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Sham Mall owner shot dead
Tribune News Service

Relatives of the victim in a state of shock at their Sector-35 residence in Chandigarh on Tuesday evening.
Relatives of the victim in a state of shock at their  Sector-35 residence in Chandigarh on Tuesday evening.

Chandigarh, May 5
Amarjit Singh, owner of Sham Shopping Mall, Sector 34, was shot at by two unidentified armed assailants outside his Sector 35 residence here late tonight. He succumbed to his injuries at Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

The incident occurred when 50-year-old Amarjit reached his residence after closing his upmarket showroom, selling ladies readymade suits, jewellery and bridal wear at around 10 am. As he signalled his servant Prem Bahadur to open the main gate of his house No. 217, two unidentified assailants stopped his Skoda car (CH-03-Z-2485) and forced open the door.

"I saw the attackers banging the windscreen along the driver seat and trying to pull out 'sahib'. Before I could make it to the gate, three-four gunshots had already been fired at him from the point-blank range," Bahadur said.

The bullets, which pierced through the right arm, hit Amarjit's chest injuring him seriously. When the servant raised an alarm, Amarjit's wife Kamaljit Kaur and son Gagandeep rushed to the car, but the assailants escaped under the cover of the darkness.

A profusely-bleeding Amarjit was taken to Fortis in the same car by his family members, where he died while being operated upon.

Gangandeep said his father told him that the two suspicious-looking persons were standing outside the house and fired at him after breaking the windshield of the vehicle. His father said the assailants fired at him before he could even react, Gagandeep told The Tribune.

One of his drivers and a security guard were stated to be on leave today, the police said.

Chandigarh SSP S.S. Srivastava said the motive of the crime was clear as yet as Amarjit did not carry cash with him and his purse was also found lying in the car.

Top brass of the local police, including the SSP and DSPs in charge of various divisions, visited the spot. A quick reaction team was also pressed into service and security was beefed up in the sector.

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Students feel poll pinch
Forced to sit in open as classrooms vacated for elections
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The election process has taken its toll on the primary students of Government Middle School, Palsora, as they are forced to take their lessons in the verandah with the classrooms being handed over to the election department.

Their plight may not catch anybody’s fancy, but if they have to thank anyone, it is the ‘Weather God’ who brought some respite for them following a dip in the temperature today.

The students, in the age group of five to nine years, were found sitting in the school verandah and in the open compound of the school. Reason: Their classrooms have been booked by the election department exclusively for the polling officers for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections scheduled to be conducted on May 13.

The Home Secretary-cum-Education Secretary Ram Niwas, when apprised of the situation, said: “Though other school buildings too have been engaged for holding election process, it is not right to put students to such an inconvenience. I will get the matter examined tomorrow.”

When asked, school in charge Kusum Lata said the students were taking their lessons in the open for the last five days as the classrooms had been vacated for carrying out renovation work. “As the rooms have to be whitewashed before polling, we have been told to vacate them in advance,” she replied.

Justifying the move, she said, “The election officials told us to vacate four rooms for the poll process as there was no other suited place in the area. We are holding classes I, IV and V in the open. “How can we refuse them the space when we got the orders to accommodate polling officials,” she added.

Meanwhile, some of the schools, including GMHS, Badheri, GHS, Kajheri, and GHS, Hallomajra, which do not have enough space to accommodate their students, too have been told to vacate three to four rooms for polls.

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Gangrape victim tries to end life at police station
Tribune News Service

Kharar, May 5
A 22-year-old gangrape victim today tried to commit suicide at the Kharar police station by consuming some poisonous substance.

The victim, a resident of Ludhiana, had come with her husband to the police station to know the status of her case. She was allegedly raped by three men on April 22 and all are still at large.

She came to the police station today afternoon and asked the ‘munshi’ about the status of her case, who asked her to wait.

After waiting for around 15 minutes, she emptied a bottle of some poisonous substance down her throat while her husband was with her.

The ‘munshi’ caught hold of her and she was rushed to the Kharar civil hospital. The police arrested her and her husband for attempting suicide and hatching a conspiracy.

In her complaint to the police on April 22, the victim had alleged that she was in touch with one Mehar Chand of Chandigarh who had promised to set her an STD-PCO booth in Ludhiana.

Mehar Chand had allegedly asked her to come to Kharar bus stand. He was accompanied with two other persons when he came to pick her up from the bus stand. The trio allegedly took her to a secluded place on outskirts of Chandigarh and raped her.

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Student held for rape, making obscene MMS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Chandigarh Police today arrested a 17-year-old boy for allegedly raping a 13-year-old daughter of his father’s acquaintance, committing unnatural offences and making obscene MMS to blackmail her.

According to sources, the accused, a class XII student of a private school, had allegedly been making obscene videos of the victim, a class IX student, for the past one-and-a-half year.

In her complaint to the police, the victim, a resident of Sector 48, alleged that the accused had promised to marry her, but later started threatening her of dire consequences.

The victim alleged that the accused, a resident of Blossom Society in the same sector, was known to her for the past five-six years as both the families were followers of the same sect. They used to meet frequently and their meetings graduated into a friendship around three years back.

He later began forcing her for physical relations and had once called her to the residence of one lucky, who was staying as a paying guest in her neighbourhood. He tried to force himself upon but she revisited, the victim said.

Around one-and-a-half year back, the accused gained entry into her house through a balcony. He took her to the bedroom and forced her to remove her clothes, she alleged. After being threatened by him, she undressed herself and the accused committed obscene acts with her and also made a video through his mobile phone, she added. At the same time, her brother came home and the accused escaped through the balcony.

The police has registered a case of rape, molestation, unnatural offences, criminal intimidation and obscene act under various sections of the IPC. The accused was earlier booked in a case of assault following a group clash in his locality.

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First Person
Unsavoury night at food street
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
When my 13-year-old son Atharv insisted on going to the night food street for dinner on Sunday, I was quite apprehensive. Having overheard the unpleasant stories (in the reporters’ room) of hooliganism and drunken brawls, I had initially dropped the idea to go there, at least with my family.

However, I had to ultimately give in when my wife also joined the chorus and blurted, literally like a Chandigarh Police PRO, that she had read that adequate security arrangements had been made there and all was fine. So, we landed at the food street, and believe me, not only me even my wife regrets it.

We reached there at around 10 pm and the place, on the face of it, looked lively. Tables were full and the aroma of the food filled the nostrils. But as one settled down, one was reminded of the adage that what glitters is not always gold. The noises from the adjacent tables got louder by the minute and it didn’t take to be an expert to realise that one was surrounded by boisterous drunken youths, who were using filthy language.

While the abuses were still tolerable, as one is quite used to hearing them in this part of the region, the sight of tottering drunks, literally falling on the tables, was quite disturbing. However, the worst was to come when my wife took my son to the washroom.

She was back even before she seemed to have gone with her face red. “There is someone lying outside the ladies toilet,” she told me. And when I went there, I found a sozzled man lying outside the washroom.

As I came back to my table almost ready to leave, the thought that I had invested my hard-earned Rs 135 in three ‘dosas’ pulled me back. Mercifully, the ‘dosas’ were worth their price. However there was no water and cold drinks were being sold for Rs 30 a bottle (600 ML).

As I left, thinking that the nightmare was over, some smart alec had parked his car behind mine. As I stood waiting for him, I realised that the entire parking area was in a mess and the way some vehicles were parked, it only showed how much civic sense we lack.

As for the cops, they were there but alas doing nothing. They stood there and watched people getting hassled.

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Bansal tackles security concerns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Central government is raising Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) exclusively for the city to strengthen its security, said Congress nominee Pawan Bansal while interacting with shopkeepers on his mass contact programme in city markets and sectors.

Bansal said a proposal for a battalion of 1,007 personnel had already been cleared by the Centre a few months ago and added that CCTV cameras would be installed at all major tourist and public places.

He was taking rounds of the police colony in Sector 26, markets in Sectors 16, 22 A and B and 20-C.

