C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Structures on forest land not to get nod
Naya Gaon nagar panchayat
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
A notification issued by the Punjab Government has made it clear that the formation of a nagar panchayat at Naya Gaon will not provide a blanket permission for the regularisation of structures like houses, shops and other establishments in the area.

All existing structures in the area will fall under two categories. The first category will be of structures built on land not covered under the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900, or the Forest Conservation Act, 1980. For this, the permission for regularisation will be given by the state government as per the approved master plan. The authority for this could be the nagar panchayat or the Local Bodies Department as per the procedure applicable elsewhere in the state.

The second category will be of structures that have been built on lands that are covered under the PLPA, 1900, or the FCA, 1980. In such cases, the matter will be referred to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest for clearance. The regional office of the ministry in Chandigarh will deal with the subject, top sources in the Punjab Government told The Tribune here today.

This clause will apply in case of land that may be part of forest land but now falls under the “abadi” area of the newly formed nagar panchayat.

The real beneficiaries will be people whose structures are not on land locked under PLPA or under the forest Act. All other structures will be classified as “unauthorised” until the Union Ministry of Forest approves the cases. Getting this clearance will be impossible, admitted a senior functionary.

Also, the formation of the nagar panchayat does not impinge on any impending decision of the court in the matter. The Union Ministry may give permission or refuse it for structures that are on forest land. The state government has, however, decided that it will not demolish these structures or serve notices till the court or the Union Forest Ministry decides the matter. Sources, however, added the large parts of the area that have been brought under the nagar panchayat are not part of the forest land and thousands of families will benefit from the same.

Explaining the need for the nagar panchayat, an official said forest areas existed in cities like Chandigarh and Patiala, but that did not stop the government from granting permission in areas that were out of the purview of the forest Act.



Performing arts centre project revived
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

A Performing arts centre building in a dilapidated state
A Performing arts centre building in a dilapidated state.

Chandigarh, October 19
The ambitious project of the Chandigarh Administration for the Jawaharlal Nehru centre for performing arts, Sector 34, has been gathering dust for more than 20 years. The structure comprises only pillars. Time and weather have worn out the foundation of the structure, official sources said.

A sum of Rs 22 lakh has been spent on the structure so far. Building a new structure would mean restarting work from scratch. “The dilapidated structure is a reminder of wastage of public money. Is anyone accountable?” Mr Ram Prakash, a senior citizen, said.

Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, Chief Engineer, said: “The project was shelved in 1984 by the Administration. It was decided recently that the project should be revived.”

The Engineering Department is in possession of a technical report prepared by Punjab Engineering College. A notice has been issued to seek “expression of interest” from architects. A meeting with the architects was held recently and the department will shortlist at least 10 architects for the project.

The details of the new budget for the project will be calculated only after the design was cleared and the preliminaries were worked out.

Except for the existing facilities at Tagore Theatre, the city has a limited scope for stage performances.

Tagore Theatre is even being used for school functions and non-theatrical events. It is felt that a centre for performing arts needs to have a symbiosis with other art forms.

Mr Rakeshwar Katoch, a theatre buff, said: “The city has a potential to emerge as a major cultural centre in the North. All art forms need the support of the state and neighbouring state governments need to get together with the UT Administration to form a common action plan for the promotion of art and culture.

“The youth has immense potential but it needs help from veterans.” 



Alert police, Sarpanch foil child marriage
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Lalru, October 19
The alert police and the village Sarpanch today foiled a child marriage at Jaraut village, near here.
Acting on the complaint of the Sarpanch of the village, Mr Mann Singh, the police today booked 11 persons, including three women, allegedly facilitating a child marriage. While some of the relatives of both the sides have been arrested, efforts to effect a compromise between the police and both the parties could not succeed till late in the evening.

Sources said the marriage of Paramjit, daughter of Mam Chand, with Anil Kumar, a resident of Bhano Kheri village, near Ambala, was slated to be held at the village today. The marriage party also reached the village this morning with a view to solemnising the marriage.

However, when Mr Mann Singh got wind of the underage of the girl, who is stated to be about 16 years, he immediately informed the police. A police party, led by the Additional SHO of the Lalru police station, Mr Nand Lal, reached the spot and foiled the child marriage bid.

The police said to confirm the age of the girl, Ms Gurdeep Kaur, the Principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Jaraut, was contacted and she certified that that the date of birth of the girl was August 25, 1990. This way the age of the girl came to be 16 years, two months and six days.

It is also learnt that the bridegroom, Anil Kumar, was already married and had a three-year-old son from the first marriage. The police has registered a case under Section 5 of the Child Marriage Act, 1929, on the complaint of Mr Kundan Ram, grandfather of the girl, who was opposed to the marriage.

The police sources said those booked included Mam Chand and Jagiro, father and mother, respectively, of the girl. Baljit Singh, Leela Devi and Kanta Devi were the other persons booked from the bride’s side. Similarly, Anil Kumar, bridegroom, Amar Singh, his father, Paramjit, Gurnam and Des Raj, his relatives, have been booked.



