C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


3 kids die as shell explodes
Were trying to extract metal scrap from it
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 26
Three children were killed and four others, including two children, injured when a dud mortar shell exploded on the outskirts of the Army firing range at Bhudd Mandlai village in Raipur Rani subdivision of the district this afternoon.

Rs 1 lakh relief
The Haryana government has announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh each for the next of kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for each of the injured adult. Besides, each injured child will get an amount of Rs 25,000, DC Neerja Sekhar said.

Eyewitnesses said the misfired mortar shell exploded when the children were apparently trying to get metal scrap from it outside their jhuggis near the firing range.

“We were playing with the mortar shell outside the jhuggi when it exploded, killing three children and injuring me, my brother and our parents,” Rajbir (15) told Chandigarh Tribune at the local general hospital here.

“Marne wale bomb ko pahar se le ke aaye the (the deceased had brought the bomb from the firing range),” a shocked Ranjbir said, holding back his tears.

“As we were playing, a loud explosion occurred killing Monu, Sukhbir and Komal, on the spot,” he added.

While Rajbir and his younger brother Parmjit had been admitted to the general hospital, their parents - Nand Lal and Kamlesh - had been referred to the PGI and are reported to be serious, police sources said.

A sobbing Soma, Rajbir's maternal uncle, said he got the information about the incident this evening.

Senior district officials, including DC Neerja Sekhar and SP Balbir Singh visited the spot. The injured were first rushed to the local general hospital.

Despite a number of deaths and crippling disabilities reported from the explosion of misfired/unexploded mortar shells, the impoverished residents had been scouting for these shells from the firing range.

The metal scrap is in turn sold to scrap dealers and reportedly fetches a handsome amount for residents.

Used for firing of rocket launchers and automatic grenade launchers by different units of the Army, a large number of unexploded shells remain buried under the debris and this "explosive material" is picked by residents to extract metal scrap.

In fact, once the authorities concerned had toyed with the idea of either shifting the firing range or the population around it. However, that proposal is yet to translate into a concrete form.

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IT Park
12 firms fear SEZ blues
Want to be kept out of its purview
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
In an important development, the Chandigarh administration has decided to redefine the area structure of the special economic zone in the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park as accorded by the union ministry of commerce. As many as 12 companies have written to the UT that they be kept out of the area under the SEZ status.

This leaves only three major players, including Infosys, Wipro and Tech Mahindra, at the site. The DLF structure adjoining the IT park has eight companies and all are already out of the SEZ purview. These are covered under the Software Technology Park of India (STPI) rules.

The administration has written to the ministry of commerce seeking permission to keep these companies out of the SEZ site. These companies in Phase I are besides Esis and Bharti in Phase II wishing to be kept out of the economic zone. The plea of these two companies is that against the SEZ rules of catering only to the international market, they are also dealing with local markets to a large extent.

The UT has recommended that the Entrepreneurship Development Cell at the IT park be also kept out of the SEZ. Sources indicate that small companies are scared of fulfilling certain rigid criteria under the SEZ policy, including having all new machines and employing fresh employees.

A group points out that these smaller companies are avoiding big investments under the SEZ.

At the same time, the companies under the SEZ stand to benefit on account of indirect tax benefits, service tax and VAT among other things. They lose out on account of their freehold property and have to ensure investment in state-of-the-art machines and manpower.

The sources said under the SEZ status, a company would have to convert to leasehold. An industrialist said: “Conversion from the freehold into leasehold basis is not in the long-term proprietary interests of a large number of allottees under the SEZ rules.”

It has also been pointed out that since the lease will be co-terminus with the period of letter of approval, it will be difficult for the allottee to avail loans against the property. 

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Monsoon is here, ahead of schedule
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Surprising everyone, the southwest monsoon made a grand entry into the region today. A heavy bout of late night rainfall, lasting for hours at most places, heralded the early arrival of the monsoon, which left the residents hot and sultry as power supply went for a toss.

WET JUNE

  • Total rain by this day of June has been 172.4 mm, 76.6 mm above normal
  • Normal rainfall for June is 128.6 mm
  • This June has seen more rain than that in the past three years
  • Maximum humidity on Tuesday touched 100 pc, up 19 pc from Monday
  • Monsoon had hit city on June 30 last year; June 27 in 2005 and July 8 in 2004

All southern sectors reported disruption of services across the night. Residents complained of electricity connection snapping early morning due to heavy showers. Certain parts, including those in Panchkula and Mohali, were without power till late afternoon today.

Surinder Singh, superintending engineer (electricity), said the trouble had been caused by certain joints in the power supply lines getting damaged due to massive construction projects in the area. The cable developed faults which were being looked into and the problem would soon be sorted out, he said. Roads also looked patchy and rutted from yesterday night's showers, which equalled 9 cm.

Last year, the monsoon had hit Chandigarh on June 30; its normal date being June 29. Attributing the advancement to monsoon’s trademark deceitfulness, weathermen laid out the path the rains followed into the region. Moving over Deesa, Idar, Hoshangabad, Pendra, Ambikapur, Varanasi, Sultanpur, Lucknow and Bareilly, the monsoon came over Ambala and Amritsar and then covered the whole region.

With the exception of Delhi, rains wreathed the entire Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, northern parts of west Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, some more parts of east Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Highest monsoon rainfall - 11 cm - in the region (measured during 24 hours before 8.30 am today) was recorded at Naraingarh. Chandigarh had 9 cm rain, the highest this June. With yesterday’s showers, the total rainfall in Chandigarh for June reached 172.4 mm, 76.6 mm above normal.

It’s much more than the rains recorded in the June of 2004, 2005 and 2006 which was 89.2 mm, 120.6 mm and 66.5 mm, respectively. Normal rainfall for June is 128.6 mm.

Following the rain, mercury plummeted and settled at 33.6°C, a degree below normal; the minimum temperature was 22°C. The maximum relative humidity soared to 100 per cent, up 19 per cent from yesterday.

In the city’s vicinity, Dera Bassi was flooded following incessant rains, which left the grounds wet with 8 cm rain.

Weathermen said the predominant criterion for declaring monsoons was the reporting of fairly widespread - 50 to 75 per cent - rain by most stations in the zone. “We achieved that criterion today with more than half of our stations recording widespread showers,” said Chattar Singh Malik, director, local Met.

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UT’s Special Gesture
He’ll be taught at home
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
In a noble gesture, the Chandigarh education department has come out with a novel way to help Ganesh Sharma, a physically-challenged boy.

The department has made special teaching arrangements for this 18-year-old boy, who is 100 per cent disabled at an early age. Teachers have been engaged to help him out in his studies at his home in Sector 44, Chandigarh.

Ganesh says he already has an English teacher coming over to his place regularly. “After the vacations, two teachers for maths and science will be engaged for me by the department,” he adds.

Ganesh cannot even sit for a long time what to talk of walking or moving. He appears for his examination lying down at his home with supervisors engaged by the education department.

In 1990, when Ganesh was two, he developed some infection on the right hip. Till date, his wounds have not healed and he is a regular at the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital.

Inspiring to be an IAS officer, one who has never been to school, he secured first division in the class VIII examinations held two years ago.

Ganesh was allowed to take the examinations at home under the supervision of a teacher. He certainly did not let down his family and the authorities.

“I met home secretary Krishan Mohan, who allowed me to skip class IX as I could not study due to my ill-health” he said.

Ganesh approached the chairman of the CBSE on the phone to be allowed to appear for the class X exam but in vain.

“Never mind, I will appear through the Punjab School Education Board in the coming session.”

His father B.D. Sharma, who retired as an assistant food and supply officer, helps him in his studies and tries to keep his only son cheerful.

“Despite his disability, I have never seen him complaining. He wants to study harder as his goals are very high, but his health does not permit him to do so,” says his father.

“So what if I can’t go to school! I don’t want to complain. I have no regrets as I have enjoyed every moment of my life,” says Ganesh.

This ardent worshipper of Goddess Durga observes fast during the entire navratras. Ganesh loves to play chess. 

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Harried by police, youth fakes mobile snatching
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Inaction on part of the Chandigarh police to register cases has forced complainants to adopt novel ways.

In one such incident, an employee of a private bank, fed up with the dilly-dallying attitude, faked the snatching of his mobile phone in Sector 9 here this afternoon.

However, when confronted by the police, the youth, Maninder Singh of Sector 37, broke down and admitted to his fault.

Maninder told Chandigarh Tribune that he lost his mobile phone worth Rs 12,000 in a restaurant in Sector 17 yesterday afternoon.

He went to lodge a complaint in the police station, Sector 17, where officials on duty did not entertain him for a long time. Later, he was asked to come the next day to report the matter.

“This morning, I went to the police station but was made to sit for over half an hour and later asked to leave. I narrated the story to my friend, who suggested me to report it to the police that the mobile phone had been snatched, as it took prompt action in such complaints. I did the same and now I am here,” he said.

Maninder stated that he called the police from his office informing that his mobile had been snatched by two youngsters from the market in Sector 9 around 9 am.

He chased the boys in his car, but could not catch them, he added.

The SHO of the police station, Sector 3, said Maninder was asked to narrate the sequence of events.

During inquiry, people at the market told the police they had not witnessed any such incident. At this, Maninder accepted his fault and came clean.

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No Home Delivery
LPG suppliers’ decision unjust, says forum
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 26
The Consumer Protection and Grievances Redressal Forum has condemned the decision of LPG suppliers to stop home delivery from July 2. The forum said the decision was unjust, arbitrary and unilateral.

President of the forum N.S. Gill said the decision had come as a shock to LPG consumers and the worst-hit would be senior citizens and working persons. He said instead of removing the drawbacks in the LPG supply system, suppliers had begun harassing consumers. He demanded that the decision be reviewed and the district administration takes steps to safeguard the interests of the consumers.

P.S. Virdi, also of the forum, said LPG suppliers should exercise control over their deliverymen, instead of harassing consumers.

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Fill vacant posts, demand protesting B Ed teachers
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
Unemployed B. Ed teachers from Punjab today carried out a shirtless protest from Sector 17 to Sector 25 rally ground in support of their demands. They were demanding recruitment against 32,000 posts lying vacant in the state.

Scores of unemployed teachers from across the state assembled near the Sector 17 Parade Ground and raised slogans against the indifferent attitude of the state government. The representatives of the protesting teachers flayed the SAD-BJP-ruled Punjab Government for backtracking on the promises it had made to the unemployed teachers before the assembly elections.

When no one from the state government reached there to hear their grievances, the agitating teachers moved toward Matka Chowk in Sector 17. At this, the police asked them to take a detour as Section 144 was in force there and guided them to rally ground. The shirtless teachers marched a distance of over three kilometres in the sweltering afternoon heat.

The Chandigarh police flashed wireless messages to Punjab Civil Secretariat requesting them to send representative.

The agitating teachers threatened that they would be forced to wage a battle against the state government in case their demands are not met. An officer on special duty from Chief Minister’s office, who reached there, assured the protesters that the chief minister Parkash Singh Badal would meet them on July 5 following which the teachers agreed to put off their struggle till July 5.

Talking to TNS, Sukhdarshan Singh, a spokesman of the front, stated that if the state government failed to meet their demands in the stipulated time, they would launch a state-level agitation. They threatened that they would stage protests at all public meeting places.

Discussing their plan of action, he disclosed that they would stage a protest at Sukhbir Singh Badal’s rally scheduled to be held at Dasua on July 5, where a large number of unemployed teachers would assemble.

Paramjit Singh Kishanpura, chairman of the front, alleged that the state government had backtracked on its promises of raising the level of education in the state. He added that the indifferent attitude of the state government towards the unemployment among youths would deteriorate the condition in the state. 

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Refuse visa to Gill, Belgian envoy urged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
A city-based human rights lawyer, today wrote a letter to the Ambassador, Royal Embassy of Belgium, New Delhi, requesting refusal of visa to former director-general of Punjab police K.P.S. Gill or to initiate his trial if he enters the Belgian 
territory.

Rajvinder S. Bains asserts in his letter that Gill has been accused of abduction, torture, murder and disappearances of youth during his tenure as Punjab DGP, which amounts to crimes against humanity.

“I have credible information to suggest that K.P.S. Gill will seek to enter Belgium as early as July 21or sometime later. Our information is that Gill, currently president of the Indian Hockey Federation, is planning to attend the six-nation BDO Champions Challenge, which is scheduled from June 3 to July 1 in Boon, Belgium,” Bains, a member of the Punjab Human Rights Organisation, states in his letter.

Bains alleges that there is extensive documentation to prove that Gill is directly involved in the abductions, torture, murder and disappearances.

According to the letter, the incidents involving Gill are said to have occurred during his tenure as the Punjab DGP in early 1990s.

“I believe that on the strength of this information, Belgium should deny entry to Gill. No individual implicated in such heinous crimes should benefit from the ability to travel internationally. We urge the Belgian immigration authorities to immediately take all necessary steps to ensure that Gill is not authorised to enter the Belgian territory,” Bains pleads.

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Portion of Sec 27 market gives way
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
While the Chandigarh administration is busy carrying out survey of unsafe structures, a substantial portion of cantilever of the Sector 27 Janta booth market fell off last night.

The dilapidated portion of the structure gave way after heavy rain last night, said shopkeepers in the market.

They said they had written to the estate office through area councillor Devinder Babla several times for repairs, but officials of the estate office after inspecting the site did not take any remedial measures.

Booth market president Surinder Singh Dua said other portions of the market structure were also structurally weak.

The shopkeepers said the estate office was not paying any attention to the market as around 70 booths were lying vacant there.

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Developer dies in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, June 26
The director of Shivalik Vihar, a housing enclave in Zirakpur, died in a road accident when his Skoda car hit a truck (HR-37A-5339) near Jawaharpur village early this morning.

Sukhdev Singh Sukha died on the spot when his car hit the truck which was parked along the roadside at around 2 am.

Sukha's body was so badly entangled in the car that it took relatives at least two hours to drag out the victim. They alleged that Rs 4 lakh, which was supposed to be in a briefcase in the car, was missing.

The body lay in the car unattended for over two hours till the police reached around 4 am, the sources said.

The body was to the civil hospital here where he was declared brought dead. Denying any cash at the accident site, the police gave only a bagful of clothes of the victim. 

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Child killed
Mohali, June 26

A child was killed after being run over by a truck near Phase IX here today.

According to the police, Sujeet Kumar (9) was crossing the road dividing Sector 68 and Phase IX with his friend when a Swaraj Mazda truck hit him. The boy was badly crushed.

The driver fled the scene along with the vehicle after the accident. — OC

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Summer workshop concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
A 15-day summer workshop, organised in association with the Pracheen Kala Kendra, concluded at the Chandigarh Press Club here yesterday. During the three-hour long grand finale, students gave enthralling performances.

Punjab cooperative minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who was the chief guest, donated Rs 50,000 to the club. While hailing the effort of the club, he said such recreational activities should be promoted.

M.L. Koser, head of the Pracheen Kala Kendra, hailed the initiative of the club in organising the workshop. 

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Tips for safe driving
Larger vehicles

When placed behind a large vehicle/lorry, drop back so that you can see and plan ahead. Large vehicles blocking your view can be potentially dangerous. If you plan to overtake a large vehicle, make sure you have sufficient space to complete the manoeuvre considering its length. Don’t take risks. When in doubt, chicken out !!

If a vehicle in front starts to overtake a large vehicle, don’t assume that you can follow it. If the vehicle ahead faces a problem while overtaking, he may need to drop back. A large vehicle also needs a lot of space to turn, so be prepared to stop and give it room if the situation so requires.

Courtesy: Safe Driving, compiled by Cdr Swarup J Sarma

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Letters
Teacher wronged

Apropos news item “Teacher Repatriated”, it is submitted that the orders for repatriation are not in accordance with any general policy of the Chandigarh administration and are based on wrong facts. Far from being poor, this year the result (69.5 per cent) shows substantial improvement over the last year’s (44 per cent). Moreover, the number of compartment cases this time is 14 and not 18 as mentioned in the report.

This year, as many as 32 students passed in the subject for first time in the history of the school, where the dropout rate is very high. The teacher, who has been repatriated, motivated them to continue. From 1996 to 2006, she has given 100 per cent result eight times.

Most unfair treatment has been meted out to the family, whose three generations have served the nation’s defence services. Today, their reputation stands tarnished beyond repair.

The intention of the officer, ordering repatriation on the week-end and releasing the orders to the press the same day without giving the teacher an opportunity to explain, is questionable.

Lt Col G.S. Bedi,Mohali

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New twist to Israeli peddler case
Narcotics official held for graft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 26
The role of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), country’s premier agency working against drug-trafficking, has come under a scanner with the arrest of its second officer by the CBI for seeking bribe to provide information to the wife of an accused.

Sources in the CBI said Paramjit Singh, a constable in the NCB, was caught red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000 from Lactraz M., wife of alleged international drug-trafficker Lior Avi Ben Moyal.

Lactraz had lodged a complaint with the CBI alleging that the NCB official had been demanding money from her in lieu of favours in the case pending trial against her husband.

The accused was nabbed from the complainant’s residence in Sector 27 last night.

Sources said it was alleged in the complaint that Paramjit had told Lactraz that Lior was arrested by the NCB from Sonepat and was later shown arrested from Chandigarh on February 10, 2005.

He told her that he would provide her information of mobile call details with location of the officials who were present at Sonepat at that time.

He told her that she could use this information as an evidence to prove that her husband was implicated by the NCB.

Meanwhile, Paramjit was produced before a local court today, which remanded him in judicial custody.

Lior Avi Ben Moyal, his Czech accomplice Andreevi Jiri, and Kulu resident Narender Kumar Gupta were arrested by the NCB from Industrial Area, with 155 kg of charas.

The NCB had stunned the local police with the seizure of such a huge haul of contraband in the city.

From its very beginning, the case had given the NCB sleepless nights.

As a few days after his arrest, Lior fled from the NCB custody after injuring its security guards.

In June last year, an intelligence officer of the NCB, Ravikant Panwar, was caught red-handed while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 40,000 from Devinder Kumar, brother of one of the accused involved in the case.

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MD booked for fraud

Chandigarh, June 26
The local police has booked the managing director of a private advertisement company on allegations of duping a Jalandhar resident of Rs 2 lakh on the pretext of making him a dealer for setting up mobile phone towers in Punjab.

Sources in the economic offences wing of the Chandigarh police said Amandeep Singh of Pandori Nizaran village in Jalandhar district lodged a complaint against managing director of Idea Advertising and Communication, SCO 833, NAC Mani Majra, alleging that he deposited Rs 2 lakh with the company and opened his office in Hoshiarpur to start work on setting up mobile towers in Punjab.

When he received no further communication, he came to Chandigarh to inquire. He found the office of the company closed. The matter was reported to the police. A case under Section 420 of the IPC has been registered. — TNS

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