C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Diwali Break
Candidates glum as PU boarders go home
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The festival season is going to play spoilsport for the PU elections this time. With only one day left for the elections, many hostellers have left for their homes, sending the candidates in a tizzy.

With local students not showing much interest in the ill-timed elections, low voter turnout is likely. Hostellers constitute a major chunk of voters. This has become a cause of worry for student leaders who were banking on hostel inmates to be part of their vote bank.

Candidates will be testing the waters and only diehard supporters can help them win the elections.

On the other hand, student leaders who have been affected due to the stringent recommendations of the Lyngdoh committee are unhappy with the way things are turning out.

“It would have been better if the elections were held after the festival season was over or before that,” rued a student leader.

Abshishek Puri, PUSU president, said, “Everyone is uncertain this time about the fate of the elections. Open house which is always an attraction for students is likely to remain a low-key affair as outstation students have already left. Though we are confident, since all students are not present, the polls will not be a representation of democracy.”

Pankaj, one of the students who left the hostel today, said, “Elections are a meaningless affair this time as most of us have already left for our homes. Who doesn’t want to be with their families on festivals?”

When contacted, hostel attendants said very few students were left in the hostels and most of the girls had left during the day.

Meanwhile, members of the SOPU-NSUI alliance, gave a representation to the dean, students’ welfare, Naval Kishore, today and submitted a complaint to the grievances cell against the vice-presidential candidate of the PUSU-INSO front for burning the effigy of former student’s council president, Dalvir Singh Goldy. They said it was a violation of the code of conduct.



City set to host PHL yet again
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The City Beautiful will host the Premier Hockey League (PHL) for the third time in succession. Though officials of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) did not want to go on record regarding the decision of holding the event in the city, a senior IHF official indicated that Chandigarh was the final choice.

“It has been decided that the prestigious event will be hosted by Chandigarh but the announcement will be made a few days later,” the IHF official said on the condition of anonymity while talking to TNS on the phone.

“Three venues - Rourkela (Orissa), Guwahati (Assam) and Chandigarh - were discussed. Of these, Chandigarh has been finalised,” he added.

The PHL will be held in mid-December this year as the Olympic qualifiers will start in March next year. “To select the team for the qualifiers, a national camp is also scheduled to be held in February. Therefore, the domestic league will be played in December,” a source said. Two editions of the league have been held at Sector 42 Hockey Stadium in 2006 and early 2007. The event drew large crowds on both occasions.



Pak team for Gurmit hockey meet
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
City sports enthusiasts are in for a double treat this week, as they will get a chance to witness India and Pakistan clash on two different turfs, one on the cricket pitch and the other on the hockey ground.

Just a day before the India-Pakistan cricket tie at the PCA Stadium, Mohali, on November 8, Pakistan’s Multan Hockey Club, comprising international players, will compete with a pre-quarterfinalist in 37th SN Vohra’s All-India Gurmit Hockey Tournament getting under way at the Hockey Stadium, Sector 42 here.

Chandigarh Hockey Association general secretary and tournament organiser Y.P. Vohra said: “Pakistan is a new addition to our annual tournament, which is being held for the past 37 years. We have put the guest team in pre-quarterfinal directly.”

With the entry of Multan team, led by renowned player Amanullah, the competition will be tough for the Indian teams, as the rival team has several international players along with an Olympian Mohammad Shabir, added Vohra.

International players like Gulam Murtaza, Shahid Rubani, Khurram Shehjad, Zakir Ullah Khan, Shafaqat Rasool, Zakir Ahmed and Khalid Mahmood have the capability to make the life difficult for any participating team, he added.

The visitors will arrive in the city on November 5.



Minor beaten up with heated skewers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 3
A minor working at Pakwan, an eatery in Sector 10 here, was alleged beaten up three youths working at the adjoining Vaishnav Dhaba, late last night.

He was later tied to a grill and allegedly tortured by the youths, who used heated iron rods to inflict injury on him.

The accused, meanwhile, denied the allegations and said the boy had come to their dhaba with an intention to steal and was armed with a knife.

The incident came to light this morning when a taxi driver, Sher Singh, complained to the police that a boy had been tied to a grill. The police untied the boy who claimed that he was beaten up without provocation after the dhaba had closed.

He said they tied his hands to a grill and beat him up with heated skewers. A medical was carried out on the minor.

The accused maintained that they only prevented him from stealing but had no clue how he got injured.

The accused were produced in the district court and later released on bail.



MC awaits transfer of conversion money
Rajmeet Singh/TNS

Chandigarh, November 3
Using the money earned under the much-hyped conversion policy has become a bone of contention between the municipal corporation and the Chandigarh administration.

Around Rs 50 crore, earned so far in form of conversion fee from applicants in Industrial Area has not been transferred to the corporation to carry out work on upgrading infrastructure.

Reason: The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), the nodal agency to receive conversion applications, has deposited the money with the UT’s treasury under the receipt head.

The funds can be released after an equal amount sought under the UT’s revised budget is approved by the Government of India.

“The ministry of finance has allowed the utilisation of money but it may take a few more months,” said a senior official.

Mayor Harjinder Kaur said they had already taken up the matter with the administration.

Sources in the administration confirmed that against Rs 50 crore received from the CHB, the administration had sought an equal amount under the revised budget.

However, the delay in releasing the money is causing anxiety among corporation officials.

Under the decision by the committee for the upgrade of Industrial Area, the corporation has already contracted out the work of widening roads and created three additional parking. Around Rs 22 crore is being spent on upgrading basic facilities.

A visit to the area revealed that work to widen the road leading to the Bhushan Industry was already in progress.

A number of trees had been felled to widen other roads.

Officials in the MC engineering department confirmed that no money had been received under the conversion policy.

The money earned under the conversion policy is to be spent on Industrial Area only. Over a period of 10 years, till 2015, the administration plans to earn around Rs 205 crore as conversion fee under the conversion policy.



Police Reform Bill
Punjab govt ‘avoiding’ public opinion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
“The Punjab government is avoiding taking into account public opinion in drafting the Punjab Police Reform Bill, 2007,” felt a cross-section of participants at a workshop organised by Delhi-based NGO Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).

The workshop was organised by the CHRI at the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration, Sector 26, today.

Senior police officials, lawyers and academics held discussions to find solution to problems in policing and to improve its functioning to make it people-friendly.

Expressing displeasure at the move of the state government to approve the Bill in complete disregard of the directives of the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh case and the Model Police Act 2006, prominent civil society groups from across the state said it appeared to be a concerted move to avoid contempt charges from the Supreme Court.

The participants were of the view that governments hated to involve people in decision-making and avoided transparency.

It was the general practice in the country that various ordinances promulgated time to time were converted into Acts without holding discussion involving public or its representatives from various sections of society.

They urged Punjab Governor to withhold assent to the proposed ordinance in view of the fact that it flouted the court directives and ran contrary to the spirit and letter of the directives.

The total secrecy surrounding the drafting of the Bill and the singular exclusion of people from the process did not stand the test of reasonable fairness as enshrined in the Constitution of India, they felt.

Insisting on widespread public consultation organised by the state government to seek inputs on improvement to policing survives across the state, they said the government should post the current draft of the Bill on the government website for public comments.

A redraft of the Bill was sought to ensure it strengthened the police accountability mechanism and followed the spirit of Supreme Court’s directives.

The participants also demanded that the Model Police Act, 2006, should be used as the basis for the new police legislation for the state.



Dowry Case
Woman accuses police of inaction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Accusing the Chandigarh police of shoddy investigation, a Sector 10 resident has alleged that the police was dragging its feet over arresting her husband and in-laws booked in a dowry harassment case.

Vijay Luxmi, in her complaint lodged with the SSP on Friday, alleged that she had lodged a complaint of dowry harassment against her husband and four other members of his family with the woman and child support unit (WACSU), following which a case was registered in August.

