C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


House of retd Colonel burgled
Thieves decamp with valuables worth Rs 4 lakh
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 2
Thieves struck at the house of Col Ashok Gupta (retd) at Sector 4 of Mansa Devi Complex and decamped with valuables worth Rs 4 lakh here today.

All the family members were sleeping in the house at the time of the incident. The valuables missing from the house include jewellery and a handicam. Cash worth $1,222 belonging to the sister of the Colonel, who had come from the USA, was also stolen.

It was around 12 am when Colonel Gupta, his wife, sister and mother went to sleep in their rooms. Around 2.30 am, his mother noticed some movement outside her room and raised the alarm. The thieves, however, fled before the arrival of the police which reached within a few minutes.

According to the police, thieves entered the house after damaging the latch of the main door. They picked a bag lying in a bedroom and entered the storeroom. They then opened the almirah with keys lying nearby and took the jewellery.

The police is questioning the maidservant as the owners suspected that she could be involved. No arrest has been made so far.



Accused minors medically examined
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 2
Finding nothing substantial in the medical examination report of an 8-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by four minors, the police got the accused medically examined at the General Hospital here today. A medical test was also conducted on the girl to ascertain her age as the family had no proof of her age.

While the two 9-year-old boys were found “incapable” of such an act, the other two bear no marks that could indicate that they were involved in the rape, the police said.

While the age of the girl was found to be between six years and eight years, her samples are being sent to the forensic laboratory at Madhuban.

The police, however, booked the boys under Sections 376 of the IPC after the mother of the girl, a resident of Rajiv Colony, complained to the SP that her daughter had been gangraped.

Two of the accused are 14 and 15 years old.

“On Wednesday evening I found her crying and she kept saying they will kill me and throw me in a nullah,” said Akhtar Begum, mother of the girl.

After a few minutes, she disclosed that four boys from the locality took her to a vacant house and raped her. She was bleeding also, her mother said.

The family also alleged dereliction of duty on the part of officials at the police post in Sector 16.

“We complained at the police post, but the police personnel present there asked us to return home, assuring us that they would come and take the child for medical examination. We waited for two days and decided to bring the incident to the notice of the SP,” her parents, sitting at the office of the SP, said.

The police, however, said the rape had not been confirmed. “The rape is not confirmed by doctors who conducted the medical examination on the child,” SHO Aman Kumar said.



Cable theft delays Shatabdi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
The shocking case of theft of wire of overhead extension (OHE) disrupted rail traffic and caused the Kalka-Delhi Shatabdi to be held up between Panipat and Karnal today. Reportedly, the entire section of the Delhi division was disabled owing to the theft. Several trains were delayed and cancelled.

“Not just Kalka-Delhi Shatabdi, but several others were held up. The clearance of the lines needs to be done and we are in the process of streamlining things as quickly as possible,” the ADRM of the Delhi division said.

Ambala division officials said barring the Shatabdi, no other train of Ambala division had been affected.

RK Saxena, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Ambala division, said: “Since the passenger traffic is not much during this period, the incident is not likely to affect the situation much.”

The incident came just days after the engine of the Kalka-Chandigarh Shatabdi broke down due to brake failure near Pinjore, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at the Chandigarh railway station.



Consumer Courts
Compensation not easy to come by
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
Educational institutes, airlines and government organisations are in the list of defaulters for not paying compensation as directed by the consumer courts. Among the prominent defaulters are ICICI Bank, Citi Bank and SBI credit card while the airlines against whom execution applications were filed are Ethopian Airlines and Indus Airways. 

The defaulting educational institutes are Panjab University and Vivek High School. Various departments of the Chandigarh administration have also failed to comply with the orders of the consumer courts.

The electricity department also has executions filed against them. Iinsurance companies that are frequent defaulters are New India Insurance Companies, ICICI Lombard, Kotak Mohindra, Reliance Insurance and Bajaj Allianz.

There are several complainants who move the consumer courts and get relief, but the compensation is still not given to them. Subsequently, execution applications are filed in the consumer forum. The two consumer disputes redressal forums had 171 executions in 2008, that sharply increased from 137 in 2006. While till April this year, 55 execution applications have been filed.

If the orders are not complied with even after the filing of the execution, then the consumer courts use powers under Section 27 of the Consumer Protection Act and issue arrest warrants.

As many as 74 arrest warrants have already been so far this year. However, no one is usually arrested as the dispute gets settled soon after the warrants are issued.

In an order pronounced last month, the consumer forum sentenced the divisional manager of IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance Company to one-year imprisonment for not complying with its orders.



Ministry calls for meeting on swine flu
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
The Union Health Ministry has called for a high-level meeting of the Director Health Services (DHS) of various states, including Chandigarh, to discuss swine flu threat on Monday.

The DHS, Dr MS Bains, said the meeting was likely to discuss the entire protocol for diagnosis and treatment of the disease if faced with a suspected case.

Referring to the report, “City has no stock of Tamiflu”, published in The Tribune today, he said the matter would be discussed at the meeting. On being asked about the diagnostic facilities not available in the city, he said things were being streamlined as per the directions of the health ministry.

Meanwhile, doctors of the internal medicine department of the PGI showed concern over the non-availability of Tamiflu, the only known drug found to be effective against the virus as a precautionary measure.

Vineet Chawdhry, Joint Secretary in the health ministry, would chair the meeting.



City-Morinda rail link
Electrification to end by June
Tribune News Service

Electrification of the Chandigarh-Morinda rail track is nearing completion.
Electrification of the Chandigarh-Morinda rail track is nearing completion. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, May 2
Travelling by train between Chandigarh and Una will become faster by June as work on the electrification of the 45-km Chandigarh-Morinda section of the track is nearing completion. At present, trains on this section are being run on diesel.

Around Rs 10 crore is being spent on the electrification. The total cost of electrification up to Ludhiana has been estimated at around Rs 45 crore.

Electrification of the track also means faster connectivity between the city and Anandpur Sahib. The travelling time of Jan Shatabdi, running between Una and Delhi (via Chandigarh), would also be reduced.

Around 38-km track has already been electrified. Work of erecting poles and fixing high-traction line has been completed up to the Mohali railway station. A site engineer at the Mohali railway station said a small section between Chandigarh and Mohali railway stations was remaining.

Sources said without electrification, rail connectivity to Chandigarh had been a major hurdle despite the new track. All major routes in North India were electrified. Due to electrification, it would be possible to divert long-distance trains running on the Ambala-Rajpura-Ludhiana section to the Ambala-Chandigarh-Ludhiana section.

The Chandigarh-Morinda link would ultimately link Ludhiana and would offer direct rail link between Chandigarh and other parts of Punjab, including Jalandhar, Amritsar, Ferozepur and Pathankot. Work on the remaining 67-km Morinda-Sahnewal- Ludhiana track is going on.


Evening clouds bring respite from heat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
City residents had a respite from the hot weather this evening when clouds accompanied by cool breeze descended on the city. However during the day, the heat wave continued to keep people indoor.

The meteorological department had good news for residents though, as it predicted showers accompanied by duststorm and plenty of clouds in the coming 24 hours.

The mercury shot up to 41.8 °Celsius today with heat wave sweeping the city. However, in the evening clouds accompanied by a duststorm appeared on the horizon, reducing the visibility to some extent.

The pleasant evening prompted residents to come out of their houses to enjoy the weather.

Met officials have forecast partly cloudy weather with light moderate thundershowers in the coming days.

Officials said the maximum temperature was five degrees above normal. The minimum temperature remained 25 ° Celsius, which is also four degrees more than normal.



