C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Parsvnath chief, 5 directors booked
Eight officers of the company nailed for razing house of a welder to forcibly occupy his land
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, May 6
In what can be attributed only to sheer goondaism, at least 25 persons, including senior employees of multi-crore realtors Parsvnath Developers Ltd, allegedly razed a house of a welder in an attempt to forcefully take possession of his land.

The Mohali police has booked Pradeep Kumar Jain, chairman of the company, along with its five directors and eight company employees under various sections of the IPC, including trespassing, theft, intimidation, criminal conspiracy, housebreak and causing damage to property.

The company employees today allegedly razed a house of a welder here after he refused to sell his land to the group. The complainant Swaranjit Singh was on the site when his house was emptied by the company’s men and later reduced it to rubble within minutes using a JCB machine.

The company employees carried out the operation in broad daylight this afternoon reportedly in connivance with the local police. Swaranjit Singh was allegedly held by the security men of the company and threatened him with dire consequences.

Swaranjit, a resident of Banur, told the police that he owned 250 square yards of land in Shezadpur village in Dera Bassi where the company had bought about 50 acres of land for a housing project. He said he had bought this land three years ago and it was registered in his name. He carried out his welding work from the house and also lived here.

“The company officials contacted me some months ago and asked me to sell them the land. But I refused. I wanted to continue working from here. I was constantly pressured and even threatened by the company officials. People from their Delhi office also called me. I was told that if he did not agree they would forcefully take away my land,” he said.

SSP SAS Nagar R.S. Khatra said the company wanted to buy this land as it fell on the proposed road to the company’s colony’s main entrance. “The other side of the colony opened towards a chemical factory and that did not suit them,” he said.

The SSP said, “Other than Pradeep Jain, the police has also booked Sushil Kumar, Sheetal Prasad Jain, Sheila Devi, Sanjeev Kumar and Harsha Jain, all directors of the company. At least eight employees of the company have been arrested from the site but more arrests are likely to take place as the number of persons involved in the crime is more.”

The arrested employees included SK Khanna, SK Verma both engineers, Balwinder Singh, liaison officer, Paramjit Singh, Amit accountants, Tehal Singh, legal advisor, Harish, office assistant and Kala security guard.

According to the police, at least 25 persons came to Swaranjit’s house at around noon, broke the lock and started removing the household items into a trolley. Some local residents informed Swaranjit who rushed back from Banur and tried to stop the company’s men.

“They were taking away the household items in trolleys when I reached. I kept shouting but I was abused and held by the security men. Then they razed my house before my eyes,” related Swaranjit. The police reached the spot and acted only after the complainant contacted the SSP. The SSP added that the role of the local police in the incident would also be looked into.

Pradeep Kumar Jain is the chairman of the multi-crore company that has established several housing projects across the country. Nearer home, the company has set up “Pride Asia”, a premier housing project in Chandigarh. The chairman is also said to be extremely well-connected in Chandigarh.



When diesel turned water
* Seven vehicles break down
* Station owner to pay damages

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Vehicle owners were in for a rude shock this morning after fuel tanks of their vehicles were filled with water instead of diesel. The incident took place at a petrol station owned by a close relative of Maninderjit Singh Bitta, chairman of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front.

The trouble erupted after the pump was opened at around 5.30 am today. Generally at this time, school buses, roadways buses and taxis reach the pump to get the tank fill. Sources said after about seven vehicles were filled with water instead of diesel, all these vehicles were stranded within walking a distance of the petrol pump.

The staff at the petrol station soon realised that something was wrong with the fuel supplied by them and closed the diesel dispenser. By this time, the owners of the stranded vehicles had converged at the fuel station, and a heated argument ensued. The owner of the pump, Joginder Singh, too, had arrived at the pump and tried to calm down the agitating vehicle owners.

After some time, officials from Hindustan Petroleum also reached the spot. Joginder Singh said this fiasco was a result of the hailstorm last night, leading to rainwater trickling into the underground diesel tank.

“Since construction activity is going on at the pump, one of the construction workers left the flange of the diesel tank open. The rainwater thus flew into the tank after midnight’s storm,” he said, adding that they were paying compensation to all the affected customers for the damage to vehicle and the fuel sold to them. Meanwhile the sales officials from Hindustan Petroleum said the diesel dispenser had been closed till the time the quality of the product was confirmed. “Though the trouble erupted after the rainwater flowed into the tank, we are taking the diesel samples and checking it for quality, as is mandatory under the rules,” said the officer.



Asthma Day
Pets can cause asthma
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
In Chandigarh, that is supposed to be a "squeaky-clean" city when compared with other Indian cities, more children than adults are affected from asthma.

A study on asthma and other allergies among people above the age of 15 years was carried out at four different centres, Delhi, Kanpur, Bangalore and Chandigarh during 2004-05. A team of expert in pulmonary medicines conducted this study.

It was found that 2.3 per cent of people were affected with the disease in Chandigarh. While the percentage of affected children (4-15 year) is 7-8 per cent as per another study conducted by paediatric department, PGI.

Talking to The Tribune on World Asthma day, leading pulmonary medicine expert Prof S.K. Jindal said, “The overall prevalence rate is much higher among children due to certain factors - changing lifestyle and artificial food.”

He added, "There is a growing evidence to suggest that in genetically pre-disposed individuals, a relationship exists between exposure to indoor allergens and development of asthma. Allergens derived from house dust mite are of prime importance.”

