C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Class VIII topper sets new record
Tribune News Service

Damini of Manav Mangal High School, Sector 21, who stood second in the Class VIII examination in Chandigarh by securing 95.6 per cent marks, celebrates with her classmates at the school
Damini (right) of Manav Mangal High School, Sector 21, who stood second in the Class VIII examination in Chandigarh by securing 95.6 per cent marks, celebrates with her classmates at the school on Saturday. — Tribune photo by Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, April 1
The Education Department, Chandigarh Administration, declared the results of the Class VIII examination today.

Setting a new record in Class VIII, Abhishek Dhawan, a student of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, topped in the model school category with 96.57 per cent marks. In the non-model category, Vinod Yadav, a student of Government Model High School, Sector 20, and son of a labourer at Sultanpur, bagged the top position with 88.57 per cent marks.

According to the results, the number of applicants was 7,161 in the non-model category and 5,278 in the model category while the number of candidates who appeared in the examination was 12,322.

The number of candidates who passed the examination was 4,702 in the non-model category and 4,644 in the model category.

The pass percentage was 65.66 per cent in the non-model category, with 1,135 first divisions, and 87.99 per cent in the model category, with 2,385 first divisions.

The number of candidates who failed to clear the examination went up from 2,960 last year to 2,976.

There was a very slight increase in the overall pass percentage in both categories over last year. The school-wise performance could not be known as the joint gazette was not released.

The maximum positions in the merit list in the model category were bagged by Shishu Niketan Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 22.

Among government schools, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, bagged 12 positions in the merit list.

For the first time, a student of a rural school figured in the merit list, the student being Hitesh Walia, a student of Government Model High School, Badheri.

The second and third positions in the model category were bagged by Damini of Manav Mangal High School, Sector 21, and Tanmay Batra of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16.

Four of the top five positions were bagged by students of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16.

In the non-model category, Harpreet Kaur of Government High School, Raipur Khurd, stood second.



Abhishek aims to fly high

A look at Abhishek Dhawan and you think that the 14-year-old is a bit too serious for his age.

The joy of bagging the top position in the Class VIII examination brings just a faint smile on his face.

The reason is that he had not left anything to chance and was consistent in his efforts. The result is a percentage which is the highest in the Class VIII examination so far. With dreams of reaching the sky through aeronatutical engineering, he was in no great anticipation of the result.

Missing the morning cricket session was out of the question and hence, the news was broken to his elder brother by the school Principal, Dr Ram Kumar Sharma.

While Abhishek’s father Pradeep Dhawan is a bank employee at a town near Delhi, his mother Rajesh Dhawan is a social studies teacher at a school in Punjab.

With no role model, Abhishek gives credit for his success to everybody around him, including the Principal, teachers and members of his family.

They say he had been a topper throughout and a position in the merit list was expected. After acknowledgement of praise and honour, the certainty of being rewarded with a computer brings a smile on Abhishek’s face.

Dr Sharma says alumni of the school include Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Congress leader Ambika Soni.

According to him, teamwork has helped the school grow and glow. He admits that the faculty had been confident of Abhishek’s success, but terms topping the merit list as an added honour.

He says the school had been organising extra classes after school hours in science, mathematics and English.



Vinod gets free education for 2 years

Vinod Yadav
Vinod Yadav

Miles away from home, Vinod Yadav, silently celebrates his success. No gifts, no parties, not even a journey back home to Sultanpur, just a calm acceptance of topping the merit list in the non-model category.

Son of a labourer and the eldest brother to six other siblings, Vinod, student of Government Model High School, Sector 20 with 88.57 per cent marks, brought this honour to the school after more than 15 years.

The school headmaster Anil Sharma is not only proud of the fact but has also decided to provide him free education for the next two years.

“I want to join the Army,” says Vinod. Fond of reading and playing cricket, he has also been receiving various scholarships. While the family still was unaware of his success till late afternoon, Vinod who stays in Chandigarh with his aunt, wants that his siblings too should get similar opportunities.



Rural schools share glory
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
While model schools in the city continue to compete with each other, their lesser known kin, the non-model schools have sprung up surprises in the Class VIII examination results declared today.

Amongst the rural schools, for the first time Government High School, Raipur Khurd has not only produced two toppers, Harpreet Kaur and Gurpreet Kaur, in the non-model stream merit list but is also boasting of having secured 100 per cent result.

Meanwhile, Government High School, Colony Number 4, though with a poor pass percentage of just 40.4 per cent, has also produced a merit holder from the school, Satender Kumar.

