C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


New policy puts a stop to forcible acquisition
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
No more displacement of original Punjabi land owners from Chandigarh on the pretext of “development” as henceforth the Chandigarh administration will follow the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement policy, 2007.

A formal notification of the policy was made by the union rural development ministry on October 31 this year. A notification of the same has been received and Chandigarh being a UT, it becomes operational immediately. Officials said this will put a stop to land acquisition till a viable financial package is paid to the farmers and land owners.

Further, they will have to be provided alternative rehabilitation in case of loss of livelihood from farming, dairying and horticulture. Land used by the owners for grazing cattle will also be classified as “agricultural lands”.

This will make acquisition in Chandigarh almost impossible as there is no available land on which affected families can be rehabilitated. The rehabilitation programme will have representatives of the affected families so that they have a say in their compensation package.

The policy clearly states that rehabilitation of one group of people should not be at the cost of acquiring somebody else’s land. Rehabilitation can be done only if a chunk of land is earmarked within the acquired land for rehabilitating the original owners or if government wasteland or land is available for the purpose of resettlement. This is impossible for Chandigarh where no spare land exists.

Among the first scheme likely to be hit be the notification is the controversial scheme to provide houses to slum dwellers built on land acquired from Punjabi farmers. For long, land owners have protested saying why should they be forced to give up their land for houses for slum dwellers who anyway sell their allotments and earn a profit.

Also, the compensation to be paid now will be so high that it will make any project unviable, hence it will have an impact on several ongoing land acquisitions meant for specific long-term development projects in Chandigarh.

The policy clearly says that “additional benefits, that go beyond monetary compensation, have to be provided to families affected adversely by involuntary displacement”.

Even the landless earning their livelihood by working in the fields or as farm hands for more than three years will be treated as families affected by land acquisition.

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5 marla plot to go for Rs 40 lakh, at least
Auction on Dec 17
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Owning a residential property in Chandigarh will remain a dream for most if the reserve price of a five marla plot fixed by the UT’s finance department is anything to go by.

For the auction of freehold residential plots scheduled for December 17, the administration has fixed the minimum reserve price of a five marla plot at Rs 40 lakh and Rs 80 lakh for a 7.5 marla plot. The estate office will be selling a five marla plot in Sector 15 and six 7.5 marla plots in Sectors 38 and 46.

“The reserve prices have been calculated keeping in mind the prevailing land prices of residential and commercial property in the city,” a senior official said.

Sources in the estate office said for a 10 marla, one kanal, two kanal and three kanal plots, the reserve prices had been fixed at Rs 1 crore, Rs 1.5 crore, Rs 3.10 crore and Rs 4.5 crore, respectively.

The estate office would also auction 25 one kanal plots in Sectors 11, 38, 40 and 46. A total of 99 residential plots of various sizes are being auctioned.

For the auction of 52 commercial sites on December 18, the estate office has fixed the minimum reserve price at over Rs 1.17 lakh per sq yard.

The auction would be held as per the new Chandigarh Estate Rules, 2007, notified by the administration recently. The bidder would now have to deposit Rs 2 lakh in advance in place of Rs 500 earlier. The entire bid money would have to be deposited within 90 days from the date of auction.

Meanwhile, the administration has decided to auction a five acre plot adjacent to The Tribune in Sector 29 here. The reserve price of the site is expected to be around Rs 50 crore.

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City lad is Georgia’s top under-40 leaders
G.S Paul
Tribune News Service

Navneet S. Narula
Navneet S. Narula

Chandigarh, December 12
Navneet S. Narula stands out like, well, any other turbaned guy, but it’s his actions that set him apart. This 29-year-old city lad based in Atlanta, USA, has been selected as Georgia’s Top under-40 leaders, the ‘Best and the Brightest Leaders in America”, and makes him the youngest Asian- American to achieve this distinction .

Before leaving for Georgia, Navneet shared his feelings with The Tribune,“ I am a lucky man and have had more than I need. But there are others out there who have much less than what they need, I want to give back all my experience, achievements, whatever I have achieved, to these people, only to make them realise how to utilise opportunities which comes one’s way.”

