C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

The north-south divide is glaring
* Fewer residents, higher literacy in one area
* Congestion, slums, wild growth in the other
Sanjeev Singh Bariana and Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
There are two faces of Chandigarh — the one representing the north of Dakshin Marg and the other south. The north-south divide is glaring. While the north has bigger houses, fewer residents, higher literacy, the south is crowded, less beautiful and officially neglected.

The green belt is shrinking. Electoral compulsions have led to a wild growth of slums and unplanned housing in the periphery. Most of the rehabilitation slums colonies have been set up in the southern belt, especially adjoining Mohali.

A glance at the infrastructural facilities clearly indicates the north and south of the City Beautiful as two different worlds. The spacious lawns in houses complimented with the spacious green belts in the north are diagonally opposite to the congested houses and green belts of lesser size — at least proportionate to the population — in the south.

Mr Rajeev Puri, who runs an immigration consultant firm in Sector 34, says examples of lack of planning and poor maintenance of basic amenities are galore in the commercial centre which is rated second to Sector 17. “The revenue earned in form of paid parking fee and earning from the property tax is not being put on upgradation of the sector. Roads need repair and more parking is required. No beautification process on the pattern of Sector 17 has been undertaken”, he adds.

According to development figures, the areas in Sectors 1-30 constitute the north of the city. The road leading to the Punjab and Haryana Secretariat gets relaid very frequently as compared to huge sections of roads crying for attention in the South. “Senior officials say we lay them in a time-bound manner, however, the timebound period for certain roads appears to be lesser than ours”, feels Maj (retd) R.K Singh, a resident of Sector 44.

Going figuratively, the census figures for ward number 1 which covers Sectors 1 to 11 is 30505. The same figure for a much smaller area covering Burail in ward number 10 is 69830. Similarly, the population in Sectors 31 and 47 touches 50,000 mark but same figure of northern Sectors 12, 14 and 15 was just 30,000. But the difference in quality of roads and maintenance varies in the two extremes of the city.

Compare the width of roads and the volume of traffic handled, points out Ms Veena, who daily commutes between Panchkula and Chandigarh. The roads leading to the southern sectors witness a higher volume of traffic compared to most of roads in the north. “The roads need to be more wider seeing the density of population and the figures of per capita vehicles”, believes Mr K.S. Lamba, an advocate living in Sector 37.

An Assistant Sub Inspector in Chandigarh Police, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, points out that there are hardly any sports facilities in the southern belt. Except for the Sports Complex in Sector 42 and ill equipped sports complex in Sector 46, no facilities like tennis courts, swimming pools, athletic track and gymnasium have been provided. He has to send his son all the way to the tennis complex in Sector 10.

On the other hand in the northern sectors there was a sports complex in Sector 7, tennis complex in sector 10, table tennis hall in sector 23, shooting range in Sector 25, sports facilities in Panjab University, cricket stadium in Sector 16, swimming pool in sector 23. The divide is well defined.

Take the case of education. All the major education institutions of the city are located in the north, particularly education belt starting from Panjab University, PGIMER, Government College for Men, Sector 11, GCG, Government Home Science College, Government Polytechnic, DAV College, Governments Arts College, Punjab Engineering College, Polytechnic, Chandigarh Engineering College and Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa Colleges (both men and women), besides certain others.

A senior UT official said the education belt came up as planned in the master plan and similar specifications have been laid for other sectors. A majority of the parks, at least those of tourist importance, are located in the north, including the Rose Garden, Shanti Kunj, the Rock Garden, the Sukhna Lake, the Leisure Valley and others. All the tourist oriented activities are northern sector oriented.

Mr Kuldip Singh, an academician said “I am not blaming the administration for the human rush because of changed times. I am only concerned with the rush. Go to any southern sector and look at the roads. The roads are very tiny made thinner with a heavy rush of vehicles. At night often we have to hurry home than our neighbours in order to save space for our car”.

The commercial area of Sector 17 in north is much spacier than the rush in Sector 35.

Mr Rajat Pratap Singh, a student of Panjab University, said: “If we have a look at the map of the city, majority of the labour colonies are located in the southern belt. This clearly indicates that the administrators consciously kept them away from the ‘influential north’.



Heated exchange between Cong councillors over streetlighting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Abysmally poor streetlighting on the city roads was the most hotly debated point at the monthly meeting of the Municipal Corporation here today. Hot words were exchanged between two ruling Congress councillors forcing the Mayor to call for a tea-break.

The Engineering Department said a recent survey report indicated that more than 80 per cent of streetlights were functioning normally. The submission was not acceptable to the House and it decided that “we shall conduct a new survey and table a report within three days”. Mr K.B.Sharma, Chief Engineer, assured to tune up the electricity works within a week.

Mr P.S.Aujla, Municipal Commissioner, said, “We have 40,000 light points under our control and we are acutely short of staff”. Mrs Shyama Negi, Senior Deputy Mayor, and Mrs Kamlesh, a former Mayor, said, “We should go in for a contract system to meet the staff shortage immediately”.

Mrs Kamla Sharma, a BJP councillor, said, “The streetlights, particularly in the Southern belt, were in a very bad state”. The councillors pointed out the poor conditions of streetlighting in Sectors 32, 47, 46, 38, Dadu Majra, 38 (West) and several other areas.

The issue became more peculiar when a heated discussion took place between Mrs Negi and Mrs Geeta Rani. Mrs Rani is a former Deputy Mayor and both are from the Congress. Mrs Geeta Rani, who chaired the Electricity Committee, said the work on the streetlights was fine, which was rebutted by Mrs Negi.

Things assumed unpleasant proportions when Mrs Harpreet Babla, Mrs Anu Chatrath and certain other councillors got up and asked Mrs negi to apologise or withdraw “unparliamentary” language that she used against Mrs Geeta Rani, which she did after some time.

The issue of more than Rs 35 crore lying pending with the Municipal Corporation also generated a lot of debate. Mr Jatinder Bhatia of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch, said, “The city residents were being asked to pay property tax for municipal works while at the same time its coffers were flooded with untilised money. I will like to ask who is responsible and whether anyone will be made accountable for the lapse?” The untilised amount was discovered during the tenure of Mrs kamlesh as Mayor.

The project report on the Garbage Treatment Plant in the city was also hotly debated at the meeting. At least 12 members in a signed representation had sought the Commissioner to include the matter on the agenda. The signatories also included members of the ruling Congress, including Mr Chandermukhi, Mr Sohan Lal Vaid and Mr Kuldeep Singh. Other signatories include Ms Amar Kulwant, Mrs Atma Ram and Mr P.C. Sanghi, besides others.

The councillors were told that the matter was sub-judice so it had not been put on agenda to which the members said at least the legal information could have been attached to the agenda. The biggest objection that the councillors raised was that the company that was asking for pellets had no experience and it did not even have the existing set-up where the pellets would be used.

MC employees would get free parking passes all over the city. Terms and conditions for study tours were also discussed.



People-friendly water supply bylaws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The Chandigarh Administration has notified the proposal of the municipal corporation for simplification of rules and regulations in and amendments to water supply bylaws.

Dispute settlement and redressal committees have been formed to sort out disputes and litigation on water bills and related issues.

The amendments are expected to result in transparency, efficiency and quick disposal of cases on water charges.

The earlier system of getting a water connection sanctioned is a lengthy procedure and takes five or six days.

Now water connections upto 15 mm in size (approximately 99 per cent of the total water connections applied for with the municipal corporation) will be sanctioned by the SDE concerned.

Regular domestic, commercial, industrial and institutional connections with a size between 20 mm and 40 mm and all types of temporary water connections will be sanctioned by the Executive Engineer concerned.

The application for the release of a water connection has also been simplified.

The time taken for sanctioning a domestic water connection will be reduced to less than half.

Minimum rates for commercial premises will be Rs 770 per month for fast food joints and dhabas, Rs 550 per month for SCOs and SCFs dealing in general trade and Rs 880 for SCOs and SCFs dealing in water-consuming business.

Cinema halls, hotels and shopping malls will have to pay Rs 2,200 as the minimum rate per month.

Municipal councillors have been involved as members in the committees, which will act as reviewing authority and appellate authority for various disputes.

The SDE concerned will be the nodal officer for divisional-level and circle-level committees.

The XEN concerned will be the nodal officer for chief-level and commissioner-level committees.

Divisional-level committees will be the reviewing authority for disputes involving upto Rs 10,000.

Circle-level committees will be the reviewing authority for disputes involving between Rs 10,001 and Rs 1 lakh.

Those will also be the appellate authority for disputes involving upto Rs 10,000.

In case the consumer is not satisfied with the bill amount, he will have to make a written request to the nodal officer of the committee concerned, along with 33 per cent of the bill amount as draft receipt.

The nodal officer will make arrangements for a meeting of committees once in a month.



Watch out

Balwinder Singh Johal
Balwinder Singh Johal

Balwinder Singh Johal, president of the Table Soccer Federation of India and a UT awardee, is in Japan to officiate in the World Open 2006 International Table Soccer Tournament, being played in Tokyo. The tournament, in which about 30 countries are participating, will continue till October 1.

Balwinder is accompanied by Ravinder Talwar, who is the chairman of the Table Soccer Federation of India, besides a local team of four players -Harkanwal Preet Singh, Harashpreet Sharma and Maneet Paul Singh.

Balwinder, has officiated in several international and national roller skating championships. He has been to Japan before as a speed skating official in the 6th Asian Roller Skating Championship, held at Nagano in 1995. He has been a roller hockey official in the 8th Asian Roller Skating Championship, held at Shanghai in China in 1999.

In a goodwill gesture for friendly relations with neighbouring countries, he took a skating rally from Delhi to Lahore in 1983, followed by another skating rally to Nepal the same year.



MC building set for renovation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The municipal corporation, Chandigarh, is all set for a renovation not only in terms of the number of wards and councillors but also in terms of space. A proposal to construct a new floor has been sent by the MC to the Architect, UT Administration.

A proposal has been sent about two weeks ago to construct a new floor above the existing room where the meeting is held. According to sources in the MCC, the proposal has asked for the construction of a conference hall, one library, one recording room and one Mayor chamber.

The number of councillors is expected to increase to 36.

Also there have been complaints that the Mayor has no separate room to address the grievances of the people who come to meet him. 



Eco Notes
Sukhna Lake gasping for water
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Is Sukhna Lake dying? Yes, say experts. According to them the lake is gasping for water and its water level has reached an alarmingly low level this year.

The UT Administration, on its part, still believes that it has been doing much to slow the ageing of the lake. It says that this year the water level is low due to scanty rainfall.

Officials believe that every year lakhs of cubic metres of silt is being removed. The Administration has even taken several mechanical and vegetative measures to treat its catchment.

Official figures say that soil erosion has reduced from 160 metric tonnes per hectare per annum to 5.6 metric tonnes per hectare per annum over the years.

‘‘The lake will never be full to its maximum level i.e. EI 1163, the flood level, in the years to come due to our blunders,’’ says Mr S.P Malhotra, member of the desliting committee, Chandigarh.

He says the soil conservation and afforestation schemes in the catchment of the lake are water consuming. At the time of the implementation of the schemes, no upper limit for the water to be consumed by the forest cover and the check dams was fixed.

‘‘At present, these are consuming so much of water that the balance left is not enough to fill up the lake up to the maximum level. This can be the beginning of the end of the lake,’’ believes Mr Malhotra, a former Engineer-in-Chief, Irrigation, Haryana.

‘‘The average flow of water into the lake from 1958 to 1978 was 7,370 acre feet, while in 1999 it was 1,870 acre feet, which was 25 per cent of the 20 years' average (1958 to 1978). This year it was just 736 acre feet, which is 10 per cent. This is a dismal picture,’’ he explains.

Mr Ishwar Deputy, Deputy Conservator of Forests, says it is unscientific to say that soil conservation measures and afforestation have reduced the inflow of water. The check dams not only helped in controlling the soil erosion but also helped in controlling flooding in the lake. The water bodies are quenching the thirst of the aquifers.

About 180 check dams saved the city from flooding on August 2, 2004. That year recorded the heaviest rainfall in 47 years. He says if the dams had not been in place, the lake would have overflowed and caused extensive damage to life and property in the city.



Sweepers’ unions threaten to gherao Parliament
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Sweepers unions from eight states today called for the gherao of Parliament in case their legitimate demands were not met immediately by the Centre and the state governments.

A decision to this regard was taken at a meeting of safai karamchari unions at Kisan Bhavan. Speaking against the All-India Safai Karamchari Aayog Chairperson, Ms Santosh Chaudhary, for not being able to take up the cause of sweepers, the 'safai karamcharis' demanded her ouster.

Expressing anguish over the callous attitude of the Union and state governments on the issue of contract system, former Union Minister Buta Singh extended full support to the demand for ending the contract system.

He also assured the gathering that he would earnestly take up the matter of the non- issuance of SC certificates in Chandigarh with ministries concerned at the Centre.

Union Minister of State for Finance and the local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal expressed concern over the non- issuance of SC certificates in the UT. Mr Bansal promised to take up the matter at the highest echelons of the Union Government.

The meeting gave a final ultimatum to the Union Government for ending the contract system in sweeping related jobs. A deadline of two months was given to the government in this regard.

"The consequences for the non compliance on the part of the government are not being rightly comprehended by the government and they cannot take us for granted any more.

