C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Thieves’ night out in panchkula
Decamp with cash, valuables worth over Rs 4 lakh from 10 shops 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 10
Targeting 10 shops in various sectors of the town in the wee hours today, thieves took away cash and valuables worth over Rs 4 lakh, leading to a protest by shopkeepers here.

Piqued over the incidents, the shopkeepers blocked the road in front of the Sector-11 market and separating Sectors 10 and 15 to register their protest.

The locks of five shops were found broken at Sector 15 around 5:30 am. Reports of theft from Sectors 9,10 and 11 also reached soon after.

By 8 am, it was clear that thieves took away cash and valuables from eight shops, indicating that a group of thieves orchestrated the incidents of theft right under the nose of the police.

The Sector-10 police post was located a short distance from the market where the thieves struck. Police patrol vehicles were supposed to be on the job when the thieves struck.

An attempt to break the locks of the Berkley showroom at Sector 9 was futile. At a showroom in Sector 15, the thieves did not find anything worth taking away.

Two shops were broken into at Sector 11, from where the thieves took away around Rs 30,000 and wrist watches worth Rs 2 lakh. About Rs 45,000 was stolen from a liquor vend at Sector 10. The thieves, who came in a car, were at a departmental store when another car stopped at the Sector-15 market and they fled.

The gang took away only cash boxes from the shops. After removing cash, they threw boxes in front of the shops. It was only at Sector 11 from where they took away wrist watches.

With the time to open shops, shopkeepers started gathering on the spot and laid the blame on the inadequate presence of police personnel. Agitated over the incident, they blocked the road. The Assistant Commissioner of Police, Kalka, and the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Headquarters, reached the spot and pacified the shopkeepers.

Mukesh, the owner of the gift shop at Sector 11, said following a spate of thefts past year, the market committee got four guards deputed for night patrol and the payment of their salaries was made to the police.

Still, thefts were being reported, following which the committee stopped making the payment, he added. This was the reason there was no watchman at the market past night, he further said.

Police-public schemes have failed

Schemes to promote police-public participation have failed as people find it hard to have faith in the integrity of cops. In 2008, the then Superintendent of Police, Sandeep Khirwar, had offered security cover to whoever wanted to withdraw Rs 1 lakh or more from any bank. This found no favour as not many residents came forward to take the help of the police despite frequent incidents of robbery. In 2009, his successor, Amitabh Dhillon, had started the traffic marshal system. Sources said the police had kept senior citizens waiting outside their offices for hours and the scheme failed to take off. In November 2009, Maneesh Chaudhary, had offered security to locked houses. Residents going out of station could inform the police, which would provide security. The scheme was shown the thumbs-down sign. The behaviour of cops while dealing with the common man was visible on the roads everyday. How could we trust them, asked Vinod of Sector 8.


Not enough khaki manpower

The town is at the mercy of anti-social elements as there is dearth of manpower in the police. The situation is the worst at the senior level as there is only one Assistant Commissioner of Police, against a required strength of five. Of the five SHOs in the town, three were out of town for the past two days. The local MLA, Devender Bansal, who reached the spot, said his pleas to the Haryana Director-General of Police, Ranjiv Dalal, to increase the police force in the town were also ignored.



Warden of school hostel arrested for beating up boy
Class-IX student taken to hospital, discharged
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 10
The hostel warden of Doon International Public School, Derek, was arrested today for thrashing a class-IX student of the school, Damanveer, on the school premises.
The arrest was made after parents of the boy lodged a complaint with the police, stating that the boy had been thrashed by the hostel warden.

“After conducting the medical examination of the boy at the Phase-VI Civil Hospital, a case under Sections 323, 341 and 506 of the IPC has been registered against the hostel warden,” said the station house officer of the Phase-VIII police station, NPS Lehal.

The family of the boy, residing in Sector 71 here, said he suffered internal injuries. Though they did not allow the media to talk to him, sources close to the family said the boy had been discharged from hospital.

