C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Chaos marks day one of CTU grid system
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, January 23
It was utter confusion on city roads with hapless travellers lost in the maze of new timings and routes of the local Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) buses. The buses commenced running on the ‘Grid System’ today.

Crowds could be seen waiting at bus stops while a number of buses could be seen running without a single passenger, particularly during the earlier part of the day. Officials of the CTU accepted the “inconvenience” on ‘day one’, saying it would take time before people became aware about the new timings and the new routes.

“Some of the routes have been altered after a gap of more than two decades, leading to confusion”. A bus conductor said there were complaints about lack of people contact programmes for the new system. Officials, however, maintained, they had run several advertisements for the past one week and “not a single resident contacted us about the new routes and new times”.

Certain buses running on internal roads of city sectors have been discontinued. Mrs Asha Sharma, a clerk in a private company, said: “I came to the ISBT on Number 30B from Panchkula. The service has now been discontinued”. Mr Rajiv Mittal, a travel company agent, said “now we have a bus service straight from Mohali to the railway station. Earlier, one had to change buses”.

Mr Vikram Rathee, a student of Panjab University, said: “2F used to come from Panchkula (Sector 4) till the PGI stop, which meant a direct bus. Now it goes only till the ISBT. I am sure there will be an alternate service. There has been very poor communication to the general public about the new timings”.

People showed resentment against the new ticketing system. A ticket on any single route costs Rs 5. “There should have been different rate slabs according to the distance actually travelled, said those travelling shorter distances. Also, those who change buses will have to pay Rs 5 more for the new route.

It was pointed out that the public needed to be made aware that besides Rs 5 on any straight route in the city, commuters were required to pay extra for the distance travelled in Mohali and Panchkula.

Senior officials of the CTU could be seen deployed at different places all over the city. An office-bearer of the CTU Employees Union said certain routes needed to be planned once again, as was evident from the inconvenience caused to the public.

Mr Arun Sekhri, director of the CTU, said: “It is going to take some time for the public to be fully acquainted with the new grid system. They maybe facing certain inconvenience. However, the benefits can be seen only later. “The public will soon appreciate the quickness and regularity of the service.”

Officials are preparing charts of buses for different routes and the travel time. Several schools complained about the discomfort to students because of the services being withdrawn. The special bus service till Bartana which picked schoolchildren in adjoining too areas has been discontinued,” said Mr Kamaldev Sharma, general secretary of the Tribune Model Gram. Mr G.R. Kalra, a resident of Sector 49, said: “Earlier Bus Number 123-A connected the entire belt directly with the PGI. The route was helpful to students as a sizeable number of reputed educational institutions were covered on route. It has now been discontinued.”



Officer moves High Court to get back car
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, January 23
Getting back his “stolen” car has become nothing less than an ordeal for a serving Army officer. Though the car was reportedly traced by the Delhi Police in February last year, about a month after it was stolen from Sector 22 here, the vehicle has not been returned to him till date.

In an attempt to get the car back, he has now moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The complainant, Lieut-Col Bhupinder Singh Malhi, a resident of Phase 10, Mohali, has alleged that the local police is under pressure from a senior Delhi Police officer.

In March, 2005, a police team returned empty-handed after the Delhi Police officer claimed that he was in constant touch with the UT Inspector-General of Police and other officers on the issue.

The officer alleged that the car was in possession of a woman acquaintance of the Delhi cop. He alleged that the officer, in an effort to help the woman, had tendered a forged marriage certificate to prove she was an Army officer’s wife.

This woman was staying in his apartment in Delhi as a tenant and had not been paying rent. He had filed a civil suit, claiming rent and eviction.

Narrating his ordeal, Lt-Col Malhi said his Maruti Zen Car (HR-01-N-8665) had been stolen from near Gurdial Singh petrol station in Sector 22 on January 24, 2005.

On February 18, 2005, his car was spotted by two Delhi police officials at the Badarpur Border police post. The car was intercepted by the police. Its had three occupants including, two women.

