C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Birthday celebrations turn sour
Two youths, including birthday boy, killed in accident; four injured
Tribune News Service

Navrattan Sodhi
Navrattan Sodhi

Panchkula, October 28
Two youths were killed and four others were injured when a Swift car rammed into a Tata 407 mini-truck at the Old Panchkula light point last night.

The deceased were identified as Sahil and Navrattan Sodhi. Navrattan was a nephew of Punjab MLA Rana Gurmeet Sodhi. Their friend Ishavbir Sandhu suffered serious injuries and was admitted to a private hospital in Sector 21, Panchkula.

The trio was going to an eatery at Zirakpur after celebrating Sahil’s birthday at a hotel in Sector 8. The occupants of the mini-truck —driver Abeed, Deepu and Mausa — who were seriously injured in the accident, were rushed to the Sector 6 General Hospital.

Navrattan Sodhi was behind the wheel and Sahil was sitting beside him. It is learnt that Sodhi was driving the car in the wrong lane.

Driver of the mini-truck Abeed said they had loaded goods from Baddi and were on their way to Meerut. “I applied brakes when I saw the Swift car coming towards the truck. The car was being driven at a high speed,” he said.

Both the vehicles were damaged in the accident.

Navrattan was a resident of Peer Mushalla and Sahil used to reside in Sector 9, Panchkula. Navrattan was a graduate in hotel management and Sahil assisted his elder brother in his business.



Tragedy strikes Sahil’s family
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 28
Fearing something bad had happened, Sahil’s elder brother Ricky kept on calling on his cellphone not knowing that he had died.

Even during the birthday bash, Ricky called Sahil and asked him to come home immediately.

A passer-by noticed Sahil’s cellphone ringing and informed Ricky his brother had been killed in the accident. Celebrations turned into sorrows for Sahil’s family after hearing the tragic news. Ricky said Sahil had told him that he would come home after the party. “It will be a black Diwali for us as Sahil used to celebrate the festival in a grand way,” said Sahil’s relative. Navrattan and Sahil had asked their friends to accompany them to Zirakpur, but they refused as it was getting late.

The killer point
Two youths belonging to Shimla were also killed at the same spot about a month ago. The youths were returning to Shimla when their car was hit by an Army truck.



waste management
Civic body looks for consultants
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
A six-member committee of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has proposed to hire consultants from Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to assist the civic body to manage waste generated in the city.

The report prepared by the committee will be tabled in the next General House meeting of the MC. The objective of the study is to develop a comprehensive municipal solid waste management plan for the city. It also includes development plan for environmentally sound management of the existing dumpsite and the new landfill site. The report was under consideration for the past one year.

Recently, Chandigarh Tribune had highlighted the problem of poor sanitation and garbage segregation and disposal system in the city in its ‘Better Chandigarh’ campaign. Confirming the development, MC Joint Commissioner Rajiv Gupta said they would table the agenda in the house meeting on October 31.

The agenda was prepared last year after former Mayor Raj Bala Malik, BJP councillor Davesh Moudgil, nominated councillor Surinder Bahga and MC officials went to study the waste management plan at Nagpur. As per the initial plan, the cost of the project would be around Rs 60 lakh. The first phase would include developing overall plan for the management of the municipal solid waste generated from city. In second phase, it would assist to MC in the evaluation of tender documents.

Phases of waste management plan
Phase 1: Overall plan for the management of municipal solid waste generated in the city. It includes technical specifications to be incorporated in tender document to be prepared by the MC.

Phase II: Assistance to MC in evaluation of tender document.

Phase III: To deal with performance evaluation of the implemented technological options after the successful commissioning by the contractor.

Councillors speak
A team of the civic body went to Mumbai to study the biogas plant to treat hotel and vegetable waste without knowing the quantity and type of waste generated in the city. But NEERI will give the exact data of the garbage generated in the city. The MC should initiate long-term measures to address the problem.

Surinder Bahga, nominated councillor

Such proposals are good for the city as it will help the MC in formulating a plan for proper segregation and disposal of garbage. 

Mukesh Bassi, Congress Councillor

The MC has no plan to dispose of garbage. NEERI is a government agency which will provide the data of the waste generated in the city. With this, the MC can plan segregation and disposal of garbage. Scientific analysis and treatment of waste is a must for an inclusive development. So all councillors should support the agenda.

