C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


High Court fire: Accident or sabotage?
Lower court judgments, documents meant for referral purposes reduced to ashes
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

The charred files at the record room.
The charred files at the record room. Tribune photos: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, January 30
The fire in the record room of the Punjab and Haryana High Court complex could be sabotage if one is to believe a senior UT fire department official.Talking to The Tribune, the Station Fire Officer of the Sector 17 fire station, Sham Singh, said the watchman had claimed that he had switched off the main switch of the building before locking the main entrance of the building last evening. “If this is true, there is no question of a short circuit,” he said.

At the time of the incident, the building was locked from outside and nobody was inside it, claimed an official of the record room.

Partially burnt files being taken to a safer place; and acting Chief Justice of the High Court Ranjan Gogoi (right) comes out after inspecting the record room.
Partially burnt files being taken to a safer place; and acting Chief Justice of the High Court Ranjan Gogoi (right) comes out after inspecting the record room.

Certain senior officers of the Chandigarh Police and the fire department suspected short circuit as the main cause behind the incident. But that seems to be ruled out with Sham Singh saying that the main switch had been turned off last evening.

UT Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Desraj Singh said samples had been lifted by a team of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory. “We are waiting for the report. Only after we get it will we decide the next step,” he said.

A three-Judge committee of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has been constituted to probe into the incident. 

It could have been worse

The consequence of the fire could have been far worse had the fire occurred during office hours, say High Court employees. Reason: It would have been very difficult for the fire engines to gain entry to the court premises due to the high density of haphazardly parked vehicles on the road leading to the court. The authorities should learn a lesson from the incident and regulate parking in future, the employees advised.

Judgments lost

The files of “first appeal against the orders” (FAO) contain judgment orders by lower courts. “The cases can be reconstructed, but not the records of the judgments by the lower courts,” an advocate said. Notably, most of the files of the FAO section, which is believed to number in thousands, have been destroyed in the fire.

Bar Association’s appeal

The Bar Association hxas asked its members who have got civil revision and FAO fixed from January 31 onwards, to keep a spare copy ready for records because of the fire.

Earlier blast

Last year a tragedy was averted when a minor blast occurred following a short circuit in the wiring of the building during office hours. “We got scared after the incident but fortunately no fire broke out that time,” said an official of the record section of the court. 



Key documents destroyed
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The blazing inferno in the Punjab & Haryana High Court’s record room brought back smoldering memories of a strikingly similar fire incident that occurred there some 12 years ago. On that occasion too vital documents were either burnt or simply washed away in the fire department’s efforts to douse the flames. The documents then housed in the record room included files of cases decided up to 1980.

It had taken the high court several years to “reconstruct” the records with the help of “rival” counsels. In fact the latter were asked to supply copies of the orders available with them to rebuild the records.

However, a large part of that effort was apparently reduced to ashes today morning with the fire burning the records. It is believed the records destroyed this time belonged to the civil revision branch.

Though the functioning of the courts will not be affected due to the records being burnt, these documents were considered necessary for referral purposes.

Both the high court and the Supreme Court are “courts of records”, indicating their work and proceedings serve as perpetual evidence. In fact, the proceedings and decisions are retained on permanent record.

For the high court staff, which had witnessed the blaze on April 2, 1999, it was nothing less than a “déjà vu”. Then also the fire had erupted at almost the same time - 3:45 am, and smoke continued to billow out of the court complex much after the fire was brought under control.

Then also the staff saw file stacks reduced to twisted metal and the concrete ceiling caving in due to the intense heat. Some case files that did not catch fire were strewn all over, soaked in the water pumped by fire engines.

The only difference in the “been there, seen that” feeling this time was the absence of apprehension regarding the destruction of the “historic” Gandhi assassination trial papers. Available information suggests all the “momentous” records were shifted to the Punjab & Haryana High Court museum when it was inaugurated and was, as such, immune from the conflagration today morning.

As of now the museum is a storehouse of lesser known but important facts of historic cases like the trial of Bhagat Singh and others in the Lahore conspiracy case.

Existing information indicates the record room initially had documents of the erstwhile Punjab High Court at Lahore, which were first shifted to Simla and then to Chandigarh.



PSEB books feeding wrong info
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 30
Is it Dr DH Khorana or Dr Har Gobind Khorana, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology? If one goes by the English textbook prescribed by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) for senior secondary school level students, it should be Dr DH Khorana. Factually, it is incorrect. The official website of the Nobel Prize (nobelprize.org) mentions the name of the eminent India-born scientist as Dr Har Gobind Khorana.

