C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rathore surrenders passport
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Complying with a local court order, Abha Rathore, counsel and wife of former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore, today surrendered her husband’s passport. The move came a day after the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge RS Attri had suspended the sentence of the former cop till February 8 in the Ruchika molestation case.

The court had yesterday directed him to surrender his passport within seven days. The extension of bail was granted after furnishing bail bonds of Rs 1 lakh.

Following an appeal filed by Rathore, a local court had yesterday issued notice to the CBI. After long arguments between the CBI counsel along with the counsel of Anand parkash, complainant in this case and counsel of Rathore, the court had allowed the extension of his bail and had specified that his appeal would be heard on a fast-track basis for three consecutive days, February 8,9,10.

Rathore, who was convicted by a CBI magistrate on December 21, for molesting 13-year-old Ruchika Girhotra, was sentenced to six months’ rigorous imprisonment. He is on interim bail since then till January 20, during which time he had to file an appeal challenging the order.

Meanwhile, the CBI is also going to file a counter appeal soon, seeking the enhancement of sentence in this case within a fortnight.




CBI to question Girhotras, Anands today
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 14
A day after the CBI took the documents pertaining to the Ruchika molestation case, the sleuths of the central investigating agency have contacted Subhash Chander Girhotra and Anand Prakash for the proceedings here today.

Both the families have been asked to reach the base camp of the agency tomorrow. The CBI team had visited the house of Girhotras yesterday evening and asked them to cooperate in the probe.

“Though the CBI was ready to start questioning on the issue yesterday, but we requested them to postpone it to Friday due to Lohri celebrations,” said Anand Prakash.



Chaos at PU fee counters
Power cut, long lunch break result in long queues
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Panjab University, which is otherwise in a makeover mode, has a long way to go to deal with its fee deposit mechanism. Shattering its tall claims of prioritising students’ convenience over anything else, a lot of fee depositors had to face inconvenience due to the prolonged lunch hour of officials, coupled with a power cut at the SBI counter on the campus.

As per the university guidelines, January 15 is the last date for the submission of fee for courses like Bachelor in Education (BEd) and January 16 for depositing second instalment of fee for various courses under the University School of Open Learning.

Given this fact, a large number of people from far flung-areas of Punjab had come to submit the fee. To their dismay, none of the fee counters at the campus SBI branch was functional due to a reported power cut since 10 am.

While almost all bank officials were clueless on when the work would resume, many people left to get demand drafts made from outside. Some continued to wait in queue.

“What can we do about it? If there is no electricity or power back-up, it’s the university’s fault, why don’t you question them?” said one of the officials on the counter.

When a senior university official was contacted, he said the fee was, as an alternative, being deposited in the registrar’s office. However, when depositors rushed there around 12.45 pm, the guard on duty shooed them away, saying everybody was on lunch till 2.30 pm.

Many others, who had come for attestation or other works, were also waiting and said this one-and-a-half hour lunch break was a regular feature at the PU, despite the official break being just for half an hour.

When contacted, Registrar SS Bari said he had directed the staff to start taking the fee, but if it had not happened, he would look into the matter.

Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti could not be contacted to elaborate on the status of long-promised plans of the online fee deposition and fee deposition in departments itself.

Power supply, meanwhile, resumed at the SBI branch at around 1.30 pm and when finally things started to fall in order, two of the female officials got up to have their official lunch and ignored the hue and cry, as the male staff tried to tackle the situation.



Land around IAF base not spared by mafia
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 14
With real estate prices in Mullanpur soaring after the master plan for the village was released, vacant areas have caught the fancy of ruthless land grabbers. Even the area around the Air Force Station is not being left untouched by the land mafia, posing a serious threat to the defence installation.

According to defence ministry guidelines, no building can come up on any land that is within a 100-metre radius of the crest of the outer parapet of the Air Force Station, which has been declared as a ‘no-development zone’.

Brushing the regulations under the carpet, certain unscrupulous elements are erecting structures close to the station’s boundary wall. Air force officials have detected at least two such constructions in the last few days. Questions about the role of certain revenue officials in allowing illegal structures to come up are also being raised.

