C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Elderly couple, servant murdered in Kajheri
Tribune News Service

SSP Gaurav Yadav at the murder site at Kajheri village
SSP Gaurav Yadav at the murder site at Kajheri village on Monday. — Tribune photo by Vinay Malik

Grieving relatives of Gurdeep Singh who was found murdered at Sohana on Sunday with former Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal
Grieving relatives of Gurdeep Singh who was found murdered at Sohana on Sunday with former Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal  — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Chandigarh, May 14
A 76-year-old dairy farmer, Sucha Singh, his wife Balbir Kaur, and their servant Chottu were found battered and strangled to death in Kajheri village, near here, this morning.

The crime was purportedly committed by those who had been assisting the victims in running a dairy farm, one of the biggest, in the Union territory.

The motive of the crime, if the police is to be believed, is robbery. The police is on the trail of Rajiv Kumar and Santosh Kumar, alias Soni, both from Bhagalpur in Bihar, and their acquaintance Amit Kumar, who worked part-time with the slain farmer.

Perhaps, antecedents of none of the three suspects were checked or their names reported to the police for verification.The suspects reportedly decamped with cash and jewellery after committing the crime.

The body of Sucha Singh was found in the cattle-shed, where his servant Chhotu used to sleep. Chhotu was probably done to death on his cot. There was blood all over his face. The victim’s wife, 70-year-old Balbir Kaur, was, perhaps, the last one to be done to death. She was attacked on her bed on the first floor of the house. The killers, it seems, hit Sucha Singh on the head and then strangled him with a rope.

Balbir Kaur appears to have struggled to save her life. Her face bore injury marks and the rope with which she was strangled was found around her neck.

The house was ransacked, the almirahs and bed boxes opened. The assailants had snapped the telephone wire. The horrifying crime came to light early morning when customers came to the house to fetch their daily supply of milk. But an eerie silence awaited them. Within minutes, scores of villagers assembled in the house. The matter was reported to the police around 6 am.

A mobile phone of one of the suspects recovered from the murder site helped the police to identify the suspects. Another clue that led to the chase of the suspects was the mobile phone of Sucha Singh, which the suspects had taken away. They even answered a call made on it, said a police officer.

Forensic experts of the Chandigarh Police and the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) were at the spot to pick up clues. However, as a lot of people had visited the house before the experts reached there and some evidence may have been destroyed. People were seen washing the floor to clean cattle dung and may have wiped off some clues.

Residents alleged that the police took quite some time to reach the crime site. Denying the allegations, senior police officials maintained that information was received at 6:06 am and a control room vehicle (PCR) reached the spot by 6:18 am. Before that a sub-inspector from the Sector 36 police station had reached there.

Of the three suspects, Rajiv, was a permanent employee while Soni used to milk the cattle on a daily wages of Rs 20 per day. They both stayed in their employer’s house. Their acquaintance, Amit, had bought a rickshaw recently from one Shambhu, who runs a guest house in the village, for which Soni had stood guarantee.

The two reportedly met Shambhu on Sunday, asking him to take back the rickshaw and return the guarantee.

The police has registered a case on a complaint by Sucha Singh’s cousin Gurdeep Singh, a former sarpanch of the village. Gurdeep Singh told TNS that Sucha Singh would keep his first-floor accommodation locked from inside during the day. The elderly couple were cautious of not opening the door to strangers and would contact their servants on parallel phone lines installed in the house. A heavy iron grill was fitted at the entrance of the residence.

The couple leaves behind two sons and three daughters, all settled abroad. Gurdeep Singh said Sucha Singh, a retired inspector from the department of telecommunication, was a prosperous dairy farmer. He had sold two buffaloes on Sunday and was renovating his house. The killers knew that he had a lot of money.

Senior superintendent of police Gaurav Yadav. SHO of the Sector 36 police station Ishwar Singh Mann said the sim card of Sucha Singh’s mobile phone was found by Gurdeep Singh later in the day, which he handed over to the police.

The post-mortem of the couple would be conducted tomorrow. while that of Chhotu’s was done today.



Servants were not registered
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
A second case of triple murder in less than 16 months. Are the city residents facing a new threat? The murders have once again brought to the fore the inadequacy of the law and order machinery which has repeatedly failed to inspire confidence among the old and lonely in the city.

It’s their money and vulnerability which makes them easy targets for domestic help.

A substantial percentage of murders, kidnappings/ abductions, thefts and burglaries indicate to the growing involvement of migrants.

In 2004, out of the total 22 cases registered, 20 were solved, in 2005, out of the 18 cases registered 14 were solved and last year the police solved nine of the 12 cases 12 registered. Police officials say in almost all unsolved cases, migrants were involved either as victims or killers.

Chandigarh’s law and order has deteriorated since the seventies with the coming up of slums and colonies around the city. For so many dwellers in these areas, the lure of easy money is hard to resist.

Sucha Singh who was killed today had not got his servants names registered with the police, said a police officer. Sources said since August 1, 2004, till date as many as 1,711 persons had been registered.



They kept waiting for ‘Jeepwala’
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Sucha Singh “Jeepwala,” failed to keep his appointment this morning, much to the wonderment of his customers.

Many thought that he may have had a problem with his jeep in which he used to carry drums of fresh milk for supply in the city. None could imagine that their septuagenarian had met a gruesome end.

Dressed in white kurta pyajama, he would arrive in his white jeep to supply milk. He had fixed several spots in the city where he would blow the horn of his jeep to announce his arrival to waiting customers.

“He was a thorough gentleman. Punctuality and purity were his watchwords,” remarked Sushil Goyal, a resident of Sector 44, one of his oldest customers.

‘He was one of the best dairy farmers of this region,” said Kulwant Singh Kler, president of the North India Dairy Farmers Welfare Association.

“We do not have adequate trained manpower for running the labour-intensive dairy sector. We mostly depend on migrants because they are ready to work for long hours. It is time for the government to introduce a security mechanism to watch the interests of both farmers and farm workers,” adds Kler.



Gurdeep was killed by cousin
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 14
The Mohali police claims to have solved the murder of Gurdeep Singh with the arrest of one person here today, even as relatives of the arrested person held a protest outside the office of the SSP.

Gurdeep Singh (32 ), a resident of Sector 69, was found murdered in his car yesterday morning. His throat had been slit and the body was found lying in a pool of blood. He was allegedly murdered by his cousin. A case under Sections 302 and 120 B of the IPC was registered in this regard.

Relatives of the deceased blocked traffic in protest against the arrest of Gurpreet Singh by the police. They claimed that Gurpreet was innocent and as such should be released. The grieving relatives also made a complaint to Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, leader of the opposition in the Punjab assembly , who had come to attend a rally in Phase I.

However, the protesters dispersed after the police convinced them about the role of the arrested person in the crime.

SSP Ranbir Singh Khatra said at a press conference here that the police had arrested Gurpreet Singh, alias Ladi , a cousin of the deceased, on suspicion but on questioning he had confessed to the crime.

The weapon used in the crime had been recovered. The police had also been sent to arrest the wife of the deceased. He alleged illicit relations and greed for money were the reasons behind the murder.

He said the deceased was a liquor addict and as such was not keeping good health. Gurpreet Singh was staying at the house of the deceased for the past about two years and during this period he had allegedly developed illicit relations with the wife of Gurdeep Singh.

Gurdeep Singh had got a piece of land on the name of the suspect which now the former wanted to sell. A deal had been struck and Gurpreet knew that he would not get any money out of the sale of the land and allegedly wanted to get rid of his cousin.

Khatra said on the evening of May 12, Gurpreet Singh had left for his native village Bir Khanpur. He was told by Sukhjit Kaur, wife of the deceased, that Gurdeep Singh had gone to buy liquor. Gurpreet met his cousin at the liquor vend. Gurdeep Singh then went to his car and took the back seat. Instead of driving him back home, Gurpreet allegedly took his cousin to a secluded spot and murdered him.

The weapon used in the crime was recovered from a nearby pond. His blood-stained clothes were also recovered by the police.

Gurpreet Singh , who was produced before mediapersons , denied that he had illicit relations with his cousin’s wife. He , however, admitted that he had committed the crime.



Civil Services: Amit 2nd, Juhi 10th
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
City lad Amit Saini, a medico from Government Medical College and Hospital here has made it to all India second position in the Civil Services Examinations - 2006.

Another city student, Juhi Mukerjee, a product of Panjab University has secured the 10th position in the final list of successful candidates that was declared by the Union Public service Commission (UPSC) in New Delhi today.

This is the second consecutive year that a city student has stood second in the civil services examination. Last year Gurneet Tej from the city had made it to the same position.

