C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

As the closure deadline nears
No plan for students rendered school-less
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 27
There are no unrecognised schools in the district, if the office of the District Education Officer is to be believed. While most of them are recognised, 20 schools have applied for recognition and there are 20 applications for permission to open a school. This, when all residential areas "boast" of a school in the vicinity.

While the education department may refuse to admit that unrecognised schools exist in the district, the local chapter of the Haryana Unrecognised Schools Associations pegs the number at 100.

While the March 31 deadline for closure of unrecognised schools in Haryana is approaching fast, the district office has no action plan in place to deal with its “school-less” children.

"Our officers have carried out a survey in the district. All those schools that were unrecognised have applied for recognition, while we have a few applications seeking permission to open new schools. These are essentially schools which have shifted to new locations and conform to the new norms. However, we are yet to go out and inspect these new sites," DEO Kanta Malik says.

She says she came across schools operating from residential areas. "The owners told us that these were only coaching academies. We can't proceed against these schools unless we have proof that these are schools."

Strangely, the department is unclear on what kind of "proof" it wants.

Local president of the unrecognised schools Shree Chand says that the department has not done any recce as far as unrecognised schools are concerned. "Our state body is fighting for us since the government's decision to change certain norms does not suit us. How can we be expected to bring down our school buildings, get a change-of-land-use certificate and then construct these again?"

He said that they would be filing a court case tomorrow. "We cannot fulfill the criterion that is being imposed on us,” Shree Chand said.

None of the schools have informed the parents about the impending disaster that could lend their children school-less. Admissions in these schools are scheduled for April 1 to 15.



Bansal sees no wisdom in it
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Union Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal today asked the administration to put on hold the process to acquire land in Shastri Nagar of Mani Majra for the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park.

At least 272 acres of land is being acquired by the administration for Phase III of the technology park. Recently, the administration had turned down the request by land owners of Kishangarh village to exempt their land from acquisition.

Acquiring land which uproots hundreds cannot serve any public purpose. Allotment of land to private builders for commercial benefit can’t be termed as public purpose... The administration should utilise the land already with it.

Arguing that the administration should utilise the land already with it instead of acquiring agricultural land, the minister, in a letter to UT Administrator Gen SF Rodrigues (Retd), has said the acquisition of Shastri Nagar area has left 5,000 residents in distress.

“Acquiring land which uproots hundreds cannot serve any public purpose. Allotment of land to private builders for deriving commercial benefit can’t be termed as public purpose,” said the minister on the phone from Delhi.

The member of Parliament said the move to acquire all agricultural land in the UT ran counter to the assurance by the late Indira Gandhi. “There have been protests in the colony and the situation may turn explosive,” said the minister.

In the last about 15 years, large chunks of land of the revenue estate of Mani Majra had been acquired for extension of planned development like Shivalik Enclave and Modern Housing Complex.

A large number of people belonging to lower and middle income groups had bought small plots of land through registered sale deeds or general power of attorney and raised modest dwelling units, he said.

“The ostensible purpose is to carry out planned development of the area, but there is no laid down plans for development or for rehabilitation of displaced residents.

Whichever way you look at it, such development cannot be undertaken by demolishing existing habitations.”

The minister also expressed concern over the uncertainty about the status of land under Deep Complex, Mani Majra.



Now, phones can kill!

Chandigarh, March 27
Rumours about calls from specific numbers and emitting unidentified rays, causing possible death, threw thousands of mobile subscribers across the region into a scare.

From Chandigarh and its satellite townships of Panchkula and Mohali, to Patiala and Ropar, and even villages of Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Banur, the rumours that began last night sent the subscribers in a tizzy.

Reports of “deaths” in Zirakpur, Nayagaon, Amlala in Dera Bassi because of these mobile calls were received and mentioned in franctic messages sent by users to their near and dear ones.

The police and health authorities said they were flooded with queries about these “deaths.”

Though there is no scientific basis or any reported death caused by a mobile call, yet many a panicky subscribers have not only temporarily switched off their mobile phones, but some of them have also sought a disconnection.