Another important allergen for children is indoor pets, said Dr Jindal. “Cats are the most frequent source of trouble with allergens in saliva. These allergens become air-borne and can be circulated through the house, if child has allergic symptoms or exposure to pets,” he said.

A regularly washing of pet could reduce the amount of allergen. If it was removed, it might even take six months before beneficial results were seen, he added.

Dr Sunit C Singhi, professor in the paediatric department, PGI, said the number of child suffering from asthma were risen as compare to previous years. He revealed the data available with the paediatric department, PGI, - out of total 43,800 patients, 2,302 (affected with asthma) were reported at emergency paediatric, PGI, during the year 1995-2000. The number has been continuously increased from past few years.

Experts said patterns arising from grass trees are common causes of seasonal asthma. Spores arising from moulds were likely to penetrate the airways. They suggest that exposures to moulds can be reduced by keeping windows closed during seasons of high-pollen production and by air conditioners.

Humidifiers in house were discouraged as they encourage proliferation of dust mites. Children were very sensitive to respiratory effect from both can indoor and outdoor pollutants.



Police Gypsy stolen from Lines
Constable suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Police vehicles are the new targets for the thieves bringing the efficiency of the Chandigarh Police under a cloud.

Barely 10 days before, it was a Gypsy, attached to VIP security, which was driven away by thieves from Sector 20 here. Now, it was the turn of the vehicle of crime branch in charge Prem Chand.

Yesterday night, a daredevil thief left the police in blushes when he managed to steal a police Gypsy baring number CH01G-6188 from the safest zone of the city- Police Lines, Sector 26. The thieves also took away the wireless set, installed in the vehicle.

Interestingly, the crime branch cell has been formed to catch the thieves, whose in charge has lost his official vehicle.

According to Prem Chand, who has also additional charge of Sector 3 police station, said he went home after his duty when driver constable Anoop Singh took the vehicle along him. On the other hand, the constable stated that he parked the vehicle in the Lines before leaving his house to Saketri.

Talking to Tribune, DSP (East) P.K. Dhawan said they were investigating all aspects of the case as it was not easy to steal anything from the Lines. Meanwhile, the constable has been placed under suspension and a case under Section 379 IPC has been registered. The vehicle, which was stolen 10 days before, is still to be traced.



Destruction follows squall
Zirakpur bridge pillar collapses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
A squall, followed by a heavy downpour around midnight, led to a power failure and disruption of telephone services in parts of the city and in neighbouring Panchkula and Mohali. The stagnant rainwater around the pillar of a bridge on National Highway 22, led to the collapse of the pillar, thus affecting the flow of traffic on the Zirakpur- Panchkula road.

The squall started around 11.30 pm last night. A large number of tree branches fell off the tree trunks and telephone and electricity cables were snapped. At some places, the trees were also uprooted. In most parts of the city, the electricity supply remained erratic till the wee hours of the morning. The worst affected were Sectors 8, 19, 20, 21, 27, 28, 51, 56 and Dadu Majra. In Panchkula and Mohali, too, the heavy downpour led to disruption in power supply for two-three hours. Trees were uprooted and in Mohali a Maruti car was damaged after a branch fell on a Maruti car parked nearby.

Meanwhile, the Yadavindra Bridge on Zirakpur-Panchkula highway was closed down for heavy traffic following the collapse of pillar supporting the overpass. The bridge, however, remained open for light vehicles. The normal flow of traffic is expected to resume within the next 48 to 72 hours. Officials said in the morning, the water flow increased due to heavy rain and it led to the collapse of the safety pillar.

“We are filling the blank area with sand, which will allow us to open the bridge again,” said Col Sanjiv Puri, project in charge, GMR Construction Company, which is doing the widening work on the highway. According to the Met department, 19 mm of rainfall was recorded in the city. Met officials said rain at this time of the year was rather unusual. However, the rain led to a sharp fall in temperature and brought relief to the residents from the scorching heat. The minimum temperature had dropped by almost four degrees after the rain. 



Tribune Impact
Life-saving drugs
Health secretary intervenes
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
After the Chandigarh Tribune reported the lack of life- saving drugs at the emergency of Government Multi-Specialty Hospital-16, the UT health secretary today ordered that alternative arrangements for procuring the drugs be made immediately. These drugs have not been available at the emergency of the hospital for the past five months.

Talking to The Tribune, the health secretary, UT, Sanjay Kumar, said, “The GMSH-16 authorities have already passed the order for procuring life-saving drugs but the supplier did not deliver on time. That is the reason behind non-availability of drugs for the past five months at the emergency.” The drugs will be available at the emergency very soon. Till then, alternative arrangements will be made, so that the patients do not suffer, he added.

Life-saving injectible drugs - Lasix and Decadron were not available at the emergency of GMSH-16 for the past five months. Even Aciloc was also not available. Lasix was being used in the case of five-seven patients daily, who report in the emergency. The other two drugs are used more frequently.



Job Scam
Rs 13.5 lakh recovered from defence clerk’s bank locker
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The Central Bureau of Investigation has recovered cash amounting to Rs 13.5 lakh from the bank locker of A.K. Sondhi, employed at Headquarters, Western Command, who had been nabbed for his alleged role in a recruitment scam.

