C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Business as usual at Forest Hill
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Everything is moving smoothly at the Forest Hill Golf and Country Club in Karoran village. Revelries are on in spite of the Supreme Court orders.

The club was banned from using the premises for commercial purposes, but food fests and lavish lunches are continuing as per brochures issued to members.

The brochure released in March mentions a Holi function along with a Mughlai food festival. For members, the management also organised late night film shows and dance parties. Last year, the lawns of the club were used for several food festivals and functions.

According to the orders pronounced by the apex court in 2005, golfing was permitted on the club premises for its existing members during the pendency of the case in court.

The club was also allowed to serve refreshments, for which the facilities of the kitchen and pantry could be used.

It was specifically mentioned in the order that the club could not serve regular lunch and dinner, hold parties or run its bar. The club had run into a controversy for reportedly encroaching upon forest area and giving membership to some High Court judges.

A member, Harkiran Sodhi, said: “I have not attended any such function, but have heard that the arrangements were not good. We have not asked for a refund of the membership fee even though I don’t play golf. The membership is really of no use to us.” Another member, Dr Anil Joshi, said: “The club has told us to deposit the fee though we do not play golf. We have been getting invites, but have not attended any function organised at the club.”

A club management member, B.S. Cheema, admitted that functions were being organised at the club. “We organise dinners, lunches or kitty parties at the club. The stay is on and we cannot organise weddings, but small functions like food fests have been organised,” he said.

The chief forest conservator, B.C. Bala, said he was not aware of the violations and could not comment on it.



Chandigarh Ungoverned
From beautiful to liquor city
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Even as the Chandigarh administration claims to enforce building bylaws in letter and spirit, scores of liquor vends are functioning from tin sheds.

These liquor vends are an eyesore, besides being a traffic hazard as vehicles are haphazardly parked outside the vends. A majority of these vends are situated along roads and traffic chaos is a routine.

The reported regularisation of vends and taverns attached with them is a typical example of the administration regularising encroachments on public land worth crores of rupees. Electricity connections are also released to these vends.

A random survey of the city today revealed that taverns discharge water in open areas. Also, there is no proper garbage disposal system, with leftovers scattered in the open.

Disregarding public opinion, the administration, in a bid to earn more revenue, succumbs to the pressure from the powerful liquor lobby and allows the functioning of liquor vends from tin sheds, Randhir Verma, a resident of Sector 48, alleged.

The administration has allowed about 200 liquor vends in the city, on an area of 114 sq km. This makes it one of the highest density areas of liquor vends in the country.

Social implications are clearly being ignored. “The administration’s priorities are misplaced. When residents make additions or alterations in their houses, they are served with notices by the authorities concerned, but such encroachers are having a field day,” Surinder Pal Chauhan, chairman of the Marla/Flat Owners Welfare Association, said.

Officials, however, claimed that the structures were in accordance with the new excise policy. Since there were hardly any commercial areas in the periphery, the administration had allowed liquor vends to function from temporary structures, an official said.



Patient jumps to death at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Depressed with his prolonged illness, a 36-year-old man jumped to death from the fifth floor of the PGI today. In another incident, a 55-year-old man committed suicide by consuming poison at the Grain Market in Sector 26.

Baljit Singh, a resident of Bathinda, committed suicide by jumping from the Nehru building, PGI, at around 5 am. He was a lab technician and was suffering from jaundice for a year.

He went for a walk with his cousin and told him to get a bottle from the room. The moment his cousin went in, he jumped from the building. He died on the spot. His body has been sent for a postmortem.

Meanwhile, Girdhari Lal ended his life by consuming poison in a shop at the Grain Market. He was upset because of his finances, the police said.

After a postmortem, his body was handed over to the police this evening.



No neurologist at multi-speciality hospital
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Someone in need of treatment following a major head injury should not be rushed to the Government Multi- Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, as it does not have a neurologist.

The UT administration had given multi-speciality status to the Sector 16 General Hospital two years ago.

There is a dire need for a neurologist in view of head injuries resulting from road accidents.

As per a figure available at the emergency of the hospital, eight to 10 cases of suspected head injury are reported every day.

Out of this, two or three are referred to the PGI, a doctor said.

Medical superintendent Usha Bishnoi admits, “We have no specialist for these cases, but we are trying to upgrade services as much as we can.

If there is serious head injury, the patient is referred to the PGI immediately after a CT scan.”

According to experts, no one can replace a neurologist as he usually refers a patient with head injury to a neuropsychologist for an understanding of which brain functions have been impaired.

