C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Nigerian nabbed with 8 kg heroin
Father, son delivering contraband also held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Sleuths of the Narcotic Control Bureau arrested a father-son duo of Ludhiana and a Nigerian national from the Sectors 43-44 rotary last night and claimed to have recovered 8 kg of heroin from their possession. The contraband is worth Rs 8 crore in the international market.

Dr Saji Mohan, zonal director, NCB, Chandigarh, said the sleuths had been keeping a track on the accused for the past over two months. Acting on a tip-off that heroine was being smuggled from Nakodar and would be delivered to a Nigerian national at Chandigarh, the officials set up a trap near the rotary.

They spotted a grey Maruti Swift car, which stopped near a liquor vend on the road at 7.30 pm. Two persons were seen in the car. A Nigerian approached them. The NCB officials swooped down on them. A search of the vehicle led to the recovery of eight packets (1 kg each) containing the contraband.

The accused have been identified as 55-year-old Baljinder Singh of Ludhiana and his 25-year-old son Sukhjinder Singh and John Kennedy of Lagos, Nigeria. Baljinder Singh reportedly disclosed that he was into trafficking for the past over 10 years. He had brought the contraband from Nakodar. Kennedy said he had come to the city to take delivery of the same.

Sources in the NCB said the Delhi police was on the trail of Kennedy as his visa and passport had expired.



Political bosses halt demolition drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Godown owners with political connections today managed to halt a demolition drive initiated by the administration against illegal structures raised by them in Daria and Raipur Khurd villages.

Located near the Chandigarh railway station, the structures have been raised on unacquired land in violation of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952. At least 50 godown owners had been served demolition notices.

The demolition drive, planned for two days, was wrapped up in less than four hours. At 2 pm, the machinery was suddenly pulled back. With six JCB’s and a strong posse of police force around, 20 structures alone could be demolished.

The administration on the contrary claimed that 50 structures, including big godowns were razed. A visit to the area revealed hundreds of illegal structures in Raipur Khurd, Daria, Mauli Jagran, Makhan Majra villages. “This kind of political interference encourages violators”, said an official.

The area, owing to its proximity with the railway station, is favoured for setting up of godowns. The road leading from Daria village to Mauli Jagran and Makhan Majra villages are dotted with such godowns.

The owners say the godowns are being used to store tonnes of freight ferried by goods trains. From the godowns, the freight, primarily consisting of cement, coal, steel and consumer durables, is sent on trucks to traders in different cities of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, 55 unauthorised temporary structures were cleared by the Estate Office on government land in Industrial Area, Phase-I, here.



3 labourers killed in wall collapse
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Twentythree-year-old Vakeel, 30-year-old Shri Kant of Mohali and Madan Lal were killed and six injured when a wall of a house being renovated in Sector 35 collapsed here this afternoon.

The injured were taken to the GGMSH in Sector 16 and the PGI. Five were discharged after first-aid. The accident took place at 2:30 pm when the common wall of House No. 2343 and 2344 collapsed while the labourers were fixing iron rods for the lintel. Those fixing the iron rods jumped to safety. The others were buried under the debris.

Neighbours said they heard a thunderous noise following which they rushed out of their homes. They saw the wall had collapsed and labourers were crying for help. Somebody informed the fire brigade and two fire engines from the Sectors 32 and 17 fire station reached there. So did the police. A fire officer said one of the victims was killed on the spot.

A police officer said the contractor brought down House No. 2344, leaving the over 35 ft-high wall common with House No. 2343 without support, leading to its collapse. The owner of the house, Nirmal Singh, was not there.

SHO Devinder Sharma said preliminary investigation suggested that safety measures were given a go-by. A case of causing death due to negligence has been registered against contractor Abdul Khan of Sector 56. He was arrested and later released on bail.