We will resort to the stoppage of sanitation services throughout the member states if our demands are not met", warned Mr Shyam Lal Ghawri, newly appointed convener of the Punjab unit of the All- India Safai Mazdoor Congress.

Mr Om Pal Singh Chawar, General Secretary of the Sweepers' Union, Chandigarh, said the meeting was attended by several senior leaders of the region.

The meeting also dwelled upon several major issues and the demand to employ safai karamcharis in the ratio of 375 sweepers per one lakh population as notified by the Government of India in 1977-78. Deliberations on insurance benefits up to Rs 7 lakh and the formation of safai karamchari commissions in all states on Central pattern was also on the agenda.

Mr Vir Singh Dhiman , MLA from New Delhi, Mrs Meera Mandal Valmiki, minister, Haryana, Mr Surinder Singh, UT Mayor, Mr Sohan Lal Valmik, Mayor Shimla, Charan Singh Vadhera, MLA, New Delhi, Mr Krishan Lal Valmiki, member Rajya Sabha, Mr Prabhu Dayal Valmiki, minister , UP, Raj Kumar Verka, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab and Joginder Singh Mann were among those who attended the meeting.



Start Punjabi in schools, NCM tells HP, Haryana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The non-introduction of Punjabi in schools of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh has attracted the attention of the National Commission for Minorities. Citing the rights of the minorities as enshrined in the Constitution, the commission has asked the Congress-ruled states to correct their act.

The issue was today taken with the respective state government officials by Mr Harcharan Singh Josh, a member of the minorities. He was in the city to take up various complaints pertaining to the minorities with officials of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh government and the Chandigarh Administration.

He said the commission had decided to take up the promotion of Punjabi and Urdu languages. The Commission had also decided to raise the educational standards of the minorities.

Addressing a press conference at the Chandigarh Press Club here, Mr Josh said in Haryana, there had to be a batch of at least 30 students in a particular school, who were willing to take up Punjabi and only then the provision to teach the language would be made. Similarly, the Himachal Government had made a rule wherein the language can be taught in Class IX and X. It refuses to teach the language at sixth class level, citing shortage of funds.

‘‘We have already written to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD). The ministry had said it was ready to provide funds if the states wanted to make provision for teaching languages", he said.

Mr Josh said he had held a meeting with Secretary, Education, Punjab, regarding giving jobs to deaf and dumb candidates. Similarly reply regarding complaints of encroachments on graveyards of Christians and harassment of individual employees were sought from the officials concerned.

He expressed concern over the states not taking the queries from the commission seriously. The complaints were pending for over two years. "They have responded only when they came to know that I was coming to enquire about their complaints", he said while denying the commission was toothless.

Mr Josh said a probe by the commission into the complaints of conversions in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh had revealed that the complaints were stage managed. He said there were no complaints from Punjab and Haryana. On the issue of the Conversion Bill passed by the Gujarat Assembly, he said it was in violation of Article 25 of the Constitution and the commission would be writing to the President. 



BRO men attack filmmaker’s family
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
For Ms Reema Anand, a noted filmmaker and social activist, a pilgrimage to Sri Hemkunt Sahib was abruptly disrupted by a traumatic experience near Chamoli in Uttaranchal this afternoon.

An agitated and armed group of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) men, repairing a road, attacked her and other members of her family. Their fault was that they overtook a truck parked on the road, one way of which was closed for recarpeting.

The family has lodged a complaint with the Chamoli police which apprehended two of the several assailants. All members of the family, who received injuries, underwent a medical examination at the Chamoli hospital.

The behaviour of the workers of the BRO was “shocking” and unbecoming of a defence organisation.

It all happened when her husband, Mr Amit Singh Chadha, a lawyer in the Supreme Court, after getting the green light from a BRO man regulating traffic on the one way road a little beyond Chamoli overtook a truck parked in the middle of the road.

This enraged the BRO workers.

“We were taken aback when a roadroller appeared from nowhere to block our passage. Then our car, a Honda, was surrounded by BRO workers who wanted Amit to come out. Judging the mood of the workers, we decided against coming out of the car.

“As we tried to move ahead, their supervisor shouted at his workers, asking them to attack our car with stones. As they started raining stones on our vehicle, my son was hit before a stone hit me. Since our car was badly damaged, my husband came out of the vehicle. But before he could start a dialogue with them to know the reason for their anger and subsequent assault, a group of them armed with lathis and other blunt weapons attacked him. I tried to intervene and save him. They also attacked me.