CBI sources said his locker at a public sector bank in Panchkula was opened today. Earlier, CBI sleuths had recovered Rs 7.5 lakh from his residence in Sector 4 Panchkula when they had caught him red-handed on May 3 while accepting a bribe of Rs 1 lakh from a prospective candidate.

Sondhi was posted as a senior superintendent at the Ordnance Branch of Headquarters, Western Command. His wife is the personal secretary of the Major General heading the branch.

Sondhi used to lure the poor and needy civilian boys with offers of permanent government jobs in various Army Ordnance establishments, for which he used to extract large sums of money from them. CBI sources said the names of several persons, including senior Army officers, have cropped up during Sondhi’s questioning and they are investigating their possible involvement in the matter.



Norms to check wheat hoarding
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The union ministry of consumer affairs and public distribution has issued a notification titled, “Wheat (Stock Declaration by Companies or Firms or Individuals) Order 2008,” issued under Section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, to check hoarding of wheat and prevent possible evasion of taxes.

According to an official spokesman, the order provides for mandatory submission of returns by a company, firm or individual to purchasing wheat in excess of 10,000 MT to the secretary, food, of the state from where maximum quantity has been purchased. The spokesman added that in case the purchase of wheat exceeded 25,000 MT, the return would be filed to the union undersecretary (policy 3).



Indo-Pak rights bodies vow to release prisoners
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
In a development that may boost people-to-people cooperation, the human rights organisations in India and Pakistan have joined hands to take up the cases of prisoners in the respective countries with a view to free them.

In fact, four local human rights organisations--the Global Human Rights Council, the All India Human Rights Watch, the Federation of Lawyers Against Corruption and the Human Rights Protection Forum--have decided to collaborate with the Ansar Burney Trust in Pakistan to seek the release of 41 Pakistani prisoners and 23 Indian prisoners in Pakistan.

The trust, run by former Pakistan minister and human right activist Ansar Burney, had already submitted a list of 45 Pakistani prisoners to Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh, Indian prisoner on death row in Pakistan, during her recent visit to Pakistan.

In turn the trust would work for the release of 23 Indian prisoners, including Sarabjit Singh, languishing in Pakistani jails for several years now.

Dalbir Kaur told The Tribune yesterday that a majority of the Pakistani prisoners seemed to have “overstayed” in India and no serious charges appeared against them. In fact, one of the prisoners lodged in the Tihar Jail in New Delhi belonged to a prominent business family of Pakistan, she added.

The human rights activists alleged that a majority of the prisoners languished in the jails in both the countries for years for need of proper legal assistance. Sarabjit’s case is a perfect example of a prisoner not getting a fair trial, as during the crucial time of recording evidence he was not represented by any counsel. It was only later that he got a counsel before his case was taken up by Burney.

Meanwhile, the human rights organisations again urged Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to grant mercy to Sarabjit Singh on “humanitarian grounds”. “Sarabjit’s capital punishment may be reduced to any other alternative punishment like life imprisonment,” a mercy petition sent to President Musharraf said. “God alone can take life, because He alone gives it. The death sentence is abominable as the crime itself,” the petition said.

A representative of the human rights body said a mutually-beneficial arrangement would be worked out between the rights bodies of the two countries so that the ordeal of the petty criminal languishing in jails was not prolonged.



Bar association members
Tribune News Serve

Chandigarh, May 6
Pursuant to the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association elections, advocate Harkesh Manuja has been administered oath as secretary.

The others administered oath include joint-secretary Ambika Luthra and treasurer Ravinder Singh Randhawa, along with president Rupinder Singh Khosla and vice-president Parminder Singh Khurana.

Re-elected as executive member in over 10-year-practice category, advocate Kapil Kakkar has also been administered oath, along with Mani Ram Verma. Additional standing counsel for Chandigarh Administration with over 22 years practice, Kakkar has been occupying various posts in the association since 1989, when he was first elected executive member. His transparent style of functioning is being cited as the reason behind his re-election.



Construction may disrupt Morni ecology
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 6
Even as the locals have benefited from the boom in land prices at Morni hills, forest department officials feel construction in the area would ultimately prove disastrous for the ecology and eventually residents of the region would have to bear the brunt.

The rich, enamoured by the surroundings of the area covered with dense forests, were purchasing the land to build posh bungalows, which would not benefit the locals in any way. In fact, it would lead to depletion of trees and disturbance of ecology in the hills. After all, construction would destroy the habitats of animals like monkeys and langoors and birds, said the forest department official.

Increase in population meant more disposal of garbage resulting in environment nuisance and soil erosion. Increased traffic in the area would further have effects on the biotic area comprising forests and wildlife, he said.

With the settling of more and more people in the area, drinking water problem was going to aggravate. In case construction was not contained in the region, the state would lose its little chunk of forest cover, said the official.

To protect the hills and wildlife from this disaster, the forest department had submitted a proposal to the union government to declare the area eco-sensitive zone. However, the proposal was hanging fire as the Centre failed to respond to it even as repeated reminders had been sent to the concerned authorities, said an official in the Haryana wildlife department on the condition of anonymity.

The Government of India was requested that a ban should be imposed on construction in the state within five kms from the boundary of the protected areas, including two national parks and eight wildlife sanctuaries.



MLA’s anniversary party leaves park littered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 6
The party thrown by Rajaund MLA Satvinder Singh Rana has not only put the local administration in a tight spot but has also left its mark on the venue.

