C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Two kids die in Sohana colony fire
Our Correspondent

The wailing mothers of the children who were killed in the incident.
The wailing mothers of the children who were killed in the incident.
The wailing mothers of the children who were killed in the incident.

Mohali, April 24
Two kids were killed in a fire that gutted 25 jhuggis near Sohana village here today.

While two-year-old Shivani died due to burn injuries while she was sleeping inside a jhuggi, six-month-old Sonam succumbed to her injuries at a hospital. Two sisters of Shivani, however, rushed out of the jhuggi after it caught fire.

There were only children in the colony when the fire broke out around midday as the parents had gone out for work.

The exact cause of fire is yet to be ascertained. Sources, however, reveal that some children were cooking food at the time of the incident.

Inconsolable Nem Vati, mother of Shivani, said she and her husband had gone out for work at the time of the incident. Mamta, mother of Sonam, was also in a state of shock.

As the fire tenders reached late, nearby residents used water from a nearby tubewell to control the flames.

According to sources, the jhuggis have come up illegally on a piece of land that had been acquired by GMADA. The area falls under Sectors 76 to 80.



Bank manager commits suicide
2 more end life in Dera Bassi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Delhi-based Axis Bank’s deputy manager was among the three who committed suicide in city and Dera Bassi.

Gagan Gulati (27), a Rohini resident, in his late-20s, was found hanging in his room number 404 in hotel Aneathia in Sector 34 here tonight. The police is yet to ascertain the reason behind his death as no suicide note was found.

The death came to light at around 8 pm, when the hotel staff went to Gulati’s room, who had checked in the hotel at 11.30 pm and there was no response from his room nor his activity was noticed. The hotel staff said last night he had directed them not to disturb him as he had already taken his dinner.

The hotel staff knocked at his door, which was locked form inside and did not get any response form inside. They tried to open the door with a duplicate key, but the door was latched from inside. They called the police, which broke open the door and found the man hanging from ceiling fan.

The SHO of the Sector 34 police station, inspector Sudarshan Thakur, said it appeared from the body that the man might have hanged himself last night. He tried to hang himself with his belt and also with the cable of his laptop’s charger, but failed. He then pulled curtain blinds from the bathroom and burnt them to make a rope and hung himself.

The fan was twisted with his weight. The police said it would check his laptop and mobile call details to find out who were the persons with whom he talked to before taking the extreme step.

The SHO said they would remove the body after getting the spot inspected by the experts form the central forensic sciences laboratory, who were yet to come till filing of the report. The police had informed the deceased’s family about the incident.

Dera Bassi: Gurdeep Singh, a 25-year-old resident of Dera Bassi, was allegedly found hanging at his residence on the Mubarikpur road in Dera Bassi yesterday.

According to sources, neighbours of the deceased informed the police about the matter but the police reached the spot late and the body kept hanging till then.

The sources revealed that the deceased had written about her beloved on the walls in his room stating that he was in love with her and was dying as she ditched him. The deceased was working in a Dera Bassi-based factory.

When asked about the suicide note found on mirror and walls of the deceased’s room, the Dera Bassi SHO said he had no information about any suicide note and did not find anything from the room.

In another incident, a 25-year-old woman, student of a private B.Ed college in Derabassi, was found unconscious in washroom at paying guest accommodation by her roommates on early this morning. She was rushed to a civil hospital where she was declared brought dead.

According to the police, the deceased identified as Veena who hailed from Jalalabad in Punjab was staying at Gulab Garh in Derabassi.

The police said around 4 am, she went to the washroom but when she did not come out, her roommates knocked the door. They did not receive any response after which they called landlady.

The police further said when she opened the door, she collapsed immediately. She was rushed to the civil hospital, Derabassi, where she was declared brought dead.

According to her friend, Veena was married to Pawan Kumar, a Jalalabad resident, and was mother of a one-and-half-year-old daughter.



Dhawan ahead of Bansal, Jain in wealth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) may be the party of the downtrodden, but its candidate, Harmohan Dhawan, is the richest in the fray from Chandigarh.

As many as 19 nominations were received on the last day today at the office of Returning Officer in Sector 17, here. Now, there are 23 candidates, including three covering candidates, in the field. The scrutiny of the nomination papers will be held tomorrow from 11 am.

With the net assets worth Rs 14.69 crore, Dhawan has outclassed Independent Ajay Goyal in wealth. Earlier, Goyal was the richest candidate after declaring an estimated personal networth of Rs 12.28 crore and her spouse’s assets worth Rs 1.75 crore.

Dhawan is way ahead materially than his rival candidate Satya Pal Jain representing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

In 2004 elections, Dhawan had declared assets worth Rs 3.77 crore. This also included property, savings and deposits in the name of his family members. After five years, there has been almost four-fold increase in his wealth.

As per his affidavit submitted in 2004, Dhawan had mentioned an agricultural land worth Rs 16 lakh jointly in his and his wife’s name in Kaimbwala village, a flat worth Rs 14 lakh in Gurgaon and one-third share worth Rs 85 lakh of the family in a house in Sector 9.

The family jewellery was worth Rs 7.20 lakh, assets such as claims of Rs 29.4 lakh, bonds, shares and debentures worth Rs 2.11 crore and other savings amounting to Rs 3.72 crore. There was Rs 70,000 cash in his and the wife’s name and family saving of Rs 11,220 in bank accounts.

In his current affidavit, Dhawan has declared assets worth Rs 14,69,70,000 which includes the assets of his wife also. Dhawan has a house in Sector 9 having the market value of Rs 12 crore, and one-third share in agriculture land in Kaimbwala worth Rs 15 lakh, bond and debentures for Rs 1.1 crore. Dhawan has shown bank deposits of Rs 34.05 lakh.

