C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Mystery shrouds death of 32-year-old woman
Police books husband, in-laws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
A 32-year-old woman allegedly ended her life at her Sector 23 residence this here evening. The police has booked her husband, his father, mother and elder sister on allegation of abetment to suicide and subjecting a woman to cruelty on the basis of a complaint filed by the victim’s father.

The police said Mr Ramji, the victim’s father in his complaint alleged that his son-in-law, Bajinder, his father Laxmi Chand, mother Shanti Arya and elder sister Dolly were harassing his daughter for more dowry.

The victim, Dimple Arya, a mother of two boys, was rushed to the PGI in serious condition with 80 per cent burns. She succumbed to her injuries there. The police said she was not in a condition to give a statement.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, in charge of the Sector 22 police post, Mr Dilsher Singh Chandel, said: “We initially received a call that a cylinder had burst in a house, but spot inspection showed otherwise. There was smell of kerosene and a bottle of kerosene oil was recovered from the site. There were two cylinders in a store room and both were found intact. We thought it was a case of suicide and informed the victim’s parents”.

On the other hand, neighbours maintained that they heard a loud blast and rushed out of their homes. But having failed to notice anything wrong, they went back. They said they did not hear anyone crying for help.

The store room in the backyard of the house where the incident took place was splattered with kerosene and the walls had turned black with the smoke. There were bicycle tyres in the room, but these had not caught fire. Pieces of clothes and hair were lying on the floor.

The victim, Dimple Arya, was reportedly alone at home when the incident took place at around 7:30 am. She was married eight years ago. Her mother-in-law, Shanti Arya, said: “I had gone for a walk and on they return, I found the house locked from inside. When repeated knocks went unanswered, I called our neighbours on the first floor for help. They told me that there was no one in the backyard”.

Shanti Devi said suspecting that something was wrong, she asked her neighbours to call her son from his shop in Sector 35. Her son, and husband, rushed home and broke open the door. “When my son opened the store room, he found Dimple on the floor lying motionless. He was rushed her to the PGI. By that time the police also arrived at our house.



DNA reports awaited in child swap case
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Functioning of the ESI Hospital, Ram Darbar, has come under a scanner following allegation by a woman alleging swapping of her baby boy with a baby girl of another woman admitted to the same ward in connivance with hospital staff yesterday.

The newborn baby boy of Mrs Usha was allegedly swapped with the newborn girl of Prem Sheela, another woman admitted to the same hospital, by the hospital staff soon after birth. Hailing from Bihar, both women reside in Colony No 4 and were admitted to the Ram Darbar hospital on Friday.

The complainant Usha said she gave birth to a boy but the hospital staff, in connivance with the family of Prem Sheela, swapped him with Prem Sheela’s daughter. She also claimed to have known the gender of her baby after the doctors handed him over to her soon after delivery.

After high drama witnessed in the hospital, Mrs Usha took up the matter with the Resident Welfare Association while Prem Sheela lodged a complaint with the Sector 31 police station on Saturday evening. Usha approached the same police station this morning.

Considering the gravity of the case, the hospital has decided to conduct DNA tests on both babies and the mothers.

Sources said the police had sought assistance from the General Hospital, Sector 16, in conducting the DNA tests.

Blood samples of the babies and the mothers would be taken tomorrow at the ESI Hospital. The ESI Hospital Medical Superintendent was not available for comment.

The Director, Health Services, UT, said a senior doctor had been deputed to conduct the DNA tests on the request of the UT Police.

The police has not registered a case yet. Action would be taken after the DNA reports, expected in the next two days, a senior police officer claimed.



Two youths killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Two youths hailing from Fatehabad district in Haryana were killed in a road accident late on Friday night at the Sector 36 and 37 dividing road. An unidentified vehicle rammed into their motorcycle.

According to sources in the Sector 36 police station, the victims have been identified as Amardeep Singh and Harpal Singh, both in their early-twenties. They had been putting up as paying guests in Sector 44. They were not wearing safety helmets at the time of the accident. The duo had been in the city to prepare for IELTS examinations.

The sources further said Amardeep was riding the motorcycle, while Harpal was riding pillion. They were approaching the Sector 36-37 light point from the side of Sector 36, 37, 41 and 42 roundabout when the accident took place. The Chandigarh Police beat patrolling staff reached the spot on hearing a loud noise and found the duo bleeding. They were rushed to PGI, where the doctors declared them brought dead.

The police informed the families of the deceased after recovering their contact numbers from the pockets of the victims.

A case of causing death due to rash and negligent behaviour under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC was registered at the Sector 36 Police Station.



Alleged conversions provoke protest
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 27
Supporters of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal, the BJP and the Bhartiya Jan Shakti Party, raised slogans at the Phase I police station here today in protest against the alleged attempts at conversions at a church in Phase IIIA.

