C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

High drama at city District Courts
Lawyers thrash 3 accused

Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
It was a free-for-all at the district courts in Sector 17 today with a group of lawyers assaulting three Ram Darbar residents, who were produced in the court on charges of assaulting an advocate’s father.

Head constable Gurmit Singh and constable Amrik Singh were also assaulted by the advocates.

As the accused stepped out of the court of the judicial magistrate first-class, Balwinder Kumar, after being remanded to judicial custody, they were chased by the advocates. The three ran into the neighbouring courtroom of Manisha Jain for cover. Head constable Baljit Singh blocked the entrance and prevented the agitated lawyers from entering the court.

The accused hid behind the reader’s seat, when the judge was reportedly in her retiring room.

Prime accused Sohan Lal had allegedly beaten up advocate Ashok Kanwal’s father.This angered the advocates who turned up in a group when Sohan Lal, Tulsi Kumar and Ghanshayam were produced in the court.

The police said it was a planned attack while the advocates alleged that the accused had pushed them while moving out of the court. Advoctes Vikas Bector and Surinder Kumar complained against the accused at the Sector 17 police station.

The accused too got a FIR registered against lawyer Ashok Kanwal, following which the SHO directed that the latter be arrested.

High drama was seen at the police station with the police dilly-dallying on registering the FIR on the lawyers’ complaint. Even as the lawyers raised slogans against the police, SHO Kulwant Singh had a tough time pacifying them.

Apprehending Kanwal’s arrest, a number lawyers called on the SHO, who ultimately relented and booked the accused.

In the meantime, Kanwal, who was to be arrested, moved freely along with other advocates in the police station.



Land for Mohali airport to be acquired in 6 months
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 4
The process for acquisition of 300 acres of land for the International Airport at Mohali has begun. The land will be acquired by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA). The authority has been given six months to complete the process.

The authority was given the go-ahead to acquire the land during a meeting held under the chairmanship of Punjab chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh here today.

Sources said a piece of land in Chiurahi village had been identified for the airport. Revenue records pertaining to these 300 acres had been called for from the revenue department so that the first announcement under Section VI of the Land Acquisition Act could be made.

The sources said since land prices had shot up substantially in the past two years in this part of the state, Punjab would have to spend over Rs 500 crore just for the acquisition of the land.

When contacted, the chief secretary said 300 acres would be acquired by GMADA and another 50 aces would be acquired by the Chandigarh administration for the airport.

“The sooner the acquisition process is completed, the sooner the airport will come up and become functional. The time-frame for acquisition has been kept tight as a result.”

The land acquired would be contiguous with the land on which the Chandigarh airport exists. The runway which caters to the airport at Chandigarh would be extended to accommodate international flights.

The Chief Secretary said the land would be acquired by GMADA using its own mechanism for the purpose. “Land pooling scheme is not applicable for such infrastructure projects. Infrastructure cannot be shared with private land owners,” he said.

On November 16, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had formally approved the Mohali international airport.



Mayoral Elections
Once again, glare on nominated councillors
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
Though various political parties have yet to come out with the official list of their candidates for the January 1 mayoral elections, lobbying for the three top posts of mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor has picked up momentum.

Probable candidates have started lobbying support for themselves with nominated members, who hold the key to the results. With no single party in majority, votes of the nominated councillors once again are crucial for a win.

Though the nominated councillors say (as they said last year) only a ‘deserving’ candidate would be voted by them, the elected councillors are in a dilemma as to who among them isn’t one.

Several councillors have been elected to the house for the second time and are strong contenders for the top posts. However, the recent political happenings with Harmohan Dhawan’s CVM merging with the BSP has emerged as a new factor.

Last year the only BSP councillor chose to stay away form the elections. The BSP now has five councillors, the BJP six, the SAD two and the Congress 13 with one MP from the Congress.

While the Congress has near majority, the BSP-SAD-BJP alliance can prove a strong contender. The final deciding authority on who would be the candidates from respective parties would be the party high command.

The councillors have individually started lobbying, not wanting to leave anything to the last minute. The parties are expected to announce the names only a week before the election date.



PHD Trade Expo
Badal rolls out red carpet for investors
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today called upon foreign investors and multi- national companies to invest in Punjab. Commenting on the special package to the industrial units in the hilly states, he stated that the Punjab government was committed to heralding industrialisation in a big way and would extend a red carpet welcome to them here.

Badal was speaking on the occasion of celebrations of ‘Punjab Day’ at the PHD Chamber International Trade Expo (PHD ITEX)-2007 in Parade Ground, Sector 17.