The staff of Government High School, Mauli Jagran, too has a reason to celebrate. With 100 per cent result in English, Maths, Social Studies, Sanskrit, Drawing, Domestic Science and Punjabi, the school headmistress Saroj Bala was overjoyed.



Special kid gets a first division
Payal Pruthi
Triune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
An early morning call from the Education Department, UT, and Ganesh Sharma thought it was prank. Only after a couple of hours when Ganesh, a fully handicapped student enrolled under Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, reconfirmed it with Deputy Director, Vocational, Chanchal Singh that his face lit up. An ardent worshipper of Maa Durga, Ganesh who is observing fast for the entire Navratras, felt certainly blessed.

Having secured a first division, Ganesh who was considered a special candidate by the Education Department and was provided an extra hour and the facility to take the examination at home under the supervision of a teacher, has certainly not let down his family and the authorities.

The 14-year-old never attended school or took any private tuition and his success can only be attributed to his conviction towards fighting all odds and tiding over physical disabilities.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Ganesh said his parents and sister helped him with the lessons and preparation for the exams. “At times, it got difficult for I faced physical problems, but my family helped me and kept motivating me,” said Ganesh. A first division came as an added surprise for Ganesh who was expecting a second division.

Meanwhile, mother Pushpa and father B.D. Sharma too are happy over their son’s success. They, however, wish that Ganesh should be provided with more support from the Education Department so that he can pursue with his studies. Ganesh says that to clear Class X exam, he needs a tutor who can teach him at home and also a computer would be welcomed.



4 held for renting out govt land in slums
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
In a major drive against unscrupulous elements who have been “renting out” government land to slum dwellers in various slum clusters of the city, the district Administration today swung into action and got such persons arrested for cheating and criminal trespass.

Till late this evening, raids were being conducted to arrest persons who under the garb of politics or land owners had rented out prime government land for jhuggis for amounts varying between Rs 100 and Rs 600.

So far, four persons who have been arrested by the police in eight different cases of cheating and criminal trespass include Gurmel, Ramesh and Jai Parkash.

Sources in the Chandigarh Administration said the practice of certain persons renting out such land after entering into a fake sale deed was noticed during the recently concluded biometric survey of 18 slum clusters in the city. In the eight cases, the tenants gave in writing to the survey teams that they were living on rent for the past many years.

The sensational disclosure by the “tenants” was enough to make the Administration sit up and take notice. After verifying the credentials of the “landlords”, the Deputy Commissioner directed the Senior Superintendent of Police to register the cases and arrest the persons.

Mr R.K.Rao, Deputy Commissioner, told The Tribune that strict action was being taken against the persons who were either selling or renting government land in slum colonies. He hinted that more such cases would be registered by the Administration.

He clarified that no action would be taken against the tenants who were occupying the jhuggis and admitted the fact before the survey teams. “Such genuine persons can directly contact me so that their name could be considered in the survey. The persons who had rented out such land illegally would be taken to task,” added Mr Rao.

A police official said in one case, Ms Shoba Lata had rented out government land to 17 tenants in Adarsh Colony no.5 for Rs 600 each per month. Gurmel Singh had rented land to 11 families for monthly rents, varying between Rs 150 and Rs 300, in Shahpur Colony. Similar cases have been reported from Colony no.4 SBS Colony and Nehru Colony.

During the survey meant for the rehabilitation of 23,000 slum families, fingerprints of the beneficiaries, photographs of the allottees and their families apart from other personal details of the slum dwellers were taken.

The land under illegal occupation by the slum dwellers is worth crores of rupees. The tentative cost of 60 acres of land under the colony no.5 alone is over Rs 175 crore, say the official records.



CHB patent for water-saving device in toilets
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
The Chandigarh Housing Board has filed an application for patenting a water saving technique that can help save millions of gallons of water wasted in household toilets daily.

The Department of Science and Technology has filed the patent application on behalf of the Chandigarh Housing Board in the name of Mr Vijay Kumar, a junior engineer.

The innovation might help the Ministry of Urban Development to rethink about its move asking the housing boards and other housing authorities in the country to replace the old cisterns.

The average water consumed by the old cisterns is 12.5 to 15 litres in a one- time operation. A new standard of 10 litres has been suggested. The new technology can alter the use of the existing tanks by reducing the supply by more than three litres.

Mr Vijay Kumar said, “I have tested the technology and displayed its practical application to the DST. It is a very cost-effective technology and will help the government to use the existing infrastructure instead of replacing the cisterns replacement means a very huge expenditure.”

The modification can help improve the existing structures. The technology will be of immense use, particularly in toilets of old government and private buildings, schools, colleges and hospitals.