Jain’s tirade

BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain today accused the Congress-led central government of ignoring development of the city.

He said development of the city had come to a halt during the last five years due to infighting between various wings of the government and the minister.

Meanwhile, the Himachal Sarv Kalyankari Parishad led by Rajendra Rana today decided to support Jain.

Dhawan woos traders

Former Union Minister and BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan today wooed traders during his door-to-door campaign. Dhawan started his campaign from the Sector 28 market and covered Sectors 27, 19 and 18.

While addressing traders, he promised that after winning the elections he would get them balanced rent Act, single taxation regime and relaxations in building bylaws.

Meanwhile, several Youth Akali leaders and workers announced their support to Dhawan.

Those who joined the BSP, included Balwant Singh Saini, president of the Youth Akali Dal.

RJD campaign

The Mani Majra motor market, the biggest motor market in Asia, is in a bad shape as Bansal, Dhawan and Jain, who had been MP from the city, had neglected it for years, alleged Hafiz Anwar-ul-Haq, RJD candidate here today.

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Sunny ‘twinkles’ for Jain
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
While it is yet to be figured out if stars will shine on BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, Bollywood stars are not seeming to shine for him.

After the cancellation of visits of “dream girl” Hema Malini, who was supposed to campaign for Jain, the visit of Bollywood hunk Sunny Deol today turned out to be a mere twinkle.

Deol made a “guest appearance” in Jain’s poll trail during his brief halt in the city on his way back to Mumbai.

“Though politics is not my cup of tea, I still take opportunity to extend my good wishes for BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain,” said Deol.

It was more of a moment of delight for the lensmen when someone asked him to flash “victory” sign. Sunny in his inimitable Punjabi accent said: “Asi Punjab de puttar haan, hamesha jittde hi honde hain (We are sons of Punjab and we always win).”

Stars apart, Jain began his day at 6.15 am. Clad in his crystal white kurta-pyjamas, he was “all set” within minutes. After having a quick glance at the newspapers and his “to-do list”, he got into his vehicle to join party workers and supporters for morning “padyatra” at Badheri and Palsora villages.

The beats of “dhol” announcing his arrival were helpful in uplifting the spirits of supporters and area residents. Along with their daily newspapers, they got an incentive in the shape of leaflets depicting how the price rise and paucity of basic facilities had made their lives miserable during the Congress regime.

With folded hands and a smile on the face, Jain spent over two hours in the villages. Seemingly camera conscious, Jain did not forget to shake hands and even hug safai workers.

“Look how neglected these two villages are despite the fact that both come under the municipal limits. What’s the logic of storing crores of rupees in banks when even the ‘aam admi’ that hails from these places is being deprived of basic facilities like hygienic drinking water, roads or proper electricity?” said Jain, while leaving for his home to have quick bite at breakfast table.

Being a vegetarian, Jain prefers green vegetables. Being diabetic, a combination of tablet set, is part of his breakfast.

Thereafter, having a brief discussion with his wife Shashi Bala Jain and son Dheeraj Jain, who look after the campaigning part on their end, Jain left for the offices of the District Bar Association and the the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Bar Association to meet members of the legal fraternity.

Around 12.45 pm, a delegation of ex-servicemen were at the Press Club to apprise Jain of their to support the BJP after being dejected by the “false” promises made by the UPA government for not implementing the one rank, one pension norm and other demands.

Assuring them support, Jain left for the timber market in Sector 26 for a brief interaction with the traders there.

After 3.30 pm, his seven-hour recce included interaction with the traders of Ram Darbar Industrial Area, followed by sessions in the transport area, Sectors 34C and 16 and Deep Complex, Hallo Majra.

Reaching home around 10.45 pm, his son brought out the printout of the queries put forth by people on the Internet.

“I never forget to check my blog at night. Dheeraj updates the blog late evening after I write down all replies myself. Through the blog, I get to know peoples’ expectations”, he said.

