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City sizzles at 41.2°C
Hottest April day in five years
Tribune News Service

Year Max temp (April 30)

2005

38.4°C

2006

40.6°C

2007

40°C

2008

41°C

2009

41.2°C

Chandigarh, April 29
The city sweltered today with the mercury rising to 41.2 degrees Celsius, the highest April temperature in the last five years.

The weathermen said the heat wave was in no mood to relent and the maximum temperature was likely to rise further by mid May. As per the Meteorological Department forecast, there will be a partly cloudy sky with strong surface winds tomorrow.

Avoid heatstroke

n Elders, children, people suffering from kidney brain diseases should avoid going out even in shadowed places
n Those who have had heat strokes earlier, stay indoors
n Increase intake of fluids to avoid dehydration. Consume at least three-and-a-half litres of water everyday
n Overexposure to sun can cause headache, restlessness and irritation in behaviour. Cover all parts of body and wear clothes that reflect heat. Avoid dark shades

Met department director Chhatar Singh said that last year the mercury touched 46.5 degrees Celsius in May. As this year the rainfall had been very less, there are chances that the temperature will break the last year record in the region. He said there would be dust storms in the city which will further raise the temperature by the mid of May.

What is the loss for one is the benefit for others. The rise in mercury is good news for the desert cooler pad sellers as they are having brick business with their sale increasing with every passing day.

Ram Parshad (27), a migrant from Uttar Pardesh, who has been selling cooler pads in the city for the past many years, said the sales had suddenly shot up. He said as the temperature had increased in April itself, all the shopkeepers expect increase in profit this year. The sale of coolers and air conditioners has also shown a steep rise.

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Kitchen to ballot battle
Lone woman candidate jumps into poll fray
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
The name, Maya Devi, as such may not ring a bell. She is just another ordinary housewife who has spent her life in a 10x10 dingy room at the resettlement Pandit Colony in Khajeri and knows little about the outside world.

Wittingly or unwittingly, she has created a record of sorts as she is the lone woman candidate in fray from the city for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

Incidentally, the city has seen no woman candidate contesting the elections in the past decade or even more.

She cannot be even called a novice in politics as her impending brush with the profession can only be termed accidental. She was a covering candidate for her husband, Vidha Singh, a daily-wage labourer, but after the rejection of his nomination papers, she had become the candidate by default.

An illiterate, Maya Devi, like all politicians, is confident of a win. While only time will tell whether her dreams of reaching the Parliament are fulfilled or not, she is enjoying every moment of her “15 minutes to fame”.

Dressed in a simple parrot green sari, Maya Devi is spending her time nowadays away from the usual “chullah- choka” (as she says) and campaigning. A police constable in tow, she was crisscrossing the congested by-lanes of Khajeri village on a cycle rickshaw when The Tribune Team caught up with her.

“Main apki Beti ya Bahu jaisi hoon. Mujhe aapki sewa Karne ka ek mauka to dain,” (I’m like your daughter. Give me a chance to serve you), she repeats this hard-rehearsed line at every nook and corner. She is candid as she has spent hours practicing this sentence before the mirror and admits that it’s her 17-year-old son who has been writing small speeches for her.

So, how’s her family taken to her new role? “My in-laws in Bihar are unhappy and they didn’t want me to contest. They are conservative and don’t like that I am going from house to house seeking votes. They believe that ‘aurat’ should spend her life in the four walls of her house,” she says.

But her friends and neighbours are kicked about her being in the fray. “I couldn’t believe when I learnt that she was contesting elections,” says Gayatri Devi. Her neighbours are somewhat envious of her and call her lucky for having got a chance to do something.

Win or lose may not as such matter for Maya Devi as she has nothing at stake but her life has changed, at least for the time being. A policeman guarding her and her family has given a status and she seems to be living each moment of it.

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HR withdraws bus service on Ramgarh-PGI route
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
The announcement of status quo ante on plying of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) and Haryana Roadways (HR) buses as per their routes has not brought respite to the commuters as the HR today withdrew its buses on the Ramgarh-PGI route, leaving passengers high and dry.

