C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Suicide by Kalsi Tyres owner
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 5
A Chandigarh businessman allegedly committed suicide by jumping from a high-rise building in the Connaught Place area of New Delhi this morning.

Jagdish Kalsi, 69, owner of Kalsi Tyres, allegedly jumped from the 16th floor of Ambadeep building on Kasturba Gandhi Marg at about 10.30 am, the police said.

The businessman, who had come from Chandigarh a few days ago, reportedly made a call to his brother, who lived in the exclusive Malcha Marg area, before ending his life, requesting him to "look after the family".

The police said no suicide note had been found though two envelopes with some phone numbers were recovered from his pocket.

The cause of the suicide was being investigated, the police added.

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PEC finds fault with UGC report
Says it’s biased & shoddy
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
It seems, Punjab Engineering College (PEC), deemed university, and the University Grants Commission (UGC) are on the warpath.

Almost a month after a team of the University Grants Commission (UGC) submitted a report indicting PEC director Vijay Gupta of irregularities in selections, PEC has termed the UGC report as “shoddy”, “biased”, “unfair” and “conducted with a pre-conceived notion to give an adverse report against the institute.”

PEC board of governors chairman Chandra Mohan has forwarded to the UT Home Secretary a voluminous reply by the PEC director to the UGC report, attacking the manner in which the inquiry was conducted as well as its findings.

“The committee worked most unconstitutionally. It threw the principles of natural justice to the winds while conducting its business and making adverse and malicious recommendations against persons without hearing them,” states the reply.

The UGC committee had observed that PEC followed a flexible cadre promotion scheme (FCPS) to promote faculty, which “left a lot of room for too high a level of discretion in promotions in the hands of the director”.

The reply ironically points out that no promotions under the scheme have yet been made by PEC and the system is yet to be adopted by the college.

The inquiry report alleged that two assistant professors promoted as professors under the career advancement scheme (CAS) did not meet the mandatory requirement of eight years in service in the cadre of assistant professor.

Faux pas!!

“The (UGC inquiry) committee mentioned it met eight teachers who had not been promoted when actually there are only six who could not be promoted...There is no deputy registrar in PEC. How the committee met him, as mentioned in the report is not clear.”

Justifying the action, the reply states that the two assistant professors were “considered and assessed” by the selection committee before they completed eight years of service, but promoted only when they had completed their term.

The director said that five of the six assistant professors who had not been promoted were “habitual non-performers.” They had been rejected several times in the past by other bodies as well. One of the assistant professors has been “rejected” 17 times and another 14 times.

The UGC committee had observed that PEC followed a flexible cadre promotion scheme to promote faculty, which left a lot of room for too high a level of discretion in promotions in the hands of the director. 

The Director further said the UGC team had misconstrued a case of pay protection as a case of someone having been given 14 increments. “The committee… has spoken nothing but the language of the complainants without caring to verify the facts on record and to apply its mind. As such the observation of the committee is a sad commentary on its approach and working if not on its capacity for comprehension.”

The PEC head noted that the inquiry committee had allowed itself to be misled by the complainants, two of whom did not even inform the committee that they had also approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court with the same complaints and their cases were pending in the court.

The findings of the report in these two cases “amounts to undue interference in the proceedings before the court. It appears to be an unfair effort on their part to influence the court,” states the reply.

(To be concluded)

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Watergate
More than 12-hr wait

Chandigarh, April 5
Residents in the southern sectors had to go without water for more than 12 hours today. The Municipal Corporation had informed of a cut in the water supply 9 am to 5 pm in Sectors 20-C & D, 31 to 34, 44 to 47 and Industrial Area Phase-II. According to officials, the supply had to be shut down for interconnection of a delivery pipe with the distribution main.

Residents panicked when the water supply was not restored till late in the evening. They also complained that the MC had not taken steps to provide water through tankers. — TNS

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Agitating parents have their way
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Succumbing to pressure by parents, the Chandigarh administration has decided to start only one Smart section for Class IX in each of the four schools selected earlier for the Smart School project. The schools are located in Sectors 16, 19, 40 and 33.

