C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Woman robbed of Rs 10,000 in Sec 22 house
Unidentified men hold her child at knifepoint
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Three unidentified men robbed a woman of Rs 10,000 after holding her year-and-a-half old child captive at knifepoint at her home in Sector 22 here this afternoon. The suspects reportedly walked away from there after the crime.

The victim, Hema, who is in her midthirties, told the police two boys came to her first floor residence in the morning and inquired about someone. She said they left after being told they had knocked the wrong door. “I then informed my husband about the visitors. “He left for some work and I went to have a bath leaving my child on a bed”, she added.

When Hema returned to her bedroom she was horrified to see a man, accompanied by two others, holding her child at knifepoint. Shocked, she could not utter a word. The men began ransacking almirahs in the house and decamped with Rs 10,000 lying in the house.

Sector 22 police post in charge subinspector Jaspal Singh Bhullar said the victim claimed the incident occurred around 11 am. However, the matter was reported to the police after over an hour.

Hema told the police the robbers were talking in a “Haryanvi” accent and provided their description to the police. The latter, however, refused to disclose the description saying it might hamper their investigations.

The police has meanwhile filed a case of robbery under section 392 of the Indian Penal Code on the basis of a complaint lodged by Hema.

On October 10 two swindlers allegedly hypnotized a 12-year-old boy forcing him to hand them over 500 grams of gold ornaments valued at about Rs 10 lakh and Rs 6 lakh in cash in Sector 22.

Cops sceptical

A police officer said they were doubtful about the incident going by the sequence of events given by the victim. The investigating officials had also questioned her neighbours who also expressed ignorance about the incident. They said they had not seen anyone coming to the house or any unidentified people roaming in the locality.



Heavy rain heralds onset of winter
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, October 22
The moderate to heavy rainfall that lashed the city today sent the mercury plummeting by 2 degrees Celsius and forced some residents to take out their woollens.

After hovering above normal for the greater part of October, the maximum temperature finally fell, making way for winter. According to the Met department, the night temperature is likely to drop further during the next 24 to 48 hours.

While the minimum temperature remained unchanged at 21.7 degrees Celsius today, the maximum settled at 29.9 degrees. The humidity level oscillated between 83 and 51 per cent. The city received 11 mm of rain till 5:30 pm today.

Met officials attributed this effect to moisture-laden southeasterlies flowing with high velocity into the city since morning. They attributed the chilly conditions in the afternoon due to the shrinking difference between the minimum and maximum temperatures.

“The sky is likely to remain cloudy tomorrow and many parts of the city might receive rains or thundershowers," said an Indian Meteorological Department official.

Met department director Surender Paul said the drop was crucial, as it had been recorded for the first time during this season. “Clouds will prevail in the region. More such showers are predicted in the days to come, especially between October 24 and 26, marking the advent of winter,” he added.

Paul said a “vicious weather circle” was responsible for the prevailing weather conditions. “Day temperatures aren’t rising due to the presence of haze. Cloudy conditions for the past four days are the outcome of the prevailing cold weather conditions. We expect the conditions to improve by way of a further fall in night temperatures,” he added.

It was pitch dark in the afternoon in the city today, as dark clouds hovered over the sky, giving respite from the strong dusty winds.

While the weatherman has predicted a cloudy sky with one or two spells of rain tomorrow, the maximum temperature is likely to hover at around 28 degrees C with the minimum expected to settle at around 18 degrees.

Mohali: Normal life was thrown out of gear when high velocity dust winds were followed by rain showers.

Due to the high velocity winds, trees were uprooted at a number of places thereby disrupting the flow of traffic.

Billboards and signboard at public places were also damaged due to the winds.

Panchkula: Many trees were uprooted due to high-velocity winds that lashed the place for about two hours. However, no loss of life and property was reported from any part of the town.

The city roads presented a grim picture, as the main roads as well as internal roads in the town remained water-logged for a few hours.

The roundabouts of Sector 11-14, 5-11, 2-5 and 6-7 were chocked with water, resulting in vehicular traffic moving at a snail’s pace. Major roads on the Industrial Area, Phase I; Majri Chowk and Ramgarh, too, were water-logged. Vehicles, particularly two wheelers, got stuck in potholes on the roads in the Industrial Area, Phase I, where the roads need special attention from the authorities concerned.

Similar was the situation on the major roads in Kalka and Pinjore blocks. In view of the heavy rain this evening, long serpentine queue of vehicles could be seen on the National Highway-22, as the traffic had slowed down.

Dera Bassi: Heavy rain and hailstorm damaged the crops of paddy, sugarcane and potato.

According to information, farmers of different areas said the paddy that was ready for harvesting got damaged as a result of the hailstorm. Mohinder Singh, a farmer of Tarark village, said his 8-acre crop of paddy and 10 acre of sugarcane crop had been damaged by the hailstorm. This further would result in the loss of production, he added.

Some farmers of Dappar village demanded compensation of the damaged crops after getting the estimate of loss caused by the hailstorm.

Along with this, the rain also affected the paddy crop that was lying unsold in the grain markets.

Flights delayed

The inclement weather delayed Air-India’s Delhi-Chandigarh flight by about 4 hours. Similarly, Kingfisher Airlines’ Jammu-Chandigarh flight was also delayed by over half an hour. Jet Airlines’ Chandigarh flight departed late by 45 minutes. However, train services remained normal throughout the day, railway official said

Power supply hit

Power supply to different parts of Chandigarh and neighbourhood was snapped on Friday afternoon following heavy rain and winds. The supply was disrupted from about 3 pm. It had not been restored till the filing of the report to parts of Sectors 48, 56 and 61, besides many other sectors.

Mohali, also suffered a major power shutdown. Parts of Phases 3B-1, 3B-2, Phase X, XI, XII , 67 and 68, and 69 were without power for six hours. Officials in the electricity department said power supply had been suspended as trees had fallen on transmission lines. This was a precautionary measure, they added.

Power supply to Zirakpur and surrounding villages was also affected due to the high-speed winds. There were reports of power breakdowns in various residential colonies in the town.

Officials of Powercom said power supply to residential colonies in Zirakpur was restored by the evening, while power supply to residential areas of Baltana, fed from the Dhakoli grid, was still to be restored till the filing of this report.



Trees uprooted; phones down in many areas

CHANDIGARH: The unexpected dust storm and heavy rain with black clouds covering the sky turned the day into night in the afternoon today. The high velocity winds left a trail of destruction, with trees damaged or uprooted in several places and electricity and telephone services severely hit.

The destruction further led to road blockades and power breakdowns at various places. Commuters struggled to drive their vehicles and guard against violently shaking trees.

The fire & emergency department as well as horticulture department officials received complaints of trees uprooted at the rear of the fire station in Sector 32, near house numbers 797 and 1008 in Sector 44 A and B, plot number 130 in Industrial Area (Phase I), near the CRPF campus in Hallomajra and at PGI.

Teams of both departments remained on their toes during the evening to clear roads that were blocked due to the uprooted trees. There were also reports of the boundary wall of the Dev Samaj College, Sector 45, being damaged.

Landline phone services in different areas of the city were hit when falling branches of trees snapped telephone cables. Power supply in most sectors was disrupted due to which traffic signals and streetlights stopped working, causing difficulties for vehicle drivers. However, in some areas where the damage to the poles was extensive and tree branches got entangled in wires, repair work will begin only in the morning.

MC horticulture department official Arun Kansal said teams from four subdivisions in the city had already begun work to clear the uprooted trees in their areas. “Even the small branches of many trees had broke down which were being cleared by the team”, he added. The fire department’s assistance was also being sought in clearing the roads.

According to a forest department official a large number of fully-grown trees were uprooted due to high-velocity winds and blocked roads in various places. 



Facebook Incident
Teachers’ thumbs up for community service
Sumedha Saini/TNS

Chandigarh, October 22
Vivek High School’s idea of introducing community service as an alternative to punishments has clicked with the entire education fraternity, which thinks it to be the best way to deal with erring students.

The school, which had earlier suspended 16 class XII students for three months for posting abusive comments on Facebook against a teacher, reduced their suspension yesterday but ordered mandatory community service for them in order to discipline them and teach them a lesson.

The school’s decision has got thumbs up from the heads of city schools who are set to follow suit:

Madhu Bahal“I congratulate Vivek school on taking this step. The community service ensures that a child improves rather than worsening further. Corporal punishment is a thing of bygone days and no matter what the gravity of a student’s offence, a school will never be harsh as to ruin their future. At times, this concern binds our hands but getting students engaged in fruitful work like spending time with special or economically weak children will surely change their outlook.”

— Madhu Bahal, Principal, KB DAV, Sector 7

Atul Khanna“Values like respect and obedience have lost their meaning for today’s generation. I think community service is the best way to inculcate these values in students. Our school has long abstained from punishments because we know it spoils a child’s psychology further. Community service not only makes a student realise his mistake but even ensures that there is a fear of wrong in them."

— Atul Khanna, Director, Straw Berry Field School, Sector 26

Anujit Kaur“Government schools have long been dealing with problem of slapping and disrespect shown to teachers. With corporal punishment being banned they have become completely lawless. The idea of community service is appreciable but it should further be coupled with orientation. Government schools have started counselling sessions and they are yielding results. We will also plan something of this sort and couple it with counselling sessions.”

— Anujit Kaur, GMSSS, Sector 16

Harold Carver“Our school has been following detentions since long where a student is made to do some fruitful work for school in lieu of any offence. It may range from taking care of various display boards or cleaning some school area. The model has been perfect for us and worked for many years.”

— Harold Carver, Principal, St. Stephen’s School, Sector 45

Admn mum

Interestingly, the UT administration, which has till date stepped into almost all matters of private schools, has kept a safe distance from Vivek High School’s Facebook fiasco.

While all efforts to contact otherwise active Home Secretary Ram Niwas proved futile, DPI (S) PK Sharma insisted that it was an internal matter of the school

Feedback system

The UT Education Department has failed to fulfil its seven-month-old promise of reviving the teacher feedback system in schools, which was introduced in 2008 by former DPI (S) SK Setia. Lack of any such system is the key reason for such incidents, as students have no way to express their views against a teacher.


“I know what the children did was wrong, but it was simply because of lack of expression. Teachers don’t teach properly and at times even misbehave. The child cannot voice anything in school and becomes vulnerable to commenting on social networking sites. If action has been taken against a student, one must look at the reasons as to why the teachers have lost respect.”

Other forms of student menace

Slapping teachers
Abusing on social networking sites
Creating hate communities on social networking sites
Creating fake and indecent online profiles of teachers.
Posting abuses in toilets
Deflating tyres and scratching cars of teachers
Boycotting classes
Anonymous letters posted on notice boards
Frequent blank calls on residence numbers of teachers



Sweets manufacturers budge
To abide by admn guidelines
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Not ready to lose out on their festive sales, sweets manufacturers have decided to abide by most of the guidelines as directed by the UT administration. In a meeting held by members of the Wholesale Sweets Manufacturers Association and attended by over 50 members today, it was unanimously decided to do their best to maintain hygiene and put safety standards in place.

The UT administration had yesterday put the sweets manufacturers on a 48-hour deadline for adopting over 15 guidelines, including getting walls painted afresh, fixing tiles up to seven feet, besides taking other measures.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Neeraj Bajaj of Sindhi Sweets, who attended the meeting, said while many of the factories of the sweets manufacturers already have these guidelines in place, those who do not have it, have decided to do whatever best they could do in the next two days.

“We have decided to put air curtains to keep off flies and mosquitoes, get exhaust fans wherever they are necessary, provide clean clothing to workers in the factories, clean utensils and put mousetraps. It was also decided to share what each of us have done in our factories so that we can also learn from each other,” said Neeraj.

“The purpose is to restore faith in sweets. Sweets are associated with happy occasions and we want people to remember those occasions with sweets. Lately, we have earned a bad name for sweets,” he added.

Urging for some leniency, members of the association said they would meet UT administration officials on Monday to urge them to give them a little more time to set the matters right.

Sweet manufacturers reiterated that the UT administration ought to be conducting checks throughout the year instead of only during the festival season.

What admn wants

  • Walls repainted
  • Fixing tiles up to seven feet on the premises
  • Cemented floors
  • Mouse traps
  • Change in lighting

What sweets manufacturers have agreed to

  • To keep their surroundings clean
  • Use good quality of raw material
  • Keep mouse traps
  • Repaint walls
  • Clean clothing for workers



13 new ITBP battalions to plug Himalayan frontier
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Bhanu (Panchkula), October 22
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) Force would be raising 13 new battalions to plug the wide gaps in border deployment, along the Himalayan borders with China and Tibet. ITBP Director General, RK Bhatia, said the new units would be raised over the next two years and would supplement the force’s existing 49 battalions in executing its operational mandate.

He was here to review ITBP’s 49th Raising Day Parade at its basic training centre. At present, the distance between two ITBP outposts in remote Himalayan regions ranges between 25-100 kms in some places.

The ITBP envisions bringing this down to 20 kilometers, for which additional troop strength and training centres would be required.

Though the primary task of the ITBP is to guard the border, it has also been roped in for anti-Naxal operations, for which it had deployed five battalions in Chattisgarh. “To meet the force’s requirements for this task, the Ministry of Home Affairs has recently sanctioned Rs 102 crore for procuring specialised weapons and equipment,” Bhatia said.

More AK-47 rifles, night vision devices, hand-held thermal imagers, mine detectors, high-power telescopes, communication equipment, pre-fabricated huts, bullet-proof bunkers and vehicles, anti-mine vehicles and ready-to-eat meals to avoid detection during cooking in operational areas, are among the items being sought.

The Director General said central police forces deployed in anti-Naxal operations would remain there for a specified period till state police forces develop the requisite capability and are able to take over.

Bhatia also revealed that central police canteens, have been exempted from VAT by 12 state governments, including Haryana, which would enable jawans to purchase goods at economical prices.



Maintenance of Green Belts
Advertisers make hay as MC sleeps
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, October 22
Even as the Mohali Municipal Council is in deep slumber, companies authorised to use green belts for advertising purposes are making hay, neglecting the maintenance of the areas with impunity and damaging trees recklessly to accommodate their advertisement boards.

The green belts along the main roads in several areas are full of wild growth and litter making commercial pockets look ugly. The efforts of the GMADA authorities, which were earlier maintaining these belts, to bring the sad state of affairs to the notice of civic body have been in vain.

GMADA officials have written letters to the council in this regard, but the latter has neither taken steps to beautify the green belts nor bothered to reply to the communications.

In fact, the GMADA officials were so frustrated by the attitude of the council that they painted out the name of GMADA from the boards mentioning it as the authorising agency. “We do no want to get a bad name for the poor upkeep of the green belts now with the council”, said a senior GMADA official.

The green belts falling in Phase V, VI and X have not been maintained at all and are full of wild growth even when companies like 92.7 Big FM, Jet Immigration Consultancy Services, Jet IELTS Institute, Jet Finance are getting the benefit of advertising without maintaining the area in violation of the agreement with the council.

Companies like Selvel, Yougal Sons, Aircel and Healthyway Immigration have put up boards in green belts falling in Phases VII , III B 2 and II without keeping the area clean.

Various companies were allowed to put up advertisement boards by GMADA in the green belts falling in the commercial areas and near traffic-light points which had to be maintained by these companies on a BOT basis in addition to the payment of a fee for the use of the area.

GMADA was collecting a sum of Rs 12 lakh per year in this regard .The council had after much persuasion taken charge of these green belts from GMADA in April on the plea that permitting advertisements was the right of the civic body.

But soon after taking charge, the council conveniently forgot its duty to ensure that the companies allowed to use the green spaces for advertisement purposes maintained and beautified these pockets.

Rajinder Singh Rana, president of the council, was not available for comments.



BSNL offers free SIM cards in ‘home unlimited’ plan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
In an effort to retain its dwindling base of landline subscribers, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has come up with slew of measures like offering free 2G cellular SIM cards to landline users with unlimited calls between the home and mobile phones. The scheme, called ‘home unlimited’, was launched at the beginning of this month.

Talking to The Tribune, BSNL general manager (mobile operations) DR Paul said about 3,000 subscribers had registered for the scheme in the first fortnight of its launch in the Punjab circle.

“This scheme has a dual purpose - to retain old landline connections on the one hand and increase the cellular subscriber base on the other,” he stated. Expressing confidence that the scheme had a definite "pull" factor of unlimited calls between home and mobile, he said housewives in particular would find it attractive.

According to officials, the new connection will have free talktime of Rs 15 on the first recharge voucher of Rs 31 with an initial validity period of six months. Calls to the registered landline number will be free of cost. The new connection will have one paisa per second pulse rate on the BSNL network all over India and 1.2 paisa per second on other networks.

Besides, the scheme will offer 2,000 free SMSes per month. The new connection will be available at all BSNL customer care centres.

“The plan is offered as a promotional offer during the festive period for 90 days from October 7. BSNL has been taking efforts to retain its customer base among landline subscribers. Currently there’s a scheme for landline customers through which subscribers in urban areas need to pay only Rs 1, 200 and subscribers in rural areas only Rs 600 for a year to retain the landline number.



CAT stays probe against PGI technician
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today invoked a stay on the inquiry proceedings against a technician with the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), who was served a notice when he was found campaigning during the municipal corporation elections in 2006.

The applicant, Krishan Chand Gupta, who was working as a technician, was issued a show-cause notice on June 4, 2007, by superintendent engineer, PGIMER.

The notice was served following a complaint by the president of the Medical Technologist Association of the PGIMER, alleging that Krishan participated in the meeting and a demonstration organised by one of the political parties during the MC election held on December 20, 2006. The photographs that appeared in newspapers were also attached.

TS Bagga, law officer of the PGIMER, was appointed as the investigating officer on April 30, 2009. He started the inquiry on August 27, 2009, stating that since the main witness was not accepting that he had written the complaint, so the chargesheet had to be amended.

The inquiry officer issued a second chargesheet against the applicant on July 24, 2010, to which Krishan submitted a reply on August 17.

On September 8, 2010, PGI Director KK Talwar appointed a new inquiry officer to look into the complaint. Submitting a petition to quash both the chargesheets and initial inquiry proceedings against him, Krishan also submitted that he was framed because the Central Vigilance Commission, New Delhi, the CBI, Chandigarh, had registered complaints against Dr Talwar on the complaints made by PGI Employees Union in 2005-2009 in which he was a party for deciding to lodge complaints.



Pay Scales
PGI faculty to wear black badges in protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Protesting against the non-implementation of the recommendations of the Sixth Central Pay Commission, PGI faculty has decided to wear black badges at work from October 25 onwards. The PGI faculty will observe a “Black Diwali” and boycott all official functions, stated a press release after a general body of the faculty association discussed the issue.

According to faculty, the pay commission had recommended better pay scales and earlier promotions at each level to be implemented with effect from January 1, 2006, to prevent stagnation and exodus of faculty from the institute and to retain excellence in healthcare and medical education.

The faculty members of the institute, however, were agitated on the recent orders of the Centre regarding the implementation of the revised scheme of promotion w.e.f. January 12, 2010.

The subsequent order has caused a lot of confusion and resentment amongst the faculty, which could be detrimental for the institute, as many faculty members in the past have left the institute because of lack of career promotions, feels the doctors.

Moreover, the PGI faculty is apprehending that academic allowance for the faculty would be implemented only from 2010, even though the pay commission order clearly mentioned that all allowances be implemented w.e.f September 1, 2008.



Mother Express reaching city on Oct 25
A fair will be held in the train, which will be dedicated to life of Mother Teresa
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Mother Express, dedicated to Nobel Prize winner Mother Teresa is reaching Chandigarh railway station on October 25. It will be stationed on platform No. 5 and remain in the city for two days. The six-coach train will remain open to public.

"People of all ages are welcome. Invitations have been sent to the authorities of various schools, who can come with schoolchildren to witness the fair in the train. The entry is free. We are expecting a huge crowd," Brijesh Dharmani, Senior Divisional Operations Manager (general), Ambala Division, said on Wednesday.

The fair will remain open for public from 9 am to 5 pm on both days and give an opportunity to children and others to know more about Mother Teresa and her life.

Interestingly, a fair will be held in the train, which will be dedicated to the life of Mother Teresa. This will help in making aware people about the contributions made by Mother in the country. After taking a halt at the city railway station for two days on October 25 and 26, the train will head towards Ambala and will be reaching there on October 27.



Talent blossoms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22Students of Vivek High School, Mohali, displayed their artistic skills with aplomb while presenting a play “Khilne Do Hazaaro Phool” on its founder’s day celebrations in the auditorium of the Sector 38 branch here on Wednesday.

The play, directed by Asif Ali, a senior graduate of National School of Drama, Delhi, and a winner of the Sangeet Natak Academy Ustaad Bismillah Khan Yuve Puruskar, brought to the fore the needs of children and the ways of reaching out to all such individuals and to make their lives a successful journey.

The crisp dialogue delivery and finer nuances of acting exhibited by the students left audience mesmerised.

Apart from that, the other events, which were organised included dance, songs and music.



Public Speaking Contest
Students bring laurels to Vivek school
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The public speaking team of Vivek High School comprising four students, namely Saanya Ojha, Siya Minocha, Amrita Bakhshi and Aditya Singh, and their coach Deepinder Khara returned last night from Ashbury College, Ottawa, Canada, after an enriching and successful conclusion of the International Independent Schools’ Public Speaking Competition (IISPSC-2010).

The students brought laurels to the school by standing 19th, out of 50 participating schools from across 10 countries.

The prestigious event spread over five days brought together over 160 student speakers from 50 participating schools across Canada, the US, England, Scotland, Wales, Bermuda, Cyprus and India.

The international competition involved testing proficiency of talented foursome in a variety of events that included parliamentary debating, persuasive speaking, extempore and impromptu speaking, dramatic interpretation, after dinner speaking and radio newscast. The students’ ability to use critical thinking to express themselves clearly with confidence and insight was also brought to the fore.



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