C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

 

TRIBUNE SPECIAL
Hounded
5,400 stray dogs, 12 catchers
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
With sterilisation capacity weak as ever, stray dog menace continues to stalk the city. Of the 5,400 stray dogs (according to the 2003 survey by the animal husbandry department) in the city, just seven per cent get sterilised, making the control of stray dog population a challenge. A bigger challenge is the rising incidence of dog bites — 7,200 cases were reported in Chandigarh’s anti-rabies clinic between January and December, 2006.

City reports 5,000 dog bite cases annually
* 7,200 dog bite cases reported in UT’s anti-rabies clinic annually
* 90 per cent rabies cases caused by dog bite
* Last stray dog survey in 2003 put their population at 5,400; next survey due in October
* UT administration has now allotted 2 acre to the PFA to up its sterilisation capacity; half acre to the MC to build dog pound

Of these, 5,000 were from Chandigarh alone and 2,200 from Punjab and Haryana. The clinic in Sector 19 caters to 33 per cent of Punjab and Haryana, which account for 100 and 30 cases of dog bites, respectively, per month.

And though Dr G.P. Singh, senior medical officer, says no rabies death has occurred in City in a long time, the claim seems exaggerated, considering WHO data that rabies causes 55,000 deaths worldwide annually.

In Chandigarh, underreporting of rabies deaths has roots in the poor availability of free anti-rabies vaccine. The problem started with the WHO ban on the nerve tissue vaccine supplied by the Kasauli institute.

“The vaccine was phased off due to its many side-effects. We are now using modern tissue culture vaccines that are costlier. Each dose costs Rs 300 and a patient may require three to five doses, depending upon exposure,” Dr Singh said.

As of now, government supply of anti-rabies vaccine is erratic, while costlier versions are out of bounds for the poor — who are easy targets of dogs due to vulnerable living conditions.

The UT administration has now decided to evolve a policy to stock modern anti-rabies vaccine on no-profit-no-loss basis, say sources, adding that irregular supply of the vaccine will be restored soon.

Till that happens, residents have no safety from stray dogs, whose numbers were 5,400 in 2003, but will be much more now. Ironically, the municipal corporation of Chandigarh, responsible for collecting and leaving stray dogs at the same point post sterilisation, has only 12 dog catchers for 5,400 dogs (unrevised figure).

Officials, however, maintain that the staff is adequate as the sterilisation capacity of the NGOs involved — People for Animals (PFA) and Society for Prevention of Cruelty for Animals (SPCA) — is about eight dogs each, a week.

The administration has now allotted two acre to the PFA to build a hospital to enhance sterilisation capacity. Another half acre has been allotted in Dhanas to the MC for building a dog pound.

MC’s medical officer health Dr G.C. Bansal said: “The pound will house ferocious dogs but its land is yet to be transferred to us. We are evolving a design.”

Consulting veterinarian Dr C.B. Singh, however, said dog yards in an area of five acre each at two spots in the city is a better alternative. “No country has been successful in controlling stray dog population by sterilisation alone. We should have dog yards where 100 per cent sterilisation can be achieved. That’s important, considering dog bite cases are rising,” he said.

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Ex-Army officer, wife found murdered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 15
A day after the murder of three persons at Kajheri, a retired Major General and his wife were found dead at their rented Sector-25 residence here today.
A team of forensic experts inspects the house where the couple was found murdered in Sector 25, Panchkula,
A team of forensic experts inspects the house where the couple was found murdered in Sector 25, Panchkula, on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Malkiat Singh

Maj Gen K.C. Dhingra and his wife Sangeeta, both over 60 years, were allegedly murdered by their missing servant, while robbery seems to be the motive of the crime.

The murder came to light this evening when a constable of the Chandigarh police came to their rented house, belonging to Chandigarh traffic SP A.S. Ahlawat, for the verification of a vehicle that was involved in an accident.

Suspecting foul play due to a strong stench emanating from the house, he informed the local police.

On opening the door, the police found the house ransacked and the bodies of the couple lying in bed with blood splattered all around. Though the police did not allow entry into the house to mediapersons, ASP Maneesh Chaudhary said they had found out the identity of the victims from documents found in the house.

“The house was found ransacked when we entered. The assailant(s) entered by breaking open a grill of the window. Though we can’t say how many persons were involved in the crime, it is likely that there were others besides the servant who has been missing for the past three days,” he said.

The police said the murder probably took place two or three days ago and the bodies had putrefied.

Though the couple, probably caught unawares and sleeping at the time of the attack, were hit on the head by a blunt weapon, a clearer picture would emerge once the post-mortem examination is conducted.

On the table in dining room, some leftover food was found, indicating that they were attacked after the meal.

With most of the belongings lying packed in trunks, the police had great difficulty ascertaining their identity.

From the papers they also found a cheque in the name of Amit Dhingra, who they later found was the son of the deceased.

An acquaintance of Sangeeta, Col Walia, who arrived late in the evening, managed to contact Amit, a Lieut-Colonel posted in Mhow. He is expected to arrive in the city tomorrow afternoon.

A team of forensic experts and a crime scene team were called in to help in the investigations. SP Balbir Singh said they were trying to nab the servant and accomplices, if any, involved in the incident and the police was hopeful of nabbing the culprits soon.

Emphasising on servant verification, he said such incidents could be avoided if the public game forward to register their servants.

“We have even started an initiative wherein our constable goes house-to-house to register servants to ensure that the public does not have to suffer an inconvenience. The drive is already on,” he explained.

SP Ahlawat remembered Dhingra, an officer of 113 Engineers regiment who retired sometime in 2000, as a very good friend and a keen golfer.

He said ever since he rented out his house to the Dhingras nearly 11 months back, he had never visited the place though he would occasionally play golf with the retired officer.

Though the plots adjoining the house are vacant as is the one just opposite the house, people in the neighbourhood said they had seen the 20-plus servant go in and out of the house. The couple, they maintained, usually kept to themselves and hardly anybody knew about them or had ever seen them.

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Kajheri Case
100 detained for questioning
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The local police has rounded up around 100 persons for questioning in yesterday’s case of murder of three persons in Kajheri village.

Deputy superintendent of police (south) K.I.P. Singh said they had identified around 30 persons hailing from Marwaha village in Bhagalpur district, Bihar, the native village of suspects Rajiv and Amit.

Four police teams had been constituted to carry out raids on various hideouts of the suspects.

The police was taking the help of Amit’s brother to prepare the sketches of the three suspects - Rajiv Kumar, Santosh Kumar, alias Soni, and their acquaintance Amit Kumar - who had been missing since the killing. Rajiv was married to Soni’s daughter. Sources said they had also consulted neighbours of the slain couple for the sketches. So far, sketches of two suspects had been prepared.

A prosperous dairy farmer, Sucha Singh, his wife Balbir Kaur and their servant Chhotu were found murdered at their residence yesterday morning.

SHO of the police station, Sector 36, Ishwar Singh Mann said the post-mortem reports of the victims confirmed strangulation as the cause of deaths. However, the doctors have sent the viscera of the victims for chemical examination to ascertain if any of them was drugged before being killed.

Gurdeep Singh, Sucha Singh’s cousin, said the post-mortem examination report suggested that Sucha Singh was stabbed twice with a hoe in the waist.

Sources in the police said investigating officers were also verifying the call record of a suspect’s mobile phone recovered from the scene.

The police had found a phone number from Soni’s mobile phone and its details were being scrutinised.

The police had also traced a number of Mukesh Chaudary, who was known to the suspects and is presently lodged in the Burail jail.

When asked about the criminal past of the accused, the DSP said they were awaiting reports from the Bihar police. A team of the Chandigarh police was expected to reach there tomorrow, he added.

