C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Accused in police net for rape bid on German tourist
Good riddance, say villagers
Akash Ghai & Archit Watts
Tribune News Service

he tubewell where the girl was kept for about five hours after being shifted from the farmhouse. Tribune photos: Parvesh Chauhan

Samalkha (Ambala), October 3
The arrest of Manveer, alias Jolly, and Sukhwinder, alias Sukhi, in the alleged case of abduction and attempt to rape of a German tourist has not come as a surprise for residents of their native villages.

In fact, residents say that this “had to happen” since both were habitual lawbreakers and involved in several criminal cases. Nevertheless, the residents were not expecting them to stoop to such a level.

Residents of Samalkha, Jolly’s native village, were hesitant to come on record because of their respect for his father.

“Jaagirdar sahib (Ravinder Singh Randhawa) is a respected man, but his boy has ruined his name,” a village elder said. When it comes to the son, they are relieved by his arrest. “He only meant trouble,” they said, adding that everyone in the village knew about Jolly’s wayward lifestyle and were tired of his “dadagiri”.

In contrast to the fairly clean image of Jolly’s family, Sukhi’s kin do not enjoy a very good reputation in their native Beeta village.

“His involvement in crime is nothing new, only another addition to his long list of criminal activities,” a resident said.

Residents accuse both Sukhi and Jolly of “misleading” other youngsters of the area by enticing them to the world of drugs. The resident alleged that both of them were drug addicts and this has been confirmed by the Chandigarh police in its preliminary investigations.

“They have links with drug peddlers and dons of the area,” a resident claimed.

Another youth of Samalkha, who claims to be Jolly’s neighbour, alleged that both were involved in around half a dozen criminal cases registered in various police stations, including Saha, Mahesh Nagar, Ambala Cantt, Maulana and Chachrauli. These cases include robbery, dacoity and assault. Sukhi was even lodged in a jail for 14 days in a dacoity case, he claimed.

People of the area said the accused were womanisers and would bring women for “fun” to their farmhouses.

Meanwhile, a Tribune team visited the sites where the German woman was taken after she was kidnapped from Hotel Taj in Chandigarh on September 28.

“The girl was first brought to a double-storeyed farmhouse of Sukhi’s uncle, Avtaar Singh, on the Panchkula-Saha road. The farmhouse also houses a drug de-addiction centre. She was then taken to a tubewell located in the fields of Jolly,” a close friend of Jolly’s family revealed on the condition of anonymity.

He also claimed that some migrants, who were present there, said the youths raped her at the tubewell. The statement is in contrast with the police report in which only an attempt of rape has been mentioned.

“Two labourers alleged that they had seen the victim lying without clothes in an inebriated condition on a cot in the open for around two hours. From there, she was taken back to Chandigarh,” he stated.

The Scorpio used in the crime belongs to Sukhi’s brother-in-law Kaka Singh, a resident of Chachrauli. He is the chairman of the market committee of Chachrauli.



Sompal surrenders
Tribune News Service

Sompal in police custody in Chandigarh on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, October 3
Sompal, the fifth suspect involved in the alleged kidnapping and sexual assault on a German tourist, surrendered before chief judicial magistrate Kanchan Mahi today. The court remanded him in two-day police custody.

Admitting to his involvement in the crime, a visibly upset and afraid Sompal was sweating when produced in court.

He claimed that he was hiding in Hardwar. Talking to The Tribune he said: “I don’t know about my fate. Mera to rabb hi rakha hai. I had left for Hardwar after the incident and I was with them on the night when the incident took place.”

Sompal, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi’s servant, surrendered soon after the other four accused — Manvir Singh Jolly, Sukhi, Harpreet Singh and Pankaj — were remanded in judicial custody.

Jolly, Sukhi and Sompal refused to go for an identification parade following an application moved by the police. However, Pankaj and Harpreet agreed to go ahead with it.

Interestingly, Pankaj and Harpreet have parted ways with Jolly and Sukhi as they had sought legal aid to pursue their case while Sukhi and Jolly had hired a private counsel.

Victim may visit city today

The victim is likely to visit the city tomorrow with regard to the identification parade of the accused.

Statements of witnesses Shobha Singh, Praveen and Manjit were recorded under Section 164 of the CrPC before the ilaka magistrate. Shobha Singh’s Maruti car was used to drop the victim at her friend’s house at Sector 20 in Chandigarh. The premises of Manjit and Praveen in Samlakha were used to commit the crime.



Rape Bid
Victim tried to win over assailants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The German tourist, victim of alleged kidnap and sexual assault, used every possible way from fighting back to winning over some of her assailants by repeatedly appealing to their consciousness to escape from their clutches.

Sources in the police said the victim not only fought back with her assailants by biting and scratching them but also managed to win over some of them. As claimed by Pankaj, who had come to drop her at her host’s Sector-20 residence on Sunday, she had “hugged and thanked him” for his help.

Pankaj claimed that the German girl had given him her contact number in German.

A police officer said going by the statements of the victim and the suspects, it appeared that she could have been murdered had she not handled the situation the way she did.

Meanwhile, after Sompal surrendered before the court, the police said he would be medically examined at the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory like other suspects in order to check the injuries inflicted on him by the victim in her self-defence.

Doon body clarifies

Members of the Doon School Old Boys Society today stated that Manvir Singh Jolly, one of the accused in the alleged kidnapping of a German tourist in the city, was not a student of Doon School, Dehra Dun, as had been reported in Chandigarh Tribune today.



Safety a cause for concern among city women
Himani Chandel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
After the tragic experience of a German tourist in the city, women at large are worried about their safety, as they feel that evening rush hours or late-night outing in the city provide best setting for eve-teasers.

Be it the vicinity of girls’ college or city’s local bus, it comes as a challenge for every girl to keep going in awkwardly male dominated society.

They face gropers, pinchers and molesters who turn crowded commutes into daily battlegrounds for women riders.

“It all begins within the family. Girls are seldom taught ways to keep safe and boys are always told that they are superior and stronger beings. This makes girls psychologically weaker without enough courage to face tough circumstances,” said Dr Kiran of the Cheema Medical Complex, Mohali.

“If a woman shows a lot of skin, she is branded a woman of questionable character and is the target of catcalls and whistles. That’s how the male mentality goes,” she added.

According to girls, walks around the city, even at attractions like Sukhna Lake and Sector 17 plaza, they are often fraught with unwelcome comments or advances.

“Sometimes I feel more and more vulnerable. In addition to feeling angry and helpless, I feel frustrated about the prejudiced society we live in which is the root cause of all stigmas,” said Gurjeet Kaur, a second-year student in GCG, Sector 11.

“If women are working, it becomes the responsibility of the organisation to take care of their safety. Even if women do not complain about harassment they go through in offices, they are at fault,” said advocate and social worker Madhu P. Singh.



How safe are Mohali, Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 3
Even as the authorities, with four cases of rape registered in the town this year, claim to have secured a safe atmosphere for women, the recent gang rape of a minor has exposed chinks in their claim.

According to Panchkula SP Sandip Khirwar, not many complaints of eve-teasing had been reported in the town in the recent past.

And the four cases registered under Section 376, IPC, also involved elopement of minors. Hence in real perspective, there was nothing to frown over, he added.

Moreover, the police has deployed two police control room vans manned by women police to check crime against women, he said.

The sequence of rape of a minor last month by around half a dozen youths, however, portrays a dismal picture regarding the safety of women.

The girl was taken to a parking near Vishal Mega Mart in a car where the accused exploited her sexually for months and nobody in the town came to know about it, till last month when the victim reached the police station to narrate her harrowing tale.

