C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Another booth scam rocks city
n Irregularities in allotment of 15 booths in Sector 41-C Krishna Market alleged
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
In a development that points to yet another suspected politician-bureaucrat-police nexus, the Krishna Market in Sector 41-C has allegedly been rocked by another booth scam.

In a fresh revelation, irregularities in the allotment of at least 15 booths have been alleged. Earlier, 90 fraudulent allotments in the same market had been exposed by the inquiry report of former UT Additional Deputy Commissioner PS Shergill on the booth scam.

The lid on the alleged scam was blown off by a team of the Global Human Rights Council, complainants Anil Kumar and Balram Singh and complainants in the earlier booth scam Dinesh Sood and Nathu Ram.

The council has served a legal notice to UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas under Section 80 of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) demanding action against officials of the estate office and the fraudulent allottees of the Krishna Market. “We will take to legal recourse if action against the accused was not taken immediately,” warned council chairman Arvind Thakur.

The alleged scam, which has surfaced three months after the Shergill report, which indicted Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Bansal among others for allegedly shielding the booth mafia in the city, threatens to bring the role of some UT estate office officials and politicians under a scanner.

Apart from officials and politicians, the legal notice raises an accusing finger on the role of Raj Kumar Arora and Mehar Singh, chairman and secretary, respectively, of the committee constituted in the Krishna Market, besides another allottee, Deen Dayal.Claiming that he was yet to receive the legal notice, Home Secretary Ram Niwas said the UT Administration would get the matter investigated and strict action would be taken against anyone found guilty.




Surveys ‘stage-managed’
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
The modus operandi adopted by estate office (EO) officials during surveys conducted at Bijwara Market, Sector 22-D, and Old Krishna Market, Sector 41-D, for the fraudulent allotment of booths was almost similar.

The surveys of makeshift booth markets, which became a benchmark for the allotment of booths at the Krishna Market in Sector 41-C, were allegedly stage-managed by Estate Office officials in connivance with office-bearers of the market.

Documents in the possession of The Tribune indicate that absentee licensees were informed about the date and time of impending surveys in advance through office-bearers the market creating fraudulent evidence of their doing business from their sites/spaces in order to make them “eligible” for the allotment of booths in the Krishna Market. While some allottees never did any business from their sites in the Old Krishna Market, others allotted were not eligible as they resided in other cities. Certain allottees did not fulfil the income criteria of Rs 7,500 per month while others or their spouses were government servants. 



Now, mixing drinks with driving to land you in jail
n Traffic police all set to make the law strict
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
Drivers found drunk in the city will soon face a jail term. With the number of violators found drunk while driving in the city on the rise, the Chandigarh traffic police is all set to make the law strict in order to check the menace.

Announcing this here today, UT Inspector General of Police PK Srivastava said they would soon be pleading courts for imprisonment of drunk drivers under provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act. This is aimed at deterring drunken driving and making the roads safer, he said.

“We will be requesting judicial officers on the need for stringent punishment which is available under the Motor Vehicle Act and will seek imprisonment of drunk drivers on the lines of the Delhi Police. The prosecution branch will contest the drunk driving challan in the court and will seek imprisonment of the defaulter which can range from a few days to up to many weeks,” he said.

For the purpose, the UT Police is holding a meeting with Joint Commissioner, Delhi Police, Satyendra Garg next week to study how the Delhi Police has been effective in implementing this provision,” added PK Srivastava on the sidelines of launching the Facebook page today.

The Delhi police has already sent 1,300 persons to jail after they were found drunk while driving by requesting courts. In a majority of the cases, the imprisonments have been upheld by the High Court.

Once the provision is implemented, the drunk drivers would not be able to get their challan released from the traffic lines in Sector 29 by paying a fine. Instead, they will have
to contest the challan only in a court.

In May alone, the traffic police issued 300 challans for drunken driving. The menace of drunken driving has reached an all time high in the city with the number of violators ever increasing. The current fine of Rs 2,000 has failed to act as a deterrent.

As per Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act, anybody found driving or attempting to drive a vehicle above the permissible limit of alcohol in the blood (30mg/100 ml) faces imprisonment up to six months or a fine of Rs 2,000 or both.

The police attribute 40 per cent of the road accidents in the city to drunken driving.

Over 100 fatal accidents have already been reported in the city this year, reveal police records.



‘Wiser’ after tours, councillors seek quick fix to city’s woes
n Rs 20 lakh of taxpayers’ money spent on ‘study’ visits
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
The municipal corporation has spent about Rs 20 lakh of public funds on “study” trips by councilors, ostensibly to get “first-hand knowledge” of the various problems facing the city. Even though the latter have been engaged in discussions of major civic issues at MC general house meetings for the past four years, nothing concrete has emerged from the umpteen proposals aired due to sheer apathy.

However, after returning from “study” tours to Bangalore, Mysore and Coimbatore, the councillors were supposedly "well-versed" with the pressing issues. "The study tour created interest among the councillors who all of sudden now see reason in implementing projects that otherwise had failed to evoke their interest during the last four years", said one of the councillors.

While sharing the report of the study tour with reporters on Friday, city mayor Ravinder Pal Singh ‘Pali’ said the councillors had recommended proper segregation of garbage in the city, biometric systems for recording employing attendance, a 24-hour public grievances redressal cell, GPS systems in vehicles and a separate dumping ground for “e-waste”.

24-hr public grievances redressal cell

Among the councillors’ recommendations is a round-the-clock MC complaint centre with a tollfree number where complaints will be automatically forwarded to the official concerned through SMS. To execute this system it was suggested the civic body should hire a firm to develop the requisite software. Though nominated councillor M P Chawla has proposed the idea on several occasions nothing has come of it yet.

Biometric attendance

To keep a check on the attendance of all the employees, a bio-metric device should be installed at each store and MC office. On the basis of which pay bill of the staff should be generated and salary disbursed online in their designated banks. This suggestion was given by the nominated councilor Arshad Khan four years ago in the third General house meeting of this term.

Segregation of garbage

For proper functioning of garbage processing plant, segregation of garbage at each Sehaj Safai Kendra should be ensured as it is the need of the hour. There should be a separate e-waste dumping ground for the city. To monitor the movement of vehicles, a global positioning system (GPS) system should be installed in them. In 2009 a special committee was constituted by General House to work out the modalities of GPS and draft the by-laws for its execution in the corporation. But till date no concrete suggestions have been given by this committee.


To enable city residents t get details online the MC should implement e-governance to avoid cumbersome procedures and delays in day-to-day works. Though the civic body has been the implications of such a move for the past decade nothing concrete has come of the proposal as yet.



Lok adalats to settle 15,000 cases today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
Over 15,000 cases, including a large number of traffic challans, are likely to be settled in the quarterly lok adalat to be held in the district courts in Sector 17 tomorrow.

The lok adalats are likely to dispose of cases that have reached the compromise stage, which in turn will help reduce the pendency of cases in courts.

The category of cases which are to be taken up include those related to the Negotiable Instruments Act (cheque bounce), cases pertaining to the motor accident claim tribunal, compoundable criminal offences, matrimonial disputes under the Hindu Marriage Act and petty offences under the Special Enactments and Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.


Traffic police appears on Facebook
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
Taking a “big step towards empowering the common people”, the Chandigarh Traffic Police launched its Facebook profile amidst fanfare at the Police Traffic Lines, Sector 29, today. With this, the UT police joined an exclusive group of cities in the country having presence on the social networking site.

Senior Superintendent of police (Traffic) HS Doon said their Facebook profile would invite photographs of traffic violations and feedback on the functioning of traffic policemen.

The residents would now be empowered to report any traffic violation and bring it to the notice of the police, he said.

The police hoped it would assist an already overburdened traffic police in disciplining its bribe-seekers along with those policemen who violate traffic rules.

A team of six policemen has been designated to keep track of the complaints received on the profile. Senior police officials will then mark an inquiry on the complaints and take action accordingly.

The police added that they would assess the working of the profile every 60 days by reviewing action taken on the complaints received.

While the profile was expected to evoke a huge response, the police said they would slowly make a page to receive complaints of general nature as well.

The profile elicited over 25 comments on the first day itself, welcoming the initiative



Tricity Scan

A week-long campaign was launched by Gurukul Vidyapeeth, Sai Tara Ummat Foundation and CPTL Envirotech for creating awareness on protecting environment and checking global warming.

A musical evening by Shamsher Mehndi, a renowned singer, is schedule at the Plaza, Sector 17, on Friday evening. The campaign started with a tree plantation drive in Sarvhitkari Society Residential Colony, a sanitation drive at Jagtpura village and a plantation drive in Sector 49. Plantation drives are also scheduled in Ram Darbar, Industrial Area II, and Old Age Home, Sector 15-C.

Pilot project on identifying BPL families

An expert panel under the chairmanship of Prof SR Hashim was formed to recommend a detailed methodology for identification of families living below the poverty line in urban areas. A socio-economic pilot survey was also carried out by the Ministry of Rural Development to examine the efficacy of various parameters to identify the poor. Based on the findings of the above, the Government of India has decided that the BPL census for rural and urban areas, along with the caste census, will be canvassed from June to December, 2011. Chandigarh has been selected as a pilot state from where the census operation will begin.

Chandigarh has approximately 2,000 enumeration blocks, out of which 1,900 are urban and 100 are rural. Approximately 1,000 enumerators will be involved in the exercise.


Additional District Magistrate ML Sharma has directed landlords/owners and managers of paying guest accommodations to inform their respective Station House Officer regarding the antecedents of paying guests. This is being done to keep a check on anti-social elements. The order issued under Section 144 Criminal Procedure Code made it clear that offenders, who would not follow this order, would be liable to be prosecuted under Section 188 Indian Penal Code. This order will come into force with effect from zero hours on May 21, 2011 and will be effective till July 19, 2011.

Blood donation camp

The Thalassaemic Children Welfare Association will be organising a blood donation camp in Zakir Hall, Block-A of the PGI, on Saturday.


The Government of India, Ministry of Women and Child Development, New Delhi, has instituted an award called National Award for Child Welfare to give recognition to individuals and institutions who have made outstanding contributions towards child welfare. National award for child welfare will be given to three individuals and five institutions, who have worked for the welfare of children. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 3 lakh and a citation to each institution and Rs 1 lakh and a citation to each individual.


SK Sehgal, chief general manager of the Chandigarh circle of State bank of India, on Friday felicitated regional managers of the local and Panchkula regional officials. As many as 15 officials, along with their families, were honoured on the occasion.

Fiza launches political party

Fiza, aka Anuradha Bali, the estranged wife of former Haryana deputy chief minister Chander Mohan, on Friday launched her political party ‘Fiza-e-hind’. Announcing the name of her party and its agenda at a press conference, she said she would change the definition of politics and the way in which politics was done.

She said the present day politics was full of tainted politicians and people need clean governance.

Act implementation

Mohali Deputy Commissioner Varun Roozam on Friday said effective implementation of the Punjab Industries Facilitation Act, 2005, would ensure that entrepreneurs did not face any problem in setting up industry here. The issue was raised during a meeting of the District Single Window Clearance Committee. Among those who attended the meeting included Prabjot Singh Sandhu, KS Mahal, AS Walia, HarinderPal Singh, Vipanjeet Singh and Jasvir Singh.

Employees seek better deal

The Punjab State Suvidha Karamchari Union in a representation to the Mohali Deputy Commissioner demanded that as per the provisions of the Punjab Civil Services Rules, all employees had to be regularised and the salary and grade of the employees working in the suvidha centres had to be fixed. Charnjeet Singh, vice-president of the union, said the employees at the suvidha centres were working at minimal salaries. — TNS



Training of prison officers discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
Issues related to training of prison officers for different states and improving the effectiveness of training came up for discussion during a meeting of the board of management of the Institute of Correctional Administration (ICA) here today.

The meeting was held under the chairpersonship of B Bhamathi, Additional Secretary (CS), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

The MHA has also issued advisories related to non-official visitors (NOVs) and reducing congestion in prisons. The Chandigarh administration has appointed NOVs and a workshop to sensitise them about their roles and duties was organised by the institute.

Home Secretary Ram Niwas apprised Bhamathi of the activities of the institute and deliberated upon the various issues pertaining to the institute. The meeting was attended by senior functionaries of the MHA, BPR&D, heads of prison departments of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, and Himachal Pradesh. 



WHO to study working of Nehru Hospital
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
The PGI is set to initiate a World Health Organisation-sponsored project — “Development of Nehru Hospital as a health promoting hospital?” — to improve its infrastructure.

The research fellow for the project has been selected and workshops will be part of the project to sensitise staff towards their responsibilities.

While the working of the hospital will be studied under the project, the findings of the study will help in improving the infrastructure.

The hospital, inaugurated by country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on July 7, 1963, provides tertiary care to patients coming not only from neighboring states but also from far-off states like West Bengal and Bihar.

The total bed strength is over 1,000, which includes 98 rooms in five private wards. The infrastructure for teaching includes lecture theatres and conference halls.

The hospital houses departments of radio-diagnosis, departments of neurology, gastroenterology, nuclear medicine and has state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. The new facilities include PET, gamma knife centre and 3T MRI and trauma centre.

Under the project, three workshops for nurses and other employees will be conducted so that they can improve their expertise in handling biomedical waste and other related works.



New bus service for sectors across Ghaggar
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 3
Residents living across the Ghaggar have a reason to cheer as the Haryana Roadways has launched a new bus route for the area.

The residents of Sectors 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 30 and 31, besides Madanpur, Bana, Jai Singh Pura and Ramgarh villages had been demanding bus service for their area for a long time.

This is the second inter-city bus service to have been started in these sectors. Buses started running on the new route from today.

A senior official of Haryana Roadways said the new bus service had been started from Ramgarh to Zirakpur and that the buses would run after a gap of one hour.

The first scheduled departure of the bus would be at 7.15 am. The 
new route had been named 90 A.

He said the residents had been demanding the facility for a long time, as there was not a single bus service in the area.

The service would benefit working professionals, students and teachers, he added.

Meanwhile, Subhash Kapoor, general secretary of the joint action 
committee of the area, welcomed the initiative and said the new route was a key demand of area residents.

“The bus service will connect residents of Zirakpur, sectors across the Ghaggar and the Pinjore area. The authorities have also assured us of providing more buses for better services,” he added. 



ESIC told to pay Rs 39,312 as maternity leave claim
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
The UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) to pay Rs 39,312 as maternity leave claim to a storekeeper of the PGI’s advanced paediatric centre and pay her Rs 5,000 as relief for mental harassment and litigation costs.

In her complaint, storekeeper Vandana, employed through contractor M/s Om Security and Cleaning, stated that she was registered under the ESIC benefit scheme since April 2005 and she had availed herself of maternity leave for five months in 2009.

Subsequently, she had filed a maternity claim with the ESIC. After submitting requisite documents, she was handed over a cheque for Rs 39,312, but was asked to deposit it back.

However, she was later informed that her claim was not settled on the grounds that her salary was more than Rs 10,000, making her ineligible for the ESIC benefit scheme.

In its response, the ESIC had stated that the salary of the complainant was Rs 11,025 with effect from April 2008 and so, she was not entitled to the claim.

It had stated that the complainant was not entitled to maternity benefits, as per rule 50 of ESI Central Rules, 1950. As per Section 39(2), it was the duty of the principal employer to pay the contribution at the rate prescribed by the Centre.

The forum, comprising its president PD Goel and members, observed that the employer of the complainant had deducted a higher amount as premium and contribution after her salary was hiked and deposited it with the ESIC.

Since the higher amount of premium was deducted, they had no legal right to raise any objection now. Therefore, she was entitled to the benefits, the forum ruled.



Commission sets aside order against Lufthansa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
The UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has set aside an order of the consumer forum directing Lufthansa German Airlines to reimburse Rs 46,050 to a city resident for misplacing some articles from his baggage and stated that the forum failed to appreciate the facts and circumstances of the case.

In his complaint, Prateek Chadha, a resident of Sector 19, had stated that after travelling from New York to Delhi by Lufthansa on November 16, 2008, he found his baggage missing on his arrival at the Delhi airport the next day. He filed a property irregularity report with the airlines. However, when the baggage was delivered to the complainant, he found articles worth Rs 46,050 missing from it.

In their reply, the airlines admitted that the complainant had travelled with them on November 15, 2008 from New York to Delhi and had checked in baggage with the airlines.

However, they stated that the missing baggage was delivered to the complainant at his residence on very next day the complaint was lodged. The complainant had accepted the baggage without any protest.

They stated that at the time of checking-in the baggage, the complainant had neither disclosed that it contained any valuable items nor did he pay any supplementary sum for the alleged value items as per the general conditions of carriage (passenger & baggage).

The forum directed the airlines to reimburse Rs 46,050 as claimed by the complainant and pay Rs 10,000 in compensation for deficiency in service and cost of litigation. Feeling aggrieved from the forum’s order, the airlines filed an appeal before the commission.

The commission comprising president Sham Sunder and member Neena Sandhu observed that if the complainant had any doubt, he would have opened the baggage in the presence of the airlines representatives who had come to deliver the baggage at his residence. However, he did not do so.

The commission also stated that the affidavit of his father by way of evidence regarding the alleged loss of valuable articles from his baggage was of no consequence as he had no knowledge of the loss.

His affidavit was based on what was told to him by his son. The complainant produced no other evidence, so the commission accepted the appeal and dismissed the complainant’s stand.



Unhygienic food: Paying guests prone to typhoid, jaundice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
Summer has turned out to be a bane of paying guests in the city. Dozens of people, including students staying as paying guests, are falling prey to typhoid, jaundice, and gastroenteritis, courtesy unhygienic food.

“The number of such patients has also increased. Everyday between 5 and 10 students dependent on food from “dhaabas” and tiffin service, come with complaints of typhoid, jaundice, gastroenteritis or other such diseases,” said Dr Gopal Bhardwaj, Government Multispeciality Hospital, Sector 16.

In fact, during summer fermentation of food articles takes place. As roadside vendors do not have proper storage facilities, they serve stale food to customers. “As a majority of students living in the city are dependent on different sources of food, including “dhabaas” and tiffin service, they are prone to stomach infections,” he said.

Even in slum areas, cases of typhoid are being reported regularly. At a dispensary in Mauli Jagran, a large number of patients have tested positive for typhoid.

Residents are advised to think twice before having food from roadside vendors. Source of drinking water should also be checked, along with the quality of food.



Deficiencies found at rehab centres
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, June 3
A team of senior district officers found deficiencies at various drug counselling and rehabilitation centres, including inadequate space for inmates, lack of rehabilitation and transport facilities.

A five-member committee, formed by the Mohali Deputy Commissioner on the request of the Director, Health Services, Punjab, found that the bed linen at some centres was not clean. None of them had a regular daily out patient service and inmates were found cooking food for themselves at two centres as cooks were not available. The team had raided 11 centres out of which two were found locked.

The team, comprising Additional Deputy Commissioner Mohinder Singh Kanith, District Health Officer Dr Jai Singh, District Social Security Officer Swaran Singh,Psychiatrist Dr Satish Thapar and a representative of an NGO Dr Pritam Singh, pointed out that there was inadequate space between beds in four centres because of which team members recommended that all the four such centres should reduce their capacity from 15 to 10 persons. A centre located in Kurali did not have a councellor, ward attendant, security guard, cook and sweeper. 



Couple suffer burn injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 3
A 25-year-old woman, married with three children, suffered severe burn injuries when her saree caught fire while she was cooking at her residence in Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, here this morning. The police said Geeta was cooking in the kitchen when her saree caught fire.

Her husband Bishamber (35), who tried to save her, was also injured. Geeta suffered 90 per cent burn injures, while her husband sustained 40 per cent burns. Both were taken to the PGIMER where Geeta was fighting for her life. The police has ruled out any foul play.



Biker injures cop at naka
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 3
A constable of the Mohali police, Mohinder Singh, received injuries on legs and arms after a motorcyclist hit him as he signalled the latter to stop at a checkpoint near the Commando Complex in Phase XI this evening.

The policeman signalled the biker to pull over at the checkpoint but the latter tried to speed away from the spot. In the process, the motorcycle hit the constable, causing him injuries on the limbs.



No need to drop extracurricular activities: CET toppers
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Harsimran Bhatia, who secured second rank in CET-medical, with family.
Harsimran Bhatia, who secured second rank in CET-medical, with family. Tribune photos: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, June 3
A widely believed misconception that preparation for competitive examinations requires giving up all is proved wrong if one takes a look at the study schedule of toppers in the Common Entrance Test (Medical)-2011 conducted by Panjab University. The Chandigarh Tribune talked to the two top rank holders and their parents to elicit their views.

Tejeswar Jain (1st rank in CET-medical 2011)
A student of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College Public School, Sector 26, Tejeswar, a resident of Ambala, is a fervent cricket fan and also played table tennis to destress himself while preparing for MBBS entrance exams including CET. Incidentally, all four generations in his family have been doctors. He has been studying in Chandigarh for the past two years and his mother, who is also a doctor, shifted to the city to take care of him.

“We never felt the need to insist or motivate him to study for the entrance exams. When he was in class 11 he was in a dilemma over whether to opt for nonmedical or medical courses since he has an exceptional command over mathematics. But eventually he decided to take biology instead,” said Poonam Jain, Tejeswar’s mother.

Laying emphasis on the role of tuitions to prepare for competition examinations, his father, Anil Jain, said: “It was due to the professional approach of his tutors that he was he able to score well.”

Harsimran Bhatia (2nd rank in CET-medical 2011)
A rigorous study schedule of seven to eight hours in class 12 stood Harsimran in good stead. Daughter of a doctor couple, Harinder and AS Bhatia, she was displeased by her CBSE PMT rank and had expected to do well in CET. “Despite the shock I got over my CBSE PMT rank I was determined to do better. My mother was the biggest inspiration for me and she took up the challenge of managing work, home and motivating me constantly,” said Harsimran.

On a positive note, she added: “I knew getting a top rank in an entrance exam was not an impossible task. The level of coaching being given in Chandigarh is extremely good and I had all facilities that helped me do well.” An alumnus of St Anne’s Convent School, Sector 32, she scored 97.8 per cent in class 10, being the second rank holder in the tricity. However, instead of restricting herself to academics, she participated in a number of extracurricular activities and has also participated in interschool oratorical contests.

Motivation crucial, say parents
Nirupama Bassi, mother of Mehak Bassi, the 4th rank holder in CET (medical), said the most crucial aspect of competitive examinations was motivating children. “My daughter was a good basketball player up till class 10 but thereafter she gave up sports to put in more study hours to crack competitive exams. Students who prepare for such tests get extremely depressed at times. Her hard work paid off, but it’s very important for parents to constantly motivate their kids,” said Nirupama.

Over 8,000 exam candidates this year
About 8,080 students appeared in the Common Entrance Test (Medical)-2011 held by Panjab University this year. The test is conducted every year for admission to medical colleges like Government Medical College & Hospital, Sector 32 and BSc (honours), BSc (tourism management), BSc (hospitality & hotel management), BA, five-year integrated LLB (honours) course and BCom courses.



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