Flight Cancelled
Official apathy makes it worse for passengers
Tribune News Service

Kanwaljit Singh, minister of cooperatives, Punjab, at the Chandigarh Airport talking to passengers of Simplifly Deccan who were protesting at the airport for the airlines to provide them stay, as their flight to Jammu was cancelled due to bad weather. Deccan officials clarified that the passengers had been informed at Delhi itself that the flight was cancelled and they would have to proceed by taxis, which the passengers refused after arriving at the Chandigarh Airport in the afternoon. Seeing the bad weather, the passengers refused to travel to Jammu by road and demanded stay arrangements to be made, which the airline refused, as being a low-cost carrier it was against its policy.
Stranded passengers at the Chandigarh airport on Tuesday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, December 11
Peeved at the arrangements made by the airline for their onward journey, Jammu-bound passengers of Simplifly Deccan today held a protest at the Chandigarh airport.

The airline flies to Jammu from Delhi via Chandigarh. Today, the onward flight to Jammu was cancelled owing to bad weather.

The flight scheduled to land at 1.50 pm landed in the city at 4 pm. “Though we were told at Delhi about the cancellation of the flight to Jammu from Chandigarh, we came to the city on the assurance from airline officials that proper travel arrangements for further journey would be made at Chandigarh,” said Dr Sonika.

A total of 18 passengers bound for Jammu from Delhi agreed to fly till Chandigarh and then proceed to Jammu in cabs arranged by the airline, claimed the airline officials.

“We provided them taxis as agreed by the passengers at Delhi. However they refused these when they landed here,” stated an official.

The officials said a family of three demanded that a separate taxi be provided to them. “We had two taxis waiting for the passengers. They wanted three.”

Alleging misbehaviour by the airline officials, passengers said: “It is not possible to undertake such a long journey in discomfort. But the officials are not ready to listen to our requests for one more cab”.

The passengers said there were no arrangements for refreshment or lodging. The Deccan officials clarified that being a low-cost airline, it did not provide such facilities. Meanwhile, Jan Shatabdi and Shatabdi Express were an hour behind schedule. Sources at the railway station said the trains were running late due to the fog.



Army Liquor Scam
GCM of 2 brigadiers to begin on Dec 13
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The general court martial (GCM) of two brigadiers, for their alleged role in a liquor scam, is scheduled to begin on December 13.

Charges against them include misappropriation of funds meant for gathering intelligence and unauthorised borrowing of money from private agencies.

Sources at the Army Headquarters revealed that two charges under Section 52 of the Army Act have been leveled against Brig R G Divakar, a brigade commander for allegedly diverting military intelligence funds and handing them to his Division Commander, Maj Gen G I Singh, who was earlier tried and cashiered by a GCM in the same case.

He also faces two alternate charges under Section 63 for acts prejudicial to military discipline.

One charge under Section 63 has been leveled against Brig R S Rana, who was commanding an artillery brigade in the same division, for allegedly borrowing money from a private company, thereby violating regulation 337 of the Army.

Maj Gen R.K. Sanan, head of the electronics and mechanical engineering branch at Headquarters Central Command has been detailed as the GCM’s presiding officer.

The Army had earlier trued two brigadiers in the same case. A GCM presided by Maj Gen V. Verma, General Officer Commanding 21 Division had held Brig D S Grewal and had awarded him a reprimand while Brig G Illangovan was acquitted.

They had faced charges under Section 52 of the Army Act for misappropriation of funds and intent to defraud.

The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Central Command, however, did not agree with the findings of the GCM when the proceedings were sent to him for confirmation and had ordered the court to reconsider its findings.

All four Brigadiers were posted under the command of 6 Mountain Division, whose former GOC, Maj Gen G I Singh was tried and convicted by a GCM for allegedly siphoning off large quantities of canteen liquor and selling it in the civilian market.

During his trial it was brought out that he used to issue cheques to his brigade commanders on the pretext of utilising the funds for cultivating sources and gathering intelligence.

Three commanders used to return cash to him and the transactions ran into several lakh rupees. This money was allegedly used to run the liquor scam.



Councillors threaten to resign
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 11
The ongoing row between shopkeepers of Kalka and administration over the clearing of alleged encroachments for four-laning of National highway took a political colour when dozens of municipal councilors threatened to resign from the committee if the administration carried out the demolitions in the town, here today. The future of hundreds of shopkeepers and their families was languishing as they were bound to lose their occupations as well as their houses built on shops.