A visit to the park adjoining Wah Dilli is enough to prove how carelessly the place meant for general public was used as its every corner has been littered. Dignitaries from the state, including Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, attended the party. Even higher officials from the HUDA were present on the occasion. Now the HUDA is looking for a scapegoat in the matter.

Panchkula deputy commissioner Rajinder Kataria, who is also the officiating administrator of HUDA, said the MLA might have held the party after obtaining permission and in case it was not obtained, the officials concerned would be taken to task. Moreover, permission could be obtained post facto also, he added.

Rana threw the party to celebrate the silver jubilee of his marriage anniversary at the park adjoining Wah Dilli Restaurant in Sector 5 near Town Park yesterday night.

Though local administration is trying to hush up the matter and did not comment on the issue, sources in HUDA said holding private parties in the garden was a blatant violation of the rules.

Sources in the horticulture, HUDA, said this was not the first time that the rules were thrown to the winds to accommodate the MLA. Two years ago also, Rana had organised a party even as the horticulture department officials had objected to it. However, the officials had to eat a humble pie when they were told that the Chief Minister was to attend the function, said the sources.

Though the park remained out of reach for the general public throughout the day yesterday, the morning walkers had to go to other places as the park was littered with garbage left over by the gathering. While the garbage was cleared by afternoon, it will take some time to put the withering plants and tramped flowerbeds back to life.

The MLA, when contacted, denied any violation. Parties were held in the same park earlier also. “The Chief Minister has already attended two parties hosted by me at the same venue,” said Rana. “Moreover, I had applied to the administration for permission,” he added.



Cops get cycles for patrolling
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
To increase the efficiency among the beat staff, the Chandigarh Police today provided 160 bicycles with specific design and colour for 80 beats.

SSP, UT, S.S. Srivastava flagged off the bicycles from Police Lines, Sector 26, this morning.

“For the beat staff, it is not possible to patrol the area as well as perform the duty efficiently on foot. So, we provide two bicycles to each beat to get good results”, the SSP said.

On bicycles, the staff can patrol in the entire beat in an effective manner. Besides, the conveyance is environment-friendly and keeps the staff physically fit, added the SSP.

The city has been divided into 135 police beats and the main duties of the beat staff are to maintain all record of the beat, patrol in the area, visit senior citizens and keeping a watch on bad elements.

The bicycles have been equipped with small bag and light.



Fire dept inspects rehri markets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Encroachments plague the busy rehri markets in Sectors 19 and 22 here. The fire and emergency service committee of the municipal corporation carried out an inspection in these markets and found that in case of a fire, the encroachments would block the clear passage to exit from the market.

The team found that there was no fire safety system and extinguishers in the Sadar Bazaar in Sector 19. The fire department served a notice the market occupants, ordering them to meet the fire safety norms within a week or face action. The fire department had issued a public notice in newspapers on May 3 to the effect that all the private and government buildings in the city follow the fire-safety guidelines.

Similarly, the team comprising MPS Chawla, former mayor and councillor Harjinder Kaur, Arshand Khan and fire station officer SK Gosain carried out an inspection in Sector 22 Shashtri Market. There were encroachments galore in the market and the shopkeepers had reduced the passage to four feet from seven feet by putting their things in the passage.

The team ordered the market occupants to meet the fire safety norms at the earliest. 



Man hit by JCB machine, killed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Pritam Chand (65) died after he was hit by a JCB machine at Sector 29 here today.

According to the SHO, Industrial Area, Jagir Singh, Pritam, who hailed from Kangra, was a heart patient and came to the Sector 29 dispensary along with his son for taking some medicines.

He was hit by a JCB machine, which was being driven by Jagdev Singh of the engineering department around 7.45 am. Immediately, he was taken to Fortis Hospital, where he died around 4 pm.

The police is investigating the matter.



MC approves Rs 1.97 cr for road development
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
The road committee meeting of the municipal corporation today passed Rs 1.97 crore for various development agendas in the city.

The committee accorded approval to some standard specification for providing and fixing of interlocking pavers at markets, walkway in parks and green belts, footpaths along V-4 roads and around V-6 roads in the city to maintain uniformity of specification.

The meeting held under the chairmanship of Ravinder Pal Singh and other members, including Anju Beniwala, HC Kalyan, Surinder Kumar Jagota, Jatinder Bhatia, Resham Chand Jakhu and other officers concerned of the MCwere present in it.

In all 15 agenda items were passed at the meeting, including fixing of PCC tiles on road berms in Sector 38, construction of road at back side of church, temple and gurdwara in Sector 41-B, providing and laying 25 mm thick SDBC on V-6 roads in electricity colony in Sector 52, widening of parking along V-4 road in Sector 11, special repair of cremation ground in Sector 25 (West), construction of additional parking in front of lake in Sector 5, beautification of councillor- cum-Pressroom of the municipal corporation, fixing 60 mm thick vibro-hydraulic process interlocking paver blocks on road berm around park in Sector 22-B , re-carpeting of parking in shopping centre in front of booth/SCO no. 422 to 461, 366 to 377, 310 to 322, 293 to 304 and in front of Nirman Cinema, Sector 32-D, and fixing 40 mm thick reflective type interlocking paver blocks on walkway inside green belt (adjacent to Athletic Club), Sector 46-B.

In addition to this, 11 table agendas of various other projects were approved at the meeting. 



