C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Daring heist in Industrial Area
12 armed robbers decamp with nickle worth more than Rs 23 lakh 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
At least 12-armed men robbed Rs 20-25 lakh from Avon Ispat and Power Limited, Industrial Area, Phase-I, in the wee hours today.

The robbers reportedly overpowered the two guards, tied their hands and legs and locked the third one inside the factory premises and fled away with about two-and-a-half-tonnes of nickel worth over Rs 23 lakh, and cash worth Rs 1.25 lakh besides a computer after breaking open the locks.

This daring heist reportedly continued for more than four hours, though no one sustained injuries. Even the robbers made a phone call for managing a multi-utility van for fleeing away with the robbed items.

Harcharan Singh Pahwa, a Ludhiana-based businessman, who owns this factory, alleged that at around 2.30 am the masked assailants armed with sharp-edged weapons barged into the factory by scaling the boundary wall and tied the hands and feet of the two guards and locked another one inside a room after the factory was closed.

He added, “The robbers had come fully prepared as they took away the 2.5 tonnes of nickel worth Rs 23 lakh which was put into the baskets of the bicycle rim machine. They took more than four hours to collect the nickel from 110 baskets and then fled away.

HC Sharma, unit in charge of the factory, said: “It seems to be a handiwork of a few insiders as they were aware about every nook and cranny of the factory. They broke open the safe in which the cash was kept.”

He further added that they had distributed the salary to the employees yesterday. The cash was lying in the safe, as a few workers had not collected their salary.

The guards, however, managed to reach the house of a manager, who resides inside the factory and lodged a complaint with the police.

Meanwhile, a police team along with the CFSL experts and a dog squad collected the samples from the spot and started investigations.

Yashpal, SHO, Industrial Area police station, said: “A case under Sections 382, 452, 457, 506 and 341 of the IPC has been registered and efforts are on to trace the accused.”

JS Cheema, DSP (East) said: “We have rounded up 10 employees of the factory and also recovered two sheaths from the spot. Even the teams have been sent to Mandi Gobindgarh, Fatehgarh Sahib and Ambala to investigate the mater. Raids are also being conducted on the scrap dealers in the tricity.”



Another tests positive for swine flu
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 9
Another patient suffering from the flu-like symptoms has been tested positive for the swine flu in Mohali. Dr Deepak Bhatia, nodal officer, said the throat swabs of Kiran had been sent for testing to the PGI, Chandigarh, by the Mohali Civil Hospital.

He said Kiran was working as a domestic help in the house of Narinder Singh, who was tested positive for H1N1 virus yesterday. Narinder Singh, a student of Alpine School, was isolated in his house by officials of the Health Department and all those who had come in contact with the patient were given medicines. However, a sample of Narinder Singh’s younger brother came out to be negative. Dr Bhatia said Kiran had now also been isolated.

A sample of a doctor working in Mohali has also been sent for test to the PGI. 



CA Murder Case
Post-slip, cops want witnesses’ statement
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
In what is being seen as a poor reflection on the part of the police’s approach, the statement of the complainant recorded before the magistrate in the sensational murder case of a chartered accountant, was “left out”.

The “slip” assumes significance in the light of the fact that the complainant had turned hostile before the court and had backtracked from the earlier statement he had made before the police under Section 161 of the Cr.PC.

The functioning of the prosecuting agency had already come under criticism when the wife of the deceased, Rajesh Goel, had moved a complaint on the previous hearing of the case to District and Sessions Judge, KK Garg, alleging that the prosecution was not taking the case seriously.

She had alleged that the prosecution and the investigation officers didn’t take steps to provide protection to the eyewitness, Kamlesh, even after the family of the deceased brought it to their notice that he was being threatened to retract from his statement, which he subsequently did.

In an attempt to cover the same, they have now moved an application seeking the summoning of the statement of prosecution witness, Kamlesh, recorded earlier under Section 164 of the Cr.PC. The prosecution has also sought to summon AS Shergill, the then Judicial Magistrate, as a prosecution witness, in whose presence the above said statement was recorded.

Rajesh was found murdered in his Sector 42 office on May 22, 2007. The police had cracked the case the next day when prime accused, Kanav Arora, a share broker, who had hired a professional killer, was arrested along with three others on May 23.The police had registered a case of trespass and murder on the statement of Kamlesh, Goel’s peon.

Kamlesh was in the office on the day murder took place. He was reportedly told by Goel to get photocopies of some document. On his return, a person standing outside the cabin detained him. 

Kanav Arora, share-broker, had allegedly paid Rs 14 lakh “supari” for pocketing Rs 1.90 crore taken from the victim. 

The police had arrested the share-broker, 32-year-old Kanav Arora of Sector 21, his employee Shiv Kumar of Nayagaon and “contract killer” Mandeep Singh of Phase X, Mohali, a call centre employee. 



IT raids on Kumar brothers
Tax evasion worth crores detected; 17 premises searched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
In a drive for uncovering the undeclared wealth, officials of the Income Tax Department conducted raids on more than seven premises that included chemist and garment shops, liquor vends and residences of well-known businessman, Kumar Brothers, Sector 11, in the tricity today.

The early morning, simultaneous search operation-related surveys on at least 17 premises were also launched on the business premises of Kumar Bothers and their associates.

“The raids are still going on. Details about recoveries are awaited, as the teams are yet to return from the field. The searches are being conducted in connection with the tax evasion and amassing of wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income,” an income tax official told TNS.

Income tax officials have detected tax evasion worth several crore of rupees during the raid conducted at Kumar brothers.

Several teams of the Income Tax Department, comprising more than 150 officials and supporting staff, conducted raids under the supervision of MS Rai, Director-General of Income Tax (Investigation).

The IT officials descended on the business premises of the group and carried out a detailed inspection of account books, IT returns for the past few years, documents relating to the sale and purchase and physical verification of stocks.

The entry and exit points of the premises were restricted and telephone calls barred while the raids were going on. While the officials refused to say anything about the raids, sources in the department revealed that these were initiated on the basis of specific information that these business groups were reportedly indulging in fudging of accounts and filing returns, which were grossly disproportionate to their sources of income. 



Mohali SDM gets stay on transfer
‘Unseats’ recently posted SDM
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 9
A high drama prevailed at the district administrative complex here this evening when PCS officer, Balbir Singh, who was recently posted as SDM, Mohali, was “unseated” by his previous incumbent Raghbir Kaur Khera, who got a stay on her transfer from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The new incumbent, who had hardly settled, was still accepting bouquets and congratulatory notes from visitors when Khera landed on the scene with the court’s orders. Balbir Singh had no option but to leave quietly.

An apparent outcome of a faux pas by the department of personnel, the episode left the visitors and the office staff equally bemused.

Khera had gone to the court stating that she was transferred without giving any place of posting. And she was transferred against the rules, which state that no person should be transferred within two years before the date of transfer. She further pleaded that since she was due to retire on November 30 on attaining the age of superannuating, she would face difficulty in settling her pension papers.

The court, therefore, ordered the state government not to transfer her. Sources reveal that Khera had not relinquished the charge despite the new incumbent joining in her place. Even the official gypsy of the SDM was in her possession. The new incumbent had come in his personal vehicle to the office. “The government should see the rules before posting officials,” said an official.


Swine Flu
Group of experts set up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Keeping in view the increasing number of H1N1 cases all around the country, the Department of AYUSH, Government of India, New Delhi, has issued instructions in the management of common flu-like conditions.

The Department of Health and Family Welfare has taken a number of immediate steps in this regard, including the issue of detailed guidelines for identification, clinical diagnosis, testing and treatment of those who develop symptoms of the disease.

As per guidelines, specific treatment (Oseltamivir plus any required supportive therapy) needs to be administered to those who have been clinically diagnosed as suffering from H1N1 as well as those who are tested positive.

The Department of AYUSH has set up a group of experts for suggesting AYUSH intervention, which will be useful in the prevention/treatment of flu-like diseases.

The group, comprising Ayurveda experts and physicians from government hospitals and the private sector as well as from research councils and the Department of AYUSH, is of the view that viral epidemics come under the ‘Vaata Kaphaja Jwara’ category, mentioned in Charak Samhita and other ancient ayurvedic texts.

Most of the viral fevers, including various types of flu, come under this category. The Central Council for Research in Unani Medicine (CCRUM) has also had detailed consultation with unani experts and has come out with recommendations for preventive measures available in the unani system.

The Department of AYUSH is of the view that Ayurveda/unani intervention can be used for increasing immunity to fight flu-like conditions.

These can be adopted by normal healthy persons as well as those who have mild cold, cough, body pain, etc.

However, in cases with severe symptoms (category B and C defined in the guidelines of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare dated August 14, 2009), they are advised to go to designated screening centres or hospitals set up by the Centre and state governments and undergo the clinical diagnosis testing.

Preventive measures advised in Ayurveda

n Avoid kapha-provoking diet like curd, cold food, cold drinks, fruit juices especially citrus fruits, fermented food and ice cream. Drink hot water instead of cold water.

n Use of decoction made up of any one or a combination of tulsi, ginger, black pepper, long pepper and guduchi in the morning. Taking decoction of tulsi, turmeric, long pepper and guduchi every morning is recommended.

n Ayurvedic medicines like sudershanghana vati, sudershana churna, samshamani vati (guduchi ghana vati) mainly work by way of improving host defence mechanism.

n Vamana (emisis) procedure of panchakarma may also be taken up under observation of an expert vaidya, if necessary.

Unani experts have suggested

n Decoction/tea of unnab, bahidana, sapistan,dalchini.

n Arq prepared from afsanteen, chiraita, kasni, nankhwah, gaozuban, sad koofi, nilofar, banafsha, post neem taken with sharbat kaksi.

n Specific compound' formulations such as ‘habb-e-jadwar', ‘khamira nazli aab tarboozwaia’ and ‘tiryaq-e-farooq’ may also be taken.

n Local application of roghan baboon/roghan-e-morn/roghan kahu/roghan kadu on scalp and chest.

n Light diet and persona! hygiene are also recommended.



Dry fruits, sweets hard on pocket
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The steep hike in prices has squeezed out the sweetness this festive season, as people will now have to shell out more purchasing sweets and dry fruits. A random survey of the tricity has shown that shopkeepers have increased prices by between 10 and 25 per cent for these as compared to last year.

While prices of the sweets have shown a marked increase because of an indiscriminate increase in the prices of milk, khoya and sugar, the demand for dry fruits has increased considerably, resulting in the increase in their rates.

Plain burfi and peda were available for Rs 190 and 200, respectively, at a sweetmeat shop in the city.

The same were available for Rs 165 and 170, respectively, during the festive season in 2008.

The prices of boondi laddoo and rasgulla had been fixed at Rs 180 and 130, respectively.

These were priced at Rs 100 and 105, respectively, during the festive season last year. Plain burfi and peda were available for Rs 170 and 200, respectively, at a sweetmeat shop in Panchkula.

These were available for Rs 150 and Rs 170, respectively, during the same period last year. The prices of boondi ladoo and rasgulla had been fixed at Rs 110 and 120, respectively.

The shopkeepers attributed this price hike to the increase in prices of milk, khoya and sugar, besides other products used in the preparation of sweets.

They said despite the price hike, their sale had been as usual and they were expecting that people would go in for major purchases during Divali this year too. There was a marked increase of 20 to 25 per cent in the prices of dry fruits as well.

Kernels of almond and walnut were available for Rs 400 and 500, respectively, as compared to Rs 350 and Rs 425, respectively, last year.

The prices of cashewnut and pista had been fixed at Rs 400 and Rs 600, respectively, as compared to 350 and 500, respectively, last year.

The rates of khubani had also increased from Rs 210 during the last festive season to Rs 250.

People who wanted to exchange greetings by gifting fresh fruits on Divali were finding it difficult to do so as the rates of apple and banana had increased by 20 to 40 per cent.

The price of apple had gone up from Rs 60 to 70 last year to Rs 90 to 110.

The price of banana had shot up from Rs 30 to Rs 50 in the last couple of weeks.

Despite the claims of sweetmeat shop owners, the sale of sweets during the festive season could see a marked decline, as the prices of essential commodities, including pulses and vegetables, had increased by 25 to 40 per cent in the last couple of months.

Different varieties of pulses were priced between Rs 70 and 90 per kg as compared to Rs 30 to 40 per kg last year.

Onion and potato were available for Rs 20 per kg each in the wholesale market, showing an increase of 50 per cent during the last couple of months.



MC finds sweeping machines “unfit” for city
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Mechanical sweeping machines parked at a fire station in Sector 32 in Chandigarh.
Mechanical sweeping machines parked at a fire station in Sector 32 in Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, October 9
Ironically the mechanical sweeping machines, which are functioning efficiently in other parts of the country, have been considered ‘unfit’ for the Chandigarh roads. Well the authorities of the municipal corporation, who have endorsed it, might be aware of the reasons behind this.

Sources revealed that Delhi and Noida corporations were using these road-sweeping machines, for the past more than three years without any problem. However, Chandigarh civic officials proved it useless for the city, claiming that this technology is for foreign countries where there is hardly any pollution.

In the last house meeting, on the agenda of annual comprehensive maintenance contract, a few councillors objected that they were not satisfied with the functioning of mechanical sweeping machines. Councillors raised a query that when these machines were capable for working for 16 hours a day, why they were being utilised for just five hours a day.

Municipal officers pleaded that these machines were not able to clean the city roads properly. They further informed the house that machine were not able to collect debris like stones, sand, nails, bottles, leaves, paper, clothes and sticks as claimed by the company.

Company experts stated that these sweeping machines could also be used for cleaning roadside berms. These machines have the capacity of five cubic metre after which there is a provision to evacuate it on the spot which would not affect its working. They were perplexed as to why the officials of corporation are not finding these machines useful for the Chandigarh roads.

Whereas when The Tribune contacted Dulevo Company, India, MD Sumit Khurana, it found out that these machines were not only being used in India but in Singapore, Middle East and Dubai. The environment in these countries wees almost same. He expressed surprise on the non-functioning of these machines in Chandigarh.

He revealed that the sweeping machines had the capacity of cleaning approximately 60 km in eight hours and is specially designed for dusty conditions. He further said the corporation for any fault of the machines till date had made no technical compliant.

Nominated councillor and ex-sanitation committee, chairman, Dr AP Sanwaria said for optimum utilisation of these machines, the corporation had formulated a schedule of three shifts for which eight drivers were trained. He said, as the department was not utilising these machines properly, they had to hire more manpower whereas earlier it was believed that manpower would be reduced after the purchase of these machines.



Audio-visual training hall for cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
In order to provide better training to the police personnel, the Chandigarh Police has set up audio-visual lecture hall at the recruit-training centre in Sector 26.

The hall has been equipped with a LCD projector and a public address system. Director General of Police SK Jain inaugurated the multimedia centre today.

In a release issued here today, a spokesman said there would be a switch-system in each lecture hall so that after pressing the button, the beep would go to the control room where instructor is delivering the lecture and a light would appear on the control panel to know as to who wanted to ask question from the instructor.

One CCTV camera has been installed in each lecture hall so that activities of the classroom could be recorded and monitored by the DSP (training) on the campus where about 145 recruits are undergoing training.



Change in poll rolls not easy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Sarabjit Singh, a resident of 3254/2, Sector 45-D here, is a harassed man. For the the past several months, he has been running from pillar to post to get the names of Bindu Verma and Vivek Verma, who had sold their house to him, deleted from the electoral rolls.

Though Sarabjit applied to the chief electoral officer to delete the names of the previous house owners on March 28 last year, nothing had been done.

A communication from the assistant returning officer concerned to the chief electoral officer on April 15 this year had also failed to elicit any response, he alleged.



Sports dept deputy director divested of duties
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Following longstanding incongruity with other officials in the department, deputy director Dolly, sports department, Panjab University, has been divested of her duties.

According to a letter received by the sports department on October 5, Dolly was relieved of her duties. Assistant registrar Muneeshwar Joshi issued orders in the absence of the Vice-Chancellor.

Dolly had been earlier handling the sports activities on the PU campus for the sports department.

Deputy director Vishav Mohini, sports department, will now be the campus (women) in charge and assistant director Rakesh Malik will be the campus (men) in charge.

The assistant registrar on being contacted confirmed the orders and said the VC office had issued them.

The recent incident of an open tiff between Dolly and director sports department, CS Grewal, had made the differences between the two split wide open. It was a cause of embarrassment for the authorities when the university’s basketball players played bare-chested in protest against the lousy kits provided to them during an inter-college basketball match in September this year.

The match was delayed by one hour because of the confusion, as the players initially started it bare-chested and then walked out and protested outside the VC office after the match.

The current orders have now opened up fresh row of claims and allegations. The Vice-Chancellor had conveyed a message to the Tribune through a senior official that a committee will be constituted to look into the entire matter.

Sports director CS Grewal and Dolly when contacted refused to comment on the issue.

Officials in the sports department informed that ever since there was a merger of the independent general body (sports) in PU, which was headed by Dolly, there had been clashes between her and the director. “She had been expressing her resentment on the merger. But whatever she has been doing till now is not the right way,” said a senior official.



Dell staff donate books
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
To mark the spirit of Diwali, around 50 employees of Dell-India, Mohali, spent their evening playing various games with kids of Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, today.

The initiative was managed by training organisation of Dell-India with assistance of Yuvsatta and LIC Cricket Club, as a part of the global community involvement initiative of Dell.

The Dell employees not only distributed sweets and gifts to the kids but also donated a bookcase and books for the Kitab Ghar library, which is being managed by the kids of the colony. 



Resentment over poor-quality food
Home Secretary marks inquiry
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The intervention of the UT Administration in the hostel and mess issue of Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET), Sector 26, has finally brought some cheer to students, who had been struggling to seek justice.

After the media highlighted the plight of the students, who had staged a dharna at the college entry point to express their resentment on the poor quality of food being served, UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas had marked an inquiry in the matter.

In consequence, the college is now undergoing a facelift. The old mess contractor and the hostel wardens have been changed. A look at the college canteen revealed that the infrastructure of the canteen had been upgraded with new benches and tables and better food quality was being ensured, claimed the students.

“When I was apprised of the condition of the hostels, mess food and the situation being faced by the students, I had immediately marked an inquiry into the matter. The improvement has begun and the needs of the students will be taken care,” said Niwas.

Assuring that there will be a regular check on the condition of the mess, Ram Niwas said he would shortly visit the college and meet the students. “I will make a surprise visit to the college soon,” he added.

While the college authorities have swung into action following the administration’s intervention, the students on the other hand are overwhelmed at the improvement.

“There is a drastic change in the situation now. The food being served now is nutritious and appetising. The infrastructure in the hostel is being improved, new tanks in the hostels are being put up and the old ones being replaced, tube lights have multiplied in number,” informed a student.

The students, however, refused to be quoted fearing action from the college authority and sought anonymity.

“Right from adding dustbins on each floor to glasses, switches, taps and new urinals, there is a lot of change in the hostels now,” said another student.



MHA to consider enhancing Administrator’s financial powers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will consider enhancing the financial powers of the UT Administrator from Rs 10 crore to Rs 15 crore.

The assurance came during a meeting of the MHA officials in New Delhi today. Sources said the assurance came following a plea by the Chandigarh administration over the delay in clearance of funds by the MHA, affecting the execution of major projects in the city.

The administration cited examples of pending projects, including the upgradation of government hospitals in Sectors 16 and 32. The UT had originally sought an enhanced amount of Rs 25 crore for the administrator.

Home Secretary Ram Niwas, Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar, and Joint Secretary (Home) Bhupinder Singh attended the meeting. The meeting also took up the update on major ongoing projects in the city and assured a speedy implementation.

Certain issues which came up for detailed discussion included making registration of marriages compulsory, permission to issue Scheduled Caste\Scheduled Tribe certificates in wake of certain technical loopholes under the current provisions, facility of video conferencing in Burail jail, regularisation of daily wage workers and e-stamping in the Estate Office.



Marching orders for PGI canteen contractor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The UT Administration has asked Sandeep Garg, the contractor of Red Cross canteens in the PGI, to clear the canteen premises on account of non-clearance of a pending amount of Rs 9.99 lakh.

The case has come to light following information sought by Chander Prakash of Naya Gaon village under the Right to Information Act.

The UT Administration is learnt to have issued several notices to the erring party, including those dated March 12, 17 and 24, April 17 and May 21 earlier this year. The notice for vacation had been served recently.

The canteen premises of the Red Cross, which were handed over to Sandeep Garg, included the service canteen, the main shopping complex, the snacks bar, the Guga Mari, the fourth-floor canteen and the Nehru Hospital.

The service provider had failed to make his due payments for the past six months, which were due at the rate of Rs 1.53 lakh per month.



Congress grass growth goes unchecked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Like every year, the Chandigarh Administration and the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation have failed to check the menace of parthenium hysterocarpus, popularly known as "congress grass", and shrubs on vacant land in the city this time as well.

Be it open spaces, road berms or parks, it is spreading like wildfire and the failure of the civic body to check this menace has led to the aggravation of allergy and asthma among those who are vulnerable to it, especially children.

Residents of PGI flats in Sector 24 here are facing a dual problem due to this grass.

On the one hand, they are having skin allergy and on the other, poisonous snakes are creating fear among them.

Residents complain that snakes are found in the rooms of their houses frequently, sending a chill down their spines.

They have approached the area councillor and the corporation authorities about this problem, but nothing has been done till date.

One of the residents in Sector 24 says the open space in the area, earlier being used as a playground by children, has been virtually abandoned due to the wild growth.

Snakes and other poisonous animals keep roaming in this growth-infested park adjoining houses.

The seriousness of the situation in the sector has been brought to the notice of the area councillor several times, but the civic authorities have turned a deaf ear to it, say residents.

They have even contacted Mayor Kamlesh and brought to her notice the situation in the sector.

Another angry resident of the area says the vacant plot next to her house has remained full of congress grass most of the time and her family has got it cleaned at their own expense whenever possible.

She says her children have often suffered from skin allergies due to the weed and they are not allowed to go near that area due to the fear of snakes.



NRI Cell can’t be relied on
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The establishment of the Chandigarh NRI Cell seems more a publicity exercise by the authorities, not reflecting any serious effort to address problems of NRIs, alleges Citizen Voice, an NGO.

In a press note issued here today, it was alleged that Geetu Vashishta, an NRI from Hong Kong, had filed two complaints with the NRI Cell in the last two months about her minor son’s property in Sector 30 being encroached upon and the sudden change of property ownership details on the Estate Office’s website.

She filed the first complaint on the encroachment on her minor son’s property with the NRI Cell on August 19 and got an acknowledgment almost a month later, only after writing to the cell’s chairman, Justice Amar Dutt.

To the second complaint she filed on September 22, she had still been waiting for an acknowledgement.

As per the Chandigarh Administration’s website, an NRI could lodge a complaint with the NRI Cell by post or over telephone, through Indian embassies abroad 
or via e-mail.

“When I did not get any acknowledgement for weeks, I sent my brother in-law, who lives in Chandigarh, to the NRI Cell to register my complaint in person at the Estate Office as per the address given on the Chandigarh Administration’s website. I was shocked to learn that the NRI Cell had no proper office and no officer sits there to deal with NRIs’ complaints”, said Geetu Vashishta.

“I tried to contact the NRI Cell’s chairman on telephone from Hong Kong, taking his official number from the website. I was told by some official that the chairman did not sit there and I should try to contact him at his residence telephone number only,” she said.

Staying away from the country, the long absence of NRIs had often been exploited by some unscrupulous relatives and anti-social elements with regards to property and other issues.

The NRI Cell, established this August to provide help to NRI victims, had been in the news regularly for the large number of complaints it received from NRIs in less than two months, its plans of video-conferencing with NRIs, and for making promises of updating information on the website on complaints from NRIs within a week of receiving the complaint.

But the reality was that the NRI Cell did not have an independent office and staff to deal with the problems and complaints registered by the large number of NRI population from the city.

Davinder Singh, a social activist, asked how NRIs could expect much from the NRI Cell, when they did not even get an acknowledgement to their complaints.

“If the authorities are serious, they should establish a proper and efficient system to handle NRI complaints,” he said.

“An independent office with efficient staff for the NRI Cell is the first basic requirement and will be a good step to start with,” he added.



Avoid ads on tantriks, SSP to TV channels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
SSP SS Srivastva held a meeting with cable operators and local TV channels, advising them to avoid advertisements of tantriks and those claiming magical remedies to solve problems for duping gullible people.

The police said the SSP sought help of the private cable operators and TV channels to generate awareness among public to avoid going to such people for solving their problems. UT SP (City) Madur Verma was also present during the meeting held at the Police Headquarters in Sector 9.

The officials explained the provisions of the Prevention of Magical Remedies Act to the operators, advising them to desist from carrying such publicity material, which was against the law.

In an attempt to curb the malpractices of such nefarious persons, who are making huge amounts by duping gullible people, the police had registered several cases against them. The police officials asked the general public to come forward with complaint against these tantriks, so that legal action could be initiated against them.



AFWWA’s gift of love to orphans
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
As part of the Air Force Day commemorations, the Air Force Wives Welfare Association (AFWWA) extended humanitarian aid to Snehomoyee, an orphanage located at Maloya village near here.

The AFWWA members, led by Geethanjali Nair, president of the local chapter, donated a large number of blankets, clothing, board games and recreational toys to children. They also provided items for regular use to the inmates. As many as 250 orphans, including 60 girls will be benefitted out of this gesture.



Now, botanical garden to have treetop meditation huts
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh,October 9
Chandigarh, city of gardens and open spaces, is set to add another first to its credit. The Chandigarh Botanical Garden in Sarangpur here is set to have treetop meditation huts for the stressed out residents wanting to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

An integral part of the Nature Interpretation Centre in the botanical garden, the huts besides the other recreational infrastructure, is being set up under the ambitious Rs 2.5 crore Tourism Promotion Project of the Department of Tourism of the government of India.

The UT engineering department would execute the project and tenders have already been invited, sources said adding that the project is likely to see the light of the day by the end of the current financial year.

Officials said the 180-acre botanical garden provided an ideal place for the setting up of the huts and other facilities for relaxation of the visitors and residents. Since the botanical garden was connected with the Patiala-ki-Rao forest area stretching over 350-acre its sheer size would attract the tourists.

According to Ishwar Singh, Conservator of Forests and Wild Life, Chandigarh the “the primary aim of setting up such garden is to promote eco-tourism in Chandigarh.”

“But with the passage of time, the objective has been widened to include promotion of research, education, conservation of flora and spread of awareness about floral heritage and current initiative was a step in that direction,” he added.

Meanwhile, the garden will comprise 15 botanical sections, 13 of which have already been completed. Two sections including Japanese and Cactus Garden will be developed soon at a cost of Rs 40 lakh.



Anganwari workers protest in Chandigarh
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, October 9
Hundreds of anganwari workers and helpers from the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh today launched a protest against the non-fulfilment of their demands before the commencement of the sixth national conference of All India Federation of Anganwari Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH) here today.

The Anganwari workers, led by Neelam Maitra, president, AIFAWH, raised slogans against the government at a rally in Sector 25 and announced commencement of the four-day long conference at Bhakna Bhavan, Sector 29. More than 600 delegates from all over the country are participating in the conference.

Harjit Kaur, general secretary, Anganwari Employees Union, Punjab (CITU), criticised the government for not assuring any action on their demands, mainly grade scales for anganwari workers and helpers as class III and class IV employees, respectively.

Maitra said, “The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) launched in 1975, with an aim of looking after the children of poor families, proved very successful and the anganwari workers and helpers made it successful. But, now the government has decided to privatise the ICDS by handling it over to the private NGOs. Instead of closing down at least 17 lakh anganwari centres, the government should, in fact, universalise the scheme in the country.”



Levy sugar quota enhanced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The Food and Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department has increased the levy sugar quota for the BPL families during the festival season from 1 kg to 2 kg per unit.

An official release issued here today said the enhanced festival levy sugar quota for the BPL families that could not be lifted in September 2009 on account of non-availability of stocks, could now be lifted by the beneficiaries from the fair price shops.

The BPL cardholders can draw their levy sugar quota for September 2009 up to October 16 from their respective fair price shops. 



Dhumal seeks votes for BJP candidate
Tribune News Service

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, while expressing solidarity with Gian Chand Gupta, BJP candidate from Panchkula, on Friday.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, while expressing solidarity with Gian Chand Gupta, BJP candidate from Panchkula, on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, October 9
With two days in hand for campaigning, all candidates in fray have stepped up their canvassing. While Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was in the city seeking votes for BJP candidate Gian Chand Gupta, the Congress candidate DK Bansal campaigned door-to-door at Rajiv colony.

Later, he went to villages Barwala, Tandardu, Khatolla, Khatolli and Rattowal Kirya, Bir Gaggar, Devin agar and Abhaypur to seek support from the voters.

Dhumal, who was accompanied by Kullu MLA Khimi Chand, Dalhousie MLA Renu Chaddha, and local BJP leaders Ratan Lal Kataria, VK Sood and Arun Guleria, addressed a rally of the party at Sector 16 in the evening.

Taking a dig at the unprecedented development at Rohtak, Dhumal said the Congress in Haryana had spent crores of rupees to campaign for its achievements and the remaining money would be spent on the development of Rohtak even as the other parts of the state would get nothing.

Earlier, he addressed a public meeting at Rail Vihar in Mansa Devi complex also.

INLD candidate Yograj, also intensifying his electioneering, visited villages of Barwala Block, Bunga, Dabkori, Khatauli, Razwali and Tizbi. He also got the support of Shiv Sena Samajwadi Kamlesh Bhardwaj.

Similarly, Haryana Janhit Congress candidate Shashi Sharma, in addition to his hurricane tour to 18 villages, addressed public meetings at the Mansa Devi Complex and other sectors of the town.

Sharma, who got a boost following the two rallies at Panchkula and Barwala addressed by former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal recently, was presented by a silver crown by the Barwala party workers.



Cong divides P’kula in four zones
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 9
The Congress high command seemed to have reined in the dissidents in favour of party candidate DK Bansal, as in a meeting of city Congress leaders it was decided that the party workers should be asked to take responsibilities at polling booths.

Congress city president Rajinder Kakkar, who was heading the local dissidents, after convening a meeting of party officials said he was directed by All-India Congress general secretary BK Hariprasad, to make arrangements during polling for the party candidate.

The constituency was divided into four zones and in addition to him, state general secretary Rajinder Singh Saini, executive member Usha Sharma, and Subhash Sethi would look after these zones, said Kakkar. The party workers had been asked to work for the party, he added.



After reluctance, UT to participate in IITF-2009
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
After initial hiccups, the Chandigarh administration has decided to participate in the 29th India International Trade Fair (IITF-2009) at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi from November 14 to 28.

With the UT administration making budget provisions for the Chandigarh pavilion at the eleventh hour, the stage is set for the participation of the UT in the largest annual industrial extravaganza in the country.

The Social Welfare Department has come to the rescue of the Industries Department to ensure UT’s participation in the IITF-2009. An amount of Rs 22 lakh, which had been surrendered by the Social Welfare Department, had been diverted to the Industries Department to enable it to participate in the annual fair.

Earlier, clouds of uncertainty hovered over the UT's participation in the trade fair as the Industries Department had a budget provision of only around Rs 24 lakh for the fair. At one point of time, the administration had mulled dropping from the mega fair, which could have brought huge embarrassment to the revenue-surplus Chandigarh. The total expenditure for the fair was to the tune of around Rs 45 lakh.

Confirming that Chandigarh would participate in the fair, Director of Industries Vandana Disodia said a special messenger would be sent to New Delhi to deposit the ground rent of Rs 29 lakh for space to be utilised for the Chandigarh pavilion.



Shivangi, Nitish win shloka recitation contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
The annual festivities week to be organised in DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8-C, till October 11 commenced amidst a lot of zeal today. The annual three-day cultural extravaganza has over 1,500 students of various schools from across the country participating in various competitions.

The day started with Maharishi Dayanand Memorial Sanskrit shlokas recitation contest that had Shankar Jha, head Sanskrit department, PU, as the chief guest.

Shivangi and Nitish of DAV Public School, Surajpur, won the overall trophy, while the first prize went to Sanchit of DAV Public School, Sector 15.

Similarly, in Lala Suraj Bhan Memorial English declamation contest, the overall trophy went to Sanchit and Marhaal of DAV Public School, Sector 15.



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