C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Ranked 34, Jaspriya tops city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The high scorers of CBSE Class XII examination of the city failed to make it to the top 20 of the CBSE All-India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Entrance Test mains (PMET) 2007, the result of which was declared today.

Unlike last year, when at least five students broke into the top 20 of the test, this year the highest ranked city student, Jaspriya Sandhu, is placed 34th on the merit list.

Originally hailing from Ludhiana, Jaspriya joined AK Vidyamandir, Sector 36, for its one-month test series.

Elated at her success, Jaspriya said: “I could not ask for more. I only expected to make it to the first 1,000, but this is really surprising. I never studied too hard and had a relaxed approach. I plan to celebrate the success with my friends at home.”

A topper throughout, Jaspriya secured 93.2 per cent marks in Class XII and studied in DAV School, Ludhiana.

The daughter of a doctor couple, Jaspriya wants to pursue MBBS through Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi.

Her father, Dr N.P.S. Sandhu, who is currently in the US, is a surgeon, while her mother, Ripjeet Kaur, is a gynaecologist.

City resident Nivedita is ranked 35 and has clinched the second place among city aspirants.

Nivedita too wants to do her MBBS from Maulana Azad Medical College. Currently in Mumbai to take part in the biology olympiad, Nivedita shared her joyous with Chandigarh Tribune: “This is something I never expected. I am on cloud nine. I have not decided about the future yet but will probably do my MBBS from Maulana Azad College.”

Nivedita, who studied in SGGS-26, secured 92.4 per cent marks in Class XII.

Based in Sector 37, her father, Dr S.P. Singh, is an orthopaedic surgeon, while mother Jasminderjeet Kaur is a dental surgeon.

Ranked 65th, Harveer is third in the city. Son of a teacher couple, Harveer has a passion for cricket and reading.

“I expected a good rank though I had not done well in the chemistry paper,” he said.

Navneen Garg bagged the fourth place in the city by finding 117th rank on the list.

Mukesh Dadu (ranked 132), Preeti Mathuri (139), Nikhil (220), Itika (398) and Kalyani (399) are the other achievers from the city.

“Nearly 300 students have qualified the preliminary examination from the city. Out of them, nearly 25 have qualified for the main examination,” said Prof S.C. Gupta, a physics lecturer.



Mohali Fire
Probe indicts two senior officers
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The executive officer of the Municipal Committee and the assistant divisional fire officer, Mohali, have been indicted for dereliction in performing their duty in the Janta Market fire incident on June 1. The fire was caused by a short circuit, according to a report.

The report of the inquiry, conducted by the additional deputy commissioner, Mohali, was today submitted to the office of the Punjab Chief Minister and also to chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh.

Sources said the inquiry officer had recommended interim financial relief for the shopkeepers. The sorry state of affairs prevailing at the Mohali fire brigade station has also been highlighted in the report.

According to it, the assistant divisional fire officer did not perform his duty as per the rule 8 regarding the Punjab municipal fire brigade. The poor working of machines of the fire brigade caused delay in extinguishing the fire.

Indicting the executive officer (EO), the inquiry officer stated that the EO had never conducted any inspection or drill at the fire station to check its functioning. Under the relevant rules, the EO is required to inspect the fire brigade and its appliances and inventories once in a month and report of each inspection is to be recorded in the register to be maintained for this purpose.

The EO was not present at the site of fire and nor he informed senior officer about the incident. He did not even establish contact with any officer. Had the EO been present at the site he would have played the role to guide the fire brigade officials and would have contacted the officials of other districts to call fire tenders. The EO acted most irresponsibly, the report said.

It further stated that there was woeful shortage of staff at the fire brigade. Against the required 70 employees at the station, there were only seven employees.The fire brigade station is not equipped to tackle any major fire in Mohali, the report said, adding that the water pipe of the first fire tender deployed at the site was torn. The meters installed in the fire tender to indicate water level were also not working. Overall condition of both fire tenders was far from satisfactory. Water pipes for fire tenders were bought in 2000 and many of them were torn. And no tender refilling point had been identified near the Janta Market where earlier an incident of fire 
was reported.



