C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Firemen to speed up, on Pulsars & jeeps
G.S Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Latest fire-fighting equipment that is compact in size and easy and effective to operate, has given a significant boost to the Chandigarh fire department’s capability to control major fires in a relatively shorter time.

The latest addition to its fire fighting arsenal is the Advance Fire Tender (AFT) system. This unique, innovative and portable water-mist and foam based system, assembled in Germany, comes in two versions- a back-pack which can be operated by a single person, and a light vehicle mounted version which can be manned by just a couple of firemen.

These use a mixture of water and foam. “This makes all of our systems completely self- contained and ready for immediate discharge. The unique all-in-one twin agent nozzle allows users to disperse foam and water,” S.K. Gosain, station fire officer, Sector 32, said. “These have been assembled in Germany because this requires precision which is not available in India,” he added.

The capacity of these dousers is amazing. With a capacity of just nine litres, the back-pack version can be as effective as a conventional tender carrying 400 litres of water. This is carried by a sparkling red Pulsar motorcycle-borne fire fighter, who can proceed to the fire site either alone or with a companion.

According to fire officials, trials have shown that the new system can douse a flame with 35, 20-litre drums of diesel and petrol. The water and foam form a blanket over the fire, cutting-off the air supply to the flames, thereby dousing these.

The other version is mounted on a Tata 207 utility wagon, and is electrically operated through an inbuilt generator. It has a capacity to carry 600 litres of fire-fighting agent.

“This vehicle is sent if the intensity of the fire is bigger. This 600-litre capacity tank is more effective than the conventional 4000-litre fire tender. This system requires a team of just four to five firemen. Earlier, we used to keep one driver spare all the time.

These vehicles are faster than large tenders and are able to negotiate the ever-increasing traffic much faster. They can also access places that trucks cannot. As an immediate response, these vehicles are dispatched so that vital time is not lost, said Gosain. More tenders can follow if required.

Other additions are a boat with an outboard motor and special electrically operated power cutting and spreading tools to rescue trapped persons. These tools are kept in a truck and can be operated with a built-in generator in the vehicle.

Now Back-Pack Foam-Dousers

These are mounted on light vehicles that are faster than large tenders and are able to negotiate the ever-increasing traffic much faster. They can also access places that trucks cannot



MC issues notice to Sanghi for impersonation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
A former nominated councillor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, P.C. Sanghi, has been served with a notice of impersonation. Sanghi has been accused of using the official letter head stating himself to be a councillor of the Municipal Corporation. Sanghi ceased to be a councillor from December 31 last year, when his five-year term as the nominated councillor came to an end.

According to sources, Sanghi in an RTI application submitted to the MC used his official letter head, assigned to him during his tenure as the councillor. The matter was reported to the officials by one of the Congress councillors Anju Beniwala. Taking action on the said complaint the MC today issued a notice to Sanghi to explain his stand.

The notice states that the MC has received a complaint from sitting councillor Anju Beniwala that Sanghi had been using the official letter pad claiming himself to be a councillor. She also supplied a copy of letter dated June 27, addressed to the MC stating that Sanghi had impersonated as a councillor. The notice states that the MC has been requested to file an FIR in this regard.



SOPU may strike back
Peace pact on the rocks?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Only three weeks back, student bodies of Panjab University sat together and in a display of rare bon homie reached a peace pact. This pact seems to have gone for a toss with SOPU chief today threatening to sue PUSU president for defamation.

In a bid to clear his name of allegations, SOPU president Harpreet Singh Multani furbished proof of his “innocence” in the June clash at the university, in which he and his supporters were booked for injuring a PUSU supporter.

A notice issued by SOPU said: “It is official that PUSU president lied to the cops to get political mileage.” SOPU now plans “to institute a case of defamation and false implication” against PUSU president Abhishek Puri.

Multani said Puri had falsely implicated him and got him booked under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the Indian Penal Code in order to get political sympathy. He said police investigations and a reply filed by the police before the court had stated that he was “not present at the spot of the incident” and had no role in the incident.” Therefore,the case against him was almost closed.

Multani provided as proof an order signed by S.K. Aggarwal, additional sessions judge, Chandigarh, which mentions the“reply filed by the police wherein it has been stated that only Amandeep Singh Multani and Varinder Dhillon were involved in the incident.”

