C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mayoral Polls
Kamlesh is city Mayor 
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The Congress today swept the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation mayoral polls winning all the three posts of Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

Congress’ Kamlesh was elected Mayor by defeating Ram Lal of the BJP-SAD alliance with a huge margin of 11 votes. While 21 votes were polled in favour of Kamlesh, Ram Lal had to content with 10 votes. A total of 31 votes were polled in the 36-member house for the post.

While the nominated councillor, Neelam Malik, was abroad, four BSP councillors abstained from polling for the post as decided earlier by the party. The BSP councillors came only at the time of polling for the post of Senior Deputy Mayor.

Congress’ H.C. Kalyan was elected Senior Deputy Mayor by defeating BJP-SAD-BSP candidate Gurnam Singh by a slender margin of a single vote. Gurnam Singh polled 17 votes.

The BSP councillors also abstained from voting for the post of Deputy Mayor as Congress’ Vijay Rana defeated SAD-BJP candidate Rajesh Gupta Bittu by a margin of seven votes. While Rana polled 19 votes, Rajesh Gupta Bittu managed only 12 votes.

The MC House has 35 members, including 14 Congress, six BJP, four BSP and two SAD councillors, besides nine nominated councillors. Member of Parliament also has the right to exercise his vote in these elections.

Morale booster for Cong

Chandigarh: Congress’ “sweeping victory” in today’s mayoral poll is seen as a morale booster in the light of upcoming parliamentary elections by observers.

This was evident when after the declaration of the poll results, Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal and Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) president B B Behl addressed mediapersons with newly elected mayor Kamlesh.

While B B Behl hinted the victory to be the first step towards securing the lone MP seat from Chandigarh, he also chose the opportunity to indicate that once again Pawan Kumar Bansal is the “right choice” as the candidate.

In the same breath, Bansal also added that though he was the choice of the CTCC, the final decision in this regard would be taken only by party high command.

Community parking top priorities

Meanwhile, talking to mediapersons, Kamlesh said the first priority on her agenda was community parking. “Going by the number of vehicles being added to the city each day, the issue of parking becomes utmost important.

After the onset of the first community parking in Sector 45, more such parking lots would come up soon”, she said.

Besides community parking, water supply, cleanliness and roads also find a mention on her priority list.

Key to victory

Out of the total nine nominated councillors, eight were present during the voting. As expected, the nominated councillors played a key role in Congress’ victory.

For the post of Mayor, Kamlesh registered a victory securing 21 votes. While the Congress had 15 elected councillors, six nominated councillors voted in her favour.

Again, for the post of Deputy Mayor, four nominated councillors voted in Congress’ favour.



‘Free-for-all’ inside House

While the security in all the important buildings and government offices in the city has been heightened after the Mumbai terror attacks, it was “free-for-all” at the Municipal Corporation House, where the elected representatives of the city assemble.

Even as the election process was on inside the assembly hall, hundreds of visitors thronged the House without permission. Though it is clearly laid down in the rules that the visitors who sit in the House during its proceedings have to take prior permission from authorities and get the visitor’s pass, sources reveal that no permission given on Thursday.

A notice board at the entrance of the assembly hall reads that the visitors, after taking due permission, can sit inside to watch the House proceedings but cannot disturb the House by making noise or raise slogans. However, the scene inside the house today was in complete contradiction to the notice. Not only were the visitors shouting, they were also taking pictures inside the House and recording the proceedings against the rules.

Even, there was no checking at the entrance of the assembly hall where the elections were held. 



Auto Driver’s Murder
Victim was drugged before being killed
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The alleged killers of Kunwar Pal, an auto-rickshaw driver, whose bloated body was found from the SYL canal near Kurukshetra on Wednesday, offered sedative-laced drink to the victim and kept him on the move for over 12 hours before throwing him into the river.

The police said that the accused treated Kunwar with food and liquor to take away his auto-rickshaw after allegedly killing him. The local police today produced the accused - Sabh Chand Sabu alias Ashok of Darua village and Rashid of Mauli Jagran - in a local court which remanded them to police custody till January 3.

