C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Car showroom guard killed, Rs 14.5 lakh looted
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 17
In a daring robbery unidentified suspects decamped with about Rs 14.5 lakh in cash from a local car dealership, Berkeley Automobiles, after killing a security guard on duty at the premises, late on Sunday night.

The victim has been identified as Paras Ram, 52, a native of Nepal and presently residing in Abheypur village in Industrial Area Phase I. It appears he was overpowered after the suspects first threw chilly powder in his eyes and then hit his head with a blunt weapon. They covered his face with the cap of his own jacket before dumping his body in the trunk of one of the cars on display in the showroom.

Ram, who was hired by the dealership about two years, is survived by his wife, Salma Devi, and two children.

Additional director general of police BS Sandhu, accompanied by superintendent of police Maneesh Chaudhary and other senior cops in the district, arrived at the scene soon after being informed about the robbery. Later, local MLA DK Bansal also visited the showroom.

The incident came to light only today morning when another security guard employed by the dealership, Ram Bahadur, came to the showroom take up his duty at about 8 am. “I asked some sweepers outside the locked gate why were they were standing there. They told me though they had been waiting there for about half an hour there was no response from the guard on duty”, he said.

Bahadur said he then scaled the showroom’s boundary wall and found the main door unlocked and, after failing to find the security guard, immediately informed officials of the dealership. The latter in turn immediately called up the police.

After searching the showroom premises for about half an hour the cops found the red chilly powder near the trunk of a white Suzuki SX4 car on display. On opening the trunk they found the guard’s body dumped there.

Chaudhary said prima facie it appeared to be the handiwork of a professional gang. “The suspects had first sprayed chilly powder in Ram’s eyes before murdering him. However, the exact cause of his death is yet to be determined and would become clear only after a postmortem examination is conducted on his body. The suspects took away Rs 14.5 lakh from the showroom safe after breaking it open.

Sources close to the police said the latter suspected the involvement of the old Bawaria gang, which was earlier active in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, as the modus operandi in this incident appeared to be the same. “The gang members first kill their victim brutally, usually with a blunt weapon, before proceeding with a robbery” they added.

However, Chaudhary ruled out the involvement of members of the Bawaria or Badri gangs in Sunday night’s robbery and murder. “We’ve contacted our counterparts in Chandigarh to ascertain whether these gangs were involved in any crime in that city in recent years. A new professional outfit was probably involved in the incident as the suspects knew the location of the showroom safe and straightaway headed for it without touching anything in the room”, he added.

Cops’ warnings ignored

Paras RamAfter the Tanishq jewellery store heist in Manimajra two days ago the police had advised the car dealership’s owners to upgrade their security and surveillance by installing CCTV cameras, alarm and auto dialer systems besides stationing armed guards in the premises. However the owners had assured the cops the safe in their showroom was heavy and could not be shifted or broken into easily, sources said.



School Admissions
Last-min change in criteria enrages parents
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
High drama prevailed in the city’s three missionary schools and later at the UT secretariat today when parents raised a hue and cry over the last-minute change in age eligibility criteria for admission to pre-nursery classes to these (minority) schools.
Tired toddlers sleep in the arms of their harassed parents at the UT Secretariat in Chandigarh on Monday.
Tired toddlers sleep in the arms of their harassed parents at the UT Secretariat in Chandigarh on Monday. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

Hundreds of parents who turned up at Carmel Convent in Sector 9, Sacred Heart School and St John’s School, both in Sector 26, to get admission forms were shocked when they were informed that the requisite age for admission had been suddenly reduced to three years and above rather than the earlier specified four years and above.

Citing an arbitrary communication received from the UT education department this afternoon, the school prospectus contained hastily introduced amendments stating that it would only admit children born between April 1, 2007, and March 31, 2008, which marked a departure from the earlier announced criteria that stipulated those born between April 1, 2006, and March 31, 2007.

Although the schools claimed to have received the notice only at 12.30 pm today, the education department maintained that it had dispatched the notice on January 14.

