C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


First-ever March hailstorm freezes traffic
Rainfall crosses 123.7 mm mark
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
It poured mayhem on city roads today. As the rainfall for the month of March crossed the 123.7 mm mark, city roads wore a chaotic look. Four spells of hailstorm and 24.6 mm make it impossible for vehicular traffic to move.

At several places, the roads were severely flooded , leading to breakdown of vehicles. The recorded 123.7 mm of rainfall for March is 109-1 mm above normal for this time of the season.

This March, it poured as much as 90.2 mm on a single day, March 1. Last year in March, the maximum rainfall was recorded on March 12. It was 55 mm.

But this time the rainfall has been heavier, said met officials, confirming that this was unusual for March. Unseasonal rains caused the cold wave to return, yesterday being the coldest day in March in the last 11 years.

The day temperature today was 23.8 degree - more than yesterday’s 19.2 degree. Today’s night temperature is 13.6 degree as against 14 degree yesterday. March 13 last year was warmer with its day and night temperatures at 24.6 and 14 degree, respectively.

Today’s hailstorm, the officials said, is the first-ever in March. Also the intensity of today’s hailstorm was “exceptional.” The evening spell and morning spells were the most severe.

The city recorded two more spells of hailstorm during the day - at around 11.30 am and again around 6 pm. There were also reports of cloudburst, although officials did not confirm the same.

Today’s hail disrupted life and sent traffic into a chaos. Along the Dakshin and Madhya Marg, flooding and traffic jam was the order of the day. Around 6 pm, soon after office closure, the situation was actually went out of control as traffic flowed in all directions, with people trying to find their way out of blockades.

At 8 pm, there was a massive jam at the Sector 20-21 rotary when traffic police personnel stopped the traffic flow to ease the passage of VIP vehicles.

At the Kisan Bhavan and Canara Bank traffic islands, at least 20 vehicles each were stranded due to the downpour. As vehicles broke down along main roads, the flow of traffic was further hampered. There was no traffic police to manage the affairs, except at the Sector 20-21 rotary where too, it mismanaged more than it managed.

At other places dug up earth flowed into the main roads, adding to the woes of those trying to wade their way through the flooded roads. Power failure and phone line disruption was reported from across the city.

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Killer constable arrested
Cops say he was a drug addict 
Tribune News Service

Bagga Singh
Bagga Singh

Chandigarh, March 13
The constable of the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB), Punjab Police, who allegedly shot dead his colleague at Punjab Circuit House in Sector 39 on Monday, was arrested from Ludhiana, this afternoon. The police said a dispute over money was the immediate provocation for the crime.

The police said 34-year-old Bagga Singh of Fatehpur Gujjaran village in Ludhiana was arrested from his rented accommodation in Bhattiyan Colony in Ludhiana at 4 pm. The self-loading rifle (SLR) with which he killed his colleague was recovered from him. He was brought to the Sector 39 police station here.

Sub-inspector Baljit Singh of the Sector 39 police station said Bagga Singh had told them that he was facing major financial constraints as he had not been given salary for the past over three months. He went to Ranbir Singh (the victim) and sought money from him but was rebuked. He implored him to help him out, but met with further humiliation. He lost his temper and fired a shot at him. Ranbir Singh was not armed as his duty was at the entry gate with a metallic detector.

The police said Bagga Singh was a drug addict and, hence, his colleagues avoided giving him money. Bagga Singh has three children. He told the police that his mother was not keeping well and he was in dire need of money.

Bagga Singh told the investigating officials that after killing Ranbir Singh, he fled towards the forest area. There, he hide his rifle, went to the bus stand and boarded a bus for Ludhiana at around 11 pm.

Ranbir Singh’s elder brother Jasbir Singh and his father Gurcharan Singh of Shehkar village in Ludhiana said Ranbir Singh had two children. He had visited his village last week. He was deployed at the Punjab Circuit House recently after the Punjab elections. Earlier, he had served as a security guard with several MLAs. He had joined service in 1993.

