C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Babla surrenders before police
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
After being on the run for over four months, absconding Congress councillor and former chairman of market committee Devinder Singh Babla surrendered before the UT police at the Sector 24 police post here tonight.

Booked in a case of cheating on August 19, Babla surrendered before the police, with his family members and supporters present at the site. Expecting a crowd, the police had deployed additional police force and a QRT vehicle outside the police post.

Soon after landing, Babla expressed full faith in the judiciary and refused to say anything else. Replying to a query about the case, he said, “Everyone knows about it and there is no need to make any comment on it.” “I have surrendered before the police while towing the party’s line. I have come to cast my vote in the mayoral election,” he told TNS.

DSP (CID) Satbir Singh said the case was transferred to the Special Crime Investigation Cell (SCIC) on December 19. Officials were keeping a track of his movements and the persons, who could be in contact with him. The police exerted pressure, which ultimately resulted in the surrender of the accused.

Besides the cheating case pertaining to the allotment of sheds in the Sector 26 Grain Market, Babla is facing an inquiry into the recruitment of Rajesh Kumar, as auction recorder in the market committee. Rajesh is brother of Anju, who is a family friend of Babla, said the DSP. The police would look into the matter as it is being alleged that fake certificates were furnished to obtain the job.

The DSP said the police would look into all aspects of the case and would also make a list of the persons who were in contact with Babla during his run and harboured him. The police is also making a list of persons who were in touch with him on phone.

When asked about who was the complainant in the recruitment issue, the DSP said it was published in the media. The police would also question Babla about his links with Davinder Singh, alias Whiskey, currently in jail for murder of financier Harjinder Singh Dhillon. Whiskey told the police that he had campaigned for Babla during the market committee elections.

The police would produce him before a local court for police remand tomorrow. He was booked on the charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy by allotting platform in the grain market to 10 ineligible persons on a complaint lodged by Suraj Parkash Ahuja, owner of shop No 9-10, in Grain Market. The case was registered on the basis of an inquiry conducted by the additional deputy commissioner PS Shergill, who found Babla and other person guilty following the allegation levelled against them in the complaint.

After the case, Babla during a press conference held in a restaurant in Sector 26 on August 23, had alleged that he was implicated in a false case at the behest of the UT administration. He claimed he was victimised for raising his voice against the administrator. It was after his public announcement that the UT police faced ire of their superiors and it launched a manhunt for Babla.

At one point of time, Babla claimed to have offered himself to the police to join him for interrogation at the Sector 26 police station, but the police did not let him join the probe. The police had said it wanted his custodial remand in the case.



GMCH-32 may soon have swine flu testing lab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
If all falls in place, then GMCH, Sector 32, might very soon have a swine flu-testing lab of its own.

According to the UT officials, the Director-cum-Principal, GMCH-32, has been asked to explore the possibility for starting a testing lab as early as possible so that it can share the patient load of the sole testing center at the Virology Department of PGIMER.

It has also been decided that Chaitanya Hospital, Sector 44, will share the responsibility for screening and management of H1N1 cases especially for pediatric and obstetric patients.

The revelation was made at a review meeting called by the UT Health Secretary with the representatives of PGIMER, 12, GMCH-32, GMSH-16, Education Department, INSCOL-34, Mukat Hospital, 34, and Chaitanya Hospital, 44C.

The Health Secretary maintained that guidelines for this lab would be provided by the Virology Departmen, PGIMER, and it would be a milestone in making the screening more convenient for patients.

Amongst other important decisions taken at the meeting was strengthening of the ventilator support system at city hospitals with GMCH, Sector 32, having decided to immediately purchase 10 new ventilators.

It has also been decided to authorise more doctors from the Indian Medical Association State Branch to treat the suspect/confirmed cases with Tamiflu.

Meanwhile, as per the officials, the weekly data indicated that there was a was a decline in the swine flu cases and as far as deaths were concerned, only 7 deaths have been registered in the city. 



