C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Dharna outside VC’s office
Implication of PUSU chief in stabbing case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Supporters of the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU) today staged a dharna outside the Vice-Chancellor's office here today. They raised slogans against the PU authorities and police for implicating PUSU president Rupinderjit Singh Mann in a stabbing case.

The supporters alleged that the incident took place in the presence of the university security and they were witness that Rupinder did not stab any one. They further alleged that the police had not bothered to find out what the person, who was stabbed, doing in the university, alleging that Rupinder had been booked on the insistence of political leaders.

Yesterday, the police arrested Darpinder Brar's alias Cherry Brar, along with Roopinder Singh Mann. The third accused in the case, Kamaljit Sidhu, is still fleeing. The police today said they raided a house in Phase V, Mohali, the address of which Kamaljit had given as his residence address to the university. However, it was found to be locked.

Meanwhile, a local court bailed out Dalweer Singh Goldy, Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) president, Karanbir Gill and Bhagwan Singh both of SOPU, along with Rajaydeep Singh and Jatinder Singh of PUSU, who had been arrested under Sections 107 and 151 of the IPC in the case.

Members of Students Organisation of India Pradeep Pal Singh and Raj Jeet Singh Raji held a press conference here today and condemned the way student leaders were behaving on the campus. They said both PUSU and SOPU were responsible for vitiating the academic environment of the university and it was shameful that presidents of both the parties were on the spot when the incident took place but none stopped their supporters.



Freed on bail, youth held again for looting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
The local police today arrested a Sector 22 resident for robbing a rickshaw puller near Parade Ground, Sector 17, late last night.

The police said the accused had been sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering his uncle and released on bail recently.

Giving details, in charge of police post, Sector 17, inter-state bus terminus, Mr Pargat Singh, said a rickshaw puller, Ranjit Thakur, lodged a complaint with the police this morning that he was robbed by a man near the Parade Ground at around 10 pm last night. He told the police that the man told him that he was “Sunny Kapoor, a known robber” and demanded money. On Thakur’s resistance, the man pulled out a knife and also slapped him, following which Thakur handed him over Rs 500, which he had at that time.

Acting on the complaint the police gathered information about the accused. They took Thakur along with them and managed to nab the accused from near a drain in Sector 16. The police took the accused in its custody after Thakur identified him.

Mr Pargat Singh said the accused had been identified as Sunil Kapoor, alias Sunny. Sunny was sentenced to life imprisonment for murderinghis uncle in Sector 22 in 1999. He had also been booked in several other cases.

He would be produced before a local court tomorrow, the police said.



Sacked HIV+ seek legal aid
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
When Rakesh clinched a job with a local NGO working in the area of men having sex with men (MSM), he presumed his troubles would come to an end. After a long time, he was upbeat about life as was his lover Rahul who also landed a job in the same NGO.

Finally they could live together and feed themselves — something that had seemed a challenge after their families rejected them. Rakesh even contracted HIV infection. Rahul is at high risk though his test is yet to be conducted.

But these worries seemed of little consequence when the two began doing their job of spreading AIDS awareness among MSMs and eunuchs, besides advocating safe sex. Little had they known that days of dignity were numbered.

On July 7 — less than two months after they were give jobs of peer educators by a Sector 17-based NGO being funded by the State AIDS Control Society Chandigarh (SACS) — the two were sacked, no reasons given. Allegedly, their full salaries were not disbursed, nor were they given time to relocate.

In no time, the two were back to roads and to sleeping on empty stomach. Even when in job, they were getting an honorarium of just Rs 1500 each as peer educators. They, however, claim they were made to work beyond the duty hours and were paid less than what was written on salary vouchers.

Illegal termination of service came as a rude shock. Betrayed, the lovers sought help from SACS before seeking legal aid from the Human Rights Law Network today.

Meanwhile, it took SACS almost a week to promise relocation to Rakesh who is HIV positive. Rahul is still in the lurch and he hates the thought of working away from his lover. Their only wish, “We should be accommodated in the same AIDS project.”

While that is yet to happen, SACS Project Director is keeping a watch over the activities of the said NGO which has a head office in Delhi. It has earlier worked with MSMs in Delhi. But in Chandigarh, it has not been able to make a good initial impression as many of the peer educators it appointed have left jobs.