Meanwhile, the victim’s post mortem report confirmed that the death was caused due to drowning. The police said the viscera sample of the victim would be sent for chemical examination.

Kunwar Pal, a resident of Phase II, Ram Darbar, was the sole bredwinner in the family. He was in his thirties and is survived by six minor children, including three daughters, wife, elderly parents, a brother and a sister. The family has now sought financial help from the UT Administration.

Narrating the sequence of events, the accused told the investigators that they hired the auto-rickshaw on December 20 and moved to Ambala. They took the victim, Kunwar Pal, to various markets saying that they wanted to make some purchases. In the evening, they all consumed liquor and had food together.

SHO of the Industrial Area police station inspector Yashpal Sharma said that the accused disclosed that they mixed some drug-laced tablets in liquor offered to Kunwar leaving him almost unconscious. Then they took him to a secluded place along the SYL canal near Jansui in Ambala.

On the way, Kunwar Pal regained consciousness and asked them where they were taking him. At this, the accused decided to eliminate him and dragged him out of the vehicle. Kunwar Pal tried to fight back, but he was overpowered by the duo. They had a minor scuffle during which thrashed him badly before throwing him into the river at around 12:30 am on December 21. The accused then moved to Ambala railway station and parked the auto-rickshaw there.

The police today subsequently added Sections 302, 201 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code in this regard. 



Vehicles collide due to fog, 2 hurt
Tribune News Service

Kharar, January 1
A tanker and a three-wheeler collided head on due to fog near a government school, Desu Majra, this evening. The incident took place at around 8.15 pm. Both the vehicles collided due to thick fog and heavy traffic on the route.

While the three-wheeler was completely damaged in the accident, two of its occupants received injuries. One of them is said to have received major injuries and the other hurt his leg. Police officials reached the spot after much effort. The officials said the injured were rushed to the PGI with the help of a canter driver. Their identity could not be established till the filing of this report.

The police cleared the road after getting the accidental vehicles removed from there. Action would be initiated against the erring driver after the statements of the victims were recorded, said the police officials. Photo on P4



National Road Safety Week begins
VIPs don’t follow traffic rules: Home Secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
A large number of VIPs in the city have made the task of the Chandigarh Police a challenge. The UT home secretary Ram Niwas stated this on the inaugural day of the 20th National Road Safety Week at the Children Traffic Park in Sector 23 here. "Drive Carefully, Reach Alive" is the theme of this year’s road safety week.

He said unlike the developed countries where traffic rules were religiously obeyed, the presence of a large number of VIP vehicles in the city was a challenge for traffic policemen, as rules were not followed properly.

He, however, praised the traffic police, which was better than its counterparts in the country.

He added that the city had largest per capita vehicular population in the country with 7 lakh vehicles. Every year, 40,000 vehicles were registered in the city leading to congestion. He stressed that the rules should be followed in spirit.

The home secretary said speed governors should be installed in the CTU buses soon and the autorickshaw plying in the city would also be converted to the LPG fuel.

A blood donation camp and painting competition by school children from various schools of the city was also organized during this occasion. Besides this, students of Guru Nank Public School, Sector 36, presented a cultural show. A puppet show was also performed to make the public aware about road safety. The home secretary gave 25 hand-free wireless sets for the traffic police.

Among others Prof. R.C. Sobti, V-C, Panjab University, S.K. Sharma, general manager, Indian Oil Corporation, Mahabir Singh, DIG (Intelligence and Headquarters), S. S. Srivastava, UT SSP, H.S Doon, SP (Traffic and Security), R.S. Ghumman, SP (Operation) and Niharika Rai of Registration and Licensing Authority were present on the occasion.

