C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Youth stabbed to death in brawl near liquor vend
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 19
Twentyfour-year-old Varun Nath of Dhakoli in Zirakpur died of stab wounds while four others were injured in a drunken brawl between two groups in front of a liquor vend in Sector 5 here last night.

Varun’s father Dinesh Nath with relatives in Sector 6, Panchkula
Varun’s father Dinesh Nath with relatives in Sector 6, Panchkula
Deepak, one of the accused in the murder case, at the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, on Tuesday.
Deepak, one of the accused in the murder case, at the General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, on Tuesday. — Tribune photos: Malkiat Singh

Son of a former Merchant Navy officer, Varun had recently shifted to Chandigarh and was working at a call centre.

The incident took place after midnight when Varun, accompanied by his friends Devinder, Varun of Sector 15, Kamaljit Kaur, alias Chinki, hailing from Bathinda, and Minazh, a Kashmiri girl living in the city for the past few years, stopped to buy beer from a liquor vend in Sector 5.

According to the girls, Varun and the two boys went to the liquor vend to buy beer.

A group of eight local boys came out of the liquor vend after consuming liquor.

Seeing the girls in the car, the boys, in a drunken state, began passing obscene remarks about the girls, which angered Varun and his friends.

A scuffle followed, in which the girls were pulled out of the car and manhandled.

The situation worsened when boys of both groups picked up and broke empty soda and beer bottles and began attacking each other.

Varun received three deep stab wounds in his abdomen while his friends Varun and Devinder were also injured.

Deepak and Imran of the other group were also admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 6, with deep wounds.

They were under sedation and had not been able to give their statements to the police.

In the postmortem examination report, doctors said they had found pieces of glass in Varun’s abdomen.

There were three stab wounds, one each below the chest, on the left side of the abdomen and in the abdomen.

It was still not certain if the stab wounds had been caused by a broken bottle or a knife had also been used.

Four boys of the other group had been identified as Arshad and his brother Imran of Sector 11, Manish Puri, a cable operator of Sector 11, and Deepak, alias Dipi, of Sector 4.

The police said it was still not clear where and how the girls met the victim and his friends, though the boys maintained that the girls were their friends.

A case of murder had been registered and the police was trying to arrive at the truth by interrogating all eyewitnesses.

Varun’s father Dinesh Nath, who came to the mortuary to complete formalities, was inconsolable.

Surrounded by his daughter, friends and relatives, he broke down repeatedly.



Notices to 45 SCF owners
Misuse of upper floors for commercial purposes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The UT Estate Office has come down heavily on the owners of showroom-cum-flats (SCFs), who have been found misusing their premises.

After conducting a survey of the violators, at least 45 fresh notices have been issued to the owners of the properties across the city.

Sources in the Estate Office disclosed that it had been found that business activity was being carried out at the upper floors in the SCFs, in blatant violation of the guidelines, causing a loss of lakhs of rupees to the Estate Office.

An SCF has to be converted into an SCO before a commercial activity is started at the upper floor. It may be mentioned that the Chandigarh Administration has allowed change of a majority of trades on the upper floor of the shop-cum-office without any conversion charges. Earlier, those changing their trade had to pay exorbitant conversion charges.

As per the Rule 9-A of the Chandigarh (Sale of Sites and Buildings) Rules, 1960, a transferee and occupier of any building being misused has to pay certain penalty.

For residential and institutional premises, the violator has to pay Rs 50 per square yard if it was less than 25 per cent of the site or covered area of the building being misused, Rs 100 per square yard if 25 per cent or more of the site or covered area of the building is being misused. The charges shall be levied on the entire area of the site.

For commercial premises, the penalties are Rs 20 per square feet for violation on the ground floor, Rs 10 per square feet for violation on the upper floor or at the basement, and Rs 40 per square yard for violation in an open area. The charges shall be levied for the entire covered area of the concerned floor where the misuse occurs (corridors, passages, stairways etc shall be considered as a part of the covered area). 



Depressed jawan shoots himself
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
A 27-year-old Jawan of the 1890, Light Regiment, allegedly shot himself to death at a transit camp in Hallo Majra village here this morning. Though no suicide note was recovered on the body, the police, while quoting the colleagues of the deceased, said he was suffering from depression.

Giving details, the SHO of Sector 31 police station, Mr Har Sahai Sharma, said the deceased had been identified as Siddappa Kwati hailing from Karnataka. He was posted at Leh and had arrived at the camp yesterday after a short vacation at home. He was to board a flight for Leh.

The police said the incident took place early this morning around 5:20 am when he was deployed on two hours’ duty at the main gate of the camp. The incident came to light when another sentry on the duty heard a gun shot and found Siddappa lying on the floor in a pool of blood. The bullet hit him in the head. He reportedly died on the spot. The other sentry raised the alarm and the victim was rushed to the hospital, where he was declared dead.

The victim was given the 7.56 gun for duty in the morning, but he shot himself with it. The body was handed over to the regiment after post-mortem. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Cr.PC in this regard.



Water supply to be hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Power supply will be shut for eight hours tomorrow due to some urgent work on the newly laid pumping machinery at the water works in Sectors 12 and 26.

There will be no water supply in the afternoon to a few sectors, including Sectors 1 to 12 and Sectors 14 to 18, according to the municipal corporation.



MC to have 26 wards for civic poll
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation will now have 26 wards in the forthcoming elections to the civic body. The inclusion of five more villages — Hallomajra, Kajehri, Palsora, Maloya and Dadumajra — in the limits of the civic body has set the ball rolling for the delimitation of the wards.

An official in the Election Commission said a notification from the Chandigarh Administration regarding the “revised” boundaries of the civic body was expected any time. Confirming that the decision to have six more wards had been taken, a senior official said a notification in this regard would be issued soon.

Sources in the Administration said the entire exercise to delimit the wards had been completed. To enable the voters in the newly developed southern sectors, adjoining Mohali, the Administration had decided to include such voters in the limits of the MC. Each ward would have voters, varying between 30,000 and 35,000. In the last MC election to 20 wards, the number of voters in some of the wards were up to 50,000 — against the norms of the Election Commission to have a maximum of 50,000 voters in a ward.

As per the latest electorate list, around eight lakh voters (including the population in the five villages) will be casting their voters in the MC elections.

An official said the elections to the civic body were scheduled to be held either in the last week of November or first week of December. The notification for the election has to be issued 30 days in advance of the elections.

Before the elections, the Chandigarh Administration has already notified the developed and urbanised areas to be included in the limits of the civic body. “Without the notification, voters of these areas cannot cast their votes, as no pooling booths can be set up there,” said a senior official in the Administration.

To remove the anomaly, the State Election Commissioner had earlier written to the Chandigarh Administration to clarify the urban and rural status of the areas so that the urban areas could be included in the MC limits. Before issuing the notification of the wards, the notification under the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act has to be issued by the Administration.

After 1996, several chunks of agricultural land of several villages were acquired for different purposes. But the process to urbanise the areas gained momentum after 2001. Now since six new wards are being included in the MC limits, the notification has to be issued.

Notification for 5 villages issued

The Chandigarh Administration today issued a notification for the inclusion of five new villages within the MC limits.

As per the instructions of the Election Commission, the notification had to be issued before the end of this month. Otherwise, the elections to the MC had to be held without including the five villages. In a separate notification, the left-out urbanised areas around some villages were also notified for inclusion in the MC.



Watch out

With India desperately needing a win against the West Indies in Kuala Lumpur today, the city’s comeback man Dinesh Mongia might get a chance to prove his mettle. His all-round prowess can be useful for the Indian team, which is struggling to remain in contention in the tri-series.

As Irfan Pathan is not doing well with the ball, India are sorely missing a good all-rounder. Mongia has the potential to deliver the goods, provided he is given a chance.

Another player to watch out for is dashing batsman Yuvraj Singh, who is determined to get a big score after being dismissed for a duck in the match against Australia.



Governor asks senior citizens to help in nation building
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The Punjab Governor and Administrator, Union Territory, Chandigarh, General S.F. Rodrigues, today called upon senior citizens to utilise their potential, expertise, knowledge and experience for building a bright future for the younger generations.

He also urged them to contribute effectively for the benefit of the society at large through their active involvement and participation in the socio-economic and developmental processes.

Delivering the valedictory address on the closing ceremony of the Senior Citizens’ Computer Literacy Programme at DAV College, Sector 10, here today, General Rodrigues said senior citizens constituted an enlightened group with vast knowledge and experience. He emphasised that they should be enabled to remain active and adequate opportunities must be given to them to participate in the activities for the uplift of society.

He appreciated the initiative of DAV College for starting this novel programme.

He appealed to the college management to develop it further, with innovative and modern techniques. Mr Subash Marriya, Principal of the college said they had been conducting free computer literacy training programmes for equipping senior citizens with essential skills to lead a meaningful and happy retired life since 2002.

Five batches of 60-70 ‘students’ consisting of IAS/IPS officers, senior armed forces officers, doctors, engineers and businessmen had already benefited from the programmes. The sixth batch consisting of 65 senior citizens in the age group of 60-80 including 21 women, completed the programme today.

Strongly advocating the need for modernisation of our primary education system, he said the process of modernisation of education was started by great pioneers of education like Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo.

General Rodrigues also distributed certificates to the senior citizens.

Justice S.S. Sodhi, a former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, also graced the occasion.



