C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Home Secy’s Appointment
PM to have last word
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The appointment of Haryana cadre IAS officer R.K. Khullar as the UT home secretary may run into rough weather. With the UT Administrator Gen SF Rodrigues (retd) meeting the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday and raising the "protocol problems" in the wake of the joining of Khullar, the appointment has finally been left to the Prime Minister.

An IAS officer of 1988 batch, Khullar will be the junior officer to the incumbent finance secretary Sanjay Kumar, a 1987 batch officer of Punjab cadre. In the UT, the home secretary's post had always been held by a senior officer to the finance secretary.

Earlier, the administration wanted Jyoti Arora, a 1987 batch officer as the home secretary. However, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) cleared the name of Khullar against the Administration's wishes. Khullar's name was later reportedly approved by the Cabinet Committee on Appointments.

Recently, the adviser to the Administrator Pradip Mehra had gone on record asking the MHA to repatriate the present home secretary Krishan Mohan, whom administration earlier wanted to retain, after the expiry of his tenure on March 31.

In fact, the recent amendments to the inter-state deputation rules putting a bar of eight years also disfavoured Krishan Mohan, who had been in Chandigarh for the stipulated time -- five years as the deputy commissioner and three years as the home secretary.

The sources said if the decision on the new home secretary was not taken by March 31 by the Prime Minister, Krishna Mohan might be asked to continue or some officer might be given the additional charge.



Housing board goes smart
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has finally decided to move with time. Faced with tough competition from private builders in Chandigarh and on its periphery, the board has proposed certain innovative features for its upcoming general housing scheme in Sector 63 here.
  • To tackle the recurring problem of encroachments in its dwelling units, the board has decided that no lawns will be provided to the ground floor owners
  • 3-bedroom flat to cost Rs 39.69 lakh and 2-bedroom flat Rs 29.14 lakh
  • Designs, maps will be outsourced

In a bid to tackle the recurring problem of encroachments in its dwelling units, the board had decided that no lawns will be provided to the ground floor owners in the new schemes. The board is experimenting with a new kind of design under which the ground floor will be "elevated". The area, which was earmarked for lawns during the earlier schemes, will be used as a "common area" by all residents.

The construction of the additional room by allottees of the ground floor had been a major problems in the CHB flats in previous schemes. The "common area" would be left in such a way that the allottees would not be able to construct extra room, official sources said.

Another unique feature, the sources said, would be the outsourcing of the designs and maps of the project. The new designs would be more allottee-friendly and go a long way in making the board competitive with the private builders, which lured the prospective buyers with unique designs.

Pricing of the one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom flats would be another attraction of the project, may be launched within a week. "The prices have been kept at an affordable level after a lot of deliberations and were lower than the last scheme when a two-bedroom flat cost around Rs 32 lakh," according to CHB chairman Mohanjeet Singh.

In fact, to compete with the private builders and woo the middle class and lower middle class to the housing scheme, the board has proposed a price of Rs 39.69 lakh for a three-bedroom flat and Rs 29.14 lakh for a two-bedroom flat. The prices for the one-bedroom and economically weaker section (EWS) flat would be Rs 17.29 lakh and Rs 5.67 lakh.

Nestled between Mohali and Chandigarh, Sector 63 offers apartments on a prime area with the state-of-the-art infrastructural facilities in Chandigarh. For instance, a three-bedroom, with an additional servant room, covers an area of about 2,000 square feet and is touted to be a good bargain by CHB officials.



Autos to run on LPG, but where’re dispensers?
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
Nobody can beat the Administration in taking hasty decisions. In a typical case of putting the cart before the horse, the Administration has decided to run autos on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), without bothering to arrange for more dispensers of LPG in the city.

Officials in the state-run oil companies informed TNS that though they had not received any intimation from the Administration regarding allowing of LPG-run autorickshaws, three-wheeler manufacturers had started approaching them, asking if they would be able to supply the fuel.

As of now, the city has two LPG dispensers - one being run by Indian Oil in Sector 34, and another by Bharat Petroleum in Sector 21. With a number of cars being run on LPG on the rise, the average daily sale of LPG in the city is around 6000 litres.

The State Transport Authority (STA) has already initiated the process to allow at least 500 LPG-run autos on the city roads. Permits will be granted to the applicants who would like to convert their rickety autorickshaws into smooth vehicles by replacing their diesel engines with LPG kits. The Administration has received 1100 applications for seeking permits, and over the next six months, all 2,000 autos plying on the city roads are proposed be fitted with LPG kits.

However, the oil companies say that the rules for getting no-objection certificate for setting up LPG dispensers are very stringent. “As a result, it takes a lot of time to get permissions and set up new dispensers. Filling point should be 15 metres away from residential area and 25 metres away from a school. In a land-starved place like Chandigarh, it is difficult to find petrol pumps with additional space to set up LPG dispensers,” said a senior official in PSU oil company here.

He said though a new LPG dispenser would be set in Sector 21 soon, it would be difficult to set up more dispensers.



Autorickshaws operating against norms
Run on stage-carriage permits for buses
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
Autorickshaws in the city are operating against the norms for which permits have been issued to them. Though the autorickshaws are granted contract-carriage permits, they are still running on the stage-carriage permits that are given to buses.

According to the STA, only 2,000 autorickshaws have been registered and issued permits for contract carriage only. However, secretary, State Transport Authority (STA), Vandana Disodia, said, “The norms are violated but it is difficult to keep a tab. Going by the Motor Vehicle Act, the autorickshaws are given contract-carriage permits and are allowed to carry passengers from one place to another without following a specific route. The autorickshaws cannot run like a bus, with a number of passengers commuting to be dropped on destinations on the way.”

