C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mohali DC transferred
Poll panel acts on allegations by Cong MP
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

The DC had given a written complaint to the SSP Mohali that a local SAD leader abused him over the phone. The SAD leader, Bubby Badal, had kept quiet on the issue. The SSP, SAS Nagar, R.S. Khatra, said yesterday that nothing tenable was found in the DC’s complaint and the complaint was shelved after legal opinion.

The DC has also been at the receiving end of negative publicity with regard to the setting up of the district administrative and judicial complex at Sanetta village, about 20 km from Mohali. Regardless of protests by residents and lawyers, the DC informed the chief secretary, Punjab, that various Bar associations had approved the site. The site for the complex had to be reviewed later following strong public protest.

Mohali, May 11
The Punjab Government has transferred the deputy commissioner of SAS Nagar, H.I.S. Grewal, following allegations of partisan behaviour and having conjured up a controversial image in the run-up to the civic elections to be held tomorrow.

It is learnt that Rahul Bhandari, earlier posted as joint development commissioner, IRD, Punjab, has been posted as the new DC.

The Punjab State Election Commission had this morning ordered the government to transfer the DC with immediate effect. The commission was responding to a complaint by the Congress MLA from Kharar, Balbir Singh Sidhu, that the DC had abused him and his family members.

The MLA had alleged at a press conference yesterday that the DC had come to his house in the morning in an inebriated state and used foul language. He also allegedly threatened the MLA.

Sources said the election commissioner had, through written orders, asked the Punjab chief secretary to transfer the DC with immediate effect and said a compliance report should be sent to the commission’s office by evening.

The commissioner said the DC, who is also the district electoral officer, should be above controversy and since the DC had been embroiled in one, it would not be possible to hold fair elections.

The commissioner also added that in case the orders are not complied with, elections to the zila parishad and the block samitis in the district would have to be postponed.

It is learnt that the government has ordered Grewal’s transfer and replaced him with Rahul Bhandari.

Yesterday, Grewal had countered the allegations stating that it was the MLA who had threatened him with dire consequences when he tried to stop his workers from violating the election code. Grewal had been in the midst of controversies in the past six months.



Five months on, UT has no regular chief engineer
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Chandigarh administration cannot blame the Centre for delaying the appointment of officers, particularly the appointment of the UT home secretary, when at its own level, it has appointed the UT chief engineer on an ad hoc basis.

It has been 163 days since the previous chief engineer, V.K. Bhardwaj, retired after he reportedly rejected the offer of the administration for a three-month extension.

Citing the implementation of a crucial project as reason, the then finance secretary, S.K. Sandhu, had recommended a year’s extension to Bhardwaj, but rules came in the way.

Instead of appointing a regular chief engineer, the administration has asked the senior-most superintending engineer to officiate as chief engineer.

The administration, which adopts a single file system for the speedy disposal of files, is finding itself caught up between its own departments for the selection of a regular chief engineer.

As a result, the administration has not been able to provide the required information to the UPSC which has to conduct a departmental promotion committee meeting for the chief engineer.

Since February, the UT home department has written thrice to the secretary, engineering, to supply the information for onward transmission to the UPSC.

Incidentally, it would be easier now for the home department to communicate with the office of the secretary, engineering, as Sanjay Kumar, who is also the finance secretary-cum-secretary, engineering, holds the charge of the UT home secretary.

Sources reveal that the UPSC had sought some clarifications in December 2007, but these had not been given so far. The process to fill the top post should have started six months in advance from the date of retirement of Bhardwaj.

As in the case of the home secretary, the administration did not bother to initiate the action well in advance.



41 DAYS GONE still counting ...
Lobbying must be discouraged

Any official toeing the line of the UT top brass is acceptable to the Chandigarh administration. No one has the liberty to express his or her views.

Selection for the post of UT home secretary should be free from lobbying and politics. However, pulls and pressures are being exerted by Chandigarh and Haryana. The problem does not lie with the Centre.

The trend of IAS officers approaching political bosses to get selected is wrong.

— M.N. Sharma, former chief architect, Chandigarh



For CHB, charity begins at home
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Chandigarh Housing Board’s (CHB) generosity knows no bounds when it comes to showering gifts on its staff.

