C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


SP (vigilance), 4 others booked
Had arrested Excise and Taxation Officer for taking bribe, who later committed suicide
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, August 18
A Superintendent of Police of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau and four others have been booked in connection with the suicide of an Excise and Taxation Officer (ETO). The ETO had committed suicide on April 11 last year. SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said today that a case was registered on the directions of the state government.

DSP Rajinder Singh Sohal said that those booked were Amandeep Kaur (SP), Harminder Singh, Havildar, Rajinder Singh, Rajiv Sood and Paramjit Singh. A case was registered against Ranjeet Singh under Sections 7/ 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and Section 120-B of the IPC.

Following the directions of the state government, an inquiry was conducted into the case by Mansavi Kumar, IAS, and Harpreet Singh Sidhu, IPS.

A special investigating team headed by SP (D) Balwinder Singh, DSP Rajinder Singh Sohal, and SHO Gurdeep Singh has now been set up to probe the matter further.

Ranjeet Singh, ETO, was arrested by a vigilance team headed by Amandeep Kaur on March 29 last year after he was allegedly caught red-handed while taking a bribe to release the goods of a trader. He was released on bail by a court on April 20. Three days later, he allegedly committed suicide by consuming celphos tablets at his Phase II residence. He was taken to the PGI, Chandigarh, where he died.

Manjeet Kaur, wife of the deceased, had filed a petition in the court in which she had stated that her husband was implicated in a false case which compelled him to commit suicide.

The death of the ETO had led to a widespread resentment among his colleagues who accused the Vigilance Bureau of implicating him in a false case. They had

alleged that the ETO was trapped, humiliated and bashed up by the Vigilance Bureau officials. Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal, president of the Excise and Taxation Officers’ Association, had at that time demanded that an inquiry be conducted into the incident by an IAS officer who had worked with the excise department. He had said “Those behind his death should be booked for abetment to suicide”. 



Injured girl still unconscious
Was hit by a CTU bus at the Sector-43 roundabout on Friday
Ritika Jha
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 18
Pooja (16), who sustained grievous injuries on her head and arm after being hit by a CTU bus on Friday, continues to battle for life lying unconscious for over 24 hours at the PGI Advanced Trauma Centre.

While the skin grafting surgery performed on Pooja’s left arm today brought some respite to her parents amid tremendous stress and agony, they are keen to avail the benefit of the PGI’s poor patient fund.

Unable to meet the expenses for two separate surgeries, Pooja’s father, Baijnath, a migrant labourer, has also been trying to utilise his BPL card to ensure that shortage of money does not delay her treatment.

“The doctors told us that Pooja will have to undergo two separate surgeries on the head and the arm. But, we have already exhausted our savings,” said Baijnath with tears in his eyes.

“There is no source of income as I am not going to work. Pooja’s school teacher had yesterday suggested me to request the doctors to help me arrange the fund,” Baijnath added.

Praying for her speedy recovery, Pooja?s younger sister and two brothers have been sitting outside the Truama centre since Friday evening.

“Pooja will be kept under observation for another few hours, before being sent for neuro-surgery,” said a PGI official.

Pooja, a resident of Sector 52, was heading for school on her bicycle on Friday morning when she was hit by a CTU bus. The skin of left arm had come-off and she sustained injuries on her head.

Being highly fond of studying, Pooja had fought with her mother to go to school on Friday. Her mother had asked her to stay back for some household work.

“I wish I would have stopped her” said her mother.



CTU's low-floor buses ‘jinxed’ 

Chandigarh: The low-floor buses introduced by the CTU have again come under the scanner following yesterday's accident. A school student was critically injured and is battling for life in the PGI.

The city has more than 200 AC and non-AC low-floor buses introduced under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) scheme.

But in the past one year, these buses have met with several accidents on city roads.

Sources said more than 100 such accidents had been reported this year, including the infamous accident of Anupama, whose leg was crushed under the rear wheel of a low-floor CTU bus in July.

While length of the buses was reported to be one of the main problems, these buses also fail to sound an alarm as rear engines of these buses do not create noise unlike front engine buses.

Pooja's accident occurrednear the Sector 43 roundabout. Bhupinder Singh, president of the CTU Workers Union, said there were technical hitches that needed to be addressed. Entry gate should be behind the rear wheels.

CTU director TPS Phoolka said accidents involving CTU buses need to be investigated and inquired into, but it should not be linked with the "presumed" technical faults of low-floor buses. These buses have been plying on Delhi and Bangalore roads for the past many years and no major complaint has been received so far. As compared to those cities, Chandigarh has bigger roads. 



