C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Miscreants storm police post
Bash up complainant, his family and a constable
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 3
A constable suffered head injuries in a tumult when at least 15 persons armed with swords, hockey sticks and rods allegedly dragged out a Mauli Complex resident from the Mauli Jagran police post and bashed him up along with his family members, late last night.

The assailants allegedly carried out the attack at the behest of the president of the Chandigarh Sweeper’s Union.

The police has registered a case of rioting, causing hurt and criminal intimidation under various provisions of the IPC against Sham Lal Gharwi, president of the union, his brother Gagu, along with Om Prakash Saini, Dalbir Lokender and Babbu.

The case was registered on the complaint of Mr Parvesh Kumar of Mauli Complex, Mani Majra.

In his complaint, Mr Parvesh Kumar has alleged that Gagu had tried to run over his nephew Amit on Monday. Following this, both parties entered into a quarrel and the matter was reported to the police.

Both parties were called to the police post in that connection. Parvesh Kumar was sitting in the police post with his family members when, around 10.30 pm, Sham Lal Gharwi came there along with armed men in three vehicles.

They allegedly barged into the police post and dragged out Parvesh Kumar and his family members and began beating them up. The police officials present there tried to intervene, but failed to control the assailants, who also ransacked the furniture there, sources said.

Outside the police post, the assailants broke Parvesh Kumar’s leg besides severely injuring his family members, including some women. Constable Dharminder Kumar, who tired to control the assailants, suffered a blow on his head. The injured were taken to the Sector 16 General Hospital.

The accused succeeded in their attempt as adequate police force was not present in the police post at that time. By the time more police force arrived, the assailants had managed to flee. They left one of their cars (CH-03-D-0381) behind, which the police impounded.



6 schoolchildren hurt as van overturns
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 3
At six students of Shishu Niketan School near Mansa Devi Complex sustained injuries after the bus they were travelling in overturned near Army flats this morning.

However, a major tragedy was averted as no students received serious injuries. All six students, who were rushed to General Hospital, were later discharged after first-aid.

Panic gripped parents and witnesses as the bus, which was allegedly driven rashly by driver, Raju could not negotiate a turn near the flats around 8.15 a.m.The speed and inclement weather were reasons for the accident, Mr Gurmukh Singh, an witness, said.

As the news spread, scores of police personnel, parents and passersby rushed to the spot. The injured students were rushed to General Hospital by the police, parents and the passersby. Those admitted to the hospital were Himani, Rajat, Jaspreet, Anand Pal, Harbir and Tamanna. Of them, Himani received stitches on the hand.

Resentment prevailed among parents, who rued the fact no teacher or the school management representative reached the accident spot. Since the school was hardly one-and-a-half km away from the accident spot, the school should have sent its teachers to the site, a parent said.

On the other hand, residents of the area have expressed concern at the overspeeding by school bus drivers endangering students’ lives. “The school management should ensure that drivers were properly trained so that such incident did not happen again. Moreover,the guidelines of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the safety in school buses should be implemented in letter and spirit,” Ms Renuka Rai Walia, councillor from the Ward No 2, in which the accident area falls, told Chandigarh Tribune.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the school management had cancelled the contract of the bus operator. Henceforth, alternative arrangements would be made to ferry the children, school sources said.



SC clarifies on stay order in Chandigarh Rent Act case
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, January 3
Clarifying its order of stay on a judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the Chandigarh Act case, the Supreme Court today said the stay was not on the notification issued by the Union Territory Administration on November 7, 2002.

The clarification was issued by a Bench of Mr Justice S.B. Sinha and Mr Justice P.K. Balasubramanyan, while hearing a bunch of Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) against the High Court order, upholding the validity of the notification.

The court said that the stay was only on the high court order and it would not mean that there was a stay on hearing of all rent related cases by the courts below.

Stating that the trial courts could continue to hear rent cases, the Bench further clarified that while entertaining such suits, there would, however, be no order for dispossession and eviction of the tenancy pending final decision by the apex court.

After issuing the clarification, the court posted further hearing in the matter to February 14.

During brief proceedings today, the court was informed by the counsel for various parties that due to the stay order, courts below were not entertaining any suit pertaining to rent disputes and in many cases tenants had stopped paying the rent.

As per the November 7, 2002 notification of the Chandigarh Administration, the properties with a monthly rent up to Rs 1,500 were not covered under the Rent Act applicable to the Union Territory.

The property owners had challenged the validity of the notification in the high court, which had upheld its constitutional validity.



Property owners jubilant over SC order
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Members of the Property Owners Welfare Association (POWA) are jubilant over the Supreme Court decision, vacating the interim stay orders on the Rent Act notification. According to Mr RP Malhotra, general secretary, POWA, this decision of the apex court was hailed by the executive committee at its meeting held here today.

Meanwhile, Mr Arvind Jain, president of the Tenants Association, said that the apex court had granted until February 14 to all interested tenants to become party to the case, file their replies, etc after which the apex court would hear arguments and decide the case.

He said that the Supreme Court had vacated stay in the case to the extent that all lower courts had been allowed to proceed with the cases, but asked not to pass any order, nor order execution, etc till the final disposal of the case by the Supreme Court.

It may be mentioned that the apex court in its September 2005 judgment had upheld the right of landlords for evicting the commercial tenant in case of personal necessity.

The Rent Control Act notification of Chandigarh Administration on November 8, 2002, had led to agitation in the city. Tenants had made representations to the UT Administrator seeking that all tenants paying monthly rent above Rs1,500 should be brought out of the purview of the Rent Control Act and subsequently the commercial tenants had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

After the High Court had upheld the said notification, the tenants’ body filed a SLP in the Supreme Court, subsequently getting interim stay on the notification. And today the apex court through its orders vacated the interim stay.

The POWA office-bearers said that the concessions under the protective umbrella of Rent Act were being pocketed by individuals and were not passed to the end-consumers. The members further said that the terms of the contract agreement were taken care of by the Transfer of Property Act and the only logic left for reconciliation of disputing landlords and tenants out of the provisions of TPA was to apply the principle of demand and supply like other commodities, they opined.



Dhanda new Bar Council chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Former Ludhiana District Bar Association president Harish Rai Dhanda was today unanimously elected Chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana.

Patiala District Bar Association president Rakesh Gupta, who is also presently member of the Bar Council, was unanimously elected vice-chairman.

The elections were conducted under the supervision of Advocate-General, Haryana, Mr Hawa Singh Hooda, who is ex-officio member of the council.

Both the nominees were elected unopposed as they were the only contestants in the fray. Their names for the posts were proposed by Bar Council member Lekh Raj Sharma.

Mr Dhanda is an elected member of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana and has remained president of the Ludhiana Bar District Association for seven terms.

Interacting with mediapersons after his election, Mr Dhanda said his priority would be to solve the housing problem facing the lawyers. "There is acute shortage of houses for lawyers. Young lawyers particularly face a lot of problems on this count," he said.

The newly elected chairman also stated that the Bar Council, which is the disciplinary body of lawyers practising in Punjab and Haryana as well as the Union territory of Chandigarh, would also work in tandem with the Punjab and Haryana High Court authorities to deal with the issue of large-scale pendency of cases in various courts. He also said the Bar Council would make more efforts to prevent persons with fake law degrees from practicing in the courts.

Asked to comment on the use of alternate dispute redressal (ADR) mechanism to deal with cases, Mr Dhanda said though the ADR mechanism had been started with a lot of promise, it had lost its way and had been turned into publicity wing of the courts.

"The Lok Adalats and other ADR creations have certainly served a purpose. But, a lot more can be achieved. There is need to have a re-look at the mechanism and its implementation," he added.

Outgoing Bar Council chairman R.S. Tacoria and former chairmen Anmol Rattan Sidhu and C.M. Munjal were also present.



Minor girl recovered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
A 15-year-old minor girl was recovered by the police here today, four days after she was allegedly kidnapped by a 21-year-old driver of a private car in a house of Sector 8 in the city.

Anil Kumar, accused, was a driver of a car in Sector 8 where the girl resided with her family. He lured her into running away from home on December 30, 2005. In absence of any information about her whereabouts, the parents of the girl lodged a complaint with the police and the accused was arrested today.

The accused is a resident of Ganganagar in Rajasthan. The police, earlier, had registered a case of kidnapping, however, following a medical report the police has also included the allegation of rape in the case.



UT Advisory Council needs streamlining
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
The Advisory Council of the UT Administrator needs a major revamp with regard to its constitution and also in identifying the problems of the people. The Bharatiya Janata Party calls it an eyewash, the ruling Congress demands a revamp and a fairer representation for different segments of society and the industrial lobby feels it lacks in giving representation to the ‘deserving parties’.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the local Member of Parliament, feels that the council needed to give representation to all prominent political parties and a better representation to different sections of society. Mr Kehar Singh Koundel, the spokesperson of the BJP, calls the council “an eyewash and not covering the real issues by ignoring the right people for participation”. Mr M.P.S. Chawla, president of the Chandigarh Industrial Association, says rightful representatives had not been given a chance to participate in the council meetings.

Residents feel that the report on the Advisory Council in newspapers today spoke only what the Governor had to say on a majority of the issues. “Why can the House not be opened for media coverage? We want to listen to others as well,” Mr R.K. Singh, a senior citizen said.

This was the second meeting of the council and was organised more than eight months after the last one. Mr Bansal said: “such a long gap diluted the importance of the body. There should be three or at least two meetings in a year”.

Mr Bansal feels that important political parties, at least the Shiromani Akali Dal, which was a prominent regional party, should have a representation in the body. Mr Koundel feels that only the ruling Congress ruled the roost and the BJP was not given any representation in the original list. Mr Chawla said that certain names on list of the committee on city economics had no real connection with the industrial sector in the city.

Mr Bansal has differed with the official press release issued by the administration which said he appreciated steps being taken by the Administration on removal of encroachments and regulating the building byelaws and remodelling plans of villages.

Mr Bansal said “ I don’t agree on all the issues. I also seek a total check on new illegal colonies or any other structures on government land. I also appreciate the administration’s proposal to resettle the current dwellers of colonies to be uprooted. The administration needs to divide the questionable areas into zones and responsibility should be fixed on administrative heads. I, however, differ with the administration’s move to uproot many settlements outside ‘lal dora’.”

He said “Colonies like Deep Complex in Hallo Majra and certain other areas need to be regularised. Settlements scattered beyond ‘lal dora’ should be brought together by developing there a special colony. This will not mean extending the ‘lal dora’ and opening up for more illegal settlements. Creating special areas will help the deserving population. More than 2000 houses are affected by the move to demolish these structures. A large number of the dwellers there are the original inhabitants of the land before the city came up and also a large number of people belong to the lower strata of society who have spent their entire life savings on their houses.” 



Bid to loot ATM: SIT formed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 3
The police today constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to nab unidentified robbers, who tried to loot an ATM of ICICI Bank during the January 1 night. The miscreants had seriously injured a bystander with a gunshot before leaving.

The police has decided to request the Reserve Bank of India to direct banks to enhance security at ATM outlets.

Taking a serious note of the incident, the UT SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, had constituted an SIT, sources said.

The team would be headed by the DSP, Mr Vijay Pal Singh, in charge of the Crime Branch, Inspector Satbir Singh and Inspector Dhan Raj Sharma, SHO of the Mani Majra police station. Inspector Dhan Raj Sharma is the investigation officer of the case.

The steps are being taken after at least six unidentified youngsters, armed with a gun, a country-made pistol and iron rods, attempted to loot an ATM on Sunday night.

The robbers seriously injured a man with a gunshot mistaking him for a guard and also bashed up the security guard of the ATM cabin before leaving the place. Injured Karam Chand (53) was operated upon in the PGI last night. His condition was stated to be stable.