PUTA chain fast completes one month
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The PUTA chain fast completed one month, here today. Nearly seven thousand people have visited the site of the dharna during the last one month to express their solidarity with those on fast.

Nearly 250 teachers (including deans, chairpersons and fellows), along with 85 students/ research scholars and nine members of the technical staff have so far sat on the chain fast. Today, even lawyers from the High Court volunteered to sit on fast as most of them are P.U alumni and feel deeply hurt to find their former teachers sitting by the roadside in such harsh weather to demand financial security for P.U, as the Punjab Government has failed to fulfil its promise of 40 per cent funding during the last one decade.

The joint action committee leadership is also receiving calls from different departments expressing solidarity with the agitation, along with the offer to sit on the fast.

A group of ten former students have decided to sit on fast on May 10, 2008 as a token of respect for the agitating community.

Those who sat on the fast today included Prof. Akhtar Mahmood, Dr Dinesh Talwar, both fellows, Panjab University, Prof Rupinder Tewari, Department of Bio-technology, Dr Kewal Singh, Assistant Director Sports, Ajay Kumar, a research scholar from the department of English.



‘Oustees’ seek stay on CHB Scheme-2008
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Four decades after their lands were acquired for the development of Chandigarh’s second phase, as many as seven “oustees” led by advocate H.S. Billing today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

In their petition placed before Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain, they prayed for staying “in the interest of justice, equity and fair play” the recently floated Chandigarh Housing Board Scheme-2008.

Stay has also been sought on any other profit-making rehabilitation scheme, or general housing projects with private sector tie-up.

Billing, in his capacity as Secretary, Welfare Society of Authorised Originals of 50 UT Villages of Capital Project, Chandigarh, also prayed for directions to the UT administration and other respondents to frame a scheme for the rehabilitation of oustees of 11 villages, uprooted for the development of Chandigarh (PhaseII).

He also sought directions to allot them plots or flats as their lands and homes were acquired for the city. The petitioners, belonging to UT villages of Kanthala, Datarpur and Shahpur, said while there was nothing for them, the administration had been looking after the interest of the illegal occupants and encroachers.

They had been rehabilitated time and again at places including Mauli Jagran, Karsan, Ram Darbar Industrial Area Phase II and Palsora. The administration had further framed a policy to rehabilitate the slum dwellers and illegal encroachers of Sector 25, along with Colony No.4 and 5 to please some political parties for safeguarding their vote bank.

Taking cognisance of the matter, the judges issued notice of motion for July 8 to the Adviser, along with Secretaries in the home and finance departments. Notices were also issued to the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Estate Officer and others.



Meagre relief for movie buffs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Pronouncing an interesting order today, the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has left a consumer at the mercy of the authorities of Piccadily Cinema in Sector 34 here.

The forum asked the authorities of the cinema hall to pay a compensation of Rs 100 to a resident of Sector 55, if at all he has suffered. The forum also asked the cinema to refund Rs 80 as costs.

The forum headed by Jagroop Singh Mahal observed: “The petitioner has failed to prove his case but seeing to his status and in view of an affidavit submitted by him, the complaint is partly accepted.”

The petitioner, J.K. Babbar, stated that on July 29, 2007, he went with his wife to watch a movie. He had spent Rs 80 for purchasing tickets of upper stall. He averred that as he sat on the seat given to him according to the ticket, he realised that it was in a tattered condition. He said it was difficult to sit in it. His wife suffered similarly. Babbar complained about it to the peon of the cinema hall. He alleged that he was given a seat in the lower stall though the ticket sold was of upper stall.

He tried to contact the manager of the cinema hall who was not available. The petitioner stated that as it was not possible to sit on the seats, he and his wife left the cinema hall in the interval.

The cinema hall authorities stated that inspection was conducted by their authorised officer in 2007 and they were not found deficient in service.



Flouting of CAT orders
SE files contempt case against Administrator
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
A former superintending engineer, UT Electricity Operation Circle, V P Dhingra today filed a case of contempt against the UT Administrator for not complying with the orders of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to review the suspension of the SE.

Last month, CAT had directed the Chandigarh Administration to review the suspension of the SE and reinstate him with all permissible benefits on merit.

The previous UT home secretary, Krishna Mohan, suspended the SE in 2006 after the CBI on charges of allegedly accepting bribe arrested him.

The contention of the Chandigarh Administration and the CBI that the SE could not be reinstated unless material witnesses were examined did not hold contention as the CAT bench had observed that most of the material evidence had already been examined.

In light of the rule 5 of Punjab Civil Services (Punishment and Appeal) Rules, 1970, the Administration through its Administrator, Gen SF Rodrigues (retd), had been asked to re-examine the aspect as it was within the domain of the competent authority to see whether suspension should be continued or revoked in facts and circumstances of every case.

The applicant had pleaded that instructions of the Department of Personnel and Training stated that suspension was not valid after 90 days unless it was extended after review for a further period before the expiry of 90 days. Any officer under suspension for one year without any charges can be reinstated. 



Delinquent poll officials to face quick action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
In future, prompt disciplinary action will have to be taken against delinquent officials on election duty.

In fresh orders issued, the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions has directed the state governments and Union Territories to take action against the erring officials within six months.

The orders have been issued after the Election Commission of India brought it to the notice of the ministry that in many cases the state governments did not initiate prompt action against the officials as recommended by the it.

Sources said the disciplinary function of the Election Commission over the officers, staff and police personnel deputed to perform election duty would extend to suspending any officer for dereliction of duty, substituting any officer and returning the substituted officer to the cadre to which he belongs and making recommendation to the competent authority to take action.



Life jackets must at Sukhna

Last Sunday I got chance to enjoy an evening at Sukhna Lake. CITCO has really done a good job in attracting visitors. Many people were eagerly awaiting their turn for boating and requests were turned down after 7 pm (the closing time). However, a look at boat-users revealed how they were exposed to security risks. 

Normally, the life jackets should be worn by the boat-users and even swimmers are kept ready for any mishappening (very common in case of Sukhna). At least two mounds of life jackets were lying there and all the boat-users were also having two life jackets each on the boat, but none of the users or boatman were wearing them. In many cases, life jackets were tied at the one corner of the boat. 

They were neither in use nor could be used in case of need. Although the staff was very co-operative but they should insist that every boat-user and boatmen should wear life jackets to meet any unforeseen circumstances. In addition, at least on weekends and other busy days, some senior officer of CITCO should be deputed for supervision.

R K Garg, Chandigarh

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Aided colleges overcharging?
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
If the various teachers’ bodies are to be believed, there is gross violation in the fees and funds being charged by city-aided colleges.

They claimed that non-government aided colleges of Chandigarh charged exorbitant fees and funds from students in 2007-08 and have been doing so during the past few years. These charges were far in excess of Panjab University prescribed fees and funds that were last revised in 2004-05.

The fee committee constituted by the Panjab University to look into the matter and to make recommendations to bring uniformity in fee structure of private colleges would hold a meeting tomorrow to take action to rationalise the fees and funds.

Under the rules, the colleges collect fees/funds under heads constituted by the PU, Chandigarh administration or by the colleges themselves.

Under the main heads approved by the PU, the colleges have been allowed to collect and retain admission fee at Rs 165 per annum; amalgamated fund at Rs 540 per annum; dilapidation fund at Rs 180 per annum; house examination fee at Rs 165 per annum; environment fee at Rs 180 per annum; development fund at Rs 200 per annum and electricty and water charges at Rs 360 per annum.

Whereas all colleges charged a uniform Rs 500 per annum as admission fee, other charges varied but almost all city colleges charged several times more than PU prescribed fees and funds.

Prof Rupinder Chatha, secretary of the Chandigarh district council of the PCCTU said, “The colleges had also increased collection of funds under other heads arbitrarily. Charges running into thousands of rupees were levied; the DAV College charged Rs 2,780 per annum, MCM DAV Rs 4,130 per annum, and SD College-32 Rs 1,980 per annum, besides other funds from each student as annual charges”.

The PU had fixed fees for computer science (elective) course at Rs 540 per annum but colleges charged anywhere between Rs 3,000 to Rs 6,100 per annum from students.

Prof Avanindra Chopra, staff secretary of the DAV College, said a common format for printing fee structure needs to be devised so that comparison in fees of different colleges is eased.

Further, some colleges forcibly charged fees ranging between Rs 1,800 to Rs 4,000 per annum from students for add-on courses; Rs 1,200 to Rs 2,400 for computer courses (foundation) course.

Prof Anil Sarwal, secretary of DAV College Teachers’ Union said, “These fees were compulsorily charged from the students for courses which are optional in nature, making a mockery of Panjab University regulations. Nearly all students of BA I/B Com. I and B Sc I year were forced to join add on courses every year against their wishes without making adequate arrangements for their studies.”

Prof. Gurmej Singh, president of SGGS College Teachers’ Union, said excessive fee is charged for courses under the self-financing scheme. “The PU had fixed fees for these courses at Rs 8,750 per annum for BBA; at Rs 20,000 per annum for BCA and Rs 30,000 per annum for M.Sc (IT). But fees charged by colleges leave one wondering whether there is any rule of law.”



Fun-filled day at Ryan International
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The Tribune in Education wing held fun-filled games at Ryan International School, Sector 49, here today. Around 300 students participated in various events like Hat Game, drawing of geometrical shapes, dressing up the joker and hitting the bell.

The games were planned in such a manner that could judge their motor activities and senses. The teams that coordinated the best were given prizes.

The whole atmosphere was vibrant and students cheered up their respective teams. The coordinator Gagan said the idea of conducting these games was to inculcate a sense of team spirit and co-operation among students.



INSO leaders condemn violence on campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6

The Panjab University party, INSO, has condemned the recent clashes between student organisations on the PU campus, which are a blot on student politics.

INSO president Vikas Rathee said student leaders are here to preserve the friendly atmosphere for intellectual progress and personality refinement of students. He appealed to the student leaders to maintain their calm and not to encourage such violent activities. He added that INSO would soon call an all-party meeting for furtherance of peace on the campus. PUCSC secretary and INSO state vice-president Sunny Bhardwaj also stressed upon brotherhood among students rather than involvement in such unlawful activities.



PU Notes
CET admit cards dispatched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
According to the advisor examinations, the Panjab University today informed all the candidates that admit cards of CET-2008, to be conducted by the Panjab University on May 18, have been dispatched to all eligible candidates by registered post. The list of roll numbers and the datesheet is also available on the university website: www puchd.ac.in

ORIENATATION: Forty-six lecturers from different colleges and universities of the country gathered together to attend the four-week long 78th orientation programme organised by the Academic Staff College, Panjab University. Prof. R.C. Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University inaugurated the programme and on the occasion highlighted the significance of such training programmes.