If the wealth records, as declared by BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain, are to be considered, there has been the four-fold increase in his assets. Satya Pal Jain has declared to have possessed assets worth Rs 4.49 crore which include his movable, immovable assets, jewellery, cash, bonds, shares, etc in his and his family member’s names. His assets in 2004 Lok Sabha elections were worth Rs 1.14 crore.

In 2004, Jain showed 1-kanal house in Sector 15 costing Rs 85 lakh, one-third share in ancestral property valuing Rs 5 lakh, commercial plot in Panchkula worth Rs 15 lakh, cash deposits of Rs 3.29 lakh in various banks and gold jewellery worth Rs 4 lakh, shares valuing Rs 2.16 lakh, two Ambassador cars and one Maruti car.

His latest affidavit shows that his 1 kanal house is worth Rs 3.5 crore, one-third share in ancestral property in Kharar amounts to Rs 10 lakh and another one-third share in a commercial plot at Panchkula valuing Rs 66 lakh. According to the affidavit, he possesses moveable assets of Rs 9,37,824 lakh, bonds and shares having worth of Rs 2,00,210 lakh and jewellery of Rs 11,03,900 lakh.

Among the other crorepati candidates were Independent candidates having humble background. An electronic mechanic, Paras Nath, belonging to Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagraon, is in the contest from the Apna Dal.

Name : Satya Pal Jain
Cash : Rs. 55,000/-
Bank Deposit/LIC : Rs. 9,37,824/-
Vehicles : Maruti Suzuki, SX4 (2007)
Jewellery : Rs. 11.04 Lakh
Immovable Property : Rs. 4.26 Crore
Bond/Stock Debenture : Rs. 2.0 Lakh

Name : Harmohan Dhawan
Cash : Rs. 1.06 Lakh
Bank Deposit/LIC : Rs. 34.06 Lakh
Vehicles : Toyota Coralla (2005)
Jewellery : Rs. 8.77 Lakh
Immovable Property : Rs. 12.00 Crore
Bond/Stock Debenture : Rs. 1.1 Crore



Insurance firm in the soup
Court orders to attach bank account of National Insurance
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
At the age of 18, Ramu became 100 per cent disabled, courtesy rash driving by a driver of an auto-rickshaw in which he was travelling.

He boarded the auto-rickshaw on July 15, 2005, on the Panchkula-Kalka Highway, which was being driven by Sanjeev Kumar.

Though a local court had directed the National Insurance Company to pay a compensation of Rs 9 lakh, but the amount had not been disbursed following which the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge RS Attri directed to attach the bank account of the company in the Punjab National Bank.

Ramu, a resident of Kalka, stated he had requested Sanjeev not to drive rashly but he did not pay any heed to him.

Sanjeev tried to overtake a truck while another truck was coming from the opposite direction when he turned his auto-rickshaw towards left and lost control over the vehicle. And the auto-rickshaw overturned and Ramu fell beneath the vehicle.

Ramu was 18-year-old when the accident took place and was running a meat shop that yielded him Rs 6,000 a month.

The insurance company claimed the driver of the offending vehicle was not holding a valid driving licence at the time of the incident. The company stated that the vehicle was being driven in violation and breach of the terms and conditions of the insurance policy.

The counsel for the victim who deals with accidental claims said, “This has happened for the first time in my 30-year practice that the company has not released money to a disabled person.”



Mystery shrouds woman’s death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
An unidentified woman, in her early twenties, died under mysterious circumstances.

According to the police, the woman was found lying near the regulatory end of the Sukhna Lake at around 5 pm. Someone spotted the woman lying in a semi-conscious condition and informed the police, which shifted her to the Sector 16 Government Multi-Specialty Hospital. She breathed her last at the hospital after about an hour.

SHO, Sector 3 police station, Har Sahai Sharma said efforts were on to establish the identity of the deceased. She was wearing black jeans and a pink colour top. An iron bangle was found in her left arm.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings in this connection. The police will verify the reports of the missing women matching with the description of the deceased to identify her, the SHO said.



Soon, low-cost electronic limb by CSIO
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) is giving a final shape to a high-tech electronic knee and lower limb, which will make walk comfortable for differently abled persons.

Scientists at the CSIO, Sector 30, said, “The electronic limbs, which are being developed under the project, are lightweight and better in control with gait for the patients that would smoothen their walk.” Field trials of electronic lower limbs will start very soon. After getting the feedback from the trials, changes will be incorporated in design accordingly, said CSIO scientist Dr Amod Kumar.

“The electronic limb would cost Rs 50,000 as against Rs 6-7 lakh of imported ones. These should find wider acceptance among neighbouring states and other developing countries,” said experts.

“Upgradation of technology enhances the value of such equipment and instruments for the users,” said a scientist at CSIO.

Not only this, for those who had lost an arm (below elbow) in some accident, a lightweight myoelectric arm, has also been developed. The mechanical assembly of the arm consists of moving palm and wrists. “We are also trying to develop the same for above elbow,” said Dr Amod Kumar.

The arm (below elbow), which has been tested successfully at the National Institute for the Orthopaedically Handicapped, Kolkata, on actual patients, can also pick up muscle signals from the stump of the amputee.

This, say doctors, is what makes the arm user friendly. “The patient would be able to perform the function he wants to do more comfortably since he will be assisted by the arm programmed to pick up signals,” said Dr Amod. For those suffering from loss of a hand, voice operated electronic hand with a near natural shape, has also been developed, he added.


Jain files papers, commuters pay price
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
In a bid to outnumber his arch rival Harmohan Dhawan, BJP’s electoral candidate Satya Pal Jain left no stone unturned in an apparent attempt to display his strength and popularity while filing his nomination documents today.

With a fleet of around 300 cars accompanying Jain who filed his nomination today, roads near the returning officer’s office remain blocked resulting in a massive traffic jam for over three hours.

Meanwhile, Harmohan Dhawan, BSP candidate preferred to keep a low-key affair for filing his nomination papers. He was accompanied by a handful of supporters and family members.

On the other hand, when Jain was asked about the huge crowd accompanying him causing great inconvenience to common people, he simply retorted, “I have come in one vehicle. The rest were my supporters who wanted to accompany me on the occasion. How could I refuse them to accompany me?” he said.

Meanwhile, Arun Kumar Panda, observer for the Chandigarh Parliamentary constituency, has reached Chandigarh and observed the filing of nomination papers today. The scrutiny of the nomination papers filed by the candidates of various political parties as well as independents will be done tomorrow under his supervision.



Dhawan defies poll code
Holds rally at Masjid Ground
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Defying the administration’s orders, the Bahujan Samaj Party today held its rally at the Sector 20 Masjid Ground, here today.

However, the administration had withdrawn its permission yesterday for holding the rally at the ground. The party was adamant to hold the rally there only.

“How can the administration withdraw the permission just a day prior to our programme. We had sought permission as per guidelines and we were granted permission on April 15 to hold the rally. Now, if the administration still wants to pursue any action against us, we would welcome that,” said Harmohan Dhawan, a BSP candidate.

He said police officials were threatening him that a case would be registered against him. Sarcastically, Dhawan said he had already been to jail for nine times, one more time would make him “dus nambaria”.

Meanwhile, a scuffle between the party workers of the BSP and the Congress occurred at Dadu Majra colony. Shanti Das, secretary general of the BSP, allegedly stopped the convoy of Congress candidate Pawan Bansal at 7 am today. He alleged that the activists of the Congress have torn the flags of the BSP yesterday.

Bansal campaigns door to door

Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal's today went on a door-to-door campaigning in Dadu Majra and Sectors 29 and 30 markets.

Addressing residents, Bansal said the growth was imperative for the prosperity of an area and this went for the country as well. He said he would make all efforts in the future too to see that the existing amenities were further improved.

Bansal claimed that there had been all-round development in the city. The Congress' initiative had made Chandigarh one of the cities having the best civic amenities in India, he added.

Listing the UPA government's achievements, the Congress candidate said over 25,000 dwelling units were being constructed for the slum dwellers. Besides, the civic amenities were being upgraded in all parts of the city, he added.

RJD campaign

Accelerating his campaign, Hafiz Anwar-ul-Haq, RJD candidate, today inaugurated three branch offices at Dadu Majra, Manimajra and Bhaskar Colony.

Meanwhile, he also organised padyatra in Dadu Majra Colony and Manimajra. He claimed that the RJD was a party of masses and its supremo Lalu Parsad Yadav was a real leader of masses.



UT’s work hit as officials go on poll duty
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
With elections round the corner, the UT administration seems to be functioning virtually “headless” with most of the officials being away on election duty.

Already the enforcement of election code in March this year had put a cork on the starting of any new projects, now the election duty of officials and even other staffers of various departments in UT administration has nearly brought the work to a standstill.

Bearing testimony to this was the empty offices and corridors of UT secretariat, Chandigarh Housing Board, Municipal Corporation and others.

Consequently, while even there are hardly any files moving, the day-to-day work is also suffering.

Perhaps unaware of the ongoing poll duties of various officials, the residents of the city still reach with their problems to various officials only to return empty handed.

A visit to various offices today revealed the plight of a common man caught in this literal “poll jam”.

“I had to seek a clarification on a clause written in one of the brochures regarding my flat and I came in the morning. But surprisingly, there was no help available,” complained one distressed resident of the city.

Similarly, in other offices like Municipal Corporation as well, a handful of colony residents had also come with regards to their water connections.

While to make up for those away on poll duties, officiating and additional charges have indeed been given, but seem to solve little purpose.

“The officials, who are officiating, cannot do much as without knowing the background, any file hardly gets through,” said an official.

While many of the officials have been sent on poll duties outside the city, for those who are here, it is still not a cake-walk. “At times, it is not possible to visit the parent department with the election duty. Many a times, even if one is able to make it, the visiting hours of public are over, so not much can be done given the limited hours.”

Nevertheless, it seems the public has no choice than to bear with the inconvenience till May 13, the day of polling.



Price rise likely to embarrass Congress
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The rhetoric of prominent candidates on populist issues notwithstanding, price rise may emerge as the major issue in the May 13 elections for the Chandigarh parliamentary seat.

In fact, the issue of unprecedented price hike may snowball into a major embarrassment for the Congress-led UPA government and its candidate Pawan Bansal, who is aiming for a hat-trick from the city. While Bansal is obviously underplaying this important issue, his major political rivals--Satya Pal Jain(BJP) and Harmohan Dhawan (BSP) — are set to cash in on the spiralling prices of the essential commodities which have toppled the household budgets.

"We have already made the price rise as the main election issue as the ever-increasing prices of the essential commodities have pushed the lower strata of society on the verge of starvation," Dhawan said.

Dhawan claimed that in slums and villages, the price rise was already a major issue and this coupled with the reduction in the kerosene quota for the residents had made residents' lives miserable. As the Minister of State for Finance in the Union Cabinet, Bansal will have to share the blame for the burgeoning prices of the daily use items, the BSP candidate asserted.