A spokesperson for the administration said the proposal was initiated for the holistic development of students. However, in view of the parents’ demand to continue with the same system of studies, it had been decided that for this year only one section would be started.

One section would have students with more than 80 per cent marks. If seats were found vacant, these would be filled on a 80-20 ratio between government school and private schools’ students.

For government schools, no test would be held and admissions would be conducted on the marks scored in Class VIII. For private schools’ students, a test would be conducted.

For Class XI, the arrangements would remain since there was already a centralised admission process for these classes. In this way, all Class XI students in these four schools would benefit by the latest technology which would not be available to Class IX students.

Parents were protesting against the Smart schools move because under the project, a large number of students would have had to shift schools.

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Childhood Lost
Kids under emotional distress
Aditi Tandon/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
Children of the tricity are not in a good state of sexual, physical and emotional health, say details of calls received at PGI Childline 1098.

On an average, the helpline receives about 34.4 per cent calls from emotionally distressed children. Most are confused about issues related to sexuality. These issues may arise out of physical or sexual abuse by family or outsiders or out of the child’s voluntary physical relationship, which doesn’t seem to be heading anywhere.

From the calls, it’s clear that the over-exposed and sexually-unaware children are experimenting a lot and landing themselves into situations they are not trained to handle. There have been cases of pregnant girls calling up for help and of young boys solicited into relationships by elders.

A boy called up to say: “My aunt makes sexual passes at me. We have been physically close for a while. She is pregnant and I am afraid her child will look like me.”

Teachers, with whom PGI Childline volunteers work, say that children are becoming increasingly involved in sexual acts with peers and elders just for the sake of fun.

“They have no idea about contraception, unsafe sex or HIV. Free availability of drugs is also causing trouble. Children even use whiteners and diluters on handkerchiefs for a kick. We plan to push for sex education in schools through DPI (Schools). We will hold a sensitisation workshop for teachers in April end," says Kulpreet Dhillon, helpline in charge.

Another area of concern is sexual abuse of children at home. “The problem is acute in slums. We’ve had cases where children have not gone back home, afraid their relatives will abuse them.

Corporal punishment is another area that demands attention. “The problem exists even in elite schools. There have been cases where children have been so severely beaten up that they’ve refused to go to study. One government school is under our special scanner.

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Booked for teacher’s rape
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
A 25-year-old teacher has slapped rape charges against a former student. Acting on the complaint, the police has booked Ashish Tomar, a resident of Sirmaur in Himachal, for allegedly raping his teacher over five years on the pretext of marrying her.

In charge of the Woman and Child Support Unit (WACSU) of the Chandigarh Police inspector Hari Kumar said the victim, also a Himachal resident, had lodged a complaint against 25-year-old Tomar with the police in January this year. A case under Sections 376 and 420 of the IPC had been registered.

Tomar has reportedly got anticipatory bail from a local court. The victim told the police that she had been living in Sector 20 since 2001 along with her friend. A student of Masters in Computer Application (MCA), she had been taking tuitions and Tomar was her student. In March 2002, when her landlord went to his native village, Tomar raped her. She told her roommate and a friend of Tomar about the incident, following which Tomar promised to marry her. Tomar’s family also assured her of marriage.

All these years, Tomar would take money from her and when she refused to give him money in 2005, he stopped calling her. He went to Shimla and would call her occasionally. In 2006 he again came to her and asked for money. On being denied the same, he changed his contact number and the address to avoid her.

Tomar got a job in Shimla and decided to start afresh. Petrified, the victim lodged a complaint following which the police held several counselling sessions for the couple, but to no avail.

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Notice to Mohali police

Zirakpur, April 5
The Punjab State Human Right Commission(PSHRC) today issued notice to the Mohali police for beating up innocent persons following a mob attack on the Zirakpur police station on March 24 night.

