C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Politicians join residents’ dharna on closure of link road
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Lalru, March 18
The alleged closure of the Magra-Jalalpur-Bassi link road by the Nahar Group of Companies has snowballed into a major controversy with the politicians joining the indefinite dharna by the residents of the affected villages.

The stalemate between irate residents and the factory management continued for the second day today with both sides sticking to their guns.

The SDM, Mr Narinder Sangha, and the DSP, Mr Varinder Brar, who held separate meetings with both parties, failed to break the impasse. Even the construction of an alternative road by the industrial house has failed to enthuse the agitating villagers.

Terming the closure of the link road, which would put to inconvenience thousands of the residents, as unfortunate, Mr Nirmal Singh Jaula Kalan, a member of the SGPC, and Mr Baldev Singh Rana, BJP president of the Lalru mandal, threatened that the agitation would continue till the road was opened to the public again.

Mr Rajinder Singh, Magra sarpanch, Mr Harvinder Singh Tony, Jalalpur sarpanch, Mr Janak Singh, Bassi sarpanch, alleged the alternative road was at a lower level and the people would have to take a longer detour to reach their destinations.

Moreover, the alternative road was owned by the factory management and it could close the road at any later date, the sarpanches alleged. And in the monsoon, they said, it would be flooded thereby inconveniencing the residents.

It may be recalled that the then Beant Singh government had acquired about 500 acres in the area and allotted it to the Nahar Group with a view to give a boost to the industrial activity in this backward area around 14 years back.

The road in question formed part of the land allotted to the industrial house. With the industrial house expanding its activities in the area, it closed the road and provided an alternative road for the convenience of the surrounding villages.

Mr Sangha said according to the revenue records, the road belonged to the factory management. He hoped that an amicable settlement would be reached between the two parties.

Certain residents demanded that the alternative road should be strengthened and its level raised to avoid flooding in the rainy season. Moreover, its ownership should vest either in the Punjab Mandi Board or the gram panchayats of the area so that it was not closed by the Nahar Group at a later date, they said.



Khuda Lahora teacher suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The Education Department yesterday suspended, Yogesh, a JBT teacher, working at Government High School, Khuda Lahora.

It was alleged that Yogesh had hit his colleague Surinder, who had later reported the matter to the police. Department officials yesterday visited the school and met the faculty and the headmistress. After the inquiry, Yogesh was suspended by the department.

Meanwhile, the school headmistress, Ms Ravi Grover, still maintained that the entire incident was concocted and Surinder was instigated by Shivdutt and Ramkishan, teachers in the school. The principal even stopped the mediapersons from meeting the teachers. However, both Shivdutt and Ramkishan have denied the allegations and said that they have always co-operated with the headmistress but she took no action to maintain discipline in the school.

Anil, a former teacher in the school, who was also accused by the principal, too said the headmistress used to ask him for various favours. Anil said that the principal had tried to defame him by involving him in the incident though he was not serving in the school anymore. He added that a written complaint by him against the behaviour and unfair activities of the principal had earlier been submitted to the District Education Officer.



Balwant admits to Beant Singh’s assassination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
In the high-profile Beant Singh assassination trial being heard by the Additional Sessions Judge-cum-Special CBI Judge, Mr MM Sharma, he recorded a statement of the accused under Section 313 of the CrPC at the Burail Jail here today.

Statements of all accused would be recorded by the Judge under this section. As per the procedure, the statements of the accused have to be recorded in a certain order. But on the insistence of the prosecution, the statement of Balwant Singh was recorded first.

Before the judge could start the proceedings today, Balwant Singh produced his written statement and waived a flag of Khalistan in the court. He was asked 22 questions by the court. As per the statement, copies of which were supplied to the media, Balwant Singh stated that he, along with Dilwar Singh, had assassinated the former Chief Minister Beant Singh. The other accused Gurmeet Singh, Lakhwinder Singh, Smasher Singh, Naseeb Singh, and Navjot Singh were innocent, he claimed.