“To our great relief, a couple of policemen in plain clothes arrived. Sensing that the situation was getting out of hand, one of them asked his colleague to brandish his rifle at the assailants. It worked. They left us and tried to flee. Amit received injuries on his head, face and other parts of the body,” said Ms Anand.



Effigy of corrupt govt staff to be burnt 
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 29
An effigy symbolising corrupt government employees will be set on fire along with the effigy of Ravana and two others on Dasehra here on October 2.

Mr Madhu Bhushan, president of the Dasehra Committee, said at a press conference here today that public was fed up with the corruption prevalent in government offices. It was very difficult for the common man to get his work done. So this year the committee had decided to burn the effigy of corrupt employees along with the effigies of Ravana, Meghnada and Kumbkarana on Dasehra.

He said permission to hold Dasehra function in the Phase VIII ground had been sought from authorities concerned about a month ago but it was yet to be granted. Every time we went to inquire about the permission we were told to come again, he alleged.

He said the committee would be celebrating the 29th function this year but no permanent land had so far been allotted to hold social functions. He said that work on the effigies was about to be completed . As many as 14 persons were on the job who had come from Meerut about a month ago.

He said about Rs 3 lakh would be spent on the celebrations and most of the funds were contributed by PTL employees and PTL vendors. Efforts were being made to get the function sponsored. 



Novel way to remember Bhagat Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
It was the prefect way to celebrate the birth anniversary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. Rajeev Kumar, alias Johny, a resident of Sector 41 and AC mechanic by profession, yesterday took out a round of the city on his modified bicycle, displaying pictures of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

While taking round of the city, Johny said modifying bicycle was his old time hobby and he has been doing it since 1993. “ I decided to educate city residents about Shaheed Bhagat Singh with the help of my modified bicycle”, he added.



Six CPOs quit job
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 29
The community policing scheme introduced about a few months ago for providing a security cover to residents of the town here received a blow when some of the community police officers( CPOs) left their jobs after alleged harassment.

Six CPOs have left the job alleging that they were not being paid their wages and were also not being provided the required support when faced with odd situations . Those who have left the job are Gurvinder Singh, Satwinder Singh , Sarabjit Singh, Baljit Singh, Subhash Chand and Gopinder Singh.

They said the CPOs had been put under the control of a private agency. They alleged that when they approached the agency owner for wages they were asked to contact the Phase I police station and when they reached the police station they were asked to get in touch with the agency.

They said that they faced odd situations while on duty. Some residents got irritated if they were reminded that their vehicles parked outside were not locked or the gate was lying open. Some persons under the influence of liquor allegedly misbehaved with them but under such circumstances CPOs were allegedly not given any support by the authorities concerned.

The community policing scheme involved the deployment of a force trained by the police to provide security cover in the area allocated to them. The scheme was okayed on May 28 by residents of the town at a meeting held with the police. A short documentary film, “Navi Roshni”, that explained the concept of community police officer was shown at the meeting.

Nearly 275 CPOs had been deployed in various parts of the town for providing a security cover. Residents were asked to pay a small amount for the services.

The police could not be contacted for comments despite efforts.



Gaurav Gaur is youth ambassador
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Gaurav Gaur, project manager with one of the HIV/AIDS targeted intervention projects of State AIDS Control Society, has been named one of the Commonwealth Youth Ambassadors. He will be ambassador for Positive Living of the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP) Asia Centre of Commonwealth Secretariat, Sector 12.

Gaur has been selected through a process, but mainly he has been taken up for his work in the area of HIV/AIDS. As a Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, Gaur will disseminate information, conduct training programmes and increase awareness on HIV/AIDS and drug and substance abuse. He will advocate healthy and positive lifestyle and impart life-coping skills to avoid high-risk behaviour. 



NCM to take up oustees’ issue with Admn
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) will again seek clarification from the Chandigarh Administration regarding the demand of the Pind Bachao Committee, a society of at least 5,000 families of 11 UT villages, which has been seeking its intervention to rehabilitate the original residents of the city.

Mr Harcharan Singh Josh, a member of the commission, said today the issue of the oustees was pending with the Chandigarh Administration. He is expected to meet the UT Adviser tomorrow.

It may be mentioned that the Pind Bachao Committee in a memorandum to the commission had alleged that justice was being denied to them as they belonged to the minority community.

It was said that 80 per cent of the total oustees were Sikhs and 3 per cent were Muslims. It was also alleged that the Administration had come up with various rehabilitation schemes for the majority community living in slums, but none for them.

A November 2, 2001 order of the Minority Commission in which the Administration was asked to provide special rehabilitation scheme on priority to 5,000 minority families of Chandigrah was quoted by the committee.

