C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Kajheri Killings
Gruesome confessions
Tribune News Service

Soni threw a rope around the Sardar’s neck while Kunkun hit him on the head with a brick, before we throttled him to death. We then strangulated his wife Balbir Kaur, who was sleeping

Chandigarh, August 10
Lure of easy money led Rajiv Kumar and his accomplices to murder Kajheri dairy farmer Sucha Singh, his wife Balbir Kaur and their servant Chottu on May 14.

Rajiv (20), the prime suspect who was brought here today after being nabbed by crime branch sleuths in Bhagalpur district of Bihar, and Santosh, alias Soni, worked at Sucha Singh’s dairy. The third, Amit, alias Kunkun, was from Rajiv’s village.

Soni, brother of Rajiv’s brother-in-law, hatched the conspiracy to kill. Giving details, Rajiv said: “The Sardar was rich and we wanted to loot him”.

“On that night, Amit came at 11.30 pm at the residence of Sucha Singh. We first murdered Chottu by strangulating him with a rope. We then targeted Sucha Singh, who came down from his room on the first floor at 3am. Soni threw a rope around his neck while Kunkun hit him on the head with a brick, before we throttled him to death.

“We went upstairs to kill Balbir Kaur, who was sleeping. She was strangulating. After taking away valuables, we went to the ISBT in Sector 17 and from there reached Ambala to catch a train to Bihar.

“We divided the booty among ourselves. I got Rs 2 lakh in cash, besides jewellery.”

Inspector Satbir Singh said nine years back, Rajiv was involved in the murder of Niranjan and Surinder, two members of the Tutli Fighter gang at his village.

Kunkun had killed a migrant, Kanhaiya, as he believed he was the son of his mother’s paramour. The body of Kanhaiya was dumped at the Phase VI jungles in Mohali.

Meanwhile, Rajiv was produced in court today .



Varsity Bungling
Now on, dept societies under one umbrella
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
In the light of serious financial irregularities detected in funds collected from students by the Chemical Engineering Society of the department of chemical engineering and technology, Panjab University, vice-chancellor R.C. Sobti has decided to bring all department societies under a single body.

While Sobti refused to comment on the contents of the inquiry report submitted yesterday by Prof R.K. Kohli (department of botany), he said he had started work to prevent such bungling from happening again.“I have to table the report before the syndicate first. I am working on bringing these societies under a single umbrella.”

According to sources, the inquiry report indicates that more than Rs 5 lakh were embezzled between the 2000-2004. Every student appearing for counselling had to deposit Rs 7,000 towards the Chemical Engineering Society purportedly meant to fund student programmes.

While some students who attended the counselling did not join the departmen, some asked for a refund, some did not. This money was allegedly not accounted for.

Moreover, the rate charged from each student was raised from Rs 1,300 per year in 2000-2001 to Rs 7,000 for the 1st year and Rs 2,000 each for the remaining three years.

There is no official approval for the Rs 1,300 charged earlier.Nor is there any mention of this fee in the handbook of information given to students during admission.

The report indicts only dealing assistant Narender Singh and points at lapses by former chairpersons Prof S.C. Jain and Prof Jagdish Singh. The names of two placement officers and two faculty members have been cleared.

The Chemical Engineering Society is unregistered, as are many of the other societies in departments. The bungling in funds may not be restricted to this one society. The report will be placed before the syndicate on August 12. 



No more foreign in Punjab
Roopinder Singh
Tribune News Service

"I am proud to say that I can read Gurmukhi and I understand and know Punjabi, and know it very well", says Jessie C. Fidler
"I am proud to say that I can read Gurmukhi and I understand and know Punjabi, and know it very well"

Chandigarh, August 10
Gerlind Spekat is a 10-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from Surry in Canada. “The best thing I have done for myself,” she says, “is to be a part of a summer programme on Punjab studies run by the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), in Chandigarh.”

It was the murder of two Punjabis that set her on this course. She found it difficult to communicate with the families of the victims. Determined to learn more about the community, she took some courses that took her to this programme.

In the past 11 years, 152 students from 58 universities in 10 countries have participated in the programme. On the concluding day today, Jessie C. Fidler, a global studies student at UCSB, said: “This is an amazing programme. I feel that I will realise its impact more and more when I return home. I am proud to say that I can read Gurmukhi, and I understand and know Punjabi, know it very well.”

Other students from the same campus were Alexis T. Donkin, Joy Davis, Rana Ajrawat, Cori Montegomery, and David Fowler. Kathryn Lum came all the way from the University of Lund, Sweden, to learn more about Punjab.

Ravneet Tiwana was four when she left India. She lives in California and  studies at UC Los Angles. Also from the same campus is Madeline Kleiner, a budding scriptwriter with a background in science and engineering.

Ashveer Singh studies anthropology at UC Berkeley and has worked on the availability of resources for the cancer-stricken Indian diaspora in California. Fakhra Shah, a history student at San Francisco State University, said she was exposed to the Punjab’s plural culture.

Prof Gurinder Singh Mann, director of the Centre for Sikh and Punjab Studies at UCSB, whose brainchild this programme is, said he was touched by the participants’ cooperation and local scholars’ willingness to share knowledge.

Some of the alumni of the programme now held important positions as faculty members in North America and Europe. They were a great help in realising the wider objective of the programme - promoting Sikh and Punjab studies in the West - he added.

Prof Mann is helped in his endeavour by Prof Shinder S. Thandi, head of department, economics, finance and accounting, Coventry University, UK, a regular for five years now.

At a debriefing session today, Shoaib Memon, a student of Chicago Medical School, expressed satisfaction on the way the Sufi philosophy and movement was explained while Harpreet Singh, a computer engineering student of the Institute of Technology, NZ, wanted more emphasis on contemporary history in the course.

These students were going back with keenness to know more about Punjab and Punjabis.



SOPU president arrested

Chandigarh, August 10
Aman Deep Singh Multani, president of Students Organisation of Panjab University, DAV campus, and his acquaintance Jas Kamal Singh of Dhuri were arrested under preventive measures at DAV College, Sector 10, here today.

The police found three sharp-edged weapons, including a sword and two lathis, from Multani’s car.

The police booked the duo under Sections 107 and 151 of CrPC and were produced before the SDM in the evening. Both have been sent to 14 days’ judicial custody. — TNS



Pay up Rs 1 cr, ESI tells PGI
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The PGI has been asked to cough up more than Rs 1 crore by the Employees State Insurance Corporation(ESIC) as arrears calculated from August 1974 onwards.

The PGI has approached the adviser to the UT administration asking him to take up the matter with the health secretary to withdraw the ESI on hospital workshop employees, with retrospective effect, because the institute is not any ‘industrial unit'.

Employees in commercial as well as certain government establishments contribute a share of their salary towards the fund each year, with a matching sum from the employers.

The fund is used in case of medical attention needed by the employee and his family members. It has been pointed out that "workshop employees of the PGI do not come under the ambit of the ESI Act, 1948, as the PGI provides better medical as well as other service benefits to its employees. As such the employees of the workshop should be exempted from the ESI like other employees of the institute".

Prof K.K.Talwar, director of the PGI, in a communication to the adviser, has pointed out that provision 77 of the ESI Act, 1948, clearly states that the corporation cannot make any claim after a period of five years. 

“The workshop at the institute does not indulge in commercial activity.

The employees here are engaged in repairing furniture and other hospital equipment.” 



Bodies of 3 soldiers recovered after 39 yrs 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
An Army mountaineering expedition recovered the mortal remains of three soldiers who had died in an air crash in Lahaul region of Himachal Pradesh 39 years ago. The bodies were airlifted to Chandigarh by helicopters today.

Code-named Operation Punaruthan - III, the expedition was launched with the specific task of retrieval of bodies of the missing soldiers. The three bodies were located yesterday from a glaciated area at an altitude of over 17,500 feet near the Chandrabhaga Peak.

As many as 102 soldiers had gone missing when an IAF An-12 transport aircraft crashed in 1968 during a routine sortie from Chandigarh to Leh. The whereabouts of the aircraft and its passengers had remained a mystery till about three years ago, when a mountaineering expedition had come across the frozen body of a soldier. Further exploration of the area had revealed a few aircraft components.

Punaruthan - III was launched on August 2 by a team from the Dogra Scouts, led by Major Nishant Kumar. They had searched the inhospitable terrain for five days. Efforts are being made to confirm the identity of the bodies recovered yesterday from the remains of documents and identity cards recovered from them. Thereafter the families of the deceased soldiers would be informed and the mortal remains would be escorted to their native places and last rites would be conducted with full military honours.

In July 2003, an expedition from the Manali Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports to Chandrabhaga Peak had discovered the wreckage site. A body identified as that of Pioneer Beli Ram was also found among the wreckage, which was recovered and taken to his native village in Akhnoor and cremated with military honours.

There had been wide speculations about the whereabouts and fate of the aircraft since it had gone missing on February 7, 1968. There were even speculations that the aircraft had mistakenly entered Chinese airspace, where it had been force landed and the passengers detained.

The discovery in 2003 finally uncovered the mystery. The aircraft had been unable to negotiate bad weather and had probably crashed into a mountain peak. Heavy snowfall at the time of crash and during subsequent year had covered all traces of the aircraft and its occupants.

Subsequent to the discovery of the wreckage, the Army has been launching expeditions every summer to recover bodies of the lost soldiers. However, these operations had not yielded any positive results during the past three attempts with only a few scattered parts of the wreckage being found at times.



Army chief pays homage to martyrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The Chief of Army Staff, Gen J.J. Singh, who was here on a two-day visit, paid homage to the martyrs at the Veer Smiriti war memorial in Chandimandir military station today.

Endorsing his remarks in the visitors’ book, the General noted: “A very inspiring and motivating memorial to the valour and bravery of the martyrs of the Western Command. May God bless you all.”

Later, the Army chief addressed all officers of Chandimandir station. He felicitated all ranks for upholding the high traditions of devotion to duty, sacrifice, valour and professional competence, “which has been amply displayed during various operations”.

He also congratulated all ranks for high standards of operational readiness and motivation. He further called upon every one to rededicate themselves to the service of the nation and meet the challenges ahead in accordance with the motto ‘Service Before Self’. He later departed for a visit to the Army Training Command, Shimla.



Tribune Impact
Money gets new lease of life
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 10
A local private hospital yesterday announced successful heart surgery on a 17-year-old girl belonging to a poor family. The patient, Money, is the daughter of a poor labourer residing at Fatehgarh Churian, Gurdaspur district.

Fortis Hospital decided to bear the entire cost of surgery after the story of her plight appeared in The Tribune.

The surgery was conducted by Dr T.S. Mahant, executive director, cardio, thoracic and vascular surgery department at the hospital.

Money had rheumatic heart disease with severe mitral valve regurgitation (leakage) and moderate pulmonary artery hypertension.

Due to the leakage of the valve, she suffered palpitation and breathlessness even on slight exertion, which hampered her day-to-day activities. Money’s father is a poor daily wage labourer and could not afford the surgery, the cost of which ran into lakhs of rupees.

Over the past four years, Father Roby of a church in Fathehgarh Churian had been helping the family by approaching different schools in the area for funds.

However, the cost of surgery was way beyond these limited means and hence Father Roby approached The Tribune.

When the story appeared in the newspaper, the hospital volunteered to provide the surgical treatment that Money needed, free of cost.

Money underwent mitral valve replacement with a titanium valve on July 30, which was successful.

After discharge from the hospital, she would require regular checkup and medication to support her condition.

Due to the presence of an artificial valve, she would need to take blood thinners lifelong to prevent clot formation.

According to Dr Mahant: “The cause of rheumatic heart disease is a simple throat infection during childhood which, if not treated, results into rheumatic heart fever. This, in turn, causes damage to the heart valves either by shrinkage or leakage of the valve. The prevention of this disease is by treating the simple throat infection during childhood. Prevention is better than cure,” he added

Money’s parents, Ashok and Saroj were extremely happy at the turn of events. “I will forever be grateful to The Tribune, the hospital and Father Roby for saving the life of my child,” said Saroj.

Agreeing with her, Manoj said: “When Money became seriously ill on July 15, I did not know what to do. She had fought so valiantly against this disease for the last four years. Her condition was such that it made all of us cry when we used to see her. She had stopped going to school because she felt tired all the time. When her condition deteriorated on July 15, all I could do was pray as I had no way of raising the funds for the surgery. God answered our prayers in the form of The Tribune and Fortis.”

“Now that she is okay, my child will go back to school and lead a normal life,” added Saroj, with tears in her eyes. 



In service of poor kids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
Dr Sarvinder Singh Gandhok is going to do something more for the poor and the needy in and around the city. The doctor has decided to offer free consultation to the poor.

Dr Gandhok is associated with having completed 200 episodes on various aspects of health awareness and preventive medicines on a private TV channel.

In view of the changing weather, a host of ailments are found in epidemic conditions and the poor and slum dwellers often find it hard to get the required treatment due to financial constraints.

“Preventive medicine is an important aspect of healthcare which has been ignored by both public and private sector,” says Dr Gandhok, a consultant physician and child specialist, who has been raising hs voice against the growing incidence of tuberculosis and other preventable diseases in the city and its surrounding areas.

The poor need to be educated about preventive measures, said Dr Gandhok.

Giving little more attention to their personal hygiene and cleanliness of their surroundings, a number of diseases, includig malaria, typhoid, and TB, could be prevented, advised the doctor.

Some other like-minded doctors were coming forward to support this endeavour, said Dr Gandhok, adding that, the involvement of pharmaceutical companies for getting free medicines was also being worked out.

