C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


MLA accuses DC of verbal abuse
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 10
Congress MLA from Kharar Balbir Singh Sidhu has demanded registration of a case against Mohali deputy commissioner H.I.S.Grewal, who allegedly used abusive language against him and members of his family.

Sidhu, who was addressing a press conference here today, also demanded that the DC should be suspended immediately. He alleged that Grewal was under the influence of liquor and as such a medical examination of the official should be done.

The MLA demanded that he should be given a heavy security cover, including that of the CRPF, because he feared a threat to his life from the DC.

In a written complaint made to the Punjab State Election Commission, Punjab, the MLA alleged, “The DC came to my house in the morning when I had gone out for campaigning in favour of my party candidates. He abused me, my wife, my brother and my son”.

DC ko gussa kyun aata hai

When contacted on the phone, the DC lost his temper and virtually shouted that he did not want to talk about the matter. A press note would be issued by the district public relation officer in response to the allegations levelled against him. When asked why official machinery was being used by him to counter the allegations which were levelled at him in his personal capacity, he banged the phone.

This is the same DC who cried foul a month ago when a local SAD leader had abused him on the phone. He had even given a written complaint to the SSP, Mohali, against the SAD leader.

Probe to begin

The chief secretary Punjab, Ramesh Inder Singh, said he would be initiating an inquiry into the allegations levelled by the MLA. “The MLA called me this evening and I have asked him to forward a written complaint,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Punjab State Election Commission has also forwarded Balbir Singh Sidhu’s complaint to the chief secretary for the necessary action.

The MLA further alleged in his complaint that the DC “followed me from place to place and abused my candidates. He even snatched the RCs of some vehicles of candidates for whom I was holding election rallies. Even at the rallies, he abused me and my supporters. He asked his gunmen to beat my people.”

The MLA urged the Election Commission to intervene immediately in this regard. The MLA has sent a copy of his complaint to the DGP, Punjab and the chief secretary, Punjab.

SSP R.S.Khatra said he had received a copy of the complaint which the MLA had written to the Election Commission. He said the complaint was against the district magistrate, who was in charge of the law and order machinery of the district and as such he was not competent to take action in this regard. He said, moreover, the case was of a civil nature and the complainant could go to a court.

Sidhu also alleged that the Mohali district officials were working according to the whims of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, cooperation minister, who was making all efforts to make SAD candidates win the civic polls from the Kharar constituency.

In a letter to the Punjab Governor, the MLA alleged that the minister “was using all types of means to terrorise the masses in the villages through official machinery at the district and tehsil level to ensure success of Akali candidates. He called sarpanches, panches and others to his residence and allegedly pressured them to favour Akali candidates,” wrote the MLA in his letter.

The MLA demanded that all officials, who belonged to the Kharar constituency and were posted here, should be transferred so that a fair and free poll could be conducted.

Meanwhile in a unsigned press note issued by the district public relation officer late this evening, it is stated, “On receiving information that Balbir Singh Sidhu, MLA Kharar, was blatantly violating the model code of conduct, HIS Grewal, DC, SAS Nagar, along with Pushpinder Singh Grewal, Additional deputy commissioner (development), reached Jagatpura and found three vehicles carrying election posters and banners without proper validity. ADC seized the material and the police was deputed to take necessary action.

One person present on the spot spoke on his mobile phone to Sidhu and handed the phone to the DC. The MLA threatened the DC with dire consequences. The relevant provisions of law are being examined to initiate appropriate action against the MLA for indulging in criminal intimidation.

Incidentally, the SSP Mohali R.S. Khatra today stated that the DC’s complaint against the SAD leader was untenable and had been shelved after seeking legal advice.



Yograj, kin booked for duping man
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 10
The police has booked Yograj Singh, a former cricketer, and his wife, along with four other relatives, for allegedly cheating a person of Rs 46 lakh.

Yograj is the father of Yuvraj Singh, skipper of IPL team King’s XI Punjab. In addition to Satbir Kaur, wife of Yograj, others accused are identified as her sisters Sukhwinder Kaur, Pushpinder Kaur, Mandip Kaur and their mother Gurmit Kaur.

According to the police, chairman of Shivalik Agro Polyproduct, Mouli, Pankaj Mahajan, lodged a complaint with the police that the accused had duped him of Rs 46 lakh which he handed over to Yograj for the price of house no. 943 in Sector 12 A of Panchkula.

In his complaint, Mahajan stated that he came in contact with Yograj through some property dealer. Yograj took him to the house which belongs to his mother-in-law Gurmit Kaur.

A deal for the house was finalised for Rs 96 lakh and he made a payment of Rs 11 lakh to the party as an advance payment on December 30 last year. The wife of Yograj was also present on the occasion, alleged Mahajan. The date of final payment and registration was fixed as March 3, 2008, stated the complainant.

