C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Police rains lathis on defiant VHP men
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 12
The police resorted to a lathi charge and fired tear gas shells to disperse VHP and BJP activists when they tried to disrupt rail services at the Sector 19 level crossing here today.

The protest, held in response to a call by Ram Setu Raksha Manch (RSRM), saw rioting, assault and disruption of traffic. A case was registered against eight BJP activists.While over 12 activists were injured in the lathi charge, 10 police personnel, including ASP Maneesh Chaudhary, were injured in stone-pelting.

The protest began around 8 am when 100-odd activists led by Haryana BJP vice-president Gian Chand Gupta, BJP's Rashtriya Kisan Morcha treasurer V.K. Sood and VHP leader Ishwar Jindal marched from sector 19 to the level crossing and blocked the road.

Amidst heavy police deployment , SDM Saket Kumar announced repeatedly that the activists were free to protest peacefully. He warned that breaking the law and disruption of traffic would not be allowed.

He asked them to hand him the memorandum and disperse. But the activists raising slogans first blocked traffic on the sector 19 road and then shifted the dharna to the rail tracks.

The SDM directed the police to get the tracks cleared by “picking up” the activists. As soon as the police began removing the activists, an angry protester hurled a stone, which hit the SDM.

After that there was no stopping the cops as they rained lathis on the protesters after firing rubber bullets. The latter retaliated, pelting stones at the police and the officers present.

The cops chased them off the tracks, hitting the activists as they scurried for cover. While several activists were injured in the lathi charge.

Eight protesters were arrested and taken to the sector 20 police station. An FIR was registered against them under sections 148, 149, 332, 353, 1186, 341 and 283 of the IPC for rioting, obstructing a public servant from doing duty, assaulting a public servant, wrongful restraint and blocking traffic.

Flags and banners of the activists were confiscated. The protesting leaders were produced in court and remanded to judicial custody. The bail application will come up for hearing tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the car carrying district president of the BJP’s backward class cell, Rohtash Kumar, and four others met with an accident. They were admitted to General Hospital, Sector 6.

In Chandigarh,VHP and Bajrang Dal men blocked traffic at the Aroma traffic light for some time.

Earlier, they gathered in Sector 39. Additional Deputy Commissioner I.S. Sandhu said the protesters remained peaceful and went away after a 20-minute protest.

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VB team surveys Chimney Heights
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 12
A team of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau conducted property assessment of Chimney Heights, a resort on the Zirakpur-Patiala road owned by former DGP S.S.Virk.

The team of over 20 persons headed by SP(Vigilance) Paramjit Singh Khaira was at the resort for over eight hours for evaluation of the property.

It measured the area in which the resort is constructed and noted down details of construction at the site.

The 15-acre resort is the largest in Chandigarh’s periphery and has been the venue of many VIP weddings in the past. Chimney Heights also has a restaurant. The resort hosts late night parties at its night club and disco-The Warehouse.

“The night club was closed when we took over the place on lease six months ago,” said Manish Bajaj. Bajaj said the VB team continued with its work thoroughout the day. “There is no fear of the place closing down.We have re-assured our patrons that all functions scheduled to be held this month will go ahead as planned,” said Bajaj.

Virk’s heart suffers damage

Chandigarh, September 12
The blood pressure of arrested DGP S.S. Virk continues to be on higher than normal. Due to hypertensive and high blood pressure, his heart is in bad shape. Sources at the PGI say the heart has been somewhat damaged. — TNS

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Youth hits ‘lax’ watchman with baton
65-yr-old battles for life in PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
In a fit of rage, a youngster hit an elderly watchman on his head with a baton in Sector 3 here, late last night. The critically injured victim, 65-year-old Jeet Ram, is battling for life in the PGI. The assailant reportedly lost temper over the “laxity” of the watchman to react to an emergency call, said the police.

The police has registered a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against 22-year-old Anirudh Jaiswal, son of R.K. Jaiswal, a former president of the Sector 35 market, under section 308 of the IPC. The accused has absconded.

The incident took place at 11.30 pm. The police received information that a thief had entered into a house in sector 35. In the meantime, watchman Jeet Ram reached there. Anirudh began scolding him for not doing his duty properly. He snatched Jeet Ram’s baton and hit him on the head. The latter collapsed.