Dr Gandhok is holding a camp in association with the Lifeline, an NGO, managed by a trust and floated by him. The NGO is holding medical camps at Ram Darbar and colony no. 4 and 5.



Campaign to curb misuse of Red Cross emblem
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The Red Cross emblem, a sign of service and protection, is being misused rampantly in many countries, including India. The Indian Red Cross Society, with the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross, has decided to embark on the nationwide Red Cross Emblem Campaign to stop its misuse.

As part of the programme a seminar was organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Indian Red Cross Society, the National Heaquarters and Punjab State Branch here yesterday. Those who particapted in the seminar included director, the Dissemination of Indian Red cross Society, Sahdev Rout, from the International Committee of the Red Cross and Dr V.K. Puri, secretary, Punjab State Red Cross.

Parliament passed an Act called the Geneva Conventions Act 1960. Acording to the Act, the emblem can be used only by members of the Red Cross and the Army Medical Corps. However, the emblem is not only being used on vehicles, buildings, packets of drugs and advertisements, in some cases it is used to garner profits on commercial products, said the participants.

The emblem was being misused by hospitals, doctors members of medical associations, pharmaceutical companies and chemists as well, rued the Red Cross officals.



Plan to spruce up city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh(MCC) has chalked out a plan to spruce up the city.

As part of the plan, the civic body was taking initiative to make open spaces green and clearing the wild growth from many parts of the city.

According to officials of the horticulture department, every year in this season the civic body undertakes such routine exercise and plant saplings. During the development works such as the widening of the road and the construction of the proposed slip roads, many trees and green spots are sacrificed.

According to Sanjay Arora of the horticulture department, the work is being done under the green action plan 2007-2008 formulated by the administration. Elaborating the plan he stated that the plan was chalked out every year and then followed according to the requirements of each area.

Meanwhile, to ensure that the green cover of the city is maintained, the MC will be charging up to Rs 30 per month from the city residents in their water bills for it. The money collected will be used for the maintenance of parks and green belts of the city.

Talking to TNS, a senior official of the department said despite laying of paver blocks across the city, they were making all efforts to maintain the green cover of the city. “The green area of the city has not been reduced. Every year a ‘green plan’ is formulated and the targets are fixed under it. Last year targets achieved are analyzed and new ones are laid.”



Traffic lights that mislead
Rajay Deep

‘Quick’ action

Springing into action following queries from the Tribune team, the administration shifted the traffic signal lights to the blinking mode just after 8.30 pm tonight. The shifting time at most places was, however, 10 pm.

Chandigarh, August 10
It seems no one is responsible for the way the traffic lights system in the city works. At many places, these lights continue to work even late in the night, but violations go unchecked, even in the presence of cops.

Interestingly, no official is ready to take the responsibility of the signal system, passing the buck from one department to another.

The guidelines laid by the traffic police state that at a fixed time, traffic signals should be shifted from the “red-yellow-green” to “blinking yellow” which cautions the driver to be alert while crossing. But in the city, many light signals keep working even after the scheduled time.

However, at late night, no one follows these signals. PCR vehicles, deputed at these light points, seem least bothered about commuters flouting the traffic signal. Nor do they make any effort to shift the lights to the blinking mode.

During a survey on Thursday night, a Tribune team found a PCR vehicle standing on the 29-30 light points, where almost every one was violating the traffic rules between 10:45 and 11:15 pm. No policeman was bothered to check it.

“It is very risky to cross these lights at this hour. If the traffic light is blinking, one should be careful. However, when the traffic signal is on, one tends to expect a clear road during a green signal. But since most do not care to obey the signal, it’s a virtual free for all. Traffic signals are the most dangerous at night,” said Gagandeep Singh, a commuter.

“The traffic light system is weird as there is not much traffic flow at internal crossings but even then signals are functioning”, said Mohit Setia, a Panjab University student.

Shedding the responsibility, SSP traffic A S Ahlawat said, “It is the duty of the UT engineering department to maintain the light signal system.”

Chief engineer UT V K Bhardwaj on the other hand passed on the buck to other officials.

They said, “Traffic policemen also have a duplicate key to the control panels. We will check whether they keep the lights functioning or there is some other fault”.



Buses take ‘brakes’ at slip roads, endanger lives
Rajay Deep

Chandigarh, August 10
The slip roads in the city, meant to ease traffic flow at roundabouts, are becoming traffic hazards. Buses often stop near the slip road islands to pick up passengers while showing no respect to the inconvenience caused to other vehicles.

The buses from the Inter-State Bus Terminus in Sector 17 heading towards Zirakpur, Ambala and Patiala use the slip road turn at the Sector 21/34 roundabout to pick commuters who are waiting at the slip road island. The bus drivers do this without caring for anyone following them. This is not the only dangerous slip road as most others have also turned into “high risk zones”.

