C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Demolitions amid stiff resistance
Tribune News Service

The police and the Chandigarh Housing Board staff pluck fruit while taking a break during the drive.
FRUITS OF LABOUR: The police and the Chandigarh Housing Board staff pluck fruit while taking a break during the drive. — Tribune photo by Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, April 13
The Estate Office and the Chandigarh Housing Board carried out two anti-encroachment drives in different parts of the city today. In Sector 55, encroachments in 120 flats were removed. The Estate Office also carried out demolitions in Punjab Engineering College, removing several illegal constructions, including religious ones.

Tempers ran high as a team of the board, assisted by a heavy police posse, demolished structures in 120 housing board flats in Sector 55 here. Angles, wire mesh, barbed wire and berms were removed. A number of gates were pulled down and the grills carried away.

The first hour, from 11 am to 12 noon, saw a lot of opposition as also political interference. A heavy police cordon restrained the crowd, including women. A man was arrested and later set free. " The arrest was made as a preventive step against possible resistance," an official said.

Residents alleged that they had not been served notices. " The team suddenly descended on the area this morning. We first pleaded that we had not been served notices. Then we pleaded that we be given at least three-four hours to make amendments. However, the authorities used brutal force to break the walls and pull down the barbed wires,” said a resident.

Satwant Kaur said: " look at the way our fruit trees have been treated. Pulling down angles have effected the walls at several places".

Manjit Singh Chauhan, deputy mayor, said: "Demolishing exercise without any notices by the authorities was a senseless act. I requested for three hours to allow residents to clear their items, but it was turned down. I even met the board chairman, but to no avail.”

Kewal Krishan Adiwal, a former mayor, said:" We called on senior board authorities. However, even they could not give a satisfactory reply as to why the drive was carried out without any notice. We pleaded with the officials that they the residents be given time to collect their belongings. However, the plea fell on deaf ears."

A senior official of the board said:" There is no harassment. The residents knew that they had done illegal construction and these were to be demolished. There are a total of 504 one and two-bedroom flats in the complex. At least 120 were found to be with violations.

Even the flooring had been heightened at places which impeded traffic. This was a clear case of encroachment on government land.”

A similar drive was carried out at Punjab Engineering College. Two pucca structures consisting of nine rooms built by the erstwhile Rural Housing Development Corporation were removed. The illegal occupants were evicted before the dismantling process was undertaken.



Wheels of contention
Rajmeet Singh/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The Chandigarh State Federation of Cooperative House Building Societies (Housefed), an apex body of cooperative house building societies, is without “wheels”.

Elected representatives of the apex body are being forced to use their own conveyance to perform official duties, thanks to the “frequent” requisition of their official AC ambassador car by the district administration for VIP duty.

In the past one year, the car (CH 03 E 7492) has been requisitioned thrice by the authorities concerned for VIPs. While the vehicle, with its driver from Housefed, remained on duty with the officials of the excise department, the elected members of the apex body were hard- pressed to distribute loans worth lakhs to members of building societies. The salary of the driver is paid by the federation.

On one occasion, the vehicle was forcibly towed away from the Sector 17 office of the federation. Later, the matter was resolved and the vehicle given to the administration “for VIP duty.”

Chairman of the Housefed Jai Dev said he had to repeatedly meet the secretary, cooperation and the registrar cooperative societies, to get the vehicle released from the administration. “After a gap of about two months, the vehicle was released today after I made a complaint”, he said.

Refuting the stand of the Housefed chairman, additional deputy commissioner IS Sandhu -- who exercises delegated powers of the district magistrate under the CrPC to requisition any vehicle on VIP duty --- said the vehicles are always sought on a rotational basis every week. There was a shortage of vehicles.



Beauty with a cause
Gul to pledge organs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Two former Miss India winners - Gul Panag and Nikita Anand - will stand alongside Armed Force officers and civilian dignitaries pledging their organs for donation tomorrow.

The ceremony is scheduled to be held at the Army Research and Referral (RR) Hospital, New Delhi, an official statement said.

