C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mother of three strangled to death
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, April 6
Mamta Verma (28), a resident of Haripur village falling in Sector 4 of Panchkula, was found dead under mysterious circumstances this morning. Her three children — Sonia (7), Muskaan (6) and Harsh (3) — are struggling to come out of shock.

Mr Balbir Singh, SP, said a murder case was registered against her husband Shyam Sunder and family members.

Acting on a complaint of Ms Gita Verma of Bartana, the case was registered against Shyam Sunder, his elder bother Satish, younger bother Surinder, father Takdeer Singh and mother Kamla.

Ms Gita Verma accused the victim’s family of torture and murder of her daughter, who worked hard as tailor to support the family. She alleged that Shyam was alcoholic and subjected her daughter to torture and inhuman behaviour.

As per police sources, the couple married eight years ago had developed estranged relations as Shyam alleged Mamta’s extramarital relations that her parents denied. Shyam, while in the hospital, divulged many details with regard to their planned suicide deal which appeared to be concocted as per Mamta’s parents.

After Mamta’s death, he scribbled a suicide note before taking some poisonous substance. He was admitted to the hospital at 6.30am, while the police brought the Mamta’s body to the hospital.

Meanwhile, medical reports confirmed that the death was caused due to strangulation.



Man held for getting tenant kidnapped
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 6
The Chandigarh Police today arrested a shop owner on the charges of getting his tenant kidnapped by criminals. The tenant, a Sector 38 West resident, alleged that the accused picked him up from Sector 38 late last night, took him to a secluded place and beat him up there. They also forced him to sign some blank papers. He was later dropped near his residence in the wee hours today.

Sources in the Sector 39 police station said a case of kidnapping, threatening, causing injuries, theft and criminal intimidation under various provisions of the IPC was registered against the shop owner, Jatinder Kumar of Sector 23, on a complaint filed by Mr Ashok Kumar Arora of Sector 38 West. The police has arrested Jatinder Kumar. The assailants also allegedly took away Mr Arora’s scooter.

The police said Jatinder Kumar confessed to have given Rs 1.50 lakh to the criminals to get his shop vacated from Mr Arora.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Ms Veena Arora, wife of Mr Ashok Arora, said her husband was kidnapped by at least six unidentified persons from Sector 38 around 10:30 pm when he was on his way back home. The accused intercepted Mr Arora and bundled him into a Tata Sumo. They took him to a secluded place. One of the accused followed them on Mr Arora’s scooter. “The assailants forced my husband to sign some blank papers. When he resisted they thrashed him. They threatened him with dire consequences forcing him to say that he will evacuate the shop in three days”, said Ms Arora in a chocked voice.

Ms Arora, narrating the sequence of events, said when her husband failed to turn up last night they began searching for him in hospitals fearing he might have met with an accident. When they failed to trace him they lodged a missing person complaint with the Sector 22 police post. Around 3 am, Mr Arora returned home. The matter was brought to the notice of the police.

Ms Arora said Jatinder Kumar had purchased the shop in January 2004 from their landlord.

Since then he had been harassing them to vacate the shop and was also not accepting the rent. On April 4, Mr Arora had filed a petition in a local court in this regard.

Following this, the court served notice to Jatinder Kumar. Enraged over the notice, he assaulted my husband.

Mr Arora was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. He suffered “simple blunt injuries”, said the SHO of the Sector 39 police station, Inspector Nanha Ram Kadiyan. He also added that the search was on to trace the other accused.



No extension to schools in residential areas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The Chandigarh Administration has decided not to give any extension to the schools being run in the residential areas in the city, except in Manimajra.

The Administration sent a press note to this effect today saying ‘‘off late several associations of private educational institutions being run in the residential areas have been representing through a section of media against the closure of these institutions with effect from April 2006.’’

‘‘In order to set the record straight, the Chandigarh Administration once again clarifies that it had already granted three yearly extensions to the schools being run from residential premises and after making adequate provision for admission in government schools, it had been decided to close the schools being run in residential areas within the sector grid by April 2006’’, the press note said.

