C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Landowners reject award; hold protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The UT land acquisition collector today announced a compensation of Rs 27 lakh per acre for the land being acquired for Phase III of Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park, Mani Majra.

The award includes uprooting allowance. Of the total 150 affected persons, only one landowner, Baljinder Singh came forward to accept the award.

The affected landowners staged a protest in front of the office of the DC and burnt an effigy of the administration as a mark of protest against the amount announced as award.

“The compensation of Rs 18 lakh an acre is a pittance when the market rates are much higher,” said Brig K.S. Kahlon, vice-president of the Mani Majra Farmers Welfare and Environmental Protection Society. The society has been spearheading the agitation against forcible acquisition.

Of the total 272 acres being acquired for Phase III of the IT park, the Chandigarh administration has announced the compensation rates for 104 acres.

A spokesman of the administration said the award had been announced in line with the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act. The underlying principle that determined the price of the land was land usage.

The compensation is paid in accordance with the present use of land and not the proposed use of land. Land can be developed only if “change of land use” is allowed.

“Despite being conscious of the fact that various landholders are violators of the Periphery Control Act (Shastri Nagar), the administration is committed to following the salient features of the national rehabilitation policy by facilitating allotment of bare sites to such persons with the objective to rehabilitate them.



AC bus project halted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
This summer commuters will not enjoy the cool ride of air-conditioned buses as the project of introducing AC buses on the city roads has been delayed due to insufficient bidders.

The administration had announced to run AC buses this summer. The issue was today raised in the senior officers’ conference by the UT adviser Pradip Mehra.

The CTU had planned to introduce 10 air-conditioned buses in its local fleet but the project has been grounded for the time being due to insufficient bidders.

The reason behind the objection was that the plan attracted a single bidder - the Volvo. Raising objection on single tender, the finance secretary, UT, marked an objection on the file thus put the project on hold, said sources.

The authorities invited the tenders twice with certain conditions, including the buses with lower floor having kneeling provisions and the manufacturer should have sold minimum 50 such buses in the country.

“The tender attracted a single bid from Volvo as only this company fulfils the condition of selling at least 50 such local buses”, added sources.

The last date of opening of the first tender was January 7 this year which was later extended to January 14. On both occasions, Volvo was the only bidder.



Jet Airways told to pay Rs 50,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Jet Airways to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to residents of Sector 11 for unfair trade practice.

The forum has also asked the airways to refund Rs 14,250 to petitioners S.N. Roy and A.K. Singh along with the cost of litigation totalling Rs 5,000.

The petitioners had stated that they had booked a flight to Hyderabad with Jet Airways one month prior to their trip scheduled forJanuary, 2007. They purchased the tickets for Rs 4,000 each. On reaching Delhi to board the flight, they got to know that the flight was overbooked.

The petitioners had to purchase Air India tickets worth Rs 12,000 to reach their destination.

Jet Airways argued that the practice of overbooking was a common practice worldwide, thus they were not deficient in service.



ICL ticket sales begin today
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 7
Bollywood actress Neha Dhupia will be the star performer at the inauguration of the third edition of the Indian Cricket League (ICL) T20 Tournament staring from March 9 at Tau Devi Lal Stadium here.

Apart from Bollywood stars, a large number of TV actors will be seen at the venue during the 30-day cricket festival. Adding zing to the ambience will be eight team mascots and cheerleaders.

The sale of tickets for the cricket carnival will begin tomorrow at three counters in Panchkula, including one at Tau Devi Lal Stadium. Other than the stadium, the tickets will be available at Anand Sweets, Sector 20, Panchkula, and Gopal Sweets, Sector 8, Panchkula. These will be available in two denominations- Rs 200 for the ‘general’ category and Rs 500 for the VIP stand.

Meanwhile, former Australian speedster Jason Gillespie was at the stadium today for the practice session along with his team Ahmedabad Rockets. Jason had a gruelling session during which he guided youngsters with his expertise.

“Apart from playing good, I will guide and direct young players during the tournament,” said Jason.



Jhuggis may turn into fire traps
But none cares despite incidents, warnings
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
Despite some major incident of fire in the recent past, people living in the colony still haven’t learnt anything.

