C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


CBSE cancels results of 21 in answersheet scam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) has cancelled the results of 21 students of Class XII in a year-old case of tampering with answer sheets. Last year, the Chandigarh Police had found that the students had paid money to members of an organised gang to improve their performance.

The students had made fresh entries in their answer books, smuggled out of the Board’s secrecy centre at a local school. A case of forgery with an intention to cheat, using as genuine a forged document and criminal conspiracy was registered by the police. The chargesheet in the case has already been filed in a local court.

The Board’s decision to cancel the results of the students came following a petition filed by two of the students before the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking a direction to the board to declare their results as their career was at stake. The court had directed the CBSE to decide on the plea of the students.

Sources in the Board said the students had been barred from appearing in the annual examination for two years. This means they can appear in the next year’s annual examination. Information regarding the Board’s decision has been conveyed to the students.

The gang members used to lure students to improve their performance in the papers they did not fare well.

A student was asked to shell out Rs 15,000 to 20,000 for each answer sheet. The men of the contractor used to smuggle out answer sheets and give it to the students concerned. The student would fill the right information during the night and by next day the answer sheet was put back in the record. Most of the men employed by the contractor were daily wagers.

The students were of seven different schools. One of them was a private candidate.

Meanwhile, this year the regional office of the Board here has restructured the entire mechanism that goes into the storing and encoding of the answer books. It was decided that the secrecy centre, the place where the answer books were stored before being decoded, will not be in the same city every year.

When this case was detected last year, a city school had been functioning as the secrecy centre for seven continuous years. This year, a vehicle with specially fabricated chamber would be used for transporting answer books to the secrecy centre, it was stated.


Monsoon arrives with a bang
Trees uprooted; power supply hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The monsoon has arrived with a literal thump. The heavy rains and high-velocity winds that lashed the city and its adjoining areas late last night left their mark on city roads in the form of uprooted trees. Traffic was blocked due to the uprooting of trees at several locations like the Zirakpur road and the road facing the Sector 27 market area. At certain places like Sector 33 and 45, electricity cables were thrown haywire, disrupting power supply.

Met officials said wind velocity of 93 km per hour was the triggering factor behind the mess. Winds blew in the north-west direction. Such was the impact of the squall that sewerage pipes in Sector 19-C were ripped apart and water remained blocked in the market area for the whole day. Two attempts to repair the fault were in vain.

Chandigarh recorded a rainfall of 44.6 mm today. Adjoining Panchkula had about 9 mm of rainfall, while Kalka recorded 15 mm of rainfall. The dip in temperature was significant with the maximum temperature being 33.4º and the minimum 22º. Humidity levels were also high with 98 per cent being the higher limit.

While giving the forecast, weather officials said the sky would be partly clouded tomorrow and there would be a possibility of thunderous development. They did not predict rain for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, several areas of the city were without power for more than six hours last night as the city’s internal power distribution system could not bear the onslaught of the harsh winds in the storm.

The power supply was initially switched off as a precautionary measure when the storm started. The same was restored within 15 minutes when the high speed winds subsided.

However, in certain parts of Sector 30, Sector 46 , Sector 29, power supply could not be restored as faults developed. In Sector 30, the supply was restored in the morning. In parts of Sector 32, there was a breakdown in the morning.


PEC graduate’s quest for alternative fuel
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
City scientist Harpreet Singh, now settled in the US, is zipping up the fast track of research. He, along with other scientists, are engrossed in preparing alternative fuel. If things go their way, the fuel will be available in another five to seven years. It will not only be economical, but will result in pollution free emission.

Theoretically speaking, the process of preparing fuel cells is not so complicated — at least this is what Punjab Engineering College’s former student Harpreet Singh says. “Energy is released when you combine hydrogen with oxygen for producing water,” explains the 25-year-old scientist doing research in University of Nevada Reno.

The energy so generated can be used as electrical energy, he says. “In fact, hydro-thermal plants, besides auxiliary power units, in the US are already using the process. The efficiency is more than 70 per cent”.

The problem, however, is that the electrolyte required for combining Hydrogen with Oxygen has to be heated between 900 and 1000 degree centigrade. “Now the temperature has to be lowered to 400 degree centigrade for enabling us to use the energy for driving vehicles”.

Giving details of the research being undertake by his team, he says, “We are currently using nano particles to prepare a thin film solid electrolyte which will require low temperature”.

He says, “The biggest challenge before us is how to achieve smaller nano particles and keep them small even after the electrolyte is heated”. Regarding nano particles, he asserts, “The research involving these particles is still in the stage of infancy. Actually `nano’ is a unit of measure. A substance of human hair width can accommodate between 10,000 and 1 lakh nano particles”.

Once the scientist achieve success in the field of nano particles, they will be able to produce not only the required electrolyte, but also material with high strength having zero porosity.

A graduate in Metallurgy from PEC, Harpreet Singh has already been conferred first position in a poster competition by American Ceramics Society, University of California.

He was also presented with another award by his own University. Acknowledging his contribution in the field, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has also invited him to do research.


PGI officials ‘come to blows’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The PGI Deputy Director Administration (DDA), Ms Meeta Rajiv Lochhan, and the Law Officer, Mr Tejinder Singh Bagga, allegedly assaulted each other today after arguing over the routing of official files to the PGI Director’s office.

Acting on the complaint filed by the DDA against the Law Officer, the police has registered a case under Sections 353 and 332 of the IPC against Mr Bagga for allegedly assaulting a public servant. The police, however, is verifying the allegations of Mr Bagga, who said the woman officer had hurled abuses at him and also threw a missile at him. The police has not yet arrested Mr Bagga, as his complaint is pending.

Sources said the row started at around 10.30 am when Ms Meeta Rajiv Lochhan called Mr Bagga in her office, asking him to route official files to the PGI Director’s office through her.

Mr Bagga is learnt to have objected to this. Later, the two officials argued and allegedly assaulted each other.

Ms Meeta Rajiv Lochhan alleged that it was the Law Officer who tried to hit her with a pen-stand after they had an altercation. She alleged that the pen-stand landed on the glass table, which broke resulting in scratches on her hand.

Mr Bagga complained to the police that when he was called by the DDA in her office around 10.30 a.m., there was an argument over the files to be sent to the Director. He alleged that Ms Meeta Rajiv Lochhan then tried to hit him with a bell which missed him, but then picked up a paper weight, which slipped from her hand and hit the glass table. Her hand was then scratched. Mr Bagga also alleged in his complaint that the DDA used highly abusive language against him.

Both officials could not be contacted for comment till late evening. The employees union has, meanwhile, separately written to the PGI Director Prof K.K. Talwar against Ms Meeta Rajiv Lochhan and favoured Mr Bagga in the incident. The employees union has demanded the repatriation of the DDA to her parent cadre.

The PGI authorities said they would inquire into the matter independently.



Decide Sahgal case in 7 days, GCM told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The Delhi High Court has directed the General Court Martial (GCM) trying Col Anil Sahgal on charges of corruption in the Tehelka case to take a decision within seven days on the accused’s plea that his GCM be adjourned in the wake of the decision of another GCM trying Major-.Gen P.S.K. Choudhary on similar charges in the same case that the case has become time-barred for trial.

Stating this before the GCM at Chandimandir today, Colonel Sahgal also pleaded that a decision on his application for adjournment be taken before any other court proceedings are commenced. Colonel Sahgal had petitioned the high court that his case had become time-barred for trial. The high court has fixed July 28 as the next date of hearing in the case.

The decision of General Choudhary’s case has been sent to the Army Chief for confirmation. Maintaining that there could not be an inequality of decisions in the same matter and same cause of action, Colonel Sahgal had submitted an application on July 7 that his plea in bar and special plea to jurisdiction be heard once again.

In his reply to the accused’s application, prosecution counsel, Mr Arvind Moudgil stated that the plea has already been raised at the appropriate stage of the trial and overruled by the court. He added that the accused is not a co-accused with General Choudhary and the acts of omission and commission and the offence committed by the accused are different.

The prosecution counsel said while General Choudhary was suspended in the immediate aftermath of the Tehelka tapes being publically aired, no such action was taken against the accused and the accused at no stage accepted his guilt.

The only course of action thus available was to investigate the matter and the competent authority took cognizance of the matter on June 14, 2001 when the findings of the court of inquiry were finalised.

The period of limitation, therefore, commenced from this date and the case is not time-barred as contended by the accused, the prosecution maintained.

Stating that there is no reasonable similarity whatsoever between the two cases, the prosecution counsel maintained that the application was a deliberate attempt to hamper and delay the GCM proceedings.

The accused sought time from the court for his counsel to file reply. The court observed that the defence counsel is not available on various occasions for the GCM proceedings.


Protest marks demolition in slum
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
A team of the Chandigarh Administration today got vacated prime land worth crores from illegal occupation of slum dwellers in colony number IV, Industrial Area, Phase 1, here.

The lands was acquired by the Administration more than two decades ago and were required for building an approach road to a resettlement colony.

Bulldozers removed illegal encroachments by slum dwellers. As encroachments were being removed, residents burnt an effigy of local MP Pawan Bansal to mark their protest.

Meanwhile, the team of the Administration restricted itself to the area that had been acquired. None of the families removed was eligible for rehabilitation.

About 25 structures were removed during the operation.


PTL staff bus rams into power transformers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 9
Twenty-five employees of Punjab Tractors Limited, Mohali, had a providential escape when a bus ferrying them to the factory ran into two electricity transformers this morning.

The incident took place around 5.30 am on the road separating Sectors 12 and 12-A. The bus (PB- 12F- 7465) had been hired by the PTL for ferrying its employees. The visibility was poor because of the heavy downpour when the incident took place.

A car reportedly came on the wrong side of the road and while trying to avoid running into the car, the bus driver swirled the steering wheel and the bus went across the divider on the other side of the road.

As the driver tried to control the bus, it ran into two transformers and three electricity poles, before it ran off the road and hit the boundary wall of a house in Sector 12. Luckily, all employees in the bus were safe, though some of them suffered minor bruises.

Dr Kanwaljit, owner of the house where the bus had hit the boundary wall, said he heard a loud crashing noise and as he came out, he noticed that a bus had rammed into the boundary wall of his house. “Since there are a lot of bushes and trees outside the house, they decreased the impact of the crash and no damage was done,” he said.

Some people gathered at the spot. Mr Sajjan Singh of Sector 12-A, ushered the shaken passengers of the bus to his house. The employees, who were going for the morning shift to the factory, informed their office and another bus was sent to ferry them to the office.

As a result of the damage to the transformer and the electricity poles, the power supply in Sector 12 and Railly village was affected. The power was restored around 2.30 pm. However, Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) officials said the department had suffered losses worth lakhs because of the damage.

An FIR was registered against the driver of the bus, Punjab Tractors Limited and owners of the bus, New Maggu Tourist Company, following a complaint by the UHBVN authorities on the charge of causing damage to public property.


Villagers allege wire theft by power staff
Tribune News Service

A scrap dealer of Faidan village (near Sector 47) who was arrested on a charge of buying stolen cables in Chandigarh
A scrap dealer of Faidan village (near Sector 47) who was arrested on a charge of buying stolen cables in Chandigarh on Friday. — Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, July 9
Agitated residents of Jhumru village, near Sector 47, today got around six metres of stolen wire recovered from a scrap dealer who had allegedly bought it from three unidentified Electricity Department employees only an hour before.

The scrap dealer, Sushil Kumar was arrested.

The villagers alleged that they had lodged a complaint regarding disruption in the power supply. Three employees of the department came to rectify the supply line. They removed old wires saying that these would be replaced with new ones. The villagers alleged that the employees allegedly sold the wire to the scrap dealer and when the people gathered to protest it, they fled the scene.

