C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Bhutto’s Assassination
Security up in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Vehicles being checked at the Phase VII-VIII intersection in Mohali. Security was beefed up in the town following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan on Thursday.
Vehicles being checked at the Phase VII-VIII intersection in Mohali. Security was beefed up in the town following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan on Thursday. —Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, December 27
The police stepped up vigil in the district this evening following a high alert announced by the Punjab police in wake of the assassination of Pakistan leader Benazir Bhutto.

The SAS Nagar SSP, Ranbir Singh Khatra, supervised the deployment of forces at various checkpoints and said security had been beefed up following orders from the DGP.

“There are 32 naka points in the district and are all heavily manned. The senior officers of the district have been asked to stay on duty through the night and take rounds of the areas under their jurisdiction. Movement of traffic within the district and on the borders with other districts is also being monitored,” he said.



New Year revelry —at a price
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
As the countdown to the New Year’s Eve begins, hoteliers are back to remind us that celebrations come for a price. If you wish to soak in revelry, get ready to shell out big bucks this year.

The Taj is leading the pack. But if you thought cost was a deterrent, come again, as most shows at Taj outlets are sold out. The Grand Ballroom party, costing Rs 8,000 a couple, has no space left. You could, however, manage a place at Taj’s special “Hollywood” bash at the Terrace Hall. This one is priced at Rs 10,000 per couple, and promises red carpet welcome for invitees, who will hit camera glare, Hollywood style.

“The best of imported liquor brands will be laid out for visitors. We will offer unlimited food and drinks,” says Ishmeet of Millennium Concepts, event managers for Taj’s Hollywood party, which only 100 couples can attend.

The economical lot can enjoy some music and dance in the reception area, for a cost of Rs 4,500 or so. This does not include food and drinks.

About CITCO, prompted by Taj, has revised entry fee to its hotels. Partying at Mountview and Shivalikview, respectively, will now cost a couple Rs 4,000 and Rs 3,000, which is much above the past years, but still fair considering the multi-cuisines that will be on offer, besides music and dance by African artistes. Special attraction at Mountview will be the Mohd Rafi show to be presented by winners of the Rafi nite finals. “Our plank is value for money,” says CITCO MD, J.S. Bir, adding that Magic Wok at Mountview and Yangtse at Shivalikview will also offer a special ambience.

At Parkview, however, there will be no official celebration as the halls have been hired by corporates for their own party. “Even the Kalagram hall has been taken,” he said.

Those coming from outside to celebrate New Year at CITCO hotels will get 25 per cent discount on lodging.

As for UT tourism, on the cards this time is the European concept of welcoming the big day with a firecracker show. This one will await visitors at the Sector 17 plaza on December 29, when Kailash Kher will also perform. 



Badal’s securitymen roughed up PCR cops
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 27
Securitymen of the Punjab CM reportedly bullied and roughed up two PCR constables on duty near the Phase IX liquor vend on December 24.

The police finally managed to track down four Punjab police commandos along with the escort Gypsy today.

The DSP city-II, Swarandeep Singh, told The Tribune that the commandos had been identified as head constable Paramjit Singh and constables Sarabjit Singh, Satpal and Jaidev.

They belonged to 4th Commando force. He said the commandos admitted that they were drunk and had an altercation with the policemen on duty. They were reportedly coming back from duty when the incident took place. 



Cyber Crime
Watch out for junk lottery emails
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
With the launch of a cyber crime cell today, the police issued advisories to residents not to get lured by mails that say you have won a huge amount in a lottery.

Such mails ask for details about bank accounts and seek huge amounts to open a bank account in foreign countries on the pretext of transferring the lottery money.

The police said complaints had been received from people that they had been duped of large sums of money.

Such victims, who had fallen in the trap of “e-mail address ballot lottery international programme”, had transferred lakh of rupees abroad to the accounts of anonymous senders.

The police said such emails seemed to be sent by the board and management of Euro millions, London, UK or the UK lottery board.

A ticket or serial number of the lottery ticket is sent to the receiver, who is asked to give details of his bank accounts. 



Mullanpur NAC gets rolling
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 27
The first meeting of Punjab government officials to consider the setting up of the Mullanpur Garibdass notified area committee (NAC) was held today.

Officers of the department of the local bodies and the department of town and country planning met in Patiala under the chairmanship of Ashwini Sharma, deputy director, local bodies, Patiala, who is nodal officer for the establishment of the NAC.

The proposed NAC would include over 30 villages in the jurisdiction of the Majri block of SAS Nagar district.