During this week, various road safety activities, including painting competition, blood donation camp, road safety announcement on major light points, regular seven-day road safety exhibition at Piazza, road rules test, regular showing of road safety movies and films, scooter rally of girl students to promote wearing of helmets, penal discussion on road safety at All-India Radio, road safety workshops for autorickshaws and cycle rickshaws, first-aid workshop for PCR and police personnel, road safety seminar of traffic marshals and residents welfare associations, workshop for CTU, PEPSU, Punjab and Haryana roadways drivers with free medical amd eye check-up camp and driving training workshop for taxis and school bus drivers will be held.



Max temperature dips to 14.4°C
Foggy conditions prevail; rail, road, air traffic hit 
Pawan Tiwari

Chandigarh, January 1
Chandigarh experienced a considerable dip in the maximum temperature today, recording 14.4 degrees Celsius, while the minimum temperature rose to 8 degrees Celsius as compared to 7.4 degrees yesterday.

The thick blanket of fog engulfed the city in the morning and evening, affecting the road, rail and air traffic. Due to dense fog, the Jet Airways cancelled its flight from Chandigarh to Delhi and another flight between Chandigarh and Mumbai was behind schedule by two hours.

Kingfisher Airline’s Chandigarh to Mumbai flight was delayed by over five hours and Chandigarh to Delhi by over one hour. Air India’s Chandigarh-Delhi-Bombay flight was late by two hours and the Indian Airline’s Delhi-Chandigarh flight was delayed by over one hour.

Trains were also running behind schedule. According to the station superintendent, Uchahar Express was delayed by more than 12 hours and the Sadbhawna Express reached here two hours late.

According to the Met department, the weather is expected to remain the same for the next three-four days. 


Hooligans give tough time to cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The Chandigarh police had a tough time in controlling the hooligans on the New Year eve in various parts of the city, especially at Plaza in Sector 17. During the melee, the in-charge of Neelam police post at Sector 17, sub-inspector Lakhbir Singh dislocated his shoulder while controlling the crowd and was sent home.

Except some sporadic incidents of revellers creating nuisance on roads and outside discotheques, hotels and other hangouts, the New Year celebrations passed off peacefully in the city. The police cane-charged hooligans who were chasing a group of six female foreigners in Sector 17. The police said they had no choice but to use the force, as the crowd was swelling into a large number, making it hard for them to control the situation.

Sources in the police said horde of rowdy youths thronged the Plaza in the evening leading to a huge crowd there. Miscreants were seen drinking in open and chasing women. The situation almost went out of control when hooligans followed the foreigners at Plaza.

While controlling the rowdy mob, Lakhbir Singh was hurt and the SHO of the Sector 17 police station, Ramesh Chand, took control of the situation. Sensing trouble, additional police force was called there, which disperse the crowd to make way for the foreigners, who were escorted to their hotel in Sector 17 by the policemen.

A police officer said the hooligans were in such a large number that they kept on following the foreigners even as policemen were escorting them to their hotel. Then the police used force and cane-charged the troublemakers to shoo them away. Some of the revellers suffered minor injuries.

A senior police officer said they deliberately avoided registering cases against the revellers, as it would be nothing less than a waste of time. “The best way to treat them was with cane, which proved affective,” he added.

The police banned entry of vehicles into the parking lots at the Plaza at 10 pm to prevent mess up and congestion.

Not only the revellers, but run away “lovers” also kept the police busy. In one such incident, a jilted lover caught his beloved moving with another boy. He caught hold of the girl and began dragging her. When the police was informed about the incident, the youth told the cops that the girl’s parents had got a case of kidnapping registered against him for abducting her.

The police contacted the police station at Ferozpore, where the case had been registered to inquire about the matter. At the same time, the police received information that another girl was being assaulted in the area. It was later found out that the girl had run away from home and her parents came to Plaza in search of her and found her with a boy.

Sources said a heavily drunken youth was injured in a clash near Gymkhana Pub in Sector 17. The police rushed him to the Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, where he was admitted. The doctors treating on him declared him unfit to record his statement.

