C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Four of family killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 23
Four members of a family, who were returning from Delhi after attending a family function, were killed when their car rammed into a speeding bus on the Kalka- Zirakpur highway near Sector 21 today morning. The lone survivor of the accident is a three-year-old girl, Khushi.

The incident took place at 7.30 am, when Mr Manohar Lal Gupta, a former Superintending Engineer, Punjab Irrigation Department, his wife Ms Asha Gupta, son Saurabh, daughter-in-law Meenakshi, and granddaughter Khushi, were returning to Panchkula from Delhi in their Hyundai Accent car (HR-03F-0433). The family, which resides in Sector 9 here, had yesterday left for Delhi to attend the ring ceremony of a relative. The Guptas had been driving all night, and just as the car entered Panchkula it rammed into a Haryana Roadways bus (HR-68-2007) coming from the opposite direction. The bus was going from Panchkula to Delhi.

Eye witnesses, who were standing near Maheshpur, Sector 21, say that the incident took place as soon as the bus resumed its journey. A few minutes’ earlier two passengers had boarded the bus. As it came to halt, the passengers on board got down, and rushed to help Gupta’s family in the car. By this time, some people from Maheshpur, too, reached the spot, and started extracting the injured persons from the smashed car.

The police say that Mr Manohar Lal Gupta (62), Mrs Asha (58), Mr Saurabh (30), Ms Meenakshi (27) and Khushi, had sustained injuries on their heads and faces. Bus passengers stopped some vehicles and sent the injured to General Hospital. Four of them died on way to the hospital. Khushi, who sustained injuries on her head and legs, was rushed to Kaiser Hospital, Sector 21, by a passer-by. The man immediately left the hospital after admitting the girl. Khushi is still recuperating at the hospital, unmindful of the tragedy. Her maternal relatives had reached the hospital and were looking after her. She is a student nursery class at Eurokids, Sector 9.

It was the police, which called up the Gupta’s residence in the morning and informed Mr Manohar Lal Gupta’s 80-year-old mother, Ms Tara Devi, of the accident. She was alone in the house with a servant, Jeet. The latter then broke the news to Mr Gupta’s second son, Puneet, who stays on the first floor of the house.

Heart rending scenes were witnessed at the hospital and Sector 9 residence of the Guptas’ here. Friends and relatives converged at the house as news of the tragedy spread. A family friend told Chandigarh Tribune that Saurabh was the youngest son of Mr M.L. Gupta. He, along with Puneet Gupta, was running a poultry farm. Mr Gupta’s eldest son, Anshu Gupta, is settled in Rishikesh. All four victims were cremated in the evening.

The police has registered a case of rash and negligent driving leading to death against the bus driver, Jagtar. The driver and the bus conductor, Ram Pal, fled away from the spot after the accident.

Pankaj Sharma, and Jaipal Singh, both photographers, were manhandled and their equipment broken by staff of Kaiser Hospital, while they were trying to click photograph of the lone survivor in the accident, Khushi. Initially, the family had objected to photographers taking pictures. However, the hospital Administrator, Colonel Jakhar, reached the spot and manhandled Pankaj Sharma and broke the flash of his digital camera. The staff also snatched Jaipal’s camera. When journalists protested the camera was returned. A formal police complaint has been lodged against hospital staff. The Panchkula Press Club has decried the incident and demanded action against the administrator of the hospital.



Bank Manager dies in mishap; wife, 2 daughters hurt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
A day after the marriage ceremony of his daughter, a Sector 38 resident bank manager was killed, his wife and two daughters were injured seriously when his car rammed into a roundabout near the Grain Market, Sector 26 last night.

The family was taken to the PGI in a police control room vehicle. Vijay Kumar Sharma died in the morning.

Mr Vijay Kumar Sharma, a manager in the State Bank of Patiala in Ahmedgarh, his wife Shveta, daughters, Tinu and Ishar and his niece Manu were returning from a function in Panchkula. The police suspect that Mr Sharma might have dozed off while driving. He was busy on Friday night for the marriage of daughter Tinu.

Apart from Mr Sharma, all others had serious injuries including his wife Shveta and and Tinu who have to undergo operations tomorrow.

His wife is stated to be critical. Front portion of the car was badly damaged. The police said the family was returning from a function as gifts were lying in the Maruti Zen car of Mr Sharma. Sharma was driving the car.



Body of newborn girl found in BSNL Colony
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
The body of a newborn baby girl was recovered today from the BSNL Colony in Sector 36.

The police got information around noon that the body of a child was lying in the BSNL Colony in front of house number 34 A. The infant was naked. The body was taken to the General Hospital. The police has registered a case under Section 318 of the IPC.

The police suspects that somebody might have force-delivered the girl child through artificial labour pains induced through medicines. There were no apparent marks on the body. The police is getting details of pregnant women admitted to the hospitals during this period and is also contacting midwives in the city.



Shopkeeper jumps into Sukhna, dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
A 23-year-old bachelor shopkeeper today jumped to death in the Sukhna Lake following loss of Rs 5 lakh in his sugar business in Baltana village. A Sector 23-D resident, Arjun’s body was taken out from the lake by a diver of the Lake Club an hour after he was drowned.

The diver aboard a motorboat used an anchor to pull the body out. When the body was taken out, the father of Arjun, Raj Kumar, asked the police to take Arjun to hospital hoping that he might be revived but by that time he was dead.

The police recovered a suicide note on a piece of newspaper in which Arjun said nobody was responsible for his death. The note had his address and contact numbers. This is the first suicide in the lake this year. The lake has been witnessing a large number of such attempts for many years.

Arjun had taken to drugs following a loss in his sugar business and had stopped going to his shop in Baltana since January 9, the police said. He had been staying at home. He left home today taking Rs 10 from his father at around 12 pm. During the evening, his parents got a call from the police that their son had drowned in the lake. The parents rushed to the lake along with a younger brother of Arjun, who is now running Arjun’s shop. Arjun had been in the sugar business for the past three years when his father, an Assistant Registrar in Panjab University, helped him to open a shop. Arjun was the eldest of his siblings.

It is learnt that Arjun jumped into the lake from the stairs, 500 metres away from the Sukhna police post. A visitor to the lake approached the police informing it that a youth had jumped into the lake. A large crowd was there, since it was a Sunday, when Arjun took the extreme step but none could muster enough courage to save him. A film song was being shot at the island near the lake. A visitor saw the man jumping into the lake and came running to the police. The police called the divers and requisitioned the motor boat but by the time help reached the spot, Arjun is suspected to have died.

The Sukhna police post, which has to deal with the highest number of suicide cases in the city, does not have an exclusive diver and a motor boat to help in time. They have to rely on the two boats of the Lake Club and CITCO.



City to get Taj soon
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 23
The Taj hotel, would start functioning from the city by February-end. In terms of luxury and services, it would be a trendsetter in the city. It would not only sell its service, but would sell a lifestyle too, claims its General Manager Anil Malhotra.

It would be one of the luxurious five-star hotel and the first of its kind here. Apart from the basic facilities of health clubs, spa, jacquzzi and swimming pool, it would house a microbiology lab to check hygiene. At least 152 rooms will reflect its opulence. A top class shopping mall and a beauty saloon would be another attractive feature.

The buffet would also be a pleasant surprise and the cuisines would be cooked differently. No wonder, the hotel management students of the city are looking forward to have their training in its elegant confines. Numerous enquiries from the catering colleges are pouring in and these colleges have approached the hotel authorities to select their students for the training.

The hotel has been designed by international designer Tom Catelo from Singapore. The uniform of the staff would also stand out for its uniqueness. Since its 80 per cent of the staff will be hired locally, it would offer employment opportunities to the city people.

Mr Malhotra said, “The facilities which the hotel would offer will be beyond expectations of the city people. We did a thorough research before making a foray into this city. We didn’t find this city lacking in anything. We would add more charming things in the city by offering novel things. This hotel would be definitely one grade ahead of the other Taj hotels existing in metropolitan cities.

“We just want to give some surprise to the city people. We would be lifting the curtain from all these surprises soon”, sales manager Aditya Shamsher Malla added. 



Passing Thru

What was the reason behind your visiting DAV, school, Sector 15 Chandigarh today?

Jimmy Shergill I was invited here for lunch by the Principal, Mrs Rakesh Sachdeva.. I relished the food very much as she specially prepared my favourite curry-rice for me. Home-cooked food is weakness so I couldn't stop myself.

What are your current projects?

My four films are ready for the release. 'Yahan', 'Silsile', 'Rehguzar' and 'Pratiksha' would hit the theatres are soon. I am doing a Punjabi film 'Yaaran naal Baharan' also. I belong to Patiala. So being a Punjabi I accepted this project. Moreover, I know Manmohan Singh, director of the film, since the days when my first movie 'Maachis' was made so there was no question of saying no to him.

What do you have to say about Punjabi cinema?

I must say that Punjabi cinema is changing for better. Manmohan Singh has already given two hit Punjabi films. The last Punjabi movie which I saw was 'Shaheed-e- Mohabbat' and it was wonderful. I think Punjabi cinema would attract the masses in the near future.

How would you describe yourself?

It is a difficult question and I just want to say that I am a human.

— Swarleen Kaur



Ex-Cabinet Secy Grewal cremated with state honours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
As friends, colleagues and relatives bid the final adieu to the mortal remains of former Cabinet Secretary S.S.Grewal, a contingent of the Punjab Police reversed arms and fired a volley of shots in the air as bugles sounded the Last Post.

His body was brought from New York by his two sons and taken to the Sector 25 crematorium with full state honours. The former Cabinet Secretary had died of brain haemorrhage in New York on January 16.

Saluting the man who was instrumental in bringing about the green revolution to Punjab, the august gathering at the crematorium paid tributes to the departed soul. His two sons, Sanjay and Sandeep, both settled in the USA, lit the pyre.

Wreathes were laid on the behalf of the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Mr T.K.A. Nayar, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the Punjab Government, the Punjab IAS Officers Association, Dr Bhai Sohan Singh of Ranbaxy Group, Ms Sobha Nehru, wife of the former Chairperson of the Tribune Trust, late B.K.N. Nehru. The Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, Ms S.Bambah, wife of the Tribune Trustee, Mr RP Bambah, and the General Manager of the Tribune Trust, Mr R.N. Gupta, were also present on the occasion.

A long-time friend of S.S. Grewal, Mr Sohan Singh, said Mr Grewal was a dynamic person who was down to earth and fought for truth. “ I first met him in 1973 when he was Deputy Commissioner of Hoshiarpur. He was the man behind the success of the green revolution in Punjab”.

Mr Grewal belonged to the first batch of the Indian Administrative Service after the independence of the country. He was the husband of former Tribune Trust Chairperson, Sarla Grewal .

A Punjab cadre IAS officer, he occupied key positions, including that of the Chief Secretary in the state, before moving to the Centre.

Along with his bureaucrat wife, late Sarla Grewal, he played an important role in the development of Punjab during the regime of late Partap Singh Kairon.

Mr Grewal had the distinction of being India’s first and the only Sikh to be appointed Cabinet Secretary.

He served as the Secretary Food and Agriculture, in the Union Government and retired as the Cabinet Secretary during the regime of late Indira Gandhi.

The funeral was attended by people from different walks of life.The prominent were Mr A.S. Punni, Mr S.L.Kapoor, Mr. P.H. Vashnav, Mr A.S.Chatha, Mr R.S. Mann, all former Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Ms Shama Mann, Mr M.S. Chahal, Mr G.P.S. Sahi, and Mr B.S. Sudan, Director Information and Public Relations, Punjab.

Besides, many other senior retired and serving functionaries of both civil and police administration from Punjab, Haryana and Union Territory of Chandigarh also attended the cremation. 



Agonising journey through snow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
Mom, I’m dead cold,” I think I am going to die, said seven-year-old Rishi Marwah to his mother, Deepika, who looked helplessly at her son on the edge of hypothermia. With his jeans soaking wet and snow spilling out of shoes, he walked in pain lest nature should freeze him to death along the bypass to the Shimla-Kalka highway.

As Shimla shivered at — 0.8 degree celsius the roads shrunk into a tightrope and the destination seemed afar.

At the other side of the road, Chetan Marwah was fighting the fury of nature with his bare hands, knee-deep in snow and slush. Trying to save his family, he was pushing his Silver Hyundai away from a sheer precipice of 400 metres. Looking at her father 11-year-old Tarana also began pushing the car. She wondered how all this had begun.

The Marwahs will never be able to put this vacation behind them. Away to Shimla on a whim — to escape fumigation in their Delhi house and see some snow — they landed in a virtual death trap set up by snow that attracted them.

Little had they expected challenges that awaited them when they left Chhotta Shimla for Delhi around 4:45 pm yesterday. They had barely gone half way to the lift in Shimla when they were admonished to head back. Hundreds of tourists were walking back and forth, wondering which path led to open roads. The only access out was 2 km before Chhotta Shimla — the 13 km bypass that met the main Shimla-Kalka highway.

And as the ordeal was on, the very start was traumatic for Chetan Marwah, his wife, Deepika, and their two children who were to be the hardest-hit. It was ominous to see buses unloading passengers at the bypass, but Chetan Marwah had no option except pushing on. He reached the first steep incline where a Himachal traffic cop directed cars to actually go down the slope in reverse gear. Somehow the Marwahs navigated that incline, but were unnerved watching tourists walking back, abandoning their vehicles along the snow-covered route.

Hundreds of cars were parked at various unhealthy angles, with blinkers frantically warning others of tough roads ahead. The snow started to get thicker, and the road whiter. The earlier layers turned into slush posing a danger to the lives of those who travelled.

What most drivers had not anticipated was that the bypass first inclines steeply, and then climbs significantly to the highway. Soon the Marwahs saw about 50 persons in Himachal attire. One of them warned them not to get ahead, if they valued their lives.

They, however, knew that going back up the incline was impossible. At the beginning of each climb up, a curve, there were at least 10 to 12 cars parked. Every such curve was a slip, slide and push away from a drop or the hard cut of the mountain rock. A doctor coming from Chandigarh warned the family of more incidents ahead, but there was no turning back, as Marwahs were already 8 km into the bypass.

At one point the car overheated, having gone rather far in the first gear. Miraculously, Chetan Marwah met a mechanic who got into the car, pushed on just one more turning climb, and lo and behold, it was the main highway. It was then that Chetan Marwah realised that the 13 km stretch had lasted four hours. They went down slow to Kalka, trying to escape the snowline. They entered Chandigarh at 12 am.



Protest by BJYM activists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
Activists of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) today protested in the Maloya Colony against “anti-people” policies of the Congress-led Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC).

Led by BJYM president Davesh Moudgil, and district president Narinder Chaudhary, activists criticised on the Congress for imposing the property tax, harassing traders on the pretext of removing encroachments and not providing civic amenities to residents.

Mr Yash Pal Mahajan, president of the local unit of the BJP, alleged that the MCC and the Congress MP had not fulfilled promises made to residents.

Mr Moudgil urged the youth to fight “anti-people” policies of the Congress. He alleged that the councillor of the Ward No 7 was not taking any interest in the development of the colony.

Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former MP, and Mr Jasjyot Singh, BJYM general secretary were also present.



Traffic awareness to be launched soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
The Traffic Awareness Organisation, a body supported by the traffic police, today formally started functioning by deciding to hold a meeting of painters on January 30.

The organisation also planned to launch a youth club, especially of women, to promote wearing safety gears like helmets.

These decisions amongst others were taken at the first meeting of the organisation held today at the traffic auditorium in Sector 29.

Members of the patron body, Major-Gen A.S. Kahlon (retd), Major-Gen J.M. Lal (retd), Brig S.S. Nakai (retd), Brig J.S. Phoolka (retd), Mr D.V. Bhatia and Dr S.M. Bose, were present at the meeting.

Mr Amar Manchanda was elected president of the organisation.

Dr Bose has launched a project to impart first-aid training to the core members of the organisation.

Mr Manchanda said he had noticed several girls who had been using helmets despite a relief under the law and he would form a club of such girls. He said a workshop of proper use of blinkers would soon be organised as a large number of accidents had taken place because of this mistake only.

Advocate Paul Saini announced to start a legal cell of this organisation to provide legal counselling on traffic rules and cases.

Daleep Pandita announced prizes and awards for children who take part in the traffic awareness programmes. Pandita was nominated vice-president, Parveen Kumar Walia general secretary, Rakesh Walia as joint secretary, Sanjay Kumar Bhandari as secretary finance and Paul Saini as coordinator of legal cell.

Inspector Kulwant Singh informed the public to bring to the notice of the police any violation or any complaint on phone number 1073.

Brigadier Nakai administered an oath to the members not to commit any traffic offence.



Col Panag elected vice-chairman in DSOI poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
Lieut-Col J S Panag (retd) was today elected vice-chairman of the Defence Services Officers Institute, Sector 36, defeating his nearest rival by over 100 votes. He will take over from the outgoing vice-chairman, Brig Satjit Singh (retd).

There were four contestants for the vice-chairman's post. Colonel Panag polled 299 votes, followed by Brig M S Dullat who got 181 votes. Two other contestants, Brig B S Grewal (retd) and Brig J S Arajal (retd) got 172 and five votes, respectively.

According to DSOI officials, there were around 2,700 eligible voters, including outstation members and service officers, out of whom 668 cast their ballot. The institute's annual general body meeting was also held today, where the Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen P K Grover, the institute's ex-officio president and Major General Artillery, Western Command, Major-Gen Sakhuja, the ex-officio chairman were present.

Sources said that major discussion hovered around problems "inherited" by the DSOI, resulting from the controversy over ownership between the Army and a section of civilian officers, and losses the DSOI is expected to suffer therein.

Other members elected to the management committee are Brig Kuldip Singh Khatri (retd), Lieut-Col S P Singh (retd) and Capt S P Singh (retd). Members fo various sub-committees are Lieut-Col S S Randhawa (retd) -- Finance, Maj S S Johal (retd) -- Screening and Disciplinary, Lieut-Col G P S Sidhu (retd) Sports and Library), Capt G S Sidhu -- Bar and Catering and Capt M S Toor (retd) -- Area and Housing Development.



Cong to oppose drive against encroachments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
The local unit of the Congress is geared up for a demonstration against the anti-encroachment drive of the Municipal Corporation at Grain Market, Sector 26 tomorrow.

A number of Congress councillors including Mrs Anu Chatrath, Mayor, have met senior officials of the administration into this regard. They are demanding that traders be taken into confidence before any drive in the market.

It is learnt that nearly 100 policemen and staff of the Municipal Corporation will be at the site to check an untoward incident. 



1 held, three motor cycles recovered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 23
The police has arrested Durga Prasad, a resident of Kansal village, and recovered three stolen motor cycles from him. He was arrested while trying to sell the motor cycles at Mattanwala village.

Held for gambling: The police has arrested three persons from Barwala — Manish, Ram Pratap and Sanju — in separate incidents, on charges of speculation. A sum of Rs 6,295 was recovered from them. They have been booked under the Gambling Act.

Assaulted: Father and son were injured when six persons attacked them with sharp-edged weapons in the Sector 12-A jhuggis on Sunday night. The injured, Babu Ram, 45, and his son, Sham Lal, 19, were rushed to General Hospital, Sector 6.



2 injured in mishaps
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 23
Two persons were injured in separate road accidents in different parts of the district.

Ranjit Singh, a motor cyclist from Alipur village was seriously injured when he was hit by a bus near Bhanu. He was referred to PGI, Chandigarh.

In another case, a scooterist, Pawan Kumar, was injured when he was hit by a tractor-trailer on the Panchkula- Kalka highway. He was also admitted in PGI, Chandigarh.

One Arrested: The Pinjore police has arrested Tota Ram, a resident of Rattpur Colony, Pinjore, on charges of power theft. A complaint against him was made by the SDO, Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam, Mr J S Dhanda. He was later released on bail.



Employee held

Chandigarh, January 23
An employee of a steel factory, Rajesh Kumar, was arrested here today for selling stolen scrap. A sum of Rs 85,000 was seized from his house in Hallo Majra. TNS



Centre to compile spatial data of road network in HP
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 23
The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Mohali, is generating spatial data of the entire road network in Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan for the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) in 
these states.

Computer processed images of the network of highways, main roads and rural roads in the two states, compiled in CDs would be made available to the Public Works Departments of these states by CDAC for taking decisions regarding the scheme. The entire data would also be posted on the PMGSY website for public access as part of this Rs 2.7 crore project.

"It is not just a compilation of spatial data of the road network in these states. Our data would include information about the areas that are unconnected, and in case these are connected, the kind of road that connects them, the extent of carriage-way, the quality of traffic that plied on these roads. Where roads are being built, we would give details of the status of the ongoing construction," said Dr. Ashok Kaushal, Coordinator, Geomatics Solutions Developer Group, CDAC, Pune, who is heading the project.

The PMGSY was launched in December, 2000, to provide road connectivity to 1.60 lakh unconnected habitation with population of 500 persons or more in the rural areas by the end of the 10th Plan Period (2007) at an estimated cost of Rs. 60000 crore. The programme was being executed as a Centrally sponsored scheme in all the States and six UTs.

Stating that CDAC's Geomatics Solutions Development Group was involved in projects involving remote sensing, image processing, photogrammetry, spatial analysis and modeling, Dr Kaushal pointed out that development of decision support systems using geographic information was the niche area of its activities.

"We have gathered local area topographic maps from the Survey of India and the PWD. These are matched and a master data of road network prepared on the computer. Results of field surveys or any other relevant information is then weaved in.

Once this information is available to the implementor, shortest possible routes can be carved out and important locations can be linked," he said. 


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