C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Violence on Gandhi’s death anniversary
ADC, cops hurt in Sector 38 gurdwara clash
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, January 30
Gurdwara Santsar Sahib, Sector 38-West, literally turned into a battleground today when the inmates resisted the demolition of an “illegal” floor of a residential quarter there by allegedly firing gunshots and pelting stones at the UT enforcement wing.

The pitch battle against the team headed by the ADC I.S. Sandhu and escorted by the UT Police lasted for almost half-an-hour left six, including the ADC injured.

According to onlookers, everything was fine before the demolition staff entered the gurdwara premises at around 2.30 pm. However, the moment they stepped in, gunshots could be heard and the gurdwara inmates also pelted stones from the top of the building at the team.

The followers, however, dismissed all this as mere allegations and blamed the authorities for breaking the sanctity of the place by entering with shoes and initiating firing.

“The police, along with the enforcement staff, violated the rules of gurdwara and entered inside with their shoes. The cops fired in the premises of gurdwara, which is not tolerable. Our followers are coming from the all parts of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, if any further activity is taken by the police or administration, they will have to bear the loss,” threatened Baba Sarup Singh, head of the gurdwara.

“The next step will be taken only after discussing the whole matter to the senior leader of Akal Takht Sahib and the Keshgarh Sahib,” he asserted.

Puppy, a gurdwara follower, who was later arrested, claimed: “We had already promised the officials that after the marriage of the Baba’s son, Bhai Gurpreet Singh, scheduled for February 8, we will demolish the illegal structure, even after that they came today and disregarded the holy place.”

The officials, however, claimed that cops fired in air to control the resistance of the gurdwara followers as according to the ADC: “As we tried to enter the building in gurdwara, they pelted stones which hit me then reacting to this, my PSO fired in the air to control the situation. Suddenly, the crowd from top of the building made the condition terrible.”

“We fired in the air to control the situation only after the followers pelted stones at senior officials,” said DSP (South) J.S. Khaira,

Giving the details of the injured persons, the police said that six persons, including ADC Inderjit Singh Sandhu, his personal security officer Jagan Nath, and cops Hukam Chand, Balwant Singh, Ram Rattan and a labourer Chaila Mattu got injured and were rushed to the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16.

It may be noted that after several negotiations between DC R.K. Rao and the gurdwara management during the day, the latter claimed to have been assured of no demolition till February 15.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case under Sections 147, 148, 307, 332, 352 and 506 of the IPC and 25, 27, 54, 59 of the Arms Act against some of the inmates of the gurdwara.



Baba Swaroop Singh an MC staffer?
Was reportedly posted as a tubewell operator near gurdwara. But today MC officials claimed that they did not know his details
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
After the firing incident that took place in Sector 38 Santsar Gurdwara today, there were questions raised if chairman of the Gurdwara trust Baba Swaroop Singh “is or was” an employee of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh.

According to sources, next to the gurdwara, which was established in 1994, is a tubewell of the MC where Swaroop Singh was reportedly posted as an operator. However, after today’s incident, MC officials kept on claiming that they did not not know the details of such a low-rung employee.

According to the people residing near the gurdwara, to raise this structure, the land was encroached upon gradually. It is surprising that none of the officials ever questioned the illegal occupation of nearly 10 acres of land over the years. This is in striking contrast of the orders of the administration, which clearly states that those officials who are supposed to keep a check on the illegal occupation and encroachments of land, are liable for action failing in doing so. Surprisingly, in this case, nobody has ever been even questioned.

The residents claimed that Sant Swaroop Singh is known to be an excellent “pathi” and used to conduct paths at the residences of various high officials and that was why the illegal raising of the gurdwara was never questioned.

Officials of the UT estate office also said various notices were served on the gurdwara authorities but they never cared to reply. Additional Deputy Commissioner I S Sandhu said even though the team had gone to demolish the construction on the first floor of the gurdwara today, the entire premises was illegally constructed. In fact, the water supply and electricity connections are also reportedly illegal.

Additional Commissioner P K Sharma said he had no knowledge if Swaroop Singh is an MC employee. Chief Engineer S K Bansal also said he didn’t have the knowledge of the employee. Later, Public Health XEN R P Gupta was also contacted but even he had no information about him.



Scribe roughed up by Akalis during MC poll
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 30
Tempers ran high when some Akali workers allegedly roughed up a correspondent of the Punjabi Tribune, Darshan Singh Sodhi, during the election for two posts of Mohali Municipal Council here today.

The incident occurred when some journalists objected to certain Akali supporters entering the meeting hall. This led to heated arguments and two of the Akali workers allegedly attacked Sodhi and pulled off his turban. It is also alleged that SAD councillor Baljit Kaur tried to slap News Editor of a local evening daily Kuldeep Singh. However, Baljit Kaur alleged that she was attacked by Kuldeep Singh.Perturbed by the incident, the mediapersons raised slogans against the state government, Capt Kanwaljit Singh and his son.