However, in the morning the police learnt from hospital sources that the youth had fled. In another incident, a group of youngsters assaulted a man and broke windowpanes of a car. The police blocked the internal road near Hotel Aroma late in the night to keep the revellers away to clear congestions. Drunken boys and girls were seen driving around the popular hangouts late till 2.30 am.



New Year celebrations with underprevileged
Pawan Tiwari

Chandigarh, January 1
A majority of persons celebrate New Year in discotheques, five star hotels and with liquor. However, Surya Education and Charitable Trust (SECT) spared a thought for the underpreviliged and celebrated the New Year with inmates of the Mother Teresa Home, Sector 23, today. Around 150 inmates of the Missionaries of charity, including infants, mentally challenged and old destitute citizens, were handed over gifts.

After getting the gifts, Goldy showed his joy by singing a song for other inmates. He said he came here from Ambala and got proper attention and love from sisters and other caretakers of home. “This is my home now,” he quipped.

“The trust is determined to bring cheer and warmth into the lives of the lesser-privileged people,” Alka Goyal, general secretary of the trust, said.

Rajnash Thukral, secretary, said the trust had been organising such events in city’s old age homes, orphanages and would continue serving them people in the future.



Industrial tenants oppose conversion policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
After the controversial mega projects, the ambitious conversion policy of the Chandigarh Administration for industrial plots in the industrial area has come under attack.

Terming the policy as "anti-industry", the Chandigarh Industrial Area Tenants’ Association today alleged today that the conversion policy would give a fillip to shopping malls, hotels and pubs at the cost of industry and already-established shopping centres in Sectors 17, 22 and 34.

“The administration should realise that promoting the shopping mall culture in the industrial area was like putting the last nail in the coffin of the local industry,” alleged Sanjeev Sagar, president of the association.

Expressing concern over the alleged mudslinging by senior functionaries of the administration, the association alleged that the “surcharged atmosphere” was affecting the developmental projects of the city.

Association general secretary B.S. Saini claimed that the tenants were working in the industrial area for decades, generating employment for lakhs of people. In fact, industrialist tenants were generating revenue in the form of sales tax, service tax, excise and income tax to the tune of the crores of rupees every year, Saini claimed.

Stressing the need for timely steps to safeguard the interests of the industry, the association said the administration should learn from its mistakes.

Meanwhile, the association today started relay fast in support of their demands. The association threatened that the relay fast will continue till the administration rehabilitated the industrial tenants in Phase III of the Industrial area.

If the migrants could be rehabilitated, then why the demand for the industrial tenants was being pushed under the carpet? Sagar questioned.



GMADA, Railways lock horns
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 1
While Mohali’s first sewage treatment plant has remained non-functional for around a year due to lack of connectivity, the project is heading for further delay with GMADA and the Railways locking horns on the payment of an additional Rs 1.68 crore for the use of railway land for linking up the main sewer line.

GMADA had earlier deposited Rs 4.66 crore with the Railways for providing a sewer link across the railway line in Sector 81. Even though the Railways had so far not started the work on this project, it had sent a letter to GMADA in November last asking the development authority to deposit additional Rs 1.68 crore as “way leave charges”.

It is learnt that GMADA officials are not in favour of making the payment of Rs 1.68 crore to the Railways as they found the demand unjustified. They argued that the Railways had been constructing underbridges as well as overbridges whenever roads fell on the way of the railway line but had not made any payments in such cases. However, the Railways is adopting a firm stand on the payment by GMADA for providing the missing link.

GMADA has been pursuing the matter with the Railways since November, 2006, but the work had not been started so far even though payment for the project was made about six months back. It is learnt that the secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development, had also written letters to senior officials of the Railways for expediting the work.

Senior divisional engineer of the Railways stationed at Ambala Natraj Singh told The Tribune today that tenders for the work had been approved by the committee concerned and had now been sent to the authority. He said the work of providing the sewer link from under the railway line was likely to start in about 20 days and would be completed in about three months time.

