C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


New land acquisition policy
Farmers seek better compensation for acquired land
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Giving a fresh twist to land acquisition, farmers in Chandigarh say they should be made stake holders in the lands that have been acquired since the inception of Chandigarh. The huge sums collected by way of lease money should be shared with the original land owners.

In a demand sent to the Prime Minister, the Pind Bachao Committee has demanded that the Chandigarh Administration has made huge profits on the lands it acquired at low rates from farmers and was now collecting lease money. The Prime Minister’s Office has forwarded the demand to the Chandigarh Administration “for appropriate action”. Though this does not mean that a decision will be taken, some pressure is being built up on behalf of the farmers.

The president of the committee, Angrez Singh Badheri, has cited examples saying in Manimajra the farmers were paid Rs 2 lakh per acre and now the same land was being auctioned for Rs 20 crore per acre. Badheri said in case the Administration was acting like a “property dealer” it should share the profits with the farmers, who are the original owners of these lands.

Arguing for the cause of getting a share of profits, Badheri said the Administration is collecting huge sums by way of lease money on land acquired at low rates whereas the original land owners have been left without any occupation in lieu of the profession that was agriculture. The lease money should be shared with the farmers.

The Administration should be transparent and it should disclose its percentage of profit and the balance should be distributed amongst the affected persons because a farmer whose land has been acquired could not purchase land in the adjoining area because the rate of land in the adjoining area is in crores whereas the compensation paid was low.

Badheri says the new land acquisition policy in Chandigarh should be made operational with retrospective effect.

There are a total of 22 villages existing in Chandigarh and the total land under the Union Territory is 28,500 acres out of which 25,500 acres has already been acquired by the administration and only 3000 acres is left. The compensation is paid in stages such as at the time of award by the land acquisition collector, then petitions are filed in the sessions court on and further on to the High Court and the Supreme Court. This takes about 15 years.

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Mediclaim: Hospital says no to ‘cashless facility’
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The credibility of a mediclaim policy of an insurance company came under a cloud today with a Sector 34-based hospital allegedly refusing treatment to an insured person without prior payment.

In fact, it was a harrowing time for the family of NS Sharma, a resident of Sector 21 here, who was admitted to Mukat Hospital, for emergency treatment. High drama was witnessed at the hospital with the family insisting that the patient, who was insured till December 30, 2008, should be operated upon under insurance company's "cashless facility".

Even as a war of words ensued between the relatives and hospital staff, the hospital insisted that the operation would only be conducted after the family deposited the cash for treatment.

The insurance company operates the "cashless facility" through its agent Raksha TPA. Under this facility, the insured patients do not have to pay the bills of the designated hospitals all over the country. As many as 14 hospitals are designated by the insurance company for treatment of the insured persons in Chandigarh and Panchkula.

"As we failed to convince the hospital about the need to operate the patient without any charging money as per the insurance company's policy, we were left with no alternative except to pay a bill of Rs 30,000 to save the life of the patient", Suresh Sharma, brother of NS Sharma, said. The deposit of Rs 30,000 followed a written statement by the hospital saying that "cashless facility for Raksha TPA was not being conducted at the hospital as the payment was delayed up to 2 years".

Coming down heavily on the insurance company and hospital, Suresh Sharma alleged that if the accident had occurred in some other part of the country, the family would have great difficulty in arranging the money.

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Woman burnt to death while cooking food
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
A 32-year-old woman was killed after she caught fire from a stove while preparing food at her Ram Darbar home, here this morning. The police has so far ruled out any foul play behind the death and termed it as an accident.

The victim has been identified as Rajni and her husband Devinder is a hawker in the Sector 26 grain market. The couple had no children and Rajni was looking after the two children of her elder brother-in-law. The couple had married about four years ago.

The police said the incident took place at around 9 am when Rajni was cooking food and suddenly the stove burst. Subsequently, the kerosene spilled over her sari, which immediately caught fire. Before she could react, she was engulfed in flames. Her husband was not at home and the children were playing downstairs.

