C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

4 of family die; no one knows how
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Three members of a family were found dead, while another one in an unconscious condition, under mysterious circumstances at their Mauli Complex residence, here early this morning. The fourth victim, 45-year-old Karpan, who was gasping for breath, died at the PGI during treatment, later.

The victims have been identified as Karpan’s wife 40-year-old Mani, his two sons, 17-year-old Kalimurthi and 13-year-old Vangeshar. Karpan and his wife were working as sweepers on daily wages in UT PWD department while Kalimurthi was a labourer in IT Park and Vangeshar was a Class VI the student of Vishav Public School in the area. The victim family hailed from Tamil Nadu and had settled here about 20 years ago. Two other sons of Karpan live in their native village in Tamil Nadu.

The incident came to light at around 7:15 am, when the Karpan’s neighbour Kamraj knocked at their door and did not get any response. He then climbed over the rooftop of the house and went downstairs. He found all motionless bodies of the four members of the family. He raised an alarm and soon people gathered there. The police was informed about the incident at around 7:45 am.

Kamraj told mediapersons that Karpan was found lying on floor while other three victims were on a bed. He said he opened the door with difficulty as a gunny bag was struck under it, probably to stop cold winds. He also removed the hearth containing coals to make his way into the room.

The police said the exact cause of the deaths would be ascertained after the post mortem. It seemed that the deaths were result of asphyxia caused due to smoke emitting from burning coals, which the victims had kept in their one-room accommodation. However, the police earlier suspected that deaths might have caused due to food poisoning.

The police also found remains of vomiting on the bed and taken its samples along with the food recovered from the utensils for chemical examination. Experts from the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL) were called to examine the spot, who also did not rule out the possibility of deaths being caused by the carbon mono-oxide produced from burning coals. Explaining the possible cause of early deaths of those lying on the bed, the CFSL experts said “This happened due to suspension of lethal gas particles higher above in the air. The impact of the killer gas was lesser below”.

The police so far ruled out possibility of any foul play behind the deaths. This is the second incident in the Manimajra in less than 24 hours, as three members of a family were hospitalised on Wednesday after they were found lying unconscious at their shop.

A policeman told TNS that a police control room (PCR) vehicle rushed the three victims, Mani, Vangeshar and Kalimurthi, to the Sector 16 Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, where they were declared brought dead. Karpan was admitted to the PGI, as he was in critical condition. However, he died at the PGI at around 9:45 am. Foam was emitting out of the victim’s mouths leading to suspicion that they had consumed some poisonous substances knowingly or unknowingly.

One of the victim’s neighbours, who was crying inconsolably, described Karpan as a docile, generous and a god-fearing person.

All senior police officials, including the SSP SS Srivastva, reached the spot. The victim’s family had been informed about the incident.


CTU resumes buses to Punjab
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
The commuters of peripheral areas of Punjab heaved a sigh of relief with the resuming of CTU bus service to the areas.

Today, all buses, which were withdrawn in wake of raise of Special Road Tax (Rs 5 per km), being levied by Punjab government, started plying on their routes from 8.30 pm to facilitate the commuters.

The commuters of Mohali and peripheral villages, including Khizrabad, Mullanpur, Kurali, Banur, Tepla, Gigemajra, Sirhind and Rajpura, have been harassing for past two days due to cancellation of the routes by the CTU authorities. In many of these places, only the CTU caterto the transport service to the people.

Talking to TNS, P.S. Shergill, director, CTU, said “We started the bus service on the assurance of Punjab Transport principal secretary D.S. Jaspal, who agreed to revoke the raise of Special Road Tax, levied by the Punjab government from November 22, last year.

According to sources, the administration now demanded to the Punjab government to charge Rs 2.25 per km on the pattern of taxes on Punjab buses instead of Rs 2.65 km.

Meanwhile, thousands of commuters of the areas, who were affected with the cancellation of the bus routes, were relieved a lot. “The restarting of the CTU bus service is a big relief for us. My whole schedule was upset when the service came to a halt here. As I depend only on the local transport to reach my office in Manimajra, I had to travel by three-wheeler up to Chandigarh border from where I have to change two buses to reach my work place”, said Rajesh Kumar, a resident of Phase 5.

Another commuter Manjit Singh, who has to come Chandigarh from Khizrabad for his work, said, “Being poor people, we cannot afford to travel by autorickshaws, who started charging more than double fare due to unavailability of local buses. Now, we are happy with the resuming of the bus service. The government should pay attention to the problems of poor people before taking such harsh decisions.

Though the local buses started plying on Mohali and the suburban routes, the long-route service was not resumed fully today.

“We have decided to revoke our bus service to long routes in the state, which run in losses due to the high frequency of private bus service. The curtailed routes include Mansa, Bathinda, Abohar, Ferozepore, Fazilka, Amritsar via Ludhiana, Wagah Border up to Amritsar, Thein Dam up to Pathankot and Samana up to Patiala”, said the official.



Rape or Racket?
Uzbek girl alleges rape but police says otherwise

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 3
The alleged rape of a foreign national, a 21-year-old Uzbek girl, at a renowned North Park hotel late last night sent the local police in a tizzy.

After police investigations, it turned out to be a story of a rape that never took place with the girl refusing to lodge any complaint. She even emphasized that it was just a routine quarrel with her boyfriend that prompted her to make such allegations.

Police sources said the Uzbek girl who arrived in the city a couple of months back and now staying with her aunt in Chandigarh’s Sector 8, left her house with four boys yesterday evening at around 6 pm.

All of them together drove down to a hotel in the city and checked in. The boys mentioned their names and phone numbers in the entry register, taking a room for themselves. Police sources said the youngsters ordered drinks and snacks from time to time that evening according to the staff on duty in the hotel.

At around 1:30 am, the girl claimed that she was raped by the boys and her aunt arrived at the hotel. Accompanied by the bell boy of the hotel, she entered the room and found one of the boys dressed in a vest and pants while the girl was not wearing anything. On seeing her aunt and the hotel staff, she quietly picked up her clothes and got dressed.

The hotel staff informed the police and the DSP on night duty reached the spot. He interrogated the girl and carried out an inspection of the room where he found cigarette butts, liquor in glasses, snacks, used and unused condoms. The bell boy, in his statement to the police, said he was on duty for five rooms, including theirs, and had not heard anything unusual. The police said inside the room, too, there was no sign of any struggle.

The police asked the girl to explain the sequence of events in which she admitted that she had accompanied the boys on her own and had gone into the room since they said the room service would be available for the get together. The police sources said the girl calmly explained everything and did not seem at all shaken.

During their rounds of questioning, it emerged that the girl’s aunt was already named in the violation of the Foreigner’s Act. The police tried to get in touch with the boys on their mobiles immediately but found these switched off.

Meanwhile, the girl’s aunt said they were not interested in pursuing the complaint and just wanted to be allowed to go home. The girl, later, said she had had a tiff with her boyfriend who was one of the four boys while the rest were his friends. She said out of anger, she had levelled these allegations. On being asked to produce her passport and visa, she said the same had been stolen and an FIR had already been registered in this regard. The matter was closed after this.



Mohali International Airport
Dept of civil aviation to acquire land
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 3
The Department of Civil Aviation, Punjab, would acquire the land required for setting up of Mohali International Airport. This was decided in a meeting of the State Land Acquisition Board held recently.

Earlier, 300 acres of land in village Jeorarhi was to be acquired by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) for the purpose. However, it was decided that the Department of Civil Aviation, Punjab, would acquire the land. “We are going to start the process of acquisition very soon. The notification under Section 4 of Land Acquisition Act 1894 is expected to be advertised within a few days,” said Vishwajeet Khanna, secretary, Department of Civil Aviation, Punjab.

He added that the entire process of acquisition would be completed by April this year. “All preparations are complete for signing of the memorandum of understanding between Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Punjab government tomorrow,” said Khanna.

Union Civil Aviation minister Praful Patel, along with Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal would also inaugurate a new integrated terminal building of the Chandigarh airport. The Punjab cabinet had yesterday approved the project.

Khanna added that after notifications under sections 4 and 6 are issued, the compensation award would be announced by the land acquisition collector of the area. Revenue records pertaining to these 300 acres had also been called for from the revenue department.

Sources said since land prices had shot up substantially in the past two years in this part of the state, Punjab would have to spend crores just for acquisition of land. This stretch would be contiguous with the land on which the Chandigarh airport exists. On November 16 last year, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) had formally approved the Mohali international airport.



Multistoreyed parking proposed for Mohali
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, January 3
The municipal council and GMADA have proposed the construction of a bypass between Mohali and Panchkula, Rs 50-crore indoor stadium, multistoreyed parking and various other projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

The central government has selected Mohali among three districts of Punjab for infrastructure and overall development under the JNNURM for which an amount of Rs 360 crore has been allocated.

Other proposals

  • Mohali-Panchkula bypass
  • Indoor stadium
  • Plant to recycle municipal solid waste
  • Booster plants for better water supply to multistoreyed buildings
  • Improvement of slums in Mataur, Mohali, Shahi Majra and Madanpur villages

A proposal which is being sent to the department of local government states that there is no direct access for traffic from Mohali to Panchkula and vice versa and people have to travel through Chandigarh, leading to heavy concentration of traffic in the union territory. As such a bypass from Mohali to Panchkula is required which will help in saving travelling time, conservation of fuel and reducing enviornmental pollution.

Under the proposals, an indoor stadium is a necessity in view of the fact that Mohali is all set to be on the world map. The stadium will incur an expenditure of Rs 50 crore, including the cost of the site.

Proposals state that space for parking vehicles at various markets is inadequate. Adequate land is available in the markets of Phases VII and III B-2 and multistoreyed parking can be provided in these areas at a cost of about Rs 8 crore.

According to another proposal, development is negligible in villages falling in the city area, including Madanpura, Mataur, Mohali and Shahi Majra, and a sum of Rs 1.5 crore is needed to bring about improvement in the slum areas of these villages.

GMADA had allotted more than 13 acres of land for dumping garbage in Industrial Area, Phase VIII. However, there is no garbage processing plant for recycling the solid waste which is necessary to avoid contamination of subsoil water and elimination of foul smell. Therefore, an additional 25 acres of land is required at a cost of Rs 25 crore to set up a Rs 40- crore solid waste treatment plant.

Apart from the augmentation of Kajauli waterworks for additional supply of water to the city, three booster plants have been proposed at a cost of Rs 7.05 crore to ensure that water reached the upper floors in multistoreyed buildings. It has also been proposed to replace very old water supply lines and add new infrastructure at a cost of Rs 5.13 crore and also to replace outdated machinery at the water treatment plant in Sector 56 at a cost of Rs 7. 47 crore.

In view of the heavy flow of traffic, widening of roads, including the internal ones, has been proposed at an expenditure of Rs 125 crore.

The council has proposed that new machinery worth Rs 1.20 crore is required to meet the sanitation needs of Mohali.

The proposals also state that a new fire sub station is needed in Mohali for which new vehicles and equipments are required which will cost Rs 2.58 crore approximately.

Executive officer of the council J.S. Thind said the proposals drawn up under the JNNURM were being sent to the department of local government which was hiring consultants to chalk out a final plan for the development of Mohali. The plan would be sent to the central government through the Punjab chief secretary for clearance.



Admin, engg dept work at cross purposes
Encroachments removed after laying
water supply line
Tribune News Service

A demolition drive was carried out in EWS houses in Sector 30 in Chandigarh on Thursday after the MC had already laid a water supply line.
A futile exercise: A demolition drive was carried out in EWS houses in Sector 30 in Chandigarh on Thursday after the MC had already laid a water supply line. — Tribune photo by Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, January 3
The administration was today “virtually” taken for a ride by the engineering department of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation. In fact, a demolition drive which was carried out to remove encroachments by occupants of EWS houses in Sector 30 here proved to be a futile exercise with the MC already having laid a water supply line there a few days ago.

The demolition drive was carried out to provide space for laying of the water supply line. Due to lack of proper alignment, the pipeline has been laid in a zigzag manner.

Ironically, the district magistrate, RK Rao, who ordered the demolition drive was also officiating as the commissioner of the MC. Defending the demolition drive, an official said even if the pipe line had been laid, the encroachments had to be removed.

“Precious public money has been wasted due to undue hurry shown by the MC in laying the pipe line and in keeping the district administration in the dark. Responsibility should be fixed for the lapse and for ignoring the encroachments over the years”, said an official.

During the demolition drive, around eight structures were partially demolished. After initial protest, the residents withdrew.

At a cost of around Rs 5 crore, the MC is laying the high-capacity supply line to interconnect the Sector 26 waterworks with those in Sector 32. However, the work to lay the pipe line had hit a road block because of encroachment on public land in Sector 30.

A few months ago, the municipal corporation had written to the deputy commissioner to get the encroachments cleared. The area falls under the Chandigarh administration. A few days ago, residents had partially started removing the encroachments.

But due to lack of proper alignment, the water supply was laid in a zigzag manner. At some places sewer lines, water supply lines and other essential services came in the way. “There was no problem in having different degree joints in the MS pipes provided that PWD specifications were followed. As per the standard norms, the more the straight alignment, the better it is”, said sources.

Due to cutting along the road berms, the cost of repair goes up. “If the pipeline is laid in the green belt, the unnecessary expenditure can be avoided”, said an official.



Intersection that can spell doom
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
At the receiving end of UT administration’s engineering department’s apathy for long, a stretch on the road dividing Sector 25 and 38, at the end of Dakshin Marg, is a looming threat to commuters. With traffic going haywire around the area, the roundabout also poses grave threat.

People gleefully violate traffic rules at the small roundabout in front of the cremation ground here. Absence of any traffic cop in the area adds to the chaos. Worse, the road around this chowk is also in a dilapidated state owing to its very small size. The roundabout is also close to the ground for rallies, which has been shifted here from the Matka Chowk by the Chandigarh Administration last year. However, no attention is being given to its upkeep.

Hundreds of people who use this road to commute between Chandigarh and Dhanas are facing a lot of trouble due to this. The dual carriageway along Dakshin Marg has not been extended to this intersection. Moreover, one side of the road also leads to the University and PGI, making problems worse.

Accidents around this roundabout are a daily affair. While a majority of them involve clashes between motor vehicles and rickshaws, two accident cases in which people were injured have also been registered at the Sector 39 police station, which caters to this area.

“Five days ago, a tempo turned turtle at this Chowk. Not a single day passes when clashes are not heard of, with mostly pedestrians and cyclists at the receiving end,” said Rajan Sharma, an autorickshaw driver. “The administration is spending a huge amount on construction of underpasses to regulate traffic, but a small issue of road repair and installation of traffic lights here is not being taken care of,” said Kishanjit, a resident of Dhanas.

When contacted, area councillor Sheela Devi said she is aware of the problem and has also taken up the matter with officials MC’s engineering department some time back. However, since the area is under the jurisdiction of UT administration she could not do much about it.

On the other hand, S.K Jaitley, Chief Engineer, UT administration, said all steps are being taken to speed up repair work of the road. “We have all our estimates done and besides the road repair, the roundabout will be reconstructed to enlarge its size. Steps are also on to make the road a dual carriage way,” he said when talking to The Tribune.

A similar situation around another intersection, badly requiring streetlights, in Sector 38 West, had led to the death of a teenager on November 18, 2007. Local people had held a huge protest then and corrective measures were finally taken.

It seems that only loss of human lives seems to spur the administration into action!



Ram Sumer rejoins BSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
After creating an uproar in the BSP by siding with the Congress just two days before the mayoral polls, councillor Ram Sumer Morya today rejoined the BSP. His joining the party again today put an end to Harmohan Dhawan’s allegations of horse trading against the Congress.

Addressing a press conference here today, BSP convener Dhawan announced Ram Sumer’s rejoining their party and said certain circumstances led the former to join the Congress. Dhawan, however, refused to divulge the circumstances and said he did not want to spoil the sanctity of the party by giving certain statements and had ideals to go by. Ram Sumer, who was present at the press conference, also maintained a sturdy silence on why he joined the Congress and then again the BSP.

“I can only say I never took any money and circumstances led to the shifts,” he said.

“Ram Sumer never signed any papers or forms when joining the Congress. He has also said he voted for the BSP only in the mayoral elections, and he is welcome back in our party,” said Dhawan.

Mayor Pradeep Chhabra said Ram Sumer joined the Congress of his own will and had left the party also on his own. He also said yesterday Ram Sumer had called and informed him that he may be joining the BSP again. “He called yesterday to say he is being forced to change statements by the BSP,” said Chhabra, adding that certain media reports in which some newspapers quoted him (Chhabra) as saying that the BSP had kidnapped Morya were completely false. “I never used the word kidnap,” Chhabra said.



Road to railway station to be widened
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
A long pending issue of widening the proposed direct link between the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP) and the Chandigarh Airport was today resolved, with the Chandigarh Administration and Northern Railways agreeing to give land for road widening.

Often witness to traffic snarls, the existing road is also the only link to Chandigarh Railway Station. The issue was discussed in a meeting between respective officials of the Chandigarh administration and Railways. Railway officials were, however, keen to see the planning of the administration for the area.

A senior official said that on one side the land belonged to Railways and the other side was with UT forest department. Both the agencies would give land for widening of the road, which would ultimately touch the Chandigarh-Zirakpur highway after winding its way through Daria.

UT administration is also of the view that management of traffic at the railway station should be handled by Chandigarh Traffic Police. Due to territorial jurisdiction, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has been managing traffic here.

Regarding the parking problem, it was informed that the Railways were going in for a major expansion of the parking area in the next six months. A bus queue shelter for passengers has also been planned outside the station building. UT officials have also sought that a railway reservation counter should be started at the Sector 43 ISBT. However, Railway officials were non-committal on the issue. Reservation counter at the Sector 17 ISBT was also being renovated.



Custodial death alleged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
A 36-year-old resident of Hallomajra, Nirmal Singh, died at the GMCH, Sector 32, here today. He was admitted to the hospital after he was found in an unconscious state in Sector 31 earlier in the day.

It is learnt that the deceased had allegedly slipped away from the custody of the police at the hospital yesterday. He along with one of his neighbours Shinder Kaur had been brought to the hospital for a medical examination after the two had had a quarrel.

After escaping from the hospital, he was today found in Sector 31 in an unconscious state. The SHO of the Sector 31 police station said postmortem of the deceased would be conducted tomorrow to ascertain the cause of the death.

Meanwhile, the family of the deceased has alleged that he had died in police custody.



Pipeline left open

Behind my house, No. 1071, Sector 10, Panchkula, HUDA/Municipal Corporation, has dug out a water pipeline. Now they are not taking care of it, it is been left open despite frequent visits and requests to their office. Water pipeline is open and seems quite deep, so it is quite risky and also water is causing threat to our house as well. When it gets dark, it might prove very dangerous as someone who is not aware of it might meet with an accident.

If any untoward incident happens then who will be accountable for it. I request the authorities to put it on their priority list and repair it as soon as possible. 

Manish Gupta, Panchkula

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Three cars, SUV stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 3
Five vehicles, including three cars and a SUV, were reportedly stolen from various parts of the city.

Gaurav Pathak of Sector 21-A reported that his Mahindra Scorpio (HE-08-A-0051) was stolen from his home last night. Manmohan Singh of Sector 38 lodged a complaint alleging that his Maruti car (CH-01-B-0823) was stolen from his home on January 1. Similarly, Tarsem Kumar of Sector 28-A filed a complaint with the police alleging that his car (CH-01-S-7484) was stolen from the same sector.

In another incident, Rajinder Kumar of Sector 20-A lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his white Maruti car was stolen from the parking lot of Chandigarh Club on December 31. In another incident, Anurag Saini of Sector 21-B reported that his Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle (PB-07-T-4037) was stolen from Sector 21 on Wednesday.

Five separate cases of thefts have been registered.


Rajesh Mittal of Sector 15 reported that his Maruti car (PB-11-N-7575) was stolen from a paid parking lot in Sector 35 on December 29. The police booked Vikas Mor, contractor of the parking lot, on the charge of breach of trust under Section 406 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Sector 36 police station.


Parshant Johar of Sector 15 reported that computer parts were stolen from his shop in the locality last night. In another incident, Darbara Singh of Sector 20 filed a complaint with the police alleging that a spare tyre and music system of his car (CH-03U-7750), which was parked at his home, were stolen, last night.

Two separate cases of thefts have been registered.


Mohammad Younis of Phase II, Ram Darbar, reported to the police alleging that Deepa, Nani, Yogal and Sundi assaulted and threatened him near his home on January 1.

He suffered injuries and was admitted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital. A case has been registered.



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