Wednesday, May 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Burail’s ‘blue-eyed’ prisoners
Judge Gupta, Home Secy Jain among top VIP inmates

Chandigarh, May 20
The arrival of suspended Jalandhar District and Sessions Judge R.M. Gupta has certainly added an element of charm to the otherwise-humdrum Burail Model Jail, which has become a major centre of attraction due to the presence of ‘VIP prisoners’ here. At present a total of 470 inmates, including female inmates, are lodged in the Burail jail.

With the lodging of R.M. Gupta in the jail, not only are the inmates finding life exciting, but even the organisational staff is on its toes, and for reasons not far to seek. This is the first time in the history of the jail that a judicial official of such a high stature is being incarcerated. There have been VIPs on the list of the jail’s inmates but the equation with the arrival of R.M. Gupta stands altered hugely, because it is also for the first time that the jail is playing host to VIPs from all conceivable strata of society.

The VIPs who are lodged in the jail at present, include suspended Jalandhar District and Sessions Judge, former UT Home Secretary N.K. Jain, eight directors of Golden Forests Limited, including its Managing Director, R.K. Syal, Chartered Accountant, N.K. Garg, and many police personnel.

Another interesting aspect of the presence of VIPs at Burail is that the jail staff is making clear-cut provisional distinctions, depending on the social background of the VIP in question. So the two top-level VIPs — the suspended Jalandhar District and Sessions Judge R.M. Gupta and UT Home Secretary N.K. Jain — have been ensured luxuries. They have both been lodged in the same barrack and have been sharing similar facilities. Incidentally, both of them are being represented by the same counsel in different cases pending against them in a local court.

R.M. Gupta is sharing the barrack with three others, including former UT Home Secretary N.K. Jain and two BSF officials. They have access to all top-grade facilities — they can order food of their choice, can avail of a servant’s help; have a bodyguard for security purposes, besides having special security personnel deployed outside the barrack.

A case against R.M. Gupta was registered by the CBI, Chandigarh, on May 9, 2003 under Section 120-B, IPC, and under some sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act on the basis of a written complaint lodged against him by Gurvinder Singh Samra. Later, Gupta was arrested by the CBI for his alleged involvement in a corruption case on May 10.

N.K. Jain is lodged in the jail at present for his alleged involvement in the infamous Shimla girl rape case.

Others who have been provided B class facilities include Managing Director of Golden Forests Limited, R.K. Syal, who has been lodged in the jail for his alleged involvement in a number of cases of cheque bounce, cheating and forgery; and Chartered Accountant N.K. Garg, who was arrested by the UT police for his alleged involvement in connection with a scam related to income tax returns on the basis of fake TDS certificates.

The Superintendent of Model Burail Jail, Mr D.S. Rana, informed that inmates were lodged in different barracks in the jail according to their background. Senior officials are always lodged in same barrack to avoid any confrontation with other habitual offenders. Talking about R.M. Gupta, Mr Rana added that since he had served many years in judiciary therefore in order to avoid any dispute with other inmates one security guard had been provided for his safety. 


We have done it without tuitions’
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 20
No to tuitions. This could well be the new mantra for all those who are in school and vying for the top positions in their examinations. At least this is what almost every topper of the ICSE Class X and ISC Class XII examinations said. Sure of what they want in the future down to the nitty-gritty details, the toppers this year are a very confident lot.

“I want to be nothing but an orthodontist,” said Brahmleen, the 95 per cent from Yadavindra Public School, SAS Nagar, who is also sharing the top position in the city. “You’ll be surprised at the amount of physics and art that goes into being an orthodontist and both these I am interested in. So its medical stream for me in Class XI,” she pointed out. Brahmleen also said she had achieved her position in school and the city without any tuitions. “No tuitions are required and in fact whatever the school gives as notes, it is good enough. I have studied whenever I could. If I had time during the day I would study but most of the times I studied at night. Then it is more peaceful.” she said. Daughter of a doctor-mother and an engineer-father, Brahmleen is all set to make a mark in the field of dentistry.

Similarly, for Tavpraneet Singh, her classfellow at school, who has stood second in the school and among the top 10 in the city with 93.4 per cent, tuitions were a big no. “I have always studied at home and concentrated on the matter provided by the school. Moreover, this time I appeared in the exams with a cool mind and that is what worked.” And what does he want to take up in the future? “Engineering. My Father is a Manager and my mother is a banker, but I want to become an engineer.”