She cried for help and her neighbours rushed to help her help at her first floor home. The fire had spread in the room and before they could venture into the house, Rajni, who was severely burnt, collapsed. The police was informed about the incident, which reached the spot and found that the victim had died on the spot.

The SHO of the Sector 31 police station, inspector Har Sahai Sharma, said the body was shifted to the Sector 16 Government Multi Speciality Hospital. The victim’s parents have been informed about her death and they are expected to reach the city tomorrow.

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

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Parking woes at railway station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The ongoing construction work at the Chandigarh railway station has added to the parking woes there. Those opting for a hired cab or an auto rickshaw are equally inconvenienced.

During the rush hours, especially during the arrival and departure of the Shatabadi Express trains, the visitors find it hard to look for adequate parking space. The vehicles coming to drop and pick the VIPs add to the chaos. “Normally hired taxis and auto rickshaws are near the exit point. But it spells chaos as those managing the parking lots are rude with the visitors”, said Abhinav Sharma, a college student.

Due to construction activity, there is chaos when any train reaches the platform. Due to the narrow exit, it takes a long time to clear the rush. Some passengers have to look for other exit points. Sources said it may take a few more weeks for the construction work to be completed.

The problem has worsened due to lack of proper planning on the part of Northern Railway. There being only one entry point for the VIP cars, ordinary cars, and public transport vehicles, chaos has become a daily affair.

The Chandigarh railway station is one of the 295 railway stations in the country selected for development as ‘model station’ for the provision of upgraded passenger amenities. An official said once the construction was over, the waiting area at the entrance to the station would be doubled.

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Pak hockey players’ wives agog about New Year bash
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
It will be New Year celebrations on a different note for Kanwal Rehan Butt and Nahid Ghazanfar Ali, wives of two Pakistani hockey players, who are in the city to watch their husbands perform in the ongoing Premier Hockey League here.

The Pakistani guests are busy checking out the special functions being held to welcome the New Year.

“I specially came to the city to be part of the New Year bash. I have heard a lot about the way the city residents enjoy the occasion. So celebrating the occasion here with husband Rehan and son Bilal will be a lifetime memory for all of us”, said Kanwal, who came to see her husband Rehan Butt playing for Maratha Warriors against Chandigarh Dynamos at Hockey Stadium, Sector 42, here today.

Echoing the views, Nahid Ali, wife of Ghazanfar Ali, said, “We all are planning (the guests across the border) to greet the New Year together while partying and dancing in some top-class club or hotel. Though we have not decided the venue, it will be something exciting and thrilling”.

This is the third visit of Kanwal to the city while Nahid has come here for the first time. “I have missed the Christmas festivities here as I got late in joining my husband here”, said a bit disappointed Kanwal.

On the question as to how they welcome the New Year in Pakistan, Kanwal said, “Many a time, we remain at home or go outside to have dinner. It’s a normal affair there.”

On PHL, Kanwal and Nahid were of the view that the tournament is very zabardast (exciting). “It is promoting the game tremendously here”, said Kanwal, who herself is a fan of cricket speedster Shoaib Akhtar.

Lauding the friendly attitude of the city people, both the ladies said, “The people are very nice, affable and caring here. We are enjoying to the hilt, shopping and visiting beautiful places here”, said Kanwal.

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BJP on comeback trail: Advani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Bharatiya Janata Party stalwart L.K. Advani, who has been recently projected by his party as the its prime ministerial candidate, was visibly upbeat today as he accused the ruling UPA government at the Centre of being “soft” on terrorism and predicted a “come back” for the BJP at the national-level.

Advani was in the city on a brief stopover on his way back home from Shimla.

Days after the BJP won the Assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, Advani said the outcome of these polls would change the political scene in India as he chose to launch an attack on the Congress-led UPA, saying that it was guided by vote-bank considerations. Hence the jehadi forces had been emboldened. The failure of the internal security had been the worst experience for the UPA, he said.