Alerted, IAF officials asked the police to get the construction activity halted immediately. The officials also approached Mohali deputy commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand, urging him to reinforce the provisions as per the central government gazette. Mand told them “suitable action according to the provisions would be taken”.

Mullanpur SHO Vijay Kumar said a DDR was filed and construction activity at the site had been stopped after a complaint was lodged by the station commander of the Air Force Station.

To initiate further action, air force officials are pursuing the matter with their seniors in Chandigarh.

Sources said the that air force station had been established in the early 1960s to protect the Ambala, Chandigarh and Kasauli region, besides the Bhakra Dam, during an enemy attack. Construction of structures around the station could prove dangerous as the base has ammunition stocks.

Land grabbers have erected a tent around a particular site in the area to camouflage the construction activity. At another site the level of a plot was being raised to set up a nursery. Officials admit about 25 such structures have come up around the boundary of the station along the Chandgarh-Mullanpur-Siswan road. Some structures have even come up on other side of the road.



Many sectors face power cut today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
The power supply will remain suspended on Friday to the parts of Sectors 39, 20-C and D, 35-B and C, Industrial Area Phase I, Mouli Complex, Mouli village and Raipur, plot No. 87 to 148, Industrial Area, Phase II from 9 am to 1 pm; to parts of Sectors 19-C and D, 44-B, 45.

Burail village from 9 am to 2 pm; to parts of Sector 22, grain market, timber market and police from 10 am to 2 pm; to parts of Sectors 34, 46, 56, IT Park, Industrial Area Phase I, plot No. 300 to 400, Industrial Area, Phase II, from 1 pm to 5 pm; to part of Sector 23 from 2 pm to 5 pm and to parts of Sector 56, 26 showroom and golf racing from 2 pm to 6 pm.


Cops, officials blind to violations 
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Lack of will coupled with absence of clear-cut policy is resulting in the widespread encroachments on the government land in the city.

The illegal practice, worth crores, is being run in an organised manner in the market places and parking lots across the city. The police and anti-encroachment officials are turning a blind eye to the rampant violations, as they are rarely pulled up by their superiors for misusing the government land falling under their jurisdictions.

The authorities had earlier decided that action would be taken against the area police where encroachments are found, but no action had been taken against any one in this regard so far.

Just walk into any popular markets in the city, the illegal squatters, wrongly parked vehicles in no-parking zones in the parking lots or the vehicles parked beyond the capacity are a common sight. The violators, who are apparently ‘hand-in-glove’ with the officials deployed to check the illegal practice, continue to carry on with their activities for years together from the same place.

The administration had recently asked the UT police to conduct a probe and trace the persons behind the large-scale encroachments in Sector 26 Grain Market.

The Shastri Market in Sector 22, the Sector 19 market, Palika Bazaar and other such markets have become a tinder box, but the authorities concerned have failed to take any action against these officials. The illegal LPG cylinders are used in these places to cook food, which lead to a catastrophe.

Talking to the TNS fire officer ML Sharma said his department had surveyed the markets in the entire city and detected violations that could cause major fire. “Though we have served notices on them time and again, the encroachments just go on unabated in the city. In case of any emergency a lot of time is wasted in making a way for the fire tenders in the market places and parking lots”, he remarked.

The parking lots in Sectors 17, 22, 34, 25, 9, 19 and in other parts of the city are clogged with vehicles. On Saturday evenings, the parking contractors in Sector 17 allowed motorists to park their vehicles on pavements and also in the driveway asking the motorists to leave every third vehicle in neutral.

This is a clear-cut violation of norms mentioned in the contract. As per the rules vehicles beyond the capacity of the parking lot are not allowed, and the contractor had to put the “parking full” board, at the entrance to prevent entry of vehicle, which is never done.

To make the matter worse the police avoids entering into the parking lots to check the violations for the reason best known to them. “The towing van of the police would roam outside the lots to pick the wrongly parked vehicle, but never venture to go inside. A month ago the traffic police religiously challaned wrongly parked vehicles in Sector 17, leaving certain areas like road in front of Mehfil restaurant and the drive soon fizzled out”, said a shopkeeper.

Vinod Vyas, SDO and in charge of the paid parking lots, maintained that they had been issuing challans to the contractors violating the terms. He added that there was always additional rush in the parking in winters, as people prefer cars to two-wheelers. 



Home for destitute slams door on inmate
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 14
In a rare example of lack of sensitivity towards the hapless children, Ashiana (a home for the destitute), has shut its doors on a 14-year-old inmate. The poor girl had been staying here since she was 5 years old.

Though she has no one to take care in the name of relatives except an aunt, a single woman looking after her own two kids, the Ashiana management said the girl could not stay with them, “as she is not interested in studies”.

The in charge of Ashiana, Neelam Khullar, said the girl was not interested in studies and her behaviour with staff and other inmates was not acceptable to them. Hence she was not required in Ashiana.

The rules said Ashiana could not give shelter to the child with age above 14 who do not go to school, she said.

Khullar, however, failed to explain who had the responsibility to inculcate manners and interest in studies in the child since the girl had been under the supervision of the staff of Ashiana for the past nine years. Khullar put the blame on the “genes” of child.

“This was not the fault of the staff. Perhaps it were genes of the child, as she could not mend her ways despite our best efforts,” said Khullar.

The girl was studying in class VI in a private school last year and could not pass the exam, she said. However, she was promoted to the next class, but her aunt was told to take her on November 23 to do some counselling of the child at home, said the in charge, adding that “instead they took away the luggage of child also and we closed her file and now there was no question of her to get in here.” We do not have any problem with the brother of child, who is still in Ashiana, she added.

Balwinder Kaur, the aunt of the child, on the other hand, alleged that the staff at Ashiana was shirking its responsibility.

“The child was sent to her for 15 days and we took away the woollens of child later on and when I came here to drop her back, she was told that the file of the child had been closed,” said the aunt.

“How can they expect from me to take care of five kids, including two of mine?” asked Balwinder Kaur.

“My sister Manjeet living at Sardulgarh near Mansa had died in 1995 and her husband Gurpratap Singh was not well,” said Balwinder. Later, I came to know that Gurpartap has also left the town without informing any one about him and till now was untraceable, she said, narrating her tale of woes.

When I got the eldest of siblings to home from Savera in Chandigarh, she was raped by my husband, who is absconding since then, she said, adding that now I do not want to compromise on the safety of the second daughter of my sister.

Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Pankaj Yadav said he would look into the matter action would be taken appropriately.



Experts from 32 developing countries
visit garbage plant

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
At least 32 solid waste management experts from developing countries visited the garbage processing unit at Dadumajra today. This visit is a part of the international training programme on the Renewable Energy and Energy efficiency. Indian Technical and Economical Cooperation organised by the Ministry of External Affairs.

One of the delegates from Palestine Dr Maher J Khammash, Department of Electrical Engineering, remarked that this plant should be used as a model by the other developing countries for producing energy through waste products. “I will urge my government to install such a plant in Palestine as well,” he added.

A few delegates were of the view that since most of the countries are facing hardship in dumping of the garbage and its recycling, such projects could prove to be beneficial in resolving this problem.

The delegates added that due to the paucity of the land it was necessary to reduce the volume for the solid waste management due to the quantum of waste generated.

After going through the plant, Jaypee Company’s representative gave a detailed technical presentation of technology used in the plant to the experts.



Smart Cards Forms available from January 18
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
The ration card forms for those living above poverty line (APL) will be distributed through Sampark Centres from January 18 to January 31.

The forms would prove beneficial in collecting fresh data about such families for issuance of the smart cards. The forms could also be downloaded from the website http://www.chdfood.gov.in. The duly-filled forms could be deposited at any Sampark Centre.

The old above poverty line cards will remain valid till further orders. However, in cases requiring deletion/addition/surrender in the existing ration cards, the forms are required to be obtained and deposited in the Food Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department. The below poverty line (BPL) forms for the ration cards could also be obtained and deposited in the department as per prevailing practice. 



Sunny day cheers residents
However, trains, flights remained affected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
Bright sun and its warmth brought the long-awaited respite to the city residents here today. However, the sunny day failed to cheer passengers, as early morning fog continued to prevail in Ambala, Patiala and other parts of the region.

Poor visibility delayed trains by several hours and flights remained suspended for the 14th consecutive day today. The early morning Howrah-Kalka (2311) arrived three hours behind schedule, the Lucknow-Chandigarh Express (2231) was late by four hours, while the Paschim Express (2925) was delayed by four hours.

As the day progressed, the city residents seemed to be in a jubilant mood. Uncertain about tomorrow’s weather, everyone wanted to bask in the warm sunshine.

Residents are hoping that they will see a few more bright sunny days before mist and fog eclipse the sun again. Though today’s minimum temperature plummeted to 5°C from Wednesday’s 6.7 degrees C, the maximum temperature rose to 19.2 degrees C.

Though intense cold persisted through the first fortnight of the New Year, the Met official said the sky would remain partly cloudy with fog or mist during the next 24 hours in the city. The minimum temperature recorded today was 5.0 degrees Celsius, a plunge of 1.7 degrees over the yesterday’s temperature.

Weathermen also said that if the cloudy conditions continued, the mercury might further dip at night, with mercury likely to hover between 4 and 19 degrees C. “Weather over the city will remain dry and night temperatures are likely to fall by 1 or 2 degrees Celsius in the coming days. The sky will remain cloudy, but mornings will be misty,” an official of the Met department said.

According to the department, the minimum temperature will drop to 4 degrees Celsius on Friday. The Shatabdi Express (2005) Delhi-Chandigarh-Kalka, was late by over two hours. It was supposed to reach Chandigarh at 8.45 pm, but arrived at around 11 pm.



Death of Infant
Rights panel seeks report
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 14
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has taken suo motto cognisance of the case of death of a three-month-old infant who died at Matuor village yesterday after being vaccinated.

The family had alleged that the infant died due to the negligence of a health employee. However, the charge had been denied by health department officials.

Taking cognisance of the matter, the commission has sought a report from the state health department by February 15.

The child, Dimple, was brought to the dispensary in the village at around 10.30 am for DPT and hepatitis vaccination, which was administered by an auxiliary nurse and midwife (ANM). Te child began vomiting blood after some time and her parents took her to a private hospital where she was declared brought dead.



Shashi, Gayatri shine in debate on Indian music
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, January 14
The vocal music department of Government College, Sector 1, here organised an inter-college debate on “Impact of globalisation on Indian music” on the college premises today.

Around eight teams from the tricity, Naraingarh, Ambala and Kalka participated in the debate. Shashi Sharma and Gayatri, students of MDSD College, excelled and won first prize, while GC, Panchkula, and GC, Naraingarh, bagged the second and third position, respectively.

Dr Saroj Ghosh, a faculty member of PU music department, led panel of judges. Sarika and Anju Langyan welcomed chief guest, Dr RC Goyal, who gave away the prizes. Prof Rajni Bhalla conducted the programme.



CII donates electrotherapy unit to Aasha Kiran
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
The Department of Social Welfare, Chandigarh Administration, in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Northern region, today initiated four development projects at Aasha Kiran- a Vocational Training Centre for Differently Abled children. President of the Indian Council for Child Welfare Jean Rodrigues was the chief guest during its launch ceremony.

She handed over the electrotherapy unit worth Rs 1.12 lakh to the centre. This unit has been established by the CII and the equipment would help stimulate motor nerves and deep-seated muscles, improve blood circulation and facilitate muscle control along with other allied effects.

The CII has also established a computer lab and donated seven computers worth Rs 87,500. The lab will enable adolescents to learn new vocational skills in the field of information and technology.

Rodrigues also awarded the CII project on “employability enhancement” to the Regional Centre for Entrepreneurship Development. It would train 20 Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe candidates in the computer-based finance and accounting.

Charu Mathur, CII Regional Director, signed a MoU with Neena Singh, trustee and chairperson, Bharat Prakash Foundation, for launching the CII-Young Indian Scholarships Scheme for supporting the education of 30 poor meritorious girls studying in government schools of the city.

Appreciating the CII gesture, Rodrigues said these initiatives would cater to the marginalised and underprivileged sections of society.

These would also help in reaching out more needy people, who have knowledge, ability and interest but do not have opportunities to explore their potential, she added.

Director Social Welfare Samwartak Singh thanked the CII for coming out in support of the downtrodden and underprivileged section of society. 



Assault on Forest Guard
Minister for speedy action against culprits
Tribune News Service

Punjab Forest Minister Tikshan Sood inquirs about the health of forest guard Devinder Singh at the Mohali Civil Hospital on Thursday.
Punjab Forest Minister Tikshan Sood inquirs about the health of forest guard Devinder Singh at the Mohali Civil Hospital on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, January 14
The issue of assault on a Punjab Forest guard, Devinder Singh, by members of the sand-mining mafia near Nadha village has caught the attention of Punjab Forest Minister Tikshan Sood, who along with senior forest officials came to the Phase VI civil hospital here to inquire about his health.

After talking to the guard, the minister called up the DIG, Patiala range, for speedy action in arresting the culprits behind the attack.

When the guard was attacked, two of his colleagues, Karnail Singh, a guard and Baldev Singh, Deputy DFO, who had also set up a naka to check the illegal sand mining, were also present on the spot.

CCF, hills, Punjab Forest Department, Jatinder Sharma, said a team of forest officials led by the conservator was meeting the DIG tomorrow to brief him about the matter. “We believe that it was a serious attack and the guilty should be brought to the book,” he said, adding that matter would be regularly perused with the police.

Following the minister’s call, the police swung into action and rounded up certain officials, sources said. The villagers have been demanding that the work of illegal sand mining and cutting of khair trees was not possible without the involvement of certain forest officials.

A committee comprising villagers has sought to probe the matter.



Dhakoli residents without power for 20 hours
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 14
Residents of Dhakoli, Zirakpur, had to reel under darkness for 20 hours after a roof collapsed on an electric pole here last night.

The power supply was restored today. Residents of the DS Estate said the power failure caused inconvenience to residents and schoolchildren. Residents rued that despite paying hefty power bills on time, they had to face frequent power cuts.

However, the PSEB official said they had completed the maintenance work and the power supply had been restored.



Lecture on silk and its exports
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 14
A lecture on silk and its exports was delivered at Panjab University Institute of Fashion Technology and Vocational Development here today.

Devinder Singh, assistant director, Central Silk Board, Ministry of Textiles, and Government of India, apprised students of silk production, silk centres, its quality, control and exports.

He enlightened students about the silk mark and registered quality seal, which authenticate the purity of silk fabrics

Head appointed

Udey Singh Wirring of the BDS department will be heading the Panjab University Student’s Union.

Harsh Tuli and Yadvinder Singh have been appointed senior vice-presidents, while Rajesh Kaushal, Nishant Kaushal and Harjinder Singh have been appointed vice-presidents of the union.


PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti inaugurated the ICSSR sponsored seminar on “Media’s Portrayal of Women: Issues, Concerns and Strategies” here today.

The seminar is being organised by the dept-cum-centre for women’s studies and development. Prof Rajesh Gill, chairperson of the department, welcomed guests and introduced the theme of the seminar.

Professor Sobti said women constituted a major section and played a major role in our society. He also underlined the role of media in highlighting the issues related to women.


EduCorp and GGDSD College are all set to organise “MBA ADMISSION 2010”, wherein various business schools from across the country will come to the city and evaluate the performance of students through group discussions/interview. The event will be held on January 16 and 17.

Indian Institute of Education and Business Management Pune, IILM Gurgaon, IIPM New Delhi, Indian School of Business and Finance, New Delhi, National Institute of Entrepreneurship, Noida, NSHM Gurgaon, Mumbai Business School, Mumbai, SCMLD Pune, United World School of Business, New Delhi, and Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Mumbai, will take part in the event.



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