C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Gave tickets, not visas: Sandal Travels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Following news reports that 36 persons hailing Punjab and Haryana had been deported from Dubai on Monday night for travelling on fake documents, the Chandigarh Police today made inquiries with a Sector 34-based travel agency.

DSP, economic offences, P.K. Dhavan said taking note of the news reports published in the media they talked to Mukesh Kumar, owner of Sandal Travels Private limited in Sector 34. Mukesh told the officials that they had provided only ticketing services to the 35 deported youths and had nothing to do with getting them visas.

He told the police that 35 persons had purchased return tickets for Delhi to Dubai from him on a visitor’s visa He was not aware of the fact that they had work permits.Their return flight was scheduled for May 7.

DSP Dhavan said though the Delhi police had not contacted them so far, they had verified the credentials of the travel agency on their own. The credentials of the owner and the company had been checked and relevant information needed in this connection collected.

The brother of Mukesh, told TNS that 35 passengers had purchased tickets from them on a visitor’s visa.



Nothing model about this Model School
Parents write to DPI against staff
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Barely four days after a ruckus at the newly opened Government Model High School, Sector 38 (West), over political leaders trying to intervene in admissions, another scuffle took place between parents and the teachers of the school staff today.

The parents, from Dadumajra Colony, submitted a written complaint against the teachers, including headmaster Ajaib Singh.

The parents alleged that the teachers misbehaved with them when they approached them for admission of their wards. “The teachers abused us and threatened to hand over us to the police,”alleged Darshini.

Fifty-year-old Rajrani said: “We have been coming to the school for days. The headmaster sends us back on one pretext or the other.” Some alleged that their children’s applications were thrown into the dustbin.

DPI (S) SK Setia said: “Yes, I have received a written complaint from the parents. There are problems with administrative control of the school.”

There are only 10 teachers deputed in the school, a majority of them JBT teachers. How fair is it to depute JBT teachers in a model school?

When this correspondent contacted the headmaster of the school, he found that no one held the post officially. Ajaib Singh, the seniormost teacher, had not been given official powers to take any action or decision.

Denying the allegations, he said “These are baseless charges. The parents lost temper because we were not able to tackle such a heavy rush. I have been deputed here as in charge, but no powers have been given to me officially. The drawing and disbursing officer (DDO) powers rest with the headmistess of GHS, Maloya , and additional charge is with the headmistress of Government Model High School, 38-D.”

Tall claims were made by the administration during the inaugural function of the school that it would be ‘one of its own kind’ school. But as things stand now, it seems no proper plan has been done to run the school. The fact of the matter is that 600 students have been admitted for the current session but the school has no adequately qualified staff.



Pool Puddle
Palatial houses for judges lie vacant
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Even as Punjab alleges that the Chandigarh administration arbitrarily withdrew houses from the Punjab pool and placed these in the pool of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, palatial houses built for the purpose in Sector 39 have been lying vacant since the last over three years.

Built for judges of the Punjab and Haryana High court, the bungalows could not be allotted as the judges preferred houses in Sector 24, which is located near the High Court.

Around Rs 2 crore has been spent on building five houses, each spread in over two kanals.The cost includes works on link roads and street-lighting.

A senior official admitted that the houses were lying vacant since two years, but did not give a reason for the same.

During the course of last hearing of the public interest litigation (PIL), senior standing counsel told the high court about the willingness of the UT to transfer the five Sector 39 houses to the Punjab pool.

“Knowing well that houses are not to be allotted to the judges, the administration has preferred to sit on these instead of shifting the houses to the Punjab or Haryana pool,” said a senior Punjab official.

A number of bureaucrats of Punjab and Haryana live in the vicinity of the houses. The Punjab minister’s complex is located at a short distance from the bungalows.
The houses were completed in May 2004 through funds provided by the Centre. “During the course of construction, the judiciary informed the administration about its decision. But the engineering department went ahead with the construction as the funds had come from the Centre” said an official.

Till date the maintenance wing of the engineering department is looking after the houses.



Now, technical audit of works

Chandigarh, April 25
Following complaints about the quality of work being executed by the Chandigarh Housing Board and the Municipal Corporation, the Chandigarh administration has decided to hold technical audit of the works executed by the two agencies.

So far, the financial audit of the work alone is held. However, the UT engineering department is not covered by the technical audit. — TNS



Mushroom prices meatier than chicken
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
Mushrooms are now more expensive than chicken and paneer. With the mushroom season at its fag-end, the price of this cash crop has gone up to Rs 140 per kg.

Chicken prices in the tri-city vary from Rs 75-85 per kg, and cottage cheese from Rs 90-Rs100 a kg.

With the sharp rise in prices of mushrooms, these have gone beyond the reach of common man.

Till two days ago, mushrooms in the tricity were available for Rs 200 per kg, though the wholesale prices varied from Rs 160- Rs 170 per kg. About a fortnight back, mushrooms were selling at Rs 70- 75 a kg.

Traders in the city said because of a huge demand for mushrooms in the past one week, on account of the marriage season, the prices had shot up drastically. Mohammad Ismail, a mushroom trader in Sector 26, told TNS that mushrooms in the region came from farms in Solan and Morni. “As the temperature soars, mushroom production comes down and cultivators are now making the most of the gap in demand and supply,” he said.

Because of the high prices, small vendors have stopped stocking mushrooms. Jagdev Verma, a fruit and vegetable vendor in Sector 9, Panchkula, said he could not afford to buy the mushrooms at the wholesale rate of Rs 120 per kg.

This high price has now forced hotels and restaurants in the tricity to withdraw mushroom dishes from their menu. “Only in cases where the customers are willing to bear the additional enhanced cost, we are offering mushroom dishes for parties. 



209 jhuggis removed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 25
Land worth crores of rupees was got vacated by the enforcement wing of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) in a demolition drive carried at Phase VI here today.

As many as 209 jhuggis were removed amid minor protests. It is learnt that two municipal councillors from Chandigarh had objected to the drive.

The GMADA team gave an hour’s time to the jhuggi dwellers to remove their belongings. The drive started around noon and ended at about 3.45 pm. Two JCB machines were press into service.

Additional chief administrator, GMADA, Manjit Singh Narang said 4,000 sq yds of prime land was got vacated. It had been encroached upon since 1988. He said the encroachers had earlier been served notices to vacate the area and an announcement in this regard had been made in the area for the past three days.

Residents of Phase VI had been demanding since long to get the area vacated as jhuggi dwellers had allegedly created unhygienic surroundings.



Ammunition Scam
Boxes were not checked, says officer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
An officer from 5 Sikh Light Infantry (SLI) serving as the battalion’s quartermaster, Maj Murli T T, today stated before the general court martial (GCM) trying Col Vishal Bhargav for alleged misappropriation of ammunition in the Kargil sector, that he had not personally checked the ammunition and compared the same with vouchers. Hence he could not vouch for the correctness of the documents.

On being cross-examined by defence counsel, Col S K Aggarwal (retd), Major Murli said that 5 SLI was responsible for the safety and security of the ammunition kept in the battalion magazine and that soldiers of 4/8 Gorkha Rifles, the unit of the accused, could not enter the magazine. The handing over-taking over would be done only under the supervision of 5 SLI, he added.

Defence counsel contended that Maj Murli had submitted factually incorrect documents and that the prosecution was not conducting the trial in a just and fair manner. Evidence favourable to the defence, he said, was being withheld, which amounted to denial of justice.

The prosecution also examined Lt Col Shalabh Pun, who was earlier posted in the operations branch of Headquarters 192 Mountain Brigade. He deposed that on August 22, 2005, he got a telephonic message from the intelligence branch at Headquarters 8 Mountain Division that some civilians had seen some ammunition lying on the banks of the Indus river near Dah bridge on the Khalsi-Batalik road.

He said he visited the site along with 5 SLI personnel, took photographs and collected some ammunition rounds and mortar bombs as a sample for the subsequent court of inquiry in case the water in the river washed away the boxes.

Colonel Pun also said that over a year afterwards he could not identify the photographs he had taken as these were mixed with other pictures taken later.