Moreover, the numbers of jhuggis are increasing day by day. Though the Municipal Corporation tries to clear the encroachment, people living in the slums build the jhuggis within no time. Moreover, the way these jhuggis are built it is a threat to any major incident.

The dwellers cover the vacant area in such a way, leaving no place for the others to walk. There have been many major incidents of fire in the areas during the recent past, but the people living seem to learn nothing for such incidence.

Kundi connections are the common mode of electricity for these people which is a major cause of sparking, which at times leads to major happenings. The area of colony number 5 that was gutted in fire recently is having more than 1,000 jhuggis. Almost 80 per cent of the jhuggis have television and other electrical appliances. The electricity is available to each and every corner of the colony is not only illegal but also dangerous.

Moreover, the number of jhuggis is increasing with the passage of every day, which is a major cause for concern. New jhuggis are coming up in different parts of the city. The act is being carried under the nose of the administration without any check.

Sumer Morya, the area councillor of colony number 5, said, “The area is so congested that it is difficult for the people to breathe. Jail road is blocked throughout the year. Though I make it a point to educate the people on the way to build the jhuggis but every attempt made by me is a waste. There is lack of awareness among the people living here”.



Upcoming toll plazas to make travel costlier
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
Road travel is getting costlier in the region. However, the cost escalation is not on account of hike in the oil prices but the mushrooming of toll plazas on the strategic Delhi-Amritsar and Ambala-Chandigarh national highways later this year.

Already running counter to the national toll fee of 50 paise per km, the toll taxes at the upcoming the five toll plazas on these highways will play havoc with household budgets, reeling under a sharp hike in the prices of essential commodities. The region is set to have toll plazas at Panipat, Phagwara, Kartarpur, Jandiala Guru on the Amritsar-New Delhi highway and between Zirakpur and Chandigarh on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway.

"The cost of travel between Delhi and Amritsar is also likely to double. Currently, one has to pay Rs 210 for the 450-km drive from Delhi to Amritsar. With the addition of four toll plazas, this amount is likely to go up to Rs 410," alleges P.K.Khurana, convener of the National Highway Users Association. At present, there are three toll plazas at Karnal, Shambu and Doraha on this road.

In fact, in certain cases, the toll rates defy logic. A man traveling in a car on the 100-km stretch from Ambala to Ludhiana is at present paying Rs 110 toll which works out to be over Re 1 per km. "This is in gross violation of the recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee on transport which suggested the rationalisation of toll amounts," said Varinder Arora, association secretary. Not only that, a person travelling from Panipat to Kurukshetra will have to shell out Rs 140 for distance of 80 km for one side, the association alleged.

With the Chandigarh-Ambala four-laning slated for completion later this year, the revised tax is also in the offing in place of the toll collection at Dera Bassi. At present, a highway user between Delhi and Chandigarh pays about Rs 87. The setting up of the toll plazas at Panipat and between the Zirakpur-Ambala stretch may entail an increase of about Rs 100, rued Manjit Singh,a regular traveler.

Financial burden apart, the multiple toll barriers will further increase the travelling time defeating the very purpose of widening of the national highways. The committee has already called for rationalisation of toll on roads as the commuters are already paying road tax and cess on fuel for development of roads, Khurana informed.

Meanwhile, the association had already written to the Union Transport Minister opposing any new toll plazas and for the implementation of the recommendations of parliamentary committee. We will be forced to launch an agitation if our demands are not met, Arora warned.



GSI to give quake tips for buildings in city
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
A new technique that will detail the seismic activity in Chandigarh and its impact on multistoried buildings in earthquake-prone areas will be soon available to residents here.

Chandigarh will be the 11th city across the country where the geological survey of India (GSI) will make residents aware about the precautions needed while constructing homes, offices, shopping malls and other buildings.

Chandigarh falls in Seismic zone IV that is considered the second highest risk category in earthquake prone areas of the country. And is considered to be close to the high risk Kangra area of the Himachal Pradesh.

The GSI has prepared a report on the “seismic micro zonation” of the city. The report will give suggestions on how certain methods can be followed to add necessary safeguards to minimise the impact of a tremor in the future. The report will be released here very soon, said GSI officials.

