C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Divali gifts galore for officers
Not to be left out, junior staff demand gifts
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The Divali gift you get is sure shot criteria to assess the ‘clout’ you enjoy in the corridors of power. As the commercialisation of Divali kills the festivity, the babus are not just accepting gifts, but demanding these blatantly.

If Divali is a perfect time for businessmen and professionals to pay ‘obeisance’ to the sahibs in each department, it is also a litmus test for the latter to assess their ‘clout’. From the choicest and oldest Scotch to the diamond sets and gold coins, white electronic goods to Mont Blanc pens, Pringle sweaters and Pashmina shawls – its pay-back time for the businessmen and windfall for the all-powerful sahibs.

Crystal ware, suit lengths, dry fruits and sweets are passé as are the silver utensils. These are no longer “the gifts”, but add-ons to the above mentioned gifts. Those in the echelons of power (but in the right government department) could look forward to solid gold coins (a set of five gram coins, with the number of coins depending on the “Divali value” of the recipient). Or silver coin packs, 50 grams or 100 grams each, again depending on the worth of the recipient.

A Khanna-based businessman, who was in town today to “thank” the officials in various government departments, for accommodating him through the year, on the condition of anonymity, said that Divali had lost its relevance as a festival. “For businessmen like us, it is the pay-back time. People expect you to come and greet them on Divali. In fact, if your “greetings” are not received till the Divali morning, these persons make it a point to call you and drop subtle hints,” he said.

In fact, the rows of luxury cars parked outside the government officers’ residences in Sectors 7, 11, 16, 24, 35, 39 and 42, leaves no doubt about the ‘Divali visitors’ to the houses here. In some sectors, a truck of a Punjab government cooperative, loaded with gift hampers, was seen delivering the huge packets in the government houses.

Perhaps taking a cue from their bosses, the junior staff in the various government offices, who are not ‘privileged’ enough to receive the gifts, decided to demand them. Moving around in batches of five to six, junior-level officials – Class IV and III employees of Income Tax , Sales Tax and Municipal Corporation— were seen moving from shop-to-shop, demanding their “Divali”.

The owner of a home furnishing shop in Sector 17 C, informed TNS that today he had given “Divali” to at least two batches each of the two departments. Another owner of a menswear store in Sector 17 complained that many junior officials had come and picked up the stuff they liked, without paying for it, as their ‘Divali’ gift. 

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City in the grip of festive spirit
Violations galore but cops look the other way
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
All roads led to festivities and confusion. As the thumping beats of dhol heralded the arrival of the big day in the residential areas across the city, the revellers today poured into their vehicles before gushing their way through the vast sea of humanity for some last day shopping. And also for wishing “Happy Divali” to friends, relatives and even acquaintances!

The intermittent drizzle was no dampener for the revellers as they took to the streets early for the arcades garlanded with marigolds and psychedelic lights. In almost all the markets, there was hardly any place for the shoppers to move about with stalls selling everything from blankets to idols projecting from almost all the shops.

Blatant violations of the law governing the sale of crackers could also be seen in Sector 22, 20 and several other markets in the city. The rules clearly state that the stalls selling crackers should maintain a minimum in between distance of 15 feet. Yet at most places the space was less than two feet. In Sector 20 crackers were even being sold on the footpaths against the terms and conditions of the licenses. Even the sign of no-smoking was missing.

Even though the police can proceed against the violators under the provisions of the Explosives Act, hardly any action was taken by the men-in-khaki despite the fact that the violations were being carried out right under their noses.

This was not all. “Dangerous crackers” were being openly sold to the minors in Sector 22 and other markets despite the imposition of a complete ban on the same by the Chandigarh Administration under the provisions of Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

With almost the entire population of revellers practically on the roads, traffic snarls were not uncommon throughout the city. The worse affected were the roads cutting throughout the length and breadth of the sectors, including 29, 30, 20, 19, 18, 17, 34, 35, 42 and 43.

