Monday, April 7, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Main suspect in Sec 44 murder case held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
A 19-year-old student of first year of Law, Gurpreet, is the main suspect behind yesterday’s murder of Mandeep, a resident of Burail, the Chandigarh Police said today. The sharp-edged weapon with which Mandeep had been killed has been recovered from Gurpreet. The police arrested the main suspect from Sector 44.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police, South, Mr S.S. Randhawa, said the four other suspects who had been identified on the basis of questioning Gurpreet were: Guriqbal Singh, a cousin of Gurpreet, Tinu, Jaggi and Ajeet. Raids were being conducted at SAS Nagar, Dera Bassi and other places in the city to arrest the suspects — all in the age group of 19 to 25 years.

Mr Randhawa said Gurpreet’s father was a Niab Tehsildar at Ropar. The details of the other suspects would be known once Guriqbal Singh was arrested.

According to the police, the suspect, accompanied by a group of about 10 youths, had attacked the deceased with a sharp-edged weapon and base ball bats, inflicting deep wounds on the left side of his chest, on the head and the legs. Gurpreet was declared brought dead at the Sector-32 GMCH. Two other friends of the deceased, Sandeep, alias Sandy, and Rajesh Kumar, alias Lucky, who also had received injuries in the assault, are recuperating at the hospital.

In his statement to the police, Gurpreet, said he was sitting along with Sandeep, Rajesh Kumar and Mandeep when Sandeep passed a remark at some girls passing by. When Gurpreet objected to it, Sandeep pushed him to the ground. Threatening revenge, Gurpreet left the place only to come back with armed youths. One of the suspects, Guriqbal Singh, a resident of Phase 1, SAS Nagar, is employed in a private firm at Derabassi.

A police official said a case of rioting, attempt to murder and murder had been registered against the suspects.

When the victims,Rajesh Kumar a dropout in plus one and Sandeep, working for Spice, were attacked, Mohinder Singh, Man Singh and a brother of Rajesh Kumar, Nirmal, had rushed back from the Sector 44 market on hearing that their friends had been attacked. The deceased, Mandeep, along with his father used to run a grocery shop at Burail village. He is survived by his father, mother and five sisters. Meanwhile, the body of Mandeep was handed over to the family after an autopsy at the Sector 16 General Hospital here this evening.


Patient under watch for SARS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The health authorities are closely monitoring the condition of a resident of Sector 41, who, after returning from Hong Kong on March 16, is reportedly suffering from upper respiratory chest infection.

According to Dr G.S. Sandhu, Medical Officer, Sector 16 General Hospital, a close watch is being kept on the condition of the person mainly because of his travel history as he paid a visit to SARS-hit Hong Kong. He, however, added that there was no reason to panic.

He said the person came to the General Hospital yesterday showing pneumonia-like symptoms. “Since he was suffering from high fever and a mild chest pain, he came for a check-up,” alerted by media reports regarding the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Doctors said had his condition been severe, they would have admitted him right away. “If he was suffering from SARS, his condition would have been critical after a lapse of over 20 days,” they said.

Dr Sandhu said medicines had been given to the patient with directions that in case there was even a slight deterioration or no improvement in his condition, he should report back immediately. Mobile and all emergency contact numbers had been given to him so that he can be admitted immediately.

The person who had visited the hospital had not got in touch with the hospital authorities even after a lapse of over 24 hours. Doctors have asked him to report back on Monday for examination even if his condition improved.

As part of the precautionary measures taken by the health authorities, two isolation wards at the General Hospital and the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector-32, have been set up in case any case of SARS was reported. So far there has not been a single case in India.

As per the WHO alert guidelines issued against SARS, doctors have specifically been asked to keep a close watch on the condition of any patient complaining of pneumonia or a respiratory problem if he has a travel history of visiting countries which have reported maximum number of SARS cases.


Physical education courses: PU 
re-introduces entrance test
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Panjab University (PU) has decided to re-introduce the entrance test, including a physical proficiency test, for admission to Bachelor of Physical Education and Master of Physical Education courses being offered by it from the forthcoming academic session. The entrance test for admission to the aforementioned courses were abolished last year following a decision by the university Syndicate.

According to sources, the purpose behind re-introduction of entrance test was that students passing out from other universities, especially Maharashtra, were coming here after obtaining a very high percentage in the qualifying examinations.

As per the criteria and guidelines for admission to PU, these students were getting benefits whereas students from this region were being left out. An entrance test, the sources added, would provide a fair and equal opportunity to everyone.

The written part of the test would comprise three sections, including aptitude, general knowledge and reasoning ability.

This part would be of 75 marks. The physical proficiency test would include obstacle crossing, race and covering 100 metres while carrying a certain amount of load.

Though the format of the test for the bachelors and masters level would be the same, the level of difficulty would be different.

At present 25 seats each are being offered for both courses, besides five seats each under the NRI quota.

The sources said earlier about 75 applications for each course were being received, but when the entrance test was abolished, the number of applicants shot up to over 200.


How long will PU resort to fee hike?
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
How long can Panjab University resort to an annual fee hike to meet its ever-growing yearly expenditure? Collection on this account is less than a mere 5 per cent of the total budget.

The university has been left with no option but to decide on an annual increase in fee by 10 per cent. There is already a growing unrest among students as reflected by repeated demonstrations and issuing of statements. “There has to be a full stop somewhere because students’ families are by and large not witnessing a corresponding increase in their incomes as most of them belong to the middle class,” Malwinder Sing Kang, president of the Campus Student Council, said.

The students are not facing a hike in the tuition fee alone. They will also pay extra on other counts as well, including various development funds, application forms, documents, hostel fee, certificates and examination. Nearly 85 per cent of the total expenditure of the university budget is spent on salaries and other perks of the staff alone.

The Union Territory and the Punjab Government are the contributing authorities in the ratio of 60: 40 as per the Reorganisation Act of 1966. Whereas, after certain hitches, the UT Government is paying its share, the Punjab Government is tightening its fists every year — an annual cut of 10 per cent in the total share since 1998-99. An official circular of the Punjab Government has informed the university about a 10 per cent annual cut. Even last year, it gave Rs 14.4 crore against a total of approximately Rs 23 crore. The Union Consultative Committee in 2001 had asked the respective states to give their due share.

Prof R.D. Anand criticised the Government saying the Punjab Government should withdraw absolutely and let the Centre take the full responsibility. His view has found favour from various quarters. Prof Charanjit Chawla said the governments should be willing to take up the responsibility of the university that was already losing on various developmental aspects. Meritorious students from financially weaker sections would be the most severely hit. Prof S.C.Vaidya said the university needed to rework the entire fee structure for all courses and decide the cost according to the existing conditions. He agreed that the government was shirking from its responsibility.

Prof P.P. Arya said fee hike was not a long-term solution. Poor and middle class citizens would be severely hit and the university would predictably witness a higher number of dropouts. A hike of 10 per cent would not make any significant difference in the financial administration of the university. The state needed to remember that education was its responsibility.

Prof M.R. Aggarwal said the economy measures adopted by the university were commendable and finances had been handled well in the past couple of years. However, the fee hike was a short-term solution. This was also highlighted in the Board of Finance. The government must keep in mind that the salary budget could not be managed through fee hike alone.

Professional courses were already out of the reach of most students. Leave alone the private institutions, the University Institute of Engineering and Technology is a small example of the emerging scenario. A student is expected to pay Rs 52,000 annually. Add to this other funds and fee for stay in a hostel. Even entrance forms of various professional courses, which on an average cost Rs 500 elsewhere, cost more than Rs 1,000 on the campus. Take also the example of admissions of academically weaker students on payment in dollars under the NRI quota seats.Back



Trade Fair violates entertainment law
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
Organisers of North Zone Trade Fair in Sector 17 Parade Ground must have thought that they could walk over the existing entertainment duty laws and get away with it.

EDO acts on Tribune tip-off

Meanwhile, Entertainment Duty Officer, on being tipped-off by The Tribune, raided the venue of the fair in Sector 17. He confirmed later in the evening that tickets were being sold in a haphazard manner and had not been properly serialised. He added that the organisers had kept the department in the dark by not informing about the sale of tickets. The officer has now directed the organisers to appear before him in the department tomorrow at 10.30 am and deposit Rs 20,000 as entertainment tax, to begin with. Final assessment of the tax will be made later.

That is exactly why they went about organising the Trade Fair and the Kids Carnival in an extremely vague manner — by first allowing free entry to visitors on the opening day of the fair (April 4); then suddenly introducing an entry ticket of Rs 10 from the second day, thus making the proceeds taxable under the Entertainment Duty Law, 1955, as applicable to UT. Section 2 (d) of the Entertainment Duty Act, 1955 states: “Entertainment includes any exhibition, which persons are ordinarily admitted on payment.”

