C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bonanza for Bacchus lovers
Vend at every half-km distance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
In the city of gardens and parks, liquor will “literally” flow like water soon. With the Chandigarh Administration coming out with the new Excise Policy for 2007-2008, liquor will be easily available at every half-a-kilometre as the cap on the location and the grant of new licences has been done away with in the commercial areas of sectors, industrial areas and rehabilitation colonies only.

It appears that the policy makers have not taken in account the social implications like increase in the number of road accidents on the city roads due to drunken driving.

Pushing ahead the issue of public protest against the location of vends, the Administration has made a tactical move this year by announcing that if the number of vends exceeded the last year’s figure of 215, then it will review and take an appropriate decision to limit the number of vends taking in account issues like public health and public order.

“When the department could not allot more than 178 vends, that too in phases, against target of 215 last year, there was a need to reduce the number of vends this time”, said a vend owner.

There is good news for the tipplers too. The minimum retail price of IMFL and country liquor has been reduced by Rs 10 per bottle. The assessment fee on wine and beer being sold in bars, clubs, pubs and departmental stores too has been reduced from the existing Rs 15 per bulk litre to Rs 10 per bulk litre ---which comes to around Rs 3.50 per bottle. The licensee fee for the sale and consumption of draught beer in bars, clubs and pubs has been reduced from existing Rs 50,000 to Rs 10,000 per annum.

Pointing out the highlights of the issue, a senior official said the existing licence holders would be given the advantage of getting their licence renewed, both for the IMFL and country liquor vends. In the policy the existing limit of grant of two vends each for country liquor and IMFL for companies as well as individuals would continue.

For the licensees operating from temporary structures, requirement for a pre-fabricated structure as per the design approved by the Administration has to be fulfilled by April 30, 2007. No new temporary structure would be allowed in the sectors, industrial areas and rehabilitation colonies.

The licence fee would be received in lump sum within 24 hours from the companies at the time of renewal or grant of licences. In case of individuals, 40 per cent of the fee would be payable within 24 hours of grant/renewal, next 30 per cent by June 30 and the remaining 30 per cent by September 30.

All vends will have a single category having a uniform licence fee of Rs 25 lakh, both for IMFL and country liquor as against two categories of Rs 40 lakh and Rs 25 lakh in the existing policy.

The import fee on country liquor has been enhanced from Rs 1.50 per proof litre to Rs 1.75 per proof litre and export fee has been reduced from Rs 0.15 to Re 0.10 to protect domestic industry. This will help the local distilleries.

The basic quota of country liquor remains the same at 27 lakh. However, the licensee would have an option to lift 60 per cent additional quota by paying the same rate of duty.

With a view to popularise liquor with low alcoholic content a new license (L10AA) has been introduced for the sale of wine only for consumption on the premises at a nominal fee of Rs 4,500 per annum.

The department will encourage dress code for salesmen and bar coding on bottles. Ahatas have been renamed as Taverns.

Highlights of liquor policy for 2007-2008

  • No cap on the number and location of vends; Issue of public sentiment to emerge only if the number of vends increased last year's figure of 215
  • Marginally reduction (around Rs 10) in minimum retail price of IMFL and country liquor.
  • Licence fee for sale of draught beer in bars, pubs and clubs reduced from 
    Rs 50,000 to Rs 10,000.
  • Licence fee of clubs not touched; fee remains the same
  • No increase in the excise duty, assessment fee, permit fee and VAT.
  • Single category of vends with licence fee of Rs 25 lakh
  • Ahatas to provide better ambience and functioning.
  • One-time investment could prove suicidal for the licencee.
  • The Dry Days on January 26 and August 15 to observed upto 5 p.m. and on October 2, vends to remain close for the whole day.
  • Dress code for salesmen and bar coding on bottles are being encouraged and ahatas have been renamed as Taverns

More vends: More death on roads

There were around 35 vends alone in the areas bordering with Punjab and Haryana. An equal number of vends across the border could result in increase in the number of road accidents due to drunken driving.

Liquor policy of Chandigarh vis-a-vis the policy of Haryana

While in Chandigarh, the investor (companies would have to pay one time licencee fee), the investors in Haryana could starty their business by paying much less. An increase in number of vends could result in cut throat competition and a price war on both sides of the border, affecting the quality of liqour. Though the excise duty in Chandigarh is less than in the neighbouring state, four per cent VAT was levied in the city.

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Ryan: CBSE says can’t grant affiliation
* High court asks CBSE to find a way out
* Plea opposed on more than one count

Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 15
Even as Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) struck to its earlier stand that rules did not permit it to grant affiliation to Ryan International School, Sector 49, at this stage, a way out of the crisis, which threatens to affect the future of 80-odd students of class X, emerged today.

During resumed hearing of the petition filed by the school management as well as the parents of the aggrieved students, the Punjab and Haryana High Court asked the CBSE if the students could be allowed to appear in the examination, scheduled to be held next month, as students of a government school of Chandigarh.

The court has asked the CBSE to make its stand known to it by Monday, when hearing will resume.

The counsel for the parents of the students suggested that in view of the stand-off, the 80-odd Class X students, could be allowed to appear in the examination as sponsored students of any government school in Chandigarh.

It may be recalled that parents of the students have accused the school management of fraud, saying that they were misled about the affiliation of the school for Class X.

The CBSE has opposed the plea for grant of affiliation to the school on more than one ground, mainly that its application for the affiliation was received on October 9, 2006, whereas it should have been submitted on or before June 30, 2004 i.e. two years prior to the year from which the affiliation is sought.

It has also been stated that the CBSE inspection committee, which had visited the school on January 8, 2007, as a follow-up of the application for affiliation, in its report of January 18, 2007, has observed serious irregularities and has not recommended the case for grant of affiliation.

In its reply, the CBSE has also reiterated that there was no question for grant of affiliation for the current session.

The CBSE has also denied that it had given any wrong assurance to the petitioner-school regarding grant of affiliation.

Quoting judgement of the Supreme Court, the CBSE counsel, Mr Harsh Aggarwal, told the court that the CBSE should not be compelled to undertake examination of students of unaffiliated school and that no interim direction should be issued to compel the CBSE to affiliate Ryan School.

He also pointed to the fact that the school was a family concern, run by a husband-wife team, which has violated the rules of affiliation that require a committee to run manage the school.

Meanwhile, the counsel for the Chandigarh Administration placed on record a copy of the letter dated February 9 from Home Secretary Krishna Mohan to the CBSE Chairman, recommending a sympathetic consideration of the issue to save the students of Ryan International School from the loss of one year.

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Petrol, diesel cheapest in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
For once, the change in petrol prices to be effected from midnight today ensured that petrol pumps in the city and Panchkula and Mohali wore a deserted look.

Unlike in the past, when a heavy rush was seen at all petrol stations in the city in order to get the fuel, the stations today hardly saw customers.

Petrol pump owners said the daily sale was down by 40-50 per cent in anticipation of the fall in prices.

Mr Vivek Dutta, Assistant General Manager, International Business Division, JCBL, at Lalru, welcomed the decision to reduce the fuel prices. “At a time when prices of each and every commodity are going up, the reduction in fuel prices is a respite for everyone,” he said.

An employee at BPCL pump in Sector 21, informed TNS, “Only those whose fuel tanks were empty are getting their vehicles refuelled. Even they are buying fuel for a day and will get their tanks filled only after the new rates come into effect”.

Incidentally, the daily sale of petrol in Chandigarh is around 2.70 lakh litres and that of diesel is around 1.80 lakh litres. Officials in the Chandigarh division of the IndianOil Corporation (IOC) said with the prices going down, the consumers in Chandigarh and Punjab will save Rs 1 crore daily.

It may noted that petrol and diesel are the cheapest in Panchkula. However, the price of petrol will be highest in Mohali and diesel highest in Chandigarh.

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City to have night food streets; Rs 20 lakh allocated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The Finance and Contract Committee of the MC, in its Budget proposal, has allocated a sum of Rs 20 lakh for the creation of Night Food Streets at two locations in northern as well as southern sectors of the city.

The issue will come up for clearance in the House meeting of the MCC. It has been proposed that food streets should be set up in areas near Panjab University, Sector 35 and inter-state bus terminus in Sector 17 and Sector 43.

According to officials the MC is also planning to identify private players who can create the ambience of Lahore’s famous food streets. MC officials hope that these food streets will not only bring in more revenue but would also help attract more tourists and help change the image of Chandigarh being a dead city at night. A few, however, point out that encroachments and maintenance of hygiene are issues that need to be looked into before going ahead with such a proposal.

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Debt-ridden man attempts suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
A debt-ridden 38-year-old man allegedly attempted suicide in an inebriated condition today.

After injuring himself, he then walked all the way to the police station to report the matter. The police admitted him to the Sector 16 General Hospital.

The police said the man has been identified as Navdeep Singh, originally hailing from Ambala, who at present was putting up at a shop in Sector 7. He worked in car bazaar and used to sleep in the shop. The incident took place in the wee hours of Wednesday. He was alone in the shop at that time.

Fed up with failure to pay back loans, he took the extreme step. He reportedly broke a bottle of liquor and stabbed himself repeatedly in his stomach. After injuring him, he opened the door and came out crying. There he met a watchman and asked him the way to the police station, said a police officer.

He was shifted to the hospital and when his condition became stable, the police booked him for attempt to commit suicide under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. The police said his condition was stated to be stable.

He was married and living away from his family. He told the police that he had last visited his family about four years ago.

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Abandoned as child, girl ties knot with her Valentine
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Life is indeed a merry-go-round. At least that’s what 19-year-old Akanksha Agnes believes in. Born an unwanted child cast away by her parents, Akanksha is a much-loved woman today. Not only does she have hundreds of well wishers at the Missionaries of Charity where she grew up, she even has a family to call her own.

Only today she tied the knot with her long-time Valentine Bakshi, who pursued her against all odds. The couple’s story is all about stuff that fairytales are made of.

As they walked the aisle at the Sector 19 Church today, they made a pretty picture of grace. On one side of the aisle stood Akanksha’s family - the sisters and other residents of Missionaries of Charity Chandigarh; on the other stood the groom’s extended family, which had travelled from all over Punjab to make it to the wedding today.

As the two exchanged oath of fidelity, love seemed to shine at them from everywhere. Waiting in the wings to bless the couple were Vineet and Rakesh Malhotra, a Chandigarh-based couple, who arranged for the wedding. Long associates of the Mother Teresa Home, Chandigarh, the Malhotras compensated for the absence of Akanksha’s parents on her big day.

“I have nothing to say except that I feel very precious,” said Akanksha afterwards. The two met at Patiala some years ago where they were pursuing vocational courses.

While Akanksha was training to be a beautician, Bakshi was studying for CCA (computer certificate application) course. Soon after they met, the cupid struck.

Bakshi says: “At first my family didn’t approve of the relationship. But finally I managed to convince my parents that I belonged only to Akanksha.” Bakshi, in fact, wanted the wedding to happen yesterday (on St Valentine’s Day) but something interrupted his wish. He did not, however, regret the delay. “I have waited very long to be with her. One more day did not mean much,” said the Ferozepur-based groom. who had his bride on cloud nine.

The bride, however, concealed her emotions well, breaking her silence only to thank people who made the wedding possible.

In her thanksgiving speech featured Sister Tecquela, head of the local Missionaries of Charity, Vineet and Rakesh Malhotra who paid for all the wedding arrangements from tent to bride’s gold necklace and bangles, Zohra Singh who sponsored the lunch and Sudhir Singh who bought the 15 kg wedding cake.

Together they made Akanksha’s dream come true. No wonder she still marvels at the thought of migrating to Chandigarh from the Delhi Mother Teresa Home. 

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MLA, kin travel ticketless, inquiry ordered
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The last trip of the Volvo bus from Gurgaon to Chandigarh yesterday could not have been more jinxed for conductor Naresh Kumar — after braving the onslaught of passengers for a delayed departure from Gurgaon to facing the Traffic Manager's queries at Karnal for allowing free travel to passengers, he is now awaiting suspension orders. And, all because Salhawas (Jhajjar) MLA Anita Yadav was to board the bus.

Sources said trouble started when the bus with 25 odd passengers was ready for departure at its scheduled time of 9:30 pm from Gurgaon.

The conductor maintained that he received a message that the MLA would be boarding the bus and that they should wait for her. While the passengers grumbled, he says he awaited the arrival of the MLA who finally reached only around 11 pm and was accompanied by five other persons.

According to a report prepared by the office of the General Manager, Karnal, when the bus reached Karnal at 4 am and made its routine halt at Oasis, a restaurant of Haryana Tourism, the Traffic Manager asked for everybody's tickets. On checking, he found while the MLA was allowed free travel and three of her companions had bought tickets, two of them were travelling ticketless from Gurgaon.

Sources said that here, too, a scene was created when he asked the MLA to produce tickets of her companions. She, in turn, allegedly threatened the Traffic Manager with dire consequences.

The report adds that she contended that the ticketless passengers were her family members and were entitled to travel free in the Volvo. The Traffic Manager, however, reiterated that family members were not entitled to the facility. Finally, after a phone call to the General Manager, Roadways, Chandigarh, the bus started its onward journey to Chandigarh.

In the morning, sources said the Traffic Manager informed the Chandigarh office. Based on his report, the Transport Department has decided to initiate proceedings against the conductor for committing a fraud and allowing two passengers to travel free of cost.

The MLA, Ms Anita Yadav, refuted the allegations, maintaining that she had arrived early to catch the bus on time. "I was there at 9:15 pm to catch the bus. However, a traffic jam delayed the departure of the bus. Also, the bus which usually leaves at 11 am, left earlier than usual. I have a fleet of cars but I choose to travel in the bus by paying Rs 500 only to know about the problems of the passengers. Yesterday was the first time that I travelled free after the conductor told me of my entitlement," she said.

Maintaining that the driver and the cleaner of the bus were both new, she says they did not know anything about the route. "I was not travelling with five persons. I was with my daughter. At Karnal, when they checked the tickets, my daughter did not have a ticket. I only told the official that dependents were also allowed free travel which he refuted. So, he made me talk to the GM, Roadways, Chandigarh, and I agreed to pay. That was the end of the story," she held, adding that the department officials were unnecessarily dragging her into a controversy.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of the department said that he had received the report from Karnal and that they were considering suspending the conductor who has been "missing" after the trip.

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Signals raising day
Tributes paid to martyrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The Corps of Signals, more aptly known as the "Information Warriors" of the Army, celebrated their 97th Raising Day at the Western Command, Chandimandir today.

To mark the occasion, Maj Gen D.V.Kalra, Chief Signal Officer, Western Command, paid tributes to martyrs by laying a wreath at Veer Smriti, the Command War Memorial, a statement issued here said

Addressing Signals Officers, junior commissioned officers and jawans, he apprised them of the technological development undertaken by the corps, primarily to enhance the decision-making capabilities of the field commanders by providing them timely information and reliable communication.

Later in the evening, a social evening was organised for all serving and retired Signals Officers and their families.

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City’s green cover ‘attracts tourists’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
City Beautiful's green cover is valued at about Rs 120 millions. In fact, Chandigarh's 33 per cent green cover is a major attraction for the tourists and the settlers, a study by Pradeep Chaudhary, a forest official of the Arid Forest Research Institute, Jodhpur, says.

The study, which was published in the December 2006 issue of "Current Science", informs that the total forest area of the city is 32.42 square km which forms 23.5 per cent of the overall geographical area. Besides, there were 1,900 parks,gardens, greenbelts and road avenues making almost one-third of the area as green area in the city.

"Tree plantation and landscaping have been an integral part of city's master plan.The most-fascinating feature of city's landscaping is perhaps the tree plantation along avenues, open spaces, green belts and around building complexes, the study, which was part of his doctorate degree, says.

The clean and green environment acts as a major attraction for the visitors and the persons wanting to settle in the city beautiful."Due to comparatively clean and green environment of the city many people are being attracted to this city to permanently settle down here," the study claims.

The meandering Leisure Valley, with its myriad colours and texture of its trees and flowers, attracts not only city dwellers but tourists and city planners. "One the whole, the city gives the impression of a luxuriant garden," says.

It further added that city's parks, gardens, ornamental trees and green avenues were found responsible to the extent of about 56 per cent in attracting people to reside or work permanently in the city.The other factors like employment opportunities and educational facilities together account for the rest 44 per cent.

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Seminar on “building world class cities”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
“The essence of building a world class city does not lie in bricks and mortar. It lies in the equal opportunities it provides to the inhabitants to enjoy the benefits of its infrastructure and while building Chandigarh, this concept was taken into account"

This was state by Mr Aditya Prakash, one of the associates of Le Corbusier, while speaking at a seminar on “building world class cities” organised by the Chandigarh Management Association (CMA) here today.

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IDSA plans awareness drive on direct selling firms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
The Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA) plans to educate government functionaries by creating awareness about direct selling companies that are different from the money circulation companies.

This was stated by the Chairman of the IDSA, Mr Anukul Agrawal, during an interaction with the media here today.

He said that because of lack of awareness about the direct selling companies, several state governments had registered cases against direct selling companies. “We want to work with the government agencies by telling them how it is different from the money circulation companies and generate employment opportunities for people,” he said.

Mr Agrawal said that the IDSA, which governed 16 organised direct selling companies in India, was presently working with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, urging them to bring about a legislation for these companies.

“We want the government to give specific guidelines to protect the consumers and the genuine direct selling companies.

The ministry is receptive to the need for having some regulation, though they are against bringing out a special legislation,” he added.

He said that in India the direct selling business had grown by leaps and bounds and the annual turnover of the direct selling companies in 2005-06 was Rs 2215 crore.

“Over four lakh people are engaged in these companies.

While 62 per cent of sales persons are women, 12 per cent men and 26 per cent are couples,” he added.

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Time for some sunshine, finally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
After a long spell of rains, it was time for some sun-shining today. The day dawned bright and had a dull look towards noon. But that was only a moment during an otherwise sunny day. It, however, continues to be extremely cold at night, with the minimum temperature dipping to 8 degrees today - the lowest in this fortnight.

Earlier during the week, the night temperature had once fallen to a low of 10 degrees. But today it plummeted further - a direct reflection of the snows in Shimla. As for the day, it was the warmest so far in the week.

The maximum temperature today was 19 degrees. There will, however, be little respite from cold at nights, as the minimum temperature might fall further, so indicate the weather conditions that are building up. 

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Do away with paid parkings: Mayor
MC earned Rs 14 crore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Mayor Harjinder Kaur has requested Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Minister of State for Finance, to help do away with the paid parking. In a letter written to the MP, the Mayor has requested Mr Bansal to help remove the paid parking and property tax levied on commercial property by helping the MC get grants from his ministry.

Addressing a press conference, the Mayor today stated that this issue would also be put forward at the MC house meeting. Though the Mayor is talking about removing the paid parking, Rs 14 crore has come as earnings from it.

The paid parking in the city has been implemented on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Mayor however, stated that the court had only asked for parking to be regulated.

The Mayor further stated that not only would the paid parking be removed but also projects like the metro rail would be introduced in the city. She further expressed hope that Mr Bansal would help in the growth and improvement of the city. 

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It’s back to chaos at Mehfil parking lot
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
It’s back to chaos in the Mehfil parking lot. After launching ‘’Operation Clearup” for a couple of months, the cops have again taken a back seat, and are allowing the motorists to leave behind their four-wheelers in the lot meant for parking two-wheelers.

As a result of the wrongly parked vehicles, passing through the road cutting across the city’s downtown has once again turned into an arduous task. During the lunch hours and again in the evenings, the situation is particularly bad with traffic jams lasting up to good 10 minutes.

The visitors to the sector confirm that it’s replay of the same story again and again. A car stops right in the middle of the road before negotiating its way into the lot. The entire traffic comes to a standstill till the time the car is actually parked.

Ditto while leaving the lot. In any case, the haphazard parking of the cars on the narrow strip leaves little room for the other vehicles to move about. Though the cops were until recently allowing just the passengers to disembark from the vehicles, they are now, more often than not, missing from the scene.

A couple of cops were spotted this morning challaning a few wrongly parked vehicles, but hardly any four-wheeler was towed away from the area. The sources in the police headquarters agree this is the third time the Chandigarh Police has back-tracked from its stand of preventing the illegal use of the parking lot. Earlier also, cops were deployed in the lot only to be withdrawn after some time.

At the time of launching ‘’Operation Clearup" on December 12 last year following the publication of a news-item in these columns on the illegal parking of four-wheelers, the cops had insisted that the exercise would continue.

In fact, UT Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Gaurav Yadav had claimed the adoption of necessary measures to prevent the misuse of the parking lot. Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, he had stated that instructions in this regard had been issued to the Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic) and the SHO concerned.

Though senior police officers are unwilling to comment on the issue, the return of the vehicles has once again raised questions on the credibility of the local police. The residents are, rather, insisting that the cops act only when the media is watching.

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SI Molestation Case: Inspector reinstated after compromise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Much to the relief of the Chandigarh Police, the infamous molestation case involving Inspector Jagir Singh and Sub-Inspector (SI) Paramjit Kaur Sekhon, has ended in a compromise.

As Permanent Lok Adalat, Chandigarh, today released the copies of the order of compounding of the offence on the basis of a compromise reached between the disputing parties, Inspector Jagir Singh has been reinstated.

The Chandigarh Police was at the receiving end of the media bashing for over three weeks for the entire episode. Inspector Jagir Singh, the then SHO of the Sector 34 Police Station was arrested on January 22 on the allegations of molestation and criminal intimidation under Sections 354 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on a complaint filed by SI Sekhon. With the immediate arrest of Inspector Jagir Singh without initiating any inquiry into the allegations, the functioning of the local police came under cloud as people came out in support of Inspector Jagir Singh.

In his orders Mr R.K Sharma, Judge, Permanent Lok Adalat, Chandigarh, pronounced that the complainant, Ms Paramjit Kaur Sekhon, had filed an application under Section 320 of the Criminal Procedure Code seeking to compound the offence pertaining to the case under Section 354 of the IPC on February 7. The DSP (Central), S.S. Randhawa, who was entrusted with the inquiry of the whole episode, appeared before the court on February 12 and stated that the offence under Section 506 of the IPC had not been established during the inquiry and thus the same charge had been dropped. He also stated that he had no objection if the case was disposed of in terms of compromise reached between both the parties.

The court took up the matter on February 8 and called both the parties. Ms Sekhon gave a statement that she did not want to pursue the complaint. Inspector Jagir Singh has tendered an apology for the wrong done by him against the victim.

The court stated, “The offence, punishable under Section 354 of the IPC, is an offence of moral turpitude but when the legislature has allowed it to be compounded with permission of the court and the victim has come forward with an application to compound the offence, then, permission deserves to be granted”.

The court observed that the main object to grant permission to compound the offence was to enable both the parties to live in peace and harmony and to maintain good relations. 

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Objection over land demarcation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
Despite claims of the Chandigarh Administration having solved its dispute with Haryana over the demarcation of inter-state boundary in Kishangarh village, officials of Haryana today again objected to the UT claim over a part of land, allotted to Parsvnath Developers for developing a residential colony.

The residential colony is a part of the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park being developed by the Chandigarh Administration. Haryana has been claiming some part of the land which has been given to a private builder. Officials said a joint demarcation exercise was begun to demarcate the boundary. The exercise would continue tomorrow.

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Gold chain snatched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 15
A motorcyclist snatched a gold chain of a woman in Sector 46, this afternoon.

The police said Shahwant Kaur of Sector 46 reported to the police alleging that a turbaned motorcyclist snatched her gold chain near her residence. A case has been registered at the Sector 34 Police Station.

Thefts

Mr R.K. Malik of Sector 10 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Rs 30,000, five chairs and a table were stolen from his residence during the Tuesday night. In another incident, Ms Kaushalya Devi Gulati of Haryana lodged a complaint with the police alleging that her bag containing two pairs of gold ear rings, two gold necklaces, Rs 9000 was stolen from Community Centre, Sector 38, during the intervening night of Feruary 14 and 15.

Two separate cases of thefts have been registered in this regard.

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Celebrating family gets shock; Rs 1.5 lakh, jewellery stolen
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 15
In a daring theft, two youths forcibly entered a house in Sector 12 and decamped with cash, gold, jewellery, watches and mobiles last evening. However, surprisingly today they returned some of the items to the owners of the house even as the police is groping in the dark about the identity of the thieves.

The owner of the house, the Principal of Doon Public School, Sector 21, Mr Sanjay Anand, was away with his family to Chandigarh when the incident took place. Two maids, Sarita and Talani, were alone at home.

According to family sources, the incident took place last night at 8.30 pm when the family members had gone to celebrate an occasion. The maids said that after the family left, somebody rang the doorbell. One of them went to open the door and peeped outside. She was allegedly hit on the head and she fell unconscious.

The two men entered the kitchen where the second maid was washing utensils and hit her on the head as well. Their hands were tied and they were made to lie in one room.

"It seems that some acquaintance was allegedly involved because the thieves went straight to our bedroom and took out the cash and jewellery. The cash was withdrawn from the bank to pay salaries to the staff. The entire episode took just 10 minutes. There was a bouquet lying outside. It was probably an excuse to gain entry to the house in case the maids did not open the door," alleges Suneeta Anand, the Principal's wife.

Surprisingly, the two dogs in the house, who generally start barking as soon as someone stops in front of the house, too, were unusually quiet and scared. "They had threatened the maids to keep shut. So, the maids stayed in their room. Later when the thieves left, they went up to the girls, who are tenants in our house and informed them. The girls called us up and we rushed back," she added.

She said that she had taken out her jewellery from the locker for the on-going marriage season because of which there were a number of small gold sets in the house. The cash sum of Rs 1.5 lakh was for giving away salaries to the school staff and there were five mobiles missing from the house.

Alleging that they suspect the involvement of a former watchman of the school, the family sources claimed that whoever came, he knew exactly where they keep their valuables. When the family came home, they found that the maids were in a state of shock. The dogs, too, appeared scared.

While the police is still trying to ascertain the identity of the thieves, the watchman at the school called up in the afternoon to say that somebody had thrown a bagful of papers at him and asked him to give it to the Principal.

He said that two youths, with their faces covered, came on a black motorcycle and just flung the bag at him. The bag contained papers pertaining to the school, three mobile phones and nearly half of the jewellery that went missing yesterday.

Meanwhile,a forensic team and other investigating agencies visited the spot. A case has been registered in this regard. 

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3 theft cases reported

Mohali, February 15
Thefts have taken place at three places in the town and the police has registered cases in this regard. According to the police, thieves had decamped with BSNL telephone sets, batteries, cable, feeder and other electrical goods from a store of Nokia located in Sector 70.

Mr Manjit Singh, Field Manager, Nokia, complained to the police about the theft after which a case was registered.

In another incident, theft took place at the shooting range in Phase VI. Mr Niranjan Singh, in-charge, told the police that thieves decamped with two aluminium targets from a wall of 25-metre range and 50-metre range.

A resident of Sector 67 complained to the police that theieves decamped with Rs 10,000 and clothes from his house when there was no one at home. The police has registered a case in this regard too. — OC

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Nvish acquires US firm

Chandigarh, February 15
City-based business process management (BPM) company Nvish Solutions, has acquired a US- based company, Avaap Inc, for an undisclosed amount.

This was disclosed by the director of the company, Mr Gurmail Singh, during a press conference here today. — TNS

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