C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


A day of accidents
3 killed in Patiala, 1 in city, another near Lalru
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, February 17
In a day of accidents, five persons, including two miners, were killed in separate accidents in Chandigarh, Patiala and Lalru in the past 24 hours.

While three persons, including two minors, were killed when their motor cycle collided with a mini truck in Patiala last night, a youth was crushed to death by a vehicle in Chandigarh this evening.

The driver of a pick-up van was killed in an accident near Lalru.

Amar Chand(25), a resident of Haryana Agricultural Marketing Board Colony, Sector 14, Panchkula, was crushed to death by an unidentified vehicle in Sector 28, Chandigarh, this evening.

Amar was returning from his office, when his motor cycle was hit by an unknown vehicle near the Tribune chowk. He was rushed to Government Medical College Hospital, Sector 32, by a Police Control Room vehicle, where he died.

Police sources said some heavy vehicle seemed to have hit him and nobody had noticed the vehicle registration number. Amar had recently bought the motor cycle and was yet to receive the registration number.

Family sources said that he had recently got engaged to a Karnal girl and marriage was to be fixed shortly.

He is survived by his mother, father and a brother and sister. His father works with the Haryana Agricultural Marketing Board.

Patiala: Three persons, including two minors, were killed when the motorcycle they were riding rammed into a mini truck at new anaj mandi on Wednesday night.

Kamalpreet Singh, 24, a resident of Guru Nanak Nagar, and two of his friend’s sons were returning after attending the marriage anniversary of a common friend, Rachpal Singh, a Canada-based NRI, when the Bullet motor cycle they were riding rammed into a truck coming from the opposite direction.

Kamalpreet and the children, Taranjit Singh (8) and Arshdeep Singh Ishu (5), died on the spot, while their grandmother, Ms Himmat Kaur, who was also riding pillion, survived.

While two children and Kamalpreet Singh died immediately, Ms Himmat Kaur did not sustain any injury in the accident.

The children’s father Mr Bakshish Singh, is a resident of Yadavindra Colony.

A case of negligent driving has been registered at the Civil Lines police station against the driver of the truck who, till the filing of the report, was absconding.

Lalru: One person died on the spot and another sustained injuries when a pick-up van in which they were travelling had a head-on collision with a truck on the Kalka-Ambala highway at Sarseeni village, near here, on Thursday morning.

The vehicle driver, Kashmira Singh of Mullakheri village in Jind, died on the spot while his helper Amit Kumar sustained injuries.

The van was transporting vegetables from Solan to Shahabad-Markanda when a truck approaching from the opposite direction collided with it.

The truck driver fled from the scene. Traffic on the highway was disrupted for over an hour.

After impounding the vehicles, the police sent the body to the Civil Hospital, Rajpura, for a postmortem examination.

A case under Section 304-A of the IPC has been registered.



CAT orders pension on notional pay basis
Major relief for retired Admin staff
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
In a major relief to employees of the Chandigarh Administration who retired between January 1986 and March 1991, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has granted them pension benefits on the basis of notional pay fixed on the basis of the Punjab pattern.

Disposing of a bunch of applications, the tribunal directed the Union Government and the Chandigarh Administration to pay arrears, depending upon the refixation of their pension from April 1, 1991.

Mr L.M.Goyal, Vice-Chairman, and Mr Jasbir S. Dhaliwal, Judicial Member, respectively, of the tribunal directed the respondents, the Union Government and the Administration to reconsider the case of the applicants for refixation of pension by taking into account the revised pay scales which were given to them on a notional basis between January 1, 1986, and April 1, 1991, up to their retirement and grant them actual fixation of pension consequently.

However, the order dated February 10, 2005, stated that since the applicants had approached the tribunal for claiming relief only in 2004 and 2005, they were not entitled to the payment of interest on such arrears on account of the difference of pension and other benefits which were to be worked out as a consequence of the implementation of the order.

The applicants in their statement said under a notification of January 13, 1991, the Administration had given them an option for pay scales other than the pay scales on the Punjab pattern. In case of failure to exercise the option, it was deemed that they had accepted being placed under scales of pay as available to employees of Punjab. It was specified in the notification that if by the revision of pay scales from January 1986 they were shown to be getting higher pay and allowances as already received by them between January 1986 and March 1991, their pay was only to be notionally fixed on the revised pay scale but actual benefits in form of arrears of the difference of pay and allowances were not be extended to them.

