C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Punjab Govt, UT cut grant to PU
Senators differ on various issues
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Punjab Government and the Chandigarh Administration have reduced by about Rs 3 crore their share of grant to Panjab University for this financial year. Revealing this at the special meeting of the Panjab University Senate held here today, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, said the move was likely to lead to a financial crisis for the university in the coming days.

While the Punjab Government had decided to reduce its share of grant from the current Rs 16 crore by Rs 1.42 crore, the UT Administration would not immediately pay its arrears of Rs 1.23 crore from the total grant of Rs 30.5 crore.

The university is run by the grants given by the Punjab Government and UT Administration and a withdrawal or delay of grant could mean a delay in the implementation of a large number of the university’s projects, including extension of infrastructure facilities, even leading to a proposal to hike fee.

While many senators, including Prof R.C. Sobti, called for more cooperation and coordination among the university departments and colleges running similar courses, sharp differences among university and college senators on various issues cropped up during the meeting. During the discussion on the state of higher education, when fellow Devi Sirohi pointed out that a majority of college students were depending heavily on help books and guides to pass examinations and no effort was being made to teach them from standard books, P.S. Gill, a senator from a local college, was quick to object to the language being used. However, he remained silent when his colleague from another college in Ludhiana senator Mukesh Arora said that “chorbazaari” was going on in the name of higher education.

Similarly, when Principal S Marriya pointed out that permanent teachers in colleges were not performing as well as teachers on contract, he was virtually silenced by various college teacher leaders in the Senate.

Even more interesting was the response of the House to a call given by Tarsem Bahia. When the VC pointed out that he was unable to take punitive action against erring employees since senators approach him to forgive them. Tarsem Bahia asked all senators to take a pledge to stop this practice and strengthen the authority of the VC. No senator came forward to the pledge.

During the meeting, Professor R.C. Sobti suggested the constitution of an institute of applied sciences and fellow Akhtar Mehmood suggested the revival of joint research boards and better interaction among various science departments within the university.

Mr Dharinder Tayal suggested that the PU should encourage healthy competition among colleges by bringing them under common schools of study and giving them complete autonomy to function. His suggestion that the PU should also go global was seconded by A.C. Vaid.

While fellow Cecilia suggested that specialists in various fields from reputed international institutions be invited to help the Board of Studies update syllabi, S Marriya added that eminent persons from the industry and the corporate world should be included in both the process of updation of syllabus and teaching.

Many senators raised issues of colleges being run by officiating principals, college teachers awaiting salaries. Gurdeep Sharma pointed out that the bridge between rural and urban colleges be bridged, while B.B. Tandon demanded that leniency be shown by the university towards granting affiliations to rural colleges.

While Ashok Sachdeva suggested that assessment of colleges be also done keeping in view the placements managed by the colleges for the self-financing courses it was running, Amarjit Singh Dua said all colleges should have a placement cell.

Fellow Mukesh Arora demanded an inquiry into how Monika Arora, a B.Com candidate from Government College Ludhiana, who was a university topper and had scored 100 per cent marks in mathematics and over 90 marks in another subject, had been declared as ‘fail’ in the environment studies examination held by the university. He added that since the university did not allow re-evaluation in the subject, the candidate should be shown her marked answer sheets.



Demand for mechanism to govern liquor prices
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

What consumers want?

  • Fixing of MRP for beer and liquor
  • Availability of different brands of liquor at any vend
  • Curbing monopolistic tendencies
  • Healthy competition to keep a check on the prices of liquor

Chandigarh, February 5
Reacting to the UT Excise Policy for the financial year 2006-07, consumers of liquor have demanded a mechanism to govern the maximum retail price (MRP) of different brands of liquor in the city.

It was mandatory to put a cap on the maximum selling price of countrymade liquor and IMFL to avoid monopolistic tendencies and protect the interest of consumers.

The Administration should use its powers under the Packaged Commodities Act to fix the prices of high, medium and cheap brands of country liquor and IMFL, feel the consumers. The consumers do not want a repeat of the last excise policy when the liquor prices shot up, thanks to control of the liquor business by a liquor baron.