Former MLA’s wife robbed of gold jewellery
Tribune News Service

Charanjeet Kaur narrates the incident.
Charanjeet Kaur narrates the incident. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, August 18
In a broad daylight robbery, two armed youths took away valuables from the wife of an ex-MLA of Rajpura (Punjab) after holding her hostage at her house in Sector 28 this morning.

Former MLA Prof Balwant Singh, while speaking to The Tribune said that around 11 am two youths arrived at his house when his wife was alone and asked her to open the door claiming that they had come to repair the electricity box. “My wife refused to open the door stating that there was no problem with the electricity box,following which the two youths said that they had come to repair the fridge and were sent by her husband only”, Singh said.

Narrating the tragic incident Singh added that his wife got suspicious and asked both accused to wait outside till the time her husband arrived. “The accused then asked for water to drink and as soon my wife opened the door both of them entered the house and pulled out a knife.

Singh’s wife Charanjeet Kaur who was in a state of shock after the incident said that she was asked to hand over gold ornaments she was wearing. “One of the accused kept a knife on my neck and threatened to kill me, they then snatched two gold bangles and two gold tops from me”, Kaur said.

The accused then locked Kaur in the kitchen and fled from the scene.

Police officials stated that the accused are suspected to be residents of Rajpura as they had claimed that Singh had sent them from Rajpura. Meanwhile, a case under Sections 356, 380, 452, 34 IPC has been registered.

Police arrives late

Prof Balwant Singh alleged that he kept on calling up at the control room number, still the police reached late and that too after he sought SP (Operations) RS Ghuman intervention.



Erring driver absconding
Was seen being driven to Panchkula general hospital in a PCR vehicle
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 18
The SHO’s driver, Nachhatar Singh, who had reportedly killed an auto driver and injured three others in a road accident near Sector 25, is at large.
Though after the accident, the driver was seen being driven to the Sector 6 General Hospital in a PCR vehicle, the Panchkula police today however claimed that he was not traceable. Sources said the police was trying to shield the erring driver till the things settled down.

The driver of the SHO of the Sector 5 police station had rammed the police vehicle into an auto resulting in the fatal accident.

Interestingly, the medical test which is required to be conducted with in a period of 24 hours of the accident to check whether the driver is drunk or not was not done.

When confronted, Narender Rana, the SHO, Chandimandir, said the driver was brought to the hospital by the police as he had suffered minor injuries. “At that time, the PCR was not aware that he was the erring driver and he escaped”, said the SHO.

The SHO, Nupur Bishnoi, posted at Sector 5 police station, was not in the car when the accident took place.

The victims, Gurmeet (driver), Sandeep, his father Ravinder and mother Bholly were rushed to General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, where Gurmeet was declared brought dead and the others were referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. All the injured and deceased are residents of Ramgarh.

A case of negligent driving has been registered against him. We are looking for him,” said the SHO of the Chandimandir police station.


When city’s beauty almost made it
Shreyasi Thakur/TNS

Chandigarh, August 18
For Vanya Mishra, life has just begun, something from a dream sequence where lives Priyanka Chopra in the corner of her heart. The year was 2000 when ‘Piggy Chopps’ made it to the Miss World at the Millennium Dome in London. Then just 8, Vanya let it be known to her family at their Sector 19 residence that she would one day get home the crown.

So, when this former PEC student, failed to get the Miss World title in China today, there was a sudden disbelief at her Sector 19 residence. Yet the pride is intact. “She may not have won the prestigious title. But she has made the city proud by figuring in the Top 7 among 116 contestants,” said her mother Ved Mishra.

Watching the pageant live on TV were Vanya’s three best friends --- Pravleen Kaur, Snehdeep Bains and Atul Pubby – besides her family members. “Her flawless performance from the beginning raised our hopes, and her being in the top seven added to our optimism. When she didn’t make it to the top three, we were really upset,” says Snehdeep Bains.

Another friend, Harshit, who was her classmate in K-B DAV, Sector 7, fondly recalls Vanya’s confidence. “I knew one day Vanya had to be a beauty queen. The fact that she outdid so many contestants is a big achievement in itself.”

Vanya bagged two of the six titles – ‘Miss Social Media’ and ‘Beauty with a Purpose’. Her dance to the track ‘Dil cheez kya hai’ from Umrao Jaan in the semi-finals gave her a berth among the top seven finalists.

What impressed everyone the most was her answer to the question in the last round: Why does she deserve to be the next Miss World? Vanya answered: “I believe that the next Miss World should be a woman with a kind heart and humility, who has simple values in a complex world and somebody who, wherever she goes, makes people feel that she is their own.”

The winners of Miss World 2012 are: Miss China, 1st runner-up is Miss Wales and the 2nd runner-up is Miss Australia.



Panel puts inquiry on hold, seeks legal opinion
Ritika Jha
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 18
Anupama’s parents’ decision to move the Consumer Court against the PGI, has cast its shadow on the external probe committee’s inquiry. The committee today put on hold the inquiry awaiting legal opinion on the matter.

While the committee was, today, supposed to question the doctors and other paramedical staff, who were on duty on the day when the 17-year-old girl Anupama died, the entire process has been withheld.

In a three-hour meeting held today, the committee decided, “not to pursue the inquiry” until a legal opinion was obtained from the PGI Director Dr YK Chawla.

Anupama, a student of Government Model School, Sector 18, died on July 25, after she was brought to the PGI on July 17 when her leg was crushed under the rear tyre of a CTU bus on her way back to school.

Her parents had, on August 14, moved the UT Consumer Court alleging negligence on the part of PGI in administering timely treatment to Anupama and also the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU).

Dr SS Gill, chairman of the external probe committee, and also Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences, Faridkot, said, “While we had earlier decided to record the statements of all people involved in the case, including the doctors in today’s meeting, we decided to first review the fact that the matter was in the court now. We are awaiting a legal opinion, and we hope to resume the inquiry in a week’s time.”

The committee members have met only twice in the past four weeks, ever since it was constituted on July 26.

Two panel members, Dr MC Mishra, head of the department, general surgery, AIIMS, and Dr Rajiv Vadera, Medical Superintendent, Government Multi Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, were not present in the meeting today.

Other than Dr Mishra, it is only Dr Gill who belongs to an institution outside the city, while the other three members are from Chandigarh. The other three are Dr Rajiv Vadera, Medical Superintendent, Government Multi Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, Dr YK Batra from the department of anaesthesia, PGI, and Dr Vipin Kaushal from the hospital administration, PGI.

The external committee had, last week, met the parents of the girl and recorded their statements. The parents had complained of negligence on the part of the hospital staff. 



1.6 lakh passenger trips expected on Corridor-I per day
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 18
In the detailed project report (DPR) of Metro, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has projected that around 1.6 lakh passenger trips per day are expected on Corridor-I in 2018, including 1.1 lakh passengers from Chandigarh and 53,309 from Punjab.

Besides, around 1.7 lakh passenger trips per day are expected on Corridor-II in 2018, including 1.1 lakh passengers from Chandigarh, 14,645 from Punjab and 40,804 passengers from Haryana.

A team of the DMRC had submitted a copy of DPR to the UT Administrator, Shivraj V Patil, on Thursday.

The DMRC had proposed six Metro trains on the north-south corridor from the Capitol Complex to Gurdwara Singh Shaheedan via Sector 9, ISBT-17, Aroma Chowk, Sector 34, Sector-43 ISBT and Sectors 52, 62 and 70.

The corridor will have a total of 10 metro stations, including four elevated stations and six underground stations.

On the east-west corridor, the DMRC proposed 10 trains, each of four coaches. The proposed corridor will be from the Grain Market near Sector 21 at Panchkula to the Transport terminal via Raili village, bus stand, City Centre, HUDA office complex, MDC at Panchkula and the Housing Board chowk, railway station, Timber Market, Sectors 26, 7 and 9, GMSH-16, PGI, Khuda Lahora, Sarangpur, Mullanpur and Air Force station.

The corridor will have a total of 20 metro stations, including 15 elevated stations and five underground stations.



Contractors to face action

Mohali, August 18
Non-functional fountains and music systems in certain parks of the town will be repaired to make them more attractive. This was stated by Chief Administrator of GMADA AK Sinha and Municipal Commissioner Varun Roojam today.

Sinha told officials to take action against contractors who failed to maintain the parks. He said that they would be blacklisted. He also directed them to put up boards in the parks under the supervision of GMADA displaying the names and phone number of contractors concerned. — OC



Mayor visits Mani Majra to review work
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 18
Municipal Corporation Mayor Raj Bala Malik along with MC Commissioner V P Singh, accompanied by area councillor Gurcharan Dass Kalaa directed the concerned officers to prepare a list of the works to be done in Mani Majra.

During visit, area councillor listed various points including upgradation of facilities in the cremation ground, provision of parking in the old NAC building area, provision of play area in the Dusshera ground, repair and renovation of primary schools, repair of sewerage and storm water drainage systems, re-carpeting of internal roads and provision of parking in the Modern Housing Complex area, upgradation of community centres and civil dispensary.



