C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Elevated highway planned between city, Panchkula
Project to cost Rs 173 crore
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The Chandigarh Administration has drafted a Rs 173-crore project for an elevated highway starting from Transport Chowk to the Housing Board chowk.

The elevated structure will connect Transport Chowk adjoining the Grain Market with the entry point to Sector 7, Panchkula. The project gains importance in the context of frequent traffic jams between Chandigarh and Panchkula.

Interestingly, the road will come up as a new elevated highway over the existing road. The four-lane road will have a dual carriage way. The road feasibility has been studied and a presentation about the traffic movement has been made with the Ministry of Transport.

Mr S.K. Sandhu, Finance Secretary and Secretary, Engineering Department, confirmed the developments about the elevated highway for a smoother movement of the traffic on the 3.3-km stretch of the Madhya Marg starting from Transport Chowk.

The Engineering Department has taken into account the heavy traffic flow on the road while drafting the plan.

The entire road stretch of the proposed structure will have no traffic lights and no turns that will ensure a smooth flow of the traffic, especially for the heavy-duty vehicles.

The Administration has sent the proposal to the Ministry of Urban Development under the Nehru Urban Renewal Mission.

“We were concerned about the funds for the project because the expenditure is too high to be adjusted in any head of the UT budget. The project was in accordance with the draft plan of the renewal mission, so we have submitted the plan there,” a senior officer said.

Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, Chief Engineer, said officials of the renewal mission had asked for certain clarifications on the project.

“The project has received a positive feedback,” he added.

A senior official said this particular road stretch was the main connecting point between the city and Panchkula.

“Unlike Mohali where the city traffic can enter from more than half a dozen different points, Panchkula has only one major entry point from the city. The roads are choked with traffic, particularly during the office hours.”

He said one of the possible ways for traffic regulation under study was to make traffic one way. The lower road could carry the traffic towards Panchkula and the elevated road could run the other way and vice versa.



Undertrial escapes from Sector 16 hospital
Five cops booked for negligence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Taking advantage of the lackadaisical attitude of a police official an under trial in a murder case managed to escape from the Sector 16 General Hospital. The undertrial had been admitted to the hospital after suffering epileptic fits. The undertrial locked the police officer accompanying him in the prisoner’s room before making good his escape. All five police officers, who were on duty, have been booked for negligence of duty.

The police said the undertrial, Sunil Kumar who belonged to Sitamari village in Bihar had been booked in a case of murder in 2001. It was alleged that he had bludgeoned to death a labourer near the Sector 17, Football Stadium following an old feud. He had been lodged in Burail Jail and was shifted to the Sector 16 General Hospital he complained of fits.

According to an eyewitness, Ms Sunita, the incident took place at around 11.45 pm. She saw the undertrial come out of the prisoner’s room on the fourth floor of the hospital and locking the room after him. ‘‘I got suspicious as I have always seen him accompanied by cops. When he locked the room after him my suspicion was confirmed and I raised an alarm’’.

Ms Sunita further told that when she opened the door and informed the police officer about what had happened, he rushed out to chase the undertrial and also informed his colleagues. Soon the police swung into action, but by that time the accused had managed to escape.

The SHO of the Sector 17 Police Station, Mr Jagbir Singh, said Sunil was not handcuffed in the room and Constable Rattan Lal was escorting him. When asked about the other four police officers, he said they had told that they had gone out to take dinner.

Meanwhile, taking cognizance of the incident, a case of negligence of duty has been registered against Rattan Lal, Ravinder Singh, Tejinder Singh, Amrik Singh and Nirmal Singh.

Rattan Lal fell asleep and taking advantage of the opportunity, Sunil ran away. The role of other police officers would also be verified to ascertain negligence on their part and action would be initiated against them on the basis of inquiry report, said a police officer.

The SHO said the photographs along with the description of Sunil Kumar have been flashed and raids are being conducted at his likely hideouts. A police team has been dispatched to the native village of the undertrial. 



Delhi Police probes role of local manpower firm
Fake visa racket
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The suspected fake visa racket busted by the immigration officials at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on June 11 appears to have its roots in the city.

