C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Compromise is UT police’s probe mantra
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
For Chandigarh Police, there are no set rules when it comes to probing cases, especially those against its own officials. It registered a case of molestation and criminal intimidation against Inspector Jagir Singh on January 22 without looking into the facts and circumstances, though the complainant's statement was shrouded in doubts. And now, when the top brass has realised that the case will lead to the opening of a Pandora's box, they are trying to wriggle out of the controversy by finding a middle path.

Legal experts say the police either should have held a departmental inquiry into the matter before registering the case, or else should not be encouraging a compromise in a the case now. “The investigation should be held and completed. In case, no substance is found in the allegations, the FIR should be cancelled and proceedings initiated against the complainant for lodging a false complaint,” the experts assert.

Sources in the police said senior police officials were making efforts to bring both parties to a compromise under the garb of a fact-finding inquiry. Otherwise, there was no reason why the inquiry had not been completed till date. All persons and witnesses involved in the case were available and there were no technicalities like forensic or other scientific evidences involved in the case. Despite all this, the DSP (Central) had failed to complete the proceedings in the case.

They, however, added that the formalities of a compromise had been almost completed. On the other hand, the DSP even today said that the matter was being investigated into.

Sources said the senior officials were shaken out of their slumber, when Inspector Jagir Singh lodged a complaint at the Sector 34 police station alleging that he was “kidnapped” from his office by a team of the crime branch.

Going by the record of Chandigarh Police in cases where it does not want to proceed against a particular person, it simply persuades the other party for a compromise or registers a cross-case in order to pressurise the other party.

In October last, the staff of the Punjab’s Chief Secretary allegedly thrashed three youths in Sector 26 after two scooterists collided with the senior bureaucrat’s car. The police initially avoided the registration of a case, but it had to do so after the media highlighted the issue. Later, the police made efforts and managed to persuade the youths to reach a compromise.

Similar was the action of the police in the Golf Range case, in which the son of a former MLA and others were involved in vandalism. The police registered a case after the matter was highlighted in the media. After the incident, senior officials made tall claims that no one was above law and that they would take the case to its logical end. The case had ended in a compromise.

The oft repeated statement of senior police officials that “law will take its course” carries little weight, when such incidents are exposed, feel city residents.



Rain throws life out of gear; city records 27 mm
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Rain donned an unsparing mantle today. As heavy showers lashed the city taking the total measurement to 27 mm by 8.30 pm, cold returned to the city. It was further exacerbated by continuous rain in several parts of Himachal Pradesh and snow at higher-altitudes.

Besides altering the weather conditions, the rain brought chaos to the city as roads wore a confused look. As always, chinks in the armour of Chandigarh’s drainage system stood exposed, with traffic jams being rampant in low-lying southern sectors. Rotaries continued to be the trickiest spots as vehicles and two-wheelers were seen stranded around them at several spots.

Another reason for heavy flooding of the southern sectors was non-stop rain, which began early this morning and continued late into the evening. Besides ruining the day for drivers, the rain played a spoilsport at several hotels and resorts where marriages were slated for today. Resorts reported mass cancellations as rain damaged outdoor arrangements for the weddings. Naturally, families had to hunt for indoor space to solemnise marriages.

That apart, the rain revived cold conditions as it was accompanied by strong winds. The day temperature which had dropped by about five degree yesterday continued to plummet before settling at 19.4° C today. Yesterday the maximum temperature was 20.8° C.

The rain, however, couldn’t reduce the night temperature which was 15.4° C as compared to 12° C yesterday. The cold wave still remained strong in the city as it did in other places in Punjab and Haryana, which were also lashed by heavy showers today.

In Haryana, Ambala received heavy rainfall at 15 mm while the maximum temperature dropped to 18° C. Karnal too had a cold day at 17.5° C after the town received heavy rain at 24 mm. Panchkula, Kalka, Sonepat and Kurukshetra also had their share of rain today.

In Punjab, Amritsar had a cold day at 16° C after being lashed by showers while the mercury at Ludhiana dropped to 17.8° C. Patiala too was lashed by heavy rain at 13 mm and the maximum temperature there settled at 18° C.

The Met Department attributed the change in weather to a western disturbance over north Pakistan and neighbourhood. It has forecast moderate to rather heavy rain or thundershowers at many places in Punjab and Haryana over the next two days. Hailstorm or thunder squall with wind speed exceeding 45 kmph is also likely to hit isolated places in the region by tomorrow.