Advani said his party was on a comeback trail as people were eager to vote out the “dysfunctional” UPA regime. For the past six months, internal squabbles between the Congress and the Left, particularly on the Indo-US nuclear deal, had “paralysed” the government, he added.

Calling the 2004 win of the UPA regime as an accidental success, Advani said it’s now comeback time for their party.

He had thought general elections might be held in early 2008, but after their electoral successes, the UPA might hold them until later next year or early 2009.

“The disappointing patch between 2004-07 is over for us.”

The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha alleged that the Congress and its supporters sought to convert Gujarat into some kind of national referendum on communalism versus secularism.

“The Gujarat elections were no ordinary poll. The way the Congress pumped all its energy and money into it was phenomenal. They tried to divert people’s attention from good governance, but ultimately they failed miserably in their effort,” said Advani.

Without naming anyone, he said experts had been quick to write the obituary of the BJP (leading the NDA) when it lost the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

“The unexpected setback suffered by the BJP in those elections and the accidental return of the Congress to power at the Centre created an atmosphere wherein some pundits were quick to write our obituary, just as they had done in 1984, when we were able to win only two LS seats.”

Advani said out of six Assembly elections held this year, the Congress had won only in Goa.

He claimed that people would make the BJP victorious in Karnataka, where it “became victim of opportunism of betrayal” and where it was hoping poll would be held in April next.

He claimed the UPA regime, in addition to having failed to keep its own house (coalition) in order, had also failed to tackle the issues of terrorism, price rise and those pertaining to farmers.

Advani said after the killing of Benazir Bhutto and the rising spectre of “Talibanisation of Pakistan, India could ill-afford to ignore the threat of jehadi terrorism to national security, unity and integrity”.

Launching a scathing attack on the UPA on the nuclear issue, he alleged that the Congress leadership had tried to “mortgage India’s strategic defence autonomy to some illusionary gains in energy security”.

“The debate on the nuclear deal has shown that the BJP is the only party that has a clear, comprehensive and principled approach to all issues associated with the deal,” he said.

Advani alleged that the nuclear deal issue had also exposed the Communist parties’ lack of concern for India’s national security “since they have doggedly refused to make constraints on future nuclear testing an issue for opposing the deal”.

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Looking Ahead — 2008
Planned cultural growth, the next logical step
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
For a city going strong on most indicators of development, it’s natural to sit back and relax. But life desires change lest complacency squanders treasures of the past. As Chandigarh prepares to step into the New Year, it faces fresh challenges to prove that it can do well on counts other than roads and parks. The vital question is if it can stimulate its people culturally and take them closer to their roots.

On the face of it, this seems difficult, considering the city has developed its own culture which appears detached from ground realities. That explains full attendance at a Lillete Dubey show and a poor turnout at a Gursharan Singh play, which eulogises the underdog. Not many people would like to own the downtrodden, least connected as they feel to their issues.

Plays falling in the latter category naturally have few takers. With the administration not announcing the cultural policy, social theatre continues to languish while celebrity theatre manages to pull off with corporate support.

In the given scenario, a cultural policy is urgent. It must define the annual budget for cultural presentations, the criteria for patronage of groups and ways for preserving city’s cultural roots. As we bask in the glory of Chandigarh’s progress to UNESCO’s world heritage list, let’s not forget that many custodians of our cultural heritage are languishing for attention. How many in Chandigarh know that Idul Sharif, the great folk artiste awarded national Sangeet Natak Akademi award a while ago, lives a difficult life at Manimajra or that Prof Yashpal, the doyen of Agra musical tradition, is quietly sailing through life in his Sector 37 home?

In the New Year, the UT administration would do well to honour old masters of musical and art traditions and help them share their knowledge with others. As of now, there’s no way they can do that. Hiring private premises for tutoring is out of the question due to exorbitant costs; tutoring at home is prohibited. This leaves teachers with no option but watch times go by and youngsters get detached from classical traditions.

