C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Judicial magistrate sleeps over HC orders
Now, faces complaint in High Court

Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Were the Punjab and Haryana Court’s directions ignored by the previous Ropar judicial magistrate, first class, Asha Condal (now transferred to Malerkotla), so as to avoid disposal of an application before her?

If we go by an order, dated May 21, passed against the judicial magistrate by Ropar district and sessions judge Rekha Mittal, it appears to be so.

“It is difficult to understand as to why the presiding officer (Asha Condal) has adjourned the case, titled ‘State vs Ravneet Singh and others’, to May 31 without disposing the application under Section 239 of the CrPC in compliance with the directions issued by the high court,” stated Rekha Mittal.

She further stated that it appeared to her that the court concerned had adjourned the matter without disposing it under Section 239 of the CrPC with a view to avoid disposal of the application.

The seriousness of the order can also be gauged from the fact that the judge was extremely forthright in lambasting the magistrate for what can safely be termed as judicial misconduct.

Questioning the motive behind the exemption granted to Harbhajan Singh Bajwa, accused who had procured the aforesaid directions from the high court, from appearance till July 9, the judge stated that the magistrate was due to be transferred on the expiry of her tenure in Ropar. Thus, the exemption would have meant that she would not be able to dispose the matter in the absence of Bajwa.

What casts serious aspersions on the motive of the magistrate is that she was aware of the high court order, dated March 20, which had fixed two months’ deadline to dispose the application. The sessions judge noted that the deadline was expiring on June 3 and despite this, an exemption from appearance was granted to the accused.

Asking the magistrate to strictly comply with the directions of the high court in letter and spirit, Rekha Mittal had further ordered that application be disposed by resorting to appropriate means well before Condal relinquished the charge on her transfer from Ropar.

Meanwhile, Bajwa has filed a complaint against Condal. The complaint addressed to the vigilance judge of the high court alleged that he had filed a certified copy of the high court order, passed by Justice Surya Kant on March 20, before Condal on April 3.

Despite this, Condal refused to pass any “zimni” order on April 3 and orally told him to appear before her on April 21.

When Bajwa appeared on that date and filed yet another application for placing on record judicial precedents and additional arguments, Condal had allegedly not made any reference to the high court order and adjourned the case till May 7. The matter then was subjected to still further adjournments. He further alleged that Condal tampered with judicial records to save her skin.



UT airport plans grounded at MoD
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The Chandigarh administration has been awaiting the approval of the Ministry of Defence for the past six months to upgrade the Chandigarh airport. The urgency for the approval is relevant in the context of Punjab having offered 300 acres to the Airport Authority of India (AAI) for the airport in Mohali.

The administration has once again taken up the matter with the AAI showing its eagerness and commitment for providing international facilities at the airport.

The administration has identified six acres for the Army in Hallo Majra and 2.86 acres for the Air Force in Sector 31 in lieu of giving land adjoining the airport to the administration.

In a recent communication to the Centre, the administration has reiterated its demand. A formal clearance for the expansion needs an approval from the ministry because of security concerns.

Confirming that the Punjab government has offered 300 acres to the AAI, a senior officer of Punjab pointed out that “the UT had been given the offer but it had not responded”.

However, a senior UT official said: “We are committed towards upgrading the airport facilities. With the setting up of the Information Technology Park and several other major projects, air traffic is bound to increase.”

It has been pointed out that the distribution of the work at the airport site will have to be worked out in detail with the AAI after the expansion got the approval. The administration could get responsibility for handling domestic flights, cargo or even international flights.

At present, the city has a sketchy airline service. Even the administration feels that a limited number of direct flights to the city from major towns is a major bottleneck in connectivity. The city is directly connected only with New Delhi and Jammu. 



Punjabi Tribune deputy editor dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Noted journalist and deputy editor of Punjabi Tribune Dalbir Singh died here today following a massive heart attack. He was 58. He is survived by his wife, a daughter and a son who is settled in New Zealand.

Dalbir Singh began his career with "Nawan Zamana" in Jalandhar and later worked in the PAU, Ludhiana. He joined Punjabi Tribune in 1979. Known for his sharp wit and skillful use of Punjabi language, he contributed immensely in providing modern tinge and timbre to Punjabi journalism. His weekly column "Jagat Tamasha" was popular for its pungent political and social comments. His endeavours won him many awards, including "Shiromani Patarkar" by the Languages Department, Punjab.

His demise has been condoled by H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune Group, Naresh Kaushal, Editor, Danik Tribune, and G.S. Sidhu Damdami, Editor, Punjabi Tribune.

The Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalist has also condoled Dalbir Singh’s untimely demise. Union president Vinod Kohli said with his death, Punjab had lost a dynamic journalist.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and acting president of the Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhbir Singh Badal today expressed shock at the sudden death of Dalbir Singh, deputy editor, Punjabi Tribune.

In a condolence message, the Chief Minister said in his death Punjabi print media had lost a seasoned editor and playwright who knew the pulse of Punjab. He would be known for long for his comprehensive, incisive critiques on Punjab's polity, added Parkash Singh Badal.

Sukhbir Singh Badal said in his death Punjabi journalism had lost a down-to-earth editor, who raised forcefully the issue of discrimination with Punjab through his writings.

Bikram Singh Majithia, Information and Public Relations minister, condoling the death, described Dalbir Singh as 'pitamah' of Punjabi journalism, known for his frank and unbiased views.

Condoling the death of the veteran editor, Harcharan Bains, media advisor to Chief Minister, said Dalbir Singh would be missed by all for his objective, perceptive and penetrating write-ups.

Secretary, Information and Public Relations Department, Jagjit Puri and director, Information and Public Relations Department, A.S.Bains have also condoled the death.



Country Liquor
Excise dept reallocates quota
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Four months after the implementation of excise policy for the current financial year, the UT excise department has reallocated quota of country liquor contractors.

This will enable the contractors to lift stocks from local distilleries.

Three local distilleries have been given 80 per cent of the allocated quota, while the remaining 20 per cent has been given to a Ferozepore-based distillery.

A senior official said the new decision would enable customers to buy popular brands of country liquor. When the new excise policy was implemented in April, the Ferozepore-based contractor had been given 40 per cent quota, as he had quoted the lowest rates.

Against the allocation, a contractor supplying country liquor from a local distillery challenged the allotment of tenders for supply of country liquor in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.



Fire at Infosys
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
A fire broke out at the construction site of Infosys in the Rajiv Gandhi IT Park, late tonight. The fire, caused by a short circuit in the cable wire at the site, is said to have damaged a considerable amount of stored construction material.

Although the exact loss is not known, UT station fire officer S.D. Gosain said the damage would be great as the fire had spread to the store as well.



Cousins drowned

Chandigarh, July 28
Two cousin sisters from a village in Barwala block met with a tragic end this evening when the two drowned in a village pond where they had gone to wash clothes.

After washing the clothes, one of them — Kajal — went to the pond to take a bath.

She was, however, pulled deeper into the water by the current. Unable to swim, she drowned.

Watching her fight for life, her cousin — Minakshi — also jumped into the pond and drowned. Their bodies were later fished out of the pond. — TNS



Tough army policy helps curb alcoholism
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The number of alcohol abuse cases successfully treated has increased by four times while the number of such cases invalided out of service has doubled after the Army introduced a “tough” policy to curb alcoholism and weed out habitual alcohol abusers.

Revealing this, a study conducted jointly by seven specialists from various military hospitals has also found that the number of those retained in service in low medical category on account of alcohol abuse had also decreased significantly after the new policy came into effect.

An Indian Armed Forces retrospective analysis of two years has shown that the number of alcoholics who have or seem to have given up alcohol increased to over 23 per cent of the total patients vis-à-vis the figure of 6 per cent prior to the new policy, the study states. The study has been published in the Medical Journal Armed Forces India (MJAFI) this year and subjects included officers, JCOs as well as other ranks.

Invalidment has doubled from 6.64 per cent to 12.7 per cent, while cases in temporary low medical category have reduced by one-third from 83 per cent to 58 per cent. This is so because permanent low medical category in such cases has been eliminated.

Army Order 3 and 11 of 2001 along with Director-General Armed Forces Medical Service was introduced to curb alcoholism and it laid down instructions and guidelines for dealing with alcohol abusers and the criteria for this retention or dismissal from service.

