C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Thieves target Tanishq
Get away with bracelets worth Rs 6 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
After failing twice to steal ornaments from a popular jewellery shop, Tanishq, in Mohali, a group of three persons, including a middle-age woman, managed to decamp with ornaments worth Rs 6 lakh from the company’s showroom in Sector 17, here, this afternoon.

The police obtained pictures of the trio, including a saree-clad woman in her mid-forties, and two men in their late forties, from the close-circuit TV (CCTV) camera footage. One of the men was wearing a kahkhi jacket and was sporting spectacles while the other was not properly visible.

The police said the trio entered the showroom at 2:35 pm and the woman engaged the salesgirl at the counter in a conversation. She asked the salesgirl to show her a trey in which 16 bracelets were kept. The footage available on the CCTV showed that the woman hid the bracelets in her saree and left.

The SHO of the Sector 17 police station told TNS that when the theft came to light, the owner of the showroom came and saw the footage. After seeing the footage, it became evident that the trio had also visited the Mohali showroom yesterday and this afternoon before coming to Chandigarh.

They informed the police about the incident and provided the clippings. The Mohali police also confirmed that the same group had visited the shops in their area and the footage captured by the Mohali showroom was more visible.

A case of theft has been registered in this regard.



PU ups seats in all depts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Students seeking admission to Panjab University have some thing to cheer about as the university has decided to increase the total number of seats in almost all departments. A decision in this regard was taken today at a Syndicate meeting. It was decided that the increase would be as per the requirement of the departments and that vary from 2 to 20.

The increase in the seats comes in the light of scrapping of NRI-sponsored and industry sponsored quota seats. The university had scrapped the quota seats last year on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The university had up to 15 per cent seats reserved for NRI-sponsored candidates in its departments before these were scrapped.

For the item pertaining to renaming the department of mass communication as the University School of Journalism and Mass Communication from the academic session 2008-09 under the newly adopted school system, the syndics authorised the VC to take a decision after a syndic recommended another name for the department.

It also came up in the house to launch re-employment scheme for the teachers attaining the retirement age of 60 years. The re-employment scheme will be on the pattern of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

According to scheme, teachers will be re-employed for maximum of three years of annual basis on the salary, the pay last drawn minus pension.

The syndics also gave their consent for providing more concessions to the wards of displaced Kashmiri migrants studying here. At present, the university has reserved one seat for them in every postgraduate course.

Now, more concessions such as cut-off percentage up to 10 per cent, date of admission extended by 30 days, domicile certificate not needed, migration allowed after first year, etc will be given. Also, the Syndicate members approved the reservation of one seat in MSc home science to the wards of defence personnel.

The Army headquarters had sent a letter demanding one reserved seat for such students. The syndics also decided to delete diploma in office organisation and procedure and inclusion of postgraduate diploma in computer applications. The syndics also approved certain posts, including two deputy registrars and two assistant registrars.

Earlier, the interviews were conducted for the post of controller, FDO (finance and development officer) and director sports. While for the first two posts, no candidate was found suitable and for the latter, the house gave the vice-chancellor the authorisation to decide.



Flour price hits the sky
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
In yet another setback to the inflation-hit consumers of the city, the local flour mills have hiked the rate of wheat flour to Rs 15 per kg. This even as the branded wheat flour is still selling at Rs 13.50-Rs 15 per kg.

Reason: Stand-off between flour mills and commission agents over bonus rumour.

Though the prices of wheat flour have remained stable across the region at Rs 13.50-Rs 14 a kg, the prices of wheat flour have been hiked in the city because of the stand-off between flour mills and commission agents at the grain market. This led to the latter blocking sale of wheat to the flour mills, thus creating a supply constraint and hence the higher price of flour.

The hike in wheat flour prices at a time when the wheat arrivals have started, is rather unusual. The hike in wheat flour is generally witnessed in the winter months as the wheat stocks start depleting. However, for the past one year the price of wheat flour have remained stable.

It is learnt that the problem arose now because of the prevailing uncertainty over the grant of bonus on the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 1,000 per quintal on wheat. While rumours are rife that the Central Government may announce a bonus of Rs 100 per quintal on the MSP, the commission agents here want that the flour mill owners give an undertaking that they would pay the bonus to the farmers.

“Last year, the government announced a bonus on the MSP of paddy. The farmers, who had sold their produce to the private traders and flour mill owners, too, demanded the bonus from the commission agents, who had to pay this from their pocket. So this time, we are demanding that private traders and the flour mills give an undertaking that if bonus is announced, they will pay the bonus,” said an agent.

Gian Chand Gupta, president of the Chandigarh Chakki Owners Association, said the flour mill owners had now agreed to pay the bonus, if announced. “This will help in again bringing down the price of flour to Rs 14 a kg. Earlier, the moisture content in the wheat was also high because of the unseasonal rainfall in the beginning of April. So, the processing of flour had become expensive,” he said, adding that if VAT (3 per cent) was abolished on foodgrains in Chandigarh, the price of flour would be further reduced by 50 paisa per kg.



PGI tech staff strike on
Lab services normal: Authorities
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Patients scheduled to visit the PGI will have one more day of harrowing experiences as the striking medical technologists have decided to continue their strike.

Alleging that the authorities concerned were not interested in solving the issue, the general body meeting of the medical technologists decided to extend the strike by one more day here today.

The leaders of striking employees also failed to get any assurance from the minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal during their meeting yesterday.

“We announced to strike the work for three days to highlight our demands last week, said Ashwini Munjal, general secretary of the association. This was the retaliating attitude of the PGI administration which compelled us to continue the strike, he alleged, adding that the administration, instead of talking to the employees, terminated the services of 11 employees, said Munjal. Now, we have requested the director to hold the talks in the interest of patients and employees, said Munjal.

The authorities, however, denying that the association leaders were not given any hearing and said it was they who did not show any interest in the negotiations.

Deputy director, Administration, Anil Kumar Gupta said the doors of the director were always open for talks. The administration held talks with the leaders on March 18, 24 and April 10 before they went on strike.

Meanwhile, releasing a press note, the PGI administrator claimed that the laboratory and radio-diagnostic services functioned near normal today. The faculty, residents and students of different departments with the willing technical staff and staff deputed from GMCH-32, GMSH-16 and civil hospital, Mohali, worked in synergy to maintain the services round the clock. In Emergency, laboratory services functioned normally and all samples received were processed and reports delivered in time. As per routine practice on Sunday, all blood samples of indoor were sent and processed in emergency.

A total of 1,760 tests were performed by biochemistry laboratory. A total of 1,756 tests were done by haematology lab. Similarly at emergency radio-diagnostic services, a total of 274 radio diagnostic tests were performed, including X-rays, Ultrasound and CT scan.



Speaking Out
Technicians should take moral responsibility

DUE to the strike by medical technologists, thousands of patients had to return without receiving treatment at the PGI during this week. Arun Sharma discusses the issue with some of the eminent educationists from the city.

Professor R C Sobti Patients should not suffer at any cost. The medical technologists, instead of going on a strike, should choose the path of negotiation and come to an amicable solution. The hospital authorities should also look into the circumstances that led to the strike and help the patients’ cause.

— Professor R C Sobti, vice-chancellor, Panjab University

S K SetiaIt is really distressing. In fact, Indian citizens are more aware of their rights than duties. The medical technologists before going on strike must ponder over the fact that they are involved in national as well as a social cause.

S K Setia, DPI (S), Chandigarh

Professor M L SharmaThe medical technologists should defer their strike and join work in the interests of humanity and authorities should form a committee to look into their genuine demands. The strike should not prolong.

— Professor M L Sharma, Panjab University

Madhu BehlThe approach of striking employees is negative. While going on strike they forgot that their action was not going to affect the authorities directly. It is the patients who suffer. And the technologists are equally responsible for the well-being of patients at the hospital.

— Madhu Behl, Child counsellor



INLD councillor appears, denies kidnapping
Comes out in support of Congress
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 20
The missing INLD councillor from ward no. 27, Gautam Prasad, took a U-turn by pledging his support to the Congress. He appeared at the residence of the deputy chief minister Chander Mohan here today.

In yet another twist to the ongoing battle for the top post of the recently elected municipal council, Prasad denied that he had been kidnapped, as had been alleged by the INLD and his family members.

Addressing a press conference, Prasad said he had gone on a pilgrimage to pay obeisance at Kurukshetra and Amritsar. “After winning the election of municipal committee, I decided to pay obeisance at Kurukshetra and Amritsar and left for pilgrimage”, said Prasad.

However, he could not stand the volley of questions by mediapersons for long and the Congress leaders preferred to take him away. Prasad had no answer for what compelled him for not contacting his family during last ten days.

Prasad was missing from his home since April 9 and his wife Kunti Devi lodged a complaint with the local police alleging that Congress municipal councillor Naresh Rawal and Om Parkash Gupta, president of local depot holders association, picked up her husband forcibly.

She also alleged that Prasad telephonically informed them that he was being pressurised to cooperate with the Congress leaders for the election of their candidate as MC president. However, Prasad denied making any call to his family saying that he could not spare the time to talk to his family.

Later, Kunti filed a Habeas Corpus petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday. The court fixing April 21 as the next date of hearing the matter, directed the state to file a status report on the action taken by the police in the matter.

The family of the councillor was still in dark about his whereabouts. When the media visited the house of Prasad in Azad colony after the press conference, the wife and son of Prasad said they were yet to get any information about him.

The deputy chief minister termed it as a homecoming for Prasad as he remained a Congress worker. Another independent councillor from ward no. 8, Prem Kumar, also declared that he had joined the Congress.



Another marvel from Dr Naresh’s kitty
Litterateur redefines science of spiritualism

S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, April 20
Having established his supremacy as an author of 65 publications in Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi and in all genres of prose and poetry, Dr Naresh has delved beyond time and space to redefine the science of spiritualism through his latest book “Rise to the Dawn” hitting the stands this week.

This 66th literary treatise from Dr Naresh, chairman of the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademy, is a unique marvel of the philosophical, literary and spiritual world. Employing his brilliant intellect and life-long experience as a writer, professor and chairman of Bhai Vir Singh chair for modern literature at Panjab University, Dr Naresh says that there is a scientific way of meditation which is the only way to understand one’s own psyche or own self as well as the Creator. Once you know this, science the mysteries reveal themselves and journey to divinity takes off.

Sharing the popular thematic content of ‘Rise to the Dawn’ with The Tribune, Dr Naresh maintains that by nature the writers are endowed with a passion to represent the ethos of the common man. “And as such I have attempted to offer a scientifically analytical view of illusory concept of ‘maya’, the ‘soul’ and its assimilation into the divine ‘emancipation’ and other related issues which has been man’s intense yearning to know since times immemorial. Scriptures and scholars of all other religions have duly endorsed my perception but the orthodox may not subscribe to my deliberated view,” says Dr Naresh.

Explaining the evolution and emergence of ‘solah kala sampuran’ perfect Hindu mythological God, Dr Naresh opines that our revered holy avatars are, in fact, the attribute incarnations of the ultimate supreme cosmic power. We end up with their worship only rather than establishing a communion of our soul with the supreme spirit. We must target the single goal and follow the scientific path of meditation as our gods had been practising.

A senate member of three universities and a recipient of national and international literary awards, Dr Naresh has represented India in ‘mushairas’ in Pakistan and Conference of Progressive Writers in the UK.



Fake currency notes flooding country
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Launching a proxy war against India, its neighbouring countries are alleged to be flooding the country with fake currency notes.

More fake notes of Rs 100 denomination are being pumped in the country as compared to fake notes of Rs 500 denomination.

Well placed sources say that the fake notes are being brought in the country from Pakistan and also from across the Nepal border.

While intelligence sources rule out the involvement of any organised criminal gang in the circulation of fake currency, they say that incidences of fake the currency being seized are going unreported.

The issue was recently raised at the meeting of the standing committee of the Reserve Bank of India on currency management, wherein the authorities expressed their concern over the increasing trend of counterfeit notes.

The authorities said that in 2007, over 2400 pieces of counterfeit notes were detected, of which almost 1900 were in the denomination of Rs 100 and over 360 in the denomination of Rs 500.

The regulatory bank has now suggested that the state-level bankers committee should now constitute a small committee with representatives from the banks, police and Intelligence Bureau to discuss difficulties in getting an FIR registered in case of detection of fake currency and measures to be taken to tackle the menace of forged notes.

Sources informed TNS that the problem has become so grave that many a times these fake notes are being issued from the counters of bank branches.

Though the RBI has given several directions to banks that each and every note which goes into circulation must be fit for circulation, however, banks are not sorting the notes.

As a result, fake notes are being circulated either through the counters of banks or during withdrawal from the ATMs.

It is alleged that the majority of the currency chests are also not sending periodical statements to the RBI on the detection of the forged notes.

Officials in RBI said that they were getting statements from just 20 of the 293 currency chests located in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh.

A senior official said that RBI has now asked all banks in the region to launch a public education programme about salient features of genuine notes, in form of posters, so that people can easily detect forged notes.



Cops play it cool in Dimpy murder case
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Investigations into the sensational blind murder case of “gangster” Prabhjinder Singh Dimpy has almost come to an end with the Chandigarh Police’s failure to subject the prime suspects for narco test.

