C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ambala-Chandigarh railway line likely to open tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Shambhu, August 8
The Ambala-Chandigarh railway line is likely to open by August 10. Talking to mediapersons at the work site this evening, the Principal Chief Engineer, Northern Railway, Mr J.P. Shukla, said although they had set a new deadline of August 10, they would try to open the railway line by tomorrow evening. “However, we are hopeful that the railway line will be fully operational by August 10,” he said.

Mr Shukla said the piers of bridge No 246 between Dhulkot and Lalru was damaged. “We are going to rebuild the piers so that there is no problem. We are trying to finish the task as early as possible,” he said.

He said yesterday, they had carried out trial runs before it was decided to stop the Shatabdi at Lalru. “First, a trial run was carried out by a light locomotive travelling at 50 kmph. Then, a goods train with empty rakes passed over the bridge. Thereafter, a fully loaded goods train passed over the bridge,” he said.

“Our engineers spotted that the abetment had given way and collapsed. So, the Shatabdi was immediately stopped. We are working round the clock to build new piers,” he said.

Mr Shukla said a massive mobilisation of resources had been carried out to repair the Ambala-Chandigarh railway line and the Ambala-Amritsar railway line. “Right now, 3,000 labourers are working at the damaged sites. Nearly two lakh bags of earth-filling material has already been used. We expect that nearly 60,000 cubic metres of earth-filling material will be required to repair the damage,” he said.

“There are seven major breaches on the Ambala-Amritsar railway line between Shambhu and Ambala city. Besides, there are 24 minor breaches. The longest breach is 80-metre wide and nearly nine metre deep. The longest breach is a challenge since it has a slope on the one side. So, more earth-filling material will be required,” he said.

Mr Shukla said according to a rough estimate, the monetary loss to the Railways due to the damage and the restoration work was to the tune of about Rs 5 crore. This did not include the indirect losses.

He said food was being served by the Railway Mahila Samiti to the labourers working at the site.

The Divisional Railway Manager, Mr Keshav Chandra, said they were hopeful about meeting the deadline for the Ambala-Amritsar railway line and the new deadline of the Ambala-Chandigarh railway line. “We are working hard to ensure that the railway lines become operational at the earliest,” he said.

He said different departments, including the electrical, the mechanical, the commercial, operations, finance, the RPF and the medical were working in tandem. “Till date, about Rs 21 lakh has been refunded to 24,000 passengers,” he said.


10 injured in rain-related mishaps
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 8
Ten persons were injured in accidents because of poor visibility on roads during morning showers today.

Five persons were injured when the autorickshaw (HR-68-1562) they were travelling in ran into a truck (HP-24-3611) while taking a left hand turn near Amartex Chowk. Luckily, three other passengers in this autorickshaw escaped unhurt. Since it was raining heavily, the autorickshaw driver, Ram Kumar, could not see the truck coming on the other side and the collision took place.

Dinesh Sharma, his wife Parveen, Mehsar, her seven-year-old daughter Nazia and brother Mohammad Ayub, sustained injuries in the accident. The driver of the autorickshaw, Ram Kumar, too, received minor injuries. The police arrested the truck driver, Hira Pal, and begun investigations.

In another accident near Chandi Mandir, two youths, Ramesh and Harinder, were seriously injured when their motor cycle was hit by an unidentified vehicle, around 11 am today. The motor cycle skidded on the road and the duo sustained multiple fractures. They were rushed to General Hospital, Panchkula, from where they were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh.

Parminder and his wife Neetu were injured when their motor cycle skidded on the wet and slippery road near Barwala this morning. The accident happened when Parminder barely missed a stray dog.

In another accident, Jarnail Singh was injured when he was hit by a speeding scooterist near his house at Pinjore. He received head injuries and was rushed to the PGI, Chandigarh.


Suspected cholera case at GMCH
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
One suspected case of cholera came to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, today. A resident of Sector 66, Mohali Kamla Wati, was admitted to the GMCH with symptoms of cholera. Tests would be conducted to confirm whether the patient was suffering from the water-borne disease. Earlier this week, one confirmed case of cholera had come to the GMCH from Mohali.

Sources in the PGI said a resident of Morinda in Punjab, Jhaghar Singh, who was admitted to the PGI with acute diarrhoea, had died. The condition of Devinder Matto of the same town, suffering from diarrhoea, was critical.

Diarrhoea cases continued to come to city hospitals today. Eight cases came to General Hospital, Sector 16, and GMCH, Sector 32. The UT Health Department maintained that the no emergency situation had arisen in the city after the heavy rain earlier this week.

The department had confirmed six cholera cases last month, but had not confirmed any other cholera case in the city after that. In the PGI, confirmed cases of cholera had been coming from Kharar, Mohali and Ambala and also from Himachal Pradesh.


Admn, AICTE lock horns over PEC seats
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), an autonomous body under the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, has locked horns with the Chandigarh Administration over the reduction of seats at Punjab Engineering College (PEC).

Despite a request of the administration, the council went ahead with the reduction of 40 seats, five each in eight streams for three consecutive years, citing rules. This, despite the fact that the Regional Committee of the AICTE for the northern region had recommended against the reduction of seats in PEC in connection with the excess admissions made during 2002-2003.

Ignoring the recommendations, the council went ahead with its decision to reduce the seats. Sources in the council said members of the regional committee, consisting of eminent persons, had recommended against reducing the seats in PEC.

Stating that PEC was a deemed university, the Chandigarh Administration has decided not to reduce the seats.

The Regional Officer of the AICTE, Mr Laxminarayan, refused to comment, saying he was not authorised to speak. He directed the correspondent to Dr S.K.Goyal at the council’s headquarters. Dr Goyal also refused to comment and, in turn, directed the correspondent back to the Regional Officer. “If the headquarters ask for comments, I will send my report”, said the Regional Officer. Efforts to get comments from council officers in Delhi were futile.

It is learnt that the confrontation between the Chandigarh Administration the AICTE over the PEC issue is behind the reduction of seats. A large number of students from across the country hope to get admission in the prestigious government-controlled engineering college.

Inquiries reveal that on the request of the Chandigarh Administration to regularise the excess admissions of 120 students in computer science and electronics, the council as a special case had accepted the plea in September 2003. It had stated that the excess admissions had to be adjusted in the academic years 2004-05 and 2005-06.

On a request of the administration, a team of the AICTE visited PEC on July 12, 2004. The council in a communication sent to the Home Secretary, Chandigarh Administration, on July 27, 2004, said there were deficiencies at the college like shortage of computers and faculty and inadequate equipment. It also said the Principal was handling additional charge of the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET).

Sources said that during the meeting between the officials of the administration and the council on July 12, 2004, the Principal of PEC had an argument with the Regional Officer of the AICTE, Mr Laxminarayan.

A senior officer in the administration said the deficiencies pointed out by the council could have been removed without reducing the seats. “The issue could have been sorted out by proper coordination between two wings of the Ministry of Human Resource Development,” said the officer.

Investigations reveal that while the council has been going all out to give affiliation/ extension to private colleges in the northern region, despite some being woefully short on the required parameters, it has been rather tough on the government-controlled institutions. About two years ago, the Haryana Government had complained to the Central government against the double standards of the council.

A confrontation between the Chandigarh Administration and AICTE was also witnessed when the former sought affiliation for the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET). The then UT Administrator, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), had to take up the matter with the Union Government.

The case of affiliation for the CCET was rejected thrice in 2002 — owing to incomplete building, separate laboratories and inadequate staff. Members of the inspecting teams, which had then visited the CCET, had said that if the administration gave an undertaking to remove the shortcomings, affiliation could be granted. But the council rejected the request for affiliation for the academic year 2002-03.

Since the administration had made admissions against 120 seats to the CCET after seeking approval from Panjab University and pending approval from the AICTE, the students were shifted to the PEC. It is these 120 excess admissions made at PEC against which the council has reduced the seats. Now, parents of students seeking admission to the PEC, have gone to the court against the council’s decision.

Counselling at PEC begins today

Confusion remains among students as the administration would be preparing two merit lists — one as per the existing provision of 85 per cent and 15 per cent seats for city students and outsiders, respectively, and the other as per the proposed division of 50-50. Sources in the administration said the schedule announced earlier of starting the classes from August 16 would have to be delayed as admissions could not be completed by August 11, the next date for a case being heard by a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.


Tehelka case adjourned till Aug 27
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The General Court Martial trying Major-Gen P.S.K. Choudhary for professional impropriety in the tehelka case has been adjourned till August 27. The court had reassembled at Ferozepore on August 6 and hearings were conducted for two days.

Three witnesses, including the Additional Director-General (Weapons and Procurement) at Army Headquarters, a staff officer from Vice-Chief of the Army Staff's secretariat and another officer from Army HQs deposed before the court during the past two days., sources said.

General Choudhary was serving as Additional Director-General (Weapons and Procurement) when tehelka.com carried out its sting operation, catching senior officers on video tapes allegedly demanding and accepting bribes.

