C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Senior leader Yash Pal Mahajan quits active politics
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Bickering within the BJP took a toll today when Yash Pal Mahajan, a senior BJP leader, seemingly upset with the current leadership, announced his retirement from active politics just ahead of the forthcoming Municipal Corporation (MC) elections here today. “I will not participate in the campaigning this time,” he said.

Without naming anyone, Mahajan expressed his resentment over party loyalists, including certain senior leaders, being sidelined by the new leadership during the past few years. He claimed that over 200 such dedicated party workers had not been given any responsibility for sometime which had led to a sense of dissatisfaction among them. “The party should get back those loyalists,” he said addressing the media.

Visibly upset over the ongoing controversy within the party, especially after local BJP president Sanjay Tandon made changes in the final list of candidates being fielded for the elections to be held on December 17, Mahajan said he had contributed immensely and had been instrumental in the construction of the party office in Sector 33.

He said the foundation stone of the building inaugurated by Sushma Swaraj had been carelessly thrown behind the building.

Mahajan, who remained president of the local unit of the party for seven years from 1999, said there was no need to change the list as the election committee had prepared it. “The candidates were clear and had no criminal background. There was no need to make the changes,” he said.

Mahajan would be completing 50 years of his association with the party on Sunday. “I have prepared a four-page letter describing the party situation and how the party can register a win over its rivals. The letter has been sent to the party judge,” he stated. “I will remain as a party worker, but will not be taking any responsibility of the party,” he said.

Local party president Sanjay Tandon said he had spoken to Mahajan before the press conference, but he did not say anything about retiring from the party. “There is no retirement age for a party worker,” Tandon said.

“The stones laid at the party office are in place. The inauguration stone Mahajan was talking about had a slight error in the name plate. He is a senior leader and we always consult him before taking any decision,” he added.



Mother, 5-yr-old crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 26
Three members of a family, including a five-year-old child and his mother, were killed when a speeding truck ran over them near the Kalka police station at around 1 pm here today.

The deceased have been identified as Tanishk, his mother Jyoti (27) and grandfather Kamal (60), residents of Parwanoo. They were going to a doctor on a scooter when the truck hit them from the rear. The scooter got stuck under the truck and the wheels went over Jyoti and Kamal, who died on the spot. Tanishk succumbed to his injuries on the way to the local Civil Hospital, where he was declared brought dead.

The victims were going to a doctor in Pinjore as Tanishk was running fever. People, who gathered at the spot, nabbed the truck driver and handed him over to the police.

Precious time lost

Tanishk may have been saved had he been taken to the hospital in time, claimed Ashok Kumar, an autorickshaw driver. “Due to a traffic jam on the Kalka-Shimla highway, precious time was wasted,” he said. The hospital was only 1 km from the accident spot, but it took over 15 minutes to reach there.



Delay in MLRs hitting probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The prosecution and the investigating agencies today attempted to wash their hands off for the delays caused in the investigations of criminal cases and shifted the blame to the hospital authorities, accusing them of not giving the medical legal reports (MLRs) in time.

“Investigation agencies are not responsible for delaying investigation. The problem is they do not get the MLRs on time from hospitals which delay in preparing the case summary,” said UT District Attorney Rajinder Singh. Speaking at the tenth annual conference of the Punjab Academy of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology organised by the department of forensic medicine and toxicology, GMCH-32, here today, he claimed that even the PGI did not issue MLRs in time in 60-70 per cent cases. When contacted, the head of the forensic medicine department, Dr Dalbeer Singh, refused to comment on the plea that he only dealt with postmortem cases.

Rajinder Singh earlier also claimed that investigating agencies were handicapped in the absence of MLRs and they could not proceed with case summary reports. “MLRs require simple information like physical examination, the probable duration of injury and the kind of weapon used, but even these are not prepared in time,” he added.

He said if they got the MLRs well in time, cases could be registered promptly and investigations initiated. “We sometimes also face the problem of proving the contents of the MLRs and the doctors who prepare them often join new jobs and hospitals don’t have their new addresses,” he said.

Satbir Singh, DSP (Crime), suggested that to overcome the problem, every hospital should earmark a room for MLR cases and a doctor should be made responsible for it till the cases are decided.



Cops use up Rs 3.5-cr fuel in 8 months!
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Vehicles of the Chandigarh Police are at the mercy of the UT Administration these days as the police has exhausted its quota of Rs 3.5 crore for fuel for the current financial year. A request for additional Rs 1 crore has been forwarded to the Administration and a formal nod is awaited.

In a stop-gap arrangement, a fleet of police vehicles was queued up at the Sector 33 petrol pump today for refuelling on a temporary basis till the fresh grant is received. In routine, the vehicles are fuelled at the fuel station at the MT section in the Police Lines, Sector 26, where the fuel was exhausted today. Vehicles were issued special slips for refuelling at Sector 33.

A senior officer said: “We have no option but to make a temporary arrangement. We cannot afford police vehicles standing in parking lots. Things should be fine by Monday. It is, however, surprising how the budget estimates went wrong.”

With an area of 114 sq km, Chandigarh is a small city and the Administration did not have any unexpected vehicle movement throughout the year. Such huge consumption of fuel is not normal. A senior officer said: “We have sought a fresh allocation of Rs 1 crore from the Administration under the prescribed norms.”

Police sources said exhaustion of the allocated fuel four months before the completion of the financial year reflects blatant misuse of vehicles by certain officers. Detailed duty charts of the vehicle use needed to be looked into.

The police added 144 vehicles under a modernisation scheme this year. But the grant for fuel remained the same that led to the current situation, the sources claimed.

‘Cannot take any chances’

Yes, we have exhausted the current fuel at the MT section and have requested the Administration for fresh allocation. We cannot take any chances as a large amount of fuel is required for vehicles and we need to maintain fuel for emergency services.

— Jagbir Singh, dsp (Police Lines)



Income Tax Dept unearths Rs 669 crore in 7 months
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The first seven months of the current fiscal have proved to be quite lucrative for the Income Tax Department’s North Region as its investigation wing has unearthed undisclosed income to the tune of Rs 669 crore, almost double the income unearthed during the corresponding period last year.

While the department has every reason to smile with this impressive figure of unearthed income achieved through surrenders during 13 search operations, the physical seizures of cash and valuables per se have gone down. As compared to seizures of cash and valuables worth Rs 23 crore during the first seven months of the last fiscal, the figure for this year stood at Rs 19 crore.

As per data available with the department, Haryana kitty (includes Chandigarh and Himachal) received more surrenders than Punjab (includes Jammu and Kashmir). During six searches in Haryana, Rs 436 crore was received in disclosure, which was almost three times the amount received in the corresponding period last year (Rs 144 crore).

However, Punjab received surrenders worth Rs 233 crore in disclosure till October this year, which is lesser than last year’s disclosure of Rs 241 crore. Arun Kumar Singh, Director General, IT, North Region, said till October 31, they had managed to achieve disclosures of Rs 669 crore.

A senior official department said in the last fiscal till October, the department conducted 16 search operations and though there were seizures of over Rs 23 crore in cash and other valuables, disclosures (surrender) of unaccounted income by the assessees was Rs 385 crore.


‘Strengthen consumer Act’
Activists favour timely grievance redress, lower fee, decentralised fora
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Centre should initiate steps to strengthen the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, to ensure timely redress of consumer grievances and the fee for filing a case should be reduced to Rs 10, on pattern of the RTI Act.

These were the views of consumer activists on the concluding day of the two-day convention. They also demanded the decentralisation of consumer fora to reach the grassroots by establishing headquarters at the subdivisional level.

Welcoming the government’s move to enact the Bill to regulate the real estate sector, which they termed as the need of the hour, the delegates called upon the Centre to withdraw the notification to allow non-standard packages, which caused unfair trade practices.

The convention also focused on consumer empowerment in relation to energy and fuel efficiency, an alternative complaint dispute redress system, public service quality and a citizens’ charter.

The convention resolved to support a strong Lokpal to curb corruption. Another resolution was passed, in which the government was called upon to create an administrative and legal mechanism to ensure the quality of public service.

The convention also resolved that the draft Citizens’ Right to Grievance Redressal Bill, 2011, which is in circulation for discussion, was grossly inadequate.

The convention noted the attempts by the governments of Punjab and Delhi to pass legislations on this subject without adequate consultation with user groups.

A consumer charter of demands for the telecom sector was also passed, in which consumers, both individually and collectively, called upon the government and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India to take immediate and concrete steps to remove consumer detriment before the next International Consumer Rights Day, which was March 15 next.