The seismic micro-zonation is a process of classifying a geographic domain into small units and making an assessment to find out each unit’s vulnerability and possible impact on it and the loss it would suffer in case of a tremor. The report will details out the suggestions on a micro-level that could vary within Chandigarh itself.

Amitabh Sarkar, deputy director general, GSI, Chandigarh told that the seismic micro-zonation maps would immensely benefit the administrators, city planners, architects, builders and common people for built high rise building.

“If you know that the locality where you have built multi-storeyed building or embarked on a construction project is highly or moderately vulnerable to quakes, you would be able to add necessary safeguards to minimize the impact of a future tremor,” Prabhash Pandey of the GSI office told The Tribune over the phone from Lucknow. He was involved in making report on the seismic micro zonation of the city.

After Jabalpur, Delhi, Sikkim, Guwahati, Chandigarh would be the 11th place where the department of science and technology, the government of India has completed the process of seismic hazards and risk micro-zonation.

Another senior scientist of GSI said the seismic micro-zonation of a region-involved study of geology and geomorphology of the rocks, bedrock profiles, landslide hazards, seismic, land-use distribution, site response, strong motion acceleration analysis and synthesis, site classification and demographic distribution.



Soon, helpline for Mohali senior citizens
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
Following in the footsteps of Chandigarh and Panchkula police, Mohali police have plans of starting a round-the-clock helpline service for senior citizens residing here.

SP Varinder Pal Singh informed that he had already written a letter to the department of telecommunication (BSNL) for release of the number and if all goes well, senior citizens of Mohali will get the facility soon.

The initiative will come as a boon for elderly people who have become soft targets for criminals, informed the SP. Senior citizens will now be able to call on the four-digit number in case of any emergency.

Harbhajan Singh, general secretary of Sector 67 residents’ welfare association, said: “It would be very useful in case of any emergency.” BS Tej, president of citizen welfare federation, also lauded the move.

“There is a dire need for such a helpline number as most of the senior citizens here are living alone,” he said. The number could not be pressed into service earlier due to shortage of staff, informed a senior police official.

Initially, the helpline number would be operated through the police station and later if any NGO comes forward a separate cell will formed, he added.

Senior citizen helpline number for Chandigarh is1090 and for Panchkula it is 0172-6532964.



BJP workers’ conference
Badal, Dhumal, Jain to be honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
Parkash Singh Badal, Prem Kumar Dhumal and Satya Pal Jain will be honoured at the BJP workers’ conference to be organised opposite Nehru Park in Sector 22 on March 9.

While Punjab Chief Minister Badal will be honoured for the successful completion of the one year of SAD-BJP rule in Punjab, Himachal CM Dhumal will be honoured for steering the BJP to victory in the past assembly elections.

Former MP and in charge of BJP affairs in Himachal Pradesh Satya Pal Jain will also be rewarded for his role in the party’s victory in the hill state.

The three will also address party workers and apprise them of the “anti-people policies of the Congress-led UPA government”. Balbir Punj, national secretary of the BJP and party in charge for Punjab, and Kiran Ghai, party co-in charge for Punjab, will also be present at the conference, said Kehar Singh Koundel, spokesperson, BJP, Chandigarh.

A meeting of local BJP workers and leaders was also held recently to take stock of the conference. It was attended by Kamla Sharma, state president, BJP, Chandigarh; Yash Pal Mahajan, ex-president, BJP, Chandigarh, and Jain.



HUDA Spring Fest on March 8, 9
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 7
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) is set to hold its 22nd Spring Festival at the Town Park here on March 8 and 9.

Various competitions including rangoli, mehndi, painting and fancy dress for school children, baby show, would be held. Cultural programmes, however, have been cancelled because of the untimely death of Mohit, the son of Haryana deputy chief minister Chander Mohan yesterday.

Results for best individual gardens in the town were announced yesterday. Results:

Best Garden in cantonment area (Chandi Mandir): Garden in two kanal houses and above: Gairam House No. 7, Sec A, Ist; Lt General A.N. Aul 2nd; Garden in one kanal houses: Major General A.K. Mannan Ist, Major General H.P.S. Klair and Major General Rajesh Panth 2nd.

