C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Red alert? Hardly
Cops looked anything, but vigilant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Even as the Chandigarh police sounded red alert in the wake of the blast at a cinema hall in Ludhiana that left seven persons and over 40 injured last night, it was a day of routine policing here.

No patrolling was seen during the day around sensitive installations, including cinema halls, with those manning PCR vehicles expressing ignorance about any such direction.

A visit to two cinema halls in Sectors 32 and 34 revealed that no policeman had been deployed there. There was scant police presence on roads. At some places, police personnel were seen sitting idle.

Three policemen, including a home guard volunteer, deputed at a PCR vehicle said no such instruction had been passed to them by senior officials. If the orders had been issued, senior officials would have carried out surprise checks on patrol teams.

They said they were not even asked to patrol and hence, they were discharging their normal duty from the designated point. They were supposed to react only to emergency calls.

Contrary to this, senior officers claimed that they had been directed to be more vigilant and a red alert had been sounded. Security had been stepped up and the policemen had been directed to keep a watch on the movements of suspicious persons, they claimed.

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Calorie boost for midday meals
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Chandigarh administration has decided to revamp the midday meals scheme.

The scheme which aims to cover students of Classes I-V in government, government aided and local body schools, will now be redesigned with emphasis on determining deficiencies in students. The DPI (S), S.K. Setia, said the purchasing of weighing machines and height measurement equipment for schools had already started.

“With a view to determining the nutritional deficiency or any other medical problem among students, schools will be instructed to monitor the record of the weight and height of students.

The administration aims to provide at least 450 calories and 8 to 12 gm of protein to each student every day. The administration is also planning to introduce additions in its menu to meet the nutritional requirements of the students.

Supreme Court guidelines advocate a minimum content of  At present, the administration is providing ready-to-eat meals in the form of dal/sabji and chapatti, costing Rs 8 per child per day and a rice-based menu that costs Rs 4.50.

Now, the chapatti-based menu will be provided on a rotational basis to around 59,993 students. Besides this, dalia, sweet rice, suji halwa, phirni and kheer would also be part of the menu.

The administration is also providing two mathis which cost Rs 2.65 per child per day to around 12,000 students of AIE centres run under the SSA programme from 2 pm.

With the new additions, the administration’s budget, which was Rs 4.32 crore in 2006-07, is likely to cross Rs 7.50 crore during 2007-08. This is based on the serving of meal up to Class V only. From April 2008, the administration has plans to extend the scheme up to Class VIII. The budget would then increase by Rs 3 crore. 

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Bank did not verify labour antecedents
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Serious lapses in the handling of boxes containing fresh currency notes have surfaced during the investigation of thefts at the RBI, Sector 17, with the police claiming that daily wage workers were regularly picked up from Labour Chowk without their antecedents being verified.

According to the police, the RBI had a casual approach in hiring labourers for a job as sensitive as shifting wooden boxes containing currency notes to the vault.

Currency worth crores is kept in the vault meant for fresh notes and workers hired from Labour Chowk were allowed access to it.

The authorities had issued a security area entry permit (serial no. 272) to two labourers whose antecedents were not verified.

In some cases, unidentified persons were hired on Rs 100 a day to open the boxes.

The police registered a case on October 12 when the RBI reported a theft of Rs 2.82 lakh. A police officer said RBI officials inspected boxes containing fresh notes after they arrive in the bank. The labourers were hired only to open the boxes for the officials. After inspection, the labourers nailed the boxes.

Sources informed that the RBI had given a contract of providing labour to a Sector 20-based private company, Vishal Associates, and the company hired the labourers on daily wages when required. The company had employed five persons by paying them Rs 3,500 each per month. Vijay Kumar, an accountant of Vishal Associates, when there was work load, they occasionally hired labourers from Labour Chowk.

The police has also called labourers who were repairing the floor in the bank for questioning. The police said had the bank allowed entry of persons employed on a permanent basis, it would have helped in zeroing in on the accused.

A senior official of the RBI, preferring anonymity, admitted that some labourers whose police verification was not done were allowed access to the vault as bank officials were not aware of it.

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Duped of money outside bank
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 15
In the second incident of its kind, Chandigarh resident Satyanarayan was duped of Rs 6,000 outside the main branch of the State Bank of India in Sector 10 here today.

Darua-resident Satyanarayan had gone to the bank to prepare a draft for Rs 6,000. In his statement to the police, Satyanarayan claimed that as he was filling the form in the bank when he was approached by an unidentified man, who asked him for his pen.

He initiated a conversation and “befriended” him. The man told him that he was filling various columns incorrectly. He asked him to step outside the bank so that he could help him fill the form.

As soon as he came out , the middle-aged man asked him to show him the cash. “He asked for the cash to see the denomination of the notes which was to be mentioned in the form. I took out the money and began to count but he insisted on counting the notes himself to save time” the victim said.

