C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


ICICI Bank at it again
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
Getting credit cards issued has doubled the worries of Sanjeev Arora, a resident of Sector 38 West. Sanjeev received a call on November 7 from a police inspector in New Delhi to make the payments of purchases he has made on his credit cards though he had cleared all his dues.

Sanjeev had got three credit cards issued from ICICI Bank, two in his name and one in his wife’s name in 2003. He decided to surrender the cards this year and made the payment of worth Rs 1.40 lakh in August, 2007.

Later, Sanjeev also got a no objection certificate (NoC) issued where the bank confirmed that there were no dues pending against the three credit cards.

“The bank started making calls at my place to clear a balance of Rs 18,000 against one card that was issued to me. I am usually out on tours and my family received the calls,” said Sanjeev.

Disclosing the details of the call made by an inspector in Delhi, Sanjeev added that non-bailable warrants have been issued against him. “The inspector told me that they will arrest me. The inspector asked me to contact the lawyer of the bank. After contacting the lawyer, I told him that I have the NoC regarding the credit cards. Thereafter, he asked me to fax it to him. Though I had faxed the NoC, the bank's lawyer sent me a notice to meet him in the district courts,” he added.

On meeting the lawyer today, Sanjeev showed the NoC and the receipts of the payments made. The lawyer told him that there was misunderstanding and there was some fault on the part of the bank.

He stated that the bank has harassed him by making threatening calls. “I plan to go to the consumer courts as I have been harassed by the bank.”

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Widening of Pinjore road
HC gives nod to clear encroachments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
Asking Panchkula’s superintendent of police to protect the life and liberty of officials and others involved in the demolition drive in the highway widening and anti-encroachment case, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today made it clear that the drive against encroachment would continue.

As the matter came up for hearing this morning, the Bench, comprising chief justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, told the authorities concerned to remove the encroachments by the fruit vendors and others on the side of road on the Kalka-Pinjore route.

Taking up the petitions regarding the demolition drive for widening the Kalka-Pinjore highway, the Bench also asked the petitioners in the matter to represent to the authorities concerned. They, in turn, were asked to pass an appropriate order after examining the documents.

The Bench maintained that in cases where encroachments have been found, the authorities should comply with the directions of the court. The National Highway Authority of India should then be given the possession of the land where encroachments have been removed.

Earlier during the hearing, the court was informed that over 500 cases of encroachments have been found in Kalka and Pinjore. Out of the total, about 292 such cases were in Pinjore alone. Almost a similar number was there in Kalka. The matter will now come up for hearing on January 27.

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Bogus lecturer in soup after 15 years
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
Senior officials in the administration conveniently ignored complaints against this ‘well-connected’ teacher from time to time, who had enjoyed the benefits of a lecturer on the basis of bogus degree from a university in Bihar for the past 15 years.

But now the teacher is in trouble. The education department has at last found that the degree on the basis of which he was promoted as a lecturer were bogus and had been arranged through unscrupulous elements from the Magadh University, Bodh Gaya, Bihar.

This time the teacher was caught unaware when a special team of officials of the Education Department on a visit to Bihar university found that the teacher never appeared in the exams and the degree was bogus. The team reported to the department about their findings, implying that the degrees were fake.

Amar Singh, at present working in the capacity of a maths lecturer at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 22, managed to obtain a degree in mathematics from Magadh University, Bodh Gaya, Bihar, in 1992.

Refuting allegations, Amar Singh said, “ Where is my fault? I took admission through Shaheed Udham Singh College, Sector 34, and appeared under roll no 2240 from the university. How do I know that the certificate issued to me was bogus or whatever?” After verification, it was found that no college in that name existed in Sector 34.

Ironically, his certificate, issued on June 6, 1992, as “Magadh University Provisional Certificate”, stated that Amar Singh had passed the MSc (Maths) examination under roll no. 2240 of this university held in July, 1990, and was placed in first class.

The investigating team verified that no one in the name of Amar Singh appeared through the roll number. Though Amar Singh claimed that he cleared the examination held at Patna. But it was revealed that he never took any leave during the said period to take any examination.

Amar Singh, a master cadre teacher, joined the Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, in March, 1983, as science master (non-medical). After acquiring this degree that too ‘a provisional certificate’ in 1992, he had worked at various schools in the capacity of lecturer.

A big question arises how come the department be so lenient to promote him on the basis of a provisional certificate only which he obtained after two years of completion of his claimed examination? The complaints in this regard had been made a number of times but it was the casual approach by the Education Department that he went on flouting all norms for a six.

Sources revealed that everytime when a complaint was made to the Education Department, Amar with his high-up connections would manage to get scot-free. The senior officials of department are still silent on the issue.

Investigation reveals

His certificate stated that Amar Singh of Sector 22 school has passed the MSc (Maths) examination under roll no. 2240 from Magadh University in July, 1990, in first class. But an investigating team verified that no one in the name of Amar Singh appeared on this roll number

Dept’s carelessness

Complaints had been made a number of times but it was the casual approach by the UT education department that he went on flouting all norms

Question arises

How come the education department be so lenient to promote him on the basis of a provisional certificate only?

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Custodial Death
5 cops held; two flee
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 21
The police has arrested five of the accused cops in the custodial death of Jogi, a resident of Shahbad Markanda here today.

The accused were produced before the chief judicial majistrate, Panchkula, Anshu Shukla, who sent them to judicial custody for 14 days.

The Panchkula superintendent of police Sandip Khirwar said a case under Section 304 was registered against the accused after which they were arrested and produced in the court today. The accused, sent to the judicial custody, include SI Haripal Singh, head constable Bhagwan Das, constable Raghupal, Shan Singh, and Chander Pal. Two others, Pawan Kumar and Joginder Singh, were absconding.

A total of seven cops were suspended on December 18 when the relatives of the deceased, protesting against the death of Jogi, blocked the Barara road at Shahbad followed by raising anti-Haryan police slogans at General Hospital here.

Jogi died in illegal custody on December 17 when the a police party of CIA wing of Panchkula police allegedly picked him from his house on December 8 to interrogate in a case of dacoity in Batod village near Barwala two months ago. The post-mortem report hinted that Jogi was tortured during interrogation.

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Woman cop to probe HIV+ patients’ exploitation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
The issue of the alleged exploitation of the HIV+ women undergoing anti-retroviral treatment at the PGI took a new turn today with the Chandigarh Police deciding to entrust the inquiry to a woman police official.

The police decision follows a formal written request by the PGI authorities to the police to probe matter thoroughly. “Given the sensitive nature of allegations, I have asked SSP Dinesh Bhatt to entrust the probe to a lady police official”, UT IGP SK Jain told The Tribune here.

While non-committal on any time-frame for the completion of the inquiry, Jain, however, added that it would be completed soon. Jain confirmed that the police had received two representations, one from the PGI and another from certain NGOs, for the conduct of the probe. Terming the allegations of physical abuse of the HIV-infected patients as serious, PGI director K.K. Talwar informed that inquiry had been entrusted to the police for a "fair and transparent" probe into the incident.

"It is a sensitive and human issue involving patient rights and the PGI wants that the truth should come so that such incidents were avoided in future".

Talwar said, adding that the PGI's internal inquiry would continue simultaneously.

Certain counsellors and technicians working in the AIDS project in the PGI were in the eye of the storm recently for allegedly exploitating certain HIV+ women undergoing anti-retroviral treatment at the institute. 

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MC wasting public money
Replacing even functional streetlight poles
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
Undertaking an ‘engineering activity’ that is aimed more at spending the allocated budget than to serve any purpose, the Chandigarh municipal corporation is changing all streetlight poles, including the functional ones, on Madhya Marg, Dakshin Marg and Jan Marg.