Sources said the police had released a sketch of one of the culprits made after the description given by the complainant, Mr Shaadi Singh, security guard deputed at the ATM.

Senior officers of the UT police would also take up the issue of security measures about the safety of ATMs with the banks in the city. The police would request the banks to furnish details about the numbers of the ATM outlets with armed security guards, unarmed security guards and without security guards.

The police would insist on the need of deploying armed security guards at ATMs outlets, they said. The senior officers would also apprise the Reserve Bank of India about the measures to be taken for the enhancements of security and also request the authorities concerned to issue directions to the banks in that regard.

The police has also instructed the beat staff to be extra vigilant around ATMs, sources said.



Fog envelops city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
For the first time since the winter arrive, the city spent an entire day today wrapped in a blanket of fog. Chilly winds sent the maximum temperature plummeting down by over six degrees while an early morning drizzle further intensified the cold wave.

The city shivered as the maximum temperature fell to 16°C while the minimum temperature rose by another degree to 11°C. A rainfall of 4.7mm was also recorded. The sun remained elusive all the day, hiding behind the black clouds as residents awaiting downpour.

The winter chill found expression in deserted markets with people choosing to stay indoors while businessmen awaited customers in their establishments. All those who dared to venture out, did so in layers of clothing complete with caps, mufflers and gloves.

Bonfires during the day made their appearance on pavements and by sidewalks as the less-privileged sat around these to beat the cold wave sweeping the city after yesterday’s short spell of rain.

Grounds at Panjab University and in city colleges, usually buzzing with chatter of the young and bursting with energy on sunny winter days, remained unusually silent as students chose to stay within the confines of their buildings. Schools recorded poor attendance as a few students turned up to attend classes.

Weatherman predicted a partly cloudy sky with a possibility of a spell of rain or thundershower. According to the Met office, mist or haze can occur during morning or evening and the minimum temperature on Thursday will be around 8°C.



Flights cancelled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
All three flights to and from the city to Delhi were cancelled today due to bad weather and heavy fog in the city. Air Deccan flights though it had taken off from Delhi and reached the city, was not permitted to land due to poor visibility and was diverted to Jammu.

Sources at the airport informed that the flights were expected to be operational tomorrow if the weather improved.



PUDA to develop small towns: minister
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 3
The Punjab Housing and Urban Development Minister, Mr Raghunath Sahay Puri, said today that PUDA was going in for major development in the state and will sell plots at reasonable rates to people.

The minister, who was talking to mediapersons at a function organised to release the PUDA diary at his residence in Chandigarh, said that PUDA had acquired 2000 to 3000 acres in various parts of the state for developing small towns and people would be given plots at the rates prevalent at present. He said that in Mohali, PUDA was selling plots at a price of Rs 7200 per sq yd but the rate was lower in various other towns.

He said that PUDA would not be facing any competition from private colonisers who would be selling plots at rates higher than fixed by PUDA though they would have to follow the norms laid down by Punjab urban authority. People of the state had more faith in PUDA than in private colonisers and as such they would be provided adequate opportunities to own a house at affordable prices. Those interested could even approach private colonisers.

He said that farmers were able to get a better price for their land after colonisers started their business in developing urban areas and the Congress Government had always worked for the welfare of the farmers.

After releasing a diary and a calendar issued by the Diploma Engineers Association, PUDA, earlier during the day, the Minister said that big companies were coming to the state creating job opportunities for the people.

He said that the demands of the PUDA engineers would be fulfilled at the earliest.



No extension to plot holders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
The district administration has clarified that no further extension beyond March 31, 2006, will be given to the lessees or owners of vacant plots for raising structures on these.

The Estate Office would initiate resumption proceedings after the expiry of the extension period.

Mr R.K. Rao, DC-cum-Estate Officer, said the Administration through a notification dated July 7, 2005, had given the last opportunity to the owners or the lessees of the plots lying vacant.

The deadline had been given by amending the Chandigarh Sales of Sites and Building Rules, 1960, and the Chandigarh Leasehold Sites and Building Rules, 1973.

The time period for completing constructions was then extended till March, 2006, and all allottee were expected to complete their buildings within that period.



Welfare project for poor children on the anvil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
With a view to bringing smile to every street child, Gen (retd) S.F. Rodrigues, the Governor of Punjab and the UT Administrator, today asked the Home Secretary and senior officers to prepare an action plan for a pilot project, with the focus on providing shelter, food and education requirements of the disadvantaged children through an institutionalised programme.

As a follow up of the Administrator’s Advisory Council discussion yesterday, General Rodrigues held a meeting with Mr Krishna Mohan, Home Secretary, Mr R.K. Rao, Deputy Commissioner, Mr P.S. Aujla, Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation and Dr (Brig) M.L. Kataria, a social activist and discussed the broad modalities of the community-based child welfare project.

The Governor asked the Home Secretary to coordinate various voluntary agencies and government departments and formulate a comprehensive programme.

General Rodrigues emphasised that this innovative effort must concentrate on a census of street children, identification of their needs and the mode of help, guidance and support required for ensuring them a life of dignity and self respect, besides ensuring them better future.

He further stressed that the programme must lay emphasis on their shelter, suitably located and equipped with all basic amenities of life, where these less fortunate children are able to wash themselves, their clothing and have two meals a day. The next priority to be given is for their education.

General Rodrigues also discussed the healthcare programme to be instituted in the rural areas and slums, in collaboration with an NGO headed by Dr (Brig) M.L. Kataria by providing suitable space in community centres for running the healthcare services for the poor where needed.

Earlier, General Rodrigues, also met the newly elected Mayor, Mr Surinder Singh, Senior Deputy Mayor, Ms Shyama Negi and Deputy Mayor, Mr H.S. Lucky in the UT Secretariat and impressed upon them the need to work as a team for changing the face of the Union Territory. He emphasised that the Municipal Corporation must shed its populist approach and augment its resources to help in upgrading civic amenities in the municipal limits.



Probe kin, panel tells rights body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
The Joint Action Committee, Nayagoan, today submitted a memorandum to the President, District Bar Association, demanding that the Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI) should be made to investigate the case of a fraud registered by the Ropar police against the son-in-law of a human rights lawyer.

In the memorandum, the committee has sought that the LHRI should investigate the case of Saranjit Singh, son-in-law of the lawyer, Mr A.S.Chahal. Pointing out that they were receiving threatening calls from the accused in the fraud case, the committee had sought action against Mr Chahal’s son-in-law.

Mr Chahal, said he had no link with the case registered against his son-in-law and the case should be taken to its logical conclusion by the investigating agency.



Faux pas by PNB
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
A local businessman was in for a shock when a cheque for Rs 34,000 issued by him to a business associate was returned by the bank on the pretext of “insufficient funds”. Interestingly, the balance in his account at that time was Rs 10 lakh.

The incident took place in the Sector 26 branch of Punjab National Bank (PNB) that returned the cheque issued by Mr Surinder Kansal to Dhillon Sales, Manimajra.

Mr Kansal said it caused him harassment and he had to pay a penalty to the party to whom the cheque was issued. “This is an irregularity on part of the bank and it should take due care while servicing their customers,” he said.

Mr S. Gupta, Manager of PNB, Sector 26, said the cheque issued by Mr Kansal had been returned by the services branch of the bank in Sector 17 with “insifficient funds” remarks. “We had received a complaint from Mr Kansal, and have already issued a pay order in favour of the drawee. We have also written a regret letter to the persons concerned for this mistake,” he said.



Nagar kirtan taken out
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 3
A nagar kirtan procession was organised in connection with the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh here today.

The procession started from a gurdwara in Phase I and after passing through various areas of the town culminated in a gurdwara in Phase XI.

Panj piyaras, gatka artistes and a band accompanied the devotees. A beautifully decorated palanquin, carrying Guru Granth Sahib followed. The police made elaborate security arrangements.



