C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


More may face action in multiplex case
Tribune News Service

Rs 3.6-crore penalty levied on Fun Republic

After examining the case, the Municipal Corporation today issued a notice to the Fun Republic authorities as regards misuse of the premises. A penalty of Rs 3.60 crore has been imposed. The corporation has also written to the Estate Office to examine the building plan sanctioned by it on June 19, 2006. The issue of taking conversion fee has also been referred to the Estate Office. MC fire officials have been asked to inspect the premises of the multiplex.

Instructions ignored

In an official communication from the Finance Secretary to the Estate Officer on September 21, 2006, it was pointed out that no transferred-out employee should be reposted in the Estate Office. However, the instructions were ignored in case of some persons and rather they were given more responsibilities.

Chandigarh, February 22
Some more persons are likely to face action in the multi-crore scam involving sanctioning of wrong building plans for Fun Republic, Mani Majra.
A day after booking Kewal Dhillon, vice-president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and proprietor of the Dhillon Complex, and T.P. Singh, SDO (Building), Estate Office, investigations by the CBI have brought the role of certain senior officials in the Chandigarh Administration under the scanner.

The two had been booked for criminal conspiracy and corruption.

Sources in the CBI said a team of senior officials was expected from Delhi tomorrow to probe the matter and quiz certain other officials.

Distancing himself from violations at the multiplex, Dhillon said the premises had been leased out to E-City Entertainment, a company of the Zee group.

Continuing with the probe, the sleuths, along with officials of the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and the Municipal Corporation (MC), today videographed the violations at the multiplex. The video recording was tallied with the report on violations recently submitted by the corporation.

When asked about the name of other officials of the Estate Office, sources said it would not be appropriate to give their names without having foolproof evidence against them. They said it was clear that T.P. Singh could not have carried out the entire exercise on his own. The issue of occupation certificate was also being probed into.

The CBI had confiscated two bags of official records from the building branch yesterday. The records pertaining to the building plans of other cases were also confiscated to see the procedure adopted by the officials while giving relief to the beneficiaries. Kewal Dhillon said he was ready to render all assistance required by the agency in the investigation.

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Festival of Gardens begins today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The three-day Festival of Gardens, which promises more than just 585 varieties of roses, is scheduled for inauguration tomorrow.
This time also, you will not have to bear the din of “two at the price of one” as the Administration has decided not to go in for the establishment of commercial stalls all along the road separating Sectors 16 and 17. The practice of giving commercial smell to the festival was discontinued last year, and 2007 is not going to be an exception, says a senior UT Administration official.

As drumbeats fill the air on Friday, dancers in colourful kurtis and caps with brass bells and peacock feathers will descend on the Rose Garden. All the way from Haryana and even North-East, they will sway rhythmically for giving a red carpet welcome to the guests, the official adds.

Gates leading to the garden are being decked up with marigolds. Impressive snaps of over a 100 varieties of roses and petals are also being installed all along the passage.

The Engineering Department officials responsible for organising the fair assert it will be back to the grassroots for so many residents digging hard for existence in a material whirl of mobiles, malls and IT parks. Swaying bhangra and giddha groups will only add to the rural ambiance.

At CITCO’s stall, it will be brush with the rustic past with surmountable walls made out of mats coated with mud. For adding a touch of realism to the whole affair, you will actually have dung cakes and bullock carts with haystacks. A well has also been dug.

A flower corner, full of life and colours, is all set to add a whole new fragrance to the flowery affair. Like always, you will have camel rides and local street artistes. Among them will be toddlers climbing up the bamboo poles for tightrope walking with pots placed on their head. Pole walker, standing 10 feet tall, are also expected to take the celebrations to new heights.

A folk dance competition will be held on the inaugural day. It will be followed by an evening of ghazals by Vinod Sehgal. The next morning Subhash Ghosh will present ragas. Rose Prince and Rose Princess competition will also to be held, followed by a photography exhibition on February 24. A rose quiz competition will also be organised.