The Delhi police released the vehicle under the influence of the said officer then. After the matter was brought to the notice of Delhi Police Commissioner, an inquiry was initiated on the basis of his complaint. Its report was awaited.

Disappointed at the attitude of the police, Lt-Col Malhi moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which directed the Chandigarh Police in November last to complete the investigation in four months. He claimed that he had purchased the car from the Army canteen and it was registered in his name.

When contacted, SSP, Gaurav Yadav denied the allegations and expressed ignorance about the case. He said the matter was dealt on merit and he would direct his subordinates to carry out proper and speedy investigations.

Sources in the Sector 17 police station said the investigations conducted in the case so far had revealed that Lt-Col Malhi had himself given the car to the woman as she was known to him. The complaint of theft of the car was false.

The statements and investigations carried out by the police corroborated this fact. He said the police was moving court for cancellation of the First Information Report.



Sarpanch seeks CBI probe into son’s murder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
Expressing dissatisfaction with the investigation into the alleged murder of his son, Ms Kamlesh, sarpanch of Mor Thikri village near Dera Bassi, today demanded a CBI inquiry into the issue to bring out the truth.

Talking to reporters here, Ms Kamlesh alleged that though six persons had been arrested in connection with the murder, yet the “real culprits” had not been arrested, apparently because of “political” influence.

The mutilated bodies of Gurcharan Singh, son of Ms Kamlesh, and Rajesh, a resident of Narwana in Haryana, were found at the railway tracks near the Ghaggar railway station near here on December 30.

The police arrested six residents of Kakrali village near Derabassi in connection with the murders. One of the suspects, Gurmail Singh, later died in police custody in Rajpura which raised a storm with both Congress and the SAD gunning for the police.

Claiming that his son’s reported affair with a girl was the real motive behind the crime, the sarpanch alleged that political parties were sidelining the issue.

Even after about a month of the murder, no leader had visited the aggrieved family though I am an elected representative. Rather, the main political parties had pleaded support and given compensation in cash to the family of Gurmail Singh, she said. 



Chandigarh Calling

Photo by Parvesh Chauhan Change of life for City Beautiful: City Beautiful’, witnessing rapid changes in its outlay plans courtesy the changing socio-economic scenario and heavy rush of population, is all set for a new change. With little scope left for horizontal growth in the city because of hardly any area left for new constructions, Chandigarh Administration has decided to go in for vertical growth. Chandigarh Housing Board has almost finalized the architect for the proposed ten-floor housing scheme in Sector 63. Senior officials say that at least two more ten-floor housing schemes are in the pipeline. Senior officials point out that the vertical growth does not mean covering the left out open area in a scheme with more than specified constructions. There are specifications laid out by the Urban Planning wing of the government, which cannot be exceeded. Growing vertically will mean availability of a bigger open space in a housing scheme. The administration has also sought Expression of Interest for an 11-storey shopping mall in Sector 17, which is provided for in the ‘Master Plan of Le Corbusier’.

Chill pill: Come Tuesday and the chill which has made a comeback after the fluctuating weather patterns in the city, will be most felt by the school children and the staff the most, as the school timings which had been changed by the Education Department will revert back to the old schedule. While the students and teachers are already talking about it, the parents too are conditioning themselves for the change. While the luxury lasted for just a few days from January 9 to January 23, the only school without complaints is the Government Girls Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 8 as the principal here refused to change the time.

Religion quiz: Local resident Satya Pal Choujar, who heads a social organisation “Pratibimb” (reflections), was recently in Sydney Australia imparting lessons on Hindu religion to youngsters of Indian origin. He also started a series of religious quiz programmes for school children. The man has a string of eight hundred questions, which will be published each month in the Hindi Samachar Patrika, a newspaper run by Indians in Australia. The contest, Choujar says will be open for kids in New Zealand and also in Fiji. Indians in Australia-run Hindi schools on the weekend for their kids. For the winner of each month a trophy will be awarded while the winner will be given a prize of 500 Australian dollars along with a chance to participate in the national-level quiz. The grand winner of the quiz will get a return air ticket to India and back.