Yet, the management has problems taking back Rakesh and Rahul for reasons best known to it. For their part, the partners allege that the NGO is into financial bungling — something that SACS will have to determine. Dr Sonia Trikha, Project Director, has already written to the NGO head asking him to explain why Rakesh and Rahul were terminated without notice.

Incidentally, a central audit was also going on into this NGO’s accounts today.



Now roads from plastic waste
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Roads made from plastic waste can be a reality soon if all goes well with a unique experiment being conducted by the UT engineering department.

After receiving the nod of the Administration, the engineering department today used bitumen mixed with low grade plastic in recarpeting a 2.4 km-long stretch of a slow carriage road along Madhya Marg in Sector 27 here.

Roundabouts to be made of concrete

The Chief Engineer said there were plans to make all roundabouts of concrete. Estimates were being made. Besides, the road behind Sector 39 police station would also be built of concrete after the ongoing work on the road dividing Sectors 32 and 31.

"Apart from tackling the problem of disposal of plastic waste, the road made from plastic waste and bitumen will be more durable, better stress bearing and better riding surface", said UT Finance Secretary S.K.Sandhu. The idea had been borrowed from a Bangalore-based scientist.

Addressing a press conference, Sandhu and Chief Engineer V.K.Bhardwaj said there was a firm belief among UT officials that the new experiment could go a long way in revolutionising the relaying of roads.

For the time being, the plastic waste had been purchased from rag pickers at a cost of Rs 16,000 per metric tonnes against Rs 22,000 per metric tonne. Sandhu said if the trial of the new technique went well, rag pickers would be roped in to procure waste plastic.

The Chief Engineer said the sample of the new mixture had been sent to various laboratories for testing.



CCET students walk out over sudden fee hike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Students of third year of the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, Sector 26 (CCET-26), staged a walkout of their classes today. They were objecting to a sudden hike in the quarterly fee charged by the college.

A notice put up by the college this morning stated that the students had to pay college fee by July 15 and it was Rs 16,500 per quarter for all classes. The second year students were shocked since till now they had been paying Rs 6,000 per quarter.

The students demanded an explanation from the authorities who conceded that there had been a mistake and the fee had only been hiked for the new admitted students. By the afternoon, another notice was put up which stated that the third year students would now pay Rs 9,500 while the second year students Rs 12,445.

Sources added that the fee in the notice put up this morning was only for the new students who would have to pay Rs 16,500 per quarter. The sources also pointed out that the fee had been increased following a Panjab University decision in this regard.

However, the third year students are not happy over the change. According to them, the hike in fee is still substantial from Rs 6,500 to Rs 9,500 and the college would have to explain the reason why the fee had been increased. 



Wake up Admn, you are losing crores
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
The Chandigarh Administration is losing crores of rupees by not following up on its proposal to auction prime commercial property in Sector 17. Not only this, it is also losing lakhs of rupees every year by not collecting the lease money from the allottees of showrooms and booths in the commercial centre.

About 50 built-up showrooms and booths in the bridge market were given on lease in early seventies to attract shopkeepers. “At that time the city was being developed and there was need to set up business activity. The showrooms and booths were given on lease for five years,” said a senior official.

Sources in the Administration said some of the allottees were presently paying the lease money of Rs 37,000 per month. From a few hundreds the lease money was increased by the Estate Office to Rs 14,000 per month in 1992 and ultimately to the present rent. All steps by the Administration to realise the increased lease money was met by strong opposition by the shopkeepers.

Acting on a request of the allottees about three years back, the Estate Office made a proposal to transfer the properties in the name of the allottees for about Rs 2 crore for a showroom. The shopkeepers refused to accept the price, stating that it was too high. They demanded some concession as they were the original allottees and had played a key role in the development of the sector.

The issue raised its head one again when the ground floor of a showroom (SCO 51, Sector 17) was auctioned for about Rs 5 crore. “The total auction price of all three floors, if auctioned, works out to about Rs 10 crores,” said a senior official in the Estate Office.

After the auction, the Estate Office can not sell any property below the auctioned price. Now the shopkeepers in a representation to the Administration have offered to buy the showrooms at the old rate of Rs 2 crore.

According to the sources, some of the allottees had either sub-letted their premises or had undertaken major building bylaw violations in the shops. To own the property the allottees would have to pay pending dues running into lakhs.

Mr Baldev Raj Gulati, owner of Gulati showroom, said the shopkeepers gave a representation to the Governor, Gen (retd) S.F. Rodrigues, Chandigarh, in this regard. He added that in their representation they had asked the Administration to allot the showrooms and booths on concessional rates or on instalments.



Huge losses due to stay on contract: CHB
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 13
The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) today claimed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it was suffering huge loss of Rs 16 lakh per day due to non-finalisation of the contract between it and M/s Parsvanath Developers Private Limited for development of residential, commercial and other related infrastructure facilities as an integrated project at the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park.

On June 13, a Vacation Bench of the High Court, which was hearing a petition filed by M/s Emaar-MGF Properties, challenging the award of contract for the mega project to M/s Parsvanath Developers Private Limited, had restrained the CHB from finalising the contract.

In its reply filed by Mr S.K. Setia, Secretary, CHB, today the board claimed that it could even suffer a loss of Rs 821.21 crore - the total amount that it would earn from the successful bidder - if the stay was not lifted.

The project is spread over 129 acres of land and as per the contract, the selected bidder was required to pay Rs 100 crores within 30 days and the remaining amount within 18 months. The project is to be completed within three years.

However, challenging the award of contract to M/s Parsvanath Developers, the petitioner company has alleged serious irregularities in the entire process. It has stated that while its bid was rejected at the technical evaluation stage, two senior IAS officers, both members of the technical bid valuation committee, were not 
present when it made its presentation.

Also, the decision to reject their bid was allegedly intimated to the petitioner at 8 pm on June 8, just 15 hours before the completion of the process. It has prayed that the entire process be carried out again.

The Bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Mr Justice H.S. Bedi adjourned the matter to July 28 for further hearing.



Allottees seek possession of plots
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 13
Members of the Plot Allotment Sangarsh Committee, Sector 76-80, organised a protest rally against the failure of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) to give possession of plots allotted to them years ago.

The protesters gathered at the Rose Garden in Phase III B 1 and later marched to the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh, in Phase 1 raising slogans against the government on the way. They presented a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner demanding immediate possession of the plots allotted to them by PUDA.

Mr Sucha Singh Kalour, president of the organisation said that if the authorities concerned failed to find any solution by July 16 they would be compelled to hold rallies in various municipal wards as a mark of protest.

The protesters said that allottees were not being given possession of plots on the pretext that a court case was going on even when land was allotted to Judges and Officers Enclave, Housefed and Punjab State Electricity Board after allotment was done to 3,950 persons by PUDA.



Rodrigues reviews work of water bodies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Officials in the Engineering and Forest Department were today asked by the UT Administrator to formulate a comprehensive concept plan for rain water harvesting and water conservation in the city

While reviewing ongoing construction work of water bodies at two different places in the city, the Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), said focus should be on managing water resources, monitoring of rain water harvesting systems and regulating ground water usage, through latest technologies.

He reviewed the progress of the ongoing construction work on the water bodies on Patiala-ki-Rao, near Sarangpur.

Accompanied by Ms Jean Rodrigues, the Administrator went round the sites and took stock of the progress of the work. The two water bodies measuring 9.5 acres and 15 acres, will have their source of water from Botanical Garden, a creek from Khuda Lahora and the forest area. Bunds and check dams, with pitched stonewalls and other necessary infrastructure, was being created.

He said these water bodies will be recreational and help in the of promotion of aquatic life besides helping in the recharge of ground water, thus making available more water for lawns and open spaces in the city. He asked the officers to create infrastructure for providing basic amenities to the visitors and also to attract migratory birds. 



BJYM vice-chief resigns

Chandigarh, July 13
The vice-president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), Mr Shashi Shankar Tewari, resigned today.

In his resignation letter to the local BJP president, Mr Tewari accused the party of diluting its stand on three basic issues — Ram Temple, uniform civil code and abolition of Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir. TNS



VHP to revamp units
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
A meeting of the local unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) was held under the chairmanship of Col Dharam Vir (Retd), president, here on Tuesday.

The meeting decided to reconstitute all its units, including the Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini and Gauraksha Vibhag. The Parishad has also decided to open offices in all “nine prakhands”, including S.A.S. Nagar, so as to redress the grievances of the Hindus.

A committee headed by Mr Jasminder Pal Singh, convener of the Bajrang Dal, was constituted to make the preparations for participation in Janmashtami and other religious celebrations.

Colonel said the VHP activists were making concerted efforts to strengthen the country and maintain peace and harmony among the countrymen. 



Indian aims memory record
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
Intelligence-Matrix World Wide, city-based brain development organisation, has accepted the challenge to break the Guinness Book of World Record in memory.

The i-Matrix team, consisting of Mr Biswaroop Roy Chaudhary, Director, and Mr Rohit Shekhar Sharma, CEO, will be at New Delhi on July 20 to make this attempt in presence of the top dignitaries and national as well as international media in Delhi. This will be the first-ever attempt by an Indian to make a world memory record. The memory man of India and Director - i-Matrix, Mr Biswaroop Roy Chaudhary, will be making this attempt.

The i-Matrix team was flagged off yesterday by Mr K.N. Pathak, Vice Chancellor, Panjab University, Chandigarh. “We want to establish a leadership of India in the field of brain power and intelligence by breaking the world memory record,” said Mr Rohit Shekhar Sharma, and added that, “We will do India proud, if we succeed!”



Jhuggis razed again
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 13
The enforcement staff of the Estate Office of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) today razed over a dozen jhuggis, including sheds, which were reconstructed within 24 hours of their demolition yesterday, near Nada Sahib.

Equipped with a JCB machine, the enforcement team took a long time to raze the sheds. HUDA had also removed over 60 illegal structures and a poultry farm shed on the banks of the Ghaggar yesterday.

The operation was carried out under the supervision of officials from HUDA and the district administration. 



Telephones go out of order

Chandigarh, July 13
Hundreds of telephone lines of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) in southern sectors went out of order following a technical snag in the computerised exchange in Sector 34.

Senior officials of the BSNL said most of the numbers beginning with 26... were affected because of the snag in the SETEX exchange. The Principal General Manager, BSNL, Chandigarh, Mr O. P. Sikka, said all numbers in the series of 26... would have to be reloaded. “Once the reloading is complete, the telephone lines will be restored,” he assured. TNS



Minor scuffle turns fatal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
A street quarrel took an ugly turn this afternoon when a 38-year-old resident of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony, Mauli Jagran, was allegedly beaten to death by his neighbours who were involved in an altercation with his minor son.

The victim, Sri Chand, was rushed to the Sector 6 General Hospital in Panchkula, where he was declared brought dead.

Giving details, sources in the Manimajra police station said the incident took place at around 2 pm when 12-year-old Sunny, the victim's son, went to an open area near the colony to answer the call of nature.

His neighbour's minor son reached there and started teasing him, which led to an altercation between the two. The neighbour's son allegedly thrashed Sunny. Sunny went home and narrated the incident to his father.

The police added that Sri Chand, along with his other son, Aman, went out to talk about the matter with his neighbour, where the elder brothers of the other boy, Deepak, Sunil along with their cousin Arjun, alias Mulla, entered into a heated debate with Sri Chand.

In the ensuing scuffle, Aman was hit by a brick on his head, which was hurled by one of the three assailants. Aman sustained an injury on his temple.

Sri Chand intervened to rescue his son, but he was overpowered. Pinning him on the ground, the trio hit Sri Chand with batons and kicked him in his abdomen, causing severe injuries, which later proved fatal, said a police officer in the Mauli Jagran police post.

Sri Chand was rushed to the hospital, where the doctors declared him brought dead. A father of four children, Sri Chand was the lone bread winner of the family. He was working as a labourer in a factory in industrial area.

The police has arrested all the three accused — Deepak, Sunil and Arjun. A case of murder, causing hurt and common intension under Sections 302, 323 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.

Aman was discharged from the hospital after administering first-aid.

Meanwhile, the body of the deceased is lying in the hospital and a post-mortem examination would be conducted tomorrow.



Dimpy aide Bawa quizzed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
The local police has questioned Gurmeet Singh Bawa, known to be the right-hand man of Prabhjinder Singh Dimpy, in connection with the Dimpy murder case as his name had surfaced in the mobile call details.

Bawa was found to be talking to one of the persons who were partying with Dimpy on the fateful night.

The police said nothing substantial had come out during the two-day questioning of Bawa.

Highly-placed sources in the police said as per the mobile call details, Bawa was in Delhi at that time and was talking to one of Dimpy’s acquaintances, who was present at the Lake Club at that time.

The sources said they were questioning the acquaintances of Dimpy, who had made calls at the time of the incident, suspecting that an insider might have given information about Dimpy’s departure from the club to the assailants. The sources added that the police had also found out from the call details that even Harneev had a phone call with Bawa that day. However, they said they were yet to make things clear in this regard.



Couple was poisoned, strangled
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 13
The suspected suicide by an elderly couple of Khangesra village near Barwala proved to be a well-planned brutal murder after the initial postmortem reports released by the PGI, Rohtak, late this night.

Highly placed sources in the district police disclosed that the post-mortem reports confirmed that the elderly couple was first forced to consume some poisonous substance and then strangled to death. The bodies were later put on their respective cots by the criminals giving an impression of suicide by the couple. Injury marks were found on the throats of the couple, sources revealed.

Though the police is working on various theories to find out the exact cause of the deaths, neighbours allege a foul play in the case. Villagers alleged that the property dispute was the main cause of the incident.

Ms Jagmohan Kaur, a daughter of the deceased, has alleged that her parents were either murdered or forced to consumer some poisonous substance.

She also has alleged that they were murdered somewhere else and later put on their cots as ornaments of her mother were missing.

Interestingly, the rooms of the house were ransacked while the clothes like bed sheets, pillows were intact which indicated a foul play in the case, a police personnel claimed.



UT moots pact with GAIL
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
To find a permanent and long-lasting solution to the problem of electricity shortage, the Chandigarh Administration is contemplating to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL).

Piped gas supply from GAIL will be used for power generation, industrial use, domestic use and to run transport.

However, the economic and physical viability of the project will be analysed before signing the MoU, said the UT Finance Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu. Officials of GAIL have already given a presentation to officials of the Chandigarh Administration.

Mr Sandhu said since GAIL was laying a pipleline from Dadri to Nangal, a supply line to the city could be laid from Doraha, near Khanna. However, it would too premature to discuss the issue and the viability of the project was being analysed. If the arrangement worked out, power could be generated from gas.



India can top in paper production: Kidwai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
India can become the largest producer of paper in the world if the paper mills in the country reduce the cost of production, and bagasse, a waste of sugar mills, is used as raw material for paper production.

These views were expressed by Haryana Governor A.R. Kidwai while inaugurating a two-day zonal seminar of Indian Pulp and Paper Technical Association (IPPTA) on the ‘Energy Conservation with Special Reference to Energy Conservation Act, 2001” today.

Dr Kidwai said that at present the per capita consumption is approximately 6 Kg. per annum, which compares very poorly with corresponding figure of developed countries like USA, Canada and Japan where it exceeds 250 kg. per annum. As per studies conducted by leading international consultancy organisations, the energy consumption figures of paper industry in India is 800-1500 kwh per tonne of paper as compared to only 400-800 kwh per tonne of paper in European countries.

He said that the cost of energy per unit in India is higher as compared to other developed economies. This is because of diminishing resources of natural conventional energy like coal and significant dependence on import of crude oil. Therefore, it is imperative that immediate steps are taken to reduce specific energy consumption levels, in case we have to compete in world markets. No industry can afford to be non-cost competitive by consuming high cost resource inefficiently. The need of the hour is to adopt such techniques which would help in minimum consumption of electricity.

Earlier in his keynote address, Dr A. Kaupp, an expert on energy conservation of Germany, emphasised at length on the energy conservation and use of renewal energy for the future of mankind. He said in a lighter tone that if efforts were not made to tap renewal energy sources, then the world will have to return to candle light by 2050.

The president of IPPTA, Mr Anil Kumar, said that the aim of convening this seminar was to identify the basic issues before the industry as far as energy conservation concerned, hear views of experts to identify issues and understand solution, share experience with the industry leaders who have achieved energy consumption levels, almost at par with international standards and learn from equipment and technology suppliers about the latest offerings to achieve the objective of minimising energy consumption. Mr Kumar said that if “we have to compete globally we will have to reduce our cost of production.”



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