C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Dhawan BSP candidate for next LS poll
Pradeep Sharma/TNS

Chandigarh, October 28
The political career of former union minister Harmohan Dhawan got a fresh lease of life today with UP chief minister and BSP supremo Mayawati announcing his candidature for the Chandigarh parliamentary seat in the next Lok Sabha elections.

“Dhawan is our party candidate for the next general election and will win hands down,” declared Mayawati, addressing an impressive rally organised to merge the former minister's Chandigarh Vikas Manch(CVM) with the BSP at the Circus Ground here today.

If the enthusiasm in the party cadres is any indication, then the Maya magic could well make the going tough for the two major political parties, the Congress and the BJP.

Terming the anti-upper caste tirade against the BSP as a "conspiracy," Mayawati said the induction of such upper caste leaders as Satish Chander Mishra (UP), Vijay Singh Mankotia(HP) and now Dhawan was ample evidence that the BSP had no bias against the upper castes.

Dhawan,who wields considerable influence in the slum areas and has four councillors in the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MCC), said Mayawati's “social engineering” would go a long way in uniting all classes.

Dhawan aired local demands, including rehabilitation of slum dwellers, simpler building bylaws and more powers to the MCC.

Despite the fact that a substantial number of rallyists were from Punjab and Haryana, the impressive turnout at the rally must have gladdened Dhawan, for whom it was a show of strength.



Iron rods fall on workers, 2 dead
Tribune News Service

Lalru, October 28
Iron rods at a construction site fell on labourers in Sarsini village near Lalru, leaving two dead and 20 injured. Eight of the seriously injured were admitted to hospitals in Ambala, Dera Bassi, Chandigarh and SAS Nagar.

The incident took place at 2.15 pm, when 26 labourers at the construction site of TC Tellytex Company were raising rods to construct a shed. At least 14 iron rods (150 metes X 175 meters) were being installed at a height of 30 meters. While 13 of these had been fixed, the fourteenth fell and with it the rest.

Around 500 workers were working at the site. Being lunch time, most were not present at the time of the accident. Those working on flooring and painting became the victims.

Manoj Dass and Chandan Mandal were killed. Manoj was taken to the Ambala civil hospital and Chandan to the Dera Bassi civil hospital, where they were declared “brought dead.”

Eight persons sustained serious injuries. Injured Chhotu was admitted to the PGI in Chandigarh, Abhimanyu, Aman, Ramanand and Anil to the civil hospital in Ambala city, and Indresh Kumar, Umesh and a third worker at the Dera Bassi civil hospital.

Umesh and his companion were later referred to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh. Shambhu, Inderpal and Rakesh received minor injuries and were discharged after first-aid.

Deputy commissioner H.I.S. Grewal, SDM Sohanlal Bhumbak and DSP G.R. Grewal also visited the site.

SHO Sukhminder Singh said no case had been registered yet as the statements of injured were being recorded. "Our teams have been sent to various hospitals to record statements of the injured. We will continue with further legal proceedings acvcordingly," he added.



In Basta
Clueless, cops shut murder case after 7 months
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
Children playing in the open ground between Mauli Jagran and the local railway station were shocked at the sight of a mutilated semi-clad body. Frightened, they ran home to inform their elders of what they had seen.

On their way, they met a resident of their colony, Shambu Benerjee, to whom they narrated the incident. At 8.45 am Shambu went to the spot and found the body of an unidentified man in his early twenties. He proceeded towards the Mauli Jagran police post. On his way he came across a patrol police party and apprised them of the incident. The police team rushed to the spot and also informed the SHO of the Mani Majra police station.

The body bore stab injuries on the face. There were bruises on the victim’s neck suggesting that he had been strangled to death. The police also found a wrist watch and a belt from the spot. Investigating officials believed that the belt was used to strangulate the victim.

There were no signs of struggle, suggesting the body had been dumped at the place after committing the murder elsewhere. The police registered a case of murder on a complaint by Shambu Benerjee.

The police sent the victim’s description to various police stations and also put up his photographs at public places, but failed to get any clue on his identity.

The case was consigned to the record of “unsolved” cases on January 10, 2003, after seven months and 13 days of investigation.



Minority Issue
Change in mindset must: Experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The burning issue of Dalit atrocities was centrestage this morning, with Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) holding a day-long conference to discuss social repercussions of injustice to minorities.

In attendance was Mr Justice Rajiv Bhalla of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, who underscored active campaigning for Dalit rights by voluntary organsations.

A court order alone is not sufficient to implement the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, said Mr Justice Bhalla, adding that a change in the mindset was required.

Civil society must come forward to ensure that court orders are honoured and justice done, he said, hoping for positive action on part of NGOs.

A Punjab-specific historical perspective on the issue came from Prof Ronki Ram of the department of political science, Panjab University.

Comparing Punjab and Haryana, he said Punjab treated Dalits better than Haryana. Referring to Sikhism and its elements that celebrate equality of people, he said the Gurus, by preaching oneness, set an example in social harmony.