Jams were also witnessed at almost all the roundabouts in the city with tractors, tempos, cars and even two-wheelers lined up in unending queues. To avoid the jams, some motorists tried to steer clear by taking a U-turn. Others rode on the pavements, resulting in further chaos.

As the residents behind left their vehicles right on the roads in front of the markets for picking up the boxes of good wishes, traffic bottlenecks were created all around. At some places, including Sector 18, 19 and 22, the hooting and honking drivers had to wait for over 20 minutes for finding their way through the mad rush.

The problem was worsened by the fact that the shopkeepers were allowed by the put up the stalls right in the parking lots in several sectors, including Sector 20, 21 and 15.

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Divali revellers welcome storm, rain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Winters might be here any time soon. If the prevailing weather systems are anything to go by, the temperature drop might continue and ensure the reining chill stays and lasts.

The change is attributed to sudden wind storms and rains that lashed Chandigarh yesterday. It continued to rain at sporadic intervals throughout the night. Met Department has recorded a total of 2 mm of rainfall in Chandigarh over the last 24 hours. Although not very significant quantity-wise (Jammu saw the maximum rainfall of 63.8 mm in the last 24 hours), the rains have brought the much-needed respite from heat conditions that were prevailing for the past so many days. The onset of winters has anyway been delayed this year, considering Met Department announces the change of season from October 1.

As regards temperature, it has dropped potentially as compared to day before yesterday when the Met Department had recorded a maximum temperature of 36.4 degrees. On October 19, the day temperature had already fallen by 6.4 degrees. Today, however, the weather kept changing its mood. The conditions were alternatively hot and cold, confusing the weathermen about what forecasts to give for tomorrow.

On the basis of the weather systems in place, they have said it would rain and even snow in most places in Himachal Pradesh (Shimla has already been witnessing rain). However Punjab and Haryana would only get rains and thundershowers provided the weather continues to stay the way it is.

As regards the effect of rains on the festive mood in the city, it was immense. Traffic chaos continued to hamper the spirit of Divali revellers, but it did not quite deter them from venturing out. Only shop owners had to display their wares inside. The spirit of festivity thus shifted from the roads to the inside of shops. The Sector 35 and Sector 22 markets were especially hit by continuing rain which forced shopkeepers to stock their gift items inside the shops. Even in Sector 34 market, the tents were drenched following night-long trains and many shop keepers were seen making parallel arrangements to ensure they did not lose edge over others.

To some extent thus, the rains did hit sales, but by the afternoon the rains had subsided little and markets were again flooded with visitors. The sales picked up again — confirming nothing can dampen the celebrative moods, not even rains. They are welcome nevertheless.

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A ‘festival of bribes’ in Bhatti’s satirical style
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Members of Jaspal Bhatti’s Nonsense Club today demanded that Divali be declared as a ‘National Festival of Bribes’. Jaspal Bhatti, president of the club, even set up a bribery gift shop in one of the shopping complexes at Chandigarh today. Congratulating all the corrupt people of the nation on this occasion, he said nobody should be ashamed of accepting bribes during Divali.

The spoof mounted by Bhatti had a valid message - Divali which was once a festival of lights had now become a festival of bribes. Bhatti said, “Whether you want your business to flourish or you are seeking a ticket in the next elections or an approval for your unauthorised structures, you can just buy a gift for those in power and silence them.”

Members of the club further welcomed everyone by singing songs like; “Diwali rishwat ka tyohar, Badega tera karobar, Bhej de afsar ko uphaar, Karega tera beda paar, Diwali rishwat ka tyohar.” Jaspal Bhatti then recalled the tale of Lord Krishna who had accepted even a humble gift of dry rice from his friend Sudama out of love for him. But today even if you take a rice cooker or a microwave as a gift to the minister, there are chances he might just kick you out saying the gift is not good enough. He will not embrace you until you offer him 50 per cent partnership in your rice factory.

