C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


IT park sans environmental clearance!
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The Chandigarh Administration’s much-publicised Information Technology Park at Kishangarh has been set up without an environmental clearance.

A member of the Mani Majra Farmers’ Welfare and Environment Protection Society fighting for saving the land from acquisition, Mr Amit Bakshi, says the park does not have any environment clearance.

The Director of Information Technology, Mr Vivek Atrey, says there is no need of any environmental clearance for the IT park as it does not have a single identity. “It is merely a place where individual private players will construct their offices. The department will ensure that those who are setting up their bases get the clearance before occupying the buildings”, he said.

Mr Bakshi says the Administration is interpreting environmental laws wrongly. As per the rules, construction on a project could start only after the clearance has been procured and not after the construction has been completed, he adds.

While DLF has constructed its building, Infosys is scheduled to complete its building by March.

A DLF representative, Mr Yogesh Verma, when contacted in New Delhi on the phone showed his inability to make available the status of the environmental impact report saying probably on Tuesday he would be able to get details.

Infosys official Tina George based in Bangalore was not available for comments.

The Environment Impact Assessment Notification, issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests on January 27, 1994, says: “The Central Government hereby directs that from the date of publication of this notification in the official gazette, expansion or modernisation of any activity (if the pollution load is to exceed the existing one or new project list in Schedule I to this notification, shall not be undertaken in any part of India unless it has been accorded environmental clearance by the Central Government in accordance with a procedure”.

The notification further says: “No construction work, preliminary or otherwise, relating to the setting up of the project may be undertaken till the environmental and the site clearance is obtained”.

Mr Bakshi claims this has not been followed by the Administration before taking up the IT project.

Mr Atrey says as per an amendment notified in July this year, the clearance is required before one occupies a building not before starting the construction.

The amendment, however, says the clearance would be required for new townships, industrial townships, settlement colonies, commercial complexes, hotel complexes, hospital and office complexes for 1,000 persons or above or discharging sewage of 50,000 litres per day or above, or with an investment of Rs 50 crore 
or above.

Mr Bakshi says the Administration is ignoring the environmental aspect and is not following its own stand taken in a court. He says the Administration has opposed a new habitation scheme floated by HUDA in the Mansa Devi complex area because it could have posed a danger to the ecological balance near and around the Sukhna Lake. Mr Bakshi says the new scheme of HUDA is farther to the lake than the Kishangarh IT park. He says when the HUDA project could harm the ecology why the IT park could not do so despite being nearer to the lake and its surroundings.



PEC displays second sports quota list
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
In another twist to the unending controversy over the wrong merit list of the sports quota for admission to Punjab Engineering College (PEC), the college authorities today displayed the second merit list, approved by the Chandigarh Administration.

Admission schedule

According to members of the Joint Admission Committee, the session will commence on September 13 and fee could be deposited by September 15. While the first counselling was held on August 9, the second round of counselling would be held on September 23 and 24. A request has also been made to Panjab University to extend the date of admission without late fee till September 30.

After withdrawing the first merit list, the college authorities are learnt to have come out with the new merit list, which has already been contested by admission seekers. In the fresh merit list those who played in senior national games have been ranked below those who played in the junior national, allege the admission seekers.

After certain students had petitioned to the Administration against the allegedly wrong second merit list, the Home Secretary in a communication to the Chairman of the Joint Admission Committee, Dr Baljeet Kapoor, had advised that guidelines of the Sports Department be followed while deciding the merit. Officials in the Administration said the Administration could only tell the college authorities to follow the guidelines

Dr Kapoor said the merit list had been approved by the Adviser and the Home Secretary. On the top of the list, which was displayed at a college notice board this evening, it has been clearly mentioned that the Administration had approved the list. The representation against the second merit list was submitted only after the list had been approved, sources in the administration said.

In the merit list, Saurabh Sagar Wadhwa has been placed at second position and his position in the earlier list was 10th. Another candidate, HS Mangat has been placed at third position and his position in the first list was 19th.

Another candidate, Gaurav Gehlwat, who has been placed at fourth position and was earlier at third position, has complained to the Administration that the screening committee of the college has also not considered the school national certificates. 



Leakage found in water reservoir
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 3
In a major engineering lapse, an underground water reservoir constructed by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) at a cost of Rs 35 lakh in Sector 67 was found leaking following tests conducted last month.

It is learnt that the Chief Administrator, PUDA, Mr A.S. Chattwal, has ordered an inquiry into the engineering flaw in the reservoir. A four-member committee has been formed to look into the causes of the leakage and fix responsibility of erring engineers.

The underground reservoir was constructed in 2001 to store and supply water to residents of Sector 66, 67 and 68. However, residents constantly complained of low water pressure. Based on the complaints of the residents, checks were carried out and PUDA engineers found that water was not being retained by the reservoir.

While ordering immediate repair of the water tank, Mr Chattwal asked the four-member committee to file its report within a month. Sources added that a renowned structural engineer of the region had also been associated with the committee to ascertain any structural flaws in the design and execution of the work.

Sources said if the engineers in charge of the project were found wanting in the performance of their duties, they could be charge sheeted and even made to pay for the repair of the reservoir.



Schoolchildren play voters to elect best teacher
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 3
A whiff of electoral process swept the environs of DAV Public School, Phase X, here today as students queued up to vote for their favourite teacher as part of their novel Teachers’ Day celebrations.

The exercise, according to school authorities, aimed at creating awareness about the right to franchise among the potential voters of the country. The polling was conducted through secret ballot to avoid any ill will among participants and teachers.

A ballot paper of 17 contestants was provided to student voters by a returning officer selected for the “election”. The ballot paper bore necessary instructions, including the correct method of folding the paper. Students marked their choice in a special enclosure on the school premises.

No canvassing, however, was permitted, as voters were given an opportunity to judge their teachers on the basis of their performance in the classroom over the year.

“Our purpose was to convey to students the working of the system, especially to senior section students who would be exercising their right to vote as soon as they enter the college after schooling. Also, the students would be happy to find their favourite teacher being awarded on this most important day in the life of a teacher,” said Ms Jaya Bhardwaj, Principal of the school.

The election results were declared within hours of the casting of votes. Ms Alka Mahajan, school counsellor, was voted best teacher, whereas Ms Monica, science teacher, finished second. Interestingly, Ms Mahajan had joined the school recently and Ms Monica had a long association with the organisation.

Both would be rewarded on the Teachers’ Day on Sunday.



Specialised training for NCC cadets mooted
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Expressing surprise and concern over the “very poor” rate of induction of NCC cadets in the armed forces, The Parliamentary Committee on Defence has strongly recommended that specialised training be imparted to NCC cadets so that they can face service selection boards (SSBs) more confidently.

In the backdrop of the Army facing a severe shortage of officers, the committee has also recommended that the potential of Sainik Schools and Military Schools, which could be a training ground for future officers, should be fully harnessed. These schools, spread all across the country, should be provided the necessary support by the Union Government for introduction of modern teaching methodologies and better infrastructure, the committee, in its latest report, has suggested..

The defence ministry had stated before the committee that a substantial number of cadets undergoing training at the National Defence Academy (NDA), Indian Military Academy (IMA) and Officers Training Academy (OTA) had received NCC training. While about 30 per cent cadets at NDA, 23 per cent at OTA and 47 per cent women cadets at the OTA had received NCC training, the figure was about 10 per cent for cadets at IMA, which was considered as “quite low”.

The reason stated by the ministry for the low turnout of NCC cadets in the officer cadre was that they were not familiar with the specific details of the selection process through the SSBs. Further, most of the NCC cadets lacked the communication skills and exposure to activities that inculcate leadership qualities.

The report states that the committee is “extremely concerned” over the 28 per cent shortage at the officers’ level in the Army. The reason stated for the shortage was that short service commission (SSC) is not attractive due to lack of promotional avenues and difficult service conditions.

“The committee is convinced that the prime reason for lack of response to SSC is the bleak future which awaits trained and disciplined officers once they are discharged after five years service, with no prospects whatsoever in public of private sector,” the report stated.

Strongly recommending that to meet the shortage of officers in the immediate future the period of SSC be raised to 10 years subject to further extensions, the report added that the ministry should take all other measures, including reservation and lateral transfer of SSC officers to public sector undertakings, central para-military forces and railways.

Suggesting the introduction of pension for SSC officers to attract talented youth, the committee has also sought an early decision on a report suggesting reduction in colour service and lateral transfer of personnel from the Army to paramilitary forces.



He inherited wealth for poor patients
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
It’s a gesture which normally others would not even think of. But Jaskaran Singh Randhawa (24) of Delhi had the faith think of it and then follow it. After his uncle died due to heart failure at the PGI two years ago, Jaskaran inherited property worth crores. But instead to adding more to his wealth, he has decided to track down those patients at the PGI who could not afford the treatment and extend monetary help to them.