Later, Yograj asked him to pay Rs 35 lakh also on the pretext of releasing the documents pertaining to the property lying with HUDA, alleged the complainant. Now, Gurmit Kaur is refusing to sell the property as her three daughters had filed a civil suit in the court to get their share in the property, said complainant, alleging that all were hand-in-glove to dupe him.

Gurdip Kaur, now, has refused to return his money also, he alleged.

Yograj Singh, denying allegations, said Mahajan wanted popularity by maligning him and his relatives.

“I had no role in the deal with Mahajan and it was a matter between property seller and buyer”, he added.

Gurmit Kaur, however, could not be contacted as Yograj said she was away to her village.



40 DAYS GONE still counting ...
Set up special committee

The process to fill the important post of home secretary should have started months in advance of repatriation of Krishna Mohan. The present situation is the outcome of poor functioning and lack of coordination between the Chandigarh Administration and Central Government.

Instead of having a long-drawn process to select the IAS officer for inter-state deputation, the selection should be done by a special committee, which should also include UT Administrator and officers from the Centre. The committee should decide on the names within a stipulated time. Such an arrangement should work in other UTs also.

It is not the way government works. Bureaucrats should act swiftly.

— Jit Kumar Gupta, former chairman of the Punjab and Chandigarh Chapter of Institute of Town Planners



Changes in building bylaws in offing
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
After six years, the Chandigarh Administration is introducing major changes in the archaic building bylaws governing commercial, institutional and residential buildings across the city.

With focus on need-based changes, amendments in the rules are being made keeping in mind the futuristic growth of the city.

The planners are keeping in mind the proposed mass rapid transit system, upgradation of the road infrastructure, coming up of the multiplexes and other recreational activities. The amended bylaws will be like a visionary document and compiled in the form of a booklet.

A high-empowered committee, comprising officials of the engineering department, urban planning, estate office and other experts, is having brain-storming seasons on the subject. “Our effort is to make the bylaws user-friendly and eradicate the channels of corruption which exist in the name of bylaws”, said Sanjay Kumar, UT finance secretary.

The committee, headed by the UT chief engineer after going through the public suggestions and recommendations of experts, has prepared draft recommendations on subjects like allowing uniform pattern and removal of variation of the covered area in Phase I and Phase II sectors, integrated housing schemes, banquet halls, need-based changes in CHB units and marla houses and allowing more covered area in commercial sites.

The finance secretary said it was a mammoth exercise and involved a lot of efforts. Though isolated proposals to amend the bylaws were always there, no final decision was taken.“We hope to come with amended bylaws in future”, said Sanjay Kumar. The bylaws could see reduction in hundreds of cases of violation pending at different level in the estate office.

A major area of focus was giving uniform pattern of covered areas in residential sectors. Apart from giving additional ground coverage area, the committee has reportedly proposed increasing the height of green house in the backyard of houses up to nine feet from the existing height of 7’-6”. Allowing more projection in the upper floors of marla houses was also under consideration. Another key area in commercial sites was allowing of habitable use of basements, allowing of advertisement panels for upper floor of SCOs, full coverage of the entire backyard of showrooms in Sector 7 and 26, mezzanine floor and beautification of the parking area in the front and rear of the SCOs.

The committee has also proposed bylaws for banquet halls. The Administration has decided to rationalise the floor area ratio and height of cinema complexes that are to be given permission for conversion to multiplexes. It has been proposed that the height of cinemas should be equivalent to surrounding SCOs or institutional buildings. The rules called “Punjab Capital (Development and Regulation) Building (Amendment) Rules are expected to notified soon, said sources in the administration.



Theft of vehicles from parking lots
Sec 17 shopkeepers demand CCTV cameras
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
In order to curb the increasing incidence of theft of vehicles from inside the parking lots, the shopkeepers of Sector 17 have demanded that close-circuit television cameras be installed in all the parking lots of the sector.

At a public meeting organised by the market association in Sector 17, the shopkeepers raised the issue regarding the installation of CCTV cameras inside the parking lots. According to Kulwant Singh, SHO, Sector 17, with the installation of the CCTV cameras at the entry and exit points of the parking lot, curtailing the crime rate will be easier. It will be easier to identify miscreants as all the details regarding the footage of the culprits, the vehicle registration number and the time of crime will be recorded.

Besides, the move will also help in eliminating the chances of criminals escaping the law with the connivance of cops, as the recording will be used as evidence of the offence. We will be writing to the corporation next week, added the SHO.

MPS Chawla, chairman of the parking committee, told The Tribune that though the installation of the close-circuit cameras was passed in the F and CC meeting of the corporation last month, the project was still under consideration. Before the installation, a lot of technicalities are to be taken care of.

The shortage of cameras during night is a major concern. Any one of the parking lots will first be selected on an experimental basis. Further installation of the cameras will depend on how the experiment works”.