In his typical satirical style, Bhatti said his highly qualified staff was even trained to offer consultancy services to people who wished to find out what kind of gift their bosses would like. Jaspal Bhatti also requested the Income Tax authorities not to raid gift shops during Divali days. He also demanded that poor officers who don’t get gifts on Divali should be given a non- bribery allowance.

Senior officers who get countless gifts should be given one week off after Divali to open their gifts and chargesheet those who have sent cheap and inappropriate gifts, Bhatti demanded.

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Slum kids celebrate festival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The Chandigarh Social Welfare Board and Society for Social Health today organised Divali celebrations for slum children attending crèches being run by the board in Colony Number 5.

The programme started with cultural items being presented by children and lighting of the lamp for good health and prosperity of all. Children also presented colourful dances and group songs to celebrate the festive spirit.

Ms Lalit Joshi, chief guest on the occasion, told students about the significance of Divali and about the ell effects of crackers.

She also urged the 200 children present on the occasion to celebrate a cracker-free Divali this time.

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Commonwealth Games: city may host 3 events
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The Ministry of Sports is considering Chandigarh as the venue for at least three events during the Commonwealth Games slated in India for 2010.
The development follows discussions between Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister of State for Finance, and Mr Suresh Kalmadi, Union Sports Minister.

In a recent communication to Mr Kalmadi, Mr Bansal has offered Chandigarh as a possible venue for 20 km walk, 50 km walk and marathon(42.195 km).

The letter said: “Your response was very encouraging. You had said you would send a team to study the feasibility of holding the events.”

“The city is well connected by road, rail and air. It also has good hotel facilities and ample broad to facilitate the conduct of the events.

The temperature between November and March varies between 4 degree Celsius and 14 degrees C and the maximum temperature during summer is around 44 degrees. It has been requested that a core team be constituted at the earliest to speed up the matter,” it added.

A senior UT official said: “We have no formal communication from the Centre regarding the visit by any core committee so I cannot comment on the matter. The proposal is interesting as hosting events in big games means a possible revamp in the existing system. The city can get major finance for updating the roads and allied facilities.”

Except cricket, the city has been witness to very little sports activity of international standards. “Ever since my childhood, I have seen sportsperson from the North perform exceptionally well in diffeent arenas. In that context, it will be nice if the city hosted more international events,” Amarbeer Singh, an athlete, said.

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Citizens & Public Offices
Limited facilities for southern sector residents
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Southern sector residents should be prepared for a bout of harassment for getting either their driving licenses renewed or pay the road tax of their vehicle. The reason being official apathy.

In the absence of any time bound action on the part of the authorities concerned, the extension counter of the UT’s Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) at the Sector 42 Sports Complex continues to offer limited facilities to the visitors.

Apart from the SDM office-related work, sale of forms and registration of new vehicles — only private — are accepted at the Sector 42 office. All other works related to the office of the RLA are dealt at the Sector 17 office.

A proposal to network the main RLA office with its extension counters at the office of the SDM (South) and the SDM (East) is still pending due to some technical problems. Sources in the department said efforts were on to work out the connectivity between different offices of the licensing authority.

A visit to the Sector 42 office revealed that there was a queue of visitors for depositing the registration papers of their new vehicles. There were three employees manning the counters — two for the RLA related works and one for the SDM office-related work. The officials there have no access to the date base of the RLA.

Two typist and an oath commissioner have been given space under a porch, exposed to the vagaries of weather. During various tournaments at the sports complex, parking of vehicles was also a problem. The sources an official disclosed that there was a proposal to build a new building for the office of the SDM (South).

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Rose society formed for research
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Zakir Hussein Rose Garden in the city, the biggest rose garden in Asia, has only 625 floral varieties against the total of 30,000 existing varieties in the world.

Citing the big gap in the availability of more rose varieties as one of the reasons and a more professional outlook in handling the affairs of the ‘flower of expressions’ as the other, the Chandigarh Administration has constituted the Rose Society of Chandigarh.