Only eight beds for dengue patients
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
Over a dozen patients admitted to the PGI as suspected cases of dengue have been undergoing treatment for the disease lying on stretchers since the very first day of getting admitted there as the PGIMER management had provided only eight beds for such a large number of patients being admitted to the institute every day.

Though the PGI authorities have converted a waiting hall (for attendants of patients) of the Emergency OPD into a “ disaster room”, the suspected dengue patients are still facing great hardship as a majority of them have been lying on stretchers for days on end.

Sources in the PGI disclosed that two patients were in serious condition as their blood platelet count had declined to a large extent. They had also developed a bleeding problem. Attendants of the patients alleged that the doctors had been waiting for the blood platelet count to fall.

According to the hospital records the number of patients registered at the Emergency OPD has increased manifold since September 30. Two patients Harsh (6), a resident of Langarchanni locality in Ambala, and Ms Durgesh Nandini (28), a resident of Patiala, have died in the PGI, a week after the outbreak of dengue.

The PGI authorities, however, have not confirmed the deaths due to dengue fever till date. The authorities, however, say that deceased were cases of suspected dengue and were not confirmed cases. However, authorities had no answer to explain why were the “suspected” cases being treated for dengue?

Meanwhile, a press note issued by the PGI authorities yesterday said, “In the past 24 hours 21 new cases of suspected dengue fever have been reported in PGI. At the moment there are 52 patients admitted there. One patient is in a critical condition. Till date 319 patients of suspected dengue fever have been treated in the PGI”.

Sources in the PGI disclosed that eight suspected cases admitted to the hospital had tested positive for dengue yesterday. 



Time for beautiful roundabouts to go
Increasing traffic, daily rallies main culprits
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
They look beautiful. Their aesthetic landscape and green cover has been attractive for evening strollers and revellers late in the evenings during the summer. But of late they — the roundabouts — have hundreds of vehicles stranded around them for a different reason.

These roundabouts not only witness accidents everyday but are also acting as speed breakers. In case you have calculated the time to your destination on the basis of the distance, you may invariably end up 15 to 45 minutes late.

The other day when hundreds of trucks and buses brought thousands of farmers to the city for a rally at Matka Chowk, the city was virtually under a siege. The problem looked massive at the roundabouts.

"If it is happening in a planned city like Chandigarh, it is not difficult to imagine our plight that comes from old and congested cities like Ludhiana and Amritsar," remarked Mr Kundan Singh, a farmer.

Chaos on city roads on the days of massive rallies and dharnas are understandable. But if the roundabouts remain choked on normal days and it takes 15 to 45 for a motorist to cross a roundabout, it does not speak well for a planned city like Chandigarh.

These roundabouts, mostly on Dakshin Marg, have become major traffic bottlenecks. Interestingly, these are the traffic intersections which have slip roads and the movement of slow moving vehicles, including carts and tractor-trailers is the minimum.

"There is a major flaw in the design of roads and the rotaries," says a former Chief Engineer of Punjab, suggesting that these "beautiful roundabouts" should be replaced by traffic lights as has been done at the Transport chowk.

Besides the suspected flaw in the design of the roads, the slip roads and the roundabouts, stopping of inter-district and inter-state buses at the intersections, has been adding to traffic chaos.

A couple of years ago, the Chandigarh police initiated a special campaign which prohibited stopping of buses within 30 to 50 meters of a roundabout. Even rickshaws, auto rickshaws and taxi stands were moved away from the roundabouts in an attempt to decongest roundabouts. The move met with good results and the congestion at the intersections was minimised.

The campaign, however, died its natural death and all auto rickshaw and rickshaw stands, sprouted back around traffic islands, the roundabouts.

The other reason for vehicular traffic coming to a grinding halt at these roundabouts on Dakshin Marg has been minor mishaps. Yesterday, for example, after a Chandigarh Transport Undertaking bus hit a Maruti car near the intersection of Sectors 20, 30, 32 and 33 around 9.30 in the morning, outgoing traffic came to a halt. No policemen was to be seen anywhere. Vehicles involved in the mishap remained parked diagonally across the intersection, blocking movement of vehicles towards the Tribune chowk.

The cascading effect had the other road, too, blocked.

"There is a need for some serious thinking to end congestion on the road. Experts from traffic management and road design must sit together to find solution to a problem which is aggravating day by day," says Mr Sukhdial Singh Bhullar, a former Inspector-General of Punjab Police.



In Town

Assad Namazi
Assad Namazi

Disc Jockey Assad Namazi will be performing tomorrow at Antidote a lounge bar in the city. Assad is currently one of the resident DJ's at Pangaea, London. His sets are very international and known to cover a lot of music genres, though he specialises in house (Dirty Electo and Funky). He also does R&B/hip hop and Bollywood sets on request.

A lot of his DJ sets include unreleased mixes that he has produced therefore making his sets exclusive and unique. 



Watch out

Rakesh Jolly
Rakesh Jolly

Former city cricketer and Haryana Ranji Trophy all-rounder Rakesh Jolly is carrying out his first assignment as match referee in the Vinoo Mankad North Zone Under-19 Cricket Tournament starting at New Delhi on Friday.

Jolly is among 35 other referees who have been appointed as such by the Board of Control for Cricket in India for session 2006-2007 and will judge the match between Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh team to be played today.

At present he is working as Superintendent in the Central Customs and Excise Department. 



Passing Through

William Laws, Head
William Laws, Head, Corporate Communications, Tata Technologies, Singapore

What aspect of the city strikes you the most?

I love the open mindedness in the younger generation; they are so alive to their surroundings. They question inquire and have a much wider horizon, unlike in Singapore, where children are never encouraged to question what they are taught.

Was coming to Chandigarh a right decision?

Chandigarh was appropriately chosen to be the right place to introduce Tata Technologies to North India after the company’s operations in east and south.

Did the city meet your expectations?

In my mind, I had a very different image of Chandigarh. I find the city even better than Singapore in many ways. It is even more fun to be here when everyone is preparing for Divali. It is certainly not a new city as I was made to believe, three generations have lived here since its inception.

— Naveen S. Garewal



Passing Through

S Krishnan
S Krishnan, Vice-President- Commercial, Passenger Car Business unit, Tata Motors 

What brings you to the city?

I am here for the inauguration of the new dealership of Tata Motors at Joshi Autozone. Joshi Autozone is the 142nd car dealership of Tata Motors in the country and second car dealership in the city. The introduction of the second dealership in the city will facilitate the customers who can look forward to increased options and choice, and enhanced levels of support for the vehicles that they purchase.

How are the Tata passenger cars doing in the market?

This year, we have been growing at a much higher rate (24 per cent) than the industry average of 21 per cent. Indica, B segment car has been showing a growth of 28 per cent, while the Multi Utility Vehicles (MUV) like Safari and Sumo are growing at 24 per cent, as compared to the MUV growth of 15 per cent.

Are you planning to launch a CNG variant in your cars?

Tata Motors had launched a CNG variant in various segment earlier, but because of lack of availability of CNG, we had withdrawn these vehicles. Two months ago, we had a tie-up with a company called Shimankar, which provides customized CNG kits for our vehicles. In the past two months, at least 1000 CNG kit-fitted cars have been rolled out.

— Ruchika M. Khanna



Citizen Grievances
Green belt turned into malba spot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
An open space, which was once adorned as a mangrove, has now become the yard of the debris and malba. Day in and out, trucks and tractor-trailers arrive to unload the solid waste on a piece of land which the residents of Sector 42-C had with their own meagre resources converted into a playfield for children.

But official apathy has ruined their attempts of keeping their environs green, clean and healthy.

This piece of lush green land marked with mango trees now stands ruined. The residents are fighting to reclaim the park.

The badminton court and a cricket ground have been spoiled. There is uncontrolled wild growth. There have been two cases of snakebte in the recent past.

Earlier, it was a convenient stretch for senior citizen to take a walk.

“Due to the dumping of earth and stones, it has become impossible for children to use the park for recreational purposes because of wild growth. Our locality continues to be ignored and is in shambles. The reserved green belt has become an eyesore,” says Mr Balbir Singh, president, Sector 42-C (SF) Residents Welfare Association.

“We had been requesting the Chief Engineer and other municipal authorities and as a last resort addressed a letter to the Administrator of Chandigarh but there is no positive response,” he adds.



“Tortured” Bengali youths seek SSP’s help
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The three Kansal youths, allegedly tortured in police custody on October 15, today made a formal representation to Chandigarh SSP, demanding high-level enquiry into the incident. They urged the SSP to hold the "erring" Crime Branch officers guilty for illegal detention, torture and violation of the Supreme Court of India directions in the D.K. Basu v/s State of West Bengal case.

Despite the passage of four days since Roshan, Baji Ram and Suraj were picked up from their Kansal residence, detained in Sector 11 Crime branch for over four hours and allegedly subjected to electric shocks, Chandigarh police authorities have not taken any action in the matter.

The complainants are naturally harried and anxious. Today they sought the intervention of the highest police authorities to take notice of the violation of their human rights and of the Apex Court's clear-cut directions in matters of detention and interrogation. They also asked the police for compensation as they had undergone considerable physical, emotional and psychological trauma following torture.

While the victimized youths are keeping their fingers crossed, others from their community are equally worried that they might be picked up by the police in the case pertaining to the murder of a maid servant in Sector 30. It may be mentioned here that Roshan and Suraj had the taste of police-adduced confession the other day when the interrogating police personnel allegedly forced them to confess to having murdered the Sector 30 maid. Whenever they refused, they were allegedly administered shocks in their private parts and ears. This despite the fact that the youth maintained they did not even know Urmila, the maid servant who was found murdered in her employer's home in Sector 30.

No wonder, all the Bengali domestic servants, along with the complainants, today sought the intervention and assurance of Chandigarh SSP Gaurav Yadav, who has reportedly accepted their representation and promised to look into the matter. In the representation, Roshan, Suraj, Baji Ram and others have urged the SSP to instruct police personnel against harassing them. "Such an instruction will be in the interest of justice," they said.

