C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mockery of System
Hostile witnesses take courts for a ride
Aneesha Sareen and Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Panchkula, February 26
An increasing number of police witnesses are taking the courts for a ride and turning the tables on the police in high-profile cases by turning hostile and retracting from their earlier statements. Two murder cases, which the UT police boasted had been solved, collapsed in court this week. While in one case, a woman refused to identify her husband’s killers, a son refused to identify her mother’s killers in court on Saturday.

Absence of any witness protection programme in the wake of threats from the accused, lure of money, long trials and failure of prosecution to initiate action against hostile witnesses have resulted in scores of sensational cases falling flat in court in the recent past.

The story is no different in Panchkula district courts where glaring acquittals in cases have occurred owing to hostile witnesses.

There are number of cases in which the accused got the ultimate benefit with the witnesses turning hostile. The list includes former Punjab MLA Gaganjit Barnala rape case, highway robbers case, NRI Mubarak Hassan murder case, chartered accountant Rajesh Goel murder case, rape on wheels case and J&K sex scandal.

Advocate Anupam Gupta says: “Witnesses turning hostile is a very serious issue which the High Court as well as the Supreme Court have taken notice of in the trials related to Jessica Lal murder case and Best Bakery case, but there is a need for a more sensitive and vigilant response at the trial court level.”

“The power to penalise hostile witnesses by initiating perjury proceedings should be reserved for highly important cases where there is a substantial departure in statements by witnesses and whose testimony is crucial in a case. Also, in cases where the accused happens to be an influential person or someone important, the courts have the fullest power to examine perjury. It is unfortunate that such prosecutions are rare,” he added.



Cases falling flat in court not new
Chandigarh Tribune peeps into some sensational cases involving hostile witnesses
Aneesha Sareen and Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Panchkula, February 26
NRI murder case: NRI Mubarak Hassan was murdered in March last year. His wife Jahan Ara refused to identify her husband’s killers in court. Mubarak was killed in Mani Majra while he was on an after-dinner walk with his wife. The attackers had attempted to rob his wife’s jewellery. All three accused were acquitted by court for lack of evidence.

Kitchen supervisor murder case: In October last year, a court acquitted four accused in the murder of a kitchen supervisor when the wife of the victim turned hostile. The court acquitted the four, accused of murdering 42-year-old kitchen supervisor Vijay Kumar, who used to work at Western Court Hotel in Sector 43, Chandigarh.

Highway robbery case: Of the four accused arrested in the high-profile highway robbery case, the court had convicted two persons while acquitting two others. The complainant, Lalit Behl, had failed to identify Jaipal and Harinder in court, which led to their acquittal. Jaipal, son of a Punjab Police sub-inspector, and Harinder, son of a UT police inspector, were, hence, acquitted.

Barnala rape case: The victim in the rape case involving SAD MLA Gaganjit Singh Barnala turned hostile from her statements given to the police, resulting in the acquittal of Barnala in 2009. The statements of the victim in this case were not recorded before the magistrate.

ASI recruitment scam: Two police constables had turned hostile in court in the ASI recruitment scam when they refused to identify the prime accused in court. The case was pending trial. The UT police had taken stern action against the hostile constables and dismissed them from service.

CA murder case: The lone eyewitness in the murder of a chartered accountant, Rajesh Goel, in Sector 42 had turned hostile from his statements recorded before the magistrate. Kamlesh, peon, turned hostile. While the case was pending, there had been no action on the hostile witness.

NK Jain rape case: As many as six witnesses in the high-profile rape-on-wheels case involving former UT Home Secretary NK Jain as the accused, had turned hostile so far. The case was pending trial.


Student murder case: A bright college student was killed by his peers with sharp-edged weapons outside the main gate of the college. On August 1, 2009, the Panchkula court acquitted the nine accused. The case of murder of a BA final-year student of Government College, Sector 1, Panchkula, Kushal Sharma, , hits the headlines in 2008. It fell flat in court as complainant Arun, a student and friend of the deceased, who had sustained injuries in the attack, and two other witnesses turned hostile in court.

Robbery case: She had won a bravery award for courage, but in a dramatic turn of events, the key witness of the Panchkula police in the sensational robbery case failed to identify the accused in court. Veetu, a tenant at the house of district BJP chief Shyam Lal Sachdeva, had raised an alarm when her landlord’s family was allegedly held hostage by a gang of robbers on April 25, 2009. Her presence of mind had reportedly made the criminals flee the spot, but not before firing two shots at her. The trial was pending.

What the law says

According to legal experts, the criminality of “buying” witnesses by the influential who find themselves in the dock can be handled only by strictly enforcing the penal law on perjury. Section 191 of the Indian Penal Code defines perjury as “giving false evidence” and by interpretation, includes the statements retracted later as the person is presumed to have given a “false statement” earlier or later, when the statement is retracted. But hardly anyone, including legal experts, could recall a single case in which a person was prosecuted for making a false statement in court. Under Section 191 of the IPC, an affidavit is evidence and a person swearing to a false affidavit is guilty of perjury punishable under Section 193 of the IPC, which prescribes the period of punishment as seven years’ imprisonment. However, action against making a false statement should be initiated during the trial itself, and not at the end of it. In none of the cases cited above, where the witnesses turned hostile, had any action been taken by the prosecution against the witnesses.

