C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Robbers strike at Mohali
Loot gold jewellery worth Rs 11 lakh, cash from house at gunpoint
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 19
In a broad daylight robbery, three masked miscreants looted about 410 gm of gold jewellery, worth around Rs 11 lakh, and Rs 10,000 at gunpoint from a house at Phase VI here this afternoon.

Two women, Rajbala and her newlywed daughter-in-law Shikha, were at their house (No. 320) when the robbers struck at around 1.30 pm. The family also runs a depot from its house.

Rajbala’s husband Dharampal was away to get his scooter serviced while her son Puneet (Shikha’s husband) had gone to withdraw money from an ATM.

According to Rajbala, she was cooking while Shikha was watching TV when the robbers entered the house from the main door, which was open. The trio seemed to be in their early 20s. “They were speaking in Punjabi,” said the victim.

“Two robbers were carrying pistols while one was armed with a knife. They put a tape on Rajbala's mouth and threatened both women to open the locker of the almirah. When the victims resisted, they threatened to shoot both of them,” said Mohali SSP Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti.

The victims claimed that the robbers tried to lock up Rajbala in a washroom, but later brought her into the room. The robbers remained in the house for 10 minutes, according to the victims. They tried to remove their fingerprints from the handles of the almirah and the locker with a cloth before leaving the place. “It is not known whether the robbers came on a vehicle or were on foot,” said the SSP.

The police are trying to get the CCTV footage from certain houses in the area to get a clue about the robbers. DIG RK Jaiswal and SSP Bhatti visited the spot. “We have called a dog squad and forensic experts here,” said the SSP. A case has been registered at the Phase I police station in this connection.

Incidents this year

January 13: Three motorcycle-borne masked robbers had attempted to rob an employee of Bhushan Enterprises outside a bank at Phase VII.

January 15: Three unidentified robbers took away a new Innova (PB 65 N 0007), a revolver, two mobile phones and cash after injuring its owner, Davinder Singh, at Salamatpur with a gunshot on the Kharar-Landran road.

February 4: Three motorcycle-borne robbers snatched a bag, containing Rs 1.5 lakh, from a local jeweller, Subhash Chander, at Adarsh Nagar, Nayagaon, after injuring him with gunshots.

February 5: Six armed robbers looted cash and jewellery worth over Rs 40 lakh from a coloniser, Sohan Lal Arora, after taking all family members hostage at gunpoint at their residence in Phase 3B1.

February 14: Four robbers opened fire to loot a liquor vend at Sohana village. They looted Rs 20,000 from the shop. One person sustained bullet injury in the incident.

April 17: Two motorcycle-borne robbers opened fire at Goldy, owner of Kiran Jewellers, at Mullanpur Garibdass and looted cash and jewellery worth several lakhs of rupees.

May 5: Three masked robbers looted Rs 2.5 lakh at gunpoint from a post office in Dera Bassi in broad daylight and fled.

June 23: Two youngsters abducted a young girl along with her Innova at gunpoint from Zirakpur during night hours. The girl was released later while the robbers took away the vehicle.

July 19: Three robbers looted the cash van, a Bolero jeep, belonging to the local liquor syndicate and decamped with Rs 11 lakh. They abandoned the van about 500 metres away from the spot in Sector 70.

In another incident the same day at Phase 3B1, two robbers, armed with a pistol, held the family of a local gurdwara granthi hostage and took away Rs 35,000 and gold jewellery.



Toilet reality in schools: Long queues, unbearable stink
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

What the Right to Education Act states
According to the RTE Act, schools have to provide separate toilets for boys and girls, besides safe and adequate drinking water facility for all children.

Chandigarh, August 19
For nearly 2,000 students of Government Model School, Maloya, there are only four toilets. The situation is the same in a majority of the government schools across the UT.

Most of the schools on the periphery of the city have inadequate number of toilets, adding to the woes of the students, especially girls.

This is in contrast to a report of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on government schools without toilets, which states that all 112 government schools in the UT have toilets. A reality check on the schools has pointed out that the number of toilets available for the students are far less than the requirement.

The severity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that even schools such as Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector 19, one of the most sought-after schools in the city, has only 16 toilets for a strength of around 2,230 students.

The hygiene and sanitation in the toilets also remains a major concern as most schools lack clean toilets. The poor infrastructure makes the toilets look like a hub of filth and stench. Some toilets do not have seats, doors or bolts. Most of the schools do not have dustbins in girls’ toilets.

Principals said they had sent numerous reminders to the Education Department over the years, demanding that the toilets should be renovated, but nothing had been done in this regard. The principals alleged that cleaning aids were also not available in the schools. Besides, the students were also suffering due to the lackadaisical attitude of the cleaning staff. The worst affected were students of schools which operate n double shifts.

Students alleged that stench emanating from the toilets had made it difficult for them to use these.

An educationist said every year, under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan and the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, crores of rupees were being sanctioned and if just 1 per cent of the funds was spent on providing toilets in the schools, the problem could be addressed.

In 2011, the Supreme Court had directed all states and union territories to build toilets, particularly for girls, in all government schools.

The court had stated, “The right to free and compulsory education for children in the age group of six to 14 is part of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21 A. This right cannot be enjoyed unless the basic infrastructure is provided by the state.”

Highlighting the ill-effects on health due to lack of toilets, Dr Bhavneet Goyal, a gynaecologist, said, "The bladder must be emptied regularly to keep bacteria away. Or else, it may even lead to chronic urinary tract infection."

Some parents are reluctant to send their children, particularly girls, to schools saying the schools do not have hygienic toilets and prevent students from using these during class hours. Even during the recess, long queues are seen outside the toilets.

DPI (S) Kamlesh Kumar said, “All principals have been instructed to ensure sanitation in the schools. They have been financially empowered to use funds to the required extent.”



Signalled to stop, youths on bike injure 2 cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
In yet another incident, two policemen were assaulted when they tried to stop two youths on a motorcycle who were riding rashly and creating a ruckus in Ram Darbar last night. One of the policemen sustained a fracture on the leg. The incident occurred barely a week after a traffic constable was dragged atop the bonnet of a car for over a kilometre.

The policemen who were beaten up are head constable Ramesh Chand, who received a fracture on his left leg, and sub-inspector Balwinder Singh. The incident occurred near a shrine at Ram Darbar when Janmashtami was being celebrated at around 11.45 pm.

Head constable Ramesh Chand is admitted to the GMSH, Sector 16. His leg had to be operated upon. Sub-inspector Balwinder Singh also received injuries and was discharged after preliminary treatment from the hospital.

The police have registered a case against the two youths, identified as Akash Bakra, who has a criminal past, and the pillion rider, Deepak Kumar, of Ram Darbar. Both of them managed to flee.

The police claimed that the incident took place when the two youths were signalled to stop and asked to show the papers of the vehicle. They resisted and tried to flee. As the policemen stopped them, they were pushed. The injured were taken to the GMSH in a police Gypsy.

Ramesh Chand fell on the road and his left leg hit a heavy stone lying on the road. Akash was riding the motorcycle while Deepak was the pillion rider. Sources said Akash had already been arrested in two liquor smuggling cases.

A case was registered at the Sector 31 police station against the motorcyclists, who managed to escape from the spot.



70-year-old woman dies in hit-and-run
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
In a hit-and-run case, a 70-year-old woman of Colony No. 4 died after she was hit by a rashly driven car at the Modella point early this morning. The victim, Rukmani, was on her way to Sector 30 where she used to work as a maid in some houses when the mishap occurred at 6.30 am.

As she approached the light point on foot, a vehicle hit her and sped away. She was noticed lying in a pool of blood by a passerby, who informed the police.

She was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where she was declared brought dead.

The police said there were no eyewitnesses. The police have registered a case of causing death due to negligence under Section 304 A of the IPC against unidentified accused at the Industrial Area police station.