For the employees who remained in service from March 1991 onwards, there was no difficulty about working such a provision as per the notification and their pay scales were revised with effect from January 1986 on a notional basis with the grant of actual benefits only with effect from April 1991.

For a number of employees who retired between January 1986 and April 1991, the government while granting them retirement benefits and fixing their pension did not take into account the enhanced pay which was given to them on a notional basis for working out the amount payable to them as pension.

After failing to get a response from the Administration, the employees had approached CAT.



Murder suspect alleges police torture
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Sunil, a suspect in the Randhir Malik murder case and student of DAV College, was allegedly tortured by the police yesterday, resulting in fracture in his right arm.

However, the SHO of the Sector 39 police station, Mr Hardev Singh, refuted the allegations of torture, saying that Sunil sustained injuries in a clash in Sector 40 on February 8.

The SHO claimed that Sunil was arrested yesterday and taken to the Sector 16 General Hospital where his medical examination was done. The plaster on his right arm was fixed at the hospital after the X-ray showed a fracture, he added.

Meanwhile, even as the prime accused in the case, Mukesh Kumar, alias Rocky, surrendered in a local court, another suspect, Raj Kumar, was arrested by the police.

The Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr R.K. Bhankhar, while remanding Sunil to 14 days’ judicial custody, asked the public prosecutor to file a report in the case.

Randhir Malik, an employee with the Ranbaxy, was seriously injured in a clash with Sunil and his friends on February 8. He succumbed to his injuries in the PGI.

Sunil’s father, Mr Harbilas Bhatia, has alleged that his son was tortured. He said Sunil was picked up by a police party on February 15. Later, when he contacted Sunil on the mobile in Patiala, he got to know that he had been handed over to the police in the wee hours of yesterday.

Mr Bhatia alleged that when he came to meet Sunil in the police station around 8 pm yesterday, his arm was in plaster. Sunil told me that the fracture was the result of police torture, Mr Bhatia claimed in his application before the court.

The police had booked six persons, including Mukesh Sharma, Billa and Sunil, under Sections 147,148,323 and 307 of the IPC. Later Section 302 was added to the case after Randhir’s death.



PGI Anatomy Dept finally gets some more bodies
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
One place which has been awaiting the arrival of the dead for decades but is eluded by their presence is the department of Anatomy at the PGI. Not surprising then that the faculty of the department which has been banking on just one donated cadaver for the last over 15 years, is elated as two more donated bodies along with some unclaimed bodies have come their way recently.

“So far we had preserved just one cadaver for the past 20 years by way of embalming. For academic purpose, the same body had been dissected over and over again. Lack of bodies is definitely a limitation for studying the body structure,” a faculty member said.

The extremely low rate of willing cadaver donations has given rise to alternate ways of studying the anatomy, including studying it through compact dics or showing the junior students dissections which their seniors have already conducted. Experts say that the alternatives are no match to the actual cadavers.

Meanwhile, lack of motivation for donating the bodies after death is attributed to cultural dogmas, which emphasise on the last rites of individuals. In several cases, the individuals pledge their bodies when they are alive but the kin fail to hand over the bodies to the hospital in time. “It’s hard to convince people that their bodies are of immense importance after their demise. While in some countries the donations are high, in India the trend is yet to catch up,” the faculty says.

Prof Madhur Gupta, Head of the Department of Anatomy, PGI, has put information outside her office to motivate the public to pledge their bodies. It reads: A person in his lifetime may express his will in writing and convince his next kith and kin that after his death his body may be donated for academic purpose.

The body needs to be handed over to the hospital with in three-four hours of death where it is kept in the cold chamber or else it will get decomposed.

The documents needed are death certificate of the deceased with diagnosis and short-case history written by the treating doctor which should be sent along with the body.



B.K. Roy clarifies on Law Ministry enquiry
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 17
The Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, today clarified that the Law Ministry had neither enquired from him, nor from the Registrar (Administration), who is looking after the work of the Registrar General or the Registrar (Judicial) about the handing over of the charge by the Chief Justice.

A clarification issued on his behalf also states that the Chief Justice has informed the President of India about his taking oath at Guwahati.



Passing Thru

Despite being the topmost technology institute in the country, why has the IIT, Delhi, ventured into offering MBA degrees?

Dr Devinder K. Banwet
Dr Devinder K. Banwet
Professor and Group Chairman, Department of Management Studies, IIT, Delhi.

Our aim at the IIT is to groom engineers into efficient managers, keeping in mind the special focus on technology management. The IITs had to venture into management programmes because of the internal brain drain in which the IIT graduates opt for MBA at IIMs and end up taking up jobs which have nothing to do with technology. Also, we want to supplement the knowledge of engineering students by offering courses in management.

Have management programme at the IIT’s able to correct the scenario of internal brain drain?

The IIMs in themselves are a huge brand with an exclusive focus on management studies. The IITs are yet to emerge as a big brand. But we are continuing to evolve and offer variety of courses to the students.

What are the focus areas of the Delhi IIT’s management programme?

At the IIT, Delhi, we have defined three focus areas in our management programme, which include focus on management systems, technology management and telecom systems management. Apart from these specialised courses we are also offering the regular MBA courses.

— Neelam Sharma



Encroachments back in grain market
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
With the Chandigarh Administration looking for illegal structures elsewhere in the city, encroachments by shopkeepers in the Sector 26 grain market are back on the pavements. Incidentally, the grain market is the only area for which the Administration is responsible, while most other areas such as corridors, pavements in various parts of the city fall under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation.

The Administration started cleaning up of the grain market with much fanfare, but after the initial clean-up, the encroachers are back, putting their stocks out in the open. When the Administration allowed the traders to use the open space, it was clearly stated that the traders would only use the space for loading and unloading of stocks. But the well-stacked sacks in the accompanying picture suggest that the place is being used for storage in the open.

The area is governed by the Marketing Committee. Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh, is the overall in charge but it is the duty of the chairman, Mr Bhupinder Singh, to oversee that there is no encroachment in the area. It is alleged that being a Congressman, the chairman has become lax for political gains, reducing market fee collection of the grain market. Many Congress leaders of the city have their shops in the grain market.

Some traders said on conditions of anonymity that whenever an anti-encroachment drive was launched, these Congress leaders took up the case of the traders and forced the Administration into giving up the drive. They also alleged that since the grain market traders contributed a lot of money towards election funds to most parties, these traders in turn used the services of the local political leaders to force the Administration into turning a blind eye.

If the traders were to take the encroached space on rent, the rent would run into lakhs of rupees per month. It is not only the big traders who are encroaching the government land, the fruit and vegetable vendors too are back on the roads, pavements, corridors, etc in the vicinity of the grain market. The roads to the transport area are virtually choked by fruit and vegetable vendors that encroach the pavements and corridors with impunity.

Many shopkeepers said they had nothing to fear as “they have settled the issue with the officials concerned”.



Raid on New Generation Apartments
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, February 17
The electricity wing of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau conducted a surprise raid on the New Generation Apartments, a housing society located along the Zirakpur-Panchkula road, and temporarily disconnected the power supply to the society today.

Led by Mr Gurdeep Singh, Executive Engineer of the VB, a team of over 10 employees, raided the premises and found high-power electricity cables naked at five places that have been endangering human lives at various places.

The sleuth, however, did not find any point from where the builder had allegedly been pilfering power.

While talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Gurdeep Singh said the subdivisional officer of the Punjab State Electricity Board had been directed to disconnect the main supply to the society till its builder submitted a fresh test report after replacing the cracked and naked wires.

Earlier, the New Generation Apartments Residents’ Welfare Society had complained to the bureau alleging that the builder had been pilfering power. The society had also alleged that the builder had kept all cable joints naked that had been posing a threat to the residents.

Efforts to contact Mr R.M. Singla, developer of the housing society, proved futile till late in the night. 



Allottees seek probe into Kansal ‘land scam’
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 17
A high-level inquiry has been demanded into the alleged land scam at Kansal village by allottees of plots who were reportedly carrying out constructions in the area out of panic.

These constructions had been stopped by the SDM, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Gill, on February 7 on the ground that they were illegal. The parties concerned had been asked to appear in person before the court of the SDM here today.

More than 35 allottees who presented themselves before the SDM appealed to him to lift the ban imposed on construction activity. They said they had been cheated by land owners. They were told that the land belonged to a society which was building a colony duly approved by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority. The allottees said they fell into the trap as land owners sold plots of various sizes for prices ranging between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 6 lakh. The plots had been allotted to them in 2001 for which allotment letters had also been issued. An assurance was also given that the registration of the plots would also be got done.

They alleged that recently it came to their notice that the plots allotted to some of them had been sold to some other persons also.

According to a report submitted by Majri Naib-Tehsildar, illegal constructions were going on at Kansal village in violation of the Periphery Control Act. Reacting to the situation, the SDM had ordered the police on February 7 to get the constructions stopped. The SDM had written in his order that the disputed land belonged to the Teg Cooperative Society. The land owner had sold land more than he possessed, following which the buyers started taking possession of the disputed land in panic. As such the SDM had to issue prohibitory orders under Section 145 of the CrPC.

The SDM said he would look into the revenue records in connection with the ownership of the land. The next date of hearing had been fixed for March 7.



Tsunami upheaval can increase fish stock, says expert
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Every dark cloud has a silver lining. This holds true in the case of the December 26 tsunami disaster.

Though the incident wreaked havoc in coastal areas claiming thousands of lives, it has also proved to be a blessing in disguise in some ways.

Talking to The Tribune, Dr P.V. Dehadrai, a former Deputy Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, says the tsunami has churned the bottom and mid-water density layers of the Indian Ocean, raising nutrient-rich cold water layers. The mixing of upper warmer water with the nutrient-rich water will create an ideal and highly productive medium after February when the solar radiation will activate the euphotic zone. This will result in more food for the fish.

He is at present in Chandigarh to attend a three-day UGC-sponsored national seminar on “New trends in fishery development in India”, which started at Panjab University yesterday.

Sadly, he says, the fishing infrastructure of the Eastern Coast has suffered an unprecedented damage. “The government must concentrate on rehabilitating the fishermen, otherwise we will not be able to exploit the bounty of nature.”

He says tuna shoals, which travel along the equator, will now be more attracted to abundant food in the Andaman and Nicobar area. “This is the right time to capture the rich harvest coming our way.”

Regarding the growth of Indian fisheries, he says during the past five decades the annual production has increased from 0.75 million tonnes (MT) of fish and shellfish to 63 MT in 2004.

The fishery sector contributes about 5 per cent to the total agricultural GDP. As an income-generating sector, pisciculture alone generates 250-manday employment per hectare, particularly in shrimp aquaculture.

The export of fish and fish products was $1.6 billion last year. Indian fish has good market in European countries.

He says as farming is not paying good dividends, it is high time for the farmers of Punjab and Haryana to concentrate on aquaculture. Cheap labour in both the states will multiply profits in the trade.

Regarding river management, he says it should be brought under the concurrent list. He says Rs 332 crore spent on the Ganga action plan have gone down the drain as the pollution level of the river has increased again.

According to Dr Dehadrai, decline in fish population is not restricted to any specific area, it is a widespread phenomenon. Their population is declining due to various reasons, including construction of dams, barrages, pollution and human interference.



Audit officers hold rally
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh units of the Association of Senior Audit Officers and Audit Officers today held a rally during the lunch break and wore black badges to demand upgradation in the pay scales of Senior Accounts Officers and Accounts Officers.

Addressing a rally held at the Punjab AG ( Audit) in Sector 17 here, the leaders of the association said the All-India Accounts and Audit Officers Association had launched a nationwide agitation demanding upgradation in their pay scales.

Mr G.S. Pathania and Mr G.S. Bains, president and general secretary of the association, respectively, said while the pay scales of the Assistant Accounts Officers (AAO) had been revised, the same had not been done in case of the Sr AO and AO. Mr G.S. Lalia, Secretary-General of All-India Association, also addressed the gathering.

As a result, the gap between the pay scales of AO and AAO was reduced to around Rs 50, whereas it took around 20 years for an AAO to be promoted to AO.

Talking to The Tribune, the members of the association said they had taken up the issue with the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG) which was convinced of their genuine demand as granted by the fifth Pay Commission. But it was never implemented.

For the AOs, the revised pay scales which have been demanded are Rs 8000-13,500 and Sr AO, the pay scale are Rs 10,000- 15,200.

Today’s programme was part of the second phase of the agitation.



Special camp by PSEB
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 17
The Punjab State Electricity Board today held a special camp in Phase V as part of its voluntary disclosure scheme launched in the beginning of this month.

Domestic and commercial consumers have been asked to voluntarily disclose their load under the scheme. Board officials said the consumers could do this with a simple application addressed to the Assistant Executive Engineer, (Commercial), or in charge of the subdivision.

More than 40 applications were received at the camp today. Consumers deposited more than Rs 2 lakh with the board. The scheme would be open till March 31, said electricity board officials.

The consumer would be at liberty to come to the PSEB office or such special camps that would be held at various places in the coming days. Tomorrow, a camp would be held at Phases V and IX.



Former Professor of PU dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Prof Harshinder Singh, a former chairman of the Department of Statistics at Panjab University died in the USA on February 5, according to a delayed report.

Prof Harshinder Singh did his schooling and college education from Patiala.

He taught at Panjab University for more than 25 years before moving to the USA. He taught at West Virginia University for five years.

He was also the Editor of the Journal of Indian Society for Probability and Statistics for two years and member of the editorial board of many journals.

Kirtan and antim ardas would be held at Naina Khurd village in Patiala on February 20.



Cong denies involvement in sevadar bashing case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Members of the local unit of the Congress today said no partyman was involved in the alleged bashing of a sevadar in Sector 27. The Congress condemned the incident, he said.

The newspaper reports mentioned that Mr Davinder Singh Babla was involved in the incident. Congress leaders, Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, Mr Sunil Parti, Mr Surinder Bhatia and Ms Sharestha Mehta said “till date there is no communication from the AICC regarding the revoking of his expulsion.



Neel Sambar killed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 17
A three-year-old Neel Sambar was killed after it was hit by a vehicle on the Pinjore-Nalagarh road.

Wildlife officials informed that the Sambar could have possibly come from the forest area near Basola to the nearby fields in search of food.

Wildlife Inspector Sada Ram and Veterinary Surgeon Dr Anil Kumar rushed to the spot at around 8 a.m. today and found that the animal had died of a head injury.



Directive to housing societies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The housing societies and also the thrift and credit societies have been asked by the Joint Registrar, Cooperative Societies, to supply their members a statement of accounts within 15 days.

All auditors have also been directed to verify and confirm that the compliance of orders have been done .



One injured in group clash
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, February 17
A student of Shri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology was hurt in a clash between two groups of students in the institute premises here today.

According to sources, Gurpreet Singh, a student of Electrical Trade sustained injuries in his arm and was admitted to the local Civil Hospital. The injured told Chandigarh Tribune that Amrik Singh, Rupinder Singh, Sajjan Singh, Harman Singh and some other students allegedly assaulted him with some sharp edged weapon.



Thieves decamp with jewellery
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 17
Thieves decamped with gold jewellery and household items from a house in Phase IX. A case in this regard was registered late last night.

According to the police, Harvinder Singh had made a complaint that he, along with his family, had gone out of station on February 12. When he came back yesterday he saw the latch of the kitchen door broken and things in the house were lying scattered. The police has registered a case under Sections 380 and 457 of the IPC in this regard.



Burglars strike in Panchkula
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, February 17
Burglars struck at flats of Group Housing Society No 3 in Mansa Devi Complex in Sector 5 and decamped with cash and jewellery worth lakhs of rupees in broad daylight, here today.

The burglaries occurred when owners of both the flats (59 and 90) were not at home.

According to sources, the burglars took away two sets of gold jewellery from flat No 59 while gold jewellery weighing 40 gms and a cash of Rs 1,800 was stolen from flat No 90.

The owner of the flats Ms Geeta Khullar, said she found her house ransacked and jewellery missing when she returned from school this afternoon. Similarly Dr Subhash Chandra, owner of the other flat, claimed that the entire house was ransacked by the burglars.

The police has deputed a team of forensic experts and cases have been registered at the Sector 5 police station.


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