Davesh Moudgil, BJP councillor



Transport undertaking suffers Rs 3-cr loss
Fails to complete kilometres allowed under reciprocal agreement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) suffered a loss of around Rs 3 crore as its long route buses could not complete the scheduled kilometres allowed under the reciprocal agreement with other states.

Due to curtailment of kilometres owing to shortage of operating staff and withdrawing of buses from long routes, the CTU could not earn the projected revenue.

Under the reciprocal agreement, buses owned and operated by the state transport undertakings of the two states are allowed on inter-state routes.

During the 2011-2012 fiscal, the audit department found that due to the shortage of staff, the CTU had to bring down the operational kilometres by 10 per cent.

In depot number 1, the percentage of non-operational kilometres increased to 21 per cent in March 2012 as compared to 6 per cent in April 2011. This resulted in a loss of Rs 1.55 crore.

In depot number 3, the CTU could not cover 13.86 lakh kilometres out of the total 127.77 lakh permitted, resulting in the loss of Rs 1.21 crore.

The CTU ended up paying Rs 12.56 lakh as special road tax for operating buses between Chandigarh and Shimla. A review has been sought for similar tax paid for other inter-state routes that were not fully operated.

The CTU has an ageing fleet of 167 buses. Out of these 78 are running on long routes to Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi and Punjab. Only 20 long route buses are presently running to different destinations in Punjab.



Road accident: Insurance firm told to pay Rs 15-cr relief
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 28
A court today asked an insurance company to pay a claim of Rs 15 crore to the family of accident victims.

A Panchkula industrialist and his family were killed in a road mishap at Balachaur.

Ashwani Aggarwal, a resident of Sector 17, Panchkula, was on his way back to Panchkula with his wife Pooja, son Dhruv and Archit in his car when it was hit by a truck at 1.30 am on October 30, 2009. Ashwini’s nephew Archit and driver Pawan Kumar were also killed in the accident.

The insurance firms has been asked to pay Rs Rs 6.33 crore for Aswhini’s death, Rs 8.33 crore for Pooja’s death, Rs 1.5 lakh for Dhruv and Archit and Rs 16 lakh for Pawan’s death.

The claimants were Ashwani’s daughter Madhvi, a student of Class 12, and her grandmother.

The relief comes just a day before the fourth death anniversary of the victims. Ashwani was living with his parents and elder brother in Sector 7 before shifting to his newly constructed house in Sector 17 a few months ago before the accident.

The truck driver, who had fled, was arrested and awarded two-year imprisonment.


Better Chandigarh
Unnoticed, they slowly eat into the pace of city
The police has failed to regulate the movement of cycle rickshaws even when there are well-defined bylaws to check the menace. In the Part II of the series, The Tribune reporters Aneesha Sareen and Ritika Jha Palial do a reality check on why rickshaw-pullers are rarely challaned in the City Beautiful

A school cycle rickshaw jumps a red light signal on the road separating Sectors 44 and 45 on Monday.
A school cycle rickshaw jumps a red light signal on the road separating Sectors 44 and 45 on Monday.

Considered the cheapest mode of transport since ages, the cycle rickshaw has emerged as a traffic menace over the years. Even as the Chandigarh Traffic Police laments that there is no law to regulate cyclists in the city, the police has failed to regulate the movement of cycle rickshaws even when there are well-defined bylaws to check the menace.

For the traffic police and car drivers, rickshaws are the biggest nuisance on the road. With only a few rickshaw-pullers opting to ply on the cycle tracks in the city, the menace has assumed alarming proportions. The figures of registered cycle rickshaws in the city, challans issued by the traffic police and the number of accidents on roads speak volumes on the negligence of the authorities towards regulating the movement of rickshaws. Their number has been growing in the city with the growth of migrant population.

20, 000
cycle rickshaws in city
1,050 registered
83 challaned this year
70 challaned each year

Poor regulation

As per rough estimates, there are over 20, 000 cycle rickshaws plying in the city and the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has only 1,050 rickshaws that are registered with it in its records. Moreover, the UT traffic police, which has the authority to challan these rickshaw-pullers, has issued only 83 challans this year, thus showing the lackadaisical attitude of the police in regulating their movement. On an average, only 70 challans each year are issued to the cycle rickshaw-pullers.

No ownership, plying without licence

Rickshaws are rarely parked in designated parking lots. Even a rehriwala fails to use the cycle track on the road separating Sectors 36 and Sector 35.
Rickshaws are rarely parked in designated parking lots. Even a rehriwala fails to use the cycle track on the road separating Sectors 36 and Sector 35. 

A random survey by the Tribune team reveals that a majority of the cycle rickshaws in the city are without licence and do not have disc or plates showing the license number affixed to the rickshaws in stark violation of the existing bylaws. All the rickshaw-pullers, who are seen, lined up in long queues waiting for passengers, never follow any traffic rules, complain road users. The Cycle-Rickshaw Bylaws of 1960 implemented in Chandigarh, UT, says that no person shall ply a cycle rickshaw in the city unless he himself is the owner thereof and holds a licence. As per rule, the disc or the plate allotted to the rickshaw-puller shall be displayed at the back of the rickshaw and failing to do shall result in cancellation of the licence. However, most of the rickshaws are without a licence and are seen plying right under the nose of the UT Administration.

Traffic hazard

Cycle rickshaws wrongly parked in a residential area at Atawa village in Sector 42, Chandigarh, on Monday.
Cycle rickshaws wrongly parked in a residential area at Atawa village in Sector 42, Chandigarh, on Monday. 

More than 80 per cent of the rickshaws in the city are without the mandatory reflectors posing as serious traffic hazard to the fast moving vehicles on the road. Moreover, a large number these are seen taking wrong turns, jumping red light signals, riding on the wrong side of roads with the traffic police turning a blind eye to them. A large number of city residents have also complained of the menace on facebook, but to no avail.

Lack training, not familiar with rules

A majority of the cycle rickshaw-pullers in the city lack proper training and are not aware of the rules and regulations. As most of them are migrants, they are not familiar with the rules and the topography of the city. A traffic police official lamented that since a number of rickshaw-pullers were uneducated they lacked basic knowledge about traffic rules and often stood on the Zebra line and jumped red light signals.

Three of a family killed

In July last year, three persons, including a two-year-old girl, her mother and aunt, who were on a cycle rickshaw died after being hit by a Punjab Roadways bus on the road separating Sectors 43 and 44.

‘Give us better cycle tracks'

A number of rickshaw-pullers while talking to Chandigarh Tribune complained that the tracks were rough and full of obstacles, so they avoided using them. "A majority of the tracks are obstructed by branches of trees that make it difficult to manoeuvre a rickshaw. There are no streetlights too," said Ram Prasad, a rickshaw-puller. Most of the sectors in city do not have tracks.

The fine

As per bylaws, a police officer not below the rank of an Assistant Sub Inspector or any other official as authorised by the Estate Officer shall be empowered to impound any rickshaw and will be released by charging a compounding fee of Rs 500.

Parked in non-designated areas
Rickshaw parked on the slip road of Sector 42 on Monday.
Rickshaw parked on the slip road of Sector 42 on Monday. 

With lack of designated parking lots, a number of these rickshaws obstruct traffic and are seen parked in markets and on roads with no fear of being challaned. While there are 30 designated parking lots in the city, rickshaws are often seen parked at non-designated areas in Sectors 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 42, outside the ISBT, Sector 43, and Sector 17 with the raffic police looking the other way.

While failing to park rickshaws at authorised parking places is an offence as per the bylaws, no challans have ever been issued to the rickshaw- pullers for wrong parking. As per rule 28 (1) of the Cycle Rickshaw Bylaws, no rickshaw shall be parked anywhere except in places specified by the Chief Administrator, Capital Project. No rickshaw-puller shall park his rickshaw in search of passengers on V2 roads (fast carriageways), Jan Marg, Himalaya Marg, Madhya Marg as well as the Dakshin Marg. However, the rickshaws can be spotted parked on these spots throughout the day.

Eco-cab facility gaining ground

Eco-cabs are becoming popular with the city residents.
Eco-cabs are becoming popular with the city residents.

Tech-savvy rickshaw commuters are making the most of the eco-cabs facility, as termed by a website providing the dial-a-rickshaw service.
Four months after the service was introduced by a group of volunteers in the city, the number of rickshaw operators whose phone numbers are available online has increased to 200 from the initial 100.
Interestingly, all these phone numbers, as well as photographs of rickshaw operators, have been uploaded on the website by commuters who are impressed with the response of the rickshaw operators in their respective sectors.
The phone numbers of rickshaw operators (sector-wise), for dial-a-rickshaw service are available on the website www.chandigarh.ecocabs.org .
Initially, the database of only 12 sectors was available. The service has now expanded to 40 sectors across the city.
A team of 12 volunteers from different walks of life joined hands to develop the concept of dial-a-rikshaw Eco-cabs. The group is a non-profit association. The service was launched on Monday in collaboration with the UT Administration, Municipal Corporation and the New Kranti Cycle Rickshaw Union.
For handling the grievances of the residents, in case of misbehaviour or lapse in effective service, the residents will be allowed access to contact details of sector mentors.
There are over 25,000 rickshaws in the city and nearly 5 lakh residents commute on these everyday.
Eco-cab service providers have sought financial support from UT Administration.
Everyday four to five new persons search phone numbers.
Most requests have been coming in from the northern sectors, including Sector 5 and 8. PGIMER is also a major user of the eco-cabs, said the operators.

dial-a-rickshaw service

The phone numbers can be viewed (sector-wise) at www.chandigarh.ecocabs.org http://www.chandigarh.ecocabs.org/
The service is available from 9am to 7pm everyday.
Residents can recommend details of rickshaw operators in their sectors.

Three rapid rickshaw routes functioning

While launching the concept of “ecocabs”, the volunteers had introduced three rapid rickshaw routes that have a fixed route and fixed cost. The routes will soon be defined for the entire city. The three routes include one from Sukhna Lake to Rock Garden, another from Sukhna Lake to Sector 17 via Rock Garden, Rose Garden and Arts Gallery and third from Sector 8 to 11, via Sectors 9 and 10.

‘Response has been tremendous’

The response of the residents to the service has been tremendous but managing funds has been a big problem. We have requested the UT Administration to provide us with some funds to keep the service running

— Navdeep Asija, founder, Ecocabs dial-a-rickshaw service


Proper checking of licence of all rickshaw pullers in the city
More traffic police workshops on road safety measures
Effective challaning
Educating rickshaw-pullers to use cycle tracks
Drive by the traffic police and MC to check wrong parking

Officers’ speak

Yes, rickshaw-pullers do violate rules and the traffic police is trying its best to educate them about rules. We also divert them towards cycle tracks. We are issuing challans wherever required

— Kamaldeep, DSP (Traffic)

I will soon form a team along with the UT police and take action against non-registered rickshaw-pullers operating in the city. The MC will also hold a meeting with the SP (Traffic) in this regard

— Rajiv Gupta, MC Joint Commissioner

Residents’ take

When there are regulations for all other forms of vehicles commuting inside the city, then why are the rickshaw-pullers exempted? The laws should be equally applicable to them to ensure vigilance. Most of them often jump red light signals and risk the lives of passengers. They are more prone to accidents as other vehicles move at a higher speed

— Prabhjeet Sandhu, student, Khalsa College, Sector 26

Like there are dedicated lanes for two-wheelers, there should be a separate lane for the rickshaws also to ensure that they drive in accordance with their physical strengths. This will also avoid traffic slowdown on the busy routes like the Madhya Marg

— Sahiba, student, GCG, Sector 11

Rickshaw-pullers mostly block the zebra crossing and end up jumping the red light signals. They not only risk their own lives but that of the passengers too. There should be separate lanes for rickshaw-pullers as they move at a very slow pace

— Jashanjeet Kaur, resident

A major problem associated with most of the rickshaw-pullers in the city is that they take blind turns, without ensuring whether the right lane is clear. I recently witnessed an accident where a rickshaw ferrying two women and a child turned right without signalling and a car rammed into its rear wheel. The child sustained injuries. It is very important to sensitise the rickshaw-pullers to ensure the safety of commuters

— Vivek, sports teacher, Manav Mangal School



sukhna lake
Sensitive ecosystem put at stake
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The sensitive ecosystem of Sukhna Lake has been put at stake for promoting tourism through regular cultural activities in the area. The last few months have seen a spurt in the number of such cultural activities, mostly organised by CITCO and the Department of Tourism. By succeeding in the endeavour of attracting residents and tourists, these fests are disturbing the eco-sensitive zone.

The just concluded Chandigarh Street Art and Food Festival saw a heavy footfall and a plethora of noisy activities, such as live music performances, besides traffic and parking chaos.

Additional Director, Department of Environment, PJS Dadwal says the lake has been declared a silent zone, but when big cultural functions take place, it becomes impossible to keep a check on the noise limit.

City-based advocate Ajay Jagga, who recently raised the issue through a complaint to the Adviser to UT Administrator, KK Sharma, says these functions were in complete violation of the silent zone rules fixed for Sukhna Lake by the local administration. He says, ironically, the government departments are the biggest violators.

“It is not only creating problems for the joggers, but also affecting many exotic migratory birds at the lake,” he said.

City-based birdwatcher Narbir Singh said the lake should not host any fair that attracts too many people. He says, sadly, it has become a regular affair.

“The administration should strictly ban any function at the lake, especially from October to March, when migratory birds visit the lake. During the remaining year, only simple affairs, such as exhibitions, street plays and awareness campaigns, should be allowed, that too at the cafeteria end,” says Narbir Singh.

Rima Dhillion, member of the NGO Avian Habitat and Wetland Society, Chandigarh, says people have started disturbing the ecosystem at the regulatory end of the lake as well.

“The need of the hour is for the administration to designate a proper area for recreational activities at the lake, with proper dos and don’ts,” she says.

Former principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture Professor Rajnish Watts says all the cities need public spaces where residents can come together for collective celebrations. He, however, cautions against the celebrations going overboard.

ban cultural activities at lake, say residents

Le Corbusier created this landmark to provide a spot for the citizens to escape the humdrum of the city life and enjoy the beauty of nature in peace and silence. Cultural functions, affecting the ecosystem, must be banned.

— Ajit Verma, local businessman

CITCO can hold tourism-related activities at several other places. At the lake, too, some functions can be organised, but big events are a serious violation to the silent zone norms. These should be dealt with severely

— GP Kapoor, retired police officer

Sukhna Lake is not meant for holding big cultural functions, since there is no adequate parking space here. Promotion of tourism is important, but it should not come at the cost of ecological imbalance at Sukhna Lake

— Amanendra Mann, college teacher



CII fair ends on a high note
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The 18th CII Chandigarh Fair concluded today with an overwhelming response. All the pavilions at the fair attracted huge crowds who purchased a wide variety of fine garments, Diwali gifts, decorative items, latest electronic gadgets, unique handicrafts, antique pieces, carpets, footwear, personal care, health & beauty products, kitchen appliances, home furniture, vehicles, Pakistani items, real estate products and a host of other items.

David Lelliott, OBE, Deputy High Commissioner, British Deputy High Commission, also visited the fair today with his team and purchased a few handicraft items from the Social Expo. A wide range of new launches at the 18th CII Chandigarh Fair received tremendous response from the visitors.

The Realcon pavilion, too, attracted a lot of queries for the latest and discounted offers on various newly launched projects. Sushma Chandigarh Grande by Sushma Builders, Escon Arena Township, Sanawar Hills in Kasauli, Canal View in Ludhiana by JLPL Builders and Hyde Park by DLF in New Chandigarh were some of the most sought-after new launches.

“Events like CII Chandigarh Fair are a win-win situation for both buyers and sellers as on the one hand, sellers get an access to a large number of consumers, while on the other buyers get a variety of products to choose from,” said Sagar Mangal, area head, Sales, Philips-Electrolux.



death near guest house
Victim was killed, accuse kin
Protest outside police station, hand over alleged murderer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
A high drama was witnessed outside the Sector 26 police station today, when family members of a man who was reportedly killed in an accident alleged that the deceased was murdered and the police was shielding the accused.

The relatives also handed over the man who was with the deceased on the fateful day to the police, alleging that he was the murderer.

The body of an unidentified person was found near the UT guest house on Saturday. It was later identified to be that of 20-year-old Roshan Kumar, a resident of Colony Number 4. He had come to the city from his native village in Bihar in search of work, five months back.

The victim’s kin today gathered outside the Sector 26 police station, accusing the police of conducting a shoddy investigation.

They brought along Vikas Kumar, also a resident of Colony No. 4, alleging that he killed Roshan after a dispute.

The police, on the other hand, claimed that the preliminary investigations indicated that Vikas and Roshan were together on a motorcycle, when they met with an accident. Vikas told the police that he was riding the motorcycle, with Roshan on the rear seat, when his two-wheeler skidded and they fell on the road. Vikas got scared and ran away from the spot with his vehicle, leaving behind Roshan Lal in a pool of blood, said the police.

Roshan’s kin raised slogans against the police and dispersed only when senior police officials assured them of prompt investigation.



hong kong kidnapping
The news of rescue brought a sigh of relief, says Mavi’s friend
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 28
The news of the rescue of three persons from Punjab kidnapped at Hong Kong brought a sigh of relief to the family and friends of the Mohali-based victim, Satwinder Singh Mavi.

A close friend of Mavi, on the condition of anonymity, said they got a message that Mavi, along with the other victims, would take a flight to India at 6 pm today.

“We all gave a sigh of relief as the ordeal finally came to an end,” said Mavi’s friend, who resides in Mohali as well.

He said Mavi’s wife did not want to talk to the police and media in this connection. The couple has a five-year-old son, he said.

He said Mavi, who works with a private bank in Chandigarh, was a very religious person.

“I was not aware of his plan to visit Hong Kong,” he said.

Mavi reportedly shifted to a new rented accommodation at Sector 71 a month back. Earlier, he resided at Phase VII.

The Mohali police, meanwhile, said it received no complaint about the kidnapping.

“We came to know about the kidnapping of two local residents, Mavi and Gurinder Singh Dhillon, through media reports,” said DSP (City 1) Rajinder Singh Sohal.

He said the Samrala police, too, had no contact information of the two victims.



Security norms flouted at Diwali fair
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 28
No security norms have been followed at the Diwali trade fair which is being held at Sector 5 parade ground, Panchkula, putting lives of the visitors at risk despite of the fact that the site selected is a vulnerable place for the bad elements to act ahead of the festival. Not even a single police official is deployed at the site of the fair.

The Diwali trade fair that kicked off on October 25 is organised by the Red Cross.

Vijay Lakshmi, an official of Red Cross, as to whether the Police Department was approached, she said, “We had written to the Panchkula Police Department for providing security. But, a PCR keeps patrolling around so security is there.”

Hundreds of visitors are witnessed at the fair daily. No metal detectors have been put up at the fair to check any bad element.

“Such places where crowd comes are usually targeted by the miscreants especially ahead of Diwali. It is a highly vulnerable place and police officials should be deployed for the safety of the visitors and to avoid any mishap,” said Ragini Dua, a visitor.

She further added, “When blasts are taking place at other places, already high alert should be declared here and police should do regular checking at such places.”

Nazneen, another resident of Sector 14, said, “Anyone can target such places during festive season. Adequate security arrangements should be made.”

Panchkula Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Ashwin Shenvi could not be contacted.



garbage menace
Residents stage protest

Chandigarh, October 28
Residents of Sector 21-C today protested near the garbage collecting centre of the area against the foul smell being spread in the area by the overflowing waste there.

“We are not against the centre, but it should be maintained well,” said a resident.

The residents’ welfare association of the sector, in fact, purchased a mini van to drop garbage at the centre. The residents said despite their efforts, the situation remained the same.

Following the protest, officials of the health department visited the site and promised to do the needful in the coming days. — TNS



attack on police station
We were falsely implicated: Accused
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 28
An accused in the case of attack on the Naya Gaon police station on January 10, Amit Kumar Saini, today alleged he and his acquaintances were implicated in a false case by the Mohali police.

Amit, who claimed to have recorded the incident on his mobile phone, said he along with some friends and relatives had gone to the station to see a friend, Sandeep Sandhu, who was detained by the police.

“When we tried to argue for his release and contacted mediapersons, the police registered a false case against us,” said Saini in a press conference in Chandigarh.

Refuting the allegations, Mohali DSP (City 1) Rajinder Singh Sohal said they had to summon extra force when the accused attacked the police station.

“They are lying to save themselves. Why didn’t they produce the video recording in the court?” said DSP Sohal.

The police had registered a case under Sections 307, 450, 353, 186, 224, 225, 506, 294, 355, 440, 427, 148 and 149 IPC read with Sections 3 and 5 of the Damages to Public Property Act 1984 against Saini, Sandeep Sandhu, Pritpal Kaur Pawan Sandhu and others.



Gas cylinders seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
The UT Food and Supplies Department today raided shops at the Sector 15 rehri market and seized 10 domestic gas cylinders being used for commercial purposes illegally.

Separate cases under the Food and Supplies Act have been registered with the police. The raids would continue in the coming days, said the officials.



Panchkula MC to have office in Sector 3
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
After running from a community centre in Sector 4 for more than a decade, Panchkula Municipal Corporation is all set to move out. For, the Haryana Urban Planning and Development Authority have finally allotted land for establishing the MC office in Sector 3 Panchkula.

As a petition filed in public interest on the issue came up for resumed hearing before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the state counsel claimed that HUDA had allotted 1.85 acres in Sector 3. He also told the Bench that in another two years' time, the construction would be over.

The Panchkula civic body was upgraded to the status of Municipal Corporation in August, 2011, but its officials continued to operate from the makeshift office in the community centre.

The development is significant as initially HUDA had short-listed land for the Municipal Council in Sectors 3, 4, 20 and 21, but could not finalise the same. Otherwise also, the MC officials have all along been claiming that they had requested HUDA several times to allot land for constructing the building.

The failure of the MC officials to vacate the centre had led to resentment among Sector 4 residents.



Residents protest against property tax
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 28
About 200 residents of the town and adjoining villages took to the roads to protest led by Mohali MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu against property tax, being imposed by the Punjab Government.

Raising anti-government slogans, the protestors began the march from Phase XI at 10 am and covered a distance of around six kms to reach at the Mohali DC’s office, where they gave a memorandum to the local tehsildar.

Sidhu said, “We are taking up the issue in the Vidhan Sabha session. The state government has been looting the people by imposing such taxes. The property tax is much higher in the town in comparison of Chandigarh and Panchkula.”



Woman accuses 3 of rape
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 28
A 28-year-old woman today accused three persons of raping her. A resident of Phase I, the woman alleged that the main accused, Paramjeet Singh, alias Pamma, had been raping her for past several months, while making false promises of marrying her.

In her complaint, the woman also named Pamma’s friend Ravi and another elderly person.

The woman has an eight-year-old child from an earlier failed marriage. She also accused Pamma of taking her jewellery to acquire a loan to start a business.

The police was yet to register a case till the filing of this report.

The station house officer (SHO) of the Phase I police station, inspector Dharampal, confirmed that he had received a complaint in this regard.



Children bring stage to life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
As part of its ongoing founder’s week celebrations, students of the junior wing of Vivek High School, Sector 38, presented a play “Alice in Wonderland” at the school auditorium here this evening.

The dramatisation of Lewis Carrol’s 1865 novel “Alice in Wonderland” was a runaway hit. The students of class III brought the stage to life.

The quick pace of scenes, catchy tunes and splendid dialogues, all entwined to breathe an air of freshness into this adaptation.

The underlying message in the play is about personal growth, as we learn a great deal from a girl who goes through wonderland, trying to solve its mysteries and answering the inquisitions.

The concept of a wonderland is a place wherein extraordinary things can happen and open up all kinds of possibilities. Alice was an incredibly giving story with a lot of room for imagination and individuality.

The script, direction, sets and costume were done by the staff and the little actors, who enjoyed every minute of the preparation and presentation.

An exhibition titled “Indradhanush” displaying the art work produced by the students concluded today.



Chitkara students design navigation glove for visually impaired
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
Engineering students of Chitkara University have designed a navigation glove for visually impaired persons. The glove is fitted with ultra-sonic sensors that alert the disabled person if there is any object on the direction of the hand in the range of 3 meters.

A team of Chitkara University students, including Abhinav S Verma, Anchal Gupta, Kartar Kaur, Chirag Rajpal and Gursimrat Singh Bhullar, has come up with the glove.

Team captain Abhinav said the glove named as “Live Braille” designed by them would help the visually impaired people in knowing any obstacle in the view of 180 degree.

“The person wearing the glove will come to know about objects in the range of up to 3 meters through vibrators and audio feedback installed inside it,” he said.

The vibrator is installed in all the fingers of the glove, which will vibrate on the finger opposite to which an object is detected.

Anchal, another team member, said: “With its advanced algorithms and coding, the glove is intelligent enough to guide a blind person right through a series of obstacles at blazing fast speeds and yet being reliable”.

“The device has waterproof ultrasonic sensors to know the distance of the obstacle in front and vibrators to tell the blind the distance of the obstacle,” she said.

The visually impaired can get a tailor-made customisation of the code or the hardware to meet his special needs. Till now, many features such as staircase sensing and phone dialling have been incorporated into the unit.

The team spent around Rs 50,000 in the research and development of the glove that will cost around Rs 2,500 per piece once introduced in the market.

The students said the glove was gaining international exposure and it had already been honoured as the Asia Pacific’s second best innovation for the blind at an event held in Hong Kong. It also got the first prize in a start-up competition held at IIT-Delhi.



St John’s school installs solar-powered lamps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 28
As part of its efforts to harness solar power, St John’s High School, Sector 26, installed 10 solar-powered lamps on its premises with the help of KPMG, leading providers of risk, financial and business advisory and corporate governance.

This initiative is another step in the direction of the school’s continuous efforts for environmental conservation.