The police reached there and rushed the victim to the Sector 16 government hospital. The doctors there referred him to the PGI. He was operated upon in the PGI in the wee hours today.

The police said it was yet to receive the medical report of the victim. A case was registered on the statement of the victim’s son.

R.K. Jaiswal maintains that his son gave a gentle push to Jeet Ram following which the later fell, injuring himself. He denied his son had hit him with a baton.

The police said the nature of injury suggested that it was not caused by a fall.

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No-holds-barred reporting
Centre mulls over law panel’s opinion
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
With an overzealous section of media often crossing ‘Lakshman rekha’, particularly in the domains of legal and crime reporting, the Law Ministry babus are busy pondering over a report submitted by the Law Commission, recommending amendments to existing contempt law or framing of a new law, a few months back.

Top ministry sources informed The Tribune that the commission had recommended a new law or amendments to existing law to restrain “the media with sting” from reporting in a manner which was apparently “prejudicial” to the rights of the accused in criminal cases from the time of arrest, during investigation and trial.

Though the ministry was perusing the report and the draft Bill submitted by the commission, an opinion was emerging, at the behest of law minister H.R. Bhardwaj, to reconcile the commission’s recommendations with the freedom of the Press. The minister was of the view that judiciary should not worry too much about “pressures” from an active media, which was sign of a vibrant democracy.

In fact, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan has recently voiced concern over growing incidents of mis-reporting of court proceedings and trial. Yesterday, Justice Ranjit Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, too, had observed that media should exercise restraint while covering courts and time had come to frame parameters as to the extent to which media could cover courts.

More fuel to the fire has been added by a recent case of a Delhi teacher, accused of pushing schoolgirls into flesh trade, in which a journalist allegedly trampled upon the media ethics and morals.

Importantly, the subject of ‘no-holds-barred reporting’ was taken up suo motu by the commission in view of a barrage of crime stories and publication of information about suspects and the accused, both in the print and electronic media, which seriously eroded their rights.

The commission’s report stated: “Today, there is a feeling that in view of the extensive use of the television and cable services, the whole pattern of publication of news has changed and several such publications are likely to have a prejudicial impact on the suspects, accused, witnesses and even judges and in general on the administration of justice.”

The report further stressed that according to the Indian law, a suspect or an accused was entitled to a fair trial and was presumed to be innocent till proved guilty in a court of law. None could be allowed to prejudge or prejudice his case by the time it goes to trial.

The commission emphasised that publications, which interfered or tend to interfere with the administration of justice would amount to criminal contempt under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 and “if in order to preclude such interference, the provisions of that Act impose reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech, such restrictions would be valid.”

The report noted that at present, under Section 3 (2) of the Contempt of Courts Act, such publications would be contempt only if a charge sheet had been filed in a criminal case.

The commission had suggested that the starting point of a criminal case should be from the time of arrest of an accused and not from the time of filing of the charge sheet.

What is going on in the media may indeed be highly objectionable. Merely because it is tolerated by the courts, it may not cease to be contempt,' the commission noted in the report.

Another recommendation bound to ruffle a few feathers was about empowering high courts to direct print or electronic media to defer publication or telecast pertaining to a criminal case and to restrain the media from resorting to such publication or telecast. 

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State of Info Panels
Costing more, delivering less
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
State information commissions of both Punjab and Haryana seem to be delivering less and costing more. Every hearing an information commissioner conducts costs the state not less than Rs 30,000, as evident from the information some RTI activists have gathered under the RTI Act.

Punjab has nine information commissioners (six being ex-bureaucrats and chief engineers); none has held more than six hearings a month or decided more than 40 cases a month, indicating that the state can do with fewer ICs.

Each commissioner costs the state about Rs 15,000 a month by way of incidental expenses like petrol and telephone, besides salary. While chief information commissioner draws Rs 79, 170 monthly salary; information commissioners (ICs) draw Rs 56, 280. In addition, each is entitled to a rent-free accommodation, 10,000 units of free electricity, 36-kilo litre of free water and 200 litre of free fuel for conveyance per month.

Between December 2006 and January 2007, Punjab CIC held 31 hearings disposing of 182 cases - information commissioner Rupan Deol Bajaj held 26 hearings from July 2006 to January 2007 disposing of 105 cases; P.K. Verma and R.K. Gupta held 22 and 17 hearings, respectively, and disposed of 175 and 123 cases, respectively.

Interestingly, four of the serving ICs of Punjab were appointed in December last few days before elections by former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Terms of appointments of four ICs appointed later by the ruling government had not been notified till March 26, 2007 although the ICs had started working.

Department of IT, the nodal department for RTI in Punjab, recently admitted this in its reply to an RTI application of Hitender Jain of Resurgence India. To another of Jain’s queries about attendance by information commissioners, the department said there was no order notifying exemption of commissioners from attending office.

RTI activists like Hemant Goswami feel Punjab needs just two efficient information commissioners. “Even the RTI Act stipulates that the state can appoint a maximum of 10 information commissioners, depending on requirement. Punjab is spending hugely on the commission, which in turn is not recovering anything by way of penalty under the Act. The commission is not penalising PIOs at the rate of Rs 250 a day if they fail to provide information within 30 days,” he claimed.

Haryana is no better though it has just two information commissioners including the CIC. It has set up two separate offices, located barely 400m apart, for both. The 2007-2008 budget of Haryana State Information Commission is Rs 167 lakh, but the commission has in two years penalised only five PIOs, that too meagerly; it has compensated just one complainant.

Shocking it is that though the commission issued 78 notices to PIOs holding them responsible for lapses under RTI, it dropped proceedings in 73 cases, where it was liable to penalise PIOs in every one.

If that was less, Punjab and Haryana are yet to publish RTI guidebooks in regional languages, which they were supposed to publish within 18 months of the inception of the act.

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To spruce up stadium, full-grown trees axed
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The thick green cover in the Leisure Valley in sector 16 faces danger from the Chandigarh Administration. To spruce up the sector 16 cricket stadium for the coming one-day international match between India and Australia, the UT’s engineering department has uprooted a number of full-grown trees while channelising the N-choe, passing near the stadium.

Around Rs 28 lakh was being spent on the “development” work which the officials claim would enable the department to reclaim the land along a half-a-kilometre long embankment of the choe which was lying un utilized.

The process to reclaim the land has resulted in damage to a number of trees. For the past one month, workers have been working overtime to meet the deadline for hoisting the international match.

A visit to the spot revealed that uprooted trees were lying along the embankment of the choe. A worker of the horticulture department said for the movement of heavy machinery, the trees had to be uprooted. 

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IT Park
PM’s assurance on land acquisition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, today assured a delegation of the Chandigarh Sanjha Morcha that there would be no forcible acquisition of land.

The assurance was given during a meeting of members of the morcha with the Prime Minister in New Delhi. Ajmer Singh Lakhowal and Mahendra Singh Tikait, both leaders of the BKU, met the Prime Minister on behalf of the farmers.

In a press statement issued by the morcha spokesman, it has been stated that the Prime Minister had agreed to the request of the farmers against forcible acquisition of their land in the city. Presently, around 270 acres is being acquired for the third phase of the IT park. —TNS

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Teacher killed in accident

Chandigarh, September 12
A woman was killed and four others were injured when the autorickshaw in which they were travelling was knocked down by a speeding car in Sector 39 here this morning. All victims were rushed to the PGI, where the woman succumbed to her injuries later.

The deceased has been identified as Parvinder Kaur of Badheri. She was in her fifties and was working as an anganwadi teacher. She suffered severe head injuries. She was going to Maloya. The three injured were Mohit, Rohit and Om Singh. One of the victims suffered a fracture on his leg.

The collision was so powerful that the autorickshaw somersaulted trice before coming to a halt. The Fiat Palio (CH-01-M-2094) car was coming from Sector 39. The car driver tried to escape after the mishap, but the steering wheel of his car got jammed. — TNS

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Tipsy employee creates scene at dist courts

Chandigarh, September 12
A drunk employee of the district courts in Sector 17 allegedly created a scene on the court premises this afternoon.

The employee, Vijay Kumar of copy branch, was taken by the police to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, for a medical examination and later released.

Sources said the incident took place around 12 when the police got information that a man was causing public nuisance at the district courts in an inebriated condition. — TNS

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Madanpur village nobody’s baby
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, September 12
Even as the government is going ahead with its plans to make Mohali a model township, it has failed to bring about the much-needed development in villages falling within its limits.

The villages stand out like a sore thumb with poor sanitation and lack of amenities.

Madanpur village is one such example. The authorities have neglected the village completely and the agencies concerned — the municipal council and the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) — have been passing the buck of responsibility.

Stepping into the village is like going back many decades in terms of amenities. Insanitary conditions, lack of water supply and sewer system and haphazard construction are the hallmarks of the village.

Even the death of children in July due to diarrhoea have failed to move the authorities to focus on development work, including the supply of potable water.

The matter relating to the development of the village had come up at a meeting held by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, cooperation minister, on August 13. The meeting, which was attended by officials of the civic body, GMADA and councillors, regarding the development of Mohali, was held at the civil secretariat.

As both the council and GMADA had declined to carry out development work in the village, the minister had stated that the director, local government, Punjab, should be asked to make it clear as to which agency was responsible.

The executive officer of the council wrote a letter to the director on August 17 seeking directions regarding the development of the village.

Almost a month later, the civic body is yet to get any response from the director.

The civic body maintained that the overall work had to be carried out by GMADA and the council only had to carry out the maintenance.

GMADA authorities, however, stressed that development work in villages had to be carried out by panchayats or civic bodies.

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Developers welcome govt policy change
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 12
The Punjab Colonizers Association yesterday welcomed the change in the state government policy pertaining to the external development charges (EDC), conversion charges and licence fee at a meeting held here under the chairmanship of secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department, Punjab.

Secretary Arun Goel said revised external development charges and license fee conversion charges were competitive as compared to those being claimed by the Haryana government.

Acknowledging the new policy changes, members of the association said these would boost the economy and infrastructure in the state.

They pointed out that these policies were more practicable for Mohali and its surroundings. The policy pertaining to the minimum area restriction may therefore be reviewed in view of the population, economy, availability of land/land holdings in a particular area. They added that the outcome of the policy could be good once the master plans were implemented.

Participants pointed out that the policy might demoralise small/medium developers and also affect consumers. Revision of charges and minimum area restrictions might also encourage mushrooming in the state. They suggested that EDC charges should be claimed in consonance with the infrastructure development.

A section of promoters suggested that the minimum area restrictions should conform to the provisions of the Punjab Land Reforms Act, as the act did not provide for land holding of over 50 acres.

They also advised the state government to appoint a nodal agency to regulate illegal colonies in the state.

They pointed out to the authorities that in Doaba and Majha, land holdings were very less and any kind of increase in the area of ongoing projects was not possible.

The association appreciated government decision to delegate powers for the grant of licence for colonies up to 10 acres. Six hundred colonies, measuring 6,000 acres, had been developed in the state with this decision, the members said.

Giving technical details, chief engineer, GMADA, said new sectors from 81 to 114 were to be developed by private developers and government required Rs 19,185 crore for the development of 26,000 acres of area in Mohali.

The estimated expenditure also included upgrade of the existing infrastructure in Mohali in view of the increased load on services in the times to come. The developers also pointed out that the increase in charges would have retrospective effect on development scenario.

Moreover, there was no salability in the market. They said there was no return on the money invested in the state three years ago and the investment made in the other state was close to yielding good returns. Goel said under the new policy, NOC was needed only from three departments i.e. the pollution control board, the forest department and the revenue department.

Referring to the main demand of the developers, he clarified that the new policy provided for payment of EDC and other charges in installments. After the payment of 25 per cent of the total charges, the rest was payable in six installments spread over a period of four years.

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Year-old infant burnt to death
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 12
One-year-old child was burnt to death in a fire that broke out in a jhuggi in Mataur village here today.

According to reports, the fire broke out when the baby girl was sleeping alone in the jhuggi. Her mother, who worked as a domestic help, had gone out to work.

On getting to know about the fire, neighbours immediately took out the child and other belongings.

The child was taken to the PGI, Chandigarh.

The fire was noticed by children playing outside the jhuggi.

They then raised the alarm after which neighbours gathered and swung into action to save the child. The mother of the burnt child was also informed about the mishap.

