C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


UT acquires 9 acres for a song
Sarangpur, Khuda Lahora land owners cry hoarse

Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh July 27
The economic boom set off by coming up of mega projects like Theme Park, Education City and Film City is not percolating down to the land owners whose land is being acquired for the projects.

While the Punjab government recently shelled out Rs 1.5 crore an acre to land owners for the international airport coming up at Mohali, land owners in Sarangpur-Khuda Lahora belt here received a shock of their life last Wednesday when the UT’s land acquisition collector announced a compensation of Rs 7.5 lakh an acre while acquiring around nine acres for one of the projects.

Around five years ago, around 250 acres had been acquired near Khuda Lahora for around Rs 15 lakh per acre. Instead of the compensation amount appreciating with passage of time, the land compensation rates have gone down.

Defending the rate, a UT official said after adding other factors, the land compensation would go up to Rs 11 lakh an acre.

“Whether it is Rs 7 lakh or Rs 11 lakh an acre, it is still a mockery of the land acquisition process. When states across the country are linking the revenue earned from the land allotment to the land compensation offered to farmers, the UT is following its own centuries old unrealistic formulae of handing down the land compensation relief,” said Angrez Singh, president of the UT Pind Bachao Committee.

Sources reveal that allotment rates in the institutional area work out between Rs 1 crore and Rs 8 crore per acre, while the land compensation rates given to land owners are a mere peanuts.

While the UT administration is taking its own sweet time in adopting the UPA’s national rehabilitation policy, land owners are irked at the policy being adopted by the UT in calculating the compensation rates.

Either the administration is unaware about the developments around it or feigns ignorance about the changing policies of the centre.

Records of the revenue department reveal that in the past one year, land deals in Kaimbwala and Sarangpur villages have been done for Rs 2.5 crore an acre.

Brig K.S. Kahlon (retd) of the Sanjha Morcha, an apex body of landowners fighting for higher land compensation, said the administration should fulfil its commitment of providing fair governance.

Sources reveal that a proposal of the administration for substantial hike in the land acquisition rates has been given a silent burial.



PMT Scam
City resident held for impersonation
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
After allegedly cheating a number of people on the pretext of facilitating admissions to some famous medical colleges of South India, a city resident, Balraj Singh, has been arrested by the Punjab Police on charges of impersonation.

Talking to the TNS, DSP Sewa Singh, Faridkot police, said: “We have arrested Balraj Singh, the kingpin of the PMT impersonation scam, on charges of fraud. Balraj has been remanded in three-day police custody.”

According to sources, Balraj was involved in duping those who proposed to seek admissions to MBBS course for their wards.

Balraj was involved in luring people by publishing advertisements in newspapers and then charging hefty amounts for the job.

The matter came to light when a physician of Panipat got duped of Rs 2 lakh and approached a local court to get his money back. The matter is sub judice.

After reading an advertisement in a newspaper that promised an assured seat in MD course, Dr B.K. Gupta got in touch with Balraj Singh. Dr Gupta paid Rs 2 lakh to Balraj to get his son admitted to a private medical college of Karnataka.

Another eye-surgeon, Dr Arvind Gupta, Yamunanagar, was also duped by Balraj after he paid the latter money to seek admission to Karnataka University.

Interestingly, the TNS was in touch with Balraj after receiving information about his malpractices.

Balraj through his advertisements had offered assured seats in MBBS. Balraj had assured a seat in one of the famous universities in Karnataka by charging anything between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 15 lakh.

During telephonic conversation, Balraj had claimed: “Seats are assured by paying donations. Besides a fee of Rs 3.5 lakh per annum, anything between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 15 lakh can fetch you a secured seat.”

When asked if it was a fixed amount, Balraj said: “If the donation amount is less, the fee structure is high.”



Now, scrap dealer eyes school ground
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Now, scrap dealers are in line to rule school sports! Believe it or not, a scrap dealer is one of the contenders looking to gain control over the school grounds under the Chandigarh administration’s public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.

This has put a big question mark on the credibility of the sports bodies for “sports bodies” having a suspect background are in the fray.

It has been learned that individuals get themselves attached with associations to grab the contract of school playgrounds, only to hand these over to the corporate sector during school holidays for organising matches at hefty amounts.

Sports Excellence Academy, Chandigarh, and Chandigarh Cricket Association (CCA) affiliated with Punjab are two contenders for gaining rights of lush grounds of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 23.

After handing over the grounds of GMSSS-19, 26 and 32 to private players, this is administration’s “expansion plan” of the PPP project for the use and maintenance of school playgrounds.

When the TNS called up the two mobile numbers of the Sports Excellence Academy left with the education department, one number was found ‘nonexistent’, while a woman confirmed on the other that her husband dealt in scrap business at Palsora and also ran a “sports academy” (pun added).

“This is Naresh Sahni’s number. He is a ‘kabaari’ (scrap dealer) but also runs ‘sports-type academy’,” the woman remarked. The woman also gave another number of Naresh Sahni, which remained switched off.

On a visit to the academy office in Sector 9, the TNS found that the office belonged to a Rugby Football Federation. The person present there gave another number of Veeru that was also found to be “nonexistent”.

