C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Home Secy’s Post
Centre rejects UT panel
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Rejecting the UT panel for the post of home secretary, the Central Government has asked the Chandigarh administration to seek a fresh panel from the Haryana Government.

The decision follows the rejection of the name of R.K. Khullar, an IAS officer of the 1988 batch, by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The new panel would be sought from Haryana following a communication by the ministry of home affairs (MHA), official sources said here tonight.

The PMO’s decision seems to have been taken in the wake of “protocol problems” following the clearance of the name of Khullar by the MHA.

UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues had recently met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and raised the issue. Khullar is the same batch as the incumbent finance secretary Sanjay Kumar, a 1988 batch officer of the Punjab cadre. In UT, the home secretary’s post is usually held by an officer senior to the finance secretary.

Earlier, the administration had cleared the name of Jyoti Arora, a 1987 batch officer. However, the MHA cleared the name of Khullar.

Since the home secretary is the chairman of the coordination committee of senior officials, the joining of Khullar would have led to protocol problems as several officials, including the IGP, are members of the committee.

Sensing a controversy, the Centre thought it prudent to direct the administration to seek a fresh panel.

Only recently, the administration repatriated former home secretary Krishna Mohan and gave the officiating charge to Sanjay Kumar, finance secretary.



Admn Largesse
Ragpickers have CHB favour
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
When it comes to misplaced priorities, nobody can match the Chandigarh administration.

Even as thousands of residents can only dream of a multi-storeyed flat in CHB schemes, the administration is set to shower largesse on over 300 ragpickers by rehabilitating them in prefabricated structures on prime land in Sector 56 here.

Taking its social responsibility rather far, the administration had chalked out a plan for the rehabilitation of ragpickers. However, the practical aspect of the scheme seems to have eluded the top brass of the administration.

Sources said the administration entrusted the job of erecting 328 structures to the CHB. Spread over an area of 3.18 acre and costing Rs 3.93 crore, the structures were reportedly completed in March last year.

However, if official sources are be believed, the rehabilitation will only be temporary. If this happens, the state exchequer funds would go down the drain.

The sources said the MC and the estate office also conducted a survey to identify beneficiaries. The criteria followed by these agencies is shrouded in mystery.

Even as officials claim it to be the administration’s responsibility to uplift the poorer sections of society, residents are opposing the project. “While the administration turns its back on the rehabilitation of the original inhabitants of the city whose land was acquired for the creation of the city, these people are being given houses for a song,” H.S. Billing, general secretary of the Pind Wasao Society, said. Ironically, this site is in the vicinity of the area earmarked for the special housing scheme for UT employees.

It is learnt that though the structures were completed over a year ago, the administration is still struggling to come out with a clear policy on allotment.



Promotion lure takes hockey stars to examination hall
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The prospects of departmental promotion have forced hockey forwards Rajpal Singh and Prabhjot Singh to pull out of the forthcoming Four-Nation Hockey Tournament at Perth and Darwin from April 24.

With the clash of examination dates with those of the tournament, both key players of the Indian team have preferred to take their graduation examination over the tournament.

Both players are students of BA (part II) and have been working with Indian Oil.

“For our next departmental promotions, we have to be graduates. Playing for the country or winning tournaments will not help us there,” said Chandigarh-based Rajpal Singh, who holds the post of sports officer in the company.

For Prabhjot Singh, who is assistant manager there, also wants to complete his graduation as without the degree he will not get his next promotion as deputy manager.

“I have missed my examination many a time due to game but now I think I should complete my studies first to avail of promotion chances”, said 27-year-old Prabhjot.

“We have informed about our inability to participate in the tournament as well as in the 19-day preparatory camp, getting under way at Bangalore soon.

“Last year, we were part of the winning squad of Asia Cup held at Chennai. Besides, I have been part of the national team for so many years. But all this has not helped me get promoted. So this year, I, too decided to complete my graduation,” said Rajpal Singh, who is taking his examination at Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26.

“Many hockey players, even of domestic level, have got promotions as they possess the degree. So we don’t want to suffer on this front,” added the players.



School lists fag out parents
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
It is that time of the year again and parents are going from stationery shops to uniform outlets, armed with the ‘sacred list’ of school items.

Parents are usually instructed to buy these items from shops that have a monopoly on such business.