Strip airport directors of security task, says panel
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
In view of the trend of privatisation of airports, the government has been asked to take immediate steps to relieve airport directors of their primary responsibility of overall management and coordination of security matters at their respective airports.

Instead, it has been recommended that with growing threat perception of terrorism, all airport-security related matters should be handled by governmental agencies and the airport director be made accountable to the security incharge of the airport in all such matters.

At present, the chief airport security officer (CASO) reports to the airport director on security related aspects. Observing that airport directors have been allocated a very critical function of managing and coordinating security matters, a parliamentary committee, in its recent report, has opined that it may not be advisable that an airport director of a private airport be entrusted with such vast security related responsibilities in the interest of national security.

The committee also observed that relieving airport directors of their security responsibility would enable them to devote more attention to safety management. 

The ministry of civil aviation has, on the other hand, maintained that at an airport many government, semi-government and private agencies like customs, health, police, immigration, oil companies, airlines and private aircraft operators, aircrew and peripheral staff are present. Each organisation has its own independent administrative and operational set-up and the airport director acted as the nodal point to resolve issues.

According to the ministry, the present system is running smoothly. A standard operating procedure regarding the deployment of the CISF at airports covers all aspects of coordination between the CASO and the airport director. With terrorist activities being high, airport security is a major issue with all stakeholders involved.

According to the report, the sanctioned strength of critical posts in the bureau remains unrevised since its formation in 1987. It is also facing a severe manpower crunch, with the strength of critical mid-level security officers not even meeting 50 per cent of the sanctioned strength. 



Unauthorised use of red beacon 
SP, DRM take conflicting stand
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
A contempt petition filed in the high court regarding unauthorised use of red beacon on the vehicle of the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Ambala, took an interesting twist with the SP and DRM taking conflicting stands.

The contempt petition was filed by Rajinder Verma of Ambala. Verma had filed the case against DC Samir Pal Saro, SP Y Puran Kumar and DRM, Ambala, HK Jaggi.

The SP, in his affidavit dated April 21, had stated that the vehicles of the DRM were checked at odd hours and were not found fitted with red/ blue beacons.

He also stated that he had taken over charge as the SP, Ambala, on December 24 last year and that the DRM might have used red beacon atop his vehicles in the past.

However, on physical verification at odd hours on different dates, the vehicles were without any red beacon, he added.

Interestingly, the SP stated in his affidavit: “The offence is made out only if he uses red lights on his vehicles and plies on a public place.

“In the absence of this, no offence is made out.”

On the other hand, the DRM in his affidavit dated April 29 had stated that he used red light on his official vehicles till some time back.

The DRM categorically stated in his affidavit that the HC judgment in Namit Kumar’s case came on July 9, 1997.

At that time, as per circular issued by the Haryana government, the DRM, Ambala, was authorised to use red beacon.

Subsequently, also the Haryana government issued another notification on April 7, 2000, wherein the DRM, Ambala, was included in the list of officers who were authorised to use red beacon.

The DRM has, however, stated that for the last few months, he had directed his staff not to mount red beacon on his official vehicle till the clarification was received from the Haryana government.

The DRM, nevertheless, had formally apologised towards the end of his affidavit by stating that if still the high court came to the conclusion that any act on his part tantamount to contempt of court, he tenders unconditional and unqualified apology.

The DRM has also filed a separate application seeking exemption from his personal appearance on the date fixed in this case, i.e., May 6, on the grounds that “because of heavy administrative work, onerous duties and pre-occupation, he is unable to appear before the HC on that day.”



Key Cong man joins BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
After 25 years of association with the Congress, Mukesh Bassi, general secretary, Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC), today resigned from the party and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) here.

According to a communiqué received here, Bassi admitted that he had resigned from the primary membership and all posts of the Congress for “personal reasons”.

However, during a function held at the BJP office in Sector 33, Bassi said he had been feeling suffocated in Congress for the past few days due to its policies and functioning.

Bassi, an industrialist and currently president of the Chandigarh Club, said he had joined the BJP without any condition and had chosen to join it because of its nationalist policies.

Bassi had held various responsibilities like general secretary and vice-president of the NSUI as well as president of the Youth Congress Chandigarh.

On another occasion, senior BJP leader and TV star of Mahabharata fame Gajendra Chauhan today said he felt an undercurrent for change during his campaign tours across the country.

“Not only is the BJP campaign full of vigour, there is a support for it at all levels, which makes me confident that this time it will come to power and LK Advani will become the Prime Minister.”

In the city to campaign for Satya Pal Jain, Chauhan, also national co-convener of the culture cell of the BJP, said Jain had been acknowledged by Advani in his recent book “My Country, My Life”.

“If the BJP comes to power at the Centre, Jain will have a big role in the government that will ensure that problems of the people of Chandigarh are taken up and addressed urgently,” he said.

Replying to a question Chauhan, who is also an office-bearer of Cine Artists Association, said film and TV actors who entered the political arena came either for money or office or due to their affinity for a political ideology.

Traders back Cong

A large section of trading and business community of the city today condemned a group of traders who were issuing statements claiming that Chandigarh’s entire business community was backing the candidature of BJP nominee SP Jain.

At a press conference held jointly by presidents and secretaries of different market associations of various sectors, comprising Niraj Bajaj, Kamaljeet Singh Panchi, Arun Talwar and Jagdish Pal Kalra, they clarified that it was not the case and Jain was telling a “blatant lie”.

Contesting Jain’s claim, the traders said they were backing Congress nominee Pawan Bansal who had, in his tenure, done so much for the community.

The traders claimed that it was Bansal who had got the sanction of covering the rear courtyard in the SCOs and SCFs allowed besides the construction of sheds in the grain market of Sector 26.

They added that the change of trade had been permitted in all sector markets free of charge, including change from semi-industrial to general trade.

Among those present included Rohit Sood Bambey, Hazara Singh, Aalim Mohammed, SS Chandel, Subhash Seth, Krishn Bansal, Anil Kumar, SK Mathur, Rajkumar Goyal, Subhash Narang, Gursharan Sukhija, Ashwini Sindhi, Kulbhushan Bindal.

Meanwhile, Trinamool Congress (Chandigarh unit), the fraternity of Christian Association and Prajapati Trust, today offered their support to Congress during a function at Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan today.

President Shambu Banerjee who along with party office-bearers and a large number of workers met Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee president BB Bahl and Congress nominee Pawan Bansal assuring him of his party’s backing.

Christian Association president Francis Bhatti and his deputy Sadiq Massih along with their supporters promised to work for the Congress.

Echoing a similar sentiment, Nirbay Singh, president of Prajapati Trust, said Congress was the only secular party that could help establish a better tomorrow.

BSP campaign

Former Union Minister and BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan today addressed booth owners in Sectors 15, 23 and 24 and assured that he would get another storey built on the existing booths.

Meanwhile, the Joint Action committee of 13-type houses announced their support to Dhawan.

Himachal Welfare Association VPO Behlana also announced their support to Dhawan. Association president Katoch ensured their support to the candidate.

Sanjay Kumar, secretary Chandigarh Congress committee, also joined the BSP today. He said people were fed up with the anti-poor policies of the Congress and would vote for the BSP. Skuntla Devi, president, BJP mahila mandal, also joined BSP.



CII drive to sensitise voters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
The Chandigarh chapter of the CII Young Indians launched a voter awareness campaign here today. The campaign, “Baad Mein Mat Bolna”, was started by thespian Neelam Mansingh at Sukhna Lake.

She said: “We must see 15th Lok Sabha elections as an opportunity to profess our citizenship and participate proactively in the spirit of democracy and vote for good governance. 

The general election is an opportunity for us to contribute in our own small, yet significant, way to elect people with no criminal records or those who, we think, would perform their duties and not abuse their office.”

A street play was staged by Theatre Age, led by Zulfikar Khan, which conveyed the message to engage all in general and a business class and educated youth in particular in the election process. Anupama Arya, chairperson, CII Young Indian Chandigarh Chapter, said: “The campaign is an effort to facilitate 100 per cent voting in Chandigarh.

The campaign has features like street play, interactive quiz, signature campaign, etc. and will conclude at plaza in Sector 17 on May 9.”



Leaders target undecided voters
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 2
Political parties are in a win over mode. With elections entering the final stages in the Anandpur Sahib parliamentary seat, the Congress and the SAD leaders have pulled their resources to win over unhappy persons who hold a command over sizeable number of voters in their respective societies.

Knowing well that such persons will fetch votes for them, the party high commands are allowing them to manage the election campaigns in their strongholds. Balbir Singh Sidhu, MLA Kharar, prominent persons and representatives of the residents welfare associations are crucial for any party. “For five years, politicians are looking after the problems of the residents. Now, it is time to pay back,” he added.

The senior vice-president of the Mohali MC, Harmanpreet Prince, who had been keeping away from the Akali campaign after the death of the Late Capt Kanwaljit Singh, has now been brought back and has joined the campaign for the party candidate, said Dr Daljit Singh Cheema.

Jasjit Singh Bunny, son of the Late Capt Kanwaljit Sigh, Bunny Badal and Kiran Bir Singh have been holding election rallies for Dr Cheema.



Maruti education centre in Chandigarh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
Faced with a shortage of trained manpower, Maruti Suzuki India is opening four auto education and training institutes across the country. The country’s largest carmaker hopes to have 2,000 trained personnel annually for its 2,700 dealer workshops across the country.

Maruti has signed an MoU with BGS Institute of Auto Science and Management for opening these training institutes. While one institute in Bangalore was opened recently, the second institute in Chandigarh was opened today. These institutes are set up at an estimated cost of Rs 5 crore each.

Addressing mediapersons here today, P Aggarwal, general manager, service, Maruti Suzuki, and Kulwinder Singh Bawa, director, BGS Institute of Auto Science and Training, said they woud also be opening these training institutes at Pune and Delhi within the next six months.

“Though we have tied up with ITIs to provide training, this is for the first time that we have devised our own training module and tied up with a private institute for this training, which would range from 45 days to one year for different jobs,” said Aggarwal. 



Radiologists for ban on tobacco chewing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
Supporting the ban imposed on smoking in public and work places, radiologists have proposed to impose a ban on chewing tobacco as it also causes head and neck cancer — the most common cancer in India.

According to Dr Avdhesh Pandey, head of radiotherapy department, GMCH-32, almost 35 per cent cases of head and neck cancer are reported in GMCH-32 alone.

This was stated during a continuous medical education (CME) programme on “Recent advances in management of head and neck cancer” organised by the department of radiotherapy of the GMCH-32 here today.

Head and neck cancer- a group of biologically similar cancers originating from the upper aero-digestive tract, including the lip, oral cavity, paranasal sinuses, pharynx and larynx-are strongly associated with certain lifestyle practices such as tobacco chewing and smoking and alcohol consumption, says Dr Avdhesh.

Supporting the recently imposed ban on smoking in public and work places, radiologists proposed to impose a ban on chewing of tobacco as well. “As compared to other countries, cancer patients in India suffer from typical head and neck cancer affecting the cheek pouch in the lower jaw at the back of the tongue. This is because of chewing of pan and tobacco,” said doctors.

Important deliberation on newer advances in management of head and neck cancers, including surgical management, neoadjuvant and concurrent chemoradiation, IMRT, IGRT, brachytherapy and molecular targeted therapy for management of head and neck cancers, took place during the conference. 

The CME was inaugurated by Dr GK Rath, Professor and Head, department of radiotherapy, and director, IRCH, AIIMS, New Delhi. He said nine lakh new cases of cancer were diagnosed every year and around four to five lakh mortalities were reported. He added that cancer was currently among the top three causes of mortality besides cardiovascular deaths and deaths due to accidents.

Around 100 delegates from various medical colleges, cancer hospitals and private medical institutions from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pardesh and other adjoining states attended the CME. 



Teachers donate blood
Tribune Reporters

Panchkula: Nearly 150 persons, including teaching staff, non-teaching staff and parents donated blood during a blood donation camp at Hansraj Public School here today. Principal Jaya Bhardwaj said the school organised a blood donation camp every year.

The school is running two projects Shardha and Saplings for underprivileged children and environment respectively, she said.


About 50 students of Block-B, Shivalik Public School, Chandigarh, visited animal hospital at Basera.

The shelter is being run by PFA (People For Animals), Chandigarh. The purpose was to inculcate kindness among students. During their visit they were shown veterinary operation theatre, kennels for dogs and sheds for buffaloes under treatment.

Students were shocked to see the pathetic situation of animals being thrown mercilessly out in streets.

Peace club

Manav Mangal School, Sector 11, launched a Peace Club with the support of Panchkula education department and NGO Yuvsatta here today. Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri, an awardee of Mahavir Chakra, was the chief guest.

School principal Sandeep Sardana told the students about Brig Chandpuri whose life was portrayed in Bollywood movie ‘Border’.

Brig Chandpuri distributed post cards among the students for writing and colouring, and showing their solidarity and affection towards the soldiers .


Sacred Heart School celebrated the ‘Institution Day’ coupled with ‘Mother’s Day’ and ‘Labour Day’ on Friday, which was presided by DPI Chandigarh Samwarthak Singh. A salad-cum-vegetable carving competition was organised for mothers and a draw was taken out to select the lucky mother of the year.

The play ‘To labour is to Pray’ presented by the students left the audience spellbound. Samwarthak Singh also encouraged the students to work for the society.

Annual day

An annual prize distribution function was organised in Saupin’s School, Sector 32, Chandigarh, on Friday. The students of the school pledged to perform duties with dedication and were given badges by the outgoing school cabinet.

Thereafter, the students were awarded prizes in sports and academics. Six students were given 100 per cent scholarship and three were given 50 per cent scholarship for their excellent performance in sports. About 13 awards were given for participating in the 54th National School Games - Archery (9) and National Open Championship - Football (4).

Red day

Mohali: Swami Ram Tirath Public School, Phase 4, Mohali, organised the ‘Red Colour Day’ for students. The aim was to inform the children about the importance of the day. The children came dressed in red and brought red-coloured food in tiffins. They were also served watermelon. 



Civil hospital to have blood bank
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 2
A blood bank is being set up in the Civil Hospital, Phase VI, here, for the convenience of patients, who have to go to Chandigarh or Kharar to get blood.

SMO HS Sarang said the need was felt when patients suffering from dengue reported at the hospital. He said the number of indoor patients had also gone up and in some cases patients were referred to Chandigarh as the hospital did not have blood arrangements. 

Sarang said more than 1,000 sq ft space was required for setting up a blood bank and now more than 1,300 sq ft area in the hospital was identified for the facility. The matter had also been discussed with the director and the civil surgeon. He hoped that the blood bank would be available in the coming months.



Students apprised of PEC activities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 2
Punjab Engineering College (PEC) organised an Open House -2009 for schools of the tricity today. The students were addressed by PEC director Manoj Datta who enc ouraged them to work hard and be focussed. 

The students were apprised of the current job scenario from placement officer K K Garg.

The seniors interacted with the school students and informed them about various activities conducted on the PEC campus, including PEC fest, and their entry in the Moon Buggy contest.

They were taken to various kiosks put up at all departments where they saw engineering projects, including award-winning entries in the BAJA competition by mechanical engineering students. They were also shown research laboratories and research papers.



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