Family bank: State Bank Patiala, Kalka, has a unique plan up its sleeve. The bank will turn into a ‘family bank’. This means it will open bank accounts of the wives and major children of existing account holders. Senior Manager,S.C. Dhall says this is part of the social initiative of the bank and social organisations and self-help groups in adjoining rural areas have been made aware about the facility that is being offered free of cost. The bank presently has 18,000 accounts holders ranging from salary accounts to accounts opened by traders of the area.

People’s car: The common man’s wait for the ‘people’s car’ is proving to be endless. Even as the automobile companies come out with new jazzy models aimed at the middle and upper classes, the economical car for the man in street is still to see the light of the day. At least that is the impression one gets after talking to S. Krishnan, a top executive of Tata Motors, the other day. The Tata top boss Ratan Tata had gone on record promising the economical car several times. The project is in the pipeline, this is what Krishan said refusing further details. The other officials were also tight-lipped about the project. The Maruti Udyog Limited is the other auto giant reportedly working on an economical car. The progress on this project is also not known. Well, in the era of globalisation and liberalisation, the common man is bound to be at the receiving end of consumerism!

Wrong number: With the advent of PHL Hockey League organisers trying to do their best, yet many a lapses occurred. One of the lapses was that the shirt number mentioned in the score sheet would not tally with the goal scorer’s shirt number. The media persons were at their wit’s end as to which player had scored the goal. Detecting the faux pas, the organisers would rush to the media gallery to make things clear. Hope the organizer will learn and lesson or two from the current league!

Name & fame: Gone are the days when idealism found its place in the hearts of people. Today, youngsters don’t even feel the need to colour their talks with it. After all, why should one go on talking about goody things, which one really intends doing. The Miss Indias that visited our city recently (Amrita and Sindhura) certified this. They were quite clear about what all they wanted in life—name, fame, exposure and Bollywood flicks. As the press crowded around them, they didn’t give idealistic speeches. True, ideals and values are taking a back seat, but that happened long ago. At least, today’s youngsters have the guts to admit it.

Ajay Banerjee, Sanjeev Singh Bariana, Pradeep Sharma, Anandita Gupta, G.S. Paul and Payal Pruthi



Ads give MC rules the go-by
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
In blatant violation of rules laid down by the municipal corporation (MC) for parking contractors, barricades at the entrance to the Sector 17 parking (from the Sector 18 side) are supporting advertisements.

The barricades, both at the entrance and exit points, support advertisements for a Sector 38-based DNA tutorials. The advertisements are in violation of the terms and conditions laid down by the MC in its contract terms with the parking contractors.

Mr S.K. Chadha, Executive Engineer, Roads, and in charge for the parking, said he would look into the matter. “We will check if they have put up advertisements and if they are found guilty, we will take action as laid down in the terms and conditions of the contract of the parking contractor with the MC.”

Mr Chadha said the penalty for the violation could be anything from imposing a fine to suspension of the contract. The MC had, a few months ago, permitted certain advertisements in a few parking lots across the city, after taking out tenders. This move was made after the MC realised that it could earn revenue from these. 



AAI eyes defence land to expand Chandigarh airport
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is closely examining the possibility of acquiring defence land adjoining the Chandigarh civil airport to expand its terminal. The government is proposing to upgrade the existing domestic terminal to an international airport to cater to emerging socio-economic requirements of the region.

Sources revealed that the Governor of Punjab, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), had met the AAI Chairman, Dr K. Ramalingam, and other top officials, including the head of AAI's northern region, in New Delhi about two months ago, where an airport expansion proposal and available options were discussed.

According to the sources, the AAI requires about 20 acres of land to expand the existing terminal to meet the requirements for international operations in the near future. Of this, it is proposed to acquire 15 acres of defence land north of the runway and another 5 acres of civilian land east of the runway towards Zirakpur.

The sources said though this option was under the active consideration at AAI headquarters, the issue was yet to be formally taken up with the Defence Ministry.

The Army, understandably, would not be pleased with this option. The defence land in question houses the Army's N-Area, responsible for supporting the Army's deployment in high altitude areas in Jammu and Kashmir.

All supplies and logistic requirements as well as most of the troops airlifted to forward areas are routed through the N-Area.

The N-Area has massive infrastructure built up over decades. This includes buildings, storage complexes, family accommodation, messes and barracks for troops. Besides two Army Service Corps battalions, several minor units are also located there. In winter months, when sorties to Leh and Thoise are disrupted because of bad weather as many as 4,000 transients are accommodated there.

The airport expansion project requires additional land to accommodate larger aircraft and cater for the increased passenger traffic, besides setting up cargo handling complexes. At present, the airport's apron can accommodate only two aircraft of the size of the Boeing-737 or the Airbus-320. The apron is being expanded to accommodate three aircraft of this size, but it would still be insufficient for larger aircraft to manoeuver. Whenever large civilian aircraft land here, they have to be parked at the Air Force dispersal bay, adjacent to which the civilian terminal is co-located.

Other options, AAI officials said, included constructing a totally new complex towards the south and south-east of the runway adjoining Mohali, where land was available. The cost of acquiring land and a new setup also had to be considered vis-à-vis expanding and upgrading existing facilities, they added.



Govt approves of my battle for justice: Rupan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
"The fact that the Government of India has recommended my name for a Padmashri shows that it both acknowledges and approves of the battle that I fought for upholding my dignity in a man's world," said Ms Rupan Deol Bajaj, former Financial Commissioner, Punjab, here today. Ms Bajaj was talking to mediapersons at Panjab University here today.

Responding to a question as to how she felt being recommended for a Padamshri by the Ministry of Social Empowerment, Ms Bajaj said she was encouraged. "Even if I do not get the Padmashri I am glad that my fight for justice has not gone waste and is being seen as an example to follow," she said.

Ms Bajaj was the chief guest at the inauguration of a two-day workshop on gender equality organised by the Centre for Adult, Continuing Education and Extension (CACEE) and the Education and Careers Applied Research Establishment (EduCARE) with the resource support of Bahai's office for the Advancement of Women, New Delhi.

Relating her experience, Ms Bajaj said the damaging effects of gender prejudice were the faults that lay beneath the foundation of our national life. "It is everywhere.

The chains of prejudice are so well entrenched that even when a woman decides to stand up for her rights, there are so many well- educated and well- meaning persons who will try and dissuade you. And worse is when everyone leaves you to carry your fight alone. In my case during the 18 years of struggle, I was lucky to have my father and my husband by my side at every step," she said.

"I was able to do it because I was educated, taught to think for myself, take my own decisions and take the responsibility for them and follow these through," she said.

Talking about female foeticide, Ms Bajaj pointed out that it was an irony that religious men and women who would not touch a non-vegetarian dish for fear of going against God, do not think twice before going ahead and killing a daughter in the womb. "The problem lies in the mindset and full equality requires a change in this mindset," she said.

More than 20 married couples and 30 students are participating in the workshop. Dr Sween, Director, CACEE, PU, said the objective of the workshop was not to pit women against men or to provoke them into a race for the survival of the fittest, but the emphasis was on the sharing of ideas, capacities and abilities so as to build bigger capacities.

And both men and women are going to benefit by this networking.

Mr B.S. Bhullar, Chief Project Director, EduCARE, said the education of girls was very important to eradicate gender bias. He disclosed that the present gender equality workshop was a part of Project IdeaGIRLS (Initiatives for Development and Empowerment of Adolescent Girls) that the organisation was implementing.

Dr Nalina Jiwani, Director, Bahai's office for the Advancement of Women, New Delhi, highlighted the concept of partnership in building equality.

She added that only when women became full participants in all domains of life, especially decision-making will the humanity walk more confidently.

Dr Robin D. Diallo, First Secretary, Cultural Affairs, US Embassy, highlighted the fact that without fundamental changes in the attitudes and values of individuals and the underlying ethos of the social institutions full equality between women and men could not be achieved. 