Tim Hoffman, performing artiste and Ethnomusicologist, will present a musical performance at Museum and Art Gallery on February 24. The same evening, the residents can enjoy Kumar Sanu Nite at Leisure Valley.

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Rose fest: Mgt institute bags best maintained campus title
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The Chandigarh Administration today declared the results of the best gardens in the city as part of the Festival of Gardens-2007. Regional director, Regional Institute of Cooperative Management, Sector 32, has been awarded the first position in the best maintained college campus category.

The first positions have been bagged by Gogi Sekhon (house No. 339, Sector 9-D) in the large garden category, Col Balwant Singh (house No.42, Sector 9) in medium garden and prof Arunanshu Behera (House No.8H-7, PGI, Sector 12) in small garden.

The second positions have gone to Babbu Walia (house No. 345, Sector 9-D) and principal S. Marriya (DAV College, Sector 10) in large garden, Harmohan Singh Sethi (house No. 213, Sector 21-A) in medium garden, Navjit Bakshi (house No. 2137, Sector 21) in small garden, Gp Capt Parag Sharma (P-48, Brar Enclave, Air Force Station) in small garden.

In another category, the first positions have gone to Punjab Markfed (plot No.4, Sector 35-B) in large garden and Accountant-General, A&E, Punjab (Sector-17) in small garden.

The second positions have gone to the Institute of Microbial Technology (Sector 39-A) and Er Partap Singh (BSNL plot No. 2, Sector 34) in large garden, Commanding Officer (25, Sqdn Air Force Station) in small garden.

In the open-to-all category the first positions have been bagged by executive engineer (Milkfed roundabout, Junction No-35) in best roundabout, Roshan 46 and Color Lab, (Sector 46) in the best small rotary category, Atul Khanna, director (Strawberry Fields School, Sector 24) in the best private school campus, Sarbjit Singh Sandhu (house No. 121, Sector 45-A) in the best open space, Baba Makhan Shah Lobana Bhavan (Sector 30) in the best bhavan and other non-government premises.

The second positions have gone to the Institute for the Blind (Sector 26) in the category of best private school campus, CITCO (Sector 17) in the best roundabout, principal S.Marriya (DAV College, Sector 10) in best college campus and Sant Sarup Singh ji Gurdwara, Sector 38-West) in the best Bhavan and any other non government premises.

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Heaven on earth at Harmohan Sethi’s residence
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Lush-green carpet grass gently rising towards a side taking the experience of gardening to all new heights; chuckling red and gold flowers encouraging the blossoming of smiles, and a star of shining pebbles around a palm tree for making even the tired eyes twinkle with joy---it's not hard to see why Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate Harmohan Singh Sethi's house in Sector 21 was placed in the category of "Best Gardens in the city".

As Sethi switches on the high-wattage halogen bulb for allowing the light to flood the garden late in the evening, you realise if heaven has a place on earth, here it is.

The whiff of freshness emanating from so many marigolds bordering the flower beds full of salvias and geraniums, along with dahlias and roses, is enough to sooth even the tired nerves.

As you stand there looking at the Junipers--the desert shrub of Syria and Arabia--with tiny white flowers and zebras along the walls shrouded in the pleasures of ivy, you realise that the garden has been nurtured from the sweat of the brow.

The results were announced by the Chandigarh Administration here today. The first positions were bagged by Gogi Sekhon of Sector 9, Col. Balwant Singh, also of Sector 9, and Prof Arunanshu Behera of the PGI.

The second positions went to Mr Sethi, along with Babbu Walia of Sector 9, Principal of Sector 10 DAV College S.Marriya, Navjit Bakshi of Sector 21 and Gp Capt. Parag Sharma of Brar Enclave in Air Force Station.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Sethi says he and his wife Abnash Sethi have been bringing up the garden just like their own kids. “There is no substitute for personal attention. We have a dedicated and hardworking gardner, Ram Lal, who smiles along with the grinning flowers. But that does not mean we can take it easy”.

You may find it incredible but Sethi says they spend good two to three hours daily taking care of each and every flower, along with the evergreens. For, the flowers bring bloom to their lives. 

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Drunk driver rams jeep into 4 vehicles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The heavily drunk driver of a jeep allegedly rammed his vehicle into four vehicles before hitting it against a rotary in Sector 22 this morning. No one was seriously hurt in the mishap. A woman, who received minor injuries in the accident, was discharged from the Sector 16 General Hospital after administering first-aid.

Interestingly, fed up with the behaviour of their son, the family of the accused, Dharmander Shal of Indira Colony, refused to furnish his bail bond following which he was sent to the Burail Jail.

The police said the accident took place around 9.45 am while the accused was coming from Sector 22-23 traffic lights point to Kiran cinema in his Bolero jeep (HR-36-S-0043). Before that he had reportedly taken drinks at a liquor shop. He went to Kiran cinema parking lot and rammed his vehicle into a motorcycle of Chandigarh Police constable Krishan Kumar and went on his hitting spree on the road leading to Aroma traffic lights point. On the way, his vehicle collided with two scooters and a motorcycle. In the process, Sulekha of Sector 22 suffered injuries after her kinetic Honda scooter was hit. The other motorists escaped unhurt, said the police.

His family told the police that they were fed up with his misdeeds. He was unemployed earlier and had got a job as a driver a few days ago only.

The accused was booked for causing hurt due to rash and negligent driving. He was produced in a local court that remanded him in judicial custody till March 8.

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Cong councillors boycott MC meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The Congress councillors today boycotted the pre-house meeting of the Municipal Corporation.
Chandermukhi Sharma was the only Congress councillor present. The paid parking is expected an issue to be debated. Trying to avoid a noisy house meeting on February 26, the mayor tried to tell the councillors to restrict the meeting only to agenda issues and the budget.

The mayor also advised them to bring in their suggestions to be incorporated in the budget. A review of the last budget was also demanded. In the house meeting, it was also suggested to have a meeting after the budget meeting exclusively on policy planning and execution of the whole system.

During the next house meeting, a review report of the ongoing works and the works highlighted in the last budget was also suggested.

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Children of Harappan civilisation played hopscotch game: Expert
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Amarendra Nath
Amarendra Nath

Chandigarh, February 22
More than 5000 years ago, children of the Harappan civilization too played the popular “seven stones” or hopscotch game in the middle of their streets. Excavations at the Rakhigarhi site in Haryana by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has thrown up fresh historical evidence for the reconstruction of the life of the people of the oldest civilization known in India.

Dr Amarendra Nath, Director, ASI, who was in the city today to deliver a lecture on this subject at Panjab University said the artifacts and other discoveries made during the excavation had shifted further by at least 500 years, the earliest signs of the civilization in India.

“The pottery and crafts associated with the mature phase of the civilization have been found in the early phase of the civilization at this site,” he said. The mature Harappan phase begins at 2500 BC while the early Harappan civilization period is from 3000 BC.

He added that the Rakhigarhi site was important from the point of view of historians who will have a lot of reference material to review their interpretation of the way the Harappan men and women lived. “It is generally believed that Harappans did not use stitched clothes. But from this site we have discovered implements issued in stitching. “A painting on a pot shred discovered from this site shows a man fishing. He is wearing a stitched shirt and a dhoti like cloth,” he said.

Stating that this painting is one of the most remarkable discoveries from the site, Amarendra Nath pointed out that this was probably the largest painting discovered. “It shows fishing as an occupation and gives many other details,” he said.

Burnt bricks were used only in the mature Harappan civilization phase but from this site burnt bricks and even wedge shaped bricks have been discovered from the early phase of the civilization.

“The most amazing was a discovery of a hopscotch game stones stacked one over the other from the middle of a street. Obviously, the origin of the game as we know it now is from the Harappan civilization,” he said.

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Struggle in Nepal not yet over, says Maoist leader
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The Maoist movement in Nepal, it seems, has just begun, states Suresh Alemagar, Adviser, CPM Maoists and also an interim member of the legislative parliament, currently in place in Nepal. As many as 73 of the 325 interim members are from the CPM Maoist party.

He was here in the city today to deliver lecture organised by the CPI M (L) Liberation on the Maoists struggle in Nepal.

Talking to TNS he stated that there motto now was to defend the revolution in Nepal and extend the revolution all over the world. “We have struggled for over 11 years, but people need to know that our struggle has not ended here itself. Our struggle will now only get a new face.”

Clarifying on the criticisms he stated that there were two segments that were criticising them. “The CPI Maoists have stated that we are no more revolutionary. This is not true and it is, in fact, being done by people who are extremists themselves.”

He further clarified that they were not putting down arms. “It is not surrender of arms. Our vision has only changed. Our purpose is not yet resolved. One stage is to establish the republican Nepal.

After this the struggle will continue for the next stage of development in our country. A lot needs to be done here which we will now work upon.”

Also present were Kanwaljit, state committee member, CPI M (L), Surdarshan Nath of the Radical Peoples Forum, NM Rawani, South Asia member, world people resistance movement and Vishwanath Sharma, central committee member. Jan Adhikar Suraksha Sammiti.

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Aliens on the civil services horizon
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
How about an American or an Italian as our Foreign Secretary or an Israeli as our Defence Secretary? The globalisation bug is all set to bite Indian bureaucracy if the Public Services Bill, 2006, drafted by the Central Government, is any indication to go by.

The Bill, in its chapter 3 under clause 10, very innocuously mentions: "A person who is not a citizen of India shall not be engaged as a public servant unless the government has special reasons to do so to be recorded in writing."

The fact of concern here is that the clause opens a vista for foreigners to enter Indian civil services, provided the government nod is given.

Importantly, there is no such provision under the All-India Services Act-1951, which presently governs recruitment and other conditions regarding Indian civil services, allowing a foreigner to enter the public service domain in the country.

The Bill, thus, allows the government to render the citizenship criterion null and void, if it has 'special reasons' to do so. This in effect means providing a back-door entry to foreigners in the country's public service realm.

Interestingly, this brainwave has come during times when national security is a buzzword every department of the government swears by.

G.C. Pandey, Under Secretary (S-III), Department of Personnel and Training,Ministry of Labour, told The Tribune:"The clause under question has been drafted by the higher echelons of the government. We are thoroughly examining the Bill and many ministries will be roped in before finalising the contours of the draft Bill."

In an evasive reply to the query regarding the implications of the said clause on Indian civil services, Pandey said:"I have been entrusted the job of eliciting public response on the draft Bill. I can only say that under the existing rules of All-India Services Act-1951, no foreigner can be appointed as a public servant."

But he continues to add: "The clause-10 is a brainchild of higher-ups and they must have some reasons for drafting the same."

The Bill was drafted by the Union Government after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressed on the need to have a comprehensive Public Services Act.

Among other things, the Bill aims to provide a statutory basis for the regulation of public services in India, protection of whistleblowers and recruitment code governing the public services.

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Couple in search of justice
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 22
A Sector 66-based couple--Vijay Oberoi and Ajit Oberoi--is a harassed lot. Almost seven months after a fraud case was registered against five persons on their complaint, they are still moving from pillar to post to get justice.

Even as the police takes it own time in investigating the matter, the couple is set to lose an amount of Rs 7 lakh which it reportedly paid to the other party for the purchase of a plot in the Shalimar Enclave in Zirakpur.

In a complaint to the Mohali SSP, Vijay Oberoi alleged said she and her husband were shown the plot in December 2005 by PPS Dhindsa, Baljeet Kaur, first wife of Dhindsa, and Prem Chand Singla, one of the promoters of the Shalimar Enclave.

She claimed that the deal was struck at Rs 11 lakh and the token money (biana) of Rs 4 lakh was paid to Dhindsa. Subsequently, an agreement to sell was also executed on February 14,2006, and another amount of Rs 3 lakh was paid in the presence of Mr Jagtar Singh, an advocate, where Madhu, second wife of Dhindsa (as introduced by him) and Singla were also present. February 25, 2006,was fixed as the date of the registration of the sale deed.

"But Dhindsa never turned up to get the sale deed executed despite several reminders by me, my husband and Jagtar Singh," Oberoi alleged. However, in April 206,another person, Malwinder Singh, claiming to be Dhindsa's nephew, contacted the Oberois and offered to get the fresh agreement executed.

However, it became known later that Dhindsa had willfully cancelled his attorney and cheated us, the complainant alleged adding that he was dilly-dalling on the return of the money.

Meanwhile, police sources said the matter was being investigated.

The Zirakpur police had registered a case against PPS Dhindsa, Prem Chand Singla, Baljeet Kaur, Madhu and Malwinder Kaur on July 26 last year.

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Mangoes, melons arrive early
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The summers may still be far away… but you can savour the sweet summer fruits like mango and melons. Thanks to the rising temperatures in south India, these summer fruits have matured early and thus made their way to the city markets.

For almost a week now, mangoes - pairi and safeda varieties - are available at slect shops in the city and its satellite townships of Panchkula and Mohali. This is the first time that mangoes have arrived so early in the city markets. Generally the ‘king of fruit’ arrives here in the middle of March. Though the mangoes are not as sweet as they would be in the summer months, the sweet aroma of the fruit is intact. Being the first crop of the season, the fruit dealers say that early arrival of these fruits has led to some excitement amongst mango lovers.

Sarda - a variety of melon, which was originally imported from Taiwan, is now being cultivated in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. These canary yellow melons, which are very sweet in taste, have also reached the fruit markets in the city. Fruit dealers say that though the Taiwanese melons are bigger in size and taste better, the melons cultivated in India, though smaller in size, have the same sweet taste and aroma. “While the imported variety is available at Rs 80- 90 a kg., the locally grown melon is available at Rs 50 a kg,”said Yogesh Arora, a fruit dealer in Sector 26.

Priced at Rs 500 per box (5 kg fruit) in the Sector 26 vegetable market and at about Rs 150- Rs 200 per kg in the retail fruit shops in other sector markets, mangoes, though expensive, are getting a good response from city residents. “We did a good sale of mangoes and melons (sardah variety) during the wedding season. Since people want to exhibit and serve exotic fruit, mangoes were a favourite at most of the weddings,” informed Raju Bhagat, a fruit dealer in Sector 26.

Fruit dealers say that the daily sale of mangoes is already around 150 kg - 175 kg. “As the Alphonso mango arrives next month, the sale will almost double. However, the correction in prices will take place only in April, when the mangoes from Uttar Pradesh, too, arrive in the mandis,” said Bhagat. 

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Signals Corps chief visits Chandimandir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The Army’s Signal Officer-in-Chief and the Colonel Commandant of the Corps of Signals, Lt-Gen Sivasankara Pillai Sree Kumar, visited Headquarters, Western Command at Chandimandir today.

This is General Sree Kumar's first visit to Western Command after taking over the reigns of the Corps on October 1, 2006. Addressing a special Sainik Sammelan of all ranks of Signals, he emphasised that in the present times, the Corps was involved in the task of seamless integration and consolidation of the plethora of existing networks.

The challenge today, he added, was to establish a "network of networks" to achieve a synergy among the varied resources available with the Army.

He also held discussions with the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt-Gen Daljeet Singh, on the existing and proposed communication infrastructure.

The Signals chief also visited the communication complex in the Command area. Later in day, he attended a social get -together in the Western Command Signal Regiment Officers’ Mess.

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Postal staff to pay missing amount
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
Unable to ascertain who was behind the missing Rs 1 lakh cash from the post office accounts, employees of General Post Office, Sector 17, here and senior officials have reached a compromise.

Sources informed TNS that all employees who were handling the cash yesterday will now contribute and pay the missing amount to the department.

A decision was taken this evening to avoid investigation by the police. The union reportedly played a major role in working out the compromise.

It may be noted that the loss of the cash had come to light yesterday morning when the cashier went to the bank to deposit Rs 30 lakh in the bank. This cash had been collected from various postal assistants in the post office. The bank staff, however, found Rs 1 lakh short. Senior officials in the post office then started an inquiry and accounts of each postal assistant and other officials handling cash, were scrutinised. These accounts were found intact, but the missing cash could not be recovered.

The post office staff at Sector 17 again verified their account books to find out how Rs 1 lakh had gone missing. When nothing could be found, it was decided that the matter would be reported to the police. However, the union members pleaded with the officials and a compromise was worked out. 

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De-addiction centre proposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
To curb drug menace in and around the city, the UT administration has proposed to setup a drugs de-addiction centre in the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector-16. This is for the first time that the administration has given a thought for such a centre having modern facilities and techniques.

A press note issued by the UT administration stated that in the beginning, the proposed centre will have a 10-bedded independent ward with restricted entry to avoid free access to outsiders during the period of detoxification. The de-addiction will function with a team of Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychiatrist, Psychiatry social workers and trained staff nurses.

The various laboratory tests for assessing abused substances will also be carried out in the centre. This step has been taken to further strengthen the social cause, which has already been undertaken by the PGI and under the district mental health programme.

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Row over shifting of shrine
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
An attempt to shift the place of worship of a minority community in Rani Mohalla was resented by the devotees today. Trouble began when Jasbir Singh, an advocate, and his family tried to shift the "mazar" adjoining their house allegedly with a view to undertake construction activity.They allegedly also tried to damage the shrine.

As news about the shifting of the "mazar" spread, the Dera Bassi SHO, Mr Parvinder Singh Dhillon, reached the spot.The police later foiled the bid to shift the shrine.

Meanwhile, Kulbir Singh, a brother of Jasbir Singh, claimed that the shrine fell in the land belonging to the family. The family’s house was in an area of about 500 square metres and the shrine formed the part of the land registered in their name.

The family had offered an alternative site near the Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology for the shrine and even the "maulvi" had agreed to that offer, he claimed.

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CHB to construct MIG flats

Chandigarh, February 22
Stung by criticism for ignoring the need for housing of the middle income group, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has drawn extensive plans to create housing stock for the next two to three years.

CHB chairman said the board would construct 10,000 houses for the middle income group at several locations. About 42 acres in Sector 63 have been earmarked for construction of about 1,800 houses.

The Administration has allotted about 90 acres to the CHB for construction of houses in Sectors 53, 54 and 55. The board is exploring the possibility of constructing about 3500 houses there in public-private partnership. The scheme is likely to be launched in the next six months. — TNS

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ESIC Day on Feb 24
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
On the occasion of the 55th anniversary, the ESIC Day will be celebrated on February 24, This will be followed by a special services fortnight from February 24 to March 10.

On February 24, a meeting will be held with employees’ representatives of Chandigarh, Mohali, Kharar and Lalru at the regional office of the ESI Corporation to know their grievances, according to Mr G.C.Jena, regional director.

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12-yr-old girl found hanging
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
A 12-year-old girl allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself at her Colony No. 5 residence this afternoon. The reason behind the extreme step is yet to be ascertained as the family told the police that they had no inkling about her taking such a drastic step.

The police said Meena was found hanging from a girder in the house by a duppata by her grandmother Ramkali when she returned home from her work at 1.30 pm. She told the police that she lowered the body and called her neighbours for help. The police was informed and they took the girl to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where she was declared brought dead.

Her father is a rickshaw puller while her mother works as a domestic help.

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Ex-cop among 3 held for fraud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 22
The police today arrested three Haryana residents on the allegations of duping people on the pretext of selling fake currency notes in Sector 22 here. The SHO of the Sector 17 police station said accused Rajbir, Satpal and Suresh Kumar were nabbed following secrete information.

They were cheating people by offering them fake currency notes of Rs 100 denomination by offering 10 times of their face value. They were luring gullible people by offering Rs 10,000 against Rs 1,000.

About their modus operandi, the SHO disclosed that the trio fixed two real notes of Rs 100 denomination on either side of the wads to deceive their targets. One of the accused, Satpal, had been a constable in the Haryana Police and he was dismissed from service for irregularities. A case of cheating and criminal conspiracy has been registered. 

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