C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT apartment rules likely to stay
High-level panel prepares report
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
Chandigarh apartment Rules, 2001, envisaging more housing infrastructure in the existing area are likely to stay in the Union Territory. A recommendation in this regard has been made by a high-level sub-committee constituted by the Chandigarh Administration.

The sub-committee will submit the recommendations to the committee on “Chandigarh Perspectives” which also includes the Directors of PGI, PEC and Mr M.N. Sharma, a senior architect, besides the members on the sub-committee.

The apartment rules provide for individual ownership on different floors. A plot less than 1400 square yards can have three housing structures while those in above 1400 square yards can have six.

The committee has been constituted following representation by certain prominent residents of the city submitting a memorandum to Mrs Sonia Gandhi, president of the All India Congress Committee, asking to maintain a status quo. Ms Ambika Soni, a senior Congress leader, has also spoken on the issue.

The sub-committee comprised Mr Sudhir Vohra, a leading architect from Delhi, Mr S.D. Sharma, an expert on architecture, Ms Madhu Sareen, Mr S.K. Sandhu, the Finance Secretary, Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, the Chief Engineer and the Chief Architect.

Reliable sources said that the apartment rules do not provide for any increased height or any increased cover area on any plot except that laid in the masterplan.

A senior officer pointed out that there will be no compromise with the green cover in the UT in context of more constructions. “Any increase in height has to be in proportion to the green area and no compromise will be made to this regard”, the official added.

Increased demand for housing space due to family partition is one of the biggest reasons cited for defending the new apartment Rules. There is greater demand for space due to inheritance requirements in a changed family structure.

The city has also witnessed a greater influx of population from outstation requiring more space for housing. Certain old people want lesser space to stay and want to sell a portion of the existing space to earn some money.

The committee has suggested that the apartment rules be continued, subject to certain conditions. A housing complex with six flats should provide for parking at least 12 vehicles and also provide for residential quarters for servants.

For the time being, the administration has stayed any construction in different parts of the city which had begun under the Act.

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Rain floods city roads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
If Met Department measurements are anything to go by, it rained a trace in the city today. On the city roads, however, the situation remained messy, much to the discomfort of commuters who were stranded for as long as it poured. And supposedly, it only poured a trace.

Yet, the roads were flooded – the worst being roundabouts of southern sectors like 33, 34, 43, 44 and 45. Even in northern sectors the situation was bad, with waters logging at every possible corner. Southern sectors were more hit by the flooding problem as they are all low-lying.

For the second consecutive day, the chinks in the armour of city’s engineering department stood revealed. Poor drainage in the wake of monsoons is something that has bothered an otherwise-well-planned city for long. Only its roads become rivers when rains arrive.

So was it today when it suddenly started to pour. Much like yesterday, the hour was 4 pm. The saving grace today was that all government offices were closed, sparing the roads of traffic snarls. Traffic was disrupted nevertheless around the busy Sector 17 and 22 roundabouts, leading right up to Aroma light points where vehicles moved like snails as traffic queues grew longer following rains.

Inside roads of sectors were also flooded as usual. Traffic clogging was however not as severe as yesterday. In several areas of the city, the work of laying underground pipes suffered as the dug up earth was washed away in rains. The worst hit were two wheeler riders, who suffered a double whammy – one from the downpour and another from car drivers who barely spared a thought before zooming past the flooded roads in their vehicles.

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Gaganjit case: victim stands by rape charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
A day after the DNA test report in the Gaganjit Singh Barnala’s rape case turned out to be inconclusive, the Chandigarh police initiated the process of filing the challan in the local courts. A senior official said the challan would be filed within the next few days.

The victim, a resident of Nayagoan who worked as a masseur in Barnala’s house, was allegedly raped on August 12.

While talking to media persons, the victim reiterated her earlier version. “ I do not care whether the DNA test was positive or negative. I have suffered and will stick to the true account of the events as have been recorded by the police.”

Family sources of the Barnalas said though it was a positive development, no comment would be made at this stage as it could spoil the case. The wife of the sitting MLA, Mrs Harpreet Kaur, was not available for comments today. “Only Gaganjit will talk after being released on bail,” said his close relative.

In the light of the inconclusive DNA test report, the family was weighing the option of either filing a bail application or file a case for quashing of the First Information Report (FIR).

The defence counsel of the MLA in the district courts indicated that the application could be moved on next Monday, the day the police was planning to submit the challan.

“Since the DNA report has come, the statement of the victim has been recorded. Some clarification regarding the medico-legal reports would be sought,” said the Senior Superintendent of Police, Chandigarh, Mr Gaurav Yadav.

Another official said there was sufficient evidence on Gaganjit’s involvement in rape. The victim’s statement to the police that Gaganjit Singh had raped her was enough in this case, he said.

A few days ago, the Chandigarh police had written to the Director, Health Services, Chandigarh, seeking certain clarifications about the medico-legal report (MLR) of the eviction.

The police has sought opinion on the approximate time when the bleeding started, time elapsed, extend of blood loss, whether the injury can be due to forced sex or by a sharp-edged weapon.

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Unhappy with school, boy stages own kidnapping
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
A 15-year-old student of Government High School, Sector 46, staged a fake kidnapping to pressure his parents to change his school as he was allegedly being harassed.

While the family of Sunil Kumar spent two sleepless nights waiting for him to return, he kept making calls at his home posing as the kidnapper. “The kidnapper kept asking the boys’ parents to change the school of the boy. This raised our doubt as no demand for ransom was made”, said a police official at the Sector 34 police station.

The kidnapping drama was unfolded today when the boy after being taken in custody from the Saharanpur railway station revealed that he faked the kidnapping as his father was not willing to change the school. The boy told the police that the teacher was harassing him as he had been wrongly named by another boy for teasing a girl in the school.

The police started investigating the case after the boy’s father, Ram Lakhan, lodged a complaint that his son did not return after he left for his tuition in Burail.

The boy called up his parents from the Sector 17 bus stand and the Sharanpur railway station. The phone calls were tracked by the police.

While talking to his family, he changed his voice and kept saying that the school was not good. “In one of the calls, he said the science paper of the boy had been destroyed by the school authorities”, the police said.

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Over 200 Tribune employees donate blood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
The Tribune Employees Union organised a blood donation camp to mark the death anniversary of Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, founder of The Tribune Trust, here today.

“Do not shed blood. donate it”, was the message given by speakers at the 25th camp at which more than 200 Tribune employees donated blood for the noble cause.

Dr R.P. Bambah and Justice S.S. Sodhi, Trustees of The Tribune Trust, extended their good wishes to the union and the donors.

Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune group of newspapers, congratulated the union leadership on continuing its noble tradition of organising such camps on various occasions. He hoped the union would keep this tradition alive in the future, too. Mr Dua complimented Dr J.G. Jolly, a pioneer of the blood donation movement in the region, on motivating the public to participate in the noble cause voluntarily.

Mr Sanjay Hazari, General Manager of The Tribune group, visited the camp and donated blood. Mr A.J. Philip, Senior Associate Editor of The Tribune, Mr Naresh Kaushal, Editor, Dainik Tribune, and Mr G.S. Sidhu Damdami, Editor, Punjabi Tribune, also visited the camp.

Mr O.P. Arora, Additional General Manager, The Tribune group, said there was no better way of paying tributes to the founder than donating blood. Dr Neelam Marwaha, Head of the Transfusion Medicine Department of the PGIMER, Chandigarh, said a single unit of blood saved three lives.

Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, president of the union, said the employees of the organisation were always in the forefront in contributing to social and national causes. He said by donating blood when a lot of blood was being shed across the country, The Tribune group employees had renewed their commitment to the integrated growth of the organisation, besides contributing to the cause of national integration.

Mr Anil Gupta, general secretary of the union, said the employees had always come forward to extend a helping hand to the victims of natural disasters. He said till date over 100 employees had donated blood on more than 10 occasions. The employees who had donated blood many times included Mr Arun Kaushal (67), Mr Rajan Raikhy (38), Mr Vinod Kumar (37), Mr S.S. Pathania (30), Mr Raj Kumar (30), Mr Ashok Kumar (29), Mr Gurdev Singh (29), Mr Puran Chand Sharma (28) Mr Anil Gupta (28), Mr Omvir Singh (27), Mr Shamsher Verma (27), Mr Arvind Saini (27), Mr Surinder Singh (26), Mr Amarnath Vasishth (26) and Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu (25).

A team of doctors led by Dr Usha Rao from the Department of Transfusion Medicine, PGIMER, conducted the camp.

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Property-related crime on decline
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
The local police today claimed a “steep decline” in cases of property-related crime and other offences during the past three months in the South Sub-Division, compared to the corresponding period the previous year.

