C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Barnala granted bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
A local court today granted bail to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA from Dhuri, Gaganjit Singh Barnala, who was languishing in Burail Jail for a rape charge levelled by a woman masseur.

The bail application came up for hearing in the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge R.S. Baswana this morning. The court reserved its orders in the morning and the decision was given at around 4 pm. Pronouncing his orders, Mr Baswana said the prosecution had to prove that the woman was raped and also prove the intention of rape. The bail was granted on grounds that the DNA and other medical reports were found to be negative. The court room was jam packed.

Sources said the court had directed Barnala not to leave the country without its permission.

While talking to media- persons, Mr Barnala termed the case as a political conspiracy to tarnish his image.

More than 50 supporters of Barnala had assembled outside the court and were shouting slogans against the Chandigarh Police. When the news about the grant of bail spread, they raised slogans in favour of Barnala.

Later in the evening, at around 7 pm, Barnala was released from the Jail. His supporters, about 500 in all, assembled at his Sector 7 residence and a caravan of vehicles including buses, cars, tempos and two-wheelers, went to Burail jail at the time of his release.

There was a heavy deployment of cops near the jail. Mr Barnala first paid obeisance at the Sector 8 gurdwara and then proceeded to his residence.

It may be recalled that Mr Barnala was arrested on August 12, when a 45-year-old masseur alleged that she was raped by the MLA, at his official residence in Sector 3. 



Two suicides in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
A man and a woman, both in their early twenties, ended their lives in two separate incidents here today. In the first incident, 21-year-old Sepoy, Anshul Gupta, recruited in the 12 Dogra Regiment, was found hanging by his cousin at his rented accommodation in Sector 22 at around 3.30 pm. The deceased, in his suicide note held no one responsible for his extreme step and cited the reason as “failing to cope with life”.

In another incident, 22-year-old Monika committed suicide by hanging at her residence in Sector 41-A this evening.

Giving details of the first incident, the police said Anshul Gupta hailed from Solan district in Himachal Pradesh. He was unmarried and was the only son of his parents. He had joined the Army about a year ago.

His cousin Kastu, to whom the suicide note was addressed, told the police that Anshul came to him last evening, saying that he had been granted leave for 10 days and stayed with him. Kastu is taking coaching from a private coaching centre in Mohali and left for his coaching early in the morning. He told the police that he did not notice anything amiss with Anshul then.

When Kastu came back in the afternoon, he found the door locked from inside and when he did not get any response from inside, he approached the room from an alternative route and saw Anshul hanging from the ceiling fan hook with a sheet.

Shocked at the sight, he informed the police, which took the body into its custody.

In the other incident, Monika was found hanging by her mother at around 6 pm. the police recovered a suicide note in which the deceased held no one responsible for her death. Though it was a long suicide note, she did not mention the reason which forced her to end her life, said the SHO of the Sector 39 police station Nanha Ram.

The SHO said Monika, an MA (honours) student of Panjab University, came home at around 4 pm, which was her routine time. She was alone at the home at that time. Her mother, who is a housewife, was not at home. On coming back home, her mother did not find her and went to the top floor store room of the house and found her hanging.

The police said her father, who is in judicial service and posted in Bathinda, told the police that Monika had failed a test in the recent past, which could be a possible reason for her depression.

Meanwhile, the police sent the bodies to the Sector 16 General Hospital in both cases and a post-mortem examination would be held tomorrow. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this connection.



How come lathi-charging cops are never booked?
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Matka Chowk in Chandigarh is fast turning into a battlefield with ruthless Chandigarh Police personnel brutally crushing any signs of “uprising’ even against ‘injustice’. No inquiry has ever been ordered into the recent incidents of protestors being injured during cane-charge.

Rights of the protestors notwithstanding, cops indulged in indiscriminate cane-charge at least thrice within a week, instead of adopting peaceful measures to disperse the crowd.

In all, according to the police, at least 13 persons, including eight cops, sustained serious injuries, while in another incident 15 people, including 10 cops, suffered bruises after being involved in a clash. The police booked 58 protestors for rioting in August and 20 others in recent incidents.

The scene is almost the same every time-shrieks, screams and cries fill the air as the cops equipped with batons, teargas shells, water cannons, and anti-riot vehicles tackle the situation “with an iron hand”, making a mockery of their own logo “we care for you”. Even if the protestors are academicians, the men-in-khaki are just not bothered about it as they speak the language of batons.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune a senior police officer maintained that the police resorted to cane charge in extreme situations. “We first warn the crowd not to breach the barricades. If it does not pay heed to our warning and tries to lift the barricade and grapple with policemen, then we use water cannons and also tear gas shells, which are otherwise not that harmful. The cane charge is the last measure to contain the protestors, when they turn violent. Our idea is only to disperse them and to maintain law and order. In the end we arrest the protestor, when the situation appears to be running out of control”, he said.

When asked about whether the police sought the SDM’s permission for cane charging protestors, a police officer maintained that they need no such permission in this case. He further added that the SHO of the area has the powers under Section 128 of the Criminal Procedure Code to cane-charge the protestors in order to control the situation when it turns violent.

Elaborating the reasons leading to such extreme steps, he said late response of the authorities concerned, restive unemployed youths coupled with untrained cops to handle such situations compounded the problem.

He also pointed out that lack of coordination between Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh Police in sharing the intelligence reports about the plans and the nature of the protestors further worsened the problem. Sometimes, it is only on the spot the police has to deal with all these situations. The SHO of the area has to work as a middleman, but the problem aggravates when the authorities refused to come to the spot to accept the memorandum despite repeated calls.

“Not only this, they on several occasions maintained that they will not come until the chief minister orders them to go. Even ministers refuse to come to the spot and we are rendered with the task of containing agitators, who will not relent on their demands to meet the authorities”, said another police officer preferring anonymity.

In the recent incident, the protestors resorted to stone pelting leading to the cane charge them. The police has video-graphed the entire incident. The Chandigarh Police has awarded 600 cops with first class commendation certificates for dealing the situation tactfully. 



Communism needs correction, says Left leader 
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

B.N. Reddy
B.N. Reddy

Chandigarh, September 18
The biggest task the Communists face today is in-house correction of misplaced priorities in different wings, proclaiming Leftist leanings all over the country. This was stated by Mr B.N. Reddy, a veteran of the Telengana movement, while talking to The Tribune here today. He is participating in the four-day All-India Unity Congress of the Marxist Communist Party of India (United), which started here yesterday.

Certain prominent ‘so-called’ Left parties, including the CPI and the CPM have derailed from the mission and misplaced their goals. They are not real Leftists as is evident from their hobnobbing with the Congress at the Centre and tie-ups with different political parties in a number of states, just to enjoy little power, he said.

“They are moving away from the common people. The priorities have changed. They criticise government policies in front of people and are continuing in the same alliance in the government despite the hikes and other agenda which is opposed to Communism”, he said.

Mr Reddy is among the very few leaders of the Telengana movement of Andhra Pradesh during the late 1940s. He has served as a MLA twice and has been an MP thrice. He stayed in power on the CPI and CPM ticket.

“Disillusioned by the party”, he left the CPM to join the MCPI in 1998. He said the “Telengana movement was anti-Nizam and anti-British and in favour of the peasantry”.

“I had to be underground for nine years and spend three years in jail in police custody. I was a representative of the people, however, distinctively different from the Naxalites. They have approached me several times. My difference with their thought is on the ground that they wield guns to get people along while I believe in getting people together for the gun”, Mr Reddy said.

The frail figure bends forward to get his earphones closer to listen, however, his voice resounds with conviction against the “imperialist market forces that are enjoying the Congress and the BJP support for their mission. The landlords and the government task forces are voicing the interests of the USA-led market forces”.

When questioned about a weak standing of the “real Leftist” parties at the national level, Mr Reddy said, “Things are changing as more youth are joining us. In Andhra Pradesh alone there are at least six Leftist parties that are distinct from the CPI and the CPM. Their thinking tallies with ours. We have initiated the move to get together and attempt a change. We will work on a new collaboration for a change”.

He said there were good news on manpower mobilisation from different parts of the country, particularly Punjab, Kerala, Rajasthan and parts of West Bengal. Land reforms, which had stayed only on papers, were one of the priority areas of our party. 



Aviation is in the blood of Beris
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
For the Beris, the promoters of Indus — the latest private airline in the country, aviation is in their blood. It was this family which had run a private airline in the country before the Independence.

The airline, Northern Airways, operated between Lahore and Karachi. It continued its operations from 1943 to 1947. It had at that time five Dakotas on its fleet. In the wake of the Partition, the airline lost some of its ground control and other avionics and equipment, rendering it unable to continue its operations in India.