Besides, there is a dire need for spaces of performance. Tagore Theatre, the only available auditorium in town, is closed for renovation. When it opens later next year, its space will come for a price. Right now, per show cost of hiring Tagore Theatre ranges from Rs 2,000 (for amateurs) to Rs 5,500 (for professionals).

This is slated to increase to around Rs 15,000 and smaller theatre groups are already wary; they find it hard to meet even the existing costs. Moreover, they have been desperately demanding from the administration places for rehearsal in this city known for open spaces. The only other place is Punjab Kala Bhavan which is small for both rehearsals and presentations. The MS Randhawa auditorium is a literal apology; its space too small to stage even a minor production.

For the UT administration priding in the city’s tourism potential, these issues pose mighty challenges. And the biggest challenge of all is this - despite claims of increase in the influx of foreign and domestic tourists, the city has nothing great to offer to them. None of Chandigarh’s annual festivals, carnivals and performing art presentations are preplanned. These are thus no good to tourists, who would otherwise love to participate.

Repeated demands for a cultural calendar featuring major events have fallen on deaf ears. This despite the fact that Chandigarh has several annual shows whose dates can be fixed; many hosted by the administration’s own sangeet natak and lalit kala akademies. Moreover, UT’s annual carnival and chrysanthemum show have immense tourism potential, which lies unexploited.

All this and more must form a part of UT administration’s agenda for culture in 2008. But before that, the administration must honour the commitment it made last year. Approved in September 2007, the annual Chandigarh akademi awards, instituted on the lines of central akademi awards in music, literature and art, failed to take off as the promised money for awards was not released to akademies. In a revenue surplus state like Chandigarh which earns more than it spends, money is naturally not an issue. The only issue is administrative will. Hopefully, it will be at its best in the New Year.

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Speak for animals: PETA
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Paul is a beetle that was kept in a small plastic bag along with other beetles and butterflies. A volunteer of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) noticed a schoolboy collecting tiny creatures in the bag. The volunteer took the bag from the boy and rescued Paul and others. He released them in their natural habitat.

Paul’s is just one of the stories featured in Rescued Calendar - 2008 released by PETA to create awareness in the public about animal welfare.

Other stories include a pair of sloth bears rescued from an unrecognised zoo in Maharashtra. The bears were kept in a small enclosure. PETA took the help of the Central Zoo Authority in rescuing them. Finally, they were shifted to Van Vihar National Park in Bhopal, where they are spending their time playing and having fun.

Another leaf of the calendar shows adorable Deebee, a street cat. One day, PETA supporter and Channel V fame Luke Kenny noticed a dog running with a small mammal in its mouth that looked like a rat. He rescued the “rat”, which later turned out to be a kitten. Luke named it Deebee. Since then Deebee has been spending his time bossing around Luke’s other cats.

The calendar says never buy a pet from a breeder. Adopt stray animals and let them share their life with you.

Parineeta, a donkey, was deserted near railway tracks with a broken leg. PETA rescued the animal and it is now living a life as a “lady of leisure” at the retirement home run by Animal Rahat.

Similarly, Sultan, a horse, and Nandu, a bullock, are being rehabilitated at a rescue centre under the Animal Rahat programme.

The calendar says sponsor a “retired” animal through the programme.

Another story is about Tara, a tortoise, who was handed over to PETA by its owner, who purchased it from an illegal wildlife store. The owner realised later that it was illegal to keep it under the Wildlife Protection Act. Tara is now at a rehabilitation centre in Katraj.

The calendar says never buy wild animals as pets. It is a punishable offence.

Chief functionary of PETA Anuradha Sawhney says: “Highlight the plight of the dumb creatures, so it is up to us to speak for them.”

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Mayoral candidates list out priorities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Promising overall development, co-ordination with the administration and completion of pending projects of the Chandigarh municipal corporation, the three candidates for the mayoral poll listed out their agenda and priorities here today.