This is not all. It seems that academicians at board are not keeping pace when it comes to carefully updating the curriculum of various subjects and cross-checking facts. In a classic example of carelessness on part of the the board authorities, a chapter on Alfred Nobel (lesson number 7) in English Reader (Book-VI) being taught to hundreds of senior secondary school students across the state mentions that five Nobel Prizes are awarded to those making immense contribution to physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. The chapter has no mention of the sixth Nobel Prize that is given in economic sciences.

The PSEB Chairman, Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, said the mistake was being rectified in the new textbooks. “I will enquire into the matter to ascertain the reasons behind it,” he said.

Interestingly, Dr Amartya Sen, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1998, finds no mention in the book. His name, however, only figures in end-notes on page 59 of chapter 7. Even so, there is no co-relation of the end-note to the main text.

“This is a matter of concern. How can students enrolled with the PSEB think of competing at the national level, let alone international level, when they are being fed with outdated and factually incorrect information,” said an eminent educationist who did not want to be named.

This is not all. The PSEB has even misprinted the name of Dr Har Gobind Khorana, a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology, as Dr DH Khorana. Though this book has been prescribed for the current academic year (2010-2011), sources reveal that the same mistakes have been recurring for the last two years with no one in the PSEB cross-checking facts both before and after publication of the book.

The issue figured during a recent meeting of the Punjab State Education Advisory Board chaired by the Punjab education minister, Sewa Singh Sekhwan. While discussing the reasons behind the ailing education system in Punjab schools, experts pointed out that there was a need to revise the syllabi as information in the textbooks was outdated.


Provide Shelter to stray animals

Sanjeev Bariana has touched a very important and sensitive issue in his article on the stray dog and monkey menace in "Open House" on January 24. The stray dog and monkey menace must be understood by all of us and the UT administration keeping in view the ground realities and a harmonious tolerance of co-existence of the bio-diversity on mother earth. Birds, animals, micro-organisms and human beings are the equal stack holders of earth and must respect each other's existence and respect for life.

Have we ever thought that why our wild life creatures have become regular visitors in cities and towns? Why we have become so intolerant to their presence? In fact, we are responsible for their behaviour. Excessive urbanisation, industrialisation and shortage of food have affected the natural habitat of birds and animals.

Excessive pollution has also deteriorated the health of birds and animals. Besides, we have become too selfish and self-centred. I can only request everyone to show compassion for animals and birds who cannot speak but need our help. We have created many dwellings for the poor and destitute, but conveniently ignored the similar facilities for sick, deserted and ailing animals. This population of hungry sick and stray animals have no other alternative left but to come to cities and towns in search of food and shelter. It is wrong to kill a dog or a monkey by terming them carriers of rabies. Have we ever killed an ailing man or a woman? Over-exploitation of forests and bio-diversity should be stopped. We must understand that there is a limited carrying capacity of earth and environment and any attempt to go beyond this capacity is sure to bounce back. The birds and animals are the natural scavengers to check pollution and degeneration of the environment. The UT administration must create a natural habitat and for birds and animals, the green covers and forest areas must not be exploited for commercial purposes. Stray dogs can be sterilised to check their unplanned growth. Residents should contribute by donating food for birds and animals. The UT administration must keep a separate budget for this.

Capt Amar Jeet Kumar

Adopt animals

Since "Gaushalas" are promoted in cities and even in villages, trustees and NGOs need to come forward and adopt stray dogs. Surely need of the hour is to have sterilisation programme by the municipal corporation and I support the views of mercy killing (painless) sodium pentothal injections for suffering dogs.

OP Garg

MC should come forward

I live in Mohali, Phase IV. Till now me or my neighbours have never come across any harshness from these stary dogs. So we have a little sympathetic corner for them. In December, a bitch here gave birth to six little pups and to show that enthusiasm, the kids here made a dog house to protect them from chill. It becomes difficult for them to survive in freezing winter nights. As dogs are said to be the 'guards' of the society, there are some of them, who may be harmful because of their diseases or their biting habits. So this kind of breed should be taken care of by the municipal corporation to protect residents, especially the kids.

Gungeet Kaur

Sterilisation needed

Out of the many ills afflicting Chandigarh, the dog and monkey menace is the gravest. It can be tackled in a phased manner without arousing the ire of animal rights activists like Menaka Gandhi. The sterilisation is the best option, while killing them is unethical unless there is occurrence of a mad dog. Along with this control, there is also urgent need to regulate the rearing of pet puppies. Owners can be seen taking them to parks and let them ease out on the pavements which is disdainful. Let there be directions that the roads, pavements and parks must be kept clean of the shit and owners need be sensitised through concerted campaign, or penalised in case of default.

