C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Cold wave claims 3 lives in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Cold wave claimed three lives in the city during the past 24 hours.

The body of an old man was found lying near Laxmi Narayan Temple in Sector 20 this morning. The deceased has been identified as 75-year-old Sundar hailing from Tamil Nadu. He was a beggar and used to sleep near the temple. The death came to light early in the morning and the police was informed about it around 7 am. No injury mark was found on the body.

They deceased’s family in Tamil Nadu has been informed about the death after getting a contact number from his acquaintances in the city.

The body has been shifted to the Sector 16 General Hospital.

Another body was found near Fun Republic, Mani Majra, this afternoon. The half-naked body was found lying on a folding bed. The matter was reported to the police.

The deceased has been identified as 65-year-old Chunni Lal of Maloya village. As no injury mark was found on the body, the police ruled out the possibility of any foul play behind the death.

The body of a 40-year-old unidentified man was found lying near the Government Model School, Sector 22, yesterday. The police said he might have died due to the cold wave. No injury mark was found on the body.

People saw him lying listless, but they mistook him to be sleeping, when they did not notice any movement for a long time, they called the police. The body has been kept in the mortuary of the General Hospital.



Storm over doctor’s transfer
Apologise or face stir, staff tell Bir Devinder
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 13
The transfer of a pregnant doctor from the Civil Hospital, Mohali, on a compliant of the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, today led to protest by doctors in the hospital here.

Express resentment over the decision, the Punjab Civil Medical Service Specialist Doctors Association threatened to launch a strike in all hospitals of the state if the transfer orders were not withdrawn within 24 hours.

Action was taken against Dr Ravleen Kaur after Mr Bir Devinder Singh took up the matter with the state Health Minister. The MLA said the doctor insulted him when he had gone for a check-up to the hospital. He said she raised slogans like “Bir Devinder aa gaya, Bir Devinder aa gaya” in the corridors of the hospital.

He then took up the matter with the Health Minister, who ordered action against the doctor on disciplinary grounds.

However, the doctors refused to buy this argument. They said in fact the doctor was insulted by the MLA.

Joint secretary of the association Surinder Pal Bhagat said this was not the first such incident. Earlier too, four doctors had faced the wrath of the MLA.

He said they had given an ultimatum of 24 hours to withdraw the transfer orders and had sought an apology from the MLA, failing which they would launch a strike throughout the state.

Dr Ravleen Kaur said she received the transfer orders for Amloh in the morning. She said though she had not done anything wrong, yet she had apologised to the MLA.

The SMO of the Mohali hospital, Dr H.S. Sarang, said the transfer orders were passed by the Health Secretary, Punjab, but no reason was cited.



New turn to row between PGI, technologists
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
In a new twist that is likely to upset the Medical Technologists Association’s (MTA) applecart, the Labour Commission has stepped into the PGI battleground to resolve the dispute between the management and the association.

The initiation of conciliation proceedings means that now the association cannot go on strike till the “talks” are on.

Even under the Industrial Disputes Act, the decision to proceed on mass casual leave will be illegal if the association chooses to ignore the Labour Commission and proceed with its plan.

Sources in the commission said the PGI authorities had approached them to intervene in the matter since the association had given them a notice under the Industrial Disputes Act.

“The PGI is covered under the public utility services and the technologists cannot go on strike while the talks to resolve the issue are on. We had issued a notice to both parties for today but the representatives of the association did not come. We have fixed December 15 as the next date of hearing,” an official said.

Maintaining that the commission was only a facilitator in the reconciliation exercise, the official said they acted immediately after receiving an application from the PGI authorities. “While proceeding on mass casual leave is illegal, we are helpless if the association decides not to come for the talks,” he added.

Reacting to the stepping in of the Labour Commission, the general secretary of the MTA, Mr Ashwini Munjal, said the technologists were covered under the “public utility services” of the Act.

“The Labour Commission has no authority to intervene and certainly not when there are only a few days to go before we proceed with our protest. There meeting is not binding on us and we will consider the invitation for table talks only when we receive it. We have not received anything so far. Our strike on December 18 stands,” he held.

Meanwhile, attendants of patients admitted that they were anxious about December 18 when the technologists would go on mass casual leave.

Sudha, whose husband, Yashvir, is admitted to the gastroenterology ward at the hospital, said, “I have left my family at Moga and am staying at the PGI for quality treatment since I can’t afford a private hospital. I am dreading the day of the strike for I am all alone and in case some tests are needed, I won’t know what to do.”