Besides Armed Force personnel, first Indian to conquer North and South poles Ajit Bajaj, principal of Delhi Public School Shyama Chona and media personality Ajai Shukla will pledge their organs. Both former Miss India winners hail from Army families and have a strong link to this region.

Gul Panag, who was crowned Miss India in 1999, was born in Chandigarh in 1977 and is an alumnus of Kendriya Vidalaya, Sector 31.

Her father, Lieut-Gen H.S. Panag, is serving as General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command.

Miss India-2003 winner Nikita Anand was born in Jalandhar. Her father, Col S.S. Anand, was a doctor in the Army.

The Army has a unique facility in the form of the Armed Forces Organ Retrieval and Transplantation Authority (AORTA), which strives for increasing awareness on organ donation, their retrieval and transplantation. The efforts of the authority will be co-ordinated by Col (Dr) A.K. Seth, an eminent super-specialist who has vast experience of organ transplantation.

Recently, a serving officer, Maj Vipin Chaudhary, agreed to donate the organs of his mother, who breathed her last following brain haemorrhage while admitted to the RR Hospital.

While the liver was transplanted, for the first time at the hospital, to a serving soldier, kidneys were given to a serving officer and an 18-year-old. Her two eyes were also donated.



Budget under gender lens
Chitleen K Sethi/TNS

Chandigarh, April 13
The UT administration is trying to become gender sensitive. In order to ensure that every penny that it spends benefits men and women equally, it intends to set up a gender budget cell (GBC).

Adopting the “gender responsive budgeting initiative” of the Government of India, UT’s gender budgeting cell will review budgetary allocations, programmes and sectoral policies through a “gender lens.”

The cell will identify programmes being run by the administration and analyse the gender issues addressed by them. “This will include school education, the mid-day meal scheme, the health delivery system, higher education, AIDS control, Integrated Child Development etc.

The cell will monitor the running of almost all programmes, keeping a watch on the beneficiaries. The aim is to collect data on the beneficiaries and suggest improvements,” said a senior official. The cell is bound to come up with interesting assessments. For example as to how many boys and how many girls benefit from the mid-day meal. Or how many women patients visit the city’s government hospitals or how many men and women are using the public transport.

“Any facility that can be assessed in terms of gender will be a part of the cell’s job,” said the official.

The creation of the cell will not mean separate budget to address gender concerns. Instead, the cell will view the government budget from a gender perspective in order to assess how it will address the different needs of women.

The Ministry of Finance, Government of India had early this month issued guidelines to the administration for the setting up of the gender budget cell. The ministry’s secretary had pointed out that these had already been set up in 50 ministries and departments.

The note from the government of India also pointed out that the apparently “gender neutral” programmes are not necessarily gender neutral in the impact they have. The cell will undertake an exercise to identify possible initiatives to improve women’s access to services and their active participation in decision-making.



Fund Diversion
Maj-Gen Loomba censured
Vijay Mohan/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The Army has awarded a censure to a major-general for diverting funds meant to construct safety aids and allied facilities at an ammunition depot in Hisar. The funds were used to construct a swimming pool adjacent to the flagstaff house.

Taking cognizance of audit findings and a subsequent court of inquiry (COI), the general officer commanding-in-chief, South Western Command, Lieut-Gen P.K. Singh, ordered “recordable displeasure” to Maj-Gen R.K. Loomba this week, it is learnt.

General Loomba was the general officer commanding (GOC) of an armoured division in Hisar when the funds were allegedly diverted.

Based upon the findings of the COI, presided by the GOC 10 Corps, Lieut-Gen N.S. Brar, the Army ordered administrative action against him.

Sources said in his reply to the subsequent show-cause notice issued to him, he had maintained that the pool was constructed for the benefit of military personnel and not for any personal benefit.

The authorities concerned, however, were of the opinion that diversion of funds without prior approval was a misuse of delegated financial authority and he could not be absolved of the act of commission or omission.

According to an audit note forwarded to the comptroller and auditor-general, the construction of the swimming pool involved “misappropriation” of funds of over Rs 23 lakh.