The police also claimed a “tremendous increase” in the detection of crime by the men-in-khaki under the “local and special laws” during the same period.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (South) K.I.P. Singh said some residents were wrongly trying to project a picture contrary to the ground reality by claiming that there was a spurt in cases of lawlessness in the sub-division.

He added that 154 cases of property crime and other heinous crime were registered in the past three months in 2006 as compared to 214 cases during the same period in 2005. Similarly, as a result of the special drive initiated by the local police against the criminals in the area, 129 criminals were arrested under the local and special law as compared to the previous year when 64 persons were nabbed. He also said that the police had arrested 539 suspicious persons under the preventive Sections as compared to last year when 388 persons were arrested. Besides this, 17 proclaimed offenders were arrested in the sub-division during the past three months.

DSP Singh said it was the innovative and scientific methods adopted by the sub-division that led to the decline of property crime and increase in the detection rate of the crime. All sensational cases, including the triple murder case, were cracked by the team of the South Sub-Division.

He said despite the fact that the South Sub-Division was the most populated area in the city having jurisdiction from Sector 31 to Sector-61, in addition to the 12 villages and other large labour colonies, with high volume of population, the crime rate remained under control.

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Proceedings against 64 Cong MLAs begin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
The Civil Judge, Mr R.K. Mehta, today initiated ex-parte proceedings against 64 MLAs of the Congress in Punjab for not appearing before the court in a civil suit filed by SAD leader, Gurmeet Singh Matharoo.

The suit had been filed after the Congress failed to fulfill its promise of all Congress MLAs declaring their assets to the general public.

While initiating the ex-parte proceedings, the judge directed five other respondents, Capt Amarinder Singh, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, Mr Santokh Singh Randhawa and Dr Kewal Krishan, to file their written statements on October 25, 2006.

Mr N.S.Minhas, an Akali leader, said through the suit, the complainant had sought a direction from the court to the Congress party to fulfill its election promise. A statement issued by Capt Amarinder Singh that the assets were to be declared to the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, was in contravention to the election manifesto.

Earlier, Mr Matharoo had sought that all Congress MLAs be impleaded as respondents in the case. The petitioners could not be served the notice. Following this, the judge had directed the complainant to issue publication in newspapers. Today, the judge waited till 4 pm, but the MLAs did not turn up.

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Security forces on maximum alert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
The security forces in this region have been put on maximum alert in view of the bomb blasts at Malegaon yesterday. Sources today said the Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh police chiefs had directed their forces to beef up the security arrangements in all sensitive areas.

The district police heads had been told to intensify patrolling at bus stands, railway stations, parks and other places where people were usually present in good numbers. They had also been asked to increase checking and take effective steps to secure vital installations.

In a few days, the festival season will begin in this region. Dasehra will be celebrated on October 2 and then there will be Karva Chauth on October 10. These will be followed by Divali on October 21. During this period, religious fairs will also be held at various places in this region. The festival season will continue till Christmas Day on December 25.

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Rod Pryde for promoting unity based on shared humanity
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, September 9
It was a fine event - marked more by cordiality than formality and this despite the fact that at its heart was a British dignitary. Not often do functions scheduled as “formal” turn out in such pleasant moulds….

The occasion was just right for an exchange of experiences and ideas - something the Director of British Council India Mr Rod Pryde was here to stress. His talk, organized at hotel Park View by the local chapter of Association of British Scholars (ABS), centred on the issues of shared humanity and the role it could play in promoting world unity. The diplomat’s tone was measured, his arguments effective.

One of the points he made while speaking on cultural relations and contemporary UK concerns all of us at all moments. This point has something to do with world peace, which stands threatened in the wake of fundamentalism. So when Mr Pryde quoted Kofi Annan as saying, “We need to promote a greater understanding between people of the world”, it made sense.

Then came the admission that nothing can be more dangerous to our efforts to build peace and development than a world divided along religious, ethnic and cultural lines. Hence the importance of cultural exchange, which India and UK have been promoting for long by way of exchange of ballet groups, theatre productions and teachers.

While stating that the UK is seen as a culturally rich society, Mr Pryde said he was still worried on two fronts, “We are worried to be seen more as a seat of historical culture than that of contemporary arts and also about a recent report which says that the UK is a favourite country with the most boring people.” Notwithstanding the concerns, UK’s relations with India remain strong, with the Indian Prime Minister saying he would like to stem the decline in the number of Indologists across Europe by launching the Indian equivalent of the British Council around the globe.

As the talk graduated from Indo-UK level to world level, familiar issues surfaced. There was emphasis on dialogue between cultures in the wake of increased opportunities for cross cultural contact and conflict. Mr Pryde passed his view by saying, “I am a citizen of Britain as well as the world. We are living in times of cross common cultural identities, where nations are no longer mono ethnic.”

Taking pride in the multiculturalism of UK where 29 per cent of population is made up by ethnic minorities, Mr Pryde referred to India’s pluralism. The talk came a full circle when he returned to similarities between British and Indian cultures. “Both assimilate, both tolerate,” he meant.

Interestingly, the session went on for much longer than expected, with members of ABS raising interesting points. Prof Shelley Walia from PU’s English Department reminded the diplomat of the past when Panjab University used to have a visiting professor of English in routine. “It was when the British Council fell on bad days that the practice was stopped,” he said, requesting for a revival of the tradition.

Others including Mr Sameer Mathur warned Mr Pryde of the misleading advertisements that guarantee the delivery of London School of Economics degrees at home. The diplomat was shocked, naturally and promised to look into the issue, while taking religious note of the other issues which president and honorary secretary of the Association, Mr DV Bhatia and Mr K. K. Kaul, respectively, raised.

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Nude tantrik creates ruckus
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 9
In a bizarre incident, a tantrik, today created ruckus at the Sector 20 cremation ground by making obscene gestures and dancing nude all day. Jhuggi dwellers around the ground alleged that he forcibly entered their homes and made passes and molested women while the police took no notice of their complaints.

The jhuggi dwellers alleged that the tantrik had been dancing nude at the cremation ground since morning but they ignored it, hoping that he would stop soon. “However, by afternoon, he began to target our women and forced his way into the jhuggis. That is when we called the police but nobody showed up. The police finally arrived about 4.30 pm,” the president of the jhuggi dwellers, Mukesh Kumar , said.

They alleged that the tantrik was visited by 30 to 35 women everyday at the cremation ground. “We don’t know what goes on but the tantrik stays at the cremation ground and the women keep coming by turns. The police should investigate this,” he said.

Residents also stated that the police was not interested in taking a complaint against the tantrik and had been abusive to some of the jhuggi dwellers who had complained.

Denying that it arrived late at the spot, the police said a case under Section 294 of the IPC had been registered against the tantrik.

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Oustees get HUDA letter on last date
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 9
The Haryana Urban Development Authority has sent a letter to all oustees of Panchkula extension, asking them to complete their documents by September 8 to be eligible for a plot under the category.

Land owners of Ramgarh and the surrounding areas said the letter asked them to fulfill eight requirements by yesterday, failing which it would be presumed that they had nothing to say and their claim would not be entertained.

They maintained that the letters, written on September 1, were despatched to them on September 4 and received on September 8 itself, leaving no time for them to complete the documents .

A farmer lamented that in the letter it was mentioned that if the applicant was living in joint family, then the co-sharers would get just one plot. “This means that if four major brothers have 10 acres, they will get just one plot and if four brothers have separated the 10 acres they will get four plots. This is injustice,” Mr Amitabh Chandel, vice-president of the Haryana Pradesh Youth Congress, said.

Officers of HUDA, however, said the letter was an attempt to ensure that oustees were not left out.

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Luxury bus to Delhi flagged off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
Manjit Singh Sarang, General Manager of the Punjab and Sind Bank (North Zone), today flagged off the third luxury air-conditioned bus of PUNBUS from ISBT, Sector 17. The bus will stop en route to Ambala Cantt, Pipli, Karnal and Panipat.

The bus is equipped with an all-weather airconditioner, air suspension and crumple zone in structure for the additional safety of passengers with extra facilities such as GPRS System, 2TFT TVs DVD player, mobile charging point on each seat. The bus will depart everyday from the city at 8.20 am and 1.40 pm and will depart from ISBT, Delhi, at 2 pm and 8 pm.

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Astrology book released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
Astrologer P. Khurrana’s latest book “Sun Signs” was released here this afternoon by satirist Jaspal Bhatti.

After a few jokes from Bhatti’s kitty, P. Khurrana said: “I have written some 20 books on the subject, but this one is different from the rest in the sense that it explores complete personalities, keeping zodiac signs in mind. There was a need for such a book because there is hardly any literature available on various personality aspects of a single individual.”

The book, also being marketed abroad, has been published by Rupa and Co. Mr Kaplish Mehra, Director of the publishing house, said, “Sun Signs rationally explains the nature and characteristics of people.”

The astrologer also explores the significance of each sun sign, outlining in detail characteristics of the particular signs’ men, women, children, bosses and employees.

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Immolation bid over demolitions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
High drama was witnessed in Sector 56, Palsora, when a woman tried to immolate herself in protest against a demolition drive being done to remove illegal structures in the area here today. The woman, Daljit Kaur, was arrested by the police.

The demolition was carried out following a report about illegal structures coming up on acquired land.

The demolition squad also removed about 55 jhuggis in the Sector 25 Kumhar Colony.

The jhuggis had come up in the area in the past few days.

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Couple, grandson hurt in mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 9
An elderly couple, accompanied by their grandson, met with an accident near Surajpur after their scooter was hit by a speeding car. Mr Balbir Singh, along with his wife and grandson, were on their way from Surajpur to Panchkula when an unidentified car hit the scooter and fled the scene.

The couple who received serious injuries were rushed to PGIMER by an employee of the Vigilance department in his car who found them lying by the roadside. Their grandson was handed over to his father, Ramesh, a Sector 4 resident. No case has been registered so far.

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Tribune journalist bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 9
Dev Raj Bali (80), father of Ms Geetu Vaid, Sub-editor, The Tribune, died today. He was a former English lecturer at Mohindra College, Patiala.

The funeral procession will start from his residence 7/GC, Rail Vihar, Sector 4, Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula, tomorrow for cremation at Manimajra ground at 1 p.m.

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Protest against foeticide
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 9
Members of the Mohali unit of the Janwadi Istri Sabha, Punjab, held a protest outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner against female foeticide here yesterday.

The protesters raised their voice against the social evil and demanded that strict action should be taken against those indulging in activities which were disturbing the natural balance of sex ratio.

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Rally by bank staff

Chandigarh, September 9
On the call given by the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation, employees of the local branches of the State Bank of Patiala yesterday held a demonstration in front of the Sector 17 main branch against “adamant and recalcitrant attitude” of the management towards their long-pending demands. TNS

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2 held for selling car to junk dealer

Chandigarh, September 9
Two residents of Shimla were today arrested by the police for allegedly selling a Ford Ikon car of Ashok Kumar to a junk dealer in Burail village.

According to a police official, Ashok Kumar, a resident of Sirsa, had given his car to Deepak to go to Shimla.

At Shimla, the car broke down and the two accused, Pawan Kumar and Dyan Chand, brought his car to Chandigarh on the pretext of getting it repaired.

The car was then sold for Rs 40,000 to Inderjit, the junk dealer. But the owner came to know about it and complained to the police. Following this, the two were arrested and the car was recovered. TNS

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Cyclist crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 9
A cyclist, K.D, Modi, was crushed to death by a truck near the Majri chowk here yesterday. A daily-wage earner, the victim was returning home when the mishap took place.

According to the police, the truck driver first hit another cyclist, Ram Charan, before hitting Modi. Ram Charan escaped unhurt.

The police has registered a case.

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Amartex launches fire-resistant fabric
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 9
Amartex Industries Limited today launched its fire- resistant, dust and water- proof speciality fabric at a function held at Gymkhana Club, Sector 3, here today. The outcome of six months of research, the fabric is an outcome of a special chemical treatment on polyster viscose and polyster cotton blend which makes it suitable for industrial use as also for use by the forces.

Unveiling the fabric at a press conference, the Managing Director, Amartex, Mr Arun Grover, said it came with quality and shade fastness assurance which has been the hallmark of any Amartex product. “We have 96 looms producing four lakh metres of fabric a month. The processing is done at the Dera Bassi plant. We also have a chemical lab test facility equipped with latest machines to check and control material,” Mr Grover said.

Explaining that the fabric was at present available in 24 shades, he added that any shade could be manufactured on demand. “At present, the 24 shades available have been made keeping in mind various institutions, the industry and the forces. It is particularly beneficial for uniform purposes and for scientists working with chemicals. Even though the fabric is avialble, our research and development department will continually work on improving it,” Mr Grover stated.

Holding that the company would maintain its financial growth and touch the Rs 250-crore turnover mark, Mr Grover said the speciality fabric would be made available all over the country through a network of dealers, distributors and retail outlets.

In the coming months, Amartex is likely to open 50 outlets in the North while it would explore foreign markets in the USA and UK. Apart from a manufacturing unit at Gurgaon, Amartex will set up a unit in China as well, the MD stated.

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