C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Special drive in Colony Nos. 4, 5
Bid to control water-borne diseases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The Municipal Corporation today sealed the handpump found to be supplying contaminated water, unfit for drinking and probably responsible for the cholera case detected in Burail. The water sample from the handpump had failed the purity test at the Department of Microbiology, General Hospital, Sector 16.

The Health Department launched a special drive in Labour Colony No 4 and 5 today by deploying six teams in each area for carrying out prevention and control of water-borne diseases.

The teams from the Directorate of Health conducted a special survey and collected water samples for checking the chlorine content at strategic places. As many as 20 samples were collected for verification of chlorine in the water supply.

‘‘Today too we got three patients suffering from gastroenteritis but they are no cause of concern as they have come in from different locations in the city.

Also, our teams have been conducting round-the-clock surveillance in Burail but no fresh cases have been reported from there. As of now, things are under control,’’ the Director Health Services, Dr Usha Bishnoi, said.

All refuse points were treated with lime and dust and other larvicide so as to check the growth of larvae of flies and mosquitoes. In order to ascertain the quality of water, eight samples were collected for bacteriological examination.

The residents were educated by adopting various methods for creating awareness for observing hygienic practices. The women were advised by the Nodal Officer and other members of the Rapid Response team to use boiled and chlorinated water. The residents were also asked not to defecate in the open.

As part of the special drive the epidemic raids were also conducted by the local health authority today. Food items and articles uncovered and exposed to dust and flies and were destroyed by the team. These included jalebi, samosa , burgers, syrup bottles, banta bottles, ice slabs, over ripened fruits, loose masala powder. The epidemic raids will continue in other labour colonies also in order to prevent the outbreak of water-borne diseases.



PU not to dilute merit
B.Ed admissions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Panjab University has decided not to dilute merit in order to attract more students to its two-year B.Ed course offered through the Department of Correspondence Studies.

The department had proposed to the Syndicate that the number of applications for the course reduced drastically this year and it could be due to the fact that the university had enhanced the minimum qualifying marks in graduation from 45 to 50 per cent.

This was done following a Punjab Government notification in the regard for its own B.Ed colleges which offer regular one-year B.Ed course.

While Panjab University has increased the minimum qualifying marks from 45 to 50 per cent, Punjabi University, Patiala, which also offers a two-year B.Ed correspondence course, retained 45 per cent as the minimum qualifying percentage.

However, by June 30 the department barely received 637 applications for the 800 seats. A proposal was moved before the Syndicate to bring down the percentage but the proposal was not accepted. The last date for submission of forms has been subsequently extended till July 28.

Sources in the department added that the number of applications had gone up substantially and is likely to match the last year’s number of 2,000. These applicants had appeared in an entrance test for 800 seats last year. More than 1,700 had passed the test. The course had proved highly coveted.

The B.Ed correspondence course is approved by the National Council of Teachers Education and is open to in-service teachers, who have a minimum two years of teaching experience and 50 per cent marks in graduation.

The candidates are required to submit a teaching experience certificate signed by the head of the institute they are teaching in and countersigned by the government agency that recognises or affiliates the school. The teachers teaching in schools which are not recognised or affiliated as a result cannot take admission in this course.

The admitted candidates are also required to attend 300 hours of personal contact programmes during these two years, 80 per cent attendance of which is compulsory.



Beer prices up despite Excise Dept directives
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Companies manufacturing different brands of beer are not going by directives of the UT Excise Department on the issue of increasing prices of beer.

Despite directives of the UT Excise Department to representatives of the companies not to sell beer at increased rates, a brewery has issued an invoice for Godfather super strong beer at the increased rate of Rs 310 per case.

The same brewery had issued an invoice for Godfather strong beer at the rate of Rs 350 per case in June.

The rate prevailing before April 1 was Rs 235 per case for the same brand.

Mr I.S. Sandhu, Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner, said taking note of the invoice issued by the Devans Modern Breweries Limited, the department had issued a notice to the brewery.

The department had suspended the wholesale beer licence of the brewery along with those of the Millennium Beer Industries, manufacturers of Kingfisher, and the Rochees Breweries, manufacturers of Haywards 5000 and Castle, for not maintaining the supply of beer to retailers.

Following the suspension of licences, the companies had resumed their supplies.

A senior official said the Chandigarh Administration had told the representatives not to form a cartel against its stand of not agreeing to an increase in ex-brewery price.

Despite the guidelines, some companies had continued to sell their stocks to retailers at increased rates.

This was in contravention of Condition 64 of the conditions governing the grant and operation of wholesale licence for 2006-07.

When the issue was highlighted in the media, the department had pulled up the companies for not issuing cash memos to retailers.

Most companies supplying liquor to retailers from local godowns had their godowns in the city.

Officials had told the companies that neither permits to bring liquor into the city nor passes to ferry liquor from local godowns to retailers would be issued.



Cheaper cab service on the anvil
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Chandigarh Administration is considering a cheaper taxi service in the city. New cab service will provide for non-AC cars on the city roads and the adjoining townships of Mohali and Panchkula.

Confirming it, a senior official said that Hertz Cab service had volunteered to offer a cheaper cab service in the city. The cabs will be Maruti Omni and other comparatively cheaper versions.

The administration had recently introduced an AC cab service on the city roads. The minimum specification for the AC cars on the city roads was 1000 cc vehicles like Maruti Esteem, Tata Indigo, Hyundai Accent, Opel and Ford Ikon, besides others.

The official said "We have asked the company to send us a formal proposal. The issue is also open for other cab services to make their offers before a formal decision is taken".

The top priority under consideration is fare for the new cab service. The fare of the AC cab service here in city is cheaper than the other cities in the country. An AC cab charges Rs 15 for the first kilometre and Rs 12 for each subsequent kilometre.

An offer has also been made with regard to a new tourist bus service in the city on pattern of the existing hop-on hop-off bus being run by the administration "at a cheap rates"

A senior official of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking said that "the issue of rates will be first settled to clear the new cab service in the city. We have been told that a cheaper cab service was being started to accommodate normal passengers to the PGIMER, educational institutes and other common categories".

A cab operator said "Cheaper cab service will be beneficial for the local and visiting commuters, particularly with regard to regularised fares. The administration first needs to keep a check on the rates being charged by the old cabs operating in the city".



Bid to whisk away transporter
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 26
There was high drama at the busy Sector 11 market here this evening.

Two groups of unidentified youths, reportedly accompanied by a cop, reached here in a Qualis and a Tavera.

They overpowered a transporter, Mr Rajiv Verma, who raised the alarm, following which shopkeepers and customers assembled at the spot.

The youths dragged Mr Verma and tried to bundle him into the Qualis (CH-03X-8554).

Someone called up the police and a Panchkula PCR vehicle reached the spot, following which they sped away.

Mr Verma said the youths were trying to force him to accompany them to Chandigarh as he was wanted by the CIA staff of the Chandigarh police and they said they were obeying orders of their boss. The registration numbers of both vehicles were noted by the shopkeepers and given to the police. The district police flashed a message to police posts and security at exit and entry points was tightened.

The police alerted the police of neighbouring areas, seeking their help to nab the suspects. Apprehending a kidnapping, Mr Verma lodged a complaint at the Sector 10 police station. Mr N.K. Nayar, president of the Citizens Welfare Association, said the law and order situation had deteriorated and sought more frequent night patrol.



City film producer in race for Mobile Film Makers Award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Film producer and director from Chandigarh Sunil Babbar has reached the semifinals of the International Mobile Film Makers Award-2006, which was organised by Discovery TV and Nokia Mobiles in Singapore recently. This prestigious award gives film makers an opportunity to try their hand at mobile filmmaking with a chance to walk away with a grand prize of $ 10,000 and a three-month contract with Discovery Networks Asia.

The semi-finals will be held on August 5 in New Delhi and the final in Singapore in September.

His Indian English film “Ants” was awarded the “Best Foreign Film” in the Yellowstone International Film Festival-2002 in Montana, USA, and he was also awarded the Producer of the Year Award-2002 in the same festival.

Mobile filmmaking is spread globally. It is a regular feature in the USA, the UK and Scottish filmmaking scenes and also in the Malaga Film Festival in Spain. It has made headway into Asia as well, via the first time Mobile Film Makers Awards-2005 contest. Thousands of film makers competed for this prestigious award.

This “mobile cinema” scene continues to have a large audience today. Mobile filmmaking has taken off in a huge way, attracting amateurs and professional alike. It’s appeal lies in its functional simplicity. You don’t need expensive equipment, a big budget or large crew, just a great idea and a mobile phone.

According to Babbar, the initiative reinvents the way people view filmmaking and adds a new dimension to the film industry, contributing to the evolution and growth of filmmaking. Using high-performance multimedia, film makers are now able to create their own personal high-quality mobile films. Even seasoned professional filmmakers are experimenting with this new genre.



Women out to make a mark
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 26
Women are out to make a mark in the election arena with 46 contesting the municipal elections scheduled to be held in the town on July 30. A total of 125 candidates are in the fray for the civic body polls.

