C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Victory against all odds
2 Special Olympics medal holders in city
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
The smiles on their faces said it all. As city special children Tajinder and Akashdeep got down from the train, proudly sporting the medals they won at the Special Olympics held in China last week, their eyes made a statement of victory. For them, it was the victory of grit over the disability.

The medals proved that they had the ability to vanquish their opponents not only in sports, but also in real life. Both children are disabled in varying degrees.

And thanks to their feat, they were extended a warm welcome by their parents and well wishers, who swarmed the local railway station this evening, just to boost their morale.

“Our children have done the city proud,” said D.R. Paul and Surjit Singh, fathers of Akashdeep and Tajinder, respectively, while talking to TNS.

On the other hand, both sportspersons were all smiles. They seemed to be savouring the attention being showered on them.

The 1992-born Akashdeep, who won three medals, including two silver and one bronze in 100 m race, 2x100m relay race and 300 m race, respectively, in roller skating at Beijing, could not express his happiness in words.

“My son can speak only 10 to 12 words, his utterance, however, is incomprehensible. Only we can understand what he says. He is very excited today and happy, too,” said Paul.

Six-feet tall and stout Tajinder, who was member of the cricket team, came back with a bronze. On being questioned if they enjoyed being on the foreign soil, both nodded their heads in agreement. “No difficulty,” muttered Tajinder, who also runs an artificial jewellery shop with the help of his mother.

He said he made 95, 96 and 97 runs against Bangladesh, West Indies and England teams in China, and snapped three wickets.

Besides this achievement, Tajinder, who takes interest in sports from childhood days, has to his credit a silver medal in badminton and a bronze in table tennis at the national level. He was also part of the Asia-Pacific International Cricket Cup 2004 and World Cricket Cup (special) in Mumbai last year.

Akashdeep, who could not walk properly till the age of nine, also has a winning streak. 

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RBI Theft
It is an insider’s job: Cops
CCTV cameras had no footage
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
The high-security fresh currency note vault (where new printed notes are kept) in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Sector 17, here, is vulnerable to break in. This is underlined by the theft of Rs 2.82 lakh from the RBI on Friday, which is under surveillance of 85 close-circuit TV (CCTV) cameras.

The losses can be in crores as the capacity of the box containing currency is Rs 10 crore. The currency was kept in a tin box, which is further enclosed in a wooden box.

Police sources said the box contained Rs 1,000-denomination notes, 10 wads of 100 notes, each tied into a bundle, and 100 such bundles. It was broke open by simple screw drivers and other tools and the thieves managed to take out only Rs 2.82 lakh from it. Besides this, hundreds of crores was lying there.

Sources further disclosed that the four CCTV cameras were installed for keeping a watch on the fresh currency-note vault, but none had any footage of the incident. Moreover, police officials have to undergo the cumbersome procedure of watching recordings of all cameras.

A police officer said the place where the box was lying was covered by the CCTV camera. It indicated towards the involvement of some insider in the theft.

ASP Madur Verma told TNS that they had procured details of persons entering into the vault since September 14, the day the box was kept in the room. The details would be minutely verified to pinpoint suspicious persons. The investigating officials quizzed around 20 persons, including labourers and employees of the RBI. He admitted that it was also to be ascertained when did the theft take place.

The police said the weekend was also affecting the investigations as employees were not available for questioning. The police officers were also contacting the bank authorities in Delhi for assistance in some technical aspects of the investigation.

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Bhattal’s visit spells traffic chaos
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
Traffic jams ruled Madhya Marg throughout the day on a stretch in front of the Punjab Congress Bhawan, Sector 15, here.

Thousands of Congressmen from Punjab thronged the place to take part in the installation ceremony of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, as the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC).

The police closed the stretch of road in front of Punjab Bhawan while the traffic was allowed on the other side of the road.

Swanky SUV, luxury cars and jeeps had begun pouring in since morning and these kept on coming throughout the day making it difficult for commuters to move on the road. Not only this, the haphazardly parked vehicles created bottlenecks making the vehicular movement difficult.