In the rare field of Fortune 100 global business, Navneet has established himself as a top corporate executive for one of the world’s largest management and IT consulting firms.

His journey started 10 years ago. After completing high school from Yadvindra Public School, Navneet, with just $ 424 in pocket, left for the USA on a temporary visa.

“It was motivation from my parents, especially my mother Sukhvarsha Kaur Narula, principal of Government Home Science College-10, and my tennis coach, Wg. Commander Beant Singh, that encouraged me to take life as a challenge.”

The game of tennis taught him ‘never to give up’ and Navneet has travelled across the globe and worked as a volunteer among victims of natural disasters As a director of Community Empowerment and Humanitarian Relief at United Sikhs, an NGO, he has spent months at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in providing humanitarian relief and rehabilitation to victims of tsunami. When Katrina struck New Orleans, Navneet, reached with his teams and adopted 17 shelters. The United Sikhs squad helped start a sponsored education institute and a community centre providing free computer education.

Born and brought up in Chandigarh, Navneet, wants to to something for Chandigarhians. “I will be happy if I could do something for the city which is emerging as a great IT hub. It was lack of opportunities which prompted me to leave the city, but I would like to see it become a place of opportunities to prevent braindrain”.

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Live concerts are dying: Pianist
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
His passion for the piano began at the age of three. His ardent enthusiasm, perseverance and apt training earned him rather quick recognition in the international arena. This twentyfive-year-old pianist, will perform for the first time in city for the four-day Hungarian Film Festival that starts tomorrow.

Marouan Ben Abdallah is an artiste with acute sensitivity and imagination. “The piano is very popular in Hungary. Learning a piano is easy, violin is difficult in comparison,” he says.

The music maestro doesn’t compose his own tunes, but brings alive compositions of renowned classical musicians like Kodaly and Bar Toc to name a few. “It is a big challenge to retain their originality, I never improvise their compositions, ” he says.

So what is it like performing in City Beautiful? “It is great. I performed at Pune and Mumbai and found the audience quite attentive, more so in Mumbai.”

“But at certain cities I found the audiences were not used to classical music concerts as compared to the audience abroad. I only wished the mobile phones would stop ringing,” he says.

“I am simply in love with the food and culture of the country. I am baffled at the vast diversity here. Its great.”

For those interested to play the piano, the maestro practice and more practice alone eventually leads to expertise. “The sooner one starts learning, the better- may be at the age of four or five.”

Marouan lamented the fact that classical music concerts were slowly taking a backseat with the advent of the internet and CDs. “Music lovers download songs from the net... it’s a bit sad, the aura at a live concert is unmatched.”

Named as one of the Musicians of the Year 2005 by the Hungarian National Classical Music Radio, Marouan has performed at many of Budapest's concert halls, including the Great Hall of the Franz Liszt Music Academy.

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I weigh theatre art in the scale of utility: Tanvir
S.D. Sharma

Habib TanvirPanchkula, December 12
“I weigh the theatre art also in the scale of utility and the theatre of our dreams should be loyal to our people, their culture, social realities and problems of all stratum of the society,” maintains the living theatre legend Padmabhushan Jenab Habib Tanvir.

In Pinjore, on the invitation of SPIC-MACAY Chandigarh chapter for staging his internationally acclaimed classic play “Charan Das Chor” at the HMT auditorium he shared moments from his 50 years of theatrical voyage.

Honoured to be an MP for six years and world recognition in realm of performing arts even at the ripe age of 84 the gentleman with a fire in his eyes, Habib Tanvir is a committed actor, playwright, poet and a director. He does not let his frail health to be a hindrance in executing his resolute resolves.

“The pleasure of working hard with devotion in fact rejuvenates me,” he said.

Since the elitist theatre, run by the elites, is more urban catering to the aesthetic ideals and value system of the bourgeoisie but to me the stage represents the aspirations and ethos of the people of any area, he said. It was imperative that the vitality and vigour traditional folklore be evaluated and innate potential of those men of the soil be projected, felt the legendary Habib. At the same time I could not comprehend how leaned theatre artists can boast of propagating these ideals or beliefs with out any interaction.

My long learning stints at London’s Old Vic Theatre, Germany and European centres had to be shelved or unlearnt as soon I came face to face with realities on and off stage. Blessed with a special attribute of intuition I can finalise my actors on the very sight and proper casting in a play is of paramount importance. Most of my cast is comprised of illiterate actors but fully educated to feel and portray the real character on stage with perfection and consummate ease. As a director or playwright I remain absent in the drama by not thrusting my verdicts to spoil their natural throw of words and action.

My theatre form is absolutely modern but with meticulously chosen cast from uneducated actors who are the gems of versatility. After the maiden play ‘Agra Bazar’ Habib had never looked back and reigned supreme with his directorial elegance. Besides, the Edinburg Fringe Festival winning play ‘Charan Das Chor’ under the production ‘Bahadur Kalarin’ completed in two years is close to my heart. The spurt of TV channels, especially, with its estranged serials had proved bad omen for theatre though TV has the positive aspects of bringing latest news, sports and international events.

Presently he is working on a prestigious project “Bhopal Movie” -2008. I love theatre with the meaningful and engrossing entertainment with an open message of social relevance.

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Transmission losses may soon be history
Admn studying computerised power mgmt system
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
A fully computerised power supply management system could soon be a reality in the city. Several cities in Gujarat and Rajasthan have implemented it successfully and the administration is studying it for managing power supply.

Recently, three leading companies were called in for a presentation in this regard.

The system envisages to provide information on real time basis on how many transformers are being overused or not being fully utilised. Or which transmission line is faulty and from where power is being stolen. This will cut transmission losses.

The system works by managing power supply and its output by studying each power line and power connection.

A complete electrical analysis will be indertaken using a special software and a geographical information system (GIS) for studying power distribution network.

The system will assist engineers in working out the technical analysis of the system. It tells where a short circuit could have occurred and why.

It will also provide information like revenue, billing, attending to complaints, store inventory and usage patterns of consumers.

Once the administration adopts this system, there will be no delay in the release of connections or attending to complaints.

A GIS-based complaint handling and redress module will help monitor where the fault has occurred as all power lines will be mapped.

The complaint attendant will inform the mobile team nearest to the fault position.

The line on which high losses occur will be identified, besides areas that have low voltage. So far, the entire database is managed manually.

Each consumer will have a distinct location on the GIS as will each feeder and transformer.

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Wall Collapse
Another body found under debris
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Another body was found underneath the debris of the wall that collapsed in a Sector-35 house yesterday. With this the death toll in the incident has risen to four.

The victim was identified as Rahis Khan, 22, a nephew of contractor Abdul Khan, who was arrested by the police on charges of causing death due to negligence. Rahis had come to meet his uncle.

DSP (South) KIP Singh said the death came to light when the police asked the contractor to give the number of persons working at the site. Abdul’s wife disclosed that Rahis had gone missing after the incident and it seemed that Rahis was present at the wall collapse site. The DSP said at mid-night last night, the police launched a search operation along with 12 labourers. After toiling for over two hours, the body of Rahis was found under the debris. While Vakeel died on the spot, Shri Kant and Madan Lal succumbed to their injuries.

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Rs 10-cr excise duty evasion detected

Chandigarh, December 12
Central excise duty evasion amounting to Rs 10 crore was unearthed by the Directorate of Central Excise Intelligence today after conducting raid on two Himachal-based LPG cylinder manufacturers for allegedly misusing tax exemption announced by the Union Government.

The companies, having their manufacturing facilities in Una district, had allegedly claimed area-based exemption to the tune of Rs 10 crore by showing 25 per cent expansion in their units during 2003, a stipulation laid down by the Union Government for claiming tax exemption.

However, the investigation conducted by excise sleuths revealed that actually the companies had not undertaken any expansion programme, sources said.

“They just procured fake bill of machinery from a Ghaziabad-based supplier in a bid to show purchase for expansion purposes,” said a senior official. The supplier had admitted that he did not supply any machinery to them, he added.

