C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


‘Sacked’ staffer turns to hacking
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
A ‘sacked’ employee of a Sector-8 based software company, Shalimar Infotech, allegedly hacked the computer servers of several clients of the company in a bid to realise his ‘dues’.

The matter came to light today when Ravi Khanna, owner of the Sector 16-based Chandigarh Clinical Laboratory, tried to access his systems, but failed.

He contacted his software designer, Shalimar Infotech, which designed and maintained software for their clients.

Ravi being one of the clients, took up the matter with the company and was told that they would look into the matter.

Later in the evening, Khanna received a telephone call from Amarpreet Singh, who claimed to be a former project leader with Shalimar Infotech.

Amarpreet reportedly told Khanna that he had hacked the server of the clients of Shalimar Infotech in revenge as the latter had not paid him his dues.

He told Khanna that he would rectify the systems if Khanna helped him in getting his dues.

Khanna said he had contacted SP (city) Madur Verma and would lodge a formal complaint.

When contacted, the vice-president of the company, Manmohan Banga, said that so far, he had received a couple of complaint from his customers regarding the hacking of their systems.

He said that he had several clients in the city, including prominent colleges like SD College, Sector 32, and Shri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26.

He did not rule out the possibility of the hacking of systems of other clients, as they did not have access their systems on weekends and had not lodged their complaints.

Banga, however, admitted that Amarpreet had been expelled from the company, but denied any financial dispute between Amarpreet and the company.

Amarpreet Singh, on a mobile telephone number provided by Khanna, claimed that he had hacked the system of several clients of Shalimar Infotech and said that he was not bothered about the consequences of his actions.

When pointed out that it amounted to a criminal offence under the IT Act, Amarpreet said, “I do not care about anyone, you do whatever you want”.



No escaping cracker injuries, 147 hurt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
As many as 147 persons suffered burn injuries and eye damage due to crackers in the city and adjoining areas on the Diwali night.

Two of the victims would, perhaps, be never able to see again from one of their eyes, said doctors. The major cause of the injuries was found to be “rocket”, which hit bystanders.

Last year, 123 injured reported at local hospitals, while the number of injured two years ago was 150.

Ram Gulshan (22) was standing on the roof of his house in Ludhiana to enjoy the sparkling show on the occasion of Diwali. Suddenly, a rocket hit his eye and it was dark all around. Following this, he was rushed to the PGI, where doctors carried a surgery on him in the morning. It was eye-globe injury and said to be serious. Chances were remote that Ram would see again with his injured eye, said the doctors.

The story of Jaswinder (36) from Mansa was no different. Jaswinder, standing on the roof of his house, was injured in a similar way and lost his eye.

Two juveniles, Chand and Sachin, got serious injuries on their eye lids.

Doctors said a total of 27 patients reached the PGI for eye injuries. Twentyfive of them were discharged.

Government Multispeciality Hospital, Sector 16, received the maximum number of injured. However, a majority of them were minor cases, while four of them were referred to the PGI. The GMSH authorities said out of 88 patients, 62 were injured due to burns.

At Government Medical College and Hospital, all 24 patients who reached with burn injuries were discharged. However, one of the 12 injured with eye injuries was kept under observation, said medical superintendent Vipin Kaushal.



Diwali ‘Blast’
Man killed by cousins
Tribune News Service

Kurali, October 18
Raj Kumar, a resident of Maloya in Chandigarh, was shot dead by his cousins during a visit to Chatauli village on the occasion of Diwali.

Raj Kumar had an old feud with his cousins over a piece of land in Maloya.

The accused and the deceased belonged to the Matharu clan.

Kharar DSP Simratpal Singh Dhindsa said Raj Kumar had come to Chatauli, his ancestral village, to pay obeisance.

His cousins, Gurmeet Singh, alias Billa, and Makhan Singh had also come to pay obeisance and they had a tiff, he said.

Around 12 noon, Gurmeet Singh shot at Raj Kumar with his double-barrelled gun and he died on the spot.

The police arrested Makhan Singh from Kurali today while Gurmeet Singh, alias Billa, was still at large.

Gurmeet Singh had been running a private school in Kurali and the brothers had been staying on the Chandigarh road here.