The mobile phone companies have dismissed these rumours as a ploy to create a scare among users. An official spokesman of Airtel said: “Though we haven't heard about this issue, but it is technically impossible for such a thing (death) to happen." — TNS



Walkman leaves him crippled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Sheer carelessness reportedly caused a youth in his twenties his leg at the railway track near Sector 47 here this afternoon. The victim was said to be listening to his walkman and failed to notice the train.

Sources in the GRP said the train chopped off the victim's leg, dragging him to a distance of about 12 ft. Though he survived the mishap, he sustained multiple injuries. The profusely bleeding youth was shifted to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, from where the doctors referred him to the PGI.

The dismembered leg was seen at the accident site for over three hours. 



IG: Brother was held flouting rules
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 27
Punjab Police IG S.K.Sharma said today that the arrest of his brother by the Mohali police yesterday was in violation of the guidelines issued by the DGP’s office and demanded a probe into the matter .

He said the DGP’s office had issued guidelines on tackling cases linked with economic offences and these were violated while arresting his brother Rakesh Kumar Sharma. The police was to first inquire into the case, then register an FIR and later arrest the suspect.

The IG said his brother was allegedly arrested at about 4.30 p.m. from Kharar and a case registered against him at 6.30 p.m. in Mohali, without inquiring into the matter. He said his brother was called to the tehsil office by the woman who wanted to sell land. She told him that the registration papers were ready.

He went to the tehsil office and the required formalities were being completed when he got a call. He came out to attend the phone and was allegedly arrested by the police waiting outside.

All this appeared motivated,” he alleged.

Rakesh Kumar was arrested following a complaint from Panchkula resident Paramjit Kaur Dhillon.



Tantrik vanishes

Rajpura, March 27
Tantrik Shamsher Singh, who along with his disciple Jagdish Chand allegedly instigated Rajinder Singh to "sacrifice" his 11-year-old son to cure his ailing wife, has absconded.

Police teams which raided his dera in Mastgarh village, near Ropar, and a house in Sector 40 in Chandigarh, where he was a frequent visitor, drew a blank. The police is interrogating Jagdish Chand, who was remanded to police custody till March 30. — TNS



SAARC car rally
It was awesome, say participants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Participants of the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) car rally, who reached here this evening, described their experience in one word- awesome.

More than 100 participants from seven countries drove to the UT Guest House in 30 Tata Safaris at around 7.30 p.m. The rally will halt for the night in the city before it proceeds for Wagah tomorrow morning.The 8,200 km rally, which started on March 15 in Bangladesh, will conclude at the Maldives on April 14.

Afghanistan will join in as the eighth country in the rally, besides India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, when the rally reaches New Delhi.

Ajay Khanna, deputy director of the CII and chairman of the rally, said: "We received amazing reception to our rally at all places. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see different people getting together for a common cause. Coming together as part of the SAARC team, we found international boundaries diminishing."

Hari Singh, an five-time national champion, said:"The reception that we got in Bhutan was unprecedented. Children lined along the road at various places with flowers in hand.”

Richard de Zoysa, group leader of the team from Sri lanka, said:"There is a tremendous change in India since my last visit a decade back. Development, particularly in infrastructure, is impressive.”

The SAARC rally reached the green and serene environs of the guest house to a traditional welcome with the Chandigarh Police Band playing "Sare jahan se achha". The calm surroundings of the Sukhna Lake Club came alive with a cultural extravaganza for the special guests.

Students from Bhutan came to the Guest House and gave flowers to the tourists. UT Finance Secretary S.K. Sandhu, DC R. K. Rao, director of tourism Vivek Atray and Ajay Khanna, regional director, CII, welcomed the rallyists.



Chandigarh Calling

The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has an amazing network of passing on information where it matters most. In a recent case, on being apprised of illegal taxi stands coming up in the city, not only the enforcement wing went in search of such taxi stands and even removed tents of a few, the source of information was also leaked.

On being confronted, the staff, as usual, pretended complete ignorance.

Faux pas

In the recently concluded third edition of the Premier Hockey League, identification of the players was a major confusion. Reason: the shirt number mentioned in the score sheet did not match with the shirt they were wearing during the game. The lapse was only detected when the player, who scored the goal, was hardly found on the score sheet and the organisers had to rush to the media gallery to get them aware about the slip on their part.