The protesters had earlier in the day planned a protest near the church but was rounded up and taken to the police station. The police said the protesters wanted to disrupt the ongoing religious programme at the church which had been given clearance by the Deputy Commissioner. This, the police said, could have led to a law and order problem.

Mr Ramesh Kumar, secretary of the Mohali unit of the VHP, had alleged in a complaint to the police yesterday that certain objectionable words were said against a particular community during the programme. However, the priest of the church denied all allegations levelled by the protesters.



MC elections set to go “non-political”
After CBM, COSWAC to contest poll
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Tough days seem to be ahead for the mainstream political parties as the coming elections to the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) in December are set to go “non-political”.

Close on the heels of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) deciding to contest the civic body poll, a body of residents’ welfare associations today decided to field two to three candidates for the elections.

The Confederation of Social Welfare Associations (COSWAC), has decided “to have representation in the corporation to project the genuine concerns of the residents in the civic body”. It was felt that the monopolistic trends by certain individuals were dangerous and against the welfare of residents.

“Only those candidates should be fielded, who are eminent, socially active and have the desired will, time and determination to get the things done for the welfare of the residents,” said Col D.R. Nijhawan (retd), general secretary of the COSWAC.

Air Marshal Randhir Singh (retd), chairman, said a subcommittee had been formed to shortlist the candidates. He urged the Administration to finalise the wards early and involve NGOs in the discussions regarding their constitution.

The decision of the residents’ body to field candidates in the MCC poll is being seen as a virtual public indifference to major political parties. Over the years, it has been felt that the performance of the party councillors left much to be desired as they were apparently not selected on merit.

This is not the first time that a “non-political” entity has decided to enter the MC poll fray alleging non-performance by the councillors belonging to political parties. Recently, the CBM, representative body of the city traders, had decided to enter the poll arena and field at least two candidates to “represent its interests in the civic body in a better way”.

Organisations like the CBM and the COSWAC wield considerable influence on their members. As the winners in different wards are decided closely, the candidates of these “non-political” entities can have a far-reaching effect on the election results.

However, that will depend on the unity of these organisations. The members of these organisations have strong lobbies in almost all political parties. More often than not, the posts of office-bearers of these organisations are seen as stepping stone to councillorships or other important posts in public life.



Probe sought against HUDA officials for ‘allowing’ rehris
Tribune News Service

Dharna against jhuggi encroachments

The forum in association with 27 other residents’ welfare organisations of the city has decided to sit on a dharna tomorrow to protest against the inability of HUDA to begin the process of clearing encroachments by jhuggis despite representations.

The forum had sought allotment of land in deserving cases 10 km away from Panchkula as per a decision of the court. They will begin a dharna outside the office of the Administrator, HUDA, in Sector 6 from 10 am along with representatives of the residents’ welfare organisations.

Panchkula, August 27
The Panchkula Joint Welfare Association Forum has demanded an inquiry by the Vigilance Department and action against officials of the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), responsible for ‘encroachments’ by shopkeepers in markets and by roadside fruit and vegetable vendors.

A member of the forum, Mr SD Daid, said that when plots in commercial market were sold through auction keeping in view the population of Panchkula, HUDA allowed, on nominal rent, roadside vendors in almost all developed sectors such as in Sectors 7, 8, 9, 11, 17 among others. “Most of the rehriwalas have converted the land/rehris into shops unauthorisedly in connivance with the field staff of the Estate Office, HUDA. As a result, there is no other space for rehriwalas in addition to the space already allotted,” he said.

The enforcement wing of HUDA has now again allowed the rehriwalas to sell fruit and vegetables unauthorisedly from the rehris along the roadside in different sectors. The rehriwalas of Sector 17 and 18 are also creating insanitary conditions by throwing the rotten fruits and waste around.

Encouraged by inaction against the encroachers, more rehriwalas have now joined them and their number is growing. Moreover, they are a traffic nuisance and have been a cause of many accidents, the chairman of the forum, Mr JS Sangari stated.

The forum has suggested that since the Municipal Council is now considering giving licenses for running rehris, they should verify the antecedents of the vendors plying rehris on inner roads and on the main roads. “It appears absolutely necessary that rehri centres may be provided at different places as per requirement, preferably near shopping centres and in vegetable and fruit mandis. This will not mar the beauty of the city now dotted with rehris,” the members said.

The convener, Mr Hemant Kinger, said that only such numbers of licenses be issued as were required by the residents. Presently the number is not fixed and more and more persons are plying the rehris unauthorisedly.



City railway station to be modernised: Bansal
Assures more train services to Kerala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Union Minister of State for Finance and Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal today announced that the Chandigarh railway station was being planned as one of the most modern railway stations in the region.

He was addressing members of the Kerala Samajam, Chandigarh, who celebrated Onam at the Pastoral Centre of Christ, King Cathedral, Sector 19, here.

The celebrations were inaugurated by Chairman of the Department of Indian Theatre, Panjab University, Kumar Verma, while Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal was the chief guest.

He assured the members that he would try his best to increase the frequency of the Kerala Sampark Kranti for the convenience of those travelling to Kerala from the city. Currently, the train runs once a week.

Mr C. Haridas Menon, president of the samajam, extended a hearty welcome to all. The cultural programme started with a group song by Aarthi, Archana Arunima, Anumpama and Anjali. It was followed by solo dance performance by Aathira, Surya.

Songs of Onam sung by Balakrishnan Venugopalan and Pankajam left the audience spellbound.

Mr Bansal distributed prizes to the performers. Dr John V. George, ADGP, Haryana, Mr Sheju Peter, district governor of the Rotary Club, and Mr Sujit Haridas, Regional Director of the CII, also graced the occasion.

A sumptuous feast consisting of 21 vegetarian delicacies was specially prepared for the occasion and served traditionally on banana leaves. Mr D. Reghu, secretary of the samajam, extended a vote of thanks.



Give more money for cow milk, farmers tell govt
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 27
The Dairy Farmers Welfare Association (North India) has urged the Punjab Government to ensure that Milkfed gives a minimum of Rs 14 per litre for cow milk to make it profitable for dairy farms.

The association, at a meeting held in Jagatpura village under the presidentship of Mr Kulwant Singh Kaler, said Milkfed was purchasing milk of the HF breed of cow at Rs 9 per litre when the cost of production to the farmer came to Rs 12 per litre. It said the farmer was not getting the proper price for milk even though the cost of inputs had doubled in the past two years.

The association also demanded that domestic rates instead of commercial, should be charged for electricity supplied to dairy farmers. Besides, the government should make available medicines used at dairy farms at subsidised rates at all veterinary hospitals and dispensaries.

The association said that insurance companies generally preferred to insure animals which had been financed by banks. Such companies should insure all animals in general and remove clauses in various schemes so that farmers did not face difficulties while making insurance claims.

It further demanded that mastitis, a disease that was often found in cows, should also be covered under insurance schemes.

The association appreciated the milk-testing camps which had been held by the Dairy Development Department in the past few days.



Special show for special children
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
It was a special show for special children. A small gesture by renowned magician OP Sharma brought big smiles on the faces of hundreds of destitute children today.

In fact, it was carnival time for the children and senior citizens at Neelam Theatre, Sector 17, today. A special magic show was held for the inmates of the Missionaries of Charity, Children’s Home, Sector 47, and the Old Age Home.

Right from the word go after formal inauguration by a visibly amused Ms Jean Rodrigues, it was fun and frolic for the children. An overwhelming majority of them had come to watch the show, organised in association with the Don Bosco Navjeevan Centre for the first time in their lives.

Be it raising a woman’s body in the air and making it disappear by pulling the cloth over her or disappearance of an elephant from stage, the children seemed to enjoy every bit of the show and gave the magician a thunderous applause.

“It was a dream come true. I never imagined that I would ever watch a live magic show as buying tickets for it is a costly affair,” said Akash. It was better than any movie, added Renuka, as she fumbled for words.

“It was a unique gesture by OP Sharma to give a few hours of happiness to the underprivileged children and break their monotonous routine,”said Father Sebastian Jose, Associate Director of the Don Bosco Navjeevan Centre.

“For these children, it was the first magic show and for senior citizens it could be the last. Nothing could be more satisfying than bringing a smile on the faces of these sections of society,” added Mr S.D. Kalia, secretary-general of the Senior Citizens Council.

OP Sharma said free shows were part of his social commitment to take magic to those sections of society which could not afford to watch the shows. “Wherever our team goes, free shows are part of our programme,” he claimed.

He, however, regretted while a majority of states exempted the magic shows from entertainment tax, the Chandigarh Administration was yet to take a decision on it.

“I have even offered to contribute the total exempted tax amount to the UT Red Cross, yet there has been no response from the Administration to my proposal,” he added.



Energy security discussed at seminar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Experts in the field today discussed various aspects of the nation's energy security and the implications of the recent Indo-US nuclear deal at a seminar organised here by the Indian Doctors for Peace Development.

Questioning the economic viability of nuclear power generation, Dr Arun Mitra from Ludhiana said it was an incorrect assumption that energy needs of the country could only be met through nuclear power generation.

Former Panjab University Vice-Chancellor M.M.Puri, who presided over the seminar, remarked that the 21st century would witness a massive shift to gas-based energy. This, however, he added, did not imply that nuclear energy should be dispensed with.

Prof Rakesh Dutta from the Centre for Defence and National Security, Panjab University, said the Indo-US deal was not only about energy, but politics as well. He was of the opinion that it might mark a shift in the Indian foreign policy.



Ganesha Chaturthi celebrated
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, August 27
The 250 Maharashtrian families settled in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula celebrated Ganesha Chaturthi in traditional style today.

Gathering at Maharashtra Bhavan in Sector 19 this evening, the families participated in strength in the auspicious “Ganpati idol” installation ceremony, also called “sthapna”.

Said Mr M.B. Sane, chairman of the Sarvjanik Ganeshotsava Samity, which organised the event: “The day is auspicious for the commencement of new projects. This day is known as the day that witnesses maximum release of spiritual waves which rid the environment of profanity and instill sacred elements.”

After installing the Ganesha idol, the Maharashtrians engaged in a long prayer session which was solemnised by renowned priest P.M. Khole. They chanted mantras, invoking blessings of the Lord.

The five-day celebrations will end with the immersion of the Ganesha idol in the Ghaggar. The idol, it may be mentioned, has been procured from Mumbai and it is a special mud idol which is easily degradable in river waters.



Gold jewellery stolen from two houses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
Mr Vinod Kumar of Sector 51 reported to the police alleging that two gold sets, two gold rings, three pairs of gold ear rings, 100 coins, a digital camera, clothes and Rs 12,000 were stolen from his residence during the intervening night of August 26 and 27. In another incident, Mr Vinod Kumar of Colony Number 5 filed a complaint with the police alleging that gold tops, a gold ring and other silver ornaments were stolen from his residence during the intervening night of August 20 and 21. Two separate cases of thefts were registered.

Mobile snatched

In yet another snatching incident in the city two unidentified motorcyclist snatched a mobile phone from Sector 34 yesterday.

Mr Sandeep Bagra of Sector 33-C lodged a complaint with the police alleging that two miscreants riding on a Bajaj Pulsar motor cycle snatched his mobile phone from near his residence. A case was registered.

Held for theft

Mr Ram Asra of Partapgarh in Uttar Pradesh lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Chetan Ram of Uttar Pradesh was caught red-handed while stealing his bag containing clothes from the Sector 17, ISBT on Saturday. The police arrested the accused and recovered the stolen property from his possession. A case was registered.


A pedestrian, Mr Arman of Attawa village sustained injuries after being hit by a jeep (CH-03-Q-7316) near the gurdwara in the same locality on August 24. The jeep driver allegedly fled the spot. A case was registered.



Two held for cheating
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 27
The police has booked two persons, including a patwari, on a charge of cheating.

According to the police, the Land Acquisition Collector of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) had complained that Mr Sat Pal, patwari, and Mr Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Aujla village, had twice taken the compensation amount for 11.9 marla of land which was acquired by PUDA.

When PUDA got to know of the conspiracy of the two persons, it demanded that an additional amount be returned to PUDA as it had been wrongly claimed.

The police further said the compensation amount wrongly claimed was returned to PUDA, but the interest on that amount, which was about Rs 5.50 lakh, was not paid to the PUDA authorities by two persons.

The police has registered a case under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC in this regard.



Now focus shifts to rural tourism
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 27
With an aim to tap the huge potential in rural tourism and help in the economic uplift of villagers, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has asked banks to finance home- based rural tourism projects, by offering refinance assistance.

Banks have been asked to recognise various activities under promotion of home-based rural tourism for lending; provide loans for construction of new or additional accommodation and its repair and renovation; working capital loans for related activities; and provide loans for production systems under agri-tourism.

Well-placed sources informed TNS that the scheme had been launched after NABARD conducted studies, revealing that certain specific pockets in rural areas like those near beaches, river banks and places of pilgrimage offered scope for development of eco-tourism, craft-based tourism, folk tourism and agriculture tourism. Such tourism, if developed, will lead to employment generation, arrest migration of rural population and supplement income of farming families.

NABARD has decided to develop two or three clusters each in 10 states on a pilot basis as "tourism clusters". These clusters will be developed, taking into account infrastructure requirements, capacity building needs of service providers and credit requirements. While capacity building needs will be developed by NABARD through its promotional funds, banks will address the credit needs of these clusters.

Banks will provide term loans for construction of related infrastructure like marketing outlets and malls, auditoriums and theatres, public toilets, internet cafes and PCO- STDs; adventure sports etc. Under this scheme, banks have also been asked to finance promotion and publicity of these tourism places, including website development and use of non-conventional energy, water harvesting and recycling. Even for procuring essential fixtures, including kitchen appliances and white goods, furniture and furnishings, the banks have been asked to extend term loans and working capital.

Officials said a loan of up to Rs 15 lakh would be provided for new construction; up to Rs 10 lakh for expansion and repairs of existing accommodation and Rs 3 lakh as working capital loan. The loan assistance may be for a repayment period of three to 15 years; with instalments payable in monthly/quarterly/half-yearly/annual installments. This scheme has a moratorium period of six to 18 months from the date of disbursement.



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