Atul Gandhi, partner, KPMG, unveiled the plaque.

“The solar lamps will light the sprawling grounds and help in reducing the energy consumption of the school and create eco-friendly environment,” said Kavita Das, principal of the school.



Panache 2013 begins at Manav Mangal
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 28
A two-day cultural extravaganza began at Manav Mangal Smart School here today. The event, Panache 2013, began with the school presentation followed by a prayer dance.

“Tamanna”, a dance portraying the plight of a young boy caught between the turmoil of earning a day’s wage or pursuing his dream to study, was presented in contemporary form. A mime relating to corruption depicted the freedom struggle in the country and the plight of the common man in the present scenario.

Among other items were a dance, “Khwahishein”, a Punjabi skit, “Sau din Chorke, Ik din Saadh da,” a fashion show designed on the VIBGYOR theme, and western dance.

Nearly 450 students from classes VII to X participated in the event.



Contests mark International Animation Day
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 28
Live sketching, real-time portrait designing, clay modelling, live digital painting, 3D graphics designing, live photography, 3D gaming, face painting and mask painting competitions marked International Animation Day on the Chandigarh University campus today.

Students of the University Institute of Animation & Multimedia (UIAM), along with 750 participating students from 25 different animation institutes, colleges and schools of Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana, witnessed a live demonstration of various aspects of the animation industry. Multimedia-backed stalls depicting animation history, preproduction process involved in film production, post-production involving editing, sound mixing, lighting and rendering, 3D character designing, game designing and graphics designing in the print media attracted the students.

Harminder Singh, general manager, Prime Focus Studios, a leading MNC in the field of animation in India, along with Shaswant Sharma, HR Manager, Prime Focus, inaugurated the photo and animation exhibition, which showcased the creative projects of students of UIAM, Gharuan. Harminder Singh said the future of animation professionals from the Punjab and Chandigarh region was bright as two mega projects had been announced by the Punjab Government - an Animation Park at Mohali and the upcoming Film City at New Chandigarh.

Media cartoonist Sandeep Joshi, along with graphics designer Manpreet Jodhan, judged the performance of the participating students.

Onkar Singh, Chandigarh University, won the Best 3D Animation Clip and Sangeet Samrat won the Best Prop Design contests. Karan Rana won the Best Character Design, while Jaipartap Singh won the Best Spot 3D Photography competition. Sandeep Singh from Kala Academy was top in the contest in the Best Architectural Render category. Cash prizes and certificates of merit were given away to the winners by Rajinder Bhandari, Prof, Panjab University.



Students captivate audience

Mohali, October 28
Anees School wore a festive look with lights and a riot of balloons at the annual day celebrations in which students captivated the audience with a spectacular show.

The show began with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp by chief guest Aneet Goel, CA.

Vibrant music, colour and coordinated movements set the tone for various folk dances. Solo and group dances showing the cultural diversity of India were also staged. Welcome song and butterfly dance were among the items presented by the junior section. Theme dances on various issues like girl child, corruption, drug addiction, Save Mother Earth were also presented.

The cultural items concluded with vibrant bhangra and gidha.

The chief guest honoured meritorious students. Principal Harpreet Grewal presented a vote of thanks. — OC



from schools
Computer carnival

Chandigarh: Stepping Stones School, Sector 37, played host to the annual computer carnival. This year, the underlying theme of the competition segments was related to cyber crime. The students from class III onwards participated in various individual-based competitions like Ms Paint Brush, Ms Word Poster Making, and team competitions in Ms Excel, Ms Powerpoint and Technology Quiz.

Science fair

Sharda Sarvhitkari Model School, Chandigarh, hosted the three-day regional-level science fair that was inaugurated on Monday. The event saw young enthusiastic participants from the North Zone who put up their exhibits comprising innovative models both in science and mathematics. Paper reading, quiz and sanskriti gyan pariksha were also part of the fair. 

Kumar Abhay, IAS, gives a cycle to a lucky draw winner at Guru Nanak Khalsa Senior Secondary School in Sector 30, Chandigarh. Khalsa School Extravaganza

A two-day Khalsa School Extravaganza was organised at Guru Nanak Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Sector 30-B, Chandigarh. Various stalls of games and eatables were put up. A number of inter-school and intra-school competitions were held. Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal presided over. — TNS

Kumar Abhay, IAS, gives a cycle to a lucky draw winner at Guru Nanak Khalsa Senior Secondary School in Sector 30, Chandigarh. A Tribune photograph



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