However, Puri refutes the charges.

He says he was not the complainant in the June clash and his name was being dragged into this controversy. He says it is “dirty politics.” 



Education City Project
Expert committee recommends organisations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The flagship Education City project of the Chandigarh Administration has moved a step closer to reality with the expert committee recommending suitable organisations for setting up educational institutions and suggesting high-end courses.

In fact, the emerging areas of education such as management, including retail management, financial management and other modern areas, biotechnology and genomics, computer science engineering, hospital administration, pharmaceutical courses and animation/multimedia schools are among the courses to be run by the selected organisations in the first phase of the Education City project.

The expert committee comprised of PGI director K. K. Talwar, professor emeritus of Panjab University B. N. Goswamy, former director of Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, Vijay Gupta, resident editor of the Indian Express, Chandigarh, Vipin Pubby and CII chairman of Chandigarh Council Partap K. Aggarwal.

The DAV Management Society, the Fortis Healthcare, Shri Vile Parle Kelvani Mandal (NIMS Mumbai), the Tech Manhindra Limited, the Hitabhilashi Foundation Society in association with IL&FS and Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics have been recommended by the expert committee for the first phase of the project.

The committee has also recommended that, in the second phase of the project, the courses in tourism and hospitality, media and mass communication, an institute of design, arts and culture and cultural management and other high-end courses should be started.

The aim of the administration in setting up the Education City project is to provide the youth of Chandigarh and the region, the best educational courses and facilities, while empowering them to gain employment at the highest level.



Daring night rescue by IAF pilots
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
In a daring night rescue operation by the IAF, a MI-17 helicopter crew from the Jodhpur-based 107 helicopter unit rescued a reveller, Dilip Kumar, who was washed away in the flash floods, while saving others in his group.

The group had gone to the gorges at Bhawarkund, a picnic spot on the banks of Chambal river near Kota town in Rajasthan.

On receiving request from deputy commissioner, Jodhpur, at about six in the evening, the Air Officer Commanding, Jodhpur airbase, Air Commodore J. Kumbhat launched a MI-17 helicopter fitted with night vision goggles within the shortest possible time.

The helicopter was airborne by an hour-and-a-half later, and reached the spot surrounded by high tension cables and poles.

The captain of the helicopter, Wing Commodore Sameer Pendse, and his co-pilot Sqn Ldr Rosa used night vision goggles to track Dilip Kumar, who was stranded for 5-6 hours.

The pilots hovered for almost 20 minutes over the spot. A winch and monkey belt was lowered for the rescue, but Dilip Kumar refused to come up as he was either tired or was scared.

The captain then sent the third pilot, Sqn Ldr Pranay, who volunteered to go down on the winch and pull up the stranded person.

The complete operation which took about 40 minutes of hovering and operations in the night without lights was a tedious task for the pilots.

Wing Commander Mathur, the Commanding Officer of the Kota base Air Squadron NCC was of a great help.

Being a local pilot, he gave the helicopter crew the general description of the high tension wires and topography of the area from the Air Traffic Control.

He also helped liaise with the state government authorities to switch off all the ground lights available at the site so that nigh vision goggles could be used effectively.

Landing back with Dilip Kumar at Kota Airfield was also a difficult task as it did not have any night landing facility.

Four trucks were positioned with lights on at the tarmac of Kota Airfield so as to make the MI 17 land.



‘Fundamental rights can be amended’
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Fundamental rights can be amended, if they take away your basic rights.

These can be examined if challenged, said Supreme Court Judge Justice Ashok Bhan. Referring to a judgement in the case of “I.R. Coelho versus the State of Tamil Nadu” in 2007, he described the ruling as a restoration of “the primacy of fundamental rights.”

He was in Chandigarh for a special talk on ‘Basic Structure of the Indian Constitution: The Doctrine of Constitutionally Controlled Governance from His Holiness Kesavananda Bharati (1973) to I.R. Coehlo (2007)’ delivered by Professor Virendra Kumar, UGC emeritus fellow and former chairperson of the Department of Laws, Panjab University.

The talk held at ICSSR Complex on campus was pegged to this momentous judgement delivered in 2007 by a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court of which Justice Ashok Bhan was a member.

The case dealing with the scope of the Basic Structure Doctrine (BSD) of the Constitution had come up before a five-judge bench in 1999.

