C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Bonanza for some, respite for all
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

  • 15 pc quota for the SC/ST from this year
  • Disabled to be allotted centres near their homes
  • Aspirants will be able to submit their
    applications online
  • Candidates to get their forms attested from any gazetted officer
  • Nuclear Chemistry dropped from Class XII chemistry books

Chandigarh, January 2
A bonanza is in store for the reserved category aspirants of the all-India pre-medical/dental entrance examination (AIPMT) from the session 2008-09 onwards.

The CBSE, in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the director-general of health services, has introduced 15 per cent reservation for the schedule caste and schedule tribes candidates for the all-India MBBS/BDS seats from this year.

Confirming this, CBSE officials said this decision had been taken at its meeting held last week at Delhi but its implementation was subject to the approval of the Supreme Court of India.

In yet another decision, to facilitate the disabled persons, for the very first time, the CBSE has decided to allot them the examination centre in or nearest to their home towns. The board has make a special column in the application forms stating “Are you disabled or not?”

“As per earlier practice, the centres were being allotted randomly through computer under a definite and approved formula which favoured no one, but from this year onwards, a special provision has been made for the disabled persons”, said a CBSE official.

But some respite is also in the offing for all. For, the CBSE has decided to drop the subject of Nuclear Chemistry from the Class XII chemistry books.

The CBSE officials said this decision had been taken on the recommendation of the subject experts. The Nuclear Chemistry would now subsequently be no more a part of AIPMT as well as AIEEE exams.

In another significant move, the CBSE has allowed the candidates to get their forms attested from any gazetted officer. This change has been made as in a majority of cases, the students, due to various reasons, change their native place from where they had passed out their schooling and as per earlier practice, they were bound to get their forms attested from that particular school.

Now, a provision has been made where they will be able to get their forms attested from any gazetted officer, which includes any principal/head of the institution, et al.

Also, just on the pattern of the AIEEE exams, the candidates now will be able to submit their applications “online” for the AIPMT exam from this year.

The board is in the process of formulating the procedure, rules and regulations in this regard.



Day 2: CTU buses keep off Punjab roads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Mohali, January 2
Commuters continued to be harassed on the second day of the snapping of the CTU’s bus service to Mohali and peripheral towns. Though the Punjab Roadways claimed that almost 12 buses have been pressed into service on various Chandigarh-Mohali routes, passengers’ wait for buses to Chandigarh remained endless.

MD Punjab Roadways Mandeep Singh said at least 12 buses were put on duty this morning to cater to passengers going to and from Chandigarh. He added that in case the demand was not adequately met by these buses more buses would be run on these routes.

Passengers waiting at the Phase VII bus stop, however, said drivers of Punjab Roadways buses refused to enter Chandigarh as they did not have permits to do so. “Roadways buses were only carrying passengers within Mohali from phase VI to Phase 11. Passengers were dropped at the Punjab-Chandigarh border near Kajheri village from where we walked down to the Sector 43 bus stand,” said Mani Singh a Phase II resident.

Residents of Mullanpur Garibdass and Ferozepur pointed out that other than the two Punjab roadways buses which normally ran on these routes, no addition buses were seen here.

“The two buses came from Kurali and went to the Sector 17 bus stand and then to the Punjab main secretariat. But other than these, no additional buses came to pick up passengers from the Majri block,” said another passenger.

Private bus operators had a field day in Mohali as video coaches and some other air conditioned private buses were seen parked near the local bus stops. However, since these also do not have permits to enter Chandigarh, those who wanted to go to Chandigarh had a harrowing wait choosing to take three wheelers.

School and college students and employees from nearby towns and villages who largely depend on the CTU bus service continued to be worst affected. With the opening of government schools today, students of the areas turned up in large number at the bus stops in a hope that the authorities must have done something to save them from botheration. But their hopes were shattered as no alternative arrangements had been made by the Punjab government at the Chandigarh bus stops. Many of them were seen returning home due to unavailability of the local transport.

Many parents of the students, who used the transport earlier, came to drop and pick their wards form the schools located in the city. “We can’t send our children by a three-wheeler as it is not safe. The CTU buses suited us as the bus stops are just in front of his school and our house. But now I have to drop as well as pick him till the matter is resolved,” said Amarjit Singh of Phase 7.

The scene at the Inter-State Bus Stand Terminus for local buses was not different, as many commuters of these areas were seen roaming about. “I have to go to Manakpur, where no other buses except the CTU ply. But the government has stopped the buses to our area without bothering how the people would manage to reach here and go back. I have no enough money to go by auto-rickshaw”, rued Satwant Singh at the ISBT.

Talking to TNS, Rajinder Singh, a conductor, said his bus (6A) which now touches Mohali border witnessed very thin clientele due to the ban. “The commuters are confused and many of them did not use the bus today due to uncertainty. Definitely, the people are being harassed,” said Rajinder.

Meanwhile, a senior CTU official confirmed that the situation would continue for some days as no meeting between the authorities of Chandigarh Administration and Punjab took place to resolve the issue.

MD Pepsu Road Transport Corporation Manvesh Singh Sidhu said the PRTC had put additional buses on the long route service snapped by the CTU. “These include Chandigarh to Bathinda, Nabha, Malerkotla and Dera Bassi,” he said.



Housing plan for UT staff gets nod
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Decks have been cleared for the construction of 6,000 houses for UT employees in southern part of the city. Proposed by the Chandigarh Housing Board earlier, the housing scheme for UT employees has got the nod from UT adviser Pradip Mehra.

Under the scheme, houses of four different categories will be constructed in Sectors 52 and 53. Sources in the housing board said the costing pattern of houses will be between Rs 20 and 40 lakh depending on the size and accommodation of the category.

It may be mentioned that UT employees are asking for changes in the entitlement criteria for the houses. These criteria are not considered very fair and need to be revised to bring them in line with the times.

With the UT administration clearing the proposal, the CHB is now free to invite applications from the interested employees. The scheme was earlier proposed to meet the pressing housing demand of UT employees.



Upgradation of Chandigarh railway station
Lack of planning leads to chaos
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Upgrading the Chandigarh railway station is not on the agenda of the Northern Railways; it has been restricted to the platform area only. Though ticket booking at Chandigarh generates around Rs 20 lakh per day, no effort has been made to improve the facilities in the traffic circulation area.

The entrance to the station building is being given a facelift. Though the railways own a large chunk of land, it has not been utilised for public convenience and during the rush hours, the facility falls short of the demand. There is chaos due to a single entry and exit point. No planning has been done to have separate entry for VIP vehicles, private vehicles, taxis and public transport vehicles.

The autos have been given parking space at a wrong place near the entrance to the station. For the past several years, the pay and park facility, originally created for those who travel by the Shatabdi Express, has not been relocated and expanded. The parking for government vehicles also leads to chaos.

“There should be a separate entry point for VIP cars as daily a number of VIPs travel by the Shatabdi Express. The vehicles ferrying the VIPs should not be allowed to interfere with the normal traffic,” said an official.

Though the railway reservation counters have been located in a separate building near the exit to the station, there is no facility to park the vehicles. Moreover, it appears that the roads in the traffic circulation area have not been carpeted for many years.

Similarly, the office of the GRP and other unrelated buildings need to shifted away from the main station building. The enquiry counter and current booking counter also need to be shifted out of the main building complex.

The Chandigarh railway station is being developed as a model station, having facilities which the Railways claims are the latest and user-friendly.

A meeting between officials of the railways and Chandigarh administration had been scheduled for tomorrow, said sources.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh administration has planned to widen the road leading from the Railway Station traffic lights to Daria. Slip roads have also been planned on the road which connects the Industrial Area, Phase I, and the main approach road to the station.



Roads in Sec 42 cry for attention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Roads in Sector 42, particularly the one leading to the sports complex, which boasts of state-of-the-art facilities, are in bad shape. Due to re-carpeting of the roads, especially the one in front of the office of the SDM (South), the coal tar mixed gravel has loosened its grip. The road also leads to the office of the UT sports department. The condition is similar for the past few years. Hundreds of people visit the office of the SDM (south). Thanks to the apathy of the UT engineering department and municipal corporation, the road leading to the sports complex has not been widened and the bulbs in the streetlight poles are missing.

Residents of the southern sector also visit the place for getting their driving licences renewed or pay the road tax. “Since the area is part of the sports complex where international events are held on regular basis, the Chandigarh administration should focus on upgrading the basic amenities,” said a visitor.

Once the pending proposal of connecting the Sector 17 office of the registering and licensing authority (RLA) was implemented, there would be more rush of visitors.

A proposal to network the main RLA office with its extension counters at the office of the SDM (South) and the SDM (East) is still pending due to some technical problems. Sources in the department said efforts were on to work out the connectivity between different offices of the licensing authority.

A typist, an oath commissioner and a person operating a xerox machine have been given space under a porch exposed to the vagaries of weather.



Three of family taken ill after consuming prasad
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Three members of a family, including a 15-year-old boy, were hospitalised in an unconscious state after they consumed‘sedative’-laced Prasad given by an unidentified person last night.

The incident came to light this morning, when Rahul, a younger son of 32-year-old Sheeshpal, a small-time shopkeeper near Samadhi Gate in Mani Majra, came to the shop and found his father, mother Kranti and elder brother Mahinder unconscious. He raised an alarm and neighbours gathered at their shop. The victims were taken to a private doctor, who referred them to the civil hospital in Mani Majra from where they were shifted to Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Sector 16.

Rahul told mediapersons that some silver ornaments of his mother, a gunny bag of groundnut, some packets of gazak and other articles were found missing from their shop. His father in a semi-concious state told him that an unidentified man had come to their shop at 9.30 pm and offered them prasad, which he ate along with his wife, son and other two-three persons. The man himself consumed the prasad and went away.

SHO of the Mani Majra police station inspector Hari Kumar said he came to know about the incident and rushed to the spot. He said prime facie it did not look to be a case of robbery as some other persons had also eaten the same sweets, including the man himself. Sheeshpal told a police officer that they all worked late in the night before going to sleep.

Even their neighbours told the police that they had consumed the same sweets and were alright, said a police officer.

The SHO said the family could have, in all probability, fallen conscious due to smoke in their room as Sheeshpal was roasting groundnuts in his shop. The doctors had kept them under observation and things would be cleared only after recording their statements. So far, no case has been registered.



CAT reverses IT dept orders on Rahl’s pension
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Quashing the directions of chief commissioner, Income Tax, on reducing the pension of applicant by 20 per cent, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) asked the department to release regular pension. The applicant, M.C. Rahl was charge-sheeted for irregular assessment of assessee.

CAT observed: “We hold the view that the entire proceedings initiated against the applicant are not sustainable, which culminated into imposition of 20 per cent cut in pension for 10 years to the applicant without following the principal of natural justice by the authorities concerned.”

The CAT further directed the department to pay the dues of the applicant, M.C. Rahl, along with an interest of 6 per cent from the date of retirement in 2000 till the payment is made.

A resident of Ludhiana, M.C. Rahl was working as income tax officer from April, 29, 1992, to June 9, 1993. He stated that he was chargesheeted in May, 2000 for dishonest and irregular assessment of income tax and wealth of an assessee. He was also alleged of not being able to ensure prompt service of notice in such cases.

The applicant denied the charges levelled against him through a letter in June, 2000.

Thereafter, an inquiry was marked to probe in the matter in February, 2001. The inquiry report was submitted on December 31, 2002.

The report stated that irregular assessment of income tax was not proved. While the second allegation of the applicant not being vigilant in getting notice served was accepted.

Subsequently, the Central Vigilance Commission advised the imposition of penalty of “token cut” in pension.