Chhotu’s family had been informed about the incident and they would reach the city tomorrow to take the body to Bihar.

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Signs of struggle suggest Balbir was tortured
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
Blinded by the lust for valuables and cash, which they thought their masters had kept on the first floor of their dwelling unit, the suspects in the Kajheri murder case allegedly dragged and tortured septuagenarian Balbir Kaur, before strangulating her.

They allegedly forced her to guide them to her family lockers, bed boxes and cabinets where valuables, including cash and jewellery, had been stashed. Once their job was done, they allegedly killed her.

According to family members, who were first to arrive at the scene of crime, telltale signs left behind by the “killers” revealed the “torture” Balbir might have undergone in last few moments of her life.

A relative of the slain elderly couple said besides a purse containing Rs 2,000 in cash, all they could recover from the ransacked house was Rs 6. Before leaving the crime scene, the killers allegedly consumed whatever little there was in the kitchen. As they were in a hurry, they left the kitchenware scattered.

Family sources maintained that it was a well-executed plan, as the killers had apparently chalked out their escape route well in advance. For, they were aware of regular clients visiting the house early for their morning supply of milk.

The killers had removed electricity bulbs and tubes in the cattle shed before carrying out the killings. They first killed Sucha Singh’s servant Chhotu, and then waited for their “master” to come down to wake up Chhotu. On seeing Sucha come to the cattle shed, they hid themselves behind a cupboard. As soon as he entered the shed, they hit him on the head with bricks, which were recovered from the scene.

The bodies of Chhotu and Sucha Singh were covered with sheets. They then went to the residence of the couple and attacked Balbir Kaur, who was still asleep.

Signs of struggle indicated at the possible torture meted out to Balbir by her killers. Her hair were found on a broken glass of a showcase, said Surat Singh, a relative of Sucha Singh.

The killings and loot lasted for over two hours, with the assailants searching and ransacking the house for valuables. The injuries on Balbir’s body suggested that she was apparently gagged after her hands were tied down.

Keys were used to open some cabinets, while locks of others were shattered.

Surat Singh said the three suspects - Rajiv Kumar, Santosh Kumar, alias Soni, and Amit Kumar - were seen roaming in the house around 12:30 am on the fateful night.

He added that Balbir had told Sucha not to trust his servants.

He said Sucha’s body was the last one to be found by them. They first noticed Balbir’s body and went to the cattle shed, only to find Chhotu’s body. As Sucha’s body was lying in the corner, it went unnoticed.

As one of the rooms in the house was found locked, they broke open the door, thinking Sucha was inside. But they could not find him there. They finally stumbled upon his body covered in a sheet.

Sarwan Singh, the elder brother of Sucha Singh, said he had visited Sucha on May 5 but noticed nothing unusual with the couple or the servants.

Sucha Singh had started winding up his dairy business and was selling his buffalos, citing old age as the reason for the decision. He earlier had four servants, he said.

Meanwhile, Sucha Singh’s three daughters and two sons have been informed about the incident and they will reach the city by tomorrow. The cremation of the couple will take place on Thursday.

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PU examiners in language tangle
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
In spite of the best efforts of Panjab University vice-chancellor to ensure fair and speedy evaluation of answer-sheets at the table-marking centre here, “language blues” have hit the system.

College teachers belonging to states other than Punjab with little knowledge of the Punjabi language and script are made to check answer-sheets written in Gurmukhi script.

There are days when some teachers check and mark 60 such answer sheets each.

Interestingly, none of these teachers, who their colleagues say cannot speak or understand Punjabi, have told the table-marking supervisor that they are having difficulties in understanding the answer-sheets in Gurmukhi script and should be given only the English or Hindi ones.

“We have received no complaint regarding this,” said Prof Fateh Singh Nadel who is supervising table marking at PU’s gymnasium hall.

