C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


22-yr-old girl found murdered
Body bore injury marks, was physically abused
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
In a gruesome incident, a 22-year-old college-going girl and a resident of Sector 38 (West), was found murdered at a short distance from her house last night.

Going by the visible signs of injury on her forehead and bruises all over the body, Neha Ahlawat was purportedly physically abused before being bludgeoned to death.

The victim was found lying around 11.55 pm in a semi-nude condition in shrubs just outside the entry gates of the residential area of Sector 38 (West). Her Honda Activa scooter was found parked nearby. The police has recovered a blood-stained cement block near the body. Her T-shirt was also found torn. The tools of her scooter were scattered and its key was stuck in the side lock of the vehicle.

Although a taxi stand is located near the spot, nobody witnessed anything unusual last night. “Except for one or two drivers who were in the taxi office, the rest were away at that time,” said a taxi driver. The anxious parents made several calls on Neha’s mobile phone but all calls remained unanswered after their daughter, who went for tuition to Sector 15 at 6 pm, did not return home.

“When nobody picked up the phone, we contacted the police after making several rounds of the area and even tracing the route from her place of tuition to home,” said Rajbir Ahlawat, father of the victim. Normally, she used to return home at around 8.30 pm, he said.

Rajbir claimed that it was his son, Arun, who located the body and informed him before they shifted her to the PGI, where she was declared brought dead.

“It seemed that the murder had taken place at some other place and the body was dumped at the site later,” said the maternal uncle of the victim.

DSP (South) Vijay Kumar said: “We are waiting for the post-mortem report to confirm whether the victim was raped or not.” Meanwhile, the victim’s father said a resident in the locality had claimed that he had seen Neha talking on the phone at around 8 pm. “I went to the market and saw her talking on the phone. When I returned after around 20 minutes, she was still talking on her mobile phone,” the resident is believed to have told the father. Police sources said that according to the call details of her mobile phone, Neha had been talking to a friend, who is also said to be the brother of her friend. Sources added that the boy had been interrogated and he had told the police that they had talked on phone for around half-an-hour.

Neha, who was going for a English speaking course at Sector 15, is said to have gone at her friend’s Jyotsana place in Sector 40 after her tuition class at around 7 pm and left the place at around 7.45 pm yesterday.

Leads from phone call

According to the victim’s close friend, Kanika, she made a call at Neha’s mobile phone at around 10.30 pm and someone had picked up the phone. “On being inquired, the person, who was a male, told that he was talking from Badhedi village and had just bought the mobile for Rs 500 from some unknown person. After that, the phone was switched off,” said Ragbir Ahlawat, quoting Kanika.

Chronology of events

5.45 pm: Neha Ahlawat left her home on her scooter for tuition at Sector 15.

7.15 pm: She reached her friend’s house in Sector 40.

7.45 pm: She left her friend’s house.

8 pm: Neha was seen talking on her mobile phone in 38 (West), where she was found murdered.

9.30 pm: Her parents and brother started searching for her as she did not return.

11.55 pm: Arun, brother of Neha, found her scooter parked near the taxi stand, which is hardly a km away from her house, and spotted her body.

12.30 pm: She was taken to the PGI where she was declared brought dead.



Man shot dead after chase
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Khamano (Fatehgarh Sahib), July 31
Armed assailants lynched a 32-year-old man at Bhattian village near Sanghol after chasing his vehicle.

The attackers repeatedly hit the man’s vehicle till it overturned and then attacked him with swords and sticks. Later on, they shot him dead at point-blank range.

The deceased has been identified as Gurdeep Singh Rana, a resident of Ghudani Khurd village in Ludhiana. He, along with three others, was on their way in a Bolero Jeep to meet an advocate in Chandigarh. The other three also sustained injuries and are undergoing treatment at a hospital in Fatehgarh Sahib.

According to police officials, the attackers and victims had been fighting with each other over petty issues for the past several years.

The victims had attacked their opponents near Ladda Kothi village in Sangrur about a year-and-a-half ago and injured one of them. One of their accomplices, Jagjit Singh, a resident of Ghudani village in Ludhiana, is undergoing imprisonment at Malerkotla Jail for the attack.