Commenting upon the contents of the policy, the study noted, “Some may consider these firm policies as punitive, nevertheless they have helped in changing the lifestyle of some alcoholics.” Since conventional treatment at best cures only a third of the alcoholics, greater emphasis needs to be placed on prevention, the study added.

According to the study, of the 1023 consecutive admissions in the hospital during the study period, 245 were alcohol related. The study found alcohol to top the list among psychiatric disabilities in cases to be invalided out of service.

Stating that anxiety-provoking situations may serve as cue for abusive drinking, the study observed that the stressful environment in the armed forces appears to affect only the susceptible individuals. Subjects from field and high altitude areas accounted for 48.69 per cent of the cases as compared to 51.31 cases from field areas.

After two years of inpatient treatment, about 31 per cent alcoholic patients were abstinent, 35 per cent showed partial improvement and 33 per cent had relapses. Similarly a long-term follow-up study of military alcohol treatment programme revealed that only 40 per cent of the treatment group was discharged from service on normal grounds, the study states.



Mishap, arson: 2 cops suspended
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 28
Two policemen were suspended and departmental action was initiated against 5 others for their inability to control yesterday’s arson that followed the accidental death of a girl, Ramratti, on the road dividing Sector 12 and 12-A.

Superintendent of police Balbir Singh said that while the SHO of the Sector-5 police station, Zile Singh, was suspended for not performing his duty, ASI Ami Chand was suspended after he was found drunk on duty, a fact confirmed by medical tests. The SP said that the two were likely to face dismissal after an inquiry into the matter while action would be initiated against the constables who failed to perform their duty.

In the city for a function, the IG, Ambala range, SS Deswal, said that strict action would be taken against the errant personnel who failed to control the mob which set two police Gypsys on fire.

“Three villagers of Railla in Sector 12-A have been arrested for the arson that followed the accident and damaging public property. We have CDs of the incident and will zero in on all the others responsible for last night’s situation,” he said.

The driver of the Scorpio that was involved in the accident in which three other persons were also injured is still at large. Ramratti, a resident of Railly had died on the spot. Police sources said that they have the number of the vehicle with them and will shortly arrest the driver.

Meanwhile, at Railla village, the last rites of Ramratti were performed. Her mother, Ramkali, said that they had returned a few days back from their native village after solemnising the marriage of their son. While the newly-weds were still at the village, they had returned to the city since they could not afford to skip work for long.

“We came to the city three years back and worked as labourers. We didn’t know our girl’s death had brought us to this city,” Chammu, the father of the deceased, said.

Also, the villagers were irked about the fact that the cops had rounded up the villagers and were unnecessarily harassing them.

“Innocent people have also been rounded up for only being found at the spot where the police Gypsys were set on fire. Like everybody else, curiosity got the better of our men and they went to see what was happening. They have been in police custody for no fault of theirs,” the women of the village said.



Panchkula police starts senior citizens’ cell
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 28
The Panchkula police started the Senior Citizens Security Cell at the Sector 15 police post to provide safety to senior citizens in the town.

The cell is aimed at sharing the lonely lives of senior citizens and give a fillip to police-public interface.

“The idea of the cell is to provide assistance to the senior citizens and help redress their problems on priority. We have identified a group of 15 youngsters from within our force to help out in this scheme. We have begun the process of drawing up a list of senior citizens in the city. Once this is done, we will divide the responsibility for these among the personnel who have volunteered for the job,” explains Balbir Singh.

Senior citizens can get themselves registered with the police in Panchkula by calling the following phone numbers: 100, 6532964, 6544101

While these cops will call up a few of these citizens everyday, they will call on the others to enquire about any problems they maybe facing. “They have been asked to take care of all small little jobs from payment of bills or doing odd jobs where the senior citizens may require help. These cops will not be transferred and their job is limited to striking a rapport and winning over the trust of the senior citizens,” he explained.

He said these cops would be given mobile phones to keep in touch with their “adopted” senior citizens and they will also visit the daycare centre of the Old Age Home in Sector 15 and the Red Cross Office nearby.