Northern Airways was one of the few private companies to take Dakotas after their commercial production started in 1937.

“Though Northern Airways, which was basically for postal services, ceased operations in 1947, the family’s affinity for aviation has continued ever-since”, says Mr K.G. Beri.

“Northern Airways was promoted by my grand paternal uncle, Mr Paramjit Kumar. Both my younger brothers are pilots. While one is serving Air India, the other is in the aviation wing of the Border Security Force”, reveals Mr Beri who is now settled in the Capital.

Since we made Chandigarh our home after leaving Lahore, we decided to launch this new airline from here, adds Mr Beri.

A senior functionary of the new airline is Group Captain Sandhu, a former Indian Air Force pilot who is now settled in Mohali. Mrs Amarjit Bhinder, also from Chandigarh, has been appointed Regional Commercial Manager of the airline.

Besides Chandigarh, Indus has strong Canadian connections. It has taken on lease one CRJ 200 aircraft of Bombardier to start with. It has pilots who are trained in Montreal. One of the Directors of the company, Mr Amarjit Singh Sangha, is also from Canada.

Among others supporting the new airline is now Mohan Nagar-based Mohan Meakins.

“We want to serve people of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir as we all belong to this area”, says Mr Beri. Capt A.P.C. Kapoor, Chief Executive Officer of Indus, who had been flying VIPs after leaving Indian Air Force, says Indus plans to start Amritsar-Toronto flight by next year.



Passing Through

Gupteshwar Pandey
Gupteshwar Pandey

Mr Gupteshwar Pandey, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Tirhut Range, Bihar) was in Chandigarh to participate in the silver jubilee function of the Bihar Parishad. The IPS officer has given lyrics and music to a Bhojpuri music album.

Q. How did you find Chandigarh?

A: It is my first visit to Chandigarh. It turned out exactly the way I had heard about. The roads are good and people are friendly. There is lot of greenery also.

Q. What impressed you the most?

A: I met my batch-mates and seniors posted here. From them I came to know that the law and order situation is very good here. The traffic cops are managing the traffic very efficiently.

Q. How do you get time to compose music?

A: The official schedule is very busy but I have an interest in music and whenever I get time, I sit down and try to compose.

Q. There are thousands of people from Bihar in this part of the country. Any message.

A: They should just keep in mind that they must behave properly. Any indecent act on their part could bring bad name to Bihar. — As told to Nishikant Dwivedi



Watch out

Prof B.N. Goswami
Prof B.N. Goswami

One of the major architects behind organising an exhibition on Sikh paintings at Reben Museum of Art Gallery, New York, which starts today, is city’s art historian Prof B.N. Goswami.

The exhibition, the first of its kind in New York, has been conceptualised, designed and arranged under the guidance of Professor Goswami.

As many as 51 miniatures paintings and other art facets from the Chandigarh Museum and the Art Gallery are part of this prestigious exhibition.



Chandigarh Calling

Circus stars cry out for a makeover: Circus no longer excites the elite citizenry of Chandigarh. Children have become far too savvy to go and watch a tacky circus with starved animals, fatigued child acrobats and unhappy clowns. It is not even considered politically correct in these times, yet the circus must go on in life as well as in the pitched tents. And there are takers for it although from a different strata of life. Tribune photographer brings us a picture of the elephant performers of the Asiad Circus that is playing in town. Circus has undergone a makeover in the west and is now it is done there like a musical of sorts with a humorous story line and tricks aplenty. Time it went in for a makeover here too.

Road rage: Negotiating the inner road of Sector 34, running in front of the market and gurdwara, is a challenge even to the most skillful driver on normal weekend nights. Being behind the wheels on this stretch, dotted with chaat and pastry joints and an array of colourful florist shops, is likely to fetch you more brickbats than bouquets. So woefully short is the parking space in this market that vehicles spill on to the main road on most evenings. Compounding the traffic snarls these days is the circus running in the ground opposite the shopping area. Vehicles wanting to turn into the market and those from the opposite side in a hurry to turn the other way for the circus find themselves on collision course. Last weekend saw several traffic jams with tempers flaring among circus-goers who were getting late for the show and didn’t know how to extricate themselves from this chaos on wheels.

Maharaja still!: The first issue of a quarterly newsletter of the Wildlife Wing of the Punjab Forest Department, “Savage Voice”, tries to appease the Chief Minister by calling him the Maharaja of Patiala, S. Amarinder Singh, in its columns. However, the wildlife wing seems to be still living in the colonial and feudal mindset by referring to him as the Maharaja in the official newsletter. Perhaps, these wildlife officials need to take some lessons themselves to know that the titles like Maharaja or Raja have long been withdrawn by the Government of India and are not supposed to be used in any government document and even in advertisement.

Evil eye: While people might be thrilled to bits on seeing their photograph in the newspaper, a harried autorickshaw driver rues the day a scribe caught his auto on the lens. He is miffed with the photojournalist who published a photograph of his auto in a local Hindi daily to go with a story on overloading. Thanks to the photo, the police impounded the auto and he had to pay a hefty fine to get it released. Even after that it has been giving him trouble and had to be sent to the workshop because “Yeh Presswalon ki jabse nazar lagi hai meri auto theek hi nahi hai, buri nazar wale hain yeh! Photo lene se pehle puchchte bhi nahin…” One wonders if others too share his verdict on the Fourth Estate.

PGI blah: Dignity of labour is one thing and having to ignore one’s true calling in order to do the chores of an orderly is something else altogether. Yes, we are referring to the doctors of PGI here. Visit any of the departments in the over-crowded new OPD building and you will find many doctors making frequent visits from their chambers to the patient’s waiting area to call out for patient’s name. And trust us, making way through the jostling crowd blocking the entrance is not an easy task. Well, one has to do what one has to do. But all said and done it comes down sheer wastage of time and talent, both for doctors and patients.

Look again: Next time you see a woman selling bhuttas or chhallis, look again, for she is what can be described as a self-made woman entrepreneur. Yes, with women entrepreneurs’ starting their own businesses everywhere, selling chhalli is a business run mostly by women throughout the city. On the busy Tribune Chowk, Premwati is one such woman belonging to Muradabad in UP but has grown up in city only. Well earning Rs 200 to 250 a day from Challis alone makes sense. Afterwards she joins her family to sell apples and oranges in the Sector 26 market. Well handling not one but two businesses make more sense, lady!

Contributors: Chetna Keer Banerjee, Aruti Nayar, Parbina Rashid, Vishal Gulati, Anuradha Shukla & Nirupama Dutt



Circus is in town but where are the spectators?
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Services

Chandigarh, September 18
No one has time for circus in Chandigarh anymore. Living in a material whirl of mobiles, multiplexes and malls, few city residents are actually leaving behind the air-conditioned comfort of their homes for enjoying the little acts of midair jumps and fire-throwing “dragons” before the footlights at the Asiad Circus currently on in Sector 34.

True, you have docile little Pomeranians walking on two legs, holding umbrellas in their “hands”, with glittery purses dangling from around their necks, in place of fierce tigers and wild lions.

And pretty damsels have assumed the roles of mahouts in rings with gigantic elephants dancing to their tunes. Yet the seats in the “elite category” are by and largely empty — at least on the weekdays.

There are undoubtedly couples sitting in the general stands with their little ones watching trapeze artistes rise up to the expectations and perform. But even their number is just not enough to set the spirits of either the performers, or the circus management, soaring.

“When we decided to pitch tents in Chandigarh after a month-long stay in Phagwara, the city appeared ideal,” says Girish Sayani, responsible for the smooth conduct of the circus. “For, Chandigarh, with its ever escalating population has a massive student base, providing just the right condition for the circus to thrive.”

But within a week of its inauguration, the management has realised that business is hard to come by here also. “At present, we are running three shows each of two-and-a-half hour duration. In each performance during the weekdays, we do not have more than a hundred people watching the act, which is just not enough. You see, we have over 300 artistes directly associated with the circus, along with elephants and horses. And they all have to be fed,” says circus “promoter” Bhim Sen Sharma.

Heaving a deep-sigh, he adds: “For so many people, animals and circus are synonyms. And now because we are not allowed to keep tigers and lions, the people are no more interested in watching the circus.

And then 24-hour television has played havoc. No wonder, the number of circuses in India has dwindled from around 250 to just 35 in the past decade or so, though we have introduced new acts and performances.”

Along with Sharma, a spectator hailing from Kulu but now settled in Sector 33 here, Mr Kant Sharma, recalls the days when excitement would arrive in the city, along with the circus.