Sanjay Kumar, UT health secretary, said he would take up the matter with the director of health services, Manjeet Singh Bains.



Power, water supply to old village houses
Admn mulls dropping NOCs for connections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The UT administration is mulling over the issue of giving the go-by to mandatory no objection certificates (NOC) for giving electricity and water connections to old houses in villages.

Besides this, allowing of need-based changes in marla and government houses where no government land was encroached upon was discussed at the monthly coordination committee meeting of the UT administration and municipal corporation, today.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of adviser to administrator Pradip Mehra, mayor Pradeep Chhabra, home secretary-cum-finance secretary Sanjay Kumar, chief architect and chief engineers of the administration and the corporation.

Sources in the corporation said the issue pertaining to villages was discussed to curb the incidents of electricity and water thefts in villages as those residing in old houses tended to steal electricity and water because of tedious procedure of getting the NOC for the same.

Also, the issue of not making NOC mandatory for already constructed houses was also discussed. Only newly constructed houses should be required to obtain the NOC and a map approved by the corporation.

Sources further said it was an outstanding demand of marla house residents insisting for allowing need-based changes within the boundary wall of the house.

The resident welfare association of houses had cited various reasons for the demand, including building bylaws were framed over 50 years ago and covered area allowed remained same whereas covered area for kanal and cheap houses, timber sites, commercial sites and 250 unauthorised structures in Deep Complex, Hallo Majra, was allowed to increase.

In addition, the mayor took up various issues, including construction of five community centres and other development works in villages, handing over of Panjab University and PGI residential areas to corporation for maintenance.

He also sought construction of drug de-addiction centres, primary health centres and primary schools in all villages. Besides emphasising the need of creating double road connecting Maloya, backside of PU and the road dividing Sectors 25 and 38, night food street in Sector 17, removal of monopoly of the bio-medical waste collectors.

The mayor later said the discussion during the coordination committee meeting was “fruitful”.



Another water pipe bursts
Taps go dry in Sector 29
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Residents of Sector 29 had to go without water owing to a major leakage in a water pipe on road separating Sectors 29 and 30.

The leakage led to inundation of the road even as residents stayed without water throughout the day.

Motorists were also put through a lot of inconvenience due to diversion and flooding of the road. The water supply to the area was resorted late in the evening.

Chief engineer S.K. Bansal told the TNS that it was an old pipeline and had burst due to high water pressure. He added that vibration caused by heavy vehicles and variation in temperatures could have added to the leakage.

He also assured that the perennial problem of leakage would be solved soon as they would lay new pipelines, which would be longer in length and have welded joints.

He, however, maintained that the water supply was restored to the area in the evening.

A similar leakage was witnessed yesterday at the Sectors 29, 30, 31 and 32 rotary.



Time to lock up your veggies
Jaspal Bhatti’s wife wants bank lockers for storing ‘precious’ vegetables
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The sky rocketing price of vegetables caught the fancy of the Nonsense Club, which concerned over their high prices, wanted to keep them in a bank locker.

Led by satirist Savita Bhatti, members of the club said today that considering their high price vegetables had become ‘precious’ and should be stored in a bank locker. The satirist was carrying a basket of veggies and was accompanied by four ‘black cat commandos’, as she headed toward a public sector bank to deposit them in a locker.

“I cannot send my servant to buy vegetables now, as each time you want to buy veggies one has to withdraw money from bank. Now, I have to go personally to the bank. Being so precious, I cannot be seen alone carrying them because of an eminent threat to life. So, I am now accompanied by armed commandos,” she said.

Bhatti appealed to the ministry of finance and banking to direct the banks to come forward in this hour of need to provide adequate security and issue lockers for storing vegetables. One can come to the bank each morning and take out the daily supply of vegetables, she added, as the other members of the club broke into a song “… hai hai yeh majboori, yeh ghia aur eh tori, koi kaise kharid ke laye, teri do takiyan di naukri, vich sabzi na poori aye…”

Bhatti said this rise in price of vegetables would also solve the problem of unemployment, as the unemployed youth could be hired as security staff by housewives who go to buy vegetables.



PNB ATM acts up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
As banks got busy trying to match their balance sheets for the financial year-end, ATM services of various banks in the city ran haywire today.

A number of residents who approached the ATM of Punjab National Bank at Sector 19 this evening were in for a rude shock as they received Rs 100 less than the amount they sought to withdraw.

Though the withdrawl receipt from the ATM showed the amount debited as the same as what the customers had fed in the ATM, they received Rs 100 less.