The applicant stated that the charge-sheet was issued in 2000 for an incident of 1992. Furthermore, the disciplinary proceedings ended on July 14, 2006, 14 years after the date of incident and six years after the issuance of charge-sheet.

The tribunal stated that the respondents had failed to explain the inordinate delay of eight years for issuance of charge-sheet to the applicant for an incident relating to year 1992-1993.

A Division Bench held: “No departmental proceedings could have been initiated against him for any wrong or reckless order or failure to issue notice in exercise of these powers because any final order passed by him was subject to judicial supervision ion appeal.”

The tribunal stated that the applicant was promoted twice during the interregnum period of charge-sheet. These promotions have been made without any condition or subject to conclusion of disciplinary proceedings.



Vehicles weigh heavy on city infrastructure
Mandeep Puri

Chandigarh, January 2
City Beautiful is slowly losing its image of being congestion free and pollution free city. The increasing number of vehicles is putting an extra load on the city’s infrastructure that had been planned for a population of a few lakhs. Statistics reveal that on an average there was one vehicle for every one and half person. Sample this: Officials in the registering and licensing authority (RLA), Chandigarh, reveal that around 200 vehicles were being daily registered in the city. Compare this to the statistics of 2001, when around 20 vehicles were registered daily.

Professionals dealing with the sale and purchase of cars and two wheelers reveal that the influx of professionals has increased thereby bringing more vehicles. This has put an additional load on the basic facilities like roads. They point out that the section opting for medium range cars and luxury cars was the highest in the city.

Seeing the growing segment of consumers, the companies are focusing more on selling more cars in this part of the country. Sales figures of cars are on the higher side when compared to the entire country.

Manmohan Singh, a resident of Sector 34, said, “The administration should take immediate steps to introduce public transport vehicles which are pollution free otherwise the city’s green image will remain only on papers.”

Planners say the city roads are not suited to accommodate a huge rush of vehicles as in case of metros. With the pollution on a rise, the city is losing its originality and causing a concern for the people living therein.



Road Accidents
Traffic cops identify 6 points
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The Chandigarh Traffic Police conducted a survey of fatal road accidents and identified six accident prone points in various parts of the city.

The police said in all, 538 accidents were reported last year out of which 139 were fatal and 399 were of non-fatal category.

A perusal of the survey revealed that a large number of victims of fatal accidents were two-wheeler riders.

Among those killed on city roads included 60 two-wheeler riders, 39 pedestrians and 23 cyclists.

The accident cell of the police identified six accident prone spots in various parts of the city, including Hallo Majra Small Chowk, Sector 51 Crossing, Shanti Path, Vikas Marg, village Daria near Railway Station, Colony Number 5 on Vikas Marg.

The police installed barricades to break the speed on these points, besides increasing deployment of traffic policemen in southern sectors helped in reducing the accidents on these spots.

The police also carried out specials drives against overspeeding, high beam and drunken driving.

These remedial measures benefited in bringing down the rate of fatal accidents by four per cent, last year as compared to 2006.



Traffic cops organise scooter rally
Attempt to create awareness among women riders

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The Chandigarh traffic police today organised a scooter rally of girl students to promote wearing of helmets among female two-wheeler riders as a part of the 19th road safety week.

As many as 60 students from Government College for Girls Sector 11 and 42, MCM DAV College, Sector 36 various local colleges and lady constables of the Chandigarh police took part in the rally. They were holding placards carrying messages about traffic rule and regulations, spreading awareness among female riders and educating them to wear helmets.

The rally commenced from Sector 23 Children Traffic Park and passed through the Yatri Niwas in sector 24, cricket stadium chowk in sector 16, matka chowk, Press Light Point before culminating at Sukhna lake.

A perusal of figures available with the accident cell of the Chandigarh police revealed that number of causalities among two-wheeler riders were the highest among all the road users, last year.



Habitual offender debarred from holding licence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA), Chandigarh, debarred a habitual offender from holding a driving licence for a period two months from December 28 following recommendations made by the traffic police.