The role of a Sector 42-based manpower consultant, BS Enterprises, has come under scanner in the suspected racket. For the past two days, sleuths of the Delhi Police are raiding places of main agents and sub-agents in the region.

On verifying the authenticity of a stamp of ECNR (emigration check not required) with the Regional Passport Office in Sector 34, the Delhi Police found that the stamp was forged. The passport bore the signatures of Mr K.K. Verma, a Superintendent in the Passport Office. Interestingly, Mr Verma had been transferred to the Jalandhar Passport Office about a year ago. The name and signature of the present officer in the local passport office, who is authorised to put the stamp of ECNR, with the immigration officials, had made Delhi Police sleuths suspicious.

While tracking the main agent and sub-agents behind the suspected racket, the police also went to the Industrial Area, Phase 1 office (plot No. D-33) of the manpower consultant in Mohali and was learnt to have directed its proprietor to appear before the investigating officers. Repeated attempts to contact the proprietor of BS Enterprises, Mr Bhupinder Singh, failed. A woman attending the phone calls said he was away to Mumbai.

Mr Mukesh of Sandal Travels at Sector 34, which booked tickets of about 40 youths on behalf of BS Enterprises, washed his hands stating that he had booked the tickets following the request letter forwarded by the manpower consultant. “We need not to see the passport of the candidates when return tickets were to be booked”, said Mr Mukesh.

On the contrary, sources in the air ticketing business revealed that as per the guidelines of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) it was mandatory for a ticketing agency to go through the passport and see the stamp of ECNR. Violation of the guidelines could also lead to the cancellation of the permission of a ticketing agency.

He admitted that Delhi cops had called upon him and had gone to the Mohali office of the manpower consultant. Asked about the addresses of the candidates, he said he did not have the addresses.

The Delhi Police is trying to ascertain the source of the fake stamps. The agents charged hefty sum of money from the unsuspecting candidates who were arrested at the Indira Gandhi Airport.

It may be mentioned that the name of BS Enterprises had figured in connection with a drivers recruitment scam operated by a Delhi-based recruiting agent for the banned Kuwaiti Transport company, KGL Ltd. The Delhi-based agent, Shambros Human Resource Consultants, Karol Bagh, New Delhi, had forged the demand letter of a Dubai-based company, Drake and Scull International. A forged demand letter and Power of Attorney of Drake and Scull International were submitted to the Protector of Emigrants (POI) for clearance.



Eco Notes
Malba ‘chokes’ green patch
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH: A green patch in front of the gurdwara in Sector 47-A is slowly turning into a dump. It is dying a slow death, maybe due to sheer ignorance about its importance in supporting flora and fauna.

Every day tonnes of “malba” is being dumped at the patch. Administration officials say they are filling up the low-lying areas, which are otherwise of no use.

The large area which was earlier covered with vegetation has now shrunk to just a small patch of greenery and it seems the day is not far when the malba would gobble up the greenery in the area.

Similarly, the Administration has identified various low-lying areas, especially in Sectors 29, 31 and 47, where tonnes of construction material is dumped haphazardly every day.

Scientists of the Central Soil and Water Conservation Research Institute say these low-lying areas were once channels of various seasonal rivulets that crisscrossed the city. After the city was developed some of these dried-up channels were converted into flower-rich patches.

The vanishing green cover has caused a lot of worry to the environmentalists. The reason is obvious. They say the short-term planning of the Administration is robbing the City Beautiful of its unique identity — the green cover. They say large-scale conversion of green patches into concrete jungle has already made a dent on the rich flora of the city.

These low-lying areas are unique as they not only support flora and fauna but also help quench the thirst of the aquifers, besides controlling flooding in sectors.

Prof R.K. Kohli of the Department of Botany, Panjab University, says once the depressions are filled up with debris the Administration should take steps to revive greenery so that city’s ‘lungs’ could be restored. He believes these days vegetation is required more in cities than in forests.

