C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Inquiry into PU dept society funds
Role of 2 former heads suspect
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
At least six employees of the department of chemical engineering and technology, Panjab University, including two former chairpersons of the department, are facing a probe regarding “misappropriation” of funds worth lakhs from the Chemical Engineering Society.

A report filed by university’s audit officer Amrik Singh has pointed out that there has been a systematic “short-realisation” of the society’s funds during 2000-2004. The report states that the society charges were collected from eavch student admitted to the department during counselling. However, the entire amount of the funds collected were not deposited in the society’s account.

The report points out that even this collection was in violation of university rules and regulations. All fees/funds collected from students need to be approved by the university syndicate. No such approval was obtained for this collection and the collection is, therefore, illegal.

The anomaly in collection of society funds came to light in 2005 following which an inquiry was marked to Prof R.K. Kohli who asked for the audit’s report on the issue. The audit report was handed over last week to Professor Kohli and department chairman Prof Daljit Singh for action.

When contacted, Prof Daljit Singh said the audit report in the case had been received, but declined to give more details on the matter. A final report is being prepared by Professor Kohli, which will be submitted to the university authorities.

In response to a query from Prof Kohli, Prof Daljit Singh is said to have also given the names of persons handling the society’s funds during the said period. The list includes the names of two chairpersons of the department during whose tenure the alleged misappropriation took place, two other professors and two office assistants. Sources said the two former chairpersons and their representatives had been called at a meeting and given an opportunity to check the records (collected by the audit department in the past two years as part of the inquiry) and offer an explanation, if any.

Sources said six other departments of the university are operating such unauthorised, un-audited funds raising crores of rupees from unsuspecting students. The university is to yet to order an inquiry into the funds collected for student societies by these departments.

Sources said un-audited advances had also been given to the faculty members, their lab staff as also students, again in violation of the university rules. 



Special Drive
22 school buses, autos challaned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Chandigarh administration today launched a special drive to ensure compliance of traffic rules, according to the High Court directions, by school buses.

Two teams were constituted for the same. As many as 22 school buses and autos were challaned for various offences. Two buses and two autos were challaned for carrying more students then the permitted.

Two school bus drivers were found without driver’s licence, seven buses were found without registration cards and one bus was found without an attendant.

The DPI (S) has written to the principals and managers of all schools to ensure that the children are transported to school and home in a safe manner and with least inconvenience. They have been cautioned against overloading.They have been asked to restrain their drivers from over-speeding. 



SDM gets away with “advice”

Chandigarh, May 11
Despite severe criticism, SDM Ankur Garg, allegedly involved in the thrashing of 13-year old Bittu of Janata Colony, has been let off with a mere "advice" by the administration.

Adviser Lalit Sharma, said here today that "the officer has been given a wrap on the knuckles. He has ben advised not to be carried away by a situation.”

The Adviser said: "We have taken a final decision after careful examination. There is no ground for carrying forward the case”. — TNS



All 14 accused released on bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Sixtytwo-year-old Surjit Singh was one among 14 persons released from Burail jail this evening on charges of attacking the Chandigarh police and UT officials. Surjit claims to just have been a mere spectator on the spot. Tales of other 'victms' are no different.

After nine days in jail, as many as 14 victims of the brutal police lathi-charge at Janata Colony in Nayagaon were let out on bail this evening.

" We have been made to pay a heavy price for no fault of ours. We had made our dwelling units from our meagre earnings and we have the right to have access to our houses", said Nirmla, who had come to furnish the bail bond for Rohit at the district courts here.

Among the arrested was a Surjit Singh, whom the police claimed had attacked the police and UT officials. A 13-year-old Bittu, who took the beating from SDM Ankur Garg, was also arrested. " The police picked up just anyone coming its way," said Vinod Kumar, a witness to the lathi charge.

“ At the behest of officials of the administration, the Chandigarh Police is treating the Nayagoan residents as criminals,” he said.

Slapping irrelevant Sections, including attempt to murder, did not hold ground as a local court today granted bail to all 14 accused. In the order,

The court observed it was a case of mob allegedly attacking UT officials. The identity of the assailants had not been established.

While granting bail to 13-year-old Bittu, a local court had yesterday observed that it was not a fit case for slapping charges of attempt to murder. Arvind Thakur, a human rights lawyer, said Sections of 147, 148, 307, 332, 353, and 427 of the IPC was imposed in case of severe injuries alone.

Lawyers for Human Rights International today wrote to the IGP to cancel the FIR against the Nayagoan residents as it was “ abuse of the law.”

The residents with the help of human rights lawyers have filed a case with the National Human Rights Commission. The case will be heard on May 15.

Janata Colony: Kang meets Governor
His plea: Allow access, drop cases

Former minister and MLA from Morinda, Jagmohan Singh Kang today held a dialogue with the Governor and U.T. Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues to find a solution to the problem of closure of a road from Khuda Lahora to Janata Colony near Nayagaon.

The delegation included Sarpanch Gurbachan Singh,Maha Singh, Sadhu Singh, Jai Chand, Manjeet Singh, Mukhtiar Singh and Surinder Jolly.

Kang told the Governor that the colony residents had access to chandigarh which had been blocked by erecting a wall by the U.T. Administration/PGI authorities.

Kang said the poor residents had been put to discomfiture and had to travel about 4 km to reach their homes, the market etc, which was unfair.

He requested that the passage be reopened and a passage be provided at the vacant U.T. land adjacent to the PGI land, where the disputed wall had been errected. He also wanted cases against the residents withdrawn.

Genral Rodrigues assured the delegation that he would look into the matter and take a decision in the larger public interest. He deputed home secretary Krishan Mohan to look into the matter and resolve the issue at the earliest.




‘No neta has visited us’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
None of the political leaders who raised a hue and cry over the thrashing of the 13-year-old Bittu by SDM Ankur Garg and the police have bothered to visit him at his residence after his release from the juvenile home.

“It has been mere words. No leader has visited us,” said a distressed Bittu. Demanding suspension of the SDM , he said: “I will never forget the trauma, which I to undergo for no fault of mine. I want two things, reopening of the access road and suspension of officials, including SDM Ankur Garg.” Bittu does not know the name of the police officer who “beat me up like an animal,” said Bittu at his residence sitting amid his family members here today.

His grandmother, mother, two sisters and a younger brother seemed still in shock over their experience. “I came from Patiala in the wee hours that day. I woke up on hearing some distressing noises. I learnt my cousin Vinod was bleeding after receiving lathi blows by the police. As I went out to see him, the police attacked me with lathis. I was dragged for about 1km and then the SDM and some policemen beat me mercilessly. The SDM kicked me several times in the abdomen,” recalled Bittu with horror.

“At the juvenile home, I passed blood while urinating and was given a few tablets, which did not give me relief.”

Bittu earns a living working at marriages and doing other menial jobs.



Conversions legal: Centre
Sanjeev Singh Bariana/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
In an important development, the ministry of home affairs has accorded legal validity to conversions in the industrial area and land allotment to the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park in response to objections raised by the office of the principal accountant general of Punjab and Chandigarh.

The home ministry, after consulting the law ministry, has clarified that the Administrator is competent to frame rules.

The audit office in a communication to the ministry dated February 27, earlier this year, had expressed reservations on the allotment of land to Infosys Technologies Limited at Rs 9.53 crore.The objections were raised on the issue of competence of the Union Territory to frame rules in the context of Sections 3, 7 and 22 of the Capital of Punjab(Development and Regulation) Act, 1952.

The ministry in its reply to the audit office dated May 3 has said that the matter has been examined in consultation with the department of legal affairs, ministry of law and justice. The department has opined that the "Administrator is fully authorised to frame rules and schemes in pursuance of the powers vested under the specific notifications".

A senior official said the specific case can be extended to include the entire area of the UT. The office of the principal accountant-general had said that the conversion policy had been notified in contravention of the central Act. aThe audit department had also pointed out that the policy had resulted in loss of crores of rupees.



Army to have 124 Arjun tanks by 2009
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Close on the heels of the indigenous Arjun battle tank taking part in war games for the first time, the Ministry of Defence has announced that the first batch of 124 tanks ordered by the Army would be in service by 2009.

“The production of Arjun has commenced at the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF), Avadi, and the Army has placed an indent for the manufacture of 124 tanks at a cost of Rs 1,760 crore,” according to information released by the ministry.

Till March 31, 2007, HVF has made an expenditure of Rs 1,270 crore against the indent.

All issues related to the production of Arjun tanks have been resolved and the production is getting stabilised, the ministry has claimed. An indent for the manufacture of 124 tanks was placed on the Ordnance Factory Board, which oversees the HVF, in March 2000. Then defence minister George Fernandes had stated in Parliament that the first batch of 214 tanks would be delivered to the Army during 2003-04.

While the HVF is the tank’s manufacturing agency, as many as 10 laboratories of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have been involved in the design and development of its various sub-systems and components. The Army had laid out its requirements for the indigenous tank in 1972 and DRDO had announced commencement of the project in 1982.

The production of the Arjun would largely remain a public sector venture. According to the ministry, at present there is no proposal to take cooperation of the private sector as a joint venture. The role of the private sector is limited to the supply of various components and sub-assemblies.

The Army is reported to have about 14 Arjun tanks in service, which took part in Exercise Ashwamedh in the western deserts this month.

The army has in the past had expressed its unhappiness with the performance of the Arjun, citing problems with the fire control system, excessive weight leading to poor mobility and engine overheating in desert conditions. The DRDO claimed to have rectified some of the 



‘First War of Independence in 1761
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Joining the ongoing controversy over the year that marked the First War of Independence, Guru Gobind Singh Foundation president Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia today claimed that the first war actually dated back to 1761 and not 1857 or 1845.

Making the controversial claim today, Ahluwalia said over the decades, non-Left historians had been describing the 1857 uprising against the British in India as the First War of Independence, followed by (according to them) the second National Freedom Struggle that culminated in 1947. The view, he said, was not correct.

Commenting on the statement made by some Sikh MPs that the 1845 Anglo-Sikh war should be treated as the first war, 1857 as the second and the 20th century freedom struggle as the third in the series, Ahluwalia said such placing of three occurrences generically in the same class was historical absurdity. “The pre-1947 national liberation struggle was infused with the spirit of nationalism that rose in India in the 20th century; the 1857 struggle was not marked by any such perspective. It was stirred by patriotic fervour. For the British rulers, it was a sepoy mutiny, for the Indians it was a revolt. Following Karl Marx, Jawaharlal Nehru in his ‘The Discovery of India’ termed it as a ‘feudal outburst by feudal chiefs’,” Ahluwalia said today.

As regards the 1845 Anglo-Sikh war, he said it was a battle between two regimes — the Khalsa Raj fighting for its sovereignty against the British colonial sweep. After Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Punjab was annexed by the British in 1849. “So how could the pre-annexation Anglo-Sikh war of 1845 be termed as the war of independence,” Ahluwalia asked.

He claimed that the historical truth was that a time came in the mid-18th century when the then Punjab was virtually annexed into the Afghan empire with Afghan governor ruling over Punjab from Lahore. Finally, the Punjab was liberated by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia in 1761 when a coin was struck with the inscription that by the grace of God, Jassa Kalal had seized the territory from Ahmad Shah Abdali, whose empire was being called Mulk-i-Ahmad (the empire of Ahmad Shah Abdali).

But for this liberation of the Punjab, perhaps most of the province might have been lost to India for a long time. “In other words if the criterion for war of independence is the liberation of one’s territory occupied and/or annexed by the enemy forces then the year 1761 has a better claim to be hailed as marking the First War of Independence in sub-continental India,” Ahluwalia said.



Sex ratio in slums improves
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
A survey conducted in Colony No. 5 has found that the sex ratio in Chandigarh slums has shown a major improvement. There are more females than males among infants up to the age of one.

