C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Jobless youths clash with cops, many hurt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
Unemployed youths clashed with policemen during a rally at Matka Chowk here this evening. Some of protesting youths and policemen were injured and hospitalised after the clash, which lasted over an hour.

The policemen had to literally chase the protesters, who gave them a tough time.

A number of organisation of unemployed youths from Punjab had organised the rally to protest against the failure of the Punjab Government to provide them jobs.

The agitation turned violent when the protesters marched towards the Matka Chowk after holding a rally at the Parade Ground.

Within seconds of breaching the police barricade there, water cannons and teargas shells were fired at the protesters. The protesters threw teargas shells back at the policemen and also pelted them with stones, which resulted in injuries to some of the policemen.

Sensing the gravity of situation, Additional Deputy Commissioner I.S. Sandhu and Senior Superintendent of Police Gaurav Yadav reached the spot.

The police resorted to lathicharge against the protesters, who outnumbered policemen and gave them a stiff opposition.

Protesters fled in different directions, making it difficult for the policemen to nab them.

Unemployed Arts and Crafts Teacher Association president Madho Dass and leaders of the Unemployed BEd Teachers Association Sukhdeeop Singh and Jagjit Singh received injuries and were hospitalised.

Speaking at the rally, leaders of the Unemployed BEd Teachers Association, the Unemployed Arts and Craft Teachers Association, the Unemployed PTI Teachers Association, and the Multi-Purpose Health Workers announced that unemployed youths would contest the forthcoming elections to defeat the Congress government.

Tough time for motorists

While unemployed youths agitated on the road leading to the Matka Chowk, motorists had to go through a lot of inconvenience. Due to the blockade, they had to make a detour to reach their destinations.



Syndicate to weigh Garg report tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
Panjab University Syndicate members’ meeting on September 16 will consider the findings of the Garg committee report looking into allegations levelled by Mr V.K. Chopra, a faculty member of the Department of Evening Studies, against Mrs Santosh Gupta, a former head of the department.

Mr V.K. Chopra had in a written complaint to the then PU Vice-Chancellor Prof K.N. Pathak, alleged that Prof Gupta had indulged in various financial irregularities which he had requested needed to be probed. Prof Pathak, without having consulted either the Syndicate or the Senate over the issue, constituted an inquiry committee under Mr G.C. Garg in January this year.

The report filed by Mr G.C. Garg in July 2006, while giving a clean chit to Mrs Gupta, has recommended “to consign to record, the false, childish complaint of Prof V.K. Chopra which is based on anonymous details of allegations which were slipped by unknown person under the door of his flat”. Beside this, the complaint is nothing but the result of revengeful attitude” of Prof V.K. Chopra, he said.

Interestingly, during the course of the inquiry when Mr Chopra was asked to give a statement over the issue, he went on record: “I say on oath that I have no personal enmity or dispute with Mrs Santosh Gupta the then chairperson of the Department of Evening Studies…. The details which are mentioned in my complaint made to the Vice-Chancellor were slipped by somebody under the door in may flat…. This application was sent to the Vice-Chancellor keeping in view the welfare of the university affairs and as an honest citizen and employee of university. I desire to know the truthfulness of the allegations mentioned in the complaint. However, I do not know the persons who slipped the papers under the door of my flat.”

Mrs Gupta was also called by the inquiry officer and questioned over the issue. The reports states, “On the one hand, he (Chopra) stated that he has no personal enmity/grudge against Dr Santosh Chopra and on the other the statement of Mr Chopra is falsified by Dr Santosh Chopra by placing on record certain documents regarding the complainants made by the students and also Dr Gupta.

The complaints against Mr Chopra of absenteeism from the department were sent to the VC and the decision of the Senate for entrusting the inquiry to Professor S.L. Sharma against Mr Chopra for absenteeism was also placed on record. All these documents are attached with the reply filed by Mrs Gupta.”

Even more interesting is the fact that while the complaint of Mr Chopra forms part of the Syndicate meeting agenda, the reply filed by Mrs Gupta, which included these documents, are missing from the agenda.

The report was submitted to the VC by Mr Garg in July this year. It is being tabled before the Syndicate now. What is remarkable is a letter by Mr Chopra to the VC demanding that the inquiry proceedings be declared null and void, even before the report has been placed before the Syndicate.