Amit Saini has made it to the second position in his third attempt. He is currently serving as assistant commander in Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which he joined in 2002. He has also served as a medical officer at GMCH for two years.

Talking to TNS from his current place of posting Khujaraho, Amit said he always wanted to get into proper IAS for which he kept his third and final attempt alive for three years. “I studied for over six hours a day round the year and ten to twelve hours a day before and during the examinations, with zoology and medical as my subjects,” he said. Amit, who is married to a dentist says he was grateful to God, his parents and his friends who have always been very supportive.

Amit’s father Devinder Singh Saini retired from Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority as research assistant a few years ago. Elated over the success of his son, Saini said, “Amit continued to work hard for his next attempt even while he continued to work at Assam first and now at Khujaraho.”

Juhi Mukerjee has made it to the 10th position in her first attempt. A gold medallist in MA Economics from PU, Juhi has been preparing for civil services since she passed out of the university in 2005. “I studied for at least seven hours a day regularly. Also important is proper coaching and professional guidance,” said Juhi.



14 from city make it to Civil Services
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
City students have once again made their mark on the national scene with at least 14 students making it to the toughest competition in the country: The All-India Civil Services Examination.

The results of the examination held in 2006 was declared today in Delhi. Amit Saini, a Sector 40 resident who has bagged the second position, and Juhi Mukerjee, a Sector 44 resident who has got the tenth position, are among those who have made it to the final list.

City resident Satwant Khanalia is placed on the 46th position, while Pankaj Nain is on the 88th position.

Ruchika Jain, daughter of businessman Sudhir Jain from Ambala, is on the 112th position. A biotechnology engineer from Panjab University, Ruchika prepared for the civil services while she was doing her engineering. “This is my first attempt. I will either get the IAS or the IPS. I will prefer the IPS. I am grateful to Anil Narula of the Abhimanu Centre in Chandigarh, my parents, my engineering college teacher Rohit Sharma and family friend Anil Kaushik for their guidance,” she said.

Two sisters from the city, Samriti Goel Saran and Khushboo Goel, daughters of Punjab IAS officer Ashok Goel, MD, Punjab State Warehousing Corporation, are on the 158th and 249th positions, respectively.

Both graduated from MCM DAV College. Samriti topped her MBA from PU and got into the civil services a year ago. She has improved her position this year. For Khushboo, it is her first attempt and she will be appearing for the prelims again on the coming Sunday to improve her position. An MBA from Dehli University, Khushboo will get the IRS.

Amit Katoch is on the 166th position. An engineer from Punjab Engineering College and Sector 35 resident, Amaninder Singh Dhindsa, is on the 217th position and is currently working with Siemens in Gurgaon.

“He appeared in the test with sociology and mathematics as his subjects,” said Anil Kumar of the Sector 32 IAS coaching centre.

Sanmeet Kaur, a resident of Sector 70, Mohali, is on the 218th position. Daughter of retired Chief Engineer (B&R) of Punjab Sarup Singh, Sanmeet is an engineer from the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala. This is her scond attempt.

“I have been preparing since 2005. Before the main examination, eight to 10 hours of studies is important but for the prelims, six hours a day is enough. She added that for her interview she had gone to two coaching centres in the city. “The UPSC has been very errant in the way papers are set, so coaching has a limited role,” she said.

At the 256th position is Simardeep Singh, a resident of Phase 3B1, Mohali. Son of R.P. Singh, an engineer with the Punjab PWD, Simardeep did his engineering from PEC in 2002. “This is my fourth attempt and I have successively improved my position. I am expecting a call for either the IPS or the IRS,” said Simardeep.

Laganpreet Singh Sandhu is on the 249th position while Dr Tarundeep Kaur, already in the IPS, has been placed at the 330th rank this year. Ratinder Kaur is on the 466th position.



Mend your ways, Congress warns SAD-BJP
Accuses government of harassment
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 14
Senior Punjab Congress leaders warned the SAD-BJP government against excesses and harassment of Congress persons in the state and said their party, which was ruling in the Centre, should not be compelled to resort to undemocratic measures.

While talking to media persons, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, leader of the opposition in the Punjab Assembly, said if the Punjab Government did not stop its vendetta against Congress men, the party leaders would be compelled to approach the Centre requesting the imposition of President’s rule in Punjab.

