C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

City, Mohali cops dilly-dally on FIR
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
It’s a classic case of police apathy. A Mohali resident has been shuttling between Mohali and Chandigarh for the past over four months to get a case of theft registered about his stolen motor cycle.

According to Mr Jagdeep Singh Saini, working as area manager in a private bank, it all started when his domestic help, Sanjay, took his Bajaj Boxer motor cycle (PB-65-A-6362) from his house without his permission on September 7 last year. Next day, Sanjay came informing him that the motor cycle had been stolen from outside a house in Sector 33-D, Chandigarh. Since that day, Mr Saini alleged that he has been virtually shuttling between Mohali and Chandigarh, as the police at both places has refused to entertain his complaint, citing jurisdiction problems.

The Chandigarh Police, he says, asked him all types of unnecessary questions and made all types of excuses just to turn him away. In the end, it told him that as Sanjay had taken the motor cycle from his house, the Mohali police should register a case. The Mohali police, on the other hand, took the stand that as per the statement of Sanjay, the offence occurred in Sector 33, Chandigarh, so it was a case to be investigated by the Chandigarh Police.

Fed up with the attitude of police officials of both Phase XI, Mohali, and the Sector 34 police station, Mr Saini reported the matter to senior police officials of the Chandigarh Police. He sent a written complaint, through registered post, on October 10, addressed to the UT, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), narrating the entire incident and demanding registration of a case. After a long gap of over two months, he was told that he could get the information about the status of his complaint through the Right to Information Act by paying Rs 10. When he did receive the information, it was stated that the landlord of the house from where the motor cycle was stolen said that no such incident took place there, thus the case pertained to the Mohali police.

In the meantime, Sanjay went missing. At this too, Mr Saini refused to give in, and his repeated attempts led him to track down Sanjay today. He took Sanjay to the Phase XI police station for questioning, but the police did not take any action. Instead he was again asked to go to the Chandigarh Police.

Mr Saini took Sanjay to the UT police headquarters in Sector 9, where an official sent him to Mohali and even agreed to hand over Sanjay to the Mohali police at the Mohali barrier.

After making both of them sit in the police station for the whole day, the Mohali police said they would look into the matter later, as the SHO was busy in a meeting.

The SHO of Phase XI, Mohali, Mr Ranbir Singh, said the case belonged to the Chandigarh Police and we could not detain anyone without having a case registered against him.

The SHO of the Sector 34 police Station, Inspector Jagir Singh said the matter had been thoroughly inquired and the landlord and also the neighbours of the locality, from where Sanjay alleged that the motor cycle was stolen, told the police that no such incident had occurred in that area then. It was a case for the Mohali police, he asserted.



Two arrested men part of robbers’ gang: police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The Chandigarh Police today said the two youths caught with the public help from Government School, Sector 23, on January 2 were members of a gang involved in robbing people at gunpoint in the city and Panchkula.

The police said the gang was involved in six incidents of robbery and theft. Stating this, Sector 17 police station SHO Jagbir Singh said during the course of interrogation, the accused - Santosh and Lalit - named other members of their gang.

Police teams had been dispatched to Dehra Dun and Delhi to nab the others.

The police had nabbed the two on January 2 after they had taken cover in the school. The two were running away after snatching a bag containing Rs 35,000 of a Sector 16 resident.

The accused had fired two shots at a group of youngsters who had tried to chase them.

He said the accused named Rajesh Kumar, a shopkeeper in booth market of Sector 39, Sunny Vaid of Delhi, Ali from Sector 39, Chunnu of Sector 24 and Kishan of Panipat as gang’s other members.

They had stolen a laptop, $ 21 in cash, three mobile phones and jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh from a house in Sector 16, Panchkula.

Similarly, they had attempted to rob a person at gunpoint in Sector 4, Panchkula.

In Sector 11, Chandigarh, they had intercepted a woman travelling in a car at gunpoint and robbed her of her bag. The bag contained a mobile phone and some money. They also admitted to having stolen Rs 1.5 lakh from the house of Gulshan Kumar in Sector 39. Besides, they had stolen a motor cycle and a scooter from Sectors 16 and 39, respectively.

The police said before leaving the station, Gulshan had asked Rajesh, who supplied him with milk and bread, not to supply these at his residence while he was away.

On contacting Rajesh, he expressed his ignorance, which led the police to establish his links with the gang.



10 heads of cattle sustain burns
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, January 7
At least 10 heads of cattle reportedly sustained burns in a fire that broke out in the hutments in Trivedi Camp near the railway track in Mubarakpur village here this evening.

According to eyewitnesses, the fire might have broken out due to a lamp which fell on a hay stack. The fire broke out at around 8 pm. At least 10 heads of cattle, including five calves, were reportedly injured in the fire. The Fire Brigade was pressed into service which extinguished the fire. Though no one was injured in the mishap, articles lying in some of the hutments were burnt.



Kids brave cold to receive polio drops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The bone-chilling cold failed to dampen the enthusiasm of parents for getting their children immunised against polio in the city. Wrapped in woollens, children in the age group of 0-5 years were seen clinging to their mothers at various makeshift booths, put up by the UT Health Department in different parts of the city.

The polio booths in northern sectors, which are considered elite, witnessed thin registration, while enough gathering of children was noticed in the southern sectors and slum areas.

According to the UT Health Department, 1,09,266 (against 1,05,071 children in the last campaign) children of 0-5 years of age were given two additional drops. The city was divided into three zones and the department had involved 1969 personnel from various departments in this exercise.

Health, education, police, and various other departments actively participated in the campaign. To cover the city children, 452 booths and 88 mobile teams were created. The vaccine was also administered on the railway station, bus stands and all entry and exit points of the Union Territory. Pulse polio teams will also conduct house-to-house survey on January 8 and 9 to cover remaining children.

Border Security Force personnel also took the initiative and participated in the pulse polio immunisation campaign by administering vaccine to children at the Sector 43 ISBT, Sector 42 and near the Sector 20 mosque. Dr SS Wahid, Chief Medical Officer of BSF, informed that anti-polio vaccine was also administered to children at Verka Chowk, Mohali, Railway Station, Mohali, and BSF Hospital, Lakhnour, Sohana.

Senior officials of the UT Administration and Health Department visited various pulse polio immunisation booths in Bapu Dham Colony and certain other slum colonies. Municipal Councillors kicked off their campaign in their respective areas. Non-government and religious organisations also joined hand with the Health Department in bringing about awareness and immunising the children by administering anti-polio vaccine drops to the children.



Kids administered polio drops
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 7
As many as 62877 children were administered polio drops in the district here today, against a target of 77032 children in the age group of 0-5 years.

The Civil Suregeon, Dr GP Saluja, said 82 per cent of the children had been administered the drops during the drive at the 383 booths set up all over the district.

He added that a door-to-door campaign would be carried out in the next two days to identify all left out children who would be administered polio drops as well. 



NRIs add lustre to gold
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The peak of the gold purchase season due to the NRI rush has brought cheer to jewellers in the city. With fluctuating gold prices keeping buyers at bay last year, jewellers say that the NRI rush has meant boom time for them.

If the unprecedented hike and continuous fluctuation in gold prices kept buyers away last year, the NRIs and their cash-rich family members, who are thronging the region, are keeping the cash registers ringing. Gold sales in this season are up by almost 20 per cent in the city, though some of the jewellers in the city maintain that they have seen a 50 - 60 per cent jump in sales. Some of the jewellers insist that the profit for the entire year is earned during this NRI season, as increase in sale is manifold as compared to sale to local consumers.

With Chandigarh being regarded as a trendier city (as compared to Jalandhar, Amritsar and Ludhiana), the NRIs visiting their hometowns are coming here to make their purchases. “Other than the fact that most NRIs regard Chandigarh jewellery market as being at par with the jewellery market in Delhi and Mumbai, the fact that hallmarked jewellery is available here also draws the NRIs to the city,” says Mr Anil Talwar, president of Chandigarh Gold Body and proprietor of Talwar Sons, Sector 22.

Jewellers say that most NRIs insist on buying only hallmarked jewellery and certified gemstones, because they are aware of the standards in jewellery. “Since the city offers a wide choice in hallmarked jewellery and certified diamonds and gemstones, the NRIs prefer to come here as most of the jewellers stock the hallmarked jewellery,” says Mr Kunal Khanna of Jewellers Khannasons, NAC, Manimajra.

As a result, jewellery shops in the city are abuzz with gold-buying activity. Gold buying season in Punjab coincides with the marriage season, which, starts in October. Jewellers say because of the gold prices now stabilising at Rs 8800-Rs 8900 per 10 grams, NRIs are not shying away from buying the yellow metal.



Watch Out

Narinder Singh Sodhi
The city-based hockey coach, Narinder Singh Sodhi, has accompanied the Chandigarh team for the second time as coach in the third edition of the Premier Hockey League underway at Chennai.

A former hockey player (1977-89), Mr Sodhi represented the country at various international tournaments and has also played for the North, Combined University, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh till 1998.

Under the guidance of Mr Sodhi, the senior team won a silver medal in four Nation Men’s Challenge Tournament held at Canberra (Australia) in 2004. It was during his tenure as coach that the senior team, India bagged a bronze medal in the Akbar Ul Yourn 7-Nation Hockey Championship at Cairo in March 2003. 



In Town

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, the greatest living master of the North Indian bamboo flute, will be in Chandigarh on Monday at the invitation of SPIC MACAY. The legendary musician is coming here to inaugurate, with his recital, the celebrations that mark 30 years of the existence of SPIC MACAY. Among the few classicists who have made a conscious effort to reach out and expand the audience of classical music, Pt Chaurasia has done a lot to popularise the flute among the masses.

Born in Allahabad in 1938, he started learning vocal music from Pt Rajaram at the age of 15. Later, he switched to playing the flute.



Elderly put best foot forward
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
It seemed like any other venue for a fashion show-cum-variety programme with the place buzzing with activity. The only thing that made it stand out was the fact that unlike reedlike female models or hunky-dory male models walking down the runway, the participating models were members of the Chandigarh Senior Citizens’ Brotherhood Association, Sector 37.

The occasion was their annual day and what better way to celebrate it than sashay down the runway in their best clothes and feeling young all over again.

The show, which was organised today by the association at the Parshuram Bhawan, Sector 37, saw a large number of senior citizens put their best foot forward.

The show comprised three rounds i.e. smart senior citizen round (male and female), best smile senior citizen round (male and female) and best senior citizen couple round.

A variety programme, including a gazhal by M.P. Bajaj, song by Raj Kumar and dance performances by five-year-old Anvi and Arzoo, was also well received.

Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes Chairman Dr Jora Singh was the chief guest for the fashion show-cum-variety programme, while Punjab and Sind Bank General Manager M.S. Narang, councillor Rita Sharma and former councillor Kamla Sharma were the guests of honour.

Association president S.S. Lamba proposed the vote of thanks with an impressive Urdu couplet.

Results: Mrs and Mr V.K. Puri (best couple), Mrs and Mr S.L. Bhutani (runners up).

Mr T.P.S. Kochhar (smart senior citizen male), Mr S.S. Chopra (runners up).

Mr V.K. Puri (senior citizen best smile), Mr S.P. Sharma (runners up).

Mrs J.R. Gupta (smart senior citizen female), Mrs R.P. Dutta (runners up).



Need to involve panchayats, NGOs in running primary health centres: Expert
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
While the central government has been giving a major attention to the tertiary healthcare, primary healthcare has deteriorated to a large extant in the country. A majority of the Primary Health Centres (PHC) have been running short of doctors, staff nurses and other paramedical staff. There are cases where Class IV employees are running the PHCs.

No doubt the tertiary healthcare is quite important in this era but the primary healthcare could not be ignored to such an extant, said Prof M.S. Valiathan, National Research Professor, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, who was in the city to inaugurate the new academic session of the PGI here today.

Prof Valithan pointed out that actual beneficiaries had been receiving almost negligible sum of the budget released by the Union Health Ministry for healthcare. Besides salaries of the health employees, corrupt bureaucrats and bungling of funds by the middlemen are the main money-exhausting channels.

He stressed on the need for involving village panchayats, NGOs and locals for running the PHCs more efficiently.

Author of a book “ Legacy of Charaka” based on the ancient classic of Indian medicine, Charaka Samhita and a companion volume on The Legacy of Susruta, Prof Valithan said Indian traditional medicines were quite important in modern times. He emphasised on the ethical aspects of modern science and technology and rued about the hazards of biotechnology and some other branches of medical science.

‘The medical research had made guinea pigs out of the people living in the developing countries’, said Prof Valiathan, a former president of the Indian National Science Academy.

Expressing concern of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement allowing for free trade, he said the Indian medical equipment industry had adversely affected. Patients had been paying more for these imported equipment, because of the Research and Development (R and D) charges included by the foreign manufacturers in the price.

A graduate in medicine from Kerala University Prof Valithan trained in surgery in the UK with subsequent specialisation in cardiac surgery in the US. The first medical professional to be decorated with Padma Vibhushan, Prof Valiathan made the first Indian heart valve.

While addressing the new entrants during the inauguration of the new academic session today, he reminisced the days he spent with Prof S.S. Anand and Prof P.N. Chuttani, the founders of the Institute. Prof K.K. Talwar, Director of the PGI, outlined the achievements of the institute in research and other fields. 



LPG consumers protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
LPG consumers of Khuda Ali Sher, Nayagoan, and other surrounding areas raised slogans in front of Kang Gas Service in Sector 8-B here for not maintaining the domestic supply of cylinders for the past few days.

The consumers alleged that the agency had failed to honour the booking done last month. They alleged that cylinders were being sold in the black market, a fact denied by the agency.

Irritated over the dilly-dallying tactics, the consumers gathered in front of the agency and raised slogans. The manager of the gas agency, Sanjeev, refuted the claim of the consumers. He claimed that the supply could not be maintained due to delay in delivery of cylinders from HPCL as the amount could not be deposited in time.

Mr Mukesh, a Nayagoan-based consumer, complained that he had booked a cylinder on December 17. But every time he visited the agency office, he was told that the supply would come in few days. A number of consumers present at the spot had a similar complaint.

Another consumer, Parminder, said the agency was not maintaining the supply. A Khuda Lahora resident, Mr Raj Kumar, said despite the stock statement showing 462 cylinders, the agency employees said that there was no stock. The manager claimed that only 10 cyclinders were available.

The consumers also complained that the agency while making home delivery was selling cylinders without booking.



Exhibitor of designer clothes fined
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The Excise and Taxation Department yesterday penalised the organiser of an exhibition of designer clothes for running the show without taking permission.

Following a complaint, the department headed by its AETC, Mr Shingara Singh, raided the Taj Hotel, where the exhibition was being held.

The organiser was directed to pay Rs 1 lakh as penalty.

The bill books of the organiser were confiscated.

Under the Value Added Tax (VAT) regime, the organiser had to seek permission and pay tax on the sales proceeds.

As per the provisions of the VAT, any such exhibitor had to pay a security amount of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties of Rs 50,000 each.

The sureties had to be given by registered dealers, which means that there could not be any evasion of tax.



Posh Panchkula areas sans streetlights
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 7
Plunged in darkness, roads in one of the most elite sectors of the area are no less than a big black hole. They move from light to darkness with the sunset as street lights in most sectors are practically non-functional.

While most dividing roads are only a black yawning tunnel ahead with no lights at all, there are pockets of pitch darkness on the internal roads of the sectors as well. In Sector 6, the road leading to the hospital and the market is absolutely dark. In Sector 7, the street lights are non-functional along the gurdwara road. Similarly, in Sector 16, the road between the Rajiv colony and the sector has no light while a pocket in Sector 11 has only a handful of functional street lights at any given time.

While residents fret and fume over the situation, little has been done by the Municipal Council. entrusted with the maintenance of lights. All the efforts of Municipal councillors, too, have fallen on deaf ears.

The councillor from ward No. 20 comprising Sector 14, Mr Randhir Bhadhran, says, "Not a penny has been spent on my ward. The street lights have been reduced to mere poles standing by the roadside. I have raised the issue at various meetings of the Council but nothing has happened. The street lights have only gone from bad to worse in my ward."

The councillor from Sector 6, Mr V.K. Sood, rues, "While streetlights have been non-functional for the last many months, nothing in my sector is in working order. Roads, sanitation, the menace of stray dogs...the list goes on and on. Nobody in the house is ready to take up issues that pertain to the people directly. Despite taking up cudgels on behalf of the public, nothing has been done in my ward."

The President of the Municipal Council, Ms Manvir Gill, admits that the street lights on dividing roads of the sector and in Phase I and II of the Industrial Area are in poor shape. However, she maintains that 85 per cent of the internal roads are adequately lighted.

"Earlier, there was only one contractor handling the street lights of the city. However, he found it difficult to manage the work load. Now, we have allotted the tenders of maintenance to two parties by dividing the city into two zones. The situation will gradually improve," she claims.

She adds that the MC has sought an approval of nearly Rs 1.5 crore to address the problem of old wiring in the Industrial Area and on dividing roads. "We plan to install new poles and sodium lights. The wiring system of streetlights, done nearly 20 years back, is also crying for replacement. We will take it up once the sanction comes through," Ms Gill adds. Till then, residents have little choice but to live with unlit roads. 



Awards given on Road Safety Week
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
On the concluding day of the 18th Road Safety Week today, the Chandigarh Police distributed prizes to winner of various contests held during the week.

The function was held at the Children Traffic Park, Sector 23. Haryana DGP R.S. Dalal was the chief guest.

He appreciated the efforts of the city police for organising the traffic awareness function.

He also announced Rs 11,000 for traffic safety programmes.

The police in a statement said no accident was reported during the week from January 1 to 7.

Chandigarh Traffic Police curator Harman Sidhu, winner of the Prince Charles Road Safety Award-2006, introduced a software for computerised licensing in the concluding function.

Describing the advantages of the software, he said it would bring transparency to the present system. The user-friendly software could be used by those with little knowledge of computers.

The police distributed rewards to outstanding rickshaw-pullers, auto-rickshaw-drivers, taxi drivers, truck drivers who fared well during the workshops.

Prizes were also given to schoolchildren, participants of various events, sponsors police personnel and mediapersons.



From nonentity to centre of learning
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
Help has been pouring in from all corners for students of Government Elementary School, Tanda Karor, Mohali, after years of neglect, that had resulted in high dropout rate and poor education level. Thanks to the efforts of members of the Punjab Performers Association, the school has been transformed from a non-performing entity to a centre of learning.

Members of the association, who are government teachers, are playing a key role in improving the presence and performance of students.

Various theatre personalities and NGOs have also been roped in in the past to hone the skills of the pupils.

A few days ago, German engineer W.O. Garathwho donated schoolbags and shoes to students of the school after he came in contact with the association.

Two years ago, children of the school were not punctual and suffered from poor communication skills.

Now, over 80 children are studying in the school and imbibing new ways of learning, said association president Ram Mittal.

Motivated by the initiatives taken by the teachers to teach students, Mr Garathwho ensured that he came all the way to the school to make the donations.

Though the school is located just 7 km from Chandigarh, the school had shown poor performance.

Its students used to keep mum, had no interest in studies and lacked social skills.

But life has not been the same for them, as they have now begun to look beyond their books into the realm of creative teaching-learning.

The students have now learned to act as counsellors for one another and address the problems of their home and school.

It started a year ago when Mr Mittal found that the traditional method of teaching was not going well with their pupils.

So he devised a way of story-telling through dramatic presentation.

Within weeks, the learners became performers. A low-cost stage of mud and stones came up with the cooperation of villagers in one corner of the school.

Not confining to books alone, the students have now involved themselves in gardening too. A competition is organised to award the best maintained flower bed, said school teachers.



Doctor seeks action against bus conductor
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 7
A doctor working in a government subsidiary health centre, Balachaur, complained to the SSP here yesterday that the police allegedly failed to take any action on her complaint against a conductor of a Punjab Roadways bus .

Dr Renu Verma stated in her complaint that she was travelling by a Punjab Roadways bus from Balachaur to Mohali. When the bus reached near Phase V she asked the conductor to stop the bus as she had to alight. As the conductor was reluctant to stop the bus arguments followed after which the conductor allegedly tried to push her from the moving bus. She said she tried to save herself but sustained some injuries .

The doctor further alleged that she contacted the police to sort out the matter. By that time a number of bus drivers and conductors had gathered at the spot.

Police personnel who reached the spot allegedly started taking the statements of persons who were not present at the time of the incident. She alleged that the police personnel instead of listening to her problem started siding with the bus conductor.



Old man missing
Tribune News Serice

Chandigarh, January 7
A 57-year-old resident of village Kumbran near Mohali, has been missing since December 28. His family members said he had left home to visit his relatives in New Delhi, but he did not reach there. The family members have appealed that whoever has any information about him should contact the Mohali Phase VIII police station. A report has already been filed with the Mohali police. 



Calendar released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The calendar for the year 2007 of Haryana Civil Accounts Association office of the Accountant General, Haryana, was released by Accountant General, Mr Mohinder Singh, IAAS, here today.

In a function, Mr Suneel Kumar, president of the association, thanked the Accountant General for promotions made in all cadres on January 1, 2007. The function concluded with greetings for the New Year 2007 by the president of the association.



Peace march from Leh reaches city

Chandigarh, January 7
Demanding an amicable solution to the Tibet problem and opening of the Ladakh-Kailash Mansarovar route to facilitate pilgrimage, a group of people from Ladakh in association with the Himalayan Buddhist Cultural Association reached the city on Saturday. — TNS



Shatabdi late by 2 hrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The New Delhi-Chandigarh Shatabdi Express (2005) arrived late by around two hours at the Chandigarh Railway Station here this evening.

The train, which was supposed to touch the platform at around 8.20 pm, came at around 10.30 pm. According to sources, the delay was due to some technical snag in the overhead cable at Gurur, near Panipat, in the evening.



Body of newborn male found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 7
The body of a newborn male was found in Sector 21 here this morning.

The matter came to light when a rag- picker saw a bundle wrapped in a newspaper. When he picked up the bundle, an infant fell out of it. Shocked at this, he reported the matter to a nearby house. The house owner reported the matter to the police. The police reached there and took the body into its custody.

The police said the infant appeared to be born just a few hours ago. The spot inspection indicated that the infant was thrown from a moving vehicle. A case has been registered in this regard.

Servant decamps with cash

Mr M.S. Sidhu of Sector 23 reported to the police that his servant Puran Bahadur, hailing from Nepal, decamped with Rs 1 lakh after drugging his wife Bhupinder Kaur and son Amarinder Singh on the night of January 5. He told the police that the servant was employed just about two weeks ago. A case under Sections 328 and 381 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered in this connection.

Vehicle stolen

Mr Ajay Khanja of Sector 44 reported to the police that his Maruti (CH-01-Q-7173) was stolen from his residence on December 30. In another incidence, Mr Rajinder Singh of Sector 38 West lodged a complaint with police that his motor cycle (CH-03-9539) was stolen from Sector 39 on Friday.

Two separate cases of theft have been registered in this regard in various police stations in the city.



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