Acting on a complaint of Shabeena, wife of Aamir, a disabled person, the commission directed the Mohali SSP to submit a report on the circumstances leading to the assault on innocent persons of colonies close to Shaheed Bhagat Singh Colony by May 31. — TNS

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Revamp in city police on cards
Key posts only on merit: IGP
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
In a bid to dispel the notion that key posts in the Chandigarh Police are being manned by a few “blue-eyed boys”, the UT police is planning a major revamp of the force aimed at giving equal opportunities to all sections.

“There are no blue-eyed boys in the force and the departmental promotion committee will meet early next week to consider promotion and other organisational matters. After promotions, deserving candidates will be entrusted with key posts”, said UT inspector-general of police (IGP) S.K. Jain, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune today.

The IGP made it clear that he would not allow the monopoly of some police officials on key posts and devise a way out so that all deserving police officers got a chance to perform on rotation.

He said the move would help increase the efficiency in the force and eliminate a sense of inferiority complex among those who were given fewer opportunities in their service.

On the promotion committee, he said all formalities had been completed and a detailed report had been sent to the home secretary.

He asserted that in an attempt to hone up the investigating skills of the police personnel, special refresher courses had been started.

The officers were required to pass certain examinations and their level of efficiency were judged according to the marks scored by them.

On the recent steps introduced with an aim to bring transparency, the IGP said they had installed five closed-circuit TV cameras at every police station, which included one in the station house officer’s room.

He said the city police had become the first in the country to introduce CCTV in police stations.

He said officers dealing with public would be kept under the constant fear of being watched. He added that officers had been directed to register cases and refrain from dilly-dallying on their registration.

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Liquor trade gets close to authorities
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
It seems, the liquor trade has come close to policy makers, literally. Just a few metres from the office of the deputy commissioner-cum-excise and taxation commissioner, a liquor vend is coming up. The vend is close to buildings housing a number of offices of Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana.

Riding the new policy of licensing the liquor trade, at least eight vends have opened in Sector 17, a commercial hub which has an area of less than a square kilometre. Another 15 vends have sprung up in Sector 22. This means around 11 per cent of the total city’s liquor trade is focused in these two sectors.

While officials defend the opening of vends, visitors to the sector believe that increasing the number of vends defeats the purpose of discouraging drinking habits among city residents.

In the new excise policy, the cap on location and grant of licences has been done away with in commercial areas of sectors, industrial areas and rehabilitation colonies only.

Pardeep Chabbra, a municipal councillor of Sectors 16, 17 and 22, said the administration should focus on issues like providing affordable education and housing. “More schools should be opened instead of vends”, he added.

Guidelines say that the minimum distance between the gate of an educational and religious institution and a liquor vend should be 50 metres. However, there is no guideline regarding public offices.

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Final Harry Potter book set for July release
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
This may not qualify as an ‘august literary event’ but it most certainly is being touted as the ‘biggest hyped event’ not just in the country but right across the world. As the countdown to the release of the final Potter volume, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, begins what with the finishing post-July 21, 2007-now in full view, it will not be just the little ones screaming for a copy. The tizzy audience now also includes a sizeable segment of the adult population as well.

According to the “numerology” associated with Harry Potter, number 7 is “significant and vital,” insists Divya Paintal, an avid reader, mother of two teenagers and a housewife living in the city.

“This is the seventh book in the Harry Potter series; it is Harry’s seventh year at Hogwarts, his nemesis Lord Voldemort has a seven-part soul, it is also the ‘most powerfully magical number” according to one of the book’s characters Tom Riddle (reference ‘Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince’) and finally the book is slated for a July release, the seventh month of the year,” she says earnestly.

The logic is irrefutable as even young ones, too little to actually start reading these books when they first arrived on the reading scene 10 years ago, have started to devour them before the final instalment arrives. Siddharth Kapoor, a student of class three at St John’s School here, is busy plodding through Book 5 (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix).

He is still to read the mammoth ‘Half Blood Prince’ but is certain he will be up-to-date by the time ‘Deathly Hallows’ hits the bookstands. “Harry Potter will die, ” he says solemnly. “This is because both he and Lord Voldemort, his arch-enemy, are the same. Voldemort took Harry’ blood in the fourth book and so whatever happens to one will happen to the other.”

Even book stores across the city are gearing up for the ‘mega event’. The Browser Library and Bookstore in Sector 8 is launching the special Harry Potter membership card tomorrow.

What is unique is that every person who takes the membership of the library will be guaranteed a book to read on the day of its release. Simply put, it means not having to shell out the purported Rs 975 for this to me, almost a Rs 100 more than the price of the last one. What is more, plans are afoot to start a Harry Potter Club, says Chief Executive of Browser, Pankaj P Singh.

Afterall this is a “tech-savvy generation which already knows everything about this book there is to know,” says Ajay Arora of Capital Book Depot in the city.

All in all, the book is already creating a buzz and whether Harry Potter dies or not (the one marked theory making the rounds) this book is certainly going to live up to its hype if not its type(face) and make its author J K Rowling a very rich woman indeed.

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Quality agency raids two firms
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The northern regional office of Bureau of Indian Standards, Chandigarh, carried out raids with the help of the Punjab Police on Pooja Mechanical Works and Kajal Sewing Machine, Ludhiana.

Both firms were found using spurious ISI mark on household sewing machines without having a valid licence from the bureau.

Deputy director general, north, Bhupinder Singh said the companies were found engaged in illegal manufacture of sewing machines with spurious BIS standard mark.

A big haul of such material was seized and sealed by the team.

He said the misuse of ISI mark by any manufacturer without holding valid BIS licence was punishable with imprisonment up to one year or fine up to Rs 50,000, or both.

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MC panel for revised shop rent in 3 villages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The finance & contract committee of the municipal corporation, Chandigarh, has recommended the revision of market rent of shops under the corporation in Burail, Badheri and Buterla villages.

It proposed a monthly rent for shops at 75 per cent of the current market rental value of the shops at a meeting today.

The committee also recommended revised rates for the open space used for sale of watermelons on road from April 20 to June 19.

The other agendas that got approved were construction of community centre building, Sector 11 B; maintenance of Christian cemetery and Muslim graveyard in Sector 25; leasing out of community centres of Mauli Jagran, Palsora and New Indira colonies to an NGO; and Youth Technical Training Society to run a project to educate and impart technical training to working children.

Four food kiosks in Shivalik Garden, Mani Majra, were allotted for a period of five years at five per cent increase per year on the last paid amount.

The reserve price for the food kiosks will be Rs 6,000.

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Admn sop for repatriated MC staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Chandigarh administration has decided to treat the period spent by employees of administration working in the municipal corporation as “foreign service” till the date they are finally transferred to the corporation.

The decision will benefit around 700 employees who were shifted to the corporation from the administration in 1996.

These workers had sought repatriation to the administration and were shifted back later.

Sources said when certain workers retired or neared retirement, the administration could not decide on the period of service in the corporation while working out their retirement benefits and gratuity from the administration.

A meeting was held last week in which it was decided that the service period of the employees in corporation before repatriation in the administration be treated as that on “foreign service”.

Around 4,000 employees have so far been shifted to the corporation.

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Letters

A mere ploy

Apropos the news report “Govt committed to empowering women” published in the March 30 edition of Chandigarh Tribune, I would like to say that successive governments have done little in this regard. Reservation for women in the legislature remains a mere promise. The parties too have failed to give fair representation to women in the distribution of tickets. Forming women empowerment groups will serve no purpose. It is likely that it is another ploy to do anything concrete on the subject.

— Nimmi, Mohali

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030

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Mohali Dist
Water samples fail test
Our Correspondent

Mohali, April 5
Eleven water samples collected by officials of the health department from SAS Nagar district have failed the potability test.

The department had launched a campaign to check the spread of water-borne diseases under which samples were collected from various parts of the district.

Civil surgeon M.S.Toor said 52 water samples were collected since January, of which 11 failed the test.

The report of five samples collected from Sectors 66, 67 , 68 , 69 and Sohana on April 3 was awaited.

He said the authorities concerned had been informed about the quality of water and directed to take the necessary action.

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Zirakpur reels under power cuts
Pradeep Sharma/Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, April 5
Summer season brings its own share of problems for the residents of Zirakpur. In fact, erratic power supply is already adding to the miseries of the residents of the much-touted township of apartments and shopping malls.

With the power demand clearly exceeding the supply, tough days seem to be ahead for the residents, comprising mostly persons from the middle class.

Though all sections of society literally feel the heat, the businessmen are affected the most. It is difficult to run the business as you never know when the electricity supply would leave you in the lurch, says Arvind Kumar, who runs a computer shop in Baltana.

However, what has irked the residents the most is the fact that no prior notice is given for the power cuts by the PSEB authorities.

The complaint centre is virtually non-existent and the PSEB staff allegedly fail to redress the grievances of the power consumers, alleges Mr Gulshan Sharma.

Even today the power supply to parts of Baltana and areas along the Zirakpur-Kalka road was disrupted from about 10 am to 4 pm. Such disruptions were routine in other parts of the town also.

Sources said power shortage was reason behind the unscheduled power cuts. With the town growing by leaps and bounds, provision of adequate power supply to each and every colony was a distant dream, the sources added.

Old transmission system has made the problem worse. As the power demand in summer peaks up on account of the use of air-conditioners, coolers and fans, the shortfall is likely to persist in the months to come, the sources concede.

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Missing auditor’s body found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
The Mohali police today recovered the decomposed body of a 38-year-old man, Suresh Kumar Yadav, a senior auditor with the audit department of the Accountant General of Haryana, Sector 33, from Siswan dam, 12 km from here on the Chandigarh-Baddi road.

Yadav had gone missing on March 26.

Confirming the devolvement, in charge of the crime branch, Chandigarh police, inspector Satbir Singh said they had received a massage from the Mullanpur police that a badly decomposed body of a man had been found floating in the dam water.

The family, which was present at the office of the inspector when the news broke, was taken to the scene by a police officer.

He said the body was noticed by a watchman at the dam. It seemed to be a case of suicide, he added.

The family identified the body and the Mohali police initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The body was handed over to the family afterward.

Interestingly, Yadav’s scooter was recovered from Dhanas a few days ago and its documents were found missing.

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‘CII promoting industrial development’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
“India's most pressing challenge is to sustain fast and inclusive growth and to ensure that it benefits all citizens, which can only be achieved through development of human resources. The time is opportune for the country to harp on its knowledge and skilled workforce and boost productivity of agriculture industry and services,” stated Adesh Gupta, chairman, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), northern region, while addressing a press conference here today.

Sharing the initiatives taken by the CII to promote and sustain industrial and societal development in the region, he said the CII had endeavoured to provide new opportunities through rural, technological and human resources.

He said during the past one year, the CII impressed upon the government on vital policy issues relating to central excise and customs, power, labour, infrastructure and urban development, inter-state trade, agricultural, right to information, special economic zones, single window facility, taxation, technical education etc.

He further stated that the CII had been taking initiatives to enhance competitiveness of small and medium enterprises. For the purpose, six new clusters had been formed in Jalandhar, Mandi Gobindgarh, Faridabad, Lucknow, Parwanoo and Jaipur. Though, most of these clusters were in nascent stages, the total savings reported till now by the member companies of these clusters were about Rs 100 million, added Gupta.

Among others who spoke were Partap K. Aggarwal, chairman, CII, Chandigarh council, and Rajender Guleria, chairman, CII, Himachal Pradesh, state council.

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