C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Security rings in hardship
Tribune News Service

CBI and defence counsel brief the media outside the Burail jail in Chandigarh on Monday.
CBI and defence counsel brief the media outside the Burail jail in Chandigarh on Monday. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, July 30
Expecting a pronouncement on the quantum of sentence on six terrorists convicted of assassinating chief minister Beant Singh inside the high-security Burail jail courtroom today, the jail authorities and the Chandigarh police seemed in a tizzy.

Even as the prosecution and defence lawyers battled it out in the courtroom, another tug-of-war was seen outside the jail premises- between security agencies and mediapersons.

Relatives of those convicted in the case were also denied entry to the jail premises.

Stung by media criticism, the security agencies today seemed to have left nothing to chance. A temporary picket on the way leading to the main entrance had been raised. It was manned by jail staff and local police personnel.

There was an altercation between some mediapersons and jail deputy superintendent Subhash Chander. All reasoning failed to carry favour with the officer.Finally, DSP(South) K.I.P. Singh, on instructions from senior officials, led the media to the main gate, where they talked to the defence and prosecution lawyers.

Maternal uncle of Hawara, Harminder Singh, and his cousins were also“detained” by the cops and not allowed to cross the outer cordon. However, Hawara’s mother was allowed entry after much persuasion.

Family members of Beant Singh, including his daughter Gurkanwal Kaur and grandsons Gurkirat Singh and Ravneet Singh, were seen waiting at the outer cordon. With them was chairman of the All-Indian Anti-Terrorist Front M.S. Bitta.

SSP Dinesh Bhatt said security had been tightened following intelligence reports that subversive elements planned to sneak inside the jail along with mediapersons or visitors.



No word on missing youths
Tribune News Service

Lalru, July 30
Hope is giving way to despair as parents of the two youths feared drowned in the Ganga wait for news on their sons.

Gurveen (24) and Gaurav (25) were swept away near Laxman jhoola yesterday when the two, along with three others, went for a dip in the holy waters.

Gurveen’s father Avtar Singh and Gaurav’s brother Sanjeev are in Rishikesh, where search operations are on to trace the missing boys. At the Premnagar residence of Gaurav, his father Jaichand and relatives are fast losing hope that the two will be alive. For Gurvin’s mother, who has been praying incessantly, her son will be home soon.

The two had accompanied their friends-Parminder Singh, Rajiv Garg and Ashish Sharma-on a trip to Rishikesh. They left on July 27 and were to return today.The five boarded a train to Haridwar from Ambala and reached Rishikesh on July 28. They stayed at the gurdwara there and went to take a dip in the Ganga yesterday morning.

Gurveen and Gaurav were the first to go in but were swept away.

Gurveen is a student of pharmacy at a Dera Bassi college. He is a trained swimmer. Gaurav, the younger of the two sons of Jai Chand, works with the JCPL factory here. “We hope the two are safe,” said Vipin, Gaurav’s brother in law.

The police is reported to have called the divers to search the area.



Keroscene: New step, old hassles
Sanjeev S. Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Ration card-holders, including women and senior citizens, jostled with one another at the sweltering food and civil supplies office in Sector 17, without water or fan.They were there to get ration cards updated.

People climbed over one another to reach the service counter and hand over the ration card copy.

Said a rather exasperated superintendent at the office:" The UT has prepared cards for kerosene supply to 12,000-odd families.We are taking fingerprints for the same.

“The rush today is incomprehensible because the beneficiaries can get the verification done till August 31. We have a separate line for women. We thought of getting fans installed but because of the rainy season, we didn't want to risk a mishap on account of a short circuit".

Contrary to the claims, there was no queue for women in the morning hours. Many women were carrying children, who, terrified at the chaos, kept wailing.

There was no queue for senior citizens either. Dhani Ram said: "I retired about six years back. I have been in queue since 7a.m. I was repeatedly pushed back.There is no official to manage the crowd".

Krishan Lal, a resident of Sector 56, said he was given a numbered slip by the officials a few days back. “When I reached the depot today, I was told that the number was missing.Hence, I am again in queue."

Neetu, a resident of Sector 52, said she had come with her mother who had fainted twice and “I am standing in the queue instead."



Just can’t beat this
Rajay Deep

A deserted police beat box in Sector 38, Chandigarh, on Monday. A Tribune photograph
A deserted police beat box in Sector 38, Chandigarh, on Monday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, July 30
Police beat boxes look like “showpieces” as even during peak hours, police personnel are hardly found on duty.