The incident took place on Friday evening when Damanveer, while allegedly playing a prank, knocked at the door of the warden’s office.

But on catching hold of the boy, Derek gave him a sound beating. Before being sent home, he was also taken to the office of the principal.

The SHO said since the offence slapped on the warden was bailable, he was freed on bail. A separate complaint under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC was lodged with the Mohali subdivisional magistrate.

The director of the school, Charanjit Mann, said the school authorities had been trying to get in touch with the boy’s parents after the incident, but to no avail. The matter was being probed, but such behaviour would not be tolerated, he added.



Students come last on PU agenda
Teachers’ benefits dominate items to be tabled on December 20
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Despite catering to over 40,000 students, studying in 80 departments and 100 affiliated colleges, through correspondence and as private candidates, Panjab University (PU) is yet to give them their due in its Senate and Syndicate meeting agendas.

In what appears to have become a ritual now, only 20-odd items of the 147 to be tabled on December 20 concern students. Appointments, promotions, re-employment, extension, financial benefits, confirmation, pay fixation, resignations and felicitations of teachers, renaming of departments and colleges’ affiliation dominate the agenda.

Pushpinder Sharma, president of the Panjab University Student Council, has asked, “Where does a student stand in this university? Is it not funny that an ages-old printer meant to be written off finds space in the PU Senate, but out consistent demands do not? We have been demanding a voice in the Senate, but has anybody deliberated on that? What has left us amazed is that over 100 items are just for the benefit of the faculty. Are the Senate and the Syndicate just meant to give them benefits?”

While over 140 of the postulates put up for consideration, ratification and information of the House comprise items deferred in the previous meeting due to lack of time, the few student issues have no relevance in the current context.

The most important item concerns the approval of the recommendations of the academic council, made six months back, which are supposed to have been implemented this session.

The session, started almost eight months back, will end in three months even as the House gears up to discuss admissions, eligibility criteria, credit system, qualifying marks and regulations for various subjects.

A similar situation arose in the previous Senate, after seven months, where the Syndicate’s recommendations on modalities for the implementation of the semester system at the postgraduate level were to be discussed, though the examination branch was working to conduct semester examinations.



Stolen newborn back in parents’ arms
Police arrests two women, on lookout for third accomplice
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 10
The Panchkula police today arrested the two women who reportedly stole a newborn from the General Hospital at Sector 6 on December 6.
The police was on the lookout for their third accomplice. The newborn, named Mannat, was restored to his worried parents, who were all smiles.

Officials identified the main suspect as Nisha, a resident of Sanaur, near Patiala, who stole the newborn with the help of her maid Rekha and acquaintance Gurbinder, alias Gaindu.

Though the motive behind stealing the child was not known, police officials ruled out kidnapping for ransom as Nisha belonged to a well-to-do family and the parents of the child were poor.

Interestingly, Nisha, who had a five-year-old daughter, was well educated, having done BSc and BTech from Patiala.

Though her father was said to be a well-to-do businessman, her husband, Balwinder Singh, had a dubious past, having been arrested under the NDPS Act and released recently.

Though the officials were not willing to give details of the case on the plea that detailed interrogation was under way, sources said telephone calls made by the women from their mobile phones after the crime led the police to them.

The sources also revealed that for the past several weeks, Nisha had been staying in rented accommodation at Baltana in Zirakpur.

The officials said Nisha had been nursing the child well and had informed her neighbours in Sanaur that the newborn was hers.

After stealing the newborn, the women contacted Gurbinder, who arranged a car and took them to Sanaur, they said.

The police was also looking into the possibility of Nisha stealing the child to fulfil her desire to have a son. “The manner in which she started staying in rented accommodation at Baltana and retuned home only after stealing the child indicated to the possibility of her cooking up a story of having delivered the child,” said an officer.

The police was also trying to ascertain Nisha’s involvement in the case of a baby going missing from the Mansa Devi temple.