Karanjit Kaur, attendant of Dashan Singh, another patient, said that inconveniencing patients would not serve any purpose as far as the association was concerned. “How will they benefit by giving us a hard time. We are already weighed down by expenses involved in organising our stay in the city. They should reconsider their decision of a mass casual leave,” she added.



No work, no pay
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Employees who don’t attend office tomorrow due to the proposed strike will not be paid salaries under the principle of “No work, no pay”, an official press note said here today.

In the event of any obstruction caused in the process of discharging of official duties or if any damage to public property is caused, law will take its course. Necessary arrangements for maintaining supply of water, electricity and transport services have been made by the Chandigarh Administration.

The last date of electricity/water bills have been extended from December 14 to December 15. People have been asked to contact complaint centres in their areas for electricity/water complaints. In case of any sabotage to electricity/water lines they can inform the police control room, contact electricity control room, Sector 17, on 2703242 and 2773533, electricity control room, Sector 9, on 2749772 and 2743940 and citizen facilitation centre on 4639999.

Meanwhile, the Federation of UT Employees and Workers in a press note announced that employees of various departments of the Administration and the municipal corporation, including electricity, water supply, roads, transport, maintenance, horticulture, kitchen committee, forests and health, will participate in the strike tomorrow.

A two-hour rally will be organised opposite government press in Sector 18 tomorrow.



Bhatti gets bitter dose
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Noted comedian Jaspal Bhatti was in for a surprise, an unpleasant one, this evening when he went for a marriage being held at one of the marriage palaces on the Zirakpur-Kalka highway.

On returning he found the pane of the side window smashed and a packet on the seat. It looked like a pistol, he said, when asked.

He added that it was strange as no one knew that he was there. He was apprehensive about picking it up.

He informed the police about it.



Banks can now break open locker after notice
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13.
Banks across the country have been armed with the power to break open bank lockers which have not been operated for more than three years. These norms by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) come in the wake of law - enforcing agencies discovering explosives in lockers.

The RBI has prohibited banks from insisting on fixed deposits (FDs) for extending the locker facility to customers. It has asked all banks to discontinue the practice and instead collect advance locker rent for three years.

Banks were earlier permitted to seek a deposit, the interest on which could cover the annual rent ((though it was not a pre-requisite for allotment of lockers). Misuse of bank lockers had become common over the past couple of years with unaccounted-for cash or black money, gold and explosives found stashed away in these or in the new-age storage with vaults.

In two instances RDX and bullets were seized from a bank locker in Mumbai and Jammu and Kashmir. Banks had pleaded that they were unable to deal with this misuse as the relation between the bank and the lessee of the locker was that of a tenant and landlord. Bank managers say generally large and very large lockers are used for stacking away “illegal wares”. A bank manager at Chandigarh said a number of large lockers had not been used by the lessees for years together.

“Not only are the banks unsure of what lies stored in them, but they are also losing out on the rent,” he said. The RBI has stressed that banks must strictly review the ‘Know Your Customer” norms for the lessees. Banks have been asked to contact the lessees if the lockers are not operated by them for three years, even when the rent is being paid regularly.

The lessees will be advised to operate the lockers, or surrender these. If the lessees still fail to operate the lockers, banks can seek police help and break open the lockers after serving a notice to the customer. The RBI has also said that in case of death of a single-locker lessee, access for use may be given to the nominee. The latter will have to produce a death certificate of the lessee and give proof of identity to the bank.



Watch out

Arunima Goyal, a student of Class III at Sacred Heart Secondary School, is participating in the National Under-9 Chess Championship which began at Solapur (Maharashtra) on Wednesday. She is representing the Chandigarh team. Arunima earlier represented the Union Territory in the National Chess Championship (u-11 in Chennai in November. She has won a number of tournaments. 



In Town

Participate in a Meet-the-Press programme at the Chandigarh Press Club. He is a third-time Chief Minister and has in between been a member of the Lok Sabha four times. Holding the rank of Honorary Captain in the Army, he, like his Punjab counterpart, Capt Amarinder Singh, is often addressed as “Raja Sahib”. His father, Raja Sir Pedam Singh, was from the princely family of Bushehr. Recently, at an NDC meeting in the Union Capital, he advocated and supported special packages for hilly states in general and Himachal in particular. He is very fond of reading. 



Passing Through

Ashok Malhotra
Ashok Malhotra, former Indian Test cricketer

What brings you to the city?

I had come to my hometown to attend a marriage of a family member. As I am busy with my assignments with TV channels in Kolkata, where I have shifted, it’s always nice to be here in the town.

How do you look at the comeback of ‘Bengal Tiger’?

It was wrong on the part of the management when they showed the door to the most successful Indian captain. But now after staging his comeback, Saurav will have to undergo the litmus test during the first Test against South Africa, starting from December 15.

After the one-day series disaster in South Africa, what are the prospects of the Indian team in the forthcoming Test series and the World Cup next year?

I expect a better performance from the Indian team in the forthcoming Test. Actually, all big players, including Sachin, Sehwag, Dravid and Lakshman, will be playing to retain their pride. I am hopeful that the team will get back in rhythm before the World Cup next year.

— Akash Ghai



Vikas manch manifesto

Chandigarh, December 13
In place of releasing an election manifesto, the Chandigarh Vikas Manch today made certain commitments to the residents of the city.

Addressing a press conference, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, party president, stated that his party have pledged a 10-point agenda that they would adhere to after wining the elections. “Our experience is that every party comes up with a manifesto. If you pick up the Congress manifesto you would observe that not even one of the promises have been maintained,” he stated.

“There is no sanctity of the manifestos anymore,” he added. TNS




Ward No. 15
(Women reserved - Sectors 34, 35 and 44)

Ravinder Kaur — Congress

34-year-old Ravinder Kaur is contesting the MC elections for the first time. She is a postgraduate in Punjabi. Her family has been associated with the Congress for the past many years. If elected, she would work for the improvement of infrastructure in the ward particularly the condition of the roads and streetlights.

Harjinder Kaur — SAD

This 46-year-old sitting councillor from Ward No. 9 (before delimitation) is pursuing her doctorate in women and religion. A third timer in the MC elections, she has been associated with the party for more 10 years and also a member of the Minority Welfare Committee of Punjab. She says that if she gets elected, she will work for the development of the ward and ensure that all pending works in the ward are completed at the earliest.

Ward No. 16
(Sectors 20 and 33)

Harmohinder Singh Lucky — Congress

This 33-year-old is a sitting councillor from Ward No. 11 (before delimitation). He has been associated with the Congress for the past 12 years and has held various positions in the Congress Office. This law graduate and practising advocate is the Deputy Mayor of the city. He states development of the area would be his key focus, if he gets elected.

Rajesh Kumar Gupta — BJP

42 years old Rajesh Kumar Gupta  is contesting the elections for the third time. He has been associated with the BJP for one year. A graduate and dealer of cars would work for the welfare of people if gets elected.

Ward No. 17
(Women reserved - Sectors 18, 19 and 21)

Anju Beniwala — Congress
37 years old Anju is contesting the elections for the first time. An advocate by profession, she has been associated with the Congress for the past many years and was also the secretary, Punjab Pradesh Mahila Congress. If elected, she says she will ensure that all pending works of the ward are completed and development works are undertaken at a fast pace.

Veena Kohli — BJP
56 years old Veena Kohli is contesting the elections for the first time. She is a postgraduate in history and also ex-president, Citizen Welfare Association. If elected, she will get public utility centers built and roads repaired in the ward. Development of E-sub Sector would be her focus.

Ward No. 18
(Sectors 27, 28 and 30)

Devinder Singh Babla —Congress
48-year-old Devinder Singh is contesting the elections for the second time. Presently, he is the general secretary, Chandigarh Pradesh Congress Committee, and has been associated with party for the pastseven years. He says if he gets elected, he will develop a green belt in the ward and will work for the development of the ward.

Mohinder Singh — SAD
This 59-year-old is contesting the elections for the second time. A class XII pass out, he joined the SAD in 1966 and is an agriculturist. If he gets elected, he will work for the development of the ward.

Kamlesh Pundir — BSP
50-year-old Kamlesh is contesting the elections for the first time. She is B.A, B.Ed and is running a gas agency. Her association with the BSP has been for the past 10 years. She will work to fight inflation and promote education in the ward.

Tarsem Mittal — Independent
This 24-year-old is contesting the elections for the first time. He is under matric and is a building contractor by profession. He would work for the development of parks in the ward. Solving the problems of the ward will be his focus area if he gets elected.



Two elected unopposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Two candidates for the panchayat samiti elections scheduled to be held on December 20 have been elected unopposed. The elections will now be held only for 13 of the 15 constituencies. Those who have been elected unopposed are Pritam Singh of Kishan Garh village/ Bhagwanpura-1 from constituency No. 7 and Baljit Kaur of Dhanas village from constituency No. 14.

Meanwhile, Jagtar Singh and Parveen Kumar withdrew their names from constituency No. 7 today.



CD was doctored, says Manvir
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 13
The president of the Municipal Council, Ms Manvir Gill, and her husband, Mr Kulwant Gill, allegedly involved in buying councillors, today said the CD released was doctored to "suit the needs of the rivals".

Addressing a press conference, here today, Ms Gill said that she too was in favour of a CBI inquiry and would meet the Deputy Chief Minister, the Chief Minister and the Governor in this regard.

"They have cleverly manipulated conversations held over long periods, selected 'relevant' portions and presented these out of context. We don't know when all this was shot, but we do know it has been fiddled with to give a new meaning," Mr Gill said.

Stating legal action would be taken against Mr Tilak Raj Kataria who made the CD public, Ms Gill questioned why the CD was brought out after a gap of 10 months.

"Why was it given to the media instead of the police or some party high command," she asked.

She said the Congress party will hold a press conference to give a befitting reply to the demands raised by the BJP.



Unauthorised Stops
Cops to get tough with erring bus drivers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Drivers of government buses dropping and picking up passengers from unauthorised places beware! For the Chandigarh Traffic Police is going to book such drivers from next week onwards for the violation.

A statement issued by the Chandigarh Traffic Police said as per a survey conducted by the accident cell of the police, it was found that state transport buses dropped and boarded passengers from undesignated bus stops, resulting in accidents.

The police said mostly these buses were found to be picking up and dropping passengers near roundabouts, traffic lights and intersections. Statistics revealed that a number of accidents occurred in southern sectors and these vulnerable places as drivers, unmindful of the vulnerability of their act, continued with the wrong practice.

Quoting the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders issued in 2002, the police said, "All buses which intend to drop passengers shall ensure that they do not stop in the middle of the road, particularly near traffic lights. They should drop the passengers either at local stops or at the Inter-State Bus Terminus meant for the purpose."

Senior traffic police officials said in order to ensure compliance with the high court orders, they had requested general managers of government roadways buses to issue directions to drivers and conductors to follow these rules.

The police said it would initiate a challan drive after a week in this regard.



Weather continues to disrupt traffic
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Bad weather in Delhi affected the air and rail traffic to the city for a third day today.

The Jet Airways and Air Deccan flights to the city were cancelled, while the Indian Airlines flight were delayed.

The trains to the city, too, were delayed. Sadbhavana Express was delayed for more than two hours while the morning Shatabdi and the Himalayan Queen were late only by half-an-hour. According to the officials, the trains leaving the city were on time. 



RVC gets new insignia
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
The Army’s Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC) has unveiled a new insignia. Responsible for breeding, rearing and training of horses, dogs and mules for the Army, the RVC celebrates its anniversary tomorrow.

The new insignia bears some semblance with the Army Medical Corps insignia in having a pair of snakes coiled around a staff encased within a wreath of olive leaves. In the backdrop is a “V” denoting veterinary medical care.

Over the years, the RVC has evolved into a technical force with multifarious roles and is actively engaged in ensuring treatment and health of Army animals. The corps has pioneered scientific breeding, rearing and training methodologies in equines and canines in the Army and the country.

The Army Dog Units, which support fighting arms, are recognised as “force multipliers” in counter- insurgency operations and low-intensity conflict zones. The RVC plays a major role in the inspection of good quality and disease-free meat and meat products from supply depots to ensure the health of troops.

The RVC's Equine Fertility Centre (EFC) at Babugarh in Uttar Pradesh, engaged, in development of embryo transfer technology (ETT), is the only such institute in the country. Recognising the contribution of animals in military service, the Army recently constructed a memorial for them at the Army Service Corps College and Centre, Bangalore. Stated to be he first memorial of its kind in Asia, the structure depicts a convoy of mules carrying stores along a rugged mountain track.



Probe ordered into juveniles’ handcuffing
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 13
In yet another inquiry involving the human rights violation of two juveniles who were allegedly detained in Phase VIII police station, Inder Mohan Singh, SP (headquarters), was today entrusted the task of investigating into the handcuffing of the two boys. In a statement, president of LHRI (Chandigarh unit), Mr T.S. Suddan, said the two juveniles, were handcuffed without any court orders and were treated like hardcore criminals on the way to court. SSP, Mohali, ordered the inquiry after members of the Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI) probed into the matter



Drunk technician creates ruckus in hospital
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 13
A drunk technician from a private orthopaedic centre created a ruckus at the General Hospital, Sector 6, last night, disturbing attendants of patients and going around different wards being a nuisance.

Initially, neither patients nor attendants realised what was happening till one of them mentioned the disturbance to a security personnel. The technician was caught and made to sober down before being thrown out of the hospital.

Interestingly, in the morning, he registered a complaint with the police post that the staff at the hospital had roughed him up and even taken away his mobile and other belongings. On investigation, the police found that though such an incident had happened, the complainant was himself at fault.

The hospital authorities, too, confirmed that a man in an inebriated state had entered the hospital premises and wandered into different wards. However, later, a compromise was struck and the matter resolved.




Apropos of the news item published in these columns on December 12, “SBP raises FD interest rates”, it may be noted that the rate of interest on fixed deposits is 7 per cent for a period of one to three years and not 7. 25 per cent as mentioned in the news item. The interest rate for senior citizens is 7. 50 per cent and not 7. 75 per cent. 



Rs 7 lakh withdrawn on stolen ATM card
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 13
Mr Ajay Ahuja of Sector 39 has reported to the police that Rs 7 lakh have been withdrawn from his account using his stolen ATM card.

He has alleged that his ATM card issued by the UTI Bank was stolen from his office between October 30 and November 22. He came to know about the theft only recently when he went to the bank to withdraw money and the bank officials told him that there were only Rs 35,000 in his account. According to him, there should have been Rs 7.35 lakh in his account.

About the delay in reporting the matter to the police, SHO of the Sector 34 police station Inspector Jagir Singh said Mr Ahuja told them that he was trying to find out the culprit on his own suspecting that some acquaintance of him might have stolen the card. When all his efforts failed, he lodged a complaint with the police on Tuesday.

The SHO said all transactions were made in the city and they would soon be able to lay hands on the accused.

Vehicles stolen

Mr Shami Kumar Sharma of Rail Vihar, Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula, has lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Hyundai Santro car (HP-54-6347) was stolen from Phase I, Industrial Area, on Monday.

In another incident, Ms Haroop Kavita of Sector 48 reported to the police that her Honda Activa Scooter (PB-56-B-2888) was stolen from the staff parking lot of the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) on Tuesday.

Two separate cases have been registered.


Balwan Singh of Sector 10, Panchkula, sustained injuries when his scooter was hit by a truck in Phase I, Industrial area, on Tuesday. He was admitted in the GMCH. The truck driver, Bishan Singh, has been arrested for rash and negligent driving.

Pirated CDs seized

The police arrested Naresh Kumar from his shop in Sector 40-C here on the allegation of possessing 818 pirated CDs on Tuesday. A case under the Copy Right Act has been registered at the Sector 39 police station.

Cook found dead

A 32-year-old cook of a senior Haryana Police officer was found dead in his rented accommodation in Kishangarh village on Tuesday night.

Ruling out the possibility of any foul play behind the death, the police said no external injury mark was found on the body.

The SHO of the Mani Majra police station, Inspector Dhan Raj Sharma, said Chabbi Lal had reportedly came back home on Monday night from duty. His relative, Rajinder Bhadur came to his residence on Tuesday evening and found the door locked from inside. When his repeated knocks went unanswered, he called 
other people.

The police was also informed, which broke open the door and found the body lying on a bed.

The wife and children of Chabbi Lal had gone to Madhubhan to attend a marriage. The body was handed over to the family after a post-mortem examination.



Flesh trade racket busted, five arrested
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 13
The CIA staff busted a call girl racket in the city and arrested five persons, three girls and two pimps, here today, while the sixth accused, the kingpin in the racket, managed to escape.

Following a tip-off, the police sent a decoy customer who struck a deal and handed over a token sum of Rs 2,000 when the policemen swooped down on them in Phase II of the Industrial Area in the evening.

The deal was struck with Sonu, a resident of Harmilapnagar, on phone. He ran the racket from his residence where the girls stayed. Sonu arrived with three girls at the appointed place this evening along with two pimps, Bihar resident Ijaz Haq and Mauli Jagran resident Jagtar Singh, in a car (PB 70 8856).

While five persons were arrested, Sonu managed to flee. The car used by the accused has been impounded.

Two girls are 22-year-old, while the third one is 30-year-old. They hailed from Delhi, Jalandhar and Ludhiana and had been in the profession for the past four years. One of them is a divorcee. They said easy money had lured them towards prostitution. A case has been registered.



Timber traders’ body
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 13
The following have been elected office-bearers of the Panchkula Timber Traders Welfare Association: chairman — Mr Satish Bansal; patrons — Mr Mehar Singh and Mr S.K. Aggarwal; president — Mr Dinesh Singla; vice-president — Mr Hemant Bhatia; general secretary — Ms Anchal Sood; treasurer —Mr Roshan Lal; and joint secretary — Mr Pankaj Jain.



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