The interaction with the media by Congress candidate Pradeep Chhabra, BJP’s Gurcharan Dass Kala and BSP’s Jatinder Bhatia turned stormy at times with the three of them indulging in mud-slinging at each other.

Pradeep Chhabra, who was the first to take the mike said he would ensure implementation of pending projects of the MC at an increased pace and would also work for gender budgeting of the economically weaker women with active involvement of NGOs and citizen welfare associations. Besides, he would ensure that wasteful expenditure was stopped, he added.

Next to speak was BSP candidate Jatinder Bhatia, who said he would work to bring accountability and transparency in the working of the MC. Besides, he would ensure timely completion of projects and would try to avoid all confrontations with the UT administration.

“If the relations of the MC and administration are cordial, they will go a long way in ensuring better development,” he said.

BJP candidate Gurcharan Dass Kala said he would work for the development of colonies and slums besides focusing on other issues in co-ordination with the members of the House. The interaction turned into heated discussions when issues like alleged horse trading by the Congress, wasteful expenditure and the recent raids on MC office by CBI were raised.

Kala condemned the changing of parties by BSP candidates. Pradeep Chhabra, reacting to the statement, said it was a history that people from the BSP had always changed parties. He also put the blame on Kala and said he, too, changed party and joined the BJP from Congress in 2004, which resulted in a heated debate.

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Mayoral Poll
Dhawan hints at alliance with BJP
To complain against ‘horse trading’ by Cong

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Hinting at a possibility of forming an alliance between the BSP and BJP ahead of the mayoral poll and choosing a common contesting candidate, BSP convener Harmohan Dhawan said he was holding discussions on the matter with the BJP and a possibility of a merger could not be ruled out. He, however, said a final decision would be taken tomorrow only and he was hopeful that something would come out.

Addressing a press conference here today and alleging horse-trading by the Congress, which he said ‘bought’ two of its councillors by paying them hefty amounts, Dhawan said they would be submitting a formal complaint to the IG, Chandigarh police, on Monday, demanding a high-level probe into the matter.

“We will also submit a written representation to the the UT administrator and the acting municipal commissioner to consider postponing the mayoral elections as the party doesn’t expect fair elections in view of what Congress has done,” said Dhawan.

Two BSP councillors Vijay Singh Rana and Ram Sumer Morya had joined the Congress yesterday amidst allegations by the BSP that they were lured by Congress, which paid them lakhs of rupees. With this defection, the BSP seems to have lost the Mayoral battle for its contesting candidate Jatinder Bhatia, as it only has three votes left in the House now.

“The way Congress MP Pawan Bansal is in the city for the past one week and is taking keen interest in the elections provide testimony to the fact that he wants a Congress mayor by hook or by crook,” he said.

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CPI honours 9 leaders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The Chandigarh unit of the Communist Party of India (CPI) today held its 13th conference at their party office in Sector 21, here, today.

As many as 140 delegates elected from 30 branches participated in the conference held under the presidium of H.S. Gambhir, Sheela Didi, Raghbir Singh Sandhu, Mohinder Sambar and Chander Shekhar. The conference unanimously re-elected district secretary Devi Dayal as secretary and Reminder Pal Singh as assistant secretary.

The conference passed several resolutions, including that the government should scrap the post of the UT administrator and should revive the post of chief commissioner, the authorities should be stopped from acquiring land from common man, which they later sell to big builders, administration should construct 30,000 houses for homeless, needy people and employees and the same be given on nominal prices, the lease system in city should be abolished and private AC buses in UT should be stopped.

The conference honoured nine veteran leaders Tere Singh Chan, Piara Singh Kalsi, S.P. Bakshi, Duni Chand and Sat Pal for their 50 years service for the cause of the party and society.

Besides, the conference elected 35 members and five delegates, who will participate in the district Punjab council conference to be held in February at Tarn Taran.

