C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


After 25 days of life-and-death struggle,
Little Aman dies
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 5
Six-year-old Aman on Sunday succumbed to the burn injuries she sustained a month back at Sarthak Government Model School, Sector 12-A here.

She was admitted to the PGIMER with 35 per cent burns on February 8 after the sari she was wearing at a fancy dress contest caught fire. While the cause of the fire, officially, remains a mystery, it seems a burning earthen lamp on the stage was responsible for the same.

At the Luthra residence today, friends and family members gathered to bid Aman a final farewell. they recalled Aman as an intelligent child who picked up everything in a jiffy. " She was more intelligent than her brother Gaurav, who is a year older to her. We repent the day we sent her to this school. Both sought admission to Sarthak. While Aman got the admission, Gaurav was refused the same. We did not know then that she was walking into a death trap," a grieving relative said.

While women from the neighbourhood and some relatives stayed at the house to console the distraught mother, the men accompanied her father to the PGIMER where a post-mortem was conducted.

Aman’s grandmother insisted on accompanying the body to the cremation ground even as family members reasoned with her to stay back.

Blame game

Teachers’ negligence cost Aman her life. At Sarthak Model High School, examinations of various classes went on as usual. Principal Madhuri Shrivastva sat in her room, disturbed by the turn of events. "We are sorry for what has happened. We extended all help to the family," she said.

However, she continued to blame the class teacher for failing in her responsibility to keep the child safe . "We cannot be blamed for the accident. It happened after the function and the school were over. Class teacher Usha Rani should have taken care of Aman."

Shrivastva said the school had helped the family with finances and Rs 98,000 had been given to them. "After they gave a formal complaint against us, the staff lost all interest. I was on station leave these last four days. I don't know what happened while I was away," she held.

Questioned about the lack of fire safety measures in organising the function, she passed the buck to stage organiser Bheem Singh.

While an inquiry by the DDPO has held the class teacher responsible for the incident, another by the police is awaited.

Principal, teacher booked

The police today booked Principal Madhuri Shrivastva and Aman’s class teacher for causing death due to negligence under Section 304-A of the IPC. The case was lodged on the complaint of the father of the victim, Parminder Singh.

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Black Sunday: 3 Holi deaths, two suicides
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Three persons, including a minor boy, were killed while 23 persons were injured in various road accidents in the city during Holi celebrations on Sunday.

A Mahindra pickup truck, a Santro car, a Mahindra Scorpio SUV and a Maruti Zen car were completely damaged. Traffic violations were rampant on Holi. The cops on their toes throughout the day.

At 10 am in Kishangarh village, three-year-old boy Mayank of was crushed to death by a Tavera SUV (CH-28(T)-2396) near his residence. He died on the spot.

The police said the victim was playing outside his house and came onto road all of a sudden. The driver tried to save the child by applying the brakes, but it was too late. The vehicle was coming from Saketri and was on its way to Chandigarh.

The driver of the vehicle fled after the incident. A large crowd gathered at the spot. A case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving has been registered in this regard.

In the afternoon, a drunk driver of a Mahindra pickup truck (CH-23-(T)-4669), who was coming from Kajheri , rammed his vehicle into a Santro car (PB-65-D-7507) near the Mataur crossing. The impact of the collision was so intense that that the Santro car was flung into the air. It landed about 30 feet away. The occupants of the car were on their way back home in Mohali.

The other vehicle, carrying seven persons, turned turtle on the road after the collision. Five persons, including a minor boy, were travelling in the rear of the truck while two others were sitting in the vehicle.

Thirty-year-old Sri Chand Yadav, who was sitting besides the driver, died on the spot after his head was crushed under the vehicle. The driver of the truck fled the spot. The police reached there within minutes and shifted all 11 injured to various hospitals.

The occupants of the Santro car, Charanjit Singh of Sector 68, his wife Manjit Kaur and their son Mehardev Singh who were profusely bleeding were taken out of the vehicle after a lot of effort.

They were stated to be out of danger. The other injured in the mishap have been identified as Ankit (9), Sunil Kumar (24), Vinay Kumar (18), Rajesh Kumar, Vasudev and Faken, all residents of Baltana village.

An eyewitness, Sanjay Kumar of Kajheri, said the driver was drunk and had crushed to death a dog in Kajheri, just before the mishap. He picked up a quarrel with some residents who told him to drive carefully. The driver and his companions thrashed a man there and left him bleeding.

“The accident was the result of over-speeding as he was trying to flee from there,” said Sanjay. A case of causing death due to rash and negligent driving has been registered against the driver.

A motorcyclist, Sanjay Sharma of Colony Number 5, was killed after he fell off the vehicle. He was 25 and under the influence of liquor, the police said. The accident took place at around 4:15 pm when he was returning home after celebrating Holi.

Late in the night, another drunk driver of a Scorpio SUV (PB-12-H-3417) hit A Maruti Zen car on the road dividing Sectors 45 and 46. The collision was so powerful that both vehicles were completely damaged.

Paramjit Singh of Dadu Majra Colony was driving the Maruti Zen car. His legs got entangled in the mangled car and it was after half-an-hour of sustained efforts that he was taken out of the vehicle. Besides Paramjit, three children-Robin (10), Rouble (7) and Yuvraj (2)-were travelling in the car. They escaped with minor injuries.

The Scorpio’s driver, Nirlabhjot Singh of Sector 68, reportedly suffered fractures on his collar bone and the arm. He has been booked for causing injuries due to rash and negligent driving.

Two persons allegedly committed suicide in various parts of the city on Sunday. In one incident, a 30-year-old Nepali hanged himself to death from a tree near the IT Park, while another person consumed poison.

Giving details of the first incident, sources in the Mani Majra police station said Prem Pun, who worked in a canteen at IT Park, was found hanging from a tree by his brother. He had been suffering depression after the death of his mother, who died two months back.

The police said as no foul play was suspected, inquest proceeding has been initiated in this connection.

Sources in the Sector 26 police station said 35-year-old Raju of Bapu Dham Colony ended his life by allegedly consuming poison at his residence late last night. Financial constraints were cited as a reason behind this extreme step.

Raju, a father of two minor children, consumed the poison at around 11 pm. The matter came to light, when his wife saw him vomiting. On being asked he admitted to them having consumed poison and was rushed to the PGI. He died after two hours during the treatment, said the police.

His body was handed over to te3h family after the post-mortem today. The police has initiated inquest proceeding under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

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Caught cheating, girl commits suicide

Panchkula, March 5
Neha Gupta, a Class IX student of Government School, Sector 19, committed suicide by throwing herself before Shatabdi Express at the Sector 19 railway crossing here today.

Police sources said the girl was caught cheating in her examination. The teacher took away her answer-sheet and asked her to leave.

Tattered bits of her uniform were found on the track. The father of the deceased runs a small business.

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Poor manning of internal roads
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Driving on the roads cutting through the city sectors, it’s a journey of inconvenience, and sometimes even peril.

Men-in-white of the Chandigarh Police more often than not simply turn a blind eye towards the violations on internal roads. So far, the cops have not launched concerted drives to check either over-speeding or wrong parking of vehicles. Recently, the police booked violators flouting rules in Sector 34 but to little effect, as the menace goes on unabated in other parts of the city.

Just drive down on any of these internal roads in the Sectors and you will witness reckless drivers zipping though the lanes at breakneck speeds.

A senior police officer claimed acute shortage of manpower, the officer said a proposal for increase in manpower was first forwarded to the centre in 1995 and again in 2004 but nothing had been done. 

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UAVs help state govts combat insurgency
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Besides keeping a silent vigil on the borders, IAF’s newly procured unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are also helping state governments in combating insurgent and anti-national elements.

Revealing this here today, Air Marshal P.S Ahluwalia, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, said that the services of the UAV had been sought by several state governments to detect and identify movements of insurgents and terrorists.

“At times, the deployment of UAVs in the service of state governments has extended to three months at a stretch and they often fly about three to fours hours a day,” he said. “UAV’s are useful and cost-effective platforms for surveillance and imagery,” he added.

He was here to review the full dress rehearsal of the Presidential Fleet Review (PFR), which is taking place here on March 7 after a gap of 31 years.

All types of aircraft in the IAF’s inventory would be displayed while Standards and Colours awarded to all 41 IAF squadrons and establishments so far would be trooped.

He said with the IAF assuming a strategic posture and extending its reach beyond the country’s geographical borders, it had set into motion a roadmap to develop and exploit space-based assets which would enhance and synchronise its communications and surveillance capabilities.

“We have formulated a Defence Space Vision 2020, which envisages our requirements in the coming decade and lays out the methodology on how to achieve it,” Air Marshal Ahluwalia said.

“This document has been forwarded to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which would help us achieve our requirements,” he added.

The Defence Space Vision-2020, has intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance and navigation as its key areas, It has just got off the ground, with its first phase covering the period 2007-2012. Aerial imagery, surveillance and reconnaissance would remain the IAF’s domain, the air marshal said.

“We are looking at satellite imagery with a resolution of 0.25 meter, which would further enhance our existing space-based surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities,” he said. “Also included into vision 2020 is the whole expanse communications and data links required between airborne platforms and ground establishments for a network-centric environment,” he added.

Development and induction of such systems, he said, had a lead time of 6-8 years.

The Western Air Command chief said the accident rate in the IAF had touched a historic low. The accident rate in 1972 was 1.09 per 10,000 flying hours.

Last year it was 0.44 and this year till date it is 0.32, he said.

Stating that the IAF would be playing a dominating role in any future war, he said every force had to keep pace with technology, which had to be imbibed, absorbed and inducted at all levels. 

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Speaking Out
Damage to PCA Stadium unfortunate
Akash Ghai

M.P. Pandove BCCI's Joint Secretary and Honorary Secretary, PCA: “Undoubtedly it was a big occasion for our state. Elaborate arrangements should have made to regulate over-enthusiastic supporters. The damage caused to the building and the ground area is unfortunate.” These kinds of functions should be avoided”.

                                                                             M.P. Pandove

Dr Ravinder ChadhaDr Ravinder Chadha, former physiotherapist of Indian team says: “The stadium is built only for the purpose of the game of cricket and nothing else. The vandalism on March 2 was unfortunate and was totally wrong. It becomes all the more serious when we see that it all happened because of the wrong decision of the government.”

Dr Ravinder Chadha

G.S. BangaG.S. Banga, vice-president, Chandigarh Cricket Association (Punjab). “Holding such functions at one of the best stadiums in the world was really not in good taste. Social or political functions should be banned with an immediate effect.

                                                                               G.S. Banga

Rajeev NayyarRajeev Nayyar, world record holder in first-class cricket. All sports lovers watched helplessly the result of the poor decision of politicians. So I feel politicians should not interfere in the game in any manner. The organizing of such functions at this place should be stopped.”

Rajeev Nayyar

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Hues of joy splashed on Holi
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
All roads led to celebrations Sunday morning, as revellers painted the city red with colours of joy on Holi. As the enthusiastic shrieks of “Holi hai” mingled with the constant din of trumpets and roar of engines, they zipped down the fast track of exhilaration on their bikes with silencers removed for targeting other players.

Though the northern Sectors more or less remained colourless throughout the day, with a few venturing out to enjoy the festival of colours, the southern ones were the venue of prime celebrations, with residents splashing hues of merriment even on strangers.

The imposing presence of so many men-in-white on the streets was no dampener, especially in the Sector 44, 45, 46 and 47 belt. Three on a bike, camouflaged under colour, riding away from the law past the drenched crowd on single cylinder flying machines with bandannas protecting their hair was a common sight. Some had even painted their visages silver.

Action was also witnessed along the newly designated geri route, with open jeeps patrolling the area between Sector 34 and Sector 35.

The guys stopped the cars, with “Holi hai” written on the windshields and sides, in front of hotels and restaurants in Sector 35 to shake, rattle and roll as high-wattage car stereos blared out hip-hop music. Others rushed out of their residences, clutching water balloons for attacking cyclists, and pedestrians. Even those travelling in cars and buses were not spared.

Neat and clean clothes were no consideration, as they poured water mixed with colour on the helpless victims. They also entered the houses of their friends before forcing them to join the fun. Armed with plastic pistols and water grenades, they flushed out the willing victims out of their homes, ignored their protestations, pushed them against walls, and shot them mercilessly with high-powered water pistols.

Dance parties were also organised. Some went to bars and pubs, many others drove uphill to cut along the sharp curves before parking their cars right in the middle of the road to lose their blues to the rhythm of thumping music.

As Panjab University was out of bounds, Holi was “just for the hostelers”. Those who stayed back to enjoy the festival away from their families, went from one hostel to other, making it a day to 
remember. 

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Shopkeepers up in arms against HUDA notices
Four-laning faces a hitch
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 5
The four-laning of the Zirakpur-Parwanoo stretch faced a hitch with shopkeepers of the Shiva Market Welfare Association here up in arms against the notices issued by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA).

Terming the notices as "illegal" and violative of the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the shopkeepers alleged that Punjab and Haryana had not conducted joint demarcation, as ordered by the high court.

In its order, the high court had directed the Deputy Commissioner, Patiala, and the Chief Administrator, HUDA, to get the land demarcated and remove encroachments on public property along the national highway.

“The Haryana Revenue Department demarcated the land without informing us, the Punjab revenue authorities and HUDA,” the shopkeepers alleged in a representation to the Mohali DC, pleading for his intervention.

Later, the Panchkula DC held a meeting of the revenue authorities of Haryana and Punjab and HUDA officials.

The DC reportedly directed that demarcation be done with the help of the "thedolite meter".

Sources said in the wake of large-scale construction along the highway, the demarcation was not possible.

Later, it was reportedly decided that the exercise could not be undertaken with the help of the "thedolite meter".

The representation urged the Mohali DC to intervene and take up the matter with the Panchkula authorities.

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Farmers oppose Admn decision
Acquisition for phase III of IT park
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
The Mani Majra Farmers Welfare and Environment Protection Society today protested the proposed decision of the Chandigarh Administration to acquire 272 acres for the phase III of the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park.

"The Administration has already 570 acres with it for the expansion of the technology park. So far it has been able to utilise less than 25 per cent of this area and there was no justification for the acquisition of 272 acres for this purpose," a press note issued here said today.

The entire country is realising that the Land Acquisition Act needed revision. According to the present thinking, only the barren and unproductive land will be used for industrial growth, and that too after adequate compensation to the land owners, the society asserted. With the acquisition of 272 acres, the Administration wanted to destroy the most-valuable green cover raised by the farmers, it added.

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Cops ready for Kalam’s visit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
The President, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, will visit the city on March 7.

According to official sources, Dr Kalam will arrive at the local airport around 9.30 a.m. to inspect the Presidential Fleet Review at the airforce station. From the airforce, the President will move to Panjab University to address the university convocation at about 1.30 pm.

Dr Kalam will also address the PGI convocation at the Bhargava Auditorium at the PGI at 3.30 p.m., the sources added.

In an attempt to minimise inconvenience to road users during the President’s visit, the Chandigarh Traffic Police has decided that one lane on the route would be kept open.

Senior officials of the traffic police stated that they had decided against blocking both lanes of the route during the President’s journey. It was also decided that the traffic would not be held for more than three minutes on any traffic light point or rotary during the VVIP visit.

The traffic police would experiment with this new decision and conduct a rehearsal on Tuesday. Sources in the police said the endeavour would help in minimising inconvenience to general public. The police was looking for suggestions from general public on this new concept through their website.

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In corridors of Taj
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Corridors of the Taj, Chandigarh, glistened in the limelight on Sunday evening as “star” of Punjab politics Sukhbir Singh Badal invited journalists for a get-together.

Less than a week after his party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, came to power with Bharatiya Janata Party’s support, the MP son of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal made it clear that the government intended to be “press-friendly.” His confidantes talked of how the new regime would be “accessible” to all scribes and not a limited few “ as was the case with the earlier rulers.”

The party began at 8 pm. The host reached at least 90 minutes late, accompanied by his brother-in-law. There were whispers that he may not appear at all. It was left to Principal Secretary (Information and Public Relations) D.S. Jaspal to look after the guests in the meantime. the junior Badal soon, after his arrival, went on a handshake spree.

Sukhbir asked journalists unknown to him their names. The exercise lasted less than five minutes. The old coterie soon surrounded the new ruler. As the moonlight flooded the terrace, some of them stood around him, attentively listening to his ideas on national and regional importance.

As premium Scotch whiskey “Black Dog” and wine flowed freely, almost everyone in the “Holi day” mood began to relax. BJP leaders were not present at the bash. But then it was Sukhbir’s dinner and not a bash to please alliance partners just before the allocation of portfolios!

Just three to four women journalists were present at the scene and the discussion hovered around portfolios and the appointment of media advisor. Punjab ’s Advocate-General Hardev Singh Mattewal was also present at the party. Truly the Taj passages turned into the corridors of power. 

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Resource centre for women to open today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
In an effort to work towards women empowerment, the municipal corporation will inaugurate a resource centre for women at the mayor’s residence.

Jean Rodrigues, wife of the Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator will inaugurate the centre tomorrow.

Addressing a press briefing today, mayor Harjinder Kaur said that the resource centre would work for the socio-economic empowerment of women especially from rural areas.

“The centre will provide information about various schemes and facilities available for women from government, departments, institutions and banks to those belongings to minorities, economically weaker sections etc,” she said.

The resource centre aims at providing family and career counselling to educated unemployed girls, conduct entrepreneurial, managerial and skill development, vocational training programmes etc. The centre will also help arrange lectures, meetings and workshops on various woman-related issues.

A programme to honour various woman activists from different fields will also be held tomorrow.

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27 women undergo training
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
A 15-day-long training programme on self-employment projects conducted by the Nehru Yuva Kendra, Chandigarh, concluded at Panchayat Bhavan, Palsora. As many as 27 women participated in the programme where training in beauty parlour work and mehndi art were demonstrated.

On the concluding day, chief guest T.R. Verma gave details of various loan schemes provided by various banks. He also advised that unemployed youths must register their name in the employment office concerned. Vishwa Kirti Kapur, deputy manager, PNB, Palsora, also gave information about bank loans.

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Dainik Tribune scribe bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Arshiya, daughter of Ramesh Handa, a correspondent with Dainik Tribune, died at the PGI early today after a brief illness. She was six-and-a-half-year-old.

A student of Ryan International School, Sector 49, she was admitted to the PGI a few days ago. The cremation at the Sector 25 crematorium was largely attended.

The rasam kirya will be held at 301(top floor), Sector 45-A, Chandigarh, at 1 p.m. tomorrow.

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Carmel student dies of heart attack

Chandigarh, March 5
Shaleen Chopra, 12-year-old daughter of Rajni Chopra and Suvir Chopra and student of Carmel Convent School, passed away here on March 3 due to cardiac arrest. She had not been keeping well for some time. She was cremated on Saturday.

The rasam kirya for the departed soul will be held on March 6 at Gauri Shankar Temple, Sector 17, Panchkula, from 2 pm to 3 pm. — TNS

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Auditorium named after Randhawa

Chandigarh, March 5
Tributes were paid to the late Dr M.S. Randhawa, former chief commissioner of Chandigarh, on his 21st death anniversary at the Punjab Arts Council, here on Saturday.

The council also named its auditorium as Randhawa Auditorium. Dr S.S. Bhatti, noted architect and his close associate, said Dr Randhawa maintained a tradition of excellence throughout his career in academics, administration and literature. Thespian Gurdarshan Singh, former Punjabi Tribune editor Gulzar Singh Sandhu, S.S. Dosanjh, K.S. Raju, Mohan Bhandari, Shiv Singh and K.K. Malhotra shared their memories about the deceased with the audience. — OC

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Fervour marks Holi
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 5
Holi was celebrated with fervour and enthusiasm here yesterday even as the police challaned at least 260 persons for indulging in various violations.

Revellers smeared faces with colours while children loved to throw water-filled balloons at each other.

At least 260 persons were challaned for triple riding, driving without helmet, using various kinds of horn and covering their number plates with colours.

Thirtythree teams were on the job in the town to prevent hooliganism.

Patrolling was done on 20 motor cycles and eight gypsies and nakas were set up at various points.

Some residents of Sohana village preferred to play Holi with ash and animal bones.

Ash was smeared on the faces of a number of residents instead of colour and skeletons of animals were hung in front of some shops.

According to the villagers, this tradition had been going on for the past about four decades and was being done to save the village from evil spirits.

Though the police had stopped this way of celebrating Holi, people had again started following the tradition.

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Young woman commits suicide
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 5
A young woman living in Shahi Majra village allegedly committed suicide last night by hanging herself from a ceiling fan.

According to the police, Mausmi (25) allegedly took the extreme step as her husband, Naresh Kumar, did not play Holi with her yesterday.

She felt disappointed and locked herself in a room before committing suicide.

Her body was removed by the police today and later sent to the civil hospital for postmortem examination.

The police said Naresh, who hailed from West Bengal, was living in rented accommodation in the village with his wife and brother.

On the day of Holi, he left his house to play the festival of colours with his friends.

He came back in the evening and went to his brother’s room, where he spent some time.

Later he met his wife, who wanted to play Holi with him, but he refused and came back to the room of his brother.

Mausmi later entered her room and bolted the door from inside. After some time, her husband knocked at the door, but she did not respond. Naresh presumed that she must have gone to sleep.

When the door was not opened in the morning, he suspected foul play. He informed his neighbours and the police. The police broke open the door and found the body.

The police initiated proceedings under section 174 of the CrPC.

The deceased had a four-year-old son.

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House burgled
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 5
Thieves have broke into a house in sector 8 here and decamped with goods worth thousands. The theft came to notice yesterday when R.D. Verma, owner of the house, returned and found the lock of the main door broken.

He found silver cutlery, artificial jewellery and other goods missing. The police registered a case.

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Market crash: Long queues outside brokers’ offices
Ruchika Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 5
Today’s crash in the stock market, the biggest crash so far this year, sent the investors and brokers in the city in a tizzy. The sensex tumbled over 471 points to reach 12, 415. 04 points on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) today. The fall was on account of heavy selling by funds in tandem with a meltdown on the global equity markets.

Since afternoon, investors in the city were seen queuing up outside the offices of brokers in Sector 17 and 35, some for selling their shares before it was too late, but mostly for picking up new shares at a low cost.

The stock markets have been continuously melting down since last two weeks. In the process the sensex recorded a fall of 2,400 points. The major fall in share prices was recorded in those of automobile companies and in banks. The big losers of the day were Maruti Udyog (down by 60 points), Tata Motors (down by 35. 50 points), State Bank of India (down by 42. 35 points), Punjab National Bank (down by 14. 60 points) and ICICI (down by 21. 35 points).

The National Stock Exchange dropped by 150.25 points to below 3,600 points mark at 3,576.50 on sustained selling.

Mr V Kumar, Director of Vikson Commodities, Finance and Investments, said this largest single day fall meant that everybody suffered losses. “Though there was no panic reaction in the city, investors are trying to strike a bargain. Most investors are adopting a wait and watch policy. We are expecting that the market will come down further, and that will be the right time to buy new stocks.”

Mr Alok Kant, a broker in Sector 35, said many investors were getting panicky, thinking that the market could crash to below 10,000 points. “ So they are now trying to sell off their shares and make a profit before it is too late. We are advising our customers that the market will not hit below 10,000. In fact, this the right time to invest,” he said. 

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