C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Victory, sweet victory
In Mohali, history repeats itself
Balbir Singh Sidhu re-elected on Cong ticket in Punjab Assembly poll
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 6
On Tuesday, history repeated itself when the Mohali Assembly segment voters re-elected Balbir Singh Sidhu as their MLA, who would sit in the Opposition benches.
Sitting MLA Sidhu from this Assembly segment (erstwhile Kharar segment) defeated SAD candidate Balwant Singh Ramoowalia by a margin of 16,752 votes.

The only exception was when Bir Devinder Singh won on the Congress ticket in 2002 when the Congress was voted to power. But now again, the voters have voted for the Congress MLA when the SAD is going to form the government.

During the 2007 elections, the electorate had voted for the Congress candidate while going against the anti-incumbency factor. As a result, Mohali remained without an effective Municipal Council for over four years, as the SAD leaders left no stone unturned to stop the flow of funds to the town.

Incidentally, the SAD in the last two years of its last term initiated a lot of development works in Mohali and also projected this in its campaign. Even the SAD candidate, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, was brought in to lead the development agenda. But it seems that the voters had their own agenda on mind.

Terming his consecutive win for the second time, Balbir Singh Sidhu, said his contacts at the grassroots level and his popularity among the masses showed the results. Since the first round, the Congress candidates took the lead that kept on increasing.

It would be worth seeing whether the SAD leadership discards its development agenda for Mohali, if it goes by the poll results. A local Akali leader commented that development is for the benefit of the masses and many development projects are under way in Mohali. “Many reasons can be cited for the poll verdict. Conflict among local Akai leaders and fielding of an outsider has done the damage to the SAD”, said the Akali leader.

Not only Mohali, the Congress candidate from Kharar, Jagmohan Singh Kang, has also won.

The only exception for the SAD has been the Dera Bassi seat that has been won by NK Sharma.



Mohali, Kharar go to Cong
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Members of Congress candidate Balbir Singh Sidhu’s family celebrate his victory with colours in Mohali on Tuesday.
Members of Congress candidate Balbir Singh Sidhu’s family celebrate his victory with colours in Mohali on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, March 6
Not many were surprised when the Congress candidate, Balbir Singh Sidhu, won against his nearest rival, Balwant Singh Ramoowlia, by a margin of 16,752 votes. But what surprised the political analysts was 9,000 votes polled by the PPP candidate, Bir Devinder Singh, in the Mohali Assembly segment.

While the Congress candidate had the advantage of being the sitting MLA and his campaigning at the grass-roots level, the SAD leader, Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, depended on his long political career and his star campaigner, Harbhajan Mann, to make a dent in Sidhu’s vote bank.

No senior Congress leader came to Mohali to campaign for Sidhu as he was considered a strong candidate.

From the very first round in the counting, the trends tilted towards the Congress candidate. There was a slight fall in the margin but Sidhu gradually maintained his lead and eventually consolidated his lead to win the seat.
Congress candidate Hardyal Singh Kamboj after winning the Rajpura Assembly seat on Tuesday.
Congress candidate Hardyal Singh Kamboj after winning the Rajpura Assembly seat on Tuesday. photo: JS Virdi

As the counting started at 8 am, anxiety was writ large on the candidates’ faces. The results of the initial rounds went slightly in the favour of SAD candidate Balwant Singh Ramoowalia as after the first round, he had polled 4,064 votes against Sidhu’s 4,019 votes. The difference was not much but after the results of the second round were declared, the SAD score jumped to 8,279 votes leaving the Congress behind at 8,175 votes. The vote difference rose from 45 votes to 104 votes.

Suddenly, the enthusiastic faces went silent in the SAD camp when they witnessed the results of subsequent rounds. The results of sixth round changed the game in favour of the Congress candidate.

In the Kharar constituency, the trends also saw many ups and downs. The margin between the votes polled by two major candidates, Jagmohan Singh Kang, Congress, and Ujagar Singh Badali, SAD, remained very close but eventually the Congress candidate emerged the winner by a margin of 6,776 votes.