MC carries out anti-encroachment drive
17 shopkeepers in Sec 22 rehri market booked

Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Coming down heavily on habitual offenders encroaching upon municipal corporation land, the enforcement wing of the corporation has launched a sustained campaign against violators in rehri markets across the city.

As part of its drive, the enforcement wing today booked 17 shopkeepers of Sector 22 Shastri market here.

A team of the enforcement wing carried out an anti-encroachment drive in the market and found that the shopkeepers had blocked the passage to the shops by putting their articles as much as three feet outside their shops. Among others, shopkeepers selling garments and shoes were found to be the biggest violators.

Certain shopkeepers had blocked the way in such a manner that they left little space for movement. In case of fire and a stampede, it will be difficult to escape from the market and even to carry out a rescue operation.

The team led by inspector Sudhir Narang, in charge of the anti-encroachment wing of the MC, began the drive in the evening. The move initially faced resistance from shopkeepers.

The team called the police for assistance when a shopkeeper resisted the officials from taking away his goods.

The officials confiscated one-and-a-half truckloads of goods from the market. A team of the fire and emergency services committee of the MC visited the market a couple of days ago.

The committee members and fire department officials took up the matter of encroachments with the market representatives and shopkeepers. The representatives had assured the committee that they would cooperate with the officials and remove the encroachments.

The enforcement officials said the shopkeepers of Shashtri Market and Sadar Bazaar in Sector 19 are habitual offenders and frequently indulge in encroachments.

A senior officer said such drives would be carried out regularly in the markets, preventing the shopkeepers from indulging in encroachments, putting theirs as well as others’ lives in danger.



Signboards clutter Mohali green belts
Maintenance work given scant attention

Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, May 10
The plan of Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and the municipal council to beautify the town by handing over maintenance of green belts to private parties has backfired, with signboards springing up all over. This has not only added to the ‘visual pollution’ but is also distracting road-users.

Various companies responsible for the upkeep of green belts have gone in for an advertisement campaign through signboards and hoardings, and maintenance work has been put on the backburner.

It appears that a competition has begun among private parties to beat each other in the number of advertisement boards fixed in these green belts. Little attention is being paid to beautification although certain efforts seem to have been made to clean the green belts in some areas.

In the green belts outside the market area of Phase III B 2 alone, one comes across 68 advertisement boards put up by various companies. These can be seen along the road leading from Chawla Chowk to the Phase III - V chowk. Airtel has put up 30 boards in three green belts while Spice has put up 17 boards in two green belts. AHM Air Hostess Training Institute has put up nine boards while Frankfinn Institute of Air Hostess Training has put up seven boards and Limca five boards. The boards have been put up at a distance varying between 5 to 10 metres. These 68 boards are in addition to the five speed limit boards put by the civic body.

Metal frames to put up advertisement boards have also been installed along the road of Phase VII market. In the next few days, one will come across many more boards in this area. A hoarding of Limca was seen outside the Phase VII market even when there was no green belt. TVS Flame has gone to the extent of breaking a part of the footpath to install its hoarding near the open space area reserved for a police post in Phase VII.

As many as 10 hoardings of various private parties and the SAD have been installed near the Phase VII traffic lights. In the centre verge leading from the YPS chowk to the Phase VII lights, MGF EMMAR has put up 11 boards.

Boards of Spice and TVS Flame have been put up in the green belts near Madanpur Chowk even when these belts have so far not been developed by advertisers.

Residents complain that Mohali is being turned into a ‘town of signboards’ much to the annoyance of many.

President of the council Rajinder Singh Rana said the green belts outside market areas were with GMADA and the authority had allowed advertisers to put up so many boards. He said GMADA was earning revenue of only Rs 13 lakh by handing over 17 sites to private parties, even when the council will be getting Rs 90 lakh as revenue from 19 green belts handed over to private parties.



Servant verification drive a nonstarter
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The much-touted servant verification drive by the Chandigarh police has proved to be nonstarter. Getting just 3 per cent response from other states’ police in verification cases, the scheme is not achieving the desired results.

The fact is corroborated by the fact that out of 2,115 cases being sent to different states to check the authenticity of the domestic help working in the city, only 81 cases were verified last year. That means the response is only 3 per cent.

So the efforts of residents as well as the local police to get information about the background of domestic help have been bearing nothing but resulting in piles of papers.

A senior police officer admitted that the efforts were just waste of time. Many police stations of the city have been still waiting for the verification rolls for the past many years.

“What is the use of efforts being put in if the result is so poor? I think it should be made compulsory for the police of all states to react immediately as it involves the safety of the people”, said Prof D.P. Singh, a resident of Sector 38.

On the other hand, Ashish Pathak, an advocate in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, attributed the poor response to the lackadaisical approach of the police.

“In my view point, the police does not follow up the cases properly. Otherwise, there is no reason for not getting the response from their counterparts of other states. This step needs to be dealt seriously”, said Pathak.

