C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Man shoots at paralytic daughter, kills himself
Was in depression over other daughter’s inter-caste marriage
Mandeep Puri
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, March 29
In a shocking incident, a 50-year-old businessman allegedly shot himself to death after shooting his coma ridden daughter at his Sector 23 residence here this morning.

His 24-year-old daughter Poonam is struggling for life at the PGI. Karanjit Singh, owner of Kasuali Broiler, a popular chicken shop in Sector 22, shot Poonam on the forehead in her room at about 11 am. He then shot himself on his temple and reportedly died on the spot. Poonam has been bedridden for the past over three years after she was paralysed following an accident.

Police sources say Karanjit was in a depression since the past fortnight when his elder daughter Aruna got married against his wishes. His son Lakhwinder Singh told the police that his father was stung with the humiliation he had faced due to his daughter’s inter-caste marriage. He was further hurt when Aruna lodged a complaint against him to the police alleging that she feared for her life from her father. He was feeling harassed by the police proceedings that were being egged on by Aruna’s husband Gurmail Singh, said Lakhwinder.

Karanjit had not left any suicide note behind him. The police has recovered a .32 bore revolver and a gun from the house. The family had a licensed weapon, but it is yet to be confirmed if the same was used in the crime. The police team and the CFSL team that came to investigate also failed to recover the revolver, lending a shadow of doubt to the suicide story.

Karanjit’s wife, son and daughter-in-law were at home at the time of the incident. Lakhwinder ran to the room after hearing gunshots. Both Karanjit and Poonam were lying in an unconscious state with blood all over the room. Shocked at the sight, he raised an alarm and rushed to get a doctor. The doctor examined the victims and referred them to the PGI. The doctors at the PGI declared Karanjit brought dead while Poonam’s condition was stated to be serious as the bullet is lodged in her head.

According to neighbours, Karanjit was a man of pride, but felt let down after his daughter got married to the person of her choice. The marriage is said to have taken place in police protection.

Lakhwinder alleged that Aruna’s husband used to provoke his sister to lodge a complaint against his father. “My sister and her husband are the reason behind the suicide. Aruna’s husband Gurmail Singh used to get my father called to the police station,” he said.

ASP (central) Madhur Verma said a case of causing disappearance of evidence of offence or giving false information (201) and attempt to murder (307) of the Indian Penal Code had been registered on a statement given by Lakhwinder.



‘Earth Hour’ observed by accident
Power supply briefly snapped to large parts of city
Tribune News Service

A candlelight vigil at Sukhna Lake to mark the ‘Earth Hour’ in Chandigarh
A candlelight vigil at Sukhna Lake to mark the ‘Earth Hour’ in Chandigarh on Saturday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, March 29
“Earth Hour” was observed here today in Sector 17 by sheer accident. Barring one NGO, no one knew what the Earth Hour was all about till the lights actually went off even if for less than 15 minutes.

Cameramen went into a tizzy to capture the city’s contribution to the Earth Hour only to be told that the Sector 52 substation had snapped power supply to a large part of the city following a technical snag.

But for the sole candle vigil organised by the Chandigarh Adventure Treks and Sports (Cats) to contribute to the international effort toward a more environment-friendly Earth, city beautiful residents virtually ignored the international event.

The Earth Hour is being marked across the world in various cities where electricity is voluntarily put off for over for an hour to raise awareness about climate change. At other places across the world, the Earth Hour is being observed in a big way. Sydney’s iconic opera house and harbour bridge remained unlit for an hour. Sidney was one of the first cities to turn off the lights for Earth Hour, which is a global campaign.

In India Earth Hour was to be observed from 8pm to 9pm. However, in Chandigarh there was no major response to the call. None of those roaming about in the Sector 17 Plaza at 8pm knew about the event. However, when the lights did go off, some of the well-informed presumed it was to mark the event.

The prominent office buildings including the secretariats and Capital Complex, the Punjab and Haryana High Court continued to remain lit with the skeletal lighting that is left on after office hours. The electricity department of the city too had no instructions regarding putting off lights across the city.

Members of Cats started a vigil by lighting candles and distributing leaflets, giving practical tips about conserving electricity at the Sukhna Lake.



Home secy to be repatriated
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Chandigarh administration has finally decided to repatriate the present home secretary, Krishna Mohan, a Haryana-cadre IAS officer, to his parent state on March 31.

The extended term of the present incumbent will end on March 31. Highly placed sources confirmed that the UT Administrator had given his nod to the repatriation of Krishan Mohan and the additional charge of the home secretary was likely to be given to a Punjab cadre IAS officer who was comparatively junior to other IAS officer at present on deputation with the Chandigarh administration.

Since the name of RK Khullar, a 1988 batch Haryana-cadre IAS officer, has been cleared by the Home Department, Department of Personnel and Cabinet Secretaries, and is likely to be placed before the Prime Minister for approval by next week, some official had to be given the additional charge of the home secretary till the new incumbent joined.

Sources said there were at least two officials in the Chandigarh administration, finance secretary Sanjay Kumar and deputy commissioner RK Rao, who by virtue of being in the super time scale, could be given the charge of the home secretary.

In case the administration did not find any suitable candidate, the adviser could temporarily hold the charge.

Giving the charge to a junior officer could mean that a senior official would have to report to a junior officer in one or the other capacity.

Meanwhile, setting to rest the issue of “protocol problems” in the wake of Khullar joining as home secretary, sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs said there had been chances when the home secretary was junior to the finance secretary.

RN Prashar, a 1975 batch Haryana officer, was posted as home secretary when a 1973 batch Punjab IAS officer, Tejinder Kaur, was the finance secretary. A similar situation existed when NK Jain was the home secretary and Rakesh Singh was the finance secretary.

A senior UT official said, “It does not matter who is junior and who is senior. Both the officials are secretaries and report to the adviser. There is no clash”.



Road maintenance leaves commuters a harried lot 
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Even as there is no technical obstruction in re-carpeting roads during the night, the UT engineering wing continues to re-carpet roads, paint road markings and carry out other maintenance works during the day, much to the chagrin of commuters.

Congestions, traffic jams and minor accidents have become a routine affair due to this nonchalance of the authorities. Even councillors raised the issue during the general house meeting of the Municipal Corporation, where the administration officials admitted that there were no technical snarls in carrying out works during the night.

Bottlenecks have become common on the road dividing Sector 34 and 25 for over a week now, with authorities blocking a part of the road and allowing two-way traffic on the other side. Similarly, residents and shopkeepers in Sector 27 are facing problems due to non-completion of the work, said councillor Davinder Singh Babla.

Re-carpeting work is also being carried out during the day in sectors 38, 44, 46 and 47 causing a lot of inconvenience to the people here.

Chetna Sethi of Phase III, Mohali, said, “All over the world roads are maintained during night. Despite the fact that a MC delegation went on a study tour to Singapore, nothing has been done to incorporate the same in India. It seems that authorities are only interested in visiting foreign places, but are reluctant to introduce new ideas that benefit the public.”

Residents also rue the fact that work is not even stopped during office hours. In addition, the lives of labourers are also put to risk. Worse, civic authorities seem to have no co-ordination with the traffic police, which adds to the chaos. No prior information about road closures are given by the department concerned.

Sanjay Arora, executive engineer road division, admitted that the department had no problem in carrying out the work during night. He, however, maintained that availability of labour during the night was one of the handicaps. Arora added that they had to take permission from higher authorities and the traffic police to carry out work at night.

Interestingly, he held that traffic was not a major issue as Chandigarh is a planned city and has wider roads which can accommodate heavy flow of traffic.



A day before poll, blame game rife
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 29
The town wore a quite look as aggressive campaigning for the Panchkula MC poll came to an end here yesterday. Tomorrow around 1,16,500 voters will decide the fate of 185 candidates contesting from 31 wards.

The campaigning, which had reached a frenzy with the participation of prominent leaders including the state Chief Minister, ministers as well as former ministers from all three parities including the Congress, BJP and INLD since last week turned into door-to-door campaigning and distribution of voters slips.

Meanwhile, political parties have started blaming each other for trying to get fake votes. While the INLD candidate Seema Chaudhary apprehended that the ruling party could create problems in her ward No. 24, BJP candidate V.K. Sood from ward No 4, claiming that his party would get two-third majority, alleged that Congress leaders had hired miscreants to disturb the election process.

The administration has decided that all commercial establishments except essential services would remain closed so that people employed there could cast their votes. Restriction of using just two vehicles by candidates will have a direct impact on voter turnout in the MC poll tomorrow. A large number of senior citizens will not be able to reach the polling booths on foot to exercise their franchise.

Meanwhile, former municipal committee chief Manvir Kaur Gill explained her position before Panchkula SDM Virender Dahiya over the issue of violation of the model code of conduct. Independent candidate Lily Bawa from ward No. 20 had lodged a complaint that her rival Manvir addressed a public meeting in the ward even after campaigning had come to an end. The SDM said the statements of the complainant as well as the accused had been recorded. Similalry, another Congress candidate Om Parkash, accused of verifying application forms meant for plots to poor, also appeared before the SDM.



UT aims to promote ‘responsible tourism’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Chandigarh tourism department, in association with EonEcon Foundation would popularise the concept of ‘responsible tourism’ in the region. To launch the concept, a conference was organised at the UT guest house here today. Speakers from the hotel industry were also called in to express their views.

Director Chandigarh tourism Vivek Atray said the purpose of the concept was to create consciousness about social, economic and environment responsibility of the tourism industry. Another purpose was to create a working group of different stakeholders to formulate a detailed policy for Chandigarh keeping the future in mind.

The conference kicked-off with a presentation on environmental state of the world by Harveen Kaur, project manager EonEcon Foundation. Atray said tourism sector has a huge potential. Prof Anil Laul, an architect at Anangpur Building Centre, who had come all the way from Delhi to participate in the conference, gave his inputs on the ‘Sustainability and Architecture’.

Manmohan Singh, president of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Chandigarh, gave a presentation on ‘Importance of collaboration of tourism industry to take ahead responsible tourism.’



Art is a major social force: Khanna
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, March 29
“In the best of the times and the worst, people have always turned to the arts, a dynamic social force which is capable of bonding, forging links to express emotions with an urge to know what is beyond comprehension. Art, however, is a personal creation in which the artist creates new symbols with a view to express a particular thought or perceived idea”, opined the world acclaimed painting maestro Padamashri Krishan Khanna here today.

Recipient of the prestigious International Rockefeller Fellowship Award in 1962, he is a contemporary and close associate of the likes of M.F. Hussain, Tayyab Hussain, Satish Gujral, S.L. Prashar, P.N. Mago and others.

In city on the invitation of SarNir Foundation New Delhi and Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademy to deliver the inaugural S.L. Prashar Memorial Lecture on the ‘Prevailing Situation in art’ at the Government Museum and Art Gallery he shared his views on the contemporary art scene.

“Artist is an omniscient person blessed with a vision, talent and adroit aesthetic skill to translate ones visualisation in to a piece of art. Art, as such, is a humble contribution of any individual soul to the society but if presented under the shadows of ego and pride it looses its sanctity”, he cautioned.

Addressing the elite city artists, art students and teachers he complimented the zeal and commitment of those artists who struggled hard to revive the Indian painting and sculpture art in the pre-independence era when the environment was not congenial for this challenge. He lamented that during the post independence Indian fine arts had suffered many tensions and tribulations. The commercial considerations necessitated by the spurt of art galleries, marketing middlemen emerged reducing the creative artist with much less monetary gain for his creativity. The media, especially electronic, which are multiplying the visuals of the creative artist added more woes. With the generation of more prints the artist has to content with his meager share only.

While the major profits are shared by art promoters, galleries and the marketing personnel. Many a times the art works are subjected to exploitation by political parties which invariably reflects on the creative potential of the artist and affecting his professional career.

Earlier, Academy secretary Ravinder Sharma welcomed Aditya Prakash, chairman Lalit Kala Academy, principal Prem Singh and the SarNir Foundation, president who honored the chief guest Krishan Khanna.



BSF-Rangers talks conclude
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The 14-member delegation of Pakistan Rangers left for their country today on the conclusion of the three-day biannual meeting with the Border Security Force (BSF). The delegation had arrived here on March 26.

The talks were led by BSF’s additional director- general (West), G.S. Gill and Maj-Gen Muhammad Haroon Aslam of the Rangers. Misuse of cellular phones and electronic communication equipment for illegal activities along the Indo-Pak border, narcotic smuggling and handling of inadvertent border crossings at the local level were among the issues discussed.



Liqour vends in vicinity make hay
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 29
Liquor vends in the vicinity of Panchkula - falling in Punjab and Chandigarh - made hay as the town observed dry day today ahead of the municipal election to be held tomorrow. Long queues of vehicles could be seen outside the vends situated along the Zirakpur barrier and near Rajiv Colony and created traffic hurdles.

In fact, opening of vends in the vicinity of the town diluted the purpose of declaring dry day at Panchkula, said Panchkula distrct excise and taxation commissioner J.S. Chahal.

The vends were opened against norms as no vend in the vicinity of the place where elections were to be held were supposed to be opened, he said.



Yearly tax for vehicles with capacity of 9 or more
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 29
All vehicles having a seating capacity of nine or more persons will now have to pay taxes on a yearly basis and not in lumpsum as was being done earlier.

DTO Balbir Singh stated this in a press note here. He said new rates in connection with motor vehicle taxes had been implemented according to the latest notification of the government. Tax fixed in the case of a 10-seater vehicle was Rs 9,000. He said on the other hand, taxes in the case of vehicles like JCBs, ambulances, loaders etc was now to be paid in lumpsum contrary to the earlier practice of paying it yearly. The tax adjustments in both the cases were to be done by March 31 failing which action will be taken against violators.

Owners of vehicles who had not deposited taxes earlier were now asked to deposit these by April 27 without any fines in the government treasury under another scheme.



Tension brews as ‘Shivling’ removed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Tension prevailed in Sector 29 today when the UT enforcement wing removed a ‘Shivling’ and a statue installed at a site here. However, SDM (east) reached the spot and placated the people by offering to install the statues in a nearby temple.

Sources in the police said things were normal after around two hours when the statues were placed in the temple.

The statutes were installed in the area about a month ago.



Notice issued to Tihar Jail superintendant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Considering the application moved by an undertrial Sanjeev Nayyar today, judicial magistrate first class Atul Marya issued a notice to the superintendent of Tihar Jail, New Delhi, and asked him to explain as to why the accused was handcuffed in violation of law.

The counsel for the accused had moved an application before the court stating that Tihar jail authorities had not obtained any order from the court to handcuff Sanjeev while producing him in court. It was also in violation of fundamental rights of the accused.

The application also stated that according to directions issued by the Supreme Court persons under custody should not be handcuffed in the court. Sanjeev Nayyar, a resident of Yamunanagar, was arrested by the UT police on October 19, 2007 for fleecing money from a number of people. 



Have mercy on cricket lovers

WHILE Sehwag and Dravid are providing cricket lovers with the most cherished entertainment at Chennai. Sharad Pawar and Jagmohan Dalmia have also decided not to sit back.

They are at each other's throat with all sorts of allegations regarding misappropriation of cricket board funds. While they are at it, I would request them to please spare some thought for the unfortunate viewers also, majority of who are being deprived of watching live telecast because of inadequate arrangements. With BCCI' coffers chocking full with stinking money, I fail to understand why they cannot allot enough telecast rights to some more to cover all the viewers whether they are with Pehla or Tata, Sky or other Dish operators?

D.B. Singh, Dubai

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NRIs to pay more at Panjab University
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Panjab University senate at its meeting held today decided not to hike tuition fees for students this year but there will be a fee increase of 10 per cent for the NRI seats. All members welcomed the decision in the light of the fact that as a practice the university was hiking 10 per cent fee every year.

The members of the senate also approved the recommendations of the committee to decide the modalities for giving 25 per cent weightage to the marks obtained in 10+2 examination and 75 percent weightage to the CET score for admission to various courses including the honours school, except courses such as BDS, MBBS and BA LL B (hons) and others.

It was also decided to abolish internal assessment for undergraduate classes including BA (II), BA (III) and B Com (II), B Com (III) in the department of correspondence studies.

Earlier during the zero hour, all the members of the senate in unison supported the cause for central status to the university. On the pattern of the university, it was also decided to give the affiliated colleges a go to introduce MCA.

Also, semester system will be introduced in MA (history) in the academic session 2007-08. The members also approved to adopt old pattern of internal assessment in the department of laws. The senators also decided to adopt the recommendations of the committee to put various departments in the university under school system. It was decided that various department will be clubbed under schools on an experimental basis for a year. A sum of Rs 10 lakh was also approved by the fellows for the air conditioning and improvement of infrastructure of the English Auditorium, Mathematics Auditorium, and University Auditorium out of the youth welfare fund account for the year 2008-09.

However, the agenda item pertaining to a letter from the office of joint director, UGC, New Delhi as regards the reservation of OBCs to the teaching posts in the state universities and its affiliated colleges rocked the house when some members objected to the letter being adopted in principle by the chair. The members clarified that they had nothing against the reservation, but PU had a unique status. It was neither a state university nor a central university. Prabhjit Singh even got his dissent noted in this regard.

However, on the suggestion of fellow Ashok Goyal it was later decided that a letter would be sent to the UGC asking for guidelines to be followed for the reservation in the case of Panjab University.

Earlier, before the senate proceedings started, Prof Mool Chand Sharma, vice-chairman of the UGC addressed the senate on ‘Higher Education-Challenges and future Directions’. In his hour-long address diamond jubilee address to the senate, Prof Sharma asserted that the Panjab University has a long tradition of pursuing excellence in teaching and research. He suggested various measures through which the university could maintain its excellence and move further ahead academically.



New textbooks for Classes I to X
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The Chandigarh education department has prescribed some new textbooks for Classes 1 to X, in government schools of Chandigarh, from the new session 2008-09. According to S.K. Setia DPI (S) the list of text books prescribed for different classes have been sent to all the heads of the schools.

According to the list, English subject Merigold-1 (NCERT) book for non-model schools have been prescribed in Hindi and Punjabi medium for Classes I to V and the same book has been prescribed for model schools from Class III to V. For Classes VII and VIII mathematics, for non-model schools, Ganit (NCERT book), has been approved.

For Class VIII non-model school for social studies, two books of NCERT - Hamara Atit-III and Samajik Aur Rajniti Jeevan-III- has been finalised. However, the supplement list of remaining text and graphic books would be issued shortly and all the booksellers have been directed to offer 5 per cent discount on the printed price of the books.



IIT Roorkee bags first prize in TECHNIQUE-08
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
The IIT Roorkee bagged the first prize carrying a cash prize of Rs 40,000 while BITS-Pilani bagged the runners-up prize of Rs 25,000 on the second day of PEC’s annual tech fest, TECHNIQUE-08, held on Punjab Engineering College premises, here today.

The IIT-Delhi was declared third and got a cash prize of Rs 10,000. Cash prizes and trophies were given away by Dr K.K. Garg, DSW and Dr Neena Gupta, chief coordinator, technical societies.

There was an enthusiastic participation by the students coming from different parts of the country. 



PU Notes
Research methodology in social sciences discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
A one-day seminar on research methodology in social sciences was conducted by the department of geography, PU, today as part of the diamond jubilee celebrations of the university. Prof S.K. Kulkarni, DUI, PU, delivered the inaugural address. He stressed the need to adopt best practices in research by developing standard operating procedures.

Prof S.L. Sharma, former dean, faculty of arts, PU, while delivering the keynote address, emphasised rethinking current methodological paradigms through an integrative view of reality. He advocated a shift to hermeneutics in research and the adoption of an interdisciplinary approach. Prof G.S. Gosal dwelled on the influence of changing philosophies on research methodology in the context of dichotomy between theoretical and empirical approaches in research.

The valedictory address was delivered by Prof R.C. Chandna, former chairperson, department of geography, PU, who highlighted the role of new technology in social science research. Prof B.S. Ghuman, dean, faculty of arts, PU, chaired this session and gave away the certificates to the participants. He stated that research methods have to be sharpened in light of multi-dimensional, complex and changing social reality.

Earlier, Professor Surya Kant, chairperson, department of geography, welcomed the dignitaries and participants to the seminar.



Mohali court complex cries for space
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 29
With the opening of the court of additional district and sessions judge here, the court complex housed in a community centre in Phase 3B1 is bound to prove inadequate. The complex already has acute shortage of space and with the opening of ADSJ court; the problem is likely to increase.

Even the judges and lawyers are any comfortable here. One of the judges had to be shifted into a room on the first floor of the building to accommodate the ADSJ. Their retiring rooms are used to store files in the absence of any record room. Lawyers have no library and the room being used as the bar room had to be vacated to accommodate the judge who was shifted to the first floor.

While the lawyers have set up their sheds outside the building next to the boundary wall, there is no place for litigants to sit, who continue to wait in the open without a roof on their heads. Some of them find chairs in the lawyers’ sheds, but are more often than not asked to get up when the lawyer has a client visiting. There is only a small canteen that began services recently and gives little option to those using the complex insofar as food and refreshments are concerned.

The ADSJ is expected to be conferred with the powers of a special judge and will be hearing high profile cases which were earlier being heard in Ropar. These include the disproportionate assets case against the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his family. Cases against ministers and former minister, including Sucha Singh Langah, Lal Singh, Tarsem Singh Kohar and Vidhan Sabha speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon, will also be heard here. The other vigilance bureau cases registered in Mohali, including the one against former DGP S.S. Virk, will also be heard here.

Stiff security arrangements inside and outside the court will precede their arrival in the court and residents of the area can expect more traffic diversions in the coming months.

For the police also, already crying hoarse about the increasing VIP duties in Mohali, the shifting of these cases is bad news. 



Mega lok adalat settles 352 cases
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 29
A mega lok adalat for traffic challans was organised by the district legal services authority, Ropar, here today.

Despite the fact that nine benches for district Mohali were set up to consider 2,718 challan cases, only 352 cases could be settled. The district court complex was abuzz with thousands of persons who had come to the lok adalat for relief. Over Rs 4.6 lakh was collected on account of fines. The SAS Nagar DTO settled another 100 cases also.



Constable, accomplice get 5-yr RI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 29
Additional district and sessions judge R.S. Sondhi today sentenced Malkiat Singh, a Punjab police constable and his friend Deputy Ram, a tea vendor, 5-year rigorous imprisonment in an attempt to murder case.

Malkiat Singh and Deputy Ram were arrested in January 2000 on a complaint registered by a veterinary doctor Dr Ramesh, who alleged that he was attacked and injured by them. However, the accused had pleaded innocence saying they were falsely implicated in the case.



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