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Revised municipal electoral rolls released
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 30
The district administration, along with releasing the revised municipal electoral rolls, has also appointed officials in respective wards to dispose of the objections and claims of the people regarding this by January 8.

The revised electoral rolls have been displayed at different wards and voters of ward numbers 1, 2 and 3 can contact social welfare officer Usha Jain at community centre, Mansa Devi Complex. Statistics officer Mohinder Singh Lohach will deal with the cases of ward numbers 4, 5 and 6 at HUDA office in Sector 6, while the people from ward numbers 7, 8 and 9 can consult PWD Xen V.K. Sharma at Government Primary School, Sector 17. Xen Hardip Malik will look into the cases of wards 10, 11, and 12 at community centre of Sector 9.

Xen B.K. Kalra will deal ward numbers 13, 14 and 15 at Government Girls School, Sector 15. People from wards 16, 17 and 18 can contact Xen Ashok Sheokand at HUDA office and those of 19, 20, 21 can meet excise and taxation officer Dr Amar Singh at Government Primary School, Rally. The people from ward numbers 22 to 24 and 25 to 27 can consult MC office and Satluj Public School respectively. The voters of ward numbers 28 to 31 can contact community centre of Sector 21.

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Engg dept changes plan as deadline approaches
Lays parking area with premix instead of concrete

Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
In order to meet the deadline of January 1, 2008, for shifting inter-state bus routes from ISBT, Sector 17, to ISBT, Sector 43, the UT engineering department is now laying the parking area for the buses with premix instead of concrete at the Sector-43 terminal.

The work of laying the premix area is on, but the conditions are not suitable. “In this chilly weather, the coal tar does not mix properly with the pebbles to make a strong conglomerate,” said a worker at the site.

A senior CTU official said, “Earlier, it was planned to lay the parking area and platforms with concrete. Already Rs 6 crore have been sanctioned for the purpose. But now, the department has opted for a cheaper alternative perhaps due to shortage of time.”

The official further said the arrangement would not be appropriate for the continuous heavy traffic. “Everyday hundreds of buses will come and go from here. The premix boulevard will not go well here as it would not bear the burden of such heavy traffic. Moreover, making it in the chilly weather just corroborated the lack of planning on the part of the department.”

Interestingly, no official at the bus terminus has any information about the shifting of routes till today.

“We know that the shifting of routes will take place in a phased manner but when, nobody knows,” said an official at the bus stand.

“Though the deadline of the shifting is January 1, it seems very difficult as there is no electricity as well as water connection till now. Besides, there are many other things that need to be done,” said another roadways employee.

Earlier, the authorities had set June 30 as deadline, but it was not met.

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Parking spells misery for residents
Mandeep Puri

Chandigarh, December 30
Chandigarh will soon become another Bangalore if the administration continues to ignore parking problem in residential areas. The city has the highest number of four-wheelers per household.

With the tenant population growing in the city, the number of cars have also seen an upswing. Due to the growing number of vehicles, people are forced to park these on the street both in commercial as well as residential areas. Parks have been converted into parking lots.

“As vehicles occupy the sidewalk, pedestrians are forced to walk on roads, thus increasing the number of accidents involving pedestrians,” says Sunaina Kaul, a resident of Sector 15.

The problem is akin to almost all sectors of the city, with each family having two cars on an average. The number goes up to five in houses having more than one tenant.

People are forced to park their cars on the streets, which at times leads to heated arguments between neighbours.

Akash Kaul, a resident of Sector 48, faces problem on a day-to-day basis. “Our area has a majority high-income population and each family has multiple cars. Tenants add to the problem as they scramble for parking space so much so that they park cars on the green belt. Parking should be banned in and around the green belt.”

Gagneet Singh, a resident Sector 20, says: “Swarms of students come to attend tuitions in the morning as well as evening. They park their vehicles by the roadside, often making it difficult to walk.”

Another resident of the sector points out: “My neighbours have eight cars and I don’t understand why people go on to buy so many cars when there is no place to park.”