She alleged that the police was unable to recover her dowry articles. Besides, the four accused — her father-in-law, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and brother-in-law — had so far not been arrested.

She also accused the investigating officer of siding with the accused and allowing them to escape from law.

Demanding shifting of investigation to some other police officer, she alleged that the investigating officer did not ask for extension of her husband’s police remand even as dowry articles were yet to be recovered.

Terming the allegations baseless, investigating officer sub-inspector Gurjit Kaur maintained that she took Luxmi along with her on raid on her husband’s residence.

Luxmi searched the house and it was only after she expressed satisfaction had they returned, the officer claimed.

The officer added that as it was a love marriage against the wishes of Luxmi’s family, no dowry articles were ever given.

Later, some differences surfaced between the couple and Luxmi began living with her parents.

Luxmi’s brother was booked in August this year for stabbing her husband and it was in retaliation to it that she lodged a complaint against her husband and got a case registered following court’s orders.



Hazard piles up at Dadu Majra
Satinder Pal Singh

Chandigarh, November 3
Mounds of garbage at the dumping ground in Dadu Majra continue to pose health risk to residents even as the health authorities sit pretty over it.

The dumping ground was created along the residential area of Dadu Majra village and colony by the Chandigarh administration. Garbage of the entire city is dumped here.

Stench grows strong as one moves towards the village from Dhanas bridge.

The administration has been unable to maintain the area, as chemicals sprayed earlier to check the stench have been unproductive.

For the past two months, garbage has not been covered with soil and chemicals not sprayed.

Daljit Singh, a Dadu Majra resident, says: “We have been hearing of the setting up of a garbage recycling plant for some time but nothing has been done so far. Nobody from the administration is worried about our health.”

Jassi, a shopkeeper, says: “In summer we can’t turn on coolers, as they suck in stench from outside, while in winter we cannot keep the door or windows open as draft brings in stench.”

“The problem is so acute that our children cannot sleep at night,” says another resident.

B.K Sharma, OSD, municipal corporation, said he would look into the matter and take action soon.



Swamy: Ram Setu project anti-national
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Janata Party president and former union law minister Subramaniam Swamy today termed the Sethusamundram canal project as "anti-national", alleging that the subversive organisations such as the LTTE would have free passage if the project was executed in its current form.

Swamy, on whose peitition the Supreme Court had stayed the execution of the ambitious project, however, said he had no objection if the present alignment was changed to save the historical Ram Setu. Besides, it is going to be an economic disaster harding brining any economic benefits for the country, Swamy told The Tribune on the sidelines of a seminar on "Ram setu:facts, faith and national security" here today.

"My petition in the SC was not against the project but its execution in the present form as it would play with the religious sentiments of the millions of Hindus by cutting through the sacred Ram setu," he asserted.

He regretted that despite 15 committees since 1860 rejecting the current alignment of the project, the DMK government in Tamil Nadu and Congress-led UPA government were hell bent upon executing the project disregarding the sentiments of the Hindus.

The Sri Lankan terrorist organisations, including the LTTE, were already posing a serious threat to the national security and the project would further endanger the national security, the former minister said alleging that the Tamil Nadu government was going soft on the Sri Lankan terrorist outfits.

The Hindu organisations had launched as nationwide campaign against the projects, including "anti-Hindu" policies of the Central and the Tamil Nadu governments. The organisations would not allow the nefarious designs of governments to succeed, he said adding the the apex court would now hear the case in January next year.



Murdered girl’s body cremated
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 3
The police today cremated the body of the unidentified girl found murdered in Morni a few days back.

The police is making queries in and around the village where the girl was found murdered to know who was accompanying her but to no avail.

The cops admitted the fact that nobody had come forward to claim the body, had, hindered any progress in the case. “Once the girl is identified, it would be very easy for us to track down the culprits because her friend circle can be tapped for information. Without that there is hardly any lead to begin further investigation,” an official said.

The police had handed over the girl’s body to the Aggarwal Sabha for cremation. Though they had decided to keep the body for a few days after the postmortem to facilitate identification if her next of kin showed up, the body was finally handed over for cremation to the sabha.



Bansal visits Sarangpur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The minister of state for finance, Pawan Kumar Bansal, today visited Sarangpur village to listen to the grievances of villagers.

Sarpanch Sadhu Singh informed the minister about the poor land acquisition rates being offered to them.

The minister said an acquisition policy had been launched by the UPA government. As a result, a farmer could now sell his land directly to private organisations at the prevailing market rate if the land was being acquired for the use of private organisations.

Farmers could even keep his share in the acquired land. In case some constructed houses fell within the acquired land, farmers would be compensated with houses.

He said a bank training and loan facility had been launched for self-help groups of women in which the group would be trained and then given loan for starting a business.

He announced Rs 6 lakh as grant from the MPLAD fund for the construction of a dharamshala in the village.

On the demand of a stadium in the village, he said he would take up the matter with the authorities.

He stated that the compensation price had been increased and would soon be enhanced.



Courtesy Driving Week
Traffic cops to sensitise, not challan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The Chandigarh traffic police will celebrate a courtesy driving week from November 5 to 11 in which it will emphasise on educating violators instead of booking them for offences.

UT SP (traffic) A.S. Ahlawat said the police would educate and sensitise drivers to obey traffic rules and regulation during the week from 9 am to 12.30 pm every day.

He added that the police would not issue challans to violators and instead request them to follow rules.

He, however, clarified that those indulging in serious violations, including reckless driving and driving without helmet, would not be spared.

During the week, road safety slogans, banners and placards would be displayed at different trafficlights.

The police would take the help of students of different schools and colleges to assist them in spreading awareness.



Fire smoulders at Tribune godown
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 3
Fire was still burning between the reams of newsprint till late this evening, even 22 hours after it started at a Tribune godown here yesterday.

Nearly a dozen fire-tenders were pressed into service to control the blaze.

While newsprint worth crores of rupees was gutted, the cause of the fire continues to remain a mystery especially since there was no power connection in the godown.

Sources said three fire-tenders from Chandigarh, one each from Pinjore, Ambala, Pehowa and Kurukshetra were pressed into service to douse the flames.

Nearly 40 workers and four JCBs were also pressed into service to remove the smouldering newsprint from the godown to a neighbouring vacant plot. A wall was brought down to pull out the newsprint.



Sarpanches being forced to join SAD: Garcha
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 3
The Punjab Government is making efforts to “forcibly” make sarpanches join the SAD by allegedly issuing threats. This was alleged by Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, member of the AICC, here.

She said the SAD-BJP had constituted flying squads which were putting pressure on sarpanches in the name of checking. Garcha said from the Kharar constituency, complaints against such activities were increasing and she would be compelled to launch an agitation in this regard.



Shed dispute, SP tells lawyers

Mohali, November 3
Two warring factions of lawyers have been asked to take permission from the higher authorities to get chambers constructed at the district court complex in Phase III B1, here.

Both the groups met SP (city) Varinder Pal Singh who asked them to pursue the matter with the sessions judge concerned and settle the matter amicably.

One group was constructing sheds for themselves, which was objected to, by another group. Tension prevailed at the court complex yesterday and the police had to intervene. — OC



Govt Apathy
Mohali road awaits repair

Road that had caved in at Phase VIII, waits to be repaired in Mohali
Road that had caved in at Phase VIII, waits to be repaired in Mohali. — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, November 3
Here is one perfect example of government apathy. The road opposite the Punjab School Education Board office had caved in almost two months back and despite being a danger to the life of commuters, nothing seemed to have been done to repair it. No government engineer had ever come to assess the situation. The pit is at least three feet deep and ten feet wide and has literally become a death trap.

The road witnesses heavy rush with hundreds of students visiting the board each day. — TNS



Woman sustains burns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Sunita, a 23-year-old married woman, suffered burns while boiling milk on a stove at her Ram Darbar house this afternoon. She was admitted to the Sector 32 GMCH in a critical condition. Doctors said she had sustained 80 per cent burns.



A clarification

A member of the committee constituted by the Chandigarh administration to review applications of plots under the conversion policy has clarified that no recommendation has ever been made regarding plots smaller than two kanal.

The member, M.P.S. Chawla, said if any such decision had been taken by the administration, it would be opposed by industrialists.

Fair chance should be given to the owners of plots smaller than two kanal. Sources said 11 applications of plots smaller than two kanal were pending with the Chandigarh Housing Board for conversion under the conversion policy, 2005. The policy has been extended for six months with effect from September, 2007.



40 kg spurious khoya seized
Our Correspond

Mohali, November 3
Officials of the health department seized 40 kg of spurious ‘khoya’ after intercepting a vehicle in Phase IV here this evening.

Samples of the ‘khoya’ were taken by the officials which would be sent to the state laboratory in Sector 11, Chandigarh, for testing. Report in this regard will be received in three days’ time, after which, legal action will be initiated.

Dr S.P.Surila, district health officer, said the ‘khoya’ appeared to be ‘synthetic’ as it did not had a proper look and feel. Moreover, it was being sold for Rs 90 per kg while the actual market price was much higher and added that the seized stock would be destroyed.

He said a Bolero, which was driven by Jagdish, was followed from Zirakpur following a tip-off and intercepted in Phase IV. The ‘khoya’ was brought from a dairy near Panipat. He said civil surgeon Dr M.S. Toor also reached Phase IV after the seizure of the ‘impure khoya’.

Surila said the driver was transporting one quintal of the ‘khoya’. Sixty kg was disposed off in Ambala and the remaining 40 kg brought to Mohali. The driver was accompanied by Ram Mehar, a helper.



Tea vendor held for selling stolen cellphones
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
The police has arrested a Sector 22-based tea vendor and recovered three stolen mobile phones from him.

The police said 22-year-old Jatinder Kumar of Bihar was arrested following information that he was allegedly selling stolen mobile phones. Acting on a tip-off, the accused was nabbed from Sector 22. He told the police that he had stolen two mobile phones from the Sector 17 ISBT.

He will be produced before a local court tomorrow.


Anuj Jain of Ambala cantonment has reported to the police that Ajay Pal of Patiala was allegedly caught while stealing his Indica car from near the Sector 9 petrol station yesterday. The accused has been arrested.

Hit-and-run case

A motorcyclist, Harbhajan Singh of Kharar, suffered injuries after being hit by a Scorpio (CH-03-U-2525) in Sector 8 yesterday afternoon.

The driver of the vehicle sped away after the accident. The victim has been admitted to the Sector 16 Government Multi Speciality Hospital. A case has been registered.



Array of products on display at CII fair

Chandigarh, November 3
Celebrating its 12th edition, the annual CII fair opened to a spirited response here yesterday. Mayor Harjinder Kaur formally inaugurated the four-day fair at the parade ground here.

She went around different pavilions showcasing an array of products and services.

The fair showcases products of 180 companies in nine expositions this year, categorised product-wise for the convenience of customers.

On display are computers, TVs, furniture, cookware, kitchen appliances, home and decor accessories, healthcare products, jewellery and utility products.

Enthused by the response last year, the Thai pavilion is back again in the international arcade 2007, bringing to Chandigarh 11 companies from Thailand displaying a distinct collection of consumer products. Also, different products from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Korea, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Combodia, Kenya, Australia and Brazil are on display. — TNS



VIP Nos.
BSNL extends auction deadline
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 3
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) today extended the deadline for auction of VIP and vanity numbers of its 9464 series to November 12.

According to a press note issued here, the number would be available for auction till November 12 till 10 am.



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