In Bipasha’s steps

The Chevrolet Aveo car rally, organised by General Motors India and Dyanamic Motors on Sunday, saw a lot of jhatkas and matkas not by some nubile dancers but by some male participants in the rally. Just as the organisers were compiling the results, they asked a few people to come up and participate in a game. A sporty few got up and were slightly taken aback when they were asked to replicate Bipasha Basu’s erotic steps to the tunes of “Beedi Jalai Le…”. However, the jhatkas they performed would put even Bipasha to shame.

Reflecting wisdom

Driving down the city roads late in the evenings will now be safer with the UT administration installing solar reflectors on the roundabouts. To begin with, these reflectors have been put up at The Tribune and the Halo Majra rotaries. More such reflectors are expected to come up on other rotaries.

The development is significant as the rotaries more often than not remain indiscernible at nights in the absence of proper street lighting resulting in mishaps. With the new move, the incidents of motorists ramming their vehicles against the rotaries will hopefully come down.

Team work pays

Perseverance and hard work may not yield immediate dividends but the satisfaction derived from a task accomplished through collective effort has its own charm. For Sanjay Walia, headmaster of Government High School, Sector 7, success can be achieved through team work. "A team leader should lead by setting an example," says Walia, who is currently on deputation from Haryana. The 41-year-old believes in the overall development of a child's personality. In 2005-06, his school stood first in the Class VIII examination in Chandigarh. The school also won the overall first position in the state science exhibition. The school team has won the running trophy in Punjabi poetical recitation five times in a row. This year, the school again bagged the first position in the state science exhibition and finished on top in Punjabi poetical recitation. A quiz contest on leprosy again saw students from the school bagging the first three positions. "If, as a leader, I am disinterested, the negative effects are bound to percolate downwards. Harsh measures may bring about some changes but nothing to beat the urge to improve from within," he says.

— Geetanjali Gayatri, G. S. Paul, Ruchika M. Khanna, Rajiv Bhatia, Sanjay Walia



From surgery to spirituality
Tribune News Service

Dr Kuldip Singh displays spiritual books written by him in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
Dr Kuldip Singh displays spiritual books written by him in Chandigarh on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, March 27
Dr Kuldip Singh, an eminent surgeon, is on a unique mission. Not in his field of specialisation but in an altogether different field, spirituality.

In fact, for Dr Kuldip Singh, who has been professor and head of the department of surgery, PGI, the search for truth continues.

He founded the Satyamev Jayate Mission Trust in 2000 in pursuit of truth.

“Gurbani was not meant for Sikhs but the whole world,” Dr Kuldip Singh said.

For the propagation of truth, he has come out with a booklet, Guru Granth Sahib — Lighthouse of humanity, incorporating the highlights from major world scriptures.

He is of the opinion that the flow of millions of ordinary people from all over the world to Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, would generate a movement of love in place of hatred. Terrorism would end in no time, he quips.



Nek Chand honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Doordarshan Kendra organised a colourful programme on its premises here today. Eminent personalities, who have made valuable contributions in the field of literature, art and culture, were honoured.

Mementos were presented to Padma Shri Nek Chand, M.L. Koser and Padma Shri Kashmiri Lal Zakir. Renowned visiting poet from Pakistan Kishwar Nahid and other Pakistani writers, who are presently on a goodwill mission to India, were also honoured by director Doordarshan Kendra M. Ashraf Sahil.

Reputed artistes and performers of the region, including Sunita Bhatti, Tania Gill, Rajinder Mohini, Gurbinder Ginda, enthralled the audience with their singing and dance performances.



Seminar on child labour
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The Chandigarh chapter of the AIESEC organised Learning Networks Day today at Indira Holiday Home, Sector 24. A seminar was organised on the pressing issues of child labour, HIV AIDS and education.

The topic for the first panel discussion was: Should child labour be banned completely? On the panel were Dr Nandita from the department of education, Panjab University, Sarita Tiwari from Hamari Kaksha, an NGO school, Colonel Bedi from YTTS, Ruby Ahuja from P.R. Sharma Charitable Trust and Promila Chandramohan, who heads the Chandigarh chapter of special olympics.

While making her point on child labour, Dr Nandita said, “Dignified work environment should be created for these children. We must also learn to differentiate between child labour and child work. Children should be engaged in work that they like to do, where they can find a creative expression.”

Sarita Tiwari, another panellist, remarked that laws were made, but they remained in legislative books or in seminar rooms. Counselling of the parents needed to be done and they needed to be made aware of the importance of education.

A workshop to create awareness on HIV AIDS was conducted by Dr Gaurav Chabra. A panel discussion on the topic ‘public schools vs private schools’ was also held.

Presentations were also given by international interns from Netherlands, Japan and Italy currently working with various NGOs through the AIESEC internship program. 



Vikas Nagar sans amenities
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 27
Everyday it’s a bumpy ride for residents of Vikas Nagar in Baltana here. The recently-laid sewerage in the colony seems to have added to the misery of the residents as the soil had not been levelled properly.

Non-functional streetlights have rendered the area accident-prone, alleged Vinod Singla, a resident.

This is not the only problem we face. The erratic power and water supply put the residents to a lot of inconvenience. With the summer season having set, the situation is likely to worsen, residents feared.

Official sources, however, claimed that the provision of civic amenities was being taken up in a phased manner. Roads would be laid soon.

Efforts were being made to improve water supply in the coming summer season, the sources added.



Baisakhi festival

Chandigarh, March 27
The Chandigarh administration along with the municipal corporation will organise “Festival of Chandigarh” on Baisakhi.

Artistes from Lucknow, Bhopal and Pakistan have been invited to perform music and dance items during the festival. A committee, headed by the mayor and consisting of the commissioner, MC, CGM CITCO, director tourism and Nek Chand, creator of the Rock Garden, has been set up to organise the festival. TNS



PUDA draws flak from sabha
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 27
A peace march was organised to protest against the failure of PUDA authorities to allot land to the Shri Sanatan Dharam Sabha for the construction of 
a mandir in Sector 70 here.

The march, led by the president B.R. Bhanot, started from Phase IV and culminated near PUDA Bhawan in Sector 62. Bhanot said the protest would continue till the land for the mandir was allotted. If PUDA authorities showed indifference to their demand, residents would be compelled to gherao the PUDA chairman and other officials. A hunger strike could also be organised, he said.

The sabha had been approaching PUDA authorities for the allotment of the land for the past five years but failed to get the desired result.

Chairman of the sabha K.S.Pathania said in the absence of a mandir in the area residents had to celebrate various religious festivals in the open and it was difficult to make such arrangements.



Governor greets people on Ram Navami
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
UT Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) has extended his greetings to city residents on Ram Navami, the birth of Lord Rama.

Calling upon the people to follow the ideals of the “true karamyogi” and develop the spirit of sacrifice and unflinching devotion to duty, he said the festival had a great social and religious merit.

He expressed hope that people celebrated the festival collectively.



Derailment delays Shatabdi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The evening Shatabdi from New Delhi to Kalka was delayed by over two and a half hours, while the Jan Shatabdi was an hour behind schedule following the derailment of a goods train near New Delhi, yesterday.

The railways officials said all the trains departing from Chandigarh were on scheduled time.



Kamboj’s police remand extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
A local court today extended the police remand of Surinder Singh Kamboj, who was arrested on the allegation of flesh trade along with two girls and a Punjab police constable last week, till March 29.

Sources in the operations cell of the Chandigarh police said Kamboj was produced before a local court along with his son, Jagdeep Kamboj, alias Goldy, and Sanjeev Chhabra of Jalalabad.

While Jagdeep was remanded in police custody till March 31, Chhabra was taken in judicial custody.

The police had arrested Jagdeep and Chhabra, claiming that they were accomplices of Surinder Kamboj.

The police claimed to have recovered three stolen cars and a scooter besides some fake documents from their possession.



Suicide: Autopsy on parents’ arrival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The Chandigarh police is awaiting the arrival of parents of Sheela, who was found dead along with her two minor daughters at their residence in Mauli Complex on Monday evening, here.

The SHO of Mani Majra police station said Sheela’s parents were expected to arrive here on Wednesday.

The post-mortem examination of the bodies will be performed only after their arrival.

Sheela’s elder brother, Malu Ram, who worked at Ram Nivas, had informed his mother about the deaths.

He added that so far no one had expressed suspicion behind the deaths, however, they would wait for Sheela’s parents to record their statements in this connection.



PGI technician held for theft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
A technician working at the PGI was caught while allegedly stealing injections today.

The police said the accused, Anjani Kumar of Khuda Lahora village, posted in the operation theatre, was arrested on the complaint of Didar Singh, working in the orthopaedic department.

He alleged that Anjani had stolen nine injections, including five injections of anaesthesia and two of morphine. The incident took place around 12.30 pm.

Inspector Puran Chand, SHO, police station, Sector 11, said as the accused was said be a psychiatric patient, he would be produced before a duty magistrate and taken in judicial custody.

Two hurt

A motorcyclist was seriously injured after being hit by a SUV in Sector 17.

The police said Yogesh Kumar of Sector 56 reported to the police that a Toyota Innova (CH 03 Y 1545) collided with a motor cycle (CH 01 W 6040) near the trafficlights of Sectors 17 and 18 last evening.

The motorcyclist fell unconscious after the mishap and was admitted to the PGI.

A case of causing injuries due to rash and negligent driving has been registered against Javed Khan of Zirakpur, the driver of the SUV.

In another accident, a motorcyclist fled after hitting a pedestrian.

Chetan Kumar of Sector 41-B lodged a complaint with the police that a man riding a motor cycle (PB 31 E 5340) sped away after hitting a pedestrian, Sunny of Sector 23, near the trafficlights of Sector 36 and 37 yesterday.

The victim was admitted to the PGI. A case has been registered in this connection.



Son missing; father blames it on colleagues
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 27
Senior auditor with the Haryana Audit Department Suresh Kumar Yadav has been reported missing from his place of work by his father, BL Yadav, a resident of Sector 21, who suspects foul play.

He told the police that his son took two days’ leave from office yesterday and went to collect his children's report card from school. In the evening, he went to office.

He said Suresh’s colleagues had told him that he seemed worried. He had expressed his desire to speak to a friend who had invited him to dinner.

"He called up home at 5.30pm and said that he would be late but did not return home. We have checked at every hospital and with all his friends, but in vain. He was on a grey Chetak scooter (CH 01 M 9805). We suspect that his vanishing has something to do with the office where he was working."

The father said he had confided in him that some staff members were troubling him and had been doing so since he had joined at the office. "His troublesome colleagues weighed on his mind. I am sure they have something to do with his disappearance," the father said.

A police case has been registered.



Traders hail admn move on VAT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) has welcomed the proposed decision of the Chandigarh administration to exempt food grain from VAT on the pattern of Delhi and other union territories.

Recently, a delegation of the mandal had met the DC for requesting him to make food grain tax-free, Charanjiv Singh and Diwakar Sahoonja, president and general secretary of the CBM, said here on Sunday.

Chandigarh being devoid of any of its own output was cited as the main reason for VAT exemption, as local traders had to pay the CST and freight charges while importing food grain from the nearby states. The delegation also handed over a copy of the notification by the Delhi government to the DC, the trade leaders said.

They urged the UT administrator to get the necessary amendments done before the commencement of the new financial year.



IOC to open 7 new auto LPG outlets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The increased usage of LPG as an auto fuel has led to a growing need for auto LPG gas outlets. Thus, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has decided to open seven new LPG gas outlets across Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

The chief LPG manager, IOC, Gurmeet Singh, informed TNS that they proposed to open the new outlets in Ludhiana, Patiala, Bathinda, Pathankot, Amritsar, Jammu and Chandigarh.

“We already have an LPG gas station at Chandigarh and Jalandhar, but considering the growing demand for this gas as an alternative fuel, we propose to add these new outlets in the region by the year end,” he said.

Other than the LPG kits that are fixed by various car owners, Wagon R LPG model and Omni LPG have become very popular. The car running on LPG fuel helps save 20 per cent on running costs, as compared to the cars running on diesel.The manager said that over the last couple of days they had been getting strict with the unauthorised use of LPG by the car owners.

“We have been taking the help of the police to impound such vehicles where domestic LPG cylinders are being used instead of proper LPG kits. Not only are they misusing LPG cylinders, they are also endangering themselves,” he said.

The IOC had started its first LPG station in Chandigarh two years ago. Initially, the sale was just 16- 18 tons per month. But with growing awareness, the sale has increased to 80 tons per month, he said.



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