Mr S.K Sharma, president of the Environment Society of India, says the Administration has to popularise the water conservation movement. The excessive pumping of groundwater results in the depletion of water table. The novel way of recharging the aquifers is to develop these low-lying areas into ponds, he adds.



Alcoholics Anonymous members to meet at Patni Top
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Recovery from alcoholism, once thought impossible, is now routine — with this message as many as 500 members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) from all over the country, even abroad, are converging at Patni Top in Jammu and Kashmir for a four-day convention beginning from June 15.

Third in the series, the convention is expected to be inagurated by the state Chief Minister Gulam Nabi Azad. AA members insist that the gathering is more or less an extension of meetings held regularly for carrying the message of recovery to people still suffering from the malady. The conference will be interspersed with “enjoyable activities” for the families and the friends of the members.

Talking to The Tribune, the members add that AA programme relies on sharing experiences, strengths and hope with each other for solving their common problem, and subsequently help others in recovering from alcoholism. The recovery process itself is highly individual and is adapted by each member to meet his or her own need.

There are no dues or fees for membership and the organisation is self-supporting through its own contributions. The only requirement for joining the organisation is a desire to stop drinking. The primary purpose is to stay sober, besides helping other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Regarding the problem of drinking, an AA member associated with the organisation for past 10 years asserts that alcoholics suffer from a physical allergy which condemns them to go on drinking, irrespective of their depravity and degradation as human beings. The obsession is so "subtly powerful" that without help most alcoholics die prematurely.

The member adds that the disease, like diabetes, can only be arrested, but never cured. The organisation’s 12-step recovery programme is a tried and successful way of arresting the malady. In fact, many AA members today lead productive lives without the compulsion or craving for alcohol, with the help of the programme.

In this part of the region, alcoholics come to the organisation after being referred to by the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh, besides other government hospitals, psychiatrists and even round-the-clock helpline (094170-37358).

Besides Panchkula, Mohali and Chandigarh, the meetings are held at Nangal, Amritsar, Batala, Jalandhar, Jammu, Ambala and Karnal.

The member says anyone can know whether he is an alcoholic by answering 20 simple questions, including simple ones like: is drinking making home life unhappy, do you lose time from work due to drinking, is drinking affecting your reputation, do you turn to lower companions or inferior environment when drinking, do you drink to build up your self confidence, and do you crave a drink daily? 



Star donors felicitated on eve of Blood Donors Day
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Every time a person goes to donate blood, he pledges a part of himself to someone else. Viewed from the prism of humanity therefore, blood donation is a supreme form of offering — one that gratifies both the donor and the recipient, and brings rewards to both. This day just showed how…

As scores of donors assembled on the lawns of Rotary and Blood Bank Society Resource Centre in Sector 37, it was difficult to determine whose contribution was superior.

In the gathering were tall people— some like Manmohan Sarin, who has donated blood as many as 89 times; some like Bhupinder Singh Thind who has defied the rules of age to continue donating blood against odds; and some like Veena Kapoor, who have set high standards for those in her league.

In fact, all 80 individuals who were honoured at Blood Centre-37 on the eve of World Blood Donors Day (June 14) have a shared history of passion for the human life and for all that makes it worthwhile. For the only couple among the awardees — Manmohan and Niti Sarin — blood donation has been a way of life for as long as the two can remember. Together they have grown into worthy contributors to a movement that nourishes the very veins of nations.

While Niti Sarin inherited the streak from her mother Kanta Krishen, the grand old face of blood donation movement in the region, Manmohan Sarin developed an addiction for blood donation. And he did not stop until he had made blood donation a family practice. Today, no celebration in the Sarin household is complete till the time blood is donated. ‘‘It is our religion, our way of thanksgiving and our way of feeling healthy,’’ says Sarin, whose wife Niti has donated blood 44 times.

Equally passionate about blood donation is Bhupinder Thind, who first donated blood for his ailing wife. ‘‘Until 1990 I had donated blood 14 times. It was post 1990 that I pledged to cross the 100 time mark. Since that year, I have been donating four times a year —the maximum possible. I have reached 80,’’ says Thind, whose passion was obstructed once when the PGI disallowed him from donating blood saying he had crossed the permissible age limit of 60.