The officials of the Chandigarh administration and the HR had unanimously decided at a meeting held yesterday that the buses from both sides would be allowed to ply as per the old pattern till the countersigning of the inter-state agreement takes place.

This implied that the HR buses would be allowed on the Ramgarh-PGI route without any hindrance and similarly the CTU buses would run on the Chandigarh-Panchkula route as per their prevailing schedule.

However, except in the morning, no bus of the HR plied on the Ramgarh-PGI route and beyond the ISBT points.

Confirming this, HR general manager K.S. Kalson said: “The buses were withdrawn in the afternoon to avoid conflict between the employees of the HR the CTU. The public inconvenience is regretted. However, things will be sorted out soon.”

Kalson said that a meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow between the transport officials of Chandigarh and Haryana and main agenda of the meeting would be to discuss the inter-state policy to notify the routes not only for Chandigarh or Panchkula but for all over the state.

On the other hand, Secretary, Transport, Chandigarh, Ram Niwas said the official countersigning of the inter-state agreement on the reciprocal basis would only be done after the Lok Sabha elections in Chandigarh. “Ours is not a commercial venture, the public convenience is our prime concern and the matter will be resolved after elections only,” he added.

The HR bus service on the Ramgarh-PGI route was introduced to facilitate the senior citizens residing in Panchkula. They have been given privilege to travel free on the HR buses.

The students from Panchkula, mostly possessing bus passes, rued that they have to board the CTU bus to reach their colleges and the PU as the HR bus had stopped plying beyond bus stand point at Sector 17.

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Insurance firm official gets 1-year jail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has sentenced the divisional manager of IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance Company to one-year imprisonment for not complying with court orders. The forum also imposed fine of Rs 10,000 on the insurance company.

The complainant, Raj Rani (56), stated that her son Rajesh Kumar Sharma purchased a TATA Indica car from one Manjit Singh, which was insured with the company from October 22, 2005, to October 22, 2006, for Rs 2 lakh in case of accidental death.

On August 19, 2006, Rajesh Kumar, along with his friend Sonu Walia, was on his from Barara to Paonta Sahib in the car. When they reached near Kodewal village, three unidentified persons stopped the car and asked them to come out of the vehicle at gunpoint.

They snatched the belongings of Rajesh and also took the keys of the car. The unidentified miscreants shot at Rajesh and he died on the spot and his body was thrown into a ditch. The miscreants abducted Sonu and raped her on the way.

The accused were arrested and the vehicle was recovered from Saharanpur. The accidental claim was lodged with the insurance company by Parvesh Kumar, brother of the deceased, on the behalf of his mother along with documents.

However, the insurance company repudiated the claim. The forum had directed the insurance company to pay a compensation of Rs 2 lakh.

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6 held for Ram Darbar clash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
The police has arrested six persons for creating a ruckus in Ram Darbar, where a group of youth of Phase I and II had clashed a few days back.

According to the police, Munna, Shera, Royal, Daud Ram, Ashok and Kedar Nath of Phase II have been arrested. Other accused, residents of Phase II, identified as Fatta, Kannad, Ravinder, Nand Lal, Nani, Raju, Dipa and Satpal, are still at large.

SHO, Sector 31 police station, Bhupinder Singh said, “We have launched a hunt to nab the accused.”

A case under Sections 147, 148, 149, 427 and 506 of the IPC has been registered against the accused at the Sector 31 police station.

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Political undercurrent evident at MC meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
With election fever intensifying, political hangover was felt during the 140th meeting of the municipal corporation held on its assembly hall premises here today.

Tempers ran high when Congress councillor Pradeep Chhabra interrupted his Akali colleague Harjinder Kaur for reportedly reminding the house about the development works executed in her tenure as Mayor.

While addressing the house, Harjinder Kaur had pointed out that all development projects, despite being approved by the house, had been stalled for one reason or the other.

Reacting to this, Chhabra retorted that the day of declaration of results for the Chandigarh constituency seat would testify how realistic her statement was. “Wait for May 16 poll results, everything would be on the table,” he replied.

Things got worse when a group of councillors objected to his proclamation.

Terming it a violation of code of conduct, councillor Jatinder Bhatia said the matter would be brought to the notice of the chief election commission.

Yet, the issue was raised when Harjinder Kaur supported nominated councillor Brigadier Chandpuri’s concern about non-implementation of upgrading sports infrastructure in the city while clubbing it with other projects, which could also not meet their logical end. “For the past one year, five community centres at Sector 48, 49, 50, 52 and Dhanas were proposed but their drawings could not be finalised due to the lackadaisical attitude of the current governing body. There are more liquor vends than dispensaries and schools in the city, which incidentally, is known as an ‘education hub’. Wasn’t it relevant to raise these issues in House? she said.

Amidst the war of words, the announcement for tea break restored some order.

Earlier, Brigadier Chandpuri raised the issues of building of an international-level sports stadium in the city and the unaccounted deaths happening on city roads.

“For the past three months, statistics say 27 deaths have occurred on city roads and another 97 persons had been seriously injured in various road accidents. In public domain, the MC should take pains to realise where the fault lies,” said. Commissioner PK Sharma said while the matter did not come under the jurisdiction of the house, it still could be taken up with the police department.

Taking to The Tribune, Brigadier Chandpuri said: “It is a pity that in a modern city like Chandigarh, there is no synthetic track in any of the prevailing stadiums. How can our children compete on the international arena when they have been accustomed to practising on unkempt grassy tracks? It’s only due to lack of coordination between MC officials and administration that this issue could never find priority in their agenda,” he said.

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Arms Seizure
Cop tampered with malkhana record
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Head constable Balbir Singh allegedly forged documents and tempered with malkhana record to misappropriate case properties.

The investigating officials are finding it hard to link the evidences as he had made additions into the records in his own handwriting after getting the signatures of his supervisory authorities, said sources.

Balbir Singh was produced before a local court today, which remanded him in two-day police custody.

Sources in the police said the investigators had tracked down records of two out of the six weapons stolen by Balbir Singh.

They were scrutinising the records pertaining to the disposal of these weapons to unravel the mystery behind their disappearance from malkhana.

About his modus operandi, a police officer said the accused used get signatures of his supervisory authorities on the list of weapons ordered to be destroyed. He, in a clandestine manner, left some space while preparing the list and added the weapons he wanted to steal later into the list after getting the signatures.

“It is a cumbersome task to scrutinise each and every document pertaining to these cases and the investigation will take a long time. They virtually have to audit the records of the period from 2001 to 2004 when he was in-charge of the malkhana in police station-17,” said ASP (central) Madhur Verma.

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Development buzzword for city candidates
Pardeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Even as three major contenders from the Chandigarh parliamentary seat - Harmohan Dhawan (BSP), Pawan Bansal (Congress) and Satya Pal Jain (BJP) - indulge in rhetorics, development seems to high on their agenda.In fact, turning Chandigarh into a world-class city and reforms in the working of the Chandigarh Administration with a view to provide relief to a cross section of society form part of the vision of the trio, who have been battling it out for political supremacy in Chandigarh for the past about two decades. While Bansal has been guarded in his criticism of his arch rivals both Jain and Dhawan were unsparing in their tirade against the union minister and sitting MP, aiming for a hattrick from the prestigious constituency. In separate interviews the candidates get candid about the local issues, their "achievements" and others' failures.

Vote on my 19-month performance as MP


Q:What is your agenda for Chandigarh?

My first priority would be bring back an amount of Rs 670 crore going to the Consolidated Fund of India from Chandigarh every year and use it for city's development. An IIT,IIM and a central university for Chandigarh are the need of the hour. I will ensure that Chandigarh becomes an international tourist destination and an IT hub aimed at the creation of thousands of job opportunities for the youth.

Q:Why should people vote for you?

Simply because I had been a performer.I was MP for 19 months and Civil Aviation Minister for four months and during short stint I was able to bring major projects, including Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, the augmentation of water supply from the Kajauli Water Works, allotment of land to the cooperative housing societies and the rehabilitation of the poor at Mauli Jagran.

Q:How do you rate your politcal opponents?

Pawan Bansal and Satya Pal Jain are engaged in mud-slinging and have a history of going to the courts against each other.Both are incompetent. However, Bansal is highly-incompetent as he always blames the officials for not listening to him while taking important decisions.

Q:Your comments on the future of Chandigarh?

I have always maintained that Chandigarh should remain a union territory and I will strive to make the tricity a "Greater Chandigarh" for the coordinated infrastructure development of the tricity.

Q:How do you view the mega projects in the city?

I consider mega projects vital for boosting city's economy as they will generate a lot of job opportunities for the youth.However, I would ensure that the market rates are paid to the farmers for the acquisition of their lands.

City has seen record development in last 5 yrs


Q:What are your party's main issues in the forthcoming elections?

Development is the buzzword and the Congress would ensure that the developmental works undertaken at the city and national level were taken to their logical conclusion during the next five years. Infrastructure, health, education and housing sector will continue to remain on the priority list of the Congress if voted to power in the forthcoming elections.

Q:What is your party's USP?

As the most-secular and development-oriented party, the Congress under the dynamic leadership of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and economist-turned-prime minister Manmohan Singh had been able to minimise the ill-affects of the worldwide recession.At the local level, Chandigarh has witnessed unprecedented development.

Q:How do you view your opponents?

I have no comments to make on my opponents.In fact, people will answer this question on D-day on May 13 through the ballot.

Q:Should Chandigarh be retained as UT?

The question of retaining Chandigarh as UT has virtually been decided and I see no reason for the change in the status quo.

Q:Do you favour mega projects for the city?

I am for selective mega projects in the city depending upon their utility for the city. For instance, there is no need for the medicity and fruit and vegetable terminal market for the city while international airport, modern raliway station, educity, IT park and metro should be set up after carefully examining them on their individual merit.

As politician, Bansal has been an utter failure


Q:What is your vision for the city?

I am committed to the proper development of city to make it a "really beautiful" city of international standards through public participation in decision-making.

Q:On what basis do you seek people's mandate?

People has seen Bansal's "dimsal" performance since 1991 for almost 15 years. While Bansal has failed to bring any major project to the city except development works under the MPLAD scheme several development projects, including Chandigarh-Ludhiana railway link and flyover at the transport chowk, were initiated during my two-and-a-half years tenure. Various pro-people policies and intiatives were the hallmarks of the NDA regime both at the centeral and the local level.

Q:Your comments on your political rivals?

As a politician Bansal has been a utter failure.While Dhawan had been instrumental in bringing certain projects to the city the sitting MP has been consistent in doling out false promises and putting the blame on others for his failures for all these years.

Q:Your alliance partner--SAD-- wants Chandigarh to be tranferred to Punjab.Your comments?

The BJP is for retaining Chandigarh as the union territory. In fact, the debate on the status of Chandigarh seems to be meaningless with various stakeholders reconciling themselves to the de facto status of the city.

Q:On the controversial mega projects the BJP's position has been ambivalent.Why so?

Till today even the Congress-led UPA government has failed to spell out its stand on the controversial mega projects. The BJP is of the considered view that the mega projects should be decided on the individual merit of each project. In fact, with the administrator, adviser, who are the appointees of the central government, and local MP working at the cross purposes the development work has come to standstill.

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Returning officer meets candidates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer RK Rao today held a meeting with contesting candidates/their representatives from the city seat in for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections here today.

Rao apprised them of broad provisions of the model code of conduct, maintenance of election expenditure, granting permission for holding political functions and rallies, etc.

The queries of candidates were answered and they were provided with copies of relevant instructions.

He stressed on maintaining harmony and staying away from activity that might cause tension on the basis of caste, community or religion.

The candidates were advised to confine to policies and programmes while making criticism of other political parties and desist from passing personal comments.

