C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


6 of family, taxi driver die in Kalka mishap
Tribune News Service

The injured victims at the General Hospital, Kalka.
The injured victims at the General Hospital, Kalka.

Kalka, June 2
In a tragic accident, six members of a family from Mandi Gobindgarh and the driver of their taxi died on the spot while four other persons sustained serious injuries, here today. The accident took place when the brakes of a truck coming from the same side failed and hit the car of the victims.

Forty-five-year-old Parvin Sandhir, commission agent and accountant, his wife Indu (40), children Babu (7), Mohit (15), Deepu (17) and Reetika (19) had gone to Kalka to celebrate the birthday of Parvin’s friend and guide, Mohan Lal, last evening in a taxi hired from Mandi Gobindgarh and driven by 28-year-old Parminder. At 7.30 am, they started for their home.

An inconsolable Mohan Lal outside the mortuary in Kalka.
An inconsolable Mohan Lal outside the mortuary in Kalka. — Tribune photos by Manoj Mahajan

A truck, also on its way towards Panchkula, was on the same stretch of the elevated road when the driver realised that the brakes had given way and he tried to stop the truck by taking it off the road into a depression near the Kali Temple. Having failed to do so and after a cow came in front of his vehicle, he again came on to the road.

The truck again picked up speed as the level of the road began descending from there and hit an autorickshaw and two pedestrians before ramming into the ill-fated Indica in which the Sandhirs were travelling.

Eyewitnesses said with the impact, their car flew into the air, hit a tree trunk and came crashing down into a depression just off the road. Instinctively, the driver, tried to manoeuvre the truck away from the road into an opening but landed bang on the car, crushing it completely.

“I was standing outside my tyre shop and heard a loud thud. I saw the truck landing right in front of a house by the roadside. Suddenly, there was a cloud of smoke and dust and through it we heard a feeble voice crying for help. Immediately, there were people all over the place even as the police arrived,” says Neelam Kumar, giving an account of the accident.

“We saw the truck driver sandwiched between the seat and the steering wheel and pulled him out, made him lie down and gave him water after which the police shifted him to the hospital. It was after this that somebody noticed a limb hanging out from under the truck. We went to the other side and saw a woman’s hair. It was then that everybody realised that there were victims under the truck as well,” explains Raju in whose extended courtyard the accident took place.

Cranes were called in to disentangle the mangled remains of the truck from that of the vehicle underneath. “On lifting the truck, we found a car had been badly crushed and there were people hanging out in all directions. Their bodies had been ripped open and it was a gory sight. We extricated the bodies by tearing open the roof of the car and sent the bodies to the General Hospital in Kalka. The entire operation took nearly two hours,” Kalka SHO Ajay Disodia said.

At the hospital, too, relatives of the family began pouring in. Driver Parminder’s family arrived to claim his mortal remains while the bodies of the Sandhirs were handed over to Parvin’s brothers, Rajesh and Ajay.

The driver of the truck was referred to General Hospital, Sector 6, after his condition was stated to be critical but stable. The injured, Surindra Devi and Chaitru Ram, occupants of the autorickshaw which got a “nudge” from the truck to skid off the road, and two pedestrian daily wage workers, Rakesh and Rajesh, are recuperating at the hospital after sustaining injuries on their head and fractures in their limbs.

‘My birthday will never be the same’

Kalka resident Mohan Lal whose house the Sandhirs had come to, was inconsolable as he waited outside the mortuary. “I was never keen on my birthday party. Parvin only used to be enthusiastic about my birthday and would drive down to my house with his family and celebrate. This time, as always, I tried to dissuade him from driving down for my birthday but he didn’t listen,” he lamented.

Maintaining that the party went off well, he said the family started for Mandi Gobindgarh early, wanting to be home before the heat became unbearable and to be back in time for work. “Destiny had something else in store for them. I will never see them again. My birthday will come as a grim reminder of Parvin who was like a son to me. We met in 1995 and since then there has never been a year when he hasn’t visited us on my birthday,” a sobbing Mohan Lal said.

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World heritage city status?
First save heritage pieces
Manhole covers stolen, sold as scrap
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Considered to be part of the city’s precious heritage, unique manhole covers designed by one of the key architects of City Beautiful, Pierre Jeanneret, are finding their way to the scrap market, courtesy petty thieves.

This came to light in the wee hours today when a Tribune team noticed a rickshawpuller on the road dividing Sectors 15 and 24 taking one of these manhole covers. The police was informed about it. The rickshawpuller who took Rs 50 for transportation, said the invaluable piece was being taken to a junk dealer.

With the Chandigarh Administration and the police turning a blind eye to the fast-vanishing artifacts, it seems we are losing priceless heritage.

In fact, the stealing of the manhole cover weighing over a quintal from the heart of the city in Sector 17 near Hotel Taj is testimony to the apathetic attitude of the authorities concerned at a time when Chandigarh is aiming for the world heritage city status.

The police was informed about it and soon a team reached there and nabbed the rickshawpuller. Identified as 40-year-old Gyan Bahadur, he told the police that four women told him to deliver the manhole cover to Sachin, a Sector 24-based junk dealer.

Bahadur, who hails from Nepal, told TNS in the Sector 24 police post that four women, who appeared to be belonging to the Sansi community, met him near Neelam Cinema in Sector 17 around 4.30 am. They told him carry “something” from near Hotel Taj to Sector 24. On reaching there, they asked him to lift the heavy manhole cover with its frame lying on ground near the drainage. As it was too heavy, all five of them loaded it on to the rickshaw after a lot of efforts.

“The women asked me to deliver the manhole cover to Sachin, a junk dealer in Sector 24 and take Rs 50 as fare from him. I was not aware of its significance and that the women were putting me in danger,” said Ram Bahadur.

The SHO of the Sector 11 police station, inspector Puran Chand, said the matter was being investigated and the persons named by Gyan Bahadur would be questioned in this connection.

Adjudged unique and archetypal due to their concept as they depict the master plan of Chandigarh on their tops, these manhole covers are made of cast iron and are becoming a rare sight nowadays. Interestingly, the original manhole cover, which is lying at the Sector 10 Government Art and Museum Gallery, has a quote, “See how many you can locate”, emblazoned on it.

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AEO’s wings clipped
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
The Chandigarh Administration has divested Amit Talwar, assistant estate officer, of his quasi-judicial powers of the Estate Office, with immediate effect.

From now, lAS Officers of at least five years’ seniority or HCS/PCS officers of at least 10 years of seniority would be invested with the powers of the estate officer.

The order comes following a Vigilance report that was looking into the restoration of commercial and residential properties in Sectors 35, 15, 40, 44, 20-A and two properties in Sector 32. The adviser had restored these plots and sent the same to the Estate Office for implementation of orders which were not followed.

An enquiry was also conducted on the issue of the Estate Office not restoring the residential/ commercial sites concerned to the owners in nine cases despite clear orders of the high court or the adviser to the administrator acting as the revisional authority. In some of the cases even the payment of requisite dues had been accepted.

The administration has decided that besides the deputy commissioner-cum estate officer, R.K. Rao, other officers who would also be empowered to discharge the quasi-judicial functions of the estate officer under the Act include the chief executive officer, Chandigarh Housing Board, Amar Nath and additional deputy commissioner, I.S. Sandhu.

The Chandigarh Administration has decided that delegation of powers of the estate officer to very junior officers having inadequate administrative experience led to unsatisfactory disposal of work.

The action has been taken "to restore the importance of the office and separate executive functions from quasi-judicial functions for ensuring a transparent, responsive and efficient administration," the release said. It has been pointed out that in the preliminary Vigilance enquiry, it was found that there has been administrative shirking of responsibility and lack of leadership in the specific cases under question.

Certain other flaws were discovered in the working and the organisation of work in the Estate Office, as well.

It has also been pointed out that there is a substantial backlog of court cases in the Estate office and the disposal will be regularly monitored. The preliminary Vigilance enquiry into the matter of the Estate Office, however, has not found any evidence of venality against the officer concerned.

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Pollution due to four-laning of highway
Notice to NHAI, GMR Expressways
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, June 2
Fed up with the environmental pollution due to the four-laning of the Zirakpur-Ambala highway and construction of a flyover here, the citizens’ forum has sent a legal notice to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and GMR Expressways, the agency executing the project.

Alleging that the construction work was started without “proper planning and application of mind by the company”, the forum in its notice claimed that the project was making people living in and around Zirakpur prone to asthmatic problem.

“Before the project was started neither alternative routes were provide nor roads widened to give proper passage to traffic. On account of this, clouds of dust are making lives of the residents miserable,” it alleged.

The area where construction work was going on and the service lanes are full of potholes and dust resulting in insanitary conditions.

This has put motorists and residents to a lot of inconvenience, forum counsel Balwinder Singh alleged.

The laying of the storm water drainage along the Zirakpur-Ambala highway has made the situation worse as the soil is allegedly being dumped on the road.

This has made the road narrow and an “accident-prone” zone.

Besides this, link roads connecting several colonies and societies are cut off from the main road for the past one-year.

Time and again members of the forum have asked GMR to comply with the procedures followed by it during construction of Delhi Metro and other projects.

The forum’s suggestion to remove the earth and soil from the areas along the road and spray water on it to settle the dust has gone unheeded.

The legal notice has cautioned the authorities concerned to follow standard procedures and remove the soil from the roads and construct link roads to the colonies so that living conditions could improve.

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Beware! Snatchers on the prowl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Residents beware! Snatchers are on the prowl in the city. During the past 24 hours, five incidents of miscreants decamping with valuables of gullible targets have been reported from various parts of the city. The fear of police seems to be the last thing on their minds.

Puja of Sector 30 was deprived of her purse lying in her car today when two unidentified motorcyclists decamped with it. The purse contained Rs 8,000, a mobile phone, a mangal sutra and some jewellery. The incident took place at around 2 pm in the busy Sector 30 market.

Puja told the police that she had gone to buy a bottle of mineral water from a shop, leaving her car in the parking lot. Within minutes, two boys on a motorcycle stopped near her car and picked up her purse. She raised the alarm, but before someone could do anything, the miscreants disappeared. The police has registered a case.

Nearly the same time, another woman, Vijay Vinayak of Sector 32-D, fell prey to two unidentified motorcyclists near her residence, who reportedly snatched her gold chain. She could not note down the registration number of the motorcycle.

A little earlier in the day, at around 12.30 pm, Anita of Sector 35-D reported to the police that two unidentified motorcyclists snatched her gold chain from the main road in Sector 42 while she was travelling in a rickshaw.

Yesterday was no better with two city residents losing their belongings to snatchers. Kiran Kumar of Sector 42-C reported to the police that two youngsters on a motorcycle snatched her gold chain from near her residence. In another incident, Raj Bala of Sector 22-D filed a complaint with the police alleging that two unidentified motorcyclists snatched her gold chain from Sector 22.

It is learnt that alarmed over the rising number of incidents of snatching, which reflects poorly on the UT police, senior superintendent of police Gaurav Yadav today held a meeting with police officers and issued certain directions to curb such incidents.

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GMCH paediatrics dept data shocking
Parents less keen on daughters’ immunisation
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Parents living in the city and surrounding villages of Punjab are not treating their daughters well. Data collected from the paediatrics department of Government Medical Hospital, Sector 32, indicates preferential treatment given to boys in all aspects of health care. All major indicators of child’s health and treatment stand in favour of boys, girls are found to be lagging far behind. The hospital caters to urban populations of city’s southern sectors, adjoining slums and a few villages of Punjab.

The most shocking set of statistics pertains to babies born in the hospital. Right from 2005 to May 2007 statistics point to the prevalence of female foeticide, as the number of inborn girls are much less than that of inborn boys. In 2005 only 46.3 per cent of the children born in the hospital were girls, the ratio of inborn boys to girls being 1.15: 1.

In 2006, the ratio was 1.13: 1 and in 2007 (up to May), the ratio was 1.36:1. Paediatrics department’s head Veena Parmar said the data indicated a clear bias against the girl child. “Such a disturbed sex ratio among newborns is very unhealthy.

It clearly indicates that the sex determination and female foeticide is still being practiced.”

Another set of data underlining gender bias relate to children brought in for administering free vaccines under the national immunisation programme. Despite the vaccines being free, parents are least interested in getting their daughters immunised. On an average, 65 per cent of children who benefit from free vaccines are boys; rest of them are girls.

Now, about sex-wise breakup of children getting immunised for killer diseases- as against 2,080 boys, only 1,596 girls took the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis in 2005. In 2007, the vaccine was given to 831 boys and 596 girls. Oral polio vaccine was given to 2,080 boys and only 1,596 girls in 2005; in 2007, it was administered to 812 boys and 586 girls.

Same was the story with DPT vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and pertusus. In 2005, 316 boys and 201 girls were given the vaccine; in 2007, 130 boys and 89 girls came for vaccination.

“These figures relate to free vaccination. You can well imagine how many parents get their girls immunised against chicken pox whose vaccine is very costly and has to be purchased,” Parmar said.

Gender bias is further reflected in fresh attendance of children in new OPD. In 2005, 2006 and 2007 many boys were brought to the OPD for treatment of routine ailments. The boy-girl ratio of 2005, 2006 and 2007 was 1.56:1,1.53: 1 and 1.54: 1, respectively.

The ratio inclines further in favour of boys when it comes to children who return to hospital for treatment. For 2005, 2006, 2007, the boy-girl ratio in terms of revisits was 1.69:1, 1.70:1 and 1.67:1, respectively.

Statistics regarding admission to hospital for emergency care is even more indicative of bias for sons.

Of the total children admitted for emergency support in 2005, only 38 per cent were girls. The percentage of girls admitted in this category in 2006 and 2007 was only 37.5 and 35.3, respectively.

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Mishap cuts short youth’s life
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 2
Twenty-year-old Manish Saini today died after his two-wheeler was hit by a truck on the road dividing Sectors 12 and 12-A here while he was on his way to attend a coaching class.

While the truck driver fled from the spot, the police has impounded the vehicle and registered a case.

Police sources said victim’s father R.T. Saini, a bank employee, had stated that Manish, who was preparing for his Common Entrance Test, left his residence in Sector 21 at 10 am to attend his coaching classes.

As soon as he reached the dividing road, his scooter was hit by a truck which dragged him to some distance before coming to a halt. The boy, a student of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Chandimandir, died on the spot.

The deceased’s elder brother Ravish is a computer engineer and he, too, wanted to follow in the latter’s footsteps.

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Close all deras in Punjab: Samra
Tribune News Service

Gurvinder Singh Samra (centre), accompanied by members of the Sikh Sangharsh Committee, addresses mediapersons at the Chandigarh Press Club in Sector 27, Chandigarh, on Saturday.
Gurvinder Singh Samra (centre), accompanied by members of the Sikh Sangharsh Committee, addresses mediapersons at the Chandigarh Press Club in Sector 27, Chandigarh, on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, June 2
All deras indulging in nefarious activities should be closed in Punjab. This was stated by Gurvinder Singh Samra, president of the Sikh Sangharsh Committee, here today.

Addressing mediapersons at the Sector 27 Chandigarh Press Club, Samra, accompanied by general secretary of the committee Sahib Singh and senior vice-president Rachpal Singh Bhagouran, said the Akal Takht should make efforts to curb this “menace, spreading with each passing day”.

He said Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal had “captured” the Akal Takht, the supreme religious body of the Sikhs. The Takht had failed to wipe out deras indulging in nefarious deeds across the state.

He said it was under political pressure that instead of taking a march to Delhi, Singh sahibans had reduced the march to 1.5 km in Fatehgarh Sahib on May 31.

Flaying the SGPC for becoming a tool in the hands of Badal, he said it was being used by politicians, and much to the chagrin of Sikhs, had retreated from its earlier stand and diluted the agitation against Dera Sacha Sauda.

Condemning the Akal Takht for turning a blind eye to the growing menace of deras in Punjab, he said their committee had apprised the Takht of the nefarious activities, including “sexual harassment” being committed in a Haryana-based dera, which had several branches in the state. 

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Janata market traders in dire straits
Seek pucca booths from GMADA
Our Correspondent

The day after
Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, June 2
Even as some smoke could still be seen rising from the destroyed Janata Rehri Market in Phase III B 1, here, life has come to a standstill for the fire-hit khokha owners who gathered at the scene today.

They stood on the road near heaps of ash and twisted metal sheets wondering when they would get compensation and life would start once again.

“We have been ruined,” was the refrain among them.

Sushil Kumar, who ran a khokha by the name of Kiran General Store, stood with bandages on both his arms among other shopkeepers who had gathered at the scene. Not only was his shop reduced to a heap of ash in yesterday’s devastating fire, he himself also sustain burn injuries while trying to retrieve some goods from his shop which was being engulfed by flames. He lamented that the administration had failed to provide him any medical help at the time of crisis. He was taken in an ambulance by Ranbaxy staff and given first aid. He said that the loss of property was already unbearable, and in addition to that, he would have to worry about medical expenditure as well.