The other contender is the CCA (affiliated with Punjab), which reportedly has a suspect past. The association had earlier taken up the responsibility of running cricket academies at St John’s School-26, DAV School-8 and DAV College-10 grounds, but left the projects in between.

The CCA, Punjab, gets 50 per cent grant from the Punjab Cricket Association for conducting cricket tournaments and maintaining infrastructure.

Chief coach of St John’s academy Nagesh Kumar said when the school authorities enquired about the financial support received from the PCA, the CCA snapped its ties with them.

Denying allegations, CCA secretary Mohinder Singh said they quitted the St John’s academy as the principal had objected to their organising cricket matches during daytime.

“Besides, all our accounts are duly audited. Anyone can look into each and every penny spent. Currently, the CCA is running an academy at GNPS-36 grounds,” said Mohinder Singh.

He claimed that the association had never proposed to start a cricket academy at DAV College-10 in spite of the fact that the CCA had announced to launch an academy at DAV College grounds during a press conference.

An officer-bearer of the CCA, preferring anonymity, said misappropriation of funds and cash prizes had created a controversy within the association. “Association secretary Mohinder Singh was the sole signing authority of the association and every expenditure was left on his whims and fancies,” he said.



Tribune lensman assaulted
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 27
Tribune lensman Vicky Gharu was assaulted by an unidentified person near the apni mandi in Phase VIII this evening. The accused, driving a maroon Ford Fiesta car (PB11 F 6103), attacked Gharu without any provocation, snatching his camera and hitting him on the head with the camera. The camera was shattered in the process. The attacker who was apparently drunk took a part of the camera and sped away.

According to Gharu, the incident took place around 6.30 pm when Gharu was taking pictures of haphazard parking of cars by the roadside near apni mandi.

The accused coming from the opposite side signalled Vicky to come close to his car. Gharu gestured back asking the accused to come to him if he wanted to talk.

“I thought the person wanted to know the way. I was busy taking pictures when he stopped his car close to me and got off. He started abusing me and accused me of breaking his glasses,” said Gharu.

When the lensman asked the logic behind the accusation, the accused snatched the camera and hit it on Gharu’s head.

“The camera’s lens broke and the assailant sped away with the camera’s body. I was taken by surprise,” Gharu told the police.

Vicky gave the accused a chase on his scooter along with another journalist present at the scene.

“The attacker was around 40 and was wearing a kurta-pyjama. He spoke in Punjabi,” Gharu told the police.

A case has been registered at the police station, Phase VIII, against the accused and a hunt is on to nab him.



2 fresh cholera cases in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Cholera seems to be spreading to some new areas of the city as two fresh cases were reported today from Maloya and Sector 40.

An 18-year-old Amarjeet of a Maloya colony and 30-year-old Nirja of Sector 40 were admitted to Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16.

Yesterday, two confirmed cases of cholera from Mouli Jagran were reported at General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula.

Despite tall claims of the health department, the situation seems to have gone from bad to worse as cases of cholera continue to pour in from various parts of the city as well as its adjoining areas. Just a week ago, at least 18 confirmed cases of cholera were reported from General Hospital, Panchkula, and over 400 others were being treated for diarrhoea.

Faced with the rise in cholera cases, the health department has claimed to have started a campaign of collection of food samples from restaurants and rehri walas from different part of the city.

Director, health service, Dr M.S. Bains, said, “We had already checked the sanitation condition and water sample of Sector 40 but didn’t find anything infectious. He said food samples had also been picked up from some restaurants and sent for analysis. Meanwhile, the health authorities have started a drive to curb the sale of cut fruits, ice, ice candies and other eatables kept in the open.


Make banking accessible to visually impaired: RBI
Ruchika M. Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Even as the focus of the banking industry is on financial inclusion, banks seem to be little interested in the financial inclusion of the visually impaired. These people are being denied banking facilities because of the unwillingness of banks to use technology for making services user friendly for the visually impaired.

It is learnt that most of the banks allow the visually impaired to open only joint bank accounts. Since ATMs are not voice enabled, ATMs cannot be accessed. Even the cheques signed by the visually impaired are often put in scrutiny as there are problems in identifying signatures as these do not match. Bank managers insist that the person has to come to the branch and sign cheques in front of the branch manager.

Though the apex regulatory bank, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has different symbols on currency notes, by the times the notes pass through different hands, all notes feel the same. It is learnt that a Rs 500 note has a small circle, Rs 100 note has a rectangle and Rs 50 note has a square on the left hand side, which is slightly raised. Moreover, the currency notes get shorter in length as their denomination decreases.

Even different coins can be distinguished by touch. A Re 1 coin is soft to touch, Rs 2 coin is bigger in size (the older version also had rough edge), while Rs 5 coin is thicker.

Sources say though all banks insisted on expanding their ATM network, most of the banks failed to install voice-enabled ATMs. Citibank is the only bank to have a talking ATM in Mumbai. Bankers say the cost of installing an ATM is around Rs 3 lakh and having an ATM with software for sound would cost an additional Rs 1.50 lakh which is why banks are not making efforts in this regard.

