C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


2 killed, 11 hurt in truck-auto collision
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 7
Two persons were killed and 11 others, including women and children, were seriously injured when a truck hit an authorickshaw on the Ramgarh road, near here, today. Most of the injured were residents of Manakya village in Ramgarh.

Gurcharan Singh (36) of Bunga Tibbi died on the spot. He was returning home with his wife Suresh Kaur and son Himmat Singh (8) when the accident took place. The second dead person was still to be identified.

The passersby helped shift the injured to General Hospital, Sector 6.

Seven of the seriously injured were referred to the PGI while the other four were admitted to General Hospital. The injured referred to the PGI include Suresh Kaur, wife of the deceased, Satpal, Ramesh and 6-year-old Gursevak. The others referred to the PGI were yet to be identified.

The driver of the autorickshaw, Yasin (30), along with Himmat Singh (8), Harbans Kaur (50) and Jagtar (40), were admitted to General Hospital in Sector 6.

Informing about the incident, Sukhwinder Kaur, one of the passengers, said she along with her mother-in -law Harbans Kaur and two children was returning after paying obeisance at Mata Mansa Devi temple. On the way between Fun City and Maankya village, a speeding truck coming from the opposite side hit the autorickshaw leading it to fall into a gorge, she said.

While she and the children escaped unhurt, her mother-in-law was admitted to a hospital with injuries.

The driver of the truck fled the spot and the truck has been impounded by the police. A case against the driver has been registered.



Cellphone radiation boils egg in 80 min. Think what it can do to your head
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

The idea behind this research is to sensitise people about the harmful effects of using mobile phones and living close to a cellphone tower.

— Dr R K Kohli, researcher

Chandigarh, October 7
If a recent study on the impact of the electromagnetic radiation of cellphones, conducted by Panjab University, on eggs is an indication, this modern-day wonder could be doing considerable damage to all of us. The eggs, kept between four working cellphones, were cooked hard-boiled.

If that’s not enough to scare you, ever wondered where the chirping sparrows have vanished? Well, the study shows that cellphone radiation could well also be responsible for their vanishing act.

While scientists across the world are trying to find a reason for the extinction of a common bird such as a house sparrow and have linked it with the excessive radiation of EM (electromagnetic) waves in our environment, a team of researchers from Panjab University has proved it that the waves adversely affect even the tiniest of insects, mustard seeds, wheat grains and even eggs of hen.

According to a research being conducted by V P Sharma of the department of zoology and guided by Dr R K Kohli, Dr H P Singh, both from the department of botany, and Dr Upma Baghei of the department of zoology, the radiation released by the mobile towers have two kinds of effect, thermal effect and non-thermal radiation effect. These effects are being studied simultaneously on plants, honeybees and hen eggs.

These rays (same as those in a microwave oven) generate heat and adversely affect seed germination in plants and impair cell expansion.

“The idea behind this research is to sensitise people about the harmful effects of using mobile phones and living in close proximity of a cellphone tower,” said Dr R K Kohli.

Interestingly as a part of the research, all necessary permissions and clearances were sought from the relevant departments to conduct experiments. “Around 50 eggs were used in experiments conducted at different times so far and we even sought permission for them,” said Dr Kohli.

The mobile phones were connected to pre-recorded tapes and four of them were kept engaged with an egg between them. After around 80 minutes, the egg was “hard-boiled”. Eggs of hen were exposed intermittently to radiation from cellphones.

It is pertinent to mention here that as per this study, which was started in 2005, there were a total 199 mobile towers in Chandigarh alone and the electromagnetic radiation released by these towers were far more than the prescribed limit (as per a petition filed in the Supreme Court).

The sectors, which receive much more than the permissible limit and are at a higher risk, include sectors 8, 9, 17, 18, 21, 23, 27, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 38, 44, 45, 46, 59 and 51.

The research is in its final stages of tabulation and the effects of EM waves are being studied on enzymes, cells and top layers of plants.



Fee Structure
UT wields stick against 7 aided schools
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The administration has decided to rationalise the fee structure of the seven private recognised aided schools of the city but in absence of any such policy for private schools, number of such schools are still charging exorbitant fee.

In the backdrop of monitoring the fee structure of aided schools, some aided schools hiked the fee for Class XI despite the fact that the administration had instructed to follow the centralised pattern for admission process.

Since these schools get grant-in-aid, they are liable to follow the pattern of syllabus and other criteria of admission as per the administration norms but these schools had raised the fee for Class XI on the pretext that they are providing better infrastructure in comparison to government schools.

Home secretary Ram Niwas said the decision to rationalise the fee structure of aided schools had been taken following the complaints from the number of parents. “The administration is scrutinising the funds incurred by these schools and to see whether the infrastructure provided commensurates with the fee”.

The administration has asked the management of the aided schools to justify the fee hike. The administration has also ordered to audit their income and expenditure.

As per provisions of the Punjab Education Code applicable to the UT, the Chandigarh Administration is bearing 95 per cent of the salary expenses of the teaching staff as well as ministerial staff for sanctioned strength approved by the competent authority.

Sometimes back the then home secretary Sanjay Kumar had ordered to scrutinise the balance sheets of private schools to ensure that the fee structure should be based on the actual cost taking into account the facilities these schools are offering, but this step too did not yield any result.

Officials of the administration said the private schools went scot-free because of the absence of any such policy on this matter. No school can ask for building fund from the students legally.

Schools on radar

DAV SSS-8, Dev Samaj School-21, Sri Guru Gobind Singh High School-35, SD High School-24, Guru Nanak Khalsa High School-30, Vedic Girls High School, Manimajra, and the Institute for the Blind-26.



Encroachments cost SI his job
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Taking serious view of the increasing encroachments in Manimajra, Municipal Corporation commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria today suspended enforcement sub-inspector Jagmohan with immediate effect.

When the commissioner visited the internal streets of the area to check the encroachments, many irregularities were found. He took disciplinary action against the sub-inspector on the spot. During his suspension period, the headquarters of the sub-inspector will be the office of commissioner andhe will not leave the headquarters without the prior approval of the authority.



Nayagaon Master Plan
Experts to scrutinise objections
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 7
The Department of Local Government, Punjab, has constituted a committee of experts to scrutinise 46 objections received against the draft master plan of the Nayagaon Notified Area Committee (NAC). The last date to file the objections was September 23.

“Since there were a lot of anomalies in the draft master plan, the department wants to get the stamps of experts to give a legal shape to the document of NAC. It is rare to constitute a committee in such cases,” said sources in the government. In the objections ranging from the defined land use to disturbing the edict of Chandigarh, a former chief town planner, ministry of urban development, DS Meshram, has raised a serious issue of the legality of the master plan in violation of the directives of the Union urban ministry.

It has been mentioned that in 1983, the Town and Country Planning Organisation, Government of India, had prepared an Interstate Capital Regional Plan 2001 for Chandigarh. To channelise the development of Chandigarh, there is a coordination committee under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Urban Development. Thus, the matter should be placed before the coordination committee for clearance.

When the Akali government had mooted the Anandgarh plan in 2001, the Union urban development ministry had objected to the project on the same grounds. Even the Chandigarh administration has raised an objection to the Anandgarh project.

“In the name of orderly growth of Nayagaon, a mirror image of sectors 2,3,4 and 5 of Chandigarh up to the radius of one kilometre from eastern end of the secretariat complex would destroy the concept of Capitol Complex of Chandigarh. The clearance of the forest ministry is required as the area lies in the catchment area of the Sukhna choe and heavy development would disturb the total ecology of the area”, the CTP has mentioned in his objection.

It may be mentioned that the state local bodies departments has planned a 30 metre-wide road through the UT to connect Kansal and Nayagaon - two villages included in the Nayagaon NAC. While planning the alignment of the road, an effort has been made to favour certain vested interests, including a member of the local civic body and a politician, whose land falls along the road. Since UT’s Khuda Alisher village was grabbing Punjab territory, integration of essential services like road, water and sewerage was not possible, unless allowed by the UT. The matter has already been referred to the UT by Punjab.

The UT has already sought details about the load of essential services and planning aspects like floor area ratio (FAR) and bylaws. The Punjab Local Government has been categorically told by the UT that the former’s plan to join its 30 metre road with the existing road that opens on the Sarovar path (near Sukhna Lake) would not be allowed. Vehicular pressure on the road would increase manifold in the area. 



German tourist leaves
Cops to take aid of video conferencing
Akash Ghai

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
While accused in the alleged kidnapping and molestation case of the German tourist may be banking on an acquittal similar to those of the accused in the sensational rape of French national Katia, who did not return to testify against them, the Chandigarh Police is confident of getting them convicted with the help of modern day telecom wonders even if the victim doesn’t come back.

The victim is slated to leave back for Germany tonight.

“So what if she doesn’t come back when required by the court, we have provisions of video conferencing which can be used in such circumstances”, said a confident S.K. Jain, IG of the Chandigarh Police.

“We are making a fool-proof case. Our investigations are based on strong evidence and we ensure that the 1994 Katia case is not repeated”, he said.

Jain said the investigations were complete and only the CFSL report was awaited, which is expected this week.

“We plan to file the challan within a week and then we’ll strive for a speedy trial by getting the case to a fast-track court”, he said.

“We are encouraged with the reports that the fast-track courts have given verdict in rape cases involving foreigners in less than a month. We will also looking forward to put the case in this court”, said Jain.

Nevertheless, police officials are confident that the victim would come whenever required in the case. “Even she’s keen to see her tormentors nailed”, they add.

Fast-track court trials in Rajasthan have proved helpful. In one of the cases, where a German national was raped, the Jodhpur fast-track court convicted the accused in nine days.



‘Architects need to keep balance with climate change’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Chandigarh College of Architecture today organised Le Corbusier memorial lecture by Mahendra Raj, an engineer, and Sen Kapadia, an architect, as part of Chandiagarh Heritage Festival. Mahendra Raj has worked with many leading architects of the world including Le Corbusier.

The function was organised to mark the birth anniversary of Le Corbusier that is on October 6, and the formal inauguration of Chandigarh on October 7, 1953.

Among the eminent guests present on the occasion was R. P. Bambah, a Tribune Trustee and former PU vice-chancellor.

“The biggest challenge facing architects today is not only architecture, but doing architecture in a fine balance with the land, its people the climate change issues that loom large over the world, and energy crisis of the globe etc. Buildings and cities in new India must not grow as a casualty of one other, but as a whole,” said Mahendra Raj.



HUDA Auction
SCO at Sec-14 goes for Rs 11.98 cr
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 7
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) netted Rs 33 crore when it auctioned commercial sites here today. The HUDA authorities has one more reason to smile as the sites were sold at around 33 per cent over the reserve price of the properties.

The response of bidders was on the expected lines and it will help in creating a buzz in the otherwise dull real estate market in the town nowadays, opined Vinod Katyal, a property dealer in Sector 20.

Though the HUDA complex at Sector 6 could be seen swarmed by bidders since morning for auction that took off at 12 in the noon, only six sites of shop-cum-offices and built-up booths could be sold by the closing of the auction at 3 pm. A total of 21 sites were under hammer.

Other sites withdrawn from the auction would be disposed of within the next couple of months as the bidders did not show the interest in the properties this time, said the officials.

The site of SCO at Sector 14 measuring 11x29.2 square metres fetched the highest price for the authority which was sold for Rs 11.98 crore against the reserve price of Rs 8.64 crore.

During the auction in December last year, the similar sites in this sector were sold for anything between of Rs 8.5 crore and 9 crore. A total of 13 sites were up for sale in the sector that time.

Similarly in Sector 21, double-storey shop nos. 2 and 3 were sold for Rs 2.76 crore and 3 crore.

However, an SCO site in the same sector measuring 13.75 x 5.5 metres was sold for Rs 3.55 crore.

The lone built-up property under hammer was a booth in the Mansa Devi complex which was sold for Rs 56.57 lakh.



PSEB staff protest during CM’s visit
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 7
Employees of the PSEB held a protest here today during the visit of Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, who had come to the town to lay the foundation stone of Van Bhawan.

The protesters were, however, stopped by the police from reaching Sector 68 where the stone laying ceremony was held.

The protest march, led by Technical Services Union (TSU), started from near the bus stand and proceeded towards Sector 68. Some of the protesters were carrying black flags.

The protesters raised slogans against the government and also blocked traffic.The police did not allow them to reach near the venue of the Chief Minister’s function.

Lakha Singh, president of city circle of the TSU, said the protesters were given an assurance that five union-leaders would be given a chance to present their demands to Parkash Singh Badal, but the Chief Minister left without listening to them.

State president of the union, Gurdial Singh Bhangal, said the government had illegally dismissed seven employees of the Patiala circle, suspended 12 employees of Muktsar and Faridkot areas and transferred many others to far off places because they had raised their voice against privatisation.

The Chief Minister had given an assurance to a joint deputation of union leaders on April 8 that all types of victimisation would be stopped, but nothing had been done so far.



Naval officers hold peace march
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Merchant Navy Officers’ Association today held a candlelight peace march in Sector-17, protesting against hijacking of a ship “Stolt Valor” on September 15 in Somalia.

Out of 22 crew on the ship, 18 are Indians, who have been put as hostages by pirates. The Japanese-owned ship, which is registered in Hongkong and charted by the US was travelling from America to India through the Gulf of Adens, where it was captured.

“The ship was hijacked and taken over in the Gulf of Aden by the armed pirates where the crew was made helpless and taken as the hostages,” said Captain Bhagat Singh, president of the association.

“We request the Government of India to take this issue on priority with the relevant international bodies to find an immediate and amicable solution to the crisis,” he said.

The march was joined by around 100 members of the association along with the family of the naval officers in the city.

“It should also ensure a safe passage of the merchant vessels from these pirate-infested areas and put an end to the apprehensions of the seafaring community leading to the safety of the crew on board the vessels,” he said.



Rodrigues flags off heritage walk
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
As part of the celebrations of Chandigarh Heritage Festival, UT administrator S. F. Rodrigues today flagged off a heritage walk from the Open Hand monument to the Chandigarh War Memorial in Leisure Valley in the morning.

Joining the participants, Rodrigues talked about the strategies for preserving the heritage.

He said there was a hope that more public-private partnerships would be forthcoming to preserve and sustain the modern city.

Rajnish Watts, principal of Chandigarh College of Architecture, explained the concept of the Capitol Complex and also the philosophy and vision of Le Corbusier in designing various important buildings in the city.

Home secretary Ram Niwas, director tourism Vivek Atray and chief general manager of the State Bank of India Ajay Swaroop were prominent among those present on the occasion.



Bomb scare at Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 7
Panic griped the area when an abandoned suitcase was found at the busy traffic tri-junction near the Suraj theatre here today. The bomb disposal team rushed to the spot and the area was cordoned off but nothing explosive was found in the suitcase. The suitcase contained some documents, including cheque books in the name of a Chandigarh resident.

However before the bomb disposal squad opened the suitcase, the police brought those people to the spot who had lodged complaints of their bags being stolen from the town recently. According to the police, a call was received by the police control room that a bag was lying near the chowk. A police team reached spot and got the area vacated. The bag was found lying abandoned near the boundary wall of Gurukul school. After cordoning off the area, the bag was searched but nothing explosive was found in it, the police said.



SE gets addl charge of chief engineer
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
UT chief engineer S.K. Jaitley's loss has proved to be superintending engineer (SE) Krishanjit Singh's gain. With Jaitley out of action for a few months after a near-fatal fall resulting in fracture in his leg, the dream of Krishanjit Singh to be the UT chief engineer is set to be realised.

In fact, the Chandigarh Administration today decided to give the additional charge of chief engineer to Krishanjit Singh while the additional charge of the chief engineer of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) will be handed over to Surinder Pall, superintending engineering (SE). Till now Krishanjit was acting as the CHB chief engineer.

Life has come full circle for Krishanjit Singh, who, along with Jaitley, was a strong contender for the UT chief engineer's post a few months back. However, Krishanjit Singh pipped to the post by Jaitley, who was senior to him.

Krishanjit Singh might have lost all hopes of becoming the chief engineer as Jaitley had still four more years. On the other hand, Krishanjit Singh is due to retire in a few months' time.



Class IV staff hold stir against principal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The ongoing disagreement between the principal and watchman of GSSS, Mani Majra, took an ugly turn today as the union of Class IV employees staged an aggressive dharna in front of the school in support of Shiv Kumar, watchman.

He had approached the union against the principal alleging her of persistent misbehaviour. The union visited the school and got enraged when the principal refused to entertain them.

“The principal misbehaved with him and threatened with a complaint on the pretext of inefficiency. She tried to harass him in every possible way.

We tried negotiating but she insulted us so we closed the school gate and protested.” said Ranjit Singh, union president.

However sources close to principal Indu Bala have denied all allegations and insisted that she demanded proper work and discouraged the union interference.



Tamil cultural event from Oct 15
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
‘Poompoohar-2008’, a five-day cultural event, being organised with collective efforts of the Tamil Nadu government and the Chandigarh administration, will start from October 15.

UT administrator S. F. Rodrigues and Governor of Tamil Nadu Surjit Singh Barnala will jointly inaugurate the event. The details were worked out at a meeting held under the chairmanship of home secretary Ram Niwas. The meeting was attended by resident commissioner, Taminadu House, Jagmohan Singh Raju, and UT director, public relations, Vivek Atray.

The ‘Poompoohar’ will focus on the promotion of art and culture of Tamil Nadu. The event will provide an opportunity to the residents and visitors in city to know about the art and culture of Tamil Nadu.




Lawlessness is seldom checked

This is in reference to the article ‘Fear alone can ensure sanity’ written by Raveen Thukral in Chandigarh Tribune dated September 29, 2008. I agree with Thukral that fear of heavy penalties and proper enforcement of law can curb the monster.

Lawlessness is seldom checked on roads. Sections of constabulary not only raise revenue for the government but also manage to fill their own pockets. Recently, the CBI has nabbed a number of policemen in Chandigarh who indulged in corruption.

Following measures are suggested to minimise the road accidents and incidents of road rage:

• There is a need to change the design of roads in the city with big speed breakers

• The administration must ensure that there is a healthy fear of law on the roads

• There should be a rigorous test for issuing driving licence.

• There should be an agency that is accountable in case of foul play while issuing the licences and at the same time when any mishap occurs.

• The police personnel at the grass-root level should be fully trained and equipped to meet any exigency.

• Police-population ratio needs to be checked.

• Mobile medical facility should be readily available at the time of need.

• Weed out the corrupt elements in the police department.

• Frequent guidance regarding traffic rules to our youngsters in the educational institutions is need of the hour.

• There should be visible traffic signs on every road.

• Introduce interceptor vehicles fitted with laser cameras that can identify various traffic violations.

• VIP vehicles create nuisance in the city, which is required to be checked.

S. K. Khosla, Chandigarh


Raveen Thukral has provided a comprehensive analysis of knotty problem of ensuring safety on our roads with traffic getting so much chaotic that the courts have to intervene many a time. We are all equally to be blamed for the messy scenario on the roads as we simply lack basic traffic etiquettes.

Many of us, particularly the youngsters, cut corners on roundabouts and can be seen approaching the roundabout with a high speed. Rash and reckless driving, showing no respect for life, is more an exercise of show-off than anything else. The cyclists and rickshaw-pullers stop and turn whenever and wherever they please without giving any indication.

The traffic police personnel and social organisations must initiate an awareness drive to control traffic problems. For habitual traffic-rule violators, there is nothing better than the fear of stringent punishment and that too without escape from it. The police need to be more effective and less “negotiable” in doing their job.

Dr I. M. Joshi, Manimajra, Chandigarh


I read the article ‘Fear alone can ensure sanity’. Hats off! It is really great, thought provoking and need of the day. We need to make masses aware on such key issues regularly.

Dr Pankaj Garg, Chandigarh


I had to study before clearing the written test and spend around 500 dollars for practical training for my driving test in California. Getting a driving licence in India is very easy.

In February, while visiting India, an RTO told me that he could get even international licence for money, which I could use to drive in USA. For my own safety and driving efficiency, I refused it.

It is bit scary to read about road rages in Chandigarh where I am planning to move form US.

Harpreet Singh, California, USA


During my visits to France, Switzerland, England, Malaysia and Singapore, one prominent observation was road manners, which I noticed there. Everybody respects each other, may be out of courtesy or law enforcement.

People have much more traffic sense over there as compared to India. No unneeded horns, no traffic jams, no zigzag driving and no quarrels on the road.

Unfortunately, in India, the strongest you blow horn it seems that either you are very strong, very influential or in emergency. We should practice patience.

Ajay Sharmam, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



Students visit trees older than city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
This banyan tree in front of Indira Holiday Home has been stood for 350 years and is a witness to the birth and evolution of the city. It’s not the lone witness as more than thousand trees like this stand upright in city but unnoticed most of the time.

While the entire city celebrated Heritage Day today, 30 children from Gurukul School, Manimajra paid a visit to these heritage trees on a trip organised by the UT tourism department in collaboration with Yuvsatta.

Starting their tour from this banyan tree in front of Indira Holiday Home, the students proceeded to visit other trees like 200-year-old peepal tree in Sheetla Mata temple, Sector 24, and the banyan-peepal duo at gurudwara, Sector 38.

According to Pramod, coordinator, Yuvsatta, “We have done a mapping study to recognise and document various heritage trees of the city, and have listed around 1,000 trees so far. The criteria for endorsement of a heritage tree can be by virtue of its age of around 100 years, aesthetic and historical significance, cultural reason, social and educational value, trees that are landmarks of a community, trees in a notable grove, avenue, or other planting, or if it is a rare species, or provides a habitat for rare species of plants, animals or birds.”

Vivek Atray, director, tourism, joined the kids and seemed equally excited. “A visit to heritage trees leaves you amazed at the fact that they have been here much before the city was even conceived. They are living beings, which have survived all odds and stood upright. There is a danger of losing these mature trees. In view of this concern, we have planned the Heritage Trees Tour for people, especially for children. In days to come, we will plan more such programmes.”



From Schools
St Kabir wins overall Olympiad trophy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Six students of St Kabir Public School, Sector 26, Chandigarh, won the overall trophy with additional individual prizes in the general Olympiad competition in collaboration with the Science Olympiad Foundation, New Delhi, held at St Xavier's Senior Secondary School, Sector 44, Chandigarh.

Visit to post office

Around 150 students of Guru Nanak Public School had a field day as they got the opportunity to visit the post office in Sector-36D.They were very excited to post greeting cards made by them to their grandparents. They enjoyed the outing and it also helped them to have a practical knowledge on the functioning of the post office.



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