Gurmit Singh Saini

A separate house must

Since there is no check on the stray dog and monkey menace, the population of dogs and monkeys is increasing by leaps and bounds which is really a nuisance for residents. As a matter of fact, it is not only the stray dogs that create nuisance across the city by littering/defecation in public places, they also cause serious accidents when they stray in the middle of the roads, especially during night and mating season. Apart, there is always a fear of children being bitten. There is a need to check the stray dogs. After catching the stray dogs, these should be kept under protection in separate animal houses. It is certainly a good thing that nobody should be allowed to take dogs out without a leash as the ferocious dogs always pose a danger to residents and children. Animal rights activists have long advocated sterilisation of stray dogs so that their population stays in control. In fact, neutering is prescribed by the Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules- 2001 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960. It is the only legal method of keeping their numbers in check. There are clear guidelines, issued by the SC itself, according to which a dog should be euthanised only if it is rabid, mortally wounded or is incurably ill.

SK Khosla



Xerox it!
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Worried about getting a voluminous set of notes photocopied before exam time? For students, who do not mind a strip of advertisement on the bottom of each page, a heavy discount awaits students at all photocopy booths inside six engineering colleges of the city from January 31, Monday.

An innovative marketing technique, to be launched by three budding engineers at PEC University of Technology, will enable students to avail photocopying facility at a rate of 25 paise per page on the college campus.

To begin with, the subsidised rates will be available on the PEC campus, Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA), University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), Panjab University (PU), University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET), PU, and Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET), Sector 26.

Sahil Kohli, Aarish Grover and Himanshu Negi, all students of BTech first year at PEC, have collaborated with various sponsors, most of which include coaching institutes for IAS, MBA and other competitive exams and whose advertisements will now be displayed at the end of each page used for photocopying.

“We got inspired from a Japanese concept in which advertisements were displayed at the rear end of photo-copy machines. This was also a source of revenue for shopkeepers. Our college director is also a source of inspiration as he constantly motivated students through his speeches to become entrepreneurs. We thought of doing something that benefits students and also advertisers,” said Sahil, who aspires to become an entrepreneur.

“We looked for advertisers whose target was to reach out to college students. The sponsorship from advertisers will be used to compensate the loss of photocopy shop vendors. For raising the initial funds, we tutored Class XII students and collected ` 25,000,” said Himanshu.

The next venture, said the PEC students, would be to procure advertisements for notebooks used by government school students. “Students will be able to buy these long registers and books for just ` 10, as compared to the current market price of ` 30,” said Sahil. 



Festival of Letters ends
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The Chandigarh Festival of Letters concluded today at Panjab University. A quiz and deliberations on women’s literature and problems in translation were held.

Hosted by Anil Raina from the department of English and cultural studies, PU, the quiz attracted participation from literature scholars as they grappled with questions ranging from oriental to European classics. The participating teams were given cash prizes and certificates. Karan and Mohita, who constituted the team from the department of English and cultural studies, bagged the first prize.

Susan Comfort deliberated on “Gender and Empowerment in Post-colonial Women’s Literature, particularly critiquing Roy’s God of Small Things through the lens of eco-feminism during the morning session of the festival. Mariam Karim-Ahlawat focused on “Problematics of Translation”. She laid emphasis on the importance of cadence and vocabulary in the translation process. Prof RW Desai spoke on the relevance of Shakespeare.

Jagdeep Bhatti dwelt on evolution of fairy tales, while Kirandeep Bath stressed on the screen adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays.

Among those awarded included Dr Chander Trikha, Dr BK Pannu, Dr Kailash Ahluwalis, NS Rattan, Madhur Kapila, Gurdeep Gul and Bhagwant Singh. 



Migrants on a high with ‘bhang’

‘Bhang’ (cannabis), which in the English dictionary has been defined as a preparation of leaves and flower tops of Indian hemp and has intoxicating properties, is available for free as a cheap substitute for liquor in the periphery of the city.

Getting high on ‘bhang’ for free in villages is as easy as taking a walk in the vacant plots and even in backlanes of houses, or better still, in slum areas. Cannabis plants flourishing undisturbed in various parts of the city have made it easy for some students and many migrants and slum-dwellers to not only rub enough for a few puffs, but also save some to sell.

The UT Administration may be stressing on a coordinated strategy to tackle the increasing drug addiction, but this has done little to tackle the problem of cannabis plants that dot the city’s periphery.

Fear pays

The fear of transfer among technicians at the GMSH proved a boon for the authorities last week, when its sterilisation machine developed a snag. The machine remained defunct for two days and the authorities were informed that it was not going to work and needed a major overhaul.

Following this, the authorities decided to shift the sterilisation job, along with technicians, to its two other facilities at the Community Health Centres at Sector 22 and Manimajra. The orders in this regard were issued at 11 am on January 28. At 1.30 pm, the authorities were informed by the technicians that the machine had started working properly.

Seminar time

In the most recent seminar at Panjab University (PU), faculty members and senior officials were spotted calling students from various departments to add volume to the PU’s golden jubilee hall. Minutes before the arrival of an eminent guest, the hall was empty and the students of the host department were nowhere to be seen.

Worse still, in a bid to fill the hall, university officials invited management students to a seminar of relevance to history and political science students! PU students, it appears, are exhausted with the increasing number of seminars being conducted on the campus each day.

Sit, where?

The state-level Republic Day function at the Parade Ground presented a study in contrast. While the UT Adviser’s speech at the function had nothing concrete and impressive to offer, various tableaux showcased by major educational institutions offered an insight into their creativity and innovation. The cultural bonanza by students of various schools seemed far better than ‘sarkari’ arrangements.

The ‘sarkari’ arrangements seemed to taking care of bureaucrats and police officials, who were obviously marked for special treatment by UT officials and police officials on duty. On the other hand, the invitees, including members of the Press and certain awardees, were their wits’ end about seating arrangements. People naturally expect a better deal.

What a miss!

The daredevilry by 25 motorcycle-borne commandos of the Haryana Police at the state-level Republic Day function at the Sector 5 Parade Ground in Panchkula was given a miss by the Director Public Relations in the press note issued the next day. Some senior police officials said mentioning the feat of the commandos would have boosted the morale of the police, which had performed in the town for the first time.

Contributed by Anil Jerath, Arun Sharma, Neha Miglani, Pradeep Sharma and Sanjay Bumbroo



Wrong blood transfusion victim left in the lurch
Penniless family denied free medicines at PGI
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Suman, who lost her nine-month-old foetus last month after being administered a wrong blood transfusion at the Government Multispecialty Hospital, Sector 16, has been left to fend for herself to foot the bills for the medicines required for her treatment.

With no more money left, the patient, whose kidneys have been affected due to the GMCH staff’s botch up, is running from pillar to post to raise funds to buy the medicines prescribed to her by doctors at PGI where she is presently under treatment as an outdoor patient.

For the past three days Suman’s family members have been literally depending on alms to feed her three children. Her husband, a daily wage labourer, has not able to earn enough to pay for the medicines. And, all these days no one from GMSH has bothered to come forward to help out the family.

“My husband has already burdened with the loan of over Rs 15,000 he had taken from various quarters for my treatment. Where should we go?” asks an anguished Suman.

Defending GMSH officials, health services director Dr Chander Mohan said: “The patient’s family members have not approached us for reimbursement of medicine costs. They were informed all the bills would be reimbursed by the hospital as and when submitted with its authorities.”

On December 16 last year Suman, a resident of Colony No 4, was given a transfusion of the wrong blood group (B positive) that was meant for another patient with a similar name at GMSH. She was supposed to have been administered A positive group blood instead. As a result she lost her baby in the womb the same evening and was shifted to PGI in a critical condition after doctors noticed a severe infection in her kidneys.

Suman was later discharged from PGI on January 21 after being advised to regularly visit the hospital for followup treatment.

The staff at PGI, however, denied her free medicines as she had been discharged. Only a poor indoor patient was entitle to receive medicines free of cost. Deshraj, her husband, said: “A few tablets were provided to her at the time of her discharge from PGI. We had approached hospital officials on Saturday only to be told further expenses for her treatment would have to be borne by us”.

A PGI spokesperson said the free medicines facility is extended only to poor indoor patients.

All-round apathy

While the UT administration has virtually ignored the patient who is struggling for her life because of a fault on the part of the staff of one of the hospitals it runs, local social organizations also failed to come forward to extend a helping hand to the poor family. An organization that called up media offices to inform them about a function held last week to help the family could not come up with more than Rs 1,100.



Sukhna to get new infrastructure
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The Sukhna Lake is all set for new tourism infrastructure, to be created under the integrated development schemes of the Chandigarh administration, supported financially with a grant-in-aid from the Ministry of Tourism, to make this tourist spot a favourite tourist destination for domestic as well as international tourists, according to a press note.