We would never allow the administration to demolish their shops and houses till suitable alternative arrangements were not made, they said.

Around a dozen municipal councilors and other prominent residents of the town led by Bhagat Singh son of a former Haryana minister Lachhman Singh from Kalka assembled here at Haryana tourism motel Red Bishop to announce their strategy to counter administration’s move of proposed demolition in the town. The administration has been issuing notices to shopkeepers on the roadside mentioning that they had encroached upon the government land.

Providing pertinent documents to the mediapersons he said the shops and houses built on the sides of road proposed to be widened were constructed decades ago when no objection certificates were issued to them by municipal committee to allow construction. Now the administration has refused to accept these documents as the claim of people on the land, he added.

Moreover, the administration even deprived them of their constitutional right to seek justice also as they were not provided the substantial period to appeal under the Control of Highways Land and Traffic Act to the Tribunal against the decision of local administration, he rued.

In fact the administration was acting on the basis of amendments made in the Act in 1997, due to which the roads going through municipal limits were brought under the Act, informed Nardev Sharma a local leader of BJP. The buildings on the sides of road were constructed before the amendment. However, the residents should be provided opportunity to challenge the decision of administration as the Act could not be implemented in retrospective, he claimed.

The administration on the other hand said it was still under the process of issuing the notices to the encroachers and every body was being provided proper hearing on the issue.

The Panchkula deputy commissioner Rajender Kataria said all the rules and regulations were followed before the notices were issued to the residents. In case any one feels he was not provided proper hearing he can inform him accordingly, he said.



Chandigarh of yesteryear
Photography expo tomorrow too

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The beauty of life, a fleeting moment of nature, an expressive face - all this and more captured in lens awaits you at a photo exhibition which was inaugurated by Chandigarh home secretary Krishan Mohan at Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, today. The exhibition is on till December 13.

The exhibition features works of first photographer of the city Satya Pal Handa and has jointly been organised by the Rotary Club of Chandigarh as part of its golden jubilee celebrations. Rich splendour of photographs is sure to provide an awesome experience to the onlookers.

Capturing a wide range of human emotions and exhibiting the early years of the making of Chandigarh, the photos speak volumes of the art.

A photograph of Sector 17 taken in 1958, showcasing the life of labourers, evokes interest so does the photographs of Sectors 14 and 25 clicked in the 1960s which display labourers residing in huts. All in black and white, the varied moods of the snaps take you to a different era.

The aloofness of Jama Masjid, intrinsically captured behind a tree with a crow perched atop, raises the curiosity level of the visitors so does the picture of two ducks lost in eating grains. “The beauty lies in the eye of the photographer, the pictures have been taken at a time when the modern digital technology was not developed. A lot of hard work is involved in composing these pictures and giving them light as well as dark shades,” said Handa.

The photograph of two shivering children standing barefoot with Taj Mahal in the background leaves the onlookers amazed.

Widely travelled and with several national and international awards to his credit, including UNO recognition for valuable contribution to international photography, Satya Pal said the photographs were a medium of communication and an ideal of life. “Images of people form the subject of this exhibition and it is left to the visitors to carefully view, explore and understand the emotions of these evergreen photographs. This is the reason why captions are not written under them.”



‘Education Watch’ on commercialisation
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
It is a platform for the educators by the educators. With an objective to address issues and problems related to education and deliberate upon the scope of primary, secondary and higher level education, a group of like-minded professors, writers and intellectuals from diverse fields have come together to form ‘Education Watch’. “The idea is to come on a common platform in this era of globalisation and follow the mantra ‘Think globally and act locally’, said Dr R.N. Sharma, PU senator.

A formal conference of the forum was held today presided by Prof H.S. Mehta. Dr P.L. Garg, former registrar, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, was chosen the convener and Dr Akshaya Kumar, reader, department of English, was selected co-convener of the forum. The meeting was attended by Dr R.N. Sharma, Prof Manjit Singh, secretary, Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA), Dr Kuldeep Puri of department of correspondence studies PU, and others.

The forum would act as a common podium for all those who are conscious about commercialisation of education, mushrooming of universities and declining standards of education.

The forum would be open for suggestions and inputs from all quarters including students. “After all students are an integral part of the education system,” said Prof Manjit Singh, secretary, PUTA.

The next monthly meeting of the forum would debate over ‘Universalisation of Elementary Education in the Age of Globalisation’.



Councillors speak up for colony residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
The MC today held a special meeting of the house to discuss the framing of a policy for providing basic amenities to colonies on a par with other sectors of the city.

Cutting across party lines, councillors discussed issues concerning colony residents. The MC has formulated a core committee to look into the points raised today and file a report within 15 days.

The MC has 11 colonies under its control. There were more issues bothering these colonies than just encroachments. There were people living there and their welfare needed to be kept in mind, former mayor Kamlesh said.

“When colony dwellers pay equal tax to the government and enjoy no subsidy on electricity and water bills, they deserve equal rights to basic facilities,” she stated.

“Please de-link the issue of encroachments from the basic problems being faced by the residents,” stated former mayor Anu Chatrath.

Nominated councillor Pallav Mukherjie pointed out that it was important to make all policies time bound. He also suggested that experts who had dealt with this issue should be consulted before going ahead with a policy in this regard.

The councillors said if they had the right to pass projects amounting to crores, they also had the right to demand an explanation regarding their progress.

They stated that though many a time projects had been passed by the house for colonies, a large number of those had not even taken off yet.



Penalise encroachers

We come across a number of encroachments by shopkeepers on roads. In Rajpura town itself many 30/40 feet wide roads in the markets have shrunk to merely 10 feet because of the encroachments. As per the rules, any item lying on roads can be confiscated and released only after imposing fines.

Likewise, there are a number of other illegal activities like throwing waste on public land, traffic violations etc for which the administration can penalise the violators. This will not only help in raising funds but also help to create a civilized society.

Kulbir Singh Chadha, Rajpura

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Robbers held within hrs of crime
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
In a swift action, the police arrested the youths who allegedly robbed a Mauli Jagran resident of his cycle and cash after beating him up in the wee hours today.

According to the police, the accused have been identified as Jai Veer, Satish and Vikram, all residents of Rajiv Colony, Panchkula.

They are in their 20s and were earlier involved in several cases.

The police said Santosh Gupta of Mauli Jagran had reported that he was on his way back home at 12.30 am when he was waylaid by three persons who asked him to hand over his money. When he resisted, they thrashed him.

They then took away his wallet containing Rs 2,000 and cycle. The accused ran away and raised the alarm following which people gathered there. Someone identified one of the youths and informed the police.

The SHO of the Mani Majra police station, inspector Hari Kumar, said the police raided the house of the accused and arrested him. The other accused were also arrested and the stolen articles recovered from their possession.

They were produced before a court, which remanded them in police custody.



Youth dies in accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 11
Riyaz, 27, who was on a scooter, was killed in an accident in Sector 18 here this evening. The victim worked in a shop. He was hit by an Esteem car (CH01-M- 0302).

The driver car has absconded. Riyaz was rushed to the Sector 16 hospital where he was declared ‘brought dead.’ A case of rash and negligent driving has been registered.



Biz Word

EXPANSION PLANS: Ping mobile service of HFCL Infotel Limited would expand the CDMA technology across India, stated G.D. Singh, chief operating officer of HFCL Infotel, at a press conference here today. Talking to The Tribune, G.D.Singh said, “We have expanded our network and it is now available in 270 towns and 2,050 villages of Punjab and Chandigarh through a state-wide distribution network of 8,000 retail outlets,” he stated. “The company has reached a subscriber base of one lakh in Punjab in just 80 days,” he added.

Launched: Get ready to face the winter chill in style with the new fall winter collection introduced by brand Oracle here today. The collection was launched by CEO of the company Sanjeev Singla. With a wide range of trendy and fashionable jackets, pullovers, formals and semi-formals, the winter brand is available at various showrooms and malls across the city and also in various states, including Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Uttaranchal, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Jeans and trousers will be the next thing in the company’s portfolio. — TNS



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