Kang said he faced opposition from within the party but still emerged the winner.

BSP surprises many

The BSP candidate from Kharar, Arjan Kansal, registered his presence by polling a record 22,881 votes. His is learnt to have polled a major share of votes in the Kandi belt.



Kundis to be legalised
‘Group of people’ to be allotted meters
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
To deal with kundi connections in the city slums, the UT Administration has decided to regularise all these connections. The Administration has approved the proposal forwarded by the UT electricity department to allot electricity meters to the “group of people” using unauthorised connections.

At present, the UT is suffering a loss of Rs 7 crore every year from around 20,000 unauthorised kundi connections.

Giving details about the scheme, a senior official of the UT Administration said that they had drafted a plan under which the department would first make a group of 10-15 people, who are using kundi connections and would further select a head of that group amongst them.

Thereafter, the head of that group would submit a security amount after collecting it from the group and would further deposit it to the electricity department. On the basis of that security amount, a meter would be allotted to the group and later the group head would submit the bill on the meter reading. For doing this exercise, the group head will be given monetary commission every month.

The official added that the purpose behind this move was that first people would become used to the “group meter” and later the administration would try to allot them individual meters. He added that the department had started this exercise as a pilot project from Daria village and now the Administration had started getting payments from Daria village.

MP Singh, Superintending Engineer of the UT’s electricity department, said they would soon identify few more colonies and start this project from those slums as well. He added that as the new power cable could not be easily used for kundi connections, people would definitely adopt this project. The UT Administration has so far failed to remove these illegal connections. According to a survey conducted by an NGO, around 3.5 lakh people are living in 40 slums of Chandigarh.

According to the survey, 14 of the slums that are being provided electricity through private contractors are not satisfied with the services and a number of slum dwellers are using kundi connections. 



After 24 yrs, 6 months’ jail for vendor
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh March 6
After a trial that lasted 24 years, a man has been sentenced to six months’ imprisonment in a case of food adulteration. The Court of Additional Sessions Judge Shalini Nagpal today upheld the order passed by the lower court and convicted the accused Surinder Singh. The accused milk vendor was first booked in 1988.

The case pertains to milk adulteration when the UT’s health department had raided Surinder’s house on February 13, 1988, and seized a sample of milk, which he used to supply to residents. After conducting the tests, the milk sample failed and he was booked under various sections of the Food Adulteration Act.

While the case was initially stayed by the High Court, it was finally decided five years ago when the Court of Chief Judicial Magistrate convicted Surinder in the year 2007. Challenging the order, Surinder filed an appeal.

The court of Additional Sessions Judge today upheld the order of the lower court and held that the health department had successfully proven its case against the accused.

While the accused was bailed out in 2007 when he was first convicted, he was sent to Burail jail today to serve the sentence, as the court of the Additional Sessions Judge could not grant him bail since it was an appeal. The accused will have to move the High Court for a bail.



P’kula man victim of rash driving
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
A Panchkula resident was critically injured in an accident at the Housing Board Light point here this evening. The police managed to chase the open Gypsy of the accused and nabbed him at the Railway lightpoint. Sham Lal was admitted to hospital in a critical state.

The open Gypsy, number PB 13 H 9520, driven by Davinder, a Moga resident, hit the scooter of the victim as he jumped the red light.

The police registered a case of rash and negligent driving against the accused. Devinder was accompanied by two of his friends.

They were returning from Fun Republic when the mishap occurred.



Hounded by stray dogs, woman hits car, injured
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Walking down the road near Sector 17 here turned into a nightmare for twenty-five-year old Anjana Thakur, a resident of Sector 22, who hit a car while trying to save herself from a pack of stray dogs that came charging towards her at the rear of Hotel Shivalik on Monday evening.

In a bid to save herself, Anjana ran towards the other side of the road and hit the car, leaving her seriously injured. Anjana was rushed to Government Multi-Speciality Hospital-16 for treatment.

Anjana, who works as an executive with a private firm in Panchkula, was dropped at Matka Chowk by her colleague after the office, from where she was to take an auto-rickshaw for her PG in Sector 22.

But when she failed to get an auto, Anjana started walking towards Sector 22. “As soon I reached at the rear of Hotel Shivalik, a dog approached me and stood in the way followed by a group of dogs,” she said.

To save herself from canine attack, Anjana ran towards the other side of the road and ended up hitting a vehicle. Unconscious and bleeding, she was rushed to the GMSH-16, where she received four stitches on her forehead.In a state shock, Anjana said she wouldn’t be able to forget such a horrifying experience. “The MC should do the needful to save people from dog menace,” she added.

The issue of stray dogs had cropped up at the Municipal Corporation (MC) meeting held recently after a dog bite incident happened with councillor Harjinder Kaur.

A councillor during the meeting had stated that the menace was increasing in the city and the authorities were not taking any stringent action to curb it.

The department has no dog pound or provision to keep dogs anywhere.

Sidharth Thakur, a resident of Sector 22, said, “It has become difficult to move on the roads in our area because of stray dogs. The dogs chase residents and even try to bite them,” he said.



DSP, hotel manager record statements in court
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Giving some support to the prosecution in the infamous J and K sex scandal, two witnesses recorded their statements before the CBI court today. DSP Rasik Mir and hotel manager Mansoor Ali supported the prosecution in the case in which as many as six witnesses have turned hostile till now.

Recording his statements before the court, the DSP said he had raided the hotel with his team and arrested Shabina along with two boys and four girls red-handed. Hotel Manager deposed before the court that Anil Sethi, an accused, had booked his hotel room. The court fixed April 9 and 10 for further hearing in the case.

The sex scandal rocked the Kashmir valley in 2006 in which nine cases for various offences, including Section 376 (rape), Immoral Trafficking Act and the Information Technology Act were registered.

Nine accused were named in one case while three each were named in the remaining eight cases. The names of Sabina and her husband Abdul Hamid Billa figure in all the cases.

The other accused include former Jammu and Kashmir minister Raman Mattoo, former DSP Mohammad Ashraf Mir, bureaucrat Iqbal Khandey, former DSP Mohammad Yusuf Mir and former Additional Advocate General Anil Sethi.


Conviction rate down, P’kula police worried
DCP issues fresh set of instructions
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 6
In an attempt to increase the conviction ratio in the district courts, the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) has recently issued instructions to all his DSPs, SHOs and investigating officers to have a better coordination with the law officers.

These instructions have been issued in view of recent acquittal of a number of criminals by courts and a clear-cut coordination gap between investigating officers and public prosecutors.

Sources revealed that it had been stated that investigating officers should meet with public prosecutors on a regular basis and remove all the loopholes which an accused can take advantage of before a court, which can further lead to his acquittal, the sources added.

Investigating officers have also been asked to update DSPs of the respected area about the development in the case and the latter will update the Panchkula DCP on the case status, the sources added.

A senior police official said non-appearance of policemen in trail courts and a lack of coordination among them and public prosecutors was the main reason behind the acquittal of numerous criminals. We are trying to plug these loopholes, he added.

He said there were clear-cut instructions from the Haryana DGP that duty of police officers not ended after arresting an accused but they would have to ensure his conviction as well.



Speed up budget spending, says Patil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
With just about three weeks left for the current fiscal to end, UT Administrator Shivraj Patil has reportedly directed the departmental heads in the Chandigarh Administration to spend their budget (plan) for this year.

Till January 2012, some departments had not even spent 50 per cent of their annual allocation, according to the UT Finance Department documents.

Pulling up the officials for their laxity, Patil, at a meeting held here today to review the status of expenditure and ongoing projects, expressed unhappiness over the issue and instructed the officials concerned to clear their pending proposals speedily, sources said.

Patil also directed the Finance Department to speed up the existing projects and complete them as soon as possible.

Showing concern about making the City Beautiful a model solar city, Patil also directed the Director, Science and Technology, to install the solar photovoltaic system in all the government offices and solar water-heating plants in all the government residences.

Senior officers, including Adviser to the Administrator KK Sharma, UT Home Secretary Anil Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Governor MP Singh and Finance Secretary VK Singh were presented at the meeting. 



PEC looks like CIA building!
Shooting of film on hunting down Osama under way
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
It seems that PEC students are attending classes at the US Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) building these days.
They walk through corridors with photographs of former US presidents, also with Pakistani leaders. The main auditorium has been made to look like the US embassy in Islamabad.

The campus has been converted for the shooting of Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty (ZD30), a film on the hunting down of Osama bin Laden by US marines at Abbottabad in Pakistan.

The academic building appears like the CIA office in Pakistan. Corridors have been redone, with photographs of Benazir Bhutto with Bill Clinton and George W Bush with Pervez Musharraf.

The main doors leading to the academic blocks through lobbies have been designed like a CIA office, with security code protection. The lobbies leading to the library and other academic blocks have been turned into a lobby leading to the CIA office, with the photographs being displayed on the walls.

Fancy plates showing room numbers have been displayed outside every room. The main auditorium displays a US flag and boards.

The movement of students has been restricted in view of the shooting. They are not allowed to move on the uppers floors. Over a dozen students have been roped in to assist the crew.

A student has said it is exciting to watch photographs of all US presidents across the corridors. “It seems like we are studying at some college in the US,” the student has said.



Accountant suspended
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 6
The government has suspended the accountant of an institute for deaf and dumb students at Raipur Rani for indiscipline.
Last month, officials had forwarded a complaint to the organising secretary about the indiscipline of an accountant, Sanjeev Kumar.

It was stated that on January 24, Sanjeev reached the institute drunk with friends and created a ruckus.

Organising secretary PS Birla visited the institute and passed the suspension order last week.

Earlier, the accountant had misbehaved with deaf and dumb girl students.



PU holds declamation contests
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The department of Punjabi at the Panjab University (PU) organised the KK Grover and AC Bali declamation contests at the Gandhi Bhavan auditorium here today.
As many as eighteen students from a number of departments of the university and an affiliated college participated in the event.

They spoke on the subjects like the Lokpal and corruption, Punjabi culture, pop songs, mother tongue, higher education, elections and the Election Commission, democracy and corruption, environment and development, globalisation and humanism.

Balwinder Kaur of the Guru Nanak Khalsa College for Women at Ludhiana was first, Jasanpreet Kaur of the Guru Nanak Girls College at Muktsar second and Manpreet Kaur of the Guru Nanak College at Moga third in the KK Grover contest. Jasanpreet Kaur of the Guru Nanak Girls College at Muktsar was first, Manpreet Kaur of the Guru Nanak College at Moga second and Preeti Bhola of the Ramgharia Girls College at Ludhiana third in the AC Bali contest.



Last date extended to March 16
Needy students applying for food subsidy at PU hostels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The Panjab University (PU) has decided to extend the last date for needy students to apply for food subsidy at hostels.
During a meeting of the dean student welfare (DSW-women) with student leaders today, the decision to add variety to the ‘janta’ meal served at the student centre was also taken.

DSW-women Kalpana Mahajan said the university offered a food subsidy of Rs 650 per month to hostel residents whose parents had an annual income of less than Rs 2 lakh.

Students were not aware of this. The authorities had now decided to extend the last date and publicise the scheme. The PU had already received over 100 applications for food subsidy.

“Students demanded that the last date be extended and notices be displayed at all hostels. The authorities extended the last date to March 16,” she said. She said they had agreed on the demand of students to direct student centre shopkeepers serving the ‘janta’ meal to add variety to food.

The proposal to give the charge of food quality checks to hotel management students was also discussed at the meeting.

Students demanded that hostel wardens check their mess accounts regularly so that mess and canteen contractors did not overcharge them.



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