“It is risky to follow a long route bus on the slip road as these drivers have no sense of driving in urban conditions. They apply power brakes to pick the passengers from unauthorised bus stops without caring for the vehicles following them,” rued Rajiv Sharma, a resident of Mohali.

“A few days back, I had a narrow escape at the slip road on the Sector 15/16 dividing road, near the temple. On his route to Sector 11, a driver of a CTU bus applied brakes suddenly to drop passengers close to the slip road exit point. In panic, I had a minor accident with a scooterist,” said pharmaceutical distributor Rakesh KP.

A driver of PEPSU Roadways Satbir Singh, on his way to Patiala, said, “I am not to be blamed. Passengers wait for the bus near these slip roads. And since there is competition among buses for passengers, I have no option but to stop.”

Serious steps are needed. Strict challaning of bus drivers can lead to some improvement in the situation.

A traffic cop posted at the 21/22/34/35 light point said, “It is the duty of transport officers to order their drivers to stop the buses only at approved bus stops. As far as we are concerned, no one has reported to us about the inconvenience being caused by these buses.”



SC commission delegates meet Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
A delegation of National Commission for Scheduled Castes led by its member, Mrutyunjaya Nayak, called on Punjab Governor and the UT Administrator, Gen (Retd) S.F.Rodrigues, and discussed various issues concerning the upliftment of persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes in the Union Territory.

Gen Rodrigues told the commission that the Chandigarh Administration had given special attention to social emancipation and economic empowerment of these vulnerable sections of the society by integrating equality programmes into its activities.

He said as part of the plan for the upliftment of the poor, Chandigarh Administration was intending to construct and allot 25,000 one-room tenements for the rehabilitation of the needy. He said plans for rehabilitation of rag pickers had also been given practical shape.



Drain of woes for Zirakpur residents
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, August 10
The rainwater drain dug up by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on the Zirakpur-Ambala road has forced local residents to live in filthy conditions as sewage has started flowing into the drain, leading to stench.

Rainwater has collected in the three-foot-deep drain dug up by the authority for over a kilometer along the highway.

At some points, sewage has started seeping into the drain. Residents of the area have complained of stench, as also filth, a potential breeding ground for flies and mosquitoes.

Residents allege that the NHAI has damaged the sewerage line that runs parallel to the drain while digging.

The residents further complain that the digging up of the drain has rendered it impossible for resident to enter their colonies by road.

“We have to park our vehicles outside and walk down to our houses. When we come home at night, we take our cars around the colonies and enter from other gates,” says a resident.

Residents add that the drain has been overflowing since it has been raining everyday.

“The first day, water was pumped into vacant plots nearby, which made things even worse. It seems no one is interested in finding a solution to the problem,” they rue.

Col Sanjeev Puri, project in charge, NHAI, says the rainwater drain is nowhere near the sewerage. “The sewerage is at least 10 feet below the drain. It has not been damaged at any point by our digging.” He adds that the sewage has been oozing out of a manhole due to a block in the sewerage.

Puri adds that the work on the drain has been stopped because of this. “Our work has suffered too. We have contacted the notified area committee officials who will sort out the matter,” says Puri.



Survey to check sub-letting in colonies
Tribune News Service

Committee set up

A committee under the chairmanship of CEO of CHB and comprising additional CEO, secretary, chief engineer, legal adviser, senior law officer and SDE (enforcement) from CHB and AEO and LAO, UT, has also been set up to examine the entire procedure and process of taking action against persons breaching terms and conditions of allotment and it will submit its report within a week.

Chandigarh, August 10
Acting on widespread complaints of allottees illegally selling dwelling units in rehabilitation colonies, the district administration yesterday initiated a survey to ascertain the status of sub-letting.

However, it was not known if the survey was carried out in housing units allotted by Chandigarh Housing Board and Municipal Corporation also or if it was restricted to rehabilitation colonies where allotments had been made by the Estate Office.

The Deputy Commissioner has formed five teams to conduct door-to-door survey to ascertain the exact number of dwelling units which have been sold or rented out in violation of the allotment rules. Dwelling units in most of the rehabilitation colonies have been allotted on rental basis from 1975 onwards.

The focus of the survey teams was on the dwelling units in sectors 25, 26, 29, 30, 32, 37, 38, Dadu Majra Colony, Mauli Jagran, Bapu Dham, Khuda Lahora and Ram Darbar.

Though the data of the past surveys were not compiled, the surveys had clearly indicated that over 60 per cent of the tenements or bare sites leased out to the slum dwellers have been sold.