People residing in Sector 32 echo similar viewpoint. “The number of paying guests in the sector has increased manifold and with them has gone up the number of four-wheelers,” says a senior citizen.

The problem is not new to other cities. To counter it, the Delhi MCD recently started imposing fee for parking of cars outside houses.

The administration too should take a cue from this and try to find a solution to this menace.

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In Basta
Dimpy murder case

Law stops police from putting suspects to narco test
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
Investigation into the high-profile murder of ‘gangster’ Prabhjinder Singh Dimpy hit a roadblock with the Chandigarh police’s inability to subject the prime suspects of the murder to the narco test. The police cited the provisions of the law, which prevented it to force the suspects to undergo the test, which is considered a preliminary tool for investigation to make headway.

Even after a lapse of more than one-and-a-half year since unidentified motorcyclists gunned down Dimpy near Sukhna Lake Club on July 7, 2006, the police has not been able to put three suspects - Harneev Kaur, Sandeep Bhau and Rocky - to the narco test. Among the three, only Harneev had undergone a polygraphic test while Bhau reportedly avoided the test citing health reasons and third suspect Rocky is absconding after a firing incident during the recent Punjab’s assembly elections early this year.

Inspector Prem Chand, in charge of the crime branch of the Chandigarh police, told The Tribune that they had sent intimation to Sandeep Bhau as Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory, Gandhi Nagar (Gujarat), had given an appointment for the test on January 7. “It remains to be seen whether he comes for the test or not, as we cannot force him for the same due to absence of any such provisions in the law,” added the inspector.

Sources said Bhau had earlier given his consent to undergo their test, but later did not come for the same. The police had taken permission of the court for conducting the tests of the three suspects in April this year.

Prabhjinder Singh Dimpy, who originally hailed from Chandbhan village near Kotkapura, was involved in several criminal cases. The police said he was closely related with UP-based gangster Mukhtiar Ansari. The police believed that Sandeep Bhau and Rocky were involved in Dimpy’s murder as they were in same gang with him, but later parted ways.

The role of Harneev came under suspicion as she was the lone eyewitness to the killing. She had called up Dimpy from Sukhna Lake Club on the fateful evening and he was sitting in her car when fired at. Harneev was also injured in the firing, but she drove the car to her residence. Her family immediately took her to the General Hospital in Sector 16. However, they left the Dimpy’s body in the car. Dimpy’s family alleged that she was involved in the murder.

Besides, the case took a political turn with Dimpy’s wife Pawandeep Kaur, along with her father, alleging the role of Sukhbir Singh Badal, working president of SAD, in the murder of her husband. She alleged that Sukhbir Singh Badal had been threatening her husband of dire consequences as he was fast gaining political recognition in his constituency, which the later considered as a threat to his political carrier. However, Sukhbir Singh Badal had been rubbishing the allegations of his involvement in the murder from day one.

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Marriage palace bane of Baltana residents
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 30
A marriage palace adjoining two residential colonies, Kalgidhar Enclave and Yog Vihar of Baltana, has become a source of continuous nuisance for the inhabitants of these colonies. Besides creating noise and air pollution, the marriage palace poses a traffic hazard due to its location on the Zirakpur-Baltana link road.

Col J.S. Sodhi (retd), president of Kalgidhar Enclave, said, “Despite the Supreme Court ruling regarding ban on marriage palaces on link roads, the owners managed to construct one. Moreover, there is a military fodder farm a couple of yards away, which stocks huge quantity of dry fodder and haystacks, and the use of firecrackers during marriage parties poses a serious threat to the farm.”

Mahinder Singh, a resident of Kalgidhar Enclave, whose house shares boundary wall with the marriage palace, said, “We have been passing sleepless nights since the beginning of the marriage season. Though the nuisance has been there all round the year, the situation becomes worst during this time of the year.” Besides crackers, the loud music played till late in the night is torture for everyone, he said.

