C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Juvenile thieves active in P'kula
Steal expensive mobile phones from visitors to Apni Mandi; one nabbed
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 12
Juvenile thieves are on the prowl in Panchkula. A few days after targeting weddings at Mohali and Zirakpur, the juvenile thieves seem to have shifted their operations to Panchkula, if a recent incident of mobile phone thefts by juveniles at an apni mandi is any indication.

Within an hour, the young thieves managed to steal at least five mobile handsets from unsuspecting visitors at the apni mandi in Sector 5. An alert visitor caught hold of one of the thieves and informed the police on Thursday night. While the thief was trying to steal Vishal Singh Rana's mobile phone, his friend Sanjay Singh caught hold of him.

During interrogation, the juvenile thief spilled the beans. According to the police, the accused (15) claimed to be a resident of Delhi. A DDR was lodged at the Sector 5 police station and the thief was sent to the juvenile home in Ambala. The police is looking for his mentors.

The SHO of the Sector 5 police station, Inspector Mukesh Kumar, said till now, they had received complaints from three victims and one of the juvenile accused had been sent to the juvenile home.

“The juvenile thief told the police that he hailed from Delhi and had two accomplices, both his age. He also claimed that they committed similar thefts at Zirakpur as well,” said sources in the police.

The police officials suspect the involvement of more gang members in these thefts. The stolen mobile phones have been put on surveillance and the other gang members would be arrested soon, they said.

“On Thursday night, when I came out of the vegetable market, I found my pocket quite light and in no time I noticed that my Samsung Galaxy phone worth Rs 20,000 had been stolen,” said Sham Lal, a resident of Sector 14, Panchkula.

“When I went to a PCR vehicle stationed nearby, I noticed other victims with the same complaint. Meanwhile, a visitor came with a youngster and told the police that the boy was trying to steal his mobile phone,” said Sham Lal, who is a senior auditor at Punjab National Bank.

Expensive mobile phones of Suresh Kumar Yadav from Sector 4, Panchkula, and Dr Sanjeev Sharma from Sector 12 were also stolen at the mandi.

Previous incident

On October 7, children, including girls, targeted a policeman’s family at a wedding venue on the Kharar Landran road.



modi effect on study tours
All Cong councillors withdraw names
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Two study tours to Gujarat in the next week have now become the BJP-SAD tours with all Congress councillors finally withdrawing their names from these study tours except Mayor Subhash Chawla.

These Congress councillors might have faced the wrath of senior Congress leaders, who are opposing Modi's model of development at rallies and press conferences.

The MC has planned to study models of women empowerment and good governance in Gujarat during the two study tours scheduled between October 14 and 19.

Congress councillor Harphool Kalyan, who has withdrawn his name from the Gujarat tour, said why he should go to Gujarat to listen Modi's speech. "I am not interested in Modi's speech. Our local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal is a better orator than Modi. As he is a true Congress worker, he will not visit Gujarat and will stay in the city to strengthen the Congress base," Kalyan says.

Former Mayor and Congress councillor Raj Bala Malik, who had earlier given her consent for the tour, said she would not be able to accompany the other councillor's to Gujarat due to some important engagements.

Now, Cong targets BJP-SAD combine

A Congress councillor said the BJP-SAD combine's real character has been exposed. While their councillors, the Leader of the Opposition and even BJP President Sanjay Tandon had termed the tours as "waste of public money", now they have changed their mind only to meet Modi.



dasehra celebrations
Weather hangs like sword of Damocles over organisers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Panchkula, October 12
A day ahead of Dasehra, all organising committees in the city were seen struggling to "save" the effigies of demon Ravana and his kin from the fury of the weather god. Throughout the day, the clouds played hide and seek, forcing the organisers to adopt additional measures to save the effigies from the onslaught of the rain god. Some even performed prayers to appease the rain god.

Fearing rain, most of the organising committees delayed the installation of the effigies and kept them at safe places. As no rain occurred by the evening, many committees installed their effigies.

Chairman of the Sector 46 Dasehra Organising Committee Jatinder Bhatia said: "Even as we have installed our effigies, we can't sleep at night. For the last three or four days, weather uncertainty has been looming large. We are praying to God that the next 24 hours go without rain".

Many committees have put up standby bamboos, all-weather tents, extra papers and crackers. Ajay Singla, president of the Sri Ram Lila Committee, Sector 47, says they have kept a tent and bamboos ready to save their effigies from rain.