Jaspreet Singh, a private employee, said he needed some cash urgently and went to the bank’s ATM. “When I reached there around 7.30 pm, some customers standing there told me about the problem with the ATM’s synchronisation. I tried to withdraw Rs 500, but got only four notes of Rs 100 denomination,” he said.

Another resident, Mahesh Sharma, said he wanted to withdraw Rs 1,000 but received only Rs 900 from the ATM.

However, Col M.K. Sharma, was lucky as he received Rs 1,100 against the request for Rs 1,000. “As customers stood in confusion, the bank watchman informed the bank staff, who ordered for the closure of the ATM,” he said.

Meanwhile, senior regional manager R.D. Kailey said the problem would be rectified soon.

Accompanied by the chief manager, information technology, he visited the ATM at night to oversee the problem and get it rectified.



Deccan stops Delhi to Chandigarh flight

Chandigarh, April 1
Deccan, a low cost private airline has discontinued few of its flights operating in the northern region including its Delhi-Chandigarh-Jammu flight.

The airline's Delhi-Pathankot flight will also not operate now, according to Pranali Arora, assistant manager, corporate communication, Deccan.

Delhi-Jammu flight will also not fly, she said pointing out that new summer schedule of the airline had come into effect from today and the flights had been stopped two days back. The summer schedule starts from March 30 to October 25.

Asked why some flights including Delhi-Chandigarh-Jammu and return flight, which had been regularly operating since October 2005, had been discontinued, she said it was because of less demand on the route. — PTI



CHB Scheme
Hunger strike from April 2
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The Pind Bachao Society of Punjab Capital Project has announced an indefinite chain hunger strike in Sector 63 from April 2.

The strike is in protest against the decision of the Chandigarh Housing Board to float general housing scheme on 43 acres of land in Sector 63 here.




Check suicides by those under debt

In a heart rendering incident, the entire family of a trader in Pehowa decided to end their life in a suicide pact. It is very common in Punjab and Haryana about traders absconding while in debt. But suicide by entire family was a rare incident.

Ours is a civil democratic society, where business tactics, activities, including debts are common but when some one ends life due to debts whether receivable or payable, the Govt, including law enforcing agencies, should try to put an end to it.

The Haryana government should hand over the case to the CBI as lot of skeletons will tumble down from cup boards of many.

Government should work out some system so that hypothecation stocks, bank guarantee and insurance of credits and stocks should be resorted and strictly monitored to avoid such heavy losses of money and life so that their suicide does not go waste.

R.K. 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



PU Assault
Security doing little to contain violence
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
In spite of an increase in number of incidents of violence on the Panjab University campus, the local police and security in-charge have failed to keep a check on students carrying weapons there.

Violence and clashes that were usually associated with student elections in the past, are now a regular feature on the campus.

The police has been arresting students on charges of violating peace on the campus regularly but the accused have been going scot-free for they have been getting bailed out easily.

Students carry weapons in vehicles, which often become part of group clashes.

The last student council elections witnessed a number of bloody clashed between groups of various student organisations. Around 15 students were booked for different offences.

The issue of lack of security has been highlighted a number of times at various platforms but nothing concrete has been done to tackle the problem.

Besides private security of the university, the campus is currently being manned by three constables and three home guards of the UT police.

The private security, on which the university has been spending a huge amount, has done little to contain violence or nab culprits. Security guards who were on duty at the time of the attack on Friday were busy chatting at the junction of entry gates.

With over 100 private security men, besides university’s own personnel, manning the university and CCTV cameras installed at strategic points, including the three gates, the security has also failed to check the entry of outsiders.

According to Navel Kishore, DSW, Panjab University, letters regarding the violators, who were involved in the incidents of violence has been sent to their concerned department. To review the security arrangements and to check the violation, including restrictions of the entry of the outsiders, a meeting has been called later in the week.



Bank holiday: PU students face tough time
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Bank holiday on April 1 turned out to be one bad experience for the students who came to the Panjab University to collect their duplicate roll numbers. Ahead of the annual examinations, many students from different colleges in Punjab who did not receive their roll numbers due to some reasons came to collect their duplicate roll numbers after paying a small amount of fees. But to their surprise, the bank in the university had not made any alternate arrangements keeping in mind today’s holiday. So when the students reached the university in the morning today, they were told that the bank is closed and would open tomorrow.

Many students had come from as far as Abohar and Hoshiarpur to get their roll numbers. “If we knew that we wont get our roll numbers today we could have come tomorrow,” said a student from Hoshiarpur.

However, after some students and their parents got together and asked the bank authorities and the university officials to accommodate, one cash counter was opened after about two hours much to the relief of the students.