Since the educational infrastructure and facilities in Manimajra and in the rehabilitated and unauthorised colonies were inadequate, therefore, extension of one year had been granted to the schools in these areas. The Chandigarh Administration, keeping its policy of providing schools in the nearby areas for the tiny tots, had allowed the running of crèches and playway schools in the residential areas subject to certain conditions so that the little children got educational facilities close to their homes.

The lessees of allotted school sites were also allowed to utilise their balance FAR (Floor Area Ratio) so that all children were accommodated in the schools. The Administration is bound by the directions of the High Court to stop the running of all private educational institutions which are not recognised and do not fulfill the norms.

The Administration had been allowing annual extension to schools in residential areas since 2002. Since, Chandigarh is a planned city and specific sites have been earmarked for specific purposes, the running of schools from the residential areas violates the provision of the zoning plan and creates noise pollution in the adjoining areas. It also creates traffic problems for the residents of that area. In order to solve this problem, it has become pertinent to plan school sites at appropriate places and provide proper environment with adequate open spaces and playgrounds for the education and development of the children.

Further, the Administration has decided to run some of the government schools in double shifts to cope with the additional load and adequate arrangements have been made in the government schools. The Administration is fully prepared and has carried out a thorough survey to count each and every child who would be affected by this decision and has taken preventive steps that no student is left unattended.

As many as 32 schools out of the 36 newly allotted sites by the Administration have become operational and will accommodate as many as 15,000 students.

Two new government schools in Sector 38(W) and Sector 56 will be made operational in the current year to cater to the needs of children affected by the closure of residential schools and 20 additional classrooms will also be made operational this year in the existing schools.

As many as 30 schools are being run from residential areas of Manimajra township with an enrollment of 7,000 students. The government schools in this area are already running double shifts and there is no scope of enhancement of capacity in these schools, therefore, the existing schools have been allowed to continue in their existing locations for one more year.



Free education to girls scheme has few takers in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
While the writ petition over the full waiver of fees to each girl student, who is also the single child of her parents, still remains pending in the High Court of Delhi, principals, parents and students in the city feel that it was much ado about nothing. The rate of dropout for girls at different levels is still more than that for boys. The casual approach towards the scheme has caused disappointment to many.

According to Regional CBSE Officer D.R. Yadava, stay orders have been obtained by some private schools in Delhi and the current status so far remains the same with no latest circular issued by the authorities. However, the Central Board of Secondary Education has already made a provision in its examination bylaws that girl candidates, who are bona fide residents of the National Capital of Delhi, can appear in Class X and XII examinations of the board as private candidates.

A new scholarship scheme has been introduced from 2006-07 academic session for single girl child studying in the schools affiliated with the CBSE. As per the scheme, every single girl child who secures 60 per cent or more marks in the Class X examination from 2006 onwards will be given scholarship of Rs 500 per month for studying in Class XI and XII in schools which are charging tuition fee of not more than Rs 1,000 per month during academic year 2005-06.

According to Ms Meenakshi Mohindra, Principal, Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 27, the entire initiative should be need based and not gender based. “Often the parents of a girl child are reasonably well to do and it is quite possible that at times even a boy may need more help,” said Ms Mohindra. She added that after the scheme was announced in her school parents of a girl child had approached the authorities. The Principal also informed that after a survey the school authorities found out that only 16 girls out of the 1,300 odd children in the school would have benefited from the scheme.

Voicing similar opinion, Mrs Madhu Bahl, Principal, KBDAV School, said the scheme could have been aimed at the poor families with single girl child and those who could not afford quality education for their daughters. She added that the scheme on gender basis could have been avoided. Also the Principal felt that the entire exercise of producing affidavits and checking of documents could lead to confusion in case the candidates were too many.

Principal, GMSSS, Sector 16, citing the example of the UT Administration that has not only waived all fees of students from Class I to VIII, but also funds required to be paid by students, said other state governments could take a similar step. Mr D.S. Bedi, president, Private School Association, feared that such a step could increase the financial burden on an all girls’ schools.

Meanwhile, the prospective beneficiaries are disappointed. Ram Singh, a data entry operator in a private company, is unhappy over the delay.

Another parent, Harcharan, who serves as a warden in a private school, said the fee waiver news was welcome news but now it seemed a remote possibility. However, parents like Ashish Jain and his wife Sonu Jain felt that a girl student would not value free education if she hailed from an economically well off family.



Housing board to redesign Matka Chowk
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The Chandigarh Housing Board would be redesigning the City’s most happening roundabout- the Matka Chowk. The Chairman of the board has short-listed designs created by students of the Chandigarh College of Architecture here as part of a special project.

The eight semester students, divided into various groups put up six presentations before the Chiarman, Mr S.N. Sahay, four out of which have been short-listed.

These designs, conceptualised entirely by the students, would be further improved upon by the college and submitted to the board.

The Chandigarh Administrator would be making the final choice among these four designs.

The water body of the chowk has been retained but would be shaped differently. The current green globe design would give way to a new 

“One of the short-listed designs proposes to have two metallic rings intersecting each other with water cascading as a film between them in place of the globe while others have suggested metallic sculptures, hard and soft landscaping and a play of levels,” explained Prof KDS Mankotia, the faculty in charge of the 

“These circles would be places at the centre of a sunken landscape and would have a different visual impact from the various sides that a traveller approaches the roundabout,” explained Ruchika, Sandeep, Saurabh Sharmila and Shilpa, students who created this design.

In yet another design, the roundabout would be divided into three sectors, each moving towards the centre to merge into a central island. “The three levels represent the past, present and future and the central island has three concentric circular steps with a sculpture on top and water falling down the steps,” pointed out the designers Sonali 
and Kiran.

“Chandigarh was designed with a view to symbolising development and growth and an effort has been made to achieve the same kind of symbolism through a dynamic play of radiating curves.

A vivid play in levels has been proposed to reinforce the dynamicity which, in turn, helps to achieve an aesthetically pleasing elevation,” explained Ramandeep who leads the team of Hina, Rahul, Rajesh and Pushpkant.

“Even though from a distance we get to see the four main curves only but once we move further, we can actually see the levels within it.

Finally, while moving around, the directional composition automatically directs the eye towards the central focus from all levels,” he added.

‘Bold but simple’ is the motto of the design created by the group of Shikha, Shilpam, Surbhi, Tania and Tanu. “The plan is symmetrical but it offers a different view as one moves around the roundabout.

The central water body would have a sculpture. We chose to use earthy and soft colours for the landscape so that the drivers are not distracted,” explained Shikha. The design also spreads beyond the roundabout to include the dividing islands and the green areas on the four intersections.

“The idea is to discourage people who get on the chowk in the evening for leisure.

We have planned spaces for benches within these green areas so that people can sit and enjoy the sight of water dancing over the sculpture.

Also since the entire roundabout can be lighted in the evenings, it would be quite a sight,” Shikha added.

Each short listed design has been awarded Rs 8000 by the board and the rest would be paid Rs 6000 for the efforts.



Pan Am hijacking: Libya faces $10 billion suit
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Neerja Bhanot
Neerja Bhanot

Chandigarh, April 6
In a significant development, over 175 individuals have filed a suit in a US court, seeking a whopping compensation of $ 10 billion from Libya for its role in the September 5 1986-hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi.

As many as 21 persons, including Chandigarh resident Neerja Bhanot, who was a Senior Flight Purser with Pan Am, were killed in indiscriminate firing by the five terrorists while over 100 persons were injured. Immediately after the incident, the United States Government had publicly stated that Libya provided the terrorists with material support for the hijacking and had also ordered the attack as part of its terrorist campaign against American, European and Israeli interests.