Besides, there were also allegations of money from the Division GOC’s welfare fund being used for such works.

Under regulations, public funds and welfare funds cannot be combined.

Based on the recommendations of boards of officers (BOO), an armoured division had sanctioned three projects related to the construction of static water tanks, augmentation of water supply, erecting boundary wall and other facilities at the depot in 2003.

It was later revealed that a swimming pool was instead constructed.



Now, HIV testing at blood banks
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, April 13
All major blood banks in India will now have an additional role to perform. As per the latest directions of the ministry of health and family welfare, blood banks will now also serve as counselling and confirmatory testing centres for HIV positive donors. The policy will apply to all licensed blood banks which collect more than 3,000 units of blood per year.

The landmark amendment means blood donors would no longer have to be referred to voluntary counselling and testing centres (VCTCs) for the confirmation of HIV positive status as earlier. It further allows banks to tell donors their HIV negative or positive status, as the case may be. Besides, it spells a welcome change from the old practice which was resulting in loss of infected donors to lengthy procedures like referrals to VCTCs. Earlier, only the result-seeking blood donors were informed of their HIV + status; that too not at the level of the blood banks.

“Earlier the practice was to simply phone the infected blood donors and tell him to go to VCTC to get their HIV status confirmed. The reason was blood banks were not equipped to conduct confirmatory tests for HIV. Often, lack of counselling at the banks resulted in loss to infected donors, who would not essentially go to VCTCs for reasons like lack of awareness and fear of stigma. But as per the new amendment, blood banks will be upgraded and equipped to provide pre-test and post-test counselling to HIV positive donors and general counselling on risk-free behaviours to HIV negative donors,” sources say.

Aimed at early detection of the virus, the decision follows a review of the old policy conducted by the National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC) and National AIDS Control Board. Members of the NBTC strongly suggested that sero-reactive (HIV positive) donors should be called to the blood bank concerned for counselling and confirmatory testing instead of being referred them to a VCTC, which may not be effectively linked to the bank.

For this purpose, one post of a counsellor will be created in all major blood banks, supported by National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) as approved by the National AIDS Control Board. To cover the cost, the ministry has decided to raise the annual budget of each major blood bank from Rs 3.78 to Rs 4.56 lakh.



Central govt offices closed today

Chandigarh, April 13
All central government offices, including industrial establishments, public sector banks and educational institutions, will remain closed tomorrow on account of the birth anniversary of Dr B.R. Ambedkar.

The holiday had been declared by the central government under Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, secretary of the Central Government Employees Welfare Coordination Committee, Yash Pal, said here today. — TNS



e-sampark centres closed today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
All e-sampark centres will remain closed on April 14, Saturday, on account of Baisakhi and Ambedkar Jayanti.



Baisakhi fest gets off to a colourful start
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, April 13
Governor of Punjab and UT administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) today asked the Chandigarh administration to commission a coffee-table book depicting different moods of lake. He was speaking at a special function at Sukhna Lake, here, today.

The Chandigarh Baisakhi festival got off to a colourful start at the banks of Sukhna Lake with a glamorous and fun-filled inaugural ceremony.

Colourful bhangra and giddha performances, beating of drums and display of distinctive art forms by artistes from different states of the country made the event a joyous and memorable occasion for thousands of the spectators. Children of three different schools presented songs in praise of the City Beautiful and the band performances were adding attraction to the function.

General Rodrigues inaugurated a photo exhibition "Enchanting Sukhna" with 53 photographs of Pradeep Mahajan beautifully mounted and displayed by the Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh. He also wanted that in future the festival should be celebrated on a bigger scale and a theme song for the city should be selected after holding an open competition.

He flagged off a cultural parade organised by the North Zone Cultural Centre with artistes presenting culture performances of different states on tractor trolleys demonstrating the unity and integrity of the country. The parade culminated at Sector 17 Plaza passing through Rock Garden, Jan Marg, Sectors 16 and 22.