The beat boxes, set up with a view to providing a helping hand to residents, have not been of much use. There have been many incidents in the past when a crime took place but the beat staff was absent.

A resident of Sector 15 rued, “On Madhya Marg, a beat box has been set up near the petrol station but I have never seen it occupied by any police personnel. It has turned into a ‘rest room’ for stray dogs and beggars.”

A Chandigarh Tribune team noticed that many beat boxes were unmanned in the morning and afternoon. People around the area said it was not a new thing.

Sarup Chand, a senior citizen of Sector 38, said, “The police beat box remains vacant when the staff goes on rounds and there is no way a person in need can get in touch with them. There should be at least one or two persons available at all times.”

“The traffic policemen who have been appointed at this beat box go on a lunch break for more than two hours at the peak hours, inconveniencing the public,” said a Sector 22-based shopkeeper.

The SSP, Dinesh Bhatt, said, “We have shortage of staff so it is impossible to have policemen at every beat box all the time.”



Class X boy killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 30
Fourteen-year-old Gagandeep Singh, a Class X student of Sant Isher Singh School here, was killed when his cycle was hit by a school bus coming from the opposite direction.

The accident occurred on the Phase VII - Sector 70 dividing road.

Gagandeep was rushed to a private clinic before being taken to the PGI, where he was declared dead.



Military Games torch begins journey across the country
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
The torch of the forthcoming Military World Games began its journey to Kanyakumari from Leh. The torch will be carried by a team from the Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) who will pedal across the country.

The torch was handed over to the leader of the expedition, Maj Vishal Ahlawat by the minister of state for defence, M.M. Pallam Raju yesterday. The 15 member team is scheduled to reach Kanyakumari in just 20 days after covering a distance of about 4,250 kms. The games’ mascot, Bravo, is also accompanying the expedition.

The expedition will try to set a new national record of cycling from Leh to Kanyakumari, presently held by Harishankar Yadav, who had traversed the distance in 21 days in November 2003.

The flame will reach New Delhi on August 5. It will pass through Patseo, Tangland La, Charchu, Manali, Agra, Jhansi, Sagar, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Kurnool, Hosur and Salem before reaching Kanyakumari.

The event is part of series of events, which will be conducted as a precursor to the mega event, to be held in October this year. The Ceremony was organised to mark 75 days to go for the start of the Military World Games.

India is conducting the 4th CISM Military World Games in Hyderabad and Mumbai during 14-21 October this year. Nearly 100 countries are expected to participate in this mega event.



Unruly scenes in MC over pipes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
The monthly house meeting of the MC today passed all items on the agenda. However, the house witnessed unruly scenes over a question raised by councillor Chandermukhi Sharma.

Sharma had demanded information on the PSC pipes being laid for tertiary treated water along Shanti Path and Udyog Path. Alleging that an exception had been made with regard to the contractor, the councillor pointed out that the work was taking not only more time, but also had cost the MC three times over the sanctioned amount.

“The work was to start on May 18, 2005, for about Rs 1.73 crore and should have been completed by November 24, 2005. However, the firm concerned wrote to the MC on January 6, 2006, saying that it was not in a position to supply the material asked, which it can upgrade,” stated Sharma.

“The project has been delayed and has already cost the MC over Rs 3.26 crore,” the councillor said.

The chaos was brought under control after the formation of a committee to look into the matter.

The house was also assured by the commissioner that the administration would look into the reply filed by the house with regard to the issue of paid parking.

Councillors raised questions over sanitation in colonies. They alleged that private contractors were not doing their job well. They alleged that while the contractors were taking money for a certain number of safai karamcharis, they were deploying only half of them.

Meanwhile, the MC cleared the fixation of reserve price of Rs 27 lakh for four dhaba sites, augmentation of water supply in Hallomajra, and provisions for underground service reservoir with a capacity of 70,000 gallons, etc. 



UT’s no to full-fledged rights panel
Says nodal cell adequate; HC Bench had felt otherwise
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Growing importance of rights issues notwithstanding, the UT administration is of the opinion that the there is no need for a full-fledged rights commission, keeping in view UT’s small size and few complaints of rights violations.

The opinion has been expressed in a reply dated July 24 by the joint secretary, Home, administration, to a PIL filed by H.C. Arora before the high court.

