C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Tricity pops the cork on ’07
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Thumping beats of pulsating music setting the pace for merriment with intercontinental disc jockeys spinning magic in nightclubs and discotheques; shining stars from Bollywood adding glitz to the glimmer in clubs; revellers dancing to the tunes of celebrations after parking their cars along the freeway to excitement; or else living it up in the hotels and restaurants with bubbles of exhilaration bursting at the brim of sparkling cut-glass saturated with golden drinks - it all happened in and around the city on the New Year Eve.

Cops intervene

Though no major incident of lawlessness was reported to the police, the cops had to intervene at several places because of drunken brawls. At several places, the police had to pacify the crowd which was not allowed to enter the venues despite having passes.

Sonu enthrals

To bid adieu to the year 2006, visitors, members and their guests at the Chandigarh Club waited for Sonu Nigam for almost two hours, adding to chaos at the venue. Things became normal only when the star singer arrived and began his performance with ‘Ganesh Vandana sloka’ and went on the enthral the audience with his popular numbers including ‘Sooraj Hua Madham’, ‘Rang de Basanti Chola’.

The hard bitterness of cold failed to freeze the thrill for the out-to-chill crowd as they left the warm comfort of their houses to celebrate the rise of the New Year from the ashes of old. Even before the clock struck nine, tearing excitement broke loose in the city as the partying pack zipped down the fast track of celebration in their jaunty jalopies all the way into 2007.

All roads led to jubilations as wild shrieks of exhilaration and reverberating bhangra beats drowned the deafening din of honking cars on the last surviving day of the dying year. As it slipped away into oblivion boisterously, the apprehensions of dense grey clouds fogging the spirits made their final exit.


Cheerful balloons fluttered in the breeze as Chandigarh Club members, along with their guests, thronged the venue to catch singing sensation Sonu Nigam live. As he crooned hit numbers straight from Bollywood blockbusters, even the not-so-young danced to the beats.

At Chandigarh Golf Club, the hot party sizzled as the cool crowd descended on the polished dance floor. The ever-winning combo of teeny-weeny skirts concealed under life-size coats and high-heel ankle boots brought the dancing divas close to the stature of glam-goddesses.

Night clubs and discotheques

Shadows on the decked up walls danced in sync with the psychedelic lights and cool hip-hop numbers bellowing out of impressive speakers added zing of permanence to the transient evening affair as the youngsters came out to twirl into the New Year.

There was no stopping the crowd as they shook, rattled and rolled all around the dance floors to the pounding beats of bhangra music at Aerizzona, Antidote, Sip ‘n’ Dine, along with other discotheques and night clubs.

At Hideout in North Park, it was celebrations across the Ghaggar River. As Ricky and Sukhi of Dubai-based Rix-in-da-mix raised the celebrations to international levels, it was time to go wacky for the crowd.

Athena was the venue of prime-time celebrations as the crowd cut loose to the music dished out by the in-house and guest disc jockeys. In fact, the intelligent lights started blinking in the afternoon itself and continued to illuminate the dance floor till midnight.

At Blozo in Hotel Monarch, the party saw revellers burn up the dance floor with exuberance.

For some, partying was incomplete without a night out at the Warehouse. Situated far from the madding crowd at Chimney Heights Resort on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway, the joint organised the "longest ever party". In any case, the disc jockeys coaxed the youngsters to spend the night dancing away to the notes of cool numbers.

At other places also "earth angels" in glittering minis with cuts on either sides, teamed with backless tops, descended on the dance floors oblivious of the cool winter breeze.

City bars, restaurants

For residents with a cosmopolitan bent of mind, Taj Chandigarh was the place to be in. It was a globalisation of celebrations there as dance troupe "Les Belles Duval Revue", all the way from Europe, set the stage afire with their sizzling dance performance in the Grand Ballroom.

In Hotel Mountview, it was a blend of fun, music and masti as singer Shruti performed live at Rustles restaurant. As the disc jockeys mixed some cool foot-tapping music, the celebrating pack enjoyed an evening of great dinner, drinks and dance. At Shivalikview, it was variety on the platter.

It was drink, dance and dine at Hotel Himani, Hotel Orange and K.C. Residency. At Hotel Sunbeam, it was a rooftop party. Aroma too was garlanded with lights to welcome the New Year.

Reports of New Year celebrations were also received from Mohali.

In Panchkula, Prabhat Inn, K.C. Crossroads, Red Bishop and Gymkhana Club were the venues of prime celebrations.

Several parts of Panchkula remained plunged in darkness due to power failure. The situation was particularly bad in Sector 21.



Sobti loses cool
Senate members use unparliamentary language
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Heated arguments over a host of issues marked the last Senate meeting of the year at Panjab University. While some senators lost their cool over the issue of not having been allowed to change their faculty, Vice-Chancellor R. C. Sobti was enraged when questioned about having granted additional seats for certain courses in some colleges.

The Vice-Chancellor was infuriated at what he considered was “casting of aspersions to the chair” when fellow Tarsem Bahia pointed out that the Vice-Chancellor had granted additional seats to colleges in order to facilitate admission of VIP wards. In a fit of anger, the Vice-Chancellor said he had followed precedence and such additional seats were being granted for the past six years.

“If you all want I have no problem in telling the House that the senators themselves recommend such admissions and then object to them. If you all take an oath that you will not approach me for anything beyond the university rules, I will go strictly by the rules,” he said.

While none of the senators raised their hands to take such an oath some did demand an inquiry into the way additional seats had been granted in the past years.

The Vice-Chancellor also said he knew what the various senators were up to. “It’s easy to point fingers at others but when it comes to their own selves things are different. I even know of those who take double travelling allowance from the university,” he shouted before a group of senators who had to rush to the well of the Senate hall to calm him down.

Senators, mostly of the G. K. Chatrath group, raised the issue that the university did not allow them to change their faculties before the Syndicate elections. After much heated debate in which unparliamentary language was openly used by some of the senators, directed at the members of their own group, it was decided that senators be allowed to withdraw their applications for change in faculties by January 2.

During zero hour Mrs Devi Sirohi highlighted that the committee constituted to look into the problems being faced by the faculty at the Homoeopathy College had not even visited the college till now. She demanded that the matter be resolved in a time-bound manner.

Meanwhile, Prof B. B. Goel, Reader, University Business School, appeared in person before the Panjab University authorities and filed an appeal claiming that he is innocent.

Prof Goel has been facing an inquiry into charges of gross misconduct in having given 42 marks to a candidate who had written the words ‘Radhaswami’ over and over again in his answer sheet.

The inquiry into the matter has been going on for years and the High Court recently ordered that the Senate hear Mr Goel in person. Filing a 102 pages appeal, Mr Goel claimed that he had not checked the said answer sheet. It was decided that a committee be constituted to look into the various contentions of Mr Goel’s appeal and speaking order be passed by the senate accordingly.

The recommendation made by the enlarged committee constituted to consider payment to the question paper printer responsible for the CET faux pas that the printer be not paid more than Rs 5 lakh was accepted. The Syndicate had decided to release Rs 11 lakh as part of the pending dues of the printer. However, the Senate had on September 24 decided not to pay any money to the question paper printer deployed by the university till his role in the CET faux pas and the PMET leak is ascertained and a subsequent penalty be charged from him.

In his introductory speech the Vice-Chancellor announced that Rs 1.2 crore would be spent for the expansion of the Botany Department and another Rs 1.1 crore on improving the condition of roads on the university campuses in Sector 14 and 25. Another Rs 25 lakh would be spent on the health center of the university.



Another death in PGI due to ‘fungus in fluid’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The infested fluid controversy, today took a new turn with a complaint filed by Mr Viney Chadha, a Bartana resident, against a medical store located in the ground floor of the Nehru Hospital building and the paramedical staff of the coronary care unit (CCU), of the PGI.

In a complaint to the PGI director, Mr Chadha alleged, “I am sure fungus has gone inside my father’s body along with the fluid that was neither noticed by the hospital staff nor by the seller. Because of such negligence my father died.”

The complainant’s father, Mr Varinder Chadha, a businessman by profession, had died in the PGI while undergoing treatment for heart ailments. The complainant had spotted fungus inside a plastic bottle of dialysis fluid that was to be administered to his father on December 22. The complainant claimed to have purchased 70 bottles of the same fluid for his father’s treatment from the Chandigarh Medical Centre, a store adjacent to the Nehru Hospital.

Mr Chadha added that he had given a written complaint to the medical superintendent of the PGI on the same day, but to no avail. He has demanded strong action against the Chandigarh Medical Centre and the paramedical staff deployed at the CCU. He said, ”I have lost my father and want to save others from going through the same experience.

I have decided to knock on the doors of the Medical Council of India and will also take the matter to court,” he warned.



Looking Ahead 2007
City projects’ shelf life: Half-dead, half-live
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
A union territory flushed with central funds, which are free from both audit and political control, and administered by a handful of bureaucrats makes Chandigarh a unique and perhaps only territory in the country which is “autonomous”.

  Botanical Garden lies locked 17 years after its inauguration
  Not a brick has been added to the Sector 34 Nehru centre for performing arts after its relaunch in 1989
  Cycle track made during Mr Baleshwar Rai’s tenure in disuse
  The Save Sukhna Lake Society has become defunct
  Lilly Garden has weeds and no lillies


Huge and ambitious projects are launched with great pomp and show and not many of them progress beyond the launch. A few manage to get off the ground but later gasp for breath before they are strangled to death due to change at the top.

To name a few, the Nehru Centre for Performing Arts has died several deaths before actually taking off, a botanical garden launched with great fanfare in 1989 in the periphery of Rock Garden could never be opened to the public, and a cycle track from close to Raj Bhavan to the Sector 16 Cricket Stadium by then Adviser to the Administrator, Mr Baleshwar Rai, was seldom put to use.

There is a long and unending list of projects, started by many of this union territory’s Administrators or their Advisers , that never reached their completion. No responsibility in public memory has ever been fixed for crores of rupees spent on these “monuments” which were conceptualised, initiated or started without any legislative approval.

No where else, the executive has such a huge budget to spend without any questions being asked. There is either no audit or it is just a formality. Administrators and top executives go scot- free for the public money squandered on projects that die with their exit.

Unlike the state governments who have to account for each and every penny of the public money spent by them, there is no such system in place in the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

For example, in 1989, this union territory spent several lakhs, on massive functions it organized to announce the launch of a botanical garden adjoining the world famous Rock Garden. The basic philosophy of starting this garden was to “resist the creator of Rock Garden from spreading his creativity in free land adjoining the Sukhna Lake.”

The plan was criticised. The proposal drew flak from both soil conservationists as well as from forest officials. The proposed garden area gets inundated during the monsoon as the fencing was against the natural flow of seasonal water channel. As a part of the proposed botanical garden at its entrance a monument was to be raised to be used as a “smriti upavana”-- an area where people could come and plant a tree in memory of their near and dear ones on payment of nominal annual fee. Smriti upavana was initially put under a so-called autonomous Save Sukhna Lake Society. But like the botanical garden, which was never opened to the general public, the upavana, too, died a natural death.

In the same year, the Administration, to celebrate Nehru jayanti, brought out colorful pamphlets and brochures to announce the re-launch of a massive state of art Nehru centre for performing arts in Sector 34. The earlier project, started in 1983 and abandoned after civil construction work had reached the second floor level, was to be redesigned and completed in two years time. An impressive function was organized in Sector 34 with the then Administrator, Mr S S Ray, as guests of honor. But the project is still in doldrums.

Subsequently, when Mr Baleshwar Rai came, he announced the launch of cycle tracks. The first concrete cycle track was constructed from the Sukhna Lake to the Sector 16 Cricket Stadium. Unfortunately, the cycle track could never be put to public use. In between, came a strong demand for constructing an aerodrome in the city.

The Administration also spent several lakhs on studying the feasibility of starting a race course behind the Sukhna Lake in the Kishengarh Area. A special horse show was organized at Sector 1 Rajendra Park. Again, the project, initiated during General Malhotra’s time as Administrator, never progressed.

Interestingly, huge spendings on such projects, which were later found to be either non-feasible or unnecessary, no accountability or responsibility was fixed for wasting the public money.

Other ambitious projects taken up during the past few decades also include save Sukhna and building a lilly garden in Sector 9. But they too went the same way as the botanical garden or the Nehru centre for performing arts.

Now with the start of a new year, residents of the city can hope for a more responsive and accountable administration where public money is spent not at the whims and fancies of a handful of bureaucrats but in a transparent and accountable way.



For ever loyal to Punjabi folk music
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, December 31
Plying a tonga and later a rehra on the outskirts of Manimajra for years the accomplished sarangi player and maestro of Sufi and folk music, Sharif Idu , ever remained loyal to the pristine purity of traditional Punjabi music. His belief in the original folklore is so deeply rooted that he never fell to the charms of pop music unlike his counterparts and disciples. “In fact, not the folk art but the artists have prospered who , lured by the debasing power of money and glamour, followed the unethical trends in the otherwise clean Punjabi music,” said Sharif. He expressed gratitude to G.S. Channi and Kamal Tewari, regional representatives to the Sangeet Natak Akadami for taking up his case.

Sharing his artistic voyage with The Tribune he disclosed that the soulful strains of sarangi fascinated him and he learnt the finer nuances of the instrument from his father and guru, Idu, and accompanied him for performances at musical soirees of Sufiana and folk music at rural melas, akharas and religious functions.

Driven by poverty after the death of his father and guru, Idu, he was constrained to shift from his native village, Lalauda Rakhra in Punjab to take shelter at the house of in-laws at Manimajra.

“I used to do ‘riyaz’ religiously even when working as a labourer. Also my wife Usha never wanted the artist in me to die. Realising that none will recognise a labourer as a maestro she began working as a maid and stitching clothes only to support me,” he shared his feelings with a deep regard for her.

My sons Nusrat Ali Khan, Gulzar Khan, and Vicky Khan are now accomplished singers and represent the fifth generation of my family in the realm of sarangi playing and Sufiana folk music.

Representing Punjab in Apna Utsav 1986 in Delhi and later in Bombay in 1989 brought him limelight and many awards followed but the akadami honour is indeed an honour to the rich cultural heritage of Punjab. The Music Today featured his compositions in ‘Folklore of Punjab’ while he played sarangi for many private albums. The best moments in life, Sharif recalls, were his performance at a function before Rajiv Gandhi, the late Prime Minister, and the latest before Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh last month at New Delhi. He rues the fact that except the NZCC none of the financial commitments made by the authorities were honoured.



In Town

The Chandigarh chapter of the Indian Physics Association (IPA) is organising a lecture on "Joys and Challenges of Doing Experimental Sciences in India: Some Personal Experiences" by Prof Ajay K. Sood, Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, tomorrow. The lecture will be held at the Department of Physics, Panjab University, Chandigarh, at 11 am.

Professor Sood’s accomplishments in fundamental physics research and large-scale application potential of his novel discoveries in recent years have not only received worldwide attention in scientific and technical journals, but have also got coverage in print and electronic media.



Passing Thru

How is the Rhino Super Deluxe different from the other variants?

The new Rhino Super Deluxe is the first SUV by ICML in the luxury segment, which is being launched today. It comes in a dual tone body paint, leatherette seats, dual tone upholstery, side view mirror with indicator lights, power windows, power steering and dual AC. This SUV has been designed after clinching an international tie-up with Lotus Engineering of UK, a company known for making SUVs with automotive excellence. Lotus has imparted suspension configuration, sharper steering and greater overall functionality to the vehicle. It is priced at Rs 6.92 lakh.

How has Rhino been faring in the market?

Rhino was launched in January this year and in less than a year we have already sold over 500 vehicles. We have recently also exported 20 Rhinos to Nepal and the response from the public as well as the car industry have been overwhelming. We are now in the process of increasing our dealership network and sales centre.

Are you targeting any specific segment of customers?

We are now getting a number of NRI customers, who have not only shown their interests in Rhino but are using it as a family vehicle here. But this vehicle will retain its geniality for every Indian.

— Ruchika M. Khanna



Barricades fail to deter public
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 31
An effort to curb rash driving and accidents at busy intersections has backfired for the traffic police hoping to channelise traffic flow in the city. The barricades installed at intersections, where traffic flow is heavy, has led to public inventing newer, more dangerous shortcuts to save a little time and distance.

These barricades installed on the road dividing Sectors 7 and 8, on the Sector 17 and 18 roundabout and on the Sector 11 road has blocked entry from the roads linking the sectors. Consequently, while residents have been put to great inconvenience for having to go all the way in one particular direction and come back again to gain entry into the adjacent sector, two wheeler drivers have invented new routes.

The dividers are their new shortcuts to gain entry into the next sector. With bricks strategically placed to allow a smooth climb on to the divider. In the absence of any policeman, these people have become more dangerous than the existing crossings.

"They just jump on to the road without any indication. It can be even more dangerous than the crossings. Any vehicle coming at high speed will not be able to brake if a scooter does choose to come onto the road suddenly," says S.K. Nayar, president of the Citizens Welfare Association.

The DSP in charge of traffic, Ms Smiti Chaudhary, said the barricades were only a temporary arrangement to regularise traffic flow. "We have written to the Municipal Council and the Haryana Urban Development Authority to close all such openings which lead to accidents. They will also install railings on all dividers to check creation of parallel shortcuts," she stated. 



‘Iraqi areas were peaceful during the verdict of Saddam’s execution’
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
While the general mood in Iraq was sombre when the verdict to hang Saddam Hussein was announced, the western community based in the Middle East by and large considered it to be a “good” turning point in the history of Iraq.

Stating this while speaking to The Tribune here today, Mr Baljit Vohra, head of an economic development programme in Iraq, was of the view that most of the Iraqi people seemed to have no opinion on the verdict.

Mr Vohra, who was in Baghdad when the verdict was announced, said most of the country was peaceful barring sporadic incidents of violence. There was violence and some riots in western parts of Iraq to which Saddam belonged.

At present working as chief of party for USAID’s $ 154 million economic growth and employment generation project in Iraq, he arrived from Baghdad here yesterday on a brief visit. He has been working in Iraq for the past two years.

The three-year project is aimed at developing a market friendly environment for a broad-based economic activity and business expansion.

“Most people now realise that Saddam has left behind a country which is very underdeveloped,” Mr Vohra said. “He did not give them any opportunity to see the world,” he added. The situation is still dangerous in Iraq for foreigners as well as for locals assisting western powers.

He has to travel all over Baghdad for executing his project, which also entails visits to ministries and other clients. “The situation in some parts is dangerous because of ethnic violence”, he said.

Mr Vohra said he do not stay in the safe “green zone”, a 20 km area which is dominated and protected by the allied forces, but in the vulnerable red zone which encompasses the rest of Baghdad and is prone to violence.

Adequate security is a pre-requisite for staying in Baghdad and he and his agency make do with private security and armed escort while travelling in a convoy. “I recall an incident where an improvised explosive device hit the convoy in which I was travelling. A car was destroyed, but fortunately nobody was killed,” said “It was my close encounter of death,” he added.



PU teachers protest Saddam’s hanging
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Members of the Panjab University Teachers Association and university senators today staged a protest against the execution of Saddam Hussein outside the Administrative Block of the university here.

Led by the PUTA general secretary, Prof Manjit Singh, the protestors sat with placards saying “Saddam is murdered by Bush” and “Blood is thicker than Oil Mr Bush”. The members said they were shocked at the time chosen by the Bush government to execute Saddam. “Who is the bigger killer? Who will hang Bush for his crimes?” the protestors asked.



Bajrang Dal stones Mohinder's house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Demanding death sentence to the accused in the Nithari serial killings, activists of the local unit of Bajrang Dal today held a protest outside the Sector 27 residence of Mohinder Singh Pandher.

Raising slogans, around 25 youths, also resorted to stone-pelting. They came there on motor cycles and cars at around 2:30 pm. No one from the family came out of the house and the drama continued for about 15 minutes. The Police Control Room (PCR) staff deployed outside the house called for additional force judging the situation and soon police personnel reached there and dispersed the protesters.

On the other hand, mediapersons continued to camp in front of the house waiting for the Noida police to come for a search. However, till the late evening no one from the Noida police reached there. The senior police officials of the Chandigarh police said the Noida police had not contacted with them in this regard.

The police officer deployed outside the house said there was minimal activity in the house and only servants came out for work. There were one or two visitors today.

Expressing shock over the Noida incident, Dr Jagdish Jaggi, president of Residents Welfare Association, Sector 37, announced the cancellation of New Year celebrations. He also demanded that the local police should keep record of the rickshaw-pullers and auto-rickshaw drivers, who ferry school students.



Creating awareness on helplines
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Various important decisions regarding creating more awareness among the public about helplines and improving the functioning of the helplines were taken at a meeting held in the UT Secretariat here yesterday.

The UT Home Secretary, Mr Krishna Mohan, the Joint Secretary, Finance, Ms Raji P. Srivastava, the SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, Head of the Department, Psychiatry, Prof B.S. Chavan, and other officials attended the meeting.

It was felt that public should be made aware of the various helplines of Aasha (2667782-83). It was decided that awareness about Aasha helplines would be created by regular advertisements through electronic and print media. It was agreed that newspapers would be requested to publish the list of helpline numbers in their regular column so that patients and their relatives could be made aware of these numbers.

It was also proposed that a teacher may be designated as a counsellor in various schools and the Department of Psychiatry, GMCH, Sector 32, would provide training to these designated counsellors regarding identification and handling emotional problems as a large number of schoolchildren suffer from unmanageable stress, emotional problems and behavioural disorders.



Tribune employees retire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Several employees of The Tribune Trust retired from service today after serving the institution for a number of years.

They were given a warm send-off by their colleagues. The Additional General Manager, Mr O.P. Arora, was prominent among those, who lauded their services to the institution.

The employees who retired are — Mr Sunder Lal (Head Havaldar), Mr Ram Samaj-I (Offset Machineman), Mr Ram Samaj-II (Reel Star Machineman), Mr Vikram Chand (Senior Foreman), Mr Ganga Ram (Senior Foreman), Mr Lahori Ram (Reel Star Foreman), Mr Jagjivan Ram (Senior Foreman), Mr Babban Ram and Mr Sat Narain, (both Head Daftri).



Punjabi Tribune Officiating NE retires
Tribune News Service

Mr Sham Singh Chandigarh, December 31
Mr Sham Singh, Officiating News Editor of Punjabi Tribune, retired today after putting in over 28 years of service.

A warm send-off was given to Mr Sham Singh at the Chandigarh Press Club, where various speakers lauded his services to the Punjabi journalism and literature.

Prominent among those who spoke on the occasion included Mr Dalbir Singh, and Mr Surinder Singh, Deputy Editor and Chief Sub Editor of the Punjabi Tribune, respectively, and Mr Jagtar Singh Sidhu, president of The Tribune Employees Union.



Tribune Reviser retires
Tribune News Service

Ram Ashraya Sharma Chandigarh, December 31
Mr Ram Ashraya Sharma, Reviser, The Tribune, retired today after putting in 40 years of service. He joined The Tribune in 1967 at Ambala Cantonment.

A farewell party was organised in his honour by his colleagues at the Chandigarh Press Club. Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune group of publications, lauded his services.



News website launched

Chandigarh, December 31
The Director, Public Relations and Tourism, Mr Vivek Atray, launched a news-based website ‘indianewscalling’ here yesterday.

Mr M.M. Khanna, brain behind the portal, said it would bring 15 top stories consisting of international, national, regional and local news on daily-basis. TNS



Thieves have good time at ‘Bhagam Bhag’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 31
A film show at Suraj Theatre in Sector 1 here today cost the cinegoers dear. Atleast half-a-dozen people reported that their mobiles and purses had gone missing during the interval of the show Bhagam Bhag, while the theatre management pleaded ignorance in the matter.

Richa Bansal, a Delhi-based executive, had gone to the show with her family. During the interval, she went to get some eatables from the canteen when her purse containing Rs 1600 cash and some ATM cards was flicked away. "I realised my purse was missing only when I returned to my seat. I even raised an alarm. That's when more people joined and reported that their wallets and mobiles had gone missing too," she said.

Mr Sumant Kumar's mobile was stolen in a similar fashion. "With both hands full of eatables, I was going back to the hall when I felt somebody pulled out my mobile. I could not see who it was but realised that my mobile had been pinched away in the crowd. I immediately shouted 'thief, thief'. However, by then, the thief had vanished in the crowd," he said.

A resident of Sector 33, Sharan Pal Singh, also lost his phone during the show. "I had come back to my seat after the interval. I thought I would keep my phone in hand, but it was not there. I went to check near the counter and found more victims like me,” he said.

“Immediately, we called for the manager, who had an absolutely non-sympathetic attitude. Irked by his behaviour, the public itself launched a search operation and found one of the purses in the canteen drawer," said industrialist S.K. Sharma, who, too, lost his mobile during the interval.

The purse found in the canteen drawer belonged to Richa Bansal though the cash had been taken away.

"It could not have happened without the connivance of the theatre staff. We are convinced that they are involved in the whole episode. They were not shocked when we told them about our missing belongings.

Their approach was very casual. It's only when we raised a hue and cry that the manager called the police," Richa said.

The Manager, Mr Kamal, said it was the public who brought the thefts to their notice and added that no incident of this kind had been reported in the past. "In fact, nobody is allowed to leave the theatre while the show is on. We can't say where the thieves went," he claimed.

After the police arrived, each person was searched before being allowed to go out of the hall, but the mystery of the missing phones and purses remained unanswered as the last man stepped out of the theatre. Six phones and three purses were reported stolen from the theatre during the two shows. 



Man found dead on road
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Santosh Kumar (35) of Mauli Jagran was found dead under mysterious circumstances along the Chandigarh-Panchkula road, this morning. The police after examining the spot termed it as a hit-and-run accident.

Surprisingly, the body was found along side the road at about 15 feet away from the spot where blood stains were found on the road. The victim’s face was badly crushed and his jaw was broken. The skin on his scalp had been peeled off. Rough injury marks and blood clots were found around his neck. No other visible injury marks were found on the body.

The police said they received information about the accident at around 10 am. They found Rs 9000 from the body and the victim’s family was informed about the accident. The victim’s wife Rekha, along with other family members reached the spot.

The family told the police that Santosh, a father of three, left the home at around 5.30 am for the Grain Market. He used to go there by taking an auto-rickshaw.

Forensic experts of the Chandigarh police examined the body and the spot. The experts said that it was a case of road accident, as no injury marks suggesting signs of struggle were found on the body.

Explaining the injuries, the experts maintained that the victim might have been run over by a light motor vehicle resulting in his skin on the scalp getting peeled off and leaving the skull unbroken.

The police has registered a case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving against an unidentified driver in this regard. The body was sent to the Sector 16 General Hospital for a post-mortem examination.

Thief nabbed

The police arrested a youth of Kishangarh village and recovered three stolen motorcycles and a bicycle from his possession. The accused, 19-year-old Prem Singh, was arrested from Mani Majra in the wee hours yesterday. Earlier, he had been released from jail on December 19 in a theft case.


Mr Nishu Gupta of Colony No. 5 lodged a complaint alleging that her Kinetic Honda (CH-01-F-9120) was stolen from Sector 17 on Saturday. A case of theft has been registered.

Meanwhile, Mr Bhagwan Dass of Colony No. 5 reported to the police alleging that his DVD player was stolen from his residence during daytime on Friday. A case of theft has been registered.


A rickshaw-puller, Rajesh Kumar of Colony No. 5, reported to the police that his wife, Rekha (25), along with their son and daughter had gone missing since December 17 from his residence.

The police has lodged a daily diary report (DDR) in this connection.

Trader held

The police today arrested a Kurukshetra-based shopkeeper on the allegations of purchasing stolen mobile phones. He was arrested in Sector 17 and two stolen mobile phones were recovered from him.

Sources in crime branch said the arrest was made on the basis of revelations made by Ravinder Singh, alias Dolly, during his interrogation. The accused, Sunny Arora, has his shop in main bazar in Kurukshetra. He used to buy stolen mobile phones from Dolly, said the police.



Price watch
Good old calendars no more in vogue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Till a few years ago, calendars and executive diaries were quintessential features, along with the chill, to ring in the New Year. But thanks to the new generation of bloggers and other tech- addicts, as well as spiralling prices, calendars and executive diaries are no longer in vogue.

A visit to various stationeries across the city revealed that the demand for these items has decreased over the past couple of years. Other than corporate sales, the retail sale of these items is at an all-time low. Stationers say that even corporate sales have declined sharply, thanks to planners being available now on computers and mobile phones.

Hanging calendars which gave a new dimension to street art, now seem to be a thing of the past. In fact, most stationers now stock only those calendars that are printed by NGOs, such as HelpAge India and Child Relief and You (CRY), which cost something between Rs 75 to Rs 85. However, standing table calendars and flat table calendars/planners are still popular, as these are considered important office desk accessories. While the former costs around Rs 55 to Rs 60, the flat table planners are available in a wide range of Rs 65 to Rs 2000. 



Last day for submitting Form ‘C’ extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) yesterday hailed the decision of Chandigarh administration for extending the last date for submission of Form "C" up to March 31, 2007.

Meanwhile, a deputation of the CBM consisting of JPS Kalra, Subhash Sethi and LC Arora met the Excise And Taxation Commissioner to discuss various VAT-related problems.

The delegation demanded the formation of a committee consisting of traders' representatives, members of the Bar and industrial representatives to solve day-to-day problems by holding quarterly meetings with the officials concerned.



Biz Clips

Cyber treasury system: The State Bank of India (SBI), is launching a cyber treasury system in Haryana for businessmen to deposit their taxes online without much hassle. This cyber treasury will be launched from January 1 for VAT and CST assesses registered with the Excise and Taxation Department in Ambala, informed Mr Hemant, Chief General Manager of the bank. TNS

SME Month: The State Bank of Patiala, Main Branch, Kalka, has decided to celebrate January 2007 as a “small and medium enterprises month”. Mr S.C. Dhall, Branch Head, said that in January a team of bank officials will visit traders at their door steps to make credit available to them. TNS

BSNL Bonanza: BSNL, Punjab Circle, has announced several innovative schemes in fixed line, WLL, broad band and mobile services, to be effective from January 1, 2007. Two new plans with effectively zero rental have already been introduced in basic phone services in both the postpaid and prepaid segments. TNS



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