C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


A subdued New Year for tricity
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

The police had to resort to a mild lathicharge on unruly youths at the Plaza. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, December 31
It was a subdued New Year as the tricity said a no to celebrations following the death of the Delhi gang rape victim. Residents in large numbers were seen paying homage to the victim. The presence of heavy police also acted as a deterrent. Since several high-end Chandigarh clubs and hotels, had already called off the celebrations as a mark of tribute, a fewer parties around Sector 26 and Sector 35 welcomed 2013.

Ginny Chawla, owner of the Altius Hotel, Industrial area, Chandigarh, said the hotel cancelled its fire-juggling celebrations as well as fireworks to keep the function a low-key affair.

Rohit Chaturvedi, general manager of the Pewters' Room, a lounge bar in Sector 26, said the party mood was not upbeat today as the number of people attending the celebrations was lesser as compared to last year.

1) Staff of a discotheque cancelled the New Year function to pay tributes to the Delhi gang rape victim at Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Monday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari
2) Members of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Jagriti Manch pay homage to martyrs on the New Year’s Eve at Sector 14, Panchkula, on Monday. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal
3) A cake weighing 8 kg was baked to ring in New Year at Phase V, Mohali, on Monday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu
4) Students protest against the Delhi gang rape at Student Centre of PU in Chandigarh on Monday. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari
5) Children play with balloons on the New Year’s Eve at the Sector 17 Plaza in Chandigarh on Monday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

There were a few private parties in hotels and lounges across the city.The gheri route from Sector 11 to Sector 8 also wore a deserted look. The nightclubs at Sector 26 those used to remain abuzz with activity were visited by a few revellers. Residents chose to dine out at restaurants in Sectors 26, 43, 17 and 35. City-based businessman Prabhjot Singh said they only came out for a dinner today as they had cancelled the party in grief. Raj Kaushik, general manager, of KLG Hotel, said last year they had a long waiting list for both dinners and parties, but there was hardly any rush today. Those who ventured outdoors were not in a party mood, he said.

Lounge parties in Sector 26 also finished earlier than the usual time. Owner of S Lounge, Sector 26, Maneesh said that they ended the party one hour before the scheduled time. A large posse of police was deployed in key areas of the city. There was more than 40 policemen guarding Sector 35. Sector 26 had major barricading both at the entry as well exist points.

Earlier, the day saw a candle marches at several places. Most of the people chose to stay home. Dr Jagdish Jaggi, resident of Sector 37 said celebrations were the last thing on their mind.

Police resorts to mild lathicharge

As the New Year revellers thronged the Sector 17 Plaza in large numbers, with unruly youths trying to create ruckus, the police had to resort to a mild lathicharge at 10.45 pm on Monday. Some youths were detained by the police before being let off. A number of families present near Gurdev Photo Studio were a witness to the drinking in the open by the youths.



PU students say no to celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Saddened by the death of the Delhi gang rape victim, students of Panjab University today held a silent protest urging the society to say no to New Tear celebrations. Members of the Panjab University Campus Student Council (PUCSC) assembled at the Student Centre and asked the students to mourn the rape victim’s death by lighting candles at their home.

Holding placards saying “no New Year celebrations”, students protested at the PU lighting candles. Student Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) president Manoj Lubana said it would be shameful for us if we celebrate the New Year.

PUCSC president Satinder Singh said that they would not celebrate the New Year and have asked students to do the same. “It’s not just December 31, but every one should pledge to observe 2013 as a black year,” Singh said.

They then went to the hostels and urged students not to take part in the New Year celebrations.

“The hostel residents who didn’t go back home in winter vacations have also been asked not to take part in the New Year celebrations,” the PUCSC president said.



Maximum temperature drops to eight-year low
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The city recorded the lowest maximum temperature in eight years on Monday. At 11.2 degrees Celsius, it was the coldest day of the season. The minimum temperature was recorded at 8.2 degrees Celsius, eight degrees below normal.