The Administration did not act when consumers were being forced to pay high prices as the liquor contractor had paid a high price during the auction. No initiative was taken by the Administration to check the high rates.

Said Mr Pawan Kumar, a bacchus lover, “Since, from this year, the system of licence is being introduced, the Administration should come out with certain slabs for the MRP. The prices could be calculated after taking into account the landing cost and profit margin.”

“The profit made by the contractors govern the rates of liquor”, said Mr A.S. Bhatti, adding that officers had stated that the prices would fall. It would be nominal since the existing rates were already high.

Due to the monopoly of the liquor baron, some popular brands were not being sold at any of the liquor vends in the city. “Now, the Administration has decided to give preference to manufacturers in the allotment of vends. The companies earlier would sell their brands and the consumer would not have the brand of his choice”, said Mr Pradeep Mathur, a resident of Sector 20.

A few years back, liquor in the city used to be cheap. But to check the smuggling of liquor to Punjab, liquor contractors from Punjab took control of the liquor business to watch their own interest.

Unconfirmed reports said the Administration was toying with the idea of fixing the MRP after calculating 25 per cent profit on the landed cost of the contractor.

It may be mentioned that the UT Finance Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu, had yesterday mentioned during a press conference that they would hold a discussion with the manufacturers to work out the prices.



Encroachers clog alternative route
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 5
This alternative road, constructed at a cost of almost Rs 90 lakh, was meant to de-congest traffic on the road leading into the township from Housing Board light point. But junk dealers and garbage-collecting vehicles are blocking the road, rendering it almost unviable for use by commuters.

This 700-meter-long stretch of road behind Sector 17, dividing Sector 17 and Rajiv Colony, links Mauli Jagran through a culvert, to Chandigarh. Barring a 80-meter patch falling in Chandigarh, this alternative route is complete, and ready for use by commuters from Industrial Area, Sectors 12 A, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18.

A rotary has also been constructed last week near Rajiv Colony, in order to control the flow of traffic on the new road. However, Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) seems to be unconcerned about removing the 20 odd junk dealers who have encroached upon both sides of the road, or the garbage collection vehicles that are parked there, leaving almost no space for vehicles to pass through.

Though HUDA officials insist that they have carried out many drives to remove the encroachments on the road, they fail to point out that the last drive carried against encroachers on this road was almost six months ago. “The encroachers seem to resurface within a few hours of the anti-encroachment drive. We have asked the Engineering Wing of HUDA to take charge after we have launched a drive, and prevent encroachments again,” said a senior HUDA official.

Though Panchkula has been into existence since 1972, it has only one road link with Chandigarh. Though there is a plan to widen the road making it six lane, the creation of alternative routes has become almost a necessity.



Rs 60 crore to facelift Chandigarh airport
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 5
The Union Government has earmarked a sum of Rs 60 crore for the upgradation of the Chandigarh Airport. More land will be acquired for the airport soon.

This was stated by the Union Minister of State, Finance, Mr Pawan Bansal, during a visit to the township today. The Minister said as a sitting member of Parliament from Chandigarh, he would try to get an international airport status for the Chandigarh Airport. “With rapid industrialisation in the region, upgradation of the airport is the need of the hour,” he said.

In answer to a question about the Mass Rapid Transport System (MRTS) for Chandigarh, Mr Bansal said the success of this lay only if the MRTS linked Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali. “I have always said a monorail project should link the three cities, as people from Panchkula and Mohali come and work in Chandigarh, while many Chandigarh residents go to work in these two cities,” he said.

He agreed on the need of integrated development of the three-cities.” Panchkula and Mohali are being developed by the Haryana and Punjab governments respectively. But like the development of the National Capital Region, there has to be integrated development of the three cities ,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Bansal was felicitated by Mr B.K. Singla and Padama Bhushan poet, Dr Sardar Anjum, following his induction in the Union Council of Ministers.



CBSE introduces changes in exam by-laws
Payal Pruthi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has taken important decisions for 2006 examinations and has revised the guidelines for centre superintendents and spot evaluation. Amendments have also been made in the examination by-laws.