Ruling out enmity between Ranbir Singh and Bagga Singh, Jasbir Singh said they had never met Bagga Singh . Their villages were located away from each other.

The police said Bagga Singh joined the Punjab Police as a special police officer (SPO) and was confirmed as constable in 2002.

The police has registered a case on the statement by head constable Megh Raj deployed at the entrance gate. Megh Raj told the police that he had seen Bagga Singh running out of the security tent, threatening to kill anyone who dared to come in his way.

The police handed over the victim’s body to the family after post-mortem.

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1 stabbed to death in truck union’s clash
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 13
One person was stabbed to death following an altercation between two rival groups of a truck operators’ union here today. Karnail Singh, a resident of Naraingarh village in Haryana who worked as a driver, was seriously injured after he was allegedly stabbed by a small kirpan. He started bleeding profusely and was taken to the civil hospital in Phase VI where he was declared brought dead. A few persons were injured in the incident.

The police has registered a case under Section 302, 34 and 120 B of the IPC against Harjinder Singh, his son Amritpal Singh, Ranbir Singh Dhillon and Jagtar Singh, president and general secretary, respectively, of the truck operators’ union.

The incident took place around midday when some members of both groups of the union had gathered at the union office. Members of one group asked the office-bearers of the union to give details of the union account.

Soon heated arguments ensued after which the stabbing incident took place. Chairs were also hurled at each other as a result of which some persons got injured. However, Ranbir Singh Dhillon alleged that Amrik Singh, son of Badmajra sarpanch Gurdev Singh, abused Harjinder Singh, a member of the truck union who also runs an STD booth in the area.

Amritpal Singh, son of Harjinder Singh, lost his temper after he heard Amrik Singh allegedly abusing his father.

He took out the kirpan he was carrying to attack Amrik Singh. As Amrik Singh had fled from the scene, Karnail was allegedly stabbed out in a fit of anger. Amrik Singh has denied that he had abused Harjinder Singh.

His father Gurdev Singh told mediapersons that members of his group had asked the Dhillon group to give details about the union accounts to the members of the union. Some members had gathered outside the office in this regard today.

He has alleged that Dhillon instigated members of his group to attack them which ultimately resulted in the death of one person. He alleged that the attack was pre-planned.

It is alleged that Dhillon was close to a Punjab minister and as such wanted to misuse his position. Dhillon, however, said his rivals were trying to give a political colour to a local matter.

SP Varinder Pal Singh said that Dhillon and Jagtar Singh would be arrested after conducting proper investigation.

Harjinder Singh was under medical treatment at a hospital and would be arrested after he was discharged. Hunt for Amritpal Singh was on as he had fled from the scene of the crime.

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Abduction: Father blames it on teacher’s occult powers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The police team of the Chandigarh Police, which has gone to Uttarakhand to bring back the kidnapped girls and their alleged abductor, is expected to reach the city on tomorrow morning.

Sources in the crime branch said the police team had to complete certain modalities to bring back Hindi teacher Sunil Kumar and the girls.

Keshav Sharma, father of Nisha of Nayagaon told TNS that Sunil Kumar had allured the girls and had “brainwashed their minds” with his occult powers. He had shorn their heads and thrown the hair in a river. “The girls are now coming out of his evil spell and will change their statement after coming to their senses,” he said.

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Speaking Out
Teacher’s duty to draw the line

The Supreme Court’s recent verdict that if a girl and her teacher share a consensual sexual relationship outside the school premises, it will not be termed as ‘rape’, has elicited strong reactions. This is what school principals, teachers and parents in the city had to say. — G.S. Paul

Aruna Bhardwaj Aruna Bhardwaj, Supervising Head, DAV-39 

Teachers indulging in these kinds of acts are no less than those accused in the Nithari incident. People with such monstrous bent of mind should not be allowed to adopt teaching as a profession. It is the teacher’s duty to draw the line.