A Yog Vihar resident, Rakesh Kumar, said, “The owner of the marriage palace has even bought a plot in our colony, which he uses for keeping generators. The sound caused by these generators is unbearable and when we complained to the owner, he refused to listen.”

While the owner is out of country, the manager of the marriage palace said as the land belonged to the owner of the palace, he had full right to do whatever he wished to. On being asked about the use of firecrackers and playing of loud music, he said these were indispensable part of any marriage party and they did not want to offend their clients by restricting them.

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Year’s Biggest Catch
10,000 bottles of IMFL seized
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 30
In a major haul, the excise department officials today recovered approximately 10,000 bottles of Indian made foreign liquor, including beer being smuggled from Chandigarh to Punjab. The truck, carrying 900 cases, was stopped at the checkpoint on Zirakpur-Banur road.

A case was registered against the driver.

"This is one of the biggest hauls of liquor smuggling in the year. We are also going to penalise smugglers for non-payment of VAT," said J.S. Brar, AETC-cum-deputy director, mobile wing, Chandigarh.

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Robbers strike at Harmilap Nagar
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 30
The city woke up to a daring free run of thieves in three houses in the same colony last night.

They decamped with cash, jewellery and valuables worth lakhs of rupees from the houses in Harmilap Nagar.

The thieves seemed to have gathered information about the houses, which were locked, as the owners were away for the New Year before they planned their strike.

The thieves struck in house numbers 500, 502 and 504 of the locality. They broke the locks of the main doors of the houses to enter and left after collecting valuables.

Owners of house numbers 500 and 504 Pawan Vaid and P.D. Sharma, who returned this morning, informed the police that gold jewellery and cash worth lakhs was missing from their homes. Owner of house number 502 Raj Kumar is yet to return and ascertain the loss.

Meanwhile, a single FIR of all three cases was registered.

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Woman’s body found
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 30
The body of an unidentified woman was recovered from near Ranbaxy Factory here in Industrial Area today.

According to the police, the victim’s legs and arms had been tied and it seemed that the woman had been murdered.

The body was badly decomposed and it appeared that the victim had died many days back.

Since the body was hidden among bushes behind the factory, it was noticed after many days today. A passerby saw the body lying in the bushes this evening and informed the police.

The police said the woman seemed to be in her mid 30s and Punjabi. The possibility of rape, too, could not be ruled out, said sources in the police.

The woman was wearing a salwar-kameez, black jacket and red bangles. Her arms and legs were tied with ropes. The possibility of her having been killed elsewhere and brought to the spot was also not being ruled out.

The police said they had not received any complaint of a missing woman from the area in the recent past. The police has registered a case. The body has been sent to the civil hospital in Phase VI for identification and postmortem.

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Minor boy decamps with cash, gifts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
An unidentified minor boy decamped with cash, gifts and a mobile phone from the Sector-9 residence of city’s famous jeweller Anil Talwar this afternoon. A house-warming ceremony was going on when the incident took place.

Talwar, in his complaint, alleged that he had noticed a boy of around 12 years moving in house during the ceremony, who might have take away the things.

The police said the exact details of the loss could not be ascertained as gifts and cash were wrapped and were yet to be opened. Meanwhile, the police has registered a case of theft.

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8 booked for stealing electricity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 30
The police booked eight persons of Colony No. 5 on charges of stealing electricity. Jagtar Singh, SDO of the UT electricity department, reported to the police that Kala Ram, Davinder Kumar, Nimbu Lal Sharma, Sahnker, Prahlad Tiwari, Jai Singh, Ram Prakash, Ram Preet were caught stealing electricity. The accused were stealing electricity for their residence and shops through illegal kundi connections.

Three separate cases under Section 135 of the Electricity Act and Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code have been registered.

Caught stealing

Arvind of Kishangarh village reported to the police that Sonu Chaudhary of Colony No. 4 was caught red-handed while stealing his bicycle from Sector 27 on Saturday evening. The police arrested the accused and registered a case against him.

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