Mayoral Poll 
Old rivals set to lock horns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The stage is set for tussle between old rivals, Congress candidate Anu Chatrath and BJP-SAD alliance candidate Harjinder Kaur for the mayoral election of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, scheduled for January 1, 2010.

Amid fanfare and accompanied by a large number of supporters, both Congress and the BJP-SAD alliance candidates filed their nomination papers in the office of the MC Additional Commissioner PK Sharma. Today was the last day of filing papers. This year the seat of Mayor is reserved for a woman candidate.

While the Congress and the BJP-SAD alliance fielded their candidates on all three posts, including Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor, the BSP did not enter the fray.

The local unit of the BSP announced that it would support the BJP-SAD mayoral candidate Harjinder Kaur in the election, as per the directions of their high command. Insiders of BSP revealed that with its four councillors, they had so far refused to support the joint front for the posts of senior deputy mayor and deputy mayor even though the negotiations were still on.

BJP candidate Anil Kumar Dubey also filed his papers for the post of senior deputy mayor, while Sunita Choudhary filed her nomination for the post of deputy mayor from the BJP.

On the other hand, the Congress has fielded Anu Chatrath, a two-time councillor, for the post of mayor, Bhupinder Singh Bhadheri who had recently won the byelections for senior deputy mayor and Sheela Devi for deputy mayor. The party leaders are trying hard to keep their flock of 15 councillors together to minimise cross-voting.

As for the nominated councillors, four of them had been regularly attending the Congress meetings, while the party claims to have support of six of them.

After finalising their candidates, the contesting parties have started wooing “navratnas” (nine nominated councillors), as they will play a crucial role in deciding the victory of councillors to the posts of Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

There are in all 36 voters in MC House, including the sitting Member of Parliament. Out of 36, the Congress has 16 votes, including that of a sitting MP, seven from the BJP-SAD and four from the BSP. Besides, there are nine nominated councillors who also have the right to vote.

Brief profile of Anu Chatrath: She was elected as councillor of Chandigarh Municipal Corporation in the year 2002 and was again re-elected in 2006. During her first tenure, she held the office of mayor in the year 2005 and was elected as the ninth Mayor of city Municipal Corporation. She was also Member of the Advisory Council of the Administrator of Union Territory of Chandigarh - constituted to advise the Chandigarh Administration on developmental issues and policy matters affecting the Union Territory, Chandigarh, for a period of two years in 2007.

Brief Profile of Harjinder Kaur: She is contesting election for the post of mayor for the third time. She was the first Akali who brought the prestige to the party by winning the election of Mayor in 2001. When the re-election of mayor was held in 2007, she won by one vote by defeating Anu Chatrath of the Congress party. Kaur has been elected as councillor from the same area thrice. 



Mercury dips further; flights, trains hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The temperature in city plummeted further, with the minimum temperature recorded as 3.2 degrees Celsius (six degrees less than the yesterday’s minimum temperature, which was 3.9 degrees Celsius).

As fog continued to envelop the city on Tuesday morning, it was a harrowing time for travellers, as several flights were delayed and one cancelled, while many trains ran late. The maximum temperature also plummeted to 20.4 degrees Celsius from 21.6 degrees Celsius recorded on Monday.

The New Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express (2011) was late by 30 minutes. “The Unchahar Express (4217), which runs between Allahabad and Chandigarh, was late by over an hour from its scheduled arrival at 9:45 am. The Sadbhavana Express (2231), which runs between Lucknow and Chandigarh, arrived late by over two hours,” said Station Superintendent R K Datta. Three flights from Chandigarh were delayed. Kingfisher’s Srinagar-Delhi-Chandigarh flight was delayed by two hours and the station manager of GoAir Airlines confirmed a delay of two hours in the arrival of the Mumbai-Chandigarh flight.

Meanwhile, Jet Airways has announced the cancellation of morning Delhi-Chandigarh flight till December 31.

The Chandigarh airport's only Instrument Landing System (ILS), used for the safe landing of flights in case of poor visibility due to bad weather or fog, has been out of order for the last few months. Airport authorities said it would be replaced soon. “We are already working in this direction and we will try to install it at the earliest,” he added.

“We informed the authorities concerned and the Indian Air Force about this and requested for an immediate replacement,” said a senior official at the Chandigarh airport.

Meanwhile, weathermen are expecting foggy and bone-chilling conditions to prevail in the region in the days to come. 



Ruchika molestation case
Home Secy marks inquiry against school
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Reacting to a complaint filed by one of the associates of Anand Prakash, UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas marked an inquiry against the Sacred Heart School, Sector 26, here today.

The decision aims to get an explanation as to why Ruchika was thrown out of the school one month after she accused the ex-DIG SPS Rathore of molesting her.

Confirming the complaint, Madhu Anand said, “Yes we went and urged him to seek a reply from the school why she was victimised this way. The school reportedly gave a reason that she did not pay her fee. Was it just a coincidence that her admission was cancelled just a month after the incident was reported?”

It may be noted that ever since Rathore was convicted in the Ruchika molestation case, rumours have been flying high that the school authorities had asked Ruchika to leave to save Rathore’s daughter from embarrassment, who incidentally was Ruchika’s classmate.

The school so far has maintained that the admission was cancelled around 19 years ago and the entire set-up and management had changed since then, so nobody can say anything on it.

Meanwhile, according to a senior faculty member, “In inquiry also, we will maintain the same thing. This is not a private school being run by a family, where anybody would know about it after 19 years. Every single member of the management changes every five years. So who can be precise? Moreover, we have had a spotless reputation and never victimised anybody. Whatever might have been done would have been as per the rules and not under any pressure.”



Mani Majra couple killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 28
A Mani Majra-based couple was killed in a road accident near Bharatgarh today.

35-year-old Hari Singh and his 30-year-old wife Uma were returning after paying obeisance at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib. They were riding on a motorcycle. When they reached near Bharatgarh, a tractor trolley coming from the opposite direction had head on collision with the motorcycle.

The motorcycle came under the front portion of the tractor killing its occupants on the spot. The driver of tractor trolley managed to escape from the spot. Bodies were handed over to relatives after conducting a post-mortem report. 


City to be made slum-free: Secy
More dwelling units mooted 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
If the dwelling plans for the poor by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) materialise, 2010 will witness real progress on the slum rehabilitation front.

“The task of providing quality living to the city’s poor is quite big but we are putting in a lot of effort in this direction. The most challenging task the CHB faces in 2010 is rehabilitation of slum dwellers in 18 colonies, and make Chandigarh a smoke-free and slum-free city in the country. The two-phased scheme has already been included in the City Development Plan,” said Sanjay Kumar, Housing-cum-Finance Secretary, UT Administration.

It was way back in 1979 that the CHB had been first assigned the work of rehabilitating the jhuggi dwellers. Under the scheme, 2,712 sites had been developed in Dadumajra and Karsan that won CHB its first National Award from HUDCO, recalled Mr Sanjay Kumar.

G J S Rosha, Chief Engineer, CHB, said:“In Phase I, the CHB plans to construct 6,368 units with an average gross density of 58 units per acre. In the second phase, 17,473 units will be constructed.

While 80 per cent of the project cost will be borne by the Centre, 12 per cent will be met by contributions from the beneficiaries, and eight per cent by the Chandigarh Administration.”

Against the target of 25,728 dwelling units for the slum dwellers, the construction work has already started on 12,864 units and the CHB hopes to hand over 600 units by March, 2010. The UT Administration has earmarked 356.38 acres of land for the rehabilitation project. Out of this, 216.31 acres located at four locations — Dhanas, Maloya-I, Sector 49 and Sector 38 (W) — have been made available to the CHB, which has paid Rs 198.28 crore on account of the cost of the land to the Chandigarh Administration.

Rosha said up to November 30, 2009, the CHB had spent Rs 143.81 crore on the construction of dwelling units.

It has received Rs 145.49 crore as central share of the scheme and Rs 30.99 crore as state share.

The CHB is expecting Rs 178 crore more from the Centre in the current financial year. 