Even though 10 wards out of a total of 31 have been reserved for women, they are also contesting against men in the general wards. As many as 39 women are in the fray from the wards reserved for them, while seven are contesting the elections against men in the general wards.

All the women contestants are making promises in their own way and are even confident to perform better than their male counterparts. While some of them have experienced it all earlier, a number of them have just plunged into the field of politics.

From the wards reserved for women two each are in the fray from wards 7, 10 and 16, three each from wards 1, 22 and 31, four each from wards 4 and 13, five each from wards 19 and 25 and six from ward 28. From the general wards women are contesting from wards 6, 12, 18, 20, 21, 23 and 29.

Mrs Prabhjot Kaur Sodhi, Mrs Indu Sehgal, Mrs Daljit Kaur and Mrs Manmohan Kaur have remained municipal councillors for two consecutive terms, while Mrs Amteshwar Kaur, Mrs Raj Rani and Mrs Deep Kaur Siyan were councillors in the last term. All of them were again in the election arena this time.

Ms Indu Bhanot, who is contesting from ward 25, and is a fresher and promises to provide all the civic amenities to the residents of her ward. She says she will make efforts to improve the drainage system, condition of roads and parks, water and power supply and problem of stray animals. She also wants to increase a feeling of oneness among residents.

Similar promises are made by Ms Baljit Kaur who has just entered into politics and is contesting from ward 29.

Dr Gurbachan Kaur Nanda, who is contesting from ward 1, said apart from improving facilities in her area, she would make efforts to beautify parks so that these could be used for religious discourses.

Mrs Deep Kaur Siyan from ward 28 promises that apart from providing basic facilities, she would also help senior citizens to get old-age pension and identity cards and also make efforts to make her ward pollution free.



A keen contest in the offing
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 26
All eyes are focused on the keen contest in ward 15 between the former president of the Municipal Council and a candidate backed by a group of Opposition members in the previous civic body.

While Mr Kulwant Singh, former council president, who had won the civic body elections for two consecutive terms earlier, is quite confident of his position in his ward during the elections, Mr Gurnam Bindra Singh said that he was also getting a very good response from voters.

There are only two candidates in the fray from this ward. While both are contesting the elections as Independents, Mr Gurnam Singh Bindra refused to reveal as to which parties were supporting him during the elections. He said this would prove to be detrimental to his election campaign.

However, it is reported that Mr Gurnam Bindra Singh was being supported by Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, president of the Mohali district unit of the Congress and also by the SAD and the BJP.

Some candidates who are interested in becoming president of the council this time are also reportedly trying to weaken the base of Mr Kulwant Singh. Members of the Plot Allotment Sangarsh Committee, Sector 76 – 80, had also been opposing the former president.

Mr Kulwant Singh , however, said that residents of his ward wanted him to be elected unopposed during the civic polls and as such nobody from the ward had filed nomination papers against him.

"Certain members of the Opposition group made a lot of efforts to field some candidate against me from the ward but nobody agreed," he said adding that a candidate was brought from Phase IX to contest against him by his opponents. He said he had full faith in the voters of his ward who would definitely make him win the elections.

Highlighting his earlier achievements to woo voters, Mr Kulwant Singh promised that he would make Phase X a model phase. All roads would be widened keeping in view the increasing flow of traffic, the 20 mgd pipeline from Kajauali waterworks would be made operational as the demand for water was rising, new methods would be adopted for improving sanitation and the government would be pressurized for early completion of the sports complex.

Mr Gurnam Bindra Singh has promised recarpeting of all roads, maintenance of parks, shifting of a dispensary, post office, electricity bill counter to the ward, regularisation of additional construction carried out by allottees of LIG and MIG houses and allotment of site for the construction of a mandir.



MC, HUDA apathy ‘stinks’
Garbage dumping compounds problem
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 26
Even after over five years of its formation the Panchkula Municipal Council has failed to earmark a site for dumping waste in the city. The civic body has been dumping garbage and solid waste on a big chunk of land owned by the Haryana Urban Development Authorities (HUDA) on the banks of the Ghaggar in Sector 25 thus adding to pollution in the river.

The elected members of the Municipal Council (MC) and the HUDA officials have been turning a blind eye to this problem since long. Though officials of the MC and the HUDA have been holding frequent meetings on various issues, yet it seems that this problem has failed to interest them.

As per a random survey, about 15 to 20 truckloads of garbage are collected and dumped on the HUDA land daily by the MC. The huge dump of garbage and solid waste on the Ghaggar bank, where a seasonal choe enters the river, has virtually started endangering the ecological balance of the area.