All the five terrorists, members of the dreaded terrorist group Abu Nidal Organisation, were caught and given death sentence by a Pakistan court. Their sentence was later changed to life. On May 13, 2004, a US court convicted the leader of the terrorists - Zaid Hassan Abd Latif Safarini - for the killings and sentenced him to a 160-year prison term.

However, the four other terrorists continue to remain in a Pakistan prison despite the completion of their sentence as they fear that they could also be picked up by US law enforcement agents and tried by a US court. The filing of the suit adds a completely new dimension to the case.

Among the plaintiffs are passengers, estates, and family members of the victims.

Filed by US-based law firm Crowell & Moring LLP in the District Court for the District of Columbia, the suit seeks $10 billion in compensatory damages as well as unspecified punitive damages from Libya, its leader Muammar Qaddafi and the five convicted terrorists.

According to the suit, the hijackers had planned to fly the aircraft to Israel and crash it into the city of Tel Aviv. However, alerted by the crew, particularly Neerja Bhanot, the pilots escaped by climbing out of the cockpit using emergency ropes, thereby forcing the terrorists to remain grounded along with the aircraft.

In the ensuing 16-hour gory drama, the hijackers opened fire on the passengers with automatic weapons at point blank range and threw hand grenades into the tightly-packed group.

Incidentally, the first person who was killed by terrorists was a US citizen. The Indians who lost their lives included, apart from Neerja, Trupti Dalal, Rupal Desai, Krishna Gadde, Kodiyattu Kurian, Aleyamma Nagatholy, Ramakant Naik, Kala Singh and Ganapathi Thanikaimon.

The decision to file a suit was collectively taken by the passengers aboard the ill-fated flight and victims’ relatives, who got together last year to attend the court case involving Safarini.

Their suit has a precedent as a US court had in early ‘90s awarded compensation of $ 2 billion to the families of victims and others in the case relating to bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie in Scotland. Over 259 people were killed in the bombing.

In that case also, the suit had named the Libyan Government and its leadership as being responsible for the incident. The compensation was recovered from the sale of Libyan assets frozen by the US Government after it snapped diplomatic relations with Libya due to its role in sponsoring terrorism.

When contacted, Mr Aneesh Bhanot, brother of Neerja, disclosed that a five-member committee of the victims’ family members was constituted to unravel the truth behind the hijacking and hold Libya accountable.

He also said that the committee would also pursue the case of trial of the four remaining terrorists by the US court. Mr Bhanot also urged the Indian Government to take up the issue of the four terrorists with Pakistan.



Admn focus on sellers of govt land outside lal dora
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
After stepping up its drive against unscrupulous elements who have “rented out” government land to slum dwellers in different slum clusters in the city, the district administration has focused its attention on those persons who have rented out land or sold government land in the similar manner outside the lal dora of UT villages.

Officials of the Estate Office are gathering information about such persons and FIRs could be registered against them in the comings days, said sources in the administration.

It may be mentioned that last year the administration had got a few cases registered against some property dealers. But after that the drive was not taken to its logical conclusion.

Meanwhile, the administration and the police authorities today further stepped up their drive against such persons who had rented out government land to jhuggi dwellers. Till late this evening, 20 FIRs were registered and 15 arrests were made. Raids were being conducted to arrest all wanted persons. In one case, Mr Sukhdev Singh Patwari, a resident of Phase IX, was arrested for renting out government land to 30 jhuggi dwellers in Nehru Colony, Kajehri.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr R.K. Rao, told Chandigarh Tribune that a number of cases were coming to light from different colonies where government land had been sold for anything between Rs 5,000 and Rs 15,000 on the basis of fake power of attorneys. Most of these persons were colony pradhans.

Other persons booked by the police are Ram Lakhan, Raju, Triloki, Satpal, Surajmal, Ram Sanjeevan, Parsshadi, Ragubit Giri, Om Parkash, Raj Kumar, Mohit, Subash and Sheeru. So far, names of over 32 persons have been forwarded to the police for the registration of cases.

The Deputy Commissioner did not rule the possibility of more FIRs being registered.



