C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Practice of retaining officials facing charges
HC issues notice to adviser, IG

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Mr Justice Mahesh Grover issued a notice to the UT Adviser for October 13, the IG and the chief engineer on a PIL seeking an inquiry into the “strange” practice of retaining in service a number of officials “facing or guilty of corruption charges.”

The petition, filed by advocate H.C. Arora, had sought a high-level inquiry into the procedure adapted by the IG in retaining corrupt police officials against whom dismissal orders had been issued following a departmental inquiry.

  • Dismissal orders issued to seven police officials not enforced, ostensibly on the ground that judgement was awaited in cases against these officials.
  • Suspension orders of 16 officials revoked by chief engineer, despite criminal cases registered against them in courts.
  • Eight officials of the department of water and electricity holding positions ranging from peon to executive engineer, despite facing charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The petitioner highlighted the fact that these orders had been kept in abeyance awaiting orders in criminal trial against these officials.

Arora sought an inquiry into a similar “strange” procedure adopted by the U.T. chief engineer in revoking the suspension orders of 16 officials, even when criminal cases, registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, against them were pending in courts.

The petitioner submitted that according to information received by him under the RTI Act, dismissal orders had been issued to seven police officials. However, the orders had not been enforced, ostensibly on the ground that judgment was awaited in cases against these officials.

Arora submitted before the court that the suspension order against head constable Bhim Singh was revoked after a departmental inquiry exonerated him. In this case, none waited for the outcome of the criminal trial against him.

The petitioner averred that the procedure was against the Supreme Court judgment that a decision based on a departmental inquiry can be enforced without awaiting the outcome of criminal trial. The petitioner submitted that as many as eight officials of the department of water and electricity, UT, were holding positions ranging from peon to executive engineer, despite facing criminal charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act,1988.

Arora stressed that as many as 16 officials under the office of chief engineer had been treated favourably or compassionately, despite them facing criminal charges of corruption. In fact, suspension orders of some officials had been revoked.



Woman hangs herself to death
Suicide note blames husband, in-laws
Tribune News Service

Deepika Chandigarh, July 18
A 24-year-old housewife hanged herself to death at her Sector 50 residence here in the wee hours today. In her suicide note, the victim blamed “extreme loneliness and careless attitude of her husband and in-laws” for her death.

Deepika, alias Beenu, was found hanging from the ceiling fan of her room by her husband, Amardeep, at 2am at their Pepsu Society accommodation when he returned from Jalandhar. The two had a love marriage six years ago.

Deepika, a trained air-hostess who worked before her marriage left behind a four-and-a-half page suicide note in English mentioning, that she was neglected by her husband and in-laws, who did not understand her.

She alleged that she had annoyed her parents when she wed Amardeep Singh. “But Amardeep changed and became self-centred, money-minded and selfish, not caring for my feelings,” she wrote.

When Amardeep Singh, a businessman, reached home from Jalandhar, he found the door locked from inside. When his repeated knocks went unanswered, he called a security guard of the locality. They found the victim hanging from the ceiling fan.

Deepika’s mother lives in Mohali. She alleged that her daughter was not treated well by her in-laws and her husband did not spend time with her.

She also mentioned that Amardeep was disowned by his family in January 2004 and thrown out of the house, even when Deepika was pregnant. In September she gave birth to a boy, who died after two weeks. Deepika went into the depression. Unable to see the plight of his daughter, her father died too. “My father was godlike but I could never take care of him. I made a big mistake,” Deepika regretted in her suicide note.

The police has taken into custody Amardeep Singh, his father Raminderpal Singh, a Mohali-based businessman, and his brother Kamaldeep Singh on a complaint filed by the victim’s mother, a resident of Phase X, Mohali.

Deepika was married in February 2001 and was trained as an airhostess. She was working before she married.

Amardeep Singh told the police that he remained busy in his work and had promised his wife that he would take her abroad for holidays by month-end.