Meanwhile, as many as 15 well-known artists of the Nightingale Music Akademy, led by Punjabi folk maestro Dolly Guleria, recreated the rustic grandeur of Punjabi folklore at the Lake club here today. The event was organised by Chandigarh Tourism.

With four-year-old Riya giving a serene start to the festival with a recitation from the sacred Japuji Sahib and young Sunaini teaming up with Dolly Guleria, the three generations of Dolly represented timeless melodies, some of them immortalised by the legendary Surinder Kaur.

City pride Nek Chand and city mayor Harjinder Kaur, along with Rajpal Singh, secretary general Punjab Arts Council, felicitated Dolly Guleria on her birthday which falls today, and greeted the audience on the Baisakhi festival. Later, the artists of the Lishu-Chirag group presented theme-based choreographies.



‘Land owners want to be part of development’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
In an open letter to the Administrator regarding the news report “No respite, says General” that appeared in the April 13 edition of the Chandigarh Tribune, Kultar Singh Nat, secretary, Mani Majra Farmers Welfare and Environment Protection Association, has joined issue with him.

He has said it is commendable that the Governor has the interest of those "who have been casualties of our economic advance." But what about farmers who are being “ forcibly separated from the prosperity of the development of their land”.

He has said farm owners are in mo way an impediment in the upliftment of the poor and downtrodden. On the contrary, they want to be part of development, as is evident from the Pind Bachao Committee and the Mani Majra Farmers Welfare and Environment Protection Association's application to the office of the Governor, with models of development to help the administration's fulfil the vision for planned urban development.

The Mani Majra Association in that letter has asked the administration to frame a policy for such development where land owners may pool land for development, just as the administration has framed policies for land use change for the industrial area and SCFs in Chandigarh and also modified building bylaws.

“By portraying land acquisition as a tool for job creation for the marginalised, the poor and the illiterate, the Administrator has not mentioned that this is being done by providing subsidised land to global IT companies and private developers and the beneficiaries are certainly neither the poor, nor the illiterate,” he has said.

He claims an effective subsidy of over Rs 1,000 crore (calculated against the auction value of land in Mani Majra) has been given to Infosys and Wipro.

“And, just as migratory birds do not need malls and multiplexes, but protection of ecology they inhabit, they certainly do not need 1,500 apartments in 60 high-rise buildings, 300 ft from the Sukhna Lake,” he has said.



RTI query on playing coach during office hours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
In what could cause serious trouble for certain central government employees who are allegedly doubling up as cricket coaches in a city-based coaching centre, a young cricket enthusiast has sought information from their respective departments as to whether these officials are permitted to do so.

According to information, city resident Gurinder Saini filed an application under the Right to Information Act with the public information officer of the Reserve Bank of India.

In his application, Saini has wanted to know if permission was granted to senior assistant (cash department) Harminder Singh Kaku, allowing him to coach various academies during office hours. The applicant has also asked if the official was allowed to charge “hefty fees” from students for the same.

Enquiries have revealed that Kaku, who is a former Ranji player, is one of the three coaches at the cricket academy being run on the premises of Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36.

Saini is also learnt to have brought to the notice of the office of accountant general (audit), Punjab, the fact that its employee, R.P. Singh, is also imparting coaching to students at the same venue.

Incidentally, Saini himself was till recently coaching budding cricketers at the school.

Saini’s query has been forwarded to the public information officer of the Reserve Bank of India (central office), Mumbai, who has sought relevant details from the local office.

It remains to be seen what information the RBI provides and what action, if any, it takes in the matter.

However, when contacted, Chandigarh Cricket Association secretary Mohinder Singh, who manages the academy, denied that Kaku was imparting coaching at the centre. “Being a former Ranji player, he comes daily to the academy to hone his skills,” he said.



Identify TB patients in slums: General

Chandigarh, April 13
We are losing the battle on the health care front as poor people are unable to reach hospitals due to financial constraints, ignorance and superstitions. This was stated by Punjab Governor and UT administrator General (retd) S.F. Rodrigues, here today.

