C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Thieves strike at officers' houses in P’kula
Decamp with cash, jewellery worth lakhs, families were out of town 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 14
Thieves decamped with cash and jewellery worth lakhs of rupees when they struck at four houses of officers at Sector 11 here late last night. The families were out of town when the thefts took place.

While two families, one of an Assistant Director, Education, and the other of a Chief Accounts Officer, returned this morning after learning of the thefts, the family of two officers of the radiology department at the General Hospital, Sector 6, has still not returned. Taps were stolen from the fourth house, which was vacated by an Executive Engineer two weeks ago.

The SHO of the Sector 5 police station, Inspector Malkeet Singh, said a case had been registered in this regard. The police had got vital clues and the thieves would be arrested soon, he said.

The thefts came to light after a neighbour found the locks of the houses broken and informed the victims. The police was informed. A forensic team was called to examine the spots. The police said the thefts appeared to be the handiwork of a gang.

Roopa Saini, Assistant Director, Education, told the police that jewellery, including a diamond set, worth about Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 25,000 were stolen from her house.

"The family had gone for a wedding,” said a police official.

An amount of Rs 10,000 was stolen from the house of a Chief Accounts Officer with the Health Department, Satyaveer Sharma. “Artificial jewellery at Sharma’s house was found broken and scattered, indicating that the thieves had examined it carefully,” said the official.

The officers of the radiology department, Neelam and her husband Purshottam, have still not returned. “The exact loss can be ascertained only after the family returns. We have locked their house,” said the police.

In 2012, 13 houses and shops were targeted by thieves in one night in Panchkula in Sectors 8, 11 and 15.



Public prosecutor assaulted
Mother-son duo, woman create ruckus at District Courts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
High drama was witnessed in the District Courts complex in Sector 43 yesterday when a mother-son duo, along with another woman, assaulted a public prosecutor on duty. A case of assault on a public servant has been registered against the three at the Sector 36 police station. The police have arrested Ranvir Singh in the case, while Dolly and the other woman, who is yet to be identified, are yet to be arrested.

The incident occurred at 3 pm outside the court of Judicial Magistrate Jaswinder Singh minutes after the public prosecutor had framed charges in a molestation case in which the woman was the complainant. As the public prosecutor, who is the Assistant District Attorney, was talking to court staff, the woman asked the prosecutor the status of her case and his mobile number.

The public prosecutor replied that he was counsel for the state and not a private advocate. The woman and her son accused him of conniving with the other party and created a scene there.

The public prosecutor ignored them and moved to his office when the three followed him and barged into the room. They created a ruckus and also pulled the chargesheet of another case from the public prosecutor.

Other advocates intervened in the matter, but the three continued to misbehave. The prosecutor then submitted a complaint to the Sector 36 police station narrating the course of events following which a case was registered.

Sub-Inspector Sarabjit Kaur, the investigating officer in the case, said they had arrested one of the accused, Ranvir. The police had identified one woman as Dolly and efforts were on to identify the other one.

The police have registered a case under Sections 186 (obstructing a public servant in the discharge of public functions) and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from the discharge of his duty).

"I had framed charges in their case in the court and repeatedly kept telling them that their case was on course. They started accusing me and created a ruckus. A copy of the complaint has been sent to the Legal Remembrance Cell too,” said the public prosecutor, who did not wish to be quoted.



Milkha Singh victim of cyber crime
Fake website, Facebook account created in his name; files police complaint
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Legendary athlete Milkha Singh has become a victim of cyber crime. A fake website has been created in his name without his knowledge. Milkha Singh has filed a complaint with the UT police seeking a thorough inquiry. He has also sought the registration of a case under the Information Technology Act and Sections 420, 467 and 468 of the IPC against the unidentified persons who have created the fake website, milkhasingh.co.in.

Milkha Singh has also complained that the miscreants have created a Facebook account in his name and are operating it without his knowledge.

After creating his fake website, the miscreants have received a number of advertisements on the website, which can be seen by opening the website.

“The miscreants who have created the fake website and Facebook account of the complainant are well aware that he is a legendary athlete and recently a film based on his life, “Bhag Milkha Bhag”, was released the world over. In a well planned criminal conspiracy, the miscreants have created the website for financial gains. By doing so, they have committed an offence of cheating," states the complaint filed through advocate Tarminder Singh.

Cyber crime officials said they were yet to receive the complaint as it had been filed through a public window at the Police Headquarters.



Liquor vend employee hurt in firing
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 14
An employee of a liquor vend was injured when some persons opened fire in a bid to loot the vend near Sohana late this evening.

According to reports, the injured employee, Ravinder Kumar, was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

It is learnt that four persons came to the vend and asked for liqour. Two of them entered the vend and ordered the employees to hand over the cash box. Ravinder Kumar put up resistance, leading to a scuffle. This led to firing by one of the assailants in which the employee sustained injuries in the stomach.

The looters managed to decamp with Rs 20,000 from the vend.


Youth brave chill, rain to celebrate V-Day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
With weather taking a turn for the worse today and Panjab University and colleges remaining closed on the occasion of Guru Ravidas Jayanti, youngsters took their time to venture out to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Nikhil Chauhan, a youngster who did venture out, said the day lost its charm this time due to bad weather. Sidharth Thakur, who came to Sector 10 to celebrate the day with his friends, said, “If it were a working day, the city would have been livelier.”

It was only after around 2 pm that youngsters started reaching Gehri Route, which usually sees a huge rush since morning on this day.

However, as it was raining, the revellers preferred not to step outside their cars and just drove through the whole stretch covering Sectors 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Sector 10 also witnessed a snarl-up and a stretch of the road had to be turned into a one-way to ease the traffic. The parking lot opposite the Government College of Art, Sector 10, turned out to be a hot spot.

Although the rush increased as the day passed, the business of florists and roadside vendors failed to pick up.

Ramesh, one such vendor selling heart-shaped balloons at the Sector 9 market, said he could hardly sell 50 balloons throughout the day.

“A balloon that could have been sold for Rs 20 was sold at half the price due to the poor response,” he said.

Shahnawaz Baig, a Sector 15-based florist, said the sales went down due to the rain as not many youngsters visited the market to buy roses.

Also, Sukhna Lake, which witnesses a huge crowd on any other day, registered lesser footfall.

Only 21 break traffic rules

With over 1,000 police personnel keeping vigil across the city, Valentine’s Day remained largely peaceful, with only a few incidents of hooliganism being reported today.

During the day, there was a heavy police presence on the three-kilometre stretch of the famous Gehri Route. Barricades were also set up at the markets of Sectors 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 19, 20, 22, 23, 26, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 44 and other areas.

A traffic police officer said despite nearly 1,400 police personnel, including some in plain clothes, being deployed to keep an eye on the “roadside Romeos” and traffic offenders, the number of challans remained minimal.

Only 21 youths were fined for traffic violations on Gehri Route. Last year, the number stood at 300.

The officer attributed the fall in number of challans to the rain and the official holiday, due to which most of the educational institutes and offices were closed.

After 6 pm, most of the police personnel were shifted to Sector 26, outside discotheques and restaurants there.



A day of love to remember
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
For Harsh Sharma and Shami Croker this Valentine’s Day was extra special.

The Melbourne-based couple, who met each other four years back, were planning to get married since the last Valentine’s Day. A year on, the duo returned to their hometown—Chandigarh—to tie the knot on this auspicious day.

Harsh met Shami at Melbourne. Getting married on this special day of love was on his mind since then. Finally, the two families made all the arrangements for this occasion and the two got married in the presence of their parents at a temple on the Panjab University campus.

“It feels great after getting married on this day dedicated to love. We delayed the marriage for several months, just to get married today,” said Harsh.

Shami said the two had always wanted to do something special to make their wedding memorable.

“Every couple wants their wedding to be remembered forever. I, too, wanted to get married in a special way,” she said.

Soon after the ceremony got over, the newlywed couple went for a drive on Gehri Route to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Heart-shaped balloons adorned their car, as they drove through the complete stretch from Sector 8 to Sector 11.

Later, in the evening, Harsh and Shami hosted a reception dinner.

The couple, who will be soon flying back to Melbourne, plans to visit India on every Valentine’s Day to celebrate their wedding anniversary.