Now the RBI has stepped up its efforts to ensure that the visually impaired come under the banking service net. It has now asked all the banks in the country to ensure cheque book facility, locker and ATM facility to them. “They cannot be denied the right to avail these facilities on the pretext that there is risk involved in using these facilities, as the element of risk is involved in case of other customers as well.

Banks are therefore advised to ensure that all banking facilities like cheque books, including third party cheques, ATM facility, net banking, locker, retail loans and credit cards are invariably offered to the visually challenged without any discrimination,” says the directive.



‘Will not leave without my son’
Swati Sharma

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 27
26-year-old Depinder Kaur Hundal is fighting to get back the custody of her 10-month-old son, Aviraj Singh Aulakh, from her in-laws, an influential family of Lapoke and related to a former Rajasansi MLA.

“I have been away from my son for more than a month now. I am back from Canada and won’t return without Aviraj,” sobbed Depinder, a Canadian NRI woman, at a press conference organised in Panchkula.

“This one-month separation from my son has taken a heavy toll on me. I was a wreck without him in Canada. The toys, clothes and every little thing associated with him reminded me of my son,” explained Depinder as tears rolled down her cheeks.

Depinder has filed a habeas corpus petition in the Punjab and Haryana Court to secure the release of her nine-month-old son, also a Canadian citizen, from the custody of her in-laws, which is slated to come up for hearing on Monday. The petition has been filed by Depinder through her mother, Manjit Kaur.

Depinder’s father-in-law Jagir Singh Aulakh’s brother Veer Singh is a former MLA, and his son, Rashpal Singh, is SHO of the Lapoke police station.

Depinder got married to Jatinder Singh Aulakh in November 2006 and had a son, Aviraj, on September 2007, who was born in Quebec, Canada. On March 30 this year, Jatinder died in an accident and Depinder came to India to attend his last rites.

Depinder alleged that on June 22, a day before she was to fly back to Canada along with her son, she found him missing. When asked, her in-laws refused to let Aviraj go with her.

She reached Delhi and immediately lodged a complaint with the Canadian High Commission.

Veer Singh, former MLA, while talking to The Tribune said, “I have been dragged into this case because of my political contacts. This girl has left her son willingly and I don’t know much about the case.”

On July 4, the Lapoke police registered a case against her for deserting her child on the basis of a complaint by her in-laws. This is despite the fact that before leaving India on June 23, she had informed both the Canadian High Commission and the Majitha police about the circumstances under which she was forced to go back without her son.



City’s security beefed up, police sets up helplines
Serial blasts in Ahmedabad, Bangalore

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
In the wake of serial blasts in Ahmedabad and Bangalore, the Chandigarh police has set up helplines for public to inform about suspicious persons. The police has also beefed up security across the city and declared several areas as sensitive.

The headline numbers to inform about suspicious persons are 279194 and 2749874.

Sources revealed that the informer would be rewarded and his/ her identity would be kept secret. The UT SSP, in a meeting, directed all SHOs to monitor the presence of outsiders living in their respective areas. Special instructions have been given regarding checking of cyber cafes.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, UT SSP S.S. Srivastava said the security in the city had been beefed up following reports of serial blasts in Ahmedabad and Bangalore.

He said taking precautionary action, the police had stepped up vigilance in the city and special checks were being conducted at bus stands, railway station and other public and religious places.

A senior police officer said security had been stepped up at Sector 17 and 43 ISBT, railway station, Punjab and Haryana High Court, secretariat, IT park, shopping complexes, religious places and at other vital installations. The SHOs had been directed to intensify patrolling in their respective areas besides sealing city’s borders.

The PCR even received a couple of calls about unknown bags lying at various places in the city.

A senior police officer of the UT police said though they had not received any report from the intelligence agencies regarding the possibility of bomb blasts in the city, however, they were just not taking any chances. The recent blasts in Rajasthan, Karnataka and Ahmedabad indicated that states ruled by BJP were on militants’ target. “Since both Punjab and Himachal are ruled by the BJP, possibilities of these being on the extremists’ list cannot be ruled out”, said an official.



Nayagaon NAC
Chief’s seat assures Bajwa ticket to big league
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Nayagaon, July 27
Becoming the head of a municipal body in Chandigarh’s periphery is a one-way ticket to the league of the rich. It happened with Kulwant Singh, with former MC chief of Mohali, N. K. Sharma the MC chief of Zirakpur, and also with Charanjit Channi, former MC chief of Kharar.

If success stories of his counterparts are any indication of the future, the first president of the Nayagaon NAC Harbant Singh Bajwa would soon be a big name in the world of colonisers and real estate developers.

The headship of the Nayagaon NAC is a crown in itself. With some of the top real estate projects in the pipeline, the Nayagaon NAC members are bound to wield immense power in the coming months. The multi-crore Tata project is awaiting a nod from the NAC, besides the other host of smaller housing projects that have been proposed in the area by private builders.

Though the newly chosen president listed his priorities as roads, sewerage system and street-lighting, his keenness to tow the line of the Punjab government in clearing the Tata project was obvious. “It has been given the nod by the Punjab Chief Minister, how can I say no to it?” said Bajwa.