The three youths were accompanied to the SSP office by local coordinator of National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM) Sister Namrata who is backing the representation. Meanwhile, Human Rights Law Network is also posted of the issue and is watching the police action closely.

Their local representative Veena Sharma said, "This is an issue of gross violation of human rights and the instructions of the Apex Court as laid down in the DK Basu versus the State of West Bengal case. The police authorities should judge the case on its merits and inspire faith in the large body of domestic workers living in Chandigarh. There is nothing wrong with interrogation, provided the rules are followed."

Domestic workers hold rally

Meanwhile, as many as 300 domestic workers from the city joined hands in their fight against injustice today. Assembling under the umbrella of National Domestic Workers Movement, they held a peaceful candle-light march in Sector 17 this evening, demanding the protection of the rights of poor domestic servants who have been caught in difficult situations lately. They were specifically referring to three cases of violence and excesses against domestic servants in Chandigarh - the murder of a Sector 30-based maid servant Urmila, the alleged rape of a Bengal maid servant by her employer Gaganjit Singh Barnala and the recent case of the use of torture tactics on two Bengali youths by Chandigarh.



Taken for a ride
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
A family of daily-wage earners who were travelling by train between Ambala and Chandigarh were taken for a ride by a railway official at the Ambala railway station here this morning.

A few hours after paying Rs 100 for the tickets for travelling by the local shuttle between Ambala and Chandigarh, the family of nine was caught on the train travelling without tickets. “Our repeated pleas of having paid the money to the railway official were not accepted by a special checking team of the railways”, said Rajwati, one of the affected passengers.

The checking team slapped a fine of Rs 1,060. “Somehow we reached the Chandigarh railway station but our grievance was not addressed by the railway officials here, said another passenger, Kanwar Pal. The railway official asked the women passengers to sit in the women’s compartment and the men to sit in the unreserved compartment.

The passengers, Ragwati, Kasturi, Umesh Watim, Ganga, Kanwar Pal, and Nekhu demanded action against the erring railway official.

Officials at the railway station here said since the incident took place at Ambala, an action could be taken only there.



Kang seeks case against cops for loot
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 19
A senior SAD leader has requested the Punjab DGP to get a case registered against some police officers who had allegedly ransacked and looted his house.
Mr Kiranbir Singh Kang, whose house in Sector 69, was sealed by the police about two years ago, got possession of his house today. Mr Kang said that a number of items from his house were found missing which, he alleged, had been taken away by the police officers. He alleged that his house was looted in the name of search warrants.

He said that TV sets, washing machines, a microwave oven, music system, crockery, decoration pieces and expensive clothes were found missing from the house. He said that wash basins had been broken and taps stolen from bathrooms.

Mr Kang said that getting back the possession of his house from the police had not been easy for him.

Mr Kang was one of the co-accused in a shootout at a SAD election rally in Kharar in 2004. Two persons were killed and three injured in the shootout. When the SAD leader was on the run after the incident, the Punjab police had sealed his house on July 5, 2004.

Mr Kang had procured an order from a court directing the Kharar SHO to hand him back the possession of his house by October 10.



Vet pharmacists go on mass leave
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
Protesting veterinary pharmacists from Gurdaspur today went on mass leave and staged a dharna outside the Sector 17 office of the Director, Animal Husbandry, Punjab.

Later, they marched towards Matka Chowk to mark their protest. The agitating pharmacists maintained that by accepting their demands, no extra burden would be put on state exchequer, but the government had took a rigid stand on their demands.

They demanded that they should be given the designation of veterinary livestock inspector, their wok should be accorded legal sanction and their diploma be called a diploma in veterinary sciences.

They also threatened to organise a protest during the Batala rally of the Chief Minister on October 23.

Addressing the gathering, the general secretary of the Gurdaspur district unit, Mr Krishan Chand Mahajan, said the union’s decision about ‘work to rule’ policy adopted in August to protest against the apathy of the state government has crumbled the entire system of animal husbandry in Punjab.

As a result of the decision, the veterinary pharmacists had already stopped artificial insemination and vaccination of animals against communicable diseases.

Flaying the role of Animal Husbandry Minister, Mr Mahajan said the department had turned a blind eye to the problem and was only sitting back waiting for a disaster to happen.

Mr Baldev Singh Randhawa, president of the Gurdaspur unit, stated that the ‘work to rule’ policy had caused a loss to the government exchequer and it would ultimately result in restricting the Centre’s grant to Punjab which runs in crores of rupees. 



Whisky is the flavour this Divali
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
Gifts, including dry fruits and cutlery sets, are a passé in the festive season of 2006. For adding zing to the festivities and the spirit of celebrations, more and more residents are cheerfully presenting bottles of smooth whisky, along with gift-items.

And it’s not just the rich and the famous, or the powers-that-be who are top on the gift list. Even spirited next door neighbours are offering invigorating golden elixir to their pals and acquaintances after getting the stuff packed in special wrappers.

Just in case you are having doubts about the escalating popularity of whisky as supplementary gift this time, just drive down to vends, and even liquor malls and superstores across the city. You will find the staff packing cases and bottles of whisky right from eight in the morning till eight in the evening, with just half an hour lunch break in between.