Boundary wall of factory collapses
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 23
A part of the boundary wall of a private cable factory suddenly fell, causing damage to some scooters parked near it in the Phase VII Industrial Area here today.

Mr Swaran Singh of the neighbouring factory said a theft had taken place in the cable factory some months ago after which the owners of the factory had raised the height of the wall and later fenced it.

The boundary wall was old and the foundation could have become weak over the years.

The manager of the cable factory did not want to comment on the incident. He even tried to stop the Tribune lensman from taking photographs.



Rodrigues visits Kajheri village
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), UT Administrator, today visited Kajheri village to see the progress of various community development programmes and the quality of work executed by the Administration and the  panchayat.

Accompanied by his wife and senior officers, including Chief Engineer, Chief Architect and Director, Rural Development, the Administrator went around the village and took  stock of the progress of the projects.

He interacted with panchayat members and villagers and sought their support for completing the development programmes. He also appealed to the people to avail of the opportunity for changing the rural scene and make rural society economically self-reliant. 



Fauji Beat
Neglecting war widows is national insult

Sadly, the country has more war widows today than ever before and their number keeps on increasing by the day, thanks to the on-going counter insurgency operations in J&K and in the North East. We see their pictures on TV and in newspapers once in their life and that is when they are invited to receive gallantry awards that their husbands won (posthumously). Thereafter, they and their orphaned children face neglect from all quarters throughout their life.

The report of the National Commission for Women (NCW), which carried out a countrywide survey of war widows recently, makes a pathetic readings about their utter neglect by the government and other agencies, including the Army and the Sainik Welfare Departments. It also says that the largest number of war widows in the country is in Haryana followed closely by Punjab. The degree of their neglect can be gauged from the fact that there is no district or state-wise list of widows with their addresses in any department.

As for their rehabilitation, less said better. A few years ago when a Brigadier’s widow applied for a job, she was informed by the Kendriya Sainik Board, Ministry of Defence, that the rules permitted reservation only in Group C and D posts, which were Class III or IV.

What the Central and the state governments should not forget is that the war heroes fell while safeguarding the integrity of the country in the hope that their widows would be taken care of by the country. Neglecting them, therefore, will be a national insult.

Medical equipment

While expressing dissatisfaction about the services provided by the ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), Col S.S. Aujla from Patiala has said that recently, he had to purchase a hearing aid from the market out of his own pocket.

Several ECHS members whose cases for the hearing aid duly recommended by the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, had gone to the higher ECHS authorities as early as August 2005, are still waiting for this equipment. The rules of the health scheme clearly say that the medical equipment such as hearing aids, nubulisers, glucometers, etc, will be provided to those members whose cases are recommended by the medical authorities. The ECHS authorities should remember that non-compliance of the rules by them results in the pensioners losing confidence in the scheme.

Army’s institutes

Two new professional institutes under the aegis of the Army Welfare Education Society (AWES) will be set up in the near future in Guwahati and Delhi Cantonment, respectively.

Army Institute of Nursing (AIN) will start functioning at Guwahati in 2006-07 with an annaul intake of 50 girl students. The written test of the candidates for admission to the AIN will be held in April/May 2006. Initially, the institute will start functioning from 151 Base Hospital, Basistha. It will shift to its new complex as soon as it is ready.

The other institute, Army College of Medical Sciences (ACMS), will also start fuctioning in 2006-07 from the Base Hospital Delhi Cantonment. Its new building is likely to be completed by September 2007.

Over the years, AWES has opened several professional institutions all over the country for the wards of the Army personnel both serving and retired. This step has gone a long way in improving employment opportunities for the children of the Army personnel in the professional fields.

TA in Republic Day

A contingent from the Territorial Army Group Western Command comprising personnel from 124 and 152 Infantry Battalions (TA), will be taking part in the Republic Day Parade at New Delhi on January 26, 2006. This proves that the TA has carved a niche in all activities of the Army both in peace time and war because of its credible perfomance over the years.

— Pritam Bhullar



Police Medal for four cops

Chandigarh, January 23
The Chandigarh Police has decided to confer Police Medal on four personnel for meritorious services on the Republic Day.
They are Head Constable Shiv Kumar, Head Constable Balwant Singh, constable Anand Singh and constable Jaswinder Kaur.

Commendation certificates would be given to Sub-Inspector Neeraj Sarna, Sub Inspector Pyare Lal, ASI Amanjot, Head Constable Daleep Singh, Head Constable Hartinder Singh and constable Mahipal Singh. TNS



Imposters loot house
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 23
Two intruders looted a house in broad daylight in Sector 67 here today and decamped with cash and other property.
According to the police, two persons, who claimed they were from a telephone company, went to the house of a PUDA official, Mr Harinder Singh. His teenaged son, Baldeep Singh, was at home at that time. The intruders told him that they had come to repair a fault in their telephone lines and entered the house.

Once let inside, they allegedly pushed Baldeep Singh and threatened him with a knife. They asked him where the family had kept the valuables. They broke a lock on an almirah and took away Rs 1600, a gold ring, two watches and a mobile phone.

The wife of Mr Harinder Singh works as a schoolteacher at Mullanpur Garbidass. She was at school at the time of the incident. Their younger son, Jagdeep Singh, who studies in Class VIII, was also away.

The police is investigating the matter. No formal complaint had been lodged by the family in this regard.



Patiala resident held for opening fire
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 23
The local police today arrested a resident of Patiala in connection with the last night's firing incident.
The police said 35-year-old Jaspreet Singh was arrested from Sector 29 and 30 dividing road this afternoon. He was travelling in his Lancer car when he was arrested. The police seized a pistol along with 23 live and two used cartridges and also impounded the car.

The police said a case had been registered against Jaspreet Singh on the basis of a complaint field by Mr Jagdish Nayer Pandey of Phase VII.

It was alleged that Jaspreet Singh fired shots while trying to escape from some shop keepers with whom he had some dispute. He fired three shots in the air from his pistol.

He will be produced before the local court tomorrow, said a police officer in industrial area police station.



Theft in Sector 52 shop
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 23
Thieves decamped with 20 watches and a portable TV from a shop in Sector 52. Besides, a theft of 20 boxes containing copper wire was reported to the police from Sector 50. Elsewhere, the police held a person for allegedly indulging in gambling. In a separate incident, a Sector 24 resident was arrested on a charge of carrying 5 gm of smack.

Mr Paramjit Singh of Colony No. 4 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that 20 watches and a portable TV were stolen from his shop yesterday. In a separate incident, Mr Gurpuran Singh of Sector 50 reported to the police alleging that 20 boxes of copper wire were stolen from a plot during Saturday night. Two separate cases of theft have been registered in this regard.

Gambling: The police arrested Jabber Singh of Maloya Colony from near the rehri market in the same locality for allegedly indulging in gambling. The police recovered Rs 485 from his possession. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered.

Smack seized: The police arrested Sunil Kumar, alias Raju, of Sector 24 from the Sector 24 and 25 dividing road on a charge of carrying 5 gm of smack on Sunday. A case has been registered.

Student robbed: In a broad daylight incident of robbery, a youth robbed a student of a diamond ring on knife point.

Police sources said Shanky Goel, a plus one student of Shishu Niketan School, reported to the police that a man sought a ride near the Gurdwara in Sector 22 at around 1.30 pm when he was returning home on his scooter. After travelling some distance, the youth asked him to stop and pulled out a knife and robbed him.

A case has been registered.



One killed in road accident
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 23
A resident of Phase III-B-1 was killed while two others were injured in a road accident near Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh. The body of the deceased, Jaswinder Singh, was brought to the town and cremated here today.

According to information available, Jaswinder Singh had gone to Moradabad along with his friends. He was driving the car which hit a stationary truck parked on the roadside around midnight on January 21. Jaswinder Singh died on the spot.



Child injured in mishap
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 23
A child was injured in an accident involving a bicycle and a motor cycle near Sector 68 here today.
According to information available, two children coming on a bicycle collided with a motor cycle going towards Phase XI. While one child fell on the road, the other got dragged.


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