C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UCO bank floor gutted in Sec 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Electronic equipment worth lakhs of rupees and important records of two wings of the UCO bank were destroyed in a major fire which gutted the top floor of the circle office located in the Bank Square, Sector 17, here this morning.

Manual and computerised records were destroyed in the fire, which was first noticed by the area PCR at around 7:30 am. Six fire-tenders were pressed into service, which battled for about two hours to douse the flames. Though the exact reason behind the fire could not be immediately ascertained, a short-circuit was attributed as the possible reason behind the incident by fire officials.

A visit to the site presented a ghastly scene, with a large number of burnt computers, air-conditioners, fans and manual records destroyed in the fire. Further tragedy was averted as the fire did not reach the adjoining building, where there was a bunch of loose electricity wires.

The top floor of the circle office housed the offices of the information technology, Haryana zonal officer, Chandigarh circle, whose administrative office record was totally destroyed. Fire officials revealed that there was loose electricity wiring in the building.

Station Fire Officer ML Sharma, who led the fire-fighting operation, said the branch had out-dated fire extinguishers and even the hydrant pipeline connected to the tanks did not have water in it. Due to this, at the time of fire-fighting operation, the fire team failed to get any support of water supply. This is despite the fact that the fire department had issued a stern warning to the bank last year also while inspecting it.

A bank official said the work in the branch suffered today as there was no electricity supply till afternoon due to the fire on the top floor.



Sensing police ‘inefficiency’, youths trace their stolen car
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
The Chandigarh Police needs to take lessons of efficiency from a group of seven spirited youths who donned the role of detectives to track down the stolen car of their friend "as probe by the police moved at a snail’s pace".

In an action-packed sequence of events, the youths, led by car owner Sukhjeet, tracked down his black Honda City within four days of the vehicle being lifted from outside a house in Sector 16. By the time the car was ultimately tracked down by the youths in Sector 28, the police had just written the first information report (FIR).

Apparently "sensing the inefficiency" of the police, the youths started their probe at the Sector 29 control room of the traffic police by viewing the CCTV footage captured at different light-points. “Like any detective, we were trying to track down the movement of the vehicle after it was stolen,” said Sukhjeet.

The mission took the youths to various parking lots to probe the spots where night burglaries had taken place after June 4. They also took to night patrolling in the suspected areas.

On June 4, Sukhjeet Singh, a Sector 16 (D), was shocked to find his car missing from in front of his house barely a few hours after it was parked. Not taking things for granted, Sukhjeet, after reporting the matter to the police, decided to start investigation with the help of his friends.

“We came to know the day my vehicle got stolen that some thefts had been committed in the Sector 16 booth market. I started inquiring and met the chowkidar, who had scene a black car in the area where the thefts took place, which made me think that the persons involved in the crimes must be local thieves,” Sukhjeet said.

During investigation, Sukhjeet also managed to see the CCTV footage of the cameras at light-points, which revealed that around 3.17 am on June 4, the vehicle crossed the Sector 16-17 light-point and moved towards Matka Chowk.

Further investigation revealed that the car went towards Mani Majra from the Transport light-point. “We came to know that the car would have been hidden somewhere near Mani Majra or nearby areas,” said Sukhjeet, adding that two teams of friends were constituted, which started searching the vehicle in that particular area and even motor markets in various parts of the city.

A few days later, theft incidents in Sector 27 booth market were reported and the desperate youngsters even went to that area also for investigation in the hope that somebody would reveal that a black car was scene in the area at the time of the incident to establish their vehicle might be used in thefts. “From our few days of investigation, we came to know that the best time to catch thieves was between 1 am to 4.30 am through night patrolling, as that was the time most of the thefts took place in the city,” Sukhjeet said.

On June 8, the optimistic youngsters decided to move in the area of Sectors 26-28 and Mani Majra. Luckily soon after they started driving across the area, the car was found abandoned near Himachal Bhawan in Sector 28. “We don’t know whether the thieves had parked the car there and went for thefts or they just left it there, but we immediately called the police control room and recovered the vehicle,” Sukhjeet said.

The incident has raised doubts over the functioning of the police, as the vehicle was in the city all these days but the Chandigarh police couldn’t trace it. 



Short-circuit causes fire at paint factory in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 16
A fire broke out at the factory of a major paint company in the local Industrial Focal Point in the early hours of today. There was no loss of life or injuries to workers.
A management spokesperson said except for the storage room, the rest of the factory building was not damaged. Mediapersons were not allowed to visit the scene of the fire.