There is no uniformity in the cost of book sets for the same class of different schools. A Class X book set of a private school in Sector 7 costs Rs 3,700 (with Sanskrit), but the same set for a school in Sector 27 costs Rs 2,100.

The average cost of books for Classes I to V cost between Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,700; from Classes V to VIII Rs 2,000; and for Classes X to XII Rs 1,600-Rs 2,000.

Another astonishing fact is that nursery books cost almost the same as Class X books. Books for the arts stream costs Rs 700 and science stream Rs 1,500, but book sets for nursery and UKG cost Rs 800 to Rs 1,300. Actually, it is the extra stationery expenditure in lower classes that costs high.

“I have to shell out Rs 2,260 for Class VI books and stationery for my son studying in a private school in Sector 22. I have to seek permission from the school to exempt me from spending Rs 440 on items like art and craft books, oil paints and scissors. These were hardly used during the last session,” Devinder Singh said. The cost of uniforms for public schools varies enormously, depending on the quality of the fabric, but generally the material is cheap. On an average, a uniform set costs Rs 400 to Rs 700 for a child in Class I.

“The only thing that a school should demand is adherence to design and school logo. Why should we be compelled to buy from particular shops?” parents asked. “Often, I have had to take a loan before the start of the academic session. And it does affect the household budget,” rued Kuldeep.



Changing facet of Sector 17
Buildings being redone illegally
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Traders in Sector 17 cannot simply wait for the verdict of the Chandigarh administration on revising building bylaws and building controls.

Showing scant respect for the architecture control, some traders have started redoing the facade of their showrooms.

The illegal activity of breaking the parapet at the first floor has failed to catch the attention of the officials concerned in the estate office.

The facade of showrooms in Sector 17-E (as one approaches from Sector 18) has undergone a change, thus disturbing the uniformity of the front elevation.

“There has to be one law. Either allow everybody or stop everybody from disturbing the front elevation,” demanded a shopkeeper who did not want to be quoted.

A similar action in residential areas has been attracting demolition notices by the agency concerned.

Sources said some of the properties were either resumed or notice of building violations had been served upon violators.

Yet, some well-connected traders have carried on with violations and gotten approvals from the estate office. In some cases, upper floors have been interconnected and lifts installed.

Ironically, the estate officer has also issued public notice asking shopkeepers to clean the front facade of showrooms and avoid glazing. However, traders have glazed the verandah at the first floor to get more area.

The traders had also been asked to remove advertisement panels other than those prescribed under the architecture control sheet.

Those violating the guidelines attract the provisions of the Punjab Capital (Development and Regulations) Buildings Rules, 1952.

The occupants are required to get the facade of their buildings cleaned by way of silicon treatment or by other means.



MC may take care of PU parks, roads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Panjab University students and residents can look forward to better civic amenities in near future. Thanks to a proposal sent by the area councillor, Anu Chatrath, Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, is most likely to take the maintenance of the parks and roads.

This was also discussed during a recently held meeting of the MC house and the matter was taken up today at the meeting of the coordination committee of MC and UT administration.

Welcoming the news, the residents of the campus look forward to better upkeep of gardens and re-carpeting of roads from time to time. Renu Gandhi, senior project officer, department of adult and continuing education, who is a resident of the university from past four decades expressing her happiness over the move said, “Although, the campus more or less never had severe problems as regards the maintenance of parks. With the MC coming into play, everything will now be taken care of.”

Prof B.S. Ghuman, head of the department of public administration and a resident of the campus from more than two decades while appreciating the move by the area councillor and mayor said “Roads have been carpeted recently by the university authorities after almost 26 years. As far as the parks are concerned, all the parks are well maintained by the university already and MC taking them in their hands would be an added advantage.

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, mayor Pradeep Chabra said, “The proposal was put by the area councillor. There is a positive response to the proposal and it will be done soon. The MC would maintain parks and roads and the water supply is their own,” he said.

Anu Chatrath, who mooted the proposal said, “Most of the times, in the institutions, academics being the priority, residential areas are ignored. When I first became the councillor, I mooted the proposal but it was rejected but now it is going to be done soon and everything right from the streetlights, sanitation, roads and parks would be taken care of.”