Finding love proves costly for 15-yr-old boy
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 14
Finding love on Valentine’s Day proved costly for a 15-year-old boy. The girl he approached after reading a “make-a-friend” advertisement in a newspaper allegedly duped him of Rs 9,400. Getting the money credited to her mobile phone number and failing to pay the amount to the vendor also landed him in trouble.

The incident came to light after the vendor, Sandeep Malik who has his shop at Rally Village in Sector 12-A, took the boy, from the same village, to the Sector 14 police station.

The boy told the police that the girl had asked him to top up her phone’s balance if he wanted to continue chatting with her. She reportedly told him that being busy she could not do it herself. She promised him that she would pay the amount on meeting him on Valentine’s Day, the boy told the police.

Sandeep Malik had reportedly credited Rs 9,400 to the girl’s mobile phone before he asked the boy to pay up. The boy told him the girl would herself pay the amount on meeting him, said Malik. On Malik’s insistence, when the boy called the girl, her mobile phone was switched off.

“I took the boy to the police station where policemen told me to sort out the matter mutually,” said Sandeep Malik.

Malik reportedly requested the officials of the telephone company to waive the amount, but they refused. Finally, Malik and the boy decided to pay half the amount each.

“I am still awaiting the boy’s half,” said Malik.

The boy, reportedly, requested the police and the shopkeeper not to inform his parents about the incident. Station house officer Inspector Baljit said he did not receive any written complaint.



Hospital dedicates day to selfless love
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 14
Fortis Hospital celebrated Valentine’s Day in a unique way. People who had donated their kidneys to their spouses and the recipients gathered at the hospital’s auditorium to celebrate the day of love.

Sugeon Dr Priyadarshi Ranjan, who conducted these transplants, was there to congratulate the special couples and to raise awareness of the noble cause of kidney donation.

Gurdeep and Harjeet from Punjab, Usha and Kuldeep Teghta from Shimla and Ram Niwas and Darshna from Hisar were among the couples who came from various states to celebrate the occasion. Harjeet said it was a very special Valentine’s Day for her.

Talking about kidney donation, Dr Ranjan said, “Whenever a person suffered a kidney failure, the spouse is the obvious, selfless and legal choice of the family. Nowadays, with improved literacy rates, more husbands are coming forward to donate organs to their wives.”

Kuldeep, who donated his kidney to save his wife’s life, said, “I see no difference between a man or a woman donating a kidney to his or her spouse. I donated one of my kidneys to my wife a year ago and now I am back to work as normal.”

The couples sashayed down the ramp. Later, to entertain the special guests the hospital staff presented a cultural programme.



500 flower arrangements on display at PU Rose Festival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Around 500 submissions made to the flower show and 42 to the photography competition are on display during the Fifth Panjab University Rose Festival.

The winners of these competitions were declared today. Rajesh Khurana won the first prize in the photography competition, while Deepak Arora stood second. Aastha Malhotra and Jaskiran Singh Batra had to be content with consolation prizes.

In the flower show, Mallika Singh won the first prize for her arrangement of roses, Bhavika Chauhan for the arrangement of flowers other than roses and Aastha Malhotra for arranging dry flowers. Central Scientific Instruments Organisation director came out victorious in bouquet-making.

Harpreet Kaur won the first prize for making rangoli using environment-friendly materials.

Pankaj was adjudged the winner in vegetable and fruit carving.

Winners in the cut-flower and potted-flower categories were also declared.

A flowery affair at Panchkula School

A flower arrangement competition was organised at Brilliance World School, Sector 12, Panchkula. The inter-house event saw various colourful and beautiful flower arrangements. Each exhibit was theme-based and aesthetically organised. All the exhibits were given names according to the theme. The event aimed at instilling aesthetic sense in children and teaching them how to beautify their homes with flowers.



UT undecided on excise policy schedule
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Even as Punjab is all set to announce its excise policy 2014-2015 before the code of conduct for the general elections comes in to force, the UT is still undecided about its schedule to announce its new excise policy.

Since the existing UT excise policy is valid till April 30, the UT Excise Department would have to extend it till the general elections are over.

Officials said the department was keen on introducing the new policy before the elections but the top brass has so far given no indications about the nature of the policy to be followed.

Since the excise policy 2013-2014 was introduced, the UT Excise Department has not been able to find adequate bids for many vends. Despite six attempts, 96 liquor vends have found no takers.

Refusing to divulge details, Excise Commissioner Mohammed Shayin said the matter was being taken up with the Chandigarh Administration.

The officials admit that going by the experience gained during 2013-14 and in view of the approaching elections, the Punjab Excise Department was likely to take populist decisions as the increased liquor prices in the state had not gone down well with consumers.

Since the UT follows Punjab in deciding upon various factors in the excise policy, the latter might also have to incorporate its decisions in its policy.

In the existing policy, the UT had increased the excise duty by 20 per cent to 300 per cent and assessment fee by 33 per cent. Of a total of 96 unsold vends, 19 had failed to attract even a single bid in the past five attempts.

The UT also introduced an amendment to the excise rules with the aim of checking the recent trend where liquor vends were being auctioned at higher prices and then surrendered to ensure the monopoly of another contractor in the same area.

An experienced businessman in the liquor trade, Satpal, in a representation to the Chandigarh Administration has sought that the UT should frame the policy in such a way that the flow of liquor from the adjoining states is checked. The number of vends in the city should be limited to 150 and quota and excise duty rationalised, he added.



Preparations in full swing
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 14
With only two days left for the commencement of the four-day Progressive Punjab Agriculture Summit-2014, senior government functionaries are on their toes giving the final touches to the arrangements at Chappar Chiri here.

The Tribune team found more than 200 workers working on a war-footing at Fateh Burj, Baba Banda Bahadur War Memorial, the venue of the function.

Punjab Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar, Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) Chief Administrator AK Sinha, Mohali SSP Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti, Mohali Deputy Commissioner Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu and other senior functionaries inspected the venue.

Work on setting up a huge ‘pandal’ for nearly 50,000 persons, exhibition stalls, eateries, beautification of surroundings, recarpeting of the three approach roads along with the construction of an RCC road around the Burj, installation of big hoardings, levelling parking sites and the construction of five helipads is in the final phase.

“Work is being carried out round-the-clock,” said the Mohali DC.

“We are leaving no stone unturned to make the event a big success. All arrangements will be completed well in time,” said Sidhu.

On the first day, a gathering of nearly 50,000 people, including national leaders such as Rajnath Singh, Vasundhra Raje, Akhilesh Yadav, Kalyan Singh, Raman Singh and agriculture ministers of various states, are likely to attend the summit.

The technical sessions on the agricultural scenario will commence on February 17.

A total of 11 such sessions will be presided over by several national and international experts, including Dr Thomas Lumpkin, Director-General, CIMMYT, Mexico, and Dr S Ayyappan, Director-General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi.

Kahan Singh Pannu, Secretary, Punjab Agriculture Department, said: “More than 175 stalls of various national and international companies, including Coca Cola, Dabur, ITC, Reliance, New Holland, Fiat India, Mahindra and Mahindra and Bayer Crop Science (Zentrum Entertainments), will be set up.” The summit will commence at 1 pm on February 16.



Lucky organises ‘tea party’ for Bansal
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics. Following the same principle, Congress district president HS Lucky, who had earlier revolted against sitting MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, is now organising a special “tea party” for Bansal at the Sector 20 community centre tomorrow (February 15).

Both Lucky and Bansal will try to show a united face of the local Congress. City Congress chief BB Behl, Mayor Harphool Kalyan, Congress councillors and other senior leaders have been invited to the tea party.

The political drama between Bansal and Lucky had unfolded on January 27 when Lucky opposed Bansal’s candidature for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat. It ended after a meeting between both the leaders was arranged in Delhi on February 10. Senior Congress leaders from Punjab and Haryana had played a vital role in ending the tussle between Bansal and Lucky.

Meanwhile, Lucky said the city Congress was united and with this tea party, they would give a strong message to the city residents about unity in the Congress. Behl said the tea party was a non-political event. It is only a get-together of Congress leaders and the local residents, he said.

High command orders

Sources in the Congress said the Congress high command had recently issued directions to organise programmes in the city to show a united face of the local Congress. In the coming days, many other Congress leaders will hold public rallies as part of the party campaign in the city.

Now, AAP launches party merchandise

Volunteers of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have launched the party merchandise in the city. To start with, they launched jute bags today.

A volunteer, Gurjusjit Singh, said they had tied up with a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Chotti Si Aashaa, which was run by all-women staff at Khuda Lahora, Chandigarh. Liza is the head of the NGO.

With these jute bags, they also want to give the message of “go green”. The income generated by selling these bags will be contributed to the party fund, he said. The bags will be available at the AAP offices in Sector 16 and 44. The party will launch merchandise such as pens, T-shirts, headbands.

‘Jhadu yatra’ from today

In an attempt to reach out to the common man, the local wing of the AAP will start a nine-day "jhadu yatra" here on February 15. Naresh Garg, said: “The ‘yatra’ will start from Sector 15 at 11 am and will pass through many sectors”. 



Leaders slam Kejriwal’s decision to quit
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Congress, BJP and BSP leaders in the city have slammed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s decision to resign while the local unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supported the party chief’s decision.

Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) president said, "Kejriwal had failed on all fronts, which is why he resigned as the Chief Minister. Kejriwal not only befooled Delhi residents but also his colleagues in the state Assembly."

Congress councillor Mukesh Bassi said Kejriwal’s resignation once again proved that only the Congress could provide a stable government.

BJP's city chief Sanjay Tandon said today’s development exposed both the AAP and the Congress. It was an ‘unholy alliance’ which ended with Kejriwal’s resignation, he added. “I hope Arvind Kejriwal will learn from his mistakes and will not make false promises to voters. In the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, people will definitely teach a lesson to the AAP and the Congress,” Tandon said.

BSP convener Hafiz Anwar-Ul-Haq said Arvind Kejriwal should not have formed the government with the support of Congress. "Both the Congress and the AAP are parties of opportunists and can do anything to get power. Moreover, Kejriwal had failed to fulfill the promises he had made to people. His tenure as a CM was a failure," he said.

Meanwhile, AAP volunteer Gurjusjit Singh has stated that the AAP's city unit welcomed the historic step taken by the party. "Kejriwal’s brave move proves that they are not here to rule but to serve masses unlike the BJP and the Congress, which serve industrialists and businessmen," he said. 



CAT order to UT on food safety officer’s plea for appointment 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
In an order passed today, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today directed the UT Administration to consider the UT’s senior-most food safety officer for appointment as designated officer under the Food Safety and Standards Act and fill the post on a regular basis in three months than filling it by way of deputation.

The CAT disposed of the application filed by Food Safety Officer Sukhwinder Singh, who had moved the tribunal in 2011, seeking direction to the UT administration for considering him for the post. He had challenging the UT Administration move to fill the post by way of deputation.

Singh had claimed that he was the senior-most food safety officer, thus was eligible to be appointed a designated officer under the Food Safety and Standards Act.

In his application in September 2011, He had submitted: “The post of designated officer is being occupied by an official who has come on deputation, in addition to his own duties. He is on deputation for medical services as SMO from Haryana whereas as per the Act and rules, a whole-time officer is required to be appointed designated officer for performing duties under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and the rules framed thereunder in 2011.”



Chandikrit-2014 takes off in city

Chandigarh, February 14
A five-day fair, Chandikrit-2014, is being organised by the Chandigarh Administration. The Home Secretary-cum-Secretary Industries, Anil Kumar, today inaugurated the fair at the Parade Ground, Sector 17, here.

The UT Director (Industries), Mahavir Kaushik, said the administration had set up 80 stalls where the local manufacturers would exhibit their products. The fair will provide a platform to the small and medium-scale industrialists, he said. — TNS



Veteran Army officers demand say in 7th Pay Commission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
While demanding representation of the armed forces in the newly commissioned Seventh Pay Commission, a section of ex-servicemen from the Tricity said the status of the armed forces had consistently and systematically down graded by the successive pay commissions.

Claiming that a very large number of unresolved anomalies of the Sixth Pay Commission that have still not been resolved would have a cascading effect on the Seventh Pay Commission, they have urged the service chiefs to strongly take the up matter with the Prime Minister for inclusion of military representatives in the Seventh Pay Commission, lest the mistakes and anomalies of the earlier pay commissions be repeated.