But sources involved with the process say many college teachers who have joined various Chandigarh colleges through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) are from other states and have little or no knowledge of the language.

Knowledge of the language is not a pre-requisite for a college job in the city, confirmed a senior official of the Chandigarh administration.

Candidates appearing in various graduate and under-graduate examinations of the university are given the option of writing the answers in either English, Devnagri or Gurmukhi script.

The university gets the undergraduate examination answer-sheets evaluated through table marking at the university and its regional centres at Ludhiana and Hoshiarpur.

The problem is however peculiar to the centre here, as UT teachers are involved in the evaluation process. In other centres, evaluators are from Punjab colleges and are expected to know the language well.

Admitting that this was a serious issue, VC Prof R.C. Sobti said such evaluators should have told the supervisor on the day evaluation began that they do not know the script.

“We have a list of the UT teachers who have been selected through the UPSC and I recall that some of them are from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and even some South Indian states. They are not expected to know the script. If needed, I will get the answer-sheets checked by these teachers cross-checked to ensure that no student is dealt unfairly with,” he said.

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Faux Pas
SDM sends minor to Burail jail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
A Manimajra-based family was today at the receiving end when SDM (East) Swati Sharma, while conducting the court of executive magistrate, sent a minor boy to Burail Jail.

Acting in violation of the Juvenile Justice (Amendment) Act, 2006, the 17-year-old boy was sent to jail.

“Right in front of his parents who claimed that he was minor and had been wrongfully implicated in a police case, the SDM did not listen,” said B.S. Gill, a lawyer at the district courts.

Showing the release orders issued to the jail superintendent, the lawyer said on realising her mistake, the SDM ordered release of the boy on furnishing the bail bond for Rs 10,000. The advocate said he had faxed a message to the office of the deputy commissioner regarding the conduct of the SDM.

The father of the boy, Ramesh Koundal, alleged that his son and brother-in-law were supposed to appear before the SDM to furnish bail bonds regarding a case of fight with his tenant. 

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12-yr RI for drug peddler
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
A Kullu-based drug peddler, Pasang Lama, was today sentenced to 12 years of rigorous imprisonment for possessing 35 kg high-grade charas.

The judgment was pronounced by additional district and sessions judge S.K. Aggarwal.

The contraband was seized from the peddler in November 14, 2002, which was valued at Rs 3 crore in the international market.

The accused will have to undergo three years of additional imprisonment if he fails to pay a fine of Rs 1,50,000.

Though the accused pleaded that he was poor and had to look after his four children, the eldest being in class V, the court pronounced the verdict seeing the gravity of the crime and the quantity of seizure from the accused.

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Irregularities in hiring vehicles by Army: CAG
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has brought out irregularities in hiring of light vehicles by the Shimla-based Army Training Command (ARTRAC) as well as malpractices in use of vehicles by various establishments.

Vehicles were being used regularly for unauthorised duties such as for the Army Wives Welfare Association, golf courses, army public schools, ex-servicemen’s rallies and other non-governmental or regimental activities without recovering hire charges.

Headquarters ARTRAC had hired light vehicles through ad hoc boards during 2003-06 with a stipulation for a minimum payment for 200 km, whereas the location of the headquarters vis-à-vis other important units, formations, cities, railway station and the airport was within 110 km, CAG’s latest report tabled in Parliament yesterday has revealed.

“Hence there was no justification for fixing the minimum charges for 200 km, that too when adjacent formations at Chandigarh were hiring vehicles for a minimum of 80 km,” the report stated. “The government had to pay for additional 120 km for each vehicle hired and the practice adopted was, therefore, uneconomical,” the report added.

According to CAG, a scrutiny of hiring procedures adopted by the Army in various commands revealed that despite specific instructions, command and formation headquarters had hired transport through ad hoc boards in a routine manner and no regular contracts were concluded.

For ad hoc hiring, the terms and conditions, including the rates, were determined by local board of officers. Since no standard operating procedure for hiring of transport was issued by Army Headquarters, the hiring process was arbitrary and non-competitive, CAG observed.

Army Headquarters had stated before the CAG that a detailed standard operating procedure for contract management was under finalisation. Every year the Army hires thousands of vehicles of all types, including light vehicles, trucks, heavy transporters and specialist vehicles to meet its logistic requirements.

Elsewhere, the CAG also found that ad hoc rates fixed by an Area Headquarters were found to be higher when compared with the rates accepted by Command Headquarters in the same area. The rates varied from Rs 45 to Rs 48 for 80 km.

The report has also highlighted misuse of vehicles. In contravention of rules, vehicles were used regularly for collection of stock from the Canteen Stores Department (CSD) for unit run canteens without realisation of hire charges. Except in Jammu and Kashmir, unit run canteens are not permitted the use of vehicles free of charge.

Vehicles were also being used regularly for unauthorised duties such as for the Army Wives Welfare Association, golf courses, army public schools, ex-servicemen’s rallies and other non-governmental or regimental activities without recovering hire charges, CAG observed.

According to Army Headquarters, vehicles were used to a limited extent for welfare activities and the use of vehicles for CSD duties was discontinued.

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Zirakpur-Ambala stretch
Traffic jams, potholes haunt commuters
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, May 15
The four-laning of the Zirakpur-Ambala stretch on NH 21 has opened a pandora’s box for motorists.

The alternative routes connecting Ambala with Chandigarh and Panchkula are ill-equipped to handle the traffic, particularly heavy vehicular traffic, putting the lives of thousands of motorists and commuters at risk. With the monsoons round the corner, hard times seem to be ahead for the travellers.

“The construction of the flyover at Zirakpur is proving to be a nightmare for motorists as traffic jams test their patience,” said Sunil Bandha, director of Zirakpur-based ONS Developers and Promoters.

The narrow and bumpy service lanes on both sides of the flyover are to be blamed for the traffic mess, Bandha alleges. In fact, the traffic jams are in sharp contrast to the smooth flow of traffic at Panipat, where work on the 6-km elevated highway is in progress, he asserts.

With thousands of vehicles passing through the Chandigarh-Ambala road and the alternative routes, the inconvenience is only adding up. It was only recently that buses were allowed to ply over the Ghaggar Bridge at Bhankharpur, near here.

For motorists, the Banur-Tepla road which reaches Ambala is only fit for one-way traffic. The condition of the road is an indication of a major tragedy waiting to happen. Over the years, the authorities concerned have failed to widen and re-carpet the road, much to the inconvenience of the travellers, alleges Mukhtiar Singh, a frequent traveller.

The condition of the Ramgarh-Dera Bassi road, which leads to Panchkula from Ambala, is no better. Potholes greet travellers at regular intervals and the diversions caused by repairs on the bridge have further added to their woes.

While conceding that the construction of the flyover has virtually thrown traffic out of gear, officials claim that the flyover will ultimately solve traffic problems on one of the busiest roads in the region. However, in the meantime, motorists will have to bear with the inconvenience, the officials feel. November 2008 is the deadline for the completion of the project.

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Ex-employee to get dues after 11 years
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
After long 11 years, Dharam Pal Verma, a former employee with the malaria wing of the Chandigarh Administration, will get his legitimate share of dues.

A decision in this regard was taken today at a special committee constituted by the administration to look into the case. “We have passed on instructions to work out the details of Verma’s dues. All his dues will be cleared at the earliest,” a senior official said.

Contradictions in different wings of the UT administration led to an arduous walk for Verma, who scuttled between several offices trying to get his due. He scuttled between the offices of the administration, municipal corporation and the health department.

Verma was placed under suspension by the director health service on August 24, 1994. He was transferred to the municipal commission and the MC commissioner terminated his services on February 2, 1996.

But, on May 12, 2004, the home secretary termed the termination orders “illegal.” Verma was then handed over compulsory retirement orders on May 12, 2005, by the director health services.

The compulsory retirement order of the director said “...impose on Dharam Pal Verma the penalty of compulsory retirement from government service, with immediate effect…” on October 6, 2004.

Verma contended that, as his services were terminated from October 2004, his dues from 1994 onward needed to be cleared.

"The case was not decided within six months of my suspension and so I should have gotten 75 per cent of my pay, which was never given,” he said.

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Infant dies; father alleges negligence
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 15
A resident of Chadiala Sudan village today alleged here that his child died due to the negligence of the nursing staff of the local Civil Hospital.

Harbans Lal, who worked as an SPO at Fatehgarh Sahib, said his wife Meenakshi Sood was admitted to the hospital yesterday in the maternity ward for delivery. Around 8 pm the doctor on duty checked the patient and both mother and the child were fine. He said around 10 pm his wife developed some complications and started vomiting. “Her condition was brought to the notice of the nursing staff who was not very helpful. Instead, nurses behaved in a rude manner with the attendants. The doctor concerned was also not informed by the nursing staff about the condition of the patient,” he added.

Harbans said the doctor arrived at about 6 am today and recommended a caesarean operation. Even as the members of the family were waiting for the birth of the child, they were informed that the male child delivered was dead.

SMO incharge of the hospital Dr H.S. Sarang denied that the child died due to the negligence of the nursing staff. He said the delivery was expected on May 11, but Meenakshi got admitted only yesterday. During the night, she was suffering from labour pains which were normal in the case of first delivery. As such the nursing staff informed the doctor early in the morning. He claimed that the child died due to some internal complications.

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Overflowing sewage misery for industrialists
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
Overflowing sewage caused by a blocked sewerage line has created unsanitary conditions in Phase II of the Industrial Area, causing misery for entrepreneurs of a section of the area - from plot Nos. 324 to 337. Foul smell emanating from the overflowing sewage had thrown routine life out of gear, alleges Gulab Jain, an affected industrialist.

However, what has irked the industrialists is the fact that the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) had failed to take note of the problem despite repeated representations. “On April 20 I had written to the MC highlighting the problem but a month later, the problem had not been rectified,” Jain alleges.

Plot owners complain that it is not for the first time that the sewerage system had developed problems. For the last three years, the blocked sewerage had been causing problems. With the monsoons round the corner, the situation will take a turn for the worse if remedial steps are not taken, they added.

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Rotary International
Empowerment of youth important: Wilkinson
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
Inaugurations, project visits and interaction with young persons marked the second day of Rotary International president-elect Wilfrid J. Wilkinson’s visit to the city.

The day started early with Wilkinson and his wife Joan visiting the Rotary Peace Monument at Sukhna Lake, followed by a brief visit to the Rotary and Blood Bank Society and Blood Resource Centre, Sector 37, where he was visibly impressed with the facilities.

Wilkinson also spent the morning distributing 16,000 text books to children of the 81 government schools in the city under the Rotary Club of Chandigarh Midtown's World Community Service Project, at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10.

Six to seven sets of books for classes IX to XII were also given to school libraries for rotation every year amongst those children who cannot afford them, said Dr V.J.S. Vohra, president of Rotary Chandigarh Midtown.

Speaking at the function, Wilkinson once again reiterated his belief in the youth saying empowering them was the key to the future and that it could only be achieved through education, a cause close to the Rotary’s heart.

Also present at the event was S.K. Setia, director public instructions, who appealed to the Rotary to set up a text-book bank from where children from economically weaker sections could take books on loan.

The final call for the day was one close to the heart of Rotarians in the city. Wilkinson inaugurated the Rotary District 3080 Headquarter in Rotary House, Sector 18-A, which he said was “the first of its kind in India and one of the few in the world.”

What is interesting is that the headquarter also houses a special exhibit room, “Look Beyond Yourself,” taken from former president of Rotary International Rajendra K. Saboo’s theme for his tenure in office in 1991-92, and houses memorabilia from his time and life as a Rotarian. “This will serve as a storehouse of information and will help the district governors to function more effectively,” Wilkinson said.

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IT Park
Farmers submit petition to Patil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The Chandigarh Farmers Action Group has handed over a petition to Union home minister Shivraj Patil apprising him of the plight of farmland owners in the city.

They pointed out that the administration was contravening all social and environmental laws and forcing a peaceful community to resort to agitations, protest marches and awareness campaigns.

The chopping of 5,000 30-year-old mango trees for the IT Park, a violation of the Supreme Court order wherein all construction was banned, is an issue raised by the farmers. It has been alleged that Infosys and DLF have recently been served notices by the ministry of environment and forest for violation of environmental regulations.

All projects started by the administration are situated in the periphery of Chandigarh, earlier considered the 'Green Belt', the lungs of the city. 

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70 objections against acquisitions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The Land Acquisition Officer of the Chandigarh administration has received 70 objections against the move to acquire land by the administration, particularly in Mani Majra area near the IT park.

Sources said the objections pertained to the "abysmally low" compensation given by the administration to the farmers whose land was being acquired by the administration for different projects.

Farmers say they were being paid lakhs for land worth crores, which was unfair.

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Damdami Taksal seeks arrest of dera chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
A delegation of the Damdami Taksal, led by its head Baba Harnam Singh Dhumma, today called on Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and sought the arrest of the head of Dera Saccha Sauda for his blasphemous act of donning the dress of the tenth Guru at a religious ceremony.

The delegation also asked the government to initiate immediate action against the “hooligans” who engaged in a brawl with the Sikhs at Bathinda yesterday. The picture of the dera head dressed as Guru Gobind Singh had appeared in advertisements published by certain newspapers, recently.

Police sources said the delegation had first gathered at Gurudwara Nada Sahib in Panchkula.

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Letters
NGOs should run medical stores

There are no medical stores in the vicinity of hospitals here from where the attendants can fetch medicines at competitive rates. For want of transportation facilities and being in urgency, they solely depend on medical shops situated within the hospital premises. These shops are allotted on the basis of auction and as such they have to recover the bid price over and above their profits. These shops charge maximum retail price and many times sales tax on it (most of the times they mention sales tax as terminology of VAT is not very common yet) whereas the shops in the vicinity offer discounts ranging from 5-30 per cent and sometimes even 50 per cent.

I think medical stores in hospitals should be operated by the Red Cross Society or other NGOs on nominal profit margins. Moreover, the Centre can tie up with manufacturers and suppliers of medicines for supply on controlled rates and even VAT can be exempted as is done in case of the DGSD and Army canteen for benefit of the patients.

R.K. Garg
Chandigarh

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

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3-year-old’s rape
Police fails to make headway
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 15
No arrest has been made by the police so far in connection with the rape and death of a three-year-old girl in Sector 71. The police today rounded up some persons in this regard, but the suspect could not be identified.

According to the police, the child was picked up by an unidentified person on the night of May 12 from near her house and later raped. The parents of the girl took her to a private hospital when the child complained of pain. When her condition deteriorated she was taken to PGI, Chandigarh, where she died, Doctors at PGI confirmed that the child was raped. The PGI authorities then informed the local police about the case.

The police said the father of the child had recently migrated from Bihar and worked as a labourer in Sector 71 where a private hospital was being constructed. The police was registered a case under Sections 302 and 376 of the IPC.

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One held for rape bid
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 15
The police has arrested one person on the charge of rape bid on a 10-yr-old girl in Patran village.

According to the police, the mother of the girl complained that her daughter was missing from house after midnight. When the parents carried out a search for the girl they heard her crying in the house of Joginder Singh. When they went inside the suspect fled away.

The police has registered a case under Sections 376 and 511 of the IPC.

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Man duped of Rs 25,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The local police booked workers of R.R Financial Consultants, Sector 22, for duping a Mansa resident of Rs 25,000 on the pretext of getting him a loan.

Hardev Singh of Mansa lodged a complaint with the police alleging that workers of the consultant had taken Rs 25,000 to arrange for a loan for him. They neither arranged a loan nor returned his money. A case of cheating and criminal conspiracy under Sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered.

Injured

Anil Kumar of Naya Gaon lodged a complaint with the police alleging that an unidentified motorcyclist sped away after hitting his scooter near the Sector 14 and 15 traffic lights point on May 11. He was admitted to the PGI. A case has been registered.

Stolen

Manoj Kumar of Sector 56 reported to the police alleging that his Scorpio jeep (PB-11-AC-4413) was stolen from his residence on Monday. A case of theft has been registered.

Missing

Harish Kumar, in his mid-forties, has allegedly gone missing from Modern Housing Complex in Mani Majra on May 12.

S.K Gupta, brother of the missing said Harish had gone to a shop at the Dwarkadeesh Department Store in Duplex market, where he used to sleep. The shop belonged to their brother-in-law. When he did not return from the shop, the matter was reported to the police.

A daily diary report was recorded on May 12 in the Mani Majra police station. Gupta said Harish, who was not mentally sound, was wearing white a shirt, brown pyjama and slippers.

SHO of the Mani Majra police station inspector Bishi Ram said although a message and photographs of the missing person had been flashed, no information about him had been received so far. 

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61 vehicles challaned

Chandigarh, May 15
As many as 61 vehicles were challaned today as a part of the ongoing special drive to check school buses and other vehicles which were violating the Provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act 1988. The challans for various offences amounted to Rs 79,900. — TNS

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Insurance employees oppose increase in FDI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 15
The Northern Zone Insurance Employees Association has opposed the provision of increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) in the insurance sector. The union finance minister had made provisions for increasing the FDI in the insurance sector from 26 per cent to 49 per cent.

Addressing media persons here today, Anil Bhatnagar, general secretary of the association, said the further opening of the insurance sector to FDI would spell death knell for public sector insurance companies.

He said the move was orchestrated at the behest of the US, which was dictating terms to the present government.

“As of now, 16 foreign insurance companies are operating in India. When FDI was allowed in the insurance sector, the government had said the global premium collected by these companies would be invested for infrastructure development. However, the money has all flown out of the country,” he said.

Bhatnagar said even the largest insurance company in India, LIC, which had a primary objective of social security, has been forced to enter into unit-linked business, because of unhealthy competition from private players. “As a result, the volatile share market cannot ensure the safety of the dividend and bonus,” he added.

Bhatnagar said if the government introduced a bill in the Parliament for increasing FDI, they would be forced to go on a strike. He added that the divisional conference of the association would be held tomorrow to discuss the issue. 

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Estate officer on long leave
Property dealers seek new appointment
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 15
The Haryana State Property Dealers Welfare Association today demanded appointment of an estate officer, HUDA, so that the public is not put to any inconvenience.

At a meeting of the association held under the chairmanship of O.P. Oberoi, it was decided that Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda be requested to pass orders for the appointment of the new estate officer, as the work regarding sale and purchase of property, sanctions of building plans, execution of conveyance deed was held up for the past more than 10 days.

The pending work has been further delayed because city magistrate Yogesh Kumar, appointed to look after the estate office work till the leave period of S.P. Arora, has also gone on long leave

“There is a great resentment as people are forced to do repeated rounds of the office without getting any work done. The agreements made for the sale and purchase of property involving financial implications are likely to adversely affect and could create legal complications,” Oberoi said.

J.S. Shingari and Suresh Aggarwal of the association said not only were legal complications likely to arise but the last dates mentioned in the agreements were not followed and the delay was adversely affecting the state exchequer. 

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