Guru Gobind Singh’s “Panj Piaras” (from low castes) presented a fine example of this, said the academician, ruing that in the present context Sikhism’s role in forging equality for the Dalits had become limited. Hence, cults like Radha Soamis, Mazhabis and others, where minorities felt respected and at home.

Prof Jitender Parsad from the department of sociology, Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak, detailed the situation in Haryana, which, he said, was bad.

He was especially concerned about the marginalised Dalit women of Haryana and said there was a need for an action plan to combat the challenge.

A grass roots situation was portrayed by Rajesh, an active worker of the national campaign on Dalit Human Rights.

He discussed nine cases involving victimisation of the Dalits. These ranged from social boycott and torture to custodial deaths.

Another dimension to the issue was added by Subhash, another grass roots worker associated with the Safai Karamchari Union.

He discussed loopholes in the Manual Scavengers Act of 1993 and said a sea change was needed to restore the dignity of those who used to make a living out of picking night soil.

Now, dry toilets are history and those who used to clean them up are facing a crisis of livelihood. The Act provides for loans but the process of loan grant is very complicated. Red tape is a scourge of Dalits’ lives, he said.

The conference ended with a training session on the use and implementation of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act). The training was imparted by lawyers of the HRLN at the ISCCR Complex in PU, where the workshop was held.



UN peace medals for Indian troops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
Troops of 15 Punjab Infantry Battalion Group were awarded United Nations Peace Medals for their contribution in peacekeeping operations in strife-torn Lebanon.

An impressive function was organised at Ebel Es Saqi in South Lebanon yesterday. The battalion is deployed in those areas as part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNFIL).

The UNIFIL Commander, Maj-Gen Claudio Graziano from Italy, Deputy UNIFIL Commander, Brig Gen Jai Prakash Nehra, senior officers of the Lebanese army and the UNIFIL, officials from the local administration and citizens of Ebel Es Saqi were among those present on the occasion.

The Medal Day Parade was also witnessed by a visiting delegation from the Strategic Military Cell, United Nations Headquarters, New York, which was led by Lt-Gen Bruno Neveux.

The battalion, also referred to as INDBATT-9, is completing its year-long tour of duty in January 2008. October 26 also marked the closing ceremony of the second phase of the immensely popular Jaipur Foot project, in which free artificial limbs were fitted onto disabled Lebanese soldiers and civilians.

During the function, the UNIFIL Commander also presented mementos to Col Mahaveer Singh (retd) and members of the Jaipur Foot team. Speaking on the occasion, a Lebanese national, Jihad, who had benefited from the programme, thanked the UNIFIL and INDBATT-9 for this “wonderful gift”.

Over 80 Lebanese nationals have been provided with artificial limbs.The project has generated immense goodwill for the Indian contingent.



CRPF cadre yet to get revised pay benefits
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
As the Sixth Pay Commission is expected to announce revisions in the government salary structure shortly, the pharmacist cadre of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is yet to get the revised benefits recommended by the Fifth Pay Commission over 10 years ago.

CRPF subordinate officers in the “combatised” pharmacist cadre are at a disadvantage vis-à-vis not only non-combatised pharmacists in their own force, but also in other central government organisations, as they are no promotional avenues for them once they join the force in the rank of assistant sub-inspector.

The Fifth Pay Commision had recommended that adequate promotional avenues be created for combatised pharmacists on the same pattern existing in the Railways or CRPF general duty cadre.

Though the recommendation was reportedly accepted by the CRPF and its Directorate General had sent a detailed report in this regard to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the matters continues to be pending.

Following the Pay Commission’s recommendations, CRPF’s restructuring committee had, in September 2000, sent a detailed report to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The ministry, in a communiqué to the CRPF in 2004, stated that the matter was sent to the Ministry of Finance for its approval. Since then there has been no information on the subject.

The matter is now pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which issued notices in the case a few days ago.

Combatised pharmacists are those who wear the CRPF uniform and undergo regular service training, including weapon training, firing, drill and field craft, in addition to be proficient in their own trade. They are also required to undergo field posting and accompany troops during operations. Non-combatised pharmacists, on the other hand, do not undergo service training.

According to CRPF sources, there are about 350 combatised pharmacists in the CRPF and they have been continuing in the same rank for as long as 16-17 years. Though they have been granted assured career progression, they contend that this scheme is not a substitute for promotion.



Sector 12 slum-free, almost
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 28
It will soon be the first slum-free sector of the city. And, all because the Residents’ Welfare Association of Sector 12 won’t rest till it has cleared away the last of the ‘jhuggis’ dotting the open spaces in their sector.

This mission took them nearly five months and they used all possible tactics including appeals and force to remove the hutments.

“These were such eyesores and dotted almost all vacant plots in our sector. With the support of the HUDA staff, we managed to convince the slum dwellers to move out of our sector and settle elsewhere,” Col S.N. Seth, vice-president of the association.

“It was very difficult to make them leave lock, stock and barrel, but we managed to send them packing after much persuasion and help from the HUDA staff,” explains association president Col Sham Singh.

In fact, so dedicated was the association that even the dhobis were given no concessions. All the dhobis were allowed to work on the condition that they will “shift residence” and only their ironing tables will be allowed under the shade of the trees.