Three officers are facing court martial proceedings in the tehelka case and the Phukan Commission has agreed to make the tapes available for being produced as evidence in military courts.

The tapes are first expected to be produced before the court trying Col Anil Sahgal. The commission's secretary, who has been authorised by the commission to take necessary action to make the tapes available, has been summoned by the court at Chandimandir on August 16.

Considering the original tapes for producing as evidence immediately and the accused's submission that he has an important family function to attend, General Choudhary's court decided to adjourn for about three weeks. Prior to this, it had remained adjourned for about a month, after the court had, on July 6, accepted the defence's plea that the trial had become time-barred. The court's decision was sent to the Army Chief for confirmation, who rejected it.


Sec 36 police station phones don’t ring
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
You have to walk down to look for the Sector 36 police station if you have to lodge a complaint. Telephone connectivity of the police station has been snapped since the deluge on August 3.

Old persons of the area and officers are feeling unsafe in case help is required at odd hours. Phones of office and house of DSP (South) are also not functioning after the heavy rain. The office of the DSP (South), Mr S.S. Randhawa, is housed in the Sector 36 police station. The residential phone of DSP (East), Mr Vijay Pal, is also not functioning.

Load on the police control room has increased with a large number of callers trying to reach the Sector 36 police station through this number. Information is now sent on wireless sets of the police station.

Private mobile phone numbers of police officials do not have official status and are not public, as is the case of municipal corporation officials. Mobile numbers of clerical staff of the corporation are available to the public. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited has deployed more than 20 personnel to get the lines of the Information Technology Park at Kishangarh rectified on a priority basis.

According to the police, water had seeped into the underground cables, destroying cable joints.

Shopkeepers too suffer

Resentment previals among shopkeepers of Sector 36 market over non-functioning of their telephones since August 2. A press note here on Sunday by the president of the market association, Mr Vijay Chawla, alleged that despite repeated requests to Mr K.S. Saini, Grievances Officer, BSNL, nothing had been done to rectify faults in the telephones.

Since a large number of students lived in Sector 36, they faced a lot of inconvenience due to the non-functioning of STD/PCO booths.

The association urged the Principal General Manager of Telecom to intervene so that the telecommunication link could be restored.


VIPs to lose security for residents’ sake
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 8
Over 200 additional policemen would be deployed in Mohali to tackle the increasing crime. These policemen would be taken out of the security cover being provided by the Punjab police to VIPs, including political leaders, in Ropar.

Stating this, the SSP Ropar, Mr S. P. Singh, today pointed out that although he was facing resistance against the step, he would ensure that those who did not need security would not be provided with it and the policemen would be put on crime prevention duties.

Mr S.P. Singh was responding to the news item carried in Chandigarh Tribune today about thefts and robberies having increased over the past six months in the town.

The SSP added that Mohali residents need not panic because of the sudden spurt in thefts and burglaries. ‘‘These crimes are not the work of an organised gang. These are being committed by the migrant labourers who, because of their frequent movements, do not get caught”. He added that most of these thefts and burglaries could be avoided if residents ensured that each one of the migrant labourers that they employed was verified by the police’’.

“All that a resident has to do is to send us the name and complete address of the person he has employed, even if temporarily. We will get the person’s antecedents verified,’’said Mr S.P. Singh.


Alcohol is history, and they’re grateful
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Terming alcoholism as a family disease, scores of recovered alcoholics today gladly recounted how they got rid of their nightmarish experiments with alcohol. Speaking at a function to mark the fifth anniversary of the Disha Group of Alcoholics Anonymous at the Government Museum and Art Gallery in Sector 10 here, the alcoholics drew parallels between their present and past lives and how they had changed for a better after they kicked the habit.

Gratitude was writ large on speakers’ faces as they profusely thanked God and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA),an international fellowship of men and women, who once had a drinking problem, for their help in staying away from liquor. It was nothing short of a miracle that thousands of alcoholics had recovered through the 12-step programme of the AA, they stressed.

Introducing the subject, Mr Sardul Singh (not his real name), informed that it was a physical,mental and spiritual disease over which the alcoholic did not have control. It was only through sharing their experiences with each other that the alcoholics could solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

Sharing his experiences, Mr Atul Kumar, a recovered alcoholic from Nangal, informed how he came to the fellowship after reading an advertisement in a newspaper over an year ago, which read: “If you want to drink, it is your problem, if you want to leave, it, it is our business.” Since then he did not have a drink.

After years of drinking, my personal and professional life was shattered, said another recovered person, Mr Aman from Panchkula, who had been sober for over eight years. Even my doctor had recommended AA for the recovery and I had achieved unimaginable things in all walks of my life and it was nothing short of a miracle, he asserted.

A prominent member of the Al Anon, a fellowship of the wives and children of the alcoholics, was of the opinion that in the process of changing the mindset of the diseased alcoholic, the wife usually turned sick. It was here that the fellowships for the entire family came into play, which could pave the way for their recovery.

The organisers informed that the only requirement for the AA membership was a desire to stop drinking. The primary purpose was to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.


4 of family suffer burns as cylinder bursts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
A four-member family, including husband, wife and their two daughters of Sarangpur village near here received severe burn injuries when an LPG cylinder burst at their house due to leakage. All family members were taken to the PGI emergency.

While 34-year-old Rattan has received 50 per cent burns, his wife Anita, suffered 55 per cent burns. The condition of both daughters, Rekha, 8, who has received 70 per cent burns, and one-year-old Gungun, who has received 55 per cent burns, continues to remain serious. Doctors attending to the family at the PGI said while both the husband and the wife were out of danger, the condition of Gungun is more serious due to her young age.


Tributes paid to Major Shankla
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 8
Tributes were paid to Maj Sandeep Shankla, Ashok Chakra awardee, at a solemn ceremony held at his memorial in Sector 2, on the 13th anniversary of his martyrdom here today.

A contingent of Major Shankla’s unit, the 18th Battalion of the Dogra Regiment, presented a guard of honour. They reversed arms and a two-minute silence was observed. Buglers sounded the last post, followed by the rouse.

The Chief of Staff, Headquarter, Western Command, Lt-Gen P.K. Grover, was the first to lay a wreath at the memorial. Tributes were paid by Col S.S. Sekhon on behalf of the GOC, 11 Corps, and Col Vijay Seth on behalf of GOC, 15 Infantry Division, followed by Brig Kuldip Singh, Station Commander, Chandi Mandir, Col Shashi Bhushan, CO, 18 Dogra, and Col R.S. Thakur, CO 3/5 Grenadier.

It was a touching moment when Major Shankla’s father, Lt-Col (retd) J.S. Kanwar, laid the wreath. Officers of the civil administration and members of the Zila Sainik Board also paid tributes and laid wreaths.

Maj Sandeep Shankla made the supreme sacrifice on this day in 1991 while fighting militants at Zafarkhani village in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir. He was leading an operation against the terrorists, which resulted in the death of nine militants and arrest of 22.

Major Shankla was posthumously awarded the Ashoka Chakra, the highest peacetime gallantry award.


Streetlights non-functional
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The streetlights in an area in Sector 46-C from House No. 3497 to 3622 are not functioning for over a fortnight. Despite pleas to the SDO, Electricity, Sector 20, and the block Municipal Councillor, Mrs Pushpa Sharma, no corrective measure has been taken.

Mr Vijay Kapoor, a resident of the area, says that at night it gets difficult for the aged to move around as roads have become slippery at places. A chain snatching incident has also been reported in the area.


Workshop on make-up

A seminar-cum beauty workshop on make-up, hair culture, bindis and body tattooing was organised in Sector 22 of Chandigarh on Sunday. Beauticians and hair dressers from Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana participated. OC


Mystery shrouds dental college employee’s death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 8
Mystery shrouds the death of a 21- year- old employee of Swami Devi Dyal Dental College on the college premises in Golpura in the district yesterday. Sohan Singh, a Class IV employee of the college, died after receiving 100 per cent burns.

According to the police, Sohan Singh sustained 100 per cent burns while he was trying to light a stove in his quarter on the college premises yesterday morning. The stove burst and Sohan Singh was engulfed in flames. A few employees rushed to his rescue and doused the flames by putting a blanket on him.

He was rushed to the dispensary in the college and administered first-aid. However, he died within an hour of the accident. The college authorities informed relatives of the victim, who in turn informed his immediate family in Saharanpur.

His father, Mr Narinder Singh, said when he reached here, he was told that Sohan Singh had died of burns sustained because of a short circuit. Later, other employees told the police that he had died because of a stove burst. “I went to his quarter later, but could find no signs that suggest that a stove had burst or there was any short circuit,” he added. Mr Narinder Singh said his son had joined the job eight months back.

The victim’s body was brought to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where postmortem examination was conducted in the morning. The doctors said a preliminary investigation revealed he had died of burn injuries sustained because of direct contact with fire, and not because of electrocution. However, the doctors recommended a chemical examination, and the viscera was sent to the PGI, Rohtak.


Man hangs himself to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
A 21-year-old “depressed” Ram Darbar resident, Surinder Kumar, today hanged himself to death at his house.

Surinder Kumar’s body was found hanging from the railings of the stairs in the house by a scarf. According to the family, he was under treatment for depression. His body was handed over to the family without a postmortem after which he was cremated. He has three brothers and a sister. His family members said he had gone to sleep last night after having dinner with them and was found hanging in the morning.

Held for gambling

The city police today arrested Sanjay Kumar for allegedly gambling at a public place. The police arrested him from near Government High School, Sector 26, and seized Rs 515 from him. A case under Sections 13-A, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act has been registered against him at the Sector 26 police station.

Liquor seized, two arrested

The Chandigarh police today arrested two persons for allegedly possessing liquor. Surinder Kumar Jindal of Burail village was arrested from his house and the police seized 24 pouches of Hero whisky from him. In another incident Raj Bulbul of Maloya Colony was arrested from Booth Market, Maloya, while carrying six bottles of Halchal whisky. The police has registered cases against the suspects under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act at the Sectors 34 and 39 police stations, respectively.


Two incidents of vehicle theft have been reported here today. Mr Rama Ghai of Sector 8 has filed a complaint that her Maruti car ( CH-01-Q-5954) was stolen from her house on Friday night. The police has registered a case under Section 379, IPC, at the Sector 3 police station. In another incident of theft, Mr Dharminder Kumar of Sector 19 has reported that his scooter (No. CH-01-N-2358) was stolen from his house on Saturday. A case under Section 239 of the IPC has been registered at the Sector 19 police station.


Cyclist killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 8
A young cyclist was killed after being hit by a Kinetic Honda coming from behind near the PCL roundabout, here today. The cyclist, according to the police, is yet to be identified.

The cyclist was hit when the Kinetic driver was trying to avoid a car coming from the opposite direction. He fell and his head hit the footpath. He died at the spot. The police brought him to the Civil Hospital, Phase VI. The Kinetic driver, a resident of Phase 3B2, too was injured.

Youth commits suicide

A 20-year-old son of watchman Ram Asra posted in the Phase II water works, committed suicide here on Saturday night. The victim Pintoo was reportedly mentally upset and killed himself by hanging from the telephone cable outside his residence in Phase II.


17-yr-old girl commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 8
A 17-year-old girl, Anita, allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself from an angle iron at her house at Devi Nagar village this morning.

The victim was working as a housemaid. The police said her six-year-old brother found her hanging and alerted his parents. They found that she had hung herself by using her mother’s sari.

A suicide note was also found, which said she was committing suicide of her own will and her family should not be blamed or harassed by the police. The police initiated inquest proceedings.

Chain snatched

Two motor cycle-borne youths snatched a gold chain from a woman standing in front of her house in Sector 12 here on Sunday evening. The chain was 30 gram in weight.

Ms Kamini Sharma and Ms Kiran were reportedly standing in front of their house when they noticed two youths on a grey motor cycle making around of the area. After a while, they approached the women on the pretext of asking about a particular address.

As Ms Kamini Sharma stepped towards them to explain the location of the house, the pillion-rider snatched her chain and they sped towards the Kalka highway.


Jail inmate attempts suicide
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 8
An inmate of Burail jail here attempted suicide yesterday. The accused, Mandeep Singh (23), was undergoing imprisonment for abducting a girl who was his relative.

His parents had not made any effort to get him freed on bail. He got frustrated and tried to commit suicide by cutting his veins. He broke the looking glass and used its sharp-edged pieces to inflict injuries on himself.

The jail authorities took him to the GMCH, Sector 32. He was sent back to the jail after treatment. A case under Section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) was registered against the accused.


Gift scheme from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Customers going in for LG Electronics have a surprise in store for them. The company today unveiled a scheme — ‘Uphaaron ki Barsaat’ — for the benefit of persons residing in Chandigarh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

Addressing mediapersons here today, branch manager of the region, Mr Amit Chadha, said the scheme would be valid from August 10 to September 25 and would help enhance secondary promotion sales during the third quarter, generally a lean period. The scratch coupon to be given to the customers by the dealers on the purchase of any LG product had a gift, including an LG bag, a cutlery set or Milton cookware. However, it would not be valid on IT products, except 17-inch monitor and personal computers, he added.

The company had extended the scheme to all CSD purchases, including GSM mobiles. Besides the gift, the customer could participate through a coupon in the lucky draw for the bumper prize of Maruti 800, besides washing machines and mobile sets. Mr Chadha said there would be seven lucky draws in the region, starting from August 16, and the grand finale would be on September 30.

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