C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Leisure trip turns tragic
13-yr-old student dies in bus mishap
Arun Sharma
Tribune News service

Panchkula, December 15
A 13-year-old student was killed and 34 others injured, three of them seriously, when a school bus carrying them tipped over and fell into a 80-foot-deep ditch near Tikker Tal, Morni, here this afternoon.

The bus, belonging to Anameep Public School, Hallo Majra, Chandigarh, was returning from the picnic spot with students, who had gone there on a leisure trip. The deceased was identified as Rupesh, a student of class VII. All students belonged to Hallo Majra and Colony No. 4.

Rupesh was referred to the PGI from the General Hospital, Sector 6, where he succumbed to his injuries in the evening. Doctors at the PGI said Rupesh had suffered sever head injuries.

While a majority of the injured were discharged after being administered first aid, three — including driver of the bus and a teacher — were admitted due to multiple injuries.

Satvinder, a student of class 7 undergoing treatment at the Patchouli government hospital, said the bus had left Chandigarh at 8 am. While they were returning from the trip around 3 pm, the driver of the bus lost control of the vehicle, which after tipping over rolled down into the ditch.

The bus fell onto a road passing below, said Arjun, a student of class 8, who escaped with bruises on face.

Children had to wait for over one hour before they could be shifted to a dispensary at Morni by maxi cabs and other private vehicles.

They were administered first aid and later sent to the General Hospital, Panchkula, in an ambulance and another bus.

Seveteen injured who reached the Panchkula hospital included Rupesh, Rita, Randhir Vikas, Priti, Renu, Sunil, Mamta, Bhim, Satvinder, Chander Prakash, Sushil, Rakesh, Arvind, Aeena, Balwinder (driver) and Anupma (teacher).

Rita, Balwinder and Anupma were admitted to the hospital, while others were discharged after first aid. The police has registered a case against the driver of the bus.



ICL carnival awaits colourful closure today
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 15
The inaugural Indian Cricket League carnival will see its first final tomorrow evening at Tau Devi Lal Cricket Stadium in Sector 3 here. It will be a double delight for people as the Chandigarh Lions will take on Chennai Superstars in the title clash in the presence of several Bollywood stars who are expected to be present.

The win will make the team the first ICL Twenty20 champion, and the winners will be rewarded Rs 3.9 million, along with a trophy. So far, both teams have won four matches each.


  • Saif Ali Khan
  • Akshay Kumar
  • Bipasha Basu
  • Ajay Devgan

The local favourite Chandigarh Lions will be led by Chris Cairns and will see foreign players like Harnish Marshall and Andrew Hall while Australian batsman Stuart Law will guide Chennai Superstars with stars like Ian Harvey, Chris Read and R. Arnold.

Elated ICL chairman Kapil Dev while talking to The Tribune expressed his satisfaction over the success of the league. “We are partying at the moment and waiting for tomorrow’s bash,” he said.

The stars expected to share the gallery with cricketers are Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar, Tanushree Dutta, Ajay Devgan, Sohail Khan, Bipasha Basu and Arbaaz Khan. Though the ICL has got the nod of these stars, the confirmation of their arrival will be known only tomorrow.

Providing a complete blend of entertainment and sports, the ICL has evoked a tremendous response from cricket aficionados. Rocking performances by Kareena Kapoor, Malaika Arora, Sunidhi Chauhan, Kailash Kher and Yana Gupta has kept the aura of the league alive all through the 17-day bonanza. The match will start at 6 pm.



The Good...
Admn to bear surgery costs of kids
Helping the heart beat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The Chandigarh administration has started a scheme to bear the entire expenditure of the corrective surgery of children with congenital heart disease.

The first beneficiary of this scheme is Manoj, a resident of Ram Darbar. He has been suffering from tetrology of Fallot’s, wherein a patient gets attacks of cyanosis. Surgery is the only hope for such patients.

Dr M.S. Bains, director, health services, said Manoj was admitted to the GMSH-16 on November 18 in a critical condition. He was stabilised with medicine and referred to the PGI on December 3 for surgery.

In the meantime, his case for financial assistance was processed and Rs 76,000 was sanctioned and deposited with the PGI for his surgery.

While awaiting surgery, the child became critical and cardiothoracic surgeons did a life-saving procedure of BT-shunt on him. Manoj was discharged from the PGI on December 11, he said.



...& The Ugly
HIV+ women forced into prostitution
PGI sacks AIDS project employee
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
An employee of the AIDS project at the PGI has been dismissed on the allegations of forcing certain HIV+ women into prostitution.

The action against the employee, who himself is HIV+, comes in the wake of repeated complaints against him that he was part of a prostitution racket involving HIV+ women undergoing treatment at the PGI here, sources told The Tribune here today.

The treatment for stages III and IV of HIV is expensive and the suspect employee allegedly lured patients into prostitution to help finance their treatment since the government grants were inadequate.

Saying that an inquiry would be conducted into the case, a senior functionary of the project confirmed that the employee had been dismissed following these allegations.

The role of the other project workers and PGI employees is also likely to come under the scanner, he added.

In the wake of inadequate funding by government agencies, unscrupulous employees took advantage of vulnerable HIV infected patients. In fact, a recent study by two city-based activists had quoted HIV+ patients saying that they could “go to any length” for their treatment.



Refund fee, consumer panel tells PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Upholding the order of the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has asked Panjab University to refund the fees of a student.

The state commission said it was more a case of unfair trade practice than deficiency in service on part of the university. The commission headed by Justice K.C. Gupta observed: “Earlier it was stated that the institutions are temples of learning, but now these institutes have become trading houses where money is the sole consideration. Institutions of teaching provide ethical standards, but Panjab University was trying to enrich itself by adopting unethical practices.”

The petitioner, Yogesh Bansal, had given the CET in 2004, on the basis of which he took admission to BSc (maths and computing). He deposited Rs 15,355 and got a receipt for it. However, he could not attend classes due to unavoidable circumstances and moved an application to give up his seat in the mathematics department on August 4, 2004, which was forwarded to the chemical engineering department.

Yogesh said he applied for a refund, but the chemical engineering department said his application would be taken up only after the second counselling, however, the amount was not refunded. Later, the department said his application had been misplaced and asked him to file a fresh application. Finally, he received a cheque for Rs 240 as refund.

The PU authorities admitted that the petitioner had taken admission to the department of chemical engineering and had deposited the fee, but the application for refund of admission fee was never submitted and was not received by the department of mathematics.

The petitioner placed on record the duplicate copy of the application.

The forum accepted his complaint and directed the university to refund the fee with a cost of Rs 2,100.

Institutions are temples of learning, but now these institutes have become trading houses where money is the sole consideration

— State consumer commission



NRI automobile baron set to explore home turf
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 15
Chain Singh Sandhu, a successful NRI who set up the $400 million automobile giant -NYX Inc in the USA by sheer dint of hard work, is set to return to his roots to replicate his success story in India.

"In fact, cashing in on the automobile boom in India, our company plans to set up a manufacturing base in Chandigarh's periphery. And Punjab was a deliberate choice as I wanted to contribute to wealth creation in my home state by providing employment avenues to the youth," Sandhu, who is also NYX CEO, told The Tribune here yesterday.

Growing up in a small village where education was not a priority and losing his father at the age of five, Sandhu went to complete an engineering degree against all odds. Though he had a cushy job as an assistant professor at Punjab Engineering College in Chandigarh yet his passion for making it big in manufacturing sector saw him leave for the USA, the country of his dreams, in 1969.

Doing odd jobs such as that of a janitor at General Motors, Sandhu's persistence paid off. Through perseverance, he was able to climb the success ladder at General Motors by sheer determination. And this was at a time when the Americans were skeptical about the managerial skills of Indians, Sandhu remarked.

Not satisfied at General Motors, Sandhu left it and bought a faltering company which eventually became the successful NYX.

As CEO of NYX, Sandhu led the company from 50 employees to a total of 2,000 and revenues from two million to 400 million. His business continues to grow, servicing major companies such as GM, Ford, Chrysler and Honda.

What is creditable is the fact that his organisation was recently awarded the GM "Supplier of the Year" for the fourth time in a row - the rarest of the rare distinction by any standards. Besides this, Sandhu's success as an entrepreneur won him the Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur of the Year" award in 2000.

Meanwhile, at a function organised by TiE here tonight, Sandhu shared his success story with a select gathering.



Combating Terrorism
‘Meaningful and early action is the key’

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
If a reasonable degree of closure is not secured or if the issues and situations that lead to violence are not sufficiently resolved, then political violence and terrorism can reappear. Expressing this here yesterday, Paul Wallace, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri, said efforts could be instituted to build-in measures involving closure during the conflict.

If meaningful efforts are made early, then the actions to solidify closure following the termination of violence could be more effective, he added.

Wallace, who has been a consultant on South Asia to members of the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and US attorney-general’s office, was here to deliver a talk on ‘Terrorism and Closure : It Ain’t over till it’s Over’ at the Institute of Development and Communication. He also served as an expert witness during the Air India plane bombing trial in Vancouver.

Referring to terrorism in Punjab, he said Punjab’s approach to closure consisted of deliberate efforts to deal with the social consequences of violence as well as more direct political measures. A major divide, he added, tended to separate victims who were terrorised by militants from victims associated with the militants.

He added that encouraging former terrorists to return to normalcy was part of a political strategy adopted by the elected state government. During his talk he touched upon human rights and justice and also delved upon conflict situations in South Africa, Argentina, Rawanda, Spain, Algeria and Cambodia. The Election Commissioner of India, S Y Quraishi was also present on the occasion.



Highway Row
Residents to remove encroachments
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 15
Deciding to maintain a distance from political parties on the demolition issue, shopkeepers here have planned to remove encroachments from the national highway passing through the main market at Kalka.

Convener of Kalka Bachao Sangharsh Samiti Bhagat Singh said as the samiti was a non-political organisation, it would not involve any agitation or activity initiated by political parities on this issue.

Now, following the status quo orders till December 20 passed by Punjab and Haryana High Court on a petition filed in public interest against the proposed demolition of these encroachments, the shopkeepers have decided to put a check on activities like parking and display of goods outside the shops to minimise traffic problems in the area.

Bhagat Singh said any shopkeeper found displaying articles outside the shop would have to pay a penalty to be fixed by Beopar Mandal of Kalka. In addition to it, police help would also be sought to regulate traffic on road. The administration would be requested to provide parking space at some suitable site for the visitors in the market, he added.

Moreover, the residents have offered to take the responsibility of laying an alternative route till the proposed bypass was built.

“We are ready to construct an alternative route from Pinore Khadi Ashram to Bhairon Ki Sair in Kalka which could be used by vehicles going towards Panchkula while the national highway 22 can be used by vehicles going towards Parwanoo,” said Bhagat Singh.

“The route would touch Bitna and Tipra villages on the way,” he said. The initiative in this direction can save hundreds of families from being uprooted, he said.

About the feasibility of the alternative route, he said around eight km of the road on the route was already available and they would need to construct one-and-a-half km road to serve the purpose. All the expenses would be borne by Kalka residents for laying the road on this route which would take them merely six months,” he claimed.



Dist Admn Complex
42 acres to be acquired in Sanetta village
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 15
The district administration is all set to “acquire” 42 acres of land in Sanetta village here for the construction of the district administrative complex (DAC). In a unique move, the administration is reported to have reached an understanding with the village panchayat to allow it to use 42 acres of its sham lat (village common land) for setting up of the DAC.

A proposal has already been passed by the Panchayat that the SAS Nagar district administration be given 38 acres of the shamlat land in the village for construction of the DAC.

According to deputy commissioner H.I.S. Grewal, once the land was given to the administration for the complex, the revenue department would settle its cost with the department of rural development and panchayats. The panchayat would be paid an amount keeping into account the current market price of the land which was over Rs 2 crore per acre.

Some part of the shamlat land that falls within the mixed-use area of the Mohali master plan can be exploited commercially by the panchayat to earn more revenue for the village. The panchayat is currently earning Rs 6,000 per acre per annum from the land.

“Some part of the DAC can include a commercial component. These can be rented out to pay for the operation and maintenance of the complex,” suggested Grewal.

The DC is learnt to have reported the entire process to Punjab chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh. “We have been directed to go ahead with the proposal,” said the DC. Other than the district administrative complex, a judicial complex, too, has been planned in the area.



Culture exchange will cement ties: Mauritius Prez
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Asserting the strong relationship between India and Mauritius, Mauritian President Anerood Jugnauth expressed that their ancestors originally belonged to India. He shared his feelings for India on his brief visit to International Yoga Centre, Sector 19, here today.

President Jagnauth and his wife Sarojini honoured by Brahmvadini Dr Krishan Kanta, president of International Yoga Centre, with a set of books written by Maharishi Bawara ji Maharaj and a memento.

Showing deep concern for the Indian culture and Hindi language, the president asserted that they were also following the Hindu culture. “We will enliven the spirit of the Indian culture till our last and would ensure that our generations to come.”

He said the exchange of cultural activities between the two nations would be helpful in developing a cordial relationship between them. Impressed with the hospitality, the Mauritian president said his visit to India, particularly to Chandigarh, would stay in his mind for a long time.

The president had come to India on the invitation of the National Integrated Forum of Artistes and Activists.

The chairman of the Hindu Sangathan (sect) at Mauritius, Suresh Ramvan, was also present. The principal of Brahmrishi Yog Training College, Sector 19, Dr Manisha, welcomed the president and thanked him for paying visit to the centre.



Axed tree falls on cables
PEC campus in darkness

G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

The tree that fell on power cables on PEC campus in Chandigarh on Saturday.
The tree that fell on power cables on PEC campus in Chandigarh on Saturday. Tribune photo: Vinay Malik

Chandigarh, December 15
The Punjab Engineering College campus in Sector 12 was plunged into darkness today owing to ‘the pruning of trees’ near Arawali Hostel.

Pruning was being undertaken on the campus, when around 10 am a tree fell on power cables. Some cables snapped and a conductor got damaged in the process, resulting in power outage on the campus.

The outage caused inconvenience to students residing in the hostel.

“Although no study sessions are being conducted in the college due to ongoing winter break, a number of students felt the pinch as they were preparing for their forthcoming examination,” said hostellers.

According to eyewitnesses, the incident happened when staff of the horticulture wing miscued the distance between the power poles and the tree.

They claimed that the tree fell due to the negligence of the staff and the cables could have been saved had they handled the task properly.

“They dug a hole around the tree and tied the tree to a tractor with a rope. As they attempted to pull the tree down, it fell on the cables.”

PEC officials confirmed that the obstruction in power supply had been caused due to the felling of tree but added that the tree was infested with termite and had to be removed.

Dean (students welfare) K.K. Garg said: “The horticulture department had identified some dry trees for felling. Earlier also, it had cut down trees infested with termite.”

However, sources in the college said it was a healthy tree. “Had the tree been old or dry, they would have brought it down without digging a hole around it.”

Although, efforts were being made to rectify the power fault, the the campus wore a dark look till late tonight.



One-yr-old girl found abandoned
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 15
A one-year-old baby girl was found abandoned in the Phase I khokha market here this evening. The child, clad in a green sweater, purple pyjamas and a cap, was found by the shopkeepers of the market. When they could not find anyone to claim her, they called the police.

According to SHO of the area Rajvinder Singh Randhawa, the child seemed to have been abandoned by her parents due to poverty. She was rushed to the civil hospital.

The matter was brought to the notice of the Mohali SDM by the police. The SDM has decided that the child be kept in the hospital for a few days. Women constables will be put on duty round the clock to tend to the child.

“We will try to locate her parents. In case the child is claimed by someone, she will be handed over only after a thorough cross check of their claim. In case her biological parents are not found, the baby will be sent to an orphanage from where she can be adopted,” said Mohali SDM Raghubir Kaur Khaira.



Ministerial staff ultimate to govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The Punjab State Ministerial Services Union today served an ultimatum on the Punjab government to accept their outstanding demands failing which they would launch an indefinite agitation.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the union held here under union president Sunil Kumar.

The main demands of the employees include implementation of the recommendations of the pay commission, meeting of the departmental promotion committee twice a year, bringing employees recruited after January 1, 2004 under the preview of the pension scheme.



Great Escape trails through city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 15
Great Escape, organised by Mahindra and Mahindra in association with JK Tyre, Bosch, Bharat Shell, Swami Automobiles Private Limited and Goel Motors, chartered an unforgettable journey across the picturesque environs of the city here today.

The rally was flagged-off by Capt Kanwaljit Singh, minister of Cooperation, in the morning from Lake Club.

The track was specially designed by Hari Singh. The adventurous trail was completed in about five hours.



Woman dies of burns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Poonam, a 27-year-old married woman, died of burns after a stove burst at her Colony No. 5 house early this morning. According to the police, the incident took place when the victim was preparing tea on the stove.



Stop black marketing

THE auction of plots/shops is common. But the concept of auctioning certain favoured numbers for vehicles has been introduced recently by the Chandigarh administration and many other states. The practise of buying such numbers has become a status symbol for many but it is beyond the means of the common man.

However, it is a black market sponsored by the government itself. In the era of modernisation, vehicle numbers should be allotted through a computerised system.

S.K. Khosla, 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



Car thieves flee on foot after chase
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Two youngsters took off on foot, leaving behind a stolen Maruti car in Sector 22, after a police officer on night patrol gave them a chase in the wee hours today.

In charge of police post-22 Charanjit Singh said he was on night patrol, when around 5 am he spotted a recklessly-driven Maruti car (CH 01 J 3536) in Sector 22.

He signalled the driver to pull over but he sped away. After a brief chase, the driver slowed down the car and turned off its lights near the blood disease hospital.

As the officer approached the car, its two occupants took off on foot, leaving the car behind.

The officer gave them a chase but the occupants disappeared in the cover of darkness.

As the officer was alone, he requisitioned additional force and launched a search operation. However, the miscreants could not be traced.

The police recovered documents of the vehicle and contacted its owner, Anil Kumar of Sector 45-D.

As the vehicle had been stolen around two hours before the incident, the matter had not been reported to the police. The police has registered a case.



Three vehicles stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Three vehicles, including a car, have been stolen from city.

Sohan Singh of Sector 20 reported to the police that his Mahindra Scorpio (PB 65 E 1555) was stolen from his residence last night.

Arvinder Singh of Sector 29 filed a complaint that his Hero Honda CBZ motor cycle (CH 03 J 1502) was stolen from Sector 26.

In another incident, Arun Kumar of Sector 22 reported that his scooter (CH 03 E 1352) was stolen from Sector 22 on December 12.

Three cases have been registered.


Bikram Singh of Sector 9 reported to the police that three silver articles were stolen from his house on December 9.

Rajesh Chawla of Sector 38-West reported that mobile phone, medical equipment and Rs 16,800 in cash were stolen from his shop in Sector 16 on December 12 night.

In another incident, Harmeet Kaur of Phase VII, Mohali, lodged a complaint alleging that her purse containing Rs 5,000 in cash and some documents was stolen from Sector 22 this afternoon.

Similarly, Yogesh Goyal of Sector 7, Panchkula, reported that 125 readymade garments were stolen from his shop in NAC, Mani Majra, last night.

The thieves gained access to the shop by breaking open the locks.

Four cases of theft have been registered at various police stations in the city.



Two found dead
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, December 15
An unidentified person was found dead on the Ambala-Kalka railway tracks here this morning. The victim, in his mid 40s, seemed to have been killed by a train near Dhakoli.

Meanwhile, an unidentified person was found dead on the Ambala-Chandigarh highway near Jawaharpur today. The victim seemed to be a migrant labourer in his early 30s. He was allegedly hit by the driver of a speeding vehicle.

Both the bodies were sent to the Dera Bassi civil hospital where they would be kept for 72 hours for identification. The police is trying to find out more details about the victims.



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