C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Policing takes a hit
Thieves strip car, captured on CCTV
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Exposing the lack of police patrolling in the city, thieves who were caught on CCTV cameras decamped with five tyres, the instrumentation panel and others components of a Toyota Innova car parked outside a Sector 43 house early this morning.

PJS Trehan, former news director of Jalandhar Doordarshan, the owner of the vehicle (registration no: CH04 K5221) told TNS that the thieves, who were well-dressed appeared to be in their early twenties, spent a considerable time and were “at ease” while they removed the accessories. Trehan had installed CCTV cameras outside his home following a spate of petty thefts.

Trehan said the CCTV footage showed the culprits came at 2:46 am and went away 4:52 am. “They conveniently removed the tyres after lifting the vehicle on a jack and placed stones and bricks under it. They also drank something while sitting in the vehicle. One of their accomplices who arrived during that time had a word with them. The third person parked his motorcycle at a distance”, he stated.

The thieves decamped with five tyres along with the expensive alloy wheels, a battery, wiper blades, outer rear view mirrors, central locking system, power window mechanisms installed in all four windows, instrumentation panels, front and side grills and tool kits.

The theft came to light at about 6:30 am when Trehan came out and saw his car resting on stones and bricks. The cops, who were promptly informed about the incident, arrived after around 25 minutes. They inspected the scene and called in fingerprints experts to pick up clues.

Trehan said petty thieves from nearby Attawa village had been a constant source of worry in the area. He accused the police of not being able to curb thefts in the area forcing residents to install CCTV cameras at their houses.

Sector 36 police station SHO inspector Anokh Singh said a case of theft in today’s incident had been registered and the cops would go through the video footage to identify the culprits.



Contentious projects given a quiet burial
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
With the UT administration scrapping the Amusement Park project, the last nail in the coffin of its ‘mega projects’, aimed at propelling the city into the metro league and turning it into a tourist hub, has been driven.

Though the controversial projects may now be a thing of the past yet their ghost will continue to haunt administration officials involved in allotting land to realtors as they would remain under the scanner of several central agencies, including the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The mega projects, a brainchild of former Punjab governor and UT administrator SF Rodrigues, who pushed them by going out of his way, appeared to be jinxed from the very start. In fact, the lid on the projects was blown off by The Tribune expose on Medicity on October 26, 2008.

In subsequent months details gathered under the Right to Information Act by certain prominent citizens’ groups put the administration on the mat on the mega projects front with allegations of large-scale irregularities in allotment of land to major real estate firms by officials.

Besides Medicity, the Amusement Park and Film projects City ran into rough weather by RTI disclosures. Relations between Rodrigues and his adviser, Pradip Mehra, reached their nadir on account of differences over the projects.

Later, taking into cognisance media reports, the home affairs ministry, the union territory’s controlling ministry, ordered a probe by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). In the meantime the land allotment to IT majors in the administration’s flagship Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park project came under the scanner of a special audit team of the ministry, which brought the administration’s land allotment policy under a cloud.

And, following the CVC’s recommendations, the CBI registered preliminary enquiries into the Amusement Park and the Film City projects to probe the role of various officials involved in land allotment.

The lone survivor

After initial hiccups regarding alteration of already agreed upon terms and conditions of the contract by certain bidders, the Education City is the only ‘mega project’ that has weathered the storm of controversies. A couple of allottees had already begun building their structures aimed at bringing some of the best educational groups to the Sarangpur institutional area.



IT Park Mess
Sleepless nights ahead for many
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Certain senior officers associated with the Rajiv Gandhi Information Technology Park will be losing their sleep because the terms of reference for the special committee constituted by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has sought names and extent of involvement of officers involved in irregularities associated with the project.

The Arun Ramanathan inquiry appointed by the MHA has been asked to probe the role and extent of involvement of various officers of the UT Administration.

Information about the terms of reference in the inquiry had been sought by HS Johl, president of the Manimajra Farmers Welfare and Environment Protection Society. The inquiry has been asked to identify officers who were responsible for the irregularities pointed out in the audit report.



Phone lottery scams swamp city
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
On May 19 IP Singh, a computer hardware dealer in Sector 35, responded to a missed call that his cellphone showed had come a day earlier. The caller at the other end of the line said: “You have won Rs 10 lakh in a lucky draw by a leading mobile phone company. Come and collect your money near the PCA stadium in Phase VIII, Mohali”.