As per finance ministry notification, if any existing manufacturing unit expands itself by 25 per cent after January 7, 2003, it would be eligible for tax exemption. The raids were carried out simultaneously by a team of excise sleuths at Una and Delhi. — PTI

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Army commander visits paraplegic centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The GOC-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen T.K. Sapru, visited the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC) in Mohali yesterday. It was his first visit to the centre after taking over the reins of the Western Command.

He expressed concern over the welfare of the disabled soldiers and promised all help to the centre from the Western Command. He also distributed fruits among the inmates.

It has been envisioned that the PRC would soon be modernised and the facilities provided to the inmates would be on a par with world class standards.

At present, there are 37 inmates in the centre.

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Protest rally by ministerial staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Ministerial staff members of the Punjab Education Department today staged a rally outside the Sector 17 office of the director, public instructions, Punjab, in support of their demands.

They alleged that the top functionaries of the department were doing nothing except transferring union leaders to far-flung places as part of a “vindictive” drive even as development works were being ignored.

Harnek Singh Mavi, state leader of the union, alleged that 14 posts of administrative officer, 74 superintendent and 65 senior assistant had been lying vacant in the department for a long time and nothing had been done to fill these posts.

They alleged officers were busy transferring employees on flimsy grounds. They said such transfers should be reverted immediately.

Sukhdev Singh, general secretary of the union, said the salaries of the diet staff should also be released at the earliest.

Representatives of the union threatened to launch a stir from the house of the education minister as the authorities concerned had failed to discuss the issue with the union. 

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Chrysanthemum Show
Participants’ zeal withers
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Known for its huge variety and sparkling freshness of flowers, the annual flower event - Chrysanthemum Show - has disappointed a large number of enthusiastic participants who were preparing for the competition since July this year. The delay in organising the show by the municipal corporation as well as the rain showers a couple of days back have resulted in withering of flowers.

A visit to Terraced Garden in Sector 33 by this correspondent revealed that a number of flowers were showing signs of withering. Gardeners were seen fretting over their hard work going down the drain. “The planting of these flowers requires utmost care and precaution. The mother plant is sowed in July in sand after which it is transplanted in a mud pot. It thrives in adequate sunlight and rainwater can destroy the plant. I have been taking care of the plants and preparing since July but the delay in the programme has spoilt everything,” lamented Ram Sajivan, a gardener.

Many other gardeners as well as participants, who were giving final touches to the flowers today for the tomorrow’s competition, said the show would have borne an altogether different look had it been organised eight to 10 days before. “The first week of December is the time when the flowers are in full bloom and exhibit vibrant colours. We have now lost the zeal for the event. It’s the mayors’ conference that was more important for the MC and not our hard work,” a participant said.

Arun Kumar, executive engineer, horticulture, when contacted said it was the climate change and rains that might have withered some of the flowers. The show was held on December 8 last year. The three-day event, which would begin on December 14 while the best varieties’ competition would be held on December 13.

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Overgrazing by livestock threatens chiru
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Overgrazing by livestock in and around the Aksai Chin and Chhang Chhenmo valleys in Ladakh worries biologists.

It’s home to a large number of endangered species, including the Tibetan wild ass, the black-necked crane, the bar-headed geese and the Tibetan antelope.

The declining population of the Tibetan antelope, also known as chiru, has made environmentalists to think about their conservation.

Tsewang Namgail, a PhD student with resource ecology group, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands, says the chiru is only found in India and China.

It seasonally migrates to the northeastern part of Ladakh from the Aksai Chin and Chhang Chhenmo valleys between June and August.

However, their number varies as it is a trans-boundary species.

Namgail, who has been studying the fauna of Ladakh for the past many years, says the international craze for shawls made of shahtoosh, ‘the wool of kings’, will make the chiru extinct in a few years.

He says though the Jammu and Kashmir government had amended its wildlife Act to include the chiru in Schedule I, it is not strictly enforcing the Act.

