C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Child workers’ main concern is food
Labour laws mean little to them
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
“My only concern at the moment is food,” said Kushal Kumar, a 13-year-old serving tea in a canteen at the Punjab and Haryana High Court while reacting to a question on an order of the Ministry of Labour banning child labour from October 10 onwards.

“I belong to a village in Bihar. Often we spent a complete day without food when an uncle got me to the city. I am unaware about any laws, any government or any world outside this complex”, he said.

Kushal is not alone. Two more boys in the same age group work in the canteen adjoining the security room here. The canteen in the deluxe building of the Estate Office also has under-14 boys serving tea and eatables. The number of those covered under the law runs into hundreds because it is common sight to see children in the age group of under-14 working in dhabas, restaurants, eateries, hotels, motels, teashops, resorts and other recreational centres. These are excluding children working in the residential quarters all over the city.

Mrs Amar Kulwant, a councillor of the Municipal Corporation said: “Food is no excuse for exploiting small children. Look at the type of labour these small children are exposed to behind the closed doors in houses. I have personally intervened in cases of physical and mental torture. Many of the children who grow up serving their masters don’t even know if a world existed outside”.

Bhanu Pratap, a 12-year-old from Uttar Pradesh, said “I don’t know what you are saying but it seems interesting. Will it mean that the government will take us away and keep us in a better place? I am not interested in studying but I will like to stay in a place where I can rest. I sleep very late after washing all the utensils and have to wake up while it is still dark to cut the vegetables”. The boy working in a Sector 35 dhaba asks if now the government will give him a job and he can call his parents to stay here.

Dr Surinder Singh, a local medical practitioner, said: “Instead of accepting poor life as their fate, efforts should be made to rehabilitate them. Chandigarh can spare some land by sparing one big project and also revenue for giving them a place to stay and nurture them to study. The administration, NGOs and residents can join hands in giving a proper direction to the lives of these unfortunate persons.”

Ram Prakash, a resident of Bihar, said: “Please do something to keep me in the city. I did not want to come here when my parents forcibly sent me away saying I should earn something for my five younger brothers and sisters. My master sends them money regularly. I can leave the job in case the government can get me admission in a school. I will like to study”.

Mr Rajesh Sharma, president of the local unit of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front, said: “The government action in banning child labour was commendable but it has to be equally matched with their resettlement plans.”

The owner of the canteen in the High Court said: “Please don’t give the news because you will be kicking these poor chaps out of jobs. I will have no problem in getting other workers but these boys will lose their home. Ask them I pay them equivalent to other workers.”

Mrs Rajni Dheer , a housewife from Phase X, Mohali, said: “All cases of innocents children suffering are not of child labour alone. Every morning we purchase vegetables from two brothers, less than 14, who paddle their rehri at 4 a.m. to the Grain Market in and then come back all the way. They had lost their father about five years back.”



SE Dhingra caught taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) tonight caught a Superintendent Engineer (SE) of the UT Electricity Department while allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 20,000 at his Sector 19 residence here.

Sources in the CBI said a contractor had lodged a complaint against Mr V.P. Dhingra, alleging that the official had demanded “favours” from him to get his work done.

Acting on the complaint, CBI sleuths set up a trap following which Dhingra was nabbed red-handed while taking a bribe from the complainant.

A senior officer in the CBI, Chandigarh, while confirming the incident, said raids were being conducted at the Sector 19 residence of the accused. He said the officer had called the complainant yesterday and told him to come with the money today.

In the afternoon, he took the complainant “somewhere” in the city before returning home in the evening.

Mr Dhingra was caught by the sleuths while accepting the money in the complainant’s car parked outside Mr Dhingra’s residence.

The complainant told the CBI that Mr Dhingra was demanding money to give approval to some equipment. He had submitted a request to the department for the same. Despite the fact the equipment was approved by a government laboratory, Mr Dhingra was reportedly harassing the complainant by not approving the same and dilly-dallying on the matter.

The CBI team remained in the house till late in the night and the raid was on till the filing of the report.



Raids in PGI end after doctors' protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The raids and inspection of lockers at the PGI here today came to an abrupt end after doctors lodged a strong protest against the “unwarranted search”.

The OT Technicians Association, on its part, alleged that the raids were called off under pressure following recoveries being made from lockers of doctors.