The Met department said Chandigarh was coldest on January 7, 2000, and December 31, 1989, when the temperature was 10.2 degrees Celsius. On December 31, 2001, too, the maximum temperature of the city was 11 degree Celsius, lower than recorded today.

Met department director Surinder Pal Singh said the temperature is eight to nine degrees below normal. He said though the weather was chilly with a shallow fog enveloping the city from early morning, it turned out to be sunny as the day progressed.

Residents enjoy a cold Monday afternoon at Sector 17 in Chandigarh.
Residents enjoy a cold Monday afternoon at Sector 17 in Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

The Met department said chilly winds would continue to sweep the region for the next few days. As 2012 draws to a close, a clear but very chilly New Year is expected in Chandigarh on Tuesday. The city celebrated the coldest Christmas in five years with the maximum temperature dipping to 11.1 degrees Celsius. The chill forced people to remain indoors in the cosiness of blowers and heaters. Shopkeepers rued dip in sales. However, shops selling non-vegetarian food, soups, hot jalebis, pakoras and samosas reported brisk sales. A supplier of meat, fish and chicken said sales were high due to cold weather and New Year celebrations.

The attendance was low in government offices due to cold. Several of the staff members preferred to opt for leave. Foggy conditions continued today. Thankfully, the visibility was better than in the past few days.


Youth thrashed for teasing girl at Sector 17
Tribune News Service

The accused's friend assaults the youth who came to the rescue of the victim at Sector 17 in Chandigarh on Monday; and right the accused in police custody. Tribune photos Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, December 31
A girl, who had come to light a candle at the Sector 17 Piazza this evening to express solidarity with the Delhi gang rape victim, herself became a victim of eve-teasing after a youth passed lewd comments on her and touched her.

The eve-teasing incident led to a high drama in the busy Sector after infuriated passers-by thrashed the accused.

The girl was infuriated when the youth touched her cheeks and she in turn slapped him hard and raised the alarm. The accused has been identified as Gurjot Singh, a student who had come from Jalandhar to the city to celebrate New Year.

In a drama that lasted for over 20 minutes, the girl confronted the youth and raised the alarm when some passers-by, including vendors came to her rescue. The youth then called his five-six friends in his defence. A scuffle ensued, which soon turned violent and both the groups exchanged blows.

The police stationed at the Neelam police post immediately rushed to the spot and nabbed two of the accused while the rest five managed to flee.

The girl was in tears after the incident even as the youths were taken to the Sector 17 police station.

The medical examination of the accused was conducted at Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16.

An eyewitness to the incident said there was anger in the public after the Delhi gang rape incident and the passers-by came in support of the girl. Inspector Ram Gopal, SHO, Sector 17 police station, said a case has been registered against the Gurjot, who teased the girl and also manhandled some persons.

Police deployed at 89 places, 59 nakas in city

To ensure a peaceful New Year eve, policemen were deployed at a total of 89 places, including hotels, markets, malls and other busy places in the city. A mini control room was set up in Sector 17. Mounted police was also deployed in Sector 17. Besides, a total of 59 nakas were set up across the city to check vehicles and issue challans for drunk driving.



6-year-old rape victim has hole in heart
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 31
The six-year-old child, who was raped by her father’s driver yesterday, has a hole in her heart. The accused, Raju, was produced in a court which remanded him to judicial custody. “The child is undergoing treatment at the PGI because the doctors have diagnosed a hole in her heart,” said the victim’s father. He added: “Though she doesn’t even know what has happened with her, but she is feeling uncomfortable.”

A case under Section 377 of the IPC was registered against the accused. The accused allegedly raped a student of Class I under the garb of taking her to buy chips. The six-year-old victim, a resident of Rajiv Colony, was alone at home when the accused, who was working as a driver with her father, took her to an isolated place and committed the crime.

The victim stated that when her parents were away to Chandigarh, she expressed her desire to have chips. Raju then took her in the an auto-rickshaw saying that he would buy her chips but parked the vehicle at an isolated place near Labour Chowk and committed the crime.



Renovation only on paper
Central Govt had sanctioned a grant of Rs 200 crore to the PGI a year ago
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

The nephrology bock of the PGI in need of repairs. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, December 31
Even a year after receiving a grant from the Central Government for the renovation of old buildings, including Nehru Hospital, the PGIMER has failed to start the repairs. The 50-year-old building of Nehru Hospital, which has over 1,200 patients, is a shambles and crying for repairs. The building has developed huge cracks and can collapse anytime.

The cracks on the boundaries of the balconies on the first floor of the hospital are visible from the road outside the PGI campus, which leads towards Sector 11. Even the iron rods installed for supporting the building have broken.

The condition of other old buildings in the hospital, including the Research Block A and B, which houses a number of departments is equally poor.

The F-block of the hospital.

While the officials at the PGI said the required paper work was consuming time, sources revealed that it was the lack of "effective" monitoring of work in the engineering department in the absence of regular Superintending Hospital Engineer (SHE) that was delaying the work.

"The fact that the post of SHE is mostly allocated to an officer who comes on deputation from other states and a new appointment is made every three years affects consistent planning and maintenance for the infrastructure," sources said.

The post of SHE has been lying vacant for the past six months. The temporary charge of the post has been given to Dr KLN Rao, professor, paediatrics surgery.

Official spokesperson for the PGI, Manju Wadwalkar, said, "A major renovation for the PGI has been planned for the old buildings. The engineering wing is currently involved in the necessary paper work for initiating the renovation. The work will be allocated as soon as the paper work is completed."

While these buildings have never undergone a major renovation ever since they were constructed in 1963, the institution claims that it is spending Rs 5 to 10 lakh on the maintenance of these buildings annually.



Hard to escape paramedical staff at PGI
Ritika Jha Palial
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Even as a family manages to cut down on the expense incurred on the delivery of an expectant mother by taking her to one of the city government hospitals, it can rarely escape the "obligations" of the paramedical staff.

A few women, who delivered their babies at the PGIMER and Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, recently, said the paramedical staff not only put obligation of paying them individually, but also compelled their attendants to pay separately to a few security guards.

Deepika Thakur, who recently delivered a baby boy at the PGI said, "There is a nexus between the paramedical staff, nurses as well as the security guards. They emotionally compel attendants as well as the mothers to give them bakshish (token of appreciation). Even if an attendant gives a small amount to one of the staff members, they force you to give an equal amount of money to each member in their group. The group, in my case, included two security guards also."

Aarti, who delivered a baby at the GMCH-32, recently, said, "The paramedic staff members harass you in case your attendant denies to give them the money demanded. Although the amount they ask is meagre (about Rs 100), giving that much amount to 10 persons turns out to be equal to the total bill generated for the delivery."

Sources said the paramedical staff also sought minimal charges from the attendants in the gynaecology ward in lieu of carrying goods inside the ward, as the entry to attendants was restricted.

The officials, meanwhile, said they were unaware of such happenings in the hospital. Official spokesperson of the PGI, Manju Wadwalkar, said no such complaint had reached the authorities so far and action would be taken immediately if any such complaint was filed.

Medical Superintendent of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, AK Janmeja, said, "The issue has not come to our notice so far. We will discourage such practice. I will speak to the head of the department concerned and look into the matter."



Installation of CCTV cameras
Proposal awaits nod
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 31
The proposal of the Mohali police to install close circuit television cameras at various points in the district, which was sent to the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) for action around two years ago, is yet to see light of the day.

After a survey, the police had identified 18 sensitive points to install CCTV cameras to improve traffic as well as security arrangements here. “With the installation of CCTV on these sensitive points, the entire town will be covered. The step would result in improvement in traffic and security arrangements”, said Swarndeep Singh, SP (City).

Notably, a meeting in this connection was held in 2011 which was headed by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal. At the meeting the decision to install CCTVs at various points in the town was taken. “We have sent a proposal this regard to the GMADA on February 9, 2011 but the action is yet to be initiated," said Swarndeep Singccordinh. Ag to police record, 75 per cent of the fatal accidents have occurred at these 18 places.

The identified points are Landran Road, near Capital Medical Store, traffic post on Chandigarh-Landran road, the crossing near the Punjab Electricity Board, Popular Cycle Store at the bus stand, Saini Architect on Ropar Road, crossing near the MC office, Petrol Pump (bus stand), Mahajan Readymade Store near Hospital Road, BDO office, Sodhi Sweets on Hospital Road, the road dividing Phase 10 and 11, PCA Stadium, Phase VII light point, PCL Chowk, PTL Chowk, SPICE light point, UT Barrier Chowk (Phase VI) and Kumbhra Chowk light point.



Chandigarh Scan
New Year celebrations cancelled

Shivraj V. Patil, Punjab Governor and Administrator, UT Chandigarh, has cancelled all New Year eve celebrations in the Punjab Raj Bhavan as mark of respect to the Delhi gang rape victim. In his message, the Governor said in the New Year, the focus should be on social security, environment protection and eradicating social evils like drug addiction, foeticide and dowry.

German envoy meets Governor

The German Ambassador to India, Michael Steiner, accompanied by his spouse Eliese Steiner, called on Shivraj V. Patil, Punjab Governor and Administrator, UT Chandigarh, at the Punjab Raj Bhavan here today. They discussed various issues of mutual interest. Showing keen interest in further strengthening ties with Punjab, the Ambassador inquired from the Governor regarding the scope of industry in the state.

Death penalty sought for gang rape culprits

The vice-president of the All-India Women Congress, and the former mayor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, has expressed grief over the death of the Delhi gang rape victim. She has suggested that the rapists should be hanged and their body parts should be donated to the needy persons.

Silence questioned

The Sikhs For Justice (SFJ,) an international human rights group advocating justice for the victims of November 1984, while extending deepest condolences to the family members of the Delhi gang rape victim, questioned the silence of the Indian administration, politicians and the justice system over the rape of Sikh women in broad daylight during the first week of November 1984.

Rape victim's death mourned

Desh Bhagat University mourned the death of the 23-year-old Delhi girl, Damini, who was brutally gang raped and assaulted with an iron rod by six men aboard a moving bus in the National Capital on December 16. Management, staff and students of Desh Bhagat University and the Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes observed 2-minute silence to mourn the death of the victim. “It is a big shame that the horrific incidence happened in the spiritual capital of the world - India - where the Sages, gurus, peers and pagambars teached us how to respect women. This savagery must stop”. He said moral values should be taught in universities, colleges and schools. — TNS



From Schools
Akhand path performed

A three-day Akhand Path was performed at St Soldier International School, Sector 28-B, Chandigarh, to mark the 39th foundation year of the school. The school was founded by late Gurdev Singh Hayer in 1973. The first day was marked by bringing the holy Guru Granth Sahib amidst pious and pure hearts. The school band gave a ceremonial welcome and the devotees lined up along the path and showered petals. Ravneet Singh Bittu (Punjab MP, Anandpur Sahib Lok Sabha Constituency) graced the occasion with his presence on December 29. The students of the school filled the atmosphere with divine air by singing shabad. The sacred Akhand Path culminated with “bhog” where parents, students and school staff partook “Guru ka Langar”.

Seven-day NSS camp held

A seven-day special NSS camp was held at GSSS, Dhanas, Chandigarh. They adopted Dhanas village for the camp. During the camp, a number of activities were carried out, including lectures on social issues, common diseases, RTE, social and civil rights, drug addiction and uses of herbal plants, by various speakers. A rally on crime against women was also held at Dhanas village and the adjoining colonies - Milk Colony, Chaman Colony, Ambedkar Colony and Aman Colony, Dhanas. On the closing day, i.e on Monday, Vikram Rana (State Liaison Officer, Chandigarh Administration) was the chief guest. Ramesh Kumar, NSS programme officer, read out the report on the activities carried out during the camp. The chief guest appreciated the NSS volunteers for their efforts conducted during the camp. Principal Harmeet Kaur honoured the chief guest and thanked him by presenting a bouquet. She appreciated the NSS volunteers and motivated them to indulge themselves in social activities. — TNS



Stage set for Mayoral elections today
Candidates meet MC councillors separately to seek support
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Hours before the Mayoral elections, candidates of the Congress and BJP-SAD alliance were busy meeting MC councillors to seek vote and support for the elections on January 1. Mayor candidates - Subhash Chawla and Arun Sood - were meeting each councillor separately.