Both parties had come to attend a court hearing at Dhuri on Friday where they entered into heated arguments with each other. Following the arguments attackers decided to eliminate them and started chasing their victims on the Chandigarh-Ludhiana road. Fearing danger the three men in Bolero made frantic calls to the police for help while their opponents were chasing them. The attackers, who were chasing them in three vehicles, hit their vehicle repeatedly till it overturned.

While three of them escaped after sustaining injuries one of them, Gurdeep Singh Rana, was shot dead after severe beating. Those injured have been identified as Taj Mohammad of Ghudani Kalan village; Harinder and Talwinder of Ghudani Khurd village.



Slum kids ‘denied’ admission in govt schools
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Three days after the municipal corporation (MC) left about 40 slum children of a crèche and a vocational training centre run by YTTS, a city-based NGO in Palsora, without shelter, many parents today alleged that their children had been denied admission to government schools which, sources said, was a violation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

Parents, all of them coming under the below poverty line category, today sat in protest along with their children and teachers in Palsora to express their dismay over the matter.

Sharing his experience with a government school, Raju, a parent, who operates a hand cart (rehri), said, “I am uneducated but I want my children to study. I had got them admitted to a government school, but my children were thrown out after a few months when I had taken them to my native place.”

On returning, he was told that his children could not be admitted to the school. With nowhere to go, he approached THE YTTS centre after his children, Krishan and Kiran, aged six and four, respectively, were denied admission. He alleged that his request was turned down after the school authorities kept seeking different certificates. “I am illiterate so I was unable to complete the documents. I want my children to study. Even with my meagre earnings, I have ensured that my children get tuition. However, the non-cooperative attitude of the administration is making it tough for them to study,” said a visibly upset Raju.

“First my children were thrown out of the government school. Now, they are studying in this NGO again. The authorities concerned have thrown my children out. When they want votes, politicians come to us and when we need them they are no where to be found,” said an agitated Raju.

Lt-Col Ravi Bedi, chief functionary of YTTS, said, “Admitting children in a school is not an easy job when the parents are uneducated. We have to meet principal of these schools time and again. Though the Right to Education Act has become a law, we have a long way to go to make it work at the grassroots level.”

In response, UT DPI (Schools) Sunil Kumar said, “You bring the man to me whose children have not been given admission. There can be several reasons for not giving admission to children. Maybe that particular school didn’t have space to admit more children.”

Even Madhu, a domestic servant, faced the same problem when she took her daughter to a government school. Confirming that her daughter too had been denied admission to a government school, Madhu said, “My daughter Kiran, who is five years old, was denied admission. The school authorities said my daughter cannot be given admission because she is too young. Maybe they do not like the appearance of my daughter as she has only three fingers and a twisted left elbow,” sobbed Madhu.

Children were forced to leave the crèche due to the heavy rains as the room of the centre was locked. Ramu, father of one of the slum children, said, “We leave our children at the centre hoping they will learn something. As it is, the environment in this area is not very hygienic and healthy. The centre is closed and I do not know where to leave my children when I am out for work.”



Tribune Impact
Animal house opening put off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The authorities at the PGI have postponed the inauguration of its animal house indefinitely. Though the PGI did not assign any reason, sources said the function was postponed after a communiqué was received from the Governor House.

Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil was to inaugurate the animal house, which forms part of the PGI’s experimental medicine and biotechnology department at 11.30 am today.

On July 29, The Tribune had reported that the animal house had been functioning for over six months and yet the Chandigarh Housing Board was spending lakhs of rupees on sprucing up and cleaning the entire building merely for its formal inauguration.

Although the PGI had made arrangements for the function, the invitees were informed by the PGI about the postponement of the function at 10.30 today , barely an hour before the scheduled inauguration.



Ex-mayors among 28 acquitted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
After a trial lasting 13 years, a local court today acquitted 28 persons, including two former Mayors of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (CMC), on charges of disrupting the MC General House meeting.

Former Assistant Commissioner RK Rao, MC, had slapped the case on Subash Chawla and Pradeep Chabbra, both former Mayors, Devinder Singh Babla and Kuldeep Sarpanch, both sitting councillors, Kanwaljit Singh Panchi, president of Sector 17 market association, and several other persons on May 29, 1997.

Pronouncing the order, judicial magistrate first class (JMIC) SK Sharma acquitted them, as the prosecution was not able to establish whether 28 accused had disrupted the House meeting or not, as all prosecution witnesses had tuned hostile. Even the complainant could not identify the councillors.