“The attempt is to build faith between the people and the police. As another initiative in this direction, the senior citizens will be sent birthday cards and greetings on Senior Citizen Day and will be encouraged to socialise instead of staying confined to their homes by organising get-togethers,” he said.

While the police have already identified 400 senior citizens in its survey of 11 sectors of the city, the survey for other sectors is still on. The cell was inaugurated by IG, Ambala range, SS Deswal, who emphasised that the senior citizens must come forward to get the servants they employ verified. The senior citizens in the gathering welcomed the move.



Panchkula Rotary Club gets new president
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 28
Outgoing president of Rotary Club, Panchkula, Wg Cdr Pradeep Prabhakar handed over the command to the new president Parveen Kumar Goel at a ceremony held at Red Bishop hotel here today. Pardeep Aggarwal was installed as secretary. Minister of state for housing and poverty alleviation Kumari Selja was the chief guest. Other officer-bearers installed are Dr Gopal Munjal and Ajay Batra as vice-presidents, Dr Maneel Grover as treasurer.



CRPF celebrates foundation day

Chandigarh, July 28
The CRPF celebrated its foundation day at its camp at Hallo Majra, here today.

The paramilitary force was raised on July 27, 1939 at Neemuch, Madhya Pradesh.

M.V. Krishna Rao, additional director general, north zone, took the salute.

Around a hundred children participated in a painting competition organised by the 5 Signal Battalion. The winners of the competition are: Dilpreet Kaur, Rohit, Shubham, Preeti Sharma, Lokesh Kumar and Sunil Kumar. — TNS



AC buses expensive

Proposed introduction of AC buses replacing the existing system may prove a futile exercise. AC buses, means increase in fare to meet the extra cost that may prove to be a joy ride with public money.

Commuters will be more prone to weather effect since affluent class will not be travelling. Instead the administration should think to improve the existing infrastructure. Similarly, the idea to run mini buses (25 seater) on inner roads is not an appreciable decision.

It has already met with fatality about 10 to 15 years back, when there were much less individual vehicles owners compared to today. The administration must not be optimistic of public response.

Joginder Sing Bhogal, Chandigarh

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Rs 1.75 lakh stolen from car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Karnal resident S.C. Pridha lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his bag containing Rs 1.75 lakh and a credit card was stolen from his car parked in Sector 18 yesterday.

Pridha, former general manager of Liberty, said he had gone to meet his friend around 2.30 pm, leaving his car with driver Pawan Kumar outside the town and planning office, Haryana, Sector 18, here.

Thieves struck when Pawan Kumar went to the office canteen for a lunch.

Around 3.30 pm, Pridha got a call from City Bank, enquiring whether the card was with him or not.

When Pridha denied, the bank official told him that someone had purchased a pair of shoes worth Rs 1,750 from a Mani Majra showroom using the credit card.

After checking the video recordings on the CCTV installed at the showroom, the police found that three persons had visited the showroom and made the purchase.

“We have registered a case under Section 379, IPC, and are investigating the case,” said police station-19 SHO S.S. Bhullar.



Biz Clips

CAMP: HDFC Bank, on Saturday, organised a special one-day camp for distribution of fresh Rs 10 notes and coins at its Sector 8, branch. The camp was held as part of the bank's initiative to be of service to its customers as well as the general public. The Currency Chest, HDFC Bank, Chandigarh has been taking steps to distribute coins directly to general public through these special camps. About 400 people availed the benefit. Rs 1 lakh worth of coins and Rs 10 lakh fresh Rs 10 notes were distributed.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) today extended the One Free Excel General SIM Card scheme till August 19. The scheme is provided to existing subscribers of CellOne post-paid connections, fixed lines and WLL. — TNS



‘Promote small savings in rural areas’

Chandigarh, July 28
Anil Bhattacharya, head of the National Savings Institute, union ministry of finance, met with Manjula Prashar, chief postmaster general, Punjab and UT, on Thursday.

Bhattacharya emphasised the need for reaching out to the rural areas to broaden the base of the small savings investors to retain the market share of the small savings.

A target of 20,000 new accounts, especially in rural areas, had been fixed during the next two months under a joint campaign by the officers of the institute, the directorate of small savings and the department of posts. — TNS



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