Besides, the stage is all set for the election of Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor tomorrow. In the elections, 26 elected councillors and nine nominated councillors will be exercising their franchise.

The Congress has fielded Subhash Chawla (Mayor), Rana Kashmiri Devi (Senior Deputy Mayor) and Satish Kainth (Deputy Mayor). Whereas the BJP-SAD alliance has fielded Arun Sood for the Mayor’s post, Rajesh Gupta Bittu for the post of Senior Deputy Mayor and Malkiat Singh for the Deputy Mayor’s post. The BSP, which has two councillors in the House, have decided not to field any candidate.

The municipal corporation has a total strength of 36 members, including 26 elected councillors, nine nominated councillors and one MP. The Congress at present has 12 councillors, the BJP-SAD alliance has 11, the BSP has two and one is an Independent candidate. Apart from them, there are nine nominated councillors. The local MP, who is an ex-officio member of the House, also has a vote and can exchange his franchise.



Five shops razed at Zila Sainik Board office
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
The enforcement staff of the UT estate office today demolished five shops (under construction) at the Sector 21 office of the Zila Sainik Board here. The shops were being constructed without getting the layout plans being approved by the estate office.

After serving a notice, a team of the enforcement wing today brought down the structures.

A UT official said that as per instructions, no government or private allottee could raise construction without getting the permission under the building bylaws. Similar notices had been served upon other government establishments to remove their illegal structures.

Meanwhile, the resumption branch of the UT estate office today sealed a showroom (no 180) in Sector 26 after the occupant lost the case in the High Court.

An official of the estate office said despite being given 90-days time to make payment, the allottee did not pay the amount but he sold the property further.

The new buyer filed appeals in the court of the Advisor and then Punjab and Haryana HIgh Court but lost the case.

Following the court judgement, the UT officials in a three-hour long drive took over the possession of the building.



City witnesses traffic snarls on New Year’s Eve
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Traffic chaos was witnessed on the city toads on the New Year’s eve. There were traffic jams at the Piccadilly traffic lights, Press traffic lights, Aroma traffic lights, ISBT roundabout and along the Udyog Path marking roundabouts of Sectors 18-19-20-21.

The situation was the same at the Housing Board traffic lights upto the Sectors 26, 20 and 30 roundabout and the Sectors 33-34 roundabout.

The markets of Sectors 8, 9,10 and 11 were bustling with activity. Policemen were deployed to ease out the congestions.



Virtual classroom at PU soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 31
Students of Panjab University (PU) are soon going to have an access to quality education imparted at various institutes. The PU is going to introduce virtual classroom on the university campus. It would enable the students to listen to the lectures of various renowned academicians live.

The virtual classroom at the cost of around Rs 50 lakh has been set up at the PU’s Computer Science Department.

Tankeshwar Kumar, Director, Computer Science, said the students would be able to listen to all lecturers shared on the National Knowledge Network that aims at connecting all knowledge-related institutions.

“The students will be able to interact with educationists where all the facility of virtual classroom exists,” he said.

The university would have a single classroom with a seating capacity of around 40 students at the initial stage, which would be further extended if needed.

PU officials said a library of lectures available online would also be created for the students, which they could view any day.

“It will be a value addition for the students as there are a limited number of institutions that have this facility,” the Director of Computer Centre said.

The teachers of the PU will also have the option of delivering their lecturers online and answering to the queries of students watching it live.



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