C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


41 seconds of terror AT Sec-26 lounge
Four injured, glass panes smashed, furniture destroyed, lights and banners broken
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
Fifteen youths, some of them with their faces partly covered and armed with swords, baseball bats and rods, barged into a popular lounge at Sector 26 and attacked guests, bouncers and members of staff in the wee hours today.

The sudden attack, that lasted precisely 41 seconds, left behind a trail of terror and destruction, that comprised smashed glass panes, destroyed furniture and broken lights and banners that had been installed at the entrance.

Four persons were injured, which included two bouncers and a son of a local industrialist, who was leaving the lounge after celebrating his birthday bash there.

The attacking youths, one of whom was identified as Amandeep Gill, son of the Mohali-based realtor who had developed the Gilco Valley, had been earlier thrown out of the Tao Lounge and Bar for creating a ruckus after two girls complained to bouncers that he and his friend had been teasing them.

The two youths were asked to leave the party at 11:20 pm by the manager. The two youths left, but not before threatening the managers that they would soon return.

Sure enough, three hours later, the two youths, accompanied by 13 armed accomplices, arrived in three cars and barged into the lounge. They went on a rampage, mercilessly beating up guests and the staff, along with damaging and breaking the property.

CCTV footage revealed that the assailants barged into the restaurant with swords and attacked four persons who were leaving. The guests and bouncers were seen running for cover while the youths ransacked the entrance to the lounge.

Enquiries revealed that the two youths waited outside until the closure of the restaurant-cum-lounge and then launched the attack just as the eatery began to close.

In the mayhem that followed, the youths ended up chopping the finger of Sohail Goel, who was having a birthday bash. When Sohail confronted the charging youths, his finger was slit in the process.

He also received an injury on the neck. He was recuperating after being operated upon at the PGI. The attacking youths also injured three persons, Amarjeet Singh and Ravi, both bouncers, and Janardhan, an employee at the discotheque.

The police was scrutinsing CCTV footage for further clues. A case of attempt-to-murder, rioting and criminal intimidation was registered at the Sector-26 police station.

Another threat, accused booked again

While he has been booked for attempt-to-murder at the Sector-26 police station, prime accused Amandeep Gill threatened the managers of Tao again today when they were at Sector 9. Acting on the complaint of Tao manager Santosh, the police registered a separate case of criminal intimidation against Amandeep at the Sector-3 police station this evening. Santosh went to the Sector-9 residence of Sohail to enquire about his health when he spoke to the accused, who threatened him for complaining against him to the police.

‘We did not allow them entry’

Two youths first entered the lounge around 11 pm. We asked them to leave at 1 pm as they were creating a ruckus and misbehaving with the girls present at the party. While leaving, Amandeep threatened me that he would be back. At 2:37 am, when we were shutting down, they first attacked and seriously injured Sohail, who was exiting at that time. They came up to the entrance, but we managed to block their entry to the lounge. This resulted in the masked youths damaging windowpanes and furniture at the entrance.
Kuldeep Gupta, director, Tao restaurant

‘We are taking it very seriously’

It is a very serious issue and we are taking it very seriously. We have imposed stricter sections of the IPC, including attempt-to-murder, against the accused. They will be behind bars soon. No such incident of brazenness by youngsters and their indulging in violence will be tolerated.
Naunihal Singh, UT SSP



Neglect writ large on Snehalaya
Block “B” abandoned, inmates shifted to “A”
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
It has been three years since the first phase of Snehalaya, a shelter home for the “young at risk” was inaugurated with much fanfare in the city with a promise of providing a better future for street children. But in a short time span, the venture electricity wires hanging out from broken switch boards and the overall low upkeep, seem to have, wittingly or unwittingly, escaped the attention of the social welfare department.

The situation is awful at block “B”, where almost all windowpanes are broken. The inmates, all male children, have been shifted to block “A” where they are sharing the already scarce space with their other counterparts. The now abandoned block “B” has, incidentally, acquired a new name, “Khandahar” (ruins), thanks to its poor state.

Why have not repairs been carried out for such a long time is a question that staff members hesitate to answer. “What can we do? We complain, but nothing happens,” they say, expressing their helplessness.

Incidentally, when a public health department team visited Snehalaya in the presence of this correspondent, they were sarcastically thanked by the staff for finally finding time to attend to complaint of the “garib log” (poor people).

The problems seem never-ending. The sole landline at the office has been out of order for sometime and, despite complaints, nothing had been done.

Shockingly, in a place where at least 25 children are suffering from scabies, a highly contagious skin disease, hygiene remains low on priority. The three washing machines installed at Snehalaya have been out of order for the past several months and young children are thus forced to wash their clothes with their hands.

One can only imagine how the younger lot of kids, in their fives and sixes, would be managing their washing. Sources have confirmed that the three machines have been out of order for the previous many months and all requests for the repair have fallen on deaf ears.

Insiders claim that everyone in the UT social welfare department is well aware of the prevailing conditions, but nothing is being done to improve it. “The administration reacts with knee jerk remedies when a news item appears, only to forget later,” they say. What makes matters worse is the UT administration’s lack of seriousness to deal with the issue. UT Social Welfare Director Varsha Khangwal chose to be brief and selective in her reply to some questions SMSed to her.

“The engineering department is doing the repair. Washing machines have been sent to the shop for repair, which I am told, has been done and machines are being brought back. Snehalaya is a mission for us,” she responded. But larger questions remain. Why has the situation been allowed to develop to this extent? Why have repair works not been carried out earlier? Who are responsible for these delays that are putting the young inmates to inconvenience?

Tomorrow: Administration squarely to be blamed for Snehalaya mess.


Windowpanes broken; taps missing; landline out of order; live wires hanging precariously; three washing machines non-functional.



Rs 1 cr collected at lok adalat
Challans comprise an overwhelming 7,900 of the 9,634 cases
Rajinder Nagarkoti
tribune news service

Chandigarh, September 24
Traffic violators today took a novel route of settling their challans at a far less cost. A staggering 7,900 challans were settled at the lok adalat within just five hours and-a-half.

The popularity of the lok adalat can be gauged by the fact that this figure constituted the bulk of the total of 9,634 cases that were settled at the quarterly event.

Sector-33 resident Pankaj Sharma, who was challaned for not wearing a helmet in March, said he got his documents released on Saturday by paying Rs 100, compared to Rs 300 usually charged by the traffic police.

Mohali’s Phase-XI resident Shivjot Singh said he was fined Rs 1,000 for listening his mobile while riding his two-wheeler in January, but he preferred to wait for the lok adalat and ended up paying Rs 500, which was half the amount.

Court officials said people preferred to come to the lok adalat as the court had powers to reduce the amount of fine whereas the police had no such powers.

The settlement of 7,900 traffic challans ended up with the court collecting Rs 15,85,000. The lok adalat also settled 1,138 cheque-bounce cases.

Officials said 41 cases relating to motor accident claims were also settled, in which Rs 80,55,000 were collected. In all, the court collected about Rs 1 crore.

Punjab and Haryana High Court Acting Chief Justice MM Kumar and Justice Alok Singh, also the administrative judge of the district court, visited the court complex.

Drunk drivers given warning

Besides fining drunken drivers Rs 1,000 each, lok adalat officials warned them. Madhu P Singh, social activist and president of the Faridkot consumer forum, said they warned drunk drivers that they could face imprisonment if they were caught committing the offence a second time. She added that they gave suggestions to the traffic police to start a drive against underage driving.


Residents inaugurate park in MC officials’ absence
Tribune News Service

Municipal councillor Harjinder Kaur after the inauguration of the green belt at Sector 34, Chandigarh, on Saturday.
Municipal councillor Harjinder Kaur after the inauguration of the green belt at Sector 34, Chandigarh, on Saturday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, September 24
Municipal Corporation former mayor and area councillor Harjinder Kaur today dedicated a water sculpture park feature to residents of the city. Interestingly, the entire expenditure on the ceremony was borne by the Resident Welfare Association of Sector 34 rather than the Municipal Corporation.

