C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Deserted cop thrashed by drunk youths
Had gone after midnight to down liquor vend’s shutters;
PCR personnel flee, leaving head constable to fend for himself
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
A police head constable who had gone to Sector 22 to get a liquor vend there to down its shutters after he noticed alcohol being sold openly after midnight was severely assaulted by inebriated youths who inflicted grievous head injuries on him. The suspects, thought to more than six in number, were enraged after the cop nabbed one of them while purchasing liquor.

The head constable received a skull fracture after his head was repeatedly brushed against barbed wires by the suspects, who fled the scene. A case of attempted murder against the unidentified youths has been filed under section 307 of the IPC at the Sector 17 police station.

The incident took place at about 1:45 am when head constable Darshan Kumar, who was patrolling the area in a PCR vehicle, and a home guard volunteer noticed the liquor vend open and some youths buying booze by knocking at the shutter, which was partially open. A youth who was in an inebriated state banged on the shutters and began creating a ruckus after the owner closed the vend on seeing the cop.

As the tipsy youth refused to relent Kumar rounded him up. The youth then summoned over half a dozen of his accomplices who attacked Kumar. His head was banged on barbed wires and on a brick lying on the ground. All the youths fled in a car, whose registration number could not be noted down. The police believes some of the suspects fled on a motorcycle.

Police patronage?

According to sources, the liquor vend near the ISBT roundabout in Sector 22 enjoys police patronage and does brisk business every night from midnight to 4 am. While keeping a liquor vend open after 11 pm is strictly prohibited as per the district magistrate’s orders, this particular vend continues to sell liquor to their regular customers through a half-open shutter, on which customers knock and buy booze.

Victim’s Trauma

With his head repeatedly being smashed against barbed wires and a brick lying on the ground, head constable Darshan Kumar kept crying for help and held on to the wireless set. He passed a message on the set asking the police to come to his rescue several times. However, by the time the police reached the spot, all the accused had fled. He went to the liquor vend after he saw a youth purchasing liquor and the shutters were partially open. “I asked the vend owner to close the shop and then I rounded up the youth. But he assaulted me. He also summoned his accomplices. My head was hit against wires and I fell unconscious after sometime,” he said.

Varied Statements

Even as head constable Darshan Kumar said the liquor vend was open when he went to the spot, the Sector 22 police post in charge, Sub-Inspector Rajiv Kumar, said the vend was shut and an inebriated youth was banging on the shutter when the police noticed him. “The vend was shut, it could not be open beyond 11 am,” Rajiv Kumar said.

Shocking, says wife

Visibly terrified Sharda Kumar, wife of Darshan Kumar, said it was only in the morning that she was informed of her husband’s injury. “His colleagues fled. I have three minor daughters. If something had happened to him, we would have come on the road,” she said.

Accused are paying guests

Head constable Darshan Kumar said the accused were paying guests residing in the same sector and he could identify them.



Bylaw violation notice to Kings XI owners
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
Running its office from a house in a posh residential area of Sector 19 has landed KPH Dream Cricket Pvt Ltd, owner of the popular Kings XI Punjab IPL cricket franchise, in a soup. The UT administration has issued a “show cause” notice to the house’s owner and occupants for alleged violation of local bylaws that also have tax implications.

The Chandigarh Estate Rules, 2007, read with the Capital of Punjab (Development & Regulation) Act, 1952, prohibit commercial activities in residential premises, except for some specified professionals having prior permission.

KPH Dream Cricket, which splurges crores of rupees on Indian Premier League (IPL) matches, has been running its office from the Sector 19 house since last November. Earlier the company used to operate from a house in Sector 18 where it had its registered office. The firm’s promoters include Bollywood actress Preity Zinta and Bombay Dyeing heir Ness Wadia.

The UT estate office has calculated that the company is misusing 1,306.86 square feet of space. Under the rules such violations attract a penalty of Rs 500 per square feet from the transferees and the occupiers, which makes them liable to cough up Rs 653,430 each month if the violations are not removed within two months.