It has been pointed out that keeping in view the tourist-carrying capacity of the lake area, there is a necessity to further create tourism infrastructure at the rear side of the lake, from the Chandigarh Golf Club upto the aquatic life centre at the regulator-end of the lake.

This area is accessible through road and thus, it is proposed to have integrated tourism facilities, with the construction of new tourism walkways, trekking trails, tourist seating places, public conveniences and beautification and landscaping of the existing environs on the rear side of the lake.



Medical technologists’ protest on Feb 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The PGI Medical Technologists Association (MTA) will go on a one-day mass casual leave on February 17. According to a press note, this step is being taken following a three-year wait after withdrawing its strike, observed from from April 15 to 24, 2008, on the intervention of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

On January 13, the notice for observing the one-day mass casual leave was served on the PGI management, with copies for the Union Health Minister, the Union Health Secretary and the Labour Commissioner. However, the PGI management had not responded to the notice so far, said Ashwani Munjal, MTA general secretary.

The PGI management had failed to meet the demands and grievances of medical technologists, including implementation of the cadre review report submitted in January, 2005, finalising the report of the pay anomaly committee constituted on March 4, 2009, implementation of the Modified Assured Career Progression Scheme and implementation of high court orders dated January 14, 2009, for withdrawal of charge sheets and release of retirement and service benefits to employees ‘victimised’ in 1997, who had been exonerated by the trial court, he said.



Exam rush creates chaos at railway station
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Candidates cross the track between two platforms; and (right) aspirants climb atop a bus in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Candidates cross the track between two platforms; and (right) aspirants climb atop a bus in Chandigarh on Sunday.Tribune photos: Nitin Mittal and Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, January 30
It was utter chaos at the Chandigarh railway station as a heavy rush was witnessed following a Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) examination in the city today. Around 20,000 candidates had arrived to appear in the examination for 390 posts of technician in the Railways.

According to a railway official, 35,000 eligible candidates had been called for the examination and around 20,000 candidates appeared in it. The examination was conducted across 70 centres in Panchkula, Mohali and the city, the official added.

Though no trains were delayed, the rush left passengers of other trains high and dry. Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Mukesh Bhardwaj, who had come from Panchkula to see off his brother-in-law at the railway station, said, “There is such a heavy rush that I have no space to stand. I am pushed every few minutes,” he rued.

The examination was being conducted for 390 seats under the graduate quota. The heavy rush, however, did not surprise candidates. “I was expecting a lot more candidates. My paper went well. I hope that I clear it,” stated Pankaj, a resident of Panipat.

Prem Thakur, who had come from Delhi, was not too happy and said, “It is a shame that we have to be bundled like sheep in trains to appear for the test and that too, for a handful of seats. I never knew that so many candidates would turn up.”

According to an official, the examination went off without a glitch. To clear the rush, a special train was run for candidates at 2.45 pm. Arrangements were also made for the special running of buses by the CTU.

Chandigarh station superintendent DK Meena said a special train was run between Delhi, Ambala and Chandigarh to ferry candidates. “Extra security was put in place at the station and at examination centres,” he pointed out.

Rules defied

In a tearing hurry to get past platform No. 1 to platform No. 2 to board the special train, a majority of candidates preferred crossing the track between the two platforms to going via the railway overbridge, defying railway rules. Railway Protection Force personnel posted at the station remained moot spectators. The personnel said crossing the track between platforms was an offence. Whenever these examinations took place, the rush of passengers would multiply as people from adjoining districts and rural pockets would arrive here, they said. Action was being taken against erring passengers, they added.



Residents submit memo to Mayor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Residents of Sectors 50, 51 and 63 met the Mayor, Ravinder Pal Singh Pali, today and took up issues relating to re-carpeting and widening of road, low pressure of water and a community centre in their area. They submitted a memorandum of their demands to the Mayor.

The press secretary of the joint action committee for development of these sectors, Rakesh Chopra, said the site for the community centre, dispensary, fire station and sampark centre had already been earmarked in the layout plans, but no progress had been made.

The residents had raised the matter several times with the authorities, but nothing came off it. The Mayor gave them an assurance that he would look into the matter.



Construction of railway overbridge
Commuters want cops on diversion points
Tribune News Service

The construction of railway overbridge in progress on the Zirakpur-Panchkula highway.
The construction of railway overbridge in progress on the Zirakpur-Panchkula highway. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Zirakpur, January 30
Hundreds of commuters and residents are facing inconvenience while commuting on the Zirakpur-Kalka Highway, as the road remains closed for vehicles due to the construction work of the railway overbridge at a level crossing near Dhakoli.