The ‘killer’ crossings of UT
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The scooter on which Sanjay Kumar, a milk vendor of Dadu Majra, was travelling on Monday morning was hit by a speeding Maruti Zen coming from Punjab at the road intersection in Sector 38(West) which cuts the main road coming from Mohali. He was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 16, with dangling arms and legs.

Mr Baljit Singh, Assistant Sub Inspector on duty, said: “He survived with fractures in his legs. A case has been registered. Accidents are a very common occurrence at this spot, at least three every week.” Nothing else, except official apathy, can best describe non existence of any traffic lights, roundabout or traffic signs at two junctions in Sector 38(West).

Mr Jaspal Singh, who was driving survived with minor scratches. He started shouting and the Zen was chased by certain local residents. The driver along with a lady left the car and fled from the spot.

“This is not the first time. The point of intersection is at right angles with no vision of traffic on the main road. Travellers from outside the city cannot make out the road intersection which is heightened because of green hedges. Accidents are very common”, the ASI said. Mr Om Prakash, a senior citizen, also seconded the police official’s comment mentioning “very frequent accidents”.

This is not the only point which witnesses freak accidents very often. The road intersection of Sectors 38 and 38(West), on the other side of the sector, is another trouble spot in the area. Mrs Amritpal suffered several fractures in her arms and legs last month, when a speeding Travera from Punjab hit her Kinetic Honda. The police and the local public is full of harrowing tales of accident victims. “I have not heard any death in any of the accidents. However, anything can happen in this situation”, Mrs Neelam Jha, a local resident, said.

Mrs Bhupinder Kaur, a resident of Manimajra, was hit by a speeding mini-truck coming from Mohali, recently. “The driver just said he was sorry. He did not see because of high hedges. I looked around and only believed that he was speaking the truth because the turn is very difficult”, she said.

Drivers on the inner sector road from the market to the MIG flats are often caught unaware by the speeding vehicles of the vehicles from outside. The road bends are not visible to the drivers on the main roads.”

Mr Ajay Sharma, a resident, said, “there are no signboards showing the sudden turn into the sector. A traveller is caught unaware”.

The ASI said “we are aware about the problem and have to rush to the spot very frequently on emergency calls. The spot needs a small roundabout or traffic lights. In the first place, at least the road markings should be made bold”. 



9 Punjab celebrates Kalidhar anniversary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The 9th Battalion of the Punjab Regiment commemorated the 41st anniversary of its Battle Honour Kalidhar, awarded for its exceptional performance while deployed in the Akhnoor Sector during the 1965 Indo-Pak war, by recalling the sacrifices and acts of valour of its men in the war.

A host of events were organised during the week-long celebrations by the battalion at its location in the Western Sector. These included a special sainik sammelan, pagal gymkhana, religious functions and a glittering ‘Kalidhar dinner’ in the Officers’ Mess. A large number of serving as well as retired regimental officers attended the event.

During the war, the battalion, along with other units, was tasked to defend the Kalidhar Ridge, east of the Tawi. It withstood heavy artillery bombardment as well as air raids on various strategic locations held by it for four days, the battalion’s former Commanding Officer, Brig K.S. Chandpuri (retd) recalled.

A number of resolute and simultaneous attacks on two posts held by it were repulsed. The enemy managed to cut-off a third post, but a swift counter attack by other companies of the battalion forced the enemy to withdraw. The battalion captured a large number of enemy weapons, equipment and ammunition.

“The battalion was awarded Battle Honour Kalidhar for its dogged determination and grit to hold a feature, the capture of which would have opened the gateway to Jammu,” Brigadier Chandpuri said. The battalion earned one Vir Chakra, three Sena Medal, four Mention-in-Despatches and three Chief of the Army Staff’s Commendation Cards in the battle.



Fauji Beat
1965 war bonhomie remains unmatched

What clearly stood out in the 1965 war in Punjab was the part that the civil population played in it. When the Army started moving in strength into Punjab in September 1965, the people did not only greet the soliders with a smile but also with a traditional hospitality.

No sooner did the special trains carrying troops halt at any station than sweets and fruits began pouring into the compartments with visible jubilation. And when the troops move into their assigned locations on the border, the villagers started a regular supply of milk, “lassi”, sag and “makki ki roti” to them giving an unmistakable impression that the troops were their guests.

Not only that, it became a problem for the Army units to dissuade the villagers from going along with them into the Lahore sector. In many cases in the Amritsar District, the villagers requested the troops to give them arms so that they could fight side by side with them to destroy the enemy.

The reason for this was that the state of Punjab, including Haryana, which was part of it at that time, used to contribute a very large population of manpower to the defence forces. Besides, Punjab being a border state was directly affected by the war. No doubt, the civil population helped the troops a great deal even in the 1971 war. But the 1965 war spirit of bonhomie between the civil population and the Army remains unmatched till today.

Make ECHS patient-friendly

All Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) patients should report for medicines and treatment to their parent polyclinics. It is then for these polyclinics to refer them either to the service hospitals or empanelled hospitals.

In case of the military polyclinics like the one located in the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, all patients needing investigation/treatment have to be referred to the specialists at the Command Hospital. This polyclinic is Type C and is authorised only one medical officer (MO). More than 150 patients report to this polyclinic daily. For one MO to examine such a large number of patients in a day, prescribe medicines to them or refer some of them to the specialists at the Command Hospital is not possible. For, even if five minutes are spent on each patient, it will take the MO more than 12 hour to see all the patients. This calls for an immediate up-grading of this polyclinic so that more MOs are authorised to it.

Another difficulty faced by the patients is that they cannot see the specialists on the same day as they report to the polyclinic but only on their fixed OPD days. A solution needs to be found to this problem.

A large number of outstation patients come directly to this polyclinic, rather than first reporting to their parent polyclinics and then being referred from there for treatment to the Command Hospital. A sizeable number of patients from other stations also come to this polyclinic for getting medicines because the range of medicines available at the Command Hospital is much more than at their polyclinics.

The patients should stick to the rules of the health scheme; the ECHS authorities should make need-based changes in the scheme to make it more patient-friendly.

Poonch Brigade Mess

On the conclusion of the Treaty of Amritsar in 1846, the State of Jammu and Kashmir was formed under Maharaja Gulab Singh. But the area of Poonch was given to Raja Moti Singh, a nephew of Maharaja Gulab Singh. The Moti Palace in Poonch, which became Raja Moti Singh’s abode, was built during his regime.

In October 1947, when the Prkistani raiders surrounded Poonch, the Army took over this palace and the surrounding buildings. The Moti Palace was later turned into Officers’ Mess of the Poonch Brigade. This palatial mess building is known for its antique furniture and Persian carpets.

— Pritam Bhullar



Documentary on Maharaja Aggarsain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Screening of a documentary produced by the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC), Patiala, on the life of Maharaja Aggarsain will be the highlight of Aggarsain Jayanti celebrations on September 24 here.

Addressing a press conference here, office-bearers of the Aggarwal Sabha, including Mr Prem Chand Gupta and Mr Gian Chand Gupta, president and vice-president, respectively, informed that a blood donation camp and cultural programme would also be organised at the Aggarsain Bhavan.

Prominent persons from the community, including Mr Pawan Bansal, Union Minister of State for Finance, Mr C.P. Bansal, Managing Director of the Haryana Police Housing Corporation, Mr Bajrang Lal Garg, Chairman of Confed, and Mr Rajan Gupta, Managing Director of Hafed, will attend the function.

The sabha has also decided to honour Mr Kapur Chand Aggarwal, Mr Amarnath Aggarwal, Mr Kewal Garg, Mr R.K. Gupta, and Mr Mewa Lal Gupta besides journalists Mr Yoginder Gupta (The Tribune ) and Mr Rakesh Gupta (Punjab Today), for their services to society.

Meanwhile, the sabha has demanded the withdrawal of the resumption notice by the Estate Office to the Aggarsain Bhavan as the premises was used to charitable and social functions and no commercial activity was undertaken.



Thieves, not cyclists, relish cycle tracks
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Cycle tracks — traversing the privacy of so many city residents — have failed to achieve their perceived objective. Though the use of the tracks — even with all the ditches and potholes — is compulsory for slow-moving vehicles, the Chandigarh Police has just not deployed enough personnel at the entry points to force the cyclist and rickshaws to commute on these paths.

Residents complain flow of traffic has not been taken into consideration while planning the tracks. Though the tracks are meant to ease traffic congestion, they have not been laid on busy roads where they are most required such as the one dividing Sectors 34 and 35. There are no such tracks on the roads passing in front of the markets also. The cyclists otherwise also find it inconvenient to use the tracks as the roundabouts and intersections with traffic rushing at breakneck speeds still have to be negotiated.

Otherwise also, instead of making the roads safer for the slow-moving traffic, the tracks running throughout the length and breadth of the city have only encouraged “smalltime operators” to scale the walls of the houses situated alongside for committing petty thefts.

All along these tracks, so many residents have either raised the walls of their houses or installed barbed-wire fences, converting the residents into mini-fortresses. Yet, the incidents relating to the thefts of household items have been rising steadily.

“The tracks have actually been making the task easier for the transgressors,” says Sector 45 resident Gurjinder Pal Singh. “The uninterrupted view and the surmountable back walls of some houses only help them in carrying out the operation without the fear of being caught in a precarious situation.”

The sources in the police headquarters assert that data regarding thefts of household goods due to scaling of rear walls adjoining the tracks is not available. But they agree that the number is much more than reported. For, several cases relating to the theft of “not so consequential goods” are not brought to the notice of the police due to complicated legal formalities involved in the process.

“Or else in several cases the cops either refuse to register a first information report or make the matters so complicated that the complainants simply turn their back towards the law and walk out of the police stations,” says Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate Anil Pal Singh Shergill.

Quoting an example, Mr Shergill says: “It’s almost impossible to get a case registered if someone has stolen a cycle from your backyard. For, the cops will ask for the purchase receipt which most residents forget to keep in safe custody.”

In any case there is no light at the end of the trail. Almost all the tracks are still practically useless especially after dark due to poor-illumination. The presence of encroachments, improper entry and exit points, potholes and even ditches due to sinking of ground at so many places along the tracks have only worsened the situation.

The use of the tracks is all the more essential after sunset in the light of the fact that a substantial number of accidents involving slow-moving vehicles, including cycles, take place in the dark.

The sources in the police headquarters assert that so far this year 365 persons have sustained injuries in road mishaps. Besides this, as many as 104 persons have lost their lives to road accidents in Chandigarh alone from January this year till date.

Out of the total a substantial number of victims were cyclists hit by speeding vehicles late in the evenings or at night. Although the authorities concerned are enlightened about the grimness of this dim reality, hardly anything has been done in this regard.

The decision to lay down the tracks throughout the city was taken by the Administration way back in 2004. In all the city is to have around 106 km of cycle tracks to be laid at a cost of around Rs 7 crore by the UT Engineering Department.

UT Chief Engineer V.K. Bhardwaj says almost 80 per cent of the work relating to the laying of tracks is over. The remaining work of “topping” some portions of the tracks will be undertaken immediately after the rains.

“Once the work is complete, you will not find even a single pothole on any track as the Administration has laid stringent quality standards for itself,” he says. Describing the problems as “initial hiccups”, he says, “the residents should bear in mind that the tracks are for their own benefits as driving from them, too, will be safe with slow moving vehicles out of their way.”



Justice Pandit cremated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Scores of people from all walks of life today paid their last respects to former Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge Justice P.C. Pandit (retd), who passed away yesterday evening. He was cremated here this afternoon.

The Acting Chief Justice, Mr Justice H.S. Bedi, Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association president Anmol Rattan Sidhu and Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana Secretary Lekh Raj Sharma laid wreaths on the body on behalf of their respective organisations.

Judges of the High Court, former Chief Minister, Haryana, Bhajan Lal, staff of various DAV-run institutions in the city, lawyers and government officials were also present.

Justice Pandit breathed his last yesterday evening after a prolonged illness. He was 93.

Apart from being remembered as an eminent legal luminary, who had chosen to resign rather than suffer the indignity of being overlooked for chief justiceship, Justice Pandit also remained active in various fields, particularly social service. He remained associated with the management of the DAV institutions and the Arya Samaj.



Adieu! My Lord
J. L. Gupta

HERE was a man! A persuasive lawyer. A just Judge. Above all, a gentleman. He walked alone through the labyrinths of life. He toiled each day of his existence. He completed 93 milestones on the road of life. While walking towards the 94th he decided to leave this land of the dying. Unfortunately, Justice Prem Chand Pandit is no more in our midst.

Born on St. Valentine’s Day, even his name spelt and symbolized love. A product of the DAV institutions, he lived by the principles enunciated by the great founder. He was generous and gracious, humane and tender. For him, labour was the sweetest of all pleasures. Idleness the cradle of all disease. As in geometry, so in life, a straight path was his only way to reach the goal.

As in life, so in law, he combined accuracy, comprehension, diligence, hard work with patience to plead for the protection of the innocent and the punishment of the guilty. Eloquence and impassioned oratory gave him an edge over his adversaries. He had a vast practice and was elevated to the Bench more than four decades back on March 4, 1960.

He was tailor-made for the job. Even the dull moments were enlivened by an inexhaustible fund of anecdotes. The misery of the litigants on opposite sides in his court was alleviated by his compassion. He always held the scales even. Sturdy independence, a strong mind, a great heart, two ready hands were his contributions to the high office. As a Judge, he was a tall man who lived “above the fog in public duty and in private thinking”.

He never deviated from the path of righteousness, but guarded his honour zealously. In May, 1974, he was unfortunately superseded for the office of the Chief Justice. The chastity of his honour felt the stain of supersession. He resigned without delay or demur. And then, he did not accept any job. The “lure of office” never tempted him. The privileges of office could not win him over. He hated the thought of a retired judge being seen in the corridors of the secretariat seeking favours from those whom he had once judged. Probity and unimpeachable integrity were his constant companions.

More than everything else, he was a virtuous man. To him, a drink was a “man’s way to the devil”. Punctilious about punctuality, for him it was always a minute too soon but never a minute too late.

Crowns are always stuffed with stones. The passage to the throne is thorny. Justice Pandit walked on this passage with grace and wore the crown with glory. Some are good some are great, but he was one of the few who are good and great.

Today, he may not be there in flesh and blood. He shall live in the hearts of the people. For a long time.

— The writer is a former Chief Justice of the Kerala High Courts



PM not to inaugurate railway line
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 19
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, will not be inaugurating the Chandigarh-Morinda railway line in Mohali during his visit to the township on September 27.

The IG Patiala Zone, Mr S.K. Sharma, said the decision to start the railway line had been reviewed and the inauguration finally cancelled since preparations for the same were not complete.

He added that the Prime Minister would, however, lay the foundation stone of the science institute on the premises of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) and not at the proposed site in Sector 81, which was under litigation.

Mr Sharma had along with the SSP, Mohali, Mr Naunihal Singh, today visited the NIPER auditorium, which would be the venue for the function, to oversee security arrangements.

Mr Sharma also checked the route to be followed by the Prime Minister and the venue where the main function was being held at NIPER.

“Nearly 1,200 police personnel were being deployed at strategic points as part of the security arrangements for the visit,” pointed out the SSP, adding that Dr Manmohan Singh would be coming to NIPER at 6 pm and stay in the town for about an hour.

His convoy would proceed on the road leading to the PCA Stadium from Chandigarh and would then divert towards NIPER.

Traffic would be diverted for some time. He said the main route would be sealed for 15 minutes when the VVIP came to the town and for another 15 minutes when he left.



Scheme for unauthorised power load
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The Electricity Department of the Chandigarh Administration today decided to give an opportunity to the consumers to get their unauthorised load regularised keeping in view the fact that many consumers had non-sanctioned load.

The lack of information on exact connected load makes planning difficult for adequate infrastructure.

The scheme will be called Simplified Load Regularisation Scheme, 2006, and will be applicable to domestic and non-residential supply consumers, excluding industrial consumers. The scheme will start on October 9 and continue till November 8.

Under the scheme, a simplified application and agreement form carrying the details of the load calculations has been prepared. This form is available free of cost at the sub-divisional offices and can also be download from the administration website.

The load applied will be regularised from the date of the submission of the form. A consumer will have to install his own transformer if the load is above 100 KW. It has been decided that if the consumer (only NRS) having load above 100 KW applies under the scheme and does not install his own transformer. He shall pay 20 per cent surcharge until the supply is shifted to 11 KV.

A special drive for checking the load will be carried out for one year after the closure of the scheme and fines will be levied on defaulters.



Debate on socialism at MCPI meet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Set back to socialism in the wake of domination of the US-led market forces in India came up for heated discussion on the third day of the All-India Special Unity Congress of the Marxist Communist Party of India (United), at Kisan Bhavan here today.

Mr P.S. Bhangu, a member of the presidium, dwelt on class characterisations of Indian ruling classes and the concept of new economic policy and its impact on agriculture, health, industry and even our cultural values. Mr Jagjit Singh Lyallpuri, convenor, replied back to the points and questions arisen out of deliberations earlier.

Mr Kuldeep Singh, a member of the All-India Preparatory Committee, said, “The Congress has been called to unify the forces and groups opposed to the All-India Congress Committee and the BJP-led alliances. We also oppose the policies of the CPM and the CPI leadership which is supporting the Congress-led UPA”.

The Congress took up the sharpening of contradictions between working people of the world and imperialism, especially the unipolarism of the US, imperialism and capitalism between the developed and developing countries, inter imperialist contradictions, and others. 



Draw of HUDA plots ends
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 19
The draw for plots ended with the allotment of 356 remaining plots in Sector 28 by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) here today. The second day remained as event-free as the first day though there was a bigger audience to witness the proceedings. A total of over 2,12,000 applications were received for the plots in the sector. Oustees were allotted 16 one kanal plots and eleven 10 marla plots.

Conducted smoothly without a slightest wrangle, the draw was telecast live for the convenience of the public. However, for those who did show up at the venue it was an anxious day as they sat with fingers crossed hoping their names to be announced as lucky winners.

The Administrator, Ms Neelam Pradeep Kasni, and the Estate Officer, were repeatedly congratulated for the transparency during the draw by people. The draw began at 10 am and continued till 9 pm. Though a large number of people was present all through the day at the venue, the crowd swelled when the draw for 10 marla and 14 marla plots was held. The day began with the draw for six marla plots and ended with the draw for one kanal plots. 



MC vehicles stopped from dumping garbage
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 19
Employees of an industrial unit in Phase VIII blocked a stretch of a road to stop vehicles of the Municipal Council from dumping garbage near the premises.

Cars were parked on the road leading to the dumping ground to block the entry of vehicles carrying garbage. Some municipal vehicles full of garbage were seen lining up 
in the area.

Mr Naresh Nanda , Managing Director of the firm, said despite repeated complaints council employees kept dumping garbage on the vacant land close to his unit resulting in pollution of the environment. He said it had become difficult to function from there as the foul smell was unbearable.

He further said at the time waste was set on fire and the smoke thus emanating was creating breathing problems for the people of the area. The place was also breeding mosquitoes and flies adding to the problems which reflected poorly of the administration. He said industrial focal point was declared as a prime hub for IT in the northern region and renowned players in the global market had their establishments in this area.

Mr Rajinder Singh Rana, president of the council, said the civic body had assured Mr Nanda that the needful would be done and the matter was settled



Poultry farmers rue lack of subsidy on feed
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The failure of Ministry of Agriculture to extend subsidy on poultry feed to farmers in the states of Punjab and Haryana has led to the farmers incurring huge losses.

While Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka have got a subsidy of Rs 150 per quintal on the maize feed for poultry — to help the farmers in these southern states to overcome losses — farmers in the northern region have been left high and dry. Poultry farmers in southern India have been given the maize feed at the rate of Rs 450 per quintal, while farmers here are getting the same at the rate of Rs 660 per quintal.

While the price of feed (a major input) is increasing, the price of culled birds (layers) and broilers have hit an all time low. The wholesale rate of broiler is Rs 21 per kg, while that of culled bird is Rs 15 per kg. “However, in spite of these low prices, there are no takers, and farmers are forced to sell their produce at abysmally low price of Rs 38-Rs 40 per kg.

“Like our counterparts in the south, we too have suffered huge losses post the avian flu breakout. But the government seems to have ignored us completely while granting maize feed at subsidised rates. The Animal Husbandry Minister, Punjab, has made several representations to the Ministry of Agriculture, but these seem to have had no effect,” said Mr Mahinder Arora ‘Pappu’, President of Punjab Poultry Farmers Association, and who runs a poultry farm at Khanna.

Ever since bird flu was first reported in the country seven months ago, about 3,000 poultry farm owners in Punjab and Haryana, are facing tough times because of the decline in demand.

Many poultry farms are on the brink of closure, as they collectively suffer an estimated daily loss of Rs 10 lakh. Though India has been declared a bird flu-free country, Jammu and Kashmir has continued to ban the entry of culled birds (layers) from Punjab and Haryana, for sale in its markets.

“Had Jammu and Kashmir opened its markets for selling the produce, we would have been able to contain our previous losses. Last year, about 35,000 culled birds from Punjab were being sent to Jammu and Kashmir each day. Now, its only the broiler and eggs that are allowed for sale in the that state,” said Mr Rajinder Mittal, a poultry farmer in the Barwala poultry belt, which is the largest poultry belt in north India.

Farmers are also upset that though the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had announced slashing the interest rates by almost 50 per cent (from 8.5 per cent to 5 per cent), it would not be of much benefit to them. “This concession was announced for the cash credit flows taken before March 31, 2006. But it was only in the beginning of this fiscal that all cash credit flow to the farmers reeling under the avian flu scare was started. And we will now have to pay the 8.5-9 per cent rate of interest,” rued Mr Harminder Singh of Dasmesh Poultry Farms, Shahpur near Ludhiana.



2 brothers die of viral fever
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Two brothers residing in Sanjay Colony, Industrial Area, died of viral fever after struggling for life for hours at the General Hospital, Sector 16, here on September 17. Hailing from the Gaunda locality in Uttar Pradesh, Ram Kalap and his brother Bhola were migrant labourers. They had been admitted to the hospital with acute viral fever, but efforts by doctors to save them prove futile. Bhola was admitted to the hospital emergency late on the night of September 16 in an unconscious condition and he breathed his last before doctors could diagnose the ailment.

His brother was admitted to the hospital emergency on the morning of September 17 with similar symptoms and he struggled for life for two hours before succumbing to the disease. Doctors conducted some tests on him and found symptoms of a certain type of viral fever.

The hospital authorities sent samples of the fluid collected from the stomach of the deceased to ascertain the exact type of viral fever.

Dr M.S. Bains, Director, Health Services, Chandigarh, said the cases were discussed by experts this morning.

He claimed that had the brothers been rushed to the hospital in time, they could have been saved. He said another patient from the same colony had been admitted to the hospital with a similar type of fever a couple of days back, but was discharged after his recovery.



Minor fire in Sec 27 house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
A minor fire was reported in Sector 27-B here this evening in House No. 1080. Two fire engines were rushed to the spot and the fire was brought under control.

The fire started due to a short circuit in the meter box.

There was panic around the area, largely because of the heavy smoke, according to information.



Passing Through

Ramesh Meena, Regional Sales Head-North, Unit Trust of India (UTI).

Q: What brings you to Chandigarh?

A: I am here to launch the “UTI-wealth builder fund”, a new close-ended scheme with a maturity period of five years.

Q: What are the details of the scheme?

A: Available at the face value of units of Rs 10, the fund aims at building and maintaining a diversified portfolio of equity stocks that have potential to appreciate in the long run. The fund closes on October 11.

Q: When other options of wealth creation such as real estate and stock market are available, why should public invest in mutual funds?

A: Stock market is volatile, with a lot of risks involved, and for investment in real estate, you need huge money. Mutual funds, which combine security and appreciation, are basically suited for small investors.

Q: How do you compare the UTI with other mutual fund operators?

A: With assets of Rs 35,000 crore and an investor base of 7.5 million spanning over 60 domestic schemes, the UTI is the largest mutual fund in the country.

Q: What future do you foresee for mutual funds in India?

A: Mutual funds have great potential in a growing economy like India, as people here want to play safe. Moreover, the tax benefits and stiff competition among the fund operators will ensure that the funds will always keep catching the fancy of the general investors.— As told to Pradeep Sharma



6 drug smugglers held, heroin worth Rs 50 lakh seized
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 19
The police has arrested six members of a gang of smugglers and seized 432 grams of heroin worth about Rs 50 lakh in the international market.

Khushwant Singh, alias Jodha, Nakshdeep Singh, Satnam Singh, alias Sonu, all residents of Machhiwara, and Baljinder Singh, alias Jinda, a resident of Nurpur Bet under Machhiwara police station, were arrested by the police yesterday. They were booked under Sections 21/61/85 of the NDPS Act. The police today arrested Imdad Hussain and Mohammad Inam, both hailing from Jharkhand. About 180 grams of opium was seized from the two.

Mr Naunihal Singh, SSP, said at a press conference here today that on secret information a police party headed by Inspector R.S. Sohal and Inspector Tejinder Singh laid a naka in Phase III B 2 and nabbed the four smugglers. The police carried out a search of the Tata Safari vehicle in which the four were travelling and seized the heroin.

The SSP said the suspects revealed during interrogation that Baljinder Singh was engaged in transport business at Kuju village falling under Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand. There he came in contact with Mohammad Inam and Imdad Hussain. Imdad Hussain supplied a consignment of heroin to Baljinder Singh, who in turn planned to sell the contraband with the help of Khushwant Singh, Nakshpreet Singh and Satnam Singh. The SSP said both Baljinder Singh and Khushwant Singh were opium addicts and were being supplied opium by Imdad Hussain and Mohammad Inam. The SSP said Imdad Hussain was the kingpin of the gang.

He said persons arrested yesterday were allegedly looking for prospective buyers of heroin in Mohali.

Mr Naunihal Singh said it was suspected that the heroin seized was smuggled from Thailand. He said investigations were on. Efforts were also on to organise inter-state operations.



Conmen dupe woman of two gold bangles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Two unidentified conmen duped a woman of two gold bangles on the pretext of cleaning those at her house in Burail village here this afternoon.

Ms Parveen Kumari, a housewife, reported to the police that the duo, in their early twenties, came to her house and claimed that they could clean metals with powder. After winning her trust, they sought permission for a demonstration and cleaned some utensils with the powder.

Seeing the results, she was convinced of their skill, after which they offered to clean her gold ornaments.

Her brother-in-law, who was at home then, warned her, but she ignored his advice and handed over two gold bangles to them.

The duo asked her to bring a pressure cooker filled with water and she did as she 
was told.

They put some powder in the water and asked her to boil it for 20 minutes.

She came back with boiled water after some time, only to realise that she had 
been duped.

She raised the alarm, but it was too late and there was no trace of the duo.

Describing the duo, she told the police that they were clean-shaven and were of fair complexion, wearing black trousers and white shirts.

A case of cheating under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code was registered in this regard.



Car, scooter stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
A car and a scooter were stolen from different parts of the city.

According to the police, Mr Karamvir Nanda of Sector 21 lodged a complaint, alleging that his Hyundai Accent car (CH-03-N-0079) was stolen from his residence on Sunday.

In another incident, Mr Rajesh Kumar of Mariwala Town, Mani Majra, reported that his motor cycle (HR-20-J-1771) was stolen from his residence on Saturday night.

Two cases of theft have been registered in this connection in different police stations in the city.

Ganja seized

The police arrested Vishal Kumar Mahanto of Shahpur Colony, Sector 38, from the same locality on Monday while allegedly carrying 150 gm of ganja. A case under Section 20 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act has been registered in this regard.



Bank CMD to open ATM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The Chairman and Managing Director(CMD) of the Union Bank of India, Mr MV Nair, will visit the city tomorrow.

During his maiden visit to the city after taking over as the CMD, Mr Nair will inaugurate the ninth ATM of the bank at the Sector 17 branch, according to a press note issued here today.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |