C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


16 Vivek students suspended for 3 months
Had posted obscene and abusive comments about a teacher on Facebook
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Sixteen class XII students of Vivek High School, Sector 38, here have been suspended for three months for posting obscene and abusive comments about a female teacher on social networking site Facebook.

The mathematics teacher came under fire for awarding “low” marks to one of the students who not only posted his answer-sheet online but also complemented it with abusive and obscene comments about the teacher. His act not only got thumbs up from his schoolmates but 15 others chipped in with more comments.

n Suspension period three months; final decision on October 18
n Parents say punishment too harsh
n Students call it an infringement on the right of freedom of expression
n City principals support decision Every social networking site has kept 18 years as the minimum requisite age for being a member. Children as young as 10 are active members on numerous such sites.

Curbing the menace
n Vigilant supervision to avoid hate mail menace
n Ensure social networking doesn’t replace childhood games
n Keep a track of websites being visited by your child
n Be vigilant about the content in your child’s mail or online accounts
n Spend quality time with the child and try building a strong emotional bond
n Make the child responsible for his own conduct 

The hate campaign came to fore when one of the teachers, having an account on the site, discovered it and informed the school authorities about it.

The students, though initially  suspended for a week, have now received notices about the suspension being of three months.

Justifying his decision, the school director HS Mamik said, “I am not only responsible for student welfare but also for maintaining the teachers’ dignity. The comments posted were not just negative but obscene, rude and abusive. We had a meeting with parents and students both, and the culprits were ashamed to even reveal the content of the comments. The parents had accepted the decision at the meeting. The final decision will, however, be taken on October 18.”

Though in favour of punishment, the parents feel the school has acted a little too harsh with the students.

“I know he has committed a grave mistake and needs to be punished. The punishment though should not affect his future. If the suspension is for three months, it will affect his attendance and Board results. I just want the school to be a bit lenient,” said the father of one of the suspended students.

The suspended students unanimously condemned the school’s decision, saying it was an infringement on their freedom of expression.

“The school has no business to peep into our personal and online lives,” said one of the students.

HS Mamik Corporal punishment is banned. What do we do? Tomorrow they will abuse us on school notice boards and then also we will think about their future and forgive them. Look around, everyday some student slaps a teacher, abuses her or misbehaves in class. When we try to take things up, parents threaten us with a complaint of corporal punishment. It’s high time students learn their lesson. I don’t know what will I decide on October 18, but the school will not take any nonsense against teachers
— HS Mamik, director, Vivek High School, Sector 38
Madhu Bahal Every school is facing the problem because our hands are virtually tied. We abstain from corporal punishment and even simple acts of making a child stand in classroom are blown out of proportion. A school has to draw a line and ensure discipline. We need to deal sternly with the ever-increasing lawlessness amongst students and thus need to take some action to teach lessons. Online conduct of a child needs to be monitored by parents. — Madhu Bahal, Principal KB DAV, Sector 7
Anujit Kaur Every school is facing sheer indiscipline. The other day we recovered a mobile from a class VII student. Initially he claimed to have bought it with money found in a park, but later admitted to have stolen it from his mother. We called his parents, who were unaware of the child’s act. The parents need to pull their children and instill values in them. It’s not just social sites but even smses and videos are promoting obscenity. As a school principal, I think a harsh step taken to maintain discipline today will improve things in years to come. — Anujit Kaur, principal, GMSSS, Sector 16

Facebook is a big reality on computers, which has become a part of our daily lives. Not just adults, a large section of minors who are not supposed to be online are hooked to the Internet passage for private talk. The talk is sometimes vulgar, targeting teachers.

You can mail your response on the existing scenario and concerns to openhouse@tribunemail.com

“We are not tech-savvy, so don’t know what the child was doing on Facebook. The school shouldn’t be this harsh, as it will ruin their future. The children are sorry and should be forgiven as the matter pertained to their conduct outside the school,” mother of one of the suspended girls.

“The school is trying to blackmail us, as it is our class XII. They have no business to look into our online accounts and take action against us. We have a life outside school equipped with freedom of expression. Why hasn’t the management punished the teacher despite repeated complaints against her inefficiency,” a suspended student.

“Students don’t respect us. They argue and even pass rude comments during classes, but we cannot say anything. Think about the plight of the teacher who has been publicly abused by students half her age. How can she teach with self-respect if no action is taken against them?” a class XII in charge, Vivek High School.”



Realtors dupe Aerocity investors of lakhs 
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 7
The mad rush to make a fast buck in the sale and purchase of plots of the successful applicants in the Aerocity draw appears to have boomeranged.

On Thursday, a number of investors who had gathered outside the PUDA complex here alleged they had been duped by certain real estate agents who had taken advance payments to book plots for them. Amounts ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh had been taken from several investors as a token for “confirmed deals”.

Amit Kapoor, who was leading the group of the cheated people, said they had entered into written agreements with a real estate agent, KL Makkar, who while showing a list of successful applicants, claimed he had a list of those who were ready to sell their plots. The investors, however, later came to know that the consent of successful applicants had never been taken and the list of the applicants along with their mobile numbers were procured illegally from the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) office.

A complaint in this regard was filed with Sector 34 SHO Udhay Pal Singh who said the matter was being investigated. The victims, around 40, showed the agreements the real estate agents had entered into with them. GMADA estate officer Balbir Singh said people had been warned time and again to be cautious.

In the past few days, a number of investors have been on a buying spree at any rate even as the Punjab and Haryana High Court had stayed issue of letters of intent to the successful applicants in the Aerocity draw. “It’s risky to enter into any such deal without a letter of intent,” said a GMADA official.



Transfer of flats to GPA holders set to resume
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The wait is over for thousands of GPA (general power of attorney) holders in cooperative group housing societies in the city to get their flats transferred in their own names. The UT administration has issued an order on resuming GPA transfers, a development that will bring cheer to the holders by making property transactions in housing societies hassle-free.

Earlier this year, in a goof-up, the administration had put the March 2, 2009 GPA transfer policy on hold after it misinterpreted an order of the Punjab & Haryana High Court judgment. The court had stated: “Meanwhile, the administrator will not take any policy decision that inter alia includes the transfer of membership in favour of another person or to extend the area of operation of a society”.

Misconstruing the words ‘society administrator’ for the UT administrator, the joint registrar of cooperative societies had directed all group housing societies to suspend or stop the process of transferring flats. The blunder set off widespread protests with various organisations demanding a clarification on the issue by the administration.

Bowing to the pressure from various quarters, administration officials sought a legal opinion from the UT legal remembrancer, who clarified that the high court decision was applicable to only the Indian Express Cooperative Housing Society and not the other housing societies.

“Acting on the legal remembrancer’s opinion the finance department issued a clarification on the matter. Following this the deputy commissioner-cum-registrar of cooperative societies issued an order paving the way for resumption of GPA transfers,” official sources said, adding the terms and conditions governing the transfer of flats in the earlier notification would continue to be in force.

Meanwhile, Chandigarh Social Welfare Council general secretary Satish C Sharma demanded strict implementation of the administration’s order as certain housing societies had tried to scuttle the March 2, 2009 transfer policy for group housing society flats, which allowed GPA transfers on payment of Rs 50,000, Rs 25,000 and Rs 15,000 for category A, B and C flats, respectively.



2 killed in road mishaps
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, October 7
Two persons were killed in separate road accidents in different parts of the city today.

A 25-year-old motorcyclist, identified as Ashu Rishi, a resident of Sector 47, was killed in an accident on the road dividing Sector 45 and Colony number 5. He died on the spot after being knocked down by a truck, which was coming from behind. He sustained severe head injuries. The driver fled from the spot. Ashu was on returning home after work when the accident occurred.

In another incident, an unidentified woman, riding on a bicycle was killed after being hit by a truck near Hallomajra light point. The police arrested the truck driver Baldev Singh on charges of causing death due to rash and negligent driving. 


Admn no to residential facility for mentally challenged
Plans to set up mental health institute 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Chandigarh administration yesterday made it clear that it would not provide residential facility to mentally challenged in the city. However, it plans to set up a mental health institute with the capacity of 100 beds for the long-term care and rehabilitation of such children.

The government of India has sanctioned Rs 20 crore for the purpose. A formal communication on the issue was placed by the administration before a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Bench of Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Ajay Tewari is currently hearing a petition filed in public interest for providing residential facility to mentally challenged in government-run institutions on the pattern facilities provided to the mentally challenged provided in Ashreya or Nari Niketan.

In an affidavit filed by the administration, principal-director of Government Medical College and Hospital Dr Raj Bahadur said there was no provision or guideline before the administration for providing permanent residential facilities to the mentally challenged. But the administration has “halfway home” where the mentally challenged could be supervised for a few hours before recovering completely.

Ashreya, adjoining the “halfway home”, was constructed to provide special residential facility to orphan mentally challenged with no one to look after them.

Dr Bahadur added that the administration had already undertaken a new project assigned by the government of India to set up a mental health institute on a similar pattern of mental health institute in Amritsar and government institute of mentally retarded children.



Army told to consider applicant for promotion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has asked Director General Personnel, Army Headquarters, to consider applicant Mohan Lal Sharma for promotion to the post of supervisor in the MES.

Pronouncing the orders, the tribunal observed: “No doubt, the applicant was later promoted to the post on August 8, 2002, but he had a right to be considered for promotion retrospectively from 1999, which was denied to him.”

The applicant, Mohan Lal, had joined the service as storeman in January, 1964 and was promoted as Supervisor Grade II in February 1996. He stated in the application that he had passed the department exam for supervisor grade-I in 1998 and on completion of three years’ service became entitled to be promoted as supervisor grade-I in 1999.

However, those who passed the supervisor grade-I in 1999 were considered for promotion by the DPC, which met on May 29, 1999. The applicant, who had passed the requisite exam in the 1998, was ignored and denied promotion.

Thereafter, Mohan Lal made a representation to the Director, Army HQ, New Delhi, but to no avail.

In the application, Mohan Lal stated that the DPC had also met in August, 2000 and September, 2001 but again his claim was left out.

He was, however, promoted on August 8, 2002 but his claim for retrospective promotion from February, 1999 was not considered. He then made another representation on July 3, 2003 and thereafter he filed a civil suit in Ambala on September 4, 2003. The civil suit was withdrawn on October 19, 2007 as the court didn’t have the jurisdiction.

Passing the orders, the tribunal held: “The applicant is held entitled to be considered for promotion to the post of supervisor B/S Grade-I from February, 1999. The respondent are, therefore, directed to convene a review DPC and consider the case of applicant for such promotion for three months.”

The tribunal, however, made it clear that if found fit, applicant’s pay shall be fixed notionally from the due date of his promotion and the difference of actual arrears be paid to him from August 8, 2002 onwards.



Factionalism stares BJP, Cong in the face
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Factionalism has raised its ugly head in the two mainstream parties - the Congress and the BJP - ahead of Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh elections slated for next year.

In a clear warning signal to the Congress and the BJP, which will be locked in a tough contest in the civic body poll, the grassroots workers are feeling alienated in the backdrop of plum postings in party organisations going to the leaders whose “vote-mustering” credentials are doubtful.

The trend started with the election of Sanjay Tandon as the BJP president. Tandon’s alleged attempts to monopolise party organisation and cut the faction led by former MP Satya Pal Jain to size evoked sharp reaction from the latter. Even several months after his election, the cold war between Tandon and Jain factions continues.

The entry of former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan in the BJP threatens to disturb the power balance in the party. Only time will tell whether Dhawan’s brand of “power politics” fits into the fundamentalist saffron party. Till now, both Tandon and Jain factions are at their wits’ end about the relationship they want to have with Dhawan.

The ruling Congress in the MCC is no better. The recent nominations of leaders as the Territorial Congress Committee (TCC) members by the party high command was resented by certain sections terming it as “highly- un-represented”. While certain wards had more than one TCC members, other wards were left un-represented.

In the run-up the Mayoral election on January 1, the dissensions within the Congress could come to the fore even though the party was in a strong position after the defection of councillor Jatinder Bhatia to the Congress fold.

The Congress is yet to have its local unit president, with the party high delaying the nominations. With a section of the Congress demanding a mass-based leader as the president, the choice of the leader may spark off a wave of resentment in the party.

Close on the heels of this resentment, there is crisis of leadership in the Congress Seva Dal, a frontal organisation of the Congress. Of the 31 state office-bearers, a number of them had already threatened to resign against the style of functioning of its top functionary. The intervention by Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee chief BB Behl and Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources Pawan Bansal have reportedly failed to solve the crisis. 



Residents go without power for 12 hrs
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, October 7
Power supply to Zirakpur, Baltana, Pabhat, Lohgarh and surrounding villages remained suspended for more than 12 hours today causing inconvenience to residents of the area. The power supply was yet to be restored till filling of the report.

Residents rued that the Powercom authorities had not given any prior information about the power shutdown. Power failure further affected the water supply to the area and some residential they had to fetch water from the nearby colonies.

Nitin Bansal, owner of a cyber café, said the long power cut had affected his business. “We expected the power supply to be restored till the evening, but were are still without electricity,” he added. The authorities concerned should give prior information about the power cut to residents.

Harnam, a resident of Chhat village, said: “We are forced to postpone important work owing to the power cut”.

However, a Powercom official claimed that the power supply was suspended due to urgent maintenance work at the Pabhat grid. For providing better supply in the coming winter season, the maintenance work was required, he added. 



Food Street
Notice of motion issued on cost of eatables

Chandigarh, October 7
The reported high cost of foodstuff being offered by the night food street in Sector 14 here has not gone down well with the Punjab and Haryana High Court. After taking a suo motu cognisance of a news-report on high prices being allegedly charged by the shopkeepers at the night food street, a Division Bench today issued a notice of motion to the UT Administration. The Division Bench of Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Ajay Tewari issued the notice.

Placing on record the report, the Chief Justice had earlier asserted: “If the facts appearing in the news-item are correct, the matter deserves to be looked in the public interest jurisdiction of the court.”

The matter will now come up for further hearing on October 11. The night food street had come into existence some two years ago and was providing food stuff at nominal rates to attendants of patients at the PGI and to the Panjab University students. But rising prices had left a sour taste among residents, the Chief Justice had observed in reference to the newsreport. — TNS



Nautanki Bhagat Pooranmal enthrals audience 
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, October 7
After a sleek presentation of “ nautanki- Amar Singh Rathore yesterday, another nautanki titled “ Bhakat Pooranmal” was staged by Swastic Rangmandal Mathura in the ongoing CSNA “ Festival of Theatre traditions ”at the Randhawa auditorium here today.

The “ nautanki” a traditional folk form as also the folk legend of Pooran, in fact, trace their origin in the undivided Punjab but over the years being staged in UP with certain aberrations in content and style to suit their milieu.

Structured in the mythical and historical background, the play, which is in an opera format depicts the grooming of prince Bhakat Pooranmal in a religious environment in the care of his father king Shankhpati of Sialkot.

The old- aged Shankhpati wins a swayamber to marry a very young princess, Phoolan De. The young queen, inspired by an urge of sexual obsession defies propriety and social ethics falling for her step son Pooranmal, who does not succumb to her ill motifs and earns the wrath of the queen only to be sent to the gallows.

However, with the spiritual blessings of his guru, sage Gorakhnath, dead Pooranaml is brought back to life.

“ With all these elements of drama, music, romance, intrigue, story telling suggestive costumes the “nautanki” traditional folk form largely appropriates to be recognised as the national opera of India, which otherwise is on the verge of extinction.” claims akademy chairperson Kamal Tewari.

The lead actors Kishan Swaroop Pachauri,Munna Master, Khemcahnd Yadhuvanshi, Sitara Rani, Parkash Sisodia, Shabnam , Sapna excelled. Chief guest GS Channi, honoured the artists. Ek Tamasha Sundarsa and Lavni will be staged tomorrow. 



Pak Spy Case
Accused confesses passing info to Pak: Police
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The alleged Pakistani spy, Kashif Ali, has admitted that he was trained in the neighbouring country and had passed on the information regarding the formation of the Indian Army and its secret documents to Pakistan, said the police.

The case has been adjourned to October 16. The police had submitted the chargesheet in this case on October 5 against Khasif Ali, Gurpinder Singh, Jagdish Kumar, Kulwinder Singh and Anand Kumar.

In the chargesheet, Kashif had admitted that he got a voter identity card and a PAN card prepared on a fake name of Pawan Kumar.

He admitted in the chargesheet that he had been sent to India to befool Indian agencies for which he had prepared a fake driving licence in the name of Pawan Kumar.

It was also mentioned in the chargesheet that Kashif had confessed that he was a trained spy and was sent to India to collect information about the Army and also collect secret and restricted information regarding Indian security and to further pass it to Pakistan.

The police had arrested Kashif on July 10, while Gurpinder Singh, Jagdish Kumar and Kulwinder Singh were arrested on July 12 and Anand Kumar was arrested on July 19. 



We were misled, say freedom fighters’ families
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 7
Family members of freedom fighters today claimed the Punjab housing & urban development department’s guidelines on two per cent reservation in plots and houses for freedom fighters had been “misinterpreted” by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) while framing the Aerocity housing scheme.

Citing the anomaly, the family members of freedom fighters, who had applied for 200 square yard plots in the reserved category, today protested for not being considered for the draw of lots.

While GMADA officials maintained the ‘order of preference’ clause had been clearly mentioned in the Aerocity brochure, the applicants, citing various orders issued by the Punjab government and its housing department, said the guidelines only mentioned giving plots to freedom fighters and their widows and nowhere mentioned the benefit would be given to their wards.

“This means we were misled by GMADA. If we knew we’d have applied in the general category and the money we borrowed from banks wouldn’t have gone waste”, said Gurmeet, one of the applicants.

Earlier in the day, when the draw of lots for the general category was held for over 500 plots against 80,000 applications.

When the draw was in progress, a receipt of a 250 square yard plot in the name of Manmohan Singh created confusion among GMADA officials as the draw was being held for 200 square yard plots.

The authority’s estate officer, Balbir Singh, traced the original form and informed the gathering that the applicants, while filling out the forms, had erroneously written the plot size as 250 square yards in the counterfoil while in the main form the size had been correctly mentioned as 200 square yards.



Govt urged to lift ban on mining
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 7
Irked over the ban on mining in riverbeds by the Haryana government, miners urged the state government to lift the ban, so that thousands of people associated with the trade could earn their livelihood.

Farmers and representatives of various crusher associations held a state-level meeting in the city today and later called upon the Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda urging him to allow mining in sites measuring five hectares.

Rajinder Gupta, president of the Panchkula Crushers Owners’ Association, said ban on mining in the state had hit their livelihood.

He said the ban imposed by the state government in February last was subsequent to a Central government ban on mining, though the latter had stated that mining could be allowed in sites measuring less than five hectares with a nod by pollution control board of the respective state.

Gupta said while the state government continued to discuss the case with the Centre, it didn’t allow mining in the said sites either. He said it was an irony that except for Haryana no other state government in the country had banned mining.

He said due to the ban, construction material had become dearer. It had also badly hit the livelihood of the farmers, who had leased out their barren land to the mining contractors.

The state was losing Rs 1,000 crore annually, which it earned from the auction of mining sites as well as sales tax.



Workshop for women police recruits
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
A valedictory function of the three-day workshop based on “Family life education, communication skills and stress management” meant for improving the personality of female recruits was organised at the Recruitment Training Centre (RTC) at the Police Lines in Sector 26 here yesterday.

The workshop was aimed to hone the skills of new recruits to face challenges for workingwoman, guiding them about self-protection against sexual abuse in various situations, including at home, at workplace and during the field duty.

A total of 87 recruits of the RTC participated in the workshop in which prominent recourse persons, including Dr Kaana Singh, Dr Surjeet Kaur Sandhu, vice-president of the Family Planning Association of India, Mohali branch, Dr Jasveer Kaur Baba and Dr Gurvinder Sidhu, delivered lectures and imparted practical training to recruits.

UT SP (Traffic) Hardeep Singh Doon was the chief guest on the occasion and he awarded commendation certificates to 14 recruits. He also gave away mementos to recourse persons present at the valedictory function.



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