Mr Vijay Kumar, in a letter to the Ministry of Urban Development, pointed out that the fluid-releasing capacity of the exiting cisterns could be reduced “using my new technology”. The DST in a communication to the JE recently said, “a patent application has been filed at the Delhi Patent Office in the name of the CHB”.

Explaining the functioning of the “Symphonically Operated Flushing Device”, Mr Vijay Kumar said it was a known fact that once the flush chain was released, after being pulled, the entire water in the tank would flow out. With the new technology, the flow would stop after the prescribed limits. Holes are inserted in the cistern through which the water flows out to the pipes, which works because a vacuum is created to pull up the water flow. When the cistern level increased after the water started draining out and reached the level of the hole, air will rush in the vacuum and stop the outflow.”

Mr Vijay Kumar said he was aware that certain private parties would ape idea because it was very simple. “At least, when big institutions and governments will be wanting to use the technology for water conservation, they will have to apply to the CHB for permission. We can also charge them for the permission granted,” he added.



Confusion prevails over liquor prices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
On the first day of the new financial year, tipplers were a confused lot. Different brands of liquor and beer were selling at different rates across the city.

Though most of the new entrants were still adding stocks to their shops, some preferred to sell liquor at the minimum selling price fixed by the Chandigarh Administration.

For example, Royal Stag and RK was selling at Rs 190 per bottle at a liquor shop in Sector 30 and Mani Majra. The same brands were being sold at old rates, i.e. Rs 250 per bottle at another shop in Sector 30 and in Sector 17 opposite Madhya Marg. Royal Challenge was selling at three different rates, Rs 260, Rs 290 and Rs 350 per bottle. Though beer was not available at most of the shops, it would be priced between Rs 30 and Rs 40 per bottle.

Inquiries reveal that the exact prices of liquor would get clear by tomorrow as the contractors add new stocks. A senior official of the District Excise and Taxation Department said liquor could not be sold below the minimum price.

Meanwhile, the administration today clarified that opening the liquor shops in Sectors 15, 23 and 36 and Palsora was no violation of the law which governs the minimum distance of the vends from the places of worship, pubic entertainment and educational institutions.



Ex-Mayor joins stir against liquor shop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Former Mayor Anu Chatrath along with area residents today staged a protest at the Sector-15 C market against the proposed liquor shop along with the ahata. She alleged that the proposal of the liquor shop was in clear violation of the mandate given under Article 47 of the Constitution of India.

She stated that sector 15 was a central market for many institutions. Panjab University, PGI, government colleges, DAV School, Sector 16 general hospitals apart from other institutions existed right next to it.

All the resident welfare associations, university employees association, are against the opening of the liquor shop.

“It will only create a law and order problem and also affect the student community living here,” they feel. Meanwhile, Mr Balbir Singh, one of the partners of APL Finance Limited, who has taken over the liquor shop was present at the scene.

He stated that they had no problem in shifting if the Administration gives them a new site.



UT guest house gets new block
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
A new centrally air-conditioned block, with a modern design and stylish interiors, added to the UT State Guest House was inaugurated by Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, here today.

The new block, constructed at a cost of Rs 6.53 crore by the Engineering Department of the Chandigarh Administration, has 11 VVIP suites and 30 regular suites for State guests. The block also provides for state-of-the-art facilities such as conference rooms, a dining hall, lounge and a press conference lounge with supporting infrastructure facilities.

A terrace garden has also been planned in the building which has a covered area of approximately 72,700 square feet and is constructed on four levels.

With the addition of this new block, the UT State Guest House, already distinguished by its strategic location, has a new dimension, promising a friendly and professional service. The design of this new block incorporates environment-friendly measures, such as solar water heating and a provision for rain water harvesting.

A beautiful landscape, involving high quality and imaginative artwork, put up at the Reception Centre, is another attractive feature.

Accompanied by Mrs Jean Rodrigues, the Administrator went round the new block and inspected the VVIP lounge, committee rooms, dining rooms, conference room, gallery and well-furnished guest rooms. The lounge, conference room and guest rooms are contemporary and user friendly, with a calm and quiet ambience.

Mr Lalit Sharma, Adviser to UT Administrator, Mr Krishna Mohan, Home Secretary, Mr S.K. Sandhu, Finance Secretary, Mr. J.S. Bir, Managing Director, Citco, Mr R.K. Rao, Deputy Commissioner and Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, Chief Engineer, were present on the occasion.



400 persuaded to pledge eyes
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
It is an effort par excellence-one that will offer hope to hundreds of visually impaired across the region and bring as many into the national mainstream.

Close to the completion of their project aimed at motivating people to donate eyes, the volunteers of Yuva Sankalp crossed a milestone today. After working day and night in slums, villages, colonies and urban centres across Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana, the voluntary organization has managed to convince as many as 400 persons into pledging their eyes.

A heartening figure by all standards, it inspires hope among the volunteers who have given themselves time up to November, 2006, to cross the 1000-donor mark. About the fresh achievement of getting 400 persons to pledge their eyes, what's important is that the pledges are not verbal. All the forthcoming donors have registered themselves with the Eye Bank Society at the PGI which has issued them eye donor cards.

Having also made a significant impact in slums, colonies and villages - traditionally known for their aversion to the concept of eye donation - the volunteers are now gearing up for another unique project.

Launched today in Chandigarh, this one seeks to support the students in blind institutes across the region. In collaboration with the Blind Welfare Society, Delhi, Yuva Sankalp is going to procure all the thick waste paper (of which wedding, greeting and invitation cards are made) to redirect it for the benefit of visually impaired students.

The paper, hence collected, will be sent to Dehradun where most of the Braille textbooks and literature is produced for further distribution to institutes for the blind across the north. It is well known that Braille is better comprehended if inscribed on thick, hard paper - the one that is used in the production of invitation cards etc.

Yuva Sankalp has printed notices with the objective of apprising bureaucrats, politicians and government officials of the significance of hard paper and its use in improving the quality of Braille literature.

Said Davesh Moudgil, President of the NGO, "We hope to garner support for the project from MPs, MLAs, bureaucrats and other government officials who get such kind of paper in bulk. From April 3, we will paste our notices outside all government and other institutions across the region.

The idea is to collect as much hard paper as possible and recycle it for use in production of better quality Braille literature."

The NGO has already identified 29 locations in Chandigarh where they will paste notices to this effect. Its volunteers have also contacted some politicians who have pledged support for this unique project.



Bheora makes more revelations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
BKI chief Jagtar Singh Hawara and his three accomplices Paramjeet Singh Bheora, Jagtar Singh Tara and Devi Singh had dug up two more tunnels in a bid to escape from Burail jail.

However, the tunnels could not be completed as they lost direction and some obstruction came in the way. The tunnel had been excavated with a small handheld tools and not power-operated tools.

These two tunnels were in addition to the 92 ft long tunnel through which Hawara and his accomplices ultimately escaped from the high-security jail on January 21, 2004.

The information about the new tunnels was disclosed by Bheora during his questioning by the Operation Cell of the Chandigarh Police. Inspector Vijay Kumar, in charge of the Cell, said teams of the CFSL had been asked to examine the tunnels.

One of the tunnels was 8 ft deep and was started from a toilet in Gurdwara barrack. The entrance of the tunnel was covered with a slab used to wash utensils. The second tunnel was dug in kitchen in barrack no 7 which too was covered with a slab. It may be mentioned that the tunnel through which Hawara and his accomplices escaped was dug in the barrack no 7. The concrete platform was broken to dig the tunnel.



Air Marshal A.K. Singh decorated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, Air Marshal A.K. Singh, has been decorated with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal for distinguished service.

Commissioned in June, 1967, he was the youngest pilot to have participated in the famous para-drop over Tangail during the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, a statement issued here today said.

He also has the distinction of being the only pilot to convert from the transport stream to fighters. He commanded a Jaguar Squadron.

As Air-I, Western Air Command during the Kargil conflict, he was closely associated with the planning and execution of Operation Safed Sagar.

As chief of the IAF's primer command, he was responsible for carrying out large-scale rescue operations in Jammu and Kashmir during the unprecedented snowfall in February 2005 and then again in October, 2005 when a disastrous earthquake struck Jammu and Kashmir.



Commemoration stamp released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today released the Golden Jubilee Commemoration Stamp of 62 Cavalry during the regiment’s 50th Raising Day celebrations in Western Sector today.

On this occasion, the Chief Minister also presented a Silver Trophy (Patiala Cup) and a cheque for Rs 11 lakh to Deputy Chief of Army Staff and Colonel of the 62 Cavalry, Lt-Gen G.D. Singh, according to a statement issued here.

Addressing the serving defense personnel and ex-servicemen, Capt Singh said the civil administration often required the services of the Army to assist them during internal disturbances and in the maintenance of law and order, in organising relief operations during natural calamities.



‘Palki utsav’ procession
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
As part of Ram Navmi celebrations, the Shirdi Sai Samaj Temple, Sector 29, organised a “palki utsav” procession here today.

Singing religious hymns, Sai Baba devotees in about 200 vehicles, participated in the procession.

The procession, which started from the Sai Baba Temple, passed through various sectors before culminating at the temple.

The devotees were offered refreshment en route the procession at different places, according to a press note.



5 hurt in bus-tanker crash
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 1
Five persons were injured, one of them seriously, in a collision between a bus and an oil tanker near Spice chowk here today.

Mr Gurdeep Singh, driver of the private bus, which was coming from Ganganagar to the Mohali bus stand, was seriously injured. He has reportedly sustained a fracture in his legs in the accident. The front portion of the bus was badly damaged while the oil tanker overturned. The tanker was carrying an explosive liquid, methenol, which was being taken to a unit of Ranbaxy Laboratories here.

While the driver and the cleaner of the tanker fled the scene soon after the accident, the injured persons, including Mr Jagdeep Singh, conductor of the bus, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Mr Ravi Kant and Mr Ami Lal, all passengers, were taken to Cheema Medical Complex in Phase IV for treatment.

It is alleged that the accident took place because the driver of the oil tanker had jumped a red light.

Mr Avtar Singh, station fire officer, said that employees of the fire brigade reached the spot soon after the accident and started throwing water on the highly combustible material to avoid any untoward incident. This exercise went on for about six hours as the liquid kept leaking from the tanker. The police had to divert the traffic.

The police has registered a case against the driver of the tanker under Sections 279, 337 and 427 of the IPC in this regard.



Man caught stealing power with magnet
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 1
A resident of Phase VII was allegedly caught stealing power by a team of officials of the Punjab State Electricity Board during a raid conducted at his residence here today.

It is alleged that the person was using a magnet to manipulate the functioning of the newly installed electronic meter. He was charged a fine of Rs 17, 240. The officials concerned have also complained to the police in this regard, requesting for immediate action.

The PSEB officials had earlier caught residents of Phases VII, X and XI on similar charges and imposed fines. They had also tried to manipulate the power meter with the help of magnets.

Mr H.S. Boparai, Senior Executive Engineer, said the board had collected a revenue of Rs 55 lakh during the last financial year by imposing fines for wrong metering, unauthorised load and power theft which was an increase of 40 per cent as compared to the preceding year. During the year 2004-05, the board had collected a revenue of Rs 39 lakh.

He said there was a rise of about 13 per cent in the income of the board after the installation of electronic meters in the town. About 20,000 meters had been replaced so far and the work was in progress.



Two journalists assaulted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Two journalists of The Times of India were attacked last night after they were returning home from the late-night shift. The incident took place at Phase X, Mohali, at 12.30 am.

The two sports journalists, Vivek Mukherji and Tapan Joshi, were returning home when they stopped to smoke on the main road in front of a park in Phase X. All of a sudden, a group of three men sitting in the park rushed at them and allegedly started abusing them.

One of the miscreants, who has been identified as Bunty, threw down Mukherji’s bike and punched him. He suffered minor cuts and bruises. They kicked and attacked Joshi as well. Finally, both managed to extricate themselves and escaped. The incident took place barely 100 yards away from the residence of Mukherji.

Despite making repeated calls to the Phase XI police chowki, the PCR turned up almost two hours after the incident. Mukherji today lodged a complaint with the police.

Car pane damaged

Two unidentified miscreants damaged the window pane of a Maruti car owned by Mr Pardeep Chabra, a councillor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, in the wee hours yesterday morning.

The miscreants broke the pane with empty beer bottles and fled from the spot when challenged by the watchman. The police are probing the matter.



‘Faulty implementation’ of VAT irks traders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 1
Within weeks of the implementation of VAT in the city, Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) today came down heavily on the Chandigarh Administration for its alleged “faulty implementation”.

With the implementation of VAT, the day-to-day problems of the traders are on the rise particularly regarding the parity of VAT rate with the neighbouring states, Mr J.P.S. Kalra, general secretary (press), alleged here.

While the administration had reduced VAT on liquor from 22 per cent to 4 per cent on the pattern of Punjab and Haryana, it had ignored 89 items, whose rates had already been reduced and notified by these governments, he alleged.

The CBM reminded the administration of its commitment to follow the Punjab VAT Act 2005 which was applicable to Chandigarh also. In fact, the amendments in Punjab should automatically be followed by the administration.

Though the administration was encouraging the IT sector yet consumables like inks, toners, ribbons and other stationery items continue to be taxed at 12.5 per cent as compared to 4 per cent in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.

Meanwhile, the shortage of Form C is also troubling the business community in the city.

The amendment in the Form C, carried out in October, should be withdrawn and the previous system of submitting one form per year should be revived, Mr Kalra demanded.

The CBM, in a meeting presided over by its president, Mr Subhash Sethi, decided to approach the Minister of State for Finance, Mr Pawan Bansal, to apprise him of their problems.


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