Determined to keep on donating blood, Thind reasoned with the authorities that he could donate blood till 65 years of age— as mentioned in the literature for the promotion of voluntary blood donation. When the latter didn’t oblige, he became a donor at Blood Centre-37. Today he walked out its campus as one of the rewarded star donors.

Like Sarin and Thind, every blood donor of Blood Centre-37 had an interesting story to tell, as did heads of institutions that were rewarded for hosting blood camps and mobilizing over 100 donors per camp. Another category was that of star institutions which mobilised over 150 donors per camp or organised two camps in a year. Among institutions that wrested honours were St John’s Old Boys Association, Dev Samaj College, Sector 36, CRPF Camp, Hallomajra, Kamla Dials, Chitkara, among 31 others.

The honours were done by Ms Asha Hooda, wife of Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda whose informal address was as heartwarming as that of Dr BNS Walia, Vice President of Blood Centre -37.



Albums on Guru Arjan Dev released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The Guru Nanak Data Baksh Lai Mission, Chandigarh, has released two video albums to mark the 400th martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev, fifth Sikh Guru.

The albums titled “Bhane jevad hor data nahi” and “Satgur mera sarab pritpalai, satgur mera maar jeevlai” will be telecast on NRI channel on June 15 and 16 from 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. The viewers in the UK can watch the telecast on June 18 and 25 from 8 a.m. to 8.30 a.m. on ETC Punjabi channel.

The albums are also available on the Internet on the mission’s website www.sikhvideos.org. 



Tribune staffer bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Mrs Sarla Behl, mother of Mr Ashwani Behl, Executive in the Advertisement Department of The Tribune Group of Newspapers, died at Bartana, near here, yesterday. She was 75. Her other son, Mr Arun Behl, is also a Tribune employee.

Her kirya will be held at Tribune Model Gram, Bartana, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on June 24.



“Torture” of youth: SI sent to Police Lines

Chandigarh, June 13
Following findings of a preliminary fact-finding inquiry into the alleged torture of a youth said to be involved in a Sector 28 quarrel case in April this year, the UT Senior Superintendent of Police sent Sub-Inspector Jaspal Singh to Police Lines.

Sources in the police said the SSP had entrusted a fact-finding inquiry to DSP P.K. Dhawan after Vinod Kumar alleged that he was detained and tortured by SI Jaspal Singh in a case in April this year. Vinod in a complaint to the SSP alleged that he was tortured in police custody after which he was sent to the Burail Jail. Two days later his mother got his bail and he was taken to the Sector 16 General Hospital, as he was unable to stand due to the alleged torture. TNS



Dharna in protest against oil price hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
Hundreds of activists of the local units of the CPI, CPM, AITUC and CITU held a protest dharna against the Central government for hiking prices of petrol and diesel at Matka Chowk here today.

The protesters also blocked traffic near the ISBT for some time. The rally was addressed by Devi Dayal Sharma, secretary of the CPI, Mohammad Shahnaz, secretary of the CPM, H.S.Gambhir, president of the AITUC, R.S.Sandhu, president of the Trade Union Council, Mohinder Sambhar, general secretary of the Punjab Istri Sabha, Manjit Singh Tewana, transport workers leader, A.S.Sahni, CITU and Rajinder Kaur Virdi, All India Democratic Women Organisation. The leaders expressed their apprehension of a hike in the prices of essential commodities. They threatened a mass agitation shortly if the hike was not withdrawn.



Girl electrocuted

Chandigarh, June 13
A seven-year-old girl was electrocuted today in Mauli Jagran. She had gone to relieve herself when she touched a live wire after a tree fell on a power line.

The police said, the victim was identified as Anmol of Bhuddenpur village in Panchkula. TNS



Youth held for snatching purse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The local police last night arrested a youth who had snatched a purse from a woman in Sector 23 here on Sunday. The police reportedly traced the accused with the help of the tower location of the victim’s mobile phone, which the accused was using.

Giving details of the arrest, sources in Sector 17 police station said the accused, 19-year-old Rahul, alias Manu of Kalka, was arrested from near the Sector 16 cricket stadium on last night. The police has registered a case of snatching on a complaint by Ms Seema Tehran of New Delhi. The complainant alleged that a youngster riding on a motor cycle snatched her purse from near Nehru Park in Sector 23 on Sunday evening. The purse contained Rs 6,000, a mobile phone, an ATM card, a mangal sutra and some documents.

The police said after learning that the accused had been using victim’s mobile phone they got the details of the phone calls and the tower location from the telecom company. Meanwhile, the accused called up a dealer from the victim’s mobile phone for a recharge of his own connection. Following this, the police contacted the dealer after tracing his address. This helped police identify the accused.

A raid was conducted on Rahul’s village, but the police could not find him there. The police gathered information about the accused from his family and the Estate Office citing registration number of his motor cycle.

Last night, a police party spotted the accused near the Sector 16 cricket stadium riding on his motor cycle (HR-49-A-5770). He was arrested there, said a police officer. 



Woman held with smack
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 13
The local police arrested a woman near Sukhna bridge carrying 4.5 gm of smack. In another incident, a Ram Darbar resident was held on the allegations of indulging in gambling. Also, a motor cycle and a scooter were stolen from the city.

Sources in the Sector 26 police station said Nimmo alias Beena of Madrassi Colony, Sector 26, was arrested for allegedly carrying 4.5 gm of smack on Monday. A case under Section 21 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act was registered.


The local police arrested Lajpat of Phase I, Ram Darbar from in front of his residence on the allegations of indulging in gambling at public place on Monday. The police recovered Rs 1070 from his possession and registered a case under the Gambling act in this connection.

Vehicle stolen

Jaibir Singh of Sector 66, Mohali, reported that his TVS Victor motor cycle (UP-14-R-9925) was stolen from Sector 34 on June 10. In another incident, Naresh Kumar Verma of Sector 7-B alleged that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH-01-S-6970) was stolen from his residence on Monday.

Two separates cases of thefts were registered in the various police stations in the city. 



Two killed in mishaps
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 13
Two persons, including a girl, died in separate accidents in the district in last 24 hours.

An eight-year-old daughter of a migrant labourer was electrocuted in Abheypur village, while a 17-year-old boy of Billa village was crushed to death under a tractor-trailer late last night.

According to Mr Tota Ram, father of Anmol, the incident occurred late last nigh when his daughter was going to answer the call of nature. Anmol’s feet were entangled in a naked electricity wire resulting in her death.

Hailing from Badayun district in Uttar Pradesh, Mr Tota Ram was in Panchkula along with his wife Sanju and daughter Anmol to see his ailing father-in-law.

The body was handed over to the family after a post-mortem examination at General Hospital, Sector 6, this evening.

In another accident, Sahil, (17), a resident of Billa village, was crushed to death under the wheels of a tractor-trailer on which he was travelling. Sahil was travelling from Aaserewali towards Billa on the vehicle when the accident occurred on the Panchkula-Naraingarh road last night.

Sahil was tossed off the seat when the vehicle moved on a bumpy road. He died on the spot. The body was handed over to the family this afternoon.

The district police has initiated inquest proceeding in both cases.



BEL bags awards for excellence
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 13
The Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has bagged the coveted Raksha Mantri’s Awards for excellence in three categories.

Mr KB Sharma, Manager Marketing and Public Relations, in a press note claimed that the Military Communication and Electronic Welfare Strategic Business Unit had won the best Performing Award. The Chennai-based unit of BEL was given award for the Advance Land Navigation System (ALNS) for armoured fighting vehicles and The Central Research Laboratory at Bangalore, won the award for designing and developing the Citizen Card Verification System.

The Ministery of Defence had instituted the Raksha Mantri’s Excellence Award for the Defence PSUs and Ordnance Factories Board for the second time. Mr MS Sreedhara, GM (MC and EW), of BEL, received the awards from Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, at a formal function at New Delhi.



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