C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


4 Delhi men killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 5
Four persons were killed when their car collided head-on with an Army truck on the Panchkula-Kalka highway early this morning.

The deceased have been identified as Arun Datta (30), Rakesh (47), Kuldip (59) and Satish (40), all residents of Delhi. They were on their way to Shimla.

According to the police, the car was overtaking some trucks when it collided with the Army truck coming from the opposite side near the Old Chandimandir police station around 6.30 am, killing all four on the spot.

A crane was used to lift the truck to gain access to the car.

The families of the victims who came from Delhi in the evening said Arun had two children and was employed at a bank. Kuldip ran a cable business and Rakesh owned a watch shop.

The victims had left Delhi for Shimla around 10.30 last night. Arun owned a property in Shimla and wanted to sell it.

Three number plates were found in the car and the police is looking into it.



Cops thrash boy for stealing Rs 300
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The police and the public bashed up a nine-year-old boy for allegedly stealing Rs 300. The boy had come to the city with his mother from whom he got separated. “I have come from Patna,” he said.

The boy was produced before the Juvenile Justice Board, which sent him to a juvenile home.

Finding it difficult to walk because of his injuries, he confessed, “I had stolen Rs 300 because I wanted to go to my grandmother’s house in Patna. I am alone here and want to go back.”

He cannot recollect the address, but remembers the name of his native village. His father had died a few years ago. “I have never gone to a school. My mother never sent me to one as she had no money. She was my only support and I can just think of returning to my grandmother’s place now.”

Wiping his tears, he said, “I sleep at the Sector 32 roundabout. Yesterday I ate a chapatti given to me by a policeman.” A lawyer passing by was surprised to see the juvenile limping in the courtroom. On inquiring, the lawyer, T.S. Sudan, realised that the child had been assaulted by the police.

“The child was treated after I moved an application before the court to get him treated,” he said. According to Section 63 (2) of the Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act, at every police station, at least one officer with appropriate training and orientation should be designated as child welfare officer to handle juveniles.



Four Pups Drown
The anguish of a ‘mother’
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

From left (1) The bitch seems to guide the rescue team. (2) She comes out of the pipeline after searching for her pups. (3) The rescue team holds out a dead pup. (4) The bitch takes it to safety, believing it to be alive. IT CAN’T GET MORE POIGNANT: From left (1) The bitch seems to guide the rescue team. (2) She comes out of the pipeline after searching for her pups. (3) The rescue team holds out a dead pup. (4) The bitch takes it to safety, believing it to be alive. Tribune photos by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, April 5
Firemen and shopkeepers today displayed rare compassion and called for a JCB machine for carrying out a rescue operation to save four pups from drowning in Sector 29-C here. But even after breaking the pipe at several places, they could not bring them out alive.

Drenched and coated with slush, a team of six firemen managed to pull out the bodies of three pups from the pipe.

The last one was taken out by the “mother” herself after everyone gave up. Unable to come to terms with her pups’ death, she kept licking them.

For the shopkeepers it was a heart rending incident. A shopkeeper, Sanjiv Kumar Chawla, would feed the bitch often and couldn’t stop sobbing. He said he came to know about the pups being trapped in the pipeline when he reached the market at around 9 am.

“She was barking and running to the pipeline to draw my attention, but I could not understand what she wanted. After a while, the thought of missing pups crossed my mind and suspecting the worst, I went to the pipe and heard the pups crying inside.

She was also born in the same pipeline and had given birth to the pups at the same place, he said.

Chawla called some shopkeepers and tried to bring out the pups, but in vain as the pipe was too narrow and no one could enter it.

They then informed the fire brigade and a team of fire officials began to draw out water from the pipe. They broke the pipeline at several points with iron rods and after about two-and-a-half hours, they managed to pull out the dead pups. The bitch was hanging around the spot and onlookers blocked her way to prevent her from going down.

The shopkeepers said the pipe had been laid to drain out rainwater from the parking lot. The pipe was flooded with water due to the rain and the water flowed back into it.



Drugs forced Kamaldeep into crime
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Drug addiction and disturbed married life pushed Kamaldeep into crime. The 26-year-old youth was arrested by the Special Crime Investigation Cell, yesterday for his alleged involvement in a number of snatching incidents that occurred in the city.

Kamaldeep, a resident of Sector 26 police lines, son of a woman constable of the Chandigarh police, was addicted to drugs, including cough syrups and toxic tablets. Being addicted to noxious substances he lost track and in order to meet his expenses of a ‘daily dose’ took to snatching.