From this year, the board will supply only two types of main answer-books, one without a graph for all subjects (except mathematics) and the second with a graph (for mathematics), both for classes X and XII. The main answer book for class X will from this year consist of 32 pages instead of 24.

The board has clearly specified that each packet containing question papers will be opened by the centre superintendent in the examination hall on the day of the examination 30 minutes before the time.

It is notified that he will do so in the presence of at least four assistant superintendents (one of them should be from the school other than the examination centre) as witnesses.

In case the number of assistant superintendents is less than four in a particular session the packets should be opened in the presence of all assistant superintendents. They should as far as possible be changed each day and should not belong to the same school.

Under the revised guidelines, the failed/compartment/improvement candidates who will be appearing for 2006 examinations in social science, who would not have appeared for internal evaluation of 20 marks, will be permitted to appear for the theory examination consisting of 80 marks only as per the Secondary School Curriculum prescribed for 2006 examination and theory marks obtained by them out of 80 marks will be computed out of 100 marks.

The facility has also been extended to the failure candidates of 2006 examination till they have appeared in the third chance compartment examination.

Amendments have also been made in rule 44.2 of Improvement of Performance - Secondary Examination. A candidate who has passed Secondary School Examination of the board may appear at the examination for improvement of performance, in the main examination in succeeding year only, provided he/she has not pursued higher studies in the meantime and will appear as private candidate.

Those reappearing in the whole examination may appear as regular candidates also. The candidates appearing for improvement of performance can appear in the subject only in which they have been declared “pass” but not in the subject in which they have been declared failed.



Senate decides to reconstitute standing committee on exam reforms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
Panjab University senate today decided to reconstitute the standing committee on examination reforms, following a suggestion made by senator Satya Pal Jain, a former Chandigarh MP.

Stating that the J.C. Bansal Committee report that had recommended changes in the PU examination system, would be implemented before April, 2006, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, pointed out that majority of the problems would be solved following networked computerisation of the examination system as had been suggested by the committee.

It was also decided that the various regional centres of the university at Muktsar, Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur be interconnected through internet to the university’s main system so that candidates could get their examination-related problems sorted out nearer home.

Simplifying the procedure of entrance examinations, the senate decided to consider allotment of the examination form’s serial number as the candidate’s roll number. It was also decided that other than the bare results which are posted on the university website, the examination branch would also make available the detailed marks sheet, the candidate’s picture and detailed reasons in case of late declaration of results on the website.

Another committee which would consider and recommend ‘provincialisation’ of college employees to the Punjab Government was also constituted today.

The issue was highlighted by fellow S.S. Hundal who pointed out that the Congress government in Assam had recently passed the College Employees (provincialisation) Act 2005 as part of which the entire liability of non-government aided college employees (payment of salaries, including dearness allowance, medical allowance, gratuity, pension, leave encashment etc) had been taken upon itself by the state government.

It was also resolved to constitute a committee to consider the suggestions given by various senators with regards to the state of higher education.

Stating that the system of higher education as was being followed by the university was outdated, fellow S.S. Sangha demanded a complete revamp of the system. Senator Prabhjit Singh said since only 7.2 per cent of adults had the privilege of higher education, the effort should be to bring students from the poorer sections into its fold. “Education should be made free for at least 10 to 20 per cent of the general category students,” he said.

The Bansal Committee had submitted its report in November, 2005 and suggested among other things an assembly line model for the processing of examination forms which run into lakhs.

Senator S Marriya suggested that PU should allow colleges to examine students during the initial years of their degrees and only step in for final year examinations to reduce its burden.

Stating that he was in favour of an internal assessment system, the VC, however, remarked that the University’s Law Department had been shying away from taking on the responsibility.

He added that Mr Marriya’s suggestion would be considered by the standing committee.

When certain fellows raised the issue, the VC agreed that punitive action should be taken against those private college teachers who refuse to do examination duties. However, no consensus could be reached as to what this punishment should be.

Interestingly, the Bansal Committee had recommended that DPI, Colleges, Chandigarh and Punjab should include a separate column in the ACR to be filled by college principals to certify if the teacher concerned had refused to perform any duty related to the conduct of examination.

If there is a refusal that aspect may also be looked into while promoting him from senior scale lecturer to selection scale lecturer, the committee recommended.

University fellows had specially met today to discuss suggestions regarding higher education, college education and examinations.

Though the five-hour meeting led to very few concrete decisions, according to majority of the senators, at least the university had made a beginning towards reformation.



Food security under serious threat
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Union Government’s decision to import five lakh tonnes of wheat is a clear indication that the country’s food security is under a serious threat. The threat has not appeared suddenly. It has been in the making for the past several years. The procurement of wheat by state agencies has been showing a declining trend since 2001.

While about 206 lakh tonnes of wheat was procured by state agencies in 2001-02, this quantity came down to only about 148 lakh tonnes this year. The decline had been more or less steady. In 2002-03, about 190 lakh tonnes of wheat was procured. The next year procurement fell sharply to 158 lakh tonnes, to increase by about 10 lakh tonnes in 2004-05.

If the trend continues, it will seriously compromise the government’s efforts to introduce diversification of crops to break the wheat-paddy rotation in Punjab and Haryana, the two major states contributing to the country’s food grains bank. These two states too have not been an exception to the general declining trend of wheat procurement. In Punjab the wheat procurement has come down from about 105 lakh tonnes in 2001-02 to 90 lakh tonnes this year. Similarly, in Haryana the wheat procurement declined from 64 lakh tonnes in 2001-02 to 45 lakh tonnes this year.

Therefore, unless uncultivated land is brought under cultivation, the diversification of crops at the cost of wheat-paddy rotation will drastically reduce the production of what constitutes the staple diet of the Indians.

No wonder the country’s buffer stock has been drastically diminished. According to informed sources, the country’s buffer stock of wheat was 61 lakh tonnes against the stipulated 82 lakh tonnes in January, 2006. Against the buffer stock of 40 lakh tonnes the country should have on April 1, 2006, there would be a whopping shortage of 23 lakh tonnes.

The sources say the wheat procurement is going down primarily because private traders have purchasing wheat in big way because over the years, the prices tend to increase after the procurement season is over. So much so, the sources say, even the Australian Wheat Board has entered the Indian market. It operates through local traders, financing them for purchasing wheat. Interestingly, Australia is likely to emerge as one of the main suppliers of wheat to India.

The other reason behind the diminishing buffer stock of wheat is large-scale export at rates which were below even those fixed for the wheat to be supplied to those families who live below poverty line (BPL). The move invited criticism from the Comptroller and Accountant-General (CAG) too. The CAG has raised objection that instead of exporting wheat at such ridiculous prices, the government could have enhanced the quota for the BPL families, if it wanted to reduce the bulging stocks. In the past five years, the country has exported about 145 lakh tonnes of wheat.

Interestingly, while the Indian Government was complacent about the country’s food security, foreign traders knew that it would not be long before India would have to import wheat. The wheat prices in the international markets were ruling around Rs 5 a kg about a couple of months ago. Now it is around Rs 8 a kg. The sources say the landed cost of wheat in southern ports will be about Rs 10.50 per kg.

This will prompt the farmer lobby to demand higher MSP of wheat. It would argue that if the government can pay so much for foreign wheat why is it reluctant to increase the MSP for Indian farmers. Experts feel that time has come for the government to experiment with the concept of the MSP. It can introduce different rates of MSP for different states. A higher MSP can be offered to non-wheat growing states. Another model can be under which the Centre can offer an MSP which should be inclusive of taxes. At present states like Punjab and Haryana make big money by imposing 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent tax on wheat and paddy. Since these crops are procured mainly on behalf of the FCI, there is little evasion of tax. An increase in the MSP results in a pro-rata increase in tax collection for the states.

The advocates of this model of the MSP say since the Centre is already paying over Rs 700 a quintal (inclusive of tax), it should declare the same amount as the MSP. Then the state would be under pressure to pay bonus to their farmers out of the taxes collected by them on foodgrains. Already in states like Delhi and UP, the rate of tax is much less than that in Punjab and Haryana.



Arms case: Mumbai cops get vital clues
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 5
In the arms case the Mumbai police team today claimed to have stumbled upon an important piece of information. In late night developments they questioned Sector 23 resident Shera. He was the guarantor to an account holder Kartar Singh whose passbook was recovered from the locker of the Mumbai’s Bandra branch of the State Bank of India (SBI).

Sources in UT police informed that earlier in the day the Mumbai police had questioned a Dhanas resident and another Derabassi-based woman today, in this connection, but failed to achieve success so far. The police team is in the city probing the link between the person who had a locker containing a big haul of explosives and weapons in the Mumbai’s Bandra branch of the State Bank of India (SBI).

Sources in the Sector 36 police station said the Mumbai police quizzed a carpenter, Jaspal Singh of Dhanas, to establish the identities account-holders or their introducers, whose records and passbooks were found the lockers of the SBI’s Bandra Branch, last month.

The Mumbai police has also questioned a Derabassi-based woman in detail, but failed to get any lead so far. Both persons apparently told the police officials that they could not recall the account holders introduced by them more than 15 years back.

The sources further added that on Saturday also the visiting police team had questioned a woman of Sector 22, who had reportedly introduced Arun Ronaldo Vij in several bank accounts in the city, but failed to make any breakthrough as the woman told that she could not remember the account holder introduced by her 15 years back.

The address of Arun Ronaldo Vij in Mumbai was found to be wrong. He has 17 passbooks which showed he had transactions in Chandigarh. The Mumbai police team has been visiting various banks in the city and surrounding areas to confirm the identity of the account holder. One of the guarantors had the name of a resident of Derabassi. The sources said the lady informed that her initials were similar to that found in the records, however, the document did not bear her proper signatures.

The police had found sten gun, two magazines, hand grenades and over 1,000 live cartridges, beside, other explosives from a locker in the SBI’s Bandra Branch at Mumbai.



19-yr-old married woman dies under mysterious circumstances
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 5
A 19-year-old married woman died in a city hospital under mysterious circumstances on Saturday. Poonam, the victim, had to be hospitalised in a critical condition after she was allegedly subjected to sexual abuse by her husband. She was referred to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) about three weeks ago.

According to sources in the Sector 34 police station, Poonam succumbed to her injuries in the hospital. Her father, Mahinder Singh, hailing from Patiala, told the police that Manjit Singh, the husband of his daughter, was responsible for her death, as he subjected her to sexual abuse, which caused her death. Alleging inaction on part of the Delhi Police, he said that despite the fact that they had brought the matter to the notice of the police, it had failed to proceed in the matter.

According to the police, the victim was admitted to the GMCH in a critical condition on January 16 after she was referred by a Patiala-based private hospital. Quoting Mahinder Singh, the police said he had brought his daughter from Delhi on January 9 after she informed them about her condition. She was admitted to a private hospital before being shifted to the GMCH. On January 20 after her condition deteriorated, they informed the Delhi Police and also urged doctors to prepare a medico-legal case (MLC).

The sources added that the Chandigarh Police had already informed the Delhi Police about the death and also made efforts to get the post-mortem conducted today. The police said the post-mortem could not be conducted today and it was waiting for the Delhi Police to arrive. Poonam got married to Manjit Singh in September last year. Manjit is a taxi driver.



Kamlesh moved from sanitation panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
In a move which would bring cheer to many the mayor has shifted Mrs Kamlesh from the sanitation committee to the fire and emergency services committee. A fresh list of committee members was issued on February 2, ahead of the elections for the posts of chairman and Deputy Chairman of the sub-committees.

Mrs K. Atma Ram has been shifted to the sanitation committee in place of Mrs Kamlesh. It may be mentioned here that Mrs Kamlesh is facing a vigilance probe for misappropriation of funds in the Ram Darbar Mohalla Saudhar Committee. Many eyebrows had been raised when Mrs Kamlesh’s name had figured in the sanitation committee.

Tomorrow is the last date to submit the nomination forms to the secretary, MC, for the elections. The elections will be held on February 10. The chairman and deputy chairman for most of the committees are expected to be unanimously elected, Elections can, however, not be ruled out. Last year elections had been held for two committees.

The elections will be held for the following committees — roads committee, water supply and sewerage disposal committee, house tax assessment committee, environment and city beautification committee, electricity committee, Apni Mandi and day markets committee, fire and emergency services committee and sanitation committee.



Devotees participate in rath yatra
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 5
Hundreds of devotees of Lord Jagannath participated in the rath yatra organised by Jai Shri Govind Dham today. These devotees, including women and children, sang hymns as they passed through various parts of the township.

The yatra began from the Sector 12 market around 2 pm. Devotees pulled the rath, which carried idols of Lord Jagannath, Balram and Devi Subhadra. After “bhoga” was offered to the deities, “aarti” was performed by residents led by Swami Aseem Dev Vishwas and dignitaries.

A number of devotees started sweeping road before the yatra, while other devotees started pulling the chariot carrying the deities. Local people who turned out in a large number also joined the devotees in pulling the chariot and in chanting and dancing.

While a large number of devotees were pulling the chariot, another group of devotees was busy in “sankirtan”. The devotees were seen distributing small packets of “prasadam” among participants.

To avoid any untoward incident, all precautions were taken and devotees moved in a rope enclosure. The devotees maintained adequate distance from the chariot and a police control room jeep followed the yatra. All along the route of the yatra, people set up “chabeels”. The yatra passed through various sectors before concluding at Jai Shri Govind Dham, Sector 12.



BSNL subscribers a harassed lot

Chandigarh, February 5
A large number of BSNL landline telephones in the Modern Housing Complex (Duplex), Mani Majra, remained non-functional for the fourth day today after workers of Airtel cut underground cables while laying new ones for its landline service.

Complaints by harassed BSNL subscribers have gone unheeded with the BSNL and Airtel employees passing on responsibility for fixing these phones to each other. Efforts to fix the fault has proved futile for the past four days as workers in the absence of any senior official have not been able to locate the site where the underground cables have been cut.

A remote-sensing gadget to locate the fault has been unavailable. TNS



Regularise minor violations: NCP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has appealed to the U.T Administration and the Municipal Corporation, “not to harass residents of the city by issuing notices to them through the Chandigarh Housing Board”. The NCP has asked the Administration to regularise minor changes in building bylaws with “reasonable penalty”.

In a statement issued by Mr Sushil Gupta, general secretary, NCP, said a meeting was held in Sector 45 attended by various party members. The efforts of party members were lauded and some party members were honoured for their valuable contribution towards party work.



“Bon Voyage” by Rotarians
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 5
The Rotary Club Chandigarh Midtown today organised a “Bon Voyage” function for Rotarain Dhyan Chand and his wife.

The duo will be leaving for a training course at Rotary International Assembly, USA, for a training course before they take over as Rotary District Governor.

Mr Dhyan Chand will head the Rotary International District 3080 from July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007, which covers parts of Haryana, Himachal, Uttaranchal and Punjab.



Sood mela on Feb 12
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The Sood Sabha, Chandigarh, will organise a Sood Milan Samaroh on February 12 at Sood Bhavan, Sector 10, Panchkula.

Ms Shobha Koser, an eminent kathak dancer, will be the chief guest. Advocate S.K. Sood of Panchkula and Mr Pran Nath Sood will be the guests of honour.

The sabha will also honour well-known philanthropist Hardyal Doegar. Various contests, including an on-the-spot painting contest, fancy dress competition and Sood prince and princess will also be held.



Sector welfare bodies meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 5
The monthly executive committee meeting of the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations, Chandigarh (FOSWAC), was held at the community centre, Sector 18, today.

Thirtythree representatives of the federating associations attended the meeting, which was presided over by Councillor P.C. Sanghi.



Missing girl found

Chandigarh, February 5
Acting with speed, the Chandigarh Police today recovered a 14-year-old girl gone missing and arrested a Delhi resident in this connection.

Giving details of the incident, sources in the Sector 34 police station said the victim’s father lodged a complaint with the police last night. The police, on the basis of information gathered from its sources, sent a team to Delhi to trace the girl and her alleged kidnapper.

The accused came back to the city along with the victim early this morning and was subsequently nabbed. The police has sent the girl for a medical examination to the Sector 16 General Hospital.

The accused has been identified as 22-year-old Rohit Sehgal. He has been booked under Sections 363 and 366 of the Indian Penal Code. The sources said the girl, a student of class IX in a Sector 32 private school, came in touch with Sehgal in August last in Shimla. — OC



Woman held for carrying smack
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 5
The UT Police’s special crime cell arrested a woman today on the charges of carrying 21 gm of smack. Besides this, the police arrested two persons for allegedly indulging in gambling. Elsewhere, a miscreant was arrested due to the allegations of eve-teasing. A scooterist sustained injuries after being hit by a motorcycle.

According to the police a team of Special Crime Cell nabbed 32-year-old Asha Rani, a resident of Bapu Dham Colony, on the charges of carrying 21 gm of smack this afternoon. The police said the accused belonging to Sansi tribe was arrested from a naka in the locality. A case under Section 21 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act has been registered in this regard.


The police arrested Babu Singh and Bhagwan Dass, both residents of Bapu Dham Colony from various places in Sector 26 on the allegations of indulging in gambling at public place on Saturday. The police recovered Rs 7,420 and Rs 200 from their possessions, respectively. Two separate cases under the gambling Act have been registered in this regard in the Sector 26 police station.


The police arrested Ashwani Kumar, a resident of Sector 20, on the allegations of indulging in eve-teasing from Sector 29 market on Saturday. A case under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered in this regard.



Body of 8-year-old boy found
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 5
The police today recovered two bodies, including that of an eight-year-old boy, in the district today.

The body of the boy was found from the Ghaggar riverbed along the Panchkula-Kalka highway. The mutilated body has been sent for a post-mortem examination to the local General Hospital.

A case has been registered.

Rajesh, in his thirties, was found dead along the rail track near Chandi Mandir. A shopkeeper, Rajesh was stated to be depressed. The exact cause of the death could not be ascertained. The body was handed over to his family.



Zirakpur warms up to shopping mall culture
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 5
One of the fastest growing townships of Punjab, Zirakpur, is going the Gurgaon way. With at least seven state-of-the-art shopping malls in the pipeline, the sleepy township on the Chandigarh’s periphery is warming up to the shopping mall-cum-multiplex culture.

The strategic location on the three busy highways — Chandigarh-Ambala, Kalka-Ambala and Zirakpur-Patiala — coupled with the high-density of population are proving to be Zirakpur’s assets to emerge as the shopping mall hub of the region.

Since all shopping malls are at prime locations on the highways, promoters of the shopping malls are eager to cash in on thousands of motorists, who travel on the highways, daily.

The proximity to the tricity and the building of thousands of apartments, which would be inhabitated in the next couple of years, are the other reasons prompting the builders to come up with the shopping malls.

Taking a lead in this direction is the Silver City Group of Companies, which has already tasted success in their residential ventures, Silver City and Silver City Extension, at Zirakpur and Silver City Themes in Derabassi.

The group’s proposed shopping mall — Cosmo Plaza — will have, among other things, a magnificent atrium, international brands, wide frontage, designer boutiques, food courts, four world-class theatres, kids zone and lifestyle stores.”

Cosmo Plaza is destined to become a family destination for people with discerning tastes and a liking for more organised shopping and leisure than ever before on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway,” company officials claim.

Among other groups planning to come up with shopping malls are N.K. Sharma Enterprises on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway and Paras Group on the Zirakpur-Kalka highway.

On the success of the shopping malls-cum-multiplexes here, the promoters claimed that since Zirakpur did not have a one-stop entertainment and shopping place, the shopping malls stood a better chance of success.

The proposed four-laning of the Zirakpur-Ambala highway, which entails the building of a 1.8 km overbridge over at Zirakpur, will reduce the travelling time between Chandigarh and Zirakpur on the one hand and Zirakpur and Ambala on the other.

This should contribute to the success of the shopping malls as already a large number of city residents prefer to organise marriage and parties at huge marriage palaces dotting the three highways.


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