While the PGI authorities maintained that there was no pressure behind the calling off raids, a circular issued to all departments of the institute said the Vigilance Cell had completed its exercise and lockers sealed by the Vigilance Cell and still would be opened in the presence of Dr Ashok Kumar, Deputy Medical Superintendent of the hospital.

Justifying the circular, Prof Amod Gupta, Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO), said raids could not be carried out for a long time.

“Our job is over. While we are unaware of any protests by the faculty, we have called off the inspection because it is not healthy to be hanging around OTs where the doctors come with their minds focussed on operating upon patients,” he stated.

It also seems that despite “some” recoveries from lockers of a few doctors, they will be let off the hook. The technicians, however, will have to justify possessing surgical items before the committee formed for the purpose.

“We realise that doctors do not have much space in the OTs and can keep a few items in the lockers to use for a needy patient. However, there is no justification for a technician possessing the same item. Anyway, the committee will look into who can possess what and give everybody a fair chance to explain,” Prof Gupta maintained.

Expressing apprehension over the way the raids were called off before noon today, the OT Technical Staff Association demanded that the inquiry be handed over to the CBI.

In a statement issued later in the day, the president of the association, Mr Rajwinder Singh, also demanded that members of the non-faculty staff should be given representation in the Dr D.K. Bhasin Committee formed by the institute to look into recoveries.



Move to redraw UT boundaries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Chandigarh Administration plans to regularise a majority of constructions in the ‘pherni’ of villages, said Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to the UT Administrator, while addressing a press conference here today. Adequate land would be exempted from the Periphery Control Act for planning of growth up to 2021.

The Adviser said not all constructions would be regularised. An environment shield will be developed around villages to mark the area beyond where no construction would be allowed.

In a proposal of the UT Administration to cover all UT villages in the Municipal Corporation, the UT would include only five villages in the first step, including Hallo Majra, Dadu Majra, Maloya, Palsora and Kajehri.

Mr Lalit Sharma said no formal decision with regard to the issue had yet been taken. “We have taken the opinion of political parties and are seeking public reaction as well.”

The press conference followed two separate meetings with the Mayor and councillors and heads of different political parties. It was pointed out that the “intention is to develop each village according to a specified town plan prepared by the corporation.”

Adequate land would be exempted from the Periphery Control Act for planned growth up to 2021 and an environment shield would be provided around each village.

Resources would come from disbursements by the Administration and partly by the corporation by levying conversion and development charges. For inflow of private investment, the corporation had been asked to update property records. Satellite and ground-level surveys of all existing properties had been jointly carried out by the corporation and the Administration to prevent speculative purchase of property.

It had been pointed out that between 1961 and 2001, the average annual growth rate of population varied between five per cent to 45 per cent. The growth had been accommodated in a haphazard manner and it was necessary to take a holistic view.

It was also pointed out that once the corporation took over the villages, the number of wards would be increased commensurately.



Cameras installed at Estate Office
Staff under watch
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Closed-circuit cameras will now keep a watch on public dealing by employees of different branches in the Estate Office.

As many as 16 closed-circuit cameras were today installed at different public dealing branches in the Estate Office. An effort has been made to cover all branches under the Deputy Commissioner, the Assistant Estate Officer and the Additional Deputy Commissioner.

“From tomorrow, the employees would be under constant watch of their officers,” said a senior officer.

Deputy Commissioner R.K. Rao, Additional Deputy Commissioner I.S. Sandhu and Assistant Estate Officer Anit Talwar would have access to live footage of their respective branches. In an auto-mode, the cameras would regular cover all branches.

Mr R.K. Rao told Chandigarh Tribune that the new measure would improve the attendance of employees as they would know that they were being watched.

Cameras have also been installed in the building branch located in the office of the SDO (Building) adjoining the Estate Office building. Such cameras would be installed in the office of the Excise and Taxation Department. The reforms are meant to streamline the functioning of the offices under the Deputy Commissioner.

To further keep a watch on the attendance of employees, a bio matric attendance machine is being installed. “The moment an employee registers his presence on the machine, the officer concerned will automatically come to know of it,” said an officer.

To make the system effective, the second entrance point to the Estate Office will be sealed.



Absent lady officer loses seniority
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
In the first instance of its kind in the Army, a woman officer has faced a summary trial for going absent without leave (AWOL). She has been awarded one year’s loss of seniority and a severe reprimand, it is learnt.

According to sources, the trial took place at Rajouri a few days ago. Though there have been a couple of instances where administrative action has been initiated against women officers in the Army for reported misconduct, this is the first case where judicial proceedings have been completed.

Lt Jiji U.K. posted with an Electronics and Mechanical Engineers battalion located in Jammu and Kashmir, had been admitted to hospital from where she left for her home town in Kerala on May 21 without permission or intimation.

A court of inquiry conducted into the matter by Station Headquarters Jammu recommended disciplinary action against her, following which the summary of evidence (SOE) was recorded in June. Based upon the SOE, Headquarters 16 Corps directed that the officer be tried summarily.

She faced a single charge under Section 39 (a) of the Army Act for absenting herself without leave. The trial was conducted by the Deputy General Officer Commanding, 39 Infantry Division. Under Section 83 of the Army Act, personnel of the rank of Captain or below can be tried summarily by a brigade commander or equivalent.

The officer had been admitted to the hospital for several days when she received a message from her home town that her grandmother had expired. The hospital authorities, however, declined to give her permission to leave on the grounds that her medical condition did not permit her to travel. A few days later, she received another message that her mother was also seriously ill.

Even though the officer gave a certificate that she was willing to travel against medical advice due to family circumstances, permission to leave was refused. Thereafter, she took off on her own. The Army initiated an AWOL report when the mandatory six hours had elapsed after there was no indication as to her whereabouts.

Though the officer left without permission, she later called up her superior officers to tell them about her whereabouts and the circumstances under which she left, and thereafter kept in touch with the authorities. She returned to her unit on June 4.

A spokesperson for the Army Headquarters said that first going missing and later calling up superiors to give explanations for her mistakes did not set things right. The hospital authorities did not grant her leave as her blood cell count was very low. Instead the Army offered to grant her four weeks leave after she recovered, but she did not pay heed and took off on her own, he added.



Wife of Tribune employee killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Sunita Sharma, wife of an employee of The Tribune, Sunil Sharma, was killed this evening in a road accident involving her scooter and a mini-truck at the Railway Traffic lights point here.

Sunita Sharma (41), an employee of the Haryana Women Development Corporation, Sector 17, here, was on her way back home when the accident took place at around 5 p.m.

According to eyewitnesses, Sunita was driving behind a Tata-407 mini-truck (HR-68-5649). When both vehicles neared the traffic lights, the truck driver allegedly took a sharp turn towards the IT Park side, crushing Sunita under the vehicle’s rear wheels.

Sunita sustained severe head injuries in the mishap and reportedly died on the spot. She was wearing a safety helmet at that time.

The police was informed about the incident and the victim was rushed to the Sector 16 General Hospital, where doctors declared her “brought dead”.

Sunita is survived by her husband, son Aditya (15) and daughter Neha (19).

Mr Sunil Sharma is working as Section Head in The Tribune Group of Publications.

The funeral procession tomorrow will start from house number 26, Sector 16, Panchkula at 5.30 p.m. for Mani Majra cremation grounds.

The police has arrested truck driver Babblu Mandal after registering a case of death due to rash and negligent driving in this connection.



Bus driver sans licence abandons
schoolchildren after mishap

Chandigarh, August 2
The challaning drive of the Chandigarh police does not seem to have had any effect on school bus drivers. The driver of a bus overloaded with students of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, “abandoned” the bus along with the children when the bus met with a minor accident here this afternoon and was asked to show his driving licence.

The hapless children stood for over half an hour on the roadside when a passerby who was witness to the episode “brought back” the driver, who had fled a few buildings down the road. The driver was bashed up by the car driver before he was virtually forced back into the bus to ferry the children to their homes. The incident took place at 2.45 pm at the Phase 3A and Sector 52 dividing road. The school bus (number PB 13D 9920) was carrying over 45 students (the bus has a seating capacity for 20). It gave way to a car (number CHO 3F 6637) but the moment the car began to overtake, the bus driver squeezed the car between the bus and the right road berm. The car was damaged. The bus halted and the car driver demanded his driving licence. “He said he did not have a licence and within seconds the driver got off and ran towards a nearby park. There he stopped and broke into a jig, challenging the occupants of the car to try and catch him. The car driver ran behind him but the driver hid from view. I was on my scooter and went behind the driver and caught him. I caught him in the lanes of Phase 3A and slapped him,” said
Mr Ranjit Singh, an onlooker. — TNS



Electronic dealers take customers for a ride
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Certain unscrupulous electronic dealers are taking gullible customers for a ride by giving misleading advertisements in newspapers.