Public money running in lakhs is being spent on changing the streetlights merely for ‘aesthetic reasons’. On Dakshin Marg alone, at least 210 poles worth lakhs of rupees are being replaced. In the next few months, hundreds of streetlight poles across the city would be changed without anyone, including the elected councillors, questioning the waste of the public money.

The existing poles would be either be dumped in the MC store or sold as scrap. Sources did not even rule out the possibility of the old streetlights being passed off as new and fixed at some other places. There should be a full-fledged enquiry into the status of such streetlight poles which are dumped.

P.K. Mukherjee, chairman of the Electricity Committee, said he was not in favour of changing the poles. “What will aesthetics do if the underground electricity cable is damaged due to wrong procedure of laying the cable,” said Gagandeep, a resident of Sector 48.

Sources in the corporation said there was no problem with the existing poles and those could last for a longer period if maintained properly.

Officials of the MC, however, stated that new poles would have longer life and would be easy to maintain.

In the existing poles, the junction box was fixed in concrete.

Whereas in the new ones, the junction box will be within the poles and there are chances of current travelling in the entire steel structure. Moreover, the new poles were expensive as compared to the existing poles, said sources.

“Instead of replacing the functional poles, streetlights should be provided in the rural areas and colonies in the city,” said an official.

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Panel demands balanced Rent Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
The Commercial Tenant Welfare Committee of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal has appealed to the UPA government against the Rent Act notification proposed by the Chandigarh administration.

In a memorandum sent to the UPA government and the local member of parliament, the committee has sought protection of the commercial tenants against any eviction.

The traders have apprehended that the Act is going to passed by the Parliament. They have demanded that a balanced rent legislation should be drafted in consultation with the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, especially governing the commercial properties of Chandigarh. 

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2-drinks-a-day theory a hoax: PGI chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
For heart patients and potential heart patients it is time for "no cheers".

Contrary to the popular perception that "two small drinks a day" are fine for your heart, eminent cardiologist and PGI director, Prof KK Talwar, today said there was no conclusive evidence of "beneficial" effects of alcohol on the human heart.

The two-drink theory is a hoax and may be part of the liquor companies’ strategy to push up their sales, Professor Talwar said in a talk on healthy heart during the course of a medical camp organised by the Chandigarh Press Club in association with the Gianwati-OP Jain Memorial Trust, Charkhi Dadri, here today.

Heart patients should at best avoid liquor, the doctor said, adding that occasional consumption of 45 ml of liquor (one-and-a-half small drinks) for persons prone to heart diseases could be recommended.

Blaming lifestyle diseases, including heart diseases, on wrong dietary habits, Professor Talwar, who is also head of the department of cardiology of the PGI, said balanced diet coupled with exercise could go a long way in preventing heart diseases.

Terming walking as the best exercise, he advised the patients to avoid self-medication and overdose of medicine.

He also called upon the doctors to create confidence among the patients.

Dispelling another myth, Professor Talwar informed that women were as prone to heart diseases as men.

However, they may be immune to these diseases during the child-bearing age.

Answering a specific question, Professor Talwar said doctors, including cardiologists, were at equal risk of having a heart attack depending upon family history and lifestyle patterns.

The UT IGP, S.K. Jain, stressed the need for holding such camps for the better health of the professionals.

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Air Deccan penalised for harassing couple
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Air Deccan to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation to an SAS Nagar-based couple for causing harassment by delaying refund of ticket fare.

Parminder Gill and his wife Sukhwinder Gill had moved the consumer forum alleging that Air Deccan took a lot of time to refund the ticket fare after the cancellation of flight.

The couple had booked two tickets of Air Deccan to fly to Jammu from Chandigarh in February 2007, but the flight was cancelled. Following which, Parminder demanded refund of Rs 7,960 spent by him. The payment, however, was delayed by the airline.

In their reply, Air Deccan maintained that the flight was cancelled due to unavoidable reasons and pointed out that the ticket fare had already been returned to the complainant.

The forum, headed by Jagroop Singh Mahal, observed, “Although the amount of the tickets has been refunded, yet the refund does not pay up for the harassment caused due to delay. Thus, Air Deccan is liable to pay compensation to the complainants for the harassment caused due to delay in the refund." 

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Mohali Club firing incident
SHO suspended
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 21
SHO of Phase XI Rajpal Singh has been suspended for dereliction of duty in the investigation of a case. According to SAS NagarSSP R.S. Khatrea, the SHO was asked to report to the police lines.

Sources added that Rajpal Singh was investigating an alleged firing that took place near the Mohali Club some days back. Rajpal Singh, a complainant in the case, is said to have interrogated some persons as part of these investigations. Sources added that the whole incident was concocted and never took place.

“During this investigation, dereliction of duty on part of the SHO has come to my notice. He has been suspended,” said the SSP.

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Bathinda police picks up accused
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 21
The Bathinda police today took away Ramandeep Singh Kohli, a resident of Phase X, on production warrants for a cheating case registered against him there.The Mohali police had arrested Kohli two days back for allegedly firing in air outside the Mohali Club in Phase XI some day back.

According to the police, Ramandeep had gone to attend a wedding at the club with his driver Jatinder and friend Sarandeep. A woman was accompanying them. Before leaving the venue they allegedly fired in the air. The three were arrested on December 19 but the woman was reportedly let off.

According to the police, five cartridges and a revolver was recovered from Ramandeep following his arrest. Another revolver and five other cartridges were also recovered from him later, said the police.

Ramandep was living in a rented accommodation in Mohali.

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96 given appointment letters
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 21
Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla, health and family welfare minister, Punjab, gave away appointment letters to 96 newly-appointed candidates under the National AIDS Control Programme.

These consisted 44 laboratory technicians, 39 counsellors, 13 out-reach workers appointed on contractual basis by the Punjab State AIDS Control Society. 

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44th course holds get together
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
The 44th Regular Course of the Indian Military Academy (IMA), organised a social get-together at the Chandimandir Golf Club today. It was on this day, in 1969, that members of the course were commissioned as officers into the Indian Army.

The get-together was hosted by Brigadier H.R. Sharma and officers along with their wives attended the meet.

It was a nostalgic moment for the old comrades to reminiscence over their army career and travel down memory lane 38 years ago. The course was the largest to receive commission on the same day and a number of officers lay down their lives in the service of the nation during the 1971 war.

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Migrants calling the shots on cable TV!
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 21
The fast changing demography of the city has made some local cable operators reshuffle their channels to accommodate the demands of the migrant population.

Entertainment channels come first followed by local cable movie, music and sports channels. News and educational channels like National Geographic and Discovery are the last ones on the list.

The logic is simple. The migrant population affords smaller television sets, which have only 20 to 30 channels, and since the number of cable connections in slums is very high, their demand for entertainment and movie channels cannot be ignored.

“At least 20 per cent of our connections are in slum areas. The first 30 channels are tuned to include the best of everything. Other than Doordarshan channels, these include entertainment, movies, sports and local news channels,” explained Manmohan Singh Bajwa of Prime Cable Network.

Interestingly, for the cable operators, equally essential to be shown among the top 30 channels (called prime channels), are the regional language channels. And no, it does not include Punjabi. “You will be surprised to know how popular the south Indian channels are. There are hundreds of families from the south serving in Mohali and Chandigarh and they prefer to shift to direct-to-home (DTH) to be able to watch their own channels,” said Bajwa.

While the cable operators are obviously trying their best to serve the myriad population of Mohali, many consumers are complaining. “The amplifiers put by cable operators are not strong enough to ensure clear reception of all the channels. I have a television set that tunes 103 channels but the last channel, which has clarity, is 65. Channels like Disney, Discovery, History have been pushed to the other extreme where visibility is zero,” said Dr Pushpinder Singh of Phase 3B2.

Some local cable operators have even started “demand surveys” among their consumers to know what they want to watch. “Entertainment is top, followed by sports and local news channels. Since most of the national news channels are showing repetitive stuff, viewers have lost interest in these,” said Bajwa. He added that channels were added and removed on a daily basis depending on a particular show or sports event.

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Letters
Challans be reprieved

A large number of roads in the city have been laid and re-laid recently. None of the road sides and indicators, including zebra crossings, has been earmarked and painted. A few days back the traffic police had intimated through press that they will challan the drivers if they cross and stop vehicles on the zebra crossings and wrong sides. As far as the city roads are concerned, some of them are managed by UT administration and some by MC as such chief engineers of both departments are requested to paint and earmark the roads immediately. Till than the traffic police should give much needed reprieve to residents from issuing challans during the coming holidays for the New Year. In future the traffic police should issue warnings after verifying the ground realities.

Ram Kumar Garg, Chandigarh

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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12 held for axing trees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
Two days after the incident of axing of at least 350 fruit-bearing and other trees in Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park, Mani Majra, came to light, the police today arrested 12 residents of Rajiv Colony, including six women. Those arrested are Mukesh, Hardawari, Lakhan, Charan Singh, Manohar, Raj Kumar, Sudesh, Sheela, Munni, Saroj Bala, Aruna and Sita. The police also claimed to have recovered chopped wood of about 100 trees from the colony.

According to SHO of the Mani Majra police station inspector Hari Kumar, the police learnt that certain residents of the colony were involved in chopping off trees and had stored the wood in their houses. Following this, a raid was planned, in which officials from the horticulture department, including complainant and assistant landscaping officer Harjit Singh, accompanied the police.

The SHO added that wood of at least 100 trees was recovered from about 15 houses in the colony. The wood was later shifted to the police station.

The accused told the police that they took the wood to use it as fuel in winter. They maintained that they were not aware that it was wrong and thought that the land was sold and it would be cleared for construction. They said they had been cutting trees for many days. This disclosure brought the functioning of the horticulture department under scanner, which did not get the wind of what was going on for days, said a police official.

The SHO further said the entire operation was photographed and it would continue in the coming days.

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Seven vehicles stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 21
Seven vehicles, including two cars and two SUVs, were stolen from the city. Rajesh Kumar of Sector 46-A reported that his Mahindra Bolero (CH-04-A-8963) was stolen from his house on Wednesday night while Satpal Dhawan of Sector 35-C reported that his Tavera (PB-04-L-3507) was stolen from his residence last night. Similarly, Ranbir Singh of Sector 43-A filed a complaint alleging that his Bajaj Pulsar (CH-03-J-1918) was stolen from Sector 36 last night while C.D. Ahuja of Sector 18-C lodged a complaint that his Honda Activa (CH-03-K-8781) was stolen from his residence on December 14.

Meanwhile, Rajinder Singh of Sector 43-A reported that his Maruti car (CH-03-P-3128) was stolen from Sector 36 on Wednesday. Subhash Jain of Sector 8-C lodged a complaint that his Maruti car (CH-01-S-0046) was stolen from his residence on Thursday. In another incident, Deep Singh of Sector 46-A filed a complaint that his Bajaj Pulsar (CH-24-(T)-6042) was stolen from his residence on December 17. Seven separate cases of thefts have been registered.

Snatching

Anup Rishi of Sector 23-B reported that unidentified persons riding an Enfield Bullet (HR-02-J-8374) snatched his gold chain worth Rs 8,000 from Sector 42 on Thursday. A case has been registered.

Gambling

The police arrested Natto, Raju and Surinder, all residents of Bapu Dham Colony, on the charges of indulging in gambling at a public place this afternoon. The police found Rs 320 from their possession. In another incident, the crime branch of the Chandigarh police arrested Banwari Lal of Phase I, Ram Darbar, from his residence and Ved Prakash of Morinda from near scooter market in Sector 40 on Thursday.

The police found Rs 1,550 and 2,650, respectively, from their possession. Two separate cases under the Gambling Act have been registered. 

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