C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Day after, more body parts found
Were packed in a polybag; the victim, a youth, appears to be from a well-off family
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 21
A day after an arm of a youth, believed to be in his early twenties, was found near a drain in Sector 28 here, the Panchkula police today stumbled upon two legs and another arm of the victim at a distance of 100 metres from the spot. The body parts had been cut into six pieces and packed in a polybag.

The police are yet to ascertain the identity of the victim, who appears to be from a well-off family.

All body parts were dumped in a cement bag with waste material, broken bangles and used milk packets. The police are looking for the remaining body parts of the youth, which could help them identify the victim. Two used milk packets had the date of September 16 printed on them. The crime appears to have taken place recently as the body parts were not decomposed,” said the police.

ACP Jagtar Singh said, “It appears the youth was first murdered and then his body chopped. It’s a horrifying case.”

The SHO of the Chandimandir police station, Inspector Arvind Kumar, said, “We have flashed messages to all police stations to find out if any report of a missing person has been lodged.”

The body parts have been kept at the mortuary of the General Hospital in Sector 6. DNA samples could also help the police in their investigation.

The police have not ruled out the possibility of honour killing in the matter.

Dog squad pressed into service

After the police failed to locate the remaining body parts, they called a dog squad in the evening. The search operation was continuing till the filing of this report.

‘Kara’ can help identify the victim

A “kara” was found from the victim’s arm, which can help the police identify the victim.

Milk packets were examined by the forensic team. The date printed on these was September 16. 



Civic body spends lakhs on futile study tours 
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
It is not the first time that councillors and officers of the Municopal Corporation (MC) have gone on study tours that have turned leisure tours without yielding any results. Eleven study tours have been organised by the MC between 2004 and 2012 at a cost of around Rs 90.53 lakh. These have failed to generate any results.

Without considering the suggestions made by teams during the previous study tours, councillors and MC officials keep visiting the same cities, leading to a wastage of the public money.

Since 2004, councillors have visited Chennai and Bengaluru thrice and Kolkata twice.

Interestingly, the MC authorities, even after spending such a huge amount on the study tours, have failed to benefit the city in any way.

In 2012, BJP councillor Satinder Singh had asked the House about the projects initiated by the civic body on the basis of the study tours. In reply, the authorities had stated that no such record was available with the MC. “The MC failed to provide information on what the city has gained out of these study tours,” Satinder Singh said.

The study tour to Kerala in 2010 had cost the MC Rs 15.81 lakh. Similarly, on the tour to Kolkata and Gangtok, Rs 16.37 lakh was spent while Rs Rs 16.39 lakh was spent on the tour to Bengaluru and Coimbatore.

The councillors have not only enjoyed leisure trips within the country, but abroad as well. In 2007, 16 councillors went on a tour to Singapore and Bangkok that cost the MC over Rs 15 lakh. The park for the visually impaired set up in Sector 26 following a study tour to Singapore is not serving the purpose.

A BJP councillor has once again sought details about the nine-day tour to Chennai and Kolkata, organised by the MC recently at a cost of Rs 27 lakh.

Sightseeing tours!

Councillors and MC officials, during their nine-day study tour earlier this month, which was approved by the UT Administration, went to some places which were not there in the itinerary. The councillors, during their visit to Port Blair, also visited several islands, including Havelok, Ross and Coral. They also went to Tirupati, which was also not part of their tour. The Administration had approved the study tour to Chennai, Port Blair and Kolkata. However, the councillors went for sightseeing, splurging the public money.



18-year-old girl killed in hit-and-run case
Tribune News Service

The rehri that overturned after being hit by a vehicle near Kala Gram in Chandigarh on Sunday.
The rehri that overturned after being hit by a vehicle near Kala Gram in Chandigarh on Sunday. A Tribune photograph 

Chandigarh, September 21
A 18-year-old girl died after an unidentified vehicle hit the rehri she was travelling in between Kala Gram and the Housing Board light point late this evening. This is the third fatal accident reported from this road in less than a week.

Police sources said the vehicle, which was on its way to Panchkula, hit the rehri and sped away.

The victim, identified as Urmila, was taken to the PGI where she was declared brought dead.

Police officials said eight persons, including five children, all resident of Mauli Jagran, were sitting on the rehri when the accident took place. All of them were injured. Jasbir Singh was riding the rehri.

Sources said the footage of the CCTV cameras installed near the accident spot was being scrutinised to get some clue to the vehicle.

Accidents reported from the killer stretch

  • September 18: A 16-year-old girl died while her mother was injured after an unidentified vehicle hit their scooter at the railway light point.
  • September 16: A 24-year-old cyclist crushed to death under a CTU bus.


Solar power tariff
First public hearing session today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
To determine the solar power tariff, members of the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) will hold a public hearing session tomorrow.

It will be for the first time in the city when residents will have their say in deciding the solar power tariff.

The JERC will hold public hearing session at the Government Museum and Art Gallery auditorium in Sector 10.

The Chandigarh Renewable Energy Science and Technology Promotion Society (CREST) will sell solar power to the UT Electricity Department on the basis of that tariff.

The JERC had recently approved the sale of solar power to the UT Electricity Department at the rate of Rs 1.13 per unit against the Rs 8.75 per unit demanded by CREST in a petition filed on behalf of the UT Department of Science and Technology.

Thereafter, CREST had challenged the order and now a public hearing session would be organised on the issue.

CREST is executing SPV projects on behalf of the UT Department of Science and Technology with financial assistance from the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The SPV projects are being installed on the rooftop of government buildings, schools and colleges in the city.

Revision to help Power Dept save Rs 3.8 cr annually

Santosh Kumar, Director, Science and Technology Department and CEO, CREST, said the proposed revision of solar tariff by JERC would not hike the overall electricity tariff for the consumer. He says, “I would like to inform everybody that every state/UT has been mandated to buy solar electricity as part of their RPO obligations. For the UT, Chandigarh, Solar RPO fixed by JERC is 0.6 per cent of the total electricity consumption for 2014-2015,. This implies that the Chandigarh Electricity Department (CED) has to buy around 8.5 million units (MU) of solar electricity this year. CED is at present meeting its solar RPO obligation by purchasing solar REC (renewable energy certificates) @ Rs 9.3 per unit. This is only a certificate and no physical electricity is provided through this mechanism. If we add the average cost of one unit of electricity which is Rs 3.2 per unit for CED, then the effective cost of solar electricity is Rs 12.5 per unit. If CED purchases solar electricity from CREST even @ Rs  8 per unit, there will be a net saving of Rs 4.5 per unit of electricity. This amounts to saving of nearly Rs 3.8 crore rupees for CED for 2014-15. The benefit will be carried over to the consumer”.



Open House response
Rid city of stray dogs before it’s too late, say residents
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has not been able to tackle the stray dog menace. While MC officials blame animal rights groups for preventing them from doing the needful, residents remain at the receiving end. Chandigarh Tribune asked its readers what can be done to check the menace.

Lack of adequate drive to be blamed

The root cause of the problem is lack of adequate drive by the MC to sterilise stray dogs. We, citizens, feed them in front of our houses. Animal activists also add to the problem by preventing harsher actions to minimise the problem. The solution lies in strengthening the hands of the MC by equipping them with adequate staff to sterilise dogs, as also eliminating those which go mad and bite people freely.

Vikram Singh Saini, Mohali

Keep a check on breeding

The MC should keep a check on the breeding of stray dogs and control it by vaccination.

SK Mittal, Panchkula

Speed up proliferation process

The Municipal Corporation has to intensify its campaign against proliferation of stray dogs. It should catch 30 to 40 stray dogs everyday and make sure that their sterilisation could be done.

Mili Mahajan, Kharar

Killing them is not a solution

In my view, killing stray dogs is not a solution. After all, they are also living beings. If a stray dog is going wild, it must be due to changes in its living environment or in its health. We have no right to kill them or spay them. I think government can check this problem in a social and scientific way. It is better to take a sensitive decision in this regard.

Balbir Singh Saini, Chandigarh

Open house question

The nine-day councillors’ study tour to Chennai, Port Blair and Kolkata has kicked off a debate on the need to organise such junkets. In the past too, councillors have been going on study tours that have failed to yield any positive results. Is there any need to arrange such tours? How can such tours help in improving the quality of life of the city residents. Send your suggestions in not more than 100 words, along with a passport size picture in the JPG format, to openhouse@tribunemail.com

Animal rights groups should be reasonable

I would request animal rights groups to be reasonable because by professing to protect the animal rights, they can’t ignore the innocent residents who become victims of stray dogs.

Lajpat Rai Garg, Panchkula

Make sufficient dog shelters

The most effective way to curb this menace in future is to catch and sterilise stray dogs to curb the uncontrolled growth. The other way out is to make sufficient dog shelters to keep them in the closed environment and away from the residential areas.

Wg Cdr Jasbir Singh Minhas (retd), Mohali

Stray dogs a nuisance

Stray dogs are not only nuisance but also pose a danger to human beings. It is said “only the bearer knows where the shoe pinches”. Ask a person who is the victim of a dog bite and he or she will tell his or her agony. As such, the solution to this problem must be found either by catching stray dogs and lodging them at one place or vaccinating them.

Ujagar Singh, Chandigarh

Adopt birth-control measures

The Chandigarh Administration should try to come up with some shelter homes or dog homes on the outskirts of the city for stray dogs like we have “gaushalas” for stray cattle. Animal birth-control measures shall be adopted to check the growing birth rate of stray dogs.

Dr Navkirat Chauhan, Chandigarh

Don’t feed stray dogs

Stray dogs are mostly found in the areas where residents throw garbage. In order to find food, dogs gather at such places. They might even become ferocious and bite passers-by. Some of the residents feed stray dogs without realising that they may harm other residents of the locality.

Aishwarya, Mohali

Dog catchers should be actively involved

No dog catchers are visible anywhere in the city and the number of dogs is increasing day by day. The agency should be responsible for catching the dogs, making them infertile and looking after them in dog shelters. This is the only option left with the MC as all other ways to catch stray dogs have failed.

Ravinder Nath, Chandigarh

Tie up with Wordwide Veterinary Service

The Municipal Corporation should take a cue from Jaipur which has successfully controlled the canine population by implementing the Animal Birth Control programme. It can tie up with Wordwide Veterinary Service and Dogs Trust to impart training to its personnel.

IPS Anand, Mani Majra

Control birth rate of dogs

There is an immediate need to remove stray dogs from roads and parks in the city and control the birth rate of the dogs.

Sukhpal Singh, Chandigarh

Relocate dogs to uninhabited areas

Sterilisation has not succeeded too well in controlling the burgeoning stray dog population and seems to have made such dogs more ferocious. Creating dog pounds or relocating them to uninhabited areas are also measures that need more attention. Dog catching and entrapment methods are rustic, warning dogs to scatter and escape. These could be streamlined.

Jai Singh, Chandigarh

NGOs should cooperate with authorities

NGOs or animal rights groups should also cooperate with the MC authorities by adopting or castrating these stray dogs and helping the residents by making them lead a peaceful life. Hopefully, such concrete steps will address this issue and will not force the Punjab and Haryana Court to take any legal action against them.

Priya Darsh Growar, Mohali

Adopt a balanced approach

MC officials should adopt a balanced approach with regard to tackling the menace so that the population of stray dogs could be brought down.

Sanjay Srivastava, Chandigarh

Study tour failed to yield results

The so-called “People for Animals” care for the lives of dogs and not for human beings who get bitten by stray dogs. These people must be asked to foot the bills on the treatment for dog bite. They should be asked to take steps to prevent dogs from biting people on streets, parks, markets, etc. Moreover, what the Councillors did after returning from the study tour from Nashik on dog-bite cases and their prevention? The money spent on their tour must be recovered from them with 1,000 per cent fine.

RK Kapoor, New Jersey (US)

Public money wasted on study tour

We can’t expect anything from the MC authorities. They do only for themselves and not for the public. They have wasted the public money by sending Councillors on the study tour on stray dogs to Nashik and by purchasing vehicles in the name of dog squads. They did nothing except blaming animal right groups.

Sat Pal Kansal, Chandigarh

Eliminate stray dogs every year

The Municipal Corporation authorities have been wasting huge money over the years to control the population of dogs without yielding any results. The MC should eliminate stray dogs every year to control their population as dog-bite cases have reached an alarming situation.

KC Rana, Chandigarh

Assns must create animal yards

Animal lovers associations should create animal yards for the development of species so that dogs may not move and bite residents on roads.

MPS Chadha, Mohali

Adequate staff required

The solution lies in strengthening the hands of the MC by equipping them with adequate staff to sterilise dogs.

Colonel RD Singh (retd),Ambala Cantt

MC should accelerate sterilisation drive

The MC needs to come up with more kennels in the city where stray dogs can be looked after in a proper manner. The pace of sterilisation drive needs to be accelerated to check the increasing population of stray dogs.

Ramesh K Dhiman, Chandigarh

Resolve issue once and for all

The Chandigarh Administration should convene a meeting of MC officials, animal rights groups and invite citizens, especially those bitten by stray dogs, to resolve the issue in the City beautiful once and for all.

Col BS Mathauda (retd), Mohali

comment: Rajmeet Singh
Effective policy need of the hour

At least 25 dog-bite cases are reported every day and there have been a total of 16,383 cases in the past three years. In the absence of an effective policy and inability of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) of Chandigarh to control the number of stray dogs, the menace continues to haunt the city residents.

Dog-bite cases apart, the city is virtually in the grip of stray-dog menace if official statistics are to be believed. As per the UT’s 19th Livestock Census Report released recently, 7,928 stray dogs roam on the streets of the city. In the previous livestock enumeration exercise held in 2007, the population of stray dogs was pegged at 5,713. This indicates 38.77 per cent increase in the canine population. In 2013, there were nearly 8,000 dog-bite cases, while in 2012, the figure stood at 6,900. In 2011, the anti-rabies dispensary in Sector 19 received a total of 4,724 cases of dog bites from the tricity.

