C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Confusion over oil prices
Motorists pay Rs 2 extra for petrol
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
During the last 24 hours, automobile users in the city were forced to pay Rs 2 extra for every one litre of petrol due to lack of communication between the Chandigarh Administration and oil companies.

This happened despite an amended notification issued by the Chandigarh Administration to check any increase in the prices of crucial items like petrol and diesel, after the implementation of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act in the city with effect from December 15.

While the officers in the administration were busy in working out the modalities in implementing the new tax regime, confusion prevailed among traders and consumers about the prices of various commodities.

The Oil Coordinator, Mr Vikas Yadav, said the revised rate had been worked out and implemented. While petrol had become dearer by 19 paise, diesel had become dearer by 17 paise.

At the filling stations of different companies there was confusion over the exact prices of the fuel. As per the rate schedule in VAT, the prices of petrol had to rise by Rs 2.18 paise and the price of diesel had to fall by 84 paise. On hearing that Union Home Ministry had directed the administration to implement the Act in the city, the oil companies were quick to reschedule their price structure, as envisaged in the Act, said an officer in an oil company.

Accordingly the rate of petrol went up and the rate of diesel came down slightly. The fact was confirmed during a random survey of the filling stations across the city today. The increased rate were being charged till 2 pm today, despite the consumers stating that rates should not increase as being reported in the media.

Sources said the amended notification was also communicated to the oil companies last evening and they were reworking the price structure. But the revised rates were communicated to the filling stations by this evening only.

Mr Vikas Yadav, Oil Coordinator, said all this happened as the second notification was not conveyed to the oil companies on time. Taking the first notification as the final, the oil rates were revised.



Chaos leads to cancellation of test for teachers
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
The test for teachers specialising in course for mentally retarded, visually and hearing impaired children, which was to be conducted by the Haryana Shiksha Pariyogna Parishad, at Lajpat Rai Bhavan, Sector 15, was cancelled today. The decision to cancel the paper came following total confusion, refusal of entry to candidates who were issued letters, noisy scenes. Officials relented under pressure to call off the test.

More than 100 candidates were moving around the venue anxiously after being refused entry inside the hall at 11 a.m despite carrying the letters saying they were eligible to take the test. One of the candidates Sushila Mishra said, “I have an experience of 12 years as a teacher for special children. At least three girls whom I taught at a school in Panchkula are appearing for the test, while I have been refused entry”.

The venue had a number of candidates who had come from parts of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. Parveen Kumari, a resident of Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, said, “I have a diploma in Special Education. During my conversation with a cross-section of candidates, I discovered that a number of ineligible candidates, particularly who were teachers without any experience regarding special children, were appearing in the examination.”

Ravinder Kumar, a candidate who has travelled from Andhra Pradesh, said “the original advertisement had no mention about any written test. If they are selecting teachers with practical experience, I think there was no need for a written test to check the knowledge of people who have taught them. An interview would have been better. We were informed later that only 351 candidates were called for the test, out of which as many as 116 will be selected as teachers. The advertisement does not specify the seats in the reserved quota”.

Kamaljit Bharti, a candidate who appeared in the test, said, “I will not join the job even if I am selected. I have been a school teacher in Punjab from the past two years. However, I have no experience in teaching special children. I am touched to see how genuine candidates had been left out”. A student of the teacher who was refused entry, said, “Don’t quote my name, but I am really surprised at the way the test was being conducted”.

Usha Hooda and V Moudgil also complained about the lack of clarity on part of the paper setters and paper conductors. “There are several candidates who were refused entry and had an experience of more than five years.

They are not allowing candidates who are more than 40 years of age to appear in the examination which looks totally unjustified.”

Mr S.K. Sharma, a project officer on invigilation duty, said, “The test has been cancelled and it will be readvertised very soon. I know there are certain discrepancies in the conduct of the test and certain ineligible candidates have appeared.

“There was a certain mix-up. We will look into the matter and an advertisement will be released very soon”.



FIR against school Principal
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 17
The local police has lodged a criminal case against the Principal of the prestigious Hans Raj Public School, Mr Vijay Kumar, in Sector 6 here on the charges of trespass and theft. His co-accused is Mr S. Marriya, Principal of the DAV College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, who is the Manager of the Panchkula school. The case has been registered under Sections 341, 451 and 379 and 427 of the Indian Penal Code.

