C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


2 Nari Niketan inmates attempt suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Two girls living in Nari Niketan in Sector 26 here reportedly attempted to commit suicide by consuming a poisonous substance last evening. They were admitted to the Government Multi Specialty Hospital, Sector 16 after they complained of complications this morning.

The police said both girls are minors and had married against the wishes of their parents. They had been sent to Nari Niketan by a court after they refused to go back home with their parents.

The incident came to light today at about 10:30 am when the girls informed a female constable on duty, Sharda, that they had consumed some poisonous substance last night and were in trouble. The girls told her they had decided to end their lives as they were “fed up with the attitude of their parents” who they claimed were harassing them.

The police, which was informed about the incident, took the girls to the hospital where their condition was stated to be out of danger. The cops got the statements of both girls recorded by a duty magistrate.

The police said one of the girls, a 17-and-half-years-old resident of Ekta Market, Burail, had married a Nepalese, Sher Bahadur, who lives in Sector 43, last year in June. Her grandfather, Karora Singh, had filed a complaint against Bahadur alleging the latter had abducted his granddaughter.

A case was registered under sections 363 & 366 of the Indian Penal Code against Bahadur at the Sector 19 police station and the police later arrested him. The girl was “recovered” from him but she was sent to Nari Niketan by a local court after she refused to go home with her family members.

The girl told the magistrate when she was coming out of the court after appearing for a hearing in her case, Karora and her uncle, Surinder Singh, threatened to kill her if she dared to go out of Nari Niketan.

About the other girl, a 17-year-old resident of Bapu Dham colony, the police said she had also appeared before a court in similar circumstances. She had married a vegetable vendor in the Sector 26 grain market, Shamsher, against the wishes of her parents in Moradabad in March 2009. Her parents had filed a complaint at the Manimajra police station and a daily diary report on the incident had been recorded.

She, however, told the magistrate she had “accidentally” consumed the poisonous substance. The police, on the other hand, believe both girls had entered a suicide pact and said it was investigating the matter.

Meanwhile, the cops have booked both girls on charges of attempt to suicide under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code.



Nari Niketan Case
Judgment reserved for March 3
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
The district court today reserved the judgment in the Nari Niketan rape case for March 3 after the counsel for the accused objected to the joint filing of challan under Section 173.

Counsel AS Chahal said the joint filing was not permissible because each accused had been attributed to committing rape on the victim on different dates and different place, thus the offences were distinct and individual.

“For each offence, the accused concerned is liable separately,” he said, adding that there was no evidence that all accused had gathered at one place and committed rape one after the other. Thus, a single challan against them was not legal.

Chahal also contended that so far as the woman accused was concerned, the law did count filing of rape in aid of Section 120 B of the IPC.

Thus, the challan should be returned to the prosecution for filing the same against each accused separately.

The public prosecutor, however, said as the accused were working at the same place, the challan should be filed together.

The case pertains to the rape of a mentally challenged girl by employees of Nari Niketan, Sector 26, and at Aashreya, Sector 47, respectively.

The police had registered a case of gang rape, destruction of evidence and criminal conspiracy on May 18, 2008, after the victim was found pregnant.

The police has so far arrested nine persons on charges of raping the victim, apart from two women employees who have been charged with abetting and assisting the crime.



Boston Fiasco
PU claims on students’ visit fall flat
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
In an interesting turn in the case of the PU student, Nitin Jindal, held by the Boston police on charges of molestation, the claims of the PU authorities that the students had gone on their own and had applied online, proved false today.

The role of the Panjab University campus student council (PUCSC) has emerged prominently in a news report published in a local English newspaper on February 6.

The report says that those students who were rejected in the screening process and were not part of the 23-member delegation sent by the UILS were sent by the Student Council of the PU with the assistance of the PU authorities for the event at Harvard University.

The story quotes SOPU leader Brinder Dhillon and PUCSC president Amit Bhatia, who claimed that the council got in touch with Harvard University, in cooperation with the PU authorities, and got permission to send the students to the Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN) from February 11-14.

The PU authorities and the PUCSC president had, however, denied it yesterday and claimed that they had applied online and went on their own without permission of the authorities.

Five of these students got involved in police investigation after a local girl in Boston accused Nitin of outraging her modesty. The boys had gone to a bar, where they met the girl who was under the influence of alcohol and accompanied them to their hostel room.

Meanwhile, confusing messages continued to pour in throughout the day on the campus after the report of Nitin’s arrest got published. His friends said a lawyer had been hired in Boston. “A lawyer demanded Rs 16 lakh an hour and so another lawyer was hired,” his friend claimed.

Students of UILS claimed that Nitin had a clean record and had never indulged in any such activity in the past five years. The warden of Boys Hostel 4, where Nitin stays, also testified his clean image. His batchmates said he was an intelligent student

Harvard University’s public relation bureau, in a mail to this correspondent late tonight, denied that PU students had been banned for a year at any conference. However, further clarification is awaited from the university. When this correspondent contacted the Boston police, it refused to divulge any details of the case over the phone



Commercial property prices dip in Mohali auction
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 16
Reversing the trend, reflective of high reserve prices coupled with the ongoing recession, the average auctioned price of commercial properties in the town declined at the auction held by GMADA here today.

Against the average price of Rs 3.37 lakh per square yard fetched in the previous auction held last September, the average auctioned price fell to Rs 3.28 lakh per square yard.

Of the total 50 sites, GMADA could sell only a dozen commercial sites, netting Rs 25.8 crore against a total reserve price of Rs 23.86 crore. The rest of the sites were withdrawn due to no takers.

Contrary to the trend in the recent auction held in Chandigarh where residential sites were sold like hot cakes, there were no takers for residential sites in Mohali, where the reserved price was fixed at about Rs 50,000 per sq yard.

GMADA officials faced a difficult moment when some of bidders protested against the lack of basic amenities in the Sector 70 market, where six sites had been put under the hammer in today’s auction. “I bought a site in the market a few years back. Till date there are no basic amenities there”, said Kuldeep, who was seconded by Kamaldeep, who pointed out the area had been handed over to the Mohali MC.

On this, Mohali ACA Balwinder Singh Multani assured the bidders basic amenities would be provided in the market at the earliest. Similarly, there were no takers for sites in the Phase III A market.

Three showroom sites in Sector 70, which were bought by an NRI, Vinod Dand, fetched GMADA Rs 5.3 crore, Rs 5.4 crore and Rs 5.41 crore, respectively. Two SCF sites (nos 6 and 7) in Sector 71 were bought for Rs 2.7 crore and Rs 2.85 crore, respectively, by an individual. Three booth sites in Sector 67 went for Rs 71 lakh, Rs 75.25 crore and Rs 75.85 crore, respectively.



Proposals by Mohali MC opposition get nod
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 16
The Congress-backed ruling group of the Mohali Municipal Council gets a jolt with the director, local government, Punjab, approving all those estimates related to development works in the town which were selectively cleared by councillors of the opposition group at the general house meeting held on December 29.

In a letter to the civic body, which was received here yesterday, the director stated that development works related to all those items cleared by the councillors could be started keeping in mind the rules and the availability of funds.

It is pertinent to mention here that a controversy had arisen at the meeting over the clearing of estimates for development works worth over Rs 5 crore with opposition councillors adopting a pick and choose policy and the ruling group opposing such a move which adversely affected the development of the town.

The opposition councillors had cleared only those estimates for development works which were related to their wards leaving all others unapproved even as the president kept saying that the item on the agenda related to developments works could be cleared in totality and not in parts.

Councillors of the opposition group had even refused to clear estimates prepared for developing market areas which were in a state of neglect. It was after much persuasion that the opposition councillors had relented and cleared estimates for developing market areas.

President of the council Rajinder Singh Rana said today that it was unfortunate that works of the wards related to councillors belonging to the ruling group had not been approved. He said his group had remained in majority for three and half years and no discrimination was done against councillors of the opposition group as far as development works were concerned.

Development of the town was kept in mind while preparing estimates as his group did not want residents to suffer because of differences between political parties.



Rent-a-womb case: Bharti gets son’s custody
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
She has won the battle; and the reward is her own son’s custody. Bharti Sahdev was oscillating between apprehension and hope, despair and elation, ever since the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered the DNA test for determining whether her son was born out of lawful wedlock or was a test tube baby fathered by another man wanting to rent her womb.

The report, opened by Justice MMS Bedi in the courtroom this afternoon, suggested the other man had nothing to do with baby Abhi.