The situation has indeed touched an alarming proportion calling for emergent measures to check the menace. It is felt that this has happened due to half-hearted attempts made by the authorities to check the growing population of the canines. A trip by municipal councillors to Nashik to study ways of controlling the menace also did not yield any result.

Officials have ready statistics to explain their side of the story. MC officials claim that in the past five years, 6,948 dogs have been sterilised and vaccinated against rabies. They also blame the animal rights groups in hampering their drive against stray dogs.

Animal lovers have their side of the story. They argue that The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act forbids the killing of dogs. The law also states that street dogs cannot be beaten or driven away. They can merely be sterilised in a manner envisaged in the Animal Birth Control (dogs) Rule - 2001, vaccinated and then returned to their original location. Those trying to interfere in the work being carried out by animal rights activists can be held liable for having violated the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The animal right groups argue that due to a handful of dogs who are aggressive, people falsely accuse all dogs of being ferocious and posing a threat to human lives. They point out that there are more stories of mongrels rescuing people in danger than biting them. Whatever the truth, it is the city’s denizens who are at the receiving end. Voices expressing concerns over stray dog menace in Chandigarh are on the increase. Now the civic body has come under fire from the Punjab and Haryana High Court and it has launched a toll-free emergency services-cum-stray dog helpline.

But surely the slew of measures taken are not enough. Much more is required to check the menace.

In many countries, culling of stray dogs is allowed. In Romania, for example, after an infant was killed by a pack of stray dogs, such was the anger that the country passed a law allowing extermination of unwanted dogs. However, the new law was stayed by the courts. Ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi (Russia), the local authorities there have been killing stray animals. But a lot of countries prefer spaying and neutering of animals.

At home, till the law is amended for harsher measures, the least that should be done is to accelerate the pace of sterilisation drive to check the population of unwanted canines. There is also a demand for imposition of punitive punishment and heavy fines on those feeding stray dogs around the residential areas. When stray dogs collect around such houses, they are a nuisance to others.

Instead of the painful method of sterilisation, the MC needs to perform laparoscopic sterilisation, considered to be more humane on dogs. The doctors can conduct 30 laparoscopic surgeries a day whereas only 10 dogs can be attended to by the traditional approach. Also, a dog can leave the hospital care in two days compared to the four days of confinement under the standard surgery. The technology has also been effectively put to use by the Pune Municipal Corporation.

(*The writer is Chief City Reporter)



Teachers block Mohali-Kharar highway; commuters harassed

Mohali, September 21
Hundreds of commuters were left harassed when members of the Computer Teachers Joint Front, Punjab, blocked the Mohali-Kharar highway for hours to press for their demands.

The members of the front sat in the middle of the highway near the Kharar bus stand at around 1.15 pm today. Their main demand is to regularise them and bring them under the Punjab Education Department.

Long queues of vehicles were seen on both sides of the main road. Rush of vehicles was also seen on the inner roads of the town as motorists entered into narrow roads to reach their destinations.

“I stuck in the traffic jam for around three hours on my way to home from Gharuan. It usually takes around 15 minutes to cover the distance. Not only the main road, the inner road leading to my house was jam packed with vehicles,” said Amandeep Singh, a Kharar resident.

Kulwant Singh, another resident of Kharar, said the entire town virtually came to halt due to the protest.

“Vehicles were all around on the roads for hours. The police swung into action too late,” said Kulwant Singh.

Mohali SP (Headquarters) Harpal Singh Sandhu claimed that traffic from Landran, Morinda, Kurali and Balongi was diverted.

“There was traffic jam, but after some time the situation was brought under control,” said the SP. The blockade continued till the filing of the report. — TNS



Over 200 run for smoke-free life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Over 200 people took part in a marathon organised by three voluntary organisations - Take a Breath of Fresh Air, Chandigarh Runners and Tecspa - at Sukhna Lake here today. It was organised to help smokers give up their habit and promote fitness and healthy lifestyle by adopting running as a way of life.

UT Home Secretary Anil Kumar formally flagged off the rally. He himself ran some distance to encourage the participants. Only a few participants ran full marathon of 42 km. Some others started a couple of hours later to complete half-marathon of 21 km.

The organisations pledged to continue with their efforts to involve more and more citizens of the tricity in their campaign to run for smoke-free and healthy life.

The participants were led by Navi Mumbai-based Kripa Sagar, who has been spearheading the “Take a Breath of Fresh Air” in state capitals across the country with the motto of quitting smoking joyfully, and Dharminder Sharma, IFS, who is one of the founding members of Chandigarh Runners that is out to promote running as a way of healthy living. Tecspa has decided to whole-heartedly support their efforts. 



Hacker steals vital data after getting duplicate SIM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
A Panchkula-based IT professional has complained that his vital business-related information has been stolen by a hacker under the guise of changing the Vodafone SIM card for which no request had been made by the mobile connection holder.

In his complaint to the mobile service provider, Vodafone and the police, Pankaj Saini, the complainant, said the request to change the SIM card was accepted and processed without even him knowing about it”.

He came to know about the wrong doing when his phone stopped working and the same phone number was with another person to whom the new SIM was issued by the operator.

“I, Immediately lodged a complaint at the Vodafone customer centre and requested them to block the new SIM. I booked the complaint around 7.45 pm on September 11. From September 11 and September 12, the hacker used the SIM to steal the data and other software from the website, causing financial loss to me”, said the IT professional.

The hacker changed the password security code on the registered mobile number and he deliberately used this opportunity to change the password of my e- mail and registered it on another mobile number which belonged to him. All my business mail, my personal ID proof scanned copies stored in the mail have been hacked, and can be misused for any illegal purpose.

A spokesman of the Vodafone said, “Vodafone India, as a responsible operator, strictly adheres to all applicable rules and regulations. All SIM activations are done post proper validation and verification call by customers as defined under the DoT guidelines. We have been made aware of the case and are investigating the same.”



Reporters Diary
Councillors seeking media attention

Councillors who were not part of the nine-day study tour to Chennai, Port Blair and Kolkata organised by the municipal corporation (MC), are busy calling up journalists these days requesting them to publish the names of the councillors who were part of the futile study tour. The councillors who were part of the tour have also been leaking pictures of the tours to the media in a bid to ensure the issue gets wide publicity.

Only for publicity

Just to get media attention, various trader and industrialist organisations are sending press notes on various issues to different media houses. But when it comes to taking up the issues with the UT Administration, these organisations hardly comes forward. Some of the association presidents are only concerned about highlighting their names in the newspapers rather than the issue. Due to such a mindset of association heads, the UT bureaucrats are also not considering their demands.

Face saver for P’kula cops The death sentence in the honour killing case came as a face saver for the Panchkula police that was already facing criticism for shoddy investigations in the Jyoti murder case leading to the acquittal of Doon MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary. After the death sentence, the local police officials were seen saying ‘our investigations are not so shoddy.

U-turn by Education Dept

The UT Education Department within a span of one week took a U-turn on its own decision on bidding of uniforms. Last week, the DPI had said that the norms had been changed in order to speed up the procurement of uniforms however, within seven days he retracted from his own decision, making the process of inviting bids chaotic. First the bidders had to get the uniforms tested before bidding, then, they were told not to do so and now again they have been asked to get a laboratory test done before bidding.

Bolt from the blue

Fielding of Latika Sharma as a candidate from Kalka Assembly constituency by the BJP has come as a bolt from the blue for some party leaders who had already started their election campaign. Some of the ticket aspirants had even hired public relation (PR) agencies to highlight their achievements and day-to-day developments in newspapers.

Lobby behind diesel-run auto-rickshaws

Controlling diesel-run autos in the city has become a problem for the state transport authorities. It is like standing against a well-organised and well-heeled nexus between auto operators and officials. Such is the powerful lobby, that the department is hiring more motor-vehicle inspectors.

Contributed by: Amit Sharma, Rajinder Nagarkoti, Hina Rohtaki, Mehakdeep, Bipin Bhardwaj and Rajmeet Singh



hit-and-run case
Cops fail to track vehicle that killed 16-year-old
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Even four days after an unidentified vehicle hit a scooter claiming the life of a 16-year old girl, the Chandigarh Police have failed to get any clue of the vehicle.

Victim Garima Gulati, a Class XI student, had died while her mother was injured when the vehicle hit their scooter at the Railway light point.

Victim’s father Jatinder Gulati stated that the local police have failed to get any clue of the vehicle that hit the scooter.

Police sources said that the CCTV camera installed near the accident spot had been scrutinised in which a mini-truck was seen, however, the registration number of the vehicle was not visible in the footage.

The victim’s father said that they were expecting some eyewitnesses to come forward and provide some details regarding the accident and registration number of the vehicle. 



INLD accuses Hooda govt of foul play
Power goes off as MP Dushyant Chautala reaches venue for poll campaigning
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 21
As soon as the Indian National Lok Dal’s (INLD) star campaigner Dushyant Chautala, MP from Hisar, reached the venue to campaign for Kulbushan Goel, INLD candidate from Panchkula, the power was snapped.

Due to this, INLD workers cried foul play that it was done by the incumbent government to act as a spoilsport.

Dushyant, while addressing the party workers, mentioned that the state of the Hooda Government could be gauged from the fact that the power went as soon as he reached.

Manoj Aggarwal, district president of INLD, said, “Why is it that the power went off just when the chief guests arrived. By this, if the present government feels that they will try to hamper our programme then they are mistaken.”

He added, “In fact they are doing this because they can assess that INLD will make the government this time.”

On this, executive engineer DS Dhanda said, “When we have given the clearance for landing of helicopter of Avtar Singh Badhana, INLD leader, then why would we create such hurdles. I did not get any complaint regarding the power cut in the sector.”

For about an hour, the function was carried on using a generator. Meanwhile, all the leaders aimed at the Hooda Government for not paying attention towards Panchkula. Punjab Chief Parliamentary Secretary (CPS) NK Sharma, who accompanied them, said, “Panchkula has always been neglected. There has been development in Mohali and Chandigarh but the city still has no avenue for employment.”

Aggarwal said it had been ten years and no university had come up in the township.

Dushyant Chautala said, “In ten years, Panchkula was given no industry, no university and no college. The Hooda government came up with just the Kaushalya dam for the benefit of the private builders.”



Kidnapped Dehradun boy rescued from P’kula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 21
A 17-year-old boy kidnapped from Dehradun for a ransom of Rs 5 crore was rescued from a Group Housing Society in Sector 20, late Saturday night.

A police party from Dehradun with the assistance of the Panchkula and Mohali police conducted a joint operation and safely rescued Chirag, son of a Dehradun-based transporter, from the kidnappers.

There was exchange of fire among the police and kidnappers during the rescue operation. The police, however, nabbed one kidnapper identified as Sonu Saini, while his accomplice managed to elude the police.

The kidnappers and the transport family originally hail from Hissar in Haryana.

Talking to The Tribune, Deepinder Singh, SHO, Zirakpur, revealed that the Dehradun police was in touch with him and the Panchkula police after the kidnapping.

“As the Dehradun police reached here, we launched an operation and cordoned off the society (GH-107) and rescued Chirag from flat no. 504 safely. The operation ended just in 10 minutes,” the SHO said.

The accused and the victim were taken away by the Dehradun police soon after the operation ended, the SHO claimed. 



Insurance surveyors, assessors oppose amendments to Act 
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, September 21
To lodge their protest against the Union Government’s proposal to amend the Insurance Act 2008, over 150 members of the Indian Institute of Insurance Surveyors Loss Assessors (IIISLA) held a meeting here today.

Members of the IIISLA are protesting against the government’s move to pass a new Bill with some amendments. The IIISLA members claimed that the amendments would directly benefit private insurance companies instead of benefitting the affected parties and qualified and experienced insurance surveyors and loss assessors.

While talking to The Tribune, Lalit Gupta, ex-council member, IIISLA, said in the proposed amendment, the government was going to scrap Sub-section (2) of 64UM of the Act which stipulates that for every loss above 20,000, a report from an approved surveyor is necessary. If the proposed amendment is passed, Gupta said the settlement of insurances would be on the mercy of private insurance companies. The members claimed to have given representations to various MPs. The IIISLA had also held a protest at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, to lodge their protest against the government’s move. 



KP Singh to get Mayor Greg Ballard’s Service Award
Tribune News Service

Kanwal Prakash Singh
Kanwal Prakash Singh

Chandigarh, September 21
Kanwal Prakash Singh has been chosen for the Mayor Greg Ballard’s Community Service Award, which will be presented on September 22 at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Centre.

Bachelor of Arts from Panjab University, Chandigarh, in 1958 and Bachelor of Architecture (Honors) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, in 1963, KP Singh has been honoured with various national and international awards for his outstanding contribution to society.

A member of the Asian American Alliance Board, Singh, is one of the award recipients of the Mayor Greg Ballard’s Community Service Awards.

Winner of the Daverman Merit Award in Architecture, University of Michigan, in 1965, Singh is also the recipient of the prestigious FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award 2014.



70 units of blood collected at camp

Mohali, September 21
Over 70 units of blood were collected at a blood donation camp, organised at Kharar by the Doaba Group of Colleges (DGC), Kharar, in association with the PGI Transfusion Medicine Blood Bank.

The camp was inaugurated by Capt RS Pathania, Chairman, Punjab Rajput Development Board, who was the chief guest.

Terming blood donation as ‘the noblest donation’ which saves the lives of others, DGC president HS Batth, said blood could not be manufactured like other things, it could only be donated to save the lives. — TNS



19 pvt schools fail to fill 69 pc EWS seats
Mehakdeep Grewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The 19 private schools against which the State Estate Office has initiated action had failed to fill 69 per cent of seats falling under the economically weaker sections (EWS) quota for the academic session 2013-14.

While the standoff continues between the UT Administration and the private schools, parents and the children seem to be at the receiving end.

As per the communication sent by the DPI office to the Estate office, the private schools are required to admit 15 per cent students from the EWS category as per the terms and conditions of the land allotment and decision of the Education Department issued in February 2006. However, the schools failed to fill all seats reserved for the EWS category students.

According to the details provided by the district education officer, out of the total 179 seats falling under the EWS category in these 19 schools, only 56 seats were filled during the 2013-14 academic session.

Some of the schools, including SD Saini Model School, Sector 38; Kundan International School, Sector 46; and Vivek High School, Sector 38; had failed to admit even a single student falling under the EWS category at the entry level during 2013-14.

City-based theatre artiste Zulfikar Khan, who runs an NGO for students from slum areas, said: “We have tried many times to get our slum children admitted to private schools. However, the schools turned down our requests on the ground that the seats under the EWS category have already been filled.”

HS Mamik, president, Independent Schools’ Association, said: “The Education Department is creating confusion, filling of seats under the EWS category has nothing to do with land allotment and this matter was cleared years ago.”

Meanwhile, UT Estate Officer Mohammed Shayin, on the claims of the schools, said: “The schools should provide us with the documents of their claims they are making. We had initiated action based upon the details provided to us by the Education Department.”

The UT Estate Office has initiated the process of issuing show-cause notices to the erring 19 schools.



Anti-nuclear activists raise pitch
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Anti-nuclear energy activist SP Udayakumar today asserted that nuclear power was “anti-people, anti-nature and anti-future”.

He was speaking at a seminar on “Nuclear energy is a curse at the current level of technology”, organised by an NGO, ‘Azadi Bachao Andolan,’ at the People Convention Centre in Sector 36 here.

Udayakumar, convener, People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy, which is protesting against the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant project in Tamil Nadu, said no country was ready to deal with the ramifications of a nuclear accident.

“Besides, nuclear power plants require huge amounts of water to cool their reactors. When this used water with traces of radioactive material is dumped into water bodies, it is bound to have a long-term impact. We cannot afford this at a time when diseases like cancer are spreading its tentacles,” he said.

Other things that work against nuclear reactors were decommissioning issues and cost-benefit viability, the activist added.

Azadi Bachao Andolan, Chandigarh, convener VC Nanda said: “Simple lifestyle is eco-friendly. Disturbing nature will sooner or later affect the globe.”

P Sundaram, another activist and researcher, said encouraging nuclear energy for diplomatic interests, when the problem of radioactive nuclear waste disposal was still unsettled, did not amount to wisdom.



Varsity plans rewiring work
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Keeping in view the recent incidents of minor fire or short circuit which took place due to old electricity wiring at Panjab University, the authorities have decided to begin the rewiring work. It will begin from the oldest department of the campus.

In the next Senate meeting scheduled on September 28, the authorities are going to table the proposal of electricity rewiring of the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET), the oldest department on the campus.

As per the proposal that is mooted by the authorities, Rs 82 lakh for the rewiring work is required for the UICET department. A few months ago, a minor fire incident took place at the NSS office, located in this building. During the probe, it was found that the old electricity wiring was the cause behind the fire.

A special committee recommended that the wiring should be changed immediately to avoid such incidents in future. Sources said after this incident, faculty members were asked not to use air conditions installed in their respective rooms.

Another proposal of the Political Science Department, Arts Block 3, for the rewiring work, which will be tabled in the Senate, is of Rs 5.56 lakh.

A faculty member said it was good that the authorities had initiated the rewiring work by allocating special funds. The authorities should chalk out a proposal to complete the work in phases as the university was facing a fund crunch.

Highly placed sources said a special grant for the rewiring work was demanded by the PU from the Central Government as in all old departments similar problems of short circuit or overloading was complained, especially during the summer season. As a result, no installation of new air conditioners was given to any faculty member on the campus.

Students residing in hostels are the main sufferers as there is no power back-up system in the hostels. A number of protest was staged by the students in the recent past against the power-related issues but no action was taken to resolve the same.

Senate meeting

In the next Senate meeting, scheduled for September 28, the authorities are going to table the proposal for electricity rewiring of the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology, the oldest department on the campus.



Youngsters urged to create awareness on HIV
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
With an intention to make a group of HIV-affected people self-indpendent, Enactus Dr SSBUICET, a student organisation of the Panjab University, has started a project, ‘Astitva’.

It involved a group of four HIV+ women who worked in an NGO, CNP+ (Chandigarh network of HIV + persons) and made non-woven fabric carry bags.

Due to poor management and lack of orders, the unit was closed. The team provided the unit with proper management structure, marketing skills and improved designs of bags that ultimately helped in its revival and also helped them reduce their loan balance by Rs 65,000.

A youth forum for sensitisation regarding the stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV was organised at the Commonwealth Asia Centre today. The event was presided over by Stanzin Dawa, programme manager, Commonwealth Youth Programme. The welcome speech was given by CNP+ president Pooja Thakur followed by an interactive session wherein two HIV+ women moved the audience by describing the hardships and struggles faced by them.

Stanzin shared how he was inspired to work for the HIV+ community and stressed on the need for the youth to come forward and create awareness by taking small initiatives.



From schools
Yuva Dampati Sammelan held

Sharda Sarvhitkari Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 40D, Chandigarh, organised Yuva Dampati Sammelan on its campus on Saturday. The programme began with the traditional tilak and an invocation to Goddess Saraswati. Muneshwar (sangh pracharak), who was the main speaker, presided over the function. Pre-Nursery students presented a visually attractive poem on the importance of the formation of good habits. The main speaker stressed upon the role a child plays in society. Principal of the school BS Kanwar proposed a vote of thanks.

Fine arts and project exhibition

Woodlands House School, Sector 8, Panchkula, organised its annual fine arts and project exhibition on its campus. Every class had displayed their art, craft paintings and different projects. All nursery sections had different themes during the exhibition. Nursery-A, took up the theme “A Native Panorama”. Children made models on village scenes. Principal of the school said: “The exhibition helps parents, children and teachers to work together as a team and learn how children could benefit from such efforts.” — TNS



CBSE to conduct fifth edition of Students Global Aptitude Index
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
In order to provide students of Class X individual assessment reports ahead of their entry into Class XI, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) would
be conducting the fifth edition of Students Global Aptitude Index (SGAI), pan-India in November.

The board has issued communication to all heads of schools affiliated to the board to register students for the SGAI Fifth Edition by October 7. The board, in its communication, has mentioned that it had planned to hold SGAI advocacy-cum orientation programmes in schools across the country and 17 programmes had already been concluded. Around 1,050 principals, counsellors and teachers from 656 schools have been sensitised through these programmes so far.

Further, the board has mentioned that for the purpose of facilitation, the advocacy material had been refreshed and prepared in the form of Powerpoint presentation, frequently asked questions (FAQs), teacher’s manual of activities and other advocacy material, which would be sent to the schools via e-mail.

Besides empowering students, the board has stated that the larger motive of the SGAI was to initiate a dialogue on making informed academic choices at the end of Class X among various stakeholders. As such, this becomes more significant in Indian context where subject choices of a student are often dictated by parents’ expectations, peer pressure, social prestige and various other external factors.

The SGAI supports the fact that each individual is unique in terms of aptitude, interest, personality and motivation and requires individual academic plans.

Local academician Arvind Goyal, said: “The initiative by the CBSE will be helpful for students and their parents as most of them are in a dilemma to decide the stream the student will take up after Class X. There is a great need for such initiatives in the country because the students themselves are too young to decide in Class X itself what they want to pursue in future.”

Dr Goyal said the reliability and authenticity of the testing programme would be manifold when a reputed body like the CBSE would be taking care of the programme.



Death of a Salesman staged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
The Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi in association with the Wings Theatre Academy, St Kabir School, staged the play ‘Death of a Salesman’ at the Tagore Theatre today.

The two hours and 30 minutes play, written by American playwright Arthur Miller, was directed by Zubin Mehta.

The plot of the play that is set in the 1949 era tackles universal human questions about the nature of happiness and success, of ageing and of family responsibility.

With a scintillating performance, the cast brought to life a play that was written 65 years ago, enrapturing the audience.

The flawless and confident diction of the artistes showcased the universal human questions about the nature of happiness and success, of ageing and of family responsibility. Beautifully woven, the play addresses the loss of identity and a man’s inability to accept change within himself and society.

Use of Lights, costumes and set design added to the flow of the narrative and strengthened the performances.



HSA leader ends fast
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 21
Panjab University will review the fee hike of hostels after the audit report of December 2014.

Hindustan Student Association (HSA) president Neeraj Kharb withdrew his fast today after getting assurance from PU Dean Student Welfare (DSW) Navdeep Goyal.

A committee will be constituted which will monitor the hostel facility and give feedback about the services in the hostels. The Dean Student Welfare will write to the PU sports committee through the Sports Director to adjust girls in sports hostels in case of vacancy. The DSW will also write to chief medical officer to provide proper facilities at health centre on the campus.



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