Power dept to pay Rs 12,000 to consumer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The District Consumer Court has directed the UT Electricity Department to pay Rs 12,000 as compensation for the gadgets damaged due to erratic power supply and for harassment to a resident of Sector 15, Brig Surinder Singh Nakai (retd).

In a complaint to the Consumer Forum Brig Nakai had lamented that due to a faulty electronic power meter a number of gadgets in his house had been damaged. But despite repeated complaints to the electricity department, the meter had not been replaced. Pronouncing the orders, Mr L.R Roojam, President, Mr M.M Gupta and Ms Urvashi Agnihotri, both members of the forum, also awarded Rs 5,000 as compensation amount and Rs 2,000 as cost of litigation.

Brig Nakai lamented that his conventional electricity metre was replaced with a electronic meter on June 18, 2005. At the time of replacement, all seals of the new metre were checked. The metre had been changed as part of the drive by the electricity department to replace the conventional metres.

On August 5, 2005, the electronic metre started giving erratic supply. While in one of the phases the supply was normal, in other two phases the voltage was very high. Due to the erratic supply two voltage stablizers, a UPS and relay of a refrigerator were damaged.

On the basis of a complaint by Brig Nakai, officials of the department visited his house and gave a direct supply of the neutral wire and thus the voltage became normal. The consumer was directed by the Junior Engineer concerned to get his metre replaced. On the insistence of the department, the complainant deposited Rs 1,750 as cost of the new metre. After getting the new metre, the complainant got an exorbitant bill of Rs 9,000. Repeated appeals to the department failed to make any impact.

The forum has directed the electricity department to comply with its orders within two months.



Accept demands of SBI employees, says Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The national convener of the Legal and Legislative Business Cell of the BJP and former MP of Chandigarh, Mr Satya Pal Jain, has asked the Central Government to accept the demands of the striking State Bank of India (SBI) employees. “The difficulties of the common man will only be over after the strike is called off,” he said in a statement issued here today.

Mr Jain said the attitude of the Central Government, especially the Finance Ministry, towards the striking employees, is highly condemnable. He said the Congress had promised the employees during the previous Lok Sabha elections that it would accept the demands of the employees after coming to power.

“It is quite unfortunate and painful that the bank employees had given a prior notice to the Central Government for observing a strike in respect of their demands, but the Finance Ministry did not take any positive step to prevent the strike.” He further said that the Ministry of Finance was responsible for the strike and the hardship it had caused to the public.

Mr Jain said the Government of India must understand that the employees of the SBI were not alone in their struggle for getting their genuine demands accepted. The BJP was fully in favour of the genuine demands of the bank employees and it was against any act of suppression by the government against these employees, he added.



Sikh body to launch TV channel
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April6
The image of Sikhs has suffered a lot over the past few years and efforts should be made to restore their earlier image.

This was stated by Dr Kharak Singh, convener of the recently formed International Sikh Confederation (ISC), at a press conference here yesterday. He said there was a need to bring the Sikh community on one platform and for this very reason the ISC had been formed. So far there was no organisation which represented the entire Sikh community throughout the world. There was a need for the Sikhs to sit together on one platform and decide what was best for the community . He said efforts would be made to handle the controversies being faced by the Panth.

He said ISC would set up a 24 - hour TV channel to explain the philosophy of the gurus.

Lieut-Gen Kartar Singh Gill ( retd) , a member of the ISC, said the aim of setting up the new organisation was to take the community forward so that Sikhs were able to make a place for themselves on the national and international level.

He said ISC will hold a two-day seminar and general body meeting at Shivalik Public School, Phase VI from April 8.



Illegal constructions in Sector 39 flat
Tribune News Service

An illegal toilet structure on the top of flat no: 1107, Sector 39, Chandigarh, which has come up after the Chandigarh Housing Board carried out demolition of structures
An illegal toilet structure on the top of flat no: 1107, Sector 39, Chandigarh, which has come up after the Chandigarh Housing Board carried out demolition of structures. — Tribune photos by Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, April 6
Less than a month after the Chandigarh Housing Board demolished the illegal constructions — two rooms and a toilet — on the roof of house no: 1107, Sector 39, violators have once again encircled the demolished area with barbed wires and set up the toilet.

