C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Gas scare in Sector 25 school
Three teachers, two students faint
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Panic gripped students and teachers of Government High School, Sector 25, here when a pungent odour, suspected to be of methane or ammonia gas, made them breathless.

Three teachers, Vijay Thakhur, Sudesh and Rajinder Pal, and two students, Litika and Sunita, had to be hospitalised as they fainted. They were discharged after being administered
artificial respiration.

A few other staff members also complained of giddiness and nausea, but did not require medication. “We felt breathless due to the foul smell, which was all around
us. It appeared that the wind direction compounded the problem,” said a JBT teacher.

The odour was noticed around 10.30 am when classes of the morning shift from 8 am to 2 pm were in progress. The school Principal directed the staff to gather all students in the open ground on the school premises. However, as the odour refused to subside, distress calls were made to the Fire Service, the Public Health Department and the police.

A team of Fire Service officials that visited the site could not find the source of the pungent odour, said the Chief Fire Officer, G.S. Bajwa.

He said the odour was felt more by students in classrooms on the first floor. “Though we could not ascertain the source, it is being suspected that ammonia gas was carried towards the school by the wind,” he said.

We could not find anyone in the adjoining labour colony affected by the suspected gas, said Mr Bajwa.

With the case of methane gas leak in the Daddu Majra dumping ground fresh in the mind of the officials, a survey of the area was conducted. But no trace of any gas was found. The sewerage in the adjoining colony was also checked.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, XEN (Public Health), Municipal Corporation, who visited the spot along with officials from the pollution board, ruled out it being methane. He said blocked sewers, common in the Sector 25 colony, could not generate such an odour. “This has never been noticed in the area before,” he added.

The DPI (Schools), Mr D.S. Mangat and the District Education Officer, Ms Rajesh Chaudhary, also visited the school.

The Principal, Ms Devinder Kaur, said, “Classes at the school are held in four sessions, including one for the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan. We evacuated the students from all classes through four exit points.”

The classes were partially resumed after the fear was over. The evening classes were, however, called off. The DPI instructed the Principal to be ready with a contingency plan to deal with such emergencies.


MC nod to 3 pc tax on commercial property
Walkout by BJP, SAD, INLD members
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Congress-led Municipal Corporation here today approved a 3 per cent tax on commercial property amidst a walkout by the BJP-SAD-INLD members at the meeting of the House.

The tax has been imposed following the recommendation of the resource generation committee of the MC, which said the city could not be developed without finances. The item was passed in the presence of 10 councillors of the 29-member House. Many councillors chose to leave the meeting midway while the discussions were on.

Ms Kamla Sharma, Mr Rajesh Gupta (BJP), Mr Jatinder Bhatia (INLD) and Ms Harjinder Kaur staged a walkout when the discussions began. They said the Congress was playing the “politics of votes” since it had withdrawn the 2 per cent tax imposed before the general elections with an eye on votes. “They must explain why it was withdrawn then and what had compelled them to implement the same now,” the councillors demanded.

In another important decision, the Municipal Corporation revived the concept of day markets to ensure that rehri and phariwalas were also given space in the mandis. The House decided that the contractors would be given the charge of day markets and approved rates to be charged according to the space occupied in the mandi. The contractor would also be entrusted with the charge of maintaining cleanliness in the area where the market was held.

The House was, however, unanimous on lowering the rates charged for space in the mandis. Against the proposed Rs 40 per day to Rs 100 per day, the rates were brought down to Rs 25 per day to Rs 60 per day.

Local Member of Parliament, Pawan Bansal and other members lodged their protest against the levying of Rs 300 as “user charges” from encroachers in addition to the fine. The Mayor, Ms Kamlesh, said the enforcement committee would prepare a detailed policy on encroachment before the next meeting to distinguish between petty vendors and big businessmen and levy charges for encroachments accordingly.

The Commissioner, Mr MP Singh, assured the House that the possibility of issuing identity cards to farmers by the Chandigarh Market Committee would be explored. Councillors had raised objections about farmers from Chandigarh going to the Punjab Mandi Board for verification.

Open auction of paid parkings got the nod of the House after a lengthy discussion on allowing shortlisting of contractors and awarding parking lots to them through sealed bids or draw of lots yielded no results. Mr Subhash Chawla was of the opinion that contractors with experience of managing parking would provide for a more people-friendly system.

Mr Rajesh Gupta was of the opinion that big companies should be roped in to manage parking areas. He said it would serve the twin purpose of earning revenue by allowing these companies to advertise in their respective parking lots and sparing the public from doling out parking charges. Mr MP Singh, said they were willing to consider such a proposal from any willing party.

The House also approved the item pertaining to free parking for gallantry award winners, though the approval of bylaws for parking were deferred for the next meeting. The councillors approved exemption of houses from acquisition in Gobindpura, Subhash Nagar and Pipliwala Town of Mani Majra. The five-year term of the Finance and Contract Committee was reduced to one year following a resolution moved by Dr KS Raju after a heated debate.


Traffic restrictions for I-Day function
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 13
The traffic wing of the Chandigarh Police has imposed certain restrictions on the traffic flow and planned diversions from certain roads near the Parade Ground in Sector 17 and near the Punjab Raj Bhavan on August 15.

The road stretch from the roundabout of Sectors 16, 17, 22, 23 to the rotary near Gurdial Singh Petrol Pump in Sector 22-A on Udyog Path, from the Sectors 16, 17 crossing up to the roundabout of Sectors 16, 17, 22, 23 on Jan Marg and from light point near Lyon’s Restaurant, Sector 17, to Parade Ground, will remain closed for vehicular traffic from 7 am on Sunday till the function is over.

Parking for the general public in the parking area in front of the shops in the market of Sector 22-A will not be allowed from 7 am onwards. VIPs and officials with the authorised car parking labels on their vehicles will be allowed to enter from roundabout of Sectors 16, 17, 22, 23 on Udyog Path and will be allowed to park their vehicles in front of market in Sector 22-A.

The general public will be allowed to their vehicles in Sector 22-B and near the Blood Disease Hospital, in Sector 23-B, on the rear side of Neelam Cinema in Sector 17, in the parking lot of Football Stadium and the Circus Ground in Sector 17.

All long-route buses coming from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and other places have been diverted towards the ISBT Chowk from Bajwara Chowk, and Piccadilly Chowk via Himalaya Marg for August 15.

The Chandigarh Traffic Police has also imposed restrictions for traffic around Punjab Raj Bhavan for the “at home” function. The road stretch from the roundabout of Sectors 5, 6, 7, 8 up to the T- Point near Golf Club and from the T- Point near Punjab Raj Bhavan onwards, and towards the residence of Advisor to the Administrator will remain closed to general public from 2 pm onwards on August 15 till the function is over.

Vehicles with the “pink car parking labels” will be parked on the rear side of the Advisor’s residence. The self-driven cars of senior citizens with ‘pink car parking labels’ shall be allowed to park in the area of mini-zoo. Those with the ‘green car parking labels’ can use the road from Sectors 7, 8 turn and can park their vehicles in the parking area adjacent to Advisor’s residence, Sector 7.

The Traffic Police has requested the Golf Club members to use the road from near the SGGS College side, Sector 26, to reach the Golf Club from 2 pm onwards on the same day.


Mehta, Zakir to be honoured on I-Day

Chandigarh, August 13
K.L. Zakir The Chandigarh Administration today announced that four city residents, including two sportsmen, would get commendation certificates on August 15. Among those to be awarded are skin specialist Dr S.D. Mehta and poet K.L. Zakir.

Dr Mehta who did his MD from PGI, joined the Chandigarh Administration in 1992. He is skin specialist and is working in the Sector 22 poly clinic. Dr K.L. Zakir, has 100 novels to his credit in Hindi and Urdu. He is renowned poet with equal admiration in India and Pakistan. Mr Jagdish Lal Ahuja, a resident of Sector 23 has been awarded for outstanding achievements in the field of social service. The other two are sportsmen. Puneet Rana of Sector 22 is a swimmer and Sanam K. Singh, of Sector 8 is a tennis player. Head constable Paramjit Singh and constable Om Parkash will be awarded for meritorious service.

Similarly, the Administrator’s Police Medal for meritorious service, will be given to the following Chandigarh police personnel on Independence Day function: Sub-Inspector Sukhdev Singh, Assistant Sub-Inspector Ravi Dutt and constable Balwinder Singh. — TNS


52 to be honoured in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 13
The district administration will honour 52 persons from different fields for their commendable achievements, during the Independence Day celebrations on August 15.

Thirteen persons, including two cops — HC Ram Lal, and EHC Jog Raj, and 11 residents of Nawan Gaon village in Raipur Rani block will be honoured by the administration for their bravery in trying to rescue 50 odd people marooned on an island in the recent flash floods.

Woman power is being adequately recognised as Soni Kapoor, who stood first in the Class XII examination organised by the Haryana School Education Board, Sapna who stood first in Class X board examination, and Sonam who stood first in the Class VIII examination will also be honoured. Manju Rani will also be honoured for bringing laurels by winning various national events in the field of sports.

Aggarwal Sabha, Sector 16, which for years has been cremating the unclaimed bodies found in Panchkula, will also be honoured. Ankur Goel, who got a fifth rank in the state in the IIT JEE examination will also be given a commendation certificate.


Three hurt as students clash
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 13
Three students of DAV College, Sector 10, were reportedly attacked by another group of students of the same college today.

It is learnt that Ravi Dhillon, Vinny and eight others assaulted Ramandeep, Vishal and Harpreet of Sector 41, 46 and 26, respectively, outside the college gate. The assailants came in two cars and attacked the trio with rods and also pelted stones on them.

Ramandeep was badly injured and he received injuries on his head while Vishal was injured on the back. They were admitted to General Hospital, Sector 16. Harpreet was also injured but was later discharged.

An old feud reportedly led to the clash. The assailants belonged to Ferozepore district in Punjab. The police has registered a case under Sections 147, 148, 149, 49, 323, 506 and 308 of the Indian Penal Code in Sector 17.


Car catches fire
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 13
A car, running on a gas cylinder, caught fire here today with the driver fleeing after leaving the vehicle.

The fire was brought under control by the fire brigade while the police diverted the traffic near the Spice Chowk fearing that the cylinder might burst.

It is learnt that the car was coming from Balongi towards the PCL Chowk and later went towards Spice Chowk. As it moved towards that direction the flames got out of control and the driver fled leaving the vehicle behind.


UT cops given lessons in public behaviour
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Chandigarh police was given a lesson in public behaviour as senior officers got down to the basics and held a meeting with Inspectors, Station House Officers and PCR cops.

The SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, who chaired the session, said the idea was to tell the men about what should be their best behaviour even under pressure. Later he admitted that poor knowledge of the law among the staff led to cases like the one in which a city boy, Amit Suri, was manhandled. He said the policemen were told that had the staff on duty just nabbed him and booked him under relevant sections of the law there would have been no need to retaliate. “Men use third degree methods only as they do not know the law and its usage,” he said.

Policemen were told in clear terms that such behaviour would not be tolerated. Use of force has to be in proportion to the offence.

When one policeman reportedly said things were quite different at the ground level the cops were told that force should be used only in self defence while controlling a mob or while chasing hardcore criminals. Mr Yadav said “It does not mean you shoot someone if he has slapped you.”

The policemen were encouraged to ask questions.

During the interaction, it emerged that the authority of the police had been eroded and anyone nabbed by the cops tried to throw his weight around.


General Shahrawat visits Western Command HQ
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Director-General, Ordnance Services and Senior Colonel Commandant of Army Ordnance Corps (AOC), Lieut-Gen R.S. Shahrawat, visited Western Command Headquarters at Chandimandir, near here, today.

General Shahrawat was briefed by the Major-General AOC, Western Command, Major-Gen D.D.S. Sandhu, on various aspects of the Ordnance support to Army formations and establishments, a press statement issued here said.

He also reviewed the functioning of the newly implemented Computer-Based Management Information System in the Ordnance Branch and Computerised Inventory Control Project Connectivity (CICPC) with Army Headquarters.

The Western Command Headquarters is the only command wherein the CICPC has been provided on a trial basis. Now, the information about the availability of important items in any part of the country is available with the Western Command.

General Shahrawat also called on the Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen P.K. Grover.


Air Marshal Patkar visits 3 BRD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command, IAF, Air Marshal V. A. Patkar, arrived on a two-day visit to No.3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) here today. This is his first visit to Chandigarh after taking over as Chief of the Nagpur-based Maintenance Command on July 6.

On his arrival here, he was received by the Air Officer Commanding, 3 BRD, Air Cmde S P S Virk, and was introduced to senior officers at the depot. He also inspected various units and sections at the depot and was briefed about the depot's activities.

Air Marshal Patkar will inaugurate the Main Rotor Blade (MRB) storage shed and unveil Tail Rotor Assembly (TRA) and Main Rotor Blade static model installed in the memory of the first Indian Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Subroto Mukherjee. He will also interact with senior non-commissioned officers and representatives of civilian employees of the depot.


Chief of Defence Staff needed, say ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Defence Minister’s statement that a post of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) may or may not be created has caused concern in the service community based in and around the city.

Terming this to be a negative development, ex-servicemen have stated that the absence of a CDS in India has been having an adverse impact on military planning resulting in serious ramifications on national security.

The Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, had stated yesterday that the process of taking a decision on appointing a CDS could take up to a year and he could go “either way”.

In a press statement issued here, the All-India Defence Brotherhood (AIDB) said the absence of a CDS, a one-point advisor to the government on defence matters, was affecting the integration of the three services and the ministry, which was imperative in today’s strategic environment.

Recalling an incident when former US Ambassador Frank Wisner had visited Leh in the aftermath of the 1991 Gulf War, the AIDB president, Brig Harwant Singh (retd), said on being asked about the biggest lesson learnt by the US in the war, the Ambassador had said different services needed to be integrated for effective battlefield management and control.

The Brigadier said in the absence of integration, each service tended to fight its own battle. The same was also true for peacetime administrative and training matters as well as procurements.

Stating that the Defence Minister’s statement would send wrong signals, the Chairman of the All-India Veteran’s Core Group, Brig G.S. Ghuman (retd), said the appointment of a CDS would enable a government to pin responsibility about military matters.

Terming the CDS to be a national requirement, he maintained that elected leaders did not seem to consider it necessary to reorganise defence forces in accordance with the present times. Lack of integration of the three services with the ministry and the absence of a single-point advisor had resulted in the services being left out of the government’s decision-taking loop, he added.


Sector 7 shopkeepers block traffic
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 13
Shopkeepers of Sector 7-C market blocked traffic on the internal roads for over half-an-hour following alleged high-handedness of the UT Estate Office personnel , this morning.

Protesting against removal of the shutter of a confectionery shop located in the Sector 7-C, booth market, by the enforcement team of the Estate Office without prior notice, over 100 shopkeepers pulled down their shutters and raised slogans.

The irate shopkeepers alleged that the enforcement team of the Estate Office picked only one shop from the market and broke a huge glass of its showcase. Eatables were also destroyed in the operation.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Inder Kumar Dhiman, chairman of the Sector 7 Market Association, alleged that certain employees of the enforcement team targeted the particular shop after taking bribe.

Mr RK Mehta, president of the association, said that the enforcement team was adopting a pick and choose policy.

The inspector heading the operation claimed that a notice had already been served on the shopkeeper. 


Poisoning claims another buffalo
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, August 13
With the death of one more buffalo, the number of heads of cattle that have died after consuming some poisonous substances in the Sukhna choe in Bhabhat village, near here, has gone up to 18, of which eight were milch cattle.

Kala Vati, a resident of Bartana, who lost a milch buffalo, was shocked when the buffalo collapsed next to a hay stack, blood oozing from its nostrils. She said the buffalo had returned after grazing on the Sukhana choe bed last evening and died in the wee hours today.

They claim they had managed to nab three rehri owners from the choe bed and handed them over to the Lohgarh police. The two had allegedly come there to dump expired medicines. However, the police let them go without questing them, villagers allege.

Mr Satpal Singh, in charge of the Lohgarh police post, however, said the police had come to know of the animal deaths only today.


Boy injured by monkey

Chandigarh, August 13
Vishal a seven-year-old child, was injured when he was attacked by a monkey in his house in Sector 39-D, today.

Vishal was eating something when the animal attacked him. He got several cuts on his head and on other parts of body due to monkey bites. His mother also got injured while saving the child.

They were taken to General Hospital in Sector 16, where they were discharged after treatment. OC


3 theft cases reported in city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 13
The city police has registered three cases of theft in various parts of the city, today. Mr Y.S. Khera of Sector 39 filed a complaint that someone has stolen his Maruti car (CH-01-F-7632) from his residence on the intervening night of August 11-12. The police has registered a case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC.

Ms Sudesh Gudaya, a resident of Sector 46, reported that someone has stolen 14 grams of gold and Rs 1000 from her residence on August 12, during the day time. The police has registered a case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC at Sector 34 police station.

In another incident, Mr Rajbir Singh, a resident of Sector 35-C, filed a complaint that someone has stolen four mobile phones from SCO No. 492-93, Sector 22, during the intervening night of August 11-12, after breaking the locks. The police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC at Sector 17 police station.

Liquor seized, 4 held

The police has arrested four accused under the Excise Act from various parts of the city today. The police has claimed to have seized 28 quarters of Bonnie Scot whisky, 101 quarters of Hero whisky, two cases of Old Fox Duplex rum and two bottles of Officer’s Choice whisky from their possession.

Krishana, a resident of Sector 29-B, was arrested with 28 quarters of Bonnie Scot whisky and 11 quarters of Hero whisky. Bhawan Saroop of Nehru Colony, Sector 53, was arrested with 90 quarters of Hero whisky from Khokha Market of the same colony. Rajesh of Nadana village, in Rohtak district was arrested with two cases of Old Fox Duplex rum from the Kajheri Chowk. Pappu, a resident of Sector 38-D, was arrested from his residence, for selling liquor at a public place. The police has seized bottles of Officer’s Choice whisky from his possession.

Four cases under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act have been registered against the accused in police stations of the Industrial Area, 36 and 39, respectively.


Industrialist nabs ‘cheat’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 13
A man who attempted to cheat an industrial unit owner in Phase IX of his money was handed over to the police here today.

Mr Nirmal Singh Reehal, an office-bearer of the Phase IX Industrial Welfare Association, said a person came to his brother’s factory around 4.30 p.m. and introduced himself as Ashok Kumar. He claimed he was serving in the Army and wanted to buy furniture for his unit. He presented a long list and thereafter selected items for purchase worth about Rs 12 lakh.

According to Mr Reehal, Ashok Kumar told his brother, Mr Kuldeep Singh, that the deal was almost final but a supply form would have to be filled by the manufacturer as part of a formality for finalising the deal, after which payment would be made. He told Mr Kuldeep Singh that the form would have to be got from Delhi. When Mr Kuldeep Singh told him that it was not possible for him to immediately arrange the form, the latter said he could arrange it if Rs 5,000 was given to him.

Mr Reehal said as his brother was aware that one such person had taken away Rs 5,000 from a furniture shop owner in Chandigarh by narrating a similar story, he called the victim to Mohali, who identified the “cheat”.

On being identified, Ashok Kumar made an attempt to flee, but was overpowered by people present there. He was later handed over to the police.


Youth beaten up
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 13
A 23-year-old resident of Rajiv Colony was badly beaten by four unidentified youths near the Sector 17 rehri market here late this evening. The victim, Vicky, a daily wage earner, was admitted with injuries to the Panchkula General Hospital in sector 6 here.

The victim, who was barely able to speak due to the injuries, told the Tribune that while he was coming from his house, four youths thrashed him with lathis.


Mystery shrouds driver’s death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 13
Mystery shrouds the death of 22-year-old Jaswinder Singh of Bhairaili village today morning. He was brought to the hospital around 3.30 am, after he vomited thrice at his house.

Jaswinder, a tempo driver, was declared brought dead at the General Hospital. His father, Malkit Singh, said that they had dinner last night and retired to bed at around 11 pm. It was around 3 am that he started vomiting and they rushed him to the hospital.

Though the doctors initially suspected it to be a case of diarrhoea, the postmortem examination raised doubts that it could be a case of poisoning. The doctors have sent his viscera for chemical examination at Forensic Science Laboratory, Madhuban.


A 24-year-old woman, Jasbir Kaur, of Rajjipur village near Pinjore died today. She had consumed poison yesterday. She was brought to General Hospital, from where she was referred to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh. The police has initiated inquest proceedings in the case. 


7-yr-old hurt

Panchkula, August 13
A seven-year-old child was seriously injured near the Sector 6 traffic lights today. He was sitting in the boot of a car, when his uncle stopped the car at the red light. A truck (HR-37-4337) hit the car and the child, Rohit Gupta, was seriously injured.

It is learnt that the child, along with his mother, Neelam and uncle, had come to pay obeisance at the Mansa Devi Shrine from Jalandhar. The child’s throat got slashed as the cover of the boot crashed on him.

A traffic cop on duty, Arjun Singh, offered to help and rushed the child to General Hospital here. He is now stated to be out of danger. TNS

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