C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Poll on roll: Finally, the D-day
Tribune News Service

  • The voters of Mauli Jagran Constituencies No. I & II will cast two votes i.e. one for the Panchayat Samiti and the other for electing a Panch.
  • Dial 5021416 to report any discrepancy to the Election Commission.
  • The poll for Ward Number 7 will be held on January 14.
  • The voters will be required to carry with them photo identity cards or other proofs of identity.
  • Dry day in Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula and Patiala. 
  • For the first time, election to the Municipal Corporation will be conducted through EVM

Chandigarh, December 19
As the din and excitement of campaigning reached its final stage today the focus shifted to the poll arrangements and logistic details to ensure a smooth run on the day of polling tomorrow.

Elections for 25 wards of the Municipal Corporation and 13 constituencies of the Panchayat Samiti and by-election to fill a casual vacancy of a Panch in the Gram Sabha of Mauli Jagran, will be held tomorrow. Polling will be held from 8 am to 5 pm (without break). Counting of votes will take place on December 22.

There will be a public holiday in the city tomorrow. All industries, factories, shops and establishments in the UT will also remain closed to enable the employees to cast their votes. Punjab Government has also declared tomorrow as a public holiday. Haryana Government has declared it a half-day holiday (second half).

In case of the Central Government employees, those who are bonafide voters can either come late to office, or leave office early or take a short leave in between to cast their vote.

Tomorrow will be observed as a dry day in the city, Patiala, Mohali and Panchkula.

As many as 172 candidates are in fray for election to the Municipal Corporation, 43 candidates for Panchayat Samiti and three candidates are in fray for byelection of a Panch. Out of the 26 wards, three are reserved for the Scheduled Caste candidates, two for SC (Women), seven for women and 14 are in general category.

There are 5,57070 voters (3,05,027 males and 2,52,043 females) in all for Municipal Corporation and Panchayat Samiti elections. As many as 513 polling stations have been set up for Municipal Corporation, 23 for the Panchayat Samiti and two for byelection of a Panch.

Each polling station will be manned by one Presiding Officer, three polling officers and a Grade IV employee. Adequate reserve staff has also been appointed to tackle any emergency.

For the first time, election to the Municipal Corporation will be conducted by Electronic Voting Machines whereas elections to the Panchayat Samiti and of a Panch will be conducted in the traditional ballot paper and ballot box way.

As many as 3,750 personnel have been deployed for poll duties. Besides these, 3,000 police personnel have also been put on poll duty. Elaborate police arrangements have also been made for guarding polling stations, places for storage of EVMs, ballot boxes and counting centres and for maintaining law and order on the day of election and on the day of counting of votes.

The voters of Mauli Jagran Constituencies No. I & II will be having a double right to vote i.e. one for Panchayat Samiti and the other for electing a Panch. As such, indelible ink will be marked on the left fore-finger (at the root of the nail) for Panchayat Samiti voting and one for middle finger of left hand (at the root of the nail) for by-election of a Panch. Separate polling stations have been set up for Panchayat Samiti and by election of a panch in this area.

The Election Commission’s office and offices of all Returning Officers are having a control room fitted with wireless and telephone to attend to any complaint immediately. Election Commission’s telephone number is 5021416

The poll for Ward Number 7 will be conducted on January 14, 2007.

Announcing the new date for election, Mr S.P Marwaha, State Election Commissioner, stated that the process of election for ‘‘this ward will now start afresh from today’’. The candidates already included in the list of contesting candidates need not file fresh nominations. The candidates, who had withdrawn their candidatures in this Ward, however, can again file nominations if they so desire. Fresh nominations can also be filed by fresh candidates. Filing of nominations for the same started today. 



5.45 lakh expected to vote today
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Though the number of wards has increased to 26 this year from to 20 in the past two elections the number of voters seems to be the same. As many as 5, 45,000 persons are expected to vote for the upcoming Municipal Corporation elections this year. (5,57,070 voters are listed for the MC and Panchayat Samiti elections this year.)

In 1996 the total number of voters was 4,08,596, while in 2001 there were 5,48,205 voters in the city.

In the first elections of the MC in 1996, 281 candidates, a majority of whom were independent, had contested the elections. This year despite an increase in the number of wards and the number of councillors the number of candidates has not increased thus there are only 177 candidates in fray as compared to 148 in 2001.

The fate of 172 candidates will be decided tomorrow, for the five others of Ward No-7 the elections will be held on January 14 as the elections had been countermanded after the death of a BSP candidate.

While the number of voters had increased by more than a lakh in 2001 the percentage of votes fell by about 15 per cent. In 1996 total 46.46 per cent votes were polled, while in 2001 the 31.75 per cent voting was witnessed. In 1996 the BJP had won by gaining a majority in the House. They had won 13 of the 20 seats and had got 31.66 per cent votes.

The Congress, meanwhile, had got only 21.24 per cent votes.

The situation was reversed in 2001 there was an increase of 16.49 per cent in the number of votes cast in favour of the Congress while BJP had to witness a fall of 10.28 per cent in the number of votes polled. The BJP could manage only three seats out of the total 20.

In Municipal Corporation elections this time various political parties apart from the Congress and the BJP are also trying their luck, the CVM has fielded 18 candidates.

Many political parties which are more visible in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, etc are trying to find a foothold in the city too, are fielding candidates from the wards, which constitute the colonies as most of the dwellers of these colonies belong to Bihar or other regions, thus making Samajwadi Party, Lok Jan Shakti Party, Rashtriya Janta Dal, Bhartiya Jan Shakti Party, Lok Jan Shakti Party and Bahujan Samaj Party candidates hopeful of a win.

Eyeing the ever-increasing vote bank in the colonies and periphery of the city, which they hope would soon merge with the MC limits, these political parties are also considering the MC elections as a means to enter political arena in the region.



Carry proof of ID to poll booth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The voters will be required to carry with them photo identity cards (where such cards have been issued by the Chief Electoral Officer, UT Chandigarh).

In case the voter ID card has been lost then they will be required to provide some documents to prove it e.g copy of an FIR.

Those who do not have such cards may carry any other proof of identity with them. This can be passport, driving licence, PAN card, service identity card issued to its employees by State/Central Govt. PSU, Local bodies and other private commercial and industrial houses, Ban/Kisan Vikas Patra/Post Office Pass Book, Student Identity Card, property document such as Patta, Registers Deed etc, SC/ST/OBC certificate issued by a competent authority, pension document such as pension book/ pension pay order, servicemen's widow/dependent certificate, railway identification card, Freedom Fighter Identity Card etc.

Such a proof will be required to be produced before the presiding officer of a polling station in case the identity of a voter is challenged. Ration Cards will not be considered for this purpose. Mr Marwaha stated that that they had introduced personal ID cards issued by private companies, however, separate account will be taken of the votes cast against the same. A random check will be done on them later. ‘‘If these are found to be bogus then the company that issues them can be held liable and police action will be taken against them.’’ 



Campaigning remains low key
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Despite clarification by the Election Commission confusion prevailed today as candidates were not sure whether they could canvass today or not. The last day of canvassing thus saw very little campaigning in the city.

A majority of the candidates, however, chose to stay away from any controversy of violating the election code of conduct, thus only door-to-door campaigning was witnessed in different Wards. Mr Naunihal Singh, independent candidate from Ward No 21 organised a cultural programme in Sector 32. Meanwhile, in a meeting of the Indian Muslim Committee, Ram Darbar, was held under the chairmanship of Mr Khaleel Ahmed at Rehmani Maszid, Ram Darbar. The committee unanimously decided to support Mr Satish Kumar Kainth, Congress candidate from Ward No 23 in the MC poll. 



Dhawan sees anti-Cong wave
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Lashing out at the Congress on the eve of the MC poll, Mr Harmohan Dhawan, president, CVM, said no party would win a majority.
Addressing a press conference today, he said the Congress would be defeated by a huge margin. "There is an anti-Congress wave this year and people want a change," he said.

"Muslims are now miffed with the Congress following ill-treatment meted out to them and want a change," he said.



Holiday in PU today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
There will be a public holiday in the Panjab University teaching/non-teaching departments located in Chandigarh tomorrow under Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, to enable the employees to exercise their franchise in the municipal and Panchayat Samiti elections.
According to the Deputy Registrar (General), Panjab University, this will be a paid holiday for daily wage employees.



Hired: A fleet of violations
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Not caring two hoots for the norms. hundreds of vehicles registered for personal use have been hired for election duty.
While the beneficiaries are operators of "illegal" taxis, the Chandigarh Administration has tuned a blind eye to the violation.

A visit to different polling stations revealed that a number of vehicles — Scorpios, Taveras, Sumos and Tata Indicas — with private registration numbers had been requisitioned for election duty.

Sources said the Election Department had written to the office of the Deputy Commissioner mentioning its requirement of vehicles. It was told to hire the vehicles from a private firm, engaged by the Administration.

Even though the State Transport Department does not allow commercial use of vehicle registered for personal use and heavily penalises violators, most of the vehicles put on election duty are registered as private vehicles with the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA), Chandigarh.

Chandigarh Tribune cross-checked the registration status of a number of such vehicles. For example, a Scorpio (CH 03 S 6906) and another vehicle (CH01 S 5257) were registered as private vehicles.

Interestingly, the owners of such vehicles have to give an affidavit in this regard to the registering authority.

Apart from the vehicles registered with the RLA, Chandigarh, a number of other vehicles (registered for personal use with the transport authorities in Punjab and Haryana, could also be seen on election duty.

An official involved in the process of hiring the vehicles said it was the responsibility of those providing these.

He said the vehicles were cheaper as compared to the vehicles registered for commercial use. The Election Department was paying Rs 550 for an eight-hour shift and Rs 4 per km thereafter.

The Joint State Election Commissioner, Mr V.K. Harit, said the name of agency to hire the vehicles was given by the office of the Deputy Commissioner. 



VC's decision raises eyebrows
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
In a controversial decision, Panjab University Vice-Chancellor has changed the members of the Board of Studies in Defence and Strategic Studies at the fag end of the term of the board.

The members of the board are chosen for a term of two years and the term of the current members was to come to an end on March 31, 2007.

Sources said the Vice-Chancellor, Prof R.C. Sobti, had changed a majority of the members of the board recently without even informing the members who were being removed.

Some members came to know about their removal only when they learnt that a meeting of the Board of Studies had been fixed and they did not receive any intimation regarding it.

While Professor Sobti could not be contacted for comments, sources close to the Vice-Chancellor pointed out that the members of the board had been replaced as many of them were not attending meetings regularly.

However, this plea was refuted by some of the members who were removed.

"I have been attending meetings regularly, but still my name has been removed from the membership of the Board of Studies," said Prof B.P. Yadav, a lecturer in the subject at Government College, Sector 46, here.

Members of the Board of Studies in various subjects are elected and/or nominated by the Vice-Chancellor. In case of Defence and Strategic Studies, the members are nominated and hold term for two years.

It was further pointed out that while generally membership of the board should not be changed, new members can be added, but already chosen members cannot be removed.

The sources added that many of the new members also did not attend the first meeting of the new board held last month.

The members removed from the board include Prof B.P. Yadav, a former Chief of Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik, Major-Gen H.S. Gill, Prof T.R. Sharma, Prof R.M. Mishra and Prof S.K. Sharma.



Venod Sharma keeps mum
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
“I will speak when time comes” said Mr Venod Sharma, father of Manu Sharma convicted in the murder of Jessica Lal while reacting to the situation here today.

“I have nothing to say at the moment. It is not the right time. I shall definitely speak my mind on the issue when the right time comes”, the former Member of Parliament and a Minister of Power in Haryana, said.

The bar and night club in Sector 17, Blue Ice was closed after the news of Manu being convicted by the Delhi High Court broke yesterday. Even today, visitors were being sent back on the plea that it dry day due to the MC elections.

At the Sector 9 house of Mr Sharma, a security guard told the Tribune team that Mr Sharma had gone to Delhi. The official residence of Mr Venod Sharma in Sector 3 also wore a deserted look.



MC ex-official caught on the wrong foot
Held responsible for favouring SCO allottee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
A former Additional Commissioner in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, Mr W.S. Goyat, has been held responsible for passing an illegal and erroneous order by extending the benefit of ground rent and interest to the allottee of an SCO site in Sector 9 here. This had caused a loss of over Rs 30 lakh to the corporation.

Mr Goyat, an HCS officer, was recently repatriated to his parent state after a controversy during his stint in the corporation.

The order was passed in the court of the Chief Administrator, Mr S.K. Sandhu, who after deciding two appeals — one each for the allottee, Mr Nirankar Singh, and the Municipal Corporation — observed that Mr Goyat gave the verdict without hearing the side of the municipal corporation and ignoring the facts of the case.

Brief facts of the case are that the site, SCO 143-144, was purchased by Mr Nirankar Singh in an open auction held in January 1998 at a premium of Rs 1,79,00,000. After completing the formalities, the allottee commenced construction at the site. But after taking the plea of non-availability of basic amenities, he filed a civil writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 1999, seeking direction to the respondents to provide the basic amenities.

The high court disposed of the plea with directions to the respondents to provide the basic amenities. However, the corporation filed a special leave petition in the apex court. The apex court in its orders dated February 28, 2006, held that providing basic amenities was not a condition prior to the date of the auction.

Meanwhile, the allottee filed a representation before the Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, seeking certain benefits on the ground of non-availability of basic amenities. Mr Goyat after hearing the plea passed orders on September 2006 to waive off the ground rent and interest up to August 14, 2000.

Against the order of Mr Goyat, the corporation through its Joint Commissioner filed an appeal against Mr Goyat's orders. The corporation contested that all estate services were available well before the date of auction of the site.

After going through the facts, the Chief Administrator set aside the impugned order of Mr Goyat and handed over the case to the Assistant Estate Officer, Mr Amit Talwar, for deciding on the entire matter afresh and giving hearing opportunity to both parties.



Watch out

Anuja Tighare, lecturer of Biology at the Paragon Senior Secondary School, 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 Biochemistry from the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal and BEd Tighare had been pursuing research in her subject. She has a number of research papers to her credit.



In Town

Vihang Nayak, a Mumabi-based film actor is in town to play an important role of Lalu Yadav in an English comedy play ‘Carry on Heaven’ to be staged here as part of SJOBA Winter fest. An engineering graduate from Pune he served as design engineer for Telco and later he designed the ‘Lamby Polo’ scooter. A well-known Marathi thespian and film actor he played lead ole in film ‘Anand jhaad’ and Marathi TV serial Augaji Sarkar being telecast daily. However, Nayak’s appearance in commercial advertisements for ‘Titan’ with Aamir Khan, Godrej refrigerator, Voltas AC and Reliance insurance had given him immense popularity.



Passing Thru

M. Karl Cogard
Mr M. Karl Cogard, Academic Director, Alliance Française, Chennai.

What brings you to the city?

The network of Alliance Française in India in collaboration with the French Embassy in India and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched the first online French in India, ‘Click on French’. I am here to give a presentation about the new course.

Tell us something about the online French learning course?

This recognised certification course is designed for complete beginners, adults and adolescents. All those who are unable to attend regular classes held at Alliance Française for some reasons and are willing to learn French can benefit from this online course. The fees for this course corresponding to a level A1 oral and A2 written of the European Common Framework for languages is the same, as one has to pay for a regular course at Alliance Française.

How is the evaluation done in this course?

The learners take up all exercises and the language tests online and are evaluated by a Professor from one of the Alliance Française institutes.

— Smriti Sharma



Illegal construction around CM’s residence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
An unauthorised construction around the complex housing the Haryana Chief Minister’s residence in Sector 3 here has irked residents of this VVIP Sector.

A new wall is coming up to the rear of the CM house. This is being constructed where the road ends.

The palatial houses in the sector have a market value of anything between Rs 8 to 10 crore each.

Any illegal construction in the CM’s house in the name of security or to have an unauthorised gate opening at the rear side can cause inconvenience, fear the residents.

The inflow of vehicles or visitors will be huge, said a resident of the sector whose house is in the same lane where the gate is being constructed.

The construction being carried out now is to take over a portion of the road and also the open space adjoining it.

Also a tennis court has been constructed near the house of the Chief Minister.



Kargil girl gets a new lease of life
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service


Chandigarh, December 19
Her innocent gaze hits you deep in the heart; her tiny, little frames inspires. All this despite the tragic history that has caused Zannabi, the 11-year-old girl from Kargil, to come all the way to Punjab in search of new life, which she has finally got. But life, for Zannabi, has not come cheap. She has had to compromise with her left leg, which was recently amputated to prevent the bone cancer from spreading further. The operation was life-saving, the sacrifice unavoidable.

But things were not as simple as they sound. As you retrace Zannabi’s history, you realise her survival was willed by God. It all started in July this year when two missionaries - Father Joseph Kalathil from Jammu and Father Thomas KJ from Rajpura - travelled to the forsaken Kargil villages to help its suffering and disabled children regain health.

Zannabi was among the hundreds of children who attended the medical camp organised by these missionaries at Sanku village of Kargil on July 27. The camp was held in collaboration with the district administration of Kargil, one of the most backward districts of India.

In Chandigarh with Zannabi, who was felicitated by Mr J.P. Singh, principal of St Kabir School today, Father Joseph Kalathil told The Tribune, “We examined several children and enlisted 30 who needed immediate medical attention. Zannabi’s was a severe case of bone cancer which remained undetected for years due to lack of medical interventions in Kargil.

She complained of acute pain and persistent swelling in the leg. We went in for deeper investigation and found we could only save her through disarticulation. We immediately brought her to Punjab, where Father Thomas and his NGO Roshni arranged for the operation.”

Dr R.R. Saggar, a cancer surgeon from Patel Hospital, Jalandhar, conducted the operation, which meant Zannabi’s left leg had to be amputated from the hip joint.

Amputation, however, was not the end in itself. Zannabi had to undergo several chemotherapy sessions to destroy malignant cells. In times of trial, the child had the company of her father Mohd Hussain, but more so of her own will to bear the loss.

Even today as she sat among hundreds of school children in the St Kabir auditorium, she didn’t appear a bit ruffled. She knew she was inspiring everyone by her presence. Equally inspiring was the effort of Mohd Hussain who, by going out of the way to save his daughter, set an example for those who indulge in female foeticide in Punjab. In their respective addresses to the gathering of students today, Father Kalathil and Thomas hailed Hussain for his patience and striving.

As for Zannabi, she is yet to learn to walk with the artificial leg Roshni has arranged for her. But she is quite elated at the prospect of having a new leg, notwithstanding its fabric. Eager to get back to her village where her mother is still waiting for her, Zannabi made an innocent remark: “My mother will be very happy to know that I finally have a leg that does not hurt.”

Also she has life, which is Roshni’s gift to her.



Wildlife smuggling increases on Indo-China border
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Sudhir Mishra
Sudhir Mishra

Chhat Bir, December 19
The international smuggling of wild animals and their body parts has grown alarmingly through the Indo-China border in recent decades. China and Tibet are the main consumers of endangered animals and other body parts for their uses as a rug or for clothing, trophies, traditional medicines and ornaments.

The neighbouring countries have been sending huge money in the country for smuggling of body parts of Bengal tigers, leopards, snow leopard, Tibetan antelope and certain other endangered species to their nations through dealers and poachers. There is a well connected and strong lobby of poaches and smugglers active on the Indo-China border for smuggling of animals and their parts at a large scale. To protect and conserve the highly endangered wildlife, there is a dire need to rope in paramilitary forces, the Customs, the Railways, police and social organisations.

There is no shortcoming in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, but its proper enforcement has been weak, says Mr Sudhir Mishra, an advocate of the Supreme Court, who was in the Mahendra Chaudhrary Zoological Park to address training programme organised by the Punjab Forest and Wildlife Department about the legal technicalities of the Act. Mr Mishra has been dealing with the wildlife related cases in the apex court for the past many years.

He said certain amendments had been done in the Act to make it more affective and stringent at par with TADA and POTA. He also made the trainees aware of various provisions under the Act and asked the wildlife officials to follow them properly in case they caught hold of any poacher, dealer, trader or any other violator.

Experts say that India has the largest population of tigers in the world but it is also here that most tigers are killed. China is the biggest retail market from where the tiger skins and other body parts are further supplied to Vietnam, Taiwan, Middle East, South Korea and Japan.

Recalling the recent seizures at various places on the international border, the experts said that a tiger skin used as a rug or for clothing was particularly popular among Arab customers while a skull is used to mount as a trophy. The powder of tiger bones is being used as medicines as for making wine.

The penis is used for virility pills, costing about $27,000 for a 100g box. Teeth are used for making jewellery or sold as amulets with supposedly special powers and the fats, used to treat rheumatism and muscular ailments, they informed.

Over a 100 officials of the Punjab Forest and Wildlife Department, wildlife wardens, honorary wildlife wardens, police officials and representatives of certain social organisations attended the training session. They also shared their views with the experts and cleared their doubts about some technical problems faced during the seizures. Facts also came to light that the poachers have been opting for new methods for killing the wild animals in the state.

Eminent speakers who spoke on the occasion included Mr Swaran Singh, Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab, Mr Gurmeet Singh, Deputy Chief Wildlife Warden, Punjab, and Mr Dharminder Sharma, Field Director of Chhat Bir Zoo. 



The disabled dare to dream big
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 19
The famous four of Chandimandir's Saket Hospital for the Orthopaedically handicapped know no disability. Callipers and crutches are no deterrent for them. Their spirit is willing and they dare to dream big as they go about achieving milestones at their own pace.

The latest bend in their life's journey has sprung a pleasant surprise----in an invitation to meet Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on December 22 at his New Delhi residence. The programme, the first of its kind to encourage talent and promote the girl child, is being organised to honour girl achievers of the state and ring down the curtains on the Year of the Girl Child.

So, while Suman Chopra, Nisha, Laksmi and Suman Sen ready for their big day in the Capital, the hospital is bustling with a new kind of energy, regaling in the glory of "their children".

Says Suman Chopra, the eldest among them, "Mr mother is yet to believe it is really happening. I am excited about performing in front of the Chief Minister and receiving an award from him.

Above all, I will be visiting Delhi. I have read about the Red Fort and the Qutub Minar and so many other historical monuments."

Coming from a family of labourers, she lost her father recently and her mother earns a living by working as a maid. Suman has polio in both her legs but her determination to do well has made her a star in her own right.

While she excels in studies, she has made her mark in dancing as well. "I can't stand without crutches. So, I have evolved my own steps which allow me to perform in a sitting position," she says.

Chalking out their Delhi plans, the other girls are as vivacious and talented, giggling for the better part of the conversation. Suman Sen, the eldest in the group, says," I am an orphan and the hospital is funding my education in Panchkula where I study in Class XI. I travel down from Saket to school everyday and am among the top 10 in class. My handicap has never made me feel any less than the other 'complete' children of my class. I am proud of my achievement and am glad I have an extended family here to celebrate my achievements," she remarks.

There is an air of disbelief among the other inmates about the visit but their excitement is palpable as they scurry around to help the girls with their packing. "My friends are very happy for me.

It is by far my biggest achievement and I am preparing real hard to be at my best," says Lakshmi who came as a Class II student to Saket. Five years on, she is a confident little girl and has grown to be the hospital's nightingale.

Nisha, a Class IX student at Saket, too, has danced her way into the hearts and minds of audiences on numerous 

For this cheery group to be honourerd along with 105 other achievers of the state, is no mean achievement. Getting ahead is only a by-product of their hard work. Their real mission is to spread happiness. The rat race is not for them.



Night Life
Cops rule by the day, ruffians by the night
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Time was when cops would stand guard at every roundabout and ensure the night revelers behaved themselves, but not any longer.
As the floating population, especially of youth from nearby states, rises and the regulatory mechanism rusts, life by the night is becoming an increasingly unsafe affair. And if you thought a woman hitting the road at night could leave her worries behind, you’re mistaken.

She will not be alone in her ride. In all probability, a group of rowdies will surface from somewhere to make sure she knows her worries next time around. And if she doesn’t learn her lessons, she might as well get used to mad chases and cat calls and everything else that’s part of the “night package” in Chandigarh.

And this is no hearsay. It is well-played-out on the streets every other night. Simran, a second year student and a Sector 28 resident has first-hand experience: “It was 10.30 pm when I and my cousin went out to bike one day. We had hardly covered two kms when two scooter-borne youths interrupted us and started making indecent gestures at me. In a state of panic, I rushed back. But the scooter sped after me. Nowhere to go, I entered the first house I saw. Had it not been for my instinctive reaction, anything could have happened that night.”

Such incidents of hoodlums taking charge are not isolated. They are commonplace in the “hip” zone comprising Sectors 35, 9 and 26 which recently came up on the night life circuit. Food joint owners in these sectors may not admit to the problem openly, but they do mutter about the trouble.

Says one: “The profile of customers is definitely changing. Now we get youngsters who sit over a cup of coffee for several hours, ogling at girls or just creating nuisance. You don’t want to mess with them. Sometimes they carry arms. Most visitors are outsiders, not used to high city life. It is as if they don’t known hot to handle freedom. You often see them getting drunk and roaming around in groups, embarrassing girls.”

Making matters worse is the absence of police patrolling at night. Simrita, who recently had a bitter experience in the Sector 35 parking lot, says: “My husband had gone out for work while I was sitting in the car. Suddenly two boys came close and started staring at me. Then they passed unsavoury remarks. They kept troubling me till my husband returned. Since there was no cop on duty, we couldn’t teach the louts a lesson.”

A meager 25 per cent night deployment of police is a problem, especially for girls. It also ensures traffic rules go for a toss. No wonder triple riding, dangerous detours and red light jumping are common at late hours, courtesy lack of patrolling. Mr Arvinder Gill, a businessman says: “You can’t spot a cop for several km at night. In such a situation, chaos is natural. Look at the paradox - a city so well-behaved by the day gets so unruly at night. I’ve often seen girls on two-wheelers being eve-teased by boys. This was not our culture. The city is losing its character.”

(To be continued)



BJP seeks apology from Pawan Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
The BJP today demanded an apology from Mr Pawan Bansal for using unparliamentary language and indecent remarks against Navjot Sindh Sidhu, former cricketer and former MP. “Mr Pawan Bansal must apologise for using derogatory remarks against Mr Sidhu,” said Mr Satya Pal Jain.

He was addressing a press conference at BJP office ‘Kamlam’. Gurpartap Singh Riar, president, Chandigarh unit of the SAD and Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, president BJP, Chandigarh, were also present at the press conference

He alleged that the Congress had fielded seven such persons who were found to be involved in corruption or against whom criminal cases under Section-420 of the IPC and criminal cases against some of their family members were being tried in the court.



Jail inmates attend week-long course

Chandigarh, December 19
In order to make inmates of Burail Jail self-reliant, a one-week course on managing kitchen and serving food was organised in the jail.
Ms Jean Rodrigues, wife of the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), today awarded certificates to 30 inmates who had undergone the week-long training.

In a statement released by the Chandigarh Police, it was stated that the programme was organised with an aim to accelerate efforts towards the welfare of jail inmates. The Department of Prisons has initiated a few programmes in this regard and to begin with the department in collaboration with the Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management organised a one-week course for inmates. The authorities said Ms Rodrigues also inaugurated another week-long course of the Art of Living Foundation to reduce stress among inmates. The course would be attended by 100 inmates.

The function was presided over by the Inspector-General, Prisons, Mr Dinesh Bhatt, who said the department was striving for the rehabilitation and welfare of the inmates.

Ms Amandeep Kaur, Director, Social Welfare, Mr Umesh Kapoor, Head, Art of Living Foundation, Chandigarh Chapter, besides other senior officers were present on the occasion. TNS



Lions Club (Legal) team installed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
R.K. Handa and his team of Lions Club Chandigarh Legal for 2006-07 was installed at an impressive ceremony held at a hotel in Zirakpur on Sunday.
While Mr Handa was installed charter president, Mr Rajan Malhotra was installed secretary, Roopan Aggarwal treasurer and Rajiv Singhal Public Relations Officer. Mr A.K. Jain and Mr J.R. Gupta were installed vice-presidents. The ceremony was attended by past District Governors K.S. Sandhu and K.K. Sawhney.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Handa said theirs was the first club of Lions Club (International) to provide legal consultancy and assistance to the needy, along with generating awareness among the masses about consumer rights and redressal of their grievances.

He added that the club had already undertaken several projects, including creation of awareness on environment among the students of Sector 36 Government Model High School.



March against assault on photojournalist
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Demanding action against the erring police officials who allegedly assaulted a photojournalist of a local English daily at Kharar on November 30, the journalist fraternity of the city today decided to take out a protest march from the Chandigarh Press Club, Sector 27, here on December 21.

The journalists from print and electronic media in a meeting held at the club demanded withdrawal of a false case registered against the photojournalist, Samual.

A special 11-member team has also been constituted in this regard. Balwant Takshak, president of the club, while condemning the police action, said the march would began from the club and would be followed by a symbolic dharna.



CTU passengers suffer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Hundreds of passengers of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) buses were put to inconvenience today with 87 buses of the fleet remaining off the roads due to municipal election duty.

Sources in the CTU said 87 buses were put on election duty for two days.

The same number of buses would remain off the roads tomorrow as these had been deployed by the Administration on election duty.

They said 54 buses from Depot number II and 33 buses from Depot number III had been put on election duty.



Theft turns marriage celebrations sour
Family suspects servant's hand
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 19
Marriage celebrations in the Khullar household turned sour last night when they returned to their home in Sector 16 after a party only to find that their house had been broken into and ransacked.

Pegging the loss at nearly Rs 3 lakh, the family suspects the hand of its servant in the theft.

Dr Nitin Khullar, a dental surgeon at BRS Institute, said the family left the residence for Chandigarh around 7 pm for his reception. "We came back around midnight and found the gate locked to our utter surprise. On calling out to the servant, we were told that he was bolted inside his room and that the house had been ransacked," he said.

The family requested their neighbour's servant to jump over the common wall and open the gates. The Khullars said though the thieves had made attempts to break open the doors at several places, they managed to break the door in one room only.

"Servant Raj Kumar and his wife Anita said three men forced their way into the servant quarter, tied their hands and locked them in their room before making their way into the house. Inside, they went through every cupboard and drawer.

"We are still putting our things back and have found jewellery worth Rs 1 lakh, a laptop and three cameras missing. However, we will be able to ascertain the exact loss only after putting back everything in its place," he said.

The family says the hand of the servant in this whole exercise cannot be ruled out.

"He came about a year and a half ago, but we learnt about his shady past a fortnight ago. He owes a lot of money to many people and is into gambling in a big way. He has been jobless for over a fortnight now and was the only one to know when we were to leave. Also, some of his claims are contradictory," he said.

While the police has taken the servant into custody for interrogation, the family said it suspected he would carry out a theft given his background and circumstances.

"We had to go out for four days a couple of weeks ago and left two of our trusted men on rotational duty to keep an eye on his movement. Last night, they, too, were with us at the party. Yesterday evening was the only time he was alone in the house and the theft took place," he said. The police, meanwhile, has registered a case in the matter and investigations have begun.



Two commit suicide
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 19
Two youths allegedly committed suicide by hanging themselves from ceiling fans here today. According to the police, the body of Kushal Raj ( 26 ), a resident of Sector 70, was found hanging by his father at around 7 am when he went to look for his son in his room when he failed to respond to the calls of family members to come and have tea. The room was bolted from inside and the body of Kushal Raj was found hanging when the door was broken.

The police said the family of the deceased lived in a first-floor LIG accommodation, while he used to sleep in a room on the second floor. He was depressed as he was not able to get a job and had to work as a caterer, which he did not like.The body was handed over to his family after post-mortem.

Jagroop Singh ( 27 ) of Mohali village also allegedly hanged himself and his body was noticed by some children of the village. The room in which the suicide was committed was bolted from inside and the door had to be broken to remove the body.

According to the police, Jagroop Singh, who worked as a cook with a dhaba in Phase VI , hailed from UP and had been staying with his brother in a rented accommodation at Mohali village for the past about 10 years. 



Wrath of cops
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 19
In a blatant case of high handedness by the police, constables of the Haryana Armed Police beat up two Class XI students of Hansraj Public School without any provocation in full public view here today.

Sameer Chadha and Abhinav Bansal were getting their bike repaired in the Sector 9 market when two policemen stopped near them and asked for the papers of the vehicle.

Before they could reach for the papers, the cops, Ajit and Rakesh, held them by the scruff of their neck and began slapping them. “They just grabbed us and began hitting us without giving any reason. We were shocked out of our wits. They kicked us around, boxed our faces and mouthed profanities”, Sameer said. Both boys suffered injuries on their face and their back.

They were “saved” when the shopkeepers, witness to the entire drama, intervened and informed the police. The boys, too, called up their family members. On being hauled up by the public for hitting the boys without giving a substantial reason, the shopkeepers also demanded action against the policemen.

The in charge of the police post, Sector 10, arrived on the spot and took away the cops for recording their statement though no case has been registered agianst them so far. The cops alleged that the two boys had been involved in an incident of eve-teasing but failed to produce any complaint or complainant in the matter.

The president of the Sector 9 market, Mr Surinder Bansal, demanded stringent action against them saying that such behaviour did not behove cops. The president of the Punjabi Sabha, Mr Hemant Kinger, also an eye-witness in the case, said that they would give 24 hours to the police to act against the accused cops. “If the police tries to hush up matters, we will sit on a dharna in front of the office of the Superintendent of Police,” he said. 



Four hurt in road mishaps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19
Four persons, including a traffic policeman, were hurt in separate road accidents that took place in various parts of the city. According to the police, Constable Heera Singh, posted in the Traffic Wing of the Chandigarh Police, sustained injuries after being hit by an auto-rickshaw (CH-03-L-1254) near Sector 27 and 28 traffic lights point last night.

He was admitted to the PGI and the auto-rickshaw driver, Shankar Lal, was arrested.

In another incident, a pedestrian, Ms Jagwati Devi, resident of Colony Number 5, suffered injuries after being hit by a motorcycle (CH-03U-3216) on the road separating Sectors 43 and 44 yesterday.

The motorcyclist was also injured in the mishap. They were admitted to Sector 16 General Hospital.

Similarly, a scooterist, Mr Santokh Singh of Mohali district, was seriously injured after an unidentified Maruti car rammed into his scooter near the PGI rehri market on December 16.

The car driver reportedly sped away from the spot.

Two separate cases have been registered.

1 held with smack: The Special Crime Investigation Cell of the Chandigarh Police arrested Sunita, alias Seema, of Madrasi Colony in Sector 26 at the same locality last evening for allegedly carrying 25 grams of smack.

A case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act has been registered.



Two die in mishaps
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 19
Two persons died in separate accidents here today. While 45-year-old Tika Ram was found dead at the firing range in Raipur Rani, 50-year-old Raj Kumar Singla was knocked down by an unidentified vehicle this morning.

Police sources said Tika Ram, a resident of Bhoond village, had gone to the firing range without informing anybody. Tempted to gather used shells, he accidently picked up an unused shell which burst opened. His body was found at the range under mysterious circumstances and bore injury marks.

Meanwhile, Singla, a cashier in the local Employment Exchange and a resident of Sector 11, had gone for walk. On his way back, he had to pick up milk from Abheypur village. However, while crossing the road, he was hit by an unidentified vehicle.

Taking clue from the broken glass recovered from the spot, the police said he was hit by an Indica. His wife, Shakuntala, is working as a Superintendent at the Haryana Secretariat. 



5 hurt in clash over land dispute
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 19
Five persons were injured in a clash between two parties over a piece of land in Rampur Jangi village, Pinjore, here today. While residents of Rampur Jangi maintain that the piece of land is public property and is not owned by any single person, the former Sarpanch of Karanpur, Mahender Singh, claimed that the 800 bighas in question was part of his ancestral property and a case in this regard is pending in the district court.

Trouble began last night when a langar at the Shiv temple was in progress in the village. The villagers alleged that Mahender Singh along with 24 supporters attacked them with swords and lathis for fencing the disputed land. They maintained that two villagers—Karamchand and Randhir Singh—were admitted to the CHC-Kalka, after sustaining injuries in the attack.

Sarpanch of Rampur Jangi Ram Singh said they had got a stay from the local court on December 7 after which they had put up a fence. Mahender Singh, however, alleged that the villagers had attacked them and they were not at fault. He also said that three of his men had also been injured in the attack.

Today, the DSP, Mr Om Prakash, and Ms Smiti Chudhary, called both parties to work out a compromise. Both parties agreed to stay away from the piece of land till the court gave its verdict in the matter. 



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