Garden in 14 marla houses: Preetpal Kaur Ist, Colonel Karan Mahajan 2nd.

Garden in less than 14 marla houses: Colonel Saurabh Tiwari Ist; Major Ajay Aggarwal 2nd.

Best garden in Panchkula: Garden in two kanal houses and above: More House, Sector 6 Ist, Preeti Khanna, S.D. Nirmal, and Hoon, 2nd.

Garden in one kanal houses: Anu Goel Ist; D Mahajan 2nd; Garden in 14 marla houses: Ranu Aggarwal Ist; Gayatri and Sanjay Kalra 2nd.

Garden in less than 14 marla houses: Dr Sood Ist; Uttam Chand 2nd. Garden in School Camps Secondary Schools: Hansraj Public School 1st; Bhawan Vidyalaya School 2nd.

Middle Schools: Gurukul 1st. Primary Schools: Satluj Public School 1st, Hall Mark School 2nd.



‘Spark’ in women’s life
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
On the eve of International Women’s Day, Infosys has initiated a unique programme to reach out and empower young women by letting them have a feel of the information technology (IT) sector.

Launched across all its nine delivery centres across India, including the one at Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park here, the promotional event called “Spark”, has invited women engineering students for a two-day residential programme on the campus.

As many as 120 girl students from 45 rural engineering colleges in Punjab and Haryana participated in the programme being held here from today.

“Spark is an Infosys women inclusivity network and campus connect initiative, where we make these students aware of the working in the IT sector. These students are being told about employment opportunities and how safe is the working environment.

The focus is also on improving their skills and making them interact with women leaders in the company,” says Priti Rao, who is spearheading this unique programme.

Besides providing these students with the unique opportunity of network with women leaders on Infosys and understanding the implications of having a career in IT, this will also entail free access to the campus connect portal resources and free enrollment into online career counselling.

Rao says while most people merely talk of women empowerment, Spark is a true initiative of empowering young women through their economic empowerment. “We choose students from the rural colleges as they do not get the opportunity to visit the top companies and interact with the best in the stream,” she adds.

She also said other than the Infosys facility at Chandigarh, the project had been launched in other delivery centres at Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mysore, Mangalore, Trivandrum, Pune and Bhubaneswar.



Women’s Day to them means...

It’s a significant day in that it is symbolises women’s strengths and their endless talents. It should be treated as a wakeup call - an occasion to inspire women.
Kiran Joshi, Heritage city project

The day reminds me of suppression of women. It tells me that societal attitudes must change. In this city alone, liquor vends outnumber schools. That’s not a healthy sign.
Rani Balbir, Theatre artiste

It is stock-taking day. Let’s know from the countless NGOs what they have done for women and what they need to do. We must do some hard talk on this day.
Amrit Bolario, Councillor, MC

It’s heartening that we have a day devoted specifically to women. It’s an occasion to chart out a course for the future. It’s a motivator, if not anything else.
Madhu Singh, Child welfare panel



Classes for expectant mothers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
With the introduction of “Easybirth”, childbirth preparation classes, the journey from pregnancy to labour is going to be smooth.

It is an attempt to ensure that childbirth is a positive and empowering experience for women, according to Dr Poonam Kumar of Chaitanya Hospital, Sector 44.

“These classes are basically divided into exercise and counselling sessions, conducted by a team of obstetricians, physiotherapist, paediatrician and midwife,” she said.

The exercise classes commence from 20 weeks (approximately five months of pregnancy) onwards and counselling sessions begin form 28 weeks (approximately seven months of pregnancy) onwards.

The classes educate the expectant mothers about the changes and challenges they will encounter in their journey from pregnancy to parenthood and measures to cope up with them, she added.



44 stray dogs vaccinated at Mouli camp
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 7
In the first-ever anti-rabies vaccination camp for stray dogs held at Mohali today, 44 dogs were vaccinated in Mouli village.

The camp was organised by People for Animals, Chandigarh chapter and local animal lovers. The PFA team was led by veterinary surgeon Dr B. Majumdar and Tara Chand.