On the issue, ASP Madhur Verma said, “Though we put in our serious efforts, the poor response by the other states makes the whole process just null and void. I admit that we get verification report from the other state police in very few cases but the information about the servants help the police in cracking the cases in which they might be involved”.



City moves a step closer to having tourist police
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Chandigarh has moved a step closer to having the tourist police with the first batch of the police personnel starting its training at the Chandigarh Institute of Hotel Management (CIHM) here today.

In fact, the batch of 25 police personnel would undergo a specially designed 10-hour training at the CIHM with a view to instill hospitality skills in the policemen to project a better image of Chandigarh.

The police has shortlisted 100 cops for deployment as the tourist police for the "safety and security" of the domestic and international tourists in Chandigarh.

"During training, the endeavour would be to effect an attitudinal change in the police personnel so that they serve the tourists better. Stress management and team work would be the buzzwords during the training to be spread over two days for a duration of five hours each," Vishal Kalia, senior lecturer at the CIHM, said.

Basic training in foreign languages, lessons in personal hygiene and liaisoning with other wings of the administration would also form an integral part of the training at the CIHM.

Concerned at the rising crime against tourists, the tourism secretaries at an all-India conference in New Delhi in January this year had issued an advisory to the states and the union territories to frame a mechanism for the proper protection of the tourists.

Sources said with the administration promoting tourism as a tourist hub, the deployment of the tourist police at important tourist places would go a long way in reducing tourist harassment and present a better image of the police force before the tourists.

In the backdrop of the increasing number of tourists in the city, the deployment of the tourist cops assumes importance. Last year about seven lakh domestic tourists and 40,000 international tourists visited the city.

A senior police official said the lack of training came in the way of the police personnel performing their duties of guiding the tourists properly. The specialised training to the cops should go a long way in imparting certain skills to handle the tourists in a much better way, he added.



Sec 26 Grain Market roof collapse
Police fails to fix responsibility after eleven months
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Even after 11 months of the roof collapse in the Sector 26 Grain Market, in which two persons were killed and several others were injured, the Chandigarh police has failed to fix responsibility on anyone for the disaster.

The slow pace of the probe, owing to procedural wrangling pertaining to queries and examination reports of the collapsed vegetable and fruit auction platform from several departments, has further complicated matters. Even though the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL) had given its one-and-a-half page report in November last year, the police has not been able to proceed and initiate any action.

The police said it was awaiting a reply from the UT engineering wing, as they had sought a map of the structure from it through a letter dated April 21. The Chandigarh administration had built the structure 30 years ago. The dilapidated structure collapsed on June 10 last year, when around 300 people were trading underneath it.

Sources in the police said the reports given by experts from the CFSL and the UT Engineering Department had mentioned that the structure collapsed as the heavy roof was sustained on weak and worn-out pillars. The CFSL in its report to the police mentioned that the roof collapsed due to four weak pillars, but did not give a specific reason behind weakening of pillars, though it stated that the box cavities had been “made freely” facing brickwork of the structure.

The SHO of the Sector 26 police station, Mani Ram Kadiyan, maintained that the matter was under investigation. “We have written to the UT Engineering Department to provide us a map of the collapsed structure. Thereafter, we will ask the market committee to provide information about the allottees, who were given space around the pillars”, he added.

“It will be difficult for the investigating officers to identify the persons responsible for disaster, as the experts in their reports have not mentioned the reason behind the weakening of the pillars. Besides this, the pigeonholes dug up to built cash boxes in pillars are also not mentioned as a cause for the collapse of the structure. Such cashboxes were built in almost every pillar of the structure”, said an officer.

The police had registered a case of causing death due to negligence the same day the disaster occurred.



Rs 5-lakh award for DRDO director
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
A city scientist, now settled in Delhi, has again discovered fame in scientific breakthroughs.

A year after Rs 10 lakh award for “performance excellence” was conferred upon Dr S.K. Vasudeva and his team, they have again been honoured with “Special Award for Strategic Contribution” of Rs 5 lakh.

Dr Vasudeva and his team of scientists have been awarded for “unparallelled contributions to special armament technology development and operationalisation of state-of-the-art special armament systems”.

He is currently working as the director of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). As a team leader, he is scheduled to receive the award from the Prime Minister at a ceremony to be held on May 12.

From concept to completion of the entire task, the team took remarkably short time, though it involved complex technologies.

Giving details of the achievements leading to the conferring of the present award, the sources in the DRDO assert: “Through effective programme management, Dr Vasudeva and his team of scientists developed a special armament technology. The same, they assert, led the nation to achieve self-reliance in the field of special armament systems. In fact, Dr Vasudeva and his team played a significant role in the operationalisation of these systems for the services.

Dr Vasudeva says he has all along been associated with all major trials of armaments. In 2001, he was chosen to lead “programmes of national importance for defence preparedness”.

In recognition of his achievements, he has already received several DRDO awards, including one for his contribution to “Pokharan-I” experiments, “Path-breaking Research Awards” from the Union ministry of defence for contribution to “Pokharan-II” and “Shakti” experiments, along with “Scientist of the Year” award for 2002. Born at Garhshankar, Dr Vasudeva did his Masters in Organic Chemistry before obtaining doctorate from Punjabi University at Patiala. He underwent one-year course at the IAT, Pune, and joined the TBRL at Chandigarh in 1971 as armament scientist.

In 1976, he was selected by the Union ministry of education for a national scholarship to study abroad and did his postdoctoral research in the area of explosive compounds at a technical university in Warsaw.

In 1980, he was deputed to attend Warhead Technology Training Course at West Germany. He has also worked at Swedish Detonics Research Laboratory, Stockholm.



Zirakpur has multiplexes, no fire station
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, May 9
Even though Zirakpur skyline has undergone a colossal change over the past couple of years with multi-storied residential complexes and shopping malls coming up on farms lands, fire-fighting facilities have failed to develop proportionately.

The township once known for just marriage palaces is now on the country’s tourism map with hotels malls and multiplexes. Even the area under residential complexes has greatly increased.

In all, around 150 colonies and 13 villages are under the Zirakpur MC. Yet, the authority concerned has so far done little for the setting up of a fire station. As of now, fire tenders from Panchkula and Derabassi are summoned in case of blazing inferno.

In the process, firemen fail to reach the spot within the specified response time of five minutes. Rather, they take about half an hour to reach the spot.

According to sources, the situation is worsened by the fact that the tenders from Panchkula and Dera Bassi have to find their way through the traffic mess. All this results in wastage of time.

Construction work of flyover on National Highway and four laning of roads are basic reasons for the fire tenders to get late because they are caught in heavy rush of traffic.” Sources add: In Derabassi fire station, there are only few water tanks, which do not carry enough water to deal with major fires. The manpower too is inadequate.

Last month, the office of property dealer in Kalgidhar Enclave was gutted. Electronic items and important documents were destroyed. In that incident, a fire tender reached there after half an hour. It took a single tender over three hours to control the fire.

“So many fire incidents are witnessed, but concerned authorities do not take it seriously”, alleges Arvind Kumar, a resident of Zirakpur. He adds: The department should turn active to fight with increasing problems.

According to executive officer of MC R.K. Mittal, “The resolution has moved for government approval. We are waiting for reply”. He said in case of fire, we could take help from Mohali fire station.



Toll Plaza incident
DC to inquire SDM’s misbehaviour
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The issue of allegedly slapping of employees of the Toll Plaza at Dera Bassi on May 5 by the Mohali SDM has been today formally reported to the district DC, Harjit Inder Singh Grewal, who has decided to enquire into the case personally.

The owner of RS Constructions- Jagdeep Singh, whose company is manning the plaza gates at Dera Bassi, disclosed that he had decided to take up the issue of misbehavior of SDM Bhambuk with both the police and civil administration of Mohali after the SDM called his employee to his office to browbeat him.

Jagdeep Singh also claimed that the SDM had called his staff and asked them to send him to his office.

Giving details about the incident, Jagdeep said his company had issued complimentary passes to the SDM.

“However, since he was travelling in his private vehicle and it was late at night, my employees could not see the pass. As a precautionary measure, his employees closed the gate following which the SDM came out of his vehicle and slapped my employees and also rang up the Dera Bassi police. As a result, the plaza was rendered un-functional with all vehicles moving through without paying any toll for more than one hour”.

He also alleged that the SDM was drunk and had abused his staff also.

Meanwhile, SDM Bhambuk when contacted for his comments said he had only called an employee of RS Constructions to ask why he was levelling false allegations against him. “Nothing of this sort happened. I was traveling with the tehsildar and in fact I was the one who was gharoed by the toll staff”. He said he had called the Dera Bassi police to the spot for his own safety.

When questioned about the alleged free movement at the plaza due to this disturbance, he said this could have occurred for a maximum of ten to twelve minutes.

The SDM also claimed that the entire issue was the result of a communication gap and that “we will sit down and sort out the matter”.



DC-MLA row: Liquor vends closed till May 15
Tribune News service

Mohali, May 10
In what is largely being seen as a result of the rift between Mohali DC H.I.S Garewal and the local MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, the former has ordered the closure of all liquor shops in the district with immediate effect. The shops, according to the orders issued by the DC this afternoon, would remain closed till May 15.

Sidhu, a local liquor baron who had till last year a major share of the liquor trade in Mohali, however, has only three vends in the district for this year. Liquor vend owners received calls from excise officials this evening that they shut down the vends.

The Punjab State Election Commission had ordered dry days in the state only on May 12, the date of voting, and May 14 the date of counting. Mohali is the only district in Punjab where the DC has ordered the closure of vends till May 15.

Members of the Mohali Liquor Association are up in arms against the orders. This has been done to try and get back at the local MLA. “But in the process we have been made pawns of local politics,” said Jaswinder Singh the president of the association.

