C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Raid Scare
Shopkeepers down shutters
Business affected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
It was a bad day for shopkeepers in the city. They were hoping to cash in on the festival fever, but many had to down shutters for over six hours and did little business today.

Neither were they on a protest, nor were they supporting a bandh call. The downed their shutters following news that the local health authorities were on a surprise check to collect samples of food items under the food adulteration Act.

Some well-connected shopkeepers got a tipoff that medical teams were getting ready to check shops.

“We preferred to play safe and downed shutters,” said one of them. A senior health official said five food samples were taken.

The UT taxation department carried out raids across the city to check evasion of value-added tax (VAT). A penalty of around Rs 8 lakh has been levied as penalty on the erring shopkeepers.



Trouble in Mohali too
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 25
The Phase VII market here was closed this evening after an altercation between a customer and a shopkeeper.

Shopkeepers in the area said the market was closed in protest against the beating up of two shopkeepers by the customer.

Sarabjeet Singh , president of the Fashion Market Welfare Association, said that a customer came to a shop dealing in garments. He purchased a set of trousers and asked the shopkeeper to get these altered.

After this was done, the customer allegedly refused to pay, saying he was not interested in purchasing that trousers. This led to a heated argument between the shopkeeper and the customer.

The customer then reportedly called some relatives who gathered at the market and beat up two shopkeepers.

The matter was brought to the notice of the police.



Newborn dies of burn injuries at PGI
Nurse forgot to turn off heat chamber, alleges father
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
A newborn girl died of burns injuries at the Advanced Pediatrics Centre (APC), PGI, today due to alleged negligence of the paramedical staff.

The three-day girl died at 7 pm after her left side was burnt due to over-exposure in a heat chamber at the centre. The death of the infant came to light after Sunil, father child’s lodged a complaint with the police.

Based on the complaint, officials at the PGI police post have begun investigations into the case.

The hospital authorities could not be contacted for comment.

A resident of Yamunanagar, the father has complained to the police that owing to negligence at the hands of the hospital staff, his child had died.

The girl was born on October 21. Soonafter, she was referred to the PGI after she was diagnosed with a “short” food pipe, which created problems in feeding her. Doctors at the PGI successfully operated upon her on October 23.

They kept her under observation in a heat chamber for four days. Everything was fine till last night when the nurse on duty allegedly forgot to turn off the heat chamber, said Sunil in his complaint. The left side of the child’s body was burnt.



Punish erring DAV colleges: Talwar
Walks out of syndicate meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Prof Dinesh Talwar today stormed out of the Panjab University syndicate meeting and declared ‘I quit’ after he failed to persuade the vice-chancellor and other members of the syndicate to penalise the erring DAV colleges in Chandigarh for not implementing statutory provisions regarding CPF on the total salary and leave encashment as decided at the September 13 meeting of the syndicate.

Meanwhile, a rally was held in front of the administrative block by the MCM and DAV College Employees Unions that condemned the DAV management for brazenly challenging the applicability of PU rules and regulations to employees of affiliated colleges. Syndicate members Prof Harpreet Dua, Prof Jarnail Singh, Prof Mukesh Kumar Arora, Dr Manoj Kumar and Dr Jagpal Singh heard the grievances of the teachers.

Prof S.S. Hundal, president, Panjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union, said: “ The PU provident fund and leave encashment rules apply to all college employees holding non-pensionable posts in non-governmental affiliated colleges.Colleges cannot skirt PU rules by quoting non-applicable UT administration rules.”



PU syndicate meets
Suspension of 2 varsity dons revoked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
High drama ensured that the Panjab University syndicate meeting was not without its moments today. Apart from the striking walkout staged by Prof Dinesh Talwar, two other noteworthy decisions were taken by the members of the syndicate.

The suspension of two teachers of Panjab University, Dr Manoj Sharma of University Business School and Dr N K Sehgal of Department of Evening Studies, which was recommended by the syndicate earlier this year, has been revoked.

The two had been suspended for different reasons. In the case of Dr Sharma, it was alleged that he had fudged data provided to B-School rating agencies to improve the ranking of the UBS and also faced another inquiry for “helping” an official question paper setter in writing a question paper while Dr Sehgal, a commerce teacher at DES, was charged with allegations of outraging the modesty of a school student who took tuitions from him.

The syndicate members also discussed the recommendations of the committee headed by Prof J C Bansal, with regard to Dr M Rajivlochan, reader, department of history for awarding zero marks to three students of MA Part II (History) in the April 2005 exams. The committee had recommended that he be given a warning to be careful in future and follow the instructions issued by the University to the examiners. This was accepted by the Syndicate members.