At the time the case was registered, the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) combine were in power and Gian Chand Gupta was the Mayor.

The councillors of the Congress, along with others were protesting against the introduction of paid parking in Sector 17 and an increase in water tariff outside the MC House.

The prosecution alleged that 35 accused at 3 pm entered the assembly hall of the MC and started raising slogans against the decision.

RK Rao had lodged an FIR against 35 persons under Sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 186 (punishment for obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) and 353 (punishment for assaulting or using criminal force against a public servant) of the IPC.

Relieved with the judgment, Congress councillor Devinder Babla, said, “The verdict shows that the case registered against us was false. We have been coming to the courts for the last 13 years and are satisfied.”

The judgment day

The court said, “Here again, none of the prosecution witnesses have deposed about any assault or use of criminal force by any of the accused. Neither has any witness deposed about assault on public servant while executing duty. Thus, intention on the part of the accused remains unproved.”


n Out of the 35 accused, RK Rao identified Subash Chawla and Kanwaljit Singh Panchi during the trial

n Two accused died, while five were declared proclaimed offenders

n Two witnesses turned hostile

n Five judges have changed during the trial

n RK Rao was Additional Commissioner in 1997 and retired as Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh, in 2010



MC House: Where rowdyism is all-pervasive 
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Respecting the conduct and rules of the Municipal Act on the floor of the general house appears to be the last word in the dictionary of municipal councillors of the city, otherwise known for having one of the highest literacy rates in the country.

It is ironic that during the proceedings of the house, a majority of the elected councillors are busy in abusing and humiliating each other for one or other reason. There have at two incidents in the past when the Chandigarh administration had to step in, warning the councillors to watch their conduct.

There have been cases wherein the first-timers, elected and nominated councillors, while ignoring the Mayor’s directive interrupt the ongoing house proceedings.

Adding to this chaos are the councillors who was clueless about the proceedings of the house and perform according to their own whims and fancies on the floor of the house. Even MC officials are not spared as it had become a routine for the elected representatives to “scold” them on the floor of the house.

Last year, when Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla misbehaved with MC commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria during the Finance and Contracts Committee meeting, the latter lodged a complaint in protest against him with the UT Administrator.

In response to his complaint, former Administrator SF Rodrigues issued a letter to the MC Commissioner that all the councillors should be sensitised and asked to behave in meetings so that in future such incidents do not occur.

Former Mayor Harjinder Kaur said it should be made mandatory for every councillor going on study tour to review the working of the corporation. She said that three years back, a proposal was drafted for a councillor-training programme, but it could not materialise due to objection by officials.

Similarly in 2005, when two nominated councillors - PC Sangi and KS Raju - hurled abuses in the house, the UT Administrator issued a show-cause notice to them. Even the Administrator had questioned both the councillors why their councillorship should not be de-notified after such unruly behaviour in the house.

Orientation programme

Commenting on issue, former Mayor Subhash Chawla said: “There is a need for organising a orientation programme for the first-time councillors on the lines of the training programme drafted for the newly elected MLAs and MPs.



Friendship Day
Schools bar students from exchanging gifts
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

All to maintain discipline

I don’t know about celebrating any particular day, but gifts are generally discouraged in our schools be it teachers or students. Whatever a principal does is in the interest of a school.”

— Chanchal Singh, District Education Officer

We are all up for the spirit of friendship, but any such day should not disturb the decorum of schools. At this tender age, students are prone to err, but the responsibility is ours and such steps are a way to maintain discipline.”

— HS Mamik, president, Independent School Association

Chandigarh, July 31
While students seem to be all excited about the Friendship Day, it has failed to strike a chord with a few schools that have not only barred them from exchanging gifts, but even went in for a search exercise to find defiant students.

According to instructions issued by several government and private schools, students were asked to abstain from getting any gifts or organising parties in classroom or canteens. The schoolbags of senior students were thoroughly checked and the gifts were confiscated along with a written complaint being forwarded to parents.

Though being considered unjustified, schools have their own concern behind it. “We are not against any day but it should not be a nuisance. A few days back, two boys had a fight because one of them gave a friendship band to a girl liked by the other. This is a very tender age and students tend to get attracted to each other, so we have to draw a line to control things,” said principal of a government school.

