C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

City’s New Year bash
It was merriment all the way
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Youngsters in a joyous mood at the advent of 2008.
Youngsters in a joyous mood at the advent of 2008. — Tribune photo by Vinay Malik

Chandigarh, December 31
Bubbles of merriment busting at the brim of sparkling cut-glass saturated with golden elixir in bars and pubs; Russian dancers revealing more than just their dancing talent; FTV models sashaying down the ramps of celebrations; and all roads leading to revelry - it was grooving session in full swing in and around Chandigarh on the New Year’s eve.

That’s right! It was merriment all the way for the out-to-chill crowd as the December nip failed to freeze the thrill. Even before the last surviving day of the dying year slipped away into oblivion boisterously, wild shrieks of exhilaration, sending shivers of excitement down the spine, drowned the deafening din of honking cars as the revelers drove towards merriment and 2008.

The venue of prime-time celebrations this time was not just the taverns, but also bars and pubs in Sector 35. And, the reason behind the phenomenon was not very hard to analyse. So many hotels with bars did not organise special bashes to commemorate the rising of the New Year from the ashes of the old due to “exorbitant rates” charged by associations protecting music copyrights. So, it was open for all without extra charges.

Partying gained momentum a bit late this year. In fact, customary rush of vehicles flowed on the roads till about 10.30 pm, giving the impression of tepid celebrations. It was only when nearly one-and-a-half hour was left for the big moment; the crowd broke into frenzy.

In Sector 35, it was bhangra time with hit Punjabi numbers blaring out of high-wattage car speakers announcing the advent of the revelers even before their actual arrival. As the cars decked up with cheerful balloons came to a screeching halt in front of the hotels and restaurants. The celebrants got down to take a swing before shaking, rattling and rolling under sodium vapour’s dazzling yellow lights.

Party was in full session on the Panjab University campus. Dazzling flames illuminated the night sky as the merrymakers danced around bonfires, while portable stereo blared out oldies, but goldies.

As the countdown started even before the clock’s hands apparently kissed each other, tremor of excitement rocked the tri-city. Jackets went up in the sky and cries of “Happy New Year” filled the air as 2007 slipped into oblivion, giving way to 2008.

As the party animals pressed the backlit keys of their mobile sets with tired fingers for wishing pals and relatives, taped voice announcing busy network greeted them till about 2.30 am. With lines clogged, the messages also took their own time for delivery.

Hooligans, too, did not miss the opportunity. In Sector 35 and on the road running along the lake they tried to stop young couples cruising on their two-wheelers, but disappeared as soon as they spotted the men in khaki.

For dealing with them, the Chandigarh police had deployed a massive force of over 1,000 personnel all over the city. Barriers, too, were set up at strategic places. As the cops dealt with the rowdy crowd in the city, some negotiated the sharp curves on their way uphill. Bottlenecks and traffic jams at Pinjore and Kalka, however, forced more than a few to take a u-turn.

Hotels and restaurants

The celebrations were nothing less than global in the hotels with Russian pole dancers and reed-thin celebes of the fashion world making the party-goers dance to their tunes.

At the terrace hall of the Taj, it was nothing less than the Oscars’ night. As the partying crowd left behind their vehicles at the, lens men on either side of the red carpet tried to capture memories for them even as the bouncers made faux attempts to keep them away. Inside the hall, it was pulsating music DJ Loch. In the grand ballroom, it was cutting the rug with Latino dancers.

It was ‘dance, drink, rub and dine’ time at the Royal Challenge-Fashion TV Hot Couture Night at Antidote, Chimney Heights. As intelligent lights jazzed up the environs, it was time for the city residents to shake their bodies with the haute FTV models. The evening, aired by FTV, started with scintillating fashion show featuring “top notch” faces and names of the glamour world. The merrymakers left with free air tickets and FTV swarovski tattoos.

At Hotel Mountview-10, it was not just the live rock band that left the revelers tripping the light fantastic. ‘Budding artists’ crooning melodies of legendary Mohammad Rafi left them humming all the way into the New Year.

It was retro-time also at the Piccadily with black and white evening transporting you back into the swinging 70s. At Shivalikview, you had buffet with timeless melodies by Nikhat Ali. You also had performance by Vijay Chauhan. Maya Palace had a sizzling seafood night, while Sun Beam had a rooftop party. At Blue-Ice, it was dance-masti with DJ Varun and Sweet.

Clubs and discotheques

As cool music mixed by DJs echoed against the decked up walls in clubs and discotheques, close dancing followed. Outside the discos, angry young men in unending queues shrieked and screamed at the security guards impatiently as they slowly tore the invitation cards before allowing them to enter.

