C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Independents win in eight wards
A close finish — Cong 9, BJP 8, INLD 6
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 30
No one party got a landslide victory in the Panchkula MC elections, the results of which were declared this evening. This is the first time that the elections were held on party symbols.

The Congress won nine seats in the 31-member local body followed by the BJP with eight and the INLD with six. The Independents hold the key for the election of the MC president as they registered a win in eight wards.

It was the first major victory for the BJP with eight of its candidates winning the elections. Last year, only three could make it to the civic body.

Former MC chief (Congress) Manvir Kaur Gill and city Congress president R.K. Kakkar lost from Ward Nos. 20 and 12, respectively. Kakkar had contested as an Independent after the party denied him ticket.

The Congress candidates who won include Sangeeta Goel (Ward 5), Bhawna Gupta (Ward 10), Jalmegha Dahiya (Ward 3), Naresh Rawal (Ward13), Ravider Rawal (Ward 14), Anita Tiwari (Ward 18), Aarti Thakur (Ward 19), Mamta Mittal (Ward 25) and Upinder Kaur (Ward 29).

The BJP with V.K. Sood, projected as the MC chief, would enter the house with his party fellows, Luxmi Devi (Ward 2), Chanderkanta Goel (Ward 3), Harinder (Ward 9), B.B. Singhal (Ward 12), Ramesh Singh (Ward 16), Jagjit Singh (Ward 22) and Ashish Garg (Ward 30).

The INLD winners are Seema Chaudhary (Ward 24), Kuljit Waraich (Ward 1), Subhash Chand Nishad (Ward 17), Vikas Chaudhary (Ward 21), Sharanjit Kaur (Ward 23) and Gautam Parkash (Ward 27).

The Independents who made it to the house include Sudesh Rani (Ward 7), Prem Kumar (Ward 8), Renu Sharma (Ward 15), Lily Bawa (Ward 20), Sunit Devi (Ward 26), Shamsher (Ward 28) and Rajesh Sharma (Ward 31).



MC Polls
Anything, but peaceful
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 30
Voters turned out in large numbers for the Panchkula MC elections held today. The turnout was 61.7 per cent. However, violence marred the elections.

Mobs pelted stones and the police resorted to lathi charge. Several clashes were reported between rival candidates and their supporters.

The police has arrested two persons for attacking mediapersons at a polling booth in Sector 12.

Though the administration claimed that the polling was peaceful, the police had to resort to lathicharge and tear gas shells to disperse supporters of Congress candidate Ram Parsad (Ward No. 8) who staged dharna in front of a polling booth.

Ram Parsad lost to Prem Singh, an Independent. He alleged that presiding officer K.K. Amrohi asked the candidates to leave the polling booth even before the polling was over and “bungling” resulted in his defeat. When his supporters did not let the police party and the staff stationed at the polling booth to leave, a police party headed by the SP reached the spot and resorted to a mild lathicharge.

However, agitated residents of Indira Colony and Rajiv Colony pelted them with stones. Some police personnel were injured and the police had to use tear gas shells to control the mob.

Earlier in the morning, clashes were witnessed between rival candidates and their supporters while the BJP and INLD alleged that bogus votes were polled at various booths.

Sunil Talwar had an altercation with Ravinder Rawal, a Congress candidate from Ward No. 14 over allegations of bogus voting by the Congress.

BJP supporters also raised slogans against the district administration, alleging that fake ration cards were used to cast vote.

Mediapersons were attacked by miscreants in the presence of policemen at BN Senior Secondary School, Sector 12.



Only CTU will run mini buses
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The Chandigarh administration has developed cold feet on allowing private bus operators to run mini buses on specified routes in the city. Only the CTU will run the operations within the city.

An eight-year-old decision by the administration to allow private bus operators has been withdrawn. The decision is in line with the new transport policy that was recently unveiled by the administration.

Sources in the administration said in November 2001, the administration had notified the scheme enabling private bus operators to run the service.

Under the scheme, buses were to run on V-5 roads connecting the sub-sectors of each sectors. These buses had to primarily have north to south or reverse movement. Before the administration could invite applications, the notification was challenged in the High Court and the writ petition has been pending since.

The Chandigarh Stage Carriage Permit Scheme, 1998, was amended to enable grant of stage carriage permits to private operators for mini buses on specified routes in the city.

An official said the scheme was of little relevance as under the new transport policy, it had been decided that the CTU would run the mini buses on inner sector roads.

Under the scheme, private bus operators were to be allowed to run AC buses from Chandigarh to neighbouring states. The handing over of operations to private parties would have meant that the administration would not have to invest in infrastructure like new buses, drivers and maintenance.

But since the transport department was investing huge money in purchasing a new fleet of buses, the old policy had become redundant, the official added.



2 killed, 16 hurt in Chandi Mandir
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 30
Two persons were killed while 16 others were injured when a tractor-trailer they were travelling in overturned after its driver failed to negotiate a turn in the Chandi Mandir Cantonment area, here tonight.

The victims, who were labourers, were on their way home to Behnsa Tibba after finishing construction work at a shopping complex. They were taken to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where the condition of the injured was stated to be critical.

The police said the deceased were yet to be identified while some of the injured have been identified as Daya Wanti, Divya, Anand, Vinod, Pawar, Satish and Jijos Dass.



Karanjit Case
Revolver goes missing; found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Even after 24 hours, the police has failed to unveil the mystery behind the disappearance and subsequent recovery of the revolver used by Karanjit Singh, the owner of a Sector 22-based chicken corner, with which he allegedly shot at his daughter and later killed himself.

The in charge of the Sector 22 police post, sub-inspector Jaspal Singh Bullar, said the weapon would be sent for examination to the central forensic sciences laboratory tomorrow.

Sources said Karanjit fired three shots from the revolver. One shot, which he reportedly fired at his parrot, missed the target. The second shot was fired at Poonam before he shot himself.

Poonam is still struggling for her life at the PGI.

The police believes that someone in the family could have hid the weapon apprehending police action. Later, when the police registered a case and began inquiring into the matter, the weapon was put near the staircase in the evening.

The police claimed to have thoroughly searched the house and the sudden recovery of the weapon from the house raised doubts that someone was responsible for its disappearance.



Four Laning  
Parwanoo project now on fast track
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 30
After being mired in red tape for several months, the four-laning project of the Zirakpur-Parwanoo stretch of the National Highway-22 is finally on the fast track.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently stepped in to resolve the stand-off between the NHAI and HUDA over the construction of underpasses near Sector 20 of Panchkula.

The NHAI and HUDA had been on loggerheads over the construction of the underpasses costing about Rs 6 crore.

In September last year, the NHAI had awarded the Rs 295 crore project, entailing the construction of the Pinjore-Kalka-Parwanoo bypass, to Jaiprakash and Associates on a BOT basis.

A senior functionary of the Haryana Government said HUDA would release the requisite amount for the construction of the underpasses after the HC order as the project was of “national importance”.

Besides, the ground work for the project, including the acquisition of land, removal of encroachments and shifting of electricity lines was at “advanced stages”. The bypass, which will reportedly take off from near Mallah, near Pinjore, will meet the NH-22 near Parwanoo. 



Badal terms central status for PU as ‘political matter’
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Panjab University’s central status appears to be a distant dream. All hopes of the PUTA (Panjab University Teachers’ Association) members, students and other faculty members of the Panjab University as regards the central status of the university today fizzled out when Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, on being asked about the issue, called it a ‘political matter’.

When mediapersons confronted him on the financial crunch, which the university is going through due to non-payment of the grant of Rs 40 crore by the Punjab Government, he said, “The grant would be given” and immediately shifted the focus on a new central university and an IIT coming up in the state.

When a mediaperson asked if Punjab would leave its claim on the university and use the funds allocated for PU on its own state universities and let the funds for PU come from the Centre, he said in a lighter vein that soon Chandigarh would come to the state and so would be the university. “As it is, it’s our university,” he smiled.

Earlier, a delegation of PUTA, lead by Prof A.S. Ahluwalia and Prof Manjit Singh, met the Chief Minister at the inauguration of the World Punjabi Conference and submitted a memorandum unanimously passed at the joint public rally of students and teachers.

The memorandum stated that more than 70 per cent of the students are from Punjab and 175 colleges of the state affiliated to the university fall in Punjab.

“Teachers and students of PU have been suffering on account of financial crunch for quite sometime now. The minister of human resources and development has already sent a communication to you and the UT administration in which it is explicitly stated that the Centre is ready to bear 100 per cent plan and non-plan expenditure of the university.”

“It is a golden opportunity and there is no reason that it should not be paid attention to. Panjab University is of Punjab not by name but also in terms of its character, structure and the composition of its students and faculty.”

After the submission of the memorandum, Badal refused to commit anything on the issue.

PUTA and the students’ council have given a call for public protest on March 31 and all teachers, students and research scholars have been appealed to assemble at the Students Centre and raise their voice against the double standards of Punjab Government.

“While Punjab Government is celebrating two central universities and one IIT announced for the state of Punjab, PU has been left high and dry due to the obduracy of the state government,” said a PUTA member.



Nayagaon Notified Area
UT irked by Punjab’s colonisation plan
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 30
Chandigarh Administration and Punjab government are on a collision course over Punjab allowing colonisation in the Nayagaon Notified Area Committee. In a letter to the Punjab government, the UT finance secretary Sanjay Kumar has objected to the state encouraging colonisation activity in Kansal village which is North of Chandigarh behind the Capital Complex.

Village Kansal is part of the Nayagaon NAC and ambitious plans are afoot to develop this area. Tata housing has bought approximately 52 acres here for the setting up of a housing colony. Another local coloniser has proposed to establish a residential colony under the ‘group housing’ scheme.

“Punjab wants to replicate the infrastructure disaster that Zirakpur has become. This time towards the north of Chandigarh. Any one who has more than 3,000 sq yards of land would become a coloniser and sell apartments. Also in municipal areas there is no insistence on basic infrastructure for these group housing schemes,” said a UT official.

The ‘Edict of Chandigarh’ does not allow any construction North of the Capital Complex. Sources say Punjab’s move to open up the area north of the city would severely dent the administration’s move to be recognised as a “heritage City” by the UNESCO. The UT administration also pointed out to the Punjab government that they did not bother to coordinate with them before allowing development in the area. “We were told that Punjab had prepared plans for this area and invited public objections. No plan was sent to us officially. It would have been appreciated if the plans had been formally to us for a more harmonious development,” said Sanjay Kumar.

“We have also made it clear that since this area is bordering Chandigarh, dense colonisation in this area would put extra burden on the infrastructure of Chandigarh,” Kumar added.



Chandigarh-Morinda Rail Link
Deadline set for electrification Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
The Railway Board has set March 2009, as the deadline for the electrification of the 45-km railway track between Chandigarh and Morinda. Work on electrification is in progress.

Railway Board member (electrical) S.S. Khurana told the Tribune that the electrification of the tracks would mean faster connectivity on the rails section. Otherwise, two trains are being run on the Chandigarh-Morinda-Una non-electrified section ever since it was inaugurated over two years ago.

Talking about the high-speed freight corridor between Amritsar and JNPT Port, Mumbai, he said a feasibility study was being conducted to ascertain the height of the of the high-tension power traction line. As one container would be staked over the other, the height of the poles supporting the traction line would be more than the conventional height of the traction line.

On the issue of high-speed train on the Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar route, the member (electrification) said the train would run on a high-speed dedicated corridor. The Indian railways have already invited global tenders for conducting a pre-feasibility study of a high-speed train on the rail section.

Punjab and Haryana are learnt to have contributed around Rs 10 crore for the feasibility study as the proposed train would to pass through different stations in the two states and Chandigarh.

Besides, the Railway board has set a target of electrifying 700-km of track every year.



Bansal inaugurates bridge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Union minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Bansal today inaugurated the extension of bridge over nullah in Sector 23-D here.

The bridge had been widened with a cost of Rs 11.66 lakh and the expenditure had been met under the MPLAD scheme.

The width of existing bridge was 17 feet 6 inches and it was 68 feet long. On the demand of the residents it had been widened by 9 feet 6 inches, including footpath on one side, said municipal corporation chief engineer S.K. Bansal.



Pandher elected Press Club president
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Sarabjit S. Pandher of The Hindu and Naveen S. Garewal of The Tribune were elected president and secretary-general, respectively, of the Chandigarh Press Club, elections to which were held here today.

While Balwinder Jammu (Punjabi Tribune) was elected senior vice-president, Charanjit Ahuja (Financial Express) and Rajesh Deol (Deccan Herald) were elected vice-presidents. Sukhbir S Bajwa (Dainik Bhaskar) and Jasvir Samar (Punjabi Tribune) bagged the posts of joint secretary, according to returning officer Sham Singh. Barinder Rawat from Amar Ujala was elected to the post of secretary. Inder Preet Singh (Dainik Bhaskar) will be the new treasurer, the returning officer added.



New transport policy unveiled
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 30
Transport minister Master Mohan Lal unveiled a new transport policy recently in which he directed officials of the District Transport Office to ensure that transporters who had valid documentation verification certificates (DVC), properly stuck on their windscreens, were not harassed.

The minister added that the new policy was sure to get an ‘unprecedented response’ and that he had ensured officials to follow the policy in `letter and spirit'.

He added that by the end of May this year, more than 200 air conditioned buses would be added in the state out of which 100 would be plied by the state government and the other 100 by private operators.

Elaborating on the main issue, principal secretary (transport) D.S. Jaspal said the DVC was an important feature on the new transport policy. He added that a truck operator could obtain a DVC on giving a one-time annual payment after getting his documents verified by the authorities concerned.

Jaspal said under the new policy, computerisation of the entire department would be taken up on a priority basis. He added that under the new policy, Punjab would become the first state in the country to have online ticketing for seat reservation in AC buses. He said the concept of online ticketing would be introduced in May this year.

The minister added that the government had formulated a policy to check air pollution by ensuring that there were more government vehicles than private ones. He added that this would lead to improvement in road safety and ease out pollution and traffic congestion. He added that night service buses would be re-introduced on routes originating from Bathinda and Chandigarh. The minister also said non-stop buses would be introduced on the Patiala-Chandigarh route.

Mohan Lal said the transport department was holding talks with the Patiala, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar municipal corporations to ensure that traffic congestion in the interiors of these cities was eased.

He said all efforts were being made by the department to streamline the functioning of both, PRTC and Punjab Roadways so that they could attract more passengers. He exuded confidence that the PRTC losses would be minimised shortly.

Elaborating on the revenue issue, secretary (transport) R. Venkatratnam said the State Transport Corporation (STC) had increased its revenue from the period ranging from April 1, 2007 to February 28, 2008 from Rs 409 crore to Rs 430 crore. He also expressed confidence that during the ongoing financial year, revenue receipts would get past the Rs 430-crore mark.



2 students hurt in attack
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Two students of Khalsa College, Sector 26, were thrashed by a group of students in Sector 8 here this evening.

Tanveer, a BCom student, and Ramneek, a resident of Mohali, were beaten up by a group of students. Both have been admitted to the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16.

According to sources, the clash is said to be the result of the Friday attack that took place in Panjab University.



Driver escapes unhurt in car crash
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 30
Mohali roads are proving to be a speeding driver’s delight. Drivers who tend to follow most of the traffic rules in Chandigarh change their driving behaviour once within Mohali’s borders.

The driver of a black Honda City had a miraculous escape this evening when his car crashed headlong into the divider of the Phase IX-X dividing road.

According to onlookers, the driver coming from the Chandigarh side was driving at beyond 100 kms per hour and seemed to have lost control of the vehicle. The car hit another divider following the impact and took a complete about turn and hit a jeep coming from the opposite side.

The driver of the jeep was not as lucky and sustained injuries. The accident led to the Honda’s safety bags opening up and the young driver coolly got off the car.

Despite the fact that the accident led to extensive damage to two road dividers, the police did nothing to book the driver of the Honda.

“We got no information of the accident in the police station,” said Amrik Singh, the official manning the station through the day.

However, additional SHO Gubaksh Singh said he had received information that the matter had been resolved between the drivers of the two vehicles. 



Medical services ailing

Despite of tall claims made by the Punjab health department, there seems to be hardly any improvement in the services. The report published in The Tribune of February 4 regarding abandoned village health centre building is self explaining. Condition of other state hospitals is equally bad. The doctors mostly recommend medicines which are available only at a particular shop. Moreover, the patients are required to show the purchased medicines to the doctor. This facilitates the doctors to work out their day’s commission.

Not only this, these shops sell substandard medicines at higher prices. Similarly, patients are forced to get the tests or X-rays etc conducted from some specific lab. In such a situation, poor patients are left with no other alternative but to go to private hospitals. The state health department should wake up and ensure that proper medical facilities are provided to the people.

Kulbir Singh, Chandigarh

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Class VIII Exams
Shivangi makes it to the top
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
Consistency and dedication is my success mantra, says Shivangi, who topped in the city in Class VIII (middle standard) examination 2007-08 conducted by the Chandigarh education department.

A student of Moti Ram Arya Senior Secondary School-27, Shivangi scored 681 marks out of 700. “I did not expect it, but I knew my hardship would be rewarded. I study six to seven hours a day and play badminton to refresh myself,” said Shivangi.

Aiming to be an IAS officer, Shivangi owes her success to her parents and teachers. Her father Vijay Kumar is a junior lecturer assistant at Government College-8, Panchkula, and mother Asha is a teacher at Government School-15. “We are excited to hear the news. All calls pouring in ask for her as if she has become a celebrity,” said Vijay Kumar.

Meanwhile, two students of Shishu Niketan Senior Secondary School, Sector 22-D, Gurjot Singh and Ashok Singh shared the second place securing 672 marks. Gurjot aspires to pursue his career in the IT sector. His father Kulwinder Singh is telecom officer with BSNL and mother is a housewife. “I am thankful to my principal, teachers and brother, who always stood for me and motivated me to reach my destination,” said beaming Gurjot.

“I want to be an IAS officer. I study for at least seven to eight hours. I also play basketball to energise myself,” said Ashok. His father works with the public health department, Haryana.

Shubham Goyal, also from Shishu Niketan, grabbed the third place. She scored 671 marks. Her father is a businessman.

Smriti of Government Model Senior Secondary School-16, got the fourth place but stood first in the model school category. She scored 669 marks. Kalpana Sharma of Moti Ram Arya School-27 followed her with 668 marks.

In the non-model school category, Komal of Vedic Girls High School, Mani Majra, bagged the top place with 626 marks. Ajay of Government High School, Mauli Jagran, got the second place with 624 marks.

In Sanskrit, 12 students scored 99 marks each. These students include Arshdeep Kaur, Diksha Singla, Divya Malik, Saloni Sindhani,(all from Manav Mangal-21), Meetu Chauhan, Latika Khurana, Shagun, Parul Jain, Ankisha Bansal (all from Moti Ram School), Shubham Goyal (Shishu Niketan School-22), Akash Shukla (ISDev Samaj Girls School) and Smriti (GMSSS-16).

However, deputy DEO Chanchal Singh said the gazette of all government and private recognised schools could be collected tomorrow from Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 23, at 8 am. “The results will be sent to the respective schools at 9 am. To avoid the rush, the students are advised to contact their schools after 9 am,” he addd. The result will also be available on www.chdeducation.gov.in and www.chd.ssa from 9 am onwards.

  •  The overall pass percentage stood at 67.09 (56.60 % (non model) and 80.85 % (model)
  • Government Model Senior Secondary School-16 has the highest pass percentage among government schools (99.44%)
  • I.S. Dev Samaj School-21 and SD Saini Public School-38 achieved the highest pass percentage (100 per cent) among private schools
  • Among private schools, SD High School-24 has the lowest pass percentage (16.67%) while among government schools, Government Model Middle School-23-D has the lowest pass percentage (10.71%)
  • Arshdeep Kaur of Manav Mangal School-21 topped in Sanskrit



World Punjabi Conference
Students present slice of culture
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 30
After a day-long hectic literary sessions and brainstorming deliberations on Punjabi cultural issues, the delegates from over 20 countries were treated to a musical bonanza of pristine Punjabi folklore by student artistes from various colleges of Punjab. Designed and directed by Dr S.M. Kant, director, youth welfare, PU, the cultural spectacle virtually translated the soul of rich Punjabi heritage of India and Pakistan.

The cultural extravaganza got off to a majestic start with students of Dashmesh Girls College, Badal, bringing alive the adolescent and dormant love for someone in a scintillating sammi dance. A traditional folk song by Malwa College of Education, Ludhiana, and soulful strains of folk orchestra by students of D.S. College of Education, Ferozepur, also drew interest.

A slice of 'vaar singing', eulogising the virility and martial aspects of Punjabi poetic genre, was ably delineated by G.N. College for Girls, Muktsar.

Malwai gidda presented by the Malwa Cultural Society under the direction of Pritam Rupal gave a glimpse of Punjabi folklore. Dr Surinder Sharma conducted the show with admirable competence. MP Parneet Kaur presided over the function.



1,800 students take part in alumni meets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 30
To boost close interaction between teachers and old students undergoing vocational courses, the education department organised an alumni meet at around 21 government schools of the city.

The meets were organised at GMSSS-10, 15, 18, 19, 20B, 21, 22, 23, 27, 32, 33, 35, 37, 40, 45, 47, MMC, GGSSS-23, GSSS-Manimajra Town and Karsan in which more than 1,800 students participated. 



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