Jain and Dhawan may not agree on several issues, yet they echo similar sentiments on the price rise. In fact, Jain seems to be baffled by Bansal's silence on the important issue affecting every human being. The failure of the UPA government on all fronts, including the prices, will prove to be its nemesis in the forthcoming elections, the BSP and the BJP leaders claimed.

However, if Bansal is to be believed, the price rise is a global phenomenon. While suave minister is adept at shelling out low inflation figures and the UPA government's steps to control the rising prices, the fact is that the prices of the essential commodities seem to have hit the roof.



Candidates not in sync with young voters
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Blogs, websites, social networking and SMSes - they have done it all but this “tech reliance” of city’s electoral candidates seems to have failed to strike the note of “jaago re” amongst young voters who are eagerly awaiting young blood to represent them.

While key players seem to have realised the youth power when it comes to quantum of votes, tapping it still remains a rocket science for them as one hardly gets to see enchantment on the face of young voters.

Evidently, while candidates consider technology to be youngsters’ spine, they seem to have got it all wrong.

Speaking to The Tribune a cross-section of young voters claimed lack of connectivity with their aspirations, dreams and views, a prime factor of minimalist interest in casting their votes.

“The way they are trying to woo us itself proves that they don’t understand us. They think we will go and vote for somebody just because he is tech-savvy or to be truthful is just acting so? I have not even cared to check any of their websites or blogs because their list of prioritised issues is quite different from mine,” said Gagan Deep Singh, a first-time voter.

For many like Sanjana Gogoi, a local NGO activist and pursuing graduation, the youth and candidates suffer from generation gap and it’s high time that young blood like Rahul Gandhi or Sachin Pilot contest from here.

“No matter how hard they try, they can’t understand us because of obvious generation gap. It’s surprising that we continue to make a choice for the same two-three names over and over again and their promises and priorities don’t change. So when we wish to discuss education revolution in the city, they profess slum rehabilitation, etc.” she said.

While issues like education revolution, IT development, more job opportunities in private sector, problem of drug peddling, a secure nightlife and youth representation in various decision-making bodies top the priority chart of the youth, candidates are trying to tap them on the old perpetual issues like allotment of housing board flats.

“If they can’t connect to us, why should we vote? If our issues are discussed with us even through traditional means like rallies, we would like it but discussing something that our generation doesn’t feel for even through best of technology won’t help. It’s time for them to think young,” concluded a city-based activist of a voting awareness community.



Railway projects hang in balance
Delay in payment stalls shifting, opening of new reservation counters
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Lack of coordination between two major Central government departments - the Railways and the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) - has once again become an impediment in implementation of two crucial projects of the Railways.

The proposal to open six new railway reservation counters - City Booking Office (CBO) - in certain post offices across the tricity in collaboration with the postal department and the project of shifting of reservation counter from ISBT, Sector 17, to the ISBT, Sector 43, has been hanging for several months now.

Delay in payment regarding transfer of ‘communication BSNL channel’ by the Railways is cited as an impediment in both the projects.

The postal department and the Railways had joined hands for the opening of the CBOs in post offices in the PGI, Sector 47, Sector 22, Sector 17, Sector 55 and Phase VII, Mohali, for the convenience of the public.

Interestingly, for the other project, a spacious hall at the first floor of the ISBT, Sector 43, has been earmarked for the railway reservation counter, yet the transfer from Sector 17 is still awaited.

M.L. Sharma, Divisional Manager, Chandigarh Transfer Undertaking (CTU), said the counter was ready from administration’s side and the Railways could shift it after the completion of the formalities.”

In the CBO project, the postal employees were to receive training by the railway authorities and then deputed on the counters. However, the training is yet to start putting question mark over the entire project.

When contacted, R.K, Saxena, Additional Railways Divisional Manager (ADRM), Ambala Division, claimed that the process took time owing to delay in paper work. As soon as the BSNL channel is provided, the work will start,” he added.

While claiming that the requisite infrastructure was ready, postal officials blamed the delay on the inordinate delay in the transfer of communication BSNL channel.



Night Food Street
Drunken youths keep families away
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The recent incidents of fracases and lawlessness at the Night Food Street seem to have forced women and families to stay away from the eating joints in the late night hours.

The place, which was supposed to be a night out joint for the city food lovers, is slowly turning into a hangout only for rowdy elements, as drunken youths literally outnumber the sober visitors there after 10.30 pm.

The families start leaving the place before 11 pm owing to fear psychosis that looms large in the wake of the incidents of brawls, molestation and even an attempt to pull out a woman from her car about a month ago.

The shopkeepers of the food street feel that such incidents are adversely affecting their clientele, as those with families and women in their company just avoid visiting the place after 10 pm. Those who visit there prefer to take away their eatables than to sit and eat there.

Vikas Anand, a frequent visitor to the Night Food Street, said, “After 11 pm the families and the fairer sex prefer to leave the place as inebriated youths looking for food in the late night hours frequent the place. They are the ones who create ruckus, making it a notorious hangout in the city. The congested parking space is the reason behind almost every scuffle.”

Though the policemen remained present there, their presence, too, failed to act as a deterrent to the rowdy elements, as in most of the cases the police tried to hush up the matter. In several cases the police initiated action only after the matter was highlighted in the media. A police officer said they could only stop someone from drinking there, but could not check whether the visitors were drunk or not.

Even as the police had permanently deployed a Gypsy along with policemen there, the hooligans continued to create ruckus there every now and then. The police had recently suggested installing close circuit TV cameras there while the visitors felt that installing the cameras would not serve any purpose as in a recent incident the police did not take action against the youth caught creating ruckus there. The police justified its action saying that there was no formal complaint lodged by any party involved in the incident.



Jewellery workshops sit on powder keg
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Charcoal, LPG cylinders and highly combustible chemicals! Welcome to workshops of jewellery arcades in Sector 22 and 23.

These workshops operating from upper floors of SCFs are a virtual tinderbox where not even a single fire extinguisher is found. These workshops cater to various jewellery shops.

Five or six artisans sit in dingy rooms with the same enter and exit way where highly inflammable material like charcoal being used freely for melting raw ornaments with the help of LPG operated flamers. There is hardly any moving space in various cabins in the buildings.

Throwing fire safety norms to winds, these nonchalant workers pose safety hazards to themselves and those around them. In case of fire, this area can turn into a virtual inferno. LPG cylinders have been stacked along stairs leading to the workshops, further reducing the scope for movement in case of an emergency.

The electrical wiring is a perennial threat and there is not a single extinguisher to put out a small fire.

If it is bad here, it is worst in Sector 23. These shops too are on the upper floors with same narrow passages with the naked electricity wires hang overhead and of course there with no fire-fighting arrangement.

The approach road to these shops have been blocked with a number of band chariots and generator sets. In case of any fire, the fire tender can no way enter this part of the market.

SK Gosain, Station Fire Officer, said, “ It is fortunate that no fire incident has been occurred here. These workshops care too hoots to install fire-fighting equipments despite issuing them warnings number of times. These workshops have been established by flouting all building bylaws too. Merely issuing them notices served little purpose, we will take stern action against these shops.



Spurious ghee, cheese seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
A team of Chandigarh police and Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) officials today seized huge amount of “spurious” ghee and other dairy products during a raid conducted in a dairy in Milk Colony, Dhanas, here.

The raid ensued after a city-based human rights organisation lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Sri Ganesh Dairy owned by Parshotam Lal Bansal was indulging in adultery in milk products, which were made under unhygienic conditions.

A team led by SHO of the Sector 11 police station Inspector Sukhbir Rana and Dr Balbir Singh and Rajesh Singh of PFA raided the premises and seized about four quintal of daily products, including ghee, cheese, cream and chemicals like butter flower bottles, used in adulterine the food items.

The PFA officials said it would be too premature to say anything about the quality of the products and the level of adulteration at this stage. He said they had taken six samples of the food items and seized chemicals used for adulteration and would send them for examination to ascertain their purity.

The SHO said the action would be taken on the basis of the reports of the samples. On the other hand, though admitting that he was indulged in adultery, Bansal, however, alleged that it was going on with the connivance of the local police. The items were sent to Himachal Pradesh and the interiors of Punjab.



ICICI Bank penalised Rs 50,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has imposed a penalty of Rs 50,000 on ICICI Bank for indulging in unfair trade practice of recovering foreclosure charges and levying service tax on the pre-paid amount.

The petitioner, Sanjay Kumar Garg, director of Amarson Yarns Ltd, stated in his petition that the bank approached him and requested him for availing the facility of loan against property, which he agreed to and was sanctioned Rs 1.3 crore home loan. He was supposed to pay back the loan in 120 monthly instalments of Rs 1,74,813 per month at an interest of 9 per cent per annum.

He paid the first instalment on December 1, 2005, and the last instalment was to be paid on November 1, 2015. It was averred that the complainant paid 33 instalments of Rs 1,74,813 each up to July 31, 2008, to the bank and on June 26, 2008, with a view to pre-pay the total amount, wrote a letter to bank and sought details of the exact amount which was to be payable by him on or before July 1, 2008.

In response, the bank asked him to deposit the total payment of Rs 1,24,62,655 (Rs 1,20,93,55 as principal outstanding amount, Rs 97,000 as interest up to July, 2008, and Rs 2,72,104 as foreclosure charges at 2.25 per cent interest of the outstanding principal amount).

Thereafter, he shot off a letter to the bank on August 8, 2008, with a request not to charge the foreclosure charges, but to no avail and he had to deposit Rs 1.25 crore under compulsion.

Thereafter, he made several requests to the bank to return the foreclosure charges of Rs 2,71,289 as the same was not payable by him at all as it was never disclosed to him at the time of executing the loan agreement, but to no avail.

The bank admitted that the complainant requested for the prepayment and foreclosure of the loan and the insurance provided the details of the amount to be payable for the foreclosure and prepayment of the above mentioned loan account, which were charged as per the agreed and accepted terms and conditions of the loan.

The complainant foreclosed the loan on November 11, 2008, and pre-paid the loan and the bank refunded the excess amount to him. It was asserted that the prepayment charges were duly mentioned in the sanction letter itself, which was duly accepted by the complainant.



A slum oblivious to poll process
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 24
While slum dwellers at Chandigarh and Panhckula remained a pampered lot for politicians, it would sound strange that a slum hardly 7 km away from the mini secretariat here with thousands of inhabitants treated as non-existent by them.

The reason behind this ignorance towards this cluster of labourers involved in mining of Ghaggar river on the Jalla road is not difficult to understand after paying one visit to the area. The area with a population of around 10,000 never witnessed any polling in the area, as residents were not listed as voters.

With no voter in the area, the basic facilities of water, electricity, health and education were also found hard to reach.

While for drinking water, the residents were dependent on tubewells installed at stone washing plants, an entrepreneur of Burj village has been charging Rs 125 every month for giving electricity connection of one bulb in each jhuggi from electricity generator installed by him.

Though the politicians visit the villages across the road seeking votes for them during every elections, nobody was bothered to visit them during the last two decades, said Sunehri, whose husband and two sons work as labourers in the river mines. Every time we tried to get the voter card, we were told it was not possible, as we did not have a residential proof, she said. The area, in fact was nobody’s baby, said Sri Krishan, who migrated here 15 years ago from Moradabad district.

“Some of our jhuggis caught fire destroying everything last month but no one was bothered to compensate the victims,” he said.



Nightingales enthrall audience
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, April 24
“Not mere soil and stone, the city beautiful has a cultural soul vibrating with intellectual inquisitiveness and the administration is committed to make it richer. We have an adequate infrastructure for promoting and augmenting the cultural life in the city,” said Pradip Mehra, Adviser to the Administrator.

Speaking at the annual function of the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademy (CSA) as the chief guest, he said with the improvement in technology, there was a constant need of maintaining and upgrading the existing infrastructure by installing new innovative equipment. He released a brochure and four anthologies of short stories and poems titled ‘Kavyanjali’, ‘Kathalok’, ‘Kav-Rang’ and ‘Katha Sagar’ both in Hindi and Punjabi, beside honouring the editors of the anthologies.

Earlier, CSA chairperson Prof Manju Jaidka gave details of various programmes undertaken by the akademi last year as also their future plans. However, the audience relished the poetic recitations by all women in the mushaira veritably titled “A Gathering of Nightingales”.

“Jab se dil gham se wabasta ho gaya hai, Ghazal tarashon se rishta ho gya hai” by Dr Gurdeep Gul and “Mere mathe naa lag ilzaam vaangu” by Taran Gujral virtually enraptured the audience and lent a credence to the function. Many of the ten women poets were repetitive while rendering the free verse. Yojna Rawat, Hema Sharma, Mohinder Ratneev enthralled the audience. Dr Harinderjit Kaur presided over the function.



Women Savings Day observed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
A state-level function was organised to mark the celebrations of the Women Savings Day at the Meeting Hall of Kendriya Sadan, Sector 9, here today, in which the Mahila Pradhan Kshetriya Yojna agents participated.

Dr Amarjeet Kaur, senior regional director, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Chandigarh, was the chief guest. She highlighted the role of women in the development and building of national economy. She also asked the yojana agents to join the schemes.

Rajiv Sagar, regional director, National Savings Institute, said the small savings collection in Chandigarh had been increased by 21 per cent and had grossed Rs 440 crore during 2008-09.



Railways okays sewerage treatment plant
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 24
Hope for early commissioning of the city’s first sewerage treatment plant has emerged. The Northern Railway has finally sanctioned work to link the main sewer line with the treatment plant. The link will pass beneath the Chandigarh-Morinda railway line.

To complete the link, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has deposited Rs 4.66 crore with the Railways over a year ago. A senior Northern Railway official said the work would soon begin on the project.

Sunil Kansal, executive engineer with the GMADA, confirmed intimation regarding sanctioning of the work received. In fact, the GMADA has been eagerly waiting for the completion of the missing link so that treatment plant could be made operational.

“The work has been sanctioned after the matter was taken up at the level of the state government with the Railways. With rising public objection against the discharge of untreated sewer in seasonal rivulets, the project is crucial for Chandigarh and the city. The treated water will be safe to use for agricultural purposes,” said a senior GMADA official.

About 23 acres were acquired by PUDA in Manouli village for the setting up of sewerage treatment plant at the cost of Rs 20.30 crore. The work was allotted to a private company on February 15, 2006, and was completed in 2008.

Sources said once the treatment plant became operational, the discharge of the sullage in seasonal rivulets would be stopped.

The point from where the Railways is linking the sewer line with the sewerage treatment plant beneath the Chandigarh-Morinda railway line in the town.



Allottees benefited by change in policy: Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today said the recent decision of the SAD-BJP government to allow lakhs of allottees of colonies all over the state to get their conveyance deed (CD) of property registered at the allotment rate rather than on current market rate as decided by previous Congress government would provide an average relief of Rs 2 lakh to each allottee.

In a statement issued here, Badal said lakhs of allottees in the cities of Mohali, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala and Amritsar had been given relief by the SAD-BJP as per its promise made to them. He said it was the happiest moment of his life when hundreds of allottees reached his residence to express their gratitude for this expeditious decision.

Badal said the SAD-BJP government was committed for initiating a development revolution in Punjab to give relief to every section of society to change the socio-economic scenario of the whole region.



Election observers on recce
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 24
Election observers appointed by the Election Commission for Chamkaur Sahib, Kharar, SAS Nagar, Ghanaur, Rajpura and Derabassi today inspected the arrangements for the elections being held on May 7 and May 13. The district comprises area falling under the Patiala and Anandpur Sahib constituencies.

While BS Mohan has been appointed observer for Chamkaur Sahib, Kharar and SAS Nagar, SR Meena has been appointed observer for Ghanaur, Rajpura and Derabassi. Strict instructions were passed on to officials on election duty to adhere to the code of conduct.



EX-servicemen assn to back BJP
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 24
The BJP-INLD got a shot in its arm when Indian Ex-Servicemen Association movement (IESM) declared support to candidate Ratan Lal Kataria from the Ambala constituency for the Lok Sabha elections here today.

Secretary Brig Harwant Singh (Retd) and chief coordinator, Norh Zone, ISEM, said they had decided to support Kataria when the Congress failed to respect the defence personnel. Whereas, the BJP promised them benefits and respect that an armyman deserved.

The BJP has promised to implement 12 recommendations of the Khurana Committee within 100 days after coming to power, Harwant said.



Slump, rows take toll on investment in city
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Touted to be the ideal investment destination till a few years back, Chandigarh seems to have lost its charm for the investors.

Blame it on the controversies surrounding the Chandigarh administration's high-profile mega projects, now under the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) scanner, or the ongoing recession in the world economy, investors seem to be shying away from the City Beautiful.

Sources said the ongoing inquiry by the CVC into the controversial mega projects seemed to have created an atmosphere of uncertainty among the investors. "It is double whammy for us as uncertainty over the mega projects and the ongoing recession has stalled our future plans in the city,” a senior executive of a company having stakes in the city, told Chandigarh Tribune.

A senior official of the Chandigarh administration also conceded that major investors were avoiding the city in the wake of the mega project controversies. Nobody wants to take risk at a time when situation is not conducive for doing business in Chandigarh.

The officials said major companies had conceded in private that the current atmosphere was not conducive for investment in the city. They were of the view that the investment options could be considered once the air of uncertainty over the mega projects cleared, the officials added.

In may be recalled that due to controversies, Parsvnath had already expressed its desire to withdraw from the Film City project. Similarly, Parsvnath seems to be having second thoughts on the ultra-luxurious Prideasia housing project in the prestigious IT Park here. The Amusement Park to be developed by the Unitech at Sarangpur is also mired in controversy and currently under the CVC scanner.

The sources said the mutual distrust between the administration and the investors seems to be first casualty of the controversies involving the mega projects. In fact, there seems to no sanctity of the agreements between the administration and the bidders for various mega projects spelling doom for investment plans for the city.

“The mega projects muddle and recession had spelled bad times for investment in the city. The administration should create a conducive atmosphere for the flourishing of trade and industry in the city,” remarked J.P.S. Kalra, general secretary of the Sector 17 Traders’ Association.



Panel to remove illegal rehris
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 24
A five-member committee is to be constituted to streamline the menace of illegal rehris in the town even as the general house unanimously cleared the proposal of getting the accommodation vacated, which had been unauthorisedly occupied by the former Deputy Commissioner HIS Garewal in the municipal complex at a meeting of the civic body held here today.

The issue of illegal rehris came up for discussion when Rajinder Sharma pointed out that employees of the tehbazari wing were adopting a pick-and-choose policy while removing illegal rehris in the town. He said the employees did not remove rehris, whose owners allegedly paid bribes to council employees. Parkashwati pointed out that boxes full of fruits seized by employees of the tehbazari wing were allegedly never returned to rehri-owners. Kuljit Singh Bedi said as the menace of illegal rehris could not be stopped by council employees, a contractor should be hired for the job. It was decided to set up a five-member committee to look into the problem and suggest methods to get rid of the menace.

When an employee of the tehbazari wing was called to the meeting hall to know why a pick-and-choose policy was adopted while removing rehris, he said he would name councillors, who intervened and did not want certain rehris to be removed. However, the president of the council, Rajinder Singh Rana, and the executive officer Amna Kumar Goyal told the employee to reveal such information to the committee being set up to handle the matter of illegal rehris.

In order to tackle the problem of stray animals in Mohali, the council decided to ask the GMADA for allotting land and funds for a gaushala.

In the house, it was pointed out that stray animals were caught with great difficulty and when employees went to leave these animals at far off places, they were harassed on the way by members of some communities.

The house unanimously cleared the proposal of getting the house in the municipal complex vacated from the former Mohali Deputy Commissioner HIS Garewal and also recovering the rent for the period of his stay.

The proposal of getting the work of security gates installed in various parts of the town to control theft of vehicles and other crime by inviting private companies was also cleared at the meeting.

The council decided to rent out about 400 sq yds of the building area for setting up the office of the district sports officer so that activities related to sports could be carried out in a proper way in Mohali.



Protest against poor quality of village pherni
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 24
Resentment prevailed in Popna village here when gram panchayat of the village protested against the poor quality of village pherni being constructed by the Punjab PWD. The work was stopped at the insistence of the gram panchayat.

The anomaly was noticed when villagers found that the premix laid on the village pherni started peeling off soon after it was laid.

Village sarpanch Baljinder Singh said the work on laying the road started late in the evening and continued till late in the night.

The proper procedure was not adopted while laying the premix. “The contractor engaged by the PWD did not remove the solid while laying the premix and a as a result, the premix started coming off”, said the sarpanch.



Internet: You are being watched
Anil Maheshwari

Open your email on any account and you find a number of sponsored links (sophisticated name for paid advertisements) in the either side bar of your mail. But the shocking or interesting point in all this is that all the ads are somehow related with the content of the mail. Worried about your privacy? Nothing is private on internet. Privacy is not sacrosanct in the Google age. Analysts are busy throughout the e-commerce universe to record our every click.

Stephen Baker (Blogspotting.net) in his book “The Numerati” has described this interesting and unavoidable game. He says, “Every day, we leave behind a long trail of personal information simply by living in the modern world. We click web pages, flip channels, drive through automatic toll booths, shop with credit cards, and make cell phone calls. Companies like Yahoo! And Google are harvesting an average of 2,500 details about each of us every month.” The figure may be less in case of India but the days are not far off when these powerful search engines on internet would be prying on us to dissect our every move and predict, with stunning accuracy, what we will do next. Their goal? To manipulate our behaviour - what we buy, how we vote, whom we love - without our even realising it.