In fact he began this charity today by giving a cheque of Rs 3.20 lakh to a poor patient, Rajiv Kumar, who is suffering from chronic renal failure after both his kidneys failed.

Grandson of former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) M.S. Gill and son of Justice Jashanpreet Singh Randhawa, who will be joining the Punjab and Haryana High Court in week’s time, Jaskaran is an interior designer and currently resides in Delhi.

“I have my own set up in Delhi. This is the first time that I have approached the PGI to offer help to the needy, though I have already utilised the inherited money by offering donations at other places,’’ says Jaskaran, who now plans to float a trust in the name of his late uncle Kashmir Singh Randhawa at the PGI. “Initially I plan to pump in Rs 50 lakh for the trust. The final modalities of the trust are being worked out with the PGI authorities,’’ adds Jaskaran.

Jaskaran echoes the desire, which is perhaps expressed by every donor at the PGI. “I want that all this money to actually reach the target patients and is able to make a difference to many lives. It should not be lost in the way due to red tapeism and neither its disbursement be delayed,’’ says the young man.



Shoeshine boy gets scooter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The long-cherished dream of a physically challenged shoeshine boy, Naresh Kumar, alias Daddu, was realised today when he was provided with a scooter.

The scooter, costing Rs 36,000, which has been purchased with a grant of Rs 20,000 from the Chandigarh Administration and contributions from advocates, will be customised by adding two more wheels to suit the needs of the boy.

Daddu, who has been shining shoes at the court for several years, had been facing a lot of problems in reaching the courts. In spite of his disability, he used to go from chamber to chamber every day to earn his livelihood and never sought alms, said Mr T.S. Sudan, who collected contributions from advocates.

He had been crippled from below the thighs since childhood.

Expressing gratitude to the administration and advocates, Daddu said it was a dream-come-true for him. “I had been planning to buy a scooter for a long time but shortage of funds always came in the way,” he added.



Friendships and horses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
Going down memory lane, Mr Gohar Ayub Khan today recalled his old association with key Indian politicians, Natwar Singh, Shivraj Patil and the family of Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Khan, who is heading a Pakistani delegation visiting India, narrated anecdotes of his family’s ties and gave interesting accounts in this regard, particularly the marriage of Mr Natwar Singh.

Mr Khan, who is the son of Gen Mohd Ayub Khan, former Pakistan President, said that the Natwar Singh, who is married to the elder sister of Capt Amarinder Singh, visited Lahore after their marriage and the couple stayed in a hotel. “ This was objected to by my father, who had very friendly relations with Amarinder’s father and ordered them to be the family’s guest.”

As Mrs Natwar Singh loved horse-riding, she was provided with the best horse to enjoy her hobby. A horse was also gifted to the couple. Interestingly, when Capt Amarinder Singh recently visited Pakistan, he was also gifted a horse by the Chief Minister of West Punjab.

Mr Khan also talked about his friendship with Mr Shivraj Patil, Union Home Minister. He said that Mr Patil voted for him when he was the candidate for the chairmanship of International Parliamentarian Union. “I still recall that moment fondly”, said Mr Khan.

The delegation today left for Delhi. Before departure, the Punjab Assembly, hosted a lunch to members of delegation and also presented a brief cultural programme. Last evening Capt Amarinder Singh hosted a dinner for the delegation.



Canadian scholarship for counsellor

Chandigarh, September 3
The Government of Canada has awarded Canadian Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan to a Chandigarh resident, Ms Anupriya Sethi, who is working as a counsellor with the woman and child support unit of the Chandigarh police, to pursue a masters in social work (MSW) at Carleton University, Ottawa.

The scholarship covers full registration and tuitions fees, a maintenance allowance of $ 1200, installation allowance of $ 500, annual book allowance of $ 800, medical and emergency dental coverage, economy class return airfares and certain research and equipment expenses. Approximately 1000 applications were received for postgraduation from all over India for different subjects out of which only seven scholarships are awarded to MA students.

This scholarship is for a period of two years. TNS



Slapping case: rights body files plea
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 3
Advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal, president of World Human Rights Protection Council (WHRPC), has filed a complaint in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), seeking action against the management of Saraswati School, Dhanas, where five girl students were slapped and abused by their classmates at the instance of the class teacher.

They have sought action against the teacher involved in the incident as well as adequate compensation for the students.

Mr Harcharan Singh, whose daughter tried to end life, and the WHRPC in their complaint to the NHRC have alleged that many girls studying in the school were slapped by boys of their class at the instance of the school authorities on flimsy grounds.

The complainants have also pointed out that Saraswati School, which has 650 students, is located in a 10-marla house, with just one exit. They have questioned the safety measures in this regard.

They have also stated that no action has been initiated by the police against the school teacher and management in this regard.



Child electrocuted
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 3
A four-and-half-year-old child got electrocuted in the bathroom of his home in Sector 37 here last night.
According to the landlady of the house, where Mr Avtar Singh, father of the deceased, lives as a tenant, Taranpreet came back home last evening around 8.30 pm and asked his mother, Ms Balwinder Kaur, to cook something for him as he was hungry.

He went to the bathroom to take bath. The incident happened when the child touched the water bucket after putting the electric rod into it. He was probably in a playful mood and had plugged in the rod and switched it on.

His mother came to know about the incident when she did not notice any activity in the bathroom. She raised the alarm as she found her child lying unconscious on the floor.

The child was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 16 where doctors put him on oxygen, but he died around 10 pm.

Taranpreet was a student of Class KG in Ajit Karam Singh International Public School, Sector 41.

His parents have taken the body to their native village Bathrana in Patiala district.



HUDA Naib Tehsildar reinstated
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 3
The Naib Tehsildar in the Enforcement Wing of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), Mr Bachchan Singh, has been reinstated after facing suspension for almost 16 months.

Mr Bachchan Singh was reinstated after the Inquiry Officer appointed by the HUDA authorities found him innocent. He was reinstated on the orders of the Chief Minister yesterday.

Mr Bachchan Singh was placed under suspension, along with kanungo Sher Singh and Patwari Gurnam Singh, on charges of causing losses to the department. It was alleged that they were responsible for encroachment on HUDA and in Chotta Haripur, Sector 11, and issuing NOC for sale of land under HUDA in Haripur, Sector 4.

An inquiry was conducted by the Chief Vigilance Officer, HUDA, Mr Rakesh Kumar, who found the officers guilty. The case was referred to the police, and an FIR was registered against them. Even as the case was under trial, a fresh inquiry was ordered by the Chief Administrator, Mr N.C. Wadhwa, and the then Estate Officer, Ms Renu S Phulia, who found him innocent and the matter was referred to the government.



Power plays truant again
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 3
The power supply to the township remained suspended for almost 40 minutes in the morning, and over half an hour in the evening.
Today was the second day when residents had to sweat it out as power played truant. Yesterday, too, the power supply remained disrupted for almost an hour in the morning and later in the evening. As a result, the water supply to most parts of the township was also affected.

The Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) authorities maintain that these power cuts were not scheduled, and that they had received message from the Power Comptrollor, Haryana, to shut the supply. Officials say that the sudden fall in frequency of power (below 49 cycles in one second) was the reason for shutting the supply.

Meanwhile, Mr S.K. Nayar, a resident of Sector 15, said though the government was making tall claims about uninterrupted power supply in the state, even a power cut free town like Panchkula was facing power cuts. He claimed that rural areas of the district too, were not getting adequate power supply, which was affecting their standing crops in fields.



Punjab Recorders Workers’ Union stages dharna
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 3
Members of the Punjab Recorders Workers' Union today observed a dharna in front of the factory in Phase VII, Industrial Area. The workers are demanding the payment of their salaries and other emolument that have reportedly not been given to them by the management for more than a year.

Mr Gurmail Singh, one of the leaders of the workers, alleged that the management was misusing the money that it was earning instead of paying the workers their dues. The leaders added that many of the workers who had taken VRS and left the company had been re-employed while many other workers had been retrenched.



PSEB staff hold protest
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 3
Employees of the Lalru circle of the PSEB staged a dharna in front of the board office here today in protest against the move of the government to privatise the board.

Mr Kesar Singh, president, PSEB Technical Services Union, and Mr Jai Kishan, convener of the PSEB Employees Struggle Committee, appealed to all employees to get united to fight against the wrong policies of the board.



Two thieves arrested
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 3
The Chandigarh police has arrested two persons involved in theft cases.
Sonu Bharadwaj and Vijay Kumar were arrested at Badheri last night and an American pistol was seized from them.

Mr S.S. Randhawa, DSP, (South), informed mediapersons that a Sector 39 police party last night signalled scooter-borne Sonu Bhardwaj and Vijay Kumar to stop. During the search, the pistol was found. During questioning the police found out that the scooter they were riding was also a stolen one.

Sonu hails from Uttar Pradesh and Vijay Kumar from Orissa. The duo was coming from Palsora.

2 held for gambling

The local police arrested two persons for gambling from the TPT light point on Thursday, according to a police press note released today.

Cases were registered against Sanjay Kumar and Vishal, both residents of Bapu Dham Colony, Sector 26, under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act at the Sector 26 police station and recovered Rs 415 from them.

One arrested

Harjinder Singh was arrested red-handed while trying to steal a scooter by its owner in Sector 41-D on Thursday.

Gurprem Singh, the owner, had filed a complaint at the Sector 39 police station. Harjinder, a resident of Kajheri village, has been booked under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC in this regard.

In another incident the local police also arrested Sudir, a migrant from UP, for stealing a scooty from Sector 40. A case of theft has been registered.


Thieves today stole seven manhole covers from five houses in a locality in Sector 10-D.

According to Mr S.P. Bector, a resident of house No 591, he came to know about the theft at 4 am, when he was about to go for morning walk. The thieves have stolen 2 manhole covers from his house. The thieves also struck at house Nos 587, 588, 593 and 595 in the same area.

Mr Bector said he informed the police about the incident at 4:30 am and the police reached the spot by 5 am. He added that the police did not register any case in this regard.

One gets RI

The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mrs Sneh Prashar, on Friday sentenced Siddharth Singla to four years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000 in a case of corruption.

The person was held guilty on charges of offering a bribe to the then Station House Officer of Sector 5 police station, Mr Phool Chand, for discharging him in a case under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act.



Girl kidnapping: father ‘receives’ threats
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 3
Mr Fakir Chand, father of the girl who was kidnapped from Jagatpura village on August 13, has alleged that he was being threatened and was also beaten up by a person of the same village, who was probably hired for the purpose.

The girl was recovered by the police on August 29. Her father told mediapersons here today that on the night of August 1 someone came to his house and started shouting. “After seeing him misbehave, I went to an STD booth to make a complaint to the police. I was beaten up there. My household goods were also thrown out. A complaint was lodged with the police in that regard,” he alleged.

He met the SP and said yesterday morning he was again threatened by a nephew of Ranbir Thakur, the person who had allegedly kidnapped his daughter. He was also being offered money by a relative of Thakur for reaching a compromise.

Mr Rajesh Angral, secretary, Mr Mohinder Singh and Mr Anil Kumar Lamdharia, convener and co-convener of the Punjab unit of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), respectively, said a case in the kidnapping incident was registered on August 23 after their intervention and the girl was recovered. They said the medical examination of the girl had been got done and the report was still awaited.

The girl, who was presented before mediapersons by office-bearers of the NCDHR, alleged she was kidnapped by Ranbir Thakur, their neighbour, and taken to various places, including to a village in Uttar Pradesh where his parents were staying. She alleged she was repeatedly raped by the kidnapper before she was rescued by the police on August 29. She said she was even ill-treated by his parents. Efforts had also been made to sell her off. She alleged Ranbir used to threaten her that if she raised a voice, he would kill her parents. 



Child killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 3
A seven-year-old child was killed in a road accident near Ramgarh today. The child, Vicky, was pillion riding his father, Bunni Ram's bicycle, when the accident took place. A truck (HR-37-1775) hit the father- son duo near the TBRL, and the two were seriously injured. The truck driver, Jaipal, escaped, and the injured were admitted to General Hospital, Sector 6. While Vicky died at the hospital, his father is undergoing treatment.



One held in hit-and-run case
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 3
The police today arrested one person allegedly involved in the hit and run accident in which a resident of Sector 68 was seriously injured.

The police arrested Amrit Pal Singh and impounded the Tata Sumo jeep involved in the accident.

Mr Rajwinder Singh, who was riding a motor cycle, was seriously injured in the accident at the PCL Chowk here on August 31 and was taken to the GMCH, Sector 32, Chandigarh.



Badheri is Market Committee chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 3
The Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) got a shot in the arm today with its senior leader Bhupinder Singh Badheri being unanimously elected as the Chairman of the Market Committee.

According to information, Mr Badheri’s name was proposed by Mr Karam Singh Ahluwalia and seconded by Mr Nand Singh, sarpanch of Kajheri village. Mr Harbhajan Singh was unanimously elected the vice-chairman.

Sources said while two of the members of the committee — Mr Sita Ram and Mr Des Raj — abstained from the meeting, all present seven members agreed on the two names. Mr Sita Ram has been booked by the Chandigarh Police for violating the Periphery Control Act.

Meanwhile, Mr Badheri said his main priority would be to generate more funds through collection of market fee for the development of the grain market. More facilities for visiting farmers were also high on the agenda of the Market Committee, he added.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |