C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Robbers strike in old Panchkula, injure 6
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 4
A gang of masked and armed robbers last night struck at Kharag Mangoli, a slum colony, in Old Panchkula, and injured six persons of two families, four of them seriously. It also decamped with cash and valuables worth thousands of rupees.

According to the eyewitnesses, a gang of over nine armed robbers scaled the main gate of a street in the colony at about 1.30 am. Some of them waited at the main gate while the rest entered the house of Mr Ved Pal and posed as members of the CBI staff.

They overpowered Mr Ved Pal by putting a revolver on his temple and tried to tie his hands. The robbers snatched some jewellery from him. Noticing this his wife Sunita Devi came to his rescue following which the robbers attacked the couple with batons causing them serious head injuries. They also attacked Ved Pal’s daughter Geeta, who tried to raise the alarm.

Hearing the shrieks, their neighbour Maya Devi and her son Gian Chand rushed to the rescue of their neighbours but they too were attacked by the robbers leaving the two injured. The robbers also beat up Gian Chand’s wife Suman.

While talking to The Tribune, injured Ved Pal, said that the robbers were tall, Hindi-speaking youths, armed with sticks, batons and country-made pistols.

While narrating the incident, Maya Devi said that they flashed torches in their faces and assaulted them indiscriminately with batons.

The neighbours and relatives later rushed the injured Ved Pal, his wife Sunita, Maya Devi and her son Gian Chand, the General Hospital, Sector 6, and the police was subsequently informed.

Dr Abhey S. Rao, Deputy Superintendent of Police, visited the spot and questioned the victims and other eyewitnesses. He claimed that Mr Ved Pal was a notorious gambler and was involved in many cases of “satta playing”. He said that a case of trespassing with intension of robbery and causing grave injuries has been registered against unidentified persons on the complaints of the victims.

The police has started conducting raids at various hideouts of the suspects, he claimed. 



Exemption of land from forest Act:
Kang writes to ministry

Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Punjab has made a fresh request to the Union Ministry of Environment to seek exemption of 669 hectares in Nada, Kansal and Karoran villages from being classified as forest areas. These villages, located on the north-western boundary of Chandigarh, are urban habitations having an estimated population of 40,000.

Without the exemption, a municipal body cannot be formed in the area and no civic infrastructure can be provided. A large part of the population in these villages comprises employees and small traders who cannot afford to live in Chandigarh where the prices of property are exorbitant.

Four days ago, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, the area MLA and Minister for Animal Husbandry, Punjab, wrote a detailed letter to the Union Minister for Forests and Environment, Mr A. Raja, seeking the exemption on a “priority basis.”

Mr Kang said people living in these areas were waiting for basic civic infrastructure like water supply, sewerage and planned development.

The three villages are listed under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900, and are being wrongly clubbed with “forest areas”, thus hindering development.

Mr Kang wrote that these areas were mentioned under forest lands only on account of a technicality, as these were included in the administrative reports of the Forest Department. “It is a matter of fact that these areas were never recorded as a forest in any revenue record and no forest actually exists on these lands, ” he stated.

A few days ago, the Additional Director-General of Forest, Government of India, Mr G.K. Prasad, along with senior officials of the Punjab Forest Department had visited the area to see if any forest existed.

The Punjab Government had issued a notification in 2001 to create a nagar panchayat in the area. However, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had imposed a stay. The stay was vacated in September 2005 and the Secretary, Local Bodies, Mr B.R. Bajaj, issued a notification to for establishing a nagar panchayat but constituting such a body would not be possible till the lands are exempted from being classified as “forest areas.”

As many as 470 villages, including Nada, Kansal and Karoran, are located along the kandi belt(sub-mountainous area of the Shivalik hills). The Punjab Forest Department and top revenue authorities wrongly clubbed these with forest areas, leaving the owners of these land high and dry. Neither could they raise any construction on their land, nor carry out agricultural activity.

Lands covered under the Punjab Land Preservation Act and the forest area are supposed to be separate. Following the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, the area under the preservation Act also went under the Forest Department even though no forest existed.

The Punjab Government realised its mistake in February this year and petitioned the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The Ministry in its order in March agreed with the Punjab Government but imposed riders. It agreed to exclude over 65,670 hectares of land from the Act. Also, no commercial activity has been allowed on the lands spread across 470 villages in the districts of Ropar, Mohali, Nawanshahr, Hoshiarpur and Gurdaspur.



For media, it was a lean day at Chautala’s house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The house in Sector 9 here, allegedly belonging to the INLD leader and former Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, has intimidating fortification. The high wall surrounding the house is topped with pointed iron rods bending outwards. The heavy wooden gate of the house was locked from inside by the CBI sleuths who raided it at 5.30 in the morning.

When this reporter went to the house at around 10.30 am, a handful of lawyers had gathered outside the house. One of them said he was a Chautala-loyalist and was employed in the Haryana Advocate General's house when Mr Chautala was the Chief Minister.

"We have come here to show solidarity with Mr Chautala," he said and then started haranguing about the CBI's alleged inability to nail any political heavyweight for amassing disproportionate assets.

There was a posse of TV cameramen who had gathered outside the house looking for an appropriate photo. But the action was inside while television crew and print reporters were all stranded outside the house. The TV crew, however, got something to shoot when a Gypsy with a Delhi number plate screeched to a halt outside the house and from it emerged two persons, including a lady, who had apparently come to evaluate jewellery and ornaments found in the house.

Later, a still photographer climbed upon the wall of the house located next to Mr Chautala's alleged house. But he too could see only up to the verandah of the house and there was no action there. At 4 pm, when the reporters snooping around the place finally left, the CBI team was still inside.



Illegal paid parking at dist courts
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Hundreds of visitors to the district courts are being fleeced by a private contractor who is “illegally” manning the parking outside the court premises in Sector 17 here.
The daily collection from the parking is about Rs 1,000, if one goes by the past record of the municipal corporation. A few years ago, the corporation ran the system of paid parking at the courts but the private contractor has neither been approved by the Chandigarh Administration nor by the corporation.

The contractor does not charge members of the District Bar Association, but litigants and other visitors are asked to pay for parking.

Mr N.K. Nanda, president of the Bar association, said the Bar had engaged the contractor after the contractor shortlisted by the corporation gave up. “Vehicles of lawyers were stolen often and we had to make some arrangement. Though it is the duty of the MC, the arrangement has been working for the past two years,” he said.

The contractor, Amarjit, said he was running the facility on behalf of the Bar association. The daily collection of about Rs 500 was deposited with the Bar.

Mr Subash Chawla, member of the Finance and Contract Committee of the MC said the agenda to allow free parking for all at the district courts was approved at a meeting as some members opposed the paid facility.

A senior official in the MC said an inquiry had been marked into the issue as the MC had not authorised the Bar association to run paid parking. 



Mohali civic poll within three months, govt tells HC
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 4
The Punjab Government today informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court that elections to the Municipal Council (MC), Mohali, would be completed within three months.

Giving this undertaking, the government claimed that the election process had been delayed due to the fact that the delimitation of wards had not been completed.

This information was submitted during hearing of the petition filed by former vice president of the civic body Phool Raj Singh.

In his petition filed through advocate S.C. Pathela, Mr Phool Raj Singh had stated that even though the term of the previous elected body ended on November 23, 2005, no election process had been initiated by the Punjab Government so far. This, he said, was a violation of the Constitution and the Punjab Municipal Act, which clearly made it obligatory for the state government to complete the election process before the term of the elected members ended.

In their case, the petitioner stated, while they were elected on August 20, 2000, the first sitting of the elected members was held on November 23, 2000. Since the five-year term of the members began from the date of first meeting of the civic body, their term ended on November 23, 2005.

He stated that it was the duty of the government to have completed the election process before November 23, 2005, but it failed to do so. The civic body has a total of 27 members, including the MLA, Kharar, who is an ex-officio member.

During hearing, the petitioner’s counsel, Mr Pathela, informed the Bench that even now there was no move the hold elections. Mr Pathela stated that due to the failure of the government to hold timely elections, the township is presently without any elected civic body.

However, today, the government stated that since the delimitation process had been completed and the wards had been notified, the election process would be started soon.

The entire process, the government assured, would be completed within a period of three months from today.

After hearing the counsel, the Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Ranjit Singh disposed of the petition in light of the undertaking given by the government.



Currency exchange agents set up shop outside RBI
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Even as most of the public sector and private banks have ignored guidelines issued by Reserve Bank of India, for simplifying procedure for exchange of mutilated currency, agents for exchanging currency are flourishing right under the nose of RBI.

Barely 20 metres across the main entrance of RBI Regional Office in Sector 17 here, about 10 agents have set shop, offering to exchange soiled currency for a small “commission”. In fact, these agents lure the customers by telling them they would have to wait in serpentine queues at the RBI office, to get the notes exchanged.

Also, with the RBI itself not displaying any banner or sign board to suggest and popularise the exchange of soiled currency within its premises, these agents find it easy to convince customers to get the notes exchanged through them.

While these notes are exchanged by the banks and RBI for free (except when the note is torn in half, when charges, as fixed by RBI are levied), the lower the value of currency, the higher is the commission charged by these agents. For example for a currency note of Rs 1000 or Rs 500 denomination, the agents charge 5 to 10 per cent commission, while a 15- 25 per cent commission is charged on the notes of lower denomination (less than Rs 20 denomination). Inquiries made from these agents also revealed that in case of currency notes being so torn where the number is visible only on one side, the commission charged is 50 per cent.

Despite repeated attempts to meet the Regional Director of RBI, Mr D.P.S. Rathore, at his office, or on telephone, he was unavailable for comments.

It may be noted that in January this year, the RBI had extended the facility to exchange soiled, mutilated or defective currency to all bank branches, including non chest branches, so as to benefit the public. This facility was earlier available only in currency chest branches of the banks. However, till date majority of the 237 bank branches (public and private) have failed to start a separate counter for exchanging currency. The RBI has also said that soiled notes are to be kept separately, and cannot be issued to the public as reissuable notes, but shall be deposited in currency chests for onward transmission to RBI offices as chest remittances. However, these agents often re-issue those notes which are slightly mutilated. Also, no details whatsoever, of the customer, are taken, even if he submits a huge sum for exchange. 



Capt Sumit’s father too dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
A day after Capt Sumit Kohli of 18 Rashtriya Rifles was cremated, his father, Mr Satish Kohli, succumbed to his illness at the Command Hospital, Chandimandir today.
As the family struggled to come to grips with the tragic turn of events, immediate relatives reiterated their demand for a high-level probe to ascertain the circumstances leading to Captain Kohli's death. According to the Army, Sumit had committed suicide at his unit, though this claim has been strongly refuted by the family.

Mr Kohli is survived by his wife Veena, who was inconsolable and had to be supported during the last rites, and daughter-in-law Deepika. The family is left without a male member. His daughter Namrata is married and settled in Solan.

He had suffered a brain haemorrhage when the news of his son's death was conveyed to him on April 30. He had been in a coma since then and has also suffered a paralytic attack. Since he was diabetic, doctors could not operate upon him leading to further complications.

His body was brought to his residence in Sector 40 here from where it was taken to the Sector 25 cremation ground today. His son Puneet, adopted by his elder brother since childhood, performed the last rites and lit the pyre.

He had retired as an establishment officer from Markfed about two years ago and was very fond of photography. A large number of photographers in the city, besides some local political leaders, attended the funeral.



Use of black films: police in no mood to relent
Unnecessary, say skin specialists 
Geetanjali Gayatri and Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

DSP (Traffic), Mr Prem Singh Malik said, as per the direction of the High Court and the Motor Vehicle Act, 50 per cent visibility is required for the side windowpanes, while 70 per cent visibility is required for the front and rear screens.

The DSP added that permission to paste black film on the windowpanes beyond permissible limits couldn’t be granted under any circumstances. As far as certificates issued by manufacturers regarding the “opaqueness” of the film are concerned, he said the police was not legally bound to take the same at face value. “We use lux meter to measure the transparency of the film and act accordingly,” he said.

Chandigarh, May 4
Come summer the police and dermatologists are “under fire” from the high and mighty, the influential and not so influential, for permission to use a black film on their vehicles.

Amidst piling requests and ringing phones, it seems applicants are making little headway since neither the police not the dermatologists are convinced about the necessity for permission.

While doctors dismiss the need for a black film to keep allergies at bay as is often quoted by applicants seeking permission on medical grounds, the police, too, believe that the permission is only a “cover up” for concealing misdeeds and has little to do with the security of the applicant.

“We are following the High Court direction to the letter and no special permissions are being given for use of black films beyond permissible limits. The department has also revoked permissions, which have been granted in the past. We believe that there is no need for a black film on grounds of security for an individual,” says Mr Dinesh Bhatt, Senior Superintendent of UT Police (Traffic and Operations).

Doctors, too, vouch for the fact that there is no allergy that can be prevented by use of black films. Explains Dr Swami Das Mehta, Skin Specialist, Community Heath Centre-22,”Wearing full sleeved cotton clothes is the best guard against the sun’s heat. People, allergic to heat and the sun, can develop itchy red lesions on the exposed areas of the skin. Dry skin is particularly prone to rash when temperatures rise. The itchy lesions can develop if the skin is exposed to any kind of heat, it can be from computers, bright lights or even during cooking.”

Maintaining that keeping the skin covered, wearing a hat or a cap when going out more than suffices for protecting it from the sun’s rays, Dr Mehta adds that using a sunscreen and keeping the skin moist at all times also helps in keeping allergies at bay.

Dermatologists emphasise that while going into the sun with a black umbrella, not the coloured one, is the best bet against the heat as well as driving two-wheelers wearing helmets with black visors is an effective guard against the scorching heat.

“Prickly heat, sun burns, pigmentation problems, worsening of freckles and rash can all be checked with some of these simple methods. Though black films do protect patients with extreme allergies, most people can do with applying sunscreens and following simple tips of covering themselves adequately before leaving. Applying a sunscreen half-an-hour before going out into the sun and reapplying it every four hours provides tremendous relief,” adds Dr Mallika Sachdeva, a private practitioner.

So, doctors and policemen are of the unanimous opinion that most aspirants seeking permission for a black film can chill this summer, adopt the easier way out instead of doing the rounds in the hope of extracting a favourable response.



Strike at MC over phone call
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
High drama took place at the municipal corporation MC when employees of the MC went on strike this morning, alleging misbehaviour by an official towards a peon.
The incident occurred when Sushma, a peon, confronted Mr B.M. Malik, Assistant Controller, Tax, for not having informed her of a telephone call made by her son yesterday. Sushma alleged that Mr Malik told her that he would not be running after peon with messages.

She said her son met with an accident yesterday and had called her on the office telephone number. Mr Malik who received the call, however, did not inform her. It was when she went home that she learnt of the incident. Upset, she confronted Mr Malik in the morning today.

Agitated over the remark Sushma along with the rest of the employees went on a strike, blocking the entrances to the MCC. They demanded Mr Malik’s immediate ouster. They were, however, removed from there. They later went to the parking area. The strike was called off at lunch time after a delegation met the Commissioner, Mr P.S. Aujla, who assured them that appropriate action would be taken.

Interestingly, the employees’ demand shifted from Mr Malik’s ouster to the removal of all contractual employees. They demanded that the MCC should stop re-employing people who had already retired on contract. 



Mayor seeks scheme for city oustees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Mr Surinder Singh, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, has written to the UT Administration demanding a fresh comprehensive scheme for the oustees of Chandigarh whose land was acquired for the development of the City Beautiful by providing them residential plots and commercial sites to earn their livelihood and to some extent compensate them for the loss they have suffered during these years.

In a letter on Tuesday to Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to the Administrator, UT, Chandigarh, the Mayor said the fertile agricultural land of Chandigarh villages had been acquired for the development purposes of the city.

These landowners had been rendered out of their basic agricultural profession at a very meager compensation of Rs 150 per bigha in 1954 and Rs 1,65,400 per acre in 1990 for prime locations like Mani Majra.

He mentioned that after the inception of the Union Territory of Chandigarh on November 1, 1966, a scheme for the oustees of Phase-II sectors of Chandigarh, i.e. southern sectors, was framed in 1972 but a few persons could avail of the benefit of it, as the same was not applicable to the oustees of northern/eastern parts of Chandigarh and the amount of compensation was too less.

Another scheme, named as allotment of dwelling units to the oustees of Chandigarh scheme-1996, of the Chandigarh Housing Board also failed to provide any benefit to the oustees because it was a scheme of small flats with same allotment price as for general category with only a few number of flats reserved for the oustees.

In many cases, the landowners have not been given compensation even equal to the 1 per cent of the amount the government received out of its sale proceeds and the landowners of Chandigarh had ever suffered and remained victims of the compulsory acquisition and other laws like Periphery Control Act, 1952, etc.



Panel questions Food Secy on wheat import
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The Standing Committee on Agriculture of Parliament has questioned the Union Food Secretary on the import of wheat and denial of bonus to farmers who sold wheat to private traders.

Informed source said today that at its two-day meeting, which concluded last evening, the committee posed some searching questions regarding the wheat crisis to the Food Secretary, who attended the meeting along with a team of senior officers of his department.

The committee asked him about the export of wheat in the past years at a perceptibly cheap rate. Sources said that certain members of the committee were of the view that interest of farmers of the Punjab, Haryana, certain parts of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh had been harmed because of the poor handling of wheat issue at the officer-level in the Centre.

The issue of paying bonus to farmers, who sold wheat to private traders, also came up at the meeting. Members told the Food Ministry to protect the interest of farmers as it would encourage them to grow more wheat next year.



Protest by Haryana Roadways staff
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, May 4
Members of the Haryana Roadways Workers Union today protested against the “anti-worker policies of the Haryana Government, including the introduction of the Volvo bus service from Chandigarh to Hisar.

Speaking on the occasion, various speakers came down heavily on the Haryana Government for its “anti-worker” policies, which they alleged were aimed to benefit the private operators. They also condemned the police high-handedness on the protesting workers at Hisar recently.

Ambala: Haryana Roadways employees today burnt the effigy of Haryana Transport Minister Randeep Surjewala to oppose privatisation.

The employees of Haryana Roadways sat on a dharna in the morning at the Roadways workshop located at Ambala city. They did not allow vehicles inside the workshop to leave the premises.

Thereafter, they marched to Aggarsain Chowk and burnt the effigy of Mr Surjewala. Traffic on the Ambala-Hisar road was affected for a couple of minutes.

Slogans were raised against the government. The employees criticised the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government and condemned the reported lathi charge on employees at Hisar.

They demanded that the Haryana Government must not pursue the policy of privatisation. They said they opposed the introduction of Volvo buses on the Chandigarh-Hisar route. They stated that it seemed the Haryana Government was pursuing anti-worker policy.



Industrial area marriage palaces
lack fire-fighting equipment

Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, May 4 
The Fire Brigade has found serious shortcomings in the fire fighting arrangements at industrial units converted into marriage palaces, sales outlets for clothing material and a club here. The Fire Brigade, after a survey of at least 10 establishments over the past one week, has discovered that not a single unit is fully equipped to tackle a major blaze, endangering the lives of hundreds of people who regularly avail the facilities there.

According to sources, the Fire Brigade today issued notices to the offending managements and directing them to remove the drawbacks at the earliest.

The sources said not even a single establishment had the provision of fixed fire fighting installations which were mandatory under Part IV of the National Building Code, 1983. Moreover, none of the units had the facility of a fire alarm which again was very important to warn of the danger. Though some fire extinguishers were available on the premises but these were inadequate.

Among the establishments which had failed to provide proper fire fighting arrangements were Shehnai Tent and Fabricators, Jyotjee Marriage Palace, Grand Sangam, Celebrations Marriage Palace, Dara Studio, Bawa White House, Mehak Banquet Hall, Swaran Lodge and the Mohali Club.

The Fire Brigade has issued notices to the management of offending establishments. It asked them to do the needful on a priority basis and to inform the authorities concerned after making the required fire fighting arrangements.

It has also directed them to employ trained staff which would be able to handle different fire fighting gadgets. The training could also be given by officials of it on request.

The sources said Amartex and Gawritex, the two outlets set up in industrial units for selling clothing material and other items, also did not have the required fire fighting arrangements. At Amartex, it was found that it had only one exit point even when the establishment was dealing in combustible material. In case a major fire broke out at this site it would become very difficult for those inside the building to move out. Even the showroom running on the first floor of the accommodation only had a single stair case which would prove to be inadequate in times of emergency. The case of Gawritex is no better.

The Fire Brigade has issued notices to both establishments and asked them to remove the shortcomings in the fire fighting arrangements immediately.

Mr Amarjit Singh Sekhon, Executive Officer of the Municipal Council, had directed officials of the Fire Brigade some days ago to carry out an inspection of the marriage palaces and other units to find out whether these had the proper fire fighting arrangements. The orders were given to avoid a Meerut like tragedy in the town. 



No funds crunch for spinal centre: minister
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 4
The Spinal Injury Centre (SIC) will never face shortage of funds and will be fully equipped to provide every type of treatment to patients suffering from spinal injuries.

This was stated by Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, Minister for Social Security and Development of Women and Children, after inaugurating the physiotheraphy unit at the SIC here today.

She said earlier there was a plan to develop the SIC as a rehabilitation unit but then a decision was taken to make it into a full-fledged functional hospital for spinal injuries. She said her department had a dedicated security fund out of which the required amount would be given to make the hospital functional. The hospital, which would be the second biggest in the country, would cater to patients from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh, she added.

Earlier, Mr R.L. Kalsia, Secretary, Social Welfare, said there was a need of Rs 5 crore as revolving fund to make the hospital functional. Besides, Rs 3 crore was needed to complete the building. He said the centre had been set up under the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

Dr Raj Bhadur, Project Director, said the hospital would have eight bedded facility in the beginning. However, it would be upgraded to 30 bedded hospital.

The construction of the hospital had started some years ago but could not be completed due to shortage of funds. Though funds were released from time to time but were inadequate to get the project completed.



Marriage venue filth: MC still to wake up
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
Even though the failure of the municipal corporation to get marriage venues cleaned up after the conclusion of ceremonies was brought to the fore in these columns, the problem continues in most parts of the city.

In a classic example of inaction on part of the MC authorities, Sector 23 residents had to call up the persons concerned repeatedly to get the area around a community centre cleaned.

A doctor living in the vicinity claims that the marriage took place on Monday. Though the organisers left the next day with tents, furniture and other goods, they left behind a lot of filth.

A senior MC officer says that the problem springs from the fact that the organisers do not keep their part of the promise to clean up the area later.

“As there are so many weddings taking place simultaneously, it becomes impossible for us to keep a track. We do not have enough staff to go from one venue to another looking for defaulters and garbage,” he said.

Referring to the recent case, he said a team of the MC staff was sent to the spot soon after the matter was brought to the notice of the authorities. “We acted as soon as we received the information,” he claimed.

The officer agreed that the imposition of heavy fine could go a long way in solving the problem.



Chivalry lands man in trouble
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 4
Drunken chivalry landed a man in trouble. The incident took place outside a liquor shop in Sector 20 on Wednesday night, when a drunkard was thrashed by the husband and a friend of a women constable of the Chandigarh police for poking his nose in their “personel affair”.

The drama went on for about half-an-hour until the police came and took all of them in custody.

It all began when the woman constable went to the liquor shop and asked the security guard to call her husband, Sandeep. He was having drinks with his friend Surinder. Angered over his wife’s act, Sandeep came out and started abusing his wife. Later their heated argument turned violent and he allegedly thrashed his wife. Seeing this, Daljinder Singh who was also coming out of the liquor shop intervened. This enraged Sandeep, his wife and his friend Surinder, who thrashed the man for intervening in their private affair.

It did not end there, soon other people gathered and they created a ruckus at the spot following which the police was called. The police medically examined the drunk men and released them on bail in the morning.



FEMA ‘should govern’ NGOs getting foreign aid 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
There is no need to have a separate legislation to bring NGOs receiving contribution in foreign exchange under the ambit of the Foreign Contribution (Management and Control) Bill 2005.

This was stated by Mr Bibek Debroy, secretary-general of the PHDCCI. He said all NGOs receiving contribution in foreign exchange should come under the existing Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999, by having necessary amendments in the same.

The government is planning to bring out a national policy on voluntary sector. Till the policy comes out, the proposed Bill should be kept in abeyance as this may come in conflict with the same.

In a representation submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Planning Commission, he stated that the Chamber had reiterated that the core object of the Bill was to prohibit anti-national activities and the same had not been defined at all. Further, the funding of anti-national activities was not routed through banking channels, but through the hawala route. How the proposed Act will serve the purpose is a big question mark, he added. The existing legal framework is good enough to take care of anti-national activities, if it is implemented properly, he further said.

Mr Debroy said approximately Rs 5,000 crores plus is received by NGOs in foreign contribution and the existing FEMA could monitor the same. The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976, under which NGOs are presently covered, was never designed for non-profit organisations. Its implementation has created various problems for NGOs, he added. 



New US visa application system
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The US Embassy has announced a new system for immigration visa applicants. The system will allow applicants to submit the documents at three VFS locations in Jalandhar, Chandigarh and New Delhi prior to the date of visa interview.

The applicants must appear at the Embassy only on the day of the interview. All applicants scheduled for interview on or after May 1, should submit their completed documents at the VFS office. The documents should be submitted at least 10 days prior to the scheduled interview. In Chandigarh the applications can be submitted at the VFS centre in Sector 8. 



ICRA to set up financial services centre in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The UT Department of Information Technology today appointed ICRA Management Consulting Services, New Delhi, as the consultant for setting up a financial services centre in the city with an aim of making it a major financial destination in the country.

The ICRA will carry out the study within 12 to 14 weeks. The scope of work will include compilation of the existing database of the financial market in the city, identifying competitive advantages as compared to other centres, revenue potential, development potential, and identifying the way to fuel the growth of the City and the region. 



ADGP’s car rams into parked vehicles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The official vehicle of an Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Punjab, tonight rammed into five parked vehicles in the Sector 17 (opposite Empire Store) paid parking.

While the ADGP, whose identity could not be known, was reportedly not in the car when the incident took place, a Punjab police personnel was with the driver at the time.

Eye-witnesses said the driver of the car lost control over it, resulting in it ramming stationary vehicles around 9 pm.

Owners of some of the cars and the parking attendants caught hold of the driver of the car and informed the police.

While the police is tight-lipped over the incident, sources said no case had been registered till the filing of the report. Efforts were on to make the parties reach a compromise.



8 structures razed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The enforcement staff of the Land Acquisition Office (LAO) today demolished the structure of a school in pocket no.8, Sidharth Public School, Mani Majra. The structure was in violation of the Periphery Act.

A total of eight structures, including the school building, were demolished. Before the drive, the enforcement staff evacuated students from the school. The demolition squad swung in to action after the High Court vacated its stay on the demolition of structure.



Mahajan’s death mourned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 4
The local unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today condoled the demise of senior BJP leader Pramod Mahajan. A meeting of prominent activists of the VHP was held in which tributes were paid to him.
While paying tributes to Mahajan, Col Dharam Vir, president of the local unit of VHP, said Mahajan’s commitment towards Hindutva would be remembered always.



No breakthrough in Mohali murder case
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 4
Even though the police has rounded up several persons for questioning, it has failed to make a breakthrough in the case of the murder of an elderly couple in Phase IV here yesterday.

Raghbir Sharan and his wife, Shakuntala Devi, were brutally done to death in broad daylight in the afternoon in a house located on a busy B road in the area.

It is learnt that the police had got hold of a notebook from the house of the deceased couple in which the names of persons who had borrowed money from Raghbir Sharan had been mentioned. The police had rounded up some of them for questioning, but it has failed to get any major clue to the crime. Raghbir Sharan was engaged in money lending.

Senior police officials visited the town today in connection with the crime. They were Mr S.K. Sharma, IG, Patiala Zone, and Mr H.S.Randhawa, DIG, Patiala Range.

Mr Naunihal Singh, SSP, said the police had so far not been able to get any clue to the murders. When asked how many persons could have been involved in the crime, the SSP said that nothing definite could be said at the moment.

Mr Ram Kumar Gupta, a son of the deceased who works as a reporter with Ajit Samachar, however, suspected the murders to be the handiwork of a gang. He said a rickshaw puller, who used to regularly take his father to various places, knew everything about the family. Moreover, the man had not come to work since April 20. He might have got some persons with him from UP or Bihar to commit the crime.

The bodies of the couple were cremated today after a postmortem examination. It is learnt that both deceased had sustained deep stab wounds in the neck. The wounds were nearly two inches deep.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, while mourning the death of the parents of Mr Gupta, said the incident was unfortunate. He said all efforts would be made by the police and the district administration to trace the killers.



Man carrying opium arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 4
The Operational Cell of the Chandigarh police nabbed a Panchkula resident for carrying 225 grams of opium. Two unidentified youngsters stanched a purse from a woman from the busy Sector 22 and 23 traffic Lights point. Elsewhere, a motor cycle was stolen from the city.

Giving details of the seizure of opium, sources in the Operation Cell said, Hukam Rai of Sector 11, Panchkula, was arrested at a naka set up near the Housing Board Traffic Light Point on Wednesday night. He was coming in a car and the police party stopped him. The search of they vehicle led to the recovery of 225 grams of opium.

Purse snatched: Ms Rachna Malik of Sector 36 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that two unidentified scooterists snatched her purse from near the Sector 22 and 23 Traffic Lights Point on Wednesday. The purse was containing Rs 1500 and some documents. A case has been registered.

Motor cycle stolen: Mr Ramesh Kumar of Sector 19 reported to the police that his Hero Honda motor cycle (CH-03-E-4107) was stolen from the parking lot of Haryana Civil Secretariat between 9 am and 12:30 pm on Wednesday. A case of theft has been registered at the Sector 3 police station.

Duped: A Sector 15 resident was duped of Rs 25,000 after an unidentified man made purchases on her lost debit card by forging her signatures. The local police claims to have traced the man in Punjab. Ms Jasneet Kaur of Sector 15, who is working with a city-based private bank in her complaint to the police, said she had lost her debit card some days ago. Later when she checked her bank account she found out that someone was using her debit card by forging her signatures.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |