C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


 

A day of development plans
UT’s rural roadmap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Setting a deadline for the completion of various community-based public utility projects in UT villages by December 31, the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), makes it clear to village sarpanches that the law is paramount for him and there will be no discretion or preferential treatment to anyone in the implementation of the Chandigarh Capital Periphery Act.

Presiding over a meeting of the UT village sarpanches here today, General Rodrigues said the Chandigarh administration has set out an ambitious roadmap for harmonious and balanced development of the villages with the focus on improving the quality of life of the rural people. He announced that all schools in the rural areas would be upgraded to the 10+2 level by improving its infrastructure, besides providing required teaching staff.

He said the provision of other basic amenities in different villages like cement concretisation of streets, storm water drainage, water supply, recarpeting of roads etc. would be completed in a time-bound schedule. He said a comprehensive programme for providing health cover to all villages was in the process of implementation i.e. by setting up five polyclinics in different rural areas. A mobile van service was being introduced to provide medical treatment to the villagers at their doorsteps, he added.

Sharing his anguish over the lack of sanitation and unhygienic conditions in the rural areas, General Rodrigues said it badly affected the health status of our people and the administration had planned to shift the cattle population to the “milk village” being set up near Maloya in a phased manner. A milk plant with research facilities would also be set up there, he added.

On the issue of land acquisition, General Rodrigues said the administration had always given top priority to the law and adopted the policy of transparency and accountability in this process. He said the sole aim of the administration was to ensure the social and economic empowerment of our people by giving them equal opportunities of employment and to move forward for a better future.

He said 43 major IT companies would set up their establishments, creating over 60,000 jobs for skilled and unskilled people. He disclosed that these companies had already agreed to provide 5 per cent of the total jobs to the local people whose land would be acquired for this project. He said a handful people were exploiting this issue for meeting their personal and vested interests.

The Governor constituted a committee of senior officers of the administration to analyse respective village-level demands and asked the sarpanches to approach this committee with their specific requirements.

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Cops out to nail land mafia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The Chandigarh police has initiated a drive against the “land mafia” indulging in illegal construction and land use in violation of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952.

Taking to TNS, UT senior superintendent of the police (SSP) Gaurav Yadav said the police had begun investigations into complaints received from the land acquisition officer (LAO) regarding violation of the Act. He said the police was committed to fighting against the land mafia active in the city and would not allow any kind of violations pointed out by the LAO.

He asserted that the violators would be dealt with a stern hand.

He informed that the complaints had been referred to the deputy superintendent of police (east) for looking into the matter and taking appropriate legal action.

The inquiry officer had initiated investigations by visiting spots, conducting photography and videography to record evidence of illegal construction.

As per section 5 of the Act, no person can raise any construction or change the land use without prior permission from the competent authority. Patwaris and kanungos have reported violation of section 5 in the Mani Majra area. These violations are punishable under section 12 of the Act.

The SSP said 31 cases had been registered against the violators from 2004 to 2006 and 38 persons were arrested in this connection. This year, nine cases had been registered till May 31, and the drive against such violations was going ahead in full swing, he added.

Meanwhile, a private architect, Ajay Johal, who has a farmhouse in Kishangarh village, alleged that a team of police officials came to his farmhouse in the evening.

As his mother was alone at home at that time, she asked the officers to come some other time. However, they refused to budge and took photographs of their lawns.

A senior officer accompanying the team ordered his subordinates to ignore what the old woman was saying.

Johal added that his farm fell under acquisition limits and they were fighting against the acquisition.

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Nod to P’kula extension
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Land to be acquired in 10 villages

Plots in 4 years

Panchkula, June 6
Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda gave his approval to the Panchkula extension-II township development plan along the Panchkula-Barwala highway at a meeting of the state-level committee of the town and country planning department here today. However, minor amendments were made to the plan, which was approved by the Panchkula District-Level Development Plan Committee in August last year.

The Integrated Development Plan 2021 for Panchkula Extension comprises the Alipur-controlled area and Kot-Billa periphery-controlled area. The present plan has been prepared for an assigned population of 2.40 lakh for the prospective year 2021. A total area of 6,311 acres would be developed, accommodating 100 persons per acre.

