C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Panic in Kalka, surrounding villages
Live shell found near railway track
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Kalka, March 19
A live shell was found near the Kalka-Pinjore rail track at Dharampur village this afternoon, leading to widespread panic in nearby villages.

The live shell was discovered first by a railway staff employee near the track at about 3 pm. Mange Ram, a gangman at the Kalka station, said he saw a gunny bag 4 ft from the track. Thinking that there might be something inside, he kicked it. He felt something heavy in the bag. Not sure what was it, he stopped a passing milkman, who was shocked to see the shell.

They rushed to inform the local police. “I thought it was a beer bottle. I have never seen a bomb ever.”

The local police reached the site immediately. Officials informed TNS that the bomb was a 90 mm live shell, weighing 8 kg. By the time the police arrived, word that a bomb was found had spread, causing panic.

The authorities informed the Army authorities at Chandi Mandir. Two members of the bomb squad reached the site at about 5.30 pm. They removed the shell to a site 50 metres from the track and put it in a pit.

As it was already dark, the authorities decided to defuse it tomorrow. “It seems to be a live shell. May be some junk dealer threw it away,” said R S Ahlawat, deputy superintendent of police, GRP, Ambala cantonment

The shell was discovered after the Himalayan Queen, Bandra Express and Shatabdi Express had passed.

DSP Alhawat said: “We do not rule out any possibility. It is difficult to say if its an accident or a terrorist attack.”



Administration on mission clean-up
To rent flats to 23,000 slum-dwellers
Sanjeev S. Bariana/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The administration has decided to provide small flats on a rental basis to at least 23,000 families living in unauthorised colonies of the city under the Chandigarh Small Flat Scheme, 2006.

The implementation of the scheme has begun with the shifting of 800 families to small flats in Sector 56 from Madras Colony in Sector 26. The Centre has agreed to release a grant of Rs 400 crore for the project.

A monitoring group has been constituted under the chairmanship of the Home Secretary. The other members are finance secretary, chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board, commissioner of the Municipal Corporation, estate officer, chief engineer and chief architect. The group will meet at least once a month.

The policy will check unauthorised growth, but monitoring will be a problem. It will be no surprise if these flats are sub-let. — Rajesh Sharma, Business man

Collecting rent will be a big problem. A rent collection mechanism must be in place right now to avoid hitches at a later stage. — Dinesh Bali, Local resident



Wider roads for Industrial Area planned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
For easing traffic congestion in Industrial Area-Phase I, the administration has decided to widen the road network and create more parking lots at different locations.

Estimates for widening of roads has been approved by the empowered committee. Since the roads planned are world-class, specifications would be reviewed by an agency so as to ensure that the estimates are correct.

"The Industrial Area is soon going to become a happening place with the coming up of big malls and multiplexes and is likely to see traffic chaos. Widening and strengthening of roads is the only way out," said home secretary Krishna Mohan.



It is Business Park now

Chandigarh, March 19
The industrial area of the city has been rechristened the Chandigarh Industrial and Business Park from today. According to sources, changes would be made in all government records for future use. Boards will be displayed at different places in the industrial area and other places in the city to announce the change. — TNS



Girl missing: Letter to SSP gets cops moving
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Sat Parkash, a resident of Mani Majra , has been moving from pillar to post to trace the whereabouts of his minor daughter.

This despite the fact that he had named a youth of Indira Colony, who claimed to have information on his daughter, and three others suspected to be involved in the disappearance of his daughter in a letter to the UT senior superintendent of police on March 9.

Sat Parkash, a painter by profession, told TNS that on February 8 his 16-year-old daughter had gone missing. She worked as a sweeper in a temple. He lodged a complaint with the police on February 26.

Ajay of Indira Colony had approached his second daughter claiming that her sister was in Kulu-Manali. He promised to give her the contact number, but did not keep his word.

“I told the police about the development, but nothing came of it. A gave them six photographs of my daughter, but they made no effort to trace her. Fed-up, I approached the SSP and the case was transferred to the crime branch, last week.”



Cops obtain records
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The Chandigarh Police today obtained records of the Punjab State Industrial Corporation Development (PSIDC), Sector 17, pertaining to a case of cheating and forgery in which its former managing director and four other senior officials were booked on Saturday.

