C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


City plumbs new depths on Black Monday
A day of robberies, murder, suicide, snatchings and mysterious death
Four morning walkers robbed at gunpoint
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Unleashing a reign of terror on morning walkers, two unidentified motorcyclists robbed four women of their gold ornaments at gunpoint in different parts of the city early this morning.

The incidents occurred between 5:30 am and 6:15 am at Sector 36, at Sector 31, on the road separating Sector 29 and Industrial Area and near the golf course at Sector 26.

Except one girl, who fought back the gun-totting robbers near the golf course, the other victims, fearing for their lives, handed over their valuables to the robbers.

During the scuffle, the girl tore the T-shirt of one of the robbers, who managed to take away a part of her gold chain.

The incidents not only exposed the deteriorating law and order situation in the city again, especially during early morning hours, but also reminded city residents of the horrific incident last year, in which a morning walker, wife of a lawyer, was brutally targeted by a stalker.

The first incident occurred around 5:30 am when Jaspal Kaur of Sector 36 was on her way to the temple near her locality.

No sooner did she near Alliance Francaise, two motorcyclists stopped near her and asked her the way to Sector 23.

She continued to walk, giving them directions. The person riding pillion disembarked and gagged her. He put a pistol on her temple and told her to give whatever she had.

“I was shocked and he put his finger in my earring to pull it away. I told him to wait, removed my earrings and handed those over to him. I told him that the chain was made of wood and they sped away,” she said.

She went to the temple and met some people on the way. She told them about the incident and they informed the police, which reached there after 10 minutes.

About action on her complaint, the policemen told her that their “sahib will decide”. Later, the police registered a case of robbery.

Jaspal said she was a victim of a theft at her residence in 2004, in which thieves had decamped with 20 tolas of gold ornaments and other valuables. She was left with the last pair of earrings, which the robber took away today.

Around 5:55 am, the robbers waylaid Indrawati of Sector 31-A and robbed her of her gold chain near her residence.

“I just reached my home after a walk when two motorcyclists stopped near me. One of them asked me something, but I did not bother and kept on walking. One of them came after me and before I could react, gagged me and removed my chain. Before I could understand anything, they sped away,” she said.

They were wearing helmets. The police was informed about the incident, which reached within five minutes. They went away after recording her statement, she said.

The next target of the robbers, riding on a black Baja Pulsar motorcycle, was 50-year-old Kalpa Devi of Sector 29.

She and her husband Ram Saran were walking on the road separating Sector 29 and Industrial Area around 6:05 am.

“Two motorcyclists sped past us and came back, driving on the wrong side. After stopping near us, one of them came to me and put his pistol on my temple. They told me to remove my gold chain, which my husband asked me to hand over to them. They sped toward the transport light point. I raised the alarm, but nobody stopped to help us. We returned home and the president of our society called the police, which recorded my statement,” she said.

The fourth victim, Kusum of Sector 26, was targeted around 6:15 am near the Golf Club. She was ahead of her father during the walk and saw two motorcyclists noticing her.

She ignored them, but they came near her and asked her name. She told them to go away. One of them alighted from the motorcycle and tried to catch hold of her. Fearing trouble, she ran and the miscreant pulled her ‘dupatta’ to stop her.

“He pulled out a pistol, put it on my neck and started pulling my gold chain. I raised the alarm and fought back. Sensing trouble, the robber on motorcycle asked his accomplice to kill me. Left with no option, I pulled his T-shirt, which was torn in the scuffle. He managed to take a part of the chain and they sped away,” she said.

She said she ran towards her father and narrated the incident to him. CRPF personnel in a Gypsy reached the spot and went after the motorcyclists, but in vain. The polic were informed and they recorded her statement at the Sector 26 police station.


Woman duped of gold bangles

Chandigarh: Swindlers duped a housewife of two gold bangles on the pretext of polishing those at Sector 47 here this morning.

The police said Menu Chhabra of Sector 47 reported that two persons in their early twenties, posing as marketing executives of a company, knocked at her door around 8:45 am.

They told her that they wanted to demonstrate the use of a powder to polish her utensils. She allowed them inside the house and they asked her to bring a pressure cooker filled with water.

She did as she was told. The swindlers then asked her to put utensils and other articles which she wanted to get polished in the cooker.

She handed two bangles, weighing around two tolas, to them. They told her to boil the articles in the cooker for five minutes and left.

She opened the cooker after five minutes, only to find the utensils, but not the bangles. The police registered a case of cheating under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code.


Foul play suspected in doc’s death

Chandigarh: Dr Nagendra Reddy (24), a junior resident doctor from Bangalore, working with the transfusion medicine department of the PGI, died under mysterious circumstances here today.

The police said Dr Reddy, who joined the PGI in January, was found unconscious at the PGI’s Kairon Block at 6.30 am.