The residents stated that in this manner they wanted to show their resentment against the Mayor who unnecessarily interfered and did not cooperate with the residents of the area.

The water feature was unique as the sculptures and water fishing pond was developed at a cost of Rs 7 lakh by the MC B and R wing.

The park was developed from the ward development fund of the area councillor. A renowned sculpture artist Chaanjeet Kaur provided all the technical support for the said project.

Resident Welfare Association president Sadhu Singh said that they did not invite any MC official in this ceremony, as it was the project for the residents of the area. 



Su-Kam Power to foray into solar sector
Ruchika M Khanna/TNS

Chandigarh, September 24
Su-Kam Power Systems, the world’s largest exporter of inverters, is now looking at getting “power-full” by using solar energy. The company is looking at achieving a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore by becoming a solar energy equipment provider.

The company has already started its operations as a complete solar energy solutions provider in South India. Having successfully provided solutions for completely running three colleges in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, using 100 KVA of solar energy, Su Kam is now looking to spread this solar energy business across the country.

Talking to The Tribune on the sidelines of the two-day eRevolution conclave organised by the Chandigarh Administration and Government of Punjab here today, Kunwer Sachdev, managing director of the company, said though the company had initially launched this business in South India, they were now ready to bring solutions to run buildings in North India using the solar power.

“We are in talks with the Chandigarh Administration as well as governments of Punjab and Haryana to shift some of their buildings from thermal power to solar power. By the end of this year, we hope to clock a turnover of anything from Rs 80 crore to Rs 100 crore only from our solar energy business,” he said. Sachdev said now solar energy was being widely accepted as an alternate source of power. “The acceptance for solar power as an alternative source of power is phenomenal in South and in Bihar. In fact, the maximum innovation in solar energy sector is taking place in Bihar,” he said. 



Three more tubewells to come up
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, September 24
The Zirakpur municipal council (MC) plans to instal three more tubewells in the town to meet the increasing demand for drinking water. Each tubewell will be 1,200 feet deep.

The proposal is likely to be discussed during the meeting on September 26. Sources say the tubewells will be installed at Gurjivan Vihar, Guru Gobind Singh Nagar and Buddha Nagar.

The site for tubewells will be finalised after visits of the water supply and sewerage board SDOs, along with the area councillors concerned.



Tricity Scan

Awareness on AIDS

The state TB Cell and AIDS Control Society, Chandigarh will educate the inmates of the Model Jail, Chandigarh on HIV and TB. The programme was initiated by Alok Kumar, IPS Inspector General of Prisons, UT, Chandigarh. It is expected that about 60 per cent of the HIV infected patients will suffer from Tuberculosis, which is the commonest infection leading to AIDS. Dr Anil Garg, state TB officer, explained to the large gathering of about 600 inmates, the signs and symptoms of TB, mode of spread and advised them to get sputum tested if cough continued for two weeks.

Green initiative

Reliance Communication launched a green mile initiative to mark its foundation month in Chandigarh. Green mile is an environment initiative planned by jointly executed with oneness foundation. The initiative was launched by Prabhat Aggarwal - HUB head, reliance communication here on Saturday in Chandigarh. Reliance planted 170 saplings in Government College, Sector-46.

Magazine out

Two PEC students, Tarun Gupta and Akhil Bansal, have compiled all the businesses and services of Chandigarh in a magazine. The magazine “The City Pages” will have more than 20,000 copies delivered to houses all over the city free of cost.

PNB organises function

A grand retail lending function was organised by Punjab National Bank, Lead Bank Office, Mohali in the premises of Municipal Bhavan Sector-68, Mohali. The function was presided over by Subhash Sharma assistant general manager, Circle Office Patiala. The function was attended by more than 100 customers and managers of PNB branches. On this occasion sanction letters to the tune of Rs 6 crores were distributed to 75 customers for housing, car and education loan out of the total loans sanctioned for Rs 7.25 Crores to more than 110 borrowers.

Medical camp

As many as 53 under privileged children studying at Uchhai were taken to the Fortis Hopital for dental and medical checkup by Inner wheel club Chandigarh and celebrated the Girl Child Day on Friday. According to the club president, Preet Harinder Singh, those children who were detected with some ailments would be provided free treatment by the club. — Tribune Reporters



250 children examined at camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
A multi-speciality health camp for underprivileged girls was organised by Mahindra and Mahindra Swaraj Division, Vatsal Chaya Trust and GMSSS-8 staff. Medicines and multivitamins were given to children. Nearly 250 children were examined by a team of doctors from Grewal Eye Institute, Ivy Hospital, Apollo Hospital.

The camp was inaugurated by Renu Aggarwal, wife of of SC Aggarwal, Chief Secretary, Punjab government.



PUTA questions transparency of screening process
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The Panjab University Teachers Association has raised questions on the transparency of screening process of candidates appearing in open interviews. In its latest bulletin released today, PUTA members alleged that the administration had formed pre-screening committees, but eventually their evaluation was rejected, and only the recommendations of the screening committee were being followed. “We have come to know that in many cases candidates rejected or screened out by the pre-screening committee have been screened in by the screening committee. 

Obviously there seems little concurrence between the two committees constituted for the same purpose. The authorities must explain as to why the findings of the pre-screening committees have been done away with. If the matters pertaining to open recruitment run into controversy, it will jeopardise the entire process. Lest the matter should go in the public realm, with all its details, the authorities must either re-screen the applications in the presence of external observers or in the presence of PUTA representatives,” demanded PUTA president Akshay Kumar.

PUTA in its executive meeting formalised various committees with president and secretary being ex-officio members of all committees. The various committees would hold their meetings in PUTA’s office every two months to make recommendations and to monitor the response of the administration towards the issues raised. 



Fresh trouble for Josan
Former DAV-10 principal charged with trespass
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
His eagerness to resume work in the principal’s office at DAV, Sector 10, has landed BC Josan in another trouble with the college managing committee. The committee has filed a police complaint against him for trespassing the premises.

Elated over Panjab University acting registrar’s direction issued today asking the managing committee to revoke his continuing suspension, Josan reportedly reached the college to submit his joining letter. He entered the principal’s office locked it and took way the keys.

“The management is yet to get the so-called directive of Panjab University. Once we get the directive then we will have a meeting and act accordingly. But even before we could act, high-spirited Josan was at it again. He went to the college and entered the principal’s office, which was vacant, as the current principal was on medical leave and sat there for hours. What angered us is that he locked the office and took the keys with him to Delhi,” said a management committee member from Delhi.

Punam Dilawari, station house officer (SHO), Sector 3, said a daily diary report (DDR) had been lodged against Josan follwing a fax message sent from the managing committee’s office in Delhi. The police said it was probing the matter.

Interestingly, even as Josan holds PU’s directive as the basis of his ‘visit’ to the college, PU officials claim that he has misinterpreted it.

“The managing committee told us that their departmental enquiry was complete. Taking cognizance of this fact we observed that it there was no threat of destruction of evidence or influencing witnesses thus Josan’s suspension was revoked. The directive however allows the committee to take any action against Josan if he is found guilty in the departmental enquiry. Nowhere has he been asked to join without asking the management,” said a senior official from the registrar office.

The controversy brewed in 2010 when the DAV College ended up having two principals in September after the management suspended Josan for his alleged corrupt ways and appointed Shashi K Gupta as the principal.

Josan moved court and got permission to stay as the “administrative” principal while financial powers were handed over to Gupta. The court eventually upheld Josan’s suspension and directed Panjab University to release appropriate orders and Gupta became the official principal of the college. Following this Directive PU registrar after taking legal opinion and hearing both sides revoked Josan’s suspension.



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