C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Demolition squad stoned, strikes back
*Cops fire 12 rounds
*Addl DC & LAO among injured
*Protesters led by sarpanch, ZP chief
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Protesters in police custody
Protesters in police custody

Chandigarh, July 10
A demolition drive at Kishangarh village today turned violent with residents pelting stones at the demolition squad and the policemen accompanying it.

Several members in the squad received minor injuries.

The protesters also received injuries when the enforcement staff also threw stones in self-defence. A number of vehicles of the squad were damaged by the protesters who seemed well-organised.

Caught unaware, the enforcement staff had to fire in the air to disperse the unruly crowd. At least 12 rounds were fired by the police to control the charging crowd. At least five persons, including UT zila parishad chairman Bhajan Singh and Kishangarh sarpanch Devinder Singh were taken into custody.

The drive to demolish at least six structures was undertaken after the task force of the deputy commissioner reported that unauthorised structures had come up on acquired land. Before the drive could start, the protesters in an organised manner started pelting stones at the demolition squad.

Additional deputy commissioner I.S. Sandhu and Land Acquisition Officer Hargunjit Kaur also received injuries.

The officials said the zila parishad chairman and sarpanch of the village were seen instigating the crowd. While the demolition was on, the ADC told the police to investigate the case of two Chandigarh cops, Dilbagh Singh and Bhadhur Singh, who had also raised structures on the acquired land.

Deputy Commissioner R.K. Rao said strict action would be taken against those who take the law into their hands.

After the demolition drive, at least 300 residents of the village gheraoed the Mani Majra police station demanding release of those taken into custody.

The police has booked eight persons for attempt to murder and obstructing government servants from performing duty. Those booked are Kulwinder, Vijay, Sardawar Singh, Mood Chand, Kuldeep, Sukhvinder, Janander and Paspati.

It may be mentioned that the Chandigarh administration had acquired 52 acres in 2003 along with another 200 acres.



Part of beam in DC’s office crumbles
Rajmeet Singh

Chandigarh, July 10
A portion of the beam at the top floor in the estate office - DC’s operational headquarters - fell off today. The maintenance of the government building is done by the engineering department of the Chandigarh Administration.

The DC, who is also secretary of the City Agricultural Marketing Board, is to submit his report on the Sector 26 Grain Market roof collapse.

When the concrete portion of the beam fell, a man was inspecting the record in the room. Some employees of the estate office working in the room had a lucky escape, as the debris of the collapsed portion of the beam fell a few feet away.

An SDO from the maintenance wing of the engineering department was summoned by the administration. When this correspondent visited the spot, the subdivisional engineer was busy examining the spot to ascertain reasons as to why the concrete was losing contact with the beam.

UT Chief Engineer VK Bhardwaj said the matter was being looked into, maintaining that the building was structurally safe. Only recently, the engineering department had carried out repairs in the four-storeyed building.

Sources in the administration said the engineering department had been repeatedly asked to repair the cracks in the beams and walls. A closer look at the beam revealed that it had cracks at a number of places.

It may be mentioned that after the Sector 26 incident, the administration had decided that all buildings, where people turned up in numbers, would be checked on regular intervals for structural stability.



Two Janta markets may collapse, warns report
Sanjeev S. Bariana

Chandigarh, July 10
Following the roof collapse in the Grain Market, Sector 26, last month, the engineering department of the administration has compiled a report, warning the Janata markets in Sectors 19 and 27 of a possible collapse in the near future.

Chief Engineer V. K. Bhardwaj, has recommended that "the buildings be got vacated immediately and repair of structures under supervision of experts be undertaken." He has described the report as "very depressing warranting immediate action".

It has been pointed out that "a glance at the report (expert committee) reveals that there are major structural cracks in the columns, beams and stairs". The precarious situation can turn even more grave in the monsoon.

The department had constituted a committee comprising Neeraj Gupta, N.P.Sharma and Jigna K. Sanghadia as members to submit a report on the status of these markets.



Shed Collapse
Adjoining building must go, says report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
The engineering department of the Chandigarh administration wants the building adjoining the collapsed shed in the Grain Market to be dismantled as it could collapse and cause damage to property and life. The report also says that in view of the building violations and additional load in private buildings, a mishap could not be ruled out.

The suggestion has been made following a report by a committee to inspect the buildings of the Grain Market with regard to the safety of the buildings and measures to be undertaken.

The report has pointed out that besides the collapsed structure, there is a threat to the adjoining seven long bays and two short bays. The covered shed collapsed apparently due to pressure on brick pillars.

This perhaps occurred due to damage to pillars by occupants who made recesses for cash boxes and other electrical provisions.

Deep openings have been made at several places.