Bird abattoir to come up in Industrial Area
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The slaughterhouse in Industrial Area is going to get additional land for setting up a bird slaughtering unit. Similarly, the administration has sought comments from the municipal corporation on its proposal to create a dog pound in Dadu Majra colony.

Mayor Pardeep Chhabra told TNS that the matter of extension of slaughterhouse in Industrial Area was taken up at the coordination committee meeting with officials of the UT administration.

Additional area was required for bird slaughter and the central government provided Rs 9 crore for the slaughterhouse, while the total project cost around Rs 12 crore.

With the setting up of the slaughterhouse, the slaughtering of birds at other places would be banned.

He said birds were slaughtered indiscriminately by meat shop owners and in slum areas under unhygienic conditions. As a result, consumers were forced to buy unhygienic products.

A survey of markets revealed that around 25,000 birds were consumed every day in the city and keeping in view future increase in consumption, an abattoir with a capacity of 40,000 birds was required.

Besides, the administration has put up a proposal for setting up a dog pound in Dadu Majra colony in an area of 1.5 acre.

The administration has sought comments from the corporation over the proposal.

According to the proposal, half acre land would be constructed for burial and pound, while the rest of the land would be used for carcass utilisation.

The mayor said he would discuss the issue with area councillor. After getting their opinion, he would apprise the officials for further action.

Sources in the corporation said officials also asked about the feasibility of installing an electric crematorium or gas burners at the site for disposal of dead animals.



Water Shortage
Councillor lodges complaint against EO
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 2
Kuljit Singh Bedi, the municipal councillor for Phase 3B2 has complained to the minister for local bodies Manoranjan Kalia, that various works of his ward are not being carried out by the council’s executive officer.

In a letter to the minister the councillor had stated that the residents of Phase 3B2 had been suffering from acute shortage of water and it was decided in April 2007 that four deep tube wells be dug for the city. Out of these four tube wells two tube wells were to be activated for Phase 3B2 and Phase 5.

“However even after one year the president of the council has not executed the works,” wrote Bedi adding that he had also written to the secretary local bodies and the director local bodies but nothing was done.

“The main object of sanctioning these tube wells on April 2007 was that sufficient time would be available to complete this work before the on set of summers so that the problem of shortage of water could be sorted out. But even after one year the situation has remained the same,” he said.

He warned the minister that he would be forced to take along residents of his area to launch a protest drive against the minister for his lackadaisical approach towards the functioning of the Mohali MC.



Armoured regiment celebrates silver jubilee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The three-day silver jubilee celebrations of the 5 Armoured Regiment began with an impressive free-fall para jump by a special force unit followed by a dog show and a cycle polo match somewhere in the Western Sector today. The regiment was raised at Jodhpur on December 1, 1983.

The events were followed by the Regimental Barakhana, a statement issued here said. A Pagal Gymkhana and dinner at the Commandant’s residence are scheduled for tomorrow.

The ceremonial turning out of the Quarter Guard, wreath laying at the Regimental War Memorial, Sainik Sammelan, Commandant’s lunch and the silver jubilee dinner were also organised.

Maj Gen G.S. Malhi, Colonel of the regiment, would host a dinner for all serving and retired officers along with their family members at his residence on April 5.

Earlier, a goodwill mission was undertaken by a team of six junior commissioned officers and 65 troops to all parts of the country with the aim of interacting with retired soldiers of the regiment.



Parks to be spruced up in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 2
Parks in the township will soon have a spruced look. After months of uncertainty, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), has received an overwhelming response to the tenders floated for the development of over 115 parks in the township.

According to sources in the GMADA as many as 1165 parks were offered for development by private parties and many persons had responded. The allocation of work would be done in a fortnight and the parks would be developed within three months. The contractor would undertake installation of railings on the park boundary, creation of footpaths, weather shelters, benches and play grounds.

Earlier, the GMADA had received no response from contractor as the rates quoted by the GMADA were outdated and no party was agreeing to fill in the forms on the basis of the outdated rates.

The GMADA has over 275 parks in the township under its jurisdiction out of which 145 are already developed.



Police team attacked with stones
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
A police team from Parwanoo and Pinjore was made to run for cover after the gang that the team had come to arrest attacked them with stones at Mauli Jagran, here this morning.

After receiving a tip-off, the team from Himachal Pradesh and Haryana had come to the city to arrest a gang of automobile thieves that had been involved in numerous cases.