The foul smell from dump has been choking residents of nearby areas and those travelling on the road. Seepage of polluted water from the dump has started defiling the underground water besides worsening the pollution problem in the Ghaggar.

Sources in the MC disclosed that the garbage collected from different sectors used to be dumped at various undeveloped areas and remote corners of the city before the formation of the civic body and the practice has been continuing till now.

Mr R.K Kakkar, a Municipal Councillor, alleged that the MC and HUDA officials had failed to earmark a permanent site for dumping garbage. ‘‘ MC and HUDA officials have conducted scores of meetings in the last three years but had come up with only one solution (the next date of meeting),’’ complained Mr Kakkar. The MC had failed to provide a clean environment to the city residents, he alleged.

The vice-president of MC, Ms Kuljit Waraich, has also written a letter to the executive officer (EO) complaining about the filth scattered in the Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 4. She has also complained about the bad condition of parks, road and streetlights in the area.

She had earlier also complained to the civic body officials about the deplorable condition of the locality as heaps of garbage dotted her Ward, benches and swings were in pathetic condition and a majority of the streetlights were missing. No action taken by the MC officials in the area had compelled her to take this step, said Ms Waraich.

Ms Manveer Kaur Gill, president of the Panchkula MC, however, admitted that HUDA land had been encroached upon and was being used for dumping solid waste. She claimed that the issue would be taken up with HUDA officials shortly.



Elevations hamper fire engine movement
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Services

Chandigarh, July 24
Chandigarh’s Sector 17 market continues to sit on a ticking fire bomb. Though the Municipal Corporation has re-laid almost the entire concrete floor of the central plaza, it has not made any arrangements for enabling the fire engines to climb up the elevated boardwalk in case of a blaze.

Though senior officers in the local Fire Department prefer to maintain a silence over the matter, sources assert that the issue of plaza’s inaccessibility to the fire engines due to the presence of elevated walkway has been repeatedly brought to the notice of the corporation and other authorities concerned. A department officer confirms that several letters in this regard have been written to the Municipal Corporation.

“Yet hardly any steps have been taken by them to solve the problem, even while redesigning almost the entire central plaza,” says Mohammed Suhail, running a chunk jewellery shop in the Sector.

He and many other shopkeepers add that the emphasis has been laid more on the beautification of the area to project it as preferred shopping destination, rather than making it safe from the fire-fighting point of view.

The sources assert that slopes have been created at some places for enabling rickshaws and other such vehicles to move up the raised area for delivering goods, but little has so far been done to lower the platform wide enough for enabling the engines to act in case of a mishap.

“The problem has only been worsened with the introduction of the paid parking scheme; and the system of having parking lots within the parking lots in the Sector as it prevents the free movement of traffic”, says Neeraj Dhiman, working as a business executive with a consumer goods firm.

Interestingly, the fire safety norms require the tenders to reach the blaze in as less as five minutes from the time the incident is reported to the authorities concerned. But in case of a fire in Sector 17, the firemen will first have to create space for the engines to move about by ensuring the removal of vehicles from its path and then find ways to climb up the platform. All this will result in wastage of crucial time, the sources assert.

They add that several years ago the authorities had left “dedicated space” for the entry and exit of fire tenders near the Neelam cinema. But over the years, the space has been gobbled up by the ever-increasing number of vehicles. And now the system of paid parking has been introduced even in that zone, the sources add.

A senior Municipal Corporation officer says the problem stems from the fact that the fire department itself lacks adequate number of portable slopes that allow the tenders to climb up the elevated platforms.

Once the department makes arrangements for acquiring enough number of portable slopes, the engines will be able to scramble up the walkway from almost all sides not just in Sector 17, but in other areas designed in similar manner.



Estate Office ‘hedging’ right to info Act guidelines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
‘‘In the UT Estate Office every post, irrespective of designation, is a sensitive post. The Estate Office deals directly or indirectly with public’’.

This information has been provided by the Central Information Officer, Estate Office, to the Forum for Public Affairs in reply to a query seeking information about sensitive posts in the Building Branch, Enforcement Branch and the Estate Office. The information had been sought on June 14, 2006, under the Right to Information Act.

‘‘If the information of the Central Information Officer is correct, then all employees (irrespective of their designation), who have completed more than three- year term on a public dealing seat should be immediately replaced in accordance with the guidelines of the Central Vigilance Commission’’, said the president of the Forum for Public Affairs, Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma.

This reply of the Information Officer shows that the Chandigarh Administration officers are not serious about the CVC guidelines for reasons best known to them.

The information was provided on July 18, 2006, only after the applicant approached the appellate authority on July 17, 2006 (the Deputy Commissioner in case of the Estate Office) as the Central Information Officer failed to provide the information within the stipulated one-month period.

‘‘I believe that this reply is misleading and I will approach the Central Information Commissioner because I had asked for reply to specific queries and they have instead given a blanket reply. For writing a one-line reply, the Information Officer has taken over a month. This shows the truth about the much hyped transparency in the Estate Office’’, said Mr Sharma.

If the reply of the Information Officer is correct, then even the peons should be replaced. I wonder how they are treating the complaints of the public in general’’, said Girish Kapoor, General Secretary of the forum.

‘‘This state of affairs is continuing despite a surprise visit by the UT Administrator, Gen S.F Rodrigues (retd), to the Estate Office in November 2005, followed by an inspection by the Finance Secretary, Mr S.K.Sandhu’’, said Rajesh Sharma, General Secretary of the forum.

‘‘Now I will bring all questions and the information sought to the knowledge of the UT Administrator before approaching the Chief Information Commissioner’’, said Mr Sharma adding that despite directions of the UT Home Secretary, Mr Krishan Mohan, no notice board had been displayed outside the Estate Office.



Serving the mentally ill
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
If the efforts of Father Hank Nunn bear fruit, it will spring a ray of hope for many not so lucky, who have been shattered by chronic mental illness. A crusader to change the way people treat a mentally ill person, this social worker from Bangalore has dedicated his life to accept the prevalence of mental illness without a stigma.

“It is our effort to change the lives of those who demonstrate an inability to think responsibly for themselves, which is often clearly evident in an inability to exercise the emotional control of feelings”, he says.

Father Hank Nunn is the Director of the Athma Shakti Vidyalaya Society, Bangalore, the only ‘therapeutic community’ in India of its kind for ‘holistic treatment of chronic cases of mental illness’. Dealing with unconventional psychiatric treatment for the ‘mentally ill’, the organisation relies upon ‘athma’ (spirit) and ‘shakti’ (power) wherein the patient learns the ability to empower himself through appropriate handling of thoughts, beliefs and feelings. This enables a person to develop the motivation to form meaningful relationships, the essential basis of mental health, he says.

Currently in Chandigarh to seek support for the charity cricket match at the PCA Stadium, Mohali to be held between Bollywood stars and the Indian cricket team, sometime in the last week of November or beginning December, he has received a very enthusiastic response from the Chandigarh Administration that has invited him to work out modalities to become a part of the ‘Half-way Home’ being constructed in Sector 47 for the mentally challenged. Today, he had a very encouraging meeting with UT Administrator and Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) and Dr B.S. Chauhan, Head of the Psychiatry Department at the General Hospital, Sector 32, who are both keep to set up a ‘community in the vicinity of Chandigarh along with a longcare home for men and women”.

Explaining the concept of ‘holistic treatment’ as followed by the Athma Shakti Vidyalaya, the only home of its kind for mentally ill in the country based on the concept of a ‘therapeutic community’ that came into existence in 1979, Father Hank Nunn said, “therapeutic community is formed by a group of people sharing common activities and bound by multiple relationships in such a way that the aim of any will be achieved only by the participation in direct action with others”.

The therapeutic community is built on the premise that for mentally ill, a safe haven far away from the hectic pace of everyday life and without the discrimination and judgement of others, is the best way to be healthy. He said involving them in a group dynamic helped them in not only to learn to cope with their illness but also to learn to relate with the world and society in which they lived.

Based on the concept of ‘community of communities’, an international organisation and research project of the Royal College of Psychiatry, London, the Athma Shakti Vidyalaya Society is also a member of the National Federation of Mentally Ill (NFMI). “We believe that the treatment for schizophrenia, mental illness, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression is possible through holistic psychotherapy using Transitional Analysis”, he claimed.

Quoting World Health Organisation (WHO) reports, he said India had 1 to 2 per cent of population as chronically sick persons and about 5 per cent of the people suffered from depression of one kind or the other, besides the other psychological disorders. By the year 2020 a Harvard University report has predicted mental illness to be the biggest killer. The country has to prepare itself to face the situation, but there are only 3500 qualified psychiatrists, 1250 clinical psychologists and 750 qualified psychiatric nurses to look after such a large number of patients.

The Athma Shakti Vidyalaya accepts only 24 mentally ill patients at any given time, half for either sex and in the age group of 20 to 25 years. It has treated about 200 mentally ill patients, many of whom have returned to normal life, joining gainful employment, getting married and becoming responsible members of society. Recently, a centre has been set up in Gujarat that has 6 inmates. A centre on the pattern of the Bangalore ASV is being planned for the city. The move is likely to gain ground after the day and night charity cricket match at Mohali this winter.