The fire was put off by the people of the area.

It is reported that the child succumbed to her burn injuries at the PGI.

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Literary works of Hyder hailed
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, September 12
The Haryana Urdu Akademy organised a seminar on the life and literary works of late Qurratulain Hyder, an eminent Urdu novelist and fiction writer here yesterday.

Inaugurating the seminar, Dr A.R. Kidwai, governor of Haryana, said her writings are the true representatives of the Indian composite culture and she will be remembered for her unique style of expression and ethical attributes.

Haryana minister for transport and education Mange Ram Gupta also spoke about the great writer.

In his key note address, Dr Ali Zaved , director of National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language maintained that Qurratlain Hyder has truly depicted the social realities through her fiction.

Akademy secretary, Padmashri Dr Zakir paid rich tributes to Qurratlain, popularly known as ‘Aini Appa’.

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Power failure in PGI

Chandigarh, September 12
Nehru Hospital in PGI today faced power cut for two hours in the morning.

The electricity supply was disrupted between 9 am and 11 am as electricians were working at the construction site of trauma centre near Nehru Hospital. — TNS

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Functions banned at Shanti Kunj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
The administration has banned all public functions in Shanti Kunj, Sector 16. The decision has been taken in light of the recent damaged caused to the garden during the Teej celebrations organised by the municipal corporation.

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Man found hanging at temple

Panchkula, September 12
The body of an unidentified man was found hanging in a shed at the temple complex of Shiv mandir in Sector 21, here today. The body was found by devotees who had gone there to offer prayers in the morning.

Though nobody knew about the identity of the man, they said he had been seen on the temple premises on previous occasions and that he seemed mentally disturbed. — TNS

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Elected

Chandigarh, September 12
Following have been elected office-bearers of the Chandigarh Sood Sabha for the year 2007-2009: chairman - V.K. Sood; president - K.R Sood; sr VPs - Lt Col S.L. Sood and Ashwani Deogar; VPs - Kuldeep Rai Sood, Shashi B. Sud and Kapil Goel; gen secy - Surinder Sood; finance secretary - Umesh Sood; publicity secretary - R.K. Maria; secretaries: Vikram Sood, Sudarshan Sood and Rajinder Sood; organising secretary - Shama Sood. — TNS

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Letters
Lets save Earth

has anyone ever calculated how much foreign exchange is wasted in an oil-deficient country by vehicle owners at the entry of the parking lots?

What the government earns by giving out contracts for parking lots is all lost in the form of the time and fuel wasted in getting the ticket at the blocked entrances of these lots.

Besides the parking hassles, the four-hour extra burning of street lights in these parking lots have now become a big source of global warming.

Lets make a little effort towards saving our planet by being a little considerate. Lets decide to walk small distances instead of driving down. This way, we will not only save on fossil fuel but also help reduce the parking hassles.

Arun D. Ahluwalia, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030

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Volvo rolls out sedan, SUV
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 12
Volvo Car Corporation today took its first step in the growing Indian automotive market with the launch of its two flagship models - Volvo S80 and Volvo XC90 - a sedan and a sports utility vehicle.

Volvo Car India will import the two cars as CBUs (completely built units) from its Sweden plant and sell them initially through three dealers, one each in Mumbai, New Delhi and Chandigarh.

Speaking at the launch, Peter Cornelis, president, Volvo Car Overseas Corporation, said: “For all of us, this is a proud moment. Volvo is currently present in 100 countries and we are now increasing our footprint in other markets. India seems to have immense potential for luxury cars in the Asia and we are sure our brand will be well accepted by the Indian consumer.”

“Volvo Car India has completed the homologation tests for its two cars and only the final certificates from ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) are awaited. Both petrol and diesel versions of S80 and XC90 (total of six cars) were with the ARAI in Pune for undertaking the homologation process since April 2007,” said Paul de Voijs, managing director, Volvo Car India.

The S80 and the XC90 cars would be available with a 24 valve 3.2 litre and 32 valve 4.4 litre petrol engine and 2.5 litre diesel options, meeting all emission requirements and sharing the same power train and were priced between Rs 38-44 lakh and Rs 45-52 lakh, respectively, ex-showroom Chandigarh.

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