Power sector reforms
UT gets ministry nod to tie up with Haryana
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
The screening committee of the Union Power Ministry has given the go-ahead to the UT Administration to tie up with the Haryana Government to start work on the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (RAPDRP) to implement power sector reforms.

Earlier, the UT Electricity Department had tied up with Punjab and work was allotted to M/s Spanco. However, due to the poor performance of Spanco in Bihar, Punjab and other states, the allotment has been put on hold by the UT Administration following directions from the Joint Secretary (Power), Government of India.

Confirming the development, UT Superintending Engineer (Electricity) MP Singh said the HCL was carrying out work for Haryana and soon work on the Chandigarh project would also be started.

According to the proposal, the UT Electricity Department had planned to implement power reforms, including introduction of the management integrated system (MIS), the geographical information system among other initiatives to boost e-governance in the working of the department.

With computerisation, the UT Electricity Department will be able to create a database of the information, including electrical load, sanctioned connections, consumers’ grievances and billing. According to the plan, the UT will put in place the MIS to speed up day-to-day work procedures in the department. With the introduction of the MIS, the department will adopt the use of IT applications for meter reading, billing, collection, energy accounting, auditing and redressal of consumers' grievances.

Round-the-clock call centre to be set up

Under the proposed plan, computerisation of the UT Electricity Department will be done. A round-the-clock call centre for redressal of consumers' grievance will also be set up.


Reshuffling exercise at UT Estate Office
Staff holding public dealing posts for over 3 yrs shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
To bring transparency in the functioning of the Estate Office, the Estate Office authorities have initiated a major exercise to reshuffle employees who have been handling public dealing posts for over three years.

At the first go, around 20 employees have been transferred. Reshuffling of another 20 employees was expected in the coming days.

Estate Officer Mohammed Shayin said as per the guidelines of the Central Vigilance Commission, the employees could not hold on to posts for over three years.“We have prepared a list of such employees and accordingly the reshuffling is being done”, he said.

Recently, 56 employees hade been reshuffled. The reshuffled employees are in different wings of the Estate Office.

Assistant Estate Officer Balbir Singh Dhol said after getting approval of the Estate Office, the reshuffling had been done.

It has been many years since the last major reshuffle had taken place. A number of posts in the Estate Office are considered to be sensitive.

In the past, UT officials have been trying to create inter-departmental transfers among different departments of the Chandigarh Administration. “The employees of the Estate Office, Chandigarh Housing Board, office of the Deputy Commissioner and the Engineering Department should be transferred from one department to another”, said a senior UT official.



New CHB Chairman takes charge today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
Bhupinder Singh Bhalla, a 1990-batch UT cadre officer, will take the charge of Chairman of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) tomorrow. Bhalla was earlier posted as the Administrator of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

At present, VP Singh, Commssioner, MC, was holding the additional charge of the CHB Chairman after the transfer of Satya Gopal to Mizoram.

Besides, the charge of Additional Secretary (Home) Prerna Puri, a 2006-batch AGMUT-cadre officer, who is currently on leave, has been given to 2011 UT cadre officer, Kashish Mittal, who is also holding the charge of the Director (tourism) and the Registering and Licensing Authority (RLA).



Chandigarh can be made first smart city, says minister
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
Piyush Goyal, Minister of State for Power, Coal and Renewable Energy, today said Chandigarh can be made the first “smart city” in the country.

Goyal, during his visit to Chandigarh, also addressed BJP workers at the BJP office, Sector 33. Goyal, who was welcomed by Member of Parliament (MP) Kirron Kher and BJP president Sanjay Tandon, said Chandigarh was close to the road map prepared by the Central Government for smart cities. If the Administration and residents would contribute then Chandigarh could be developed as the first “smart city”, he said.

Goyal also urged the BJP workers to continuing their work to solve problems being faced by residents here.



Newborn girl found abandoned in P’kula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 19
A day-old girl child was found dumped in a garbage dump at Railla village, Sector 12, here this morning.A woman of the village who happened to pass by raised the alarm on hearing cries of the infant.

The newborn was rushed to the hospital by the police after being alerted by the villagers who had gathered at the spot.Dr Raj Kumar, the doctor on duty at the Sector 6 General Hospital, said the infant weighed 2.7kg and was in poor condition. “We have put her on oxygen and her condition is being regularly observed”, Kumar said.

The police apprehend that the victim belonged to a family of migrant couple. The police are making effort to track the parents of the girl.



Mohali residents told to pay property tax by Aug 31
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 19
Even as the municipal corporation has made an announcement asking residents to deposit property tax for 2013-14 without the payment of any penalty or interest by August 31, the Congress has hit out at the SAD-BJP government for misleading people on the tax issue during the Lok Sabha elections.

Congress MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu said today the state government had indulged in a “political stunt” to garner votes during the general election.

He said the Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal had stated before the Lok Sabha elections that a review committee in connection with the imposition of property tax had been set up. However, Sidhu said, no meeting of the review committee had been held so far to discuss the controversial issue.

Sidhu further said that MP Prem Singh Chandumajra had also been telling residents of Mohali during his Lok Sabha election campaign that no property tax would be levied. But now, residents were being financially burdened and told to deposit their property tax.He said earlier, a large number of residents had been charged penalities, while depositing property tax. “Will the civic body now refund the penalty amounts collected from the residents?” asked the MLA. Uma Shankar Gupta, Commissioner, municipal corporation. said today The Commissioner said no concession would be given after August 31 and residents would have to pay 100 per cent penalty while depositing the tax after the specified date. Legal action would also be initiated against all residents who failed to deposit their property tax, added the Commissioner.

Camps will be held to facilitate residents
Uma Shankar Gupta, Commissioner, municipal corporation. said camps would be held daily from August 20 to 31 from 10 am to 4 pm. Two camps would be set up at the office of the civic body. The other places where the camps would be held were near the State Bank of Patiala in Phase VII, near Amrit Confectioners in Phase V, near the DC’s office in Phase I near Silvi Park in Phase X, and near the MIA office in Phase VII of the Industrial Area.



Youth’s death: Mohali police await postmortem report
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 19
In the death case of 22-year-old Deepak Sikri, the Mohali police are awaiting the postmortem report to start the next course of action.

Mohali SSP Inder Mohan Singh Bhatti said: “We would decide our next course of action only after ascertaining the cause of death.

The body of Sikri, who belonged to Nangal and was working with a private IT firm in Mohali, was found from a canal in Ropar yesterday. He was missing from Mohali since August 11. His relatives had lodged a complaint against his Mohali-based employer Vijay Kumar at the Phase 1 Police Station, here, in this regard.

The police had registered a case of kidnapping.

The family of the deceased suspected that he was murdered as the victim was allegedly harassed by Vijay on one pretext or the other.

Yesterday, after a protest was staged by his kin, the police have sent the SHO of the Phase 1 Police Station Ravinder Kumar to Police Lines and put the investigating officer under suspension for their misconduct with the deceased’s family members.



Farad Kendras a boon: DC

Mohali, August 19
As many as 96,458 farads and 3,65,754 attested copies of records have been issued so far through Farad Kendras in Mohali district,

DC Tejinder Pal Singh Sidhu said today. The Farad Kendras were proving beneficial to the public. — OC



Tata Motors launches Zest

Tata Motors on Tuesday announced the launch of Zest, the all new, sub-four metre compact sedan with a starting price of Rs 4.64 lakh, ex-showroom, Chandigarh, for the petrol Revotron 1.2T model and Rs 5.64 lakh, ex-showroom, Chandigarh, as the starting price for the diesel variant. The Zest will come up with the Revotron 1.2T, the first engine from the new family of gasoline engines from Tata Motors, and will be India’s first Turbocharged Multi-point Fuel Injection (MPFi) Petrol engine.

Dr Batra’s celebrates treating 1 million patients

Dr Batra’s opened 150th clinic in Mumbai and celebrated treating 1 million patients. Dr Mukesh Batra, a Padma Shri recipient for medicine (Homoeopathy), founded Dr Batra’s Positive Health Clinic Private Limited as a patient-driven institution in Mumbai in 1982.

SM Swathi assumes charge of bank

SM Swathi has assumed charge as executive director (ED) of Bharatiya Mahila Bank Limited. Prior to taking over as the ED of the bank, she was the general manager of Corporation Bank.

‘Be the Ranger’ campaign

Sonic, a part of Viacom18’s kids cluster on Tuesday launched its ‘Be the Ranger’ campaign at Moti Ram Arya School, Panchkula. Power Rangers and Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles travelled to the school engaging students through various activities. Self-defence techniques were taught to them. Sonic will also be bearing a new series ‘Extreme Football’. The show follows the adventures of five teams of teenagers who compete every weekend in an extreme football tournament.

Nominations invited

Media Magix, a Binani media enterprise of Braj Binani Group of companies, invites nominations for the 14th Ghanshyam Binani Children’s Bravery Award. Nominations are invited from across the country for the children under 16 years of age. The act should reflect bravery against physical attack/violence or by risking his or her own life for saving a life, or for social cause for the welfare of society. — TNS



Now, 16 student parties in the race
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
With the launch of the Youth Organisation of India (YOI) on the Panjab University campus today, the number of student parties that have announced to contest the students’ council elections has reached 16.

In previous years, not more than 10 parties contested the elections. Political experts are attributing the mushrooming of new parties to disgruntled senior leaders.

Majority of these parties have been constituted by old senior leaders who failed to find any place in their party for the upcoming elections. With these new student parties, old leaders will get an indirect entry to their mainstream party by getting into an alliance with them.

Sources said senior student leader Amninder Mann, who was sidelined by the Students’ Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU), was planning to join the YOI. There are also reports that the new party is already in talks with SOPU for an alliance in the coming council elections.

During its launch today, party president Rajvinder Singh Dhanaula and campus in charge Angad Waraich told their supporters that they would announce the party panel by the end of this week.

In the past one month, two other parties have been launched on the PU campus.

First, the Youth Welfare Association (YUWA) that had been contesting elections in the past two years by fielding Independent candidates.

The other party is the Gandhi Group Student Union (GGSU), constituted in the memory of a former student leader of the university: Rupinder Singh Gandhi.

Student leaders from other parties such as the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) and Students Organisation of India (SOI) have joined the organisation. The party has already announced an unconditional alliance with the Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU).

PUSU declares girls’ panel

Panjab University Students’ Union (PUSU) announced its girls’ wing panel today. Sandeep Bhullar of the department of mass communication has been nominated the president, while Arshdeep Dhaliwal of the botany department will be the vice-president. Navneet Sekhon will act the as the campus in charge, Lovleen Kaur as sciences in charge, Gurleen Kaur as pharmacy in charge, Navneet Sekhon as UIET in charge, Raman Dhaliwal as UIET co ordinator and Kamalpreet Kaur as hostel in charge.

Setback for INSO

In a major setback to the Indian National Students’ Organisation (INSO), party campus president Yumit Chopra of the UIET today joined PUSU. Yumit denied that he was ever associated with INSO. He said he had always been an active PUSU member.

Two parties served notice

The university today served four notices on two student parties. DSW Navdeep Goyal said two SOPU leaders were served notices for the second time for violating the defacement of property Act. Two SOI leaders, too, were served notices for similar violations.

No ‘space’ for newcomers
Student parties launched on the PU campus in the past one month will not be getting any space to paste posters seeking support for their nominees. The university authorities have taken the decision due to the shortage of space.



SOI, HSA press demands
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
Pressing Panjab University students’ long-pending demands, the Students’ Organisation of India (SOI) today protested outside the Vice-Chancellor’s office. The party leaders said the demands were on their manifesto for the past two years.