According to sources, the Panchkula extension-II will include the development of 24 new sectors to cater to the ever-rising demand for land in the township and its non-availability under the present scheme of things. The plan is also an effort of the administration to check haphazard growth along the highway and on the outskirts of the city.

The extension of the city on the Panchkula-Barwala highway will cover the area of Kot-Billa, Bir Firozari and Bir-Babupur villages along the Haryana border which has a population of nearly 8,000. It will consist of 15 residential sectors, five sectors on either side of the national highway as a commercial belt, three industrial sectors, semi-public sectors reserved for institutions, transport and communication sectors and open space for other development ventures.

The modification incorporated in the plan includes concentration of the commercial belt in the area already with the industry while the area along the highway would be developed as a green belt. Earlier, the plan approved by the district committee had suggested that the commercial area be in a strip along the highway.

Three flyovers will be constructed on this highway to ensure smooth traffic. With the approval of the plan by the state government, the process of acquiring land for the extension of the city would be started shortly.

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Punjab board class XII results
Mohali, the laggard
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 6
Proximity to Chandigarh, the education hub of the region, has not helped students of neighbouring Mohali to make a mark in the Punjab School Education Board class XII results.

While a substantial number of students from Patiala have made it to the merit list released by the board this afternoon, only a handful of students from Mohali, Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib find a place among the toppers in the state.

Interestingly, most of the students in the merit list are from government schools in these districts.

Manpreet Kaur, a student of Government Girls Multipurpose Senior Secondary School, Model Town, Patiala, is sixth in the state and has topped her district. Nitish Kumar of the Rukhmani Devi Modi Collegiate Senior Secondary School, Patiala, is tenth in the state and second in the district.

Jaiveer Walia of the same school is 12th in the state and third in the district while Sapna of Government Girls Multipurpose Senior Secondary School is 13th in the state and fourth in the district. Sujata Goyal of Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Nabha, is 18th in the state.

Renu Bala, a student of S. Gurdev Singh Kaur Memorial Rural Institute for Career Courses, Bassi Gujran, Ropar, is first in the district and 18th in the state. Upasana Sharma of Government Girls Multipurpose Senior Secondary School, Model Town, Patiala, is also 18th in the state. Archit of B.N. Lal Public Senior Secondary School, Anandpur Sahib, is 19th in the state and second in Ropar district.

Arohan Gupta of Bhai Ram Krishan Gurmat Public Senior Secondary School, Patiala, is 22nd in the state while Manisha of Modern Senior Secondary School, Patiala, is 23rd in the state.

Dishani Vij of Government Senior Secondary School, Ropar, is also 23rd in the state. Prabhjot Kaur of Himalaya Senior Secondary School, Ropar, is 24th in the state.

Simranjit Kaur of BJSFS Senior Secondary School, Fatehgarh Sahib, is first in the district while Saurav Gupta of Government Senior Secondary School is second.

In Mohali, two students of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Phase 3B1, have made it to the merit list leaving behind a host of private schools. Navjot Kanwar, a resident of Sector 22, has topped the district. Her classfellow Neelam Sharma is second in the district. Both girls are preparing for the PMET.

“Whatever time I gave to my studies, it was with full concentration,” says Neelam.

Neelam, whose father works in the Punjab School Education Board and mother in the irrigation department, says her parents are her source of inspiration.

Navjot, however, is not happy with her score. “I was expecting better marks. I will work harder for the PMET,” she says.

The other toppers of Ropar include: Vikramjit Singh Grewal of Government Senior Secondary School (Boys), Sandeep Gupta of S. Gurdev Singh Kaur Memorial Rural Institute for Career Courses, Bassi Gujran, Ropar, and Satwant Singh of Swami Shivanand Sarvhitkari Senior Secondary School.

The other toppers of Patiala include: Kanika Jindal of SR Arya Senior Secondary School, Madhukiran of Rukhmani Devi Modi Collegiate Senior Secondary School, Deepak Jindal of SR Arya Senior Secondary School and Hardeep Sharma of Government Multipurpose Senior Secondary School.

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Human skeleton found near IT Park
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
A human skeleton was found from the jungle area near IT Park, this afternoon.

Deputy superintendent of police (East) Davinder Thakur said the skeleton was found by a person who then informed the police. It is difficult to ascertain the cause of death of the person at this stage, he said.

The DSP said the skeleton would be sent to the central forensic science laboratory to ascertain whether it was of a male or female. Other details such as the cause and time of death will also be looked into by the laboratory.

Meanwhile, the police has initiated inquest proceeding under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this regard. The skeleton has been sent to the Sector 16 Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH).

In another incident, the body of 40-year-old Jai Singh of Naya Gaon was found near the petrol station in Sector 4, this afternoon.

SHO of the Sector 3 police station Ram Gopal said the deceased had been working as a barber near the petrol station. They received information about his death at 2 pm. As there were no visible injury marks on the body, it appeared to be a case of natural death.

The exact cause of death will be ascertained through a post-mortem examination. The body had been sent to the Sector 16 GMSH. Inquest proceedings have been initiated in this regard.

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Sec 7 resident found dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Ram Kumar Gupta a resident of Sector 7 (F-1743, first floor), was found dead in his house this evening. At around 9:30 pm, his neighbours realised that he had not emerged from his house since morning. Suspecting something wrong, they called the police, who arrived shortly and gained entry into the house where it found the man dead in his room on his bed.

There seemed no indications of any external injuries or forced entry, but the room was found in a filthy condition. Sub-Inspector Krishan Singh Rana at the spot attributed the death to natural causes, but said the post-mortem would reveal further details.

The neighbours said Ram Kumar (hailing from Himachal Pradesh) would go on vacation once a year and no one visited him since he started staying here. They also said he did not seem to have many friends and they had seen him only frequenting a dhaba nearby.

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CRPF man attempts suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Thirtyfour-year-old Sukhdev Singh, a CRPF personnel from Ludhiana, today attempted suicide by consuming some tablets at Gate No. 2 of Panjab University.

Police sources said Sukhdev went up to Dilip Singh, a securityman posted at the gate, and asked for water. After drinking it, he told the security guard that he had consumed something poisonous and he was going to die, while asking him to save him.

He was brought to the General Hospital, Sector 16, in an unconscious state.

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200 illegal structures demolished
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
More than 200 illegal structures of Colony No. IV were demolished in a major drive carried out by the municipal corporation, in collaboration with the estate office. The drive was carried out peacefully with the help of more than 200 policemen and under the supervision of MCC secretary P.K. Sharma, MCC tehsildar Satish Chandra, and tehsildar estate office D.S. Balouria.

Majority of the structures under question were illegal shops by the roadside. The spot had emerged as a venue for traffic nuisance, particularly in the evenings.

The demolition also took place in the Kabadi Market and Industrial Area, Phase-I.

According to a spokesperson of the MCC, the temporary structures of nearly 200 shops were demolished and tents put up at road berms were also removed. The encroachers removed their structures themselves. Two JCB machines were put into force to clear the roads.

Besides, 38 encroachers were challaned and authorities recovered 14 truck loads of articles, including rubber tyres, tubes and other items from the Kabadi Market, Industrial Area, Phase - I.

The spokesman added that such drives would be conducted regularly.

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Roads in need of repairs
Rajay Deep

Chandigarh, June 6
Driving on city roads is no more a delight. Ill-maintained roundabouts spotted with mounds and uneven humps have emerged as permanent trouble spots for drivers.

The situation is worse during the morning rush hours when commuters are on way to offices and evening hours during the journey back home.

A survey of roundabouts at different places in the city by this correspondent today revealed that these require a major overhaul.

Melting coal tar on roads because of the heat has compounded the problem. The problem is grave at many roundabouts, including the Sectors 16, 17, 22 and 23; Sectors 19, 27, 7 and 8, Sectors 29, 30, 31and 32 and Sectors 27, 28, 29 and 30 ones.

Expressing anguish, a two-wheeler rider, Namrata Sharma, said, “It is difficult to understand why officers do not take concrete steps to maintain roads properly. The problem causes so many accidents daily, but I think these are not enough to wake up the authorities.”

Another local resident, Satyan Krishan Murari, said, “Earlier, I loved to drive here but over the years there has been a marked deterioration in the roads, particularly around the rotaries. Now, even driving a car in Chandigarh is not safe.”

UT chief engineer V.K. Bhardwaj blamed it on the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, saying that the chronic leakage from water posts under roundabouts was the main cause of the problem. “However, efforts are on to chalk out a joint strategy with the MC to solve the problem,” said Bhardwaj.

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Direct Mohali-Dera Bassi bus service still a dream
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, June 6
Over 100 villages of Dera Bassi subdivision are virtually being denied direct connectivity from the district headquarters of Mohali.

Over one year after Mohali was carved out as a separate district, the direct bus service from Mohali to Dera Bassi and other strategic townships of Zirakpur and Lalru still eludes the residents putting them to a lot inconvenience, residents rue.

In fact, travelling from Mohali to Dera Bassi is quite a task.The commuters have to first come to The Tribune Chowk in an autorickshaw and then commute to Dera Bassi in the state transport corporation bus, V.K Sharma, a factory worker at Dera Bassi, alleges.

And the construction of the Zirakpur flyover as part of the Zirakpur-Ambala highway has compounded the problems of the commuters.With traffic jams a routine affair, the commuters have to waste a lot of time in travelling from Chandigarh to any of the areas in the subdivision.

Gurwinder Singh Basoli, a youth leader, urged the state government to start the direct bus service from Mohali to Lalru so that a major portion of the area could be covered and the commuters' problems could be addressed.

Meanwhile, a senior government functionary said these were the "teething troubles" for the new district.

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On his birthday
Youth dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Mohali youngster Jaspreet lost his life on his 26th birthday in a fatal accident that took place on the road dividing Sectors 52 and 53, late last night. Just as his family and friends were getting ready to wish him, the news of Jaspreet’s untimely death came crashing in.

Jaspreet, who was from Mohali, was on his way home after meeting a friend in Chandigarh when his motorcycle skidded and hit the road berms.

Quoting eyewitnesses, the police said the boy, who was driving at very high speed, failed to negotiate a curve on the road and lost control of his Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle. Jaspreet was also not wearing a helmet. The motorcycle skidded to about 14 feet before coming to a halt.

The police said the accident took place a little after midnight. Constable Malwinder Singh noticed the boy lying in a pool of blood at around 1 am and contacted one of his friends, informing him about the fatal mishap. The friend then informed Jaspreet’s relatives about the mishap. He was taken to the Sector 16 Government Multi-Speciality Hospital. The boy had sustained severe head injuries.

A strapping youngster, Jaspreet had got the job of a bouncer in a disco in Chandigarh a few days ago. An only child, Jaspreet had lost his parents when he was just eight years old and had been living with his grandmother at his uncle’s residence in Phase - V, Mohali. He had earlier been working with a pesticide company, said Gurnaib Singh Bhatti, the victim’s uncle.

Jaspreet’s friend Gagandeep told the Tribune News Service that Jaspreet had come to his residence at around 10 pm. They chatted for a few minutes and then Jaspreet left saying that he had work to do. Two hours later, he got the tragic news of Jaspreet’s death.

The body was handed over to the family after the postmortem.

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Mohali fire
Traders seek relief, MC fresh inquiry
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 6
A march was organised by shopkeepers of the Janata Market here today, who also gathered outside the office of the deputy commissioner and presented a memorandum.

Harmanpreet Singh, vice-president of the civic body, went along with the shopkeepers to the office of the deputy commissioner to present the memorandum.

The shopkeepers demanded that the administration should give immediate financial relief so that they could look after their families. They said the compensation should be given according to the loss suffered by each shopkeeper and pucca booths be allotted to them at the earliest.

They threatened to intensify the stir if the demands were not met immediately.

Meanwhile, employees of the Municipal Council demanded that inquiry into the fire incident should be conducted again so that the responsibility of the administration and PUDA could be fixed.

The employees held a meeting in which they said executive officer of the council J.S. Thind had been unnecessarily dragged into the inquiry conducted in connection with the fire incident. They said PUDA was responsible for setting up the rehri market without proper facilities and even then it had been kept out of the inquiry. They said there was a need for another inquiry so that the responsibility of the local administration and PUDA was fixed. There was also a need to see why no recruitment had been done for the fire brigade during the past more than 10 years.

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City to get biggest ‘auto pond’
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Chandigarh is all set to have the biggest-ever “auto pond” with the capacity of accommodating 2,000 vehicles. The local police has already been allotted land by the municipal corporation of Chandigarh in the city’s industrial area for the purpose.

Such ponds already exist in Sector 17, Sector 34 and Sector 29. Together, these ponds accommodate as many as 700 towed-away or impounded vehicles.

UT senior superintendent of police (traffic) A.S. Ahlawat says the traffic police would also write to the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association to encourage advocates to introduce this scheme. He added that the scheme would also be enforced in all the schools in the city when the summer vacation ends.

Ahlawat further informed that the traffic police had began diverting pedestrians, cyclists and rickshaws to the cycle tracks constructed parallel to the busy Madhya Marg, Dakshin Marg, Himalaya Marg and Jan Marg. The traffic police has also sent a proposal to the Chandigarh Administration for covering cycles under the Chandigarh Cycle Rickshaw (Regulation and Control) Bylaws 1960 and for issuing a notification that no cycles be allowed to ply on the V-2, V-3 and V-4 roads.

By March 31, the traffic police had already impounded 939 rickshaws and collected Rs 56,300 as fine from them.

The SSP added that a punching machine would also be given to the sub-inspectors on duty for on-the-spot punching of driving licenses of the offenders.

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RLA to get more tech savvy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
“In order to harness the benefits of technology, the Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA), is all set to launch the ‘Sarathi’ software in its office, later this month," said deputy commissioner R.K. Rao, here today.

'Sarathi' is computer-based software which has all the necessary features required by the RLA for the issuing of a learner's licence, permanent driving licence, conductor licence and also a driving school licence. The system also has a Learner's Licence Test using Screen Test Aid for the learner's licence (STALL) module that tests and educates an applicant.

Rao said as part of an ongoing drive for simplification of office procedures, a 'Token System' would also be introduced in the RLA office for making service delivery quicker, effective and convenient for approximately 1,500 applicants who visit the office daily.

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Rising temperatures could lead to floods, drought: Expert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
“Temperatures in India could rise by 6 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, causing flooding of its entire coast line besides creating severe drought conditions in the rest of the country”, says Madhav Mehra, chairman of the World Council for Corporate Governance.

Mehra was speaking at a conference held in Nainital on June 2. The conference is a prelude to the first ever Convention on Corporate Response to Climate Change to be held in Palampur from June 8 to 10.

Palampur has been chosen because of its vicinity to the mighty Dhauladhar range of Himalayas where the snowline is receding due to global warming. The focus of the convention will be on “a healthy planet for healthy people”.

Mehra said it was an irony that while India was at the greatest risk with the glacier, feeding its rivers, melting and subsequently causing floods by 2050, the IPCC, the body that had revealed the startling report on climate change, was least sensitive about urgency of the action to tackle the catastrophe.

In a recent international poll conducted by the Chicago Council of Global Affairs and World Public Opinion Org, India showed the lowest level of support for measures to address global warming with only 49 per cent of the population supporting immediate action and 24 per cent opposing it.

Action to combat climate change has to go beyond rhetoric and piecemeal approach. Nothing less than 180 degrees shift in life style is needed. In fact, climate change offers the greatest business opportunity of our times. Companies that are nimble and innovative can turn this catastrophe into an opportunity for profiting while cleaning up the planet.

He said, “We need to move from the existing consumerist, materialistic and acquisitional models to an experiential mode that would offer new opportunity for sustainable wealth creation.

Mehra advocated an 11-point programme, called Proactivate. It entails efforts by companies to price natural capital, radically increase energy efficiency, opt for minimalist design, adopt zero waste systems, capture C02 by planting trees, etc.

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Reliving freedom struggle
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The National Gallery of Portraits had a special visitor today. Emerging from the shadows of his past, 89-year-old Piara Singh Sandhu broke a long-held silence on the freedom struggle, his love for Ghadarites and his association with the great Indian Naval Revolt of 1946.

Sill reticent, the man who went to jail as a 20-year-old with the likes of Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna insisted that he should not be seen in the league of martyrs. “I was like a drop in the ocean of sacrifices. I don’t consider myself a freedom fighter. I am still alive, while the rest have become glorious history,” said Sandhu, who spanned the gallery with tears in eyes. For him, watching the Ghadarites come alive in panels was like reliving a traumatic past where insistence for freedom meant death.

Sandhu’s forays into freedom movement began when he was impressionable. “Soon upon passing out of college, I joined the Punjab Kisan Morcha, Lahore. I spent two months as an undertrial in Amritsar jail, following which I was sentenced to nine months in jail. I shared the prison space with the legendary Ghadarite Baba Sohan Singh Bhakna. When I left, I was a changed man,” recalled Sandhu, who never applied for freedom fighters’ pension because he would have enough for a living.

His longer stint in the liberation movement was as part of the Naval Revolt of 1946, which a US newspaper in those days had described as “the biggest peace-time crisis of the British Empire”. At the time, Sandhu was a wireless operator with the Navy.

“The fact that the strike started in the morning and by the evening the House of Lords had announced its plan of setting up cabinet mission to India for negotiating Independence says a lot. It’s another matter that the mutiny largely remained obscure,” said Malwinderjit Singh Waraich, creator of the gallery, who escorted Sandhu today.

For Sandhu, the revolt was an occasion to register non cooperation. “I was not directly involved, as the revolt broke out in and around the Bombay harbour. I was at the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad, on training as a radio mechanic. We nevertheless participated by abstaining from classes. Our officer threatened us with dire consequences, but we were determined not to cooperate,” said Sandhu.

The beauty of the revolt was that along with 30 naval officers who defied authority at Hyderabad, 700 air force officers also joined the revolt. “That was the best we could do in the given situation,” Sandhu said, a sense of wistfulness shrouding his tone.

“The revolt was never acknowledged despite its wide ramifications. It was a time when in one week, the whole gamut of emotions, especially in the national liberation movement, were manifested - fear, suspicion, jealousy, frustrations and courage,” he said.

The mutiny was called off on the insistence of Vallabhbhai Patel. But despite Patel's promises, the mutineers never got support from national leaders and remained leaderless.

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UT to organise quiz on freedom struggle
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The Chandigarh Administration will organise a quiz on the national freedom struggle on June 16 at the National Gallery of Portraits, an official press release said here today.

Being organised as part of the ongoing "My Chandigarh campaign”, this quiz will be open for students of classes 8th to 10th.

Chandigarh Tourism has invited entries from schoolchildren for participation in the quiz. Entries along with photographs of the participants should be submitted before June 14 at the National Gallery of Portraits, Sector 17.

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Tributes paid to Gandhi in Lebanon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
The Sector Commander of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) and several local dignitaries were among those who joined Indian peacekeepers in paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi in the strife-torn state. An exhibition was also organised on the life and teachings of the Father of the Nation at the headquarters of the Indian contingent in southern Lebanon.

The Sector Commander East, Brig-Gen Ramon Martin Ambrosio Merino, Member of Parliament, Ali Oserain and Superintendent of Hasbaya Walid Al Gafir were among those who paid tributes at the bust installed at the Mahatma Gandhi Park at Ebel Es Saqi.

The idea of setting up the two-day exhibition was mooted by the Deputy Force Commander, UNIFIL, Brig Jai Prakash Nehra, during one of his visits to the sector. The purpose of the exhibition was to spread awareness among locals about Gandhi’s ideology of peace and non-violence.

The Commanding Officer of 15 Punjab, Col Advitya Madan, appraised the visiting dignitaries and guests about Gandhi’s life, his teachings and his role in the struggle for Independence.

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Fauji Beat
Don’t discard low medical category soldiers

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its recent report has said that the Army is holding excessive manpower of personnel below officer rank (PBOR), which is putting an additional financial burden on the exchequer. As a result, the army headquarters has decided to discharge nearly 27,000 PBOR, who are in low medical category (LMC).

The CAG report is a glaring revelation of failure of the manpower planning directorate at the army headquarters in its job. Because, it has not taken the wastage rate into account while planning new recruitments. For what is purely its fault, the axe should not fall on the LMC.

A majority of the LMC personnel have rendered notable service to the country during the Kargil war, Operation Parakram and in counter-insurgency operations. To throw them out prematurely will not only be a disservice to them but it will also make others to become more security-conscious in war.

It will be wrong to send them out before the completion of their contractual period of service. In any case, the PBOR retire in their 30s and 40s. It should, therefore, not be difficult to retain them in suitable sheltered appointments during the remaining part of their service.

As for the additional financial burden, it should be offset by counting this manpower against the shortage of 12,600 officers. Though technically it would not be correct, yet this appears to be the only way to tide over the situation created by the manpower planning directorate.

Military World Games

Preparations for the Fourth Military World Games, to be held at Hyderabad from October 14 to 21, are in full swing now. This will be the first largest sporting event to be hosted by India.

This will also be the first time that these games, which are second only to the Olympics, will be held in an Asian country. The games are being conducted by our armed forces under the aegis of the International Military Sports Council.

Contingents of 4,000 participants and 1,500 officials from about 100 countries will be attending these games. Two of the 15 sports events, sailing and triathlon, will be held in Mumbai. The sports events include three military specific disciplines — shooting, military pentathlon and parachuting. Both men and women will participate in all events except boxing, wrestling and handball.

The mascot “Bravo” chosen for the games represents the Indian bison for its strength, vigour and doggedness. It was conceptualised and designed by Lieut-Col H. Padmanabhan. The logo for the game — five coloured lotus petals — represents the five continents.

Referral cell

In the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) polyclinics, which get a large number of referral cases from outstations, the officers in-charge polyclinics remain tied down to the processing of bills that they receive from the empanelled hospitals daily. Since no staff is authorised to the polyclinics for this work, it has to be done at the cost of other important work.

The Chandigarh polyclinic, for example, gets about 50 bills from the empanelled hospitals every day. It had to clear bills amounting to Rs 22.5 crore in the last one year.

There should be a separate cell for referral cases in each station, which should also deal with their bills. At the Army Base Hospital in Delhi Cantonment, such a cell is already in existence.

— Pritam Bhullar

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Letters

Unite to clean Mansa Devi shrine

The famous Mata Mansa Devi temple in Panchkula is visited by lakhs of devotees every year. I have been visiting the temple regularly and the visit to this temple is a matter of habit and part of life for a large number of people of this area.

But the unhygienic surroundings of the temple fill us with a sense of remorse as we are just helpless in doing something in this regard. The issue has been highlighted by your esteemed newspaper several times, but to no avail. I, too, have written to many authorities, including the chairman of the Mansa Devi Board and the chief secretary of Haryana and Panchkula deputy commissioner, but no response has been received ever.

The temple board is earning lakhs in terms of offerings at the temple, but it seems reluctant to spend even a single penny to clean the environs of the shrine. Even the visits by VIPs do not make any difference in this regard.

Thus, I invite the residents of the city and surrounding areas to unite and get the temple area cleaned.

R.K. Garg
Chandigarh

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Pick-pocket caught red-handed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
A Mani Majra resident was caught red-handed while allegedly picking pocket in Sector 22.

He, however, handed over the wallet to his children who managed to flee from there during the commotion.

The police said Parminder Singh Madan of Sector 22 lodged a complaint alleging that he was drinking water in sector 22 when someone picked his pocket.

He saw a man running with his wallet. Madan raised the alarm and the man was nabbed.

He, however, threw the wallet which was picked up by his children, who fled the scene.

The accused was identified as 30-year-old Parshu Ram of Manimajra.

Dowry

Parmjit Kaur of Burail reported to the police alleging that her husband Satwinder Kumar, who works in the office of senior superintendent of police, Nawanshahr, and his family were harassing her for dowry.

A case under Sections 406, 498-A and 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) had been registered in this regard.

In another case, Naina Sabharwal of Sector 46 filed a complaint with the police alleging that her husband Mohit Sabharwal had been harassing and maltreating her for dowry. A case had been registered in this regard.

Stolen

Arun Huda of Sector 26 reported to the police that his bag containing eight cheque books and office files was stolen from his car after breaking the windowpanes. A case had been registered.

Theft

Deepak Kanadia, assistant engineer, electricity subdivision No 2, Sector 10, reported to the police that Sukhwant Singh of SCF no 29, Gobind Sweets, Ground Floor, Sector 7 was stealing electricity by using magnate on Tuesday.

A case under Section 135 of the Electricity Act had been registered in this regard in the Sector 26 police station.

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Remand for double murder accused
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 6
Prime accused in the double murder case of Maj Gen K.C. Dhingra (retd) and his wife Sangeeta in Sector 25, Anand Kindo and his accomplice Rajan Gond were today brought to the city. They were arrested from Ahmednagar in Madhya Pradesh with the help of the local police. The accused were produced in a court, which remanded them in police custody.

SP Balbir Singh said while the two were being interrogated, the second accomplice, Ajit Khakha, was still absconding and the police was in search of him as well.

In reply to a question, Anand said he had not got his salary for two months before the incident. “We had no access to the house. One night, I along with Rajan and Ajit sat and drank in my room and planned to loot the couple. We opened the grill and gained entry into the house and hit the couple with a tava, an iron rod and hammer. We took away gold and a few dollars from the house and fled in the car of the Dhingras. Though the car met with an accident in Chandigarh and we managed to get away from there as well and fled the city,” he said.

The SP said they would have to verify whatever the accused had said and that the recovery of the stolen items was yet to be made.

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Family of six dupes Sector 22 traders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
A group of six persons pretending to be the members of a family has been on a “mission”, fleecing footwear shop owners in Sector 22 with fake currency notes. The police said they had counterfeit notes of Rs 500 denomination.

The matter came to light when one of the two shopkeepers of Sector 22 Shashtri Market noticed that he had been given five notes of Rs 500 denomination having same number (OBW-44804J). Realising this, he rushed behind the persons and caught them at the parking lot. However, the “con family” acted smartly and changed the notes and escaped from there in their Toyota Innova bearing registration number (PB-03-N-0717).

SHO of the Sector 17 police station said Gaurav of booth no. 101 had lodged a complaint alleging that a group of three men, two women and a child visited his shop at around 2 pm and purchased shoes worth Rs 650. They handed him two Rs 500 notes following which he returned Rs 350 as a balance. Before coming to his shop, the accused had purchased shoes from one Manjit Singh worth Rs 2,500. However, on realising that the notes were fake he got them changed.

The police said Manjit Singh reported the matter to the president of the market. Soon the word spread and Gaurav checked the notes given to him and found that they, too, were counterfeit. The notes appeared to be scanned on computer and then their prints were taken out on fine quality paper.

The matter was reported to the police. The SHO said the vehicle had been registered in the name of Bathinda-based Bansal Associates and a team had been dispatched there. A case had been registered in this connection.

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I-mint cards launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
Loyalty Solutions and Research Limited, funded by the ICICI venture focusing on enhancing customer experience through loyalty and reward points, today launched i-mint cards in the city. These cards, which already have 1.5 million subscribers across six cities, transact across business categories like telecom, banking and retail.

Announcing the launch of the cards, CEO of the company Vijay Bobba said they had tied up with leading brands like Airtel, Hindustan Petroleum, ICICI Bank, Indian, Lifestyle and Makemytrip.com. “For transactions at any of these outlets/companies, a card holder gets loyalty points. Shoppers and consumers who will be able to redeem points at a slab as low as 275 points will get an opportunity to avail over 200 rewards like Mp 3 players, gift vouchers, jewellery and household appliances,” he added.

He further said, “We are not just going to target malls, but also a number of neighbourhood stores, regional jewellery shops and pharmacy chains.”

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Workshop on biomass power generation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6
A seminar-cum-workshop on co-generation and biomass power generation was organised by the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) here today.

The seminar, sponsored by the ministry of new and renewable energy, was inaugurated by M.P. Singh, secretary (science, technology, environment and non-conventional energy). He lauded the initiatives taken by PEDA for sensitising the potential developers from among the sugar mills, paper industry, distilleries and other industries for setting up co-generation and biomass power projects to meet and narrow down the ever-increasing demand for power in the state.

“With the state facing power shortage of up to 20 per cent, which increases to 26 per cent during peak hours, the situation is alarming.,” he said.

Brig M.P.S. Bajwa, chairman, PEDA, informed the participants about various initiatives and efforts being made by the agency for creating mass awareness about renewable energy technologies. “PEDA has a plan to create 1000 MW power by 2012 in different renewable energy sectors - 425 MW in the small/ micro hydel sector and 542 MW in the co-generation and biomass sector,” he said.

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