Faculty members after the age of 62 will not be given administrative posts including chairmanships and dean, University Instructions.

In addition, the schedule of dates for election of Ordinary Fellows for the term November 1, 2008, to December 31, 2012, was approved as was the budget requirement for construction of a 100-bedded medical hospital to be attached with Dr Harvansh Singh Judge Institute of Dental Sciences & Hospital.

Additional charge of Director Sports for Prof Naval Kishore who is currently dean, Student Welfare, was also approved.



Mind your manners with chosen ones, Centre tells UT
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
UT officials need to be more courteous and responsive to queries made by members of Parliament and state legislatures. This advice comes from the union ministry of personnel and public grievances.

On the basis of feedback, the ministry has observed that there has been some laxity in paying attention to the communication sent by parliamentarians and state legislatures and also in the treatment accorded to elected representatives at public functions organised by the government.

During a recent visit by members of the joint parliamentary committee, the Chandigarh administration attached personnel staff with each of the visiting parliamentarian.

“Though the ministry directive talks about MPs and MLAs, no reference has been made to the councillors. Being a union territory, the city does not have a state assembly and councillors alone constitute people’s representatives after the local MP,” observed a political leader.

Based on the ministry’s directives, the department of personnel has asked the administrative secretaries and the head of departments to religiously abide by the instructions.

Sources said on the basis of complaints, the parliamentary standing committee of the ministry had taken serious note of the matter and had observed that government servants did not respond to the queries of public importance made by the elected representatives.

Now, the officials have been asked to promptly acknowledge letters sent by the MPs and reply these expeditiously.



Omission in procurements of supplies, bungling of funds
Lt Gen faces fresh action
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Fresh proceedings against former Director General Supplies and Transport (DGST), Lt Gen S K Sahni, for various irregularities allegedly committed by him, are expected to commence at Headquarters 11 Corps, Jalandhar, tomorrow. He arrived at Jalandhar today, where he has been attached after being recalled from retirement, it is learnt.

Sources at Army Headquarters (AHQ) said the tentative charge-sheet against General Sahni lists out 14 acts of omission and commission in the procurements of supplies, misappropriation of funds and other irregularities during his tenure as Commandant, Army Service Corps (ACS) Centre, Bangalore, and later as the DGST at AHQ.

The hearing of charge (HOC) is expected to be conducted by the General Officer Commanding 11 Corps, Lt Gen S.S. Kumar, who is his commanding officer. The tentative charges would be read out to him and his reply would be sought on each charge. The next course of action, that is whether to proceed against him or not, would depend on the substance of the replies.

Procurement of kabuli chana and dal with lower specifications, improperly upgrading of the stock of dal arhar knowing that it contained kesri peas considered to be harmful, failing to withhold payment of Rs 90 lakh for a consignment of dal masoor while quality inspection report was still pending and approving two new stations for the supply of grain are charges pertaining to his tenure as DGST.

Sources said that during his tenure as the Commandant of ACS Centre he allegedly split expenditure for execution of various projects and purchases in contravention of existing regulations, diverted funds meant for an equestrian centre, misappropriated cases of scotch, spent about Rs 3 lakh for refurbishing the accommodation in the ASC centre for use by his son and failed to keep a check on increased usage of high grade diesel.

Last year, a court of inquiry (CoI) had held General Sahini, along with several others, blameworthy for irregularities in the procurement of supplies for the Army. The GOC-in-C, Western Command, had directed disciplinary action (court martial proceedings) against General Sahni and five other officers.

This was perhaps for the first time that the Army had initiated court martial proceedings against an officer of the rank of Lieutenant-General. The CoI had found that about 1,000 metric tonnes of pulses procured through the ASC was unfit for consumption. It also found flaws in the procurement process and had recommended a periodic review of specifications, quality control mechanisms and the tendering procedure to check unscrupulous elements and adulteration of items.

General Sahni was attached to Headquarters 2 Corps, Ambala, for disciplinary proceedings. Thereafter, he moved the Delhi High Court and a Division Bench had set aside the CoI proceedings as certain mandatory procedures had not complied with during the COI. General Sahni had also contended that he was being implicated in the matter and that no case was made out against him.

Though the CoI was quashed, the court gave liberty to the Army to give notice to the petitioner and continue with the proceedings under Rule 180, or in the alternative, to take recourse to the provisions of Rule 22. The court also directed that the Army could exercise any other power available to it under the Army Act, as long as it did not rely upon the proceedings of the aforesaid CoI.

General Sahni had retired in September last year. Under provisions of Section 123 of the Army Act, a retired person can be tried by a court martial within three years of retirement.