The sprawling Rose Garden in Sector 16 is spread over 30 acres of land. Interestingly, certain websites say that the garden has over 1,600 different species or roses planted beautifully on carved-out lawns and flowers beds. “In any case even 1,600 is just 5 per cent of the total existing varieties. We need to make efforts for more varieties of roses,” a senior official said.

The number— 625 —- of the existing varieties was recorded at the first meeting of the Rose Society, recently, reliable sources said.

A portion of the land in the government nursery of Sector 23 has been earmarked as the special zone for experimenting new varieties of roses and work has begun on the project.

Research and development of roses, particularly new varieties, have been cited as the biggest reasons for constitution of the society. The garden has been a big influence in motivating people for growing the flower in their houses, flats and factories.

The city, however, lacks a breeding institute and this has led to the very big difference in the total number of varieties the city garden has against the total available in nature.

The Rose Society includes Mr V.K.Bhardwaj, the Chief Engineer, Dr S.K.Narula, a senior Horticulturist at Punjab Agriculture University, Mr Baljit Singh, a resident of Sector 8, Mr C.R.Chiplukar from Kolhapur, Mr Pranabir M from Kharagpur, Mr Shalinder Kumar from Ranchi and Dr A.P.S.Gill from Ludhiana. 

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Package for UT staff after Punjab notification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The Chandigarh Administration will wait for the notification of the special package announced by the Punjab Government today before taking a formal decision for the UT employees.

A senior official said the notification issued by the Punjab Government will first be taken up by the Finance Department before a final decision is arrived at for the UT staff. The package includes special increments and time-bound promotions after four, nine and 14 years.

Making the announcement, Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, pointed out that the package would be applicable from today. The UT employees are hopeful of an implementation of the special package in UT as well as it follows the Punjab pattern.

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Passing Through

D.K. Arya
D.K. Arya, Consultant, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

What is your role in the ICRC?

As former Director General of the BSF, I am helping the ICRC in establishing contact with paramilitary forces in conflict prone areas. The ICRC’s role in India is varied. One of its key mandates is to build respect for the human rights of people who might get trapped in conflicts without any fault of theirs’.

How is the objective achieved?

We operate through the authorities. Our key objective is to hold meetings and awareness camps with the soldiers and familiarise them with the global human rights perspective. We stress the significance of International Humanitarian Law which seeks to protect people who are not parties to conflict and control the methods of warfare.

Which areas are you covering in India?

We mainly work in Jammu and Kashmir. I personally meet with jawans and explain them the relevance of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and how it can impact so many lives. Sensitization camps are held regularly and information about the Law is also disseminated. Another important work we do is with detainees in jails. We keep an eye on their situation to ensure they are being treated in conformity to global human rights laws. As yet we only have access to Jammu and Kashmir so far as protection of detainees is concerned. We are yet to cover north-east and naxalite areas at that level.

How do you measure your success?

Success is a subjective issue, but we have our own ways of measuring it. Reaction of jawans during camps is a clear indicator. You know when a person is interested in what you are saying and when he is not. Also, we have helped many detainees get in touch with their families and homes.

— Aditi Tandon

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Watch out

Rajinder Gandhi
Rajinder Gandhi 

Rajinder Gandhi, a former national hockey umpire, will be in Ludhiana to supervise the conduct of the 62nd National Hockey Championship for Rangaswamy Cup. Appointed a Technical Officer by the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), the job of Mr Gandhi is to oversee technical aspects, including substitution of players, during the game.

Rajinder Gandhi remained a national level halfback who represented the local DAV College besides Panjab University, Chandigarh and North Zone He is currently employed as an Auditor in the office of the Accountant-General, Punjab. 

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In Town

Aanchal
Aanchal

Chandigarh girl and Mumbai based model Aanchal Kumar is in town to celebrate Divali with her family. Known to put the ramp on fire with her graceful moves, this is the second time in 10 years that the city-bred girl will be home to celebrate the festival of lights. Aanchal's family lives in Sector 16 and she intends to spend the day catching up with her old friends and having a good time. Facing the arc lights and being in the media glare, thanks to her profession, she hopes to spend the Divali evening with old friends and family.

One of the top models of India, Aanchal once aspired to be an IAS officer. 

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Panel suggests changes in city wards
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The three-member committee on the delimitation of wards of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has suggested certain alterations. The total number of wards would, however, remain 26.

Constituted by the Chandigarh Administration to hear the objections and suggestions of political parties regarding the delimitation of wards, the committee has proposed certain changes to rationalise the geographical boundaries of the wards.

Sources said at least six changes like rationalising the SC population and balancing the population in each ward had been recommended by the officials. Citing an example, the sources said in some of the wards the population was less than 20,000. It has been set right. In some cases, the population had migrated from one wards to another.

The changes have been recommended in the southern and northern parts of the city. Before forwarding the alterations to the State Elections Commission, the recommendations have been sent to the Home Secretary for approval.

It may be mentioned that the Administration had constituted the three-member committee following objections by the political parties before the State Election Commissioner, Mr S.P.Marwaha, during his recent visit to the city.

Each ward would have above 20,000 voters. In the last MC election to 20 wards, the number of electorate in some of the wards was up to one lakh, against the norms of the Election Commission to have a maximum of 50,000 voters in a ward.

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

The SC population in different wards varied between 1000 and 20,000 — the highest figure of 20,000 being in ward no. 5 (Sector 25 Kumhar Colony, EWS colony Dhanas and other nearby areas) and 10, 675 in ward no. 6 ( Dadu Majra Colony, Dadu Majra and Shahpur). In the proposed changes, the difference in SC population has also been rationalised. 

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MCC inducts 2 fire engines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The fire wing of the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh (MCC) has inducted two new emergency/rescue (E/R) fire engines and water bousers (WB’s) in its fleet. Mr Surinder Singh, Mayor and Mr P.S. Aujla, Commissioner, MCC, flagged off the tenders at the fire station, Sector-17, today.

According to a spokesman of the MCC after completion of fabrication/ manufacturing works, the fire tenders will be stationed at the fire stations, Sectors 17 and 32. One of the WBs will be stationed at the fire station, Sector 17, and the other at Mani Majra. The old WBs, which are presently stationed at the fire station, Sector 17, will be shifted to the fire station, Sector 38.

The two new E/R tenders will replace the two purchased in 1978. The General House in its meeting held in February 2005 had approved the purchase of two E/R tenders. The fire and emergency services was having only two WBs for its seven fire stations.

Mr Sohan Lal Vaid, Chairman of the Fire and Emergency Services Committee, Mr. H.S. Lucky, Deputy Mayor, Mr Chandermukhi Sharma, Mr Vijay Rana, Mr Kuldeep Singh, councillors and Mr H.S. Khandola, Joint Commissioner, Ms Sarita Malik, secretary, MCC, and other officers of the MCC were also present on the occasion.

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Power Pine Forest rally begins on November 3
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The fourth HPCL Power Pine Forest rally of the Motorsports Association of Indian National Rally Championship (MAI INRC), conducted by MotorSportOne, is going to be held in Chandigarh again from November 3 to 5. The round 5 of the rally will be flagged off from Sector 17 on November 3. Thereafter, a Spectator Super Special round will be held on a 2-km long challenging track at the Kala Gram grounds from 2 pm onwards.

The rally, which will cover a total distance of 500kms running mainly in the lower hills of Himachal Pradesh, will proceed from Chandigarh to compete on brand new rally roads around the Kumarhatti hills, Himachal Pradesh and back.

“The route would have three different kinds of terrains depending on the terrain the drivers would select their cars. This year round new cars, Mitsubishi Cedia, Ford Fiesta , Honda City, Mitsubishi Lancer would be featured along with the all time favourites like Baleno, Esteem, Zen, Maruti 800. In the Gypsy class there would be one lady driver, Shuchi Thakur from Mumbai. Besides these, the five teams from the Indian Army are also expected to participate in the rally”, told Navaz Sandhu.