A visit by a Tribune team on the top of the house observed that the area was fenced and a tap was operating for washing clothes.

Ms S. Khara, who is staying on the second floor, showed leaking roofs inside her house. The water was dripping in her kitchen and bathrooms from the top. The bedrooms showed huge marks of seepage on walls.

She said: “The leakage has started after the structures were demolished and it appears that those living on the lower floor, who have encroached upon the roof, are doing it purposely to harass us. The opening of the water flow from the top has been purposely cemented that leads to water standing on the roof and subsequently leaking inside our rooms.

The floor has been dug up at certain places which makes it tough for us after it rains. We had complained against the illegal structure earlier which led to its demolition. The gate to the top of the roof was kept closed by the other party which causes us inconvenience,” she said.



Jagdev Singh first PU employee to get pension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Mr Jagdev Singh’s name will go down in the history of Panjab University as its first employee to have got pension after the scheme was launched this year.

Mr Jagdev Singh retired from the university on September 30, 2005 as foreman electronics — a class one post — after serving the university for over 40 years. “I joined the university in December 1964”, he recalled.

“I am happy that the university finally started the pension scheme for its employees. This is a big source of monetary security after retirement. My two sons are settled in the USA and I live alone with my wife here,” he said.

Mr Jagdev Singh opted for pension recently and would be getting it from March 2006. “The university retained the contributory provident fund amount due to me and would be using it to pay the pension. I preferred pension to the CPF. I would have got Rs 16 lakh as CPF and that would have vanished in no time. This way I would be getting Rs 14,000 per month which would increase each year,” he said.

“I have shifted to Mohali today. At the age of 60 years re-employment is not possible and I am glad that the university is now taking care of its former employees,” he said.



Youngsters celebrate World Walkouts Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
It was an unusual gathering of youngsters, keen to walk out on systems that shackle their sensibilities.

A symbolic step, it falls in line with what thousands of youngsters are doing across the world today— walking out on customary beliefs and institutions— as a mark of solidarity to freedom on the occasion of International Walkouts Day.

While several passers by in Sector 17 Plaza wondered what had come upon this group of youngsters, the latter made the explanation easier. Leading the celebration on International Walkouts Day at Chandigarh was a young girl, Sukhmani Kohli, who chose to express resentment against school teaching that tells us dams are good for progress.

In sharp focus was the controversial issue of Sardar Sarovar Dam and Narmada Bachao Andolan's stern criticism of the same. Marking the occasion, the youngsters expressed their support for Medha Patkar, who is fighting the system at a hospital in Delhi.

Sukmani and her team of spirited youths mobilised visitors to sign a petition supporting Medha Patkar and her stand. They also announced a candlelight vigil to be held at 6.30 pm at Sukhna Lake tomorrow.

"We celebrate walkout day for those who have taken the bold and bright decision to walk out of economic, social situations, schools, colleges, or other institutions of thought-control," said Sukhmani, who has walked out on traditional educational institutions to study in the lap of nature at an alternative school.

Technically, walking out symbolises several events. The term itself calls to mind certain historical images— students rising from their classroom seats, leaving school grounds, to protest against war; factory workers stopping their equipment, assembling outside factory gates, to protest against exploitation. Walking out implies a conscious decision, a willingness to translate beliefs into actions.

Says Harman, another student who participated in the celebrations, "It is the courage and conviction to say, Enough! I refuse to be a part of a system that is violent, demeaning and inherently irrelevant. I will no longer subject my body, mind or spirit to this torture. I will walk out of here, and walk into doing, living, being something better."

It is not easy to walk out of the legacy of conventional thinking that is passed on. But the city's youngsters, today, attempted to overcome the fears that limit their walk-out journeys and reached out to others who share the desire of questioning systems and finding their own paths.

April 6 is celebrated as International Walkouts Day across the world.



Zirakpur master plan better late than never, say residents
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 6
Better late than never, this is how residents today reacted to the approval of the master plan for Zirakpur. The plan aimed at checking the haphazard and unregulated urban growth.

Though the residents were unanimous that the approval of the plan for the fast-developing township had come too late, yet they were pinning hopes of planned “world-class” township on the effective implementation of the plan.

“The plan is the need of the hour in the wake of the large-scale construction activity. If implemented in the right spirit, it could put the township on the international map given its strategic location on Chandigarh’s periphery,” Mr N.K. Sharma, president, Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, said.

Mr Sharma, however, cautioned the government that it should only lay broad guidelines and leave the development of the major projects, including the special economic zone, IT zone and golf course, to the private sector.

“A major area under the master plan is still underdeveloped and the government has an opportunity to regulate the mushrooming of haphazard colonies,” Mr Sharma added.

Saying the plan augured well for the overall development of the township with the real estate developers coming up with the state-of-the-art apartments, Mr Sunil Bandha, general manager of a construction company, said it was long overdue.

With the plan in place, the residents of various colonies could hope for better roads and sewerage system. In fact, it would go a long way in improving the inter-connectivity among the colonies. The township has a total of about 6,000 acres, of which one-third is fully developed. The proper implementation of the plan would go a long way in the regulated growth in about 4,000 acres, Mr Bandha added.

The chairman of the Kisan Eviction Forum, a farmers’ body fighting against the setting up of the Zirakpur urban estate, demanded that the government should merge Singhpura, Ramgarh Bhudda and Nabha villages into the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat so that they could be properly developed.

The Punjab Government yesterday approved the master plan of Zirakpur to check the haphazard and unregulated growth of urban areas. It was prepared by the Town and Country Planning Department. The government also approved boundaries for the master plan of Banur, Dera Bassi, Bathinda, Amloh and Khanna.

A decision to this effect was taken in the eighth meeting of the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Board held here under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, an official note said here.

The board at its meeting also approved the rates for preparing the master plans and planning areas to be given to the Town and Country Planning Department by PUDA.

Suggestions made during the 54th National Congress of the Institute of Town Planners India held recently in Amrtisar were also considered and approved with minor modifications for incorporation in the outline master plan of SAS Nagar.



Ram Navmi celebrated with fervour
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The festival of Ram Navmi was celebrated today with great religious fervour. The temple bells rang early in the morning, as a large number of people seeked blessings from the deity and made offerings. Also, many people after observing fast during the Navratras, organised `Kanjken' at their homes and temples .

The Divya Anand Cultural Organisation celebrated Ram Navmi by feeding small girls at Sanjay Colony. A cultural programme was also organised in which girls of the Shivanand Education Centre participated. Speaking on the occasion, Mr R.C. Sharma, president of the organization, said girls are worshiped as an incarnation of Durga in India. In order to honour those living in slum areas, free training and education is being provided by the organisation. A bhandara and prayer service was also held on the occasion.

At the Shridi Sai Samaj Temple, Sector 29, Ram Navmi celebrations started as early as five in the morning. Kakkad Aarti, Sri Sai Satcharitra Path and a bhajan sandhya was organised. In the evening, devotees offered Chappan Bhog, which was followed by a huge langar. The preparations for Ram Navmi were made by Ramesh Kalia, Anil Khurana, Bimal Rai, Manoj Goyal and Mr Duttta, the members of the temple management committee. Ram Leela was also organised at Sector 22. 



Child found abandoned
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 6
A small child was found abandoned outside Fortis hospital here last evening.

The male child, of about 11 months, had a milk bottle lying near him. The police took away the child and later asked a woman resident to take care of him for the night.

The child was later admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh, as he appeared to be suffering from a lung infection.

It was not immediately clear why and who abandoned the child.

Residents said it was possible that the child’s parents could not afford the cost of his medical treatment.

The parents or guardian of the child could contact the Phase VIII police station



Snake-like creature found in tap water
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 6
A resident of Phase IV here complained today that a snake-like creature was found in the tap water he got at his house.

Mr Iqbal Singh said the creature, which measured about 3 inches, came with the water supply into a tub in his bathroom.

He later kept the creature in a bottle.



Car, motor cycle stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 6
A car and a motor cycle were stolen from the city.

Mr Sandeep of Sector 20 alleged that his Maruti car (CH-03-D-5696) was stolen from near Arts Block in Panjab University on Wednesday. In another incident, Mr Vilas Kumar of Sector 20-A, reported to the police that his Hero Honda motor cycle (CH-03-F-9095) was stolen from his residence on Sunday night.

Two separate cases of theft were registered.

1 held for power theft

The local police arrested Piare Lal and Shama of Dadu Majra Colony on Wednesday on charges of stealing electricity. The police said a complaint was filed by Mr Dharam Singh, SDO, Electricity Office, Sector 40, against the accused. They were allegedly stealing electricity through kundi connections. A case has been registered.

Held with smack

The special crime cell of the Chandigarh Police arrested a woman, Khuli, of Sector 38-A from near Dadu Majra Colony on Tuesday night. The police recovered 25 gm of smack from her possession. A case has been registered.



IG orders probe into forgery case
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 6
The UT Inspector-General of Police, Mr Satish Chandra, has directed the SSP to inquire into the matter in which a former chairman of the Market Committee was booked for cheating. The inquiry was ordered following a memorandum submitted by representatives of UT villages alleging that the case was registered under pressure of certain police officials. Sources in the police said the SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, had entrusted the inquiry to the DSP, Mr Devinder Thakur.

The representatives told the IGP that injustice was done to the former chairman of the market panel, Kesar Singh, at the instance of Hardesh Kumar.



Strike likely to hit SBI business
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
As the State Bank of India strike entered its fourth day today, the bank could well lose business from various government departments.

After the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) allowed the Chandigarh Administration to disburse salary among its employees through Punjab National Bank, many other government departments are now contemplating approaching the RBI for the disbursal of the salaries.

The RBI issued directions to State Bank of Patiala yesterday for disbursing salaries among the Punjab and Haryana Government employees, though the bank had not started the process so far.

A sum of Rs 9.75 lakh was released by the Sector 17 branch of PNB today for the salary of UT employees. Though the monthly salary disbursed by the Administration is around Rs 25 crore, the remaining salary will be released within the next two days.

Meanwhile, the joint forum of the State Bank of India Employees and Officers Associations today held a rally outside the local head office of the bank in Sector 17.

The employees, led by Mr Vijay Magon and Mr O.N. Bindra, took out a procession. Leaders, while expressing anguish over the negative attitude of the Finance Minister, said the strike would continue till the demands of enhancement of pension are accepted.

An emergency meeting of union executives of the India Public Sector Banks Officers Union was held today.



Panic among industrialists over conversion policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
There is panic among the industrialists of the city regarding the attitude of the Chandigarh Administration to make its conversion policy a success by resuming the industrialists’ plots, a press note of the Chandigarh Industrial Association said here today.

A delegation of the association has met Mr S.K.Sandhu, Finance Secretary and Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator, in the recent past. A memorandum was submitted seeking permission for transfer of trade from one industry to other without any charges as the Administration had allowed in case of SCOs and SCFs in other parts of the city.

Mr M.P.S.Chawla, general secretary of the association, said the Deputy Commissioner had been requested not to put any undue pressure on the industrialists and the matter needed immediate concern because notices had been issued to this effect.



Price hike opposed

Chandigarh, April 6
The Chandigarh Industrial Fasteners Association has opposed the price hike of Rs 2000 to Rs 3000 per metric ton on iron and steel by the main producers. In a press note, Mr A.L. Aggarwal, president, said the hike has come as a bolt from the blue, especially for the small-scale industry. — TNS


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