C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No case registered despite evidence
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, January 15
A city resident, Mr S.K. Gupta, has been running from pillar to post for over three years to get his employer booked for forgery for allegedly transferring the ownership of his mobile connection in the name of another employee fraudulently. This despite the fact that the telecom company had confirmed the fraud and the police is yet to register a case.

Mr S.K. Gupta said that he had been using a Spice Telecom mobile connection since August 1999. He alleged that in August 2002 his former employer fraudulently transferred his mobile phone connection to another employee of his company soon after he disassociated himself from the company. His employer misrepresented the ownership of the mobile phone connection to the telecom company, thus transferring the same in the name of another employee. When Mr Gupta came to know about the fraud he reported the matter to the Chandigarh Police, which after taking its ‘own time’ told him that the case did not fall under their jurisdiction and he should report it to the Mohali police. But the Mohali Police has not registered any case so far despite the fact that the telecom company had confirmed the fraud.

Mr Gupta said that he was working with the M/s Super Scientific, Baroda since July 1994. He worked for the company for about eight years and in July 2002 he quit the company, Super Scientific, Baroda, whose Managing Director was Mr Naresh Goyal.

On August 8, 2002 he found out that his mobile phone stopped working, so he immediately contacted the telecom company. There he came to know the fact that the mobile connection had been transferred in the name of Mr Jagjit Singh of Sector 55. After verifying the claims of Mr Gupta the telecom company transferred the connection back in Mr Gupta’s name on the same day. The telecom company had also handed over to him the photocopies of the documents submitted by Mr Naresh Goyal seeking the transfer of the phone connection.

Subsequently, Mr Gupta reported the matter to the Sector 36 police station, Chandigarh the very next day. The Chandigarh Police investigated the matter for months and later told Mr Gupta that the crime occurred under the Mohali police’s jurisdiction. Meanwhile, Mr Gupta’s 24-year-old son died after a prolonged illness. So he could not pursue the case for sometime.

“It’s been more than a month, now, that I have brought the matter to the Mohali police’s notice and have also given all necessary documents including the letter from the Spice Telecom confirming the fraud. But nothing has been done so far and in am not sure about the fate of my complaint,” rued Mr Gupta.

When contacted the Mohali Police, the investigating officer of the case Mr Harpal Singh said, “The matter is under investigation. I have recorded the statements of both the sides and will forward the report to the office of Senior Superintendent of Police, Ropar. After getting the legal opinion a case will be registered in this connection.” Mr Harpal Singh added that Mr Naresh Goyal had denied the allegations as baseless. While quoting Mr Naresh Goyal, the officer said Mr Gupta was his employee and after he had quit his job following which the phone was transferred to another employee.



Custodial Death
Kanwaljit seeks judicial probe
Tribune News Service

Derabassi, January 15
Bhog ceremony of Gurmail Singh, a resident of Kakrali village, who allegedly died in the custody of the Government Railway Police (GRP), Rajpura, on January 4, passed off peacefully amid tight security.

However, the ceremony virtually snowballed into a political issue with the ruling Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders coming out with different stands. While Mr Deepinder Dhillon, vice-chairman of the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), announced a grant of Rs 2.5 lakh besides Rs 50,000 as his personal contribution to the family, SAD rejected the grant.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, senior SAD leader and a former Finance Minister, while rejecting the official grant, announced a grant of Rs 3 lakh from party fund. He demanded the registration of a case under Section 302 of the IPC and a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the bereaved family.

The Akali leader alleged that the law and order situation was going from bad to worse in the state. Certain youths from Haryana were still threatening the family, he alleged.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh demanded a judicial probe into the circumstances leading to the death.



Beopar mandal urges Admn to review plastic ban
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Urging the Chandigarh Administration to be realistic while imposing ban on the use of plastic carry bags in the city, the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal and the Chandigarh Plastic Manufacturers and Traders Association today said the carry bags constituted only 3.9 per cent share of the plastic bags manufactured in the country.

Banning the polythene bags merely because of their design would not practical due to the fact that a number of multi nationals was packaging their products in plastic bags. The material being used by the multi nationals was the same being used for manufacturing polythene bags, claimed the association. They said that examination of the material could supplement their claims.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Jarnail Singh, president of the association, said either there should be ban on all types of plastic bags or the Administration should evolve a strict policy to check disposal and littering of polythene bags. He said the manufacturers in the city were manufacturing polythene bags of thickness above 30 microns. “We have been certified as pollution-free industry and nobody has been challaned by the Chandigarh Pollution Board since 2001,” claimed Mr Singh.

Mr J.S. Kalra from the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal said on the pattern of treating bio-medical waste, the Administration should also implement the disposal and littering of the plastic bags.

Mr Kuldeep Singh, member advisor (technical) of the association, said it was a misconception that the polythene bags were chocking the drains and sewerage. A study conducted by the Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology, Amritsar, has stated that the drains were chocked due to mixed water containing discarded leather, rubber products, garbage, metal cans, paper cards and board. Plastic packaging was a major source of litter, the study has pointed out.

“The main reason behind the menace was the non-recycled and non picked material. The polythene bags are immediately picked up rag pickers. The problem with the non recycled material was poor waste management “, he added.



Lapses in production led to Dhruv’s grounding
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

K.P. Puri
K.P. Puri

Chandigarh, January 15
Non-adherence to the laiddown manufacturing process and the use of material whose life had expired resulted in the crashlanding of the Dhruv helicopter, which led to the grounding of the entire helicopter fleet earlier this month.

The crash landing revealed serious fault in the machine's tail rotor. The tail rotors are now being replaced.

"The fault was a combination of non-compliance of the stipulated manufacturing process as well as use of life-expired consumables that are not easily available," Mr K.P. Puri, Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), told The Tribune here today.

The Dhruv, also known as the advance light helicopter, has been designed and developed by HAL and 46 helicopters have been delivered to the armed forces and other government agencies so far.

Mr Puri said these factors led to "de-bonding" of the raisin-based components in the composite tail rotor. This, he added, produced extra vibrations, leading to imbalance of the tail rotor, which ultimately broke.

The material used in the construction of the tail rotor was procured from a Swiss firm, which no longer produces the stuff. Now similar material is being sourced from an Australian firm, which incidentally, belongs to an Indian entrepreneur.

The HAL chief said 80 per cent of the rotor-blades were being withdrawn. The replacement of these blades with newly produced ones was expected to be complete within two months.

Stressing that there was no design fault with the rotors, he added that the manufacturing process should have been complied to strictly as the time-scheduled mentioned to carry out different processes was very critical.

Speaking about HAL-DRDO's other major project, the development of the Tejas light combat aircraft, Mr Puri said that development of the Kaveri engine was behind schedule, following which a foreign collaborator was being brought in to overcome design deficiencies. Four engine manufacturers, Rolls Royce, Snecma, Pratt and Whitney and NPO Saturn (Russia) are in the fray.

Two more prototypes of the Tejas will be produced this year, taking the number to five. Mr Puri said 7,000 to 8,000 flying points on the Tejas were still to be checked. On a single sortie only 8-10 points can be checked. The prototypes have undertaken about 700 sorties so far.

Mr Puri said a joint Indo-Russian project to develop a multi-role transport aircraft is firmly on the rails. It will be in the 20-tonne payload category and be capable of carrying about 100 passengers. The aircraft will be produced on a 50-50 basis, with the Russian requirement being pegged at 100 aircraft and that of the IAF being projected at 45 aircraft.



Kuwaiti company still recruiting Indian drivers
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
A Kuwait-based transport company, Kuwait Gulf Links (KGL), which hit headlines after its three Indians employees were held hostage in Iraq, still continues to indulge in ‘human trafficking’ right under the nose of governments of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

To circumvent the ban imposed on the company by the Ministry of Overseas India Affairs, the company through private agents is recruiting drivers for a Dubai-based construction company.

To recruit the drivers, a Sector 42-based travel agent inserted an advertisement in Punjabi dailies on January 12. The prospective candidates were asked to contact on the given telephone numbers. No date and place of the interview was given.

Tracking the advertisement, Mr Balwinder Singh ( not the real name), a prospective candidate, called up at the given telephone numbers on Saturday. The person on the other side directed him to go to BS Trade Test Center, D-33, Industrial Area, Phase 1, Mohali.

“On papers we are sending you to Dubai. But we are sending you to KGL, Kuwait. Do not disclose this to anybody” said the woman.

The woman directed the candidate to Maloya village. Around six persons were seen conducting test of the drivers there.

Later in the day, the Chandigarh Police and the Punjab Police got to know and conducted a raid at Maloya. “Prima facie the papers produced by the agent appear to be genuine. But the possibility of the agent recruiting drivers in a clandestine manner for KGL cannot be ruled out”, said an investigating officer. The credentials of the documents and Kuwaiti police officials are still being ascertained by the police.

A Delhi-based agent of Sanbrose Human Resource Consultants and a former employee in the Protector of Immigrants (POI), Mr VK Sharma claimed that he was an authorised agent of Messers Drake and Skulls Limited, a Dubai-based company. He produced a demand-cum-authority letter of the company. Mr Bhupinder Singh, proprietor of the BS Enterprises, who gave the advertisement in papers, was not available for comments despite repeated efforts.

Others accompanying Mr Sharma were two project managers of Kuwait Gulf Link Limited, Mr Quadros Dionysious Alexis, Mr Staney Sequeria and Mr Balram Karki, who was a trolley driver in Kuwait. Two officials of the Kuwait Police, Lieutenant Mohamed Jassim Marzouk and a traffic constable, Mubarak Abdullah Alzafri, were also there

Though the agent had announced to conduct interviews till January 17, the agents and his team members wound up their “recruitment drive” and left for Delhi, raising suspicion about their credentials. Further probe revealed that as per the procedure, the Director-General of Traffic, Kuwait, allows his cops to accompany agents of recruiting company. The presence of Kuwati cops facilitates the candidate to get a Kuwati driving licence. “How can Kuwati policeman conduct interviews for a Dubai-based company? Moreover, their passport carries a tourist visa. It needs thorough probe”, said a source in Protector of Immigrants, New Delhi.

Besides, the advertisement given by BS Enterprises clearly states that the candidates require Indian driving licence. Sources in this business reveal that for Dubai, the rules are very strict. One had to attend classes at Dubai and clear a test there before a valid licence was issued by the transport authorities there. Moreover, there is no procedure of Dubai traffic policemen accompanying agents for recruitment to other countries.

Further probe reveals that the permission for conducting the test at Maloya village and the permission from the Protector of Immigration (POI), Chandigarh, mentions the BS Trade Test Centre, Chandigarh, whereas the trade centre is located in Industrial Area, Phase 1, Mohali. Without verifying the address of the recruiting agent, the POI and the officer concerned of the Chandigarh Police gave permission for holding the test at Maloya.



Passing Thru

Ravi Sanathanam
Mr Ravi Sanathanam, Managing Director, Hindustan Motors

What brings you to Chandigarh?

I am here to launch the new Mitsubishi Lancer Cedia in the city. This is a premium car, extremely responsive with easy manoeuvrability. It has a four-cylinder 2.0 litre petrol engine. With Cedia, we also bring the "one- country one-price" concept, which means that the car will be available across the country at Rs 9. 87 lakh.

With a number of foreign auto majors coming in the market, will Hindustan Motors lose ground?

Hindustan Motors vehicles are doing extremely well, especially the Lancer Lexus and Pajero. It is a misconception that our cars are doing well only in South India or in the East, because of our vehicles' sturdiness and road worthiness. We are the favourite conveyance for foreigners touring the country. Even in the public sector, Ambassadors are still the favourite.

Will Hindustan Motors come up with a small segment or a mid segment car?

No, we have no plans to manufacture small cars. But later this month, we will launch the sports version of Cedia which will target the younger crowd. Even this sports car will be priced at Rs 9. 87 lakh.

— Ruchika M. Khanna



Sikh who runs only gurdwara in Brazil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Sohbag Kaur Khalsa, an American Sikh settled in Brazil, is running the only gurdwara in the country. Carrying the legacy of her late husband forward Sohbag, a yoga teacher, says there are no Sikhs but the gurdwara in San Paulo still runs packed with Brazilians who are regular visitors.

Relating the story of how she and her husband, a Brazilian who had become a Sikh while in the USA, laid the foundation stone of Guru Arjun Dev Gurdwara, Ms Khalsa said, "Nobody knew Sikhs in Brazil. We were the only two turbaned persons in that city. But it was our family dream and we broke ground in 2000. We made a guesthouse for visitors and a clinic. On the second floor, the gurdwara is built."

It was a huge task for the couple to build the gurdwara since there was no other Sikh sangat in the city to support the project. So, they went to the USA and had stayed with their family and worked for eight months to earn money for the project.

They were able to save $10,000. During a vacation to the USA, she found out that her husband was suffering from cancer which was now in its terminal stage. So, they decided to start the gurdwara so that her husband could see it happening before he breathed his last.

On June 6, 2004, the gurdwara was inaugurated. Sohbag's husband performed the ardas, his last public appearance. And then he died.

Born in Pennysylvania, Sohbag holds a degree in social work and started yoga while living in Maine. Then, she quit her job and moved to Boston where she began research on yoga and met Yogi Harbhajan Singh and became a Sikh.

Now, Ms Khalsa has come to admit two of her three children at the Miri Piri Academy. "I have come after 25 years to India. A lot has changed. Inflation is going up and cleanliness and purity is going down. I had a keen desire to see Harmander Sahib. So, I flew into Amritsar. My two sons, Ajit and Gobind, have been admitted to the Miri Piri Academy at Cheharta near Amritsar while my daughter is a web designer," she adds.



Long queues for library membership
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
British Library reopened the library membership today. The drive started at 9 a.m. and continued till 7 p.m. City residents utilised the Sunday to enrol themselves as the member of the library. Re-opening of this library’s membership was a long-awaited event for many.

Elaborate arrangements were made by the library authorities. A help desk was put up outside the library where all the information regarding the membership, including application forms, was provided by the library staff. Tea, coffee and drinking water were served to those standing in the queue.

Many people including young professionals, bureaucrats, students, businessmen and housewives, thronged the British Library in large numbers to get enrolled for the membership. People braved the cold weather to stand in the queue. More than 2,000 Chandigarhians could be seen queuing up for the enrolment. There were people, who had reached as early as 11 pm last night. Namita, Vaneet Arora, Jagjit Singh were the first ones to camp outside the library at around 11 pm.

Considering the demand of membership, the enrolment will continue tomorrow. Membership is open for all the categories — individual, classic and family — is being offered on first-come-first-served basis.



Retired rly staff for better medical care
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Retired employees of the Railways settled in the city, Panchkula and Mohali, are facing problems on account of non-availability of medical facilities by the department at Chandigarh. There is only one dispensary at Chandigarh Railway Station which opens only for 2 days in the week. Rest of the days they have either to fend for themselves and spend heavily on their medicines and treatment or they have to go to the Railway hospitals at Kalka or Ambala which are either 30 to 50 km away from the city.

None of the hospitals in the city are recongnised by the Railways, except in case of emergency like a heart attack or accident, when they can be treated at the PGI or a government hospital that too after making full payment from their pocket which may be reimbursed much later that too at the mercy of the Railways.

These and other problems of the retired employees of the Railways were highlighted at the annual general meeting of RSCWS-Railway Senior Citizens Welfare Society held at Government Museum and Art Gallery, auditorium here today.

The meeting called for opening of the dispensary daily or on more days per week and upgrading it to be a health unit, cash-less treatment in PGI and Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32 through direct payment of bills by the Railways, recognition of Fortis hospital by the department for treatment of retired employees, extension of date for option for Railway employees, liberalised health scheme-RELHS and early setting up of Sixth Pay Commission, etc.

A seminar on health-care for senior citizens was also held on the occasion where in doctors of Fortis hospital addressed and interacted on care and management of diabetes and eye diseases. Eight senior citizens were honoured on the occasion.



Creating awareness about AIDS through play
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 15
A street play, “Haqeekat”, was staged at Scooter Market, Sector 38 (West), by the artistes of the Theatre Age Group of Performing Arts here today. The director of the group Julfiqar Khan has sculpted the play with an aim to creating awareness about the effects of AIDS.

An alumnus of the Department of Indian Theatre at Panjab University, Julfiqkar has weaved the script in a very candid style to create a spontaneous effect on the audience. Though his audience is mainly the residents of slum areas, the four shows staged at Labour Chowk, Sector 45, Scooter Market in Sector 38, markets in Sector 37-D and Sector 40 elicited a good response.

All actors of his play, including Virpal, Ajay, Vinod Azaad, Arun, Guatam and Geeta, come from the slum areas and their approach in throwing the dialogues with aberrations and punch looks natural. Precautions and measures to avoid the disease are illustrated through comical situations, eventually designed to leave an impact on the audience.

The group plans to stage over 20 shows of the play.



Chander Mohan opens gaushala
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 15
Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana Chander Mohan today inaugurated a gaushala at Tagra Hakimpur, about 20 km from here. It has been constructed by Sri Radhey Shyam Gaushala Samiti, Kalka.

The Deputy Chief Minister said the cow had been equated to mother in Indian culture. He urged the people to donate liberally for gaushalas.

He lauded the role of the samiti in setting up the gaushala with a view to serving ailing and disabled cows.

Addressing the gathering, Haryana Pardesh Congress secretary Vijay Bansal said all old pipes supplying potable water were being replaced in Kalka at a cost of Rs 3.2 crore.

SDM of Kalka Maheshwar Sharma said a new chapter had been added in the history of Kalka with the inauguration of the gaushala. Kalka Congress committee (urban) president Mohini Nanda, District Women Wing Congress president Santosh Sharma and manager of Naraingarh gaushala Suman Sharma also spoke.



Woman held, smack recovered
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 15
The police arrested a woman on the allegations of carrying smack. In another incident, a purse containing Rs 12,000 was stolen from Sector 22 market. Elsewhere the local police arrested two persons for allegedly indulging in gambling while a minor was arrested for stealing from a shop.

According to the police, Ms Nancy of Sector 22-B was arrested from near the Bapu Dham Colony in Sector 26 for allegedly carrying smack on Saturday. She was nabbed on the grounds of suspicion as she tried to avoid a police party heading towards her. Her search led to recovery of 3.5 gm of smack from her possession.

A case under Section 21 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act has been registered in Sector 26 police station in this regard.

Purse stolen: Mr Rajan Sharma of Sector 22 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his purse containing Rs 12000, a driving licence, a registration certificate and other articles was stolen from the Sector 22 Shashtri Market on Saturday. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 17 police station.

Two arrested: The local police arrested Dinesh Kumar and Balinder of Bapu Dham Colony from Madrassi Colony on the allegations of indulging in gambling at public place. The cops recovered Rs 240 from their possession and registered a case under the Gambling Act in this regard.

Minor held for stealing: Mr Sumodh Singh of Colony No 4 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that a minor boy of his locality had stolen 135 packets of cigarettes and other articles from his shop during the night of January 11.

Acting on the complaint, the police arrested the accused and claimed to have recovered the stolen property from his possession.

A case has been registered in the Industrial Area police station.



PCO worker mugged
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 15
The police today arrested a youth on the charges of robbery. His two accomplices have absconded. They robbed a resident of Kajheri of Rs 3,500 and other aticles last night.

Police sources said Raju, an employee working at a PCO the ISBT, Sector 17, had reported to the police that three youngsters robbed him of Rs 3,500, a driving licence, a passbook and a diary last evening while he was on his way back home.

Earlier, they had made a call from his PCO on Saturday afternoon. After about an hour they had come back looking for a mobile phone claiming that they had left it at the PCO inadvertently. When Raju expressed ignorance about any cellphone they even searched his shop for the cellphone.

One of the accused was arrested when he came to take away his motor cycle from the ISBT parking. He was identified as Darshan Singh of Giddarbaha. His accomplices, haling from the same city, have been identified as Raju and Manoj.



Three hurt in mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 15
Three persons have been injured, one of them seriously, when a Qualis they were travelling in had a head-on collision with a tractor-trailer. The police said the accident took place because of the poor visibility due to fog.

The accident took place at the Sector 8-9 crossing when the drivers of both vehicles, coming from opposite direction, failed to see each other. The driver of the tractor-trailer fled, while the three persons in the Qualis, including driver Rajinder, were injured.

All three victims — Rajinder, Kedar and Gama — were rushed to General Hospital, Sector 6, from where Kedar was shifted to the PGI, Chandigarh. The police has registered a case in this regard.



One held for murder bid
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 15
An accused in an attempt-to-murder case, who allegedly stabbed a fellow worker in November on the road dividing Sector 15 and 16, has been arrested.
Police sources said 25-year-old Gobind Vallabh Patel was arrested in Sector 11 this evening.

Mr Rakesh Sharma, the son of the owner of a bakery shop, where both victim and the accused had worked, identified the accused. He would be produced before a local court tomorrow.

Gobind had stabbed Santosh Bhadur of Nepal when he was on his way to the bakery. Santosh had sustained head injuries and fallen unconscious. It had been alleged that they had picked a quarrel sometime back following which they were not on talking terms.


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