C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Amid the beating of dhol and relatives celebrating Abhinav Bindra’s historic feat by breaking into instant bhangra, one could hear his mother say: “We are on the top of the world.”

And it couldn’t be more true. Abhinav has made his mother Babli and father Dr A.S. Bindra the proudest parents in the country today.

“With today’s achievement, Abhinav, not only realised his ultimate goal of winning a gold in the Olympics, but has also made the country proud. Our happiness can’t be described in words,” she said while celebrating with relatives and friends at their farm in Kishanpura village, around 10 km from here.

The phone at the Bindras’ farm didn’t stop ringing as congratulatory messages poured in from across the world. In the midst of taking calls and giving sound bites to TV channels, they took out time to insist visitors to have laddoos and a soft drink.

“It is celebration time for us,” said Dr Bindra who danced with relatives, including Abhinav’s maternal uncles and aunts who reached there on getting the good news.

“I am on cloud nine. It is the blessing of Guru Nanak which enabled Abhinav to hit the bull’s eye (his top goal),” was Dr Bindra’s first reaction when he learnt of his son’s achievement.

Earlier, the family spent anxious moments in front of the television as they saw their son in action.

“My son is focused, dedicated, disciplined and a fighter. The result was on expected lines. I knew he would cover the gap when he was two points behind the lead guy. He has lived up to our expectations. This is the happiest moment of our lives,” his father said.

His mother said: “It is his hard work and dedication which has catapulted him to such heights. From childhood, he has been a disciplined and obedient child. Though we have provided him with all facilities, including a range conforming to Olympics standards at our house, it is his determination which has brought this glorious day.”

The real celebrations would be held after Abhinav returns. “We will throw a ‘golden’ party to welcome India’s first individual Olympics gold medallist,” they said.

His journey

At the young age of 25, one could not ask for more. Despite being born with a silver spoon on September 28, 1982, at Dehra Dun, Abhinav never turned his back to hard work.

His family shifted to Chandigarh the same year, but he was sent to River Dales School in Dehra Dun, where he studied up to Class VI. He then shifted to Doon School where he studied for two years. “He did not like it there so we got him admitted to St Stephen’s School here,” his mother Babli said.

He did his BBA from the University of Colorado, USA, where he also pursued his childhood passion -- shooting,” she said.

Abhinav tried his hand at golf, but shifted back to shooting, his first love. At the age of five, he started aiming at flying birds and empty bottles. At that time, we noticed his passion and encouraged him to pursue the sport professionally.”

At the age of 13, he was taken to the house of the shooting coach, Col Jagir Singh (retd), in Chandigarh.

The big moment came on July 24, 2006, when he emerged as the world champion in the 10m air rifle event at the ISSF World Shooting Championship in Croatia.

In the qualifying round, he shot 100, 99, 100, 100, 99 and 99 for a total of 597/600 to enter the final. He fired 102.7 in the final to total 699.7 points which got him gold medal.

After winning the world championship, he also became the first Indian shooter to win the gold at a world championship, besides qualifying for the Olympics.

He developed a severe back injury (asymprical muscle problem in lumbar area from D-12 to L 5) which could finish the career of any sportsperson. He sustained the injury during the Commonwealth Games in 2006. But this gritty shooter came back from Melbourne with two gold, one silver and a bronze medal.

The ailment, however, started to affect his performance as he did not do well in three World Cup events. In China, he finished ninth, in Germany 27th and in Italy 42nd. He became the youngest Olympian of the country when he participated in the Sydney games in 2000 at the age of 18.



Rs 5 lakh reward for Bindra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The UT administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), has announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for Abhinav Bindra.

The UT finance-cum-sports secretary, Sanjay Kumar, congratulated the parents of Abhinav and hoped that his achievement would motivate budding champions.

Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP, and mayor Pardeep Chhabra said Abhinav had done the city proud. The mayor said the MC would honour him when he returns to the city.



Festival-like-day at St Stephen's
As a mark of honour, school to be closed on Thursday
Sandeep Rana

Chandigarh, August 11
It was like a festival at St. Stephen's School as students, teachers and the principal of the school went gaga over their former student Abhinav Bindra’s triumph who has done the nation proud by clinching the first-ever individual gold medal at the Beijing Olympics.

The school during the assembly prayed for Bindra’s success for two minutes before the final match. The students came out of their classes fluttering the national flag and shouting Abhinav’s name with ecstasy.

“We prayed for his success at gurudawra and it seems that our prayer and his hard work have paid off today,” says Himanshu Sanghi, a student of the school.

“I am very happy that he has won and I feel proud that I am studying in this school from where Abhinav Bindra passed out”, says Sanchit Kumar, another student of the school.

“Yaad karo jo kaha tha ho gaya” this was what Harold Carver, the principal of the school, had told Abhinav on his feat as his eleven years ago prediction has come true today. “I am not happy, I am ecstatic”, he added. Meanwhile as a mark of honour, the principal has announced a holiday in the school on Thursday.

Abhinav Bindra is not only good at shooting but also at studies as well. He knew when to study and when to shoot. Even though he was not very regular in the school due to his shooting matches, still he got superb marks. He scored 85 per cent marks in class X and 74.6 per cent in XII.

“He was very focused and sincere at his studies too and there was not even a single day we remember when we had his complaints,” says Cheema, Abhinav’s English teacher.

Meanwhile, his mother, Babli Bindra, appreciated the efforts made by the school in his success. “I remember once he had to go to Sydney for a shooting match and at the same time he had to appear in the XII exams. However, due to the school’s courtesy, ICSE board arranged separate board examination for him,” she added.

One of his classmates, Deepinder Kaushal, who studied with him, says “He is an introvert person and had very few friends in the class. We are still in contact with him through emails and we are hoping grand celebration whenever he comes back to India.

“I remember he was also selected as “Mr. Chocolate” in our 10th class farewell party. Not many know that girls would try to hit on him but he never paid attention towards them because he was focused and knew where he had to reach one day,” she added.



Humble even in victory — that’s Abhinav
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Twentyfive-year-old Abhinav was an epitome of tranquillity when he called up his parents after writing a new chapter in Indian sports.

He had called up at 1.30 pm to enquire about the welfare of his family. When his proud father said: “You’ve done it, son”, his answer was terse: “Yes, dad”.

“Not only we, but the whole country is proud of you,” was what his father said next, and again the answer was “yes, dad”.

His mother erupted in joy and told him: “We are on the top of the world. I knew you would do it.”

Abhinav asked her, “Kya kar rahe ho?” When she said they were being flocked by the media, the champion remarked laughingly, “Are you crazy?”

He even enquired about his pets. “He loves his dogs very much,” his mother said.



24 hrs before creating history…
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
While the entire nation celebrates Abhinav Bindra’s feat, sharing the glorious moments with him would have been an altogether different experience. But what went on 24 hours before he shot the “bull’s eye” creating history, would perhaps be known only to those who were with him during those anxious hours.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune exclusively from Beijing, Dr Amit Bhattachargee, Bindra’s mental trainer and teacher, said, “Yesterday afternoon, Bindra had a shooting practice for more than two hours. After that we headed to JW Marriot Hotel where we had a sauna bath before exercising meditation therapies in the hotel room.”

This was done to make Abhinav relax and de-stress, added the doctor, who accompanied the shooting contingent at Beijing to provide mental support.

Yesterday night, the duo went to see a documentary movie after a hearty seven-course buffet meal.

“At 10.30, I dropped Abhinav at the Olympics village with an instruction to sleep immediately,” Dr Bhattachargee said.

“Today, I developed a three-step programme for Abhinav. First step, we went for a morning walk that was followed by a light breakfast. When we were travelling from the village to the shooting range, I made him do some meditation for concentration and instructed him not to talk to anybody. And finally, he was not allowed to talk to the media even though he had made it to the finals. The rest is now history,” Dr Bhattachrgee said.

Dr Bhattachargee was the man who helped the ace shooter come out of the back injury crisis.

“Abhinav developed asymprical muscle problem in the lumbar area from D12 to L5 followed by weak transverse abdomines multifibus. He was recommended to a German doctor, who advised him to go in for a surgery. But I recommended different bio-mechanical correction, stabilising exercises, adrenal therapies, which I learnt from renowned Chiro-practitioner of South Africa. It worked and Abhinav was back in action,” the doctor said while praising the shooter for his calmness, trust in teachers and mentors and extraordinary willpower.



Speaking Out
Laudable performance

By bagging the first-ever individual gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, city boy Abhinav Bindra has done India proud. In a talk with Sandeep Rana, most Panjab University students revealed that Gurdeep Singh they were not aware of his achievement, but said they had expectations from him.

He has been performing well for the past three years and he is the only player I had expectations from. By clinching the gold medal, he has achieved far more than what was expected.

— Gurdeep Singh

Manmeet I don’t know much about Abhinav Bindra as I am not too keen about sports, but I must say that his triumph would give India recognition at the international level.

— Manmeet

Jasmeet I know that he is representing India in the Olympics and his victory will raise the interest of Indians in the Olympics.

— Jasmeet

Shivam I am excited about badminton matches and have high hopes from Anoop Sridhar. In shooting, Abhinav has given India a great start and I believe it will boost the confidence of other players, too.

— Shivam



Fun turns tragic
Engg student drowns
Aarti/ Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Mohit Arora (19), an engineering student, today drowned in the gushing waters of a seasonal rivulet (N-choes) passing through Rose Garden in Sector 16, here, this afternoon. Mohit had gone to the garden with his two friends, Pradeep and Ashok, where he drowned while playing in the rivulet.

