C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


‘People-friendly’ railway budget brings cheer
* Cut in passenger fare hailed 
* 50 pc fare cut delights students
* Resentment over non-introduction of fresh train
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The railway budget presented this year has been hailed as a people friendly by city residents. It seems to have gone well with one and all. The city residents are, however, upset that they have been given no new train. The only train that has been added is the 4517/4518 Allahabad-Ambala Cantt. Unchahar Express will now be extended to the city.

Hailing the extension of the train, Joginder Singh Bhogal of Northern Railway Users Consultative Committee stated that it is good the train has been extended but there is an urgent need for a direct train from the City to Patna.

“The whole budget is public friendly. But no new train has been added to north. We urgently need a direct train to Patna and Bangalore.”

He further suggested that slip coaches could be introduced to connect the city to the trains to these destinations originating from Ambala.

The overall reduction in passenger fare has also been hailed. Talking to TNS, RK Dutta, railway superintendent, stated that the announcements would come into force only after April 1. “We only know then what will be the change in the fare on the various trains running from here.”

In the budget it has been announced that the fares of the second class in non-suburban ordinary passenger and non-superfast mail/express trains reduced . Also AC First Class fare will be reduced by 3 per cent in the busy season, while it will be 6 per cent in the lean season.

Talking to TNS a senior railway official stated that it was yet to be decided which is the lean and busy season. For AC-2 Tier Class, 2 per cent reduction in busy season, 4 per cent in lean season has been announced.

Talking to TNS Ashish Arora, CEO Royal Caterer’s Enterprise was of the view that the budget was a good one. “I am very happy that the tickets will be made available at petrol pumps, banks, etc. Here as the station is far away that this facility will be very useful. I am also glad that they will inform us about train delays by SMS.”

Mrs Renu Bajwa of Sector 2 is happy. “In winters, it is always a safer option to take catch a train as the flights are always delayed due to fog. However, sometimes the trains are delayed too and one has to wait at the station for hours. Now one will be informed through SMS.”

City students are, however, the happiest with railway minister’s announcement of 50 per cent concession for those travelling for government examinations. “I am very happy as apart from making it easy to get a ticket through ATMs, etc, we have also been provided with discount,” stated Ishan Thukral, a class XII student of DAV-Sector 8.

Ajmer Singh of Ajmer Security and Allied Services is happy that the security issues have been addressed. “I am glad that CCTV cameras will now be put up at stations and the overall security is being reviewed through various measures. It is time it was done.” 

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MC clears Rs 454 cr Budget
Focus on roads, sewerage; 3 panels formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
A politically divided House today cleared Budget estimates amounting to Rs 454 crore for this year, of which Rs 249 crore have been cleared under plan head, while Rs 204.69 crore have been cleared under the non-plan head.

The House cleared Budget estimate for Rs 56.67 crore for the improvement of roads, parking places and infrastructure facilities. A sum of Rs 3.25 crore will be spent on streetlight improvement, modernisation of dobhi ghats and cremation furnace.

Another Rs 29.54 crore will be spent on setting up/upgrading sewerage treatment plant and laying additional sewerage lines.

Further, Rs 19. 65 crore have been earmarked for various projects under JNNURM, which include upgrades of water supply infrastructure for proper monitoring and automation with computerised surveillance in water supply system of the city and conservation of potable water by harvesting the tertiary treated sewage for irrigation of green spaces in the city.

A sum of Rs 13.41 crore will be spent on setting up a bird slaughter house/rendering plant and sanitation programmes.

Further, Rs 5.66 crore will be spent on improving and augmenting infrastructure facilities in nine villages of the city, while Rs 4.75 cr will be spent on the same in rehabilitation colonies. The House also cleared allocation of Rs 20 lakh for a night food street, while Rs 1 crore was set aside for multi-storey parking. The meeting was dominated by personal clashes between the councillors from various parties.

Congress councillors initially stalled the proceedings, protesting the formation of various sub-committees by the Mayor without their consultation. The Mayor, however, ignored the din and started the Budget speech.

Later, the proceedings focussed on issues concerning sanitation and maintenance of the city. It was suggested by councillors that the House needed to spend more money in the department.

The councillors also demanded a monthly review of works carried out.

