C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S




Major fire at car showroom
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Goods worth lakhs were destroyed when a major fire broke out in Industrial Area, Phase-I, this afternoon. It took fire-fighters over four hours to control the fire.

The fire broke out in a storeroom housing spare parts at Modern Automobiles at about 12.45 pm. Around 150 employees were present at the showroom at the time of the incident. No casualty has been reported.

Ruling out foul play, officials stated that the cause of the fire would be known only after investigation. The fire was first observed by the employees, who saw thick smoke emitting from the room.

They tried to douse the fire with the fire-fighting equipment, but were unsuccessful.

Tense moments were witnessed when it was found that the fire had spread to another room where spare parts, paint, thinner, rubber tyres and other chemicals had been stocked.

The fire-fighters had to spend hours to control the fire from spreading to other parts of the showroom.

A judgement error, however, could have cost them dear. Not having been informed that the room contained chemicals, they kept pumping it with water. Only to realise later that there were combustible chemicals. Foam was used to control the situation.

Six fire engines and two water dousers from various fire stations had been pressed into service. More than 15 drums of foam were used to control the fire.

Industrial Area had to go without power for about half hour as the main supply had been cut. As the fire continued to rage, only the power supply to the showroom was disconnected.

Quick action by the fire department saved the fire from spreading to the area where cars were parked. However, the fire-fighters could be seen struggling with even the basics due to lack of simple facilities.

They could be seen trying to break parts of the roof with iron rods. Several of them had to use handkerchiefs to keep the smoke away.

A highway patrol ambulance reached the spot on seeing the thick smoke. However, no effort was made for an ambulance for either the fire-fighters or any burn victim.

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Pregnant girl’s macabre tale of abuse
Family behind bars for rape
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
It is macabre. A pregnant girl was repeatedly raped by male members of a family. The accused and their parents have been arrested by the police. One of the accused is a juvenile who was sent to the Juvenile Home in Sector 25 yesterday. The girl is eight months pregnant. On being continuously abused by the family, she approached the crime against women cell following which the accused were arrested. The prime accused, Vicky, a resident of Dhanas, has absconded.

The 19-year-old girl fell in love with Vicky, who promised to marry her. On conceiving his child, the girl, a student of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 23, asked the boy to marry her. It was then that Vicky, who drives a school bus, told her that he was a married man and had a child too.

Geeta, mother of the boy, asked the girl to marry Vicky ‘s 23-year-old brother instead, to which she agreed. The girl started living with Krishan who raped her time and again but did not marry her. Other members of the family also made attempts to rape her.

The mother of the accused turned a deaf ear to the girl’s pleas for help. “ Instead, Geeta asked her to do as told,” said a police official. The father of the accused, Thomas, also tried to rape her.

Krishan has been sent to police remand till October 8 while Thomas and Geeta are in Judicial custody till October 20.

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Tickets In Black
UT officers choke on HCA ‘control’
Akash Ghai/TNS

Chandigarh, October 6
The Chandigarh administration is bitter at the manner in which Haryana Cricket Association (HCA) officials are in ‘complete control’ for the holding of the ODI between India and Australia on October 8.

Senior officers are unhappy with the HCA with most of them not getting tickets for their family members. “Where have all the tickets gone,” asked an exasperated officer.

“The administration has been toiling day and night to uplift the stadium for the match. We feel we have given the HCA undue liberty. The officers are happy to host the international match, but everyone is annoyed at the attitude of HCA officials,” said another officer, who did not want to be named.

It is learnt the administration drew Rs 25,000 from the treasury to buy tickets for mediapersons, but the association did not respond.

Meanwhile, the mess at ticket counters continued for the third day in a row. Those in queue since last night got a shock when ticket officials informed them there were no tickets in the Rs 75 and Rs 250 category.

“It is ridiculous as nobody is bothered about the problem. Some responsibility should be fixed for fair distribution of tickets,” said Kamal of Ambala. Punters had a field day, selling tickets 10 times more than the original price. “I was approached by a person who asked me to dish our Rs 750 if I wanted to purchase a students’ block ticket (Rs 75),” said Sayyam Sood of Panchkula.

However, tickets of higher denomination- Rs 2500, Rs 3000, Rs 5000 and Rs 7500- were being sold till late in the evening.

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Roads to stadium closed for 3 hrs

Chandigarh, October 6
Roads leading to the Sector 16 Cricket Stadium will remain closed to traffic for three hours from 9 am to 12 noon tomorrow with the Chandigarh Police holding a security rehearsal for the ODI tomorrow.

The police has asked motorists to use alternative routes to avoid inconvenience. The Indian and Australian teams will practice at the nets during the day. — TNS

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Tour: Xen on rescue mission to Delhi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The MC will send an Xen to the ministry of external affairs on October 8 to speed up the process of getting permission for the study tour of councillors to Singapore and Bangkok.

The Xen (public health), R.C. Diwan, who is part of the study tour, has been directed to go to the ministry and return only when the permission is granted.

Mayor Harjinder Kaur has spoken to the additional secretary, ministry of external affairs, in this regard.

The councillors said even if the permission came through this week, they would not be able to go before Diwali. “The festive season will begin on October 14 with the Navratras, followed by Dasehra on October 21 and Karvachauth on October 29. There is no way we can go for a 10-day tour during this time. And then there is Diwali on November 9,” a councillor said.

Meanwhile, the MC is expected to suffer a financial loss due to the postponement of the tour. All preparations for the tour were in place. While the visas are valid for three months, the MC will have to pay for the postponement of tickets and other bookings.

Some of the councillors who would be accompanied by their spouses will have to pay even more as they had paid about Rs 39,000 for their spouses’ trip.

The Xen (public health), who is part of the study tour, has been directed to go to the ministry of external affairs and return only when the permission is granted.

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Reservation-free India
Equality forum unveils Mission 2010
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
After fighting caste-based policies in courts for 20 years, All-India Equality Forum, an apolitical organisation working for caste-free society, has finally decided to take its mission to the people.

There’s no other way to fight reservations, it believes.

Credited with challenging the government policy on reservation in the Supreme Court and getting landmark judgments, the forum has vowed to rid India of caste-based policies by 2010.

On the eve of its fifth national seminar, forum national president J.R. Agarwal today unveiled Mission 2010 formulated to fight reservation and corruption.

“The Supreme Court deadline on caste-based reservations is January 2010. We are taking our mission to the people to build a public opinion to prevent the deadline from being extended,” Agarwal said, adding that the forum had recently filed a contempt petition against the central and state governments, which have been disregarding the Supreme Court judgment on exclusion of the creamy layer from the reserved bracket.

These issues, critical to fundamental right to equality, will be debated at the seminar to be held tomorrow at Moti Ram Arya School auditorium, Sector 27.

Key speakers will be Arun Shourie, former state minister for home I.D. Swamy, Rajya Sabha MP Sharad Joshi and social activist Shiv Khera.

More than 100 forum delegates from 20 states will attend the seminar, being arranged to chart the future course of action against reservations.

As of now, things are looking glum, Agarwal said, referring to blatant misuse of the Prevention of Atrocities Act. In Rajasthan, 86 per cent cases registered under this Act are fraudulent, as admitted by the state’s home minister in the Lok Sabha.

The situation is similar in other states, so much so that the forum has now demanded the Act to be repealed or at least amended to make it bailable.

On reservation front, the forum is geared up to bring to task the governments that are ignoring the apex court’s October 19, 2006 judgment directing that creamy layer be kept out of reservation ceiling.

“The central and state governments have ignored all landmark anti-reservation judgments passed by the Supreme Court. This despite gory caste wars taking root, the recent example being the standoff between Meenas and Gujjars in Rajasthan,” Agarwal said.

In fact, All-India Equality Forum was the first outfit to challenge reservations in the court.

The court then directed against three things-seniority benefits to the reserved, reservation in promotions and relaxations in the standards of evaluation.

“The successive governments, however, amended the Constitution to keep using reservation as a political weapon. In its recent judgment, the Supreme Court has said the amendments would hold good only if the government fulfilled some conditions. We will discuss these conditions tomorrow,” said K.K. Goyal, president, Punjab unit of the forum.

The most significant legal battle for the forum, however, remains the hearing on its contempt petition against governments’ neglect of the SC judgment.

The judgment has, for the first time, put the onus on the governments to prove the genuineness of reservations.

By asking for official data on backwardness, inadequate representation of reserved categories, and efficiency of the establishments before the extension of reservation benefits, the apex court has put the government on the backfoot.

The petition, said Agarwal, is due for listing any time now.

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COMMUNITY

Online jobs a hit: Oberoi
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The traditional recruitment methods are on their way out and corporate world is resorting to recruitments through Internet in a big way, Hitesh Oberoi, chief operating officer (COO) and director of the online portal naukri.com, said here today.

“Currently, the online portals provided platform to over 30 per cent of the corporate world, placement agencies and job seekers,” Oberoi told The Tribune on the sidelines of the naukri.com job fair being organised here.

Low cost, high speed and round-the-clock service were some of the factors, which tilted balance in favour of the online job industry. With Internet connectivity reaching even the remotest areas of the country, the industry had a bright future, he asserted.

With the corporate world growing by leaps and bounds, recruitments through the internet were the future of the job industry, the COO said adding that over 50 per cent of total recruitments were done through the online portals all over the world.

About the job preferences among the youth, Oberoi claimed that the IT and financial services, including banking and insurance services, were big hit with the youth. Pay package and openings in these sectors attracted the youth to these sectors.

And in the wake of the real estate boom in the country, these was a sudden demand the civil engineers in this sector, he quipped.

Talking about the expansion plans of the company, he said that jeenvansathi.com and 99acres.com had also already launched by the company. The company had come up with a new portal, brijj.com, under which the experts and specialists not wanting jobs could register for networking. The companies could avail off their services, he added.

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Community radio has ‘untapped potential’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Vividh Bharti celebrated 50 years of its inception on October 4 and continues to be as relevant as it was when it began.

Today, in a bid to reinvent itself, it is all set to reach out to the grassroots and empower the common man through the power of community radio.

Ironically, this medium that can reach out to the masses especially in a country like ours where 33 per cent Indians can’t read or write, radio still hasn’t been utilised properly, opined H K Dua, Editor-in-Chief, Tribune group of newspapers, in his keynote address at a seminar on “Community Radio for Social Empowerment” here today.

He cited a few successful examples, which exist in states like Gujarat, which first experimented with a community radio system about four years ago, and later the example of Raghav Mehto, a young mechanic from Bihar who devised his own radio set starting a community radio service in his area followed by a Dalit woman in Andhra Pradesh.

The first step in this direction has been taken by the Media Information and Communication Centre of India (MICCI) that organised the two-day seminar in association with the Public Relations Society of India.

The first day of the two-day seminar dwelt upon the concept and context of community radio in India. The driving factors of development and challenges and problems were also discussed.

Speaking on the occasion, Nandini Sahai, director, MICCI, highlighted the basic principles and eligibility criteria.

According to the latest policy, the government intends that non-profit organisations like civil society and voluntary organisations start community radio stations to allow greater participation by the civil society on issues relating to development and social change.

“A community radio station, which has a range of 50 km, can be of great benefit in addressing local grievances, important issues and can be an excellent medium to develop communities. The objective is to attract local listeners through content generated from the local people”.

Sharing his experiences, Vivek Attray, director, tourism, UT Chandigarh, said, “The people in rural areas are not yet in the loop of development as people in urban areas are. They need a voice to air their grievances and discuss issues to share their concerns and, more importantly, share their cultures”.

Adity Dua, formerly president of Public Relations Society of India and executive vice- president of ITC, in her speech talked about the power and reach of community radio through the example of a successful community radio station being run at the steel plant, Rourkela, by the workers for the past 20 years.

“Not only was the content generated by the workers themselves but also the children and the wives of those workers participated actively on air to address issues pertaining to family planning, their dreams and aspirations”, she said.

Talking about the viability of community radio stations in Chandigarh, Adity suggested that the government could encourage the community radio system in the slum areas around the so- called City Beautiful which can act as a forum for voicing the grievances of the slum-dwellers.

The government can provide them with sets and funds.

But at the same time, the purpose for which the community radio is being used has to be kept in mind.

“It is important to make the community radio system feasible within the laid down rules. There are possibilities that the system can be misused for people with vested interests like one caste can use it against the other, the landlords might use it against the interests of the landless by monopolising; any community can use it against any other. So its important to know fully well the pitfalls before the beginning”.

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Army Aviation to hold first reunion
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Army Aviation Corps, among the youngest fighting arms of the army, will be organising its first ever reunion next month.

The event is scheduled to take place at the Combat Army Aviation Training School (CAATS), near Nasik from November 21-23.

A host of events have been planned for the reunion, being organised under the aegis of the Additional Directorate General of the Army Aviation.

These include the stone laying foundation of the Army Aviation War Memorial at CAATS by the Colonel Commandant of the corps, Lt Gen K.S. Jamwal.

The annual flight safety seminar, Aviation Cup Golf, band concert, a reunion dinner and several social functions are on the agenda.

The Army Aviation Association meet, where various matters concerning army aviators would be discussed, would also form part of the reunion.

A large number of serving as well as retired aviators would be attending the reunion. The event would be a great opportunity to bring together many old comrade-in-arms together, igniting fond memories and evoking great nostalgia.

Formed on November 2, 1987, the Army Aviation Corps (AAC) currently consists of about 40 helicopter flights operated by 12 squadrons.

The corps operates about 200 Dhruv, Chetak, Cheetah and Lancer helicopters.

The corps is in the process of a major expansion and reorganisation.

According to plans drawn up by the Army Headquarters, the AAC aerial assets would double at the end of the 12th Army Plan in 2017.

The AAC is proposing to induct a few squadrons of the Mi-17 medium lift helicopter to enhance its logistic and battlefield support capability.

It is also in the process of buying 197 helicopters in the 10-tonne class to replace the ageing Chetak and Cheetah fleet, for which it evaluated the Bell-407 and Eurocopter AS-550.

Also on line are 125 HAL-made Dhruv advance light helicopters. Some reports say that the AAC also wants six Dornier Do-228 fixed-wing aircraft in the communication role.

The Army also plans to establish aviation brigades at the corps and command level.

All corps will have integral tactical and attack helicopter squadrons, each comprising two light attack flights and a reconnaissance and observation (R&O) flight.

Further down the echelon, each infantry and mountain division will have an R&O flight on its establishment.

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No grounds for action
Mohali MC, GMADA just don’t want to level dumping area
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 6
With the next hearing of a high court case related to the town’s dumping ground approaching, the demarcation of the ground has taken on an urgency even though the problem is turning out to be more baffling than officials may have bargained for.

Not only is each official agency concerned throwing up its hands, claiming that levelling and clearing the area for demarcation is not its job, the administration too, seems affected by the syndrome of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing.

The confusion over the demarcation issue became evident when on the day the deputy commissioner shot off a letter to the local Municipal Council holding it responsible for levelling the low-lying part of the dumping ground, his junior, the SDM, issued directions at a meeting to the GMADA representative to carry out the required work to facilitate demarcation.

On September 24, the deputy commissioner H.I.S. Garewal had sent a demi official letter to the executive officer (EO) of the MC J.S. Thind stating that it was the responsibility of the civic body to make the area of the dumping ground fit for demarcation since that was in its own interest. He asked the EO to show personal interest in the work of getting the low-lying area of the dumping ground filled so that officials concerned could demarcate the area. He directed the EO to get the work completed in a week’s time and get a day fixed for getting the demarcation done after meeting the SDM or the tehsildar.

On September 24 itself SDM Raghbir Kaur Khaira held a meeting regarding the demarcation of the dumping ground area on the directions of the deputy commissioner. GMADA estate officer Sukhjitpal Singh, EO of the civic body J.S. Thind and naib tehsildar Jaspal Singh attended the meeting among others. The SDM told the estate officer of GMADA to get the needful done at the earliest so that demarcation could be carried out. She had stressed upon the need to complete the demarcation by November failing which strict action would be taken against officials concerned.

However, neither the MC nor the GMADA have made any effort so far to make the dumping ground area approachable by filling up the low-lying part.

The chief administrator of GMADA, Krishan Kumar, said here today that it was not the responsibility of GMADA to fill the low-lying area as the possession of the land was with the civic body. Moreover, he said he did not see any justification for spending public money running in lakhs of rupees by levelling the area, as it was only a dumping ground. He said if any building had to come up on that piece of land GMADA would have certainly spent the money to level the low-lying part.

On the other hand the EO of the civic body told the deputy commissioner through a letter that the dumping ground site belonged to GMADA and according to Solid Waste Management Rules (2000) the agency developing the town had the responsibility to arrange the garbage-dumping site. But GMADA had so far failed to give complete possession of the land to the civic body, as demarcation had not been done.

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Seminar on lighter-than-air vehicles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
The Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) is organising a national seminar on “Strategic application of lighter-than-air vehicles at high altitude”.

The first seminar of its kind is aimed at providing a single platform to network technology practitioners from diverse domains of defence research and development (R&D) and to bridge the gap between users, manufacturers and designers about user requirements and expectations in this field.

The seminar is scheduled to be held at SASE Headquarters in Manali on October 12-13.

SASE is a laboratory under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is associated with studies relating to high altitude snow-bound terrain and avalanches.

The Director, SASE, Dr R.N. Sarwade, said scientists from the Regional Centre for Military Airworthiness (RCMA) Chandigarh; the Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE), Agra and Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL), Chandigarh and other DRDO establishments would be attending the seminar.

Cutting across institutional boundaries, the seminar proposes a mission oriented approach to synergise the R&D work in lighter-than-air (LTA) technologies and bring together the users and entrepreneurs to share a common platform and pave the way to define the realistic capability requirement for platform-sensor combinations in high altitude areas taking in to account the coverage, terrain and climatic considerations.

The increasing requirement for persistent surveillance and reconnaissance, mapping, target identification, data acquisition, early warning for an air defence role in high altitude areas necessitates a focused attention on realistic and affordable LTA platforms with long endurance and mission mode payload capabilities.

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Saying it with pink balloons
Tribune News Service

Jean Rodrigues, wife of the Punjab governor, releases balloons while launching the breast cancer awareness month in Sector 17, Chandigarh.
Jean Rodrigues, wife of the Punjab governor, releases balloons while launching the breast cancer awareness month in Sector 17, Chand
igarh, on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, October 6
Lady Governor Jean Rodrigues released pink balloons on the occasion of the launch of the breast cancer awareness month here today.

The awareness campaign was launched by Sahayata Cancer Sahyog in collaboration with the department of tourism, Chandigarh administration, in Sector 17.

Pink ribbons internationally recognised as the symbol of breast cancer was worn by all volunteers.

The Sector 17 plaza and fountain were also lit up in pink. The motto of the breast cancer awareness month is “early detection is your best protection.”

Trust formed

Aiming at helping the poor, the survivors of breast cancer launched Chandigarh Breast Cancer Trust here today.

The trust will focus on providing financial assistance to poor patients by providing medicine and cost of surgery.

Trust members will work on providing emotional security and physical presence during the time of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy of the needy and contribute in research and development in the field of breast cancer, said Kamaljit Walia, a trust member.

Breast cancer is curable when detected early and the patient is given complete treatment, said the participants.

There was a dire need for counselling patients before chemotherapy about its side-effects, said Sangeeta, a cancer survivor.

Patients suffer from complications like hair loss, nausea and vomits after chemotherapy and find it hard to continue with it even as it is essential, said Sangeeta.

After going through the trauma of watching her father and sister fight cancer, Kiranjit, a former bank official, decided to help others suffering from the disease and formed the trust with six like-minded people.

“I had an urge to do something for cancer patients and with this thought the trust was formed,” said Kiranjit.

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Pak delegate hospitalised
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Prof Tipu Sultan, president, Pakistan Society of Critical Care Medicine, was admitted to a hospital after he complained of chest pain and breathlessness here today.

Dr Sultan is here to participate in a three-day conference on critical care hosted by Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

Soon after delivering his lecture today, Professor Sultan felt chest pain around 12.30 pm. He was taken to Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

He was diagnosed with acute myocardial infarction and taken up for primary angioplasty by cardiologist Dr G.S. Kalra.

The condition of the guest is stable and is recuperating at the coronary care unit of hospital, said a spokesperson for the hospital.

Respiratory infections and their deleterious effects were discussed at the conference today. Dr Sumesh Arora from Australia took part in a “meet the expert” session.

In other sessions, mechanical ventilation, sepsis management, acute renal and hepatic dysfunction coagulation failure and trauma were discussed by speakers, including Dr Fries, Dr S. Kaul, Dr T.K. Chawla, Dr Jagmohan Varma and Dr Mary Abraham.

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Letters
Plan in advance

Sale of match tickets in Chandigarh has shown the real picture of the planned city which is not able to follow a planned system and allegations are being levelled against the authorities as well as administration for selling tickets in the black market.

The authorities should have thought before the distribution of tickets about the counter allotment in various parts of the city.

Looking at the fervour of cricket enthusiasts, it was obvious to have large queues of fans for buying tickets from the city as well as neighbouring areas.

The people are spending their nights outside the ticket counters without any shelter and buying expensive food. This is a real shame for the authorities, who could not even provide proper arrangements ahead of the match.

Administration should take imperative steps to avoid such situations and menace.

The well planned city should have a well planned system which should go smoothly so that people can actually enjoy such events.

Vaneet Malhotra, Turkey

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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CRIME
 

Thieves decamp with cash, jewellery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 6
Thieves broke into a house in Sector 19 and decamped with cash and jewellery on Wednesday.

According to the police, R.S. Bhola of Sector 19-A reported that three gold mangal sutras, three gold rings, a gold chain and Rs 10,500 were stolen from his residence on October 3. A case has been registered.

Theft

Vijay Vardhan, director environment, Sector 17, lodged a complaint with the police that Rs 1,000 and some documents were stolen from his car (CH-03-Q-2528), which was parked at Leisure Valley in Sector 10 on Friday. A case has been registered.

Vehicles stolen

Jaswinder Singh of Sector 36-D filed a complaint with the police that his Santro car (CH-03-J-3819) was stolen from the parking lot of MCM DAV College in Sector 36 on Friday. In another incident, Mohit Juneja of Sector 23-C reported to the police that his Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle (PB-15-C-8223) was stolen from his residence on September 30. Two separate cases of thefts have been registered.

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