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Rs 5 lakh robbed at gunpoint
Shopkeeper injured; 1 miscreant nabbed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 28
In a daring act, three persons robbed a shopkeeper of over Rs 5 lakh at gunpoint in broad daylight in the Sector-18 market here today. The shopkeeper, Vinod Jain, however, received serious injuries in the incident. One of the accused was later overpowered by another shopkeeper and handed over to the police.

The accused has been identified as Sanjay, a member of a gang of robbers from Ettawa district in Uttar Pradesh.

The police has seized a revolver along with six cartridges from the his possession.

According to eyewitnesses, three youths reached the shop of Jain, a distributor of Vita milk products, in the Sector-18 market around 1 pm. While two of them entered the shop, their third accomplice shut the door of the shop.

Jain was counting his money received from his dealers at that time.

Jain, who is undergoing treatment at the General Hospital, Sector 6, told the TNS that one of them pushed his chair back and tried to snatch the money when he grappled one of the men.

However, the other accused hit Jain with the butt of the revolver, injuring him seriously.

Other shopkeepers reached the scene after hearing screams of Jain. Finding themselves cornered, two of the accused managed to escape. The money, however, was found missing after the incident.

Jain said he usually received over Rs 5 lakh from his dealers every day.

Dr Naresh Mittal, managing director of Luxmi Associates - the company that owns Vita distributorship - said cash was missing from the shop.

Interestingly, it took around 20 minutes for the police to reach the scene. When shopkeepers dialed 100 to seek Panchkula police’s help, it got connected to the Chandigarh police control room. They then tried to look for a PCR vehicle in the vicinity but after finding no policeman in the area, approached the Sector-16 police post. The police took the accused in custody but failed to reach the hospital where Jain was shifted by shopkeepers.

Showing exemplary courage, another shopkeeper, Vikas Bindal, who runs a flour mill, caught hold of the accused when he tried to flee after injuring Jain without caring about the fact that the accused was was holding a gun.

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Sec-49 Housing Scheme
Consumer forum dubs CHB staff incompetent
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Terming staff of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) insufficient and incompetent, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has asked the CHB to pay Rs 12.9 lakh deposited by a complainant, Narinder Singh Yadav, for the allotment of a flat at an interest of 10 per cent per annum if the premises was not handed over to him by March 31.

Pronouncing the orders, the forum observed: “The construction should have been completed within two years of allotment of tenders. However, we grant another year to the CHB under the hope that in future they would be alive to the necessities of homeless applicants and would try to proceed with the construction in such a systematic manner that all works that can go side by side should continue together so that there is no delay in completion of one work on account of non-completion of the other. It appears in place of existing inefficient or incompetent staff, the CHB needs some experienced and energetic engineers in this respect who can draw out proper plan for completing the construction expeditiously.”

Narinder Singh Yadav in his complaint had stated that on November 28, 2005 he had applied for the allotment of a one-bedroom flat in response to scheme “One bedroom flats - Self financing housing scheme - 2005, Sector 49, Chandigarh - Allotment on freehold basis” floated by the CHB. The complainant deposited an amount of Rs 1.6 lakh. He became successful in the draw of lots held on January 18, 2006 and was issued acceptance-cum-demand letter dated March 22, 2006.

The final price of the dwelling unit at first floor was fixed at Rs 12.9 lakh by the CHB and the complainant after taking loan from relatives and bank paid the balance amount of Rs 11.3 lakh by way of cheque dated April 17, 2006 for Rs 6.05 lakh and pay order dated April 20, 2006 for Rs 5.25 lakh within the stipulated period of 30 days.

According to the complainant, even though all formalities were completed and dues were paid before June, 2006, the possession of the flat was not delivered to him and he had to live in a rented accommodation.

He wrote a letter dated July 17, 2008 to the CHB and also served a legal notice.

The CHB denied that it had given assurance to the complainant that the allotment would be made within a period of 18 months. It was stated that the CHB had to construct a complex and not a single unit and moreover the complainant had given an undertaking that he would not claim any interest on the amount of deposit made in consideration of the allotment of dwelling unit under the scheme.

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BSS activists flout poll code, traffic norms
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Cocking a snook at the orders of the District Magistrate, Chandigarh, activists of the local unit of the Bhartiya Shiv Sena (BSS) today waved swords, carried weapons and flouted traffic norms during their road rally in the city.

The DC’s order prohibits carrying of arms and even lathis in the city. The orders say “Carrying of small weapons or even openly tucked in the waist belt for show off or carrying of lathis and weapons openly even by licence holders could create panic in public.”

DC RK Rao could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, but officials of the DC office, preferring anonymity, told that it was only the police or military or para-military personnel and other government servant if called upon to carry firearms and lathis in connection with their official duties, have been exempted from these orders.

“Otherwise, the law demands that special permission had to be obtained for carrying the weapons on the body and this permission is granted only after minutely verifying the threat perceptions to the life of a person or his property and the breach of the orders would be punishable under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code,” they said.

The BSS activists, around 200 in numbers, were on bikes and jeeps. They had to assemble at the Sector 35 hotel to organise a meet. It was a tough time for the drivers on the road as well as traffic cops to manage the revolutionary “caravan”. The traffic norms were put to anvil as no rider was wearing helmet on two wheelers and open jeeps were overloaded.

Ironically, it was observed that while entering the parking lot, they did not cared to pay for the parking. The parking contractor rued that he had to suffer a loss of over Rs 400, besides other inconvenience.

Meanwhile, BSS national president Harkesh Sharma had come all the way from Panipat to hold the party meeting here and to submit a memorandum to the Chandigarh Administration.

He advocated that the country needed revolutionary leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh. Harkesh specified that BSS has neither been associated with any political party nor is contesting any election.

Curbing the Election Commission for registering the party symbol and thus denied them from contesting the elections, Harkesh said, “The objection was raised about the name of the party associated with a Hindu deity. We would challenge this decision as under no rule it could be banned.”

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HPCC president’s banner on temple gate raises eyebrows
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 28
The apparent attempt of Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board to provide a platform to Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) president Phool Chand Mullana to light lamp during a “Bhagwati jagran” at Mata Mansa Devi Temple during the navratra fair in the midst of ongoing Lok Sabha campaign could land the Congress in trouble.

It may be mentioned here that in Punjab, strict notice was taken by the Election Commission for political speeches of Hans Raj Hans at a gurdwara.

Banners have been displayed on the main gate of the temple and langar venue, mentioning that Mullana is to light the lamp on March 31 evening.

Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Rajender Kataria, who is chief administrator of the board, is to perform Ganesh puja on the occasion. The fact that Kataria is son-in-law of the HPCC president has further compounded the matter.

It may be mentioned that earlier, the Haryana Chief Minister, who is chairman of the board, and other politicians used to visit the temple during navratras on the invitation of the board, but this time, the practice was discontinued in the light of the Code of Conduct.

Kataria said he was unaware of any such visit of Mullana and the display of banner at temple. “I never gave my consent to attend the jagran as VIP and in case HPCC president has any programme, I am not to accompany him and the banners will be removed immediately,” said Kataria.

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Saji Mohan Link
Drug lord arrested in city

New Delhi/Chandigarh, March 28
A man wanted for trans-border drug smuggling in Jammu and Kashmir was today arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau in connection with its investigations into arrested IPS officer Saji Mohan's alleged narcotics trade.

Sources in NCB said Naseeb Chand, a Jammu and Kashmir based trans-border man wanted by the agency, was arrested in Chandigarh based on specific inputs. They claimed Chand has confessed to be a part of the alleged drug cartel run by Mohan, former NCB Zonal Director.

Sources said that in his confession under the Section 67 of the Narcotic Drugs Psychotropic Substances Act, which is considered a valid in the court, Chand said he had taken a consignment of 10 kg of heroin from Mohan in August 2008.

The agency had earlier this month arrested its own Superintendent Balwinder Kumar, who was posted in Chandigarh, and Mohan's PSOs Naveen Kumar and Devinder Pal Singh. — PTI

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Barnala gets Mother Teresa award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Tamil Nadu Governor and former Punjab Chief Minister Surjit Singh Barnala has been selected for the Mother Teresa Lifetime Achievement Award 2009 for his contribution in the field of social work and administration.

According to a press note issued by the Governor’s secretariat today, the Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee will give away the award at a ceremony in Kolkata tomorrow. A painter and writer Barnala joined the freedom movement and was arrested during the Quit India Movement in 1942 while he was still studying at Lucknow University. After the country’s independence, he joined politics and held many prestigious posts in the state as well as the Centre. He represented Barnala Assembly from 1967-1999 and was the Education Minister and the CM of Punjab.

He was also the Union Minister for Agriculture, Food, Irrigation and Rural Development in 1997. He has travelled widely and has represented India in the United Nations, FAO, SAARC and other international organisations.

He was the first Governor of Uttarakhand. He was earlier the Governor of Tamil Nadu and Governor of Andhra Pradesh. As the Governor of Tamil Nadu and Chancellor of universities his mission was to bring quality of education at par with international standards.

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Auction cancelled; admn loses revenue worth crores
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The decision of the Chandigarh administration to hold the auction of residential and commercial sites during the climax of fiscal year has, apparently, has resulted in a backfire mode.

The reason is that the administration is at the helm of losing revenue rolling into crores and probability is that it might find itself at the risk of achieving the targeted revenue of Rs 315 crore for the current fiscal year.

It is evident to mention that the administration had pocketed over Rs 95.31 crore in the October auction. Had the auction been held as per the scheduled programme on March 27, the administration would have added over Rs 25 crore (25 per cent of expected total amount of Rs 115 crore) in its kitty for the current fiscal year.

Nevertheless, it was supposed to put as many as 50 residential and 56 commercial sites under hammer yesterday, but in the absence of getting any clearance from the election commission for holding the occasion till last hour, it had to be cancelled. Interestingly, in order to capture the targeted revenue, the administration has drafted an “exorbitant” auction policy, where the reserve price per sq yard for both residential and commercial sites was kept 5 per cent dearer than what it was in last auction held in October last.

The estate “pandits’ disclosed that the administration had deliberately scheduled this lot of auction at the end of the fiscal year taking it as a “sure grab”, obviously, after taking into account the “tremendous response”, it got during the trying times of recession during the October auction.

Little knowing that the “election technicalities” could shatter their goal, the administration now finds itself in a no-win situation. The administration was quite optimistic about the response as the average rate per square yard for residential plot was kept at around Rs 58,000 and for commercial it was near about Rs 3.20 lakh.

This implied that the average reserve price of four marla plot would have been fixed somewhere at around Rs 34 lakh, four marla for near about Rs 43 lakh; ten marla for Rs 1.76 crore. Similarly, a one-kanal plot would have a reserve price of Rs 2.86 crore.

Defying this, the UT estate officials told that the targeted revenue had almost been achieved with the help of additional grant of Rs 10 crore.

It is important to mention that neither of the officials came on record to convey the exact decision till the eleventh hour and the next date of auction has yet to be decided.

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Fire in Colony No 5 leaves 2 injured
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 28
Around 16 jhuggis were gutted after a fire broke out in Colony No. 5 here today. Though the cause of the fire could not be ascertained, the police ruled out any chance of foul play being involved.

The incident happened at around 2:30 pm when most members of 16 families residing there had gone out for routine work.

Five fire tenders were pressed into service and within half an hour the fire was brought under control. Two women have reportedly suffered minor burn injuries.

“The damage is estimated to be around Rs 1,25,000,” said one of the victims, Sant Vilas.

“It seems to be an accidental fire and the possibility of short circuit cannot be ruled out,” SHO Sector 34 Police Station Sudarshan Thakur said.