During the past five years, the magnanimous board has distributed Diwali and other gifts worth over Rs 1 crore among its employees and officers, bringing its financial planning under scanner. As per information got by Dalip Singh, a financial planner of Sector 17, through the RTI, the board distributed gifts worth Rs 8.20 lakh in 2003-04. The figure increased to over Rs 9 lakh the next year.

However, the figure touched an astronomical Rs 31.92 lakh by 2005-06. There was a marginal decrease in the amount the next year with the figure pegged at over Rs 30.99 lakh.

An amount of Rs 28.88 lakh was spent by the board on gifts in 2007-08. Official sources claimed that the gifts were part of welfare activities of the board for its employees.

When the CHB was making huge profits, there was nothing wrong in giving gifts, including cash incentives, to employees as a goodwill gesture, the sources said. However, the Chandigarh administration does not give Diwali gifts to its employees, the sources added. Dalip Singh has sent representations to the UT administrator, home secretary and the Chief Justice of the High Court to check the wastage of public money.



1 killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 11
One person was killed while three were seriously injured when a Maruti car rammed into a stationery Maxi cab on the Panchkula-Raipur Rani road, near here, today.

The police said the car was on its way to Barwala when it collided with the vehicle near Batod village.

Two bystanders, Pawan and Monu, were also injured. The victims were rushed to the Sector 6 Government Hospital where Tarsem Lal was declared brought dead while Satish was referred to the PGI. 



No passages here, only shops
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Sector 19-C Sadar Bazaar is an encroacher’s paradise and a death trap. In case of a fire or stampede, it will be difficult to carry out rescue operations in this congested market as shopkeepers have blocked verandas and passages.

A visit to the market revealed that shopkeepers are paying scant regard to fire safety norms. They have placed tables with heaps of garments in verandas and have hung bags and garments on the walls of their “shops”.

Fire fighting systems, advised by the fire department to be installed on pillars, are missing, Gurpartap Singh, a visitor to the market, said.

A shopkeeper, on the condition of anonymity, said some garment sellers had covered open area with tarpaulin and had placed tables in the open, blocking the passage.

Even though the MC had launched an anti-encroachment drive against offenders in the markets yesterday, it seems that the fear of the authorities is the last thing on their minds.

The MC had booked 17 shopkeepers in the Sector 22 Shashtri market for encroachment and had announced that similar drives would be conducted in other parts of the city.

Raja Bhapa, president of the market, said they had purchased about 20 fire extinguishers so far. Regarding encroachments, he said with time, the market had grown, but there was no space for them to expand their business.

M.P.S. Chawla, chairman of the fire and emergency services committee, said they had given a notice to the shopkeepers to meet fire safety norms within a month, failing which action would be initiated against them.



Dalit panel demands UT home secretary’s post
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The controversy over appointment of the new UT home secretary has got murkier, with the Atti Dalit Movement of India demanding that the post be given to an officer from the SC category on the basis of general reputation, integrity, ACR’s and public dealing.

In a communication to the Prime Minister office (PMOs) and UT administrator, the Atti Dalit Movement of India has claimed that the SC candidates - whose names were in the panel forwarded to the Centre - were being ignored due to certain vested interests.

Sanjeev Gharoo, convener of the Dalit Body, while addressing a press conference said one of the candidate favoured by the administration has certain cases against him. However, no information about other candidates was provided at the press conference.

The Dalit body accused the Chandigarh Administration and the UPA government for its anti- Dalit policies. The opinion of major political parties has been sought on the issue.

The convener said after a legal notice was served upon the secretary, department of personnel training, the name of the SC and BC candidates was included in the panel forwarded by the Haryana Government to the Chandigarh Administration.

The Dalit body has denied any inclination towards any specific candidate. “ We want the selection to be strictly on merit. The SC and ST category have never been considered for the post,” said Sanjeev.

Notably, the administration has recommended the name of Ram Niwas (1985 batch) while forwarding the entire panel, comprising R.P. Chandra (1984 batch), R.R. Jowel (1986 batch) and Anil Kumar (1988 batch). While one officer belongs to backward class category, other three are from SC category.



First woman president of BJP state unit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Avinash Rai Khanna, BJP MP from Punjab, who was appointed as the election officer by the party high command, today formally announced the appointment of Kamla Sharma as the president of the local unit at the party office, ‘Kamalam’, in Sector 33.