Goods worth lakhs gutted in grain market
17 other fire incidents reported in City on Diwali
Tribune News Service

Damaged goods after the fire in grain market, Chandigarh.
Damaged goods after the fire in grain market, Chandigarh. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, October 18
Goods worth lakhs were gutted at the Sector 26 grain market, besides 17 other fire incidents were reported in the city on Diwali night. Fire broke out near the Punjab Chief Minister’s residence. However, it was brought under control immediately.

The fire department remained on its toes throughout the night. This first incident of major fire was reported at 11:53 pm in the Sector 26 grain market, where three booths caught fire, apparently due to a short-circuit. The goods lying in corridors of the booths were gutted, while two commercial refrigerators, a packaging machine, a diesel generator and other electrical appliances were damaged.

Though eight fire tenders managed to douse the flames within 10 minutes, yet the shopkeepers pinned the loss at around Rs 6 lakh. The fire department received first call of fire at 1:19 pm, when dry grass in Sector 17 caught fire. After this, a small place of worship went up in flames in Sector 17, which was extinguished. A wholesale store of readymade garments in Burail village also caught fire in which several cartons of garments and a TV was destroyed.

Later in the day, fire broke out due to a firecracker in the jungle area of Sector 42. In the evening, goods in a shop at Mani Majra were damaged and a tubewell in the area also was also damaged in a fire.



Khoya khoya..."
No sweetness for sellers
Surinder Bhardwaj

Bassi Pathana, October 18
The anti-adulteration drive initiated by the health department on the eve of Diwali against the sale of spurious khoya-based sweets has yielded good results, with a majority of people avoiding the purchase and distribution of sweets. Sweetmeat sellers were the worst affected as the sale of khoya-based sweets was much below expectation.

On the other hand, fruit and dry fruit sellers did brisk business as people preferred to purchase and distribute those items.

Even industrialists did not purchase sweets for distribution among their workers, preferring to give cash or dry fruits instead.

Residents appreciated the efforts of the health minister in initiating a war against adulteration and keeping a watch on those who indulged in it for making more profit.

Welcoming the move of the minister, representatives of various social organisations said that the minister should ensure transparency in the working of health laboratories in Chandigarh, where the samples had been sent for testing.

They expressed surprise over certain samples declared fit for human consumption though those had been prepared 15 days ago.

Sweetmeat sellers said that the health department should initiate the drive at least 15 days before Diwali as it took 38 hours to get analysis reports of samples.

They said that they were ready to cooperate with the health department and not to indulge in adulteration, but the department should not harass them unnecessarily.

The festival passed off peacefully as no untoward incident was reported. The people thronged temples to pay obeisance.



Woman falls prey to swine flu
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 18
A 48-year-old woman from Solan, who was admitted to Silver Oak Hospital, Phase IX, here two days ago, died of swine flu today. Though the woman died in the morning, her samples, sent for testing to Delhi, were confirmed to be positive only late in the evening.

Punjab health officials said the persons who came in her contact were also being examined. They said it was a case from outside the state and the Himachal Pradesh health authorities had been intimated about the death.


Muddy drinking water
Residents up in arms against admn
Tribune News Service

A resident of Sector 21, Chandigarh, shows muddy water on Sunday.
A resident of Sector 21, Chandigarh, shows muddy water on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, October 18
Residents of Sector 21-D are up in arms against the administration, as they were getting muddy drinking water almost daily for the last couple of months. Rajeev Gupta, a resident of Sector 21-D, said hardly a day passed when they did not get muddy drinking water for the last seven to eight months.

He said in spite of the repeated attempts by the residents and the subsequent action by the department, it failed to yield any result, as they started getting muddy water again after two or three days.

Gupta said they were getting the water supply from the booster pump installed on the underground water tank established in the park of C and D part of the sector.

He said instead of thoroughly cleaning the water tank, the authorities just did the formality of cleaning and checking the leaking points.

He said filtration plant seemed to be out of the order, which could result in water-borne diseases in the area.

He urged the administration to take quick action otherwise they would be forced to protest against it, besides initiating legal action.



Minor injuries reported on Diwali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 18
Mocking at rules and regulations, a number of Mohali residents burnt firecrackers with deafening noise beyond the specified time limit of 10 pm.

Luckily, only five minor incidents of fire were reported from the town. At least 14 persons with minor injuries in Diwali-related incidents reached various hospitals here. All were discharged after the first-aid.

Five injured persons went for treatment to the local Civil Hospital. They were discharged after first aid. No eye or face injury case was reported at the Civil Hospital. Six other victims were treated at Cheema Medical Complex in 
Phase IV.

At Fortis Hospital, two cases of burn injuries were brought in the Emergency. Both persons, one-aged 40 and the other 14, had first-degree burns. They were given immediate treatment and discharged.

Another person, an asthma patient, was brought with breathing problems. He was also given first-aid and discharged.

No major incidents of fire were reported in the town, according to the Fire Brigade. Fire broke out in a heap of waste paper at a factory in Phase VI here. Besides, minor fires broke out in Sohana and Balongi.

In Zirakpur and Dera Bassi, three persons received minor burn injuries and four minor incidents of fire broke out.

There was a huge rush in different markets of Mohali on Diwali.

An effort by the police to regulate parking did bear fruits, as parked vehicles did not block roads.



Govardhan puja at ISKCON
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The local unit of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) celebrated govardhan puja (Annkut) in a vedic tradition with great religious fervour and enthusiasm at Hare Krishna Dham, Sector 36-B, here today.

According to Akinchan Priya Dasa, a spokesperson of local unit, a large number of devotees thronged the temple. The programme began at 4.30 am with mangla aarti followed by nagar sankirtan, gau puja (cow worship) at 10 am and discourse and distribution of Krishna prasadam among the devotees.

The main attraction of the festival was Lord Giriraj made of cow dung. An artificial mountain (govardhan parvat) made of various kind of sweets, fruits and bhog offered by the devotees was also the centre of attraction at the temple hall.

Praghosh Dasa Prabhu while describing the importance of the festival appealed to the people to adopt the path of spiritualism by surrendering to Lord Krishna if they wanted peace and prosperity in life, besides getting rid of all evils.



Illegal Taxis
Transport dept imposes fine on operators
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Operators of illegal taxis are in for a trouble, as the state transport department has started imposing heavy penalties on the operators of the illegal taxis.

An annual penalty of Rs 10,000 from the date of registration of the vehicle concerned was being imposed.

It was also being ensured that the operators of such vehicles got their vehicles registered as commercial vehicles.

In the past few days, several such vehicles have been impounded. District transport officer Karan Singh, Mohali, said strict action was being taken against the operators of the illegal taxis.

Both outstation vehicles and others registered in Punjab were being checked at the surprise nakas being set up by the department. Sources said due to the illegal taxi operator business, the state was losing revenue of several lakhs.

By running a private car as a taxi, an operator saves Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 per month, as against a taxi with route permit. After every 2,000 vehicles, the state loses around Rs 1 crore a month.



Beopar mandal hails admn

Chandigarh, October 18
The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal has hailed the Chandigarh administration’s notification announcing the implementation of the deemed assessment of all pending sales tax assessment cases prior to the implementation of VAT.

According to a press release, the mandal had been pursuing the issue for long with the administration, which would benefit the small and medium traders who mostly do sale and purchase within Chandigarh only. This would also substantially take off the workload from staff of the sales tax and excise departments.

The mandal has decided to appeal to the Central government to waive the requirement of C forms so that the benefit goes to majority of the traders. — TNS



‘Black’ Diwali for Baddi firm employees 
Management asks 80 workers to resign 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
The festival of lights turned out to be a “black” Diwali for around 80 employees of RMS Ltd, a Baddi-based firm, who are being “forced” to resign.

Requesting anonymity, the employees alleged that the management had not paid salaries to them for the last about six-eight months. They alleged that the management had not deposited their provident fund and the income tax deducted from their salaries with the departments concerned.

They alleged that a list of more than 150 employees of the Baddi-based company were being forced to resign citing financial crunch in the company as the reason for retrenchment.

They alleged that whenever any employee protests, the management threatens him that if he fails to resign, he would not be paid arrears of the salaries, besides being shunted out of the company.

They further alleged that they even requested the management not to force them to resign and to give some sustenance amount till the company comes out red, but to no avail.

Proprietor of RMS Ltd Suman Jolly could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

The employees stated that they had not taken up the matter with the Labour Commissioner hoping that the matter would be resolved amicably.



Greening venture gets a boost
GMADA increases maintenance charges of parks 
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 18
To promote participation of resident welfare associations in the maintenance of parks, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) has increased the monthly charges from Re 1 per sq metre to Rs 1.5 per sq metre.

The decision was taken at a recent meeting of the executive committee of GMADA. After analysing the response of resident welfare associations, the monthly fee has been increased. Presently, around 20 such parks are being maintained by the associations in the town. A senior official said the maintenance of parks, green belts and open spaces in the town had been a headache for GMADA as different plans to maintain the spaces had failed to take off.

A plan to beautify and develop 558 parks, including green belts and open spaces, in various sectors of the town had failed to take off as GMADA failed to get a response from contractual agencies.

Under the new scheme, GMADA will bear the one-time development cost and will also pay monthly maintenance charges as per the established norms and estimates prepared by the authority.

The plan was implemented after discussion with representatives of the Citizens’ Welfare Federation in December 2007.

GMADA transfers parks and green belts having an area of less than one acre to residents’ welfare associations for development and maintenance.

“If these parks and green belts are maintained by welfare associations, work would be done according to their satisfaction and a feeling of personal belonging will be generated,” said a GMADA official. 



More ex-servicemen to return medals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
More ex-servicemen would be returning their medals to the President on October 25 over what they perceive as “grave injustice” and the government’s apathy towards their welfare.

This would be the fifth lot of veterans to return their medals, vice-chairman of the Indian Ex-servicemen’s Movement, Major Gen Satbir Singh (retd) said.

He added that though the government had announced a few benefits for personnel below officer rank recently, the primary demands of the ex-servicemen remain far from being fulfilled.

Over the past few months, several thousand ex-servicemen from all over the country have collected and deposited their medals with authorities at Rashtrapati Bhawan as a mark of protest against the government’s attitude.



Time to walk the talk
Raveen Thukral

Ireally don't know whether my statement that the apex court seems to have done grave injustice to the mentally challenged Nari Niketan rape victim and more so to her to-be-born child by reversing the Punjab and Haryana High Court's decision to abort the foetus will amount to contempt of court or not but I can't help saying so, whatever the consequences maybe.

Frankly I was quite taken aback when the judgement came as I felt that the decision was based more on emotions rather than the bitter realities of life that we all face everyday. I rather found it strange that the court had agreed to stay the High Court's verdict on the basis of assurances given by some NGOs, including the Delhi-based National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability, of taking care of the victim and the child without laying down a mechanism to monitor the promise.

While like all others, I too can't do anything, except respecting the court's decision, I fail to comprehend how the court or the administration will secure the future of the child and mother. What is the guarantee that the child will have a secure future when the mother herself was tormented and raped while in protection of the administration? Who will monitor the case till the girl lives? Will the court give the case the same importance a decade later?

Will the child ever get the love of a mother, who unfortunately because of her mental state doesn't even know what it means to be one? How will the child cope with the stigma of being an 'illegitimate' offspring? Would the NGO or the organisation that takes the responsibility of the child and the mother remain committed to the cause and not forget about it once out of the public glare?

These questions have troubled me from the day the apex court's judgement came. And the events of the past few weeks have amply proved that my apprehensions weren't exactly out of place. The manner in which the National Trust and their representatives and the administration have fought a bitter 'war' of letters, literally passing the buck on each other, not only highlights their apathy to the sufferings of the mentally challenged girl but also raises doubts on their commitment about securing the future of the child.

For any right thinking person this war of words, so brazenly fought in the columns of newspapers, would sound not only absurd and immature but would leave him/her wondering that if this is the scenario today, what would happen 10 years later when the case is out of the media glare and both the girl and her child fade away from public memory, which as it is, is too short.

To refresh your memories I reproduce some selected contents of the letters and the 'quotable quotes' that were part of the slugfest between the National Trust and the Administration. The language used in these letters exposes the clash of egos between the UT babus and the Trust's office bearers and the game of one-upmanship they indulged in. Rather than working in tandem for ensuring a safe and secure future for the girl and the child, the two worked at cross-purposes.

It all started with the National Trust calling a meeting in Delhi on September 22 to draw a "roadmap" for the upbringing of the child till the age of 18 and lifelong care to the mother. Two days before the meeting, the UT administration, which decided not to go to Delhi, shot off a letter, which among other things, said, "The ponderous reference of drawing up the roadmap is a poor substitute for actual assumption of responsibility of looking after the mother and the child. Nor can be the responsibility of motherhood and childcare be delegated to a committee, however high sounding it might be."

The Trust's Chairperson, Poonam Natrajan, reacted strongly to the letter by accusing the UT officials of showing "haste" and creating an unwarranted "hype" over the issue. After their visit to the city on Sept 26, she even went on record saying "What is the issue? Why should we take the girl? Can't the administration take care of the nutritional requirements of the pregnant victim and provide pre-natal care to her in Chandigarh." One of her colleagues, Javed Abidi, who subsequently spearheaded the war of letters with the administration, went to the extent of even saying, "Don't women get pregnant in Chandigarh ?"

The Trust, subsequently on October 1, offered a "financial package" for the assistance to the mother and her to-be-born chid, which was, if I may say so, rightly refused by the Administration. This proposal was followed on October 4 by a missive from Abidi to the UT administrator in which he accused the administration of "attitudinal bias amounting to neglect" of the pregnant girl. He also stated that instead of accepting the opportunity to be able to give relief to the person who was harmed while under its care, the Chandigarh Administration was trying to somehow wriggle out of its role as the duty bearer.

UT Home secretary, Ram Niwas, reacted to this letter by spurning the offer for a financial package and on last Monday the administration filed an affidavit in the High Court saying that it would look after the Nari Niketan rape victim's child, right after birth till marriage. The administration even undertook to make arrangements for the child's job and marriage.

I have been extremely critical of the administration's role in the entire Nari Niketan rape case and despise the fact that no action has been taken for dereliction of duty against those who were responsible for the safety of the girl but the stand it has taken against the daft logics of the National Trust is absolutely correct. I tend to agree with the administration's view that the tears that were shed in the court room and before the media by the NGOs et el on the so called 'right of motherhood' of the victim were for the galleries and publicity rather than anything else.

The girl and her-to-be born child need a home, love and care and not a financial package of Rs. eight lakhs or whatever being offered by the Trust. The cash rich UT administration has enough funds at its disposal and there is also no dearth of philanthropist in the region who can raise that sort of money in a jiffy. So, spare us National Trust.

But having said that, the administration now has an enormous task at its hands and it must walk the talk that it has made in its affidavit. It must ensure that the child gets proper upbringing and does not become a victim of it's apathy like the mother did. I don't know whether the courts will monitor this case for long or not but surely some conscientious journalist would.

Write to cityeditor@tribunemail.com (PS Sincerely hope that you all had a happy and safe Diwali)



PU scientists ready for ‘Big Bang’ experiment
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 18
Panjab University’s physics department, which has been involved in the world's biggest and most complex scientific project to date, is all set to conduct a path-breaking experiment in two months’ time.

The experiment will generate colossal energy in an effort to recreate the ‘Big Bang’ to help scientists understand the nature of matter at the moment the cosmos was created. Scientists and engineers from across the globe have been engaged in the project for the past 15 years.

A team of 15 research scholars and five faculty members of the department are keeping their fingers crossed as the crucial day nears.

The gigantic atom-smashing machine was built by the Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CERN> (CERN) with the intention of testing various predictions of high-energy physics <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-energy_physics>, including the existence of the hypothesized Higgs boson and of the large family of new particles <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparticle> predicted by supersymmetry. It is funded by and built in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientist> and engineers <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineer> from over 100 countries as well as hundreds of universities <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University> and laboratories <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laboratory>.

The analysis of the experiment would be done through four detectors and a part of one of these has been made in physics department lab at PU.

This path breaking experiment aims to collide two beams of protons in an LHC, which is a particle accelerator enclosed in a 26.8 km long circular tunnel, to create the lowest possible temperature in the universe.

The whole process revolves around the discovery of a mysterious particle called ‘Higgs Boson’, which renders mass to everything in the universe.

“The experiment was earlier scheduled in September 2008. We had even tested our structure and shipped it to Geneva.

However, the experiment could not mature due to helium leakage in the accelerator. The researchers in Geneva recently told us the repaired part has now begun functioning”, said Prof Manjit Kaur.

“The scientists are being extra cautious this time and the energy is expected to be 9 TeV (terra electron volts) instead of 14 TeV for the collision. If things work out in the planned manner, the first analysis of the experiment would take at least six months,” she added.

Elaborating on the experiment’s impact, Prof JB Singh, coordinator of the team, said: “The outcome of this experiment will benefit every sphere of mankind.

In addition it will be of great assistance in understanding the basic theories of the origin of the universe. Data transfer will also be enabled at high speed as an outcome.”

Meanwhile, the science & technology ministry has given Rs 7 crore to PU’s physics department for conducting this experiment.



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