C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


4 killed, 12 hurt as bus runs over jatha members
Driver was allegedly drunk; Irate nagar kirtan members set vehicle afire; Riot-control units, commandos called in
Tribune News Service

The main road blocked by the Chandigarh Police Gypsies after the mishap to avoid any untoward incident at the scene
The main road blocked by the Chandigarh Police Gypsies after the mishap to avoid any untoward incident at the scene

Chandigarh, June 18
In a major accident, four persons were killed and 12 seriously injured (till the filing of the report) when a Landran college bus ran over a nagar kirtan jatha comprising around 200 members here late this evening.

The accident, which sent the police and city hospitals in a tizzy, took place around 11 pm near the Sector-28 petrol station trafficlights.

The bus (CH 03 Z 6565) initially hit a Honda Activa scooter (PB 65 1777) and then ran over 12 members of the jatha, which was headed for Nada Sahib Gurdwara, Panchkula.

Two members, who got entangled under the bus, were dragged for around 200 metres before the vehicle came to a halt.
Irate sangat members raise slogans
Irate sangat members raise slogans
Slippers and biscuit packets of the victims strewn at the mishap scene
Slippers and biscuit packets of the victims strewn at the mishap scene. Photos: Vinay Malik

Though the driver, who was allegedly drunk, fled the scene, the police, which arrived at the scene within minutes, arrested its conductor. This, however, failed to pacify the jatha members, who set the bus afire.

Two fire tenders were pressed into service to put out the blaze. Riot-control units and commandos were requisitioned, sensing the brewing tension.

Anita (36), a resident of Commando Colony, Mohali, got entangled under the bus, killing her on the spot. Her nephew Mandeep, an 18-year-old Jammu student undergoing training at a Sector-34 based enterprise, was declared brought dead at the hospital. Among those killed in the accident was a 12-year-old boy. Another 12-year-old child was reported missing.

“The nagar kirtan is held every month, a day after the full moon. The jatha had started off from Sector 22 and had halted for a langar in Sector 19. They were on their way to Nada Sahib. Though the jatha members say they were walking in straight lines, some eyewitnesses claimed they had covered half of the road. Though things started to take a serious turn, the situation was under control now,” said DSP Vijay Khera. Even though the mob dispersed after some time, panic-stricken kin of the jatha members thronged the accident scene and city hospitals looking for their family members. ADC ML Sharma said a thorough inquiry would conducted into the incident.



PGI Incident: 2 policemen suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Two policemen, including Balbir Singh who had allegedly created ruckus at the advanced cardiac centre (ACC) of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here on Thursday night, were put under suspension by the authorities here today.

Three employees of the PGI, including a woman, had complained that Head Constable Balbir Singh, who was accompanying a prisoner admitted in the hospital, had hurled abuses and manhandled them.

Bimla, a sweeper at the ACC, alleged that she noticed Balbir Singh along with two others consuming liquor on the stairs meant for emergency exit. When she objected to this, Balbir started hurling abuses at her and tried to strangulate her. He also hit Chanan Ram, a male nurse, and Chhota Ram, a hospital attendant, who tried to rescue her. The head constable then fled from the spot, leaving the prisoner patient in the custody of constable Sandeep, she alleged. Meanwhile, the aggrieved employees had submitted a complaint to Director PGI, stating that the security personnel of the PGI had failed to react at the time of the incident, which helped the accused cop flee from the spot after hitting the employees. Security personnel at the hospital took a good 30 minutes to reach the spot, they further complained.



UT colleges set for online admissions
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
If all goes well, the UT government colleges will go for centralised online admissions for all major courses from next year.

The move comes following the ongoing college prospectus shortage. It will aim to make admission to the colleges a hassle-free affair.

According to the plan, a student will be registering for admission to all city colleges through one portal and specify his choice of course and college. He or she would then be allotted seats based on the merit and corresponding choice.

The proposal seems to be a “lesson learnt” from the prospectus sale fiasco, which affected five colleges this year. Despite having ordered 16,000 forms, the UT has been able to get only 4,000 odd forms printed so far, making getting a prospectus difficult for many. While on the first day only 500 forms were available in all these colleges, not much improvement was seen in subsequent days, with only 1,500 forms being available on days two and three which got sold by noon.

“It’s high time we do away with the conventional admission procedure of buying admission forms manually, submitting them or attending counselling. The key aim of this proposal is to ensure that the only time a student has to queue up in college is for the verification of documents after the allotment of seats. Many universities with more than 50 colleges are already following the pattern and even the PU is doing it for BCom. The modalities are still being worked out,” said Director Higher Education (DHE) Ajoy Sharma.

The DHE, however, said, “We have to start from somewhere. I agree that parents may not be that tech-savvy, but a majority of students are. The Haryana technical education department has adopted this system for admission to engineering colleges. The state has much less IT literacy than us and still it is successful. We are reviewing the plans and will ensure that the new system will be easy. The final plan will only be prepared during the next two months.”


drowning case
Was there security at Sector-23 pool?
Guard denies youths visited centre at odd hours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The drowning of two youths at the Swimming Centre in Sector 23 has raised a question mark over the presence of security at the pool at the time of the tragedy.

The authorities, however, maintained that they would order a probe into the matter. The authorities asserted that the boundary walls had been built as per the passed plan by the engineering department.

The security guard deployed at the time of the incident declined hearing any noise or distress call but admitted that he was inside the hall and was on medication.

While he denied that youths visited the swimming pool at odd hours regularly, sources suggested it wasn’t the first time that the youths had gone there at night.

According to the landlady of the house where Ajay, one of the victims, was putting up, he was a good paying guest and never misbehaved with anyone.

“We came to know about the incident in the morning. It was really shocking to hear about the tragedy,” she said.

The police maintained that no case had been register against anyone, as the youths had gone on their own.



Auction of riverbed mining sites nets Haryana govt Rs 57.6 cr
Stone crusher owners, labourers stand to benefit
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 18
The auction of small stretches of mining sites in riverbeds in this district has brought cheer to stone crusher owners as well as the hundreds of construction labourers who had been rendered jobless after the blanket ban on the mining imposed in Haryana last year.

Bidding for mining sites near the Khokhbar area, the reserve price of which was fixed at Rs 6.72 lakh, fetched Rs 6.2 crore. Of the roughly 31 sites included in the auction only 27 sites were sold.

The reserve price fixed for all the sites was about Rs 29.8 crore while the administration received double that amount, netting Rs 57.58 crore.

The Malpur mining sites fetched the maximum amount, being sold for Rs 6.26 crore. However, one of the priciest mining sites in the district, Fatehpur Dewan, was not put under the hammer after the state government fixed their reserve price at Rs 17.58 crore.

Even though the auction of the sites at much higher prices has fetched huge revenues for the government the stone crushers owners are hopeful of prices of sand and ‘bajri’ (gravel) coming down by about one-half. This is likely give a boost to construction activities in the district.

Vijay Aggarwal, who owns a stone crusher, said at present the sand and gravel was being brought from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Baddi in Himachal Pradesh at higher prices to meet the demand. “If the state government gets the final nod from the high court for approving the recent auction of mining sites in the area, the prices would come down further by 10 per cent”, he added.

The comprehensive ban on mining in riverbeds in the state imposed by the Punjab & Haryana High Court had taken its toll on construction work in the district, with both realtors and the public feeling the pinch of the huge increase in building material costs.

The prices of materials have risen by almost 70 per cent during the past one year and a hundred cubic feet of sand or gravel now costs Rs 1,900 to 1,950. Earlier, the prices varied between Rs 1,200 and Rs 1,250 for the same quantity.

Prices may come down

The prices of materials have risen by almost 70 per cent during the past one year and a hundred cubic feet of sand or gravel now costs Rs 1,900 to 1,950. Earlier, the prices varied between Rs 1,200 and Rs 1,250 for the same quantity



87 autos impounded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The local police today impounded as many as 87 auto-rickshaws for plying in the city without valid permit. Police sources said the auto-rickshaws belonged to the neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana. Most vehicles were impounded near the inter-state bus terminuses of sectors 17 and 43. This private mode of transportation is not only a traffic hazard but also notorious for fleecing public by overcharging.

DSP (traffic) Vijay Kumar said the drive would continue in the coming days also.



Harbhajan’s tribute to motherhood
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, June 18
One of the doyens of the Punjabi folk and pop music, Harbhajan Mann mesmerised the audience at a musical event organised by the Rani Breast Cancer Trust at the Parade Ground here today. The Tribune Group of Newspapers was the media partner of the concert.

The show aimed at creating awareness and to garner support for the fight against breast cancer. Harbhajan started with invocatory and sufiana utterances of Shah Hussain. Paying tributes to motherhood, Harbhajan sang a song “maanvan” and “jag jiodian de mele” before singing songs from his films.



Zirakpur sewerage treatment plant
Mohali authorities told to speed up process
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, June 18
Expressing concern over the rapidly increasing population in Zirakpur, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had told Mohali local authorities today to arrange land for the early setting up of a sewerage treatment plant (STP) here.

However, a Zirakpur Municipal Council official stated that the officials concerned were searching for suitable sites for setting up of the STP near Singhpura village and would finalise it soon. The council had already spent lakhs of rupees to lay sewerage network across Zirakpur, the official added.

According to a sewerage board official, 90 per cent work of sewerage laying had been completed. The official said the council failed to hand over the land to the sewerage board and till now the water was being released into Sukhna Choe.

The official added that to extract the untreated water, the installation of main pumping station (MPS) at Singhpura village had been completed. Meanwhile, the work of laying drain pipes from the MPS to Ghaggar was in progress, the official claimed.

Last year, the Punjab Pollution Control Board had directed the MC to set up a sewerage treatment plant and set the deadline for its construction till March 2011, but the council failed to hand over the land to the sewerage board for the STP.

The board had also told the MC that if they failed to meet the deadline it would have to pay Rs 2 lakh bank guarantee for an extension.

Sources in MC office said a case regarding the land in Singhpura village for the plant was pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.



Cutting-edge medical care to aid of septuagenarian
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
From being confined to bed and counting his last days to attending board meetings and going for evening walks, 78-year-old Kehar Singh, a retired IFS officer, has overcome the oddities of life with specilised medical care and heart implant.

Talking to mediapersons, cardiologist and executive director of a local heart institute Dr Puneet Verma said heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest were two fallouts of severe coronary artery disease (CAD) or acute blockages in arteries of Kehar Singh in 2002.

“Heart transplant was the only available remedy for sudden cardiac arrest but it had its own challenges like availability of heart for transplant, its donor and medical expertise. For heart failure, cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) was the solution and it was implanted successfully,” he said.

CAD and heart failure patients are always at a high risk of sudden cardiac arrest and this happened with Singh in 2010. Apprehending recurrence of sudden cardiac arrest, Singh was advised to undergo a new medical therapy called cardiac resynchronisation therapy and defibrillator (CRTD).



Exhibition to display work of underprivileged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
A team of 20 students of the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET), Panjab University, in collaboration with SIFE India is organising an exhibition at Mohayal Bhawan, Sector 24, tomorrow from 10 am to 7 pm.

The aim of the exhibition is to display kurtas that are designed by 25 underprivileged women, who cannot afford to market their products but are skilled.

The exhibition would also display paintings made by SIFE-UICET members to attract the attention towards the social work being done by PU students.

The team has been providing free technical education to the poor in Sectors 38 and 25 under the Government of India’s project “Jan Shiksha Sansthan”.

The team also organised a waste cloth collection drive in Sector 15.

SIFE UICET students are now entering into collaboration with local NGOs for four new projects, namely “Prithkaran”, which deals with providing financial literacy to the poor, “Praveenata” which aims at promoting and developing artistic skills and “Vrihaat” for equipping them with the knowledge about electrical appliances.



tricity scan

Relief camp

Youngsters from colleges of the city and Panjab University with the help of an NGO, Tammana, organised a relief camp in Sector 29 under the banner “Serve One Another” on Saturday. The students organised a chhabeel and served sweetened water to the residents of the city. Team members added that the event was planned to give some respite to the residents from heat.

Summer workshop ends

A three-week summer workshop organised by Prarambh, an NGO for underprivileged children, was concluded with a stage performance of these children at the Government College for Men, Sector 46, here on Saturday. The function was attended by Lalit Joshi, former Mayor of Chandigarh, and Dr Pankaj Mala, professor and dean, department of music, Panjab University, Chandigarh. Prarambh, which supports extra-curricular activities of these children, was launched on May 7.

250 donate blood

Over 250 donated blood at a blood donation camp organised by the Thalassaemic Children Welfare Association (TCWA), Chandigarh, at Zakir Hall, Block A, PGI, here on Saturday. The camp was inaugurated by Dr Amod Gupta, dean, professor and head, ophthalmology at PGIMER. He praised the efforts of TCWA in saving lives of patients, especially during summers when there is an acute shortage of blood.

Summer club finale

Euro Kids celebrated its summer club finale at Motiram Arya School auditorium here on Saturday. Over 230 children in the age group of 3 to 7 years and 8 to 12 years came together to mark its end with fun and frolic. The event commenced with a welcome address followed by an outstanding theatre performance of four short plays. The programme included a variety of songs and dances that the children learnt at the camp.

Padyatra by BJP

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Chandigarh, on Saturday organised a padyatra in Sectors 37 and 38 as a part of the “Janjagran Abhiyan”, which started on June 15. Prominent party leaders present included state BJP president Sanjay Tandon, Arun Sood, former president Dharam Pal Gupta, Girdhari Lal Jindal, Sachin Lohtia, Prem Kaushik, Mataram Dhiman, Santosh Mishra, Ravi Sharma, Ateet Kakkar, KK Kapoor, Vinod Sisodia, Balbir Bira, Maheshinder Singh Sidhu, Amit Rana, Rajesh Johra, Gurikbal Shammi, Suvina Bansal, Sunita Dhawan, Jujhar Singh among others. The activists raised slogans against the Congress-led UPA government and demanded disclosure of names of persons having accounts in foreign banks. BJP state president Sanjay Tandon said most of the Congress leaders, including local MP and central parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, were involved in corrupt practices.

Applications invited

The District Administration has invited applications from persons and institutions for the prestigious “Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award” for 2010. Deputy Commissioner Ashima Brar said the award was given every year on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on August 20 to those persons or institutions, who had made outstanding contributions to promote communal harmony and led fight against terrorism and violence. She said the award carried cash prize of Rs 5 lakh and a citation and added that eligible persons and institutions could send their applications to the office of Deputy Commissioner by June 23.

Grant announced

NK Sharma, chairman of the District Planning Board, on Saturday said Green Enclave would be included in the limits of the Mohali Municipal Corporation. The announcement was made at a meeting of the residents’ welfare association of Green Enclave. NK Sharma announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh for the repair of open drains in Green Enclave.

Bhangra workshop

A 10-day summer workshop on bhangra began at the Mohali Press Club on Saturday.

The workshop was inaugurated by Tehal Singh Brar, president of the Press Club of Canada.

On the concluding day, a programme would be held to award certificates to the participants. — TNS



PUSU warring lobbies to patch up
Party had split three months ago
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
In a significant move, the 34-year-old student organisation- Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU), which had officially split three months ago on March 15 into two lobbies, is now heading for a patch up.

Interestingly, both Sukhjit Singh Brar and Simranjit Dhillon, representing the two warring groups within the PUSU, who are backed by old and current leadership of the party, respectively, gave significant statements of agreement between the two.

The leaders have softened their stand and claimed to have “settled the issue” amicably. “Prestige of the PUSU party is supreme. A lot of our members from the two groups are in talking terms with each other now and things are not that bad now. There were minor ego issues that have been resolved. I am positive about the whole situation and PUSU will contest the poll under one banner,” said Sukhjit Brar, president of the lobby under PUSU (Sukhjit faction).

Anticipating benefits drawn by rival student organisations from their internal rift, the leaders have resolved to come together for the student elections on campus in 2011.

Simranjit Dhillon, the chief patron of the PUSU (Simran faction) said: “We are already working towards ending our differences. There is hardly any time left for the student council poll this year and we are determined to resolve the matter.”

He added that the party would contest the poll highlighting its past achievement, as the ruling student organisation. “Despite a divided council, with all four key members from different parties, we managed to address students’ problems,” said Dhillon.

Dhillon, former PUSU president, was declared suspended from the party by the governing council of the organisation on March 15 during a press conference. Udey Wiring, who was the PUSU president in 2010-2011, was given a show-cause notice on charges of indiscipline. However, the two had questioned the authority of the former party leaders, who declared them suspended.

They alleged that being former students of PU and “outsiders” now, no one had the right to dictate terms to the incumbent and current leadership of the party.

During the same press conference, the senior PUSU cadre had accused Dhillon and Wiring of announcing a new party president Jujwinder Singh Judo, without following a democratic procedure.

Earlier, the senior PUSU cadre, headed by Malvinder Kang, had already declared Sukjit Singh Brar as the new president.

A war of words between the two lobbies kicked off after the announcements by the senior PUSU cadre.

However, it was not the first-of-its kind incident within the PUSU. The cold war within the party surfaced during a violent incident on November 9, 2010, at the Student Centre, where Simrandeep Singh Sandhu, PUSU, (Simran faction), who is also a student of the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), PU, allegedly brought swords in his car and attacked Sukhjit Singh Brar, another PUSU (Sukhjit faction). Five cops were reportedly injured and one of them was seriously hurt in the brawl.



Entrance exam on July 11

Chandigarh, June 18
Dates for admission to two-year course in MSc (Petroleum Geology), which has 15 seats, have been announced by Panjab University. The last date to submit forms will be July 4. The forms can be downloaded from the university website www.puchd.ac.in and can be deposited at the Centre for Petroleum and Applied Geology (Aruna Ranjit Chandra Hall), PU campus.

The entrance exam would be held on July 11 and the result would be declared on the same day. Eligibility criteria for the test is BSc (with geology as one of the major subjects)/BSc (Hons school in geology)/BTech (geosciences engineering) with minimum 60 per cent aggregate from a recognised university or institute. — TNS



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