They were also provided with the helpline No.700322 of the election department, which functions from 8 am to 8 pm everyday and 5046604, available during office hours.

The nodal officer on expenditure made brief presentation regarding election expenditure and explained the provisions of maintaining the record of expenditure.

Dr Arun Kumar Panda, observer, and SSP SS Srivastava were among those present at the meeting.

Panda briefed the candidates about the provisions of the model code of conduct, while Srivastava briefed them about the security arrangements. He asked them to obtain prior combined permission for use of ground and sound for holding public rallies.

He also informed them about the police control room helpline No. 946512100 and email address police@chd.nic.in.

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Waterlogging
No respite in sight for Sec-49 residents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Hundreds of residents of various societies in Sector 49, esepcially Goodwill Society, Sai Society, Super Society and Golden Society, have become victims of official dilly-dally and stranglehold of red tape of different wings of the Chandigarh administration.

The Tribune had highlighted the plight of members of these society following which two departments - municipal corporation and the UT Director, health and family welfare - swung into action but only to conclude that it was for the Chief Engineer, UT engineering department, or Chief Engineer, Chandigarh Housing Board, to take necessary action.

Ironically, in spite of one person holding the two posts, residents have yet to see any relief.

Though the Chief Engineer, municipal corporation, and the UT Director, health and family welfare, submitted a report of the site to Surinder Pall, who holds the twin charge of Chief Engineer, CHB, and Chief Engineer, UT, he feigned ignorance about any such report. However, The Tribune is in possession of copies of these reports.

“We have submitted detailed report to the Chief Engineer, CHB, to open the blocked culvert immediately for the smooth flow of rainwater and to avoid waterlogging. It was their job,” said SK Bansal. He added that the matter had been brought to the notice of the UT Adviser as well.

However, Surinder Pall said: “I have not yet come across any report of the sort but now when it has been brought to my notice, I will personally look into the matter.” To facilitate the 1,024 one-room housing project undertaken by the CHB for providing rental accommodation to slum-dwellers, the natural flow of storm water in the area had been blocked. This had put the lives of hundreds of residents of adjoining societies in danger.

Taking cognizance of the issue, the UT health department had submitted a report to Surinder Pall stating that there was no arrangement for adequate disposal of water around these societies, resulting in accumulation of water and the area was in dire need of earth levelling and filling.

“After visiting the site, we have informed the UT engineering department to take necessary action. We have observed that due to stagnant water, mosquito breeding was rampant in the area. However, this site has been under constant watch by our team,” said UT health officials. The efforts of the health department will prove futile unless there is a proper disposal of rainwater.

The residents rue that the health department carries out weekly ant-larva measures probably for prevention of mosquito breeding but it was not a permanent solution.

Another team of the office of the Chief Engineer, municipal corporation, SK Bansal, too visited the scene under the supervision of VK Garg, executive engineer, MC, and RK Popli, SDE.

This team also just submited its observation rather than practically give relief to residents.

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Home Secy reviews construction works
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh April 29
Home Secretary Ram Niwas along with officers of the health and engineering departments reviewed various construction works being carried out in the health sector yesterday.

The Chief Engineer said the construction work of “J” and “E” blocks was going on a war footing at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and an amount of Rs 18.5 crore would be spent on the work during this year.

Various development works being undertaken at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, were also reviewed.

The construction work on a store and waiting hall near mortuary at a cost of Rs 29.51 lakh and construction of a new OPD block at a cost of Rs 8.46 crore was also reviewed.

The mortuary will be completed at a cost of Rs 17.17 lakh. The renovation of private wards will be completed at a cost of Rs 22.60 Iakh.

The Director, health services, said treatment facility of bio-medical waste would be set up at the dumping ground near Dadu Majra for which tenders would be allotted after the code of conduct for Lok Sabha elections was over, a press release added.

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Producer-Distributor Row
Malls face reel crisis
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
The ongoing countrywide producer-distributor row has not only spoilt the show for movie buffs in the city but also led to decreased footfalls in the malls, hence affecting the business of both multiplexes and shopkeepers.

