C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Zirakpur Highway
Badal wants width reduced
Experts will come calling

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
In what could bring relief for thousands of people in Zirakpur and save property wroth crores, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today asked union road transport and highway and shipping minister T.R. Baalu to ensure that there was minimum displacement of people in the process of widening the road in Punjab.

The minister assured Badal that he would send a team of officers and experts to Zirakpur and take an early decision based on their report.

Badal was accompanied by cooperation minister Kanwaljit Singh, who is also the area MLA.

Badal made a reference to the issue of widening of the national highway passing through Zirakpur and asked that the outer limit for widening of the road should be 40 metres instead of 45 metres. He pointed out that the area in question had dense population on either side of the road with multi-storeyed commercial and residential buildings lining the highway.

The costs with regard to displacement of the population would be incalculable and could be avoided even while meeting the overall objectives of the modern road infrastructure.

He pointed out that even the detailed project report envisaged that a 40-metre width would suffice.



Auto loan fraud
Dealer defrauded of 2 Scorpios
Yoginder Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Auto dealers in the region, beware! A gang indulging in auto loan fraud is on the prowl. A Mahindra dealer based in Panchkula has been defrauded of two Scorpios by members of this gang.

According to an FIR lodged with the police, Messrs Universal Finman Consultants, Sector 20, Chandigarh, the authorised marketing associate of HDFC Bank, approached the dealer, Messrs Chandgothia Motors, on May 2, 2007, with a request to deliver two Scorpios to its customers. The dealer was given the required delivery orders by a representative of the bank.

The vehicles were delivered by the dealer after collecting the margin money of about Rs 1.75 lakh each. The balance loan amount of about Rs 6.80 lakh each was to be paid by the bank within 10 days. However, later the bank told the dealer that the documents furnished by the customers through its authorised agent were found to be forged and, therefore, the loan cases were rejected by the bank.

After the bank refused to accept its responsibility for the negligence of its agent, the auto dealer lodged an FIR. The Sector 20 firm has also lodged an FIR with the Chandigarh police against two persons who duped it to issue the delivery orders on the basis of the forged documents.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that an organised gang is duping auto dealers by furnishing forged documents to banks. Sources in the police say the possibility of connivance of certain bank officials in clearing the loan cases on the basis of forged documents cannot be ruled out at this stage.

Who is to blame?

The case has put a question mark on the auto loan banking industry. In an attempt to outdo one another, private banks have appointed several marketing associates, many of whom have a dubious reputation.

Even the functioning of the auto loan departments of the banks has come under a cloud. In a hurry to reach their targets, the banks accept the documents submitted by customers after a cursory verification. Sources say certain unscrupulous bank employees of private banks clear the loan cases for extraneous considerations. Full verification of the documents is done much after the vehicle is delivered on the basis of the order of the bank.



CTU makes changes in grid
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The Chandigarh administration has decided to make alterations in the existing grid system of the CTU. At least eight routes will have lesser frequency of buses in the first step due to poor financial returns on account of mediocre passenger usage.

A majority of the routes are located in the northern belt of the city.

Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), UT administrator, is learnt to have given a formal approval for “slight alterations” in the frequency of buses on certain sections of the grid without affecting the overall layout of the routes.

Confirming the development, P.S. Shergill, director of the CTU, said: “We have identified at least eight routes which were not delivering the desired results. It was found during different surveys that some of these routes ran with negligible passenger presence. There are certain other routes which are overcrowded and perfect places where the buses can be added.”

The administration is learnt to have rejected the CTU proposal to increase bus fares. It will have to stick to the existing charges.

The CTU had proposed a fare of Rs 5 for a distance of up to 7 km and Rs 10 for distances above 7 km.

The Mohali route, in particular, is posing problems because of a fare of Rs 9 from UT passengers.

A large number of passengers these days are travelling by autorickshaws and paying flat rates of Rs 5 from different places in the UT, sources said.

Officials say that cash returns show that people had adapted well to the grid system introduced in January last year, as is indicated by the increased rush on a majority of the routes. The cash returns have also increased during this period. “We admit there are minor complaints from the public and we have amended routes in the past. Bus numbers 6, 7, 11 and 12, besides others, were made to ply till the ISBT following public demand last year,” a senior official said.

Darshan Singh, a daily traveller to Sector 17, said CTU needed to ensure that the buses are on time.

The frequency of the buses was often irregular. Printed schedules needed to be pasted at each bus queue shelter and a central complaint number should also be printed.

People in the southern belt complain about poor services to the PGI, ISBT and colleges.



Noise pollution ban goes phut

Despite the Supreme Court ban on noise pollution after 10 pm, the neighbouring towns of Mohali and Panchkula are full of glaring examples where the ban is flouted. There are several instances of loudspeakers being used after fixed hours and even before 6 am. Kulwinder Sangha and Geetanjali Gayatri report.

Mohali: The district authorities have been inefficient in checking noise levels which have become a source of nuisance for residents.

There is no strict compliance with the law on noise pollution. The state transport commissioner, Punjab, had sent a copy of the notification of the union ministry of environment and forests, containing the Noise Pollution (Regulation and Control) Rules, 2000, to the office of the SDM in 2001. The enforcement of rules was to be strictly enforced.

The MC, too, has not taken the trouble to mark silence zones around hospitals and educational institutions.

Residential and industrial areas have also not been demarcated to maintain noise standards under the law. The police, which can challan offenders under Section 188 of the IPC, does not even have the equipment to measure noise levels emanating from loudspeakers, generator sets, vehicle horns and industrial and construction activities.

The notification had specified that a loudspeaker or a public address system would not be used except after obtaining written permission from the authorities. A loudspeaker or a public address system cannot be used between 10 pm and 6 am, except on closed premises.

However, not all residents take permission for using loudspeakers. An official at the SDM’s office said only law-abiding residents approached the office for such a permission, which was granted only till 10 pm.

The residents say that noise levels rise during religious and cultural festivals or when there is a wedding in the neighbourhood. Neighbours are left at the mercy of organisers of the functions. Those staying near places of worship using loudspeakers are among the worst sufferers.

Manmohan Kaur, a former councillor living close to a community centre in Phase II, said the nuisance created by blaring loudspeakers installed on the premises of the centre was not as much as it used to be in the past. Perhaps, because it was not the wedding season at present.

Manjit Singh Sethi, also a former councillor said youngsters blew loud horns even after 11 pm while coming back from Chandigarh after attending parties there.

SSP Ranbir Singh Khatra said the police received complaints regarding noise pollution during examination days and personnel were sent to the areas concerned to take appropriate action.

He said as the police did not have equipment to check noise levels, it became difficult to tackle the problem.

The police, however, managed to make a judgement by reading the output levels from gadgets and equipment installed at the venue of functions.

Municipal engineer Tarsem Singh Rai agreed that no boards had been fixed in the town to indicate silence zones near educational institutions and hospitals. He said the orders for making the boards had been issued and these were likely to be put up next week.

The SC has upheld the validity of a Central rule, permitting states to relax the use of loudspeakers till midnight for 15 days in a year during festivals---subject to the condition that the governments would have to notify the intended dates well in advance. In a majority of cases, however, the local administrations have not sought any special permission.

Panchkula: Time is no bar for loudspeakers doling out hymns in praise of god. The ban on the use of loudspeakers beyond the stipulated time schedule exists only on paper. Residents have to suffer in the face of failed administrative machinery.

Marriage parties, invariably, are the biggest culprits. With the trend of DJs catching the fancy of the public, such occasions mean that blaring music continues long into the night as revelers make merry without being thoughtful about residents in the neighbourhood.

These residents are “forced” to be a part of the celebrations as they are unable to sleep.

The next biggest violation comes from jagratas that go on all night. Here, too, the organisers have no qualms about using the sound system past midnight.

While the administration remains a mute spectator, the officers maintain that they cannot act without a formal complaint. Sources said anonymous calls were hardly entertained and the administration was neither pro-active in preventing it nor prompt even if an irked resident chose to inform the police.



Vandalism taking toll on Rock Garden
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
A fresh survey on the state of sculptures in Rock Garden has made startling revelation. Conducted as part of Nek Chand Foundation's (NCF) mission to help Nek Chand ready the garden for the upcoming diamond jubilee celebrations, the survey documents existing and impending damages to spaces and sculptures and suggests ways of correcting them.