Incidents of eve-teasing are also reported in the town. “Though busy markets here are relatively safe for women, they remain a victim of eve-teasing near colleges in Sectors 14 and 1,” said S.K. Nayyar, president of the Citizens’ Welfare Association.

It was always a nightmare for women to go to the booth market of Sector 11 and a road near a school in the same sector, said a victim of eve-teasing.

Bad elements always hover around these places, said another girl.

Similarly, the kidnapping of German woman tourist in Chandigarh has reminded Mohali residents of the 14-year-old case of kidnapping and rape of a French national allegedly by the grandson of a former Congress chief minister.

Since then the town has made many strides. But the law and order situation has gone down as far safety of women is concerned. The cases of eve-teasing have gone up, thought police records say otherwise.

A few months ago, six persons, including five of a single family, were booked on charges of rape and facilitating rape.

The 16-year-old victim, a model and residing in Sector 46, Chandigarh, had alleged that she was raped for nearly a month in a house at Shahi Majra village there.

Though the police claimed that it was doing its bit to protect the women, the town still remained unsafe for women.

If one goes by figures, at least 25 cases of rape and kidnapping had been reported in the past nine months. And, several rape cases go unreported.



Four killed in accidents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
Four persons were killed while eight others were injured in separate road accidents in Chandigarh and Panchkula today.

An 18-year-old student of DAV College, Chandigarh, was among those killed. His motorcycle fell into a 50-ft gorge near Rasoon village on the Morni-Tikar Tal road.

The Panchkula police said the deceased had been identified as Pankaj from Ferozepur.

The injured, Bharat Jindal, also from Ferozepur, was discharged from the Panchkula General Hospital. Both youths, along with their friends, were staying as a paying guest in Sector 15 of Chandigarh.

According to the police, Pankaj, Bharat, Tariq, Yogesh and Abhinav reached Morni around 12.30 pm. One of the bikes got punctured and Pankaj lost balance. The bike rolled down the gorge, killing him on the spot.

The blind turn where the accident took place did not have any indication, an eyewitness said.

The area has lots of blind turns and parapets along the road are still not in place, despite representations to the authorities, Dr Harmesh, a member of the district grievances committee, said.

In another incident, one person was killed while four others, including the wife of the deceased, were injured when a Balero hit an autorickshaw at the light of Sectors 8, 9 and 5 here. According to information, the Balero is the official vehicle of the crime branch of the Haryana police.

The deceased has been identified as Abdul Saktar (40) of Indira Colony.

The injured were shifted to hospital where Abdul succumbed to his injuries and Nazir was referred to the PGI. Mumtaz, Zakir and Nazra have been admitted to the General Hospital.

The SHO of the Sector 5 police station, Ajaib Singh, said the Balero had been impounded, but its driver was yet to be arrested. A case has been registered.

In yet another incident, 65-year-old Pushpa Puri of Himachal Pradesh was killed and three others were injured when a Punjab roadways bus collided with a rickshaw and a motorcycle at the lights on the road separating Sectors 38 and 40.

The injured have been identified as Barinder Singh of Kharar and Karan Gupta. The victims were rushed to the PGI, where Pushpa Puri succumbed to her injuries.

The bus driver managed to flee the spot. The police has impounded the bus.

Meanwhile, a pedestrian, 90-year-old Badari Nath of Sector 15, died at the PGI after being hit by an unidentified vehicle near the Sectors 14 and 15 lights. He was taking a morning walk when the mishap took place.



Women’s panel sends notices to three
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The alleged case of sexual harassment filed by four nurses of the Regional Spinal Injury Centre, Mohali, against Punjab public relations officer, Naginder Singh, has taken a new turn, with the Punjab Women Commission taking cognizance of a Tribune report, “Sexual harassment stains Punjab PRO”, published on October 2.

Member secretary of the commission, Sarvesh Kaushal, has also issued a notice to the director, public relations, Punjab, the Mohali SSP and Dr Raj Bahadur, head of the centre.

The commission has asked the SSP to investigate the case and initiate action as permissible. Dr Raj Bahadur has been asked to seek the affidavit of the complainant while the DPR has been asked to seek the service record of the officer.

The notice also wants information on any action taken against Naginder Singh, either earlier or in this case.

All three have been asked to file a reply within 10 days. The nurses had accused Naginder Singh of drawing obscene sketches and attempting to take their photographs from his mobile phone during his physiotherapy at the centre last month.


Classical feast marks start of heritage festival
S.D. Sharma

Sovana Narayan, Prathiba Prahlad, Ranjana Gauhar and Bharti Shivaji perform during the festival at Yadavindra Gardens. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

Pinjore, October 3
The scintillating classical dance titled “Rhythm and Harmony” presented by four acclaimed dance maestros of the International eminence gave a majestic start to the third Pinjore Heritage Festival here today.

The compelling charm of the gorgeous and beautiful dancing fairies and their captivating performance in the otherwise panoramic ambience inspired one to believe in the old Persian couplet , “Gar ba ru- e - zameen firdaus ast, hameen ast, hameen ast , hameen ast” ( If there is any paradise on this earth it is here).

The “Rhythm and Harmony” is a unique choreographic manifestation of four genres of diverse classical dance, including Bharatnatayam, kathak, mohiniattam and Odissi.

Conceptualised and produced by the vivacious Bharatnatyam icon, Parthba Prahalad, the choreographic endeavour is based on the popular literary creation “Ritu Simhar” by the celestial playwright poet Kalidas.

Though, Parthiba designed the production to strike an amicable balance like a homogenous match of the romantic and soft influences of kathak with the rigid code of conduct of Bharatnatyam, it were the most accomplished maestros who embellished it with their adroit genius.

The kathak queen, Shovana Narayan, Odissi exponent, Ranjna Gauhar, and mohiniattam maestro, Bharti Shivaji, brought alive the blending of the metaphysical with the physical, coexistence of spiritual with the practical realisation of the sacred and the profane.

They all appeared together to eulogise the eternity of the universe dancing to the chants of “Gayatri mantra” in respective dancing codes maintaining the same spiritual sanctity. Each dancer defined and illustrated the four seasons in their individual dance spells marked with brilliant display of footwork, facial gestures and eloquent body movements.

They enacted dance sequences showing joy, hope, pathos, uncertainty, yearning and search for divinity virtually dancing their way into the hearts of the audience. All of them were the picture of grace while floating across the stage with consummate ease and perfection of geometrical accuracy.



Pinjore fest draws huge crowd
Our Correspondent

Kalka, October 3
On the inaugural day of the 3rd Pinjore Heritage Festival at Yadvendra Gardens in Pinjore, tourists in large number from Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali and its vicinity and from various parts of Himachal Pradesh enjoyed the festival throughout the day today.

Union tourism and culture minister Ambika Soni urged the state government to constitute Task Force using the expertise of retired defence personnel to protect important tourist destinations, as it would also provide them re-employment.

She was speaking after inaugurating the third three-day fest. She said the budget for promotion of tourism in the country has been raised from Rs 600 crore to Rs 1,000 crore. On a demand of Rs 50 crore from Haryana to develop Kurukshetra-Pinjore-Panipat circuit, Rs 26 crore have been allocated and the remaining funds would be allocated soon.

Impressed by the work done by the self help groups of Haryana at the Anarkali Bazar in the festival and the steps being taken by the state for women empowerment, Soni allocated Rs 2 crore for construction of girls hostel at Indian Institute of Hotel Management at Kurukshetra.

She stressed the need to market rural tourism and handicrafts so as to preserve rich folk culture and traditional craftsmanship.

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda described Kurukshetra as a hub of tourism and said it had ample potential to emerge as a place of tourist attraction at international level. He said the state was prepared to share the expenditure to make Kurukshetra a stop over for luxury train palace on wheels. He added that tourism spots could be developed on both sides of the National Highway No 1.

