C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Neighbours hold clue: mother
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
A week after her world came crashing following the gruesome murder of her children at her house, Malti Devi, mother of Gaurang and Kavita Sahu, refuses to believe that her neighbours did not have any clue to the occurrence in their immediate vicinity.

Breaking down, she said: “Is it possible that nobody in this congested locality saw the killer as he came out of the house? It was daytime and the entire neighbourhood was basking in the sun. The houses are so close to each other. Even when our neighbours talk, we can hear them. I don’t believe that there are no eyewitnesses and no one heard the cries of my children as they struggled and were stabbed repeatedly?”

“Gaurang was very strong physically and was attached to his father. He was a football player and used to compare his height with his sister and take pride that he was getting taller. I am sure that he fought the killer bravely and so did my daughter as there are signs of struggle,” she sobbed.

The family was given the keys of the second floor flat in Sector 41 only today. The flat was locked by the police after the CFSL collected samples. The family entered the foul-smelling flat with blood spattered on the floor.

“Kavita was to prepare ‘gajjar ka halwa’ the day she was killed. The grated carrot is still lying in the kitchen. We had a dispute with one of the boys in the neighbourhood about whom I have told the police. All the neighbours seem to be under some pressure and haven’t told anything to the police. I am hopeful that justice will prevail and the killer(s) will be behind bars soon,” she said.

Recalling the day she saw the bodies of her children, she stated: “I was surprised to see the door of the flat open when I returned. I thought my daughter was hiding behind the door as she used to play pranks often. I was left aghast on seeing her body lying in a pool of blood.”

Sleuths of the Crime Branch had questioned both Malti Devi and her husband Umesh yesterday. None of the neighbours have provided any clue to the police and have expressed ignorance about the murder. One of the neighbours, Siddhartha, has been rounded up by the police as he was a frequent visitor at the flat.



At 4°C, city colder than Shimla 
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
With the minimum temperature plummeting to 4°C, the city was colder than Shimla where the minimum temperature hovered around 4.5 degrees Celsius, forcing residents to remain indoors during the late night and early morning hours.

The city was even colder than Dharamsala where the minimum temperature was 4.2 degrees Celsius. Ludhiana was colder than Chandigarh as the minimum temperature was recorded at 3.8 degrees Celsius. The maximum humidity in the city was recorded at 92 per cent while the minimum was 28 per cent.

Today’s night temperature is the lowest of the season so far. The maximum temperature was 3 degrees below normal for this time of the year. Yesterday, the maximum temperature was 21.5°C. Even though the city did not witness dense fog, chilly winds added to the discomfort of the residents.

“Mornings and late-night hours will now be colder, with the minimum temperature likely to further plummet to 3 degrees Celsius on Saturday,” a Met official said. The days would be comparatively colder as the maximum temperature would hover around 18 degrees Celsius.

Met Director Surinder Paul said the cold wave conditions would persist in the region as temperature was likely to go down further during the next couple of days. The weather would remain dry and there was no chance of rain in the coming three to four days.

The department has predicted mainly clear sky with mist or haze during morning and evening hours. In the neighbouring Haryana and Punjab, the days would be mainly sunny with shallow fog or mist occurring during morning and evening hours. Ground frost is likely to occur at a few places during the next 48 hours.



50,000 surveyed, but no child eligible
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
The UT education department zealously went ahead with getting over 1,500 seats reserved under the Right to Education (RTE) Act in private schools for admissions to poor children, but failed to find even a single child eligible for it. In line with gaping holes in recording the EWS status, the much-awaited child-mapping results of the education department have failed to find even a single child out a total of 50,000 children surveyed in the appropriate age group for admission to nursery in the entire city.

While the records of all sectors and a majority of colonies stands at “nil”, surprisingly in areas like Faidan, almost 95 per cent of children, a majority of who are well above 10 years of age and already studying in school, have been declared eligible.