According to sources, the normal flow of traffic is expected to remain affected till February. Presently, the traffic has been diverted through Chandigarh, Baltana and Dhakoli.

Earlier, the level crossing was scheduled to open on January 25. Officials of C&C Construction Company said the work on setting up girders at the site was under way. He said three new cranes were called in for lifting heavy girders.

After installing the cranes, the work would be completed by February, the official added.

Meanwhile, commuters had a tough time crossing the stretch in the absence of traffic police on key diversion points.

A visit to the area revealed that long queues of vehicles were witnessed at the Dhakoli and the Baltana internal roads, with the problem worsening during the evening.

Even though NHAI authorities had installed signboards beneath the flyover, Ankit, a resident of Karnal, said in the absence of traffic police on diversion points, it’s confusing to take right way for their destinations.

Meanwhile, traffic police official claimed that the police officials were deployed at various points to guide the commuters about the diversions.



Payal’s Death
Doctors confirm strangulation
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 30
A panel of three doctors headed by Dr Sunil Ghambir, forensic expert at the Sector 6 General Hospital, has submitted its report confirming the death of Payal, daughter-in-law of a retired colonel, through strangulation on November 18.

Victim’s body was found dumped in the water tank at the rooftop of her house to give it a look of suicide.

The police, on the complaint of her father Hanuman Parshad, a resident of Faridabad, had booked five persons of a family for strangulating.

Earlier, the Chandi Mandir Police had also received the Central Forensic Science Laboratory Madhuban (CFSL) report, which had confirmed the death of Payal through strangulation.

The autopsy report of Payal had also confirmed that Payal was first strangulated with a thin cord and later dumped in the water tank on the rooftop. The police also suspected some foul play, as the body was in standing position in the large water tank.

The five accused, including Vinod (husband), Pardeep (brother-in-law) Capt Jaidev (retd) and Sharbati Devi (father-in law and mother in law, respectively) and a relative Jaswant Singh are absconding after the police registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC against them.

Meanwhile, SHO Chandi Mandir Police Station Jangsher said they conducted raids at the house of the accused after receiving the final report of Dr Ghambir. He said they would also dispatch raiding police teams to possible hideouts in other states too and hoped that the accused would be arrested soon.

Hanuman Parshad had alleged that the accused were harassing his daughter for dowry. He said his son-in-law Vinod used to torture his daughter to get house in Gharaunda, registered in the name of Payal, to be transferred in his name. Payal was married to Vinod nine years ago and had a nine-year-old boy and a six-year-old daughter.



Deputy CM reviews development projects
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 30
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal yesterday sanctioned Rs 192 crore to lay sewerage and water supply in Kurali, Dera Bassi, Lalru, Kharar, Banur and Zirakpur apart from extending the facility in Mohali’s villages, including Sohana, Mauli Baidwan, Chilla, Lakhnour, Chachu Majra, Bakarpur, Madanpura, Kambli and Kumbhra.

Reviewing the progress of the ongoing development works of Mohali at a meeting with secretary, urban development, SS Sandhu, chief administrator GMADA Vikas Pratap, and chairman district planning committee NK Sharma, junior Badal directed distribution of the development works between Public Health, PWD, and GMADA to ensure their time-bound completion within six months.

NK Sharma brought to the notice of the Deputy Chief Minister the poor maintenance of neighbourhood park in the city, besides lack of landscaping of the green belts.

The GMADA officials were asked to handover the maintenance of parks to Municipal Corporation, Mohali, that would invite tenders to get these parks maintained for next 10 years by a professional landscaping company.

It was discussed at the meeting that 10 MGD capacity sewerage treatment plants that were being constructed for Rs 37 crore were near completion and GMADA had planned six more STPs for local planning areas of Mullanpur, Kharar, Banur, Dera Bassi and Zirakpur. Badal asked the GMADA to link the sewerage network of villages of Mohali to the main STP.

Emphasising on giving a new look to Mohali, the Deputy CM asked GMADA to provide reflectors to all sectors dividing roads of Mohali besides proper signage on Commonwealth Games pattern.

He said it was imperative for all of us to prove our road engineering to make traffic safer and smooth for the public.

The Deputy Chief Minister said he would meet Railway Minister to seek early clearance of one high-level bridge along the level crossing connecting Knowledge city.