Villagers were seen crossing the road in scant regard of the rules and paying no attention to vehicles coming on the road leading to chaos. Big hordings, buntings, cutouts of Congress leaders and decked-up roundabouts were the telltale sings of the event.

Traffic moved at a snail’s pace on the road and the traffic police had a though time in regulating the flow of the traffic.

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Murderous attack on shopkeeper
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 13
In the second such attempt on his life, Rajinder Arora, a shopkeeper from Haripur village, was allegedly attacked by a Sector 2 resident Harkirat Singh, at his shop, here today. The victim’s arm was seriously injured and he has been admitted to a private hospital. His condition is stated to stable.

The victim’s brother, Harish Arora, said Rajinder had a dispute with Harkirat who had earlier severed four fingers of the shopkeeper. “I know that all was not well between the two because Harkirat had, without provocation, attacked Rajinder on August 29 and cut off his fingers with his kirpan. We reported the matter to the police after which a case was registered against Harkirat,” he said.

Following the registration of the case, the matter came up for hearing at the district court and he was sent him to jail. Released five days back, Harkirat came to Rajinder’s shop the very first day after his release, alleged Harish. “He stood outside the shop and kept staring at my brother, making him uneasy. Rajinder informed the police, but they did not pay much attention. This morning he came and attacked my brother with a sword,” he added.

The family members expressed their anger against the cops when they arrived at the hospital to take the victim’s statement. “They did not take the matter seriously. Had they taken our complaint against Harkirat seriously, such an attack could have been averted. There is no point recording statements with the police because nothing will happen,” family members lamented.

The police, on its part, has begun a search for Harkirat who has been absconding since the attack and registered a case of attempt to murder under Section 307 of the IPC.

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Kairon lecture
‘Time to change mindset’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
Forty-two years after his death, Partap Singh Kairon’s legacy continues to be precious.

He still inspires a generation of leaders, who remember him for the power of his vision, which bequeathed to Punjab a priceless legacy of institutions like PGI.

Today, at PGI, Kairon’s life was revisited, as men of eminence assembled to commemorate the visionary’s 106th birth anniversary.

The occasion was made memorable with the revival of Kairon Memorial Lecture after a gap of 11 years. The last lecture was delivered in 1996 by then finance minister Manmohan Singh.

Picking up the threads today was H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune group of newspapers, who painted for the gathering a picture of real India where things are not as rosy as they seem.

After paying homage to Kairon, “the man who saved India from the begging bowl psychology and fulfilled every promise he made”, Dua listed the challenges India faced after the Independence.

“The country, today, is poised at a very crucial moment. After 60 years, we have no excuses for things that haven’t been done. We had enough time to be on track, but we have been left behind on many fronts,” Dua said.

In his crisp talk, he listed every challenge India faced, from criminalisation of politics and absence of electoral reforms to the rot of caste politics and naxalism.

And in doing so, he dared the gathering to brace for change of mindsets.

“We haven’t been open to change. We want to run the 21st century India by lynching the wrongdoer. We want to let ourselves be divided in the name of religion and then spend our energy trying to mend the divides,” Dua said.

No wonder, T.K.A. Nair, principal secretary to the Prime Minister, also present on the occasion, admitted, “I have been provoked by Dua’s speech. Whatever he said can’t be denied. We must together share the responsibility of development”.

Development was at the heart of today’s memorial lecture, with Dua ruing that fruits of growth have not reached the poor.

“The zooming Sensex and 9.5 per cent growth is exciting only for the shining Indian class. It means nothing to those who have no houses to live in. Growth is yet to trickle down,” he said, attributing the mess to politicians who, he said, were destroying the constitution.

Holding up the mirror to the people, he showed how ours’ was a weak Parliament. “We have 40 MPs with criminal background, but no party wants to ban criminalisation of politics.

Parties refuse to accept electoral reforms. The society is still caught up with caste,” he lamented, signing off on a somber note of the rise of naxalism and fundamentalism.

After him, it was Nair’s time to wrap up and he conceded to every point Dua made. Saluting Kairon, he said, “It is a challenge to hold the country of a billion people together. We have strived hard and will continue to do so”.

Nair later released a souvenir, published by PGI on Kairon, whose grandson Adesh then came up on the dais and shared memories of the great man.

“He was way ahead of his times and gave to Punjab an institution like PGI which continues to comfort people,” said Adesh, extending his thanks to everyone, including PGI director K.K. Talwar and director-general, Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, Rashpal Malhotra, who earlier introduced Kairon as a man of immense courage of conviction.

A film, profiling PGI’s association with Kairon to whom it owes its existence, was also screened. 

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Dept of community education inaugurated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
“Despite economic growth there are vast differences between urban and rural development. The concern for have-nots of the society will enable the country to develop faster,” opined T.K.A. Nair, IAS, principal secretary to the Prime Minister of India, while inaugurating the department of community education and UIET workshop phase-II at South Campus here today.

Congratulating the university for taking lead in starting community education, he said, “There is a need for a sustained sense of service and commitment in achieving this noble objective.” Speaking on the occasion, he said this is perhaps the first initiative of its kind by an academic institution.

Dr K.K. Talwar, director, PGI, in his presidential remarks, felt that the department of community education will not only empower the underprivileged but also help in bridging the gap between the rich and poor. “This will also help in creating awareness about hygiene, civic sense and improve general health,” he mentioned. Dr R.C. Sobti, in his welcome address, called it a special occasion where the university had completed 125 years of its existence. He informed that the regional resource centre will be a full-fledged department, concerned with the society at large and involve self-help groups which will be supported by the university in rendering service by providing quality goods at reasonable prices. He also informed that the university was planning to have a regular medical college with research facilities for stem cells. He made a plea for enhanced central support. Dr B.S. Sohi, director, UIET, informed that the university had developed the workshops with state-of-art facilities where the students will discard drawing boards and will have computer-aided designing facilities.

Manjit Paintal, director, RRC, in her welcome address, said community education is the study of educational activities that contribute to the growth and development of communities.

The department of community education will provide postgraduate course for careers that demands an understanding of the social, economic, environmental issues of our communities, and how they can play a role in different regions.

The main objectives of the department are the integration of development with community education, to provide students with an understanding of the concept of community.

The programme ended with a vote of thanks by Dr Ashwani Sharma, project officer, RRC.

Meanwhile, social worker Narinder Singh, met Nair and submitted a petition that PAU, Ludhiana, be named after the its creator, Pratap Singh Kairon, former CM, Punjab.

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Project Industrial Area-3 scrapped
Instead, medicity to be set up on 45 acres
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
The administration has decided against constructing the third phase of Industrial Area in Raipur Kalan. The decision has attracted protest from industrialists.

The administration, while communication with the Ministry of Home Affairs in light of the move to set up the Urban Arts Commission, had stated that the project, Phase III, was among the list of the projects which had already been finalised or sanctioned.

Instead, the 153 acres of land will be used for the medicity in around 45 acres and other infrastructure projects.

Incidentally, the UT administrator had last year constituted a sub-committee to suggest methodologies to be adopted for the development of Phase III of the Industrial Area.

The project had been conceived by the previous administrator, Lt-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd).

Even the administration had decided to auction four plots in the third phase of the Industrial Area.

The UT engineering has spent lakhs of rupees on providing the infrastructure for the project.

M.P.S. Chawla, president of the Chandigarh Industrial Association, said: "The industrial area should be developed for the designated purpose. The city has a long list of applicants not allotted property for the past more than two decades. These people are being sidelined."

There was a category of industrialists, who approached the Supreme Court. They won the case and were allotted property.

There was another category who was offered a refund after nearly two decades and without any interest. Many have not accepted the refund.

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Mansa Devi shopkeepers call off protest
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 13
Shopkeepers of the Mansa Devi market called off their protest today following a compromise with the district administration which agreed to most of their demands.

The day began with shopkeepers lodging their protest against four government-run shops, which have been set up near the Shrine complex, demanding their closure.

The protesters took off their shirts to lodge their protest and all shops remained closed for the second day despite heavy rush at the temple during the ongoing Navratra Mela.

Maintaining that the Vita booth was selling products other than its own, they sought action against the shopkeeper and also demanded that they be allowed to extend their tin sheets beyond their shop area as a shield against the sun rays.

The president of the market association, Lal Chand Sharma, said the municipal council president Seema Chadhary had initiated a compromise between them and the administration by taking up the matter with the deputy commissioner who, in turn, directed the SDM to hold a meeting with the shopkeepers.

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BBMB wins award

Chandigarh, October 13
The Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) was today awarded the "Energiser of the nation award for excellence 2007".

The award was received by BBMB chairman UC Mishra. Prominent among those present on the occasion were the union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde at New 
Delhi. — TNS

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Senior Citizens’ Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
The State Bank of India in collaboration with the Federation of Senior Citizen Welfare Organisation celebrated Senior Citizens’ Day at St Stephen’s School, Sector 45, here today.

Minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Bansal was the chief guest. He spoke about the Reverse Mortgage Scheme launched by the Government of India to be implemented by the SBI to meet the financial requirements of citizens who are above the age of 60 years.

Regional Manager Vijay K. Garg, SBI, expressed concern for the welfare of senior citizens.

A cultural programme presented by the students of St Stephen’s School was the another highlight of the function.

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Open quiz contest today

Chandigarh, October 13
An open quiz competition will be held tomorrow at Bal Bhavan, Sector 23, here. The quiz is being organised by STEPS, a society formed under the aegis of the Chandigarh Tourism, in collaboration with Anaahat Naad Productions while the sponsors include British Library, Pulse Engineering and Mastersmart.

Open to two-member teams, the unique feature of the quiz is that there is no restriction on the composition of the team i.e. there is no age bar, no sex bar etc. The quiz would be conducted by quizmaster T.P.S. Jassal. All participants are required to report at the venue by 9 am. – TNS

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Body found in train
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
The body of an unidentified woman in her eighties was found in a train at the Chandigarh railway station this afternoon.

The police said no visible injury marks, except a scratch on the woman’s shoulder, was found on the body. The victim had a natural death and her body was lying near the toilet in the train.

The police could not establish her identity. 

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Letters
Sec 9 woes

My husband and I, after his retirement, decided to make Sector 9, Chandigarh, our permanent abode during our twilight years.

The sector, during those days, was considered to be a VIP area. No power cuts, no water supply interruptions, well-laid/well-metalled lanes and roads made it attractive not only for people who loved living in style but for many retired senior officers too.

Today, a survey of the sector reveals total neglect in the area. Roads dotted with craters, unkempt parks with no walkways for the pedestrians, frequent power breakdowns is all that residents are being made to bear with.

Apathy of the authorities towards the upkeep of the sector is not understandable. Most of the parks in other sectors have nicely laid walkways but not Sector 9.

I request the concerned authorities to please be kind to Sector 9 residents and improve the conditions to make our lives enjoyable.

Shiel Chopra and D.B. Singh, 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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Cops pick up lawyer, wife
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 13
The police today allegedly rounded up a lawyer and his wife on a charge of cheating even when the couple had got a stay on the arrest from a sessions court.

According to reports, Jagtar Singh, who worked as a lawyer in the district courts, Chandigarh, and his wife Sheela Devi, were picked up from their house in Phase VII here. The couple told the police about the stay orders, but the police officials allegedly refused to listen to them.

Later, Kailash Chander, general secretary of the District Bar Association, Chandigarh, and a lawyer for Jagtar Singh, gave the police in writing about the stay orders, but to no avail.