“It was whether BSD applies to constitutional amendment or whether it also applies to laws inserted to the 9th Schedule of the Constitution on the touchstone of fundamental rights,” explained Prof Kumar.

Put simply it means “You cannot amend laws in the manner you like and put them into the 9th Schedule of the Constitution and say they are immune from examination,” said Justice Bhan.

The I.R. Coehlo judgement, he said, is significant because it touches on the lives of each and every one of us. Any law enacted against fundamental rights is invalid.

While in the Kesavananda Bharati case in 1973, the court ruled in a simple majority that fundamental rights can be amended, this recent ruling lays down criteria on how to apply the doctrine.

Since fundamental rights represent the ‘foundational value’ of the Constitution, these values are in the nature of pre-Constitutional values and are those on which the edifice of the Constitution was created.

Thus, judicial review is inherent in the Basic Structure Doctrine. Without it, the BSD is simply inoperable and non-functional.

Basic Structure Doctrine

Prof Kumar said, “The Parliament’s amending power under Article 368 in pursuance of Article 31b read with the 9th Schedule of the Constitution granting that it has the power to amend every part of the Constitution including Part III that incorporates fundamental rights cannot be absolute, unlimited, uncontrolled or uncontrollable.” 



CHB to float low-cost scheme at IT park
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
After the high-end accommodation, Prideasia, which was launched for the elite class by Parsvnath and the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) yesterday, the area bordering the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP) is now set to get accommodation for the ecomonically weaker sections of society (EWS).

Living up to its social commitment, the CHB has decided to float an EWS housing scheme for lower strata of society in Sector 26-E here. Recently, the Chandigarh Administration had reclaimed a large chunk of land from the illegal occupation of the slum dwellers and this land is to be transferred to the board, sources said.

"The scheme, having 160 flats, is a part of the social housing project of the CHB and should be a boon for the Class III and IV staff of the RGCTP who cannot afford high-end expensive accommodation in the Prideasia and other colonies in the area," according to CHB chairman Mohanjeet Singh.

Observer felt that prices of the flats in Prideasia, where the one bedroom apartment is priced at Rs 52 lakh, and in other adjoining areas, such as the Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, and Swastik Vihar in Panchkula, had gone up drastically ever since the setting up of the IT park. The construction of the dwelling units in Sector 26-E will thus go a long way in meeting the low-cost housing demands,they added.

Officials highlighted that keeping in mind the economic conditions of the prospective allottees the apartments would be allotted on "no profit no loss" basis. In fact, Mohanjeet Singh had gone on record saying that the board would pass on the profits it had earned from other schemes, particularly the Prideasia, to the schemes meant for the common man.

Parsvnath had made a bid of Rs 821 crore for the acquisition of 123 acres of land for its flagship township near the RGCTP. The board would get an amount of over Rs 400 crore, 30 per cent share of the sale of residential property at the township, being developed on public-private partnership.

The officials said the modalities for the transfer of land from the administration and its pricing structure were being worked out.



Water samples collected in Saketri
Tribune News Service

Health officials make Saketri villagers aware about sanitation.
Health officials make Saketri villagers aware about sanitation. — A Tribune photographs

Panchkula, September 3
Water samples of “contaminated water” were collected in Saketri and medicines and chlorine tablets distributed among villagers following reports that a number of people had been taken ill in the village.

While a team of the health department led by Dr M.L. Garg visited the village late in the night, five teams were constituted to carry out a door-to-door survey.

“Contamination of water seems to be the cause of the illness. We have left chlorine tablets and ORS packets in every house with medicines. We also asked the villagers to report to government dispensaries in case of illness instead of rushing to clinics in Mani Majra,” Dr Garg said.

Civil Surgeon Dr Kamla Singh said the department would run a special OPD in the village for the next three days. “Since it is a water-borne disease, the symptoms are likely to take two to three days to subside,” she said. The department collected water samples from the village to check purity levels and said the test results would be treated as “urgent” and findings declared in a couple of days.

Meanwhile, the PWD (public health) officials also swung into action and carried out a complete check of their supply lines. At least six families of the village were asked to raise the supply line above the drains. They were given 24 hours for the same.

“We have collected six water samples, the results for which will be out in 48 hours. However, we conducted on-the-spot tests and found that chlorination was complete.The water is certainly not contaminated,” SE V.M. Handa said.

But villagers said they would often get worms in their water supply. The first supply came loaded with worms. I have shown the dirty water to officials of the public health a number of times,” claimed Tarsem Singh, a driver.

For now, damage control has begun and the health staff asked to report cases of illness to the health centre in the area. 



Governor’s instructions go unheeded
Problems galore at ISBT-17
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Nothing, apparently, can put things in order at the Sector 17 Inter-State Bus Terminus (ISBT). Even the visit of Chandigarh administrator and Punjab Governor Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) last month has failed to solve the prevailing problems at the terminus.

Although the authorities tried their best to impress the Governor by refurbishing the place haphazardly before his visit, Rodrigues still found several shortcomings in the terminus. Sadly, a substantial number of them still exist.

During his visit, the Governor had given instructions for the provision of additional facilities for commuters, besides upgrading of the infrastructure. The directions included the evolving of an effective mechanism to check over-charging by shopkeepers and improvement in delivery services and cleanliness. Three weeks have gone by and those instructions just lie in the files.

During a visit to the terminus, a team from the Chandigarh Tribune team found that most of the Governor’s instructions had not been carried out.

Preet Pal, a daily commuter at the terminus, said, “It was all drama that had been done to impress the Governor. These instructions will be acted upon only when he visits again.”

The Governor had also given instructions for the installation of multi-language and electronic display boards. But, interestingly, none of the directions have been acted.

It was found that there was no check on drivers who stopped their buses where ever they felt like. The owner of an eatery shop, just opposite the subway, was found charging more than 20 percent extra on the maximum retail price. Cleanliness was also not up to the mark.

When contacted, CTU director P.S. Shergill said, “It is not that we are not bothered about the problems of the public. I recently visited the southern part of the country and was impressed by the transport facility there. I am bent upon providing similar facilities here as well. I will soon submit a report to the home secretary.”

“Besides, no-one has yet complained about shopkeepers charging extra money. We will definitely keep a check on them,” added Shergill.



Guvs’ greetings on Janamashtami

Chandigarh, September 3
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues today greeted the people of Punjab and Chandigarh on the auspicious occasion of Janamashtami.

General Rodrigues said Lord Krishna was a true karmayogi, who showed the path of salvation and taught us to be courageous to counter the evil designs of negative forces and perform our duty with sincerity, devotion and commitment. — TNS



Can’t enter cyber cafes sans I-card
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Using cyber cafes without declaring one's identity will be no longer permissible. The district magistrate today prohibited the use of cyber cafes by “unidentified” persons.

Cyber cafe owners have been asked to maintain an identification register for the user, mentioning the name, residential address and telephone number.

The user would enter his particulars and sign the register.The identity of the visitor would be established through voter-card, ration-card, driving licence, passport or photo credit cards, official sources said.

It was feared that certain anti-social elements and criminals may use cyber cafe facilities to mislead security/investigating agencies, create panic endanger public security.

An activity server log would be kept in the main server for at least six months.

The owners of cyber cafes have been asked to inform the police if any suspicious activity is noticed. This order has been issued under Section 144 of the CrPC and will be valid up to November 3. 



Punjab wants periphery areas included in MRTS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Punjab wants the proposed mass rapid transport system(MRTS) for Chandigarh to be extended to the peripheral towns of Kharar, Zirakpur and Dera Bassi.

This was stated by Punjab transport commissioner Venkat Ratnam at a meeting on the implementation of MRTS held under the chairmanship of UT Adviser Lalit Sharma here today.

Sharma said an integrated approach will have to be followed to take care of the transport needs of the region in the long run. "Architectural and environmental considerations would have to be kept in view in selecting and implementing an MRTS in Chandigarh," he added.

Haryana transport commissioner M.Ramsekhar stated that the Haryana government would agree to the nature and type of technology decided by the central government.

Senior UT officials, including home secretary Krishna Mohan, finance secretary S.K. Sandhu, chief engineer V.K. Bhardwaj, chief architect Sunita Monga were present on the occasion.

The meeting was called following the observations of 10-member expert committee constituted under the chairmanship of chairman of the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, Mr. K.C. Sivaramakrishnan, for reviewing the detailed project report submitted by M/s. RITES for the MRTS project in the Chandigarh region.

It was decided that the proceedings of the meeting would be forwarded to the expert committee.



SSC short-circuited
Candidates hunt for sifarish
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Ad hocism or lack of transparency, the Chandigarh administration appears to have bypassed the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) for appointments to non-gazetted Class "C" and "D" posts, bringing the recruitment process under a cloud.

Even as several union territories, including Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Daman and Diu and Delhi, have entrusted the recruitments to the SSC, the UT seems to be dragging feet on the decision to entrust the job to the SSC for "obvious reasons".

As of now, appointments to gazetted posts are made through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). However, there is allegedly no transparent system for recruitment to Class "C" and "D" posts with these being filled at the department level.

Advertisement for about 300 posts of teacher by the education department has already sent a number of candidates in a tizzy, who are desperately searching for "sifarish."

Merit is not the sole criteria. One must have the right connections at the right places, say sources.

In Chandigarh, bureaucrats from Punjab and Haryana and politicians call the shots. As Chandigarh is the capital of Punjab and Haryana, bureaucrats find it difficult to ignore the recommendations of their political masters and senior officials in the neighbouring states, a source told Chandigarh Tribune.

On certain posts, officials in the ratio of 60:40 from Punjab and Haryana work on deputation as per the provisions of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.

The bureaucrat-politician nexus has left "deserving" candidates in the lurch. But because of fear of being victimised, a majority of candidates prefer anonymity.

Officials sources,however, refute the allegations of favouritism in the selection process, saying the departments followed a "transparent" recruitment policy for the selection of the “deserving candidates.” In any case, the number of recruitments was not large in a year and it became difficult to ignore merit, they claimed.



Director’s Post
GMCH faculty favours direct recruitment
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The faculty at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, (GMCH) is in favour of direct recruitment of its Director-Principal through UPSC. Seven senior professors and heads of departments have, in an application to the Governor of Punjab and Administrator, Chandigarh, Gen S.F Rodrigues (retd.), contended that the re-advertisement of the post by the administration in the newspapers is unjustified since the administration has already exhausted the first method of recruitment.

The post is to be filled through deputation on short-term contract basis and through UPSC in case suitable candidate is not available through deputation method.

The administration, after receiving one application from a doctor at PGI and seven doctors from GMCH in response to its advertisement published in December last, re-advertised the post in July. Seven doctors working at GMCH had also applied for the post and had expressed willingness to be appointed on a short-term contract if considered.

The administration, which was supposed to send the post to the UPSC for appointment after it had already exhausted the first method of recruitment (having failed to make appointment in the last advertisement in December last year “by deputation on short-term contract”), instead preferred to re-advertise it on July 9. Some GMCH doctors alleged that the post had been re-advertised just to ensure that a particular doctor got selected.

According to rules the administration can send the post for direct recruitment in case no suitable candidate is found for deputation on short-term contract. Earlier, in 2003 the post had been referred to the UPSC under similar circumstances.

Even the Medical Council of India views the appointment of staff in medical colleges on deputation adversely. In 1998 the MCI decided not to recommend recognition of the college as it found that a number of faculty members in the college were on deputation, informed the doctors.

However, the administration not only preferred to take another chance in its efforts to appoint a person on deputation on short-term contract, it went a step ahead by changing the cut off date for age limit for the post as February 27, 2007 through a corrigendum in the newspapers, said the doctors.

This is a move to favour the applicant from PGI who would otherwise have become ineligible on account of age bar of 56 years for applying for the post, feel the faculty members.

According to these faculty members the intentions of the administration were clear from very beginning when it started the recruitment process as early as in December 2006 so that the said doctor could apply for the post before he lost eligibility in June 2007 after attaining the age of 56 years, even as the current Director-Principal H. M Swami was to retire on October 31, 2007, said a senior faculty member.

Now the administration re-advertised the post on July 9 with the age limit of 56 again to be counted on the closing date of receipt of application. This advertisement, however, was followed by a corrigendum to correct a “mistake” on August 3. Through the corrigendum the relevant date for determining the age for the post was advanced by five months. The date was changed to February 27, though it was mentioned as the closing date of the receipt of the application.

What prompted the administration to consider age with retrospective effect is anybody’s guess, said a Professor in the GMCH.

Moreover, the recruitment rules are required to be amended as the GMCH has developed its own feeder cadre of 18 Professors selected through UPSC. The post of Director-Principal can be filled by inviting applications from these Professors, said the faculty members.

Though health secretary, Krishan Mohan, could not be contacted for comments, sources in the administration said the advertisement given on July 9 was in the continuation of the advertisement given on December 28, 2006. Hence the corrigendum for determining the age bar as per the earlier advertisement. Moreover, the advertisement was re-inserted to tap the best talent available in the country for the medical college as only one application was received by the authorities against the deputation on short-term contract, added the sources in the administration.



Award for K.L. Zakir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Chairman of the Jan Shikshan Sansthan, K. L. Zakir, has been awarded the NLM-UNESCO Award.

It will be conferred on him by the President of India in Delhi on September 8, the National Literacy Day.

The award comprises of Rs 50,000 and a citation was instituted in 1998 to encourage institutions in the field of adult education and literacy programmes.

The Sansthan has been selected for the award for its outstanding work.

It was chosen on the basis of a laid down criterion, a spot-visit report and recommendations of the selection committee.



Drunken Driving
‘Spy brigade’ scheme a damp squib
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The Chandigarh Traffic Police’s scheme of deploying “spy-brigade” of NCC cadets to curb drunken driving seems to have fizzled out with the men-in-white booking only two offenders in the past fortnight.

In fact, figures speak for themselves. Data available with Chandigarh Tribune revealed that only 16 challans had been issued in the month of August.

This was despite the fact that the traffic police reportedly set up over 50 late night nakas across the city during the month.

In an apparent bid to curb drunken driving, SSP (traffic) A.S Ahlawat had launched the novel scheme of engaging NCC cadets, who would be deployed outside the pubs, bars, liquor vends and taverns and other drinking places.

Sources in traffic police said the scheme failed to give desired results due to non-availability of the cadets at odd hours in the night when drunken driving is rampant.

The cadets were supposed to pass on the information about the offenders through the mobile phones to -1073-- the toll free helpline of the traffic police.

However, the facility is not available with all mobile service providers, which is also proving to be a hindrance and the cadets have to make calls from public call booths.

A traffic police officer informed that the cadets also found it hard to track violators in the absence of vehicles to chase them.

Some cadets also complained that in cases where a number of people come out of a drinking place at the same time and follow different directions, they (cadets) failed to keep track of them.

Admitting that the scheme had not yielded the desired results, Ahlawat maintained that the scheme was launched on an “experiment basis. We are working to make the scheme more effective,” he claimed.

It was a part of the community policing initiative of the Chandigarh police to make roads safe and bring down the number of fatal accidents.



Woman commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
A married woman, identified as Punam, allegedly ended her life by hanging herself at her Sector 10 residence, here this evening. The police has recovered a note bearing the signatures of the deceased from the house mentioning that “no one should be punished” for her action.

The SHO of the Sector 3 Police Station said he received information from Sector 16 Government Multi Speciality Hospital at around 5.30 pm about the incident. Punam was declared dead on arrival by the doctors. Following which he went to the house and recovered the note.

He further informed that Punam’s husband Munishwar Dutt, works as accountant in Seva Bharti. They had go married about two years ago and have a six-month-old daughter. Punam was was working as an LIC agent. Her parents, who live in Bapu Dham Colony, have been informed about the incident.

The police said the SDM (Central) has been informed about the incident and proceedings were being conducted by the SDM. The statements of Punam’s family members, including her parents and brother, were being recorded till the filing of the report. 



2 Panchkula residents commit suicide
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 3
Two persons committed suicide in separate incidents in the city here today. While Azad colony resident Manohar Lal was mentally upset, Avinash, a resident of Sector 16, was in depression after suffering losses in business.

Police sources said Manohar Lal slept on the terrace last night with his family members. In the morning, his wife found him hanging from the ceiling fan. She called in the neighbours. The police was later informed about the suicide.

Avinash (30) was in depression after his business of electrical fittings in Chandigarh’s Industrial Area failed. He committed suicide by hanging himself when his family members were away. He was found dead by a relative, who forced his entry into the house after breaking open the door. The police has initiated inquest proceedings.



159 motorists challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
In a move to curb traffic violations, the Chandigarh Traffic Police today set up five nakas across the city and booked 159 motorists for violating traffic rules.

The police said Rs 9,000 was collected as fines imposed on the offenders. Seventy-five motorists were booked for over-speeding, eight for not wearing safety helmets, three for using mobile phones while driving, four for jumping red lights and a school bus driver was booked for not wearing proper uniform. Besides, the police issued 68 miscellaneous challans and impounded two vehicles.



Health awards on Oct 5
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The second season of the Positive Health Awards would be held on October 5 at Mumbai.

The awards were institutionalized by Dr Mukesh Batra, CMD, Dr Batra’s Positive Health Clinics, last year as an annual tradition of recognizing individuals who have created medical miracles through the demonstration of their instinct for survival. With courage and will power, they have beaten the odds to recover from seemingly hopeless conditions.

One of the awardees from last year included Nitesh Sonawane, who lost his eyes in the Mumbai bomb blasts of 1993. Undeterred, he went on to become a professional musician.

Nominations could be sent with the details of the person and case history at: positivehealthawards@gmail.com by September 15.



Army gets raw deal in pension

We had brought out in our last column (August 30) that V.S. Jafa, a former secretary (finance), Ministry of Defence, was not in favour of the armed forces getting a better pay package. In this one, we bring out his blinkered views that he has expressed in his article, “Suicides in the Army”, in The Tribune (August 17) about the weightage in service.

After saying that a jawan goes home after 17 years of service, Jafa mentions: “So to compensate him, the system has devised ingenious ways — give him more money, on one count or another. We have a system of weightage in service for the purpose of higher pension, better commutation value for pension, etc....”

After 17 years of service, a jawan is sent home at the age of 35-37. To earn 50 per cent of his pay as pension, he has to put in 33 years of service. The weightage of 10 years that he gets, takes him to 27 years of service. Thus, he still remains short of six years of service to complete 33 years for his full pension.

Almost all other ranks, most JCOs and some of the officers cannot complete 33 years of service to earn 50 per cent of their pay as pension, which all other Central government employees get. This is because they are retired early to keep the Army in young profile. Mr Jafa, you call this raw deal a compensation for the Army?

Children’s education blues

Children’s education is one of the main problems of the military personnel. Because of their frequent postings, their wards have to change schools almost after every two years. Not only that, they are also put to great disadvantage while seeking admission to professional colleges, thanks to the rules framed by various states.

In some states, the rules do not permit even the state domiciles to seek admission to a professional college unless the wards have passed 10 plus 2 from the same state. In some other states, you have to be a domicile to seek admission to a professional college.

One finds many cases where officers take premature retirement to stay at one place for the sake of their children’s education. Defence minister A.K. Antony has recently written to the chief ministers of all states and Lieut-Governors of union territories to waive restrictions for admission to professional colleges in respect of the wards of military personnel. We are doubtful if any positive results will flow from this communication, as in the past states have always shown reluctance to change their rules.

Kargil development

After the 1999 war and the declaration of ceasefire in 2003, Kargil had taken a leap towards progress in various spheres. Some of the notable developments there are the installation of Prasar Bharati station, construction of mega hydel power projects, construction of black top airstrip for assured air service when Zojila Pass is closed and widening of roads, etc.

The Army has played a significant role in the progress of the Kargil region under Operation Sadbhavna by concentrating on education, welfare, generation of employment, women empowerment and infrastructure development. The Kargil Brigade was awarded the “Green Governance Award” by the Bombay Natural History Society for improving the ecology of the area in 2005.

— Pritam Bhullar



One law for all

India has been a democracy since the last 60 years. This entails the government being run as per the provisions contained in our Constitution. We are an open economy and the society has also liberalized. However, our image takes a beating by the actions of the citizens themselves. For instance, we still look up to ‘sadhus’, ‘sants’ and ‘fakeers’ who have elevated themselves to the positions of demi-Gods. Perhaps, no law applies to them. The incident of a father-in-law raping his daughter-in-law in UP was still fresh in public memory when recently a wife was forced to tie a rakhi to her husband in Haryana. These people should be tried under Sections 306 and 566 of the IPC. I believe these ‘khap’ members have double standards. The government, should therefore, be willing to take action against these people.