Addressing a gathering, Badal said the time was not far off when trade and commerce alone would set the economic agenda and Punjab being a border state would be immensely benefited through bilateral trade with Pakistan.

Citing an example of free entry between the United States and Canada, Badal expressed hope that one day it would be replicated here also thereby bringing an end to visa regime in India and Pakistan.

While appreciating the efforts of the PHD chamber, Badal said such trade fairs could offer an ideal opportunity to the prospective investors and entrepreneurs to promote their ventures. He said Punjab was known for its economic entrepreneurship and it had been proved time and again that Punjab's economy had inner strength to overcome political, social and economic hurdles.

Later, Badal accompanied by the senior officers of the Punjab government and office-bearers of the chamber, visited the stalls put by exhibitors from Pakistan, Malaysia, Switzerland, Myanmar, Vietnam, Poland and Kenya and briefly interacted with them.

The Chief Minister evinced keen interest in all products of Markfed displayed at its stall, especially in agro-chemicals. Meanwhile, M.D. Markfed G.S. Grewal explained the Chief Minister that Markfed was supplying best quality weedicides at reasonable rates to farmers through the societies being formulated by Markfed at its own as well as from international reputed companies like Syngenta.

In his welcome address, president of the PHD chamber Sanjay Bhatia said the (PHD ITEX)-2007 had evoked tremendous response from the public and chamber had decided to make it an annual feature. He urged the Chief Minister to take up the matter with the Centre for opening of trade through Hussainiwala border to further boost the trade and commerce activities between India and Pakistan.



Large variety for customers

On Display from the Globe

  • All terrain bikes from US from Rs 1.25 lakh to 9 lakh
  • Colorful variety of flowers from Thailand
  • Decorative items, stones, dresses, food from Pak
  • Wooden jewellery and utility items from Kenya

Chandigarh: The ongoing International Trade Expo (ITEX) 07 fair on Parade Ground, Sector 17, here, has a lot of things to offer to the city’s residents.

Bringing to the city different and unique stuff from different parts of the world such as Pakistan, Myanmar, Poland, the USA, Thailand, Kenya are among the well recognised exhibitors.

For the foodies there are a variety of stalls, a special Pakistan food stall has also been put up.

All terrain bikes are a unique segment for the city. A US based company Polaris has brought sports bikes which is a dream of any youngster. The bikes are available starting 1.25 lakh up to 9 lakh. Company officials, however, state that they are here to promote the all terrain vehicles in the city with different versions of 330cc to 500 cc with 10 liters capacity petrol tank.

“We have already sold 150 bikes around the country and are looking to expand operations in the city,” stated said assistant manager Harjinder.

International Flower Corporation from Thailand is on their first visit to the city and have exhibited a colorful variety of flowers. “We have taken part in many exhibitions within India but there is a lot of difference here,” said Benjamin, the exhibitor.

Ansari Brother, exhibiting the special stone known as Onyx, which is only available in Pakistan.” We have all decorative items, telephone holders, watches and the most authentic stone, Onyx, available in Pakistan only” said Shakeel Shaikh, the director. It is an expensive product, but we are also offering a special discount for the customers here.

Mohrama is here from Kenya, exhibiting a stall of wooden sticks, key chains, wooden jewellery and other utility items, she says that these are being made by the HIV patients and widows living in Kenya. “It is difficult for them to sell these items as they are physically weak, so I buy these things from them and then exhibit them at various exhibitions,” she said.



But there are few buyers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
Though the International Trade Expo 2007 organised by the PHD chamber has an array of exhibitors from across the region, not many people seem to be coming in, complain the exhibitors.

Unhappy with the less sales here, the exhibitors wish the event had been publicised more. The exhibitors state that there was an increase in the crowd since the event started, many were only doing window shopping and were not purchasing things on the spot.

Talking to TNS, Salman Butt of Suriya Collection has brought in special hand embroidered suits from Multan (Pakistan) said, “Yesterday, we received good response, but today again the attendance is thin. I think there is less publicity.” The exhibitors of Shasha Beauty Collection is planning to leave the stall a day before the event ends. “The people here bargain a lot and are not ready to pay the price, they do not seem to have the purchasing capacity.”

“Our idea was wrong, people want everything for free and more our window shoppers. Moreover the stall, which is given, is not according to the space we required; there is no advertisement by the organisers.” said Marhar Ali of Waris Impex an onyx stone dealer from Pakistan.

