C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Despite HC strictures and fine, police action awaited
‘Carelessness’ by sub-inspector in cyber fraud case
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Even strictures by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and a subsequent fine of Rs 10,000 for delay in submitting a reply in court six months ago seem to have had no effect on the UT police, which has not taken any action against a sub-inspector held responsible for misconduct. This is even after seven months have elapsed since the UT Police submitted an affidavit in the High Court stating that departmental proceedings had been initiated against the policeman concerned.

The case in question pertains to a complaint filed by OP Bhardawaj, who is running from pillar to post for the past 10 years seeking action in response to his complaint of cyber fraud. He had moved the High Court last year seeking the transfer of the case to the CBI.

On March 7 this year, the High Court fined the UT Police for its delay in filing a reply to the court notice. Subsequently, on March 29 UT SSP Naunihal Singh submitted an affidavit in the High Court, stating that “the delay was occasioned due to non-traceability of the file regarding which departmental proceedings have been initiated” against sub-inspector Rajdeep Singh.

Sub-inspector Rajdeep Singh was handed over the case in November last year. The file had subsequently gone “missing” thus hampering investigations. By coincidence, sub-inspector Rajdeep Singh traced the file exactly 10 days after the police was fined by the High Court.

Documents procured under the RTI Act reveal that Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Naunihal Singh issued a show-cause notice to sub-inspector Rajdeep Singh this year on April 1 on why a departmental action should not be initiated against him since he had created an “embarrassing situation for the Chandigarh Police” by his carelessness and unprofessional attitude and for negligence and dereliction of duty. The sub inspector was asked to furnish a reply within 15 days, failing which it would be presumed that he had nothing to say in the matter and an ex parte decision would be taken accordingly.

Information sought by this reporter under the RTI Act has revealed that until October 10 this year, the sub inspector had not submitted a reply and matter was still pending. The case is listed for hearing before the High Court tomorrow. 

The case

In 2001, city resident OP Bhardawaj had filed a complaint at the Sector 17 police station against Mohan Goyal, then managing director of Techno Noble Infoway Limited, a private company in Sector 17, for allegedly hacking the server of his US-based concern IGSP and downloading confidential documents from the file transfer protocol (FTP) site.This was the first-ever case of cyber fraud registered in the city. The Chandigarh police closed the case in 2002. However, the district court refused to accept the closure report and the case was re-opened in 2008. But the police failed to make any headway in the case, following which the complainant moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking the transfer of the case to the CBI.


‘We need more time’

Inspector Hardit Singh was earlier the investigating officer of the case and he had suffered a paralytic attack, following which the case was handed to inspector Neeraj Sarna in August this year. We will seek more time from the court to complete the investigation and the inquiry.

- Naunihal Singh, SSP, Chandigarh



IAF objects to land bordering Medicity
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 20
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has objected to the coming up of the 125-acre Medicity project within the 100-metre radius of the crest of the outer parapet of its Mullanpur Air Force Station, forcing the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to reduce the area of the prestigious project by around 25 acres.

The Medicity project is located adjacent to the Mullanpur air force station along the Chandigarh-Siswan-Baddi road. The area loss could include vital installations in the upcoming hospital project.

The GMADA officials while initiating the land acquisition proceedings under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act (LAC) apparently forgot to keep in mind the parameters governing development around the defence installation.

Realising the faux pas on being objected to by the Air Force authorities, officials of the land acquisition collector were quick to clip down the area of the Medicity from 125 acres to 97 acres. Though GMADA had brought down the area from initial 145 acres to 125 acres, to comply with the norms on defence installation, another 25 acres had to be left out.

While the Commanding Officer of the air force station could not be contacted for his comments, Chief Administrator of GMADA Saravjit Singh confirmed that the area had been reduced to 97 acres.

Though GMADA expects the landowners of Ferozepore Jhungia village (Mullanpur), whose land is being acquired for Medicity, to opt for land pooling scheme, a land compensation of Rs 1.50 crores an acre has been already announced by the Cabinet Sub Committee on land acquisition. 


