C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Barista firing: 3 youths in net
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The Special Crime Investigation Cell of the Chandigarh Police today arrested three youngsters, who allegedly fired shots at Barista, a coffee bar at Sector 35 during the night of December 22.

DSP (CID) Satbir Singh told TNS that the accused, Harkirat Singh alias Badal of Phase X, Mohali, Rahul Dev of Ekta Vihar, Baltana and Gurpreet Singh Chahal of Baryali village in Mohali district, were arrested from near Barista in Sector 11 following information. They are in their early twenties. The police also impounded the Hyundai Accent car (PB-65-D-4588), which they were driving when nabbed.

Satbir Singh said the trio during their preliminary interrogation disclosed that they were nine persons and they fired four shots from Chahal’s .32 bore licensed revolver in the coffee bar. Police teams had been dispatched to arrest the remaining accused, who had been identified.

According to the police, Harkirat is a BA II year student of correspondence department, Panjab University. His real father had died and his step-father Nihan Singh is a director in food and supply department. Rahul Dev runs a Famous Fast Food, Sector 35 and Gurpreet deals in sale-purchase of cars.

The police had registered a case of rioting, firing at public place, trespassing and criminal intimidation following the incident next day.

The police earlier maintained that the shots were fired by “toy pistol” as the marks found on the spot were caused of pallets not by bullets. The police has reasoned that they had not invoked the Arms Act in the incident as the shots were fired from a toy gun, which need no licence.

It was alleged in the complaint that two inebriated youngsters came to the coffee bar late in night on December 22. They asked the employees to play some Punjabi songs to which the staff told them that they did not have any. The youth brought their own CD from their car and asked the staff to play it. On being refused they pulled out a pistol and began firing shots, threatening them with dire consequences. Their other associates also came into the bar and created ruckus before leaving the place.



Bogus voters in, genuine out
10,000 fake votes found on municipal electoral rolls
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 5
The revised municipal electoral rolls released on December 28 have come under cloud after many residents as well as political leaders have alleged that many bogus votes were included in the new rolls while the names of genuine voters were deleted from the lists by officials involved in the survey under the influence of some councillors.

Interestingly, a majority of allegations were levelled by a leader of the ruling Congress.

Panchkula Congress president (city) R K Kakkar, a municipal councillor, in a letter written to the DC, Panchkula, alleged that even in his ward No. 12 (new) hundreds of bogus names of voters were included in the new rolls.

In fact, the district administration releasing the revised municipal electoral rolls has appointed the officials in respective wards to dispose of the objections and claims of the people regarding this by January 8. Not satisfying with the decision of these, officials appeal can be filed before the DC.

More than 10,000 bogus votes were included during the new survey and to correct the voters list, the administration should order for the fresh survey to be conducted under strict supervision, demanded Kakkar.

Citing examples of irregularities, Kakkar said in house numbers 132, 111, 358 355, 362, and 257 in Sector 10 falling in Ward no. 12 a total of 36 votes were found bogus.

“In many cases, the names of persons who do not live in my ward have been included on the voters’ list,” alleged Kakkar. Though more than 200 votes were deleted after the DC ordered for the second survey, many more were to be detected,” he said.

Similar were the views of Baljeet Sharma, general secretary of the Panchkula Congress (city) who said the names of his five family members were deleted from the voters list during the survey.

“We live in House no. 168 of Sector 21 and surprisingly five names of my family members were deleted,” said Sharma.

In one case, Rajesh Bhasin claiming to be a prospective candidate from ward no. 21 in the municipal elections within couple of months also alleged that names of many voters were deleted during the survey fraudulently. The officials were not even ready to share the information about the names of people whose names were deleted from the voters lists during the survey, alleged Bhasin.

On the other hand the administration, denying the irregularities, said this was not the final list and there were still two chances of lodging claims and objections with the different authorities in this regard.

DC Rajender Kataria said there were around 14,000 new votes included during the survey while 10,000 names from old lists were deleted. So there was merely an increase of 4,000 voters, which cannot be termed as an ingenuine increase, he said. Still the strict action would be taken against the officials in case irregularities were found in this regard.