The Governor was addressing Chandigarh administration officials and doctors after inaugurating a health mela, aimed at giving free services to those suffering from mal-nutrition, anaemia, diabetes, heart problems, etc., at Bapu Dham colony, Sector 26.

Asking the home secretary and director health services to organise frequent and regular healthcare camps in different colonies and rural areas, the Governor stressed upon the need to evolve a more responsive and methodical system of extending diagnostic facilities, including portable X-ray machines, ultrasound sets and laboratory equipment.

Calling for a systematic approach, the Governor said the objective of health camps could only be realised if follow ups of such programmes were conducted. He also asked for a special survey to be done in slums to identify patients with tuberculosis and to make arrangements to check the spread of this disease.

Specialists from various departments rendered their services at the mela. Information regarding National Health programmes under the National Rural Health Mission was also given to the people.

Several Family Welfare Associations and the AIDS Control Society also put up their stalls to educate the people. Later, General Rodrigues interacted with leaders of the Muslim community and asked them to take initiatives to ensure that their children receive quality education and healthcare services. — TNS



Jean Rodrigues meets artisans
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Jean Rodrigues, wife of Punjab Governor and UT administrator, today interacted with local women artisans of Bapu Dham Colony at the Anganwari Centre in Sector 26, Chandigarh.

She motivated the women to be self-reliant and self-sufficient. Self help groups (SHGs) of such artisans were also formed.

Jean said these SHGs would provide training in various works like tailoring, stitching, embroidery, etc, and would inspire other women of the locality to come forward and start their own businesses. She informed that the works of these artisans would be on display at the Panchayat Bhavan in Chandigarh.

Others who were present on this occasion included, director of the social welfare department Amandeep Kaur, besides other officers. 



Ludhiana woman alleges rape; inquiry on
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
A Ludhiana-based tea vendor today levelled charges of rape against four persons, including two politicians and their driver.

Talking to mediapersons at Chandigarh Press Club today, she alleged that she was gang-raped over a period of two months by two influential politicians and two other persons at an unknown place where she had been “confined” to.

She alleged that the police had been trying to “suppress” the case.

She alleged that she had gone to a gurdwara near her tea kiosk in Ludhiana at 8 pm on January 2 to offer prayers. “Two persons called me inside a room on some pretext. They raped me overnight. When I regained consciousness the next day, I found myself in an undisclosed place. There they kept me in confinement for two months and assaulted me sexually,” the woman alleged.

After escape on April 6, she claimed that she contacted the SSP, Ludhiana, who marked an inquiry to a DSP.

“They are now pressuring me to reach a compromise. The police has obtained my signatures on blank papers and I fear they may use the documents against me,” said the woman, accompanied by her lawyer Paramjit Singh.

SSP Ludhiana R.K. Jaiswal admitted that the “victim” had complained to him. “I had marked an inquiry into the matter to DSP, Sarabha Nagar. The probe is on and action will be initiated only after the verification of the allegations is completed,” he said.

When asked why an FIR had not been lodged in the case so far, he said the matter pertained to a period of over two months and in such cases a proper verification was done before an FIR was lodged.



Missing father, daughter
Police looks for signs of accident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 13
The Panchkula police today began investigating into the disappearance of chartered accountant Sanjiv Trikha and his six-year-old daughter Aakriti.

While the police team and officials of the forest department, Himachal Pradesh, searched the area around Timber Trail for signs of an accident, the local police is investigating the possibility of a foul play.

Police sources said the family had alleged that Sanjiv had some differences with a former employee of his company. The police will interrogate the employee for possible leads pertaining to the disappearance of the father-daughter duo.

Meanwhile, since Sanjiv disappeared after crossing over to Himachal Pradesh, the district administration has taken up the matter with the authorities there.

District police sources said a search operation was carried out to ascertain if an accident had taken place, but it yielded no results.

Sector-11 resident Sanjiv along with Aakriti had left home for Timber Trail on Sunday. He had contacted his wife Aditi from the resort and informed her about reaching there safely. However, there was no contact between him and the family after the call was made at 11.55 am.

