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Rising tide of crime swamps Panchkula
No clue to gang that had struck five times
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 24
Making a mockery of the police’s claims of adequate security arrangements for the residents, a criminal gang has struck at least five times in the township during the past three years, having fired weapons, injured people, looted and plundered, even during daytime.

Though the police admits that it is the same gang at work, it is yet groping in the dark for a clue on who the criminals are. The reason behind this lapse, however, is not difficult to find.

Though the inadequate number of personnel in the district police is a major drawback for ensuring security in the township, the available force also does not seem be in shape to cope with the deteriorating law and order situation.

The majority of police personnel deployed at various places are either found missing or idling on the roadside when criminals strike, leaving them ample opportunity to commit the crime.

The deployment of an SHO said to be of doubtful integrity at an important police station has already eroded the public’s faith in senior police officials.

Sources close to the police said the gang behind yesterday’s heist was involved in robbing Rs 5.16 lakh from a cashier of the Berkley Automobiles car dealership on January 18, 2008, near Amartex Chowk.

Earlier, the same gang had robbed a Panchkula lawyer of several lakhs. On July 27 last year, they robbed two persons of Rs 7 lakh, injuring one of them with firearm shots in Sector 4.

On August 16 this year, the same gang was suspected to have been involved in the robbery at a petrol station in Sector 5. It was also reportedly involved in a robbery in Sector 9 in Chandigarh.

Senior Haryana police officials find themselves in a spot over the lackadaisical attitude of the staff deployed in the field.

That was perhaps the reason Ambala range inspector-general of police KK Sindhu visited Panchkula today and pulled up the DSPs and SHOs for their failure to curb the spiralling crime in their respective areas.

The mock drill conducted at the instance of a new superintendent of police, Manish Chaudhary, today fell flat. He was the only one to turn up at the scene when a fake message, reporting a snatching, was flashed near the Devi Lal stadium this morning.

The spate of crime in the township has also led to a scare among residents, especially the aged and women.

The Citizens Welfare Association, in a press note, said Panchkula residents were under tremendous strain following a chain of thefts, robberies, burglaries and kidnappings.

“The increasing lawlessness has, in fact, spread fear among the residents, who have now been forced to think about alternative means to ensure their safety”, it added.



2 die of swine flu at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Two persons suffering from swine flu died at the PGI here today. With this, the total number of patients having died at local hospitals due to H1N1 reached six.

All deaths reported in city hospitals so far were from outside Chandigarh. The deceased belonged to different parts of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Those who died today were identified as Jagdev Singh (51), a resident of Tutu Majra in Hoshiarpur, and Amandeep Kaur (42), a resident of Saharanpur.

Health department nodal officer HC Gera said Jagdev was referred from Apollo Hospital, Ludhiana, in a critical condition on Sunday night, following which his sample was taken yesterday.

While the reports of the sample confirmed that he was suffering from swine flu, he died this evening. Similarly, Amandeep was admitted to the PGI in a critical condition at 3:40 pm yesterday. She died at 2 am.

Meanwhile, two students of the Punjab Engineering College were found suffering from swine flu. While one of them had been staying at the Himalaya hostel of the college, the other had been staying with his family in Sector 11.

The administration asserted that there was no need to panic as prior cases of students reported from both government and private schools and colleges had been treated and cured.

Screening had been going on at different schools. Principals of both government and private schools had been sensitised.

Preventive measures were being enforced in all schools.

Guidelines of the health and education departments were being implemented effectively. Awareness activities at public places, coaching institutes, schools and colleges were being done on a priority basis.



2 more cases in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 24
Two more residents of Mohali have tested positive for swine flu, taking the toll up to 16. Dr Deepak Bhatia, Punjab nodal officer, said here today that Arushi (14), a student of Vivek High School and resident of Sector 71 here, had tested positive for swine flu.

Fortyfive-year-old Prem Lata, who lived in Sector 68 here, had also tested positive and had been admitted to the GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

Bhatia said the throat swabs of the two persons were taken yesterday and sent for testing to the PGI, Chandigarh.

All those persons who had come in contact with the two patients were also being given the required medicines.



City residents living on the edge
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The law and order situation in the city is not much better than in its satellite township, Panchkula, with the unabated spate in cases of robbery, vehicle theft, snatching and burglary giving sleepless nights to the local police.

The presence of PCR vehicles throughout the city notwithstanding, snatchings and late night robberies have become all too regular with, on an average, two to three incidents reported every week from different areas of the city.

A city resident said the ploy to burke a crime or underplay it encourages the criminals. Once a criminal is arrested, the police registers fresh cases of crimes committed earlier in the city based on his disclosures.

Talking to TNS, a police officer says the station house officers are most afraid of snatchings and robberies.

“Every time a snatching or robbery is reported, the SHO of the police station concerned has to immediately inform the SSP about the incident. The latter will pull the SHO up on phone in case of failure to prevent the incident,” he said.

Even as the cops managed to nab the early morning stalker who used to rob elderly women after injuring them, fear loomed large over morning walkers in the city.

A Sector 33 resident said the number of people going for a morning walk in his locality’s park had fallen drastically after the stalker who was nabbed had chopped the earlobes of an elderly woman in an attempt to rob her.

“Only those who cannot afford to quit going for walks due to health problems come out during the morning”, he remarked.

On August 13, a group of at least three unidentified men robbed a woman of Rs 5 lakh and gold ornaments on gunpoint after forcibly entering her residence in Sector 35-C. They gagged the woman and tied her limbs to commit the crime.

The police is still groping in the dark to track the robbers involved in the incident, which was similar to the robberies being reported almost every week in Panchkula.

Despite meetings between the UT police and its counterparts in Panchkula and Mohali, such sensational incidents are reported time and again in the tri-city.

In October, the police had arrested four youths, including a minor boy, who were involved in four incidents of robbery to make money for Diwali festivities.

The youths had stabbed two people in order to rob them of their belongings during their late-night looting spree. That incident indicated miscreants had found the city safe to commit crimes and get away with those.



Nashik contractor granted bail
Was instrumental in getting Buta’s son trapped
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
He may have hit the headlines nationwide on July 31 when he got Sarbjot Singh, son of the chairman of the National Commission for SCs and STs, Buta Singh, caught in a CBI trap, but Rama Rao Tuka Ram Patil, the complainant in that case, has allegedly been caught on the wrong side of the law here.

He is embroiled in a cheque bounce case under section 138 (Negotiable Instruments Act) for around Rs 75 lakh pending in the district courts and is on bail till December 17.

On July 18, Nashik-based contractor Patil approached the CBI with the allegation that Sweety Singh had demanded Rs 1 crore for the withdrawal of a case against him.

Patil had alleged in his complaint that Sweety Singh had demanded the bribe for withdrawing an atrocities case under the SC/ST Act, filed against Patil by a group of local conservancy workers employed by him.

The 100-odd conservancy workers who worked for Patil, a garbage collection contractor with the Nashik municipal corporation, lodged the complaint since he was allegedly not paying them their wages and had also taken a bank loan of Rs 10 crore in their name.

In fact, the court of JMIC Hem Raj Mittal had issued non-bailable warrants against Patil for not appearing in the court in the cheque bounce case.

Earlier, a compromise was also reached with the intervention of the court. It was after he failed to keep his date with the court that the opposite party, a tractor-manufacturing company, moved an application for his production warrants.

Incidentally, he was then serving a jail term in Nashik. The Nashik jail authorities did not produce him and sent a communication to the court, asking about the details of the case for which his appearance was sought.

The court of the JMIC then sent a fax, giving details about the non-bailable warrants issued against him, and also productions warrants with the orders to produce him forthwith.

He was then produced here on November 22, a Sunday, before the duty magistrate and was produced before the area magistrate yesterday. The court granted him bail till December 17 after receiving a no-objection certificate from the complainant.



Punjab bureaucrats dominate UT admn
60:40 deputation ratio norm goes for a toss
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
Punjab bureaucrats continue to rule the roost in the Chandigarh administration, with the 60:40 ratio for those on deputation from the state and from Haryana going for a toss.

With Punjab having 992 (62.78 per cent) deputationists against 521 (32.88 per cent) from Haryana, the balance of power is obviously tilted in favour of the former, a development that may trigger another blame game between the two neighbouring states.

Surprisingly, Himachal Pradesh also has a minor share in the city’s administration, with 33 deputationists.

According to figures available, Punjab has 41 ‘group A’ officers on deputation with the administration as against 34 for Haryana.

The state also has the lion’s share in ‘group B’, with 244 posts as compared to 136 for Haryana.

For the ‘group C’ posts, Punjab’s supremacy is more apparent as the state has a whopping 699 officials as compared to 249 from Haryana.

However, there are eight ‘group D’ employees against only two for Haryana. Himachal Pradesh has two ‘group A’ and ‘group ‘B’ officials each with 29 ‘group C’ employees.

Both Punjab and Haryana have been making claims and counter-claims about their respective quotas being exceeded.

Under a formula worked out as per the Punjab Reorganisation Act, both states have to send deputationists in the ratio of 60:40.

Among the top positions, Haryana bureaucrats hold posts of home secretary and deputy commissioner while the finance secretary and the managing director of CITCO belong to the Punjab cadre.

Besides top officials, a substantial number deputationists comprising doctors, lecturers, other gazetted officers and employees are wives or close relatives of bureaucrats, politicians and influential persons.

Apparently, hundreds of ‘VIP deputationists’ have been overstaying with the UT administration for several years now despite repeated requests from their parent states for their repatriation.

While the ‘well-connected’ deputationists enjoyed their extended stay in Chandigarh, hundreds of others continue to serve in the district headquarters and field postings away from their families.

In fact, deputation to the UT is a prestige issue among Punjab and Haryana employees.

A lot of political and bureaucratic pressure is exerted to get posting at Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana.


CBI raids residences of suspended ADGP Thind
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted raids at the residences of suspended Himachal Pradesh ADGP Bhupinder Singh Thind in Sector 11 and Kansal here today.

Talking to The Tribune, DIG CBI, Chandigarh, Mahesh Aggarwal said a case of disproportionate assets was registered against Thind on a complaint filed by the Himachal Pradesh Government yesterday. The case was registered at Shimla and the CBI team conducted raids at the residence of Thind this morning, which went on throughout the day.

Sources in the CBI said the sleuths had found some incriminating documents during the raids. The agency would examine these to find out whether the wealth was accumulated from some unknown sources. Soon after the news about the raids spread in the media circles, newsmen from electronic as well as print media thronged the Sector 11 residence of Thind and remained stationed there throughout the day.

Thind was arrested by the CBI in October, 2006. A 1973-batch IPS officer, he was arrested for his alleged involvement in a criminal case registered against a section of colonisers on the complaint of PS Thuse, DGM, Vigilance, State Bank of India, Sector 17, Chandigarh.

It was alleged that Thind had committed fraud with different banks and managed to raise Rs 3 crore as loan on the basis of papers of same plots owned by him in a residential colony near Zirakpur.



MC undertakes cleanliness drive in colonies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The sanitation wing of the municipal corporation under its partnership initiative programme launched a cleanliness drive at Housing Board Colony, Sector 52, and Nehru and Bapu Dham colonies, Sector 26, here today.

The cleanliness drives at Housing Board Colony, Sector 52 and Nehru Colony, in which Rajinder Kumar, vice-chairman, ward committee, ward No. 12 and Sarita Sharma, councillor, ward No. 19, took part, were flagged off in the presence of office-bearers of sector welfare association and officials of the office of medical officer of health, MC.

The area councillors participated in house-to-house campaigns and educated residents to dispose of their solid waste through door-to-door collection system. Such cleanliness drives were carried out to bring a change in the mindset of individuals, particularly with regard to public behaviour in keeping their premises and surroundings clean.

At least 50 safai workers were deployed in each area along with mechanical road sweepers to clean the streets.

Tractor-trailers were deployed to lift roadside waste and garbage along with carts to clear litter in the lanes.



Inspection at sabzi mandi
8 firms found evading market fee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
To check the evasion of market fee at the sabzi mandi, Sector 26, an inspection was carried out by the market committee staff and officials here today.

During the course of the inspection, eight firms — M/s New Phagwara Fruit Agency, M/s Ambala Fruit Agency, M/s Ahuja Brothers, M/s KRC & Company, M/s Chandigarh Fruit Agency, M/s Kisan Vegetable Company, M/s Guru Nanak Aloo Company and M/s Ashish Kumar & Company — were found violating the provisions of the Punjab Agricultural Marketing Produce Act, 1961, which regulated the conduct of business in the mandi.

The firms had not maintained proper record of arrival in the “boli bahi” register. In some cases, business was being transacted by persons other than the licencee of the market committee.

During the course of the checking, the market committee seized unrecorded produce, including 54 bags of potatoes and 12 bags of French beans, which would be put up for auction. Show-cause notices were being issued to the defaulting firms.



20 acres to be acquired for memorial
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 24
The department of heritage and cultural affairs, Punjab, has been asked to acquire 20 acres to establish a heritage memorial at Chhapar Chiri to commemorate Baba Banda Singh Bahadur’s historic battles in the area.

Greater Mohali Area Development Authority will be providing funds for the land acquisition. The directions were passed by Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, during a visit to the site, near here, today.

The CM inspected the site and went to GMADAs layout plan of the area. Before acquisition, the officials concerned were asked to prepare a plan of the proposed memorial.

The CM said previous governments were responsible for the delay in constructing the memorial of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur.

The state government had already given in-principle approval to give 20 acres for the construction of Minar-e-Fateh and the beautification of the site, Badal added.

The CM said he had constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University Dr Jaspal Singh to prepare a concept paper in the light of historic perspective of Chhapar Chiri battle, which would be recreated at the site through light and sound programme.

The committee would also finalise the panel of architects and landscaping experts to whom this project should be entrusted.

On a demand of the local village panchayat, the CM announced a grant of Rs 3 lakh for the gymnasium and five marla plots for the poor.



Man alleges inadequate compensation
Tribune News Servcie

Panchkula, November 24
ID Mittal (70), a resident of Sector 37 in Chandigarh, has alleged that he has not been paid adequate compensation in a land acquisition case.

The 7-kanal land of Mittal in Jagadhari was acquired by the Haryana Land Acquisition Department two years ago in 2007. The acquisition officials, while acquiring the land, recorded it as a rural land, allegedly leading to a loss of more than Rs 17 lakh to Mittal. The LAO had agreed to the fact that it was a mistake on their part and wrote to Huda to correct it, and disburse the payment accordingly. However, nothing was done, said Mittal.

It was on July 7 when my land situated in Bhatoli village was acquired and I was paid Rs 13,60,000, said Mittal. On checking the records, I found that my land was shown as rural, while it was under the local municipal body.

According to the evaluation, I was supposed to receive Rs 30 lakh, he said.

On my request of making corrections, the LAO concerned obliged me and Huda whioch was to make the payment, refused to relent on the issue.

With heart ailment, I kept on running from pillar to post at the Huda office in Panchkula, but nobody bothered to listen, rued Mittal. On the contrary, Huda officials suggested me to approach the high court for solution.

Though the high court decided the matter in my favour last month on October 8, it was beyond my senses for whose fault I spent thousands of rupees as litigation fee while going through the agony of visiting government offices and high court, lamented Mittal.



Fertile Land Acquisition
Residents submit memo to DC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 24
A delegation of residents from six villages in the district led by former Panchkula zila parishad president Virander Singh Bhau submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner.

They demanded the government to re-think its plan of acquiring over 578 acres of fertile agricultural land for extension of the Industrial Estate at Alipur, Barwala.

The memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister, Haryana Chief Minister and the state chief secretary, was accepted by Panchkula SDM in absence of both the Deputy Commissioner and Additional Deputy Commissioner.

The nine-page memorandum, signed by residents from the affected villages of Khangesra, Alipur, Naggal, Sukhdarshanpur, Khatauli and Toka falling in tehsil and district Panchkula, quoted the land acquisition collector as agreeing with the objectors in his report to the state government that the fertile land should not be acquired.

Instead, barren land in Beer Firozari and Beer Babupur villages, adjoining the Industrial Estate, Dera Bassi, should be used.

The memorandum pointed out that despite the fact that the notification under Section 6 had yet to be issued and the awards were yet to be announced, the officials and representatives/contractors of the HSIIDC (Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructural Development Corporation) were “forcibly and illegally” trying to pitch angle irons and fix barbed wire fencing in the area.

However, owners objecting to the notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act, said the land acquisition collector, in his report to the state government, had mentioned that the land under acquisition was useful for farming.



Chemist shops inspected for VAT evasion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The excise and taxation department conducted inspections at various chemists shops to detect VAT evasion here today.

According to a press release, six chemist shops — Goyal Medicos, GMCH Hospital, Sector 32; Hospital Medical & Surgical Store, General Hospital, Sector-16; Tinbro Bharat Medical Hall, Sector 16; Anil and Co, Sector 22; Mangla Medicos, Sector 20; and Paul Medical Hall, Sector 11 D.

During the course of inspections, certain documents were taken into possession for verification.

A spokesperson for the department said various complaints had been received from residents wherein chemist shops had been accused of not providing bills for medicines bought from them.