Sources said the investigating officials had procured the records pertaining to the case and would scrutinise the documents. More names were likely to figure.

The local police has booked Punjab-cadre officer Ravneet Kaur former PSIDC chairman Om Prakash Saini, senior general manager J.S. Mann, general manager A.K Sood, deputy general manager A.K. Ahuja and executive director S.K. Sharma in a case of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy.



Fee Hike
Students in combat mode
Panjab University syndicate meets on Tuesday to approve an across-the-board 10 per cent hike in fee for courses offered by the university on the campus and its affiliated colleges. Students are gearing up for a major battle against the move, writes Chitleen Sethi.

Abhishek Puri
Abhishek Puri

The university has no shortage of funds for creating a rose garden and doing up the VC’s office. But will the hike in fee lead to better hostel facilities? What is more important — to get the kitchen of hostels cleaned or have a rose garden?

Harpreet Multani
Harpreet Multani

If the university goes ahead with the hike, we will launch a protest. The fee hike is unfair and will not be tolerated. The university should increase the fee every five years, not every year. How will poor students pay for higher education and hostel facilities?


The university has no right to increase the fee. Students are last on the university’s priority list. Has anyone from the authorities bothered to come and see the condition of the toilets in the departments? The taps leak, the seats are broken and filthy.

Naushad Ali
Naushad Ali

The university increases the fee as a matter of routine each year and each time students have to organise a protest. This is not a good decision. It will lead to additional financial burden on students, who are not even earning at this stage.



Dedication made all the difference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Availability of school benches in government elementary schools of Punjab is a rare thing. But the government school at Tanda Karor village, Mohali, is a school with a difference. Though located at a distance of just 7 km from Chandigarh, the school had initially been showing poor performance.

Encouraged by the dedication of teachers of the school and the enthusiasm of villagers to educate their children, a German engineer W.O. Garathwho donated benches to the school.

The teachers were also gifted an almirah and a table. The German engineer had also donated schoolbags and shoes to students earlier.

Due to the efforts of members of the Punjab Performers Association, the school has been transformed from a non-performing entity to a centre of learning. Members of the association, who are government teachers, are playing a key role in improving the presence and performance of students. Now, over 80 students are studying in the school and imbibing new ways of learning, said association president Raman Mittal.



Educationist seeks emotional asylum in Pakistan
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
A simmering Pakistan is no deterrent for this 70-year-old, who wants to spend the last days of his life there. Born in Sialkot and raised in Jalandhar where his family migrated after Partition, K.C. Tandon wants the tide of time reversed. He has written to President Pervez Musharraf requesting him for an “emotional asylum” to Pakistan.

His logic: “People seek political asylum all the time. Why can’t I seek emotional asylum? I want to breathe my last in Sialkot, my birthplace. And I see no reason why I should not be allowed to choose the place of my death.”

The request may be strange but Tandon is keen to pursue it. He has already sent the representation to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi where it has been formally received. It states, “I don’t know whether I should or should not write to you about my desire. I wonder if my wish would ever be fulfilled….” For Tandon the wait has begun and he knows it can take long, very long.

But he is ready to wait. “Passion demands perseverance,” says the septuagenarian, who has been associated with public schools across India for 21 years, in different capacities. A product of Vishwa Bharti University, Santiniketan, he went to teach music at Birla Public School, Pilani, before joining Punjab Public School, Nabha, where he became a bursar.

After spending 50 years teaching, Tandon settled at Bathinda in early 1990s, and set up three schools. It was here that his desire to return to Sialkot became overwhelmingly strong. “I was always dreaming about my house, my parents and my school. Finally I took a visa to Pakistan last year.” Tandon’s passion was fuelled when he visited Pakistan with a Sikh jatha.

There he visited his ancestral home which still stands. “Our house was four-storeyed, the largest, in those days. My room had a small temple which has been kept intact by its Muslim dwellers. They received me very warmly. I can still feel the nostalgia.”

Seeking permission to settle down in Pakistan, Tandon has requested Musharraf to “utilize his services in education for the people of Pakistan.” He has said he has few personal needs and that his request is in the “right earnest”.

Sharing his husband’s passion is Prakash Kaur, another petitioner in the same case. She says: “He has never forgotten his childhood days at Sialkot, where he studied at Scotch Mission School.” Even the tragic experiences of Partition don’t stand in the way of Tandon’s desire to return, which some people find weird.

But Tandon is least flustered. “They can never understand. Sometimes there is no logic behind what the heart desires. Heart recognises no borders’ says the impassioned old man.



Making a blood bond
Indian donors come to Pak kids’ aid
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Blood donors at Fortis Hospital
Blood donors at Fortis Hospital — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, March 19
Twenty-two persons, including some students, reached Fortis Hospital to donate blood for the Pakistani children who were operated upon for the congenial heart diseases here today.

The camp was organised by the Rotary Club of Chandigarh as a part of ‘Rotaract Week’ and was instrumental in bringing the patients from across the border with the help of the Rotary International.

Five children from Pakistan, who reached here last week, were operated upon while Fayaz an 18-month-old infant was under diagnosis, informed Man Mohan Singh, the president of the club.

The children, who are recuperating after undergoing the surgery, include two girls and three boys and among them Farhana (16) is the eldest while the youngest Mohammad Nawaz is 3-year-old.

“We were told by the doctors at Pakistan to go abroad for treatment of Farhana when her condition deteriorated but it was impossible for me to take my child to any place far from my home as I could not arrange the huge expense needed for it,” said Haroon, father of Farhana who is a small farmer at Kaboolpur village near Hyderabad in Pakistan.

Similarly, Aslam Taji from Lahore, father of 12-year-old Umair Taji, was obliged with the care being provided to them at the hospital.

A hole was diagnosed in the heart of Umair when he was just one and I was told by the doctors at Pakistan that he could not be treated till he attained the age of 10 years, said Aslam.

Still, I was not hopeful of getting my child treated when he grew up but the Rotary Club at Nawab Shah in Pakistan came to my help, said Aslam.

The Rotary Club, Chandigarh, had been providing assistance to the treatment of children belonging to poor families from all parts of the country and abroad. In the past eight years, it had helped 161 children, including 26 from Pakistan, six from Uganda, said Babbi Harbhajan Singh, who is looking after the patients.



Urban Arts Commission
Consider sentiments of locals: Panels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The Chandigarh Industrial Association and the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal has written a letter to UPA chairman Sonia Gandhi in context of the proposed Urban Arts Commission for the city welcoming the proposed world heritage status and strongly suggesting that the commission should be formed keeping in mind the sentiments of the local population. The UT administrator should be the appellate authority.

President of the industrial association M.P.S.Chawla said, "with existing stringent rules in place for clearing of plans, any move to have an outside body will bring economic development to a grinding halt. A handful of people with vested interests and elitist mindset are misleading the government to serve their personal interests".



Navratra: Hooda performs yajna at Mansa Devi
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 19
The nine-day ‘Chaitra Navratra Mela’ began with traditional fervour at the Sri Mata Mansa Devi shrine near here today, where a large number of devotees had queued since early morning to pay obeisance.

Dr Raghuvir Singh Kadian, speaker, Haryana Vidhan Sabha, and Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda were among the first devotees at the shrine today.

They also performed “yajna” there.

Hooda was accompanied by his wife Asha. Others who were present on the occasion included principal secretary to Chief Minister M.L.Tayal, commissioner and special secretary, Urban Local Bodies, P.K.Gupta and Parsanni Devi.

The Mansa Devi shrine is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths mentioned in the ‘Tantra Chudamani’ and is believed that the forehead of Sati fell at this place.



Geared to tickle fasting taste buds
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Come Navratras and vegetarian rules the roost with many of the city’s eateries tweaking their menus to cater to the fasting taste buds for the next nine days.

Steeped in religiosity is Sindhi Sweets in Sector 17. Not only is the food here being prepared in a separate kitchen without a trace of onion, garlic, grains or lentils just as the festival demands, even the cooks who prepare it are on fast. According to owner Chander Bajaj, the cooks take bath before they start preparing the food and abstain from smoking and drinking all these days. “We are as particular at our outlet as we would be at our home,” he declares.

The competition, meanwhile, is banging at their front door. Sagar Ratna in Sector 17, has a special Navratra thali containing singhara atta puris, rice, two vegetables and sabudana kheer on offer.

The city’s dhabas are not far behind. Swarn Dhaba in Sector 30, known for its non-vegetarian delights, goes all vegetarian during Navratras. “There is a 20 per cent dip in sales during this period but we do not serve anything other than vegetarian. It is an affront to the deities,” explains owner Swarn Singh.

Their speciality for the festival is ‘Mushroom Chops’ made with soya nuggets which look suspiciously like the meaty chops but are completely vegetarian. However, Sher-e-Punjab in Sector 35 makes no changes to its existing menu. Bihari Lal, a waiter at the outlet, waves away the drop in demand for non-vegetarian dishes. “There is a drop but it is negligible perhaps 10 to 15 per cent.

However, we hardly realise this because there are enough number of patrons eating non-vegetarian food even at this time.” The reason is ‘changing trends’, explains Manish Goel of Swagat restaurant in Sector 26. “Earlier families came out together to eat. Now, youngsters come out alone. Religious festivals do not encumber their eating habits.”



Dev Samaj girls save a life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Members of the Rotaract Club of Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, have literally given the gift of life to a five-year-old girl from Burail village, suffering from a congenital heart condition.

Daughter of a divorcee, Shehnaz, was suffering from a hole in the heart since birth and doctors had advised immediate operation to save her life.

Unable to raise the money needed for the operation, her mother approached the college for help.

Members of the all-girls Rotaract Club, under Principal Dr Shashi Jain and faculty member Dr Meera Modi, raised Rs 70,000 for the operation.

Generous contributions were also made by Chandigarh Midtown and Central branches of the club.

As a result of the efforts, Shehnaz was successfully operated upon at a hospital a few months ago.

Shehnaz has now recuperated and is enjoying her childhood.



VC to release media directory today

Chandigarh, March 19
Panjab University vice-chancellor Prof R.C. Sobti will release Chandigarh media directory at Chandigarh Press Club tomorrow. The directory has been published by the Chandigarh Journalists Association.

The directory contains details of journalists from both print and electronic media in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

It also contains particulars of major media establishments and PR organisations both in the government and private sector, besides useful information on important institutions and services in the city. — TNS



New-look parking lots at motor market soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The municipal corporation has decided to upgrade the existing infrastructure at motor market, Mani Majra.

The Motor Market Welfare Association, Mani Majra, and the Auto Mobile Beopar Mandal had approached the corporation to upgrade various existing facilities at the market.

The corporation, after conducting a survey of the area, has, as part of the initial proposal, suggested the conversion of four of the 17 parking lots as dedicated parking areas for repair of trucks, LCVs, etc. while one parking lot will be kept for parking of cranes, recovery vans, etc.

It has also proposed to provide specific facilities like raised platform, sewerage, traps for collection of rubbish, trash, etc. in these parking areas.

One of these four parking lots will have washing platform, aprons for washing and provision for servicing of vehicles.

Heavy-duty repairs will not be allowed in the remaining 12 parking lots but minor repairs such as fitting of spares, tyre replacement, electrical repair, etc. besides normal parking for commuters will be allowed.

It has also proposed to issue licence to roadside mechanics and prevent uprooting from their current place of work.

Besides the proposal for construction of four parking lots with rigid pavement (heavy duty concrete flooring), the corporation has also envisaged the construction of nine parking lots with flexible pavement, construction of pavements in front of all commercial premises with 60 mm-thick paved blocks, including fixing of new kerb and channels for easy flow of rain water, construction and development of four green spaces, upgrade of two existing toilets on build-operate-transfer basis, augmentation of streetlights and upgrade of sewerage.

The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs 5.37 crore and the proposal will be taken up and completed during the current financial year.

A special provision for this purpose has already been made in the budget for the next financial year.



Phone lines dead in Sec 24
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
A number of telephone lines in Sector 24 have been out of order for the past seven days.

A number of persons, including senior doctors of the PGI, had complained that their telephone connections were cut after the hailstorm last week. They alleged that inspite of repeated complaints to the authorities in BSNL, their telephone connections have not been restored.



Dairy farmers feel the price pinch
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Dairy farmers are a harassed lot. The spiralling prices of cattle-feed has thrown thousands of them into a major financial crisis.

With the milk prices remaining virtually stagnant for some time now, serious concern was expressed at their plight at a seminar on "Dairy animal nutrition, reproduction and marketing” held under the aegis of Dr Amrik Singh Cheema Foundation Trust here yesterday.

Hardev Singh, a progressive farmer from Padiala in Mohali district, said feeding the cattle was a major problem as the prices of wheat husk had shot up during this season. Besides, marketing and remunerative prices were other problems.

According to a random survey of the market, wheat husk was available for anything between Rs 400 to Rs 500. To top it all, the recent rains had damaged the stocks of wheat husk, leading to severe fodder shortage.

Wheat husk, mixed with other minerals and proteins, is the staple fodder for the milch cattle. Branded fodder is yet to catch the fancy of the common dairy farmer.

Pushpa of Gumar village in Sonepat district said dairy farmers in her area were facing problems in getting quality feed. The shortage of wheat husk and the rising prices of other inputs was making life difficult.

Sardara Singh, a farmer from Handesra village in Dera Bassi sub-division, said with the milk prices failing to keep pace with rising input costs, the dairy farmers were passing through a severe financial crisis. Without government intervention, the situation would only worsen in days to come.

Madan Chhokar, general secretary of the Haryana unit of the Young Farmers Association, said the farmers were facing problems in providing a balanced feed because ingredients were available at very high prices, which rendered the profession unprofitable.

Research institutes should develop feed keeping in mind ingredients available locally, he suggested.



Car stolen from Sec-17 parking

Chandigarh, March 19
The local police has registered a case against the municipal corporation after a car was stolen from a parking lot in Sector 17. According to the police, Kulwinder Singh Chhabra of Phase IV, Mohali, lodged a complaint alleging that his Maruti car (CH 03 L 8379) was stolen from the parking lot near Sindhi Sweets in Sector 17 on Sunday. A case under Section 406 of the IPC has been registered.

Bikes stolen

Santosh of Maloya Colony lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Bajaj Pulsar motor cycle (CH 03 L 1454) was stolen from his house on Saturday night.

In another incident, Ravi Sharma of Kaithal filed a complaint with the police alleging that his Pulsar motor cycle (HR 08 E 7676) was stolen from the parking lot of Bougainvillaea Garden, Sector 3, this afternoon. Two cases of theft have been registered.


In a complaint to the police, Parminder Singh of Sector 27 D has alleged that his father Joginder Singh received serious injuries when a vehicle hit his scooter on the road separating Sectors 48 and 49 last night.

Joginder Singh was admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. A case has been registered.

Houses burgled

Chand Chadha of Sector 51 A reported to the police that a sum of Rs 5,000, a mobile phone, two gold chains, a pair of gold earrings and other valuables were stolen from his house yesterday. The thieves gained entry into the house by breaking open the locks.

In another incident, Dr Manish Modhi of Sector 16-D reported to the police that two LPG cylinders were stolen from his residence this morning. Two cases have been registered in this regard.

Foetus found

A foetus was found in Sector 46 this morning. A case under Section 318 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered. — TNS



Biz Clips

Outlet opened: A franchisee outlet of the Department of Posts has been opened at Sector 38-C market. A press note said that this outlet would provide postal services - sale of stamps and other postal stationery, booking of registered letters, speed post, money orders - to residents of Sectors 38, 38 (West), 39, 40. — TNS

Cricket score: Spice Telecom has brought World Cup action right to the subscribers’ mobile phone handset. The exciting bouquet of Spice World Cup services for Spice pre-paid and post-paid subscribers offers live animated cricket, live cricket updates, cricket alerts and cricket SMS, cricket games and contests, said Manmohan Nandwani, COO, Spice Telecom, Punjab. — TNS

New branch: A new Branch of Oriental Bank of Commerce having 50 branches in the region was inaugurated in Sector 47-C by deputy general manager of the bank, B.D. Gupta. — TNS



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