Taking on record the report, Justice Bedi gave Bharti the liberty to take the child with her; and fixed March 25 for further hearing in the matter.

As Justice Bedi was issuing the directions in a jam-packed courtroom, the deep furrows on Bharti’s forehead gradually disappeared; and the vexed expression on somber visage gave way to a trembling smile.

As the feeling of having back her son for all times to come sunk in, she broke down just outside the courtroom, with happiness apparently.

In a voice punctuated with deep emotions, she said, “The higher the stakes, the fiercer is the battle and greater are the gains; and when a mother is waging a war against a known stranger for getting back her son, the joy of victory knows no boundaries.” Holding back the tears, she said, “Now when Abhi grows up, he will know his mother went against all odds to fight for getting him back instead of giving him up, and won.” Bharti Sahdev had earlier alleged Abhi’s kidnapping by Ambala resident Parminder Singh Oberoi, the man she had agreed to rent her womb to for bearing his test tube baby.

While Oberoi was claiming right over the child, Bharti through counsel Nitin Thatai has all along been claiming Abhi is not a test tube baby, but born out of lawful wedlock with her husband. As such, Oberoi has no right over his custody.

Bharti and Oberoi had recently agreed before Justice Ajay Tewari to go in for DNA sampling. She was till now staying with her child in Zirakpur flat owned by Oberoi. But, now she plans to depart to her hometown Amritsar with the baby.



CCE Backfires — II
Formative assessment key to good result
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
One of the most ambitious aspects of the CBSE’s Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation is its formative assessment, which as its summative counterpart, will act as an easy tool to ensure a good result.

The assessment system is akin to the internal assessment system.

Teachers make record sheets aimed at making students more skilled but, however, the system has proved to be an easy brownie of 20 per cent marks.

The assessment, which was carried out in two phases in the second term of Class IX, aimed at taking learning process beyond books and ensure overall development of students.

The assessment is based on child’s performance in class tests, assignments and projects based on theoretical and practical works, along with file and viva, and learning other activities like development of informative material such as leaflets, booklets, pamphlets and book marks, report writing on basis of field visits or lectures and group discussions and quiz.

The assessment module theoretically aimed at making kids aware and sensitive of the true applications of education by indulging them in activities like making projects, models having group discussions or even adopting heritage places.

Students as usual “bought” models and projects from new centres, which sprung up specially to cater to the needs of formative assessment.

Quiz and group discussions are till date an unheard concept for many school students who strangely have been marked on it by their schools.

As far as projects like adoption of a heritage place are concerned, students were taken for a short picnic or symbolic cleanliness drive to gain some media publicity.

So while all theoretic guidelines and aims of this assessment were not being heeded, the school authorities held the board’s planning responsible for the same.

“We have to cover the syllabi on time and these things require proper planning and efforts. Burden of books will have to be reduced, if the board wants to implement all modules practically,” commented principal of a school.



Rly plans paid enquiry number soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
The railways has prepared a comprehensive plan to introduce a new paid phone enquiry No. 138, which will be in addition to the present centralised national enquiry No. 139 already outsourced by the railways for its better maintenance and round-the-clock service.

The paid service, likely to be announced in the Rail Budget on February 26, will lessen the pressure on the existing 139 passenger enquiry number, which clocks close to eight lakhs calls per day.

This number has been giving information related to PNR status, arrival and departure of passenger trains, berth availability and fares and journey plan.

To cope with the increasing number of calls on 139 daily, the railways has decided to launch the new additional No. 138.

It is reported that it will be introduced nationwide in three months. However, the number will be run and managed by the railway staff themselves, sources say.

According to an IRCTC official, No. 138 will also help travellers get information related to berth numbers, platform number for a particular train, coach position and all other information related to journey plan.

The greatest advantage of the new number will be that it is likely to facilitate passengers to book their hotels and tourist taxis in advance, the official add.

The registration for the 138 service can be made either online or through cell phones.

People living in metros have been using the number 139 for availing these services. However, the railways intends to shift these services to 138 nationwide soon to reduce pressure on the existing 139, he adds.

The 138 services will be available via SMS as well. The service is currently being offered in Tamil Nadu.

The official says the existing 139 services have been overloaded with calls, making it impossible for the railways to start new service on this number.

The No. 138 will prove to be a boon for all categories of passengers of both urban and rural areas, he adds.



Housing board allows need-based changes
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Giving a breather to occupants of houses of the Chandigarh Housing Board, the board has allowed need-based changes.

As per its notification, the changes could be made in doors and windows and cantilevers could be put up. The board has allowed a 3-ft balcony on fascias in front and rear where no terraces exist by providing pillars from the ground not covering more than 2/3 of the width of the facade, but with the prior approval of the CHB to maintain uniformity.

The board has further allowed coverage on balconies wherever not provided with lightweight material like fibreglass. It has also allowed a steel grill in verandas where light and ventilation of the adjacent room is not affected, but could provide security to the house.

The residents can now increase the height of the existing windows by lowering the sill or additional window subject to uniformity in a block. For this, the residents would have to submit the plan in advance to the board.

The board has also allowed the construction of car parking covered with a fibreglass roof in the front courtyard of the ground floor. With this, it has also allowed converting the scooter and car garage into a store, but only for personal use. It has also allowed underground PVC water tank within the building line and structural stability of the house and adjoining house as well.

While the board is clear that no encroachment would be allowed, the board has allowed green space, but without erecting a hedge or barbed wire. For hedge, one could for permission.

The board has also mentioned that those who have fixed their gates before October 27, 2009, would have to pay Rs 3,000 extra per gate and those who have made an extra room would have to pay Rs 50 per sq ft so that these could be regularised.



Property consultants meet Patil
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
A delegation led by Kamaljit Panchhi, senior vice-president of the Property Consultants Association, met Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator Shivraj Patil to apprise him about the inconvenience being faced by residents on account of non-recognition of validly-executed GPA by the estate office. The estate office was refusing to issue no objection certificate (NOC) on the basis of GPA.



Woman addl SHO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Two sub-inspectors of the Chandigarh Police, Gurjit Kaur and Shri Parkash, have been promoted as inspectors with effect from today.

Gurjit Kaur is the first woman police official in the Chandigarh Police, who has been given charge of the additional SHO of the Sector 17 Police Station. She was playing instrumental role in solving several sensational cases.

Shri Parkash was rewarded recently for his meritorious services in the police on the Republic Day.



Trains delayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Due to various trains running behind schedule yesterday, the 4217 Unchahar Express was running late by over 3 hours, the 2925 Paschim Express by 48 minutes while the 2231 Lucknow-Chandigarh Express was delayed by 45 minutes, according to railway sources.



Disaffiliation of Shivalik Public School
Admn to send inspection report to CBSE
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Playing it safe on the matter of granting recognition to Shivalik Public School, the UT administration has decided to forward its inspection report to CBSE.

It may be noted that soon after the board disaffiliated the school last month, the UT education department formed a hi-power inspection committee to look into the objections cited by the board.

The committee declared the school guilty of not abiding by the mandatory reservation of 15 per cent seats for the weaker section of the society. It was also highlighted that the school, despite of reminders, had not submitted the mandatory reserve fund and didn’t even had any occupancy certificate for the school building.

“When the CBSE disaffiliated the school it pleaded that the board had acted on two-year-old recommendations of a former DPI. We inspected the school and found that it lacked some parameters. We are going to send this report to the CBSE,” said Education Secretary Ram Niwas.

The school authorities, who declared the report biased, have chosen to stay mum now, while the Independent School Association has decided to move court asking for a common yardstick for both government and private schools.

“How many times have they checked funds or fire safety arrangements of government schools or even aided ones? We have a case going on in the court regarding the powers of administration. We will file a contempt and also appeal the court to appoint a commissioner to inspect government schools on same parameters and disaffiliate them if found flouting the norms,” said HS Mamik, president of the Independent School Association.



Guv for empowering blind students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj Patil on his maiden visit to the Institute for the Blind in Sector 26 today emphasised the need for empowering the blind students by imparting them education and vocational training to enable them to live a life with pride and dignity.

Appreciating the role of staff and management of the institute, Patil said the wheel of society was running on good deeds, positive thinking, determination and commitment and the institute fulfilled these criteria. Patil went around the classrooms and evinced keen interest in the vocational activities and learning processes. He stressed upon giving homely upbringing, proper guidance to these children to transform them into self-reliant and useful citizens of the society. Maj-Gen Rajendra Nath, senior vice-president of the Society for the Care of the Blind, said the institute had been imparting education to blind students up to class XII through the Braille system.



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