It was resolved that the Consumer Coordination Council undertake projects on good governance and a citizens’ charter in coordination with member organisations, civil society groups and the government.

On alternative dispute redress, it was resolved that the core-centre and toll-free projects of the council be continued and ongoing projects and awareness programmes be organised at the block level and rural areas in the country.



Filing of papers for poll picks up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
With two days left for filing nominations to municipal corporation (MC) elections, candidates of various parties filed their papers today. Two Congress candidates filed their nominations. Gurbax Rawat filed her papers from ward 9 and Rajesh Sharma from ward 8.

Among BSP candidates, Jannat Jahaan filed nomination from ward 23, Virambhati from ward 24, Mamta Sharma from ward 21, Arun Prabha from ward 12, Manav Mehra from ward 11 and Jaleel Ahmad from ward 26.

Seven candidates of the Chandigarh Jan Manch, Shyam Sunder, Gurnam Singh Bheniwal, Ranjeet Kaur, Kulwinder Kaur, Sandeep Paswan, Jatinder Sahney and Gurpreet Kaur Chauhan, filed their nominations. Three candidates from the New Congress Party also filed their nominations. Vivek Hans Garcha filed papers from ward 2, Raj Kumar from ward 19 and Malkit Kaur from ward 23.



JERC okays Rs 14.72 cr for UT Admn
Computerisation of electricity dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC) has given approval to the UT Administration to avail itself of funds to the tune of Rs 14.72 crore from the Power Finance Corporation (PFC), a central agency, for the computerisation of the UT electricity department and setting up a round-the-clock call centre for consumer grievance redress.

The Administration had earlier decided to set up its own network and had prepared an estimate of Rs 34 crore, but the JERC allowed only Rs 14.72 crore. It told the Administration to build a database with the Punjab government at the Patiala centre, with the recovery centre being set up at Jalandhar.

Through this project, electricity department officials would be able to know the area of power cuts and loss in transmission lines with the click of a mouse at the headquarters. It would not only save time, but also improve efficiency. Consumers would also be able to send complaints to the department online and check the status of the complaints.

Superintending Engineer MP Singh said the department had already hired a consultant for the project, adding that it would take around a year to computerise the entire system of the electricity department.



Unchahar Express’ route changed

Chandigarh, November 26
The railway authorities have decided to change the route of the Kanpur-Chandigarh Unchahar Express train from December 1.

The authority said the train would now ply only between Kanpur and Delhi. The train had been running late due to dense fog. — TNS



Two contrasting sides of ward no. 14
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, November 26
Ward No.14 presents two different pictures. On the one hand, one can see potholed roads and heaps of garbage, while on the other, re-laid roads and spruced up areas welcome visitors.

The ward consists of Baltana village, Sham Nagar, Ravindra Enclave, Saini Vihar Phase V, Parvati Enclave, Saini Vihar Phase IV, some parts of Saini Vihar, Phase III, Ram Vihar, Vaishali Enclave, Harmilap Nagar, Phase II and III.

Basic amenities elude Baltana, the oldest town of Zirakpur village. Roads here are in a bad shape and general infrastructure needs to be upgraded. Non-functional streetlights, poor sanitation, muddy and potholed roads, heaps of garbage, congested roads are a common sight in the ward. Residents lamented that the council officials were not bothered to solve their problems despite repeated requests Residents of Ravindra Enclave, too, complain of poor sanitation. The inner roads of Saini Vihar, Phase IV and V, Vaishali, Harmilap Nagar are still in a state of neglect. Garbage is lying in the open here. Vendors have encroached upon the land along roads in Saini Vihar, Phase III, Harmilap Nagar and Sham Nagar.



Mixed response to HC stay order
Conversion of council into a corporation
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 26
There is a mixed response from former municipal councillors to the stay orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued in connection with the government notifications converting the Mohali municipal council into a corporation.

While some of the former councillors have welcomed the orders

saying that the upgraded body had not played any major role in the development of the town, others said they were neither happy nor sad regarding the orders as these were only a part of the legal process and the final verdict was still awaited.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday stayed the notifications through which the local civic body was upgraded to the level of a corporation. The court had also issued a notice of motion to the department of local government, Mohali Deputy Commissioner and municipal corporation for January 9.

Rajinder Sharma, who owes allegiance to SAD, said he was happy with the orders of the court as the upgraded civic body had done nothing for the development of Mohali. He said NK Sharma, chairman of the district planning committee, had got several development works initiated in the town at his own level, but officials of the corporation had failed to show any results.

Parkash Wati said she was happy to learn about the orders of the court.

She said elected representatives had sacrificed eight months of their term hoping that Mohali would witness major development activities, but only faced disappointment. Moreover, former councillors were promised that they would be nominated to the upgraded civic body, but nothing happened, she added.

Another former municipal councillor Amteshwar Kaur said orders of the high court made no difference to her as she was only interested in the development and was not bothered whether this was carried out by the corporation or the council.

Sukhminder Singh Barnala, however, claimed that the corporation had carried out development works in the town and the government had spent a lot of money in this regard. Had the Congress-headed civic body not been dissolved, the government would have not spent so much here.



Veterinary inspectors block national highway
Demand better pay scale, timely promotion
Our Correspondent

Mohali, November 26
Members of the Punjab State Veterinary Inspectors Association blocked traffic on the national highway near Balongi demanding better pay scales and timely promotions.

Protesters earlier took out a rally at dasehra ground in Phase VIII. They pointed out that on April 25, the Punjab Chief Minister had given an assurance to remove the anomalies in the pay structure and provide a proper channel for promotions.

Written orders were also sent to the department of animal husbandry and finance department to settle the matter, but even after six months the authorities concerned did not bother to take action.

They said veterinary inspectors were working in all dispensaries in the state but they were not being given a proper deal. They joined as inspectors and retired at the same post. They said the protest would continue till their demands were fulfilled.

Meanwhile, veterinary inspectors’ agitation sparked off another protest by residents of Balongi village who felt harassed when the diverted traffic passed through the village. They demanded that the traffic blockade should be lifted immediately.



Fire at Sector-10 house
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, November 26
A fire broke out at a house in Sector 10 here today. Owner of the house Ramesh said a tenant residing on the first floor kept a water container on a gas stove and forgot to turn it off before leaving the house. A fire tender was pressed into service.



Kishore’s magic recreated
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, November 26
Bollywood playback singers Amit Kumar and Sumit Kumar, sons of music legend Kishore Kumar, enraptured the audience during the Chandigarh Carnival at the Leisure Valley here today.

The musical extravaganza, veritably titled ‘Kishore Kumar Nostalgia’, achieved acme as the melodious voices wafted across the otherwise tranquil ambience. Amit doled out most of the songs while Sumit, in perfect synchronisation, embellished the duets.

Commencing the open-air concert with “Bade acchhe lagte hain”, they rendered more film songs immortalised by their father. Be it “Jeevan ke safar mein rahi”,“Ham toh mohaabat karega” or “Mere samne wali khidki mein”, all renditions reflected the magical brilliance of the legend.

Earlier in the day, folk artistes from various states brought alive their regional traditional folklore, moving and dancing in and around the carnival in their traditional attires. A mini-stage was the cynosure of the carnival village, where youngsters doled out Punjabi and Hindi hits.



Abdominal aortic aneurysms a deadly disease, say docs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
To tackle abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA), medical practitioners in the city joined hands to create awareness about it during the Global Conference in Cardiac Sciences “Cardiomersion- Integrated Approach to Delivery of Comprehensive Cardiac Care” here today.

Experts said AAA was a deadly disease and there was less than 5 per cent chances of survival. Smokers and hypertension patients are at a risk of suffering from aneurysm disorder.

They said aortic aneurysm was a disease of aorta (the largest artery in human body that originates from the heart and extends down to the abdomen). Aorta is responsible for supplying oxygenated blood to all parts of the body; hence any disease in the artery can be life threatening for a patient. It is a dilation or swelling in aorta that leads to weakness in the wall of aorta.

As the aorta feeds the entire body with oxygenated blood, any rupture in this artery can cease the blood supply to vital parts of the body, including brain. Without prompt treatment, this can result into sudden death. In India chances of survival in case of aortic aneurysm rupture is poor.

Doctors said AAA was one of the leading causes of sudden death in men over 60. Millions of people are living with an undiagnosed AAA, and only 10 to 25 per cent of them will survive if their aneurysm ruptures.

Vascular and endovascular surgeon Dr Yew Pung, Leong, Malaysia, and vascular surgeon Dr Ravul Jindal from Fortis Hospital, Mohali, said endovascular stent graft treatment was the gold standard for aortic aneurysms across the globe.



Rally by pensioners

Mohali, November 26
A rally was taken out by pensioners at Phase VIII (Sector 62), here yesterday. A large number of pensioners raised slogans against the Punjab government for not implementing their demands.

The government had agreed to fix revised pension on a notional basis, but failed to implement it. The Punjab Pay Commission had recommended the merger of 50 per cent DA into basic pension. — TNS



nursery admissions
High drama at school
Parents of unlucky children protest
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The skewed applicant-seat ratio and lack of ‘reputed’ nursery schools in the tricity resulted in high drama at St Kabir School here today.

There was an outburst from the parents whose children could not make it to the 18 open seats in the draw of lots for nursery admissions. Hundreds of such parents raised slogans against the school for ‘mismanaging’ the admission process and leaving eligible candidates out.

They accused the school authorities of not informing them about the admission criteria in advance. They sat through the draw patiently and started raising slogans after the results of the draw were declared.

The school authorities immediately summoned the police. Following this, the parents dispersed, without even furnishing a complaint in writing to the education department. The school had declared only 18 of the 70 seats open, reserving the rest for various categories, ranging from scheduled caste and scheduled tribe to student’s siblings and alumnus’ child.

Whose fault is it?

While the number of applicants increases by 30 per cent every year, the corresponding seats across various schools are increased only by 5 per cent, making nursery admissions a tryst with luck. Schools claim that those are not allowed to increase the floor area ratio, which has led to the crunch. Officials concerned say only the Government of India can decide.

‘What is all the fuss about?’

The parents were aware of the criteria and reservation for all categories. We got parents to pick chits in the draw of lots and had a UT representative overseeing the process. We abided by RTE norms and did not conduct screening and also went by all directives of the education department. A privately managed school under the law of the land can always set its admission criteria.

— Gurpreet Bakshi, administration officer, St Kabir School

No complaint in writing regarding any anomaly in admission has reached us. How can we act?

— Chanchal Singh, District Education Officer, UT



DAV-10 is back in the news, to get yet another officiating principal
With incumbent retiring on Nov 30, seniormost professor to take charge
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
With the officiating principal of the DAV College Pawan Jain, set to retire on November 30, the principal’s charge would be given to the seniormost professor of the college. The final decision over the next principal would be taken on November 28. This would be the fourth principal who would be taking charge in less then a year.

The college would witness a new principal in the coming month after the decision of its management.

Jain, a professor in the commerce department, was appointed as the officiating principal of the college. He succeeded professor Shashi Kumar Gupta who was appointed as the officiating principal in September 2010. Gupta is currently on leave on health grounds. Sources said Gupta has requested the managing committee for leave till his retirement that is due in May 2012.

On seniority basis, Pradeep Kumar, the second most senior teacher after Gupta, was to take charge but as he had declined. Jain, who was the next in line, was given the charge by the managing committee. All the three are from the commerce department.

BC Josan was appointed as the principal of the college in April 2008. However, he was transferred to a college in Punjab's Malout town in September 2010 after a dispute with the college managing committee. Following the controversy, the management suspended Josan.

Official sources said that as Gupta is still the principal, he would be asked about taking the charge, followed by Pardeep Kumar. “If both the professors decline to take the charge, the third senior most professor Ram Mohan would be offered the position,” source said.



Alumni congregate
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Nostalgia is what described the environs of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, today, when hundreds of alumni gathered in their school.

Neeraj Sarna, Abhay Lamba, Ramanjit kaur, Deepak Ratan, Tejinder Bedi and Amit Sood instituted two scholarships in school in memory of their deceased friend, Divas Kumar Walia.

The alumni honoured old teachers, many of whom had retired or left. After a bicycle rally and sapling plantation was dinner, which was the high point.

“I am a policeman and the discipline that I preach was rooted when I was a student here,” said Neeraj Sarna of UT cyber crime cell.



Budding talents’ skills on show
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
The education department, under its ‘Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan’, is displaying information about various ongoing programmes and initiatives in the wake of the RTE Act. Aiming to spread awareness about the campaign, it has put up a stall during the Chandigarh Carnival at the Leisure Valley in Sector 10 here.

Items like envelopes, paper bags, wall hangings and learning material prepared by utilising waste material are being displayed. These items have been prepared by children doing vocational skill courses at special training centres of the ‘Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan’.



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