The accused after completing his graduation kept on changing jobs. Money needed to fulfill his addiction was getting high on his pocket, though he was working in a call centre.

With no option left, the accused got indulged in snatching, which was the only way to satisfy his obsession. Kamal’s friends could not believe when they saw his photograph in the newspapers this morning.



Temp dips by 7 degrees
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Temperatures dropped sharply across Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh today, forcing people to take out their woollens. Even though there was rain and fall in temperature by 7 degrees, people enjoyed a sunny afternoon today. According to the met department, Chandigarh received 16 mm of rainfall.

Met officials informed that rain occurred at Chandigarh, Ambala, Hisar, Karnal, Rohtak, Bhiwani, Narnaul, Panchkula and Kalka (in Haryana) and Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Ludhiana, Patiala, Mukerian, Ropar and Mohali. Rainy weather was expected to could continue during the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, water accumulated in low-lying areas and the movement of traffic was affected. An expert said the rain would be good for the standing wheat crop if it did not last for long. But if strong winds accompanied the rain, it would play havoc with the crops in the region, he added.



Protest at liquor vend, three arrested
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 5
The police today arrested three persons Mansa Ram, Ram Pal and Rajiv, all residents of Sectors 8 and 9, for damaging the property of a liquor vend and manhandling its workers. They were protesting against the opening of a liquor vend near their locality.

More than 50 residents of Sectors 8 and 9, including women, staged a dharna in front of the vend in the Sector-9 market. They alleged that when they were raising slogans against the administration, workers at the vend manhandled them. Agitated over it, the protesters tried to block the road. However, by that time, cops reached the spot and dispersed the protesters. On the other hand, the police said the contractor had lodged a complaint that the protesters damaged his property and manhandled his workers.

The liquor vend opened in a pre-fabricated structure was an eyesore since HUDA allotted land for it in the market last week.

While the shopkeepers and plot holders near the site of the vend rued that it would affect their business as women would avoid visiting the area, the residents were against the opening of vend due to its proximity to the locality.

The residents complained that they had been approaching the authorities for the past two days but nothing had been done. Thus, taking motivation from the residents of Sector 19, who had been able to force the administration to close down a vend opened in their locality on Wednesday, they assembled in front of the vend in the evening to register their protest.

Meanwhile, deputy excise and taxation commissioner J.S. Chahal said the land for the vend was allotted to the contractor according to the excise policy.



Conversion Fee
CIC seeks status report from Principal AG
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The issue of Chandigarh administration “wrongly” diverting money earned from the conversion of industrial plots has been taken to the Central Information Commission (CIC).

Last year, the principal accountant-general, Punjab and Chandigarh, had objected to the move by the administration to divert the conversion fee. It was pointed out that since the money goes to the consolidated fund of India under the receipt head, it could not be utilised by the administration.

Under the Right to Information Act, H.S. Mamik, an industrialist, had sought information from the office of the principal accountant-general, Punjab, regarding the objection made by the office against the diversion of public money. After failing to get a reply, he approached the CIC.

Passing the orders, the CIC directed the central public information officer, AG office, to appear before the commission on April 10.

The administration had claimed that it had got permission from the finance department to use the money. The money earned as conversion fee has been lying unused with the administration. The administration had claimed that a special public account fund would be created, wherein the conversion fee would be deposited. From the fund, the administration would be allowed to withdraw the money. However, the principal accountant-general had stated that notification of the conversion policy was in contravention of the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act.

The audit department pointed out that the policy had resulted in a huge loss. On the other hand, officials in the administration stated that bills relating to UTs without legislature went to Parliament for enactment/amendment where Parliament acted as the state legislature. Such amendments did not become central Acts.



It’s light rail system, not metro
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
It is not metro. Rather, the Expert Committee on Mass Rapid Transit System has suggested the light rail based system for Chandigarh and neigbouring urban centres in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

Going by the seven-fold classification of roads given by Le Corbusier, the expert committee that was set up by the ministry of urban development has also suggested a bus based transit system in the region, which has been classified as ‘Inter-State Modal Urban Complex’.

Information sought by a Fazilka-based NGO under the Right to Information Act, 2005, has revealed that the ministry never issued any approval letter for the Chandigarh Metro rail project. In one of its meeting, the committee had decided to get prepared a detailed project report (DDR) for the grade separated metro, keeping in mind the underground length restricted to heritage areas.

In a reply to the applicant, G. Sridharan, an under secretary in the ministry, Metro Rail Cell, has pointed out that the committee has observed that any mass transit system will have to use different modes of transport from rail-based to bus-based. While recommending the light rail system, the committee has pointed out that due to limited flexibility, limited capacity, high costs, aesthetics and the character of the city, particularly in core areas such as the Madhya Marg and the Himalaya Marg, it is not in the favour of monorail option.

Considering the projected transit load and future needs, the committee has suggested the light rail based system on two surface corridors - Sarangpur-Khuda Lahora-Maheshpur on the east-west access and other one from the Motor Market to Sector 105, Mohali, via the IT park, Purv Marg.



‘Try Room’ released
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, April 5
Meaningful deliberations on the contemporary literary scene by eminent scholars marked the release of a Punjabi book titled "Try Room", a maiden anthology of short stories authored by the septuagenarian writer Bhupinder Singh Nanda at a function held under the aegis of Punjabi Sahit Sabha at Chandigarh Press Club here today.

Eminent litterateurs Dr Harnam Singh Shan, Prof Dr Darshan Singh, Dr Kulwant Singh, director of Punjabi Sahit Akademy C.R. Moudgil, former editor of Dainik Tribune Vijay Sehgal and others offered critical appreciation on the book.

Most of the stories had been published in Punjabi magazines in Canada and won appreciation.

The scholars lauded Nanda for his benevolent plan for free distribution of the book to libraries in India and Canada.

Sharing his delayed literary voyage, former senior government officer and author Nanda (72) disclosed that his works were a mere reflection of the agonising memories of the yesterday and stinging woes of today and as such, were very close to the pulse and heartbeat of reality.

Asked about only one book during 72 years, Nanda, in a humorous tone, remarked that Walt Whitman wrote only one poetry book "Leaves of Grass" and bagged the Nobel prize.



Land Acquisition
Farmers stage protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Manimajra Farmers and Environment Protection Society today staged a protest against the acquisition of land for the IT park, here. The protest was organised near the venue of the foundation stone laying ceremony of Parsvnath Housing Project by the UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd).

Around 500 farmers along with their families highlighted the anti land owners policy of the Chandigarh administration. It was pointed out that while the prevailing market rate in the area was Rs 30 crore per acre, the small farmers were being paid basic compensation of Rs18.75 lakh per acre.

They claimed that ‘IT HABITAT’ was a pure commercial venture to benefit Parsvnath Developer who is selling a car park area for Rs 3 Lakh per parking. Land Aquisition. The society while quoting the 126th report on the demand for grants 2007-2008 of the ministry of home affairs, presented to the Rajya Sabha and tabled in the Lok Sabha, on April 26, 2007, said the IT habitat was for those working in the technology park.



Seminar on human rights
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
“Poverty is the biggest violator of human rights,” former Chief Justice of Delhi Court Rajinder Sachar stated this at a seminar organised at English auditorium in Panjab University today. The topic of the seminar organised by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) was “Human Rights-Challenges and Perspective.”

Justice Sachar said: “Suicide cases of farmers in Punjab are also shocking. It is evident that the basic rights of the farmers in the state.”

Opining on the human rights and its violations, Varinder Kumar, former chairman of the Department of Laws, Panjab University, quoted the judgement of Supreme Court pronounced by a bench of nine judges on the basic rights. Elaborating on it he said, “The reason for violation of rights of an individual is because we all know about our rights but not that of others.”

The seminar presided over by senior associate editor, The Tribune, A.J. Philip said, “Our country is not poor, though the percentage of people below poverty is very high. The growth rate of the country is 9 per cent so India is growing at a very fast rate.”



Central status for PU

I fully support the demand for a Central status for Panjab University (PU) and am shocked over the politics being played over the issue. I wonder if all those who consider it to be a political matter, have ever made a sincere effort to clinch the issue of Chandigarh’s status. The dubious status of Chandigarh among union territories had suited the political bosses and academicians till date. Moreover, when Allahabad University was made a Central one, did Allahabad stop belonging to Uttar Pradesh?

PU is already 60 per cent funded by the Centre. Punjab Government ignores PU when it comes to grants on the pretext that it is a Central University. The state is going to gain rather than lose when PU is 100 per cent funded by the Centre. Let us all fight tooth and nail for a Central status for the university with modalities to be taken up later.

Dr I.M. Joshi

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Fee Hike
Noose tightened around private schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Chandigarh administration has devised a control mechanism to monitor the fee structure of city’s private schools.
A policy in this regard has been formulated by the administrative officials’ committee, headed by finance-cum-education secretary Sanjay Kumar. The committee, through DPI (S), will ask private schools to submit their fee structure statement within 15 days.

Sanjay Kumar said, “The idea is to see whether the fee structure is commensurate with the facilities offered by these schools or not. Those schools will be questioned which have raised the capital out of fee funds. In the absence of any such policy, we have been receiving a number of complaints from parents about the exorbitant fee hike by private schools.”

Barring the schools run by trusts or societies, no privately run school can legally divert the money towards raising fixed assets of the school.

According to the Education Code under Clause 18, these schools could be questioned if they hiked fee to divert such expenditure to raise capital. The officials disclosed that in the second phase of scrutiny, balance sheets of the schools would be checked.

This decision has been taken in the wake of a justification given by private school owners that the amount they receive was in turn ploughed back for the welfare of children. They argued that they provided the children with the best of facilities like AC rooms, best sports infrastructure, transport, instructors, and well-equipped gymnasium among other things.



A lab to prepare for AIEEE aspirants
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Are you ready for the experimental skills segment included for the first time in the All India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) 2008? If not, then there is still time to find a way out! For, a fully equipped lab for practical application has been installed in Sector 2, Panchkula.

Innovated by Dr K.S. Upadhyaya, a doctorate in physics, this lab, probably the only one in the region, allows the students to study with practical diagrams and explanation.

The Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) has introduced the practical component for the first time in AIEEE 2008 examination scheduled to start from April 27.

According to the new syllabus, there will be two sections. One section pertaining to the theory part will have a weightage of 80 per cent marks while another section will have practical constituent (experimental skills) having 20 per cent weightage. The CBSE officials confirmed that this time around 8.62 lakh applications had been received by the board.

Ironically, there is hardly any AIEEE coaching institutes in the tricity that cater to the experimental quotient.

One school of thought is that the CBSE has given significance to the practical segment just to enthuse the students to go to schools to do practicals. But the dilapidated state of affairs at the school laboratories, barring a few private schools, is also a matter of concern.

Elaborating further, Dr Upadhyaya, said, “This new pattern, which commands 20 per cent vital marks, can be procured only after undergoing experimental classes at well-equipped physics laboratory. ”

“We, in our lab, have developed facilities for learning physics through innovative experiments to capture the attention of young minds and inspire them to learn the concepts of physics and develop experimental skills”, he added.



Badal addresses law graduates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Calling upon advocates and jurists to play a pro-active role in dispensing affordable and speedy justice for the poor and needy, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said the legal fraternity should discharge their duties with commitment, dedication and sincerity in the larger public interest.

Addressing students during the 2nd annual convocation of the Army Institute of Law (AIL), Mohali, the Chief Minister said the judiciary and executive were the pillars of democracy. He urged the judiciary, legislature, executive, members of the Bar, legal academia and scholars to actively engage themselves in finding meaningful and widely acceptable solutions to the social challenges. The Chief Minister announced that the 1.25 acre plot of land adjoining the AIL would be allotted to the institute at the earlier reserve price for which the institute had already deposited 25 per cent of the total price with PUDA. He also assured the faculty of the institute that he would refer the case for upgrading the institute’s status to that of a deemed university to the sub-committee headed by chief secretary. Cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who was the guest of honour, motivated the students to work with dedication and determination in order to achieve their goals.

Prof Sucha Singh Gill, dean, academic affairs, Punjabi University, Patiala, conferred degrees on the students of 2006 and 2007 batches. Prizes were also given for academic excellence. The Batra Silver Sterling Trophy was won by Sarvesh Singh, Narmata Bedi (2006) and Neeru Kamboj while the Dhruv Trophy was lifted by Seema Sharma (2006) and Neeru Kamboj (2007). The trophy for topping in Military Law was won by Harleen Kaur Duggal (2006) and Neeru Kamboj (2007).



PU mulls admitting students with less than 20 pc
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Despite repeated assertions by vice-chairman of the UGC Prof Moolchand Sharma that academic excellence in higher education should be a rule rather than exception, the university is contemplating giving provisional admissions to students with less than 20 per cent marks in Class XII PSEB board examinations. According to sources, the decision is being considered as some neighboring universities are already following it. After the senate rejected the item from the agenda, a committee was formed to look into the possibilities and it has been again referred to a principals’ committee.

Thereafter, a meeting of the committee was held in April, 2008 and it was decided that a sub-committee should be constituted to gather information on when compartment examinations for the board were held and what about the students who appeared in the exams through open schools and were there any other state boards who put students with less than 20 per cent marks under compartment. It is pertinent to mention here that GND University, Amritsar, and Punjabi University, Patiala, give provisional admission to the students who obtain less than 20 per cent marks in Class XII subject to the condition that they will be regularised once they clear the compartment.



PU gives special chance to reappear
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The PU syndicate has approved a one-time concession of granting a special chance to those students of business management and commerce, who could not clear their reappear paper and pass in aggregate in any or all papers, including internal papers such as seminar papers and workshop papers (excluding research project and viva-voce), in any of the semesters.

The internal papers, seminar papers and workshop papers will be evaluated afresh internally by the University Business School and relevant colleges. The examinations for all semesters will be held in April/May 2008. The approved fee is Rs 10,000 per semester for one paper and Rs 2,000 for each extra paper per semester. 



HC cases to be categorised for expeditious disposal
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
In an attempt to expedite the disposal of cases, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has created three categories of fast, normal and slow tracks. For the purpose, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Case Flow Management Rules, applicable to both high court and subordinate courts, have been amended.

The rules make it mandatory for the high court to categorise the writ petitions into either of the three categories of fast, normal or slow track, in accordance with the urgency of the matter at the stage of admission, or at the stage of issuing notice before admission. The rule will not apply to Habeas Corpus petitions.

The petitions placed in the fast track category will invariably be disposed of within six months. Petitions in the normal track category will not take longer than a year. The petitions in the slow track, subject to the pendency of other cases in the court, will ordinarily be disposed of within two years.

Elaborating, high court sources say the case will be put on the fast track where an interim order of stay or injunction is granted regarding liability to pay tax, or where issues like demolition or eviction from public premises are concerned.

All matters involving admission to educational institutions or tenders will also be put on the fast track.

The high court will also place civil appeals and other matters into different tracks on the same lines, and will make a subject wise division of appeal/revision applications for allocation into different tracks.

Rent petitions on the ground of personal necessity, including petitions filed by landlords and NRIs, cases of maintenance, custody of children, cases related to senior citizens and money suits based on negotiable instruments will be put on the fast track. Though the legal fraternity has largely welcomed the step, they feel in certain matters the prescribed time duration should be less.



HC case information at e-centres soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Travelling without your laptop, or not having a computer at all? You will still be able to log on to the status of pending cases, or know the details of the new ones by simply going to the one of the “e-centres” in this part of the region.

For, the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on the administrative side, has asked the information technology directors of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to ensure the easy-availability of case status to the general public at the “e-centres”. The information is to be provided free of cost.

Currently, “e-disha” centres in Haryana, “e-suvhida” centres in Punjab, and “e-sampark” centres in Chandigarh provide passport and other forms. You can even deposit your electricity and other bills without standing in long queues. In Punjab, even lottery tickets are offered for sale through the “e-suvidha” centres.

The sources say in response to the communiqué shot of in this regard by the high court, the UT Administration has already issued necessary instructions to the authorities concerned and information on court cases will soon be a “click-of-mouse” away.

Haryana and Punjab too are working out the modalities for providing the facility to the litigants and others interested in finding out the relevant details. Once the project becomes operational, the litigants will not have to depend upon their counsels or kin in Chandigarh for finding out the case details, the sources add.

They assert the project is part of the high court’s efforts to provide efficient, speedy, simple and cost effective justice to all, and to establish a system of electronic delivery of services in the public domain. The process is being carried out with the help of a team from the National Informatics Centre of the Department of Information Technology.

The high court already has a website that contains the daily cause list of the urgent, main and regular court cases, besides the details of the roaster.

The high court also has a network management centre, and a set-up of more than 900 nodes. The court has also initiated the process of providing case details to the general public through the short-message service.



District Court
Two sentenced to 3-yr RI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
District and Sessions Judge, Ravi Kumar Sondhi, today sentenced Mohan Chand and Amit Demonty to three years imprisonment for causing grievous injuries to Narinder Singh.

According to the prosecution, the two accused were under trials in the Burail Jail. On March 13, 2003, the two accused had allegedly thrown hot oil on Narinder’s face. A resident of Ropar, Narinder, stated that the accused had tried to kill him because a case was going to be decided in his favour.



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