Haryana minister of state for tourism Kiran Choudhry said Bhima Devi temple would soon be integrated with Yadvendra Gardens to be a part of a circuit. She said that 9,000 rooms would be ready in Haryana for Commonwealth Games. She further said that backward areas of Haryana have been included in tourism promotion areas.

Earlier she took a round at the Yadvendra Gardens 
and appreciated the ongoing festivities.

Later in the evening a cultural programme, “Rhythm and Harmony” -- classical dance by Bharati Shivaji, Prathibha Prahlad, Ranjana Gauhar and Sovana Narayan, was presented that regaled the audience.

The street bazaars here are reminiscent of the Mughal times, which have been set up with shops and clusters of stalls, tented pavilion, food plaza and performance stage. The entrance gate, parking area as well as the entire garden were illuminated in the evening thus enhancing the pristine beauty of these world famous gardens by highlighting its architectural, aesthetic and landscape splendour.

There are stalls displaying items of handlooms and handicrafts made by the craftsmen of the state. One can also enjoy a variety of cuisines, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, like Amritsar’s famous tandoori kulchey, Jaipur’s dal bhatti churma, Lucknow’s jummy kababs, Chinese cuisine, famous perras of Hansi, Gohanas famous jleba, Patiala’s cream murg and Ambala’s tongue tingling chaat.

Others present on the occasion included additional director general tourism, Government of India, Sanjay Kothari, principal secretary to Chief Minister, M.L. Tayal, Haryana commissioner and secretary (tourism), Keshni Anand Arora and other senior officers of the Haryana government and district administration.

Meanwhile, children participated enthusiastically in various cultural programmes, folk dances, rangoli competition, face painting competition and tambola. The result of competitions were as follows:

Rangoli competition: 1 Sartik Government Integrated Model Sr Secondary School, Sector 12, Panchkula (Akash, Nitika, Anchal Batra, Pooja Saini and Anurag); 2 Kendriya Vidalya School, Sector 29, Chandigarh (Deepika, Komal and Kavita); 3 Government Sr Secondary School, Barwala (Anu, Preeti and Mohini)

Face painting competition: 1 Art College Sector-10, Chandigarh (Ajay Kumar); 2 Government Sr Sec School Khera Bassola, Pinjore (Harpreet); 3 Government Sr Sec School, Khera Bassola, Pinjore (Jasvinder)



e wild wild
Cyber hackers continue to prowl

The term “hacker” in cyber world may simply mean a person with mastery of computers, however, the mass media most often uses “hacker” as synonymous with a (usually criminal) computer intruder. It is common among hackers to use aliases for the purpose of concealing identity, rather than revealing their real names.

Of late, there is a growing number of cases where hackers or hackivists are using tools to gather information from government and military organisations. In other words, these hackers are motivated more by gathering information than website defacement. Sometimes cyber attacks and special advanced skills of hackers are widely utilised and sponsored at governmental levels, though as any special operation, it is performed without public notification.

Ankit Fadia, who is a great mastermind of India in the field of hacking, has said: “Traditionally, hackers were computer geeks who knew almost everything about computers and were widely respected for their wide knowledge, but over the years, the reputation of hackers has been going down. Today, they are feared by most people and are considered as icons representing the underground community of our population.”

Hacking v/s Cracking: The term hacker is a term used by some to mean “a clever programmer” and by others, especially mediapersons, to mean “someone who tries to break into computer systems”. Programmers who use their skills to cause trouble, crash machines, release computer viruses, steal credit card numbers, make free long distance calls (the phone system is so much like a computer system that it is a common target for computer criminals), remove copy protection and distribute pirated software may also call themselves hackers, leading to more confusion.

Hackers in the original sense of the term, however, look down on these activities. In the programming community, and to a large extent even among the illegal programming community, these people are called crackers and their activities known as cracking to distinguish it from hacking. Hackers deplore cracking.

A cracker is generally someone who breaks into someone else’s computer system, often on a network, bypasses passwords or licenses in computer programmes or in other ways intentionally breaches computer security. He can do this for profit, maliciously, for some altruistic purpose or cause, or because of the challenge. Some breaking-and-entering has been done ostensibly to point out weaknesses in a site’s security system.

Cyber hacking (or rather cyber cracking in verity), is one of the cyber crimes and cyber crime is a universal term that alludes to all criminal activities done using the medium of computers, Internet, cyber space and the world wide web (www). In India, the law regulating such crimes is the Information Technology Act, 2000 (or the IT Act, 2000). But, it does not even define the term cyber crime and the crimes mentioned in chapter XI on offences have been declared penal offences punishable by imprisonment or fine.

Section 66 defines hacking, but it defines what is in reality cracking. It is too wide and capable of misapplication.

Crackers are becoming a peril and even the largest companies in the world are finding it difficult to cope with their attacks. Some crackers just crack systems and gain access to them for fun. Their intention is not to commit any crime. It is a question of debate whether such an act in itself constitutes an offence or not. They may not be brought within the ambit of existing laws because the IT Act uses the word “destroys or deletes or alters any information” and in this case, they just gain access to the system.

The act of such a cracker can perhaps, most appropriately, be considered in the light of laws relating to criminal trespass.

A few weeks ago, a hitherto unknown Indian hacker was charged with the greatest cyber heist in history of the UK for allegedly helping a criminal gang steal identities of an estimated eight million people in a hacking raid that could ultimately net more than £2.8 billion in illegal funds. The hacker successfully breached the IT defences of UK’s Best Western Hotel group’s online booking system and sold details of how to access it through an underground network operated by the Russian mafia.

In a recent issue, the PC magazine has named the 10 most mysterious cyber crimes in the world. Such stories are exciting and due to the novelty of the nature they are more interesting than conventional crime thrillers. They are also capable of rousing just as much interest and that doesn’t include only geeks, but also common people.

The most nefarious and crafty criminals are the ones that operate under the radar. In the computing world security breaches happen all the time, and in the best cases the offenders get tracked down by the FBI <http://www.pcmag.com/topic/0,2944,t= Federal%20Bureau%20of%20Investigation&s=25306,00.asp> or some other law enforcement agency. These are some of the top headline worthy highlights in the world of unsolved computing crime cases:

1. The WANK Worm (October 1989)

2. Ministry of Defense Satellite Hacked (February 1999)

3. CD Universe Credit Card Breach (January 2000)

4. Military Source Code Stolen (December 2000)

5. Anti-DRM Hack (October 2001)

6. Dennis Kucinich on CBSNews.com (October 2003)

7. Hacking Your MBA App (March 2006)

8. The 26,000 Site Hack Attack (Winter 2008)

9. Supermarket Security Breach (February 2008)

10. Comcast.net Gets a Redirect (May 2008)

A devious hack doesn’t always mean finding a back door or particularly crafty way into a secure network or server, sometimes it just means that account information was compromised.

Such was the case earlier this year when a member of the hacker group Kryogeniks gained unauthorised access to Comcast.net’s registrar, Network Solutions. The domain name system (DNS) hack altered Comcast.net’s homepage to redirect those attempting to access webmail to the hackers’ own page.

Spokespeople for Comcast and Network Solutions are still unclear as to how the hackers got the username and password.

AnilM is an editor with Instablogs.com

[email protected]



Opening of Thapli camp postponed
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 3
The residents of the region seeking to spend time amid forests of Morni hills enjoying nature while sitting in Swiss cottages will have to wait for some more time as Haryana forest department has postponed the opening of the Thapli Nature Camp for an indefinite period.

The camp was inaugurated by Haryana forests and tourism minister, Kiran Chaudhary, on July 25 this year.