Watching an artiste on a single-wheel cycle knock down bottles from a table before balancing another girl on her helmet, Mr Sharma adds with a smile: “And what an arrival it used to be. One fine evening we would all of a sudden notice a powerful beam, thrown by an arc-light, illuminating the dark sky. The sight would fill our hearts with delight. For, it was an indication that the circus had arrived”.

Remembering the time, he asserts: “Those were the days of our lives. At least twice a day, autos playing the latest movie numbers, with banners on either side, would patrol the length and breadth of city roads and streets, leaving us hungry for some on-stage action. But all that was years ago....”

You have been buying tickets for watching movies in a multiplex; now pull out some money for watching dogs slide down the slope, or elephants lift girls before turning them upside down. It’s worth it.

In all there are three shows at 1 pm, 4 pm and 7.30 pm. The tickets are also not so expensive. For enjoying over 30 items in just one show, you can buy a ticket for Rs 20, 50, 70 or 100.

But just be prepared to get fleeced by the parking-lot and the canteen contractor. For, they believe in charging exorbitantly. In fact, they sell even the cold drinks at rates far above the maximum retail price.



218 plots in Sec 27 allotted at HUDA draw
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 18
There were no charged crowds, no enthusiasm and no ugly scenes as the Haryana Urban Development Authority, Sector 6, went through the process of the much-awaited draws of plots in Sector 27, here today. At the end of the day, the show turned out to be a smooth though time-consuming affair.

Thanks to the live airing of the draw by the Panchkula cable network, the public in an effort to avoid the rush, chose to stay away from the venue and watch the proceedings from the comfort of their homes. Beginning at 11 am, an hour behind schedule, the draw carried on till 8 pm.

The draw began to a half-packed venue, the numbers gradually fell during the day, only to pick up again by evening. The only dash of excitement came when a lawyer, accompanied by a colleague walked right up to the dais of the officers conducting the draw, with papers in hand.

The lawyers, Satyapal Khatri and Ashok Kumar, put a representation before the Administrator, HUDA, Ms Neelam Pradeep Kasni, and the Estate Officer, Mr S.P. Arora, stating that the draw was illegal because the cases of oustees had not been dealt with satisfactorily.

Mr Arora, in turn, took the representation, gave a receipt for the same, and sent the lawyers packing. That was the only episode that sparked a little interest during the day.

Out of a total of 374 plots, 218 plots of Sector 27, were allotted today. A total of 96,769 applications were dealt with in the various categories (six, eight, 10, 14 marla and one kanal) of available plots.

As expected, oustees got a maximum of 33 plots in the category of one kanal houses, leaving only 32 plots for the general category. Of the 43 plots in the 10 marla category, 15 went to the oustees while 22 were available in the general category.

The same venue will play host to the draws for plots in Sector 28, for which over two lakh applications have been received. The same procedure will be followed for those drawls as well.

The two lawyers said that HUDA invariably conducts draws on Mondays and announces the oustees quota only on Saturday evening, so that nobody can move court. “Without settling the claims of the oustees, these proceedings and allotments are all illegal,” Mr Satyapal Khatri said.



Patient’s kin accuse doctor of negligence
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 18
Family members of a patient today staged a protest and alleged “gross negligence” on part of a doctor of Chakravarty Nursing Home, Sector 10, here, in a delivery case.
The protesters demanded registration of a case against the doctor.

The protest was called off following the intervention of SDM Virender Dhaiya, who received a representation from the protesters. The relatives said the patient, Chanchal, was admitted to the hospital in January, 2006 for delivery.

Following a normal delivery, she was discharged from the hospital. On subsequent visits to the hospital, she complained of pain in the abdomen for which doctors prescribed antibiotics.

However, a few weeks ago, she consulted the doctor complaining of strange body odour.

“He suggested a change of medicine and the odour vanished temporarily. After this, we decided to take a second opinion. To our utter shock, the doctor in Mani Majra told us that some alien object was blocking her vaginal passage.”

He removed a cotton swab blocking the passage. The patient was still receiving treatment at the nursing home.

“The doctors said the rotting swab had caused a lot of damage and could lead to infertility or even necessitate the removal of the uterus,” Chanchal’s husband Ramesh Singh said.

Alleging that such swabs were used only after delivery for cleaning up the mother, he said the nursing home was responsible for the negligence.

“The followup was a mere formality and my wife was not examined despite repeated complaints of pain,” he maintained.

Patient’s father Jaswant Singh, who left his ailing wife in Narnaul, also expressed his anger over the negligence.

