C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Special buses nowhere to be seen
CTU yet to streamline buses for schoolchildren, lack of coordination to blame 
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

No bus at the Sector-43 ISBT carries a board that suggests these are plying for schoolchildren.
No bus at the Sector-43 ISBT carries a board that suggests these are plying for schoolchildren. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Chandigarh, August 7
The much hyped move of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) to start special buses for schoolchildren after the tragic death of Anupama has failed to yield anything as the ground reality check on these buses today revealed it was a “free for all” on board these buses.

A Tribune team conducted a random survey of CTU buses that were to carry students to reach their schools in the morning. It was found that not even a single bus was being plied to carry schoolchildren exclusively.

The survey on ISBT towards the southern sectors revealed that none of the bus that left ISBT-43 local bus stand between 6.30 and 7.20 am had any board or sign which suggested that these had especially been earmarked for schoolchildren. A large number of passengers were seen pushing each other, including schoolchildren, to board buses that left the terminus.

None of the drivers or conductors of buses plying on this route had idea about special buses for schoolchildren.

They feigned ignorance when they were asked about these buses.

Some students said they had not seen any such bus ever since the announcement. It was a struggle to board a bus for certain students who did not seem to mind risking their lives while jumping on to the bus.

CTU’s last week circular, however, made available five special buses for students from the ISBT-43 depot from 6.40 am till 7.15 am for different routes towards southern sectors, the PGI and other locations. Besides 15 more buses were to be started from other depots on other routes. Officials of the CTU also ensured to put boards in front of these buses to help students identify them.

It seems that the announcement was a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction of Chandigarh Administration post Anupama’s death, ill prepared to handle the rush of general passengers as well as students in the morning hours.

Pankaj Kumar, a student of Government Model School, Sector 45, said he had not idea when these special buses for students started. Inspection counter of the bus stand was also unaware of any such directions.

Another student, Indu, waiting for a bus, said the local bus stand had business as usual for past many days. “I read in the newspaper that the CTU is introducing special buses for students. But neither school informed us, nor we saw any bus that is especially for us,” she said.

Other students on the ISBT had similar reactions and most of them were found catching up the same buses as were used by general passengers.

The situation was no different in others sectors, including Sectors 40, 41, 43, Maloya and other places where of students could be seen waiting for local buses.

Rohit Sharma, a school student waiting for the bus near the Sector 40 market, said there had been no improvement in the CTU bus service. Overloading is still on, he said 

Who is to blame

Lack of coordination among schools, the education department and the CTU is jeopardizing the whole exercise. Records collected by the DPI office reveal that more than 6,000 students travel in CTU buses. The CTU officials claim that the circular regarding the route plan of special buses has been sent to the DPI schools, many students said they did not have any information from schools about these buses. “We have no intimation about these buses, said Anmol, a student.



Mohali police still clueless 
Waits for viscera report 
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 7
Still clueless, the Mohali police is now waiting for viscera report to ascertain the reason behind the death of Anuradha Bali aka Fiza Mohammad.

The police has no idea if Fiza committed suicide or she was murdered. After autopsy by the medical board, the main organs have been sent to the medical laboratory at Kharar for chemical analysis.

Talking to mediapersons, Mohali SSP GS Bhullar said it was too early to say anything about her death. “We are waiting for the viscera report to know the circumstances leading to her death,” said Bhullar.

Indicating that prima facie it did not appear to be a murder, Bhullar said the autopsy report of Fiza had confirmed that there was no external injury mark on her body. “During examination of the spot, we did not find any unusual or sign of struggle, which indicates towards murder.

“The body was also highly decomposed. But we do not rule out anything at the moment,” said Bhullar.

Normally, it takes over a month for the viscera report to come, but being it being a high-profile case, it has been expected that the report would come at the earliest.

The police has also sent the packed ‘pakoras’ and liquor confiscated from the room in which Fiza was found dead to the laboratory for examination.

No case registered yet

As the police has not registered a case in this connection, SSP Bhullar said they would start quizzing all related persons under Section 174 of the CrPC. “We would call all persons under suspicion for questioning,” said Bhullar. The police has already started its work on these lines and has rounded up two persons from Panchkula last night.

Fiza’s last call

The police said Fiza had made her last phone call to Ajit Singh Hooda, advocate-cum-property dealer at about 10 pm on August 1. Hooda said Fiza, who was a friend, used to take advice from him on various issues. Talking to Chandigarh Tribune at the Sector 25 cremation ground, Ajit Singh Hooda said in her last call to him, Fiza had asked him to change her advocate in the cases with her neighbours at Mohali district and sessions court.

Both, Fiza and Hooda had a dinner together and Hooda had dropped her at her house at around 7 pm on August 1. However, Hooda claimed that he did not know anything about the bottle of liquor and cigarette packet, which were found from the spot.

Hated drinking, smoking

Fiza’s friends expressed surprise over finding liquor and cigarette from her room. “I know her for the past 20 years. She did not drink or smoke. She used to hate liquor and cigarette. I am surprised, rather shocked that a liquor bottle and a cigarette pack were found from the spot,” said Rohit Mahajan, an old friend of Fiza. Similarly, Anil Kaushik, Fiza’s friend and her advocate expressed similar sentiments, claiming that he had not seen her smoking or drinking for past 25 years.

Sleeping pills found

The police has recovered several medicines from Fiza’s room. “We found strips of sleeping pills and other pain killer medicines from her room,” said a police official.

When she died

A senior police official claimed that Fiza, most probably, had died during the intervening night of August 1 and 2 as the body was highly decomposed.

No internal, external injury

Dr PS Bhatti, who was on the panel of medical board, which had conducted Fiza’s autopsy, confirmed that no internal or external injury was found on Fiza’s body. “The viscera report would reveal the cause of the death,” said Dr Bhatti. 



Handful of people attend cremation 
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 7
Only a handful of persons, not more than 10 in number, including her two sisters, a brother-in-law and an uncle, were present at Fiza’s cremation at the Sector 25 cremation ground in Chandigarh today.

Fiza’s younger sisters Monica and Aditi were seen broke down in tears when her uncle Satpal lit the pyre as per Hindu rites. Fiza’s acquaintance Ajit Singh Hooda was among other five-six persons, mostly advocates, who came to the cremation ground to attend her cremation.

However, the ceremony witnessed a large number of mediapersons, who were there to cover the final journey of Fiza, once a media favourite.

Notably, Fiza had converted to Islam following her marriage to Haryana former deputy chief minister Chander Mohan in December 2008. But neither Chander Mohan, nor any other political leader turned up at the cremation ground.

Fiza’s uncle Satpal said they did not inform anyone about the cremation. “After taking the body from the hospital, we directly came at the cremation ground. Only those who were with us at that time came here,” he said.

Both her sisters refused to talk to the media. “Please don’t bother us at this moment,” said Monika.

Meanwhile, some Muslim youngsters, who were helping Fiza in her political activities, reached at the cremation ground. “We are here to pay our last respect. We were scheduled to meet on August 1 to Fiza ji. But her phone was switched off that day. Then we had planned to meet her in a day or two when the news of her death came,” said Babban Zaidi, Naseem Ahmed and Feroze Khan. 



Woman, son injured as tiles come off at PGI
Ritika Jha
Tribune News Service

All tiles gave way on a wall in the corridor of the orthopaedic ward in the PGI on Tuesday.
All tiles gave way on a wall in the corridor of the orthopaedic ward in the PGI on Tuesday. Photo by writer

Chandigarh, August 7
She came to the premier health institute for treatment of severe shoulder ache from Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh. Little did she know that she would end up getting admitted to the Advanced Trauma Centre of the PGI along with her five-year-old son with injuries on her head.

A 26-year-old woman, Pammi Devi, and her five-year-old son sustained injuries when some of the tiles from a sidewall fell over their heads as the two were waiting for their turn in the orthopaedic OPD.

The two had a harrowing time when they were rushed to the emergency ward and were later shifted to the Advanced Trauma Centre where they are currently admitted.

Her husband, Balak Ram, who runs a car repair shop in his native village, said: “We had planned to return home today itself. We had come from Mandi only because we were told that the PGI offers excellent services. If this is the level of the infrastructure, I wonder what would be the level of the services they offer. I will have to come here again after four-five days for treatment.”

The incident took place around 11 am today. Pammi and her son were sitting along the sidewall of a corridor at the PGI’s orthopaedic OPD when all 10 tiles on the block of the wall came crashing down over their head.

After conducting a CT Scan, the doctors declared Pammi out of danger. The boy, however, will be under observation till morning.

PGI officials claim to have offered free treatment to the mother and the son. PGI’s public relations officer Manju Wadwalkar said: “It was an accident. We are trying to extend all possible help to the woman and her child. In fact, we have provided them free treatment and also offered space in the VIP room for night stay since the child is still under observation.”

Balak Ram, however, said the CT Scan and other tests were conducted free of cost, he had to pay Rs 400 for his wife and son’s medication. 



Police identifies 26 troublemakers 
Will be asked to fill surety bonds
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
To prevent incidents of violence during the upcoming Panjab University student council elections, the city police has identified as many as 26 troublemakers associated with different student organisations.

The Chandigarh Police has prepared a list of 26 notorious students who are under suspicion of causing trouble during elections. They have been asked to fill surety bonds for Rs 10,000 under preventive measures before the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) on August 22.

Gurmukh Singh, SHO, Sector 11 police station, said the list of students booked for violence has been sent to the SDM (Central) recommending action against them under preventive measures. “The students will be appearing before the SDM on August 22 to fill surety bonds. Our motive is to conduct peaceful elections,” the SHO said.

The list includes students associated with the Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU), the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), the National Students Union of India (NSUI) and the Indian National Students Organisations (INSO).

SDM (Central) Mahavir Kaushik said the students will be issued a warning to maintain peace in the city.

Another list

PU Chief Security Officer (CSO) PK Dhawan had also sent a list of over 30 student leaders to the Chandigarh Police who are suspected of causing trouble during elections. A list of 67 cars owned by members of different student bodies has also been sent which would be e under police surveillance.

Incidents of violence

Aug 26, 2009: Rival groups PUSU and SOPU clashed over pasting posters during which three gunshots were fired and a third-year student of the UIET was injured

September 3, 2010: Clash at the Student Centre soon after the PUSU candidate won elections

September 1, 2011: A supporter of the Hindustan Student Association (HSA) was allegedly shot at from a close range by members of the rival party


Fiza's tryst with romance, betrayal
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 7
Otherwise largely unknown to the general public till 2008, Anuradha Bali, aka Fiza, daughter of a retired Army engineer, had tryst with romance, betrayal and power struggle during her life. Anxiety and emotional trauma did not leave her side till her death.

Ever since she got married and was then deserted by her politician husband Chander Mohan, she had remained in the media glare, as her life kept on oscillating between affection and hatred.

Fiza, who was staying alone at her house after the death of her parents, was the eldest of four sisters in the family.

A few weeks before her tragic end, she picked up a fight with children who were playing cricket near her house at Sector 48. Her neighbours said she had called up the police to intimidate the children. "It was not the first time she had quarrelled with children. It was a routine with her. On one occasion, the children had staged a protest," said Amrik Singh, a resident of the area.

Suffering emotional trauma after separation from Chander Mohan, she attempted suicide but was saved because of timely help. She would often indulge in arguments with the neighbours in the area in the past couple of months and was even arrested on one occasion. After her dispute with one of her neighbours she had to regularly appear before the district courts here.

In fact, the residents of Sector 48 had witnessed high drama as outsiders used to come to her support and fight against Chander Mohan's family.

Her nature did not make friends in her locality but her story attracted many filmmakers, who, she had claimed, wanted to make movies on her life. She had reportedly agreed to play a role in Kamaal Rashid Khan's "Deshdrohi 2". Fiza became a household name after she appeared in a reality show "Iss Jungle Se Mujhe Bachao".

Police takes CDs, jewellery in its possession

The Mohali police again visited Fiza’s house on Tuesday evening and took some CDs and gold and artificial jewellery in its possession. A senior police official said the purpose of the visit was to get some clues about Fiza's death. “We have taken possession of these articles. The CDs would be checked very soon,” said the official. The police is also in the process of getting video clippings from the CCTV cameras installed by a neighbour, who resides on the back of her residence. The neighbour was earlier involved in a scuffle with Fiza. “We would procure the video clippings of these cameras very soon”, said SSP Bhullar.

Uncle visits house at night

The police said Fiza's uncle Satpal reached her house at Sector 48 last night at around 1.30 am, claiming that he came there to check some important documents. "We have deputed two constables at the house after sealing it. I was reported that Fiza's uncle had come there at around 1.30 am and tried to enter the house. He was said to be under the influence of liquor. However, our officials asked him to go away and come with permission," said a senior official of the police.

Court hearing

If Fiza were alive, she would have to attend a court hearing today," said Anil Kaushik, her counsel. He said she to attend today a hearing in the case in which she had accused her estranged husband Chander Mohan of raping her. "She was in the process of getting the case cancelled and today was the date of hearing in connection with that case in the district courts at Mohali," said Kaushik



Police suspicious about activities at P'kula flat
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 7
In the Fiza death case, the investigators have found that something 'hanky panky' was going on in the flat at Sector 20, Panchkula, where Fiza had stayed for around 10 days with some advocate friend. According to the information, which the investigators have pieced together, there were a number of visitors, that too 'unknown couples' and other men, to the house daily. Some would even stay there. According to the guard of the society, he would see 'new faces' visiting the flat daily. Even during Fiza's stay there, a number of her male friends would visit her.

"Everyday, there were new faces. 'Unknown couples' were a daily routine. Some used to go after a few hours and some used to stay for some days," said a guard of the society.

"We have come to know that there were a number of visitors to this flat and even during Fiza's stay there, a number of advocate friends were in touch with her. We are finding something fishy here," said a police officer.

When this correspondent visited the flat on Tuesday morning, it was found that the flat was locked from outside despite the fact that there were persons inside. The flat was opened in the evening.

According to police sources, the phone calls of the "reporters", who were sharing the flat with Fiza, are also being tapped.

"We are keeping a tab on two reporters who were reportedly sharing the flat with her. They too had a lot of interaction with her advocate friends and are still in contact with them. We are browsing through their call details," said a police officer, who was there at the society to talk to the neighbours in connection with the case.

Personnel of the Mohali police and the Mohali Crime Investigating Agency (CIA) also visited the flat in Panchkula.



Fiza maintained erratic behaviour
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 7
During her stay in a flat at Sector 20, Panchkula, for about 10 days, Fiza maintained an erratic behaviour there too.

“She had parked the car on the wrong side in the society and when I requested her to park it at the right place, she suddenly flared up and was even ready to manhandle me. I had told the management of the society that I won't say anything to her otherwise I may land into trouble,” said the guard of the society.

He added, “Once an old person was sitting with me and Fiza was starting her car with her advocate friend sitting by her side. The old man just asked me who is this lady and Fiza shouted she would kill him if he ever looked at her and talked about her.”

The girl, Suman, who was sharing the flat with Fiza said Fiza used to say that the world was bad. “Before going to work in the morning, Fiza used to puncture most cars parked in the society, saying that everyone is bad in this world,” said Suman.

“Till the time Fiza had stayed here, even though I never used to interact with her, my car was also found punctured,” said a neighbour, requesting anonymity.



Scared, P’kula residents bank on CCTV cameras
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 7
Tanya Verma, a resident of Sector 7, Panchkula, spent Rs 2 lakh to get close circuit televisions (CCTV cameras) installed outside her house in order to keep a check on any criminal activity.

Vishal Bhushan, a retired official, too, spent Rs 1.5 lakh from his provident fund (PF money) to install the CCTV cameras inside and outside his house in the light of deteriorating law and order situation in Panchkula.

There have been cases where when a crime was committed, policemen took help of the CCTV cameras footage installed by residents at their houses.

They are termed the third eye that watches most of the lanes in the township, be it a market area or in the societies or entry and exit points of the sectors. A board is even installed on the security gate of a society, which reads, “Beware! This lane is monitored by CCTV cameras.”

It is not just bungalows but even societies in Sector 20 and Mansa Devi Complex have got CCTV cameras installed. Not only the CCTV cameras, special security equipment like alarm systems have also been installed in the houses.

“We can’t wait for an incident to happen. Rather than waiting for the authorities to take measures, we have installed the CCTV cameras at various lanes on our own. These cameras keep a record of people entering or leaving the sector, both during day and night,” said Tarsem Garg, a resident of Sector 7, Panchkua. Garg is also the president of Residents’ Welfare Association of Sector 7.

He further added, “These cameras are hi-tech and will keep surveillance on the entry and exit points of the sector.” The system of the outdoor surveillance by installing these cameras is being felt safer than the patrolling by policemen.

Rise in demand by 60 pc

The demand for CCTV cameras in Panchkula has increased by 60 per cent. “Earlier, a few customers used to buy CCTV cameras. But this time, as many as 40 persons from Panchkula came to buy the CCTV cameras. The range begins from Rs 2,500 and goes till Rs 3 lakh,” said Bhim Singh Sood, owner of a CCTV camera shop in Sector 15, Panchkula. More the features in the cameras, more will be the range. “The range depends on various features,” said Sachin Kalra, another shopkeeper in Sector 7. “I have got an alarm system fitted in my house. Even if I won’t be there and if someone will try to barge into my house, the call will automatically reach the security company, which will come to know about the attempt and a quick reaction team will reach the spot,” said Shikha Dua, a resident of Sector 6, Panchkula



MC decides to impose house tax

Chandigarh, August 7
The municipal corporation (MC) has finally decided to impose house tax in the city. Mayor Raj Bala Malik stated this during a coordination meeting of the MC and UT Administration chaired by the UT Adviser to Administrator KK Sharma today.

During the meeting, the Adviser asked about the status of imposition of house tax by the corporation. Reacting to which, the Mayor informed the Adviser that next week during the house tax committee meeting, the draft proposal for the same will be tabled and discussed, which will later be sent for approval to the general House.

The Mayor demanded the release of pending grant-in-aid of Rs 360 crore with the Adviser at the meeting. She requested that due to pending of grant with the administration, the corporation has to dispose their savings for imposition of development works.

The Adviser assured that the process of releasing the grant will speed up. The Mayor also raised the demand for a college in Mani Majra, for which land is available with the MC. She requested the Adviser to clear the proposal for the same. She also demanded to clear the long-pending master plan of pocket number 8 of Mani Majra and land for nine boosters in the city. — TNS



MC challans 60 auto-rickshaws 
Tribune News Service

Auto-rickshaw drivers protest in front of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation building in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Tuesday.
Auto-rickshaw drivers protest in front of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation building in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, August 7
In a special drive, the enforcement wing of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) today removed and lifted three-wheelers parked illegally on the pavement and at the public place in Sector 22, opposite Sector 17 bus stand, and Sector 35 near the Kisan Bhawan.

During the drive, the municipal corporation team issued a total of 60 challans. The drive was carried under the directions of Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach and supervision of Kashmira Singh, superintendent, enforcement wing. Later, auto-rickshaw drivers protested in front of the MC building against the enforcement wing.



EWS houses: Allotment rules violated

Chandigarh, August 7
More than 70 per cent of the houses belonging to the economically weaker sections (EWS) of society across the city are either sold out or rented in violation of the allotment rules. Though the estate office is still compiling the information, sources reveal that figure was in hundreds in every sector.

In a majority of the dwelling units, there were major violations of the building bylaws. Different teams constituted by the assistant estate officer had visited the houses in Sectors 26, 29, 30, 35 and 38, Dhanas, Maloya, Khuda Lahora. The probe has revealed large-scale violation by the original allottees of EWS houses.

The sources revealed that a number of vacant houses had been illegally occupied. Such violations have been noticed in Madrasi Colony in Sector 38, Ram Darbar and Bapu Dham Colony. — TNS



Fill 200 posts of lecturer, demands teachers’ union
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
An 11-member delegation of the government teachers' union met DPI (Schools) Upkar Singh to deliberate on long-pending demands of the teachers.

The delegation submitted a memorandum demanding filling of about 200 posts of lecturer through the promotion of teachers belonging to the language and master cadres. The delegation also demanded that the headmasters in middle schools be appointed on seniority basis under the SSA society, and promotion to the post of master/mistress from JBT cadre.

The delegation further demanded the pay of the teachers under the UT cadre be fixed as per a Punjab government circular that was released on April 4 last year. The delegation pointed out that due to the non-implementation of the said circular, the teachers had not received two to three increments.



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