The anomalies have left private schools up against the UT for the “sham” survey that may translate into vacant seats for them. “I checked the website today and found that the colony near my school does not have a single child who the department thinks is of the right age to be admitted to nursery. I have no choice, but to convert the reserved seats into general category as I cannot afford 25 per cent seats to remain vacant. It is no rocket science to deduce that the entire survey has been made up,” said a private school principal.

While senior officials of the education department chose to be tight-lipped, the principal of a local government school said: “Frankly, we could not visit all homes and the department left us confused. It probably knew that there were not enough children so it asked us to abstain from writing nil in the age column and put a dash or zero instead. My teachers marked the column sitting in the school only.”



Funds used up, but block not ready
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
For the past two months, construction work at the new E-block of the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) here has come to a halt as the UT Administration has exhausted the sanctioned funds for the completion of the building, which as per the original schedule was to be ready by July 2011.

Though five months have elapsed since the scheduled date of completion, the situation is such that the building is unlikely to be completed even by the end of next year. Though officials of the UT engineering department claim that the building would be ready for occupation by December 2012, insiders reveal that at the pace which the work is progressing, it’s likely to take some more time. Sources also claim that the delay has caused considerable loss to the Administration due to escalation of costs and re-tendering of the work.

The seven-storeyed building with two basements, which will eventually house all the major departments of the medical college, was to be built at a cost of Rs 80 crore. The Administration had issued the first tender for Rs 23 crore and the amount was spent on the basic structure of the building.

The sources said despite spending Rs 23 crore, which was to be the estimated cost of building the structure, only 75 per cent work has been completed. The Administration is finding it hard to find a contractor to complete the unfinished structural work and has already forfeited Rs 14 lakh from a contractor who took up the tender in October this year but withdrew later.

Talking to The Tribune, SK Jaitley, UT Chief Engineer, admitted that the job was “held up”, but claimed that it would commence soon as fresh tenders had been floated about two weeks ago. He said the entire tendering process had to be redone as a contractor had withdrawn after picking up the tender.

The GMCH authorities said the block would cater to departments such as microbiology, anatomy, forensic department, pathology, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology and community medicine. At present, these are running in the “sarai” building meant for attendants of patients.

A senior faculty member said the medical college was started in 1991 and since then it had been running in different buildings. “Earlier, we were in Sector 38 and then we shifted to the sarai. We are short of space and cannot even increase MBBS seats in the college,” he said.

Jaitley said the engineering department had sought Rs 50 crore more from the Central government for finishing the work, including the interiors.



‘Second wife’ appears before police
Tribune News Service

The sketch of a woman who was last seen with Dr Deepak Kaura before he was found murdered.
The sketch of a woman who was last seen with Dr Deepak Kaura before he was found murdered.

Chandigarh, December 23
Simran, the missing “second wife” of Dr Deepak Kaura, today appeared before the Mohali police where she was questioned extensively about his murder and her relations with him.

She reportedly expressed innocence and said she had gone to meet her fiance’s father in Punjab and that was why her phone was switched off. The police had initially suspected that she could be behind the murder as she had mysteriously gone missing after the incident.She broke down several times while recording her statement.

The police said it was verifying the tower location of the call details of the number which was purchased on a fake ID and was used exclusively for making calls to Dr Kaura. The police is also trying to establish the identity of the woman who was last seen with him.

Relatives of the doctor have claimed that there were some injuries on his arms and back, which suggested that he was beaten up before giving some drink or food laced with poison. The police, however, denied there were any external injuries on the body.

The body of the doctor was cremated today after his sister arrived in the city.


Ahead of polls, UT seeks tenure extension of officers
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
Three officers on verge of transfers to their parent cadres and a PCS officer seeking repatriation, the Chandigarh Administration has pressed panic button writing the MHA to allow extension in tenure of the officers concerned, at least, for the time being.

These officers, including Ajoy Sharma, Director, Higher Education (DHE), CITCO Managing Director DK Tiwari, MC Commissioner Prerna Puri and SS Khara, Joint Secretary, finance.

Already senior officials of the UT Administration were holding a number of departments and if these officers were transferred or repatriated then the situation would become worse. Overburdened with departments, Finance Secretary VK Singh was holding the charge of 15 departments whereas the Home Secretary was heading 17 departments.

In a communication to the UT administration, Ajoy Sharma, a Punjab cadre IAS of 1999 batch, who had been on a six-month ex-India leave, had sought repatriation to his parent cadre.

Similarly, the deputation term of DK Tewari, an IAS officer of 1994 batch of Punjab cadre, who is also holding charge of the Special Secretary, health, is going to be completed on December 31.

Likewise, the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT), has issued transfer order of the Municipal Corporation (MC) Commissioner Prerna Puri, a 2006 batch IAS officer from AGMUT cadre, to Arunachal Pradesh.

Not only IAS officers, but a PCS officer SS Khara, who is on deputation with the UT Administration, holding the charge of the Joint Secretary, finance, has also sought repatriation to his parent cadre.

A senior UT official said that as the Chandigarh Administration is already facing shortage of officers, therefore in the case of DK Tiwari and Prerna Puri, they have now sent a letter to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to allow these officers to work with the UT Administration till the time MHA does not send their replacement.

Besides, in the case of Ajoy Sharma, a senior UT official added that his wife’s study course will take time and the UT Administration cannot afford to give him more leaves, therefore, Ajoy Sharma has sought repatriation to his parent cadre.

The official further added that Khara wa going to retire next year, therefore, he had also sought repatriation as he wanted to retire from his parent cadre.

Elections in February, 2012

As the polls in Punjab are scheduled to be held in February, 2012, and the model code of conduct will be in place, therefore, it will be difficult for the UT Administration to get replacement of these Punjab cadre officers in near future.



Congress to finalise candidate for Mayor’s post today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
The Congress is likely to finalise the candidate for the post of Mayor tomorrow at a meeting to be presided over by the Union Minister and local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal for the next Municipal Corporation (MC), which commences on January 1, 2012. Party sources revealed that the final decision on the mayoral candidate would be taken with the consent of local senior leaders.

Sources in the party said that as both women candidates, who were in fray for the general women reserve seat, for the first term of Mayor includes Raj Bala Malik and Gurbax Rawat. Since they are first timers, their final selection will be done at the meeting.

The sources said that both the candidates are strong contenders for the Mayor’s post as Raj Bala Malik has a strong links in the Haryana political circle while Gurbax Rawat’s husband is holding the post of chairman of the Congress Uttrakhand Cell. The sources said that the senior leaders of the party would also meet the BSP to secure their support for the Congress. The sources said that the final decision on this issue would also be taken at a meeting to be chaired by Bansal.

Even though the BJP does not have clear majority in the House but still the party is short listing the candidates for the post of Mayor.



GMADA to go in for mechanised garbage collection
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 23
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) is going in for mechanised collection of garbage in the town and a sum of Rs 1 crore is being spent in this regard.

All across Mohali, garbage collection and dumping points are being developed to improve the state of sanitation in the town. Work on the project is already going on at one such point located in Phase III B2.

Parveen Kumar Thind, Additional Chief Administrator, said the development authority was getting prototypes made in this regard from a Ludhiana-based private company. A pit would be dug in which a big box would be placed in which garbage would be dumped. When filled, this box would be removed with the help of a hydraulic lift. Such a mechanised process was bound to bring about an improvement in the state of sanitation.

A sum of about Rs 6 lakh would be spent on developing one garbage collection point, added Thind.

One hurt

Mohali: One person got injured after some unidentified persons opened fire at his sister in Phase VII here.

In his complaint, Gurjeet Singh said some persons fired at his sister, Baljinder Kaur, when she had gone to Chawla Nursing Home to get medicines. He got injured after one pellet hit him. The unidentified persons had allegedly kidnapped his friend, Gurdeep Singh. The assailants then fled from the spot in a car. A case under Sections 307, 364 of the IPC and Sections 25, 27, 54, 59 of the Arms Act was registered in this regard. 



Cub found dead near Pinjore
Tribune News Service

The carcass of a 4-month-old panther cub that was found in Pinjore on Friday.
The carcass of a 4-month-old panther cub that was found in Pinjore on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, December 23
Three days after residents of villages near Barwala, had injured a panther on December 20, when it attacked some of the local residents, a cub was found dead near Pinjore here today.

District Forest Officer (wildlife) R K Sharma said the cub was four months old and it died of pneumonia.

The carcass of the cub was noticed by forest officials this morning near a guard hut. Forest department inspector Dharmbir said he had spotted two cubs in the area. It might be one of them, he added.

However, the health of the panther, which was injured on December 20, had improved, said Sharma. 



Drunk cop suspended for creating ruckus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
A constable with the police control room created a ruckus at the Sector 17 police station in a drunken state here today.

The constable, Jasbir Singh, was reportedly drunk at the time he was to report at 10 am. He misbehaved with the munshi staff, who were taking morning attendance of the PCR staff.

The matter was brought to the notice of senior police officials following which the constable was taken to Government Multi Specialty Hospital in Sector 16 where his medical examination was conducted and heavy alcohol content was detected in his blood.

He was immediately placed under suspension and transferred to the police lines. DSP PCR Roshan Lal said the constable visited the MHC PCR office situated at the first floor of the police station and created a nuisance.

The police said that he had been suspended earlier too for the same offence.



FOSWAC members not happy with list

Chandigarh, December 23
The Federation of Sector Welfare Associations (FOSWAC) expressed resentment over the decision of the UT administration for not including any of its representatives on the list of nominated councillors.

Members complained that the names and resume of members forwarded by the FOSWAC to the Administrator were of those persons who were qualified, experienced and distinguished in public affairs and even had the knowledge and practical experience of municipal administration as per criteria prescribed in the MC Act. 



Tricity Scan
Cleanliness drive

To bring awareness among residents, awareness campaigns-cum-cleanliness drives were organised in Colony V and Burail village on Wednesday by the sanitation wing of the Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh. The campaigns were in addition to the regular sanitation drives by 40 additional safaikaramcharies in small groups under the close supervision of the senior inspectorate staff for getting the public places/ open spaces etc. swept in order to maintain sanitation there.

Doctors stage a dharna in support of their demands at the Department of Health, Punjab, at Sector 34, Chandigarh, on Friday.
Doctors stage a dharna in support of their demands at the Department of Health, Punjab, at Sector 34, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photo: S. Chandan

Premium banking

Axis Bank, the India’s third largest private-sector bank, on Friday opened their first premium banking branch in the city on Friday. K.K. Sharma, IAS, UT-Advisor to Administrator, Chandigarh, inaugurated the branch located in Sector-9.

X-mas tidings

Christmas was also celebrated at the primary wing of GNPS, Sector 37-B; AKSIPS-65 Smart School; Ryan, Mohali, Brilliance World School, Sector-12 and British School.

Christmas celebrations

Christmas was celebrated with lots of fun and fervour at Ryan International School. Members along with the NSS candidates went to the adopted school at Jagatpura and presented a play, sung songs and distributed cakes, gloves, caps and sweets to all the students.

PGIMER festivities

Students, teachers and staff of the National Institute of Nursing Education (NINE), PGIMER, organised a party on the eve of Christmas. The event was organised by Stephen, a student and Neena Vir Singh, a lecturer.

NSS camp

A seven-day NSS camp organised by GGSSS, 20-B concluded here on Friday. Bikram Singh Rana, state liason officer, NSS Cell, UT, was the chief guest. At least 50 students participated in the day and night camp.

Docs at CM’s residence

A group of doctors associated with the PCMS Association reached the Punjab Chief Minister’s residence on their own vehicles demanding notification of already accepted demands at a meeting with him, earlier this year. Giving details, Dr Manjit Singh, general secretary, said that the demands included: six increments to PG doctors, NPA for all intents and purposes; and grade pay of 10,000 at 20 years of service on pattern of the Central government. The doctors were earlier protesting in front of the Director, Health Services, Punjab, before they went to the CMs residence.— TNS



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