The impasse has dealt a double blow to the business at multiplexes and shops, which couldn’t have come at a worse time with business already running into losses owing to recession.

Though putting a brave front, managers of multiplexes in these malls refuse to divulge the exact losses but a near-empty shopping arcade and vacant parking lots narrate the story by itself.

“The movie watchers are a source of revenue for all shops in the mall. Nobody otherwise visits a mall specially to eat food. There has been a drop in the number of movie watchers and also customers in these shops,” says manager of a mall seeking anonymity.

Baring a few, almost all outlets in these malls are feeling the heat as their business is getting affected.

Dewinder Gosain of Big Cinemas said: “Mall culture is not so popular in the city. In Mumbai, multiplexes are jam-packed on weekends but the situation is different here, as people are not used to the culture. The impasse has only aggravated the problem.”

“The situation is disappointing for movie lovers for sure. But it is expected to improve only when a decision is taken on the issue in April-end,” he added.

“The situation is grim. The strike is badly affecting movie makers as also those who are showing and watching movies,” adds Delhi-based CEO of a popular cinema.

Meanwhile, movie buffs in the city are disappointed with the current situation with no source of entertainment left for them.

Says Rakhi, a movie lover, “It is disappointing that no new movie is coming up now. The summer holidays seem a waste without watching a movie.”

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GMCH
Philanthropist revives charity from today
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Come tomorrow and it will be a double treat for the poor who gather at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, for “langar” every day.

After having closed down his “bhandara” two weeks ago due to paucity of funds, philanthropist Jagdish Ahuja is set to resume it from tomorrow.

However, in his absence the task was taken over by a retired HMT employee, AS Kalyan, who had been serving “karhi-chawal” to the needy daily.

A day after The Tribune highlighted the news — “Charity dies on hospitals’ doorstep” — on April 15 about Ahuja’s decision to stop the “bhandara”, Kalyan had offered help to him but the latter refused.

However, a determined Kalyan started the “langar” himself and since then he or his family members had been serving food every afternoon.

Undeterred by Jagdish’s move, Kalyan said he would continue serving “langar” every day.

“I don’t have much but whatever I have is sufficient for me to continue the ‘langar’,” he said, adding that the “satisfied smiles” on the faces of the poor were worth much more than the money.

His nephew, Kamal Kishore, who runs a chemical factory at Zirakpur, has also been pitching in to keep the “langar” running.

Meanwhile, Jagdish has said the decision to closed down “bhandara” was a hard one for him and had brought him unhappiness.

“I had been distributing fruits but the sadness on the faces of children who came to me asking for ‘roti’ compelled me to change my mind,” he claimed, adding that he would not distribute clothes as before.

Ahuja’s decision to return will be a bonus for the poor, who will now have a wider choice — “karhi-chawal” on one side and “chapati”, rice, vegetable and “halwa” on the other.

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Firing Incident
Victim backtracks from statement
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 29
Despite being election time when a ban on the carrying of fire arms has been imposed by the authorities concerned, an incident of firing has not stirred the police to register a case against alleged assailants.

Gulraj Singh Randhawa (25) was injured after some assailants allegedly shot at him in the Industrial Area, Phase VII, late last evening. He was allegedly kidnapped from Phase III-B2 by the assailants who were moving in a black-coloured Tata Safari and later dumped him near Quark city after he was shot at. He was then taken to the Civil Hospital and admitted there around 10 pm.

The victim remained in the hospital at night. According to doctors, Gulraj had sustained superficial injuries in his left thigh which had entry and exit wounds. A pellet had hit him and he had sustained about 1-cm wide wounds which were very close to each other.

The SMO in charge of the hospital, HS Sarang, said Gulraj had gun shot injuries which were examined by two specialist doctors at night. An X-ray was also done, but no pellet was found inside the body. He said the patient was discharged today morning on his own request.

Gulraj had told The Tribune yesterday that one of the assailants had a property dispute with him. After he was allegedly kidnapped, the assailants aimed a gun at his chest, but when it was fired the shot accidentally had hit his legs.

SSP Jatinder Singh Aulakh said Gulraj had failed to lodge any compliant with the police in connection with the case of firing. In fact, he had termed the incident as an accident and said he was fiddling with a licensed weapon of his friend which accidentally went of and he got injured. Aulakh said Gulraj had given an affidavit to this affect.

When asked why a person was carrying a weapon when these had to be deposited with the authorities concerned because of the elections, the SSP said in towns everybody does not deposit their weapons. The police ensured that weapons were deposited in connection with persons whose names figured in some criminal record or at the time when keenly contested elections were held in villages.

It was not clear why Gulraj had backtracked from the statements issued to mediapersons yesterday. He was not available for comments despite several attempts.

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Maid’s death: Probe likely to be delayed
Sample sent back to hospital
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 29
The investigation into the death of Pushpa, who was found dead under mysterious circumstances at the house of her employer in a housing society, is set to delay as the chemical sample sent to the CFSL, Madhuban, has been returned to hospital authorities without conducting the tests. The reason behind sending the sample back was cited as improper packing and leakage of the sample material.

It was on April 14 when Pushpa, a 14-year-old maid, allegedly committed suicide at the house of Vikas Seth, a resident of Sector 20, following which the family members of Pushpa alleged that she was raped and killed at the house of Seth.

Though no rape was confirmed by the doctors of General Hospital, Sector 6, who conducted the postmortem on the body of Pushpa, three samples were sent to different laboratories by the doctors.

While pathological sample of the body were sent to the PGI, Rohtak, forensic and chemical samples were sent to the CFSL, Madhuban. The clothes of the deceased had also been sealed and sent to Madhuban.

SP Amitabh Dhillon, confirming that the sample was not accepted by CFSL, said it was again sent to them after packing it according to their guidelines. It would, however, not hamper the process of investigation, he added.

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Stress laid on water conservation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Architects, town planners and engineers discussed problems and prospects of future of Chandigarh at the seminar titled “Chandigarh: Beyond Corbusierism” held at Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh, yesterday.

The seminar was organised by the local Chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects and winner of the Magsaysay Award Rajendra Singh popularly known as the Waterman of India, was the chief guest.

Singh, who had worked actively in rehabilitating the degraded habitats of Rajasthani villages in the steps of their ancestors and started water conservation in the area, urged desilting Sukhna Lake was not the solution to restore its glory.

Instead, he proposed that small check dams in the catchment area of the lake that was about 7,000 acres and similar dams could be made within the city on rivulets.

He also proposed the planned areas should be provided within the city only for the service class and should not be located outside the city.

Also, the first issue of the quarterly newsletter “IIA Times” of the Chandigarh-Punjab Chapter of the Indian Institute of Architects was released.

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Sec-35 Fire
Occupants left to fend for themselves
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
A day after the fire broke out at his residence, Ravi Prakash and his family has lost everything except clothes they were wearing yesterday.

“The household items, including Rs 50,000, was also gutted in the fire,” lamented Parkash, who was temporarily living with relatives in Sector 35.

“Our relatives have provided the clothes to wear today. Now I have to start my life all over again,” he said.

Prakash’s three sons did not go to school because of the tragedy, Expect the books they carried to their school, everything was burnt in the fire.

Praskash’s wife Rani Devi, who is undergoing a treatment at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, for depression, looked shattered. She did not comment anything about the incident.

She said the fire might have broken out due to a puja lamp, which she had lighted to offer prayers. However, her husband ruled out any such possibility.

“I cannot believe that it was because of the lamp as it was lighted everyday at about 8 pm. It was certainly because of the wrong wiring as the repairing of the electricity was also in progress at that time,” quipped Prakash.

The ceiling of the first floor also got affected adversely.

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Law against child labour fails to deter employers
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
The loose grip of the administration coupled with withdrawal of powers of the UT education department to challan employers engaging children below 14 years of age as domestic help has created a deadlock situation yet again.

As the employers have no fear of being challaned, lack of implementation of existing policies to rehabilitate these children has further worsened the situation.