It was pole dancers taking a swing at North Park Resort’s Element Night Club. At Dhillon Six Miles Resort on the Zirakpur-Rajpura Highway, it was DJ Varn and Bonny setting the pace for the celebrations.

Exhilarated figures, illuminated by psychedelic lights, twirled all around the polished dance floors to the thumping beats of music as synthetic smog filled the air in Aerizzona, Score, the Mission, Pulse and Voodoo, along with other discotheques and lounge bars.

The rush was at it’s peak at the Chandigarh Club as leganday Punjabi singer Gurdas Mann set the crooned rolling on the dance floor with hit numbers.

Heaven is a place on earth was the impression one got as “earth angels” in glittering short dresses with cuts on either sides, teamed with backless tops, descended on the dance floors oblivious of the cool winter breeze at the Chandigarh Golf Club and the CGA Golf Range.

As impressive speakers blared out hit music, the crowd screamed with excitement at the Chandigarh Press Club. It was moonlight magic as the visitors savoured “sumptuous cuisines”, along with the “choicest of liquor”.



UT invites applications for house allotment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The House Allotment Committee of the Chandigarh administration has invited applications for allotment of government accommodation to employees of the Chandigarh administration, Punjab government, Haryana government and Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The applications have been invited for various categories of houses for 2008-09. Applications for the higher and lower categories of houses from the “eligible employees” in Form 'A' along with Form 'D' are to be forwarded to the office of the secretary of the committee through chief secretaries of the respective states and the Registrar, Punjab and Haryana High Court, before January 31, 2008.

All the officers or officials who had earlier applied and their names exist in the old seniority list for a particular category of houses, but have not been allotted house, need not apply afresh as their names will be included in the new revised seniority list for 2008-2009.

The employees working on a regular basis at Chandigarh, Panchkula or Mohali are eligible for house allotment. The UT employees who have their own departmental pool houses are not entitled for the allotment of houses from the Chandigarh Administration pool.

For higher categories of houses, there is no such bar and any eligible employee may apply for it. Higher categories of houses include houses from Type 3 to 9 (old) and type V and VI (new).

Lower categories of houses include houses from type 10 to 13 (Old) and type 1 to IV (new).

In case of different lower categories of houses, the following priority dates have been declared as given in the table below:



CBSE’s gift for special children
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), for the first time, has come out with special incentives specifically for ‘special’ children who want to appear for the Secondary School or Senior School Certificate Examination for 2008.

The move has been okayed under the board’s ‘extended learning programme’ for special children.

Earlier, these students did not have much choice for taking alternative subjects in lieu of tough subjects and they had to make a choice out of those subjects only for which their school or institute had obtained affiliation or recognition with the board. Now with this innovation, they would have a wider choice.

Now, the visually impaired candidates, who aspire to study any optional subject like music or home science in place of mathematics will have the option to prepare for that particular subject privately, irrespective of the fact whether it is available with their school or not. The rest of the curriculum would be taught regularly by the mainstream school, as per the scheme of studies of CBSE.

This significant decision has been taken at a recently held meeting of the board, where one such case from the National Association for the Blind, Faridabad, came to the light. A blind candidate was denied access to the music subject because it was not available with the institute.

The board officials, after deliberations, agreed to the proposal that visually impaired candidates would be allowed to study any subject of their choice and they would be free to prepare for that particular subject privately. This decision has been implemented with immediate effect.

Further substantiating the move, the CBSE officials said it was a general problem being faced by blind children. With this decision, a blind child can learn optional subjects on his own or with the help of any local association working for the education of the blind children. Contrary to the earlier practice, this would now be duly recognised by the board.

The CBSE has also initiated amendments in the ‘extra time’ granted specially for visually impaired, physically challenged and dyslexic students in the examination. The new rules command that the paper with time duration of three hours would be granted 1 hour’s additional time. For a two and a half hour duration exam, additional 50 minutes would be given.



No CTU bus for Mohali from today
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Come New Year and no Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) bus will ply on the roads of Mohali as well as many peripheral towns of Punjab, including Khizrabad, Rajpura, Ropar, Khamano, Chunni, Rangeelpur and Bindrakh.

The Chandigarh administration has stopped the bus routes (6, 11, 14, 13, 15, 8, 77, 40, 95, 25, 79, 35/77, 33 and 29) to these areas due to the raise in special road tax on the buses levied by the Punjab government from November 22.

Thousands of employees, students and other commuters of the area, who used CTU buses to reach the their destinations would suffer due to this decision.

“It is ridiculous as nobody thinks of the plight of common people while taking such decisions. The Punjab government should have considered the consequences before levying hefty taxes on public utility services. Now, who will be responsible for the common man sufferings?” rued Anjum, a resident of Phase IX.

Talking to The Tribune, Captain P.S. Shergill, director, CTU, said they were concerned about the problems, the commuters had to face due to the decision. “But the burden of the tax is quite high as we have to pay Rs 60 lakh as tax. Paying Rs 5 per kilometre as tax for plying buses in Punjab is quite high. Moreover, this is advance tax, which the roadways has to pay irrespective of usage,” added Shergill.

Besides the local routes, many CTU routes to the many parts of the state, including Ferozepur, Bathinda, Mansa, Abohar, Samana, Tanda, Thein Dam have also been withdrawn.



Mayoral poll today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The elections for the post of mayor, senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor will be held tomorrow during a meeting of the municipal corporation on its premises at 11 am.

With the BSP seemingly losing the race after two of its councillors changed parties, it is sure to be an interesting battle between the BJP and the Congress.

A total of 35 councillors and one MP will decide the fate of BJP’s Gurcharan Dass Kala, Congress’s Pradeep Chhabra and BSP’s Jatinder Bhatia, contenders for the mayoral post.

While Anju Beniwala of the Congress, Sarita Devi of the BSP and Surinder Kumar Jagota of the BJP will lock horns for the post of senior deputy mayor, Harphool Chander Kalyan of the Congress and Gurnam Singh of SAD will contend for the deputy mayor’s post.

As per the schedule, secretary of the municipal corporation will request Brig Kuldip Singh Chandpuri, who has been nominated by the deputy commissioner, to preside over the meeting of the corporation for the election of the mayor.

After the declaration of the mayoral poll result, the mayor will hold the election for the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor.

As per the norms, if there are more than two candidates (as in these elections), and at the first ballot, no candidate obtains more votes than the aggregate votes obtained by the other candidates, the candidate who has obtained the smallest number shall be excluded from the election. Votes, shall be taken again then for the remaining two candidates, until one candidate obtains more vote than the remaining candidate.

After the declaration of the mayoral poll result, the mayor will hold the election for the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor.



Fauji Beat
Cariappa was father of the Army

Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, OBE.
Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa, OBE.

A recent book, “Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa”, on the late Field Marshal by his son, Air Marshal K.C. Cariappa (retd), reminds one of the era when the Indian Army began to take roots. Having served in 4 Guards (1 Rajput) in the 1950s, in which the Field Marshal had been commissioned when it was 1 Rajput, this writer was lucky enough to know all the virtues of the Field Marshal; the like of whom the Army has not produced so far.

The Field Marshal was meticulous to the last detail in dress, discipline, gentlemanliness and good behaviour and he expected every soldier to be correct in everything that he did. A Professional to the core, he spared no efforts to ensure that the Army measured up to its tasks, both during peacetime and war.

When Air Marshal Cariappa was taken a prisoner of war (POW) by the Pakistani forces in Khem Karan in 1965, President Ayub Khan conveyed to the Field Marshal (then General) Cariappa that his son would be released if he so wished. General Cariappa replied: “They (Indian POWs) are all my sons. Look after them”. No wonder Field Marshal Cariappa is called “Father of the Indian Army”.

It is not enough to remember him on the Army Day (January 15) every year when he became the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army in 1949. But what the Army, especially, the senior officers need to do is to follow the high principles of soldiering that the Field Marshal not only preached but also practiced.

Soldiers remain unrecognised

If you cannot give them their due during their lifetime, at least pay them befitting last respects. It is sad that the soldiers are neglected by politicians and bureaucrats during their life as well as the time of their death.

Honorary Captain Bana Singh who won the Param Vir Chakra (PVC), the highest gallantry award of the country, said: “I am sad that I fought for the country”. Why? Because the J&K Government is showing insult to his bravery by paying him a measly sum of Rs 166 per month as honorarium.

A famous World War II veteran Maj-Gen Anant Singh Pathania of Himachal Pardesh passed away on December 19, at the age of 95 years. General Pathania was commissioned in 1935, was the first Indian officer to have commanded a battalion of 5 Gorkha Rifles and was also a winner of Military Cross. Yet no district officers from Dharamsala was present at his funeral. Nor did any politician or bureaucrat pay a tribute to him.

Medicare for non-pensioners

According to a recent rule, the ex-servicemen who are not members of the ECHS will not be entitled to any medical facilities at military hospitals after April 2008.

What has been forgotten while framing this rule is that a large number of ex-servicemen, who are not pensioners, cannot become members of he ECHS. But they are entitled to outdoor treatment at military hospitals. It will be very unfair to debar them from this facility after April 2008. This rule needs to be amended to apply only to the pensioners and not to all ex-servicemen.

— Pritam Bhullar



Countdown for LS poll on
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The countdown for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections have begun in the city. In fact, the defection of two BSP councillors of the municipal corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) to the Congress will have far-reaching effects on the local political scene in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

While for minister state for finance Pawan Bansal it is seen as a shot in the arm, for his bete noire and BSP convener Harmohan Dhawan it is certainly a setback. Dhawan, who was declared as the candidate for the next lok sabha elections by the BSP supremo Mayawati recently, will have a lot to explain to the party high command on the issue in the months to come.

