C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


75-yr-old woman found murdered
Was probably raped; highly decomposed body recovered from Sec-21 residence
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Painters rounded up

Police rounded up two painters who the murdered woman had employed shortly before. Gurbal, who had not employed any servants at her residence, recently engaged painter men who had left on December 24. White wash material was still found inside the house.

Accused gained entry through terrace

Preliminary investigations reveal that probably more than two persons were involved in the murder. The suspects are believed to have entered and exited the house through the door on the terrace, which was found to be open.

‘Victim used to keep to herself’

While describing her to be a “wonderful human being”, neighbours said Gurbal mostly kept to herself and rarely venture out. “It has been months since we last saw her. She never used to talk to anyone and kept to herself,” said a neighbour.

Chandigarh, January 6
In a gory incident, a 75-year-old woman was found murdered after probably having been raped at her Sector 21 residence here today. The highly decomposed body of Gurbal Maninder Mann was discovered in the afternoon. The police said it believed robbery to be the motive behind the murder.

The murder came to light at 2 pm when her daughter, Mohanmeet Khosla, who is the mass communication department head at Panjab University, came to visit her mother along with her daughter Inayat, who, incidentally, was observing her 19th birthday today. On finding no response to their repeated knocks at the door, Khosla, her daughter and her two cousins then went to the rear gate and manage to push open the door. Mohanmeet is married to officiating Punjab Advocate General Rupinder Khosla.

Family members were shocked to discover the highly decomposed and semi-nude body of Gurbal lying on the bed. A pillow was lying near the body suggesting that it might had been used to choke her to death. Foul smell was emanating from the body and the room was ransacked. A wooden almirah was found broken and a jewellery box was also found to be tampered with.

The incident came as a shock to the family.

Mohanmeet’s daughter, who had come from the US, was scheduled to return on January 8.

The police reached the spot along with a team of forensic experts from the Central Forensic Scientific Laboratory (CFSL). The police said the body was at least four days old and was swollen, making it difficult for them to determine the exact nature of injuries inflicted upon her.

Gurbal was staying alone in the house for over 15 years. While her husband, an agriculturist, expired many years ago, all her three daughters are married. Her second daughter Anu Bains is married to DS Bains, a Punjab-cadre IAS officer, while the third is settled in Delhi.

Family members told the police they had spoken to her five days ago. However, they received no response to phone calls made yesterday. The police said it recovered newspapers of last four days from outside her house.

Senior citizens killed in recent past

The murder lays bare tall claims of the police in ensuring the safety of senior citizens residing in the city. Senior police officials have always been claiming that the police beat staff have been paying frequent visits to senior citizens staying alone in the city.

n Kajheri Triple Murder: 80-year-old Sucha Singh and 75-year-old Balbir Kaur, an elderly couple, along with their servant, residing in Kajheri, were brutally killed by three other servants in 2008. One of the murderers, since caught, has been sentenced to life imprisonment, while the two others have been declared proclaimed offenders.

n Sarla Devi murder: 75-year-old Sarla Devi was raped and murdered by three youths, including two juveniles, at her Sector 15 residence in August, 2006. The three were addicted to drugs and have since been convicted.

n Sector-18 murder: 70-year-old Brij Rani, was murdered at her Sector 18 residence in 2005. An electrician, who has since been convicted, has been awarded life imprisonment.



Khushpreet murder
Burail remains on edge
l Residents on warpath l Mobs pelt cops with stones l Cane-charged
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service


n Khushpreet’s father refused consent to post-mortem before finally relenting late afternoon
n Family members demanded booking all 16 policemen, who were present during the ransom payment, for murder
n Police faced a tough time controlling protesters who divided themselves into small groups and struck at random
n Village remained cordoned all day
n Police enters houses of residents and drags out several youths who were allegedly involved in the rampage
n Situation returns to normal late in the evening

Post-mortem today

Doctors will now conduct a post-mortem on Khushpreet’s body on Friday morning after his father, Lakhbir Singh, was informed that the UT Administration had ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident with the intent of fixing responsibility for any lapses in handling the case. In view of the sensitivity of the case, two forensic experts from Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32 - Dr Ajay and Dr Aman - have been asked to be part of the team that will conduct the autopsy.

Patients inconvenienced

Patients and their attendants at the Government Multispecialty Hospital, Sector 16, were subjected to considerable inconvenience throughout the day as the police felt compelled to seal the hospital’s main entrance on Madhya Marg. Apprehending violence by relatives and friends of Khushpreet’s parents, the hospital was turned into a virtual fortress. A heavy police force was deployed in and around the hospital premises throughout the day. All vehicles except ambulances and private vehicles transporting serious patients were directed to enter the hospital from the rear gate.

16 held for rioting

The police arrested 16 persons on charges of rioting and criminal intimidation following incidents of violence in Burail. They have been booked under Sections 147, 148, 149, 323 and 506 of the IPC.

Situation under control: SSP

UT SSP Naunihal Singh, who visited Burail village in the evening, described the situation as “under control”. “We had to resort to a ‘lathi charge’ only to ensure peace and safety of other citizens of the city. The report on the postmortem of the child’s body as well as the magisterial inquiry report to be submitted within ten days will give a better picture of the crime. We’re continuing with our investigations separately,” he said.

Food, power supply affected

Many residents of Burail village went without milkand groceries with all shops remaining closed throughout the day. There was no supply to the sector. Neither were milkmen from the village able to supply milk to other sectors. Power supply remained cut off throughout most of the day and was restored only in the evening.

Chandigarh, January 6
Tension prevailed for the second day in Burail village on Thursday with incidents of stone pelting and even violence and spats between cops and residents. However, calm was eventually restored in the evening at the time of filing this report.

A mob of over 300 people including many teenagers and women pelted the police with stones while raising slogans against the Chandigarh police near the Dev Samaj College and St Stephen’s School at around 11 am. The cops again resorted to a cane charge, fired shots in the air and used a water cannon to disperse the crowd, which had reportedly planned to block traffic at the Tribune Chowk. However, the police did not let them move beyond the boundaries of the village.

The day again witnessed around four such incidents at different times. Several small groups of youngsters kept attacking the cops with stones from various locations in the village, even as family members and relatives of Khushpreet, the five-year-old boy who was abducted and whose body found yesterday, were busy holding or attending meetings to chalk out their next plan of action. Notably, the grieving family members did not give their consent for conducting a postmortem of the child’s body today. Instead they persistently insisted a criminal case be first filed against all the 16 policemen who had accompanied Khushpreet’s uncle, Sukhwinder Singh, at the time of delivery of ransom money on December 22.

Among those who faced the residents’ wrath was superintendent of police RS Ghumman when he went to meet Khushpreet’s family members at their home in the afternoon.

There was palpable tension in the air when Ghumman arrived at the village. Angry residents were seen engaged in a heated exchange of words with him over the perceived undue delay in police action that had purportedly led to the child’s death. Some unidentified people broke the headlight of Ghumman’s official vehicle, following which the police resorted to cane charging, reportedly dragging out some residents who had run inside their homes.

Earlier, after staging last night’s violent protest and commotion, area residents began gathering at the house of Khushpreet’s family today morning.



UT orders magisterial probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The UT administration today ordered a magisterial inquiry into the abduction of five-year-old Khushpreet followed by his gruesome murder. The report is expected to be tabled within the next ten days.

Home secretary Ram Niwas handed over the probe into the kidnapping and subsequent murder of the child to ML Sharma, a Punjab cadre officer currently posted as director of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking cum sports director. He has been asked to submit his report on “fixing the responsibility into the lapses in handling the case” within ten days.

Admitting official lapses in dealing with the case, Niwas, in his order, stated “there have been reports of lapses committed by certain police officials in handling the case. There were allegations that the police officials concerned didn’t properly handle the sensitive case, which has shocked the city’s conscience”.

When contacted for comments, Niwas said: “It’s very sad and unfortunate. Nevertheless, the UT administration will inquire into the lapses on the part of the Chandigarh police in handling the case. Those found guilty won’t be spared”. Keeping in view the public outrage on the streets on Wednesday, the UT district magistrate has prohibited taking out processions, making speeches, raising slogans, assembly of five or more persons and carrying ‘lathis’ (sticks) in Sector 45 for a period of two days , under section 144 of the CrPC.