Located 15 km from here in the unspoiled, and home to a rich diversity of animals and herbal plants, the cottages, set up on the pattern of Swiss cottages in the jungles of Karnataka, will offer the eco-travellers all amenities to enjoy during holidays.

The cottages, made of tents on an elevated platform, have been equipped with modern facilities, including a study table, a sitting corner, an attached bathroom and a dressing room.

Authorities have decided to make the project a big draw during forthcoming Commonwealth Games to popularise it among the foreign tourists. For this, it has been decided to make some changes in the project due to which it has become mandatory to postpone the opening of cottages to the public, said a source in the forest department.

First of all, it has been decided to shelve the plan to set up septic tanks in the area, said the authorities. Instead, it has been planned to drain out sewage through pipes to various distant places so that area remain free from any kind of stink.

Landscaping is planned in the area around the cottages, and campfire place is being provided for the visitors so that they can have entertainment during the night as well.

Entry of the camp set up at hill is also being designed conforming the ambience of the jungle, said officials. It has also been decided to set up a herbal park, which will have 250 varieties of plants adjoining the camp. A lake has also been planned in the river Ghaggar at a nearby place, he said.



Conveyance Deed
Allottees restless, GMADA unfazed
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 3
Allottees of plots and housing units in Mohali, who have not yet got these registered in their names, are a worried lot with the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) fixing a deadline for conveyance deeds even as the municipal council has opposed the move.

Although allottees who have paid all their dues are trickling in at the GMADA office to get their conveyance deeds executed, a large number of them were saying that it was difficult to pay huge sums of money needed to get the property registered in their names at the prevalent collector rates.

They demanded that plots and houses should be registered at the allotment prices.

Municipal councillors, too, had unanimously opposed GMADA at the meeting held on Monday for asking residents to get plots and houses registered within three months at the prevalent rates.

It was decided to write a letter to GMADA asking the authority to find a solution for residents.

Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu said this move of GMADA would put too much of financial burden on residents, especially the salaried and middle class people. He said he had raised a question in this regard in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, but his question was disallowed.

GMADA officials, however, argued that the residents had violated the terms of allotment by not getting plots and houses registered in their names after the full and final payments were made by them.

If they were now opposing conveyance deeds at the prevalent collector rates they could have done it when these rates were low in the past.

Moreover, if the collector rates had gone up the value of plots and houses allotted to them at lower rates had also increased manifold. As such they did not lose in any way.

GMADA had given three months time to allottees to execute conveyance deeds, failing which resumption of sites and houses would be initiated for violation of the terms and conditions of the allotment.

Public notices in this regard were given in various newspapers in the last week of August.



Prohibited weapons being ‘doctored’
Vijay Mohan & G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

An arms dealer shows a revolver where the wooden handgrip has obscured some of the markings on the weapon. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, October 3
There are increasing attempts at prohibited bore (PB) firearms being “doctored” to pass them off as non-prohibited bore (NP) weapons to sell them at a significantly higher price.

If some arms dealers in the city are to be believed, they are getting weapons in which certain parts and components containing the weapons specifications and markings have been changed with locally fabricated parts carrying different information. Though the bore of the weapon remains unchanged, sellers try to pass it off as a different weapon.

“Around 20 per cent of the weapons that come in for resale are suspicious. Either there is something amiss about the way the metallic parts fit or the wooden stock or handle is not proper,” a local gun dealer said. “The number of such weapons coming in have increased over the years,” he added.

According to gun dealers, close examination by experts can reveal if the weapon has been tampered with and they do not entertain such cases. “There have been instances where a handgun’s ‘sleeve’, which carries technical markings, had been changed with a locally fabricated one carrying fake markings,” a dealer said.

One dealer even showed The Tribune a Colt whose wooden handgrip overlapped some markings on the weapon’s body just above the trigger.

PB weapons are those that are used by the military or law enforcement agencies and are generally not available to the public. PB weapons possessed by individuals are those that have been allotted to them by the government and these include senior bureaucrats and defence officers.

“Since it is difficult to get a licence for a PB weapon, these do not command high market prices. A 9 mm PB pistol can be available for Rs 10,000-15,000,” a local arms dealer, Gurpreet Bhandari, said. “A NP weapon on the other hand can fetch as high as Rs 3-4 lakh,” she added. It is perhaps the desire to get high prices that drives people to doctor weapons.

Pointing out that doctoring weapons by fabricating their specifications was illegal and punishable under law, UT SSP S.S. Srivastava said so far the police had not received any formal complaint in this regard. He added that it was also the moral responsibility of gun dealers to bring such cases to the notice of the police.

The police as well as dealers admit that there are certain arms dealers and repair technicians in some parts of the country that are known to be involved in doctoring weapons or modifying them without authorisation.

A dealer cited an example where the owner of a revolver had the barrel of his weapon shortened by almost two inches.

Police sources said apart from doctoring weapons, fake pistols are also in circulation. “Locally fabricated pistols carrying ‘Made in USA’ markings are making their way into Punjab from Western Uttar Pradesh,” a Punjab Police officer said.

“Prices of such weapons are quoted between Rs 10,000 and 15,000, though depending upon bargaining they can go as cheap as Rs 5,000,” he added.

Police officers estimate that around a dozen such weapons are smuggled into Punjab every month and these find their way into the hands of criminal or subversive elements.



BSNL call centre project gathers dust
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The state-owned basic telephony service provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited’s (BSNL) much-hyped project of “call centre” for Punjab circle seems to have been lost in files.

Even after three years of its announcement, the fate of the Rs 5-crore mega project is not even known to BSNL bosses.

According to information, the 100-seat call centre, which was supposed to commence operations in Sector 65, Mohali, in 2005, has yet not been completed.

Even, officials are not sure whether the project will ever see the light of the day.

Chief general manager (Punjab circle) P.K. Paliwal said the project of a stand-alone call centre for Punjab circle was approved by the central government earlier but there was no knowledge about its current status.

BSNL’s senior architect Sanjay Gupta blames the current scenario on the failure of tender. After that, the department changed their mind, as most of its equipment got obsolete.

The idea of introducing the call centre was to retain existing customers besides add new ones in order to check the fast declining numbers of landline subscribers.

“The plan as such wasn’t bad but since now no one knows what’s in store, the entire purpose is defeated,” said a senior BSNL official.

If officials are to be believed, the project may end up as a 20-seat call centre even though it was perceived to have a capacity of 100, equipped to handle queries from customers regarding billings, new tariff plans, services like broadband and connection issues, said BSNL officials.

The exchange building in Sector 65, Mohali, is being upgraded to house the call centre for the past three years. Out of 100 computers, 20 have been installed, according to officials.



Authorities lax over smoking ban
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 3
Even as the ban on smoking entered its second day today, the laid-back attitude of the authorities concerned and the devil-may-care approach of smokers have made a mockery of the new rules.

The ban was flouted with impunity at public places like market verandas, bus stands and even in offices. Not only were uneducated migrants seen smoking at public places, persons holding responsible positions and employees in some offices were also seen smoking, though furtively.

While some persons feigned ignorance of the official ban, others said it was a habit and could not be changed so easily despite a ban imposed by the government.

Display boards conveying a message against smoking, which was now an offence, had also not been put up by the authorities concerned outside various offices. No such board was found even outside the office of deputy commissioner Rahul Bhandari. However, a few boards were seen in certain offices, but these were put long time back by Generation Saviour Association. Various offices had even failed to notify and display names of persons to whom complaints could be made in case of violations.

No fines have been imposed so far by the police on smokers who had violated the ban.

Bhandari said there were clear instructions regarding the implementation of the ban on smoking. When asked why a board conveying the message was not put up outside his office, he said he would ensure that this would be done tomorrow. He said he would also notify through a press note tomorrow the name of the official who could be contacted for making complaints in case of violations.

SP (City) Varinder Pal Singh said the police had not received any complaint regarding smoking at public places as the ban had been implemented only yesterday. He said immediate action would be taken whenever a complaint was received. The police would also carry out a campaign at its own level to nab offenders.

Amteshwar Kaur, president of the Generation Saviour Association, said her organisation had put up 15 no-smoking boards in various offices long time back. But awareness about the ban would have to be created among the uneducated people. She said she had seen a rickshaw puller smoking at a public place.

Persons were also seen smoking in the market areas in Phases IX and X. An absolute ban would only be possible if the district administration took tough measures in this regard.

Dr Surinder Bhagat of Civil Hospital here said he was made the nodal officer of the Mohali anti-smoking zone and would ensure that the boards conveying the desired message were put up outside various offices within a week.



Demolition Drive
GMADA on pick-and-choose policy
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 3
A high drama prevailed in Phase IX here when the enforcement staff of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) suddenly started uprooting plantation being maintained by residents on open space adjacent to their houses.

Alleging pick-and-chose policy, the residents lamented that the GMADA staff had left the house of a senior Punjab police official while carrying out the drive.

The occupants of house number 1245 lamented that JCB pressed into service by GMADA damaged the boundary wall of their house. The drive was carried out on a complaint basis after certain residents objected to pick-and-chose policy of GMADA while clearing public land for a thoroughfare. It was clarified by the officials that no special drive had been launched to clear the road berms.

When the drive started, it was felt that GMADA was acting in light of public notice on encroachments on public land. But the reality turned out to be something else.

The specific drive was launched after certain residents of the area approached the GMADA officials demanding clearing of public land for a thoroughfare to the main road running from Kumbra Chowk to Phase XI.

“While all sectors have one road opening up on main roads, officials allowing second approach was dangerous as it would lead to more accidents. GMADA should first close the back gates of the houses and clear the road berms of encroachments,” said an official.

The drive in the area has created problem of GMADA officials. A JE had earlier been suspended after not carrying out the drive few months ago. 



Zirakpur to get sewerage treatment plant
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, October 3
The civic amenities in Zirakpur are in for a facelift. As a step in this direction, a sewerage treatment plant is being installed here.

Official sources informed TNS that a grant of Rs 18 crore has been sanctioned for the sewerage treatment plant (STP) by the central government and the state government under the Urban Infrastructure and Development of Small and Medium Town (UIDSMT) scheme.

The town, known for its upcoming malls and real-estate business, is now moving towards urbanisation. This rapid urbanisation has now prodded the Zirakpur MC to set up a sewerage treatment plant in Singhpura village. The plant is scheduled to be commissioned in the next two years and will be built on 5 acre, near Singhpura village.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, executive officer of Zirakpur municipal council R.K. Mittal said the initial sum of Rs 16.79 crore has already been released by the Government of India under the UIDSMT scheme. The state government, too, has declared the grant for the same.

Mittal said the plant would be constructed under extended aeration technology. The plant would provide sewerage treatment facility to all areas in the periphery of Zirakpur.

Zirakpur municipal council president Narinder Kumar Sharma said other than solving the problem of water pollution, it would also help the farmers of the area as the water from the plant could be used for the irrigation purpose.

SDO, water and sewerage supply, R.K. Goyal confirmed that the treatment plant would be constructed under extended aeration technology that would process 17.3 million litres per day. “We had decided to invite the tenders for the treatment plant that would be open on October 23,” he added.



Polythene ban only in name

The ban on polythene bags in Chandigarh from October 2 seems to be a non-starter. Despite the tall claims of the Chandigarh administration about launching a publicity campaign against the use of polythene bags, a majority of residents, shopkeepers and vendors seem to be oblivious of the ban aimed at making city "environment-friendly".

At least this was the situation on the first and the second day of the ban. While polybag users had a field day, senior officials of the administration, entrusted with the responsibility of the ban, seem to have vanished. Repeated efforts to contact them for their comment drew a blank.

One wonders what is the use of banning these bags when the enforcement leaves much to be desired.

Donation, not fine

Officials have penalised 47 shopkeepers in Mata Mansa Devi Temple area. Shopkeepers using polythene bags were asked to deposit up to Rs 1,000 as donation with Mata Mansa Devi Temple Trust.

A total of Rs 33,100 was charged from the shopkeepers for violating the ban. Announcements were made in this regard from 6 am. However, shopkeepers were found using these even after 9.30 am and were asked to make donations.

Tour fetish

The Chandigarh MC is besotted with the study tour of councillors to Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and Mumbai. So much so, that the corporation, at a meeting on September 29, put the agenda of this tour twice. If it was missed by the house, it could be taken up again for consideration. The agenda item was rejected by the house on technical grounds.

Road in disrepair

The road dividing Mohali and Chandigarh and leading to Sector 55 is nobody’s baby. Neither the Chandigarh MC, nor SAS Nagar officials think it’s their responsibility as nobody has come forward to carry out patchwork. The recent rain played havoc on the road, making it seem like a rocky terrain for rallyists. Are you listening, Mr mayor?

Office makeover

With the arrival of the new DPI, his office has undergone a makeover with extra sofas and chairs having been taken out. If buzz around the department is to be believed, the new DPI is not a people’s man. Though many have welcomed this attitude, some are yet to get acquainted with the nearly empty room and the DPI signing files without any journalist being present.

Never dispirited

Young Hargun Preet Singh has not only defeated cancer, but also spread his optimism by penning down “Musibatan Ton na Ghabrao”.

While he battled with cancer, he excelled in his studies and kept his spirits high. Believing that you live through your deeds and not years, he has become an epitome of optimism, with PGI doctors directing depressed patients to him for hope.

Contributed by Pradeep Sharma, Arun Sharma, Aarti Kapur, Smriti Sharma and Sumedha Sharma



Religion no bar for these craftsmen
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 3
For these Muslim craftsmen their work is above religion for God is one. It’s sewa for them and they get a sense of fulfilment when lakhs enjoy the triumph of good over evil watching the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran and Meghnad go up in flames every Dasehra day.

The work of making the effigies for the main Ramlila function here has been handled by these Muslims from Uttar Pradesh over the years. They come all the way to Mohali, away from their families, spending a month in an industrial shed here to do the work. The craft has been in their families for generations.

This year, nine Muslims from Baghpat and Meerut districts are engaged in the effigy making. Mohammed Ilyas (61) and Gyasuddin (46) are brothers. Also engaged in the work are Harun (18) and Shah Nawaz, Gyasuddin’s son and nephew, respectively, Mohammed Qasim, Inam, Tausif, Aqeel and Masoom. The last five named are newcomers to Mohali.

It was Id yesterday, but there was no rest for them. They usually labour hard till late at night for there is a fast-approaching deadline for the work. There are no machines and every bit of the work has to be done by hand.

Mohammed Ilyas said his great grandfather had been engaged in effigy making for the Dasehra festival and since then the work has been carried forward by every generation. The rest of the year he earns his livelihood doing work related to flower decoration for weddings and other functions and by making crackers. “I have four daughters and a son, Shohaib Khan, who is studying in Class XII. My son is not interested in my work,” said Ilyas.

Gyasuddin said it was not a question of religion as far as their work was concerned. “God is one. We get immense happiness and satisfaction when lakhs come to see the effigies made by us go up in flames. The craft has been in the family for four generations, but now I want my sons to study and get jobs.”

He said he was only 18-year-old when he began effigy making, working in places like Delhi, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Mawana, Shahdra, Mumbai, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu. However, he had been coming to Mohali for the past 11 years. “I come here because of the love and respect shown to us by people in Punjab. I did not find this elsewhere. Dasehra committee office-bearers treat us like members of their family,” said Gyasuddin.

The face of Dasehra celebrations is likely to undergo a change in the coming years as the younger generation is not interested in carrying on the work of effigy making which has been done by earlier four generations.

Harun said that he was studying in Class XI and wanted to go ahead with his education, as he was not interested in the work of effigy making. He had come here only to help his father as the required number of craftsmen were not available. Shah Nawaz also has no interest in the old craft. He said he owned a toy shop back in Meerut and had come to help his uncle complete his work. I will not come here next year, he added.



Shopkeepers block traffic at Dadu Majra
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, October 3
Shopkeepers closed their shops and blocked traffic on the Dadu Majra market road for five hours today in protest against yesterday’s brawl there.

Demanding a stern action against the accused — Monu, Tinda, Ramesh and Salman — who were arrested by the police last night, the protesters alleged that the accused had been vandalising their shops in the past.

“However, each time the police remained a mute spectator. We will not let them go scot free this time. We also want compensation for the loss that we have suffered at the hands of these hoodlums in the yesterday’s incident,” said Rajesh Kalia, president, Resident Welfare Association, Dadu Majra.

Last night, Monu and his friends had set afire a bike of Munish following an old rivalry. Later, Munish’s friends came to the scene and vandalised some shops in the area.

Today, the police arrested two more accused — Kuldeep and Sham — in the case. Area municipal councillor Raj Kumari also joined the protest.

After getting assurance from the police, the protesting shopkeepers opened their shops.

Police station-36 SHO Rajesh Shukla said: “We have already set up a beat box in the market and registered a case against both groups.”



National Day of China celebrated
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 3
The 59th National Day of China was celebrated with enthusiasm by the Friends of China Association (FCA), Punjab, at Paragon School Sector-71, here yesterday.

Captain Kanwaljit Singh, cooperation minister, Punjab, who was the chief guest, said there was a need to strengthen the relationship between the two nations.

In a message of Ambassador of China to India Zhang Yang, read on the spot by Kulwant Kaur, vice-president of FCA, it was pointed out that 2008 was an extraordinary year for China, as the country hosted the Olympic Games and also the 30th year of reforms.

He further said a few days ago China made another big stride by successfully completing its 3rd manned space mission during which a Chinese astronaut participated.

Dr Paramvir Singh, a senior lecturer in the department of sports sciences, Punjabi University, Patiala, in his keynote explained the distinguished audience about the conduct of Beijing Olympics 2008 with the help of slides. Manjit Singh Rana, general secretary of FCA, gave a brief account of the activities of Friends of China Association. Balraj Singh Shergill, president of FCA, honoured the chief guest with mementoes. Later, the students of the Paragon School presented a colourful cultural programme.



Tubewell building in disarray
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 3
An abandoned tube well building in Phase X here has become a source of nuisance for the residents of the area. It has become a haven for the anti-social elements as the municipal corporation and the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) are shifting the responsibility of maintaining the area.

Kartar Singh, a resident of the area, said despite the fact that the tube well had been abandoned, the concerned authorities failed to put the building to some alternative use. Recalling the sequence of events, he said former deputy commissioner Tejveer Singh has sent his additional deputy commissioner to the spot and they had been assured of speedy action. Since then two deputy commissioners have changed, but the abandoned building stands as such.

The residents of the area complain that GMADA was spending lakhs of rupees on widening certain roads, but it had not spared a thought to provide a slip road at the traffic junction of Phase X and XI. The slip road can easily be constructed at the location of the abandoned tube well. 



Woman Burnt Alive
Women’s panel writes to chief secretary
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, October 3
Taking cognizance of a news report in Chandigarh Tribune yesterday, “Woman’s limbs severed, burnt alive”, the Punjab State Women Commission has today written a letter to the chief secretary of the Punjab government, demanding immediate action and a detailed inquiry report in the matter.

The commission also said stringent action should be taken against the perpetrators of the crime.

The woman was burnt alive, allegedly by some of her relatives, in Rajpura yesterday. Manjit Kaur (34), mother of a newborn, was found dead in her house by neighbours. Her husband had also received around 40 per cent burns. He is also a suspect.

The victim’s limbs were found severed and the baby was rescued by firemen and neighbours, who claimed that the couple and some of their relatives had been quarrelling with one another over a property dispute.



Power team checks MC’s new building
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The electricity enforcement wing of the Chandigarh administration today conducted checking of the new deluxe building of the Chandigarh municipal corporation at Sector 17 to check the load of consumption of electricity.

A 20-member team of the enforcement wing checked power points of the entire building during their visit.

Sources in the administration said the checking was conducted as the renovation had taken place in the building last year after which the number of power points had increased, which ultimately affected the load of the building.

MC’s XEN electricity division Kamal Joshi said a team of enforcement wing of the administration conducted a routine checking of consumption of electricity to know the load consumption in the new building.



Estimate for storm water drainage okayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
A meeting of the water supply and sewerage disposal committee of the Chandigarh municipal corporation was held under the chairmanship of Jagjit Singh Kang here on Wednesday.

It accorded approval to various development agendas, including estimate for augmentation of storm water drainage, at Kajheri village for Rs 11.75 lakh.

The committee also approved the estimate for renovation of toilet block in the Maloya colony market for Rs 2.39 lakh, renovation of toilet block in Kabari Market, Industrial Area, Phase I, for Rs 7.16 lakh, renovation of toilet block in Sector 24 (near green belt) for Rs 9.69 lakh, estimate for purchase of spare and standby submersible pumping sets of different capacities for tube wells under MCPH sub-division No. 2 for Rs 4.32 lakh and rough cost estimate for construction of toilet block at Shanti Nagar, Mani Majra, for Rs 5.58 lakh.



Drop In at Sec 34
CITCO ropes in major chains for food court

Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) is set to spice up the food scene in the southern sectors. Come October 15, the Chandigarh administration-controlled hospitality giant will set up a food court at the “Drop In” complex in Sector 34.

Taking the outsourcing drive to its logical conclusion, CITCO has tied up with major food chains, including Cafe Coffee Day, Yo China and Sundarams, to tickle the taste buds of thousands of executives in the sub-city centre and residents of the southern parts of the city.

Patterned on the innovative “shop-in-shop” concept of Fun Republic and the Aroma Hotel, the foot court will cater to the changing food habits of the generation X in the commercial centre, which is virtually devoid of affordable good restaurant and eating joint.

With thousands of employees of commercial establishments and government offices and visitors frequenting the busy place, the concept stands a good chance of success, officials highlighted.

In fact, the entire complex is being redone by making it an “oasis” of greenery in the concrete jungle of the high-rise buildings.

In fact, the setting up of the food court will take off pressure from the shrinking parking space in the hotel chain in Sector 35.

Since most of the offices in Sector 34 close by the evening, the visitors can enjoy good food without bothering about finding a suitable parking space for their vehicles, CITCO’s general manager (tourism) A.K. Malhotra said here today.

The concept recently caught the fancy of the CITCO’s board directors. The decision was touted to be a major privatisation decision by CITCO that runs three major hotels, including its flagship Hotel Mountview in Sector 10.

Sources said the outsourcing of the “Drop In” complex by the corporation should be seen in the backdrop of the entry of better-managed hotels and restaurants in the city, who give the CITCO-run eating joints a run for their money, by offering an array of dishes from across the world.



Poly ban brings cheer to slum kids
Himani Chandel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
Though the polythene ban in the city has invited public ire, slum children of Nada village have a reason to smile. For they have been making paper and jute bags, the demand for which has suddenly shot up.