Disappointed and infuriated parents tried to reason things out with the school managements, which passed the buck to the UT Administration. This resulted in hundreds of parents thronging the secretariat in Sector 9 to protest against the Administration’s sudden and arbitrary decision that has come without prior warning. In response to the parents’ demand seeking a rollback, the Administration announced it would respond after holding a meeting with the schools tomorrow. The Administration’s decision, however, seems to defy logic since it never consulted the private schools in the first place.

“We waited there for hours, shouted slogans but they failed to take pity on us. What was most annoying was the fact that senior officials who left their plush offices at 5 pm refused to even give us a hearing. They passed the buck to the DPI (Schools) saying that the matter was in his purview. Education Secretary Ram Niwas simply asked us to enquire tomorrow,” said Sarbjeet Singh, a resident of Sector 27, who is seeking to admit his son to St John’s School.


Violation of RTE Act: Schools

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act stipulates that a student should be of six years of age in class I. We had designed our criteria to suit the implementation of the Act and got it approved from the Administration. Shockingly, the department, which is after us to implement the Act at the earliest, has a problem when we have done it. We received the notice just a few hours before we were scheduled to sell the forms. It resulted in leaving many parents stranded as their wards are now ineligible. Many of them have not even applied in other schools. We are with parents.”

Kavita Das, Principal, St John’s School-26

Hypocrisy, says Admn

This is height of hypocrisy. They argue that they are not under the purview of the RTE and refuse to implement any other instruction taking the plea that the Act has not been notified yet, and then they implemented this criteria. They chose not to get it approved from us. Initially they would allow only children born between October 1, 2006, and September 30, 2007, which was unjustified as many children born in 2006 or 2007 were left out. They have misinterpreted the letter because we have nowhere specified the requisite date of birth. When we say 3+, its means a child of 4 years is also eligible. Talking of the RTE Act, if this criteria is followed, a child will be 6+ in Class I.

PK Sharma, DPI (Schools)

Parents suffer

I had only applied in Sacred Heart School and Carmel Convent. Last year, my daughter was ineligible because she was underage and now she is ineligible because she is considered overage. How can they take such decisions at the last moment? It affects the future of hundreds of children.

Richa Verma, resident of Sector 33, Chd

My elder daughter is in Carmel Convent and I wanted my younger one to study there as well. How can they mess up with children’s future? Do they not realise the importance of a year in a student’s academic life? Had we known it earlier, we would have applied at other schools as well.

Malvika, resident of Sector 16, Chandigarh

We waited in a line to get a form but were shocked when the school authorities suddenly put a notice announcing the new criteria. I have waited for a year to get my daughter into this school, but things have changed. All schools have closed admissions. We cannot waste a year because of them.

Uma Kapoor, resident of Sector 7, Panchkula



Tanishq Heist
How much jewellery was actually robbed?
21.3 kg recovered; owner claims loss of 35 kg
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Differences over the quantity of jewellery recovered by the police in the Tanishq heist case and the exact quantity of jewellery listed in the inventory submitted by the owner of the showroom have come to light with the arrest of the gang members.

Revealing details of the jewellery recovered from the possession of the accused, the police today said it had recovered 21.321 kg of jewellery -- gold (17.738 kg) and diamonds (2.583 kg). It has also recovered Rs 2.5 lakh, four country-made pistols and a Tata 407 in which the accused had used in the crime.

However, in the inventory list submitted to the police today by Anil Goel, owner of the showroom, the total amount of gold jewellery shown as stolen has been quantified at 35 kg and its value has been put at Rs 9.7 crore.

“I am grateful to the police for solving the case so quickly. As per the inventory list, the amount of jewellery taken away is 35 kg,” Anil Goel said.

“The entire jewellery that was taken away has been recovered from the gang. The recovery was made on the basis of identification by the complainant. It is a rough estimate,” said SSP Naunihal Singh.

A team of the Chandigarh Police and the Delhi Police had seized the jewellery in the presence of Goel from the house of an accused in Ghaziabad on January 14.

Meanwhile, the district court today remanded the eighth accused, Bhura Qureshi, also in police custody.