The couple was brought to the Phase I police station here. But when lawyers and mediapersons gathered there, the couple was taken to Phase VI, where the office of the economic offences wing is located . The couple was later allowed to go by the police.

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Child, woman die in accidents

Chandigarh, Oct 13
A 10-year-old slum boy and a 70-year-old woman died late tonight, following fatal accidents during the day. Ten-year-old Ranjan from Sector 25 Bhaskar Colony, who was admitted to Sector 16 Government Multi Specialty Hospital (GMSH) this evening, succumbed late tonight to injuries sustained in the road accidents.

A rag picker by profession, Ranjan who was returning home after the day’s work, when he was knocked down by speeding Indica at the dividing road of Sector 15 and 16 late this evening. Although the driver did not even stop to offer help to the child, the police nabbed him after a short chase. Barricading by the police in the area helped arrest the driver Hargun Singh of Sector 71, Mohali. A case of rash and negligent driving has been registerd.

In the second incident, 70-year-old Manu Devi, a resident of Sector 52, was hit by a crane when she was crossing the road dividing Sectors 51 and 61. Gravely injured, she was shifted to Sector 16 GMSH in the evening. Like Ranjan, she too, died of her injuries late tonight. — TNS

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Halt retail revolution or we protest, traders to govt
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
The Rashtriya Beopar Mandal today served an ultimatum on the central government to bring a legislation on shopping mall regulation to “discourage the shopping mall culture” or face backlash from crores of traders, who would be rendered unemployed in the wake of retail revolution.

“The shopping mall culture would deal a death knell to the traditional traders and indirectly affect livelihood of over 40 crore persons sparking off social unrest in the society,” mandal president Banwari Lal Kanchhal said here today.

Currently, the retail sector is valued at Rs 12,000 billion and growing at the rate of 30 per cent.

However, with the coming of the big business houses and FDI in this sector, crores of people would be rendered without work, creating law and order problems in the society, he asserted.

Mincing no words, the traders’ leader, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, alleged that while the traditional traders had been at the receiving end , the big entrepreneurs got incentives for their foray into the retail sector.

They had no business to enter the retail sector and should rather concentrate on big projects aimed at building the nation, he added.

Justifying the use of violence, Kanchhal said the mandal had prepared an elaborate agitation programme against the entry of big business houses in the retail sector.

While dharnas would be organised at all state capitals on November 24 and 25, a “halla bol” campaign would be held on shopping malls in the NCR on November 27.

A nationwide bandh is also planned on January 10.

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Local trade issues to go national
Protest against entry of corporates in retail sector
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh,October 13
Fighting with its back to the wall against certain "anti-trader" policies of the Chandigarh Administration, the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal(CBM) got a shot in the arm today with the Rashtriya Beopar Mandal (RBM) pledging to take up the issues of the local trade at the national level.

While the statement of the president of the RBM, Banwari Lal Kanchhal, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, on the issue of ban on the entry of the big corporates and FDI in the retail sector must have gladdened the CBM top brass, his plain speaking on the agitational approach of the local traders must have left them surprised.

"Nobody listens to the your appeals and memorandums," Kanchhal told office-bearers of the CBM, apparently miffed at the "peaceful means" of protest adopted by the local traders. "It is time to resort to direct action against the entry of the big corporates and FDI in the retail sector," he quipped.

Coming down heavily on the big corporates for their entry into the retail sector, he said, "Big people should do big things....let the government and big corporates leave the retail sector for the common traders so that they could also earn their livelihood."

Charanjiv Singh and Diwakar Sahoonja, president and spokesman for the CBM, said the mandal had adopted a two-pronged strategy for the welfare of the traditional traders.

One, the CBM was pressing the administration and municipal corporation of Chandigarh to upgrade the markets to face the onslaught of the shopping malls.Two, a north India conclave of the traders would be organised to make the "trader-friendly" reforms an election issue in the run-up to the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

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