The children include beggars who used to beg in the stretches of Sector 17 and polish shoes. They were persuaded to leave begging and are now being taught to read and write and live a life of dignity by a non-profit organisation, Choti Si Asha.

They are also trained in making paper bags, folders, pen stand, candles, etc. The ban on polythene carry bags has bought cheer to them, as they are now looking forward to yield profits.

“The ban has given hope to these children as they come from far-off places to make paper and jute carry bags. The bags, which we used to sell with great difficulty, are now drawing a large number of customers. We are also expecting good prices unlike earlier when we had to comprise on it,” said Baljeet Kaur, the caretaker of the children.

“We have got two big orders for paper bags in just one day from Subhiksha and Dewsun. Others have asked for samples,” she said.

Though children are not aware of the ban, they are happy as they have a lot of work to do and earn money now.

“I made 20 bags today. I feel good coming here, as they give us food to eat and we spend a better time here,” Anikey, one of the children.

However, it was a great struggle in the beginning for the members of the NGO to convince these children to join them but they later started enjoying the teachings sessions.

“It is not so easy to dissuade beggars and expect them to study or get some kind of training. We have to reach their mental level to make them understand things and convince them. But now they are happy being associated with us and do not want to leave,” she said.



Rape cases on the rise
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The alleged abduction and the sexual assault on a German tourist is a blot on the face of the Chandigarh police. And its ironical, that the victim was kidnapped barely hours after the city police and the administration launched a tourist police wing with much pomp to mark the international tourism day.

The sensational kidnapping has not only shaken the confidence of foreigners who were in the city during the fateful week, but also the residents. The administration has been quick to re-circulate its advisory, cautioning foreigners, women in particular, not to venture out alone at nights, but what about the others.

One wonders if the city is safe for women in general. If one goes by the figures, compared to 22 rape cases in 2007, the year has already witnessed 19 cases till September 30.

The year 2005 recorded the highest number of 33 rape cases in the past four years. The figure for 2006 was 19.

These figures may not be the exact indicator of the gravity of the situation as it’s a fact that several rape cases usually go unreported. The stigma attached with it and the lengthy judicial process acts as a major deterrent for victims to approach the police.

The number of cases notwithstanding, 2008 started with a bad note for the city with the sensational rape of a woman in the barracks of the security guards of the Haryana Raj Bhawan. Law enforcers turned predators when they allegedly raped the woman who was in her 40s. The woman, an employee of a catering service, was on her way back home, past midnight along with her co-workers, when she was dragged by inebriated security guards to their barracks and raped.

The adverse publicity that the incident attracted caused much embarrassment to the Haryana police.

On September 25, 2006, a five-year-old girl was sexually abused by an unidentified man a few yards away from her house in Sector 41.

The police failed to solve the case and marked it as untraced in June last year.

As many as 17 cases of molestation have been reported till September 30 this year, against 32 in 2007 and 20 in 2006. The year 2005 witnessed 31 incidents. Besides this, 21 women reported incidents of eve teasing this year against 35 last year and 33 in 2006. As many as 47 cases were reported in 2005.



Conversion Policy
Industrial Area losing character

Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The Industrial Area, created to give a boost to industrial development in the city, is on the verge of losing its character, thanks to the much-debated conversion policy of the Chandigarh administration.

Swanky multiplexes and shopping malls and state-of-the-art office complexes are set to replace the conventional industrial units with over 150 industrialists applying for conversion of their plots.

Interestingly, a majority of the converted plots are in Phase I of the Industrial Area, which has bigger plots, most of them measuring several acres.

In fact, even as the industry is passing through a recessionary period, coming up of shopping malls and commercial complexes is expected to deal a further blow to the industry.

According to a rough estimate, around 40 per cent area of around 800 acres in the Industrial Area has been converted by payment of conversion fee.

As if this was not enough, the indiscriminate conversion of plots without sparing a thought for the provision of civic amenities has come in for criticism from a cross-section of people.

The opening of Centra Mall, the first mall in Industrial Area, recently sparked off traffic chaos in the area. “If this the situation with the opening of the first multiplex, one can image the chaos when other multiplexes and offices started operations,” said Gurmukh Singh, a government employee.

Industrialists, on the other hand, are seeing red at the destruction of the Industrial Area’s character. “The Chandigarh administration should come to the aid of small-scale industry as Industrial Area was created for the promotion of the small-scale industry. In its attempt to earn crores of rupees through conversion fee, the administration was giving a raw deal to small-scale units,” alleged Rajiv Gupta, general secretary of the Federation of Small Scale Industry.

Another industrialist alleged that while the “genuine demands” of the industry were pending for a long time, the administration was hell bent upon converting the major portion of Industrial Area into institutional zone with the setting up of shopping malls and commercial complexes.

Pressure on civic amenities

The pressure on the civic amenities can be gauged from fact that one of the converted plots measuring around 21 acres having a covered area of around 18 lakh sq ft will require water equivalent to the current requirement of Industrial Area, Phase I.



Day 2
Polythene bags still dot markets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The second day of the ban on the use of polythene carry bags in the Union Territory also did not find much favour with people, as polythene was visible in various marketplaces.

Some customers were also forced to shell out extra money for eco-friendly carry bags lest they should have to carry goods in their hands.

The Chandigarh administration had imposed a ban on the use of plastic bags that came into effect from yesterday to protect the environment from hazards of the non-biodegradable product.

Some buyers even being aware of the ban yelled at shopkeepers for not providing bags or containers to carry home purchased items.

However, some big retailers had paper carry bags with them, but they came at a certain cost.

“People are asking us for carry bags. But we are helpless as we can be challaned for keeping polythene bags and paper bags are yet not available,” said a shopkeeper. “So we are just handing over the items in their box as they are. This is the only way we can opt for at the moment,” he said.



Cancer body launches campaign
Tribune News Service

Indian Council for Child Welfare president Jean Rodrigues releases balloons as part of a campaign on breast cancer at Sector 17 plaza, Chandigarh, on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, October 3
The Sahayta Cancer Sahyog launched “Pink October Breast Cancer Awareness Month” at Sector 17 here today.

Indian Council for Child Welfare president Jean Rodrigues joined the Sahayta volunteers, cancer survivors and other guests for a walk in the plaza, which was lit in pink.

Rodrigues released pink balloons in the air to mark the month. Breast cancer survivor Neena Singh apprised the audience of the significance of pink October. She said pink signified that with early detection and prompt treatment every woman had a chance to return to the ‘pink of health’.

The members of the Sahayata Sahyog thanked the Chandigarh administration, municipal corporation and others for their contribution towards the campaign.



Elders Day celebrated
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 3
Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd organised International Elders Day in association with the Senior Citizens Pensioners Council in the auditorium of Fortis Hospital here.

Welcoming senior citizens on the occasion on Wednesday, T.L. Easwar, vice-president, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, said the day was celebrated to acknowledge the immense contribution made by the senior citizens to life, society, country and the world at large. He said according to a survey conducted last year there were 600 million senior citizens in the world and the figure must have increased this year. He said one should learn from the energy displayed by the senior citizens.

Anita Sharma, a yoga specialist, gave a talk on ageing and told the senior citizens how to get out of their day-to-day problems by doing some yoga. She said that mind had to be kept free of various problems to enjoy good health.

Deputy commissioner Rahul Bhandari was chief guest at the function.



65,000 devotees visit temple on 3rd day
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 3
Devotees thronged Mata Mansa Devi Temple on the third day of the Navratras and the number of devotees crossed 65,000 by 5 pm here yesterday.

Being a national holiday, the temple witnessed a massive crowd in the morning that started increasing as the day progressed. The total number of visitors is expected to cross 75,000 by morning, the chief administrator of Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board, Rajinder Kataria, who is also the deputy commissioner of Panchkula , said.

On the first day of Navratras, 25,000 devotees visited the temple and the number increased to 60,000 yesterday.

Giving the details of the offerings, Kataria said more than Rs 10 lakh had already been received as offerings from the devotees.



Award for GMCH director-principal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The Vishwa Jagriti Mission has awarded Dr Raj Bhadur, professor and director principal of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and an orthopaedic and spine surgeon, with “Rashtra Bhushan Samman” for his exceptional services in the field of medicine for the past 30 years.

The mission has acknowledged his contribution as a medical educationist and in the advancement of treatment of spinal disorders. He has operated upon over 5,000 patients with spinal problems.

Vishwa Jagriti Mission is a socio-religious charitable organisation with a membership of over 50 lakh.

It is involved in running orphanages, old age homes, hospitals, mobile dispensaries, care of tribal areas and yoga ashrams.



Cultural meet by Air Force civilian staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
As part of the ongoing IAF’s 76th anniversary celebrations, the All-India Air Force Civilians Staff organised a cultural evening at 3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) here today.

The function was inaugurated by Air Marshal Gautam Nayyar, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command. Senior functionaries from Air Headquarters, including Assistant Chief of Air Staff Personnel (Civilians), attended the show.

Fifty-four civilian artistes selected from various Air Force stations from all over the country converged on the city to take part in the cultural programme.

The programme commenced with song “Jahan Dal Dal Par…..” and was followed by regional dances like “Bihu” of Assam and “Lavani” of Maharashtra.

Besides, gazals and solo songs presented by the the civilian staff, a skit, “Nari Tum Narayani”, was also staged.

Speaking at the prize distribution ceremony, Air Marshal Nayyar praised the efforts put in by the participants. The evening highlighted the spirit of oneness amongst the civilian staff and the uniformed air warriors in achieving operational tasks of the Air Force and sharing aspirations of each other.



Sugar quota enhanced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The Chandigarh administration has decided to enhance the quota of levy sugar from 1 kg to 2 kg per unit per month for the below poverty line (BPL) ration card holders for October and November due to the ensuing festival season. All BPL ration card holders have been advised to draw their revised sugar entitlement from the depot holders where their ration cards stand registered.

In case of complaint, the matter can be brought to the notice of director, food and supplies and consumer affairs, at phone No. 2700109 or district food and supplies and consumer affairs officer at phone No. 2703956, according to a press release.



Helpline to curb drug trafficking
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
In an attempt to curb the menace of drug trafficking in the city, the Chandigarh police yesterday launched a 24-hour helpline requesting people to inform the police about such activities.

The information could be passed on to a mobile number (99159-73100), which will be under the direct supervision of SSP S.S. Srivastva, the police said.

Yoga tips for jail inmates

Over 50 inmates of Model Jail, Burail, participated in a yoga camp organised by the Patanjali Yog Samiti of yoga guru Baba Ramdev recently.

Three yoga experts from the samiti imparted tips and selected 10 inmates to further train other inmates. Besides, the experts also examined the inmates suffering from chronic ailments.

UT inspector-general of prisons Mahabir Singh was also present and said such activities helped reforming the inmates.



Ghazal maestro holds audience spellbound
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, October 3
Acclaimed ghazal maestro and Bollywood playback singer Vinod Sehgal regaled the audience at a concert organised by the Old Mohinderians Association and Punjab Arts Council in collaboration with NZCC and DPR, Haryana.

Vinod Sehgal commenced the concert with a Sufi song “Sunn maalka meri”. He then turned to his main forte of ghazals with a classic “Agar talaash karoon” by Bashir Badr and the city-bred poet Irshad Kamil’s “Ham saada tabiyat logon ka”.

Earlier, Rajpal Singh, secretary general, PAC, honoured the artistes.



PU professor turns director
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
The appointment committee of the cabinet (ACC) has approved the proposal of the ministry of chemicals and fertilisers for appointing Prof B.S. Ghuman, dean, faculty of Arts, PU as non-official part-time director on the board of Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd. (FACT) - a government of India undertaking, Cochin, for a period of three years. The ACC comprises of the Prime Minister, the home minister and the minister of the concerned ministry.

The selection process for board of directors of public enterprises is initiated by constituting a search committee comprising chairman, Public Enterprise Selection Board, Secretary Department of Public Enterprises, secretary of the administrative ministry and some eminent non-official(s). The recommendations of the search committee are then placed before the ACC for its consideration and approval.

The induction of non-official part-time directors on the board of directors of the public enterprise has been introduced under the new economic policy, 1991, aiming to provide professional inputs, including new perspectives and emerging paradigms in the field of public enterprises for improving the effectiveness of government policy.

FACT is India’s first large scale fertiliser unit set up in 1943. FACT became a Kerala State Public Sector Enterprise on August 15, 1960 and on November 21, 1962, the government of India became the major shareholder.

Prof Ghuman mainly specialises in the area of economic administration and public enterprise management. He has published about 56 papers out of which majority belong to the above-mentioned areas. He has also participated in a number of international conferences and seminars and successfully completed two international projects. He is on the editorial board of ‘The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration’, Australia, and Hong Kong. Prof Ghuman is also a member of the fifth Pay Commission, Punjab.



Eco-club of DAV School declared best
Tribune News service

Panchkula, October 3
The Eco-club of Chaman Lal D.A.V. Senior Public School, Sector-11, has been declared as the best Eco-club of the town by the Panchkula district administration.

The award was conferred on the school by the district education officer, Kanta Malik, in a special function held at Government School, Sector-15, in recognition of imparting excellent service to the environment with many outstanding programmes for its protection and conservation.

‘Green Brigade’ the environment club of the school has been actively functioning since past eight years to sensitise students to the environments concerns.

The school has formulated a holistic approach to the problems of ecology and created a cooperative network of students into a synergic alliance which takes care of plants, surveys the quality of water, vehicular pollution disposal of waste etc. Spreading the message of ‘Green and Clean’ through rallies, cleanliness drives, tree plantations, seminars and workshops is undertaken on regular basis, said Anjali Marriya, school principal.

The students also took up the project of Ghaggar clean-up campaign launched by the Environment Society of India to mark the world Biodiversity Day in May this year, she said.



From Schools
Amandeep, Gurpreet excel in debate competition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 3
Amandeep Kaur and Gurpreet Kaur of Govt. College for Girls, Sector 42, bagged first prize of Rs 10,000 at the Inter-College debate organised by the Neerja Bhanot Pan Am Trust at the Press Club, Sector 27. While the second prize worth Rs 5000 went to Lehar and Gaurav Ghai of DCET, Punjab University, while the team Kritika Sungani and Shahina Dhiman from SGGS, Sector 26, stood third and won Rs 3000. Students debated on ‘There should be a compulsory three year army service for fresh graduates.’

Yoga training: Jatinder kumar, yoga guru, demonstrated various yogic asanas and explained their therapeutic values to around 200 NSS volunteers of GC11 during the five special sessions conducted in the college.

Talk on meditation: Swami Brahmeshananda, secretary Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, Sector 15, gave a talk on ‘Modern Day Spirituality and Stress’ to the NSS volunteers of Government College of Education, Sector 20-D.

NSS camp: The NSS camp at MCM DAV College organised a lecture on ‘Importance of balanced diet and nutritional diet’ by Dr Sapna Nanda, lecturer of home science, Sector-20, and a lecture on ‘Demedicalisation of Women’ by Dr Amarjeet Singh, professor of community medicine, at a school of public health, PGI, today.



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