3 hurt in blast triggered by leaking LPG cylinder
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 17
Three persons sustained burn injuries in a blast triggered by gas leaking from a domestic LPG cylinder at a low income group house in Phase XI here today evening. Such was the impact of the blast that a large part of the front wall of the house (no 1419/8) collapsed and the common walls of the adjoining four houses also developed cracks.
The damaged portion of the house where the LPG cylinder blast took place; and (right) the wife of Yashwant Singh, one of the injured, being consoled by a woman at Phase XI, Mohali, on Monday.
The damaged portion of the house where the LPG cylinder blast took place; and (right) the wife of Yashwant Singh, one of the injured, being consoled by a woman at Phase XI, Mohali, on Monday. Tribune photos: Vicky Gharu

The injured , later identified as Yashwant Singh, an occupant of the house, his son, Shubam, and a gas stove repair mechanic, Nirmal Singh, were rushed to the Government Medical College & Hospital in Sector 32, Chandigarh. “The boy Shubam suffered a maximum 20 per cent burn injuries but the condition of all the injured is stable”, said Mohali deputy commissioner Parveen Kumar who visited the hospital.

The blast took place when Nirmal lighted a stove in the house after having repaired it.

Fire officials who attended to the call said it appeared the blast was ignited by the gas leaking from the LPG cylinder which was trapped inside the house.

Incidentally, the cylinder did not suffer any damage. “Had the cylinder exploded there could have been more causalities”, the officials observed.

The deafening noise of the blast created panic in the area with people rushing out of their houses. Sudesh Kaur, who lives in an adjoining house, said her daughter was preparing lunch in the kitchen when the blast created cracks in their common wall.

Kumar has directed the duty magistrate and PWD officials to access the structural safety of the houses that developed cracks due to the blast. The other houses that developed cracks are those numbered 1419/4, 1419/5, 1419/9, 1419/13 and 1419/14.

Kharar MLA Balbir Singh, while visiting the scene, demanded an inquiry into the quality of construction of the houses, adding occupants of neighbouring houses should be evacuated.

Mohali senior superintendent of police GPS Bhullar said detailed investigations into the incident were being conducted to rule out any mischief. A detailed search of the house where the blast occurred was carried out to ascertain the cause.



Labourer dies after fall
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 17
A 28-year-old labourer was killed after he fell down from a building under construction at Dyalpura village here yesterday. The victim was identified as Rajesh Chouhan from UP.

The investigating officer said the incident took place when the victim was removing the shuttering. A portion of the construction material slipped from its place and the victim fell to the ground. The victim’s head collided with the stairs during the fall.

The labourers working at the site took him to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, where he was declared brought dead.

The police official said the body had been kept at the mortuary and a post-mortem examination would be conducted tomorrow after the arrival of the victim’s parents.

Inquest proceedings have been initiated into the matter.



Silver City 
Promoters barred from commercial use of community centre
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, January 17
Dr SS Sandhu, secretary, housing and urban development, Punjab, has barred the promoters of Silver City Construction Limited from the commercial use of a community centre, Richmond Garden. In his order, he has specified that the community centre will be used by residents of the colony alone.

The orders were issued by the secretary while hearing a revision petition filed under Sector 34 of the PAPRA Act, 1995, on behalf of the Chief Administrator-cum-Competent Authority, GMADA.

Wg Cdr SS Savant (retd), advocate counsel for the Resident Welfare Association, Silver City (Main), and former president of the association, said the welfare association had filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, highlighting their grievances and violation of approved layout plan of Silver City Main Complex in 2008.

The High Court had passed an order on August 12, 2008 and directed the vice-chairman, housing and urban development, Punjab government, to decide the pending complaints of the petitioner association on merits within a period of four weeks from the receipt of a copy of High Court’s order.

Savant said the housing secretary, being the ex officio of vice-chairman, directed the GMADA Chief Administrator to decide the complaint of the welfare association in light of the HC order.

He said the GMADA Chief Administrator, after hearing both parties and receiving field reports from the ACA, GMADA, and associated EO, MC, Zirakpur, had passed the order in favour of the residents’ welfare association on October 27, 2008 and directed the promoters to immediately close all three roads that had been illegally opened to an adjacent colony, Nirmal Chhaya project of Pearl Township Developers Pvt Ltd.