Shop in trouble for overcharging
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Varinder Pal Bhambri, an advocate in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, has accused a Sector 40-based retail shop, 6 TEN, of over charging.

Bhambri stated that he purchased 10 kg of sugar at the rate of Rs 16.50 per kg. However, the cashier at the counter charged Rs 17, overcharging Rs 5 from him. He alleged that when he pointed out the goof up, the staff there refused to pay heed and was rude to him.

Admitting the goof up, Vipin Sharma, the area sales manager of 6 TEN, told TNS that the overcharging was due to a technical hitch in the computers. They have an online system and the snarl was at the service provider’s end. He added that they apologised to Bhambri for the inconvenience caused to him and also offered to refund the money overcharged from him, which he refused to take.

The staff at the shop said they had also received similar complaints from their customers and had apprised the higher authorities about it.



Shift school site: Residents
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 25
The site of a nursery school in Sector 12 has raised the hackles of the residents who have threatened to move court to seek reprieve.

With parks on either side of the school site, the residents are of the opinion that the entire ground should be converted into a park and the school site be shifted to another location.

The Residents’ Welfare Association of the sector, headed by Col Sham Singh, has thoroughly studied the problem arising out of the construction of the school. The association has decided that the building cannot be allowed to come up as it is against the interest of the public and the residents.

“We have divided our sector into four zones and each of these zones has enough open space in the name of parks. However, this particular area, from house number 379 and 651, has this particular ground only, which too, has been given to a school according to whatever information we have,” Col Singh said.

While each zone of the sector has at least two big parks, open spaces and luxurious green belts, this particular portion comprises 273 ten-marla and smaller area houses along with six institutes. This most thickly populated area has only one open space to cater to the entire population.

“They are taking away the only lung of our area. There are two small parks on either side of the ground, which will have a school building at the centre. Neither of the parks is of any use to us given the small size. They should keep in mind, the interest of the public instead of minting money at the cost of the residents,” remarked Flg Offr Rajinder Sharma, who lives opposite the park.

Lt Col R.L. Guleria, another resident, maintains that the roads are not wide enough to facilitate bus movement in the area. Moreover, they are of the opinion that school buildings can certainly not be allowed to come up in the middle of the parks and surrounded by houses on all sides.

“In view of the above reasons, the executive committee of the Residents’ Welfare Association has decided to move court to stay the transfer of the disputed piece of land to the school while simultaneously taking it up with the Haryana Urban Development Authority,” Col S.N. Seth, vice-president of the association, said.

The association is especially sore about the boundary wall of the school coming up in the park because the officers of HUDA had repeatedly assured them that the school site would be shifted to another location. “We even proposed that the school site be moved to open space near the area earmarked for a creche within the same sector. And, much to our surprise, the wall came up overnight,” he rued.



Every moment of life is special: Raghu Rai
Gayatri Rajwade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
It is a “magical” journey that he embarked upon more than 40 years ago when he took up photography. But even today the enchantment lives on for illustrious photographer Raghu Rai. Ask him what he considers as his favourite subject to shoot and he does not even have to think before answering. “Every moment of life is special. When you connect, every object, every subject becomes important,” he states.

Rai was in the city yesterday to be part of his friend and fellow-photographer Diwan Manna’s joint exhibition with a French photographer Michel Dieudonne.

However, it is the growing commercialism in photography that he spent many moments regretting. “Photography is growing in the country gradually, but it is largely market-driven. Photographs no longer occupy pride of place because photo-journalism is going the infotainment way. This is a sad understanding of journalism.”

The purpose of newspapers and magazines is to inspire new experiences and new vision and not just feed the appetite for entertainment. And Rai speaks from a lifetime spent in news-journalism. “Everyone is free to do anything they want with the medium, but in photo-journalism you cannot alter truth. That is against the norms,” he insists.

Pictures tell stories that words can alter. While history can be written and rewritten, photo-history cannot and this he says “will be the final evidence of how society lived”.

The passion is tangible and his reverence to his craft stirring. While words for this living legend are like the brickwork of a building, pictures are the windows opening up the world. “When photographers lose this magic, they lose the power to do change things around them,” he says.

However, there are no lines within photography for him. The demarcation between photo-journalism and art is thin. “If a historical moment is captured on the lens, it becomes art,” he smiles.

This is because photographs can transport to times lost, moments hidden and eras gone by like no other medium can. “It is unfortunate that today photographs die a daily death in newspapers, weekly death in magazines. The ability for them to survive time is the magic and the challenge.”

His mantra to capture that magical moment is simple. “What you receive is what you aim for. If you thirst for something greater, nature gives it to you. But it does not come easy, nothing is easy,” he avers.

His own strength comes from a divine energy, which he believes guides everyone. “You just have to have the ability to see things in totality. Connectivity is one thing but you have to meditate on things to bring out their meaning. Our granths like the Ramayana made divine power visual. We can do it too, but this fast-food generation does not have the time, the inclination and the patience,” he says.

At 65 years, he continues to be inspired “by life and the magic of nature and everything” for he truly believes he is an “eternal witness” to time around him.

He has several books coming out, one on India, on Calcutta, on Delhi, on classical musicians and one on portraits.



Tanwar gets support from various quarters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Renowned city-based artist Viren Tanwar today recorded his statement at the Sector 36 police station in response to the complaint levelled by human rights activist Arvind Thakur against his paintings put up at an exhibition last month in the city.

Thakur has filed his complaint on charges of obscenity in the paintings but Tanwar in his statement clearly said that his intention was not to hurt anyone’s sentiments as these paintings were “self-expressions”.

While speaking to The Tribune, Tanwar said he had been painting for 30 years now and his works had sold all over the world. Further these paintings had been exhibited in Delhi earlier this year and there had been no objections to them there, so why here?

He further elaborated that what people’s viewpoint on seeing the works was something that was personal to them. “It is an issue they are after. I have a right to express myself,” he said.

However, not everyone is convinced with this moral policing that has suddenly descended on the city.

Preeti Shah, a fine-arts student in the city, rues the fact that works by eminent Indian artists like Tanwar sell so well abroad and are well-appreciated but in India, they do not even stand the scrutiny of a public showing.

Even Kala Maitri, the alumni association of the Government College of Art, Sector 10, here has “condemned” the news. In a statement sent by them, they have said, “Keeping in view the scenario of contemporary art and the rich past, this is (a) very immature complaint and cheap publicity stunt.”

It further states that a democratic country like ours allows every citizen the right to express his/her views freely, so why this expression should become a human rights issue. On the contrary, the fact that a complaint has been filed against the artist is a human rights issue. Kala Maitri called an emergency meeting and decided to condemn this complaint and will decide on its next step soon.



AC buses turn CTU staff cold; protest held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
Protesting against the new transport policy of the Chandigarh administration, the CTU Workers’ Union held a dharna in front of the director, CTU office, in the Industrial Area here today.

The protesters were up in arms against the new policy under which the administration was going to allow the air-conditioned buses of other states.

The union leaders alleged that the step had been taken to favour some private transporters of Punjab.

“The administration is not ready to listen to anything on the issue from the union”, said Ranjit Singh, president of the union. He also condemned the dismissal of Krishan Dev, a CTU driver, who has filed an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard.

The union leaders threatened to intensify their agitation if the administration did not consider their demands immediately.



Ex-servicemen meet tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The Indian Ex-Services League (IESL), UT, Chandigarh, is going to hold its general body meeting on October 27 at Gurmukh Singh Musafir Bhawan in Sector 24 here.




Train delay

I have been travelling by train No. UMB-123 (Ambala to Patiala) for the past four months and have noticed that the train is hardly on time. While its actual departure time from Ambala is 7.40 am, it usually runs five to 10 minutes late and the train reaches Patiala almost half an hour late. The situation is the same while travelling back in the evening. This delay is causing a lot of inconvenience to daily commuters. Despite several verbal assurances, the railways authorities have not done anything . I hope the administration does the needful.

Kulwinder Singh

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



Man, 3 of family held in dowry case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 25
The Chandigarh police today arrested Paramjit Singh of Nahan along with three other members of his family in a dowry harassment case. It was on Paramjit’s complaint that the CBI had arrested a constable of the Chandigarh police under the Prevention of Corruption Act earlier this month. while a sub-inspector had dodged the trap.

According to the police, a case had been registered against Paramjit and his family members on a complaint lodged by his wife Manjit Kaur on Wednesday. The police arrested Paramjit Singh, his mother Amarjit Kaur, his sister Lovely and her husband Pankaj Saini from Nahan. The police also recovered the dowry articles from them.

The CBI had arrested Kaka Singh, a constable of the Chandigarh police, on October 10 on the allegation of accepting a bribe of Rs 2,000 from Paramjit Singh while sub-inspector JP Singh escaped the trap. Both Kaka Singh and sub-inspector JP Singh were posted at the Women and Child Support Unit (WACSU) of the Chandigarh police and JP Singh was inquiring into the complaint lodged against Paramjit Singh.

The police said Manjit Kaur had lodged a complaint against her husband in August following which both the parties reached a compromise. Later Manjit again lodged a complaint alleging harassment for dowry and insisted on registration of a case without counselling.



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