Guru Nanak mission programmes on NRI channel

Chandigarh, January 3
“The devotional programmes prepared by the Guru Nanak Daata Baksh Lai Mission are being telecast on the NRI channel everyday from 6.30 a.m. to 7 a.m. But on the occasion of gurpurabs, one-hour programmes will be shown on this channel”, said Brig Partap Singh Jaspal, founder of the mission.

On the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, which falls on January 5, first such programme will be shown on NRI channel from 6.30 a.m. to 7.30 a.m. and repeat telecast will be on air from 6.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m. — TNS



Army exhibition from Jan 6

Chandigarh, January 3
As part of Army Day celebrations, the Western Command is organising a grand exhibition of its equipment. Army Day is observed every year on January 15, when Gen (later Field Marshal) K.M. Cariappa was appointed as the first Commander-in-Chief on the Independence.

The exhibition, open to public, is being held at the Railway TA Ground, adjacent to Kalagram from January 6-8, under the banner “Know your Army”. It will feature missiles, radars, guns and tanks. Equestrian show by Army riders, a dog show and a band concert will also be organised.

Besides the exhibition, the Army will also address queries of the common masses and provide guidelines to the aspirants who want to join the Army through the National Defence Academy, the Indian Military Academy or the Officers Training Academy. — TNS



A clarification

Mohali, January 3
Residents creating public nuisance in the town will be booked under Section 133 of the CrPC, and not as mentioned in the report, “MC steps to ensure cleanliness”, published in the Chandigarh Tribune dated January 3. The error is regretted. — OC



Car stolen

Chandigarh, January 3
A car and a scooter were stolen from the city while the local police arrested an auto-rickshaw driver on the allegation of rash driving under in an inebriated condition.

Mr Kartik Grover of Sector 49 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Maruti car (CH-01-W-8125) was stolen from parking lot of Hotel Monarch in Sector 35 on December 31 night.

In another incident, Mr Subash Chand Gupta reported to the police alleging that his Honda Activa Scooter (HR-03-D-4408) was stolen from Sector 22 Health Centre on Monday. Two separate cases of thefts have been registered.

Held for drunken driving

The local police arrested Nanku Ram Patel of Shashtri Nagar, Manimajra on the charge of driving his auto-rickshaw under the influence of liquor on Monday. He was arrested. A case has been registered against him. He was later released on bail. — OC



Thieves decamp with jewellery
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 3
Gold and silver ornaments and cash have been stolen from a house in Phase VII here. According to the information, the thieves entered the house of Mr K.D. Sharma and decamped with a gold chain and tops, silver jewellery, a DVD player, Rs 10,000 and other household items.

Mr Sharma had gone to Dehra Dun along with his family and there was no one at home when the theft took place. When he came back after four days he found his house ransacked.



Two killed in road accident
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 3
Two persons were killed in a collision between a CTU bus and a motor cycle near Sohana here today.

According to the police, killed have been identified as Harnek Singh and Amarpal Singh, both residents of Machlikalan village. Both of them were going on a motor cycle towards Lakhnour village when they were allegedly hit by a CTU bus coming from opposite direction.

The police has registered a case under Sections 279, 427 and 304-A of the IPC against the driver of the bus, Pardeep Kumar, who fled from the spot.



PunCom achieves record growth

Mohali, January 3
Punjab Communications Ltd (PunCom) has achieved record growth of 221 per cent in its turnover, taking the total turnover for nine months to Rs 43.12 crore up to December 31, 2005.

Mrs Ravneet Kaur, Vice-Chairman and MD of PunCom, said the turnover for nine months exceeded the entire year’s turnover of the past two financial years, which stood at Rs 41.28 crore and at Rs 41.43 crore at the end of 2004-05 and 2003-04, respectively.

The company had a healthy order position exceeding Rs 30 crore and had recently received major orders from the Railways and BSNL valuing about Rs 17.05 crore.

PunCom was now concentrating on expanding its customer base and targeting the telecommunication requirements of large strategic customers like the Army, Gailtel, IOCL, OIL etc. — OC


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