C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


City schools detaining ‘weak’ students
Ignore CBSE norms on pass percentage
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Going all out to add to their regulation, certain schools in the city are playing with the career of their students. The students, who have not fared up to the expectations of their schools, are being detained in Classes IX and XI. Ignoring instructions of the Central Board of Secondary Education, the schools have devised their own criteria of pass percentage for evaluating the students.

The detained students were forced to pay the school fee for an additional academic year.

Several such complaints have landed up at the regional office of the board here. Acting on the complaints, the board has warned the erring schools to fall in line, said sources in the board.

As per the rules, the students who score at least 33 per cent marks have to be promoted. The pass percentage formulae, devised by different schools, varied between 40 per cent and 60 per cent.

“By adopting this yardstick, we ensure that only the performing students appeared in the board’s higher secondary and senior secondary level examinations”, confided teacher of a public school in the city. The practice was becoming popular, as competition between the private schools was getting intense.

Investigations revealed that those parents who refused to allow their wards to be detained were shown the door after giving pass certificates, instead of giving admission in higher class.

The sources said the board has clarified to the heads of the institutions that pass criteria for Classes IX and XI remains the same as for Classes X and XII. For Class X, a candidate has to obtain grade higher than ‘E’ i.e. at least 33 per cent marks in all five subjects of external examination. For class XII, in subjects involving practical work a candidate had to obtain 33 per cent marks in theory and practical, separately.

A committee constituted by the board has clarified that since an integrated course has been prescribed at the secondary and senior secondary levels, the pass criteria for Classes IX and XI should be uniform.

The Regional Officer of the board, Mr P.I.Sabu, confirmed that at least six parents had approached with the complaint. He said the schools had been asked to strictly follow the board’s guidelines.


Visa racket: two held for cheating student
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Inderjeet Singh and Rupa Pathak of the Sector 35-based Shine Star Education and Immigration Consultancy were today arrested for allegedly cheating a student from Punjab with a promise to send him to Ireland for higher education.

They were arrested after a person from Faridkot, Rajan Palta, complained on Wednesday at the Sector 36 police station that he had given them Rs 3.85 lakh for going to Ireland. Palta alleged that neither was he sent abroad, nor was his money returned.

The company is suspected to have allegedly cheated 50 students in the past two years before closing shop two months back. The amount received from the students could go up to Rs 2 crore. Five complaints are pending with the economic offences wing of the Chandigarh police.

During investigation, it came to light that the company had deposited a part of the money with the British High Commission for a visa, but when the complainant’s application was rejected, the money was returned to the company by the high commission. This money was, however, not returned to the applicant by the company. Palta kept visiting their office and returning with a promise of getting back his money, but after some time, Inderjeet Singh and Rupa Pathak disappeared. Palta approached the SSP, who asked the police station concerned to register a case. The immigration company had been promising to send the students on education visa after clearing the IELTS test.


Darkness in many Mohali streets as PSEB snaps ‘kundis’
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 18
Streets were plunged into darkness here this evening following removal of ‘kundi’ connections supplying electricity to over 800 streetlights in the township. While Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) officials alleged that the municipal council was pilfering power for these streetlights, the council authorities stated that they had resorted to such connections as the PSEB had failed to repair its non-operational meters.

A team of electricity board junior engineers today removed the various connections fitted by the municipal council supplying power to the Phase VI road, the Magoo petrol station road, the Phase 3 and 5 separating road, Phase I and parts of Phase 11. The meters connected to these roads had been out of order for the past two months and the council was being charged on an average basis during this period.

Council’s municipal engineer, Tarsem Rai said the PSEB had been informed that the meters needed to be replaced. Board’s SDO J.S. Bains said the board had received no intimation from the council about this.

‘‘The matter came to light last week when following a thorough checking, it was discovered that the council was not taking the electricity through the board, but through its own connections. It was decided that these connections be removed and that was done today,’’said Mr Bains.