The Chandigarh traffic police said Gurpreet Singh of Sector 15-D had been issued six challans from April 24, 2005 to September 23, 2007.

Till today, the Chandigarh traffic police has recommended 219 cases to the RLA for suspension of driving licence out of which 169 habitual offenders have been awarded punishment by the RLA.



13 head of cattle die in Dhanas village
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Over a dozen cattle died in Dhanas village today with another seven of them reported to be in serious condition. The cattle included eight buffaloes, three cows and two calves. Food poisoning is said to be the reason behind the death of these cattle, which belonged to milkman Bhola Ram, a resident of Milk Colony in Dhanas.

According to information, Bhola Ram was away from home yesterday evening when one of the cattle suddenly collapsed. Before the family members could take stock of the situation, the others, too, started to collapse gradually. Veterinary Dr Sangeeta was called, who examined the animals. By the morning, as many as 13 cattle had died.

Bhola Ram owns 30 buffaloes and 10 cows. Each cattle costs around Rs 50,000. Newly elected mayor Pradeep Chhabra also reached the spot along with the area councillor.

While the postmortem and lab examination of the dead cattle have been ordered, Pradeep Chhabra requested the DC to consider giving compensation to the dairy owner.



Walking Zone at Sukhna Admn seeks public opinion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The Chandigarh administration today sought public response on the issue of making a new “walking zone” on the far side of Sukhna Lake.

The issue was taken up in the meeting of secretaries here today. The walking zone will be in addition to the existing one that is on the berm of the lake.

The zone will start from the Lake Club side and meander its way through the forest.

A comprehensive plan for making City Beautiful was also discussed. All entry points to the city will be further beautified.

Adviser to the UT administrator Pradip Mehra asked the Chandigarh College of Architecture to come up with a broader plan to make Sukhna Lake more spectacular and beautiful.

The meeting also discussed the strategy and plan for more tree plantations.

The forest department has proposed to plant one million trees in the union territory.

Administration is also considering for allowing vehicles to take free left turn at traffic lights even if the lights are red.

Specific areas will be made horn free and litter free.

Adviser also asked the secretaries to regularly monitor the progress of their projects.



Cycle rally promotes healthy living
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
British Library, Sector 9, in collaboration with Society for Tourism and Entertainment Promotions in Chandigarh (STEPS), organised a cycle rally today. K. Selveraj IPS, IGP telecommunications, government of Haryana flagged off the rally.

Bipin Kumar, manager of the library welcomed all the participants and said this rally aims to represent an ideal showcase to persuade residents of the city to become healthier in the coming year. “The motto is to read, grow and encourage spreading awareness of the power of a written word”.

Around 50 participants started this morning from the British library and cycled up to the Sukhna Lake covering a distance of 8 km approximately.

One of the participants, Vishal Thukral, assistant general manager, PR, HAFED took leave from his office to participate in the rally. “It was real fun to exercise with the staff and members and I was reminded of my school days going on cycle.” D.V. Bhatia, president, Association British Scholars said this kind of cycle rallies should be organised quite frequently in the city.

On the occasion, British Library also announced the re-opening of library membership from January 5.



Tenants’ body holds protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The Chandigarh Industrial Area Tenants’ Association held a protest rally in support of their demand for rehabilitation of the tenants of Industrial Area I and II here today.

The route of the rally was curtailed as the administration denied permission to the protesters to go to Sector 17 citing traffic hazards.

A memorandum for deputy commissioner was handed over to the SDM (south) at Industrial Area after the rally.



Welfare society
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The following have been elected office-bearers of the Army Welfare Housing Cooperative and Maintenance Society, Sector 47-C. President — Col H.K. Dev; vice-president Meena Jaswal; general secretary — Wg Cdr Satish Bhatia; and treasurer — Vishal Gulati.



