C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rs 8 lakh snatched from businessman
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 2
In a daring daylight robbery, armed miscreants snatched a bag containing over Rs 8 lakh from a local businessman. The incident took place in the Sector 12 market this afternoon.

Mr Nitin Sood and his cousin, Mr Arvind Sood, were returning home after withdrawing the cash from the Sector 11 branch of Karnataka Bank, which is open on Sundays, when the incident took place. The duo, in a Baleno car (HR-17 C- 0099), had stopped by at the Sector 12 market to pick up some clothes from a dry cleaner.

Mr Nitin went to the dry cleaner’s shop, while Mr Arvind was sitting on the driver’s seat, and had kept the bag containing the cash on his lap. “A white Zen (CH-03A-4590) stopped near the Baleno and three men came out of the car. One of them threatened me with a revolver, and in chaste Punjabi asked me to hand over the bag. I saw another man seated on the driver’s seat. Fearing an attack, I did as told, and the three quickly sat in the car and fled,” said Mr Arvind.

Mr Nitin said as he approached the dry cleaner’s shop, he casually turned around and saw the miscreant’s taking away the bag containing the money. “I started to run towards them, but they pointed the revolver towards me and asked me to stop. Within no time, they sped away in the car,” he said.

The duo said the miscreants were between 30 - 35 years. While one of them was wearing a headgear, the other three were sporting beards, they said.

The police was called and immediately police teams were disptached to look for the robbers. Superintendent of Police, Balbir Singh informed TNS that they had identified the original owner of the car, who had sold it off in year 2000. “After this, the car was resold several times, and the last owner of the car has been traced as a DIG in the Punjab Police. He is away to Pakistan, and we have been unable to contact any of his relatives to know if they were still in possession of the car, or had further sold it off,” he said.

Three teams, headed by SHO Sector 5, Hari Singh, SI Ashok Kumar and CIA Inspector T. Singh, have been formed to conduct the investigation. The police have also started getting the sketches of the accused made to help trace them.



Bheora’s disclosures an egg on cops’ face
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, April 2
The recent revelations of Paramjit Singh Bheora, Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) operations chief, who tunnelled his way from the high-security Burail Jail, along with his three other accomplices about 26 months ago, regarding the existence of two more tunnels in the jail has put a question mark over the investigations carried out by the local and various national agencies in the sensational jailbreak case.

In fact, the city police has got another egg on its face with the startling disclosures, which in a way, belie the tall claims of the local police about various breakthroughs in the infamous case, in the wake of the BKI India chief Jagtar Singh Hawara’s arrest in June last year.

Stung by media criticism following the jailbreak, the authorities had installed hi-tech gadgets such as halogen lights, Close Circuit TV (CCTV), besides pressing into service sniffer dogs. However, on the surveillance front, the police seems to have failed miserably as is evident from the recent disclosures.

It appears that the police focussed all its energy on installing the equipment, ignoring the ground realities literally. And the disclosures have found the local police on the wrong foot, bringing the credibility of its investigations under a cloud.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Chandigarh Police had interrogated Jagtar Singh Hawara, the alleged mastermind behind the assassination of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh, for over 25 days last year but had failed to extract information about the existence of tunnels from him.

The disclosures will cast their shadow on the ongoing jailbreak trial. With new evidence, the police may find it difficult to defend its challan presented before the court. Since the interrogation is in progress, new evidence may also come up, upsetting the course of the jailbreak trial.

To fathom the mystery behind the jailbreak case, a special investigation team (SIT) was constituted, including Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) experts from Delhi, an officer of the Delhi Police, experts from the Engineering Department, the UT Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Gaurav Yadav and Inspector-General of Prison, Ms Amitabh Singh Dhillon. Various other national intelligence agencies, including teams from the operation cell and the Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police, carried out investigations in this regard.

The visitors to the jail were the worst hit, as after the jailbreak case the police imposed restrictions on them, citing security reasons.



Raipur Khurd residents, 7 policemen hurt in clash
Tribune News Service

Confusion over liquor prices

On the second day of the new financial year, different brands of liquor and beer were selling at different rates at vends across the city. While some preferred to sell liquor at the minimum selling price fixed by the Administration, others were selling at higher rates.

For example, Royal Stag and RK were selling at Rs 200 and 190 per bottle, respectively, at vends in Sectors 30 and 52.

The same brands were being sold at old rates, Rs 210 per bottle, at another vend in Sector 30.

Chandigarh, April 2
A protest by residents of Raipur Khurd against the location of a liquor shop near their houses today led to lathi-charge by the Chandigarh Police, resulting in injuries to at least five of the protesters.

In retaliation, protesters pelted cops with stones. At least seven policemen, including two Sub-Inspectors, received head injuries. The DSP, East, Mr Vijay Pal, however, denied that stone-pelting was preceded by the lathi-charge. It was the residents who first hurled stones at the police.

The SDM, Ms Swati Sharma, and Mr Vijay Pal reached the spot to control the tempers. A case of rioting was registered against Mani Ram, Baljeet, Krishan, Anju , Santosh and others at the Industrial Area police station.

However, residents claimed that women were protesting peacefully against the location of the vend.

They claimed that the lathi-charge started following heated arguments between them and some policemen.

Mr Satish Bhardwaj, a resident of the area, said when he saw his wife, Pinki Devi, being beaten by the police, he ran to save her. “In the process I was also badly hit,” he added.

The residents have decided to approach the Deputy Commissioner with their representation tomorrow. “If nothing happens at that level, we would approach the court,” said the residents.



Admn contemplates parking lots on resumed plots
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The Chandigarh Administration is contemplating building parking lots on some resumed plots in the Industrial Area to cater to the increased flow of traffic to the multiplexes and shopping malls coming up in the area. Besides, the roads, too, would be widened wherever possible to prevent clogging by the increased traffic. All decisions taken in this regard at the senior level will be implemented by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), the nodal agency for the development of the Industrial Area.

UT Finance Secretary S.K. Sandhu said the Chandigarh Administration was seriously considering building parking lots in the Industrial Area on some plots that have been resumed. “There won’t be many parking lots, but one or two out of the 14 industrial plots that have been resumed could be converted into multi-storeyed parking to accommodate the increased demand for parking.”

On the other hand, the CHB Chairman, Mr S.N. Sahai, told The Tribune that this nodal agency had so far failed to form a core committee for the development of the Industrial Area because as per the directions of the Administration “the first five people who opt for conversion will form the core group that will decide about the integrated growth of the Industrial Area”. But since the conversion policy has had only two takers so far, the committee is yet to be formed.

He said the CHB was not undertaking any development of the area yet as it was still unclear what kind of development was required. This, he said, would depend on what people want to do with their existing plots after paying the conversion charges.

Industrialists in the area have been up in arms, accusing the Administration of not following any norms following the conversion notification in September last year. They say that once the Chandigarh Industrial Area is commercialised, it will lead to traffic chaos in the absence of any planned parking and impact every business in the area. The Estate Office had sent resumption notices to 164 industrial houses. Out of these, 15 plots have so far been resumed. It is on one or two of these resumed plots that the Administration proposes to build parking lots, to be based on the vicinity of high-traffic zones.

The Administration has made the construction of twin-parking basements mandatory under commercial buildings like multiplexes and shopping malls. But industrialists felt that twin basements will not be adequate and cars are bound to find their way onto the roads.

Representatives of industrial associations argue that as per the zoning of the Chandigarh Industrial Area, only 40 per cent area is allowed to be covered / built. Even if the entire basement under the built-up area is converted into parking, a 1-acre plot (4000 sq. yards) will allow construction of a basement of 1600 sq. yards on one level and 3200 sq. yards on the twin basement. Since one car takes about 18 sq yards for parking, after taking out 20 per cent circulation space, it will allow parking of about 150 cars. They further argue that in a building with 50 shops and four multiplexes, even one car of the shop owner and 100 cars of people watching a movie in the four cinemas, the parking would be full. Where would visitors to the shopping malls park?

The Administration officials say that they are basically waiting to see the kind of development that will take place in the area. After some framework is evolved, the CHB will plan out a detail of the various development activities that would be required.



Architecture college students
asked to design apartments

Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
No exam can match this test. Final-year students of Chandigarh College of Architecture here have been asked to design the next set of apartments to be constructed by the Haryana Housing Board. These two, three and four-bedroom apartments are due to come up at Sector 20 in Panchkula.

The project, a first of its kind for the college, was taken up as a challenge by the students.

The final-year students were divided into five groups and each designed its own concept of these apartments. The end result was a variety of possibilities any of which, if chosen, could change the skyline of Panchkula.

“The structures had to fit in within the parameters given to the students. The bylaws have to be met and the number of buildings, the number of apartments, the site coverage and the floor area ratio all is fixed and pre-set. That leaves the students with very little margin for creativity. But then that too is the challenge,” said Prof Sohan Lal, faculty in-charge of the project.

“We had to spread the entire set of buildings in limited square feet of area. One group created common facilities in the centre surrounded by the buildings while another group gave the option of having these facilities on the outer margins,” said Nitin, head of one of these student groups.

“The number of floors could not go beyond eight. Moreover, in the two-bedroom apartments we had to use space very economically. Designing these was the most difficult. Privacy of each apartment had to be maintained. We have, as a result, ensured that one apartment window does not look into the opposite lower house’s window,” explained Isha, another student.

While some students chose to connect alternate floors among different buildings others chose to create common cores. At least one room in each apartment had a balcony and in the four-bedroom apartment at least three rooms had a terrace. “The four-bedroom apartments have been created most lavishly. The students have experimented with almost every aspect of architecture. Form, space, illusion orientation, every thing is unique,” explained the college Principal, Prof Rajnish Wattas.



Indian Army officer scales Africa’s highest peak
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
A young Indian Army officer, now serving with the UN forces in Congo, has successfully scaled the Uhuru peak, one of the highest volcanos in the world and the highest peak in Africa.

The officer, Major Sarfraz Singh Kular, is the son of Col Balbir Singh (retd), hockey Olympian and an Arjuna awardee.

“My next target is Mount Everest,” wrote the officer to his father while conveying him the news that he had joined the select band of adventurers who have conquered the peak.

Straddling the border between Kenya and Tanzania, the Uhuru peak is part of the Kilimanjaro, the snow-capped summit which rises majestically above the surrounding Savannah area.

Major Sarfraz Singh Kular, who has been named after former Pakistan’s speedster, Sarfraz Nawaz, belongs to 5 Para and is currently posted at Goma in Congo with the UN forces. According to Colonel Balbir Singh, Sarfraz took the journey from Goma by bus to Kigali,the capital of Rawanda, and Mbarare. He then travelled on the Uganda-Kampala-Jinja sector and crisscrossed the great Nile Rifts valley, the source of the Nile, before reaching Tanzania.

It is the great water region of East Africa and is considered one of the richest belts in the world because of a large number of gold, diamond and gem mines. It also has a large number of lakes.

Helped by his local friend, Methyl, Major Sarfraz got the permission from the Kilimanjaro office to climb the peak. He was surprised when he found a large number of mountaineers and climbers from Europe and other parts of the world also in the run for scaling the Uhuru peak.

He followed the Kilimanjaro Gate-Mundare Hut-Horombo Hut- Kibo Hut-Saddle-Gilman’s Point route on his way to the Uhuru peak. It took him almost six days of climbing.

Major Sarfraz Singh is the fourth generation soldier. Besides his father, his grandfather was also a former Services hockey player who had fought in World War II. His greatgrandfather was a wrestler and a soldier who had fought in World War I. Sarfraz comes from the once-hockey nursery of India, Sansarpur, near Jalandhar.

Adventure comes naturally to Sarfraz who had earlier scaled the Nun peak (7140 meters) in the Kargil sector last year.



Special booking counters non-operational at railway station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Thanks to the indifference of the Railways authorities, senior citizens and physically challenged persons are facing a lot of harassment at the newly opened passenger reservation facility (PRS) at the Chandigarh railway station.

For the past many days, the exclusive counters meant for senior citizens, physically challenged persons and VIPs are not being operated. As a result, ticket-seekers in these categories are being forced to queue up at the counter meant for the general public. The rush for advance reservation has increased in the wake of summer holidays.

When this correspondent visited the reservation counter on Sunday morning, the queue in front of the counter meant for general public was stretching up to the entrance to the reservation complex. A counter for defence personnel was, however, working.

Mr Anand Kumar, who was standing in the queue for three hours, said, “What is use of the new facility if all counters cannot be operated?” Similar grouse was aired by others standing in the queue.

Enquiries revealed that despite a staff of eight persons, including two Chief Reservation Supervisors (CRS), all counters were not being operated. The counter meant for senior citizens was opened on the day when officials from the Vigilance Department of the Railways were on an inspection of the station, said sources.

Similarly, the reservation counter on the Panchkula side was not being operated in double-shift despite the Railways having displayed the information on a notice board. Recently, there has been reshuffling of the reservation staff but it has not been useful for the public.

The enquiry counter at the new reservation was not working and the enquiry at the station platform was not handling the queries related to the reservation status.



Row over removal of liquor shops
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 2
The move of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to remove liquor shops from its own land fizzled out for sometime following objections raised by the Haryana Excise and Taxation Department.

HUDA has to suspend its demolition drive during which the land owned by it was to be freed from several liquor shops run by contractors. A high drama was witnessed in Industrial Area, Phase-I, after the enforcement staff was stopped by the excise staff.

Meanwhile, HUDA enforcement staff had removed three structures at Mansa Devi T-point, Mansa Devi road and Sector 18.

Sources disclosed that the Chief Administrator of HUDA had directed its subordinates not to allow any liquor vend on its land in this financial year.

The dispute gained momentum and the Deputy Commissioner and the Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner decided to fizzle out the drive for the time being.



Encroachments removed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 2
Coming heavily on encroachments, enforcement staff of the Estate Office yesterday removed dozens of reheris, roadside vendors and over 15 tractor-trailers from Sectors 16 and 19 here. The encroachments were removed on the directions of the Deputy Commissioner.

Earlier, certain shopkeepers and local residents had complained to the DC against the encroachers alleging nuisance. Shopkeepers of Sector 16 had also alleged that tractor-trailers, which remained parked in front of their establishments round the clock, had adversely affected the business.

A team of the enforcement under tight security cover swung into action early this morning and removed the encroachments without any revolt.



House burgled
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 2
Mr Tilak Raj, a resident of Sector 19-C, filed a complaint with the police alleging that one pair of gold tops, a ring, two gold bangles, and cash worth Rs 3,000 were stolen from his residence during on Saturday.

Gambling: The Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police has arrested Ashok Kumar, a resident of Bapu Dham Colony, on Saturday from the same locality for allegedly indulging in gambling.



Coolex 2006 starts April 7
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Coolex 2006, CII's exclusive exposition on air conditioning and refrigeration, returns to the city in its ninth edition this year to present a host of the latest cooling options to the consumer, before the onset of summer. The fair is on from April 7 to 10, 2006.

Successfully organised every year since 1998, Coolex has come to represent value to the industry and the consumers, as an established platform to generate exposure for contemporary technology, showcase the latest product offerings and gear up local industry for competition.

Hitachi is the main sponsor for Coolex 2006 while Godrej, LG and Videocon are the co-sponsors this year. The Tribune is the media partner for the event. Companies like Voltas, Symphony, Carrier Aircon, Fedders International, Daikin Shriram Airconditioning (P) Ltd, ETA General, TCL, Onida, Samsung, Kenstar and Celsius will be participating in the exposition.

Sidwal Refrigeration and Everon will be participating in the category of the small-scale industry.



SBI strike likely to hit transactions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Transactions worth approximately Rs 500 crore are likely to be held up in the tri- city due to the strike called by the State Bank of India Officers Federation tomorrow. The federation has called the strike in protest against the managements refusal to increase the pension. SBI employees say that they are paid pension on the basis of the pay scales announced by the bank management in 1992. Other banks have revised their pension scheme according to the pay scales revised in 1997 and 2002.


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