“The hospital offered us Rs 30,000 to keep quiet. Do they even realise the permanent damage their negligence has caused? Who will compensate us for that? They began with Rs 30,000 and wanted to negotiate. We don’t want any money. We want to highlight the negligence and warn people of the kind of services available at the nursing home,” he asserted.

The doctor, Dr Renu Chakravarty, said the clinic was not responsible for the cotton swab detected inside the patient. “She came to us last on February 13. After that we haven’t heard from her. We don’t know if the patient got herself checked elsewhere. Also, complaining is one thing but behaving in a rowdy manner is uncalled for,” she said.

Meanwhile, amidst police presence, relatives raised slogans against the nursing home and sought action against the doctor concerned.

While this was on, a resident of Sector 15, Santosh Gulati, arrived on the scene and levelled allegations of negligence against the doctors at the nursing home.

“I was admitted to the nursing home for delivery in 2002. After the delivery, the baby was referred to PGIMER where he died. I was held captive at the hospital and not allowed to see my son as I had not paid their charges. The doctors here didn’t even tell me that my child was not well and had been sent to the PGI,” she complained.



EVMs to be used for municipal poll

Chandigarh, September 18
The Chandigarh Administration would use Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) for the forthcoming municipal and Panchayat Samiti elections in the Union Territory, an official press release said here today.

The administration officers held a meeting today with the State Election Commissioner, Mr S.P. Marwah. It may be noted that earlier poll of Municipal Corporation, and Panchayati Raj Institutions were held with conventional system of ballot papers/ballot boxes.

The administration is in the process of issuing notifications wherein all voters of the Union Territory will be included in either the Municipal Corporation or one of the Gram Sabhas, thereby ensuring right to vote to everyone, at the place where he resides.

The voting day is likely to be in the last week of November or the first week of December. The tenure of the existing House of Municipal Corporation ends on December 31 and that of Panchayat Samiti is January 13, 2007. — TNS



1 application for tenement lease renewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The Municipal Corporation today received just one application, that too with anomalies, for the renewal of lease of one-room tenements allotted under the rehabilitation scheme of the administration. According to sources, the next course of action would be decided at its meeting tomorrow.

In 1998, the administration had constructed 2,765 tenements in Sectors 52 and 53, near Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran and Kajehri under its rehabilitation scheme.

Of these, 2,655 tenements had been allotted, while 100 were still lying vacant.

The Estate Office had allotted these houses for a period of five years.

Under the rules, the lease had to be renewed in 2003. However, once the term period got over, no steps were taken to renew the lease.

A confusion on whether the MC or Estate Office would renew the lease followed. It was finally decided to hand over the task to the MC.

The MC issued a notice one month ago, asking the tenement owners to remove all violations and clear all pending dues.



IAF sets up branch for space operations
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
Gearing up to meet the challenge of space exploitation and fulfilling a long-standing functional requirement, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has established a separate branch for space operations. The branch, which became functional about two months ago, will deal with all matters under the IAF’s realm pertaining to exploitation of space for defence purposes.

The branch is headed by Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Operations (Space) at Air Headquarters, Air Vice-Marshal D.C. Kumaria.

The creation of the new branch comes at a time when the proposal for setting up a much sought after Aerospace Command, meant to combine all space-based assets for surveillance, military operations and the execution of the recently introduced network-centric warfare concept, continues to hang fire.

“The purpose of creating the space operations branch is synergise our efforts of space management around a single pivot”, a senior officer at the Air Headquarters said. “Earlier, different sections like communication, intelligence and navigation were looking at space management in their own different ways and perception”, he added.

Though the branch can in no way be an alternative to the proposed Aerospace Command, it will bring scattered efforts and assets under one umbrella, streamlining policy planning and execution.

It is being staffed with officers trained and specialised in military space activity. Their task includes not only streamlining the present set-up, but also working out doctrinal aspects and requirements for acquiring future space-based capabilities.

In fact, in a recent public address, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, had reportedly stated that no future war could be won without adequate exploitation of aerospace power.

Moreover, in the present day battlefield environment considerable space-based capability is required for obtaining and disseminating “real-time” information to and from higher headquarters to field establishments. This, in the near future, includes dedicated surveillance and communication satellites operating within secure networks.

Though the IAF has made a beginning, sources said all three services would soon be having their own separate space operations branches to deal with related aspects within their respective realms.

These would meet at a common platform through the integrated headquarters. 



