C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Glaring ‘anomaly’ in SGPC electoral rolls
630 voters shown living in a 6-marla house of Sec 12, P’kula
Arun Sharma & Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 17
Strange as it may sound, but if electoral rolls for the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections are to be believed, at least 630 adult people are living in a six-marla (150 sq yards) house of Sector 12 in Panchkula.

The electoral roll for the elections, scheduled to be held tomorrow, shows that 630 voters (equivalent to a standard Army Infantry battalion) are residing in house number 630 of Sector 12.

There are over 9,000 votes in Panchkula district, for which eight booths have been established. One booth has been set up in Sector 7 for a total of 1,121 voters from Panchkula.

This was, however, not the only address which is shown as having an unusually large number of voters. A total of 42 voters are shown to be registered in house number 433. In another house (number 300) of a sector that is not mentioned in the list, the electoral rolls show that 15 voters have been residing there.

The residents of house number 630, however, said that only three persons mentioned in the list are residing in the house. When contacted, Kuljit Kaur, one of the family members staying at this house, said the family was unaware that so many people had been registered with their address. The district administration officials had visited the house today and inquired about this as well, she said.

This fact came to light only after the district president of the Haryana Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC), Sukhjinder Singh, lodged a complaint to the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner.

“We have brought this discrepancy to the notice of the Panchkula administration. It is up to them to take remedial steps to ensure free and fair polling tomorrow,” he said.

When contacted, Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar said a complaint had been received with hours left for polling. We have constituted a high-level committee to inquire into the issue. Prima facie, it seems to be a printing error. But the true picture will emerge only after the committee submits its report, she said.

Meanwhile, Panchkula superintendent of police Maneesh Chaudhary said

elaborate security arrangements had been made for elections to be held in the district.

While one booth each had been set up in Sector 7 of Panchkula, Raipur Rani, Ramgarh, and Kalka four booths had been set up in Pinjore.

Security arrangements have been made in the areas of two prominent gurdwaras of Nada Sahib and Manji Sahib at Panchkula and Pinjore, respectively, to thwart 
any untoward incident, he added.



All’s not well at Snehalya: Ex-inmate
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
All is not well at Snehalya, if the words of a former inmate, Govind (who ultimately escaped from the home in October 2010) are to be believed.

After escaping from the alleged verbal and physical abuse at this reform home, the boy was back on streets to beg until Vatsal Chaya an NGO running in Sector 7, picked him up and put him in a Sector 8 school.

“Second-time lucky” is how he describes himself, as it was the second time that his escape plan worked and he got to run away from his ‘jail’ Snehalya’. Ironically, the boy who was allegedly made to sweep the floor and clean the utensils was never sent to school in addition to getting several rounds of verbal and physical abuse.

“Bada Assan hai waahan pe hostel ke piche koi nayi hota chup chap niklo diwaar pe chaddo aur kudo. Main subah Char baje Bhaaga tha tab sab chowkidaar waigerah so rahe the. Pichli baar

maine aur mere dost ne panton ko baandh ke kudne ka plan banaya tha wo nikal gaya main reh gaya par is baar main bhaag nikla (It’s a cakewalk. Nobody is behind the hostel just get out quickly climb the wall and escape. I ran at 4:00 am while everybody was asleep. Last time me and my friend had tied a few trousers to jump from first floor. He ran away, but I was left behind but I did it now) ” chuckles 12-year-old Govind, who escaped from the UT’s “home of the young at risk” in October 2010.

He was amongst the first children who were admitted to the home in 2009 soon after its inauguration. He, along with his friend, tried to jump from the first floor by tying trousers together, while the other boy escaped as he was left behind to be soon taken by his parents back to begging on city streets. It was in 2010 that Govind was caught in an anti-begging drive and was resent to home from where he esacped within a week. Quiz him for the reason and the child says that the place which was supposed to redeem his 11 long years of begging life was more brutal than city streets.

“Dono baar muje ye keh ke wahan daala ke padhayenge , khilayenge par wahan to kaidi bana diya. Muje wahan platein dhulwate the wur jab ek baar kuch platein tut gayi to muje dande se bahut maara. Jabardasti baal bi kaat diye the. Kuch bache school jaate the par muje nahi bhejte the main wahan safai karta tha, bartan dhota tha par fir bi bahut maarte the isiliye main bhaag aaya,” adds Govind.

The boy was back on streets to beg until Vatsal Chaya, an NGO running in Sector 7, picked him up and put him in a Sector 8 school.



Firing incident causes panic
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 17
Panic gripped Sector 4 here when some unidentified assailants fired on a stationary car in the late evening today. Before the incident, the car owner, identified as Anil Kumar Bhalla, had allegedly received a ransom call for Rs 10 lakh.

Bhalla, a builder, told the police that he got a call at 9.45 pm. The caller, introducing himself as Manga from Ambala jail, demanded Rs 10 lakh. He claimed himself to be an accused in the Bobby murder case of Ambala.

On his saying no to the caller for ransom, the latter threatened him with dire consequences within minutes, said Bhalla. A little later when he reached his house(No 714) at 9 pm, he found a crowd outside his house with family members in a shock, as someone had fired a bullet on his Skoda car parked there, narrated Bhalla to the police.

Inspector Om Prakash, area SHO, who was on the spot, said there was no eyewitness to the firing incident. “We have been verifying the antecedents of the number from which Bhalla had received the ransom call, he added.



Over past 8 months, 12 children went missing
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
A probe conducted by the special investigation team set up by the Chandigarh police has found at least a dozen inmates of Snehalya, a shelter for homeless children run by the UT administration, have been reported missing during the past eight months alone. The investigations revealed they had run away in the afternoon after scaling the rear wall of the premises.

According to deputy police superintendent (south) BS Negi, 12 inmates had gone missing from Snehalya between February and September this year. “Earlier it had been stated ten inmates were missing from the shelter home. However, our investigations have found a dozen inmates left during the past eight months”, he said.

The police said two of the six inmates reported to be missing, identified as Raju and Chotu, both from Gaya in Bihar, were traced in their home state. “Our teams have verified the two boys were among the six who had gone missing recently. They told us they managed to run away from the shelter home by climbing the rear wall of the shelter home premises during daytime and went to their home in Bihar. Their escape was made easier by the lack of proper security at Snehalya”, said Negi.

The police said the missing inmates’ incomplete addresses provided by Snehalya had thwarted its efforts to trace them. “We’re trying to ascertain whether the missing inmates reached their homes safely, but their addresses given to us are incomplete”, he added.

Police teams have also been sent to neighbouring states to locate the inmates.

One of the boys caught, handed over to parents

Of the 12 inmates reported missing from Snehalya during the past eight months, the police has discovered one of them, identified as Shekhar and a resident of Mauli Jagran, had been caught after he ran away from the shelter home and was produced in a local court, after which his parents took him away. However, the cops, who learnt about this after visiting Shekhar’s home on Saturday, could not get any more details about him.

False alarm

A police team that left for Bathinda on Saturday after receiving information that one of the missing Snehalya inmates, Michael Masih, had been traced there found to its dismay that the boy who had been detained only bore a resemblance to the missing inmate.



‘Lack of initiative reason for missing kids’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
“Home for young at risk” is how the UT Administration had described its abode of love for Snehalya in 2009. But two years down the line, “risky” youngsters are either eloping or being sent to their homes.

The home, established to redeem child beggars, pickpockets, ragpickers and even girls prone to “sexual harassment”, is essentially reduced to an orphanage where a majority of inmates are those shifted from Sector 25 orphanage two years ago.

With around Rs 20 lakh being provided as annual fund for around 200 children, money is surely not the reason, but if the claims of the NGO supporting the home are believed, lack of initiative is surely a reason.

“As an NGO working with children in difficult circumstances, we look up to state institutions, which are supposed to protect and safeguard the rights of such children, especially special, pampered flagship ones. I have tried twice to put in child beggars, but they have run away in case they are boys and if they are girls, they have been given back to their mothers. Of seven children we have put in 2009, one has gone back to psychoactive substance abuse and begging, another has been exploited as a child wife and five are with me,” says Sangeeta Vardhan of Vatsal Chaya Trust in Sector 7.

While “missing” children have grabbed eyeballs now, Vardhan started raising the issue with the UT Administration in 2009 when one of her NGO’s children, Vinod, made an escape. Numerous letters written to the Home Secretary and director social welfare failed to bear any fruits and left with no option but to house seven odd kids in her verandah and servant quarter.

“What could have I done? I was caught between ruthless parents and an apathetic social welfare department. I brought them home in March thinking that I would not allow them to go back to the streets, give them interim shelter and continue to strive to convince the administration that a one-size-fits-all approach fail to address the specific needs of children from violent, abusive and exploitative backgrounds,” adds Vardhan.

According to her, when she tried to raise the issue with current director social welfare, Varsha Khangwal, she was told the home would only keep children who are ready to be happy rather than the “difficult street children”.

Social welfare director unapproachable

While Snehalya has been under scanner for almost a month now, director social welfare Varsha Khangwal is constantly unapproachable. Repeated calls and attempts to meet her have so far proved futile to get the administration’s side on this ambitious project.

Reduced to orphanage

The home, established to redeem child beggars, pickpockets, ragpickers and even girls prone to “sexual harassment”, is essentially reduced to an orphanage where a majority of inmates are those shifted from Sector 25 orphanage two years ago.



‘It was a trauma out there’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
Her sister Jyoti was admitted to Snehalya in 2009 at 13 years of age, as her parents wished to get her married. While the authorities of this “home for young at risk” were well aware of this “risk”, she was soon handed over to the parents who got her married.

Krishna who was 11 years old then and child beggar, considered Snehalya as the key culprit for her sister’s trauma and hated the place.

As luck would have it, she was admitted to Snehalya in 2010 to save her from begging for her parents, but the

institute failed her yet again. “Had Snehalya stopped my parents from taking Jyoti away she would not be beaten up every day by a drunkard. When I went to Snehalya, I bore everything right from beating from officials to elder girls, cleaning work and even infections. In 2010, my parents came and the authorities gave me away and I was abck on the Sector 8 light point,” says Krishna.

She would have also gone the ‘Jyoti’ way if an NGO would not have picked her and put her in school.

“I was more than happy to go with them with just one condition that they will not send me to Snehalya. Today, I study in school from 9 to 5 and then get to my NGO owners home,” she adds.

Similar is the fate of Ashima (8) whose brother ran from the home in October.

“ Bhaiya ne kaha tha ke wahan bahut maarte hain isiliye main nai jaan chahti thi par jaana pada (My brother told me that they beat up there so I never wanted to go but I had to),” she says.

The girl, however, was soon withdrawn from the home by her parents who could not bear the loss of income and she was soon begging on streets before reaching Sector 8 government school where she is known for her craft work.



I-T Dept Searches
Business groups surrender Rs 27 cr
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The search and seizure operations conducted by the income tax (I-T) department on the premises of Chinar and Manohar Singh Group (the latter firm has Akali leader, Gaganjit Singh Barnala as director) over the past week have yielded rich dividends, with owner of Chinar group making a voluntary surrender of concealed income to the tune of Rs 24 crore. Besides, the department has also seized cash to the tune of Rs 3.36 crore and jewellery worth Rs 98 lakh during the searches on the two groups.

Talking to The Tribune, Director General (Investigation) Jaswant Singh confirmed the surrender and seizure and said the two companies would have to pay 35 per cent tax on the unaccounted income till March 31, 2012.

During the scrutiny of documents, I-T sleuths found that account books of the last two years had not been completed in case of Manohar Singh group and they had also not filed their I-T return of the last year. Officials said Rs 50 lakh cash and jewellery worth Rs 18 lakh had been seized so far from this group.

Director Investigation YR Saini said, out of 18 lockers, 11 had been searched so far and seven, in which three

belongs to Manohar Singh and Company and four are of the Chinar group are yet to be opened.

A total of 16 premises, residential as well as official, of the two companies were raided in and around the city on September 8. Almost 170 personnel of the I-T department simultaneously carried out the raids at the officials and residential premises of the promoters and directors of the two groups in Panchkula, Chandigarh and Delhi.

The Chinar group has many projects including Chinar Heights, Chinar Apartments and Chinar Homes, which is under construction and located in Kishanpura, next to Sector 20, Panchkula. Multitech towers is an ambitious project of Manohar Singh and Company.


CITCO service rules raise employees’ hackles
Claim they have been designed to benefit corrupt officials
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The first-ever draft service rules framed by the Chandigarh Industrial & Tourism Development Co Ltd (CITCO) since it was set up in 1974 have already provoked controversy. The rules, aimed at improving employee relations have been criticized by some staff members who not only called them ‘anti-employee’ but also alleged they were designed to “extend favours to certain corrupt officials only”.

In a representation having the signatures of 66 employees sent to CITCO’s chairman, UT home secretary Ram Niwas, its managing director, DK Tiwari, finance secretary Vijoy Singh and other members of its board of directors, the employees claimed the service rules had been “twisted to benefit the favourites of senior officials”.

Taking cognizance of the dissent letter, Singh asked the authorities to take necessary action on the matter.

The letter stated: “The rules are being taken for approval but in fact these have already been implemented for the convenience of the management,” adding the rules were implemented for “promoting the favourites” while overlooking the seniority of many employees.

While raising questions over promoting officials, having matriculation qualification, to the level of managers and undermatriculate to the level of captains, these employees also demanded the service rules should incorporate genuine requirements of employees.

On the other hand, the CITCO Workers Union has backed the management in implementing the service rules. “The demand for implementing the rules had been pending for a long time. With the development the employees will be the beneficiaries and we welcome the step,” Kashmir Chand and Baldev Raj, the union’s president and general secretary, respectively, said.

Management seeks details

The CITCO management has sought information in writing from the employees who have signed the letter, whether or not any of them were fully conversant about its contents. “Yes, we’ve asked employees who signed the representation to furnish details about it in writing. The next step will be taken only after we get a reply from all of them,” said CITCO managing director DK Tiwari.

‘I was made to sign on blank sheet’

Interestingly, in their reply to the CITCO management, about seven of the employees who had signed the letter said they were not fully aware about its contents. One of them even claimed he was told to affix his signature on a blank sheet on the pretext of withdrawing his membership of the CITCO Welfare Society by saying that it was not functioning properly. “I’ve never signed the representation enclosed with your (the management) letter under reference”, stated an employee in his reply.



sector 51
Supply of muddy water a perennial problem
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
The supply of muddy water in Sector 51 has become a perennial problem for the area residents. On Saturday, the residents were shocked when black muddy water was supplied to their houses.

The residents collected samples of water from various houses and found that the muddy water was supplied in the entire residential area.

Janak Raj Sharma, vice-chairman, Resident Welfare Association, Sector 51/A, said that in the morning as soon he opened the tap, black water containing mud began flowing out of it. “I thought that the problem will end in few minutes but every time we opened the tap dirty water would flow out.

“The problem is not new to the area, however, this time the water was totally black, not even fit for washing clothes”, Sharma said.

The other residents too faced similar problem. Harmeet Singh a resident of House no: 181 said that the water supplied to their house was also dirty and it was even stinking.

“We could not even stand near the tap as it had a foul smell”, he added.

Amar Singh Rana, another resident of House no 130, said that since morning the water supplied at his house was dirty.”



Security check in wake of Agra blast
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 17
In the wake of bomb blast in Agra, the UT police also initiated security checks in various parts of the city today.

A search operation was also organised by the Sector 34 police station, in Nirman Theater, Sector32, this evening.

Sector 34 SHO Kirpal Singh said that they had organised a search operation at Nirman theatre and the nearby markets in the wake of Agra blasts.

“The police teams also checked the commercial areas in the sector to ensure security”, said the SHO.

The police is on constent vigil around the city.



chandigarh theatre festival
‘Hai Mera Dil’ explores psyche of introvert man
Protagonist suffers from psychological problems
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, September 17
The second Chandigarh Theatre Festival got off to a flying start with the staging of a hilarious comedy play “Hai Mera Dil” by Mumbai-based ANK group at Tagore Theatre here today.

The much-awaited annual event organised by the UT Cultural Affairs group and the Tagore Theatre society. The play, “Hai Mera Dil”, is the longest running play in the history of Hindi theatre with 1,065 shows held all over the country during a span of 35 years.

Adapted from av novel “Send me no flowers” by Ranveer Singh and directed by Dinesh Thakur, the play is an explores ithe psyche of an introvert man who is fighting with psychological problems.

The unusual dramatic and innovative theme and intensely effective dialogues, which together exploit all available sources of humour are the major attributes for the stupendous running record of the play.

Laced with inherent conflicts, the story revolves around a hypochondriac husband, the protagonist, who is so convinced that he is going to die soon of a serious heart ailment that he is in the process of organising the second marriage of his beloved wife.

But the noble thought boomerangs and the wife starts taking his suspicious ways for infidelity, the play turns out to be a comedy of errors. However, the play, a drawing -room comedy, at times loses its pace invariably weakening the subtle humour and sting, which is the lifeline of the play.

But the acting, chiaroscuro light effects, music, attractive sets both functional and symbolic augmented the production level.

Aman Gupta ( husband) Preeta Mathur (wife) Rohan sheriff ( Mohan) S C Makhija ( Dr Chopra) Atul Mathur (Arvind) played major roles.Dr Rani Balbir Kaur will stage her prestigious creation Bhikhsu aur Ganika tomorrow.



Probe ordered against cop for misbehaviour
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 17
A head constable deputed at the Chandimandir police station allegedly not only misbehaved with a family of a youth who died in an accident, he even offered money to the family on behalf of the accused for changing the statement. However, upset over this the family lodged a complaint with the authorities that ordered a DSP-level inquiry against the accused head constable.

On July 10, Mankaran Singh, a youth from Mohali, along with his friend Diwakar, was travelling in his car when it got hit by a truck near Nada Sahib gurdwara. Mankaran died in the accident.

“After a few days when we went to the police station for getting the damaged car back we found that the music system and the spare wheel of the car were missing,” said Balwinder Singh, a complainant and a relative of Mankaran.

“A munshi-cum-head constable, identified as Jagmit Singh, had first misbehaved with us and later demanded money from us for releasing the damaged car,” said Tejinder Singh, father of Mankaran, while talking to the TNS.

“It only aggravated my shock as no one can expect such inhumane behaviour under such circumstances and we returned home leaving the car at the police station,” said the father of the deceased.

“Perhaps, this was not the end of our sorrows,” he said. “A few days later the said munshi asked us to change the name of the truck driver and even offered money for it,” said Tejinder.

The SHO of the police station, Jangsher, when contacted, said there were other similar complaints against the accused head constable following which he had been transferred from there.

Panchkula Superintendent of Police Manish Chaudhary said the allegations were of serious nature and an inquiry would be conducted by a DSP in the case.

Offered money to victim’s family

Head constable Jagmit Singh deputed at the Chandimandir police station allegedly misbehaved with a family of a youth who died in an accident. He even offered money to the family on behalf of the accused for changing the statement.



Tricity scan

88 shopkeepers challaned

About 88 shopkeepers were challaned for encroachment on the municipal corporation (MC) land during an anti-encroachment drive held in the rehri and main market of Sectors 22 and 28 here on Saturday. The drive was conducted under the supervision of MC Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach and assisted by Inspector KD Sharma and Kashmira Singh, along with other enforcement staff of the MC. The enforcement staff cleared the passage in the Sector 22 market where shopkeepers kept packets of cloths and other items. In Sector 28, the department towed 24 cars. The staff seized around five truckloads of items. The Additional Commissioner said the anti-encroachment drives would be held in future also.

Organ donation

The organ donation awareness campaign at the PGI new OPD block came to an end on Saturday. Around 200 pledged to donate organs during the campaign. A painting competition on the theme of organ donation was also organised. Prof M Minz felicitated winners at the closing ceremony. The Organ Transplantation Trust at the PGIMER had organised the campaign as an exercise in promoting awareness about brain death and organ donation.

‘Karmaveer Chakra’

Unaffordable petrol
Activists of the BJP Yuva Morcha burn an effigy of the UPA government against hike in petrol price at the Sectors 29 and 30 lightpoints in Chandigarh on Saturday
Activists of the BJP Yuva Morcha burn an effigy of the UPA government against hike in petrol price at the Sectors 29 and 30 lightpoints in Chandigarh on Saturday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteers, United Nations Volunteers (UNV) India, a nodal UN agency, is all set to unfold a new chapter by partnering with Karmayuga campaign, launched by the International Confederation of NGOs and VSO India, to confer UNV Karmaveer Chakra. Sharing the details of UNV Karmaveer Chakra, Amita Dahiya, United Nations Volunteers, said, “UNV Karmaveer Chakra is an endeavour to promote volunteerism and acknowledge exemplary voluntary actions by recognising invaluable role played by volunteers towards achieving the millennium development goals.”

Training ends

An 18-day residential training for master trainers on the multi-category training of resource teachers concluded at GMSSS, Sector 19, on Saturday. The training was organised for selected resource teachers with the key objective of creating a cadre of competent resource persons and master trainers to undertake training of this kind for all other resource teachers (RTs) working in their state. DPI (S) Sandeep Hans felicitated the participants.

Picnic for school kids

It was a day full of fun and frolic for students of Ashmaha International School, Sector 70, Mohali. The school organised a picnic for the students. Children enjoyed skipping, frisbee, races and other activities.

Freshers’ party

A freshers’ party “Cupid” was organised on Saturday by senior students of the Swami Parmanand College of Engineering and Technology (SPCET) to welcome freshers. Treasurer YK Mittal, Swami Parmanand Group of Colleges, said the institute was committed to provide quality education to its students in different professional and technical streams. Dr TD Sharma, director-principal of SPCET, also expressed his views.

Placement drive

The Chandigarh Group of Colleges organised a placement drive for its engineering and MCA students. Wipro selected 103 students from Landran and Gharuan campuses.

Peace rally

Students of SIS Mohali organised a function to celebrate the International Peace Day. A peace rally was taken out to mark the day, promoting the message of peace and motherhood. Principal Inderjeet Sandhu flagged off the rally.

Training workshop

The Mohali Industries Association organised a two-day training workshop on enhancing team effectiveness for members of MIA in collaboration with ZDH/SEQUA partnership programme. The aim of the workshop was to initiate action towards building a team based on mutual trust, functional ways to express and share feelings and thoughts and creating an environment for enjoying working together.

Details sought

Few members of Angels Apartments Cooperative Group Housing Society Limited, Sector 24, Panchkula, sought details of the society’s bank account and other things. YP Garg, a member, who had filed the application has sought details regarding the stage of housing project, total amount paid by members, bills prepared by contractor and amount paid to the contractor and tentative cost of each flat with work done. Garg said they had also demanded confirmation of Rs 81,000 and Rs 1 lakh paid to the inspector audits out of the expenditure shown as Rs 4.71 lakh or any other amount. Garg said till date they had not received any reply from the secretary of the society.


Ram Kishore has been elected as the president of the Panchkula district committee of Haryana Bank Employees Federation. Other elected members include Sujay Kumar as vice president, Rakesh Sharma as general secretary, Anil Mittal as assistant secretary and Narinder Mahajan as treasurer. — Tribune Reporters



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