He added that the district would lose revenue in the process besides their incurring personal losses. The members have demanded revocation of the unfair orders.

“Written orders have been issued by the DC and we are just complying with them,” said Baldeep Kaur, assistant excise and taxation commissioner, Mohali.



Mercury to fall in next two days
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Chandigarhians have been lucky to have pleasant weather during the last 10 days of the month. During last week, there was either dust storms or light showers, which kept the city’s weather reasonably cool. The Met officials have predicted that there will be respite from heat wave conditions tomorrow also as there is forecast of rain.

The officials said due to rainfall in the morning, the weather was pleasant but during daytime the temperature rose, which resulted in hot weather.

As per Met officials, the sky will remain cloudy with possibility a of dust storm and thunderstorm with light rain. The maximum temperature recorded today was 35.0 degree and minimum 19.8 degree with rainfall of 1mm during daytime.

The officials said the temperature would decrease by some degree in the next two days, which would bring big relief to the people of the city.



Langah honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Lauding India’s triumphant advances in different fields of endeavour, Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator Gen (retd) S.F. Rodrigues called upon the people to take up a leadership role in the Red Cross movement and give an example of care, concern and compassion to the world here yesterday.

Presiding over the state-level World Red Cross Day at law auditorium of Panjab University, Gen Rodrigues said, “At the time of Independence, our country had numerous problems with meagre resources and we had to depend on foreign countries to meet our food and other needs.”

Punjab agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langah was honoured for his significant contribution towards the Red Cross movement and taking lead in drug de-addiction programmes



Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, May 10
Residents of Kalgidhar Enclave, Baltana, formed a welfare association under the name Kalgidhar Enclave Welfare Association (Residence/Market) at a meeting held here today.

The following have been elected office-bearers of the association: chairman-Col N.K. Mahapatra; president-P.P.S. Dhaliwal; vice-president-S.K. Verma; general secretary-Ranjit Verma; and Cashier-Pardeep Passi.




Staff crunch affects service

IN Chandigarh, there are a large numbers of vacancies in various cadres almost in every department be it health, electricity, education, roads or police.

Consequently, common man is suffering due to this. Not only this, some officers hold the charge of different departments in addition to their own duties.

On one hand, due to population explosion, developmental activities have been increasing by leaps and bounds and on the other, there is no staff to cope up with the situation despite the fact that taxpayers are paying direct and indirect taxes regularly.

Apart from it, whatsoever adhoc staff is arranged on contract basis neither has the requisite expertise nor talent. In a welfare state, the government is duty-bound to provide the citizens with various public services.

However, they fail to do so. I urge the authorities concerned to recruit staff in various departments as per norms to avoid chaos and inconvenience.

S.K. Khosla

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PU to scrutinise NRI applications individually
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Panjab University is being extra cautious in defining the term ‘NRI’. Unable to reach any conclusions about its guidelines on its own, the university, which sought legal opinion in the matter, is back to square one. For, the legal retainer of the university has opined that each case be studied individually. This will mean that every application in this category will be looked into separately keeping in view the guidelines of the legal retainer.

In his nine-page opinion, legal retainer Anupam Gupta has stated, “In order to be eligible in the NRI category, actual NRIs or their children (sons or daughters) can benefit from this quota. This will mean that one may be an Indian citizen residing aboard or may have acquired non-Indian citizenship. He should be a genuine and a regular resident abroad and not a fleeting, fortuitous or contriving resident. The categories of admissible proofs of resident cannot be prescribed or foreclose in advance. The children of NRIs must also have been residents abroad but the same strictness or rigour may not apply in ascertaining their residence as in the case of their parents.”

Further, “A standing committee should be assigned the task to determine the NRI status in each individual case and should not be left to the vagaries of individuals in each department. The committee will be inter-departmental with a mix of senior, experienced and competent faculty members as well as non-faculty members.”

Hopefully, this will bring some respite to the departments who are awaiting university’s handbook of guidelines in this regard.

Prof Dinesh Gupta, chairman, UBS said, “The authorities of the university are seized of the matter and the decisions and clarifications in this regard are awaited and the process of admission under the NRI category will be started immediately thereafter.”

Shashi K. Sharma, chairman, department of laws, said, “We are waiting for the fresh guidelines from the university, only then we will be able to know who are eligible for admissions in this category.”

B.S. Sohi, director of UIET and dean of faculty of engineering and technology said, “We have written to the DUI for guidelines in this case and we are hoping to receive them by the coming week. Only then we will be able to start the process of finalising the prospectus for this session.”

What remains to be seen is the feasibility of scrutinising the applications individually as in some courses like engineering and MBA, the number of applications run into thousands.



Political dummies back to academics
Seasoned leaders run the show in PU

Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
If former chief election commissioner of India J.M. Lyngdoh thought that he could improve the quality of student politics, here is reality check.

Candidates who came to the forefront during the students’ elections at Panjab University, thanks to the stringent Lyngdoh committee, are no more a part of the students’ bodies. In fact, the candidates who were rejected as they failed to meet the recommendations are running the politics.

For the first time, the elections were held in Panjab University in November 2007 as per the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee which had virtually upset the entire face of the student politics at that time putting to rest the muscle might on display between various student unions in the run-up to the elections.

The Lyngdoh code put a ban on heavy vehicles for campaigning and on election rallies with a crowd of more than 500. The authorities were to be informed and arms were also banned.

The committee had also set an age limit for those contesting the elections and suggested that only full-time students with 75 per cent attendance be permitted to contest. Barring students with a criminal record, a ban on funding from political parties and Rs 5,000-campaign expense cap were among the other recommendations. Owing to this, presidential candidates of two prominent student bodies were out of the race. Abhishek Puri, presidential candidate of PUSU, and Harpreet Singh Multani of SOPU watched the action from the sidelines.

The student bodies then had to find candidates who could fulfil all the conditions. For the post of president, SOPU-NSUI fielded Uday Bhan Singh, a research scholar in the department of botany, Dinesh Chauhan was fielded by ABVP and Parminder Jaswal, a student of the department of defence studies, was fielded by PUSU-INSO.

Similarly, for the post of vice-president, Isha Gupta of SOPU-NSUI and Gagandeep Kaur of PUSU-INSO contested. Similar patterns were followed for the posts of general secretary and joint secretary.

But all that has now been completely forgotten. University’s student politics is still being run and managed by the same students whose candidature was rejected barring a few leaders who have left the university now, including Abhishek Puri of PUSU. Uday Bhan, presidential candidate of SOPU, seems to have gone back to his research and is hardly even seen in political circles. Similar is the fate of other candidates who have now seemed to gone back to academics leaving the show to be run by the seasoned candidates.

“This was bound to happen as the student bodies only wanted to contest the elections. It is evident from the fact that hardly six months have passed and violence is back on the campus,” said a former PU student leader.

“The student bodies had only brought these unknown faces to fulfil their own aspirations. Even the elected ones are governed by others from behind the scenes, just like in the union government,” said a PU professor.



PUTA delegation meets Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
Prof Shankarji Jha, department of Sanskrit, Dr Rajesh Kumar, department of women studies, Dr A.N. Sinha, department of botany, joined by Promod Sharma of Yuvsatta, an NGO, and Sudhyan Negi, a research scholar from the department of sociology, today sat on the relay fast by teachers and students for the Central university status for PU.

Meanwhile, PUTA delegation met Pawan Kumar Bansal, union minister of state for finance and explained to him how the union government, on one hand, was keen on implementing 27 per cent OBC quota in PU, on the other, was not giving Central university status which was a pre-requisite for the implementation of OBC quota.

As part of social accountability, however, Panjab University had already taken a decision to implement 7 per cent OBC quota from the forthcoming academic session for which it was going to place added requirement of infrastructure as also faculty and staff before the committee visiting the university on May 15-16.

Earlier, addressing the inaugural session of a seminar on the campus in the presence of Bansal, Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, Panjab University, raised the issue of full funding for PU by the Union Government as the registrar had received a letter from the MHRD to implement 27 per cent reservation on the campus. He also expressed his anguish that there were universities in India where unutilised money was stacked while PU was being made to suffer for want of requisite funds.

It is worth reiterating here that the letter of implementation of OBC quota has been issued to all Central and centrally funded institutes and universities by the MHRD.

Staunch Gandhian Promod Sharma, director, Yuvsatta, expressing his solidarity with the agitating teachers and students, said it was sad that teachers and students of a prestigious university had to sit on chain fast for months before their voice was heard in the world’s largest democracy.



Exam relaxations for special children
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
To achieve the eight-year objective of ‘Education for all’ children between the age group of 6 to 14 years, the education department has instructed all the heads of government schools to extend special relaxations to Children with Special Needs (CWSN) during examinations at all levels.

The examination centre supervisors would ensure to make the seating arrangement of ‘special’ candidates at the ground floor of examination centres. Such candidates would be allowed additional one hour for each paper. The assistant superintendents would be paid remuneration of Rs 70 extra.

The blind, physically handicapped and dyslexic students would be permitted to use amanuensis, who would be paid Rs 100 per paper.

However, the amanuensis must be a student of a class lower than the one for which the candidate is taking the exam. The candidate would have to specifically indicate whether they have been provided with a writer, in the columns provided in the main answer book, to be evaluated separately.

The candidates with disabilities would have option of studying one compulsory language as against two. Besides, they would have an option to choose four subjects out of mathematics, science, social science, music, another language, painting, introductory information technology and home science.

On the lines of CBSE (in Mathematics and Science) the visually challenged children would be asked alternate questions in lieu of questions that require special skills based on visual inputs. These candidates would be provided question papers with enlarged prints.

SK Setia, DPI (S), said: “We have designed these relaxations during examination at all school levels for these special children under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan. The idea is to bring them into the mainstream of schooling. These children will study in regular classes with others, instead of separate institutes.”

As many as 34 children with multiple disability have already been admitted to GSSS-45, GPS-45, GHS-26, Bapu Dham, GHS-32, GSSS, Khudda Lahora etc. Apart from free education, uniform and study material up to Class X, a sum of Rs 250 as transport allowance is also being provided to them.

The administration is looking for special resource teachers having diplomas in special education and early child care and expert in assessing hearing, visual or mental deficiencies. As of now, nine special teachers are already educating these children at GMSSS-8, GSSS-15, GSSS-38 (west) and GMHS-31.

These centres would be equipped with material designed for special children enrolled in government schools such as steppers, shoulder wheel, CP Chair, audiometer, Braille watch and talking books.



From Schools
Workshop on character building
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 10
A workshop on character building was organised in Bhavan Vidyalaya here yesterday. Dr Manisha Sahni was the resource person. She talked about six pillars of character that is trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. School doctor Dr Deepa also supported the session.

Fair: Fullerton India Credit Company Ltd organised a livelihood advancement fair called Disha here on Saturday. The fair was organised at Chaman Lal DAV School, Sector 11, Panchkula. The fair was organised for youth, college dropouts, men and women aspirants who are looking for livelihoods advancement.

Celebration: Narain Public School celebrated Grandparents Day on its premises today. The president of Narain Education Society Avtar Sigh Arora, and vice-president Tejinder Kaur were the guests of honour. Tiny Tots presented a musical extravaganza. Avtar Singh Arora presented all grandparents gifts. He emphasised that grandparents were an asset to the society.

Programme: Performance Enhancement Programme in English was held at DAV Public School, Patiala, on Saturday. The programme was organised by the Patiala Sahodya Schools in which 40 teachers from 13 different schools of Patiala (CBSE affiliated) took part.

Declamation: Rotary Club, Mid Town, Patiala, organised Dr K.C. Saranwal Memorial inter-school declamation contest in the Rotary Bhawan. Twenty students from 10 different schools of Patiala participated. Paramjit Singh Gill, Patiala DIG, was the chief guest. He gave away the prizes to the winners.

FANCY DRESS: A fancy dress competition was organised at B.M.D. Public School, Sector 63, here, today for the junior section kids. All students from pre-nursery to Class II participated in it. The students dressed up according to different themes like fruits, vegetables, cartoon characters and mythological characters.

EXPO: The spirit of ‘Punjab’ ruled Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, as the students put up a colourful exhibition depicting the rich culture and heritage of Punjab. S.K. Setia, DPI (schools), Chandigarh, was the chief guest.



Peace training concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
A two-day peace trainers’ training programme concluded at DAV College, Sector 10, here, yesterday.

This training was organised for teacher in charges of peace clubs in city schools and colleges. The programme was conducted by Yuvasatta, KB DAV-7 and DAV College with the support of Chandigarh education department. Teachers from 85 schools and colleges of the city participated in this initiative.

Prominent amongst those who interacted with and addressed the participants were storyteller and editor of Preelari Poonam Singh, senior journalist Vandana Shukla, Sikh scholar Kuldip Singh, dietician from PGI Bindya and internationally known peace educationist Dr A.K. Merchant.



INPA starts new course
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
The INPA (Indian National Portage Association) has started a one-year regular diploma in early childhood special education (DECSE-MR) affiliated with the Rehabilitation council of India.

Two batches have successfully completed the diploma and job placements of successful candidates are almost 100 per cent.

This course has a lot of job potential, according to Prof Tehal Kohli, professor emeritus, PU, and founder president, INPA.



Patiala judge murder case
Defence opposes summoning of witnesses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 10
There were heated arguments between the defence lawyer and the public prosecutor in the Patiala judge murder case today after the prosecution moved an application to summon the witnesses as per the supplementary challan.

Meanwhile, the defence lawyer argued that the witnesses could not be summoned as the supplementary challan had already been declined by the trial court. The prosecution had moved an application to summon seven or eight witnesses. Additional district and sessions judge Raj Rahul Garg adjourned the case to May 17.

The defence lawyer stated that the public prosecutor had concealed the fact that the supplementary challan was declined by the trial court.

The challan was prepared by the prosecution on December 15, 2005, and submitted before the court on December 21, 2005. In the meantime, the investigating officer found more witnesses and filed a supplementary challan that was not allowed by the court.

According to the prosecution, on the intervening night of October 12 and October 13 in 2005, Vijay Singh, judge at the Labour Courts, Patiala, was murdered in the Polo Ground, Patiala.

Manjit Singh, who allegedly murdered him, reached the Polo Ground on his motor cycle armed with a sword as he knew that Vijay Singh would be coming for his evening walk there.



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