Organic food fest begins
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 18
A two-day long 'Ethnic and Organic Food Festival' which began at Punjab Kala Bhawan today has helped in raising the awareness about natural farming and benefits of organic food among the locals. Organised by a Bhatinda-based organisation, Kheti Virasat Mission, the festival invited several farmers from Punjab who have been adopting organic and natural farming techniques for last many years. Several of their products were on display.

Hartej Singh from Mehta village near Bhatinda said that natural farming was not new to the state and has been in Punjab's farming tradition since ages. But the technique was replaced when farmers shifted to fertilizer farming during the green revolution to increase production. He said, “The return is possible. Natural farming can be made sustainable because awareness about the safe food is increasing among general public. It requires a joint initiative by farmers, general public, and government agencies.”

Anish Joel, the person behind My Earth Store, called for an integrated approach to popularise and sustain organic farming. According to him, it is important to make a link between farmers and the market .

However, many in the crowd complained about the prices of organic products being expensive. Organic products are about 10-30% higher than conventional products. “The whole economic model of any business depends upon demand and supply and I am sure the production cost of the organic food may come down once the demand increases," Anish said.

Sumit Garg of Bhatinda-based Kanihya Organic Food said that the change from conventional farming to organic was difficult. We did not earn much in the first two-three years, but the demand of our products is picking now. “We are shortly to open a retail shop in Bhatinda," he said



PU yet to invite tenders
Had announced that CCTV cameras will be purchased by July 20
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service
A closed-circuit television camera installed at the Gate No. 2 in Panjab University.
A closed-circuit television camera installed at the Gate No. 2 in Panjab University. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, August 18
In a bid to strengthen vigil across the campus before the student council elections, expected to be held on September 7, the Panjab University authorities had decided to install 75 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras by July 20; however, till date the university has not even invited tenders for the same.

The PU security had identified strategic locations where there was a need to install the cameras. In a statement released to the media by the university on July 12, it was stated new CCTV cameras would be purchased by July 20.

Director of the university's computer centre Tankeshwar Kumar said three companies had recently given demonstrations of their equipments; however, the committee was yet to decide the specifications of the cameras to be purchased.

"Different specifications of the cameras to be purchased are yet to be finalised, following which tenders will be invited," he said.

Tankeshwar admitted that installing the cameras before the student council elections would not be possible as the whole process of purchasing the cameras would take at least one month.

Sources said to keep a close vigil on the students' activities, there was a need to install the CCTV cameras before the elections.

There are already over 100 CCTV cameras installed on the PU campus including at hostels and departments.

Chief Security Officer PK Dhawan said high-resolution cameras would be installed at all the entry gates, so that images of drivers and registration numbers of vehicles could be captured. The remaining cameras would be installed at strategic locations including the Student Centre and the south campus of the university in Sector 25.



Chandigarh scan
30 differently abled get jobs

Students present a dance performance during a freshers’ party at Dev Samaj College, Sector 45, Chandigarh, on Saturday.
Students present a dance performance during a freshers’ party at Dev Samaj College, Sector 45, Chandigarh, on Saturday. tribune photo: manoj mahajan

Around 30 differently abled candidates were shortlisted by various companies during a job fair at the National Institute for Technical Teachers' Training and Research (NITTR), Sector 26, on Saturday. The fest -- Ability 2012 -- was organised jointly by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Northern Region and NITTR to provide employment opportunities to the differently abled.

Church celebrates centenary

The centenary of the Catholicate throne of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church was celebrated with enthusiasm at the St Mary's Orthodox Syrian Church, Sector 46. The function included a three-day sermon and religious seminars by Father Thomas Varghese and Father Biju P Thomas (Vicar) with Holy Communion and benediction. The church was brought and established in India by St Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ in AD 52. The great procession holding burning candles accompanied by the special traditional drum beats from Kerala were the main attraction.

Plays staged

The second day of Gursharan Singh Maha Utsav saw two plays by the playwright Gursharan Singh "Jangi Ram Di Haweli" and "Sarpanchi" — being staged at Paragon Senior Secondary School, Sector 71, on Saturday. The festival began on Friday evening with the plays "Tootan Wala Khoo" and "Insaan". The organisers plan to stage 101 plays of the late playwright and director by March next year. The first phase of the series started earlier this year at Punjab Kala Bhawan, Chandigarh, where 23 plays were staged by nine theatre directors from Punjab and Chandigarh. In the second phase at Mohali, 28 plays are to be staged under direction of 12 directors till September 15. — TNS



Tapsee tops the city in NTSE
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 18
Tapsee Gupta, a student of Carmel Convent School, Sector 9, has topped the city in the final stage of the National Talent Search Examination (NTSE) 2012. Six students who cleared the final round of the NTSE will now be awarded a scholarship funded by the National Council of Education Research and Training.

Fourteen-year-old Tapsee said: "The exam was tough and I am happy that I have managed to get a good score."

She said that the result would boost her morale and help her in achieving future goals. She would get the scholarship till the time she completed her studies, Tapsee said.

Tapsee topped the test with 169 points out of a total of 200. The national topper scored 181 points.

The NTSE exam is conducted every year for the Class VIII students. In the recent years, the number of scholarships has been raised from 750 to 1,000 with each state having a fixed quota. In Chandigarh, 11 students sit for the final exam.

Rajan Bhargav, co-ordinator of a city-based coaching institute, said more than 2,000 students from Chandigarh appeared in the preliminary stage of the test, and six students managed to clear the final cut-off score.

Others who have cleared the exam and will be awarded the scholarship are Namrata from Sacred Heart School, Archit Gupta and Siraj Sandhu from St John's Senior Secondary School, Priyanka from Carmel Convent School and Tejas Nagpal from St Kabir High School.



We feel safe in city: Northeast students
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 18
Although rumours of attacks on the people from the northeastern states has led to an unrest across the country, students from these states pursuing their studies in Chandigarh feel safe in the city.

Exodus of north-east people from cities including Bangalore and Pune has failed to make its impact on the city having a population of over 2,000 students from the northeast.

President of Manipur Students' Association RK Meiraba said they felt safe in Chandigarh and in past many years of their stay, they had not been threatened.

"If we are not safe in Chandigarh, then we can't be safe in any other part of the country," Meriaba said.

David S Lengen, a research scholar at Panjab University, said the people in Chandigarh were peaceful and cooperative, and never discriminated against him or his friends.

"I did my graduation and postgraduation from Chandigarh; however, I never felt that I was staying away from home. People I met and friends I made were all very supportive," David said.

The northeast students have even invited their friends studying in various other parts of the country to Chandigarh if they feel insecure.

Echoing similar views, Vanlaltluanga, president of association of Mizoram students, said though, there was panic among the northeast people residing in other cities, they never felt such a threat in Chandigarh.

The members of a students' organisation at Panjab University also organised a candlelight march to express concern over the exodus of the northeast people from cities in other parts of the country. The Chandigarh Police has also stepped-up security in the wake of the unrest across the country.



Students raise concern on social issues

Students interact with the team behind the Mars rover “Curiosity” at Dikshant International School in Zirakpur.
Students interact with the team behind the Mars rover “Curiosity” at Dikshant International School in Zirakpur. A tribune photograph

Chandigarh: Students of St John's High School, Sector 26, organised a “speakout” campaign at Sukhna Lake to sensitise the people about various social issues. The students came together in large numbers to fly kites and sing inspirational songs. The kites carried messages such as "save the girl child" and "stand up for justice". They spoke to the gathered public about performance of the government in achieving the United Nations Millennium Developmental Goals, etc.

Students pay homage to freedom fighters

A floor decoration competition was held at Bhavan Vidyalaya, Sector 27, for classes VI to XII. All the students participated with great enthusiasm and put up an elaborate display of posters, charts, slogans and collage, remembering the heroes of the freedom struggle. Bulletin boards provided knowledge about the freedom struggle. The corridors displayed Tricolour in form of kites and flags. Each floor was decorated with flowers and rangolis. Top floor (Classes XI-XII) won the first position. First floor (Classes VII-VIII) bagged the second position, while the first floor in the new wing (Class X) was awarded the third position.

Junior wing presents cultural show

In the ongoing house competitions at St Johns High School, Sector 26, the junior wing members of Brother Crease House donned its red colour and brought forth a sparkling performance. The show began with a message for peace through the song "Heal the World" by Michael Jackson. A formation of boys with candles complimented the singing. Thereafter, the audience was pulled into the world of toys and magic with the play "Noddy in Toyland". They also explored their way into silent acting with a mime act. The highlight of the show was a Hindi skit "Mirzaji ka Pyjama", that kept the audience in fits of laughter.

Sapling plantation

Panchkula: "Green Day" was celebrated at BKM Vishvas School, Sector 9, on Saturday. The students planted saplings on the occasion and discussed ways to conserve the environment.

Students have live chat with Curiosity team

Zirakpur: Around 35 students of Dikshant International School, Zirakpur, interacted with the team from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that worked on "Curiosity", which recently landed on Mars. The interaction took place via a live audio-video conferencing from the school's media centre here today. According to the school authorities, students talked to Curiosity's Mission Chief Scientist John Grotzinger and its lead engineer Adam Steltzner during a one-hour long interaction. Adam shared images captured from Mars with the students. — TNS



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