Passport adalat on Sept 30
Tribune News Service

If your passport no longer has a stamp for emigration check then there is no need to worry as according to guidelines of the Ministry of External Affairs your passport will now have an emigration check stamp only if an emigration check is required. As per the earlier rule, all passports had to be stamped and it was later mentioned on it weather an emigration check was required or not. However, passports issued after mid-August this year no longer have such stamps, leading to confusion among many.

Chandigarh, September 18
The passport-related inquiries will become easier as the Regional Passport Office, following the guidelines of the Ministry of External Affairs, will now hold a passport adalat once every month. First such adalat will be organised on September 30 in three districts of Punjab – Sangrur, Patiala and Bathinda.

“We have written to the Deputy Commissioners of the respective districts to inform the people,” said Mr Vitul Kumar, Regional Passport Officer.

“Depending on the response we will increase the adalats. Initially we will be focusing region wise but will adjust things depending on the response,” added Mr Vitul Kumar.

“In a step to help the people solve their problems, two officers are deputed during public dealing hours at the passport office. They help the applicants fill up there application forms and also to answer any query with regard to the applications/ passport,” said Mr Vitul Kumar.



Awaiting water, power for a year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The Sangarsh Samiti members of the Progressive Cooperative House Building Society, Sector 50-B, yesterday took out a candlelight procession to protest against the non-release of regular electricity and water connections.

The samiti members also protested against unjustified price hike by the management.

Out of the total 597 flats constructed, around 300 families are residing in the society for the past one year. The flats were allotted by the Chandigarh Administration. The management gave possession of the flats after taking the enhanced price with the assurance that water and electricity connections would be given to the allotees.

The samiti members further alleged that the management was involved in embezzlement of about Rs 10 crore and the use of sub-standard material.



Don’t lose your hosla, says Khosla ka Ghosla!

Chandigarh, September 18
Have you been saving money for years to build that one dream house? Grab the tickets of ‘Kola ka Goals’ which hits theatres this Friday.
‘Kola Ka Goals’ is a black comedy revolving around a dysfunctional middle class family.

Kola played by Anuran Khmer, like most of us, is very happy to buy a plot of land in the dream city Gorgon. But his joy is short lived, when he realises his land has been acquired by a charmingly shrewd estate agent Khurana played by Boman Irani.

The film is a crazy plan hatched by his friends and family to get him out of the crisis. But the big question is should Khosla trust them with helping him get back his khosla?

Having received acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival, the movie is the debut venture of director Dibakar Banerjee, and brushes upon the sense of relationships, trust and togetherness. — TNS



CHB receives 29 applications for conversion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
The Chandigarh Housing Board has received as many as 29 applications for conversion in Industrial Area in the first year which concluded here today.
With this, the discount of 10 per cent in the first year also ended. The new rates for conversion will be Rs 20,000 per square yard from tomorrow.

The Chief Executive Officer, Mr Amar Nath, confirmed that as many as eight applications were received from a delegation led by Mr M.P.S. Chawla, president of the Chandigarh Industrial Association.

The CHB has collected Rs 27.79 crore in the first phase. 



Pangolin captured, released in forest
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 18
A mute scaly “night stroller” attracted scores of Devi Nagar village residents last night.
The anteater, pangolin, was spotted along the bank of the Ghaggar in the village at about 9 p.m. Scores of villagers assembled to have a look at the animal.

Certain residents made a phone call to the police control room. Subsequently a PCR with Mr Rakesh Kumar, Wildlife Inspector from the Haryana Forest and Wildlife Department, reached the spot and managed to capture the animal, which was later released in the Bir Shikargah Forests.



Dharna outside DC’s office
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 18
Members of the Physically Handicapped Association (Mohali branch) today staged a dharna outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office here on a call given by the state leaders of the association.

Dressed in black robes, the handicapped persons staged a silent protest and sent a memorandum to the DC, distributing copies of the same to the onlookers. The protesters led by Mr Dharam Singh Sodhi, have demanded the implementation of the Persons with Disability Act 1996, which provided for free education to handicapped children.

They also demanded the immediate filling of the reserved posts for handicapped persons and increase in the stipend for them.



5 hurt in clash between constable, trader
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
A Chandigarh Police Constable along with his two brothers sustained serious injuries in a clash with a businessman over a trivial issue of parking of vehicles in Phase I, Industrial Area here, this evening.