The new political equations in the MCC (Congress now has 15 councillors minus Bansal), will naturally strengthen the hands of the minister, who is still smarting under the wafer-thin defeat of his party's candidate in the last mayoral elections, by one vote. The BJP-SAD combine and the BSP with active support of the nominated councillors had elected Harjinder Kaur as the mayor delivering a severe blow to Bansal's prestige.

Sources said with a firm control over the party organisation and dissidence under control Bansal, who apparently did not have a rival for the lok sabha seat at the local level, would go into the next poll in a confident way. This coupled with the possible victory of his trusted lieutenant Pradeep Chhabra for the post of Mayor on January 1 should see him further consolidate his position in the party hierarchy.

"In fact, development is going to Congress' main agenda in the next elections. The unprecedented development undertaken by the minister, particularly under the MPLAD scheme, was bound the ensure party's victory in the next elections," Congress' mayoral candidate and Bansal's representative for MPLAD scheme Chhabra told The Tribune here today.

However, BJP sources said buoyed by the successes in Gujarat and Himachal, the party cadre was upbeat and the city would not remain unaffected by political developments in other parts of the country.

Congress' claims of development notwithstanding, BJP and the BSP would pose a major challenge to Bansal's bid to retain the seat. Since there is no dearth of detractors for Bansal within and outside the party, uphill task lie ahead for Bansal.



Woman councillor tries to slap colleague
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 31
In an unseemly incident, a woman municipal councillor allegedly tried to slap and manhandle a male councillor just as those attending the general body meeting of the civic body were getting up to disperse here today.

Councillor Baljit Kaur had raised the issue of removal of unauthorised rehris from footpaths in Sector 70 with council president Rajinder Singh Rana at the general body meeting of the council. Soon after she was heard using “objectionable” language strongly opposing councillor Rajinder Prasad Sharma’s interference in matters concerning her ward.

Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, who is an ex-officio member of the council, and some other councillors tried to pacify Baljit Kaur, urging her to exercise restraint.

But soon the matter took a turn for the worse. When the councillors started getting up to leave the meeting hall, Baljit Kaur went towards Sharma and allegedly tried to slap him on the face. But he protected himself with his forearm. Baljit Kaur also tried to allegedly manhandle Sharma but was prevented from doing so by certain councillors.

Sharma later lodged a complaint with the police against Baljit Kaur and her husband Shamsher Singh Purkhalvi, who, he said was standing near the door of the meeting hall and allegedly used abusive language when he (Sharma) walked out of the hall. He sought strict action against the couple. He said if he was not safe on the premises of the municipal council office, where else in the town would he feel safe. He said he would make a complaint to the council president and the executive officer tomorrow.

Baljit Kaur said in a press statement Sharma had unnecessarily interfered when she was raising the issue of illegal rehris at the council meeting without providing any proofs in support of his statements. She also claimed that Sharma made objectionable remarks about women. She said she would lodge a complaint with the Women’s Commission.



Rodrigues forsees dynamic Chandigarh in 2008
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Extending New Year wishes, UT administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) said his final goal was to make Chandigarh a dynamic and vibrant symbol of resurgent India.

Expressing his gratitude to the people of Chandigarh for boosting the tempo of development, General Rodrigues said Chandigarh was pioneer in many respects and was making steady progress. It was fast emerging as a hub of socio- economic growth, knowledge city and model of public-private partnerships in building social and physical infrastructure to meet our growing needs.

He further said the administration had embarked upon various innovative programmes to take the city forward and every initiative had been taken in the larger public interest, giving top priority to people's views while formulating policies and plans for the development of the union territory.

Work on 170 developmental projects in the city is in progress and each project has its own roadmap and priority. The major project in the service sector and social engineering is the slum clearance and rehabilitation of the slum dwellers in different colonies. The land vacated by these slums will be used for other development projects.

Subsidised education to the poor students and mid-day meals for over 60,000 children is another such developmental project. All government schools have been directed to give special attention to this programme for the poor and needy.

Over 67,000 jobs will also be available for IT professionals in addition to other skilled and non-skilled workers, which will greatly benefit the local population.

Setting out a new roadmap for the growth and development of the city, General Rodrigues said the administration had taken a series of steps, along with the adjoining states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal, for making this capital region a model of prosperity and well-equipped to cater to the needs of 60 million people. He said besides upgradation of the Chandigarh airport, a mass rapid transport system was under active consideration.

