C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Youth detained for hitting MLA son’s car
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 4
A protest was staged outside the police station, Phase VIII, here this evening over the alleged illegal detention of a youth after a road accident involving the car of a son of the Kharar MLA.

The protesters raised slogans against the police for alleged harassment of Spice Telecom employee, Chamandeep Singh. According to sources, a motor cycle ridden by Chamandeep Singh and car of Anantbir Singh had collided at the PCL Chowk here earlier in the evening. The car had suffered damage in the accident.

The protesters alleged that the police was harassing the Spice employee but had allowed the MLA’s son to go after the accident.

The police claimed that Chamandeep Singh had jumped the red light, which led to the accident. A case under Section 279 of the IPC has been registered against him.

SHO Manmeet Singh said the case was dealt with on merit and Chamandeep Singh was later released on bail.

MLA Bir Devinder Singh told Chandigarh Tribune that he had not talked to the police in connection with the accident as it would have amounted to interference in the matter. He had been told that the car of his son had got damaged.

Traffic police personnel were present at the traffic lights at the time of the accident.



Guard dies of his gunfire
Tribune News Service

The entrance to house No. 43, Sector 9, Chandigarh, where guard Magar Singh got killed of his own bullet on Saturday evening.
The entrance to house No. 43, Sector 9, Chandigarh, where guard Magar Singh got killed of his own bullet on Saturday evening. — Tribune photo by Vinay Malik

Chandigarh, March 4
A security guard Magar Singh died following accidental gunfire which hit a live cartridge tucked to his belt, here, this evening.

Magar Singh, who was employed as a security guard at House No 43, Sector 9, here, died on the spot. However, the exact cause of the bursting of the live cartridge could not be ascertained.

According to police officials, the bullet, after being fired from the rifle, hit his belt before piercing the right side of his abdomen. The chair, on which the deceased was apparently sitting, was also reduced to pieces due to the ballistic brunt.

When the incident occurred, cook of the house Umed Singh, who was in the kitchen, rushed to the spot and found the body of the victim lying in a pool of blood.

The police sources said that forensic experts would be called to the spot tomorrow to inspect the site and pinpoint the exact cause of the explosion.

The owner of the house, Mr Deep Singh Yadav, was out of city at the time of the incident. 



Bus service on inner roads to be regulated
Sanjiv Singh Bariana
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, March 4
Taking a cue from the road accident in Sector 56 on Thursday involving a school bus which killed an old lady, Chandigarh Administration plans to have a serious look into regulating the bus (particularly the 52-seater) service on the inner roads of the city.

Mrs Daya Sharma was killed by an overspeeding bus. There have been several accidents involving school buses in the past also.

Mr Krishna Mohan, Home Secretary, said: "The administration was having a serious review of the matter. I have talked to the concerned officials and asked them to tighten the school bus traffic, particularly on the inner roads of the sectors. We will be having a meeting on the issue next week."

Mr Amitabh Dhillon, Superintendent of Police (Traffic), said: "There is no ban on school buses plying on the inner sectoral roads. At the same time, there is no denying the fact that the matter needs a relook. In the initial phase, all school buses need to be closed on the V6 roads and subsequently also on the V5 roads."

It may be mentioned here that certain societies in Sectors 48 and 49 have banned the entry of buses inside the premises. Parents come to the gate for picking and dropping their kids. There is also a general feeling that the State Transport Authority needs to be more strict in clearing the fitness of the buses for plying on the city roads.

There have been frequent complaints against the very poor condition of the school buses. Mr Randhir Singh, a resident of Sector 38(West), said: "The school bus of my son is very old and makes a very harsh noise, showing it had outlived its utility period. I see several other similar vehicles on the city roads. The administration needs to take strict action.

On the other hands, a large number of parents want the school buses to come right at their doorstep. Mrs Jyotika Gupta, a resident of Sector 44, said: "It was very difficult to carry children to bus-stops on the main road. The administration, instead of closing the traffic on the inner roads for school buses, should ensure safer buses and good drivers".

It may be remembered that the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while delivering the verdict in the traffic regulation and pollution control case, had directed that "all school buses shall carry first-aid boxes duly containing the minimum requisite of medical items". It was also directed that the buses would not "exceed the speed of 50 km per hour". Pronouncing the orders on a civil writ petition number 7639 of 1995, Mr Justice Swatanter Kumar and Mr Justice Sat Pal had also ruled that the school's name should be properly displayed, along with the route and the timing.

The Judges had added that the drivers should have a minimum of five years’ experience and should not have been challaned for over three times for “jumping red lights, improper parking and unauthorised lane changing”, besides being challaned for causing death due to negligent driving. Furthermore, it was mandatory for them to attend refresher courses conducted by the state transport authorities. Earmarking of “proper bus stops” for halting the buses on the main road as well as the inner roads was also ordered.

Mr Mohan Lal, a resident of Sector 40, said: "The issue of school buses needs to be handled in the larger perspective rather than hampering on the route maps alone. The administration needs to immediately ban buses, at least the bigger ones, to ply on the inner roads of sectors.''



Neighbours’ liquor policies to affect UT
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News service

Chandigarh March 4
The worry of the UT Excise Department is far from over. The new Excise Policy announced by the Haryana Government has made the Chandigarh Administration sit up and take notice of the relief offered to the liquor contractors and Bacchus lovers.

The Punjab Government is also expected to announce its new Excise Policy soon. Admitting that the liquor policies of Haryana and Punjab would be the deciding factor in fine tuning the UT liquor Policy, a senior officer in the UT Excise and Taxation Department said , “We certainly do not want any liquor smuggling from across the inter-state border”.

Going by the relief given in form of Excise Duty, value added tax (VAT) and licence fee announced by Haryana, the prices of different brands of liquor in the city would be more than in Haryana.

Sources in the Administration confirmed that hectic parleys were being held to bring down the landing price of liquor in the city. An effort would be made to bring parity in the prices. The sources do not rule the possibility of reduction in the VAT.

“The prices of different brands of liquor would be more by at least 10 per cent to 15 per cent than the prices in Haryana. Something would have to be done to check it,” said the officer.

The policy of licensing is being followed in states of Maharashtra, Goa, Rajasthan, Karnatka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Since the licensing has been introduced in UT and Haryana, Punjab is expected to follow the suit.

As per the Haryana policy, the duty on country liquor and IMFL has been reduced from Rs 13 per proof litre and Rs 43 per proof litre, respectively, to Rs 5 and Rs 25 per proof litre, respectively. This includes Re 1 as excise duty and remaining as permit fee. On the other hand, the duty on country liquor and IMFL has been fixed at Rs 10 per liter and Rs 15 per litre, respectively. The VAT on liquor in city was 22 per cent.

While in UT there are categories A and B of the licensed outlets with a fee of Rs 40 lakh and Rs 25 lakh, respectively, depending upon the location of the vend. In case of Haryana, there were eight categories of licensed vends, with the fee varying from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore.



Students face inconvenience
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, March 4
Students of the Class XII of a premier local school are a harassed lot. With their centre for CBSE examinations located at Mani Majra, the students are facing difficulty in commuting to their examination centre.

Meanwhile, some parents today alleged even though the school authorities had arranged for ferrying the students to the centre of the examination and were charging Rs 200 for it but with the centre situated at a far-off place, it was hard for the students to concentrate. The precious time of the students was being wasted on commuting back and forth from examination centre, alleged Mr Rajesh Singhal, a parent.

Another parent said that the CBSE authorities should have set up a centre here for the scores of the students, who were already facing mental tension due to the examinations.



Regional spinal centre to start in fortnight
Will cater to patients in 4 states, UT
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 4
The Regional Spinal Injuries Centre (RSIC), which will cater to the needs of patients from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh, is expected to start functioning here within a fortnight.

There is no such spinal treatment centre in this region, even in the private sector, and patients had to go to the All-India Spinal Centre in Delhi.

The RSIC’s physiotherapy centre, which is at present functioning at Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Chandigarh, will be shifted to the newly constructed building of the RSIC here. A decision to shift the centre had been taken earlier at a meeting of the governing body of the RSIC held in Chandigarh under the chairmanship of the Minister for Social Security and Women and Child Development, Punjab.

According to sources, the building of the spinal centre was to become functional last month but this did not happen as it had not been provided with a power connection.

Dr Gursharan Singh, a member of the governing body of the RSIC and also of its technical committee, says that Dr Raj Bahadur, former Head of the Orthopaedics Department of the GMCH, who had now joined the PGI, would continue to be the Project Director of the RSIC.

He said that the governing body had decided to organise a conference of the Ministers for Social Security of the regional states concerned at the end of this month to seek financial support to make the RSIC a self-sufficient institute. He said the medical equipment and the staff at the physiotherapy centre located at the GMCH would be shifted to the RSIC building here to make it functional in the next few days. Dr Gursharan Singh says that to start with the physiotherapy wing would start functioning in the new building. The RSIC would later become a full-fledged treatment centre. He said the treatment at this centre would be subsidised as in the case of other government hospitals.

At the meeting of the governing body Dr Raj Bahadur had suggested that about Rs 14 crore, including Rs 5 crore as revolving fund, would be immediately required to run the institute and make it self-sufficient in the long run.

At a meeting of the State Planning Board held in January under the chairmanship of the Punjab Chief Minster, an assurance was given that the requisite funds would be made available in the budgetary allocation or out of the Social Security Fund to ensure that the centre started functioning on a priority basis.

Dr Raj Bahadur had also suggested at the governing body meeting that the institute should be started with 10 beds and later be upgraded to a 30-bed facility.

A committee had administratively approved cost estimates of Rs 313.03 lakh for the completion of works at the RSIC. The purchase of equipment worth Rs 230.42 lakh was also approved. At the governing body meeting a staff proposal submitted by the Project Director was also discussed. According to the proposal, more than Rs 44 lakh would be required for 22 posts, including those of orthopaedic surgeon and medical officer, at the RSIC, but if the staff were taken on contract, the financial requirement would be about Rs 14 lakh per annum.

There was also a proposal to include teaching courses on disabilities, including spinal injuries, at the RSIC so that the institute provides good services to needy patients in the region.



Riot-hit protest against change of power meters
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 4
Members of the riot-affected families staged a protest against the replacement of mechanical meters with electronic ones by a contractor of the Punjab State Electricity Board in Phase XI here today.

The protesters raised slogans against the Punjab Government and demanded reinstallation of mechanical meters by Monday failing which they would remove the electronic meters on their own.

The residents said instead of giving financial help of the riot-hit families, the government was putting additional burden on them by installing electronic meters, which consumed power more than the mechanical ones. They said meters in about 200 houses had been replaced.

There was resentment even among some employees of the PSEB against the move of the power board to get the work of replacing meters done from a private contractor. They said the board was going in for privatisation, which should be stopped immediately.

A senior official of the PSEB said the board had hired a contractor to replace meters as the workload of replacing single-phase meters was too much. He said the work was to be completed on a time-bound basis as grant under the Accelerated Power Development Programme had to be taken from the Central Government.

He said people were under the impression that electronic meters worked faster but this was not so. They were more accurate than the mechanical ones and were being replaced under a policy of the board, he added.



Sushma rubbishes UC Banerjee panel report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
“The Justice UC Banerjee Committee report is rubbish. It only adds insult to injury. The Godhra train fire was not an accident, the report is an accident. It is like the Jessica Lal case, saying that no one killed her,” stated Sushma Swaraj, MP and former Union Minister, here today.

She was commenting on the Justice UC Banerjee Committee report, which states that the February, 2002, fire in the S-6 coach of Sabarmati Express was accidental and not deliberate. She further stated that the issue would be raised in Parliament. She was in the city today to lay the foundation stone of the BJP Bhavan. Welcoming President Bush’s visit to India, she stated that they would like the Union government to take this opportunity to bring the Indo-US relations at par, rather than allowing it the big brother attitude.

“We are the biggest democracy in the world and we should be treated as such,” she said. She did not fail to point out that once again the opposition was kept out of the nuclear deal. “What the agreement is all about we would only know once the PM puts it in front of Parliament on March 6.” She further added that the nuclear deal should thus not be associated with the success of the trip. When questioned about India’s stand on Iran’s nuclear treaty she said that it was “India’s biggest diplomatic failure. On the one hand Iran is the member of NPT and is following its rule and still India has voted against it, while in the case of Pakistan, India has not said a word.”



12 builders bid for 11-storey complex
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
As many as 12 companies have submitted their bids to the Chandigarh Administration for the construction of an 11-storey building in Sector 17, an official press release said here today.

The companies that have submitted the bids are: Parvesh Developers Ltd, AB Moview Private Ltd, IJMI (India) Infrastructure, DLF Universal Ltd, L&T Pragnya Fund 1 Consortium, PLL-CEC Consortium, Nagaarjun Construction Co. Ltd., Emmar MGF Consortium, Uppal-GGL Consortium, Ms Mega Projects & Ventures (I) Pvt. Ltd, Tata Housing Development Company Ltd and IVRCL Infrastructures and Projects Ltd.

These bids will be scrutinised by a committee to ensure that they fulfil qualification criteria as laid down in the advertisement.

Thereafter, the pre-qualified bidders will be requested to submit the architectural drawings/design bids and financial bids.

Financial bids of those bidders will be opened whose design bids are recommended by the committee of architects. The highest bidder will be awarded the project.

With a view to creating a modem marvel, the Chandigarh Administration had invited developers to participate in the bid for an 11-storey building in Plaza, Sector 17, also called the City Centre.

This state-of-the-art building, with covered area of around five lakh square feet on a plot measuring 1.54 acres, will be part of the master plan of Chandigarh as envisaged by Le-Corbusier and will be a modern entertainment and commercial shopping mall/office complex.

The pre-qualified bidders will be allowed to participate in the subsequent process of bidding, which includes submission of architectural drawing/design bids and financial bids.



Fire in house 

Mohali, March 4
A fire broke out in a house in Phase VII here yesterday causing damage to household goods.

According to officials of the Fire Brigade, the fire broke out due to a short-circuit but was brought under control. No loss of life was reported.

In another incident, a gas cylinder caught fire in Mataur village but was soon brought under control. OC



Pinjore bypass project to start after May
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, March 4
The construction of the Pinjore- Kalka bypass on the National Highway -22 will be taken up by Mayend , announced Kumari Selja , the Minister of State for Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation, at a Press conference at the Red Bishop complex today.

Besides the project,the 32- km road between Zirakpur and Parvanoo will be four laned with a provision to make it six laned .

The impediments stalling these projects were discussed at a meeting of the Western Command authorities led by Lt. General Daljit Singh and Kumari Selja , officers of the Surface Transport Ministry , Haryana state and Panchkula district held at the Western Command office.

Kumari Selja confirmed that while the work for widening the Ambala- Chandigarh raod will commence from April next the process for the Delhi- Chandigarh Express way would be initiated soon.



Cop held for stealing cars; forging papers 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 4
The Operation cell has arrested a constable of Punjab Police for stealing cars and selling them on the basis of fake registration documents. The cop, Harvinder Singh, was caught with a Indica Car which had the registration number of a Zen car from Gurdaspur. The cop was arrested from Car Bazar, Sector 7, here. 


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