At Panchkula, certain committees decided to stuff expensive crackers into the effigies tomorrow. "This time, wax-coated paper has been used to save effigies from rain. Artistes from Agra have specially been brought for making the effigies of Ravana and his brothers," said chairman of the Mansa Devi Charitable and Development Trust, Vishnu Goel.

This year, the Chandigarh Administration has given permission for 40 Dasehra celebrations in the city and many committees have made elaborate arrangements for tomorrow's function.

Jyoti Bhardwaj from the Sector 29 Dasehra Committee says: "We desperately need the weather god's blessings for uninterrupted celebrations," says Jyoti. The Sector 46 committee has claimed to be having 80-foot-tall effigy of Ravana, but the organisers said the height could come down to 70 or 72 feet in case there was rain. The Ravana of the Sector 29 committee is 70-foot tall while that of the Sector 17 committee 60 ft in height. Mani Majra has a 55-ft Ravana while else where the average height of Ravana's effigy is about 50 feet. Many committees have cut down their sizes due to inflation.


  • 40 Dasehra celebrations in the city
  • Average expenditure of Rs 1.5 lakh per celebration
  • Laser and air show at Sector 46 Dashera ground
  • Religious procession from Sector 23 temple till Sector 17 parade ground after 3 pm
  • Ravana Dehan by Lord Rama to be enacted by artistes from Mathura and Vrindavan at the Sector 27 Ramlila ground
  • Ram Sena procession at the Sector 29 celebrations
  • Bhajan Sandhya at the Sector 47 Dasehra celebrations

Rain may play spoilsport

Rain could be a spoilsport in the Dasehra celebrations as the Met Department has predicted that there would be partly cloudy sky and rain is likely on Sunday. Met Department Director Surinder Pal Singh said there was very slim chance for the rain to occur but due to climatic changes there could be light showers. He said owing to variation in the temperatures in less time, it had become difficult to predict weather for the past two days. The maximum temperature recorded on Saturday was 28.9 degree Celsius while the minimum temperature was 21.6 degree Celsius.



Sukhna walkway gets biodiversity plaques
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
With the aim of making visitors aware of biodiversity around Sukhna Lake, the UT Forest Department has installed informative plaques all along the walkway at the lake.

The 15 decorative plaques provide information about the type of flora and fauna in the lake area. Santosh Kumar, UT Chief Conservator of Forests, said the plaques had been installed up to the upcoming Nature Interpretation Centre near the regulator end.

They are intended to give complete information about the type of birds, aquatic life and vegetation found around the lake. The plaques have been installed under a project of the Ministry of Tourism.

At the Nature Interpretation Centre, pictorial panels with three-dimensional images of migratory and local birds and other flora and fauna found in the lower Shivalik hills would be displayed. Audio-video interactive devices would allow visitors to hear the calls of various birds and animals.

To attract tourists, informative galleries on diverse topics such as nature conservation, natural resources, biodiversity and vegetation would be set up. Life-size diorama of animal species found in the Sukhna Sanctuary like pangolin, birds and reptiles will also be installed there.

Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation Limited (CITCO) General Manager (Tourism) AK Malhotra said the centre, which was nearing completion, would make people aware of the lake's ecosystem.

Plaques in English, Hindi

Much to the inconvenience of visitors who know only the Punjabi language, the plaques have writings in English and Hindi only. Despite repeated requests from different forums and the fact that Chandigarh has a sizeable Punjabi-speaking population, the UT officials have not bothered to use Punjabi at public places.



Drug haul in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The operation cell of the Chandigarh police today arrested a resident of Badheri with more than 1.23 lakh capsules of banned drugs worth Rs 10 lakh. He was arrested while he was carrying the capsules on a rehri near Sector 41.

The DSP (Operation Cell), Jagbir Singh, stated the accused, identified as Pawan Kumar (28), was a drug addict. A special team of the Operation Cell arrested the accused early morning. “The accused was carrying the drugs, which were packed in 13 boxes, one suitcase and a bag, on a rehri. The police party stopped Pawan for verification. When it searched the boxes, the banned capsules namely Spasmocip, Parvon Spas and Spasmos-Proxyvon were found in them,” the DSP stated. The police said the accused used to store the drugs at his rented room in Badheri village. He supplied them to drug addicts in the tricity and adjoining areas. According to the police, a large number of youngsters in the tricity were his customers. “The police is trying to ascertain from where the accused procured the drugs and to whom these were to be supplied. Meanwhile, some chemists, to whom the drugs were supplied, have been identified,” he added. A case has been registered at the Sector 39 police station. The accused was produced in a court that sent him to police remand till October 14.


Dasehra with a cause in Panchkula
Pamphlets with message against female foeticide to be showered on audience from planes
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 12
In a bid to make a difference and root out social evils like female foeticide, the authorities have decided to create awareness in style. This Dasehra, planes will be showering pamphlets on the audience with a social message at the Parade Ground in Panchkula.

For the first time in Panchkula, as many as three remote-controlled planes have been hired by the Mansa Devi Charitable and Development Trust that would be holding the Dasehra celebrations at the Parade Ground, also known as the Dasehra Ground, Sector 5, Panchkula. Pamphlets with social messages of female foeticide, along with flowers, will be showered on the audience.

“These planes will go at a height of 300 feet and start showering flowers and pamphlets with the message against female foeticide on the audience from 4.30 pm. It will go on till the effigies of Ravana and his brothers are set on fire,” said Sandeep Gupta, one of the officials.

Vishnu Goel, another official, said: “Female foeticide is an evil that can only be eradicated by changing the mindset of society. This time, we want that the people should not only learn from the usual victory of good over evil by seeing the effigies burning, but also return home with a meaningful message”.

65-foot-tall Ravana’s effigy

Panchkula residents would witness a 65-foot-tall effigy of Ravana in the Parade Ground and those of Kumbhkarna and Meghnad would be 55-foot-tall each. Special security and parking arrangements have been made. As many as 50 private security guards have also been deployed to control the situation at the venue.

KK Khandelwal, Principal Secretary to Haryana Chief Minister would be the chief guest at the function. Cultural programme would start at 3 pm tomorrow. “Ravana dahan” would take place at 6 pm.



UT Admn to go for mini buses

Chandigarh, October 12
After failing to procure AC and non-AC buses through the tendering process, the Chandigarh Administration has ultimately decided to go for midi buses, a low-floor bus larger than the traditional mini-bus.

The manufacturers selling the midi buses are being approached, before the tenders for the same were floated by the administration. Sources said around 100 such buses would be procured.

These buses would be apart from the AC low-floor and non-AC semi-floor buses that would be added to the existing fleet of buses.

UT officials said efforts were on to negotiate with the manufacturers for working out a solution to the terms and conditions put in the annual maintenance contract (AMC), a major bone of contention between the Transport Department and the manufacturers that has led to the cancellation of tenders on the past five occasions.

The UT’s transport system has been asking for the maintenance of buses up to five years or 4 lakh km, whichever is earlier. The clause included carrying out preventive maintenance, breakdown repair and servicing. Previously, the tenders were cancelled due to the 10-year clause. “We are following the guidelines of the Ministry of Urban Development while asking for tenders. The AMC is added at the level of the UT,” said the officials.

Need for 400 more buses

In a detailed project report being prepared by the consultant for the JNNRUM project, the need for 400 more buses has been indicated.

CTU conductor dismissed

A conductor of the CTU has been dismissed from service in cases of embezzlement of funds and selling fake tickets. TPS Phoolka, Director, Transport, said the conductor, Chhavi Parkash, was found involved in different cases. A total bungling of Rs 3 lakh has been detected. In 2007, disciplinary proceedings under Rule 8 of the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1970, had been initiated against Parkash on the charges of selling fake tickets. — TNS



MP seeks extension of watch hours at city airport
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The issue of limited watch hours at the Chandigarh domestic airport has further got the thrust after Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, in a letter to AK Antony, Minister of Defence, has sought extension of watch hours to 11 PM.

In his communiqué to the Union Defence Minister, he has also asked for the upgradation of Instrument Landing System (ILS).

In his letter, Bansal stated that international flights from and to Chandigarh could not be introduced so far because the Ministry of Defence had not extended the watch hours needed for the purpose.

The MP has in his letter also added that the upgraded civil terminal at the Chandigarh Airport came up three years ago and facilities had been provided for the introduction of international flights. But despite this, international flights did not start.

“Chandigarh being the capital of Punjab and Haryana and also being a gateway to Himachal Pradesh needs international air connectivity,” he said.

He said the city was an important hub for banking, corporate, educational and medical facilities, besides being an important tourist destination and introducing international flights would reduce rush from these states at the Delhi Airport.

Bansal said the extension of watch hours to 11 pm would not pose any security threat and would help the people of Chandigarh and the entire region to benefit from the same.

He also said the Instrument Landing System (ILS) needed upgradation by the installation of Approaching Lighting System to avoid agonising delays due to fog in the winter season, which is about to set in soon.



Cattle catchers continue protest
Seek arrest of persons who allegedly attacked them
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 12
As residents face the menace of stray animals, it’s been almost two weeks since the cattle catchers’ team of the Municipal Corporation here stopped work in protest against the failure of the police to take action against the persons who had allegedly attacked the team members on duty.

The staff assigned the job of catching stray cattle in Mohali have kept away from work since September 28.

Kesar Singh, who heads the cattle catchers’ team of the corporation, said the work of catching stray cattle in the town would be resumed only after action was taken by the police on the complaints of alleged attacks on their staff and threats to team members filed by the civic body.

He said the work of catching stray cattle had earlier been carried out by the staff concerned even though action on their complaints filed in August and September was pending. They were compelled to strike work when Sohan Singh, a member of the cattle catchers’ staff, was allegedly slapped by certain cattle owners while he was on duty near the petrol station in Phase VII on the night of September 28. Soon after, a complaint was made to the police but to no avail.

It is learnt that the then corporation Joint Commissioner had written to the SHOs of the Phase VIII and Matour police stations on August 27, and again to the SHO of the Phase VIII police station on September 19, seeking the registration of a case under Section 289 of the IPC against the persons who had allegedly threatened and attacked members of the cattle catchers’ staff while they were on duty.

In the letter of September, the Joint Commissioner had named 12 persons who often allegedly left their animals to graze illegally in the town.

Sources said the police had been informed that on the night of August 25 some residents of Matour village, who were armed with lathis and metal rods, allegedly tried to scuttle the drive against stray cattle going on near the Sector 70 petrol station and also threatened the staff on duty.

Similarly, corporation employees were also allegedly attacked on the night of August 24 in Sector 68 by certain residents of Kumbra village when a drive was on.



Be a leader not a follower, says Kargil war veteran
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
India’s first blade runner, who has been an inspiration and motivation to scores of people, believes that if someone goes through amputation and lives the life fullest then that person is stronger than someone who has both the legs.

The Kargil war veteran, Major DP Singh, who was at Panjab University on Friday for an inspirational speech, urged the students to take the healthy way of living life. The retired Major from the Dogra Regiment lost his right leg during the Kargil war in 1999.

“I believe that if someone has to suffer any problem in the life, then he should think that the God has chosen him for the challenge and he should bravely accept it,” he said.

Singh to keep himself fit after the amputation started running, which turned into one of his strengths that inspired many.

“I want to spread a message that this is not the end, but the beginning of another chapter of life,” he said.

Singh, during his lecture at PU, also shared his journey from declared martyr to India's first blade runner. He emphasised on bringing technology to the better use of mankind by giving his example. He quoted “be a leader not a follower” and stated that getting out of the comfort zone and following passion in life was most important.

Singh wants to mobilise the youth of India towards a better and healthy country.



MC Joint Commissioner gets additional charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
In the reshuffling of departments in the Municipal Corporation, Joint Commissioner Rajiv Gupta was given the charge of a few more departments.

The reshuffling, which was done on the directions of MC Commissioner Vivek Partap Singh, departments like planning cell, estate branch, property tax, community centres, open spaces, colony cell, accounts branch and apni mandi, have been withdrawn from Additional Commissioner Sunil Bhatia and given to Joint Commissioner Rajiv Gupta.

An MC official said the reshuffling of departments was done for the smooth functioning of the MC.



Protest rally against property tax
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 12
Opposing the imposition of property tax in Mohali, Congress MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu said a massive protest would be held here on October 15 against the government for putting an additional financial burden on residents.

The protest will be held at the Dasehra Ground in Phase VIII here. Members of residents’ welfare societies, religious bodies, business and social associations will gather at the traffic light chowk of Phase 7 for the protest rally.

Sidhu said he had already submitted a memorandum to Governor Shivraj Patil against the property tax being imposed on the residents by the SAD-BJP government.

He added that the levying of property tax was totally wrong and the Congress would fight against it till the ruling party withdrew the same.



379 get degrees at PEC convocation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The 43rd Annual Convocation of the PEC University of Technology, Chandigarh, was held, here today. Padma Vibhushan Prof Man Mohan Sharma, Co-Chairperson of the Board of Management, was the chief guest and VK Singh, Secretary Technical Education, was the co-chairperson.

In 2013, a total of 379 students completed their BE programme in various disciplines and 11 graduated with Honours. As many as 195 ME students also completed their postgraduation programme and six students completed their PhD programme.

The overall environment was full of joy, rejoice, celebrations and mixed emotions amongst the pass-outs who had come to receive the degrees. It gave the graduating degree recipients the impetus to take life head on.

VK Singh, co-chairperson of the Board of Management, PEC University of Technology, also addressed the graduates. He congratulated the graduates on being conferred with the rightly deserved degrees and awards for their academic accomplishments and the Director and faculty members of PEC University of Technology who also worked hard to impart quality education, knowledge, skills and human values to their students. “There is immense potential for India to transform herself into a global R&D platform. It is imperative at the juncture that frontier area of technology like renewable energy, nano-technology, bio-technology and bio-engineering are pursued aggressively in colleges and universities to take the nation forward,” he said.



‘Science an engine of growth’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 12
It is important for the country to excel in science and technology because it is the engine of growth of any country, more so for India because of the number of poor people living here, said Prof Goverdhan Mehta, National Research Professor, University of Hyderabad, said here today.

Professor Mehta, a Padma Shri awardee, who was speaking at the seventh convocation of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), laid stress on the rejuvenation of science and technology enterprise.

He exhorted the students to make others follow and not become followers. Degrees were conferred on 305 students for batches 2011-2013. The degrees included 22 PhDs, 188 MS (Pharm), 25 MPharm, 17 MTech (Pharm) and 53 students of MBA (Pharm).

Two students, Divya Priyanka T of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Manasvi Bhardwaj of MBA (Pharm) were awarded the gold medal and citation. — OC



PU Efficycle: 52 teams qualify for next round

Chandigarh, October 12
Day-two of Efficycle organised by University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) at Panjab University (PU) witnessed around 52 teams who had to struggle hard to cross the hurdles in the tracks and finish the challenge with the best timings.

After the technical inspection on day one, 52 teams qualified for the next round of tests. The highlight of the day were the dynamic events where the participating teams had go through various tasks to prove their mettle.

The dynamic tests included gradient test where the cycles had to run over a three-degree slope using the electrical power.

The prototype three-wheel electric-human powered hybrid vehicle also went through the utility test. A track was designed to check the maneuverability of the vehicles. The track this time was made tougher with the introduction of sand, gravel and cement bags. Also the turn radius was reduced from 6 m to 4 m this time.

The third test was the acceleration test the teams had to cover a distance of 100 m in minimum possible time. — TNS



Seminar on libraries held at college
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
“Libraries in their traditional form will continue to remain an important source of education even in this age of advanced technology,” said Pawan Kumar Bansal, Member of Parliament, Chandigarh, while inaugurating the 2nd CLA national seminar on ‘Libraries in Digital Era’ at the Dev Samaj College of Education, Sector 36.

Bansal urged librarians to give importance to creation of “proper “library environment” for readers. He cautioned them not to allow the technology to become their master rather they should use it for the better management of their libraries. A seminar volume edited by Dr P Venkata Rao, Dr Preeti Sharda and Dr Jaspal Kaur was also released on the occasion.

Delivering the keynote address, Prof Jagtar Singh, Head, Department of Library and Information Science, Punjabi University, Patiala, reminded librarians that technology was good so far as the functional areas of library services were concerned, but there was a dire need for establishing relationship with readers. He exhorted them to use the technology for the benefit of their readers.



Play directed by Zubin Mehta staged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
Students of the St Kabir Public School, Sector 26, Chandigarh, made the audience spellbound with their scintillating performance in the play “My Fair Lady” held here at the Tagore theatre, Sector 18.

The play was held as part of school’s 40th Founder’s Day. It was a gloriously witty, romantic musical, adapted from a play “Pygmalion”, written by the famous playwright George Bernard Shaw. It was a grand musical play with seven dances and 10 songs.

School administrator, Gurpreet Bakshi, said today’s overwhelming performance was the result of hard work put by the choir, dancers and the actors for the last three months.

The play was designed and directed by Zubin Mehta, assisted by Jannat Chawla, choreographed by Puneet Jewandah and Akshay Sharma.

Large number of parents attended the play today and enjoyed the performance by the students.

The play “Pygmalion” named after a Greek mythological character. It was first presented on stage to the public in 1912. It was about a Professor of phonetics, Henry Higgins, who makes a bet that he can train a bedraggled Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to pass for a duchess at an ambassador's garden party by teaching her to assume a veneer of gentility.

The play is a sharp lampoon of the rigid British class system of the day and a commentary on women's independence.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | E-mail |