Starting life once again is going to be difficult for Karamjit Kaur (shop 187) who already is passing through hard times. She said she had lost her husband in an accident in 1996 after which the entire responsibility of looking after her three children and aged in-laws fell on her. She was making both ends meet by stitching garments at a booth in the rehri market.

Similarly, Sharda Saini said she had been thrown out of the house by her husband and as such she was living with her parents. She was earning her livelihood by managing a khokha, owned by her mother, dealing in disposable items.

In order to claim compensation for the loss the shopkeepers have been given forms by the administration which were to be filled and submitted by tomorrow at the office of the SDM.

Devinder Singh, president of the khokha market, demanded that the government should give some immediate financial relief so that shopkeepers were able to feed their families. He said the compensation should be given to each shopkeeper according to the loss he or she suffered. He also demanded that the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) should give them pucca booths free of cost as no shopkeeper was now in a position to make any payment after yesterday’s tragedy.

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Mohali fire brigade lacks fire
Acute staff shortage; ill-equipped
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 2
The Mohali fire brigade which caters to fire calls from areas falling under two districts is plagued by acute staff shortage and is ill-equipped to handle major fires.

The local fire brigade was set up in 1978 to attend to fire calls from the small town and neighbouring areas. At present, it is catering to SAS Nagar and Ropar districts.

Though Mohali has developed at a very fast pace since then and has made a place for itself at the international level, the fire brigade has not been upgraded at the same pace. It not only faces staff shortage but also possesses fire tenders which are very old.

Repeated requests for adequate staff and other facilities have fallen on deaf ears over the years. The shortage of staff is so acute that many times officials of the fire brigade have themselves to drive fire tenders in the absence of drivers.

According to sources, the fire brigade has only one leading fireman, two firemen on a regular basis and 11 on contract basis and four drivers. This staff are not even adequate for the one fire tender as round -the-clock duties are to be performed. The fire brigade has three fire tenders and one water bouser and as such more than 45 firemen, 12 leading firemen and 12 drivers are needed for providing satisfactory services.

One of the fire tenders with the local fire brigade was purchased in 1982. Though a vehicle is condemned after 15 years of use by the Transport Department, the fire tender is still being used despite being about 25 years old. The second fire tender was purchased in 1994 and the water bouser in 1996. The mini fire tender was purchased in 2000. Even the fire Jeep is about 24 years old.

The local fire brigade is not at all equipped to tackle fire in high-rise buildings. Multi-storeyed buildings are coming up in Mohali but nobody is bothered to upgrade the fire brigade so that it was able to handle fires in such buildings.

The Punjab School Education Board, PUDA and municipal council buildings are seven-storeyed and if some fire breaks out in one of these buildings, Mohali would have to depend on the Chandigarh fire brigade.

The town also does not have the much-required water hydrants.

In yesterday's fire at the Janata Rehri Market, fire tenders had to go all the way to the fire brigade premises and Ranbaxy for refilling. Even though the civic body had purchased some hydrants many years ago , som of these had still not been installed by the department concerned.

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City Fire Dept all geared up for any crisis
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
The fire incident in Mohali has raised concerns among many people who are perturbed whether the city is ready to handle any situation arising from a fire incident.

If one is to believe the version of local fire brigade officials, there is no need to worry as the department is fully equipped to handle any untoward situation.

Terming the department’s firefighting arrangements equivalent to metros like Delhi and Mumbai, the station fire officer of the Sector 17 head office M. L. Sharma said in case of any fire incident, the tenders would reach the spot within five minutes. The claims seemed to be true as a surprise check by TNS team at the various fire offices, including head office at Sector 17 found that all tenders were ready with full tanks to reach the incident site.

While the rehri markets in the city are virtually facing a threat of a major tragedy in case of a fire, as no fire equipment are in place there, the Fire Department maintains that it is ready to prevent any catastrophe.

The department has 34 fire tenders, an imported hydraulic ladder, two multipurpose tenders and two dried chemical powder (DCP) tenders that come with advance fire technology (AFT). The department has seven fire stations in the city, including one each at Sectors 32, 38, 11, Industrial Areas Phase I and Phase II along with its head office in Sector 17.