More plots in Mullanpur Eco city

As a consequence of the area of the Medicity being reduced by 25 acres, the number of plots of different sizes in Mullanpur Eco city (located at a short distance from the Medicity) have increased by another 130. Explaining the logic, sources said the plots under land pooling for the landowners, whose land is being acquired for Medicity, had been reserved in Mullanpur Eco city. As the area under land pooling has been reduced, the numbers of plots in Eco city have automatically gone up.

Eco city date extended

The last date for the closing of the scheme has been extended from October 21 to October 25. Officials said the date had been extended keeping in mind the demand coming from persons who have not been able to get the application forms.



Innova hits couple; man dead, wife serious
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
A 34-year-old man, riding a bike, was killed and his wife seriously injured after a speeding Innova vehicle hit them in Sector 8 here this afternoon.
The victim, Gurmej Singh, died on the spot, while his wife Parminder Kaur is critically injured and admitted to a hospital. The couple was a resident of Panchkula and returning home after meeting their relatives in Sector 16 when the mishap occurred.

The accused, who has been identified as Priyavast Goyal, a Panchkula resident, been arrested in a case of causing death due to negligence under Section 304-A of the IPC.

Gurmej Singh worked as senior lab technician with Alchemist hospital in Panchkula. The mishap occurred at 2 pm on the dividing road of Sector 8-A and 8-B when the couple was coming from Sector 16 to their house in Panchkula. Gurmej was wearing a helmet, which was crushed in the mishap.

Parminder Kaur sustained fracture on her legs and is admitted in the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital in Sector 16, Chandigarh.

Parminder Kaur is working with a local channel. A case was registered in the Sector 3 police station.



Missing Carmel girl is a ‘princess’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
The 16-year-old girl of Carmel Convent School who was allegedly kidnapped last week belongs to a royal family of Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh and is a princess of a province.

The police has stepped up investigations in the case after the fact was revealed that the missing girl had a royal background. Investigations revealed that the girl’s name was Durgeshwari Kumari and she was a princess of the Kutlaher province in Himachal Pradesh. She is a class XI student of Carmel Convent School in Sector 9 and was allegedly kidnapped on October 11. The police has failed to make any headway in the case.

The girl was abducted from outside her school on October 11 and the police booked two persons, including a youth Inderjit Singh Malik of Zirakpur and Dr Sangeeta of the PGI in this regard. The police today released the photograph of the prime suspect Malik and circulated it to all police authorities of neighboring states. The police said 45-year-old Dr Sangeeta, a physiotherapist with the PGI, and her son Ashmit were missing from their residence.

The police also said that all cell phones of the victim and the accused were switched off.

The girl was currently residing in Sector 23 in city.


Roadways Strike
4-hour ordeal for passengers
Bus services from ISBT-43 affected; long-haul travellers worst hit
Tribune News Service

Passengers await the resumption of bus services in Chandigarh on Thursday.
Passengers await the resumption of bus services in Chandigarh on Thursday.Tribune photos: Vicky Gharu

Chandigarh, October 20
A four-hour joint strike observed by employees of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC), the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) and the Haryana Roadways left thousands of commuters stranded here today.

Union leaders prevented the buses from plying from the Inter-State Bus Terminus, Sector 43, from 9 am to 1 pm, forcing local as well outstation commuters to desperately wait for the services to resume.

Sahil Chauhan had to reach Kotkhai in Shimla district for some important work by evening but was stranded at the terminus due to the strike. Chauhan was supposed to catch another bus from Shimla to his village. However, the strike forced him to postpone his journey, as he would have missed the connecting bus to his village from Shimla after reaching there late in the evening.

The strike hit travellers, especially those accompanied by their little ones, undertaking long-haul journeys the hardest.

Priyanka Dogra, who was looking to board a bus for Manali with her husband and a two-year-old son, said: “It’s really frustrating. We have to board a bus for Manali, but this four-hour delay will upset our scheduled time of arrival at the destination.”

According to transport officials, apart from the local bus service, services to Patiala, Bathinda, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Shimla, Katra, Manali, Pathankot, Kangra, Baijnath, Dabwali, etc. were hit on account of the strike.

All buses reaching the ISBT-43 were parked outside the terminus, which was already packed with buses following the strike.

The workers raised slogans, holding the state government responsible for their plight.

The commuters blamed the administration for not taking steps to ensure that the bus service wasn’t disrupted.

Baldev Singh, a government employee, said the authorities should have planned something in advance to avoid such a situation from arising. It had caused great inconvenience to thousands of people, he said. “I had to catch a bus for Abohar in the morning but this strike has upset my schedule and I will now reach home past midnight,” he added.


Major demands

Revision of pay scales
Promotion scale on the lines of “A” grade officers
Paid leave for drivers/conductors in case of injury at work
Revision of overtime TA rates
Uniform/washing allowance four times the current allowance



Auto-rickshaw drivers make a killing
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
It was a double whammy for commuters reaching the ISBT-43 today, as on the one hand, there were no buses to take them to their destinations, and on the other, auto-rickshaw drivers made a killing by charging them almost double the fare.

Local commuters were the worst sufferers as they ended up paying exorbitant rates to auto-rickshaw drivers. Passengers were charged anything between Rs 170 and Rs 190 for a ride from the ISBT-43 to the PGI.

Manpreet Singh, a student of Government College, Sector 11, said he kept waiting for a bus for over half an hour in the morning only to realise that buses were not plying due to the strike.

“Auto-rickshaw drivers are demanding Rs 170 for a ride to Sector 11. I have no option but to wait for someone to share the auto-rickshaw with me,” he said.

Auto-rickshaw drivers were seen charging Rs 80 for Sector 35 and Rs 50 per seat for Sector 17. Vipul Singh, a local commuter who was in a hurry to reach Sector 17, said buses were the cheapest way of moving around in the city but with buses staying off road today, auto-rickshaw drivers were making hay by charging exorbitant fares.

“An auto-rickshaw driver has asked for Rs 120 to take me to Sector 17. As I am in a hurry, I will have to pay the extra money to reach my office in time,” Vipul said.

Some commuters even walked up to nearby sectors to hire auto-rickshaws in the hope of getting these at cheaper rates.

In the absence of a prepaid booth at the ISBT-43, the passengers were forced to shell out extra money from their pockets. Roshini Thakur, another passenger, said she tried getting a pre-paid auto-rickshaw to avoid the fleecing, but couldn’t find one.




Official rigmarole costs 5,000 their voting right
Deep Complex residents pay for living outside ‘lal dora’
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Around 5,000 voters of Deep Complex are in a quandary as they will not be able to vote in the forthcoming MC elections. Reason: Residents of Deep Complex are residing outside the “lal dora”, which falls within the purview of the UT administration and not the municipal corporation.

As per the records, the administration transferred five villages to the MC in 2007, and in 2008, Deep Complex was de-notified and merged into Hallo Majra, which was under the MC.

However in 2009, the administration again de-notified the transfer of the revenue land to the MC under the Punjab New Capital Periphery Control Act, 1952, due to which the residents living outside the “lal dora” again came within the purview of the administration.

According to the norms, residents residing in villages under the administration can vote in the panchayat elections, while those living in MC villages can vote in the MC elections.

To complicate the matter further, the panchayat was dissolved after the area was merged with Hallo Majra. As a result, residents of Deep Complex neither fall within the ambit of the MC nor the panchayat, thereby losing their voting right.

A senior UT official, on the basis of anonymity, said these residents were technically not eligible to vote in the MC elections as they were residing outside the “lal dora” of the village.

The official added that until the UT administration de-notified the 2009 notification, the residents living outside the “lal dora” stood no chance of voting in the elections.

Also, the authorities have adopted double standard
in the transfer of villages to the MC.

In 1998, four villages - Bhadheri, Butrela, Attawa, Burial - along with Mani Majra were transferred to the MC with revenue land.

Whereas the revenue land of five villages - Maloya, Palsora, Khajeri, Dadu Majra and Hallo Majra - which were transferred in 2007 had not been handed over to the MC by the administration.



Patil listens to public grievances
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Shivraj V Patil held a public hearing session, attended by head of all departments concerned, to redress public complaints on the spot at the UT Secretariat here today. Giving hearing to 21 complainants present in the session, Patil sorted out 15 complaints on the spot and passed on necessary directions to the officers concerned to address the remaining complaints.

Responding to a complaint by Paramjit Singh regarding construction of a pavement along the side wall of his corner house, which besides causing disturbance also affected on privacy, Patil asked the officer concerned to look into the matter and do the needful.

Air Marshal Randhir Singh (retd), president, the Sector-35 House Owners’ Welfare Association, brought to his notice the deteriorating sanitary conditions, encroachment and unauthorised rear entry in his sector. Patil directed the MC Commissioner to examine the all issues on a priority basis. Taking note of a complaint by Rajveer Singh, whose daughter Neha Ahlawat was murdered in Sector 38 (West) last year, Patil asked the IGP, PK Srivastava, to look into the matter and trace out the accused at the earliest.


Complainants’ grouse

Ram Swarup, a senior citizen and a resident of Dadu Majra Colony, alleged that Patil did not listen to his grievance regarding the foul smell emanating from the garbage processing plant at Dadu Majra. Also, the Chandigarh Industrial Area Tenants’ Association, in a press release, alleged that their representatives were also not given “proper hearing” at the session.



Missing jeweller returns home
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 20
Panchkula-based jeweller Dinesh Kotwani, who went missing a week ago, returned home today.
The police said the jeweller was not mentally fit and had left home without informing his family.

His wife Sonia Kotwani, a resident of Sector 20, had approached the police last Friday. She said her husband had gone to a Mani Majra-based jeweller.

Dinesh’s car was traced to Paonta Sahib where his relatives are staying.

The jeweller told the police that after leaving home he spent the night in his car and left for Paonta Sahib and stayed there till evening. He added that he had left his car there and went to Hardwar.



Health dept in a spot
Tribune Reporters

Panchkula, October 20
The outbreak of chikungunya in Paploha village of Pinjore block has put the heath department in a tight spot. As 37 such cases have been reported till now from the village and neighbouring areas, teams of the health department have been visiting these places on a daily basis distributing medicines and fogging the area.

Chikungunya cases came to light in the area after a few residents of Paploha village returned from Yamunanagar last month, said Panchkula Civil Surgeon V K Bansal. It was in 2008 that three cases of chikungunya were reported from the district.

MC told to remove cattle from roads

The Panchkula court today directed the district administration, municipal corporation and police to remove stray cattle from roads. Panchkula-based couple Pankaj and Sangeeta Chandgothia had sought relief from the stray cattle menace in the town urging the Panchkula Deputy Commissioner and municipal corporation to take effective steps to curb the menace. The case is now adjourned to December 17 for further proceedings.



City records highest number of cases
Breast cancer awareness month

Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Chandigarh may be leading the country on several developmental indexes, including per capita income, but it is also emerging as home to various lifestyle-related problems found more in the developed world. As per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) cancer atlas of India, city records highest number of breast cancer cases in the country.

As per National Cancer Registry Programme of the ICMR, supported by the World Health Organisation, data based on hospital registry cases shows that Chandigarh has around 40 breast cancer patients per 1 lakh population. This is followed by North Goa, Aizawl in Mizoram State and Panchkula in Haryana state, which records 36.8, 36.2 and 34.6 rate per 1 lakh.

However, doctors at the PGI say the figure can be slightly misleading as it includes patients from the neighbouring states of Himachal, Haryana, Punjab and UP as the PGI is the tertiary care centre in the region. Dr Gurpreet of the general surgery department at the PGI said the institute alone got about 400 breast cancer patients annually.

“The impact of fast changing society on our health is becoming quite visible,” said Dr Gurpreet. The main reason for this trend was changing lifestyle, he added.

Even, cervical cancer has been displaced to number two position by breast cancer in the city.

“A rural area has a fewer incidences than the urban area. Almost 1:4 ratio in case of breast cancer. Women who give birth after 30 or have no issues are at a greater risk. The greatest risk factor is ageing,” said Dr Gurpreet.

“Having a risk factor does not mean that a person will develop breast cancer,” Dr Gurpreet adds.

Elaborating on treatment and prevention techniques, Dr Gurpreet said, “Lifestyle modifications, breast examinations once a month, screening by mammography every two years irrespective of age can help reduce the chances of the disease.” He added that in early stage detection, the surgeon might be able to save the breast and treat the cancer effectively or cure it by removing the cancerous breast. “This is possible without any mutilation and use of radiation, drugs and hormone treatments in almost all cases,” he added. 



Pall of gloom descends on pilot’s residence

SP Singh
SP Singh

Mohali: A pall of gloom descended on the Sector-69 residence of Mohali-based Colonel (retd) SP Singh Bhandal, who was one of the co-pilots killed in the Wednesday helicopter crash in Jharkhand. Bhandal is survived by his wife and two children, including son Prabhjot Singh and daughter Jasmine Kaur, both of whom are settled in United States.

The wife of the Col was living alone at the Mohali residence. His parents and brother stay in Patiala. The last rites of the mortal remains of the deceased will be performed on Saturday after his children arrive from abroad. The 55-year-old pilot, who started his career with the air operations wing of the Indian Army in 1978, had a flying experience of over 10,000 hours and had received several accolades during his service with the Indian Army. He was a commanding officer during the Kargil war in 1999 and was felicitated with a special Gallantry Award.



World Osteoporosis Day
Basking under sun good for bones, say docs
The biggest source of Vitamin D can also cure diseases like diabetes, cancer
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 20
Is there a connection between affluence, Vitamin D and weak bones? The question may sound strange but several studies have shown that affluent people, who prefer to spend time in air-conditioned rooms in summer and heated environs in winter, are at a greater risk of developing deficiency of Vitamin D due to less exposure to sun, the biggest source of the vitamin, and this could lead to osteomalacia or in simpler terms weak bones.

Cautioning that less exposure to sun can lead to other troubles too, doctors say emerging studies have linked deficiencies of Vitamin D to diseases like diabetes and cancer also. Speaking on the occasion of World Osteoporosis Day about the importance of the “sunshine vitamin”, Dr Anil Bhansali, head of the endocrinology department of the PGI, said lavish lifestyle, use of ACs and the habit of staying indoors were some of the causes.

Interestingly, in a place like Chandigarh, where there is abundance of pollution-free sunshine, changed modern day lifestyle was leading to deficiency of Vitamin D in youngsters also. A study on Vitamin D status and its seasonal variability in healthy youth in the city, conducted by the department of endocrinology, PGI, revealed that 25 per cent of the 330 college going students were deficient in Vitamin D in summer and this number went up to 50 per cent in winter.

According to Dr Sanjay Bhadada, endocrinologist at the PGI, “It is not only about less or more exposure to sunlight but about appropriate absorption of the light and its conversion into Vitamin D. People step out of their air-conditioned houses and step into their air-conditioned cars and once again enter their air-conditioned offices,” he added.

Experts say many patients suffering from diabetes and thyroid have also been found having Vitamin D deficiency. This can explain why more youngsters are falling prey to health problems like osteoporosis.

Besides sunlight, an appropriate diet is also required. Dr Bhansali said Indian food, unlike in the West was not fortified with Vitamin D. Even after adequate exposure to sunlight, some might suffer from the deficiency, he said. The UV rays might get filtered due to environmental conditions. “A workable solution is to expose oneself to adequate sunlight every day for anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes,” added Bhansali.


Vitamin D

It is a fat-soluble vitamin, something that gets easily dissolved in body fat. Sunrays is a major source of Vitamin D. It is absorbed by the body when UV rays touch the skin. The chemical conversion of Vitamin D into its hormonal form is performed by the liver and kidney

Other sources

Though its major source is sunlight, Vitamin D can also be found in certain food items such as raw milk and cod liver oil

Why do we need it?

It maintains normal calcium and phosphorous levels in the blood, which are needed for strong bones and healthy teeth. Phosphorous is required to keep body muscles and nerves in working order. It aids in the absorption of calcium and helps form and maintain strong bones.x



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