Senior leaders, including Bhattal, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Shamsher Singh Dullo and former cabinet minister Jagmohan Singh Kang, participated in a rally organised by Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, here today, against the decision of the deputy commissioner to get a recounting of votes done from a ward even when such a move had been stayed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Addressing the gathering, Bhattal said Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should fulfill his poll promises made to the people instead of indulging in a “jungle raj” in the state. False cases were being registered against Congress men in various parts of Punjab. She said the Congress government had succeeded in ending terrorism in the state and it would not be difficult for the Congress to route out the SAD-BJP government if it did not mend its ways.

Bhattal also urged government officials not to become puppets in the hands of the SAD-BJP government and misuse their powers because they would have to answer for their wrongdoings.

Lashing out at the state government, Dullo said democracy was being murdered by the SAD-BJP combine, whose only targets were Congress leaders. Even sarpanches in villages, who had the backing of the Congress party, were allegedly being harassed.

He said the state government wanted to dissolve certain local bodies to have men of its choice in the ruling group, but this was against democracy. He urged the people to get united and learn to gherao offices whenever injustice was done. He criticised deputy commissioner H.I.S. Garewal for allegedly violating the High Court’s orders.

Kang said in order to win over voters, Badal had assured to provide atta at Rs 4 a kg and dals at Rs 20 per kg to poor persons in the state, a promise yet unfulfilled. His main aim at present is only to get false cases registered against Congress men, but the latter should not be discouraged as Badal will have to pay for all his wrong acts, Kang added.

The MLA demanded the suspension of the deputy commissioner for allegedly violating High Court orders and acting under the influence of Punjab cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, while getting the votes from the ward of the former council president recounted.

Sidhu alleged that the minister could not digest the defeat of his son from the Kharar constituency in the Punjab elections and was therefore, unnecessarily, interfering in the area. He added that the minister had promised to give councillors of the opposition group presidentship of the civic body as Capt Kanwaljit Singh had said he would change the face of the council after winning the elections. Sidhu added that he would go to the Banur constituency and expose the activities of Capt Kanwaljit Singh there.



HC Parking Blues
UT to dig deep for solution
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
If you are planning to visit the Punjab and Haryana High Court in your car, think again. For, you may find it easy to enter the premises but once you decide in to leave the parking maze it may just prove to be one Herculean task.

Parking is at the bottom of the priority list of the authorities, so it seems.

The flow of vehicles at the court parking, be it the lawyers’ lot or the one meant for commoners, is growing by leaps and bounds. To make the matters worse, vehicles are squeezed into whatever little space that is available.

There are a few traffic constables or bar employees around to man and regulate the vehicle inflow into the parking lots. Consequently, it takes great driving skills to get around in the parking lots.

A proposal regarding the construction of a multi-storey building to ease parking pressure is pending with the high court’s building committee. The committee is in consultation with the Chandigarh administration on the matter.

The administration though is opposed to the proposal. Administration’s senior standing counsel Anupam Gupta told Chandigarh Tribune: “I have already informed the court that any multi-storey building above the ground in or around the court premises is not permissible.”

The reason, he explains, is that the court building is a heritage building and there cannot be any construction whatsoever obstructing the view to the building.

“The administration is exploring many options and I have talked to the chief architect and other authorities concerned to work out something,” he says.

“The administration is open to the idea of an underground multi-level parking at the site one comes by as one approaches the court via the Rock Garden,” he says.

Gupta emphasises that though parking is a major problem needing urgent attention, architectural aesthetics of the court building cannot be compromised with.

Amandeep Singh, secretary, Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, says with almost 500 lawyers entering the bar every year, the flow of cars is only expected to increase.

“The problem is really serious and the bar is taking up the matter at various fora to arrive at a solution. In fact, a PIL has also been filed in this regard,” he says.

The gravity of the situation can be assessed from the fact that around 1,000 vehicles are parked in and around the court premises during peak hours, says Vikram Bajaj, a lawyer.

This has affected the daily schedule of lawyers as they have to rush to the court as early as 8.30 am lest they should lose out on the parking space, he rues.

Even the space outside adovates-general’s office is crammed with vehicles.

With burgeoning traffic, it is high time the authorites wake up to bring some order to the parking chaos.



Admn not to relax time limit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The Chandigarh administration will end all relaxations on the time limits for construction of buildings. This will mean an end to "unlimited" extensions and making the time schedule more tight for completion of buildings.

Under the new rules, construction on all freehold property is required to completed within a period of five years and leasehold ventures are required to be completed within three years.