“Initially, they were reluctant but they came round to our point of view. Now, they are only allowed a shade by way of a tarpaulin sheet or bedsheet above their tables, tied to tree branches. We are considering making a shed for them but that plan still has to be worked out,” Seth explained.

The only hutments that still remain are located behind the boundary wall of a tubewell. “Their removal is beyond us because a HUDA official is sheltering these people as they work in his house. If these are removed, our sector will be the first ‘jhuggi-free’ sector. We are almost there,” Col Sham Singh said.



Chennai Express seat quota raised
Rajmeet Singh/TNS

Chandigarh, October 28
The Northern Railway has increased the quota of seats on the Chennai-Chandigarh Link Express beginning November 7, 2007.

There are 300 seats in the 11-coach train. “The exact increase in the number of seats would be known once formal orders are received,” said a senior official in the Ambala Division. The train leaves Chandigarh every Monday. Member of the Zonal Railway User Consultative Committee (ZRUCC) Joginder Singh Bhogal confirmed the development. The train has 220 seats in the sleeper class, 51 in the III rd AC and 36 seats in the IInd AC are reserved.



Draft phone directory ready

Chandigarh, October 28
The new directory of the Chandigarh SSA has been prepared and will be available at the BSNL customer service centres from this week.

This was stated at a meeting of the Telecom Advisory Committee of the Chandigarh SSA by manager Naresh Sharma here yesterday. — TNS




Punish guilty cops

This refers to the news item "Police station gheraoed" published in Chandigarh Tribune on July 14, 2007. I would like to draw your attention towards the increasing number of custodial deaths that speak volumes about the careless attitude of the Chandigarh Police. Such incidents weaken the common man’s faith in the police. Most of the times, people from the less educated and ill-informed strata of society are the victims. The police should put the violators behind the bars, but should not take law in its own hands. Strict measures should be taken against the cops, who are found guilty.

Neha Sharma

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



Woman, youth killed in 2 accidents
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 28
An HPRTC bus hit a scooter, killing a woman on the spot near the Chandigarh barrier here today. The bus driver sped away before anyone could note down the bus number, said the police.

The scooter was hit from the rear. The woman’s husband and child escaped with minor injuries. The woman was crushed under the wheels of the bus beyond recognition. A case has been registered.

In another accident in Kharar, Harpreet Singh, alias Happy (20), was killed in near Cholta village on the Kharar-Sirhind road.

A waiter, Harpreet was returning home from a marriage function past midnight. He belonged to Jawanda village.

Happy's motor cycle hit a tree and he died on the spot. A highway patrol team rushed him to the Kharar civil hospital where he was referred to the PGI in Chandigarh. But he died on way to the PGI. His brother Jagjit Singh Pinka identified the body. The police has initiated an inquiry under Section 174, Cr Pc.

Child run over by trailer

Panckula: Parveen, a one-and-a half year old boy, was reportedly crushed to death by a trailer this evening. A resident of Burg Kotian, Girish, the victim’s father, is a stone crusher. The victim was sleeping and Girish was working when the trailer ran over him. The child was rushed to general hospital, Sector 6, where he was declared brought dead.



Cash, silver stolen from temple
Tribune News Service

The cash box that was broken into at Sanatan Dharam Mandir in Mohali
The cash box that was broken into at Sanatan Dharam Mandir in Mohali on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

Mohali, October 28
Thieves decamped with cash and silver worth Rs 50,000 from Sanatan Dharma Mandir in Phase V yesterday.

The theft came to light this morning when the priests of the temple found two cash boxes broken into and the silver base of the shivling missing.

According to the police, the theft took place last night and thieves entered the temple by cutting open the grill on the roof.

Priest Ram Sarup informed the police that the cash boxes contained Rs 40,000 cash.

This is the second theft in a temple at Mohali. A few days back, thieves had struck at Hari Mandir, Phase V.




Tanker carrying ammonia overturns
Tribune News Service

Banur, October 28
A tanker laden with ammonia gas overturned near Jangpur village around 5.30 pm this evening.

The tanker was owned by real gas company, Ram Nagar village, and was to make the delivery at a pharmaceutical company here.

A vehicle tried to overtake the truck near an IOC petrol pump. In a bid to avoid collision, the truck driver turned the steering and lost control of the vehicle.

The truck overturned and smashed into a power transformer. Consequently, traffic was held up for half an hour.

While truck driver Praveen Kumar managed to escape, people nearby caught hold of cleaner Arun Kumar.

Fire department officials and DSP Rajpura Bhupinder Singh Khattra reached the spot and eased out the traffic congestion.

The police is investigating the case.



Three hurt in accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
A Sector 35 man, Ramesh, and his wife Maya Devi suffered injuries after a car collided with the rickshaw they were travelling on near the Sector 42-43 rotary last night.

They two along with the rickshaw-puller were admitted to the PGI.

The police has arrested the car driver, Dinesh of Attawa village, on charges of causing injuries due to rash and negligent driving.


A woman from Indira Colony reported to the police that Munna Malik of Dhanas attempted to outrage her modesty in the Sector 22 market on Saturday evening. A case has been registered.



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