C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Power-less in Tricity

  • Rail passengers stranded

  • Production deadlines hit

  • Chaos at traffic signals

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Life virtually came to a halt in the city and its neighbouring towns of Mohali and Panchkula after the northern grid collapsed this afternoon. Power supply to the city was restored at 3 pm with help from the BBMB.

Hundreds of passengers travelling on trains on the Chandigarh-Delhi and Amritsar-Delhi rail section between 12.50 pm and 1.20 pm were stranded on the way as the power supply from Dhulkot failed.

The collapse in the northern grid resulted in tripping of all hydro and thermal units in Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

The worst affected were industrial units as production deadlines were hit. Shopkeepers expecting heavy sales on the first day of Navratras were disappointed.The breakdown kept the shoppers away.Work at the railway booking counters at the ISBT, Sector 17, the railway station and other booking counters in the tricity came to standstill.

There was chaos at traffic junctions due to non-functional lights.The supply to emergency services was restored after two hours. Patients at government and private hospitals were also affected. The supply to the PGI, Sector 16 hospital and the GMCH in Sector 32 was restored in 30 minutes.

Sources said the northern grid had collapsed due to low frequency. A spokesman for the UT electricity department said the supply to essential services and Sectors 6,7,8,9,17, 18,19,20, 21, 23, 26, 27 and 28 was restored at 1.45 pm on getting supply from the BBMB. The supply to the rest of the city was restored at about 3 pm.

In Mohali, the supply was restored at 5 pm. A spokesman for the Haryana Power Utilities said only the Gurgoan and Garidabad belt remained unaffected.

Earlier, the supply to Punjab areas was hit on August 5 due to a technical fault in transmission lines from Jamalpur, Ludhana.



Exam Fee Hike
Why now, ask principals
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The recent hike in the examination fee of students of colleges affiliated to Panjab University has invited criticism, both from students and the teaching fraternity. Not only is the hike ill-timed, but it is also unjustified. The hike, which was approved by the syndicate, has come at a time when returns of colleges and departments have been filed.

Even if the examination fee was to be hiked, it should have been for the 2008-2009 academic session and not the the current session, said one of the senators.

Dr A.C.Vaid, principal, GGDSD College, Sector 32, said: “ This hike is not justified. If at all it was necessary, it should have been done in the beginning of the session when the prospectus is printed. The university has surplus funds for examinations. I will write to the VC to roll back the hike”.

The examination fee till last year for BA/BCom was Rs 545, which has been hiked to Rs 700, for BCA it has been hiked from Rs 800 to Rs 1000 and BBA from Rs 700 to Rs 900. Similarly, the fee hike for BSc (Biotech) has been hiked from Rs 1000 to Rs 1200.

For BSc, the fee has been hiked from Rs 800 to Rs 1000. The revised examination fee for MA/ Mcom/ MSc has been hiked to Rs 900 (without thesis) for regular and Rs 1,100 for private candidates.

“ It is difficult to ask students at this juncture to pay more than what has been initially asked for”, said Harjinder Kaur, principal, GGSCW, Sector 26.

Describing the hike as irrelevant, Prof Ravinder Nath Sharma, PU senator, said: “ Its a hasty decision.The issue should have been discussed in the senate first. The hike should be rolled back.”

Dr A L Gauba, principal of GC 11, said: “ The fee should have been hiked earlier during the session. Nevertheless, the hike should not be more than five to six per cent ”.

Joint controller of examinations V. Kapoor, registrar S.S. Bari and other officials ducked comment on the issue.



CSIO student alleges ragging by seniors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Close on the heels of the death of GMCH student Manjot from Amritsar after alleged ragging by seniors, another case of ragging has been reported from the CSIO, Sector 30, here today.

Nishchay Kapoor, a first-year student of engineering advance diploma at the Indo-Swiss training centre at the CSIO, in a complaint to the principal today named senior students, including Sanjeev Sangwan, Brahmjot and Mohit Dhami.

Nishchay alleged that today the three along with their friends thrashed him at the premises. “During the tussle, I received injuries on my nose and the forehead. They left when my friends reached there,” he told TNS.

Delhi-based Nishchay, who has been living as paying guest in Sector 33, said the incident occured when he stayed at the institution’s hostel for three weeks after joining the CSIO on September 3.

“Ragging in the hostel is common. Senior students even forced us to into vulgar acts for fun and tortured us physically,” alleged

Nishchay. According to Nishchay, the principal had referred the matter to the concerned committee.

A complaint has been lodged with the police but no FIR has been registered. 



Justice Sarkaria dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Justice Ranjit Singh Sarkaria (91), a former judge of the Supreme Court and chairman of the Centre-State Relations Committee, died here late tonight after a protracted illness.

He was visiting his sister in Sector 9 in Chandigarh when he reportedly complained of breathlessness and was admitted to Inscol Hospital in Sector 34 here where he died at 11 pm, family sources said.

Born on January 16, 1916, and educated at B.N. Khalsa Polytechnic, and Government Mahendra College, Patiala, he graduated from Government College, Lahore, in 1936 and did his LL.B. from University Law College, Lahore.

He practiced at Patiala as pleader and thereafter as advocate of the Patiala High Court from 1940 to 1943. He served as sub-judge-cum-magistrate in Patiala Judicial Service from 1943 to 1948 and then in Pepsu Judicial Service from 1948 to 1951 and was on the two-member committee set up by the Pepsu government to translate the Constitution of India into Punjabi.

He then became district and additional district & sessions judge in Superior Judicial Service from 1951 to 1956 in Pepsu and from 1956 to 1962 in Punjab. Subsequently, he was on deputation as Registrar, Punjab High Court, from 1962 to 1967. He was appointed additional judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in1967 and puisine judge later that year.

He was appointed judge of the Supreme Court of India in September, 1973, and retired in January, 1981. He also remained senator and syndic of Punjabi University, Patiala.



Custodial Death
Court turns down SI’s bail plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The bail plea of SI Narinder Singh, accused in the custodial death of Anil Kumar, was dismissed by District Additional and Sessions Judge Raj Rahul Garg here today.

Narinder Singh’s counsel Rabindra Pandit pleaded that he his client was not present in the police station when the incident took place. Initially, a complaint under Section 304 (A) of the IPC was registered against the SI but it was changed to Section 304 of the IPC . The former refers to death due to negligence while the latter means homicide not amounting to murder.

It was pleaded that the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) report also favoured the accused.



Indian Army bags top positions
Battle Physical Efficiency, Firing competitions in Lebanon
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The Indian Army contingent deployed in Lebanon under a United Nations (UN) mandate has added another feather to its cap by bagging top positions in Battle Physical Efficiency and Firing competitions held this week.

Teams from Poland, Spain, Malaysia, Indonesia and Nepal, which included troops from special forces, took part in the event organised by the Spanish Sector Headquarters of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon.

The event involved an endurance run of 5.4 km, while carrying a personal firearm and ammunition. After reaching the finishing point, six participants of each contingent were required to sprint 100 m to a firing point and then fire on to given targets from a range of 100 m.

After completing the run in the fastest time amongst the other contingents, the men of 15 Punjab routed the opposition in the firing competition as well. All along the route, officers and soldiers of 15 Punjab Infantry Battalion Group cheered the participants and boosted their morale.

The event also indicated the quality of marksmanship of Indian troops. While other competitors fired with the help of sophisticated optical sights fixed on their assault rifles, the Indian troops showed better results with the open “iron” sights of their indigenously manufactured INSAS rifles.

A systematic training programme had been organised for the participants. The battalion’s commanding officer, Col Advitya Madan had detailed Capt Sarfraz Singh Sanghera, who is also a member of the Indian Army’s elite Army Marksmanship Unit, to hone the firing skills of the team.

