C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


4 held for stabbing vendor to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
In less than 24 hours after a youth was stabbed to death by a gang of extortionists in the Industrial Area last night, the police today claimed to have solved the murder case by arresting four persons allegedly involved in the crime.

The SSP stated that a six-member gang aged between 18 and 25 years was involved in the murder. The accused have been identified as Mukesh Kumar, Amar Bahadur, Rajiv Kumar and Kamlesh. Efforts were on to trace the other two — Guru Dutt Mishra, alias Prince, and Bharosa.

The police said the accused would extort money from victims. Last night they took vegetables from the victim, Shyampati of Colony No 4, but did not pay, rather they demanded money from him. This led to an altercation and the matter ended after some people intervened.

Around 8.30 pm, 24-year-old Shyampati, father of a one-year-old daughter, headed towards his home. His brother Anil Kumar and a friend, Pankaj, joined him. They were waylaid by the gang and a clash ensued. Rajiv caught hold of Pankaj, who pushed him and made him lose his balance. He hurt his head while Pankaj ran away. Anil and Shyampati ran towards the jungle area, where the assailants nabbed Anil and began thrashing him. Prince stabbed Shyampati with a dagger. Anil, however, fled and was saved, the SHO of the Industrial Area police station said.

The victim was taken to hospital, where he was declared brought dead. A case has been registered. Anil identified the accused and the police conducted raids and arrested the accused, the DSP (East) stated. Prince had been arrested in three cases of theft earlier and was released on bail about 20 days ago.



Police fast losing grip on crime-infested slums
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
With the city’s slums becoming breeding grounds for small-time gangsters, extortionists and other such criminal elements the local police’s authority appears to have been conspicuously weakened in these benighted localities.

The lack of basic policing and absence of a proper beat system, especially in the slums, are being cited as prime reasons for the police’s weakened command and control in these areas. Cops being pelted with stones and noisy - often violent - demonstration outside police posts following every serious incident there are becoming an all too common occurrence, leaving the police cutting a sorry figure.

If one goes by the statement of UT SSP SS Srivastva, the situation will take at least a year to improve. Citing lack of manpower as the major reason, he said, “Fresh Indian Reserve Battalion recruits are undergoing training and are expected to come into the field by September this year. Then things will start improving”.

Investigations into last night’s murder of a Colony No 4 resident, Shyampati alias Sheru, hinted he was done to death when he was unable to meet the demands of an extortionist.

A police official admitted every slum in the city had such goons who extort money from inhabitants of their areas. “They also indulge in streetfights and even gang wars to retain control over their turf”, he added.

Last years the gang war between two groups in Ram Darbar revealed the virtual existence of two separate areas in the locality with residents of one not daring to go to the other, frightened of gangsters holding sway in the respective areas.

In just one month four people have been stabbed to death in the city’s slums or nearby localities. The numbers do not include several other stabbing incidents related to robbery attempts and other offences. Though the cops claimed they managed to nab the suspects involved in these murder cases, yet the ever-deteriorating law and condition in the city are indicative enough of the malaise affecting the police.

“The problems are interconnected - drug addiction and other illegal activities have led to formation of gangs, mostly consisting of unemployed youngsters, with the police turning a blind eye. Drugs are freely flowing in these areas”, said a resident of Mauli Jagran.

The police’s indifferent attitude while dealing with complaints of slumdwellers by generally ignoring their complaints has aggravated the situation. “After failing to get justice from the cops crime victims often take the law into their hands”, said a representative of an organisation in a city slum. Disagreeing with the view that the lack of manpower is to blame for ineffective policing, those associated with the police think otherwise. “It is the lack of management of resources available as well as an absence of accountability that plagues the police”, said a police officer.

“Whenever a crime occurs in a particular area senior police officials seldom pull up the beat staff for not having proper information of the inhabitants, especially ‘antisocial elements’. Leave aside slums, the situation is no better in the northern sectors that are considered better than others areas of the city”, the officer observed.



Widening of Mullanpur-Siswan road
An acre to go for Rs 1.45 cr
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 2
Paving the way for the widening of the Mullanpur-Siswan road that would ease congestion on the Chandigarh-Baddi road, the Punjab government has approved land compensation from Rs 1 crore an acre to Rs 1.45 crore.

Around 150 acres of land falling in villages of Mullanpur Garib Dass, Ferozepore Bungar, Parol, Pharongian, Hoshiarpur, Majra and Sultanpur is being acquired for the purpose.

The rates were approved during the meeting of the cabinet sub-committee on land compensation yesterday. The government is learnt to have also agreed to leave the inhabited portion in Mullanpur Garib Dass for widening the road.

The move to approve an alternative section, bypassing the Mullanpur inhabited area, is being tabled at the meeting of the Punjab Regional Town Planning and Development Board even though landowners are protesting against the alignment of the road at Mullanpur.

Sources in GMADA said the rates recommended by the district land fixation committee are -- Mullanpur Garib Dass (Rs 95 lakh an acre), Ferozepore Bungar (Rs 86 lakh an acre), Parol (Rs 86 lakh an acre), Pharongian (Rs 90 lakh an acre), Hoshiarpur (Rs 89 lakh an acre), Majra (Rs 85 lakh an acre) and Sultanpur (Rs 70 lakh an acre). Taking into account 42 per cent solatium and 10 per cent more for not filing case for enhanced compensation takes it to anything between Rs 1 crore and Rs 1.40 crore an acre.

For the acquisition of the 500-acre urban estate within the Mullanpur planning area, GMADA is yet to issue proceedings under Section 6 of the Land Acquisition Act. The compensation for the urban estate would also be around Rs 1.50 crore.

In the master plan of the Mullanpur planning area, a state-of-the-art health village, knowledge village and eco-tourism related activities have been planned along the foothills of the Shivalik Hills under the Punjab Land Preservation Act. Meanwhile, the cabinet sub-committee has approved Rs 50 lakh an acre for the solid waste management disposal site at Rasenheri village.



Open Hand now open to public
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
One of the landmarks of Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh, the Open Hand, has been opened to the public.

This was decided during a meeting chaired by Home Secretary Ram Niwas and attended by the SSP, the SP (Traffic), the Director, Tourism, the Joint Secretary, Home, and officials from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. It was decided that the site would be opened from 10:30 am to 3 pm on workdays and from 10 am to 5 pm on Sundays and holidays.

It was further decided that conducted tours of schools and travel agencies could now have a permissible strength of 50.

Only eco-friendly vehicles like bicycles and cycle-rickshaws would be allowed up to the monument.

The Home Secretary apprised the Director, Tourism, of a provision for battery-operated vehicles for the aged and instructed the SSP not to allow any demonstration, march, protest or meeting at the monument or the playing of loudspeakers without written permission from the competent authority. No visitor would be allowed to carry any weapon or firearm and no eatables or water bottles would be allowed.

From the security point of view, the Home Secretary decided that no visitor would be allowed to go towards the Vidhan Sabha and the Punjab and Haryana High Court.


Doctors form forum, repatriation in mind?
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
On the face of it, the ‘initiative’ of a group of doctors of the Sector 16 hospital to form the Doctors Forum General Hospital, may sound innocuous, but the timing of its formation is certainly raising many an eyebrow.

Ostensibly formed for providing a platform for interaction among retired and working doctors, the process of getting medicos on this platform is about three months old.

While the brains behind the forum deny any hidden agenda, the timing coincides with the Punjab government’s move to seek repatriation of 100-odd doctors who have been on an extended deputation to the UT. The Punjab government has already issued repatriation orders of 18 doctors and has sent a panel of names for their replacement to the UT administration.

The state government has also made it clear that all doctors on deputation will have to return to Punjab to made room for others.

The ‘birth’ of the forum at this juncture has led to wide speculation that the doctors affected are getting together to put a united face on the issue.

At least 100 doctors (list not available immediately) have reportedly signed for the membership of the forum and a majority of them, if not all, are deputationists.

Forum president Dr Gurmohan Sandhu has claimed that one should not try to read too much between the lines as the move is purely for professional reasons and coordination.

On supporting the cause of deputationists, Dr Sandhu says they will help them in other ways, but will not get into politics. He has insisted that members of the forum will share their experiences and devise methods to coordinate in case of a disaster situation.

Not many doctors of the Punjab cadre are willing to believe Dr Sandhu. “If they were so concerned, why did they wait so long to get together,” asks a senior Punjab doctor, quipping that the only disaster is repatriation orders. The first meeting of the forum is scheduled for tomorrow evening at Shiwalik. Director Health Services Dr MS Bains will be the chief guest.



Upgrade network of milk plants: Badal
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 2
There is a need to prepare a long term state dairy plan to upgrade the entire network of milk and cattle feed plants run by Milkfed. This should be supplemented with a proper marketing network, said the Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, while addressing a gathering of dairy farmers at Verka Milk Plant in Phase VI here.

The CM was at the function of the Milk Union, Ropar, for disbursement of Rs 1.89 crore as bonus and dividend out of the earnings of the milk plant for the year 2008-09. He announced that a World Bank team was visiting Punjab on February 12 for technical appraisal of Rs 500-crore project proposal under Phase I for setting up of an ultra-modern milk plant, cattle feed plant and strengthening of the existing semen stations in the state.

He further said with the remunerative price being given by Milkfed to the milk producers the dairying had now become a profitable profession. He stressed on producing clean milk at village level so that the finished products could be of excellent quality.

The CM also launched the area specific mineral mixture and bye-pass protein cattle feed introduced by Milkfed. A turnkey agreement was signed with the National Dairy Development Board for enhancing the existing handling capacity of the milk plant at Mohali from 1 lakh litre per day to 5 lakh litre milk per day at a cost of Rs 32 crore. The project would be completed in two and a half year.

Similar agreement was also signed for enhancing the manufacturing capacity of cattle feed plant at Khanna from 200 metric tonnes to 300 metric tonnes and that of Ghania-Ke-Banger from 100 metric tonnes to 200 metric tonnes per day at a cost of Rs 8 crore, which would be completed within 18 months.

The CM also re-launched the Bhai Ghanhya Sehat Sewa Scheme from February 1 by giving the identity cards of the scheme to the beneficiaries. The scheme covered members and employees of all types of cooperative societies/cooperative institutions and their dependants besides the employees/retired employees of the department of cooperation and their dependants.

Milkfed chairman Gurbachan Singh Babehali said certain civil works suffered due to red tape.

Managing director, Milkfed, VKSingh and chairman of milk plant, Mohali, Parminder Singh Chalaki also spoke on the occasion.



New policy on religious places in offing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The Chandigarh administration is planning to frame a new policy on religious places after demolishing those constructed illegally on government land.

The Adviser to the UT Administrator Pardeep Mehra revealed this during a meeting of the co-ordination committee of the Chandigarh administration and the municipal corporation today.

Mayor Anu Chatrath suggested that before demolishing the illegal religious places in the city, the administration should justify the grounds on which they were going to demolish those.

She said there were around 144 religious places in the city to which notices had been issued. Referring to the recent demolition drive at Dadu Majra, she stated that the administration had again been allotting land to religious bodies.

She suggested that the administration conduct a detailed survey of all religious places and shortlist those which were hurdles to development.

Chatrath demanded that the Red Cross Raen Basera at the Sector 15 Community Centre should be merged with the Community Centre.

Mehra assured her that they would consider it. Chatrath also raised the issue of the Mani Majra master plan, which waas yet to be approved by the UT chief architect’s department.



Encroachments removed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
An anti-encroachment drive was conducted by the Chandigarh Housing Board and the Chandigarh police in Sectors 63 and 45 here today.

Three illegal religious structures were demolished along with six or seven rooms illegally constructed at the site in Sector 63 where flats were due to come up.

Two rooms illegally constructed in a government house and the extension of a boundary wall in Sector 45 were also demolished.



Jeweller penalised for deficient service
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-II has held city-based Nikka Mal Babu Ram Ludhianawale guilty of deficient service and unfair trade practice by selling gold bangles of low purity to a customer.

The jeweller has been asked to pay 100 per cent market value of the bangles (56.33 gm of 22 carat purity), besides charges of Rs 11,266.

He has also been asked to pay Rs 18,000 as compensation for harassment.

The court delivered its verdict on a complaint filed by Surinder Pal Kaur, a resident of Sector 61.

The complainant claimed that she had purchased four bangles of 49 gm each from the jeweller in January, 2005, against which only a certificate of purchase was given.

When she went to the jeweller on July 19, 2005, to check its purity, they labelled it as impure gold.

When she showed them the certificate of purchase, they gave new bangles, weighing 56.33 gm each, in return after charging Rs 4,600 for the 7.33 extra grams, but did not give any bill.

A certificate was issued and she was assured that no amount would be deducted in case of sale.

When she got a purity check of the bangles carried out at Tanishq in Mohali, they found it to be impure.

The forum observed that the jeweller had been indulging in unfair trade practice by its false purity claim.



Builder told to pay interest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-I has directed Mani Majra-based Uppal’s Marble Arch to pay interest on the amount of Rs 1,45,70,250, deposited by the complainants at time of booking, along with litigation costs of Rs 5,000, with effect from April 1, 2009, till the completion of the apartment.

The complainants, Romesh Pandey and his daughter-in-law Sanjoli Chimni Pande, residents of Sector 19, had complained that they had entered into an apartment buyer’s agreement with the Uppal’s Marble Arch for a four-bedroom apartment and paid Rs 1,45,70,250, which was 95 per cent of the basic sale price.

The possession was to be delivered by the end of 2008. As per the agreement, possession was to be handed over 30 months from the date of start of construction of the residential complex or before. The forum observed that builders issued advertisements, but did not stick to the construction schedule, which was an unfair trade practice.



Painter robbed by youths
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 2
A 22-year-old painter alleged that he was robbed by three unidentified youths while he had gone to the Zirakpur branch of the State Bank of India here today.

Narrating the incident, Mithlesh, hailing from Bihar, said the incident took place around 11.15 am. Mithlesh said he had gone to the bank to deposit money in his savings account. The youths approached him while asking for a pen when he was standing in a queue.

Then they covered his face with a handkerchief laced with chloroform.

On regaining consciousness, he found himself lying beneath the flyover. He claimed that his mobile set and Rs 8,000 were missing. However, he found his mobile SIM in his pocket. He rushed to the shop where he worked and narrated the incident to the shop owner and his brother.

During the preliminary investigation the police team suspected the statements of the complainant were misleading. The SHO, Zirakpur, stated that the investigations were on and a case would be registered after viewing the CCTV footage from the bank.



Office-bearers elected
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 2
The annual general meeting of the Savitry Enclave Residents’ Welfare Association, VIP Road, Zirakpur, was held recently.

The following were unanimously elected office-bearers of the association: adviser - Nirmal Singh; president - Col Balbir Singh (retd); vice-president - VK Jain; general secretary - Subhash L Bhatia; organising secretary - SR Thakur; financial controller - Sudhir Gupta; treasurer - RP Jaswal; floriculture and entertainment member - BD Verma; and media relationship and executive member - Manmohan Singh. Nine executive members were also elected.



PU students to attend conference at Harvard
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The University Institute of Legal Studies has been invited to attend the 56th session of the Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) starting from February 11 to 14 at Boston, Massachusetts.

This is the fourth year that students from the department will be participating in the conference. Students were screened on the basis of interview and review of academic and extra-curricular achievements. The selection committee comprised of the director of the Institute Prof Sangita Bhalla, Prof RS Grewal, former director, UILS, and Stellina Jolly, associate professor, UILS.

The delegation comprises of 23 students, including nine students from the final year lead by Vikrajeet Singh (head delegate), Ravi Inder Singh, Varun Chaudhary, Shivendra Swaroop, Shikhir Gupta, Vikram Sharma, Prabsher Walia, Gagan Chinna and Harpreet Kaur.

Other students include Jaitsri Bhatia, Sahil Garg, Karan Gupta, Supreet Kaur, Prateek Mahajan, Bikram Patwalia, Aman Preet, Amit Jyoti Sandhu, Arun Sayal, Syush Sarna, Aman Sharma, Mansi Singh, R Mihul Sharma and Sahil Garg.

Every year, nearly 3,000 college and university delegates from the US and over 35 countries around the world attend HNMUN to discuss a multitude of issues at the forefront of international relations.

Youth festival

A group of Panjab University students, led by Dr SM Kant, director, Youth Welfare, PU, will participate in the 25th National Youth Festival to be held at Maharishi Dayanand University, Rothak, from February 1 to 7.

As many as 21 students of Panjab University who have excelled in the North Zone Inter-University Youth Festival held at Kurukshetra will participate in events, including music, fine arts, literary items and theatre.



Environment fest at MCM DAV- 36
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, organised “Environment Fest”, here today. The festival was inaugurated by the adviser to the UT administrator Pradip Mehra.

Students of various schools, colleges and Panjab University participated in the fest. Hundreds of students participated in the slogan writing competition, expressing their thoughts on conservation of flora and fauna and on the symbol of Chandigarh ‘The Open Hand’. Adviser took round of various stalls showcasing aesthetically prepared exhibits encouraging use of green and clean food, natural herbal cosmetics and sustainable transportation.

MCM students also presented tribal dance. Various competitions, including slogan writing, poster making and collage making were also organised.



‘Jalsa’ ignites war of sponsors at PU
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Much before its start, Jalsa, the inter-college festival, to be held at Parade ground from February 4-7, has run into controversy.

The promotional event by sponsors of Jalsa, at the Student Centre in Panjab University yesterday, has become a bone of contention between the student council and PU administration and the administration has decided to amend rules for promotional activities at the centre.

The sponsors- a telecom company and an immigration company- were found promoting their brands through games and other activities, rather than promoting Jalsa.

This irked the members of student council, who had been refused sponsorship by the brands for “Jhankar”, the cultural event of the PU student council, and “Vimarsh”, an event that includes students from SAARC countries to be held on February 23.

Meanwhile, officials in PU have directed the promotion team to stop their activities.

However, the immigration company continued its campaign after lunch yesterday. Subsequently, the council members forced the sponsors to stop the activity.

Both the companies were found distributing promotional material to the students and collecting database for marketing activities.

Strangely, the president of the student council had signed the letter of permission for promotional activities, claimed the authorities.

General secretary of the student council, Deepika Thakur had issued a press release on Monday, stating that these companies were making a way into the campus against petty amounts and the administration would work out a solution.

“The sponsors must do their promotional activity only during the official festival or formal function of the university,” said Deepika.

The dean of student welfare Prof Naval Kishore said: “The inter-college festival team sought permission to encourage participation, but the sponsors were not permitted to carry on. We will conduct a meeting with the council members and revise the rules for permitting activities at Student Centre.”



PU holds debate on mercy killing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
Aiming to familiarise students with bioethics and science, Panjab University has organised a series of ten lectures on the campus beginning with a vigorous debate on euthanasia today.

The department of life long learning & extension (DLLLE) organised the first lecture by Prof emeritus Sehdev Kumar from the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto, Ontario on ‘Euthanasia: Right to Die, With or Without the Doctor’ at the University Institute of Chemical Engineering & Technology (UICET).

In an interview with the Chandigarh Tribune, Kumar said countries like Holland, Belgium and Switzerland have allowed 'mercy killing’, an euphemism for euthanasia, keeping in view the circumstances. “In Switzerland even citizens of other countries come to die willingly to be relieved of their painful existence by their relatives or by their free will”, he added.

“In 2005 in Texas a case came to the state Supreme Court where relatives of a woman who was unconscious for 19 years asked to be allowed to die. The jury gave the permission to pull out the plug of the instruments supporting life for her,” Kumar said.

DLLLE director Ajaib Singh, while introducing the guest speaker, expressed apprehensions and doubts about the legitimacy and legality of ‘mercy killing’ and cautioned the audience never to exercise this option. UICET chairperson VK Rattan welcomed the guests on the occasion of the first lecture.



Disaffiliation Threat
Shivalik school to be inspected again
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
The UT education department has decided to inspect Shivalik school again before ascertaining its stand on the CBSE’s decision to disaffiliate it.

The department had initially asserted that it would write to the CBSE, urging it to withdraw the decision as the school was not found lacking in anything during the inspection last year.

However, the department now wants to be sure of all facts before taking a decision.

“Everything was found in place during our last inspection. We will be inspecting the school again regarding the lapses pointed out and then take a final decision,” DPI (S) Sunil Bhatia said.

In 2007, the former DPI (S), SK Setia, had found the school to be lacking on various parameters and wrote to the CBSE, recommending withdrawal of affiliation. It was after almost three years that the CBSE acted on the recommendations, leaving the education department surprised.

“What surprised us was that the board acted after a long time and did not take any cognizance of the latest inspection reports,” a senior official stated.

Meanwhile, the school director, DS Bedi, said the school had fulfilled all requisites and the decision was not fair. “They have already inspected us and can do it again,” he added.



Cleanliness drive by Saupin’s students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 2
As many as 150 students of Saupin’s School, Sector 32, observed the World Wetland Day by organising a cleanliness drive at Sukhna Lake here today.

Lead by their director Anuradha Saupin and volunteers of Yuvasatta, the students marched from regulator end to Lakeview Cafeteria with their placards on preservation of heritage places. Ishwar Singh, director, department of environment, said: “The day is observed to strengthen the movement of conservation of bio-diversity and fight climate change.”

The biggest challenge in today’s time is to live in harmony with nature, he added.



Workshop on teachers’ training
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, February 2
Reading newspapers help a teacher to look beyond textbooks and update students with current happenings. This was stated by Emma McDonald, a fifteen-year-old veteran educator and co-author of several books, including Survival Kit for new teachers and Survival Kit for new secondary teachers during a one-day workshop on “Reading and Writing across the curriculum strategies” at Dikshant International School here today.

During the workshop, she presented various strategies of teaching. School teachers were divided into six groups and lot of practical teaching ideas to encourage writing and reading strategies that could be used in classrooms. The aim was to identify reading skills used in multiple subject areas while reading textbooks and other supporting materials.



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