When questioned on efforts being made to tackle the situation, Vandana replied, “We do not have enough strength to resolve the matter.”

The vehicles that are granted stage-carriage permits follow a specific route like roadways buses. According to information provided by the State Transport Authority under the RTI Act, the autorickshaws are granted only contract-carriage permits.

On the capacity of autorickshaws, Vandana said, “An autorickshaw has the capacity for three passengers and a driver.” But the autos are usually seen carrying more than three passengers at a time.

With a poor transport system in the city, autorickshaws provide major relief to commuters. The commuters will face problems if the autos are barred from following a specific route.

Meanwhile, there are several autos registered with other states plying on city roads. Talking on this issue, Vandana said, “The autos registered in the neighbouring states run on the city roads but have not been granted a permit.”

Surprisingly only 34 vehicles have been challaned by the traffic police for plying unauthorisedly from February 1 to March 14 while five autos have been impounded.



Jail-made furniture for schools
Admn places order in bulk

G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
Inmates of Model Jail, Burail, will be the busiest persons for a couple of day from now! For, they have to work hard to meet the furniture order in bulk placed by the Chandigarh Education Department.

The Finance Department of the Administration has given its nod to release the 90 per cent advance payment as has been proposed by the superintendent of Model Jail.

The superintendent has demanded Rs 78.25 lakh as 90 per cent of Rs 86.95 lakh for supplying of school furniture on the basis of lowest rates of L-2.

DPI (S) SK Setia said, “Yes, the approval for advance payment has been received by the Education Department. Now the things will be expedited very soon”.

“The idea cropped up when an education department team happened to visit the workshop running on the jail premises. The best part was that the built-up furniture already there was of good quality and the cost of labour was very low in comparison to the market rates. So, we found no hitch in placing the order for school furniture”, said Setia.

The Education Department has placed an order for total of 9,400 pieces of student desk-cum benches (for senior 3900, for junior 4400 and for nursery 1100). In addition to this, the jail has got the order of Rs 21, 93, 750 for around 975 numbers of lecture stands for Kendriya Bhandar, CR Building, Sector 17.

Sources said the material for the students’ desks has been finalised with Chander Steel Industries, Hoshiarpur, after Chandigarh-based another L-1 firm submitted their inability to supply the material at their own quoted lowest rates.

The jail authorities have recently revamped the place of work on the premises. The creations of jail inmates were also displayed at the recently held CII Fair, which turned out to be a major crowd puller.

“The idea cropped up when an education department team happened to visit the workshop running on the jail premises. The best part was that the built-up furniture already there was of good quality and the cost of labour was very low in comparison to the market rates. So, we found no hitch in placing the order for school furniture



Dalai Lama to receive Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, will be the first recipient of Hofstra’s Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize. The award, to be presented to the Dalai Lama in New Delhi on November 18, is the first international award of its kind that recognises efforts at dialogue between different religions. On the jury of the award committee were former Indian Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral and Rajya Sabha member Tarlochan Singh.

The award carries a cash prize of $50,000. A US-based NRI Ishar Singh Bindra in collaboration with Hofstra University has instituted it. Dalai Lama may be visiting Hofstra University soon.

Stuart Rabinowitz, president of Hofstra University, said that besides Ishar Singh Bindra and his family, a team from his university would visit Delhi for the award presentation.

“There are few missions as important for a university as the advancement of understanding among all peoples,” he said holding that “this prize allows us to recognise those who bring together people of all faiths, which now, more than ever, is important for the peace and prosperity of our world. We are pleased to bestow Hofstra’s inaugural Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize on a person as worthy and renowned as the Dalai Lama.”

T.J. Bindra, son of Ishar Bindra, said, “We are immensely pleased with the selection. There could be no more deserving candidate than His Holiness, and to me what stands out most is that Guru Nanak stood for brotherhood, peace and wonderful relations between communities, and I think the Dalai Lama personifies that the best.”

The prize, to be once in two years, was established in 2006 through an endowment from the family of Ishar Singh Bindra to be given by Hofstra University to individuals or organisations that have worked to facilitate religious dialogue that is indispensable to reducing religious conflict.

It has been named after the first Sikh Guru in an attempt to encourage understanding of various religions and to build bridges between communities.

Seventy-five nominations, including those of individuals and organisations were received for the inaugural award. Nominations came from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, as well as throughout the United States and Canada.

The Bindras had earlier funded the setting up of Hofstra’s Department of Religion in 2005 and the endowment of chairs in Sikh, Catholic and Jewish studies. The Sardarni Kuljit Kaur Bindra Chair in Sikh Studies was also established through an endowment from Bindra’s family. Both gifts are intended to increase understanding of different religions, including Sikhism, a world religion with more than 20 million adherents.



City NGOs pledge support to Tibetans
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The Tibetan protests against the Chinese crackdown in Lhasa got a shot in the arm in the city today with a cross section of people joining the Tibetans.

Even as scores of Tibetans belonging to five organisations converged at the Sector 38 gurdwara for their march to New Delhi tomorrow, representatives of several NGOs including Global Human Rights Council, Society for Common Cause and Himachal Human Rights Council, pledged whole-hearted support to the Tibetans' "genuine cause".

As the representatives of the Ju Chu Sum Movement, Tibetan Women's Association, Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Democratic Party and Students for Free Tibet reached the city carrying portraits of the Dalai Lama, a sizable number of people cheered them.