Tipsy cop suspended after fracas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
A head constable of the Chandigarh police was placed under suspension after he indulged in an altercation with a resident at the Sector 44 market this afternoon.

According to eyewitnesses, the incident took place around 2 pm when Rajbir Singh, the head constable, who was in an “inebriated” condition, entered into an altercation with a man over some issue and misbehaved with him.

Seeing trouble after people gathered at the scene, the head constable tendered an apology to the man.

However, the matter was reported to the police station in Sector 34.

SHO Prem Kumar Chauhan said head constable Rajbir Singh was sent for a medical examination and it was confirmed that he had consumed alcohol.

Senior officials were apprised about the matter.

Later in the day, he was placed under suspension for misconduct and sent to the police lines.



Fire at call centre, staff rescued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
At least 17 employees of a call centre on the Chandigarh-Kalka road at Mani Majra had a narrow escape when a major fire gutted its premises here late tonight.

The fire, which first broke out on the flight of stairs apparently due to a short-circuit, soon spread to the top floor of the call centre.

The billowing smoke soon engulfed the stairs and the top floor with the result that the employees had difficulty breathing.

One of the girls, who inhaled excess smoke, was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and was reportedly stated to be out of danger.

Even as panic gripped the area, the employees, mostly girls, were taken to the roof of the building by people.

At least five fire engine were pressed into service to put out the blaze.

While the blaze was put out immediately, the firemen had a tough time rescuing the employees from the rooftop. Ultimately, a hydraulic platform was used and the employees were rescued one by one.

The exact loss could not been ascertained immediately.



‘No-vehicle day’ at PU draws frowns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Utter chaos and angry spats at the entry points of Panjab University marked the World Environment Day celebrations here today. In a unique move, the vice-chancellor had ordered the day to be a “no-vehicle day” on the campus, but it seemed that very few persons were prepared for such unique move.

No vehicles were allowed inside the campus through the day and arrangements were made for those visiting the campus to park their vehicles and move about on foot. While the PU registrar and dean, university instructions, arrived on cycles for most others who visited the campus it turned out to be a terrible day of walking in the sun for over 2 km.

The day saw a series of altercations between those who wanted to enter the campus on a vehicle and the security manning the gates. Candidates appearing for the OCET who arrived minutes before the test were shocked to realise that they will have to walk from the gate to the examination centres.

“We reached the gate opposite Sector 15, but found it closed. We were told that we would be able to enter on foot from the gate opposite PGI. There we parked our vehicles opposite a hostel and walked to the centre. I was almost 20 minutes late for the test,” said Sameer a student.

Similarly, a student, who had come to the university along with his father, said: “We don’t mind walking, but at least we should have been told through advertisements that vehicles are not going to be allowed. I would have at least got an umbrella for my father. We finally took a rickshaw, which was allowed inside the campus”.

Even many of those residing on the campus did not know about the move. Some employees who left the campus in the morning in their vehicles had to park these at the gates while coming back in. Those who got off the gate opposite Sector 15 parked their vehicles at the gate and by the afternoon the traffic police was having traffic problems on the road next to the gate.

A van carrying answer sheets from Kurukshetra University, which were to be delivered to the teachers in their departments, was also not allowed inside the campus till late in the afternoon. When the KU staff argued with the gatekeepers that departments would close by the time they entered the campus, they were reportedly told to carry the answer books by hand to the departments.

However, there were many who appreciated the gesture despite inconvenience.

A senator, Dharinder Tayal, who had come to the university to attend a meeting, did not mind doing this bit for environment. “I have no problem wailing in the sun for a few minutes.

Moreover, there is arrangement for cold water at all gates,” he said.