Confirming the development, S.K. Sandhu, finance secretary, said the UT had approximately 150 properties where construction had not been completed within the prescribed time limits and people were seeking repeated extensions. Citing a case of Mani Majra, the finance secretary said the owner had not completed the building within 20 years of allotment.

He said: “The case is not an isolated one because there are many more examples of glaring delays in the completion of buildings.

In a majority of the cases, it has been discovered that the owner had some other property, besides the one under question. This was the biggest reason why he did not complete the construction.”

The authorities have also pointed out that open spaces were house to malba, a breeding ground for mosquitoes and certain other wrong practices.

The administration issues regular notices to defaulters, but the practice of seeking extensions was rampant.

The administration has taken a serious note of the matter and decided to launch a corrective procedure.



Altruism drew Wilkinson to Rotary
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
While his official term at Rotary International (headquartered in Chicago, USA) begins only on July 1 this year, its president-elect Wilfrid J (Wilf) Wilkinson has already tightened his boots to step as far as he can to make a difference.

In the city as a part of his plan to see as many Rotary districts around India as possible, it was no coincidence that he was here to be a part of the celebrations of the Rotary Club of Chandigarh, turning 50 years old.

And he used his time well. “Just as Rotary is about love, the expression of that love is kindness and that is what makes Rotary possible. Rotarians demonstrate and share that love through helping others. That is why I decided on the theme, ‘Rotary Shares’ for this year. It means giving off yourself selflessly to others.”

No surprise then that it was this very spirit of altruism that drew Wilkinson to Rotary at the age of 32. Since then he has come a long way, becoming the first Canadian to be president of Rotary International in the last 56 years.

A founding partner for Wilkinson & Company, Chartered Accountants, he has given up all his present assignment to work whole time for Rotary. He is currently a PolioPlus National Advocacy Adviser, has served as trustee of the Rotary Foundation and was vice-president of Rotary International during 1993-94.

He has come to India several times as part of humanitarian projects. Therefore, this president-elect knows, understands and sympathises with India, especially when Rotary’s number one project of polio eradication encounters a hiccup here with fresh cases emerging.

“It is essential to understand that one state in India is equivalent to a whole country in places like Europe. We are advocating to governments to give more money to public health but our drive will continue nonetheless.”

Without taking his eye off polio eradication, Wilkinson is determined to add another dimension to the already existing programmes. According to him, there was a tendency to go off in different directions each year with every ensuing president. So the strategic planning committee decided to concentrate on some key projects which, apart from polio, are health, hunger, literacy and water management. However, Wilkinson’s dimension includes the youth.

“We want to develop a society that shares values of community service and that can be done only through the young people. They will have to be caught and taught,” he smiles.



Misappropriation: Col gets reprimand
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
A general court martial (GCM) has held the commanding officer (CO) of an armoured regiment guilty for allegedly misappropriating diesel and moving an official vehicle to a different station without due authority. He has been awarded a severe reprimand and loss of four years’ seniority for the purpose of pension.

The GCM, presided by Col Ranbir Singh, Deputy General Officer Commanding, 4 Infantry Division, concluded at Faridkot today. The sentence is to be confirmed by the GCM’s convening authority.

The officer, Col K.D. Singh faced three charges under Sections 52 and 63 of the Army Act for misappropriation of 3,000 litres of diesel and 2,000 litres of petrol and moving Army vehicles to Delhi on two occasions. The court held him guilty on two of the three charges.

The officer, on his part, pleaded not guilty to any of the charges and claimed vindictiveness on part of certain senior officers. The defence also contended that some witnesses had deposed against the officer under duress.

Following an incident at Hisar in December 2005, the officer had sustained injuries, after which he was hospitalised. Some reports suggested that he had sustained injuries in a road accident, while some suggested that he was thrashed by his own regimental officer.

The Army convened three successive courts of inquiries to ascertain the facts.

Following conclusion of the third inquiry, last year, the Army initiated disciplinary action against the CO as well as two other officers of the regiment on various charges.



IAF moots retention bonus for pilots, engineers
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
To check manpower shortage and discourage personnel from leaving the service prematurely, the IAF has proposed that a “retention bonus” be introduced for its pilots and engineers.

According to a senior officer, the bonus is proposed to be paid on a periodic basis. Officers would be entitled to receive the proposed bonus every time they complete a specified number of years in service.

With a growing civilian aviation sector offering lucrative employment opportunities to trained professionals, a large number of IAF pilots and engineers are looking for placement with private carriers. The main reason for IAF pilots seeking pre-mature retirement is the vast difference in the emoluments of an IAF pilot and commercial pilots. In some cases, commercial pilots earn as much as 10 times the salary of an IAF pilot.

The retention bonus is among several measures listed in a report released by the Parliamentary Committee on Defence a few days ago. According to the report, the proposal for bonus is under consideration and if approved, was likely to enhance induction as well as motivate officers to continue in service.

The committee has stressed that this should be done at the earliest and the pay scales of armed forces personnel be suitable revised so that they may not feel constrained to leave the services. Award of retention bonus for skilled personnel is a long-standing practice in many foreign militaries.

The manpower level in the IAF during the Tenth Plan was about 174,000 personnel and there was a shortage of 18,749 posts. Last year the government approved an additional 12, 676 posts, including 1,425 officers.

The IAF is also considering to increase the short service commission (SSC) cadre by about 30 per cent in the flying branch and 40 per cent in ground duty branches. Considering the growing economy and improved market conditions, the feeling in defence circles is that the SSC could present a more attractive option to the youth, thereby increasing inductions.

On an average, about 30 pilots join the IAF every six month. The number of pilots released on premature retirement has, over the past three years, seen a downward trend. According to MoD figures, 128 pilots were released prematurely in 2004, 77 in 2005 and 56 in 2006. This year till April, 16 pilots proceeded on premature retirement.

The IAF has also agreed to allow officers in the 54 and above age group to join the national carrier. A memorandum of understanding was been signed between IAF and Air India in this regard last month. This was to facilitate a second carrier option to the retiring IAF officers as well as to reduce the requirement of expatriate pilots for Air India.



Chandigarh Rotary Club celebrates 50 years
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The Rotary Club of Chandigarh, chartered on May 11, 1958, commemorated and celebrated 50 years of service today at a hotel in Sector 17.

Talking about the new projects for the city, in-coming president of the club Arvind Mehan said, in collaboration with the PGI, the club would conduct over 250 crucial retina surgeries through the year. An eye bank would also be initiated within the Rotary building in Sector 18 which would be only third-of-its-kind in the country.

Elaborating Mehan said, “This ‘Gift of Light’ project is part of the golden-jubilee celebrations and that the club is planning to launch one new project every month to mark this special occasion.”

Also making the experience memorable for the Rotarians present was the presence of president-elect of the Rotary International, Wilfrid J (Wilf) Wilkinson, who in his keynote address, peppered with amusing personal anecdotes, brought out the ‘giving’ spirit of the club which was crucial in making it what it is today. “To me, Rotary is nothing short of magic. It is what makes an ordinary person do extraordinary and amazing things,” he said.

Elaborating on the humanitarian projects conducted by the Rotary world over, he said health, hunger, literacy and water would continue to remain the thrust of the Rotary International.

Rajendra K. Saboo, ex-president of the Rotary International, honoured some of the prominent members of the club, including

Hira Lal Sibal (90), Rotarian B.K. Mehan, father of the in-coming president Arvind Mehan, Sumit Chaudhary, daughter of Justice R.P. Khosla, and Nandani Khanna, daughter of late K.J. Khosla.

The proceedings began with a speech by the current president Manmohan Singh who highlighted the essence of the Rotary.



HSEB employee injured
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 14
An employee of the Haryana State Electricity Board, Shiv Kumar, was injured when he touched a live wire and fell from an electricity pole while trying to rectify a fault.

Admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 6, he said JE Parveen had asked him to attend to the shutting down of one of the phases in Raipur Rani.

“For the motor to run, all three phases should be working at any given time. I tried to cross check with him if the power had been turned off but his mobile phone was switched off. Then, I called up the powerhouse to find out if the power supply had been cut off to enable me to rectify the problem. On getting a reply in the affirmative, I got on to the job,” he said.

As soon as he began his work, he suffered a jolt from supply in another line and fell to the ground. He demanded that irresponsible officials be punished for the accident that could have cost him his life.



Booksellers get permanent sites
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
As many as 37 secondhand booksellers today got pucca platforms, with pre-fabricated structure roofing and equipped with the basic facilities of electricity, drinking water, parking lot and public toilets in Sector 15.

These booksellers have been in the business in the city for the past four decades and since then they had been pursuing their case for giving them proper sites.

They were currently running their business from opposite the gate of Panjab University. The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), today inaugurated the project.

The Governor asked members of the Booksellers Association to form a core group to ensure its proper use to meet the needs of customers. He asked them to shift their business activity within a week after completion of all formalities with the departments concerned of the administration.



Vet camps in slums
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, May 14
The People for Animals is organising a series of free mobile veterinary camps in all slums and villages of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali. Thirty camps will be organised in these areas in the next three months. During these camps, free anti-rabies vaccine, as well as free treatment, will be provided to all the animals.

A press note said the primary aim of the NGO was to provide basic information regarding rabies to the public, thus dispelling myths and misconceptions related to rabies.

Many camps have already been held at Ram Darbar, Phase II, Chandigarh; Colony No. 5, Hallo Majra and Sector 25 Colony, Chandigarh.



Employees submit memo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The coordination committee of government and MC employees and workers of Chandigarh have met the joint secretary (home) and submitted a memorandum regarding their pending demands.

In a statement, Rakesh Kumar, convener of the committee, said the delegation apprised the joint secretary of the various problems being faced by the employees and their long-pending demands.

The delegation also raised issues concerning class IV employees and condemned the “adamant attitude” of officers of the rural development and panchayat department.




Name airport after Giani Zail Singh

City Beautiful has Rajendra Park in Sector 1 and Zakir Rose Garden in Sector 16, both named after the Presidents of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad and Dr Zakir Hussain, respectively.

However, no public place here has been named after Giani Zail Singh, a man of the masses and freedom fighter, who had a strong connection with this city.Therefore, the Chandigarh airport should be named after Giani Zail Singh. I appeal to the Chandigarh administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), to approach the Centre in this regard.

Narinder Singh "International"

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Two gangs of thieves busted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 14
The district police claimed to have solved 12 cases of theft and recovered stolen motor cycles with the arrest of two gangs active in the township.

Addressing a press conference here today, superintendent of police Balbir Singh said the members of the two gangs had admitted to their involvement in the crimes.

The police, acting on a tip-off, arrested Zirakpur resident Amit Kumar, and Yamunanagar residents Ravinder Kumar and Parveen Kumar.

The police also recovered 10 motor cycles and a gearless scooter.

Two members of the gang, Rakesh and Pardeep, are absconding.

The members said they scouted for those motor cycles that were easy targets and rode these away. The locks of Bajaj Pulsar motor cycles, four of which were recovered, were easy to break open, making these more prone to theft, the said.

They added that the motor cycles were later resold.

In another case, the police arrested four burglars allegedly responsible for nearly 10 thefts in the city.

Arrested from Sector 18 on a tip-off, the accused - Mani Majra resident Hira Lal, Gian Singh, their leader Lal Singh and Chandi Ram - said they not only sold expensive electronics but fenced gold booty to a jeweller in Mani Majra with whom they had a tie-up.

CIA inspector Surjit Singh said they would register a case against the jeweller for colluding with the burglars.



Two held for looting

Mohali, May 14
The police has arrested two persons who had allegedly looted a man near Nadiali village at gunpoint and taken away his Skoda car.

SSP Ranbir Singh Khatra said the arrested persons had been identified as Dharminder, alias Bhinda, a resident of Sadipur village in Jalandhar district, and Kulwinder Singh, alias Sonu, a resident of Bajua Khurd village in Jalandhar. Three persons, Billa, Amit and Raman, of the same gang, however, managed to escape.

While the police recovered a country-made pistol and cartridges from Bhinda, a sword was recovered from Sonu.

A Maruti Zen car, which had been taken away at gunpoint in Sirhind, was also recovered. The Skoda car was also recovered from the parking area of Medical College, Rohtak.

The police acted on a tip-off that five persons were preparing for a major loot near the Bhukri river. During questioning it was found out that the suspects had looted about 40 to 50 cars at gunpoint in various towns of Punjab.

Several cases were going on against them. Bhinda had come out on bail about four months ago while Sonu had been given bail about 20 days back.

The SSP said the kingpin of the gang, Jatinder, alias Jogi, was lodged in a Karnal jail and these people were in touch with him through mobile phones. — OC



Man held for molesting daughter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The local police today arrested a Janata Colony resident in Sector 25 on the allegations of sexually harassing his married daughter. The accused, an autorickshaw driver, is in his mid-forties and lives separately from his wife.

Sources in the Sector 11 police station said the victim, a mother of two, alleged that her father Jatinder Singh had been making sexual advances towards her in the past. Despite having warned him, he refused to budge and sexually assaulted her on May 10.She then brought the matter to the notice of her mother and her husband.

The victim had been living in her father’s residence with her husband and children. Her husband is also an auto-rickshaw driver. Her mother lives in Dadu Majra Colony with her other siblings, said the police.

The police has registered a case of molestation and criminal intimidation under Sections 354, 506 and 509 of the Indian Penal Code.



Iron sheets worth Rs 6 lakh recovered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The local police yesterday claimed to have recovered the remaining 14 tonnes of iron sheets worth Rs 6 lakh from a truck driver arrested last week.

Sources in the Industrial Area police station said Prem Parkash of Ludhiana disclosed that he had hidden the iron sheets in a jungle near Raipur Khurd village. Prem had decamped with a consignment of iron sheets from the Industrial Area on April 13.

Held for theft

Arun Kumar of Housing Board Colony, Dhanas, reported to the police that Vishal Sharma of the same locality had stolen his motorcycle (CH-03-P-9793) from his residence on Friday night. The police arrested the accused from his residence and recovered the stolen motorcycle from him. A case has been registered.


Sumitra Devi of Sector 30 filed a complaint with the police that two unidentified motorcyclists snatched her gold chain from near the Sectors 27, 28, 29 and 30 roundabout on Saturday. A case had been registered.

Car stolen

Rajiv Gupta of Sector 10 lodged a complaint alleging that his Maruti car (PB03-E-0505) was stolen from his residence on Saturday.



3 convicted of murder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The district and sessions judge today convicted three persons of the murder of a newspaper hawker, Hari Singh, in April 2004.

The convicted include Ashok Kumar, Venod and Kaka. The accused had stolen Rs 50,000 from Hari Singh’s house when he woke up and resisted the theft. In the ensuing altercation, Hari Singh was strangled.

Venod and Kaka have been convicted under section 302 of the IPC while Ashok Kumar has been convicted under section 402. The quantum of punishment will be announced later.



Man dies mysteriously
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
A resident of Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, died under mysterious circumstances this morning.

According to the police, the victim has been identified as Saroop Singh. He was a labourer and was in his mid-forties. His neighbours told the police that he was seen in the locality after three days. He was drunk and complained of stomach ache after which he was taken to the Sector 16 Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, but died on the way.

The matter was reported to the police. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code.



India, Canada for stronger trade ties
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Stating that India and Canada enjoy mature bilateral relationships and strong socio-cultural linkages, the Punjab Governor and UT administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), has emphasised the need for further strengthening economic and trade ties through vibrant partnership and joint ventures in different fields.

At a meeting with high commissioner of Canada David Malone and consulate-general Helen Economo Amundsen at Punjab Raj Bhavan here today, General Rodrigues said there was a major scope to further expand economic and business cooperation in wide range of fields like information technology, marketing of agriculture produce, sharing of educational tools and technologies, which could be of immense mutual benefit for people on both sides.

General Rodrigues also discussed problems of NRIs in Canada and told the high commissioner that “we have already set up a facilitation centre to provide them various services and strengthening their linkages with their home towns”.

Meanwhile, Malone, addressing members of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at an interactive session on “Economic overview and future trends in business development and trade with Canada” held here today, said Canada and India were natural business partners and the time was ripe to explore stronger business ties between the two countries.

Speaking at the session, the high commissioner expressed optimism and said the strong human links between the Indian and Canadian communities would provide a fillip to bilateral trade investment to help realise the trade potential between the two countries.

The high commissioner added that they were keen on taking the India-Canada economic relationship to the next level with bilateral trade between bigger enterprises.

Recalling trade relations between the two countries, the high commissioner observed that India was Canada’s largest trading partner in South Asia. Canada accounted for 0.99 per cent of India's total exports and 0.62 per cent of imports. Indian exports to Canada stood at $1.02 billion in 2005-06. Canadian exports to India had increased to $0.91 billion in 2005-06. Bilateral trade between the two countries accelerated to $1.9 billion in 2005-06.

He said agriculture and agri-food, oil and gas, mining, environment products and services, technology and services, telecommunications and information technology, and the financial sector, including insurance, were the key sectors which had immense scope for joint collaboration.

Among others who spoke on the occasion were I.S. Paul, past chairman, CII, Chandigarh Council, and Partap K. Aggarwal, the present incumbent.



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