C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Rape In Security Zone
No PCR vehicle at Raj Bhawan chowk, admits police
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
The rape of a 40-year-old woman by security guards of Haryana Raj Bhawan in the wee hours of February 21 has brought the security of the Haryana Governor under cloud.

The accused had consumed a bottle of liquor before the incident and one of them, Dinesh Kumar, a constable with the Haryana Armed Police, was to join duty at 2 am that day.

ASP Madur Verma said investigations into the case had almost been completed and the statements of the accused, the victim and the witnesses recorded. Now, only reports of samples collected from the accused for DNA profile and vaginal swabs of the victim were awaited after which a charge sheet would be filed.

Sources in the police said the investigating officials were taking legal opinion on the matter, particularly the role of Vijender Singh, a commando of the Haryana Police, who escorted the victim to her residence in Mohali after the incident.

The sources said no patrol vehicle was parked at Hira Singh Chowk near Raj Bhavan considering that it was a high-security zone manned by commandos. The vehicle was deployed only at 5 am when morning walkers arrive at the lake.

The mobile call details of the accused, the victim and her employer, Mahavir, showed that they did not know one another.

Seetu, alias Ravi of Rohtak, who was arrested yesterday, narrated the sequence of events which corroborated with the statements of the accused and the victim. On the role of Vijender Singh, Seetu told the police that he did not have intercourse with the woman. But he kept guard outside the room when they committed the crime.

After the crime, Seetu boarded a bus for Rohtak. On the way, he threw his mobile into a canal, fearing arrest. On reaching home, he found a vehicle of the Chandigarh Police parked outside and escaped. Thereafter, he purchased another mobile phone and a sim card but made only a few calls, fearing that someone may give him away to the police.

The police was tipped off by its informer on Sunday that Seetu was on his way to Chandigarh.The informer gave the bus number to the police following which a team was deployed at the Sector 17 ISBT, from where he was nabbed.

The sources said no patrol vehicle was parked at Hira Singh Chowk near Raj Bhavan considering that it was a high-security zone manned by commandos. The vehicle is deployed only at 5 am when morning walkers arrive at the lake.

Seetu was today produced before a local court which remanded him to judicial custody. 



Treated water for irrigation
MC moots Rs 37-cr project
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
Irrigation of gardens, parks, greenbelts and houses measuring one kanal and above is set to change in the city. In an eco-friendly decision aimed at conserving water, the Municipal Corporation (MC) has proposed an ambitious Rs 37 crore project for the treatment of sewage effluent with a view to converting it into tertiary treated irrigation water.

To be undertaken under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) of the ministry of urban development, the project will go a long way in saving precious water and ensuring 24-hour water supply to the city, officials sources said here today.

In the wake of thousands of green spaces and kanal houses, the current requirement for irrigation in Chandigarh was pegged at 20 million gallons per day(MGDs). However, only 7 MGD of tertiary treated water is being utilised against the available quantity of 10 MGDs.

Officials said the project would endeavour to supply the available 3 MGDs tertiary-treated balance water, besides fulfilling the balance demand of 10 MGDs. With that end in mind a 10 MGD capacity plant and distribution network was envisaged.

"The project will save precious water resources and check the sewage effluent which was currently going waste.The availability of more greenery as a result of additional water would reduce the pollution level and help the civic body realise its dream of 24-hour water supply in the city," MCC mayor Pardeep Chhabra, claimed.

Highlighting the benefits accruing due to the scheme, officials said 10 MGDs of sewage going waste would be converted to useable irrigation water.This would save capital investment amounting to Rs 40 crore which would have been required for the creation of infrastructure for the generation of 10 MGDs of drinking water, an official added.

The JNNURM project will entail a central grant to the tune of 80 per cent with the Chandigarh Administration and the MCC chipping in with a share of 10 per cent each. Chandigarh is one of the 63 urban centres where the mission is being implemented with a view to “creating economically productive, efficient and equitable services.”

Currently, drinking water was indiscriminately being used for irrigation of the administration and MCC gardens and parks and big houses in the city. Regular raids to check the misuse of water, particularly during summers, have failed to yield the desired results.

With the habitation of phase III sectors from Sector 48 onwards, the city’s water requirements, including for the newly developed parks and greenbelts, have increased considerably. The saving of water due to use of tertiary treated sewerage water will ultimately provide better water supply to the multi-storeyed flats in the cooperative housing societies and Chandigarh Housing Board dwelling units, the sources added.



Man, his mother get life term
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 25
Additional district and sessions judge Shiva Sharma today sentenced a man and his mother to life imprisonment in a dowry death case. Pronouncing the judgement, he asked the guilty to deposit a fine of Rs 50,000.

The father and brother of the man were sentenced to one-and-a-half-year imprisonment and fined Rs 5,000 in the case.

The wife of Rajesh, son of Subhash Suri, a resident of Madanpur village in Sector 26, was admitted to a local hospital with burn injuries on August 25, 2006.

Anu, who was married to Rajesh in 2003, told the police told that her mother-in-law and husband had together set her on fire. Parents of Anu, residents of Baghana village in Kapurthala district, had alleged that their daughter was being tortured for more dowry.

Anu succumbed to her injuries on September 4 at the PGI, Chandigarh.



‘My focus is on comedy’
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Shakti Kapoor in Chandigarh.
Shakti Kapoor in Chandigarh. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, February 25
He has portrayed the good and ugly with equal ease. His villainous roles have won him accolades, as have the comic ones. Funny or evil, Shakti Kapoor has held the audience in rapt attention. The actor was in city for a short stopover.

At his friend BSP convener Harmohan Dhawan’s house, the actor was enjoying the serenity of lush green lawns. In his characteristic humour, when asked about the purpose of his visit, he said: “I am here to loot banks.”

Jokes apart, the actor has come a long way.With career spanning over three decades, he has overcome the trauma caused to him by a TV channel on the issue of the casting couch.

“That phase was a bad dream and I was made a bakra. I have forgotten all about it, and so have the people,” he said.

So what has our ‘Nandu’ of Raja Babu, been up to ? “Comedy is rules the roost in Bollywood and I am focusing on the same. My forthcoming projects include two Raj Sippy films, Hamilton Palace and Khujli, and another film “Rafu Chakkar,” he said.

Having witnessed a sea changes in the film industry, the actor says the industry is flourishing like never before. “We as actors were paid not more than Rs 10 lakh, but today crores are being paid, a budget of Rs 35 crore is a common thing.”

On cricket and the IPL, Shakti Kapoor says: “As for as commercialisation is concerned, it is happening everywhere. So cricket can’t remain untouched. But sadly, our national game hockey is not being promoted in a similar way.”



Major to be court martialled
Charges framed under Army, Arms Acts
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
The Army has ordered trial by general court martial of a Major from the Military Intelligence (MI), who was reportedly caught in the company of two Ethiopian girls at his New Delhi residence.

Sources at the Army Headquarters reveal that three charges have been levelled against him under provisions of the Army Act and the Arms Act. He has been charged with violation of Army regulations pertaining to contact with foreign nationals and for possession of unlicensed weapons and ammunition.

A court of inquiry presided over by Col Inderjit Singh, commanding officer of an infantry battalion, had held the officer blameworthy of his acts of omission and commission, following which the Army initiated the disciplinary action.

The incident had occurred in March last year, when the officer was officiating as the Commanding Officer of an intelligence unit based at the Army headquarters. The Army had maintained that the girls, identified as Samravit Bekele and Rahel Girma, were part of a secret operation and had been picked up by the MI for questioning in a drug smuggling case.

In their statements to the police, the girls, according to documents pertaining to the case, had denied any kind of abuse and said they had been only questioned. Being foreigners, they were not compelled to undergo medical tests. Though their passports were valid till 2011, their visas to visit India had expired.

According to the Army, anti-narcotic operations by the MI were not unprecedented and these were undertaken to cultivate sources for garnering information. MI officers claim that several successful operations claimed by the police have been because of inputs by them.

The sources said the officer had maintained that a member of a Delhi University students’ organisation had introduced him to the girls. Thereafter, while conducting the operation they met another person, who had given him a packet that he later found to contain arms and ammunition. The weapons listed in documents include two pistols, about 150 rounds of different types of ammunition, a grenade and a detonator.



From Gloucester to city, mayors moot ‘friendship link’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
In an effort to take the Indo-British cooperation to the next level, the city of Gloucester has mooted the “friendship link” with Chandigarh for cooperation in art, culture, politics, industry and civic affairs.

“Though Chandigarh is one of the most-planned cities in the world, our expertise in several fields, including environment preservation, industry and civic affairs, can go a long way making it still a better place to live in,” Gloucester mayor Harjit Gill told The Tribune here today.

Gill, who held wide-ranging talks with Pardeep Chhabra, mayor, Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh, for exploring the possibilities of mutual cooperation, invited councillors and officials for the study tour to the UK.

In fact, during the meeting there was a broad agreement on forging link between Chandigarh and Gloucester, the cities that boasted of some of the best infrastructure in the respective countries. Gill, who is the first non-white mayor in the 526-year history of Gloucester, a key city in the Gloucestershire county, suggested that Chandigarh could have a “mayor’s charity” on the pattern of several UK cities.

“I have chosen the theme of helping the aged for mayor’s charity during my tenure and we are having a charity ball for raising the funds on March 15,” he said.

A native of Dakoha village in Jalandhar district, this postgraduate in politics migrated to the UK in 1978 in search of greener pastures. By sheer dint of hardwork, Gill rose in public life and today has the rare distinction of being the first non-white sheriff of Barton and then mayor of Gloucester in a city with a population of about 1.3 lakh.

Gill’s achievement is all more creditable since Punjabis numbered only a few hundreds in the city and his election to the prestigious post of mayor is being seen as recognition of his public service since 1978.

“Besides Chandigarh, we are keen to have closer cooperation with Surat since Gloucester has about 300 Gujarati families and they are keen to help their home state in different areas,” he added.

Meanwhile, terming Gill’s offer as “practical”, Chhabra said the MCC would actively consider the offer for mutual benefits of both the cities. In fact, Chandigarh could learn a lot from Gloucester in several areas, particularly disposal of e-waste, he asserted. Chander Mukhi Sharma, councilor, said the exchange programme could go long way in boosting cooperation between two cities in different walks of life.



Walking zone or parking zone?
Mandeep Puri

Chandigarh, February 25
The area behind the commercial complex (showrooms) of Sector 9 is being used for parking of vehicles by the people. To evade the parking fee, the newly constructed footpath, which is meant for the pedestrian to walk, are being used as the parking of vehicles.

The people living in the area are facing a lot of harassment, which leads to heated arguments and at times to minor brawl. The residents are confused whether the area is meant for the pedestrians to walk or for the parking of vehicles.

Since, the area is prone to heavy traffic, the pedestrian walking around the area were open to danger all time. The vehicles are parked not only on a no parking zone, but also in front of the houses, making it difficult for the people to come for their houses.

S. S. Pannu, a resident of Sector 9, said, “The construction of the footpaths is almost completed but still the residents living here are not yet clear that the area will be used as a parking zone or for the people to walk. People park their vehicles on either side of the road making it impossible for the pedestrian to walk”.

Chander Mukhi Sharma, area councillor, said, “Because of the congestion, the area has been extended for the purpose of parking. The no-parking signboards are the old ones, which the police hasn’t taken away”.



Four centres for special kids
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
The UT education department is going to establish four resource centres, which will exclusively cater to children with special needs. The centres are being set up in four government schools with the sole motive of making life easy for the physically challenged kids and also for the visually impaired and deaf and dumb.

According to official sources, special educators will be hired to understand the demands and needs of the special kids. Government Model Senior Secondary Schools in Sectors 8, 15, 38 and 45 will host the centres.

The proposed centres will provide speech therapy, physiotherapy and learning acceleration therapies. Each resource centre will cater to the needs of about 25 schools.

As many as 12 resource teachers, especially trained for teaching children with visual, speech and hearing and mental retardation, have been appointed to teach special skills, undertake parent counselling, provide remedial teaching and correct therapies.

In a survey held recently, the department had identified 4,079 children suffering from mild to moderate disabilities and who are on the rolls of the government schools. Around 1,500 students were found to be in severe need of correctional therapies and supporting aids and appliances. Around 700 such children did not go to school at all.

Under this plan, Sarv Siksha Abhiyan in collaboration with the National Association for the Blind is coming up with a computer centre for visually impaired children in GMSSS-8.

A computer laboratory with 20 PCs will be housed in there and there are plans of establishing a mobile special resource centre to meet the needs of critically disabled children in their homes.



French multinational sponsors local chess progidy
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
His big achievements at a young age caught the fancy of a French multi-national company. To support seven-year-old Anubhav Tuknayat, Velcan, a green energy producer of Europe, took this little champ under its wings.

With this, the city-based chess prodigy has become the first youngest sponsored player in the country as claimed by his proud father Ashwini Tuknayat.

“I got sponsorship for five years. The company would give me minimum Rs 1.5 lakh annually”, said Anubhav, a student of Class I of Vivek High School.

“The sponsorship would be a great help in nurturing my dream to become a professional player”, said Anubhav, who has to visit Delhi for a week every month to get specialised tips from professional coach G B Joshi.

Starting playing the game at the age of four years, Anubhav played his first tournament- Chandigarh Open Chess Championship- in 2006 in which he won four out of eight games. He was given a special prize for his brilliant performance.

The same year Anubhav won his first trophy as the Youngest Chess Player and cash prize in Kanwar Shiv Singh Memorial North Zone Open Championship at Theog, Shimla.

Apart from this, Anubhav has represented the city in the XXth National Chess Championship (under-7) (Boys and Girls) at Goa in 2006 and XXIth National Chess Championship (under-7) at Lucknow in 2007.

The Education Department, Chandigarh Administration, also honoured him as a “Promising Chess Player” during the state function to mark National Sports Day last year.

Anubhav won laurels by winning ‘Award of Honour’ in the 1st Snow City International Rating Chess Tournament-2007 at Shimla and All- India Open Chess Tournament-2007 at Khamanon. He was the youngest player in both the tournaments.

Recently he secured the first position in the under-10 category in Chandigarh Prize Money Chess Championship 2008 that concluded this week here.

“I want to become a great player like my idol, the greatest chess genius Robert James Fischer”, asserted Anubhav, who is known as CC (Chess Champion) among his friends.



Building plans to be okayed online
Estate Office, PEC to ink pact soon
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
The UT Estate Office is going tech savvy. After computerisation of the records of the Estate Office, it is soon going to introduce a system of online sanctioning of building plans. To be developed by the centre for computational engineering, Punjab Engineering College (PEC), the system will include plan approval tracking and management facility in the building branch. The estate office will pay around Rs 9 lakh to PEC to instal the facility.

A memorandum of understanding will be soon signed with the PEC authorities. Additional hardware like computers and other paraphernalia will be procured by the Estate Office. Explaining the process, an official said those intending to get their building plan sanctioned would be able to apply online. The status of the case would also be available on the Net. With the software, the field inspection reports generated from different wings of the building branch.

As per the existing procedure, property owners or their architects have to submit their building plan for approval. After checking at different level, it goes to the Plan Approval Committee (PAC). It has been seen that architects had to make repeated rounds to the Estate Office to know the status of their plans. The online system would check delays and increase the accountability.

“Anyone applying for an occupational certificate can also use the facility. Once the system is installed, the property owners will have to submit their plans digitally or through the e-mail”, said the official.



Consumer Courts
Vodafone to pay Rs 5,000 for incorrect bill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
Taking note of an incorrect bill charged by Vodafone Essar South Limited from a Mohali resident, the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-I has directed them to pay Rs 5,000 as compensation.

The forum has asked the in charge of Vodafone to charge Rs 119.25 as mobile phone bill against the incorrect bill issued by them.

The petitioner, Sunil Kumar, stated that he had lost his Nokia handset on September 30, 2007. He is learnt to have informed the customer care cell of the telecom company to block the sim of the said connection. Thereafter, he lodged a complaint with the police regarding the lost mobile phone.

The sim card was not blocked by the telecom company. Subsequently, Kumar was surprised to get a bill of Rs 3,849. He alleged that the bill that he had received was for the period when the sim was misplaced and he had not used the phone.

The telecom company stated that the said bill was issued for the uses made by him. The company moreover pleaded that the complainant never submitted a copy of the DDR. The forum observed: “The telecom company by not rendering proper service caused unnecessary harassment to the petitioner, who had made several rounds to the company’s office. The company is directed to refund the amount of Rs 3,110.99 to the petitioner .”



Childrens’ Kidnapping
Cops shielding accused: Woman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
Accusing the Chandigarh Police of dragging its feet on proceedings against five persons accused of kidnapping and assaulting her sons, a woman of Sector 44 has alleged that investigating officials are shielding the accused.

Despite the fact that a local court had rejected the anticipatory bail, the police had not arrested the accused even after a lapse of over six months of the incident, alleged Suraksha Rani, the victims’ mother. “I have been running from pillar to post to get justice as the police is only shielding the accused by going slow in the proceedings. Encouraged by the attitude of the police, the accused are not only moving scot-free but also issuing threats to us”, alleged Suraksha Rani.

Suraksha told TNS that on August 31, last year, her sons, Sidarth and Nishant, were kidnapped by son of a prominent hotelier, Rohit Bajaj of Sector 21, Shiv Karan of Mohali, Ankit, Vicky Chaudhary and Amandeep around 9 pm. The accused were carrying weapons and also tried to kill her sons, who somehow managed to flee. The matter was reported to the police and a case of kidnapping was registered the following day.

She alleged that the police did not try to arrest the accused except Ankit, who later obtained a regular bail. Two other accused, Rohit Bajaj and Shiv Karan were let off on anticipatory bail, whose orders of stay of arrest had now been expired on December 17. Despite the fact, she asked Mahaveer Rana, the investigating officer, to arrest the accused as their bail had expired, the police did nothing. Her sons have to stay indoors in the wake of threats from the accused, who are roaming freely in the city.

She further alleged that the police was not filing the charge sheet in the court even after the six months of the incident. Mahaveer Rana said the case had been transferred to the in charge of the Sukhana Lake police post Lakhbir Singh. Lakhbir Singh, however, said he had joined recently and was not aware about the status of the case as he was yet to get the charge from his predecessor and he would be able to say anything only after studying case. 



DAV colleges disregard directions
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
The MCM and DAV Colleges, Chandigarh, have failed to provide information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, within 10 days to applicants R.P. Singh, Arun Kumar Aggarwal and Avanindra Chopra.

They had sought information on contributory provident fund, annual fee structure and expenditure incurred on advertisements by the two colleges. The colleges have disregarded the directions of the CPIO in the office of the director, higher education (colleges), UT.

The administration had on February 5, 2008, sent a note to the principals of MCM DAV and DAV College to provide information to the applicants within 10 days.

The director, higher education (colleges), had issued an advisory to S. Marriya, principal of DAV College, to abide by the provisions of the RTI Act.

Later, the principals of both colleges were appointed chief public information officers (CPIOs) of their respective colleges. But the colleges ignored these letters. Prof Uma Joshi, president. MCM DAV College Teachers’ Union said: "There are several other serious violations of rules and regulations by these colleges. They have cold-shouldered other requests, reminders and warnings of the authorities.