“In the future, the university and the bank officials should coordinate beforehand so that students are not put to such inconveniences,” said a parent.



City to have IT centres for schoolchildren
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
All-India Society for Electronics and Computer Technology (AISECT), a non-governmental organisation, is planning to open IT centers and computer education programme for school children in Chandigarh.

Briefing mediapersons, Amitabh Saxena, director, AISECT, Bhopal, said, “We have been part of all major computer education initiatives in the country. We are coming up with a bigger perspective, especially in Punjab and our priority would be Chandigarh.”

The primary level (Class V) fee for school children would be Rs 40 per month per child, whereas for middle level (Class VIII), per month fee would be Rs 52 per student.

The AISECT already has three centers in Chandigarh and there are around 90 centres in Punjab. “We are in touch with the Chandigarh administration to introduce our computer learning programmes in both governments as well as in private schools.”

Meanwhile, Avinash Rai Khanna, MP, Hoshiarpur, presided over the occasion.



Dr Josan takes over as DAV principal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Dr Balbir Chand Josan, principal DAV College, Abohar, has taken over as principal of DAV College, Sector 10, Chandigarh.

The DAV managing committee, New Delhi, chose Dr Josan following the retirement of S. Marriya. Dr Josan served the DAV,College Abohar, as principal for around six years. R.K. Anand, secretary of the DAV College Teachers’ Union, welcoming the decision of the DAV Managing Committee said, “Dr Josan is joining the college tomorrow at 9 am. We hope that the long pending issues would be resolved amicably after having dialogue with the new principal.”



Seminar on busting stress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The management of Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School organised seminars for its staff on the school premises in Sector 26, here today. The first phase of seminar was on stress management for teaching faculty taken up by IPAT headed by Rajnish Garg. The focus was on generating the conducive environment for teaching.

The seminar was a huge success where teachers also underwent varied stress busting exercise. The second phase of the seminar appraised teachers about various aspects of heart ailment. Dr Anil Grover apprised the staff about prevention and treatment.



CAT restrains homoeopathy institute
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today restrained Yoga Unani Sidha Homoeopathy, Sector 24, from appointing candidates to the post of assistant medical officer (homoeopathy).

The applicants had appealed before the tribunal that the institute had initiated the selection process without placing an advertisement in any newspaper.

The applicants, Rajinder Pal Singh and Aruna Gupta, both pharmacists, had sought stay on the selection for the post.

The interviews for the three posts were held at the institute today.

They said they had earlier applied for the post, but had not been selected as their merit was low. Thereafter, the administration had allowed pharmacists to prescribe medicines due to shortage of staff.



HC quashes complaint against Dua
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today quashed a complaint, and all subsequent proceedings, against The Tribune’s editor-in-chief H.K. Dua, and others.

Haryana’s IPS officer Bharti Arora had filed the complaint alleging the publication of false and defamatory news items, including the one on the use of red beacon atop her official vehicle. Currently posted as Superintendent of Police, GRP, Ambala, Arora was posted at Karnal at that time.

Pronouncing the verdict in an open court on a petition filed by Dua and other “editorial board members”, Justice Vinod Kumar Sharma of the High Court ruled: I find force in the contention raised by senior counsel (R.S. Cheema) appearing on behalf of the petitioners.

In this case, it would be seen that two news items published in the newspaper were with respect to the conduct of a public servant in discharge of her public function and has not gone any further. Thus, the case squarely falls under exception second to Section 499 of the IPC.

Justice Sharma added: It may be noticed that as in the present case no offence under Section 499 of the IPC is made out against the petitioners because of second exception to Section 499 of the IPC, the continuation of proceedings against the petitioners, therefore, would be nothing but misuse of process of the court.

In the detailed 24-page order, Justice Sharma ruled: It may be noticed that in view of different notifications issued from time to time, it can be safely presumed that the news items were not motivated or colourable. However, the petitioners herein, who are members of the editorial board, have expressed their regret by publishing the regret in the newspaper…. Their regret can be accepted by the court, instead of forcing the petitioners herein to face trial and thereafter accept their regret.

The judge added: Though counsel for the respondents (Gagandeep Singh Wasu) contested the plea of acceptance of regret on the plea that the petitioners should face trial and this court should not exercise power under Section 482 of the CrPC to quash the proceedings on the basis of regret published in pursuance of the order of this court, this plea of the respondents could have only been accepted if a clear-cut case was made out against the accused-petitioners. However, the facts and circumstances in this case permit this court to accept the regret published by the petitioners in the newspaper.

The petitioners had earlier sought the quashing of criminal complaint number 135 dated July 16, 2005, titled “Bharti Arora versus Kulwinder Sandhu and others”. It was filed under Sections 499, 500, 501 and 502, read with Section 34 of the IPC. The complaint was pending in the court of Karnal’s Chief Judicial Magistrate. Directions for quashing the summoning orders, and subsequent proceedings, had also been sought.



Compensation for victims of crime proposed
Tribune News Service

It is a paradox that the victim of a road accident gets compensation under no-fault theory, but the victim of crime does not get any compensation, except in some cases where the accused is held guilty, which does not happen in a large percentage of cases

— Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Justice S.D. Anand

Chandigarh, April 1
The victims of crime may eventually get more than just the satisfaction of seeing the culprits behind bars. For, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked the union government, the states of Punjab and Haryana, along with Chandigarh, to mull over the issue of not only compensating them in monetary terms, but also to empower them.

Asking the union government and others to file affidavits in this regard, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice S.D. Anand, also ruled the matter may be treated as a public interest litigation, subject to the orders of the Chief Justice.

The judges ruled: We consider it appropriate to draw the attention of all concerned to the need to remedy a serious flaw in the administration of criminal justice; namely failure of justice to the victims, particularly when the crime goes unpunished.

It is a paradox that the victim of a road accident gets compensation under no-fault theory, but the victim of crime does not get any compensation, except in some cases where the accused is held guilty, which does not happen in a large percentage of cases….

There may be cases where the crime goes unpunished. How a victim is to be given justice in such a situation is the question for consideration.

The judges added: There are several lacunae in the investigating process, which seriously hamper the prosecution process, leading to insufficiency of material to prosecute effectively….

Only 30 to 35 per cent of all criminal cases end in conviction, while 90 to 95 per cent of the matters, involving heinous offences, end in acquittal. And, there are other serious handicaps such as long delays in the disposal of criminal trials, which contribute to frustration in the mind of the victims.

This is bound to create a feeling of insecurity in the mind of the sufferers of crime as well as the kith and kin of those whose life itself is lost to crime. The kith and kin of the deceased are also victims of crime. They have no means of solace, if the criminal is not apprehended or punished. How can the tears of the victims be wiped when system itself is helpless to punish the guilty for the want of collection of evidence or for the want of creating an environment in which witnesses can fearlessly present the truth before the court? Justice to the victim has to be ensured irrespective of whether or not the criminal is punished.

Though a provision has been made for compensating the victims under Section 357 of the CrPC, there are several inherent limitations…, the judges ruled.

Before parting with the judgment, the judges added: Apart from monetary compensation to the victim, various other forms of victim assistant can be focused upon by the state. These include counselling, victim empowerment, public education, sensitisation and crime prevention.

The matter will now come up for hearing on July 4.



Consumer panel refuses to hear 16 appeals
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission today refused to hear 16 appeals filed by an advocate on the ground that the required fee was not deposited as per the Consumer Protection Act.

The appeals were filed by advocate Harsh Aggarwal before the Punjab State Consumer Disputes Commission in 2006. The president of the commission, Justice S.N. Aggarwal, is the father of advocate Aggarwal.

As per the Section 15, 2nd Proviso of the Consumer Protection Act, the appellant is to deposit either Rs 25,000 or 50 per cent of the amount awarded by the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, which was not done by Aggarwal.

The appeals were then transferred to the UT Consumer Disputes Rederssal Commission. Another fact in the case was that the appeals were time-barred. The forum had announced the order in September, 2003, and appeals in most of the cases were filed before the Punjab commission in May, 2006. Returning the 16 appeals, the UT commission, headed by Justice K.C. Gupta, stated the appeals were time-barred. “The appeals were not filed within two years and there is no semblance of explanation for not filing the appeal within the stipulated time.”

The counsel for the appellant, Harsh Aggarwal, stated before the commission that he had no intention to deposit Rs 25,000 or 50 per cent of the amount awarded, contending that he was not liable to deposit the amount in view of a Supreme Court judgement.

The commission observed: “The said authority is not applicable and the appellant is liable to pay 50 per cent of the amount or Rs 25,000, whichever is less. The said provision is mandatory. Without said deposit the appeal cannot be entertained.”



Case against Soha dismissed

Chandigarh, April 1
Social activist Naresh Kadian’s petition for action against film actress Soha Ali Khan, a daughter of Nawab Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, was dismissed by Justice Vinod Kumar Sharma on Tuesday.

The petitioner had also sought action against those responsible for the issuance of a gun licence to her. TNS



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