“The sale of liquor goes up by almost 200 per cent during the festive season every year, but this it is actually astronomical,” says Mr Gagan Dhamija, working as Key Accounts Officer with UB-Group which offers brands like Black Dog and Antiquity. “This is largely because so many residents are just not gifting presents without liquor bottles these days.”

Explaining the trend, Rajiv Suri — the owner of liquor superstore “Spirit” in Sector 9 — says, “The spirits are soaring primarily because the prices of liquor have gone down over the past six or seven months with the introduction of the license system in the city.”

Over and above, a majority of residents are convinced that there is no adulteration in whisky. No wonder, they are no more apprehensive about the quality of whisky. And are more than willing to shell out more for high-end liquor so that they can present the stuff to their family and friends. Another reason to cheer, indeed.



Bank celebrates Divali with the blind
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The Chandigarh branch team and customers of Standard Chartered Bank, today celebrated Divali with the underprivileged. They had mobilised funds and raised Rs 25,000, which is being donated to organisations working for a social cause.

The bank employees today visited the Institute for Blind, Sector 26, and distributed sweets and uniforms for the children. The Chandigarh branch of Standard Chartered Bank has donated funds for two Braille short-hand machines, while their customer, Mr Rakesh Kumar Sharma, Managing Director of Ishan Textile Mills, donated 800 m of fabric for uniforms and blazers for 150 children of the institute.

The branch staff and sales teams also donated for the Divali morning breakfast for the residents of Cheshire Home–Home for the Disabled, Sector 15.



Electricity Dept staff to protest on Divali

Chandigarh, October 19
Employees of the electricity department of Chandigarh Administration have completed the preparations for boycotting special duties on the occasion of Divali this year in protest against non- acceptance of their long- pending demands.
Gate meetings were held in the offices of Sectors 15, 16, 24, 39, 40 and 23, besides others, a press release said here today. TNS



Army Divali mela begins

Chandigarh, October 19
Festival celebrations at Chandi Mandir military station began today with the inauguration of the two-day Divali Mela, being organised by the Western Command chapter of the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) for the entertainment of troops and their families.
Various stalls for eatables, games, decorative items like brassware and glassware, hosiery and handicrafts prepared by families of jawans have been put up by different Army units. TNS



Govts lax in criminal justice reforms: Professor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh October 19
Reforms in Criminal Justice in India need the active support of state governments as law and order is a State subject, stated Prof Virendra Kumar, former Dean, Faculty of Law and UGC Emeritus Fellow, Department of Laws, Panjab University at a lecture during the annual conference on "Reforms in Criminal Justice" held at Panjab University.

Prof Virendra Kumar said the apathy shown by the government to introduce reforms in criminal justice and its administration had resulted in the consequential intervention by the judiciary.

Organised by the regional branch of the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) for Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh in collaboration with the Department of Public Administration, PU, the lecture was attended by a host of university faculty members, students and IIPA members.



Complaint against shop owners
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 19
Residents of pocket of one kanal and 10 marla houses have appealed to the Deputy Commissioner to get the problems redressed which were allegedly created by certain shopowners of the Phase I market.

In a memorandum signed by a number of residents, which was given to the Deputy Commissioner, it was pointed out that some shop owners had unauthorisedly installed generator sets at the back of the market which were creating a lot of pollution, including noise pollution. As such, residents living at the back of the market were put to a lot of inconvenience. 



Air Force station inspected

Chandigarh, October 19
Commodore Commandant of the Chandigarh-based 25 Squadron, Air Vice-Marshal Dhiraj Kukreja arrived at the Air Force station here today to inspect the squadron.
Posted as the Commandant of the Air Force Academy, Hyderabad, this is his first visit to the squadron after taking over as the Commodore Commandant. He was presented a guard of honour by air warriors of the squadron. TNS



Subrat Kumar Young scientist award for Subrat

Chandigarh, October19
Mr Subrat Kumar, pursuing his Ph.D. from the department of Virology, PGI, has been awarded the prestigious DrV.N. Bachill Young Scientist Award for his research work on Hepatitis E viral (HEV) infections.
He was given the award at an International symposium and 5th Annual Conference of Indian Association of Veterinary Public Health Specialists (IAVPHS) held in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, recently. TNS



Man sets business partner’s scooter on fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
In a bizarre incident a Sector 45 based-property dealer registered his protest against his partner by setting his scooter afire in Sector 44 on Tuesday afternoon here. The police said both the partners were having a dispute over commission of a house which they had sold earlier.

According to eyewitnesses, Depender Suri of Sector 45-B came to the shop of his partner, Mr Rajiv Sardana, in sector 44-C. it was around 12:15 pm when he came to the shop and at that time Mr Sardana, was not there. Sumit Kumar, an employee of Mr Sardana asked Mr Suri to wait as his employer had gone for some work.

Mr Sumit alleged that instead of sitting there Suri got enraged over his reply and banged his helmet on the floor. After that he rushed out of the shop and started yelling. Then Suri laid his scooter on road, and before anyone could judge what was in his mind, he set it on fire. He also allegedly tore his shirt. Following this the people called fire brigade and also informed the police about the incident.

Meanwhile, Mr Sardana also reached the spot. The fire tenders doused the flames but by that time the scooter was almost burnt. Mr Sardana told the police that Suri had taken Rs 1.10 lakh from him as commission and later he demanded Rs 90,000 more which was also given to him. Now he was threatening him to give more money.

The police took them to Sector 34 police station. When contacted the SHO of the Sector 34 police station, Inspector Jagir Singh, said Suri was mentally upset and no case was registered in this connection.



Student, two others assaulted 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
Three persons, including a student, sustained injuries in three incidents of assault that took place in various parts of the city in the past 24 hours.
According to the police, Rahul, a resident of Advocate Colony in Sector 49, lodged a complaint today alleging that Harsimranpal Singh of Jalandhar, who was his classmate in a Sector 34-based private hotel management institute had assaulted him. Rahul told the police that he had an altercation with Harsimranpal at Hotel Aroma two days ago.

Rahul alleged that Harsimranpal this afternoon came to his residence along with some youths in a jeep and thrashed him.

He sustained minor injuries and was taken to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, from where he was discharged later.

The SHO of the Sector 34 police station, Mr Jagir Singh, said a case had been registered in this regard and police teams had been sent to Jalandhar to arrest the accused.

In another incident, Mr Kafil of Baterla village reported to the police that Amrit Lal of Badheri village and Tarlochan Singh of Sector 40 assaulted him at his village last night. He was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital.

Mr Joga Singh of Kajheri village lodged a complaint with the police, alleging that Devi Singh, Raj Kumar and Monu, all residents of Kajheri village, had assaulted him last evening. The police has arrested all accused after registering a case in this connection.



Man thrashes boy for wooing daughter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
A man reportedly cut the hair of a teenaged boy who was trying to woo his daughter. The man along with four others allegedly thrashed the boy after “kidnapping” him late on Wednesday and released him in the wee hours today.

According to the police, a case of kidnapping and wrongful confinement has been registered on a complaint filed by the boy, Sat Pal.

Acting on the complaint, the police today arrested Bansi of Mauli Jagran, and his friends.

Sat Pal alleged that he was waylaid by the accused in Mauli Jagran at around 11 pm. They bundled him into an Indica car and started beating him up. They then shorn off his hair and dropped him near his house in the wee hours.

The accused, during preliminary interrogation, said Sat pal was “teasing” Bansi’s daughter and did not mend his way despite being warned numerous times. 



Two hurt in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
A pedestrian and a scooterist sustained injuries in two separate road accidents which took place in the city in the past 24 hours.
According to the police, the scooterist, Mr Sunil Kumar, a resident of Sector 29-A, was seriously injured after being hit by a Maruti car (CH-03-U-0056) near Sectors 44 and 45 turn on Monday. He was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. The car driver allegedly fled from the spot.

In another incident, a pedestrian, Mr Jagar Singh of Fatehgarh, sustained injuries after being hit by a SUV driven by Rajesh Kumar of Mohali. The accident took place on a road dividing the Sectors 16 and 23 on Monday. The victim was admitted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. Two separate cases of causing injuries due to rash and negligent driving have been registered in the various police stations.

Theft: Mr Atul Kumar, a contractor reported to the police that some miscreants cut the expensive 66,000 KV electricity cable in Sector 27, here, last night. The incident came to light when the workers came to the spot and found the cable chopped off. However, he told the police that the cable was not stolen. The police has lodged a report in this connection.

Scooter stolen: Ms Hina Jain of Phase III-A, Mohali, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that her Honda Activa Scooter (PB-65-E-0985) was stolen from a parking lot in Panjab University on Monday. A case of theft has been registered at the Sector 11 police station.

Opium seized: The Special investigation Cell of the Chandigarh Police arrested Kirpal Singh of Uttar Pradesh from near subway in ISBT, Sector 17 on Monday evening. His search led to recovery of 150 grams of opium. A case under Section 18 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act has been registered in this connection.

Liquor seized: The local police arrested Lalan of Deep Complex, Hallo Majra, from the same locality while allegedly carrying eight bottles of country made liquor on Monday. A case under the Excise Act has been registered in this regard.



Cash, goods stolen from 10 shops
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 19
Ten shops at Kharag Magoli were burgled last night and cash along with various items were found stolen. Locks of all shops burgled in the area were broken open and the thieves decamped with whatever they could possibly lay their hands on.

The caretaker at Guga Marhi, Shakuntala, told the police that offerings at the shrine had also been stolen while grocery shop owner Rajinder Pradhan said cash was missing from his cash box.

Suresh Gupta of Gupta Electronics in his complaint to the police said some eletrical items were missing from his shop and Kuldeep Kaur of Sonu General Store said cash was missing from her shop also. Locks of some other shops were also found broken but nothing was reported missing.

Police sources said the shopkeepers of the area had been asked to keep a watchman in the area, which they had refused. A case of theft has been registered in this regard.