To solve the problem of water shortage, he said that a committee under secretary development would monitor the progress of Rs 360 crore Kajouli Project.

In this project, 27 km line from Kajouli to Mohali would be laid for Rs 170 crore and treatment plant for Rs 55 crore would also be constructed.

It was informed that the process for acquisition of land for this project was in final stages and acquisition would cost around Rs 55 crore and tenders would be floated next month.

The Deputy CM would visit Mohali in February to review the progress of these projects.



Bill to handle corruption demanded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
On the 63rd death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Ajay Jagga, advocate and president of the local unit of the Janata Party, today demanded a quick, secure and anonymous place to report corruption.

The UPA government should enact a citizens draft Bill, which would create a mechanism to deal with corruption involving persons in public places, including the Prime Minister, ministers and MPs, if it was serious about ending corruption at all levels, he said.

The Lokpal Bill, to be placed before Parliament, should be the one drafted by civil society organisations and not the government, he said. The Lokpal should have powers to prosecute and punish all those involved in corruption, he added.

Ministers and MPs should be brought under the purview of the Lokpal, Jagga said. He supported the nationwide agitation organised by civil society groups to put pressure on the government to enact a citizens draft Bill.

The recent instances of large-scale corruption like 2G spectrum, CWG scam and huge sums of black money stashed in foreign banks had added to public anger, he said. The need of the hour was to draft an anti-corruption law in order to create an independent, empowered, transparent and accountable anti-corruption agency, he added.



“The Tempest” rocks
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, January 30
William Shakespeare’s magnum opus “The Tempest” was staged to perfection, that too in its new avatar of a Hindustani script, here today. It opened at the studio theatre of the Panjab University’s Department of Indian Theatre. At the very outset, the amazing set designing in the play transports the audience to the centuries-old European culture.

As the action starts, the sophistication of exalted Urdu dialogues having brilliance and drollery, soothing music and well-measured acting spells, provides abundant delight.

The production can, undeniably, be called a director’s play as the vernacular scripting, translating, composing, blocking, constructing, texturing, colouring, costuming, stitching, recording, lighting and mask-making had been carried on by or under the direct care of thespian Dr Mahendra, a co-founder of the department.

The power of painterly compositions unfolds itself scene after scene. The technical back-up by the director, supported by Dr Sweta and her team, brings alive the story close to reality.

Prospero, the ousted Duke of Milan, lives on an island with his daughter Miranda. He practises magic and grows powerful. The usurper brother Antonio, his patron King Alonzo and his retinue get caught in the sea-storm raised by Prospero’s magic.

The ship is wrecked, but all voyagers are saved and scattered on different parts of the island. King Alonzo’s son Ferdinand wanders alone, thinking all others have drowned. He meets Miranda. Both fall in love at first sight.

The other group of the King, elderly Gonzalo, Antonio and Sebastian, is in gloom over the loss of prince Ferdinand in the storm. It is revealed that all these episodes were in fact, intelligently crafted by Prospero, who wields ultimate power on this island.

Jaspinder, Satyender, Javed, Lalit, Niresh, Sameer, Rakesh and Abhishek gave ample proof of their talent and training at the artistic hands of Mahendra. He presented Ariel, the noble spirit, innovatively in its multiple picturing, stealing the show.

Gurmeet, Madhumita, Gunnit, Jaspreet, Gurbhajan, Anil, Krishan and Pawan gave believability to the abstract character with their agile movements and dance. The play brilliantly kept the momentum and suspense in each episode till the climax.

The actors displayed vitality and dynamism with eloquent movements on the rugged and rocky platforms, maintaining the rigour of naturalism in acting. Repeat shows will be held for three days.



Melodies rule hearts
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, January 30
Celebrating their success, singers and dancers, including winners and finalists of “Voice of Chandigarh” and “Dancer of Chandigarh” series of contests proved their mettle in the mega musical show held at the Tagore Theatre here today.The musical contest featuring over 6,000 contestants in various categories competed in the “Sur Wid Taal-Talent Hunt” designed and executed by S-4 Trust, an NGO and the Gurukul Vidyapeeth, an educational institute group.

Audience comprising music lovers, including parents and friends of participants greeted and appreciated their performance, as the melodic strains of old and new Bollywood numbers, Sufi, traditional and contemporary dances and songs wafted across the hall.

Seven-year-old Deepanshu rendering romantic song “Badan pe sitare” or Preetika Bhasin’s “Ek Radha Ik Meera” evoked nostalgia.

Neetu, Shivam Sajjan Singh, Deepak and others gave a melodious touch to the evening.

