C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No hope of pension for PU staff
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
The Panjab University employees might not be able to have a pension scheme PU, officials have ruled out a pension scheme as available to university employees in other parts of the country and have, instead, suggested looking for alternatives to it.

Financial constraints have been cited as the primary reason for shelving the scheme with the Punjab Government, the UT Administration and the Central Government unwilling to contribute towards building a corpus for pension. Also, the university authorities and employees have been unable to arrive at a consensus on the cut-off date for the implementation of the scheme. Over Rs 540 crore (according to an estimate) would be required to implement the scheme in Panjab University till 2053.

Adopting the Central Government’s Provident Fund-linked pension scheme or the LIC scheme are among the alternatives which have been floated for consideration. A six-member committee, constituted by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak and headed by Prof P.P. Arya, will hold its first meeting on April 12 to discuss the two schemes and their utility.

While the LIC scheme would require a deposit of Rs 2.66 lakh to be made by each employee, the PF-linked scheme would prove to be a losing proposition for the employees with a meager sum. Sources said that under the LIC scheme, the Panjab University authorities, had expressed willingness to shoulder their responsibility by paying a major chunk of the amount.

However, even before the schemes have been discussed, the faculty has expressed its reservations on exploring options other than the original scheme. A former president of Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) and convenor of the newly-formed committee, Prof P.P. Arya, says, “I have already told the Vice-Chancellor that I am against the idea. He has still asked me to head the committee. I have no problem with that but the two schemes don’t stand to benefit the employees. However, the committee will study the two schemes at the meeting and arrive at a consensus.”

The PUTA president, Dr Harjinder Singh Laltoo, pressing for implementation of the pension plan, argues: “Though the two schemes are good as far as individuals are concerned, these are unacceptable for the community as a whole. When all other universities of the region have pension schemes, there is no reason to deny the same to us.”

Meanwhile, at a meeting held in Delhi last week, sources said Prof Pathak urged the Punjab Government to give its share of Rs 21 crore to the university. It is learnt that at the meeting attended by the Registrar and the Finance and Development Officer of the university, the Union Government has also asked the university to explain why it wanted a pension scheme for its employees, clearly indicating that the government was against the ideas. 



Phase VIII SHO goes on long leave
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 10
Within days of the SHO, Phase I, being shifted to the police lines, the SHO, Phase VIII, Mr Gurcharan Singh, has also gone on a long leave. Though Mr Gurcharan Singh is said to have taken the leave to attend a promotion course, sources informed that the SP, Mohali, in a written communication to the DGP, had given adverse comments about his working. Mr Balbir Singh Tiwana, a police post in charge from Anandpur Sahib, has been posted as the SHO, Phase VIII.

The sources added that a departmental inquiry was also pending against Mr Gurcharan Singh, but what seemed to have led to the officer proceeding on leave was his alleged involvement in getting a resident of Taqipur village, Jagjit Singh, booked in Mohali. Jagjit Singh’s brother Baljit and Mr Gurcharan Singh are fighting a legal battle for the possession of a commercial property in Mullanpur.

The matter came to light when the accused, Jagjit Singh, was injured in police custody on March 4 and relatives alleged that he had been tortured. The police, however, claimed that Jagjit Singh had hurt himself to evade the police.

Pointing at grave loop holes in the way Jagjit Singh was booked, a senior police official told The Tribune that he was arrested from Mullanpur by the anti-goonda squad of the Mohali police on April 1 on charges of trespassing without giving any information to the Naya Gaon SHO, under whose jurisdiction the area fell. ‘‘While the complainant claims that the police arrested him at his residence in Mullanpur, the police stated that Jagjit Singh was arrested from a naka,’’said the officer.

The role of the DSP, Mohali, in the whole matter has also been questioned. ‘‘The DSP on a complaint send the anti-goonda team to arrest Jagjit Singh without bothering to consult local police officials at Mullapur,’’added the officer. It is also learnt that the SP, Mohali, had issued a warning letter to the DSP in this case.

When contacted, the SSP, Ropar, Mr S.P. Singh, stated that Mr Gurcharan Singh was on preparatory leave after which he would proceed on a promotion course to Phillaur. ‘‘It is a routine matter and has not been done because of any remarks having been sent to the DGP,’’he added.

The SP, Mohali, Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh, when contacted, refused to comment.



Traders present Rs 1 lakh to Bansal
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 10
The Congress candidate from the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency was today presented Rs 1 lakh for this election expenditure by shopkeepers of Sector 28 during his visit to the market.

Later addressing the gathering of the shopkeepers, Mr Davinder Singh Babla (who recently joined the Congress party) asked them to vote for Mr Bansal.

Mr Bansal alleged that his opponent Mr Satya Pal Jain of the BJP was making false allegations on the Congress party. He claimed lot of development works have been carried out in the city in the past five years. He promised to work for the development of the city if voted back to parliament. Mr Ramesh Goel, Mr Vinod Kataria, Mr Pritpal Singh, Mr Anil Gupta, Mr Chander Hans Garg, Mr Khalid Khan, Mr Paramjit Singh, Mr Harminder Singh Lucky and Mr Kamaljit Singh, were other party leaders also spoke.

Mr Bansal also addressed public meetings at the Palsora complex, a residential area in Sector 34 and a market of Sector 35.

As per a press note of the local unit of Congress Territorial Mahila Congress issued here today, Mrs Pushpa Sharma of Sector 30B has been appointed president of the Chandigarh Mahila Congress (District Urban - II).

Meanwhile, Mr Bhupinder Singh Badheri, president, District Congress Committee (Rural) Chandigarh, ridiculed the recent claims of the BJP leader Mr Shanta Kumar that development works in the city villages were carried out by the BJP led NDA government in the Centre. According to Mr Badheri the development works were carried out by Mr Bansal from the MPLAD Fund. He also criticised the Union government for not introducing the panchyati raj in Chandigarh. 



Shanta hopeful of BJP win
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Mr Shanta Kumar, a senior BJP leader and former union minister, today expressed confidence that the NDA would come back to power on the basis of its outstanding, all round performance.

Addressing mediapersons here, Mr Shanta Kumar said the unprecedented developmental activities conducted out by the NDA government headed by Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee had created goodwill among people.

In Himachal Pradesh, from where Mr Shanta Kumar was seeking re-election (Kangra constituency), the Centre’s decision to increase the free ration from 10 kg to 35 kg to those living below the poverty line had won it a large number of admirers. Similarly, expenditure of hundreds of crores of rupees on construction of new roads in difficult, hilly terrain had not only brought about a change in the life of the people but also created additional job opportunities for them.

He asserted that the BJP would win all the four Lok Sabha seats in Himachal Pradesh. The infighting in the Congress party and the weakening of Mr Sukh Ram would further help the BJP to improve its performance.



DC tells parties not to allure voters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The Returning Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, Chandigarh parliamentary constituency, Mr Arun Kumar, has said the claims of the left out eligible voters of the city regarding the inclusion of their names in voter list would be entertained till the last date of the filing of nominations. He was addressing a meeting of the representatives of various political parties and Assistant Electoral Registering Officers (AEROs) here yesterday.

He said additional 15,000 votes had also been made during the past one month and the left out voters might fill form No. 6 for getting their names incorporated in the voter list. Those who were residents of the city and above the age of 18 years were eligible to be a voter as per the rule. He said copies and CDs of the voter list of the constituency were also available at his office.

Stressing the need to follow the Model Code of Conduct, he called upon all political parties to refrain from inducing and alluring the voters.

The Returning Officer also called upon the political parties and their supporters to refrain from defacing public property. The defacement of private property without the consent of the owner was prohibited and in case of violation of the provision the defaulters would be prosecuted as per the law, he said.

The SSP, Chandigarh, Mr Gaurav Yadav, also called upon the representatives to refrain from making false complaints. 



Judiciary is active, says Justice Verma
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 10
Justice J.S Verma, former Chief Justice of India and Chairman National Human Rights Commission, visited the Army institute of Law here today. Addressing students of the institute, as part of the ‘Distinguished Lecture Series 2004,’ Justice Verma defended judicial activism by commenting that when laws seemed inadequate, the judiciary had to creatively mould the provisions of the law by interpreting them in their letter and spirit for positive gains to the motive of promoting justice.

“Judicial activism does not deserve the title of judicial adventurism but that of judicial creativity,’’ he said adding that that Article 32, Article 226 and Article 142 of the constitution read together, gave the Judges wide powers or rather responsibility to bring justice to the people of India and to serve them in accordance to their oath.

He stressed that the 21st century was the century of knowledge and ‘‘Universities are laboratories for making knowledge makers rather than merely imparting knowledge’’. To gear up for the future, Justice Verma asked the students to develop capabilities that enabled them to apply knowledge that they had acquired for the purpose of imparting justice. He gave the students a greater understanding of the political and social responsibility they bore as the future citizens of the nation and as future officers of the courts of law.

He stressed that the profession which they were about to enter had traditionally not been a ‘business’ but a ‘service’. He asked the students to remember that members of the legal profession had always been the backbone of our polity. Quoting eminent jurists, he told the students to be the trustees for the honour of their profession. He asked the students to be sensitive to social needs and not to think in terms of the power which they would acquire as they rose in their profession but in terms of the increasing magnitude of responsibility as they climbed each step.

He talked about the concept of a welfare state and added that in the modern context, welfare state was denoted by an ‘inclusive democracy’ where every decision had to be taken keeping in view its impact on all communities. He called upon the students to play more important role in monitoring the performance of all institutions of the government.

Laying emphasis on the fundamental duties, he said that rights were well deserved only when duties too were well performed. When asked whether right to vote should be made a fundamental duty, he replied that the practicality and enforcement of these duties had to be taken into consideration as even the fundamental rights remain unrealised. The solution was in the mindset of the people. He raised the plea for people’s right to reject the candidates. 



Dy Speaker resigns from Punwire core group
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 10
In a dramatic turn of events, the Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, and the MLA Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, has resigned from the core group constituted for the revival of Punwire here. His decision comes barely two days before the core group was to meet on April 12 under the chairmanship of the Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, to consider the revival of the unit.

The MLA resigned from the core group yesterday following a violent protest march organised by Punwire employees outside Mr Bir Devinder’s residence in Sector 39 Chandigarh on March 8.

The Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, however, refused to accept the resignation stating that the core group was formed due to the efforts of Mr Bir Devinder and if he was not a part of it, the core group could achieve no useful purpose.

In the resignation letter addressed to the Punjab Chief Minister, he stated that he had been supporting the cause of Punwire employees ever since they started their agitation but a group of its former employees staged a violent demonstration using foul language in front of his house. ‘‘This action of the employees union is certainly disrespectful to my stature as presiding officer of the House and was uncalled for. The Punwire employees have lost faith in me. Though I have raised their issue several times on the floor of the House, the employees are not satisfied with my input. Hence there is no point in associating myself with the core group,’’he said in this letter.

Mr Lal Singh also appealed to Punwire Union leaders to restrain from holding such protest marchs which were having negative impact. ‘‘The union is harming its own interests. They have misbehaved with the person who has been their biggest supporter from the beginning. 'he said, adding that he would try to convince Mr Bir Devinder to take back his resignation and request him to continue with his efforts at revival of the company.

With Mr Bir Devinder Singh’s resignation, the agenda of the proposed meeting, too, has crumbled. The meeting was scheduled to consider the report of Mr B.S. Baidwan, former President of the Mohali Industries Association (MIA), regarding the revival of the unit. Sources stated that Mr Baidwan’s report had recommended the revival of the unit detailing a three-phased plan for the purpose. ‘‘I was associated with the core group only because of Mr Bir Devinder Singh and in his absence I cannot attend the meeting,’’ said Mr Baidwan.

Punwire had closed down in 2000 following the unearthing of a Rs 500 crore scam in 1999 and a series of FIRs against the company and management. While the police has filed its challans in the case, the CBI is still investigating the various FIRs registered by the police. Over 1000 employees had lost their jobs following the closure.



Magician defaces walls
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, April 10
Defying all rules a famous magician has defaced walls by pasting posters and pamphlets not only on walls of government buildings but also walls of some private buildings here. The posters have been on display since the last couple of days. In addition to this the magician has not spared a police check post at the local bus stand where he has put up a huge banner.

The local administration is indifferent to this flouting of rules as the magician has also pasted posters on streetlight poles and a bus stop adjacent to the office of the Subdivisional Magistrate, Dera Bassi.

A visit by the Tribune team around the town found posters and pamphlets of the magician on almost every streetlight pole along the highway, on walls of school buildings, the civil hospital, government dispensaries, office of the Dera Bassi Municipal Council and score of houses in the town.

Wooden shacks adjacent to the Government High School Dera Bassi, and walls of various shops in the main market were also displaying advertisement posters.

These posters were an eye sore on this stretch of the highway. Magician Suraj was not available for comments since he was busy with his show. Mr Deepak Raj Garg, Subdivisional Magistrate, Dera Bassi, said that though the magician had been granted permission for his magic show in the town but not for pasting posters on walls of government buildings. He, however, claimed that the posters and pamphlets would be removed tomorrow.



Sector 71 neglected, complain residents
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 10
The Residents Welfare Association, Sector 71, here today alleged neglect of their area by the authorities in the matter of providing of basic amenities.
The vice-president of the association, Lieut-Col S.S. Sohi (retd), told mediapersons that the Sector was the only one in the town which had not been fully handed over to the municipal council for upkeep and other purposes.

He said the water problem in the area needed a solution. The sinking of tubewells was not a permanent answer to the ever-increasing water needs of the Sector as water table was reducing. Besides, the sinking of tubewells was costly and these often developed defects. The area needed to be connected to the canal water supply. The PUDA authorities had begun to work on a water reservoir with pumps to lift water two years ago hut there had been little progress on the project. Therefore, there were complaints of low water pressure in flats and the area around.

Colonel Sohi also complained that certain plots had not been allotted or auctioned by PUDA in the Sector. These plots had become dumping points for garbage and were frequented by stray animals. He also sought a check on the unhygienic conditions created by residents of “Jhote Kut Colony” located at the PCL crossing.

The association said there was a big depression in the centre of the badly maintained park between house numbers 1100 and 1010. The depression, which was formed due to a leakage in the sewerage had become a source of danger to the residents.

Colonel Sohi further complained that the road separating Sectors 70 and 71 leading to Mataur village had potholes. The streetlighting was poor. And the area had become a place for defecation. Water from nearby houses flowed on to the road and people often dumped waste and debris on the roadside which was full of wild growth. He urged the municipal council and PUDA to take urgent action to improve the condition of this main road.



Devotion marks Easter festivities
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 10
Rhythmic clinging of bells echoed in the decked-up Church halls around midnight as the devout celebrated Easter with fervour today. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ on the third day after the crucifixion.

The celebrations started at around 11.30 pm. After 40 days of fasting and abstinence, large number of followers reached the churches for the service. The Cathedral of Christ the King in Sector 19 was the venue of the celebration.

When the congregation gathered in the church, the lights were switched off. The hall was then illuminated by candles. The prayers with candle was followed by “blessing of the fire” held in the open.

After lighting the Easter candle, Bishop Gerald John Mathias led the congregation inside the church. The candle, Brother Victor of the church said, would be lit everyday till the 40th day.

Just before the midnight the lights were switched on and the choir sang “Gloria” followed by ringing of the church bells and mass service. It continued for about an hour. A painting depicting the resurrection of the Jesus was also set up in the church.

The churches of Sector 32 and Sector 24, along with the ones in Mohali and Panchkula, participated in the celebrations. The service in English would be held at 8 am and in Hindi at 10 am on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the preparations for Easter celebrations were on in the Sector 18 church decked up with colourful blinking lights. Even as some of the devotees hanged golden stars, youngsters prepared a skit on the resurrection of Christ.

The skit would begin with soldiers guarding the grave of Jesus. In the next scene the grave would open symbolising the resurrection of Jesus, they said.

The celebrations would begin at 5.30 am with “sunrise service”. It would be followed by Easter service in Tamil at 7.30 am. Sunrise service at Baptist church in Sector 44-C will be held at 6 am followed by Easter service at 10 am. A Fellowship lunch would also be served.

Students of Sunday school enacted scenes on the crucifixion of Christ at Church of God in Sector 41. Mass prayer was also held.

Giving details of the celebrations, Brother Victor added that the devotees exchange Easter eggs and buns. He said Easter was a reminder of the loving spirit of Christ who stood for sacrifice, love, prayer, selfless service and devotion.

Easter, he added, was a day of feasting. The name, he claimed, was derived from the Easter festival after the pagan goddess of spring. It symbolised the celebration of rebirth and new life. Easter was associated with hot buns, celebration cakes and Easter bunnies.



Tune in to FM for queries on pets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 10
Mr Shiv Kaushal, the dog trainer who has made it to the Limca Book of Records, yesterday announced the launch of a pet show on Chandigarh FM. The show, “Ek Prayaas — The Pet Show,” will be aired on every Saturday at 10.05 am.

Introducing the programme, he said: “The programme will deal with all kinds of queries posed by dog owners. Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali have about 30,000 registered dogs. We have already recorded three programmes for the show. One of them will be aired tomorrow.”



3 held on charge of smuggling
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 10
The Ropar Police today nabbed three persons on charges of smuggling opium from Rajasthan into Punjab. As much as 3 kg of opium along with two countrymade revolvers and a pistol with live cartridges was seized from them.

The SSP, Ropar, Mr S.P. Singh, at a press conference today said that three were caught by a special team of CIA Kharar and Ropar from the Dara Studio Naka this morning under the leadership of the DSP Mohali, Mr Harpreet Singh.

The three were travelling on a black Tata Sumo (HR01E 7053) when the car was stopped by the police for checking at the naka. They tried to escape but were caught by the police. ‘‘The three had tied packets of opium on their waist pockets. A .32 bore single shot revolver, a .32 bore six bullet revolver and a country made pistol was also seized from them, said Mr Tejinder Singh, Inspector CIA, Ropar.

The three — Kulvinder Singh, Kulbir Singh Rana both residents of Batala and Gurmeet Singh, a resident of Ajnala — have been arrested under various sections of the NDPS and Arms Acts. Kulbir was staying in Chandigarh while Gurmeet Singh was living in Phase I Mohali. Six cases, two each on the accused, have been registered by the police. The three accused at the SSP Ropar’s camp office in Phase IV Mohali on Saturday.



Octroi contractor booked
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, April 10
A brand new Scorpio jeep parked in front of the office of the Zirakpur octroi collection contractor in Dhakauli village last night, was found missing.
According to the police, men of the contractor had picked up three vehicles outside from a godown of a transport company on Friday.

The company reportedly had not paid octroi on a container of vehicles.

Out of the three vehicles, the company employees found one vehicle missing and the matter was reported to the police.

The police has registered a case against octroi contractor Sham Lal Garg and three others on the complaint of Mr Anil Bakshi, a branch manager of the company. 



Two hurt in clash over land
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, April 10
Two persons were injured in a clash between two groups of residents of Dera Jagadhari village near here today.
Ms Harjit Kaur and Gurmeet Soni, sustained injuries in the clash. They were attacked with sharp-edged weapons and sticks. They were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, with injuries on their arms and the body.

In her complaint to the police Harjit Kaur stated that some members of the other group attacked her group constructing a boundary wall around a piece of ‘disputed’ land this morning.

The police has booked six persons — Om Prakash, Kaka Ram, Shiv Kumar, Shera, Jaaswant and Gyano Devi — on her complaint. A case under Sections 323, 324, 325, 447, 148 and 149 of the Indian Penal code has been registered against them.



Website on Mohali launched
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 10
A dream of seven employees of Semi Conductors Limited (SCL) to bring Mohali on the website became a reality today with the formal launch of their website, sasnagarinfo.com, by Ms Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, OSD to Chief Minister, Punjab here today. It is the first of its kind website on the township. Now the information on Mohali is now just a mouse click away.

It is an outcome of the hard labour of Navtej Rana, Kewal Singh Rana, Harjinder Singh, Harpinder Singh and Kushal Dev Bhardwaj who worked under the guidance of Gurinder Pal Singh. The site is being updated regularly. Gurinder Pal Singh is working as a technician in the IT Department of the SCL. 


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