This malpractice has come in for severe criticism at the hands of consumer rights activists and a section of the electronic dealers, who allege that the consumers laws are being violated with impunity.

A perusal of the advertisements over a few days reveal that a Sector 35-based dealer is promising up to Rs 7,000 off on the exchange of old TV, refrigerator and airconditioner. However, the “conditions apply” clause virtually nullifies the offer and the value of the old TV is settled arbitrarily by the dealer.

A Phase 7-based dealer of Mohali has gone a step further. He lures the customer with a flashy advertisement urging him to pay Rs 99 for a 21” TV. He also promises 11 free gifts, including a vacuum cleaner, a holiday coupon, a pair of wrist watches and a steam iron. “How can the dealer afford to sell the TV at the MRP as prices of gifts seem to be more than the TV,” says Mr Gurcharan Singh, a prospective buyer.

To top it all, a Sector 35-based dealer advertised the 81cm LCD TV for Rs 60,000 in a section of the press. However, when the other dealers protested, the price of this brand was about Rs 80,000 and the advertisement was affecting their business, he came out with a clarification advertising Rs 80,000 as “special price” for this brand, informed Mr Amarjeet Singh, a Sector 22-based electronic dealer.

Saying that such unscrupulous dealers gave a bad name to trade, Mr Amarjeet Singh alleged that their dealings resulted in people losing faith in the electronic dealers. The company appointing them as authorised dealers should take action against them as it brings a bad name to the company, too, he said.

Mr Pankaj Chandgothia, a consumer rights activist, said such actions amounted to unfair trade practices and deficiency in service. Action as per the Consumer Protection Act could be initiated against them if the matter was brought to the notice of the consumer fora, he added.



Four-laning of Zirakpur-Parwanoo
stretch to begin in Nov

Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The work on the four-laning of the most congested stretch of Zirakpur- Shimla National Highway (NH- 22), between Zirakpur and Parwanoo, will begin by November this year. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has now invited bids for allotting the work at a tentative project cost (TPC) of Rs 250 crore.

Top officials in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), informed TNS that the technical and financial bids made by various companies for this 29. 8 km. stretch, including a bypass to the towns of Pinjore, Kalka and Parwanoo will be allotted on August 18.

"It will take three months for scrutiny of the successful bid and all formalities to complete, before the successful bidder begins work," he said.

It was decided earlier this year to delink the four-laning of this stretch of NH-22 from the National Highway Development Programme-Phase III, considering the traffic bottlenecks and the heavy flow of vehicular traffic on this stretch. Officials in NHAI said the four-laning of highway between Parwanoo and Shimla would be taken up at a later stage.

The four lane, 14.34 km long bypass, to be constructed on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis, has its take off point at Mallah, just before Yadvindra Gardens, Pinjore. After passing through Ghatiwala, Kahanguwala and Tipra, it will meet the NH-22 beyond Parwanoo, just before Timber Trail Resorts. Officials in NHAI said that because of the difference in gradient along the proposed bypass, just before it touches the NH-22, two three options had been worked out for the bypass to meet the National Highway.

"This is the reason that we have invited technical and financial bids for allocating the work. The successful bidder can choose the meeting point of the bypass with the highway," said the official.

It may be mentioned that the bypass had hit a roadblock after the Western Command authorities at Chandimandir had pleaded that the alignment of NH 22 be shifted, and the highway be constructed along Ghaggar river, behind the Chandimandir cantonement. The defence authorities reasoned that a highway beyond the cantonement was neccessary from the safety point of view of the defence establishment.

They also said a highway running through the cantonerment would affect the smooth movement of army vehicles. It was proposed to have either a four-lane highway, with the take off point near Dera Bassi in Punjab to the Panchkula- Naraingarh National Highway, and a straight alignment along the hills towards Parwanoo, or to have a-four lane elevated highway between Old Panchkula and Chandimandir, after allowing at least two underpasses between the two sides of Chandimandir cantonement.