The reply stated that the petition filed by Arora was not maintainable in view of the high court order dated Februray 25, 2005, which dismissed a petition raising a similar issue.

It has been asserted in the reply that the UT had constituted a rights cell on the pattern of Daman and Diu, comprising the IGP, district magistrate, SSP, district and sessions judge or his representative. The legal remembrancer had been designated as the nodal officer for the UT in matters relating to the violation of rights.

The reply also highlighted the fact that under Section 10 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, there was a provision for the commission to meet at such time and place as the chairperson might think fit for the disposal of allegations of rights violations.

“It is also a matter of record that any person aggrieved does not personally have to go to the NHRC in Delhi. The complaint regarding rights violations can be submitted in writing by the victim or any other person on his behalf through post, telegram, fax or e-mail,” the reply stated.

The reply when juxtaposed with the high court order dated April 9, 2004, by a Division Bench of the then Chief Justice B.K. Roy and Justice Rajive Bhalla makes an interesting reading. The order had asserted that a nodal cell could hardly be said to fulfill the will of the people reflected by Parliament. The Bench had pondered over the question as to whether the UT, with a population of about a million, besides a floating population, needed a separate rights commission.

The reply of the UT was then sought over the matter.

It is another matter that a different Division Bench had dismissed a similar petition by Puran Singh on February 25, 2005.



PU election posters deface city
Stickers on traffic direction confuse people
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Though there is some time to go for elections, student unions are already stepping out.

The boundaries of the university campus and colleges are no longer the battlegrounds and parties are proclaiming their presence around the city too.

Posters and stickers adorning walls, barricades and even sign-boards have come up and while the colour is evident, the defacement of public property is disturbing. The city faces this problem every time these elections are around the corner.

The Students’ Organisation of India (SOI) has jumped into the election fray in a big way and their determination is visible in the number of SOI stickers that have come up at ‘student-centric’ areas of the city.

It is wonder that the direction signboards at Matka Chowk have been picked as the perfect spot to catch the eye. Stickers covering directions and names of roads have new commuters confused as to which path to take.

“I had to circle the roundabout 2 to 3 times simply to figure out where I have to go. With the traffic moving fast, it is not possible park my vehicle in a corner and figure the right direction,” said a harried Anshu Bhatia, who had come from Sunam to meet with a lawyer.

However, when the UT incharge for SOI Pardeep Pal Singh was contacted about the despoiling stickers, he said he was aware that the anti-defacement Act did not permit such things. “I have instructed everyone not to do this. I will find out how this happened and who is providing the stickers and is responsible for putting them up,” he said.

In Panjab University, while some departments did have notice boards set up for posters to be put up and were crammed to capacity without spoiling the walls.

Dean Students Welfare, Professor Naval Kishore said while boards have been provided in all departments, any defacement of public property will be dealt with under the Defacement Act.



Fauji Beat
Why raw deal for jawans?

“I have put in 34 years of service and am drawing a monthly salary of Rs 19,000, including allowances. I am left with another two and a half years of service. I am staying with my family in the same house that was allotted to me over 20 years ago,” says a police constable.

Now take an Army sepoy. He draws a monthly salary of around Rs 8,000, including allowances at the time of his retirement, which comes at the age of 34-35 years. He does not get 50 per cent of even this measly pay as pension (that all others in the civil services get) because he does not complete 33 years of mandatory service to draw 50 per cent of his pay as pension. His pension is around half of the pension that a peon draws.

As for staying with his family during the service, it remains a dream for two reasons: One, for the better part of his service, he remains in field areas. Two, there is an acute shortage of married accommodation in peace stations and jawans authorisation of married accommodation is less than 20 per cent. 

When he retires, he is young and is laden with huge responsibilities of life. For, his children are still in school and are to be settled in life. How can he do all this when he himself is unsettled and cannot make both ends meet?