People, including gang members, pelted the team with stones as it arrived at the scene.

Some officials were injured in the incident, while police vehicles were damaged.



Journalists protest Bathinda lathi-charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Mediapersons from various organisations held a rally at Sector 17 plaza here this afternoon. They were protesting against the recent ill-treatment of journalists at Bathinda.

The incident took place during a function in which chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was the chief guest. A number of people, including women, were lathi-charged.

Accusing the Punjab government of trying to hush up the matter, journalists from the print and electronic media held a procession in Sector 17 and raised slogans against the Badal government and the Bathinda police.

A memorandum was also submitted to the Punjab Governor.



Cleanliness drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
The municipal corporation today decided to launch a month-long cleanliness drive in the city from April 4. Mayor Pardeep Chhabra told TNS that the drive would be launched in five phases.

In the first phase, the drive would be carried in Sector 20, 22, 23, 26, 35 and 40 and would formally commence from Sector 20.




Central status for PU

THE demand for giving central status to Panjab University (PU) is appropriate and legitimate as it is one of the oldest universities of the country. The university’s academic achievements are acknowledged globally. The university has attracted faculty as well as students from all over India and abroad, giving it a national character.

Both Punjab government and PU will be major beneficiaries if the Centre declares it a central university. The university is partially being funded by the Centre and partially by the state government. This unique status has to an extent proved to be a hindrance in the functioning of the university.

The central status would have many benefits. The best of faculty members would be recruited and more funds would be generated. The status would also bring along benefits for students as the fees would not be increased. Also, the research scholars would be assured of a stipend every month. This would improve atmosphere as well as quality of research.

Thus the financial burden on the university would be decreased and quality higher education would be possible.

Dr Shruti Kapoor

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com  or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



Children to explore creativity at ‘Orange Pumpkin’
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
To help the kids explore their creative instincts in the field of “Creating Animation,” a two-member squad, comprising Manpal Setia and Divya Raghuvanshi, has designed a novel competition for school children.

Named as “Orange Pumpkin,” the contest has been scheduled to be organised at the Government Museum and Arts Gallery-10, Chandigarh, on April 6.

Elaborating more, Manpal Setia, Masters in Animation Film Design, NID, Ahmedabad, said, “Orange Pumpkin is an animation design competition where we are inviting students from various schools of the tricity to participate in two events, drawing for animation and story writing for animation. We are initiating to bring a new revolution in enhancing the creative skills of the children. No entry fee shall be charged from the students.” The competition has been divided into two parts- group A from Class V to VII and group B from Class VIII to X. The participation of about 200 to 300 school children from Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, is invited for the competition. Out of these participants, 10 best-selected students would work on an experimental animation process to be held at Mount Carmel School, Sector 47. We would accept on the spot entries too, subject to availability of seats.” The students themselves would undertake the entire design work for this project. Divya Raghuvanshi, a Government Arts College pass out, told that the plans were to start workshops in the government schools of the city. “Every child possesses unique quality. The need is to exploit it fully. Actually it is an experimental animation contest. We are planning to get in touch with the Chandigarh education department to introduce this novel medium to explore the creative aspect of the children,” said Divya.

In addition to this, an internationally acclaimed dance choreographer from Australia would take free stress buster dance workshop for the students.

The DEO, Chandigarh, Khushinder Sharma, when apprised of the programme, said, “The idea is very appealing and would be a practical platform of exploring creativity. The modalities can be chalked out to organise such unconventional workshops in different schools. Since they do not charge any money for their services, there would be no burden on parents’ pocket too,” she said.



Reena tops scholarship exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Reena of Vedic Girls School, Mani Majra, stood first in the Class-V Scholarship Examination-2008 conducted by the Chandigarh education department.

Amrit Lal of Government High School, Raipur Khurd, and Tubarani of Vedic Girls School, Mani Majra, secured the second and third places, respectively.

