C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Chandigarh gets another landmark
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service


  • Largest war memorial in country with names of 8,500 martyrs.
  • Designed by CCA students Shivani Guglani and Nanki Singh.
  • Project unveiled by General Jacob on April 28,2003.
  • Kalam terms it as a "noble venture".

Chandigarh, August 17
In the Chandigarh War Memorial, a memorial constructed by the Unique Citizens' Initiative-led Indian Express Group in collaboration with the Chandigarh Administration, in the Bougainvillea Garden, Sector 3 here, the city has got another landmark.

The Rs 78-lakh war memorial, which was dedicated to the nation today by the President and supreme commander of the armed forces, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, will be the largest war memorial in the country recording the names of about 8,500 post-Independence martyrs from the three services.

The project was designed by two students of the Chandigarh College of Architecture--Shivani Guglani and Nanki Singh."The challenge of designing the memorial was given to the architecture students as we wanted to impart freshness to the magnificent memorial", said Lieut-Gen JFR Jacob(Retd), former Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, during whose tenure the idea was conceptualised in 2003. The inaugural ceremony was performed by the Administrator, Gen SF Rodrigues(Retd), on June 11,2005. It was in record time that the UT Engineering executed the project, informed Mr SK Sandhu, Finance Secretary.

The last over three years--from the concept stage to its concrete form-- have shown public-private partnership at its best.Unlike other memorials, which are constructed by the armed forces or the government, the Chandigarh War Memorial has been funded entirely through contributions from the people--Indians and NRIs besides corporates.

"The war memorial has been a mission for us as we believe that journalism is not about chronicling the events and people around us. It's also about being part of the nation's journey and people's lives," said Mr Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief of The Indian Express.

Patriotic fervour engulfed the memorial site with invitees, a majority of them retired decorated soldiers and serving defence officers, trooping the venue well before the President's arrival. It was a proud moment for them as they walked briskly with gallantry medals affixed on their chests.

As the President laid a wreath at the memorial, a two-minute silence was observed to pay respect to the martyrs. Schoolchildren from St Anne's School and Shishu Niketan seemed delighted to welcome Dr Kalam. Even as the Army band was in attendance, local singers sang patriotic songs.



Rajinder Rana Mohali MC chief
Balbir Sidhu group has its way
Our Correspondent

Mr Rajinder Singh Rana and his supporters in a jubilant mood after he was elected MC President in an election held at Municipal Bhavan, Sector 68, Mohali, on Thursday
Mr Rajinder Singh Rana and his supporters in a jubilant mood after he was elected MC President in an election held at Municipal Bhavan, Sector 68, Mohali, on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, August 17
Mr Rajinder Singh Rana was elected President of the Mohali Municipal Council at an election held amid tight security at Municipal Bhavan in Sector 68 here today.

Mr Rana got 19 votes while his rival, Mr Bharat Bhushan Maini, got 12 votes. There are 31 councillors in the civic body. The election was held by show of hands.

Though there are 11 women councillors in the civic body, nobody’s name was proposed for any of the three posts.

The name of Mr Rana was proposed by Mr Kuljeet Singh Aulakh and seconded by Ms Amteshwar Kaur, while Mr Maini’s name was proposed by Mr Amrik Singh and seconded by Mr Sukhminder Singh.

Mr Rishiv Jain, who got 19 votes, was elected Senior Vice-President of the council, while Mr Harmanpreet Singh was elected Vice-President by getting 12 votes.

Mr Bir Devinder, Kharar MLA, who is an ex officio member of the civic body with voting right, stayed away from the elections.

The election was conducted by Mr Narinder Singh Sangha, SDM, Dera Bassi, who was appointed convener for the purpose by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh.

Mr Sangha said Mr Maini and his supporters had requested that the election should be held through secret ballot but this could not be done as rules did not permit it.

Nineteen councillors owing allegiance to Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, president of the Mohali district unit of the Congress, came to the council office in a bus. Mr Sidhu himself led the group to the office where the election was held.

It is reported that all 19 councillors were out of the town with Mr Sidhu for the past many days.

Tight security was in place for the election. Nobody, except councillors and mediapersons, were allowed to enter the premises of the council office. Mediapersons were made to sit in a room on the ground floor and were not allowed to go even on the second floor of the building where the election was held.

Around 50 police personnel were put on duty at various points. The security arrangements were personally supervised by Mr Varinder Pal Singh, SP (City), who was accompanied by Mr R.K. Sharma, DSP, Mr Satnam Singh, SHO of the Phase I police station, and Mr Rajinder Singh Sohal, SHO of the central police station.

A large number of persons had gathered outside the office of the council when the election was held and the victory of the Sidhu group was celebrated with slogans and drum beats.

Some residents from ward No. 24 raised slogans against Mr Mukandi Singh alleging that he had ditched the voters of his ward by siding with the Sidhu group. They even alleged that money had played a role in the game of changing sides.

Mr Mukandi Singh, however, reportedly told newspersons that the allegations against him were baseless. He claimed he had joined the ruling group so that he was able to carry out development works in his ward. That would not have been possible by staying in the Opposition group, he said.



‘Development top priority’

Mohali, August 17
Mr Rajinder Singh Rana said today that development of the town would be his top priority.
Mr Rana, who is said to be very close to Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, president of the Mohali district unit of the Congress, said all councillors would work unitedly for the betterment of the town. He said the condition of roads, parks and sanitation would be improved. — OC



Experts examine damage to Ghaggar bridge
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, August 17
A team of experts from Bangalore and Mumbai today examined the extent of the damage caused to the Ghaggar Bridge on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway to ascertain if the damage was repairable. The team from GMR Ambala-Chandigarh Express Private Limited, which is currently involved in four-laning of the highway, will take the crucial decision on repairing or re-building the bridge on Saturday.

The bridge built in 1952 has over the years been repeatedly damaged near span No. 5 from the Ambala side, which is span No. 8 from the Chandigarh side. On earlier occasions, the bridge was repaired by building a brick support in the form of a pillar and carrying out concrete patchwork. But, with the flow of traffic increasing manifold on the highway, a repair job is unlikely to serve a long term purpose.

As per indications, experts are likely to take a decision in favour of rebuilding a wider bridge with four lanes. It may be recalled that the bridge was closed for heavy traffic for over a week from November 30, 2004, following a “depression” was noticed in one of its spans.

Though the decision will be taken on the basis of “time” and “cost” factors, the general opinion of the experts is that the bridge is over 50 years old and has already lived its life. So, most civil engineers working with the project are of the view that only a new bridge will serve a long-term purpose.

Rough estimates by officials of the GMR Ambala-Chandigarh Express Private Limited have put the cost of a new bridge at around Rs 15 crore.

Heavy traffic, including trucks, buses, tractor-trailers and load carrying vehicles, continue to be diverted to various routes. The Chandigarh-Delhi heavy traffic is being diverted through Banur on the Tepla road after taking a turn from Zirakpur, while the traffic from Shimla is being diverted from Majri Chowk to Yamunanagar. Traffic from Ambala to Panchkula is using the Dera Bassi-Ramgarh road. Cars and two wheelers are being allowed on the bridge, one side of traffic at a time. The traffic police has been deployed on the spot. 



Rape probe hinges on lab reports
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Investigations by the Chandigarh Police into the case of a Bengali maid, who was allegedly raped by SAD MLA from Dhuri and Tamil Nadu Governor’s son Gaganjit Singh Barnala, has come to a standstill, pending lab reports that are likely to shed light into the case.

A senior officer of the Chandigarh Police said fluids found on the vaginal swabs are likely to provide vital clues. Quoting doctors, police officials said doctors at the Sector 16 General Hospital had found discharge on the victim’s body while examining her. However, it would only be established in court on the basis of medical reports, they added.

Meanwhile, a local court today deferred the bail application of Gaganjit Singh till August 19. Sources in the crime branch said the victim narrated the whole sequence of events when she was taken to Gaganjit’s residence at MLA Flats in Sector 3 on Wednesday.

Asked about whether any security arrangements had been made for the victim, the UT Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Mr Gaurav Yadav, said, “We have already informed the Mohali Police about it. Though we have not asked it to provide her security, yet we have told them to assess the threat perception.”

However, the Mohali SSP, Mr Naunihal Singh, said, “No formal security has been provided since we have not received any written request from the UT police in this regard. Keeping in mind the sensitivity of the case, surveillance has been stepped up in and around the victim’s house.” 



Demand for Chandigarh Capital Region
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 17
Demanding the formation of a Chandigarh Capital Region on the lines of the National Capital Region, members of the Panchkula Punjabi Sabha said that Panchkula and Mohali have been allowed to establish by their respective states, under the Punjab Reorganisation Act 1966 and have to be kept, on a par with Chandigarh, since they fall within the Capital periphery.

Speaking at a press conference today, the president, Mr Hemant Kinger, said that no periphery Act had been imposed on them and colonies within the green belt area were mushrooming everywhere. “Zirakpur has already been made NAC (Notified Area Committee), now Naya Gaon and Kansal villages are also being converted into NAC. The citizens of Chandiarh and surrounding areas want to avail of opportunities but they also want the “livebility” of the city Chandigarh preserved,” Mr Kinger said.

“The Union Government and UT Administration should find the middle way. Chandigarh should be merged with Panchkula, SAS Nagar, Zirakpur, Dera Bassi, Lalru, Ramgarh, Kalka and Baddi in the “UT Chandigarh Capital Region” in an approximately 30-km area. The purpose is not only planning but also providing the same standard of facilities, education, medical, taxation, transportation, law and order that are provided in UT with the aid of the Central Government on the lines of the of National Capital Region New Delhi,” the chairman, Mr JS sangari, said.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister, has already supported the idea of formation of UT Chandigarh Capital Region, as UT Chandigarh has limited area and with its satellite townships Mohali and Panchkula, left with little space for expansion, periphery areas of Dera Bassi, Zirakpur and Kharar have merged as a natural option when it comes to catering to the housing needs, they stated.

The members said that practically no incentive was being provided to the entrepreneurs in the industrial area in the city. “Resultantly, they hesitate to run their industries here,” the members demanded.



Draft notice on inclusion of five villages in MC

Chandigarh, August 17
Paving the way for inclusion of five villages within the Municipal Corporation limits, the Chandigarh Administration today issued a draft notification in this regard. The villages to be included in the MC limits are Hallo Majra, Kajheri, Palsora, Dadu Majra and Maloya.

Confirming the development, a senior official said the move was part of the Administration’s decision to include all UT villages within the municipal limits in a phased manner.

“Though no cut-off date for the entire shift has been provided at the moment, the process will be completed at the earliest”, the official said.

He said a 15-day notice would be given to residents, to raise objections. With the inclusion of five villages in the list of MC wards, a total of 13 villages would be left out, which would be included later in a phased manner.

With this, there will be an increase in the number of MC wards, currently 20. The MC was also set to include new sectors in its list, including Sectors 48, 49, 50 and 51. — TNS



Women allowed to be Lieut-Cols
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Following a revision of policy, the Army has started promoting women officers to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Due to a lacuna in the implementation of the recommendations of the AV Singh Committee, instances cropped up where two women officers were first allowed to wear badges of the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, but were later reverted to Major.

The Air Force has already promoted eligible women officers to the rank of Wing Commander.

Officers from the first batch of technical and administrative streams donned the wing commander’s epaulets in July, an Air Force spokesperson said.

Sources revealed revised instructions to promote women officers to the rank of lieutenant-colonel were circulated to various formations and establishments a few days ago.

Consequent to the implementation of the committee recommendations, armed forces officers were entitled to be promoted as lieutenant-colonel after 13 years of reckonable service. This made women officers, whose period of engagement is up to 14 years, eligible to become Lieutenant-Colonels.

Detailed instructions issued by the Military Secretary’s Branch at Army Headquarters in this regard earlier, however, were silent on the aspect of promotion of women officers. It was only later that the oversight was discovered.

At present, the annual intake of women officers in the Army is 150. While the intake has been by and large commensurate with the vacancies, there was a slight shortfall last year, with 141 vacancies being filled.

Till now women officers, except those in the Army Medical Corps and Military Nursing Service, could only rise up till the rank of major and equivalent in other services.

While women officers in the IAF’s ground duty streams have become wing commanders, those in the flying branch are yet to complete the required reckonable

The first batch of technical officers was inducted in 1993, while women pilots came in a few years later.



Punjab, Haryana Ratan awards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
The All-India Conference of Intellectuals has announced the Punjab and Haryana Ratan awards. The conference, on the occasion of its silver jubilee celebration year 2006, has decided to honour Mr S. Marriya, Principal D.A.V College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, Mr Nek Chand, creator of Rock Garden and Dr R.C. Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh, with Punjab Ratan award for their outstanding contribution in their respective fields.

In addition to these, Principal Bharpur Singh, secretary, SGGS Complex, Mohali, Dr Harpinder Singh Chawla, chairman of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry, Dr Vijay Gupta, Director, PEC, Chandigarh, Mr Kewal Singh Dhillon, Chairman, Punjab Arts Council, Chandigarh, Mr Ranjit Singh Grewal, Nishan Media (India) (P) Ltd, Mohali, Mr G. Munjal, CMD, Ind Swift Ltd, Chandigarh, have also been awarded with the Punjab Ratan.

The Haryana Ratan Awards are being conferred on Prof R.S. Dhankar, Vice-Chancellor, MD University, Rohtak, Dr J.C. Katyal, Vice-Chancellor, Hisar Agriculture University, Hisar and Ms Suman Raheja, Parag and Company, Gurgaon. Dr. O.P Bajpai Director, Education and Technology, University of Kurukshetra and Mr V.K. Arora, CEO, L.T. Overseas Ltd, Mr N.K.Minda, MD Mindarika Pvt Ltd Gurgaon, Mr Arun Walia, senior Advocate General, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh and Mr A.K.Nanda, Technical Advisor, HSF of Coop Sugar, Haryana. These awards would be presented at a ceremony on August 20 at 10 am at Bhargava Auditorium, PGI. 



Commuters put to inconvenience
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
It was chaos all the way. Hundreds of commuters on the busy Madhya Marg were put to inconvenience this morning due to traffic jams and diversions during the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s visit to the city. The commuters had to struggle for over half an hour each twice in the morning in an attempt to find their way through the jams.

The situation was not much different on roads running parallel to the Madhya Marg as a large number of commuters took alternative routes to their destinations, resulting in rush on these roads. The worst affected were office-goers as some of them reached their work places late.

The Sector 26 market on the Madhya Marg wore a deserted look for about two hours in the morning as the police blocked the entrance to the market. People had to walk extra yards as cops prevented them from leaving behind their vehicles in some parking lots on the Madhya Marg. Business remained sluggish for shopkeepers during the morning hours. However, a senior police officer said the market was not closed and business not affected. He added shopkeepers and buyers were asked to park their vehicles behind the market place.

It all started at about 10 am. Even before the President’s cavalcade left the civil airport here for the Bougainvillea Garden in Sector 3, the police blocked the link roads.

Police sources said a large number of city cops were deployed for the President’s visit. These included snipers belonging to the operations cell of the Chandigarh Police who were assisted by paramilitary personnel, deployed for maintaining vigil all along the route.

Special checks were also carried at the railway station, hotels, motels, guesthouses and dhabas all over the city. The checks continued till the President left the city at about 11.50 am. 



Probe ordered into mass female foeticide case

Chandigarh, August 17
The Punjab Government has ordered a high-level inquiry into the mass female foeticide case at Patran in Patiala district.
The Secretary, Health Department, Mr Darbara Singh Guru, said today that the Health Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, had appointed the Commissioner of Patiala Division, Mrs Anjali Bhawara, an inquiry officer into the case.

She had been asked to probe all aspects of the case, including any lapses on the part of Health Department officials that led to the episode.

Mr Singla had also asked Mrs Bhawara to enquire into the role of officials responsible for implementing the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act ( MTPA). TNS



“Appearance Day”

Chandigarh, August 17
The local unit of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) celebrated the Appearance Day of its founder spiritual master His Divine Grace A.C. Bhakti Vedant Swami Prabhupada at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B, here today.
A large number of ISKCON devotees thronged the temple on the occasion, according to Akinchan Priya Dasa, a spokesman of ISKCON. TNS



Dreaded kidnapper held from Dehra Dun
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
The Haryana police has apprehended a dreaded criminal, who specialised in kidnapping people for ransom as well as extortion. The alleged criminal, Vijay Valmiki, belonging to Narwana in Jind district, was arrested by a special team headed by the SP, Fatehabad, Mr Saurabh Singh, from Dehra Dun in Uttaranchal yesterday.

The Director-General of Haryana police, Mr Nirmal Singh, told TNS today that the Inspector-General of Hisar police range, Mr Yash Pal Singal, had constituted special teams in three districts of Fatehabad, Jind and Hisar to apprehend Vijay.

The tip-off about Vijay’s presence in Dehradun came when the Fatehabad police arrested one of his accomplices, Ravinder Kumar, alias Ravi, on August 14. During interrogation, Ravi revealed that Vijay, who had absconded from the custody of the Punjab police on November 23, 2005, was staying in Dehra Dun. Vijay was being held by the Punjab police in connection with a double murder case in Sangrur.

Mr Nirmal Singh said a Maruti Zen car bearing a Punjab registration number was also recovered from Vijay. Ravi told the police that Vijay was trigger-happy. The best time to apprehend him was from 6 am to 8 am when he was slightly careless about his security. He did not trust anyone.

The police party which arrested Vijay was greatly helped by what Ravi had told it about Vijay’s habits and nature.

Vijay entered the criminal world in 1995. A school dropout, Vijay figured in 22 cases, including one of murder, three of kidnapping, three of extortion and several cases of theft and dacoity. His area of operation was Narwana, Uchana, Tohana and Kurukshetra in Haryana, and Khanaur and Sangrur in Punjab.

He was allegedly involved the sensational kidnapping cases of Ishwar Dass Bansal of Kurukshetra and Hemant Gupta, a wholesale medicine dealer of Hisar. The police suspects that a huge ransom was paid in the two cases, though no one admitted having paid to Vijay for their release.

Police sources say Vijay headed a 30-member gang. He was one of the most wanted criminals by the Haryana police.

Vijay has been remanded in police custody till August 21 by a Tohana court. The police is hopeful that his interrogation would lead to arrest of more dreaded criminals. 



Trader booked for fraud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
The local police booked a local trader on allegations of cheating and fraudulently using the trade mark of another city-based trader. Sources in the Sector 11 police station said Mr Padam Jindal of Raju Foods Phase I, Industrial Area, lodged a complaint that Satya Bhagwan of M/s Ami Lal, SCF 160, Grain Market, Sector 26, had been using his trade mark and supplying pickle to a Sector 25-based school.

The matter came to light when the school approached him complaining about poor quality of the pickle. The accused reportedly supplied 10 cartons of pickle weighing 15 kg each to the school. On receiving the complaint, Mr Jindal reported the matter to the police.

The police has registered a case under Section 420 of the IPC and Section 104 of the Trade Mark Act, 1999. The police said efforts were on to arrest the accused.

Liquor seized: The local police has seized 21 cartons of liquor allegedly being smuggled in a jeep from near the Tribune Chowk during a naka. However, the jeep driver managed to give the slip to the police.

Sources in the Sector 31 police station said, cops spotted a jeep (DL-4CD-0610) coming from Zirakpur, whose driver on seeing the cops at the naka turned away his vehicle arousing suspicion. The police signalled him to stop, but he sped away and then ran away abandoning his vehicle.

A search of the vehicle led to recovery of 21 cartons of whiskey. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.



Five attacked with swords

Chandigarh, August 17
Residents of Daddu Majra Colony were stabbed by five persons near Congress Bhavan in Sector 15 late last night. The police said an old feud was the reason behind the attack and booked five persons on allegations of attempt to murder, rioting and criminal intimidation.

The police said Mr Joginder Singh of Daddu Majra Colony reported to the police that he was on his way back home along with his relative Deepu on his motor cycle when they were attacked by Rinku of the same colony.

Rinku was accompanied with four persons, who allegedly attacked them with swords.

The police said Joginder had been referred to the PGI as he had sustained serious injuries in the abdomen while Deepu was discharged from the Sector 16 General Hospital. TNS



Ex-MLA’s son fires into air; assaults securityman
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, August 17
Panic gripped the Silver City Extension on the Chandigarh-Ambala road here when Tejveer Singh, a son of a former MLA from Kharar late Bachhittar Singh, fired in the air and allegedly assaulted two persons, including a security guard, on Tuesday.

According to the police, Tejveer Singh, along with his friends and two gunmen, was having a party at Flat No 207 owned by Jaswinder Singh. However, following an argument, Tejveer allegedly fired in the air and assaulted Inderjit Singh. As they were trying to flee after firing in the air, a security guard, Tripathi, was also assaulted by them when he tried to intercept their vehicles.

A case has been registered.



Ford certification for local dealer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 17
Ford India today certified Bhagat Ford here as Asia Pacific’s first body shop quality care dealer for the company. The BSQC certification team comprising Mr Nigel Wark, Director, Customer Service Operations, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa, Mr Scott Mc Cormack, vice-president, Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford India, and the Shane Eagle, programme manager, conducted an onsite audit and handed over the certificate to Mr Raj Naresh Singh, dealer Principal of Bhagat Ford.

Talking to newspersons, Mr Mc Cormack, said that Ford had big plans for India. “Currently, the capacity of our plant near Chennai is 100,000 units and we are producing only 40 per cent of the total capacity.

Over the next couple of years, we will be launching new sedan models,” he said.

Mr Wark said there were no immediate plans to launch a small car in India. 



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