Figures with the Chandigarh Tribune reveal that from 1974 to 2005, around 35, 796 dwelling units have been allotted at 25 different sites on rental basis.

Meanwhile, the Chandiagrh Housing Board has taken several steps to prevent any sale or sub-letting of one-room flats located in Sector 56 and allotted under its Slum Rehabilitation Programme. The board has set up a permanent camp office at the site of these flats in Sector 56 and deputed two officials to be stationed there permanently.

From August 16, monthly licence fee will be collected at the site itself rather than through a scheduled commercial bank. To match the identity of the person making the payment, his or her digital photograph and electronic finger-prints will be compared with the database already available with CHB.

This will help determine unambiguously whether the original allottee continues to stay in the allotted flat or not. For this, a unique software module (based on biometric finger print verification) has also been developed by CHB, and this module has started functioning at Sector 56 office of CHB. The secretary, CHB, will hold a weekly court at the site to take up the cases for eviction due to any event of default. The flats so vacated will be immediately added to the vacant pool of houses under the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme and will be allotted to eligible slum dwellers from other colonies. So far, the board has registered 15 FIRs in alleged cases where the houses are suspected to be either sold off or sub-let. It has been decided that action will be taken against both parties - the one purchasing the flat and the one selling it. 



GMADA to make Mohali greener
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 10
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has undertaken a massive drive to make Mohali greener. Over 4,000 saplings of various species of long-life trees are being planted in the various sectors across the township.

The largest number of saplings would be planted in Sector 68 followed by sectors 63, 70 and 71. Almost all the sectors in the township have been covered under this special project, said the chief administrator, GMADA, Krishan Kumar.

Over 60 per cent of the planting work has been completed and by August 20 the entire work is expected to finish. The various species of tree saplings chosen by the horticulture wing of GMADA include Kadam Barringtonia, Kichhnar, Amaltas, Javacasia, Pinkkacia, Barna, Gulmohar Jakrinda, Legerstromia, Moulsry, Pulmaria Alba, Mahogany, Kusum, Chakrasia, Neem, Gabb, Arjun, Bottlebrush, Pipal, Bor and Jamun.

“The saplings are sturdy and about five feet high. The tree guards, which have been rendered useless, will be re-used. We would save about Rs 20 lakh by doing so,” said executive engineer (horticulture), GMADA, H.S. Dhaliwal.

Krishan Kumar added that a special campaign to rid the town of congress grass had been undertaken as well. "The focus is on sectors 66, 67, 68 and 69 where weeding is required the most," he said.



Inspection at Shahi Majra
Poor sanitation confronts MLA, MC chief
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 10
Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu and municipal council president Rajinder Singh Rana today inspected the state of sanitation in Shahi Majra village, where two children had died under mysterious circumstances on August 8.

Sidhu said the sanitation was in a state of neglect at the village, as drains were found choked and heaps of garbage lying at various points in the village.

He said a two-day period had been given to sanitation contractor concerned to clean up the area, failing which action would be taken against the contractor.

Rana said the payments of sanitation contractor concerned had been stopped as the service provided were found unsatisfactory.

However, a councillor belonging to the opposition group intervened and got the payments released.

Sidhu said the village was overpopulated and around 10 persons lived in one room on an average in the village, which had just 100 houses some years ago.

The number of houses was around 1,000 now.

Village resident Baldev Singh said safai karamcharis were not doing their work properly and authorities were least bothered about the state of sanitation in the area.

He said leaders of various parties visited the village only to seek votes. After winning the elections, the villagers were left to fend for themselves.

Another resident Roop Kaur said it did not make any difference whether the Congress or the SAD was in power in the state, as both neglected the village.

The MLA said cooperation from the government and the opposition councillors was essential to carry out development in the town.

The president of the civic body did not have adequate powers to bring about the desired improvement in the town, he said.

Rana said councillors could not play much role as sanitary inspectors and others did not pay heed to the directions given by elected representatives.



Mending Fences
EO approaches authorities against DC’s wife
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 10
A four-foot passage in the fence separating the residences of deputy commissioner and municipal executive officer (EO) has snowballed into a controversy, with the latter complaining to the higher authorities, accusing the deputy commissioner’s wife of “harassment”.

An official of the central vigilance office of the department of local government visited the municipal residential complex in Phase V here today to study whether it was necessary to construct a common boundary wall between the two residences, as sought by the EO.

Chief vigilance officer A.K. Prabhakar reportedly had no objection to the construction of the wall, which will measure around 65 feet, between the residences of deputy commissioner H.I.S. Grewal and executive officer J.S. Thind.