Kiran Ghai, all-India BJP secretary and co-in charge of BJP affairs of Chandigarh, said Sharma was the first woman president of the Chandigarh unit.

Khanna also announced the name of Satya Pal Jain, a former MP, as the only member of the BJP National Council from Chandigarh. The election of Sharma and Jain has been conducted in consonance with the party’s constitution and all 30 delegates - four district presidents and 26 mandal presidents - filed the nomination in their favour.

Addressing the workers, Jain expressed his gratitude to the party cadre for electing him and Sharma unanimously. Sharma said she would try her best to bring unity in the party.

Gurpartap Singh Riar, president of the local unit of SAD, said Akalis had always remained with BJP in the past and his party unit would continue to work with the BJP in future as well.



Tibetan donates kidney to friend
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
In a unique gesture of a non-related person donating kidney for transplant, a childhood friend has given a new lease of life to Jampel Gyastso, a former Tibetan “freedom fighter”.

In fact, a rare operation was performed on Jampel by transplanting the kidney donated by Gendun Tsephel at the PGI on Friday. Interestingly, the operation followed a rap to the PGI by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to conduct the operation on “humanitarian grounds”.

“A non-related donor giving kidney for transplant is certainly a rare phenomenon and the patient was doing fine,” Prof V. Sakhuja, PGI dean and head of the department of nephrology, told The Tribune here today.

Even as Jampel is on his way to recovery, a sense of satisfaction is writ large on the face of his friend Gendun. “I am happy that I have been able to save the life of my childhood friend. God gives such rare satisfying moments only to a select few,” Gendun, who has been discharged by the PGI, said.

Both kidneys of Jampel, a former political prisoner who escaped from the Chinese-occupied Tibet in 2004, were allegedly damaged in the wake of the Chinese torture. Jampel, who reported for treatment at the PGI in October 2007, was reportedly diagnosed with renal failure requiring kidney transplant for long-term survival.

As all his relatives were in Tibet, he was finding it difficult to arrange for a family donor. Even as his childhood friend Gendun offered to voluntarily donate his kidney “without any monetary consideration and purely on humanitarian grounds,” the PGI allegedly frustrated the unique gesture. The authorisation committee of the PGI, whose approval was mandatory for organ transplant under the provisions of the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994, allegedly dilly-dallied on the issue, forcing the patient to move the high court.

This was despite the fact that all tests were conducted and both patient and donor were found to be compatible for kidney transplant. Before the operation, Jampel had told The Tribune that he was excited at the prospect of getting a new life following the high court decision.



Sanghi alleges high-handedness by MC officials
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The annual general body meeting of the Citizens’ Association, Sector 21, was held at the Community Centre of the sector, here today.

However, P.C. Sanghi, president of the association, in a press statement said despite the fact that the association had booked the hall in advance certain officials had locked the place where the meeting was to be held.

Sanghi later took up the issue with the commissioner municipal corporation.

He alleged that Mahesh Nain, supervisor, and Ravinder Sharma, junior engineer (roads), did not allow the meeting to go ahead even as he had booked the premises on April 24.

Nain got the hall locked following instructions of Sharma, who remained inaccessible on phone. While Zorawar Singh, XEN Road-1, did not respond on his cellphone, S.K. Bansal, chief engineer, and T.P.S Phoolka, joint commissioner, expressed helplessness to intervene in the matter.

Meanwhile, during the meet members denounced the high-handedness of officials and appealed to authorities to take necessary action against them. Sanghi highlighted the development activities of the association during the year.



Fun Republic show cancelled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Scores of movie buffs, who were at Fun Republic to view the morning show of recently released movie ‘Krazzy 4’, were in for a shock when the show was cancelled without prior information, here today. Instead, at 10.10 am, an English movie ‘Ironman’ was screened.

Lamenting the development, Deepak Mahajan of Sector 47, who was here along his son Arnav Mahajan, said: “My son was eager to see the movie since a few days. Being a holiday, I came here today but only to get disheartened.”

Taking a dig at the theatre officials, Mahajan said they should have informed the public about the show cancellation in advance.

Meanwhile, Jaswinder Singh Jolly, senior vice- president of Fun Republic, said: “Yes, the show was cancelled due to some internal reasons but all the customers were informed about the development on the ticket window. That’s all what we could do.”




Maintain green belts

Everyday we hear that the municipal corporation and the UT administration are creating green belts in some area of Chandigarh and these are inaugurated by bigwigs with much fanfare.

But the moment they turn their backs, these green belts are forgotten.

The plight of the green belts in the southern sectors, especially of the one in Sector 40 facing house Nos. 2850-85, is a classic example of the administration’s disinterest in the same.

This green belt has never been attended to despite the fact that a number of complaints were lodged with the authorities.

In some green belts, heavy growth of congress grass is posing a serious threat to the lives of the people. Benches are broken and there are no toilets.

I urge upon the authorities that instead of creating new green belts and wasting public money, it would be better to take care of the existing ones and upgrade them for the convenience of the people.

S.K. Khosla



PU students can retain hostel during vacation
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
In a student-friendly gesture, Panjab University has decided to allow career-conscious students to retain hostel accommodation during the summer vacations.

With this move, students who wished to prepare for entrance examinations during the vacations but were unable to do so for lack of hostel accommodation, will now be able to do so.

Earlier, a lot of hostel students, for the want of accommodations, were forced to leave for their homes even if they wanted to stay back and study because the university’s hostel rules did not permit anyone to stay back even for a day after the conclusion of the university examinations.

Now, a student is required to follow a simple procedure. Write an application stating for which exam he/she wants to stay back addressed to the chairman of his/her respective department. After getting it endorsed by the chairman, the same will be signed by the hostel warden.

The university students have welcomed this move.

“This decision was long awaited. I am preparing for my civil services exams and I have to keep referring to a lot of books. With this, I will be able to retain my room in hostel and refer to the books in the library which were not available at my hometown,” said Prateek, a student from Tarn Taran.

“I belong to Rajasthan and since last two years, I shift to a nearby paying guest in every vacation as I am doing research in the university,” said research scholar Pooja.

Prof Naval Kishore, dean, student welfare, said, “We have done this to facilitate students in their studies. Now they can continue with it uninterrupted.”

Other than the students appearing in different entrance examinations, the university is also going to allow those students who belong to far off places to stay back in the hostels after they fulfil the pre-requisites.



2,000 appear for mock CAT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Over 2,000 MBA aspirants appeared for the free mock CAT test held at DAV College, Sector 10, here today. The test for Common Admission Test 2008 (CAT) was organised by Bulls Eye in association with The Tribune.

Besides Chandigarh, this test was also conducted at seven other locations in the region i.e. Ambala, Patiala, Bathinda, Shimla, Ludhiana, Yamunanagar and Saharnpur.

The paper was modelled on the latest CAT pattern. Mock CAT was given under strict test-like conditions to create a feel of the real test. "All participants will be sent their score cards along with section wise break-up and percentile rankings through post and SMS," said Hirdesh Madan, head, North Bulls Eye.

He also added that Bulls Eye was offering scholarships of more than Rs 5 lakh to the students who had appeared for this Mock CAT.

The CAT is conducted by Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) in November every year attracting over 2.25 lakh students from all over the country. Apart from the IIMs, many other management institutes, including Panjab University, use CAT scores for conducting their own admissions.

The eligibility for the test is graduation in any stream with minimum 50 per cent marks. Last year, around 13,000 students wrote the test from Chandigarh centre.

"The mock test was an eye opener," said Abhishek, a BCom student who came from Pathankot to appear in the test. "It gave us a feel of the actual test. Usually we think that if we are good in studies we can crack the test, but now I know that it calls for a lot of practice,” said Vinay.

In order to help students preparing for MBA entrance exams, Bulls Eye is also conducting a counselling week with IIM alumni from May 12 to18.

According to Siddharth Ahluwalia, one of the most successful candidates of CAT 2007 who is joining IIM Bangalore said, "Mock tests are very important. These help students in assessing themselves and fine-tuning their strategies." He added that freshers usually made mistakes that could be avoided if one had appeared in some mock tests.

The results of the test will be available on May 16 at 2 pm. They can also log on to the site www.hitbullseye.com for test results.



OCET management entrance exam held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Hundreds of students seeking admission to the newly opened University Institute of Applied Management Sciences (UIAMS) today took the OCET (other than common entrance examination) management examination conducted by Panjab University.