Speedy trial suggested

“In most of the cases, the police coerces witnesses into making statements and often, the prosecution creates false witnesses to build evidence. At the time of trial, the witness may change statement or deny having made the statement. Prolonged investigations and delayed trials also give ample time for witnesses to be won over by the accused. Speedy trials can provide a solution, but courts are burdened with a heavy load of cases,” says lawyer Rabindra Pandit.

Laws lenient: Lawyer

Criminal lawyer Sameer Sethi said there were very lenient laws to deal with witness turning hostile in court. He added that if there was a strict law to punish witnesses who turned hostile, there were chances that a less number of witnesses would turn hostile. He added that delay in trials also gave ample time to the accused to win over witnesses. Cases should be put on the fast track, he suggested.

Police appeal advocated

Lawyer Kamal Joshi said investigating agencies should file applications before court to take action against the victim who turned hostile. If the police started approaching courts for action against victims who turned hostile victims would think twice before turning hostile, he added.

There is an exception

Amid a number of cases of witnesses turning hostile, there was a seven-year-old witness who identified her grandmother’s killer in the Panchkula court recently. Pratibha had testified in the district court and identified the servant, Akhilesh Paswan, accused of killing her grandmother. The accused was present in court when she testified against him. Akhilesh reportedly killed 65-year-old Shanti Devi and left Pratibha, her elder sister Garima and her mother Isha wounded at their Sector-12 house on August 20 last year.



Drunk youths vandalise Rose Garden
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Over two dozen youths damaged statues and pots on display at the three-day rose festival at Rose Garden late last night. Three statues and some topiaries, besides flower pots, were vandalised. Repeated calls to the police for help by the municipal corporation (MC) staff proved futile as no police personnel reached the spot.

The youths reportedly entered the garden in an inebriated condition and started damaging the statues, topiaries and pots. When the workers present there tried to stop them, they started thrashing them as well.

“I made repeated calls at the police control room and the police station, but no force was sent despite assurance by those who attended the phone calls,” said Jangsher Singh, junior engineer (horticulture) and in charge of Rose Garden. Finally, the MC workers got together and forced the youths to leave the place.

By that time, four statues had been damaged. It was only in the morning that a policeman reached the spot to inquire about the matter following which a complaint was lodged with the police, he said.



Rose Festival comes to colourful close
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The three-day Chandigarh Rose Festival at the Rose Garden concluded today. Mayor Raj Bala Malik distributed prizes. The chief guest released colourful bunch of balloons. An on-the-spot painting competition was held on the concluding day, where approximately 500 children in various age groups took part.

Apart from this, 10 students from the Government College of Art, took part in the painting exhibition.

The paintings prepared by competitors in various categories were evaluated by a jury of eminent personalities.

The members who maintained the Rose Garden, Jangsher Singh, Ashwani, Rohit, Swatntar Singh, Jaipal Singh, Sanjiv Singh, Parmajit Singh, Vir Bahadur, Parmajit Singh, Suchha Singh and others, were honoured on the occasion.

Results: painting: Group A (Age 5-8 Years) Lakshya Batra, Group B (Age 8-11 Years) Shaurya Pahuja, Group C (Age 11-14 Years) Sharukh, Group D (Age 14-17 Years) Babli; antakshri: First position: Red Rose team (Varsha and Smriti, GCG, 11), Second position: White Rose team (Pooja and Sagrika, Postgraduate Government Girls College, Sector 11), Third position: Yellow Rose team (Anita and Amrinder Kaur, Dev Samaj College, Sector 36), Fourth position: Pink Rose team (Akshita and Neha, Govt College for Arts); folk dance: schools: First position Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, Second position State Institute for Blind, Sector 26, Third position IS Dev Samaj School, Sector 21; colleges: First position Postgraduate Government Girls College, Sector 11

Second position Shree Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, Third position Government College, Sector 46.



Playback singer delights residents
SD Sharma

Abhijeet performs on Sunday evening.
Abhijeet performs on Sunday evening.

Chandigarh, February 26
A memorable music concert by acclaimed Bollywood playback icon Abhijit Bhattacharya provided a befitting grand finale to the festivities of 40th Rose fest at the Leisure Valley here today. Music lovers danced in ecstasy as the tuneful voice of Abhijit Bhattacharya wafted across the ambience.

Amidst deafening applause, Abhijit took the centrestage to dole out his hit songs like “Badshah hoon mein”, “Ashiq hoon mein”, “chaand taaron tod laao”, “mein koi ais geet gaon ke arzzo jagaon”, “toba tumhare ye ishaare”, “tumhein jo meine dekha” and many more. The audience danced to the tune of “Musafir hoon yaayo” and “Majhi re”. Tarranum, too, presented three songs, including duets with star singer Abhijit. Abhijit drew pleasure from his dynamic performance after he established a rapport with the inquisitive audience.

The stalls painted in attractive colours, fabric roses on illuminated trees and the ambience at CITCO Punjabi vehda caught attention of the visitors.

Anil Kumar, Home Secretary, VK Singh, VK Srivastva, DK Tewari and Mayor Rajbala graced the occasion.



So much for security at PU
Man enters girls’ hostel at night

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The security system at Panjab University took a beating on late last night when a man managed to enter the girls’ hostel no. 1, barely a few metres from gate number 2, which according to the PU has “full security” to check late night entry on the campus. In the absence of any check even at the hostel gate, he managed to reach the first floor of the hostel.

Putting a big question mark on PU security, Navdeep Singh, a resident of Singhawala village, Ambala, entered the hostel, causing panic among the boarders. According to the police, he was under the influence of liquor.

Girls raised the alarm after spotting him on the first floor, following which the PU security and police was immediately informed about the incident.

However, even hours after the incident, the university authorities were clueless from where the man had entered the hostel.

PU chief security officer, PK Dhawan, said the guard claimed that he did not see anyone entering the hostel. “We are verifying the statement given by the guard as there is no other way to enter the hostel,” Dhawan said.

The guard has been transferred to a non-sensitive area. “We are also going to review the security at the girls’ hostel,” he said.

Dean Student Welfare (DSW) AS Ahluwalia said they verified the footage of CCTV cameras installed at the hostel gate. The man did not enter from the main gate. “Although he did not enter from the main gate, it is most likely that he entered from the mess. It is still to be verified,” he said.



Man accuses SHO of torture
Medical report reveals he sustained injuries on pvt parts while in custody

Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
A Dadumajra resident has accused Charanjeet Singh, SHO of the Sector 39 police station, of electrocuting his private parts to force him to confess to the crimes he had allegedly not committed. His claims were supported by a medical examination report which states bruises were found on his private parts and left arm. The medical examination was conducted following the orders of the Judicial Magistrate, where Sikander filed his complaint.

According to him, he was arrested on February 24 at around 12.13 pm when he was going to pick up his children from school. “SI Baldev Singh arrested me and took to the chowki. From there, around evening, I was taken to the police station in Sector 39. I was made to enter the station through a back door so that my entry was not recorded on a CCTV camera. I was taken to a room and given electric shocks on my private parts and ears. I was brutally beaten up. I was taken for a medical examination the next day. I was given no medical treatment and was threatened to keep quiet. The doctors favoured the police and I was made to confess,” he alleged.

Taking serious note of the complaint, the Judicial Magistrate directed the police to get him examined once again by a board of three doctors at the GMSH, Sector 16. The board confirmed the bruises and said those were 48 hours old.

“We want justice. I was told that my husband has been booked for loitering, but he was tortured brutally and asked to own up many offences. Just to get appreciation, these people nab anybody and torture him to confess while they are hand-in-glove with the real culprits. We are threatened with dire consequences if we speak up,” alleged Sikander’s wife.

Allegations baseless

The SHO, Charanjit Singh, said the allegations were baseless. “We did not pick him for questioning in the wee hours, but last night. He is cooking up stories,” he claimed. DIG Alok Kumar said: “The police will verify the ground realities before initiating any step.”



Engg students on earthy venture
Help potters sell products
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
It began with an ardent wish by few students of the department of chemical engineering and technology (DCET), Panjab University, to do something productive for someone. They hit on the idea to save the art of potters that has no takers. The students went door to door to survey and make earthen products popular among people. They are now designing carts of potters and will start a campaign to sell their products.

The carts will have solar lights and other facilities to enable the potters to showcase their products.

A team of 30 students have started an NGO, Student in Free Enterprise (SIFE), that aims at providing business to the needy.

Nitin Gupta, a third-year student and president of the NGO, said they came across potters who were struggling hard to earn a living. “We decided to help the potters residing in Maloya and Sector 39,” he said.

The students constituted teams and went to various sectors to make people aware about the products made by potters.

“During the survey we found that people were not aware where these clay products were sold and we decided to sell them on their doorstep,” Nitin said.

The students believe that the move will not only help the potters, but also save pottery which is on the verge of extinction.

From the first week of March, the students will initiate a month-long campaign in all sectors to showcase products like pots, ‘diyas’, miniature temple structures and toys that have been beautified with paints, ‘guta’, mirrors and other forms of ornamentation.

The students have also contacted gift shops in the city to sell pottery products. “We are looking for sponsors who can help us in this venture,” he said.



Open house response
Apartment Act suicidal for city, should be opposed

The thought of the Apartment Act in the city is amazing and an eyeopener. It surely forces one to think like Sherlock Holmes as to who is planning such an unfaithful act towards the city and why especially to the north of Chandigarh, which is the head of the city and like a crown. Any attempt to bring the Apartment Act will be suicidal for the city as the claim and application for the World Heritage Status is pending before UNESCO since November, 2006. Any tinkering with the original plan will have Chandigarh being shown the door by UNESCO.