Ever since the trial started 10 years ago, the statements of over 270 witnesses of the prosecution have been recorded. So far the statement of the CBI officials related with the case and witnesses Balbir Singh and Surinder Kumar have been recorded.

The hearings in the case are being held in the high security Burial jail. Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) chief Jagtar Singh Hawara is the prime accused in the case.

Now, the process of the recording the statements of the defence witnesses would begin in one of the longest political trials in the country, which hit the headlines in January 1996.

It may be mentioned that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the trial court to complete the trial by October 31, 2005. The high court in one of the directives had reportedly directed the trial court to hold day-to-day hearings in the case.



Cong workers block traffic
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Prospective ticket seekers of the Congress from the Mohali Assembly constituency and their supporters blocked the road leading to the Sector 17 bus terminus from the Sector 17 police station for over two hours here today.

These persons had converged outside the District Courts in support of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

The Chief Minister, who was expected to appear in the court in connection with a defamation case filed by SAD president Parkash Singh Badal, was granted exemption by the Chief Judicial Magistrate. Mr Badal, however, appeared in the court.

The moment Mr Badal appeared outside the court, Congress workers started raising slogans in support of the Congress Chief Minister.



Can’t afford to lose people’s faith: CJ
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court

Chandigarh, March 18
“.. the growing feeling of disillusionment and frustration amongst litigants on account of delayed justice looms large as a threat of erosion of confidence in judical system, which we cannot afford at any cost.”

Coming as they were from the lips of the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr Justice D.K. Jain, these words, and many more, turned the concluding function of the year-long celebrations of the golden jubilee of the Punjab and Haryana High Court into an occasion to introspect about the failings of the Indian judicial system.

Speaking at the function, Chief Justice Jain observed that courts were seen as the last resort by the common man in India, with the hope that they would furnish a cure for all his miseries and remove all the ills from which the society was suffering. However, he acknowledged, even the judicial system was alleged to be at the cross-roads.

"The very system is being condemned and the feeling that the courts can cure all evils of this world is being seen as a mere delusion. It is a serious matter of concern to all us assembled here," he pointed to the august gathering of jurists, judges and lawyers.

At the same time, Chief Justice Jain emphasised that the system could always be reformed. He said that many significant decisions were taken at the recent Chief Justices conference, where emphasis was laid on key areas connected directly with the delay and arrears of cases. These steps, he hoped, would restore the shaken confidence of the men in the street.

He also said that the golden jubilee of the High Court should be an occasion to celebrate as well as critically evaluate the achievements.

Thanking the judicial officers of Punjab and Haryana as well as the Union Territory of Chandigarh and the High Court staff for making the celebrations a huge success, Chief Justice Jain announced an advance increment to all the High Court employees and a special pay of Rs 1000 per month to the judicial officers.

Ms Padma Bhandari, widow of the first Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh, Justice Chief Justice A.N. Bhandari, were also present on the occasion.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Jain also inaugurated the 'Cause list on SMS' service introduced by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association.

The service, to be made available to the lawyers on a nominal monthly charge, would involve sending a list of cases, the respective courtrooms where they would be heard, and the serial number at which they have been listed for hearing to the lawyer concerned one day in advance.

According to Mr Atul C. Lakhanpal, president of the Bar Association, more features would be introduced as part of the service at a later stage.

"We are planning to send alerts to members through the SMS to inform them that the hearing of their case listed in a particular court is about to begin," he disclosed.



Shekhawat seeks affordable healthcare for all
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Calling upon doctors to bridge the glaring rural-urban divide in health infrastructure, the Vice-President of India, Mr Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, asked them to put in place affordable basic healthcare system for all citizens, including 26 per cent of the population living below poverty line.

He was speaking at the 27th annual convocation held at the Bhargava Auditorium, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, here today. Mr Shekhawat added that the disparities of limited access of sub-standard healthcare for poor and excellent healthcare for the affluent were further aggravated by rising cost of medicine and "beyond the reach cost of treatment for general public in private treatment."

"The key to an affordable and reliable public healthcare system lies in intelligent integration of all systems of medicine, including Unani, Homoeopathy and Ayurveda combined with yoga," be maintained.

Stating that teaching and research should be guided by principles of relevance" and "quality", the Vice-President urged the PGI faculty to focus attention on diseases like TB, malaria and diarrhoea which afflicted the common man in undeveloped areas.

Addressing doctors who were awarded their degrees, Mr Shekhawat asked them to be good human beings.

"It is the humane qualities of care, compassion and understanding that makes the class of doctors so very noble and dignified," he maintained while prompting them to adopt the policy of "Antyodaya Drishti —focussing one's attention first on the last man in the queue" to enable healthcare availability to all.

" These were the opening remarks of the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr Anbumani Ramadoss, also the President of the PGIMER.

While he too recommended doctors to go out in rural India with healthcare facilities, he added that the Manmohan Singh government was committed to improving infant mortality and maternal mortality. "The concept of 'we' — the government and you — can save millions of lives," he said.

Speaking about "social concept" entering the curriculum to make it more practical, Dr Ramadoss said they were looking at a more rural and social curriculum.

Referring to the PGI as a world class health institute, he said the ministry was keen on setting up a 100-bedded cancer hospital and going on to have separate units for maternity and cardiology as well on the lines of the Advanced Eye Care Centre inaugurated today.

Stating that the world was moving from communicable to non-communicable diseases, Dr Ramadoss said mental health, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases were occupying centrestage. The Union Minister also hinted at launching of an institute for imparting training of health engineering and architecture.

Earlier, the Director, PGI, Prof KK Talwar, highlighted the achievements of the faculty in the past year. He stated that several new specialised centres at the PGI were on the anvil.

As many as 195 students were awarded degrees and 35 students were awarded medals for meritorious performance.

The Major Amir Chand Gold Medal for the best clinical research work was awarded to Dr Shailender Mehta and Mr Pramod Kumar Avti. The R. Nath Gold Medal for the best bio-medical research was awarded to Dr Naresh Sachdeva.

The Aikat Memorial Gold Medal for students in the BSc/MLT disciplines was awarded to Mr Varun Uppal. The V.K. Saini Memorial Gold Medal was awarded to Dr Tarvinder Pal Singh. Apart from the above, silver and bronze medals were awarded in various disciplines.



Problem of uncovered manhole
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 18
Uncovered water chambers and a manhole in Sector 70 here are causing inconvenience to residents.

There are six uncovered chambers made of concrete in a part of a park near MIG Super houses. Residents have brought these risk spots to the notice of PUDA authorities.

A manhole outside the garage of house no 4581-C has remained uncovered for a very long time posing. Residents have tried to cover it with big tiles, but the danger of falling in it remains.

Mrs Zakia Islam, a resident, said that the manhole was lying exposed for the past two years. Even though the matter was brought to the notice of the authorities concerned a number of times but to no avail. She said residents even dumped debris in the open space next to her house. The open space develops small pools during rains and emitted foul smell.

Mrs Sarabjit Kaur, another resident, usually takes her children to the nearby park every evening. She noticed children falling in the chambers while playing.

Out of the six chambers, two of them big and the four small, had no covers on them.



Bus passengers put to inconvenience as rivals clash
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 18
Passengers bound for Gurdaspur were put to great harassment when a private bus operating from Phase II was prevented by a rival group from moving out at the scheduled time.

The way of the bus belonging to Shivam company was blocked by another bus owned by Libra transport company as members of the rival group alleged that the bus could not be operated from here as it did not have the required route permit.

The police came to the scene and later asked the owner of the Shivam bus, Mr Surinder Mohan, and the owner of Jhang Travels, Mr Satinder Singh, to reach the police station. The passengers had no option except to wait till the matter was sorted out.

Mr Satinder Singh alleged that Mr Surinder Mohan did not have the required route permit and was illegally operating his bus from here for the past three months. He said that transporters had no option except to block his way.

However, Mr Surinder Mohan said that he had the required route permit to operate from the area and others transporters were unnecessarily harassing him and putting the passengers to inconvenience.

The SHO of the Phase I police station, Mr Satnam Singh, said that there was a personal dispute between both the groups. He said that they had been asked to operate their vehicles till the matter was sorted out.

Mr Rajiv Kumar Gupta, DTO, Ropar, said that the owner of the Shivam bus had an all-India tourist permit and as such could only book parties from one place to another and not carry passengers. He was challaned yesterday for allegedly indulging in violations. Fines to the tune of Rs 5,000 were imposed. He was even challaned by the authorities concerned in Gurdaspur. He said the transport officials would keep imposing fines for the violations.



Wish list of Backward Caste body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The Akhil Bhartiya Mahatma Phoole Samta Parishad, in a memorandum to the President and the Prime Minister, has sought a separate schedule in the Constitution for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) like Saini, Marar, Khushwaha, Shakya, Mali, Maruya, etc.

The memorandum said since the Constitution already provided for a separate schedule to Scheduled Castes and Tribes, the same benefit should be extended to OBCs also.

Also the census, done after 10 years, should consider these OBCs on par with SC/STs as far as reservation in education, employment and other spheres was concerned.

The parishad also sought quota in Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha seats on the pattern marked for SC/STs.

The Union and state government should have independent ministries for the welfare and development of the aforesaid classes, the parishad demanded.



Heart patient needs help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Bhagmali, a heart patient undergoing treatment at the PGI here, needs financial help.

According to a press note issued by the Akhil Bharatiya Uttaranchal Vikas Parishad, the woman, who has two small children to look after, comes from a below poverty line family and cannot afford the treatment costing around Rs 1 lakh.

Those wanting to help her can contact the Public Relations Officer of the PGI, the press note adds.



Panchayat Samiti okays projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The Panchayat Samiti of UT villages has approved village development projects to the tune of Rs 80 lakh.

Mr Didar Singh, Chairman of the samiti, said another amount of Rs 53 lakh was earmarked for other development projects in the villages.

The main development projects included laying of concrete flooring in Makhan Majra, Hallo Majra, Khuda Ali Sher, Sarangpur and repair of drains in Behlana.

Funds have also been sanctioned for the construction of lavatories in villages, training of women workers and study tour of Panchayati Raj representatives.



One held for sodomy

Mohali, March 18
One person was arrested on a charge of sodomising a seven-year-old here today.

According to the police, the offence was committed by a neighbour of the boy living in Shaheed Udham Singh Colony in the Phase VIII Industrial Area.

The suspect took the victim to a shop on the pretext of buying sweets for him and allegedly sodomised him. The father of the boy later lodged a complaint in this connection with the police. OC



No arrest in kidnapping case

Mohali, March 18
The police is probing the alleged kidnapping of a 13-year-old boy from Mauli village on March 16 who was released after a ransom was paid.

The SHO of Sohana police station, Mr Vinod Sharma, said that investigations were on though no arrests had been made so far. He said that the family now was not much cooperating in the matter as the child had come back. OC



Suicide bid

Chandigarh, March 18
Aditya Ram, a daily wage earner, allegedly tried to commit suicide by jumping into Sukhna Lake yesterday. He was saved by a policeman on duty, Nanak Singh. Aditya has been admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. A case has been registered. — TNS



2 BSNL schemes

Chandigarh, March 18
The BSNL has announced two new schemes for its subscribers in Punjab. Under Excel scheme, pre paid customers can avail full talk time on recharge coupons of Rs 300 and Rs 500 denomination.

Customers will get 25 per cent extra talk time on recharge coupons of Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000 denomination and also on coupon of Rs 500. TNS


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