RTI Act only on paper: Survey
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
Not a single public authority in Chandigarh has displayed in its office the 17 proactive disclosures which are a must under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Required to be physically displayed at all offices within 120 days of the passing of RTI Act on October 12, 2005, the disclosures under Section 4 I (b) are yet to happen. The situation is such that even the office of the UT administrator doesn’t have these disclosures or even a formal system of receipt of RTI applications.

That’s what came out of a three-week-long field inspection of the RTI implementation status in 70 offices of the UT administration and the Central Government in Chandigarh. Conducted by 14 law students from Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala, the assessment reflected a miserable state of RTI in the city.

In over 76 per cent cases, even the RTI application was not accepted. In more than half of the cases, public information officers (PIO) were not accessible. Average time for which an applicant had to wait in a public office to submit the application and ask basic questions about PIOs and proactive disclosures was over 34 minutes - 120 minutes in the office of the UT administrator and Punjab Raj Bhavan put together. In 90 per cent cases, employees either did not know who the PIO was or said he was on leave.

Part of “Mission Zero Tolerance,” a citizens’ initiative for corruption-free society launched today by the Burning Brain Society, the survey documents the field inspection procedure students followed, and makes a case for improvement of the RTI in Chandigarh.

The petitioners have already posted to chief information commissioners, Central Information Commission, some 55 applications against the erring public officers of Chandigarh. Sent under Section 18 of the RTI Act, these list the public offices where RTI applications were not even received.

For the researchers, the strangest experience was the one at UT administrator’s office, which directed them to Punjab Raj Bhawan. At Raj Bhawan, they were not shown Section 4 information; their RTI applications were not accepted; when they insisted they were told the application would be treated as a “private” letter.

The Burning Brain Society, which did quantitative and qualitative analysis of RTI disclosures of 70 government departments of Chandigarh, further found that except for one department, the others had incomplete or irrelevant disclosures. Not just this, information under section 4(1) of the RTI Act available on offices’ websites was outdated, often as old as two years. Most of this information has not been updated since the RTI’s inception in 2005.

In their RTI applications, the researchers asked questions about whether the public authorities were following the Public Records Act and the Central Secretariat Manual of Official Procedures which require proper maintenance of records (written and electronic) and even destruction of it. Even the sent and received e-mails have to recorded. Hemant Goswami, chairperson, Burning Brain Society, said the initiative sought to end the unaccounted discretion exercised at various levels of bureaucracy in the city.



Traders make hay while UT sleeps
Changes in facades in Sector 17

Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The Estate Office has failed to enforce its own order to penalise the traders in Sector 17, who have paint or whitewash the facades of their buildings.

With a view to improving the outlook of the commercial sector, the Estate Office, through a public notice, had warned of action against those who did not clean the facade of their buildings. Glazing the facade is also a violation of the rules.

The traders had also been asked to remove the advertisement panels other than those prescribed under the architecture control sheet. Those violating the guidelines attract the provisions of the Punjab Capital (Development and Regulations) Buildings Rules, 1952.

Sources said the occupants were required to get the facades of their buildings cleaned by way of silicon treatment or by other means. Individual notices were being issued to the property owners, and if they fail to remove the violations, the Estate Office was supposed to recover the costs of removing the violations from the violators.

Now, the Estate Office is planning to include the cost of removing the violation in the water and electricity bills. But it is yet to be seen when the penalty was levied.

Action on part of the Estate Office has been pending since 2005, when the plan to upgrade the infrastructural facilities was taken by the Chandigarh Administration.

Reacting to the move, traders claim that it was not them alone, many offices of the Punjab and Haryana governments in Sector 17 here have defaced the corridors of buildings by glazing their facade.

Even offices of the Chandigarh Administration, housed in the Town Hall Extension Building, have covered the corridor.

Following in the footsteps of government offices, many business establishments have also resorted to these violations. A showroom under renovation has used a glass pane to give an aesthetic look to the facade. The violations of the architectural control sheet by the occupants of the prime commercial properties in Sector 17 are being ignored.

