C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Callous Admn
Officers in public disservice
Tribune News Service

A majority of the public servants are not “accessible” to people during public-meeting hours, as a special campaign by a Chandigarh Tribune team in the tricity reveals

Chandigarh, June 4
Yamuna Devi closed her small shop for the day to meet the deputy commissioner of the city today during the public meeting hour (12 pm to 1 pm). However, this poor widow, who came along with her nine-year-old daughter to the DC's office, just wasted the day as the 'sahib' was busy in some meeting.

And this is not the first time when her visit went futile. She has been coming here for the past four months to meet the 'sahib', but in vain.

On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 12 pm to 1 pm, the deputy commissioner meets visitors. But if people waiting outside the office are to be believed, many of them have been coming repeatedly for a long period only to get the answer: 'Sahib is busy in a meeting'.

"I have become habitual of listening to this answer. I have been making the rounds of the office for the past four months to meet him (the DC), but every time I receive the same answer - ‘come next time’," said Yamuna Devi, a resident of Colony No. 4.

"I have to close my shop to come here. Since I am very poor, it is very difficult to shut my shop daily," said Yamuna Devi with tears in her eyes.

Echoing the problem, Sunita Devi of Sector 25 said, "I have made countless rounds of this office to get my work done. But I could meet the deputy commissioner only once. It seems no one bothers to redress the grievances of the poor people."

On the unavailability of the DC during the visitors' hours, when the Tribune team asked the PA to the DC, he replied: “He is busy today. Come tomorrow.”

The UT has made an exception in public-meeting hours for Wednesdays and Fridays, yet it is not sticking to the schedule for other days as well.

The finance secretary missed his public-meeting hours on at least three of the five working days last week. He was also missing today and will also be absent tomorrow.

He was away to New Delhi for a high-level meeting of Chief Ministers last Monday.

A senior citizen, not wishing to be quoted, said: "I have come to the office of the finance secretary at least three times during the past two weeks alone, but to no avail. I am told he is either busy in a meeting or away on an assignment. The office should put up an information slip as to who should be contacted in his absence".

The office of the chief engineer is no different. Sharda Devi, a local resident, said "most of the times we are told that the officer is away for a meeting. Even when is inside, there is some meeting going on, even during the pubic-meeting hours. This is unfair on the part of the administration."

The office of the adviser and the home secretary has a comparatively better record of public dealing during the scheduled hour. A senior official said: "Officials do not leave their office on their own during the scheduled public-meeting hours. In case they are called by seniors, they have no option but to leave their seats. The seniors will have to ensure not calling officers during the scheduled public-meeting hours."

In the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, the commissioner was reported to be away for a meeting during the public-meeting hours. Though the notice plate outside his office stated that public-meeting hours are from 12 to 1 pm (except on Wednesday), he was unavailable in his office. The office of the chief engineer was undergoing renovation and when enquired whether some one was looking after the people coming to meet the officer, MC employees could not provide a satisfactory answer.

The office of SE is lying vacant as S.K. Chadha was transferred recently and the MC has sought a panel from Punjab and Haryana to fill the post.

Mohali: Both the district chief and the head of the district police were not present in their offices during public-meeting hours here today even as persons coming to meet them in connection with their grievances had to return after waiting for hours.

While deputy commissioner H.I.S. Garewal was not available in his office even till the lunch time, SSP R.S. Khatra had spent about 45 minutes in his office before leaving.

When this correspondent visited the office of the deputy commissioner at 12.15 pm, he found two persons from nearby villages waiting to meet him. Even though the visiting hours displayed outside the office of the deputy commissioner were from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm, he was not in his office. Sunita Sharma, PA to the DC, said he had gone to attend a meeting. She, however, did not specify when the district chief would be back. People were seen waiting for him even till 1.30 pm.

Gurmeet Kaur of Bhagomajra village said she was sitting since 10 am to meet the DC in connection with a compliant she had against Ajmer Singh Lali of Goslan village.

She had visited the office of the deputy commissioner even on May 29 and June 1, but could not meet the official despite waiting for hours.

Similarly, Hari Kishan of Kauran Majra village had come to meet the deputy commissioner but failed to do so. He said he had visited the office of the deputy commissioner thrice last week also for work related to his son who was lodged in Patiala Central Jail, but the deputy commissioner was not available in his office.

People were found waiting for the SSP outside his office at 11. 40 am. His PA told this correspondent that the SSP was available in his office for about 45 minutes, but had to leave when he got a phone call from the headquarters. Visiting hours were, however, not displayed outside his office.

Des Raj Jindal, who owns an industrial unit in Phase II in Chandigarh, said he had come to meet the SSP in connection with a property dispute. He said he had come a number of times earlier as well but could not meet the SSP. Even around 1.30 pm, people were seen waiting to meet him.

SDM Jaspal Mittal was, however, present in his office during the visiting hours, which have been fixed from 11 am to 1.30 pm.

Panchkula: The district administration stuck to its schedule of meeting people to redress grievances at the appointed public meeting time with officers, including the additional deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police, available throughout. The deputy commissioner, however, out of the city for training.

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Developer sentenced for illegal land sale
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Arun Kumar, Judicial Magistrate (1st Class), Ropar, has sentenced a developer from Kurali to simple imprisonment for one year and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on him for violating the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act.

In a press note issued by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority, the general public is again warned/cautioned and advised in their own interest not to invest their hard earned money in any illegal/unapproved colonies/projects and anybody doing so shall be himself responsible for the same.

According to it, convict Nar Singh sold 2.5 acres approximately by carving plots for residential purpose to nine persons. This was not approved by the competent authority. An FIR was registered against Nar Singh for offence under Section 36(1) of the Act. Consequently, the challan was presented in the court the SHO, Kurali. The sale deeds executed by the accused, statement of Tehsil office clerk and other witnesses proved the unauthorised sale of land.

The Act is in force in the whole state of Punjab to regulate colonies and property transactions. According to the Act, it is mandatory for a person to get registration as a promoter for obtaining a licence to develop a colony under section 5 of the Act.

A promoter cannot convert any land (measuring more than 1,000 sq m) into a colony after dividing it into residential/commercial/industrial plots without obtaining a license from the competent authority declared by the state government.

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10-yr RI for 3 in poppy husk case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
A local court today sentenced three persons to 10-year rigorous imprisonment each and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh each in a case under the NDPS Act. The accused are already in judicial custody since July 2005.

Pronouncing the orders, additional district and sessions judge S.K. Aggarwal held the three - Mohammed Dilshad, a resident of Dadu Majra, Babblu, a resident of Saharanpur, and Irshad, a resident of Hardwar - guilty of possessing 288 kg of poppy husk.

During the argument, the defence maintained that the poppy husk, which was found in 12 bags (each having 24 kg of the contraband), had been recovered from somewhere else and a false case had been made out against the three youths, but it could not produce any evidence before the court. The public prosecutor, Vinay Jhingan, said the accused did not possess any licence to carry the contraband. Another contention of the defence that there was variation in the quantity shown by the CFSL and the police also did not hold ground as the prosecution said the equipment used by the two agencies was different.

The incident dates back to July 10, 2005, when the three youths were caught near Sarangpur village here while bring the contraband on a tractor-trailer from the Mullanpur side.

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Abandoned baby’s mother shows up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Five days after an unidentified man abandoned a six-month-old girl in the Sector 23 Missionaries of Charity, a young woman from Patiala, claiming to be the mother of the girl, visited the orphanage today.

Sources in the Sector 17 police station said the woman came to the orphanage this morning after the incident was highlighted in the media. The caretakers at the orphanage informed the police about the matter.

The police said the woman told them that she was having a matrimonial dispute which forced her abandon her daughter. She came along with her father to take back the child.

The police said it would verify her antecedents and examine the evidences she had given. If need be, the police would take a DNA sample to confirm her claim.

Meanwhile, the woman returned to Patiala and would come back along with her father and husband to complete the formalities to take back the girl.

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2 commit suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
A Sector 52 resident allegedly hanged himself to death at his residence in the rehabilitated colony here today. He was in his mid-forties. He left a suicide note, which was addressed to his children, saying “he was helpless”, said the police.

SHO of the Sector 36 police station Ishwar Singh Mann said the victim, Hari Chand, was working as a helper in Industrial Area. His wife, along with their two daughters and a son, had gone to meet her parents in Agra about two weeks ago.

The suicide came to light at around 8 am when the milkman found the door locked from inside and his repeated knocks went unanswered. Then a colleague of the victim came there and broke open the door. At the first floor of the house, they found Hari Chand hanging from the tin roof girder with a dupatta. They informed the police.

Lalru: Allegedly depressed by his wife’s illness, a 35-year-old employee of Bhandari Export committed suicide here on Sunday night by consuming some poisonous substance.

Manohar Sahu had gone to the market yesterday and when he returned he began vomiting, the police said, quoting his wife.

Manohar was admitted to the Civil Hospital, Ambala, where the doctors said he had died of poisoning, the police added.

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Cos were passing off inverters as UPSs to save tax
Racket involving evasion of VAT unearthed
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, June 4
The Punjab excise and taxation department has unearthed a major racket by three electronic companies involving alleged evasion of value added tax (VAT) on the sale of inverters and uninterrupted power suppliers (UPSs) in the state. The racket was detected at the information collection centre on the Punjab-Haryana border in Shambu, near here, recently. The companies - Intex, Genus and Parker Power - have been slapped a penalty of Rs 10 lakh for the alleged evasion of tax, sources told The Tribune today.

Revealing the modus operandi of the firms, officials informed that companies were exploiting an anomaly in the VAT regime to their advantage. Since a UPS was being taxed @ 4 per cent and inverter at the @ 12.5 per cent, these companies were passing off inverters as "home-use" UPSs.

Being an information technology-related product, the UPS attracted a lower rate of VAT compared to the inverters, which is being used as a power back-up device by households. It may be recalled that in Haryana and Delhi, inverters are being taxed at a uniform rate of 4 per cent. This anomaly in the taxation regime might have spurred the companies to resort to tax evasion, an official asserted.

Neelkanth S. Awadh, additional commissioner, Patiala, while confirming the alleged evasion of VAT by the electronic firms, said appropriate action as per the law would be taken against the defaulters. The information collection centres all over the state are routinely checking the stocks and detecting evasion of tax, he added.

As both inverter and UPS are power back-up devices, the department got the products tested from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, to determine the exact nature of the products. During testing, it was found that the "home-use" UPSs are indeed inverters and the companies had been paying less VAT on them. While Intex has reportedly not decided to contest the penalty, the other firms have been given a two-month notice to contest their cases.

Meanwhile, Ajay Jagga, a Chandigarh-based taxation lawyer, has demanded rationalisation of VAT in the country so that such anomalies in the regime are not manipulated by unscrupulous manufacturers while doing business in different states.

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Fire-hit pick up the pieces
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Devastated by the fire, people in Colony No. 5 have started re-building their dwellings. The flames that destroyed almost everything in more than 60 shacks also brought people together as help for the affected poured in from neighbours.

The family of nine-year-old Pankaj, who was killed in the fire, was inconsolable as his mother Anita and father Mool Chand kept on cursing their fate. The other child who had suffered burn injuries on his legs was identified as three-year-old Sumit.

His father Des Raj said that though no fee was charged at the hospital, he had to buy medicines of his own. The administration had yesterday announced that the treatment expenses of the child would be borne by it.

Slum-dwellers lamented that even though some government officials visited the affected families this morning, yet they offered no help. Instead, they made up some lists and left.

The labour union of Sector 45 was the first to reach the affected families with help as they were provided with tarpaulins this afternoon to save them from the scorching sun.

The families cleaned the ashes and collected whatever items they could find. Neighbours arranged food and other eatables for those who had lost everything in the fire.

Unlike previous fire incidents, none of the NGOs visited the slum this time. However, some affected families started re-building their shacks with whatever material they could arrange. The rest erected tents made of tarpaulins.

Even though the impending danger of another fire that can be sparked by kundi connections was highlighted in these columns today, the UT electricity department is yet to wake up to the gravity of the situation.

It was learnt that none of the officials from the department went to the slums today to remove the kundi connections.

V.K. Bhardwaj, chief engineer of the UT administration, refused to comment on the issue.

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Janata Market Fire
Kiosk owners, tenants squabble over relief

Mohali, June 4
Even as the inquiry being conducted in connection with the incident of devastating fire at the Janata rehri market in Phase III B 1 is under way, heated arguments took place between kiosk owners and tenants here today over claims on compensation to be given by the government.

Heated arguments were witnessed at the house of municipal council vice-president Harmanpreet Singh, where they had gathered.