Namgail, an alumnus of Panjab University, Chandigarh, says the chiru is also threatened due to habitat degradation.

Grazing pressure by livestock results in competition among animals.

Construction of roads and overexploitation of flora by local people and herdsmen have resulted in the decline of biodiversity.

The hazards for wild animals increase from June to September when migratory graziers reach the valleys. Their livestock are potential carriers of diseases. The dependence of the villagers on the valleys for wood, fodder and cultivation is degrading the habitat.

“The government should educate the shepherds about controlled grazing, rational use of flora and protection to the livestock from the wild animals,” he says.

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Award for PGI doc
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Dr Sushmita Kaushik, assistant professor, Advanced Eye Centre, PGI, has won the best scientific paper award during the Annual Conference of Glaucoma Society of India 2007 at Kolkata.

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Beware, Violators
Cops to go on challaning spree
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, December 12
Traffic violators beware. Red light jumpers, drunken drivers, triple riders and those driving their vehicles at high speed and parking at unauthorised places will soon face action as the traffic wing of the district police is all set to challan offenders spreading the message that traffic rules are to be followed.

Officials in charge of various areas have been given directions to start challaning those indulging in various violations. Recovery vans will be lifting wrongly parked vehicles. Alcometers will be used to check drunken driving and speed radars to ensure that speed limits are followed.

As many as 22 accident prone sites have been identified by the police in SAS Nagar district on the basis of data available in the past six months where fatal accidents had taken place. The civic bodies of the areas concerned are being asked to put up boards stating that the stretch is “accident prone” and also to put up speed limit boards. The speed limits specified in the Punjab government gazette notification of October 19, 2007 for national highways and state highways within and outside the municipal limits will be followed.

Sukhwant Singh Gill, SP Traffic and Security, told The Tribune here today that gazetted officers would be deployed to carry out checks even at night, especially on the highways to ensure that road users made use of reflectors and dipped headlights. He said one ambulance and one recovery van would be stationed at Zirakpur while similar two vehicles would be stationed at Khanpur chowk in Kharar to be used in case of emergency.

He said in Mohali, school children would be involved to create awareness about traffic. On December 18 and 19, students from various schools would be helping the police to regulate traffic at the Phase III — V chowk, Chawla chowk and Phase VII chowk. Later, traffic week would be observed from January 1 next year.

DTO Balbir Singh said there were no road dividers on the horizontal roads in the town, resulting in traffic hazards. The road from the bus stand to Balongi was narrow even though it was a heavy traffic zone. The worse part was that there was no scope of widening the road. He said timings would have to be set for closing certain roads to heavier traffic to ease the situation.

The Punjab DGP had sent clear instructions that traffic rules had to be followed. Though the police was making all efforts to ensure strict implementation, cooperation of the public was must to get the desired results, said Raka Ghirra, DSP (Traffic).

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Drug de-addiction seminar
Spend more time with kids, says expert
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 12
Members of the Dalit Chetna Manch organised a one-day seminar on drug de-addiction at Sector 70 here today. The seminar was inaugurated by former Kharar MLA Bir Devinder Singh.

Dr Simmi Wariach said drug addiction ruined not only the addict but his entire household. She said there was a growing need for the parents to spend more time with their children. Prof Sarabjit Singh said every person should be kept busy as an idle mind harboured evils. Mohali DSP S.S. Bains said drug addiction was responsible for many of crimes.

Jasjit Singh Bunny, chairman of Punjab Cooperative Banks, distributed woollen uniforms to students, blankets and beddings to the needy on the occasion.

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Burglars decamp with cash, jewellery
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 12
Burglars decamped with more than Rs 50,000 cash and jewellery after breaking into a house at Sector 4 here.

According to police sources, the theft was reported last night when owner of the house Manpreet Singh reached home after attending a marriage at New Delhi. The police said Manpreet had left for New Delhi on Friday. A tenant living in the building also left for some other place on Monday. The thieves entered the house through the window after breaking the grill, said the police.

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Letters
Join hands to check dog menace

This is with reference to the letter carried in your newspaper on December 11 regarding dog menace. I want to make a point here that if we human beings have no control over our ever-increasing population, how can we expect animals to control theirs? It is us humans who can do something to control their population by adopting measures like large-scale sterilisation. Maneka Gandhi alone can not do it. So instead of blaming the stray dogs for creating nuisance, we should join hands to help them who cannot help themselves.

Paramjit, Mohali

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

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Decomposed body found hanging
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
A highly decomposed body of a man was found hanging in the wilderness behind the Sector 42 hockey stadium here this evening.

According to the police, the body was spotted at around 5.15 pm. It was hanging from a height of about 10 feet and was emitting foul smell. The body was decomposed beyond recognition.

The DSP (South) K.I.P. Singh,who visited the spot, said no document or any other article was found which could help in the identification of the victim.

The body has been sent to the Sector 16 Government Multi Speciality Hospital for a postmortem.

Meanwhile, the police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC in this connection.

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Lucknow resident held for duping students
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 12
The Nayagaon police has finally laid hands on Sunil Kumar, a Lucknow resident, who allegedly duped hundreds of students here of lakhs of rupees on the pretext of sending them abroad for higher studies. The accused was running a centre in Nayagaon for the past two years.

According to Nayagaon SHO Gurjeet Singh, the accused had been running the racket in Fatehgarh Sahib also. On the complaints of some students, he was arrested by the Fatehgarh Sahib police.

Sunil was in judicial remand at Nabha jail from where he was brought to Mohali today on transit remand. A local court has remanded him to three days in police custody.

Gurjeet Singh added that the Nayagaon police had received almost a dozen complaints against him in which he had duped students of Rs 2-3 lakh. The accused used to tell the students that in case they did courses at his centre, they would be able to go abroad.

Sunil Kumar has been booked under Section 406 and 420 of the IPC.

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Two held for illegal sale of rly tickets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) arrested two ticket agents from Sector 17 on the charges of selling railway tickets illegally.

Chandigarh post sub-inspector Sukhdev Raj said following information a raid was conducted at the railway tickets reservation counter at the Sector 17 ISBT. The sleuths nabbed Raj Kumar and Santosh Chauhan while selling tickets illegally.

Santosh Chaudary runs a travel agency in Sector 17.

The raiding team found 11 tickets in Santosh’s office and other record while six tickets were found with Raj Kumar. A case under the Railway Act has been registered.

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Ten vehicles stolen from city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 12
Ten vehicles, including six cars, were stolen from the city while a house was burgled at Raipur Khurd village.

Robert Sesslor of Sector 35-C has reported to the police that his Bolero car was stolen from his house on Monday night while Gurpreet Singh of Sector 36-A said his Esteem car was stolen from his house last night. A.K. Bhardwaj of Sector 36-B also said his Maruti car was stolen last night.

The Maruti car of Surekha Gupta of Sector 36-D was stolen from near Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36-D, on December 7 while the Maruti car of Anu Mujal of Sector 33 was stolen from the PGI parking yesterday.

In another incident, Ramesh Musafir of Sector 43 has filed a complaint with the police that his Alto car was stolen from his house on December 10.

Similarly, Balkar Singh of Sector 40-C reported that his Scorpio vehicle was stolen this morning and Angrej Singh of Balongi, Mohali, said his Toyota Innova was stolen from the parking in Sector 17 on December 6.

Meanwhile, Raj Kumar of Sector 35 said his Hero Honda motorcycle was stolen from his house on November 19 and Archana Sharma of Sector 23 lodged a complaint that her Kinetic Honda scooter was stolen from Sector 19 yesterday.

Nine cases of theft have been registered.

Burglary

P.K. Ghosh of Raipur Khurd village has reported to the police that 100 gm of gold was stolen from his house yesterday. A case has been registered.

Snatching

Nitin Arora of Mohali has reported to the police that a man snatched his mobile phone in Sector 27 and fled.

In another incident, Ishpreet Kaur of Sector 10, Panchkula, lodged a complaint with the police that some motorcyclists snatched his mobile phone in Sector 44 this afternoon.

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