The demand for the setting up of the NAC had been marked to the department following a reference of the CM, Parkash Singh Badal. The demand had been forwarded to him by the local MLA, Ujagar Singh Badali.

The assistant town planner, SAS Nagar, and the executive officer of the Nayagaon NAC were among those who attended the meeting. The EO of Naya Gaon had been asked to carry out a survey of the villages proposed to be included in the NAC. The preliminary report compiled by the EO was discussed today.

It was, however, decided that a more detailed report of the area was required before the final proposal could be prepared.

Details of the break down of the population figures in these villages, area under agriculture, per capita income of residents, commercial activity and trade would be part of the report.

Sources said the population should be above 5,000 and the per capita income should be Rs 150 per month for the area to be considered for the establishment of an NAC. Also, the villages have to be contiguous.

The EO has been asked to prepare the report in 15 days. The NAC status is expected to free the area from various provisions of the Punjab Capital Periphery Control Act, 1950, but the provisions of the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900, would continue to apply.

The villages that may be included are Bahalpur, Bamsepur, Bhagat Majra, Bharanjian, Boothgarh, Chahar Majra, Devi Nagar, Dhanauran, Dhude Majra, Ferozepur Banga, Ghauduli, Hoshiarpur, Kansala, Kartarpur, Majra, Majri, Malikpur, Maliku, Mullapnpur, Paintpur, Polheri, Parol, Rajgarh, Ranai Majra, Rasulpur, Ratwara, Emanpur, Saini Majra, Sulamatpur, Sangolin, Shangariwala, Shaimipur, Sultanpur, Takkipur, Tira and Tanga.



Bhutto’s assassination hits maestro’s show
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
As ghazal maestro Pankaj Udhas regaled the audience with his singing at Chandigarh Club in Sector 1 late this evening, there was yet another center of attraction for the large number of listeners who flocked the club.

A television set stationed right at the entrance of the club, displaying news of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination lured a majority of visitors who paused for minutes altogether to watch the breaking news.

Many guests who paused expressed profound horror at the killing and a huge number of them were unaware of the assassination before the news dawned on them. Horrified after watching the news clippings, the entire aura of the evening was disturbed, they believed.

Those sitting inside the enclosure too, took a break at various moments to venture out and watch the news of Bhutto’s killing. Some of them didn’t even go inside to watch Pankaj Udhas and said they were taken aback after watching the clippings.

“I am an ardent fan of Pankaj Udhas and had specially come with my friend to enjoy the evening. I didn’t know of the news earlier and came to know of it only after I entered the club here and watched the TV and the crowd around it. Horrified at the state of events, I didn’t even like listening to the ghazal and returned home,” said Himanshu Gupta, a student.

Inside the club, in the well-lit lawns where the maestro was singing, the scene was no different. Bhutto’s assassination was the hot topic on everyone’s mouth and people were discussing it at length.

Inspector general of Chandigarh police, S.K. Jain was also seen enjoying the event amongst other dignitaries present.

Ghazal expert Pankaj Udhas said the sudden spurt in reality shows has attracted youth towards playback singing like anything with the result that a very few youngsters adopt and are ambitious about ghazal singing.

“They are not bent towards it, what can we do?” said Pankaj Udhas while talking to Chandigarh Tribune. “I am not saying I am against reality shows, but the shows are so many now that there is a rat race going on,” he added.

“But still, I am hopeful that the golden era of ghazals will revive again. It gained pace in the 70s and till now we have a considerable number of serious ghazal singers. I performed in Jaipur some days back and there were close to 10,000 people despite the cold night. In Chandigarh too, the audience is large, like today” he said.

“Besides the usual ghazals, I am also focusing on Sufi romantic songs in my forthcoming albums, it’s a different kind of approach to Sufism,” he said.



Roadside eateries a nuisance for Sec-22 residents
Mandeep Puri

Chandigarh, December 27
The municipal corporation is least bothered about the inconvenience being caused to the residents of Sector 22-B by roadside eateries. The people living behind the showrooms in the sector are facing problems like illegal parking of private buses and nuisance being caused by drunkards.

The area has two liquor shops and the people coming to these shops park their vehicles at the rear of the showrooms to evade parking fee. The park, which is for the children to play, is being used by the people as toilets and washrooms, making the situation even worse.

“Daily there is a fight here. The private bus operators park vehicles in front of our houses and if we tell them not to do so, the matter ends up in a fight. Passengers board the buses from here, which adds to the problem. Preetinder Singh, a resident of Sector 22, said, “They use abusive language. My sister, at times, hesitates to go out of the house alone. The police is ignoring the issue.” Though the owner of the dhabas didn’t comment but the staff employed said, “We are not doing any illegal work; we have taken the permission from the Estate Office.” Pradeep Chhadra, the area councillor said, “Every time I get a complaint, I make sure that the problem is solved. The problem is increasing because of absence of regular checks by MC officials.” 



‘House owners flouting PG rules
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The Federation of Sector Welfare Associations (FOSWAC) today complained to the Chandigarh administration about the inhuman living conditions prevailing at paying guest (PG) accommodations and the trouble these PGs were causing to residents living in the neighbourhood.

P.C. Sanghi, president of the FOSWAC, an umbrella body of 45 residential welfare associations, today briefed adviser to the UT administrator Pradip Mehra that the guidelines for the use of residential buildings as paying guest accommodations were being flouted.

As per these instructions, the house owner or family should be residing in the house if it is to be used as paying guest accommodation and would be responsible for maintaining good standard of hygiene, discipline, peace and social harmony on the premises and in the neighbourhood.

The area of the house shall not be less than 10 marla and minimum useable area for one paying guest shall be 50 sqft with an adequate provision of a toilet. The house owners were required to be registered with the Estate Office and also the police.

Non-compliance with guidelines would include resumption and cancellation of the allotment of the site.

Despite strict rules, the house owners were flouting the norms. The houses were being run like hotels, FOSWAC said.

In order to fetch maximum rent, the landlords are housing 20 to 25 boys and girls in a 7½-marla house. In most of the cases, the owner himself is not residing there. The owners have devised a novel method of showing these paying guests as tenants by executing the rent deeds with them. This arrangement is abused by students, who have complete freedom being away from their parents, and by anti-social elements, who hide themselves and cause disturbance in the city.

Sunil Chopra, president of RWA, Sector 18-C, pointed out that on the basis of his complaint, the police conducted raids on two houses in Sector 18-C and found that 20 to 25 students had been housed in the 7½-marla houses which was in serious violation of the guidelines. Cases against the owners of these houses have been registered. The FOSWAC has demanded immediate raids on all such houses and ban the use of residential buildings less than 10 marla as paying guest accommodations.



29-year-old wins laurels in Germany
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
City lad Navneet Singh Narula (29) has been honoured as top management and IT executive of 2007 at the International Business Awards held in Munich, Germany.

Now settled in Atlanta, USA, Navneet, has achieved the distinction of being the youngest ever Asian American to bag this business award. The International Business Awards are the only global, all-encompassing awards honouring the world’s best business leaders.

The awards are hailed as the business world’s ‘Oscars’. 



6-yr-old run over by truck
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 27
Kunal, a six-year-old boy from Karnal, was run over by a speeding truck on the Kalka chowk here this afternoon. The victim died in front of his parents who were helping him cross the road when the accident took place. Kunal had come with his parents to meet his uncle who lives in Panchkula.

According to the police, the family had boarded a bus from Karnal and got down at Kalka chowk. They were crossing the road to reach the other side and hire a three-wheeler for Panchkula. However, when they were crossing the road, a speeding truck (HR 46 7775) ran over Kunal crushing him to death.

Kunal’s father Manoj Kumar rushed him to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where he was declared brought dead. Manoj Kumar is an employee with Maruti car industries in Gurgaon.

The accident caused traffic jam on the road and the driver of the truck Avneet Giri, a resident of Ludhiana, was taken into custody. The police later booked him and impounded the truck.



Prof Mehra dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
Prof Y.N. Mehra, former dean and head, Department of Otolaryngology at the PGI here, passed away today after a brief illness. Professor Mehra, who joined the PGI on December 26, 1961, established the Department of E.N.T. at the PGI. He has the distinction of starting the first neuro-otology laboratory in the country.

Many of the present stalwarts in neuro-otology have been trained by Professor Mehra, who was honoured with emeritus professorship by the PGI for his outstanding service to the medical profession.

He did his graduation from Medical College, Amritsar, in 1955. Later, he did his fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada and Diplomate of the American Board of Otolaryngology, USA. He is survived by his wife Usha Mehra, son Vivek Mehra and daughter Vandana Mehra.



Run Kranthi Express twice a week: Samajam
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 27
Members of the Malayalee Samajam, Mohali, highlighted the problems faced by the passengers of Kerala Sampark Kranthi Express, which runs from Chandigarh to Kochuveli, Kerala, here today.

Benny Thomas, president of the samajam, said the train ran without water in the tanks for a long time in every journey. Even after bringing the matter into the notice of the authorities, there was no improvement in the situation. Due to this, hygiene and cleanliness of the train had been in bad shape during the runs.