There was tension and panic in the area when the fire broke out shortly after 2 am in one of the storage rooms of Akzo Nobel India Ltd (earlier known as ICI India Ltd) in the Phase 8B Industrial Area. Security staff members noticed the blaze and informed the Fire Brigade.

Thick black smoke could be seen rising from the premises and there was a feeling of suffocation in the area, witnesses said.

Three fire engines from Mohali , two from Chandigarh and one from Dera Bassi reached the scene. It took more than two hours to bring the flames under control.

Fire Brigade sources said that apart from raw materials, there was waste wood and dry grass in the affected area of the factory. Local Fire Brigade sources ruled out a short-circuit as the cause of the fire. The management, however, said that the reason for the fire was being ascertained.

Humsa Dhir, country communications manager, India and South Asia, said the fire broke out at 2.10 am. It was contained by the efforts of the Punjab and Chandigarh fire services and the factory staff. There were no explosive materials kept on the factory premises. “What is stored on the factory premises are raw materials used in paint manufacturing, some of which are inflammable…We take our responsibility towards safety very seriously. In the last 15 years, since the factory’s inception, we have not had any such incident,” Dhir added.



Vigilance nabs two former councillors of Pinjore MC
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 16
The Haryana Vigilance Bureau has arrested two former councillors of the Pinjore Municipal corporation in connection with Rs 1.17- crore Pinjore municipal scam.
The arrested councillors include former vice- president Amar Chand Dhiman and woman councillor Maya Devi. With these arrests, the total number of arrested persons in the scam has gone up to six.

The vigilance department had filed a chargesheet against 18 persons in the scam, including former Pinjore MC president Kuldeep Singh. The rest of the accused are still at large.

The Vigilance Bureau had in February issued warrants against the former Pinjore MC president Kuldeep Singh, secretary Kashmiri Lal Bansal, the MC clerk Hargu Lal and the contractor Charanjit Singh. The bureau had also issued notices to five councillors, Sanjeev Kumar, Jagmohan Dhiman, Amarchand, Avinash Kaur and Chinder Pal, to join investigation who was recently granted interim bail by the Panchkula district court.

The accused had allegedly siphoned off the money in the name of manufacturing iron covers for drains, clearing debris, cleaning of underground septic tanks and putting up traffic light points.

The Pinjore MC had given the contract of removing debris after demolishing shops in Pinjore to Mohan Lal in 2008-2009 allegedly without proper procedure on false quotations. A total of Rs 9.49 lakh was embezzled without any work, the vigilance report said, adding that the shopkeepers themselves had to remove the debris.

In the second case, instead of Rs 10,000, a contract of Rs 6.92 lakh was awarded to Lal without any tender or advertisement, for the cleaning of five safety tanks. Also no tender was called for awarding contract for iron sieve grills over the drains in the Pinjore MC wards in 2008-09. 


MC soft on Fire safety
Water pipe to douse fire found defunct
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
It seems that the municipal corporation fire and emergency department does not have any practice, of follow up action, against the violators after serving them notices for not installing fire safety norms in their buildings.

In the month of October last year, notices were served to six banks located at Bank Square to install the fire safety measures on their premises within a one month failing which stringent action had to be initiated against them. But the ground the reality is far different.

Classic example for which is that in October, last year, the fire department had served a notice to the UCO bank that the pipeline, which had been installed to facilitate pressure in the water utilised for dousing fire was not working. The officials revealed that when today’s fire incident occurred in the top floor of the building of the bank, the fire team did not get any water supply support from the hydrant pipeline installed on the premises, as there is no water available in the overhead tank.

According to the fire norms, each building should be equipped with fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, sprinklers in basement and water tank on the roof of the building for the emergency water supply during major fire incident and operation of the pressure pumps. Notably, the banks are required to carry out regular inspections on the working of fire safety equipments.

While the ground reality is fire extinguishers, which were installed in the building had expiry date of November last. Crucial spare parts were also missing in the fire equipments installed in the bank. The water tank on the roof did not have water due to which the fire team could not get the support during operation.

When contacted station fire officer ML Sharma, he said that an inspection will be conducted in the bank on Monday and a detailed report will be prepared about the loop holes of fire safety measures.



Fire breaks out in house
Our Correspondent

A resident looks at the remains after a fire broke out in a house at Phase 9 in Mohali on Saturday.
A resident looks at the remains after a fire broke out in a house at Phase 9 in Mohali on Saturday. Tribune photo: parvesh chauhan

Mohali, June 16
A fire broke in a house on second floor at Phase IX here today. Many household goods and other items were damaged. Sources said that nobody was present in the house at the time of incident.

According to the sources, all the occupants of the house had gone to Himachal Pradesh. The owner of the house had rented the accommodation and lives in Chandigarh.

Fire brigade personnel, who reached the scene, said the fire was probably caused by incense that had been lit in the house.



Training Command chief visits High Grounds
Tribune News Service

Air Marshal Rajinder Singh AOC-in -Training Command meets the staff at Air Force Station High Ground in Chandigarh on Saturday.
Air Marshal Rajinder Singh AOC-in -Training Command meets the staff at Air Force Station High Ground in Chandigarh on Saturday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, June 16
Air Marshal Rajinder Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command, arrived at Air Force Station, High Grounds, near here on an inspection visit today.
He was briefed by Group Capt Sanjeev Dargar, Station Commander, High Grounds on various issues.

The Air Marshal visited the MiG-27 and MiG-29 training complexes and appreciated the quantum of hard work put in by the station personnel in training the air warriors and making them experts in handling the technical nuances of the MiG-27 and MiG-29 aircraft. He also interacted with station personnel.

Air Marshal Rajinder Singh was commissioned in the IAF in December 1974 and has over 3,100 flying hours on Hunter, Marut, all variants of the the MiG aircraft and trainer Kiran.

A qualified flying Instructor, he has commanded a frontline fighter squadron and served as Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Palam, and Air Attaché at the Embassy of India, Egypt where he was looking after five countries namely Cyprus, Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti.



MC Commissioner visits ward No 13
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
To take note of the public grievances of ward number 13, the MC Commissioner along with chief engineer today visited the area. Pointing out the problems the residents revealed that there was no green belt at Sectors 49, 50 and 51 even though open spaces were available in all these sectors. The residents complained that the sewerage line in Sector 51 should be installed and the road gullies of the ward should get cleared before the monsoon season.

Area councillor, Harphool Chand Kalyan, informed the MC Commissioner V P Singh that at Sector 51 there is no community center so the land should be earmarked in the area for the benefit of the residents. He also took up the matter of primary school at Sector 49, 50 and 51 with the officials of the corporation.

Residents complained that there was no public dispensary in the ward due to which the residents have to go far away for routine health check-up or depend on the private doctors. Demanding sump house and booster for the ward residents said that this would help in improving the water supply pressure in the societies of the area.



Fall in liquor lifting by contractors
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
The UT excise department’s decision to fix quota, both for the IMFL and country liquor, is telling on the health of the stakeholders in the trade.

Over the last two years, the lifting of liquor quota by the contractors has gone down by 30 per cent. Under the current excise policy and the policy for 2011-2012, the quota for country liquor was 27 lakh proof litre (PL) and for the IMFL it was 2 crore PL.

But towards the fag end of the last excise policy, the department had to literally struggle to recover the pending dues of over Rs 4 crore in form of duty in lieu of the fixed quota from the contractors. Since many of the contractors were unable to exhaust the quota, they had problem in depositing the excise duty. To recover the loss, the contractor even sold the stocks at up to 50 per cent discounted prices.

Sources in the department said against the 2.58 Bulk Litres of IMFL lifted in 2010-2011, 2.22 Proof Litres of IMFL was lifted in 2011-2012. Similarly, against 64 Bulk litres of country liquor lifted in 2010-2011, 52 Bulk litres of liquor was lifted in 2011-2012.

Interestingly, the lifting of beer also saw a downward trend as 64 lakh litres of beer was lifted in 2020-2011 against 52 lakh litres of beer lifted in 2011-2012.

In the current financial year, the quota lifting is likely to be further increased the licence fee and excise duty. In the new policy, the minimum retail price of Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) and country liquor has been increased by 40 per cent to 50 per cent. In case of IMFL, the excise duty and the assessment fee has been increased up to Rs 60 per proof litre (PL). 



ISB opens campus at Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 16
The town has at last become home to the second campus of the prestigious Indian School of Business (ISB). The institute has been ranked consistently among the world's best schools according to the Global MBA rankings of Financial Times, London.

Ajit Rangnekar, Dean of the ISB, told newspersons here on Thursday that the first academic session on the campus had been under way since April with 197 students enrolled in the flagship Post Graduate Programme in Management (PGP). Although located at Hyderabad and Mohali, the school would be functioning as one entity with a seamless integration across both the campuses.