The police said the ATM and mobile remained unused after the last call was made. The mobile was now inaccessible, it added.

Aditi said she was supposed to accompany them but decided to stay back with their younger daughter and her in-laws. Thirty-seven-year-old Sanjiv is working with an MNC in Baddi, while Aakriti is a student of Class I at St Xavier’s High School, Sector 20.



Child Law Aborted
Single challan in 6 months
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Ten-year-old Muzammil works at a teal stall near the district court complex in Sector 17. And he is not alone at work. There are 25 others - all below 14 years - from Muzammil’s village in eastern UP, where the fear of dacoits still forces parents to send their wards to safer havens like Chandigarh.

Never mind the fact that these children are employed in trades declared hazardous by law. Sector 17 is no exception to the norm of child labour, which is thriving in the tricity in spite of government’s commitment to ban it.

Passed in October last, the modified Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, aims to ban employment of children in domestic and other trades like dhabas, restaurants, hotels, motels, tea shops, resorts and other recreational centres.

Those caught employing children below 14 can be punished with one-year imprisonment or a fine of Rs 10,000 or both.

But six months later, the UT labour department has managed to file just one challan under the ambitious law. Worse still, the violator could not be punished as he shut down his business and fled.

Anuradha Lamba, assistant labour commissioner, UT, admits the enforcement of the law has been poor, but adds: “We are reeling under staff shortage. We don’t even have a baseline survey that we can use. We don’t have any authority to enter houses and check if children have been employed. Most children work in makeshift eateries or tea stalls that are not registered. How can we challan the owners of unregistered shops?”

The law doesn’t answer this question, nor does it explain the authority under which enforcement agencies can enter houses of people to check if children have been employed. Such entry amounts to trespass - an offence under the law.

With enforcement problems abound, the numbers of child workers continue to swell. Meanwhile, the UT administration has not conducted any survey of child labour in the city nor has it worked out any rehabilitation plan just in case child workers are rescued in the future.

“The Government of India is conducting a nationwide survey of the problem. We are identifying NGOs that can send the city data to the ministry,” Lamba said.

While that happens, children like Muzammil and Ibrahim, both from UP, will continue to lose their innocence on the roads.

The only bright spot in their day is the evening when they return to the shelter home, which the Youth Technical Training Society runs in Sector 17.

The home meant for working children has 30 inmates - several below 14 years.



Councillor in spot over payment to investor
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 13
A resident of Phase X has complained to the police that a municipal councillor and her husband were allegedly not returning his money, which he had invested in the two societies being run by them. Instead, the two of them were allegedly intimidating him.

Capt Harminder Singh Kaura, a merchant navy officer, told the police that he had invested Rs 4 lakh in the form of fixed deposits in the two societies allegedly being run by Amteshwar Kaur and her husband Amarjit Singh. The fixed deposits were for a one-year period. These got matured in 2005, but were extended for another year. However, even after the maturity of the deposits in 2006, he had not been given only Rs 2 lakh.

Swarandeep Singh, DSP (city), said he had received a complaint from Kaura on the basis of which he had called the husband of the municipal councillor. Amarjit Singh would be meeting him on Monday in connection with the complaint.

Talking to The Tribune on the phone, Amarjit Singh said the name of Amteshwar Kaur was being dragged into the case only because she was a municipal councillor. She had nothing to do with the cooperative societies referred to by the complainant. He said he was the caretaker of one of the societies while Anil Pahwa was the secretary of the other society.

He said he had already paid Rs 2 lakh to Kaura. The recovery of money was slow and he had taken up cases of defaulters with the assistant registrar, cooperative societies, Mohali. The remaining amount of Kaura would be paid as soon as the money was recovered. He denied that he or his wife had intimidated Kaura.



Watering of lawns banned
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 13
The water supply and sanitation department has imposed a ban on watering lawns and washing of vehicles during morning hours from April 15 to June 30.

Executive engineer of the department said here today that the ban had been imposed from 5 am to 9 am. Residents violating the ban orders would face disconnection of supply. The use of booster pumps fitted directly on the supply pipeline had also been prohibited.

He said the ban had been imposed to reach water supply to upper floors at good pressure.



Water tank ‘no hazard’
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 13
Residents of Kalgidhar Enclave in Baltana have welcomed the construction of a water tank in their locality.

Contrary to the contention of a couple of residents of the locality that it is a safety hazard, welfare society chief says the tank would prove to be a boon for the residents.

The opposition to the construction of the tank has come from two households in the locality. They have maintained that the tank has not been adequately distanced from their houses and the site is meant for a park, for which they have paid charges.

The chief of the society, Col J.S. Sodhi (retd), says: “The water tank was approved after a detailed study of the area. There is no safety hazard, nor the tank will encroach upon the major space in the park as it would be built on columns”.

“Moreover, no charges have been paid by any resident for the park. The site has been earmarked for a tubewell and an overhead water tank, the work on which has already been started,” Colonel Sodhi maintains.



MPLAD scheme
Bansal reviews works
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Member of Parliament Pawan Kumar Bansal today held a review meeting to monitor the progress of MPLAD scheme in Chandigarh. The meeting was co-ordinated by deputy commissioner R.K. Rao.

Rao apprised Bansal of the various works undertaken in the city under the scheme.

Bansal, who is also the minister of state for finance, urged the district authorities to complete all pending works sanctioned during the 13th Lok Sabha by July 31.

He pointed out that precious time was lost in the submission of planning drawings. He added that the need of resident welfare associations, villages and children must be kept in mind while implementing works under the scheme.

He asked field officers to adopt innovative techniques during the execution of works so that local needs were addressed and at the same time durable community assets were created.



Man commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 13
A resident of Kumbra village allegedly committed suicide by jumping into a well here today.

Karamjit Singh, alias, Bittu, (32), took the extreme step in the morning after he was refused money by members of his family. He walked out of the house and jumped into the well, which was about 150 metres from his house. It is alleged that the deceased was an alcoholic.

Naresh Kumar, a resident of the village, said people gathered near the well soon after the news spread in the village. They threw ropes into the well in order to save Karamjit Singh, but all in vain. Finally, Gurmel Singh got into the well and the body of the deceased was pulled out. The death of Karamjit Singh was a big shock for his wife, Babli.

Raka Ghira, SHO of the Phase VIII police station said Karamjit worked as a carpenter and used to allegedly spend all his earnings on buying intoxicants for himself. The family was economically weak.

The father of the deceased, who worked in the PWD, was getting Rs 500 as pension and had suffered a paralytic stroke. His mother was working as a peon. Karamjit Singh had three children . A postmortem examination of the body was done in the Civil Hospital.

The police has initiated proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPc in this regard.



Car, three mobikes stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Keerti Gupta of Sector 15 complained at the police station in Sector 11 that her car (CH-03-Y-7354) was stolen from her residence last night. The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC.

In another case, a motorcycle belonging to Pushpinder Singh of Sector 9 was stolen from the parking of Sector 17. The police has registered a case under Section 379 at the Sector 17 police station.

Damneet Singh of Sector 40 and Swaranjit Pamar of Sector 45 alleged that their Bullet motorcycles were stolen from Sector 40 and Sector 34, respectively. The police is looking into the matter.

Hit and Run

The local police registered a case against an unknown scooterist on the complaint of one Chillma, who alleged that the suspect sped away after hitting her near Government School, Sector 38, yesterday morning. The injured Chillma was admitted to Government Hospital, Sector 16.

Man held

The police arrested one Sham of Sector 25 from Sectors 38 West small chowk yesterday and recovered 12 grams of smack from his possession. A case under the NDPS Act has been registered. 



Currency exchange camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The Reserve Bank of India will organise a camp to facilitate the exchange of small-denomination soiled notes of Re 1 to Rs 10 at the Madhya Marg branch of the State Bank of India, Sector 7, according to a press note issued here today.



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