Why conserve the garden

  • It is the most visited park in the world, with 3000 paying visitors per day.
  • Single most important economic generator in the cultural economy of North India, all made from recycled stuff.
  • The largest work of art by a single individual in the world
  • Has seen 20 million visitors in the last 30 years.

Focusing mainly on phase II - the wonder segment -- the study profiles 1250 sculptures, of which hundreds were found damaged. More than 54 are in critical condition requiring immediate attention; 275 exhibit bad damages that may become severe; 519 show early signs of damage in the form of cracks.

About 189 sculptures demonstrate aesthetic damage in the form of broken or missing embellishments on the sculptures. While not critical to the structure of sculptures, these need repair, argue conservators who earlier submitted a copy to the Chandigarh Administration. The administration has already instructed executive engineer in charge to inspect the site and prepare a maintenance plan.

Sharing their findings with The Tribune, art conservators Zuleyma Aguirre, director, Watts Towers, Los Angeles, Preston Smith, examiner, University of Indiana and Tony Rajer, NCF trustee, said that most of the damages had resulted from continued vandalism by visitors.

"Additional fencing is needed to protect the statues from people. The public, on a daily basis, climbs onto terraces and grabs the statues, pulling at them for support to get pictured. The challenge lies in keeping people off the pieces," they said. The survey recommends employment of professional security guards, as serving guards do little to discourage visitors from climbing onto the statues.

As regards the survey, it followed different sections in phase II. In the small open theatre, conservators found the walls in good condition, but at several places, concrete in the floor and wall structures had cracked up to ¼ inches throughout the section. One significant crack runs by the benches of the open-air theatre.

The waterfall also reported significant vertical cracking from tree growth along one of the walls. Along the other wall, cement had come off from some of the embedded rocks and smaller cracks were found in the ornamental railings.

In Punjabi Village, rusting pipes had caused a large network of cracking behind the village area. Extensive damage had also been caused by root growth in planters. “There are large cracks running from pathway and steps through the wall, upsetting the pathways. Repair patching is also cracking,” state the findings.

In Queen's Bath, the decorative screens of red clay spheres had extensive damage from public contact, with much of them broken or missing. The remains of bases showed where the statues once stood. Here, 43 of the 199 bear sculptures are damaged, while 13 are in critical condition. Even "Wedding Party" area of phase II, with its remarkable tableaux, needs urgent maintenance.



Indian cuisine impresses Toronto chef
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Chef John Higgins, director and corporate chef, George Brown chef school, Toronto, Canada, has cooked for the Queen and heads of state, won dozens of gold medals in international competitions and commands international acclaim. He possesses the quality he terms important to be a successful chef i. e. being humble.

“Its not just about good food, but also service, about being humble,” he states. The career of the super chef has taken him to culinary heights in Buckingham Palace, Four Seasons Hotel in Washington D.C. and Le Meridian King Edward Hotel in Toronto.

He joined the Chef's school at George Brown College in Toronto in January, 2002 where he realised an ambition he secretly harboured for years. "Teaching is something I've wanted to do for 20 years," he says.

On his first trip to India he is looking forward to adding naans and rotis to his list of culinary skills. “I can make aloo gobhi and a few curries, I am very keen to learn about the various masalas and true recipes,” he states.

Impressed with the vegetarian food here, he is all set to learn from a few city chefs during his four-day stay here. “I will be learning how various dishes are cooked and especially rotis.”

At the end of his trip, he will be cooking for the Canadian High Commission in Mumbai on July 1. George Brown College and Chitkara Educational Trust recently launched a joint academic programme in Hotel Management and Catering Technology. As part of the three-year GBC-Chitkara joint programme, students study for two years at the Chitkara campus in the City and then complete their final year at George Brown College in Toronto.

"I have come to understand how the students are being taught here so that when they come to Canada we will be able to continue their education in the same style and format, adapted of course for international cuisine and hospitality standards. This will be of tremendous benefit to the students and create a seamless education programme for them. At the same time, I am very keen on identifying and tasting some Indian dishes so that we can look at adding them to our Indian Cuisine Diploma that we are planning to start on par with our Diplomas in French cuisine, etc.," he says.

Health food is something he emphasises is coming into focus. “Healthy eating is catching up and we will also be introducing something in our course,” he tells.

Higgins' own interest in a culinary career started as a 10-year-old when he visited the ritzy Gleneagles Hotel near his home in Scotland. Along the way, he has a room full of awards and medals, including the Ontario Hostelry Institute Gold Award. He was captain of the Culinary Team Canada that came home from the 1999 Culinary World Cup in Basel, Switzerland with three gold medals. In 2001 he was named the first ever Chef Artist in the Absolute Vodka Culinary Arts Awards. “Its all about making your audience relax through food,” he states. “And always keep it simple,” he signs off.



Cosmopolitan Chandigarh
A home away from home
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
One of the most resilient communities that has braved all odds and survived adverse conditions are the Kashmiris who have blended perfectly with the people, culture and ethos of Chandigarh and have created their own little state here.

The people of Jammu and Kashmir started migrating to the city in as early as the 60’s. The influx increased only in the early 90’s when their native state was facing a lot of tribulations. At present, there are about 1,500 families residing in the tricity of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.

To keep their flock together and to keep their culture and traditions alive, the Kashmiris here are linked together through the Kashmiri Sahayak Sabha Charitable Trust. Established in the early 60’s, “the main aim of the sabha is to acquaint the new generation of Kashmiris with their rich culture, history and heritage and to inculcate in them those moral and ethical values which we have learnt from our forefathers”, said B.L. Sadhu, a retired Squadron leader of the Indian Air Force, who migrated to Chandigarh in 1974. He is at present the chairman of the trust and vice-president of the All-India Kashmiri Samaj.

Initially, the Kashmiris started meeting informally at one or the other member’s place. Later on, the need for a common meeting place was felt and the Kashmir Bhawan in Sector 24 came into existence. Since then, all the meetings, cultural functions and events of the community take place here. The members of the community meet every month and celebrate Shukal Paksh Ashtami.

On this occasion, the traditional puja is held and the day is marked with bhajans and religious discourse, informed Rajesh Moza, former general secretary of the sabha, presently working with NIPER. The Kashmiris celebrate the ‘Navre’ (Kashmiri New Year) according to the Vikrami Samavat in the months of March-April. Members of the Kashmiri community perform a yearly havan at the bhawan.

Other major festivals of the community include the Shivaratri in March, the Jayeshth Ashtami in June and the Durga Ashtami in October. On all these occasions, the Kasmiris pray at their homes and community pujas are also organised at the bhavan. Known for their typical flavours and spices, the Kashmiris are very fond of food and their cuisine is liked by everyone the world over.

The Kashmiri community in Chandigarh also brings out a bimonthly community magazine, ‘Sunderwani’, which gives historical facts and insight into their culture.

In Chandigarh, Kashmiris are an educated lot and most of them are well-placed in their various fields. Some of the prominent members of the community include, G.L. Kaul, former secretary, Vidhan Sabha; late N.N. Dar, former deputy home secretary, Punjab; professor Moti Lal Kaul, department of English, PU; Dr R.P. Sapru, HOD, cardiology, PGI; K.K. Kaul, chief town planner, PUDA; D.N. Pandit, CGM (retd), SBI; Jia Lal Handoo, retired principal; V.K. Raina, leader of the first expedition to Antartica, besides many others.



At the Crossroads
Twilight memories of bygone days

Herbert Read has said very pointedly that sympathy is “feeling with” while empathy is “feeling into”. It is good to be sympathetic to others but to identify oneself with the state of mind of a suffering person is a thing apart. This is not an attitude but the bent of mind. In 1951, I was desperate to get a job and, at the same time, to pursue higher studies. My childhood friend, Inder Kumar Sagar, had joined central government service in New Delhi after his Intermediate examination. I wrote to him a letter, after my graduation, to do something for me.

He responded promptly and asked me to join him without any loss of time to get admission in university camp college (evening), New Delhi. He told me to bring along my bicycle as I would have to make use of it during daytime to seek a job. I did likewise and roamed about the roads of the Capital for 21 days during the month of September. Ironically, I got admission in M.A. (English) class in New Delhi, but was offered a coveted job in Shimla.

Well, the rest is now a part of history that often repeats itself in every age. I recall, now more than ever, how my friend Sagar helped me even when he himself was passing through a period of struggle. Had I known the facts, before leaving Amritsar, I would not have gone there. But it goes to his credit that he helped me in every possible way to tide over my turbulent period of life. This indeed is empathy, that is the product of true emotional impact, and not mere sympathy, which is a passing feeling usually of no consequence.

In Shimla, too, I landed myself in trouble, though unwittingly, after some years. I had a good place, called 'Shimla View Cottage', to live in after my marriage. We could have a good view of Shimla from our balcony, particularly at night, when the lights appeared like the stars in the firmament. But to reach Shimla proper, Scandal Point and the Ridge, we had to walk up and down from our house for full one hour. It seemed to be a pleasurable journey for about a year after our marriage. Later it became tiresome to cover the long distance with the baby in arms. So my wife succeeded in convincing me for the change of residence so as to be nearer to the Mall.

My efforts for taking on rent a well-located house bore fruit, and we shifted there in the last week of November in 1956. Next day we realised our folly, as the house was bereft of sunshine for the greater part of the day. For about a week we stayed in that house which was well-built and partly furnished, but lacked the warmth of a home. The three of us had the attack of severe bad cold and the 10-month-old baby suffered from fever also. So in desperation I talked to a number of my colleagues to help me in arranging an alternative suitable accommodation. All of them assured me of help but in due course of time. Nothing substantial was visible for some days more. Then one afternoon my friend Wadbhag Singh Gill spotted me standing dejected, in the sunny square, in front of Gorton Castle. I told him my tale of woe. Even before I could wind up, he put his hand in his pocket and handed over a key to me ...

"What's it?"

"The key of my house in the sunny locality of Sanjauli."

"What about you and your family?"

"Nothing to worry about. My wife has gone to Ludhiana and she will remain there during the forthcoming winter months."

"Is the house big enough that you could also stay with us?"

"No, I will shift to my friend who lives nearby and he is single."

"Even then, the inconvenience and all the botheration and the……"

He shook hands with me hastily and departed without saying anything in reply. Needless to say that we shifted to that house the same evening and the Sun greeted us the next day with its warm smile, early in the morning.

Apart from these two memorable instances, when not mere sympathy but empathy made the path smooth for me, I recall the expression of empathy for me by an object of nature. That weeping willow haunts me still. It was just across the rear window of my residence in Summerhill. In the morning at 9, on my way to the railway station, it took me just two minutes to be near that tree. Invariably, I stopped under its hanging branches and looked up to find a big cluster, like a bower at the top. With a faint smile on my lips I mounted up in a thoughtful mood. It was like saying bye-bye to the companion at home.

Those days of bachelorhood in 1954 were quite lonesome at the hill station. In the evening, the weeping willow welcomed me back, with its lingering shadows. As the evening thickened into darkness, I opened a book of poems to regale my mind. In winter season I could see the weeping willow, through the windowpanes, heavily laden with snow. In moonshine the hoary spectacle appeared uncanny and weird. When a strong wind wafted through its hanging branches, there was a good shower of particles of snow on the ground. The night, of course, lingered on in fitful wakefulness and I was aware of the presence of someone who could be with me in the hour of need. At times I recited aloud, within the earshot of the willow tree, an Urdu couplet ...

Umar kaise kategi 'Saif' yahan

Raat kat-ti nazar nahin aati.

Still the day dawned as usual and the willow tree bade me good morning as ever.

— N .S Tasneem



Bahuguna stands up against ski village
Says HP project to hit 40,000 people

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Renowned environmentalist Sunderlal Bahuguna today stated that selling “jal, jungle and zameen” of indigenous people of Himachal Pradesh to a foreign company for setting up the Rs 1,600-crore Himalayan ski village was undemocratic.

Addressing mediapersons at the Press Club here today, Bahuguna, accompanied by his wife Vimla, said, “Neither are we development bashers nor are we against tourism but we are opposing the project as it will affect the lives of nearly 40,000 people living in 70 villages of the area. These people living in the foothills of the mountains are linked with their forests and their mountains. They graze their sheep and cattle in summers in these pastures and in winters get fuel wood from these forests.”

The HP government has decided to lease out a large area of the valley on the left bank of the Beas near Manali for 99 years to Himalayan Ski Village Private Limited. Alfred Brush Ford, the great grandson of industrialist Henry Ford and trustee of Ford Motor Company in the US, is promoting the ski village.

The memorandum of understanding between the HP government and Himalayan Ski Village Private Limited states that the company, in order to organise heli-skiing and skating, will build gondolas, ropeways, big hotels and a large number of wooden huts on the mountains in this area.

“New roads will have to be created for the project. In the mountains it will mean soil erosion and massive deforestation. It will change environmental conditions and deeply affect the surrounding areas too,” he said.

Bahuguna pointed out that while the youth were upbeat about the employment opportunities that the resort would generate, the elders had a sense of foreboding. The promises made while acquiring land for the Allian Duhangan Hydroelectric Project in Manali have not been fulfilled. “Many sold their land hoping for a better future. Three years have passed and the money has not been spent. Now, they have neither land nor money,” said Bahuguna.

He said the security of the country was also at stake. “The entire military supply to Kargil, Leh, Ladakh and Siachen is ensured through the border road,” he said.



Punjabi body for panel to monitor MC spending
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 24
Haryana Punjabi Mahasabha president Hemant Kinger today demanded the setting up of a purchase committee to monitor the expenditure of the municipal council.

He said since the commissioner of Ambala range had approved a budget of Rs 35 crore for the Panchkula municipal council, the money needed to be utilised for completing various projects.

“However, with 11 complaints pending against the council, there was every possibility of misuse of the money. An inquiry into money spent on carpeting of roads and patch work, poor maintenance of parks, use of substandard footpath mosaic chequered tiles, huge expenditure incurred on vehicles of the council, among others, were pending with the administration,” he maintained.

He said a committee to monitor the expenditure of the municipal council and all new contractors should by appointed to ensure that the budget money was put to good use.



Unnatural Death Cases
Lack of viscera reports hits probe
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Unavailability of viscera reports has forced the Chandigarh police to go slow on the investigation into unnatural death cases. As investigations into two cases of unnatural deaths are testament to this fact.

In fact, mystery continues to shroud the deaths of Lairenmayum Albestron Singh, a Manipur student, who was found dead by the roadside in Sector 15 in November, last year and Monica Cheema of Dhanas, whose decomposed body was found in a nullah near Dhanas in February, this year.

The investigations into these cases have virtually come to a standstill due to delay of viscera reports.

The viscera samples were sent in these cases to ascertain the exact cause of death, which is an essential part of the investigation, as the police corroborates other evidences collected in the process of investigation to reconstruct the sequence of events leading to the death of a person.

In fast-track cases, the reports take around two months to arrive, sources in the police said.

A 16-year-old student of Guru Nanak Public School in Sector 36, Albestron Singh was expelled from school for his alleged misconduct two days before he was found dead under mysterious circumstances by the roadside in Sector 16 on November 20.

Ruling out the possibility of foul play behind the death, as no visible injury marks were found on the body, the police then believed that the boy might have died due to a high dose of some intoxicant.

Similar is the fate of investigation of unnatural death of 27-year-old Monika Cheema of Chaman Colony, Dhanas.

Her body was found floating under mysterious circumstances in a nullah on February 6. Additional SHO of police station, Sector 11, inspector Prem Singh said viscera reports were awaited in both cases.



Vegetable vendors at mercy of the elements
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Truckloads of vegetables are exposed to the vagaries of weather as the market committee is yet to raise a roof on the auction platform.

The auction platform had collapsed on June 10. Commission agents dealing in vegetables said since truckloads of vegetables were daily unloaded in the mandi, a roof was necessary to protect the perishable commodity from being damaged.

A senior official said the district administration was well aware about the specific problem being faced by the traders. The work on the temporary structure would begin soon, he said.

A visit to the mandi revealed that due to the absence of the roof, vegetable vendors were the only one to be affected. Those dealing in fruits were operating from SCOs. For the sale and purchase of onions and potatoes, a tin shed already existed at the rear of the market.

Digvijay Kapoor, a trader in the market, said they had already requested the administration to erect a temporary structure at the earliest.

“We are holding a meeting with the administration to improve the infrastructure in the market. Tomorrow another meeting will be held with the home secretary and the deputy commissioner on the issue,” he said.



No respite from humidity

A cyclist tries to protect himself from the sun.
A cyclist tries to protect himself from the sun. — Tribune photo by Vinay Malik

Chandigarh, June 24
With pre-monsoon showers eluding the city, residents continued to reel under highly humid conditions. As against yesterday when the maximum relative humidity touched 74 per cent, Sunday witnessed even more heat, with the humidity skyrocketing to settle at 84 per cent.

Although the mercury hovered below normal, people had no respite from heat, as sultriness ruled all day long. At several points during the day, it seemed it would pour, but the rain gods against granting the favour.

Chandigarh was humid all day, with maximum temperature touching 37°C, two degrees below normal. It was a wee bit lower than yesterday when the city had recorded a day temperature of 38.4°C, one degree below normal. Maximum relative humidity was up 10 per cent as against yesterday.

In some areas of the region, the situation was even more intolerable with humidity level rising to 90 per cent. In Haryana, Ambala recorded a maximum temperature of 37.8°C. — TNS



Bansal releases FOSWAC souvenir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Union minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal released the souvenir of the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations (FOSWAC) here today.

Addressing a meeting of the federation, Bansal underlined the need for greater participation of residents welfare associations (RWAs) for good governance.

He assured full cooperation for the development of the city and bringing democracy through the participation of the RWAs. Earlier, federation chairman P.C. Sanghi urged the minister and city mayor Harjinder Kaur, who was also present, to help find ways on the Delhi pattern for giving due recognition to the RWAs.

Mukesh Nischel, secretary, public relations, detailed the aims and objectives of the federation. As many as 156 members attended the annual general meeting.



Milk found adulterated
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 24
At awareness camp organised in Phase I, here yesterday, only four milk samples out of a total of 29 were found to be meeting the required standards.

The camp, which was organised by the Dairy Development Board, tested milk samples of residents from the area, free of cost. While water in large quantity was found in most of the samples, one even contained harmful ingredients.



Tips for Safe driving


Rear-end collisions occur mostly because of following too closely and losing attention. Always leave sufficient distance from the vehicle ahead to be able to stop if it brakes or changes course suddenly. You will also need space to manouevere and get out if the vehicle ahead breaks down and stops. In good conditions on roads carrying fast traffic a two-second time gap may be sufficient.

‘Anger and aggression have no place on the Road’



Alcohol use increasing

According to the excise policy of the UT administration, the number of wine shops in the city has increased. Low-content alcohol is very popular and beer has become cheaper, thus increasing beer consumption among youths. This new policy is having a poisonous effect on the youth of the tricity. Yesterday, two accidents took place in Chandigarh. In the cases, the drivers and their accomplices were drunk. It is indeed sad that the increase in alcohol use is taking its toll and conditions are going from bad to worse.

R.K. Garg, Chandigarh

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Property dealer, woman held for fraud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The local police has arrested a property dealer and a woman for duping a Palsora resident to the tune of Rs 6 lakh by selling her a tenement in Sector 56 provided under the rehabilitation scheme. The police said as per the rules, the tenement could not be sold.

Sources in the economic offences wing (EOW) of the Chandigarh police said Paramjit Kaur of Palsora Colony had lodged a complaint in March this year alleging that Ram Narain, a Sector 56-based property dealer, and Devi of Lal Bahadur Shashtri Colony in Sector 56 had duped her by selling her a house, which as per rules could not be sold.

The house was sold to her for Rs 6 lakh on February 1, 2006.

The police arrested Ram Narain and Devi on Saturday after registering a case of cheating and criminal conspiracy against them under sections 420 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.

Amarjit Singh, the investigating officer of the case, said Paramjit had alleged that she took possession of the house in the same month. In March, the enforcement wing of the UT estate office came to her residence and sealed it, saying it was illegal.

He added that the tenement was actually allotted to Anokhe Lal in 1994. Anokhe sold it further and the other man raised an illegal construction. His neighbour reported the matter to the estate office, which then conducted a raid.

Anokhe Lal died in 1996. After this, the other man sold the house to someone else through the general power of attorney. When the next owner came to know that he could not own the house as it was illegal, he sold to another persons and in the end, Devi purchased the house for Rs 5.25 lakh in October 2005.

Soon Devi came to know about the status related to the possession of the house.

She then hatched a conspiracy with Ram Narain and lured Paramjit Kaur to buy the house and sold it to her, said the police.



Catfight at discotheque
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
Sunday revelries at a Sector 9 discothèque went for a toss this evening when an altercation between two girls took a violent turn.

Things went out of control to some extent, but the tension was defused between both parties following police intervention. Taking preventive measures, the police booked the girls under sections 107 and 150 of the Criminal Procedure Code. Both parties reached a compromise, said the police.

According to eyewitnesses, the incident took place at around 5 pm when one of the girls alleged that the other had kicked her while dancing. The matter was resolved then and they came out, but again picked up a quarrel which took a nasty turn with both pulling each other in full public view.

SHO of the Sector 3 police station Ram Gopal said 23-year-old Nisha of Phase VI, Mohali, who originally hailed from Himachal Pradesh, lodged a complaint alleging that Jyoti, a Sector 15-based paying guest, who hailed from Gurgaon, had hit her while dancing. When she sought an explanation, Jyoti told her it was an accident. They then came out and Nisha again pulled her goggles, at which they had a confrontation.

The SHO said the girls were taken for a medical examination, which confirmed that they did not suffer injuries.



Autorickshaw driver held with pistol
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The local police today arrested a Kajheri resident with a country-made pistol and two live cartridges. The police said 22-year-old Om Parkash, alias Raju, of Pandit Colony, Kajheri, was arrested from the same locality while carrying the illegal weapon.

An autorickshaw driver, Raju told the police that he brought the weapon from his native village in Uttar Pradesh. A case under the Arms Act has been registered against him.

Smack seized

The local police arrested Raju of Sector 38 from near CRPF Camp, Hallo Majra, while allegedly carrying 35 gm of smack on Saturday. A case under section 21 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act had been registered in this connection.

Power theft

Manjit Singh of SCO 69, Sector 46-C, was booked for stealing electricity on a complaint lodged by the SDO, electricity, sub-division No. 6, on Saturday.

Car stolen

Rajinder Singh of Sector 43 reported to the police that his Maruti Zen (CH-01-(T)-9752) was stolen from his residence on Friday night. A case of theft had been registered.



Scooterist killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 24
A scooterist was killed in a head-on collision with a truck on the bridge over the Tangri in Raipur Rani, here today.

A resident of the area, Arun Kumar Walia was on his way home on his scooter (DL 4 SAD 8751) when an oncoming truck (HR 01 ZA 0995) hit him.

He was taken to the health centre at Raipur Rani but died on his way to the hospital. He was declared brought dead there.

Arun, the only child of his parents, leaves behind a wife and a seven-month-old baby.

A post-mortem examination was conducted and the body handed over to the family members.

The truck driver, Nirmal Singh, a resident of Pehowa, is absconding.

Meanwhile, Ram Swarup, a resident of Rampur village of the block, was found dead at Badona village.

Police sources said Ram Swarup, an alcoholic, died of excessive drinking.



Man hit by train, dies

Chandigarh, June 24
A 35-year-old Ram Darbar resident was killed after being hit by a train on an elevated track along the Chandigarh-Ambala road this afternoon. The police said it was an accident.

According to eyewitnesses, the man ran for his life on seeing the approaching train, but failed to get out of the way of the train. Sources in the government railway police said the victim had been identified as Madan Lal of Phase II, Ram Darbar. He was working as a mechanic. He was seriously hurt in the mishap and rushed to the PGI, where he was declared brought dead.

The police recovered a diary from his pocket and contacted his acquaintances. The police informed his family about the death, but no one from the family had reached the hospital till late in the night, said the police. — TNS



59 booked for traffic offences
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 24
The Chandigarh traffic police today set up pickets at three places in various parts of the city and booked 59 motorists for offending traffic rules.

The police impounded an autorickshaw for not having complete documents. Of the 59 motorists, 28 wee challaned for not wearing safety helmets while riding two-wheelers.



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