As one enters Sector 17-E from the side of Sector 18, the facade of showrooms has undergone change disturbing the uniformity of the front elevation. A number of shops opposite the Sahib Singh block have glazed the facede with glass. Without caring for the bylaws, one of the shopkeepers has broken the parapet at the first floor to facilitate changes in the façade of the building.



SAS Nagar proposes link road to Jayanti Majri temple
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 5
The SAS Nagar district administration has proposed the construction of a 10 feet wide link road to the Jayanti Majri temple in Chandigarh’s periphery.

The historical temple, which is at least 300 years old, was built on a hill in Jayanti village in Hathnor state, which was ruled by the Rajputs for many years. The temple is linked to the Chandigarh-Mullanpur-Garibdass road.

Deputy commissioner SAS Nagar H.S. Grewal had forwarded a proposal to the Tourism Department Punjab that a 10 feet road is required for pilgrims, who visit the temple in large number throughout the year.

In his letter to Geetika Kalha, principal secretary Department of Tourism, the DC said the main building of the temple was not safe as the hill on which it was built was eroding and the entire structure needed to be strengthened.

The DC had recommended the appointment of a consultant or a team of the Archeological Survey Of India (ASI) to suggest safety measures that could be taken to save the temple.

The ASI team had conducted a study of the temple some years ago and also reported its findings regarding the safety of the Jayanti Devi temple but no action was taken on the report.

Government of India had also sanctioned Rs 50 lakh for the village to be promoted as a hub of rural tourism. The project sent to the government of India included development of a tourist resort on higher reaches of the neighbouring hills over looking the temple and natural setting of the village and the adjoining plains with the Jayanti ki Rao river.

It was also suggested in the proposal that a natural habitat be created for wildlife to return or develop in selected parts of the hills. It was pointed out that the area was suitable for the development of floriculture parks on the slopes with umbrellas made of local sarkanda to provide shelter to the tourist and who visit the area.

The area was also found to be suited for herbal medicine plantations. Small projects involving the residents of the local area focusing on the arts and crafts can also be encouraged as part of rural tourism.

The temple is a major attraction for tourists during an annual festival when thousands of devotees throng the temple to pay obeisance to the Goddess.



Over lakh visit Nada Sahib on Gurpurb
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 5
Festive celebrations marked the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh here today. The Gurpurb was observed with traditional fervour, zeal and gaiety all over the city. Unbound enthusiasm marked the occasion as more than lakh devotees visited Nada Sahib Gurdwara.

Devotees started reaching the gurdwara since Friday night to pay obeisance as the doors of the gurdwara were scheduled to open at 3 am. Shabad and gurbani recitals started early in the morning amid hectic activity and kirtan was held after which Dhadi Jathas performed and Kavishawar Darbar was organised. A special langar was also served to the devotees.



Road Safety Week
Sensitising students to make roads safer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The Chandigarh traffic police today organised a conference on road safety and school area management at the Sector 29 Traffic Auditorium, in which principals from various local schools participated.

DSP Traffic Jasbir Singh Cheema said aiming at “catching them young”, the school teachers and principals were educated about sensitising students about the traffic norms to make roads safer. He added that the principals had been told to encourage pooling scheme among parents to reduce traffic congestion outside schools. Besides, they were asked to prohibit their drivers to ply buses on V-6 roads and also to park their vehicles inside the school compounds.

The police also distributed literature pertaining to traffic rules and requested the school principals to organise regular lectures by the traffic police in their schools.

The Chandigarh traffic police conducted a first-aid workshop in association with Fortis Hospital, Mohali, for the police control room (PCR) and the traffic police personnel at Traffic Auditorium Sector 29 on Friday. About 100 policemen took part in the workshop, in which they were given first-aid tips by experts with the help of a dummy.

The SSP (traffic) AS Ahlawat said the aim of the workshop was to teach ways to properly lift the injured from the accident spot, minimising the chances of fatality. Besides, a workshop for rickshaw-pullers was also organised at Chandigarh Traffic Park, Sector 23-A, in which over 100 rickshaw-pullers were educated about traffic rules and regulations.



Provide compensation to farmers: MLA
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 5
Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu has urged the government to provide adequate compensation to farmers whose land was being acquired for the airport being set up at Mohali.