The demands pertain to girls’ hostels, dental institute and lack of cleanliness at eateries, canteens and messes on the campus.

The university authorities assured the protesters that their demands will be fulfilled at the earliest.

Another party, Haryana Students’ Association (HSA), too, staged a protest on the issue of introduction of improvement exams at the Univertsity Institute of Legal Studies. A committee has been constituted by the PU to look into the demands raised by the party.



Government school principals reshuffled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
The UT Education Department has transferred nine government school principals. Earlier, in the months of May and June, 24 teachers were transferred.

This comes after not a single transfer was carried out in the previous academic session.

Stating the reason behind transfers, Director Public Instructions (School) Kamlesh Kumar said: “It is an administrative decision taken to improve the functioning of schools and to bring in more vibrancy and better academic results.”

The transferred principals include Indra Beniwal who will be moving from Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector 10, to GMSSS-33 and Surinder Singh who will be moving from GMSSS-33 to GMSSS-21.

Other principals shifted by the department are Jasbir Kaur (from GMSSS-21 to GMSSS-40), Rajinder Kaur (from GMSSS-40 to GMSSS-44), Prem Joshi (from GMSSS-44 to GMSSS-38(W)), Baljinder Singh (from GMSSS-38(W) to GMSSS-Karsan), Harbir Singh Anand (from GMSSS-Karsan to GMSSS-10), Raj Bala (from Government High School, Sector 53, to GMSSS-37D) and Neeta Sandhu (from GMSSS-37D to Government Girls’ Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 18).

The transfer policy of the Education Department states that principals, headmasters and headmistresses should be transferred after five years of their stay at a school. For lecturers, masters, mistresses, C&V teachers and junior basic teachers, the period is 10 years. Violating this policy, a number of educationists have been serving for over two decades at the same school.



Children get tips on road safety

Chandigarh, August 19
The Chandigarh traffic police conducted seminars on road safety at Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Sector 26, and St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School, Sector 44.

Traffic marshal CS Grewal highlighted ways to ensure safety on roads. The importance of wearing helmets, following road signs and obeying traffic rules was emphasised. — TNS



residential schools for meritorious students
260 denied admission
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 19
Having denied admission to as many as 260 girl students in Class XI in the newly opened special residential schools for meritorious students, the tall claims of the Punjab Government regarding providing top class education to such students apparently fell flat.

The officials concerned claimed that due to some technical reasons, these students could not be given admission to the special schools, opened in six districts - Mohali, Bathinda, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Patiala - of the state.

However, the officials admitted they had applied on time and in a proper manner.

“Arrangements of admission of these students to other government schools have been made so that studies of students do not suffer,” said KS Bhullar, project director of the Society of Quality Education for Meritorious Schools, Punjab, which is responsible for running these special schools.

Notably, the students have already suffered losses as classes in government associated/affiliated schools have already started last month.

“Our wards have been lagging behind in studies without any fault on our side,” said some worried parents.

On the other hand, the Punjab Education Department has asked the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) authorities to accommodate these students in the government schools by extending the last date of admission in the schools.

PSEB secretary GS Batth said the last date of admission had already been extended to August 30. “Besides, these students could submit their registration/continuation fee forms at the board’s office before September 9,” Batth said.



from schools
Science exhibition

Chandigarh: A two-day science exhibition was held at Government Senior Secondary School, Raipur Khurd. Students put on display models on global warming, types of pollution, bio-diversity, trends in education and women’s empowerment.

Devotional evening

CL Aggarwal DAV School organised a “bhajan sandhya”. The campus reverberated with devotional songs. Children were told about significance of Vedic norms.

Fun races

Montessori wing students of St Teresa Convent School took part in the races. Every nook and corner of the school came alive with their laughter.

World Humanitarian Day

Panchkula: The Sky World School conducted a special activity on World Humanitarian Day. Students prepared “thank you” cards for the helping staff to acknowledge their hard work. — TNS



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