Also, tax collection from chemist shops was not in sync with the sales. The aim of the inspection was to check irregularities in the billing process and check any form of tax evasion, he added. 



Shobha yatra by Sanatan Dharm today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
A shobha yatra will be organised by the Sanatan Dharm Mahayagya Samiti on November 25.

The yatra will start from Adarsh Rishikul Kendriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetham (ARKSV), Sector 47, and after passing through various sectors will finish at the Shiv Temple, Sector 31-D.

The yatra, which will pass through sectors 46, 45, 43, 42, 36, 23 22 and 30, is a part of the week-long Srimad Bhagwat Saptah to be organised by the samiti from November 26 to December 2.

Acharya Atma Ram Mishra, founder president, ARKSV, said as many as 108 devotees would conduct a “Kalash Yatra” from Air Force Shiv Mandir to ARKSV, 47-C, on November 26 at 4 am and nearly 108 Brahmins from Vrindavan and Varanasi would recite Bhagwat at ARKSV from 6 am to 1 pm.

Krishna Chandra from Vrindavan would recite the Bhagwat katha from 2 pm to 6 pm, while Vishnu Sahastranaam would be recited at ARKSV on December 3 from 7am to 8 am. A community kitchen would also be organised at Shiv Mandir from 11 am to 3 pm.



Tribune ex-employee dead
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 24
Lalita Prashad (69), a former Deputy Manager (Press), The Tribune, died here today after brief illness. He joined Tribune at Ambala and had retired after putting in 38 years of service.

He was cremated at the Manimajra crematorium. The cremation was largely attended by his old colleagues and relatives.

He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son. His son, Sunil Kumar, is working as a Senior Proof Reader with The Tribune.



Students to be penalised for forging identities
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The welfare department of Panjab University has decided to penalise those responsible for forging identities in the PU Inter-Zonal Youth Festival.

PU officials are probing the matter in detail.

The revelation about members of PU’s bhangra team forging their identity and participating on behalf of Punjab Technical University (PTU) was brought to light by the Tribune two days back.

It was found that some of the students, who were enrolled in GGM Khalsa College, Ludhiana, which is affiliated to PU, were also enrolled in Guru Nanak Institute of Information and Technology, Ludhiana, affiliated to PTU.

Before the youth festival, the college affiliated to PU had issued identity cards to students participating in the events.

Former principal Inderjeet Singh said the college could not do anything if students sought admission elsewhere also, without informing them.

While PTU has done investigation at its own level and has obtained affidavits from all students, PU is yet to take any action on the matter.

When contacted, director of the department of youth welfare SM Kant said a probe was on into the matter.

PU Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti was out of the city, however, on being contacted Prof Naval Kishore, Dean, student welfare, said, “The matter will be investigated and the director will submit the report to us shortly.”

Meanwhile, senior officials associated with cultural programmes of the university said in such a case the college will be questioned first and then students. “If the college is found guilty, it can be penalised and if students are at fault, they can be barred from such events,” said an official.

A similar case was also found two years back, where the college was held responsible for the discrepancy. The college was subsequently fined Rs 50,000.

The present case came to light when an objection was raised during the youth festival of PTU. These students were accused of having performed in the PU Inter-Zonal Youth Festival also. Strangely, the team was adjudged the best team at zonal level and then at the inter-zonal level of both PU and PTU youth festivals. 



Swine Flu
Coaching centres yet to catch attention
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The UT administration may have done a lot to combat the spread of swine flu in educational institutions, but it seems that lack of any official record regarding coaching centres have crippled its efforts.

While the administration on one hand claims to have extended its

anti-swine flu activities to all coaching centres, the education department on the other hand, denies having any data regarding even the exact number of city-based institutes. Thus the entire effort solely depends on the individual prerogative of these centres or the health department officials.

“Reacting to our media advertisements, many coaching centres have sent us declarations that they are not allowing any student with cough and cold to attend classes,” said Nodal Officer HC Gera.

According to sources, of the 600 such centres in the tri-city, only 30 have been approached by the authorities.

While UT Education Secretary Ram Niwas and DPI (S) Sunil Bhatia could not be contacted, one of the other senior officials of the education department surprisingly said, “Such a list can only be available at the local police station or estate office.”

It may be recalled that earlier the department had to cut a sorry figure at one of the recent meetings of MHRD when the former DPI Samwartak was pulled up for not having any record of the city-based play schools and nursery institutions.



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