At the head office, it was found that five vehicles were ready to rush to any spot in the city. M. L. Sharma stated that the fire-fighters took 2 to 5 minutes to reach the spot. He said that department has divided the city into different zones that are assigned to each fire station. The firefighters from the nearest fire station are rushed to the spot in case of fire and fire tenders from other stations are also sent to assist the firefighters, Sharma said.

The prompt action taken by the city Fire Department during the fire incident at Mohali makes one believe the department has all its arrangements in place. 

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Rehabilitation plan lauded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has lauded the UT administration's rehabilitation programme for slum dwellers at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park.

The committee, in its 126th report, appreciated the ambitious programme of the administration to rehabilitate the slum dwellers by constructing dwelling units and giving them on rent.

The committee also desired that the construction of units be started and completed at the earliest so that shifting of the slum dwellers could be done as early as possible.

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Scheme for ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Exservicemen have been advised to become members of the Exservicemen Contributory Health Scheme, the last date for which has been fixed as March 31 next year.

A press note issued by the All-India Exservicemen Welfare Association said exservicemen drawing pension from the Controller of Defence Accounts (P) and who had retired prior to January 1, 1996, were exempted from contribution under this scheme.

Separate instructions would be issued for refund of contribution for pre-1996 retiree exservicemen who had already deposited the contribution to get membership, said the press note.

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ISBT ground reality defies CTU claims
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

A heap of garbage at the Sector 17 ISBT in Chandigarh on Saturday.
A heap of garbage at the Sector 17 ISBT in Chandigarh on Saturday. — Tribune photo by Vinay Malik 

Chandigarh, June 2
All is not well with the Sector 17 bus stand. Even though the CTU authorities have been making tall claims about developing the ISBT into a model bus terminal, lack of basic amenities here has put a question mark on the assertions made by them.

Though the CTU has come up with a proposal to hike bus fares and install CCTV cameras at various points at the ISBT as well as bus shelters, no heed is being paid to maintain even the basic facilities.

Unhygienic conditions prevail around water taps, resulting in unbearable stink. Owners of eatable stalls are making the most of CTU apathy as they are charging more than the MRP on soft drink and water bottles.

Besides, the stench being generated in and around toilets, improper lighting arrangements, non-functional fans and heaps of garbage testify to the “indifferent attitude” of the CTU authorities.

These issues have already been highlighted in these columns a number of times, but even this has not been able to wake the authorities from deep slumber.

Lamenting the lack of facilities at the bus stand, a local commuter, Gurpreet Singh Bansal, said, “It seems the authorities are least bothered about the poor state of affairs here.”

On plans of the authorities to install CCTVs at the bus stand, Archit Watts, a Panjab University student, said, “Taking proper care of the existing facilities should be the priority of the authorities rather than wasting money on such useless things.”

Varun Sharma, an advocate, said avoiding big talk, the authorities should come out of their air-conditioned offices and ensure proper facilities.

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Dera Bassi Gujjars form manch
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, June 2
To express solidarity with their community in Rajasthan, Gujjars of Dera Bassi sub-division today formed the "ekta sangarsh manch" and decided to organise a protest march from Mukandpur village to the SDM office here on June 4.

These decisions were taken at a meeting of the community held at Mukandpur village, near here. The leaders urged the central and the Rajasthan Government to accept all demands of the community, including the inclusion of the Gujjars in the Scheduled Caste category and grant of a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the next of the kin of those killed in recent Rajasthan violence.

Meanwhile, security was beefed up in and around the township to avoid any untoward incident.

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43 degree
Hottest day of the season
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
The Met Department recorded the hottest day of the season today, as the mercury rose to 43 degree Celsius. The jump in the day temperature was 1.8 degrees more than yesterday and it marked extreme summer, as hot winds blew throughout the day, pausing for a while towards the evening when some sectors reported a minor drizzle.

Summers are indeed at their peak, with the temperature rising by 5.6 degree in a matter of a few days. On May 27, the maximum temperature was 37.4 degree. It has been subsequently rising ever since to reach 43 degree today. The day temperature recorded by the Met on May 28, 29, 30, 31 and June 1 was 37.6, 38, 38.8, 40 and 41.2, respectively. The mercury levels have consistently risen throughout the week.

At 43 degree, the city was literally scorching today. The heat gave way towards the evening, but only for a while. The minimum temperature today was also on a much higher side than expected. It rose to 27 degree -- registering a gain of 1.6 degree over yesterday when the night temperature was 25.4 degree.

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Letters

Liquor addiction

In spite of the Supreme Court of India disapproving of liquor addiction among the younger generation and urging the government to reduce the consumption of liquor, the UT administration has planned to open a total of 215 vends in the city.

Residents of the city, municipal councillors, religious bodies, social activists, and others have opposed the opening of these vends.

Sector 19 and 27 has three liquor shops and the distance between these shops is less than 100 yards. The liquor shop in Sector 27 does not follow the set rules and drunkards are often seen consuming liquor in the open.

The excise and taxation department of the UT has said drinking in public places, drinking and driving, drinking in a parked vehicle, possessing liquor above the prescribed limit and selling liquor without a licence was an offence. The authorities concerned should look into the matter.

M.L. 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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Youth jailed for poaching wild boar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Wildlife officials of Mohali and Ropar today arrested a 26-year-old youth on charges of poaching a wild boar. Darshan Singh, who has a history of poaching in this forest area, was arrested from his house at Kakot Majre village.

The team comprising district forest officer, wildlife, Mohali, Tushar Bahera, wildlife warden, Mohali, Neeraj Gupta and wildlife warden, Ropar, Balvinder Singh raided Darshan Singh’s house on receiving a tip-off that he had killed the wild boar for meat. They seized wild boar’s skin, an air gun, a sickle and a foot trap, which poachers use to capture the animal.

The accused, arrested under Sections 9, 39, 49, 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Ropar, today, and remanded in judicial custody till June 15. Wild boar is a Schedule III animal under the Wildlife Protection Act, which disallows bail to the accused. Punishment in such cases can go up to three years.

According to Neeraj Gupta, poachers are normally not active during the summer season as extreme heat keeps the animals in their habitats and incidents of straying remain minimal.

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Two brothers booked on kidnap charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
Two brothers of Kansal village have been booked by the Chandigarh police on a charge of kidnapping two girls from Sector 24.

The police said the parents of the girls lodged a complaint with the Sector 11 police station yesterday alleging that their daughters were kidnapped by Salim and Sabi, both residents of Kansal village.

The accused are in their early twenties.

The police said the parents of the girls had reported to the police a few days ago that their girls had gone to the Sector 22 market for shopping and did not return home.

The police recorded a daily diary report in this connection. Later, the families of the girls got information that their daughters were taken away by the brothers, following which they lodged a complaint.

Police sources said the girls and the accused knew each other as they were studying together.

The police said they had conducted a raid on the residence of the accused, but found no one there. Efforts were on to trace them.

Theft

Ankit Sharma of Sector 22 reported to the police that a CD player and other documents were stolen from his car parked outside his residence. A case has been registered.

Motorcycle set ablaze

Ravi Kumar of Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran, reported to the police that his motorcycle was set ablaze by Amit and two other unidentified persons last night. A case has been registered.

Burglary

Raj Kumar Alhawat of Mauli Jagran filed a complaint with the police alleging that a pair of earrings, a necklace, two mobile phones and Rs 2,500 were stolen from his residence after breaking the locks yesterday. A case has been registered.

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‘Laugh and Win’ contest

Chandigarh, June 2
Airtel announced a 'Laugh and Win' contest for its prepaid and postpaid customers in Punjab wherein the highest scorer will drive home a Maruti Swift. To participate, an Airtel customer has to call 646 and say 'summer' or simply dial 64640 and answer the questions. — TNS

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Traders hail decision on floors

Chandigarh, June 2
The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) today hailed the announcement of the Chandigarh Administration regarding the regularisation of the SCOs with five storeys in Sector 17.

A press note issued here hoped that the decision would provide relief to a large number of traders running their business on those floors. It also demanded an early relief to the SCO and SCF owners from Sectors 7 to 30 for optimum commercial usage of the upper floors for the general trade. — TNS

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Taxi operators hail MC move
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 2
The Chandigarh Taxi Operators Union has hailed the decision of the Municipal Council to defer the issue of auction of taxi stand sites in the city.

In a statement here today, president of the union H. S. Sawhney said the leaders of the political parties understood the demand of the union and took the right decision. The union is demanding that the allotment of the taxi stands should be made on long-term basis instead of auctioning the sites.

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