Interestingly, one of the toppers Abhinav Goel, son of a lawyer Sudarshan Goel based in the city, said that he wanted to join politics. “I want to take up law and join politics if I can.” And again he has been able to achieve this position without any tuitions.

“I did take tuitions in computers and that too for programming, but as far as the rest of the subjects are concerned, no tuitions were required. Moreover, the tuitions I took were a value addition only” said Arjun Singh Channi, another topper. Preparing to take up medical Arjun said his parents have been his biggest support all through.

Simar Grewal, another YPS student, is the city’s over all topper in the Class XII, ISC examinations. With commerce stream, for her it is going to be commerce only. “I want to join the Sri Ram College of Commerce in New Delhi and with these marks I will simply breeze through. I am thrilled. Its been my ambition to be there and I have achieved it.” Miss YPS 2003, Simar seems to be a perfect combination of beauty and brains. “I have had immense help from my teachers in school to have been able to achieve what I have today.”

22 St Stephen’s students score above 90 pc
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
In what could be termed as a highly commendable performance in examination for any city, local schools reported 98.5 per cent result in the Class X examination conducted by the Council for Indian Certificate for Secondary Education (ICSE), the results of which were declared last evening.

A total of 935 students from eight schools in Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar had appeared in the examination conducted in March, out of which only 14 candidates were unsuccessful.

“Feedback from principals shows that the performance of students has improved vis-a-vis last year,” Mr Harold Carver, convener of the ICSE schools in Chandigarh told Chandigarh Tribune. “The number of students scoring marks above 90 per cent has gone up, while the number of failures has gone down,” he added. Notably, students have shown a marked improvement in Hindi and science.

A number of factors can be attributed to better academic performance. The abilities of the students, parental care and control, work performance of students and teaching methodology adopted by schools are among the factors that have had a direct impact on students’ performance.

As per figures available, all 245 students of St Stephen’s School who appeared in the examination passed, with 22 students scoring 90 per cent and above marks. Thirteen students out of the 85 students from St Kabir Public School scored 90 per cent and above, while 36 scored between 80 and 90 per cent marks.

Tender Heart School fielded 29 students, out of which two scored 90 per cent marks, while 10 students out of the 83 students from Little Flower Convent scored above 90 per cent.

Of the 70 students who appeared from St Joseph’s School, only one student managed to score above 90 per cent marks. At Yadvindra Public School, three students out of 119 scored above 90 per cent.

All the above mentioned schools reported 100 per cent result.

At St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School where 298 students appeared — the largest number in Chandigarh — five students scored 90 per cent and above marks. However, 13 students from the school were unable to pass. Six students from Minerva Public School, Daon (Ropar) took the examination, out of which five were successful.

“Earlier we used to judge a school’s performance by the number of students scoring 80 per cent and above marks. Now it is 90 per cent and above marks,” a local school teacher commented.Back


Traders down shutters at furniture market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Shopkeepers at the furniture market of Sector 34 here today downed shutters after the enforcement staff of the Municipal Corporation removed encroachment from the corridors in front of the shops.

As soon as the enforcement staff, led by Tehsildar Bhagwan Dass Bishnoi and a large posse of police personnel, descended on the market and started removing encroachments, around 500 workers and 150 shopkeepers downed shutters and staged a day-long dharna.

The market remained closed throughout the day. At a meeting of the Furniture Market Welfare Association, it was decided to keep the market open tomorrow. The traders said if the “repressive” measures of the enforcement staff continued they would be forced to close the shops for an indefinite period. Chairman of the association Sewa Singh Rait said the traders would launch an agitation soon against the alleged attempt by the authorities to finish the business in the market.

Mr Rait said the furniture business could not run without polishing work in the sunlight, a fact which had been recognised by the previous Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), and officials a number of times verbally during the past 30 years.

The agitating traders said the MC staff had been issuing either challans or impounding their furniture for the past one week. They said two truckloads of material was picked up today after four truckloads of the material had been lifted yesterday.

Mr Rait claimed that some traders were issued challans thrice by the MC staff today.

The traders here suspected that the drive, taking advantage of the new Administrator’s direction against encroachment, had been launched at the behest of the “khokha” market in Sector 40 on the Madanpura road.

