C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Spate of Burglaries, Robberies
Police admits lapses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
Acknowledging slippages in basic policing and intelligence gathering following spurt in burglaries and daylight robberies at gunpoint, the UT SSP has issued a set of six instructions to the police force, asking it to tone up patrolling in the city.

In a meeting with all sub-divisional police officials, SHOs and in charge of police posts, the SSP instructed them to develop sources for gathering information, intensify patrolling, especially during morning and night hours, and maintain surveillance on activities of both old and recently released convicts from jails.

The SSP also directed police officials to hold public meetings with residents and market welfare associations and motivate them to take preventive steps to prevent property crime. Besides, the Police Control Room (PCR) staff has been advised to be more pro-active and supplement the local police.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, the SSP said their plan to improve the beat system was at the final stage. The police has selected three police stations - Sectors 17, 19 and 34 - located in each of its three sub-divisions - central, East and South - on a trial basis, in which police personnel will be deployed exclusively on beat duty and assigned the job of gathering information at the grassroots. They have been advised to be in touch with and motivate residents and market welfare associations to assist the police in preventing property crime.

Interestingly, the jurisdiction of these police stations does not include the areas in which recent incidents of robberies, burglaries and chain snatchings have occurred.

Admitting that there is a sudden spurt in the property crime, which directly reflect on poor policing, the SSP directed his force to take effective steps to not only prevent but also to detect property crime in the city.

The DSP (East) and the DSP (Crime) have been directed to analyse the CCTV footage provided by two shop owners from Sectors 7 and 24, respectively. They were told to take help from experts to get a better and clearer image of the culprits captured on the CCTV cameras.

The SSP said he was also in touch with the Panchkula and Mohali police with whom they were sharing information on a regular basis to track down robbers and burglars.

Four incidents of robberies at gunpoint within a short span of an hour on Monday followed by 10 incidents of burglaries on Tuesday have reflected poorly on the PCR and other patrolling police personnel in the city on duty in the areas where the crime was committed. The SSP said though no lapses of the PCR staff had come to light during inquiry, there was a definite need for them to improve themselves.

Meanwhile, representatives of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal met the SSP asking him to enhance night patrolling, educating shopkeepers to install safety gadgets, make PCR response quicker, improve the intelligence gathering system and make police officials of the area, wherever crime is commuted, accountable.



VIP duties holding up cops!
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
A shortfall in the sanctioned strength coupled with VIP and other security related duties continue to burden the Chandigarh Police, which seems to be finding it difficult to check the spurt in gunpoint robberies and burglaries.

With just 2,712 police personnel, 34 per cent less than the sanctioned strength of around 5,000, the Chandigarh Police appears to be struggling. The police has started the process of recruiting 1,200 constables this year. A total of 1,007 fresh recruits of the India Reserve Battalion are under training and are expected to join the force by the yearend. The city police is planning to attach the majority of the 157 constables, who recently joined the force, for improving the beat system.

Even as the ratio of 442 persons per policeman in the city is better than many states in the country, and comparable with the most of the western countries, the city police is left wanting for more force due to the large number of VIPs living in the union territory, which is also the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana.

The VIPs residing in the city include governors of Punjab and Haryana, chief ministers and speakers of both the states, 48 judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and its registrar general, a district and sessions judge, four additional district and sessions judges, a chief judicial magistrate and a senior judge for Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Court, apart from other 37 other protected persons.

Out of the total number of 2,712 police personnel from the rank of inspectors to constables, 346 are deployed on the VIP security, while 406 police personnel are attached to the Police Lines. Last year, the Chandigarh Police deployed 12,178 police personnel on security duties to cover 4,127 events and VIP duties in the city.

Police records reveal that in 2009, the police provided security cover to 253 rallies, 152 demonstration, 64 processions, 5,644 meetings, 33 anti-encroachment operations, 142 cultural events, 307 examinations, 411 religious functions, 222 relay fasts, 53 special search operations, 105 sports events, 23 assembly sessions and 809 miscellaneous events.

A senior police official said such events take a heavy toll on basic police functioning and even routine investigations get delayed. The traffic police only has 225 personnel besides 176 home guard volunteers. But they are not always on traffic regulation duty. “Whenever there is a VIP movement in the city, the work of basic traffic policing like enforcement and regulation of traffic takes a backseat,” he said.

Besides, the Chandigarh Police takes assistance from 1,077 home guard volunteers, who are daily wagers, paid Rs 150 per day.



Information not CTU’s forte
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

New low-floor green buses under the JNNURM scheme, with the ticker running on the windscreen.
New low-floor green buses under the JNNURM scheme, with the ticker running on the windscreen.
An old grid bus with a tiny board, displaying the areas it passes through in a hardly readable font.
An old grid bus with a tiny board, displaying the areas it passes through in a hardly readable font.

Chandigarh, April 22
A total of 417 buses, 41,500 kilometres of daily travel on local routes and another 11,500 kilometres of travel on suburban routes, yet there is neither any printed timetable, nor display boards in the city to inform passengers about buses and their routes.

Welcome to the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), which daily transports about 85,000 passengers commuting in and around the city. It is a miracle that they manage to do so without providing route plans in the country’s first planned city, with the third highest literacy rate.

This is notwithstanding a number of official tours that many high-ranking UT administration officials have made to Western countries in the past on the pretext of improving tourism and public transport in the city.

At the Chandigarh railway station, where nearly 15 long-distance trains, in addition to shuttle trains, pass through daily, a solitary display board in a badly defaced condition is the only indication that CTU buses ply to and from the railway station. No one remembers for how long the display board has been in this defaced condition.

Similar is the situation at the ISBT, Sector 43, which caters to passengers arriving from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Though the CTU section at this bus stand has signboards displayed at platforms, the buses are rarely parked at the respective platforms. There is nothing that is available in the name of any printed information about these buses.

The situation is no different at the ISBT, Sector 17. The bus stand presents a shabby look, with the paint of the platforms displaying information about buses chipping off at places.

Information boards displayed above the windscreen of many buses is not legible from a distance. By the time a passenger is able to figure out what is written, the bus has left. The passenger is invariably faced with choosing between boarding the bus and then figuring out its destination or asking fellow passengers before boarding it. The chances of missing the bus are high in case of the second option.

It defies logic that at a time when the CTU is pumping in crores in modernising its working, it suffers a lack of imagination on printing a timetable and a route plan for buses.

“We did have time tables and route plans, but since there is nothing fixed, it did not work well. Sometimes school timings are changed. Sometimes new buses are added on the same routes, which means having to incorporate changes,” says a CTU official.

Maybe when new buses are final and the system is in sync with the existing arrangement can there be printed information, he adds. But will ‘stability’, which has not come in more than four decades of the CTU’s existence, come at all?



But buses comfortable
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
It is rather disappointing as a commuter that despite having added a substantial number of buses to its fleet and incorporating high-end technology such as GPS (global positioning system), grid system, electronic boards on some bus queue shelters and computerisation, what the CTU still falls weak on is basic information about its buses.

To probe it further, this correspondent travelled on half a dozen routes and all types of buses that the CTU had added to its fleet across the city. While travelling on CTU buses is otherwise comfortable, obtaining information about bus routes is the biggest challenge.

Travel on recently introduced green low-floor bus funded under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM)

On reaching Sector 17, I was hoping to find the timetable painted on the wall of the bus queue shelter at Sector 22, opposite the ISBT at Sector 17. But on glancing at the timetable, I had to ask other passengers waiting at the bus stop here for information. This was because the timetable mentioned some 15 route numbers, sans any information on their actual route. I asked a woman waiting at the bus stop. She was headed for Sector 38-West. “I know which bus goes to my area and that is all I know. I too asked someone the first day I had to travel. This is all I know about bus routes,” said the passenger, who identified herself as Kamla.

While this conversation was still on, a bus travelling on route number 1-C halted near me. Without bothering, I just boarded it. On board the bus, I got to know that this bus originated at the PGI and returned to the hospital via Sectors 15 and 16. The journey took 20 minutes.

The bus had a comfortable seating arrangement. I suddenly heard raised voices between the driver and the conductor. The driver was complaining how he was finding it difficult to negotiate a turn with medians.

Journey in small air-conditioned red bus

At the PGI, I boarded an air-conditioned bus on route number 204 to the Housing Board Chowk at Mani Majra via the railway station. As the bus was still parked at the bus stop, I noticed from the window a similarly inadequate timetable displayed on a small kiosk. The only difference was that there were two lines written in Hindi saying ‘For railway station, 1-A and 3-C, and for Sector 17, 1-A, 3-C, 2-F, 2-C’.

As the bus pushed its way through Madhya Marg, the bus stopped some distance short of a bus queue shelter at Sector 26, where waiting passengers chose to stand under a tree instead of the bus shelter. My journey ended 25 minutes later, when I disembarked at the Housing Board Chowk. I crossed the road to be on the other side of the road, near the bus queue shelter, where passengers in waiting were spilling out of the bus shelter.

Journey on a low-floor old grid bus

In the sweltering summer heat, I managed somehow to get on a bus on route number 2-F, which would take me back to my car in Sector 17. It was an overcrowded bus. I had to stand through the entire journey and barely managed to stand on my feet amid all the jostling.

The bus had an inbuilt GPS, which enabled announcements for every stop through a centrally located speaker in the bus. It is another matter that despite my earnest efforts, I was unable to hear a single announcement because the speaker was in the front portion of the bus and hence, barely audible in the middle and rear portions of the bus.



Power cuts trip city, Mohali
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh/Mohali, April 22
Power cuts, both scheduled and unscheduled, continued to make residents’ life miserable in Chandigarh and Mohali today.

While in Chandigarh, the power cuts during the day have left residents high and dry, outages during night hours in the satellite town of Mohali has forced residents to spend sleepless nights.

The use of coolers, air-conditioners and fans following the prevailing heat wave conditions have forced the UT administration to impose rotational power cuts in Industrial Area. Under the new arrangement, power supply to a row of industrial units would be switched off to conserve electricity and meet the rising demand, an official said.

As against an assured supply of 184 MW, the administration was able to manage a supply of 265 MW last year, while the demand has reportedly crossed over 300 MW. Since Chandigarh has the highest per capita consumption of 1,168 units per day, it is not surprising that various areas of the city face power cuts. Power tripping is more common in the high-density areas from Sector 31 onwards where a large number of air-conditioners have been installed without the corresponding increase in the sanctioned load, an official said.

However, Mohali is bearing the brunt of the frequent power cuts. Frequent tripping in certain areas adds to the problem. The water supply also gets adversely affected due to the long power cuts.

Students appearing in various examinations are a harried lot following prolonged power cuts. Gurpreet Singh, a resident of Phase IV, Mohali, said the Punjab government had last year claimed that the situation would improve in the years ahead. But there is hardly been any improvement. One could bear the scheduled power cuts to some extent as work could be planned accordingly. But the unscheduled power cuts imposed during the day and even at night has made the life miserable.

Anita Rani, a resident of Phase X, Mohali, said residents of Phases IX to XI are also facing water shortage as water could not be pumped from the underground storage tanks due to power cuts.

Disadvantage residents

l Rotational power cuts in Industrial Area, Chandigarh
l Night cuts make residents’ lives miserable in Mohali
l Water supply also affected in Mohali
l Students at the receiving end



PSEB runs out of power meters
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 22
Already battling with power shortage, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has run out of electricity meters.

Hundreds of applicants in Mohali district are making rounds of PSEB offices to get electricity meters, resulting in delay in power connections. Senior PSEB officials admit that the pendency was due to delay in procurement of meters.

Since January this year, the department was not releasing electricity meters, especially in Zirakpur and Mohali areas. A number of allottees of dwelling units in group housing societies at Zirakpur have been waiting since January to get power meters.

“It not a problem specific to Mohali, there is a shortage of meters across the state,” said a PSEB official. In Zirakpur alone, the board of short of around 300 three-phase meters.

“Consumers are being forced to buy meters from the market at a much higher price. The board is wasting its funds on irrelevant things,” said Lakes Singh, circle president of the Technical Service Union of the PSEB.

“The power board is advising us to buy the electricity meters from private contractors at a much higher rate. This is not acceptable,” rued said Naveen Chopra of Zirakpur whose application for a single-phase meter has been pending since March.

Executive engineer, Zirakpur division, HS Oberoi said the board had started issuing single-phase meters. However, he admitted that there was a shortage of three-phase meters. Additional superintending engineer, Mohali division, HS Bhoparai, however, claimed that the board had started issuing electricity meters. According to sources, the PSEB charges Rs 250 for a single-phase meter. The same is available at Rs 1,400 with private contractors.



Residents lay seige to road
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 22
Irked residents of Dashmesh Nagar blocked vehicles on the Dhakoli road near K-Area for more than two hours and raised slogans against the Punjab State Electricity Board for erratic power supply here this evening.

The residents claimed that due to overloading, power trips have become the norm here.

Residents claimed that there had been no power supply in the locality since morning. They alleged that the power supply was suspended in the morning, restored in the afternoon, but again disrupted in the evening. One of the residents said there was a power failure for at least 20 times in a day. “We don’t get proper sleep during nights”, he added.

The police reached the scene, but failed to pacify the protesters. Sources said more than 100 vehicles, including Army vehicles were caught in the jam.

Till the filing of the report no official from the PSEB had visited the spot.



Taps run dry
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

No water for 15 days

Around 1.5 lakh residents of Ambedkar Colony in Hallo Majra are without water for over 15 days. “We had approached the authorities on April 19. The water supply was resumed for an hour that day, but there has been no water since then,” said a resident. “On Thursday, we again met MC officials and Mayor Anu Chatrath with MC officials too stock of the situation,” he added.

PU hostels face water shortage

The Panjab University Student Council on Thursday submitted a memorandum to the Vice-Chancellor urging him to deal with the problem of water scarcity in hostels.

Claiming water shortage to be a regular feature, president of the council Amit Bhatia said: “Every year the authorities promise of coming out with a permanent solution, but nothing has been done till date. The hostel students have already started facing problems so we have requested them take steps to ensure things don’t go from bad to worse.”

Chandigarh, April 22
Residents of one of the most pampered city of the country seem to be going through a rough phase these days. Thanks to scheduled and unscheduled power cuts that has left the city dry.

From colonies to the newly established southern sectors to the extension of the city to villages around sectors, residents are facing water problems alike. Complaints of low-pressure water supply have already started pouring in at the office of the Municipal Corporation, with some residents complaining of getting muddy water for the past couple of days.

The situation is bad in areas that get water supply from tubewells. Since tubewells run on electricity, these areas are facing water shortage. The situation is bad in Sectors 29, 30, 31, 21, colonies, Dhanas, Kajehri, Dadu Majra and Hallo Majra.

Residents on top floors are the worst affected. Due to the low pressure, the overhead water tanks remain empty. Residents of the newly constructed MES houses in Sector 31 have also been complaining of water shortage. When they approached officials of the MC, they were told that that a sump (suction pump) had to be fixed for water supply, and even when that was done, there was no water supply.

The situation is no better in the posh Sector 10 where residents have been complaining of muddy water supply for the last three-four days. “We have been getting muddy water. We cannot use it for cleaning utensils and even washing clothes,” rued a Sector 10 resident, Joginder Kaur.



Almost half already, and PU still counting
80 unfair means cases registered
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
Panjab University is just midway through the examination schedule and it has already registered around 80 unfair means cases (UMCs), which works out to be almost half of last year.

Claiming it to be an alarming number, Controller Of Examination AK Bhandari asserts, “Since the last three years, we have, on an average, registered 150 cases annually. For most of the courses, not even half of the total number of examinations have been held till now. We already have so many cases. We take so many measures to curtail it and try counselling students about the harms, but they do not listen.”

Official sources say five or six cases are being registered every day, with the most frequent reason being procurement of examination-related text (chits) from the student. “If we go by the figures, it is still the good old chits or ‘farras’ that seem to be the most-preferred source of cheating. Many students hide those in their pockets and a girl or two has also been caught with answers written on her arm and hiding it under her sleeve,” reveals a university official.

Going by the data, mobile phones seem to have scored second in the order of preference, where despite of clear instructions, students have been found guilty of carrying those to the examination centre.

“It is clearly mentioned in our instructions that no mobile phone can be carried inside the examination centre, but students do it. Before the examination starts, all invigilators ask students to submit their mobile phones to them and collect those after the conclusion of the examination. Even after this, if a student continues to keep a mobile phone in his pocket, his intentions do become doubtful,” adds Bhandari.

Last but not the least, students trust their peers as many have been caught either exchanging answer sheets or question papers.

Some go a step ahead in being helpful as a student has been caught allegedly writing answers on one of her friend’s answer sheets.


Bomb shell found in Bapu Dham Colony
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
Panic gripped Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, this morning when a bomb shell was found on a garbage heap on the roadside.

The police said it received information about the bomb shell from a ragpicker around 8 am.

The bomb disposal squad of the Chandigarh police reached the spot and cordoned off the area. A team from the Operation Cell and crime branch of the Chandigarh police was also called there.

The police took the bomb shell to the Bapu Dham police post.

The police dug up a pit in an open area near the police post and kept the bomb shell in it with some sand bags around the pit.

The police informed the Army officials about the recovery of the bomb shell, who were yet to come to dispose of the shell.

In-charge of the Bapu Dham police post Jasminder Singh said they were yet to verify whether the bomb shell was a live or a dead one. “We will try to find out from where it has come,” he added.




Summer Special
Sixth toy train to Shimla now
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
In view of the heavy rush to Shimla as summer vacations are just a fortnight away, the Railways have started a special train with an attempt to provide respite to tourists stuck in the long waiting list.

Besides tourists from the city and across the country, foreign tourists head to the hills of Himachal Pradesh to escape the intense heat of the plains. There are five toy trains operating on this 96-km narrow-gauge heritage track already. This special train is now the sixth on this route.

The special AC chair-car train, which can accommodate 104 passengers, leaves the Kalka railway station at 6:30 am and reaches Shimla around 10:30 am. “More special trains will be run between Kalka and Shimla as the arrival of tourists picks up,” a railway official said.

“In the past, we have had a long waiting list of passengers wanting to travel by the Kalka-Shimla train this time of the year. To ease the passenger flow and give them an option other than travelling by road, the train has been started. The waiting list will be compiled on a day-to-day basis,” said YP Singh, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Ambala Division.

This special train, a replica of the Kalka-Shimla toy train, would be a daily affair, the DRM said. “With new locomotives received for the Kalka-Shimla Railway, we have extra rolling stock and locomotive for this special train,” he added.

Residents of Chandigarh appreciated the move. “We had to either get tickets booked a month in advance for the Kalka-Shimla train or go by road. Shimla is the most sought-after destination for tourists, especially during the summer vacations. With this extra train, a lot of passengers will be relieved,” said Meenakshi Malhotra of Sector 43.



Govt school kids get special buses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The much-awaited mini escort project of the UT administration was inaugurated today with Home Secretary Ram Niwas flagging off special buses for the government schools at GMSSS, Sector 16, today.

The project, which aims to provide subsidised transport to the government schoolchildren, will in first phase be implemented in the schools of Sectors 16, 18, 19, 28 and 35 wherein over 500 students will avail the facility of over nine buses at the rate of Rs 400 per child.

The transporter concerned will be responsible for the collection of bus fee and ensure that the buses have provisions of speed governor, first aid kits, fire extinguishers and fulfill all conditions of the Motor Vehicle Act.

“These buses have been started to bring the government school students at par to the private ones. It is a first of its kinds project in the country where the government school students have been given such a facility. It will also help us to curb the malpractices prevalent amongst the private school bus operators,” claimed Ram Niwas.

Confusion was created on the premises of GMSSS, Sector 16, when students boarded the mini escorts, while their parents reached the school to fetch them back. The parents were unaware of the stops the students were scheduled to get down at so they argued with the school authorities, who assured them of the students’ safety. The matter was resolved eventually



Rock Garden
Hike in refundable security money
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The Chandigarh administration on Thursday decided to increase the refundable security money for booking of open spaces in Phase III of the Rock Garden from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000. A decision to this effect was taken at the governing body meeting under the chairmanship of Home Secretary Ram Niwas.

Now the booking shall be strictly done for 24 hours i.e. 10 am to 10 am. CCTV cameras will also be installed on the premises of the Rock Garden. The incomplete work at Phase III of the Rock Garden will also be restarted. A new concept “village life” depicting the rural life in India will be introduced in Phase III.



Bar Poll
Members to submit self-attested affidavit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
To keep a check on bogus voting, the District Bar Association has told its members, who are going to use their franchise at the election, to provide self-attested affidavit to cast their vote.

The elections are scheduled for tomorrow.

Returning official Harsh Tandon said the Punjab and Haryana High Court council had instructed them that the voters needed to provide the self-attested affidavit before casting their votes.

“According to the Bar constitution and Registration Rule 2009 passed by the Punjab and High Court Bar Association, all voters will have to provide the affidavit on the day of election mentioning that they would not cast vote in any other association,” he maintained.

“The performa will be available with me on the day of election,” Tandon added.

“Though there was no bogus voting reported earlier, still we are taking precautions so that no dispute arise. We don’t want to take any chance,” he maintained. “We would also be putting up CCTV cameras to keep a tab,” Tandon said.

The work will remain suspended tomorrow.



Small is big for Bar poll
Sonika Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
There has been little change in demands and manifestos of lawyers contesting the District Bar Association elections. While the construction of a new district courts complex figures prominently, relatively smaller things are more of concern to lawyers.

Advocate Raminder Pal Singh says, “The contestants are fighting only for their so-called self-respect and are least bothered about the welfare of the court and lawyers. There is no provision for water coolers at the complex. There is only one water cooler, which is not working properly. The water is too contaminated to drink as the water-purifying system is dysfunctional. The canteens are no good, providing substandard food. The Bar should provide us with a floor at the Sector 43 judicial complex temporarily till chambers are constructed.”

Many other lawyers have similar complaints. “The toilets are filthy and nobody takes care of those. Most of the time, the doors are locked. If someone is lucky to find the doors open, one cannot enter due to intolerable stink. Some of the toilets built recently lack proper facilities. There are no lights and sewerage is a problem,” says a woman advocate.

Says Rupesh Kumar, another lawyer, “Hundreds of lawyers enter the profession every year. The Bar should see how they can be accommodated in an appropriate manner. Many lawyers cannot pay chamber fees and there should be some provision for them.” Advocate Rajan Lohan says, “The Bar president should own responsibility in a positive and constructive manner for the welfare of members, especially new entrants.”

Advocate Devinder Singh says, “The Bar should have guidelines for all members. It should introduce a group insurance policy so that it can support the family of victims like Vijay Pal Singh, who died in an accident earlier this year.” Another lawyer says on the condition of anonymity, “All members who are contesting the elections are wooing us with parties and other facilities so that we vote for them. These gimmicks cannot work here as most candidates only promise and do nothing.”



MoU on courses for private guards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 22
The Punjab Police Security Corporation and the G4S Security Services (India) Private Limited today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for various certificate courses for private security guards, security officers and security managers.

The MoU was signed by MK Tiwari, managing director, Punjab Police Security Corporation, and Rupal Sinha, regional managing director of G4S, in the presence of PS Gill, Punjab DGP.

The signing of the MoU would strengthen ties between the corporation and G4S in upgrading training methodologies to meet new-age changing needs of the private security sector. The course for certified protection officers would be carried out at the corporation premises under G4S guidance.



Misbehaviour proved fatal for contractor
Two held, one at large
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 22
It was the misbehaviour with the wife of his roommate at Sunny Enclave, Kharar, that led to the brutal murder of the 39 year-old Kharar-based contractor Sikander Singh.

The contractor’s roommate Krishan Chander Batham lured two common friends Monty and Sonu to eliminate Sikander. On April 18 night the two youths, who had criminal background, called the contractor to Sector 66 behind the Sohana Police Station on the pretext of allegedly arranging a prostitute for him. The victim was allegedly a womaniser. “The moment the contractor reached the spot they attacked him with daggers and poured petrol on his body to conceal his identity. The dagger and petrol were arranged in advance by the suspects”, said Mohali SSP GPS Bhullar while addressing a press conference here today.

Krishan had promised to pay Rs 30,000 to Monty and Sonu to eliminate the contractor. The Mahindra Scorpio jeep, owned by the contractor, was also promised as booty.

While Krishan and Monty have been remanded to police custody, the third suspect Sonu is absconding with victim’s vehicle.

The SSP said the victim, along with Monty and Sonu, was last seen on April 18. After conducting raids at Amritsar and other places in Mohali, the police was able to arrest Krishan, along with his Santro car (PB 02 AT 5007).

Krishan, however, said after he was arrested in the case of immoral trafficking at Panchkula on February 5, his wife approached Sikander for help and that’s when he misbehaved. “Sikander also used to blackmail Krishna. Irked with his blackmailing, Krishan decided to eliminate him,” said the SSP.

The SSP further pointed out that it was the alertness on part of the PCR officials, who detected the burning body and raised the alarm. “We were able to recognise the victim from his partly burnt driving license which had been issued by the Nalagarh Transport Authority, Himachal Pradesh. With the help of forensic teams, we tracked down his ancestral address at Nalagarh. He was recognised by his brother Anand Singh,” he said.

Unsolved cases

The Mohali police has not been able to solve the murder case of Sameer Watts (34), a senior official with a Mohali-based office of cellular operator, who was shot at from a close range on March 14, 2009, and the kidnapping of five-year-old girl, Mehak, from her house in Phase X here on February 24.



Water Woes
Parched residents have reason to cheer
GMADA to instal 10 tubewells in Zirakpur
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, April 22
Come June and residents at Zirakpur will experience a new summer, as the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is all set to instal 10 new tubewells in different parts of the town to meet the increasing drinking water demand.

Zirakpur MC has also planned to setup eight new generators for the tubewells.

According to sources, the MC had requested GMADA to instal the tubewells, following which the latter approached the state government. After getting approval from the Punjab Chief Minister, tubewells would be instaled by GMADA at their own expense, the sources added.

The officials said 34 tubewells had been instaled here in 15 wards. The demand of water supply had been on the rise here, therefore to meet the demand the council approached GAMADA to instal the tubewells.

Ten new tubewells will be instaled at Baltana village, Shivalik Vihar, Dashmesh Colony, Pabhat, Anand Vihar, Krishna Enclave (Dhakoli), Highland Cooperative Society, Swami Enclave, Dhakoli, Preet Colony, Zirakpur, and in front of the Tribune Colony, Baltana.

The site for tubewells would be finalised after the visit by SDO water supply (GAMADA), SDO water supply and sewerage board (Zirakpur), along with Municipal Councillors concerned.

The officials also said the estimated cost of the project was Rs 3 crore and each tubewell would be 1,200 ft deep. A private company was to be appointed to setup the tubewells, for which tender would be called soon, they added.

Meanwhile power cuts seem to be the major concern of the MC officials. The council thus decided to instal the generators on eight tubewells and it would be passed at the next MC meeting.

Chairman of the district planning board and Zirakpur MC president NK Sharma said the decision was taken by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to provide relief to the residents during the summer season. He added that 10 new tubewells would be instaled by GMADA by two months. However, the MC would instal eight generators for the tubewells.

Meanwhile, irked over acute water shortage at Sham Vihar, Baltana from the past four days, women of the area today locked the tubewell room and raised slogan against the public health department for not taking proper action. They alleged that they had submitted their complaint several times, but all in vain. Also, residents of Vikas Nagar were also facing water crisis. They alleged that some residents had connected direct motors with water pipes. They had asked the department to take action, but they turned blind eye to the issue.



6 illegal liquor vends put up
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 22
At least half-a-dozen illegal liquor vends have sprung up in Zirakpur causing an annual loss of Rs 2.76 crore to the Punjab excise department.

During the past few weeks, liquor contractors in Zirakpur have blatantly opened 18 liquor vends against 12 allotted vends by the district excise and taxation department.

The “extra” vends have been strategically opened keeping in view the location of vends being run by the UT on its side. A visit to Zirakpur revealed that the contractors have chosen the locations to capture liquor business that has drifted to the neighbouring vends in the UT.

Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mohali, Baldeep Kaur, said she could comment only after inquiring into the matter. “I will send an inspector to probe the matter,” she added.

The inquiries revealed that the total annual revenue in terms of licence fee from the sanctioned 12 vends in Zirakpur was Rs 5.52 crore. This means that the contractors would be pocketing Rs 2.76 crore by running the illegal liquor vends.



One injured in collision
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 22
One person was seriously injured in a head-on collision between a canter and a Baleroa jeep near Nabha Sahib Gurdwara at the Zirakpur-Patiala Highway on Thursday evening.

The injured has been identified as Paramjit Singh, driver of the jeep. Meanwhile, the traffic on the Zirakpur-Patiala Highway came to a standstill for over half-an-hour. According to sources, Highway Patrol Police party reached the spot and brought a driver of jeep, who was seriously injured and admitted him to the GMCH-32.



Rallies mark Earth Day
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 22
Different schools in Mohali celebrated the Earth Day today. An array of green activities marked the celebrations. At Shemrock Senior Secondary School, Mohali, the students took out a rally holding placards spreading awareness about environment.

The students of Anee’s School celebrated the Earth Day by promoting the message of conserving environment for a secure and green future. The school authorities held a rally to help the students propagate their ideas of saving earth from further degeneration. At Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS), Mohali, more than 300 students of different vocational courses and staff members participated in the programme.

Dildar Khan, director of JSS, said the purpose of the programme was to sensitise and create awareness among youth and common people about various issues like conservation of soil and water. The environment committee of Saupin’s School, Sector 70, Mohali, celebrated the Earth Day. President of the Environment Society, Mohali, RS Chowdhary highlighted various topics such as global warming, dwindling forest cover, piling of non-biodegradable wastes and melting of glaciers.

The students at Ajit Karam Singh International Public School, Sector 65, here organised a programme to inculcate awareness and respect for the surroundings. The primary wing participated in tree plantation, save the environment and best-out-of-waste activities.

Signature campaign

CHANDIGARH: Students of the department of environment and vocational studies, Panjab University, carried out a signature campaign at various departments, student centre and AC Joshi Library to sensitise students about the need to save “Mother Earth”. The campaign was launched by Dhara, an environment society of the department, to mark the Earth Day.

Environment Society of India: The Chandigarh chapter of Environment Society of India celebrated the Earth Day in collaboration with Sohanjana, an eco-club of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46. A painting competition was held, in which around 100 students took part.

SDSSS (Sector 24): Earth Day was celebrated at SD Senior Secondary School, Sector 24. The students were told about the importance of the planet on which we live and how we can protect it from pollutants. The students were also asked to take responsibility of all that we use and take on all environmental challenges.

Speaking on the occasion, Principal of the school Nisha Gupta explained the students that how to save Earth from pollution and other factors harmful for it. She said this was the duty of every person and responsibility of every country to work for the safety of this beautiful planet.

Many saplings were planted to celebrate the occasion. An essay writing contest on pollution and poster-making competition on "Save Earth Save Life" was held on the school campus.

St Joseph Senior Secondary School: Students of St Joseph Senior Secondary School celebrated the Earth day today.They made charts, collages, banners and models highlighting various environmental issues.

KV (Sector 31): Teachers and students of KV, Sector 31, celebrated the Earth Day on the school premises today. The primary section took out a rally to convey the message “Save Earth Save Life”. Students planted saplings. An essay-writing competition was also organised .

AKSIPS: The Earth Day was celebrated by tiny tots of Ajit Karam Singh International Public School, Sector 41, today. Students planted saplings and a painting competition was also organised.

Divya Public School: Divya Public School, Sector 44, celebrated the Earth Day. Students were apprised of ways to save earth and environment. Students took part in various activities like poster making, quiz competition and colouring.

Ambala: BSNL today celebrated World Earth Day by planting saplings in the chief general manager’s office. AK Gupta, chief general manager (BSNL, Haryana), was the chief guest.



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