Sources in the crime branch of the Chandigarh Police said investigating officials were now moving the court seeking permission for the narco test of the three suspects, Harneev Kaur, Sandeep Bhau and Rocky. The cops are looking for the legal provisions available in the law to put the suspects for the test, which is considered to be the primary tool to provide vital clues to crack the case. Dimpy was involved in several heinous cases. The police said he was closely related with UP gangster Mukhtiar Ansari.

The police believed that Sandeep Bhau and Rocky could be involved in Dimpy’s murder as they were in same gang with him, but later parted ways.

The role of Harneev came under suspicion for being the lone eyewitness to the killing. She had called Dimpy out from Sukhna Lake Club minutes before he was shot dead on July 7, 2006. Harneev was also injured in the attack. However, she drove the car to her residence. Her family took her to Sector 16 General Hospital leaving Dimpy’s body in the car.

The investigating officials had moved the court seeking permission of the tests on the suspects in April, 2007, but till date could not manage to take them for tests.

A senior police officer told TNS that they were studying the provision of the law and were yet to find a ruling on which they would proceed in the court. The court has, however, directed the police to appear before it on April 23 as inspection was going in the courts.

Out of three suspects, Harneev had undergone a polygraphic test while Bhau reportedly avoided the test citing health reasons and the third suspect Rocky is absconding after a firing incident during the recent Punjab’s Assembly elections in 2007.

Sources said the crime branch had sent an intimidation to the Sandeep Bhau following an appointment given by the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory, Gandhi Nagar, in Gujarat for the narco test in January this year. Bhau remained elusive to the police and did not come for the test, despite the fact he had earlier given consent to undergo the test. Similarly, Rocky, wanted by the Punjab Police, is still at large.



PUTA fast continues
Syndics visit site

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
It’s been two weeks now since the chain fast started on the Panjab University campus on a call given by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) to demand the central status for the university.

As the day coincided with the PU syndicate’s meeting, today all syndics visited the site of the chain fast and expressed their solidarity with the fasting teachers and students. Prof B.K. Sharma, Dr Anil Kumar Thakur and Dr Dinesh Kumar, all three from the department of laws, sat on the fast today. Among the students, Sapinderpal Singh and Bhupesh Kohli, both from the department of physical education, and Harender Kumar from the English department joined them.

Some of the deans of the university, while expressing their dismay at the callous attitude of the Punjab Government towards the PU, have also offered to sit on the chain fast so that urgency to save the university from the financial crunch could be underlined.

Through a statement, JAC coordinator Prof Manjit Singh has taken strong exception to an article appeared on April 19 in a section of vernacular press where it was claimed that Punjabis had never ever been given any eminent position in the university and that the university maintained a distance from Punjab, Punjabi, Punjabi identity. Professor Singh, while condemning such cheap propaganda, has warned that such people are neither friends of Punjab nor of Punjabi, but are self-seekers and third-rate sycophants.

On the other hand, justifying the demand for the central university status to PU, chairman of the JAC Prof A.S. Ahluwalia said we would continue our struggle till the Punjab Government ensured that no undue politicking would take place in case the centre took the responsibility to get 100 per cent grant sanctioned from the ministry of human resource development for the PU. Co-chairman of JAC Parminder Jaswal has submitted signatures collected from the boys’ hostels with the office of the JAC and a similar campaign is on in the girls’ hostels. Signatures were also being collected from the students appearing in the exams, said Sunny Bharadwaj, co-convener, JAC.



Traffic snarls at apni mandi
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

CHAOS REIGNS: A view of the apni mandi in Sector 33, Chandigarh, on Sunday.
CHAOS REIGNS: A view of the apni mandi in Sector 33, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Tribune Photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, April 20
Residents living in the areas where apni mandi is set up each week complain of a lot of inconvenience due to the crowd and traffic snarls. Besides, they allege that not only do vendors consume alcohol after closing hours but at times even defecate against the walls of their house.

Traffic jams are witnessed due the apni mandi set up in Sector 33 every Sunday. The case is similar for residents of Sector 45 and Sector 46 on Mondays and Fridays respectively. Traffic is particularly heavy in the evenings, which is also the closing time for offices. The internal roads where the mandis are held on different days include the thickly-populated sectors such as 32, 45 and 46, besides Phase IX and X of Mohali. Many who come to buy stuff from the mandis park their vehicles on the road itself, which results in a lot of chaos.

Many residents have thus demanded a shift in the venue of these mandis. The nuisance actually starts a day before, when vendors start thronging the place to book space. Some even block the main road by wrongly parking vehicles.

“A day after, the place is replete with garbage and the stink is troublesome for days together and even makes the area disease-prone,” said Baljit Singh, a resident of an area where the mandi is held every week.

Earlier, two separate mandis were held in Sector 32 and Sector 33 but now there is a common mandi in Sector 33 on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Jasbir Singh Cheema, DSP, Traffic, said: “Wrong parking is certainly a violation but till date nothing has been brought to my notice. The beat officers are deployed in the area and are supposed to regulate the traffic.”



High and dry before summer sets in
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Even as the summer is yet to gather heat, city residents, particularly those living in the southern sectors, are complaining of erratic water supply. Temperature in the city rose by 1.4 degree today as compared to yesterday; maximum temperature was 38.0 degrees while the minimum was 20.2 degrees.

And residents of southern sectors, living on the first and second floors, have already started feeling the pinch of low water pressure and disrupted supply. They rue the fact that due to low pressure water fails to reach the tanks on the top floor, leaving them high and dry.

Vivek Sharma, a resident of Sector 55, said, “With the summer round the corner, we are apprehensive whether the corporation will be able to maintain the supply in the area.”

On the other hand, Municipal corporation superintendent engineer water supply and sewerage R.C. Diwan said the supply was normal and the corporation had not received any complaint. He added that there was variation in the number of hours of supply and in some sectors the supply was from nine to 18 hours, while in other parts including southern sectors it was only nine hours.

Diwan added that in Sector 56 water supply is available on full pressure. However, he said as there is flat rate system in the sector the supply is restricted.

He informed that the city was getting 84 million gallons of water per day, out of which 64 was supplied from Bhakra Canal while the rest of the water is taken from tubewells.

Meanwhile, met officials said the temperature would range between 38 to 40 degrees in the coming three to four days.



Ex-servicemen to protest against pay commission
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 20
Members of all ex-servicemen organisation would be protesting against the sixth pay commission recommendations on April 27. This was decided in a joint meeting held here today.

Col S.S. Sohi (retd), president of the Ex-Servicemen Grievances Cell, said all ESM organisations feel that sixth CPC has done injustice to defence forces, including the ESM community and widows. “Nine ESM organisations have come on one platform to protest against the sixth CPC and its review committee, which only has three civilians and no representative of the defence services,” he said.

This special ESM organisation’s meeting was attended by representatives of the Indian ESM League of Punjab and Chandigarh, Mohali and Ropar, Defence Brotherhood, ESM Welfare Association, ESM Grievances Cell and ESM associations of Zirakpur and Dera Bassi.

It has been planned to pay homage at war memorial, Chandigarh Sector 3, Bougain Villia Park on April 27 at 10.30 AM and hold a peaceful protest rally. All ex-servicemen have been asked to join the rally and wear black bands and medals. They can also carry lit candles and small posters. The meeting was attended by Brig H.S. Ghuman, Col A.S. Bhinder, Col Jaswant Kumbrah, Brig Harwant Singh, Maj S.S. Dhillon, Capt N.S. Multani, Capt Makhan Singh, Sub Major Joginder Singh, Col A.S. Rai, Col M.S. Cheema, Capt Malkit Singh, Capt Sardara Singh, Sub Maj Mewa Singh and Naik Amar Singh.



460 donate blood at camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
A total of 460 volunteers, including 205 women, donated blood at a donation camp held at Sant Nirankari Satsang Bhawan, Sector 30, here today. The camp was inaugurated by Director PGI Dr K.K. Talwar.

The camps are organised by the mission every year and began with the ‘Manav Ekta Divas’ (Human Unity Day) observed on April 24 in the memory of former spiritual head of the mission Baba Gurbachan Singh.

Meanwhile, the camp today was organised by Kesho Ram Nandwani, zonal incharge, Sant Nirankari Mandal, Chandigarh Zone. A team of around 20 doctors and other staff members, led by Dr Usha Rao, blood transfusion officer, PGI, Chandigarh, attended the camp.



Source of bullet still a mystery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Even after 24 hours, police here have failed to find the source of the stray bullet that injured eight-year-old Jaswant Singh at Dhanas village yesterday.

Sources in the police said the investigating officials were working on various theories to crack the mystery behind the incident. Although Jaswant escaped with minor injuries, suspicions prevail over the source of the bullet. Ramesh Chander, SHO, Police Station, Sector 11, said the police are working on various theories.

According to the victim, occupants of a tractor a few yards away might be involved in the incident. But since the security wing of the Chandigarh police was also holding a practice session at the firing range in Sector 25, possibility of the bullet coming from the firing range cannot be ruled out.

Meanwhile, the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL) team has been called to investigate the matter. Blood samples of the victim have been collected and would be sent to the CFSL tomorrow, along with other records.



Hallomajra residents seek development
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Residents of Hallomajra village today submitted a representation to Pawan Kumar Bansal, the union minister of state for finance, demanding development in the Deep Complex.

Residents said even as the land of Deep Complex, which was under acquisition, was de-notified on November 11, 2007, no development work was being initiated by the Chandigarh municipal corporation in the area.

Villagers complained that there was acute shortage of drinking water and whatever water was available was mixed with sewerage water due to a fault in underground pipelines. People are being supplied water by tankers in the absence of regular water supply. Residents have also alleged that they were facing problem for approval of construction and renovation of their houses. Notices were being served to them by the MC in this regard.



Street children show acting skills
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
A group of street children staged a play 'Khichadi' at Sukhna Lake today. The play revolved around the theme that it was very important to listen to your heart to be happy in life.

At least 12 boys engaged in shoeshining, who had no theatre background, proved their talent on the stage. These street children were brought together by an NGO, Choti Si Asha, to give a new direction to their life.

The NGO took much pain in teaching these children how to act, deliver their dialogues with confidence and display their skills on stage before a large audience.

While talking to The Tribune, director of the play Vijay Kumar Machal said it was the most difficult project he had undertaken in his career of 12 years. He said the main problem faced by the children was Hindi language used in the play. He said when he started this project, he was very excited but when he reached the middle of the project, he felt like leaving the project as the children had no interest in the theatre. But he did not lose heart and now he was happy to have successfully staged the play.



Seminar on abolition of death penalty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The Shiromani Sikh Council International and Punjab Human Rights Organisation today organised a seminar on abolition of death penalty at the Ambedkar Bhavan. Dignitaries such as Collins Gonsalves, chairman Human Rights Law Network, Professor SAR Gillani, Devinder Singh Chimney, former director prosecutions, spoke on the occasion.



Speaking Out
‘DAC site not centrally located’

The issue regarding the setting up of the district administrative and court complex in Sanetta village has been fraught with controversies. While the administration has been going all out to “sell” the project to city residents, Chitleen K. Sethi records the reaction of those whose opinion matters:

Captain Kanwaljit Singh The decision regarding Sanetta as the final site for the administrative and court complex has not been finalised. Alternative locations are being considered.

— Captain Kanwaljit Singh, Cabinet minister and MLA Banur

Ujagar Singh BadaliThe Sanetta site has more or less been rejected. Alternative sites are being looked at in Behlolpur, Badhmajra, Sohana and Balongi villages. Any one of these would be centrally located.

— Ujagar Singh Badali, MLA Morinda

Balbir Singh SidhuDAC is a place where almost every resident would have to visit. The site should be selected only after a general consensus is arrived at.

— Balbir Singh Sidhu, MLA Kharar

Kuldeep SinghThe Sanetta site is not centrally located and it should be in Mohali, preferably in Sector 62, where the City Centre was planned.

— Kuldeep Singh, Kharar courts

Avtar SinghIn the coming five years, the traffic on the roads leading outside Mohali would be very high. How will villagers traverse the distance to reach the other corner of SAS Nagar? There are many other sites available.

— Avtar Singh, three times president of the Kharar Bar Assn

Kamal KishoreSanetta would be about 45 km from his area. It would be a shameful irony that just to get justice, people from this area would be forced to travel this far. The administration has no business to insist on the site.

— Kamal Kishore, chairman, Ilaaka Sudhar Committee, Ghaar

Sanjeev Sharma We are totally against this move. Like other places in Punjab, where the courts are located near the bus stands for convenience of those coming from other areas, the court complex should be located in Balongi village or somewhere near Phase VI.

— Sanjeev Sharma, lawyer at Mohali courts

Manjit Singh ChauhanThe proposal has been conceived with not the welfare of the residents in mind, but some other motives. There is a malafide intention behind the move. The DC H.I.S. Grewal should be acted against for giving wrong information to the judges.

— Manjit Singh Chauhan, ex-president of Mohali Bar Assn

Jasjit SinghThe site is very far from the residents. There is no proper transport available to the area. The advocates and the litigants would be greatly inconvenienced. How can a complex that is visited by thousands each day be shifted to a remote corner of the district.

— Jasjit Singh, lawyer at Mohali courts



Need for planetorium

Nek Chand’s creation - Rock Garden - has already brought Chandigarh on the world tourism map. The Chandigarh administration should consider constructing a planetorium and science museum. This will earn revenue for the administration besides promoting tourism in the city.

It is praiseworthy that the administration is out to make the city beautiful and dust free by making pavements of concrete all over. But it is sad that while the pavements are being cemented, the contractors leave the dug-up earth as it is. As a result, in rainy season, it flows down on the roads. I request the administration to exercise more control over the contractors carrying out beautification work.

M.P. Aggarwal, Chandigarh

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Education dept flouting rules
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The double standards adopted by the Chandigarh administration with respect to the promotion policy in the education department have invited the ire of senior most lecturers and in charges or officiating principals of various government schools.

Reason: The inability of the authorities to fill up the vacant posts in time and flouting of the Departmental Promotional Committee (DPC) norms by them.

As many as 30 senior lecturers and officiating in charges/principals are endlessly waiting for their promotion while those working in the office of the education department are promoted as soon as a higher post gets vacant.

The latest example is of superintendent Gurdeep Singh who joined the office of the registrar, Education (Schools), the next day the post there got vacant while his successor Suraj Bhann immediately bagged the seat as superintendent.

On the other hand, the UT education department, which follows the Punjab Education Service (School and Inspection, Class II) Rules-1976, in order to fill the vacant posts of principals in schools, designates senior lecturers as officiating principals without giving any benefit or pay scale.

There have been a number of such cases where senior lecturers and officiating principals retired from their services just dreaming to be promoted as principal. Surjit Singh of GSSS-38 (West) retired as officiating principal in August last year while Suman Malik of GGSSS-23 retired from the same post in November. Kuldeep Singh of GMSSS-27 also waited in vain for his promotion and retired as officiating principal this April.

The administration is flouting the DPC norms with impunity putting senior lecturers and officiating principals on tenterhooks. The guidelines of the DPC clearly state that the committee should hold its annual meetings regularly and draw a panel, which would look into the promotions against the vacancies during the year.

The affected lecturers rue that the appointing authority should initiate action to fill the existing as well as anticipated vacancies well in advance. The relevant documents like CRs, integrity certificate and seniority list etc have never been updated by the education department, they add.

The norms say that the department should initiate the proceedings for convening the meetings of the DPC at least two months prior to the date when the post is going to be vacated.

But as the DPC norms have not been implemented since 1994, there are hundreds of senior lecturers, who have indulged in litigation with the department for not getting promotion or being given the post of officiating principals on their preceding pay scales.



Meritorious students awarded
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 20
Fourth annual cultural programme “Noor-2008” was organised by Swami Vivekanand Group of Institutes (SVGOI) at its campus here yesterday. It is a panorama of various cultural activities and art performances.

Chief guest V.K. Sharma, special secretary to the government, Punjab, department of technical education and industrial training lauded the efforts of the student.

Prizes worth more than Rs 1.50 lakh were distributed to the students who achieved academic excellence in university examinations, both in terms of PTU merit as well as college merit.

A cash prize of Rs 10,000 was given to Jaspreet Saini of B. Tech (ECE) who secured 4th position in PTU merit in second semester, result of which was declared recently. Other students of B. Pharma were given cash prizes on the basis of PTU merit as under: Rs 5000 to K. Smiti for securing 7th position in 4th semester. Rs 5000 to Disha Kumari for securing 9th position in 4th semester. Rs 7000 to K. Smiti for securing 2nd position in 5th semester.

A total of 45 students were given prizes worth Rs 3000, Rs 2,000 and Rs 1000 in the form of value added courses, books and professional membership. The students who have achieved excellence in sports both at university-level and at institutional-level were also honoured.



100 teachers transferred
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
About 100 teachers working under Sarv Shiksha Aabhiyaan (SSA) in different government schools of the city have been transferred today with immediate effect.

These teachers include ETTs, JBTs,TGTs and language cadre teachers. According to DPI (S) S.K. Setia the transfer orders had been dispatched to the concerned schools.

The education department had directed all the school heads to relieve the transferee teachers from their previous postings with immediate effect.

This mass transfer decision was taken in the wake of scarcity of teachers at school in the rural areas. “Maximum posts were lying vacant since long time. There were some schools in colony and rural areas where not even a single teacher was available to teach a particular subject,” Setia said.



Patient Care Allowance
HC: Pay CRPF pharmacists like others
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The pharmacist cadre of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) now has a reason to cheer. A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court has issued directions that all personnel concerned in the “combatised” pharmacist cadre be paid a patient care allowance (PCA) on the lines of that paid to those employed in the “non-combatised” cadre.

The order will benefit several hundred combatised pharmacists, who have been waging a long battle to get parity with their counterparts in the CRPF as well as other central government organisations.

While the professional role of both cadres is the same, combatised pharmacists wear CRPF uniform and undergo regular service training in addition to being pharmacists. They are also required to undergo field posting and accompany troops during operations. Non-combatised pharmacists, on the other hand, do not undergo service training.

Though The Fifth Pay Commission has recommended the allowance, the combatised pharmacists have been deprived of it till the high court issued this order. It is now expected that they will be paid in accordance with the revised rates as recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission.

The counsel for the petitioners, Rajeev Anand, said a signal floated by the CRPF Headquarters on January 1, 2002, to CRPF establishments stated that as per instructions from the ministry of finance, the allowance would be paid only to those personnel who moved court and had the order passed in their favour.

Several CRPF personnel had earlier sought legal redress to their grievance and the matter had even reached the apex court, where the government had lost out.

The Bench comprising Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice J.M. Malik had observed that when a citizen aggrieved by the action of a government department had approached the court and obtained a declaration of law in his favour, others in like circumstances should be able to rely on the sense of responsibility of the department concerned and to expect that they would be given benefits of that declaration without need to take their grievance to court.



Apex court clears 6 advocates for elevation as HC judges
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The Supreme Court collegium has cleared the names of six advocates, including a woman lawyer, for elevation as Punjab and Haryana High Court judges.

With this, the High Court will soon have a record number of 49 judges.

The advocates are Rajan Gupta, Ajay Tewari, Nirmaljit Kaur, Jatinder Chauhan, A.G. Masih and Ritu Bahari.

Masih’s name was cleared earlier also, but his elevation had been kept pending as he had not attained the age of 45.

The sources in Delhi say, besides Masih, eight names were recommended by the High Court collegium on January 18 , headed by Chief Justice Vajinder Jain.

But, out of the total, three names have not been cleared for judgeship, including that of advocate G.S. Cheema.

Gupta was CBI’s standing counsel and chief prosecutor in the High Court, besides additional standing counsel for the UT.

Masih was recently appointed as Punjab’s additional-advocate general (AAG).

Nirmaljit Kaur is assistant solicitor-general of India. Bahari is Haryana’s senior deputy advocate-general, while Chauhan is Haryana AAG.

The roaster of Benches is also expected to change with the elevation of the new judges.

Pursuant to Nirmaljit Kaur’s elevation, the High Court for the first time in its history will have four women Judges.

The other women judges are Justice Nirmal Yadav, Justice Daya Chaudhary and Justice Sabina.

It may be mentioned that the Union ministry of law has categorically stated that it is in favour of increasing the representation of women in the judiciary.

While eight women judges had been sworn in at the Delhi High Court recently, the ministry was in favour of administering oath of office to at least three or four more women judges from here.

Even with the elevation of additional judges, the shortage of judges in the High Court will continue as the sanctioned strength is 68. As such, the Bar Association is asking for the elevation of more judges.

Association’s senior executive member Kapil Kakkar has urged the High Court collegium to send a second list of advocates for elevation.

The sources in the High Court, meanwhile, add the names of more advocates may soon be considered for elevation as the Union government is now appointing double the number of judges annually, compared to the previous years. Quoting figures, sources say 125 judges are on an average being appointed annually, against just 55 until recently.



District Courts set to go hi-tech
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Getting a certified copy of any court judgment will just be a click away for litigants now and they no longer need to apply in the copy branch at the District Courts.

Soon, the facility of digital signing would be provided to judicial officers and court staff under the e-courts project. After the facility is in place, judgment signed by the court staff and judicial officer concerned would be updated online. These online copies will be considered as a certified copy.

Other than digital signatures, the courts will soon be holding video-conferencing. The Supreme Court of India has formed an e-committee to monitor the project in coordination with the National Informatics Centre (NIC).

Every court complex will also have judicial service centres where litigants can file cases. All the courts will soon have computer rooms where servers will be installed. A private firm, New Horizons, is also assisting the judiciary in the project. Managing director of the firm, Ajay Kumar Sharma said, “We are training the judicial officers under the project of e-courts. We are providing computer training to the judges as well.”



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