As soon as he had the money in his hands, he began to run, saying a friend was calling him and he would be back in a jiffy. He left on a motorcycle driven by his accomplice waiting in the market area. A case has been registered.

Earlier in the month, another native of Bihar, Nagina, was duped of Rs 20,000 by two unidentified men outside a bank in Sector 10 in a similar fashion.

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No date for student poll yet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The date for the elections to the Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) seems a while away. VC Prof R.C. Sobti said there had been an ‘informal’ meeting with heads of departments today where the issue was discussed.

The university is scheduled to meet the UT administration tomorrow to discuss the matter. At the meeting today, the heads were told to acquaint themselves with the regulations of Lyngdoh Committee. “This has been done to ensure that there are no lapses when elections take place,” said Prof Sobti.

DSW Prof Naval Kishore was contacted. He said no date had been decided upon as yet. 

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Road safety put on the line
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
It seems road safety of motorists is last on the agenda of the UT engineering department and the municipal corporation, for city roads are nothing less than death traps.

Several instances of indifference on part of government agencies can been seen in the ongoing development and repair work being carried out across the city.

Safety guidelines and rules have been grossly overlooked by government agencies.

A sample case is the ongoing work of laying water pipeline along the road separating Sectors 29 and 30.

A picture taken by Chandigarh Tribune lensman on Saturday shows that a contractor laying the pipeline has blocked the road by placing broken pieces of tiles and a virtually invisible rope in the name of diversion signs.

Chances of accident during the night hours cannot be ruled out.

Under the rules, fluorescent sings indicating diversion and way to guide the traffic have to be put up.

At some places, barricades used for diversion are in bad shape and have no sign indicating diversion.

Also, the engineering department hasn’t put up a warning sign to indicate diversion on the approach.

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Ludhiana blast: Security beefed up 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 15
The blast at a cinema hall in Ludhiana has triggered off a number of precautionary security measures by the district police in view of the on-going Navratra mela at the Mata Mansa Devi shrine. 

While security has been stepped up at the shrine complex, cops have been posted outside cinema halls and at public places even as an alert has been sounded in the city.

With devotees pouring in at the shrine since early morning, the cops on duty frisked everyone and checked their bags and other belongings. Nearly 300 cops, some in plainclothes and others in uniform, are spread over the shrine complex to keep an eye on the crowd and watch out for suspicious people and abandoned belongings.
“We are taking all precautions at the shrine complex during the mela and vigil has been intensified in view of the blast in Ludhiana. We have set up a mela police lines, have deputed an SHO for the mela and even set up a police station,” the Superintendent of Police, Sandeep Khirwar, said.

Though this mela has seen comparatively less rush of devotees as compared to previous melas, metal detectors have been installed at entry points and posters warning the public from touching any unclaimed objects have been pasted around the shrine complex.

Due to the mela, a lot of the district’s force is busy with keeping peace at the shrine leaving few men for the city. The police department maintains it has covered all cinema halls with the limited availability of cops at their disposal.
However, important areas like the bus stand in Sector 5 and the marketplaces within the sectors are still without police cover.

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Major tragedy averted in Mohali
12 jhuggis gutted, arson alleged
Our Correspondent

Wailing victims who lost their dwelling units
Wailing victims who lost their dwelling units

Mohali, October 15
About a dozen jhuggis were gutted near Dara Studio in Phase VI here today amid allegations by the owners that it was a case of arson.The fire broke out around mid-day when most of the occupants of the jhuggis were out on work. Fire brigade personnel reached the spot and carried out rescue operations.

There are more than 200 jhuggis in the colony and a major tragedy was averted.Tempers ran high and residents of the affected Balmiki colony resorted to stone pelting, damaging windowpanes of a close-by marriage palace. The police reached the spot to bring the situation under control.

Women were seen crying after seeing their dwelling units reduced to ashes. One of them said her husband was handicapped and she was the sole earning member of the family and the fire has destroyed their dwelling.

The affected families alleged that the jhuggis were set on fire by persons linked to the marriage palace, an allegation denied by the other group. One of the owners of the marriage palace told mediapersons that the jhuggi dwellers used to throw garbage near the marriage palace which was objected by them. Instead of listening to the request not to do so, certain jhuggi dwellers resorted to such tactics to attract attention, he alleged.

SP (City), Varinder Pal Singh, reached the spot along with other police officials. He said the police had recorded the statements of both the groups.

He said Bajrangi , a chowkidar at the marriage palace, told the police that jhuggi dwellers had themselves set the jhuggis on fire. When employees of the marriage palace tried to save the jhuggis, one of them was allegedly beaten up.

The police is investigating the matter. No case was registered till the filing of the report.

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Carnival on Nov 24, 25

Chandigarh, October 15
The Chandigarh carnival will be held on November 24 and 25 at the Leisure Valley with Canada as the partner country.

This decision was taken at the meeting of the Tourism Advisory Committee held under the chairmanship of UT home secretary Krishna Mohan here today.

This year, the route of the carnival parade will be extended to include the residential areas of the city also. A Canadian group ‘Shuffle Demons’ will present a musical programme on November 24 as part of the carnival.

Similarly, a new year festival will be held from December 26 to 31 with widespread participation of hotels and other establishments.

Another decision taken during the meeting was that Punjab would be requested to waive off or reduce the fee at Lalru barrier which is Rs 2,400 at present as this leads to many buses bypassing Chandigarh area.

The main hotels of Chandigarh will be highlighted on the website and in the tourism literature, touch screen kiosks will be installed at prominent locations in Sector 35, 26 and 22 to facilitate tourists and visitors. Signage boards will also be installed at prominent locations.

The meeting decided that for the convenience of the tourists, the matter regarding the visits of then tourists to the Capitol Complex on Sundays and other holidays will be taken up with the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Sports tourism will also be further promoted. A golf tourism event will be held on November 21 to 23 at Golf Club and CGA. — TNS

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Central govt to encourage Hindi use
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Town Official Language Implementation Committee of the central government offices, in its meeting held at Kisan Bhavan, decided to hold essay writing, shabad gyan, type, short-hand and poem recital competition in Hindi during the current financial year.

As many as 150 heads of various central government offices participated in the meeting which was presided over by P.K. Chopra, chief income tax commissioner on Sunday.

The committee decided to honour Hindi writers in the member offices. Besides this, they also decided to honour 20 heads of central government offices for getting maximum work done in Hindi.

On the occasion, Chopra also released the latest issue of the annual magazine of the committee Shivalika Chandigarh.

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Blind stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Punjab unit of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) today staged a dharna outside the office of the social security department to mark the International White Cane Day here today.

NFB general secretary Rajesh Mohan said in spite of several memoranda to top functionaries of the state government, the federation had not been invited for talks.

Their main demands included 1 per cent reservation for the visually impaired in government jobs, implementation of the Persons With Disability Act, 1996, and improvement of infrastructure at institutes for the blind.

Mohan alleged that the facilities provided to the visually challenged in Punjab were very little in comparison to Haryana and Delhi.

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Nair new AOC 12 Wing

Chandigarh, October 15
Air Commodore S.R.K. Nair took over as Air Officer Commanding (AOC), 12 Wing, here today.

He was posted as Director of Operations (Transport) at Air Headquarters, New Delhi, prior to this appointment.

He takes over from Air Cmde M. Sud, who has moved to Cabinet Secretariat’s Aviation Research Centre, New Delhi.

An alumnus of the 56th course of the National Defence Academy, Air Cmde Nair was commissioned into the IAF in June, 1980. He has logged close to 7,000 flying hours on various types of aircraft, which include Otter (DHC-3), Dornier-228, Avro (HS-748), AN-32 and IL-76. His achievements include the pioneering flight to the North Pole during which he also established an endurance record on the IL-76 aircraft. He is a recipient of the Vayu Sena Medal and Mention-in-Dispatches.

Meanwhile, Geethanjali Nair has taken over as president of the Air Force Wives Welfare Association (Local) from Sangeeta Sud. — TNS

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80 challaned

Chandigarh, October 15
The Chandigarh traffic police booked 80 motorists for violating rules and regulation in various parts of the city today. The police set up four checkpoints across the city.

The police said 37 two-wheeler riders were booked for not wearing helmet, one for using mobile phone and 13 auto-rickshaw drivers. Besides, 29 miscellaneous challans were issued. — TNS

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Oil cos issue advisory on firecracker use
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Oil companies have issued an advisory to authorities concerned to ensure a safe festival season.

Terming airborne crackers “biggest threat” to oil and gas installations and public safety, the advisory has asked authorities to conduct frequent fire drills to ensure the preparedness of men and equipment to counter any emergency situation.

Besides, the firefighting equipment and system should be maintained in good working condition, the advisory suggests.

Official sources said the authorities should prohibit the use of fireworks during festivals within 500 metres of oil installations. Dry vegetation within the vicinity should be cleared to avoid any accident.

It states that a thorough check of cylinder for the presence of foreign material like cracker cap should be carried out during the festival season.

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Navy seeks pilots for SSC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Indian Navy has invited applications for the Short Service Commission (SSC) in the aviation cadre (pilot) of the executive branch.

The course would commence in July 2008 at the Naval Academy and the last date for submission of applications is October 22.

Unmarried male candidates aged between 19 and 23 years, having a graduate degree in any discipline with minimum 60 per cent marks with mathematics and physics at 10+2 level are eligible to apply.

The minimum height requirement is 162.5 cm with correlated weight, leg length, sitting height and thigh length.

SSC is granted for a term of 10 years, extendable to 14 years, subject to service requirement, performance and willingness of the candidate.

Candidates will be inducted as cadets and would undergo naval orientation course at the Naval Academy, Goa .

This will be followed by stage I and stage II flying training at the Air Force Academy and naval establishments.

On successful completion of sage II training, the cadets will be awarded wings and commissioned as Sub-Lieutenants.

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Hepatitis infection an emerging challenge for armed forces
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Hepatitis B Virus infection is becoming an emerging challenge for the Armed Forces.

Though the prevalence rates in recruits is significantly lower than the national average, still it is being dubbed as a cause of concern.

A communication from the director-general hospital services in August this year revealed that when the Armed Forces screened 22,000 recruits at 25 regimental centers across the country, the prevalence rate was one per cent among healthy young males.

The prevalence rate of Hepatitis B in India is four per cent.

“Even this level of prevalence among healthy recruits points towards the seriousness of the problem,” a paper in the latest issue of the Medical Journal Armed Forces India released this month has stated. The paper has been authored by Brig A.C. Anand, deputy director general medical services (Army) in the Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence and Lt Col P. Puri, classified specialist at the Army Research and Referral Hospital, New Delhi.

The paper states that Hepatitis B virus infection is a health problem worldwide and the infected person remains at risk of developing chronic hepatitis and other serious disorders.

Further, of the estimated 350 million Hepatitis B carriers, one fourth are likely to develop a serious liver disease.

A Hepatitis “B” and “C” registry has been established at the Research and Referral hospital where about 1,200 patients have been registered so far.

This includes 786 patients with Hepatitis B. 

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Tribune employee bereaved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Vimla Devi, mother of Ganesh Sharma, assistant press manager with the Dainik Tribune, died today after a brief illness.

She was 75. She is survived by three sons and three daughters.

The cremation will take place at Kot Patial village (Hoshiarpur) tomorrow at 11.30 am.

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Letters
Get competitive

Retail chains are a reality now. Traders have protested a lot against these chains. The Punjab government, while welcoming the big corporate, has advised against the presence of retail chains. The Chandigarh administration has, however, welcomed the setting up of such chains.

Instead of protesting, we should think about the reason behind coming up of these malls and chains. Normally, there are two to three middlemen and the rates of products are escalated by 25 to 80 per cent till they finally reach the users.

These chains have almost eliminated the middlemen and are providing quality goods at much cheaper prices. The system of bargaining is no more in existence.

Recently, a retail shop was opened in our sector as a result of which, the old grocery shop had to slash the rates to retain its customers but ultimately, it failed because the customers prefer retail chains for many other reasons besides the prices of the goods.

In the present scenario, traders have to learn to minimise rates and deliver quality goods at reasonable prices. Other wise, they won’t survive.

R.K. Garg, Chandigarh

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Man gets 7-yr RI for rape
Two-year jail for two others
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
UT Additional and Sessions Judge Raj Shekhar Atri today sentenced a man to seven years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 after holding him guilty of raping a 14-year-old girl.

He has been convicted under Section 376 of 
the IPC.

Rajinder has also been convicted of compelling the girl for marriage and sentenced to three-year RI with a fine of Rs 3,000.

Holding him guilty under Section 363 of the IPC for kidnapping, the judge also sentenced him to two-year RI. All sentences will run concurrently.

Two others, Sushil Kumar and Beant Kaur, have also been convicted under Sections 363 and 220-B, IPC, and sentenced to two-year RI with fine of Rs 2,000 each.

Rajinder, a resident of Ludhiana, was a frequent visitor to Sushil Kumar’s house in Bapu Dham Colony. According to the prosecution, Beant Kaur and Sushil Kumar had told the victim that they had sent many people abroad and would send her too.

Beant Kaur introduced the girl to Rajinder. Later, she forced the victim to talk to Rajinder saying that he wanted to marry her.

On February 28, 2004, Beant Kaur and Sushil Kumar called the victim to their home.

Beant Kaur left the house, leaving the girl alone with Rajinder. Rajinder then raped her.

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Youth held for molestation

Chandigarh, October 15
The police arrested a student of Dera Bassi-based engineering college on the allegation of attempting to outrage the modesty of a woman. According to the police, the victim, a staff nurse at the Sector 22 community hospital, lodged a complaint alleging that Gurdip Singh Brar of Sector 15 stopped her near the traffic lights yesterday. He blocked her way by stopping his car in front of her scooter.He held her arm and used obscene language.

Brar, was arrested and a case registered. — TNS

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