Mr Rai said that the board should have replaced the meters in time, failing which a temporary arrangement was made by the council’s electrical wing.

Mr Bains pointed out that the maintenance of streetlights was a joint undertaking of the council and the board and while the board provided the meters, the equipment needed for repairs was to be given by the council.


Sec 33-A goes without power for 12 hours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
Residents of Sector 33 -A spent about 12 hours without power starting midnight last night. Starting from 11. 45 p.m, last night, residents of the area could only wait helplessly as nobody from the electricity department turned up for repair till today morning.

The power supply to the area was restored at around 12 noon today. Sources said the cable in the area had been damaged. Residents said nobody even listened to their complaints. Prof J.S. Chopra, who lives in the area said the workmen arrived only at 9 a.m to repair the fault. 


Local bus service in new format delayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The promised local bus service in its new format will be delayed beyond the deadline of August 15 as the bus supplier has sought time. Sources in the Administration have said the technical and financial bids have been opened, but, the process has been delayed and it will not start on the deadline.

According to the plan, 104 low-floored Euro-II buses with hydraulic doors will operate on every vertical and horizontal road of the city. The tendering of buses has been delayed due to the imposition of the model code of conduct for close to two-and-a-half months.

The Administration had announced the new plan in January. The Administration is planning a drive to educate people about the benefits of the new plan.

Traffic in the city moves on sector-separating roads in horizontal and vertical directions. Buses will run on the same pattern.

The idea is unique and aims at reducing travel time. Going by the projection, it will be easy to commute from one place to another in lesser time by using a new public transport system.

Each sector of Chandigarh is divided by main roads. The system suggests that there has to be a continuous movement of buses on every main road cutting across the city.

As per the new plan, a passenger from the PGI will start on the horizontal route on Madhya Marg. He will get down at the intersection of the road going to Sector 47 and board another bus for Sector 47. The travel time will not be more than 30 minutes.

The waiting time will be less because the buses will move on the same route. If six or eight buses run on one road, the frequency in one direction will be seven or eight minutes.


Flouting HC orders, Syals sold properties
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
On August 17, 2001, the Punjab and Haryana High Court ordered the management of Golden Forests (India) Limited and its subsidiary companies not to sell/alienate any property. About two years later, on June 18, 2003, the same court appointed a former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Justice R N Aggarwal, as Provisional Liquidator to manage, control and sell properties of Golden Forests (India) Limited.

But, while Justice Aggarwal has been unable to sell off even a single property, he found that R K Syal and his family, the brains behind the controversial group of companies, had entered into a series of highly illegal and questionable deals to settle their dues as also collect money for themselves.

Even the fact that almost all the members of the Syal family are behind bars for their alleged crimes could not stop them from carrying out their plan to sell some properties and give some others on lease.

R.K. Syal, his wife Neena Syal, his father A.L. Syal and his sister Pamila Syal are behind bars since December 12, 2000 but are known to lead comfortable lives courtesy powerful friends.

During investigations, the Provisional Liquidator came to know of over 1,500 bank accounts across the country in the name of the directors and other officers of the companies.

He also found that despite court orders, R.K. Syal and the other accused continued to enter into settlements and deals with investors and other parties.

In many cases, they agreed to transfer or give possession of prime properties. In this regard, special mention was made of properties owned by the Golden Forest group of companies at Mussoorie.

The accused sold vast tracts of lands in Kot Billa and Jaswantgarh villages in Panchkula district of Haryana as recently as June 2003.

The accused also leased out prime properties after court orders.

Drive-in 22, a restaurant on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway, was leased out to one S.L. Singhla. While Singhla has told the Provisional Liquidator that he was paying Rs 1 lakh every month as lease money, inquiries made by Justice Aggarwal established that the lease money was over Rs 3.5 lakh.

Similarly, York Health Club at Nolta near Pinjore in Haryana was given on lease to Mr Pale Ram, a politician of Bhiwani.

