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Tempers flare up as liquor seized from BJP activist
* Congress leaders Babla, Lucky booked for assaulting truck driver
* BJP supporters besiege police station, raise slogans; allege bias

Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

More trouble for Babla

A day after the police sent a report that Babla had used derogatory language against BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain during a public meeting in Mauli Jagran on Monday, Babla again landed in a controversy after being booked by the police in a fresh case. Earlier, the election commission had impounded the official vehicle of Babla, who also happens to be the chairman of the market committee, for misusing the vehicle.

Chandigarh, May 6
The seizure of a truckload of liquor from the residence of a BJP activist on the eve of polling in neighbouring Panchkula and Zirakpur today sparked off a political row with Congress leaders claiming that the seized liquor was meant for luring voters.

The police has booked BJP activist Rajiv Goel, who also operates a liquor vend, and his truck driver Bhim for stocking liquor without valid documents at his residence in Sector 18 and also registered a case against Congress leader Devinder Singh Babla and former CYTC president H S Lucky for allegedly assaulting and intimidating the truck driver.

Goel and other BJP leaders have refuted Congress allegations and said the liquor was meant for sale at the former’s vend in Sector 18 but they failed to explain as to why such a huge quantity (100 cases) of liquor was kept in a truck parked outside the residence of the activist.

According to information from the Excise department, 50 cases were cleared by the department for sale at Goel’s vend on May 1, the remaining were released the next day.

Though police officials have booked Goel on charges of storing the liquor without valid permit, they do not rule out possibilities of its illegal distribution for luring voters in and around the city.

Meanwhile, a high-tension drama was witnessed at Sector 18 after the raid as a large number of BJP activists reached there. Demanding action against Babla for allegedly assaulting the driver, the agitated BJP activists gheraoed the police party and prevented them from taking away the seized truck.

As tempers ran high, Babla and other Congress leaders made a hasty retreat. They were, however, booked under Sections 323 and 506 of the IPC.

According to eyewitnesses, Babla had allegedly assaulted Bhim and also snatched his mobile phone while the police was questioning him. Goel alleged that Babla had also trespassed into his residence. He alleged that the police was acting in connivance with the Congress leader.

On the other hand, Babla alleged that some residents of the locality informed him about the supply of illegal liquor to the slums in and outside the city. He said on reaching there, he saw liquor being shifted to a truck from another vehicle and he immediately informed the police. He claimed that he had to grapple with the truck driver in order to prevent him from fleeing.

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Trader’s Murder
Motive not clear, cops clueless
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Amarjit Singh Chandigarh, May 6
The Chandigarh Police is confused over the motive behind the murder of Amarjit Singh, owner of the Sham Fashion Mall, who was shot by two unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants outside his Sector-34 residence last night.

A senior police officer today confirmed that not a single article was taken away from the victim’s car by the assailants, as reported that the assailants decamped with a huge amount of cash.

The officer told TNS that the family had informed them that nothing was missing from the car as they had recovered Rs 1 lakh, Amarjit’s laptop and a bag containing keys from the car.

Still groping in the dark, the police is working on various theories, including dispute with a former woman employee of the victim, robbery or business rivalry, leading to contract killing. The police has formed various teams to crack the case.

A police officer closely monitoring the probe told TNS that an angle of a dispute with a woman employee working in the Mall had also emerged. It was said that the woman was expelled following her misconduct and the killing could be the repercussion of that.

The sequence of the events and the modus operandi adopted by the assailants has also left the investigators puzzled. The windscreen of Amarjit’s Skoda Octavia car (CH-03-Z-2485) was smashed with butts of the revolver. As per the statement of Prem Bhadur, the servant and the lone eyewitness of the incident, he went to open the gate after hearing the car horn blown by his master and on the way he heard gunshots but mistook them with sounds of crackers. He then saw someone attacking Amarjit, who was sitting in the car, and rushed inside the house yelling: “Sahib is being attacked by someone.”

He told the police that on the way to hospital, Amarjit told his son that he was shot and had seen two persons in suspicious activity near his house. Before he could react, one of them attacked him.

A police officer said it appeared that the assailants were novice as there was no point of smashing the windscreen with butts. Had they been professional shooters, they would have killed him and fled. There was no point of their entering into a scuffle with Amarjit.

The robbers would have tried to take away the articles and would have waited for the man to come out of his vehicle, the police officer said. Even the place of crime did not suggest that the robbers would try to pull out the man from his car to loot him at his doorstep, he added.

According to another view, if the assailants had familiarised themselves with the area and followed Amarjit, they could have easily carried out their plans as there were several blind spots on the way from the Mall to his residence.

As per the post-mortem report, three gun wounds were found on the victim’s body. One bullet was found in his spinal cord, the other one had pierced the victim’s lungs and liver resulting in excessive bleeding and the third hit his arm and was recovered from the car.

The police said the doctors failed to locate the bullet which had pierced victim’s lungs and liver and there was no “exit wound”. The police said even the X-ray examination could not trace the bullet.

The police said a .36-bore revolver was used in the crime which was easily available in Uttar Pradesh.

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Scare among city traders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Panic triggered among the trader community after the murder of Amarjit Singh, owner of Sham Fashion Mall, in front of his residence in Sector 34 last night.

Talking to TNS, traders from various parts of the city expressed shock at the incident and said they had started thinking about making their own security arrangements. A sense of insecurity prevailed among the traders as it was the second incident in the city when a trader was attacked by assailants just outside his residence. Earlier, Deepak, owner of Mochi shoes in Sector 17, was assaulted outside his residence in Sector 34.

The traders are afraid of robbers, who were earlier active in Panchkula and the city was largely considered as secure from such incidents of looting of traders. A Sector 34 restaurant owner said he began contemplating to make his own security arrangements and planning to buy a weapon for himself.

JP Singh Kalra, general secretary of the Trader’s Association, Sector 17, said the community had lost faith in the law and order machinery. They held a condolence meeting held in Sector 17 and condemned the murder of the trader.

The association urged the police to take all possible measures to create a peaceful environment so that such incidents should not happen in future. The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) demanded an immediate arrest of the killers and approval for additional police force for the city.

During the meeting, members of the mandal said the security in the city was insufficient. They said overall improvements in the intelligence and police security were required in the city markets, especially during and after the closing hours.

The CBM decided that a high-level delegation of its representatives would meet the UT IGP, the SSP, the Home Secretary and the Administrator to express concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in the city.

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Undertrial gives cops the slip
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 6
An accused who was undergoing trial in the murder of a railway employee escaped from the custody of the Government Railway Police Force (GRPF) while he was being brought for a medical examination at General Hospital here today.

Purshottam (52), who had been working at the local railway station, was allegedly killed by the accused and three of his accomplices, on the intervening night of November 4 and November 5, 2008. The personnel of the Government Railway Police Force later on, arrested the three of them.

Purshottam had objected to the drinking by the accused at the station. At this, the enraged drinkers attacked him with a wooden log. Purshottam sustained serious injuries and was admitted to General Hospital, Sector 6. From there, he was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The two of the accused who had claimed themselves to be minors, were today brought from Ambala to the general hospital by three constables- Satpal, Ashok and Raghubir-for the age determination test.

The two constables took one of the accused to a doctor. The second handcuffed accused, who was sitting with another constable outside the room, managed to free himself and fled away from the spot.

The Ambala GRPF SP said an FIR had been registered in the case and departmental inquiry ordered against the three constables.

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Campaign Trail
Development buzzword for Bansal
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
It is still dawn and Union Minister of State for Finance and sitting MP Pawan Bansal exudes confidence of a seasoned politician on Tuesday as he readies for his first scheduled programme - a padyatra - at the Sector 26 Police Lines at 6.30 am.

With firmness in steps and a broad smile on the face, Bansal lets his body language speak louder than his words. Folded hands, often giving way to warm handshakes, are enough to woo a motley crowd of law enforcers as Bansal seeks their votes for a hat-trick from the Chandigarh seat on the development plank.

Back in his Sector 28 house after the morning walk - as he terms the padyatra - the suave politician plays a double role - that of a party candidate and an organisation man - instructing his lieutenants to tone up the organisation and sort out differences among certain party workers ahead of the D-day that is May 13.

Even as his main political rivals - Satya Pal Jain (BJP) and Harmohan Dhawan (BSP) - focus on Bansal's "non-performance", the unfazed minister is clearly focussed on positive campaign to make Chandigarh a world-class city.

“Development is the best antidote to anti-incumbency. I start work from the Day 1 without waiting for the announcement of elections," an upbeat Bansal, still basking under the successful May 3 rally of AICC president Sonia Gandhi, told The Tribune.

Picking holes in the opposition's criticism that the minister had failed bring any mega projects to the city, Bansal hit back saying that the opposition had no national agenda. He reminded that UT's plan budget, which increased to Rs 168 crore in 2003-04 from Chandigarh's inception in 1966, had shot up to Rs 488 crore now.

As he moves to the Sector 16 market for door-to-door campaigning, Bansal radiates positive energy claiming that he was comfortable this time around, terming unprecedented development as his USP.

With slogans “Pawan Bansal zindabad, Congress zindabad, Sonia Gandhi zindabad and Manmohan Singh zindabad” ranting the air, the leader is delighted as senior party colleagues, led by Pardeep Chhabra, former Mayor of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, join him for the door-to-door campaign in Sector 22-A and B.

Accepting marigold garlands graciously from the shopkeepers of the two of the largest markets in the city, indefatigable Bansal traverses a distance of about 3 km in minutes leaving some of the younger leaders gasping for breath. He is touched as a roadside vendor hands him over a Rs 500 note for election fund which he terms as valued more than a lakh rupees.

As his white Ford Endeavour travels back to home for a short break on wide city roads, Bansal lists his achievements on mega projects front and works under the MPLAD scheme.

In the meantime, his nephew-cum-secretary Mohinder Partap Singla juggles mobile calls and accommodates social and public appointments in the rather busy schedule of the minister.

During his leg of campaigning, Bansal's well-attended public meetings at Sector 30, 20-C, Dhanas, Dadu Majra and Sector 38-D provide a sense of relief to the second rung leaders.

Even as the motley crowds at the rallies expect populist announcements, the minister vows to take the development projects to their logical conclusion in his next term.

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Swiss accounts: Swamy lashes out at Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Coming down heavily on the UPA government, Janata Dal national president and former Union Commerce Minister Dr Subrahmanian Swamy claimed that he had made it public that UPA president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi had massive wealth in Swiss banks.

He was in the city to campaign for BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain today.

While addressing a press conference Dr Swamy said, “The UPA has failed to take effective steps to bring back crores of rupees kept abroad in illegal bank accounts. This is because its top leaders have secret accounts abroad. Even the Supreme Court has expressed dissatisfaction over the UPA government’s dilly-dallying on the issue.”

He said it was from the Marcos investigation that Swiss authorities in 1991 came to know that Sonia Gandhi was a beneficiary of Rs 10,000 crore belonging to the Nehrus.

Dr Swamy also categorically disclosed that in September 2001, Rahul Gandhi and his friend Veronique were arrested by the FBI at Boston airport for carrying $1,60,000 in cash.

The Janata Dal is in a national alliance with the BJP and if given a chance to come to power, they would make efforts to bring back the nation’s loot lying in Swiss Banks abroad.

“The Congress is bankrupt of ideas and is singularly inept in handling the problem of terrorism and national security because the party is dominated by leaders with terrorist links,” he further added.

“The Janat Dal supports the BJP because both parties share a common ideology and political ancestry,” he said.

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Round-up
Dhawan woos traders, workers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Former Union Minister and BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan today wooed traders by promising abolition of VAT on foodgrains and the balanced rent act taking care of both the landlords and the tenants.

Addressing traders and workers of the fruit and vegetable market, Dhawan promised that if elected, he would bring about amendments in the building bylaws and strive for easy conversion of SCFs to SCOs.

Coming down heavily on the opportunism of big traders and industrialists, Dhawan claimed that the small industrialists, businessmen and shopkeepers were with the BSP. He reiterated his promise of coming out with the “Garib Awas Yojana” on the UP pattern for the poor.

Prominent among those present on the occasion were MP Kohli, chairman of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, Sita Ram, president of the Sugar Merchants’ Association, Digvijay Kapoor, former president of the Fruit and Vegetable Market Association, Sarita Sharma, area councillor and BK Sood, BSP Beopar Mandal president.

Meanwhile, Vansun Massey, whose nomination papers as the SAD (Amritsar) candidate were rejected on technical grounds, today joined the BSP and was appointed as the senior vice-president of party's minority cell, Chandigarh.

More support for Bansal

The Indian Ex-Servicemen League (IESL) today decided to back Congress candidate Pawan Bansal.

President of the Punjab and Chandigarh unit of the League Bhag Singh claimed that 90 per cent of the long-pending demands of the ex-servicemen had been resolved in the Sixth Pay Commission for which they would be indebted to Dr Manmohan Singh, Pawan Bansal and Ambika Soni. Criticising the NDA, he said it had betrayed the ex-servicemen.

Lauding the role of soldiers in the armed forces, Bansal said he was aware that a major chunk of ex -servicemen had made Chandigarh their home. Their demands for more privileges were genuine and promised to put them up to the authorities concerned.

In a major boost to the Congress, a large number of office-bearers and activists of the Hindu Sena, led by its president Satishwar Singh Dadwal and vice-president Sanjeev Verma, pledged support to the Congress.

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Migrants to decide candidates’ fate
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Chandigarh may be known as the city of elite and educated, but it is the “migratory” population that is the deciding factor in the election results. For not only in the Lok Sabha elections, but also in the elections of the Municipal Corporation, it is the colonies and their issues, which remain prominent.

This can well be gauged by the fact that in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for May 13, all the 14 candidates have concentrated most of their campaigning in the colonies in the city and the nearby areas.

Going by the figures obtained during 2004 elections, it is well established that the key to candidates’ victory is in the hands of the colony dwellers.

In 2004, out of the total percentage of polling in the city, 52.48 per cent of votes were polled in city while 47.51 per cent were polled in colonies and villages.

Out of the total 5.27 lakh votes in 2004, only 2.66 lakh were polled. Out of these, 1.39 votes were polled in city, while 1.26 lakh votes were polled in villages and colonies. Though the percentage of votes was higher in city nevertheless, the Congress registered its victory with a comfortable margin due to colony votes.

Politics of the colonies has had an influence to such an extent that even on national level, those parties of UP and Bihar who had earlier fielded their candidates in MC elections, have now fielded their own candidates in ensuing elections as well. Not only these parties have fielded their own candidates, but also have got their senior leaders like Lalu Prasad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan, Mayawati, Subramaniyam Swami for campaigning. Himachal Chief Minister and other ministers have also campaigned for their respective party candidates in villages.

Though Congress’ Bansal got Sonia Gandhi for a rally held recently in his support, but even he had evidently concentrated more on colonies and had spend a lot of time campaigning there during the last few days.

Same was for RJD’s Anwar-ul-Haq, who had been campaigning extensively in colonies and is hoping that Railways Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav’s rally to be held will pull some votes of the natives of Bihar and UP residing here.

Situation is no different for Harmohan Dhawan, whose BSP’s ideology of social engineering has takers mostly in the colonies.

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BJP moves EC against Babla
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The local unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today submitted a memorandum to the Chief Election Commissioner through election observer Arun Kumar Panda against Congress leader Devinder Babla.

Babla, in the presence Pawan Bansal, had reportedly used abusive language against BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain and MC councillor Anil Dubey at a public meeting in Mauli Jagran on May 4.

The entire report along with the CD has been sent by the area SHO to the authorities concerned.

“The language used at the instance and instigation of Pawan Bansal, who was present at the meeting, is derogatory and threatening which can be verified from the CD. They are trying to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere for one or the other reason, which is evident from the previous actions as well,” said Dubey.

The BJP leaders demanded registration of a criminal case against Babla. They also demanded a copy of the CD of the public meeting.

Assistant Returning Officer Hargunjit Kaur said after going through the CD, it had been found that Babla had used objectionable language against the rival party candidate and the CD had been sent to the Chief Election Commissioner.

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Govt staff on poll duty can vote
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
A public servant deployed on the poll duty in the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency is required to apply for the Election Duty Certificate (EDC) with the returning officer. The Form 12-A is to be submitted at least four days before the poll for enabling the employee to exercise his or her franchise at any other place than the one where he or she is entitled to vote.

This has been disclosed by an official spokesperson of the Chandigarh Administration. Preferably one is supposed to vote at the place of duty, he added.

The spokesperson further added that authorities would issue the certificates, after satisfying themselves that the applicant had been detailed about the poll duty on the Form 12-B. Tehsildar, Estate Office, HR Nagra has been authorised by the returning officer to issue the certificates. All officials on poll duty can apply for certificates till May 8 with Nagra.

He clarified that the above concession was admissible only for such public servants, who were posted for the poll duty in the same constituency as the one in which they are registered as voters and not in other cases. A polling agent cannot avail this facility.

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All set for poll in P’kula
Fate of Selja, Kataria, Chanderpal, Dalbir to be sealed today

Tribune News Service

Poll staff install EVMs at a polling booth in Panchkula
Poll staff install EVMs at a polling booth in Panchkula on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, May 6
Ten duty magistrates and 31 sector magistrates have been deputed to supervise the poll arrangements of the two assembly segments of Panchkula and Kalka which will go to the poll tomorrow. These two segments fall in the Ambala Parliamentary constituency. The fate of seven candidates, including that of sitting MP Kumari Selja (Congress), former MP Rattan Lal Kataria (BJP+INLD), Chanderpal (BSP) and Dalbir Singh (HJC) would be sealed in the 310 electronic voting machines. The polling will start at 7am and end at 5pm tomorrow.

At least 156 polling stations have been set up in Kalka while 88 polling stations in Panchkula.

In addition to this, two companies of armed police, one each from Himachal Pradesh and another from Haryana have already reached the district. They along with more than 700 police officials from Panchkula district in addition to 30 exservicemen from the Haryana Exservicemen League and 400 home guards would man the different polling stations. Amitabh Dhillon, SP, said about 310 booths had been declared as critical, sensitive, hyper sensitive and normal all over the district. The three critical booths to be set up at Mongi Nand, Chokki and Fathehpur villages would be manned by a non-gazetted officer along with a head constable, a constable and a home guard.

Three teams have been constituted for patrolling in the Panchkula, Kalka and Raipur Rani area and three DSPs deputed to keep a check on unlawful activities in these areas.

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Sale of liquor banned
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 6
A ban has been imposed on the sale and distribution of liquor in Dera Bassi sub-division of Mohali district in connection with the Lok Sabha polls, which are being held tomorrow.

Dera Bassi sub-division is a part of the Patiala parliamentary constituency-13.

An order issued by Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand stated that a dry day was declared in a 10-km stretch bordering the Patiala parliamentary constituency under Section 54 of the Punjab Excise Act, 1914.

All liquor vends falling in the area would remain closed tomorrow. No person would be allowed to sell or store liquor and neither would liquor be served in hotels, restaurants, clubs or any other private or public places.

The orders would be implemented by the SP and Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner.

Mand said micro observers were appointed at 23 hyper-sensitive booths in Dera Bassi as per the directions of the Election Commission of India.

These micro observers were Central government employees.

He said a third-level randomisation of EVMs was carried out at Shivalik Public School here today. EVMs for both Mohali and Kharar were stored in the Phase VI school under a tight security. The third-level randomisation had to be done in the presence of the observer concerned.

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CITCO Workers’ Union
Stalemate over poll persists
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Confusion still prevails over the governorship of the CITCO Workers’ Union, as contradictory information is being pasted on the official notice board by different groups formed within the union.

President of the union Yashwant claimed chairman Kashmir Chand, whom he has nominated, has been expelled from the post yesterday. Whereas, Kashmir said Yashwant had been dismissed on May 3, and hence, possessed no capacity to expel him.

Yashwant added that the workers had nominated senior vice-president Pardeep Sharma for the post of chairmanship of the union. “ Kashmir has been expelled from the post with an immediate effect on account of his involvement into anti-worker activities and overstepping his authority arbitrarily. Moreover, I have been appointed for the post of presidentship till 2010 in a unanimous decision taken during the 2008 elections,” Yashwant said.

A letter to this effect has also been forwarded to the CITCO management.

Also, bickering within the union was witnessed recently during one of the auctions of old articles conducted by the corporation.

The auction had to be cancelled due to ‘fake bids’ causing loss worth lakhs to the corporation.

While bypassing Yashwant directly, Kashmir asked the management to explain the cause for the ruckus. Smitten by the move, Yashwant pasted a notice on the board asking Kashmir to explain the reason for approaching the management directly with out taking him into confidence.

Instead, Kashmir also pasted his reply on the notice board that it did not come under the jurisdiction of the president to question the chairman. He added that it had happened for the first time that the president was issuing a notice to the chairman.

Meanwhile, Kashmir said the elections had been declared on May 26, in which all groups would be free to contest and position would be clear by then.

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Passengers flood railway station on poll eve
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Well, its time to go back home. For polling or for a weekend holiday is anybody’s guess.

A visit to the Chandigarh railway station on Tuesday gave a glimpse of unprecedented rush at the ticket counters, queues extending till outside the station. People belonging to other districts were heading towards home.

The counters were flooded with passengers waiting for a ticket, from government employees to young first time voters and even women, all waited under the scorching sun for their ticket.

“Due to a holiday declared in Haryana and the election in other districts tomorrow, people are heading towards their native place and this is the reason for the heavy rush today,” said RK Dutta, station superintendent, Chandigarh railway station.

Talking to some passengers, there were some who had planned a visit to their hometown to vote for their favourite candidate, while there were also others who candidly confessed taking a weekend off for relaxation and for spending time with their family.

“It is a holiday tomorrow so I plan to vote tomorrow in my hometown in Haryana, then may be take a holiday on Friday and enjoy the weekend at home,” said a government employee on seeking anonymity.

“Everybody in my office took an off from work owing to elections. Even though my voter card is not made, I am going back home to enjoy the laidback weekend,” added Bhuvnesh Sahai, a resident of Jaipur currently working in Chandigarh.

Despite a series of awareness campaigns for making people aware of their right to vote, the election for many is a time to take an off from the work. Especially blistering heat and soaring temperature could be an excuse for those who are planning to stay off from the polling booths in these elections.

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Train to Dehradun with few passengers
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
With the summer vacations round the corner, the Dehradun-Chandigarh (0412) special summer train is yet to draw passengers. Ever since the train started on April 1 this year, the lean passenger strength has been a characteristic feature of the train.

With 10 AC coaches and not a single general coach, the need to add some general coaches is now being felt, as passengers prefer to travel in the general coach, say sources. The 450-seater train that also caters to the Hardwar passengers has been getting a meager response of 70-100 booking on an average travel day.

Ravinder Kaur, a passenger, who was waiting for the Dehradun summer special train to arrive at the station, said, “I feel that instead of all AC coaches, some general coaches should also be added for layman even as the train is comfortable otherwise.”

Echoes another passenger Ramandeep, “In a country like India, people prefer travelling by general class, especially to a place like Hardwar, not many passengers will prefer an AC coach. There have to be some general compartments also.”

H.K. Jaggi, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Ambala Division, said “The rail which was lying idle the whole day at Dehradun has been utilised as the summer special train till the time a regular Chandigarh-Dehradun train comes up. Since it was lying idle, we pursued the headquarters to run it for the convenience of passengers.”

Elaborating on the planned proposal of a conventional train between Chandigarh-Dehradun, he added, “Till the time a conventional train with one or two AC coaches and rest general coaches materialises, this is a reasonable option for the passengers. Given the fact that the passengers travelling to Hardwar may not have a high paying capacity also, the fares are reasonable.”

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20 days on, MC still testing traders’ patience
‘Dig-and-run’ policy affecting their business

GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
It seems that the municipal corporation is testing the patience of Industrial Area, Phase-II, traders, who for the past 20 days, have been living in miserable conditions. Thanks to the ‘dig-and-run’ policy of a corporation team which has virtually brought their business to a standstill.

The civil wing of the municipal corporation which had got the area opposite to the traders’ shops excavated for laying the rain water pipes more than three weeks ago, has left the job halfway.

Till date, despite assurances by top municipal officials, the approach to the shops is full of mud. Foul smell emanating out of it has made the life of traders miserable.

SK Bansal, Chief Engineer, Municipal Corporation, directed the traders to contact the executive engineer concerned. VK Garg, XEN, promised to set things right, but even after one week, nothing has been done.

A visit to the site revealed that the traders of the industrial sheds from numbers 332 to 350 were the worst affected as not only the water pipe but also the sewerage connections and underground telephone cables also had been damaged.

Moreover, the trenches dug up on the entire stretch have been left open thereby threatening the passers by. On numerous occasions, two-wheeler drivers have reported to been slipped due to the sludge.

The traders rued that they were suffering losses as the mandatory “service lines” had been dug up. “We are also not getting potable water as the water pipelines have been disconnected. It has also become impossible for us to use toilets as the sewerage line, too, was dug up about 15 days ago. We are facing hardship in the absence of these basic amenities”, said Gulab Jain of Prabhat Enterprises.

“Why didn’t the municipal corporation take this job on the priority basis. This area was dug up about 15 days ago. Till date, no one turned up for laying the sewerage pipes. Consequently, the approaches to the shops have been blocked,” he rued.

Except for the BSNL lines the municipal workers have damaged all other telephone lines.

“We are not connected with the outside world as most of the people have telephone numbers of our shops. Also, there is no space left for loading and unloading of the material”, rued Des Raj of Balaji Steels.

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Ex-super cop in a new avatar
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Former ‘super cop’ KPS Gill, who gave terrorists a run for their money during terrorism in Punjab, has donned a new avatar. A prominent member of the recently-launched Citizen India, a forum to bring about changes and betterment in the quality of governance, Gill has taken upon himself the task of bringing huge unaccounted money allegedly stashed in the Swiss banks by unscrupulous politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats to India.

Gill, who was in Chandigarh today to create a mass movement about the black money allegedly siphoned off to Switzerland, urged the Supreme Court to set up a mechanism aimed at bringing back the huge Indian assets which could be substantial to remove poverty in the country.

Besides Gill, Citizen India members — Ram Jethmalani, Gopal Sharman, Jalabala Vaidya, BB Dutta and Subhash Kashyap — have already moved the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution on the issue of the stashing away of Indian money “in secret and undisclosed bank outside the jurisdiction of the country, particularly in the UBS Bank in Switzerland.”

However, Gill denied that the petition had been timed to suit the political agenda of the BJP which had made the alleged stashing away of the unaccounted money in foreign banks as the major poll issue. “The filing of the petition in the Supreme court just happened at a time when the elections were being announced,” Gill said, negating the general perception that the petition had been filed to favour the NDA campaign.

Gill explained that the petition was the offshoot of discussions on the security scenario in the country in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks.

On the wide variation in the quantum of unaccounted Indian money in foreign banks, Gill claimed that it could vary from $1.5 to $2 billion.

The petitioners submitted that the poor Indian people had been deprived of the assets which when available would substantially remove poverty.

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Musical tributes to Batalvi
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, May 6
A larger than life image of legendary Punjabi poet Shiv Kumar Batalvi pervaded the Punjab Kala Bhavan as admirers and artistes paid rich musical tributes to the legendary Punjabi poet at a musical soiree held at the Radhawa auditorium here today.

During this annual event held under the aegis of State Bank of India and Punjab Arts Council Aruna Shiv Batalavi whose husband Shiv was an employee of the SBI was honoured.

The chief guest NK Talwar, AGM, legal luminary Ravinder Krishan and Harjinder Kaur, PAC chairperson, honoured Aruna Batalvi with a cash award and bouquets.

His old associates, including Kamaljit Suri (Amritsar) Surinder Sagar (Taran Taran) and Dr Anil Kumar, presented those songs, which they had been singing in his company. There is an enormous craze and liking for lyrics of Shiv, said Aruna.

Living up to the reputation Surinder Khan doled out “Tun vida hoyon” and “Rog ban ke gya” while Naval Mehta presented “Kandulai thor”.

PAC general secretary Rajpal Singh conducted the programme.

In another musical soiree organised by Chandigarh Sahitya Akademy and Kayaanaat Arts, the old associates and young artistes paid tribute to Shiv Batalvi on his 36th death anniversary. Taran Gujral, Gurdev Singh from England and Govardhan Gabbi presented ghazals of Shiv.

Choreography on the poet’s songs by Wamiqa Gabbi and Chandni was well received. Akademy vice-chairman DS Gupt honoured the artistes.

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CRPF officer’s house raided
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 6
In connection with the recruitment scam in the CRPF, a CBI team from Delhi raided the house of a commandant presently posted in Jharkhand and recovered 10 cartridges from his house in Phase 7.

It was a part of the nationwide raids conducted on the premises of a few top CRPF officials.

After the raid, the cartridges were handed over to the police for the registration of a case under the Arms Act.

The cartridges were stored without seeking any permission.

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Drunk cop creates ruckus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Vinod Kumar, head constable of Maloya chowki, indulged in a brawl after drinking with his friend, Hari Pal, at his residence in Maloya here.

According to the police, both of them were good friends and often used to drink together in the evening. However, after drinking today, both of them fought over a small issue and indulged in a fistfight.

Janak Rana, SHO of the Sector 39 police station, said an enquiry had been ordered in this matter.

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PU shopkeepers get eviction notices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
A controversy is all set to brew at Panjab University as the authorities have issued a notice to the shopkeepers in PU market to vacate their premises in 15 days.

The decision comes in the wake of a year-long rift between the shopkeepers and the university over the rent. While the university had revised the rentals and year back, the shopkeepers refused to comply with it and thus, did not pay any rent for an entire year.

Enraged by this, the authorities have threatened to take them to court if they fail to vacate shops in next 15 days.

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PU IAS centre a non-performer
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
With almost every single city-based IAS coaching institute celebrating the success of its students in the All-India Civil Services, the Panjab University centre for IAS seem to have nothing to cheer.

While hardly any successful candidate has credited his or her achievement to the centre, the PU has also failed to make any claims.

When contacted, director, PU Centre for IAS, Manju Jatka failed to give any details of number of selections this year. “I have joined recently and I don’t know about the batch prior to this. The exact number of selections cannot be calculated as there seems to be no such record,” she replied.

According to another faculty member of the centre, the institute provides coaching for the prelims only. “The students move on to the other centres for the training for the mains and interviews,” he said.

However, if the claims of students are to be believed, there is much more to it than just lack of records or confinement to the prelims. Fore many of them, the centre is nothing but an access route to its much-lauded library.

“There are hardly any selections and most of us don’t depend on the PU centre solely because it lacks professionalism. Many in my batch took admission here just to gain access to the library,” said Raghav Sinha, an alumni of the centre.

“When we had joined the institute, we thought it would be the best but we were disappointed. Not only the syllabi is lingered on but even the module is not as per the requirement. While private institutes evolve teaching modules as per the examination, we seem to have stagnated,” added another student.

However, Manju Jatka dismissed the allegations saying: “We try to provide the best to our students in terms of books, faculty and module. The students come, get trained and go. It’s just that we don’t have an alumni association or something to keep a track.”

However, this fails to satisfy many as one of the professors asserts: “The university claims to have the best in terms of books, infrastructure and even faculty then what confines the centre to the prelims coaching only? What bars the authorities to utilise the available resources to expand the horizon of institute so that even we can be lauded for producing toppers in this prestigious exam?”

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EC nod to recruit staff in PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Reeling under severe staff crunch and enormous workload, Panjab University has heaved a sigh of relief with the Election Commission (EC) giving it a go ahead to recruit around 80 contractual employees for the examination work.

The annual recruitment of contractual staff was withheld following the imposition of the Model Code of Conduct and the university had to deploy the existing staff for the examination work.

“We have finally got a nod and will start the recruitment process soon,” said PU Registrar S.S. Bari.

It may be noted that the approval comes after two appeals by the university to the EC requesting for approval in lieu the enormous workload due to the ongoing examinations.

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Honour for Hansraj student

Panchkula, May 6
Karan Saggi, a student of Class XII (non-medical) at Hansraj Public School, has secured admission in the summer school programme of Stanford University, California, USA.

The candidates for the programme are selected from an international pool of highly accomplished high school students. The participants get the chance to interact with Nobel laureates, live work and study at the campus. — TNS

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