C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Robbers strike again at petrol station
Take away Rs 2.5 lakh

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 16
Striking again within a week at another petrol station, robbers beat up the staff and owner and took away around Rs 2.5 lakh at gunpoint in the wee hours of today.

The petrol station in Sector 5 here is located near the main police station.

Incidentally, last year robbers had taken away Rs 17 lakh from Amartex on the intervening night of August 15 and 16. Earlier this week, two youths decamped with Rs 25,000 from a petrol station at Mansa Devi Complex.

According to the owner of the petrol station, Lal Singh, the incident occurred around 4 am when he and two of his employees were sleeping in his cabin. Four youths in a white Maruti Zen asked one of the employees, Navin, for fuel. Later, they asked him to fill a container they were carrying. When he turned to get mobil, four youths overpowered him at gunpoint and took away the cash lying with the cashier after locking him inside the storeroom. They took Navin to the cabin where the owner was sleeping.

“They then took his briefcase containing the cash,” Navin said.

The robbers, two of who wore turbans, were conversing in Punjabi and also snatched their mobile phones and wrist watches. They also snapped the landline connection in the cabin and locked Lal Singh and Navin before fleeing.

The victims broke open the window of the bathroom to get out and informed the police. The police is questioning the staff and it would take some time to reach a conclusion.



Shivalikview staff, gamblers hand in glove?
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The arrest of an employee of CITCO for gambling in Hotel Shivalikview three days ago in which Rs 3.5 lakh were seized has raised questions on the possibilities of a nexus between corporation employees and gamblers.

Though neither the police nor officials of CITCO were ready to accept the involvement of any CITCO employee in the gambling incident, the investigations by this correspondent revealed startling facts.

The person Sanjay Kumar Sachdeva, a resident of Sector 20-C, who was arrested along with the other seven gamblers, was a salesman (a class IV post), posted at the food joint of CITCO at the Sector 17 bus stand.

Ironically, this food joint comes under the jurisdiction of Hotel Shivalikview, but officiating general manager of Hotel Shivalikview Anurag Walia could not "recognise” the person. “At the moment, I cannot recall any person by this name. If you are saying this, we will investigate at our end. Otherwise, the whole matter is under the investigation by the police,” he said.

On persuasion, Sanjay admitted on the phone that he was present on the spot and he knew the persons under scanner. “But I was not part of that gambling team. I went there just to have drinks as some of them were known to me. Moreover, I went there to get back the money they owe me”, he said.

When asked, Sanjay said he did not intimate about his presence on the spot to any official of CITCO yet.

Nevertheless, CITCO MD DK Tiwari did not have any inkling about the connection of any CITCO employee with the incident. “If it is so, then definitely severe action will be taken against the wrongdoer as the matter relates to the reputation of the corporation”, he said.

But, the in charge of the bus stand joint Praveen Goswami testified that Sanjay had been associated as salesman with the joint but chose to reserve his comments when asked about Sanjay’s involvement in the gambling incident.

Eight persons were arrested from room no. 503 of Hotel Shivalikview and Rs 3.52 lakh were seized from their possession. The accused were released on bail.

A police officer opined that the role of the CITCO staff couldn’t be ruled out. Waiters served snacks and other eatables to the gamblers in the room. One can have a fair idea of what was going on there. “It could not be believed that they had no clue about the gambling”, commented a police official.



Zoo to get back power hotline
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Chhat (Banur), August 16
While the common man sweats it out under unscheduled power cuts, animals at Chhatbir Zoo are fortunate enough as the hotline power connection to the zoo would be restored soon.

In 1974, officials had deposited Rs 6 lakh to get a hotline connection for the zoo. The connection continued till 1996, but was abruptly discontinued later for some reason.

That time, the zoo officials said, they were not informed about the snapping of the hotline connection and they learnt about the erratic power supply only after a long time.

They had raised the matter with the higher authorities, but the issue kept lingering for several years.

They said the zoo was brought under rural power supply, after which the power situation deteriorated, as a result of which, animals had to suffer.

There were around 970 animals, including some rare species, at the zoo and their breeding and care required gadgets and uninterrupted power and water supply.

There were 20 desert coolers for carnivorous animals, who felt the maximum heat, in the zoo and the hospital where uninterrupted power supply was needed at all times.

The officials said at present, it was very tough for the Himalayan bear. “We have to provide it with ice to maintain temperature even during monsoon,” the officials said.

The zoo director, Dharmendra Sharma, said all paper formalities regarding the revival of the uninterrupted power supply had been completed.

“PSEB officials have been visiting the zoo for the past few days and assured us that new electricity poles would be erected to restore the 24-hour power supply as soon as possible,” he said.

The electricity department would inform the zoo authorities in advance if there would be any power disruption or power cuts, the director added.



Postal schemes come a cropper
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
In this era of e-mail, e-shopping, e-billing, e-payments et al, nothing seems to be going the postal department way.

Despite launching innovative schemes like door-to-door collection of BSNL bills and making Kerala spices and prasad from Thiruvananthapuram available to residents of Punjab on their doorstep via speed post, there are literally no takers for it. The schemes have, in fact, flopped.

If the trend continues, all schemes will close within a few months, said senior officials of the department.

One of the factors for the schemes not picking up is believed to be the department’s inability to popularise these, say official sources.

The department should have sought public opinion before going ahead with these in the first place, they add.

Moreover, online payment, e-shopping, besides placing order and availing of other facilities have also impacted the schemes.

“Instead of waiting for the receipt of bill, it’s better to deposit the bill online,” says Ravinder Kapoor, resident of Sector 23. “When we can order prasad and spices online, why should we wait for days,” adds Ravinder.

Initially, some residents of the city, Mohali and Ropar had registered for phone collection bills scheme, but the number started declining after a few months of launch.

Similarly, the scheme of home delivery of Kerala spices via speed post could not draw city residents towards itself as the scheme could find just one taker in almost three years of its launch.

According to the door-to-door collection scheme, the postmen was to go from door to door collecting bills from subscribers, depositing the money and delivering receipts to subscribers at their houses.



Poll date not out, but defacement already on at PU
Archit Watts

Committee directions

  • No student/candidate shall be permitted to make use of printed posters, printed pamphlets or any other printed material for canvassing
  • Candidate may only utilise handmade posters at certain university-notified places on the campus
  • No candidate/supporters will deface or cause any destruction to any property of the university/college campus without the prior written permission of the authorities
  • If any candidate violates any recommendation, his candidature can be cancelled
  • Besides recommendations, certain IPC provisions can also be invoked for elections

Chandigarh, August 16
It’s defacement time again at Panjab University. Though the Panjab University Campus Students Council (PUCSC) elections are yet to be announced, a large number of printed posters and stickers of various students’ unions are defacing the campus, apparently in violation of the directions of the Lyngdoh Committee.

As per the Lyngdoh committee recommendations, no one is allowed to spoil the campus by pasting printed materials during campaign for the elections.

However, a random survey of various hostels today revealed that posters and stickers had been pasted on walls, mirrors, gates, toilets and water tanks by various student organisations to show their presence in the run-up to the elections, expected to be held by the first week of September.

Public property is being defaced right under the nose of the university authorities even as the new academic session has begun. In the absence of any checking mechanism, the colleges are also following suit.

Gursimranjit, a student of Panjab University, said: “The poster war has already started. This is the right time to curb the menace otherwise in the coming days, the entire campus would be defaced by students’ organisations.”

The Dean, Student Welfare (DSW), Naval Kishore, said: “We are issuing notices to violators and they would have to pay for the removal of the posters.”

However, Simrandeep Sandhu, chairman of the Panjab University Students Union, said: “It is our right to make prospective candidates popular among students and that is why we have pasted printed material. However, we will observe the election code of conduct in letter and spirit.”


GPA transfer policy under a cloud
Bansal urged to intervene

Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The implementation of the general power of attorney(GPA) policy for the transfer of flats in the names of the GPA holders in the cooperative group housing societies has come under a cloud.

With certain unscrupulous management committees hell bent on scuttling the policy, GPA holders continue to be a harassed lot. While certain society managements have effected the transfers in the names of the GPA holders, a substantial number of cases are pending as the society managements, allegedly in connivance with the cooperative department officials, were delaying the transfers on "flimsy grounds".

Apparently exhausting proper channels, the GPA holders led by Satish Chandra Sharma, general secretary of the Chandigarh Social Welfare Council, have shot off a representation to Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources, apprising him of problems faced by them in getting the flat/share transferred in their names as per policy announced by the Chandigarh Administration.

The managing committees were denying GPA holders the legitimate right of getting their shares/flats in their names owing to "unholy alliance" between the managing bodies and the cooperative department, Sharma alleged.

M.N. Shukla of the Labour Bureau Society stated that despite their meeting the Registrar Cooperative Societies (RCS) to seek early transfer of flat in their names, nothing has been materialised so far. Even the administrator appointed by the RCS to oversee the process of transfer had been withdrawn and committee restored.

Bansal was instrumental in getting the GPA notification issued ahead of the May 13 Lok Sabha elections. In fact, the issuance of the notification had stood Bansal in good stead in the elections with the GPA holders voting for the Congress in good number for Bansal's efforts in getting the notification issued.

Meanwhile, G.S. Ahuja of the Shivalik Society rued that manipulations made by the managing body was causing undue delay in the implementation of the policy. Despite appointment of the administrator, transfer of flats in the names of the GPA was being denied.

In March this year, the administration had formulated a transfer policy fixing Rs 50,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 15,000 as the charges for the Category A, Category B and Category C flats, respectively. However, certain societies were levying "illegal" transfer charges apart from the administration-imposed charges.



Encroachments in grain market ignored
Jyoti Rai

Chandigarh, August 16
The Chandigarh Administration seems to have gone numb to the blatant encroachment on public land by shopkeepers in the city’s grain market in Sector 26.

Openly defying rules, a majority of shopkeepers in the market have extended their shops along the frontal passages, ideally constructed for easy movement of customers while shopping.

In most cases, extensions by the shopkeepers on these passages eat up considerable space on the roads, hampering vehicle parking, their movement, also creating problems for pedestrians in the market.

One can easily spot most of the “karyana” shops with rows of bundled up ration bags, oil tins and in some cases, confectionary items in the passage outside the shops, increasingly becoming quite a nuisance for people, who come for shopping in the market.

Shopkeepers, who have not made extensions themselves, are openly renting the space in front of their shops without any restrictions whatsoever, to smaller retailers and comfortably minting money.

Not just this, trucks unloading goods in front of the shops right in the middle of roads in the market is a common sight. The goods are bundled up in a way that it almost covers up the shop entrance, at times it is tough to even spot the shop from a distance, as all you can see are heaps of “boris” outside these shops.

“It is tough to move out of these narrow spaces with bags in our hands. It is a task to park a car or motorcycle in any part of the market because of these open encroachments. If you protest and try to question the shopkeepers about these extensions, they do not take a minute to talk back with rude comments. It is better not to say anything,” added another customer.

The encroachment in certain cases is almost double than the size of the actual shop.

In fact, the actual shops look like store-rooms, with the shop displaying beginning, from where the encroachments start. Even the cash counters are on roads at certain shops.

“Everyone does it here. We do not face checks more than twice a year. That too, we get to know about in advance. So we comfortably withdraw all the goods very well in advance,” commented a shopkeeper quite candidly, who managed a temporary rented shop in frontal space of a shop.

What is appalling is that no authority concerned wants to even talk about the unchecked encroachments in the grain market.

Both the estate office and the market committee maintained that they were not to be held responsible for any encroachment in the market.

When contacted, market committee chairman Rambir Bahtti said, “We know about this, but we have nothing to do with the encroachments in the market. The estate office is supposed to deal with it.”

Interestingly, on the other hand, Ashok Bhisht, superintendent of the Estate Office Enforcement Wing, said, “It is the market committee that should be dealing with this. We have no authority to act on encroachments in that market.”

The question is that, after all, who should be held responsible for this rampant encroachment in the market. With no authority ready to take the blame, the shopkeepers continue to have a gala time giving quite a headache to people.



Living under fear for a year
Windowpanes of cars of Aggarwal family have been smashed many times

Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
A Sector 35 family is a harried lot. They have been living under constant fear for the past over a year as unidentified miscreants have damaged their cars several times.

Even as an alert Sector 35 resident has captured a miscreant on CCTV camera, who had smashed windowpanes of his car on two consecutive days, the evidence failed to prompt the police into action, which had done nothing so far than making a DDR entry into the episode.

The repeated incidents has forced the victim Pardeep Kumar Aggarwal, a businessman to spend around Rs 50,000 on installing two CCTV cameras at his residence. Besides the incidents have also laid bare the law and order situation in the city, where miscreants roam around freely damaging the properties of the residents.

Interestingly, the incident occurred on August 15, when the police claimed to have made elaborate security arrangements, and just less then 36 hours after a daring daylight robbery in the locality. Last year, windowpanes of Aggarwal’s cars were smashed twice, in which the police had failed to trace anyone so far.

Aggarwal told TNS that on August 15 around 12:06 am, someone smashed windowpanes of Daewoo Matiz (CH 03 A 0519). He reported the matter to the police, which recorded a DDR.

Exactly 24-hours after the first incident, the miscreants travelling in a black Tata Safari came. One of the miscreants sporting a turban and glasses came and threw a flowerpot on Aggarwal’s Tata Indigo (CH 03 Y 3100), smashing its windowpane and drove away.

Showing the clippings, Aggarwal said, “I recognised the man, who is my business rival and called the police. I, along with my brother, gave a chase to the miscreant but they managed to speed away. I called the PCR on 100 and within minutes a Gypsy reached my house. Even on my being insisting them to flash the message about the vehicle, the cops did not move and passed off the matter to the area police and went away”.

“The area police officer had a long list of queries, but made no attempt to nab the suspects. After spending about 15 minutes, he went away, instructing us not to touch anything and did not show his face till 5:30 pm today. On being asked they told us that they had called the suspects, who said they will come in evening”, rued Aggarwal.

The police has reportedly told them that they would examine the spot by the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory experts.

Meanwhile, a case of trespassing, damaging property and intimidation has been registered against Guneet Singh and others.



SC candidates being ‘victimised’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The National Confederation of Dalits Organisation (NACDOR) has alleged victimisation of SC candidates at the time of promotions in various departments of the UT administration.

It alleged that the factual figures of backlog posts reserved for the SCs had not been properly accounted for.

Addressing mediapersons here recently, BR Tisawarh, NACDOR convener, said: “Roster of reservation of SC candidates for appointment and promotion in various departments of the UT administration have not been maintained as per the instructions issued by the Government ofIndia and not vetted by director, social welfare, UT Chandigarh, in the light of these instructions.”

He said a case was brought to its knowledge recently by the “victim” working in the labour department of the UT.

The organisation alleged that the department had promoted two general category candidates in the place of an SC candidate on backlog vacancies due in carry forward cases from 1987 and 1989.

Tisawarh added, “The administration has not followed the essential rules for maintaining the roaster and the entire matter has been brought to the notice of union home minister for social justice and empowerment.”

“If the grievances of SC candidates are not redressed within a month, the organisation will be forced to take to streets to safeguard their rights,” he added.



Plan to set up logistics park
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The UT is planning to undertake a comprehensive warehousing project for developing an integrated warehousing complex called “Logistics Park” on 45 acres in Industrial Area Phase III, Chandigarh.

It has been proposed to set up various kinds of warehouses like Rail Warehouses, Custom Bonded Warehouses, Dry Warehouses, Cold Storage, Special Platforms, Open Warehouses, Agricultural Warehouses and many more ranging from several marlas to 10 kanal.

The Logistics Park will have all forward and backward linkage services, material handling facilities and auxiliary services like fire station, residential complex, bank square, courier and booking services, rain water harvesting facility, waste management system, internet facility, garages, etc.

The project would generate employment opportunities, besides ensuring smooth flow of goods and services in and around Chandigarh. In order to make this dream project a reality, expression of interest for appointing consultant for advising comprehensively on various aspects of warehousing project was inserted in various newspapers across the country.

The response has been immense and 10 consultants from all over the country participated in the pre-bid conference held in the office of DC-cum-Project Director, UT, on August 13.



Speaking Out
Direct Tax Code gets thumbs up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The decision of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee to introduce dynamic changes for increasing direct tax collections by simplification and reducing paperwork and at the same time giving relief to people by increasing in tax slabs and providing exemptions has been widely hailed by the city residents. Since these decisions, if implemented in 2011, will mean more money in the pocket of the taxpayer, they have obvious reasons to smile. The salient tax paper friendly measures include increase in exemption limit on savings from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh, reducing tax rate by increasing slabs - 10 per cent to Rs 10 lakh, 20 per cent up to Rs 25 lakh and 30 per cent on Rs 25 lakh and above, increase wealth tax exemption from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 50 crore and corporate tax rates cut from 30 per cent to 25 per cent.

The available details clearly indicate that we are not entering a high tax regime. The proposed direct income tax structure will not only enhance the spending power in general, but will also ensure pace in the GDP growth of the nation. This is the positive move by government. It will remove all unproductive calculation work in one stroke and save valuable time, energy and paper of the people. The liberal direct tax regime will increase the tax collection. This will help the middle class.

HK Verma, GM, BSNL, Chandigarh

It is a good move where businessmen will participate in paying tax and relief for working community, who pay more tax and get less benefit from the government. Besides, it will bring the black money out and will stop “Tax ki chori”. As income and expenditure is high, the proposed increase in the slab will be beneficial for the common man.

Vaneet Sharma, businessman

It is a welcome step for making the tax system fair. I am of the firm belief that one should be taxed by law and not be untaxed by concession. Although the revised limit for eligible savings (the list of which now stands truncated) may have been raised to Rs 3 lakh in comparison to the current Rs 1 lakh u/s 80-C, investors are now bound to lose their smile when they will be called upon to pay tax on withdrawals under the proposed EET regime. Retirements should be relaxing. However, DTC will make them taxing.

Sanjay Bansal, designated sr lawyer, High Court

I welcome the Finance Minister’s decision to bring down corporate tax to 25 per cent and making the dividend tax free, but there is no indication from the government to exempt export profits u/s 80HHC particularly when huge MSME exporters are participation in economic growth by way of earning much needed foreign exchange and giving huge employment opportunities.

AK Kohli, Sr vice-president, Punjab Chamber of Small Exporters (Phagwara)

The draft code intends a new, significantly liberalised tax rate. Its straightforward language will facilitate better comprehension and remove uncertainty or doubt amongst the common people thus promoting compliance. It will encourage savings in the long run.

Arshee Khosla, student



City Scope
Tit for Tat
Raveen Thukral

I seldom agree with what our politicians say. But the statement of Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni, which came as a reaction to Shahrukh Khan's detention at Newark airport, is an exception. Her suggestion for a 'tit for tat' response is absolutely correct and I support it to the hilt but with a small rider.

Reacting to King Khan's detention Ambika Soni reportedly said, "I am of the opinion that the way we are frisked, for example I too was frisked, we should do the same to them". I totally agree but here comes the rider that I mentioned earlier.

The word "them" (which Ambika obviously means only the Americans) should be replaced with "all". And if we succeed in this "tit for tat" treatment for all, including our VVIPs, who are accustomed to unnecessary privileges and make security our top priority, the lives of the aam aadmi on streets will surely become a lot safer.

One can understand Khan's agony on being treated like a commoner, after all he, as per Newsweek, is one of the 50 most powerful people in world. But hats off to that "unnamed" but "empowered" FBI official who followed the rule book and did what he was supposed to without bothering about Khan's "powerful status". Wish we too had a work culture like that.

However, Khan should consider himself lucky as these American's have a history of being even more inhospitable. In September 2004 they had sent back British pop music icon, Cat Stevens, who had adopted Islam and changed his name to Yusuf Islam. In the 1960s and 70s Cat Steven's hits, "Moon Shadow," "Peace Train," "Wild World" and "Morning Has Broken", had been on the top of the charts and possibly the FBI agents who questioned him would have grown up singing those songs in their bathrooms.

The United Airlines flight on which Yusuf was travelling on from London to Washington was in fact diverted midair to land at Bangor, Maine. He was questioned there intensively by the FBI and they later sent him back home despite his celebrity status and the fact that he was known to be campaigning for charity and peace.

The FBI's action was resented by Muslim leaders in the UK and the United states but the Home Land Security department stuck to its stand and justified their action on grounds that they had information about Yusuf's relationship with terrorist activity and they had acted on it. The CNN had then quoted Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, "Celebrity or unknown, our job is to act on information that others have given us".

There are strong possibilities that both Khan and Yusuf may have attracted the FBI's attention because of being Muslims but surely that must not have been the only reason. Post 9/11 the security at American airports has been a top priority for the US authorities and they have been uncompromising about it.

It's sad but true, that Asians in general and Muslims in particular are looked upon suspiciously by the security personnel at the US airports and they are subjected to extra questioning. Even I have been frisked, like Ambika Soni, every time I have visited the US and made to answer many questions but I have also seen Americans, British et al being meted the same treatment.

Howsoever we may despise their impersonal but stringent security procedures, the American's with their ways, right or wrong, have so far succeeded preventing any terrorist strike on their soil after the attack on the World Trade Centre. And that's no mean achievement.

While the Bollywood and Ambika Soni have reacted sharply to the incident, with some even giving it religious tinge to it, but one seems to forget that the so-called "racial profiling", which we are accusing the American's of indulging in, exists here too. Isn't it true that after every terrorist strike people of a particular community are picked up and detained, be it in Delhi, Mumbai or Ahmedabad. Wasn't this happening in the 1980s too when Punjab terrorism was at peak?

One may like it or not, the entire world scenario has changed in these times of terrorism. An uncanny fear is all pervasive and threat from jihadis and fundamentalists is real. Under the circumstances racial profiling is more of a compulsion, which everyone must bear and learn to live with.

Amidst all the criticism by the King Khan's fans, there are some sane voices too who feel that it's time to shed this VVIP culture, which many of us are so accustomed to, and do things the way they ought to be done. Many also feel that security and not a status of an individual should be important and all steps, howsoever inconvenient to some, should be taken to secure our nation and its people.

In this context I recall a recent column, 'Don't you know I am a VIP?', by a TV journalist, Sagrika Ghosh. She wrote, "On a flight to Sri Lanka a year ago, I saw a very familiar looking British gentleman and a friend standing a few places behind me in the security queue. After the gentleman's bag was checked, the rather brusque staff at IGI Airport even asked him to open it. He did so without demur, packed all his things away afterwards, smiled at the staff and stood in the queue again to board his flight. The gentleman was none other than former British Prime Minister Tony Blair!"

So when Blair can go through this rigmarole without creating a fuss about it, why can't our VIPs do the same? Let's pause and ponder.

Write to cityeditor@tribunemail.com



City Scope Letters
Police should go modern

This is with reference to the article, “A way to go” by Raveen Thukral published in Chandigarh Tribune on August 10.

He has desired the Chandigarh Police to act fast and go the modern way by switching over to the latest techniques in the matter of investigations.

I appreciate his suggestion of bringing all major intersections in the city under round the clock camera surveillance. This will not only help the traffic control but also provide a rewarding lead to the pursuit of a vehicle used for committing the crime and may be of criminals to some extent.

It is the need of the hour to go the modern way in tackling menaces of crime and traffic.

Kamaldeep Singh

Use latest technology

Raveen Thukral has rightly highlighted that how lightly we treat crime and its prevention and how backward we remain in our investigation techniques, despite the fact that we are on the threshold of becoming a developed nation.

He has rightly suggested that efforts should be made to prevent the crime with a right mix of professional workforce and technology. In the changing times of technologies, our ill-equipped police force and crude and primitive techniques of its investigations are coupled with the delayed justice. It is heartening and welcoming that the Chandigarh Police is resorting to the use of technologies to prevent crime.

Harbans Singh Chopra

Give up ‘terrible’ image

The article gives a clear picture of the image of the police in our country and its’ functioning as compared to that of the US police.

The installation of 50 CCTV cameras all over the city for monitoring is certainly a good step as welcomed by the author. The use of the latest technology will surely help in the prevention of crimes in the city.

The traffic police must also give up its image of being the “terrible” police.

RK Kapoor

Strict vigil needed

Citing an example of the Miami (US) police, which succeeded in thwarting a murder of a husband by his wife through an immaculate planning with foolproof secrecy arrangement by an agent, Raveen Thukral in his noble write up has hoped the Chandigarh Police trot that way for pre-empting the evil designs of miscreants in committing robberies, murders, kidnapping and smuggling, etc.

So, for the Chandigarh Administration or for that purpose any state government, if they intend to bring changes in the police behaviour, including professional efficiency in preventing crimes, there is no reason that the police force in India does not improve and adapt to the changed scenario as a sequel of effect of the training.

Gurmit Singh Saini

British justice system cumbersome

Where cash and caste hold the key to service, efficiency is the instant casualty. CCTV cameras cannot be installed everywhere in the jungle of 118 crore people.

In a Boynton Beach operation here, the undercover agent would have cleverly blackmailed both Dalia and her husband and if caught would have got the police station raided from high ups.

British-oriented justice system is too cumbersome for the police to nail the desi criminals. Every society has its own perception and sensitivity towards the nature of crime.

SS Beniwal

Medieval mindset highlighted

The writer deserves appreciation for highlighting the medieval mindset of the police force in the article.

There is a basic difference between the working of the police in India and the western countries. There are innumerable aggrieved persons like Jorawar Singh, whose petitions to the police remain unattended and the police comes into action only when the inevitable happens.

The writer has rightly cautioned the Chandigarh Police on the installation of 50 CCTV cameras to prevent crimes in the city beautiful. By keeping a strict vigil, blatant violations of traffic rules and growing graph of crimes can be checked.

Lajpat Rai Garg

24X7 surveillance needed

Raveen Thukral’s portrayal of two contrasting events handled by the police in the Miami US and Chandigarh Police draw an inference that will provoke a debate.

Tall claims of the top brass of the Chandigarh Police fall on the ground when investigating criminal cases is concerned. Response of the police department depicts the contrast in attitude. The pathetic approach of officials is appalling in context of Chandigarh incident.

While Thukral has lauded some of the efforts of the police like installing CCTV cameras on the traffic inter-junctions and has pleaded revamp of the system. 24x7 surveillance to nail the violators is sanely suggested by him.

Satish Chandra Sharma



Plantation drive in Sector 38 (W)
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
Pushing ahead its social responsibility agenda, newly-formed voluntary organisation URGE today undertook a tree plantation drive in an area in Sector 38 West that was bereft of green cover. Members of the organisation and their families, in association with residents and nearby slum colony, planted over 50 saplings of different tree varieties procured from the department of environment and forests, UT.

The saplings were planted along the berms of both North-South and the East-West roads near the trafficlight intersection of Sector 38-38 W.

Among the saplings planted were of birmani, papadi, tun, morsari, neem and peepal. URGE president Sudhir Gulati said the society had been formed with the aim of promoting goodwill and global harmony through rational thinking and mutual respect for all human beings, irrespective of their race, origin, religion, language or culture, etc, for creating a joyous, loving and peaceful world.



Suspected swine flu cases rise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The number of suspected swine flu cases continues to rise as more people turn up at government hospitals, citing symptoms of the disease. Four suspected cases of swine flu were reported today at various hospitals.

HC Gera, UT Nodal Officer for swine flu, said, “Samples from all of them were collected and sent to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), New Delhi.” As the symptoms noticed in these suspected patients were mild, they were given the option to remain at home, said a health official.

“One of the patients was from Chandigarh, whereas the other suspected cases were from Punjab. Three patients, including one child, were reported at the PGI, while one was reported at GMCH-32” said Gera.



Kumbhra traffic lights on the blink
Tribune News Service

It is free for all at the Kumbhra traffic lights as the lights are non-functional for the last several months
It is free for all at the Kumbhra traffic lights as the lights are non-functional for the last several months. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, August 16
It was 10 pm on last Friday when driver of a bus, who was coming at a high speed from the Sohana side, saw the traffic lights at Kumbhra chowk to be non-functional and decided not to stop. He ignored a vehicle coming from another side towards the traffic junction. Seconds later the two approaching vehicles collided. Luckily, no one was hurt.

Incidents of vehicles colliding have become a daily affair, but the authorities concerned have failed to act for the safety of the road users. Rather, the officials of GMADA and Mohali blame each other for the problem.

The junction is busy as traffic from the Chandigarh-Sohana and the Kharar-Mohali road converges there. Sources in MC said during widening of the roads around Sector 62, the cable of the traffic lights were damaged and had not bee repaired since then.

“Traffic light has been out of order for the last eight months, but no one is bothered. The officials are waiting for more people to die,” remarked Arvinder Singh, a resident of Phase IV, here.

If the power cable has been damaged, solar powered lights can be installed till the fault was rectified. “If there is will, the solution of every problem can be found,” said Anupma Sharma, a resident of Industrial Area, Phase IX, here.



‘Sawan Mela’ at Tagore Theatre

Chandigarh, August 16
The Bhatinda Zone Social Welfare Society presented a Punjabi folk cultural programme at the Tagore Theatre to mark the “Sawan Mela” celebrations. Punjabi folk singer Balbir Chotian presented hit songs from his albums while folk dancers from Bhatinda gave a performance of Malvai giddha.

Chief guest MP Ravneet Singh, Ajitinder Singh and Balbir Singh Sidhu, both MLAs from Punjab, graced the function. Five persons from Malwa, including two IAS qualifiers were honoured. Former editor Punjabi Tribune, Sidhu Damdami released the souvenir. — OC



Rehriwallas back in business
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 16
The rehris are back in Mohali. After a concerted move by the Mohali district administration to remove rehris from roadside across the city, the rehri operators were removed in the anti-encroachment drive.

But the rehri operators are back in business. Instead of doing the business during the daytime, they come during the evening hours. As a result there is chaos in the markets and MC officials and police personnel watch helplessly.

Sources in the administration said recently the SDM had directed the executive officer of the MC to remove all rehris across the city. There had been complaints that rehriwallas stand near traffic junctions and along roads, causing road accidents.



Minister’s death condoled
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 16
The Haryana Civil Medical Services Association condoled the death of health minister Kartar Devi. In a condolence message, Dr Kamal Singh, president of the association, said it was the contribution of Kartar Devi in the health services due to which the state introduced the major health projects, including delivery huts, free medicines in OPDs and surgical packages.



Essay contest on Aug 31
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
As part of the anniversary celebrations of the First Friday Forum, the forum is organising an essay-writing contest on the theme, “Architecture and music”.

According to forum founder, Dr SS Bhatti, persons between the age group of 13 to 30 years can mail the essay typed in double space in 500-750 words at 3314, Sector 15-D, Chandigarh, by August 31.

The winner will be presented a shawl and a citation on the occasion of the forum’s annual function in October.



Regional Identities at PU
Feeling at home still a dream
Jyoti Rai

Chandigarh, August 16
The expression “home away from home” seems to have failed miserably to paint a true picture of students from Bihar at Panjab University.

Unlike other regional groups who have managed to carve a niche for themselves in the university, these students can’t seem to even get past the “bhaiya” tag.

Though in huge numbers, these students do not have a formal association yet, but at the same time they make it a point to stick together in groups.

“It’s high time we consolidate and form an association. We have been working on those lines. Something concrete should be visible in the coming session,” says Mukul (name changed), a UIT student from Bihar.

They add that they haven’t ever really been able to feel at home in the university.

They say most students blatantly discriminate against them as if they are undeserving or underqualified.

Dev (name changed), another student from the group, says: “We are here because we cleared national entrance examinations like anyone else. Still, they accuse us of being incompetent. They joke about how people from Bihar and UP are no better than pulling rickshaws and driving auto-rickshaws.”

“The first day I entered the college, I was endowed with the ‘bhaiya’ tag. Back home, the word means respect. Here, it is anything but pleasant. It’s been three years but I still haven’t been able to lose the tag even with my friends,” added another student.

They argue that they have started realising the fact that to make their presence felt, they need to strengthen as a separate “identity”, otherwise the community will fall apart and year after year their juniors will face the same problem, probably much more.

These students living in hostels bring another facet of the regional identities at the universities to light.

“Everyone is aware of compartmentalisation and segmentation in hostels here. It’s a common practice for people from one region to share rooms or take adjacent rooms in the hostel,” comments Vijay (name changed).

He adds: “To give you an idea of how ridiculous things can get, a fight broke out the day Deccan Chargers beat Kings XI in the IPL this year. Local students squared off with the other group just because they were rejoicing Decaan Chargers’ win.”

They feel that there shouldn’t be any room for regional associations and that is why they have never given it a serious thought so far.

On a serious note, Mukul comments: “We want to be part of the system but it’s the system that encourages us to stand as a different identity and speak for our people, from our region, because no one else bothers. Most of us are students from professional courses. All we aim to achieve here is a decent career. But dignity cannot be ignored. If we stand up, at least our juniors will have a better footing in the years to come.”

Another student from the group adds: “Just saying that we are from a professional course and realising it are two different things. If we take raise our voice, we must be ready to take a re-exam in that semester.”



Announce polls for students’ council: INSO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The Indian National Students’ Organisation (INSO) of Panjab University today appealed to the PU authorities to declare early elections for the students' council.

Stating that the scheduled time of the election will waste academic time of the students, INSO leader Deepika Thakur expressed her concern on the issue.

Sukhdev Kundu, another leader of the party, said as per the clause 6.4.2 of the Lyngdoh committee recommendations, the elections should be held in the university within 6-8 weeks of the commencement of the academic session and Panjab University should declare its students’ elections.

While, Virender Boora, campus vice-president, INSO, said whenever there was any delay in the elections for the students’ council, there had always been a tension among various students’ organisations and that in turn affected the academic and peaceful atmosphere of the campus.



VC lists out achievements
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 16
The lauding and listing of various new initiatives and achievements made by the university in the recent past marked the Independence Day at Panjab University. PU Vice-Chancellor, Prof RC Sobti, emphasised the importance of participatory management while hoisting the flag.

Thanking the Central government for its support in the form of a grant of Rs 50 crore, Sobti said, “Its not only this grant but also the conferment of the Purse award, which includes a grant of Rs 30 crore for the promotion of scientific knowledge, a special grant of Rs 5 crores by the Punjab government and the UGC grant of Rs 15.79 crore as a part of the 11th Plan. This money will mean a lot in revolutionising the facet of Panjab University.”

Elaborating upon various initiatives planned by the university, Sobti considered the introduction of OMR sheets and semester system as one of the major academic achievements.

“We have made our system transparent and progressed a step further with multi-faceted reforms in the examination system. Almost all information has gone online today and special facilities are being created for the students, which include renovation of hostels, cyber connectivity, LCD TV installation, photostat facility and construction of new hostels. Likewise adequate care is being taken of the teaching and administrative personnel. Two new girls’ hostels one each in south campus and Sector 14 are under construction.,” concluded Sobti.

About 500 saplings of various ornamental and medicinal trees were planted in and around the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), Panjab University to mark the day.



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