Even as the departments are passing on the buck, the NGOs here describe the situation as worse courtesy lesser strictness. Some employers have even stopped sending these children to school.

There is a case in which 12-year-old Shravan was sent to the school a year back due to the strictness by the education department.

But now, he has to do household work for Rs 300 per month as the employers in return give shelter to his father, Rukha, at their house. And he is not allowed to go to the school before 3 pm despite the fact that the school starts at 1pm.

“A lot of students came to us last year following the strictness by the education department. But the situation is back to square one. Those who had sent these children are least bothered about their education,” Sangeeta Vardhan of Good Beginnings, Sector 8, said.

Previously, there was an amendment in the Child Labour (Prohibition) Act, under which a new Section was framed that gave the power to the school principals to challan the employers in their areas although the powers were later withdrawn.

Earlier, in “Out of school children’s survey” conducted in 40,000 households in the slum areas and labour colonies across the city, it was found these children opted out of schools as they were getting employed as a domestic help. Around 962 children were being forced to earn as a domestic help.

“The task should be jointly dealt by the labour, social welfare and education departments. The primary function of our department is to provide education and the powers to challan were reversed since this was diverting the attention of the principals from their main job.,” DPI (Schools) S Samwartak says.

While assistant labour commissioner Mahinder Kaur said: “ We do not have a new scheme for these children yet for but we do act on individual complaints that we receive.”

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Protesters lay siege to police station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
A dispute between two persons of Maloya colony tonight took a political turn when supporters of a mainline political party laid siege to the police station at Maloya.

Alleging inaction on part of the police, a group of supporters, reportedly of the RJD, gheraoed the police station and raised slogans against the police. According to sources, Vijay, reportedly a supporter of the RJD, was allegedly beaten up at his residence by supporter of the BSP in which his daughter also got injured.

An eyewitness claimed that the clash took place over entry to a temple in the area. The drama continued till late into the night with protesters of the RJD demanding police action into the matter. However, no case had been registered till the filling of the report.

The area councillor played down the incident, claiming it to be a dispute between two residents.

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Nine hurt in accidents
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 29
As many as nine persons were injured in two separate road accidents in Zirakpur late last night.

According to the police, the first accident took place on the Patiala-Zirakpur highway when Asim Das, a motorcyclist, was coming back to Zirakpur from Banur with his friend. His motorcycle was hit by a speeding jeep and injured them. A passer-by immediately rushed them to GMCH-32 and where the condition of the two was said to stable.

Meanwhile, three persons who were travelling in the jeep also sustained minor injuries. The injured have been identified as Asim Das, Suresh Kumar, Abihjit Singh, Pradeep Kumar and Amarjeet Singh. In another accident on the Zirakpur-Ambala highway, four persons were injured when an auto-rickshaw turned turtle near Sharma farm house, the police said. The injured were not identified yet. The local police has started further investigation in both cases.

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From Schools
‘The Game’ a poignant play
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 29
Kendriya Vidyala 2 of 3 BRD celebrated the annual day at the Lecma auditorium on the Air Force Station campus here yesterday. Air Commanding Officer of 3 BRD, Air Cadre SC Luthra, was the chief guest and wife Renu distributed the prizes. Principal Ranjana Bassi presented the annual report highlighting the activities of the students. English play ‘The Game’ based on theme “Elderly people are neglected a lot in today’s fast-paced age” was well received while Hindi play “Ek Plate Upvaas” was also appreciated. The chief guest appreciated the participation of children in gidda and fashion show.

Mehakdeep best in story writing

BIG FM declared the results of short story-writing competition here today, which was organised to celebrate the World Day for Book and Copyrights at the Browser Library on Saturday.

The topic was ‘The book that changed my life’.

Mehakdeep stood first, Manav Khattar second and Sehajpreet secured third position in below-12 category. Shivan Sahil stood first and Yuvika Deewan stood second in 12-19 category. In 19 and above category, Kamal Sandhu secured first position, Shilpi Goenika second while Anchal Gupta stood third.

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