After the representation of the villagers was sent in 2005, the Administration had reported that the 1996 scheme of allotment of dwelling units to the oustees was partially amended in April 2002.

The Administration had so far offered 130 flats to the oustees but could allot only 92 of them on account of inadequate number of eligible applicants.

The then Adviser to the Administrator had informed the commission that it would not be possible for the Administration to allot them land since vacant land with the city was not available for allotment to the oustess.

The committee also sought amending the Land Acquisition Act, 1894.



Inclusion of village in MC limits leads to confusion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The inclusion of five villages in the limits of the Municipal Corporation has resulted in confusion among the elected members of the Panchayat Samiti.

Though the notification for the inclusion of five villages - Hallo Majra, Kajheri, Palsora,

Dadu Majra and Maloya - was issued on September 19, no missive regarding the status of the elected representatives had been issued by the Chandigarh Administration, said Mr Bhupinder Badheri, who is Panchayat Samiti member from Palsora.

The administration must clarify the status of the remaining elected members of the Panchayat Samiti, said another elected member demanding that a fresh notification to elect the Panchayat Samiti should be issued by the department.

There is no missive from the administration regarding the utilisation of development funds. “As the bank accounts have not been freezed, cheques regarding the development works were still being issued”, said Mr Badheri.



Traffic police need to inform public
Jams during VIP visits
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Complete management and nothing else can explain the traffic jams on the roads running throughout the length and the breadh of the city during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s two-day visit to Chandigarh and its vicinity.

Though the traffic wing of the Chandigarh Police could have easily prevented the jams by informing the commuters about the traffic situation on particular roads by making announcements on the public address system or even on the radio, nothing was apparently done.

The sources add that the police often use public address system at the government press chowk and even on the road dividing Sectors 17 and 22 to prevent traffic bottlenecks. But policemen did precious little to tell the commuters against taking particular roads, or to use alternative routes.

As a result, the commuters had to wait for good 15 to 20 minutes every time at Prime Minister’s cavalcade zipped down the roads. To make the matters worse, the men-in-white practically misbehaved with the commuters particularly on the road connecting the markets of Sectors 10 and 11. Besides pushing and jostling with cyclists and scooterists, they used abusive language, says a resident of Sector 18 who was caught in a traffic jam for approximately 15 minutes.

Interestingly, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had directed the Chandigarh Police to ensure the free flow of traffic even during dharnas and rallies organised in the city. Though senior police officers refuse to comment on the issue, the sources in the police headquarters say this was not the first time the motorists had to alternately press the brake and the accelerator paddle while struggling to find their way through the jam.

Quoting rough figures, the sources say the cops on an average take care of an estimated 800 dharnas and over 150 processions every year. A majority of them are organised around Matka Chowk. As a result, the road leading to the chowk remains out of bounds for traffic virtually throughout the year, even though it runs parallel to the city’s downtown.

The sources agree that people going to Sector 17 and other places in the chowk’s vicinity are almost always caught unawares as they seldom receive warnings about the blockades, resulting in inconvenience, besides wastage of precious time.

They also agree that the people are forced to suffer in the absence of any concrete plan to tackle the problems posed by the protesters and the VIP movement in the city. They add that the Chandigarh Police can easily guarantee almost-normal flow of traffic by allowing the protesters to remain on one side of the road, while allowing the motorists to commute on the other. But even this is not done.

As far as the High Court orders are concerned, the sources say that Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar had directed the police to ensure the smooth flow of vehicles while taking up the traffic regualtions and pollution control case. 



Report sought on appointment of teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The National Commission for Minorities has sought report from the UT Education Secretary regarding the appointment of 79 non-Punjabi speaking teachers in UT primary schools under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan scheme.

A complaint was made by Mr Jagsir Singh, a resident of Mansa, that for the purpose of 79 Punjabi language teachers under the Sarv Shiksha Abhyan, the UT Administration had appointed those who were from neighbouring states and non-Punjabi speaking.

Those appointed have neither studied Punjabi in their schools nor learnt Punjabi during their teacher training courses. Despite the fact that the teachers were not able to teach Punjabi, they were appointed to teach the language, he said.

Though a report had been called from the Secretary Education on November 25, 2005, no reply from the Education Department had been received so far, said Mr Harcharan Singh Josh, Member of the National Commission for Minorities, who was in the city today. 



Gurmat Samagam begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The four-day annual Kendri Gurmat Samagam and Amrit Prachar sabha started in the city today with the inauguration of an exhibition on spiritual paintings and Sikhism at the Sector 19 Gurdwara.