After denial, family agrees for autopsy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Before eventually giving consent to conduct a post-mortem, Khushpreet’s enraged family members spent the better part of the day refusing to permit doctors to conduct autopsy till the authorities booked for murder all 16 policemen, including a DSP, who were supposed to intercept the kidnappers at the time of ransom payment on December 22.

In addition to deploying about 100 policemen in and around the General Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, the UT Deputy Commissioner also imposed Section 144 of the CrPC (banning of assembly) on the hospital premises as a measure to strengthen security and to prevent an ugly situation from arising.

Members of various organisations joined in the protest and pressed for their demands while gathering outside the mortuary.

UT Inspector General of Police PK Srivastava, who reached the hospital at 11.40 am, met the hospital authorities but kept away from the organisations supporting Khushpreet’s family members. The police tried to pacify Khushpreet’s wailing father Lakhbir Singh, who persistently refused to give his consent for the post-mortem. The police tried in vain to get Lakhbir to agree to the post-mortem.

Lakhbir’s refusal was hardened also because of the presence of social activists, who advised him to stay adamant. Lakhbir finally left the hospital at 2 pm.

“The police is responsible for the death of my son. He was alive for 12 days and they could not even save him. All the cops should be booked on charges of murder,” said Lakhbir Singh.

Later, a delegation also met the UT IGP and submitted a memorandum seeking criminal action against the errant cops.



Parties call for immediate probe
Tribune News Service

Alert sounded in Mohali

MOHALI: The Mohali police has sounded a high alert following recovery of the body of five-year-old Kushpreet from near Phase X here. Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police GPS Bhullar said though the Mohali police was not associated with the case, it was a matter of concern for the police here too. Orders have been issued to SHOs and beat staff to intensify patrolling in their respective areas. — TNS

Chandigarh, January 6
Newly elected city mayor Ravinder Pal Singh today offered his condolences to the family members of Khushpreet, the five-year-old child who was kidnapped over two weeks ago and subsequently murdered.

He met the deceased’s father, Lakhbir Singh, and expressed solidarity with his family.

Ajay Jagga, advocate and president of the local unit of the Janata Party, observed: “That the law and order situation in the city has deteriorated (not deteriorating) is borne out by the fact that fear of the law is evaporating. The present setup of the local police department needs to be overhauled. In order to restore the faith of the common man in law enforcement agencies some drastic steps are required. There should be zero tolerance towards any laxity in this regard. Accordingly, in order to ensure safety of lives of city residents and to curb crimes the time has arrived for the official set up of the local police to be given a fresh look with a few more legal changes”.

The Congress party also expressed its deep sympathy and offered condolences to the grieving family. The party’s local unit has demanded a high level inquiry into the police handling of this case.

Meanwhile, the BJP also expressed its deep shock over the gruesome death of the five-year-old child. Blaming the UT administration for arresting the deteriorating law and order situation, the party sought an immediate inquiry into the case and demanded responsibility to be fixed on those responsible for lapses.



Another Burail boy missing

Chandigarh, January 6
Two days after another schoolboy went missing from Burail, the police is still clueless about the whereabouts of the missing child. Twelve-year-old Abhishek, a class VII student of Government Model School, Sector 45 C, also residing in Burail, failed to return home on January 4. He was last seen with Bappa Rai, a 20-year-old resident of Bengal, who is also missing since then.

The police suspects that the child has gone to West Bengal with Bappa Rai and they will question the family of Bappa Rai. The police is hopeful of getting more information tomorrow.

“It seems the child left willingly with Bappa Rai. Investigations are on and we will get to the child in a day or two,” said Sector 34 police station SHO Kirpal Singh. Bappa Rai had come to stay with a relative in the area around 20 days ago and had reportedly become friends with Abhishek, who was his neighbour. — TNS




Moments captured by Tribune lensmen Pradeep Tiwari, Vicky Gharu, Nitin Mittal & Manoj Mahajan

Residents gather on the Ramlila Ground in Burail village on Thursday.
ALL OUT: Residents gather on the Ramlila Ground in Burail village on Thursday.

COVER(T) OPERATION: Protesters hurl stones at the police. ON THE RUN: Residents run for cover.
DEADLY WEAPON: A resident hides a stone in his hand. THE AFTERMATH: Stones scattered after the clash. DISTRESS SIGNAL: Traffic lights damaged by residents.

ON THE TROT: (Clockwise from left top) Mounted police chases away residents. SMOKING ’EM OUT: Policemen pull out protesters from a house. IN POLICE NET: Cane-charge by the police.

Scenes at Govt Multi-Speciality Hospital-16

ALL IS LOST: (Left) Grief-striken Lakhbir Singh, father of Khushpreet, being consoled by a relative. CORDONED OFF: (Right) Cops at the hospital where Khushpreet’s body was brought for post-mortem.


No letup in cold wave
Shimla still warmer than city
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Flights cancelled, train delayed

All incoming and outgoing flights from the city remained cancelled for the second day today due to bad weather. Passengers at the city’s airport have been facing a harrowing time, waiting for hours of flights.

The train running between Lucknow and Chandigarh arrived at the city railway station over four hours late. The train was to reach at 10.15 am here but arrived at 2.30 pm.

Chandigarh, January 6
As the cold wave continued to lash Chandigarh, with mercury rising to 9 °C, 11 degrees below normal, from yesterday’s record high of 7.4 °C, the city remained colder than Shimla even today.

Shimla recorded 15.5 °C at the maximum level, as against 12.9 °C on Wednesday.

Kullu and Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh were warmer in comparison and many places in the plains, recording maximum temperatures of 18.6 °C and 17.2 °C, respectively.

However, the city’s minimum also rose marginally to 5.7 °C as against 5.0 °C of yesterday.

Shallow fog till late hours in the morning once again cancelled all to and fro flights from the city.

Bright sunshine and a clear sky in the afternoon was a little consolation for the residents, which led to an increase in temperature.

The weatherman has forecast further intensification of cold wave over the next 24 hours, with strong possibility of ground frost at a few places in the region.

The poor and the homeless were seen huddling around bonfires long before nightfall in an attempt to ward off the unbearable cold.

Street vendors in the tricity also called it a day early for want of customers.

The Met officials warned of ground frost in Punjab and Haryana during the next two nights.

It also forecast partly cloudy sky with mist/fog during morning and night on Friday. The maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to hover around 10 and 5 degrees, respectively.



Service tax levy on rail freight deferred
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
In an effort to give some relief to industrialists, the railways has decided to defer the implementation of service tax levy for the third time this fiscal on transport of goods by rail. This levy will now come into effect from April 1. The earlier proposed date was January 1.

Also, tax exemption on certain goods carried by the railways like pulses, food grain, petroleum products for the PDS, organic and chemical manure and motor vehicles will contine till April 1, along with the 70 per cent abatement.

The latest deferment, decision on which was taken at a recent meeting, comes at a time when the government is looking to ensure that its actions do not fuel inflationary expectations.

It will also come as a relief for the domestic cement and steel industries, that would have otherwise been required to fork out higher freight rates for movement of coal, cement and steel by rail.

Sources say the railways, which is opposed to the service tax levy, is understood to have persuaded the finance ministry in going for the deferment.

The union government had in its Budget of 2010-11 proposed to bring transport of goods by rail in the service tax net from April 1, 2010.

However, the implementation was deferred to July 1 in similar inflationary circumstances.

The railways had after the budget indicated that it would have no choice but to pass on the tax burden to its freight customers. Again, the finance ministry had in June last year taken a decision to defer the implementation of service tax levy to January 1.

The projected annual freight earnings of the railways for 2010-11 are Rs 62,489 crore.

The finance ministry was looking to garner close to Rs 1,000 crore from service tax on railway freight.



Hoarding of onion, potato
IT survey on 2 trading cos
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
To keep a check on hoarding and stem the escalating prices of onion and potato, the income tax department carried out a survey on the premises of two main dealers of these commodities here today.

At least 12 income tax officials headed by Chandigarh Income Tax deputy director Dr Vivek Aggarwal, under the supervision of Income Tax Director YR Saini, descended on the offices of Anil Trading Company and Shiv Aloo Company in the grain and vegetable market in Sector 26 around 3.30 pm and checked their records and stocks.

According to reports, computer records and backup were taken by the officials.

The prices of onion in the region have been hovering around Rs 50 per kg, while potato is being sold at Rs 10 per kg.



MC’s Vision Document
Blueprint tabled before panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation today came up with a vision document, projecting staff requirement of the civic body over the next 10 years.

A blueprint of the document was tabled before a special committee headed by Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh (Pali).

“I have asked the officials to rework the report along with the sanctioned posts and budget requirements. The report would be tabled in the next committee meeting,” the Mayor said. The officials have been asked to indicate as to how many posts have been lying vacant and how many have been filled by the authorities. They also asked them to prepare a separate list of the requirement of staff for the departments recently transferred to the corporation. The members also asked every head of the department, while preparing a detailed report, to point out the requirement of the staff of their wings for the next 10 years.

This step is being taken as the corporation expects that some more departments may be shifted to the corporation in the near future.

The special committee was constituted by the general house to review the draft of the recruitment and promotion policy of the employees of the Chandigarh municipal corporation.



36 shopkeepers challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
At least 36 shopkeepers were challaned for encroaching on the municipal corporation land during an anti-encroachment drive carried out in the rehri market of Sector 22 here today.

The drive was conducted under the supervision of MC Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach and assisted by inspector KD Sharma and Kashmira Singh along with other enforcement staff of MC. The enforcement staff cleared the passage in the market where shopkeepers had kept packets of clothes and other items.

During the drive, the enforcement staff seized two truckloads of items.

The Additional Commissioner said such drives would be carried out in the future as well.



Enforcement & Sanitation
Panel formed to carry out drives
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
A three-member committee has been constituted by the Chandigarh municipal corporation to undertake special enforcement and sanitation drives in the city. The decision was taken at a meeting convened by MC Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh (Pali) here today.

It was decided that the staff of the medical health department and the enforcement department would commence the drive in colonies and villages from January 13.

The Mayor directed the officials of both departments to conduct intensive drives for three days in each colony and village.

He asked the malaria department to join the campaign and spread awareness on contagious diseases amongst residents.



Municipal Corporation
Councillors unsure of berth in civic body
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 6
Unhappiness prevails among municipal councillors, who will soon have no seat as soon as the Punjab government issues a notification for the formation of the Mohali Municipal Corporation, as they are not sure whether they will be nominated as members of the new civic body.

With the formation of the corporation, the five-year term of the elected representatives of the council will be cut short by nearly eight months.

The term of the civic body will expire in August.

Several councillors claimed that they had been given an assurance that they would be nominated as members of the newly formed corporation, but now they fear that such a move was not possible without carrying out the required amendment by the Punjab government.

According to sources, these days councillors are only discussing the issue related to their nomination among themselves and are not happy with the proposed formation of the corporation.

Parkashwati, councillor from Ward no 13, said cutting short their term in the civic body by eight months was a big blow to the councillors.

They had agreed for the formation of the corporation only when an assurance was given to them by a SAD leader.

She said though the matter related to the formation of the corporation was being taken up on priority basis, no one was talking about the nomination.

This had created uneasiness in the minds of a number of councillors, who would meet NK Sharma, chairman of the Mohali District Planning Board tomorrow to discuss the matter.

Another councillor from Ward no 2, Rajinder Prasad, said fresh elections for the upgraded civic body would not be held for a long time and cutting short the present term was a loss for councillors, which could be compensated only if they were nominated to the new civic body as it was promised.

Harpal Singh, vice-president of the council, said: “Development of the town was top priority and if the term of the civic body was cut short for that purpose, elected representatives should be happy with their sacrifice.”



Demand for SGPC in Haryana
Jhinda, 25 supporters held at Nada Sahib
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 6
Tension prevailed at Gurdwara Nada Sahib when Jagdish Jhinda, president of the Haryana Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (HSGPC ad hoc), along with hundreds of supporters reached here today. When Jhinda did not budge from his stand, the police arrested him along with 25 other supporters.

Jhinda, had announced that for acceptance of the demand for a separate gurdwara committee in Haryana, he along with other members would hold Sukhmani Path in Nada Sahib Gurdwara on January 6.

Jhinda however, was arrested by the local police along with his 25 supporters and later released on a bail bond of Rs 10,000.

Jhinda reached Panchkula around 2 pm along with 500 of his supporters. The state district police had converted the area surrounding the gurdwara into a fortress to cope with any untoward incident. He was stopped by the police and Panchkula SP Maneesh Chaudhary and SDM KL Kalson who were also present on the spot tried to pacify him. Jhinda, however, insisted that he and his supporters woild return only after a representative of the Chief Minister came to hear their grievances.



Cutting of trees without authority’s nod
GMADA lodges police complaint in five cases
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 6
Those cutting trees without permission from the local authority will be in trouble now. After getting series of complaints about residents cutting trees, especially during winters, the Horticulture Wing of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority GMADA has lodged police complaints in five cases.

The Senior Superintendent of Police has been requested to register FIR against the erring residents for damaging government property in violation of the rules. The cases have been detected in Phases 4 and 5. Before registering the cases, the matter was being verified by the police.

Sources in GMADA disclose that every year during winters residents indulge in cutting of trees to get sunlight. And in most of the cases, no permission is sought from the department. It is not a question of residents cutting trees, other government agencies also do no bother about taking the permissions.

Last week, Punjab Electricity Department officials in their eagerness to lay a transmission line in Industrial Area, Phase 9, not only chopped tree branches but were found erecting electricity poles close to a row of fully grown trees near Industrial Plot no. 275, Industrial Area, Phase 9. Officials in the Mohali Municipal Council said no prior permission had been taken to lay the transmission lines. After laying the cables, they realised that the trees had come too close to the cables. It is not an isolated case, due to mindless chopping of the top of trees by the electricity department to protect overhead power cables, many fully-grown trees are dangerously leaning towards the roadside, posing a grave danger to road users.

Only few days ago, a safai karamchari was electrocuted when he came in contact with live wires while he was climbing a tree.

Landowner challaned

Kalka: The department of forest today slapped a fine on a landowner belonging to Rampur Seuri village located adjacent to Surajpur alongside the Chandigarh-Shimla National Highway for axing several trees without permission. Following a tip off that valuable green trees were being illegally axed near stone crushers, officials of the department of forest inspected the spot and challaned the landlord identified as Anil Rekhi. — OC



Corps of Signals’ bike expedition flagged off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
As part of its ongoing centenary celebrations, the Corps of Signals is undertaking a motorcycle expedition that will traverse 6,150 km through 14 states over a period of 42 days.

Consisting of two officers and 13 other ranks, the “Mercury Explore Motorcycle Expedition” was flagged-off from Chandi Mandir by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen SR Ghosh, today.

The expedition will culminate on February 14 at Jabalpur, where the corps has its training centre.

Known as “Information Warriors”, the corps is completing 100 years of its existence on February 15.

The aim of the expedition is to motivate the youth to join the Army and also to interact with armed forces veterans en route.

To add to the adventure, the expedition is planned to travel across the breadth of country from Srinagar in the North to Arunachal Pradesh in the far East, passing through some of the most rugged and difficult terrain.



Shingar Cinema Blast Case
Main accused brought on production warrant
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 6
The Zirakpur police today brought Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) terrorist Harminder Singh, main accused in the Shingar Cinema blast case in Ludhiana, on production warrant from the Nabha jail for interrogation related to the arrested BKI terrorists in Zirakpur last year. The police today produced Harminder Singh at Dera Bassi court where the court sent him to police remand till January 8.

Zirakpur SHO Yogi Raj stated that Harminder Singh was wanted in unlawful terrorist activities in March, 2010.



Hike in food prices
PUSU members submit memo to PU authorities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Lodging their protest against the hike in price of food at Panjab University hostels, members of the Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU) today submitted a memorandum to the university authorities.

Cautioning the university authorities of a massive protest if the hike was not rolled back, PUSU president Sukhjit Singh Brar said prices of the commodities at PU were higher than PGIMER, mini-secretariat in Section 9 and other government institutions.

“If one compares the prices earlier and now, it is a burden on the pocket of students,” said Brar.

Manmeet Sidhu of PUSU said, “When shopkeepers at the student centre were asked about the hiked rates varying from Rs 2 to Rs 5 for different eatables, they said there was 10 per cent increment in the rent of shops by the university authorities. Hence, they raise prices of the eatables to balance the loss.”

The student leaders added that the university has no dearth of funds now because of its central funding.

Brar said, “The benefit received by the university in the form of grants must also reach the students. Another grant of Rs 50 crore is expected, as a central team is visiting the university soon.”



ABVP burns effigies of Cong leaders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
Expressing dissent on the corruption in Commonwealth Games, Adarsh Society scam and 2G Scam, nearly 50 members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) today burnt effigies of top political leaders at the student centre in Panjab University.

Stating that there have been a series of scams, the members burnt the effigies of Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

ABVP’s north zone secretary Sriniwas said the organisation would launch a mass consciousness programme from January 15 to January 30. During this programme, open conferences would be held and posters and pamphlets would be distributed to make students aware about the current situation in the country.



50 engg students got jobs
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 6
After witnessing a drop in the placements last year, 50 out of 62 engineering graduates at the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET), Panjab University, have already been placed in the current batch till date.

The average annual pay package of the department students so far has been Rs 4.5 lakh and the highest salary offered is Rs 9 lakh per annum by Petronet LNG.

Strong support of the department’s alumni, who brought six out of 15 companies for recruiting students this year, has been cited as a prime reason for the improved situation. University officials added that most companies are now in the expansion mode, which is another reason for better response by them.

In 2010, 10 per cent students of UICET could not secure jobs on the campus. On the contrary, this year, the institute is expecting 15 more companies, who have shown interest in recruiting the students.

Nearly 15 companies have already visited the department to offer jobs.

Out of 77 students, 62 students, who cleared all department examinations, were eligible to appear in the interviews conducted by the companies.

The university officials informed that the students who already have grabbed a job in software companies or similar profiles this year have been permitted to appear in the interview of another core companies.

Among top recruiters at UICET, Reliance India Limited offered Rs 5 lakh annually during the training period and Rs 6 lakh thereafter. Flour, a US-based company, offered Rs 5.15 lakh annually, Germany-based Lurgi recruited students at Rs 4.2 lakh per year, Bechtel offered Rs 4.2 lakh and Jubilant Life Science at Rs 4.5 annually.

“Broadly three types of companies have come for the recruitment this year- engineering consultancy, manufacturing, food and pharmacy related companies. IOCL, which has been a top recruiter each year, is recruiting students on the basis of GATE score this year,” said Santanu Basu, one of the training and placement officials, UICET.

Placements of masters in engineering (ME) and masters in sciences (MSc) are yet to begin in the department, he added.

UIET placement graph

Out of 290 students, 220 students of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) have been recruited till date by companies like Infosys, Tech Mahindra, Grail Research and Volvo Eicher.



PU Notes
Condolence meeting

CHANDIGARH: The teaching, non-teaching staff and students of the department of psychology, Panjab University, held a condolence meeting in memory of Khushpreet, the child who was kidnapped and brutally murdered. The members observed silence to pray for the peace of the departed soul. The department officials said the “avoidable tragedy” needed soul searching by all sensitive citizens. They added that the people should raise consciousness and do their best so that such inhuman acts can be avoided.


Nirmal Singh of the department of physics, Panjab University, has been honoured with a two-year emeritus fellowship by the University Grants Commission (UGC) to work on “Nuclear Structure Studies in A=100-130 Mass Region Using in Beam Spectroscopy”. The fellowship carries an honorarium of Rs 20,000 per month in addition to a contingency grant of Rs 50,000 per annum that would be available for two years.

Lift ban on teachers’ recruitment

Panjab University Syndicate and Senate member RPS Josh on Thursday urged the Punjab government to lift the ban on recruitment of teachers in private-aided colleges in the state. He also appealed to the state to pay arrears of teachers in the colleges across the state, which is due from January 1, 2006. He added that the decision of the Punjab Chief Minister to fill up 873 teaching posts in the college cadre was welcomed by educationists in the state. — TNS



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