C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Canvassing to continue till midnight
Tribune News Service

Interestingly, though the Administration has not even drawn up any list for the nine nominated councilors, yet at least a couple of eminent citizens of the city have thanked the UT Administrator for appointing them as the nominated councillor of the Municipal Corporation.

According to sources the Governor is expected to send a list of recommended candidates for approval to Delhi tomorrow, however, many enthusiastic hopefuls have already taken the initiative of ‘‘nominating’’ themselves.

In a three-page letter to the Administration an eminent artist has highlighted his personal achievements and thanked the Governor, the sources added. ‘‘I guess the incident has occurred because of repeated flashing of certain names in the local media,’’ an official said.

Chandigarh, December 18
Candidates for the Municipal Corporation elections seem to be unaware about their own Act!

Presuming that it was the last day for canvassing for the MC elections the candidates went all out to campaign today. Officials, however, clarified that they could campaign till midnight tomorrow (Tuesday).

Talking to TNS Mr V.K Harit, Joint Election Commissioner, stated that candidates can campaign till 12 pm on December 19. ‘‘There is a provision that on the day of poll there will be no canvassing. According to Section 28 of the Punjab Act, applicable to MC, a candidate can canvass before that.’’

According to officials the Punjab Government had declared December 20 a holiday for Punjab Government officials who are eligible to vote in Chandigarh.

The Punjab and Haryana Government have also declared dry days on December 20 and December 22 in the wake of elections in the city. The dry days will be observed in Panchkula and Mohali. In the city the ban on the sale of liquor has come into force from 5 pm today.

Officials also informed that all Central Government employees who are voters in Chandigarh would be allowed short leave on December 20 in order to enable them to exercise their voting rights.

Claiming that his party would win all 26 seats, Mr Satya Pal Jain, former BJP MP, ‘‘Congress had not been able to fulfill its promises.

Mr B.B Bahl, of the Congress also stated that his party candidates would win majority in the elections,‘‘I am confident that we will stake claim on all 25 seats.”



Minor clash at open debate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
An open house debate was conducted among the candidates standing for the Municipal Corporation elections in Ward No. 25 today. Present Mayor Surinder Singh is contesting elections from this ward on Congress ticket.

Mr Desh Raj Gupta, BJP candidate, Mr Surinder Singh and Mr Subhash Sharma, CVM candidate, took part besides other.

Supporters of various parties and the general public witnessed the debate. The public have their grievances addressed.

According to sources, the debate, though peaceful, saw a few tense moments also. A slight altercation occurred when Mr Surinder Singh started to list his achievements. Raising objections, the other candidates asked him to stick to only answering the questions. This also led to a minor clash among the supporters. The police had to intervene.

On another occasion, when the supporters of the Congress objected on some pretext, the others stated this was a stage for the candidates to answer people’s grievances and not to list their achievements or to show the strength of supporters.

In response to a question of a woman about the rehabilitation of those uprooted because of the construction of Shivalik Park in Mani Majra, the Mayor stated that it would be done.

The other candidates once again objected and stated that they, too, would work towards fulfilling the demands of the people if they were elected and this would be one of their issues.

The debate lasted for about two hours.



Brothers held; 300 mobiles recovered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
A lavish lifestyle, expensive cars, addiction to opium and luxurious hotels — all this led Kurukshetra-based two brothers to the world of crime.

Cutting their crime run short, the Chandigarh Police netted the notorious brothers, allegedly involved in a series of burglaries in the city and adjoining areas, in Sector 35 here on Sunday night.

The police said the duo, 45-year-old Ravinder Singh, alias Dolly, and 30-year-old Harpreet Singh, alias Happy, were arrested by officials of the crime branch of the Chandigarh Police following a tip-off.

The police claimed to have recovered 300 stolen mobile phones worth about Rs 2.5 lakh, besides Rs 4 lakh from their possession. It also impounded the Tata Safari they were travelling in. The police said the accused were on a recce of the area when they were trapped.

Describing the profile of the accused, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Crime Branch), Mr Om Prakash, said Dolly was declared a proclaimed offender by a local court in 32 cases.

He was first arrested in 2001 in a case of theft by the Sector 34 police station. He admitted before the police that he had stolen more than 2,000 mobile phones and disposed of them to an Uttar Pradesh-based dealer.

About their modus operandi, Inspector Satbir Singh, in charge of the crime branch, said the accused stayed in luxury hotels in the city and then did a recce of the shop they wanted to target. They had also stolen a large number of mobile phones from a Nokia store in Mohali.

They used to strike at the store whenever there was a bulk supply there. They used to break open the centre shutter locks of shops with a pry bar weighing about 35 kg.

However, Dolly denied committing crimes in Punjab and Haryana. To queries from mediapersons, he said earlier his younger brother Happy was involved in crime. After a road accident, which rendered him incapacitated of his right limbs, Happy asked him to join him.

It was then that he took to crime. Earlier, they used to target houses and then graduated to breaking into shops to make more money. It was the lavish lifestyle that pushed them further into the crime world.

He disclosed that they only indulged in the theft of Nokia mobile phones as these were in great demand and thus easy to dispose of in the grey market.

The police said Dolly revealed during interrogation that they were in contact with a UP-based mobile phone dealer, who was an expert in changing the IMEI number of stolen mobile phones.



‘Jessica verdict has restored faith in judiciary’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The verdict in the Jessica Lall murder case convicting Manu Sharma, son of senior Congress leader Venod Sharma, has been welcomed by city residents, who feel justice has been delayed, not denied, even though political leaders preferred to stay mum on the issue.

Mr H.S. Mattewal, a former Advocate-General of Punjab, was of the view that the verdict has restored public faith in the judiciary. "We must bow to the verdict," he said.

Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former MP from Chandigarh and BJP leader, refused to comment on the issue. Similar was the case with Mr Subhash Chawla, a former Mayor, Mr Pradeep Chhabra and Mr H.S. Lucky, all Congress leaders.

Mr Abhishek Puri, a student leader, welcomed the judgement. He said the judgement would not only set an example for the common man but also restore public trust in the judiciary.

Mr Rajaydeep Singh, an advocate, said student organisations had been following up the case since long for the truth to come out. He hoped the family of Jessica Lall would get justice.

Meanwhile, the Sector 3 and 9 residences of Manu Sharma wore a deserted look throughout the day.



Speaking out
Bravo! boys in blue, say experts
Akash Ghai and G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
India's 123-run victory over South Africa in the first Test — the first since the latter were readmitted to international cricket — has gladdened the hearts of experts, including former Indian cricketers.

Hailing the effort of the team, which, ironically, was in the dumps after a disastrous outing in the five-match one-day series between the two teams, experts say this one win can herald the return to winning ways for Dravid's men.

Ashok MalhotraMr Ashok Malhotra, a former Test player and TV commentator, "The 123-run victory over South Africa in the first Test is definitely credible. This has not only created history but also given the much-needed boost to the Indian team."

"No doubt, it was an all-team effort, but the endeavour of S. Sreesanth, Saurav Ganguly, V.V.S. Laxman and Zaheer Khan in particular is laudable. The foursome put in extra effort to prove their worth in the team and came out with flying colours. Whereas V.V.S. Laxman and Saurav not only justified their recall but also consolidated the middle order, Sreesanth and Kumble wrecked the rivals with the ball. Now the time has come for other senior players like Virender Sehwag to emulate Saurav and Laxman with the bat."

M.P. PandoveM.P. Pandove: "Today's win will bring back the confidence of the team. I admire Sreesanth for his gutsy performance. However, the continued bad form of some senior players is a matter of concern. But, from now on, things can only improve."

Dinesh MongiaDinesh Mongia: "The first Test win in South Africa is astonishing, especially after the one-day series loss. Though the conditions there are not conducive for the team, yet it has got the much-needed victory. I am very happy and give credit to the whole team for it. Now, it seems, we will win the Test series."Bhupinder senior

Bhupinder senior: "This is a morale-boosting win. The team looks in a winning mode. Both Ganguly and Zaheer have justified their place in the team. However, for India to lift the next World Cup, it will require a herculean effort.



Another defeat for South Africa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
A fine bowling spell (4 for 47) by Anupam Gambhir, enabled the hosts Chandigarh Cricket Association to beat the South Africa Alberton Cricket Club team by four wickets in the under 17 match at Sector-16 Cricket Stadium, here today.

Batting first, the South African-team put on 144 runs before being bowled out with one ball to spare in their allotted 30 overs. Reyneke Wihan contributed 53 score off just 45 balls, hammering seven hits to the fence. Justin Gerber and Potgeiter Jaundre made 23 each.

Anupam Gambhir, with his four-wicket scalp, was the most successful bowler for the team followed by Aditya Sood two for 33 runs.

Chasing the target, the Chandigarh team reached the target with 6 overs to spare and four wickets in hand. Sukhpal guided the team to victory as he scored 44 off 46 balls. He was well supported by Saurabh, who made 33 in 37 balls. Garreth, Mathew and Morne Basson claimed two wickets each.

Brief Score

South Africa: 144 all out in 29.5 overs (Reyneke Wihan 53, Gerber Justin 23, Joundre Potgieter 23, Anupam Gambhir 4 for 47, Aditya 2 for 33).

Chandigarh: 145 in 24 overs (Sukhpal 44, Sourabh 33, Radford Garreth 2 for 36, Mathew Lee 2 for 24, Morne Basson 2 for 25).



Watch out

Shruti Shukla, a senior scientific officer with the Punjab School Education Board, Mohali, will be in South Korea as part of a delegation visiting the Jeong Myung Girls Middle and High School and American Missionary Adventure Mokpo City South Korea. The visit is part of the mutual friendship and cultural exchange programme with the school. An MSc in Botany and PhD from the Panjab University, Mrs Shukla had earlier visited China with a delegation of India-China Friendship Association.



In Town

Sushil Kumar Shinde Union Minister of Power, will visit Ghanaur village in Patiala district on Tuesday in connection with the foundation-laying ceremony of 12 MW biogass power plant to be set up by the Punjab Biomass Power Limited. The Minister of State for New and Renewable Energy, Mr Vilas Muttemwar, and the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, will be present at the function.



Passing Through

In India, what is the UNICEF focus primarily on?

India is a country with a diverse culture and is still evolving as far as the social sector is concerned. Everything from education to sanitation, the poor to the under-nourished are our concern and we are looking to address these on a war footing.

How are these challenges presented in these varied fields being addressed?

While we are working at the state and the national level, our teams are also going down to the level of “acutely-troubled” districts located in pockets where people are comparatively well-off.

Which are the states placed at the lowest rung as far as UNICEF indices are concerned?

The children indicators in the states of UP, Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand need maximum interventions. We, too, are focusing our efforts on these states. However, we are also tackling problems at the district level.

— Geetanjali Gayatri



Chandigarh Calling

Following news reports in The Tribune regarding unchecked traffic violations in Panchkula, the city traffic police got in action and started putting barriers for checking violations at various points. Even if there is no apparent violation by the motorists, policemen keep stopping vehicles, particularly driven by the younger lot, that too boys. Elder and women drivers are “exempted” from the random checking. Following the gender norm at one of the checking points, the policemen signalled me to stop. The pollution certificate of my car had expired, hence the challan. I cursed myself for being unaware of it as getting a pollution certificate from any of the several authorised centres costs just Rs 15. But now I will have to pay dearly for getting my driving licence back. Besides penalty, I will have to do rounds of CJM, Panchkula, for the purpose. The counting has already begun with one trip. Now if you agree with me that getting a pollution test certificate for your vehicle is easy, think again.

I went to one such authorised centre. The official there told me that the emission level of the vehicle was more than prescribed and it needed fine-tuning for which the charges were Rs 50. I agreed and he asked me to open the bonnet of the car and to my surprise he just touched a wire, pretending to tighten it, and here you are, the emission level is reduced. When I questioned his “fine-tuning”, he refused me the certificate. Back to square one, I am again on the road with a vehicle that failed a pollution test.

Time to fly high

‘Time to fly, high in the sky!’ With immense confidence in them the Chandigarh-based twin sisters Aarti Varma and Pooja Varma completed their PG diploma in travel and tourism from Dayanand College of Communication and Management, Sector 27. Aarti and Pooja have a completely different vision about their careers.

Both started and pursued their education together in the same environment but developed diversity in their thoughts. Aarti, a topper of PG diploma in travel and tourism, has been conferred with Kulapati’s Award for best candidate of the college at PG diploma exams. Apart from this she also held the position of head girl at Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan and is a person of multiple traits.

On the other hand, Pooja, who also completed the same diploma, feels entirely different. She has a desire to plough back what she has earned from ‘my nation’. She wants to promote Indian tourism throughout the globe.

The multifaceted sisters already have many certificate courses and diplomas in their hands and are just waiting for right opportunities. They enjoy their hobbies of cooking and traveling together and do feel that Indian tourism is a great host for tourism lovers.

Film fest fails to click

The recently concluded film festival organised by the Chandigarh Administration in collaboration with the NFDC failed to attract the local cinegoers. The halls at the Fun Republic were never even half filled.

Cinegoers say that there was very poor advertisements of the shows and more carelessly handled were the show passes. “I wanted to watch ‘Salaam Bombay’ with my family. “Desperate attempts got me just one pass which was of no use. I wish the matter was handled more professionally,” Mrs Neelima Sharma, a housewife said.

A senior official of the administration said: “Next time we will set up a special desk for the movies. The interested public can call us and collect the passes”.

Challaning priority first

Booking traffic violators seems to be the first and the last priority of the Chandigarh Traffic Police. A case in point was the chaotic scene at the Traffic Lights Point between Sector 29 and Industrial Area on Monday morning in the wake of the non-functional traffic lights.

While it was ‘survival of the fittest’ at the traffic lights, a posse of traffic police personnel was busy challaning the speedsters at a short distance from the traffic lights. The men-in-white, it seems, had other priorities than managing the city’s burgeoning traffic.

In fact the cops were only living up to the police’s logo “we care for you”. However, in this case they only cared for the traffic violators by imposing hefty fines for overspeeding. Well, the common law-abiding citizens, as usual, were left to fend for themselves.

Saluting traffic rule violators

Traffic rules, it seems, are only for the lesser mortals in Mohali. For the high and mighty, including senior government functionaries, making wrong entries and jumping traffic lights is no big deal as a colleague observed at the traffic lights near the Fortis Hospital in Phase VIII around 12.30 p.m. on December 18.

A Punjab Government Ambassador car (PB 12-C-6464) zipped past from the hospital towards the traffic lightpoint near the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) making a wrong entry throwing the traffic rule to winds.

As this was not enough, it jumped the traffic light making a mockery of a signboard advising the motorists “not to jump the traffic lights for their own safety”.

Interestingly, the traffic cop on duty “saluted” the car indicating that ‘sahib’ or ‘memsahib’ was inside the car. Well, it pays to be law-breaker.

Contributed by Gagandeep Arora, G.S. Paul, Sanjeev S. Bariana, Ramanjit Singh Sidhu and Pradeep Sharma.



Night driving a nightmare in city
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Switch over to low beam

Switch over to low beam on well-illuminated roads within the city limits to prevent mishaps, and challaning by the Chandigarh Traffic Police. Under the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act, it is an offence to "dazzle" or "blind" other road-users by driving vehicles with high beam especially on well-lit streets.

Cops assert: As Chandigarh roads have "adequate overhead streetlighting", the motorists are not required to use high beam. It is strictly for highway driving. However, if the streetlights are not functioning then it is a different story.

In any case, lowering the headlamp beam upon entering a road with streetlighting is an internationally- recognised driving convention. Statistically, the beam has to be lowered "if it can dazzle a person whose eye position is eight meters from the front lamp and at a height of 1.5 meters from the road".

Chandigarh, December 18
Driving on the city roads continues to be a nightmare in the evenings. If high-beam of vehicles coming from the opposite direction does not hit you, chances of some drunken driver swaggering into your path remain fairly high.

The problem is worsened by the fact that a majority of roundabouts and medians in the city are without cat-eyes or reflectors. In fact, a round of the city is enough to reveal hat so many rotaries on almost all internal roads in the sectors are without luminous signs.

The situation is hardly different on the Madhya Marg and the Dakshin Marg. The rusted road signs on these roads add to the confusion rather than guiding motorists.

As a result, it becomes almost impossible to locate the rotaries or tell the difference between the road and the median in rainy and foggy weather, especially due to unpredictable status of streetlights.

The absence of indicators is reflected in the accident figures as reduced visibility leads to serious head on collisions and other mishaps. Only last week a youngster lost his life after his car rammed into a median in Sector 20.

Quoting figures, sources in the police headquarters assert that on an average 42 major and minor accidents are reported to the police every month.

From January 1 till November 30 this year, as many as 471 accidents have taken place. In November alone, 34 mishaps were reported to the cops. Out of the total, a substantial number of accidents took place during evening hours.

According to sources a study of accidents reveals that a majority of collisions take place between 7 pm and 5 am. Rather, one third of the deaths occur during these hours.

After every major mishap, a fresh coat of paint is applied to the roundabouts. Luminous sign boards indicating the presence of a rotary are also installed. But the paint, just like enthusiasm, fades away with the passage of time.

In any case, the measures prove grossly inadequate in the absence of proper streetlighting,

In an attempt to solve the problem, the Chandigarh Police has asked the UT Engineering Department to install towers with sodium vapour lights at all major intersections.

Compared to the mercury vapour, sodium vapour lights are able to pierce the fog and illuminate the roads in “a much better manner”. Otherwise also the height of the tower allows the light to spread evenly and cover a larger area.



City-Ambala travel a nightmare
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, December 18
Travel between Chandigarh and Ambala has become a nightmare.

Diversions enforced by the authorities as part of the ongoing four-laning project of the Chandigarh-Ambala highway are testing the patience of commuters.

The worst-affected are thousands of motorists and commuters, including residents of Dera Bassi sub-division, who find it difficult to reach their destinations. With the Ghaggar bridge closed for heavy vehicular traffic, reaching Dera Bassi and the surrounding areas has virtually become an uphill task.

As the work on the flyovers at Zirakpur and Baldev Nagar has entered an advanced stage, commuters' woes have multiplied with traffic jams making their lives miserable. Already the traffic coming from the Dera Bassi side to Chandigarh is being diverted to the Patiala road from where it takes a detour to join the Ambala-Chandigarh road.

And the diversion at the Baldev Nagar has virtually come as a bolt from the blue for motorists and commuters as the narrow road leads to traffic jams the whole day.

Dera Bassi residents bound for Chandigarh have to first come to Bhankharpur in a minibus. From Bhankharpur they come to Zirakpur in an autorickshaw and from here they come to Chandigarh either in a three-wheeler or a bus.

Recently, the Mohali Traffic Police had come out with an elaborate diversion plan for the convenience of the general public. However, with motorists failing to take the alternative routes, precious time and money were wasted.

Official sources blamed motorists for the traffic mess as despite the diversion plan and advance warnings like "Avoid Zirakpur and Baldev Nagar", motorists continued to take this route. Since the road carried the heavy traffic volume, traffic jams were common, putting residents to inconvenience, an official added.

Meanwhile, several prominent citizens, including Mr Ramesh Gupta, a former chairman of the Dera Bassi Market Committee, Mr Som Nath Kuda, a former chairman of the Punjab Forest Development Corporation, and an Akali leader, Mr Baljit Singh Karkaur, have demanded the early completion of the repair of the Ghaggar bridge.

Similarly, alternative traffic arrangements should be made so that the people of Dera Bassi subdivision and those coming to the area should not be put to hardship.

The four-laning project and the construction of the flyovers is likely to take another year and a half to complete.



Stink greets passengers at ISBT
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Stinking toilets and missing manhole covers greet the visitors at the Inter State Bus Terminus (ISBT) in Sector 17 here.

Despite lakhs of rupees having been spent on upgrade and cleanliness at the bus stand, the maintenance of the basic amenities has been a casualty.

Foul smell emanating from the toilets gives the impression that those have not been cleaned for months. Water leakage and missing sanitary fittings are a common sight at the bus stand, which is visited by hundreds of persons daily.

Instead of disposing off the garbage, the private contractor, engaged by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), prefers to dump it in the area meant for movement of visitors. One of such sights was visible near a counter where buses of Punjab Roadways leave for Moga. A few metres away, an open manhole presents an unpleasant sight.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Deepak Kumar, owner of an STD booth just opposite the counter, said, “Everyday I have to clean the area around my shop. Despite that you can see the pile of garbage near my shop. It is a routine affair”.

A passenger, Satnam Singh, who was going to Moga, said, “It is impossible to sit on the bench with a stinking pile of garbage lying a few steps away. The authorities concerned should have a look at the spot and tell the contractor to get the area cleaned up.

“At least the entry point to the city should have a clean look”.

An instruction on dumping garbage in dustbin has been written on the ticket counter. However, there was no dustbin around.



Do tandoor owners have valid licences?
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
More than half of the 100 odd roadside tandoors and eateries all over the city are in possession of a licence for the trade.

The authorities maintain that the licences are outdated and meaningless while the owners claim them to be valid. The hide-and-seek of the roadside tandoors and eating joints with the Municipal Corporation and Estate Office authorities continues everyday.

The possessions of the roadside kitchens are confiscated during raids. The owners pay the challan and get back their possessions to restart their trade at the same venue.

The roadside eateries are spread all over the city in Sectors 22, 34, 35, 21 and 28, besides several others.

Mr Ramesh Kumar, owner of a tandoor along the boundary wall of the power station in Sector 34, said, “I am a licence holder and into the business for the past more than 20 years.”

The venue has more than 10 mattresses spread all over the area and a very heavy rush can be witnessed in the evening.

An eatery in Sector 22 is also adjacent to the wall of an electricity station. A senior official said, “The dhabas are all illegal structures, because of which they are challaned again and again. We have no more powers and it is common to see the defaulters back at the same spot again. Perhaps we need to modify the rules and make the punishment a little more strict.”

The official said, “The point of licence for tandoors is not a valid one because these were issued more than 25 years back. The situation then demanded them to be issued licences. They were meant to be specifically near rehri markets. If need be, we shall look into the matter because I don’t think these are currently located at the places for which they were issued licences.”

Mr Amir Chand, president of the Tandoor Operators Union, said, “We were issued licences way back in 1970s. We also paid rent to the Health Department.”

He showed the receipts of the Health Department. The department stopped taking the rent. “We were turned back. There was also no communication regarding the status of our places of trade,” he added.

“The licence holders are original inhabitants of the city. When the administration is thinking big for the occupants of the illegal colonies why should we be left out. Our children have grown big and also look for a settlement. The administration should give us an alternate place to carry out our trade before moving us out.” Mr Ram Sharan, a rehri owner in Sector 15, said.



Fauji Beat
Civil admn should wake up to soldiers’ needs

WHY are our soldiers killing themselves and their colleagues/seniors these days? These suicides and fratricide cases are indicators of low morale. The dismaying factors that force a soldier to take this extreme step stem from poor management, loss of confidence in seniors, problems at home, insecurity of life, low rating of the Army service, long separation from families, etc.

We briefly discuss in this piece one aspect i.e. “problems at home” and the part played by the civil administration in it. Due to his long absence from home, a soldier fears losing hold on his property, including his house and land. In some cases it falls into the hands of his relatives, thanks to the callous attitude of the civil administration towards soldiers.

At a high-level meeting in the Ministry of Defence recently it was decided to make it mandatory for the DCs and SPs to respond to the letters of battalion commanders about the problems of soldiers. These high-level meetings have become a routine affair and no one takes them seriously. However, some action may be taken by the district administration if a communication is addressed by the Prime Minister to the Chief Ministers in this regard.

We need Chief Ministers like Partap Singh Kairon to raise the morale of our weary soldiers. To quote an example a sepoy received a telegram in his unit in Ambala in January 1964 that he could meet the Chief Minister on a particular day and time. The Chief Minister met him and gave orders to the secretary concerned in the soldier’s presence regarding some problem. It was promptly solved and he returned to his unit. What the mandarins of the civil administration need to realise is that their peaceful existence is due to the sacrifices that the soldiers make at the borders. The least that they owe to them in return is to look after their (soldiers’) interest at home.

Life certificate

Many ex-servicemen in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula got a shock in the first week of December when they discovered that various branches of the State Bank of India had not credited their pensions to their bank accounts. Their fault was that they had not signed the annual life certificate in November to confirm that they were still alive.

The banks must not forget that signing of this certificate is a joint responsibility of the pensioners and the banks. In case the pensioners forget to sign this certificate, the banks should remind them, rather than depriving them of their hard-earned pensions.

The banks should send their representatives to pensioners who are bed-ridden to get this certificate signed by them.

Most of the pensioners argue that November is an odd month to sign this certificate. It would be easier for them to remember if this certificate was signed in the beginning of the financial year. Some others say that the banks should get this requirement published in the newspapers in the first week of November every year.

Joint account

After the government issued orders last year that the pensioners could open a joint pension account with their spouses in banks, many pensioners had opted for this facility. However, after filling the form in this regard, they did not check up whether the banks had incorporated this change. The pensioners are advised to check on this with the banks.

Sabathu Officers’ Mess

One of the oldest buildings at Sabathu in Shimla hills is the officers’ mess of 14 Gorkha Training Centre. Capt C.P. Kennedy got it constructed about 200 years ago. History tells us that apart from discovering Shimla, Captain Kennedy had also built the first European house there.

— Pritam Bhullar



Induction course for traffic cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
The Chandigarh Traffic Police has started a one week induction/refresher course for police personnel joining the traffic wing.

The police said during the week-long course police personnel would be imparted training for relevant Sections of the Motor Vehicle Act, knowledge of modern equipment of traffic, performance of duties, VIP routes duties, role of communication, manual signal at ATC, training at Fortis Hospital about how to provide first aid to accident victims.

The one hour course would be held from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm.

Senior officers of the traffic police said the main focus of the training would be on behaviour of the cops with public.



RSS chief to address colloquium

Chandigarh, December 18
The local Forum on Integrated National Security today announced that it was organising a colloquium on “Philosophy and Objectives of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS)” here on December 21.

Giving this information here, a former Director-General of Police, Punjab, Mr P.C. Dogra, said RSS chief K.S. Sudarshan would participate in the colloquium, where participants would be given the opportunity to raise questions about the RSS and its ideology.

The colloquium would be held in the auditorium of the Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10.

He said since every socio-political concept should be open to the scrutiny of the nation, the colloquium was an effort in this direction. TNS



Apologise, Singla tells doctor
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 18
While responding to the ongoing controversy over the transfer of a doctor of the civil hospital here, the state health minister, Mr Surinder Singla, today stated he would cancel the transfer order if the doctor would tender an apology for her act.

The doctor of the civil hospital had been transferred a few days ago following a complaint by a local MLA, Bir Devinder Singh that the doctor had raised an alarm when he had gone there for a medical examination.

While talking to newspersons, Mr Singla said he has not received any request from the MLA to revoke the doctor's transfer orders. A committee has been formed to evaluate her version of the story, he added.



Farmers protest at ‘land bachao’ rally
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 18
Hundreds of farmers, predominantly from Mohali district, protested against the state government's improper acquisition of their agricultural land, in a “land Bachao" rally held in front of the PUDA office, here, today. The farmers aggrieved the fact that the government is offering them only Rs 40 lakh per acre, whereas the actual cost of the land is around Rs 2 crore per acre.

Besides Mohali, the government has also been forcing farmers in Amritsar, Gurdaspur, and Fathegarh Sahib to sell their land at cheaper rates, the farmers rued.

Raising slogans against the chief minister, the farmers demanded re-allotment of land to farmers of sectors 76-80, increase of the habitant area of the village upto 50 percent, proper compensation to farmers, and adequate rehabilitation schemes.



Dharna by roadways staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 18
Members of the Haryana Roadways Workers’ Union today began a five-day dharna in protest against the alleged dictatorial attitude of the management of Haryana Roadways at the Industrial Area here.



24 held for clashing over land dispute
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 18
Twentyfour persons were arrested in connection with a clash between two related families over the ownership of a piece of land at Masjidpur village of Pinjore block here today.

Five persons, injured in the clash, were admitted to General Hospital, Sector 6.

Trouble at the village had been brewing since Saturday between two factions led by Allahbaksh and Habib Mohammad. While the latter staked claim to a piece of land in the village by encroaching upon it, Allahbaksh maintained that the land in question belonged to him.

However, the war between the two reached a flashpoint when Allahbaksh and his supporters tried to free their land of the “illegal possession.” Habib, too, summoned all his supporters and soon there was a free-for-all as lathi-wielding men clashed and came to blows.

Armed with iron rods, they continued to fight till local people intervened and the police arrived. By then, however, five persons, including Allahabaksh, Salamudin, Amirudin, Bugo and her brother Sharif, were injured.

The 24 persons arrested by the police were produced before SDM (Kalka) Maheshwar Sharma before being brought to the district court. The were granted bail by Chief Judicial Magistrate Anshu Shukla.

Earings snatched

Two youths today snatched earings of a resident of Sector 12-A before fleeing from the spot on their motorcycle.

In a complaint to the police, Preeto, the victim, said she was sitting in her garden this morning when two boys stopped and asked her for a address.

While she was reading the slip of paper handed out by them, they grabbed her by the neck and forced her earings off before zipping away on their motorcycle.

In another case, a resident of Sector 10 alleged that her purse was snatched by a youth riding a motorcycle in Sector 10 here today, while Kewal K. Bindal, a software engineer, alleged that his bag containing important documents was stolen from his car.

He said he had gone to a bank when someone broke open his car’s side window and stole his bag. He said the bag contained his degrees and some important official documents.



2 held for stealing ATM card

Chandigarh, December 18
Two Mani Majra residents were arrested by the police on the charge of stealing an ATM card and then withdrawing Rs 20,000 through it.

According to the police, Mr Anil Parkash Dube of the Modern Housing complex, Mani Majra, lodged a complaint against his neighbour, Rinku, along with another person Vishal of Yamuna Nagar. It was alleged that the accused had stolen a bag of Mr Dube containing an ATM card and other documents. The accused later withdrew Rs 20,000 through the card. The matter came to light when Mr Dube contacted the bank about his balance and found out that the money had been withdrawn through his ATM card from City Bank, Sector 9, Chandigarh and HDFC Bank in Panchkula on December 13 and 14.

Police sources said when Mr Dube took up the issue with the bank, bank officials produced the record of withdrawal along with the photograph of the accused. Mr Dube recognised the accused and reported the matter to the police.

The police arrested the accused after registering a case of theft, cheating and common intension against them on Sunday.


One accident led to another. Following a collision between two cars, the driver of one car lost his control over the vehicle and rammed into an auto-rickshaw, resulting which the auto-rickshaw driver suffered injuries.

The police said that Jagdev Singh of Sector 30 hit a car in Sector 30 and then rammed into an auto-rickshaw near Doaba Sweets in Sector 21 on Sunday. The auto-rickshaw driver was hurt in the mishap and was admitted to Sector 16 General Hospital. The police has booked Jagdev Singh for causing hurt due to rash and negligent driving.

Liquor seized

The police arrested Deepak Shukla of Sector 5, from Singla Turn on Sunday while allegedly carrying 18 bottles of country-made liquor. A case under the Excise Act has been registered. TNS



Man assaults rights activist on court premises

Chandigarh, December 18
A scene was created at the District Courts in Sector 17 this afternoon when a Sector 45 resident allegedly assaulted a human rights activist, Mr Arvind Thakur, in full public view.

The accused hurled bricks on Mr Thakur, who luckily escaped with minor injuries.

Mr Thakur told Chandigarh Tribune that the incident took place at around noon when Jatinder Suri of Sector 45, against whom he was contesting a case, came to his seat and staring abusing him. On being objected over his unruly behaviour, the accused got violent and slapped Mr Thakur. Before Mr Thakur could judge anything, the accused began hurling bricks on him.

A case under Sections 323 and 506 of the IPC has been registered. TNS



Attack on property dealer’s office: 1 held
Tribune News Service

Lalru, December 18
The police today arrested Supinder Singh in connection with attack on the office of a property dealer here yesterday.

Meanwhile, on the complaint of Supinder Singh, the police has also booked certain persons of the opposite party. They include Raju, Ramayan, Bhim Singh, Raj Kumar and two other persons.

Supinder Singh alleged that the property dealer and his supporters had kidnapped certain persons yesterday which resulted in the attack on the office of the property dealer.



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