They alleged that while the Chandigarh Administration had recently started giving electricity connections to the “khokha” market shopkeepers, ignoring the fire safety norms, the rightful allottees were being made to suffer in Sector 34.

The traders said though the MC staff had recently allowed them to use two feet of verandah space in front of the shops, they failed to keep their promise today.

They alleged that even the policemen accompanying the staff engaged themselves in removing the furniture.

General secretary Ashwani Kumar said the Chandigarh Administration had failed to allow them to use the rooftops for the purpose despite an assurance in this regard earlier. He said allotments of shops were done in the category of small-scale industries, in which activity in the open must be allowed.

The traders said the layout of the shops was unfit for the trade and if upper floors were not allowed for polishing work and display, it would not be able to run the business properly.


Erratic streetlights a drain on coffers
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Don’t be surprised on seeing streetlights on during the day and off during the night on a number streetlight poles in the city.

It is happening in the city courtesy thefts and snags in about 100 mechanical timers out of a total of around 300. This fault, along with once a quarter mechanical time setting by the linemen, has been proving to be a drain on the Rs 6-crore electricity bill for streetlighting in the city.

The erratic behaviour of the streetlights can be seen in up to 10 to 15 per cent of around 16,500 light points, sources told Chandigarh Tribune.

Apart from the mechanical failure, the problem is aggravated because of the fact that the Municipal Corporation does not have sufficient staff to keep a check on snags. The variation in the timings of the sunset and sunrise over a period of three months, for which time is manually set, has also been leading to lights being switched on and off at odd hours.

The corporation has recently tried to rectify this by using photo sensor-based timers on an experimental basis at 10 points but the entire lot of around 300 timers could not be changed as it required expenditure of about Rs 30 lakh. These sensors automatically switch on the lights as soon as the sunlight fades and switch off these when sun rises.


Mohali resident develops new calendar
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, May 20
A 75-year-old resident of SAS Nagar has developed a new century-wise multi-millennium calendar that is a reformed form of Julian and Gregorian calendars.

Mr Inderjit Singh, who retired as an assistant engineer from the Public Works Department (PWD), has claimed to have removed all errors in both Julian and Gregorian calendars.

The Julian calendar assumed a year to be of 365.25 days, while a year of solar system comprised 365 days with every fourth year as a leap year of 366 days having 29 days in February.

However, the changeover from Julian calendar to Gregorian calendar was effected on September 3, 1752, by re-designating September 3 as September 14, 1752.

Thereafter, from September 14, 1752, the year that was completely divisible by four was said to a leap year with the provision that the ending year of a century be a leap year only if it was completely divisible by 400. Thus 1800 and 1900 were not leap years, but 2000 was a leap year.

Mr Inderjit Singh who has also contributed in developing Nanakshahi calendar told Chandigarh Tribune that the multi-millennium calendar is based on a simple technique.

He said, “The calendar has eight tables and 11 rows, depicting 100 years each, with years being shown in different rows on the basis of that particular century. The corresponding months have to be matched with the year to find an alphabet between A and H. And the corresponding alphabet chart helps you find the day on a particular date.”

“The formatting of the calendar has been done in such a way that the century tables and the month chart fall in one line so that one can easily match the year and the month that fall in the same row,” he said.


Stop demolition of rooms in backyards: BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
BJP councillors Kamla Sharma and Rajesh Gupta here today demanded that the Municipal Corporation and the Chandigarh Administration should immediately halt the demolition of rooms in the backyards of houses in Sectors 21, 37 and 38.

Criticising the two bodies for the recent demolitions in Sectors 21, 37 and 38, they said there was a need for a policy on the issue to regularise the need-based changes in the houses.

The councillors said the demolition should only be carried out after informing the area councillors, the resident welfare association and prominent persons of the area.

Defending the constructions within the house premises, the councillors said the people whose rooms had been demolished had not encroached upon even an inch of the government land. They said the Administration had allowed the need-based changes already.


Miraculous escape
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Two kids had a miraculous escape when a ceiling fan broke away from its mounting and narrowly missed them at the local railway station on Tuesday. One of the children suffered minor injuries as the fan’s blade brushed her cheek. 