The area is a full of land pockets owned by the VVIPs of the state. A large number of politicians and bureaucrats, including many IAS, IPS and PCS officers, have financial interests in the area and Harbant Singh, simply a matriculate, is all ready to deal with the state’s big wigs.

Other than being catapulted into the elite world of the rich and the powerful, chances are that the new Nayagaon NAC chief would also take to the profession his counterparts made a life out of. Kulwant Singh began as an associate of a Mohali-based businessman and went on to become a mega coloniser. Starting with small colonies in Ludhiana and Kharar, Kulwant Singh floated a mega project and his JLPL Colony in Sector 92 here is one of the hottest residential projects in the town.

N. K. Sharma began his political career as sarpanch of village Lohgarh and is all set to be elected, second time in a row, as the Zirakpur municipal council chief. He too took to real estate in a big way and is currently involved in many residential and commercial projects in the area.

Charanjit Channi started his political career as a councilor in MC Kharar. Then he went to become MC chief and remained the chief for two terms. Now, he is an independent MLA from Chamkaur Sahib. Satisfied with a petrol station dealership, Channi, however, admits that he also delved into property deals for a short duration. “That was the time in Kharar when almost everyone, including the shopkeepers of the area, were into property dealing. But now, I have no real estate projects,” he said.

For now, Harbant Singh too seems to be satisfied with the air conditioning contracts he has. “I am happy with what I am doing. We have government contracts of central air conditioning of large buildings,” he said. But will Bajwa go the Kulwant Singh and N. K. Sharma way, only time will tell.



House Meet
MC officials set to table passed agendas
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
It seems that officials of the Chandigarh municipal corporation have a short memory as they are set to table those agendas in the corporation house meeting scheduled for tomorrow, which were passed by the house two years ago.

An agenda item includes rough cost estimates for providing 12 temporary relocatable toilets in slum areas, including two toilet blocks for Rajiv and Shahpur colonies, five for Colony No. 5 and Colony No. 4, respectively. Surprisingly, two months ago the area councillor, from the councillor fund, had already got temporary toilets constructed in the same colony and they are functional at present.

When contacted, area councillor Kamlesh revealed that she had made a request for construction of temporary toilets about a year ago but when there was no response from the officials regarding this, she got the same constructed from the councillor's fund. She said the cost of construction of these temporary toilets in both the colonies was about Rs 5 lakh which was spent three months ago for their construction.

She said before adding up this item in the agenda she was not even consulted by the corporation officials. She stated that there was no requirement of additional toilets in these colonies now.

Another agenda item, which is going to be tabled tomorrow is about the revised estimate of upgradation of forum water drainage system in Industrial Area Phases I and II and amounts to over Rs 1.76 crore.

Sources in the corporation revealed that an estimate of over Rs 1 crore was passed for forum water drainage system in 2006 but the work was yet to be started.

When contacted, area councillor Jatinder Bhatia revealed that the estimate of water drainage system for Industrial Area Phase II of Rs 1.20 crore was passed in the house in 2006 but funds were not released due to which the work could not be taken up. He further added that as the rate of this project had gone up with the passage of time, so the revised estimate was being put up in the house.

The MC commissioner could not be contacted. 



Stray dogs claim one life
Residents agitate over MC’s failure

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Stray-dog menace today claimed life of a 65-year-old scooterist, who lost his balance after some dogs, which came into his way, chased him in Sector 34, here, this morning.

The victim, Ram Singh of Sector 37, owned a news agency and was on his way to distribute newspapers in Mohali at around 7.30 am. According to eyewitnesses, the accident took place when some dogs chased him and he lost his balance while saving himself. He was badly injured in the mishap and suffered a severe head injury, which proved fatal, said a police officer.

S. K. Suri, a resident of Sector 34, told TNS that he rushed out of his house after hearing a noise of a crash and saw the victim lying on road bleeding. He also saw some dogs running away from the spot. Suri informed the police and a police-control-room vehicle reached the spot.

The police rushed the victim to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital. Doctors referred him to the PGI, where he was declared brought dead.

Paramjit Singh, victim’s son, said as his father was a baptised Sikh, they had requested the police not to register any case. They also refused to conduct a post mortem on the body.

Residents of the area were agitated over the failure of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) to curb the menace. Every other day there are incidents of people being injured after being attacked by the stray dogs or in accidents caused by the stray animals.

Legal luminaries were of the opinion that the MC should be held responsible for the death and should be booked for causing death due to negligence as it was their job to keep stray animals away from roads. “It is only after the corporation is booked for these deaths that the authorities concerned would wake up to the urgency of curbing the menace,” said a citizen. The police said no case was registered as the family refused to lodge any complaint.



Musical tributes to Rafi
S. D. Sharma

Chandigarh, July 27
“Gayaki tha tera husan-e-funn Rafi tere funn pe hamein naaz hai/ Ye sabak seekha tere nagmaat se jindgi pyar ka ikk saaz hai.”

The couplet veritably depicts the larger-than-life figure of Mohammad Rafi who towered above the scene of contemporary film music, dwarfing almost every contemporary maestro by the immensity of his unique achievements.

As many as 25 versatile singers from the region attempted to emulate their celebrated peer, Rafi, by doling out the timeless melodies immortalised by the singer.

The much-awaited annual event Rafi finals being organised by the Yaadgar-e-Rafi Society and providing platform to budding singers since 1993 had made waves in the Bollywood too with its winners like Ishmeet Singh and Rinku Kalia stealing the limelight, claimed its president B.D. Sharma.

After several rounds of audition tests, only 25 artistes have been selected from among 256 aspirants, disclosed Sharma.

Today’s annual programme titled “Andaaz - e-Rafi” supported by the Department of Cultural Affairs, Chandigarh, with The Tribune group of newspapers as the media sponsor got off to a majestic melodic start with 12 young prodigies taking the centre stage in the junior category.

Though the lyrical content of the film songs they rendered was certainly beyond their conceptual grasp, they brought alive the emotional ingredient and melodic fervour with consummate ease fairly scoring over their senior counterparts. Female artistes presented songs of Lata Mangeshkar in solo and duets, added secretary general RD Kailey.

The contestants in both categories depicted diverse moods in their songs like “Ye zindgi usi ki hai”, “Jhoom jhoom dhalti raat” or “Dil ka khilona” and “Mujhe kitna pyar hai tumse” “Ai gulbadan”. The 12-piece orchestra conducted by Dr Arun Kant embellished the performance of contestants. The panel of judges led by B.M. Kalia declared following winners.


Tajinder Singh (Faridabad)-I, Dikshant (Chandigarh)-II, Nishant Pawar (Ambala)-III, Harnoor Bhullar (Amritsar Consolation)

Junior Female

Jyotsha Kapoor (Amritsar)-I, Rupali Chhabra (Amritsar)-II, Punnet Kaur (Ambala)- III

Senior Male

Deep Kataria (Panchkula) -I, Chander Kant (Gurdaspur)-II, Rishi Sood (Baijnath)-III,

Senior Female

Isha Khanna (Hisar)-I, Priyanka Singh (Chandigarh)-II, Jaspreet Jassal and Sukhna Singh ( Mohali)-III.

Chief guest Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Punjab minister for cooperation, while appreciating the role of the society in propagation of soulful music announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh to the society.



Chaos at railway station
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
It was utter chaos at the Chandigarh railway station as a heavy rush was witnessed following an examination conducted by the Railway Recruitment Board, Chandigarh.

Around 30,000 candidates arrived here to appear for the examination for 100 posts of clerk and ticket checker.

According to officials, 60,000 candidates had been called for the examination, however, only 30,000 candidates appeared. The examination was conducted across 138 centres in the city. Though no trains were delayed, the rush caused inconvenience to passengers waiting on the platform for other trains.

Talking to the TNS, Anand Prasad, who had come from Sector 28 to purchase a ticket, said: “There is such a huge rush that I have no space to stand. I wish the authorities had given prior notice about the expected rush.”

Since the candidates had been called from far-flung states, a number of them opted to sleep at the station itself.

Around 50 CTU buses had been arranged to ferry candidates from the station to examination centres.

The railways ran two special trains to Ambala and Delhi to ferry candidates to their destinations. Additional coaches were attached to Sadbhavana and Unchhar Express to accommodate the rush of candidates. Extra security, too, was put in place at the station.

Station superintendent R.K. Dutta said they had made best possible arrangements and the examination was went off without any hitch.



Government job lure draws youth in droves
Rajmeet Singh

Tribune News Service


Anil Saini
Anil Saini


Sanjay Kumar
Sanjay Kumar

Chandigarh, July 27
In spite of private sector doling out more jobs, the government sector still holds a major lure with the unemployed youth. And when it is the profit-making railways offering them, the pull is even more intense.

A written test conducted by the Railway Recruitment Board to fill 100 posts of clerk and ticket checker today saw hoards of candidates converge on the city from as far as West Bengal and Orissa.

For railway authorities, it was an unmanageable sea of unemployed youths looking for a job.

Krishna came all the way from Gorakhpur, UP, to take the test. While waiting to catch a train way back to Delhi, he said: “I have been regularly taking tests conducted by the railway board. But luck has so far eluded me.”

For Anil Saini, another graduate from Hisar, job security and less hard work were the main attractions of a railway job.

“In private sector, there is no job security and there are extended working hours. I’d rather wait for another few years than get into private job,” said Samant, a 23-year-old youth from West Bengal, who spent the previous night at the railway station so that he could reach the examination centre on time this morning.

Mahinder Kumar, a graduate from Alwar, Rajasthan, felt that “sifarish” played a role in getting a government job.

It was not just boys that were seen scrambling for the job. Girls too arrived in large numbers to the city to take the test.

“Thanks to Laloo, the economic boom in the railways has opened more job opportunities for us,” felt Sanjay Kumar from Bihar.

Arun Kumar, who had come from Delhi, was not too happy. “It is a shame that we have been bundled like sheep to take the test and that too for such a small number of seats. I never knew so many candidates would turn up,” he added.

Around two lakh candidates are scheduled to appear in the test for group C posts.

The test is being conducted in phases over the next three

In the first phase, around 60,000 candidates had been called today, said a senior railway official.



On a bumpy ride, Dhumal criticises Bansal
Pradeep Sharma

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
It was a bumpy ride for Himachal chief minister PK Dhumal in Chandigarh today.

In fact, the Himachal politician took potshots at union minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal over the sorry state of about 1.5-km stretch of road leading to the Mauli Jagran rehabilitation colony here.

In the city to address a rally organised by the BJP here, Dhumal wondered whether he was travelling on Chandigarh roads, widely acclaimed as one of the best in the country.It was surprising that the Mauli Jagran area, from where Bansal secured an overwhelming support during the 2004 elections, was left to fend for itself regarding developmental works, Dhumal asserted.

The comforts of the luxury car, it seems, could not protect him from the jerks from the potholed road even as former MP Satya Pal Jain joined in Dhumal's chorus. "Though the Congress got about 80 per cent votes in the rehabilitation colonies in the last election, the minister seemed to have turned a blind eye to development of the city especially the colonies," Jain alleged.

However, BJP's detractors were quick to point out party's "double speak" claiming that the large-scale developmental work was in progress in the city, including the rehabilitation colonies."It seems that Dhumal had not travelled on the Himachal roads for a long time. If he travels by roads in his own state leaving the comfort of his state helicopter, he would immediately stop criticising the Chandigarh roads," Pardeep Chhabra, mayor of the municipal corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), a close Bansal aide, told The Tribune.

Meanwhile, the rally organised to expose the "misdeeds" of the UPA government virtually turned into an occasion to show its strength in the largest rehabilitation colony in Chandigarh in the run-up to the elections. In 2004 elections, the BJP had fared badly in colonies and slum and Bansal's victory was credited to the Congress faring well in these areas.



Parks of inconvenience
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 27
After the town witnessed a string of cholera deaths, the administration barely moved to provide potable water and toilets to the slum of Rajiv Colony. However, things still need to be set in order in posh areas of the town.

The reprimand of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the district administration over its callousness in maintaining the town notwithstanding, residents of Sectors 9 and 4 have been forced to live in stench of excreta, dung, stagnant water and garbage right in middle of the sector.

The parks in Sector 9 have virtually turned into open toilets and garbage dumps.

Interestingly, things have turned from bad to worse after the municipal council took remedial measures in this regard.

A park in front of the Shiv mandir has been left unattended ever since its boundary wall was raised.

The open space lying across the road in front of the temple was converted into a park to beautify the area by the municipal council.

The park is now being used as a defecating ground by children from slums, who often assemble in front of the temple to collect food disbursed by devotees. Over Rs 5 lakh were spent on the park.

The situation has taken a turn for the worse for two families that share the walls of their houses with the park.

“The Haryana Urban Development Authority had charged 10 per cent extra from us against the price of plot as it was located on the corner of the row,” says Rishi Jain, a resident of house No. 31. “Now we have been forced to live with stench emanating from excreta lying in the adjoining park,” he adds.

The other park adjoining Vishwas Public School has also turned into an eyesore for residents.

Wild bush, broken pavements, dilapidated rides and swings dot the park. A water pond dug up for installation of a tubewell months ago has been left unattended, posing a danger to the lives of children playing in the park.

The pavement tiles have started to come off. “Substandard material was used while lying the pavement,” alleged a resident of the area.

The condition of parks in Sector 4 is no less miserable.

While a park near Government Primary School has been turned into a yard for storage of dung by residents of adjoining Haripur village, the other park in the area is being used as garbage dump by shopkeepers of the village. The gate of the park has also been broken by people who dump dung in the park, allege residents.

The stench emanating from the dung in rainy season makes it impossible for residents to keep house doors open. The area has turned into a breeding ground for mosquitoes and flies, they rue.

Municipal councillors of the area and civic body president claim to solve the problem within the next few weeks.

The budget for the development of parks in Sector 9 has been approved and a wall will be raised at the place of gate in Sector 4 so that villagers cannot dump dung in the park, they say.

However, a portion of park will be covered to place a trolley for dumping dung in it, they add.



Veterans express solidarity with Laungewala history
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
A large number of veterans of the Punjab Regiment today congregated at a regimental get-together at Kalka to express solidarity with the Regiment in particular and the Army in general over the battle fought and lives lost in the Laungewala area during the 1971 Indo-Pak War.

The resolution comes in wake of statements made by two senior retired officers, Air Marshall M.S Bawa and Maj-Gen Atma Singh, that the Army had faked the battle and no ground combat took place at Laungewala. They claimed that not even a single bullet was fired and that it was only due to air power that the said battle was won.

Former Governor of Andaman and Nicobar, Lt-Gen R. S Dayal, and fromer Colonel of the Regiment, Maj-Gen S.K Awasthi, were among a number of retired officers present.

A company of 23 Punjab along with three BSF jawans of the 14th Battalion had held up the advance of a complete Pakistani infantry brigade and armoured regiment by holding out till IAF air-support arrived.

The veterans said the statements of the two officers had harmed the morale of serving and retired troops of the Punjab Regiment. They said that it was not understood as to how such allegations were made by them when it was a known fact that five lives were lost that night in Laungewala. It was also found strange that such statements had been made 37 years after the war and that too by an officer who was decorated for his role in the same battle.



Rising Cyber Crime
Cops to be computer savvy
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
In an attempt to make its entire force computer savvy to tackle the rising graphs of cyber as well as white-collar crime, the police has decided to impart computer training to the staff.

Sources in the police said the modalities of setting up a computer training laboratory at Sector 26 Police Lines has been completed. The laboratory would be inaugurated this week. UT IGP S.K. Jain told TNS that about 200 personnel had been given training under the new project so far. The efforts to upgrade the present laboratory having five computers were at the final stage and soon 15 new computers would be installed there and it would become functional this week.

Emphasising the need over imparting basic knowledge of computers to the force, a senior officer said with the changing profile of the accused indulging in white-collar and cyber crime, the knowledge of computers had become an inevitable part of the police training. As the complaints regarding hacking of e-mails, online transferring of amounts from bank accounts, online lottery frauds and demat account frauds had seen an increase with criminals adopting new modus operandi, a policeman without any computer knowledge would be of no help.

The IGP said the police had decided to make computer knowledge mandatory for new comers. Those already selected would be given basic training before being taken into the force. The police had arrested Bright, a Nigerian, who was allegedly involved an online lottery scam involving one million pounds. Besides this, the police investigated cases of hacking of e-mails of K.K. Talwar, director, PGI, and K.N. Pathak, former Panjab University vice-chancellor. In February this year, the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell of the police had arrested three persons for allegedly defrauding a man by selling his shares worth over Rs 9 lakh by hacking his online demat password. 



Labourer hurt as earth caves in
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
A labourer in his mid-thirties escaped with minor injuries after the earth caved in Sector 42, opposite Sports Complex.

The injured have been identified as Vijay Kumar, a resident of Burail, who was hailing from Bihar. The incident occurred at around 4 pm, when the labourer was digging the land for laying of a pipeline. All of a sudden, the earth caved in, leaving Vijay trapped in. The other labourers, working there, immediately took Vikay out, who sustained injuries.

The injured was rushed to the Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16, where his condition is said to be stable.



Kapil Chadha Panchkula Press Club president
Tribune New Service

Panchkula, July 27
Kapil Chadha, special correspondent of Dainik Bhaskar, was today elected president of Panchkula Press Club unanimously here.

Dayanand Chaudhary, staff correspondent of Ajit Samachar, was elected as general secretary of the club.




Check sale of cut fruits

Sale of uncovered food items such as cut-fruit, fruit juice and ice-cream is picking up in the city that posing a serious health problem to the people. The sale of such items is a common sight at public places in Chandigarh, particularly, the area behind Neelam Cinema in Sector 17 where vendors are doing brisk business.

The norms laid down for the sale of such items are not being followed. A majority of those selling cut fruits are roadside vendors who are not even aware about basic hygiene.

Most roadside cut fruit vendors leave their wares uncovered, exposing them not only to dust, smoke and flies, but also to deadly germs. Additionally, these vendors are using water unfit for human consumption. Also, the water is stored in containers made of cheap plastic. The same is true for those selling fruit juices and sugarcane juice.

Buyers of these items are ignorant about the hazards. The MC along with health authorities should launch a special campaign to check the sale of exposed food items.

Rajesh Krishan, Chandigarh

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



PU Notes
Mayor plants saplings on varsity campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Mayor Pardeep Chhabra, councillor Anu Chatrath and delegates from India and abroad who have come to participate in the stem cells conference joined hands with the university fraternity, including vice-chancellor, deans, registrar, employees and students in planting saplings and celebrating the culmination of the first phase of tree plantation, campus cleaning and environment awareness drive on south campus (Sector 25) of PU.

Twenty employees of the horticulture wing were given mementoes, commendation certificates and cash prizes by the mayor and vice-chancellor. Addressing the gathering, vice-chancellor shared that 3,000 saplings of neem, hibiscus, amla, bougainvillea, palms and other eco-friendly plants had been planted during the past three weeks.

Eight gardens had been developed on both the campuses. The movement will now become a weekly affair and every Saturday, the university enthusiasts will gather at 6.00 am to plant and nurture the trees and involve themselves in cleanliness drive.

ADMISSIONS: Some seats have fallen vacant in various MBA sectoral programmes at UIAMS. Second counselling for admission to these programmes will be held on July 29 at 9 am at English auditorium, PU, as per schedule: OCET management rank 1 to 200 - 9 am; rank 201 to 500 - 12 noon; rank 501 onwards - 3 pm. Admission will be done on the basis of merit. There is one seat for single girl child category in each of MBA sectoral programmes for which counselling will be held on the same date and time. Details are available on the website <<http://uiams.puchd.ac.in/>.

HEALTH CAMP: Gianwati-O.P. Jain Memorial Trust, Chandigarh, is organising a free heart check-up camp on July 28 for faculty members and their families in collaboration with the department of chemical engineering, Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers, Northern Regional Centre, Chandigarh, and Rotary Club of Chandigarh from 11 am onwards. The camp will be conducted by senior cardiologists of Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi.

COUNSELLING: Counselling of admission to BEd (regular) and BEd yoga (regular) for UT colleges (UT pool - 60 per cent and general pool - 40 per cent) for various subject combinations will be held at Law auditorium, PU, according to the following schedule.

UT pool - August 4, 2008

1. 9 am - marks 55.75 to 42.00, category general, all subjects

2. 10:30 am - marks from 41.75 to 38.00, category general, all subjects

3. 12:00 noon - marks from 37.75 to 35.00, category general, all subjects

4. 1:30 pm - marks from 51.25 to 22.50, category general for fine arts and 39.25 to 22.50, category general for music

5. 2:00 pm - marks from 45.75 to 20.00 SC category, all subjects

6. 3:00 pm - all eligible in ST, defence and freedom fighter category, all subjects

7. 4:00 pm - all eligible, categories - physically handicapped, sports and foreign students, all subjects.

General pool, August 5, 2008

1. 9 am - marks 51.25 to 37.00, category general, all subjects

2. 10:30 am - marks from 36.75 to 33.00, category general, all subjects

3. 12:00 noon - marks from 29.50 to 22.50, category general, all subjects

4. 1:30 pm - marks from 34.50 to 22.50, category general for fine arts and 40.25 to 22.50, category general for music

5. 2:00 pm - marks from 55.50 to 22.50 SC category, all subjects

6. 3:00 pm - all eligible in ST, defence and freedom fighter category, all subjects

7. 4:00 pm - all eligible, categories - physically handicapped, sports and foreign students, all subjects.



Exorbitant late fee irks PU students
Smriti Sharma

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
Panjab University seems to care two hoots when it comes to amending old, redundant rules leaving the students paying hefty amounts in the name of late fees.

Case 1: A student of the department of chemical engineering who did not clear some of his papers in the first semester and later cleared these in the second and third semester again but did not bother to check the results till he finished the four-year course was shocked when he was told that the amount of late fees of his reappears and other miscellaneous stands to a whopping Rs 2 lakh.

Case 2: In another case, a student who paid less than 50 per cent fees of a professional course in PU as per a provision but was later told that he had to pay a late fees to the tune of Rs 30,000.

Case 3: A student appeared for improvement exams for BA (II) in public administration and Punjabi and for BA (III) he appeared for public administration and economics under the PU’s golden chance after filling two separate forms for Rs 1000 each. At the time of forms submission, he was not told of any fees but later he received letters from PU stating that after adding the amount of late fees, he owes the university Rs 32,300.

Interestingly, PU has separate slabs for late fees. Up to one week after the normal date fixed for submission of examination form, the late fees is Rs 1,200. After one week of the normal date fixed for submission of examination forms but not later than two months before the commencement of examination, the late fee is Rs 3,500. Not later than one month before the date of commencement of examination, the late fee is Rs 7,000 and not later than seven working days before the date of commencement of examination, the late fee is Rs 14,000.

Agitated on the exorbitant charges, PU fellow Ajay Pal Singh said, “ Either the university should fix one amount or should increase a small amount on yearly basis so that the fee remains in the reach of the students”.

Prof R C Sobti said, “Though we try to help genuine students and even reduce or waive the fees, we certainly can’t help those who do not even fill forms and later try to build pressures from all quarters”.



From Schools and Colleges
Reality show at Manav Mangal
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 27
To give students an opportunity to perform on the stage and exhibit their talent, a reality show “Smart Idol”, a solo song and dance competition was organised at Manav Mangal Smart School here yesterday. The winners in the solo song competition are Vaishnavi and Ravneet and in seniors group Siddharth and Khushboo are winners. The winners of song dance in juniors group are Vaishnavi and Shikhar and in senior groups are Bhupinder and Guneet.

Exhibition at Shemrock: An exhibition was held at Shemrock Secondary School, Sector 69, here. The function was inaugurated by Karanbir Kang. Projects on environment education showed “rainwater conservation and “harvesting” which were made by Harman and Gurbir of Class 7 and 8. A harsh reality of the declining beauty of Taj Mahal reducing it to a “no-wonder” by 2018 was beautifully depicted by Anmol of Class 7. Using plaster of paris, models of volcano. Solar system and pyramids of Egypt were made.

Recruitment drive: Dell visited the campus of Swami Vivekanand Institute of Engineering and Technology at Ramnagar, Banur, for recruitment. Open invitation was given to students of B.Tech, MBA, MCA and B.Pharma of 2008 passouts from the North.



Laungewala battle case hearing on July 30
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 27
A local civil court today fixed July 30 as the next date of hearing in the defamation case filed by a retired Brigadier against several respondents for disputing the standing history of the famous Battle of Laungewala.

Air Marshal M.S. Bawa (retd) and Maj-Gen Atma Singh (retd), who had alleged that the Army had faked the battle, did not appear before the court. On July 19, the court had issued notices to them along with other respondents. The court then granted four days time to enable them to file their comments in the case.

Brig K.S. Chandpuri, who was decorated with the Maha Vir Chakra for his actions in the battle and had fought on the Western frontier in 1971, said the claims of the aforementioned officers were slanderous and had tarnished his image and reputation.



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