R.K. Garg, Chandigarh

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Aggrieved youth thrashes policeman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Enraged over police inaction, a Shahpur Colony resident allegedly manhandled head constable Kuldeep Singh yesterday. The police has taken action under Section 107 and 151 of the CrPC. Sources said Harjit Singh, alias Bittu, of Shahpur Colony, had a property dispute with his uncle Gurmukh Singh who had reportedly tried to poison Bittu’s sister. The latter was hospitalised.

Bittu was annoyed with the police over delay in action against Gurmukh Singh. On seeing the head constable deployed in the locality, he assaulted him, tearing his uniform.

Quoting Bittu’s family, the police said the youth had been under severe mental tension of late.



Cash, jewellery worth Rs 8 lakh stolen
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 3
Thieves decamped with cash and jewellery worth nearly Rs 8 lakh from two houses in Sector 12 today while the occupants were away. The houses of the two families staying on the ground floor and the first floor were ransacked and locks of all cupboards and lockers were found broke open.

Jeewan Lal, running a tyre business in Mani Majra and staying on the ground floor, said he along with his brother-in-law Ravinder Kumar left for Salasar in Rajasthan on Sunday morning. They got a call from their son-in-law Sandeep informing them about the theft at their residence and rushed back.

Police sources said the thieves broke open the lock of the front door and entered the house. They also broke open the cupboards and lockers. Cash to the tune of Rs 1.45 lakh was reported missing from Jeewan lal’s house, besides a handycam, a diamond set worth Rs 2 lakh and gold and diamond ornaments. A mobile phone, two branded watches and a digital camera were also missing from the house. The thieves took away Rs 2.18 lakh from Ravinder Kumar’s house along with an imported iron.

Family sources said since the two were in a touring job, they had come back after collecting the payments, which were to be passed on to another client. Since the visit to Salasar was unplanned, they left the cash in the house.

A rickshaw-puller staying at the adjacent plot was the first to discover the theft. Family sources said he saw somebody moving in the locked house. He called out aloud which alerted the thief and he scaled the wall in the backyard and fled. He even injured himself while trying to escape. The police found blood stains on the barbed wire in the backyard. The rickshaw-puller said he had even seen a man on the road walking away with a bag but did not suspect that he was carrying the booty. He informed the neighbours, who called up the relatives of Jeewan Lal after which the police came in.

Fingerprint experts were called in and the forensic team took the blood samples. A dog squad arrived in the evening but it could not go beyond 200 metres. Rain too washed away any leads that could have been possible. A case of theft has been registered and investigations are on.



Three shops burgled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Thieves decamped with cash and articles, including sweets, after breaking into three shops in Bapu Dham Colony last night.

Rajinder Manchanda, president of market association alleged that locks of three shops were found broken in the locality this morning. Thieves stole about Rs 500 and sweets from Durga Sweet Shop, auto-batteries, instruments of two landline sets and some furniture was stolen from Bhasin Medicos while cash worth Rs 15,000 was missing from Gurcharan Hardware.

The police said it had not received any formal complaint in this regard so far and action would be taken after getting the complaint.

Vehicle stolen

A truck driver, Atma Ram of Kaithal district reported to the police that his truck (HR-39-A-4977) which was loaded with iron pipes and foot mats was stolen from Sector 26, Transport Area on Sunday evening.

He told the police that he had gone to buy liquor from a liquor vend in the area and on coming back found his vehicle missing. He had reportedly left the ignition key in the vehicle.

In another incident, Rajesh Gogna of Sector 38-C reported that his car (CH-01-C-4379) was stolen from his residence on September 1.

Two separate cases of thefts have been registered in this regard.

Manoj Jain of Sector 41-A lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his motor cycle (HR-31-B-7645) was stolen from his residence on July 9. Sources in the police said the dilly-dallying attitude of the police had lead to delay in the registration of the case.


In a hit-and-run case, a scooterist, Prabhakar Nath Yadav of Maloya Colony was seriously hurt after being hit by an unknown car in the locality on Sunday. He was admitted to the PGI.

In another incident, an auto-rickshaw driver, Raju of Burail, suffered injuries after his auto-rickshaw was knocked down by another vehicle (CH-23-(T)-4876) at sectors 20 and 30 traffic light point on Saturday.

The other vehicle reportedly sped away from the spot. Raju and his nephew Sukhdev Singh were admitted in the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital.

Two cases of causing injuries due to rash and negligent driving have been registered. 



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