The university authorities had also arranged for rickshaws for senior citizens at the gates.

The university paid for these rickshaw rides.



Cycling is the best, say judges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
They are accustomed to travelling in chauffeur-driven swanky cars. And when they, the mighty judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, say that it is about time we fell in love with our modest cycles again, we should take it seriously.

Kicking off the “Save Environment” campaign in style to mark World Environment Day, Justice K.S. Grewal, along with fellow judges Surya Kant Sharma, Surinder Singh Saron and Rajesh Bindal, today exhorted the denizens of the city to use cycles with elan so as to save the environment from further degradation.

Nearly 100 advocates participated in the rally organised under the aegis of the Asia Pacific Jurist Association, Punjab and Haryana chapter. Waxing eloquent on the importance of cycling, the judges said people should voluntarily observe at least one vehicle-free day and events like bicycle fest, bicycle to work week, etc should be organised on a large scale to promote cycling.

“Every cyclist is one less vehicle, one less parking space, less noise, a few less lungs full of fumes. Cycling is healthy, enjoyable and economical,” was the judges common refrain.

Though Justice Rajesh Bindal had a minor fall during the rally and was given prompt medical attention, his exuberance and enthusiasm for the cause didn’t dim a wee bit. He vociferously echoed his fellow judges’ message to cycle for environment’s sake.

Through the rally, the association aimed to give the message with regard to danger to the environment of the city on account of increased number of motorised vehicles. The number of the vehicles is now over seven lakh and around 200 vehicles are being daily added to the ever-burgeoning list.

The message of increased accidents and wastage of national resources was also highlighted.

The rally started at 4.30 pm and proceeded on the Jan Marg (the dividing road of Sectors 3 and 4, Sectors 9 and 10 and Sectors 16 and 17) towards the roundabout adjoining Hotel Shivalikview, Sector 17, and the Sector 16 cricket stadium.

Members of the association, in collaboration with another NGO Yuvsatta, also distributed handbills bringing out the benefits of cycling.

It was mentioned in the bills that the Chandigarh administration would be impressed upon to make alternative transportation a practical, convenient and safe option for all citizens.



Army Chief to visit Chandimandir tomorrow

Chandigarh, June 5
The Chief of the Army Staff, Gen J.J. Singh, is scheduled to arrive at the Western Command (WC) Headquarters, Chandimandir, on June 7 on an official visit. He will attend the concluding part of the WC Formation Commanders’ Conference, which began in the military station today, and return to Delhi the same day.

This would be his second visit to Chandimandir since he took over as the Army chief, though he has visited other parts of the command and witnessed exercises in western sector. He had served as the GOC-in-C, Western Command, before moving to the Army Headquarters as chief.

The formation commanders’ conference is an annual event where senior officers of the command take stock of the operational, logistic and administrative matters and discuss various matters.



Discos dying natural death
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Most discotheques in the city are fast losing their clientele and some have even closed down their operations. Though some discotheque owners blame it on the apathetic attitude of the administration for throwing a spanner in city’s nightlife, others maintain that discotheques are dying a natural death as the number of night-goers in the city is far less in comparison to bigger cities like Delhi and Mumbai.

Some discotheques doing brisk business in the city have suddenly disappeared from the scene in the recent past. Though some have succumbed to management problems, others have been unable to earn enough profits to survive.

Discotheques like Silk Lounge in Sector 8, Athena at Fun Republic and Las Vegas in Sector 34 have reportedly shut down their operations, while some others are just holding private parties. Sanjeev Thakur, who runs Copper Club in Sector 26, says night-goers are always on the lookout for something new. The coming up of new discotheques in the city has forced the closure of older ones.

An estimate suggests that over 1,000 night-goers frequent these clubs in the city. This clientele is shared by the discotheques and as more and more discotheques come up, the profits dwindle at an unexpected rate. However, some owners rue that it is the administration that needs to be more supportive towards promoting nightlife in the city.