The case has been lodged on a complaint filed by Dr Rajni Thareja, former Principal of Hans Raj Public School, Dr Thareja was transferred and later placed under suspension by the DAV College Managing Committee in October, 2003. She challenged her transfer as well as suspension in a local court. The case is still pending before the court, which, restrained the DAV committee on June 15, 2004, from taking any action against Dr Thareja on the basis of an internal inquiry against her till the disposal of the case. The inquiry is still incomplete.

Dr Thareja claims to be in possession of the Principal’s official residence on the school premises.

In her complaint to the police, Dr Thareja claimed that she had been residing in the house and had gone to Delhi on December 8. When she returned yesterday, the gatekeeper did not allow her to enter the school premises. She said the gate keeper claimed that he had been instructed by Mr Vijay Kumar and Mr Marriya to do so. She alleged that her belongings had been thrown away and the house had been forcibly occupied.

She said Mr Marriya had published a notice in a newspaper on December 8, 2004, asking her to vacate the house within seven days, failing which market rent would be charged from her. She said the notice proved that the house was in her possession.

When contacted Mr Vijay Kumar said Dr Thareja had not been staying in the house for the past about two years. He said the locks of the house were opened by a three-member committee constituted by Mr Marriya. An inventory of the goods was made. The entire process was videographed. The goods removed from the house had been kept under lock and key in the school premises.

However, he had no answer when asked how the school authorities could open the locks of a house in possession of somebody else when even the government has to move under the Public Premises Act for evicting a wrongful occupant of its own buildings.



Labour MP in city to discuss murder case progress
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
The first person of Indian origin to sit in the House of Commons for 50 years, Leicester East, UK, MP Keith Vaz was in town today to discuss with the administration and authorities in regard to the Mohan Singh murder case. Fiftynine year old Mohan Singh of Hamilton, Leicester, was killed while he was overseeing a house-building project at Phillaur in August this year.

He was also part of the convention of the International Punjabi Society, which began today in the city. The only one of non-Punjabi origin, he attributes his presence to his friend Dr Gujral and also the case. “I am here on my friend’s insistence, and also to discuss the progress of the case.”

Terming “the network of working” very poor between the state police and back home, he hoped the case would be solved soon. Earlier this week Mr Vaz presented a petition to the House of Commons which had over 10,000 signatures calling the Indian and British Governments to work together to catch the killers. Talking to TNS Vaz also informed that he would be meeting Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on Monday to discuss the case while today he would be visiting the site and also meeting officials from the administration and Punjab with the regard to the case.

Mr Vaz said “I promised this family that I would help it in every possible way and by meeting the senior Indian officials I hope to help the family and the community”.

Mr Keith Vaz was elected Labour MP for Leicester East in 1987. He was born in Aden, Yemen, on November 26, l956. His parents were from Goa, and the family arrived in Britain in l965. Keith Vaz has been a Member of Parliament for Leicester East since 1987. He currently serves as Member of the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee, and has previously been a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee.



Music piracy threat to industry: Pankaj Udhas
S.D. Sharma

Ghazal is a sublime amalgam of creative lyricism which brings out the sense of beauty in an apt consonance of words and meanings and that of the musical treatment which evokes the sense of beauty in a total agreement of tones (swaras) and their suggestibility, so maintains Pankaj Udhas, the ghazal maestro. ‘The splendour of poetry and the strains of melody’ are the prominent features of the ‘ghazal’ which account for its popularity among the literary people in the world, he claims. He was in the city for a concert of the ongoing 32nd International Punjabi Society enclave.

As art is a genuine unifying force and a creative blending of the old concept with innovated trends, a new culture of ghazal in its lighter realm without the complex Persian and Arabi influence on its lyricism had emerged today which finds acceptance among the masses. Mehdi Hasan , Ghulam Ali, Jagjit Singh and Pankaj Udhas are the household names today.

But to carve a niche in ghazal singing is not a child’s play in the zooming pop and twisted folk culture inspired by the video albums full of vulgarity and obscenity, laments Udhas, a veteran of 45 ghazal albums and many film songs.

Holding the music companies responsible for rampaging pollution through video remixes Udhas denounces the money-spinning trends at the cost of our rich cultural ethics. In fact, the remixes are designed and transformed to reflect the maximum obscenity, he claims. On the Indian Idol talent hunts he feels that providing chances to talented singers is encouraging but the chief motive lies in financial gains.

Born at Jetpur (Rajkot) in a zamidar family Pankaj followed his elder brother Manhar Udhas, an accomplished playback singer, but despite years of riyaz had to struggle till 1980 when he came out with a ghazal album. It indeed sounded the emergence of a legend to take on the music world. The shy and assuming Pankaj had delved deep into the Urdu poetry for years under the guidance of Urdu scholar Sheikh Adama Abbuwala.