The entrance examination was held at three centres simultaneously in Delhi, Chandigarh and Ludhiana.

Approximately 1,600 students took the examination being held for the first session of the institute, which will start functioning from the ensuing academic session in July. There are 200 seats in four management courses, including retail management, infrastructure and IT, banking and insurance and hospital management and pharmacy management. Each course has 50 seats.

Prof A.K. Sahijpal, institute director, said, “We have got an excellent response from the students. Though we were apprehensive since it was the maiden session of the institute. Moreover, CAT exam was also held earlier. In spite of this, we received an overwhelming number of applications.”

Citing reasons for a good response, Prof Sahijpal said, “Since all the courses have been specially designed keeping in mind the market forces and trends, the students are naturally inclined towards these MBA courses.”

It is pertinent to mention here that the institute is also going to offer MBA through a distance learning programme, which will be open to foreign nationals for the first time. The entrance exam for this two-year course will be held on June 15.

In addition to this, the institute will also offer one-year diploma course in entrepreneurship and one-year PG diploma in NRI entrepreneurship and another in international business. The admission to all these diploma courses is direct and the last date to apply is June 27.



Day 35: PUTA stir continues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The relay fast by teachers and students of Panjab University for a Central University status entered the 35th day today and there are no signs of its let up. Since there has been no categorical response from the Punjab government and Union Government as yet, the teachers have pledged to intensify the agitation and carry it through the summer vacations as well.

Meanwhile, the campaign for observing Sadhbuddhi Diwas on May 13 at the site of chain fast has begun. Besides teachers and students, alumni and other concerned citizens of the town are expected to participate in it. Prayers will be recited so that better sense prevails among the functionaries of the Punjab and Union Government.

Members of the JAC have stepped up their efforts to convince political leadership of the region and a team of delegates has already sought appointment with the MHRD minister at New Delhi.

Prof V.K. Chopra, department of evening studies, reiterated that PU in terms of its accomplishment and profile deserved the Central University status and in case the university was not bailed out from the present financial crisis, the blame squarely would be on the political leadership of the region. JAC chairman Prof A.S. Ahluwalia feared that if the proposed Central Universities in Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh came up near Chandigarh, there would be mass exodus of talented faculty and students from this university and the worst sufferer would be the state of Punjab.

Among those who sat on the relay fast were Prof V.K Chopra, Dr Sudhir Kumar and Dr G.C. Chauhan, all from the department of evening studies, while Rajani Sahota, and Ekta Sachdeva, both research scholars from the department of history, also joined them.



Music library planned
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
The Music Department of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development is planning to submit a proposal to the Central government for setting up of an audio-visual library. This will be the first of its kind in the country and will have a collection of music of all languages and the documentation of its literature. Sharbari Banerjee, musicologist of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development and classical music artist, stated this while talking to The Tribune here today.

Sharing information about the proposal, Banerjee said it was a long pending demand of the music lovers of the country to have such a library. She said as each part of the country had its own specialisation and composition in music so they desired that such a library could help researchers find all information about music at one place. At present the art lovers had to tap many places to find music of all types in their respective areas.

She said the idea of setting up such a collection of music under one roof was to make available all kinds of music to art lovers and students those wanted music as an optional subject. She said at present such types of libraries were at the Prasar Bharti, Doordarshan Archives and the Sangeet Natak Academy, which were not easily accessible to the art lovers. She said the ministry had started preparing the database of classical and folk music available in the country. Even well known personalities with special interest in music were being consulted for contribution of their collections in the field to be made part of the library and make the library that of an international standard.

Banerjee said a plan was also being formulated to introduce art and music as a regular subject in the schools all over the country. She said most of the schools had art and music as a vocational subject and if any student opted to make his or her career in it they had to take private guidance.



Poor students given stationery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 11
Around 350 underprivileged students studying in 53 government schools of the city were given free books, clothes and study material by Bharat Vikas Parishad, Chandigarh, at a function held at MCM DAV College auditorium, Sector 36, here, today.

Under its project ‘Saksharta’, an annual affair, the Parishad also honoured brilliant students and teachers who were associated with the Parishad.

S.K. Kulkarni, DUI, Panjab University, was the chief guest while I.D. Ojha, national working president of the Parishad, presided over the function.



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