While the owners said they were the rightful claimants of the compensation, tenants said they should be given compensation as they had suffered major losses. It was then decided to give compensation to tenants and allot permanent booths to owners by the GMADA.

Additional deputy commissioner (development) Ajoy Sharma said the inquiry was in progress and could not be completed in the stipulated time as all aspects had to be covered.

Without divulging any details, the ADC said he would submit the report to the deputy commissioner as soon as it gets completed.

Shopkeepers of the market have so far not deposited any forms with the SDM office in which they are to provide information on their compensation claims. — OC

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Beautified island adds to Sukhna’s charm
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Sukhna Lake, one of the tourists’ attraction in the city, got another boost as the UT administration today launched a project for the beautification of the island at the lake. Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Lieut-Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) inaugurated the project here this evening.

Accompanied by Jean Rodrigues, General Rodrigues reached the island on a shikara and switched on the button and went round the island.

Interacting with senior officers and visitors, the Governor said Sukhna was a destination of choice for tourists from across the region. He laid stress on public-private partnership to enhance the beauty of the lake.

He said the endeavour was to change the image of Chandigarh as a stopover and to create sufficient interest for tourists and visitors to spend more time in Chandigarh and enjoy the splendor of nearby tourist spots, along with city’s own attractions.

The chief engineer, while briefing about the project, said a dummy wind mill of 41 inches in height had been installed, besides a fountain supplemented with multi-coloured lights. The slant of the open hand has been raised and filled with white stones and kotah stone. Landscaping work has been done by removing the bushes and wild growth and PVC green mesh has been provided all round the island.

The inaguration ceremony was attended by senior officers of the administration, including home secretary Krishna Mohan, deputy commissioner R.K. Rao, chief general manager of CITCO Daljit Singh, director tourism Vivek Atray and chief architect Sunita Monga.

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Police ‘dragging feet’ on lodging FIR
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
If the allegations of a city-resident are to be believed, the Chandigarh police has been dragging its feet on registering a case of cheating for the past over two months.

The complainant, Ishwar Singh of Sector 44, has alleged that he has been duped of Rs 5 lakh by a Faridkot resident and his accomplice, an NRI, who is the owner of an SCO in Sector 22-C.

The accused had taken the money from him on the pretext of selling him the property in June last year. However, the complainant found out in March this year that the property had already been sold to someone else by the accused.

Ishwar Singh claimed that he had provided all necessary documentary evidence, which he procured under the RTI Act, to the investigating officers but they had not proceeded against the accused so far.

He also lodged a complaint with the UT senior superintendent of police on March 15.

In his complaint, he alleged that on June 15 last year he reached a sale agreement on 50 per cent stake in the SCO with the Faridkot resident, who assured him of possessing the general power of attorney on behalf of the owner of the property.

The deal was settled for Rs 1.83 crore for which he claimed to have given Rs 1 lakh to the accused as earnest money.

Ishwar Singh added that he gave two postdate cheques for Rs 2 lakh each to the accused, who cashed these later.

The accused concealed the fact that suits were pending in civil courts regarding the ownership of the property from the complainant, he alleged.

“I had gathered documentary evidences of irregularities committed by the estate office with regard to this property, which I obtained under the RTI and furnished the same to the investigating officer. But the police has done nothing on my complaint so far,” rued Ishwar Singh.

Deputy superintendent of police of the economic offences wing of the Chandigarh police Arjun Singh Jaggi said the inquiry report in this matter had been completed and sent to senior officials for further action on June 1.

He said they would also seek legal opinion in the matter before registering a case.

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Get rich by bounty of knowledge, Anupam Kher tells children
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Sporting a lime-green shirt and literally warbling his arrival, actor Anupam Kher strode into the British Library in Sector 9 here exactly at 5 pm even as parents were rushing in to drop their children at the place.

The occasion was indeed a special one. The British Library’s Reading Mission Program for children, in association with Chandigarh Tourism, had organised a unique tête-à-tête with the actor, but the topic was certainly not his celebrated career in filmdom or even his acting school.

With books as the theme for the evening, the tone was set. Kher charmed every little one in the room with his warm and affable demeanour. Every question was answered with unwearied and keen interest and every little lesson of life was accompanied by a breezy anecdote.

“I love interacting with children because it keeps the child in me alive. Also, they are more open to suggestion. The only ones they do not like are the ones made by their parents,” he smiled.

Speaking of his childhood and of growing up with books, he elaborated, “When you live in a small city, (Kher grew up in Simla), you have a lot of time to yourself. So you dream and seek ways of finding truth and read, a lot and I was no different.”

His first book “officially” was Maxim Gorky’s ‘Mother’ translated into Hindi which he “fell” upon at the raddiwallah, and thus a life-long affair of the heart began. “My family was not very well off. But through my books, I ate the best food and wore the best clothes. I was a rich boy because of the bounty of knowledge and of dreams,” he smiled.

He spoke of the virtues hidden between words and pages, of being a better human being by reading because one learns to understand human nature. “We did not have Harry Potter in our times, but we have the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and they contain wonderful, timeless stories that will never grow old with age,” he averred.

But once the barrage of questions started, the children really warmed to him. Each answer was weighed carefully and answered earnestly.

His biggest gift? Came from his father, he said, who took away the fear of failure from him by celebrating his failure in class X.

Was he shy as a child? “Yes, because I hurt my tongue as a child and could not speak properly. But during that time I learnt that my shortcomings can be my assets sometimes,” he smiled.

Why were you keen on becoming an actor? “Because I could not become anything else,” he laughed. But even here a little note of wisdom was to be found. “I was determined to be someone and never wanted to give up because I believed that only cowards give up.”

Laughing at himself, making the little ones chortle with delight and bringing out little home-truths through his humorous ‘fables’, Kher prompted every little child to pick up a book today.

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I have come to discover more Anupams: Mahesh Bhatt
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Mahesh Bhatt is known as one who started off as a young iconoclast, was a breaker of idols and a man who lived a frenzied, mystified, contentious and multi-faceted life. So when Mahesh Bhatt landed in the city, accompanied by his ‘wonder boy’ Anupam Kher for the formal launch of the latter’s acting school tomorrow, the excitement and frenzy soared.

Right from the word ‘go’, the director-producer of some of the best films in Indian cinema, Mahesh was full of beans and very upbeat about Anupam’s acting institute. “The quest to hunt for great acting talent and to discover more ‘Anupams’ in the city has brought me here,” he averred.

Recalling his association with Anupam, Mahesh said ‘Saraansh’, which was Anupam’s debut film bonded them more emotionally than professionally.

Commenting on the unprecedented boom in the Hindi film industry, the self-styled leader of the Bhatt camp stated that the 21st century would be known for its entertainment.

Lashing it out on market muscle, Bhatt believed it is market and money that was driving the industry and the reason for the Indian cinema’s decline. “From soap to salvation, everything is marketed. It’s only meaningful cinema by stalwarts like Raj Kapoor and Guru Dutt, or some offbeat meaningful movie that helps establish faith in films,” he says.

Citing the probable reason for recent debacles in the race of Oscars, Mahesh rues, “as long as we will keep judging ourselves by foreign parameters nothing can happen. It is time to establish our own standards”.

Talking about the institute, Mahesh said only truth ignited a passion for acting. “A teacher like Anupam can only give you a guitar and tell you how to play, but not the tune. The tune has to come from within.”

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Army to project Gandhi’s message in war-torn Lebanon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
To commemorate the centenary of the Satyagraha Movement, an exhibition on Mahatma Gandhi is being organised by the Indian Army contingent deployed on a peacekeeping operation in Lebanon this week.

Titled “Mahatma Gandhi : His Life and His Message”, the exhibition is being put up at UN Position 4-2 near Ibil in southern Lebanon, where the Indian contingent, comprising 15 Punjab battalion and associated elements, is headquartered.

Tributes would also be paid to the Father of the Nation at his bust installed at the Ebel-Es-Saqi Mahatma Gandhi Park. A special screening of movie, “The Making of Mahatma” by Shyam Benegal is also scheduled at the exhibition, to be inaugurated by Brigadier General RMA Merino, Commander, Sector East, of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

Meanwhile, the Indian contingent, also referred to as INDBATT-9, has initiated the construction of a special park and a community centre for children in Chebaa village near its headquarters. The project was inaugurated by INDBATT’s commanding officer, Col Advitya Madan, on Saturday.

During routine interaction between INDBATT officers and the local mayor, Omar Al Zuheiry, the requirement of a children’s park had been raised. The project, being executed at a cost of about $25,000 is being monitored by the Chebba municipality.

INDBATT is also undertaking a number of projects in its area of responsibility. These include a children’s park at Al Fardiss and a water supply pipeline at Bourhoz. Besides, another 19 projects for the construction of children’s parks, roads, community centre, drainage systems and other infrastructure, estimated to cost about $65,000, have been proposed.

Funds for these projects are released by UNIFIL as part of its mandate in carrying out humanitarian tasks in South Lebanon.

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Mohali admn prevents protest by Gujjars
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, June 4
The Mohali district administration today ‘foiled’ an attempt by the Gujjar community to organise a protest march from Mukandpur village to Dera Bassi in solidarity with the community's demand for inclusion in the scheduled tribe list in Rajasthan.

Top Mohali officers, including DC H.I.S. Grewal, went to Mukandpur and accepted a memorandum of demands from the protesters. The memorandum will be handed over to the Chief Minister for onward transmission to the Central Government.

The protest march to Dera Bassi could have created law and order problems as the NH 22 passes through Dera Bassi. Any blockade on the national highway could have spelled trouble for commuters and motorists, an official asserted.

Meanwhile, Gujjar leaders came down heavily on the alleged apathetic attitude of the central and state governments towards the “genuine” demands of the community.

Addressing the meeting, Gujjar leaders, including Mam Chand Chhokar, Rajinder Singh, Ranjit Singh and Geetanjali Gujjar, demanded the immediate inclusion of the community in the ST list in Rajasthan. They also demanded a compensation of Rs 15 lakh each be given to the kin of victims of the Rajasthan violence.

Prominent among those involved in the mission were: SP (security and traffic) Sukhwant Singh Gill, Dera Bassi SDM Sohan Lal and Dera Bassi DSP Gursharan Singh Grewal.

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MC gears up to tackle stray animals
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 4
The Municipal Council today approved allotment of contracts for rounding up stray cattle and stray dogs as also the allotment of contract for the upkeep of streetlights. While the House formed various sub-committees and designated each of them their work, members condemned the district administration for not releasing the budget for 2007-08.

Most members of the rebel group, including R.K. Kakkar, V.K. Sood, Tarun Bhadari and V.K. Kapoor, stayed away from the meeting.

The House under the presidentship of Manvir Gill approved the posts of various employees for the municipal office and decided to employ a technical consultant for the maintenance of streetlights. It also approved the reallocation of the tender for sanitation with the present contract slated to expire next month. The Municipal Council will also send computerised house tax bills and will require more staff for the purpose for which Rs 3 lakh has been approved. Also, rehri and rickshaw pullers will be awarded fresh licences for 2006-07 for which 4,000 tokens have been made.

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Overcharging at parking lots
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
In gross violation of the rules, contractors at parking lots in Sector 17 are forcing motorcyclists to pay for cars while parking their vehicles here.

Under the rules farmed by the municipal corporation, contractors at the parking lots are supposed to charge Rs 2 for a two-wheeler and Rs 5 for a four-wheeler.

A team of Chandigarh Tribune visited a parking lot adjoining the Neelam Cinema and found that the staff operating there were charging Rs 5 for two-wheelers.

When the team questioned the logic, the men refused to oblige and said: “Ethe tan enne hi paise lagde ne (this is what we charge here).”

On talking to other commuters who had parked their vehicles in the parking lot, the team found out that they had been paying inflated charges for the past couple of months.

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Pedalling for city’s lungs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
An NGO, Asia Pacific Jurist Association, Punjab and Haryana chapter, will hold a cycle rally, “Pedal for Chandigarh - Save Environment”, on the World Environment Day tomorrow.

The rally will be flagged off by Justice K.S. Grewal from the Open Hand at Capitol Complex, adjoining the High Court. Association president Justice Surya Kant, vice-president Justice Rajesh Bindal, judges and advocates of the HC will participate in the rally.

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Mercury relents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
After bearing the sweltering heat for more than a week, city residents had some respite from the soaring mercury, as the day’s temperature came down to 39.8 °C today.

Yesterday, the mercury touched 43.4 °C, making it the hottest day of the season.

However, the minimum temperature of the day was recorded at 27 °C.

The meteorological department has forecast the possibility of thunder with dusty conditions for tomorrow.

Searing conditions have been prevailing in the region since May 27, when the temperature in the city reached 37. 4 °C.

It has seen an upward trend ever since with day temperatures reading 37.6, 38, 38.8, 40, 41.2 and 43 °C on May 28, 29, 30 and June 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

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Rail union poll on June 25

Chandigarh, June 4
The elections to the uttar railway mazdoor union (URMU) will be held in Delhi on June 25, the registrar, trade unions, announced today.

The Supreme Court had appointed the registrar, trade unions, Delhi, as administrator to resolve the union dispute and hold the elections.

Meanwhile, U.C. Arya (deputy labour commissioner) and O.P. Sapra (labour officer, Delhi) have been appointed returning officer and assistant returning officer, respectively, to conduct the elections at Karnail Singh Stadium. — TNS

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Rodrigues to meet sarpanches
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
The Punjab Governor and UT administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), will hold a meeting with sarpanches of UT villages on June 6 in the conference hall of the UT secretariat, an official press note said here today.

The Governor would interact with the sarpanches about the problems and issues confronting the villages in the context of rapid urbanisation of the villages.

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Letters

Bhavans or marriage palaces?

Reference to news item published in Chandigarh Tribune on May 5, 2007. The Chandigarh administration is itself to be blamed for the commercial utilisation of the bhavans, especially for marriage parties. How can bhavans get away with the plea that facility in use was specifically for members? Booking, for example, in Rajasthan Bhavan is more than 150 days in a year for marriage functions. The problems of high-pitched music till late at night against the orders of the administration, security hazard by catering staff, unhygienic conditions due to open area cooking and impinging on the privacy of intimates of neighbouring houses were highlighted a number of times by the inmates of this sector and also by your esteemed newspaper.

The estate officer had issued a notice to Rajasthan Bhavan way back in 2000 and gave three months time to stop the unauthorised trade. Another notice was also issued for the resumption of plot in 2005, but no concrete action has been taken so far by the administration.

Specific sanction from the administration must be enforced to utilise such facilities even for its members.

Rupinder
Chandigarh

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4 snatching incidents reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
In a spate of snatching incidents in the city, four cases of miscreants escaping with valuables of gullible targets were reported from various parts of the city today. This, even as the police had set up anti-snatching nakas across the city.

The first incident took place in Sector 15 around 10 am, when two unidentified occupants of a scooter snatched a purse of Rinku Rani of Ambala. The purse contained a mobile phone, a passport and Rs 1,100.

Around 12.30 pm, Krishna of Sector 40 reported to the police that two unidentified motorcyclist had snatched her purse containing Rs 50 and a mobile phone near her residence.

Later in the day, Ravinder Kaur of Bapu Dham Colony reported to the police that her mobile phone and Rs 1,500 in cash, lying in the glove box of the scooter that she had parked at Government Model School in Sector 29, had been stolen.

Around 5 pm, an unidentified person riding an LML Vespa scooter snatched a purse of Poonam from the market in Sector 36. The purse contained Rs 5,000, a mobile phone and some documents. She was travelling on a rickshaw with her husband.

In the past three days, as many as 11 incidents of snatching have been reported.

UT senior superintendent of police had reportedly given “strict instructions” to his force to curb the rising crime, but the snatchers had put the police in a tizzy with their activities.

At least four checkpoints were set up in the respective area of each police station in the morning and evening.

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Chemist shop owner robbed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 4
Two persons robbed a chemist shop owner in the Mauli Jagran area here today.

The shop owner, Avtar Singh, alleged the two robbers came to his shop posing as salesmen selling some cleaning powder. He stated that after giving a demonstration, the two asked his wife, Inderjit Kaur, to use the powder. He said that when she took the powder from them, they asked both of them to smell it following which they fell unconscious.

The robbers escaped after taking away gold ornaments and cash from the shop. Avtar alleged the police refused to register a case in this connection.

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Two vehicles stolen

Chandigarh, June 4
Two vehicles were reportedly stolen from the city during the past 48 hours. Vinod Kumar Khanna of Sector 15-D reported to the police that his Maruti car (CHF-0649) was stolen from his residence during the intervening night of June 2 and 3.

Nitin Arora of Phase VII, Mohali, lodged a complaint with the police, alleging that his scooter (PB-27-1959) was stolen from sector 22 on Sunday. Two separate cases have been registered. — TNS

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