C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


15,000 take cancelled Rly exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
More than 15,000 candidates appeared for the railway recruitment examinations being conducted for the group IV category in the city today. The exam was conducted at 127 centres in the city, Panchkula and Mohali. Interestingly, none of the candidates were aware that the exam had been cancelled due to paper leakage in Lucknow. Railway officials, too, worried over a possible backlash due to the cancellation, kept tight lipped about the leakage.

Meanwhile, officials of the Northern Railway at the railway station, battled against the heavy rush of candidates who had come to the city to appear for the examinations.

A senior railway official on condition of anonymity stated that the rush was a lot more than expected. “The crowd is much more than expected. We are worried that the crowd may become violent if they come to know that their efforts put in for this exam went in vain, and we are not prepared for that. We are, therefore, keeping mum about the cancellation till the special trains leave.”

The Northern Railway had arranged to run three special trains to and from the city today, to meet the heavy rush of candidates. In addition the Northern Railway has also requested the CTU to arrange buses for the transportation of candidates to their respective centres. A special ticket counter had also been set up and the security beefed up.

This is the second phase of the three-phased examination. The first one had been held on February 12, and the last one was slated to be conducted on March 5. Fresh dates for today’s cancelled examination are expected to be announced soon. 



Lucknow train delayed by 10 hours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Lucknow-Chandigarh train was today delayed by over 10 hours from its scheduled arrival time. The delay was attributed to the derailment of the Howarh-Amritsar Express near Nagina railway station at Bijnore last night.

The train which was scheduled to arrive at 10:10 am arrived at about 8 pm in the evening. Meanwhile, the Chandigargh-Lucknow train scheduled to depart from the city at 7:05 pm was delayed by over four hours and left the city at about 11:30 pm.

Harassed passengers complained against the delay. However, the railway authorities maintained that they could do nothing about it as the delay was from behind. "About 300 metres of track on the Lucknow-Dehradun section has been affected due to the derailment and trains could not move unless that could get repaired, thus the delay," stated Mr R.K. Dutta, Railway Superintendent, Chandigarh.



CBI frames 6 power officers after 13 yrs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Thirteen years after the CBI booked seven persons, including six officers of the BBMB and the UT Electricity Department, for allegedly facilitating theft of power by Bhushan Industries, a Special CBI Court here has finally farmed charges against the accused.

The CBI had filed the charge sheet in February, 2001 and the case was transferred to the special court in November, 2005.

On December 14, 1993, the CBI had booked the six officers — V.K. Mahendru, XEN, UT Electricity Department; Mangat Pal Gaur, Junior Engineer, BBMB; Tarsem Lal Aggarwal, Junior Engineer, UT Electricity Department; Harjinder Singh Brar, Assistant Executive Engineer, UT Electricity Department; Deepak Chopra, Commercial Engineer, UT Electricity Department; and Jagir Singh, Sub-Station Engineer, BBMB — and Brij Bhushan Singhal, MD, Bhushan Industries; under the Prevention of Corruption Act and various Sections of the Indian Electricity Act for causing loss to the government by allowing the company to consume power through a feeder with the metre installed at the BBMB sub-station, Industrial Area.

The officials were also accused of not noting down metre reading properly, thereby causing loss to the government.

While framing the charges against the accused, the CBI Special Judge, Mr Jagdeep Jain, observed that the accused during the period April, 1985 to July, 1988 connived with Brij Bhushan Singhal to do an illegal act by willfully and fraudulently preventing the metre from registering correct reading and allowing theft of electricity from D 3 feeder, BBMB sub-station, Sector 28, thereby causing loss to the tune of over Rs 3 crore to the UT Electricity Department and the HSEB.

At least 1,17,45,096 units of electricity which were consumed by the unit were hidden.

During the argument, counsels for the accused said the CBI had proceeded on assumptions and presumptions.

They said theft of power from metre installed in the sub-station was not possible. They said monthly assessment of all inter-state metres was being taken at 66 KV BBMB sub-station.

Counsel for H.S. Brar said when the charges were placed in the court, four officers — A.K. Gupta, V.K. Malhotra, Bir Bhan and Om Parkash — were exonerated due to reason known to the prosecution and the names of H.S. Brar, Deepak Chopra and Jagir Singh were included.

After hearing the arguments on February 6, 2006, the judge had observed that it was for the accused to controvert these circumstances by participating in the trial and defend them.



Sector 17 mall construction stopped
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Estate Officer, Chandigarh, has stopped the construction activity at an upcoming shopping mall-cum-multiplex being constructed by M/s TDI Ltd in Sector 17 here. The Director (Environment), Chandigarh Administration, in a press release said a notice was issued by the Estate Officer to the company on February 21 to stop the construction and get the plans approved from the competent authority.

After the company failed to take note of the notice and did not comply with the directions issued by the Pollution Control Committee, the Environment Department issued direction under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 to the Estate Officer to get the constructions stopped.

For the multiplex which is coming up at the demolished site of Jagat Theatre, the company has not taken environmental clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.



Drizzle brings down mercury by 5.8°C
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The slight drizzle on Sunday morning came as a pleasant surprise to the city residents as the day temperature came down by 5.8°C. It came down to a cool 26°C from yesterday’s 31.8°C.

Late night rain and slight drizzle during the day brought slight chill in the air, bringing respite from the increasing temperature in the region.

The ongoing Rose Festival at Sector 16 Zakir Rose Garden also witnessed heavy rush on the last day today with people enjoying the weather.

According to Met Department officials, the day temperature was still one degree above normal. They said there was possibility of more rain in the coming days in the city, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. 



Up to 34-ft high buildings allowed in villages
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Chandigarh Administration has proposed the maximum permissible height of a building to 34 feet, depending upon the width of the connecting road, under the draft building bylaws for UT villages.

Allowing up to three stories, the administration has specified that no basement would be allowed in the buildings. For a two-storey building connected to a 16-foot-wide road, the permissible height would be 24 feet and for three storey 34 feet.

The covered area has also been planned in accordance with the plot area.

For plot area up to 11 sq yd, full coverage has been allowed. For plots ranging between 101 sq yd and 500 sq yd, site coverage of between 80 per cent and 60 per cent has fixed. For plots of size above 500 sq yd, site coverage of 50 per cent has been proposed, according to sources in the administration.

The maximum height and size of a living room will not be more than 9 feet and 500 sq feet, respectively. The minimum size of a room has been proposed at 100 sq feet.

Titled as the Chandigarh Administration (Erection and Re-erection of Building) Building Bylaws, 2006, the draft has been sent to the Director, Rural Development and Panchayats, and Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, for detailed comments.

After receiving suggestions, the bylaws would be notified.

The sources said the bylaws would apply to the unacquired “abadi” area of Mani Majra, villages under the jurisdiction of the Municipal Corporation and unacquired “abadi” villages falling under the control of the administration.

For villages falling under the Municipal Corporation, the house owners would not have to seek completion certificate from the administration for the release of water, sewerage and electricity connection.

Those intending to erect or re-erect any building in the unacquired “abadi” area would have to submit building plan consisting of a site plan, plan elevation and sections of the proposed structure, drainage plan certified by a qualified architect.

The administration has proposed to allow residential use of all other building areas except the ground floor.

For the ground floor, non-conforming uses would not be allowed.

The general trades under the schedule appended to the Chandigarh (Sales of Sites and Building) Rules, 1960, would be applicable.

The household industries recognised by the administration would be permissible up to 15 sq yd of the covered area on the ground floor.

Task force for land purchase

The administration has constituted a task force, comprising officers of the Chandigarh Housing Board and the UT Engineering Department, which are negotiating the rates at which the land would be purchased at market rates from villagers.

Unconfirmed reports said the task force would concentrate on buying around 370 acres of land for slum rehabilitation schemes.

In the recent past, the land acquisition rates (including the enhancements) offered by the Land Acquisition Officer varied between Rs 35 lakh and Rs 40 lakh.

The CHB has offered around Rs 65 lakh in Dhans and Khuda Lahora villages, sources said. The rates being offered by private colonisers in the neighbouring areas of Punjab was around Rs 1 crore.



Giving Sikhya to the underprivileged
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
"Why should they not have the same opportunities and facilities as we have had? Why a tin shed for them? These people look upon the school as a temple so why not arrange the best for them?"

What started as bricks and mortar is now a state-of -the-art institution for under-privileged children bringing happiness in their lives through education.

The enthused vision of Dr Gurpreet Singh, 'Sikhya' opened its portals to its special students here yesterday, 300 in the first batch.

"I was told I was a fool to do this at this stage in my life," says Dr Gurpreet Singh, who at 72, wants to continue making a difference, a great difference.

Deeply involved in education and industry for several decades now, Dr Gurpreet Singh has served as a member of the governing boards of various educational institutions, including IIT Delhi, IIM Bangalore, Washington University (USA) and has headed the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the All- India Management Association (AIMA) among others. Listed in the 'Who's Who ", his gentle demeanour and his passion for this cause are inspiring and truly humbling.

The funds for the school will be generated by the Guru Nanak Vidya Bhandar Trust, established by Dr Gurpreet Singh's father, which has been providing education to under-privileged children since its inception in 1924.

"We have budgeted within the trust for the expenses but we are hoping that in time there will be enough activity created here to generate resources."

"People would question me, is this not a waste of money? But the joy and satisfaction of seeing this completed is so great because by creating an infrastructure that is sound we have so many good people volunteering to come here and participate."

The stories are stirring, inspiring. "I have had people come up to me in a tiny village in Austria with a population of 2000 and ask me if they can come and teach." A German waitress, a World War II veteran whose daughter is a teacher, a homeopath, horticulturalist, fashion designers, technical honchos even restaurateurs who want to choose youngsters from the first batch of students to train as chefs there is a tremendous response. "Who do I thank for?" says Dr Singh.

The process has been slow and arduous. But in Principal Sonia Channi, he found an able ally.

"She picked up my entire vision and dream and she has dreamt and lived every moment of it herself."

Having come till here, Dr Singh now wants to see the faces of the first batch that graduates from here-the dreams continue.

"It is the holistic development of the child we are looking at by changing the methodology of teaching."

What is more, the education does not stop at the gates of the school. For those who wish to take up a vocational course afterwards, they will find a place at the Vocational Institute at Mohali run by the trust.

For those who need to be at home and earn there will be provisions made. Dr Singh also plans to ask his business contacts from his CII days to mentor one child each to give him or her that unique opportunity to grow.

What happens after him, what if the funds do not come in? "Someone else will come and take it forward, for I am hoping that this is a movement we have started here. There are lot of people with good hearts who will step in."

As Dr Singh's daughter Simran puts in, "The school is all about staying open to the magic-to go step by generative step." 



Devotees throng temples on Shivratri
Tribune News Service

Devotees wait at Shri Kailashpati Temple in Patiala on Sunday.
Devotees wait at Shri Kailashpati Temple in Patiala on Sunday. — Photo by Rajesh Sachar

Panchkula, February 26
Thousands of devotees from all over the region today gathered at the Sri Shiv Mandir, Mahadevpur, to pay obeisance on Mahashivratri festival.

In fact, people had started thronging the temple from 10 pm last night. As the doors of the ancient temple were thrown open at midnight, the devotees poured in to offer milk and fruit prasad to the deity.

Since wee hours of the morning today, serpentine queues were witnessed outside the temple. No one complained even as they had to walk for over 3 km to reach the temple. Amidst reciting of shlokas and chants of ‘har har Mahadev’, people waited for over three to four hours for their turn to enter the shrine.

Other than the devotees, a large number of Kawarias, who bring the holy water of the Ganga and offer it to Lord Shiva, today converged at the temple, and offered it to the deity.

A langar was organised by the Sri Shiv Mandir Nav Durga Charitable Trust, Marble Traders Association and some other welfare organisations, on this occasion. The district police had made elaborate security arrangements, at least five nakas had been set up at different points enroute the temple. A special counter for making announcements had been set up by the temple management, which also acted as a place to report missing persons.

All along the way small shops had been set up, offering varied wares, including posters, trinkets, household items etc. Residents of Saketri village had set up kiosks along the route, where milk and fruits were being sold. Mr Ashok Kumar Sharma, a shopkeeper near the temple, told TNS that by 1 pm today afternoon, he had sold 1000 crates of milk.

Shivratri was celebrated in Chandigarh and surrounding areas here today. Thousands of devotees thronged various temples offering prayers, fruits and milk to the Shivling.

At Sri Sanatan Dharam Mandir, Sector 45 the celebrations began in the early hours. Serpentine queues were formed in front of the temple to perform jala-bhishek. Shiv kirtan presented by the Mahila Sankirtan Mandal.

At the Arya Samaj Temple, Sector 22, a yajna was performed, followed by flag hoisting and religious discourse. Students of M.D.A.V. school participated in bhajan recital and a langar was also organised.

At Sri Radha Krishan Temple, Sector 41, Sri Laxmi Narayan Temple, Sector 20, Sri Sanatan Dharam Temple, Sector 23 and the Sri Mahakali Temple, Sector 30, long queues were witnessed as the devotees carrying fruit and milk patiently awaited their turn. Heavy police presence was there to check any untoward incident and to manage the growing numbers.

Meanwhile, there was also a rise in the fruit prices because of Shivratri. Ber were sold between Rs 15 to 25 per kg, guava Rs 25 per kg, while banana was sold between Rs 25 to Rs 30 per dozen. Black grapes were available for Rs 40 per kg.

Eminent leaders of different faiths converged for the Sarv Dharam Sangoshti, an inter-faith meeting held at Rajyoga Bhavan here today. The meeting was called by Brahma Kumaris to commemorate the festival of Shivratri.

Shivratri was celebrated at Shri Sanatan Dharam Mandir, Sector 45, Chandigarh, here. The programme began with Shiv aradhana at 4 am. Devotees were seen standing in long queues waiting for their turn for performing jal abhishek”. Prasad of milk badam and fruits was distributed. The Mahila Sankirtan Mandal performed kirtan. 



21 couples tie nuptial knot
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 26
The day could not have brought more happiness for Sonia and Dal Chand, and Rani and Sanjay, who were united in holy matrimony amid the recital of Vedic shlokas.

The couples were married off, along with 19 other couples, during the 10th mass marriage being organised by the Lions Club, Chandigarh Plaza, and the Arya Samaj, Panchkula, at Aggarwal Bhavan, Sector 16, here today.

A large number of people from nearby villages and slum colonies gathered here to attend the mass marriage. Families of the couples expressed gratitude at the benevolence of Lions Club and Arya Samaj members. Said Mrs Dayawati from Haridwar, whose nephew was one of the bridegrooms, “We could have never done so much for our child.”

The marriages were performed according to Hindu, Sikh and Muslim rites. The couples were also given some necessary items to start their new life — sewing machine, folding beds, bed linen, crockery and clothes for each of the 21 couples, besides some gold and silver jewellery.

It is learnt that the members of the two organisations had donated themselves to arrange for this mass marriage. Mr Bhaskar Arya of the Arya Samaj informed TNS that a screening committee had been set up to ensure that only genuine couples were married off. "It is after a thorough verification of the age of the couple and their economic status that they were considered for the free marriages," he said. 



Road rage claims motorcyclist, cyclist; 5 hurt
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 26
A motorcyclist and a cyclist were killed while five pedestrians were seriously injured when a truck crushed them near the Golf Club, on the Kishangarh village road, late last night.

The driver of the truck reportedly fled the scene leaving behind the vehicle.

Giving details of the incident, sources in the Sector 3 police station said the accident took place on the rear end of St John’s School, Sector 26, around 12.15 am.

The truck (CH-03-G-5135) was coming from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26. Some of the victims were pilgrims and were on their way to a Shiv temple in Saketri village.

The police said the truck first hit two pedestrians, following which the driver lost control of the vehicle and crushed five more.

The injured were taken to the General Hospital, Sector 16, where two of them succumbed to their injuries.

The dead have been have been identified as Narian Pandey (21) of Kishangarh village and Vijayant (23) of Mangoli, Old Panchkula. The injured were Ravi Kumar, Vikas, Arun Kumar, Anuj and Virender.

Narian was working as a cook with a city-based hotel and was on his way home on a cycle.

Three critically injured — Ravi Kumar, Vikas and Virender — have been shifted to the PGI.

Station House Officer (SHO) of Sector 3 police station Balhar Singh said the truck had been impounded and the efforts were on to trace the driver.

The documents recovered from the truck revealed that the truck was registered in the name of a Burail resident.

A police team went to the address of the owner but returned empty-handed.



Foreigner tries to dupe shopkeeper, held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 26
The police has arrested a West African national on the charge of attempting to dupe a shopkeeper by handing him over a “stolen cheque” (for Rs 2.73 lakh) against the purchase of a laptop and a computer.

A case has been registered against James Anthony of West Africa on the basis of a complaint filed by Mr Rohit Goel, proprietor of The Computer Mall, NAC, Mani Majra on Saturday.

Mr Goel, in his complaint, had alleged that James Anthony visited his shop on February 9 and told him that he wanted to purchase a laptop and a computer.

After selecting the items, the accused handed him over a cheque (100548) dated February 2 for £ 3415 drawn on Barclays Bank Bolton.

Mr Goel sent the cheque to the Sector 17-based Canara bank. The bank did not clear the cheque and returned it with remarks “Payment stopped, theft reported”.

Coming to know about the fraud, Mr Goel waited for James to call back, which he did on Saturday. Mr Goel asked him to come to his shop to collect the items. Meanwhile, he also informed the police, which nabbed the accused from his shop.

A police official said James was produced in a local court that remanded him in police custody for two days. 



Gang of robbers busted, 4 held
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 26
The Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police today arrested four youths armed with country-made pistols and jackknives from the jungle area near Panjab University.

A fifth member of the gang managed to give a slip to the police.

The police said the gang was planning a robbery in the city. It also claimed to having recovered two stolen motor cycles.

The police said the accused were involved in several incidents of robbery and theft.

Giving details, Crime Branch in charge Satbir Singh said on the basis of a tip-off the branch constituted a team comprising Sub-Inspectors Amanjot Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Shadi Lal under his supervision and conducted a raid in which the accused were held.

The accused were identified as Amit Kumar (20) of Vikas Nagar, Mauli Jagran, Ajay (21), alias Modi, of Pathran village, Hoshiarpur district, Ajay Kumar (18), alias Chotu, and Sonu (18), both residents of Kumahar Colony, Sector 25.

The police seized a country-made pistol with live cartridges each from Amit and Ajay, and a jackknife each from Ajay and Sonu.

However, one of their accomplices, Surinder, managed to flee from the scene.

Inspector Satbir Singh added that the police recovered two stolen motor cycles — Bajaj Pulsar (CH-03-J-4710) and Hero Honda Ambition (CH-03-R-8675) — from their possession.

Pulsar was stolen from the Panjab University campus around a week ago, while the other motor cycle was stolen from Shanti Kunj, Sector 16, in November, last year.

He said during the preliminary interrogation, the gang members disclosed that they used to target individuals on deserted roads in the dark and rob them.

The police was expecting to solve several cases of crime during their sustained interrogation.

He also added that Amit Kumar was earlier booked in a case of theft in Mani Majra.

Talking with Chandigarh Tribune, Amit said he wanted to become a priest but took to crime after he was booked in a theft case.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |