C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Capitol Complex prime land gobbled up by securitymen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
Right under the nose of judiciary and executive, encroachments by the 82nd Battalion of the Punjab Armed Police (PAP) and the Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF) have grown in large proportions in Capitol Complex, seizing around 20 acres of prime land near the Civil Secretariat.

Cordoned off with barbed wire, with “sentries” deputed at all entry and exit points, this “restricted area” between the Chandigarh Club and the road leading to Kansal village, at first look gives the impression as if it is under siege by the heavily deployed police squad. There are two lines of barbed wire fencing in the area.

Nevertheless, the fact is that the PAP and CISF men have gobbled up this land for their convenience for over a decade under the “now ambiguous” terrorism threat to their bosses.

Records speak that in 2002, the Chandigarh administration had permitted the PAP to pitch their security pickets in about 6 acres behind the Punjab Civil Secretariat in the wake of terrorist threats.

Their establishment on this land could well be understood during terrorism days, but the situation now has been officially declared to be normal.

This make-shift arrangement now calls for their removal.

Interestingly, this blatant encroachment is well in the knowledge of top echelons of the Chandigarh administration, but no official has ever spared a thought to get this land vacated that has a market value in multi-crores. This land could well be utilised for some development project in the interest of city.

Confirming this, Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar said, “The PAP wing has already been served notice in this regard and they have also submitted their expansion proposal that is under examination by the administration. The orchards in the area have already been surrendered by the PAP. However, the land allotted to the CISF and Haryana Police is under the permissible limits.”

Due to the apparent lackadaisical attitude of the administration, this place has now become the official address of Punjab police officers, which houses their official guest houses, separate posh mess for “officers only” and accommodates over 800 jawans of the PAP and CISF having their bricked and prefab houses, a separate mess, dispensary, sub-offices and a large chunk of land at the corner for dumping their discarded vehicles.

Deputy Commissioner RK Rao, when apprised of this blatant violation of land norms, said, “ Yes, it is a violation. It is in our knowledge to get this land free from all encumbrances. The administration is chalking out a programme to carry out anti-encroachment drive,” he said.

Sources in the administration said that earlier SK Jaitely, then holding the charge of Chief Engineer, was once ordered to get a review the area to identify the encroachment, but this exercise met with the same “traditional official hang-ups”.

Jaitely confirmed that the area was surveyed then, but chose to be tight-lipped when asked if the any encroachment on the part of the police was established then or not. “ I am not authorised to speak to the press now. Had you asked me about it then, I could have spoken on the matter,” he replied.

A UT official summed up the matter aptly; “This place has now become a popular hangout for senior Punjab police officials, bureaucrats and their families. How would they let off this place so easily. Most of the time they stay at Gazetted Officers’ (GO) cottages.”



Nari Niketan Rape Case
HC reserves verdict
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today reserved its verdict on the motherhood status of the Nari Niketan rape victim.

The Special Division Bench comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice Augustine George Masih reserved the orders after hearing the matter on almost day-to-day basis. The hearing has been going on ever since the High Court reopened after the vacations on July 1.

As the matter came up for final arguments before the Bench, UT senior standing counsel Anupam Gupta said the victim’s consent for giving birth to the child was no consent at all.

Elaborating, he asserted that consent had to be based on intelligent understanding based on significance and moral effects of the act. In her case, the rape victim was completely oblivious of the significance and the moral effect of the act.

Gupta also quoted a 2003 Supreme Court judgment on the issue of consent of a mentally challenged person in an attempt to substantiate his contentions.

Gupta asserted that there was no other remedy available, but medical termination of pregnancy, while quoting the psychiatrist report and referring to Sigmund Freud, “the father of psychoanalysis, generally recognised as one of the most influential and authoritative thinkers of the 20th century”.

His assertion comes a day after senior advocate-cum-amicus curiae RS Cheema strongly oppose the UT Administration’s plea for terminating the victim’s pregnancy by saying there is no risk to victim or her issue’s life.

Cheema said presumption of a handicap child or apprehensions about the future of child after his birth could not be a ground of termination of pregnancy. Quoting figures, he said there were 2.19 crore “handicapped” in the country being taken care of by the government or any other organisations. Cheema said the victim was desirous to deliver. She may not be aware about the sexual acts, but now she was willing to deliver a child, he elaborated.



Banur Bypoll
NK Sharma resigns from Youth Akali Dal
Rajmeet Singh and Rajiv Bhatia
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 14
Zirakpur MC president and senior vice-president of the Youth Akali Dal NK Sharma today resigned from the party, triggering speculation about his larger political role in the pre and post-election scenario.

Political analysts believe that for the Banur electorate, the resignation could turn out to be a déjà vu of the Zirakpur MC elections, 2008, when he had defeated the confidants of former Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh on his home turf. This time, the move is aimed at sabotaging the chances of Capt Kanwaljit Singh’s political heir Jasjit Singh Bunny, the SAD candidate from Banur.

During the 2008 MC elections, NK Sharma group has virtually cut to size the Akali stalwart by defeating a majority of the candidates backed by the SAD. Subsequently, he was expelled from the party.

However, to ward off any action, Sharma has made a smart political move this time. The move could also benefit the Congress candidate as Sharma’s strategy would be to target the SAD’s vote bank.

Considered to be a close confident of Sukhbir Badal, Sharma was eying the delimited Dera Bassi Assembly seat, which goes to election in 2012. After scuttling the political career of Capt Kanwljit’s clan, the Sharma would emerge as a strong contender for the Dera Bassi seat. “When one is close to the powers that be, moving in and out of the party does not matter much,” said a close confident of NK Sharma.

Not disclosing his political aim, Sharma said he had resigned from the post as the party did not take him into confidence before deciding the candidate. “We were not opposed to the wife of Capt Kanwaljit Singh. But Bunny is an outsider,” he added.

He said a five-member committee had been constituted to form a local group that would field its candidate. Both the Congress and the SAD have ignored candidates from the area. “We would defeat candidates of both the parties and emerge as winner in the by-election,” he claimed.



Another highway robbers’ gang busted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 14
With the arrest of notorious criminal Sunil alias Raja of Bhiwani and his four accomplices, including a woman, the state police claim to have busted another gang of highway robbers here today.

Raja is allegedly involved in several cases of murders and dacoities. Kamla Yadav, wife of a notorious criminal, Azad from Nazafgarh in Delhi, joined the gang following the death of her husband.

Four pistols, a Scorpio car and a Balero jeep was also recovered from the accused, identified as Navin alias Monu, Kuldeep alias Bhaiyya, Sarif alias Bhullar alias Pehalwan.

Sharif, a resident of Jhajjar, was involved in five highway robberies and arms selling. Kuldeep, also of Jhajjar, confessed to have purchased arms from Naveen to sell them to other criminals, Kamla used to take care of arms and ammunitions of the gang, said Dhillon.

While Raja had allegedly committed eight murders, his accomplice, Naveen of Rohtak, was involved in at least seven highway robberies, said Panchkula Superintendent of Police Amitabh Dhillon.

Sunil has confessed to his involvement in six murders, including two double murders, said Dhillon. One murder and a case under the Arms Act was also registered against Sunil in Maharashtra and Nagpur, following which he escaped from police custody at Jhansi railway station two years back.

Naveen had already admitted before the police that he and his accomplices had snatched a Tata Safari, a Tavera, a Hyundai Accent and two Maruti cars on the Delhi-Chandigarh highway. He was also involved in selling arms and ammunitions in the state, said the police. The SP said a special team was formed to check the highway robberies by Ambala range Inspector General of Police KK Sindhu and this was the second success by the team. The same team had busted a gang of highway robbers that had committed crimes in Panchkula and Chandigarh, he said.

The SP said a police party intercepted two cars yesterday night, but the occupants started firing and after 10 minutes of encounter, the accused were nabbed.



Cop ‘thrashes’ Class VIII student
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
A Class VIII student of Bharatiya Adarsh Vidyalaya, Sector 45, was allegedly beaten up by his classmate’s father, a Punjab Police cop, today in the presence of his peers outside the school gate.

The incident reportedly took place around 8 am when the victim, Bharat, was heading towards the school. His classmate, Gurpreet, was waiting for him outside the school with his father, Balwinder.

The victim accused that Balwinder beat him up and even tried to drag him with his two-wheeler. Balwinder allegedly threatened Bharat saying that he was from the Punjab Armed Police (PAP) and he could harm him.

Incidentally, the dispute was over a trivial issue of exchange of cycles. Both Bharat and Gurpreet had exchanged their cycles before summer vacations when Gurpreet’s cycle was punctured near Bharat’s house and he willingly exchanged his cycle when Gurpreet sought his help.

Later, when Gurpreet came to Bharat’s place twice to get his cycle back, he had to return empty-handed as Bharat demanded his cycle back.

Meanwhile, the principal of the school shrugged off the matter saying that the incident happened outside the school premises and school authorities had nothing to do with it. 



Extension to Dr Bains Admn on sticky wicket
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
The Chandigarh Administration seems to have put itself in an awkward situation by unilaterally giving a one-year extension to Director, Health Services, Dr MS Bains.

The decision has upset Punjab Health Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla, who has reportedly taken up the issue with the authorities here. The administration is also finding it difficult to wriggle out of the situation as it has already received a panel of three doctors from Punjab as Bains’ replacement.

Senior officials of the UT Health Department also confirmed this and said it was also in the knowledge of Health Secretary Ram Niwas.

Sources said Chawla had spoken to certain senior UT officials a couple of days back and without mincing any words had expressed her displeasure over the move. If sources are to be believed, the minister went to the extent of telling the officials that this defiance could even warrant an action.

Call it a coincidence or otherwise, this controversy comes close on the heels of a letter written by Chawla on June 30 to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, demanding repatriation of Punjab doctors who have been on extended deputations to Punjab.

She had highlighted that some doctors had been working in the UT for the last 28 years by managing extensions one after the other.

In the letter, the minister stated that with these doctors overstaying their deputation tenures, other desirous and eligible officials were being denied an opportunity to serve in the UT. Chawla had also stated the maximum tenure for deputation should be fixed to five years and no doctor should be allowed to stay back.

She stated that Punjab was not benefiting from these deputations in any manner, but on the contrary doctors, after having served in the UT, were reluctant to go to rural areas for postings. She had even alleged that during their stint in the UT, most doctors develop strong political links and then use them to get extensions.

However, in response to her letter, the Chief Minister had favoured for the continuation of the doctors on grounds that the share of Punjab officers in the UT was declining, with the local administration putting its own or Haryana officers in their places.

It is learnt that Bains and the UT Administration were likely to take the plea of the Chief Minister’s stand to strengthen their case for an extension. However, sources said that since a panel for Bains replacement was sent well in time, the UT administration had no excuse whatsoever to deny Punjab the right for holding the post of the Director, Health Services. “Bains would have been replaced by another officer from Punjab only,” said a senior official.


An eventful journey that brought a life-saving drug to masses
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
It was a long and eventful journey through laboratories cluttered with chemicals and appliances that led scientists at the Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) to achieve a first of sorts when they developed Streptokinase, a life-saving, clot-dissolving drug.

While the drug has immense socio-economic spin-offs, it was a deeply fulfilling and enriching experience for the team that developed it. “Launching the medicine after years of research and toil marks a deeply satisfying event,” Dr Girish Sahni, Director of IMTECH, said. “For the scientific community that pursues fundamental research, it is a signal that Indian scientists are able to translate their ideas and research into marketable products,” he added.

Though the product itself in not new - IMTECH developed anti-clotting drugs are already being manufactured in the country - the manufacturing process for this medicine is totally different and more refined.

This implies that a greater quantity of this drug can be manufactured in a shorter time-frame, thereby making it more cost-effective and internationally competitive. “The significance is that we are not only making a drug which is already available in the world, but making it cheaper,” the director said. Similar drugs have been in existence for the past about 40 years, but their cost is prohibitive.

Director PGI and noted cardiologist, Dr KK Talwar, said that this drug could prove to be a boon as it was an effective clot-dissolving drug commonly used in the treatment of myocardial infarction and pulmonary embolism. “Using the technology developed by IMTECH would reduce the cost of the drug, providing immense benefit to patients,” he said. At present, the drug costs Rs 1,500-Rs 2,000 per patient, he added.

Initiated in 1994, the project involved a lot of technical and psychological challenges, with several years of animal toxicology and clinical trials. In fact when the drug began trials in 2004, The Tribune was the first to bring to the people, the reality of an indigenous medicine to tackle heart attacks coming within the reach of the common man hitting the stores soon.

It was a chance meeting between the Editor-in-Chief, Mr H K Dua, and the then IMTECH Director, Dr Amit Ghosh, on board the Delhi-bound Shatabdi that the IMTECH’s mission became known. Dr Ghosh has since been given another prestigious assignment by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, of which IMTECH is a constituent laboratory.

The team working on the project comprised about 25 persons, which included a fair number of students. A lot of doctorates emerged from this project. Though there were many technical challenges, scientists said that one of the biggest challenge was to carry the team effort together. “Scientists are individualistic by mature,” Dr Deb Sahoo, one of the senior members, remarked.

“There were many high points and low points in the course of the research, but they all gave valuable lessons,” Dr Kanak Dikshit said. “It also shows the capability of small towns like Chandigarh is no longer restricted to just academics, but also research and development and forging into areas of world class technology,” she added.



Nuisance of PG accommodations 
Street fights, hooliganism a routine affair 
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
The “lackadaisical” attitude of the police seems to be the cause behind the increasing number of incidents of street fights outside paying guest (PG) accommodations in the city.

In a yet another incident, a drama was witnessed in Sector 22-C a little before Sunday midnight when a woman, who had kept a number of girls as tenants in her house, called up the police alleging that two boys on a scooter were creating ruckus outside her residence.

When the police team asked her about tenant verification, she, instead of admitting to her fault, accused the policemen of harassing her and threatened to call the media, said police sources.

A police official told TNS that within minutes, a large number of boys from the nearby paying guest accommodation assembled there. They began arguing with the policemen, pushing them on the back foot. “While the woman was calling media persons, her son started abusing the policemen,” said the police official.

By the time The Tribune team reached the spot, the police party from the Sector 22 police post had left the scene without doing anything. Alleging police inaction, the woman said she had given the registration number of the scooter to the police, but they kept on asking her about the tenant verification.

On being asked about tenant verification, the landlady admitted that she had prepared the verification forms, but did not get time to submit the same with the police.

Surprisingly, even after knowing that she had violated the prohibitory orders, the policemen did not find it fit to probe the matter. When TNS inquired about the matter from the police on Monday, in charge of the Sector 22 police post Jaspal Singh Bhullar expressed ignorance about the incident. However, he later said the landlady had not informed the police about her tenants, but the girls had submitted the forms, which were verified.

The registration number of the scooter was also found to be fake. The residents of the area alleged that street fights by rowdy elements was a common affair in the locality due to a number of paying guest and rented accommodations. They also alleged that youngsters often indulge in obscene activities during late night hours. 



Ward no. 10 bypoll on Aug 8 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
UT State Election Commissioner OP Kelkar today announced the byelection of ward No 10 of the Municipal Corporation.

The seat became vacant due to expiry of ward elected councillor Gurnam Singh. The polling would be held on August 8.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Kelkar stated that filing of the nomination had started from today and would continue till July 21.

The scrutiny of the nomination papers would be done on July 22. He said the last date for the withdrawal of candidature was July 25.

While revealing the maximum limit of election expenditure, he said a candidate could incur up to Rs 1 lakh.

Kelkar said the election process would be completed by August 18 and till than the code of conduct would be in force in ward No 10, which included Sectors 41, 42, Butrela and Attawa.



627 join ITBP

Chandigarh, July 14
As many as 627 recruits were formally inducted into the ranks of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force at an impressive passing out parade at the Basic Training Centre (BTC) at Bhanu near here today.

Director General, ITBP, Vikram Srivastava reviewed the parade and took the salute. Speaking on the occasion, he extolled the recruits to give their best to the nation, as they were the cutting edge of the national security apparatus.

DIG, BTC MS Bhurji highlighted the training activities at the centre and said the main emphasis was laid on soldering and confidence building of recruits. Their training included weapons, drill, judo, field craft, map reading and shooting.

The chief guest also gave away prizes for excellence during training. The award for best in physical training, drill, weapons and firing went to Vibhishan (9 Bn), Vikash (26 Bn), Mallu Shankar Redy (37 Bn) and RL Java. The overall best cadet award went to Arun Kumar (37 Bn), while the parade was commanded by Vikas Kumar (26 Bn). — TNS



15 cops shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
The Chandigarh Police today transferred nine inspectors and six in charges of police posts with immediate effect.

The police said among inspectors Tarsem Rana has been promoted as chief law instructor, Police Lines, Sector 26, Krishan Lal to VIP security, Satbir Singh to Police Lines from Sector 17 police station, Joginder Singh to CID wing, Kuldeep Singh from CID to special crime investigation cell (SCIC), Sher Singh to Police Lines from crime branch, Jagbeer Singh promoted as in charge of the public window, Gaytri Devi in charge of the Welfare Centre and Joginder Singh to CID.

Similarly, among sub-inspectors, Narinder Kumar has been shifted to Burail police post as in charge, Maninder Singh to Sector 61 police post, Harminderjeet Singh to Sector 24 police post, Baldev Kumar to Maloya police post, Ram Ratan to Daria police post and Shish Pal is shifted as the additional SHO of Sector 26 police station.



Day 1: BCom, BCA seats filled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
In what may be called as the final fall out of students securing above 90 per cent this year in class XII, seats of B Com, BCA and BBA got filled on the first day of the counselling today.

“The day class XII results were declared, everybody speculated that getting admission by choice would be difficult and the cut-off lists materialised these apprehensions,” one of the candidates at DAV College said.

At MCM DAV College, Sector 36, the admission in B Com under UT category closed at 87.8 per cent while in general category, it was 95.2 per cent. Whereas, in BCA, it was 70 per cent under UT pool and 78 per cent under the general category.

At DAV College, the admission in B Com under UT pool closed at 75.6 per cent and 88.8 per cent under general category. The admission under UT pool closed at 71 per cent and 75 per cent, for BBA and BCA, respectively.

In government colleges, the admission under UT pool at GCG-11 was closed at 89 per cent and in BCA, it was closed at 70.6 per cent under UT pool, 101.4 per cent under general.

The figures for Government College, Sector 46, were 65 per cent for UT pool and 79 per cent under general category in B Com and in BCA; it was closed at 68 per cent for UT and 72 per cent for general.

The figures for GCG-42 were 68 per cent for UT pool in B Com and 78.8 per cent under the general category. For BCA, the figure was 69.2 per cent under UT pool and 75.8 per cent under the general category.

At GGS Khalsa College, the counselling was done for UT pool only and all seats in this category were filled with the last percentage being 90.2 per cent for B Com and 72.2 per cent for BCA.



Protest over PU decision on girlchild
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
The decision of Panjab University to extend the benefit of an additional seat in all courses to those having two or three daughters but no male child, which was earlier announced only for a single girlchild, has evoked resentment amongst applicants and their parents.

Claiming it to be in defiance of all norms, the parents protested against the act in front of the Vice-Chancellor’s office.

“Earlier, they had said the seat should only be given to an applicant who is a single girl child, but at the time of counselling today, they said the seat would be allotted on merit basis and the list would also include those having two or three daughters,” a parent said.

This is a directive of the MHRD and they could not expect us to share this privilege with others, another parent said.

Notably, Panjab University Senate had approved the institution of this additional seat for a girlchild, and subsequently, allowed the privilege to be extended to those with one or two female siblings, provided only one of them claimed the seat.

According to the officials concerned, making any amendments to the privilege was well in purview of the Senate, as it had only instituted the seat.

“This seat was created by the decision taken in the Senate meeting and it was in the following meeting that we decided to extend the privilege even to those who have two or three daughters, but we have specified that in such cases, only one of them will avail the privilege and will submit an affidavit for it. The university is preparing a merit list, according to which the seat is being allotted,” an official said.

SC Vaidya, DUI, Panjab University, could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.



Counselling for Class XI ends 
Seats at rural schools lie vacant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
The 11-day long counselling for centralised admissions to class XI came to an end today at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10.

Over 11,000 seats have been filled at the government schools of the city. The counselling for pass candidates, in all streams, ended at the venue today.

Candidates placed under compartment in the percentage bracket of 35 per cent and above in addition to the left out candidates during previous counselling sessions were called today.

Nearly 1,328 students were given admission today and the total number of admissions in all streams hiterto has gone up to 9,958.

The streamwise admission numbers are: science-2869, commerce- 1435, arts-4038 and vocational-1616.

There has been a poor response to the admissions from the periphery and rural schools, with seats lying vacant at various schools in the general category, namely GSSS- Karsan, GSSS- Dhanas, GSSS-Sarangpur, GSSS- Khuda Ali Sher, GSSS- Khuda Lahora, GSSS-Maloya, GSSS-Behlana, GSSS-Raipur Khurd and GSSS-Kaimb wala.

A few seats are also left in the financial marketing management course at GMSSS-19, General Health Care at GMSSS-32 and stenography (Hindi) at GSSS- Karsan.



135 teachers transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 14
In a mass reshuffle, 135 staff members of government model and non-model schools were transferred today on request basis, as confirmed in an order passed by the department.

Earlier a transfer committee comprising DEO Kushwinder Sharma, deputy DO Chanchal Singh and Saroj Gupta was formed in June.

The team inspected the schools and on the basis of personal visits the transfers were made as per the reports. The staff transferred included lecturers, masters, JBT, TGT and other categories, who had requested the transfer on medical grounds as well as distance issue.

The shuffled staff is expected to join the schools on duty from tomorrow.



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