Meanwhile, Jatinder, Ajay and Rajan, residents of Azad Colony, were arrested in connection with the two theft cases. The police said the trio were involved in stealing taps from two houses in Sector 25 on two occasions.

The three have been granted bail by a local court. 



Maid’s murder: contractor questioned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
Mr Satbir Kumar Jain, a Panchkula-based contractor and an acquaintance of Archana Bhardwaj arrested on the allegations of killing her maidservant Urmila, today appeared before the Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police for questioning.

Sources in the Crime Branch said the investigating officials questioned Mr Jain for about six hours in connection with the murder of Urmila, who was found dead at her employer’s residence on September 30. His named cropped during the investigation of the case as he was allegedly found to be closely associated with Archana. He was accompanied by his two counsel.

Meanwhile, in charge of the Crime Branch Satbir Singh refused to divulge the details, saying that it could hamper the investigation.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Jain said he was served summons by the Crime Branch on Tuesday, asking him to join the investigation in the case. When asked why he remained elusive to the police for so many days, Mr Jain stated that he was apprehensive about his security as on October 11 late in the night some persons had come to his residence, asking him to go along with them.

Mr Jain refused to talk about the questions asked by the police officers, but maintained that they were satisfied with his answers. He further claimed that the police told him that he appeared to be innocent in the case. 



Woman commits suicide, man booked
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 19
The police has booked a resident of Sector 21 of Panchkula for abetment to suicide.
Acting on the complaint of Mr Harpreet Pal, husband of the deceased Jaswinder Kaur and resident of Defence Colony, Baltana, the police has booked Yadvinder Singh in this regard.

Mr Pal, who was working with the accused, alleged that his wife had developed illicit relations with the accused. When he came to know about their relationship, he had an argument with Jaswinder on October 17 and Yadwinder allegedly barged into the house and threatened the latter with dire consequences. Jaswinder hanged herself the same night.

A case under Sections 306 and 506, IPC, has been registered.



Purse snatched from woman

Mohali October 19
Two persons deprived a woman of her purse at knifepoint in Phase IX yesterday.
According to information Ms Renu, an employee of the ICICI Bank, was returning home when she was stopped by the two persons who threatened her with a knife and demanded her purse. However, passersby gathered and caught one of the snatchers while the other escaped. OC



RBI changes security features of bank notes
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The currency notes being disbursed through the ATMs, too, contain fake notes. Surprised? Don’t be, because the problem is now quite rampant.
Though the fake currency has been in circulation for quite some time now.

It is thus that since August last year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has changed the security features for Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1000 bank notes. Beginning from August, 2005, the RBI has begun issuing the new bank notes with the additional security features, though the earlier notes continue to be legal tenders.

But now, fake notes have started reaching the banks, from where these are loaded on to the ATMs. The problem has become so common that the Government of India and the National Security Council have now taken a view that the disbursement of forged notes through the ATMs would be treated as an attempt to circulate fake currency.

The Reserve Bank of India has now suggested that the managers of all bank branches which have an ATM counter ensure that the entire currency stock is first checked before being loaded in the ATMs. It has been suggested that the entire stock of currency to be loaded be scanned under the Ultra Violet Counterfeit Note Detection lamp, so that no fake notes are found in the ATMs at any point of time.

Recently, the RBI had also warned banks regarding large scale skimming of ATM/ Debit and Credit cards, which is getting quite common. Skimming is a technique by which data on a customer’s cards’ magnetic strip is electronically copied into another card by electronic devices called skimmer, without the customer’s knowledge. The fake card made using the copied data, works as well as the original card and can dig a deep hole into anybody’s finances.

Skimming can occur at retail outlets, petrol stations, restaurants etc., where an extra swipe of the customer’s credit / debit or ATM card is made by an unscrupulous employee in a small hand held device called skimmer, before handling it back to the customer. The information is then sold to some miscreant group for making counterfeit cards.

The RBI had suggested that a few measures to be taken by banks so as to strengthen the compliance of customers in card-based transactions. Banks were asked to conduct random checks to identify any signs of tampering of fixtures attached to ATMs. In case of ATMs manned by security personnel, banks have been advised to ensure that only one person accesses the ATM cabin at a time.



SBI holds ‘Jan Sampark’ programmes

Chandigarh, October 19
The State Bank of India (SBI), Chandigarh Circle, comprising Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh, yesterday held “Jan Sampark” programmes at 48 major centres in the area, which were addressed by top executives of the bank.

Addressing a “Jan Sampark” programme at Dev Samaj College, Chandigarh, Mr Hemant Contractor, Chief General Manager of the bank, said the purpose of holding such programmes was to have interaction with general public (customers as well as non-customers) to seek public opinion/suggestions with a view to gauze the level of satisfaction and expectation from the SBI in the coming times and solve their problems.

Mr S.S. Sharma, General Manager (Network-1), attended a “Jan Sampark” programme at Sangrur and Mr A.K. Garg, General Manager (Network-2), attended a programme at Karnal. — TNS



CII Fair a hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The four-day CII Chandigarh Fair closed on a positive note, both in terms of business inquiries generated and the number of visitors. With business inquiries worth well over Rs 13 crore generated, the organisers expressed satisfaction about the fair having served as a user-friendly forum. Over 2 lakh consumer and business visitors thronged the fair, which was on from October 13-16.