Family members of the deceased, however, suspected foul play in the death of Dr Nagendra. Nagendra had been harassed by seniors and was subjected to ragging since he came here in January, alleged Ayappa Reddy, father of the deceased, who reached late in the evening from Bangalore.

It was yesterday only that Nagendra had talked to his mother and told her that he could stand no more the torture of seniors and would resign and return to Bangalore today, said Ayappa.

Claiming that Nagendra had decided to return to Bangalore today, sister of the deceased Vijay Luxmi also said under such circumstances he could not decide to end his life. Morover, he was a doctor and knew how to kill himself. So there was no reason to believe that he would have jumped from the building of the hostel to commit suicide, said the family members.

Dr Reddy was first rushed to the emergency ward and later he was shifted to the intensive care unit, where he died.

It is suspected that the doctor had committed suicide by jumping from the fourth floor, but nothing could be confirmed until the investigations were over, the police added.

The police searched Dr Reddy’s room, but no suicide note was found. The police said it had taken Dr Reddy’s laptop to get some clues. The post-mortem, however, was not conducted until late this evening. The doctor’s family has been informed.

Resident Doctors Association president Dr Vikas said there was nothing unusual about Dr Reddy. Only the police investigation would be able to bring out the truth. 


19-year-old girl immolates herself

Chandigarh: Annoyed over bring scolded by her mother for coming home late at night, a 19-year-old girl, Seema, allegedly immolated herself at her residence in Maloya village here this morning. The police said the victim left behind no suicide note. Her mother told the police that she was recently engaged.

The in charge of the Maloya police post Sub-Inspector Baldev Kumar told The Tribune that the victim’s mother Shanti Devi said Seema had gone out of the house on Saturday morning without informing anyone in the family.

Shanti told the police that Seema returned home late in the night and she scolded her for her “wayward” manner. Seema did not speak up and went to her room. Next day (Sunday) she did not talk to anyone. Today she (Shanti) went to market and in her absence Seema sprinkled kerosene oil and set herself afire. She reportedly died on the spot.

The police was informed about the incident, which reached the spot and shifted the body to the Sector 16 Government Multi Specialty Hospital. Seema is survived by her mother, four sisters and a younger brother. Her father had died earlier. She was engaged a couple of weeks ago and her marriage was yet to be fixed.

The police has initiated the inquest proceedings under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The post mortem will be conducted tomorrow as the family was waiting for their relatives to come. 


Two arrested for rape

Chandigarh: The police arrested two youths allegedly involved in two separate incidents of rape reported from different parts of the city.

While one was arrested for raping a 13-year-old girl at Colony No. 4 he kidnapped on April 13, the other, 22-year-old Soni, a resident of Kajeri village, was arrested for raping a 20-year-old girl on the pretext of marrying her.

The victim was six months pregnant now and the case was registered after the accused refused to marry her, said the police.

The accused, identified as Suraj, had allegedly kept the victim at an abandoned hut for two days, from where she somehow managed to escape on April 16.

Both parties were negotiating over the issue and after they failed to reach a compromise, the matter was reported to the police yesterday, which registered a case of abduction, wrongful confinement, rape and criminal intimidation.

The SHO of the Industrial Area police station, inspector Yashpal Vinayak, said the victim told the police that Suraj kidnapped her from her residence at Sanjay Colony on April 13 and took her to an abandoned hut at a secluded place in Colony No. 4.

There he raped her for two days and she managed to escape from his custody on April 15. She reported the incident to her parents.

About the second incident, the investigating officer, sub-inspector Jaswinder Kaur, said the accused was identified as Soni of Kajeri village, running a building material shop in the locality.

The victim, a resident of Naya Gaon, whose father had died in a road accident and a brother had committed suicide, told the police that she her mother was in coma.

She was looking for some support and came in contact with Soni, who promised to marry her. He took her to his place and raped her there.

The victim narrated the incident to Arvind Thakur, a human rights activist, who took up the issue up with senior police officers and the UT Administrator. The police registered a case.


2 lose cash to thieves

Chandigarh: A car driver lost his bag to a gang of conmen while a miscreant decamped with the bag of a Canadian national in two separate incidents reported from different parts of Sector 17 here today.

The police said three persons, suspected to be members of the Moradabad gang, which duped people of their belongings after diverting their attention, befooled a car driver and decamped with a bag lying in a car parked at the Bank Square. The bag, minus the cash, was later recovered.

The car driver, Rajesh Kumar of Sector 52, gave the miscreants a chase after realising that they took away the bag. He had a scuffle with them, during which he sustained cuts caused by some sharp-edged weapon, on his neck and belly.

Rajesh’s employer Manjit Singh of Mohali, a government contractor by profession, told the police that the bag contained Rs 30,000 and some documents.

The incident occurred around 11:30 am, when Manjit went for some work, leaving his driver in the vehicle. Rajesh told the police that he was reversing his vehicle when an unidentified man told him that notes were lying around his car.

When he bent, he saw the man picking up the bag in the rear view mirror. He got off the car, locked it and chased the men.

Rajesh claimed that he caught the man carrying his briefcase, but he hit him with a sharp-edged weapon while his other two accomplices joined him in the attack and fled after injuring him.

He informed Manjit, who called the police. Around 2:45 pm, the bag was found lying on a scooter near the 30 Bays Building at Sector 17 when someone informed the police.

The owner recognised his bag. The cash was missing, but the documents were found to be intact, said inspector Jaswinder Singh, SHO of the Sector 17 police station.

A case under Section 382 of the Indian Penal Code (committing theft after preparation made for causing death, hurt or restraint) was registered at the Sector 17 police station.

Regarding the second incident, the police said miscreants decamped with a rucksack and $500 of a Canadian national, who was sleeping at a bus queue shelter in Sector 17 around 3 am.

The complainant, identified as Taylor Jenkinson Booth, a resident of British Columbia, told the police that he arrived from Jammu in a bus last night. While he was dozing off, someone decamped with his rucksack. The police said his passport was found lying at a distanceg. A case of theft was registered.


Contractor burnt near police station

Mohali: A 39-year-old Kharar-based contractor, Sikander Singh, who was brutally murdered with sharp edged weapons, was set afire with petrol within metres of Sohana police station by unidentified assailants in Sector 66 at 1 am today. The aim behind setting his body on fire was possibly to conceal the murdered contractor’s identity and to obfuscate clues of his assailants.

Fortunately, within barely minutes of the body being set afire, a motorcycle-borne police control room (PCR) party noticed the fire only to discover to their horror on closer examination that it was a human body. Only the face of the victim was recognisable by the time the fire was doused.

The victim, who originally belonged to Nalagarh in Himachal Pradesh, bore several deep cuts on neck, stomach and chest. Though the police was clueless about the identity of the assailant(s), it believes that a bleeding body of the victim was dragged to a roadside spot before setting it on fire. Bloodstains at the site indicated that the victim was killed with a sword, said an investigating officer.

“We were able to recognise the victim from his partly burnt driving licence, which had been issued by the Nalagarh Transport Authority, Himachal Pradesh. With the help of forensic teams, we tracked down his ancestral address in Nalagarh. He was ultimately recognised by his brother, Anand Singh,” said DSP, City-II, Swarandeep Singh.

The victim, who was working with different contractors on different projects, was living in Sunny Enclave, Kharar. His wife and two children lived at their ancestral home in Nalagarh. His brother, Amar Singh, said four days ago when Sikander had come to Nalagarh, he was tense over delay in getting payments for the work done by him.

Though the victim’s family had not been able to pin point the identity of the assailants, the police was exploring the role of those involved in financial transactions with the victim and family disputes, if any. “We have definite leads and are hopeful of solving the case,” said the DSP.

Though forensic teams visit the spot, no other significant clue could be retrieved. The sheath of a sword and broken parts of the sword were found at the spot. No empty can of petrol or any sharp edged weapon was found at the site of the crime. Sources said apart from examining the call details of the victim’s mobile — which was missing — the police was also looking for the victim’s Mahindra Scorpio (HP 12 C 8181) that was reported to be missing. A search was also carried at the Kharar residence of the victim.

SHO, Phase XI, Sukhwinder Singh, said a case under Section 302 of the IPC had been registered against unidentified assailant(s). The autopsy of the body would be conducted tomorrow.



Rotational power cuts round the corner
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
City residents should brace themselves for rotational power cuts with the UT administration trying hard to arrange over 100 megawatts of additional supply to meet the rising demand, both in homes as well as in industrial units.

“Residents should not be surprised in case they have to face rotational power cuts during the peak summer season. In fact, we already have a draft plan for scheduled cuts in place which only requires a formal clearance by the administration”, a senior officer said requesting anonymity.

Conceding the grim situation, UT finance secretary Sanjay Kumar said: “We are making every effort to avoid any rotational power cuts in the city so long as we can manage without them. We’ll do our best to manage with cuts of short duration unless we are confronted with an unavoidable situation. We are also trying to get additional power through Power Trading Corp.”

Against the peak hour demand of approximately 340 MW, the union territory gets only 215 MW as its “legitimate” share from different sources including National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC), National Hydroelectric Power Corp (NHPC), Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) and Nuclear Power Corp of India Ltd (NPCIL).

At present the union territory is being supplied between 100-180 MW of power, which has led to a situation of frequent and unannounced power outages in different areas of the city since the past week. This trend is likely to continue throughout the season.

The issue has gained importance in view of the fact that the additional share of about 70 MW given out of the unallocated quota by the power ministry has been withdrawn. This share out of the central pool was being provided by the central government to meet the UT’s additional power requirements. It was withdrawn, first in November 2009 and then again in January this year. The UT administrator is expected to write to the power ministry seeking additional supply.

CHB flats, Sec 41 go without power

Due to a technical snag residents of Chandigarh Housing Board flats in Sector 61 had to face unscheduled power cuts. There was no supply last night in some parts of the sector. Water supply was also hit in the evening today with no supply till late in the evening




Compensation: Landowners return disappointed
Tribune News Service

Landowners wait to get the cheques of land compensation amount at PUDA office in Sector 62, Mohali, on Monday.
Landowners wait to get the cheques of land compensation amount at PUDA office in Sector 62, Mohali, on Monday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, April 19
Scores of landowners of Matran, Manauli and Chachu Majra villages, whose land is being acquired for the Airport City, today returned disappointed when officials of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) were unable to handover the cheques of the land compensation amount. Only 13 of the landowners could be given a compensation of Rs 45 crore.

Eager about getting the land compensation at a rate of Rs 1.50 crore an acre, a number of landowners waited for the entire day. First the landowners were told to come at 3 pm and then at 5 pm to collect their cheques. After the officials in the land acquisition collector were unable to handle the rush, the landowners were told to come on Wednesday.

“On April 15, we were told that the compensation would be handed over on Monday. But today we are told to come on Wednesday,” said Parkash Singh of Manuli village. Another landowner, Jaswinder Singh, complained that there were few chairs in the office.

Explaining the problem, GMADA officials said being the first day, the process was slow. “The entire revenue record had to be matched with the payments to be made to each of the shareholder,” said a GMADA official.

In the coming week, GMADA is scheduled to handover a whopping Rs 1,157 crore on acquisition of around 800 acres for the new Airport City, planned at the South of Mohali city.



Visually challenged students in dark
Unaware of free education, hostel facility at PU 
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Visually challenged Pooja Sadana (22), whose perseverance got her 68 per cent parks in BA-I, is not even aware that her dream to do Masters of Arts (MA) and Bachelors of Education (B.Ed) would no longer cost her anything!

Pooja is just one of the 26 visually challenged meritorious students of Punjab, who received a national scholarship worth Rs 9,000 today at the English auditorium in Panjab University today. But unfortunately, not many of these “special” students were aware that the PU had announced free education and even hostel accommodation for them at the recent Senate meeting.

While some said there were several problems in the practical implementation of the earlier announcements, others were just not aware that some such facility exists at all.

“Last year, there was a case in which a visually challenged student had to appeal to the court to seek admission to the university. The implementation of such decisions at a lower level is not as smooth and ultimately students end up suffering,” said Rajesh Mohan of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), Punjab.

“I am not aware of the free education and hostel facility here. But if the university provides such a facility to us, I would love to study in a established university like the PU,” said Pooja, who is currently enrolled in a college in Jalandhar.

Although the ceremony was organised by the NFB (Punjab) at the auditorium, PU students were found pleasantly interacting with the visually impaired students. “Many of these students have been actively involved even in student activities like campaigning for elections,” said Dinesh Chauhan, member of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

Jaikishan, a visually challenged meritorious student who is also an ABVP activist, proudly boasted of having protested with his friend on the campus. “I am not aware of any such facility available for us,” said another student present at the spot. On being questioned on the implementation of the scheme for visually challenged and other students with 70 per cent disabilities, Vice Chancellor Prof RC Sobti said, “We are still working out the modalities and it will soon be conveyed to the target students. This year along with the disabled students, even the poor students would get five per cent seats in every department.”


Duststorm, rain in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
After a hot and humid afternoon when the mercury lowered to 39 degrees Celsius from yesterday’s 42.7, city residents were in for some relief as the evening hours saw a duststorm followed by rain in several parts of the city today.

The Met official said that these weather conditions are expected to last another two days after which the temperature will settle down.

The temperature was at a comfortable 36 degrees Celsius by evening when the city residents experienced light showers. City residents, who preferred to remain indoors to avoid the afternoon heat, came out in the evening to enjoy the change in weather. The city has been witnessing hot afternoons for the last few days.

While rainfall brought relief to an extent, meteorological department officials said heavier precipitation could create problems for farmers. Rainfall in January was recorded at only 4mm against normal 30mm. Since then there was no rainfall till today.

Meanwhile, the city witnessed considerable increase in the minimum temperature today as it was 30.2 degrees Celsius, almost 11 degrees higher than the normal minimum temperature. Yesterday, it was 26 degrees Celsius, higher by 4.2 degrees.

"The cloudy conditions prevailing in the city is one of the key reasons behind the rise in minimum temperature during the day," Surender Paul, director, India Meteorological Department (IMD), told The Tribune.

"Cloudy conditions have been prevailing in some parts of the region for the last two days. Some areas of the region also witnessed light showers yesterday late night," he added.

The cloudy weather, he said, would not affect the heat in the city. “The minimum moisture content in the air was recorded 40 and the minimum 24. Maximum and minimum temperatures will be 39°C and 27°C in the next 24 hours,” the official said.

A local resident, Surinder Singh, who lives in Ram Darbar, said that the evening rain had indeed lessened the discomfort caused by unbearable heat. “The power supply has been erratic and it has become quite difficult to bear so much heat,” he said, hoping that there will be more rain in the pipeline showering some relief.

Relieved at the change in the weather, however minimal it might be, Richa Mishra, a student said: "Unlike yesterday (Sunday), I could gather courage to step out of my house today. Although day was warm, the cloudy sky has brought us some respite from the heat".

Asked about the chances of rainfall during the next couple of days, IMD director said that it cannot be totally ruled out. "There are some favourable weather conditions for rain or thundershowers in the city. Some parts of the neighbouring Punjab and Haryana could also record showers in the next 24 hours."



36 grievances taken up at public hearing session
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Punjab Governor-cum-UT Administrator Shivraj Patil gave a sympathetic hearing to all 36 grievances during a public hearing session today. Responding to Tilak Raj’s request for financial assistance for his wife’s treatment at the PGI, Patil asked the Finance Secretary to help him.

The Finance Secretary told him that Rs 1.70 lakh had been paid to the PGI and Tilak Raj was demanding Rs 60,000 more. On this, Patil asked the Deputy Commissioner to help him through the Red Cross.

Responding to Seema Chhabra’s request that her government accommodation not be vacated as her husband had died in harness, the Finance Secretary said the house would not be vacated till further orders.

The Taxi Workers Union brought to the notice of the Administrator the increase in ground rent of taxi stands and the ownership rights of fabrication of taxi stands in their name instead of the municipal corporation.

On this, Patil told the officers concerned that when the structure had been erected by the taxi stand owner, it should be in the name of the owner.

In another case, Joginderpal Gupta stated that building contractors had encroached upon a public road and street by bringing a crusher, sand and bricks, inconveniencing residents. The Administrator asked for quick action to redress the grievance.

Chand Singh, an old man from Faridkot district, said his land had not been transferred in his name. Patil asked the officer concerned to recommend his case strongly for mutation of his land as per rules.

Ved Narula, who had retired as librarian from the Chandigarh education department, said she had not received her retirement benefits so far. The Home Secretary said he would examine the case and do the needful immediately.

Patil asked the officers to scrutinise complaints in advance and not allow cases in which officials were not in a position to do anything to be brought to the public hearing session.

He also told them to introduce a file tracking system in their respective departments to know where a file was delayed.



Crime: Patil favours hi-tech gadgetry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Modernise existing police stations with high-tech facilities, better monitoring of public grievances and prompt delivery system, directed UT Administrator Shivraj Patil at the review meeting of law and order, security traffic management and issues of public grievances redress system by the police, here today.

The administrator was emphatic that better mobility and communication facilities should be provided to the cops for effective tracking of crime. The meeting was attended, among others, by Pradip Mehra, Adviser to the Administrator, Ram Niwas, Home Secretary and Pradeep Srivastava, Inspector-General of Police (IGP).

He advised officials that steps should be taken to install additional CCTV cameras at various sensitive junctions, market places and entry points in the city. The Administrator also directed that an immediate recruitment drive to fill the existing 1,200 posts and also likely vacancies during the next one-two years should be launched.

He proposed that a central control room should be set up, which should have direct connectivity to all CCTV cameras in the city and any information regarding any crime should be attended to immediately through Mobile Police Station, which should be set up at the control room, which can immediately respond to any emergent situation.

The IGP informed that there was a proposal to set up a recruit training centre at Dhanas village over 50 acres.

He also directed the Home Secretary that new equipment to tackle the threat of chemical, biological, radio-active and nuclear weapon should be purchased immediately in view of the new dimensions of terrorism.

The Administrator directed the IGP to keep a special check on the incidents of snatching, burglary and car thefts. He asked the Inspector General of Police to keep a close surveillance on anti-social elements and make sure that the law and order situation in the city, especially in the area of Panjab University, should remain under control.



‘Unemployment in US, Europe high’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
All is well in the global economy and investors will do well to take a renewed look at the markets, albeit in a conservative manner, stated Amit Rathi, managing director, Anand Rathi Financial Services Limited.

He was here to participate in a seminar on “Global Economic Environment and Financial Markets”, organised by TiE, Punjab and Chandigarh, at the PHD Chamber here. Over 50 CEOs, entrepreneurs and professionals participated in the seminar.

Rathi said a gradual recovery of the economy was on, but the labour market remained a major problem area, with high unemployment levels in the US and Europe. From the private sector, the focus had now been shifting to balance sheets of governments and the stimulus packages they offered.

In India, the recovery in industry and foreign trade had been continuing, but inflation remained a key concern. The rupee had been strengthening and expectations were that it would continue to do so in the coming years. Gold was likely to be in consolidation mode for some time while commodities were a mixed bag, with some correction in hard commodities likely.

“To be successful in world markets, one has to have very strong research and analytical skills,” stated Rathi, credited with building a robust research and advisory capability of the Anand Rathi group.

“If you look at the surge in consumption in India, it has basically been because of the increased incomes of government employees and rural Indians and their purchases of products like cell phones, motor bikes and small cars,” he said.

“Most of the GDP increase is due to increased government expenditure. Though industrial production and exports are up smartly on an year-on-year basis, the absolute levels of activity are still off their peak,” he added.



Farmers want land back
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
A delegation of the Mani Majra Farmers Welfare and Environment Protection Society met UT Administrator Shivraj Patil today over the release of 272 acres, intended to be acquired for Phase III of the IT Park.

According to a press note, the farmers highlighted that the special audit conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs had categorically stated that acquisition for Phase III of the IT Park was not justified as Phases I and II had not served any ‘public purpose’ and a majority of land had been utilised for housing projects, multiplexes and other non-IT activities.

They alleged that the acquisition was in violation of provisions of the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007, and affected more than 1,000 families, which included agricultural and non-agricultural workers, farmers and rural artisans.

They demanded the implementation of the policy with effect from October 31, 2007, the immediate release of 272 acres and the filing of a revised affidavit by the UT Administration in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.



Election to group housing society
Residents allege cheating by president
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
High drama was witnessed today at Victoria Enclave, Sector 50, a group housing society, where nomination forms for the upcoming elections to the society was to begin.

The residents alleged that the president of the society did not inform them about the elections well in time so that they could file their nominations. “When we asked the officials of the Registrar of Cooperative Societies for a voters list, we were not given any,” they said.

They also alleged that as per the rules he was supposed to inform them either through letters or 15 days in advance. They claimed that they only came to know about it through a small advertisement in a Hindi newspaper.

The residents, many of whom are general power of attorney (GPA) holders, who had been converted into regular members by endorsing on their share certificate and letter issued by the president himself, said despite their valid documents their nominations were rejected.

The residents claimed that the president did not submit the money to the registrar’s office, thus cheating them.

Also, the original members of the society, those who tried to contest against him, were declared disqualified on the basis of a defaulters list, which was provided after one hour of the commencement of election process, the residents alleged.

Recently the residents had met with the Deputy Commissioner-cum-registrar of cooperative societies, Brijendra Singh, and also submitted him a four-paged complaint against the president and the irregularities that he had allegedly done.

When contacted, Brijendra Singh said: “As far as the GPA holders are concerned, there is a clear guideline by the finance department that transfer of GPA holders as regular members cannot be accepted if the society owes money to the government. Therefore, the GPA holders cannot have voting rights as far as the elections are concerned.”

Incidentally, the name of the president had also figured in a case pertaining to an illegal sale of a flat in connivance with two RCS officials and a cop in Universal Society in Sector 48.



CTU bus fares go up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
The city’s commuters will now have to shell out more for travelling in local buses. In a bid to cut down losses incurred by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) amounting to about Rs 22 crore every year, the UT administration has notified new fares for its buses.

The fare for ordinary buses for a journey up to 5 km will continue to be Rs 5. However, for distances over 5 km the fare has been doubled to Rs 10. For AC buses, Rs 10 will be charged for a trip up to 5 km and beyond that a ticket will cost Rs 15. Earlier, AC buses charged a flat rate of Rs 10 per trip.

According to the notification, holiday passes will now cost Rs 30 per day for non-AC buses and Rs 50 per day for AC buses.

There has, however, been no change in the student and employee pass rates. A monthly student pass will continue to cost Rs 60. In the case of UT secretariat employees within Chandigarh the pass will cost Rs 85 whereas for employees from Mohali and Panchkula it will be available for Rs 110. A general pass will cost Rs 350 per month.

Earlier, a committee set up by the UT administrator to look into the income and expenditure of CTU and provide suggestions to improve the situation had recommended an upward revision in bus fares. Till now there was a flat fare of Rs 5 for travelling to any part of the city in the ordinary buses.



Reduction of work contract
Health workers hold protest rally
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 19
The Multi Purpose Health Workers (MPHW) today held a protest rally against the director general (health) at the Government Hospital here for reducing the work contract from one year to three months.

Addressing the protestors, Nirmal Balhara, president of the Multi Purpose Health Employees Association, said the government should increase the minimum wages from Rs 8,100 to Rs 12,900 as the prices of essential commodities had increased considerably. She said the Delhi government had already increased the remuneration of the health workers to Rs 12,900.

Balhara said their other demands included issuing of confirmation list of the MPHW, promotion of MPH workers posted at Medical College, Rohtak, filling of vacant post of the SMI, filling 750 vacant posts of male MPH workers, issuing of promotion list in January and July every year, besides implementation of the dress code for the male MPH workers in the state.

She said if the government failed to fulfil their demands they would be forced to intensify their protest.

She added that MPH workers employed in various parts of the district were engaged in promoting health systems and should be given additional increment when promoted.



Development: MC to spend Rs 16 cr in six months
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 19
A sum of Rs 16 crore will be spent on development works in Mohali in the coming six months. This was stated by the newly elected president of the municipal council Kulwant Singh after taking over the charge of the civic body here today.

Work orders worth Rs 2 crore for strengthening of roads were given today and work would start next week. Tenders worth Rs 3 crore for laying of premix carpets in various parts of the town were also floated, said Kulwant Singh. He said there was no shortage of funds.

A sum of Rs 7 crore was already lying with the civic body, which had remained unutilised. Moreover, government was providing a grant of Rs 2 crore to the council each month in lieu of octroi. After deducting salaries of the staff and other office expenditure, the remaining amount would be used for the development of the town.

He estimated that a sum of Rs 16 crore would be available in the next six months. Efforts would also be made to get more funds from the government or GMADA.

Kulwant Singh said the long-pending issue related to laying of a separate pipeline from Kajauli waterworks under Phases V and VI of the project would be taken up with Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to expedite the matter in order to overcome the shortage of water in Mohali.

Ten tubewells were being installed by GMADA and five by the civic body in various parts of the town to improve the supply of water.

He said advertisement boards in various parts of the town were not only proving to be visual pollution, but were also adversely affecting the beauty of the town. Terms of the agreement would be seen and amendments be made to reduce the number of hoardings put up in green belts along various roads.

Nearly 6,000 heaps of malba were lying in various parts of the town, which would be removed on a priority basis, he added. Curb channels were also to be cleaned and improvement would be brought about in sanitation work.

Traffic light points would be cleaned and painted in order to beautify the town. Kulwant Singh further stated that designs of the security gates would also be changed after considering the matter all over again and work would be carried out in a phased manner so that the purpose for which these would be put up did not get defeated.



Several party leaders sidelined: MLA
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 19
The Congress MLA from Kharar, Balbir Singh Sidhu, said here today that the Shiromani Akali Dal had allegedly failed to recognise the contribution of several party leaders whose interests were ignored at the time of electing the president of the municipal council, leading to a great resentment among them.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Sidhu said a number of councillors who had voted in favour of Kulwant Singh at the time of the election failed to turn up when he took over the charge of the civic body today. There was lot of resentment among them because they had allegedly been sidelined.

He said it would have been much better if these councillors had listened to their conscience at the time of the election. He said the SAD government had a big role in the removal of the Congress-backed head of the civic body Rajinder Singh Rana.

He said the election process was allegedly notified by an IAS official, Rakesh Verma, in a hurried manner even when he did not have the charge of the department of local government. The principal secretary of the department concerned, C Roul, was on leave, he added.

The hearing of the case related to the removal of Rana in the Punjab and Haryana High Court was scheduled for tomorrow. He termed the removal of Rana as unconstitutional.



Wheat on 2.5 acres gutted

Zirakpur, April 19
Wheat crop on 2.5 acres was gutted today causing a loss in lakhs to farmers of Gazipur village here.

According to sources, the fire started around 10 am in the fields falling under Gazipur and spread rapidly. A fire tender from Dera Bassi was pressed into service, which controlled the situation.

The fire official informed that an acre of wheat crop each belonging to Guljar Singh and Harjinder Singh were destroyed in the fire. — TNS



Citizens’ Voice N-Choe
Bring guilty to book

Chandigarh Tribune conducted a series of exposes on N-Choe from April 6 to 9. These can be viewed on <http://www.tribuneindia.com/2010/20100406/chd.htm> Following are the views of a cross section of residents of the city and Mohali.
All responsible for the flow of sewerage into the N-Choe should be brought to book so that the administration, in future, punishes all offenders. All guilty need to be challaned.

— Gurdev Ram, Residents Welfare Association, Sector 23
The imprudent step of emptying sullage of surrounding sectors has created small stinking pools on the curbs and bends on the course of the choe.

— SS Beniwal Sector 40-A, Chandigarh
The newspaper should not let the issue of cleaning the choe fizzle out, as is seen for coverage to several issues of public interest. The follow-up action, on paper, needs to be followed up on the ground as well.

— Jaswinder Singh, a businessman
It pains me to watch an ugly spot on the face of the City Beautiful. I am not cribbing about the lack of overall cleanliness, I only want the administration to take up a weak spot in its territory and help reinstate its original beauty.

— Priyanka Bansal, A Student



Violence at PU
Only meetings, no results
Out of 21 listed members, only 13 attend first meeting
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Five days after the 21-member “high-powered committee” of the Panjab University held its first meeting, a concrete solution to deal with students’ violence is yet to be found.

Members of the committee gave a mixed response, while some did not attend the first meeting, another said that the committee was formed due to the panic created by media reports and certain others claimed that they were not even informed that they were in the committee.

Out of 21 listed members, only 13 attended the first meeting on April 15.

“According to the police records, number of violent incidents on the campus had decreased in the past one-year,” said a member, while another suggested that the university must not shirk its responsibility without fixing some penalty for such students.

With the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, a consensus on the matter is yet to be arrived. However, certain members seem to have solutions to the problem.

“There are several important academic issues concerning students which need attention. The best solution is to give these students some responsibility, like placements, etc,” said Amit Bhatia, president, Panjab University Campus Students Council (PUCSC), who is also a member of the committee.

Certain other members suggested that strict action must be taken against the defaulters. “Although in last one year, such incidents have declined, the atmosphere of the academic institution must be maintained and admission of such students must be barred from seeking admission next year,” said Prof Emanuel Nahar, a senator and also a committee member.

Having tried the formula of debarring students who indulge in violence earlier, a university official claimed such students appeal to the courts and judicial interference compels authorities to succumb.

“I suggest the university must take an undertaking from students during admission that they would not involve in any nuisance,” said Senator Chaman Lal Sharma.

Speaking out - PU committee members

“Best solutions cannot be found without finding the grassroots problem. We must find out why only a handful of students indulge in such activities.”  Prof Manjit Singh, president,

Panjab University Teachers Union
“Give responsibility to these students and allow them to address academic issues that need attention.”

Amit Bhatia, president, Panjab University Campus Students Council
“Due to financial crunch, there was lack of security on the campus. The number of security staff members must be increased with the increase in the number of students every year.”

Senator Ashok Goyal
“The students who indulge in such incidents must either be suspended for a certain period or in extreme cases expelled.”

SS Srivastava, UT Superintendent of Police



Admission to Class IX 
Parents protest at GSSS- 45
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
A high drama prevailed at Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 45, today when parents of more than 300 students protested against the alleged denial of admission of their wards to Class IX.

According to parents, these students have passed Class VIII from Government Middle School, Sector 46, and went to the senior secondary school in same sector for admission, but they were directed to the Sector 45 school. When these parents reached here they were told that seats were already full. Enraged over the repeated refusal, the parents staged a dharna outside the school premises.

“Our children were studying in middle school so we have to look for admission elsewhere. Ideally, Senior Secondary School, Sector 46, should have granted the admission, but they turned us off saying that their seats were already full,” said KS Dhami, a guardian.

“The school authorities in Sector 46 asked us to try our luck at the Sector 45 school, but here also we got the same answer. Now where do we go?” Questioned said Narinder Singh, a motor mechanic.

Meanwhile, the officiating principal of the Sector 45 School maintained that it had already been decided at a meeting that these students would be accommodated in GSSS, Sector 46.

The drama continued for a few hours till the principal of Sector 46 school Rajesh Kumar sent the parents to get their children admitted to the school. He asserted that he had never denied admissions to them.



HRD ministry mulls making CBSE statutory body
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
If the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) has its way, then Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) would become the first school board in the country to be established by an Act.

Currently mulling over upgrading the status of the CBSE from a society to a statutory body, the MHRD has prepared a draft for more administrative and financial autonomy and widening of the functioning of this premier school board.

The government is already holding consultations with experts on the granting more freedom to the board to pursue the path of academic excellence.

In the current system, the CBSE is registered as a society concerned with the conduction of Class X and XII Board exams and declaration of results. In addition to this, the board is also the sole authority on various matters regarding the affiliated institutions within the country and abroad.

If the Bill gets passed, the board will have a free say in prescribing textbooks and other books for syllabus. It can also make regulations for penalties for misconduct by teachers and students. Moreover, it will also prescribe qualification for appointment of teachers in affiliated institutions.

“If this Bill is passed, then we will gain more authority on various academic issue and our orders and decisions will be taken more seriously. We would now be able to deal with all educational issues in consultation with our Board of Governors,” said a senior CBSE official.

The Bill, however, has failed to excite affiliated institutions that fear that this autonomy might even backfire.

“When it’s the matter of future of lakhs of students, then government must have some control over the board so that academic policies don’t fall prey to whims and fancies of handful institutions. If such a freedom is granted to the board, then provisions should also be made to ensure that no institutions are harassed over affiliation issues etc,” said a director of one of the affiliated institutions here.



PU cancels exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
Having failed to rope in companies and now succumbing to the pressure of students of the University Institute of Applied Management Studies (UIAMS), the Panjab University authorities have decided to cancel the final exams of the final year students of the department.

Confirming the reports of the cancellation of the exams, president of the Panjab University Campus Student Council, Amit Bhatia, said, “We have got the exams cancelled and the department has assured us that seven-10 more companies would be visiting the campus within the next few days.”

However, the new dates of the examinations are yet to be announced. “The department is relatively new and it would take some time before the alumni base expands and students get well placed,” said an official.



Boston Case
Authorities to check Nitin’s attendance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 19
The committee constituted to investigate the case of Nitin Jindal, a suspended student of University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), today forwarded the case to the board of studies (UILS) for decision on release of his roll number.

Jindal, in a press conference two days ago, had pleaded to the authorities to permit him for exams.

The authorities, however, said since the board of studies took the decision of his suspension, they would take the decision on roll number only after checking his attendance record.



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