The organisers have, however, paid no tax till today. Investigations conducted by the Chandigarh Tribune reveal that sales of about Rs 3 lakh have been effected till today, but they have not been intimated to the Entertainment Duty Officer. Mr Mahesh Pandit of Global Exhibitors, the organisers, admitted that about 30,000 visitors had already been recorded. At the rate of 50 per cent, the organisers are bound by law to pay half of the amount as entertainment duty. Although he admitted that the tax would be paid later, the actual provision is to either seek exemption of tax first or at least get the tickets stamped from the department. None of the two has been done in this case.

Let alone the paying of tax, the organisers have blatantly violated the Act, by not even intimating the UT Entertainment Duty Officer about the sale of tickets. A spot visit to the fair in Sector 17 confirmed that the organisers had not got even a single ticket authenticated from the Entertainment Duty officers, whereas this authentication is mandatory under law.

To add to confusion, the organisers have been selling tickets of a show held in September last year. Their excuse is — tickets of the current show are out of print. Further, tickets are being issued in a haphazard manner. Two persons visiting the fair together are being issued tickets bearing very different entry numbers. The tickets have not been serialised, for reasons best known to the organisers.


3 govts exposed on quota for cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
The state governments of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh stand exposed with regard to the implementation of the reservation policy in their respective police force. They have failed to keep up with the minimum representation of Scheduled Castes, as per their reservation policies.

The ‘Data on Police Organisations in India’ (as on January 1, 2002) released by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) recently, revealed that the Scheduled Castes constituted only 18.7 per cent of the total strength of Punjab Police as against the minimum required representation of 25 per cent through direct recruitment and 20 per cent through promotions.

As per the BPRD report, there were 92 Inspectors, 280 Sub-Inspectors, 635 Assistant Sub-Inspectors, 1,623 Head Constables and 10,658 Constables from among the Scheduled Castes in Punjab Police as on January 1, 2002, putting up the total representation to 13,288.

The total strength of Punjab Police was 71,094 when the report was compiled. In order to meet the minimum representation of 25 per cent reservation for Scheduled Castes approved by the government, their total strength should have been 17,774.

The state government needs to recruit at least 4,486 police personnel in various categories to bridge the gap. The Scheduled Castes representation in Inspector category was 12.15 per cent, in the SI category 13.3 per cent, ASI category 14.95 per cent, HC category 14.14 per cent and in Constable category 20.6 per cent, when the report was compiled.

In neighbouring Haryana, the representation of Scheduled Castes in the state police was 11.8 per cent as against the required 20 per cent, in accordance with the reservation policy of the state.

In Himachal Pradesh, the situation was a little better as the state police constituted 20.3 per cent of Scheduled Castes as against the requirement of 22 per cent as per the reservation policy of the state.


HVPN gives Rs 6 cr for ring circuit for Panchkula
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 6
Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam (HVPN) has sanctioned a sum of Rs. 6 crore for installing the 66-KV ring main circuit for Panchkula. This system of having alternate transmission lines is being set up for the first time in the region.

Sources in Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) informed TNS that ring main circuit would connect all existing power sub-stations and proposed sub-stations in the district. This would ensure an alternate transmission system for supplying power in the district, in case one of the high tension (HT) transmission lines developed a snag.

The UHBVN authorities here had already submitted a proposal to the HVPN for installing this ring main circuit, joining the 220-KV Ramgarh-Madanpur sub-station to the 132-KV Pinjore sub-station and the 66-KV line from Dhulkot, forming a ring.

Sources said that work on laying the towers for forming this ring main was likely to begin during this summer, so that the circuit could be made operational by the end of this year.

This new circuit would be erected at a circular distance of about 25 km. The towers would be erected enroute Madanpur from Pinjore. Sources said that because these HT transmission lines would pass through the Army cantonment area in Chandimandir, they would also require permission from the Ministry of Defence.

The power to the township was provided through two main sources— a 132-KV sub-station at Pinjore, which got power supply through the Central pool from the Ropar Thermal Power Plant; and the 220-KV sub-station at Ramgarh-Madanpur, which got its supply from the 400-KV sub-station of National Hydro Power Corporation ( NHPC) at Abdullapur in Jagadhari through Shahabad.

Meanwhile, the township would have surplus power to meet any rise in demand during the peak summer, with at least 32 MVA increase in power supply transmission for the township and 48 MVA increase in supply for the district.

With the 66/ 11 KV sub-station at Mansa Devi Complex having already been energised and another 66/ 11 KV sub-stations in Sector 3 likely to be commissioned by July, the power supply transmission in the township would be increased by about 30 MVA against the existing demand of over 70 MVA for the township. Another 66/11KV sub-station at Kalka was likely to be energised by June, which would increase the supply in the district by another 16 MVA.

Thus the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) authorities would have power supply transmission of about 160 MVA in the district, as compared to the total demand of about 120 MVA for the district. There was one 220/66 KV sub-station at Madanpur village and two 66/11 KV sub-stations in Sector 1 and Industrial Area Phase II for almost 50,000 consumers ( domestic, industrial and commercial).

The UHBVN would also install at least 11 new feeders in different parts of the district in order to do away with the problem of voltage fluctuation.


Militants regrouping, says Gen Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
“Today internal security is one of the biggest problem and post-Iraq war India stands the risk of an increase in militant activities and infiltration across the border as radical Islamic forces are already reorganising themselves to create instability,” remarked Gen V.N. Malik, former Chief of Army Staff.

Gen Malik, who was speaking on “National Security Challenges and Iraq” at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, here yesterday said the Iraq war could have grim ramifications on India. “Intelligence reports are already indicating that militant outfits like Al Qaida and Taliban are regrouping themselves in Afghanistan and the possibility of radical Islamists doing the same on the North West Frontier and Baluchistan side cannot be ruled out,” he observed.

Gen Malik said contrary to American expectations that conquering Iraq would be a cakewalk, the war will go on for a much longer period proving to be a ‘ pyric ‘ victory. “I do not wish to comment if US forces will succeed in nabbing Saddam Hussein but the fall of the government headed by him is imminent,” he said in reply to a question.

While observing that US policy and military assessment on Iraq had proved to be faulty, he felt that a slight pause in the war would not just help the coalition forces in regrouping but also reduce the number of casualties on both sides. “ The United Nations will have to play an active role in reconstruction of Iraq as the USA will definitely not pay for this task,” he opined.

He said the USA had launched attack on Iraq in a hurry so as to avoid mounting international and internal pressure. He said factors like wrong intelligence,Turkey being taken for granted, hostile climactic conditions and over dependence on technology had made the task tougher for the coalition forces.

“War with Pakistan is possible at any stage, because the moment proxy war becomes unbearable for India they will launch an attack,” he opined. Terming Pakistan as a troublesome neighbour, he said it was not Pakistan or its people which were India’s enemy but its army, which keeps finding excuses to rule the country.

While stressing the need for political consensus, Gen Malik felt internal security of the country was a cause for worry as it could make the country hollow. He added mass migrations, growing population, environmental security, political nexus with crime and insurgency, weak governance and corruption were some of the areas of concern.


Save Sukhna

City Beautiful's most prominent water feature, Sukhna Lake, is in danger. Relentless silting over the years has drastically reduced its capacity. Unless the trend is reversed, it is only a matter of time before the lake dries up. The UT Administration has tried one method after another to save it: afforestation and check-dams in the catchment areas of the lake, mechanical desilting operations as also through kar seva. After toying with the idea of wet-dredging, the Administration has now settled for raising the crest level of the radial gates of the Regulator in a bid to increase its depth. But there is a difference of opinion among experts as well as people as to whether this is the best method to save it.

Readers of Chandigarh Tribune are invited to send in their views not exceeding 150 words on the subject along with a passport size colour photo for publication in the newspaper to: Save Sukhna Lake, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29-C, Chandigarh.


Poppy husk seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 6
In two separate cases, the Chandigarh Police seized 7 kg of poppy husk and 340 gram of opium in the city in the past 48 hours. According to the information, Balak Ram,a resident of Rain Majra in Nawanshahr, was arrested with 7 kg of poppy husk from the Sector 43 ISBT.

In another case, Ravinder Pal Singh, a resident of Pandri Jatan in Ferozepore village, was arrested with 340 gram of opium from traffic junction of Sectors 14 and 15.

Gold chain snatched

Mr Amarjit Kaur, a resident of Sector 37, reported that two unknown scooter-borne youths snatched her gold chain in the residential area of Sector 37 last night. The woman was going home after attending a marriage ceremony.

Computer stolen

Mr Sanjeev Sharma, an employee of Haryana Rural Development Board, reported that his computer was stolen from the Sector 28 office of the board.

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