As many as 5000 delegates from across the country are participating in the Samagam being organised by the Ludhiana-based Sikh Missionary College in connection with the 400th anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev.

Giving details of the event, municipal councillor, Harjinder Kaur, who is also a product of the Missionary College, said the delegates comprise professionals from different walks, who have dedicated their lives for spreading the message of Guru Granth Sahib.

She added that poetry recitation competitions, besides kirtans and lectures, would also be held as part of the Samagam at different venues, including the Gurdwaras at Sector 23, 34, 46 and 21. The prize distribution competition would be held on October 1.

She added that the college would also launch a “missionary course” in English on Saturday. As of now, as many as 46,000 people from across the country are enrolled in the course in Hindi and Punjabi.



Mani Majra resident killed by train
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
A 35-year-old Mani Majra resident was killed after he was run over by Paschim Express near Mani Majra here this morning.

As no suicide note was found on the body, the police could not ascertain whether it was a case of suicide or accident.

Sources at the General Railway Police said the incident took place around 11.15 am near a level crossing between 
railway station and Mani Majra town.

The victim’s head was severed in the mishap and his left hand was also crushed.

The victim was later identified as Harbhajan Singh, a resident of Mani Majra. The police informed his relatives about the incident.

An owner of a dhaba in Mani Majra, Harbhajan Singh is survived by his wife and two children.

His wife told the police that there was nothing amiss with her husband and his business was good.



Snatching of sealed tenders alleged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Sanjeev Kumar, a transporter from Phillaur, in a complaint to the General Manager of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), has alleged that his sealed tenders were snatched by the henchmen of his rival, Roshan Lal.

“While my employee, Jaswinder was putting the sealed envelope in the box, they snatched it and read the rates quoted by my before putting back the envelope in the box”, he said.

Jaswinder was thrashed while the cops standing at the spot rescued the former. A daily diary report was lodged by the police. Sanjeev alleged that an SI refused to accept that the envelope had been snatched and put back after being torn.



Ornaments, Rs 1.3 lakh stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
Thieves decamped with Rs 1.30 lakh and ornaments after breaking into a house in Sector 15 here.

Ms Geeta Sharma of Sector 15 lodged a complaint with the police that Rs 1.30 lakh, a gold set, a silver set and several saris were stolen from her residence on Thursday.

A case of burglary under Section 380 and 454 of the Indian Penal Code was registered in the Sector 11 police station.

Vehicle stolen

Mr Satya Pal of Indira Flats, Mani Majra, reported to the police that his Hero Honda Passion motor cycle (CH-03-S-5512) was stolen from the parking lot in Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday.

In another incident, Ms Meena Rani of Sector 44 lodged a complaint with the police that her Honda Activa scooter (9CH-03-V-7694) was stolen from in front of her residence during the night of September 27.

Two separate cases of thefts were registered in the various police stations in the city.

Chain snatched

Ms Satya Rani of Pushpak Society, Sector 49, reported to the police that two unidentified motorcyclists snatched her gold chain from Sector 49 on Thursday evening. A case was registered in this regard.

Opium seized

The police arrested Bant Singh of Dhanas village from near the small bridge in the locality on Thursday on the charge of carrying 250 grams of opium.

A case under Section 18 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act was registered.



8 hurt in group clashes
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 29
Eight persons were injured in two clashes among different groups in Guru Nanak Colony last night.

Two persons were injured when they were allegedly attacked by members of another group after arguments at a marriage function.

The injured, Mahipal and his relative Kanta Devi, had to be taken to a hospital.

In the second incident in the same area, six persons were injured after an altercation took place over teasing of a girl.

Sonu had prevented some persons from teasing his sister, which resulted in heated exchanges. The groups turned violent and pelted each other with stones. It is reported that most of the people involved were in an inebriated state.

The injured were taken to the Civil Hospital, Phase VI.



2 held with 1 kg cocaine
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The Special Crime Investigation Cell of the Chandigarh Police arrested two residents of Jammu and Kashmir and recovered at least 1 kg of cocaine from their possession in a raid today.

Sources said the raid was carried out around 12 noon in a Sector 35 hotel.

The details of the case were being finalised and more raids were expected to continue, as the police suspects the involvement of more persons.



Scorpio stolen from Phase V
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 29
A Scorpio was stolen from Phase V here last night.

According to information, the vehicle belonged to the father-in-law of Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Phase V, and was parked outside Gurpreet’s house.

His father in-law had come from Moga to meet the family. They went to sleep after midnight but when they woke up in the morning they found the car missing.



Ex-serviceman held for sodomy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
In a shocking incident, a 60-year-old ex-serviceman hailing from Dera Bassi, who was in an inebriated state, was nabbed this afternoon while allegedly forcing a minor poor boy to indulge in unnatural sex.

This was a second incident within a week in the city, when a child was exposed to sexual assault. On Monday, an unidentified man made a rape bid on a five-year-old girl in Sector 41, which sent shock waves in the city. The police was yet to trace the accused in the case.

Giving details, sources in the Sector 17 police station said the incident came to light at around 3:30 pm, when a contractor of the bicycle stand at the district courts went to drink water near the Sector 17 Football Stadium and saw the man indulging in unnatural sex with a minor boy. He pounced upon the man and called the police, which arrested the accused.

The accused was identified as Subedar Gurdev Singh, (retd) of Dhanoni village in Dera Bassi. During preliminary interrogation, he told the police that he came to the Sanik Canteen in Sector 21 this morning, from where he went to a liquor vend to have a drink.

On his way back, he passed through the Sector 17 and noticed a poor boy, who was begging there. He asked the boy to come along with him to the Football Stadium and took him to a secluded place and indulged in unnatural offence, said a police officer investigating the case.

The victim was son of a rickshaw-puller and belonged to Kansal village. He came to the area for begging. The police registered a case under Sections 377 and 511 of the Indian Penal Code in this regard.



Murder case: Ram Darbar residents threaten protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The simmering resentment among the residents of Ram Darbar against the alleged failure of the Chandigarh Police to arrest the prime accused along with others involved in the murder of Bobinder Kumar alias Bobby refuses to die as the victim’s kin threaten to stage a protest in front of Governor House tomorrow to lodge their protest against the police ‘inaction’. A father of two minor daughters, 29-year-old Bobby was thrashed by at least 12 persons on Wednesday morning in the locality. He later succumbed to his injuries in the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, the same evening.

Meanwhile, the police today arrested three more accused from their hideouts in the city. Those arrested are Arun Kumar, Ashwani Kumar and Vivek alias Bobby. The SHO of Sector 31 police station, Inspector Har Sahai Sharma, said efforts were on to trace the main accused, Bajinder Singh. Asked about the victim’s body lying in the hospital mortuary, the SHO explained that the family was waiting for their relatives to come from Hyderabad. He further added that Bobby’s family and the residents of Ram Darbar had agreed to end their protest following police action.

Refuting the claims of the police, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune, victim’s brother Varinder Kumar asserted that they had only changed the site of their protest. He maintained that they had shifted the venue following request and assurances from the police that they would arrest the remaining accused. he added that they had not taken the body deliberately. He also clarified that their relatives had already come from Hyderabad this morning. 



Police fails to trace killer vehicles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
In the past two days, a cyclist and a rickshaw-puller, have lost their lives in hit and run cases in the city. In both cases, the local police failed to trace the vehicles involved in the accidents.

A rickshaw-puller, Pyara Singh, 60, was killed after he was hit by an unidentified Esteem car, while a cyclist, Ramu, 25, of Makhan Majra village, was knocked down by a rashly driven truck last night near the CRPF camp on the Chandigarh-Ambala Highway. The victim was on his way back home along with his friend Goli Ram, who was riding pillion on his cycle, after watching Ram Lila. Fortunately, Goli Ram reportedly escaped unhurt in the mishap while Ramu sustained serious head injuries.

The police said the accident took place after mid-night and the badly injured victim was rushed to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, where he expired during treatment. Goli Ram could not note down the registration number of the truck.

Ramu, a mential labourer, was unmarried. The police has registered a case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving under Sections 304-A and 279 of the IPC against an unidentified truck driver in Sector 31 police station.



No headway in rape bid case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 29
The local police has failed to make headway in the attempt to rape case involving a minor girl of Sector 41. The girl was sexually exploited by an unidentified man.

The shocking incident came to light on Monday night when the five-year-old profusely bleeding victim was found by her mother in Sector 41.

The girl had gone to play along with her friends near a religious congregation, and was picked up by an unidentified man.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, the DSP (South), Mr KIP Singh, admitted that no breakthrough had been achieved in the case so far. Despite all efforts the police had failed to establish the identity of the man.

He added, “The victim is too young to describe the details of the accused. She even fails to identify the place of the crime.

In the absence of any pointed information, it is very difficult to move ahead in this matter. Still we are making efforts and keeping an eye on suspicious people, who could have committed this crime”.

He further added that as the victim’s mother runs a PCO, the police was also scrutinising the frequent visitors to their house.



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 |