The area councillor, Mr Jatinder Bhatia, and the Sector 47 Residents Welfare Association president, Mr Ramesh Tayal, said the people had told him that the wire was sold for Rs 336 to the dealer by the employees.

The wire theft in the name of repairing the supply lines was first noticed by a councillor of Mohali who informed the matter to the media and villagers.

A large number of villagers gathered to protest against the erratic power supply in the area and alleged theft of wire.

As situation became tense, the SHO of the Sector 31 police station, Mr Ram Gopal, reached the spot. He rang up the Sub-Divisional Officer of the Electricity Department of the area to bring the matter to his notice. However, the people continued their protest forcing the police and Electricity Department officials to bring all employees of the department to the site and parade them to identify the three persons who had allegedly stolen the wire.

The people alleged that there had been no electricity supply in the village for the past two days and numerous complaints to the department had fallen on deaf ears.

The department later resumed supply to the village to pacify the agitators but it again failed in the evening.

Meanwhile, an identification parade of employees of the Electricity Department of that area was held but the erring employees could not be found.


Power upgrade project stalled again
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 9
Just as Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) officials were about to install a second 100-MVA transformer at the Ramgarh- Madanpur sub-station, the existing transformer developed a technical snag. This led to a major setback to the authorities, who were planning to upgrade power transmission system by installing the new transformer.

Officials say they noticed a “hot spot formation” (heating effect in the transformer) last morning, while the new transformer was in the process of being commissioned. The transformer was then switched off, and the load of Panchkula, Barwala and adjoining villages was shifted on the 132 KV sub-station at Pinjore. Had the problem not been identified and load shifted, it could have led to a blast in the transformer, they add.

As a result, the township, Barwala and the villages fed through this transformer had to bear with rotational power cuts of 30 minutes each till the wee hours of the morning, when the new transformer was commissioned today. This was done because the Pinjore sub-station could not take the entire load for Panchkula and Barwala.

Officials say that they had proposed to have two 100-MVA transformers here to bifurcate the load for Panchkula and the rural areas.

Earlier, when the authorities concerned had proposed to set up a second transformer, and the new transformer for Ramgarh sub-station was on its way in December, 2002, the transformer here had been destroyed in a fire.

Later, a second transformer was ordered and with its commissioning yesterday, the old transformer has been rendered redundant. Officials say the transformer will now be sent for repairs and the project for bifurcating load on the transformers has been stalled yet again.

Meanwhile, a spokesman of the UHBVN said the nigam had commissioned a 33-KV sub-station at Khanpur Kalan in Sonepat district at a cost of Rs.1.26 crore under ‘Accelerated power development and reforms programme’.

The Haryana Government had spent a sum of Rs .615.99 crore on commissioning of 90 sub-stations, augmenting the capacity of 277 existing sub-stations and erecting a total length of 1375.8 km of transmission lines under the programme in the state during the past four-and-a-half years, he said.

The Haryana Power Utilities had commissioned a 132-KV sub-station at Dhamtan Sahab, 66-KV sub-stations at Yara and Sector 3, Panchkula and a 33-KV sub-station at Butana, the spokesman said.


Panchkula Diary
Doctors arriving late not allowed to mark presence
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 9
A three-member team of the Administrative Reforms Department today carried a surprise check at the General Hospital, Sector 6. As many as three doctors were not present at the hospital when the team reached here at 8 am. The doctors arrived 15 minutes late, but the team did not allow them to mark their presence. The team also checked the operation theatres to ascertain if the doctors were operating patients, as was stated by their junior staff.

Vigil against cholera

The district health authorities are keeping a strict vigil to monitor any incidence of cholera in the district. The Civil Surgeon, Dr Satvir Chaudhary, said though the number of diarrhoea cases had shown a slight increase, but there was no danger of an epidemic. He said the Health Department had taken 57 water samples during June 2004, and 2332 water samples were checked for chlorination. Precautions like checking the sale of cut fruits, insanitary conditions in ice cream factories etc. are also being taken, he said.

