C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


The forger who is also a girl pusher
Former bank chief, cop arrested in Sector 24 hotel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The Chandigarh police claims to have busted a flesh trade racket with the arrest of a former chairman of a co-operative bank, Jalalabad, and a head constable of the Punjab Police along with two girls.

The police said the accused were nabbed in Sector 24 this evening following a tip-off.

In charge of the operation cell inspector Vijay Kumar said former bank chairman Surinder Kamboj, involved in several cases of forgery, robbery and drug trafficking, was supplying girls.

Head constable Ajaib Singh, a reader to the deputy superintendent of police, crime branch, Sector 9, came in contact with Kamboj when investigation into the cases against the latter was transferred to the crime branch.

The officer said one of the girls arrested was an 18-year-old single mother. She hailed from Solan district. She quit her studies after 10 plus one and was living in Mohali.

She told mediapersons:“ It was hard for me to stay in the village once I realised i was pregnant. I had no choice but to leave home, lest my family faced stigma”. She said Kamboj used take 50 per cent of the amount charged from customers. She was in the trade for the past over 10 months.

The other girl aged 21 hailed from Ram Darbar. She said poverty had pushed her into the profession.

Inspector Vijay Kumar said following a tip-off, a trap was laid and a decoy sent to the suspects at the parking site of Hotel Parkview in Sector 24 last night. Kamboj and Ajaib struck a deal with him and agreed to supply the two girls for Rs 2,000 each. The two were caught by a police team when the money was being handed over to them by the decoy. The police also impounded the Fiat Palio car (HR-38-0039) of Ajaib Singh.

During preliminary inquiry, a seal of the SDM-cum-Registration and Licensing Authority, Mohali, two ration cards, a driving licence and a registration certificate were recovered from Kamboj. He was also booked in a case of cheating and forgery in this connection later in the day.

The two were produced before a local court. Kamboj was remanded into police custody and the others were sent to judicial custody.

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Cops rain lathis on teachers
Get stoned in retaliation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
A clash between protesting members of the Federation of Unrecognised Schools Welfare Association (Haryana) and the Chandigarh Police left at least 36 protesters and 15 policemen injured at Sector 25 here today.

At least 10 women were reportedly hurt. A woman suffered a fracture on her hand and another fractured her leg. Several protestors sustained minor injuries and bruises. The police said 18 policemen were injured in the clash.

It all started at 4.15 pm when the police resorted to a cane-charge and used tear gas shells to disperse the agitators. The protesters pelted stones in retaliation, inviting the police wrath. Furious cops with lathis were seen chasing the protesters.

Soon it was utter chaos with protesters fleeing to save themselves from the police onslaught. Talking to TNS outside the Sector 24 police post, Onkar Singh, organising secretary of the federation, said the police had attacked peaceful protesters, who were simply demanding that a government representative should meet them.

“We were sitting on dharna when all of a sudden the police attacked us, leaving at least 36 protesters, including women, injured. We will not leave the city until our demands are met.”

SHO of the Sector 11 police station inspector Puran Chand said a case of rioting and causing hurt had been registered against the protesters. As many as 101 persons, including president of the federation Kulbhushan Sharma, had been arrested.

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IT Habitat faces another hitch
Land is 1.25 acres less than allotted
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Graphic: Aditi Chahar
Graphic: Aditi Chahar

Chandigarh, March 22
It seems a rough road for IT Habitat, a residential-cum- commercial area being developed by Parsavnath Developers. The project site is adjacent to Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP).

Now it seems land allotted to the developer measures 1.25 less than the 123.75 acres allotted by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB). Hectic parleys are being held between officials of the Chandigarh administration and the board for an alternative chunk of land, adjoining the site.

“The land was found falling short following a joint inter-state demarcation carried out by revenue officials of Chandigarh and Haryana, as a portion of the land runs along the boundary with Haryana,” said sources.

The developer, objecting to the same has sought an early solution so that the planning of the project is not affected.

A senior official of the board confirmed that allotting an alternative piece of land would mean revised planning, thereby further delaying the project.

The next installment of Rs 100 crore, to be paid by the developer, was due next month. PK Jain, chairman of Parsavnath Developers, said they had written to theboard and a meeting with its officials was scheduled for next week.

About a month ago, a joint demarcation of inter-state boundary was carried out by the revenue officials of Chandigarh and Haryana after the enforcement staff of HUDA removed the fence, claiming that a part of the project land allotted by the UT administration belonged to Haryana.

“Since a 1km zigzag stretch of the project land ran along the inter-state boundary with Haryana, the developer in its effort to straighten its boundary had erroneously done fencing on Haryana land.

This may have resulted in the land falling short.

“The land was correctly demarcated by the revenue officials before being handed over to the engineering department and then to the housing board.

But now minarets have been erected after joint demarcation,” said revenue officials.

Chairman of the board Mohanjeet Singh said the issue had been sent to the Urban Planning and Town Planning Department.

Chief architect Sunita Monga said they had decided to allot an alternative chunk of land to the developer. Some chunk of land had been taken from the forest department and in lieu another chunk of land given to it.

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Bill trauma: Patient pays for room he didn’t get
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The next time you want to avail of a facility at Government Multi Speciality Hospital (GMSH) in Sector 16, think twice. This hospital makes you pay for facilities you did not get.

This is what happened with Harjinder Singh, recently admitted to the hospital with a fractured leg and arm.

Till the time he was in the trauma ward, all was well till his sister decided to get him shifted to a private room. The family had to pay Rs 7,700 for a private room, which they did not use. And strangely, the hospital did not charge the patient for the trauma ward, where he was kept.

On March 1 Harjinder went to GMSH-16 for treatment. On March 3, his sister decided to shift him to a private room. The patient was allotted room 515. The family was asked to pay Rs 5,000 as security. However, they didn’t pay the amount as the room had already been allotted to someone else.

Tired of going through the allotment procedure again, the family decided to keep Harjinder at the trauma ward itself.

Today, when Harjinder was to be discharged, a fat bill of Rs 7,700 was handed over to the family-Rs 6,600 for occupying room number 515 for 22 days and Rs 1,100 as daily charges for the private room.

His hapless sister Harvinder kept telling the authorities that he was not shifted to the private room, but to no avail. Her pleas to Usha Bishnoi Kapoor, medical superintendent-cum-joint director of health services, Chandigarh, fell on deaf ears and she had to deposit Rs 7,700 with the hospital.

The medical superintendent of GMSH, when contacted, said the patient may have been staying at the trauma ward but since he was allotted a private room, he was considered as occupying it. He did not get the booking cancelled, she said.

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IT, Excise Depts on massive recruitment campaign
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The Central Government's rhetoric about downsizing notwithstanding, the Income Tax and the Central Excise and Customs are on a recruitment spree apparently in a bid to widen the tax base.

If the recruitments carried out by the Staff Selection Commission(SSC), the selection wing of the Union Government for the non-gazetted Class B and C since last year are any indication,thousands of candidates are set to join these departments in the coming months.

Inquiries revealed that the SSC had already started process for the selection of over 4,000 candidates for the post of tax assistants. In fact, about 16,500 candidates have already been shortlisted for the final selection, including the computer test.Of the over 4,000 candidates, about 400 are to be selected from the north-western region comprising Punjab,Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh.

Not only that, the Income Tax Department is also set to get another 2,500 inspectors.Last year, the SSC was asked to recruit about 1,000 inspectors. However, this year, the Finance Ministry had given a go ahead for the recruitment of over 1,500 more tax inspectors to help in the widening of tax base, a senior government functionary said here today.

The functionary claimed that with service tax being levied on more services the need for having additional staff had been emerged.

A few years back, these departments were toying with the idea of reducing the number lower-level staff to give an "officer-oriented" outlook to the departments.Besides, computerisation was planned in a major way to improve the efficiency of the department.

The thinking behind these two motives was the fact that the reduction in the lower-level cadres would eliminate corruption and present a more sophisticated face of the departments before the public in the era of globalisation and liberalisation.

A senior officer said in the Indian context, lower-level staff was the need of the hour to do additional work that had arisen in the wake new services launched by the department.Obviously, officers by their very training and status cannot handle the clerical jobs and day-to-day work in the departments, the officer reasoned.

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We always said so: Pandhers

Chandigarh, March 22
With the CBI today giving a clean chit to city-based businessman Moninder Singh Pandher, an accused in the killings of children at Nithari in Noida, his family has heaved a sigh of relief.

Terming the charge sheet as “astonishing”, Moninder Pandher’s son Karan Pandher, said at his residence in Sector 27: “ We feel relieved at the charge sheet prepared by the CBI. We are happy on their findings and investigations”.

On the role of the media, he said it had been negative. It had caused irreparable damage to the family. — TNS

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To avert crisis, UT to pay more for power
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The Chandigarh Administration will pay double the amount for purchasing power from Power Trading Corporation(PTC) to meet the power shortage expected this summer. But this will have no impact on the power rates paid by consumers.

Against the price of Rs 2 to Rs 2.50 per unit under normal circumstances, the electricity department will pay Rs 4.69 per unit during May and June for peak hours supply by the corporation. The department will pay Rs 4.29 during off peak hours.

Reliable sources said: " The department agreed to pay the higher amount because the corporation has decided to sell power through bidding in future. The reserve price has been fixed as Rs 5.81 per unit, plus charges. Competitive bidding will have more competitors and will mean higher prices."

A senior official said: " The consumers need not be bothered because the purchase is a short-term remedy for the shortage expected this summer. Against the present entitlement of 250 mw, we are receiving only 85 mw to 168 mw power per day. The department anticipates a shortage of 50 to 80 mw per day during peak summer from April to September. This could lead to rotational cuts as done last year ".

The department has prepared a report on the electricity supply along with assured supply details which shows a sharp rise in power shortage in the coming decade.

Against the expected demand of 272 mw this year, it is expected to be 600 mw in 2015-16. The upcoming IT Park, Theme Park, Education City and Multi Media Village are cited as the main reasons for the increase in demand.

The UT faces power shortage because it has no source of power generation.The country is divided into regional load centres and Chandigarh draws power from the Northern Region Load Dispatch Centre. However, officials say they have been overdrawing power. "Against the earlier practice of issuing warnings, the load centres now very often cut the supply,” said a senior official said.

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Paid Parking
We have fulfilled our promise, claims BJP-SAD combine
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Once the new terms and conditions of paid parking lots, approved by the Municipal Corporation in principal yesterday will be implemented, driving in and out of the parking lot will hopefully become a more pleasant experience.

According to the terms already cleared by the finance and contract committee meeting, before coming to the house, the parking staff will have to wear uniforms. Air-conditioned taxis introduced will be allowed free access to all paid parking lots maintained by the UT administration for picking up and dropping of passengers only.

Meanwhile, leaders of the BJP and the SAD today claimed that they had fulfilled their promise made to the people of the city in their election manifesto to abolish paid parking. In a joint press conference, Satya Pal Jain, ex-MP, Yash Pal Mahajan, president BJP Chandigarh, and Gurpartap Singh Riar, president SAD Chandigarh, stated that in case the Congress is seriously supporting the proposal of the BJP-SAD combine they should get a directive issued to the UT administration from the home minister asking it to support this resolution. Jain said any move to suspend this resolution will be strongly opposed by the BJP-SAD combine. He further stated that a delegation of the SAD-BJP combine will call on the administrator of Chandigarh on Monday to submit a memorandum, urging him not suspend the resolution.

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Oppn stages walkout over development in wards
Our Correspondent

Opposition councillors stage a walkout during a meeting at the Municipal Corporation Bhavan in Mohali
Opposition councillors stage a walkout during a meeting at the Municipal Corporation Bhavan in Mohali on Thursday. — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, March 22
The Opposition staged a walkout at the meeting of the Municipal Council here today in protest against alleged discrimination by the authorities concerned even as the Kharar MLA said no house tax would be imposed in Mohali.