Meanwhile, the battalion also observed the holy month of Ramzan by organising a grand Iftar party for the religious leaders, superintendents, mayors and locals residing in its area of responsibility. The party was held in the battalion’s Officers Mess located at its position in south-eastern Lebanon.

In the party Sheikhs of all major Muslim religious groups broke the holy fast with the Indian battalion. The representative of the Mufti of Hasbaya and Marjayoun region, Sheikh Mohemmed Hajj complimented the initiative of the Indian battalion and expressed deep gratitude for this warm gesture. The Sheikh also presented an English version of the Quran to Colonel Madan, and Maj Sumit Sharma, the battalion’s public information officer.



Rs 2.82 lakh missing from RBI
Labourers questioned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
An amount of Rs 2.82 lakh was found missing from the Reserve Bank Of India regional office, Sector 17, here today.

According to bank sources, the matter has been reported to the police.

“The amount has been found missing when the accounts were tallied. But it is difficult at the moment to say who is responsible for the act”, added the source.

All those who visited the branch today are on the police scan list following disappearance of the money.

A packet containing Rs 2 lakh was found missing along with Rs 82,000 from another packet.

Meanwhile, a police team reached the spot at about 5 pm and found a wooden box containing the cash broken.

The police team also found some tools suspected to have been used in breaking open the box.

Repair work was going on in the basement today from where the cash has been found missing. The police questioned all the labourers who were conducting the repair work.

Meanwhile, CFSL team also reached the spot and began investigating. SSP S.S. Srivastava was present at the spot till late evening and further investigations are on in the case. All the notes are of Rs 1000 denomination and the series 9AS799791 to 9AS800000, informed police sources.



Standards must for safety: BIS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
As part of the world standards day, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) will organise a seminar on the topic "Standards and the citizens: contributing to society" on October 16.

According to Bhupinder Singh, deputy director-general of the office of the BIS A.R. Talwar, principal secretary, industries and commerce, Punjab government, will deliver the inaugural address.

Bhupinder Singh said today organised standardisation, besides being essential for the success of industrial development and building international competitiveness, was also being viewed as an important element required for ensuring health safety and security of all concerned.

The standards help society by improving products and services, access to information, encouraging knowledge sharing and addressing social concerns, e.g. environmental, health and safety. The world, that has turned into a global village, benefits from the sharing of resources facilitated by the use of agreed standards, Renuka Salwan, BIS deputy director, public relations, said.

The Indian standards published by BIS numbering over 18,000 provide the requisite information on quality of large variety of products, processes, their testing procedures and criteria of the final conformity.

World Standards Day is celebrated every year on October 14 to commemorate and recognize the contribution made by experts world over in the field of standardisation in collaboration with the three international standards bodies-- the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC), the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).



Thrust on tourism key point at CII
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The upcoming trends of tourism are actually the sequential progression of the new growth trajectory in India; there is nothing that can stop this. Therefore, there has never been such a compulsion, such a crying need to come together and churn out a common and comprehensive strategy for sustainable growth of the tourism sector in the region. This was stated by Gen S.F. Rodrigues, administrator, Chandigarh, while delivering the inaugural address at the conference-cum-exposition on Tourism N'Tour, the North India tourism conclave.

The conclave was organised by the CII in association with the Department of Tourism, UT, and the Tourism Departments of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan at the CII Northern Region Headquarters at Chandigarh today.

Keshini Anand Arora, commissioner & secretary (Tourism), Haryana, addressing the inaugural session, said in case of tourism development, it was becoming increasingly important that the states in the North to evolve a common strategy to give a thrust to the industry.

Himmat Anand, chairman N'Tour & CEO, Kuoni Destination Management, stressed the need to have multi-pronged strategy for tourism development considering its potential for revenue and employment generation. However, there were many concerns such as rationalisation of taxes, ideal policy framework, financing needs, infrastructure requirements, human resource development, marketing, etc. These concerns need to be urgently addressed for the sustainable development of tourism in the region.

Aashish Gupta, associate vice-president, Ernst & Young India, presented a product innovation in the tourism sector as essential keeping in view the sector being so demand-driven.

Quoting example from Asean countries with their 53 million tourists per annum as compared to India with 4.5 million tourists, Gupta said coming together as North India and creation of innovation mechanism were necessary for a constant rejuvenation of this tourism sector.

The conclave aimed to provide a common platform to stakeholders to showcase their products anddiscuss matters threadbare and to formulate a comprehensive strategy towards sustainable growth of the tourism industry in Northern India.

The conclave was attended by a large number of senior executives representing the holiday resorts, travel, tourism and hospitality industry, institutions, NGOs, consultants and persons engaged with the tourism industry in the government and in the private sector as well as students.



Devotees throng Mansa Devi temple
Tribune News Service

Women police personnel take time off their duties to pay obeisance at the temple.
Women police personnel take time off their duties to pay obeisance at the temple. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Panchkula, October 12
On the first Navratra today, hundreds of devotees thronged the Mansa Devi temple. Devotees queued up to pay obeisance since early morning. The district administration had made elaborate arrangements to ensure that the devotees faced no inconvenience.

Meanwhile, chief secretary of Haryana Promila Issar, while inaugurating the NSS camp organised by three government colleges, paid obeisance at the historical Mata Mansa Devi temple on the occasion of the ongoing "Navratra mela" here today. Talking to mediapersons, she stated that as part of the security measures, elaborate arrangements had been made by the local administration and the police department.

She further stated that the police department was well-equipped to meet any eventuality or sabotage by anti-social elements. Use of plastic bags was also banned during the Navarata mela. Local people from all walks of life were also cooperating with the administration. She praised the police department for their taking various decisions for the safety and welfare of the devotees. She also had a round of the mela and enquired about the arrangements made for langar. Deputy commissioner Rajendra Kataria also apprised the chief secretary of safety measures taken by the local administration. He stated that during the mela, six DSPs, eight inspectors , 483 constables, etc had been deputed. In order to keep a watch on the activities during the mela, 16 cameras were also installed at the mela site.



Fake travel agents get marketing savvy
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
He wished to go to the UK in the hope of making a fortune. After paying Rs 6 lakh to a travel agent in Chandigarh, Ramesh Sharma (name changed) realised he had been duped.The travel agent kept delaying his ‘trip’ on one pretext or the other.

After much harassment, he complained to the police. Ramesh lost a lot of money and never got a chance to lay a foot on the shores of his dreamland. Today, as his case is under investigation with the economic offences wing (EOW) of the Chandigarh Police, he is running pillar to post to get his hard-earned money back.

Most aspirants fall victim to the marketing tactics of travel agents, who run extensive advertisement campaigns in newspapers. This lends them credibility and half their job is done. Gullible people just walk into their net.

Several agents have set up impressive offices in Sectors 34 and 35 markets. Occasionally, they hold exhibitions in five-star hotels where experts talk on immigration rules.

The city has witnessed an increase in the number of persons falling prey to these unscrupulous travel agencts. “Most of the cases that have been registered with the police are regarding fake travel agents, who take the initial amount and flee. Complaints on fake visas are comparatively less. People must verify the credentials of travel agents before they approach them,” said IGP S.K Jain. The police got eight cases of immigration fraud in 2003, four in 2004, six in 2005 and 12 in 2006. This year, till date, six such cases have been registered.

Investigation in the cases registered in 2006 and 2007 is pending with the EOW. A majority of the cases are from the southern sectors.

These agents run extensive advertisement campaigns in newspapers. Several have set up impressive offices in Sectors 34 and 35 markets.



40 supervisors get training

Chandigarh, October 12
The fourth portage training camp on “Enhancement of Development of Children” was held at Karuna Sadan, Sector 11, here today.

The workshop was organised by the Indian National Portage Association. During the camp, training was given to CDPO's, supervisors, teachers and volunteers, to implement portage training in anganwadi centres of Punjab.

Nearly 40 supervisors, CDPOs from Anganwadi centres of Punjab, students of diploma special education participated in this one-day workshop. — TNS



Tributes paid to film-maker Prabhakar

Panchkula, October 12
Rich tributes were paid to legendary poet, author of over 40 books and pioneering Haryanvi filmmaker Devi Shanker Parbhakar at a function organised by the Devi Shanker Memorial Trust at the Yavanika Open-Air Theatre yesterday.

Hailing Parbhakar as the son of the soil and a literary exponent of the Haryanvi pastoral culture, chief guest Chandrawati, former governor of Mizoram, lauded his contributions in various realms of literary, performing and cinematic arts.

Folklorist K.C Sharma, IAS, (retd), Dr Chander Trikha, former chairperson, Haryana Sahitya Academy, and Dewan Sharma accounted the achievements of Parbhakar in the propagation of folk musical arts.

Employing his life-long expertise, vision and aesthetic potential, Devi Shanker emerged as the pioneer with the production of first ever Harynavi feature film ‘Chandrawal’ which recorded better business than the Hindi blockbusters ‘Sholay’ and ‘Bobby’ in the region. Assisted by Kathak danseuse and actress wife Usha Sharma, he made more Haynavi films.

The Devi Shanker Memorial Award-2007 for excellence was bestowed on Omkar Choudhry for journalism, Dr Suman Kadyan for literature and Leela Rani for performing arts. It carried a cash award of Rs 5,100, a citation, shawl and a momento.



Dengue patients forced to leave hospital
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, October 12
The PGI is discharging the dengue patients even before the report of diagnosis test reaches to the doctors concerned.

The patients were being asked to leave the hospital even before they were recovered from the diseases completely on the pretext that they could get infection at the hospital for longer stay.

The dengue has gripped the region and more than 30 patients have been admitted in different hospitals of the city, including the PGI. Other hospitals of the city, including Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, and Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, also send the diagnosis samples to the PGI for the serology test to confirm that the patient is suffering from dengue.

Jatinder, a patient referred from Jind on October 6 for the treatment of dengue, was discharged on Wednesday. No test was carried out during the treatment, alleged Jatinder. However on the repeated requests by his relatives, the sample was taken which was found positive the next day. Same was the complaint of Rakesh, Chirag and Punam from Yamuna Nagar who were discharged from the hospital on October 10 while the next day their test reports confirmed that they were suffering from dengue.

Dr Ashaish Bhalla, Department of Internal Medicine, claiming that no patient suffering from dengue was discharged without conducting serology test, refused to comment on why the patients were being discharged before the diagnosis results were received.



CPUJ team goes for trekking

Chandigarh, October 12
A seven-member team of the Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ) today left for a three-day Solang Nullah-Beas Kund trekking expedition. The exhibition was flagged off by A.J. Philip, Senior Associate Editor, The Tribune.

The team, led by Naveen Sharma, general secretary of the union, comprises journalists from the print and electronic media. — TNS



Advisory to Ramlila committees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The police issued advisory to Ramlila committees of the city for the smooth celebrations of Ramlilas.

A meeting was convened by SSP S.S. Srivastava at Conference Hall, Police Headquarters, Sector 9, here today, which was attended by all SDPOs, DSPs, SHOs and 60 office-bearers of various Ramlila committees.

The SSP issued instructions that the timings of the Ramlila should be strictly observed.

The organisers have been instructed that proper lighting and fire-fighting arrangements should be made in and around the venues while parking lots should be made at safe distance away from the venues.

According to the instructions, the SHOs will issue the identity cards to volunteers for the smooth conduct of the Ramlilas.

Besides that, the police will check the area before starting of the Ramlila.



Polythene Bags
UT to study HP model
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The Chandigarh administration will study the Himachal Pradesh model to implement the ban on the use of polythene.

The adviser has put the finance secretary to the job.

Polythene bags of less than 20 microns are banned in the city.

Though officials conduct raids to check the use of unauthorised polythene bags, bags of less than 30 microns find their way into the market.

As a result, these bags are seen littered around at open spaces.



Garcha opposes decision to shift site
Dist Administrative Complex
Our Correspondent

Mohali , October 12
Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, a member of the All-India Congress Committee, has condemned the decision of the Punjab government to shift the site of the district administrative complex from the town to a nearby village.

She said that such a move of the government would not be tolerated and if need be residents would be mobilised to hold a protest against the proposal of the government. She said even though the government had not confirmed such a decision, senior officials of the district were looking for an alternative site in nearby villages.

She said the site in Phase VIII was suitable. 



Loot in name of parking

On October 10, I visited the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

In the parking lot near the emergency block, the parking boy asked for Rs 10. When resisted, he agreed at Rs 5.

On Oct 12, I visited the hospital again. The parking boy (same guy) asked for Rs 5 for a bike. When resisted, he agreed to take Rs 2.

On being questioned, the man said I should not be getting angry with him and even offered me free parking whenever I visit the C-Block and offered to return Rs 2 I had paid for parking my bike.

He did not have any reply when asked for the rate list. Then I took a round of the hospital and found that the parking rates were not displayed anywhere. That is why Rs 5 was being charged for a two-wheeler and Rs 10 for a four-wheeler.

This loot by the contractor should be stopped and parking rates be displayed at a prominent place in all the parking lots.

Manjula Kiran, Chandigarh

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Esteem stolen from Sec-22 market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Gulshan Kumar of Sector 47 reported to the police that his Esteem car bearing number CH-03-E-3857 was stolen on October 10 from the parking of Shastri Market, Sector 22.

The police registered a case under Section 379, IPC.

Mohinder Pal Sharma of Manimajra reported that two motorcyclists snatched his mobile phone near light point at Shastri Nagar, Manimajra, at 9.45 pm yesterday. However, the number of the vehicle could not be noted down.

The police has registered a case.

Booked for dowry

The police has registered a dowry case against Amandeep of Sector 18, Panchkula, and his parents on the complaint of his wife Jyoti, a resident of Sector 44.

Jyoti alleged that she was harassed and maltreated by Amandeep and his parents for dowry.

A case has been registered.

A similar case was registered on the complaint of Surinder Kaur of Baterla village against her husband Ramanjit Singh and in-laws.

In her complaint, Surinder Kaur alleged that her in-laws along with her husband demanded dowry and maltreated her.

Both cases are being investigated by Women and Child Support Unit of the Chandigarh Police.

Motorcycle stolen

Mohamed Aslam of Manimajra alleged in his complaint that his Pulsar motorcycle (HR-61-HQ-1884 T) was stolen from outside his residence in the night of October 11.



Punjab postal circle gets Rs 1.43 cr business
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The Punjab postal circle has attained the fourth position in the country in the procurement of proportionate targets in business development activities, said Manjula Prasher, chief post master-general, Punjab and UT Chandigarh, at the beginning of national postal week here yesterday.

The circle has taken several steps for the promotion and marketing of various premium services like the speed post, business post and the retail post. Wide publicity and marketing have resulted in the procurement of the business of Rs 1.43 crore under sale of mutual funds through the post offices, she added.

She further said slogan this year was "The global postal network:stay connected" and the Punjab circle had decided to ensure effective computerisation to ensure easy connectivity for postal transactions to mark the occasion.

She said the department had also made special arrangements for conveying mail to Guwahati, Agartala, Imphal from Kolkata by introducing an air freighter. This would also enable the Punjab Circle to connect its mail for North-East for expeditious delivery.

She said to provide easy access to the public to give their applications under the RTI Act, 73 post offices had been designated in Punjab and Chandigarh.



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