He said that he could not recollect the number of boxes found at the site as the water was muddy. He also said that he did not see the name of any unit on the boxes and nor did he notice any markings on them.

On objections raised by the defence, the court did not allow the photographs to be admitted in evidence. Colonel Punn’s deposition will continue tomorrow.



Major-Gen’s website violates service rules
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
A personal website has been hosted on the Internet by the Judge Advocate-General (JAG), head of the Army’s legal department, in apparent violation of service regulations as no prior permission for it was obtained.

“It is submitted that as per records no military intelligence has been accorded to Maj-Gen Nilendra Kumar to host a private website on the Internet,” an affidavit submitted by the Union of India before the Delhi High Court has stated. The affidavit was submitted on the directions of the court in reply to the contents of a petition challenging the General’s law degree.

A multi-page website with nine sub-sections under the domain of www.majgennilendrakumar.cjb.net lists out the general’s personal details, his career profile, areas of specialisations, articles and lectures by him, pictures and details of books authored by him along with reviews and memberships of various organisations. It also contains a photo gallery with his pictures with various dignitaries, including Presidents and Service Chiefs.

“As per relevant Army orders and regulations, hosting of websites containing service information on the Internet is not permitted. Unclassified service matters may, however, be hosted on websites on Internet with prior approval of the appropriate authorities,” a statement issued by Army headquarters in response to an official query on the subject stated.

In his own affidavit Gen Nilendra Kumar has denied the contents of the relevant paragraphs in the petition and has contended that they have no relevance as to whether he is holding the office of JAG illegally.

It may be mentioned here that about a year ago the Army had reportedly initiated action against a serving Major from the Corps of Engineers who had hosted his own website and given out his personal and service details.

Recently, there were reports of several official regimental websites being asked by the military intelligence to shut down as sensitive information was given out in them. Several such websites hosted by illustrious infantry and armoured regiments are no longer accessible. However, websites hosted by regimental associations, which also include retired officers, continue to run.



Journalists seek action against DC
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 25
The Mohali Journalists Joint Action Committee has demanded action against deputy commissioner Harjit Inder Singh Garewal for providing wrong information to the media. The information pertains to a case relating to the municipal election from the ward from where former president of the civic body Kulwant Singh had contested.

At a meeting held here today, representatives of major daily newspapers decided that the matter would be brought to the notice of the Punjab Chief Minister and the chief secretary. It was also decided that in future the statements of the deputy commissioner would be published only when given in writing.

Kulwant Singh had filed a petition with the election tribunal in August last year stating that most of the votes that had been allegedly rejected by the polling staff in Ward No. 15 were polled in his favour. He had lost the elections to Gurnam Bindra Singh by a margin of 52 votes. Elections to the Mohali municipal council were held on July 30 last year.

On April 17, the deputy commissioner told a number of mediapersons on the phone that he had ordered the re-counting of votes for the ward on April 24. When mediapersons went to the court of the deputy commissioner yesterday to cover the re-counting of votes, they got to know that no written orders for re-counting of votes had been given by the deputy commissioner. Orders were given only to summon the record related to the election.

Mediapersons accused the deputy commissioner of behaving in an irresponsible way by providing wrong information to the public, courts and the parties concerned.



Club panel meets CM
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 25
Members of the steering committee, Gymkhana Club, Sector 6, led by its convener, Capt R.R. Bhardwaj (retd), met Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda here today and submitted a memorandum to him seeking an elected body for the club.

The chief minister assured the delegation that he would discuss the matter with the chief administrator, HUDA.

The members discussed with the Chief Minister poor catering, bar services and the ill-maintained swimming pool at the club. 



Snag hits power supply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 25
The southern sectors of the city were plunged into darkness late at night whilst still others experienced power fluctuations owing to a snag in the power line from Mohali. Power was shut down to Sectors 20 to 35, 44 to 52, Burail and others areas for over half an hour around 11 pm due to the problem.

According to the Superintending Engineer Surinder Pal, the problem was detected within the hour and he said that power would be resorted shortly. 



Provide infrastucture

The government is doing a lot for the uplift of the underprevileged sections. But at the same time it is unable to provide basic infrastructure. I was astonished to see that in one of the anganwaris, a health worker was vaccinating kids as well as pregnant woman on a cot.

Abhilasha Gupta, Chandigarh

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Two held for forgery

Chandigarh, April 25
The police today arrested two persons on the allegations of duping a private bank of Rs 5 lakh by submitting fake 

Sources in the economic offences wing of the Chandigarh police said Rakesh Kumar Aggarwal of Sector 7, Panchkula, and Gurvinder Singh of Zirakpur were arrested on a complaint filed by Ramesh Dhingra, manager collection, ABN Amro Bank, Sector 17-E. The suspects, who are businessmen, along with three-four others, forged documents and duped the bank. A case of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy had been registered against them. Ramesh Dhingra alleged that the accused had procured a loan of Rs 5 lakh from the bank and after sometime stopped paying instalments. It was learnt that the accused had taken a loan of Rs 1 lakh from another bank. — TNS



Rs 2.20 lakh stolen from motor cycle
Tribune News Service

Ambala, April 25
Thieves stole Rs 2.20 lakh from the dicky of a motor cycle in Pansari Bazar, Ambala Sadar, this afternoon.

Gaurav, an employee of a private firm, took his wife to a doctor. He had kept the amount in the dicky of his motor cycle. When Gaurav and his wife returned after meeting the doctor, they found that the lock of the dicky had been broken and the packet containing Rs 2.20 lakh stolen.

He had withdrawn the money from the Bank of India to make a payment to a firm in Jagadhari.

A police official said the modus operandi of the gang was to keep a watch on people who kept large sums of money in the dickies of their two-wheelers. Then the gang members would follow the person and steal the money after the two-wheelers were left unattended.

Photo lab burgled

Thieves struck at a photo lab in Ambala cantt on Tuesday night.

The owner of Sweety Colour Lab saw the locks of the shop broken in the morning. A sum of Rs 30,000, three digital cameras and two mobile phones were stolen.



Poultry farm owners booked

Panchkula, April 25
The Barwala police today booked the owners of Amit Poultry Farm and Nitin Poultry Farm for not conforming to cleanliness standards at their respective farms. The case was registered following a surprise visit by deputy commissioner Neerja Shekhar and SDM Virender Dahiya.

The district administration had issued guidelines to poultry farm owners to maintain cleanliness in the farms to check the fly menace in the block. — TNS



Canada eases norms for skilled labour

Chandigarh, April 25
Canadian immigration authorities have thrown their doors open for one lakh skilled workers from India and other Asia-Pacific countries in 2007.

Lt Colonel B.S. Sandhu, CMD, World Wide Immigration and Consultancy Services (WWICS), said that skilled workers - truck drivers, construction workers, hospitality workers, carpenters, mechanical trade workers and general labourers - were in high demand in Canada in the current year.

He added that the time for processing work visas had also been reduced by the Canadian immigration authorities ranging from a few weeks to a month.

Workers will be allowed to work for around 40 hours a week. The work permit might last up to two years which would further strengthen the possibility of workers to achieve permanent residency status. — TNS



Grovers’ debut in hospitality

Chandigarh, April 25
Hotels are sprouting up a dime a dozen in the city and visitors will soon have a choice with something to suit every budget right from five star hotels to inexpensive accommodation. The entire stretch from Sector 35 to 43 is teeming with options galore with another entrant, Hotel KLG making its ‘debut’ in Sector 43 today.

This 30-room hotel boasts of comfortable parking (soon to be a rarity in the city) with 30 rooms ranging from standard to executive ones. These come furnished with mini-bars, shower panels, expensive furnishings, furniture and lighting systems, and even a shoe-cleaner on every floor.

A multi-cuisine restaurant that serves preferences ranging from Mughlai to Italian, Lebanese and Thai will be ready in a week. This comes along with wi-fi hot spots around the hotel and even ramps along the stairs for the convenience of physically disadvantaged guests.

The hotel, to be run by 26-year-old Akshay Grover, is his family’s maiden venture into hospitality. — TNS



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