Cultural function

A cultural evening, Shaam-e-ghazal, was organised by Kala Chetna Manch at The Gurukul, Sector 20 today. Noted ghazal singers, Shamim Iqbal of Malerkotla and Nanak Shah and Manak Ali of the Patiala gharana enthralled the audience with their ghazals. The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neelam P Kasni, was the chief guest.


Labourer dies of excessive drinking
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
A migrant labour died last night in Hallomajra of excessive drinking.

His body was recovered from near the gurdwara of the village.

He has been identified as Sadashiv of Puri district in Orissa. Sadashiv had come to see his friends Praveen and Sharad in Hallomajra. But according to the police, he did not reach them last night. His friends told the police that Sadashiv usually indulged in excessive drinking.

The police has informed the family of Sadavshiv in Puri. His body has been sent for post-mortem and viscera test will also be done to ascertain the cause of the death.



Train run extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
The Northern Railways has extended the run of the 0403/0404 New Delhi-Jammu Tawi-New Delhi summer special train till August 15.

It would run on all days, except Friday. Earlier, the train was scheduled to run till July 30 only. The train 0404 would undertake the return journey. Earlier, its last run was scheduled on July 31, but now it would be on August 16. It would run on all days, except Saturday.

The train 0403 will depart from New Delhi at 8.30 pm to reach Jammu Tawi at 6.10 am the next day. On the return journey, the train 0404 will depart from Jammu Tawi at 8.30 pm to reach New Delhi at 6.40 am the next day.


Lecture on human values for cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , July 9
Ill-gotten money and materialistic possessions could not be enjoyed as those who hanker after these, generally get inflicted by diseases.

This was told to a gathering of police personnel, including IG Rajesh Kumar, SSP (headquarters) Virender Singh Chahal, SSP Gaurav Yadav, SP (Operation) H.G.S. Dhaliwal, DSP B.D. Bector and DSP Om Prakash, at the Recruits Training Centre (RTC) in Sector 26 here today.

Acharya Navneet, a Navel architect from IIT Khragpur, delivered a lecture at the RTC dwelling at length on good human values.

Acharya Navneet runs Bharat Sewa Abhiyan and a hostel at Dhanas in Chandigarh.



Trekking expedition flagged off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Mr Harminder Singh Jassi, Chairman, Punjab Markfed, flagged off a 16-day high-altitude trekking expedition of the Punjab State Hiking and Trekking Association here today.

The nine-member team will start trekking from Manikaran, Himachal Pradesh. It will cover snow-clad treks, glaciers, high passes. After covering about 250 km and crossing 17,500 feet Pin Parbati pass on the 10th day, it will reach Kaza in Spiti valley.


Mystery shrouds death of woman
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 9
Mystery shrouds the death of a 20-year-old woman, Raksha Devi, at the General Hospital here. The woman was brought to the hospital by her husband and her in-laws from village Tibbi, near Ramgar, this morning. She was reportedly gasping for breath and complained of a severe stomach ache, and within half an hour of reaching the hospital, she died.

House burgled

The house of Dr Anil Kaushal, accused of conducting an illegal medical termination pregnancy by the health authorities, was burgled by unknown miscreants last night. The house is locked and whereabouts of the owners are not known for the past couple of days, since Dr Kaushal was booked by the police. The neighbours found the doors of the house open this morning and informed the police. On reaching there, the police found the house ransacked.

Buffaloes electrocuted

Two buffaloes, who had been left in the open to graze, died of electrocution on the road separating Sector 14 and 12- A this morning. It is learnt that Mamraj, a resident of Railly village had let off his buffaloes to graze, around 5. 30 this morning. The animals reportedly touched an open junction box of the street lights while grazing and died of electrocution.


Booked for presenting fake currency to RBI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
An employee of the Jalandhar-based Ess Ess Pharmaceuticals has been booked for allegedly supplying fake currency notes to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

A case under Sections 489-A and 489-E of the IPC has been registered against the company’s employee Satpal, who allegedly gave the Chandigarh branch of the RBI fake currency notes of Rs 1,950.

The case was registered at the Sector 17 police station on the complaint of the Assistant General Manager of the RBI, Mr B.K. Katoch.

Satpal had allegedly brought old and torn notes to the RBI for exchanging these with new ones. There were 50 notes of Re 1 denomination, 14 of Rs 100 and one of Rs 500.

It is yet not known as to if the notes were part of a bigger amount or only these were sent to the RBI for exchange.

No arrest has been made so far.


Jewellery stolen from car
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, July 9
One movie camera, one gold kitty set, six bangles and two ‘karas’ were stolen from a car parked on the roundabout of Sector 38 and 40 yesterday. Rajiv Chadha of Sector 40 complained that his car had to be left at the roundabout as its tube went flat. When he came back, he noticed that somebody had broken one of the window panes of the car to take out a bag containing his belongings.



Market not clear on prices of PCs, cellphones
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
Even as Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announces 16 per cent exemption on excise duty on computers and a reduction in the excise duty on the components of mobile handsets, the market is not clear as to what exactly will be the fall in the prices of computers and mobile handsets.

While the consumers keen on buying these products are waiting for the new revised prices following Budget announcements, those dealing with the sale of these goods recorded no sales today. People just poured in to enquire if the prices had come down and if so by how much. One thing is sure that price reduction will make desktops and portable computers more affordable.

Sanjay of Paras Electronics, Sector 35, says that prices of mobile handsets may not come down as excise duty on components has been reduced and not the customs duty. “Since most of the components were being imported from other countries, the fall in prices, if any would be very nominal,’’ he said, adding that, however, what will be its effect on the domestic market remains to be seen.

On the other hand, prices of black and white television sets, which still have a major market share in the rural areas of the region, will also not increase much and would vary from Rs 50-100 on various models. However, with an increase in the excise duty rate on steel from 8 to 12 per cent, prices of refrigerators and air-conditioners may go up by Rs 500 in the coming week. The prices of steel, copper have been going up constantly for the past six months.

Mr Avinash, a computer dealer said,” Exemption of excise duty will make computers cheaper by Rs 2,000 or 3,000. A domestic P-4 desktop computer with a 15 inch colour monitor costing around Rs 23,000 will come down to less than Rs 21,000. However, the prices may vary depending on whether the computers are imported or integrated locally.

Mr Madan Mehta of Alfa Electronics is of the view that a complete waiver of excise duty will result in a definite drop in the PC prices by 10 per cent. The prices of branded computers of companies like Compaq, HP, HCL, Zenith may just fall by Rs 1,000 or 1,500 in this case.

Another dealer of home electronics says a reduction in the excise duty on cathode ray tube used in plasma televisions will bring down the prices of these television sets and create more demand for them. However, the prices of most of the other colour television sets and audio sets will remain unchanged as in general their prices keep going down when their volume of sales picks up.


Students opt for vocational courses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9
There is a high demand for vocational courses in IT, ophthalmology, lab technician and electronics, during admissions to Class XI in government schools.

An indicative of the trend was visible on the sixth day of the counselling at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 23, here today. All seats in electronics and ophthalmology at GMSSS, Sector 23, and GMSSS, Sector 32, were filled at cut-off percentage of 52.2 and 51.8, respectively.

The cut-off percentage for the IT seats was GMSSS, Sector 18 (55.6), GMSSS, Sector 23 (55.4) and GMSSS, Sector 37 (55). Yesterday, the cut-off percentage for courses in lab technician, hotel management and X-ray technician was 60.4, 56 and 60, respectively.

Today, all seats in the science and commerce stream were filled. The last school to fill the science seats was Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Sector 8 with a cut-off percentage of 50.6.

In the arts stream, the cut off percentage for GMSSS, Sector 37, was 50.

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