The incident took place on Tuesday when a Panchkula resident went to the railway station to see-off his relatives. They were waiting on platform No.1 near the VIP entrance for the Jan Shatabdi train to depart. The five-year-old girl, Mehar Khanna, was rushed to the hospital for first aid. Her three-year-old brother was also standing alongside her.Back


Scribe bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Gurshabada Nand, brother of Dr D.S. Gupt, Education Correspondent of Danik Tribune, died today in Jalandhar. He was 55 and ailing for some time. He is survived by wife, a son and two daughters.

The cremation will take place in Jalandhar tomorrow.Back


Liquor smuggling racket: 4 held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 20
With the arrest of four persons, the crime branch of the police today claimed to have succeeded in unearthing a major inter-state liquor smuggling racket operating from the city. At least 20,000 liquor pouches costing about Rs 2 lakh were seized from their possession.

The four persons allegedly used to purchase pouches from a liquor shop at Palsora here and used to sell it in the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh at higher rates. The vend is owned by Mr Maninder Singh.

As per police sources, acting on a secret information, a trap was laid at the roundabout near Palsora last night and a truck (HR 37 5540) loaded with liquor pouches was intercepted. Balwant Singh and Lakhbir Singh were arrested on the spot and liquor was seized from their possession. Two other accused, Narinder Singh of Panipat district and Brijpal, alias Billu, of Sonepat were arrested from Industrial Area, Phase I, here today.

The registration number of the truck was also found to be fake.


Stolen car recovered
The police has recovered a stolen car which had been taken away at gun point from the owner in Haryana. The thieves, however, managed to escape.

Mr H.S. Bhullar, SP, said in a press note here today that a red Esteem Car had been snatched, along with some cash, from a tehsildar at Raipur Rani in Haryana. The police got information that the thieves were roaming around in the town in the stolen vehicle after changing the number plate.

He said the town was then sealed and checking of Esteem cars conducted. During a nakabandi at PCL Chowk, around 1.30 am, Inspector Pritam Singh noticed that an Esteem car was coming from the Madanpur village side. The police gave the car driver a signal to stop. The driver stopped the vehicle a little distance away from the chowk and fled in the darkness after leaving the car. The police has taken the possession of the car and the hunt for the thieves was on.Back


NRI beaten up, robbed of Rs 35,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Two unidentified motor cycle-borne miscreants today beat up a Canada-based NRI, Mr Ranbir Singh Dhanjal and his wife and looted Rs 35,000, a bounced cheque for Rs 1.75 lakh and some documents relating to a cheating case while they were on their way back home in Sector 36-A from the district courts here, in the evening.

His wife, Mrs Surinder Kaur Dhanjal however, escaped without injuries. She immediately called up the police which took her husband for medical examination in General Hospital, Sector 16. The miscreants fled away from the scene

Mr Dhanjal was in the news last week, as he was cheated of Rs 12 lakh in a property deal relating to a house in Phagwara. The local police had registered a criminal case against four persons following preliminary inquiry by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and arrested Sukhpreet Singh Rana, one of the accused on May 14.

Mr Dhanjal was released from the hospital after preliminary medical care. The victim revealed that the youth who attacked them were in the age group of 20 to 22 years.

The complaint was lodged in police station, Sector 36. It could not be confirmed whether the FIR has been registered or the police was still waiting for the medical report. Back


Protests by trade unions today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The Chandigarh Administration has geared up to deal with any emergency situation arising from massive protests of the trade unions in the city tomorrow. It has imposed restrictions on taking out processions, making speeches, assembly of five or more persons, carrying of lathis in sectors falling in the north of Madhya Marg, from Sector 1 to 12 and Sector 26 in the city.

In a press note, Mr M. Ramsekhar, District Magistrate, has ordered that as an emergency measure, the ban had been imposed for 60 days, from May 21 to July 19.

The timings of these restrictions is significant as all central unions have given a nationwide strike call on May 21, and the employees of public sector banks, insurance companies, the BSNL and state government departments would hold massive protests in city tomorrow.

All branches of public sector banks, insurance companies and other services would remain closed tomorrow as part of the nationwide general strike. The call for the strike has been given by the central trade unions of the country in protest against government’s ‘‘anti-labour policies, privatisation, disinvestment in profit making public sector units and its failure to address the issue of unemployment in the country”.

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