The promoters were told to stop the commercial use of Richmond Garden, a community centre.

The community centre was to be transferred to the residents when the developers exited from the project after discharging their responsibility. The order directed the immediate halt of commercial use of a residential plot (No 101-A).

The regulatory wing of GMADA was also directed to carry out a technical audit to check any violation.

However, Silver City Construction Limited filed an appeal on November 6, 2008 against the order before the Ld appellate authority i.e. additional secretary, housing and urban development, Punjab government, who set aside the order passed by the GMADA Chief Administrator.

Aggrieved by the order, the GMADA Chief Administrator filed a revision petition. The welfare association also filed a revision petition.

After considering the revision petitions, the secretary stated that all three roads that had been opened to an adjacent colony were beneficial to the residents of both colonies.

He affirmed that the community centre, Richmond Garden, be used only by residents of the colony and no commercial activity be carried out from there.

The order stated that the commercial use of residential plot (No. 101-A) was in violation of the layout plan as well as the terms and conditions of the licence of the promoters. It directed the promoters to stop the use of plot as a corporate/site office with immediate effect and also shift within 30 days from the date of receipt of the order.



Cong repeats its promise to slum-dwellers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Pawan Kumar Bansal yesterday reiterated the Congress resolve to build 25,000 dwelling units for slum-dwellers.

He was addressing a function at Colony No. 4 here, which was organised by the District Congress Committee (Urban-I) and the colony cell.

He asked the Congress-led municipal corporation to extend help in maintaining hygiene through better sanitation, greenery and other social infrastructure for quality life to residents of colonies and villages.

BB Bahl, president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, said the Congress had traditionally been a pro-poor party and its flagship programmes had been designed keeping in view the welfare and well-being of the “aam aadmi”.

Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh Pali promised that the corporation would give top priority to the augmentation of civic amenities for residents of all colonies.

DCC (Urban-I) president HS Lucky Bansal urged the minister to consider formulating a policy, whereby the administration could shift residents of the Colony No. 4 to Vikas Nagar or any other rehabilitation colony by constructing low-income dwelling units for them.



Azad: Chandigarh to get paramedics centre soon
Neha Miglani/TNS

Chandigarh, January 17
Chandigarh has been shortlisted among the 10 cities in India where a centre of excellence in paramedics will be established shortly. This announced the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Gulam Nabi Azad today during the inaugural ceremony of a new academic block in Dr HSJ Institute of Dental Sciences and Hospital, Panjab University (PU).
Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Gulam Nabi Azad in Panjab University on Monday.
Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Gulam Nabi Azad in Panjab University on Monday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan 

However, the task of identifying the place for this centre in Chandigarh is in progress, he added. Sources claim that the PU has expressed a keen interest in bidding for establishment of this centre. University authorities are already working towards expanding the dental colleges to a medical institute. “Often this dental institute is confused to be a private institute because of its nomenclature,” said Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Pawan Kumar Bansal, who was also present at the occasion.

Responding to the apprehension of PU officials that the dental institute is mistaken to be a private institute, Azad said in future no step-motherly treatment would be meted out to the dental institute. He expressed his concern over the large number of unemployed dental doctors in the country and said, “The ministry is already making effort to depute more dental doctors in the health care centres, hospitals, etc. We have the highest number of dental institutes in the country and nearly 20,000 dental doctors are produced each year. We must lay emphasis on the quality of dentistry now. Oral health care is crucial and often ignored.”

He then revealed interesting figures from a survey done by a reputed international agency in collaboration with the Government of India. “ At least 35 per cent adults in India smoke out of which 26 per cent chew tobacco,” said Azad. He said, “The government is spending Rs 150 crore in upgrading medical colleges and six new medical institutes are coming up in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Uttrakhand, Jharkhand and Bihar.”



US hip hop group gears up for big show in Chandigarh
Charu Singh/TNS

New Delhi, January 17
Fluid dance moves that graduate from break dance to toe and heel maneuvers and back flips achieved their zenith in a rather crazy but original rendition of American hip hop dancing as the famous hip hop dance group “Havikoro” rehearsed at the American Centre here today.
American hip hop dance group “Havikoro” rehearses at the American Centre in New Delhi on Monday.
American hip hop dance group “Havikoro” rehearses at the American Centre in New Delhi on Monday. Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

The hip hop group is all set to debut in a unique performance to be held in Chandigarh on January 19 at the Bhargava Auditorium, PGIMER. One of America’s leading hip hop dance group, which is based in Houston, is gearing up to perform in style at Chandigarh. The performance, organisers say will give a unique flavour of American street dancing and hip hop culture. Havikoro will also be teaching break dance and conducting beat box workshops for youth at Chandigarh. The Havikoro group of street dancers is known in the US for its acrobatic and hip hop dance style also known as break dance.

Havikoro is led by dancer Mario Jaramillo, who after a rehersal in New Delhi said, “It is simply awesome to be performing in India. This is the first time that I will be performing in the subcontinent and have been looking forward to it from sometime. I love experiencing new places, people and cultures.” Mario further says, “It is a a creative expression, which underlines hip hop dancing and hip hop culture. An artist is expected to be original and come up with his own moves, it is the creativity and deep originality of hip hop dancing which is so unique. Hip hop also gives expression to the urges of youth and takes care of their frustrations.”

Mario further adds that, “I have been performing hip hop since I was a kid though I began working with different groups from 1990. It is the poetry, originality and sheer thrill of hip hop dancing that attracted me to this dance form.” The Havikoro crew came together in 1999 when some friends of Houston chose dancing over negative activities such as drugs and violence. The group helps to promote positive life choices and clean living through dance and music. Havikoro on their India tour will be performing at Chandigarh, Ahemdabad, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata.

Havikoro is essentially a group of street dancers that are natural comedians, actors, writers, entertainers, poets, rappers, designers and music producers. The dance company has been working with youth to promote higher values in life like achieving a higher education, living drug free, non-violent and a physically-fit life. They have performed in many foreign countries ranging from Azerbaijan and Vietnam to Haiti and Argentina. Havikoro also has a non-profit wing, which is primarily the educational wing of the dance company and has a mission to work with youth at risk offering positive messages through performing arts.



Four HC additional Judges elevated

New Delhi, January 17
Four additional judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court have been elevated as the permanent judges in the same high court.

Justice Rajan Gupta, Justice Ajay Tewari, Justice Jitendra Kumar Chauhan and Justice Augustine George Masih, who were till now the additional judges will now be the judges of that high court, a Law Ministry statement said here. — PTI



Focus on MC poll, BJP workers told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Saroj Pandey, BJP national secretary and Chandigarh affairs in charge, yesterday asked party workers to concentrate on municipal corporation (MC) elections, scheduled to be held later this year.

Addressing an executive committee meeting of the party here, she said the party had been agitating at the national level over corruption and price rise, due to which the government was on the back foot.

She released the January 2011 special issue of Kamal Samachar, which included a pictorial view of activities during the last year.

In his inaugural speech, local unit president Sanjay Tandon highlighted the activities and programmes of the unit during the past few months.

Satinder Singh, general secretary, presented a political resolution on the deteriorating law and order situation. He said residents were living under threat and had lost faith in the police and the administration.

During the last few months, cases of snatching, dacoity and murder were increasing, but the police had failed to nab criminals, he added. Former president Jairam Joshi presented the draft of Vision Chandigarh Document.



25 pc quota for poor students

Mohali, January 17
All private schools in Mohali, irrespective of their affiliating boards, will have to reserve 25 per cent seats for students from the Economically Weaker Section (EWS).

The decision will be applicable to all schools in the state and students will be entitled to free education, said the Punjab Education Minister Sewa Singh Sekhwan while giving appointment letters to 27 teachers, who have been promoted as lecturers, during a function held at the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) here today.

In a new pro teacher initiative, lecturers were given station of their choice. “The government hopes that after getting the choice stations, the lecturers will teach the students with full dedication,” he said. — TNS



PU honours Canadian MP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Panjab University today honoured its alumnus Sukh Dhaliwal, MP, Newton-Delta, Canada, at a function organised at the university’s Golden Jubilee Hall. Welcoming Dhaliwal, Bhupinder Singh Bhoop, Dean, alumni relations, PU, highlighted his political and social accomplishments of Dhaliwal as an MP in Canada.