“Frequency of the train needs to be increased in peak seasons like summer vacations in May-June-July, Onam festival in August-September and Christmas and Sabarimala pilgrimage seasons in December-January,” said Thomas.

The members also requested that since local passengers who travel for short distances seldom occupied most of the general compartments, some of these be converted into 3ACs or second class sleepers so that the capacity of the train could be utilised at optimum level benefitting the long distance travellers.

They also demanded that the frequency of this train be increased to twice a week to avoid long waiting lists. This would result in increased inflow of tourists to destinations like Shimla and surrounding tourist spots in Punjab and Kerala due to the direct linkage.



Hi-tech fire-fighting vehicles for Mohali soon
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 27
A proposal to purchase three hi-tech fire-fighting vehicles at a cost of over Rs 6 crore will be discussed at the monthly meeting of the municipal council to be held on December 31.

The directions to purchase the vehicles have been issued by the department of local government and the cost will be shared by a number of civic bodies, including that of Patiala and Rajpura. One of the vehicles to be purchased is a hydraulic platform which will help to fight fire in high-rise buildings.

According to the proposal, the Patiala civic body will contribute Rs 1.34 crore while the Mohali council will have to give Rs 1.10 crore for the purchase of the fire fighting vehicles. The civic body of Kurali will have to give Rs 22,000, and that of Kharar Rs 65,000, Dera Bassi Rs 33,000, Rajpura Rs 70,000 and Zirakpur Rs 77,000. The vehicles will be stationed at Mohali and provide free service to all those civic bodies which are contributing for the purchase.

There is a plan to charge a fee when private persons will requisition these vehicles.

The recent notification of the government authorising Mohali council to clear building plans in areas falling within its jurisdiction will also be put up at the meeting. The notification will now help the council to check haphazard construction activity going on in four villages under its jurisdiction.

This will also help the civic body in earning additional income.

Estimates for development works worth about Rs 1.75 crore will be put before the house. The figuers have been prepared for laying of premix carpet in different areas of the town, upkeep of parks and repair of footpaths and road gullies.



Year Ahead
Police to step up vigilance
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 27
The year 2007 has ended on a dismal note for the SAS Nagar police. With three unsolved murders, hundreds of lives lost in road accidents and recovery of at least one unidentified body everyday during the year end, the police clearly failed to establish a sturdy system in the new district.

The police here needs to take a serious look at the plethora of problems that are likely to erupt in the coming year. The biggest challenge will be to keep a check on petty crimes that are too frequent.

Bicycle and scooter thefts are common in almost all the markets of the district and no serious effort is made to check these. Thefts of bags and cash from parked vehicles is also a regular feature now. Similarly, incidents of chain snatching continue unabated.

With the constant influx of migrant labour over which the police has no monitoring and increase in the number of drug addicts, these petty crimes are bound to increase. “We are aware of the problem and intend to increase police strength in the district,” said SSP R.S. Khatra before adding that the demand for more force had been pending at the headquarters for many months. “We have 1,150 policemen in the district and the number is expected to increase to 1,400 in the next year,” 
he said.

Other than the already notified eight police stations in the district, five more will be notified this year. These include Phase XI, Mullanpur Garibdass, Nayagaon, Kharar City and Matour. Residents can get cases registered in these police stations when they are notified.

Crimes relating to land grab and land frauds are also a big challenge for the police here. With land prices hitting the roof, even small chunks of land have more than one claimant in villages and the police might need a special cell to handle these.

“This year we are also looking forward to providing good buildings to the police stations at Sohana and Zirakpur. Efforts are also being made for setting up of a police lines here. Over 30 acres of land has been identified for it and the project should see the light of the day next year,” said the SSP.

Even the Mohali traffic police needs to pull up socks. Traffic offenders are rarely stopped or challaned. “Things are now set to change. We intend to undertake special challaning drives every month,” said the SSP. The Mohali police is also planning to hold traffic awareness camps to educate residents about traffic rules.

Other than traffic violations, the Mohali police is grappling with the ever-increasing number of deaths due to accidents on the Mohali-Kharar and Zirakpur-Lalru stretch. “These have been identified as the killer stretches of the district. Compared to last year when 40 people died on the Mohali-Kharar stretch, the number this year has gone up to 62,” said Khatra.

With hoards of housing and industrial projects coming up in the Greater Mohali area, the vehicular crowd on these roads is bound to increase. Though the only lasting solution to the high incidence of accidents on these roads lies in widening the roads, the police is doing its best to handle the situation. “We will be putting up cautionary boards on these stretches and make sure that the speed limits are strictly followed. Over taking of vehicles will be banned on these two roads,” said Khatra.

The police chief also intends to re-vamp the accident response teams. “Accidents should be avoided as much as possible but equally important is to have police at the spot within minutes of the accident to reduce the number of casualties and rush victims to hospitals as soon as possible,” said Khatra.

The Mohali police also claims to be geared up for the expected increase in cyber crimes. A special cyber crime cell, headed by a DSP-level officer, is already functional. “We are dealing effectively with crimes relating to the misuse of mobile phones and are ready to tackle any internet related crimes,” said the SSP.



Protest by FCI staff
Threaten to go on strike in February
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
Employees of the district office of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), Chandigarh, along with the employees of the corporation’s regional offices in Punjab, today held a demonstration in support of their demands at their regional office in Sector 31 here.

The demonstration was held during lunch hours in front of the office of the general manager, region, FCI.

The management was harassing the employees on the pretext of achieving unrealistic targets, said Yogesh Jairath, district chairman of the Bhartiya Khadya Nigam Karamchari Sangh (BKNKS), Chandigarh.

The representatives of the sangh alleged that the management had failed to evolve scientific storage loss norms despite the written assurance given by the higher authorities.

The leaders demanded merger of 50 per cent of dearness allowance with BP from January 2005, jobs for dependants of those died during service, recruitment of category III and IV employees and wage revision of these categories.

Among others, Megh Raj, regional president, FCI Executive Staff Union, and Sutantar Kumar, senior additional state secretary, BKNKS, addressed the gathering.

They warned the management that if the outcome of the December-28 meeting with chairman-cum-managing director did not yield any positive results and the MoU signed with the food ministry on storage and transit loss was not withdrawn, the trade union would be forced to intensify the stir.

They would start an indefinite strike in February. 



Chairman’s selection might take dept to court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The selection of the chairman of the department of mass communication of Panjab University is likely to end up in court with a former chairman of the department, Prof Sanjay Wadwalkar, serving a legal notice on the university.

In the legal notice, Prof Wadwalkar has stated that the university should consider him for the post, as he is the only eligible candidate in terms of rules failing which he would approach the appropriate court of law to seek the legal remedy.

He has also stated that as per provisions in the university calendar, only a professor can be appointed as the chairperson. His claim for current chairmanship was independent of his previous tenure when he was the reader in the department.

His claim for the appointment is being ignored in direct violation of provisions contained in university calendar.

It is pertinent to mention here that the vice-chancellor had constituted a committee to select the chairman of the department and had also sought a legal opinion prior to that.

When contacted, Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor said the decision about the chairmanship has not been taken as yet. It would be decided only after the committee gives its report.



Callous attitude

IT seems that the govt. colleges take moments only while taking fees from the students concerned, but when it comes to refund the dues after completion of course, they take several months.

CCET Sector 26, Chandigarh, authorities have not refunded the dues to students of PEC (those who shifted to PEC in 2nd counseling of 2003-2007 batch) till today since the completion of their degree course in May 2007. Every time when asked, they said the process is going on and students will get the refund soon. Is the process so complex that it has taken several months? Students and their parents are tired of making visits to college. Sometimes when they visit the college the authority concerned is not present. So whom to question and in hope of what answer, which they perhaps know but are not letting us know.

Manpreet, 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



Sector-35 parking contractor booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
The police has booked the contractor of the Sector-35 parking lot for criminal breach of trust following a car theft from his parking lot. According to the police, Sarabjit Singh Chawla of Ludhiana lodged a complaint that his Ford Fiesta car (PB-10-RA-0045) was stolen from the paid parking lot of the outer market of Sector 35-C on Wednesday. The police registered a case of criminal breach of trust under Section 406 of the Indian Penal Code.

Held for trespassing

Harbans Singh of Sangrur lodged a complaint that Rohit Kumar of Sector 44 entered his SCO in Sector 37 after breaking the window panes with an intention to commit a theft on Wednesday morning. The accused was caught red-handed and was handed over to the police. A case of trespass and attempt to theft has been registered.

Motorcycle stolen

Jeevan Sehgal of Sector 22-C filed a complaint with the police that his Hero Honda Splendor motorcycle (CH-03-E-6588) was stolen from Sector 22 on Wednesday. A case of theft has been registered.


A pedestrian, Harbinder Singh of Sector 38-C, was hurt after being hit by a scooter (PB-10-AS-2985) near Sectors 37, 38, 40 and 41 rotary on Wednesday evening. He was admitted to Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16. The police has arrested the scooterist, Sudanshu of Sector 40-A, on the charges of causing injuries due to rash and negligent driving. 



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