Phuntsok Wangchuk, convener of the march, told The Tribune that the march which commenced from Dharamshala on March 10 was being organised to elicit the support of the Indian people for Tibet's autonomy demand.

Calling upon the international community to press the Chinese authorities to concede to Tibet's autonomy demand, Wangchuk alleged that thousands of people were being detained and scores had been killed in recent uprisings. "Chinese oppression would not last long and the Tibetans all over the world have intensified their struggle against the Chinese authoritarian regime," he asserted.

Chemi Jongdong, another leader, claimed that the struggle was gaining ground with each passing day with people from different walks of life pledging support as each day passed.

The protesters would organise a candlelight procession tomorrow evening before leaving for New Delhi for a show of strength.

The Tibetan struggle would be turned into a mass movement in the country with the involvement the other organisations, a spokesman for the NGOs claimed.



Panchkula MC Poll
Campaigning to end tomorrow
Section 144 imposed around polling booths

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 26
As the campaigning for the elections of Panchkula municipal committee is to come to an end on March 28, the district administration, in order to conduct peaceful elections, has imposed Section 144 of the CrPC whereby assembling of five or more people within 100 metres of the polling booths is banned where votes will be cast on March 30.

Convening a meeting of the candidates, deputy commissioner Rajinder Kataria said every candidate would be allowed to use tow vehicles to look after polling booths in his/her ward for which the administration would provide stickers and these vehicles would not be allowed to ferry voters.

Allaying the apprehensions of people who did not get their photo voter cards, Kataria said they could cast their vote on providing their other identity documents, including passport, driving license, ration card, bank or post office passbook, kisan passbook, electricity bills and identity cards issued to government employees by the respective departments. Students can also cast their votes after showing their identity cards issued by the concerned institute or railway and bus passes. Freedom fighters would be allowed to cast their votes by showing their identity cards and ex-servicemen would be required to show only the pension book if they did not have other identity documents.

Kataria, cautioning against defacing the city by pasting posters and installing banners at unauthorised places, said it was noticed that the electricity and telephone poles were being used to install banners and hoardings. Criminal cases would be registered against the candidates who failed to remove them, said Kataria.

Campaigning would come to an end on March 28 by 4 pm and polling would be held between 8 am to 4 pm on March 30, said election officer and Panchkula SDM Virender Dahiya.



Congress candidate violates poll code
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 26
Sitting Congress municipal councillor Om Prakash, seeking re-election from ward number 16, allegedly has been using his stamp and signatures to please the residents of his ward. The five candidates in contest against Om Parkash from Sector 19 lodged a complaint in this regard with the state election commissioner here today.

Dev Raj Sharma, a candidate for the civic body seat from the ward, alleged that Om Parkash was verifying the application forms of many voters for plots in rural areas to be allotted free of cast to poor families by the state government.

Producing the xerox copy of such a form, Dev Raj said it was a ploy to woo the voters and demanded the registration of a criminal case against the Congress candidate as it was cheating with the applicant as well as the public because he was not eligible to verify the application forms when the code of conduct was in force during the MC elections. Moreover, the powers of the councillor had already ceased after the elections were announced, he said.

The copy of the said forms showed that Om Parkash, as a municipal councillor, verified the facts filled by an applicant to apply for a 100 sq yard plot. The date of verification is shown as March 26.

Om Parkash, when contacted, however, said he signed the form in good gesture when the applicant approached him pleading that the last date for filing the application form would be over by March 31.

Meanwhile, the district administration has ordered an inquiry into the violation of the code of conduct by Congress leaders on March 23 during the campaigning of municipal committee election.

The Panchkula sub-divisional magistrate has been asked to conduct an inquiry and submit the report to deputy commissioner Rajinder Kataria.

Congress leaders, including Haryana deputy chief minister Chander Mohan, participated in a public meeting held on the land of government dispensary of Sector 21 in support of the party candidate. Union minister Kumari Selja was also accompanying the deputy chief minister on the occasion. Even the invitation calls were made from the district public relation office to invite the mediapersons for interaction with the leaders at Congress candidate’s house in Sector 20.

Kataria said even as he was taking suo motu action on the basis of newspaper reports in this regard and had initiated action, he had also got directions from the state election commission.



Sood to be president, if we win: BJP
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 26
The BJP, after taking lead in announcing the list of its candidates for the Panchkula municipal committee poll to be held on March 30, now has even declared that senior leader from the city V.K. Sood would be its president in case the party was able to gain majority in the civic body.

Talking to mediapersons while releasing the manifesto of the party, party state president Atam Parkash Manchanda said the party had decided to contest the election with Sood being the party president. Sood is a sitting councilor in the municipal committee and the party candidate from ward number 4.

Party leaders, including Ratan Lal Kataria, Harjit Singh Grewal, Jagdish Chopra and Rekha Sharma were also present on the occasion.

Ratan Lal Kataria, criticising local MP Selja, said she had no moral right to ask for votes in the MC elections as she had failed to take care of the interests of the local people even as she was holding the post of poverty alleviation minister.

However, the party has promised to make the city garbage free and arranging moving toilets for slum areas. The party has also promised to solve the problem of drinking water shortage. A complaint booth would also be set up in every sector so that the problems of residents could be redressed effectively, the manifesto said.



Bidders boycott auction of commercial sites
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 26
The auction of commercial sites in Panchkula was cancelled when hundreds of bidders, majority of whom were property dealers and builders, decided to boycott the auction here today.

The bidders alleged that the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) had increased the prices of sites exorbitantly.

There were 25 commercial sites located at different sectors under the hammer. However, the prices of the sites were very high so much so that a corner booth site in Sector 10 was priced at Rs 1.46 crore. An SCO site in the undeveloped Sector 26 was priced around Rs 5 crore.

Visitors were a harassed lot at the HUDA office as nobody was there to listen to their problems as the estate officer who was deputed there remained on leave most of the time after he was transferred here, said property dealer Umesh Jain. The office of the authority was plagued with staff shortage and no work was being disposed of in time, resulting in plot owners suffering losses to the tune of lakhs of rupees, he alleged.

Protesting against this, the bidders, wearing black badges, boycotted the auction following which the authorities decided to postpone it till further orders.

However, HUDA administrator Neelam Pardip Kasni said the matter would be resolved in the near future.



Army jobs scam: Fresh probe ordered
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The Army has ordered a fresh court of inquiry into allegations of two jawans accepting money from an ex-serviceman belonging to Rajasthan to get his son recruited into the Army.

A court of inquiry, ordered by the Headquarters of an armoured brigade on the directions of the General Officer Commanding, 33 Armoured Division, Maj-Gen A. Shoran, last month had held the two jawans prima facie blameworthy, sources said.

The inquiry was ordered after a written complaint was sent to the defence minister and senior Army officers. Complainant Dharambir had accused two Army men from an infantry battalion and a civilian of taking Rs 1.80 lakh from him to get his son Pradeep recruited in the force, which they failed to do so. The probe, presided over by Lt-Col V.K. Nagyal, had held that the complainant had paid Rs 10,000 to one of the jawans in mid-2006. A few months later, he paid another Rs 1.70 lakh to the second jawan and his brother-in-law. Audio recordings of conversations between the two parties and some photographs were produced as evidence before the court of inquiry.

The inquiry brought out that later Rs 50,000 was paid back to the complainant. It also established that a panchayat was assembled at the civilian’s village, which held that the accused were guilty and should resolve the matter amicably with the complainant by August 207, failing which he could initiate legal action.

A few days ago, the Army ordered a fresh probe, presided over by Col Salil Sharma, commanding officer of an armoured regiment. The probe convening order states that the first inquiry stood cancelled due to technical infirmities in its proceedings.

Court martial deferred

The Army has deferred the court martial of Maj-Gen A.K. Lal, who was accused of sexual impropriety by a woman officer. The trial was earlier scheduled to commence in Jammu and Kashmir on March 24 but has been held up due to technical reasons. The officer has now been attached to Mathura-based 1 Corps under the South-Western Command as his continuation in the Northern Command for disciplinary proceedings under the present Army Commander was not legally permissible.

Sources said “the trial is now expected to take place in Bathinda and a fresh date would be fixed for it”.



Recarpeting, widening of roads
Traffic chaos to continue awhile
Tribune News Service

Maintenance work being carried out on the Sector 26 roundabout.
Maintenance work being carried out on the Sector 26 roundabout.
Recarpeting on the dividing road of Sectors 34 and 35 in progress in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
Recarpeting on the dividing road of Sectors 34 and 35 in progress in Chandigarh on Wednesday. — Tribune photographs

Chandigarh, March 26
The city roads continue to face traffic bottlenecks due to recarpeting and widening of roads carried out in different parts of the city. The residents are likely to continue to face traffic chaos in the coming days.

The roads in some of the sectors are witnessing congestion due to the high volume of vehicular traffic, leading to traffic jams lasting for hours. Moreover, even the internal roads of the city, which were earlier meant for slow-moving and light traffic are now heading towards traffic chaos.

The internal roads of Sectors 34 and 44 were jammed yesterday due to recarpeting work being carried out on the road dividing Sectors 34 and 35. Minor traffic snarls were seen on the internal roads. The road dividing Sectors 27 and 28 was closed today for maintenance.

The traffic was diverted to the other roads and vehicular traffic was not allowed to enter the main road of Sector 27. Police personnel had a tough time controlling and diverting the traffic on to other roads.

The city will continue to face traffic congestion in the coming days as the municipal corporation will continue to widen and recarpet the roads in different sectors. The traffic will be diverted when the work begins in Sectors 8, , 29, 37, 38 ,40 and other parts.

According to Jasbir Singh Cheema, DSP, Traffic, the municipal corporation intimates the traffic police in advance. According to the requirement, traffic personnel are deployed to control and regulate the traffic.



Identification of Heirs
Councillors to oppose decision
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 26
Municipal councillors here have criticised the decision of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to empower them to identify legal heirs in case of transfer of property.

The councillors said they would oppose the GMADA decision at the next general house meeting of the municipal council. The GMADA authorities had taken a decision to entrust the responsibility of identifying the legal heirs and accepting affidavits in this regard from the councillors.

Municipal councillor Kuljit Singh Bedi said it was not possible for the councillors to give an affidavit regarding the legal heirs without knowing all members of the family of the person concerned. He said Mohali was a new town where people from different areas had come and settled and it was not possible to know the background of everyone. He said by giving an affidavit regarding legal heirs during the transfer of property, there was every possibility that the councillors would be dragged into legal battles.

However, GMADA officials said an affidavit from a councillor could be required only in the absence of a will, succession certificate or legal heirs certificate.



Councillors seek hike in allowances
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
Taking a cue from the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission, the councillors of the municipal corporation (MC) have sought a hike in their monthly allowances.

The councillors have demanded a monthly allowance of Rs 20,000 for mayor, Rs 18,000 for deputy mayor and Rs 15,000 for councillors. The representation was submitted on Tuesday, seeking its inclusion in the agenda for the general house.

Sources in the MC said the issue was likely to be discussed vociferously in the forthcoming general house of the MC on Friday. The councillors further asked that if the allowances of the President and the Prime Minister of India, including the members of parliament and state assemblies, could be hiked, why only the councillors were left behind?

In a representation signed by 14 councillors, the councillors sought a hike in their monthly allowances, saying that they could not meet their expenditures due to rising prices of petrol and other expenses.

The councillors maintained that they found it hard to meet their expenditures at Rs 5,000 a month.



MC panel approves works worth Rs 50 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The water supply and sewerage disposal committee of the municipal corporation (MC) today accorded approval to various agenda items of about Rs 50 lakh.

The agenda items included the estimate for shifting and reconstruction road gullies due to widening on V-5 roads in Sector 27 A, B, Sectors 30 A and B, 28 A, B, C and D and V-6 road in sub-Sector 27-D, rough cost estimate for providing additional storm water drains and road gullies due to widening of roads in Dadu Majra, storm water drainage system in Kajheri and water supply at Barheri.



UILS journal released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The inaugural special issue dealing with the ‘Principle of self determination in International and National context’ of the UILS journal’ was released yesterday by Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, PU. The issue contains specialised articles on the presently relevant and important issues. While releasing ‘the half yearly’ journal, Sobti commended the efforts of the director, Prof R.S. Grewal, editor Dr Jasmeet Kaur and the editorial board consisting of Dr Navneet Arora, Dr Pushpinder Kaur, Dr Shruti Bedi and Dr Sarabjit Kaur. Prof Grewal, the chief-editor of the journal, in his inaugural comments said right to self-determination is the foundation of all human rights of collectivity.

This challenging issue has been examined from all possible prospective in the present journal.



Mixed identities, EC style
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The Election Commission of India continues to live up to its reputation of committing blunders. A case in point is the photo identity card issued to Nand Lal Gupta, a resident of 3010-A, Sector 29-D, Chandigarh.

While the particulars in the identity card are in order, the photo of Gupta's wife appears in the identity card.



CTU rally

Chandigarh, March 26
Members of the CTU Workers’ Union held a protest rally against the alleged high-handedness of the Director, Transport, in front of the transport office, Industrial Area, here today.

Narain Singh, general secretary of the union, said due to the dilly-dallying tactics being adopted by the director, many important departmental cases were yet to be solved. — TNS



Wake up Chandigarh

The recent traffic chaos in the city, which led to a traffic jam for hours, comes as a wake up call for urban planners and administrators. The frequent traffic snarls are reminiscent of the emergence of conditions those affected 19th and early 20th century cities of the developed world.

The streets were dirty, noisy and overcrowded. Advent of automobiles had further overwhelmed city streets with pollution, traffic jams and accidents.

People retreated indoors and in the process withdrew from one another. These cities came heavily under criticism of Jane Jacobs, in her classic ‘The rise and fall of great American cities,’ that served as a catalyst for urban revival of streets.

As the urban planners worldwide are striving for livable streets and neighbourhoods and adopting traffic calming reforms to give the streets back to the people, Chandigarh, is sleeping over it. Wake up Chandigarh. Save thyself from dying a premature death.

Puneeta Thakur, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



DAV Board Exams
Hansraj girl tops tricity in Class VIII
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Panchkula, March 26
Aastha Kapoor of Hansraj Public School, Sector 6, Panchkula, topped the All-India DAV Board Class VIII 2007-2008 Examination in the tricity securing 97.17 per cent marks, the result of which was declared today. Aastha scored 583 marks out of 600.

“It’s a great feeling to emerge on the top. I am thankful to my parents and teachers who guided me to overcome all that stress and strain because of excessive studies.” The daughter of a doctor couple, Aastha has no interest to pursue her career in medicine. “I want to do MBA to work for multinational company”, she said.

Just three marks short of the tricity topper, Vipin Mohan of KB DAV School, Sector 7, Chandigarh, occupied the second place in the tricity but clinched first place in Chandigarh. He scored 580 marks out of 600 (96.67 per cent), which included 100 marks in maths, social studies, 99 in science, 95 in Hindi and 95 in English. Elated Vipin shared his joy with The Tribune. “I knew I could do it. I scored according to my potential in all subjects except in Punjabi where I scored 91 marks. But never mind! I am happy. I owe my success to the balanced curriculum framework designed by my school, that’s why we achieved 100 per cent pass result”, said Vipin.

The DAV Managing Committee, Mumbai, has also awarded Vipin with a cheque for Rs 1,200 for being a winner in the Talent Search Event.

His father Sunny Sharma, a civil engineer, and mother Sunita Sharma, refrain from imposing their views on their child. “We have left him on his own. He manages his schedule for playing and studies”.

The third place in the tricity was bagged by Isha Vig of Hans Raj Public School, Sector 6, Panchkula. She scored 578 marks (96.33 per cent). The fourth place was jointly shared by Ankur Garg, Arshmeet Singh and Sahiba Rastogi, all students of KB DAV-7, Chandigarh, who scored 574 marks.

Charu Rawat of DAV Public School, Sector 8-C, Chandigarh, secured 567 marks (94.50 per cent) only to be the first in the class. Kanav Gupta, with just one mark short, got second place.

Prachi Goyal of DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, Panchkula, secured 558 marks to clinch first place among his classmates. The second place went to Anamika who got 552 marks.

Aishwarya Mahajan of DAV Model School, Sector 15-A, Chandigarh , top scored in the class with 534 marks followed by Mayank Garg who got 524 marks.

Palak Jagotta of Chaman Lal DAV Senior Public School, Sector 11, Panchkula, got 529 marks while Jyoti Rani scored 519 marks to remain at the second position.



Special children to study with other kids
Part of NCERT’s ‘inclusive education’ initiative

Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
Soon, children with physical disabilities will no longer have to attend special schools as the NCERT has, as part of its ‘inclusive education’ initiative, prepared a handbook which will enable them to study in schools like other children.

The handbook prepared by a team of experts has normative guidelines for schools to include differently-abled students in schools and training guidelines for teachers as well.

Krishna Kumar
Krishna Kumar

A meeting in this regard is scheduled for April wherein all state wise instructors and heads of Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan would take the initiative to next level.

Krishna Kumar, director, NCERT, revealed this on the sidelines of a three-day workshop on ‘Problems and perspectives of history teaching’ being held at Panjab University.

The NCERT is also going to start a unique initiative called ‘Peace education’ in schools. “Education for peace is different from peace education in the sense that it is not a subject of study. Rather, it provides perspective to the whole of education,” he said.

A handbook on ‘Peace education’ for teachers is being developed by the Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations of Education (DEPFE).

It will contain guidelines and procedures for organising teaching and pedagogical processes, which will enable teachers to foster appropriate attitudes, skills and values among pupils for resolving conflicts and living peacefully.

The handbook would be used for both in-service and pre-service teacher training in line with the recommendations of the National Curriculum Framework 2005.

Giving a low down on new plans of the NCERT, he said that NCERT has prepared a new curriculum for B.Ed and M.Ed.

“The NCERT is running some of its own institutes across the country and first, it would be launched there,” he added.

Earlier, he gave a lucid presentation on the topic ‘Is pedagogy an issue at college and university?’

He asserted that the goal of higher education should be to create an opportunity as a result of which a student has a chance of being inducted into a community based on knowledge.



From Colleges
230 students awarded degrees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The Bi-annual college convocation and prize distribution function of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, was held on the college premises in Sector 26, here today.

Manpreet Singh Badal, Finance Minister, Punjab, was the chief guest on the occasion while Jagbir Singh Brar was the guest of honour.

In academic field, as many as 230 degrees were distributed in the arts faculty, 128 degrees in computer science, 105 in science and 181 degrees in commerce faculty.

In post graduate departments, 19 degrees were awarded to MA (Punjabi), 9 to MA (English), 76 to masters of computer science and 34 to masters of commerce recipients.

Later, prizes were distributed by Gurdev Singh Brar, president of the Sikh Educational Society, to students who excelled in various fields like sports or other co curricular activities.

The principal of the college read out the annual report and also appreciated the Gurmak Vichar Sabha and Punjabi department of the college.

Convocation: Jasleen Kaur (First in PU, MA II sociology) and Geetu Shrama (First in PU, BSc III food science and quality control) were honoured during the 36th annual convocation ceremony of the MCM DAV College, held on its campus at Sector 36, here today. A total of 958 students were awarded graduation and post graduation degrees. Around 10 students received their degrees in MA II Hindi, 25 in MA II sociology, 32 in MA II English, 26 in MSc IT, 239 in BA III hons, 264 in BA III, 60 in BCom III hons, 65 in BCom III, 35 in BCA III, 42 in post graduate diploma courses and 160 in BSc III (Vocational, food science medical and non medical).

Pradip Mehra, advisor to the Administrator, UT, Chandigarh, was the chief guest for the occasion. The principal of the college, Dr Puneet Bedi, read out the annual report of the college, highlighting the academic and co-curricular achievements of the college. The roll of honour was given to students for holding positions at the university level.

Other awardees were Pulkit Khanna (First in PU, BA III English hons), Sifti Dhall (First in PU in BCom III), Bhawna (First in PU in BA III Hindi hons), Rajdeep Kaur Sidhu (First in PU in BA III pol sc. hons) and Rajwinder Kaur (First in PU in BA III history hons) deserve special mention. Isha Sood (BCA III), Shivani Kaushik (BSc III med), Brahmit Kaur (BSc III non-med), Garima Dhawan (BSc III voc), Pallavi (BCom III) and Jaspreet Kaur Jassal (BA III) also received the M.L. Baweja Award for excellence in academics.

Neha Warson of BA III received the Sita Devi Vinayak Award for standing 1st among college students in Hindi elective and Meenakshi Gill of BA III received the Ishwari Devi award for standing first in Sanskrit among the college students.

Studens of Government College, Sector 46, in a jubilant mood after receiving their degrees on the college campus in Chandigarh on Wednesday.
Studens of Government College, Sector 46, in a jubilant mood after receiving their degrees on the college campus in Chandigarh on Wednesday. Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Annual convocation: The 23rd annual convocation of Government College, Sector 46 was organised in the college auditorium, here today. Justice Vijendera Jain, Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Raji P.Srivastava, director, higher education, Chandigarh, graced the occasion as guest of honour.

The function began with the traditional lightening of the lamp. The principal Dr K.S. Saluja read out the annual report of the college.

The programme commenced with entry of academic procession followed by the recital of Saraswati Vandana. As many as 273 students were awarded degrees ,out of which 22 were post-graduate students, 55 students for BCom, 30 students for BCom (hons), 125 students from BA, 26 students from BA (hons) and 15 students from BCA.

Degrees awarded: As many as 210 BEd, 14 Bed (Yoga) and 12 MED students were given degrees during the 52nd annual convocation on the college premises here today.

Manpreet Singh Badal, finance minister, Punjab, presided over the function. College principal Dr Harsh Batra read out the annual report of the college and highlighted the achievements of the institution in various fields.

The occasion was marked by awarding the prizes to the students who secured various positions in the university examination.



PU Notes
Workshop on history teaching concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
Three-day workshop on ‘problems and perspectives of history teaching,’ from March 24-26, concluded today at PU. Prof Narayani Gupta of Jamia Millia Islamia urged the teachers to take into account the linkages of history with social sciences as well as with art, literature and philosophy, but history should not be identified exclusively with or subsumed under the social sciences.

Prof Kumkum Roy from the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU, New Delhi, emphasised two principles of the National Curriculum Framework of the NCERT, New Delhi, regarding curricular concerns: Democratic values and respect for diversity. Prof Shireen Moosvi from the Aligarh Muslim University maintained that new trends should be introduced, and emphasised the need to ask new analytical questions from sources for a meaning reinterpretation of history. She suggested that it is relevant to include periodicals in the syllabi, as the most recent researches are available in the form of articles. Prof Chetan Singh from HP University, Shimla, dilated upon new approaches to the study of regional history and culture with special emphasis on the Punjab. Prof Krishna Kumar, director, NCERT, New Delhi, in his lucid presentation asserted that as education is an orbit of social contestation, the goal of higher education should be to create an opportunity as a result of which a student has a chance of being inducted into a community based on knowledge.

The valedictory session of the workshop was presided over by Prof J.S. Grewal, an eminent historian.

Recitals: SPICMACAY, Chandigarh Chapter, is organising recitals by Sarod maestro and renowned vocalists on March 27 and March 31. Biswajeet Rai Chowdhary (Sarod) would perform at Navodaya Vidalaya, Sector 25, on March 27 and Pt. Rajan and Sajan Mishra (Vocal) would perform at Medical College, Sector 32, on March 31. The recital is open for students and public as disclosed by Dr S. Lavasa, North Zone chairperson, SPICMACAY.

Blood donation: ABVP organised a blood donation camp at Panjab University today to commemorate Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev’s martyrdom day. Over 50 students and faculty members participated and donated blood.



Central Varsity Status
Teachers on mass leave, protest held

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
Panjab University teachers and students joined together on a call given by the PUTA in support of central status for the university and took out a procession around the campus today. The teachers were on mass casual leave today.

Addressing the rally at Gandhi Bhawan, Prof Manjit Singh, secretary PUTA, said while PU was starved of funds, Punjab government was neither ready to pay its share of the budget to PU nor did it allow the Union government to pay fully and up grade it to a central university.

For how long this prestigious institute could survive on beg and borrow strategy, Prof Singh exhorted. The hypocrisy of the Punjab government becomes clear when it celebrates the coming of centrally funded institutes next door in Mohali and another central university in Punjab but expresses its reservation on the full funding of PU by the Centre. It is being interpreted as the dilution of the claim of Punjab Government over Chandigarh.

Parminder Jaswal, president, PU Students’ Council, also addressed a joint rally at Gandhi Bhawan. He said the only solution to the continuous fee rise was in up grading PU to Central University. The flow of more liberal grants to Punjab University by the Center means cheaper education, and accommodation in the hostels. Gagandeep Kaur, vice-president, students’ council also addressed the rally. Addressing the gathering Prof A.S. Ahluwalia, president PUTA, while thanking each and every one assembled in the gathering assured that, “If we continue with the enthusiasm shown by the students and teachers today, the day is not far away when we will get fully funded by the Centre. He made an earnest appeal to the students and teachers to gather at the Students Centre on March 31 in a much larger number.



41 students from J&K visit city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
Forty-one students, pursuing bachelor of technology at the S.S.M. College of Engineering, Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir, arrived here on an educational visit.

The group included 11 girls. For most of them, it was their first trip outside their native place. The students, all from the mechanical engineering stream, were accompanied by three faculty members, Nisar Ahmad, Mushtaq Ahmed and Nahida Rehman.

They visited Swaraj Tractors and had a glimpse of tractor, forklift and agricultural combine manufacturing processes, at the factory. They also went around the premises of Cheema Boilers in Ropar, where they learnt about the technology and application of industrial boilers.

They were also taken around The Tribune’s premises to get knowledge about how a newspaper is made, besides a trip to the Rock Garden, Rose Garden and the Sukhna Lake.



1,000 attend general house meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
Around 1,000 local teachers of different cadres attended the general house meeting, jointly organised by the UT Teachers’ Association and Government Teachers’ Union, at Sector 20 Masjid grounds, here today.

The assembled teachers discussed various issues and demanded the redressal of their long pending demands like abolishing the contract system, release of updated seniority list of all cadres, promotion of masters/mistress, appointment of vice-principals and second heads, central pay for work experience and library teachers, the formulation of policy to ensure promotion of UT cadre teachers and immediate transfer of principal, GMSSS-19.

Later, a memorandum was submitted by Dr Vinod Sharma, president GTU, and Shavinder Singh, President, UT Teachers’ Association.



From Schools & Colleges
St Soldiers’ holds graduation ceremony
Tribune News Service

Students of Saint Soldiers School during their graduation ceremony in Mohali on Wednesday.
Students of Saint Soldiers School during their graduation ceremony in Mohali on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, March 26
Saint Soldiers’ School here organised a graduation ceremony for its Class V students who have now moved onto the next class. As many as 118 students were given the pass out certificates by chairman of Punjab State Cooperative Bank Jasjit Singh.

CAMPUS PLACEMENT: Senior executives from Milk Time A.K. Singh, vice-president, procurement and development, and DGM V.P. Sharma visited GGS College of Modern Technology, Kharar, and conducted campus interviews for MBA students specialising in marketing /business development. The job profile involved concept marketing. The pay package offered by the company was Rs 3 lakh depending on the performance of the students.



Education dept’s new transfer policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The transfer of principals and officiating principals of government schools of the city is the top priority of the Chandigarh Education Department.

The DPI (S) told that the proposal has taken the final shape and the transfers would be made in the first week of April according to the new transfer policy.

“In the first phase, new principals will join shortly at GMSSS 19 and 16. Modalities are being made to depute the senior principals working in the rural areas to model schools located in the interior of the city.”

However, the second phase of transfers would be made during the summer breaks.



Self Defence
Prosecution not bound to explain injuries to accused: HC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The Punjab and Haryana High Court, in a significant judgement, has summed up legal points from various rulings for virtually providing guidelines to the trial court and the prosecution to deal with cases of “private defence”.

A Division Bench of the high court, comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice S.D. Anand, has ruled in an appeal filed by Ram Pal and others in a murder case that the right to private defence can be established even without leading defence evidence from the evidence already on record.

The right to private defence is dependent on the apprehensions of life and limb, and cannot be weighed in a golden scale.

Delayed explanation for causing injuries to the accused has to be considered with caution. And, the court has to be careful in weighing evidence of particular witnesses, but such evidence cannot be discarded mechanically. No hard and fast rule can be laid down as to how much evidence can be accepted.

In their detailed order, the judges added: “It is well established that the burden of proof is on the prosecution and the same must be discharged beyond reasonable doubt. The burden of proving the plea of private defence is on the accused, which can be discharged by probabilities by leading evidence or even from evidence on record.”

“The prosecution is not bound to explain all the injuries and omission to explain injuries caused to the accused is not always fatal to the case. However, having regard to individual factual situation the court may draw an inference against the prosecution or may hold that the defence version has a probability. This principle is not a rigid principle and is only for broad guidance.”

Before parting with the judgement, the Bench held two accused Jagdish and Rampal guilty of murder and sentenced them to life.

The court, however, gave benefit of doubt to five other accused and acquitted them of murder charge. But, the court upheld their conviction under Sections 148, 323 and 149 of the IPC and sentenced them to period undergone.



Life Term
HC dismisses cop’s plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
A CRPF constable’s appeal against conviction and life imprisonment awarded to him for shooting a superior officer, after being allegedly denied a break in duty, has been dismissed by a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The incident dates back to July 24, 1996. Appellant Om Parkash fired at Company Havildar Major Hiramani Tiwari at Ambala Cantt railway station, in an alleged attempt to teach him a lesson for assigning him duty.

Going into the background of the matter, the prosecution had stated Om Parkash, along with prosecution witness Surinder Pal and others, had left Kohima for Amritsar. En route, the train halted at Ambala Cantt railway station.

The armoury was deposited in the cloakroom. Some of it was issued on temporary basis to persons on duty for guarding the weapons kept in the cloakroom and luggage at the platform.

The appellant wanted off from the duty as he was feeling unwell. But, the same was disallowed. He aimed an SLR at Tiwari and fired. Tiwari fell on the platform and subsequently expired.

When confronted with the evidence against him, the accused denied the prosecution allegations and asserted the SLR and ammunition allotted to him at Kohima was different from the weapon shown to have been recovered from him.

After considering the evidence on record, the trial court convicted and sentenced the appellant.

Challenging the orders, counsel for the appellant submitted that there was material contradiction in the statement given by prosecution witness Surinder Pal Singh in the FIR and in the court. In the FIR, he stated the occurrence had taken place as the accused objected to his being assigned duty when he was unwell. But, in court, the same was not stated.

After hearing the arguments, the Division Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice S.D. Anand significantly ruled, “The mere fact that the accused resisted being given duty, which was not mentioned in the statement given in court, is of no consequence.”

“Minor discrepancy or contradiction does not affect the veracity of version of a witness, if in all material particulars, the evidence is reliable. The weapon used was recovered from the accused on the spot by Surinder Pal Singh. The mere fact that the same was allotted to another constable and was supposed to be with the said constable was not enough to falsify the version of the prosecution, irrespective of the rules requiring a constable to keep the weapon allotted to him.”



Widening of highway to Delhi
High Court directs HUDA to sign pact
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
Taking up the highway-widening and anti-encroachment case, a a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, headed by Chief Justice Vijender Jain, today asked the Haryana Urban Planning and Development Authority (HUDA) to sign the State Support Agreement.

The directions were issued in the presence of HUDA Chief Administrator and other senior functionaries and are expected to streamline the work currently going on for widening the highway to Delhi.

On the previous date, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) authorities had brought to the Bench's notice that the State Support Agreement, given to the State of Haryana last year, had now been signed, but a clause non-existent in the original draft agreement had been added. The same was expected to put additional burden of Rs 6 crore on the NHAI.

The Bench had asked the NHAI to file a proper application in the matter so that notice could be issued to the State of Haryana. The Bench had also directed that all pending disputes should be resolved so that the work of constructing the flyovers and six- laning of the road was not hampered.



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