He said GMADA had deposited Rs 4.66 crore for the execution of the work but additional Rs 1.68 crore would have to be deposited for using the land belonging to the Railways. He said the aim was not to stop the project but policy guidelines of the Railway Board had to be followed. Though work of providing sewer link was likely to be completed in less than four months time, “final connections at both the ends would be given only after additional amount was paid by GMADA”, he added.

GMADA has completed the work of laying the sewer line from Sectors 81 to 83 but the work of extending the sewer line from Sector 67 to Sector 81 was still in progress. The work got delayed due to litigation and now alternative routes for laying the pipeline were being worked out.

About 23 acres of land was acquired by PUDA in Manouli village for the setting up of sewage treatment plant at a cost of Rs 20.30 crore. The work was allotted to Envirocontrol India Private Limited , Surat, on February 15, 2006, and was completed around March last year.



PGI study finds place in global journal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The findings of a study conducted by School of Public Health, PGI, highlighting the higher cases of cancer in Talwndi Sabo has found a place in the latest issue of International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health.

The study, completed in 2005, tried to assess the number of existing cancer cases and cancer deaths that occurred in the last 10 years.

In fact age adjusted prevalence of confirmed cancer cases have been found to be significantly higher in Talwandi Sabo with 125 per 1,00,000 populations as compared to 72 in Chamkaur Sahib, said JS Thakur, associate professor, School of Public Health, PGI.

Cancer of female reproductive system, like breasts, uterus/cervix and ovary were more common in Talwandi Sabo. Cancer deaths rates were also significantly higher in Talwandi Sabo with 52 per 100,000 as compared to 30 at Chamkaur Sahib.

A comparison of the characteristics of randomly selected individuals, from the villages where a cancer case existed or death due to cancer had occurred in the last two years, revealed that involvement in cultivation, pesticide use, alcohol consumption and smoking were more common in Talwandi Sabo as compared to Chamkaur Sahib.

The study has also shown poor quality of drinking water in the region with higher levels of heavy metals and pesticides. The study recommended that cancer registry should be established to see the trend of cancer and for elucidation of the role of pesticides and heavy metals in cancer.

It also recommended a multi-pronged strategy to discourage the indiscriminate use of pesticides and control of alcohol and tobacco for cancer prevention, added Dr Thakur who was a part of the study group.



‘Yeh Kaisi Bidai’, a poignant play
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, January 1
“The street theatre is the most vibrant medium to interact directly with the audience and discuss the issues of socio-cultural relevance and we, the Samvad Theatre group, relied upon this form to focus on the prevalent social evil of female foeticide,” maintains Madhubala, the director of the play “Yeh Kaisi Bidai” staged at the Plaza,  here today.

Scripted by noted actor Mukesh Sharma, it brings the contemptuous role of the doctors in focus, encouraging the females for the sex determination tests and unethical abortions for commercial considerations.

The playwright, Mukesh, seems to have studied the ethics and norms of doctors indulged in this illegal practice, as he cites the report to be released on Friday means Female and on Monday means the male child.

Mukesh had employed the celestial characters Yamraj and Chitragupt, who felt perturbed to see the girl child as a harbinger of curse and when married, she is harassed for dowry.

Impressive acting spells by Mukesh, Madhubla, Virender Bisht, Shivam Bhatt, Yashpal augmented the play.



Twenty given job on compassionate grounds
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 1
Punjab's Health Minister Prof Laxmi Kanta Chawla distributed appointment letters to 20 candidates on compassionate grounds on the premises of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation here today. These candidates have been appointed in the Department of Health & Family Welfare.

As many as 16 candidates have been appointed against class III posts and 4 candidates on class IV posts. These candidates were employed because of the death of their relatives who were serving in the health department.

Chawla personally met each candidates. She said efforts had been made to post these candidates at stations which were close to the places where they resided.

AR Talwar, Principal Secretary, Health, emphasized that these new appointees should work with sincerity and honesty in the department. Dr SPS Sohal, Director, said each candidate had been asked to fill a bond of Rs 5 lakh as an assurance that he or she will look after the family after joining.