The administration is also in the process of setting up a mega theme-cum-amusement park, multi-media-cum-film city, education city and various other related projects. A special initiative of the administration is to set up a museum of knowledge. The industrial area has also been upgraded and multi-level parking is being introduced.



Estate officer asked to explain non-compliance with directions
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 31
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), Panchkula, not only failed to remove the alleged encroachments on national highway number 22 on Zirakpur-Panchkula road as directed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in March 2005, but the officials from the authority did not even bother to appear on the date fixed by the Haryana lokayukta to hear the complaint in this regard on December 4.

Now Justice (retd) N.K. Sud, lokayukta, Haryana, has asked the HUDA estate officer to be personally present on January 8 and explain as to why the directions issued by him were not complied with.

In fact, Parma Nand, a resident of Raelly village, Sector 12 A, here, had filed a public interest litigation in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in 2004 for removal of encroachments in Dhakauli (Punjab) and Kundi (Panchkula) villages. The high court, disposing of the writ petition, directed the chief administrator, HUDA, Panchkula, to arrange the demarcation of the area and to ensure that encroachments thereon, if any, be removed within four months.

However, no concrete steps have been taken in this direction till now.

The perusal of revenue records even showed that HUDA was never serious to act in this case.

The report filed by concerned kanungo and patwari, who undertook demarcation work on July 18, 2005, clearly stated that the HUDA officials did not turn up on the site even as they were informed twice about it.

After the completion of demarcation work, revenue officials stated that there was encroachment at 10 places in the said area and following it, HUDA issued notices to the encroachers in November 2005.

Interestingly, when petitioner Parma Nand lodged the complaint with the lokayukta, the sadar kanungo from deputy commissioner office, Panchkula, presented a letter in which the deputy commissioner stated that instructions had been issued to the estate officer, HUDA, to take necessary action on the basis of the demarcation report of July 18, 2005. The same day ADA from estate office, HUDA, Dharam Pal submitted that immediate action would be taken in this regard. Further, on the next date of hearing on October 10, Dharam Pal pointed out that the date for removal of encroachment was fixed for October 30 and in view of it, the lokayukta adjourned the case to December 4 when the HUDA officials preferred to avoid attending the hearing.



Book on idioms, phrases released
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, December 31
“An astute wisdom and lifelong experience is required to frame or coin an idiom or a phrase with a wealth of meaning,” observed Prof. R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, Punjab University while releasing a book "An Alphabetical Compilation of Idioms (A learning treatise of expressions and phrases) at hotel Pallavi here yesterday. “The book containing desirable description of over 11,000 idioms with perfectly harmonised concept and expressions, authored by (Late) G.D. Sharma, a former officer of PU is indeed a master piece of English language," he added. Sobti failed to resist his adulation for Brig A.K. Shori, a son-in law of the late author who later edited the book employing a critical attitude to make it an expression of rich imagination. Like an ideal son Brig Shori, invested his best efforts in realising the long cherished dream of the late author.

In view of its felicity of language the book will be received by academicians and students with remarkable approbation, claimed Sobti.

Earlier, in a key note address the eminent scholar Parkash Sharma emphasised that an idiom is a potent mode of expression which represents the cultural ethos in a particular literary context.

The editor, Brig Shori, sharing his endeavour paid a rich tribute to the intellectual elegance of the author.

Presiding over the function Maj Gen Sadasivam, additional DG APS asserted that the book is a landmark with vast collection of idioms or logical phrases on diverse themes of philosophical, literary, art and cultural context. But the saga of spirit and firm resolve of the author, who solely devoted to enrich the educational treatise deserves to be saluted and complimented, added Gen Sadasivam.



Deadline for jewellery hallmarking ends
No guidelines given to jewellers
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 31
As the dead line for making jewelry hallmarking mandatory ends today, the jewelers in the tri-city still have not got any guidelines whether the hallmarking would be made mandatory or not.

Bhupinder Singh, deputy director general, Bureau of Indian Standard, northern region said, “We still have not got any information from the head office regarding Jewelry hallmarking. All the policies are being made in Delhi office, we still have no clue about it”.

The Ministry of Consumer Affair is making hallmarking mandatory from January 1, 2008. But yet neither guidelines nor any statement have being issue to BIS.

“Anil Talwar, president of the Jewelers Association Chandigarh, said “I have got an SMS from the concerned authority that the issue has been postponed till further orders. According to Talwar, the jewelers have to face number of problems. If in case a hall marked jewelry is found below the standard, the jeweler would be penalised not the hallmarking center.”

But according to Bhupinder Singh, DDG, BIS, “There is a clear guideline from Bureau of Indian Standard that in case jewelry is found below standard, both the jewelry owner and the center would be liable”.