“Panjab University is contemplating severe penalty on the colleges for not abiding by its rules on contributory provident fund and leave encashment." Prof Anil Sarwal, president, DAV College Teachers' Union, said: “ The stand taken by the colleges on the RTI Act is illegal.”



Villagers, leaders rally behind sarpanch
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
Residents of Khudda Ali Sher village yesterday held a protest in their village and raised slogans accusing the Chandigarh Police of acting biased and wrongly booking the village sarpanch.

Political leaders of various parties expressed solidarity with villagers and said in case the police failed to cancel the case against the village sarpanch Gurdial Singh, they would be forced to take strong action.

They, however, given an ultimatum of seven days to the police to cancel the case against Gurdial Singh and further demanded that serious section, including attempt to murder should be imposed on other party.

The villagers assembled at a gurdwara in the village and express solidarity with Gurdial Singh. He is still hospitalised as he suffered multiple fractures on his leg. He will be operated upon tomorrow.

Convener of the local unit of the BSP Harmohan Dhavan said he would take up the issue with the UT SSP and demand action in this regard. General secretary of the local unit of Congress Suraj Bhan said the incident brought forth the utter failure of the police to tackle the situation. The police failed to take the timely action which led to worsening of the situation.

A group of armed men from Amritsar led by Chand Pal clashed with Gurdial Singh on February 21 following a dispute over a piece of land. The police arrested 20 persons on that day and registered cases against both the parties.



Role of Media Lab appreciated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
A two-day workshop on use of information and communication technology organised by the National Institute of Paramedical Sciences concluded at the PGI here yesterday.

Inaugurating the workshop, PGI director K.K. Talwar appreciated the role of the Media Lab Asia, which was also instrumental in commissioning the tele-medicine project at the PGI.

B. S. Bhatia, adviser to the Media Lab, dwelled upon the objectives of the workshop.



Demand to raise education loan limit up to 6 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
The government should initiate steps to extend the limit of security-free education loan from Rs 4 lakh to Rs 6 lakh. This was stated by Anshu Kataria, chairman, Aryans Business School (ABS), here today.

He said in order to safeguard poor students from the rising cost of higher education (both tuition fee and maintenance cost), a raise in educational loan without any security was very much required. Higher education determined economic and technological progress in the globalised era. It was a necessary and important condition for the growth and development of a country. The needs of the higher education system had been growing rapidly, so a raise in educational loan was obligatory.

Following the wave of changes around the world, the present Educational Loan Scheme was introduced in India following the announcement in the Budget 2000-01. A maximum of Rs 7.5 lakh for studies in India and Rs 15 lakh for studies in overseas institutions/universities is envisaged under the scheme. 



250 examined at eye camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
A free eye check-up camp was organised at Sri Sanatan Dharam Mandir, Sector 45, by the Lions Club, Chandigarh, in association with Loins Club Woolwich and Greenwich of London.

As many as 250 patients were examined at the camp by a team of doctors from Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. At least, 60 patients identified during the camp would be operated at the GMCH in the next three days.



Councillors demand elections for vacant posts
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 25
Eight municipal councillors of the ruling group have given a requisition to the president of the Municipal Council, Rajinder Singh Rana, here today, to get elections for the posts of senior vice-president and vice-president held at the earliest.

The posts have been lying vacant for more than six months after the one-year-term of Rishiv Jain, senior vice-president, and Harmanpreet Singh, vice-president, which expired on August 17 last year. Both of them were elected for the two posts after council elections were held in the town on July 30, 2006.

The eight councillors- Gurmeet Singh Walia, R.P. Sharma, Manjeet Kaur, Usha Rani, Suresh Kumar Lucky, Gian Chand Aggarwal, Parkashwati , Amteshwar Kaur, have asked the council president to fix a date for the elections which was overdue.

The letter said the request was being made according to rules given under Section 25 (2) of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911. The attention of the president was also drawn to provisions under serial number 60 of the by-laws adopted and notified by the council on September 6, 1996.

However, it is reported that politicians of the ruling party who wished to see their own men win elections, had a role in delaying the elections for the two posts.

Soon after the two posts fell vacant last year, council authorities had requested the deputy commissioner to hold elections. The deputy commissioner had forwarded a letter to the SDM Raghbir Kaur Khaira in which he had appointed her as the convener for the elections and asked her to get these held at the earliest.

No action had been taken so far even as the democratic rights of councillors are being crushed. 



Incomplete forms delay pension
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 25
Cases relating to release of pensions got delayed as these reached Accountant General’s office late and some were found incomplete.

This was stated by B.S. Sandhu, deputy accountant general, at a seminar organised at the office of the Municipal Council here today. He said that pension cases should reach the main office about six months before a person was to retire. But about 40 per cent of the cases reached his office only when a person was retiring and nearly 40 per cent of such cases were returned back to the department concerned as these were found to be incomplete. All this led to delay in the release of pensions and harassment to the person who retires.

Navjot Kaur, assistant commissioner (complaints) who presided over the seminar, welcomed the move of authorities concerned for providing training for preparing cases related to release of pensions.



Rs 74 cr sanctioned for houses for poor
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 25
An amount of Rs 74 crore has been sanctioned under the Jawahar Lal Nehru Urban Renewable Mission to construct 7,574 houses and rehabilitate poor people in the district.

In the first phase, 2,388 houses will be constructed. An amount of Rs 21.52 crore had been sanctioned out of which Rs 17.22 crore will be the share of the Central Government, said an official spokesman here today.

He said the construction work of the first phase had already started and 1,212 houses would be constructed in Ajad Colony, 220 in Matu Ram Colony, 290 in Ramesh Colony, 35 in Babu Ram Colony, 301 in Madrasi Colony, 109 in Makkhan Singh Colony, 133 in Ambedkar Colony and 62 in Kishori Lal Colony at Gate No. 3.

He said Rs 22.16 crore had been sanctioned to construct 2,457 houses in the second phase and Rs 17.73 crore would be the share allocated by the Central Government. He said 200 houses would be constructed at the Shamlal Khand Mangol Majri, 557 in Surja Singh Colony and 1,700 in Rajiv Colony.

Similarly, an amount of Rs 22.09 crore had been sanctioned to construct 2,449 houses in the third phase and Rs 17.67 crore is the Central Government’s share.

He said under this scheme Rs 2.59 crore would be spent to construct 130 houses in Kalka and Rs 3.79 crore would be spent to construct 150 houses in Pinjore.

l In the first phase, 2,388 houses will be constructed for which Rs 21.52 crore had been sanctioned.

l Rs 22.16 crore had been sanctioned to construct 2,457 houses in second phase.

l Rs 22.09 crore had been sanctioned to construct 2,449 houses in the third phase.



Public suffers as HUDA staff is overburdened
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 25
Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) dreams big on the real estate scenario but HUDA’s headquarter here is suffering from an acute staff crunch resulting in harassment to the general public. Interestingly, the staff has decreased during the past 30 years, while the work has increased manifold with the development of the city.

Files were piling resulting in delay, including property transfer, issue of NOC, permission to mortgage and possession. The IT cell started by authorities to computerise the record has aggravated the situation. It records wrong information.

“HUDA authorities asked me to deposit Rs 2,80,000 to clear my dues against a plot owned by me. I have already cleared the dues,” said a plot owner. When I approached the authorities and got my account checked it was found that HUDA already received Rs 22,000 in excess from me, said the plot owner requesting not to disclose his identity.

S.K. Joshi, a booth owner said, “I am visiting the office since two months for possession of the booth after completing all required formalities.” The officials on duty claimed that they were over burdened with work. “We have to deal with court cases, dealing with public, clearing conveyance deeds, redemption deeds, encroachment cases, in addition to other issues,” said the official on anonymity.

”We are a team of 13 people consisting of five assistants and eight clerks,” he said. Ten assistants and 14 clerks were required to handle the cases properly as the Urban estate in Panchkula was expanded manifold since 1977 when the posts of 6 assistants and 14 clerks were sanctioned for the purpose, he added.

The chief administrator of HUDA T.C. Gupta when contacted said the problem was in his notice and the measures were being taken to appoint more staff at the office. 



Bio-diversity pond inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 25
A bio-diversity pond was inaugurated by the president of the Chandigarh unit of the Environment Society of India, S.K. Sharma, by planting a yellow water lily here today.

The pond was constructed by the local Environment Protection Society ( EPS) on land given by Swami Ram Tirtha Public School. S.R. Chaudhary of the society, said they also asked municipal council for providing land in the Silvi Park, Phase-X, for allowing children to learn about bio-diversity.



Housing plan extended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
The Chandigarh Administration today extended the last date for submission of applications under the self-financing housing scheme 2008 for the UT employees to March 15. Earlier, the last date was February 29, a press note said here today.



RTI fee hike unfair

The claim by the UT administration that the move to hike Right to Information Act fee is to combat with frivolous applications, is very unfortunate. The bureaucracy has shed its cloak and the fear of getting exposed by free flow of information has resulted in creating hurdles in the way of common man.

The citizens have all the right to obtain any kind of information, which is held by any public authority. The hike of fee is unreasonable. RTI’s aim is to provide authentic and analytical help, and hike in RTI fee only means making money from the needy citizens who are in need of information.

It has hurt the sentiments of people. The decision amounts to negating the right given to the people of India by Parliament and the administration must roll back these high rates.

Shruti Kapoor, Panchkula

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PU Notes
PU organises mega dance competition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
‘Hip Hop Hustle’, a mega dance competition, was organised today at the Panjab University campus. Dance groups and students from the tri-city battled it out to emerge winners.

The competition was jointly organised by Panjab University campus students’ council and another private students organisation at the campus. As many as eight teams from various city colleges participated in the competition.

Noted Punjabi singer and actor Harbhajan Mann was the chief guest on the occasion, while Saji Mohan, zonal head, Narcotics Control Bureau, was the guest of honour.

Among others present on the occasion included vice-chancellor Prof R.C. Sobti, dean, students’ welfare, Naval Kishore, and dean, university instructions, S.K. Kulkarni.

SYMPOSIUM: In the diamond Jubilee year of PU, the department of zoology is organising a two-day national symposium on “Biodiversity, Cell and Molecular Biology” on February 26-27. After the successful completion of three phases of special assistance programme (SAP), UGC has recognised the department as the Centre for Advance Studies (CAS). The symposium is being organised under the CAS programme.

About eighty participants from northern region are participating in the symposium. Dr V V Ramamurthy, principal scientist from IARI, New Delhi, will deliver his address on ‘Insect Biosystematics - future orientations’. Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, PU, will preside over the function.

Results: Ripudaman Saurup Sharma, a retired joint director from Punjab public relations department stood first in MA (Police administration) in the first semester by scoring over 84 per cent marks (337/400). He has already done masters in English, sociology, political science and Punjabi apart from Sahitya Rattan in Hindi, history, BEd and diplomas in tourism and hotel management, industrial relations and personnel management.

Lecture: SPICMACAY, Chandigarh chapter, is organising a vocal recital and lecture demonstration by renowned vocalist Dr Prabha Atray on February 28. Dr S Lavasa, north zone chairperson, said Dr Atray would perform at Government College for Girls, Sector 11, and Government College of Architecture.



From Schools & Colleges
Students donate Rs 70,000 to save child
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
Sankalp, a charity organisation of the students of DAV College, Sector 10, donated a sum of Rs 70,000 for the treatment of a critically ill child Zubair Ahmad Baht from Jammu and Kashmir. His parents, both daily wage earners, had lost all hopes when they could not find a way out to raise money refigured for their son’s treatment of a congenital heart disease.

A charity show and a fete was organised in the college early this year to raise money and more than Rs 40,000 was collected. Jasjit Singh, chairman, Panjab State Co-operative Banks, who was the chief guest on the occasion. He also donated Rs one lakh.

Convocvation: The 40th annual convocation and prize distribution function were held in Government Home Science College, Sector 10, today. The principal, Dr Sukhvarsha Narula, read the annual report of the college highlighting the achievements of the students and the developments done during the academic session 2007-2008.

A total of 141 degrees were awarded, out of which 75 degrees were awarded to the graduates of BSc (home science). Thirty degrees were awarded to the students of MSc, out of which ten were from MSc (child development), seven from MSc (food and nutrition) and seven from MSc (clothing and textiles). Degrees were also awarded to post-graduate diploma students of nutrition and dietetics and fashion designing.

The students of the college were also awarded prizes in various academic as well as extra curricular fields. Raji P Shrivastava, director of higher education, congratulated the degree and prize holders and emphasised on the holistic development of the students.

Farewell: ‘Rendezvous-2008’, a farewell function for Class XII students of KB DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 7, was organised today. The highlights of the programme was a dance performance by Class XI, which was a fusion dance blending together the beats of western, Hindi and Punjabi. The students also presented a bass alternate ‘In the End’ followed by the most awaited part- the titles. The XI students gave away notes of appreciation, highlighting qualities blended with songs.

Principal Madhu Bahl gave away the titles and gifts to the winners. Prateek Mahajan won Mr KB DAV title while Yeshsavi clinched Miss KB DAV title.

Prize distribution: The sixth annual prize distribution function of Dikshant International School, Zirakpur, was held today.

The function started with the school anthem followed by Ganesh Vandana. As many as 600 students were awarded prizes in different categories, said Mitul Dikshit, director of the school. S.P. Mehta, a renowned educationist, was the chief guest.



85 students participate in bar-tending workshop
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 25
‘Flamboyance’, a three-day workshop on the latest trends in bar-tending, organised by Rayat and Bahra Institute of Hotel Management, Sahauran, concluded here today. The first of its kind workshop on bar-tending saw as many as 85 students from eight hotel management institutions and colleges participating in a range of events and competitions.

A team of professional bar tenders from New Delhi and Goa was especially invited to deliver tips. Aditi Shreshtha and Pramod Kumar walked away with first and second prizes in mock tail making competition, whereas Kulwinder and Bharat Batra bagged the top positions in flaring competition. Charan Prasad Chauhan was adjudged as the best bar tender in the competition.

FOUNDATION DAY: The annual foundation day of Narain Public School was celebrated with fervour on the school premises here today.

All children who excelled in the last academic session were honoured by the president of the Narain Education Society.

The children who performed well were awarded mementos and other prizes. A unique feature of the programme was the honour conferred upon nursery teacher Supreeti for being the most regular teacher.

AWARD FUNCTION: The annual award presentation function of MD DAV Public School, Ambala City, was organised here yesterday. R.S. Sharma, general secretary, DAV management, was the chief guest on this occasion. M.L. Aeri, director, public schools, was the guest of honour. DIG, CID Rajbir Deswal, was also present on this occasion.

The function commenced with ved mantra followed by a well-planned sequence of other events. Principal of the school, Reena Nagrath, presented the annual report of the school stating achievements of the school. Rajinder Nath, president of the local DAV management committee, also spoke on this occasion.



CHB to extend scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
Assailed from different quarters for coming out with an arbitrary housing scheme, the Chandigarh Housing Board today said it would extend it by 15 days. As the matter came up for hearing before a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, counsel appearing for the housing board made a statement to this effect. It was added the Administration had received a number of representations, which would be examined before taking a decision on the matter.

Meanwhile, the High Court allowed the application filed by the judicial officers of Chandigarh Sessions Division. They were seeking permission to be impleaded a party in the petition. Applicants, working on different posts and belonging originally to Punjab or Haryana cadre said as per the recommendations certain percentage of sites were to be kept or earmarked for judicial officers.

The applicants contended after taking requisite permission from the competent authority some have applied, while some others were in the process of applying under the scheme, considering themselves to be on deputation with the Chandigarh Administration.

The application added the applicants, being judicial officers, were a class in themselves and could not be treated as other employees on deputation with Chandigarh Administration. In fact, the Chandigarh Administration had no judicial cadre of its own and the judicial officers were appointed in Chandigarh in the ratio 60:40 from the states of Punjab and Haryana, respectively. In two other petitions, Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) and high court’s retired Class I officer Chhaju Ram Hans demanded the inclusion of other categories in the scheme.

In its writ petition, PUTA through legal counsel Rupinder Khosla sought directions to the Chandigarh Administration and the housing board for inclusion of PU employees, particularly PUTA members, in the list of eligible categories under the newly floated self-financing scheme-2008. The organisation also sought directions to quash the eligibility criteria, whereby only employees of Chandigarh Administration, its boards and corporations and High Court staff, have exclusively been made eligible to submit applications.

In the other petition, Hans sought inclusion of retired high court employees. The dwelling unit he owned in Mohali was sold due to militant activity, the petitioner submitted.

After the preliminary hearing, the Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia issued notice to the UT Administration and the board for March 11 on both the petitions.

The Bench also verbally asked the housing board and the Administration to explain the alleged arbitrary exclusion of university and other institutions employees.



Gupta back as senior standing counsel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
Seven months after he was asked to resign, leading city lawyer Anupam Gupta was today re-appointed as the senior standing counsel for Chandigarh. Gupta was asked to resign in July last year for participating in a demonstration against the orders of a High Court judge.

Senior standing counsel of Chandigarh is the senior-most post on the legal side in Chandigarh and the appointee advises the Chandigarh administration on all legal matters besides appearing in court. A decision to re-appoint Gupta was cleared today.

In his resignation letter, Gupta had created a furore in the administrative circles saying that his commitment to the Chandigarh administration must necessarily yield place to his larger moral convictions as a member of the legal profession.

Gupta resigned when he was seen in the forefront of the lawyers’ agitation against the orders of Justice Uma Nath Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Justice Uma Nath had declared lawyer Tahar Singh “mentally unsound” and ordered the CBI to take him to the mental asylum at Agra.

Lawyers had taken to the streets demanding transfer of the judge. Members of the Bar had boycotted the judge and the matter was finally resolved but Gupta resigned as he was asked to do so. 



Driver acquitted of theft
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
A local court today acquitted Gurpreet Singh in a theft case. The accused was a driver of a school bus. A complaint was registered against him that he had stolen the music system of the bus on August 12, 2006. 



Jai Veer Yadav bar panel chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
Jai Veer Yadav was elected the chairman of the Punjab and Haryana Bar Council while Vajinder Singh Ahlawat was elected the vice-chairman and Harpreet Singh Brar was elected the secretary of the body.

The elections were conducted under the supervision of Haryana advocate-general Hawa Singh Hooda.



National Awards
Admin to recommend only UT-cadre employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 25
The Chandigarh administration has decided that in future recommendations for national awards will be made only for UT-cadre employees.

Home Secretary Krishna Mohan said the names of the deputationists, if any, received from the schools, would be forwarded to their parent state for consideration against the quota meant for them and these can be considered in their parent states on the basis of reports and results achieved here.

Mohan said this had been finalised as only two awards, one for elementary and one for secondary teacher, had been proposed for the UT, considering the strength of teachers. This was being done to provide a fair chance to UT- cadre teachers for winning the national award, he added.

There is a quota of eight national awards for Punjab and seven for Haryana. For two national awards allocated to UT, only UT-cadre employee should be considered.

If deputationists from Punjab and Haryana are considered for National Award against UT quota, then the chances of UT employees for getting these awards are reduced.

Also the grant of extension in service for national awardee teachers will be given to only those teachers who teach up to secondary classes in actual practice. They will be considered given re-employment only for two years in modification of our earlier policy granting extension.

However, those working on the post of principal, DEO or assistant directors or deputy directors, the re-employment will not be offered.



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