C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Two ASIs awarded 1-yr RI
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The CBI special court today sentenced ASIs Gurmel Singh and Jaswant Singh to one-year rigorous imprisonment and fined them Rs 2,000 each for demanding bribe.

Out of the 19 cases disposed of by the CBI special court this year, it has held 17 persons guilty with two acquittals.

The CBI on November 9, 2004, laid a trap on the complaint of one Zora Singh, a resident of Dadu Majra, who said the policeman was demanding bribe from him. Zora Singh was arrested by Gurmel Singh and Jaswant Singh on November 1, 2004, for possessing illicit liquor.

The two were on duty at the Maloya police station then. They demanded a bribe of Rs 1,000 for letting him go.

Among the other cases disposed of this year was that of J.K. Sahu, officer at the Protector of Immigrants, who demanded a bribe of Rs 60,000 from a travel agent. He was found guilty.

In another case, ITO ( Patiala) T.R. Sharma , was caught taking a bribe of Rs 10,000. He was convicted and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.

Similarly, C.S. Kataria, general manager, BSNL, Punjab, was caught taking a bribe of Rs 15,000 in 2004. He was sentenced to imprisonment for three years.

Shashi Mohan, an employee with the Chandigarh Housing Board, was caught demanding Rs 5,000 for transferring property in the name of the applicant.



Lock-in period for sale of flats cut
Major relief for GPA-holders
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
In a relief to those holding the general power of attorney (GPA) for group housing societies, the Chandigarh administration has finally decided to reduce the mandatory lock-in period for the sale of flats.

Aimed to benefit hundreds of GPA-holders, who have no say in the managing committees of the cooperative societies, the decision will not only reduce litigation but also give more teeth to the flat occupants.

A notification to amend the provisions of the Cooperative Act, governing the sale and purchase of flats, is expected anytime now. The issue was discussed at a meeting chaired by home secretary Krishna Mohan. Increasing the term of the managing committees of the societies from one year to five years is also under consideration.

Sources said the lock-in period for the sale of flats will now be five years instead of 15. This will be from the date of allotment of land to the society. As of now, the lock-in period is 15 years from the date of possession of flat.

Those who have purchased flats on GPA after 2003 will be the major beneficiaries.

After the increase in property prices, many members had sold their flats on GPA. As a result, a number of complaints emerged in the working of the house building societies. The working of the office of the registrar was also affected.



RBI Theft
Class IV employee held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Ramesh Chander, a Class IV employee of the RBI, was arrested today for the theft of Rs 2.82 lakh from the vaults of the Reserve Bank of India, Sector 17, on October 13 , despite the vault being under surveillance of as many as 85 close-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras.

The police said that evidence gathered after carefully watching the CCTV footage and the statement given by Ramesh Chander to the police did not match. Since his interrogation was required, he was arrested today.

Sources said the Tv footage showed Ramesh Chander walking towards the boxes where the money was kept.



NH-22 with PWD for six months
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 17
After a two-month battle on “ownership” for maintenance between the PWD and the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), the latter has been asked to maintain NH-22 between Kalka and Zirakpur.

In a communication sent by the chairman of the NHAI to the Haryana government, it is clearly stated that the authority cannot take over the maintenance of the Kalka-Zirakpur stretch for at least the next six months.

The chairman has said the NHAI will pay for the maintenance of the highway which the PWD would have to undertake till February 2008.

While the ill-maintained stretch, dotted with potholes, has become a driver’s nightmare, the PWD is still pondering on what it can do for a quick-fix solution. With the liability period of the contractor, who did road carpeting yet to expire, one possibility suggested by the NHAI is that he should be called to carry out repairs on a war footing.

“His payments for ongoing works can be stopped to ensure he rectifies this faulty piece of work,” a senior officer said.



Auto driver assaults, robs man
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
An autorickshaw driver and two others allegedly assaulted a man and robbed him of his belongings near Shanti Kunj in Sector 16 last night. The victim has been admitted to the Sector 16 GMSH with severe head injuries.

According to the police, Gurcharan Singh of Moga came to the city to meet his son in Sector 15. He reached the Sector 17 ISBT at around 8 pm and took an autorickshaw for Sector 15. Besides the autorickshaw driver, two unidentified persons were sitting in the vehicle.

When the autorickshaw reached a dark place near Shanti Kunj, the driver and the other two, robbed him of his belongings after assaulting him. He was hit on the head with rods.

The police said it was informed by a passerby. The victim was rushed to hospital. He told the police that the accused took away his mobile phone, Rs 2,500 and a bag containing clothes and other articles. A case has been registered.



Ministry scraps ‘harassing’ ECRS 
Amrita Dhaliwal 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17 
Persons traveling abroad will no longer have to get suspension of emigration check done as the ministry of overseas Indian affairs has decided to do away with it. 

The issue of doing away with Emigration Check Required Suspension (ECRS) had been engaging the attention of the Ministry of overseas Indian Affairs for a while now. The matter was discussed and examined and it was found that the ECRS system resulted in un due inconvenience to the people going abroad on ECR passport or tourist visit visas, etc and lead to harassment and corruption. A meeting of secretaries was held for the same on August 20 and it was approved to abolish ECRS from October 1. 

All ECR passport holders traveling abroad for a purpose other than employment can leave the country on production of valid passport, valid visa and return ticket at the immigration counters at international airports in India.



Protest against price rise, Sidhu style
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu today protested against the rise in essential items by giving away a unique “Diwali gift” to housewives in Chandigarh.

Sidhu, who is the MP from Amritsar, distributed gifts in the form of 'dals' (pulses), vegetables and especially onions to housewives at a function at the Chandigarh Press Club here.

Flanked by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha national executive member Vineet Joshi, Sidhu set up his own makeshift Diwali gift shop inside the Press Club premises with neatly packaged onions and potato packets stacked closely with capsicum and other vegetables meant for distribution to the ordinary citizens.

Sidhu termed the exercise as an effort to awaken the UPA government from its "deep sleep". The firebrand MP lambasted the UPA leadership and the government for its failure to contain rising inflation and skyrocketing prices of essential commodities which are setting the finances of ordinary Indians back by significant quantum of their earnings.

Onions and seasonal vegetables have gone out of reach for the ordinary people, Sidhu said, while claiming that vested interests of the politicians were overriding the interests of the common man.

Enumerating the extent of inflation which is pinching the Indians, Sidhu said while onion was being presently sold at Rs 30 per kg as compared to the rate of Rs 8 per kg last year, potato rates had gone up from Rs 5 per kg to Rs 12 per kg. Similarly, capsicum is up from Rs 15 a kg in 2006 to Rs 30 per kg in just one year and garlic is up from Rs 50 to Rs 80 per kg.

Sidhu said the claims of the Congress that it was with the “aam aadmi” were wrong. Actually the Congress had its hands in the pockets of the common man.

Speaking on the blast in Ludhiana he said "it would not have any impact on the just started movement of trucks through the Attari-Wagah border. Sidhu said he had spoken to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on various issues, he admitted while refusing to disclose the nature of his discussions with the latter. He refused to comment on his differences with the state Information and Public Relations Minister Bikram Singh Majithia.

Sidhu said his party's national secretary Baldev Punj who is in charge of Punjab would be meeting the Chief Minister on October 19 at Amritsar and would put forward the party’s viewpoint on certain issues.



GCM in sexual assault case to resume today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The general court martial (GCM) trying a Major for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman officer of the same unit will resume at Tibri tomorrow after having remained adjourned for almost three months.

The court had adjourned on July 18 after the defence counsel had some urgent business to attend.

It was thereafter supposed to re-assemble a few days later but could not do so, apparently due to the non-availability of a prosecution counsel.

The court went in for repeated adjournments thereafter, and was then finally adjourned sine die.

The earlier prosecution counsels, Major Som Nath (retd) and thereafter replaced by Col R.N. Singh (retd) were no longer engaged to represent the prosecution in the trial.

The trial had started in May and so far the cross-examination of the first witness is still not complete, sources said.

The Major is facing charges of improper physical contact with the woman officer, who was posted to the same unit.

She had also levelled charges of sexual misconduct against her commanding officer also, who was tried by a GCM earlier.

The charges against the Colonel could not be proved and the GCM had, in its special findings, reprimanded him for using improper language in the officers’ mess.



Toxic Factor
90 pc toys in city unbranded
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
No mechanism or law exists to check the sale of toxic toys in the city. In fact, 90 per cent of the toys in the city are unbranded and the quality is suspect.

There is no law to penalise the seller, supplier or manufacturer of such toys, Dr S.K. Bhandari of the health department said.

A study by Toxic Link, a Delhi-based environment group found that 65 per cent of toys in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai with non-toxic label actually had lead content.

“There is just 8 per cent share of branded toys in the local market which has over 400 toy retailers,” Ajit Ghandhi, distributor of Mattel toys, said.

A branded toy is costlier as against the others, Vijay, a toy shopkeeper in Sector 22, said.

There is a glut of Chinese toys in the market and no measures have been taken to check their quality in the wake of the Mattel controversy involving Chinese manufacturers, Vijay said.

Doctors, however, caution against the use of toys with lead or cadmium contents, saying prolonged exposure could lead to health complications.

Exposure to lead can lower haemoglobin and cause stomachache, besides nausea, Dr S. Varma, head of internal medicine, PGI, said.



Akali workers hold up traffic
Altercation with cop gets ugly
Our Correspondent

Mohali , October 17
An altercation between an Akali leader and a traffic policeman over alleged traffic violation led to a traffic jam at the congested Phase VII chowk here late in the evening.

A dharna was held at the chowk against police “highhandedness” by Akali leaders and workers, which lasted an hour.

Vice-president of Youth Akali Dal during an altercation with the police in Phase-VII, Mohali, on Wednesday. The traffic jam thereafter.
Vice-president of Youth Akali Dal during an altercation with the police in Phase-VII, Mohali, on Wednesday; and (right) the traffic jam thereafter. — Tribune photographs by Vicky Gharu

Slogans were raised against the Punjab police.

The dharna was lifted after SP (City) Varinder Pal Singh reached the site and assured the protesters that the matter would be investigated and action initiated if the cop was found guilty.

Malkit Singh Khalsa, vice-president of the youth wing of the All- India Shiromani Akali Dal, said he was coming in a car from Phase XI when he was stopped by a policeman on a charge of jumping the red light.

He was asked to produce documents, which were found in order.

As he moved to meet the official, he was allegedly manhandled and abused. He claimed that driver Bhag Singh pushed him and his turban fell off.

Soon leaders and workers of the youth wing were called to the spot who then staged a dharna .

SP Varinder Pal Singh said that he had asked Khalsa to give a written complaint to the police for investigation.



Rs 1.52 lakh missing from bank account
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 17
Parveen Goel, an employee of the Haryana Urban Development Authority, alleged today that Rs 1.52 lakh was missing from his bank account in the Centurion Bank of India, Sector 8. He said the bank had issued a new passbook to somebody who had forged his signatures and withdrawn the amount in four installments.

The matter came to light today when Goel went to the bank for transactions and found money missing from his account. “The bank officials told me that they had issued a passbook to a person who had come posing as me,” he said. On checking records, he found that his signature had been forged. “I questioned the bank authorities as to how and why they issued a new chequebook in my name without verifying the credentials of the person asking for it. They replied that anybody could come and ask for a new chequebook and it required no verification. I am shocked at their carelessness,” Goel said.

The amount, he added, had been withdrawn in four installments and it was strange that the officials did not notice anything amiss. “I had filled up a form requesting that an SMS be sent to me each time a withdrawal took place. However, that has not happened so far,” he maintained.

The bank authorities, meanwhile, said the signatures would be sent for forensic examination to ascertain if they belonged to the account holder or not. The bank has sought time till the weekend to settle the matter.



Mayawati to visit city

Chandigarh, October 17
UP Chief Minister and BSP supremo Mayawati will pay a two-day visit to Chandigarh from October 27, former union minister Harmohan Dhawan said.

Addressing a press conference, Dhawan said the Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM) would formally merge with the BSP at a rally to be addressed by Mayawati on October 28.

On October 27, she will attend a meet-the-press programme at the Chandigarh Press Club. — TNS



More public land under green cover

Chandigarh, October 17
The UT forests department has supplied 27,472 free saplings for plantation on public land between April and September.

An official spokesperson said 4.03 hectare of public and forest land had come under plantation during September.

At least 218.11 hectares had been brought under plantation as against the target of 150 hectare during the 2007-08, he added.

Similarly, 4,580 seedlings had been planted in the month.

So far, 1,24,306 seedlings had been planted, as against the target of one lakh seedlings on public and forest land during 2007-08, the spokesperson added. — TNS



Woman crushed under train
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
A woman in her late 20s was crushed under a train on an elevated track near Colony No. 4 here this morning.

Sources in the police said it was yet to be confirmed if it was an accident or a suicide.

Sources in the GRP said the incident took place at around 8.40 am. The victim was of medium height and had a fair complexion. The police found no document or mark on the body which could help in her identification.

The police, however, recovered a purse containing Rs 317, which was handed over to investigating officials by the train driver. The money included currency of Nepal, indicating that she might be from Nepal. The body has been shifted to the General Hospital-6, where a postmortem was conducted.