The jewelers would under go a number of problems, to get the jewelry hallmarked. BIS have certified about 75 hallmark centers. The jewelers have not got any list from the Ministry whether small items are also to be hall marked or they are exempted from hallmarking. Moreover, no hallmarking center has been opened or listed in and around the tri-city.



Officer objects to GCM jurisdiction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
A junior commissioned officer (JCO) of the Army, being tried by a general court martial at Ferozepur for allegedly accepting money for ensuring the enrolment of a person, has objected to the jurisdiction of the GCM to try him.

The JCO, Naib Subedar Sanjeev M.K., is facing two charges for allegedly accepting Rs 5,000 from a civilian, Gurpreet Singh, and for having in his possession some ammunition rounds.

He was posted as the head clerk in the Branch Recruiting Office in Ferozepur at the time of the alleged offence.

Gurpreet was sent as a decoy to Sanjeev’s house by the Army authorities and thereafter the premises was raided by the military intelligence.

According to the defence counsel, Col S.K. Aggarwal (retd), the complainant in the case, Gurpreet, did not make any complaint to the Army authorities regarding the case.

The defence counsel also contended that the complainant was not examined during the court of inquiry as well as during the recording of the summary of evidence.

His statements also did not appear in the two additional summaries of evidence recorded in the case.

Since the statements of the alleged complainant did not feature in the proceedings, the counsel contended that there was no evidence against the accused.

He added that mandatory provisions under Army Rule 22 were also not complied with during the proceedings.



Stop passing the buck on encroachments: Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Stressing on the need to recognise the cause of encroachments at various places in the city, Congress MP from Chandigarh Pawan Bansal said time had come when they should stop playing a blame-game for growing encroachments and initiate steps to terminate their growth.

The MP was elaborating on a point raised on rising encroachments during the question-hour at the 123rd house meeting of the Chandigarh municipal corporation held here today.

Bansal added that often politicians were blamed when the encroachments reached an alarming high. “With adequate beat system and active involvement of the police, the situation can be controlled,” he said.

The other major issue that hogged during the question-hour was the proper implementation of sanitation works in the city. With debris and rubble lying unattended at various places, sanitation in the city needed an uplift, the councillor opined.

“A sum of Rs 50 lakh has been sanctioned under the MPLAD fund for buying of machines like excavators and loaders by the MC and proper utilisation of these need to be ensured,” said Bansal. Acting municipal commissioner R.K. Rao said proper mechanism would be adopted and steps would be taken in this regard.

The agendas passed today included integrated ambulance services for the city and augmentation of water supply in Maloya village.

The issues of the menace of stray dogs, monkeys and cattle were raised by nominated councillor Brig Kuldip Singh Chandpuri (retd).

Nominated councillor Arshad Khan brought a table agenda for recycle of the IT hardware. He demanded proper recycling of e-waste and urged to bring out a solution for its disposal. The agenda was, however, not passed as the matter catered to the Central Pollution Control Board, the officials said.



Year Ahead
Traffic, transportation areas of concern
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Although upcoming projects look to enhance the city’s reputation as a ‘happening place’ in 2008, the Chandigarh administration will have to tackle the problem of burgeoning traffic, find a suitable transportation system and involve expert planners and educated local citizens in giving suggestions for the future.

The city, coupled with Mohali and Panchkula, faces the threat of ending up like Bangalore - choked on short-sighted development - or may take a leap forward with sound planning and be the preferred destination of this century.

Already, roads in Chandigarh are choked and there is no fast and reliable public transport.

With more malls coming up, the IT park developing further and Chandigarh aiming at establishing a medicity and an education-city along with the soon-to-be-granted international status to the airport, existing infrastructure - though better than several Indian cities -will be under stress.

The affected areas can be electricity and water supply, roads, parking spaces, paucity of hotels, choking of public parks and shopping malls, among other aspects, thus impacting the daily lives of people.

The administration can take a step forward and present long-term plans before a panel of outside experts to seek opinions and then formulate an assessment.

The administration needs to lift its engineers out of a mentality that they nowadays associate with “development”. It borders around recarpeting of already smooth roads or changing existing streetlight poles under the grab of beautification or adding another coat of paint to already painted railings in market places.

The effort is aimed at “spending the allocated budget” than planning and execution.

Flyovers or underpasses are required on important junctions but plans are at discussion stage with various studies and various meetings having being conducted.

A mass rapid transport system is required and “talks are on for a decade”.

A metro-rail project will not work till areas like Baddi, Mohali, Panchkula, Dera Bassi, Kharar and Kalka are linked to Chandigarh.

Punjab and Haryana are keen on it but various committees - all formed by Delhi officials - give some suggestions only to scrap them. The volume of traffic between Chandigarh and its satellite towns is increasing even as studies get commissioned and rejected.

Focus needs to be on the requirement of middle-class people, who board buses or drive two-wheelers to reach their offices or factories in adjoining towns.