The survey was conducted by the health department of the Chandigarh administration to assess various basic parameters of the uses of reproductive and child health services.

During the survey, 73 children were found to be anaemic clinically and 441 children were found to be malnourished.

As per the survey conducted in 5,100 houses with a total population of 20,542, there were 4,004 children in the age group of 0 to 6 years and there were 1,044 females per 1,000 males in the age group of 0 to 1 year.

In 2001, the sex ratio for 0-6 years was 845 females per 1,000 males in the UT. On the basis of the survey, the sex ratio for 1-3 years was found to be 957 females per 1,000 males, for 3-6 years 855 females per 1,000 males.

In the UT, 898 women took the services of hospital for delivery, whereas 2,486 delivered at home.

Home secretary Krishna Mohan said the administration would assess other colonies and sectors in a phased manner on these parameters.

The UT health department has initiated a survey from April 11 following instructions from the home secretary to assess various parameters at the ground level. After random sampling, Colony No. 5 was selected for the survey regarding the sex ratio between 0-1 year, 1-3 years, 3-6 years, immunisation status, nutritional status, pregnant women, lactating mothers, anaemia, status of family planning and use of temporary and permanent methods of sterilisation.



Policy for oustees eyewash: Panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Pind Bachao Committee has termed the decision of the Chandigarh administration to frame a policy for displaced farmers as a mere eyewash.

This was being done to divert the attention of the farming community. Such a policy, known as the oustee policy 1996, already existed, but had failed to provide relief to all oustees since policy-makers ensured that the conditions were so stringent that none was able to get a plot.

It has been demaded that the farmers should be allotted plots irrespective of their owning a house in the same area, which should be earmarked in advance. The administration should understand the misery being caused to the farmers who were rendered homeless and jobless.

The rehabilitation and resettlement policy of the Government of India was being framed, and the administration should not be in a hurry to formulate another ‘defunct oustee policy’. 



Neglect park(ed) all over
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
This once ‘green island’ in the midst of high-rise concrete buildings in Sector 17 is nobody’s baby. This, perhaps, explains the dilapidated condition of the area, adjacent to the General Post Office (GPO) in Sector 17.

Wild growth, over 2-foot-long weeds and garbage strewn all over best explains the state of the area, which had earlier been developed into a lush green garden by the staff of the GPO. By dusk, this gets converted into a safe haven for drug addicts and vagabonds as there are no lights at night.

Officials in the GPO told Chandigarh Tribune that almost a decade ago, the then post master-general of the GPO had decided to convert the open area surrounding the GPO into a lush green reserve. The idea was to beautify the area, besides giving a cooling effect to the building in the long summer months.

Ashoka trees and several other ornamental bushes were planted by post office officials and the area was fenced with barbed wires to ward off stray animals. However, later the municipal corporation objected to this on the grounds that it was “encroachment” on public land. Following this, the officials stopped caring for the plants and it is now lying in a dilapidated condition.

It is now learnt that a part of this park would be included in the Chandigarh adminiostration’s plans for the proposed 11-storeyed building, so no efforts are being made either by the GPO or the MC to restore the green area to its lost glory. 



CSIO observes tech day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) today observed National Technology Day by organising an open day for the general public. About 1,200 visitors, including school and college students, went around its laboratories and research facilities and interacted with scientists.

The visitors were also briefed about various technologies developed by the CSIO.

Later in the afternoon, Dr K.K. Talwar, director of PGI, Chandigarh, delivered a lecture on “Artificial heart - present status”. He explained the functioning of various types of artificial hearts, both those functioning from outside the body as well as implantable devices.

The CSIO director, Dr Pawan Kapur, highlighted the significance of National Technological Day and listed the contributions of the CSIO in the medical, social and defence fields. He said the CSIO was taking up the development of an artificial heart in the next five-year plan.



SSC declares result
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Result of the combined preliminary graduate-level exam-2006, conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) on February 4, last year, has been declared.

The result is displayed on the notice board of the office of the deputy regional director (North West Region) of the commission at Kendriya Sadan, Sector 9-A, Chandigarh, and is also available on the SSC’s website: sscresults.nic.in. This information was given by N.K. Virdi, deputy regional director of the SSC, here today. 



Slum Rehabilitation
Adviser launches SRISHTI software
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
For computerising the entire process of allotment of dwelling units under the Slum Rehabilitation Project (starting from submission of application to handing over of physical possession to the dwellers), Lalit Sharma, adviser to the UT administrator, today launched a unique software, SRISHTI (Slum Rehabilitation for Improvement, Security and Hygiene of the Inhabitants), developed by the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB).

The application-based workflow system has been developed by the CHB and was successfully tested during the shifting of about 700 families from the Madrasi colony, Sector 26, to small flats in Sector 56.

Sharma also released a brochure of the Slum Rehabilitation Project under the Chandigarh Small Flats Scheme, 2006, at Government Girls High School, Sector 25, today.

Currently, as many as 23,841 slum families, spread over 18 different colonies in the city, have been identified.

Throwing light on the unique features of the project under the Small Flats Scheme, 2006, the adviser said for checking resale, the dwelling units would not be allotted on an ownership basis but on a licence fee basis. This would help in checking the practice of selling of the site or allotted dwelling unit in the market and then going back to the slums.

Large chunks of open areas and parks along with basic infrastructure facilities of healthcare, education and shopping were also being provided under the project. Individual water, electricity and sewer connections would also be provided in each dwelling unit.

The Chandigarh administration has identified 11 locations for construction of these dwelling units. These locations are in Sectors 56, 38 (West), 49, 53, Maloya, Dhanas, Ram Darbar, Mauli Jagran, Raipur Kalan, Maloya- II and Bapu Dham.

Shifting of 460 slum families from Labour Colony No. 4 (Industrial Area-Press sites) to pre-fabricated shelters in Sector 56 has already been completed under the project.



25 bedsheets donated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The North-Western Zonal Council of the Ramakrishna Vivekananda International Foundation today donated 25 bedsheets for inmates of Mother Teresa Home, Sector 23, here as part of celebrations of its foundation day.

Ashwani Garg, chairman, Raghu Nath Rai Memorial Educational and Charitable Trust, and members of the foundation - C.S. Rao, Sohan Lal Sharma, Rachna Garg and Anu Guleria - presented the bedsheets to the head sister of the home to be distributed among the inmates.

Ashwani Garg said this was the first step taken by the council to help the needy.



Tribune employee dead
Tribune News Service

Mr Surjit Singh RanaChandigarh, May 11
Mr Surjit Singh Rana (38), Senior Proof Messenger, The Tribune, died at his native village, Bhadwar (district Kangra) today after a brief illness. His cremation was largely attended. He served the institute for 14 years.

He is survived by his wife and a daughter.



Man killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, May 11
Vijay Kumar, an employee of a factory here, was killed in a road accident today.

According to sources, Vijay, a resident of Hamidpur village in Ambala district, was his way to Dera Bassi from Ambala on his scooter when he was hit by a truck coming from the opposite direction. He reportedly died on the spot.

The driver of the truck has absconded. A case has been registered.



Advocate held on rape charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
A city-based advocate allegedly exploited a girl sexually and when she pressured him for marriage, he tried to kill her by poisoning.

The local police today arrested the advocate, Pradeep Verma, in this connection.

In her complaint to the police, the girl alleged that Pradeep developed intimacy with her on the pretext of a false promise of marriage. During their relationship, they had physical relations. They even applied for court marriage, which was withdrawn later by Pradeep. When the girl asked Pradeep for marriage, he allegedly tried to kill her by poisoning her on April 12.

The police has registered a case of cheating, rape and attempt to murder against the advocate.

Chain snatched

In yet another incident, two motorcyclists sped away after snatching a 32 gm gold chain from a woman from near her residence in Sector 22.

In her complaint to the Sector 17 police, Shashi Sikka alleged that two motorcyclists snatched her gold chain near her residence around 12.55 pm when she was returning home along with a friend from a kitty party at Aroma. 



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