C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Chaos at stadium as fans brave police canes
Police, PCA authorities trade charges over fiasco
Maneesh Chhibber and Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

One injured in stampede

A merchant navy officer, Chaman Bedi, was injured during a minor stampede that took place outside gate number 14 while a group of friends were trying to get inside. Bedi was rushed to a nearby private hospital. A friend attending to him said: “We had tickets and were being let inside through the gate when a big crowd pushed us and we fell. Chaman was then run over by at least three persons while he was lying on the ground. We had to wait for an hour before the police opened the gates again to let us out to take him to the hospital.” — TNS

Mohali, October 28
For thousands of fans, today’s cricket match between India and Sri Lanka ended as a no-show. Despite having valid tickets, these people, including some high and mighty, were refused entry into the PCA Stadium as there was no space left to accommodate them. And, to rub salt into their wounds, these fans who waited for hours outside the gate hoping to gain entry into the stadium, were repeatedly subjected to cane-charging by Punjab Police personnel on duty at the stadium.

Already at loggerheads over the issue of payment of security fee, the Punjab Police and PCA authorities blamed one another for the fiasco. While Ropar SSP Surinder Pal Singh said the PCA authorities had sold as least 3,000 tickets more than the capacity of the stadium, PCA officials counter alleged that the police had played mischief and “filled up” the stadium with their own people hours before the match was to begin. Some even alleged that the seats in the stadium had been “sold” for anything ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 500 by the police on duty outside.

Cricket fans celebrates India’s victory over Sri Lanka.
Cricket fans celebrates India’s victory over Sri Lanka. — Tribune photo by Vinay Malik

The match began at 2.30 pm and by 3.30 pm, the 35,000-capacity stadium was bulging at the seams with at least 40,000 persons already inside. Many resorted to sitting on the stand berms and others chose to sit on the ground. By 4 pm, when the rush outside the stadium had swollen beyond control, all entry gates to the stadium were closed.

“Although we have the stadium’s security men at every gate, the police is simply pushing them on the side and have got dozens of persons in. We have lost control of the stadium,” said a senior PCA official involved with the security arrangements.

Sources added that it was not just about the policemen getting their family and friends in. “Seats were sold inside the stadium by the police. At gate No. 5, the police first would lock the gate, let a crowd gather and then allow only those inside with whom they struck a deal,” alleged a spectator.

The result was that thousands with valid tickets and passes were left waiting outside. For some the wait never ended and they had to go back dejected. Others braved the policemen and security personnel and resorted to gate crashing. Chased by policemen through the stadium, youngsters were seen scurrying to a safe place to sit and watch the match.

With the match finishing hours before the scheduled time, for many who had come from as far as Delhi to watch the match, the entire experience was a big let down. “We have come from Delhi and reached the stadium at 1.30 p.m. and its’ been three hours now and we are still standing in this queue. We have been told by PCA officials that there is no place to sit inside and the stadium is full to capacity. We have three tickets worth Rs 2500 each. First we had to fight to buy tickets and now we are being cane charged every five minutes by the police,” said Vinod Dewan.

Policemen on motorcycles and horses had been especially deployed outside the main gates of the stadium to ensure that the road is kept clear of the crowds waiting outside. Every time a VIP vehicle had to be let inside the stadium through the VIP gate, the crowd standing outside was subjected to cane charging to make way for them.

“This is simply not done. We shelved out hard-earned money to get the tickets. But, while those without tickets were allowed to enter the stadium, we were stopped outside. When we requested the police personnel and security guards hired by the PCA management to let us inside as we had valid tickets,” said Sanjeev Jain who had come from Khanna to watch the match but had to go back despite having tickets worth Rs 17,500.

“We are foolish. We actually bought tickets standing in long queues. We should have just found a contact in the Punjab Police and by now we would have been sitting comfortably inside,” said Anil Bhambri who had come with his family and had waited for over three hours to get in.



Fans ecstatic over India’s win

Chandigarh, October 28
Cricket enthusiasts today got their Divali gift at PCA stadium. The thumping eight-wicket win of India over Sri Lanka in the second one-day tie lifted the spirits of the over-40,000 spectators inside the stadium along with the lakhs, who enjoyed the match on their television sets.

“To see Sachin in full form was really feast to the eyes, which made any cricket lover to forget everything in the world. And the victory of India is not less than a Divali gift for us,” said Amit Chawla, Harwinder Singh and Nitin, who came from Jalandhar to see the match and celebrated the India’s victory by dancing outside the stadium on the ‘dhol’ beats.

“The Lankan team could not live up to our expectations and bundled out on paltry 122. But the firing from Sachin’s bat made us just out of the world and we would celebrate the victory at some good hotel or discotheque”, said the other group of local college students. — TNS



TV scribe beaten up
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 28
Zee TV Punjab has alleged that their reporter, Satender Chauhan, was beaten up by nearly 10 personnel of the Punjab Police led by an Assistant Sub-Inspector outside the PCA stadium this evening.

According to a statement issued by the Electronic Media Association, Satender was covering the match when he heard slogan shouting near PCA’s gate number 1A. Chauhan and his cameraman recorded the entire sequence of events. No sooner had the Zee news team finished recording, an ASI led about over 10 personnel in black uniforms attacked Chauhan. Chauhan was thrown on the road and given several blows and kicks. He received several injuries and has been taken to the Civil Hospital, Phase VI, Mohali.

Immediately after the incident, the police managed to remove the guilty personnel from the spot and several police personnel present at the spot, removed their name plates, said the association’s statement.

TV reporters and camerapersons led by the president and office-bearers of the association gathered at the spot and lodged a protest against the police assault.

The association has demanded action against the guilty policemen and their supervisory officers.



Man found murdered near IT park road
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 28
An unidentified man in his mid-twenties was found brutally murdered in the forest area near the Bapu Dham colony early this morning. Preliminary inquiry by the police has not ruled out the possibility of robbery being the motive behind the murder.

The crime came to light around 6.45 am today after Mr Darshan Singh of the Bapu Dham colony went to the forest area near the narrow bridge on the IT park road for defecation.

Giving details, Mr Darshan Singh said he saw the body lying in a pool of blood with the victim’s face badly bludgeoned. His black trousers and a warm lower were spread on the bushes near the body, while his underwear was pulled down to his feet.

He was wearing a t-shirt on top of another, giving the police the impression that he had come to the area from nearby hills. In all probability, the fair-complexioned victim of medium height and slim build was either a trucker or his helper in the city with a consignment of apples.

The victim too was answering the call of nature when he was attacked by two persons or more. The victim’s wallet and other belongings were missing indicating robbery, the sources said. They added that trampled grass at the spot and scratches on the body provided testimony to struggle.

A senior officer present at the spot said the assailants could have taken the wallet and other things for misguiding the police after attacking the victim because of personal enmity. “It is too early to say anything for certain at this stage,” the officer added.

He added that the victim was killed sometime around 10 pm on Thursday night as rigor mortis had set in. Elaborating, he said muscular stiffening began four to six hours after death.

Even as the police tried to establish facts and circumstances leading to the murder, a large number of Bapu Dham colony dwellers gathered around the body. Meanwhile, forensic experts reached the spot with sniffer dogs.

Later, the body was taken to the nearby slums and the grain market. It was also shown to a large number of Kashmiri migrants in an attempt to identify it.

The officer said handouts and bills carrying the victim’s photo would be circulated in case they were not able to identify the victim in the next few hours.

He claimed that a massive combing operation had been launched to nab the culprits on the basis of evidence gathered from the spot. “It is just a matter of time,” he said, adding that the body had been kept in the Sector 16 General Hospital mortuary.



Army Chief stops discharge of LCM soldiers
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
Following reports of a large number of Army personnel placed in low medical category (LMC) being discharged from service due to excessive manpower holding, the Chief of the Army Staff has issued orders prohibiting such practice. While the discharge of LCM soldiers who were in the process of being released is learnt to have stopped, a question has arisen over the fate of those who have already been sent home.

It was earlier reported by The Tribune that miscalculation on the posted strength of personnel in different arms and services had led to the Army discharging several thousand troopers in a questionable manner over the past two years.

LMC personnel in certain categories were served discharge notices as their numbers exceeded the sanctioned strength. This, according to sources, could have happened only if recruitment was not proportionate to the vacancies available.

Quoting directives issued by the Army chief, a letter issued by Headquarters, Western Command to various formations and establishments recently stated that the discharge of LMC personnel due to excessive holding of manpower in the affected arms and services would not be resorted to.

During the Army Commanders’ Conference earlier this year, it was pointed out that LMC personnel considered suitable for sheltered appointments commensurate with their medical category were in some cases, not being recommended for retention in service.

The Western Command letter said the chief had ruled that as far as possible, personnel capable of performing basic military duties in sheltered appointments would be retained in service within the parameters of the laid down policy.

“The fact that the dismissal process was unlawful and arbitrary is borne out by the fact that the Army re-instated some personnel who sought legal recourse,” Mr Rajeev Anand a lawyer is handling the cases of several affected personnel, said.

Moreover, in cases of a large number of LMC personnel, their medical condition has been attributable to military service and their condition is not detrimental to discharging responsibilities in stipulated sheltered appointments.

A number of them, according to documents available, had served in the field in their present medical condition during Operation Vijay and Operation Parakram.



Sons take father home, vow to serve him
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
Ninety-year-old Ram Chand slept like a child today. After 50 distressful days spent at a Mohali bus stop, he found peace this morning when two of his four sons returned to take him home to Balaungi village – just 5 km from where he had been left to languish!

The sons came after learning about The Tribune report highlighting their father’s plight and also the threat it posed to their reputation. Back home in Balaungi, the old man did not recognise his sons Jagdish and Baldev.

He slept through the day, and had barely eaten when The Tribune team tracked him down after hours of search.

Jagdish and his wife Kamlesh had quietly taken Ram Chand away from the Mohali’s Phase VI bus stop this morning. They had not waited to tell anyone where they were taking him. Nor had they cared to meet Ms Parveen Sharma who had been Ram Chand’s only link to survival during the 50-day-long ordeal.

At the bus stop, several people gathered to help Ram Chand in whatever way they could. Some came with fruits and food; others came with blankets. The Lions Club sent its doctors to ensure medical help for Ram Chand.

But the old man was nowhere in sight. The nearby juice vendor Dhan Singh was the only one who had seen Ram Chand being taken away.

He told The Tribune, “A man and a woman came this morning and took Ram Chand away in an auto. The woman said she was Ram Chand’s daughter but when I confronted her saying Ram Chand never mentioned he had a daughter, she just drove past. I even lambasted them for their cowardly act of abandoning the old man.”

It took The Tribune team hours to track Ram Chand down to his son Jagdish’s house in Balaungi, just 5 km from the spot where the 90-year-old had been abandoned. The search was made possible due to Gurpreet Singh, who had driven the family home.

Once the location was known, we drove to Dashmseh Colony in Balaungi where Jagdish, a worker in a local factory, lives with his family.

Inside the house, Ram Chand lay on a cot, unable to react to his altered situation. He appeared sick but satisfied that God had granted his final prayers.

As we closed in, Ram Chand greeted Parveen Sharma who accompanied us to Balaungi.

Also present were six persons who had come to help Ram Chand and were keen to know if he was well. With so many well-wishers in presence, Ram Chand could not but smile.

His eyes however remained focused on Parveen who had been his best pal in sunset years.

He refused food from his daughter-in-law’s hands and instead asked Parveen to make him some “khichdi”, little realising he was no longer at the bus stop.

The sons, for their part, swore to serve their father till the end. In defence, they said: “We have been desperately looking for our father. He left our elder brother’s house in Kurukshetra and did not tell anyone where he was going.”

They obviously did not look search enough. If they did, they could not have missed a 90-year-old thirsting for affection just 5 km away from where his family resided!



Rodrigues lays stone of housing scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The Punjab Governor and the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), laid the foundation stone of a housing scheme in Sector 49 here today. The scheme will have 96 one bedroom and the same number of two bedroom flats.

The ground floor in one room flat category is priced at Rs 15,90,000, first floor at Rs 12,40,000 and the second floor at Rs 11,90,000. The ground floor in the two bedroom category is priced at Rs 31,50,000, the first floor at Rs 26,00,000, second floor at Rs 25,00,000 and the top floor at Rs 24,00,000.

The Governor while interacting with the senior officers of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) after laying the stone called for institutionalising the concept of fully integrated township equipped with efficient support infrastructure to meet the basic day to day needs of the residents. Speaking on the occasion, Mr S.N. Sahai, Chairman, CHB, said the housing scheme - 2005 comprises the construction of 96 one bedroom flats and 96 two bedroom flats covering an area of 648 sq ft and 1145 sq ft, respectively.

The pricing of the dwelling units in both categories of the one bedroom and the two bedroom flats in Sector 49 has come in for criticism from the political circles and even the general public.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, local MP, and Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former MP, have already showed their dissatisfaction with the prices saying they were too high for a common man. Mr Subhash Chawla, former Mayor, said, “The CHB is not a property dealer and it should remember that the land was acquired at throwaway prices from the original inhabitants. The scheme had nothing in offering for the middle class.”

However, the CHB Chairman said the prices of the flats were very decently priced according to the quality they would offer. It has been clarified, unlike majority of other schemes, that there will be no hike in the prices of flats till the completion of the buildings.



Mauritius PM passes by city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
Dr Navinchandra Ramgoolam, Prime Minister of Republic of Mauritius, made a brief stopover at the Chandigarh Airport on his way to Mashobra in Himachal Pradesh here today.

He is scheduled to stay at Mashobra for two days and is expected to stay a little longer in the city on his return journey. Dr Ramgoolam was received at the airport during his transit flight by Gen S.F. Rodrigues, Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator. He was accompanied by Mrs Jean Rodrigues.



Man donates Rs 1 lakh in brother’s memory

Mohinder Singh BhandariChandigarh, October 28
Lieut-Col N.S. Bhandari (retd), a Panchkula resident, has donated Rs 1 lakh to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund for the earth quake victims in the memory of his brother, late Mohinder Singh Bhandari, whose 63rd birthday falls tomorrow.

A philanthropist, Mohinder, passed away in October last year. The donation has been made in response to The Tribune's appeal to its readers. TNS



2 theft cases solved
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 28
The police today claimed to have solved two cases of theft with the arrest of an alleged drug addict.

Giving details of the arrest, the sources in the Sector 36 police station said 30-year-old Sanjay Dass of Sector 41 had been arrested last night. During the interrogation, the police recovered a gas cylinder and two spare tyres of a Maruti car from his possession. He was remanded in the judicial custody by a local court today.

Vehicles stolen

Mr Harbans Lal of Pipliwala town in Mani Majra reported to the police that his Indica car (CH-02-1610) had been stolen from his residence on Thursday. In another incident, Mr Kaushal Bhoora of Pillu Khera Mandi in Jind district in Haryana lodged a complaint to the police alleging that his Maruti car (DL-9-CA-1203) had been stolen from near the Department of English, Panjab University, yesterday. In another incident of vehicle theft, Mr Sanjiv Kumar of Burail village filed a complaint to the police alleging that his motor cycle (CH-03-R-3457) had been stolen from his residence during Wednesday night.

The police has registered three cases of thefts in various police stations in the city.

Cop injured

Bhadur Singh, a constable with the Chandigarh Police, suffered injuries when a motorcyclist hit him from behind near the Mauli Jagran police post in Pipliwala town yesterday. The cop was discharging his duty at a naka when the accident took place. He was shifted to the Public Heath Centre in Mani Majra. A case of causing hurt due to rash and negligent driving has been registered against Kishan Lal of Pipliwala town, the motor cycle rider.



Boy run over by school bus
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 28
A boy Ranjit Singh, a resident of Kumbra village was run over by a school bus while 12 students were injured, two of them seriously, when another school bus rammed into the boundary wall of a park here today.

It is alleged that the bus was moving at a high speed and the child was playing on the roadside when the accident took place. The driver of the bus, Kartar Singh, a resident of Balongi village, fled from the spot after removing the body of the child from under the bus. A resident of the village chased the bus and stopped the vehicle. The driver was later handed over to the police.

In another incident a school bus rammed into a wall when the driver lost control on the vehicle. Two students, who were sitting on the front seat, fell from the vehicle when the windscreen got smashed in the accident. They reportedly sustained head injuries while other also suffered minor bruises.

The bus was on its way to Chandigarh after picking students up from Mohali.



Woman duped of cash

Panchkula, October 28
A woman was allegedly duped of Rs 15,000 by a couple, on the pretext of doubling the money. The man had claimed to be a god man, and the woman his disciple.

The incident took place near the Sector 10 market when Ms Bimla Rani, was on her way to deposit the money in a bank. According to the police a man approached her on the pretext of asking her an address.

As the unsuspecting victim was talking to him, another woman approached them. She told the victim that the man was a famous godman, and he could grant her any wish. The victim has told the police that she was hypnotised and the duo took away her money. TNS



CITCO turnover rises to Rs 436 crore
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation has recorded a turnover of Rs 436 crore during the last financial year as compared to Rs 269 crore for the year 2003-04. In the first half of the current financial year the corporation has earned a profit of over Rs 8 crore.

This was disclosed in the meeting of its Board of Directors held here today under the chairmanship of Home Secretary, Mr Krishna Mohan, to review the functioning of all hotels run CITCO and also to chalk out future strategies so as to keep pace with the exponential growth of turnover and to give tourism a fillip in the city.

As a bonanza to its staff for their dedicated and sincere services, which enabled the corporation to earn such a huge profit, it was also decided in the meeting to give a bonus of Rs 8,650 each to all its employees.

It was also decided in the meeting to further strengthen the infrastructure in all hotels of CITCO especially the hotel Shivalikview and Parkview. A new business centre will be established in hotel Shivalikview and the hotel will be provided with new lifts. The rooms will be renovated by providing latest facilities on the fifth floor so as to give a new ambience. To meet the growing demand of domestic budget tourist during the ensuing tourist season, the board also decided to construct 24 new rooms in hotel Parkview.

To uphold the brand image of being the first five star hotel of the city, Hotel Mountview would be developed accordingly and a lot of emphasis would be given to sustain the competitive edge. The Board of Directors also gave the approval to Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, Managing Director, CITCO, and GM, Hotel Mountview, to participate in the World Travel Mart, which would be held in London from November 14 to 17.



Allahabad Bank holds retail loan camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The Chandigarh Zone of the Allahabad Bank has launched a special single window loan disbursement scheme for professionals with a special target to attract professionals and the salaried class. Disclosing this here today at a ‘retail loan camp’, Assistant General Manager, Mr V.K. Chawla, said that Rs 27.05 crore had been disbursed under the Retail Credit Scheme.

Mr Chawla announced that as a “festival season bonanza” the bank was offering a 1 per cent discount in interest rates on retail products (other than housing loans) and this benefit would be available till December 31. He said that car loans, housing loans, educational loans, loan to doctors, pensioners, loan against property etc had received a very good response. The bank had disbursed Rs 5.03 crore in the zone in Retail Credit camps.

The branch had been given a festive look where Justice R.L. Anand was the chief guest. The programme was conducted by the Senior Manager, Mr V.K. Chopra.


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