UT can now utilise conversion fee money
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, February 10
Finally, the Union Finance Ministry has allowed the Chandigarh Administration to use the money, earned in the form of conversion fee from applicants under the conversion policy in Industrial Area.

This will enable speedy development of the Industrial Area. The applicants under the conversion policy had been ruing the fact that money earned from them was lying unused with the Administration.

The money earned from the conversion would form part of the UT’s Budget. Over a period of 10 years, till 2015, the Administration is to earn around 205 crore as conversion fee.

Finding a via-media, the ministry has approved that a special public account fund would be created where the money collected as conversion fee would be deposited. From the fund, the Administration would be allowed to withdraw the money.

The ministry has put a rider. The money deposited in the account would be used only for the development works in Industrial Area, said sources in the Administration.

A few months back, a request made by the Administration to the Principal Accountant General (AG), Punjab and Haryana, for opening a personal ledger account (PLA) for the purpose was turned down. It was told that the ministry did not allow opening of the PLAs.

Due to a procedural hurdle, around Rs 30 crore earned as an instalment of the conversion fee from around 29 applicants was lying unutilized with the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), the nodal agency for the conversion policy. As per the procedure, the money forms part of the Consolidated Fund of India. This includes the revenue and expenditure part.

For the past few months, the Administration has been taking up the case with the Centre. The new decision has recently been communicated to the Administration. The Finance Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu, confirmed the development.

Estimates worth Rs 22 crore for Industrial Area to be cleared soon

As part of the sprucing-up plan of Industrial Area, the Municipal Corporation has prepared estimates worth Rs 22 crore for various development projects. The empowered committee on Industrial Area yesterday reviewed the estimates for widening of roads, parking and landscaping. The estimates would soon be sent for sanction to the appropriate authority, said an official.



Shopkeepers avert major fire
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 10
Shopkeepers of the busy Sector 7 market averted a major fire by putting out flames that had engulfed an Indica (CH 03 8703) in the parking area here today. As soon as the shopkeepers noticed the flames, they brought water to extinguish the fire and managed to do so in about 20 minutes.

“We were afraid that the oil tank might burst before the fire brigade comes in. So, each of the shop owners quickly organised as much water as they could to extinguish the flames even as the owner of the car tried to open the bonnet. The fire brigade came after everything was over,” Mr B.B. Kochhar, president of the market association, said.

The shopkeepers attributed the delay in the arrival of the fire brigade to the blockades set up at inter-sector crossings for which they have protested also.

“One of the shopkeepers immediately informed the fire station but its vehicle reached only after half an hour or so. The police just refuses to understand the futility of this exercise to block roads,” he said.



Nayagaon SHO shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Taking strict notice of the pending complaints against Nayagaon SHO Mahesh Kumar, the Election Commission today ordered that he be relieved with immediate effect and attached to the Police Lines.

The SHO had been facing complaints of influencing the voters and using unparliamentary language to force them to favour the Congress candidate from the Morinda constituency, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang.



Need to computerise libraries: Surjewala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Describing “free learning environment” as an important parameter of automation to library professionals, Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, Government of Haryana, exhorted them to “walk that extra yard” to explore advantages of web-based systems, free dissemination of information and its usefulness in research.

He made this observation while delivering a valedictory address at the three-day international conference on “Information and knowledge management in networked world” at Panjab University here today.

He said the libraries, particularly those in educational and research institutions, should have a catalogue of all important research papers so that these were easily accessible through INFLIBNET Centres. He also stressed the need to initiate electronic thesis and dissertation (ETD) projects as was being done by developed nations.

“There is need for a comprehensive information network between libraries of various universities, educational and research institutions, the UGC, the ICAR, the CSIR and other similar institutions for a free flow of information,” he said.

He also raised certain fundamental, legal, ethical, moral and contextual issues, like liberalisation of scholarly communication from current copyright hindrances, balancing the dichotomy between users and financiers of information, free expression, intellectual freedom, equal and unfettered access to ideas and information and opposition to censorship.

The most attractive part of the conference was the video conference with Dr Sam Pitroda, Chairman of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC). He addressed the delegates from Chicago through video-conferencing and answered their queries relating to knowledge management.

During his interaction with the delegates, Dr Pitroda spoke about the thrust areas that were being addressed by the commission. Dr Pitroda, emphasised on the importance of library and information services. He also felt that English, being the global language, should be taught from the primary level.

In his presidential remarks, Prof R.C. Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, exhorted the library professionals to become computer savvy so that they could serve readers in a better way.

“To keep abreast of the technological developments, it is important to innovate, adapt and accept technological changes to suit proper management of information and knowledge,” said Mr Sobti.

Illustrating knowledge management as a key aspect of national development, he said establishment of the National Knowledge Commission had changed the objectives and modes of knowledge creation, management and dissemination.

“It is heartening to know that the commission is giving top priority to the streamlining of the functioning of libraries and related matters. It has, accordingly, advised the Union Government to set up a working group in the field of library and information science to help bring revolutionary changes and qualitative improvements in the field,” he added.

Later, Dr V.K. Anand, organising secretary, extended a vote of thanks.



Tension over possession of house
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 10
Tension prevailed at Kundi village in Sector 20 here today as a party led by Nirmala Sharma, a resident of Jind, descended at the residence of Keshav Chand Gupta, to take possession of “their house”.

Apprehending trouble, the Guptas had already approached the police for help in the matter and the scene shifted to the police station, where villagers ghraoed the police station in support of the Guptas.

Police sources said both parties were adamant that the house belonged to them. While the Guptas produced papers to convince the police that the property in question was theirs, Nirmala Sharma said she had bought the land from Ramphal and had already paid Rs 20 lakh in the Rs 3.5-crore deal.

While Nirmala Sharma said Ramphal had told them that it was his property, Keshav Chand Gupta's son, Vineet Gupta, said Ramphal was their tenant in 1995, a fact the villagers also corroborated.

While a case over the ownership of the property is pending in the court, the Guptas have also filed a criminal case against Ramphal.

When contacted, the DSP (City), Mr Om Prakash, said he had heard both parties and asked them to refrain from a clash, failing which both parties would be challaned.



Security system needs treatment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The case of alleged molestation in a lift of Block C of Nehru Hospital, PGI, has brought the security system of this premier health institute of the region under the scanner.

An attempt to outrage the modesty of a minor girl by a lift operator in the hospital has not only raised many eyebrows but also put a question mark on the security of women patients and their women attendants here.

Tara Singh, a lift operator, was allegedly found outraging the modesty of a Saharanpur-based girl in the lift. The girl’s mother, after noticing the crime, had complained to the police following which the lift operator was arrested and a case was registered against him.

The incident has spread a feeling of insecurity among the patients, their attendants and even the female staff of the hospital.

However, it is not the first incident of the kind. A ‘fake’ gynaecologist had even barged into the gynaecology wards on October 23 last thus exposing the chinks in the security of the institute. The impersonator had even examined over six women patients.

According to hospital sources, the security staff of the institute included about 12 women whereas there was no female lift-operator. A few women staffers out of over 300 security personnel was quite inadequate. Moreover, a majority of the women security personnel had been deployed on day duty. Enquiries revealed that the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and Government Multispeciality Hospital, Sector 16, and almost every multistoried building owned by the government and private sector in the city had no women staff to operate lifts.

Meanwhile, official spokesperson of the PGI claimed that lift operator Tara Singh, a resident of Bhankharpur village near Dera Bassi, had been suspected soon after the incident. The authorities had been organising orientation programmes for the security personnel and other male members deployed at various female wards. They were even asked to follow conduct rules of their service/contract, she claimed. 



Residents ask CM to develop park
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 10
The president of the Park Development Society, Sector 9, Mr P.S. Sarin, in his letter to the Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, has demanded that a park be constructed in their area as per the master plan.

Maintaining that the residents are being put to “gross inconvenience,” he said the centrally located Green Park (as per the master plan), opposite Shiv Mandir in Sector -9, had become a cause of constant nuisance for them.

“Very little has been done for the development of the park, which is still without gates, grills, water connection and plants. In fact it is being misused as an open toilet, godown, parking for trucks and vehicles at night and a garbage dump. The misuse of the park has made it a very big threat to the security and health of the residents of the area,” the letter said.

Residents sought the Chief Minister’s intervention for the completion of the park.



12-hr power failure in Baltana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
For Baltana residents, it was a day of inconvenience due to over 12-hour power shutdown. The residents complained that the power supply was suspended around 11 am and was not restored till midnight.

Officials in the Electricity Department had said that the problem was due to a major breakdown and it would be rectified by the evening, but the problem continued, residents said.



Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The following have been elected office-bearers of the Sri Hari Nam Parchar Samiti, Sector 28:chairman--Mr Bipin Chand Sood; president--Mr ML Joshi; vice-president--Mr Sat Pal; general secretary--Mr Satish Gupta; treasurers--Mr Surinder Nagpal and Ms Santosh Joshi.



Two nabbed with stolen wallet
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, February 10
Vishal of Rajkot and Ravi of Babu Nagar, both from Gujarat, have been arrested by the local police with stolen wallet of a passenger. The police has registered a case under section 382 IPC.

According to information, the duo snatched the wallet belonging to Gurmeet Singh, teacher, of Moga while boarding a bus at Jagraon which contained Rs 20,000. But they were apprehended immediately by the police.

In another incident, three persons allegedly stole Rs 10,000, two mobiles from a box of motor cycle belonging to Kuldip Singh of Bhamipura while it was parked in the area of Kothe Rahlon.

A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered by the local police.

Hawker assaulted

Shinda, Kala and their father Mohinder Singh of Dholan allegedly intercepted Surjit Singh, a newspaper hawker of their village and assaulted him and damaged newspapers which he was carrying for delivery. The local police has registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 506, 427, 34, IPC. The injured has been admitted to the local Civil Hospital. Some old enmity is said to be the reason behind.



Girl booked for concealing birth of infant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The local police arrested a 17-year-old girl on the charge of concealing the birth of an infant by disposing of the body, after her DNA samples matched with the foetus, thereby establishing her motherhood.

The police said the girl was arrested on Friday after the DNA reports confirmed her motherhood. A case in this regard was registered in November last year, when a foetus was recovered from the staff toilets of the Sector 16 General Hospital.

The matter came to light when the toilet was clogged as the foetus was thrown into it. The hospital staff reported the matter to the police after the recovery of the body. The police zeroed in on the girl as the hospital staff told the investigating officials that the staff toilet was used by the girl. The girl, however, left the hospital without informing the doctors and also took along the hospital record pertaining to her admission.

The investigating officer, Mr Janak Rana, said even though the police managed to track down the accused and booked her, they went for a DNA test in order to confirm her motherhood. He added that the girl was later released on bail.



Two cars stolen in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
Mr Suresh Kumar of Sector 44 reported to the police that his Maruti car (CH-01-R-0365) was stolen from Kashmiri Bhavan in Sector 24 during the intervening night of February 9 and 10. Mr Aman Prashar of Sector 30-A lodged a complaint with the police that his Maruti car (CH-01-S-1795) was stolen from Sector 9 on Friday. In another incident, Mr Ram Kumar of Sector 22-C reported to the police that his Hero Honda motorcycle (CH-03-J-8703) was stolen from his residence on February 6.

Three separate cases of theft have been registered in this regard.

Bag stolen

Ms Ashitha Sobti of Panjab University reported to the police that her bag containing two mobile phones and some documents was stolen from the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital on Friday. A case of theft ahs been registered in this regard.



Fire-fighting cell at The Taj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 10
The Taj, Chandigarh, has announced the creation of a special fire-fighting cell for dealing with any eventuality that may arise.

Addressing a press conference on the occasion of opening of the renovated and refurbished banquet hall and lobby area, the hotel's General Manager, Mr Anil Malhotra, said some of the staff members were also being trained to fight fire.

He added that at any given point of time people trained in dealing with fire incidents would be present in the hotel. The General Manager further claimed that the sprinkler system and other fire-fighting equipment were in order.

On the occasion, the hotel also hosted a thanks-giving ceremony for the fire fighters and cops to appreciate their efforts in dousing the fire that had broken out in the hotel last month.



Connect’s “love meter”
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 10
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Connect has launched “love meter” to help its subscribers peep into their valentines’ hearts and know the love quotient.

According to a press note issued here today, the “love meter” application was based on astrological predictions that gave an opportunity to find the most suitable person for you.

Any Connect WLL and WLN subscriber can take benefit of the service by dialling 1727 and the “love meter” would tell about his or her love compatibility on entering the date of birth.



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