C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

VIP’s kin in hit-&-run case; cops silent
Raju William/Ramanjit Sidhu

Dehradun/Chandigarh, March 31
As the Uttarakhand police is looking for Doon School student Abhimanyu Walia, a resident of Sector 34-D, Chandigarh, the local cops refused to act in the case. When the Chandigarh Tribune team visited the Abhimanyu Walia’s residence, it was found to be locked.

The Uttarakhand police has launched a manhunt to nab three students of Doon School, including Abhimanyu Walia, who were allegedly involved in a hit-and-run incident that left one of the two motorcycle-borne persons dead and the other seriously injured after being hit by their speeding car on the busy Rajpur Road in Dehra Dun on Wednesday night.

The three students are Abhimanyu Walia of house No. 1572, Sector 34-D, Chandigarh, Pranav Sawroop of Muzaffarpur and Uday Pratap Singh of Delhi. The Honda City (DL 3 CAK 5828) in which they were travelling hit the bike coming from the Mussoorie side. The trio fled the spot.

The police impounded the abandoned car after registering a case under Sections 304A, 279, 337 and 338 of the IPC.

While one of the victims, identified as Vikrant Singh, succumbed to injuries in the Doon Hospital, another Rahul Sharma is battling for life at the Jolly Grant Hospital. The deceased has a minor daughter.

Sanjay K. Gunjiyal, SSP, told The Tribune that they had dispatched police parties to Chandigarh and Delhi to catch the culprits. But, the police could not confirm whether the boys were under the influence of liquor.

As per the police version, the boys were involved in a car race with other students including some girls of a well-known school after attending a party post the annual Class XII ISC examination. Some eyewitnesses brought this to the notice of the police, which also learnt that Walia, who was allegedly driving the car, had been provoked by the other two friends to drive fast. The car hit the motor cycle coming from the wrong side.

Doon School headmaster Kanti P. Bajpai stated that the boys were not staying in the school hostel due to some disciplinary action taken against them. As such the school owed no responsibility since the boys were no more under its supervision.

Meanwhile, a caretaker of the Walia’s house told The Tribune team that he had no knowledge of the whereabouts of his master and his family. He said he came back from his village this morning and found that there was no one in the house. He learnt that the family had left the city on Friday evening.

He however, feigned ignorance about the accident, stating that Abhimanyu was a good boy.

He did not have the keys of the house and as such was sitting in the garage throughout the day. Another man, accompanying him, said they did not have water to drink and had to suck whatever water was found in water pipe.

The SHO of the Sector 34 police station, inspector Prem Kumar Chauhan, said they were not contacted by Dehra Doon police for any help in the case. 

Abhimanyu Walia of Chandigarh, one of the suspects, belongs to a well-connected family. His grandfather, Harbhagwan Singh, is former advocate-general of Haryana. His father is an advocate in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.



CITCO shed owners get raw deal
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The industrial sheds of the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO), in both phases of the industrial area, have not been transferred in the names of their holders even though they were promised that it would be done after 15 years of the original allotment.

A number of sheds were allotted before 1980. The industrial area has approximately 700 sheds which were to be transferred in the names of the allottees after 15 years of the allotment. These occupy nearly one third of the total area of the industrial area and nearly half of Phase II.

Compared to the owners of independent big plots on freehold, the shed owners can not give big amounts for conversion (Rs 20,000 per square yard). The average size of the sheds (five and seven marlas) makes it non viable for their holders to opt for conversion independently. The issue now rests in the office of the finance secretary.

An old letter (October, 2005) has now surfaced. In the letter, CITCO has informed the Estate Office that as per terms and conditions of the lease deed, no allottee is allowed to transfer his rights or change legal status of the sheds allotment. It has been observed that transfers have taken place by way of general power of attorney, Will or special power of attorney outside the family. Such transfers are not permissible.

Raminder Singh Kapany, vice-president of the CITCO Shed Owners Association, said: “I was given the shed in 1978 with the condition that it would be transfer after 15 years. Now whenever we raise the issue, officials visit our sites and crib about bylaw violations and also subletting of the plot. I think three fourths of the sheds have already changed hands.”



Panchkula taps go dry
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 31
Even as the summer season begins to settle down in the city, it has brought with it the chronic water woes. Though HUDA claims there is no shortage of water, residents of the first and second floors are already beginning to feel the summer fury.

The water shortage is likely to get more acute as the summer hots up. From Sector 2, Surinder Singh Chaudhary, says, ”Water is a constant problem in our sector. While we were troubled with muddy water supply some weeks back, water pressure has become a problem now. There is virtually no fresh water supply to the first floor.”

In Sector 12, Binny Goyal, a housewife, says they have had to construct special tanks in the basement to pump water to all floors of their house. “Come summer and the first and second floor taps go absolutely dry. The officials keep screaming that there is no water shortage and yet it is a big problem in the city year after year,” she maintains.

President of the Citizens Welfare Council, Sector 15, S.K. Nayar says summers have just only begun and the first-floor residents are forced to queue up for fresh water. “If this is the situation in the beginning of April, May and June, when summer will be at its peak, is only going to become a nightmare,” he says.

A resident of Sector 7, Mala Chowdhary, vouches for this poor supply of water on the first floor. “Water supply is restricted a few hours in the morning and evening. And, to add to our problems, there is an odd-power cut that wrecks havoc with the supply. In the face of no pressure, there is no choice but to get water from the ground floor,” she rues.

In Sector 21, Ravinder Verma is tired of calling up the department concerned for help. “They are laying new pipes in our sector. Whenever the work begins, they cut off supplies to our area. We have approached them to help us out with ensuring uninterrupted supply but they can’t seem to find a way out,” he adds.

While the officers of HUDA state that there is no shortage of water to cater to the requirements of the city, pressure, they admit, is a problem. “We have a supply of nearly 22 MGD while we require only 20 MGD to take care of the needs of the city. So, there is no shortage of any kind. However, the residents can help by ensuring that all taps on the ground floor are not running so that water supply can reach the other floors as well,” an official said.

Meanwhile, bracing up for the summer months, a tubewell has been made operational in Sector 5 while there are two in the pipeline to take care of Sector 11 and a couple of them will be bored in Sector 15 as well. The department is also shortly going to restrict washing of cars and watering of lawns in view of the water problem to ease the situation a bit.



Victim turns out to be swindler

Chandigarh, March 31
High drama prevailed today when a Sector 46 resident alleged that he was kidnapped by certain persons from the road dividing Sectors 32, 46 this morning. The police said the “victim” had allegedly withdrawn Rs 6.50 lakh from the account of one of his alleged kidnappers, a Bapu Dham colony resident, who was taking him to the police. The SHO of the Sector 34 police station, inspector Prem Kumar Chauhan, said both parties were called in the police station. It was found that both parties had a financial dispute. Later, they agreed to resolve the matter amicably with the “victim” saying that he misunderstood the incident to be a kidnapping. He agreed to settle the financial dispute. A daily dairy report had been registered in this regard.

Sources in police said they received a call of kidnapping at around 11:30 am. Parmeet Singh of Sector 46 alleged that he was kidnapped by Amrinder Singh, alias Bobby of Bapu Dham Colony.

At the police station Amrinder told the police that Parmeet had promised to arrange him a loan to purchase a vehicle. The latter told him that he worked for a Sector-20 based private finance company. Parmeet allegedly took two blank cheques from him and later withdrew Rs 6.50 lakh from his account.

He did not arrange the loan even. When Amrinder came to his residence, Parmeet agreed to go along with him to the financiers. — TNS



Youth killed in accident

Zirakpur, March 31
Sandeep Sharma, a resident of Raipur Rani, Panchkula district, was killed when his motor cycle was hit by a truck from behind. on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur highway this evening. According to the eyewitnesses, Sandeep, in his early twenties, was on his way to Zirakpur from Chandigarh . — TNS



Vehicle tracking, call-routing systems in the offing
Police control room up for revamp
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

The Flip Side

The introduction of latest technology notwithstanding, police personnel posted in the PCR have maintained that they will only react after getting a call from the control room and have refused to go to the scene. This, they say, is because they have been issued strict instructions by senior officials not to change their location.

Chandigarh, March 31
Police control room (PCR) vehicles deployed in different parts of the city can now respond to distress calls even without waiting for instructions or directions from the control room.

For, the Chandigarh police is all set to revamp its PCR functioning with the introduction of latest technology.

With the introduction of the automatic vehicle tracking system (AVTS), senior officials will be able to keep a watch on all 30 PCR vehicles and 35 motor cycles across the city from the police headquarters in Sector 9.

Sources in the police say the AVTS, equipped with global positioning system (GPS), will display the position of vehicles on a digital map, which will be installed at the headquarters.

The policemen on duty can also make use of the GPS technology for communication, which was earlier possible only through the wireless system.

In addition, the PCR functioning will be computerised and with a view to distributing calls coming to the PCR telephone No. 100, these will be routed through the latest automatic call distribution (ACD) system.

The software will route all calls coming to the PCR through its server and distribute these to each of its 10 operators.

Deputy superintendent of police (communications) Roshan Lal said in the existing system, a call made to the PCR would land on one of the 10 junctions operating in the control room.

Earlier, the call was manually handled and the caller sometimes found the number busy. The operator attending the first junction often remained busy.

With the introduction of the new technology, the software will automatically route the call and analyse the time of each operator while attending a call.

He added that the call distributed through the ACD would be routed on through computer telephone integrity (CTI).

The CTI server, containing data of telephone subscribers of various companies, will display the telephone number, name and address of the caller.

The information will be forwarded to operators concerned, thus saving time of the operator to manually register information.

Sources in the police said the technology would help record the reaction time of policemen and vehicles.

The police will integrate its 24-channel digital voice logger with the proposed system, through which information received in control room would be recorded.

Citing benefits of the technology, senior superintendent of police Gaurav Yadav asserted that earlier the information was recorded in log books and was scattered. Now, they would have a database of each spot.



Fire Dept
Foreign trip has many fuming
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
A trip undertaken by officials of the municipal corporation has raised quite an eyebrow in the corporation.

The trip has been undertaken by MC commissioner P.S. Aula, joint commissioner H.S. Khandola, SE public health S.R. Aggarwal and a sub-fire officer to buy equipment for the fire department.

The officials plan to purchase a hydraulic platform and a turntable ladder, costing around Rs 4.1 crore.

A similar machine had been purchased from Finland earlier.

Officials are upset at the inclusion of an official from the health department, when he has no role to play.

Officials are also questioning the wisdom in including the sub-fire officer in the team when he has no “technical” knowledge of machines.

Sources in the corporation state that officials of the fire department are also unhappy at the exclusion of chief fire officer in the committee.



Governor greets people on Milad-ul-Nabi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), while extending his greetings to people on the eve of Milad-ul-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Mohammad, today called for renewing the resolve for dedicating oneself to the goals of peace and working for the establishment of a dynamic and enlightened society through good deeds and actions, as visualised by the Prophet.

In consonance with the teachings of Prophet Mohammad, General Rodrigues said the Chandigarh administration had initiated a programme to upgrade the socio-economic, educational and health status of the Muslims along with other minority communities with the active involvement of their representatives.

He said the aim of the programme was to upgrade the madrasa system of education and equip the youth with various professional and vocational skills to meet the future challenges.



Muslim body extends greetings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The United Progressive Muslim Front has extended greetings to people of the tri-city on the occasion of Milad-ul-Nabi, which falls tomorrow.

Milad-ul-Nabi is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Prophet Mohammed.

Muslims celebrate the occasion by visiting each other’s home, offer prayers at mosques, illuminate their houses and prepare a feast to celebrate the occasion.



Teacher plays saviour
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Vijay Kumar Mittal, a government schoolteacher, on Thursday night played saviour to an abandoned newborn baby here.

The boy was allegedly dumped by someone in the Old Rajpura locality. The child was noticed by a local youth, Saurabh Gupta, who had taken his dog out for a walk, near the railway tracks around 9 pm. Saurabh raised the alarm, following which a crowd gathered on the scene.

Mittal, one among the crowd, volunteered to take care of the child. Meanwhile, the police was informed, which handed the child over to Mittal. Mittal and his family said they would raise the child and complete the necessary legal formalities for adoption.



Delegation meets officials on e-governance

Chandigarh, March 31
In order to suggest various modules for effective e-governance, a delegation of the PHDCCI held a meeting with officials of the Chandigarh administration yesterday.

It was chaired by Lalit Sharma, advisor to the Administrator. The delegation led by Ashok Khanna, former president and chairman, regional development council, PHDCCI, recommended certain modules of e-governance that were a fallout of the Prime Ministers’ conclave organised by the PHDCCI here last year.

The PHDCCI urged the administration to lead in practising e-governance and set up an example for other states by providing public service delivery for residents of the city; providing electronic clearance of goods and passenger vehicles for optimum collection of government revenue; and ensuring IT-enabled system for awarding contracts, tendering, procurement, etc.

Tanmoy Chakrabarty, vice-president, TCS, said the next level of e-governance would focus on intra-department efficiencies, healthcare management, etc.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of the administration, including home secretary Krishan Mohan, finance secretary S.K. Sandhu, IT director M.S. Brar, and tourism director Vivek Attray. — TNS



PSB union secy flays Khera

Chandigarh, March 31
Reacting to a news-item, "Union defends bank director", carried in these columns on March 30, the All-India Punjab and Sind Bank Officers Union has disassociated itself from "such act".

A press note issued by general-secretary Vinod Gupta and vice-president T.S. Gill said union president G.S. Khera's statement in this regard was considered at a meeting. All members present in it disassociated themselves from the "act". It was also resolved that Khera was not authorised to issue such statements on the union's behalf. — TNS



All geared up
Big, better bike’s the rage
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Harjeet Singh Makkar, a Sector 37 resident, is all set to ride off on his 24-gear bicycle in Chandigarh.
Harjeet Singh Makkar, a Sector 37 resident, is all set to ride off on his 24-gear bicycle in Chandigarh. — Tribune photo by Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, March 31
Tread uncharted ground, with wheels beneath your wings. Chase the wind and take that bumpy road with elan, for bikes no longer ‘stick-in-the-mud’.

Assuming a funky yet functional avatar, their prices are almost irrelevant, with the cycle’s “commuter” image changing.

The city’s casual riders are now buying bigger, better and more hi-tech bicycles to suit their needs.

“You pay more, you get more. Greater flexibility and smooth movement on any surface are just two advantages to a good bike,” says Rakesh Mohindra, founder member of the Chandigarh Amateur Cycling Association.

For Harjeet Singh Makkar (38), general manager of a mobile company in Mohali, buying a high-end mountain-bike, the Trek 4300, is just his way of “discovering dreams”.

Far from being a cycling enthusiast, Harjeet took it up two years ago and that too on his niece’s cycle. “Ten days ago, I decided to buy the best bike there is so that I would take cycling seriously.”

Light at 13 kg, the bike is made of aluminum alloy and has 24 gears.

Price? “Today, even mobile phones are as costly and we never think twice about changing them,” he smiles. Indeed, Harjeet is now planning a trip uphill.

For Bajirao, professor of law at the Army Law Institute, Mohali, it was exercising without walking that did it for him.

“I love to cycle around, listening to music and exploring lanes that cars cannot take,” he smiles.

He chose a FireFox with its sleek design and features “that other bikes did not have”.

With a two-tier gear system, adjustable seat, disc brakes, as found in cars and suspension, Bajirao has been cycling 10 to 12 km daily on his street bike.

Women too have their share. Anuja Lath Gupta, chief operating officer a company, has a Hero Ranger, seven-gear mountain bike, that she uses to bike around with her kids.

“I had a 10-gear racing bike in school and college. So when I decided to buy one for me, it had to be with gears. Also, when my girls go out cycling I go with them. That way I can look after them,” she smiles.

So, how did this change in perception come about?

Speaking to Chandigarh Tribune from Delhi, Shiv Inder Singh, managing director, FireFox Bikes, attributes this change to altering mindset.

“It is all about the magic of biking. Apart from being an excellent form of exercise, this is something you can do with the whole family in tow.”

According to him, these bikes may seem unique in India but the world over these are standard cycles.

“Since the bicycle was not used by the upwardly mobile population in India, being positioned as a commuter’s vehicle, the technology that went into it did not take off until recently.”

However, he admits that this is a niche market and professes to be “pleasantly surprised” at selling “double of what we had planned”.



Man dies in accident
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 31
A resident of Chandigarh was killed late last night after his scooter hit a pole on the Chandigarh-Sohana road.

