C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MC losing lakhs in unpaid rent
Liquor vends, milk booths major defaulters
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The municipal corporation is incurring losses amounting to lakhs of rupee every year in unpaid rentals for civic land due from liquor vendors and milk booth operators.

MC records show of the 30 liquor vends doing business on its land 18 of them have had not paid any rent for the past two years, with the outstanding amount estimated at Rs 55 lakh. Civic officials who appear to have woken up to this fact after 14 years have realised they have no policy norms in place for collecting the rentals from milk booths located on MC land.

At today’s meeting of the civic body’s finance & contract committee (F&CC), chaired by mayor Anu Chatrath, a report tabled by officials revealed 13 liquor vends had not paid the monthly rental for the past two years with five having not paid up for the past one year.

The report claims the highest amount pending in the list of defaulters one of the liquor vendors who had not paid rent for the last two years owed Rs 7.2 lakh. It appears to be strange that MC officials have not bothered to issue any notice to these defaulters for the past two years.

At the meeting Chatrath instructed the officials to issue notices to defaulting liquor vends to recover the outstanding rental amounts at the earliest.

One of the members, Pardeep Chhabra, asked why the civic body had not subjected liquor vends to property tax as the latter was a commercial activity.

At the meeting MC officials also tabled a report accepting they did not have any data on the number of milk booths located on corporation land. As these booths were transferred from the UT administration 14 years ago there is no clear-cut policy about charging any rental from them.

According to the report two cooperatives - Milkfed in Mohali and Vita - are charging a monthly rental of Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000, respectively, from milk booth operators. However, the MC does not get any share of these rentals.

The mayor asked MC officials to get details of the terms and conditions framed by the administration regarding allotment of these booths and table it at the next F&CC meeting. The officials were also instructed to conduct a detailed survey of milk booths located on corporation land.

Notices to be issued

The municipal corporation has finally decided to act on recovery of rentals. At today’s meeting of the finance & contract committee mayor Anu Chatrath instructed civic officials to issue notices to defaulting liquor vends asking them to pay the dues at the earliest



UT set to resume flats’ transfer on GPA
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The UT administration is set to resume transfer of flats to general power of attorney (GPA) holders in cooperative group housing societies. With the administration finally realising its slip in misinterpreting a Punjab & Haryana High Court order on transfer of flats, relief now seems to be in sight for hundreds of GPAs who had been at the receiving end of officials for several months.

In fact, a consensus was reached at a meeting presided over by home & cooperation secretary Ram Niwas and attended by other senior officials, including finance secretary Sanjay Kumar, deputy commissioner Brijendra Singh and legal remembrancer Sant Prakash, to resume transfer of flats in the public interest.

“A formal order to resume transfer of flats will be announced shortly,” a senior official said.

At the meeting it was felt the finance secretary office’s directive to the joint registrar of cooperative societies (JRCS) that “the administration cannot take any policy decision regarding the transfer of membership in favour of any other person or to extend the area of operation of a society” was not in keeping with the spirit of the high court judgment.

The JRCS had directed all societies to suspend or stop the process of transferring the flats following the directive several months ago. Subsequently the administration had put the March 2, 2009 GPA transfer policy on hold citing the high court’s judgment. The court had stated: “Meanwhile the administrator will not take any policy decision which inter alia includes the transfer of membership in favour of another person or to extend the area of operation of the society.”

It was argued that the word “administrator” referred to the administrator appointed for the plaintiff - the Indian Express Cooperative Group Housing Society. However, the finance department misinterpreted the word as referring to the UT administrator, causing harassment to hundreds of GPA holders.

The UT administration had come out with a transfer policy for the society flats on payment of Rs 50,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 15,000 for A, B and C category flats, respectively. In fact, hundreds of GPAs had already benefited from the “pro-people” transfer policy before its suspension by the administration.

A case of misinterpretation

The UT administration had misinterpreted the word “administrator” used by the high court in a case relating to the Indian Express Society as being the UT administrator. Now, after seeking legal opinion, the administration appears to be in the process of issuing fresh orders on the transfer of flats.



Normalcy a tall ask at GMSH-16
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Doctors at the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, battling with the adverse comments of medical negligence for the death of a newborn recently, at the same time are also faced with an uphill task of maintaining normalcy, which seems impractical in the environs of overflowing patients.

The shortage of staff, overcrowded OPDs, lack of space and ever-increasing number of patients at the hospital keep doctors on their toes throughout the day.

A majority of visitors here come from poor sections. These conditions have only resulted in the poor quality of service despite the best efforts of the authorities, claim doctors, talking on the condition of anonymity.

Making matters worse, many a time, the staff is left to take care of patients abandoned by their relatives.

“One can manage disaster for one day, but it is not possible to manage a disaster every day,” say doctors, attending to a patient lying on a trolley at the waiting hall.

Each and every room of the hospital, in and around the emergency ward, is full and patients are forced to lie on trolleys at the waiting hall.

“Trolleys can be arranged after arrival of patients, but the hospital has no manpower to manage those,” they say. The emergency, on a normal working day, witnesses at least 200 cases.

Treatment at cheap rates attracts patients from all over the region to the GMSH. Treatment for employees of the Chandigarh administration is free at the hospital.

The authorities at the gynaecology department have to accommodate the patients from the general ward in private rooms.

On some days, the staff at the hospital finds itself in a peculiar situation, handling an abandoned patient. Sometimes the patient is left abandoned by attendants.

“As a majority of them are from poor sections of society, no one is left at the hospital. Frequently relatives flee whenever asked to arrange blood for the patient,” say doctors.

Report submitted

Dr Raman Nijhawan, in charge of the radiology department, after completing proceedings in the inquiry into the death of the newborn, had submitted the report to Rajiv Vadhera, medical superintendent. In the evening, the report was sent to the Home Secretary, who said details would be disclosed tomorrow.

Departments crowded 

On Monday, at the OPD of the orthopaedics department, more than 225 patients were examined by 1 pm. At the departments of ENT, medicine and gynaecology, the situation was not better.

The number of patients at the gynaecology OPD on Monday crossed the figure of 300 and the 150 ward beds and 40 labour room beds were overcrowded, with two or more patients on each bed.

At orthopaedics Unit II, merely four doctors were provided to the hospital to manage three shifts, who looked after the OPD and conducted surgeries the following day.

At the gynaecology ward, where more than 1,000 patients were examined every week and around 30 deliveries were carried out, postgraduates were being assisted by nine medical officers.



Father-son duo held for duping bank of ` 5.47 cr 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The Chandigarh Police today arrested a Mohali-based father-son duo on the charges of duping IDBI Bank, Sector 8, of ` 5.47 crore.

Sources in the Economic Offences Wing of the Chandigarh Police said the accused, identified as Rakesh Goel, a resident of Sector 69, Mohali, and his son Vikas Goel, were arrested early this morning. Rakesh was arrested from near the Sector 43 ISBT while his son was arrested from Sector 60 in Mohali. Rakesh’s wife Neena Goel, also a co-accused in the case, is still at large, said the police. The father-son duo was produced before a local court, which sent them in a two-day police remand.

The police has not ruled out the possibility of the involvement of some bank officials in the multi-crore fraud. “The interrogation of the accused would help in corroborating the evidence as it appeared prime facie that such a major fraud could not be possible without the help of bank officials,” said a senior police official.

The police had registered a case of cheating and criminal conspiracy under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC against Rakesh Goel, proprietor of Goel Steels, Sector 29, his wife Neena Goel and their son Vikas Goel on a complaint lodged by Jagdish Kumar, assistant general of manager of IDBI Bank, Sector 8, on June 15.

The police said the accused had offered to mortgage their properties (two houses) as a security to the bank. However, their property was already mortgaged to the Union Bank of India, Sector 21, from where the accused were already availing a loan. Goel had told IDBI Bank that he wanted to change his bank and assured to property papers to the bank.

During the period, IDBI Bank cleared the amount of the accused pending with the Union Bank of India. The entire process was reportedly carried out without the exchange of property papers. The IDBI Bank authorities lodged a complaint with the police in April this year.

IDBI Bank made enquiries from the Union Bank of India and found that the loan account with the latter was closed on April 5, 2010, and all original property documents were released to Rakesh Goel.

It was alleged that Goel, in connivance with his wife and son, sold off the properties to Vijay Kant and Ashok Kumar, respectively.



Kidnapping drama enacted
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 26
A few days ahead of the marriage of her elder sister, a 23-year-old girl allegedly eloped with her boyfriend by enacting her own kidnapping drama. The couple reportedly wanted to marry against the wishes of the girl’s family, as it was an “inter-religion affair”.

Soon after eloping with the boy, Rahul, hailing from Lehragagga, Bathinda, called up the girl’s family in Phase 3 A here, saying their daughter had been taken away, and they could pick her Activa scooter from the Phase II gurdwara.

Pretending to be her kidnapper, the boy used the girl’s mobile phone to call up her family at 9.30 pm on July 24.

Again the boy called up the family to demand a ransom of Rs 10 lakh. “ This was a ploy to distract the police. But on basis of the calls, the couple was tracked down in Lehragaga,” said a police official.

Soon after the incident, the family informed the police. The father of the girl, who runs a school in Balongi, went into a state of shock. The family told the police that the girl used to go to attend PTU classes in Phase I from 6 pm to 8 pm.

A case under Sections 365 and 34 of the IPC had been registered at the Phase I police station. The girl has three other sisters and one of her sister is scheduled to get married by the end of the month.

Sources said the boy had been reportedly taken into custody and was being taken to recover the girl from Lehragaga.


F&CC meeting 
MC non-committal on hi-tech parking lots
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation appears to be non-committal for setting up hi-tech parking lots. This follows the decision of the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) saying that parking contractors will have to install automatic and semi-automatic system at parking lots at their own cost.

During the F&CC meeting held here today, it was decided that the Sector 17 parking lot contractor would have to install fully automatic system whereas in Sector 22 and 35, semi-automatic system would be installed.

These are the pilot projects of the MC for introducing hi-tech parking system in the city. If the contractor fails to install the system, heavy penalty would be imposed on him. As the parking lots are auctioned for three years, the contractor will get 10 per cent depreciation and will hand over the machinery to the authorities.

In 2008, a similar proposal was approved for installing CCTV cameras in the parking lots of Sectors 9, 17 and 35-C and Sukhna Lake. The move was to review the utility of CCTV cameras for the proper management of parking vehicles. In the parking contract after 2008, the MC had added a clause in the terms and conditions and had asked the contractors to install CCTV cameras in parking lots. However, till date no contractor has installed the system in the parking lots.

Sources say that contractors may not accede to the demand of installing an electronic system, costing around Rs 3 lakh, in the parking lots when they had not agreed to install CCTV cameras.

Even in 2002, a survey conducted for the parking lots by a company that said that the parking lots were not designed for installation of electronic parking system as most of them had only one entry and one exit point. They suggested that if the authorities were planning for it, they would have to redesign parking lots before installing the electronic system. Later, the authorities rejected the proposal and planned to modify the existing parking lots. However, till date nothing has been done in this regard. 

CCTV cameras

In 2008, the authorities approved that parking contractors would install CCTV cameras at Sectors 17, 35-C and 9 and at Sukhna Lake. However, the decision is yet to be implemented

Automatic system

In 2010, MC said that the parking contractors would have to install a fully automatic system at the Sector 17 parking lot and a semi-automatic system at the Sectors 22 and 35 parking lots



Night Food Street
MC to call bids for kiosks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation has decided to call sealed bids for five kiosks at the night food street.

The committee has decided to fix the reserved price of Rs 40,000 per month for three years with the increase of 10 per cent per year. It has also approved the development and maintenance of roundabouts and green patches along the V-4, V-5 roads and parking through public participation.

The committee has also enhanced the rent of shops situated in Maloya, Kajheri, Palsora, Badheri, Buterlla and Burail villages and vacant sites of Palsora village will be auctioned.

The committee has authorised the Mayor regarding permission for free usage of Sector 11 and 15 community centres for a social cause by NGOs.The committee has also asked the authorities to remove telephone towers from the community centre buildings of the MC.



Public Distribution System
Officials to be held responsible for anomalies 
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
After being in the news for the wrong reasons, the UT Food and Civil Supplies department is finally getting its act together to regularise the distribution of wheat flour under the public distribution system (PDS) to the above poverty line (APL) beneficiaries. According to officials, the new system would require the area Sub-Division Magistrate to keep and overall vigil on the distribution system and he would be responsible for anomalies.

As per the new instructions, the area food inspector will put his signature on the register, endorsing the quantity of “atta” that has been taken to a fair price shop from a flourmill.

After reaching the fair shops, two officials from vigilance committee would verify the quantity and endorse the same again. The area inspector will be liable for criminal proceedings if any irregularity was found at the fair price shop. Meanwhile, the city will have 18 new fair price shops at Sectors 18, 24, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 40 and 41, Badheri, Butrela, Maloya and Manimajra.

Recently, the Anti-Corruption Bureau of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had indicted the of Food and Supplies department for irregularities in maintenance of the below poverty line (BPL) and above poverty line (APL) cards and monitoring of procurement, allocation and distribution of food grains. A 10-page report prepared by the CBI, following a surprise raid, had revealed that five fair price shops were running without a valid licence. 



Awareness on consumer rights growing 
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
With the number of cases being filed in the consumer courts growing, it can be said that the awareness quotient of consumers has risen. The foundation stone of consumer courts was laid in 2001. In the same year, around 445 cases were filed in the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, which almost doubled in 2009 to 783.

The insurance sector tops the list in cases related to consumer disputes. The usual allegation that a complainant levels against an insurance company is the denial of claim. Last year, the state commission had 1,194 cases pending against different insurance companies, while the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum had 2,047 cases pending. Till June 2010, there were 1,219 cases of insurance companies pending with the commission and 2,172 with the forum. Next in the queue is the banking sector and the number of cases filed against various banks in the consumer forum is 1,373.

The Chandigarh Housing Board and the Electricity Department also have a large number of cases pending in the consumer forum with 873 cases against the CHB and 706 against the Electricity Department till June 2010. The state commission has 1,076 cases pending against the CHB and 1,001 cases against the Electricity Department.

The litigation considerably increased in the 2008 with the number of cases filed almost doubling from 1,228 in 2007 to 2,376 in 2008. Presently, there are 523 cases pending in the consumer courts, 286 fresh cases have been filed while 640 have been disposed of.



Protesting scrap dealers, cops patch up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Scrap dealers in the Industrial Area who had accused the SHO of the area’s police station of beating up five of their colleagues “amicably resolved” their dispute with the police today.

Representatives of the dealers led by senior BJP leader Harmohan Dhawan struck a compromise with the cops and called off their protest.

After talking to the cops for an hour amid slogan shouting by the protestors, Dhawan stated senior police officials had “regretted” the incident calling it “unfortunate”.

He claimed they had apologised for the action of their men.

When contacted DSP (east) Jaswant Singh Khaira said a confrontation that had arisen between the police and the scrap dealers was patched up amicably following the intervention of some “respectable people”. Earlier during the day the dealers assembled in the market in Phase I of the Industrial Area and reached the police station shouting slogans.

At one stage the protestors appeared divided over reaching a compromise with the police but later agreed to let their representatives intervene in the matter.

The scrap dealers had accused Dilsher Singh Chandel, SHO of the Industrial Area police station, of brutally thrashing five of them - Jaipal, Ravi Kishan, Ram Chander, Kashmiri Lal and Jai Kishan.

Both Jaipal and Ravi displayed their injuries in full public view.

The police on the other hand had claimed yesterday the injuries were self-inflicted.



10 tubewells to take more time to become operational
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 26
It might take a few more months before the 10 tubewells being sunk in different parts of the city will get operational. With much fanfare, the state government had announced to bore 10 new tubewells that would bridge the gap between the demand and supply.

XEN, Public Health, GMADA, Sunil Kansal, said the tubewells expected to provide 2 mgd (million gallons a day) of water would boost the supply in the affected parts of the city. They would become operational by September.

Sources in the Water Supply and Sanitation Wing said the demand of water in summer was 23 mgd against the availability of only 13.2 mgd. Mohali was getting only 10 mgd of water from Kajauli waterworks and the rest of it was acquired from the tubewells. The 10 new tubewells would only make a minor improvement in the situation.

The sources said out of the 10 tubewells, the bore had been done at six locations. It might take sometime before the remaining process gets completed. The tubewells will benefit the city residents by next summers.



Storm water drainage, sewerage need upgrade
Blockage blues in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 26
As the Punjab government has been going overboard in marketing Mohali as the future destination, it has failed to upgrade the storm water and sewerage network of the town, that was conceived 35 years ago.

An hour of rainfall and the streets and low-lying areas are flooded with water as the storm water gullies designed years ago are not designed for heavy intake of water.

Things are going from bad to worse as the storm water discharge is further going to increase with rapid urbanisation in the greater Mohali areas, stretching up to the Kharar-Banur road.

Officials in Punjab’s water supply and sanitation department, the agency maintaining the basic amenities on behalf of the municipal council (MC), admit that the old town was designed for a population of less than two lakh.

The diameter of storm water pipes on inner roads is 16”, 18” or 24”. As the density of population at 30 fully developed sectors has increased over the years, sewage discharge has also gone up.

The town, with a population of 3 lakh, has 30 fully developed residential, commercial and industrial sectors. Many new residential projects are coming up in the extended Mohali master plan, that goes up to 126 sectors, but the infrastructure has not grown accordingly.

The existence of multiple agencies, the water supply department, the MC and GMADA, has compounded the problem as they pass the buck. At places, storm water gullies are blocked.

There are more 4,500 storm water gullies with the water supply department alone. Newly developed sectors are with GMADA.

A recent survey carried by the water supply and sanitation department has revealed that around 150 water gullies had suffered damage during the recent heavy rain.

The executive engineer, water supply and sanitation, JS Dhammi, said Rs 6 lakh was annually given by the MC for storm water gullies. At times, the department had to spend from its pocket as the MC’s financial position was not sound.

The survey also revealed that flooding in most areas was due to blockage. The MC had constructed elevated pedestrian tracks and the rainwater that used to enter green spaces and parks added to the discharge.

New storm water gullies

The water supply and sanitation department has identified 25 major spots where new storm water gullies have to be laid. The agency that carried out the work forgot to provide storm water gullies at different points.



Stink in Panchkula areas
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 26
The storm water pipes, which are 38 years old, connected to sewerage in old sectors of the town, wreak havoc during the rains as the sewage water flows back from storm water drains during a heavy downpour.

The main problem occurs in old sectors like 10, 11, 15, 18 and 19, where the housing board had set up colonies 35 years ago.

The condition is worse in sectors where houses for economically weaker sections are situated as sewage water starts coming out of storm water gullies soon after a heavy downpour. Foul smell is emanated after water starts draining out through storm water gullies.

HUDA officials, on the condition of anonymity, said after the town was carved out in 1972, the sewerage and storm water network was laid by the housing board.

To make a quick buck, the officials had compromised on specifications by connecting the storm water and sewerage networks.

The executive engineer, Division No. II, Preet Mohan Singh, refuted the allegations, saying they did not find any storm water gully connected to sewerage lines.

He said the main reason for the sewage water flowing out of storm water gullies was that the rainwater from rooftops of housing board houses were flowing into sewerage.

He claimed that sewers and storm water gullies were clean and in good shape. He said they had laid large storm water pipes on main roads recently so that roads were free from waterlogging during a heavy downpour.

Citizens’ Welfare Association president SK Nayyar said Sector 15 was the most affected during heavy rain as almost all roads in the area got waterlogged.

He said he had raised the issue several times with the authorities concerned, but no action had been taken in this regard. He said new and bigger storm water pipes should be laid in the sector.

Industrial waste affecting pipes

If waste from industrial units is not mixed with sewage, the lifespan of pipes increases to more than 30 years. Gases emanating from industrial waste damage the concrete, claims a HUDA XEN.



Acute shortage of staff at complaint centres 
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 26
An acute shortage of staff at the complaint centres of the Electricity Department in Zirakpur has led to inconvenience to residents of the area.

They claimed that the lineman was available on duty during the day only but nobody was found on duty during the night. Even the contact numbers of the lineman and the complaint register were not available, they added.

According to sources in the Electricity Department, in Zirakpur around 11 complaint centres had been set up, including four in the urban areas and seven in the rural areas. Only 20 employees were posted at these complaint centres. The sources said the residential area was increasing day by day and they had problems handling the complaints.

“For solving the problem, we have to hire a private electrician,” said Sanjay Sharma, a resident of Vikas Nagar.

However, the Powercom official stated that a special team, including a Junior Engineer and two linemen, had been constituted to handle the major problem in the area during the night. He said the problem of shortage of staff would be solved soon. 



Home Secy marks inquiry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The recent booth sealing at Sector 41 by the officials of the UT Estate Office took a new turn today with Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) PS Shergill submitting a report to Deputy Commissioner Brajindra Singh against some officials of the police department.

Sources said the report was forwarded to Home Secretary Ram Niwas who has marked it to the Inspector-General of Police. Sources claim that as per the report filed by the ADC, some police officials were apprised in advance that the shopkeepers had forcibly opened the locks of the booths that were not allotted. However, the police ignored this fact and let the shopkeepers go.

Officials of the UT administration had sealed 13 booths in Sector 41, which were illegally occupied, and 14 people were arrested in this connection on July 23.

Officials, including Additional Deputy Commissioner PS Shergill, Assistant Estate Officer Hargunjit Kaur, SDM (South) Prerna Puri accompanied by more than 100 policemen had reach the spot and conducted the operation.

Sources claimed that the officials knew of the illegal occupation in advance and conducted the whole operation quietly without even letting the junior staff know.



Water Sports at Sukhna
Ignoring weed growth, Admn spends ` 22 lakh
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
At the time when the Sukhna lake is not ready for water sports because of low water level due to silt and weeds, the Chandigarh administration has spent a whopping Rs 22 lakh for laying a new asports jetty.

According to sources in the UT sports department, rowing, sailing and other allied water sports have been at a low key for the past four years.

Experts believe the situation of the lake, which has one of the best rowing courses in the country, is unlikely to improve in future.

A visit to the Lake Club revealed that even the water around the new jetty is swamped by weeds.

Measuring 24 feet by 60 feet, the floating jetty is made of modular material that prevents damage to expensive sculls, kyaks and sailboats during docking.

The last rowing competition was held here in 2006. Rowers said in the past few years, their training had been severely hit and they had to go to other rowing centres for practice.

However, ML Sharma, sports director, claimed that the work was under progress to clear weeds and it would be ready to conduct sports events soon.



Boundary wall for Mansa Devi shrine complex
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 26
In order to thwart the attempts of the miscreants to trespass its property the Mata Mansa Devi Shrine Board (MMDSB) will construct a boundary wall around the shrine complex.

Stating this to the Tribune here today, chief executive officer DP Dattana said that the work on the project had already started. He said more than six gates would be installed on the major roads connecting the shrine to other parts of the city. He said that this would help in providing proper security to the devotees coming from far off places during the Navratras.

Dattana further said that the board had also earmarked Rs 47 lakh for the development of Sati Mata Mandir. The 250-sq feet floor of the shrine would be renovated by laying new marble tiles.

He further informed that the administration had sealed the cave in the Nepali Baba Dera, which was taken over by the MMDSB recently. He said funds donated by the devotees at the dera would be used for its development as was being done at the historic Mata Mansa Devi temple.

The CEO said that the board would initiate plan for the proper development of the Mata Kali Devi Temple at Kalka, which was also taken over by the MMDSB on July 23. He said the Board had also decided that liquor bottles offered by the devotees at the shrine would be returned to the devotees after sprinkling few drops.



Third day of Chandigarh Theatre Festival
Chaos at entry to Tagore Theatre 
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 26
There was total 
chaos at the main entry gate to the Tagore theatre today for over half an hour as theatre buffs and the general public resorted to slogan-shouting against the Chandigarh administration.

They argued that while the entry to the theatre was kept absolutely free for all days as specified on cards and notified in a section of the press, how come a sudden change happened and that, too, without proper notice? While cars bearing red lights or those belonging to the affluent were allowed entry with salutes, the general public got a very shabby treatment.

The irate mob had no other alternative than to protest against the rough behaviour of the police managing the show, said noted theatre person Shabdish, who was manhandled by three policemen before he led other people on dharna. However, when Home Secretary Ram Niwas came, he interacted with the aggrieved persons and allowed the unruly among them into the hall.

The mob rushed to the hall only to see all seats occupied or kept reserved by persons deployed by senior bureaucrats. A senior government official and a doctor in the PGI recounted the misbehaviour meted out to them by a custodian of reserved seats. They said that that the junior employees, keeping seats for their bosses, fail to appreciate the love for art by those who struggled hard to gain entry to the theatre to find the seats occupied by those who had no invitation cards with them.

Ram Niwas, however, said that the show would go on tomorrow without any prejudice.



Budding talent enthrals audience
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 26
On the auspicious day of Guru Purnima a total of 17 budding singers and 10 dancers enthralled the audience during the semifinal round of the “Voice of Chandigarh” and “Dancer of Chandigarh” at the Randhawa auditorium here yesterday.

The event, organised by the S-4 Trust and Gurukul Vidyapeeth as a part of its flagship “Sur Wid Taal-Talent Hunt 2010”, had drawn huge crowd. Noted music personalities Sukhpal Sukh, Varinder Bachan and Rinku Kalia eminent vocalist, Usha Sharma, legendary Haryanvi actress, and Swapnit Karmahe, Kathak exponent, had a tough time in shortlisting the participants for the final to be held later.

The director of the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC), DS Saroya, who was the chiefguest, lauded the efforts of the S-4 Trust and Gurukul in promoting art and culture in the region.

Rinku Kalia, CEO of the Sur Wid Taal-Talent Hunt- said the events of the talent hunt- “Voice of Chandigarh”, “Dancer of Chandigarh”, “Great Chandigarh Laughter Champion” and “Cultural Olympiad for Special Children” were being organised in different phases to test the versatility of the artistes. The winners will perform on October 1 at the Tagore Theatre.

Meanwhile, Manmohan K Garg, CEO, Gurukul Vidyapeeth and Col. Ashwani Sharma of the S-4 Trust said the mega talent hunt was the result of the common vision of Gurukul and S-4 Trust to promote art and culture in the country.



4-day camp for taxpayers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The Income Tax department will set up a four-day camp at Rajasthan Bhawan in Sector 33 for the taxpayers living in Sector 26 onwards.

From July 28 onwards, the returns of Range IV and V will be received at Rajasthan Bhawan only. Residents of the UT villages falling within the jurisdiction of Ranges IV and V of the Commissioner of Income Tax-II can also file their returns at the camp.

The counters set up in the basement of Rajasthan Bhawan will remain open between 9.30 am and 5.30 pm.

Separate counters will also be set up for those who would like to have an assistance in filing the returns.

The income tax returns and challan forms will also be provided at the camp.



Vocational courses fail to lure students
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Array of vocational streams being offered in Class XI in various government schools have failed to lure city students, who are still opting for conventional arts, science and commerce streams.

Going by the details of UT Class XI second counselling, most students, who had earlier been allotted seats in these streams have opted out, leaving an average of seven students in several courses with around 35 seats.

Interestingly, these courses form a part of the 30 courses that have been launched by the Central Board of Secondary Education with an aim to give students more options to channelise their interests.

Another aim of these courses is to vocationalise the Class XII syllabi and make it more job-oriented.

The streams, however, seem to be failing both its aims. Several subjects being offered under these vocational courses are not considered to be calculated in the merit for college admissions.

“My elder son had secured good marks in Class XII board examinations in financial market management (FMM) subject, still most of the subjects opted by him were not counted in the best of five criteria and he couldn’t make it to BCom in any of the city’s reputed college. This year I am planning to tell my daughter to opt for commerce though she is interested in fashion designing,” said Surjit Singh, a parent whose daughter made it to fashion designing in the first counselling.

“There is no value of vocational courses without graduation,” added another parent.

Courses with no takers

1. Auxiliary nursing and midwifery

2. Tourism and Travel

3. Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

4. Textile design, dying and printing

5. Automobile Technology



Discrepancies in papers
Profs to be taken to task
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Reacting to consistent complaints of discrepancies in question papers, Panjab University has decided to take the professors concerned to task.

Claiming to have initiated action against the defaulters, Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti said, “We have already prepared the list of the guilty professors and will take action. Those responsible for goof-ups will be barred from setting the question papers for a period of one to five years.”

In addition, the varsity has also started enlisting the names of professors who have not evaluated the mandatory number of answers sheets in examinations.

“Every professor is supposed to check a minimum of 250 answer-sheets. We are currently in the process of enlisting their names and once through with it, will soon issue notices to them,” said Sobti.



PU to have its ragging plan in place soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
In bid to avoid any unwanted incident of ragging, Panjab University will conduct a joint meeting of wardens, student leaders and UT police officials to frame a action plan in this regard.

According to Dean Student Welfare Naval Kishore, the meeting will aim to decide on the key guidelines to be followed by each of them to ensure the campus remains ragging free in this academic session.

“Wardens, the police and even the student leaders are key entities in any anti-ragging plan. We will be bringing them to the same pedestal and then drawing a list of preventive measures. The three parties will be voicing their concerns which will eventually be addressed to,” He said.

In addition, the varsity will also conduct a formal introductory session in its hostels this week. The key motive of this tea session will be to amicably bridge the gap between freshers and students.

“Many seniors refrain from even speaking to any fresher for the fear of ragging. This meeting will give them all an opportunity to mingle with each other in an amicable way. We will issue notices in this regard tomorrow,” revealed Naval.



GCG-42 Girls bag top spots in PU exams
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Girls of Postgraduate Government College for Girls, Sector 42 (GCG-42), have bagged top positions in the annual examination conducted by Panjab University- 2010.

Partibha of BSc III (biotechnology honours) stood first in the university by securing 87.7 per cent marks, while Nidhi of BSc III (biotechnology elective) stood first by securing 88 per cent marks.

Devika Rangnekar of BCA final year stood first in the annual examination of PU and secured 85.58 per cent marks. Puja of MA I (sociology) stood first securing 78 per cent marks.

College principal Mani Bedi appreciated the efforts of faculty members for the academic endeavour. She further elaborated that all students of BSc III (biotechnology honours) passed the examination in first division, 10 students secured more than 75 per cent, while four students secured more than 80 per cent marks and college attained 100 per cent results in BSc III (biotechnology honours and elective), BSc III (non-medical), BCA and BCom III.



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