Thind had on July 31 written to the principal secretary, local government, that an attempt was earlier made to block the four-foot passage in the hedge, using plants and a bamboo structure (“jaffri”), but the deputy commissioner’s wife prevented this from happening.

In his letter, Thind alleged that she got the bamboo structure removed from policemen and took it away to her residence.

Further, the letter said, the municipal council’s benches lying in the lawn of the EO’s residence were shifted to the deputy commissioner’s residence.

The “harassed” EO also alleged that staff members attached with the deputy commissioner often roamed about in the open space around his residence, violating his privacy.

He alleged that actions of the deputy commissioner’s wife had been causing him mental harassment and sought relief from the principal secretary.

Thind’s letter said the matter had been brought to the notice of the deputy commissioner several times, but he had failed to act.

Thind has sought the building of a common wall. The deputy commissioner could not be contacted for comments.



‘Chak De....’ gets the stick
Pradeep Sharma

Chandigarh,August 10
"Chak De India," which opened in the city and Panchkula today, failed to catch the fancy of movie buffs, even though Shah Rukh fans did turn up in small numbers.

"I have come to watch my favourite actor.The movie's content is not much of a concern," said Akshita, an engineering student.

Karan, a player from Amritsar university, felt that the film was "too glamourised to be true. Sports is not all glamour. It involves a lot of hardwork and perseverance. These aspects seem to be missing in the movie.”

Theatre managements said the response to the first show was "pathetic" for both "Chak De India" and "Kaafila". However, attendance showed slight improvement at subsequent shows. "Blue Umbrella"was watched by only a few.



Stardom from the shadow of ‘Blue Umbrella’
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The twinkle in her eye says it all. But Shreya Sharma, even at 14, knows exactly how to treat her new-found celebrity status humbly.

It was this very nuance of Shreya’s personality that landed her the dream role of Biniya in Vishal Bhardwaj’s film “Blue Umbrella”. Now that the film has clinched a national award, Shreya only has her stars to thank, and eventually 
her skills.

Considering her parents were not even keen that she attends auditions, Shreya, has done too well. “Had it not been for my aunt Dhara Saraswati, I would not have been here. She urged me to attend auditions that happened in Shimla in 2005. Some 2, 500 children were auditioned across India. I just got lucky,” says the chirpy little girl, in Chandigarh today to visit her father Abhay Sharma’s family in Sector 20. The two later went to Fun Republic to see the film, released all over India today.

For Shreya, the experience of sharing screen space with actor Pankaj Kapoor, was “overwhelming”. “I was very happy to work with Vishal Bhardwaj and Pankaj Kapoor. Not even once did I feel I was a debutante. They helped me with expressions and I learnt a great deal,” says Shreya, studying in class IX in Sacred Heart Convent Tara Hall, Shimla.

With no history in acting, the girl managed quite a splash, though her aunt Dhara, who was here today, thought Shreya always had it in her. “She has compered many programmes for All-India Radio where I am programme manager. When I saw her audition, I knew she had won,” Dhara said, though Shreya’s father still can’t believe his stars: “She has surprised us all. We knew she could dance, but we never knew she could act as well.”

Quite used to praises by now, Shreya keeps her calm, only to break into excitement at the mention of the film and the umbrella, the film’s main protagonist. About the film, she feels nostalgic: “It’s about simple things in life that make a big difference. The umbrella becomes the source of excitement and anxiety in a small, sleepy village. Eventually, the film is all about how a sleepy village, disturbed by an ornate little thing, regains peace.”

Shreya says, “It was like a dream run, a vacation full of surprises,” she says, disclosing nothing about what the film fetched for her monetarily. Her father, however, gives in, “She made Rs 50,000. The film was low budget, made with Rs 2 crore.”

To Shreya, personally, money means nothing. She is happy to have delivered in the company of fine actors. Another such film is what she hopes for. “I am not game for any and every film. I would rather wait and watch,” says the star in the making, who has just stolen sunshine. 



Forum plea to PSEB on tariff hike
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 10
The Consumer Protection and Grievances Redressal Forum has urged the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) not to go in for a tariff hike and instead take adequate measures to check transmission and distribution losses for supplying adequate power at cheaper rates.

President N.S.Gill and general secretary Angad Singh yesterday said a team of the forum took up the cause of domestic consumers at a public hearing held by the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission on the issue.

It was suggested that the power distribution system should be properly managed. New transmission stations should be established and existing one’s strengthened.

A demand was made to remove kundi connections and recover outstanding payments.



‘Parivartan’ in SBI

Panchkula, August 10
The State Bank of India, Panchkula branch, has started a programme "Parivartan", which was commenced on July 16 and will continue till mid-October. The project aims at refurbishing the mindset of the employees to suit the current trends in the banking environment. The sole objective was to elevate the bank to global standards in customer relationship.