Myanmar exhibiting 18 carrot gold and precious stones is here to promote the jewellery they have. There are no buyers, most of the people coming here see the jewellery and leave. “In Delhi we had a lot of business and advertisement too are done on a large scale as compared to here.”

There was a mix response from those who came to see the exhibition, as according to some the rates are too high. The items that are exhibited is no doubt good but a bit expensive, said a couple visiting the exhibition.



Father rapes his 9-yr-old girl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
In a shocking incident, Prem Singh, who earns a living collecting scrap from people’s home, allegedly raped his nine-year-old daughter at his residence in the hutments near Darshani Bagh, here last night. He was in an inebriated condition.

The accused thrashed his wife and two sons and threw them out of the hut before committing the crime. The brutal father gagged the girl who fell unconscious. She was rushed to hospital. The victim’s mother told the police that her husband came home drunk and began hitting her. He also severely beat up their sons and pushed them.

The girl was sleeping inside the hut. Her husband locked the door. She heard her daughter scream once after which there was an eerie silence. She broke open the door.

To her horror, she found her husband raping the girl. She raised an alarm following which the neighbours gathered there and rushed the profusely bleeding girl to the government hospital in Mani Majra. People nabbed the accused, who tried to flee, and handed him over to the police

Prem Singh’s wife said he had made attempts to molest the girl earlier too. A case has been registered.



Youth’s body found at Sukhna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
Narinder Kumar, a 20-year-old resident of Daria, was found dead under mysterious circumstances at the Sukhna Lake here early this morning. Describing it a case of suicide, the police said the victim may have consumed a poisonous substance as indicated by vomit stains at the site.

A passerby noticed the body near the benches and informed the police. A post-mortem was conducted at the Sector 16 hospital. A driver’s licence found on the body helped ascertain his identity as an employee of the Hutch company.

Narinder Kumar is survived by parents and a brother. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174, CrPC.



Canada depending on India for human resource: Oppal
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 4
The unprecedented boom in Canadian economy has spun new avenues of employment and investment. The fast-growing society in Canada is in need of skilled and unskilled professionals who will give an impetus to the ongoing growth of the economy riding the technological bandwagon. Stating this here yesterday, attorney general of British Columbia and minister responsible for multiculturalism Wallace T. Oppal said Canada was banking on India for its human resource requirements since the country produced quality professionals.

During an informal conversation with media at the residence of chairman of Chandigarh Group of Colleges, Satnam Singh Sandhu, Wallace said the country required human and physical resources to maintain the pace of economic boom.

Oppal, who was in Chandigarh on an entourage led by British Columbian Premier Gordon Campbell to explore the possibility of educational and cultural exchange between India and Canada, stated that some Indian provinces, including Punjab, had been producing quality engineering, hospitality, pharmacy and nursing professionals.

“We have a lot of jobs for them in the Canadian province which is so culturally diverse,” he said. He said the most westerly province of Canada promoted skilled professionals because they were conversant with the functioning in an English speaking environment.

Former judge and British Columbia Liberal party’s MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview Oppal said, “We have mixed population patterns and 40 per cent population of Vancouver is non-white. We are in the dire need of manpower and are looking forwarding to placing our officials to ensure smooth immigration of skilled and unskilled work force,” he stated.

The Canadian economy is booming and has the lowest unemployment rate in history. The fast technological shift has prompted the country to outsource human resource and investment. “We have taken up the matter with the Punjab and Haryana governments in this connection. We will also visit some other Indian provinces for mobilising human resource and explore the possibility for educational and cultural exchange,” Oppal said.

One of the reasons for illegal immigration was denial of visa to the people desirous to immigrate to Canada. They resort to illegal route, Oppal added. The author of the report of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into policing in British Columbia, Wallace Oppal says that Indians, especially Punjabis, have a reason to immigrate to Canada since the police is corruption free and the administration of justice did not take “ages”.



Kargil heroes’ letters to be published
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
The Kargil war changed many lives. One of them was of Hira Lal Yadav, an LIC agent from Mumbai, who gave up everything to go out in search of families, whose sons died defending the border.

His search yielded precious results, including the last letters Param Vir Chakra awardees Capt Vikram Batra and Lt Manoj Pandey wrote to their families from the front. The letters shine with the courage of conviction these men embodied and portray them as the true soldiers they were. In many ways, they are inspirational texts fit to be preserved for posterity.

“When I went to see Lt Pandey’s parents in Lucknow, I got two letters he wrote from the battlefield, days before he died on July 3, 1999. One of them, dated June 18, was addressed to Pandey’s younger brother; the other dated June 19 was for Pawan, Pandey’s best friend. Both the letters are historical in my opinion. I will publish them in my forthcoming book on martyrs,” Yadav today told The Tribune.

The letter is laced with overwhelming details. It says: “I really don’t know what would happen the next moment but I assure you and my countrymen that we will push back the intruders at whatever cost we have to pay, may be our lives. If I come back we would have a lot to talk about. But this for me is certainly an everlasting experience.”

Capt Batra’s July 2, 1999 (last) letter to his parents celebrates his victorious march against the enemy. It reads: “I have undertaken a very big operation in which I got 100 % success. It was the biggest success in this sector; received congratulatory calls from the Army chief and was also interviewed by the media. Don’t know when I will be moving down again. Whenever I get a chance, I will call.” Capt Batra died five days after he penned this letter.

Several such outpourings will now see light of day, thanks to Yadav, who fondly remembers his cycle trip to Kargil. It happened a little before India silenced Pakistan in Operation Vijay. “I cycled from Mumbai to Kargil, carrying in my backpack letters loaded with accolades for soldiers,” says Yadav.

He brought back from the chilling heights touching responses from men of mettle; each of their letters reflecting how deeply they lusted for their countrymen’s love as they battled a vicious enemy. “But how many of us remember our martyrs?” asks the man who has in this mission the support of his wife. "She does LIC work and sells bananas at VT station," says Yadav.

A poet-writer, he began his journey in 1997 when he espoused the cause of Indian Prisoners of War (POWs) languishing in Pakistani jails. At that time, he cycled 15,000 km around India to hammer the need for all-out action to rescue the soldiers. The mission continues and has spread to universities and colleges, where students are making posters to mirror the pain of POWs. About 40 exhibitions on the subject have been hosted by universities like BHU. Yadav is in Chandigarh to urge art college students to join the campaign.

“It is important to spare a thought for POWs rotting in Pak jails. Unless we have a public outcry, we may never be able to secure their release. We owe this to their families and to us, for whom they suffer,” says Yadav, whose mission is christened “Mission Rescue”. His book on the subject will be published by Jasbir Kaur, wife of Maj Kanwaljit, one of the POWs who never returned home.



Workers take to streets against govt policies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 4
Industrial workers associated with three trade unions today held a protest march from Sector 22 Nehru Park to deputy commissioner’s office in Sector 17 against the anti-employee policies of the government. They were demanding implementation of labour laws and to revise minimum wages. The march was organised on a call given by national level trade unions to hold two-day “satyagrah”.

The march passed through the busy road crossing the Aroma lights point and the Sector 17 ISBT rotary causing traffic jams on the route before culminating at the Sector 17.

Members of the three trade union organisations, including the Centre of Indian Trade Union (CITU) the All-India Trade Union (AITUC) and the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) participated in the protest march and submitted their memorandum to the deputy commissioner.

Representatives of the trade unions called upon the workers to give befitting reply to the anti-people economic policies of the Centre and state governments. The protesters were demanding the governments to curb rising inflation, contract system, outsourcing and privatisation of public sector units, including banks and life insurance corporations.

Among others general secretary of the AITUC Devi Dyal, general secretary of CITU A. Sawhney and president of the HMS V.P. Vadhera addressed the gathering.

The leaders in their joint rally demanded that the UT administration to enhance minimum wages of unskilled workers to Rs 5,000, of semi-skilled workers to Rs 6,500 and skilled workers to Rs 8,000 and for highly skilled workers Rs 10,000 per month.




Awaiting action

I am a resident of house no. 995, Sector 21, Panchkula, and my house comes under the jurisdiction of Sector 20’s post office. There has been total chaos in the distribution of mail to the residents of this area. We have not been receiving mail properly for the past three months. There has been a lot of hue and cry in the press but the authorities have failed to take any action.

Now, the officials have lost my refund order no. 27391 for Rs 97, 125 and have given in writing that they have misplaced the same, that too after the intervention of senior superintendent of post, Ambala. There are thousands of undelivered letters dumped in the basement and postal authorities have failed to taken any action.

N.D. Bansal

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Petrol station looted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 4
Two armed youths looted a petrol station at Barwala, near here, in the wee hours today.

According to the police, the masked men attacked the attendants at the petrol station and looted Rs 5,000 from them. Before fleeing, they reportedly fired in the air to scare the attendants.

The police said the petrol stations in the area had been instructed not to operate after 11 p.m.

However, the petrol station had been defying the police directive.

Senior police officials, including ASP Maneesh Chaudhary and DSP Abhay Rao, visited the spot. A case has been registered.



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