However, it has now been decided that the four-laning be done along the present alignment of NH- 22.

"For this purpose, some land from the Chandimandir cantonement will be transferred to NHAI, and in lieu of this, the Government of Haryana has been asked to give alternate land to the Army authorities, near Chandimandir.



Infant tests positive for cholera in GMCH-32

Chandigarh, August 2
The cholera scare is not yet over with the Health Department reporting another case today. Two-month-old child Santosh admitted to GMCH-32 has tested positive for cholera. The child comes from a particularly vulnerable pocket in Hallo Majra, where as many as 90 persons stay in just 20 rooms.

Congested living conditions and extremely poor health and hygiene have once again proved dangerous for the health of residents in the area. The Health Department of Chandigarh has stepped up prevention and control measures in the village. The department officials took prevention steps after visiting the infected child’s parents in GMCH-32 today. The family came to Chandigarh from Bihar some time back. Later, the child along with the parents visited Jalandhar and Ludhiana. Currently, the family is staying at house number 804, Hallo Majra. It is in this house that 90 people are occupying just 20 rooms, apart from consuming water from a hand pump.

Health Department officials confirmed that teams had been formed to initiate prevention and control measures in the infected pocket. The nodal officer and members of the Rapid Recovery Team are making visits in this area to take stock of the situation.

The department teams has distributed 6,000 chlorine tablets in Hallo Majra so far. The residents have been advised to drink boiled chlorinated water. — TNS



Privileged treatment for underprivileged
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 2
Three-year-old Gautam Hari is a special child. In less than a week of being in the Fortis Hospital here, he has the whole staff eating out of his tiny hands. Although he is three- year-old, he weighs just 10 kg. He has mischievous eyes and chatters incessantly, but till a week ago his small skinny body could not keep up with his mental alertness.

Hari's father Paras Ram works as a laborer in a factory at Samrala and supports his parents, wife and two children. His dreams were shattered when he discovered that his son had a hole in the heart.

"I had no money for Hari's treatment-not even for a Echo cardiogram as it cost Rs 1200 which is half my monthly wages. It has been terrible and hard to see my boy grow up, knowing that he will not survive for many years," said Paras Ram. He came with a request to Fortis when he came to know that the hospital conducts free surgeries.

"Our prayers have been answered and I pray that my son now has a long life after this gift of God," he said.

Another four families who had benefited from this gesture of the hospital shared their experience with mediapersons today.

Thirtyfour-year-old Avtar Singh of Tanda village, near Naya Gaon, is a victim of circumstances. He looks after his aged parents, aunt, a wife and two children. Avtar Singh had always been unwell since his teens and often got pain in his chest. However, his world collapsed around him when he was told about the seriousness of his ailment and that he needed to undergo Double Valve Replacement which would cost around Rs 4 lakh.

"I knew six people would die with me because none of my brothers could support my family. Four lakh was an amount I could not even dream off getting." Today, however, he is confident that after getting discharged he will be able to support his family.

Ten-year-old Sonia studies in Class III at Pehowa, Kurukshetra. Her father, Rajinder Sharma, carried her to school every day since she could not take even a few steps without gasping for breath. Rajinder works as an electrician and earns a meagre wage of Rs 1500 per month. Even though Sonia's case was critical, Dr T.S Mahant, Executive Director, Cardio Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, looked on it as a challenge and decided to operate on her.



Villagers complain of unhygienic conditions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Residents of Kajehri village are being forced to live in unhealthy conditions. A seasonal “nullah” which passes adjoining the village is a source of nuisance as rag-pickers dump garbage along it, creating unhygienic conditions.

Mr Aminder Singh, who runs Sant Waryam Singh Model High School in the village, has complained that the open space along the road leading to the village from the waterworks side was being used to dump garbage. An underground sewerage often overflows and the pungent smell of the sewage makes it impossible for the students of the school to use the road.

Mr Anand Singh, sarpanch of the village, said there was a shortage of manpower. The garbage was being dumped by residents of a nearby labour colony.

Keeping of milch cattle and disposing of cow dung is a problem for villagers. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has suggested a common dairy farm in the village to check the unhygienic conditions in the village.