Both stray as well as pet dogs were administered the vaccine free of cost. The job was done with the help of village children and young men, who caught puppies and stray dogs.

Village elders estimated the stray dog population to be between 60-70. The remaining will be vaccinated in the next few days during a second camp, which will make the village a rabies-free zone.



Zirakpur lacks basic facilities

Zirakpur is emerging as a developed town but it lacks basic facilities. The place does not have an independent STD code, besides an independent telephone exchange. STD code of Rajpura is applicable here, whereas Zirakpur falls in Mohali.

For making payments of telephone bills, there is only one payment centre, which opens at 10 unlike in Chandigarh, causing inconvenience for office goers. There is another sub-telephone exchange at Baltana but without a payment window.

C.S. Midha, Zirakpur



CBSE physics paper out of syllabus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The CBSE’s ‘new examination pattern’ spelt trouble for students. The students of Class XII who took physics paper today were surprised to find the paper contrary to the sample papers released by the Board.

Despite the fact that the Board had withdrawn the subject of ‘nuclear physics’ from the curriculum, there were around four questions based on it.

The jittery students, after coming out of the examination hall, complained that question number 3, 16, 20 and 27 were from nuclear physics, the subject which they never studied throughout, as the Board had already declared to delete that portion from the syllabus.

“In physics, every mark counts, and these four questions were of nine marks, which hardly any student could have attempted. Even the internal choices for some of the questions were from nuclear physics only. The board should consider some grace marks, as there is no fault of ours”, said a student.

The students complained that the numerical part was of 30 marks. “As per the sample papers based on the new pattern, which was also released on the official website, the numerical part should not have exceeded 16 marks. This made the paper quite lengthy as the numerical exercise is quite time consuming and tedious”, rued the students.

The joint secretary, CBSE, Regional Office Panchkula, when apprised of the problem, said he did not receive any such complaint but clarified that if the problem actually persisted, then the decision of granting grace marks would be decided at the time of finalising the results.

“The decision of granting grace marks, if any, would be decided after looking into the fact and figures of the pass percentage in the subject and the highest or lowest percentage the students obtain”.

Requesting anonymity, the subject experts from various schools told The Tribune that it was an extremely high-level question paper with lot of numericals, which made the paper lengthy.

The students rued that they had to leave two to three questions un attempted and barely managed to finish the paper in the stipulated time.



New policy for pre-nursery admission
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The Chandigarh administration, for the first time, has designed a liberal policy for admissions to pre-nursery classes in government schools of the city.

The sale of admission forms would start from March 17 at respective schools. The last date for submitting the forms has been fixed as March 25.

The administration has directed that no government school should deny admission on any other ground and strict action would be initiated against schools, which do not follow these orders.

Confirming this, the DPI (S) S.K. Setia said, “This decision has been taken to ease the admission process. After discussing the pros and cons, it has been decided that only the ‘proof of residence’ would be enough to give admission in pre-nursery classes.”

“Parents will have to write date of birth of their child on a plain paper at the time of admission. The only requirement is satisfactory evidence of being ‘resident of Chandigarh’,” said DPI (S).

Another reason, for which the administration has restricted admission process on the proof of residence, was to avoid overcrowding at schools located in particular areas.

“At some schools, the number of admission seekers from neighbouring states rose alarmingly high. With the result, the students belonging to the area were deprived of getting seat in the school located in their vicinity. Now, the admissions would be made according to their residence”, told an official.

There are around 21 Government Model Senior Secondary Schools and approximately 20 Government Model High Schools located in various sectors of Chandigarh, which cater to pre-nursery group of students.

As per earlier practice, the parents who seek admission in pre-nursery and nursery classes for their wards were required to obtain their immunisation certificates from Sector 19 health centre.

Setia reiterated that the parents were facing hard times to get vaccination certificates for their children. “In my view, the condition of immunisation certificate was there with a special focus on children who come from slum areas of the city.

The motive was to provide a hygienic environment in the school, but till date, the administration is already running health related programmes in the schools and the children have been administered with proper dosage of vaccination and medical assistance from time to time.

So, there remain negligible chances that children could suffer from communicable diseases. That is why, from this session, we have eradicated this condition.”



From Schools & Colleges
Two teachers with fake degree suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
The Chandigarh education department has suspended two teachers possessing
fake degrees.

The two teachers were, Pafna, a social science mistress of Government Senior Secondary School, Karsan, and Sukhjinder Pal Kaur, a JBT teacher of Government Girls High School-25.

The DPI (S) S.K. Setia said Pafna had obtained the degree from Maithili University, Darbanga, in 1984 and had managed to take appointment on the basis of this degree in the education department in December 1990.

Sukhjinder Pal Kaur had claimed to do JBT from Gandhi Hindi Vidhya Peeth University, Allahabad, and took the job on the basis of this degree in 1994.

Setia confirmed that both the teachers were suspended after they were failed to give satisfactory reply to the 15 days notice given to them to explain their position.

SEND-OFF: Vidushi of BA III emerged as Miss GGSCW at the farewell function held at Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, here today.

Rosella was first runner up while the second runner up was Richa of B Com III. Gurjit Kaur of B Com III was declared as Miss Charming. The second year students of the college presented cultural and musical extravaganza to entertain the outgoing batch.

Farewell: MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, bid farewell to its outgoing classes of B.A. /B.Sc. /B.C.A. / B.Com and MA students in a function held on the college premises. In an extremely colourful event with Rakhee Gupta Bhandari, director social security, women and child development, Chandigarh (Punjab), as the chief guest and noted film artist Jaspal Bhatti as the guest of honour, the college gave a warm send-off to its seniors.

The principal of the college Dr Puneet Bedi wished the girls good luck and expressed her belief that the girls of MCM DAV College will uphold its culture wherever they go and will be winners in every sphere of life. The highlight of the event was modelling and beauty contest in which the final year students sashayed on the ramp and were judged on their exquisite show of beauty and brains. Tanya Abrol, the Chak De star was awarded with ‘Star of the hostel’ title.

Seminar: The NSS unit of Dev Samaj College, Sector 45, organised a seminar on ‘Women and Development’ within the college premises. Intellectuals like Kalpana Ghai, Munish Sharma, Kiranpreet Kaur and Dr Renu Gandhi were the main speakers on the occasion. The college honoured Kalpana Ghai, a social worker and recipient of Haryana Rattan on the occasion. The speakers highlighted the roles played by women in everyday life.



No respite for officiating principals
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
Respite for officiating principals in the city government colleges remains a distant dream. After a DPC (departmental promotion committee) was rescheduled from February 12 to February 26 and was called off yet again for reasons unknown, leaving the officiating principals high and dry.

According to sources two officiating principals do not have Ph.D degrees, a requisite qualification for the post of a regular principal.

It is alleged that fearing that their names could drop from the list while others would benefit from the DPC, they exerted influence to get the meeting postponed.

It is pertinent to mention here that it’s more than a decade that all the government colleges are running without regular principals and are deprived of all the benefits during their tenure and at the time of retirement.

Surprisingly, one of the former officiating principals had served in Government Home Science College, Sector 10, for 18 years but retired as a lecturer. In fact, the DPC meeting was the first ever attempt to regularise the officiating principals and give them their due.

Nevertheless, if the officiating principals are regularised then the benefits they get would include regular grades and participation in the governing body of the university, the senate and the syndicate.

Already, the government colleges in the city are at the receiving end with the university imposing heavy penalties on them and in the absence of their representatives in the university, they are left with no option than to comply with the fines while certain erring colleges in the city have escaped without even paying a penny simply because their representatives defend their cases in the senate and syndicate.

When contacted, Raji P Shrivastava, said, “The DPC is entirely UPSC’s turf and whatever will be done in this regard would be done by the UPSC.”



Graft Case
Accused sent to 14-day judicial remand
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 7
A local court today remanded Harbans Singh, personal assistant to senior Punjab IAS officer Robin Gupta serving as financial commissioner (appeals), to 14 days’ of judicial remand.

Harbans Singh was presented before a local court today following the end of his one-day police remand.

The Punjab Vigilance Bureau had booked the IAS officer, Harbans Singh and Joga Singh, a resident of Gurdaspur, in a graft case.

Sources said the VB team also went to the judicial branch of the revenue department today to hand over a demand list of files pertaining to the cases that the IAS officer had dealt with in the past few months.

Yesterday in the court before the magistrate, the VB team had taken a sample of Harbans Singh’s handwriting to match it with the handwriting on the ‘chits’ that were reportedly recovered from him at the time of his arrest.

The VB has claimed that Harbans Singh had tried to swallow these chits. One of the chits contained details of those persons whose cases were pending before Gupta and from whom Harbans Singh had taken or demanded bribe, claimed the VB.

The other chit reportedly contained an account of the money passed onto various persons as ordered by ‘sahib’ or to ‘sahib’ himself at his Sector-16 residence.

The VB presumes ‘sahib’ stands for Robin Gupta. The list of expenses includes amounts spent on getting the car serviced, Diwali gifts and lunches, claims the VB.

Harbans Singh was caught red-handed following a complaint by Uttam Singh who told the VB that he had paid Rs 1.8 lakh to the PA to get a case decided in his favour from Robin Gupta. However, when the PA asked for another Rs 5,000, he lost his cool and contacted the VB.

The defense counsel had yesterday alleged that Harbans Singh was presented before the court without his medical examination being done. He added that the case against his client was false.

He said the VB’s statement was self-contradictory. On one hand, Uttam Singh said he paid such a large amount to get his case cleared and on the other, he contacted the bureau for such small amount.

‘‘Why would anyone allow his Rs 1.8 lakh to go waste for Rs 5,000? And if the case was decided in his favour for a monetary consideration, it will be reviewed and the complainant stands to lose his land also. Why would anyone want to lose money and land both to save Rs 5,000?” questioned the counsel, alleging that registration of the case was motivated.



Three get 1-yr jail in bribe case
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, March 7
Demanding a bribe for issuing a licence has cost three employees of the explosives department dear.

The CBI special judge, Jagdeep Jain, today sentenced Kamlesh Kumar, Chandi Ram and Jarnail Singh to a one-year rigorous imprisonment. A fine of Rs 9,000 each was also imposed on the three.

Kamlesh, Chandi Ram and Jarnail Singh were working as assistant, steno and peon under the deputy chief controller, explosive department, Sector 22, in 2002. In the same year, the complainant Gulab Singh had applied in the department to issue a licence for his wife Devi.

Gulab alleged that when he had gone to the department to apply for the licence, Chandi Ram gave his file to Kamlesh. Thereafter Kamlesh demanded a sum of Rs 1,400 for issuing licence in his wife’s name.

Gulab complained about the illegal dwmand of money to the CBI. The three accused were caught red-handed accepting the bribe after which they were arrested.



Mini secretariat building to be extended
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 7
The state government has given the go-ahead for extension of the mini secretariat building, Sector 1, here today.

The decision was taken keeping in mind the fact many offices were being operated from buildings scattered all over the city, resulting in problems of coordination between different departments, said deputy commissioner Panchkula Rajinder Kataria.

In fact, there are around 25 departments in the district which do not have proper buildings. The department of mining and consumer courts are running from Nahan Kothi in Sector 12 A. Similalry, ‘Malkhana’ also required to be shifted to the secretariat, said the DC.

Many of the officials in the district headquarters do not have proper place for their offices. The office of district town planner and excise department was also working under space constraints.

Bringing maximum offices under one roof would ultimately result in saving the time of visitors as well as increase the efficiency of employees who would not be required to shuttle between their office and mini-secretariat, said Kataria.

The DC added that it has been decided to raise a building at the open space adjoining the present building, for which departments concerned have already been asked to prepare the designs.



Depts told to upgrade websites
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 7
All departments of the administration were today directed to regularly upgrade their websites, including the information regarding Right to Information Act.

The adviser to the Administrator Pradip Mehra, while chairing the senior officers conference, today told his team that RTI was an important function of the government and information should be made transparent.

Mehra also wanted that rain water harvesting should be made mandatory in all government buildings. He also asked for modernisation of printing and stationary department.

The ongoing works in Chandigarh were also reviewed and it was decided that the completion of projects should be done in a time-bound manner.

Implementation of the ongoing projects was the need for a people-friendly approach in the offices.



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