Prof. Naval Kishore, Dean Student Welfare, also attended the ceremony. Prof. S.K. Sharma, director, academic staff college, briefed the participants regarding the rules and regulations of UGC.

EXAMINATION: The following university examinations scheduled for May 12 have been postponed due to Zila Parishad/ Panchayat Samiti elections in Punjab and will be conducted on revised dates.

B.A/B.Sc.1st, 2nd & 3rd year on May 14, B.Sc. (Microbial and Food Technology) 2nd year on May 14, M.A. public administration 2nd semester on May 14, M.A. Sociology 2 nd semester on May 14, M.A. Political Science 4th semester on May 14, M.A. Women Studies 2nd & 4th Semester on May 14, M. Lib. & Information Science (two- year) Integrated Course 2nd semester on May 14, M.Tech (Instrumentation/Microelectronics/Nanoscience/Nanotechnology) 2nd semester on May 14, B.H.M.S. 3rd & 4th prof. on May 14, M.Sc. bio-technology 4th Semester on May 17, M.Sc. bio-informatics 2nd Semester on May 17, Bachelor in Fashion & Lifestyle 2nd semester on May 17, B.Sc. Home Science 1st Year on May 21, M.C.A. 2nd semester on May 17, B.E.(Computer Science, Telecom & Inf. Tech. and Biotechnology) 5th semester on May 27 and B.F.A. 4 th year (Common for all Courses) on May 17.The Time and Venue will remain the same according to the Joint Controller of Examinations, Panjab University.

INAUGURATED: A gymnasium for girl students and women employees was inaugurated by the Vice-Chancellor Prof. R.C. Sobti at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Multipurpose Sports Complex, Panjab University, Chandigarh, today.

Various machines have been installed in the fitness centre such as nine-station multi-gym to be used for conditioning of different muscle groups of the body.

The VC said exercise relieves tensions and makes one stress-free, and the fitness centre go a long way in helping students and employees in keeping fit. He announced that the hall will be converted into a fully air-conditioned one shortly.



Teacher’s dismissal upheld by CAT
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Non-compliance with official orders passed by the principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Dhanas, has led to the removal of a science teacher from service. A plea for reinstatement was filed by the teacher Daisy Chopra before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), which was declined today.

Disposing the case, the CAT observed: “In the course of its judicial review the Tribunal is to see whether there has been any breach of rules by the authorities concerned. The disciplinary authorities are the best judge in given facts of a case and court should not reappraise the evidence and interfere with the orders passed by these authorities, unless it is found that the statuary provisions of the rules have not been violated or punishment orders are not malafide.”

Daisy had applied for ex-gratia leave from March 22, 2004, to September 22, 2004, as her husband in Canada was ill. Thereafter, she left for Canada on March 28, 2004. Meanwhile, the father of the applicant received a letter from the principal of the school rejecting the leave that was earlier sanctioned.

An inquiry was proposed by the authorities concerned, but Daisy didn’t join the investigation and thus was removed from service by the school authorities.

Elaborating the course of events the CAT held: “We find that the applicant had joined her service on October 16, 1990 and went abroad without getting her leave sanctioned. She didn’t join duty even after expiry of the leave.

An inquiry was conducted and she was issued notice at both her local and residential address as well as the address abroad. Besides, the same was published in a leading English daily. Despite that she failed to participate in the inquiry. In such situation the investigating officer was found proved and accordingly disciplinary authority has imposed the punishment of removal from service on the applicant. Her appeal has also been rejected by Appellate authority.”



Divorce Cases
Remarriage within appeal period is contempt of court: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Tying the knot again, after parting ways with the first wife, without waiting for the appeal period to be over, will make you liable for civil contempt of court.

In a significant judgement, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held solemnisation of marriage after the filing of appeal, an unlawful act in terms of Section 15 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, amounting to wilful disobedience to the “other process of the court”. It discloses a civil contempt within the meaning of Section 2 (b) of the Contempt of Court Act. The ruling by High Court Division Bench of Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Sabina comes on a petition filed by one Jasbir Kaur. She had alleged that her husband had contracted second marriage.

Referring to Section 15 of the 1955 Act, she had claimed no person could re-marry, even if a marriage has been dissolved by a decree of divorce, till the period of filing an appeal had expired, even if it was not presented or had been dismissed.

When the matter came up for consideration, Justice Hemant Gupta of the High Court passed a reference order by observing that the controversy involved in the petition arose quite frequently and was of great importance. As such, it required authoritative consideration by a larger Bench.

Taking up the matter, the Division Bench observed: A perusal of sub-section (b) and (c) of Section 2 of the Contempt of Court Act makes it evident that in order to constitute civil contempt there has to be a wilful disobedience to any judgement or “other process of a court”.

The expression “process of a court” would necessarily include the right to file an appeal within the period of limitation.

The Bench added: A perusal of Section 23 (2) and (3) of the 1955 Act would show that a statutory duty has been imposed on the Trial Courts to make an endeavour to bring about a re-conciliation between the parties…

Once there is a duty cast on the court to make all endeavour to forge re-conciliation between the parties, and if the party obtaining decree enters into second marriage in a hurried way, displaying such a conduct which would defeat the purpose of filing first appeal or nullifying the right of the losing spouse, then it would be covered by the expression “wilful disobedience to other process of a court”.

The Bench further added: The principles governing contempt jurisdiction do not require that disobedience of the other process of the court is required to be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The right of appeal is a substantive right granted to the losing spouse by Section 28 of the 1955 Act, which is presumed to be known to the holder of a decree of divorce.

Before parting with the judgement, the Bench held: In such case, there is not criminality in the disobedience, and the contempt such as it is, is not criminal.



CJ seeks adoption of ‘no-war’ clause
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Vijender Jain yesterday sought the adoption of “no-war” clause by all countries. He was speaking at the “Conference on Global Article 9” in Tokyo. The copy of the speech was released here yesterday.

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution contains “No war” clause and came into effect on May 3, 1947, immediately after the World War II.

Addressing the gathering, the Chief Justice said Article 9 not only forbade the use of force as a means to settling international disputes, but also prevented Japan from maintaining an army, a navy or an air force.

The Judge added, “I see Article 9 as a model to be emulated by all nations, before we eliminate all life from earth. Since most people have never heard of Article 9, the conference will contribute in shaking and awakening the whole world to its wisdom”.

The Judge said, “The world today remains threatened by the continuation of violent conflicts, the proliferation of arms, and environmental destruction. Within this situation, Article 9 paves the way for adoption of non-violent alternatives to deal with such international crises. I earnestly seek an Article 9 ‘without borders’ for all on planet earth - so that we as a species, and all other species, and the earth itself - might continue to exist”.



North Park Shootout
Accused sent to judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Panchklula, May 6
The seven accused in the shootout case at North Park in Panchkula were sent to judicial custody here today.

The accused in the case — Saaransh Rau alias Monu, brothers Arun Arora and Rajiv Arora, party organisers Pankaj Garg, and bouncers Vishal Sharma, Ravinder Gujjar and Ajay Kumar — were produced in the court of Judge Anshu Shukla who sent them to 14-day judicial custody.

Meanwhile, the Pacnhkula police has started proceedings to get the accused arrested by the Mohali police on production warrant. Two accused Chander Shekhar and Bhupinder Singh were arrested by the Mohali police from Kharar when they were nabbed by residents of a locality for theft.

The main accused Germanjit Singh, who is reported to be still at large, is said to be involved in illegal possession of a house in Sector 22 of Chandigarh. The house is owned by a widow.

Sources in the police said Germanjit Singh had to leave the house when he came to know that the Chandigarh police was preparing to take action against him on the complaint of the widow.



Consumer Courts
Citibank to pay Rs 50,000 for harassment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has asked Citibank in Sector 9 here to pay Rs 26,048 towards loss caused to a resident of Panchkula. The forum was also directed to pay Rs 25,000 towards compensation for causing mental harassment to the petitioner.

The petitioner, Naresh Mittal, had subscribed to a scheme wherein the credit card holders would get a chance to fly to selected destinations. The offer also included return tickets only if the credit card holder made purchases worth Rs 30,000.

The petitioner purchased air tickets from Bangalore to Goa and from Goa to Thiruvananthapuram and then back to Bangalore. Thereafter he booked the flight from Delhi to Bangalore and the return flight from Bangalore under the credit card scheme. After all the bookings were done by Mittal, the bank informed him five days before the trip that his return flight from Bangalore was not booked as the tickets were not available. Thereafter the petitioner had to get the air tickets and hotel booking cancelled. The petitioner asked the bank to pay Rs 26,048 spent by him on air fare. Mittal filed a case in the forum and sought compensation.

The bank stated that according to the agreement with the firm, WIPL Pvt Limited, the firm was responsible for arranging tickets and delivering them to the customers. The bank further argued that the petitioner had not furnished all the details to them that led to confusion in confirming the tickets.

The forum headed by Jagroop Singh Mahal stated: “The harassment caused to the petitioner not only speaks about the irresponsible conduct of the officials manning the system but also speaks volumes about the harassment caused by the bank to innocent persons, who are duped by the convincing promises made by them.”



Cheating Case
2 bank employees denied bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 6
Additional district and sessions judge S.K. Aggarwal today declined bail to two Citibank employees in a cheating case.

The complainant, Harish Goyal, had an account with the bank from where he used to invest in mutual funds. Parminderjit Singh and Sumegh Bhatia advised the complainant to invest in shares through City Wealth Adviser (CWA).Thereafter the complainant signed the necessary documents including power of attorney on August 7 last year. The accused opened a demat account in the name of Harish Goyal and started investing money in shares from his account.

According to the prosecution, the statement of the demat account mentioned that the power of attorney was not signed. The public prosecutor, Vinay Jhingan, stated that the power of attorney was not signed as per the demat account. The accused got the power of attorney attested in the absence of the complainant from a notary. He argued that it should have been attested in the presence of Harish Goyal.

The counsel for the petitioner further added that when Goyal got his bank statement with zero balance, he was surprised.

Goyal complained about it to the police immediately but no FIR was registered. Subsequently he complained to the chief judicial magistrate about it. The case was transferred to Civil Judge (Senior Division) J.S. Bhinder who directed the police on March 29 to register an FIR. After the FIR was registered, both the accused resigned from the bank and the stall in the bank where they used to sit was also removed.



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