On the administrative front the Chandigarh administration - primarily run by a handful of bureaucrats - will have a new face.

New adviser to administrator Pradeep Mehra joined three months ago, while appointments of a new finance secretary, home secretary, commissioner municipal corporation and MD CITCO, respectively, are expected in the forthcoming year.



Death Trap
Low power poles pose danger
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 31
The electricity department officials forgot to increase the height of electricity wires, leaving the residents of a row of houses in Sector 21 exposed to the risk of electrocution.

The height of the electricity poles, which is supposed to be 24 feet, was reduced to merely 12 feet after the roads in the locality were elevated.

In fact, the poles carrying high voltage of electricity are erected in the locality to supply power to tube wells in the locality. The poles were erected before construction work was started in the area many years back. HUDA had allotted plots to the public and laid the roads by elevating the earth level but the electricity department forgot to do the same in case of these electricity poles.

Even the wires of streetlight poles were at more height than the poles carrying a current of 11,000 volts.

“The wires has been posing a danger to us since we constructed the house three years back,” said S.S. Gautam, a resident. A mishap was averted even at the time of construction when a labourer carrying a wooden plank touched the wires, he said.

“I visited the electricity office several times but to no avail,” rued Gautam. “After that I even stopped requesting them,” he added.

His neighbour P.C. Dhiman’s experience is no different. “I visited the electricity office at Sector 8 a year back with the request to increase the height of wires but nobody bothered to pay heed,” said Dhiman.

The authorities, however, feigned ignorance about the problem.

The SDO concerned said he was not aware of the matter. However, he assured action.



Fake Judge Case
Role of intelligence under scanner
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Even as Chandigarh police took the credit of solving eight more cases of theft within two weeks of the arrest of impostor Inderjit Singh of Lalru, the entire episode has brought to the fore the failure of the intelligence wing to keep a tab on the movements of the suspicious elements after their release on bail.

According to DSP of the operations cell of the Chandigarh police Vijay Kumar, eight more cases have been solved during Inderjit’s interrogation and stolen articles, including jewellery worth over Rs 4 lakh, a computer, bags of clothes, briefcases, have been recovered. He had committed 26 thefts since his release from jail last year. The total amount of recoveries made from Inderjit is over Rs 45 lakh.

Sources said on an average Inderjit used to commit more than two thefts within a month in the city and was never spotted by the intelligence wing. It was surprising that a notorious impostor was never kept under surveillance after his release and he went on committing the crimes.

A senior police officer said the intelligence wing rarely kept a tab on criminals, who went on carrying out their activities without having fear of the police at the back of their minds and the present case was a testimony to the fact. Moreover, the intelligence wing was concerned about political reports, rallies and dharnas and was generally engaged in preparing these reports, he added.

The recoveries made from Inderjit during his interrogation were no doubt achievement of the investigating officials, but on the other hand, the startling revelations also pointed towards the failure of the intelligence, said a police officer.

Inderjit will be produced before a local court tomorrow. He was arrested with a red-beacon atop Santro car on December 15. Since then, he is on police remand.



Panchkula to be lit with solar lights
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 31
The town will earn the distinction of being the first city in the country to be lit with solar lights within the next couple of months as the district administration has decided to replace all 19,000 streetlight points with solar lights. It will help in saving Rs 52 lakh, claimed Rajinder Kataria, deputy commissioner, Panchkula.

The deputy commissioner, listing out his priorities further, said a place for a common garbage dumping ground for the towns of Panchkula, Pinjore and Kalka had been earmarked between Panchkula and Pinjore. Till now the garbage of the city was being dumped at the open space near Nada Sahib, creating nuisance for the residents of nearby areas. The problem would be solved within the next four days as all preparations had already been made in this regard, said Kataria.

The deputy commissioner said efforts were on to curb stray cattle menace and a site for constructing a gaushala had been earmarked at Pinjore where a panchayat was ready to provide land for the purpose. To control stray dogs and their population, a tender had already been floated, added Kataria.

The process of removal of debris from Pinjore road would be speeded up within a couple of days as unorganised demolitions by residents had resulted in traffic bottlenecks, he said.

In addition to it, connectivity of roads would also be taken up on a priority basis and more than Rs 10 crore would be spent for the purpose, added the deputy commissioner.



Awareness week begins at CFSL
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
With the aim to spread awareness about forensic sciences in students and general public, the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Chandigarh, is celebrating Forensic Science Awareness Week from today at CFSL Complex, Sector 36, here.

The programme would enable them to see the facilities, including DNA profiling and video superimposition technique, computer forensics, speaker identification, tape authentication, explosives, firearms and ballistics, and have an idea of the working of different facilities and their utility for them.