Home Secretary inspects ISBT, Burail Jail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Home Secretary Ram Niwas made a visit to the Sector 43 Bus Stand and Burail Jail today in the morning.

On his visit to the bus stand with Director Transport M L Sharma, Chief Engineer Surinder Pal and Deputy Commissioner Brijendra Singh, he found negligence on the part of the contractor looking after cleanliness work at the bus stand.The electronic sweeping machines were not in working condition and the number of machines was also less than the number required as per the contract.

He immediately ordered termination of the contract with the party for causing inconvenience to the general public. He also checked if all eateries at the bus stand had put up the rate list at their stalls.

He also asked the shopkeepers to install electric sub-meters within 15 days. The Home Secretary further ordered installation of more lights on the roof of the lounge, refurbishment of some ticket counters and beautification of the area.

Later, he, accompanied by Surinder Pal, NPS Randhawa and other Chandigarh administration officials, visited Burail Jail. He ordered the jail authorities to fill the tunnel dug by the escaped terrorists lodged in the jail with concrete, as per the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

He also inspected the kitchen where the food for inmates was being prepared.

He ordered to upgrade the Mulakat room and make it sound proof.

During the meeting with the jail authorities he ordered that a female ward, additional warder line and a mess be made on priority.

From the security point of view it was decided to purchase night vision goggles and binoculars with some wireless handsets and CCTV cameras.



Taxi drivers make hey 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Taxi drivers operating from Chandigarh on long routes to tourist destinations like Shimla and other places have been fleecing people. While the standard fare between Chandigarh-Shimla is around Rs 1,300 only, the taxi drivers have been charging up to Rs 1,700 for a trip. A number of commuters said the taxi drivers were holding the passengers to ransom. Since there was a great demand, any arguments about rational fare only fell on deaf ears.

Raman Kumarm who reached here from Delhi said, only a month back he had paid Rs 1,300 for a trip to Shimla, but no taxi driver was prepared to make the trip for that amount now. The taxi drivers simply refused to get into any arguments. “There seems to be an agreement among the taxi drivers that they have to charge above Rs 1,600”, he said, while adding, ultimately, he had to pay the amount demanded by the taxi driver.

However, there are some passengers who manage with a little less but not at the normal fair. Surjit Singh, who had also come from Delhi said, he paid Rs 1,550 after lot of bargaining. He suggested that the UT administration must ensure that the taxi drivers do not hold people to ransom.

He pointed out, since this was a tourist season and people were rushing to the hills to celebrate the New Year, the taxi drivers had decided on their own rates. There are no cops or tourism officials who will monitor the situation and ensure that the passengers are not fleeced.

When contacted, Vandana Disodia, Secretary, State Transport Authority, said, she has not received any complaint in this regard and added that the passengers negotiated the fare themselves and they seldom bothered to hold on to reasonable fare.

Some old timers said, the taxi drivers describe this time of the year as their peak season and they tried to make the most of it. “There is never such a huge rush anytime during the year as it is these days that they can make money hence everybody wants to make some extra money”, confided a taxi driver to this reporter while admitting that they were charging more.

“How does it matter, as long as the passengers are willing and ready to pay?” he asked and said, not many people object to the fare as everybody is in a festive and celebrating mood.



A lurking danger
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 28
Motorists using the Kumbhra-Phase XI road link face the risk of falling into a death trap near the Phase 8 police station here, thanks to the lackadaisical attitude of the Mohali MC.

For the past few months, the MC, instead of covering the open sewerage manhole, has placed a road signboard. Still, the opening is enough for a two- wheeler rider to fall.

On Monday, when Tribune lensman visited the spot, broken tree branches and filth had been put on the manhole cover. “Anyone can fall in the death trap and the fall could prove to be fatal as during the night hours there was no street lights at the spot,” said Mohinder Singh, a resident of Lambian village.

Ironically, the manhole lies next to the proposed Central Business District (CBD) in sector 62. Under the development plan, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has to widen the road between Sector 62 and Sector 69, as has been done in case of other roads around Sector 62.

Much to the risk of the road users, the MC has not put any warning sign at the spot.



Commuters face traffic jams on Zirakpur-Chandigarh barrier
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Installing of the high-powered CCTV cameras at Zirakpur-Chandigarh barrier is aiding traffic congestions more than giving desired results.

Commuters passing through the barrier on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur highway face traffic jam and bottles necks at the barrier, especially during the office hours in morning and evening. Incidents of road rage are becoming a routine affair at the barrier as motorists jostle to make the way through the barrier.

Long queues of vehicles are witnessed on the barrier as the Chandigarh police, in an attempt to get better footage of the vehicles, has narrowed the passage. To reduce the speed of the vehicles, the police has placed barricades at closer distances in a zigzag manner.

“The authorities should devise ways to streamline the flow of traffic through the barrier otherwise the entire idea of installing the expensive cameras will fail. They should design the barrier on the lines of toll plazas, providing multiple entries for each category of vehicles for better results. Even now, two-wheeler riders sneak into the barricade, thus causing obstacles in view of the cameras”, said Harman Sidhu, president of road safety NGO, Arrive Safe.

To further aggravate the chaos, the sales-tax barrier at Zirakpur also plays its role. Long queues of truck trigger traffic jams on the stretch, which lasts till the Chandigarh-Zirakpur barrier. The daily commuters say after the horrific accident near the flyover a few week ago, in which two persons were charred to death in a Honda City car, the unauthorised opening on the dividers were plugged.

The other contributory factor of chaos at the barrier as the trucks now take U-turn from the airport traffic lights point has to pass through the barrier. The authorities should provide them a passage near the sales tax barrier”, remarked Sunil Kumar, a Zirakpur resident working in Chandigarh.

“Earlier the motorists visiting the city felt a sigh of relief while entering on seeing the wider and smooth roads.”, Raghbir Singh, a resident of Ambala, said.



Councillors expected to unseat Cong-backed chief in MC
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, December 28
The New Year is expected to see renewed efforts by opposition councillors to unseat the Congress-backed president even as no major changes are likely in the town on the infrastructural front in view of the fund crunch faced by the Municipal Council.

The year also seems to have little to offer residents in terms of more water availability, as no important supply projects are due for completion by December-end next. Encroachments, which the civic body has been unable to remove in 2009, are expected to remain the town’s bane given the lack of concerted efforts and will at the level of the top functionaries of the council.

Sanitation, an issue over which protesting councillors have cried themselves hoarse, may not see dramatic improvement with the contract once again going to the same parties whose work has been drawing flak over the past year.

Many roads in various parts of the town are in need of repairs and residents can hope for some improvement in this sphere in the coming year as expenditure estimates are ready and are scheduled for presentation and clearance at the council meeting fixed for December 29.

The bid to topple the council chief, which was made on September 29 with 21 out of 31 councillors giving a notice of no-confidence against council president Rajinder Singh Rana, ended in whimper following withdrawal of the notice by 19 councillors on October 5. However, Rana went ahead with the special meeting, which was attended by 12 ruling group councillors and Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu in his capacity as ex-officio council member with the voting right.

But the Director, Local Government, Punjab, later declared this meeting invalid due to lack of quorum. However, the momentum of the opposition efforts to unseat Rana has not died down and 2010 will once again see the toppling drama being played out.

Residents raised much hue and cry during 2009 over water rationing, which extended well beyond peek summer right till November 30. The town continues to expand and the population has been rising but no water project is on the anvil to give immediate relief to residents during the summer of 2010.

The project relating to the pipeline under Phase V from Kajauli to Mohali remains a distant dream. The work has not begun on the project and even if it begins in 2010, it is not likely to be completed before two to three years, say GMADA officials. In the coming year residents will have to brace themselves for more water shortage.

Poor sanitation has always been a sore point with residents. Neither have new plans been drawn up to improve sanitation nor modern equipment been purchased by the cash-strapped civic body.

Filth will continue to greet residents in 2010 even though the council authorities claim that the new sanitation contract has been given on tougher terms and conditions. However, most councillors are unhappy as the work for the coming year remains with the same contractors, who had put up a poor show in 2009. 
The council authorities, which failed to keep the town free of encroachments in the markets in 2009, still lack the will to undertake an effective anti-encroachment drive. One of the reasons given for the ineffective campaign against defaulters is the lack of police cover for the council staff engaged in the removal of encroachments. Unless tougher action is taken, including the imposition of deterrent fines, the residents will not hope to see cleaner markets and other areas in the New Year. 



Community Radio project faces trouble
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
While the UT Education Department’s Vision 2010 might promise to revamp the current ailing education system, it is all set to face the first jolt in the coming month.

The long-awaited project of Community Radio, the brainchild of DPI (S) SK Setia, might go in for a toss with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan officials locking horns with the SIE ( State Institute for Education) authorities over the financial matters.

The proposal for having Education Department’s very own community radio in SIE, Sector 32, was mooted under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan in 2007 and a detailed proposal was sent to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

After a series of meetings and requests, the go-ahead came in 2009 with the ministry recommending a budget of Rs 22 lakh, which involved the equipment, studio and staff expenditure and that is where things ran into troubled waters.

While the Education Department asked the SIE to pay, as they were the venue for studio, the SIE officials refused to pay claiming it to be SSA’s endeavour. Though the last date of sending requisite confirmations is January, both the sides are yet to find a solution.

“We never mooted the proposal and were also not consulted for the same. We said yes to give space but now they want us to pay. Weren’t they aware of financial integrities before planning such a thing. Moreover, when they return almost 40 per cent of their funds lying unused can’t they pay for their own projects?” said an SIE official.

“When they are going to get the facility and administer it then why should we pay? The entire issue has cropped up due to shift of power.

While the earlier SSA Project Director or DPI might think it feasible the current one might not what do we do?” reacted an Education Department official.



PWD projects worth 1,200 lakh approved 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Various PWD projects costing around 1,200 lakh were approved at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Finance-cum-Engineering Secretary Sanjay Kumar.

The projects include improvement and revamping of roads, construction of a new school and providing of Sewage Water Drainage (SWD) line in Phase III of Industrial Area, disclosed the Finance Secretary.

He said a Government Primary School would come up in Pocket No. 6 of Manimajra at an approximate cost of Rs 1.07 crore. Another project with an estimated expense of Rs 86 lakh for providing SWD lines in Phase III of Industrial Area, near Raipur Kalan village, has been cleared.

An estimated Rs 195.55 lakh has been finalised for the improvement of the road between Sector 47 and Railway Line; between Sector 42 and 43; widening of the V-3 road between Sector 46 and 47 and Sector 25, 25 West and Sector 38, 38 West; carpeting of Paschim Marg from Junction 30 to 45, i.e. road between Sector 38 and 38 West and recarpeting of Jan Marg from Junction 3 to 19 along slow carriageway, Sector 9.

While the stretches to be widened are Sukhna Path from Junction 22 to 36 between Sector 19/27 and 20/30, others to be strengthened are V-3 road from Junction 25 to 18 between Sector 15 and 16 and from Junction 32 to the Sector 23-24 light point and Jan Marg from Junction 33 to 48, i.e. between Sector 35 and 36.



Chandigarh sees rise in foreign tourists

Chandigarh, December 28
The Chandigarh Tourism Department has recorded 17 per cent growth in the inflow of foreign tourists by November this year. “Up to November this year, 33,615 foreign tourists visited the city against 28,658 in the corresponding period last year,” said Vinod Kalia, Deputy Director, Tourism, Chandigarh. The month of October this year witnessed the maximum inflow with as many as 4,774 foreigners arriving in Chandigarh, he said in an release.

He attributed the rise in the inflow of foreign tourists to Le Corbusier’s architectural designs and different faculties of the PGI holding conferences. “Also, we have moderate and affordable tariff compared to other metropolitan cities in the country. Besides the neat and clean budget accommodation, Chandigarh offers open spaces and greenery,” he said.

“As far as domestic tourists are concerned, there has been a negligible decrease in their number. Up to November, 8,31,580 tourists from different parts of the country visited city against 8,32,404 during the corresponding period last year,” he said. — PTI 



Sale of lotteries on rise
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 28
Due to the police crackdown on satta (gambling and lottery), sale of lotteries is on the rise in Mohali. From around Rs 8.9 crore per month last year, the sales have surged to Rs 20 crore per month.

In the past one year, the sales have been varying between Rs 15 crore per month and Rs 21 crore per month. In last November, the state lotteries department has registered a sale of Rs 21.85 crore.

Taking the credit for the upsurge in the state’s revenue, the police said due the crackdown on satta operators, as many as 30 cases were registered in Mohali, Sohana, Lalru, Zirakpur, Kurali, Nayangaon and Dera Bassi. During the raids, Rs 80,349 cash was recovered. The highest concentration of 120 lottery shops is in Zirakpur alone.

As Mohali district contributes around 10 per cent to the total lottery sales in Punjab, the satta business has been flourishing here, leading to a huge loss to the state exchequer.

SSP Mohali said the SHO’s have been asked to deal strictly with the satta operators. The police stations have been asked to keep a check on their areas. 



Chandigarh New Year festival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh December 28
The week-long Chandigarh New Year festival celebrations being organised by the Tourism Department, Chandigarh Administration, entered its fourth day in which a musical evening titled “ Mile Jule Geet ” and “Sangeet” was held .

The inaugural lamp of the musical evening was enlightened by Adviser to the UT Administrator Pradip Mehra. The musical evening titled was a blend of old and new melodies and entertained the gathering.

The evening kicked off with a melodies performance by Vijay Chauhan, a local singer, with other singers also enthralling the audience.In the morning, couple dance, partner dance and solo dance competitions were held at the plaza.

A total of 35 entries were received. 



Nagar Kirtan to be organised on Jan 2
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
A nagar kirtan procession will be organised by Gurdwara Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib (GSGTBS) on January 2 to mark the “Parkash Utsav” of 10th Sikh Guru Guru Gobind Singh.

Stating this in a press release here today, Amar Singh, president, GSGTBS, said the nagar kirtan procession would start from Sector 34 Gurdwara in the city at about 11.30 am and after passing through Sectors, 33, Sector 33-32 dividing road, Gurdwara Sahib Kalgidhar Kheri Sector 20-C, markets of Sector 20,21, 22, road opposite Sector 17 bus stand, 18-21 road, sector 18 market, Gurdwara Sahib Sector 19, Gurdwara Sahib Sector 7 would finally culminate at Gurdwara Sahib Sector 8 at 8 pm.

Meanwhile, Gurdwara Kalgidhar Kheri, Sector 20, will organize 3-day special kirtan functions from December 28 in the evening from 7 pm to 9 pm.

Baba Ranjit Singh of Khamano and Dalbagh Singh of Fatehgarh sahib will enlighten the devotees with “katha-kirtan” during the 3-day function. 



Haryanavi dance competition ends
SD Sharma

Panchkula, December 28
The three-day Haryanavi dance competition concluded yesterday at the Inderdhanush Auditorium.

Over 40 teams participated in the annual competition organised by the Haryana Kala Parishad and department of information and public relations, Haryana.

Karan Saini and group, DAV College, Faridabad, won the state award of Rs 1 lakh, while Sharda and group won the second state award of Rs 75,000.

The third prize of Rs 50,000 went to Aslam and group, Rohtak, while DAV College, Yamunanagar, bagged the consolation prize of Rs 25,000.

The winning teams from four zones of Ambaal, Hisar, Rohtak and Gurgaon got Rs 30,000 each, while runners-up got Rs 20,000 each. 



BJP leader Joshi blames Cong for price rise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Senior leader of the BJP and former president of Chandigarh unit Jai Ram Joshi today expressed anguish over the failure of the UPA government to control the skyrocketing prices of the essential commodities.

He said the country was being engulfed by the unabated rise in prices. The Congress-led UPA government has miserably failed to control and regulate prices of the basic commodities.He said half of the population in the country was below poverty line.

Even the middle class is feeling the pinch of the soaring prices.

He further said either the UPA government lacked in governance or was incompetent in properly managing the food distribution system. As a matter of fact, the government has no action plan and was making no serious efforts to contain the rising prices.

He said it was unfortunate that the finance and food ministers failed to take appropriate steps to bring down the prices. “The government should at least ensure food security in the country and take effective steps to bring down the prices of atta, pulses, rice and edible oils immediately,” he added.



Man electrocuted
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 28
A 32-year-old truck driver, Ravi Kumar, was electrocuted in Bhabat here this morning. The victim, who was married a few months ago, came in contact with a high tension wire.

The victim, hailing from Hoshiarpur, had dropped a consignment at Dera Bassi last night and was moving in the godown area in Bhabat when the incident took place.

A streetlight was blocking a road.

The victim thought of moving it to the other side. But he failed to notice the overhead high-tension line.

Soon after the incident, he was taken to the GMCH Hospital, Sector 32.

Inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC have been initiated.

The body will be handed over to family members after an autopsy at the Dera Bassi Hospital. 



Bringing alive life of Shaheed Udham Singh
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, December 28
“Shaheedon ki chitaon perr lagenge har barrs melle , Vatan pe mitne walon ka yahi baqi nishaan hoga..” and rightly the Punjabi Natak Akademy, Mohali, presented a Punjabi play “ Shaeed Udham Singh - Amritsar tonh London Takk ” at the Randhawa auditorium here last evening.

The script of the play evolved after a brainstorming sessions of study and research here as well as in London by veteran playwright Charan Singh Sindra. Young director Padam Sindra relying on older genre of Tamseel as well as the modern light and sound application attempted to bring alive the real life of the martyr.

His passion for singing Heer Waris and the intensity to avenge the heinous atrocities committed on the innocent people at the Jalianwala Bagh were seen in the play staged on his 110th birth anniversary. 



College accused of cheating
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Banur, December 28
Shifali, a student from Barnala, today approached the Punjab police against Swami Vivekananda Institute of Engineering and Technology, Banur, for neither returning her original certificates nor refunding the fee.

In his complaint lodged with the police, Satish Kumar, Shifali’s father, alleged that his daughter took admission in the college in June this year. He had deposited a fee of Rs 61,000 for getting his daughter enrolled in computer science engineering course.

“Besides depositing the fee, we had also submitted original certificates of Class X, Class IX and Class XII, along with migration, domicile, medical and character certificates,” said Satish Kumar.

He said Shifali got admission in Chandigarh Engineering College, Landran, in BTech through third counselling, which was conducted by the counselling committee of Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, on September 2009 and deposited Rs 65,000 there as fee.

As per the university procedure, a request was made to the principal and senior management officials at Swami Vivekananda Institute of Engineering and Technology, Banur, to return the fee, along with the original certificates, however, they refused to entertain any query.

“To our utter surprise we received four blank papers and a letter head of college, wherein it was written that they have attached all the original documents and would soon refund the fee”, said Satish Kumar.

The family has served a legal notice on the college authorities and have also approached the local police at Barnala to lodge an FIR in this connection. When contacted, principal-director of the college Paramjit Singh admitted that Shifali’s family members met him today. However, he added that since the official concerned was on leave for the past few days, the certificates and fee could not be handed over to Shifali’s family. 



NSS camp concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
A seven-day NSS camp concluded at Government Senior Secondary School, Dhanas.

As many as 50 NSS volunteers attended the camp.

A new lawn was inaugurated on the school campus. Students launched a cleanliness drive and painted the assembly stage. They also planted 51 samplings . School principal Anita Lakhi appreciated the efforts put in by students.

Ramesh Samual, programme officer, NSS, read out the camp report. Students were given lectures on female foeticide, common diseases and communal harmony.

They were also sensitised about Swine Flu and other diseases. 



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