What raised Singh’s suspicion was that the address given was wrong. When he told the caller the stadium was located in Phase IX and began asking for his details the caller snapped the line.

The computer savvy Singh was a survivor of an attempt to defraud him of a huge amount of money. Om Sharan Sehgal, a former principal of Punjab Engineering College, was one among the many who have fallen into the trap and lost Rs 23.48 lakh. The swindlers had promised him Rs 56 crore in return. The list of duped residents include the wife of a former ADC in the UT administration and an MBA student in Mohali.

One common thread that has run through these calls to city residents in the recent past is that all of them have been traced to Pakistan. The IDD country code dispayed on the phone is 0092, which is that of Pakistan.

In the incidents involving the ADC’s wife and the MBA student the police was lucky in nabbing two Nigerian nationals. They were caught because they came personally to accept the money. Most of the other cases are being traced to overseas operators, which makes it virtually impossible for the local cops to establish the origin of the racket.

A senior police official said on condition of anonymity: “The use of information technology makes the entire exercise very difficult for the police. Hacking accounts of the public has become an international reality and there is no established success on tapping and following sources of doubtable mail from different parts of the country, leave aside the international domain”.

Sources close to the Chandigarh police’s cybercrime investigation cell said once the money and information is transferred it is hard to locate the fraudsters.

“They are expert in concealing their identities while using the Internet and mobile phones. They route their calls and, moreover, it isn’t easy to link them with the crime with strong evidence. We have to depend on other countries and even the cyber laws are not uniform in the world”, said a police officer.



Tragedy revisits Chandigarh family
Santosh Aggarwal lost her daughter Meenu Gupta in Mangalore crash
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
The Mangalore air crash yesterday has brought tragedy to the Aggarwal family of Chandigarh, which lost its 47-year-old daughter. Her body is charred beyond recognition and it will require a DNA test to establish the identity of the body.

Meenu Gupta, who was born and brought up in Chandigarh, was settled in Dubai. On Saturday she was travelling from Dubai to Mangalore on her way to Manipal where her son Siddharth was studying medicine.

Her brother Dr Sameer Aggarwal, an orthopaedic surgeon at the PGI, Chandigarh, has left for Mangalore to collect the last remains of his sister.

For Meenu’s mother, Santosh Aggarwal, it is a repeat tragedy. Earlier in 1998 her son, his wife and their two children died in a car accident near Moga. She had still not come out of that shock when another tragedy struck her with the death of her daughter.

According to Rajat Singla, a relative, the family members are in a deep state of shock. They could not believe that the tragedy will strike them yet again. Santosh has not spoken anything since she learnt about the death of her daughter.

Rajat said Meenu had taken the flight from Dubai for Mangalore from where she was to meet her son Siddharth (18) who was doing MBBS in Manipal Medical College there.

Meenu was a student of MCM DAV College for Women in Sector 36, Chandigarh. Later on she did M.Sc from Punjabi University, Patiala.

Meenu was married to Rahul Gupta in 1983 and later migrated to Dubai. Dr Rahul is a radiologist and has two hospitals there.



Finally, city Air Force Station to have surveillance radar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
After decades of existence, the Chandigarh Air Force Station is finally getting a radar to monitor the surrounding airspace and keep a track of the overhead air traffic.

Referred to as Search and Rescue Equipment (SRE), the radar is expected to be operational in about six months.

With an international airport coming up adjacent to the military airfield, the requirement of an SRE is vital.

Construction for a four-storey high structure, which would house the equipment and crew room with the radar antenna mounted on its top, is under way and is scheduled to complete within three months. Thereafter, the radar and its associated paraphernalia would be installed and calibrated, sources said.

The SRE would enhance the situational awareness of the air traffic control. “At present, a controller can only hear overhead traffic, but the SRE would enable him to see the exact location of aircraft,” an officer said.

The number of domestic flights in and out of Chandigarh and overhead international traffic has been rising. An air force base with a civilian enclave attached, the air traffic services here handle 26 landings and take-offs by scheduled airlines daily, in addition to operations by the IAF, state government operators and charters. There was a time when there was just one commercial flight using the civilian enclave.

In fact, arrival and departure schedule of the scheduled airlines had been posing problems for the local airport authorities, as only two aircraft can be parked within the enclave. Often some arriving aircraft have had to wait for 20-minutes on the end of the runway till a departing aircraft made the space available. Sources said schedules of some airlines were being reworked.

About five years ago, a new international routing created to decongest Delhi airspace and to provide a near straight line of light across India from northwest to South-East Asia has made the Chandigarh airspace busier than ever. Amritsar-Chandigarh-Patna is the general axis of the route and minimum altitude to be maintained on this route is 30,000 feet.

A faulty instrument landing system in Chandigarh, that enables approaching aircraft to line up with the runway and maintain the correct angle of decent, particularly during bad weather, has been another issue that has been hanging fire.


Open House Response
Effective policing needs public hand

Instead of blaming youth, for any law and order problem, it is prudent to tap raw energy of the young and channelise it into an effective work force for constructive work. The planners and executive, despite their experience, need to understand that closed door meetings of top police officers, without a touch with ground reality and the public, does not mean anything.

If managed well, youth can best deliver the job of moral policing, particularly in parks all over the city, these days. Hundreds of couple, in compromising positions, can best be chided or guided by their age group people.

The Resident Welfare Associations (RWA.s), particularly the youth, need to work in coordination with the police to arrive at a work strategy where everyone is made to believe that he is a part of the system that governs them.

It is pertinent to mention that in a recent meeting held under the chairmanship of the Station House Officer (SHO) Police Station, Sector 19, all the participants agreed to common reforms for an effective policing in the area. We have decided to: upgrade the Police Beat Boxes which will also have contact numbers of SHO and other police personnel manning the area; police patrolling of our streets, particularly during night hours; 'nakas' in sectors during the evening hours; and Door to Door campaign, along with officials of the police to check that whether the Paying Guest Accommodation in the sector are registered or not, as per the Rules of the Estate office.

Citizen participation will really reduce the crime in the sectors and the move will be a relief to the senior citizens, in particular. In addition to it, Chandigarh Adminstration recently decided to install security gates, at the sectors entry. Residents have correctly pointed out that each sector has numerous entry and exit points and criminals never use the gates, in any case.

The administration needs to specify, at the outset, as to who will be bearing the cost of installing the gates and the salary of the security staff. Honestly speaking, the administration needs to rethink on installing gates at certain entry and exit points in sectors. Each gate will be wastage of hard earned money of the residents, I feel.

I think it is unfair to paint the entire police as black, which it appears in the media and different other fora. Residents of the city are not very forthcoming in working with the police. There is very poor citizen participation. Our city has a track record of being among the safest cities, despite a burgeoning population.

Sachin Sharma,Sector-21 Chandigarh.

CCTV for neighbourhood watch

Robbers, burglars and dacoits are shamelessly ruling the roost in the tri-city without fear of any authority. Despite the fact that the law enforcing agencies are doing well, there is a tremendous increase in crime, as the newspapers reveal, every morning.

I am sure the law enforcing agencies realize that complicating the matters is the reality of the day that the miscreants are becoming more and more innovative in delivering their insalubrious deeds. Causes may be different, however, the result of instability and fear is common.

Without much argument on the existing ground situation, night patrolling needs to be intensified, regulated and better coordinated. All the sectors need to install CCTV cameras to keep track of suspicious movements. Greater emphasis on community interaction help in easier neighbour response, in case of an emergency.

Gurmit Singh Saini,Mohali.

Don't keep suspect movement under wraps

The incidents of burglaries and snatchings, in the city, are rising at an alarming rate. Apart from threatening the safety of city residents, it has questioned the level of security and the efficiency of the police forces. Also, the number of motor thefts increasing day by day, is a matter of serious concern. If this is not taken seriously, the alarmingly rising graph is bound to give rise to a dangerous environment in the city.

The lackadaisical attitude on the part of police forces will further embolden the culprits. Both the residents and the police need to co-operate fully to stop these unfortunate happenings. The residents need to stay alert and should avoid going to secluded areas or staying out late night. They need to be careful while parking their vehicles, locking them properly, thus not making an easy way for the thieves to whisk them away, with a little effort. People need to highlight their problem, immediately, instead of sitting and watching for a heavenly interference. Without sermonizing, long, I can only say that no system, in the current contexts of lifestyle and growing population, can work without a direct interface of the residents with the police.

Arpan,UIET Panjab University,Chandigarh.

Don't single out police

Comparisons with the past don't show any police preparation for the present. Population of the city has more than doubles in the last two decades and obviously police force needed a corresponding increase. The ground reality is very bad, particularly in the periphery. While analyzing the safety, I think it is very wrong to blame a single community. It has been seen that even urbane well to do youth have been involved in crimes like robberies, chain snatching and kidnappings. The computerised list of habitual offenders and charge sheeter should be available to all police stations interconnected by networking.

The involvement of Mohali and Panchkula police in this system in a similar way is very crucial. Role of area chowkidar is not being adequately explored or utilized, on ground in the city. "Chowkidars' are known to be the best information providers about any area which can be of immense help to the area police. Pre-empting a crime is as important or rather more important than the action after crime. Measures like modernisation of force , installing of CCTVs etc ,will make sense only incase a proper system was in place. Most importantly, pre-emptive measure demand a greater attention in allowing unfortunate incidents of crime.

Dr Inder Pal Singh Sahni,Medical Officer, Deptt of Commumity Medicine PGI,Chandigarh

Save the South

Southern sectors in the UT, by the very nature of the distinct and unique set-up of Housing Board flats and group housing societies, are very densely populated in comparison to Northern Sectors by way of population in area per square yard. The UT Administration, by way of setting up matching police stations, booths and beat boxes, is sadly lagging.

Without much argument, even the police data would show that number of thefts, lootings, snatching and related crime in Southern sectors was gradually rising. Apart from setting up adequate police stations, keeping in mind the ratio of habitation, the police needs to incorporate additional measures in its routine job.

Following a chain of discussions in our forum, we would like to apprise the administration about the requirement of well equipped beat boxes and more public-police interaction. The administration needs to pool in the effort by providing better facilities in the markets in the southern belt.

Not directly related to policing, however, the administration needs to pool in by greater attention towards related aspects of clearing the shrubs, ensuring fully functional street lights and take resident welfare associations into the loop of making plans for future policing.

Rakesh Chopra,Press Secretary,,Joint Action Committee for Development of Sectors 50, 51 and 63.



NRIs bring life to PU old-age home
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Panjab University’s cash-starved old-age home project, which could not take off due to lack of funds, seems to have caught the attention of several alumni overseas who are now generously pooling funds for the project.

The financial bottleneck in the project appears to be fading now with nearly 25 alumni from Canada pooling in Rs 5 lakh each for the old-age home.

Likewise, PU alumni-based in the USA are making repeated queries in this regard to the Panjab University Alumni Association (PUAA) for contributing financially.

In December 2009, a statement was issued that the project co-ordinator required a minimum Rs 1 crore to take off. Now, with the NRI alumni of PU showing some interest, the financial hitch appears to dissolve and the project has got a fresh breather.

“A tragic story of an ailing wife of a professor at Panjab University, whose husband died of cancer and whose children were settled abroad, triggered the concept of old-age home in PU. She was taken care of by the family of former Vice-Chancellor RP Bambah,” said PU Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti during the annual alumni meeting at PU.

“We must provide a shelter for the senior citizens who have devoted their entire life to the institute. All of us will contribute,” said Rashmi-Sudha Puri, wife of former PU Vice-Chancellor, MM Puri.

After the incident came to light, a blueprint of the old-age home to be built on the south campus in Sector 25 was prepared and PU Alumni Association’s executive council met in 2009, although invitations sent to various departments at that time didn’t evoke much response.

The old-age home will house elderly alumni, former employees or their parents will be required to contribute Rs 5 lakh as a lifetime fee. To begin with, there will be 20 rooms. The university will provide medical facilities to the inmates of the old-age home at subsidised rates although they would have to pay for food, maintenance etc.



Spurt in crime incidents 
Situation under control, claims police
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Despite spurt in gruesome incidents in the city, the Chandigarh Police does not seem worried. “Everything is under control. There is no increase in the crime rate,” says the police.

UT SSP Sudanshu Srivastava maintains that there is nothing to panic. “We have worked out most of the important cases. Some important cases are yet to be solved. We are keeping a track of these will come to a conclusion soon,” he said.


…but residents feel unsafe
Chandigarh is unsafe to live now, feel city residents when asked by Akash Ghai to comment on the security situation

Reena Kapoor I have been living here for the last 10 years. But over the years, the security situation has worsened. Criminals are roaming freely and neither the denizens nor their property is safe here. A few years ago, I used to go out alone anywhere. But now I dare not. Wearing gold jewellery and carrying purses is akin to giving an open invitation to criminals. Contrary to its claims, the Chandigarh Police is not functioning up to mark.
— Reena Kapoor

Raj Batra Time has come when you can no longer rely on the police as far as the safety of local residents is concerned. The spurt in crime incidents shows that criminals do not fear the police. Shootouts, vehicle lifting, thefts and even murders have become a matter of routine. The police should initiate effective measures to check the crime rate as well as to imbibe the confidence among city residents. 
— Raj Batra, a resident of Sector 46

 NavdeepThe city police is known for issuing challans but is least bothered about effective night patrolling. Though I am young, I still feel afraid to go out at night. You cannot even leave your house unattended these days. In my view, the police should maintain a list of drug addicts, especially in slum areas and colonies to check crime. There is also a need to increase the police force.
— Navdeep, a resident of Sector 51

 Karan SinghThe situation has been deteriorating in the city with every passing day. You are not safe even inside your house while your valuable assets like cars, scooters, motorcycles are always at risk as they are parked outside. I have been living here for the last 35 years, but now I can say that security standards have deteriorated. Rich brats are another problem here which needs to be checked.
— Karan Singh, a resident of Sector 36 

Major incidents in last 6 months

December 20: Some motorcycle-borne criminals robbed Rs 3 lakh from Bengali Sweets at Mani Majra after firing shots in the air. 

March 18: Murder of a 56 year-old watchman Ram Singh was murdered at Industrial area in a loot incident. 

April 13: A firing incident took place in front of DAV College, Sector 10, in which some students of the college had injured their college mate,Harsher Singh, just before he was on his way to take his final examination of BA-II. 

April 24: Nineteen-year-old migrant Pintu was stabbed to death by his three friends at Dariya village following a dispute over payment of a mobile phone. 

April 20: Four snatching incidents in just 45 minutes at four different places in the city. Two thefts, one duping incident were reported on the single day. 

April 29: A youth, Ram Sharma, was found murdered in a park at Sector 40. 

May 1: Two private security guards — Sucha Singh and Gurdial Singh — were brutally murdered by some drug addicts.



Dadu Majra pays for city’s garbage 
Stink, swarm of flies make life hell for residents
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Even as the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation and the JP Associates are busy in the blame game over the processing of city's garbage, residents of the Dadu Majra Colony, located near the garbage dumping ground, are forced to live under unhygienic conditions.

cover spikes of a cycle tyre and residents hold protest against dumping of garbage at the Dadu Majra on Sunday
cover spikes of a cycle tyre and residents hold protest against dumping of garbage at the Dadu Majra on Sunday. 

While flies and mosquitoes in the area have turned the living conditions of the residents into hell, more than 50 affected families assembled at the dumping ground and raised slogans against the MC authorities.

It was only on Friday when debating over the issue former Mayor and councillor from Dadu Majra Kamlesh said the non-functional plant had forced the residents to live in awful conditions and residents living around were suffering from skin problems and eye ailments.

Though Municipal Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria claims that the situation arose after the plant stopped adopting the proper procedure to process the garbage, the JP Associates, which is managing the plant, claimed that the MC had failed to segregate the garbage.

The affected residents, on the other hand, allege that the plant management as well as MC authorities had tuned a blind eye to their problems. Neither the garbage was being sprayed with medicines nor was sand being put on it to do away with the stink

Cooking and eating food has become difficult in the presence of flies around. Some area residents have also developed breathing problems. The situation has tuned from bad to worse. Whenever the desert cooler is switched on, the stink enters the house making it difficult to sleep at night also, said area residents.

The affected families have asked to the administration to change the name of Dadu Majra to "Makhhi Majra", said Naridner Singh, general secretary of the Residents' Welfare Association.



Residents living on upper floors worst hit
Kulwinder Sangha
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 23
The government’s tall claims of making Mohali into another Singapore have fallen flat, as residents of the town cry for adequate supply of water in summers with authorities concerned failing to meet even the basic requirement.

Against the present peak summer demand of 23 million gallons a day (mgd), the Water Supply and Sanitation Wing was supplying only 13.2 million gallons a day (mgd), including 10 mgd from Kajauli water works. Residents would have to wait till next summer if the announcement made by the Mohali MC to bore new tubewells was to be believed.

Three agencies - the Municipal Council, Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and the Water Supply And Sanitation Wing - have failed to provide adequate supply of water to the residents.

Those living on the upper floors were the worst affected, as water did not reach that level and they were forced to carry water, especially for drinking purposes, from the ground floor. Complaints of muddy water being supplied are also received every now and then from various parts of the town.

Harbhajan Singh, resident of Phase XI, said that he was facing water shortage even when he was living on the ground floor. His overhead water tank, which is at the same level as the first floor remains empty. For the past three days, residents of Phase X have been facing the problem. Sukhminder Singh, resident of Phase X, complained that the shortage of water was more due to the PCA Stadium, which was consuming a large quantity of water. He said the PCA authorities were earning profit from matches at the cost of the amenities meant for the residents.

Not only the Southern part of the city, Parveen Kaur, resident of Phase VII, said that they were facing acute shortage of water for the past two days.“ Hardly any water was supplied in the past three days and we had to manage the daily chores with the water we had stored”, she added. Amrit Kaur, resident of Sector 68, said the pressure of water remained low as a result of which overhead tanks could not be filled. Water had to be pumped from underground tanks. The supply time was also restricted because of which the residents suffered.

Muddy water was being supplied in the Industrial Area. Vice-president of the Mohali Industries Association RP Singh said that some employees had fallen ill a few days ago after which he had stopped them from consuming tap water and had to arrange water for drinking purposes. HPS Dhillon, Executive Engineer, Water Supply, said the infrastructure was old there was a big gap between the demand and supply. The problem of muddy water was due to the old pipe water supply line.

While the Water Supply And Sanitation Wing provides water to a major part of the town, the civic body takes care of the supply to the Industrial Area, Phases VI to IX, and GMADA to Sectors 66 to 69.



Man dies in freak accident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 23
A mistake made by 55-year-old Roshan Lal cost him his life as he accidentally consumed Sulphos tablets instead of his regular medicine late last night.

Roshan Lal, resident of Shamtu village, Barwala, was suffering from tuberculosis (TB) and high blood pressure (BP). He was getting treatment from General Hospital, Sector 6, for his ailment in the past several months.

He was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where the doctors declared him brought dead. The body was handed over to the family today after the postmortem examination.



A treat for circus lovers

A mahout sprays water over elephants at the venue of Asiad Circus at Phase VIII, Mohali.
A mahout sprays water over elephants at the venue of Asiad Circus at Phase VIII, Mohali. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Animals forming a part of the Asiad Circus have been a treat for the local population, particularly young children. The children could be seen having fun while watching elephants bathing and enjoying themselves. “It is fun when certain times the elephants throw water on us,” says Jashanpreet Singh, a class IV student.

Organisers of the circus were on their toes, while making arrangements for the safety of the onlookers.

Lalli and Roopa, both female elephants, are the favourite among circus artistes, particularly of an accompanying group from Africa. It is going to be a fun time for the circus freaks for the coming five weeks.

Bal Bhawan auditorium dons new look

There is some food for thought for the amateur theatre groups and government agencies intending to hold small performances in Chandigarh. The ramshackle auditorium of the Bal Bhavan, Sector 23, has donned a new avatar with newly-installed air conditioners, bigger stage, fixed chairs, good sound system, besides aesthetic ambience.

Priced at about one-fourth of the rate of the Tagore Theatre, the centrally-located auditorium will meet the long-standing demands of the theatre groups, who have been demanding a rollback in the Tagore Theatre rentals.

The amateur theatre groups should make most of the Bal Bhawan auditorium by holding performances there. A small beginning will go a long way making optimum utilisation of lakhs of rupees spent on the renovation. In fact, the Chandigarh Administration should set the ball rolling.

New bypass, source of nuisance

The new bypass to Panchkula through Hallomajra has become a source of nuisance for commuters.Despite spending crores of rupees on providing the new access, the level crossing at Mauli Jagran has become a bottleneck. With increase in the frequency of trains from the Chandigarh railway station, the level crossing remains closed resulting in long queues of vehicles waiting on both sides of the level crossing. While four-wheeler drivers mostly wait in the queue, two-wheeler drivers block the level crossing. The cops posted do little to ensure that there were no traffic blockades.

Cop not bothered

UT SSP SS Srivastva checked the location of station house officers (SHOs) of all 11 police stations in the city during a late night patrolling on Friday night. The SSP through a wireless checked the location of the SHOs, who responded to his calls telling about their exact locations. At the same time, information about a snatching incident was flashed on the wireless. An official, who was on the patrolling duty, checked with the operator and told him to inform where the incident happened. The operator began giving the description of the suspects, but the official was bothered about the area.

“I am asking you about the area and not details of the suspects,” he yelled. On knowing about the exact location, the official heaved a sigh of relief because the incident has not occurred in his area. “Its fine when it is not in my area. It’s time to relax.”

PU’s witty artists

Students of Panjab University are champions at defacing posters of student leaders put up at all corners on the campus. Moustaches, beards and elongated ears of these leaders have become a common sight. PU student leaders may be accused of defacement of the campus buildings by putting up these posters, but the university students are no less in defacing these posters. Are the students simply doing it for fun or mocking the dirty politics of the leaders? The answer is best known to the university’s witty artists, who deface the posters.

Contributions by Sanjeev Singh Bariana, Pradeep Sharma, Anil Jerath, Ramanjit Sidhu and Neha Miglani.



20-year-old commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 23
A 20-year-old boy Navin Rana committed suicide at Haripur village in Sector 4 by hanging himself from a ceiling fan here this morning.

The police has registered the case under Section 174 of the IPC and the body has been handed over to the family members after the post-mortem was conducted at the Sector-6 General Hospital.

According to sources, no suicide note was recovered from the spot.

The incident came to light when Navin’s father Dilbahadur Rana, who had gone to his native in Hissar, along with other family members for the past one week, returned today around 8.30 am and found the door locked from inside.

He repeatedly knocked the door and after getting no response from his son broke open the door and was shocked to see his son hanging from the ceiling fan.

The police said one of the neighbours had seen Navin drinking water from a water pitcher outside his room.

They further informed that deceased had also spoken to his father around 6.30 in the morning and his father claimed that deceased sounded fine and did not expect him to take such an extreme step.

The police said Navin, who was working as a part-time driver is survived by his parents, elder brother and sister. He was talking to someone on phone during the entire event, said the official.



Military Police helpline

Chandigarh, May 23
The Army has established a Military Police helpline, with a common number, 155200, that can be accessed across the country to provide assistance to military personnel. The number is available at Military Police Control Rooms and is instituted to provide immediate assistance and be instrumental in solving and mitigating crisis being faced by military personnel, according to an official release.

It will provide a facility for the civilian police and the public to contact the Military Police to provide first hand information of any situation where military persons are involved. — TNS



6,000 take PU CET
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Nearly 6,000 students appeared in Panjab University’s Common Entrance Test (CET) held for admission in various departments of the university in the session 2010-2011.

Out of these, 1,857 students appeared for law entrance, 297 for hotel management, 284 for biotechnology, 130 for computer science and nearly 5,000 students appeared for science subjects to take admission in PU honour school.

According to the controller of examination (COE), the exam was conducted at 17 centres for which a total of 6,592 candidates had applied. The percentage of the candidates who actually appeared for the CET was about 88-89 per cent of the total number of applicants.



30,000 take IAS prelim exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
Nearly 30,000 students appeared today for the preliminary round of the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) exam at nearly 40 centres in the tricity.

While the optional exam was found easier as compared to the last year’s examination, the compulsory paper of general studies (GS) deviated from the usual expected pattern. The paper contained more questions on metal ability, economics and Indian constitution, while the questions on science and geography subjects were not common.



Science camp for rural kids at PU
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 23
For the first time today Mayank Sharma, a class XI student from a rural school near Kakrala village, Patiala, spoke on stage in presence of a jam-packed audience at the mathematics auditorium in Panjab University.

Unlike his counterparts, who preferred to relax at home in their summer break, Mayank was fascinated by a glimpse of the cyclotron (a particle accelerator) in the university about which he had “only read” in his science books.

Turning the monotonous theory classes of science subjects into demonstrations and practical sessions by experts in the respective fields, Panjab University is currently hosting a residential five-day “Inspire science camp” for schoolchildren, particularly rural kids with not much access to technology and laboratories.

Meritorious students like Mayank, who are mostly from rural schools, have been invited to the camp, where lodging, travelling and meals are all free for them.

The camp is being organised as a part of the “inspire scheme” of the Union Ministry’s department of science and technology, under which several scholarships are also being awarded to gold medallists up to postgraduate level.

“Clarity of basic concepts in science was the main attraction. We enjoyed watching the cyclotron and museums in the university. I aspire to get into one of the engineering departments in PU,” said Jaspreet, a class XII (non-medical) student from Ropar. “Every morning we are made to revise last day’s session, to help use the concepts properly,” added Amarpal, a class XII (medical) student.



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