‘Self-introspection at every stage is necessary for a creative artist to accomplish more in the realm of art, he concludes.



Bag containing Rs 90,000 stolen from car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
A bag containing Rs 90,000 was stolen from a car in Sector 26 here today.

Mr Krishan Avtar had withdrawn the amount from the Sector 35-B branch of the Canara Bank around 11.30 a.m. and had kept the money in a bag in his car (PB-65-B 2329). Then he drove to the Sector 26 branch of the IOB to withdraw more money.

When he came back, he found the bag containing Rs 90,000 missing from the car. The money was stolen as Mr Krishan Avtar forgot to roll up of the windows of the car, the police said.



Passing Thru

Anupam Thareja
Mr Anupam Thareja Director, Royal Enfield, Chennai

Are you coming with up something new for the promotion of your product?

“Rediscovery” is the catchword and we are concentrating on promoting the iconic brand image of the oldest motor cycle in the world. The only other motor cycle that crossed 100 years of its existence is Harley Davidson. We want to take it back to where it belongs.

Are you bringing in any changes in the look of the motor cycle that to certain people appeared very heavy?

The size of the motor cycle has nothing to do with its running. It is a very safe machine with a balanced body. It is relying on its “classic” value in the Western countries and the same applies here. Royal Enfield is not a bike on which people usually ride to the offices. It is bought for casual and relaxed use besides its definite nostalgic value.

Certain people complained about the difference in its placing of the clutch and brake on sides opposite to normal bikes.

What is special about the motor cycle?

The machine gives more than the perceived value of the product. The push-rod engine gives it a characteristic sound that is being aped by certain companies. There has to be something more than a mere royal look.

— Sanjeev Singh Bariana



Women’s empowerment stressed at function
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 17
More than 200 persons, including sarpanchs and members of the panchayat, participated in a certificate distribution function organised by the Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS), Mohali, at its field office at Phool Khurd Village, block Ropar, yesterday. As many as 34 students of food preservation course from Phool Khurd, Khairabad, Gurdaspur, Phool Kalan and Haveli villages were awarded certificates.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Dildar Khan, director in-charge of the sansthan, highlighted issues related to women’s rights and empowerment. He said though Indian society realised the need for women’s empowerment and various state governments had also started many schemes for their uplift, women remain marginalised.

In fact empowerment of women is possible only when women, rural women in particular, themselves realise the need for and relevance of education, particularly vocational education, which harness their skill and entrepreneurship. Mr. Khan said nearly half of India’s population comprised women. Even then their participation in economic activities was negligible.

Mr Anand Mohan Sharma, programme officer of the sansthan, said the present era of globalisation had generated a lot of employment opportunities for women in various fields like beauty and health care, dress designing, food preservation and nutrition. They can take benefit of these opportunities by developing their skills through vocational training programme which would improve their chances of employment/self-employment. This would not only help in their economic empowerment but will provide them an equal status within their families as well as in society. Mr Anand gave details of the various vocational training programmes run by the sansthan, particularly for women like home management, beauty culture and health care, cutting, tailoring and dress making and certificates in computer applications.

Mr Karam Singh, gurdwara pardhan, Phool Khurd village, stressed that empowerment of women would take place only when they acquire vocational education which is vital for their economic uplift and in improving their quality of life. Sarpanch Dharam Pal, panches Harpal Singh and Parminder Kaur of Phool Khurd village and Kulwinder Singh of Bindra Exports participated in the function. A cultural programme was also organised on this occasion.



5 honoured by Punjabi society
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), today honoured four eminent Punjabis with the “pride of Punjabi award” at the 32nd convention of the International Punjabi Society at Hotel Mount View today.

Those who were awarded were Dr P.S. Pasricha, DGP, Maharashtra, Dr T.S. Kler, Dr Sardar Anjum and Dr Anil Kohli for their contribution in different fields. Mr Nirmal Singh, father of Dr T.S. Kler, took the award on his behalf as he was away.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune after receiving the award, Dr Kohli, president, Dental Council of India, expressed his desire to work for quality than quantity in his field. “It is important to maintain the standards in this field. I would like to see more dental colleges open, but not at the cost of sacrificing on quality.”

Open to the idea of foreign universities coming to the country, he hopes that the crunch they are facing due to lack of teachers will be over soon. “We need faculty, we have 205 dental colleges in the country right now, but faculty is not enough.”

Dr Pasricha, discussed the ever increasing traffic problem. A Ph.D in traffic management and having held the office of the traffic chief of Mumbai, Dr Pasricha said “education” was the key to good traffic management. “Traffic etiquettes” are something that we need to teach. No amount of infrastructure can teach someone to follow the rules and also to know them.”



New game at Funcity Park
Tribune News Service

Ramgarh, December 17
‘Space Walk’ is the latest addition to the rides at the Surya Funcity Park. The introduction of the game was announced as part of the special visit of children from the Sadhna Society for Mentally Handicapped here today.

The ride is a smartly designed mechanised tunnel which has an elaborate lighting system matched with the latest music system. A walk through the tunnel gives an impression as if one was whirling in the space. As one struggles to look for support in the dark one stumbles on a rod for support. Presence of more people can be really discomforting and exciting but absolutely safe.

Ice games have some interesting additions which has been made more exciting by the chilling air of the December month. Children loved the sledging on the ice.

The ride of the Santa Claus sledge has also emerged as a major crowd puller as was evident from the very heavy rush at the venue. Special children were also given the ride with assistance of the park staff. The site of the ‘sloppy icy mountains’ gives an impression as if one was standing in the midst of a valley surrounded with icy mountains. The venue also has a snow blizzard.

Children also loved a session in front of artificial winds at the site of the ‘Snow Blizzard’.



USA flayed on pollution control norms
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 17
A seminar on “World pollution: care and challenges” was organised by the nodal office of the Punjab Pollution Control Board here today.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Rabinder Nath Sharma, a fellow of Panjab University, criticised the lack of political will at the international level, particular USA, in implementing strict pollution control norms.

Prof Jagdish Singh spoke about the snapping link between the human population and the nature, which had dangerous repercussions.

Prof H.S. Mehta spoke about the role of the MNCs in the context of environmental pollution.

Others who spoke on the occasion included Mr Malwinder Singh, member secretary of the board, and Mr M.P. Garg.



Fire at petrol station
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, December 17
Panic gripped employees of the Sector 16 Metro Motors petrol filling station and customers as one of the seven pumping units caught fire this afternoon. The employees, though scared due to sparking and eruption of flames, attempted to contain the fire using sand buckets and fire extinguishers. The fire tender arrived immediately on the spot and the fire was brought under control.

A relative of the petrol pump owners, Mr Lahiri Singh, said the timely arrival and deployment of the fire tender had saved a great loss. Earlier, people from the local market had rushed to help while the police, too, rushed to the spot.

IBP Company officials after inspection attributed the cause to a short circuit and removed the burnt unit for replacement.



Sector 38 residents resent MC notice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
Residents of Sector 38-A here have resented the serving of notice to them by the municipal corporation (MC) regarding the demolition of hedges/grills/toe walls in front of their houses. They say that the distance from the road berm is just about 8 feet, whereas the MC claims that 6 feet from the berm has to be left free of hedges, grills or toewall.

The residents argue that there are rows of houses in the same sector where the distance from the outer wall to the road berm is as much as 50 feet, which is highly anomalous and a balance should be struck in this regard.



Inter-religion marriage: 4 hurt in clash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
At least four persons were injured following a group clash in the wake of an inter-religions marriage in Nayagaon village, near here, this evening.

According to information, Sayeed Mohammad and Bablu, brother and maternal uncle of the bridegroom, Subhan and Sameer, a neighbour, were injured when they clashed with members of the bride’s side this evening. The father of the girl, Ramnath, was also injured.

Tension gripped the village as lathis were freely used by both sides.

Subhan, a Muslim, had married a Hindu girl about a fortnight ago in the face of strong opposition from their parents.



Two railway travel agents held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 17
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) today arrested two railway booking agents from Sector 17 on the charge of booking railway tickets on commission.

Led by Sub Inspector Sukhdev Raj, a team of the RPF arrested Jaspal Singh, an agent from the Sector 17 railway reservation counter and seized three “reserved” tickets from him. On interrogation Satish Kumar, the alleged owner of Ansal Travel agency, was also arrested. As many as six reserved tickets and certain incriminating documents were seized from him.

A case under the Railway Act has been registered.



Purse snatched

Chandigarh, December 17
Two unidentified motorcycle-borne persons snatched the purse of Ms Arti Bedi, a resident of Sector 4 of Panchkula, from near the Children’s Traffic Park in Sector 23 here this evening.

The incident occurred when Ms Bedi was on a rickshaw near the park around 7.15 pm. Besides, Rs 2,500 in cash, the purse contained two ATM cards, a mobile phone and certain important documents.

A case has been registered. TNS


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