C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


7-year-old boy kidnapped, Rs 5 lakh ransom sought
Victim is son of roadside vendor at Ramgarh
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 3
While the Panchkula police is patting its back for solving the kidnapping case of 10-month-old Nishant, a 7-year-old child has been kidnapped from Ramgarh here.

Though the child is reported to be missing since January 26, the police today swung into action by registering an FIR at the Chandimandir police station after the kidnappers made the first ransom call of Rs 5 lakh to the family late last night.

Panchkula DCP Maneesh Chaudhary said immediately after receiving the call, an FIR was registered and five special teams constituted to crack the case.

The kidnapped child belongs to a poor family. His father is a roadside vendor in Ramgarh. In the past six months, this is the third instance when a child has been abducted.

According to information, 7-year-old Vijay had gone out to play on January 26, but never returned. Vijay’s father Rishi looked for him the entire day, but to no avail and finally lodged a complaint at the Chandimandir police station on January 27.

On the night of February 2, one of Rishi’s relatives received a ransom call of Rs 5 lakh. He immediately informed Rishi about the call, but as the family could not arrange for such a large sum of money, they informed the police.

Rishi told the police that he had no enmity with anyone in the area and he did not know why anyone would kidnap his child.

Poor families targeted

It seems that criminals have now started targeting poor families. In some cases, the kidnapping was done for ransom and in others, to sell the child. On September 29, 2011, 10-month-old Nishant was kidnapped from Mansa Devi Temple. His father was a daily wage labourer. In the second case, on December 6 last, two women had stolen a newborn from the Sector 6 General Hospital. In this case as well, the family of the child was very poor.



Police ‘out of reach’, phones don’t ring
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The Chandigarh Police seems to be “out of reach” of the common man as telephone numbers at some police stations are lying non-functional. For the last several days, the landline number (0172-2747066) at the Sector 11 police station has been “temporarily out of service”.

Interestingly, the communication department of the police has appointed a separate former officer for a routine check-up of phones and as per the communication department, all the phones are in working condition.

“We have appointed an officer to keep the communication system up to date. The telephone line of the Sector 11 station is directly linked to the exchange installed there. This could be the reason behind the dead phone,” said DSP Communication, Roshan Lal.

“We will look into the matter and install a direct line in the room of the Station House Officer,” he said.

Meanwhile, the landline phones at the Sector 34 and the Sector 16 police post largely remain unattended as no one bothers to take the calls. “We have gone through the numbers and the disturbed lines have already been taken care of. The landline number of the IG’s office has been repaired,” he added.



Last-minute agenda miffs PEC Senate
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
When it comes to handing down the agenda of the Senate meeting, the Senate members of Punjab Engineering College (PEC) are not as privileged as their counterparts in Panjab University. As a result, they are literally forced to pass the items on the voluminous agenda tabled during the Senate meetings.

Protesting against the practise that has been adopted during the last two meetings, at least five of the members in their individual representations to the PEC Director, Manoj Dutta, have quoted the clause 1.7 of the PEC Senate Manual. They talked about the practise followed by the university to circulate the agenda seven days in advance.

The PEC Director refused to comment on the issue.

Finance Secretary-cum-Secretary Technical Education VK Singh, who is also co-chairperson of the board of management of PEC, said as he was not a part of the Senate, he was not aware of the issue. “The matter has been brought to my knowledge. I will get it verified,” he said.

Although PEC has a closed-door Senate meeting, the non-availability of agenda to the members prior to the meeting has raised eyebrows. The members, during a meeting on October 25 last year, had raised the issue.

On January 10, another meeting was held, but the members were again not provided with the copy of the agenda before the meeting. The issue led to a heated debate during the meeting. Their observations were also not mentioned in the minutes of the last meeting.

“There is no use of attending the meeting when we don’t know what has to be discussed in the meeting. I have given a representation

demanding the agenda before the meeting, but the authorities have failed to do so,” said a senior member.

Sources said there was a provision for a sub-committee in the Senate, which the students are a part of, however, they have not been given any representation.

Amandeep Singh, president of the Students for Society at PEC, said: “Students should be a part of the Senate as student issues are taken up.”

The university Senate even has a representation for the leader of the non-teaching staff and president of the PU teachers’ union.



‘malkhana’ case
Accused was rewarded 24 times
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 3
While the former in charge of a “malkhana”, Sukhwinder Singh, was selling case properties of as many as 631 cases right under the nose of his seniors, the Haryana Police was continuously awarding him with commendation certificates, unaware of the reality. During his more than 10-year tenure with the Haryana Police, he got 24 rewards and awards from senior officials of Panchkula, Ambala and Rohtak police.

He was awarded for doing good work pertaining to the maintenance of law and order situation on the occasions of the Navratra fair in Mansa Devi Temple; strike of Sarv Karamchari Sangh; visit of Haryana Chief Minister; visit of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice at Pinjore Garden; and Mahashivratri fair. He was also awarded in sports.

A senior official of the Panchkula police said they were not aware of the embezzlement committed by Sukhwinder Singh, but when they came to know of it, they dismissed him from service.

He said soon they would submit a supplementary chargesheet against the accused. Once he was demoted from the rank of head constable to constable and was removed as the “malkhana” in charge.



PU students clash
Blood donation camp turns ugly, 3 held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
A blood donation camp organised by PUSU at Panjab University turned into a bloody clash with PUSU and SOPU supporters thrashing one another even as the PU authorities continued to be mute spectators.

Following a complaint by PUSU members, the police arrested Sonu, Manoj and Ranjot of SOPU under preventive measures while SOPU president Vicky Medukheda is at large.

“Unnecessary staring” between group members led to the clash.

According to Manmeet Singh of PUSU, they were busy with blood donation registration when some members of SOPU came there and picked up a fight.

“We were managing the camp peacefully, but annoyed at its success, SOPU members came near the registration desk and started staring at our man present there. We ignored them, but they started abusing and thrashing our members,” alleged Manmeet Singh. Vicky, however, blamed PUSU of starting the “stare and abuse game” with the help of some outsiders.

The two groups dispersed the moment the police reached the spot. The Dean Student Welfare, AS Ahluwalia, said he had demanded a detailed investigation report from the chief security officer.

“We have asked him to identify the real culprit. We will take action against him,” he said.

“On our part, we have arrested the students and will take other measures, but the PU should take some disciplinary action. The students were not badly injured, but if the PU fails to take action, such spats may lead to more grave violence,” said a police official.


Part of Sector-33 house demolished
Affected tenant alleges he has been singled out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The UT estate office carried out demolition at a kanal house in Sector 33 here today for carrying out violations of building bylaws in kitchen and the extended building line.

Dalbir Singh, the tenant residing here, alleged that he had been singled out while other houses nearby with grave violations were ignored.

“The house was constructed in 1975 and no alteration or change in the form of construction had been made by me since 1997,” Dalbir said.

“The estate office acted in connivance with the complainants, GPA holders of the house, to evict me forcibly. I was given no notice,” he alleged.

Estate officials refuted the allegations, saying he was given a notice in January, 2007, and again in January, 2012, before the action.

“We have done our duty as per norms. Our official records show that he received the demolition orders passed on January 31,” said Suresh Kumar, SDO (Buildings), under whose supervision the demolition was carried out.

Another senior official with the department asserted that no violator could escape action by pointing fingers on others.

He said if the tenant had information on other houses, he should send them complaint.



work visa fraud case
Offices of two firms raided
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, February 3
A day after the police sealed 20 immigration companies in a case of work visa fraud, it conducted raids today at the offices of the two companies whose owners were arrested.

Mahesh Gupta of Conex at Sector 34 and Nitin Gupta, proprietor of AEIS consultant at Sector 34, who were arrested, were sent to judicial custody after the police raided their offices. Papers relating to work permit fraud were seized.

Some of the owners of the immigration firms complained that they were booked under Section 188 of the IPC (violating District Magistrate’s orders) despite submitting all documents pertaining to their companies to the police.

While the police checked the forms deposited at police stations, it did not check the forms submitted by companies at public windows before conducting the raids, they alleged.

The owners of some companies also alleged harassment at the hands of the police as their offices, with passports of some clients lying inside, were sealed.

DSP Anil Joshi said in case any vital documents like passports were left inside the offices, it would open the seals and return the documents.

“If vital documents like passports of clients have been left and the offices sealed, the company owners can approach us,” he said.



Toll plaza issued notice for violating periphery Act
Construction of HEL office against norms, says town planning department
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 3
Not accepting the replies submitted by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Himalayan Expressway Limited (HEL) on the issue of constructing HEL’s office near Chandimandir toll plaza, the district town planning department today maintained that the construction of building is in complete violation of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act 1952.

District town planner (DTP) Hitesh Sharma said that construction was in complete violation of the Periphery Act and they had given second chance to the NHAI and HEL to submit their replies on February 10.

The DTP on January 25 had sought explanation from HEL through a show-cause notice that why the orders should not be passed to restore the land at Chandimandir for violating the Periphery Act and also ordered to stop further construction.

The notice reads, “Anybody desiring to erect or re-erect a building has to seek permission by the director, the town and country planning, Haryana, by filing an application. However, the company failed to do so which was in contravention of Section 6 of the Act.”

Meanwhile, HEL maintained that the structure mentioned in the show-cause notice were part of the four-laning project and as per the agreement with NHAI. It was also submitted that the offices were essential for the smooth operation and maintenance of the project.

On contrary the DTP had pointed out that the toll plaza office was coming up in contravention of Section 5 of the Punjab New Capital Periphery Control Act, and as it had been used for commercial purpose, thereby violating Section 11 as well.

On this issue, the NHAI had submitted his reply in support of HEL, before DTP that the National Highway Act, passed by Parliament, overrides the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act 1952. It had also submitted that the Haryana government was a part of the deal for converting NH-22 into four lanes from Zirakpur to Parwanoo.



p’kula kidnapping
Accomplice girlfriend held
Produced in court, sent to 14-day judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 3
The Panchkula police today arrested the remaining two accused in the Nishant kidnapping case. The police arrested main accused Kashmir Singh’s girlfriend Aarti, a resident of Patiala, and Jaspal Singh, a rickshaw-puller of Gurdaspur, who had bought the child for Rs 75,000. Earlier, the police had arrested Kashmir Singh and his father Pratap Singh.

The accused were produced before a local court today where the court ordered to sent Pratap Singh on one-day police remand whereas remaining accused were sent to 14 days judicial custody in Ambala jail.



Mercury to fall
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Day temperatures are likely to fall as the sky will remain cloudy during the next couple of days, with Western disturbances resurfacing.

The weather office has predicted the possibility of light rain, resulting in a dip in maximum temperatures, but an increase in minimum temperatures.

The maximum temperature on Saturday will be around 17 degree Celsius and the minimum on Sunday around 11 degree Celsius.



RLA suspends 2 driver’s licences
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Following the recommendation of the traffic police, the Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA) has cancelled the driver’s licences of two persons, who were habitual offenders and had been challaned a number of times.

The two were identified as Rishav of Kaimbwala village and Guddu of Colony Number 5. The traffic police had recommended that their licences be cancelled.

Rishav was issued six challans between September, 2008, and October 12, 2011. He was challaned for driving without helmet, jumping red light, driving without insurance papers (twice) and driving without licence. He was debarred from holding driver’s licence for six months.

Guddu was issued six challans between October, 2007, and September, 2011. He was challaned for driving without helmet, out-of-pattern number plate, wrong-side driving overspeeding and driving without licence. He was debarred from holding a driver’s licence for 15 days.

Till date, the traffic police had recommended 311 cases to the RLA here and in other states for suspension of driver’s licences, of which 239 habitual offenders had been punished by the RLA here. The offenders were debarred from driving during the period of suspension.

The traffic police also requested citizens to intimate particulars -- name, residential address and vehicle number -- of persons known to be habitual traffic offenders in their respective localities on the toll-free telephone number 1073.

The traffic police would verify such information against the available computerised records of traffic offenders and recommend cases of such habitual offenders for disqualification or revocation of their driver’s licences under Section 19 of the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, to the licensing authority concerned.



Row over property turns murky again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The row over a house at Sector 8 here turned murky once again as two parties entered into a verbal scuffle and called the police control room. This was the fourth time the police had been called owing to a dispute at the same house.

Manavjit Kaur alleged that the police helped the other party in getting possession of the house. The police said it reached the spot after the control room received a call of wrong parking and found that the issue related to a property dispute.

“The police has been harassing us and conniving with the other party in helping them claim possession of the house. The property dealer asked us to remove the car and brought goons with him when we called the police,” alleged Manavjit.

“The police reached the spot only because the control room was called. The matter is sub judice and the police has no role to play in this,” said ASP (Central) Desraj Singh.

On December 24 past year, one of the parties had assaulted the police as it reached the spot to take stock of the situation. The disputed house belonged to Manavjit.

Her husband Bharat Pal Singh died in an accident at Sector 8 here on September 26 past year as his car rammed into a tree. The family had then alleged he was murdered owing to a property dispute.

Following this, the police had registered a case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against unidentified persons at the Sector-3 police station. The investigation in the case was still pending.



Maestro’s mastery
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, February 3
A captivating classical music soiree at the PU auditorium here to mark ‘Basant Utsav’ was a pleasing rendezvous of master maestros and learned music aficionados today.

The programme, organised by the PU department of music, in collaboration with the ICCR, saw the Pandit Vidyadhar Vyas enthralling the audience and drawing pleasure from his rendition of ‘raaga bageshri kanra’.

He brought alive the melodic character of the ‘raaga’ with elan in reposeful ‘alaap’ and ‘bada khayal vilambat laya’ before doling out two compositions in ‘raaga basant’.

Earlier, virtuoso Aditya Sharma set the pace with the rendition of ‘raaga bihag’ in a ‘madhya laya’ composition. 



Education Department reshuffle
Controversy continues to grow
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The controversy surrounding the creation of two posts of Deputy Director Schools in the education department brewed further today over the alleged lopsided distribution of power ‘favouring’ former DEO Chanchal Singh.

The orders, which were received by both Chanchal Singh and Deputy Director Schools (II) Saroj Mittal today, appointed them as an additional channel in disposing all cases submitted to the DPI by the DEO, even as there is stark difference between the authority and work load. While Chanchal Singh will ‘guide’ the new DEO, Ram Kumar, he will also be the authority responsible for Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan, private schools, government schools, inspections, admission policies, rationalisation of staff in government schools, and the policies pertaining to the CBSE. Saroj Mittal would be taking care of midday meal, Rajkiya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan , statistics, scholarships, school buildings, and the development of English.

The department claimed that the restructuring was done to strengthen the administrative structure, and to align it with the changed scenario after the introduction of Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan, Rastriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, and the Right To Free And Compulsory Education Act, 2009. However, some believe that the restructuring has empowered one individual, while diminishing the powers of the DEO. “What is the importance of DEO in this structure where he doesn’t report to DPI(S) directly, but has to go through new channels? This restructuring has ensured that Chanchal Singh continues to enjoy the powers of DEO in addition to certain powers of the DPI. He has got all important and plum posting, while the other deputy director has been conveniently sidelined,” said a department official.

“It is all rubbish. We felt the need for restructuring to properly examine important issues. There is a need to equip the department with officers having an academic background as they have a better understanding of education-related issues. The department has taken this step for better growth, speedy decision making and implementation of policies in the larger interest of society,” said the department in its official statement.



DEO office shifted to Sector 19
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Much to the dismay and shock of the DEO office employees, the office has been detached from the Education Directorate in Sector 9 and shifted to Sector 19.

Following the restructuring of administrative set up, the education department has decided to free some space for the new Deputy Director(S) by shifting the office of District Education Officer to the Sector 19 building earlier occupied by the adult education section. While the department feels that it will help in better coordination and maintaining hierarchy, the officials claim that the move does not make any sense.

“On the one hand, every single order of the DEO will pass through Chanchal Singh, and on the other they shift us to sector 19. Will we be given an official vehicle to carry files to get signatures? Imagine the plight of a common man who will have to shuttle between the two offices to get his documents signed,” said an employee of the DEO office.



PEC students boycott classes
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Intensifying their agitation demanding a mercy chance for three first semester students of Masters of Engineering (ME), the first, second and third semester ME students of the Punjab Engineering College (PEC) today boycotted their classes. The students met the PEC Director in the evening and demanded that an emergency Senate meeting be called to discuss the case.

Fourteen first semester students had failed to get the minimum criteria of 4.5 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA); but in a decision taken by PEC authorities, it was held that mercy would be granted only only eight students. The students who have been left behind had lesser scores in comparisons to the eight who have been given another chance by the college.

The agitating students stated that the authorities have relaxed the rules only for eight students, and the remaining students should also get the benefit. “We want that the college should consider our case and give us another chance. We are ready to give an undertaking that if we fail to improve our performance then college can take their decision,” a student said.

Students said that the college had given a mercy chance to some students who had failed to get the minimum CGPA, but has arbitrarily refused to give the same opportunity to a few others.

The students after waiting for the entire day, finally met Director Manoj Dutta in the evening. “We have been asked to wait till Monday as the matter is being discussed,” said a student.

The students also met Senate members and requested them to hold an emergency meeting to discuss their case. Agitating students claimed that to break their unity the teachers of computer science were pressurising them to end the protest. “The students are being threatened by the teachers that they won’t get their scholarships and will be getting low grades if they supported the protest,” said an agitating student. 



Workshop to check school dropouts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36, in collaboration with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) Society, organised a one-day workshop on the theme ‘School Dropout Prevention, Considerations and Challenges’.

Fifty participants from 30 government schools from the Chandigarh region participated in the workshop. Sandeep Hans, Director, Public Instructions, the chief guest of the event, in his address to the teachers, emphasised on the need for suggesting remedial measures to curb the problem of high dropout rate.

He said that the students who drop out of schools depict certain behavioural traits, which, if noticed timely, can help in reducing the number of dropouts.

Rajni Mahajan, State Pedagogical Coordinator, SSA, stated the objectives of the workshop and discussed the methods for imparting quality education.

Prof Madhurima Mahajan, from the University School of Open Learning (PU), said that, “the future of the nation depends on our children” and hence there was an urgent need to focus on the core groups affected by this problem. In the afternoon session, the results of the survey conducted by Dev Samaj College of Education, were discussed and it was brought to the notice of all members that there is a very high dropout rate in fifteen schools of Chandigarh. During the workshop, recommendations, suggestions and strategies were invited from the participants to improve enrolment and retention rate at the primary and upper primary levels.



20 colleges take part in IT Fiesta
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Students enjoy happy moments during the IT Fiesta at Shri Guru Gobind Singh College for Women in Sector 26 of Chandigarh on Friday
Students enjoy happy moments during the IT Fiesta at Shri Guru Gobind Singh College for Women in Sector 26 of Chandigarh on Friday. Tribune Photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, February 3
An IT Fiesta was organised at Shri Guru Gobind Singh College for Women here in association with the Department of Computer Science and Applications today.

The event saw the participation of students from about 20 colleges in Chandigarh and surrounding areas. The theme for the debate during the function was social networking sites.

Students enthusiastically spoke for and against the topic. Events on developing software and designing websites were keenly contested by students.

Students demonstrated their acting talents during the IT skit competition. They tested their skills in areas from robotics to cartooning. ‘Craze of mobiles’, an IT quiz, was also organised.



After clash, hostel shut
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 3
A day after the clash during the district-level Panchayati Raj sports meet at Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Sector 3, the district sports authority today closed the hostel after directing the players staying there to move out.

Confirming the development, district sports officer Ashwini Sharma said as the hostel inmates were involved in the clash, they closed the hostel.

An FIR was registered against four hostel inmates at the Sector-5 police station.

During the sports events yesterday, the hostel inmates beat up players from the Raipur Rani and Barwala blocks. As many as six players received injuries in the clash.



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