Sidhu said though he was grateful to the central government for clearing the project of an airport at Mohali, he did not want that any person from the area should lose his means of livelihood due to this project.

He said GMADA had issued notices to farmers under Section 4 of the required act whose land was being acquired but the authorities had not fixed any compensation amount so far. He said the government should not only protect the interests of farmers but also of all those who earned their living by other means from the land that was being acquired.



Drunk cop creates trouble
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
High on alcohol, a homeguard posted with the Sector 31 police station, created nuisance at Palsora this evening.

Gurmukh Singh, the guard in question, reportedly screamed at people, harassed them and stopped vehicles on the pretext of checking. Local residents called up the police which arrived on the spot and found Gurmukh Singh in an inebriated state.

A medical test at government hospital confirmed that the homeguard was heavily drunk. The police said it would prepare a report against Gurmukh Singh and submit it to authorities tomorrow morning.




Customer is not the king

I am using internet connection provided by Tata Broadband. It has been giving lot of problems lately. I have registered many complaints with the customer care but action has been taken. My internet connection is not working for the past 20 days, I made 1st complaint on December 21 and till date they state that it will be resolved in 24 working hours. When I contacted on December 29 they said both complaints have been closed as they have been resolved but unfortunately no action was taken. For the above regard I made endless calls to the customer care centre but to no avail. Hope my complaint will be dealt with seriously now.

Abhishek Garg

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



Mauli Jagran resident held for thefts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 5
The local police today arrested a Mauli Jagran resident and claimed to have recovered five stolen mobile phones and other articles from him.

According to the SHO of the Manimajra police station, inspector Hari Kumar, 22-year-old Pawan Kumar, alias Paua, was arrested from a naka near the BSNL exchange here this evening. He was coming on a motorcycle and was stopped for a routine check. It was a brand new motorcycle and Pawan could not produce its documents leading to suspicion.

The SHO said during preliminary interrogation, Pawan admitted to have committed theft in Sector 22 and other parts of the city. Following his disclosure, the police raided his house and recovered five stolen mobile phones and several water taps from him.

He also told the police that he was earlier also involved in cases of thefts. A case has been registered against him and he will be produced before a local court tomorrow.



Murder case cracked, accused held
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 5
Sunny Sethi (18), a resident of Dashmesh Nagar, Nayagaon, was arrested by the Mohali police today for allegedly murdering Saggu Ram, a Chandigarh resident, almost a year back.

According to Nayagaon SHO Gurjeet Singh, the accused surrendered before the police today and admitted to have killed Saggu Ram on the night of January 31, 2007.

Forty-five-year-old Saggu Ram was bludgeoned to death and his body was found in a pool of blood at a vacant plot in Adarsh Nagar the next day. The police had registered a case on the statement of one Davinder Kumar who had stumbled upon the body.

Sunny reportedly told the police today that he was returning home that evening when he saw a man lying on the ground. “Sethi, who is a drug addict, realised that the man was dead drunk and decided to rob him. He started frisking his body looking for his purse but Saggu woke up and resisted. Sunny, too, was under the influence of drugs and picked up a concrete slab lying nearby and hit Saggu on the head twice,” Gurjeet Singh said.

“We had zeroed down on Sunny but since he had been disowned by his parents, he never came home and had been on the run for months. Since the pressure on him was too much, he surrendered,”Gurjeet Singh added.

Sunny told the police that he got Rs 100 from Saggu’s purse. He ran off to Jayanti temple after committing the crime, spent the money and did not return home.



15-yr-old run over by tractor trolley
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 5
Salim (15) was crushed to death while Monu (10) was seriously injured when a tractor trolley hit their bicycle near Barwala here today.

The deceased was a resident of Deha colony at Barwala.

According to police, the victims were returning home when a tractor trolley, coming from the backside, hit them, crushing Salim under one of its wheels. Salim died on the spot while Monu, riding pillion on the bicycle, was seriously injured.

Monu was sent to general hospital, Panchkula, from where he was referred to PGI. According to sources, Monu is stated to be out of danger.

The driver of the tractor trolley, who fled the spot, was identified as Subhash of Rehad village, Barwala, said the police.

A case has been registered against Subhash.



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