Following complaints by some residents of the locality, a visit to the team’s office on Tuesday evening revealed a well laid-out and fully equipped corporate style office covering several rooms on the house’s first floor, capable of providing workstations for a large number of staff. A few people were working on computers or busy in paperwork at their desks and a peon was also present.

The ground floor comprised a reception, a waiting area, a conference room and a couple of closed-door rooms, including one in which the team’s chief operating officer, Arvinder Singh, was said to be “holding a meeting”.

In fact when this reporter introduced himself to the receptionist the first response he got was an official envelope bearing the Punjab Kings XI team’s logo being presented to him. The envelope, though, was not accepted.

While the reporter waited for about 20 minutes to meet Arvinder, a girl manning the reception desk received several calls regarding availability of tickets for Thursday’s match. The conversation between her and another person indicated the computer on the receptionist’s desk contained data about match tickets.

The window from the driveway into the basement revealed a number of boxes stored and other items and publicity material associated with the team stored there.

Arvinder maintained the team was “only running a guest house” from the house as per the agreement deed signed with the houseowner. “Whenever team players or officials visit Chandigarh they are put up here,” he said.

He claimed the team’s “actual” office was located elsewhere and no commercial activity was being undertaken from the Sector 19 house. A spokesperson for the team said the team had office premises in the Industrial Area and the setup in the Sector 19 house was “temporary”.

However, there was no indication of any guest rooms or of any person staying there, even though the IPL series are underway in Mohali. A number of vehicles were seen parked outside the house. Samarpreet Kaur, who resides near the house, said a lot of disturbance was being created by the office. “A large number visitors and vehicles, including commercial trucks, congregating in the area at all times is causing nuisance for the local residents,” she added.



City-Amritsar Duronto yet to chug off
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The proposal of launching a Duronto Express from Chandigarh to Amritsar remains on paper since the announcement of the train in the 2009 Railway Budget. The non-stop train service from Chandigarh to Amritsar is nowhere near realisation. The railway authorities have maintained that it will be started from April 14, but the proposal is yet to materialise.

The train also finds mention in the new timetable, but the authorities have yet to decide on the date from which it will be made operational.

According to the schedule available with the authorities, the train will run on all days except Tuesday and Saturday.

The time has also been finalised. The train will leave Chandigarh early in the morning and come back in the evening via the Ludhiana-Sirhind route.

But now, railway sources say the Railways are in a fix over the time as it is undecided whether the train will be started from Chandigarh or Amritsar.

Speaking to the Chandigarh Tribune, a senior Railways official said the train was likely to start from Amritsar, which was under the Ferozepur railway division. “We will soon start the train. Almost everything has been finalised. We are working on the final modalities before starting the train,” he said. The rail network was not up to the mark in Punjab and the ministry had never bothered to do justice to the state, he added.

Meanwhile, CPM and BKU activists decided to stage a dharna and sit on fast in front of the Rail Bhavan from April 20 in case the Centre went back on its commitment to operate the train. “If need be, we will gherao the Rail Bhavan,” they said.


Woman run over by train in P’kula
* GRP team reached the site after two hours
* Stray dogs tried to feed on the victim’s body
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 13
In the absence of iron grills on both sides of the railway track in the residential area, precious lives continue to be lost at Sector 19 railway level crossing in Panchkula due to indifferent attitude of the authorities.

A woman, identified as Kamla Devi, a resident of Sector 19, was killed by the Janshatabdi Express train coming from the Chandigarh side around 8 am today. Due to impact of the collision the body of the victim was cut into parts. Even though some of the passers-by informed the police about the incident, the GRP team reached the site after about two hours.

It was a pathetic scene at the site of the incident as stray dogs tried to feed on the victim’s body. Some passers-by chased the dogs away till the police arrived, which took the body into its custody and sent it to the General Hospital, Sector 6, for the postmortem.

There is resentment among the residents of the locality as the authorities have turned a blind eye towards their long pending demand of constructing a railway over bridge (ROB). The residents rue that accidents occur at this railway level crossing every week and many precious lives are lost when two-wheeler drivers try to cross the blocked railway track.

Ramesh Bhardwal, councillor from ward No. 16, said they had taken up the matter with the local authorities as well as local MLA DK Bansal for the construction of the ROB. He said they had also urged the authorities to at least attach chains to the barrier so that two wheelers could not cross the level crossing till the ROB was constructed, but were yet to receive any response in this regard.

Bhardwal also demanded that iron grills should be installed on both sides of the railway track in the residential area to avoid any untoward incident. He said children of migrant labourers often play near the railway track and get killed after coming in contact with a speeding train.



High tension wire falls on highway
Tribune News Service

Traffic jam was caused after a high voltage wire fell on the Zirakpur-Chandigarh road on Wednesday
Traffic jam was caused after a high voltage wire fell on the Zirakpur-Chandigarh road on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Zirakpur, April 13
Traffic on the busy Chandigarh-Ambala highway came to a standstill for more than half-an-hour after a high tension wire snapped and fell on the road here this evening. Apprehending the worse, the commuters stopped in front of the wire waiting for it to be removed from the road.

The incident took place around 4.30 pm. The wire was removed at 5 pm after the traffic cops intervened. Commuters alleged that nobody from the Powercom department reached at the spot even though they were informed about the snapped wire.

According to sources, the high tension wire was passing under the flyover and snapped after a truck passed under it. Sources said the wire was hanging very low and posed a serious threat to commuters.

A GMR official also stated that the crossing of high tension wires beneath the flyover was a threat to commuters. He said he would write to the National Highways Authority of India about the incident and discuss the matter seriously with the department concerned.



Come sundown, most Panchkula streets plunge into darkness
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

A bent traffic light pole on the road separating Sectors 12 and 12-A poses a risk to the lives of commuters in Panchkula
A bent traffic light pole on the road separating Sectors 12 and 12-A poses a risk to the lives of commuters in Panchkula. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, April 13
With streetlights on almost all major as well as internal streets in the town not functioning, commuters and pedestrians have been put to a great deal of inconvenience. To add to the residents’ woes stray cattle squatting or wandering on the streets, especially at night, are leading to accidents, often resulting in casualties.

While the situation is a tad better on the internal streets in various sectors large stretches of major roads are enveloped in pitch darkness after sunset. All efforts by residents’ welfare associations to get the streetlights to work again have been in vain.

Though the corporation had awarded the contract for maintaining the town’s streetlights about nine months ago, no effective performance in this regard has been seen till date.

According to sources, almost 80 per cent of the 10,000 streetlights installed in this satellite township are defunct.

The district administration had proposed to pay about Rs 2 lakh a month to the contractors. The whole town area was divided into three zones (sectors and separating them in two zones with markets and parks in the third zone) and the task was assigned to three contractors.

Notably the MC had initiated steps to lay new power cables on the main roads besides installing new poles on all major streets in the town. However, most residents were of the view that the corporation should have taken up the project in phases. Despite several attempts, MC executive officer KK Jain could not be contacted to elicit his views.



Pair of Asiatic lions released in safari
Falcon breeding programme to gain momentum, says forest minister
Tribune News Service

One of the lions released in the lion safari at Chhatbir zoo
One of the lions released in the lion safari at Chhatbir zoo. Tribune photo:JS Virdi

Chhat (Banur), April 13
Punjab Minister of Forests and Wildlife Preservation Tikshan Sood today said the falcon-breeding programme at Mahendra Chaudhary Zoological Park would soon gain momentum.

Sood said this today after releasing a pair of pure Asiatic lions in the lion safari. He also made functional the recently inducted water coolers, rain shelters and public utilities in the zoo premises.

The minister also announced to upgrade two new tubewells to deal with water crises during extreme summers. Speaking during the occasion, Sood stated that the entry of all petrol and diesel operated vehicles would be banned soon and only battery operated ferries would be allowed to maintain silence inside the zoo premises.

The minister said that the much-hyped flacon-breeding programme, hanging fire for the past many years due to minor technical reasons and lack of uninterrupted electricity to build enclosure for falcons, would be completed soon.