Home Secy gets Chief Administrator’s powers
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
The Chandigarh Administration has conferred the powers of the Chief Administrator on the Home Secretary.

The powers of the Chief Administrator lie with the Finance Secretary under Section 21 of the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act, 1952.

The order has been passed in specific reference to cases of those seeking conversion in the Industrial Area and whose cases are pending with the Estate Office with regard to resumption notices on various accounts and building violations.

In a notification issued by the administration, Chief Administrator S.K. Sandhu has “delegated” powers to Home Secretary Krishna Mohan.

The order will enable the Home Secretary to “hear the appeals against orders passed by the Estate Officer under the Act and rules”. He can listen specifically to cases pertaining to Industrial Area, Phases I and II, alone.

The Home Secretary is expected to listen to matters where property under question is facing notices and proceedings under allegations of misuse or violation.

The matter needs attention as owners of land in question have applied for conversion of land use from industrial activity to commercial activity under the “Conversion of Land Use of Industrial Sites into Commercial Activity in Industrial Area, Phase I and II” scheme, 2005.

A senior official said there was no controversy regarding change in the power structure of officers.

The development follows the administration decision to have a regulated development of the Industrial Area conversion.

Conversion involves cases of a number of plots facing resumption and action for other violations. These cases were dealt with by the office of the Finance Secretary and the Estate Office in routine.

“No matter which way the case of resumption or violation was decided for those seeking conversion, the building would be razed to ground, in any case, to qualify for conversion of trade. The order of demolition will then lose validity.”

“In order to prevent inordinate delay in dealing with conversions because of lot of paperwork between different wings, the administration is trying to streamline the work by evolving a single window procedure. Under the new system, the administration has decided to shift the charge concerned to the Home Secretary,” the officer said.

It is also worth mentioning that certain powers of the Chief Administrator already lie with the Chief Commissioner of the Municipal Corporation.

Sources said the arrangement had been made specifically with regard to the development of the Industrial Area.

Under conversion plans, the Home Secretary has been given the charge of infrastructure development in the Industrial Area and conversions.



Staff of 2 schools charge-sheeted
Poor results in board exams
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 14
The Punjab Government has charge-sheeted the entire teaching staff, including principals of two schools, in the district for poor performance of students. Students of the two schools had reportedly consistently shown poor results in the Class VIII and Class X board examinations.

The teaching staff of Government High School, Gige Majra, and Government High School, Landran, were issued charge sheets by the Director, Public Instructions (Schools), Ms Harcharanjit Kaur Brar, on September 11 under Section 8 of the Punjab Civil Services Rules (Punishment and Appeal).

The teachers have been asked to reply within 21 days, failing which action would be initiated against them. The charge sheets point out that results of these two schools is “below average”.

The action of the Education Department comes in the wake of a Vidhan Sabha question listed to be asked by the MLA Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, regarding the performance of the two schools in the past five years.

Speaking to The Chandigarh Tribune, Mr Bir Devinder Singh said the two schools were part of his constituency and he had always encouraged teachers to “perform better and improve results”.

“However, despite my best efforts, there is no improvement in the performance of students at the school.

When contacted, the principal of Government High School, Landran, Mrs Pushpinder Kaur, said her teaching staff had been charge-sheeted wrongly.

“The school has shown poor results this year, which is the situation in most schools in Punjab. But to punish us alone is not fair. Also, in the past five years the school has been showing good results.

The MLA, however, said he had been monitoring the performance of the schools in his constituency closely. “Many schools have shown remarkable improvement in their results and the teachers responsible for this have been rewarded,” he said.



NRI family rues its decision to return
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
It was a tragic homecoming for a German NRI couple, Mr Jaswant Brar and his wife, Mrs Jagshir Brar, who opted to return to their motherland.

Seven years down the line, the family has little to rejoice over their decision. Mr Brar spent nine months in jail after being booked in a case of cheating and forgery, allegedly at the behest of politicians and bureaucrats.

The NRI had started a finance company in the name of JB Finance at Moga. The trouble started in 2001 when Mr Brar extended a loan of Rs 1.50 lakh to a person. “We became victims of a well-connected gang of criminals, who forged documents of property pledged to us, in lieu of the loan. Instead, we were booked for pledging “forged documents” for the loan and an FIR was registered against my wife and me. All this while those who had forged the documents went scot-free,” alleged the NRI, while showing the documents during a press conference here yesterday.

In a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission and the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, he has stated that his pleas to the Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police, Moga, for a fair investigation, fell on deaf ears.



Witness retracts statement
Sumedh Saini case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
The prosecution suffered a major blow in the case of murder against Devinder Singh Bhullar, who allegedly conspired to kill former SSP Chandigarh Sumedh Singh Saini, in a bomb blast, targeting his police convoy in Sector 17. The blast took place in 1991.

During the trial in the case, a prosecution witness, Mr P.R. Mehta, a general manager of the PNB Bank, retracted from his previous statement of having seen Bhullar.

Earlier, Mr Mehta had stated that Bhullar had purchased a Ambassador car in an auction. The car was used in triggering the blast.

It may be mentioned that a few days back, local courts had framed charges in the case.

After charges under TADA were dropped against Bhullar by the previous District and Sessions Judge, the Chandigarh Police had filed a fresh challan to the accused.

A case under Sections 302, 307, 427, 216 and 120 B of the IPC and ¾ of the Explosive Act had been made against Bhullar, Manjeet Singh, Manmohan, Navneet and Gurjant Singh.

In 1991, the accused had been booked in a conspiracy to kill former SSP Chandigarh, Sumedh Singh Saini in a bomb blast targeting his police convoy in Sector 17. They had been booked for murder and under TADA.

In February this year, District and Sessions judge M.M.S. Bedi held that the charges under the TADA Act were not maintainable.

The police had alleged that Bhullar, along with others, had hatched the conspiracy at the residence of Partap Singh and Gursharan Kaur in SAS Nagar. Pratap Singh and Gursharan Kaur were released by the court on bail.

A former engineering professor, Bhullar already faces the death penalty awarded by the Delhi High Court and confirmed by the Supreme Court in the 1993 Delhi bomb blast case, in which the then Indian Youth Congress leader M.S. Bitta was gravely injured.



Elected student leaders take oath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
The newly elected members of the Panjab University Campus Students Council took oath at a special ceremony held here today.

The Dean, Students Welfare (Woman), Mrs Meenakshi Malhotra, administered the oath of office to the president, Dalveer Singh Goldy, the Vice-President, Divya Gill, the general secretary, Naushad Ali, and the joint secretary, Verinder Negi.



MC to spend Rs 2.73 lakh on tree felling
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 14
The Municipal Council will spend a sum of Rs 2.73 lakh on cutting of some trees to widen a stretch of a main road.

The amount has been cleared by council president Rajinder Singh Rana. He has also put the item on the agenda of the first meeting of the elected body, to be held tomorrow, in anticipation of it being passed by the General House.

According to a report of the Municipal Engineer, Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh had asked the civic body to widen a stretch of a road from the Balongi chowk to Maggu petrol pump.

The work on widening could not be initiated as some trees of the Forest Department fell in that stretch.

The council wrote to the department for cutting of the trees. The Forest Department asked the civic body to deposit Rs 2.73 lakh for the work.

As the work was urgent, the council president cleared the amount.

The council also plans to spend around Rs 2 lakh on cleaning and painting of curb channels on the routes to be followed by VIPs coming to the town. The item will also come up before the meeting tomorrow.

The Engineering Wing also plans to spend Rs 77,500 on cleaning of main roads and Sector-separating roads in Phase VIII; Rs 49,000 on painting of curb channels and zebra crossing in residential Phase IX and X, and Industrial Area in Phase IX; and Rs 74,000 on cleaning of curb channels, cutting of congress grass and removal of malba in Phases IX and XI.

Another item on the agenda of the meeting relates to the disbursement of conveyance allowance being given to physically disabled or visually impaired persons.

Earlier, such persons were given Rs 150 as conveyance allowance, which had been raised to Rs 250 from February 1.



MLA inspects work at rly station
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 14
The Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, today inspected works at the Mohali railway station to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on September 27.

The MLA reviewed various works and gave suggestions and directions to officials concerned regarding some shortcomings noticed by him. Giving a suggestion to the Deputy Chief Engineer of Railways, Mr Rajiv Soni, the MLA said there was a need to bring about some improvement in the weather shelters at the railway station.

He said the signal system at the station was based on a new technology which needed uninterrupted power supply. The railway station was being supplied power from a rural feeder, which would not be able to provide satisfactory service. As such, there was a need to link up the power supply with an urban feeder. He directed officials of the PSEB to do the needful.

The Chandigarh-Morinda railway line was completed some months back and is awaiting inauguration by a VVIP. The 45-km stretch was completed in every way and has had trial runs.

Only the first phase of the Chandigarh-Ludhiana railway line has so far been completed.

The remaining part of the 112 km railway track will be completed in two phases. The process of acquiring land for the project is under way.



Recovery of loans from ex-ministers' pension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
The Punjab Council of Ministers today approved the recovery of loan money from certain former Ministers by deducting the money from their pension in instalments. There are as many as eight former Ministers who have not returned the loan which they had secured to either buy cars or to build houses from the state government.

Sources said that the council had approved that the money should be recovered in easy instalments by deducting some amount from the pension. 



More govt vehicles involved in road accident: study
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
Important facts about government vehicles causing serious accidents on city roads have come to light in an important study conducted by the Chandigarh Traffic Police.

The study shows that in 2006, government vehicles have were involved in 24 accidents out of which 12 proved to be fatal.

In 2005, as many as 16 fatal accidents were caused by government vehicles out of a total 30. In terms of percentage, over 50 per cent accidents involving government vehicles turned out to be fatal.

A study conducted by the Chandigarh Traffic Police reveals that the accidents caused by the government vehicles have, in fact, been rising at a steady pace during the past three years.

Terming it an alarming trend, senior traffic police officials assert that the problem needs to be addressed effectively.

As such, the cops were proposing to act against traffic violations by government vehicles and drivers as early as possible.

The traffic police has, rather, prepared a plan to launch a campaign from the first week of October this year.

They added that the matter was also being taken up with the Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana Governments for issuing necessary directions to respective head of the departments for sensitising their drivers.

The Chandigarh Traffic Police also sought the help of the department concerned to publicise the campaign being undertaken by the police force.

A senior traffic police officer says that it is more related to the attitude of the drivers of government vehicles on the road, as they are generally arrogant and drive in rather carefree manner.

Adding to this he said the government drivers are more affluent comparing to the drivers of private vehicles.

They are better paid and thus chances if their indulging in taking intoxicants due to their financially comfortable positions are more than their private counterparts.

They have more free time and are almost free from the burden of accountability than a private driver, whose every action is questioned by his owner.

The sources in the accident cell of the Chandigarh Traffic Police said the drivers of government buses tended to flout the rules and whenever they were caught they tried to use the influence of their superiors or their unions and sometimes went to the extent of blocking the roads.



Mobile phone thief nabbed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
The local police today arrested a Maloya resident on allegations of stealing a mobile phone from a woman in Sector 21 early this year.

The SHO of the Sector 19 Police Station, Inspector Sukhdev Singh Bhullar, the accused, 25-year-old Shiv Kumar, alias Sonu, of Maloya Colony, was arrested from a naka at Manchanda Chowk in Sector 19 this afternoon.

The accused would be produced before a local court tomorrow for police remand.



Patwari held with bribe money
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 14
A patwari of Balachaur subdivision, who was arrested by officials of the Vigilance Bureau on a corruption charge yesterday, was remanded in one-day police custody by a court here today.

Harbans Lal had allegedly demanded Rs 10,000 from a resident of Dhanas village for providing a “farad”. The matter was settled at Rs 5,000. The Dhanas resident then approached officials of the Vigilance Bureau, who caught the patwari red-handed while allegedly accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000.



TRAI ceiling on MRP for pay channels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
With the conditional access system (CAS) ready to be implemented in the metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata by December-end, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has imposed a ceiling of Rs 5 on maximum retail price (MRP) for pay channels in CAS areas.

The individual pay channel prices are to be fixed by the broadcasters within this ceiling

There will be a cap of Rs 77 per month on pricing of free-to-air (FTA) channels. The operators will have to provide at least 30 FTA channels. The new tariff order will reduce drastically the cable bill for residents in the three metros, when the CAS regime comes into effect from January 1, 2007. The CAS has been in force in Chennai since September 2003.

“To provide some stability to the revenues of broadcasters, it has also been provided that the MRPs will apply only where the subscription is for a minimum period of four months,” says the order.

TRAI has also laid down consumer-friendly guidelines for procurement of set-top boxes which enable a subscriber to access pay channels in a CAS regime.

“These measures seek to promote fair play and justice and are not necessarily expanding the domain of intervention,” it said.

TRAI said it decided to go for a ceiling on channel pricing as it found the rates reported by the broadcasters “too high”. With this order, a subscriber in a CAS area can get access to 22 pay channels apart from the FTA bouquet within a monthly package of Rs 200.

The authority has also allowed broadcasters and multi-system operators to form bouquets and provide discounts for the same, apart from providing pay channels on a la-carte basis.

However, TRAI has decided not to regulate tariffs of direct-to-home (DTH) operators. The DTH operators will face tough competition from cable operators under the CAS regime in the four metros and are likely to offer competitive prices on their own.



Erratic supply of raw material irks steel units
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
The short supply of raw material - wire rods and rounds - for 400 industrial fasteners and steel wire manufacturers has severely hit the business.

Mr Satinder Gupta, president of the Chamber of Chandigarh Industries, in a press note said that they get the raw material through Rastriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) and the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and the units here get the raw material through CITCO. “For the past couple of months, the supply of raw material has been erratic, thus disturbing production schedules of these units,” he said.

He said for the past two months the units have not been allotted the 8 mm size of wire rods. Even now, only a minimal quantity of the material has been received at the RINL local stockyard. In this month, not a single tonn of rounds has been received at the RINL stockyard.

“While these materials are available to industries in Punjab, we are suffering and losing out to competition from Punjab. We appeal to the RINL authorities to make available the raw material at the earliest,” he said. 



Two IT companies on NASSCOM delegation to China
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
Two IT companies from Chandigarh -Mobera Systems and IDS Infotech - have been chosen to be part of the NASSCOM’s special delegation to China from 17-23 September. This is NASSCOM’s initiative to increase partnership opportunities between IT companies in the two countries.

Mr Puneet Vatsayan, Director, Mobera System, says: “Our objective is to study and understand the ground realities and the opportunities and threats that China poses to both India in general and our companies in particular. China has a large pool of engineers and has made significant investments in infrastructure. We need to understand what it means to us as we expand both our offerings and our geographic reach.”

Mr Partap Aggarwal, Managing Director, IDS Infotech, feels that China is an interesting country that has made rapid investment and progress in IT services. China is viewed as an alternative to the IT industry and it inspires awe, both as a competitor and a collaborator.

“We run into the China question all the time when we are talking to prospect customers”, says Mr Puneet Vatsayan, Director, Mobera Systems.

Other companies include Aspire Systems (India) Private Limited Chennai; Compulink Systems Limited Pune; Eastern Software Systems Private Limited, New Delhi; Hurix Systems Private Limited, Mumbai; Induslogic India Private Limited, Noida; Network Programs (India) Limited, Noida; Newgen Software Technologies Limited, New Delhi; PicoPeta Simputers Private Limited, Bangalore; and Symphony Services Corp (I) Private Limited, Bangalore.

The delegation visit will coincide with the CeBIT Asia in Shanghai (17-20 September), a leading event for all aspects of information technology and telecommunication.



Draw of housing societies at Manesar held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 14
In a first-of-its-kind attempt to provide accommodation to workers in industrial units of Manesar, the Haryana Industrial and Infrastructural Development Corporation (HSIDC) today held a draw to allot land to housing societies of industrial workers.

A total of 110 applications were received by the department for 50 plots measuring 2000, 2600, 4000, 6000, 8000, 10,000 sq.m plots. Of the total applications, 40 were declared ineligible.

The draw for eligible societies was conducted by a team of the HSIDC where industrial workers were themselves called to pull out slips of the 50 lucky societies.

An official said that more land was being acquired for the industrial workers housing societies. “We are encouraging the formation of housing societies to ensure that people coming from outside can live with dignity and growth of slum-like conditions near industrial units can be prevented,” an officer stated.



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