Bad decision spelt doom

Indian team on the first day of the second cricket test match in Sydney was doing extremely well. They had a firm grip on the match when a couple of bad umpiring decisions totally turned the complexion of the game. Symonds was twice let off. When he was below 50 runs, the rejection of an appeal for caught behind against the bowling of Sharma proved the turning point of the match.

Subsequent replays showed without any doubt that the batsman had clearly snicked the ball to the wicket keeper's gloves. This bad decision proved nemesis for Indians. Symonds went on to score 150 plus. In case of vociferous appeals made with confidence and showing spontaneous reaction from concerned fielders, I suppose umpires should not hesitate to consult the third umpire for ensuring that a right decision is given.

D.B. Singh

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One held, two booked for stealing power
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The police today arrested one person and booked two others, including a woman, on the charges of stealing electricity through kundi connections from various parts of the city.

A team of the special crime investigation cell of the Chandigarh police arrested Parlahad Tiwari of Colony No. 5, who was booked on the allegations of stealing electricity for his shop in the locality on December 29. The case was registered following a complaint lodged by Jagtar Singh, SDO of sub-division No. 9. The police seized wires used for the kundi connection.

In another incident, the Mani Majra police booked Rattan Singh and Shammi, both residents of Mauli Jagran, for stealing electricity through kundi connections. The case was registered on a complaint filed by Dharam Singh, SDO, UT electricity department.

Sources in the electricity department said both accused had been served notices, warning them not to steal electricity, but they refused to budge. They added that such raids would continue during the night as complaints were pouring in about the rampant electricity theft in the area.

2 vehicles stolen

A car and an SUV were reportedly stolen from the city last night.

Vikram Aggarwal of Sector 28 reported that his Maruti Alto car (CH-03-Z-7389) was stolen from in front of his house. In another incident, V.S. Chaudhary of Sector 51 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Mahindra Scorpio (CH-03-Y-2590) was stolen from in front of his residence.

Two separate cases of thefts have been registered in various police stations.



Suicide bid by 21-yr old girl
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
Kiran (21) was hospitalised after she allegedly consumed some poisonous substance at her Mauli Jagran residence, here, this evening. The police is yet to ascertain the reason behind the incident.

According to the police, the victim’s condition was critical and the doctors treating her at Government Hospital, Sector 6, declared her unfit to record her statement.

The police said Kiran had consumed something from a tumbler after which her condition deteriorated at around 4 pm.

Her father Nand Lal was at home and her sister-in-law, who were at home, expressed ignorance about the incident.

The police said further action would be taken after recording the victim’s statement.



Dowry Death
Husband, mother-in-law booked
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 2
The Chandigarh Police today booked a husband and mother-in law of a newly wed woman on charges of dowry death after the woman succumbed in the hospital here tonight. According to police sources, Rinky had recently got married (about two months ago) to Harish and was working in a private office in Sector 17 where she consumed some poisonous substance today, which ultimately to her death.



Man found dead
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur Garibdass, January 2
Fakivia Ram (64), a resident of Mullapur Garibdass, was found dead near the Chandigarh-Mullanpur Garibdass barrier here this morning. The victim’s bleeding body lay on the roadside till 8.30 in the morning when the police came and sent the body for postmortem. The victim’s relatives reached the spot and were wailing for help for almost two hours when the police reached.

According to the police, the victim was walking back home and either fell down on his own or was hit by an unidentified vehicle. Fakivia Ram had retired as a peon from the Punjab Secretariat.

The police has started inquest proceedings. Further investigations are on.



Shop burgled, 7 laptops missing
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 2
Atlantic Technologies, a shop dealing in computers in Sector 8 here, was burgled yesterday night. Harsh Jindal, owner of the shop, claimed that goods worth Rs 3 lakh were missing from the shop.

According to Jindal, he deals in computers and laptops. This morning, he got a call from fellow shopkeepers that the locks of his shop broken. “When I reached the spot, I found seven laptops from my shop missing, which amounts to around Rs 3 lakh,” said Jindal.

A case of theft has been registered and the police has started investigation in the incident.



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