A true secularist

Brigadier Mohd Usman
Brigadier Mohd Usman

Little, if anything, is known in today’s Army about late Brigadier Mohd Usman, who was a true secularist. Born on July 15, 1912, at Bibipur in Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, he was commissioned from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, into the Baluch Regiment. So committed was he to his motherland that in spite of a temptation from the Pakistan Army to make him the Army Chief, he opted to serve in the Indian Army at the time of Partition in 1947. As commander of the 50 Para Brigade, all odds were against him when, after the fall of Jhangar on December 25, 1947, Pakistanis seized Naushera. He succeded in defending Naushera during the crucial battle of February 1948, by defeating the enemy, which had a much larger strength. Liberation of Jhangar was his next objective, which the Para Brigade accomplished on March 18.With Jhangar once again in Indian hands, Brigadier Usman heaved a sigh of relief. On July 3, during a lull in shelling, when Brigadier Usman came out of his tent, he was hit by a shell. Thus India lost a great soldier who had earned the titles of “Hero of Naushera” and “Saviour of Naushera”.

Brigadier Usman was given a state funeral and awarded Maha Vir Chakra (Posthumously).

ECHS membership

The current strength of Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) members is 3.90 lakh and that of their dependents 9.3 lakh. The last date for becoming a member of this scheme is March 31, 2008. The Army Postal Service (APS) personnel who retire from the Army and not from the P&T and have the statue of ex-servicemen can also become members of this scheme. The reservists who are drawing pension or their widows who are drawing family pension are also permitted to join this scheme. But the reservists, who had opted for ex gratia, are not eligible for membership.
— Pritam Bhullar



Ex-servicemen seek separate pay panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
A section of ex-servicemen have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, demanding that a separate pay commission be set up for armed forces personnel.

In its letter, the Saviours for Human Rights of Armed Forces (SHRAF) has stated that armed forces personnel have faced social and economic sufferings at the hands of successive central pay commissions due to inadequate representation by the armed forces and lack of proper understanding of the service conditions.

Stating that it is unfair to the profession of soldering to compare the service conditions of armed forces personnel with civilian employees, SHRAF has maintained that life in the services is neither business nor occupation but a 24- hour dedication and devotion to the nation’s call.

The letter has recommended that all compensatory allowances like city compensation and house rent, etc., should be exempt from income tax. It has also recommended that disability pension be increased and classifications should be reviewed so that people are not forced to approach courts. 



Commuters facing a sticky problem
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 30
It’s a “sticky” situation for commuters on the Kalka-Panchkula patch on the national highway, NH-73, with the district administration having failed to clear the road of molasses a fortnight after it spilled out of a tanker.

On July 16, a tanker carrying molasses over-turned at the Sector 1 crossing killing two persons and injuring two others. It took nearly three hours and four cranes to help lift the tanker. By then, a lot of molasses from the overturned truck had spilled on the road.

However, once the tanker was removed from the spot, the matter and the road were forgotten. This despite the fact that the road runs just behind the district secretariat in Sector 1.

Sources in the police department maintain that their job was limited to restoring the flow of traffic. However, they went a step ahead and did inform the Municipal Council about the sticky molasses spread on the road. The MC, on its part, maintains that no request has been received by its office to clear the molasses.

Consequently, the entire administration has turned a blind eye to the inconvenience of the public. With only half the road now motorable on this busy stretch, the various departments seem to be only awaiting another accident to act.



Downpour here, drizzle there
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 30
Some parts of the town witnessed heavy rainfall here this afternoon while other parts received only drizzle.

Traffic was seen moving at a slow pace in Phases VII to XI as water had collected on the roads due to the rain. Residents moving on the inner roads had a tough time because potholes were full of water and they found difficulty in driving.Phases I , II, III A , III B 1, IV and VI received only drizzle.

Executive officer of the municipal council J.S. Thind said the sewerage system was being looked after by the Department of Public Health. He would try to find out why rain water had collected on the roads causing inconvenience to residents.



2 deaths  in P’kula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 30
Two deaths were reported from the district, here today. While an electrician died in a road accident on the Panchkula-Barwala road, a resident of Sector 14 committed suicide.

Jagtar Singh (30), an electrician and a resident of Manakya village, died today when his motorcycle hit a neelgai near Bhanu, here. Jagtar was on his way to Barwala when the accident took place. He sustained serious injuries and died before he could be shifted to a hospital. 

In the other incident, 20-year-old Manju hung herself from a fan at her residence in Sector 14. Police sources said Manju, a student of BA I at a local college, was depressed as she had failed to clear her examinations.



Plea to make Mohali smoke-free
Our Correspondent 

Mohali, July 30 
A delegation of Global Sikh Brotherhood met the deputy commissioner and demanded that the administration should implement orders of the Supreme Court regarding a ban on smoking at public places and make Mohali a smoke-free city on the pattern of Chandigarh. 

Hardeep Singh, member, SGPC, and founder chief, said here today that the action taken by the Chandigarh administration to make the city a smoke-free zone was commendable. 

Chandigarh could now boast of being the only smoke-free city in Asia and residents of Mohali were also proud of this achievement as they were part of the tricity. It was necessary to follow in the footsteps of the Union Territory and launch a similar campaign here too. 

He feared the problem in Mohali might become more acute as vendors and smokers from Chandigarh were likely to take shelter here.

The administration should ensure that no sale of cigarettes, bidis and other tobacco items was allowed on the roadside as these part-time vendors indulged in “nefarious” activities, selling drugs and narcotics.



City ideal locale for films, says director
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, July 30
The Shri Sai Films Productions unit is in the city for a ten-day shooting of their Hindi film, “Zindagi Tere Naam”.

In an interaction with mediapersons at the Chandigarh Press Club, film director Ashu Y. Trikha and lead actors Aseem Ali Khan and Priyanka Mehta were all praise for the city.

Young and vibrant Trikha, who has directed three feature films, said Chandigarh was an ideal locale for Bollywood filmmakers.

“The city is gifted with unique panoramic landscapes in the backdrops of the Shivalik foothills. We need not shoot at costly shooting venues in Switzerland anymore,” the director said.

Trikha added that it was imperative to shoot the remaining 15 percent of the film here as the heroine was shown belonging to Chandigarh.

Divulging details of the movie, the director disclosed that the movie showed romance two couples- first between the young pair of Priyanka Mehta and Aseem Ali Khan and another between the older couple of Mithun Chakraborty and Ranjeeta, who are acting together after a hiatus of 25 years.

As both the lead actors are facing the camera for the first time, it is indeed challenging for versatile Priyanka Mehta from Jaipur and young model-turned-actor Aseem Ali Khan.

Well-built Aseem Ali Khan is the son of legendary sarodist Ustad Rehmat Ali Khan, the older brother of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan.

Unlike his illustrious cousins Ayan Ali and Aman Ali, who are sarod players, Aseem has carved out a niche for himself in the glamour world.

The potent script and story of the film sculpted by Sanjay Masoom and the lilting music composed by the Sajid-Wazid duo are the salient features of the film, signs off Trikha.



Stop dog menace

Shangar S Nandra, Hillsborough, NJ, USA (Chandigarh Tribune July 27, 2007) has rightly pointed out towards the stray animals menace rising in Chandigarh. But I am afraid that though this problem has been highlighted but authorities have ignored it. In Bangalore stray dogs mauled at small children to death. Add to this so called Animal Rights Groups come ahead to save the innocent animals. I request everyone concerned (especially the Animal Rights Groups) to please launch a full fledge campaign now only before this menace becomes out of control.

Rajdeep Singh, Banglore

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4 cylinders stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Jasbir Singh, a constable with the Haryana police, has reported that someone stole four LPG cylinders and two plastic chairs from Sector 10 on Sunday night.

A case of theft has been registered.

Suicide bid

The local police has booked Pinau Gopal of Sector 23 for trying to commit suicide on Saturday night.

The case was registered on the complaint of Rakesh Kumar, a resident of Sector 48. Rakesh was witness to the suicide attempt.



4 delinquents flee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 30
Taking advantage of poor security arrangements, four delinquents ran away from the Juvenile Home in Sector 25 here today.

Among them is the main accused in the rape and murder case of an old woman last year. The others were involved in thefts.

According to sources, the offenders shared a room and broke the window grill of the bathroom to escape.

The matter came to light at the time of the evening roll call. Only four home guard jawans are in charge of the security at the home and that, too, without any weapon.

A case has been registered on the complaint of the superintendent of the home. The police has been conducting raids to nab the offenders.



Arson: 10 more face action
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 30
The police has zeroed in on 18 residents of Raila village, who were involved in Friday night arsoning, here today.

Villagers burnt two police gypsies after an accident in which one minor girl had died. The police arrested eight persons, who have now sent to judicial remand. The police is yet to arrest 10 others.

A delegation of the Market Welfare Association of the village met SP Balbir Singh today. The police handed over a CD of the incident day to the delegation. The police also assured them that if the arrested persons found innocent, they would be let off.

The welfare association kept the market closed in protest of the arrests today.



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