C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Ryan row: Delay in FIR angers parents
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
Angry parents of Class X students of Ryan International School, Sector 49, Chandigarh, today said that despite submitting a criminal complaint against the school authorities on February 3, the police had not registered any FIR till date.

The parents had filed a complaint against chairman of the St. Xavier’s Education Trust/Ryan International School A.F. Pinto, his wife Grace Pinto, who is also the director of Ryan International School, Headmistress of Ryan School-49 Poonam Sharma and schoolteacher Shubh Chugh at the Sector 34 police station.

The parents said the students would have to pay a heavy price for no fault of theirs. As the issue involved collection of crores of rupees through false presentation and with ulterior motives, the casual attitude of the police in the matter was beyond their understanding, they said.

In their complaint, they have alleged that a prima facie case was made out against the school authorities. “But, we feel the police was adopting delaying tactics to hush up the matter,” they alleged.

“It is a case of cheating, fraud, forgery, criminal intimidation and circulating incorrect documents with an intent to cheat the parents. All these offences attracted various provisions of the IPC and the punishment in such cases could go up to more than seven years. All these offences are cognisable and the police is supposed to register an FIR as soon as the complaint is made,” they argued.

However, instead of pulling up the guilty, the police reportedly issued summons to some of the parents to report at the office of the DSP (South), Chandigarh, on February 7 at 10 am at the Sector 36 police station. The order was, however, taken back the same evening by the police.

SHO of the Sector 34 police station Prem Chauhan said the police has issued summons to four parents. “Since the parents were busy finishing the court formalities as regards a writ petition to be filed in the high court, they told me to do the inquiry formalities later. The matter would now be taken up on Saturday,” he added. “A summons has been issued to Headmistress Poonam Sharma also,” he added.

Regarding the complaint, he said, “It is still a simple complaint from the parents’ side”.

Holding the management of the school and the Principal guilty, the parents have alleged in the complaint that these persons have induced them to admit their children on a false presentation. The school management fraudulently collected around Rs 4 crore from them and other parents by way of donations, besides around Rs 10 crore as tuition and admission fee. Lately, the school collected Rs 350 along with ‘forged forms’ filled by the students. It was a mock exercise to befool them, the parents alleged.

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Accidents: Khaki blames it on bureaucracy
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
Often accused of not caring two hoots for the safety of city residents, the Chandigarh Police today blamed the UT Administration for adopting an indifferent attitude towards accident-prevention measures suggested by it.

Reacting to the allegations of not doing enough to avoid road mishaps, the top brass of the police said a number of proposals aimed at making driving safer for the residents were, in fact, pending with the engineering wing of the Administration.

They added that despite a communication the Administration has not even ensured proper lighting of as many as eight accident-prone roads identified by it. Besides, cat-eye reflectors had not been installed on the roundabouts. To make matters worse, the Administration had not even ensured the painting of zebra crossings and stop lines despite repeated reminders.

Talking to TNS, a senior officer of the Chandigarh Traffic Police asserted that they had sent repeated communications to the UT Chief Engineer after conducting surveys of accident-prone points. The surveys revealed that a large number of fatal accidents occurred due to inadequate lighting arrangements at roundabouts, faded road markings, absence of reflecting cat eyes on roundabouts and certain road intersections.

In a recent letter to the authorities concerned, the traffic police had mentioned the car crash in which three youths were killed and the police had pointed out inadequate lights at the roundabout as a reason behind the mishap. Even as the Administration is carrying out its repair, the authorities had not bothered to install delinators (small rods with reflectors) on it.

Sources in the traffic police said the Administration was also told to ensure proper lighting on eight roads - those leading from Sectors 14, 15, 24 and 25 roundabout to Bhaskar chowk, from Bhaskar chowk to Dhanas chowk, from Sector 38 (West) chowk to Dadu Majra Colony up to nursery road, Lakhar chowk, Badheri chowk, Faidan barrier to Kalibari Temple up to the gurdwara, Kalibari Temple to Tribune Chowk and from the PGI to Khuda Lahora village.

Chief Engineer, UT Engineering Department, V.K. Bhardwaj, said it was not true that the police had sent them repeated requests in this regard.

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Palsora murder: 2 held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
With the arrest of two youngsters, the Chandigarh police today claimed to have solved the murder case in which Bajinder Singh of Palsora village was stabbed to death while his father, a tea vendor, was severely injured by three unidentified assailants on Sunday. The third accused is still at large, said the police.

The police cited old animosity as the reason behind the assault which resulted in the death of Bajinder Singh and left his father, Mr Panjab Singh, critically injured. He was operated upon in the PGI and his kidney was removed, which was damaged due to stab injuries.

Giving details of the arrest, the DSP (South), Mr KIP Singh, said the accused identified as 19-year-old Yashpal of Sector 56 and 18-year-old Jatinder, alias Love King of Sahimajra village in Mohali, were arrested from Sector 39 this afternoon. They were riding a Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle (CH-03-R-1215), which was also impounded. The police was working on various theories. However, the theory of old enmity provided the results. The third accused has been identified as Rakesh Kumar, alias Kaka, of Sahimajra village.

He stated that the accused had, during preliminary interrogation, admitted to the crime and confessed that Bajinder’s younger brother, Sher Singh, alias Monu, had a quarrel in Sector 56 with Vicky of Badheri on January 31. As Vicky belonged to their group, they planned to teach Monu a lesson. On Sunday they reached Vicky’s residence and went to Monu’s shop armed with two daggers. Vicky did not accompany them to avoid being identified by Monu.

As Monu was not there, they decided to wait for him and taken tea. In the meantime, Bajinder reached there and they discussed the issue which led to heated argument following which they assaulted Bajinder Singh and Panjab Singh. During the scuffle, Panjab Singh hit Yashpal with a heavy wooden log. However, they managed to escape from the spot.

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Toll-free helpline for senior citizens
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The Chandigarh Police today launched a round-the-clock toll-free telephone helpline (1090) for senior citizens. On receiving a telephone call on the helpline, it will be diverted to the police station concerned for immediate action.

The UT Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr S.K. Jain, inaugurated the helpline at the police control room at the police headquarters in Sector 9. The police said it had obtained approval from the Department of Telecommunication through the BSNL for release of the number. Subsequently, the matter was taken up with the mobile-phone service providers for technical assistance in making telephone calls from the mobile phones of various service providers to the helpline.

Senior police officers said from today calls from BSNL landline telephones, cell numbers of Spice, Tata teleservice, Hutch Communication, HFCL Infotel could be made at 1090.

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48 Squadron to receive President’s Standard
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The IAF’s 48 Squadron, a transport outfit based here, is all set to receive the President’s Standard on February 15 at the Bhuj Air Force Station. The Standard is the highest recognition of distinguished service rendered by a military unit and is awarded once.

Besides 48 Squadron, the President, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, will also be presenting the Standard to 37 Squadron, a fighter unit based in South Western Command. In the IAF, Standards are bestowed on combat units, while non-combat units and establishments are presented the Colours.

A ceremonial parade with a flypast by both squadrons will mark the occasion. The Standards will be received by Gp Capt Parag Sharma, Commanding Officer of 48 Squadron, and Wg Cdr Prashant Mohan, CO of 37 Squadron. A detachment from 48 Squadron, along with some AN-32 aircraft, with which it is equipped, is already at Bhuj for the event.

Other events include the release of a First Day Cover, a photo exhibition and some social functions. The Defence Minister and the Chief of Air Staff are among those expected to be present..

Maintaining the vital air bridge to the strategic Northern Sector and airdropping supplies to soldiers stationed in Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield, 48 Squadron, also called the Camels, was raised on Dakota aircraft at Barrackpore in November, 1959, with Sqn Ldr Chandan Singh as its first Commanding Officer. It was re-equipped with US-built Packet aircraft in 1961 and moved to Kalaikunda, near Kharagpur, during the 1965 Indo-Pak war in support of fighter squadrons, often operating from unprepared airstrips.

It also took part in the famous Tangail paradrop during the Bangladesh Campaign. Re-equipped with the Russian AN-32, the squadron was moved to Chandigarh in 1986.

The Camels rendered yeoman service in aid of the civil authorities during natural calamities like the tsunami and the devastating earthquakes in Bhuj and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). It also provides succour to the civilian populace in J&K when land routes remain cut off during winters.

The Black Panthers, as 37 Squadron is called, was formed on Vampire aircraft in December 23, 1957, at the Palam Air Force Station with Sqn Ldr A.L. Bajaj as its first Commanding Officer. During the 1965 Indo-Pak war, it was tasked with launching offensive action in the Eastern Sector as well as providing defence cover in the Western Sector. A detachment of four fighters carried out strikes out of Guwahati, while 12 aircraft provided defence cover to Hindon and the Capital.

During the liberation of Bangladesh, the squadron flew a total of 187 sorties out of Hasimara, comprising fighter reconnaissance, counter air and close support missions. It was associated with almost all battles fought on the ground. Its then Commanding Officer, Wg Cdr S.K. Kaul, who later became the Air Force chief, was awarded the Mahavir Chakra.

Having operated the Vampire, the Hunter and the MiG-21M , it has recently converted to the MiG-21 Bison. At present operating in the South-Western Sector, it was also based in Chandigarh from 1983 to 1985.

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1 dies in accident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 7
Nitin Bansal, Congress leader Vijay Bansal’s cousin, died in a road accident late last night. The accident took place on the Pinjore-Kalka stretch. Nitin was on his way back home at that time. His scooter was hit by a truck. He died on the spot.

Family sources said he had come to the city to attend a wedding and was returning to Kalka after dropping off Mr Vijay Bansal at his residence in Pinjore.

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COMMUNITY
 

Greenpeace joins hands with farmers against genetically-engineered rice
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
Greenpeace-the NGO dealing with environment issues, has joined hands with farmers’ bodies across India to ensure that no field trails of genetically engineered (GE) rice take place here.

Even as there has been a global rejection of GE rice and as many as 41 leading rice producing countries have committed to remain GE produce free, the Government of India (GOI) has allowed Mahyco to conduct field trials of GE rice. Concerned over the health and environment hazards caused by GE rice, Greenpeace has decided to take the battle between the civil rights groups and technocrats to the farmers.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr Rajesh Krishnan, Campaigner for Greenpeace, said that they were in the process of joining hands with farmers’ associations in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, so that farmers reject all such field trials on GE rice. It was in these states that the GOI had allowed for nine field trials to be conducted on GE rice. However, at Karnal in Haryana and in Coimbatore, farmers had burnt and uprooted fields where these trials were on.

He said that in Punjab and Haryana, they had joined hands with Bhartiya Kisan Union, who would write letters to sarpanches of all villages urging them not to allow any field trials of GE rice in their villages. “We will be writing to 6000 sarpanches in Haryana and 9000 sarpanches in Punjab, to ensure that these trials are not held. Greenpeace will be providing technical guidance and reasons for not allowing these field trials,” he added.

“If introduced, GE rice could adversely affect the lives of farmers, especially in the Indo-Gangetic plains (Haryana and Uttar Pradesh), which are the main rice producing states. World over, GE rice is known to affect human health by causing allergies; spoiling the environment through loss of seed sovereignity (as it would by entering the gene pool of over 1 lakh rice varieties), and; spoiling indigenous rice varieties; and, lead to socio economic unrest among farmers because their sale has been banned by many countries,” he said.

He added that last year rice exports from India were to the tune of Rs 7000 crore. “In case the GE rice gets into the gene pool, it would mean that the rice exports to most developed countries in the world would fall drastically, thereby affecting the livelihood of farmers,” he said.

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Attestation no longer required
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The UT Administration has done away with the “irritating” exercise of getting duplicate documents attested while applying for jobs related to government departments.

As part of simplifying the official procedures for the residents, the Adviser to the Administrator today decided that those applying for jobs, admission seekers, people seeking benefits under various government welfare schemes and services like electricity, water, licences of various type and registration of vehicles will not be required to have copies of the documents or certificates and photographs to be attested by a gazetted officer.

On a proposal moved by the Home Secretary, the Adviser also made the process of granting of arms licence more user-friendly. The Home Secretary, Mr Krishna Mohan, said as per the new decision, all departments would be directed not to insist upon submission of attested copies of certificates duly attested by gazetted officers.

Instead, the application form would contain a column wherein the applicant would furnish information regarding his caste and residential status. After the initial scrutiny and screening, the candidates called for interview/ admission would be asked to present the original document and a self-attested copy each of such documents in the office.

The office would verify the self-attested copy from the original document and return the original to the applicant. However, in some cases, if considered necessary, copies of the documents along with the applications could be self-attested. The applicants would be asked to self-attest their photographs. Now the duration of arms license would be for a three-year period unless and until there are special reasons for granting the licence for a shorter period in the individual cases. The prevailing practice of granting the licence with a validity of one year initially would also be done away with. As per the prevailing practice, the licences were to be extended after one year and a fee equal to the renewal fee was charged. This practice was causing a lot of inconvenience and hardship to licensees and offices were having extra workload and unnecessary piling of records. Now the purchasing period of three years would also be allowed at the initial stage along with granting of new licence.

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MC session likely to be stormy
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 7
The budget session of the Municipal Council, slated for tomorrow, is all set to be a stormy affair with the councillors expressing their unhappiness over the delay in agenda circulated to them and have threatened to boycott the meeting.

While 17 councillors are likely to stage a walkout, they will also meet the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Neerja Shekhar, to lodge their protest over the expenditure exceeding the income of the House and the "paucity of time" to debate the budget. Further, they expressed their displeasure over the "non-detailed" expenditure in the agenda.

Maintaining that the MC had an income of Rs 17 crore of which Rs 5 crore came by way of stamp duty and Rs 4 crore collected from house tax, the councillors said that they were unsure where the remaining amount would come from.

"An expenditure of Rs 29.65 crore has been spent during this financial year. While Rs 1.46 crore has been shown as establishment charges, the agenda shows that over Rs 19 crore have been spent on development works, Rs 5 crore as contingency fund, and Rs 2.5 crore as miscellaneous charges. The House has never spent so much money and the budget is limited to Rs 12 to 14 crores only. Where has all this money gone," the councillors asked.

Holding that no finance committee had been constituted to pass the budget before it is tabled in the House, they added that they received a copy of the agenda on the evening of February 6 which did not leave any time for preparation.

The councillors said that the meeting had been hurriedly organised since the next date of hearing of the case pertaining to Manvir Gill's election as president, filed by the BJP, has been fixed for February 13.

However, when contacted, the president, Ms Manvir Gill, said a notice of only 48 hours is required for holding a special meeting which was given. "The agenda was despatched on February 5 and most of the councillors got it the same evening. The councillors boycotting the meeting usually are never present in the House so it hardly matters," she said.

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Encroachments removed in Sector 26 grain market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
Amid protests by traders, the Administration carried out a major anti-encroachment drive in the Sector 26 grain market here today.

Assisted by the police, a squad of the Administration demolished the raised platform constructed by shopkeepers in the market. Three JCBs were used for the purpose. “A part of the platform constructed on the government land was demolished,” claimed an official supervising the operation.

Mr Ankur Garg, SDM, supervised the operation. He said the shopkeepers had been given time till Monday to remove the encroachments themselves.

There was resentment among the shopkeepers. They tried to convince officials to halt the drive. Around 100 rehri and pheriwalas were also displaced. Those who were allotted booths were asked to move into their booths.

Mr B.K. Sood, spokesman of the Grain Market Association, said the action on the part of the Administration was uncalled for. The use of additional land in front of the shops for stacking perishable items was allowed by earlier officials, he said.

The association said the roads had not been repaired for a long period. Instead of improving the basic amenities, the Administration was targeting the traders who add to the income of the market. He said a meeting of the association had been called to discuss the future course of action.

The Administration plans to put up barricades at the entry and exit points to check evasion of market fee.

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Flag march in Nayagaon
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 7
A flag march was organised by the police in Nayagaon, Mullanpur and Kurali areas to create a sense of security among the voters in connection with the Assembly elections being held on February 13.

The flag march in the Nayagaon area was headed by Mr Kamaldeep Singh Sandhu, SP (Traffic), and Mr Jasjit Singh, DSP, Kharar.

Mr Sandhu said in a press note released here that the areas where the flag march was held fell under the Morinda constituency. He said that 100 police personnel had been requisitioned from outside for the Nayagaon police station and were helping the police.

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CRIME
 

Six-year-old boy crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
A six-year-old boy was crushed to death by a truck near Daria village last night. The police said the accident took place when the truck hit Anish Kumar of Gas Colony at Daria village, killing the victim on the spot.

The truck driver sped away from the spot. A case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving has been registered in this regard.

Charas seized

The police arrested 40-year-old Chottu Ram of Kullu from near counter No. 40 at the ISBT, Sector 17, on Wednesday for carrying 1 kg charas. He told the police officials that he had brought the contraband from Kullu. He said he was told that he could sell the same at the grain market in Chandigarh.

A case has been registered in this regard.

Cheating

Mr Prem Kumar Jindal of Sector 28-A here reported to the police that Vinod Kumar of Sector 8 had taken Rs 6 lakh from him on the pretext of selling him a plot. He neither sold the said plot to him nor returned his amount. A case of cheating has been registered in this regard.

Vehicle stolen

Mr Hari Om of Sector 43 here has lodged a complaint with the police, stating that a man took away his Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle (HR-03-F-7404) on the pretext of taking a test drive on February 4. A case under Section 406 of the IPC has been registered in this regard.

Burglary

Dr Surinder Sharma of the Department of Chemistry, Panjab University, on Wednesday reported to the police that his house in the university was burgled. The thieves decamped with jewellery, cash, laptop and other valuables.

A case has been registered in this regard.

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BUSINESS
 

Artisans get platform to expand endeavours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
Ms Jean Rodrigues, wife of the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), inaugurated a centre ‘Kala Darpan’ at Panchayat Bhawan, Sector 18, here, today.

The centre, set up by the Department of Industries, Chandigarh, would showcase and market the products being manufactured by the local artisans such as sculptures, pottery, handicrafts, textile design, mural paintings, embroidery, hand-knitted garments, flower making, screen/glass paintings, wax products, quilt work, soft toys etc which would be sold on no profit no loss basis.

The UT Administrator also took a round of the centre and asked the Home Secretary and Director, Industries, to further institutionalise and develop a comprehensive programme to enable the artisans to expand their endeavours.

The centre will remain open for public from 10 am to 7 pm except on Sundays.

Slum families

The Chandigarh Housing Board would organise a four-day on-site camp next week to shift about 600 slum families currently occupying Press sites (Labour Colony No. 4) to pre-fabricated transit shelters in Sector 52.

Giving details, Mr Mohanjit Singh, Chairman, CHB, said a camp would be organised from 12 to 15 February.

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Portal on cars launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
An online portal, www.globizzautodeal.com, for sale and purchase of new and old cars has been launched in the city.

Announcing the launch here today, Mr Neeraj Kaushik, head, Globizz Marketing, said their venture was being supported by HDFC Bank. “The website will now serve as a medium for creating a platform between the seller and buyer of a used car. From a Maruti 800 to a Mercedes, we will provide information on all segments of cars,” he said.

The portal would have a database of used cars with a picture of the vehicle, offer special finance schemes, tips on maintenance of vehicle, upcoming new cars, besides services like car finance, vehicle insurance and refinance options.

Mr Kaushik pointed out that while they would finance a new car at 12. 5 per cent, the rate of interest charged on the old car would be 17 per cent. “Almost 3,000 new cars and 800 used cars are sold in the tri-city each month. We already have a 40 per cent market share in car finance and with this we hope to increase our market share,” he said.

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