Nitin Luthuria, manager of The Mission in Sector 9, says they have not been given licence to serve liquor.

However, senior officials in the excise department maintain that liquor licence cannot be issued to discotheques operating in the basement, as kitchen and restrooms are not allowed there under the building bylaws.

They say the administration has recently decided to issue permanent liquor licence to discotheques that meet the specifications.



Environment Day observed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 5
World Environment Day was observed at Civil Hospital here today where various officials stressed the need to adopt eco-friendly measures to check global warming.

Dr M.S. Toor, civil surgeon, said global warming was an issue of common concern. Various gadgets like air conditioners and refrigerators should be used wisely as these contributed significantly to global warming.

Dr S.P. Surila, district health officer, pointed out that global warming had an adverse impact on human beings, animals and even on trees. More plantation should be done to check global warming.

Dr Ravi Kumar, district immunisation officer, said glaciers were melting rapidly due to global warming and many islands had disappeared due to rising level of the sea. He suggested that the use of vehicles should be reduced and use of gadgets running with the help of solar energy should be increased to check global warming.



Over 1 lakh saplings to be planted this year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The Chandigarh Administration will plant 1,09,200 saplings to improve the green cover of the city. Besides, 15,000 saplings will be distributed in the monsoons to farmers, educational institutions, resident welfare associations, NGO's and other organisations.

This was promised by the Nepli forest authorities, who celebrated World Environment Day with great zeal. Inaugurating a function held to celebrate World Environment Day, Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen. S.F. Rodrigues (retd), called for a collective endeavour to conserve the city’s flora and fauna.

"In view of the new role of India in the emerging world scenario, we have to reinvent and reorient ourselves for a brighter future,” said the administrator.

“Forests are wonderful resources which help the cause of environment preservation. There is the need for active involvement of every individual, schoolchildren and community groups in executing massive tree plantation,” Rodrigues said. He asked the DPI (schools) to integrate environment-orientation programmes in the academic curriculum.

General Rodrigues also planted a ‘maulsari’ sapling, besides distributing prizes to winners of clay moulding and on-the-spot painting competitions, organised on the themes of wildlife, nature, soil and moisture-conservation during a five-day nature camp held in the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary. More than 250 students took part in the event.



Man falls from roof, dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Jagdish Singh, a 32-year old working as a servant at the Haryana Guest House in Burail, died after he fell from the roof of his workplace last night.

Jagdish was sleeping on the roof with three other servants when he got up to relieve himself. He lost his balance near the edge of the roof and fell down. He was rushed to the GMCH, Sector 32, where he was declared brought dead.

Jagdish is survived by his wife and three children.

Members of the Garhwal Sabha ‘gheraoed’ the police post in Burail and demanded that a case be registered against the owner of the hotel.



Pensioners to get enhanced DA retrospectively
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The revised rates of 35 per cent dearness allowance (DA) for the central government/family pensioners will be effective with effect from January 1, 2007, onwards, a press release of the Chandigarh administration said.

In a memorandum issued today, it was mentioned that the orders would apply to all civilian central government pensioners or family pensioners, the armed forces pensioners, civilian pensioners paid out of defence service estimates, all India service pensioners, railway pensioners and the Burma civilian pensioners and pensioners or families of displaced government pensioners from Pakistan who are Indian nationals but receiving pensions on behalf of the Pakistan Government and are in receipt of ad hoc ex gratia monthly allowance of Rs 1,275.

The orders would also be applicable to the central government employees, who have become eligible to restoration of one-third commuted portion of pension as well as revision of the restored amount as per the department of pension and pensioners welfare of the government of India orders, would also be entitled to the payment of DA at the rate 35 per cent on full pension, i.e. the revised pension which the absorbed employee would have received on the date of restoration had he not drawn lump sum payment on absorption and dearness pension subject to the fulfillment of the conditions laid down.

The surviving CPF beneficiaries who had retired from service between the period November 18, 1960 and December 31, 1985 and are in receipt of ex gratia at the rate of Rs 600 per month with effect from November 1, 1997 under the department’s order are also entitled to get DA at the revised rate.



Streamlining work
Unwanted routing of files causes delay
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
Unwanted routing of official files through the departments of finance, law and personnel of the Chandigarh administration by majority of other departments is one of the major hindrances in streamlining the work in the UT secretariat. Files keep on adding on the tables of the office from all over the city, seeking clarifications about unclear words on unclear issues.

The issue came up at the last conference of senior officers recently, and the administration has decided to write to all departments to first check the rules and then seek information, if needed at all. A special request has been made to the departments to clearly say on what grounds they need information.

“I often face a file on my table which means nothing to me unless I knew the issue. The query is unclear. I have to ask my office to get back to the office which sent me the file and seek clarifications. All this leads to unnecessary delays,” a senior official said.

An official in the office of the deputy commissioner said: “We are forced to send details of majority of the cases to the offices under question because even small financial matters get stuck up with the audit office, which requires us to give clarifications. Finance and legal departments can be the best guides. We would like to proceed through the offices of the finance and law to be fully sound of our actions”.

The office of the finance secretary has pointed out that departments are sending files to this department even if they are fully competent to handle the cases. This not only delays the matter but also increases the avoidable correspondence and workload, it pointed out. The same problem is being faced by the departments of law and personnel.

It has also been pointed out that “files are sent to the FD, law and personnel departments even without framing the issues on which the advice is needed. The staff posted in the FD and personnel is very nominal and not in a position to handle exhaustive correspondence”.

The personnel department has written to several departments repeatedly, but to no avail.



Name Panchayat Bhavan after Kairon

The city beautiful is indebted to former Chief Minister of Punjab Partap Singh Kairon, an able administrator and a great visionary. There are several institutions in Chandigarh whose foundations stones were laid by him. The famous ones include Panchayat Bhavan, Sector 18, Institute of Engineering, Sector 19, Punjab National Bank, Sector 17, and Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26.

The Postgraduate Institute of Medical Research (PGIMER) in Sector 12 came into being due to the efforts of Kairon. There are around 20 public places in the city that have been named after the names of famous personalities. The Central State Library in Sector 17 has been named after bureaucrat Tarlok Singh and presently, the library is called T.S. Central State Library.

I, hereby, appeal to the administrator of Chandigarh, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) to name Panchayat Bhavan after Kairon.

Narinder Singh, Chandigarh



Three held with 4 kg of charas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 5
The special crime investigation cell of the Chandigarh police today arrested three persons, including a Sector 30 resident, on the allegations of carrying 4 kg of charas. The value of the contraband was estimated to be Rs 1.50 lakh.

Inspector Ved Pal Malik, in charge of the cell, said one of the accused, Jagdish, a Sector 30 resident, was caught “by chance”. He was stopped by a police team near the Laxmi Narayan temple in Sector 20. His search led to recovery of 500 g of charas. During his interrogation, he disclosed that he got the supply of the contraband from two Haryana-based persons. Jagdish is a bandmaster by profession.

The police set up a naka on road dividing Sectors 18 and 19 and nabbed the accused who have been identified as Sunil Kumar and Sanjay, both hailing from Bhiwani in Haryana.

The police recovered 2 kg of charas from Sunil and 1.5 kg from Sanjay. A case has been registered.

Cars stolen

Surinder Kumar Beriwal of Sector 7-A reported to the police that his Maruti car (HR-06-D-4555) was stolen from his residence during the intervening night of June 3 and 4. In another incident, Sudhir Kumar of Sector 28-B lodged a complaint with the police, alleging that his Maruti car (DAC-1372) was stolen from his residence during the intervening night of June 1 and 2.

Two separate cases of thefts have been registered.



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