1 lakh devotees to take part in nagar kirtan
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 1
Over one lakh devotees are expected to participate in the nagar kirtan to be started from Gurdwara Nada Sahib on the eve of Gurpurb, here tomorrow.

The kirtan would be followed by the Akhand Paaths at Gurdwara and bhog would be performed on January 5 to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh.

The kirtan would go through Majri chowk, Sectors 2,4,11, Rally chowk, Sectors 7,8,9 and old Panchkula before returning back to Nada Sahib.

A bus donated by an NRI from UK at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib would carry Guru Granth Sahib in a bedecked palanquin.

The arms and artifacts used by Guru Gbind Singh and Mata Gujri would be at display on the occasion.

While special guns would be used to shower the flowers throughout the route, the fire works would mark the occasion too.



Punjabi literary magazine released
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 1
UK-based Punjabi poet Avtar Jandialvi and the Chief Editor of leading Punjabi literary magazine “Hun” released the eleventh edition of the magazine in collaboration with the local Writers Club at the Uttam complex here today.

Speaking at the function, largely attended by the literary fraternity, both Jandialvi and Editor Sushil Dosanjh maintained that the very purpose of this brainstorming colloquium was to seek the expert opinion of the acclaimed Punjabi scholars for its improvement.

Presently the well-illustrated magazine “Hun” represents the cultural ethos of the Punjabis in India and abroad, opined poet Sham Singh, former news editor of Punjabi Tribune.

National Sahitya Akademy awardee Mohan Bhandari, Dr Sukhdev Singh, Anup Virk, Prof. Kulwant Singh, Dr Gurbachan, Dr Tejwant Gill and Dr Manjitpal Kaur lauded the concept and content of the magazine. Poet Sham Singh conducted the programme.



Streetkids learn to earn living
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
An NGO that started a project (last year) of teaching streetchildren, who indulge in begging, has expanded from 12 to 45 children now.

Sangita Vardha, owner of the NGO, “Good Beginnings”, has been teaching children who are forced to beg or work under duress and are exploited, beaten and abused. Sangita said, “These children live in subhuman conditions and beg in market areas. Their parents are unwilling to stop them from begging, as it’s a source of income for them.”

These children are trained here about the basics, so that, they can earn a living for themselves in the future. 



Over 100 challaned in P’kula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 1
While thousands of residents had welcomed the New Year in the city celebrating the occasion at different hotels in the town, around 100 persons were challaned on the day by the traffic police which set up nakas at the main points in the city.

While 92 challans were issued in the day time only, more than a dozen, including two for drunken driving, were penalized for the offence after midnight when the revellers were returning to home. In addition to National Highway No 22 and 73, the police was deputed at Majri chowk, Tawa chowk, Sector 11/15 and Sectors 
7/8 chowks.



Tributes paid to terror attack victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 1
The Panjab University employees, both teaching and non-teaching, along with the local fellows assembled today at 9:30 am in front of the Administrative Block to wish New Year and pay tributes to the victims of the Mumbai terror attacks and those who sacrificed their lives while saving the integrity of the country.

Professor RC Sobti, vice-chancellor; Professor SC Vaidya, dean of University Instruction; Professor Ronki Ram, president PUTA; Dharam Paul Sharma, president, Non-teaching Employees Federation, and Gopal Krishan Chatrath, Fellow and Syndicate; Prabhjit Singh, Dr Kamaljit Singh, Professor Naval Kishore, addressed the function.

The employees and the participants observed two-minute silence to pay homage to the departed souls.

The participants took an oath to fight unitedly against the forces that were bent upon to disintegrate the country and not to allow to use this land to achieve their objectives, according to Dharam Paul Sharma and Bikram Singh, president and secretary of the Panjab University Non-teaching Employees Federation, respectively.

Helmet loans

After the recent drive to create awareness among students to wear helmets, the university authorities have now shifted focus towards creating awareness among its employees and have decided to offer loan amount of Rs 500 to buy helmets. 



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