C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Sun brings respite from chill
City records a maximum temperature of 16.4° C and a minimum of 6.7° C
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
City and its adjoining areas experienced light showers in the morning even as the minimum temperature rose by a few notches.

After a rise in the night temperature, the city witnessed a sunny day, giving some relief to the residents. After a drizzle in the morning, sun came out at around 9 am. The maximum temperature rose to 16.4 degrees Celsius and the minimum to 6.7 degrees as compared to 5.8 degrees on Tuesday.

“The cloud cover over the city has been caused by the north-east monsoon. The cloud cover prevents heat from escaping and so a cloudy day/night is always warmer than a clear day," said a Met department official.

Meanwhile, after all the airlines announced the cancellation of its flights to and from Chandigarh till January 15, some passengers were still seen at the airport with some hope while some trains coming to the city were delayed by several hours.

The Howrah-Kalka Mail (2311), which was scheduled to arrive here at 3.15 am, was delayed by 18 hours. The Paschim Express (2925) also arrived late by an hour.

Mild it may have been, yet the second rainfall of the season brought smiles on the faces of farmers of Punjab and Haryana, who for the last many days, were fearing loss of their Rabi crops.

RS Sandhu, an agricultural expert, said: "Earlier, we feared the weather will hit the crops. Even as the weather was fluctuating, it was not meeting the agro-requirements. However, the rain, despite being mild, has brought relief to the farmers."

The Met office forecast partly cloudy sky with mist or fog during the day and the night with fall in temperature. Maximum temperature is expected to be between 5 and 17 degrees C in the city tomorrow.

It also predicted light to moderate rain or thundershowers at isolated places in Haryana and Punjab during the next 24 hours.



Rathore's smirk returns, says will smile more
Smriti Sharma
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, January 13
Perhaps not being able to take it any more, former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore today broke his silence before the media saying that he will “smile more” if the media tried to harm him.

His reactions and subsequent interactions kept changing as the day proceeded. While before the hearing, when he was being escorted to the courtroom by cops, he told one of them that he was now in the court and was safe. “Don’t worry, media will not kill me,” he said.

Later in the evening, he was in a different mood altogether. As soon as he came out of the district courts, he once again came face to face with the media who had gathered outside the court complex since morning.

Taking the media head on, Rathore said “he will smile more if they succeed in doing more harm to him”.

Visibly aggravated by the constant media reports that dubbed his smile as unbending, Rathore accompanied by his wife, reiterated that his smile would be unaffected.

Calling Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru his idol, he said he drew inspiration from him for his unfazed smile and lot more. Recalling his days at Lucknow University, Rathore said he had learnt from Jawaharlal Nehru to keep smiling even in adversity.

Chiding the media for “talking too much about his smile” after the grin on his face on getting a lighter six-month sentence in the Ruchika molestation case, Rathore said he will not “destroy” the judicial system like the way the “media was doing.”

Surrounded by reporters for his reaction as he walked out of the District and Sessions Court to his car after getting bail in the molestation case, Rathore did not hide his apparent dislike for the media following of his submissions in open court that he was being subjected to a “media trial”.

“I will not speak anything about the subject of inquiry, but if you want, I can speak about the smile you have been talking too much. I learnt from former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to smile when you are in adversity. If you succeed to harm me more, I will still smile more,” Rathore said.



Ruchika case: Girhotras’ hopes revive after CBI takes over
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 13
While the Panchkula police has heaved a sigh of relief after a 20 member CBI team arrived here to probe into the Ruchika molestation case, the hopes of the Girhotras as well as their trusted friend and Aradhana Gupta’s father, Anand Prakash, to get justice have been revived once again.

Though the agency had conducted an investigation of the case with the same vigour and professional approach earlier also, its efforts were, however, scuttled by the Haryana police as SPS Rathore was at that time state DGP, alleged Prakash.

“The last time when the CBI took over the probe into allegations of molestation of Ruchika by Rathore, they had been substantiated by the agency. However, Rathore with his influence was able to see to it that the CBI could not get those witnesses on record whose deposing could find him as guilty of torturing the family and abetment to suicide”, claimed Prakash.

“Rathore also ensured the CBI didn’t record of Ashu’s statement in this case”, Prakash asserted. “Now, when Rathore is not in power and developments in the case are being closely watched by people throughout the country, there’s every likelihood the CBI would be able to dig out the truth”, he added.

Earlier in the day, a team of CBI officials led by DIG (CBI) Satish Golcha arrived here by the Shatabdi Express and drove immediately to the police headquarters. After meeting senior police officials, the CBI team went to Police Lines in Mogi Nand village where the local authorities had arranged a lunch for them. Following this Golcha left for Chandigarh for his meeting with the Haryana chief secretary while his subordinates stopped at the Panchkula SP’s office to collect all the documents pertaining to the case.



