C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

18-year-old nursing student gang-raped
Tribune News Service

Lalru, June 22
In a shocking incident, an 18-year-old nursing student of a prominent nursing college in Chandigarh’s periphery, was allegedly gang raped by four persons at Jharmari village, near here, on June 14.

However, the incident came to light yesterday when the police registered a case against the four, including two unidentified persons, on the complaint of the father of the girl. No arrests have been made so far.

According to sources, the girl had gone to meet her sister in Chandigarh on June 14. She got down at the Lalru mandi bus stand around 3 pm.

She was waiting for an auto-rickshaw, when Amanjit Singh, a resident of Sarsini village, and Harinder Singh of Jharmari village, offered her a lift in their car. Since she was reportedly known to one of them, she got into the car.

The police said instead of taking her to her village, they drove towards Harinder’s tubewell at Jharmari village. Once There, she was allegedly raped by the duo in adjoining room. Later, two unidentified persons joined them and raped her.

The police said the girl was bundled into the car and abandoned at Baldev Nagar (Ambala) by Amanjit the same day. From Baldev Nagar, she boarded a bus to the village and narrated the incident to her mother.

Her mother informed the girl’s father, an IAF man posted in Kerala. He reached the village on June 20 and lodged a complaint with the police. A case was registered against the suspects yesterday. The medical examination of the girl was conducted at the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi.

The police is conducting raids at various places to nab the culprits.



Vegetables go out of commoners’ reach
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
There has been a sharp rise in the prices of vegetables in the city over the past few days, thus taking these out of the reach of the common man.
Wholesale dealers maintain that the rise in vegetable prices is the outcome of poor production and short supply in “mandis” rather than the fuel hike, as is the common belief.

“The intense heat wave in the region is adversely affecting the crop production in the region,” says Mr Tulsi Ram, a wholesale vegetable vendors in Sector 26 grain market. “If you want specific answers as to why vegetable prices have gone up, I will say these have soared because crop yield has gone down due to the heat wave,” he adds.

After the much cribbed about fuel price hike, the hike in vegetable prices has put additional burden on the residents.

Mr Vijay Kumar, a trader from the Sector 26 grain market, says, “The extremely hot weather has affected the crop production adversely. Heat has destroyed most of the crop. Therefore, we are not able to bring enough produce to the market and the prices have gone up.”

“One has to eat, but one cannot upset one’s budget at the end of the month. Therefore, I have increased the use of things like soya products, which are turning out to be cheaper than vegetables,” says Ms Sushma Malhotra, a housewife.

Ms Anu Sharma, a resident of Sector 8, says, “The fuel price hike was already pinching our pockets and now the vegetables; we are facing a tough time packaging everything in our limits.”

“Supplementing vegetables and fruits with other products without compromising on nutrition, is the main concern of every mother. I cannot let the health of my children suffer. Though the prices have shot up, I am looking for alternatives in pulses and cheese,” says Ms Aabha, a mother of two kids.

Although the prices of fruits have not faced a hike, the costly vegetables do not leave any space for them in the bags of residents. Kriti from Sector 22, says, “One week’s vegetables used to cost me around Rs 250 earlier, but now I have to shell out around Rs 400. So this does not leave any room for fruits.”

Mr Ashok, a resident of Sector 34 says, “We are not thinking of any outing for the moment. Eating out is also a big no at present.”

While the middle-class families are struggling to manage things, the vendors are also facing a tough time. Mr Ram Saran, a vendor from Sector 22, says, “It is becoming difficult to sell vegetables. People have become very cautious about spending money. They buy vegetables once a week from the mandi and we are required only when there is some urgency.”



UT capital region emerging as knowledge hub
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
The Chandigarh capital region (CCR) is emerging as the next knowledge hub for the IT sector in the country, said Mr S.K. Sandhu, Secretary Information Technology, UT, Chandigarh, at a press conference held today to announce “e-revolution 2006” event next month.

This will be the second mega IT event which is being hosted by Haryana and Punjab along with the UT Administration, and Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) at Hotel Taj from July 19.

The objective was to showcase to IT companies the potential of the region and the advantage which the companies would have through their interaction with Nasscom and other leading IT entrepreneurs, he said.

Mr N.S. Kalsi, Secretary IT, Punjab, said the IT companies were now exploring Tier II city to set up ventures for which the region was fully prepared with the right infrastructure.

A wide area network was being set up in Punjab covering 74 subdivisions and 144 blocks in this regard.

Mr Anurag Rastogi, Managing Director, Hartron, affirmed a similar plan for Haryana. He said planning was on in full swing to set up a technology park in Panchkula.

Mr Sanjay Tyagi, Additional Director, STPI, said the past years had seen increase in software exports from the region.

Mr Manjit Singh Brar, Director IT, UT Administration, highlighted the improvement in infrastructure and the initiatives envisaged by the government to launch the third phase of the IT initiative.

Mr Rajan Vasudevan, Secretary, Chandigarh IT Club, said the club had been providing networking platform to IT professionals and had been associated in promoting IT in the region.

Chandigarh, with its neighbouring townships, offered an excellent opportunity for the industry, and “e-revolution 2006,” would go a long way in establishing the city as a potential hub for the IT industry, Ms Sangeeta Gupta of Nasscom said.



Man hangs himself
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Depressed over his prolonged ailment, a 21-year-old man allegedly hanged himself to death at his Sector 30 residence late on Wednesday night. The victim in his suicide note held no one responsible for his extreme step.

Giving details of the incident, sources in the Industrial Area police station said Mayank, was found hanging by his mother at around 11:30 pm.

She found Maynak’s room locked from inside and when her repeated calls went unanswered she sought help from her neighbours. They gained access to his room through a window and lowered the victim from the ceiling fan hook. He was breathing at that time, they rushed him to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, where the doctors declared him brought dead.

Quoting the victim’s family, a police officer said Maynak was depressed over his ailment and physical deformities. He was a graduate and was working with a video parlour and movie makers. The police has initiated inquest proceedings under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code in this regard.



Vivek Atray back in UT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Almost a month after relinquishing his charge as Director, Information Technology, Mr Vivek Atray, will again be joining the Chandigarh Administration.
After being relieved on May 15, Mr Atray had joined his parent state of Haryana as Assistant Director, Secondary Education.

Sources said Mr Atray was relieved of his charge by the Haryana Government following a request made by the UT Administration. The announcement of the department to be allocated to Mr Atray would be made tomorrow. 



Indigenous production of T-72 tanks
delayed by 5 years
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
The indigenous production of T-72 tanks, meant to replace obsolete armoured vehicles, has been delayed by over five years, affecting its induction schedule and modernisation of the mechanised forces.

Besides, the tanks were beset with technical glitches and quality control problems to such an extent that the Army had imposed a ban on their further production till these were rectified.

The delivery of tanks which was meant to be completed by March, 2002 is now expected to go beyond 2007, an official report released last month has revealed. The Army had placed an indent on the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) for the supply of 1,380 T-72 tanks to replace the ageing Vijayanta and T-55 tank fleets.

The Army had earlier imported 1,118 fully assembled T-72s and the plan was to have a total of 40 T-72 regiments and 18 additional tanks, by the end of March, 2002. The actual regimental composition possible was 35 regiments, including those equipped with imported tanks. The OFB's Heavy Vehicle Factory (HVF) could produce only 1,108 T-72s, leaving a shortfall of 20 per cent.

As delay in production affected the induction schedule and also in view of operational considerations and economic advantage, the Army proposed in May, 2004 to foreclose the T-72 production at a reduced target of 1,300 units. Instead it opted to procure the more advanced T-90. Despite reduced indent, the shortfall still stood at 192 tanks, which was likely to be liquidated by 2007.

The Army's indent also included supply for 580 modernised versions of the T-72, requiring incorporation of seven additional sub-systems to bring its performance and combat effectiveness closer to that of the T-90. However, HVF could incorporate only three sub-systems as the remaining were still under development at the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment despite having incurred an expenditure for over Rs 4 crore since 1994.

The report also revealed that six critical assemblies procured from OFB factories, public sector undertakings and commercial enterprises were beset with quality control problems which rendered them unavailable for production in time.

The Army imported 124 fully formed T-90 tanks, with 186 additional tanks to be assembled from kits at the HVF from 2001 onwards. Under the original schedule, 186 tanks should have been assembled by March, 2005. However, till then, only 85 T-90 tanks could be assembled due to delays in receipt of semi/completely knocked down kits from the foreign suppliers.



Army’s Rs 8 cr hard sell to woo techies
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Rattled by an acute shortage of officers and not-so-good publicity of late, the Indian Army has decided to go for a major image building exercise and hired a leading public relations firm to boost its sagging fortunes.

A senior Army official disclosed that a whopping Rs 8-crore publicity business had been assigned to a big advertising firm so as to motivate the techies to join the Army.

The target of the intended publicity blitz would be IITs and topnotch tech colleges of the country, he added.

The move comes in the wake of the Army Headquarters’ plan to increase the entry-level recruitment for technical personnel both at the Officer’s Training Academy, Chennai, and the Indian Military Academy, Dehra Dun.

The official said since the Army had been busy buying modern equipment and weaponry from the West, discarding its Russia-dependent stance, the need for quality technical manpower was badly felt.

But that is exactly the Achilles’ heel of the Army. A recent statement in the Rajya Sabha by the Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukhejee, had revealed that the Army was running short of at least 10,000 officers and hard steps were needed to plug the gap.

Though the Army was having a surplus of senior officers, the numbers were poor at the level of Lt-Colonel and below, the official said, adding that the technical wing was particularly hit. Incidentally, the sanctioned officer-cadre strength of the Army is nearly 46,000.

The reason for the shortage is that most of the engineering graduates go for high paying jobs in the corporate sector. 



Tipper rams into rotary, goes up in flames
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
A tipper loaded with construction material caught fire when it rammed into the Sector 41-42 roundabout late in the evening today. The tipper went up in flames when it hit the rotary after its driver Swarup Singh was unable to control the vehicle following a failed attempt at overtaking.

Although the driver escaped unhurt, the vehicle has been completely damaged. Eyewitnesses said the damage could have been prevented had the water supply in fire engines not exhausted in the middle of the attempt to control the flames.

The fire officer on duty, Mangal Chand, said they received information about the fire at about 8.35 pm and rushed to the spot with the fire engines. However, the water supply exhausted when they were in the middle of extinguishing the fire. They had to be sent back for a refill of water. By the time they returned (after about 15 minutes), the tipper had been completely damaged.



Ban sought on buses on internal roads
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 22
The Citizens Welfare Council has demanded a ban on plying of school buses on internal roads as it led to accidents and other problems.
A deputation comprising members of Citizens Welfare Federation and Citizens Welfare Council met the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, to apprise him of various problems that arose when school buses plied on C- roads.

The Deputy Commissioner assured the delegation that instructions would be issued to schools not to ply buses on internal roads as was being done in Chandigarh.

The delegation was led by Mr B.S. Tej and Mr Ripudaman Singh Roop. Other members of the delegation were Mr Naurang Singh, Mr Randhir Singh, Mr Nirmal Singh, Mr Avtar Singh Pardesi, Mr Satwant Singh Rangi, Mr Ranjivan Singh and Mr Sewak Singh.



Water shortage in industrial area
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 22
The Phase VII industrial area here is facing acute shortage of water and the authorities concerned are doing nothing to mitigate the problem.
The area had been facing scarcity of water for the past more than a month, but the situation turned acute from yesterday.

Ms Paramjit Walia, proprietor of Hitech Rubber Industry, said she had employed about 35 workers in the factory who could not get a drop of water since yesterday. “Life has become miserable for them and I cannot do much in that regard,” she said. The shortage had been going on in the adjoining units as well, she added.

For the past more than a month, the area was being supplied water for an hour or two. But since yesterday, there had been no supply of water she said. She had sent her employee to the tubewell in the area to find out the reason behind no supply, however, he was told to contact the Executive Engineer. But all efforts to contact the official concerned failed.

She said she could not even get a handpump sunk on the premises as it was against the law.



Traders allege lack of amenities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
Coming down heavily on the apathetic attitude of the Chandigarh Administration towards its genuine demands, the Traders Association, Sector 17 (A and B), today alleged lack of basic amenities in the area.

At a meeting here presided over by its president, Mr Kamaljit Panchhi, the association alleged that the area still lacked public toilets, sanitation and streetlights. On the other hand, the administration was proposing to develop another plaza in Sector 17(D and E).

The Sector 17(A and B) had several important buildings such as the Hotel Taj, the Canadian Consulate, and the upcoming TDI Mall and KC Mall. Besides, it was close to Sector 9 which has emerged as a major corporate sector.

Mr Panchhi urged the UT Administrator to pay a visit to the area to see for himself the pathetic condition of the sub-sector.He also demanded the provision of basic amenities besides the tourist attractions in the area to attract the visitors.



Mohali MC poll on July 30
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 22
The elections to the Municipal Council will be held on July 30. It is learnt that the date for the civic body poll has been fixed by the Punjab Election Commission and the process will start after the final publication of the electoral rolls.
The Department of Local Government had yesterday ordered the holding of MC elections on any date between July 30 and August 6.



BJP workers arrested for rioting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
The police arrested over 20 persons belonging to two groups of the local unit of the BJP on charges of criminal intimidation, rioting and causing grievous injuries following a clash over a property issue near the Mauli Jagran police post this afternoon.

Both parties had a dispute over the possession of a house, which turned violent and the parties pelted stones and assaulted one another with rods and sticks, said the police.

The police post sought the help of additional police force and over 200 policemen reached the spot. The police had to resort to a mild canecharge to bring the situation under control.

The police has registered a cross-case on the basis of complaints filed by the parties. Four persons involved in the clash are at large.

Sources said a woman accompanied by the local president of the tenement cell of the BJP, Mr Anil Dubey, came to the police post to lodge a complaint against a resident of the colony, Bhola Nath, alleging that he had taken Rs 50,000 from the woman's husband to sell his house but he neither gave possession of the house nor returned their money.

In the meantime, the other party reached there and both parties entered into a clash after having heated arguments. Mr Dubey and another person sustained head injuries. The SHO of the Manimajra police station reached the spot and arrested members of both parties.



Murder case takes new turn
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 22
The Ramandeep Kaur murder case took a new turn with the police reportedly making a headway by identifying the suspect in the case.
Sources in the police disclosed that an NRI, Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Barnala, has been identified as a suspect in the murder case. The sources also disclosed that Ramandeep Kaur, a resident of Barnala, and Kuldeep had an “affair” since childhood and were supposed to marry but could not due to some reasons.

After marrying another girl, Kuldeep Singh left for Manila.

He reportedly returned a month ago and approached Ramandeep’s mother with a proposal to marry her after divorcing his wife. He reportedly reached Chandigarh and followed Ramandeep Kaur.

Kuldeep along with Ramandeep left for the bus stand to drop her mother Amarjeet Kaur. He was also supposed to drop Ramandeep at her place, family members claimed.

The police has identified the vehicle used by Kuldeep Singh. Further investigations are on. It may be recalled the Ramandeep’s body was found on the Ghaggar bank on June10.



Gang of robbers busted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 22
The local police today claimed to have busted a gang of burglars by arresting three members, who were active in the city for the past many days.
Giving details, sources at the Sector 17 police station said on the basis of secret information a picket was set up in Sector 22 near the Health Centre chowk.

The police party stopped a three-wheeler (PB-12-H-7106) in which the accused were moving and they were apprehended subsequently. The accused were later identified as Dilbag Singh of Kajheri, Balbir Singh of Burail and Narinder Singh of Balongi village.

The police recovered two VCDs, a television and other electrical gadgets from their possession. The police said Dilbag Singh was a notorious burglar and was booked by the police earlier also.

Car stolen: Mr Sukhbir Singh Malik of Sector 44-B reported to the police alleging that Maruti car (UP-15-G-2230) was stolen from his residence during the Tuesday night. A case of theft was registered in this regard.

Burglary: Mr Arun Sharma of Sector 22-A lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Rs 500 were stolen from a safe in his house and other articles were stolen during day time on Wednesday. He told the police that the thieves gained entry by breaking open the locks. A case under Section 454 and 380 of the IPC was registered in this regard.

One booked:
The police has booked one person on charges of misbehaving with traffic police personnel and also challenging traffic rules.

Mr Vibhor Kumar, an Inspector with the traffic police, complained that Balwinder Singh, a resident of Chandigarh who was driving a motor cycle, was challaned by the police for violating traffic norms. It is alleged that Balwinder Singh tore off the challan slip and misbehaved with the police personnel on duty. Later, he fled from the area.

Case of cheating: In another case the police has booked a resident of Mundi Kharar on charges of cheating and criminal breach of trust.

According to the police, Jatinder Singh, who ran a taxi service, had purchased an Indica and Sumo cars by taking loan from the ICICI Bank. And instead of paying the instalments of the amount taken from the bank, Jatinder Singh, allegedly got fake registration prepared for both the vehicles.

The police is investigating the matter.

Arrested: The police has arrested three persons on the charge of stealing cash and clothes from a house in Sector 70 on June 18.

The arrested persons are Ram Vilas, Hari Ram and Lashmi. All of them hail from Nepal. The police has recovered Rs 35,000 and the stolen clothes from them.

In another case the police arrested Lagoo, a resident of Mundi Kharar, on a charge of theft. The crime was committed on June 5. 



Man arrested for stabbing wife
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 22
A Kharag Mangoli-based man who reportedly stabbed his wife on her thigh under the influence of liquor and then dashed his head against a wall of his house on June 15 night, was arrested by the police, here yesterday.

The suspect, Vijay Kumar, reached his house on Tuesday night and stabbed his wife, Ms Monika, on her thigh with a knife thrice leaving her seriously injured. She was admitted to the General Hospital by the neighbours.

He later sustained injuries on his head and was also taken to the same hospital.



IT expert sees great potential in youngsters
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Satvinder Singh Chandigarh, June 22
He sees tremendous business potential in this part of the region. But that’s not the only reason why Ferozepore-born non-resident Indian Satvinder Singh is logging on to a programme of development here.

The founder-cum-president of US-based information technology (IT) giant Outline Systems Inc. believes that the youngsters here are better groomed, professionally. And they can actually go a long way in making the region the next IT hub.

“Compared to IT professionals from the rest of the world, Indians — especially youngsters from this part of the region — are professionally more aggressive, outgoing and sharp,” he asserts.

“Then there is another reason behind their overseas success. Though English is a second language in India, their accent is definitely better, giving them an edge over professionals from other countries.”

In Chandigarh for the inauguration of the company's second development center on space provided by the UT Administration in the Punjab Engineering College, he says: “In other words, the youngsters here are programmed to make it big in the IT sector not just in India, but even abroad…. Some of them are actually heading IT operations in so many organisations overseas after proving their mettle over others.”

His software development and services company with $ 8 million annual revenue has its headquarters in New Jersey and other regional offices in Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware and Washington DC. In India, the company has its operations in Gurgaon and has applied for land in the IT Park here.

For him, the standard of education in this part of the region has definitely improved over the past few years, though the institutes that have mushroomed all over the place are producing a mixed crop of professionals. “Some are mediocre; others definitely possess solid fundamentals and team-leading qualities,” he asserts.

The IT giant’s president knows what he is saying. For, he has been providing services as an IT consultant to US companies for 17 years now. In fact, his organisation tells insurance companies in the US the methods of managing e-business operations.

Flashing a broad smile, he says: “Keeping all this in mind, we have decided to bring to the region highly skilled jobs, including those of business leaders, besides system and programme analysts, along with project managers …. We are basically creating a pool of finest IT brains in Chandigarh. The intention is to provide first-rate services to the companies abroad at highly competitive rates with the help of the local talent.”

Welcoming the efforts put in by the Chandigarh Administration for the promotion of IT sector, he adds: “We had been trying to open up an office at Chandigarh for the past six months and now we have finally been provided the opportunity. The infrastructure and other facilities available in Chandigarh are definitely at par with the international standards. No wonder, Chandigarh is all set to emerge as `layer one IT city in the near future.’



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