to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation in a case where the engine of a new Santro vehicle had to be overhauled within three months of purchase.

«The state commission fined Reliance Rs 50,000 for wrong billing and deficient services to a consumer.



Construction allowed in backyards

Chandigarh, December 23
The Chandigarh Administration has allowed the city residents to use the covered area in the rear courtyard for habitation purposes. The residents can now cover 150 sq ft of additional area in the backyards.

The administration has already issued a notification in this regard. The residents can now construct a room which should not be more than 9 ft in height. The area was largely being used for construction of toilets and storerooms.

There has been a long pending demand from the residents seeking permission for additional covered area in the rear compounds. The administration has also allowed cantilevers up to 18 inches in sectors 1 to 30. — TNS



Farmers rue admn stand
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
After locking horns with the Chandigarh Administration over the remunerative prices for their acquired land for years now, the city farmers have formed a new body — Farmers Forum Against Land Acquisition.

Taking a cue from their Punjab and Haryana counterparts, the UT farmers have again called upon the administration to be “partners in progress” failing which they threatened to move the court for the redressal of their grievances.

“If the Punjab Government can invite the private colonisers to strike a deal with the farmers why the administration was fighting shy of any such initiative. There was a large scale anomaly in the oustees policy of Chandigarh from the neighbouring Punjab and Haryana, alleged Major R.S. Virk (retd), the brain behind the forum.

In fact, the farmers rued that while the administration earned crores of rupees for the acquired land they were paid peanuts for the same land. For instance, the 5.39 acres of land in Mani Majra, which was auctioned for a whopping Rs 108 crore recently, was acquired for Rs 1.65 lakh per acre in 1990. The court later enhanced the rate to Rs 5 lakh per acre.

It may be recalled that the Punjab Government had given a free hand to the private colonisers to develop the residential and commercial properties in the state, including the neighbouring Mohali. This has resulted in the land prices going up steeply and the farmers had been the ultimate beneficiaries of the government’s decision.

However, the things are exactly the opposite in the city where the outdated laws and bureaucracy rule the roost. The acquisition rate should be linked to market price and the oustees should be given commercial/residential plots for each acquisition, demanded Ms Jyoti Subramanian, another forum member.

The low compensation rates only give rise to legal complications. Court cases are a major hindrance in the economic growth of any individual. All compensation should be paid in one go and there should be no provision to go to the courts for the enhancement of compensation. This can be possible only if the policy is fair and conforms to the laws of equality and social justice, the forum members highlighted.

The villagers had been waging a relentless campaign against administration policies. Even the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, had repeatedly raised this issue in Parliament. However, so far the success had eluded both the villagers and MP.



Apni Mandi back in Sec 40
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
Residents of Sector 40 and nearby areas will no longer have to go to far off places to buy fresh fruits and vegetables as the Apni Mandi has once again started functioning from their sector.

The Residents Coordination Committee, MIG-I Houses, Sector 40-C, Chandigarh, which has been instrumental in getting it back, has hailed the restoration of the same. The general secretary of the committee, Mr S.K Khosla, has stated that the mandi also caters to the needs of residents of Sectors 37,38, 41 and the surrounding villages. In a press note issued here today, the committee has urged upon the authorities to display the rates of various articles to be sold in the market at prominent places, preferably on a digital board so that the consumer buys everything at genuine prices. Constant checks should be conducted from time to time to nab unscrupulous elements, who fleece people in the market by charging higher rates and weighing less. 



Novel protest against reservation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
A section of the employees of the Punjab Government, today carried out a novel protest under the aegis of the General Categories Welfare Federation. They were protesting outside the Punjab Civil Secretariat here against the recent notification to enforce the 85th Amendment to the Constitution.

The employees, including a sizeable number of women, took out a “funeral” of the state government by wearing black robes and chanting “Ram naam satya Hai”. Thereafter, the members of the federation placed an effigy outside the Secretariat building and performed mourning rites. Twentyone earthen pots were also smashed to mark their protest.

The protesters demanded that the notification should be withdrawn immediately.

Mr Shyam Lal Sharma and Mr Chanchal Singh, president and general secretary of the federation, said instead of resorting to caste-based reservation only economically backward persons should be eligible for benefits under the reservation policy irrespective of caste.



Demand for vets increasing, says expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
“Today the veterinary and animal husbandry profession stands at the crossroads of global change and the next few years are going to be the most significant in the history of this profession all across the globe,” said Dr R.S.Bajwa, an eminent veterinarian who has come from California to participate in a seminar on “Veterinary Medicine - A review of the century of change and a look into the future”, held at Panjab University on Wednesday.

Dr Bajwa said the demand for veterinary professionals is likely to increase because of burgeoning population and urbanisation and with the number of pet animals going up. “Moreover, the looming global threat of human epidemics by zoonotic pathogens was increasing, Eleven of the last 12 significant human epidemics had been caused by zoonotic pathogens and 75 per cent of the diseases were of animal origin. To cope with this demand, a steady flow of suitable trained veterinarians and an excellent system of veterinary services is needed,” he said.

He suggested that the Indian framework of veterinary and animal husbandry profession along with its animal disease control and prevention programme must pursue a different path if it wants to compete globally”.

Dr Bajwa said in the USA and Canada there was shortage of veterinarians in rural areas and inner cities and the US Bureau of Labour statistics predict 28,000 jobs in veterinary profession by 2012.

On this occasion the Punjab Animal Husbandry Minister, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, stated that he was in agreement with Dr Bajwa on the points raised by him and Punjab Government had recognised the importance of veterinary profession. He said the government had established Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University. Mr Kang also instructed the field staff that they should make the public aware of the policies of the government professionally.

The Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Mr D.S. Bains, Additional Secretary Mr S.S. Dhillion, Director Animal Husbandry, Punjab B.S. Sidhu, Director Animal Husbandry, Haryana K.S. Dangi, Dean College of Veterinary Sciences D.R. Sharma, veterinary scientists from PAU and district level officers of animal husbandry, fisheries and dairy development departments were also present on the occasion.



General Amar Singh dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
Lt-Gen Amar Singh, PVSM, AVSM (retd) succumbed to his injuries today. He was injured than accident in Sector 8 on October 16 and passed away today. He was 82.

Born on March 1, 1923, in a Jat Sikh family in a small village of erstwhile Garhshankar tehsil, now Nawanshahr district, Lt-Gen Amar Singh was commissioned in 1942 soon after he graduated from Forman Christian College, Lahore. He served in Waziristan in Northwestern Frontier Province, now in Pakistan, and thereafter in Java and Burma during World War II. After several regimental, staff and instructional assignments, he was posted in 1975 as Major General, ASC, at Headquarters Northern Command. In 1977, he took over the post of the Corps Director, Supplies and Transport, at the Army Headquarters, New Delhi. He retired on February 28, 1981, from the post of Director Supplies and Transport, DST.

Lt-Gen Amar Singh is survived by his wife Bimla Amar Singh and three sons, Brig Ravinder Singh, Ranbir Singh and Jagmohan Singh. 



CRPF DG reviews battalion performance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
The Additional Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Mr D.P. Sinha, today visited the 134th Batallion of CRPF here.

During his visit, Mr Sinha reviewed the operational performance of the battalion, which at present is deployed for VVIP/VIP security duty. At a sainik sammelan organised to coincide with his visit, Mr Sinha heard the grievances of the personnel and officers. He assured them of all efforts to mitigate their problems.

He exhorted jawans and officers of the CRPF to work hard to maintain the high tradition set by the force.

Accompanied by other top ranking officers, Mr Sinha also undertook a tour of quarters of the jawans to have a first-hand look at their residential premises.

A cultural programme was also held to welcome the dignitaries. Mr Shyamanda Singh, DIG, CRPF, was also present on the occasion. 



Bomb scare in Madrassi Colony
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 23
Panic and chaos prevailed in the Sector 26 Madrassi Colony early this morning after a colony resident mistook an unclaimbed electronic component for a bomb near public toilets. The police cordoned off the area and called the bomb disposal squad.

It all began around 7 am when a resident of the colony noticed a ‘bomb’ like object and soon the news spread in the colony. The police was informed about it at 7.30 am.

Mr Naushad, an eyewitness told Chandigarh Tribune that panic gripped the colony after, someone noticed the object and minutes later. People began assembling near the public toilets. Some children also threw stones on the object before the police reached the spot.

The police officers called the bomb disposal squad and the dog squad. Senior police officers were also present there. The bomb disposal squad took the object into custody.

The SHO of the Sector 26 police station said the object was an electronic instrument used for increasing the range of mobile phone sets.



Book on computer in Punjabi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
The Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today released a book: “Computer: Structure and Applications” written by Prof Jaiteg Singh at the Chandigarh Press Club.

Mr Badal said that this book in Punjabi would be useful for students from rural areas.

The institute of Punjabi folklore, the organisers of the book-release function presented a “Khunda”, a symbol of power, to Mr Badal. Former Punjab Chief Minister said the “Khunda” was a symbol of the Punjabi culture. “You give me a bullock- cart next time”, he said and added that “I am collecting such items”. 



Emulate example of Sahibzadas: Governor
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 23
The Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, General (retd) S.F. Rodrigues, PVSM VSM today called upon the people to remember and emulate the unique example set by young Sahibzadas Baba Zorawar Singh, Baba Fateh Singh and Mata Gujriji who laid down their lives for the sake of mankind and to preserve human and secular values.

In a message on the eve of Shaheedi Jor Mela at Historic Fatehgarh Sahib, General Rodrigues said that Sikh history is replete with sagas of the sacrifices made by our 10th Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singhji.

The annual Shaheedi Jor Mela reminds us of our duty to follow the path shown by these great warriors and to work for fulfilling the ideals set out by them, he said.

He an expressed the hope that the Shaheedi Jor Mela will inspire people from all walks of life and infuse a spirit of idealism, nationalism and service to humanity, following the example of our young Sahibzadas.



Sec 36 garden to have toilet block
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
Senior citizens can now heave a sigh of relief as the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh ( MCC) has taken cognisance of their long pending demand of providing toilet blocks in the main green belts of the city.

The water supply and sewage disposal committee, which met here recently under the chairmanship of Ms Geeta Chaudhary approved the construction of a toilet block in Sector 36 Fragrance Garden at a cost of Rs 5.32 lakh. The construction would start in the next 3 or 4 months after the process of tender floating is completed. Another toilet block has been sanctioned in the new truck parking area of the Sector 26 Transport Chowk at a cost of Rs 7.10 lakh.

The contract for providing armed security guards at water works in Sectors 12, 32, 26, 39 and Kajauli under the charge of the civic body for 2006 was also approved. A sum of Rs 13.52 lakh has been sanctioned for the same.

Another item pertaining to the laying of 16’’ storm water pipe for diversion of sewage from rehabilitated colony, Palsora to Sector 55 and 56 was also passed. An estimated amount of Rs 11.84 lakh was sanctioned for the same. Certain other items pertaining to provision of sprinkler system in the Sector 36 fragrance garden was deferred. 



Dera case: CBI teams get more manpower
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 23
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has deputed some more officers to assist the two probe teams which are investigating the cases of murders and alleged sexual exploitation of women inmates of the Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda by the dera head and his associates.

In an affidavit filed in the High Court, CBI DSP Armaandeep Singh, who is heading one of the investigation teams, said that apart from the two DSPs handling the cases, the CBI has also deputed an inspector and two sub-inspectors in order to expedite the investigations.

During resumed hearing on the application filed by the CBI seeking extension of three months to complete the investigation, the Bench of Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Mrs Justice Kiran Anand Lall was told by counsel for the Dera that inmates, especially females, were being harassed by the CBI for the past over three years.

The CBI counsel said that besides investigating into the allegations against the Dera chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, and some of his aides the bureau would also probe the charge of sexual exploitation of female inmates.

After hearing the counsel, the Bench adjourned the hearing to January 20, while directing the CBI to submit a status report about the investigations in a sealed cover by the next hearing.



Maruti Esteem stolen from Sector 21
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 23
A car and a motor cycle were stolen from the city in the past 24 hours. A box carrying jewellery was stolen from a bus and in a separate incident thieves decamped with Rs 7,000 and gold ornaments from a house in Mani Majra. The local police arrested one allegedly for indulging in gambling.

Mr Vaneet Sharma of Sector 21 lodged a complaint that his Maruti Esteem car (DL-CC-0378) was stolen from his residence on Wednesday night.

In another incident, Mr Rajesh Kumar of Sector 46 reported to the police that his motor cycle (HR-20-K-0832) was stolen from his residence on yesterday. Two separate cases of thefts have been registered.

Mr Surinder Pal Singh of Sector 20 filed a complaint with the police that a box containing a diamond set, a gold mangal sutra, a gold necklace, two gold earrings, a gold bangle and some artificial ornaments were stolen from a deluxe bus on way to Chandigarh from Gurgaon on December 13. He alleged that his daughter and son-in-law were travelling in the bus. A case of theft has been registered in this regard.

In a separate incident, Mr Ram Pal of Shanti Nagar in Mani Majra reported that two gas cylinders, gold ornaments, some clothes and Rs 7,000 were stolen from his residence yesterday. A case has been registered.

Held for gambling
The local police has arrested Atul Dhingra of Sector 20 from Sector 31 on charges of indulging in gambling at public place. The police recovered Rs 250 from his possession. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered.



Airline offers special fares
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, December 23
Kingfisher Airlines has introduced special fares for personnel of the Indian armed forces, the Government of India, any state governments, and for employees of all public sector units. The immediate family members of these personnel — parents, spouse and dependent children — are also eligible for these fares. These special fares are available for all destinations served by Kingfisher Airlines.

The special fares start at Rs 1, 999 for all sectors that are of one hour duration or less. For sectors where the flight duration is more than one hour but less then two hours, the applicable special fare will be Rs 2,999, while for sectors where the flight duration is more than two hours, the special fare will be Rs 3,999. Airport taxes of Rs 221 per ticket are extra.

These special and reduced fares are valid for booking and travel from now to March 31, 2006, Mr Manoj Chacko, General Manager, Sales, Kingfisher Airlines said.



Spice launches quiz-based contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
Punjab's leading cellular service provider Spice Telecom today launched a quiz-based game for its subscribers. To take part in the contest "Kaun Banega Lakhpati" the subscribers need to dial 124.

Mr Mukul Khanna, General Manager (Marketing), said the contest comprised general awareness questions. There are three levels in the game and four questions in each level. And in each level the subscriber will get three lifelines. A lucky draw of Rs 2 lakh will be held on January 15, he added.


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