Publicity-hungry docs seek out PR agencies
Anuja Jaiswal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
'Publicity ke liye kuchh bhi karenge’ (we’ll do anything to get publicity). This appears to be the motto of certain doctors in the region’s premier medical institution, the PGI. Even though the institute has a full-fledged public relations department some doctors are taking the “help” of private PR agencies to “push” their press notes in newspapers.

Reporters covering the health beat are quite used to being ‘pestered’ by PR personnel to get the releases of private hospitals and doctors into print. Since publicity from the ‘third mouth’ is always considered more effective than an advertisement, PR agencies, in the name of “public interest”, apparently find it easy to get articles pertaining to diseases from doctors published in newspapers. This serves a dual purpose - publicity for the doctor as well as the institute he or she represents.

However, of late some doctors from even the PGI have got into this ‘rat race’ for publicity and are using private agencies on the sly to promote themselves. Only recently a city based PR agency issued a press note from a PGI doctor on ‘myths on organ donation you must believe’.

While there is no doubt myths pertaining to the noble cause of organ donation need to be broken, why cannot the PGI’s own PR department do it rather than relying on an outside agency? When this fact was brought to the notice of PGI director Dr KK Talwar, he categorically maintained “no doctor can use the services of a PR agency and any publicity is to be routed through official channels”.

When he was shown the PR agency’s press release quoting a doctor of the PGI’s transplant surgery department, he responded, “I’ll have this matter looked into as it’s serious”. However, the institute seems to have gone on a defensive after being confronted with the facts by this reporter.

The PGI’s public relation officer, Manju Wadlwalkar, claimed she had checked with the concerned doctor and he had denied forwarding any article to the PR agency. However, the agency, Perfect Relations, has categorically asserted the article was “seen and cleared” by the doctor.

A spokesman of the agency, Jagmeet Singh, said the aim of involving PGI doctors was to get information pertaining to various diseases “in the public interest”. “Our clients like Max Healthcare are not experts. We get information from PGI doctors to inform the people”, he added.

This is not the lone case as last November a private PR agency organised a press conference on pneumonia at School of Public Health in PGI.

What is surprising is that while newsmen have to run from pillar to post to get versions from doctors, with most refusing to talk to the press on the plea of “not being authorised to speak to the media”, private PR agencies appear to have easy access to them.

Incidentally, PGI authorities have barred doctors from speaking to the press directly but there are no such bars for PR agencies.



Trying times for Sec 15 second-hand bookshops
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

A shopkeeper at a bookshop in Sector 15, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Nitin Mittal

Chandigarh, January 13
One can find here almost the same number of books as that in the Panjab University library. However, the city’s Sector 15 second-hand book market, which boasts of having over 700,000 books, is now undergoing a crisis.

Paying a rent of Rs 750 per month to the UT administration has become a big burden for every shopkeeper. Engaged in stiff competition with each other, since all 35 shops are packed in the same tiny area and cater to the same type of students, it has become a daily struggle for survival.

The shops adjoin each other with those located in the front row of the market being the most visited, while the ones in the interior drawing few customers. It is worse for the shops in the last lane (sheds 29-35), whose business has been facing a slump ever since they began to operate.

Having been shifted a year back from across the PU gate number 2, these shopkeepers, who are basically encroachers, have nearly 10,000 to 15,000 second hand books each. If one goes by the claims of students who come here, most of these books are in good shape and are sold at discounted prices.

Right from class 5 English grammar books to those on nuclear physics and engineering, this market has become the preferred option for students, not only for the variety and range of second hand books but also because they are much more affordable than new ones.

Now, after a year, the shopkeepers are planning to spread out in different area of the city to survive. “We’ve been repeatedly writing letters to the governor and have also pleaded with the finance secretary to help us in getting us out of this crisis situation. We have a treasure of books that no bookshop in the city has. If a customer visits the market he is most likely to come to ones in the front row first. Maybe, once in a while, customers visit shops in the second or third row. However, the ones in the last row hardly have any customers,” said Sandeep, a shopkeeper.

The administration has made it clear any further encroachment by the shopkeepers would not be tolerated, though it has not ruled out the option of the booksellers spreading out in other areas of the city.

“These shopkeepers are primarily encroachers and the administration has done a lot of them. There is no scope of letting them or anybody encroach further upon any area. However, any request for moving out to other sectors of the city might be considered for the benefit of students,” said UT finance secretary Sanjay Kumar.



CHB accused of diluting RTI Act
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
Acting on a city resident’s complaint that the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) was diluting the RTI Act, the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) has summoned CHB officials.

The CIC has fixed January 20 as the date of hearing and directed the CHB’s central public information officer (CPIO) and other officials involved in deciding the letter that was sent to RTI applicant Manpreet Singh.

Harassed by CHB officials, city resident Manpreet Singh had filed a complaint with the CIC on July 2, 2009, after the board officials sent him a letter asking him to be present at their office and clarify the information he had sought under the RTI Act on June 22.

In his complaint, Manpreet had accused the CPIO of the CHB of misleading and denying him the information regarding the number of building violations and encroachments in Chandigarh.

The applicant had also sought explanation from the CHB as to under which provision of the RTI Act had they called him to attend their office to clarify the information sought, as no such provision existed under the Act.

Attributing the poor functioning of the CHB to wide-scale corruption and lack of accountability, recently the RTI activists in the city had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urging him to mark a CBI inquiry into the board’s functioning.

The CIC letter to the CPIO of the CHB notes: “The commission hereby directs you to appear in person and present your case. In case you have taken assistance of any official under Section 5 (4) of the RTI Act, such person should also be notified and asked to appear before the commission.”



Primary classes to reopen on Jan 16
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
In view of the continuing cold weather, the UT administration has decided to extend the ongoing winter break for primary classes in both government and private schools in the city for two more days. The schools will now reopen for primary classes on January 16.

“The weather was sunny for some time today morning but when the chill resumed we decided to extend the holidays for primary students of both government and private schools,” said UT DEO Chanchal Singh.


Folk songs, bhangra mark Lohri celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
“Lohri for the girl child” was celebrated at Government College for Girls, Sector 42, here today. The highlights of the programme were a street play, dance items and folk songs prepared by students pertaining to the theme.

A procession by girls holding banners regarding women cause also became a part of the festivity. College principal Mani Bedi lit the bonfire and reminded the students to contribute towards changing the mind set of society.


MCM College students dance on Lohri in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
FESTIVE SPIRIT: MCM College students dance on Lohri in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Photo: Manoj Mahajan

MCM DAV College for Women celebrated Lohri today with full traditional fervour and gusto. Students and faculty members indulged in a mood of music, dance and cultural festivity. The MCM family lit the bonfire and celebrated the festival with a traditional zeal.

College principal, Dr Puneet Bedi, gave blessings to students on this auspicious occasion. Dr Bedi gifted the students an additional hostel bus for daily tuitions and outings and announced installation of LCDs in the hostel.

Dr Bedi encouraged the students to participate in the traditional festivities and wished them joy and prosperity.

The NSS Club of MCM celebrated Lohri with senior citizens at the Old Age Home, Sector 15, Chandigarh, and gifted woollens and sweets to them as a token of warmth and affection.


The students and staff of Government College for Girls, Sector 11, celebrated Lohri with great fervour and gaiety here today.

A huge gathering of the students danced to the tunes of latest foot tapping numbers around the bonfire. The celebration was arranged by the college students’ council. The highlights of the celebration were giddha, boliyan and bhangra. They were further motivated and enthralled when college principal Achla Dogra and all faculty members joined them in the festivities.

Addressing the students, Dogra said the festival was celebrated in honour of and as a mark of respect to the girl child. She motivated them to work hard and carve a niche for themselves in today’s competitive world.

SD College

It was a day filled with fun and fervour as management, principal, staff and students of GGDSD College, Sector 32 C, celebrated Lohri on the college premises here today.

The programme commenced with principal, Dr AC Vaid, lighting the bonfire after which the staff and students sang traditional Lohri songs and everyone danced to the tune of the dholak, exhibiting the typical Punjabi zest and zeal. Sweets and peanuts were distributed amongst all.

The principal spoke on the significance of such festivals in our life. He advised the students to have a feeling of camaraderie and goodwill for their fellow beings.

Lohri bonfire will also be lit in both boys and girls’ hostel in the evening, which will be followed by a cultural function and dinner.

Govt College-46

Government College, Sector 46, organised Lohri here today with full enthusiasm and spirit. Principal, Dr JS Raghu, and vice-principal Gurjeet Kaur blessed students and wished them luck for their future.

The college said “No to noise pollution” and arranged dholi on whose beats the students performed bhangra.

This is for the first time in the college that first Lohri of a newly born girl child of one of the staff members, Shivani, a lecturer in commerce, was celebrated with full fervour.

The students and staff, both teaching and non-teaching, blessed the baby. Sweets were distributed to all students. The college took the initiative to stand against female foeticide and noise pollution.


A competition of folk songs marked Lohri celebrations at Kendriya Vidyalaya, 3 BRD Air Force Station, here today.

Principal SK Sharma and other staff members along with students lit the bonfire and danced around it. Peanuts, popcorns and rewaris were distributed to all.


The principal, students and staff members of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 31, celebrated Lohri with zest and fervour today. Lohri bonfire was lighted up for the occasion. Foot tapping dances, traditional songs, giddha, popcorns, groundnuts and rewaris were distribution to mark the occasion. Principal SK Bhatia reiterated the need for loving one’s native culture and traditions.

Govt school-18

The festival of Lohri was celebrated in a traditional way with a lot of zeal at Government Girls’ Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 18, today.

Principal Nirupma Kush lighted the bonfire and all staff members and students bowed their heads in obeisance. The usual Lohri fare of groundnuts, rewaris and gachaks was distributed among the students. The Class IV employees were honoured with a small gift each in recognition of their indispensable service rendered to the school.


The warmth of the bonfire warmed the hearts of teachers and students alike on the occasion of Lohri celebrations at AKSIPS-41-B today. The function started with a traditional speech in Punjabi telling about the significance of Lohri. Children dressed in beautiful costumes sang “Sunder munderiye” along with distributing goodies like peanuts, rewaris and gachaks.

PANCHKULA: Lohri was celebrated with enthusiasm at the DAV-8, Panchkula. Students of the kindergarten section were told the folktales related to the festival.

Other students of the school celebrated Lohri with their teachers and the principal Santosh Bhandari.

They lit the bonfire and sang the traditional song ‘sunder mundariye’ as they danced around the fire.

The British School (TBS) celebrated Lohri with gusto. Geetika Sethi, director, TBS, Panchkula, said: “Keeping the warm spirit of the festival, TBS had planned activity-filled day in the school. The teachers had designed different creative activities related to Lohri. The sugarcane cards, stamping of farm animals and platter decoration with the popcorns as a part of Lohri activity kept them occupied forgetting the chilly weather outside. The teachers briefed them about the festival.

The seniors were given a passage for comprehension so that they know about their rich culture. Students were divided into two groups. Some of them made Lohri cards and some made a collage using different materials. They wrote a paragraph and different views were expressed.

A bonfire was lit where all the children offered ‘prasad’ of of popcorn, til, jaggery, gajjak and peanuts.

Halmark Public School celebrated Lohri with fervour, exuberance, enthusiasm and warmth by singing the traditional song ‘Sunder mundriye ho”.

The principal, Kavita Wadhwa, shared the anecdotes related to Lohri. First Lohri is considered very important for the newly-wed and the newborn babies as it marks fertility. The students gathered around the bonfire and offered til, puffed rice and popcorns into the bonfire.

Zirakpur/Dera Bassi: Lohri was celebrated with fervour at Mountview Public School, Baltana, today. A bonfire was lit by chairman Major Gurcharan Singh.

Students presented various cultural activities like traditional songs, giddha and bhangra.

Students and staff members of Sri Sukhmani Group of Institutions, Divya Shiksha Gurukul College and DAV Public School celebrated Lohri with gaiety.

Kharar: Lohri was celebrated with great fervour across various educational institutes in Kharar.

Indo Global Colleges, Abhipur, celebrated Lohri with faculty members and students.

Chairperson Neelam Singla, director-general R Panickar, Indo Global College of Engineering principal, Dr Promila Kaushal, and Indo Global College of Education principal, Dr Sarita Saini, lit the traditional bonfire.

The students presented cultural items to mark the occasion. Chairman Sukhdev Kumar Singla conveyed his best wishes to all on Lohri.

The Universal Disabled Care Taker Society, Padiala village, too celebrated the day with its inhabitants and staff members.



Nari Niketan Rape
Forum celebrates Lohri with victim’s daughter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
The Citizen Forum for Human Rights celebrated Lohri with Pari, the daughter of Nari Niketan rape victim, here today.

Calling her a miracle child who was born against all odds, the forum organised a function to mark her first Lohri.

“It is unfortunate that her mother is yet to get justice but nothing should bar us from providing the child her due. She is special to the entire country and thus we wanted to make this festival more special for her and also sensitise people against female foeticide,” said a members.

Similarly, the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator Gen SF Rodrigues (retd) and his wife Jean Rodrigues celebrated Lohri with the inmates of Nari Niketan and the Old Age Home, Sector 15.

Greeting the inmates, the Governor urged residents to synchronise the festive spirit with societal concerns and dedicate themselves to the cause of gender equality, empowerment of girl child and for the well-being of old people and disadvantaged women and children.



No clean chit to Justice Yadav
CJI opines no action required ‘for the present’: CBI report

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
Justice Nirmal Yadav of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has apparently not been given a clean chit by Chief Justice of India (CJI) K.G. Balakrishnan in the cash-for-judge scam. The closure report submitted by the CBI categorically says that the CJI is of the opinion that no action is required “for the present”.

The report, handed over to a city court, asserts the sanction for the prosecuting Justice Yadav was declined on the grounds that after analysis of available evidence, attorney-general of India has observed there is not a shred of evidence that “the said alleged offences were committed by Sanjiv Bansal, Ravinder Singh and Nirmal Singh in conspiracy with Justice Yadav” and that “the matter had been discussed by the Minister of Law and Justice with the CJI, who observed that no action was required for the present”.

The CJI had earlier directed the constitution of a three-judge committee for looking into the scam. In its report, the committee concluded Rs 15 lakh was indeed delivered at Justice Yadav’s house. As of now, it was not clear how the CJI had dealt with the findings of the committee.

The damning closure report also reveals Haryana’s former law officer Sanjiv Bansal had approached Delhi businessman Ravinder Singh for seeking favours from Justice Yadav on more than one occasion.

The report says the investigations have revealed that “Bansal had approached Ravinder Singh for seeking favours from Justice Nirmal Yadav in various matters pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court as well as a district court”.

Bansal, Nirmal Singh and Ravinder Singh were arrayed as accused after the cash scam surfaced with the mis-delivery of Rs 15 lakh at the residence of another Judge with similar name Justice Nirmaljit Kaur. The CBI has stated that “Justice Nirmaljit Kaur had nothing to do with the same” and the money had, in fact, been demanded by Justice Yadav.

The report says Ravinder Singh’s acquaintance with Justice Nirmal Yadav dates back to the time when she was registrar-general here. “Sometime in 1999-2000, Ravinder Singh was introduced to Justice Nirmal Yadav, who was then registrar-general in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Thereafter, he developed close contacts with her and both were in regular contact with each other. Ravinder Singh is also a good friend of Sanjiv Bansal, then additional advocate-general of Haryana, and they were constantly in touch with each other”.

Elaborating on the circumstances leading to the mis-delivery, the CBI has asserted that Ravinder Singh gave a bag containing Rs 15 lakh to Bansal for delivering it to Justice Yadav. To expedite the delivery, Bansal directed his wife Renu Bansal to send the amount to the residence of Justice Yadav through his clerk Parkash Ram. The clerk was “given a packet by Renu Bansal for delivering it to Nirmalji. Inadvertently, Parkash Ram reached the residence of Justice Nirmaljit Kaur”. An employee, Amrik Singh, came from the house and collected the packet. Upon Justice Nirmaljit Kaur’s directions, he opened the packet containing currency notes.

“As Justice Nirmaljit Kaur had nothing to do with the same, she directed the staff posted at her residence to apprehend the person who had brought the packet and call the police,” the report says.



Admn clarifies on employees’ demands
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
The Chandigarh administration has been considering the demands of employees’ unions sympathetically and has agreed to most demands covered under the rules.

In respect of demands that require the approval of the central government, the administration has been taking these up with the government from time to time.

The coordination committee of the Government and MC Employees and Workers’ Union has been agitating for grant of pay scales and conditions of service on central pattern instead of the existing Punjab pattern, revoking of the 5 per cent ceiling on compassionate appointments, grant of bonus to employees, regularisation of daily wage workers and grant of uniform to the class-III technical employees.

An official spokesperson said the administration had considered all above-said demands within the existing rules/instructions applicable to the UT employees and the position in respect of the above matters is as under:

The central government changed the conditions of service of UT employees in 1992 from central pattern to Punjab pattern on the demand of employees. For the past few years, a section of the UT employees has been demanding the restoration of the earlier position i.e. the central pattern. The administration took up the issue with the central government many times recommending adoption of the central conditions of service for UT employees.

However, the Government of India did not agree to the request of the administration.

The coordination committee has again requested for taking up the matter with the central government, however, a number of other unions of the UT employees have opposed the demand for central pattern and are in favour of continuing with the existing arrangement.

Regarding removal of 5 per cent ceiling on compassionate appointments, the administration has been requesting the central government for removal of the ceiling keeping in view the practical difficulties being faced by various departments. The government, however, has not acceded to the request.

The administration has also framed a scheme for making a lump sum payment of Rs 5 lakh to the eligible family members of the deceased employees in lieu of compassionate appointments and sought approval of the central government. The government has, however, not agreed to this also.

The matter has again been taken up by the Chandigarh administration with the Central Government.

With regard to the demand pertaining to regularisation of services of daily wage workers, the matter is sub judice before the Supreme Court.

The matter has also been taken up with the ministry of home affairs by the administration.

The demand regarding payment of ad hoc bonus to UT employees was also taken up by the Chandigarh administration with the ministry of home affairs several times.

The government, however, has turned down the request with the observations that the conditions of service of UT employees are on a par with their counterparts in Punjab.

As and when the Punjab government makes payment of ad hoc bonus to their employees, the administration will make such payment to its employees also.



Home Secy visits new grain market site
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
A new grain market and a sabzi mandi will come up in Sector 39, said Home Secretary Ram Niwas during a visit to the site in Sector 39 today. Accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner, the Chief Architect and the Chief Engineer, the Home Secretary said there was a need to de-notify the grain market in Sector 26 and shift it to Sector 39.

While the engineering department has been asked to clear the area, the Chief Architect has been directed to prepare a layout plan for the proposed complex.

The construction work for the project will start after the approval of layout and drawings.

Meanwhile, during a visit to Sector 29, the Home Secretary took a round of the old building of Police Lines with ITBP officials.

The area has two blocks on its premises, which will now be repaired and refurbished.

One block will be given to the ITBP, which is currently occupying the community centre at Bapu Dham colony and another block will be ready for the department of public relations of Haryana and industries department of Punjab, currently occupying the premises of the College of Arts, Sector 10.

According to the Home Secretary, these offices would be shifted to Sector 29.

He added that the vacated area would be used by the College of Arts for constructing an additional block for MA (fine arts).

On his visit to Sector 31, it was decided that the offices of the NCC, currently occupying the hostel of Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET), would be shifted to Sector 31 so that hostel for students could be made available.

Currently, the NCC office has 60 rooms in occupation, resulting in paucity of rooms for students studying in the CCET.



Delay in Construction of Flats
‘Housefed MD failed to give documents to GMADA’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 13
Members of the Housefed Flat Sangarsh Committee ( Sector 79), here, have alleged that the construction of 632 flats was being delayed because the required documents were not being handed over to the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) by the Managing Director of Housefed.

Members of the committee, who met chairman of the Mohali District Planning Board NK Sharma to help them in this regard, said that the Managing Director, Housefed, Punjab, VK Bansal, was not bothered about the inconvenience the members were going through and had kept the matter only at the correspondence level.

GMADA had allotted two sites to Housefed in 2002 and the possession was handed over on April 28, 2003.

The allottees had taken loans from banks to make payments for the flats and were themselves staying in rented accommodations all these years.

They demanded that Housefed should pay a compensation amount ranging between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 8 lakh for deficiency in service to members, who had undergone mental and physical harassment, 100 per cent reimbursement of house rent, which the allottees had to pay because the flats were not made available to them and an interest on the amount that had been deposited by them with Housefed for the construction of these flats.

They said that Sharma discussed the matter with both the agencies and asked them to expedite the work of construction as per the wishes of the Punjab Chief Minister.

He assured the members that he would try to get the matter solved in a week’s time after taking it up with the Chief Minister.



Infant dies ‘after vaccination’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 13
A three-month old infant died at Matuor village here today allegedly due to the negligence of a health employee, who had given her vaccination, a charge denied by senior officials of the Health Department.

Tempers rose high soon after the information about the death of the child spread in the area and some residents gathered near the government dispensary venting their anger on the dispensary staff. They even tried to damage the furniture of the dispensary. The police was called to bring the situation under control.

According to reports, the child, Dimple, was brought to the dispensary in the village around 10.30 am by her parents so that she could be given DPT and hepatitis vaccination, which was administered by an auxiliary nurse and midwife (ANM).

The child began vomiting blood after some time and her parents then took her to a private hospital where she was declared brought dead.

After the death of the child, they again came to the dispensary along with residents of the village. Vijay Sharma, father of the deceased, who works as a tailor in the area, said Dimple was the first child in the family and they had made arrangements to celebrate her first Lohri today.

After getting information about the death of the child, District Health Officer Dr SP Surila and other officials of the Health Department reached the dispensary to find out as to what had happened. Surila said that it was not clear what led to the death of the child.

A post-mortem examination would be conducted to know the reason behind the death. He said that 12 children were given vaccination at the dispensary and Dimple was eighth in the row.

No compliant was received from parents of any other child. He had even checked the expiry date on the vial and the vaccination was well within the specified period.



BSNL scheme for broadband subscribers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
Bhartiya Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has launched a special scheme for customers to settle disputed bills of broadband connection. According to sources, four options have been made available under the scheme and the subscribers can choose one of the best options suitable to them to settle the excessive broadband usage beyond their expectation.

Besides, no rent for the intervening period will be charged from the subscribers who want to restore their telephone connections after settlement of disputes under the scheme, which is for a limited period, says Naresh Sharma, general manager, BSNL.

The subscribers desirous of availing of the scheme may contact the account officer (TR) concerned.



Sec 7, 19, 26 residents without water for two days
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
Residents of Sectors 7, 19 and 26 have been without water for the past two days following a major breakdown in the supply line.

Many residents alleged that officials of the municipal corporation’s public health department had not bothered to inform them about the cause of disruption in supply.

They did not even care to reply on when the supply would be restored. To top it all, there were no water tankers for residents to make water available for daily chores.

Inder Kaur, a resident of Sector 19, said their daily chores had been affected due to the absence of water.

“Let alone water for bathing, we don’t even have it for drinking. We have been forced to purchase mineral water bottles for the past two days. In spite of numerous complaints, the civic body officials have failed to rectify the fault,” she added.

Similarly, Neelam, a resident of Sector 26, said it was impossible to manage household chores without water. Almost every work is dependent on water — be it cooking, washing or cleaning. She rued that the authorities concerned were not prepared for emergencies like this.

Another resident Amarpreet Singh said it was surprising that the authorities were unable to take care of supply of basic necessities like water.

“If they cannot handle things themselves, let them privatise such facilities. At least one can be held accountable for such faults, something that is not possible in government offices,” he said.

He added that it was strange that authorities had not bothered to inform public about the disruption in water supply due to a breakdown or make temporary arrangements, like water tankers, to provide water to residents.

SE (public health) RK Goyal said the valve that controlled the water supply had burst due to which the water supply had been disrupted.

He said the repair of the valve was being carried out by the department and the water supply would be restored by tomorrow morning.



Price Rise
BJP seeks Pawar’s resignation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
Holding the Congress-led central government responsible for the unprecedented price rise, Kiran Ghai, co-in charge of the Chandigarh unit of the BJP, today sought the resignation of union minister Sharad Pawar.

Addressing party workers at the BJP office in Sector 33 here, she alleged that the prices of sugar, flour, pulses and edible oils had skyrocketed and were going out the reach of the common man.

If prices of petrol and diesel were increased, it would have adverse impact on the prices of eatable commodities.

She said instead of taking effective steps to control price rise, irresponsible statements were being made by Pawar.

She said if the Prime Minister was serious about the price rise, he must dismiss Pawar.

She apprehended that the forthcoming Budget would put additional burden on the people of the country.

She said the BJP had decided to launch a nationwide campaign against the unprecedented price rise.

According to the decision, the Chandigarh unit of the BJP will stage a protest at district and mandal levels from January 18 to January 25.

A state-level rally will also be held on February 6 as a mark of protest.

She said after the countrywide campaign against price rise, a demonstration will be organised by the party in New Delhi.

Besides acting president Purshotam Mahajan, general secretary Sanjay Tandon, Mata Ram Dhiman, Asha Verma, PD Mongia, Heera Negi, Anju Sharma and Sat Pal Gupta were also present.



Mohali to have traffic park
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 13
Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand said here today that in order to create awareness about traffic rules, a traffic park would be set up at Government College.

Mand, who was addressing senior officials of various departments for setting up a Road Safety Advisory Committee, said traffic problems had increased with time and in order to control the situation it was necessary to provide training to school children and drivers of various vehicles, including auto-rickshaws and the park was being set up to achieve this objective.

It was decided to set up a district -level traffic control committee under the supervision of the SP (Traffic), the SDM and the District Town Planner, which would include non-government members as well. Such committees would also be constituted at the sub-division levels.

While addressing the officials, Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, said the traffic control committees would play an important role in regulating traffic in the district. He urged the authorities concerned to get the faulty traffic lights functional.

He said the power board officials should inform the traffic police about the power cuts in advance so that cops could be deployed at strategic points to regulate the flow of traffic.



NRI conference on Jan 23
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
The International Punjabi Chamber for Service Industry (IPCSI) is organising its forthcoming annual NRI conference scheduled for January 23 on the theme “Making Punjab the skills capital of the world”, a press note said here today.

Information with regard to the forthcoming conference was provided by Global Organisation of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) chairperson Inder Singh while addressing a press conference here today.

GOPIO international is a non-partisan and non-sectarian global organisation engaged in promoting well being of NRIs and people of Indian origin enhancing cooperation and communication between groups of Indians living in different countries and in furthering their cooperation with India. It also mobilises professional, financial and intellectual resources of the community of Indians abroad for their mutual advancement and for the development of their country of origin.

It also organises interaction between Indian and other communities at the global level in promoting world peace.



NRI body for skill development of youth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
The Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) International, a non-partisan organisation engaged in promoting the well-being of non-resident Indians, has emphasised the need for allowing people to go abroad to have better skills and get better wages rather than work as unskilled labourer.

Addressing mediapersons at Press Club here today, Inder Singh, chairman, GOPIO, stressed an interaction between Indian people and other communities at global level in promoting world peace, progress and ecological harmony.

He urged NRIs to concentrate more on helping children of Punjab for their skill development and employment generation.

He said the GOPIO was setting up its chapter in the city and would work with any organisation or persons to achieve its objective of training people for overseas employment.



‘Take decision on power tariff hike’

Mohali, January 13
The Consumers Protection Federation has urged the government to immediately implement the decision taken in connection with power -tariff hike so that consumers could get relief.

PSVirdi, president of the federation, said power theft should be stopped by the Punjab State Electricity Board by removing kundi connections so that losses being faced by the power board could come down.

Even the outstanding payments of various departments should be recovered and transmission losses be brought down to bring the board into a better financial position.

The federation condemned the government for failing to bring the prices of essential commodities under control, which had adversely affected the common man. It also demanded that prices of petrol should not be hiked as it adversely affected the prices of other commodities as well. — OC



Arvinder is hotel body chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Chandigarh (HRAC) unanimously elected Arvinder Pal Singh (Metro 35 & Metro 43 Hotels) as its president at a meeting, according to a press release here today.

The new president replaces Man Mohan Singh (The Aroma), who will now hold the office of chairman of the association.

Gurvinder Juneja (Khyber) will continue to be the honorary secretary of the association.

The HRAC also reviewed its activities and resolved to streamline the food and beverage tariff of hotels and restaurants in the light of current price rise.



Youth Day celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
The Nehru Yuva Kendra, Sector 23, celebrated the Youth Day yesterday. An array of activities aimed at professing the ideals and values of Swami Vivekanand were organised.

The celebrations, which will continue for a week, will dedicate each day to issues like physical well-being, social service, cultural heritage, etc.

“The aim of the week-long event is to attract the youth towards the ideals professed by Swami Vivekanand. The country today needs to put the youth on right track and channel their energies in a proper direction.



Two issues of research journal released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 13
PU Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti released two issues of “Research Journal Social Sciences” (Volume 15, No. 3, 2007, and Volume 16, No. 1, 2008) on the campus here today.

The Vice-Chancellor appreciated the efforts of scholars in the field of social sciences.

He said the university was exploring the possibility of developing its own mechanism of publication of research journals.

Prof RK Sharma, editor-in-chief, research journal social sciences, pleaded for more funds.

The urgency of such a proposal has become relevant following the University Grants Commission mandate, according to which research scholars should have publication in their names before the submission of their PhD thesis. The VC said the grant for the journal would be doubled.

Two volumes of the journal comprise research papers from the leading academicians of the region on various topics like police reforms; challenges of governance and good governance; administration of air pollution control; empowerment of women; emotional intelligence and occupational stress; sustainable development; coping with workforce diversity; Dara Shikoh’s life; conflict management in an organisation; economic growth and FDI, public interest litigation and democratic decentralisation in education.




Chandigarh: University Institute of Applied Management Sciences, Panjab University, Chandigarh, in collaboration with the Senior Citizen’s Council for Human Resource Development, Chandigarh, will organise a two-day National Conference-SAARTHI-2010 on “Ethics in Healthcare” on January 16 and 17.

The conference will have six technical sessions. More than 40 research papers and posters on important issues and queries regarding ethical aspects of a surgery, stem cell and organ transplantation, medical malpractice, Consumer Protection Act 1986 (medical), ethics in healthcare management, healthcare marketing, ethics in health information management, ethics in medico legal cases, strengthening healthcare by using ethics, difference between public health and medical ethics and health policies will be discussed during the conference. — TNS



Convocation: 350 students awarded
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 13
A total of 350 students were awarded at the annual convocation of Satluj Public School, senior wing, here yesterday.

The programme commenced with the “Saraswati vandana” followed by a welcome address by principal Krit Serai, who also highlighted various achievements of the school and wished everyone success on the “Foundation Day”. The school was established in 1976.

The chief guest, director and founder of the school, Pritam Singh Serai, blessed the students. Special invitees Sardar Anjum, renowned poet and deputy DEO Karan Singh were the guest of honour and were rewarded for their meritorious services to the community.



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