In another incident, Kusum, mother of two, hanged herself to death at her residence in Raipur Khurd this afternoon.



Schoolboy thrashed: PSHRC takes note
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) today took notice of a Tribune report titled ‘Boy thrashed by teacher for skipping school’ and sought a report from the education department.

The commission said prima facie instructions of the education department banning corporal punishment in government and government-recognised schools had been flouted.

A copy of the order has been sent to the principal secretary, education, and director, public instruction (schools), for submitting a report by August 28.

Rajpura: The school authorities of Khalsa Senior Secondary School, where 14-year-old Paramjit was brutally beaten by his maths teacher on Monday, forced the parents of the boy to reach a “compromise” on Wednesday.

Mukhtiar Singh, father of boy, told the tribune that principal Harchand Singh Gill, along with prominent persons of the town, including political leaders, visited them and “forced” them to forgive the teacher, who tendered an unconditional apology.

Mukhtiar Singh lamented that the police had failed to take any action in this case.

He said instead of calling the school head and the maths teacher to the police station, the police had summoned them to the police station.

Meanwhile, Paramjit continues to be in hospital, complaining of hearing problems. It is learnt the teacher slapped him repeatedly.



HC: Explain misuse of official cars

Chandigarh, July 18
A division bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Mr Justice Mahesh Grover, today issued notice to Haryana, the UT Administration and the SHO of the Sector 36 police station over a PIL on misuse of official cars of the Haryana government.

Petitioner Arvind Thakur submitted that directions be issued to Haryana to furnish details as to the total number of official cars being used or misused by authorised or unauthorised persons or staff or any person in connivance with staff of the government.

The PIL referred to a vernacular daily’s report, dated July 10, alleging that a Haryana government car (HR 70 3634) was misused for consumption of liquor. — TNS



Month after fire, it’s back to business
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 18
More than a month after having lost their means of livelihood in a fire that gutted the Phase 3B I rehri market here, shopkeepers today decided to begin business again from the parking site opposite the market and booths adjacent to the market.

As many as 378 shopkeepers of the market had lost all in the fire that took place on June 1. They have been sitting in protest outside the market since, waiting for compensation.

The shopkeepers today decided to display their ware on cots. “Many shopkeepers are poor and unable to meet daily expenses. They have no option but to get back to business in some way. They have displayed their ware on cots and are trying to earn a living,” said Harmanpreet Singh Prince, chairman of the market association.

He said the shopkeepers were offered Rs 25,000 per head as compensation but had refused the same. “They have instead requested the government to give them constructed booths free of cost, to which the government has agreed.”

PUDA has constructed 130 booths next to the market and promised another 248 booths on the land where the rehri market was located. Before that, the GMADA will hold a draw of lots and allot shops to them. Those allotted numbers in the already constructed shops will move in and the rest be given temporary shelters in Phase 3A.

The draw of lots is likely to take place once stay from the court is vacated. One of the shopkeepers who is reportedly a tenant has moved court, claiming ownership of the shop. “The matter will come up for hearing on July 24,” said Prince.



Yoga camp in gurdwara stopped
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 18
SGPC member Hardeep Singh today alleged that the RSS was making attempts to enter gurdwaras in the town in the garb of yoga camps where it would try to propagate its philosophy among persons attending such camps.

While addressing a press conference at the gurdwara in Phase IV, Hardeep Singh said since yoga was becoming popular among people, the RSS was allegedly trying to release its secret agenda among persons participating in the yoga camps.

He said earlier such camps were held in parks but now the Bhartiya Yog Sansthan had planned to hold it in Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Phase I, which was to start functioning from today. But the organisation was stopped to hold such a camp. He said that the sansthan had a close link with the RSS.

Hardeep Singh said yoga was not an exercise but a philosophy which was opposed by Sikh gurus and nobody would be allowed to propagate such a philosophy from the premises of gurdwaras. He said there was no aim to hurt the sentiments of any person but all such practices, which were condemned by our gurus, would not be allowed in the gurdwaras.

However, Hardev Singh, president of the Bhartiya Yog Sansthan, said his organisation was totally non-political and did not have any links with the RSS. It only worked free of cost for the welfare of people, who suffered health problems.

He said the gurdwara management had allowed them to hold a five-day camp for spinal ailments which was to start today and another five-day camp for persons suffering from diabetes from July 25. But last night, he was informed that the two camps could not be held in the gurdwara.

He said earlier he had been holding such camps in parks but as the rainy season was on, the help from the gurdwara was sought. He said he had earlier held such camps in a gurdwara in Sector 34, Chandigarh, and Gurdwara Sacha Dhan Sahib, Phase III B 1, and failed to understand why he was stopped this time. The camp was then held in a park in Phase VI, he added.



Work on highway hangs fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Public convenience is not a priority with the administration. This is evident from the pending work on widening the incomplete portions of the highway along the Industrial Area, Phase II.

Three months after officials of the administration claimed that work on the incomplete portions would begin within a week, no effort has been made to start work at the site.

The managements of a temple and a gurdwara had removed portions of their structures that fell on the highway, but still the segments are lying blocked for normal traffic. Motorists have to take a detour to get back on the highway.

Following a formula worked out by the deputy commissioner, the management of the two religious structures had agreed to remove portions of the structures. Alternative sites were being allocated to the gurdwara in Sector 47 and the temple along the highway in Sector 51.

The administration had identified at least 20 such religious structures that had been impeding development projects. The religious bodies agreed to vacate the land falling in the way of the highway and in return, the administration regularised the remainder of the land in their possession.



Woman dies; husband blames doctor
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 18
A 35-year-old resident of Azad Colony in Sector 21 died under mysterious circumstances late last night. In his complaint to the doctor, Phool Chand, husband of the deceased, Triful, alleged administration of wrong medicine by a private doctor.

Phool Chand alleged that his wife delivered a son on July 14 at her house with the help of a midwife. Both mother and child were fine till yesterday.

“My wife developed fever yesterday evening after which we took her to a private doctor in the neighbourhood. He gave her some medicine and an injection after which she showed improvement and went to sleep,” he said.

Her 12-year-old daughter slept with her and past midnight she noticed that her mother had stopped breathing. Triful was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where she was declared “brought” dead.

The family alleged that the doctor had administered wrong medicine to her following which the police raided the clinic of the doctor.

A post-mortem was conducted to ascertain the cause of the death and the body handed over to the family. Meanwhile, Lakhwinder Singh, a resident of Sector 21, was found dead at his house this afternoon. His father, Chaman Lal, said he came back to find his son, an addict, lying motionless on the bed. It is still not clear whether it is a case of suicide or drug overdose.



Another HPTTL for fire dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The second hydraulic platform-cum-turntable ladder (HPTTL) imported by the MC was today formally commissioned by Harjinder Kaur, mayor, to the fire and emergency services department.

P.S. Aujla, municipal commissioner, and other officials of the MC were also present. It will be stationed in Mani Majra.

Personnel were imparted training in handling and operation. “With the induction of the second HPTTL, the capabilities of the fire and emergency services in launching fire-fighting and rescue operations in high-rise buildings have been augmented considerably,” stated an MC official.

It is capable of launching fire-fighting/rescue operation up to a height of 42 metres and has a horizontal out-reach up to 19-20 metres. It has an additional provision for the supply of oxygen in the cage.

With this facility, fire fighters will be able to recharge their breathing apparatus sets.



Satya Pal Jain replaced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
BJP former MP Satya Pal Jain will no longer be the national convener of the legal cell of the BJP. Pinky Anand, a Supreme Court advocate, will be appointed in his place.

Jain stated that a decision to this effect had been taken over a month ago. “It was finally decided a week ago. With the elections coming up in Himachal next year, it will not be possible for me to handle both charges.”

Jain had recently been given the charge of BJP affairs in Himachal. “Earlier, Sahib Singh Verma was taking care of things there,” he stated.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leaders refused to comment on the development. He has also been appointed the election agent of Bhairon Singh Shekawat for the presidential election to be held tomorrow.



Science grad questions laws of physics
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Ramesh Varma, a science graduate and a businessman, has thrown a “world challenge” and questioned the basics of astronomy and physics.

If Varma is to be believed, light rays are not in wave motion but consist of micro spheres which move closely.

He even calls light and other rays as the fourth state of matter.

At a press conference in the Press Club here today, he claimed that the states of matter, rays of light and their path needed to be redefined.

He is the author of “Young at 100”.

The astronomy and physics part was earlier a chapter in the book which has now been extracted under a separate title, “Materialistic Universe”.



CSD canteen to remain shut for 10 days
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The CSD canteen in Sector 21 will remain closed from July 22 to 31. According to sources, this is being done to facilitate the installation of smart card equipment. All purchases would be through smart cards.

No alternative arrangements have been made for those who get groceries and other household items from the canteen.

Other major canteens in the city and its vicinity, including those at Chandimandir and the Air Force station, are already fully computerised and the transactions are done through smart cards.



Protest over sealing of house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Protesting against the sealing of a house by the authorities concerned, residents protested in Sector 32 here last night.

Raising slogans against the Chandigarh administration, they alleged that no notice was given before sealing the house.

Sube Singh has been living in the house reportedly allotted to Narzu under the EWS scheme of the administration.

Vice-president of the mahila Congress Bhajan Kaur alleged that the house was sealed in the absence of Sube Singh, whose family was away for a family function.

Official sources said due process of law had been followed. Narzu had allegedly sold the tenement to Sube Singh. However, Bhajan Kaur maintained that the ownership rights still vested with Narzu though Sube Singh had been living here.



Guv’s evening out with the elderly
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The UT administrator and Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), and his wife met senior citizens at Sukhna Lake today.

The event was sponsored by CITCO and the department of social welfare, Chandigarh administration.

He impressed on them the need to utilise their knowledge and experience and contribute effectively for the benefit of society.

The deputy commissioner and director of social welfare, Amandeep Kaur, were asked to arrange visits for the senior citizens to the botanical garden and other parks recently created in the city. The senior citizens, who came from the Sector 43 old age home, shared their views with the administrator.



Welfare bodies roped in
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The Chandigarh police has sought the cooperation of market welfare associations, resident welfare associations, taxi and auto unions and representative bodies of residents for the effective implementation of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act.

In a communiqué by the SSP, it is mentioned that efforts need to be made to provide healthier, cleaner and smoke-free environment to the people of the city.



Include defence man on pay panel, says committee
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 18
The All-India Defence Brotherhood has demanded that the Sixth Pay Commission should protect the interests of personnel from the defence services but no serving or retired defence official has been made a member of the commission despite several requests.

Col A.S. Bhinder (retd), president, said at a press conference here today that bureaucrats, who were members of the commission, could not deliver justice as they had never worked in conditions faced by people from the defence services who worked at places like Siachin, faced insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir and the eastern sector.

It was also demanded that the policy of one rank one pension should be implemented at the earliest. Its implementation had been recommended by the standing committee on defence in 2003.



Tips for safe driving
Overtaking - 1

IT IS NOT SAFE if you can see only a part of the vehicle behind you.


Courtesy: Safe Driving, compiled by Cdr Swarup J Sarma



Electoral card mania

On July 8, 2007, a notice was served by the Chandigarh Administration (Electoral Registration Officer) on registered voters of Sector 33, Chandigarh that the Election Commission of India has modified the format of electoral rolls. A photography team will visit house on July 9, 2007 for issuance of a new electoral card. If not free that time, then you are required to come to Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 45.

The photography team did work on the appointed date but visited Sector 33-D where the residents waited the whole day.

On July 10, I went to Sector 45 where my photo was taken and was asked to come again on July 12 to collect the card. Surprisingly, I did not find any difference between the old card issued.

I was also told by the staff that a master card, with more details would be prepared after two months. In that case, there was no need of the present exercise that has caused a lot of harassment to the electors and costing huge expenditure to the Exchequer?

Dalip Singh Ghuman, Chandigarh

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Two rob Sec 25 resident, arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The police arrested two persons late on Tuesday night after they allegedly robbed a Sector 25 resident on revolver point. The police seized a countrymade revolver, 10 cartridges and a knife, besides recovering a stolen motorcycle and two scooters, from them.

In a separate incident, the police arrested a Kotkapura resident and recovered two stolen scooters from him.

DSP (central) S.S. Randhawa said Johny of Sector 25 was on his way back home at around 8.30 pm when two scooter-borne men stopped him near a nullah in Sector 23 and asked him to hand over his belongings by showing a revolver and a knife.

A naka was set up after the police was informed. The accused were nabbed and the police recovered the wallet and watch from their possession.

The accused have been identified as 21-year-old Amar Singh of Sector 25, and 25-year-old Mohammad Matlub of Bapu Dham Colony.

The police said more cases of vehicle theft were likely to come to light following their interrogation as they had confessed to having sold several stolen vehicles in UP.

About the arrest of another person, the SHO of the Sector 17 police station said 22-year-old Vinayak of Kotkapura was arrested on Tuesday evening within hours after he stole a motorcycle from the football stadium in Sector 17.



Plan to cut VAT on some items hailed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
PHD Chamber hailed the Punjab Government's decision to launch a scheme for one-time settlement to clear sales tax arrears of trade and industry for the pre-VAT period. Rajiv Bali, Chairman, Punjab Committee welcomed the Government's decision to constitute District Industries Committees. He said PHD Chamber had brought forward this issue on various platforms so that different segments of trade and industry could be represented appropriately.

The Chamber also appreciated the state government's plan to slash VAT to 4 per cent from 12 per cent on certain commodities.

The Chief Minister's announcement of enhancing the existing power load from 10% to 25% without any formal procedures was a welcome step which PHD Chamber was recommending for a long time. The Chamber also lauded setting up of special development authorities for Bathinda, Jalandhar and Amritsar saying that the planning and development of urban areas in Punjab can now be benchmarked globally. This will streamline urban expansion and lead to systematic growth, said R. S. Sachdeva, Co-Chairman, Punjab Committee, PHD Chamber.



Incentives to encourage savings scheme
Tribune News Service

Wife of the Haryana chief secretary Saroj Prashant conducts a small savings draw in Panchkula on Wednesday.
Wife of the Haryana chief secretary Saroj Prashant conducts a small savings draw in Panchkula on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Malkiat Singh

Panchkula, July 18
The Haryana government has given special concessions to women to encourage small savings so that they can contribute to the upliftment of their families and strengthen their financial position.

This was stated by the wife of Haryana chief secretary Saroj Prashant at a draw organised for money invested under various schemes of the Haryana Small Savings Department at the conference hall of the HSIDC here today.

Secretary, Finance, N Bala Bhaskar, gave details of all schemes being run by the department. He said with the money collected by way of small savings, the state government was able to get long-term loans from the Central government for carrying out development works.

Bhaskar informed the gathering that the government had modified the schemes to suit the investors and the prize money of the seventh and eighth position had been doubled to give maximum benefit to the investors.

Director, Small Savings, Ashok Khemka, said 28.52 lakh coupons were distributed to the investors of whom over 12,000 were given cash prizes. While the first prize entails cash of Rs 1 lakh, there are two second prizes of Rs 50,000 each, four prizes of Rs 25,000 each for the third position, 50 prizes of Rs 10,000 each for fifth position and so on.

The first prize went to a coupon holder from Karnal, the second prize went to Karnal and Jind, the third prize went to coupon holders of Karnal, Bhiwani, Sonepat and Bhiwani. District officials were also present at the function.



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