Surinder Singh Surinder Singh, Principal, GMSSS-44 

If a teacher exploits students sexually, he should be hanged. If the student shows interest, the teacher should snub her or him because at this tender age, they need counselling more than anything else. Parents can also be consulted.

Rakesh Sachdeva Rakesh Sachdeva, Principal, DAVSSS-15 

In teaching, which is considered a noble profession, it is always the teacher who dominates students and there is a possibility that a teacher may take undue advantage of impressionable minds.

Jasmine Jakhar Jasmine Jakhar, Lecturer, GMSSS-33

With due respect for law, this judgement might be valid in a particular case. Teachers deeply influence the mind of pupils and their role in character-building of students is important. They must talk and guide young minds in a friendly way.

Diljeet Gill Diljeet Gill, a parent

The verdict encourage more such incidences in schools and colleges .These institutions impart not only education but also values and principles. The teachers are considered role models and guardians of students. Parents also have a major role to play. They should check on their children periodically and keep in touch with the teachers. 

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Fun Republic fallout
Working of building branch hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
With the CBI probing the case of building violation at Fun Republic, Mani Majra, the functioning of the building branch of the UT’s estate office has been crippled.
A number of building plans and completion cases have been lying pending after the arrest of assistant engineer (AE) Brij Mohan.

No alternative arrangement has been made for the smooth functioning of the branch.

With March 31 extension deadline fast approaching, a number of persons have applied for completion certificate to avoid heavy penalty in form of extension fee, enquiries reveal.

In case the completion certificates are not issued by March 31, the applicants will have to apply fresh for further extension of time limit.

No decision has been taken by the administration regarding the extension fee to be charged, if any, to give further extension.

Sources said though the SDO (building) had been named in the FIR registered by the CBI, no replacement had been sought by the administration.

In the light of the CBI raid, no one from other departments was ready to come to the branch.

The SDO (building) was today officially asked to take charge in place of AE Brij Mohan.

Earlier, all files were routed through the AE.

Coming to the rescue of the administration, the Chandigarh Private Architects Association today expressed concern over the pendency of the cases in the branch.

The association in a press note said the estate officer admitted that work was affected as certain officials concerned were called to the CBI office every day.

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Exchange of media with neighbours underlined
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Media as communicators, formulators, conductors and assessors of policies was the dominant theme for the concluding day of a seminar on “The media and foreign policy in a globalised world” at CRRID, Sector 19, today.

The session began with Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune Group of Publications, H.K. Dua describing foreign policy as akin to charity that begins from home.

“Just like you cannot build nations on ignorance, we cannot hope to make any headway with our neighbours without a serious attempt at understanding them.”

The topic, interestingly, dealt with “Foreign policy and the media: South Asian region: A regional perspective” and Dua’s take was once again aimed at the grass roots. “Unless people are informed of people in other countries, our information about policies of other countries will always be wanting.”

He stressed the need for allowing journalists from “across the road” to come here just as there was a need for neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka amongst others to allow Indian journalists in.

He rued the atmosphere of mistrust that did not permit “reciprocal” exchange of media, which would only serve to build peace in the region. Taking the subject further was former secretary, MEA, I.P. Khosla, who described globalisation as a process powered by various institutions, individuals and forces like the media.

This was followed by his six-point proposition of the interplay between media and foreign policy.

This, he said, illustrated how news governed policy decisions coupled with national governments also governing dissemination of information on their side.

Deputy director general, ICWA (Indian Council of World Affairs) Pradeep Kapur laid stress on the communication ability of the media in tandem with diplomacy.

Rajiv Nayan, from the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, New Delhi, highlighted how the media, both Indian and international, covered the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement in recent times.

Nayan stressed how the regional media, particularly The Tribune in Chandigarh, among a select few others outside of Delhi, matched the coverage at the centre.

Former Ambassador to Sweden and convener of the seminar Paramjit S. Sahai concluded the proceedings saying: “Concerted effort needs to be made to involve the regional media, indulging in an exchange of ideas if regional perspectives are to reach Delhi and policy-makers there.”

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Corbusier’s legacy builds bridges
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Fumio Nanjo
Fumio Nanjo

Chandigarh, March 13
Images of Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh will be introduced to the Japanese audience at a special show of the architect’s works to begin in Tokyo shortly. Titled “Le Corbusier: Art and Architecture”, the yearlong exhibition will open at Tokyo’s Mori Museum, famous for its rotating exhibitions on contemporary art.

In Chandigarh, Fumio Nanjo, director of museum, said the show was inspired by the interest Corbusier had generated in modern-day Japan. “Our architecture is influenced by Corbusier’s ideas. He is the most popular architect in our country. The show will, for the first time, introduce Corbusier, the artist, to the Japanese audience. Beginning on May 25, it will last a year.”

For Nanjo, putting together the vast body of master architect’s works was not easy. But in the process, he got acquainted with many hidden aspects of Corbusier’s architectural style and his contradictory principles. The urge to learn more about Corbusier’s art brought Nanjo to Chandigarh. “This city is monumental; its Capitol Complex is spectacular. Even the government buildings in Capitol look like sculptures.”

The show at Mori will dedicate a special corner to Chandigarh. “The idea is to present to Japan the unique facets of Chandigarh, which is the extreme example of experimentation in modern architecture in the world,” Nanjo said.

The show will have three other real-size models of Corbusier’s original works.

Besides, the show will comprise 300 of Corbusier’s works that are part of the museum’s owner’s private collection. 

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Dera Bassi locality in dark for week
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, March 13
At least 10 families of Daffarpur village in Dera Bassi sub-division are virtually groping in the dark for a week following a short circuit.
The feeder wire, which leads to the enclosure containing the electric meters, has been lying burnt since then. However, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) authorities are yet to initiate any action into this, alleged Sukhwinder Singh Dhillon, a social worker.

Students, who have to appear in board examinations for Class X and XII, are the worst hit by the disruption in power supply, Dhillon alleged.

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German help for kids with cancer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
A German schoolteacher, Erica Preum, today reaffirmed her commitment towards fighting cancer when she handed over a cheque for euros 3,500 to Sahayata Cancer Sahyog at Advanced Paediatric Centre, PGI, here.

The cheque has been given on behalf of a school, Foerderverein Krebskranker Kinder Trier, which means “support of children suffering from cancer”, whose children have contributed for the treatment of those suffering from cancer at the PGI.

“The pupils at my school contributed for the cause and even collected money by staging plays in the school,” said the teacher.

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Mohali youth held for snatching
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
The local police claimed to have solved several cases of snatching with the arrest of a Mohali resident. The police also recovered a stolen scooter from the accused. Giving details, in charge of the crime branch of Chandigarh police inspector Satbir Singh said the accused, 20-year-old Manoj Kumar, alias Sahil, of Desu Majra village was arrested from the road separating Sectors 44 and 45 this afternoon on the basis of a tip-off.

He was riding a Honda Activa scooter (CH-03-P-2622), which he had stolen from Sector 21 on March 9.

The scooter belonged to Lucky Shankar of Bapu Dham Colony. Satbir Singh added that the accused admitted to having snatched a mobile phone and a purse near Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, on October 28.

His accomplice, Raju, was partner in crime, he added. The police also recovered a black purse, stolen from Kalawati of Sector 20 on March 6.

The police said the accused admitted to carrying out at least six incidents of snatching and theft during sustained interrogation.

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1 lakh stolen from car

Mohali, March 13
A sum of Rs 1 lakh was stolen from a car in Phase IX here yesterday.
Mohinder Singh has complained to the police that he had parked his car outside the Punjab and Sind Bank in Phase IX and went to the bank to deposit a cheque. The packet, carrying Rs 1 lakh, was lying in the car. When he came back he found the packet missing. The police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC. OC

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