Two other persons were also injured in the clash and they were all admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital.

The police said Constable Satbir Singh, gunmen of a Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, sustained serious injuries on his head, chest and other parts of body while his brother sustained multiple injuries in the assault. On the other hand, one of the two other persons injured in the clash was suspected to have fractured his shoulder.

The police said the clash was triggered when Inderjit Setia, a businessman in the neighbourhood of a transport company godown, where brothers of Constable Satbir Singh worked as porters, reached there and found the road blocked with vehicles. Annoyed, Setia shouted on the other party and Constable Satbir Singh, who was also present on the occasion, said he was in the police and did not care a fig. Following this, Setia called his brother and labourers. They all came armed with rods and batons and both the parties.

The police was informed about the incident and the injured were rushed to the hospital. The police said the condition of Satbir was stated to be serious and he might be referred to the PGI.

The relatives of Constable Satbir Singh, while ruing the lackadaisical attitude of hospital authorities, alleged that the doctors did not attend to the victims and kept on delaying the treatment. It was only after three hours that an x-ray was taken of the seriously injured constable.

Meanwhile, the police has booked Setia brothers for culpable homicide, rioting and causing hurt under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, on a complaint filed by Constable Satbir Singh. The police has also booked Satbir and his brothers for causing hurt. No arrest had so far been made.



Rash motorists target traffic cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 18
In two separate incidents, two cops of the Chandigarh Traffic Police were at the receiving end of rash motorists.
Giving details of the incident, the police said both incidents took place on Sunday. In the first incident, Head Constable Swarn Singh lodged a complaint, alleging that the driver of car (PB-65-B-0850) hit the traffic police staff when he was driving his vehicle in a rash and negligent manner.

On being asked by the cops to show his documents, he picked up a quarrel with the cops and snatched their challan book. The incident took place at the Sector 23 and 24 dividing road.

In another incident, Head Constable in the Traffic Police, Parminder Singh, alleged that a motorcyclist hit the traffic cop on the road separating Sectors 20 and 21. When the cops booked him for driving in a rash and negligent manner, he, too, picked up a quarrel with them, leaving the cop injured. The cop was later admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. The motorcyclist has been identified as Chaman Lal of Sector 45.

Both accused were arrested for causing hurt and obstructing a government servant from discharging duty.

Minor held for snatching: The police today arrested a migrant minor boy on the allegations of snatching a mobile phone from the Apni Mandi in Sector 33 on Sunday.

The police said the accused snatched the mobile phone of Mahinder Singh of Sector 23. He managed to give a slip to the complainant, who identified him. The police, acting on the description available, today nabbed the accused from Burail village and recovered stolen property from him.

Burglary: Mr Gulshan Kumar, a Sector 46-based-jeweller, reported to the police that thieves decamped with gold ornaments worth Rs 5 lakh from his shop on Sunday night. The theft came to light this morning when he opened the shop and found it ransacked.

He told the police that the thieves gained entry into the shop by breaking open the roof. He further alleged that 3 kg of silver and 450 gm of gold, along with compressor of a split AC, were stolen from his shop. The thieves failed to brake the safe lying in the shop. He closed the shop on Saturday night.

A case was registered in this regard.

Smack seized: The special crime investigation cell of the Chandigarh Police today arrested Nirmala of Daddu Majra Colony from Sector 38-West while she allegedly was carrying 25 gm of smack. A case under the NDPS Act has been registered in this regard.



5 booked for flesh trade
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 18
Five persons three men and two women, were arrested by the Pinjore Police during a raid at a local motel here today for involvement in a flesh trade racket.
The two women, in their late 30s, had been “booked” for Rs 1000 by three men, who were also arrested during the raid following a tip off. The men, Kamal, Rajan and a former sarpanch, Fateh Mohammad, had booked two rooms in the motel. The five persons were being interrogated.

Stolen: The Principal of Little Flower Convent School, Sector 14, today complained that the central processing units of 12 computers were stolen from the school’s computer lab yesterday. The complaint said somebody had broken open the locks and taken away the CPUs.

Cash, documents stolen: Mohit Kumar, a government collector, today complained to the police that his briefcase containing his passport, Rs 38,000 and his 10 years’ record of collecting funds, was stolen from his car parked in Sector 12. He said he had gone to visit somebody in Sector 12 and had parked his car in front of their house. When he returned an hour later, the glass of the window was found broken and his briefcase was missing.



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