Nothing to alarm. In fact, privacy is a false notion which we smugly harbour. We may be living under the illusion that it is something which only I, or at the most we, two persons, know. But the fact is that everyone knows about you. There are three categories of people. One, who knows about you and blurt out on your face without caring for your possible reaction. The second category is of those persons who vomit the information about you but wait for your absence. The last category, majority of people, belongs to those who keep the available information with them.

It is no longer a prerogative for Yahoo! and Google to watch you. Some other enterprising entrepreneurs in the United States of America (where the computer and internet were founded) have come out to undertake the similar jobs for marketing companies. Baker gives an interesting example. The MATCH.COM is a prized web site, dealing lucratively into online dating service.

He took his wife into confidence for undertaking the experiment. Both opened the site match.com and filed dating forms online in their laptops. Baker describes his marriage as a near-miraculous triumph against the odds. They had the similar sense of humour and enjoyed an enormous amount of positive energy. They slog through scores of questions on the web site. Clearly, many are designed to gauge whether the person, filling the questionnaire, was outgoing, adventuresome, cautious, a stickler for details. They are asked to compare the length of their second and fourth fingers.

The form asks about relationship that has thrived. It further wanted them to define themselves. Baker typed copiously about himself. He wrote about a year he spent long ago in South America as a near hermit. He wrote about going to coffee shops and putting on noise-cancelling headphones and writing. He went on and on with this stream of consciousness. Then he hit the Send button. A few minutes later, he was appalled to see the blather appear verbatim on the profile, right next to the blank space where his photo would appear. It was an ad copy for himself. Baker withheld the photograph though with the help of photoshopping facilities on the computer he could have edited his ten year old photo to fill the photo column too. His wife too diligently undertook the exercise in which she had been strong-armed to join.

It is the same process one would have to go through when one apply for the class at Harvard or try to find a six-figure consulting job at some prestigious company. Baker says, “I start with demographic details, and I hand them over knowingly. I part with in the resigned spirit of full disclosure, or a believable facsimile So my prospective dates learn my age, address, profession, education, religion, even my income if I choose to provide it ( Which I don’t). The questionnaire asks if I have my children and I are living at home. (It politely refrains from asking if my children and I are living there with my wife.) It then asks about the women I’m willing to consider. Do I prefer to exclude certain religions or body types? Am I interested in teetotallers, high school dropouts, or women taller than me? (Yes, I want them all.) Next comes a stream of involuntary data”.

When he logged on to the web site after a while, he found a list of five compatible women but his wife was missing from that list of prospective dating partner. In every case, the screen displayed “Great Match”. As he clicked through his prospective matches, the word great started to sound pretty ordinary to him.

The early results from the web site cast Baker’s marriage in an ominous light. Neither of them popped up on the other’s web site radar. He checked his profile to see if there was some detail that was keeping them apart. And that was when I saw it. When filling out the form, he had carelessly limited his search to women younger than his wife. “I was blocking the only connection that mattered to me and practically throwing my wife into the arms of more open-minded rivals. It was data under my own control that betrayed me.”

He promptly raised his age limit. Within hours, his wife checked the web site and there he was. Naturally, the service declared this match “great.” The connection brimmed with promise, ‘You’d both be happy jetting off to Paris or Nepal at a moment’s notice. And your life in the bedroom is likely to be exciting too.” At this point, his wife designated him as ‘sizzling’ - and the rest of my rivals on the web site as ‘fizzling’.

(The writer is an editor of Instablogs.com, anilm@instablogs.com)



New India school students topper
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 24
Government schools of the district have registered a remarkable improvement in the results of the middle class of the Haryana School Education Board declared here today. With the pass percentage of 80.54 per cent in the district, 25 schools have shown cent per cent result. A total of 5,694 students from 127 schools appeared in the exams. The first three postions in the district, however, clinched by private schools.

Ajay (93 per cent), Sonam (92.8 per cent) and Sakshi (92.3 per cent) of New India Senior Secondary School, Sector 15, stood first second and third in the district. The second spot, however, was shared by Shivani of Nav Bal Niketan, Sector 12. Dheeraj (532), Varinder (527) and Tanya (523) were able to get first three positions among students of government schools in the district. All three students belonged to Saarthak Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 12 A.



Cultural programme in St. Anne’s
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Students and the staff of the school extended a warm welcome to newly appointed Bishop of the Simla-Chandigarh Diocese Rt Rev. Ignatius Loyola Ivan Mascerenhas. A cultural programme was organised on the occasion. School captain Sheetal Mary gave the introductory speech. Students of kindergarten presented an action song and the school choir ssng songs. School manager Father Ambrose and Principal Sr. Felicia presided over the function.

Splash pool party

To beat the scorching heat, Green Castle Public School today organised a splash pool party for tiny tots of pre-nursery and nursery. The students were attired in the swimming costumes and the headgear. Students of Classes I to V were shown a film on Panchtantra. The principal said such activities were conducted in the school to give students an exposure and make them well-versed with the day today trends.

Employee- Employer day

Employee-Employer Day was celebrated on the premises of the I.S Dev Samaj Senior Secondary School. The function was presided over by Kumari Satyawati, chairperson of the school. Principal Dr Sumati Kanwar welcomed the chairperson and expressed views. She laid stress on better and more cordial relationship between employer and employees for the better working of the organisation. Dresses were distributed to all class IV employees and gifts were given to staff members.



BCom-I paper baffles students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 24
Students of BCom first year claimed that the question paper of operational research was out of the prescribed pattern.

According to the students, the section C of the paper as per their syllabi was supposed to have four questions each of 15 marks but it had only three questions. They claimed the paper was supposed to have 14 questions in all but it just had 13. However, AK Bhandari, controller examination, PU, could not be contacted.



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