Brig KS Kahlon said since none of the chairmen or members ever had remotest exposure to the extremely dangerous, difficult, disrupted military service conditions, they just cannot grasp the compensation package for the military and will heap repeated injustices on them.



Legal literacy camp held for senior citizens

Panchkula, February 14
A special legal literacy camp was held by the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) at Senior Citizen Club, Sector 25, here today.

Ravi Kumar Sondhi, District and Sessions Judge and Sunil Chauhan, Chief Judicial Magistrate-cum-Secretary District Legal Services Authority, Panchkula, addressed the gathering.

In his address, Sondhi described the senior citizens as ‘the banyan tree of the society’. He also announced a campaign on ‘The maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens’ which will run for 14 days, today onwards. In the campaign at least 20 villages and four urban areas will be covered.

Later, he interacted with the senior citizens and inspected the premises. To a query by a senior citizen, Sondhi stated that abandonment of a senior citizen is punishable with imprisonment up to 3 months and or Rs 5,000 fine under the Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

Various provisions of the Maintenance and Senior Citizens Act 2007 were told and explained to the senior citizens. Procedure for filing the application before the maintenance tribunal was also explained.

It was also told that childless senior citizen can claim maintenance from their legal heir who is not a minor and is in possession of or would inherit his property after his death.

The District and Sessions Judge also told the gathering that cases relating to the senior citizens will be taken on priority basis at the District Courts, Panchkula.

MK Lall, the organising member of the Senior Citizen Club earlier welcomed the chief guest and told the gathering about the functioning of the legal aid services available at the club. Chauhan informed about various legal aspects. Manbir Singh Rathi, panel advocate of District Legal Services Authority and Subhash Kapoor, president of the club also spoke on the occasion. — TNS



Cyber crime seminar held for P’kula police 

Panchkula, February 14
A workshop on cyber crime frauds was organised by the ICICI bank at the crime branch, Moginand in Panchkula. Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) SS Deswal and IG Shrikanth Jadhav presided as the chief guests. As many as 100 police personnel were present to attend the workshop

Cyber expert Manpreet Singh, zonal legal head of ICICI bank enlightened the police regarding the latest cyber frauds in the state and the methods of investigation. The cyber expert cited cases wherein he helped the police in cracking cases of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) frauds and phishing. Jadhav praised the support of the bank informing the audience regarding the long association of Manpreet Singh as a faculty in Haryana Police Academy and all other police academies of North India.

Singh also informed about the preparation of a booklet regarding cyber investigation and the Intellectual Property Act by him for the distribution to all the investigating officers of crime branch and cyber cells.

ICICI Bank was also represented by DGM Vikas Jain who informed the commitment of the bank in supporting police in cracking cyber crime cases. — TNS



Mega mall partially opened
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 14
A soft launch of The North Country Mall, on the Mohali-Kharar road, was done today.

A large number of visitors and vehicles were seen on the sprawling 22 acre complex, said to be one of the biggest malls in North India. Strict security checks were in place at the venue.

Many of the visitors seemed to have come out of curiosity to see the huge mall. “They appear to have established a whole village here,’’ said a visitor from a rural area. So far, three segments of the mall, PVR Cinemas (with nine screens), Reliance Market and the Food Court, have become functional. The PVR Cinemas segment was inaugurated by actress Kangana Ranaut.

At present about 75,000 sq ft has been covered by Reliance Market, which is like an anchor store. The Food Court is spread over 36,000 sq ft with 18 food counters. It has been given to Kwality Foods, which sub-lets it to other parties.

As much as 85 per cent of the mall is expected to be operational by April-end with more than 60 per cent ready to be opened by mid-March. The formal launch was likely to be done in April by the Punjab Chief Minister or the Deputy Chief Minister, said marketing manager Praveen Singh. If they were unable to come, Ira J Gumberg, head of the company, will launch it.

The mall is the flagship project of Gumberg India, a subsidiary of the United States-based Gumberg Global. The project boasts of being the first 100 per cent FDI in real estate in Punjab.

The Mall had been designed by US-based architects, TVS Design. With a front of 375 ft and retail space of 1 million sq ft (total built up area of 2 million sq ft), it is a landmark in the region. There are three open plazas. The south plaza, the biggest is of 50,000 sq ft, while the north plaza is an amphitheatre. There are parking arrangements for about 3,000 vehicles, including in the basement, at the mall.

The mall will house leading national and international brands for retail, food and beverage, banquets and entertainment. The North Country Mall is Gumberg’s first project outside the USA and is part of $7 billion investment-plan for India.



Experts discuss need for penal reforms at seminar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
The Institute of Correctional Administration today organised a seminar on the theme of Penal reforms, in association with PRI and Praja at Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration, Sector 26, Chandigarh.

Various stakeholders of the criminal justice system participated in the seminar that was inaugurated by Justice SN Aggarwal (retd), judge of High Court of Punjab and Haryana.

Dr Upneet Lalli, said while Penal reforms are much needed in our country, it is important to discuss issues of crime and punishment in the backdrop of changing nature of crime.

Justice Aggarwal expressed the need to change the law, to make it more severe for certain offences like terrorism, adulteration and heinous offences.

He opined that even motor accident cases need severe punishment and issues of balancing the rights of victims, protection of society need due consideration.

Three interesting panel discussions on - Alternatives to imprisonment, professionalising the prison service for the 21st century and identifying the priorities for penal reforms took place, were held during the seminar.



Hotel inaugurated in Zirakpur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Sarovar Hotels today launched the Park Plaza hotel in Zirakpur. The hotel offers Punjab’s largest banquet and conferencing space to accommodate up to 3,000 guests. This is Sarovar’s fifth property in the state. Other Sarovar hotels in the state include two hotels in Chandigarh - Park Plaza and Hometel, and two properties in Ludhiana - Park Plaza and City Heart Sarovar Portico.

The Park Plaza hotel is located on the Ambala-Chandigarh, NH-22.

At the launch Anil Madhok, managing director, Sarovar Hotels Pvt. Ltd. said, Zirakpur is a developing satellite township of Chandigarh. In addition, this area is also known as the wedding capital of Punjab, and Park Plaza will offer the largest banqueting facility in the Tricity. He said the group invested Rs 75 crore for this project excluding cost of land.

The 104-rooms and suites, including a grand presidential suite, have high-end facilities such as in-room entertainment through satellite channels, a well-stocked mini-bar, electronic safe, tea, coffee-maker, Wi-Fi connectivity and 24 hours room service.

The hotel offers 80,000 sq. ft. of banqueting space, a 15,500 sq. ft. pillar-less hall that can accommodate more than 1,800 guests and over 60,000 sq. ft. well-manicured lawns that can hold a gathering of up to 3,000 guests.



Business news

New eye hospital opened

Eye-care network has launched its 176th super-specialty hospital, in Chandigarh. The hi-tech and world-class venture had a merger with the 50-year old Grover Eye Hospital, Chandigarh. The guest of honour, Dr Sushma Dureja, Deputy Commissioner, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, graced the opening ceremony and commented that Vasan Eye-Care offers an expanse of services and their treatment is world class. PA Unni, director, strategy and growth, Vasan Healthcare Group said, this hospital is dedicated to provide a full spectrum of eye-care services under one roof.

Bharti Airtel launches 4G on mobiles

Bharti Airtel, along with Apple Inc., today launched India’s first 4G on mobile. Airtel customers in Bengaluru on Apple iPhone 5s or 5c will be able to experience 4G on their mobile at the current 3G prices for a flying internet browsing experience while on the move. Customers have to just change their existing SIM to a 4G SIM to start enjoying 4G on mobile without any need to migrate from their existing data plan. Airtel mobile customers both prepaid and postpaid can now enjoy 4G on mobile to experience. — TNS



Computer teachers begin 24-hour fast
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 14
Computer teachers and data entry operators today gathered on the ground near the mosque in Sector 20 for their overnight protest. On the second day of their agitation, they started a 24-hour hunger strike.

The teachers' representatives said their main demand was regularisation of their services under the SPIC Society on the Punjab pattern. We are protesting day and night in such cold weather. If anything happens to any member of the Chandigarh Computer Teachers Union, then the Chandigarh Administration will be responsible for this, they added.

The union has announced a "maha" rally on February 18 that will be supported by more than 60 unions of Punjab, Haryana and UT. 



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