Asia Pacific, Asian Zone Rally Champion and four time Indian National Champion - Naren Kumar, local heroes and National Champion Karandip Singh, Sunny Sidhu as well as Gaurav Gill and Arjun Balu would be competing in this event.

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Protest against delay in hanging of Guru
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The local unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) today organised a protest demonstration against the alleged delay in the hanging of Mohammad Afzal Guru, a convict in the Parliament House attack, by the Central Government.

Shouting slogans against the Central Government, activists of the BJYM marched in procession from the BJP Office in Sector 33 to the Sector 34-35 roundabout and hanged Guru’s effigy. Guru was to be hanged today after conviction by the Supreme Court, but it has been delayed as his clemency petition is pending with the government.

Addressing the activists, the local BJYM local president, Mr Davesh Moudgil, alleged that the Central Government was playing with national security in not executing Guru, who was the mastermind behind the Parliament attack.

He said the BJYM would oppose the anti-national policies of the Congress-led UPA government tooth and nail.

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Afzal: VHP, Bajrang Dal protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal today organised various programmes in the tricity in protest against alleged delay in death sentence to Mohammad Afzal.

According to a pressnote issued here today, the parishad activists organised these programmes at Transport Chowk, Sector 26, Mauli Jagran, Colony No 5, Phase VII and VIII, Mohali, and ISBT roundabout.

Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion was Mr Vijay Singh Bhardwaj, Mr Jasminder Pal Singh, Mr Desraj Gupta, Mr Satinder Singh, and Col Dharam Vir (retd).

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Plot allotment body observes black Divali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 20
Members of the Sector 76-80 Plot Allotment Sangharsh Committee today celebrated “black” Divali protesting against the Greater Mohali Planning and Development Authority (GMADA).

The members dressed in black robes raised slogans against the authorities and the Urban Housing Minister.

In a press note issued by the committee president Mr Sucha Singh Kalour, over 3,950 alottees in Sector 76 to 80 have been waiting for allotment of plots for the past five years. The members alleged that the authorities were not interested in handing them their plots since there was a lot of pressure from private builders.

The members felt that since only 102 acre of land in these five sectors was under litigation, the Panjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) and GMADA should allot plots in the rest of the area.

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Class III staff union poll
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 20
A meeting of employees from the offices of the Deputy Commissioner, Sub-Divisional Magistrates of SAS Nagar, Kharar and Dera Bassi and tehsil offices of SAS Nagar, Kharar and Dera Bassi was held here.

The following were unanimously elected office-bearers of the Class III Employees Union, Deputy Commissioner, SAS Nagar: president — Mr Om Parkash Singh; senior vice-president — Ms Rupinder Kaur Sandhu; vice-presidents — Mr Gurmel Singh, Ms Charanjit Kaur, Mr Kuldeep Chand, Mr Amar Nath and Mr Pawan Kumar; general secretary — Mr Ashok Kumar; joint secretaries — Mr Rajinder Singh, Mr Kulwant Kaur, Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Sanjeev Kumar and Mr Rajiv Kumar; press secretary — Mr Rajwant Singh; treasurer — Mr Pushpinder Sood; legal advisers — Mr Mewa Singh, Mr Jinder Singh, Ms Sunita Rani and Mr Jaswant Singh.

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Younis, Farhat visit city salon
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
“Though no particular game plan would be adopted against any team but I have instructed my boys not to take points’ burden on them and concentrate on their natural tendency of playing,” observed Pakistan cricket team captain Younis Khan in an exclusive chat with this correspondent, while having a haircut at Sylvie’s Salon along with team-mate Imran Farhat in Sector 11 here today.

On being asked, Younis said that the main reason for choosing this particular salon is that it had some cricket connection. “I knew my friend Bhajji (Harbhajan Singh) was associated with this salon. So I just wanted to see the place. Moreover, I was told that almost every cricketer comes here to have a haircut.”

The Pakistan cricket team arrived in India on October 7 for the Champions Trophy. Shrouded by a plethora of controversies, the absence of Inzamam-ul-Haq and Shoaib Akhtar has taken away both glamour and sheen from the visiting team .