As many as 334 students appeared in the examination conducted in February. The merit list was released today. The students in the merit list are: Reshma (GHS-Daria), Shivam (GSSS-45), Ranjit Kumar (GHS-Col No. 4), Mohit (GHS-Raipur Khurd), Jagat Singh (GPS-Mauli Complex), Nagma (GPS-Mauli Complex), Asha Rani (GHS-Raipurkhurd), Rachna Bhatt (GPS-Mauli Complex), Maisha (GPS-Mauli Complex), Navdeep Kumar (GHS-col. No.4), Ruby (GSSS-45), Adnan (GPS-Mauli Complex), Iptsham (Vedic Girls School, M.M.), Seema Kumari (GHS-Karsan), Gitanjali (GHS-Daria), Lysha (GHS-Daria), Sagar (GSSS-45), Sona (GHS-Raipur Khurd), Babli (Vedic Girls School. M.M.), Priya Gupta (GHS-35D), Neelu (GHS-35D), Najrana Khatoon (GHS-DARIA), Shushil Minj (GHS-32-D), Kajal (GHS-38/B), Poonam (GHS-Daria), Kavita (GSSS-Khuda Lahora), Sanjay Yadav (GHS-Col. No.4), Virender (GPS-RLY COL), Ram Ashish (GHS-Col No. 4), Jyoti (GHS-Daria), Meenakshi (Vedic Girls School, M.M.), Lalita (GHS-Daria), Pankaj Dabral (GHS-Daria), Bushra Parveen (Vedic Girls, M.M.), Ritu (Vedic Girls M.M.), Pinki (GHS-Karsan), Nitika (Vedic Girls, MM), Sarita (GSSS-M.M.Town), Asha Madok (GGSSSS-35), Deepmala (GHS-Mauli Jagran), Kiran Kumari (GHS-7C), Abhishek Kumar (GHS-Raipur Khurd).



Dr Datta is PEC director
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Dr Manoj Datta today assumed charge as director of Punjab Engineering College (PEC) here today.

He was working as professor of civil engineering at the IIT, Delhi. He held the office of the dean (alumni affairs and international programmes) at the IIT from 2004 to 2007. He is also the India team leader for the project -- Protection of Environment in Asia -- funded by the European Commission.

He has also been associated with the Central Pollution Control Board, the ministry of environment and forests and the ministry of urban development.



Programme on self-discovery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
Following the overwhelming response to Isha Foundation's flagship yoga programme that ended on April 1, another inner engineering programme has been scheduled from April 3 to 6 at CII Convention Hall, Sector 31-A. The programme will start on Thursday from 6 pm to 9 pm. Hosted by the Punjab IAS Officer's Association, in conjunction with CII, this programme is an opportunity for residents of Chandigarh to benefit from the timeless science of yoga.



Man gets life term for murder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 2
UT district and sessions judge K.K. Garg today sentenced Gurmeet Singh to life imprisonment for murdering Inderjit Singh. A fine of Rs 10,000 was also imposed on him.

The court also awarded an imprisonment of 10 years to the accused for attempting to murder Boota Singh. Both sentences will run concurrently.

According to the prosecution, on December 5, 2004 the police received a message that a body was lying near Markfed Complex in Sector 35 alongside an injured person.

On reaching the scene, the police recovered the body of Inderjit Singh and rescued Boota Singh.

Boota Singh revealed that he was working as a driver with Kissan Fats Ltd in Jalalabad. On December 3, 2004, he was to carry a sum of Rs 3.65 lakh to Chandigarh.

Inderjeet Singh was working as a conductor in the vehicle that Boota used to drive.

Gurmeet Singh, who used to work in the factory, insisted to go with them to Chandigarh.

Boota maintained that on their way to Chandigarh, Gurmeet offered them liquor and omelette. After consuming the omelette, Boota and Inderjeet started feeling dizzy and dozed off.

Boota got up to the screams of Inderjeet, who was being stabbed by Gurmeet. Boota was also stabbed in the neck by Gurmeet with a knife.



Lawyer groups call it truce
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 2
With the efforts of Justice M.M. Kumar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the two groups of lawyers at the district courts here have now united.

Justice Kumar had constituted a committee of lawyers last week to sort out the differences among the members and enroll members for fresh elections to a single united district bar association.

The committee members met Justice Kumar on Monday and asked him to take a final decision. The meeting is said to have led to a fruitful discussion. Sources said the first issue the united bar was committed to take up was the “forced” shifting of the district administrative complex and the judicial complex to Sanetta village 20 km away from here. The bar would unitedly oppose the shifting of the judicial complex to Sanetta.



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