It is raining flour, ‘desi ghee’ in slums
Voters also getting coupons of hotels, liquor vends
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Gone are the days when candidates contesting municipal corporation (MC) elections used to woo voters by offering them liquor.
This time, it is flour, food coupons of hotels and ‘ghee’ drums that are being offered on a platter to voters, mainly those living in slum areas.

Cutting across party lines, candidates are issuing food coupons to and distributing wheat flour among voters.

“While liquor woos men, the free flour and food scheme woos all. Women are happy at the new initiative,” confided the worker of a major political party.

Meena Sharma, Chandigarh Jan Manch candidate from ward 4, said prominent parties were using money power to secure votes by dropping flour, ‘desi ghee’ and food coupons at their doorstep.

“With no development agenda, candidates are openly meeting the demands of colony residents,” she said.

She said parties had approached women supporting her, through their husbands, to leave the campaign.

“I started campaigning with around 20 women. The number has now dropped to five because they have been forced by their husbands to stay away. These women are still supporting me,” she added.

Another candidate of a local party said male voters were being offered liquor and chicken everyday.

Sources said voters were being given coupons signed by one of the supporters of the candidate, which were being exchanged for bottles of liquor at a particular vend.

Ranjit Kaur, a woman candidate from ward 13, said candidates of national parties had been offering sweets and lavish food to woo voters.

“The more the money, the more one spends. The practice of offering items like a bag of rice has become a common practice in these elections, with everybody turning a blind eye to the violation,” she said.

Sources said youngsters were also being hired for campaigning in various wards, for which they were being paid Rs 500 per day.


Violators escape with notices, warnings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The UT Election Commission seems to have a soft corner for habitual violators of the model code of conduct during the Municipal Corporation polls. Except for issuing warnings and notices to the contesting candidates, who have been repeatedly violating the code of conduct by pasting banners and putting up hoardings in their respective wards, no stringent action has been taken against them.

Three days ago, all 152 prospective candidates of the MC polls were warned that if by December 9 the party or independent candidate did not remove their banners and posters from the city, strict action would be taken against them by the Election Commission. Interestingly, in the last three days, thousands of banner, party flags, posters, hoardings have been removed by the election observer’s team of contesting candidates, but they still continue pasting them at different spots but so far no case has been registered against the violators.

Seven teams constituted by the Deputy Magistrate to check the violation of model code of conduct today removed around 50,000 posters, banners, writing material from all over the city but no case has been registered against any party or independent candidate by the election department.

Estate office chief inspector Ravinder Sharma, who is also heading the election team, said that they would check the violation of model code of conduct tomorrow also as there was a possibility that these posters would be pasted again in the respective wards.

During a visit to the centrally located wards, including 17, 18 and 22, it was found that the candidates had not removed their banners, hoardings or party flags from the private property. Market places of these wards are still décorated with banners and flags of the party or the candidates.

Election observer RS Kang stated that there were some candidates who pasted their posters and banners again after they were taken off at various spots in the ward which is under his preview. He got these posters removed and cleared in all the eight wards but no action had been taken against the violators.

But another election observer, Abhishek Dev, served notices to all those contesting candidates who had violated the code of conduct, but no case had been registered against them. He said that if by Monday the candidates did not remove the election material themselves strict action would be initiated against the offenders.



Fearing tough contest, Bansal, Tiwari roped in to address rally
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Fearing tough competition against their candidate from Ward No. 15, the Congress is making every possible effort to impress the electorates by roping mainstream politicians in local sector rallies.

A Congress rally held at Sector 44 today witnessed participation of Congress spokesperson and Ludhiana MP Manish Tiwari, local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, and Congress MLA from Mohali Balbir Sidhu. This is the second time the local MP has visited the same ward within one week to support Chander Mukhi Sharma against SAD candidate Harjinder Kaur.

The decision to contest from Ward No.15 which is being dominated by three-time winner Kaur seems to have given Chander Mukhi sleepless nights. He has been appealing to residents not to consider him as a candidate from outside.

Chander Mukhi is a sitting councillor from Ward No. 1 and has also won the MC elections twice from the same ward.

The party’s attention has been drawn towards the ward. Both senior Congress leaders have also stressed the Chander Mukhi sould not be considered as an outsider as he is a resident of Chandigarh.

While addressing the people, Bansal said that Chander Mukhi had been continuously working for the city from his ward, now he had decided to contest from this ward, which was in a state of neglect. Interestingly, the content of Bansal’s speech was same as mentioned at the rally held earlier on December 3 at Sector 35.

Manish Tiwari also stressed on the on the same point and appealed to support Chander Mukhi in the elections for a change after 15 years. MC Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh was also present during the rally to support Chander Mukhi.



Holiday in offices on Dec17

Chandigarh, December 10
The Haryana Government has decided to observe December 17 as public holiday in the government and semi-government offices of the state government located in the UT, Chandigarh, to enable the employees of these offices to cast their votes on account of elections of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh.

An official spokesman said here yesterday that some officers and officials were posted in offices, boards, corporations, educational institutes of the Haryana government located in Panchkula but they were residents of Chandigarh

In order to facilitate voting, it was decided that such persons could take a short leave (paid) on December 17.The short leave has been declared under Section 10 of the Punjab Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1958 and Section 65 of the Factories Act, 1948 to enable employees of various factories and commercial establishments situated in Panchkula registered as voters for the MC poll. — TNS



Campaigning reaches a feverish pitch in city
Aarti Kapur/TNS

Chandigarh, December 10
With few days left for the MC poll campaigning period to end, the candidates of all parties are making all possible efforts to attract the voters. Various teams are moving in each ward to cover maximum number of voters.

BJP candidate Rajesh Gupta from ward No.16 interacted with voters in various localities of his ward and addressed their problems and local issues.

“Reaching out to individuals not only helps us in bonding with our ward residents, but also acquaints us with their problems and expectations” he said during canvassing. He went on door-to-door canvassing in Sector 20-C and held two corner meetings in Sector 33-B. The meeting was attended by a number of BJP and Akali Dal supporters.

Later, he visited the market and residential areas in his ward and listened to the problems and issues put forward by shopkeepers and residents.

The campaigners distributed pamphlets and other promotional material informing them about the agenda of the BJP. Sharing his vision for the ward with the residents, he said community centres in the ward would be upgraded and renovated to offer facilities like sports. “Beautification of the green belts and setting up of water features is also on the agenda,” he said.

Congress candidate Neeru Mathur ,,along with other party leaders has started the door-to-door campaign in Ward No. 7. With barely a week to go for the MC elections, the campaigning has reached a feverish pitch. The Congress candidate from Ward No.17, Mukesh Bassi, held another round of intensive door-to-door canvassing in Sector 21. He was accompanied by his wife Anjela and a large group of his supporters and well wishers. “We are getting a positive feedback from the ward residents and they are supporting us whole-heartedly”, said Bassi while talking to reporters during the campaign.

A rally was organised by all resident welfare associations today which was attended by Dr Vijay Lakshmi, MP, secretary, All India Congress Committee, BB Behl, president, Chandigarh Congress. Pardeep Chhabra addressed the public and said that maximum money was spent on the development of the city since the Congress was in power. Behl criticised the BJP. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Vijay Lakhshi said that the BJP was indulging in petty politics by leveling false allegations against the Congress and disrupting Parliament as well as the local corporation house. 



Jan Manch claims edge over Congress, BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The Chandigarh Jan Manch claimed that it had edges over the BJP and the Congress in the forthcoming Municipal Corporation polls. During media interaction today, senior leaders said that their campaign was getting positive response in all wards where candidates had been fielded by the party.

Senior leaders revealed that Shyam Sunder Singla of Ward No 11 was getting full support from local residents. Alleging that Singla, opponent of Congress Darshan Kumar Garg, got a ticket only because he was a kin of Pawan Bansal. On the other hand, BJP rebel Munabar Khan was fighting as an independent candidate whereas Anil Dubey has stamped as an outsider.

The Jan Manch activists claimed that it would get maximum votes due to this political equation. Other Jan Manch candidates were Shayam Shunder Singla who met the residents of Lal Bahadur Shashtri Colony and Sector 56. He discussed the problems of redline in Palsora and water bill on flat rate. Streamlining his manifesto he stated that basic civic amenities would be a priority. Another Jan Manch candidate from Ward No 9 Gurpreet Kaur Chauhan also intensified her canvassing to get maximum number of votes. She also met person-to-person in Sector 40 B. 



People perturbed by corruption: CPM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
“Corruptions issues generated by the Congress and the BJP had made the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation elections as important as national and Punjab elections”. This was stated by CPM veteran leader K Raghunath during a media interaction today.

K Raghunathan is associated with the Sanjhha Morcha of Manpreet Singh Badal ex -finance minister of Punjab. He further said that people of all segments were perturbed by corruption. He alleged that the candidates of the Congress and the BJP were below the expectation of the residents. He saided that all trade unions, working class, labour class had extended their support to Jan Manch.

Party’s president Krishna Chander Ahuja has alleged that the UT administration staff is targeting Jan Manch’s candidates.





2 Cong leaders expelled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Chandigarh Congress Territorial Committee president BB Behl today expelled two more Congress leaders from the primary membership of the party for six years .They were Smt Bhajan Kaur and BS Gill.



Section 144 in force at Sec 17

Chandigarh, December 10
Keeping in view that certain groups of people were planning to organise rallies, dharnas and resort to other agitation methods that could cause obstruction, annoyance or injury to the persons lawfully employed and endanger human life and property, disturb public peace and tranquility and cause riots, the UT Administration Deputy Magistrate Brijendra Singh has imposed Section 144 of the CrPc.

It prohibits the public in general or any member thereof from forming an assembly of five or more persons, taking out processions, making speeches raising slogans, carrying lathis in Sector 17 except peaceful campaigning by leaders and supporters of political parties in connection with the Municipal Corporation election, Chandigarh, for a period of one day.

The order will come into force with effect from the zero hour on December 11, 2011 and will be effective for a period of one day. — TNS



School board helper commits suicide
Tribune News Service


Mohali, December 10
Thirtyfive-year-old Dilbagh, a helper with the Punjab School Education Board, has allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan in the accounts section on the premises.

He is survived by his wife and four-year-old son. The body of the victim, who had been suffering from depression, was noticed by security guards this morning.

Though he did not leave a suicide note, his colleagues said he had been under depression for quite some time and had been accusing some officials with the board of harassing him.

The station house officer of the Phase-VIII police station, NPS Lehal, said inquest proceedings were initiated under Section 174 of the CrPC.

The body was handed over to his family after post-mortem examination at the Phase-VI Civil Hospital. About three months ago, he had attempted suicide by jumping off the second floor of the board building.

He suffered multiple fractures due to the fall. He was discharged from the Phase-VI Civil Hospital after treatment. He later rejoined duty.



Sector-63 housing project in trouble
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 10
The much-delayed Sector-63 housing project of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is again in trouble with the Punjab Water Supply and Sanitation Department reportedly reluctant in permitting the former to integrate the sewer and storm water drainage system of the upcoming dwelling units with that of Mohali.

Citing inadequate carrying capacity, the department has, in a communiqué to the CHB, stated that the existing lines brought storm and sewer discharge of Phases IX and XI, before it moved towards Sector 67.

Recently, the project was in news when officials of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) had objected to the coming of 1,100 flats close to the houses in Phase IX of Mohali. It was then decided that a minimum distance of 60 feet would be maintained between the six-storey block of the Sector 63 housing scheme and row of residential houses in Phase IX of Mohali.

Superintending Engineer of Punjab Water Supply and Sanitation Department NK Dhir said he had received no communication in this regard from the CHB.

On the other hand, the Chief Engineer has written a letter to the Superintending Engineer apprising him of the issue. Minutes of a meeting held in the office of the Chief Administrator, GMADA, in August have been mentioned in the letter wherein it was decided that a joint inspection of the existing capacity of the lines would be done. It was also decided that in case the existing line was not adequate to accept the additional discharge, the CHB should be allowed to lay its own line in Mohali area up to the location where the existing service of Mohali could take the additional discharge generated from 1,100 dwelling units of the CHB complex.

But so far no decision has been taken on the issue which is likely to surface in a meeting with Punjab and CHB officials scheduled for December 15. 



Admn to start accepting demand draft
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
If everything goes according to plan, then next time unsuccessful bidders for VIP numbers will not have to wait for the refund of their deposited amount. The UT administration has planned to start accepting demand drafts instead of cash.

A proposal in this regard has been forwarded to the Home Secretary, who will soon hold a meeting with the officials of Registration and Licencing Authority (RLA), Chandigarh, and will finalise the plan.

A senior official of the UT administration said before every auction RLA officials fixed a date before which people deposited the base price with the RLA, thereafter the authorities allowed that person to participate in the auction.

At present, people who failed to get desired numbers for their vehicles at the auction, have to wait for weeks to get their refund back. In this process, unsuccessful bidders had to made a number of rounds of various counters of the RLA’s office to get the refund which harassed people.

Sources said after the approval of the proposal, RLA officials would return the demand draft to the unsuccessful bidder after completion of auction at the spot.



CHB defying orders, allege residents
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 10
Residents of Phase IX, living adjacent to the PCA stadium, complain that the dwelling units of the Sector 63 housing scheme of Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) are being constructed at a distance of 15 feet from their houses despite instructions by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to the CHB to maintain a minimum distance of 60 feet between the CHB flats and the houses in Phase IX.

The decision to maintain the minimum distance between the six-storey CHB flats and GMADA officials was taken at a joint meeting held a few months ago. RR Robert, a resident of the area, said despite seeking information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, the CHB had not replied to his query. The distance of the upcoming two bed room flats of CHB was not more than 15 feet from the read boundary wall of his house. Other residents of the area have also given representation to the GMADA officials. 



Bailable warrants against crime branch in charge
Rajinder Nagarkoti/TNS

Chandigarh, December 10
Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) JS Sidhu today issued bailable warrants against UT police Crime Branch in-charge Amanjot Singh for December 23.

The court issued warrants as he failed to appear in the court despite the directions issued for appearance in the Kashif Ali case, a suspected Pakistani spy.

Kashif Ali, a 22-year-old from Faislabad in Pakistan, was arrested on July 10, 2010, from Sector 44. The police had maintained that he lived in the city on a fake identity of Pawan Kumar, a Delhi resident. Investigations revealed that the accused was a resident of Zulfkar Colony in Faislabad, Pakistan Punjab, and kept an eye on the vital defence installations, including Chandimandir Western Command, Air Force station, Chandigarh, and also on the movement and the deployment of Indian Army.



Residents sensitised on ill-effects of tobacco
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 10
An awareness programme was organised by Unnat Bharat Vikas in collaboration with the Community Health Centre, Dhakoli (health department) to make Mohali district smoke free. The event was held at Sanouli gurdwara here today. Dr Ramnik, SMO, Dhakoli,apprised residents of the ill-effects of tobacco.

‘Sood Milan Mela’

Chandigarh: The local Sood Sabha will be organising its 49th ‘Sood Milan Mela’ at Sood Bhawan, Sector 44, on Sunday. People of the community from the city, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana will be attending the event. Various activities like fancy-dress competition, blood donation camp and free blood sugar tests will be held.

Day of fun for special children

Ability search activities for ‘child with special need’ (CWSN), under the Sarv Shikha Abhiyan (SSA), was organised at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Mani Majra. Activities like races and singing and drawing competitions were organised for these children. They took part in and enjoyed all activities. Vikram Singh, coordinator of cluster 5 of the SSA, highlighted the need for the extra role needed to be played for the uplift of such children. He said special children deserved quality education, a barrier-free environment, full participation in all activities and a positive attitude from society.



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