In case of the “gadda” shed, it was observed that the roof of the building was being used illegally by over 20 persons for the purpose of kitchen and storage by erecting additional steel sheds.

Certain racks were also detected in the load-bearing walls of the office-cum-rest house of the market committee. The committee also pointed out violations in at least 15 more booths and shops.



Grain Market Probe
Shopkeepers blamed

Chandigarh, July 10
The magisterial inquiry under the chairmanship of R.K. Rao, deputy commissioner, today submitted its findings on the roof collapse in the Grain Market, Sector 26, on June 10. Home Secretary Krishan Mohan said he had got a copy of the report.

Reliable sources indicated that the inquiry had sought stern action against erring shopkeepers, who had dug up holes in the walls.

The holes had affected the strength of the supporting pillars. Action had been sought against the administrative officers who were required to keep a tab on market conditions.



NCC cadets to spy on tipplers
Ramanjit S. Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
Tipplers at the driving wheel, beware! You are being watched.

In a novel experiment to check drunken driving, the Chandigarh Police has decided to engage 50 NCC cadets. These “spies” in plain clothes would be stationed at drinking places across the city at night and will tip off the traffic police on possible offenders.

SP (traffic) A.S. Ahlawat said today that last-minute modalities were being worked out. The police had requested Brig B.C.Katoch, deputy director-general of the NCC, to provide the police a contingent of 50 NCC cadets for the job.

The cadets would call up the traffic police control room at its toll free number (1073) and give information on motorists driving vehicles after drinks.

Accidents on account of drunken driving have been on the rise. Last week two team managers of the Sector 8-based KFC were killed after a drunken car driver on a joyride rammed his car into their motor cycle.

The police has intensified challaning to discourage motorists from violating rules and regulations. Till July 9 this year the traffic police had issued 65,260 challans to offenders, while during the corresponding period last year the police had booked 58,609 motorists for breaking law. The traffic police has collected over Rs 1.21 crore till date.

Asked about special steps being taken against those smoking while at the wheel, the SP said the police regularly booked offenders. But no special drive was being initiated against them.

Till date, the traffic police has booked 356 motorists for smoking while driving. Interestingly, despite the much-touted drives against drunken driving, as many as 106 motorists were booked for the offence.



No rent for dead phones, says BSNL
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
There is some relief for harassed Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited(BSNL) subscribers whose landline phones have not been ringing for seven days or more in the wake of the devastating June 30 fire at the Sector 17 telephone exchange here.

In an effort to assuage frayed tempers, BSNL has decided to waive the rent for phones non-functional for seven days or more, BSNL chief general manager Rajendra Singh said today.

On customer complaints on erratic telecom services, particularly broadband connectivity, he claimed that normalcy had been restored to a large extent.

The department had come out with new helpline numbers.

Officials highlighted that "individual complaints", particularly those related to the broadband, were on account of the fact that field staff had been deputed for laying of cables for restoration of the telecom link. Once the staff resumed normal duties, the services would be back on track in a day or two.



Hearing-impaired wins battle against cruelty
Justice at last!
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
For Anu, 39, today was a day of reckoning as it marked her victory against all odds. Only two years ago, life had seemed miserable after she was turned out of the house by her husband, who treated her with contempt for being deaf and for bearing a deaf girl child as well.

But today, Anu got more than compensated for her painful past, as her husband, whom she had got booked for cheating and cruelty, agreed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court to pay her Rs 10 lakh as compensation.

The money, it was decided, would be equally divided between Anu and her minor daughter, who attends Vatika School for Deaf and Dumb in Sector 18. Both mother and daughter have been living with Anu’s father in Sector 20 ever since they were turned out of their own house in Panchkula.

No wonder Anu has made up her mind to pay back her father Surendra Sehgal, who had brought her up with great difficulty. Anu’s sign language interpreter Era Walton told The Tribune today, “Anu’s mother abandoned the family long ago as she could no longer live with her deaf husband and two deaf children. Anu’s life has been tough all along but the final blow came from her husband, who was always insensitive to her needs. He would never socialize with her, not would he let her meet any of her deaf friends. She was devastated when he asked her to leave, along with their daughter. But he kept the son, who is also deaf.”

It was because of her husband’s insensitivity that Anu today refused his proposal to go back to him. Ever since she got him booked on April 19 this year, she has been opposing his anticipatory bail plea. But now she has decided to drop the case against him and concentrate on her daughter, a victim of her father’s neglect.

“Now that he has agreed to pay maintenance to Anu, she feels it would be fruitless to get him arrested. But she will never return to his house, despite his insistence today. It was loveless, she says,” Walton said, while Anu was busy feeding on sweets and reveling in her triumph, made possible with the help of Human Rights Law Network’s local chapter, which works to secure rights of the disabled.

Shortly, Anu and her husband will be filing a petition for mutual divorce. That will be yet another difficult milestone for Anu to cross. But she is determined to move on and help others like her, who have long languished without care and support.



City beautiful no longer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
The city beautiful no longer seems to be living up to its name. The city is in need of desperate maintenance. The two-day rain has also exposed the city’s vulnerability.

When contacted, the administration and the MC only blamed each other and passed the buck. Either way, it is the common man who is suffering.

Complaints are pouring in from all sectors. Though the MC claims it had started a cleanliness drive, residents complain that maintenance should be undertaken throughout the year. “Why wait for the situation to deteriorate so much that they have to undertake a special drive?” asks Satish Kaushik of Sector 21.

The MC had started a cleanliness drive on June 20 but the residents are complaining that their sectors have not been cleaned. At many places, road berms have been cleaned but the garbage has not been cleared.

Residents of Sector 22 complained that water was collecting in front of their houses and despite complaints no one was taking action. Water could be seen stagnant at many places in the city and slip roads are yet to be recarpeted.



Surgery on newborn successful
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
A newborn with abdominal wall defect was operated upon successfully after he was referred to a private hospital here from Shahbad within six hours of the delivery. His abdomen was not completely formed and the contents of the abdomen cavity like liver and small intestine were lying outside, covered by a thin sac.

Echo cardiography showed a ventricular septal defect (hole in heart), claimed Dr Ashish Dharmik of Chaitanya Hospital, who performed the surgery here yesterday.

At a press conference, he said the surgery lasted for more than an hour. After the surgery, the baby was on a ventilator for two days. He was discharged after 10 days.



Tips for safe driving

Both cars turning right

When both Cars A and B are going to make a right turn at the junction where there is no ‘give way’ or ‘stop’ sign then, Car B may turn first. Car A should give way to Car B, which is on its right.

‘Better late than never’

Courtesy: Safe Driving, compiled by Cdr Swarup J Sarma




Implement revised fee structure

The Punjab State Board of Technical Education & Industrial Training, Punjab, has decreased the fee for engineering diplomas for the colleges of the GPW and CCET, Chandigarh, from Rs 14,075 to Rs 5,625, from the session 2007. The revised fee structure should also be implemented for the 2005 and 2006 sessions. The fee structure for these colleges was increased from Rs 4,675 to Rs 14,075 from the session 2005. It is requested that the authorities pay attention and release instructions to the said colleges to collect the fee on the revised rate from the students of the 2005 and 2006 sessions also.

Jaswinder Singh Kainaur

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



Pay scale scam
Two more in vigilance net
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
The UT vigilance department today arrested former senior officials of the administration allegedly involved in a pay scale scam. The accused were produced before a local court which remanded them in judicial custody.

Sources in the vigilance department said Jai Narain, former finance and planning officer, and former superintendent Natha Singh Deol were arrested today.

Earlier, senior assistant K.B. Goel and Jai Pal Rawat, a laboratory attendant of PEC, had been arrested. A case of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy had been registered.

The investigating officer of the case, sub-inspector Sher Singh said the case dated back to 2003, when the PEC authorities approached the vigilance department after they noticed irregularities in the enhancement of pay scale for laboratory attendants.

The attendants of PEC had demanded a hike in their pay scale, equivalent to what was given to those employed by the Chandigarh administration.

Sher Singh said the authorities held a meeting and sent its report for consideration to the finance and planning department. It later came to light that the accused had forged documents to enhance the pay scale.



Theft in house of KPS Gill’s brother
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
Thieves broke into a Sector 9 house of the brother of former DGP of Punjab, K.P.S. Gill, late last night. The police said the theft was detected early this morning when the family found the house ransacked and a window pane broken.

The SHO of the Sector 3 police station, inspector Ram Gopal, said advocate Barinder Singh Gill reported to the police at around 6.30 am that his house had been burgled.

The thieves decamped with a TV set, a music system, some silver utensils, a tea set and a gas cylinder. They gained entry by breaking open a window pane.

Sources in the police said Gill, his mother and wife were at home when the theft took place. The police believes it to be the handiwork of two or more persons as they scaled the rear boundary wall of the house after cutting the barbed fence. They had enough time to carry out the entire operation as the house behind this house was lying abandoned.

They entered the room of Gill’s mother by breaking open the window and took the key of the almirah lying on a table and stole the articles.



Police remand for history-sheeter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
Balkar Singh of Kajheri village who was arrested by the police yesterday has a long list of criminal cases, including that of murder, kidnapping and theft, against him. He remained in Tihar Jail under the TADA Act for five years.

Owner of a primary school in the village, Balkar Singh was today produced before a local court, which remanded him to four-day police custody. He was arrested while he was travelling in a stolen Indica car with a fake registration number.

In charge of the crime branch, inspector Satbir Singh, said Balkar, who hails from Taran Taran district, had his first brush with crime in 1979 when he stole clothes from a shop in Phagwara. After that he stole guns from a gun house in Jalandhar. Thereafter, he went on committing crimes in Punjab and Delhi and was arrested several times.

In 1983, he kidnapped a businessman. He was also arrested by the Delhi police under TADA for anti-national activities. In jail, he met Dhani Ram Mittal who pretended to be an advocate. Mittal was reportedly involved in about 200 criminal cases. They joined hands and started working together. Mittal was arrested by the Chandigarh police in 2004.

In 1997, Balkar was arrested in connection with the murder of Gurmail Singh. However, he was acquitted by the court. After that his name figured in the kidnapping of a Phagwara-based brick-kiln owner.

He was again arrested when he was nabbed in 2004 while stealing a car. In 2002, he was booked by the Mohali police in a case of attempt to kidnap an owner of a chemical factory. In an attempt to keep a public face, he started Shri Guru Har Gobind Public School in Kajheri and made his wife its chairperson.



Judicial remand for rape suspect
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
A local court today sent Santosh Kumar, a rickshaw-puller accused of raping an 11-month-old girl, to judicial remand.

Sources in the Sector 39 police station said the police had nothing to recover from him and thus did not seek his police remand.


S.P. Jog, Wing Commander, airport security, reported to the police that Mukesh Kumar of Sector 47 was allegedly caught while stealing two water taps from the Air Force area on Monday. The accused has been arrested and a case registered in this connection.


Sanjay Sharma of Sector 19 has lodged a complaint with the police that Rs 15,000 was stolen from his shop in Sector 7 between July 7 and 9. A case has been registered.

Scooter stolen

Nagesh Chopra of Sector 44 has filed a complaint with the police that his scooter was stolen from Sector 34 on Sunday.

A case has been registered.

Smack seized

The police on Monday arrested Chaman Lal of Sector 25 while allegedly carrying 12 gm of smack.

A case under Section 21 of the NDPS Act has been registered.


A scooterist, Preetinder Kaur of Sector 44, suffered injuries after being hit by an autorickshaw near the Attawa chowk on Monday. She has been admitted to the Sector 16 Government Hospital.

A case has been registered.



Man commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 10
A 27-year-old resident of Ambedkar Colony here committed suicide by hanging himself from the roof beam of his house last evening.

According to the police, the victim, Vinod Kumar, was unemployed and an alcoholic. He was was reportedly in a state of depression.

SHO Zirakpur G.P. Singh said Vinod Kumar was married, had two children and lived in a joint family.

Vinod hung himself from the rood beam with a rope while his wife and mother were away.

On return, the wife tried to open the door but found it locked from the inside. The door was forced open but Vinod was found dead inside the room.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.



Three held for making duplicate paint

Mohali, July 10
The police has arrested three persons for their alleged involvement in preparing duplicate paint and other construction material and selling these in the name of big brands.

DSP Hargobind Singh said the three were members of the same family and were arrested from a factory premises in Phase VII following a raid this evening.

“The father, Rattan Lal, along with his two sons - Sandeep Kumar and Rajesh Kumar - was into this business for over 15 years and kept shifting from one factory to another,” said the officer.

The three prepared paints and sold them in bags bearing the logo of Asian Paints. They also sold putty in bags with Birla White insignia.

The police has seized a large number of such bags bearing the logos of these companies. — TNS



6 hurt in clash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
In a group clash, at least six persons were injured, one of them seriously, at Indra Colony, Mani Majra, late tonight. The injured were taken to the Civil Hospital, Mani Majra.

The clash sparked off following an altercation between the two groups over an objection by the assailants to a boy from the victim group sitting at a meat shop. The assailants were armed with swords, iron rods, hockey sticks and sharp-edged weapons.

The injured included Ravinder (Billa), Billa, Chini, Chhota, Vicky and Salman. One of the injured, Salman said they were attacked by the assailants without any provocation.

Ravinder has been shifted to the PGI because of head injury. Tempers ran high at the hospital where the family members of the injured demanded action against the guilty.



IT counter for Mohali Industrial Area
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
The income tax department today decided to open a counter at C-81, Industrial Area, Phase VI, Mohali, from July 16 to 31 for the convenience of income tax payers.

According to a press note today, the counter has been opened for the convenience of income tax payers of Phases I to VII, Industrial Area I to VIII, Mataur, Madanpura, Sahi Majra and Sectors 70 and 71 falling under the jurisdiction of Wards 5(3) and 5(4).

All returns of taxpayers of Phases VIII and XI, SAS Nagar and Kharar tehsil will also be received at the Mohali counter, which will open from 9.30 am to 5 pm.



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