The Chandigarh Administration has already filed an undertaking in the shape of statement of authenticity and/or integrity. As per that, no change has been permitted in the urban core of Le Corbusier’s Master Plan, which retains the authenticity of its original form and design, material and substance, use and function and spirit and feeling. It also says that the growth of the city has not compromised on the integrity of the nominated area. It also says all urban and architectural development in Chandigarh continues to be regulated under a series of Acts and Regulations contained in the Punjab Act of 1952, that was formulated in accordance with the concepts and ideas prescribed in Le Corbusier’s Master Plan.

The periphery, despite having proper laws, has been totally ignored by the Chandigarh Administration. Since the Administration has not been very much concerned about the character of the city, neighbouring states took full advantage of that attitude, interfered with the boundaries of the city and caused irreparable damage to its character and uniqueness. Even on technical grounds, the city cannot afford more housing as the present infrastructure is already crumbling under pressure, whether it is population or traffic, electricity or water. The underground sewerage will be badly hit beyond repairs if any attempt is made to bring about the Apartment Act. The thought of the Apartment Act is betrayal, disloyalty and unfaithfulness towards the city. Apartments will cause high density, which will cause problems of shortage of electricity, water and parking.

The Parliament of Queensland, in order to prevent overcrowding and urban degradation in cities, created a special legislation, called the ‘Undue Subdivision of Land Prevention Act’. This law prevented speculators and developers from subdividing big houses into small apartments for faster and better sale of property. This law made cities like Brisbane more attractive place to raise the families. Apartments will also impact solar-energy harvesting on nearby undivided houses. The cool breeze during summer will no more be available to nearby houses. The degradation of ubran life will start. The quality of air will be degraded as a concrete jungle will replace the green cover and resultantly, the environment will be hit badly.

What is extremely amazing is who is thinking of the Apartment Act and why. There is no need for this. Satellite towns, though in violation of periphery laws, are there for those who want to settle in the region and work in the city. It is unfortunate that the Administration is not much bothered about the heritage value of this city while the world is protecting and preserving heritage and generating revenue by enhancing tourism. The value of the city of Le Corbusier can be judged from the fact that even old furniture of this city is being sold and bought in countries like the US and for skyhigh prices. Le Corusier said the seeds of the city were well sown and it was the duty of citizens to ensures that it grew well. Concerned citizens must oppose the Act with full vigour and strength. Article 51-A of the Constitution had cast the duty to value and preserve heritage on its citizens.

Ajay Jagga, Chandigarh

Equal chance

The Apartment Act should not just be implemented in Chandigarh alone, but also in neighbouring towns of Mohali and Panchkula. There are hundreds dreaming of a house in the city, but cannot afford it at existing rates. The Apartment Act can make it possible for many dreams to materialise. While allowing the Act, the Administration should not allow a concession to plots with big size, which is the indication. The job of providing for the necessary infrastructure should be left to the house owner and everyone should be given an equal chance.

I reside in a 60-square-foot house, which was allotted to my father, at Sector 15. the Act will help us three brothers to make separate residences on the same plot and think of a little additional construction because none of us is capable of buying property independently in the city or its neighbourhood. In case the government sincerely wants to solve the problem of residents, permission for allowing apartments is the only way out.

Krishan Kumar Kanojia

Not a bad idea

The decision of the Chandigarh Administration in bringing in the Apartment Act is not a bad idea. Such a system is fine for commercial activities and not for residential. In Chandigarh we find that owners of every commercial building have made numerous partitions and subletting those to many business establishments. This is because there is limited space in the city and the demand for more offices is soaring with each passing day. For domestic purposes, I doubt if such apartments will solve the problem of housing.

A new system of flats came into existence and the CHB started constructing multi-storeyed flats. The space occupied by one single independent house house has been divided into three or four multi-storeyed flats. With the passage of time, the population of the city has increased manifold and is still going up. To cope with the demand, the Administration plans to introduce the apartment system. With such a scheme, dwelling units will become pigeonholes. I doubt that such a system will succeed in a city like Chandigarh.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Think right

It can spoil the face of the city. The face of northern sectors can soon change, with the UT architect department finalising the Apartment Act, which is proposed to be introduced for the first phase of the city. On the one hand, we are making concerted efforts to preserve the environment of the city and on the other, the Administration is thinking of allowing the construction of different-design buildings. The Administration should start thinking in the right direction to get rid of this controversial Master Plan.

Top officers have to act to improve the situation of the city and manage the already limited resources. If the National Advisory Council, chaired by Sonia Gandhi, can take the views of the people in drafting Bills, why is the architect department more interested in secretive working for making a new Master Plan? The process needs to be discussed openly. There is no doubt that the growing population is affecting the decreasing resources of Chandigarh and adversely impacting its beauty.

This growth is having a direct impact on the environment cycle, the increasing traffic, the rising crime rate, the scarcity of fresh water, the limited place to live and the inadequate power supply. I will appreciate if the local Member of Parliament show us innovations in preservation of the unique city heritage, along with the new developments.

Sachin Sharma

Commendable act

The Chandigarh Administration’s move to finalise the Apartment Act is commendable. There is a dire need of the implementation of the Act as apartments in Chandigarh attract many owing to its beauty, culture and cleanliness. With the enforcement of the Act, the bifurcation of big plots in northern sectors for the construction of flats will be possible and many families will benefit. This will lead to the redistribution of the population in the city.

There has been much heat over the issue, but new plans have to come up keeping in view the changing needs of the city and its people. In the last five or six years, there has been a trend of transferring floors of a multi-storeyed house. The Act will make it more convenient and simple for the parties involved.

Shruti K Chawla, Chandigarh

Dump this plan

Chandigarh is not just another city. A pet project of Jawaharlal Nehru, conceptualised and planned by architect Le Corbusier and executed by Mons P Jenneret, it has evolved its distinct culture and spirit. A model of futuristic urban planning in North India, Chandigarh has metamorphosed the lifestyle of people. The Dakshin Marg was the southern boundary of the ‘real’ Chandigarh. The UT status of Chandigarh since 1966 has proved its bane as new towns such as Mohali and Panchkula, devoid of medical, educational and civic facilities, have mushroomed in its periphery.

Human greed is all pervasive. Through remote control via Delhi, local politicians, abetted by bureaucrats, have wreaked havoc on the city’s open spaces by creating markets for encroachers and gifting land to religious places and private schools. The floor-wise sale of residential houses and misuse as paying-guest accommodation has damaged the tranquility of the city. The builders’ lobby is eyeing spacious residential plots in the ‘real’ Chandigarh, especially north of the Madhya Marg, for division into apartments. If allowed, the plan will kill the soul and aesthecity of Chandigarh. The scheme should be dumped forever.

SS Beniwal

Need of the hour

The finalisation of the Apartment Act by the Chandigarh Administration is the need of the hour. The Act, which is likely to lead to the bifurcation of big plots for the construction of flats, is beneficial for those living in northern sectors. Whether the introduction of the Apartment Act by allowing change in land use keeps with the vision of the master planner is a contentious issue. The bifurcation of larger plots in northern sectors for construction of multiple flats is a welcome move.

The proposal should be given the green signal and allowed, provided the UT adopts a guarded approach and does not allow tampering of the character of heritage zones. There are several kanal houses in Sectors 1 to 15 that are occupied by old couples, whose children are settled outside. Many of these owners will be keen on change of land use to bifurcate plots so that those can be used by more than one family.

Vineet Kapoor, Panchkula

Open house question

Images showing the local police in poor light were splashed across the front pages of local dailies last week. A police vehicle hit another police van and no official was carrying a driving licence. Residents shooed away top police officials, including the IG and the SSP, because they were totally dissatisfied with police functioning. A youth from Ambala went around the city carrying the body of his mother, but the local police paid no heed to him. Two policemen were found taking bribe. The icing on the cake was the result of a survey, which showed that 67.5 per cent of residents were not satisfied with police functioning. Write your opinion on the issue of handling the public by the Chandigarh Police, with your experiences and recommendations for improvement, if any, to the openhouse@tribunemail.com.



CITCO ‘least bothered’ to recover dues, says Audit report
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Chandigarh Industrial Tourism and Development Corporation (CITCO) is ‘least bothered’ when it comes to recovering the outstanding dues from various debtors. The corporation, which has been allowing credit sales to various customers, has to recover about Rs 11.14 crore from its several debtors.

The ‘lapse’ was pointed out in the recent audit and inspection report for the financial year 2010-11 by the Principal Auditor General, Punjab and UT.

Out of the total outstanding recoveries, the UT Administration has to pay about Rs 2.82 crore whereas the recoverable dues from Punjab, Haryana and central government departments are Rs 18.19 lakh, Rs 14.16 lakh and Rs 3.75 lakh.

Pointing out the ‘non-seriousness’ of the corporation on the issue, the audit report clearly mentioned that earnest efforts were not made by the management to recover old outstanding debts. “Out of the total outstanding amount, Rs 55.89 lakh was outstanding for more than three years and the chances of recovery were remote,” stated the report.

In 2009-10, the recoverable amount was Rs 9.88 crore, which has increased to Rs 11.14 crore. The report further pointed out that outstanding amount to the tune of Rs 9.54 crore (about 85 per cent of the total amount) pertains to the head office only while the sums recoverable by Hotel Mountview, Hotel Shivalikview and Hotel Parkview are Rs 88.53 lakh, Rs 40.24 lakh and Rs 31.12 lakh, respectively.

The audit report also raised question on allowing credit to the parties by the CITCO when there was no credit policy of the corporation.

Objections were also raised on the outstanding amount of Rs 13.76 lakh as on March 31, 2011, against 10 shopkeepers at the commercial complex at Hotel Shivalikview. “As per allotment letter, the amount of the license fee was to be payable in advance on 7th of each month,” pointed out the report.

It was also stated that debts amounting to Rs 28.66 lakh were already involved in court cases in respect of Hotel Mountview and the latest position of recovery of the sum in question was not intimated to audit.



District notes
Smoke-free Mohali still a dream
Authorities yet to enforce Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act

Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

A file photo of a man puffing a cigarette.

Mohali, February 26
Despite tall claims of the Punjab government to formally declare Mohali as the first “Smoke Free” district in the state, no practical action seems to have been taken on the ground.

In the Mohali city alone, vendors are seen selling tobacco products along roads and in markets. Smoking at public places is common here. JP Singh, president of the Kalgidhar Sewak Jatha, one of the NGOs that has been spearheading a campaign against smoking, said the full compliance of the Cigarettes & Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, was yet to be implemented in Mohali.

While the district health authorities have issued around 150 challans in the past four months, the municipal council and police have not shown much eagerness in enforcing the Act. The police has not issued many challans.

The Act entails that selling of tobacco products will not be allowed at public places and those authorised to sell will have to put up display boards. But at most of the public places, vendors can be seen selling tobacco products that are displayed at their counters. At some of the shops, advertisements of the tobacco products are also displayed.

Mohali Civil Surgeon Usha Bansal said the Deputy Commissioner regarding the enforcement of the Act had called a meeting. Special teams of the municipal council officials and police were being constituted to enforce provisions of the Act.

Satish Chandra, principal secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, stated that in a study conducted by the PGI and an NGO, Generation Saviours Association, Mohali, the compliance rate of the Act in Mohali was between 88 per cent and 100 per cent.

The Civil Surgeon said a public awareness campaign would be launched to make people aware of the provisions of the Act.



Two fire incidents reported in city
One dead, goods worth lakhs gutted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
One person died while property worth lakhs destroyed in two seperate fire incidents reported in the city late night yesterday. The deceased has been identified as Harish, alias Chhotu (40), a resident of Sector 22.

According to officials at fire brigade, they got a call at 3:41am regarding the fire on first floor of house no 2145 at Sector 22-C. On reaching the spot, it was found that the entire building was engulfed in smoke. On searching, Chhotu was found burnt to death in his bed at the first floor. His bed, as well as the sofa set lying in the room, were burnt completely.

The reason of fire could not be ascertained.

Prince, who lives in the neighourhood, informed the fire brigade about the incident. Chhotu was living alone on the first floor of the house, he said.

A girl living on the top floor of building got up after feeling suffocated and raised the alarm, said Prince. After informing the fire brigade Prince, along with the girl, rushed towards the spot and switched off the main switch to cut of the power supply, apprehending that it could be a short circuit.

The second incident was reported at 4.16 am, from the office of a publishing house on the first floor of a showroom in Sector 22-B. Goods worth lakhs, including furniture, electrical appliances, book,s and publishing material were gutted in the incident. Two fire tenders and one water boozer took more than half-an- hour to control the fire.



Chandigarh scan
Scholarships granted

At least 14 eligible students were given scholarship worth Rs11 lakhs in various courses during “Admission counselling-cum-scholarship fair” organised by the Aryans Group of Colleges today in Sector 8-C, Chandigarh. The scholarship was given to the needy students on merit-cum-means basis. Chandrama Singh, registrar, Aryans Group, said that the selected students got scholarship in BTech (civil, mechanical, CSE, EEE and ECE), BTech (LEET), MBA, BBA, and BCA courses. He added that those students who could not afford to pay the tuition fees availed the benefit of the scholarship. The scholarship amount was between Rs 10,000 to Rs3,00,000 per student. Those students who could not come may contact on 89681-99888 for the scholarship.

Camp on diabetes

Dietary control plays a significant role in fighting diabetes. The diet of a diabetic should help in maintaining ideal body weight by providing adequate nutrition along with normal blood sugar levels. The diet plan for a diabetic is based on height, weight, age, sex, physical activity and nature of diabetes. Instead of 3 heavy meals, a diabetic should go for 4-5 small meals with intervals. Baked and fast food products should be replace by simple whole cooked cereals. This was suggested in the last day of a special workshop on ‘Diabetes Prevention and Control’ by Dr Srimant Sahu renowned diabetes expert from Global Hospital and Research Centre, Mount Abu, Rajasthan, at Rajyoga Bhawan, Sector33-A. The event was organised by the zonal office of Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya. Dr Srimant was in the city to participate in an international conference at PGI Chandigarh.

Mohali scan

Photography competition

Kshitiz Sharma from Mohali has been selected to exhibit his photography work at the highly competitive international juried exhibit "True Colors" presented by Digital Arts, California. Kshitiz' work was among the 310 pieces exhibited by 74 artists from 23 countries.

— Tribune Reporters



Every dog has its day
Tribune News Service

Women snuggle up to their pups during the dog show at Yadavindra Public School in Phase VII of Mohali on Sunday.
A man with his dog during the show.
A man with his dog during the show. Tribune photos: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, February 26
As many as 260 dogs of 50 different breeds participated in the annual dog show organised by the Mohali Kennel Club at the YPS ground here on Sunday. The proud owners of the contestants showcased their pedigree. Apart from the Kennel Club owners of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, dog owners from as far as Rajasthan and New Delhi had come to participate in the contest.

International judges were hired to adjudge dogs on the basis of their purity and obedience basis. Only the Kennel Club of India, Chennai, registered dogs were allowed to participate.

Many enthusiastic dog lovers had thronged the arena. The major crowd pullers were Great Dane and

St Bernard breeds. The pups of these breeds were of the highest price. Great Dane pups were priced at

Rs 1.5 lakh whereas St Bernard pups started from Rs 70,000 each.

Some of the other breeds that attracted the crowd were Pekinzese, Hounds, Terriers, Mastiffs, Boxers, German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniels, Bull Dogs, Bull Terriers, Bull Mastiffs and Alaskan Klee Kai.

The organisers said, “It was the pedigree of the dog which actually tells the purity of the animal. A dog's pedigree is the list of its ancestors.

In its usual sense, a pedigreed dog means a purebred dog, but with the recent popularity of designer mixes, pedigrees may now be kept for some crossbred or mixed breed dogs as well,” said Mahinderpal Singh, the main organiser and secretary of the Mohali Kennel Club.

Major General CS Bewli (retd), senior vice-president of the club, declared the results.

8 best dogs (breed wise)

  • Harcharan Singh’s German Shepherd
  • Rajesh Katyal’s Great Dane
  • Nirdosh Kumar’s Beagle
  • Ajay’s Boxer
  • Rai’s Labrador
  • Himanshu’s Pug
  • Gagan’s Bulldog
  • Aman and Komal’s Cane Corso
  • Best puppy - Harchand Singh’s German Shepherd
  • Best breed - Harchand Singh’s German Shepherd
  • Jagnandan was declared best child handler
  • Jyoti was declared best woman handler



Commuting on these roads a nightmare
Tribune News Service

An open manhole at Sector 6 in Panchkula.

The road separating Sector 4 and 5 in a bad shape at Panchkula. Tribune photos: Nitin Mittal

Panchkula, February 26
Commuting on potholed roads here is turning into a nightmare for motorists. City residents are finding it very difficult to drive on these roads, but the authorities have failed to repair the roads despite the former highlighting the problem a number of times.

A majority of roads in the city are in an utter state of neglect. The main road leading to Sectors 8, 9, 10 and the one running opposite these are full of potholes with uneven carpeting leading to a bumpy ride. Besides, the road separating Sectors 4 and 5 is also in a bad shape. The road near the roundabout of Sectors 10 and 11 is no better. The road going towards Industrial Area, Phase I, from Sector 15 is also clamouring for attention with deep potholes greeting commuters.

The internal roads of many sectors are also in a pitiable condition. The worst affected are Sectors 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and internal roads of Industrial Area, Phase I and II. The slip road towards Mansa Devi Complex from Sector 7 and way back towards Command Hospital, Sectors 6 and 7 are also full of broken patches. The deadlock between the Haryana Urban Development Authority and the municipal corporation is also responsible for the poor condition of roads. Both HUDA and MC wash off their hands when it comes to repairing roads claiming that it does not fall in their area.



Struggle of an artiste brought to the fore
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, February 26
Mumbai-based Echelons theatre ensemble supported by the department of information, pubic relations and cultural affairs staged a Hindi play “Ad Maker” at the Randhawa auditorium. With all ingredients of a tense human drama, the play depicted the anguish of an young, energetic and highly imaginative film director whose calibre and genius could spell magic but he sadly ended up making Ad films only. The play progressed to make healthy criticism of well established film making houses in the country which employ such means to ensure their own progeny to dominate the film world.

Enacted with brilliant aesthetic prowess by the most accomplished pair of Ashu Sharma portraying a film maker and Aditi Khanna that of a lecturer delineated the struggle of any talented artiste coming from a sleepy village and aspiring for eminence in film world.

Audiences were reminded of a highly emotional scene from film Satyam Shivam Sundram replicated by Ashu on stage to a pin drop silence. A meaningful play with immaculately executed crisp dialogues, light and sound effects and brilliant acting spells made the play a spectacle of dramatic excellence. Both Ashu Sharma and Aditi Khanna had embellished the play with education in drama and experience in Bollywood.



Car panes smashed with stick
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Windowpanes of a car belonging to Vinod Kumar were found smashed in Sector 49 last night. The car was parked outside the house no 2873 and at around 3.45 am a man masked in a monkey cap smashed the windowpanes with a golf stick, alleged Kumar. He immediately called the PCR van but the accused managed to flee.

It is the second such incident in the past one week. Five days back few miscreants set a jeep on fire in Sector 39.

Kumar said the incident was recorded in the CCTV camera installed outside the house and alleged that someone has done it deliberately.

“Many girls and boys stay as paying guests in our locality and they always create ruckus at night. They even threaten us if we dare to oppose. Same thing has happened with my colleague living in the same locality. We have complained to the police but no one bothers about it. We are fed up now and want some stricter measure,” said Vinod Kumar.

“The CCTV footage is not clear but we hope to nab the accused soon. The owner called the PCR in the morning and a case against an unknown person has been registered,” said Sohan Singh, investigative officer.



Man found dead on rail track
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
An unidentified man in his late thirties was found dead on the railway track near Kala Gram here this morning. A Government Railway Police official reached the spot and took the body in his possession.

The police said the victim might have been run over by a train during late-night hours on Saturday. Since there was no identity proof on the victim, it was not possible to identify him.

It could be an accident as the man might have tried to cross the track. It was possible that he received injuries in the legs in the process and died of excessive bleeding as no one came to his help due to darkness in the area.



Clean chit PU’s headache
The professor is accused in a recruitment scam at NIT, Jammu
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The issue of sanctioning permission to the CBI for the prosecution of chemical engineering professor RK Wanchoo is bound to create a storm in the forthcoming Syndicate on February 29 as the NIT, Jammu, in its latest communication to the PU, has once again given a clean clean chit to Wanchoo in the recruitment scam.

The Senate, held in December 2011, had decided to defer its decision on the sanction of prosecution against Wanchoo who was accused of tampering with the recommendations of a recruitment committee during his earlier posting in the National Institute of Technology, Jammu.

Wanchoo, who was posted as Director, National Institute Technology, was booked under Sections 120 B, 420, 268, 5(2), and 471 of the IPC. Wanchoo had then got a clean chit from the NIT, Jammu, and the PU had decided to scrutinise it before giving sanction.

While the NIT’s decision might be able to grant relief to Wanchoo, it is bound to trigger a major discussion in the house. “The authority where the alleged scam took place has given a clean chit to Wanchoo. So who are we to grant permission for prosecution? We shall fight against this prosecution,” said a syndicate member.

“Can we have two sets of rules here? On the one hand we went ahead and give sanction for the prosecution of executive engineer Padam saying if he is innocent, he can prove it to court, and on the other we are vouching for a faculty member. What happened in the Senate was against propriety where senator SK Sharma, who was part of this dubious recruitment, went ahead and lobbied for deferring the sanction. Being a part of the recruitment process, he should have abstained from the discussion as a matter of propriety. He virtually pleaded in the Senate. We should allow the investigating agency to do its job. If NIT’s version is true, then Wanchoo can use it to prove himself innocent in court. We can’t have two different opinions for non-teaching and teaching staff,” reacted another Syndic.



CAT decision opens up doors for aspiring teachers
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The full bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Chandigarh, has decided on the applications filed by three applicants and held that they are eligible to be considered for appointment to the post of teachers in the UT government schools.

With this judgement, a number of others who had applied for the post of 560 teachers and had similar kind of cases, are likely to approach the Chandigarh bench of CAT for relief.

The order, passed by the full bench comprising Justice SD Anand, and members Shyama Dogra and Khushi Ram, reads, “In the case of Aarti Rana and Simarjit Kaur, the applicants are declared eligible for consideration for appointment to the post of social studies teachers. In the case of Shalu Chawla, she is declared to have made the grade and becomes entitled for consideration to the relevant appointment.”

In the first case, Aarti Rana, presently working on a contractual basis as social studies teacher under Sarv Siksha Abihayan Society (SSAS) in a UT government school, had applied for the post of social studies teacher, but the department had declared her ineligible on the ground that she did not posses two relevant teaching subjects out of the seven prescribed at the BEd level.

In the second case, Simarjit Kaur was declared ineligible on the ground that she had not studied the two relevant subjects in the BEd course. Both the applicants had maintained that a number of teachers are still working with the same subject combinations in the UT schools.

In the third case, applicant Shalu Chawla had alleged that earlier the department had stated that the marks obtained by the candidates at the short-listing process would not be counted while deciding the merit, but later changed the process and included the marks for determining merit.



Kindergarten kids win hearts with their performance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Parents of kindergarten children were held spellbound as the kids belted out some truly memorable rhymes, nursery songs and numbers in English and Hindi at the Strawberry Fields Kindergartens’ week-long musical mornings.

For last many years, the event has been an annual feature. Students enacted their daily music lessons in the school's library which came alive with notes of the piano and the gentle humming of 3-5 year olds.

Students of play class, nursery and lower KG performed as their piano teacher Sahil Jain keyed in the cues. From meaningful numbers like "God's love is so wonderful" to informative ones such as "Walking like a robot" and from fun songs like the "Muffin Man" to popular rhymes like "Incy wincy spider", the half-hour session was neatly executed.

According to school coordinator Dina Singh, children relate effortlessly to music. Using nursery rhymes and carefully selected songs which have scope for some actions and enactment adds a zing to the daily music lessons, she said.



'School cinema' becomes part of school’s curriculum
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 26
In an attempt to enhance self-confidence and personality of students, The Gurukul, Sector 20, has included ‘school cinema’ in its curriculum.

The students are being shown 10-minute long documentary films, which not only carry social messages, but also offer solutions to various problems being faced by today’s generation and their parents as well.

Sanjay Thareja, director of the school, said these films were especially developed for children, parents and teachers. “With each documentary, we prepare special worksheets that help students express their thoughts and feelings about the instances being shown in the film,” said Thareja.

Harsimran Kaur, principal of the school, added that the response of the students was encouraging. “We know that cinema is an effective medium of learning. Keeping up with the newly introduced Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) programme, the school cinema entails formative assessments after each film and one summative assessment at the end of all films,” said Harsimran Kaur.



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