Councillor Pradeep Chabbra said there was an urgent need for signages and reflectors in all Sectors to help avoid accidents. Councillor Anil Dubey sought more development in colonies as there was none. This led to a heated debate with the Opposition.

Finally, three committees - Budget Review Committee, Work Review Committee and Slum-dweller Committee - were formed in the House.

The Opposition, however, tried to corner the Mayor on the issue of paid parking.

MC Commissioner P.S. Aujla, however, clarified that it was the directions of the High Court that had to be implemented. 

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School rubbing salt on wounds
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 26
She is on ventilator, struggling to breathe, combating infection and holding on to life. Six-year-old Aman Luthra, a student of the Sarthak Government School, Sector 12-A, continues to be critical even 20 days after the fire accident which landed her at the PGI.

Her father Parminder Singh is distraught with the tragedy that has befallen his family even as he shuttles between medicine shops and the ICU. As if that is not enough, he is now burdened with the task of organising finances to meet the mounting expenditure of treatment at the hospital.

From withdrawing the last penny in his account to taking loans, Parminder Singh, a goldsmith earning daily wages, says the school is now beginning to shirk its responsibility to foot the hospital bill.

"The school authorities are now pulling their hand away from us. They asked me to submit medical bills which would be reimbursed. I recently submitted bills worth Rs 45,000 and only got a cheque for Rs 10,000", he rues.

Since the accident took place, the school authorities have given Rs 63,000 while his total expenditure has already crossed Rs 1.25 lakh.

Parminder's friends had arranged some finances for the treatment while he had already landed a debt of Rs 30,000 and the expenses were likely to rise meteorically in the coming days.

"Last night, Aman was put on ventilator because she could not breathe. She has not stabilised since the accident took place and the doctors say she is as much in danger as she was on day one. They also add that even if she survives the attack of infection from inside and outside, she will have to be in hospital for the next two months or so. I do not know how we will afford all that", Parminder laments.

Even as he makes rounds of the doctors or just sits and waits outside the ICU for information about his daughter, he has been given the additional responsibility by Aman's school to fend for funds.

“The principal told me that I should go and meet the deputy commissioner to organise more funds or tap the district Red Cross for finances available for patients. While they are gradually withdrawing themselves, they are putting the onus on me to arrange money. The accident happened because the school authorities were careless and we were paying for it. It is callous on the part of the school authorities to even think that they can back out”, the father says, adding that he could not leave his daughter's side to go in search of officers.

While no end to the pain the entire family is going through seems in sight yet, the trauma the child is going through, pinches the family members more.

"The swelling has come down but the doctors are not sure of her fate. Our lives are hanging by the hope that comes with every new day, the hope that if she survived yesterday, she will live through today as well”, he quips. And through this, their nightmare continues.

The principal, Madhavi Srivastava, was not available for comment despite repeated messages left on her mobile (9815553464) while nobody answered the phone at her residence. An inquiry into the cause of the fire, marked by deputy commissioner Neerja Shekhar was already under way.

Aman received 35 percent burns in a fire accident at the school premises on February 8. The incident took place after the annual function of the school was over. While investigations indicate carelessness on the part of the authorities, who left an earthen lamp burning on stage after the function, everybody in the education department seems to have decided to keep mum.

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Murder: Son casts doubt over probe
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Is the Sundri Agnihotri murder case heading for nowhere? Colonel R.K. Agnihotri, a son of the victim, is alleging serious lapses in the probe, which has remained inconclusive even after 26 months of the crime.

Superficial investigation, weak follow-up, mindless interrogation and absence of professional investigative acumen are some of the reasons for the probe hitting a roadblock, alleges Colonel Agnihotri.

Sundri Agnihotri (74), a retired Joint Director of the Education Department, Himachal Pradesh, was murdered in the drawing room of her Sector-21 house on December 25, 2004.

Sharing his agony, Colonel Agnihotri, now posted in Jaipur, asserted that investigators, instead of solving, have complicated the case, in which “the prime suspect, Yaqoob Minz, had confessed to meeting my mother on that fateful day. His visiting the house on a flimsy reason around 11 am (time when the murder took place) further strengthens our point of view”.

He maintains that the family has been consistently pointing towards its Nepalese maid Manmari as another strong suspect.

In spite of the fact that her photograph was given to the Crime Branch, the police was yet to trace her. “She may still be living in the city”, said Colonel Agnihotri. The murder was the handiwork of more than one person, familiar with the layout of the house. Sundri was apparently eliminated for the fear of recognition of the culprit, he said.

Negating the police theory that some outside gang of robbers may be involved in the murder, he held that the entry to the house was through deceit, as locks were intact.

An important factor that needs to be looked into by the police to solve the case, Colonel Agnihotri said, was to match the plastic strip (found near the body) used for strangulation and locate its origin.

“This could prove to be a vital clue. Her mobile phone was also untraceable. The mobile’s location could be traced. We have provided all details of the mobile to the police”, he added.

Ransacked bedroom and missing jewellery pointed toward robbery being the apparent motive behind the killing. The police had thoroughly analysed and compared forensic reports of the blood stains found on the drawers in the room. Fingerprints of key suspects should be matched with those found from the scene. Besides, narco-analysis of both Yaqoob Minz and Manmari should be carried out, said Colonel Agnihotri.

“In spite of repeated letters to senior officials of the Chandigarh Police and the UT Administration for the past two years, the authority concerned have remained tight-lipped. Each time their reply is that they are working on the case. The only option left now is to meet the Union Home Secretary and Union Home Minister to apprise them of the matter and request the handing over of the case to the CBI”, he said. Inspector Satbir Singh, in charge of the Crime Branch, maintained that they were reinvestigating the case.

The fingerprints of suspects and those collected from spot did not match. He added that they had conducted polygraphy of four suspects, but nothing had come out of it.

Investigating officer Nasib Singh said the photograph of the maid was around 15 years old. They only knew that her husband had died and she had remarried. Her son, a suspect, was untraceable. No criminal record of his was found in the Chandigarh Police.

On the mobile phone, he asserted that it was not operational in the Punjab circle, however, they would now try to locate it outside of the state.

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‘Union of regions may replace union of states’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The emergence of a “union of regions” to replace the union of states in the country has been predicted by none other than social science academics. They are in the city from all over the country to participate in a two-day seminar organised by the Department of Political Science, Panjab University, on “Regions within Regions: Rethinking State Politics in India”.

Delivering the keynote address, prof Balveer Arora, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, summarised the major trends of research in Indian politics since the landmark 1967 General Election, which marked the emergence of regional forces as important players in the political system of the country. He said while regions and regionalism were earlier seen negatively, there has now been a consolidation of the region as a unit due to electoral politics and the “federalisation” of the party process. Arora also talked about the ‘C’ factor in this process. “The impact of the Centre or a national needed to be brought back in to assess state politics, particularly in the present context of globalisation,” he said.

Ronki Ram said due to the intra-regional specifications there was a crisis of Dalit solidarity in Punjab. The question of Dalit solidarity and identity in East Punjab assumes critical importance as they constitute almost one-third of the total population of the state, largest proportion of the Scheduled Caste population in India. But as far as their share in the agricultural land in Punjab, an agrarian economy, is concerned, it is lowest in the country (2.5 per cent). Less than 5 per cent of them are cultivators.

Samir Kumar Das dealt with the relationship between identity politics and democracy in the North-East. He said while identity played a role in broadening the country’s democratic base and making it a part of the public agenda of rights, it had its limits, especially when it came to the question of sustaining democracy.

Sandeep Shastri spoke about the existence of four distinct regions - the old Mysore, Hyderabad-Karnatak, Bombay-Karnatak and Coorg, in Karnataka and how electoral outcomes in the state had been a by-product of the distinctions between these regions. Muzaffar Assadi spoke about the separatist movements within Karnataka and how these movements had allowed the growth of Hindutva forces as well as new social coalitions to emerge.

Harsha S took up two case studies of the Belgaum border dispute and the demand of classical language status for Kannada. D. Basavaraj took the district as a unit and compared the districts in Karnataka with regard to their economic development.

Rajeshwari Deshpande compared the nature of caste associations of a particular caste and lingayats in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Neeru Sharma spoke of the emergence of Dalit organisations in Tamil Nadu. Bimol Akoijam discussed the relationship of the North-East with the Indian nation.

Prana Pratik Patnaik discussed the role of the media, particularly television in Orissa. He said the coastal regions had emerged as a commercial centre in the state, but at the cost of under-development in other regions of the state. The possible reason for this might be that the hub of media activity itself was located in the coastal region.

Saya Prakash Dash looked at the nature of political leadership in Orissa. Jagannath Ambagudia examined the debates in the constituent Assembly in context of the protection of tribal interests.

Representatives of each group sought to establish that their group was more eligible for safeguards or deserving greater representation than any other. 

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A CUT ABOVE THE REST
First woman officer to replace aircraft engine at high altitude

Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Battling freezing temperatures and logistical limitations at India’s forward-most airfield, women IAF officers have set another precedent. One of them now has the distinction of becoming the first woman officer to carry out an engine replacement on an aircraft in field conditions at high altitude.

Flt Lt Poonam Verma, presently posted to 48 Squadron, a transport outfit based here, had carried out an engine change on an AN-32 turbo-prop aircraft at Thoise this winter. The exercise involved removing the unserviceable engine and replacing it with a new one, which had been airlifted from Chandigarh.

Located at an altitude of over 10,000 feet amid the towering, barren mountains of Shyok Valley, north of Leh, Thoise is one of the world’s highest airfields and supports all operational activities and logistic operations in Siachen sector.

It took three days to replace the engine and carry out ground runs. During such runs some more snags were noticed and they too had to be rectified. Poonam headed a team of 10 technicians and was the only engineering officer involved.

“We were on the tarmac from morning till evening, with temperatures dropping to almost freezing point. Strong winds added to the chill factor,” Poonam, who has about four years service, said. “Unlike large airbases, we did not have the luxury of working in a sheltered hangar. Given the field conditions, there were restrictions on the availability of technical manpower and some facilities,” she said.

The IAF has a well-defined maintenance and overhaul schedule for aircraft. Besides routine pre- and post-flight checks, regular servicing is carried out after every 50 flying hours. Major servicing is done after 300 hours and engines are removed for overhaul after 2,000 hours.

“Though the need to carry out engine replacements in the field is extremely rare, such instances are a fine way of testing the skill and acumen of the officers and technicians, especially in remote and difficult areas,” the squadron’s commanding officer, Gp Capt Parag Sharma said. “These provide valuable experience and instill confidence to work against odds,” he added.

The IAF personnel have also carried out engine changes on Chetak and Cheetah helicopters at extreme altitudes in Siachen in sub-zero temperatures. There have also been instances when such exercises were carried out in areas prone to enemy fire.

On June 3, 1990, a Cheetah helicopter from the Leh-based 114 Helicopter Unit developed a major snag at Amar helipad located at an altitude of about 20,000 feet in Siachen. The only way to retrieve the helicopter was replacing its engine.

Within a week a new engine along with technicians were airlifted to Amar, in a phased manner, and the stranded helicopter was made airworthy, despite the inclement weather and enemy shelling.

This was the first-ever engine change at such altitudes. The unit was awarded Chief of the Air Staff's Citation.

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Recent snow good for region:BBMB chief
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Heavy snowfall during the past few weeks in the Himalayas has come as a God-sent gift for the people of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, said Bhakra-Beas Management Board(BBMB) chairman U.C. Misra in an interaction with The Tribune here today. He took over the organisation about a month ago.

Misra, who has 35 years of experience in the power sector, said, “At the start of this month there was virtually no snow on the mountain peaks and it was a matter of concern.However, now initial estimates reveal that we can get good inflows from the recent snow”. Already, the accumulated snow in the Himalayas is 6 per cent more than last year’s, Misra said,adding that this would be useful during the summer months for irrigation and power generation.

He promised to work with zeal on new projects like the one on real-time collection of data on water inflow in the Sutlej. This would be a satellite-based World Bank-aided project. Data collection centres were being set up along the river and these would be useful during floods and to hold or release water from the dams as per requirement, he added.

The BBMB was also keen on taking up new power projects, but the consent of all partner states was still awaited, he added. These projects could be in Punjab on the natural available locations on the canals. The organisation, with the permission of the Government of India, could also look at fresh projects in Himachal Pradesh, but that was yet to be finalised.

Misra also revealed that 318 mega watt of power generating capacity had been added to the existing capacity.The turbines at the dams operated by the BBMB had been upgraded. Replying to a question if replacing old turbines with new technology ones could yield more power, Misra said,“There has been no drastic change in the technology of turbines in the past few decades. Hence, it would not be prudent to even think of a change which will come at a very huge cost”.

Misra, who has also worked with Powergrid, said there was nothing to worry with regards to reports of silt accumulation in the reservoirs of the Bhakra or Pong dams. “Studies show that silt accumulation is as per the expected norms laid down when the dams was envisaged some 60 years ago”. 

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Parking Blues
Where driving is an ordeal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Driving down the road dividing sectors 19 and 27 is nothing less than an ordeal due to haphazard parking.
Even though the issue has time and again been brought to the notice of the Chandigarh police and the municipal corporation by residents living in the vicinity, the problem continues to be remain parked since long.

A visit to the area is enough to reveal that the cops have hardly done anything to prevent the visitors to the Sector 19 rehri market from leaving behind their vehicles along the roadside.

So much so, the cops have not even installed no parking and tow-away zone signs along the road.

As a result, traffic bottlenecks in the area are common.

If these result in the creation of jams that sometimes last for up to 15 minutes, the authorities are just not bothered about it.

The problem is bad on weekends between 9 am and 8 pm due to heavy rush of visitors to the market.

The residents assert that the problem was not so bad until a few years ago as the number of car owners visiting the rehri market was comparatively less.

But now with easy loans bringing cars within the common man's reach, the number of four-wheelers to the market has relatively increased, resulting in the parking problem and constant congestion on the road.

The residents claim that they have all along been asking the cops and corporation officials to earmark space for the parking of vehicles either in front of the rehri market or behind the main arcade.

“But so far the powers-that-be have not even assured us of initiation of action in the matter”, says businessman-cum-Sector 27 resident Raman Chaudhary.

"So far, we have not witnessed the launching of a challaning drive".

He adds that the failure of the cops to prevent the conversion of roadside into a lot, and then its inability to check the parking of four-wheelers against all rules and norms on the road berms, provides a testimony to the disinterest of the authorities.

Another resident Tarlochan Singh says: “The corporation authorities are active in taking action against roadside vendors, but they are just not willing to remove the illegally parked vehicles though the problem has assumed the proportions of a menace in the city".

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The Connection with Women Power
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Dowry is the root cause of female foeticide. There is a need to eradicate this evil, apart from making women self-reliant and educating them. This was stated by Dr Ranjana Kumari, president of the Women Power Connection (WPC), a national-level organisation. It has constituted alert groups at village levels to nip the evil in the bud, she claimed.

Addressing a gathering at a regional workshop organised by it on “Declining Girl Child Sex Ratio”, Dr Kumari said that the alert groups had been keeping a close watch on various nursing homes and clinics conducting pre-conception and pre-natal sex-detection tests illegally. She also claimed that Punjab and Haryana top the list of the states where sex ratio is on the decline.

Strongly advocating the need for showing greater concern and stepping up programmes for women’s empowerment, administrator of Chandigarh S.F. Rodrigues (retd), called for a serious introspection and a collective action-oriented approach at all levels on various issues concerning women to improve their status in our society. 

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Brahaspati samaroh concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The three-day Chandigarh Sangeet Samaroh concluded with the vocal recital of Sulochana Brahaspati yesterday. The famous practitioner of Rampur Sadarang tradition, Brahaspati has mastery over several musical styles including thumri, dhrupad, khayal, dadra and tappa.

She acquired her initial training from her elder sister Kalindi Neghe and Dr Sharayu Kalekar.

In her recital yesterday, Brahaspati presented the nuances of her gharana, besides exhibiting her virtuosity in the other musical styles. It is worthwhile to mention here that she even won the first prize in the Metro Murphy competition.

Brahaspati’s recital was followed by sarod recital by Chandigarh-based artiste Subhash Ghosh.

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Library committee reconstituted

Chandigarh, February 26
The Chandigarh Administration has reconstituted the State Library Planning Committee of the Central TS Library, Sector 17, and the State Library, Sector 34, here.

The education secretary will be the chairperson while the director higher education will be its vice-chairperson, according to a press note issued here today.

Other members are deputy director (colleges), librarians of Sectors 17 and 34, S.K. Verma, Dinesh Bhatt, B.N. Goswamy, reader, Department of Bio-physics, Panjab University, D.V. Rai and the general manager, Northern Zone, of the Punjab National Bank B.P. Chopra. — TNS

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Appointed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Chandigarh Administration has appointed the director, Social Welfare, as the nodal agent in order to coordinate the steps taken, collect details and give suitable directions in the matters relating to complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace in the union territory with immediate effect.

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Minor girl found abandoned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Two-and-a-half-year-old girl was found abandoned in the Sector 16 General hospital this morning. Her condition was stated to be normal. The police said they received information at around 11:40 am by the hospital staff that a baby girl was found abandoned in the paediatric emergency. The matter came to light when hospital staff noticed the girl crying for a long time and no one was seen attending to her.

A case abandoning a child under Section 317 of the IPC has been registered on a complaint lodged by a senior doctors of the hospital. The police said the matter was being investigated.

Burgled: Thieves decamped with Rs 30,700 and two DVDs from a shop in Sector 22 on Sunday night. The matter came to light when, Manish Gakhar, the shop owner, opened the shop and found it ransacked. A case has been registered. The police said the spot inspection revealed that it was an act of some insider and they were looking into the matter.

Stolen: Vivek Sharma of Sector 27 reported to the police alleging that his Bajaj Platinum motorcycle (HR-07-J-8540) was stolen from his residence on February 23. In another incident, Santu of Deep complex, Hallo Majra, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Bajaj Kawasaki motorcycle (CH-03-P-5306) was stolen from Neelam Cinema parking in sector 17 on Sunday.

Two separate cases of thefts have been registered.

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Clash in Sector 11; 10 boys held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 26
Ten boys, mostly in their teens, were arrested for "committing an affray" when they disturbed the peace at a public place, here today. They were arrested following an "attempted" clash in the Sector-11 market outside a snooker joint. Two boys are still absconding and a police team has been formed to arrest them.

The boys are sons of industrialists, bankers and businessmen. Police sources said that the two groups, led by the local president of the Anti-Terrorism Front Tejinder Pal Singh and Gaurav Pratap Singh, came to virtual blows when the police stepped in and arrested "both gangs".

ASP Maneesh Chaudhary said that the two had an old rivalry which dated back to the last New Year party. "They, along with their members, had both clashed at a party at Wah Dilli on New Year. Gaurav had been hurt in the fight but had expressed his disinterest in registering a case against Tejinder, who would often terrorise everybody by dropping the organisation's president, Maninderjit Singh Bitta's name. Finally, they had reached a compromise," he said.

However, the rivalry continued to simmer and there were repeated clashes between the two groups. Though a major clash was averted on earlier occasions, the police had continued to warn the boys.

Today, the two groups met at the snooker joint where there was a clash between them. Gaurav returned in the afternoon in a Scorpio owned by Tarun Goyal, a resident of Sector 16. The entire gang came armed with baseball bats and sticks while those led by Tejinder were on bikes.

It was here that they were nabbed by the police who had received this information. While they were taken into custody, the vehicle has been impounded. The police has registered a case under Section 160 of the IPC.

Those arrested include Gaurav, Gautam Kaushal, Saidi, Tarun Tejinder, Pradeep Ahlawat, Balwinder Singh, Abhishek, Robin Singh and Sunil Goyal while Nihar Goyal and Karan Bhalla are absconding.

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Expensive liquor overcomes thieves
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 26
A locked house must have beckoned thieves when they broke into house 137 of Sector 4, Mansa Devi Complex.
Hoping to lay hands on a fortune, they broke open a window and the main door to gain entry into the house.

They went through everything in the five rooms before leaving through the back door.

Once inside, they were so overcome by the bottles of liquor that they did not bother to pick up valuables.

They only took Col Surendra Rana’s five-litre bottle of Johnny Walker Red Label Scotch whiskey and a bottle of honey-based liqueur Cointreau.

"I was in Kathmandu and my wife and son joined me two days back. The thieves must have spotted our house and broken in. They also took away a silver statue of goddess Lakshmi and two bangles of gold", he said.

However, the thieves left behind a revolver and some other things.

The owner of the house was informed of the theft yesterday and he reached the city today.

Disappointed over the Scotch whiskey, he said he had bought the bottle a few months back from Kathmandu.

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