Later, Capt Kanwaljit and his son came out to pacify the mediapersons. The minister also apologised for the act of his supporters and also assured them action against the guilty. However, this failed to cool down the journalists who then walked out of the building and staged a dharna outside. They demanded that a police case should be registered against the accused.



2 youths killed, one hurt in accidents
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 30
A 24-year-old youth was killed while another seriously injured when their motorcycle collided at Pinjore near here today. The deceased has been identified as Ajay Kumar, a resident of Mani Majra. The injured, Sunny (19), was admitted at PGI in critical condition.

According to family members of Ajay, he was a diploma holder in engineering and employed with Max Insurance. He was going towards Pinjore with his cousin Sunny when they had head on collision with a bus of HMT factory.

Both the injured were rushed to General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula. However, Ajay succumbed to his injuries before he could reach the hospital and doctors, finding Sunny in critical condition, referred him to PGI, Chandigarh.

The body of Ajay was later handed over to his family after autopsy while the police has registered a case against the bus driver.

In another incident, a student of Class X was killed when an unidentified vehicle hit him near Billa village in the afternoon. The deceased, identified as Amarjeet, was returning to his home on bicycle.

Amarjeet, a resident of Bhanu village, was taken to General Hospital, Sector 6, where he was declared brought dead.


Public Conveyance
UT to enter reciprocal agreement with Haryana
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Close on the heels of inter-state reciprocal agreement with Punjab for public conveyance, the Chandigarh Administration is all set to enter a similar agreement with Haryana.

With this, people residing in Panchkula and Mohali would now be able to reach their destination in the city through a direct mode of transport and vice versa.

Named as “Uniform Corridor System”, the administration, in collaboration with the Haryana government, has proposed to sign the agreement after making some modifications in the present policy where only local CTU buses were allowed to move within the city.

To facilitate public convenience, buses and taxis above 999 CC (both AC and non-AC) and auto-rickshaws from Haryana, under specific limit, would be directly allowed to carry passengers for their destination in Chandigarh and vice versa.

The officials of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) and Haryana Roadways have been asked to identify three points each in Chandigarh and Panchkula from where these vehicles could be plied directly on reciprocal basis.

Though the UT is yet to fix the counter signature fee for other mode of transport, official confirmed that it would probably be on the same pattern as has been done with the Panjab.

It is pertinent to mention that the UT has fixed Rs 8,000 annually as the counter signature fee for privately operated AC buses and Rs 5,000 for the non-AC buses and others per annum.

However, the AC and non-AC buses operated by state transport have been exempted from paying counter signature fee in Punjab.

The school buses plying between Chandigarh and Panchkula too would be allowed only after paying the permit fee of Rs 25,000 for five years on the lines of agreement with Punjab.

Home Secretary Ram Niwas said: “We have plans to sign a reciprocal agreement with Haryana where the specific number of vehicles would be allowed to ply on each side. We are also drafting a detailed agreement for grant of goods carriage permit and contract carriage permit both temporary as well as non-temporary. This would be effective subject to the condition that the vehicles comply with norms,” he said.

To allow only CNG, LPG autos

In the wake of banning petrol or diesel-operated auto-rickshaws from August 31, 2009, in the city, the administration on Friday said that only LPG, CNG or battery-fitted auto-rickshaws from the neighbouring state would be allowed on the city roads.

The administration also said that no vehicle having a life span of 10 years or above would be allowed to run in the city.

Meanwhile, Secretary, State Transport Authority, Dr Vandana Disodia called a meeting of the representatives various banks and financial institutions and representatives of Auto-Rickshaw Operators’ Union and stressed for providing liberal finance to them to purchase new LPG/CNG/battery-driven autos.

“It has been decided that processing of loan application for auto-rickshaws will be done by the office of STA and the same will be forwarded to the respective banks/financial institutions to disburse the loan as early as possible,” she said.

On the other hand, Kamal Kant, president, Auto-Rickshaw Operators’ Union, urged the authorities to allow conversion of existing petrol/diesel auto-rickshaws to LPG.



Admn asked to hold DPC for ADAs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Taking view of a contempt petition filed by nine Assistant District Attorneys (ADAs) against the UT Administration, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has directed the former hold Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) for promoting the ADAs to Deputy District Attorney.

The tribunal had pronounced orders on the application filed by the ADAs on March 4, 2008, wherein the administration was directed to consider the applicants for promotions as per the existing rules within three months.

The tribunal has directed the administration to hold the DPC and implement the orders passed on March 4, 2008.

As orders of the tribunal were not complied with, the applicants filed a contempt petition seeking action against the authorities.

The officials of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) today appeared before the tribunal and asserted that reclassification of the post had not been notified by the administration therefore there was no need for such UPSC consultation.

Earlier, the administration, through its counsel, had confirmed that it was willing to hold a DPC within four weeks.

While the counsel for the administration held that post of the DDA had been reclassified from group B to group A, which necessitates consultation with UPSC for promotion exercise, the counsel of applicants opposed the plea.



UT police to train PGI guards
Aims to acquaint them with situations like terror attacks
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
In a bid to train its regular security guards in dealing with situations similar to the ones witnessed at Cama and Bombay Hospitals during the Mumbai terror attacks, PGI authorities are all set to seek help of the Chandigarh police.

Confirming the move, AK Gupta, deputy director administration, PGI, said such incidents had exposed vulnerability of the hospitals to the terror attacks and lack of untrained manpower had added to problems in dealing with the situation promptly.

He said the PGI’s move to seek help of the Chandigarh police in training the guards was aimed at getting them acquainted with such eventualities and sharpened their basic reactions.

Giving details of the proposed training drill, Gupta said, "The UT police will train about 100 security personnel, who are on the PGI’s rolls to spot and differentiate between various explosive devices and respond to emergency situation. The three-day training will start in the coming week."

"The staff will also undergo a course on body language to identify unusual and suspected movements akin to that of criminals, particularly terrorist,” he added.

While it’s true that most of the private security guards have undergone brief capsule training models as a prerequisite to their deployment in the hospital.

Guards overworked, underpaid

However, security personnel capabilities or preparedness to handle eventualities like the 26/11 is questionable as most of them are overworked. And sadly neither the PGI authorities nor the private security agency is willing to look into this aspect.

Of the 350 security guards employed at the hospital, 250 are from the private agency.

Most of the private security personnel deployed at the PGI is working double shifts i.e. eight hours at the hospital and then somewhere else, including Panjab University, to make their ends meet. So expecting professionalism from a person, who works for 16 hours in a day, excluding the couple of hours that he spends on commuting and other routines, may well just be a tall order.

One such employee, Dheeraj Kumar (name changed), who shuttles daily between PGI and PU to do his two shifts, says, "I am a graduate and for eight hour shift at PGI I get Rs 3,200. How can I feed a family of four with this salary.” He maintains that the paltry pay has forced him to do two shifts, which he admits is tiring and is taking a toll on his health.

Another guard Rakesh (name changed), who also does two shifts seven days a week, admits that at night he dozes off whenever he gets a chance. “Yes it is tiring but what to do,” he says.

So expecting any professionalism from people like Dheeraj and Rakesh, who work 16 to 18 hours daily, may be expecting too much, agree security experts.

However, both the PGI authorities and the security agencies are least bothered about these overworked guards.

When contacted PGI chief security officer PC Sharma washed his hands off by saying, “They work for us for eight hours. What they do before or after that is not our business.”

Similar was the reaction of Tara Singh, manager of Trig Detective Pvt Limited, the security agency, hired by the PGI. “How can we keep a track on them after they finish their duties,” he said.



Training course mooted for security agencies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The managements of private security agencies may have to undergo a capsule training course so that they are able to better understand the legal, technical, administrative and social issues concerning the functioning of such organisations.

The proposal was mooted by H R Chadha, Additional Director General of Police, Punjab, during a meeting with members of the Central Association of Private Security Industry (CAPSI) and the Association of Private Detectives and Investigators (APDI) here today. The meeting was organised to discuss the enforcement of the Private Security Agency (Regulations) Act, 2005. The cut-off date for the agencies to register with the authorities was December 28, 2008, which has now been extended up to February 28.

The Act is aimed at regulating the private security industry. At present, there are no standard rules on service conditions, hiring norms, conducting background checks and training.

The Act makes it mandatory for all private agencies to obtain a licence and register their employees working as guards and get them trained from authorised centres. Various modalities regarding the registering process, perceived anomalies and other issues related to the Act were discussed.



Air Force school to be upgraded
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The Air Force School, located at 3 Base Repair Depot, will be getting its own new building besides being upgraded to Class-XII level.

IAF sources said plans were being drawn up to construct a new building for the school in Sector 31. A sum of Rs 5 crore has already been sanctioned for the project’s civil works while provisioning for furniture, equipment and associated paraphernalia would be made later.

At present, the school is functioning from temporary barrack-like accommodation within the Air Force Station, which falls short of the required space and convenience for an educational institute.

The new complex will be custom designed to meet requirements of the school and would have the requisite infrastructure like laboratories, auditorium, playgrounds and canteen. Plans are also on the anvil to upgrade the school to Class XII from the present Class-X level. IAF officers said the schools would be constructed on the lines of the Air Force Bal Bharti School, located on Lodhi Road in New Delhi.

The new school will be co-located with the IAF residential quarters in Sector 31 and would hence add to the convenience of students as well as parents.

Meanwhile, an Astroturf for hockey is also being set up in 3 BRD.



Decision to withdraw commission
Travel agents protest against foreign airlines
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Travel agents throughout north India kept their establishments closed for the first half of the day today in protest against 13 foreign airlines for their decision to withdraw the commission given to agents for sale of air passenger tickets.

The airlines, it may be recalled, has opted for zero commission regimen, thus putting to an end the conventional practice of giving agents five to eight per cent commission on sale of all air passenger tickets.

As a mark of respect, the agents not only returned promotional literature to the airlines concerned but also decided to serve on them memoranda saying that they had been their business partners for a long time.

“When in India, be Indian and respect Indian rules,” was the message the agents wanted to serve upon the foreign airlines in the country. Their anger was basically angled against Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines and British Airways.

Travel agents also held corner rallies at different places to educate public in general and air travellers in particular as to how the foreign air carriers had been wreaking havoc by not only denying the agents their due but also evading taxes in the garb of surcharges and levies.

The agents held that they were bearing huge costs of maintaining their establishments, including staff, computers, telephone bills, besides looking after their clients.

Now, when the zero commission regimes had been forced upon the travel industry, they said, most of the agents would be left with no choice but to shut their shops and look for something else for their sustenance.

Even the Indian carriers, including Air India, Jet Airways and Kingfisher, too, were aping foreign airlines and denying travel agents their rightful commission.

“We have been fighting a losing battle for the past several months in a democratic method. We even used Gandhigiri by sending samosas, sweets and tea to offices of airlines but of no avail. We will continue our protests,” said Umesh Kapur, local representatives of the IATA Travel Agents Association.

Kamaljeet Cheema, another senior member of the IATA Travel Agents Association, said foreign airlines did not honour their committment of reviewing the agreement on commission. Instead, they took the decision to cut the commission to zero arbitrarily leaving the agents in a quandary.

The airlines want that the agents should charge a service fee from the air passengers. “We should charge the passengers and promote their business in India. We are not fools,” added Kamaljeet.



Campaign against GM brinjal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Coalition for a GM free India — an NGO working against the use of genetically modified (GM) crops, today launched a campaign “I am no Lab Rat” here against allowing the use of genetically modified brinjal.

Activists of the NGO staged a play at Sector 17 to create awareness about the ill-effects of using seeds of GM brinjal and how its consumption could lead to several health hazards. Having attracted a large number of people, these activists made the bystanders sign petitions to the Prime Minister and Health Minister of Punjab, asking them to step in and stop GM foods.

Later, talking to TNS, Kavitha Kuruganti of Coalition for a GM-free India said GM crops were known to cause stunted growth, internal organ damage, impaired immune systems, reproductive health impacts etc. “Bt Brinjal’s biosafety tests also pointed out that it could cause various adverse impacts, even though the compny manufacturing it concluded that everything was safe with the product. We want to tell the biotech companies, American agencies investing their funds into the development of such GM crops, Indian agriculture universities and the regulators that we will not be made into lab rats in this experiment,” she said.

“By the Constitution of India, health is a state subject and we want Health Minister Laxmikanta Chawla to take a proactive stand on the issue, to stand on the side of ordinary citizens and announce that GM foods will not be allowed. It is well known that the biotech industry would not like an informed debate on the issue of GM foods and to leave choices to consumers - wherever informed debates have been created, consumers have rejected it,” said Umendra Dutt of Kheti Virasat Mission.



PGI records 21 pc rise in leprosy cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Mohali, January 30
Leprosy, contrary to public perception, is still around. Or that is what disturbing figures from the PGI indicate. In the past two years, the PGI itself has recorded as many as 204 fresh leprosy cases, an increase of 21 per cent from 92 in 2007 to 112 in 2008.

Speaking on the increase in leprosy cases, Dr AJ Kanwar, head of the dermatology department, PGI, said, of the 112 patients in the last year, 85 were men, 25 women and 2 children.

In India ratio of leprosy patients is 1:10,000 people, whereas in Chandigarh the ratio is less than 1 due to the migratory population, said the authorities concerned.

The reason for the continuing incidence of leprosy was the under-reporting of cases from the grassroot level health monitoring machinery and the subsequent complacency, said another city-based dermatologist.

Meanwhile, on the occasion of the Anti-Leprosy Day, a district-level function was organised at civil surgeon office in Mohali. Dr Avtar Singh, civil surgeon, Mohali, inaugurated the programme.

He said trainings have been imparted to medical and paramedical staff so that they can diagnose the cases at early stages and start their treatment. This exercise will help to eradicate the disease from our society, he said.

Doctors describe leprosy as an infectious disease characterised by disfiguring skin sores, peripheral nerve damage, and progressive debilitation. It is transmitted through air.

Signs and symptoms

The earliest sign of leprosy is usually a spot on the skin, which later becomes numb. Some also feel numbness in finger or toe.

Effects on hands and feet: Leprosy bacteria attack the nerves of hands and feet causing numbness. A person may get cuts or burns on the numb parts, leading to infections resulting in the loss of fingers and toes. Major infections may require amputation. Paralysis may cause the fingers and toes to curl up permanently.

Eyes: Leprosy bacteria attack the nerves around the eyes causing the loss of blinking reflex, which leads to dry and infected eyes and causing blindness in some cases.

Treatment: Leprosy is fully curable by the use of multi-drug therapy using dapsone, rifampicin, and clofazimine. It usually takes six months to a year or more.



Consumer Forum
Samsung told to pay Rs 5,000
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Selling 27 inches wide television instead of a 29 inch, as promised by Samsung Electronics has costed the company dear, as the consumer forum has asked them to pay compensation of Rs 5,000 to the complainant other than replacing the television set.

Taking a note of the deficiency in service on the part of the forum, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum held: “It is clearly deficiency in service as well as an unfair trade practice on the part of the opposite party to sell electronic gadget by saying that it is 29 inch screen size whereas it was actually 27 inch in length. Both the retail invoices as well as the customer details-cum-warranty card are clearly misleading. It is not a fair practice to use these confusing technical specifications to describe standard products. The opposite party has not been able to produce any document or expert opinion in support of its pleadings proving that when they say 29 inch they mean 27 inch. It is therefore but natural to take an adverse view qua opposite party and in favour of the complainant.”

The complainant, Anita Goyal (50) had purchased a television set of screen size 29 inch from Surender Radio on April 12 but after the delivery of the television set at his residence, the complainant, realised that the size of the TV screen was 27 inch instead of 29 inch.

Thereafter, she informed the shopkeeper about the short size of the screen. A resident of Zirakpur, Anita, further told that an instructor will visit her house to give instructions but no one ever visited her house despite repeated requests.

Thereafter, legal notice was served to the company but the complainant didn’t receive any reply.

In reply, owner of shop Surender, stated that the actual visual screen may be less than specified picture tube size and the complainant is measuring the size of the TV from outside the visual area of the screen.



Campaign on girl child ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The ongoing campaign of the Chandigarh administration on ‘Valuing the Girl Child and Fighting Female Foeticide’ concluded today with a function at the Government College, Sector 11, here today.

The chief guest, Raji P Shrivastava, director (higher education), administered the resolve which was collectively made by the students of the college. She provided the Government Colleges with an action plan for gender sensitisation and removing girl child discrimination.



MC Elections
SAD misused official machinery, says Congress MLA
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 30
It was apparently a trailer in the run up to forthcoming general elections. With the official machinery at disposal, Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh today led a boisterous group of SAD supporters while ensuring the victory of the party candidate on the post of senior vice-president.

The cops watched helplessly as SAD workers marched along with the councillors into the MC building.

However, mediapersons were stopped from even entering the building. SAD supporters managed to enter the committee room before being sent out by the SDM, Mohali, Raghbir Kaur Khiara, who clearly stated that no unauthorised person would be allowed in. On being asked why the media or photographers were not allowed entry into the meeting hall, she evaded the query by saying that entire election process had been videographed.

“When the Election Commission authorises mediapersons during the conduct and counting of elections to visit the counting centres, the Mohali administration on its own decided to prevent mediapersons from witnessing the “fair” conduct of the election process. A separate media corner could well have been made inside the election hall,” said Congress MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, who claimed that Akalis used official machinery.

Chaos prevailed outside the MC building as cavalcade of Akali leader descended at the spot in a dramatic manner. The bus carrying the “prized” councillors, who were kept in hiding by SAD supporters, were escorted by three police gypsies belonging to two SHOs of the district police. A DSP, deputed at the spot, failed to check the flow of SAD supporters into the MC building.

Though supporters of Congress MLA from Kharar, Balbir Singh Sidhu were also there, no clash took place between the supporters of the SAD and the Congress.

There are ample examples of the officials turning a blind eye to the incident. “It was well within the powers of the district administration to stop the march of the unruly crowd. But there were instructions to ignore it. We have to obey the orders,” said a middle-rung official.



SAD captures MC senior vice-chief post
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 30
A supporter of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, won the post of senior vice-president of the Mohali Municipal Council after elections were held here this afternoon.

Prabhjot Kaur Sodhi, who was backed by a group of councillors owing allegiance to the Congress MLA from Kharar, Balbir Singh Sidhu, has been elected the vice-president of the civic body.

While Harmanpreet Singh polled 20 votes, Sodhi secured 12 votes. The civic body has 31 councillors. The MLA, who is an ex-officio member of the council, also has the voting right. Voting was done by show of hands. However, mediapersons were not allowed to witness the election process.

A large number of police personnel were posted inside and outside the council building at the time of the election.

The importance of the elections to the two posts can be gauged from the fact that the minister and his son, Jasjit Singh, Chairman of the Punjab State Cooperative Bank, had come to the Municipal Bhawan, along with a number of supporters, in connection with the poll.

Most of the councillors owing allegiance to Capt Kanwaljit Singh were brought to the election venue in a luxury bus from an undisclosed location. While the bus was escorted by a convoy of cars, a number of cars were also following the bus.

Councillors supporting the Kharar MLA had entered the meeting hall ahead of the other group. As many as 20 councillors of the SAD group reached the second floor of the building along with a large number of supporters which led to a chaos near the meeting hall. Even a few councillors found it very difficult to gain entry into the hall. The police had failed to stop the SAD supporters from entering the council building.

The elated minister and his son left the civic body office after the elections as they had been able to capture the post of the senior vice-president. Efforts are also being made to vote out the present Congress-backed president of the council Rajinder Singh Rana in the near future to have a complete hold on the council.



Zirakpur MC upgraded
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 30
The Zirakpur Municipal Council has become a grade-one category municipal body. This was disclosed today at a Zirakpur MC meeting. Municipal Council officials stated that after fulfilling the essential formalities by the MC, the local government department had approved the proposal. The proposal for the upgradation from grade-two to grade-one was sent in 2007.

During the MC meeting, the Municipal Council decided to adopt Guru Gobind Singh Colony, Dhakoli, and provide them with basic amenities. A resolution to this effect was passed at the meeting. The meeting was headed by President Narinder Sharma and other councillors.

The council members also passed resolution regarding spending Rs 2 crore which was given by the government for development. The estimate was also presented to the councillors. Around Rs 2.10 crore would be spend on various development works.

According to Sharma, now Zirakpur residents would get more facilities. Sharma also said: “We are adopting Guru Gobind Singh Colony and will provide it with the basic amenities”.

He added that the welfare association of Guru Gobind Singh Colony has requested the Zirakpur MC to adopt the colony and provide them the basic amenities.



Dacoity: Main accused identified
Cops seek help of jewellers
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 30
Facing embarrassment over a spate of robberies and burglaries in the town during the recent past, the Panchkula police claimed to have identified the main accused of duping an Amritsar-based jeweller.

Prior to dacoity at PC jewellers on Tuesday morning, four unidentified persons robbed employees of an Amritsar-based jeweller of gold worth Rs 32 lakh by offering them sedative-laced beverages on January 22.

Superintendent of police Sandip Khirwar said though the police could not nab the accused, it was able to identify one of them and was even able to get his photograph. The accused, belonging to Punjab, was also involved in such crimes in Chandigarh as well, said Khirwar.

Meanwhile, after announcing a reward of Rs 50,000 for providing information leading to the arrest of the accused, the Panchkula police has now sought the cooperation from police authorities as well as jeweller associations in the neighbouring states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and asked them to inform the Panchkula police in case any suspect was found selling jewellery in their areas.

Khirwar said there was apprehension that the dacoits would try to dispose of the valuables selling them in the market.

Moreover, the records of all stolen Hyundai Verna cars were being looked into to get some clue about the accused as the dacoits used a golden-coloured Verna to commit the crime.

The owners of PC jewellers, claiming that they have suffered a loss of over Rs 2 crore submitted a list of missing items.

The owners claimed that the dacoits have taken away diamond studded jewellery, which included three sets, four rings, four pair of bangles and two pair of ear tops. In addition to it the gold jewellery weighing 2.64 kg was also missing, mentioned the list.



Victim’s kin to move HC
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 30
Disappointed over no arrests of remaining accused and granting bail to one of the accused in the gang-rape case of a 17-year-old student, the victim’s family has decided to move the High Court. The victim’s father said they would file a petition against the bail granted to accused Aman Ahuja by the Panchkula Additional Sessions Judge Sanjeev Jindal. Ranjot Nayyar, victim’s father said the intentions of the police were not clear since beginning and that is why the fact about the involvement of Ahuja were not presented before the court properly which resulted in his release from the judicial custody on bail.

And it was because of this that his wife had already filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking the probe, in the case by an independent agency, said Nayyar.

The victim was allegedly kidnapped and raped on the evening of September 16. She named Jatin and Chhavi in her complaint, stating that three other boys were also involved. Later, the police arrested Ahuja, a resident of Sector 10, in the case on September 20, followed by the arrest of Jitesh, another accused, a resident of Sector 4. While the petition for bail filed by Jitesh was denied, Ahuja managed to get bail on November 1.

Again on December 9 the same court had dismissed the review application filed by the victim’s mother. The review application, seeking the cancellation of bail, was dismissed by the judge finding no new grounds. In her review application, victim’s mother said the police did not represent the case before the court properly. She, pleaded to consider the cancellation of bail to Ahuja, said the police manipulated the facts before the court to help the accused get early bail.

Venting his ire over the working of police, Nayyar said, even after four months of incident the police failed in identifying Chavi and Jatin, the main accused, in the case. And one of the two accused arrested in the case was released on bail, he said.



Fiza arrested, bailed out
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 30
A few hours after being discharged from GMCH, Sector 32, the Mohali police arrested Fiza alias Anuradha Bali, second wife of former Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan alias Chand Mohammed and subsequently released on security of Rs 25,000.

She was admitted to the hospital after she allegedly attempted suicide at her residence in Sector 48 here yesterday.

While Chander Mohan remained elusive, she was booked by the Mohali police under Section 309 of the IPC for attempting suicide.

SSP, Mohali, JS Aulakh said since the offence was bail able, she was released on bail.

Meanwhile, the Mohali police today claimed that they had no knowledge about whereabouts of the former deputy CM.



Sambhar strays into Dadu Majra Colony
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
It was literally a wild chase for the residents of Dadu Majra Colony residents to trap a male sambhar that strayed into the city limits in the wee hours today.

The wild animal was spotted in the compound of Dadu Majra health centre, which reportedly strayed from the Patiala ki Rao area. The residents of the colony informed the forest and wildlife authorities.

The rescue team of Forest Department had a tough time to catch the animal as it ran amok towards the colony to find an easy cover in the house. Ultimately, it was overpowered by the team with the help of area residents.

UT Chief Wildlife Warden Ishwar Singh, said: “Today’s trap was executed with the help of residents. We refrained from using tranquillising gun because lots of people were moving around. One doze that we use to tranquillise the sambhar is enough to kill a young man.”

“The days particularly between December 15 and February 15 are being considered as tough days for the male sambhars as this happens to be the mating season. The weaker animals are dragged out of the forest by the stronger ones. Once out of the forest, they are further chased by dogs and the animal runs towards nearby villages to find safe shelter. Another factor that adds to straying is fog. Since the city is surrounded by forests, such incidents are common, especially during winters,” said the Chief Wildlife Warden.



English plays enrapture crowds
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, January 30
As a part of the three-day Literary Fest, the Literary Society of the English department, Panjab University, staged two English plays at their auditorium, here today.

While the students participated and relished many events in literary and performing arts but the theatrical performances of playwright Nabaneeta Dev Sena’s classic and Anton Chekhov enthralled them. Despite poor infrastructure, the plays depicted the perpetual injustice, disparity and psyche of the women from the times immortal to the contemporary scenario. The directorial elegance of acclaimed academician, actor and thespian Rana Nayar and lead actors raised the performance level from an amateur to a professional level.

After a mundane beginning, the play gained momentum as lead actors Ankur and Supriya reflected on the whole code of life, a philosophy of marital family life, social and ethical relationship with the speculative thoughts exchanged at their meeting after a long hiatus. The play, in fact, draws its thematic content from the Greek myth to demonstrate the anguish of a woman and her volcanic courage to disown her culprit husband.

But, the immaculate acting spells that enraptured the audience came from versatile actor Neha Verma equally supported by Romalpreet Grewal in another offering. It was a brilliant display of diverse aesthetic traits of eloquent stage movements commensurate with the intended emotions. She depicted the realisation and reminiscences of a 68-year-old actor, who has spent 45 years of her life in theatre.



Martyrs remembered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
To commemorate the Martyrs’ Day, a candle lighting ceremony was organised at War Memorial, Bougainvillea Garden, Sector 3, here today.

The Administrator, Chandigarh, General (retd) SF Rodrigues, along with his wife, led the ceremony. All participants lighted candles and paid homage to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the freedom and sovereignty of the nation by observing two minutes silence.

The GoC-in-C, Western Command, Lt Gen TK Sapru, YSM, along with retired Army officers, laid wreaths on the memorial. The armed forces contingent sounded the last post and reversed arms, as a mark of respect to the martyrs.

The memorial, which lists the names of martyrs from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, is an expression of the nation’s gratitude towards the supreme sacrifice made by its bravest children. It is perhaps the largest war memorial of the country dedicated to nearly 8,500 soldiers from the Army, Air Force and Navy who died fighting for the country since 1947.

The Chief of Staff, HQ, Lt Gen AN Aul, Home Secretary Ram Niwas, Deputy Commissioner RK Rao, Vipin Pubby and other senior officers of Western Command and UT administration also paid homage to the martyrs by laying wreath. Students from Shivalik Public School, Army Public School, Chandi Mandir and Army Institute of Law also took part in the ceremony.

Meanwhile, two-minute silence at UT Secretariat was also observed today in the memory of martyrs.

Tributes paid

To commemorate the Martyrs' Day, Punjab Governor Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen Tej Kumar Sapru paid tributes to valiant soldiers of the country who laid down their lives fighting for the cause of the nation at the Chandigarh War Memorial here today.

All the senior officers of the Western Command, including Chief of Staff Lt Gen A.N. Aul, were present on the occasion to pay homage to the martyrs.

Veteran officers also laid wreaths at the memorial. A ceremonial guard with reversed arms was given as a mark of respect to the martyrs and buglers sounded the ‘Last Post’.

Later in the evening, a candle lighting ceremony was held at the memorial, where families of a large number of officers and jawans lit candles around the cenotaph in the memories of martyrs. The memorial lists the names of the martyrs from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

It is the largest war memorial of the country with nearly 8,459 names of men from Army, Air Force and Navy who were killed in the line of duty since 1947. The memorial serves as a reminder of their supreme sacrifice.



Noisy woes

I would like to highlight a common problem that the residents of Jal Vayu Vihar Society have been facing since the start of the wedding season. The situation has become more alarming now as the final examinations of the students are near.

They have a harrowing time, as they are unable to study because of the loud music being played at weddings, which takes place inside the society sometimes.

Also, there are many retired Air Force/Navy personnel living in the society, who have trouble sleeping because of this problem. Since many old people are heart patients, this is affecting their health. I would like to request the authorities concerned to solve this problem at the earliest. They should either stop the organisers from playing such loud music or take steps to keep the volume of the music low.

Amrita Kaul, Panchkula

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From PU
Martyrdom Day
Bapu remembered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
“Gandhian Studies as an optional subject has been included by the Union Public Service Commission for the Civil Service Exam from 2011 onwards and youth should adopt Gandhian philosophy not only in their life but also have an option to fight with the best of talent in the Civil Services Examination”, said RP Mishra, former vice-chancellor Allahabad University, while speaking on the concluding day of the three- day International conference on Gandhi, held at Gandhi Bhawan, in PU on Friday.

The unified efforts of D Gopal, Coordinator Gandhian Thought, IGNOU and Prof JN Sharma, president Indian Society of Gandhian Studies, bore the fruits for new generation by pleading the subject of Gandhian Thought to UPSC and got it approved. Further, they are also trying that other State Public Service Commission across India should also include this subject as an option in their competitive examination.

Prof JN Sharma, chairman, department of Gandhian studies, stressed upon delegates to follow Gandhian principles in their action and deeds. All the delegates also paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi on Martyrdom Day.

Certificate course

A three-month executive certificate course in disaster management and security has been introduced at PU. All government, non-government agency executives, armed forces and para-military persons, including elected representatives and mediapersons having graduation degree in any discipline with two years of work experience are eligible. Forms along with no objection certificate from the employer to be deposited to the centre before February 9.


The RRC-cum-department of community education is organising a writers’ workshop on upgradation of functional skills on HIV/AIDS etc from February 1-5 in the ICSSR Complex, Panjab University, Chandigarh. The workshop is being inaugurated by Prof AS Kaang of Kurukshetra University. Sankar Roy Chowdhary from UNESCO will contribute to the material along with the others, who have been invited for the workshop.


Centre for Swami Vivekananda Studies Panjab University, Chandigarh, organised a declamation contest for college students on “Do all religions have to be in conflict or can there be a common ground?”

The event was organised to celebrate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Participants had put forward their views with enthusiasm.

The first prize was won by Anuj Malhotra, D.A.V. College Sector 10, Tagmeet Kaur, Government College of Education, Sector 20, bagged second prize and the third prize was bagged by Kritika Sangavi of SGGS College, Sector 26. Along with this four consolation prizes were won by Amrit Rana, department of geography, Panjab University, Shyam Kishore Tripathi, SVIET, and Amrita Pathak, Govt College of Girls, Sector 11, Shelly Agarwal, department of chemistry, PU.

Later a lecture "Ayurvedic Lifestyle for Good Health and Preventing Ailments" was delivered by Dr Vinod Verma.

Training programme

Centre for Adult Continuing Education & Extension Panjab University, Chandigarh, organised a two-day training programme on ‘Adolescent Health-a commitment towards social cause’ at Jawahar Navodaya Vidayalaya- Sector 25, Chandigarh. About 60 adolescents and teachers attended the programme.

Dr CM Sharma, principal Jawahar Navodaya Vidayalaya- Sector 25, Chandigarh, said because of changing life style of adolescents, there is a need to strengthen the physical, mental and social health of the adolescents by emphasising cultural values and make them self-reliant.



Spreading peace messages through balloons
A correspondent

Chandigarh, January 30
In a collaborative initiative of the education department,the Yuvsatta, the Gandhi Smriti and the Darshan Samiti to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi's martyrdom day, students of The Gurukul School, IT park, released hundreds of balloons painted with peace messages at Sector-17 Plaza today.

The event that was jointly inaugurated by Justice Permod Kohli, Judge Punjab and Haryana High Court and HS Mattewal, Advocate-General of Punjab, was marked by various other activities in addition to the release of colourful balloons.

Budding artists from around 15 city colleges gave an on the spot expression to their take on peace and teachings of Gandhi while participating in the Inter-college collage and rangoli contest organised under the guidance of Prof Ravinder Sharma.

Considering art as the best method to inculcate Gandhian values amongst youth, Justice Kohli commented: “What better way to initiate this process than to rekindle in the young minds passion to fight for the truth, in non-violent way through art.”

The participating teams were blessed by freedom fighters Raj Rani Gandhi and Ved Prakash Mehra for their pursuit of peace and non-violence.



Tributes paid to Gandhi
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, January 30
Peace Club of GMSSS, Sector 46-D, organised various activities to pay a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, here today. Representatives of Param Pujya Sant Sri Asaramji Bapu Ashram gave a lecture to the students on truth and non-violence. A slogan writing and printing competition was organised and students delivered speeches and recited poems related to Mahatma Gandhi.

School principal Sudesh Raghav highlighted the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and urged the students to follow the path of truth and non-violence, which is the need of the hour.



SJOBA honours students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Taking a cue from the ongoing “Janta ki choice” trend in various reality shows, SJOBA foundation in first of its kind initiative has tried to identify and nurture a prospective Nobel laureate or an Olympic medallist from amongst school boys.

Based on the votes casted by senior wing students, administration and teaching staff, the foundation has conferred a unique “Ranvijay award” on two students Vardaan Arora of class VIII and Amit Singh of class X for their noble and helpful conduct in addition to awarding Harjas Singh for brilliance in the field of academics and Jagrit Pathania for commendable sports.

The awards that were given away in form of NSC certificates worth Rs 10,000 by Justice Ajay Tewari have rejoiced the winners.



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