Twelve councillors of the Opposition gathered outside the meeting hall and raised slogans. They were saying that “they would not tolerate partiality”. They even said they would not allow the civic body to impose house rent on the residents of the town.

During the meeting Amrik Singh, Paramjit Singh Kahlon, Gurmukh Singh Sohal questioned the president of the civic body Rajinder Singh Rana as to why estimates for development works in their wards were not put on the agenda of the meeting. They said estimates worth about Rs 2. 29 crore were put up for approval by the House, of which development works worth only about 45 lakh were for the wards represented by the opposition members.

They said as the president was not ready to give a satisfactory reply in this regard they had no option but to walk out of the meeting.

Amrik Singh said no estimate for development work from his ward and those of Gurmeet Singh, Gurmukh Singh Sohal, Harvinder Kaur, Phoolraj Singh, Mohanbir Singh Shergill, Sukhminder Singh Barnala, and Paramjit Singh Kahlon were included in the agenda.

Rana, however, said the walkout by the opposition councillors was totally unjustified as estimates for developments works in their wards were included in the agenda. Moreover, opposition councillors had planned the walkout.

Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, who attended the meeting as an ex-officio member of the civic body, said no house tax would be imposed in Mohali. He told members of the opposition that no discrimination would be done against them and the development of the town would be carried out in a united way.

In an interesting development the council rejected the suspension of Amrit Lal, a clerk, who was suspended by the executive officer J.S.Thind on March 20 on the charge of releasing stray animals from the cattle pound after accepting undue gratification.

The clerk had requested the civic body authorities to reject his suspension.

Amrik Singh Somal said the suspension of Amrit Lal was unjustified .

The MLA said as most of the councillors were not happy with state of sanitation in their wards, it was decided that in future sanitation contractors would be paid only after they got their bills approved from the councillor of the ward concerned.

Meanwhile, the council cleared a budget of Rs 2961.37 lakh for 2007-08 at another meeting. The proposed income for the next year stood at Rs 2,633 lakh while the proposed expenditure was Rs 2,888.44 lakh.

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Panel okays beautification of parks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The environment and city beautification committee of Municipal Corporation Chandigarh today accorded approval to various agenda items, including the development of parks in the Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, iron railings in parks and landscaping works in various green belts.

The meeting, held under the chairmanship of Gurcharan Dass Kala, approved the following: M.S. flat iron railings in parks near houses No. 1280 and No. 2021 in Sector 21 and a park near house No.1201 in Sector 22 for Rs 3.26 lakh; M.S. flat iron railings and landscaping works in the green belt near houses Nos. 826 to 837 in Sector 7-A for Rs. 3.23 lakh; M.S. flat iron railings, children’s play equipments, etc.

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Transport office gets tech savvy
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 22
Computerised licences and registration certificates will now be issued by the office of the SAS Nagar district transport office.

Dr Karamjit Singh Sra, additional state transport commissioner, Punjab, said here today that the work in the office had been computerised under a pilot project and the trail run in this regard was started yesterday.

He said the entire data had been digitised. Record of the past 20 years had been put on the computer which would help in increasing efficiency of the office.

Ropar district was chosen for implementing the pilot project and funds worth Rs 79.05 lakh were provided by the central government, he added.

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Use water judiciously, say experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Addressing a function organised by the Central Ground Water Board on the occasion of World Water Day here today, director of Punjab Water Resources K.S. Takshi today stressed on the judicious use of water for domestic and other purposes.

Deputy conservator of forests, Chandigarh, Ishwar Singh, highlighted the steps that have been taken regarding the conservation of forests and water.

Speaking on this year’s theme "Coping with water scarcity", superintending hydrologist Anita Gupta suggested various remedial measures for water conservation.

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26-yr old hangs himself
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
A father of two hanged himself to death at his residence in Phase II, Ram Darbar. The police said the body of 26-year-old Ramesh Kumar, a painter, was found hanging from a ceiling fan in his room at 1 pm today.

His father said Ramesh came home late last night. His wife was at her parents’ house in Mansa Devi Complex. Ramesh went straight to his room. In the morning, his father knocked at the door, but got no response. He left the house, thinking he was asleep.

In the afternoon when his wife returned and knocked at the door, there was no response. She called for help. Soon neighbours gathered at the house and broke open the door. The police was informed about the incident.The body was shifted to the Sector 16 General Hospital. The police has initiated inquest proceedings.

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Teenager rapes minor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
A 16-year-old boy raped a minor, alluring her with a chocolate bar. He allegedly threatened the girl of dire consequences of she reported the matter to her parents. The accused is said to be at large.

The police said the incident took place on March 20 evening, when the accused, who hails from Panchkula district, came to her residence in Darshani Bagh, Mani Majra. He was a distant relative of the victim’s friend.

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Peon held with fake currency
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The Chandigarh police yesterday arrested a peon working at the Punjab Civil Secretariat on the allegation of possessing counterfeit currency amounting to Rs 3,500.

He was arrested from the Reserve Bank of India, Sector 17, where he had gone to exchange the currency.

Seven fake currency notes of Rs 500 denomination were recovered from his possession. The notes were worn out. The matter was reported to the police.

Ujagar Singh told the investigating officials that he found the notes from his son’s clothes. He had reportedly disowned his son and the money was found while he was checking his son’s clothes. The police said a case has been registered in this regard.

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Come summer, Samsung has more on offer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Samsung India launched its new range of refrigerators and air conditioners in the city yesterday. The company has come up with nine models of refrigerators and three models of air conditioners.

Announcing the launch here, R. Zutshi, deputy managing director, Samsung India, said the new range of refrigerators included both frost free and direct cool refrigerators. He said the new range of refrigerators also included the first Quatro cooling refrigerator, which has four separate compartments each controlling and cooling separately.

The deputy managing director also said Samsung refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines had been the major growth drivers for the company in Punjab. “We have grown by 31 per cent in refrigerator and air conditioner sales, and by 49 per cent in washing machine sales. Our market share in these three home appliance centres, too, has increased over 15 per cent in refrigerators, 21.2 per cent in washing machines and 21.3 per cent in air conditioners. With the launch of these new models, we propose to further consolidate our position in the home appliance market,” he said.

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Ind-Sigma opens facility at IT park
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Ind-Sigma Infotech, the offshore development centre of Sigma Micro LLC, today opened a shop at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP). This is the 14th company to set a shop in the technology park.

The software development facility, which is the second one to be set up in India, the first being at Kochi, was inaugurated by Sigma Micro’s president, Joseph S. Swern. Speaking on the occasion, he said since the creation of Ind-Sigma Infotech, their growth had increased tremendously. “I look forward to increasing our resources in India. We will be working to expand our product in different areas and offer our expertise in design process to developers,” he said.

Swern added the centre would initially employ 40 persons here and has been set up on a 4,000 square feet area. Ind-Sigma’s managing director, Mukund Krishna, said the IT park in Chandigarh was offering them the right environment to jumpstart their business.

Dr Sanjay Tyagi, director, STPI Mohali, was the chief guest on the occasion, while M.S. Brar, director, IT, Chandigarh, was the guest of honour. Dr Tyagi said software exports from the RGCTP had already crossed $150 million and was expected to reach $250 million within the next two years.

Ind-Sigma is the Indian arm of Sigma Micro, a multi-million dollar US firm. The company recently shot into limelight after it acquired the intellectual property for QuarkCommerce, a Quark software product.

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India Travel Mart begins today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The three-day India Travel Mart, seventh in the series, will begin at Hotel Shivalikview from tomorrow.

The mart, which will offer a variety of holiday destinations and packages, will have three foreign tourism boards — Dubai Tourism, Singapore Tourism Board and Malaysia Tourism — showcasing their products.

Announcing this here today, Dr Gulshan Sharma, director of the ITFT, and Ajay Gupta, managing director, India Travel Mart, said the focus of the travel mart was to promote cinematic tourism in North India.

Besides, stress will be laid on pilgrimage tourism, adventure tourism, eco tourism, medical and herbal tourism, and wildlife tourism.

Gupta said last year’s travel mart saw 15,000 footfalls.

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