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Cricketers of Pak visit mosque
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The Pakistan Cricket team today took time out to offer Namaz at the Jama Masjid, Sector 20, here.
Amid tight security, the team spent sbout 20 minutes there.

Mohammad Azmal Khan said: “This is the only masjid in the whole of Haryana, Punjab and Himachal which has been built on the original conventional structural design.” Younis Khan has been observing a fast these days and has extended Divali greetings to people.

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No water in village for two days
Tribune News Service

Dera Bssi, October 20
Residents of Daffarpur village bordering Sector 28 of Panchkula, have been facing an acute shortage of water for the past several yesterday.
In a press note here today, the Gurdwara Seva Sambhal Committee, Daffarpur, said there had been no water supply to the village for the past two days.Till four days ago, the village was getting muddy water on account of leakage from water supply lines near Kakrali village.

The Ambala-Ramgarh road is being widened and the water supply lines had reportedly been damaged. Mr Sukhwinder Singh Dhillon, president of the committee, said the residents had made repeated representations to the Punjab Government for the installation of new waterworks in the village but to no avail.

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Maggot-infested body found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The highly decomposed body of an unidentified man was recovered from the green belt in Sector 21 here this afternoon.
The police has ruled out the possibility of foul play as no visible injury mark was found on the body.

The police had received information that a decomposed body was lying in the green belt area. The body was found near a thatched hut, concealed behind bushes.

Worn-out clothes and used articles were found in the hut, indicating that the man might have been a beggar. The body was infested with maggots.

A forensic team of the Chandigarh Police inspected the spot and later the body was shifted to GH-16.

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Major fire mishap averted

Chandigarh, October 20
A major tragedy averted due to timely intervention of the Fire Department when fire broke out in a wild growth in Sector 43, few metres away from houses in the area.
Due to the fire, smoke suffocated the residents of the area. They lamented that they had been demanding removal of the wild growth. A fire official disclosed that three fire tenders had to be requisitioned to control the fire. The fire started near house no. 1208. — TNS

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Son of former MLA held for assault
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The local police today arrested a son of an ex-MLA from Shimla along with two other persons for allegedly assaulting a Sector 49 resident on Thursday. The prime accused of the incident is still elusive.

Giving details, the SHO of the Sector 34 Police Station, Inspector Jagir Singh said Rahul Chauhan, son of Shimla-based ex-MLA, Mr Kewal Ram Chauhan, along with Piyuesh Mehta, a final year student of SD College, Sector 32, and Sangram Singh of Fatehabad was arrested from the city today for assaulting Rahul Kumar, a resident of Advocate Colony in Sector 49 on Thursday afternoon.

Rahul in his complaint had alleged that Harsimranpal Singh of Jalandher, who was a classmate at a Sector 34-based private hotel management institute; accompanied by seven or eight persons had assaulted him at his residence. Rahul told the police that he had an altercation with Harsimranpal at Hotel Aroma some days ago who had threatened him with dire consequences.

Rahul was rushed to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, from where he was discharged later. The police has registered a case of rioting and criminal intimidation in this regard.

The SHO said a police team had raided Harsimranpal’s house in Jalandher, but he was not found there.

On the other hand, Rahul Chauhan claimed that his name was unnecossarily dragged into the case. He maintained that he did not know anyone involved in the case, even victim Rahul.

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Minor girl raped by sister’s husband
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
In a shocking incident a 10-year-old girl was raped by her sister’s husband in Burail village here on Thursday night. The victim was called by her sister, who had given birth to a baby a few days ago for help.

The police said the accused, who was reportedly in an inebriated condition, took the girl along with him on a nearby vegetable market on the pretext of buying something for her. It was around 9 pm at that time and he allegedly took the girl to government school in Burail. There he lifted the girl and threw her over the wall into the school premises and followed her by scaling the wall. There he gagged the girl and raped her. After committing the crime he left the victim there and ran away.

The profusely bleeding girl mustered up courage and went to her home in Burail village. She narrated the entire incident to her mother. Shocked to learn this her mother informed her husband, who is a hawker, and they went to the Sector 34 police station to lodge a complaint, said an investigating officer.

Quoting the victim’s mother, the police said her elder daughter was married to Satpal, who is also a hawker. She had delivered a boy about a week ago and asked her to send her younger sister to her house for help. She said she was shocked to find her daughter at such a late hour. She was bleeding profusely and was about to faint when reached home.

Acting on the complaint the police raided the accused’s residence and arrested him. Sat Pal, the accused, was taken to the Sector 16 general Hospital along with the victim. A case has been registered in this regard.

The SHO of the Sector 34 police Station, Inspector Jagir Singh, said the blood stained trousers and sleepers of the accused has been taken into custody. He added that a pool of blood was found at the spot and they have collected the samples. The sample would be sent fore chemical examination to the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory.

Meanwhile, the girl was discharged from the hospital. The accused was today produced before a local court, which sent him to the judicial custody.

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Three held for theft, snatching
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The local police today arrested three youngsters, including a minor boy, allegedly involved in several incidents of snatching, theft and robberies. The police claimed to have recovered a stolen motor cycle, three scooters and three mobile phones besides Rs 7000 from them.

Giving details sources in the Sector 34 police station said a ‘gang’ of youngsters involved in snatching and robbery was active in the city. The police increased vigil in the areas prone to snatching and gathered information about the suspects. Acting on secret information they arrested the trio from a naka set up near the Lakshmi Narayan Temple in Sector 44 today. They have been identified as Sunny Kumar and Sandeep Kumar, both residents of Sector 35. The minor boy was also a Sector 35 resident.

The police said all the accused were drug addicts and had quit their studies. Sandeep was disowned by his family for his nefarious activities. They used to target lonely women in busy market places.

During interrogation they admitted to have committed 10 incidents snatching and robberies in the area of Sectors 22, 33 and 34. They had snatched a purse of one Balwinder Kaur in Sector 44 containing two mobile phones and Rs 9000 besides stealing a scooter from Sector 32 in August. They had also snatched a purse of another woman near the Sector 16 General Hospital which was containing Rs 15,000 and a gold chain. 

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Advocate booked for teasing woman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The police yesterday booked a Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate on the allegations of outraging the modesty of a woman and criminal intimidation for making crank calls to a woman advocate known to him.

According to sources in the Sector 34 police station, Harvikramjit Singh of Sector 43 has been booked under Sections 354 and 506 of the IPC following a complaint made by a woman advocate of the high court.

It was alleged in the complaint that the accused had been making crank calls to her. He used to speak in a vulgar language and had also passed filthy remarks.

The police questioned the accused but he denied the allegation. The police procured his call details and it was found that on September 6 he had called the victim and used obscene language. 

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Doc booked for constable’s death

Mohali, October 20
The SAS Nagar police has booked a medical practitioner in Kharar for having caused death due to negligence. The FIR against Dr Anil Sharma was lodged at Mohali yesterday, almost six months after a head constable of the Mohali police died at the hospital.

According to the SHO, Kharar city, Mr Balkar Singh, head constable Bhag Singh, who was posted at Police Post, Phase XI, fell ill. However, after two days of treatment at the clinic he died and his son Rachpal Singh alleged that the death was due to negligence.

Following the allegations an inquiry was marked to the SP, Headquarters, who gave his reports some days ago, indicting the doctor. An FIR was lodged subsequently. A case under section 304-A of the IPC was registered. TNS

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MD of SBI visits city office
Tribune News Service

Yogesh Aggarwal
Yogesh Aggarwal

Chandigarh, October 20
The newly appointed Managing Director and Group Executive of the State Bank of India, Mr Yogesh Aggarwal, today visited the local Head Office, Chandigarh, and held a meeting with senior functionaries of the bank.

He reviewed the performance of the bank’s operation across the circle comprising the states of Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh. 

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