The visitor profile ranged from industrialists to entrepreneurs, academicians and professionals to consumers from all walks of life. The Tribune was the media sponsor for the show. The 250 participating companies represented diverse sectors of the economy, covering the spectrum from MNC majors to fledgling entrepreneurs. Both, as well as all categories in between, reported the fair a user–friendly platform for transacting business and generating awareness. 

Special attraction in this year’s fair was, the International Arcade 2006, featuring the Thai Pavilion, bringing to Chandigarh around 30 companies from Thailand displaying a distinct collection of consumer products ranging from Glassware, Kitchen products, Handicrafts, Giftware, Jewellery, Garments, Artificial Flowers, Automotive parts and Furniture, presenting a delightful shopping experience.

Also for the first time adding to the ambience in the International Arcade was also on display a distinct array of niche products from Pakistan, Korea and Brazil.

The Fair will be followed by the 7 th edition of India’s Premier Biennial Agro Technology Fair, Agro Tech 2006, from December 1- 4, 2006 at the Parade and Circus Grounds, said a release from CII. 



Cricket fever catches on
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
Cricket fever seems to have caught the official fancy of the city babus with the Chandigarh Administration-run restaurant at the Lake Club all decked up to cater to the cricket frenzy fans visiting the lake.

The usual ambience of the “Mermaid” restaurant has been converted into a mini cricket field. Flex boards depicting the names of the teams participating in the ICC Champions Trophy welcome you at the entrance. You can then choose your meal from the day from a wooden cricket bat.

The CITCO staff has gone all out by naming dishes after prominent cricketing terms. The restaurant is also showcasing the statistics of the Champions Trophy of the last four editions. 



Citco hotels record profit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
The Hotel and Tourism segment of the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) has recorded a growth rate of over 12 per cent over a year in its receipts, resulting in a higher turnover and profits.

The Board of Directors of CITCO, in its meeting held today under the chairmanship of Mr Krishna Mohan, Home Secretary, announced a bonus of Rs 9,500 as a Divali gift to each employee.

Mr J.S. Bir , Managing Director of the CITCO, made a special mention of new management experiments coupled with cost-effective controls which had led to a considerable increase in the turnover and profits of its leading hotels and other tourism units.

CITCO’s flagship hotel — Hotel Mountview — has improved its operational parameters by increasing its turnover to Rs 10.72 crore which is higher than the turnover of Rs 9.63 crore upto mid-October period of the financial year 2004-05.

Hotel Shivalikview has also improved upon its occupancy from 59 per cent to 73 per cent this year with an increase in the turnover of Rs 6.18 crore against Rs 5.33 crore of the corresponding period last year.

Even the budget hotel — Hotel Parkview — has done extremely well with over 88 per cent occupancy.

Hotel Mountview became the first luxury five-star hotel of Chandigarh and a world-class Business Centre was created to match international standards with Wi-Fi internet connectivity.

Catering to elite segment of business travellers, a new Conference Hall for about 150 persons was constructed having state-of-the-art facilities — video conferencing , multimedia presentations, besides others.

Keeping in view the popularity of CITCO Vehra at Baithak Kalagram, new concept bar styled as “CITCO Condom Bar” will be set up which shall enable the corporation to fulfill its social obligations towards the society at large.

This concept is very popular in advanced countries in Europe and the USA and CITCO shall probably be the first organisation in India to introduce such a novel concept which will create awareness regarding AIDS.

CITCO has taken a major drive to upgrade the facilities in Hotel Parkview where the rooms and lobby have already been upgraded and additional 24 rooms shall be open to public by October 30.

The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, has sanctioned Central financial assistance of over Rs two crore.

Building infrastructure having 66 rooms for budget accommodation will be constructed by CITCO with additional financial contribution from its own resources to meet the requirements of domestic and budget tourists.

This will enable Hotel Parkview to be the biggest hotel in Chandigarh with about 170 rooms in a year’s period .

Hotel Mount View is also qualifying for the International Standards Certification (ISO 9001) /(ISO-14001) and will become the first hotel in Chandigarh to have benchmark of performance parameters. for better management monitoring. 



Joshi Autozone is Tata dealer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 19
India's leading automobile company, Tata Motors, will launch its small car (below Rs 1 lakh) in year 2008. The car will roll out from the company's new facility to be set up in West Bengal.

This was revealed by Mr Anupam Singh, Regional Manager (North), Tata Motors, while interacting with news persons after the inauguration of Tata's new dealership- Joshi Autozone, here today. 



PNB snag hits hundreds

Chandigarh, October 19
Hundreds of customers of Punjab National Bank in the city were inconvenienced today as a result of a technical snag in the main server of the bank’s branches which have adopted core banking.
Services in the bank branches across the city and the neighbouring Panchkula and Mohali, had virtually come to a standstill for an hour in the afternoon today. —TNS



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