C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Pensioners at the receiving end
* Face harassment at camp to remove biometric anomaly
* Block traffic
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Parvinder Kaur (80) has been coming to Bal Bhawan from Dadu Majra for the past five days on foot in the hope of getting her old-age pension, but due to a long waiting list of pensioners whose thumb impression has mismatched at an e-Sampark centre, she has had to return empty-handed, clueless about when she will get her pension.

“I can't afford to spend Rs 100 daily on commuting in an auto-rickshaw for five consecutive days to get my pension, which is my right. I had no option but to come to Bal Bhawan from Dadu Majra on foot,” said Parvinder Kaur.

She and hundreds of other pensioners are on a dharna and have blocked a road in the hope that some social welfare official may turn up at the venue to hear their grievances. They say they are facing a difficulty in getting their pension due to a fault in the system.

Sailing in the same boat is Lalit Kumar, a physically challenged person who records music. He has been coming to Bal Bhawan for the past one week where the Social Welfare Department has set up a camp for those whose thumb/finger impression has mismatched and has been rejected by the machine to claim pension under various schemes.

Class V student Sahil Kumar, who is hearing and speech impaired, has been running from pillar to post for the past four days to get his thumb impression matched to avail of his pension. Hundreds of other pensioners are facing a similar problem in getting their pension. At least 200 cases of a mismatch in the thumb impression are being received every day at special camps.

Camp to be extended, says official

A Social Welfare Department official, who is deployed at the counter, said every day they were receiving around 200 cases of mismatch of the thumb impression. He said each pensioner was given a specific date to get his/her thumb impression matched. He said in light of the large number of cases, it had been decided that the camp would be extended till November 25. Earlier, it was to conclude on November 22. He said the timing of the counter was from 11 am to 5 pm, but pensioners started coming as early as 6 am, which created chaos.

Pensioners want more counters set up

Harassed pensioners on Tuesday staged a protest outside Bal Bhawan and blocked the road for half an hour against the "lackadaisical attitude" of the authorities in resolving their problem permanently. The pensioners demanded that more counters should be set up to match the thumb impression as there were a large number of pensioners who had been affected. Later, the police intervened and dispersed the pensioners from the road.



renovation of house for registrar
Despite shortage of funds, PU plans to shell out Rs 11 lakh
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Panjab University is planning to shell out around Rs 11 lakh on the renovation of the house to be allotted to newly appointed Registrar GS Chadha on the campus. The proposal for seeking approval for this expenditure will be tabled at the Syndicate meeting, scheduled for November 22. According to the norms, he is not entitled to a furnished accommodation on the campus.

The committee, specially constituted for recommending renovation of a house for the Registrar, stated in its report that according to the appointment letter of the Registrar, approved by the Syndicate, unfurnished accommodation was to be provided to him and the matter was being submitted to the Syndicate for approval.

At a meeting of the committee, chaired by PU DUI AK Bhandari, the Executive Engineer's office informed that the work on the renovation of toilets and re-wiring work in the house had already started.

According to the proposal, Rs 6 lakh will have to spent on the flooring, construction of a modular kitchen and barbed wire fencing in the house. To install a security system in the house, the authorities propose to spend Rs 2.26 lakh while for providing furniture, the expenditure will be around Rs 3.22 lakh.

Syndics find it strange that on the one hand, the university is facing a shortage of funds for completing the ongoing projects while on the other hand, a huge amount is proposed to be spent on a single accommodation for the Registrar, who is not entitled to this facility.



Don’t hold meetings in 5-star hotels, UT told
Finance Ministry puts rider on purchase of new vehicles, foreign jaunts
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
The Union Ministry of Finance has banned holding of meetings and conferences at five-star hotels by the UT Administration at the cost of the state exchequer. The ministry has also put a rider on the purchase of new vehicles, foreign jaunts and creation of posts.

The ministry, in its letter to the UT Administration, said, “Holding of exhibitions/fairs/seminars/conferences abroad is strongly discouraged except in the case of exhibitions for trade promotion."

“There will be a ban on holding meetings and conferences at five-star hotels except in the case of bilateral/multilateral official engagements to be held at the level of the Minister in charge or the administrative secretary with foreign governments or international bodies of which India is a member,” the letter stated.

On the purchase of new vehicles, the ministry said, “The purchase of new vehicles to meet the operational requirement of the defence forces, central paramilitary forces and security-related organisations are permitted. The ban on the purchase of other vehicles, including staff cars, will continue except against condemnation." The ministry has also banned the creation of Plan and non-Plan posts.

On foreign travel, the letter states: “Travel expenditure (both domestic travel expenses (DTEs) and foreign travel expenses (FTEs) should be regulated to ensure that each ministry remains within the allocated budget after taking into account the mandatory 10 per cent cut under the DTEs/FTEs (Plan as well as non-Plan)”.

“In all cases of air travel, the lowest air fare tickets available for the entitled class are to be purchased. No companion free ticket on domestic/international travel is to be availed of,” the letter states.

A senior official of the UT Administration said after receiving the directions from the Ministry of Finance, the instructions had been issued to all departments.

Cut in non-Plan expenditure

The ministry has also made a 10 per cent cut in the non-Plan expenditure. The letter states, “For 2014-15, the department shall effect a mandatory 10 per cent cut in the non-Plan expenditure, excluding interest payment, repayment of debt, salaries and pension. No re-appropriation of funds to augment the non-Plan heads of expenditure on which cuts have been imposed shall be allowed during the current fiscal."


A senior official of the UT Administration said after receiving the directions from the Ministry of Finance, the instructions had been issued to all departments.



fake website case
Police file chargesheet against 3
Tribune News Service

Milkha Singh Chandigarh, November 18
The cyber crime cell of the UT police today filed a chargesheet against three persons booked for creating a fake website (milkhasingh.co.in.) in the name of the legendary athlete, Milkha Singh.

The police filed the chargesheet under Sections 66 and 66-A, C and E of the Information and Technology (IT) Act and 201 of the IPC against Atir Khan, Sanjeev Kumar Singh and Azfar, who were employees of a Delhi-based company, Netgains India Internet Private Limited.

The cyber cell has also slapped charges of destroying evidence against the three accused as they had blocked the website when a notice was issued to them. The three have been booked on a complaint of flying Sikh Milkha Singh, lodged by him with the city police on February 14 this year. In his complaint, Milkha Singh had sought an inquiry into the incident and demanded the registration of a criminal case under provision of the IT Act and under Sections 420, 467 and 468 of the IPC against the person who created his fake website. He had also alleged that the suspects had also created his Facebook account and were operating it without his knowledge or consent.

The complainant had also alleged that the suspects, after creating the fake website, had received a number of advertisements on the website.



Woman ends her life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
A 38-year-old woman allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself at a house in Sector 8 today. According to the police, the deceased has been identified as Harjit Kaur, who was staying alone in the house. Kaur is a divorce and hails from Kharar.

The victim’s body was first seen by the house maid following which the police were informed about the incident.

The victim’s brother, Surinder Singh, alleged that his sister’s business partner provoked her to commit suicide. “The house in which she was residing is jointly owned by her and two other people. One of the business partners was insisting that she vacate the flat and even threatened her following which my sister committed suicide,” Surinder alleged.

He said his sister had an altercation with the partner a day before the incident.

Police officials said they were verifying the complaint given by the family members of the deceased. No suicide note was found from the spot.

The body has been kept in the mortuary at Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, and the postmortem will be conducted tomorrow.



Students take law for a ride as cops look the other way
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Flouting traffic norms with impunity, teenagers zooming past city roads on their two-wheelers without wearing helmets is a common sight outside schools with the police making little efforts to check the violation.

Students riding two-wheelers to the school has become a trend in the city. Shockingly, their parents seem to have turned a blind eye to the risk involved in driving at such a tender age without having a driving licence.

In the absence of any check outside the schools by the traffic police, students continue to violate the traffic norms blatantly.

The Chandigarh police have not done enough to check underage driving that can be gauged from the fact that this year till November 17, only 228 challans for underage driving have been issued. The number in 2012 and 2013 was 153 and 159, respectively.

The number of minors involved in road accidents may not be alarming on paper, but in reality there has been a rise in the number of incidents involving teenagers. The recent accident in which a 17-year-old youth lost his life while two others were seriously injured after their motorcycle crashed into a tree is another reminder for the parents and the Chandigarh police.

During a police-public interaction held today, city residents highlighted the issue of minors riding two-wheelers and violating traffic rules. OP Bhardwaj, a resident of Sector 38, said youngsters riding two-wheeler rashly and jumping the red light had become a nuisance.

UT SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill said the parents should ensure that the minors were not allowed to drive vehicles.

Vishal Singh, a resident of Sector 15, said the traffic police should set up nakas near schools to check underage driving by students.

Challans for underage driving

2012 153

2013 159

2014 228


Major fire at Madanpur village in P’kula
No casualty reported; two fire tenders take two hours to battle the flames; nearly 20 jhuggis gutted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 18
A cluster of nearly 20 shanties in Madanpur village near Ashyana Colony was reduced to ashes in a major fire that broke out at about 3.30 pm today. No casualty was reported in the incident.

Though the exact cause of the fire could not be ascertained so far, district administration officials from suspect stove or hearth fire one of the reasons.

Noticing smoke billowing out of a jhuggi, some residents raised an alarm. Attempts made to douse the flames proved futile. As the flames went high in the sky, the fire brigade and the police were informed.

Two fire tenders took almost two hours to extinguish the flames, claimed Joginder Singh, a tehsildar who visited the site.

A majority of jhuggi dwellers are migrants and lost their belongings in the fire.

Over 125 migrants, who were staying in the jhuggis, were provided with the meals for tonight and blankets were distributed among them to protect them from cold.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Dr SS Phulia said the arrangements for food and temporary stay would be made for the victims tomorrow morning.



At meet with police, residents seek better law & order situation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
From containing traffic snarls and improving law and order in the city to ensuring discipline among paying guests (PGs) and curbing violations of traffic rules, the city residents put forth their suggestions during a police-public interaction held at the Law Bhawan in Sector 37 here today.

UT Inspector General RP Upadhyay and other police officials had an interaction with residents, including members of various residents welfare associations.

SS Lamba, a city resident, said the police should ensure that the skilled labour, including electricians, plumbers etc who visit houses, should be issued identity cards after verifying their antecedents.

While SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill encouraged the city residents to ensure that they get the police verification done before employing a servant, BS Gill, a resident of Sector 19, claimed that those who had asked for police verification of servants were still waiting for the police department to get back to them.

Criticising the traffic police, Jagdish Kapoor, adviser, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, said traffic policemen are often found whiling away their time ignoring commuters caught in traffic jams.

Gurpreet Singh Sodhi, a Sector 40 resident, suggested that the police should be people-friendly and regular interactions between the area SHO and residents should be organised.

The residents also gave suggestions regarding construction of slip ways and installing traffic lights at busy roundabouts.

Upadhyay, while replying to the queries of the residents, said the number of cases registered in the city this year has come down by 25 per cent in comparison to the last year. “The police have worked-out around 89 per cent of the cases registered this year and had 60 per cent conviction rate,” the IG added.

RK Malhotra, a resident of Sector 37, said during several police-public interactions held in the past, various problems and suggestions were raised and noted down but not all were resolved.

Not in favour of moral policing: IGP

Reacting to a demand raised by a senior citizen to stop young couples from sitting in the park, the IG said he was not in favour of moral policing nor would he allow his men to do it. However, he added that any illegal activity, including youths taking drugs in parks, would be checked.



Gruesome murders and robberies at gunpoint have become the order of the day
Mohali cops have just not done enough
Chandigarh Tribune takes a look at some of the major cases in which the police are still groping in the dark
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 18
The gruesome murder of six-year-old Mehram Singh Sandhu earlier this month after he was kidnapped by unknown persons is the second heinous incident after the brutal murder of a Kharar-based Congress leader Rajwant Singh Shergill in May to have occured this year.

Mehram’s murder, however, is the fifth major incident of killing that has taken place in the past five years. What is disconcerting is that all incidents continue to be unsolved by the Mohali police. In addition, there have been 11 robberies, most of which have occurred at gunpoint. Again, all these robberies remain unsolved.

A file photo of the car in which the body of Rajwant Singh Shergill was found in Sector 69, Mohali
A file photo of the car in which the body of Rajwant Singh Shergill was found in Sector 69, Mohali.

A file photo of Kharar-based Congress leader Rajwant Singh Shergill
A file photo of Kharar-based Congress leader Rajwant Singh Shergill.

Cong leader Rajwant Singh Shergill case

Body recovered: On May 21, 2014

Case registered: May 21 against unidentified persons at Phase VIII police station.

Present status: Unsolved.

The decomposed body of Kharar-based Congress leader Rajwant Singh Shergill, with hands tied, was recovered from his Ertiga car, which was found parked in a residential locality at Sector 69 on May 21 this year. The police had recovered three mobile phones, an album carrying photographs of Shergill with “his alleged girlfriend”, who also resided in the same locality in Sector 69 and a hand bag from the car. The Mohali police that had claimed then to have solved the murder mystery within 24 hours are yet to get any clue in the case even after six months of the incident.

Realtor Suresh Kumar murder case

Body recovered: On November 26, 2010.

Case registered: On November 26 at Mullanpur police station.

Present status: Unsolved. The police will take the suspected girl for narco test to Hyderabad in January next year.

A Panchkula-based realtor, Suresh Kumar (26), his charred body, tied with a chain, was found locked in his white Maruti Swift car in the woods alongside the Chandigarh-Siswan road on November 26, 2010. The car was set on fire by the accused. Almost three-and-a-half-year have passed, the police have not been able to solve Suresh Kumar’s death mystery.

Mehram Singh's house in Phase IX, Mohali
Mehram Singh's house in Phase IX, Mohali.

A file photo of Mehram’s mother Harinder Kaur
A file photo of Mehram’s mother Harinder Kaur

Mehram Singh Sandhu’s murder

Kidnapped: October 28, 2014.

Case registered: On October 29, a case was registered against the victim’s father Varinderpal Singh, who lives in Australia, maternal grandfather Nirmal Singh, aunt Parminder Kaur and uncle Prabhjeet Singh at the Phase VIII police station.

Victim Mehram Singh SandhuBody recovered: November 7.

Present status: Unsolved

On November 8, residents of Mohali woke up to the shocking news that the body of Mehram Singh Sandhu, a resident of Phase IX and a class I student of Infant Jesus School in Phase XI, had been found at a garbage dumping yard by a safai karamchari in Sector 69, Mohali.

The young lad had been kidnapped from a park situated in front of his house 11 days earlier on October 28.

Since then the police have questioned over 300 persons, including the victim’s mother, grandparents, acquaintances and relatives of both maternal and paternal families.

The police have even carried out intensive searches in the entire area. Hundreds of mobile calls have been scrutinised but yet the Mohali police have failed to deliver.

A file photo of Fiza (Anuradha Bali)
A file photo of Fiza (Anuradha Bali).

Fiza’s mysterious death case

Body recovered: August 6, 2012.

Case registered: After recovering the body, the police had initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC.

Present status: Case closed.

The Mohali police have closed the Fiza death case four months ago, with the report stating that she had a sudden natural death due to overdose of some medicine and liquor or by consuming some poisonous substance, but mystery still shrouds over her untimely death.

Anuradha Bali, aka Fiza’s (estranged wife of Haryana former Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan aka Chand Mohammad) highly decomposed body was found from a bedroom in her flat at Sector 48 on August 6, 2012.

After investigations for several months in the high-profile case, the Mohali police could not ascertain whether it was a well-executed murder or suicide or drug reaction in a span of two years. Fiza’s postmortem reports had revealed that rat poison was found in her stomach. Finally, the case was closed in July this year.

Airtel Dy GM Sameer Watts’ murder

Murder: On March 12, 2009.

Case registered: On March 12, 2009 at Phase 8 Police Station.

Present status: Unsolved.

The victim, Sameer Watts, who was working as the DGM, Airtel, was shot dead at a point-blank range on March 12, 2009, near Cosmo Hospital, Phase VIII, Mohali. Watts was called at the spot by some unidentified persons for a meeting . Sameer had gone along with his brother-in-law in two different vehicles. He was around 100-metre behind Watts’ car when the assailant was said to have shot the victim from a point-balnk range. He said when he drove past him, he found Sameer with a bullet wound on his head. Sameer was taken to Fortis hospital, where he died after eight days. Over five years have passed and the police are yet to crack the case.

Robberies this year that are yet to be worked out

January 13: Three motorcycle-borne masked robbers had tried to rob an employee of Bhushan Enterprises outside a bank at Phase VII.

January 15: Three unidentified looters had taken away a new Innova car (Pb65N-0007), a revolver, two mobile phones and cash after injuring its owner, Davinder Singh from Salamatpur, with a gunshot on the Kharar-Landran road.

February 4: Three motorcycle-borne robbers snatched a bag, containing ~1.5 lakh, from a local jeweller, Subhash Chander, at Adarsh Nagar, Naya Gaon, after injuring him with gunshots.

February 5: Six armed robbers had looted cash and jewellery, worth over ~40 lakh from a coloniser, Sohan Lal Arora, after making all family members hostage at gunpoint at their residence in Phase 3B1.

February 14: Four robbers had opened fire to loot a liquor vend at Sohana village.

April 17: Two motorcycle-borne robbers had opened fire at Goldy, an owner of Kiran Jewellers and looted cash and jewellery.

May 5: Three masked robbers had looted ~2.5 lakh from the post office of Dera Bassi at gunpoint in broad daylight and fled away.

June 23: Two youngsters had abducted a young girl along with her Innova car at gunpoint from Zirakpur during night hours. The girl was released later while the robbers took away the car.

July 19: Three robbers had looted cash van, a Bolero Jeep, belonging to local liquor syndicate and decamped with ~11 lakh and left the van about 500 metre away from the place where the incident took place at Sector 70. In a second incident on the same day, at Phase III B 1, two robbers, armed with a pistol had held a family of a local gurdwara ‘granthi’ (priest) hostage at gunpoint and took away cash worth ~35,000 and gold jewellery.

August 19: Three masked miscreants looted about 410 grams gold jewellery, worth around ~11 lakh, and cash worth ~10,000 at gunpoint from a house at Phase VI, here in broad daylight from two women.

October 14: Six unidentified dacoits, armed with countrymade revolver and paper cutters, had barged into a house in Phase X at around 9 pm and robbed a businessman’s family jewellery.

Staff shortage, reason behind poor policing

Out of the total strength of 1,850 police force in the district, about 35 per cent officials have been deputed to probe cases. Against the sanctioned strength of around 1,950 posts of various ranks from that of Inspector to constable, the given strength in the district is about 1,850. About 375 officials are out of the district either on deputation, VIP duties or on temporary attachments. Apart from that, around 170 officials have been deputed for traffic management, 250 officials are in the Police Lines, Suvidha Centres, about 115 in the police control room and around 150 officials on administrative and other office jobs at police stations.

In Mohali, police-public ratio is 1: 677

As per the district’s population of more than 10 lakh persons, one policeman here is responsible for the safety of 677 persons. Total police stations: The entire district has 13 police stations and separate CIA and EOW wings.

Cops working for 15 to 18 hours a day

The average working hours here are said to be between 15 and 18 hours per day.

Sector 69 popular with assailants

Sector 69 seemed to have become popular with assailants. The police investigations revealed that Shergill was murdered elsewhere but his body was dumped in Sector 69. Similarly, after kidnapping Mehram from Phase IX, the accused had buried his body in the same sector.

‘Possibilty of kin being involved can’t be ruled out’

"In all the cases, the motive behind the murder has not been ascertained so far. We cannot rule out involvement of some close family members in all the cases that make them very sensitive. The murders in question are yet to be worked out, as investigations are still on in these cases. Fiza case has been closed as she had died due to drug overdose."

— Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti, SSP, Mohali





Clash at Satlok Ashram
Tricity on high alert
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Panchkula/Zirakpur, November 18
The Administration has put the district police on a high alert following clashes between followers of Satlok Ashram and security forces at Barwala in Hisar today. The police authorities of Chandigarh and Haryana have deployed additional police forces for the purpose.

Though the Panchkula police had been manning nakas at various entry and exit points of the city since the time trouble started simmering, yet security was today tightened in the city and countryside soon after the clashes between the police forces and followers of self-styled godman Rampal at Satlok Ashram, this afternoon.

Talking to The Tribune, Rahul Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Panchkula police, claimed that the police had been keeping a close watch on every suspect in the district, especially on those who are linked with different sects.

The police forces have been asked to be ready in case of any emergency. Senior police personnel have also been put on alert and have been asked to monitor each and every activity of suspects.

Similarly, the Chandigarh police have also sounded an alert and strengthened the security at the city entry points and railway station following trouble at the Ashram in Hisar.

The police forces were deployed at the railway station, Zirakpur barrier, Housing Board traffic light point in Mani Majra and the Chandigarh-Panchkula road barrier. Sources in the police informed that the reserve and paramilitary forces were on high alert.

“It is suspected that the godman’s followers will start reaching Chandigarh following which the security has been tightened” said a police official.

Over 3,000 cops have already been prepared to control the crowd thronging in the city. Total six companies of paramilitary forces and 12 companies from Punjab, including two women companies are already camping in the city.

The cops of Chandigarh police have been given special training session on anti-riots.

The Dera Bassi police have deployed additional force at a naka on the Zirakpur-Chandigarh road. Apart from the entry point at Jharmari barrier in Lalru, police personnel were also deployed at Mubraikpur, Dappar and Lalru railway stations to prevent entry of Rampal’s followers.



Property Disputes
NRIs protest in front of DC’s office
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 18
Several non-resident Indians (NRIs) took to the streets here today in protest against grabbing of their properties and inaction by the Punjab Police in the cases. Led by Aam Aadmi Party local leader HS Shergill, six NRIs, including Iqbal Singh Ramoowalia, younger brother of former Union Minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, sat on a dharna in front of the office of Mohali Deputy Commissioner this afternoon.

Other NRIs included Brigadier (retd) Nawab Singh Heer, Nirmal Singh, Pardeep Kumar Sharma and Joginder Kaur Sandhu.

All the NRIs in question have become victims of influential politicians/persons, who have allegedly grabbed their properties at different places in Punjab.

“The police have been doing nothing for us. Thus, we are forced to sit on roads to make our voice heard,” said Joginder Sandhu.

Sandhu, an NRI from France, alleged that on one hand the Punjab Government has been making tall claims about safety of the properties of NRIs’ in Punjab and special privileges for them, on the other some politicians and other influential persons have been grabbing their properties with impunity and police does nothing. “When I returned to India, I found that both my houses in Ludhiana were grabbed by some persons. Instead of registering my complaint, the Punjab police booked me in a false case,” Sandhu alleged.

Similarly, Iqbal Ramoowalia alleged that his property had been grabbed by his influential family members and the police was not helping him in getting it back.

AAP leader Shergill said the party gave 15 days ultimatum to the police to act otherwise they would start hunger strike in front of the DC office.



Petrol pump owners told to install CCTVs

Panchkula, November 18
The district police have directed owners of all petrol pumps across the district to install CCTVs in business establishments. The step has been taken to safeguard the life and property of common man and to maintain the law and order.

Exercising his powers, Rahul Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), has enforced Section 144 of the CrPc till January 16, 2015, in the district.

The DCP has also directed the petrol pump owners to install hi-tech cameras and store recording of at least 15 days. The CCTVs must be round-the-clock and have a power back up of at least two hours.

The owners have also been directed to deploy security guards at filling stations. In case, they spot any suspect around their establishments, information must be passed to the nearest police station or at the police control room phone no. 100 or 0172-2582100. — TNS



Passport adalats to be held from Nov 20
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
The Regional Passport Office (RPO), Sector 34, Chandigarh, will hold Passport Adalats on its premises, on all working days from November 20 to December 2. The applicants who have submitted their applications on or before December 31, 2013, but have not been issued passport are required to attend a passport adalat from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm.

All the districts under the RPO, including SAS Nagar (Mohali), Chandigarh, Panchkula, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar, Bathinda, Sangrur, Barnala, Patiala, Mansa, Ludhiana, Khanna, Jagraon, Moga, Ambala, Jind, Karnal, Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Panipat, Bhiwani, Yamunanagar, Hisar, Fatehabad, and Sirsa, will be covered during these adalats.

Rakesh Agrawal, regional passport officer, Chandigarh, said in 2013, the Chandigarh passport office received around 3.3 lakh applications. Around 2,000 applications are still pending because of various objections in the files and because of non-submission of required documents. A special drive is being conducted to clear these files. The applicants are being given the last opportunity to come to the passport office with original documents and the file number receipt for further processing of their applications.

Individual letters have been sent to all such applicants. However, if any applicant has not received the letter and his/her application is pending in the RPO, Chandigarh, since 2013, the applicant can attend the passport adalat.

The information is also being put on the website www.passportindia.gov.in.

Agrawal said similar passport adalats would also be organised in the coming weeks for files submitted in 2014.



Pharma agent’s entry into PGI to be probed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
A day after a PGIMER doctor identified and ousted a pharma agent allegedly posing as a medical staff and dealing with patients inside restricted areas, the authorities said today that the matter would be probed to find out how the agent had been moving around freely in patient areas.

As per a complaint filed by one of the doctors at the Advanced Trauma Centre of the PGI, the agent had been visiting the hospital for draining blood from open wounds of accident victims using a special device.

The incident has posed a big question mark on the security checks and discipline at the institute as the pharma agent was never, in the past three to four years, identified or denied entry.



Fabric stalls draw huge crowd at crafts mela
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
With the increasing popularity of the Chandigarh Crafts Mela, the footfalls have increased at Kalagram. The stalls set up here have varied artefacts and handicrafts. But the major attraction of the crafts mela is the fabrics of Kutch in Gujarat, Banaras and Lucknow in UP, Jaipur in Rajasthan, Kashmir, Punjab and Haryana.

The diversity in culture and traditions across the country have brought the vibrancy and myriad colours of fabrics and textiles attracting all types of visitors, mostly women and youngsters.

The Rajasthan stall has fascinating coloured fabrics that catch the eye of the visitors. In these textile and fabric, the bright and cheerful greens, blues, reds, pinks and the gold used for overprinting (khan work) are available in the form of cushions, wall hangings, table cloth, dupattas, kurtas and bag.

Assam’s handloom industry is basically silk-oriented. The Assam stall has a wide range of Silk.

The visitors thronged the mela for shopping. They also enjoyed colourful cultural performances and thronged the food court. Sugandha Mishra and Anadi Mishra (Mumbai) performed today.



250 patients examined at eye camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
A free eye check-up camp was organised by Grewal Eye Institute (GEI) near the Punjab Congress Bhawan in Sector 15 here today. A team of doctors from the institute examined around 250 patients on the occasion.

“At Grewal Eye Institute, we always look for every opportunity, big and small, to do our humble best to give back to society by helping the needy,” said Dr SPS Grewal, founder and MD of Grewal Eye Institute.



Merger of JBTs, TGTs sought
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
As many as 1,170 JBTs and TGTs working under the SSA in government schools of Chandigarh have started a campaign at the Masjid Ground in Sector 20 here. The teachers signed a “designed and coloured multiple petition” addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, HRD Minister Smriti Irani, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, MP Kirron Kher and state BJP president Sanjay Tandon.

In the petition, the teachers have requested the leaders to intervene in the long-pending demand of merging of JBTs and TGTs working under the SSA in Chandigarh in the Education Department. Arvind Rana, president of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Teachers Welfare Association, said the teachers had expressed their pain and suffering through petition and signature.



Contests mark Children’s Day celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
The Municipal Corporation organised an event to mark Children’s Day at Nehru Park, Sector 22, here today. About 1,000 children along with their parents from different parts of the city participated in this colourful event.

During the Children’s Day celebrations, various competitions such as drawing, clay modelling, quiz, declamation and fancy dress were organised by the Municipal Corporation.

Gurbax Rawat, chairperson, Arts, Culture & Sports Committee, and Pardeep Chhabra, area councillor, threw open the event at 11 am along with the participating children.

During the closing ceremony, the chief guest, city Mayor Harphool Chander Kalyan, distributed prizes among the winners of various events.



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