Another representation to Sonia Gandhi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Residents of the city from different walks of life in a communication addressed to Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President of the All India Congress Committee, have expressed their grievance "against efforts being made by a handful of citizens of the city to put irritants in the planned growth of the city".

The representation has been signed by Mr M.P.S.Chawla, president of the Chandigarh Industrial Association; Mr Subhash Sethi, president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal; Dr Gurdeep Kaur, daughter of the former President late Giani Zail Singh, Ms Jai Shree Sharma, daughter of the late Dr S. D.Sharma, former President of the country; Dr S.S.Bhatti, a former Principal of College of Architecture; Mr U.K.Batra, a senior architect; Mr S.S.Virdi, a fellow of Panjab University; and Mr Diwakar Sahoonja, general secretary of the Citizens Awareness Group.

The representation has been forwarded in response to an earlier representation handed over to Mrs Sonia Gandhi by certain eminent citizens of the city seeking action for preventing the city from becoming "another chaotic metropolitan" in the name of development.

The representation forwarded today said that "no doubt, the city was conceptualised and designed with defined functions to provide dignified and healthy living. The founders did not envisage a vertical growth. With the expanding business horizon and increasing population, availability of multistoried buildings had become a necessity".

The representation said that "immediate steps should be taken to upgrade the city and beautify the commercial markets to make it an economic hub." It also says that land acquisition by the administration should be viewed in the right perspective.



MC earns Rs 14.26 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The Municipal Corporation has earned Rs 14.26 lakh in an open auction held here today for a period of five months only from August 1 to December 31 of two parking lots for four/two-wheeler, etc.

The auction was held on the office premises of the Municipal Corporation, Sector 17. The area of Sector 22-C along the Himalyan Marg has been auctioned to Ravinder Kumar for Rs 5.25 lakh (Rs 3.21 lakh reserve price) and covering 19, 943 sq. yds. The area in Sector 34 zone-2 has auctioned to Anil Mor for Rs 9.01 lakh (Rs 5.00 lakh reserve price).



Rally today by newspaper employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
In response to a call given by the Confederation of Newspaper and News Agency Employees Organisations, The Tribune Employees Union, along with the Indian Express Employees Union, the Chandigarh Journalists Association, the Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists, the PTI Employees Union and the UNI Workers Union will hold a gate rally in front of The Tribune office gate, Sector 29, tomorrow.

The rally will be held at 9.30 a.m. to demand the setting up of new wage board for the staff of the newspaper industry. This was announced by Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, convenor of the confederation.



Underbridge: Mansa panel to meet Lalu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
A delegation of the Mansa-based Railway Underbridge Sangharsh Committee will meet the Union Railway Minister, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav, on August 2 in Delhi to urge him to remove the hurdles which are being created in starting the construction of the underbridge.

Dr Harminderjit Kaur Joga, convener of the committee, said here today that earlier the railway authorities had been repeatedly saying that the construction of the bridge was technically feasible. Railway officials had also stated before the Punjab and Haryana High Court that there was no technical obstacle in constructing the underbridge.

However, now the construction of the bridge was being delayed by the Railways on one pretext or the other. People in Mansa faced a lot of problems in the absence of the under-bridge. Traffic remained impeded for hours on the level-crossing in the heart of Mansa.



Dogra Regiment get-together
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
To keep up regimental affiliation and maintain old ties, serving and retired officers of Dogra Regiment organised a social get-together at the Defence Services Officers Institute here on Monday.

A large number of officer settled in Chandigarh and around attended the meet along with their wives. Among them were Lieut-Gen J.S. Dhillon and Maj-Gen S.P.S. Vains, who is also president of the Chandigarh Chapter of the Dogra Officers’ Association.

Officers also drove down from Kasauli, Dasua and Patiala to meet their old comdares-in-arms The get-together gave them a common platform to share old memories and bring each other up to date on personal and regimental matters.



RLA office to remain close on July 28, 29
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The Office of the Registering and Licensing Authority, Sector 17 here, will remain closed on July 28 and 29, an official press release said here today.

The office will remain closed because of ongoing renovation work. There will be no public dealing on the closed days.



Saplings planted at ITBP complex
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
As part of the drive to beautify ITBP complex and make it pollution free, a function was organised in the complex at Behlana today in which saplings were planted by Mr K B Singh, Deputy Inspector-General, ITBP.

Senior ITBP officers, SOs and jawans of the force also took part in the drive.



Police clueless in woman’s suicide-bid case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The police continues to remain clueless about the reason that forced, Sangeeta to jump from the third floor of the Punjab and Haryana High Court building on Tuesday. Unable to make a statement to the police following a surgery, she continues to remain all by herself at PGI with no relative agreeing to cast light on the reasons that led her to take this drastic step.

Earlier in the day, she was operated upon by a team of doctors and her condition is stated to be ‘‘stable but under observation’’. The doctors were unwilling to comment on the extent of damage caused to her face in the accident or to what extent she would recover from her injuries.

Sources in the Sector 3 Police Station said Sangeeta is a resident of Mini Secretariat Colony in Hisar. Her father, Mr Jiwan Singh, is a mechanic in Haryana Roadways. The police has informed her parents about the incident and they were expected to arrive in the city by evening.

Mr Rajinder Singh Dhani, SHO Sector 3 Police Station said, ‘‘The doctors treating Sangeeta said she can not speak and is unfit to record her statement. We have registered a case of attempt to suicide against her and if something comes out at a later stage during the course of investigations, we will make necessary changes in the subsequent charge sheet’’.

However, the sources said Sangeeta’s family has expressed ignorance about her marriage to Harish Chander. They said there could be a possibility of her having a dispute with her family over the issue, which could have been a reason for their not saying anything in this case.

Sangeeta had allegedly jumped from the High Court building outside court room number 33. She had come there to attend hearing of a case against Harish Chander, who, she claimed, was married to her. Harish and his wife Seema Sharma had come to the court to seek protection as Seema’s parents were against their marriage. Sangeeta reportedly jumped from the building after her claims of being married to Harish were not entrained by the court due to lack of sufficient evidence, said a police officer.



Owner cries foul as tenant ‘sells’ booth shutters
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Taking up a complaint filed by Mr Robin Wadhawan against tenant, Sukhjinder Singh Sebia and others, a city court has ‘‘sent the case to the SHO of the Sector 3, police station, with the direction to register a case.’’ Pronouncing the orders Judicial Magistrate (first class) Sudhir Parmar also directed the submission of report after investigating the matter on or before August 17. Earlier, in his complaint Mr Wadhawan had sought the registration of a case of theft and criminal conspiracy case along with other offences under Sections 379, 427, 120-B and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. The complaint was moved under Section 156 (3) the Criminal Procedure Code.

Chandigarh, July 26
If allegations levelled by a Sector 8 resident in a complaint to the UT Home Secretary are to be believed, the local police is shielding his ‘‘tenant’’ who is running business from his booth in the same Sector, despite the fact that the shutters of the booth ‘‘illegally’’ removed by the tenant were recovered from a scrap dealer.

In his complaint, Mr Robin Wadhawan has alleged that even though the scrap dealer admitted that he had purchased the shutters from his ‘‘tenant’’, the police failed to initiate action in the matter.

Going into the background of the case, he alleged that the matter pertaining to the ‘‘illegal’’ removal of ‘‘front main shutters’’ was brought to the notice of the police vide DDR number 47 (dated July 14, 2006).

‘‘Despite specific allegations of theft and damage to property, no action whatsoever was taken by the police and the Investigating Officer concerned,’’ alleged Mr Wadhawan. In his complaint he reported that on July 16 his brother Rakesh Wadhawan spotted an Industrial area-based scrap dealer carrying shutters on his rickshaw rehri. When he confronted the dealer told him that he had bought the shutters from booth number 57 in Sector 8 for Rs 2,300. Following this, Rakesh called the police and a police party from Industrial Area reached there and took the dealer and the shutters to police station and informed the Sector 3 Police Station about the episode. They also lodged a DDR in this regard.

When contacted the SHO of the Sector 3, police Station, Inspector Rajinder Singh Dhani, refuted the allegations of inaction on the part of the police and asserted that the case had been sent for legal advice and action would be initiated as per the recommendation of the legal cell.



Ex-PGI employee case: CBI files closure report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a closure report in the 13-year-old corruption case registered against a former Estate Manager of the PGI, Col MS Sodhi.

Acting on the application of the CBI, the CBI Special Judge today issued notice to the accused. Col Sodhi who was looking after court cases of the PGI, was booked by the CBI in 1997.

Sources said closure reports filed by the CBI on March 2006 and February 2005 had been rejected by the court on certain technical grounds.

DSP’s son acquitted

A local court on Wednesday acquitted the son of a DSP of the Chandigarh Police in case of attempt to murder after the witnesses failed to recognise assailants.

The DSP son along with his friends, Sunil and Akshay, had allegedly attacked Janak Raj Singh, a resident of Sector 38. The victim’s son, Amandeep Singh, his son-in-law, Achar Singh, and Manohar Lal were eyewitnesses in the case.

The media had highlighted the case in 2002 when the then Station House Officer, Sector 39, Mr K.I.P. Singh, now promoted as DSP ( South), had registered a case under Sections 147, 149, 307, 323 and 452 of the IPC against the son of DSP ( Crime), Mr Om Parkash.

While the DSP alleged that his son had been falsely implicated, the SHO stuck to his stand stating that the DSP’s son was involved in the assault.



Two held on theft charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The local police has arrested two persons, allegedly caught red-handed while stealing computers parts from the office of the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Haryana.

Sources in the Sector 17 police station said Mr Umesh Kumar, a clerk in the office of the Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Haryana, in Sector 17 here, had lodged a complaint that Sunil Kumar and Anil Kumar, residents of Sector 20, were caught while stealing a CPU and other computer parts from the office premises on July 25.

Acting on the complaint, the police arrested the accused and recovered the material stolen. A case was registered in this regard.

Car stolen

Mr Jimmy Chahal of Ambala district reported to the police that his Optra car (HR-05-Z-0032) was stolen from Sector 22-B on the night of July 24. A case of theft was registered.


Mr Vikram Sharma of Sector 18 reported to the police that some miscreants stole the music system and the spare tyre of his Santro car (CH-03-S-1410) after breaking its window panes on the night of July 24.

The police initially avoided the registration of a case and told him that it would first try to trace the culprits.

It was only after putting in a lot of effort that a case was registered, he said.


The police arrested Satish Kumar of Daddu Majra Colony on the charge of gambling at a public place yesterday. The police recovered Rs 210 from his possession and registered a case.



Jet to introduce Delhi-Bangkok flight by Oct
Tribune News Service

Come September and Jet Airways will start a direct flight between Chandigarh and Mumbai, said Mr Wolfgang Prock-Schauer. As of now, the flight to and from Mumbai has a stopover at Delhi.

Chandigarh, July 26
Jet Airways will introduce a flight on the Mumbai-Brussels-New York sector by May, 2007. The leading domestic airlines will also introduce a flight on the Delhi-Bangkok sector by October this year.

This was stated by the CEO of Jet Airways, Mr Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, here today. In city to announce the direct Amritsar- London service from August 4, he outlined the future expansion plans of the carrier by increasing its fleet and adding new international destinations.

"We are first trying to stabilise our service to London from Mumbai, Delhi and now Amritsar. We will also be exploring other destinations in Europe like Frankfurt, Zurich and Brussels, in the USA (Chicago, San Francisco) and Canada (Toronto)," he said, while adding that though the Amritsar-London flight will initially run three days a week, but will become a daily flight from January, 2007.

He said Jet Airways presently had a fleet of 55 aircraft, which would be increased to 90 by 2009. "A sum of $2.5 billion is being spent by the company to purchase 10 aircraft each of Airbus 330, Boeing 777 and Boeing 737. The payments for all these aircrafts have been made and once these are delivered, we will be adding new international destinations," he said. As of now, Jet Airways flies passengers to international destinations like London , Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Colombo and Kathmandu.

Mr Wolfgang Prock- Schauer said the new aircraft would also be put to use to strengthen their domestic operations across 48 destinations. "Though we will not be including new destinations within the country, we will be increasing the frequency of the service from the existing destinations," he said, while adding that Jet had no plans of acquiring any other domestic airlines.

He pointed out that Jet had managed to retain its position as the leading domestic carrier with a 32 per cent share. "A study conducted by the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation recently has shown that the domestic aviation industry in the country was losing $ 250 million a year, because of high input costs. Jet is the only airlines that has posted a profit of $ 1.4 billion," he said.



‘PNBHF business in city Rs 40 cr’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The Chandigarh unit of PNB Housing Finance has a total business of Rs 40 crore. Of this, Rs 1 crore is the non-performing assets (NPA).

This was disclosed by the Managing Director of PNB Housing Finance, Mr V.K. Khanna, while addressing a press conference here yesterday. He said that the total business of the bank was worth Rs 1100 crore.

“Last year, the total disbursements increased to Rs 393 crore. This year, we hope to raise it to Rs 500 crore. The NPA, too, has been brought down from 6.33 per cent to 2. 77 per cent,” he said.

He added that the Home Loan Life Insurance launched by the bank in association with the TATA AIG as its plan partner had been very successful.



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