Similarly, winners and participant dancers, including Nahita (kathak), Harshmeet (acrobatics), Pragati and Tulika (twist) and Aman (hip-hop) put their best foot forward and entertained the discerning audience.

Group performances by special children from Prayaas, Sorem and Government Institute of Mentally Retarded Children was the another highlight.

Manmohan Garg, CEO of the Gurukul Vidyapeeth, announced that the participants and winners would be given scholarships to pursue higher studies. Prizes comprising gifts and gift vouchers worth Rs 2 lakh were given to the winners by the chief guest UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas, City Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh, guest of honour and celebrity guest Jaspal Bhatti.



Youths from Valley visit city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
Youngsters, some of whom had indulged in stone-pelting incidents in Kashmir recently, today visited the city as part of the initiative by the Indian Army to weave them into the normal flow of life.

A team of 23 youngsters, a majority of whom had been apprehended for breach of security in the recent past, today landed at the local railway station as part of a team led by Maj Gaurav Bali.

The visitors were taken to the Rock Garden and the Sukhna Lake, besides certain other tourist spots.

Major Bali, attached with the 75 Medium Regiment of the 28 Infantry Division, said, “All these guys did not pelt stones. Some of them did not. All of them had never seen life outside Kupwara.”

He said, “Our trip started with Jammu. Later, we reached New Delhi, where the boys met Rahul Gandhi and visited the Rashtrapati Bhavan.” Major Bali said, “After the Republic Day celebrations, they were taken on a trip to Rajasthan. Efforts are being made to get the local youth to be a part of the national mainstream.”



Stress on importance of good parenting
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 30
“Schools give children the wings and parents give them roots. As parents, we are the most important role players in our children’s life,” said the renowned academician, Dr Shyama Chona, while addressing a workshop on “Foundation of parenting with love and logic” held at The Millennium School.

The workshop was organised as a part of the school’s endeavour to engage the parents in good parenting activities.

Laying emphasis on the importance, urgency of comprehending and laying foundations of sound parenting using tools of love and logic, Dr Shyama said, “Children are like blank papers. We paint them using our colours of love and logic. The best way to forge the bond with your children is to spend time with them, listen to them, play with them and be their friends and you would connect with them like never before,” she said.

She added that it is essential to feel proud of our children and keep on inspiring them in every possible manner. Complementing the children for even the smallest achievements not only boosts their talent, but also strives them to improve and be better.

Principal, The Millennium School, Komal Singh said childhood was an extremely crucial phase in the life of a human being where experiences could make or mar a person.



Tribune employee dead

Chandigarh, January 30
Rulda Ram (52), a Tribune employee, passed away after a brief illness.He was cremated today in Sector 25.

He is survived by wife, two sons and a daughter. 



Seminar on trends in music
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 30
The department of music, MCM DAV College for Women, Chandigarh, is organising the Jatinder Kumar memorial national seminar on “Changing trends in Indian music” on January 31.

College officials said the seminar would bring together national artistes, musicians and scholars of music to deliberate on the changing trends and fusion styles evolving in Indian music.

Grammy Award winner Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, an internationally renowned guitar player of the Indian classical music, would interact with the students and delegates at the seminar.



300 participate in painting contest
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 30
About 300 students of British School, Sector 8, and St Soldier Public School, Sector 16, participated in a painting competition “Prarambh” organised by HDFC Bank here yesterday.

The bank spokesman in a release issued here yesterday said the target group was the children studying in Classes I to VI and were asked to paint on the theme “Chase your dreams”.

Participation certificates were given to each student at the end of the contest. The trophies would be given to winners by the bank branch head during the school assemblies.



Tributes paid to martyrs
Tribune News Service

Soldiers remember war heroes on the Martyrdom Day in Chandigarh on Sunday.
Soldiers remember war heroes on the Martyrdom Day in Chandigarh on Sunday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Chandigarh, January 30
To commemorate the 64th Martyr's Day, a solemn wreath laying ceremony was organised at the Chandigarh War Memorial here today.A two-minute silence was also observed in the memory of those who laid down their lives for the country.

Shivraj V Patil, Punjab Governor and administrator, Chandigarh, and Lt Gen SR Ghosh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, paid floral tributes.

Serving as well as retired military officers, civil dignitaries, prominent retired officers, including General VP Malik, Air Marshal Randhir Singh, Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, Lt Gen GS Sihota and Brig Kuldip Singh Chandpuri.

The Martyrdom Day of the Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi was observed to pay homage to the martyrs. 



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