The spokesman for the CFSL said the laboratory facilities would be kept open and general public and students would be allowed to visit the same. General public can visit these laboratories between 3 and 5 pm till January 4 whereas the students from schools, colleges and universities can visit the laboratories on January 4 between 3 and 5 pm.

The directorate of forensic science under the union ministry of home affairs is celebrating the week in all central forensic science laboratories and government examiners of questioned documents (GEsQD) and state forensic science laboratories throughout the country.



Vendors allege extortion by councillor
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 31
Vegetable vendors of Sector 19 staged a demonstration in front of deputy commissioner’s office demanding action against a nominated municipal councillor from their ward.

They alleged that the said municipal councillor was extorting money from them in lieu of allowing them to run their petty business.

Around 50 rehri and pheriwallas, raising slogans against the said councillor, alleged that while the councillor was charging Rs 500 every week from them in the name of expenses of the municipal committee, his wife took away vegetables and fruits from them without making payment.

When they refused to oblige the councillor, they were threatened that the place would be vacated by HUDA.

Later, they submitted a memorandum to the deputy commissioner with an affidavit against the said councillor.



Fake notes in circulation, says city resident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
It came as a shock for city resident D.S. Kohli when he was handed over a fake currency note of Rs 50 by a roadside vendor. The note looks so much like the original that it is difficult to find out flaws in it.

The only things missing from the original are the year of printing of the note, which is normally seen at the bottom on the reverse side of the note, and a small ‘50’ mark that can be seen when the note is held against light.

Moreover, the paper is thinner than the usual. Kohli, suspects that some racket is being run and the notes are being circulated by a person for being handed over to gullible people.



CTU to add 400 buses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The Chandigarh administration has decided to operate 400 Inter -state buses more, in addition to existing 250 buses, from ISBT 43 from January 15.

For this purpose, 14 bases would be made functional. According to the officials, initially buses for Ludhiana and beyond areas along with night route buses will be shifted from ISBT, Sector 17.

While the other routes will be shifted in a phased manner later on.



Adviser releases newsletter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The Adviser to UT Administrator, Pradip Mehra, released the first issue of the quarterly newsletter of Municipal Corporation (MC) titled ‘Glimpses’ here today.

Releasing the newsletter, Mehra lauded the efforts of the Mayor Harjinder Kaur and the officers of the Corporation in bringing out the newsletter.

The eight-page newsletter highlighted various initiatives of the Municipal Corporation. The Adviser also released citizen's charter and the hand book on this occasion.



Outdated buses

Chandigarh administration is planning to make Chandigarh an IT city. So many IT companies have already established their base. It is good to see so much of development happening around but we need to do it everywhere.

Chandigarh administration/CTU has taken a good decision to run air conditioned buses in the city. I would like to suggest that the doors of these buses should be pneumatically or hydraulically operated by the driver himself in order to avoid accidents.

It is very difficult to open doors by school going children and aged persons. At present some new buses running in Chandigarh have the same technology but not being maintained/operated properly.

Moreover, Chandigarh should be free from auto rickshaw and CNG should be used in order to avoid pollution. Routes should be allotted for auto rickshaw as per new planning being implemented shortly.

Raheim Bakash, Mohali

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



3 women injured as car rams into rickshaw
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Three women travelling in a rickshaw suffered injuries after a Honda City (CH-03-H-6999) rammed into their rickshaw near the Sectors 15 and 16 traffic lights point on Sunday night. The injured were admitted to Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16. The police arrested the car driver, Karandeep Singh of Sector 40-A, on the charges of causing injuries due to rash and negligent driving.

Vehicles stolen

Anuj Rawat of Phase II, Ram Darbar, reported that his Tata Indigo car (CH-03-M-7331) was stolen from his residence during the intervening night of December 27 and 28. In another incident, Ravjit Singh of Sector 15 lodged a complaint that his Hero Honda (HR-07-F-0997) was stolen from his residence on Saturday night. Two separate cases of thefts have been registered.

Liquor seized

The police has arrested Manoj Kumar of Dadu Majra Colony with 24 bottles of country made wine from behind the dispensary in Sector 56 on Sunday. In another incident, the police has arrested Nirmal Singh of Hallo Majra from near Poultry Farm Chowk and Munna Ram of Dadu Majra from Dadu Majra turn on Sunday and recovered five bottles of country made wine from each of them. Three separate cases have been registered.



ATM in new OPD block of PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Pawan Kumar Bansal, union minister of state for finance, today inaugurated the ATM of the Oriental Bank of Commerce at the New OPD Block of the PGI here today.

K.K. Talwar, PGI director, was the guest of honour. AK Gupta, deputy director (administration), and Ritu Dhillon, financial adviser of the PGI, were also present.

The ATM will provide relief to the patients and attendants visiting the new OPD block.



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