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Police sends report to EC
Cong leader accused of using foul language
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
With the May 13 Parliamentary elections for the Chandigarh seat ahead, the campaign is getting personal. A case in point is the alleged use of derogatory language by senior Congress leader and city’s market committee president Devinder Singh Babla against BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain during a public meeting at Mauli Jagran yesterday.

Sources said taking a note of the derogatory utterances by Babla, the local police has sent a report along with a video CD of the public meeting to the senior police officers.

The sources said Babla had used derogatory language against Jain during the meeting held in Mauli Jagran.

A police officer said the report had been sent to sub-divisional police officer (East) PK Dhavan. Dhavan had asked nodal officer for the Lok Sabha elections DSP Vijay Kumar to take an action.

Vijay Kumar said the report did not have ingredients of a cognisable offence. As far as the violations of the model code of conduct was concerned, it had been sent to the Election Commission for further action.

When confronted on the issue, Babla maintained that the residents of the locality were under a state of terror unleashed by the BJP goons. His supporters told him that the BJP goons did not allow them to hoist their party’s flags and forcibly prevented them from attending public meetings.

About the derogatory words used against Jain, he stated he told people that Jain would face the consequences.

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Curb on liquor sale
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
UT District Magistrate-cum-Excise and Taxation Commissioner RK Rao has issued orders to check the sale/service of liquor in the areas adjoining the states of Haryana and Punjab (Zirakpur side only falling in Patiala parliamentary constituency) from such liquor vends that are situated on the border of the UT.

This is in compliance with the directions of the Election Commission of India with regards to the general election to the parliamentary constituencies of Haryana and Patiala parliamentary constituency of Punjab on May 7.

The District Magistrate has declared dry days from 5 pm on May 5 to 5 pm on May 7 in the areas bordering the states of Haryana and Punjab (Zirakpur side only), including the areas of above-mentioned liquor vends.

Accordingly, the liquor vends will remain closed and no liquor will be allowed to be sold and served from these liquor vends during the period of said dry days.

Similarly, as the general election for the parliamentary constituency of Chandigarh is scheduled for May 13, the District Magistrate has also declared the period from 5 pm on May 11 to 5 pm on May 13 and complete day of May 16 as the dry day.

The decision has been taken keeping in view that the sale and service of liquor from these liquor vends and other joints may cause hindrance in the smooth conduct of free and fair poll.

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Play calls upon people to vote
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Samvaad theatre group staged a street play “Vote” at Sector 17 here today.

The play was staged with the aim to spread awareness regarding the use of right to vote. The play depicted the worry about the decreasing percentage of votes.

The play started with the gossip of some students planning to celebrate the holiday on the day of polling in the city. One of the students, Abhishek, made them aware about the importance of their vote. He raised a point that if the country was ruled by the corrupt and immoral persons, we were to be blamed for the same because we did not vote in favour of right people.

The group also gave message that throwing shoes on leaders was not a solution to the problem.

The play was written by Abhishek Sharma and directed by Mukesh Sharma.

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Signature drive to sensitise voters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Chandigarh Citizen Council today launched a signature campaign at the plaza in Sector 17 to sensitise people about their right to vote.

“Through the campaign, we want to target the educated and elite class of the city to exercise their voting right,” said MPS Chawla, council chairman.

“You may have come across people from well-off families who do not exercise their right to franchise but criticise elected representatives. We want to mobilise such voters so that they also participate in selecting upright people,” he added.

“We also want to discourage criminals and corrupt people from entering politics. We want that a majority of the literate class should cast their ballot and make a positive difference in the society,” said Chawla.

Over 200 persons, included three major candidates contesting the elections - Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal, BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain and BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan - participated in the campaign.

RJD candidate Haffiz Anwar-Ul-Haq and Independent candidate Khem Lal Bansal also joined the campaign.

Also, Mayor Kamlesh along with a number of councillors and representative of student associations took part in the campaign.

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Rain brings relief from scorching heat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Residents of Chandigarh can look forward to some more pleasant days as the meteorological department has predicted some more rain and overcast sky in the next 24 hours.

Yesterday’s late night and early morning rain showers brought down the temperature in the city considerably- falling by 10 degree Celsius in just three days.

"According to our weather forecast, it will be a partly cloudy day and the temperature will remain average. Also, a brief spell of rain is expected by the evening," an official of the met office said. The city received trace rainfall during the day, bringing down the minimum temperature to a normal 22.4 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature, the met official added, will hover around 32.6 degrees Celsius. Light showers in the city had brought relief to people from scorching heat of last week.

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Employees lock education board’s audit wing
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 5
The audit wing of the Punjab School Education Board was locked by the Employees’ Association here today in protest against the alleged harassment to the employees working on contract and daily wage basis.

President of the association Jarnail Singh said the employees had not been given their wages for the past four months. He alleged that employees of the audit wing also did not bother for the decisions taken by the board authorities. They prepared their own policies and the board allegedly had to face losses because of their attitude. He said employees of the audit wing were also allegedly involved in a scam of the publication cell, which had come to light recently.

Going against the policy of the board, a sum of Rs 7.5 crore was invested in mutual funds during 2004-05, because of which the employees allegedly had to face a loss of Rs 67 lakh, he added.

The association demanded that the audit employees should be removed from the board and the audit of the board should be got done from AG office or any other government agency.

The association also said if wages of the employees working on contract and daily wage basis were not released, the agitation would be intensified.

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6 chickenpox cases reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
About half a dozen cases of chickenpox have been reported in Colony No. 5, but health officials have denied any knowledge about the same. When a TNS team visited the colony today, residents having one or more members affected by the disease said several people have been suffering from chickenpox over the past one month.

“Many of them have been suffering from chickenpox-like symptoms, mild fever in initial stage, followed by cough and bad cold and red eruptions all over the body,” claimed the residents. The red eruptions, they said had led to severe irritation and body pain and sleeping disorders.

Rajinder, whose son Ranju, has been suffering from the disease apprehended that if the administration did not pay any heed to it on time, then chances would be of spreading the disease.

Another resident Om Prakash complained that no health official had visited the colony nor had made any arrangement to check the menace.

Anti-malaria officer-cum-state nodal officer, Integrated Disease Surveillance Project, HC Gera, opined that cases with such symptoms sporadically came in. “There is nothing unusual about it. As till date, no case of chickenpox has been reported officially.”

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Raid to check food adulteration
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
To check food adulteration in the city, food samples were collected from various places by a team of the health department here today.

During the raid, the team collected the samples of bread, milk rusk, paneer, khoya, milk, ghee, curd and spongy rasgulla to check the adulteration being done in these products, health officials said.

According to local health authority Dr Rajesh Dheer, a team of food inspectors took samples of paneer, khoya and milk from Baba Diary, Sector 21, while ghee, curd and sponge rasgulla from New Krishna Sweets, Sector 23.

Bread samples were collected from Bonn Nutrients, Ludhiana, Choice Bread, Kapurthala, Cremica Bread, Ludhiana, and Bonn Food, he said. “Four vehicles were also challaned as they did not have a food licence,” Dr Rajesh added.

Dr Rajesh said: “After getting complaints from the consumers about the food products, two teams were formed to raid the city’s shops, bread suppliers and collected samples. We will send the samples for testing and a report will be received after one-and-a-half month.”

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Mouse faeces found in sandwich
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
High drama was witnesses at the district courts when a lawyer found mouse faeces in a sandwich bought from Umeed canteen on the court premises here today.

Sukhwinder Singh, a lawyer, had purchased the sandwich from the canteen, which is being run on the court premises.

On noticing faeces in the sandwich, the lawyer took up the matter with the person concerned at the canteen. He told him that the sandwiches had come from Naya Gaon.

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‘Food adulteration goes unchecked’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 5
The Defence Accounts Pensioners’ Welfare Association has urged authorities to adopt strict measures to stop adulteration of food items.

Association president Jagtar Singh said the law against food adulteration had failed to deter adulterators. The claims of the Chandigarh health department that samples collected did not have synthetic chemicals had fallen flat when 24 children caught fever after consuming food recently. It was evident from sporadic incidence of adulteration that the menace flourished despite checks by the prevention of food adulteration cell of the health department.

He added that untimely cleaning of reservoirs could cause diseases like typhoid, dysentery and cholera. The authorities concerned should ensure that contaminated water was not supplied to residents.

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Vaishnav cremated with state honours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The mortal remains of former Chief Secretary of Punjab PH Vaishnav were consigned to flames with full state honours at the cremation ground in Sector 25 this afternoon.

The jawans of Punjab Armed Police reversed their arms and bugles were sounded to the last post following which his body was cremated at the electric crematorium.

Principal Secretary to Chief Minister DS Guru and Chief Secretary RI Singh laid wreaths on the body on behalf of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the Punjab Government, respectively.

A wreath was laid by the IAS officers batch of 1956. Those present at the cremation included Punjab IAS officers, prominent citizens, and former bureaucrats.

Members of the Senior Citizens Welfare Council, in which Vaishnav played an active role, were also present.

Badal today expressed grief over Vaishnav’s death. In a condolence message, the Chief Minister described Vaishnav as an able administrator, upright bureaucrat and a social activist with qualities of head and heart, who held various important positions in the state government before his elevation as Chief Secretary in 1985.

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Counsumer Courts
Builder told to pay Rs 25,000 as compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed A&A Builders & Developers to pay a compensation of Rs 25,000 to Sanjeev Goyal, a complainant, for indulging in unfair trade practice.

The forum also directed the company to complete the construction and deliver possession of the allotted flat to him preferably by December 31, 2009.

Sanjeev has stated that on January 15, 2007 he applied and booked a flat in Group Housing Site in SAS Nagar, Mohali, to be constructed and developed by the firm.

He stated that he had paid a total amount of Rs 31 lakh with six different receipts as full and final payment.

On February 24, 2007 an agreement to sell the flat entered between the complainant and builders.

The builders completed the construction by December 2008, but till the first week of August the opposite party did not even start the construction of the project.

However, the complainant received letters dated August 25, 2008 and September 17, 2008 regarding the allotment of flats and demanded Rs 4 lakh more due to escalation and to make the payment of Rs 2.75 lakh immediately, though there was no agreement of the complainant with them and he has not even signed the supplementary agreement given to the opposite party.

The complainant paid an amount of Rs 1 lakh under protest. The opposite party delayed the project for more than one year and nine months without any reason and sold the project to the partner without informing the complainant.

The forum has directed the company not to demand the amount of Rs 3.75 lakh or any other amount as increase in the construction cost of the flat.

Furthermore, it was specified that the complainant would not be forced to sign any fresh supplementary agreement for the increase in the cost of the flat and the company was asked to refund the amount of Rs 1 lakh (paid on October 4, 2008) at an interest of 8 per cent per annum since September 24, 2008 till its actual refund to the complainant.

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CHB gets clean chit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
In the ongoing dispute of non-allotment of flats in the stipulated time, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has found no deficiency in service on the part of the Chandigarh Housing Board.

Pronouncing the orders, the forum observed, “The likely date of completion of work shall be August 31, 2009. There is no rebuttal filed by the complainant. In view of the affidavit filed by the secretary, CHB, we don’t find any deficiency on the part of the CHB.”

As per the case, the chairman, Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), has introduced a self-financing scheme, 2006 for allotment of 112 two-bedroom flats. Under the said scheme the allotee was required to make 100 per cent payment before the possession of flats. The complainant, Vijayadev Singh Sian, applied for the allotment of ground floor of two-bedrooms flat with application in general category and initially deposited Rs 3,15,000 by way of draft and was allotted ground floor.

Thereafter, the complainant deposited the remaining amount of Rs 28,35,000 and made the full payment. The CHB had assured the complainant and other applicants to handover the possession of the flats within a period of 18 months but two years have passed and the possession has not been given as yet.

In the written reply, the counsel for CHB, Vikas Jain, stated that no assurance regarding the allotment of the flat within a period of 18 months was made to the complainant. Moreover, the complainant has given an undertaking in the application form therein that he shall not claim any interest on the deposits made in consideration for the allotment dwelling unit under the scheme.

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Punjab Roadways penalised for poor services
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Holding the Punjab Roadways guilty of poor services, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed it to pay a compensation of Rs 5,000 to a resident of Sector 18.

The forum has also asked the officials to fix the responsibility of the erring officials and not let the driver and the conductor misbehave with passengers.

The complainant, Harnam Singh Awasthi, stated in the petition that he had returned from Mauritius on June 26 last year and landed at New Delhi. He boarded a Punjab Roadways Volvo bus for his journey to Chandigarh and purchased a ticket worth Rs 370. The complainant was supposed to meet somebody at 8 pm. It was alleged that the bus had hardly reached Sonipat when the air-conditioner stopped working properly. The conductor did not respond when he tried to apprise him about the AC. When the bus was around 10 to 15 km short of Panipat, smoke started coming out of the rear. The driver opened the bonnet of the engine of the bus and found that there was no water and oil in the engine. He put water but the engine did not start as the engine had seized. The passengers were left in the lurch in the scorching heat. Later, the conductor started refunding Rs 135 out of the total fare and adjusted the passengers into another non-AC bus.

The complainant reached the city late and missed his meeting. He said the driver and the conductor could have checked the bus before leaving for Chandigarh but they failed in discharging their duties and leading the passengers into unnecessary harassment.

The Punjab Roadways claimed that the bus had developed a snag suddenly and it was beyond the capacity of the driver and the conductor to repair it on the spot.

Pronouncing the orders, the forum held: “If the roadways employees are not accountable to the public, that does not mean they can harass them,” the forum said.

The forum further said the buses could be seen daily stranded on the roads. Everybody cannot come to the forum to claim petty amounts of Rs 5, Rs 10 or Rs 100 because he has to spend a lot in the shape of lawyer’s fee beside wasting his time and energy in pursuing the case. It is, therefore, high time for the roadways to improve its services, start fixing the liability of the erring officials and refund the fare at the spot in respect of the vehicles, which result in breakdowns.

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Confusion prevails over P’kula MC chief
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 5
Confusion over the status of municipal council president Ravinder Rawal prevailed, as he claimed he was still a president.

Rawal said according to the Haryana Municipal Act, he would get 30 days to file an appeal against the decision of the tribunal, and till then, he was supposed to retain the post. Rawal added that he had filed an appeal to District and Sessions Judge SP Singh.

On a petition filed by BJP councillor VK Sood, civil judge -cum-municipal council tribunal judge Anshu Shukla declared the election of council president Ravinder Rawal illegal and void yesterday. Sood had challenged Rawal’s election through a petition on June 2 alleging that the state government had used pressure tactics for electing Congress candidate as the president of a civic body. They marked the numbers behind the ballot paper that violates the right of secret voting, Sood stated.

While BJP leaders claimed Rawal had no right to continue in the office, BJP councillor and council vice-president BB Singhal said they had requested the Deputy Commissioner to hand over the president’s charge to the vice-president.

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Awareness camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Command Hospital, Chandi Mandir, organised a series of activities to increase awareness about asthma on the World Asthma Day, today.

An awareness camp was organised in the morning on the hospital premises, where demonstration of devices used for treatment of asthma and counselling by medical experts were held.

Addressing officers, jawans and their families, Lieut-Gen TK Sapru, GOC-in-C, Western Command, stressed the importance of environment and role of passive smoking by parents in aggravation of asthma.

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Mechanic gets burns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
A 25-year-old mechanic and resident of Dadu Majra sustained 35 per cent burn injuries after he accidentally caught fire from a stove while removing grease from his pant.

According to the police, Gauri Singh was working at his garage when he caught fire. Seeing this, people nearby called up the fire station and a fire tender from Sector 11 was pressed into service.

However, the incident did not require the services of the fire tender as it was already doused with the help of people. Later, the victim was taken to the Sector 16 Multi-Speciality Hospital.

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Fire at office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
A minor fire broke out at the marketing office of Swaraj in Sector 34 here yesterday.