He exhorted Dhaliwal and other NRIs at the helm of the overseas affairs to come up in a big way to foster liaison between alumni and their alma mater.

Sukh Dhaliwal, while remembering his student days, expressed his desire to help PU.

He lauded the endeavour of PU’s department of alumni affairs in the establishment of scholarships for meritorious students, endowment stipends, alumni guest house, and plans to rehabilitate alumni at the proposed Old Age home.

Dhaliwal urged everyone to do whatever they can do for their country. Referring India as a superpower, he pressed upon making Punjab as an important part of this revolution by improving education, healthcare and industry in the state.

He emphasised that higher preference and incentives for education ought to be imparted to the people from rural areas, who constitute nearly 65 per cent of Indian population.

Dhwaliwal was honoured with an Alumnus award, trophy and a robe of honour by the university.

GK Chatrath, Dean, faculty of laws, and Syndic, PU, advised the NRIs to send their wards to PU and other universities to act as ambassadors to fortify the liaison of immigrants with their country.



MBBS at PGI gets thumbs-down
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The move to introduce MBBS courses at the PGI here fizzled out today as the proposal failed to find support from academic committee members at a meeting here today. The issue was included in the agenda of the academic committee meeting held prior to the meetings of the institute body and the governing body.

As none of the members of the academic committee showed interest in discussing the issue at the governing body meeting chaired by Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad, the latter preferred to keep mum on it.

The proposal of starting an MBBS course had, in fact, been mooted by the Central Government, following which the PGI authorities set up a committee under the PGI Dean, Prof V Sakhuja, to assess the viability, who opposed it in his report.

Subsequently, another sub-committee, headed by the Sub-Dean, Prof Amod Gupta, submitted its report, favouring the proposal.

On the other hand, the faculty association and many former PGI Directors had raised objection to the proposal on the ground that an MBBS course at the PGI would be against the character of the institute as it could spoil the serene research atmosphere and state-of-the-art postgraduate teaching.

After the meetings ended, faculty association president Dr Virender Singh presented a memorandum of demands to the minister.

It included the demand for implementing the new line of promotions recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission, appointment of the next Director from within the PGI and representation of the faculty association on various bodies of the institute.

Azad’s call

The governing body has authorised the minister, who is the chairman of the committee, to nominate members of the committee to be constituted for selecting the new Director of the PGI as the tenure of the incumbent, Prof KK Talwar, will end on March 3.

New Dean

The governing body appointed Prof Amod Gupta, head of the ophthalmology department, as Dean. Currently Sub-Dean, he replaces Dr V Sakhuja. Prof Kusum Joshi of the histopathology department, was appointed Sub-Dean.

Scam report

Speaking on the admission scam at the PGI, Azad said the inquiry report on the issue is expected soon. The ministry had constituted an inquiry committee, chaired by Dr DC Jain, Special Director-General, Health Services, New Delhi, after The Tribune had, in September last year, highlighted the scam and the CBI arrested two doctors accused of getting admission through agents. On a question posed by mediapersons, the minister said the inquiry committee had held two meetings and the proceedings would be concluded in the third meeting, which would be held soon. Azad refused to comment on the PGI faculty association’s demand that the new Director be from within the PGI.

The verification

The admission scam was taken up by a member during the institute body meeting. Answering a query on steps taken to verify the antecedents of students who got admission in the past, it was stated that the authorities matched the signatures of candidates who got admission with those who had appeared in the examination.

Shops’ rent

Sangrur MP Vijender Singla, who is also a member of the institute body, spoke against the high rent for chemist shops. He said shops at the PGI, instead of auction, should be rented out for a fixed amount. The allotment of shops should be made to the bidder who offered the maximum discount on medicines and other articles to patients, he said. Chemist shop at the emergency ward had been rented out for Rs 1.28 lakh per day.



Victim turns hostile in J&K sex scandal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
A 40-year-old victim, while deposing in court in the infamous Jammu and Kashmir sex scandal case, today testified that she was never raped. She was then declared hostile. The woman was declared hostile as she retracted from all her allegations made earlier before the CBI.

The statement of the victim came as major respite for former J&K minister Raman Mattoo, against whom the victim had levelled allegations of sexual exploitation on the pretext of getting a job for her son.

As per the CBI, Mattoo was accused of sexually exploiting girls when they approached him for jobs and he was facing trial under Section 5 (procuring, inducing person for sale for the purpose of prostitution) of the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act. The case was registered in 2006. But while deposing in the Chandigarh court today, she outrightly denied being raped and said while working as constable in the J&K Police, she was posted near Mattoo’s house.

The scandal broke in early 2006, when the police stumbled upon two explicit sex CDs. The CDs featured a teenaged Kashmiri girl, who was soon identified.

She told the police how she and other girls were forced to have sex with senior members of the administration and security forces.

At this time, pamphlets were circulated against several ministers in the PDP-Congress coalition about their involvement in the scandal.



City battles icy winds on a sunny Monday
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
The sun shone bright in the city today, but icy winds blowing at 16 km per hour, along with a dip in mercury, made it a chilly day.

Chandigarh was back in the grip of the winter chill after a brief spell of warm weather as temperature slipped to 4.7 degree Celsius early on Monday morning from 12.2 degree Celsius the previous day.

The minimum of 5 degree Celsius today was normal for this time of the year while the maximum dropped to 14.6 degree Celsius from yesterday’s 16.2 degree Celsius, a Met official said.

“The wind speed was between 13 and 16 km per hour today. For the past couple of days, the city has been experiencing icy winds. The city experienced chilly weather and mercury remained below normal today,” a senior Met official said. The Director of the meteorological department, Surender Paul, said this cold wave was due to north-westerly winds.

“From Afghanistan to North Pakistan, the entire Himalayan range, beginning Jammu and Kashmir to Himachal Pradesh, is witnessing snowfall. The winds, reaching the plains, are causing the chilly weather here,” he said.

The deapartment predicted that icy winds would continue to blow over the city on Tuesday as well and mercury was likely to be between 5 and 17 degree Celsius. The weatherman also warned about the possibility of shallow fog tomorrow.

The weatherman had earlier said warm weather conditions would be short-lived, and mercury could dip over the weekend following snowfall in the Himalayan region and rain in the foothills and plains.

The weatherman said, “This remains the cause of sunshine not giving any reprieve. The Met department further predicted that the city and several places in Punjab and Haryana would remain partly cloudy and continue to suffer cold conditions for at least the next two days.

Meanwhile, normal flight operations started today with the opening of the sky. Jet Airways resumed its evening Chandigarh-Delhi-Bengaluru flight from today.

The GoAir Airlines’ Mumbai-Delhi-Chandigarh flight, scheduled to arrive at 11.30 am, was over an hour late.

Several long-distance trains arriving to the city continued to run inordinately late due to the intense cold conditions and foggy weather along the routes.



High-level team inspects 3 BRD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
Air Marshal J Neri, Air Officer-in-Charge Maintenance at Air Headquarters, arrived on a two-day inspection visit at No. 3 Base Repair Depot (3 BRD) here today.

He is accompanied by Air Vice-Marshal SC Luthra, Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Engineering (Transport and Helicopters), and a team of senior officers from Air HQs as well as Maintenance Command, Nagpur.

The Air Marshal will visit various divisions of the depot and review the modernisation progress and indigenisation tasks being undertaken here.

He will take stock of the ongoing projects and assess their results.

The visiting team will be given a presentation on the working and achievements of the depot.

3 BRD is the largest helicopter maintenance establishment in the country. It is tasked with the repair, overhaul and upgradation of the IAF’s Mi-8 and Mi-17 choppers, Mi-25/35 helicopter gunships and engines of the AN-32 aircraft.



Once is not enough for MC
Second special committee on GPS coming up
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
It may sound strange, but the municipal corporation (MC) will constitute a special committee again to work out modalities for the usage of Global Positioning System (GPS) two years after the submission of a detailed report on similar issue by the committee constituted earlier.

A detailed presentation on GPS benefits were given today by nominated councillor Arshad Khan to Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh and officials of the corporation.

The Mayor decided to constitute another committee of officials and councillors, which would prepare a comprehensive report on it.

The Mayor stated that a fresh committee would be constituted soon, which would update the report on GPS submitted by the committee earlier.

As per records of the MC, a special committee was constituted by the General House to work out modalities of GPS and draft bylaws for its execution in the city in 2009.

The committee recommended that through a GPS system, the authorities could chalk out the draft of the detail mapping of the city.

Through this system, the departments would also have knowledge about the location of water, sewerage and electricity lines in the city, which would help in better coordination between all departments before planning any development work in any area.

The report submitted earlier had not been tabled and discussed in the House till date. Arshad had raised the issue in the House a number of times, saying the authorities should adopt this system as it would facilitate in getting details of the whole system.



GMSH staff call off stir

Chandigarh, January 17
Nursing staff and contractual workers called off their gate meetings at the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, after the authorities agreed to look into their grievances here today.

The Director, Health Services, Dr Chander Mohan, assured them of taking a sympathetic view of their demands. The Contract Workers Union decided to wear black badges till January 25. — TNS



PEC Placements
Huge market for engineers
39 BTech students get multiple offers
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 17
With companies offering more jobs to engineers this year in order to meet the rising demands in the market, 39 BTech final year students at PEC University of Technology have bagged multiple placement offers.

Out of 320 candidates, 296 have been placed this year with an average pay package of Rs 4.5 lakh annually.

Companies will continue to visit the PEC campus for recruitments in January, said PEC placement co-ordinators.

The nature of companies recruiting PEC students this year is not only restricted to their respective discipline of study. Banks, particularly the investment banks, have shown a keen interest to recruit PEC engineers.

In comparison to the pay packages offered to the PEC students in last three years, barring the highest pay package, which was a whopping Rs 17 lakh this year, the average salary scale for all students was nearly the same.

In 2008-2009, besides five students hired at Rs 8.5 lakh package annually by Cisco, which was the highest, six more were recruited at Rs 6.91 lakh, while five for Rs 6.7 lakh and 10 students bagged Rs 6.5 lakh pay package annually.

In 2009-2010, two students were hired at the highest pay package of Rs 7.5 lakh per year, while five students managed a pay package of Rs 6.7 lakh.



Seminar on public health

CHANDIGARH: The third annual national seminar conducted by the Centre for Public Health, Institute for Emerging Areas in Science and Technology, Panjab University (PU), was inaugurated today by Prof VM Katoch, director-general, Indian Council for Medical Research, New Delhi.

The theme of the seminar was “Sustainable Development and Public Health in India.”

Katoch emphasised upon the need to work on Indian models to tackle the public health challenges in the country.

He said since the field of public health was dictated by realities, it was imperative that we stopped looking towards the West for issues that impacted us. Indian public health workforce must find out original, sustainable, long-term and affordable solutions for public health challenges.


University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), Panjab University, will be among the four law departments in the country where special lectures will be delivered by delegates from University of Bangor, UK.

According to PU officials, the University of Bangor has been featured in top 20 business schools of the UK and was established in 1884.

Professor Dermot Cahill, dean, Bangor University Law School, and Deputy Head of the University’s College of Business, Social Science and Law and Dr Osian Rees, lecturer in law, Bangor University, will deliver lectures on “Recent reforms of the UK Constitution and price fixing decisions in the European Union” on January 18.”

“The presentation will also include an introduction to the university study, culture and learning opportunities available in the University of Bangor,” said Sangita Bhalla, director of UILS. — TNS




Students want 45 pc for clearing exams

Chandigarh, January 17
Representatives of the Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) accompanied by the students of University Institute of Hotel Management and Tourism (UIHMT) today staged a protest and submitted a memorandum to reduce the minimum passing percentage from 50 to 45 per cent.

They claimed that 50 per cent passing limit was for postgraduate courses and not for undergraduate courses in colleges across the country.

At present, the UIHMT students were getting only one chance to clear their supplementary examination. In the absence of PU Dean, Student Welfare, Naval Kishore, Dean, sciences, AS Ahluwalia, reached the spot and addressed the students. — TNS 



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