Quoting eyewitnesses, the police said Mohit, along with his two friends, was playing in the water and they were probably drunk when the incident took place. The strong current of the rivulet washed away Mohit before anyone could help him. He was seen taken away by the strong current and soon vanished into the murky waters.

After getting the information, the police launched a hunt and deployed police parties along with ambulances at several points from where they could fish the body out, but in vain. However, the body was recovered after four hours from a choe in Shanti Kunj, which was less than 500 metres from where he drowned.

A resident of Sector 22, Mohit was studying at Indo- Global College of Engineering and Technology at Abhipur. His body has been shifted to the mortuary, Sector 16 hospital.

The administration announced a relief of Rs 50,000 to the victim’s family. No official of the administration reached the site to supervise the rescue operation.

One of the attendants of the garden revealed that it had become a routine in the monsoon season that the choe was overflowing and they had to warn visitors roaming in the garden not to go near the choe.

Family sources revealed that Mohit with his two friends left the house at about 12:30 pm. They first went to the Sukhna lake following which they came to Rose Garden. Watching them playing, the photographers started clicking the photographs of the three. Mohit gave his watch and his purse to his friend before going down in the choe.

Experts stated that it was strange that the engineering department of the administration has pitched stones in the choe believing it would slow down the flow of water. But they forgot that it would lower the capacity of the choe, which had already become smaller due to the increase in rainwater. This would also reduce the seepage of water in soil also.



Justice Tirath Singh Thakur sworn in as CJ
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Justice Tirath Singh Thakur was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court by Haryana Governor Dr A.R. Kidwai at a brief but impressive ceremony held this morning.

The ceremony started at 9 am sharp and was over in less than 15 minutes, enabling the High Court Judges and the advocates to attend the court proceedings on time.

High Court sources said initially the ceremony was scheduled to be held at 9.30 am, but it was advanced by half an hour. The decision was taken after the newly appointed Chief Justice expressed his desire that the ceremony should be held early so as to prevent the wastage of court time.

Even the High Court Judges were asked to keep their robes ready so that they could hold the court at the scheduled time of 10 am. All this is being seen as an indicator that the new Chief Justice means business.

The ceremony to administer oath to the Chief Justice was attended by Punjab Governor S.F. Rodrigues. The Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana Parkash Singh Badal and Bhupinder Singh Hooda were also present, along with Union minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal.

Also present at the occasion were the Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, besides the Delhi High Court. Among them was Delhi High Court Judge Justice Sunil Gaur, who was born and brought up in Chandigarh and had practiced in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Justice Gaur was sharing the Bench with Justice Thakur at Delhi.

A science and law graduate, Justice Thakur was born at Ramban district in Jammu & Kashmir on January 4, 1952. He was enrolled as a pleader in October 1972 after doing his law.

Belonging to a family of advocates, Chief Justice Thakur joined the Chamber of his father D.D. Thakur, who was a leading advocate, before being elevated as a Judge of the J&K High Court.

His father was also the finance minister in the Sheikh Abdullah's government, deputy chief minister of the state and Governor of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Chief Justice Thakur has practised in civil, criminal, constitutional, taxation and service matters in the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir. He was appointed as acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court on April 9.

The Chief Justice replaces Justice Vijendra Jain, who retired upon attaining the age of superannuation on August 2.



RTI ghost haunts UT administrator again
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The RTI ghost continues to haunt the UT administrator. Social activist Hemant Goswami, who forced the office of the UT administrator to appoint central public information officer (CPIO), has filed another application before the chief information commissioner (CIC), alleging violation of the May 13 CIC order.

Deciding on the application of Goswami, the CIC had directed the administrator to appoint a CPIO on May 13 and publish complete information as mandated under Section 4(1)(b) of the Right to Information Act 2005.

Pointing out several anomalies, Goswami alleged that the appointment of M. P. Singh as the appellate authority under the RTI Act was not proper. The complaint mentions that "According to the RTI Act that both "PIO" and the "Appellate Authority" have to be from the same public authority and at least the same government.

While the CPIO Bhupinder Singh is from the Chandigarh Administration, the appellate authority, who is also the secretary to the Punjab Governor, is an official of the Punjab government having no control over any information under the Chandigarh Administration and the CPIO.

"In the current scenario, the appellate authority does not have any access to the information sought and cannot see the files of the government (as sought) and neither is knowledgeable about the department and, therefore, he is not in a position to help the applicants/appellants," it alleged.

Goswami pointed out that the adviser to the administrator, under whose control the CPIO functions, could have been made the appellate authority.

Meanwhile, in the columns for mentioning the particulars of an organisation, functions and duties of the administrator's office, only reference to appointment of administrator under Article 239 of the Constitution is given. Functions and duties as assigned to the administrator are not mentioned. Similarly, no useful information under the columns meant to specify the powers and duties of officers and employees of the administrator's office was provided, it is alleged.

Only vague references were made which reads that the administrator exercises the power of "State Government" and also discharges duties under the "Service Rules." Under all 16 information heads, either the information was incomplete, deficient or evasive, the application alleged.



No I-Day celebrations before Aug 15: UT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
All government as well as private schools of the city will celebrate Independence Day at Sector 17 Parade Ground on August 15 only. It has also been decided by the Administration to declare next day i.e. August 16, as holiday.

These guidelines have been implemented by the Administration following the directions issued by a High Court bench led by Justice Singhvi that August 14 is celebrated as independence day by Pakistan only and hence all schools will celebrate the day on August 15 only.

DPI (S) SK Setia said, “All schools have been instructed not to hold the celebrations on August 14 in their school. Only one function will be held at Sector 17 Parade Ground where schoolchildren of private as well as government would participate together.” “Moreover, this decision has been taken to bring the uniformity as all schools will be open on August 15 and declare closure on August 16. The schools which do not comply to these directions will be taken to task”, Setia clarified.

Meanwhile, the education department is gearing up to welcome a 37-member delegation from Singapore schools which is expected to visit Chandigarh on August 24.

Setia said special committees had been formed to look after the guests who would stay in the city till August 27. “An equal number of schoolchildren who have proficiency in English language and have good knowledge about India and especially Chandigarh will be shortlisted to assist the overseas guests. Special sightseeing programmes are also being chalked out for the visitors”, told Setia. Schools like KB DAV-7, DAV-15, Gurukul, Government College-11 and CITCO has already extended to offer their hospitality to welcome the visitors.



Mayor denied permission to visit France
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The UT Administrator has denied permission to the city’s mayor to visit France later next month in connection with the city’s claim to heritage status.
It is learnt that the permission has been denied on the pretext that there was no need for two functionaries Pardeep Chhabra and MC commissioner Roshan Sunkaria to undertake the visit.

Incidentally, the Chandigarh administration has been allowing its bureaucrats and certain other officials to go on foreign jaunts to pursue the city’s case for heritage status. It appears that the administration believes that only bureaucrats know about the welfare of the city and can represent Chandigarh better at international forum.

Sources said last month the MC had received an invite from the UNESCO’s heritage committee for the city’s mayor to visit France on a tour. The invite was forwarded to the Administrator for approval. The purpose of the visit was to expose the elected representatives to various issues concerning the heritage status. Mayors of other cities had also been invited for the tour from September 24 to October 4.

The mayor said he was yet to get intimation about the refusal of permission. “If the permission has been denied, it is very unfortunate to deny exposure to an elected representative at the international level.” He said the issue would be taken up with the Government of India. Sources said the MC commissioner was also scheduled to accompany the mayor on the visit.

Ironically, a few days back the administration had got clearance from the municipal corporation before forwarding the case of heritage status to the Centre. The Centre had asked the administration to get clearance from the MC and Punjab and Haryana Governments.



SI-DSP Row: DSP fails to submit report
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
DSP Jasbir Singh Cheema, the officer inquiring into the allegations levelled by sub-inspector Poonam Dilawari against DSP Satbir Singh, failed to submit his report even today.

This is the second time the officer has failed to meet the deadline of the time-bound inquiry that was supposed to be completed within three days. SP (traffic) H.S. Doon had entrusted the inquiry to Cheema on August 4. Doon told The Tribune that in all probability Cheema would submit his report on Tuesday. Cheema, however, remained tightlipped when asked about the status of the report.

Sources in the police said the inquiry had been completed and would be submitted on Tuesday. It is learnt that Cheema has thoroughly probed the allegations and also taken the CCTV camera clippings in which Poonam was seen narrating the incident to DSP K.I.P. Singh sitting in the SHO’s room at the Sector 39 police station. While DSP Satbir Singh has categorically denied using any foul language against SI Poonam Dilawari, the CCTV camera footage from the SHO’s room at the police station showed the latter crying which suggested that something unsavory did transpire between them.



Respite from power cuts in Mohali
Tribune Reporters

Mohali, August 11
After reeling under power cuts for almost a month, Mohali residents are now heaving a sigh of relief.

The power cuts in the city are almost over and according to officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), if the rains continue, there will be no more power cuts.

According to the board officials, current position is dynamic and power situation in the state is being monitored regularly. In case of a dearth of rainfall, the electricity production goes down and power cuts are announced.

However, the situation in other areas of SAS Nagar district has still not improved.

In Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru, residents have to cope with power cuts which last for six to seven hours a day. The residents of the area asserted that long power cuts had made their life miserable. “It is like living in hell,” said a resident. Shopkeepers, businessmen and schoolchildren are the most affected due to the erratic power supply.

“I have to submit my project report tomorrow, but due to daily power cuts, I have to go to Chandigarh to do my work,” says Sarbjit Singh, a budding architect in Zirakpur.

“Invertors are not functioning and we cannot afford generators, says Mohit, a shopkeeper in Dera Bassi.

According to the PSEB officials, “If rains continue, there is a likelihood of some relaxation from power cuts. We are doing our best to ensure regular power supply to residents.”



BJP men, cops hurt in clash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
A protest by BJP activists from Punjab over the revocation of land allotted to the Amarnath shrine took a violent turn this afternoon leaving over 24 activists, including, several police personal injured, when the police lathi-charged the protestors trying to breach the security cordon.

The protesters turned violent when the police stopped them at barricades on the road dividing Sector 7 and 8 here. The police then resorted to a cane-charge and used water canons and tear gas shells to disperse the protesters who pelted policemen with stones.

The police chased the protestors on the Madhya Marg, leading to chaos and traffic problems.

The police arrested 13 activists and registered a case of rioting, causing hurt and assaulting and obstructing public servants from discharging their duties. Even as a delegation of the protesters, including state president of the BJP, Rajinder Bhandari, Manoranjan Kalia, Laxmi Kanta Chawla, Master Mohan Lal, Balramji Das Tandon, Avinash Rai Khanna and Tikshan Sud went to Punjab Raj Bhavan to hand over the memorandum, the protestors insisted on breaching the barricades. Earlier during the rally, the BJP leaders condemned the policies of the union government for worsening the situation.

It was only after ADC I.S Sandhu reached there and ordered the police to disperse the mob that the policemen chased away the protestors. The protestors accused the Chandigarh police of highhandedness. On the other hand, the UT SSP maintained that minimum force was used to disperse the unruly mob, which resorted to stone pelting.

Meanwhile, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, has condemned the police action. 



Remove colonies under high tension wires: SDM
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 11
The Mohali SDM has asked GMADA and the PSEB to get all illegal colonies removed which had come up in areas above which high tension wires passed to avoid incidents of electrocution.

A man and his son were electrocuted on August 3 when Sita Ram tried to save his son, Rajesh, from a live wire that fell on Guru Nanak colony in Phase I here.

In a letter, written on August 5 to the estate officer of GMADA and the executive engineer, PSEB, the SDM stated that some illegal colonies had come up in areas above which high tension wires passed. Accidents had taken place in these colonies leading to deaths due to the high tension wires . After the incidents , mediapersons blamed the administration in this regard. As such these colonies should be removed so that no fatal incidents take place. In case these colonies were not removed the responsibility in case of accidents would fall on the departments concerned.

Copies of the letter have also been sent to the deputy commissioner and the additional chief administrator, GMADA, for necessary action.



Rains pour misery
Rajiv Colony residents raise slogans against admn
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 11
Residents raised slogans against the administration when the water from the overflowing nullah entered hundreds of houses in Rajiv Colony here today. They alleged that the administration had failed to take corrective measures even as water from the nullah inundated the colony every time the region witnessed heavy rainfall.

The city and surrounding areas witnessed heavy rain since morning, which lasted over five hours. However, for two hours between 1.30 to 3.30 pm, the intensity of rain increased to such a magnitude that most of the roads and low-lying areas of the town submerged under the rainwater.

Water from the overflowing nullah passing alongside slums of Rajiv Colony entered the houses forcing the residents to leave the place.

Meanwhile, sub-divisional magistrate Arvind Sharma, district revenue officer K.K. Amrohi along with the municipal committee staff reached the site to take stock of the situation. The agitated residents, finding the officials standing on the side of the nullah, started raising slogans against the administration for not taking measures to save them from floods even as it was the third time during the last two months that the water from the nullah had entered their houses.

The situation at Indira Colony, Mansa Devi Complex, Sectors 6, 12, 12A, 19 and Industrial Area was no different.

Vehicular traffic was affected due to knee-deep water that had accumulated at various roundabouts as hundreds of vehicles broke down. The situation was so bad that residents of Sector 19 had to drain out the water that had entered their houses.



City can’t handle even moderate rain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Rain fury continued to haunt residents of Chandigarh and its surroundings areas today. With the area experiencing a moderate rainfall of 19mm, life was virtually thrown out of gear. Traffic came to a halt at several places and power supply was affected, sending out a message that the city cannot even withstand moderate rainfall.

Traffic snarls could be seen at all major roundabouts and intersections. Many vehicles developed snags and were stranded on flooded roads. The worst hit were commuters on the Madhya Marg.

Residential localities and buildings were flooded and water entered houses. Residents complained that despite repeated requests, the authorities had failed to put a proper drainage system in place. Schoolchildren and their parents were the worst affected as they were drenched and stuck in a traffic jam for long.

The fire department building, Sector 11, was surrounded by knee-deep water and officials used a pump to drain it out.

Commuters from Panchkula took a detour via the road connecting Sector 26 and the IT park, but they, too, got stranded as the Sukhna choe swelled and water flowed on the road. The road was closed to traffic for almost an hour. In Panchkula, the choe running between Shivalik Enclave and Sector 18 swelled and water overflowed on the causeway near Sector 7, hampering the movement of traffic. The downpour also submerged railway tracks near Zirakpur for a few hours, delaying trains.



Admn alters allotment rules
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The Chandigarh administration has decided not to charge interest on the balance conversion fee from the applicants of two kanal plots who could not submit their revised building plans due to delay in finalisation of zoning of these plots.

The benefit has been allowed by amending the scheme called "Chandigarh Conversion of Land Use of Industrial Sites into Commercial Activity/Services in Industrial Area, Phases I and II, Chandigarh Scheme, 2005" and now, the scheme will be called "Chandigarh Conversion of Land Use of Industrial Sites into Commercial Activity/Services in Industrial Area, Phase I and II, Chandigarh (Amendment) Scheme, 2008".

Besides, the administration has changed the Allotment/Transfer of Built-up Booths in any Sector on Lease/Hire Purchase Basis in Chandigarh Rules, 1991, to Allotment/Transfer of Built-up Booths in any Sector on Lease/Hire Purchase Basis in Chandigarh (Amendment) Rules, 2008.

In the Allotment/Transfer of Built-up Booths in any Sector on Lease/Hire Purchase basis in Chandigarh Rules, 1991, after Rule 5(c), the provision has been added which says, provided that in case any applicant, who after having submitted an application under this scheme and having been found eligible under this scheme by the competent authority, dies before formal allotment letter is issued, all legal heirs may be jointly entitled for allotment of booth under these rules. 



Police-peddler nexus
IGP confirms involvement of only 6 policemen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Putting all speculations to rest, UT IGP S.K. Jain today confirmed that the NCB has named only six police officers in its report about the nexus between policemen and drug-peddlers.

Jain added that they were yet to identify the sixth policeman. He, however, said the sixth policeman was a low-rank officer. He stated that the preliminary inquiry had been initiated against the accused policemen.

Sources in the police headquarters revealed that the sixth policeman had been identified as Jasbir, a constable, who was already suspended in some other case.

Expressing surprise over the reports that there were 14 policemen named by the NCB, the IGP said he had spoken to NCB Zonal director Saji Mohan asking him to reveal the names of the remaining eight policemen. But the later asserted that he had mentioned only six names in the report.

While talking to this correspondent, Jain admitted that the city was becoming a hub for drug peddling. he maintained that efforts were being made to curb this menace. “We are doing our best to fight the menace in the city. The suspension of the five cops would be an example. Though there is an increase in the crime rate, it’s all due to free registration of FIRs,” he said.



UT allows multiplexes on 2-acre plots
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
At the receiving end for ignoring parking norms while allowing multiplexes under the Industrial Conversion Policy and under the Multiplexes Policy for other parts of the city, the Chandigarh administration will allow multiplexes on plots measuring two acres and above.

Though a formal decision in this regard is yet to be taken, sources said the issue of parking chaos at Centra Mall, Industrial Area, and at DLF multiplex in IT park, officials were of the view that the decision to allow multiplexes on plots below two acres had led to a bad precedent and created various problems.

Apart from putting burden on the infrastructure, allowing multiplexes or any other type of activity involving high volume of human and vehicular traffic was against the planning norms. Centra Mall and City Emporia are constructed on less than two acres of area.

Under the revised parking norms, double-parking has to be provided. Sources said a committee was being constituted to look into the entire issue of FAR and parking problems.



Trees felled for widening of road
Tribune Reporters

Mohali, August 11
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) today undertook cutting of trees along the dividing road between Phases VII and VIII to facilitate its widening.

According to GMADA chief Vivek Pratap Singh, the road would be widened to 200 foot and this would include a service road on the Sector 69 side. “The widening of the road is being done to ease the traffic on the road keeping the future in mind. Also since the road is next to a large part of Sector 62, the widening will increase commercial value of the area,” he said.

A large number of trees on one side of the road are going to be axed. “The road could have been widened by reducing the median, but the number of trees which would have to be cut for that were too many. This was the only other option available,” said Vivek Pratap Singh.



SI suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The UT police today placed sub-inspector Paramjit Kaur Sekhon under suspension on charges of insubordination.

According to sources, a few days ago, in charge of the Women and Child Support Unit inspector Jaswinder Kaur had ordered Paramjit Kaur to appear before a court in a case.

Paramjit allegedly did not follow the orders and did not go to the court following which the inspector made a DDR mentioning that her subordinate SI Paramjit Kaur did obey her orders.



Adopt Bihar model of RTI

It was due to the efforts of Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi that the RTI Act came into existence in 2005.

In 2007, Bihar had introduced acceptance of RTI applications through call centres. Sonia Gandhi has recently asked all the chief ministers through a communiqué to adopt the Bihar model for better implementation of RTI provisions. This has been accepted in principal by all governments and the implementation is being worked out. The Chandigarh administration must also have received this letter from Gandhi.

I appeal to the Chandigarh Administrator to waive the basic processing fee for RTI applicants and adopt the Bihar model. This will be a great step towards transparency towards which the Administrator has been striving for. I also hope that the Haryana Government will make similar announcement for RTI applications.

This reader is also starting a RYTI helpline for Chandigarh residents and if the Administrator accepts the demand this Independence Day, it will be remembered as another milestone in our democracy.

R.K. Garg, 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



6 PU students expelled for ragging
Smriti Sharma

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Finally, the Panjab University authorities have woken up to the seriousness of the ragging menace on the campus. Acting tough on students, the authorities today expelled six second-year students of the department of Indian theatre from the university.

In one of the most reprehensible ragging incidents of all times, around six first-year students of the department of Indian theatre were subjected to sexual exploitation on Saturday night. They were forced to indulge in obscene activities and were stripped. Their ordeal continued for more than three hours.

The students, who belonged to places like Sonepat, Patiala, Allahabad, Himachal Pradesh, were subjected to sheer torture in the name of ragging by their six seniors and six pass-outs of the same department.

According to inside sources, the incident took place at 12 am when around six students of first year were sitting in room No. 38 of hostel No. 2, Block V. Around 12 senior students, including six pass-outs barged into the room. The seniors started ragging the students first by asking them to hurl abuses at each other. This went on for about an hour or so. Then the seniors asked the juniors to remove their clothes and subjected them to sexual exploitation till 3.30 am.

According to the sources, all seniors were reportedly in an inebriated state and figured among the brightest students of their class.

The incident came to light yesterday when four of the six victims submitted a written complaint to the warden and apprised him of the matter. The matter was then brought to the notice of other university officials and an emergency meeting was called last night to decide on the action against the accused. The standing anti-ragging committee headed by DUI S.K. Kulkarni sought a written report about the whole incident. A long meeting was held today evening wherein members of the anti-ragging committee, including both dean students’ welfare and chairperson of the department of Indian theatre, along with other faculty members, decided to expel the six second-year students involved in the incident.

The university is also contemplating to get an FIR lodged against the pass-outs of the department involved in the incident.

However, after repeated attempts to contact, Kulkarni, who is also the chairman of the anti-ragging standing committee, chose to pass the buck to the DSW and said: “Contact dean, students’ welfare, for this.”

Vice-chancellor Prof R.C. Sobti said: “The matter is of grave concern and we will not spare those whose names are confirmed in this incident. The action taken will not be reverted.”

Chairperson of the department Mahendra Kumar said: “This is the first incident involving the students of our department and is unfortunate.” However, the incident had taken place in the hostel and the committee had met on the issue to take action, he was quick to add. “But, the action taken has not been communicated to me yet,” he further said.



Order will not be reverted: PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
This year, three incidents of ragging in Panjab University have come to light till now. Interestingly, all three incidents have been reported from the boys hostels and involved students from professional courses. The incident that took place on Saturday night was the first that involved students from the department of Indian theatre.

Though many believe that the authorities should have been more stringent with the accused, not many know that officials have been in a dilemma whether to take strict measures or not. This dilemma is due to the fact that whenever the authorities take strict corrective measures against accused, it’s the parents of the victims themselves who come and request the authorities to take a lenient view. If not their parents, the freshers themselves start defending and justifying the seniors for their act, forcing the authorities to go easy on culprits.

But the authorities claim that this time, they will stand their grounds and the order to expel the students will not be reverted.

Even last year, five students of the UIET were expelled from the department for ragging in hostel.



PU Notes
German foundation invites Dr Pathak
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany, has invited Dr K.N. Pathak, professor emeritus and former vice-chancellor, PU, to visit research institutes and academic colleges in Germany as well as to strengthen ties between him and Humboldt Foundation, Germany. This is in wake of Prof Pathak's scientific achievements in specific academic field and in recognition of his contribution towards scientific cooperation with German colleagues. The invitation is for a period of two months. Author of more than 123 research papers in international journals, Prof Pathak has a distinguished track record spanning over 35 years of physics teaching in India and abroad. A founder member of the Society for Scientific Values, Dr Pathak was given Meghnad Saha Award in 1996 (awarded by UGC).

Operation clean up: In order to ensure a clean, healthy, dirt and polythene free environment, the PU vice-chancellor, followed by Panjab University Ecological Society members, went round each section in the administrative block here today and undertook collective cleaning operation. The vice-chancellor personally removed cobwebs, polythene and dirt and exhorted the employees to ensure that they kept their environment clean. He also issued instructions to ensure that by Friday all curtains are washed, windowpanes are cleaned, unusable items sent to the stores and files stacked properly after removing dirt. He also asked the branch heads to take a lead in making the university a front-runner in this regard.



Class X compartment result out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The result of the Class X compartment examination held on July 19 was declared today. According to a communique received from the CBSE here, 9,742 candidates had appeared for the test.

The pass percentage of various categories of schools of the region are: KVS (85.7 per cent); JNV (59.8 per cent); government schools (62.3 per cent); private schools (58.7 per cent) and overall (58.7 per cent).

The joint director, regional office, Panchkula, D.R. Yadav, said all schools of Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali could collect the result and mark sheets from the regional office in Sector 5 here.

Mark sheets and result sheets of all other schools would be dispatched by speed post.



Protesting students tear-gassed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The police today resorted to water canons and tear gas shells to disperse members of the Sikh Students Federation (SSF) when they tried to cross over barricades in Sector 17 here this afternoon.

They wanted to gherao the Haryana CM, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, alleging that his government was helping the dera chief by not taking action against him.

They demanded the immediate arrest of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim Singh.

Gurcharan Singh Grewal, president of the federation, told mediapersons that the police attacked the protesters. The police maintained that mild force was used to bring the situation under control.



Sushma wins poetry recitation contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
An inter-class poetry recitation competition was organised in Government Secondary School, Behlana, here today. Around 25 students from Classes V to XII took part in the competition. Winners of the competition are as follows:

Junior group: Classes V to VIII: 1 Sushma, VIII-B, 2 Roopa, VI-A, 3 Pallavi, VI-A

Senior group: Classes IX to XII: 1 Rashmi, IX-B, 2 Mandeep Kaur, 3 Ranjana, IX-B.



A clarification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
Reacting to a news item published under these columns regarding the merger of Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA) with Punjab Engineering College (PEC) to form Chandigarh University of Design and Technology recently, a press note today claimed that there was no proposal in this regard. This has already been clarified earlier in response to an RTI application, Rajnish Wattas, CCA principal, claimed.



Crisis over more appointments ends
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

There is no immediate need to recommend more names for elevation — CJ

Chandigarh, August 11
The crisis in the Punjab and Haryana High Court over the appointment of more Judges seems to have ended with the arrival of the new Chief Justice. The newly-appointed Chief Justice, Tirath Singh Thakur, has made it clear that there is no "immediate need" to recommend more names for elevation.

Chief Justice Thakur was interacting with the media when he made the statement. The occasion was the ceremony organised this morning to administer oath to him as the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Prior to his appointment as the Chief Justice here, the Punjab and Haryana High Court was divided over the issue of appointments. While former Chief Justice Vijender Jain was in favour of recommending more names for filling up the vacancies, a section of High Court Judges was against the move. The Judges were of the opinion that the High Court lacked infrastructure to accommodate additional number of Judges.

In fact, a senior Judge-cum-member of the High Court collegium had penned down his reservations against recommending additional names for elevation on this very ground of improper infrastructure.

It seems that the judgement of the newly-appointed Chief Justice about the existing scenario is not very different from his brother Judges.

Talking to The Tribune soon after Haryana Governor Dr A.R. Kidwai administered him the oath as the Chief Justice, he said the High Court already had 47 judges against the sanctioned strength of 68. Six names had already been recommended by his predecessor.

With their elevation, the number of Judges would increase to 53. Only 15 vacancies would remain to be filled. “As and when there is proper infrastructure to accommodate them, names for filling up the vacancies would be recommended,” Chief Justice Thakur asserted.

The Chief Justice also made it clear that he intended to take the other Judges along with him on appointment and other issues so that there was no crisis in the future.

“In fact, a democratic set up entails taking into consideration every one's opinion and going by the decision of the majority,” he said, adding that his priorities would be to remove infrastructural problems, reduce the arrears and maintain the credibility of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Chief Justice Thakur’s assertion on appointing more Judges only after the elevation of the existing infrastructure has vindicated the stand of many Judges, who are now in complete agreement with the new Chief Justice. The Bar, which has witnessed worst times due to differences between the Judges and the Chief Justice, too is hoping that the crisis remains resolved for times to come.



STA official gets 1-year-RI for bribe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
A CBI Special Court of Jagdeep Jain today sentenced Sunil Beri, junior assistant in the State Transport Authority (STA), to one-year’s RI for taking bribe.

The accused was also directed to pay a fine of Rs 6,000.

According to the prosecution, the accused had demanded a bribe of Rs 5,000 from taxi driver Shiv Narayan Singh on July 18, 2007, for getting a pass issued for the registration of his vehicle.

Shiv Narayan complained to the CBI on July 19, 2007. After a raid, the CBI recovered government stamps of the STA from the residence of the accused. The accused was held guilty under Section 7 and 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

ACQUITTED: Additional district and sessions court of Ravi Kumar Sondhi today acquitted six accused in an attempt to murder case. The accused were acquitted as the witnesses didn’t support the prosecution.

According to the prosecution, Sukhpal, five others and one juvenile had attacked the complainant, Amit Kapoor, and his brother in Sector 52 on July 1 last year. In the altercation two passerby, namely, Deepak Kapoor and Jai Prakash, were also injured. A complaint under Section 307 of IPC was registered by the police. The juvenile is being tried at Juvenile Justice Board.



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