Nearly 3 acres of land has to be acquired for setting up the dairy farm to be run by a farmers’ society.



Awareness camp at Valmiki dharamshala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
A 10-day-long awareness generation camp for poor women at Valmiki dharamshala, near kerosene oil depot, Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, was yesterday inaugurated by Lalit Joshi, chairperson, Chandigarh Social Welfare Board. Yuvsatta, in association with the Chandigarh Social Welfare Board, is organising this awareness generation camp.

Giving information about the programme, Mr Parmod Sharma, coordinator of Yuvsatta, said the focus of the camp is to raise awareness among the poor women regarding issues like status of women, women and law, women and health, community health and hygiene, women and economy, women and state government, religion, culture and women, women and social action and HIV/AIDS.

To increase the income of poor women, special vocational training will be provided during this camp by experts on the art of mehndi, tie & dye, manufacturing of pickles and candles and handmade greeting cards.

Similar camps will also be organised at Janta Colony, Burail, Colony no. 5 and Khajeri. In her inaugural address Lalit Joshi said that town and cities are well placed to provide access to a wide range of services at a relatively low cost. This means that poor people should benefit from improved health care, better education opportunities and a wide range of services and products.

The challenge today is to ensure that poor people are able to participate in and benefit from the process of urban development. And with this in view the Chandigarh Social Welfare Board is supporting these camps not only to raise awareness amongst the poor urban women but also to enhance her vocational skills so as to make her self-reliant and progressive in the society.

Prominent amongst those who participated in today’s programme included Madhu P. Singh, Advocate, Pooja Sharma, member, Chandigarh Social Welfare Board, Kulpreet Dhillon and Kamaljit Kaur from Childline-PGI, Rita Wahi, Asstt. Project Officer, Chandigarh Social Welfare Board, and Krishan Kumar, social activist.



Residents, mandir committee settle dispute
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, August 2
The long-pending controversy of developing a park or a parking site in front of Pracheen Shiv Mandir, close to the main market in Sector 9 here, has been a bone of contention between sector residents and the temple management.

Tension prevailed in the site this morning when the municipal authorities attempted to resume work for the construction of the park as envisaged in the approved plan layout. Temple committee members intervened, stalling the construction work, to which the sector residents put up a stiff resistance.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Rishi Jain lamented that the development of the green park site had been stalled for the past 10 years because of resistance from the mandir management without any legal ground.

Temple management committee members, however, maintained that the committee had spent over Rs 38,000 to level the surface of the park site. In view of fact that the high number of devotees visiting the temple daily, it was imperative that parking space was provided to them.

However, an amicable settlement of the issue was evolved through concerted efforts of local municipal councillor Jalmegha Dahiya and Mr Vijay Kumar Uppal, vice-president, mandir committee.



HAFED MD inaugurates plantation drive
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 2
Mr Rajan Gupta, Managing Director, Hafed, has inaugurated a tree plantation campaign at the Hafed corporate office in Sector 5, planting saplings of amaltas and gulmohar.

It had been decided to initially plant 120-150 trees at the corporate office building, said Mr Gupta.

He said in a bid to promote the ‘Van Mahotsa’ campaign in Haryana, directions had been issued to all district offices of Hafed to plant saplings of Indian trees like neem, amaltas and gulmohar in vacant premises of Hafed.

During the first phase of the campaign, Hafed premises at Pipli, Nilokheri, Karnal, Neval, Kaithal and Murthal would be covered.



DYC wants more cops in town
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 31
The District Youth Congress has demanded that the strength of the police in the township be increased for better policing.

In a memorandum to the Police Department, Youth Congress members led by President Anil Pangotra has demanded that suggestion boxes be put up at all police stations.

They have also demanded that driving by under-aged and overloading in rickshaws be checked and fruit rehris parked near roundabouts removed.

The Youth Congress members demanded the proper checking of school buses as most did not have seat belts and first aid kits.



Baltana residents rue poor power supply
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, August 2
Residents of the Gobind Vihar locality, Baltana, are a frustrated lot due to continuous power cuts in the area. They complain that due to the lackadaisical attitude of the authorities concerned the loose electricity cables were not tightened causing short circuits and consequent disruption in the power supply.

The residents alleged that despite repeated requests to the Electricity Department, no steps had been taken to improve the power situation.



Villager booked for rape
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 2
The Mohali police has booked a resident of Chhat village for rape. The accused, Ali Mohammad, has been booked on the complaint of a resident of Zirakpur, who alleged that she was raped when she had gone with her cousin to fetch books. She told the police that on her way back the accused caught hold of her and took her to the nearby fields and raped her. A case under Sections 376, 506 of the IPC has been registered. The police added that the accused was absconding.

Motor cycle stolen

Mr Parveen Singh Thakur, a resident of Sector 29, Chandigarh, has complained to the police that his motor cycle (No CH03L-7017) was stolen from Phase VII here on July 31. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Scooter stolen

Mr Surjit Singh, a resident of Dashmesh Colony, Balongi, has complained to the police that his scooter (No PB-27-2291) was stolen from outside his office in Phase III on July 14. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.



2 held for breach of trust
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The local police booked two Mohali residents for not returning a car belonging to a city resident for the past over a year. They had taken the car for personal use for a few days.

According to sources in the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Chandigarh Police, Mr Sukhwinder Singh of Sector 44 lodged a complaint alleging that Balwinder Singh and Ashutosh, both residents of Sector 68, Mohali, had taken his car (PB-11-ST-7986) for personal use for a few days in May 2005.

He alleged when he asked the accused to return his car after some time they started dilly-dallying. Fed up, he reported the matter to the police. A case of breach of trust under Section 406 of the Indian Penal Code was registered in this regard.


Ms Renu Soni of Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, reported to the police that her maidservant, Veena of Kishangarh village, had stolen Rs 1 lakh from her residence on Tuesday. A case of theft was registered.

Car stolen

Mr Harsharnjit Singh of Sector 38 filed a complaint with the police, alleging that his Maruti car (CH-01R-9088) was stolen from his residence during the intervening night of July 31 and August 1. A case of theft was registered.



No headway in murder case

Chandigarh, August 2
The local police failed to achieve headway in the murder case in which the charred body of an unidentified man was found in the Sector 52 jungle area yesterday.

The SHO of Sector 36 police station, Inspector Ishwar Singh Mann, said the post-mortem was performed today. The doctors confirmed the case to be that of murder. The report said the victim, in the age group of 25-40, was strangulated to death. The SHO said the body had been kept in the mortuary. TNS



Girl killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 2
A young girl, Gian Kaur, was killed in a road accident near Sohana here last evening. The victim was on a moped when it was hit by a truck coming from the opposite direction. She was rushed to the PGI where she died. The driver of the truck, Manjit Singh, has been booked under Sections 279, 304-A and 427, IPC.



Airtel “Ulta-Pulta” contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Airtel today announced the Airtel “Ulta-Pulta” contest, in which Airtel prepaid and postpaid customers can win a luxury Honda Civic car. While the Honda Civic is priced at around Rs 11,00,000, Airtel customers have a chance to win the car for a few rupees.

This is because the “Ulta-Pulta” contest is based on the concept of a reverse auction in which the customer with the lowest and unique bid wins the Honda Civic, unlike regular auctions where the highest bid wins the product.

The customer has to call 64640 and place a bid for which he will get an SMS confirmation. Calls are charged at Rs 6 per minute and the contest closes on August 30.

Bagpiper Winners

Two local youths — Manish and Lakhwinder Singh — have won the “Ajay Se Panga” contest organised by the United Breweries group and will meet Bollywood star Ajay Devgan tomorrow at Delhi during the mega finals of the event. Besides these two youths, six from Punjab and five from Haryana too have been selected. The contest is part of a two-level consumer promotion where youths were asked to participate in exciting Bollywood stunts and games, showcasing their strength, style and smartness, across India. There were 10 such UB Group floats that covered more than 400 towns.



HDFC bank shifts branch
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
HDFC Bank, Sector 7, has shifted its branch to a more spacious location in Sector 8. The branch was inaugurated by Mr Prem Prashant, Chief Secretary, Haryana.

Ms Neena Singh, Regional Business Manager, HDFC Bank, said: “We believe that by shifting to this new location, we will be able to offer improved service to our customers.” HDFC Bank customers can avail basic services such as savings account, fixed deposits, current account.



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