"Parivartan entails bonding of the employees with the corporate initiatives and transformation and processes and ensuring that the transformation is not only imbibed by the employees but the employees involve themselves in the transformation actively,” said the deputy general manager.

The Karnal Training Centre of the bank has been identified for carrying out the exercise in Haryana. — TNS



Blood donors honoured
Tribune News Service

A blood donation camp in progress in Mohali
A blood donation camp in progress in Mohali on Friday.— A Tribune photograph

Mohali, August 10
The 24th blood donation camp was organised by the Punj Dara Sabhyacharak Manch, Punjab, here today.

Kiranbir Singh Kang, a local leader, was the chief guest.

Jagmohan Singh Kahlon, blood donor for 96th time, Harjeet Singh, blood donor for 50th time, and Balbir Singh, blood donor for 30th time, were honoured.




Green Menace

Interestingly, city beautiful and congress grass have relations for a long time. One government comes with promises and goes without fulfilling the promise. The congress grass nuisance has been troubling people since long. No steps have been taken by the local Municipal Corporation to remove it though everyone knows that it leads to several skin and eye infections. All the city parks are also full of this grass where children play. The government has boasted so many times that UT has eliminated the congress grass but all in vain. It’s time that Chandigarh municipality should do something concrete. G.K.CHOPRA Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at [email protected] or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



Woman caught picking pocket
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
A woman was caught red-handed while picking a pocket of a man in Sector 22, here. The police said the woman, a rag-picker, was accompanied by her four accomplices, who were also booked for roaming aimlessly. The woman, identified as Sapni, is a homeless living in Phase VII, Mohali.

According to eyewitnesses, Sapni was caught by Amarjit Singh of Kharar, who had come to Anil Medicos in Sector 22-C to purchase medicines. Sapni followed him to the shop and picked his wallet. The wallet contained Rs 5,000 and some documents. Amarjit soon realized that he had been robbed and chased the woman. She was nabbed and the wallet was recovered. The accused was later handed over to the police.

A case under Sections 380 and 411 of the IPC has been registered against her. She was produced before a local court which remanded her to judicial custody.

Held for stealing

Vinod Kumar of Ranbaxy Enclave, Baltana, reported that Dinesh Ariya of Sector 24, Chandigarh, had stolen his motorcycle (CH-03-V-0896) from Sector 22 on Tuesday. Acting on the complaint, the police today arrested the accused from near the Sector 22 Health Centre and recovered the motorcycle from him. A case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 17 police station.

In another incident, Sanjeev Nijhwan of 35 reported to the police alleging that Dalbir Singh of Kurukeshtra was caught red-handed while stealing a mobile phone from his shop on Tuesday. The police arrested the accused after registering a case against him.


Hari Om Singh of Sector 15 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Kinetic Honda (CH-01-H-5394) was stolen from the district court parking in Sector 17 on Tuesday. A case of theft has been registered. 



Foreigner held

Chandigarh, August 10
The police arrested a foreigner Nigerian Okkolle Feoma Andeline from Sector 35 today for residing without visa and registration permit.The SHO of police station, Sector 36, said the accused has been booked under Sections 107 and 151 of CrPC on the report of a shopkeeper with whom she had a quarrel a few days back.

The police team was sent to the house of the accused to verify her visa and other documents. During investigation she could not produce her documents and the police arrested her. She created ruckus in the police station also. — TNS



35 held for drinking at public place 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 10
The police yesterday night arrested 35 persons, including an owner of an “ahata”, for drinking liquor at an unauthorised place in Maloya.

In charge of the Maloya police post said “ahata” owner Shiv Kumar was allowing people to drink at a place which was not authorised for drinking. The police has arrested all those drinking there. They were taken to the Sector 16 Government Multi-Speciality Hospital for a medical examination. 



SI booked

The local police booked SI Narinder Singh in connection with the custodial death of Anil Kumar, a resident of Colony No. 4 on July 11.The police registered a case under Section 304-A, IPC, against the SI following the inquiry. The investigation of the case has been handed over to the crime branch of the Chandigarh Police. 



Biz Clips

LOANS: Magma Shrachi Finance Limited (MSFL) has planned to disburse Rs 127 crore in the city in comparison to Rs 109 crore disbursed last year.

Addressing a press conference today, Bhupinderjit Kaur, regional head, Magma Shrachi Finance Limited, stated that company was keen to increase its presence in construction equipment and car loans and to acquire a higher market share in both.

The company currently operates through 155 branches in 20 states. —TNS 



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