“I got a call from a parent yesterday who told me that his daughter refused to come to school just because he could not buy her a friendship band. The gift culture has created various social and psychological problems for parents,” added a primary teacher of a Sector 26 school.


GMCH gynae dept labours under staff shortage
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

As against the sanctioned strength of 16 senior residents in the department, only six are working

The department handles over 4,000 deliveries every year and on an average deals with 500 births per month

Chandigarh, July 31
While the death of Bulbul’s baby has put a spotlight on the GMSH-16 and exposed its shoddy working, things are no better in the gynaecology ward of the GMCH-32, which faces an acute shortage of doctors.

The hospital’s gynaecology department, which handles over 4,000 deliveries every year and on an average deals with 500 births per month between July and September, is working, as of now, with less than half of the sanctioned staff. The department has a sanctioned strength of 16 senior residents, but only six are working as six posts are vacant and four doctors are on leave.

Admitting that the quality of work and services are affected following the shortage of doctors, insiders reveal that on many occasions, women in labour have to wait in pain for long before being attended by a doctor. “We have been lucky that so far no Bulbul-like mishap has occurred here. But there is no guarantee that it may not happen in the future since we are short staffed and overworked,” said a doctor at the GMCH-32.

Sources reveal that it’s not only the gynaecology department which is suffering from the shortage of senior residents, there are a total of 53 vacancies in the hospital. Sources point out that the situation is worse in the surgery department where only three senior residents are working against the sanctioned strength of 19 posts. There are reportedly 10 vacancies in the general surgery department and six in the neuro surgery department.

Though the tests and interviews to fill these vacancies were conducted over a month back (June 28-29), the selected candidates are yet to be issued appointment letters.

When contacted, director-principal of the institute Dr Raj Bahadur admitted that the appointment letters to fill the vacancies had not been issued so far. When questioned for the delay, he said the there was nothing unusual as the process is lengthy as lots of formalities are to be completed.



Newborn’s Death
Top officials visit GMSH-16
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
UT Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) PS Shergill and Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, director-principal, Dr Raj Bahadur while conducting a fresh inquiry into the death of a newborn following delivery in open, visited the scene of incident at Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, here today.

Both officials reached GMSH at 9 in the morning and along with the victim, Bulbul, and her husband Chhotu took a round of the spots where the couple had visited in the gynaecology ward on July 21 before Bulbul gave birth to her child at the OPD counters, following which the baby had died.

The proceedings were also video graphed.

According to the preliminary post-mortem report of the baby, there was a blood clot in the baby’s skull. UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas had rejected an internal inquiry conducted by GMSH and asked for the fresh probe.

First of all, visiting the labour room, they asked the victim couple to identify the persons who met them on the day of the incident. Chhotu identified Parkas, a security person, following which both officials had a brief questioning session with Prakash.

Then they proceeded towards the OPD counters and rooms of doctors, following which a meeting was held in the office of director, health services, MS Bains.

Bains, however, was not in the office. It is believed that they had taken a few documents in their possession.

The Chandigarh administration, meanwhile, has made arrangements of the stay for Chhotu and his family at the Kisan Bhawan.

When contacted, Dr Raj Bahadur said they tried to enact a scene of the day of the incident today to know the circumstances.

Now, he would prepare a questionnaire to be asked from staff members and eyewitnesses before reaching to any conclusion, and of course, the post-mortem report and histopathology report would also be looked into, he added.



Rain brings respite from sultry weather
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Providing much-needed respite from the sultry weather, moderate showers in the second phase of the monsoon today cheered the residents and eased pressure on the electricity and water supply.

People heaved a sigh of relief as the mercury dipped to a considerable low after the rain. The weather remained pleasant throughout the day as the rain continued in many areas till the afternoon.

For the past three days, there was no relief from the hot and humid weather prevailing in the city. Power cuts and erratic water supply had made the lives of people all the more miserable in many areas.

In the city, the maximum temperature recorded today was 30.6 degrees Celsius, which was 4.4 degrees lower than yesterday’s temperature of 35 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature, recorded as 25.5 degrees, also witnessed a dip of 1.4 degrees compared to 26.9 on Friday. The maximum humidity was recorded around 96%, while the minimum level touched the 71% mark.

Weather is likely to remain like this for the next two days and thereafter the monsoon would get weaker for some days, said Surender Paul, director, India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Meanwhile, people of the city were seen enjoying in the rain. Drivers on city roads were having fun in the rain by parking their cars on roadside.

The showers brought cheers to the farmers also in Punjab and Haryana, as paddy has already been transplanted.

Around 5.2 mm of rainfall was recorded till 1730 hours, the weather office said.

“The rainfall and the cool wind on Saturday caused the temperatures to remain low. It will remain like this for the next 24 hours,” said the duty officer at the Met office.

Weathermen have forecast a generally cloudy sky with moderate to heavy rain or thundershowers in some areas during the next 24 hours.



Over 1.35 lakh file i-t returns on last day
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, July 31
Like always, the last day of filing income tax returns witnessed a huge rush at the special counters set up by the department across the city and the day ended with over 1.35 lakh persons filing their returns.

According to the figures available with the income tax department, around 70,000 assesses from CIT-II (Sector 26 onwards, villages surrounding Chandigarh, Mohali) and 61,446 assesses from CIT-I including Range I, II and III filed their I-T returns up to July 31 this year. A majority of the returns pertained to the salaried class.

Last year, 55,313 assesses from CIT-I (range I, II, III), and 81,000 from CIT-II (Range IV, V and VI) filed their returns till July 31. Taxpayers started gathering at the Bassi building and the Hot Millions building in Sector 17 and special counters at Rajathan Bhavan since morning to file their returns. The IT department added a personal touch to this yearly ritual by making arrangements of tea and coffee for assesses.

There were arrangements for the special staff to deal with the rush and special counters were set up for senior citizens and women. Apart from various counters, there were tax returns payers (TRPs) to assist assesses.

Speaking to the media, Parneet Mahal Suri, additional CIT, Mohali, said that assesses generally complain about lack of facilities while filing returns. Therefore, we decided to make the filing pleasant.



PU prof to dwell on e-learning
Says it can revolutionise distance education
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Dr Ravi K Mahajan of the University School of Open Learning (USOL) has been invited as a key speaker at the 6th eINDIA digital learning 2010 Conference to be held from August 4 to 6 in Hyderabad. The conference, being organised by the Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies and Elets Technomedia Pvt Ltd, will focus on current trends, perspectives, researches, discussions and initiatives of various countries in the field of information and communication technology (ICT) and education.

Dr Mahajan will share his experiences in developing content from the era of correspondence education to distance education and on to e-Education at the conference. When asked about the blemishes, which mar distance education, Dr Mahajan attributed it to peoples’ poor perception and policy makers’ indistinct vision.

On the recently launched National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMeICT), Dr Mahajan said if the government wanted that the mission met the targets, it should bank more on distance educators and create conditions where they felt encouraged to focus on content development.

Dr Mahajan’s tryst with ‘e’ component dates back to 1989 when he played a key role in establishing a computer centre at the then Directorate of Correspondence Courses and, in the process, Panjab University became the first conventional university to go for DTP of lessons. By 1992, he had developed a computer-based learning module of a statistics lecture and demonstrated the learning experiences, now popularly called e-learning.

Contrary to the prevalent user-friendly tools, he had then demonstrated e-learning module by harnessing some features of ‘Fox Pro’ and it was a time when Yahoo or Google were yet to gain ground. Besides developing learning material in print and the audio versions, he provided concept and script for an education film in statistics, which had featured in the nationwide classroom programme of the UGC on a number of occasions.

His assertion is that the inclusion of ‘e’ component will not only make distance learning even more effective and satisfying, but also add to the emerging trends from blended learning in the formal system.



BSNL 3G services yet to pick up speed
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The slick BSNL advertising campaign for it’s 3G (third generation) mobile services starring Deepika Padukone may be promising to “change the lives” of the subscribers with “lighting fast speed”, but the glitches in the services, which has been implemented only partially in the city, has left users high and dry.

“Yes, it does work like lightening, i.e. only in flashes,” says RS Kumar, a resident of Sector 8. “The 3G services neither work where I live nor at my office near the IT Park, so the speed that I get there is only of 2G. However, the services work in flashes while I am driving to my office and back home,” he says, adding that he was planning to switch to another mobile service.

However, Chander Kanta, a resident of Sector 35, who has been using the 3G card (after ingenious modifications), in her newly acquired Ipad, is happy with it. Admitting that the services don’t work in some sectors, she says with download speed of 100 KBPs and more, surfing is quite a pleasure at home. In the same breath, she curses the BSNL and the MTNL for not providing the facility on Iphone while on roaming. “Its frustrating as I have to keep an additional sim card to operate net services on my mobile and Ipad in Delhi as the 3G card doesn’t work there”, she says that this problem is there particularly for Iphone products.

With 8,500 3G users in the city, the BSNL has achieved a two-lakh subscriber base of this service in the Punjab circle. However, with other private mobile operators set to launch similar services soon, it’s going to be tough for the BSNL to match them unless it improves its infrastructure.

Admitting that the 3G services have not yet been implemented completely in the city, Naresh Sharma, BSNL general manager, Punjab circle, says: “Though we have set up 148 base trans-receiver stations (BTS), around 70 more are required for providing complete coverage in the city.”

Maintaining that the delay is setting up the additional BTS was on account of “technical feasibility”, Sharma said for instance in the IT Park, they had sought space from the UT administration and a nod was awaited. He, however, expressed hope that soon the services will be available throughout the city.



Four get Beant Singh Memorial Award
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, July 31
The larger than life image of former Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Beant Singh permeated the Tagore Theatre as the memorial awards, instituted in his memory, were presented at a function organised by Sardar Beant Singh Memorial Sports, Youth Welfare and Cultural Club.

Chief guest Shivraj V Patil, Punjab Governor, accompanied by Tej Parksh Singh, former minister, Ravneet Singh Bittu, MP, and Gurkirat Singh presented memorial awards to four distinguished personalities for contribution in their respective realms.

Those who were honoured included Urdu poet and film producer lyricist Padmabhushan Dr Sardar Anjum, eminent yoga Guru Lal ji Maharaj, Sufi singer Dr Sartaj and Bollywood music director Jaidev Kumar. Jaswant Kaur and other family members were also felicitated by the club.

With a stylish entry, Sufi youth icon Satinder Sartaj doled out his evergreen hit “Sayeen veh saadi”.

Audience enjoyed “ Naa hattiyan te ..” and “ Jadon dhol phatt jaave…”. Be it the romantic “ Filhaal hawavan..” Assin gaye ghuman..” or “Daultan Jag the…”, Sartaj maintained the same pace and pattern for rendition.

While his self written and composed lyrics touched the emotional appeal of Punjabi pastoral life, it lacked the lyrical intensity and serenity of Sufi mysticism, which always revels for the beatific vision of the Lord. Gifted with a magical voice capable of traversing all octaves, Sartaj seemed to be more keen on asserting his poetic prominence. Rakesh Arora anchored the programme.



15-yr-old boy drowned
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 31
A 15-year-old boy drowned in a ditch near a deserted brick-kiln at Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 6, here this afternoon. The boy, who along with his two friends had gone there to play, slipped and fell in the ditch filled with rainwater.

The incident occurred at about 3 pm when the victim, who has been identified as Vijay Kumar, a student of class IX and resident of Indira Colony, Mani Majra, along with his friends, Manoj and Amit, also residents of Indira Colony, had gone there at around 2.30 pm and while playing, Vijay slipped in the ditch. Shocked at the incident, his friends rushed to their houses and informed their parents, who further passed on the information to the victim’s parents.

Vijay’s father, who is working as a motor mechanic in an auto market in Mani Majra, rushed to the spot, along with villagers. They also informed the police and fire department. However, finding no response from the fire department and police, a few people jumped inside the ditch and fished out him at about 4.30 pm with the help of a rope. The victim was immediately rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where doctors declared him brought dead.

Deputy Commissioner Ashima Garg said she would inquire into the matter. She further added that she would also write to departments concerned so that such incidents do not occur in future.

Eyewitnesses said even though the cops had reached the spot at about 4 pm, they just stood on the side and waiting for the villagers to do the saviour act.

Though the villagers claimed that they had informed the cops and fire department earlier, fire officials said they had received the call at 4.05 pm and had immediately rushed one fire tender to the spot.



High voltage damages electronic gadgets
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 31
Residents of Guru Nanak Dev Colony, Dhakoli, today claimed that high voltage after an electricity wire breakdown near the transformer had damaged their electronic gadgets, including a refrigerator, TV sets, cooler and other electronic goods.

The residents alleged that there was a heavy load on the transformer installed in their colony. The electricity department had not divided the load properly. They demanded that the authorities concerned should check kundi connections in the area.

Mahendra Pandey, a shopkeeper, said the high voltage damaged his two fridge, TV, fans and tubelights.

“We have requested the authorities to change the electricity wires and check the load on the transformer,” the residents added.

Powercom SDO HS Sethi stated that the electricity wire might broke down due to kundi connection. “We will check illegal kundi connections and violators would be challaned if found any,” he added.



ATM card cloning
Role of NRI comes under scanner

Mohali, July 31
In the case of “cloning” of ATM cards in the tricity leading to fraudulent withdrawal of card holder’s money, role of Ukarine-based NRI Shinderpal Singh has come under the scanner. The police yesterday arrested Kamajeet Singh, an accomplice of the NRI.

The sources said the NRI had brought the device and technology for ATM cloning from a Southeast Asian country and used to cheat people here. Raids were being conducted to nab the prime suspect. So far at least two major cases of fraudulent withdrawal of about Rs 3 lakh have been traced to the two thugs, who had kept the Chandigarh police and Mohali police on its toes for the past two months.

“The suspects with the help of a device used to copy information from an ATM card while being swapped and then clone the card to make the withdrawals,” said the sources. — TNS



Rs 2-lakh fine slapped on HDFC bank
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed HDFC bank to pay a compensation of Rs 2,12,258, as the bank had sold the complainant’s truck without informing him.

The complainant, Surjan Das, a resident of Kalka, in his complaint stated that he had taken a loan of Rs 6,29,885 from the bank on August 12, 2008, to buy a truck. The said loan was to be repaid in 47 monthly installments of Rs 17,830 each from September 1, 2008.

The bank took possession of the truck on July 26, 2009, for non-payment of installments and it was sold for Rs 6,18,000 on September 23, 2009.



Lawyers’ Strike
Litigants continue to suffer

Panchkula, July 31
Leaving the litigants in lurch lawyers continue to protest against arbitrary style of functioning of one of the judicial officers in the district court complex here today.

The litigants coming from far off places to the district court complex continue to suffer. They were of the view that lawyers should have announced the decision of boycotting the court well in advance.

Ram Sharan, a resident of Kalka, who came with his brother to appear in the court regarding a property dispute with his neighbours, said the case had been pending in the court for the past few years. “I will have to come again on Monday just to know the next date of hearing in the case,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jagpal Singh, president of the Panchkula Bar Association, said they were forced to boycott the court of one of the judicial officers, as the officer concerned had recently misbehaved with some of the advocates.

Jagpal said they would take up the matter with the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana Court and bring to his notice the arbitrary style of functioning of the judicial officer, along with a documentary proof.

He also alleged that mostly there was discrepancy between the oral and written judgement delivered by the officer causing embarrassment not only to the litigants, but also to the lawyers. Demanding the resignation or transfer of the officer, he said they would continue to protest till any action was taken against the officer. — TNS



Installation of Towers
GMADA to act tough with violators
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, July 31
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is all set to take a strict action against those violating norms in connection with the installation of communication towers even as a committee has been formed to help violators to get their structures regularised.

Earlier, notices were issued by the GMADA to more than 50 persons asking them to stop the misuse of premises by installing communication towers in violation of the norms and inform the authorities concerned.

Show-cause notices now have been issued asking the violators why the sites allotted to them should not be resumed under the Section 45 (3) of the Punjab Regional and Town Planning and Development Act, 1995, for misusing the premises. They are being given 15 days to present their views, failing which the resumption proceedings would start.

To facilitate the regularisation process in connection with the installation of communication towers, GMADA has set-up a committee comprising district town planner, architect, sub-divisional engineer (buildings) and officials of the engineering wing.

These members of the committee would ensure that all communication towers were installed as per norms.

Balbir Singh, estate officer, told The Tribune that as per the revised policy for granting permission for installation of communication towers and antennae in areas under the GMADA, these structures could be allowed on built up portions of commercial, industrial and institutional sites and no installation of tower shall be permitted on any listed heritage building or any other building prohibited for any new construction.

He said request for permission or regularisation of the communication towers should be received in the estate office in the form AT-1, along with a bank draft of Rs 1 lakh per tower. Separate applications were to be submitted for each tower accompanied by the consent letter of the owner of the building and structural safety certificate from anyone of the nine institutes mentioned in the revised policy.

An indemnity bond was also to be submitted indemnifying the GMADA in case of accident or any cause arising due to concerned company’s installations.

In case the tower was to be shared by any other cellular operator, an additional amount of Rs 50,000 had to be paid.



Plantation drive by youth club
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 31
The Youth Welfare Club, Baltana, organised a plantation drive at a public park near cremation ground on Choice road here today.

Club president Harpal Singh Pali planted more than 100 saplings. Zirakpur MC vice-president Kulwinder Sohi was the chief guest. A large number of saplings were also distributed among area residents.

During the plantation drive, Kulwinder Sohi said the club members had started their contribution towards the environment protection by planting saplings.



PU evening studies dept
Students idle as teachers remain absent
Told to submit list of absentees to authorities
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
With teachers absenting themselves from classrooms, students of Panjab University’s department of evening studies are left with no alternative but to prepare a list of such teachers.

Students of the department, including a district and sessions court judge, have accused certain senior professors of not taking classes. Surprisingly, these professors are part of special committees formed by the university authorities, office-bearers and senior fellows.

Repeated complaints of continual absence of teachers since the commencement of current academic session have been pouring in at the Dean Student Welfare’s office. Students have been directed by the PU authorities to submit a list of such teachers with evidence.

Speaking to Chandigarh Tribune on condition of anonymity, the session’s judge, who is enrolled in MA (English) course, said, “Not even a single class has been taken in the past one month. One of the teachers said he was not keeping well so could not take classes, while another one takes a class but marks attendance for two.”

He said, “The classes are held in block 3 and the department office is in block 1, students are inconvenienced in going from one block to another to confirm whether a teacher would deliver a lecture or not. The office staff generally has no information about these teachers.”

Another student said, “Since 20 marks are reserved for internal assessment, which are to be awarded by the department teachers, such incidents go unreported.”

When contacted, the newly appointed chairperson of the department, VK Mahajan, said the situation in the department was far better than the previous year and classes would resume within a week.

“Around 13 guest faculties were appointed yesterday (Friday). The timetable can be worked out only after the assessment of exact workload. If there are any teachers who are not taking classes, I will question them and issue a warning notice,” said Mahajan.

“We have already started the system of putting up notice about teachers on leave,” he said, while adding that the classes would resume within a week as they were done with the recruitment of guest teachers.



SMS 9041940523 to rein in ragging
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Opening a new chapter against ragging, a city-based NGO, run by an advocate, has launched a short message service (SMS) for freshers facing harassment from their seniors in educational institutes.

The development is significant as anti-ragging sentiments are running high across the country; and the service comes soon after the Himachal High Court cancelled the bail granted to four Tanda medical college students for ragging to death a student Aman Kachru.

Launching dial “h for help” service, Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate Ranjana Shahi said: “We are committed to eliminate the menace of ragging - an inhuman act capable of causing psychosis and lack of confidence in young minds”.

Accentuating on the adverse effects of ragging, Shahi said: “Students are known to have committed suicides because of the menace. As such, we are launching the helpline for the victims of atrocities by the seniors in the academic institutes.” Any victim, witness or student, having knowledge of ragging can confide by shooting off SMS at “9041940523”. “The informer can narrate the incident, but must give the name of the institution so that we can help.”

Already, the apex court has issued stern directions to check the menace. Taking cognisance of unfortunate, painful and inhuman acts by some students in educational institutions, the Supreme Court issued several directions in the case of Vishwa Jagriti Mission versus Union of India through Cabinet Secretary and others, reported as “2001 (6) SCC 577”. The directions were issued while considering a public interest litigation on ragging in the educational institutions.

The directions include: “At the commencement of the academic session, the institution should constitute a Proctorial Committee consisting of senior faculty members and hostel authorities like wardens and a few responsible senior students to keep a continuous watch and vigil over ragging so as to prevent its occurrence and recurrence; to promptly deal with the incidents of ragging brought to its notice and summarily punish the guilty either by itself or by putting forth its findings/recommendations/suggestions before the authority competent to take decision.”



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