Rakesh (35) was an electrical mechanic and had a shop in the Badheri market. He was reportedly not wearing a helmet when his scooter skidded and he sustained head injuries.

It is reported that he had allegedly consumed liquor and had left the Badheri market around midnight.

In another incident, the police recovered a body near the petrol station in Phase IX last night.

The deceased has been identified as Sham Lal, a resident of Rajasthan.

He had come to visit his brother-in-law in Chandigarh. His body has been sent for postmortem.



Dhanas Murder
Victim’s body given to kin

Chandigarh, March 31
The local police today handed over the body of Godawri, who was allegedly strangled to death by her husband at their Dhanas residence on Friday, to her parents after a post-mortem examination.

The police said the examination confirmed death due to strangulation.

Meanwhile, the accused, Laxman Singh, was not discharged from hospital today and was under observation. — TNS



‘Conflict with man killing tigers’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
“Poverty is the root cause of rising man-animal conflict. In case a serious thought is not given to this, it will result in the wiping out of the tiger population from the planet. The ecosystem in which the tiger exists will collapse, as it is a keystone of the complex food web.”

These observations were made during an interactive session organised by the Chandigarh chapter of the Association of British Scholars (ABS) on “Preservation of wildlife” and screening of “Conflict Tiger”, a Russian documentary with English sub-titles. The screening was followed by a panel discussion.

Dharminder Sharma, field director, Chhat Bir zoo, was the guest speaker. D.V. Bhatia, president ABS, and Nidhi Srivastava, DFO wildlife, Patiala, joined him to answer the queries of members.

The movie is based on the growing man-animal conflict and the reasons behind it.

The movie depicts a man-eating Siberian tiger in the far-eastern region of Russia, which has lost his fear of man.

It was felt that a serious thought needed to be given as to why people killed tigers.

The price of a dead tiger in the international market, around $20,000-25,000, was the primary lure for poachers.



Rickshaw-pullers challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The Chandigarh traffic police today held a special drive against rickshaw-pullers and cyclists violating traffic rules and regulations.

In all, 145 rickshaw-pullers were challaned for various offences, including wrong entry, not using cycle tracks and jumping traffic lights.

The cyclists were punished on the spot by deflating tyres of their cycles.



CPI raps admn for demolition notices

Chandigarh, March 31
The Chandigarh district council of the Communist Party of India has criticised the administration for issuing notices of demolition to the residents of Shastri Nagar.

Stating that it was an arbitrary act on part of the administration, the party said the land being acquired by the administration was being sold to builders.

Devi Dayal Sharma, secretary of the party, said the Shastri Nagar residents were being victimised. The party has demanded a white paper on the land acquisition. — TNS



The art of living

While the March 31 edition had a man killing his wife and then attempting suicide due to debt, the previous day’s edition had two people committing suicide due to depression.

How can one infuse life into these depressing times? The answer to this lies on the sports page of the March 31 edition where two 60 plus athletes are seen competing for medals.

— B. Nayyar, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



Unsorted Cheques
Bad blood between banks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The inability of most banks to follow the guidelines issued by the MICR house with regards to depositing only government cheques for clearing today led to some bad blood between the MICR branch and two major banks - State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank (PNB).

The MICR house had instructed all banks to sort cheques and get only government ones for clearance today, following pressure on the branch on the last day of financial year.

However, almost all banks gave unsorted cheques. Since the PNB and the SBI have huge transactions in the tricity and had maximum number of unsorted cheques, officials at the MICR branch refused to sort these. The two banks were told to take away the cheques and sort these.

Officials of both banks refused to sort the cheques, saying that unsorted cheques of other banks had been accepted by the MICR house.

The matter was later resolved with the intervention of senior officials of Reserve Bank of India (RBI). As a result, the special clearing session to be held by the MICR branch for dealing with the financial year-end rush (between 5 pm and 7 pm) was delayed by almost two hours.

An extra clearing session was held between 7 pm and 9 pm to deal with the excess rush of cheques.

The special clearing (with return clearing) was conducted today as well as yesterday.

Meanwhile, transactions worth Rs 800 crore were effected in the tricity on the last day of financial year 2006-07.

Around 42,000 instruments were cleared today. During the day, people in large numbers were seen at tax collection counters set up by authorised banks in the tricity for deposition of various taxes.



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