Two computers and some documents were gutted. No casualties were reported as the shop was closed when the fire broke out.

According to fire officials, three fire tenders were pressed into service. It took about an hour to douse the fire as firemen had to first break open the windowpanes.

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Truck driver assaulted
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, May 5
The Mohali police sent assistant sub-inspector Bharat Bhushan, who thrashed a truck driver on Sunday night on the Zirakpur-Kalka Highway, to the Police Lines today.

Sources in the police said Mohali SSP Jatinder Pal Singh Aulakh sent the ASI posted at the Baltana police post to the Police Lines today. Truck driver Sushil Kumar had reported the matter to the SSP seeking an action against the police officer.

Dera Bassi DSP JS Khaira said the two police personnel were patrolling on the Zirakpur-Kalka Highway on Sunday night, who stopped the truck and assaulted its driver following a heated debate.

After that they took the truck to the Baltana police post, where the ASI also thrashed the driver.

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Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Bimla Devi (75), mother of Brahm Prakash Sharma, an executive in advertisement department, passed away after a brief illness here today. She is survived by two sons and two daughters.

Her husband Sunder Lal Sharma retired from The Tribune as assistant circulation manager. The cremation will take place at the Mani Majra cremation grounds at 11 am tomorrow.

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Admn bans cell phones in schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
In pursuance of the directions of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the department of school education and literacy and the education department of the Chandigarh Administration has instructed all its schools to strictly prohibit the use of mobile phones on the school premises as it causes distractions to the learning atmosphere. As per the communiqué from the Ministry, the use of mobile phones even in silent mode can cause distractions to the learning atmosphere, as the students can use short message services (SMS) during the class and pay little attention to their studies.

The silent mode can also impair teaching performance of a teacher.

Many a time camera phones are used in an inappropriate way, therefore, creating MMS scandals.

After receiving the direction, Director Public Instructions (S), Chandigarh Administration, has directed the principal or heads of all schools to make landline telephone(s) available from where the teachers and students can make calls in emergency, if necessary.

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World Asthma Day
Schools get lifesaving tips
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The death of Delhi teenager Akriti Bhatia after an asthma attack in one of the leading private schools there seems to have finally woken up city-based schools as well as NGOs on the dire need of creating awareness about the condition that nationally plagues 60 per cent of the children.

And what could have been better for this endeavour than the World Asthma Day. A city-based NGO, Health Aid Medicare, today organised a seminar-cum-training workshop at MRA Senior Secondary School, Sector 27, in which 25 private schools participated.

Talking to The Tribune, organiser, Dr Anju Gupta, said: “There is a thin line between life and death. And in case of asthma patients this line can be the timely use of the inhaler or nebuliser.”

She said the workshop was aimed at providing vital and lifesaving tips to schools as a large number of schoolchildren suffered from asthma.

Admitting that it was Akriti’s death that had motivated them to “revive” this programme, Dr Gupta said: “We used to do it earlier but had abandoned it”.

She said the participants were given tips about first aid and proper administration of nebulisers to asthma patients in distress.

Advocating parents to inform schools about the health status of their wards, Dr Gupta said the practice should be “mandatory”.

She said once schools were made aware of it, it was their duty to take care of the child and the staff. Thus, they should be trained in common routines like administering medication and monitoring health status.

Stating that asthmatic medicines did not cause death by overdose, Dr Gupta said in case of emergencies in school, affected children should be given medication at regular intervals till arrangements were made to shift them to the hospital.

Appreciating the effort, Principal of Moti Ram School, Sector 27, Saroj Sawant said: “Since prevention is better than cure, proper knowledge about dealing with such case can always come in handy”.

At the workshop, Dr Sandeep Jain, paediatric consultant, Fortis Hospital, Mohali, demonstrated the use of nebuliser. He gave tips on treating patients during distress.

“Nebulisers are used for giving high doses of medication, but are generally prescribed only for people with severe asthma. However, their simple functioning makes them a viable option in schools. These devices can be adapted for use either with a mouthpiece or adult/paediatric face mask,” he added.

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