He further said that the ISB's faculty model brought together a strong team of resident faculty and international faculty from leading B-schools around the world.

The ISB also plays host to faculties from renowned schools such as Wharton, Kellogg, London Business School, Cornell, Duke, and UCLA, among others.



Unscheduled cuts continue, say residents

Chandigarh, June 16
After giving sleepless nights to residents due to long unscheduled power cuts, the UT Administration had announced timings of scheduled power cuts so that residents can fix their daily schedule.

But three days later, residents from various areas, including Sectors 20, 35 and 46, have started complaining that the UT Administration is not maintaining the power cut schedule, and willingly extending the power cut timings. —TNS



221 donate blood at camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
A total of 221 people donated blood at a camp organised by the Thalassaemic Children Welfare Association (TCWA) at the PGI here today.
The 125th blood donation camp was conducted by a team of doctors and technicians headed by Dr Neelam Marwaha, Head, Department of Blood Transfusion, and member of Medical Advisory Board of the Association.

The donors arrived from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.



GMSSS-16, 35 most preferred
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Going by the 9,000 applications submitted so far, GMSSS-Sector 16 and GMSSS-Sector 35 have emerged as the top choice for class XI admission seekers.

Irrespective of their area of stay, over 70 per cent of applicants have opted for these two schools as their first preference. "With almost everybody queueing up for the two schools, we expect it to be a tough fight this time. The first cut off for the two schools is expected to be CGPA 10 or 9.8. It is surprising that despite repeated instructions students staying as far as Baltana have opted for GMSSS-Sector 16. Last year many had gone for GMSSS-Sector 37, but it is not the same this year," said a senior UT education department official.

The students seeking admission to class XI have to fill the name of schools and the streams in order of their preference on basis of which they will be allotted seats.

Other than Sector 16 and 35, the other schools which are high in preference lists are Manimajra, Sector 33, and Sector 10. For girls seeking admissions to all-girls schools, Sector 18 is first choice.

"Students this time are going by the results of schools and as Sector 16, 35 and 33 have achieved good results they are obviously the preferred lot. The Sector 37 model school, though being rated among the top three schools in last few yeas, has not had too many admission seekers so far. The result here, although good, has dipped as compared to last year," added the official.



3,000 appear for OCET
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Around 3,000 students appeared in the Other Common Entrance Test (OCET) exam today. While exams for several courses were held today, the entrance for the remaining courses will be held on Sunday.

The OCET is conducted for various courses, including LLB, mass communication, MBE, and MCom. The exam would continue for the next few days. Over 13,000 students have applied for different courses under the OCET.

For the first time, this year the university has introduced online applications and roll numbers. Panjab University is all set to introduce online availability of Detailed Mark Certificate (DMC) for these entrance tests. Also, the Optical Mark Reading (OMR) scanning of entrance test applications will be replaced with online data capture.



PU gets Rs 10 crore grant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
In a major breakthrough, Panjab University has managed to get the second instalment of Rs 10 crore from the Department of Science and Technology under PURSE (Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence) programme.

The university had got the first instalment of Rs 10 crore under programme in 2009 and utilised the amount. For claiming the second instalment of the grant, PU, along with around 20 other universities, had made a presentation on the progress of the university.

The presentation was given by Vice Chancellor RC Sobti at New Delhi in the first week of May.

PU officials said that this grant shall be used for strengthening the infrastructural facilities in the science departments. “Research activities and output has increased considerably in the university since the implementation of the PURSE programme,” PU officials stated.



PU research to get boost
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 16
Giving a boost to research facilities in the Panjab University, Chandigarh, an expert committee of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, has recommended setting up of an accelerator in the university.

The recommendation came after a wait of five years. The highly sophisticated research equipment costing Rs 90 crore will be set up in the university's south campus in Sector 25.

PU officials said the facility will not only provide a boost to advanced research in the departments of biological and physical sciences on the campus, but it will also attract scientists from all over the country.

“This project will give a fillip to research, especially in nuclear physics, bio-medical and medical sciences. It will transform the centre into a hub of research work,”€¯ said a science teacher in PU.

With this grant, a long pending demand of the university has been accepted. It has also affirmed its stature as an institute par excellence in the field of science.

The accelerator would enable country's scientists to carry out front-ranking basic research in a number of areas like atomic physics; cluster physics; materials modification and characterisation-ion beam analytical techniques; nuclear astrophysics and nuclear physics; neutron generation; accelerator mass spectrometry; testing of nuclear and particle detectors; and life science studies.



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