On June 2, 2003, a house belonging to Ms Romila Sinha, whose husband, Haritesh Sinha, was a Director of Golden Forests (India) limited, in Sector 12, Panchkula was sold.


Girl commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh , June 18
An 18-year-old girl Veermati today allegedly immolated herself in Janata Colony, Sector 25, after pouring about 10 litres of kerosene on her. Veermati’s father Rup Lal had gone to bring fuel wood from a shop and two brothers and her mother were away from their jhuggi when the girl allegedly committed suicide. The father of the girl said she used to get very angry whenever the family spoke of her marriage.

Due to her resistance, the family had stopped talking about her marriage for some time.

She was on fire when the police reached the spot. The body was charred beyond recognition. She died on the spot sustaining 100 per cent burn injuries. An eyewitness said the residents of the locality ran to the house after seeing smoke billowing from the jhuggi but the girl by then had died.

The family members suspected that the girl, educated up to the eighth standard used to spend most of her time worshipping god. The family suspected that the girl was under the influence of an apparition.

The police, however, said Veermati seemed depressed and had a history of fits.


IL-76 freighter for Alaska exercises
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
While attention is focused on IAF Jaguars, which are scheduled to fly to Alaska for the multinational exercise, Cope Thunder 2004, an IL-76 freighter is being quietly prepared at Chandigarh to accompany the fighters for the long haul across four continents.

Air Force sources said one IL-76 from 25 Squadron and its crew, along with officers, technicians and airmen from the local Air Force station, have been detailed to accompany the IAF contingent. The IL-76 will be piloted by a Group Captain.

This is one of the two IL-76s proceeding to Alaska for the exercise. They will be ferrying aircrew, ground crew, technical personnel, equipment and spares. The other IL-76, which can carry upto 45,000 kg as load, is from the Agra-based 44 Squadron.

While this is for the first time that IAF combat aircraft are flying abroad for exercises, an IL-76 and its crew were sent to Alaska in 2003 for joint exercises with the US Air Force. Owing to its range and load-carrying capability, IL-76s have often been sent on sorties abroad, be it to bring in equipment and spares for the armed forces or sustain Indian troops deployed on UN peacekeeping missions.

Also accompanying the IL-76s and the Jaguars will be the newly acquired IL-78 aerial refuelling tankers, based at Agra. These are based on the IL-76 airframe and will refuel Jaguars during their flight over the Atlantic. Jaguars were only recently modified for aerial refuelling after the Air chief, Air Marshal S. Krishnaswamy, mentioned in March during Exercise Vayu Shakti that Jaguars were being modified to this extent. Mirage-2000s and Su-30 already have this capability.

The six Jaguars proceeding to Alaska are based at the nearby Ambala airbase, where exhaustive training sorties, indoctrination sessions and technical evaluations for participating pilots and crew are reported to be underway.

The aircraft are scheduled to fly out from their respective bases on July 21 and proceed to Jamnagar, from where the aerial convoy will begin its 180-hour haul, with stops in Qatar, Egypt, Portugal, Newfoundland and Canada.


Gurdwara management lands in controversy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The management committee of Sector 34 gurdwara has been accused of spending huge amounts on the construction of a school at Sawara village in Punjab, about 14 km from the city.

Two days before the election of the management committee of the gurdwara, some of the members of the sangat alleged that the management was wasting money on a school which has been served a demolition notice by the Punjab Urban Development and Planning Authority (PUDA).

Brig (retd) I.S. Cheema, Mr G.S. Bawa, Jagdish Singh Sarpal and Col (retd) G.P.S. Patheja said the construction of the school had been found illegal by PUDA and still the management committee was spending money on it. Showing a court order, they said considering these points, a local court had even restrained the management to spend further on the construction of the school. They alleged that even after the court order, a cheque had been issued to a contractor in violation of the court order.

The president of the committee, Dr Rajinder Singh, however, said the opening of the school was in conformity with its activities in medical, education, social service and religious activities and had an approval of the authorities. The president said the payment had been made after the court granted a temporary injunction on construction of the school. He, however, said the payment was made for a work done before the court order.

Dr Rajinder Singh said he had got a letter from the PUDA secretary, Mr K.B.S. Sandhu, informing him that the regularisation of the construction of the school was in “active consideration” of the authority.

Brigadier Cheema and others alleged that the land was bought outside the jurisdiction of the management committee and it was in a low lying area making it vulnerable to floods. They contended that the present management was trying to maintain its grip of the gurdwara by making members from outside the jurisdiction of the gurdwara. They said the membership should only be open to residents of Sectors 33 and 34 for whom the gurdwara was built. They said that the gurdwara management chose to spend on the school instead of first building a langar hall.


2 tricksters brought to city on remand
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
The two youths from Rohtak, who tricked a man from Panchkula into handing over the keys of his car for a trial at Sukhna Lake and later made good with the vehicle on June 13, were today brought to Chandigarh on transit remand.

Amit and Somvir first developed friendship with the Panchkula youth Abhishek and on June 13 asked him to give keys of his car for a trial of the vehicle. Abhishek gave them the keys but the Rohtak men made good with the car.

They were arrested the next day by the Rohtak police after the Chandigarh police informed the Haryana police about the incident.

Abhishek complained that Amit and Somvir had met him in Sector 20 market and had gradually become friendly. The two cheats on June 13 reached his home in a taxi from Rohtak. Abhishek’s family members told them that Abhishek had gone to Sukhna Lake. They also reached the Lake and drove away the car of Abhishek leaving the taxi they had brought from Rohtak.

The taxi driver was interrogated. He revealed the names of the Rohtak men saying that he was hired by them and had no role in the alleged cheating incident.


Woman dies in accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 18
A 27-year-old woman of Mauli Jagran Complex was killed while her husband Raj Kumar was seriously injured when a truck allegedly hit their bicycle near the Hallo Majra roundabout here today.

Moni was pillion riding her husband on a bicycle when the truck hit their bicycle. Moni died on the spot. The driver of the truck has been arrested.


Youth robbed of Rs 6,000

Chandigarh, June 18
Two cycle-borne youths last night allegedly robbed a local resident of Rs 6,000 and a mobile phone when he was in Kajheri. Mr Ganpat Bhutani, a Sector 44 resident, reported to the police the two youths threatened him with dire consequences if he did not part with whatever he had.

Bhutani told the police that he did not know the youths and he had not been issued any threat earlier.

In another incident, an electronic dealer in Sector 35 complained to the police that somebody had stolen six microwave ovens from his shop. TNS


Kitchen 2004 opens
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 18
Kitchen 2004, Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) annual exhibition on kitchen equipment and accessories, opened today. The four-day fair showcases everything connected with kitchen and cooking, from electric chimneys to designer glasses.

The fair includes a wide range of products to suit all needs and pockets. Products like designer glass furniture, sleek picnic kits which turn into a dining table, cake domes, candles and vegetable steamers are on display.

The fair also showcases a variety of appliances like food processors, gas ranges, water purifiers, toasters, microwave ovens and mixers. It includes dishwashers, electric cookers, chopping and cutting aides, kitchen sinks, kitchen towels and tissues and storage containers. One can get pickles, milk flavours, teas and mouth freshners.

The exhibition was inaugurated by MP Pawan Kumar Bansal’s wife Madhu Bansal. Major companies in kitchen appliances like LG, IFB, Samsung, Electrolux, Lumnious, Planet Padmini Impex, Eureka Forbes, Faber International, Inlasa and Panasonic are participating.


Scooter launched
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 18
Bajaj has launched the new Chetak four-stroke with ‘wonder gears’. It has a new gear. It gives a mileage of 60 kmpl in city conditions. The instrument console displays the gear position in an electronic flash form.

Says Mr R.L. Ravichandran of Bajaj Auto, “We have developed it for our customers who still want to ride a metal scooter with a stepney, but willing to shift to a four-stroke model.”

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