Zoo field director Basanta Raj Kumar said nearly Rs 7.5 crore would be spent on the Falcon Breeding Project under which four separate enclosures would be made for breeding and study of falcons.

While the cost of constructing office buildings, enclosures, equipment and tools would be borne by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), the Punjab government would bear the recurring cost.

The estimated fund released by the CZA is Rs 2.75 crore out of which Rs 56.20 lakh has been received by the zoo and Rs 5 lakh is spent to construct office building. The remaining amount would be used to construct four enclosures. One of the enclosures is almost ready.

Besides, separate veterinary doctors and specialists would take care of the entire project. Earlier, the electricity was not sufficient for welding the iron enclosure, but now an electric transformer has been upgraded.

Also an incinerator, which was lying defunct for the past many years, is also made functional with the upgradation.

Chief wildlife warden Gurbaz Singh said they expected a rise in the number of visitors with the public display of pure Asiatic lions, Gagan and Heli, brought from Rajkot zoo in Gujarat.



Sanitation in state of neglect in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 13
A former councillor has urged the commissioner of the Municipal Corporation to direct contractors concerned to improve the state of sanitation in the city failing which he would be compelled to stage a dharna along with residents.

In a letter written to the commissioner here today, Kuljit Singh Bedi stated that he had already brought to the notice of the authorities concerned that sanitation was in a state of neglect in the city. Sanitation contractors were allegedly not bothered about the situation even when the civic body was spending lakhs of rupees to keep the city clean.

He further said that safai sewaks were not seen for 10 to 15 days in various localities. When they tried to clean certain areas they collected fallen leaves into heaps and set these on fire in violation of the norms. This created pollution all around and thus adversely affecting the health of the residents.

Bedi urged the commissioner to strictly direct contractors concerned to improve the state of sanitation in the next 10 days as people were fed up of their lax attitude. In case the state of sanitation did not improve he would be compelled to stage a dharna along with residents, he added.



Splash, but with care!
Tribune News Service

Things to remember

  • Ensure that rules are followed at swimming pools
  • Get health check-up before hitting the pool
  • Get shower before and after swimming
  • Do not enter water if you have diarrhoea
  • Do not enter water if you have skin infection
  • Do not swallow water

Tips for parents

  • Take child to toilet for bathroom breaks often
  • Change diapers in a bathroom, not near the pool
  • Make child bathe with soap and water before swimming
  • Do not allow child to chew gum or eat while swimming to prevent choking

Chandigarh, April 13
It’s time to have a splash in pools. However, one ought to be careful about the effects of swimming on the skin. More so, one needs to have a full skin check-up to rule out the presence of skin infections before entering a swimming pool and ensure that infection is not passed on to others sharing the pool, suggest medical experts.

The health benefits of swimming are enormous. However, the very things added to the water to protect swimmers from infection can have some adverse effects on the skin, hair and even teeth, says Dr Vikas Sharma, chief consultant dermatologist, National Skin Hospital, Mansa Devi Complex, Panchkula.

Chlorine is often used to disinfect water in pools. The correct levels of chlorine in water do not pose much of a health hazard. But if the level becomes too high, the water can become acidic and swimming in over-chlorinated water can cause many problems, he adds. Chlorine gets absorbed in the skin, causing dryness and even rashes, he says.

Before hitting the pool, one must get a health check-up covering eyes, ears and nose, besides the skin, says Dr GP Thami, head of the dermatology department, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

Most swimmers approach doctors with complaints like skin tanning, pigmentary anomalies, fungal infections, bacterial infections, and discolouration of hair, he adds.

The bonding of chlorine causes the protein in the hair to break down, making it dry, coarse, brittle and unmanageable, says Dr Thami.

If a person with skin or other infection enters a pool, he can pose a threat of spreading the infection to those sharing the pool, he adds.

Educating visitors and staff deputed at swimming pools regarding preventive measures can minimise such infections, quips Dr Thami.



Pen-down stir by health employees
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 13
Employees of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) went on an indefinite pen-down strike here today in protest against the non-regularisation of services of employees working on a contractual basis.

The protesters said the government had adopted an indifferent attitude towards their long-pending demand.

Manoj Modi, president of the PHSC Employees Welfare Association, said emergency and ambulance services were kept functional as already decided by the association, but if the demand was not considered by the government, staff on emergency and ambulance duties would also be included in the strike from April 21. Members of the association said they would intensify their agitation if their demand was not met.



Class X result
This wait may cost students dear
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service


"What is the fun of wasting two months for an important Class like XI. We know our students’ performance and they will be allotted streams accordingly. Yes some schools are going in for tests, but that, too, is a way to judge a student’s aptitude for a stream. The board switched to grades and then made Class X boards optional, but has never cared to come out with a proper Class XI admission policy. What do we do?"

— HS Mamik, president, Independent School Association.

Chandigarh, April 13
If you plan to wait till the declaration of Class X results to start your Class XI admission tryst, you may end up struggling a “no vacancy”, despite having scored a ton, as a majority of city schools plan to complete Class XI admission this April itself.

In what may render Class X board results meaningless, the city private schools following the CBSE’s approval for provisional admission, have decided to fill all available Class XI seats through admission tests.

While many uphold the ‘preservation of one academic month’ as a key reason, this haste may end up defeating the very purpose of the board’s ongoing educational renaissance.

With unregulated admissions tests replacing merit, transparency will go in for a toss leaving student selection to the whims and fancies of school managements. It can also become a cause of worry for students either belonging to schools confined to Class X or still confused about choosing a stream as even after scoring high marks they may not get admission to a preferred school. The trend is also bound to increase the possibility of seats being sold and bought.

Many schools like Bhawan Vidyalaya, Sector 27, have already conducted this test. Registrations are open in other schools, who claim to fill 90 per cent of the seats before May.

“Scenario is very different now. Many students have appeared for school-conducted examination and wish to study in their old schools. We are taking their year-long performance into consideration and their score in this test. As far as ‘outsiders’ are concerned, they have to take admission test, otherwise they can wait for the declaration of results, but there will be no guarantee of seats,” said a city principal.



Protesting students tender apology
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The ongoing controversy in the history department of Panjab University seems to have finally ended, with Professor Surinder Singh consenting to accept the “apology” of 17 students, who had accused him of deliberately failing them twice in an examination.

These students, who had been protesting for almost a week now, returned to classes today. They have now decided to go for re-evaluation.

“Things seem to be getting normal now as protesters have re-joined the classes and even Professor Singh is ready to accept the apology. He said being a teacher he did not want to spoil their career and thought that they had learnt the valuable lesson,” said a senior official of Panjab University.

The students, who in collaboration with some student leaders had accused the teacher, withdrew their allegations when Prof Surinder Singh in an unprecedented move served a legal notice on them. He also questioned the academic credentials of these students who in many cases were found to have attended a maximum of nine lectures in a year.

Following this 17 students submitted an apology letter to the DUI stating that they never intended to single out Professor Singh in their allegations.



CBSE to introduce e-typing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has finally realised that typing is a passé as the board is out to replace the decades’ old subject with e-typing. Having been an additional subject in commerce stream at the secondary level, it has lost its relevance according to the board.

It will thus be withdrawn and e-typing will be rolled out in affiliated schools from this academic session in Class IX and will be extended to Class X from 2012-13.

The syllabus includes keyboarding techniques, editing a variety of documents using word processor/ spreadsheet software and correcting common typing errors with the help of spell check. Touch typewriting (including the correct sitting posture), page-setting, table creation, cut-copy-paste functions, word count and keyboard shortcuts form part of the subject.

The course, which will be available both in English and Hindi, aims at replacing the existing typewriting course to make it more functional to meet the increased use of computers in government and private offices.

In a recent circular issued to all affiliated schools, CBSE Director (Academics) Shashi Bhushan stated: “The course also helps in giving a competitive edge to students in higher studies.” He added, “It will enable students to get jobs in government and private offices, micro, small and medium enterprises at organised and unorganised sectors and large industrial units. Students can take up jobs at offices, schools, colleges and universities.” The CBSE official said students of e-typing course would be encouraged to acquire basic Internet skills.



Panel to implement child protection policies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
The Chandigarh administration has constituted a “Union Territory Child Protection Society” for the effective implementation of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme and all other child protection policies and programmes in Chandigarh.

The society will be headed by the Home Secretary-cum-Secretary Social Welfare, Chandigarh administration.

The society has been registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. It will perform tasks such as setting up “Union Territory Adoption Resource Agency”, “District Child Protection Society” prepare “Child Protection Plan” at district and state levels, strengthen service delivery mechanism and programmes, including preventive, statutory, care and rehabilitation services, create mechanisms for a child protection data management system, including MIS Resource Directory and child tracking system at the district and state levels and undertake research and documentation in the area of child protection through the District Child Protection Society.

It will also create and promote preventive measures to protect children from situations of vulnerability, risk and abuse, educate and raise public awareness on child rights and protection and facilitate access and utilisation by all stakeholders and public at large of available child protection services, schemes and structures at all levels.



Prayaas gets canteen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas today inaugurated a canteen at Prayaas in Sector 38. The canteen has been commissioned to cater to the needs of parents, who visit the centre for the treatment of their wards.

Presently, this Centre is rendering facilities, including special preparatory school for autistic, cerebral palsy, slow learner and differently abled children, occupational therapy services, physiotherapy services, clinical psychology, speech therapy and hearing assessment. Around 20,000 OPD patients are registered in Prayaas for various types of treatments.

Earlier, Prayaas had no canteen to cater to the needs of these patients/their parents. The Home Secretary also assured the parents that a proposal for construction of a hydrotherapy pool on the Prayaas premises was also under consideration.



From Schools & Colleges

Baisakhi celebrations

Mohali: Baisakhi and Founder’s Day were celebrated at Shivalik Public School, Mohali, on Wednesday. The centre of the activities was shifted to the school auditorium, where students presented a cultural bonanza, including PowerPoint presentations and video clippings which highlighted the school’s achievements. Students delivered speeches and recited poems to mark the day.

Ashmah school

Students of Ashmah International School, Mohali, celebrated Baisakhi, the harvest festival, with great enthusiasm on Wednesday. Principal R Ghuman told students about the importance of this festival. She said it was an important day for farmers. “We must respect farmers whom we call “Aanndata (bread provider)” also. They work hard for us under the scorching heat,” she said. The school was decorated with hand-made charts, ribbons and flowers. Students were dressed in colourful attire. Students gave dance performances. Classes IV and V students danced to the tunes of “toori tand sambh jatt mele chaleya”.

Golden Bells

Chandigarh: Golden Bells Public School, Sector 77, celebrated Baisakhi and Ambedkar Jayanti with great enthusiasm. Children were told about the importance of the festival. They threw light on the life of Dr BR Ambedkar, Father of Indian Constitution.

Gian Jyoti

Tiny tots at Gian Jyoti Global School, Phase II, Mohali, celebrated Baisakhi with great fervour. The entire school was decorated with traditional flavour. Students were also told about the history of Baisakhi celebrations.

Chaman Vatika

Ambala: Chaman Vatika "Baisakhi", "Mahavir Jayanti" and "Ambedker Jayanti" today. A presentation on Mahavira's teachings was given. Students were told about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. He said the festival of Baisakhi was celebrated to mark harvesting.

Placement drive

Guru Nanak Institutions Group held a placement drive on its Mullana campus on Wednesday. SML Isuzu Ltd visited the campus. Around 570 students took the test. The company picked up three students and offered a pay package of Rs 4 lakh per annum.

Mind Tree School

Senior wing of Mind Tree School organised a function to mark Baisakhi. The programme commenced with a havan. Principal Sudha Mathur highlighted the aim of starting a senior wing in the school. — Tribune Reporters



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