The officials of the Sector 17 fire station said they had received the information at 3:10 pm and dispatched the fire tenders immediately. A similar incident broke out about a fortnight ago when around 65 hutments were completely burnt. In fact, such incidents have become common in this colony. Even last year, a major tragedy was averted when similar fire had broken out in this colony.

It must be mentioned here that the UT administration has got a survey done of this area and is also in the process of rehabilitating its residents accordingly.

“No inflammable material should be kept on the roofs as a precautionary measure,” said city senior fire officer SK Gosai.

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Polling stations to have micro observers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
To strengthen the observation mechanism during electoral process, the Election Commission has decided to deploy micro observers to work under the control of general observers.

After shortlisting of the polling stations on the basis of various factors, which contribute to the vulnerability of the voters like domination of one social group over other, inaccessibility of the area, previous history of violence, etc., the list of such polling stations where micro observers would be deployed was prepared.

The micro observers would assess preparedness for the poll. During the poll day he would regularly note down the important points on the pre-printed performa. In no case the micro-observer will act as presiding officer or the polling officer.

In the process of observation on the day of the poll, the micro observer would specially observe mock poll procedures, presence of polling agents in accordance with the instructions, access to polling station, identification of electors, shifted and duplicate voter’s list, application of indelible ink, noting down particulars of electors in register 17-A, secrecy of voting and conduct of polling agents, their complaints, if any, etc.

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Earth hour evokes poor response
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 28
Nullifying tall claims of various student organisations and city-based NGO’s of participation in the Earth hour (March 28, 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm), the city remained insensitive to the cause in which 85 countries and 800 cities across the globe were expected to unite to save power.

From the city hotels, including Shivalik and Mountview to Raj Bhavan, the city streetlights to the residential areas and even the city plaza, all remained illuminated as before during the Earth hour.

Contradicting media reports, it was found that CITCO had given no instructions to Hotel Mountview and Shivalik View to observe the Earth hour.

Amit Talwar, chief general manager, said, “We have not received any such directions, consequently we did not pass any orders.”

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Harmilap Nagar
HUDA asks residents to vacate land
Tribune News Service

Panchkula/Zirakpur, March 28
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has served a seven-day notice on residents of Harmilap Nagar, Baltana, to vacate the land, which is part of Phase-II, Panchkula.

Citing a survey of the land conducted by HUDA on February 17, the authorities through the notice, served on March 26 under Section 18 (1) B, conveyed that the land fell in the jurisdiction of their authorities and hence be vacated. The notice, which has been served on 12 house owners, has asked them to vacate the land within seven days.

The residents of the Harmilap Nagar claimed that they had been living there for the past 25 years.

Santosh Kumari, who received the notice by post today, claimed that the registry of her house had been approved by the Punjab revenue department and she was in possession of the intakal of the land.

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Keen contest for post of bar assn chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
The District Bar Association will see tough competition with three candidates contesting for the post of its president. NK Nanda, Ashok Chauhan and Mukesh Mittal are contesting for the said post. The last date for withdrawing the names is Monday.

While there are two advocates contesting for the post of vice-president, Sunil Toni and Vikas Sagar.

The lawyers contesting for the post of secretary are: Baljit Singh, Malkiat Singh and Yogesh Kumar Goel. The elections will be held on April 17.

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Seminar on public health
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
A national seminar on public health was organised by the Centre for Emerging Areas in Science and Technology (CEAST), Public Health, Panjab University, Chandigarh, in collaboration with the National Institute of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi, held today.

While inaugurating the seminar, chief guest Prof R C Mahajan, parasitologist from PGI, in his keynote address commented on the pressing public health issues, community involvement and human resource demand in this area.

Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, said Panjab University had initiated masters in public health to address the demand of public health professionals in the country.

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Mudgal performance mesmerises audience
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, March 28
God could only rain water while the acclaimed classical vocalist Shubha Mudgal rained melody, that too in abundance at the Tagore Theatre, as the first ever weeklong Chandigarh Arts and Heritage Fest got off to a majestic start.

Due to weather playing a spoilsport and shifting of concert venue from Open Hand Monument to the Tagore Theatre, a scant but receptive audience relished the classic divine utterances of saint poets in a melodic magical spell.

Shubha Mudgal commenced a recital with Kabir classic “Saheb hai ranrez” weaved in raga madhukons, which melted into “Gaye gaye ab ka kahen” by saint Rairas based on raga maand.

Shubha brought alive the essence of the poetry replete with spiritual content and wisdom of the great saint philosophers.

While in Kabir’s “Haman hain ishaq mastana” she bared the intoxication of love for the Lord, she delineated the submission of Khusro in the next “Hindvi” like seeker surrenders to the preceptor.

After a melodious composition “Chalun tere peeche” she doled a Hori dhamar, spelling the charm and romanticism of Holi before concluding with a Meera bhajan “Rameeya mein toh”.

But on persistent Shubha presented a classic vocal tappa “Kithe gujari rayen veh”.

Shubha could not have aspired for a better accompaniment than Dr Aneesh Pardhan on tabla.

Earlier Ram Niwas, home secretary, welcomed chief guest, Justice TS Thakur, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, who honoured the artistes.

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Woman hangs herself to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Mystery shrouds the death of 21-year-old Suman, a resident of Maloya Colony, who allegedly committed suicide here this afternoon.

The incident came to light when her husband Roop Lal informed the police about the death of his wife.

According to the police, Roop Lal saw her wife hanging from the ceiling fan of their room. She was taken to PGI where she was later declared dead.

The police had called forensic experts to examine the site of the incident.

“The matter is under investigation and we are trying to ascertain the reasons behind the death,” said DSP (South) JS Khaira.

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PU Senate Meeting
Issue of fee concession to weaker sections raised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
It seems that the Panjab University authorities believe in following the double standards to execute the rules of their own university calendar. In the meeting of the senate held today, the issue why the authorities were not providing concession in fee to the students belonging to weaker section in the self-finance courses when there was a provision in the university rules for this was raised.

Reacting to it, Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti commented in the house that the authorities could not follow the clause in self-finance courses till the financial position of the university improves and becomes self-sustainable as these were the major sources of revenue for the university.

The senate ignored the report of the committee constituted by it to go into the complaint against Dr BB Goyal, reader, UBS, for increasing the marks from zero to 42.

In 2001, the authorities imposed a punishment of stopping Dr Goyal’s five increments.

The committee report tabled in the house stated that there was a manipulation in the case and the senate had liberty to take appropriate action against him in accordance with the court’s direction.

The issue of introduction of five-year integrated course of MA (English) honours was also discussed.

Another proposal was raised in the house that the candidates should be allowed to use Hindi and Punjabi languages in the entrance test of Phd.

During the agenda of warning to Sri Dhanwantry Ayurveda College and Hospital for giving admission in first year of BAMS for next session, Vice-Chancellor said this time, the authorities were going to take strict action against the management.

Other important agenda points passed by the house included amendment in eligibility conditions for the conduct of entrance test for admission in BSc, diploma in early childcare and education, MoU between Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun, and MoU with University of Pokhara, Nepal.

The Vice-Chancellor constituted a committee to frame rules for the appointment of deputations in the university.

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425 awarded degrees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 28
Government College, Sector 46, organised its 24th Annual Convocation today. As many as 425 graduates received their degrees on the occasion.

In all, 35 students received their degrees for BA (Honours), 221 for BA, 42 for B Com (Honours), 99 for B Com, 28 for BCA. 21 students were given postgraduate degrees in M Com.

As many as 10 students were awarded merit certificates for their outstanding performance in different subjects.

Chief Information Commissioner, Haryana, G Madhavan, delivered the convocation address in which he congratulated the students for their achievements and urged them to be economically independent and create their own niche in society.

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