Save the ailing sector

I intend to draw the authorities’ kind attention towards the horrible living conditions prevailing around the “New Light Society” Sector 51-B where I have bought a flat after putting in my entire retirement benefits.

My family has refused to shift there due to the insanitary conditions in the area.

The residents of Colony No. 5, which is adjacent to the society, defecate in the open that results in persistent bad smell. It has now become impossible to reside there.

Since there is an open drainage, it has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

The administration has been giving advertisements in the newspapers to keep the environment clean in order to prevent the spread of malaria and chickengunia, but they are not doing anything for this sector.

If urgent measures are not taken it is surely going to create major health problems.

I request the authorities to take notice of the problem and solve it as soon as possible.

C.M. Malhotra, Chandigarh

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Jobless youth commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
An unemployed man in early 20s, Anil Kumar, ended his life by hanging himself at his residence in Dhanas village, here, this morning. Though no suicide note was recovered, the police termed it a case of suicide as the deceased’s family ruled out possibility of any foul play behind the incident.

The police said the body was found hanging by a woman known to the family, who came to their residence. She found the door locked from inside. As there was no response to her repeated knocks, she pushed open the door and found Anil hanging from hook of a ceiling. She raised an alarm and soon people gathered there.

The victim’s mother, a domestic help, also reached there and the police was informed. The body was shifted to Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16.

The deceased is survived by his father, who is an employee in the waterworks department, mother and two younger brothers. Meanwhile, the police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code and postmortem will be conducted tomorrow.



Three vehicles stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Three vehicles were reportedly stolen from different parts of the city. Gagandeep Singh of Phase-IV, Mohali, reported to the police that his Maruti car (PB-65-2863) was stolen from Sector 8 on Tuesday. Naresh Kumar of Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, lodged a complaint alleging that his three-wheeler (HR-68-6403) was stolen from the transport area in Sector 26 during the intervening night of October 13 and 14. In another incident, Bhupinder Singh of Sector 21 filed a complaint with the police alleging that his LML Vespa scooter (CH-01-P-4908) was stolen from near the Piccadily cinema parking in Sector 34 on October 15. Three separate cases of thefts have been registered.

Laptop stolen

Preet Kanwal Singh Dhillon of Sector 33 reported to the police that his laptop was stolen from his residence on Monday. A case has been registered.

Porn CDs seized

The police arrested Ram Singh of Phase X, Mohali, from his shop in Baterla village on charges of possessing 26 pirated movie CDs and three blue film CDs. A case under various provisions of the Copy Rights Act and the Indian Penal Code has been registered against him on a complaint lodged by Gurdial Singh of Phase IV, Mohali.



Punjab & Sind Bank launches dairy scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
In order to give a boost to milk production in the country, especially in Punjab, the Punjab and Sind Bank has launched a scheme to finance commercial dairy farming. The bank already has a strong network of branches in the state.

The launch follows a joint meeting of the Punjab Dairy Development Department officials and Bank’s Zonal Managers from Punjab.

The meeting was held at the bank’s local head office in Chandigarh and was presided over by General Manager M.S Sarang. Giving details, he said Punjabi youth were migrating to foreign lands for seeking employment. As such, there was need to create self-employment opportunities for them.

He added that the bank had formulated a special scheme for commercial dairy farming, which would generate self-employment opportunities, supplement the income of farmers, besides contributing to achieve the targeted growth in the rural sector.

He also listed the salient features of the scheme, including arrangements for professional training to prospective borrowers, lower rates of interest, comfortable repayment schedule and speedy disposal of proposals.

The bank, he said, would extend term loan up to Rs 10 lakh and working capital limit up to Rs 3.5 lakh for setting up a unit for 20 cross-bred cows under the scheme.

The zonal managers of the bank actively participated in the deliberations and said there was a huge potential in this segment. The bank plans to advance a minimum amount of Rs 200 crore under the scheme, during the current fiscal.



Adviser inaugurates ‘Saloon Bar’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
A state-of-the-art ‘Saloon Bar’ was inaugurated by UT adviser Pradip Mehra at the Chandigarh Golf Club, Sector 3, here, today.

Giving details, general manager of the club J.S. Pannu said, “To facilitate our visitors, we have put top-class chillers for beer, a drought-beer counter, two LCDs, music system etc at the bar, covering 3000 sq ft space.”

The bar can accommodate 1,000 persons. The catering has been outsourced to Hot Millions, adds Pannu.

Mehra, who supervised the premises, including kitchen at the club, lauded the facilities and cleanliness here.

Club president R.S. Sandhu, honorary secretary K.S. Brar and many officers of the administration were also present.




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