C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Monkeying around with residents’ life
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Monkeys in hordes stalk the city’s northern sectors, attacking women and children carrying eatables.Worst still, they enter houses, ransack articles, open refrigerators and decamp with edibles.

Some time ago, the simians invaded Sector 23, forcing the intimidated residents indoors. Some time ago, the simians invaded Sector 23, forcing the intimidated residents indoors. The monkeys left the lawns of several homes in ruins.

According to sources in the UT wildlife department, the city has a population of 600 simians. The number is not formidable. But since the animals move about in hordes, their presence appears overwhelming. The department, facing three PILs in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, is ill -equipped to tackle the menace.

A few months ago, the department received calls from terrified Sector 35 residents complaining that a large group of monkeys had descended on their locality.

They said a truck bearing Punjab’s registration number had released the animals in their locality. A few months ago three students of a school in the same sector were attacked by monkeys.

Ishwar Singh, UT chief wild life warden, said the monkeys entered houses only to drink water and frequented those places where they were fed. He said the wildlife departments in Punjab and Haryana were not cooperating with UT to tackle the menace.

He said they planned a “transit camp” for monkeys where they would be kept and conditioned to live in the forests.

He said monkeys were sensitive animals and exhibited strong suicidal tendencies. It was not easy to send them back to the jungles. Monkeys tended to commit suicide if separated from their group.



2 killed as bikes collide in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 13
Two youths were killed here late last night when their motorcycles collided near the Phase 1 gurdwara. Both victims were from Chandigarh.

While Sukhwant (34) of Sector 56 died on the spot, Harmandeep Singh (22) of Milk Colony, Dhanas, died at a private hospital.

Harmandeep, a mechanical engineer employed with a steel factory, was on his way home after watching the cricket match at the PCA.

Sukhwant, an employee with ICICI Bank in Chandigarh, was going for dinner with his friend Pradeep Kumar who was riding pillion.

The motorcycles were coming from the opposite direction and at high speed. Residents of the area rushed the victims to hospital. They informed the family of the victims using the SIM cards from the broken mobiles.

Harmandeep was the eldest son of Pritam Singh, an employee of the UT health department. After leaving the factory in Phase VII at about 8.30 pm, he messaged his father that he was going to see the match.

The family got a call at about 11.30 pm that their son was in hospital. Sukhwant had gone for dinner with his friends. The police said his friend was with him when the accident took place, but Sukhwant’s brother-in-law Rajiv said Sukhwant was alone when the accident took place.

Sukhwant was married and has two children. His father had died in a road accident five years ago in Jaipur. His brother is in Australia and sister in the US.

The family of Harmandeep had a tough time in getting his body from police custody. His family requested the Mohali SDM, Raghubir Kaur Khaira, to allow exemption from postmortem, but she reportedly refused.

She first asked the family to get a report from the SHO concerned, following which she asked for an affidavit from the family. However, even when after all this she refused, the family contacted the DC, Rahul Bhandari, who had to intervene.

The SDM told mediapersons that such an exemption could not be given until all procedural requirements were met.

She added that the request was made by relatives of the victim, for which an additional affidavit was required.



In city, boy run over by school bus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
A day after a 35-year-old man was run over by a truck, a 16-year-old school boy was run over by a school bus in Sector 46 here this evening.

Arvind and his sister were on their way back from Shikhya School, Sector 46, on a cycle when the incident took place.

The bus belongs to St Peter’s School, Sector 37. Arvind lost his balance when the bus hit the bicycle from behind and was run over by the bus.

He sustained severe injuries and was rushed to the GMCH where he was declared brought dead.

The bus driver had fled the spot, leaving behind the bus. The police arrested him late in the evening.



Sector 17 in metro league
A showroom was recently rented to a major garment company for over Rs 20 lakh per month
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Commercial rentals in the city are going the metro way. The entry of big corporates has sent the rentals skyrocketing in the commercial hub of Sector 17, putting it in the metro league.

Sector 17, which continues to be the first choice of companies, has reported an increase of over 300 per cent in rentals during the past three years. While the rate per sq ft was quoted at just Rs 200 per sq ft in 2006, the figure doubled to over Rs 400 per sq ft the next year. The prevailing market is quoted at over Rs 700 per sq ft in the plaza area.

The renting out of a showroom to a major garment company for over Rs 20 lakh per month recently has surprised observers.

Even southern sectors like Sector 43 are high on the rader of corporates. In Sector 43, a showroom was rented for over Rs 7 lakh a month recently.

“The spurt in rentals is primarily on account of a craze of MNCs to have a brand presence in Sector 17. The prevailing rates could safely be compared to commercial hubs like Connaught Place in New Delhi,” Amarjit Sethi, a property consultant, said.

Observers said the shortage of prime commercial property in Sector 17 in the wake of outdated bylaws was primarily to be blamed for high rentals.

“Since readymade garment companies earns huge profits, they can afford to pay high rents,” J.P.S. Kalra, a Sector 17 trader, said.

Retail chains like Subhiksha, 6Ten and Spencer in other sectors and fast food joints and restaurants in Sector 26 are responsible for spiralling rentals in the city.

Sources said the emergence of Sector 17 as the prime commercial centre for Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal, besides Chandigarh, had attracted big companies.

This, coupled with entertainment and food facilities in the sector, drew shoppers, observers added.



Convert into multiplexes, get sops
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
City cinema owners have a reason to cheer. Acting on their pending demand to allow conversion of cinema halls into multiplexes, the Chandigarh administration has decided to offer sops to cinema owners.

As proposed by the administration, the cinema owners are likely to get more area for “commercial exploitation”. The concession could be in the form of more floor area ratio (FAR) and more height.

While in case of Jagat Cinema and Fun Republic, wherein the height of projection rooms had been relaxed by 2’-11” and 4’, respectively, the administration is working out formulae to give some benefits to every cinema hall, sources said.

Apart from additional height and FAR, cinema owners have sought permission to construct Imax theatre.

As per the existing covered area of various cinema halls, only KC theatre has a plot area of more than an acre.

Owners of Neelam, Kiran, Nirman and Piccadilly and Batra are reportedly interested in converting their cinemas into multiplexes.

Some cinema owners are politically connected and have been pursuing their cases. A senior official said all cinemas have different heights varying from 44’-6” to 59’ and it was not on a par with adjoining SCOs and SCFs.

Piccadilly Cinema’s height is 47’-10”, but the height of adjoining buildings is 62’-3”.



Tapping Water
MC initiative to curb wastage in slums
Constructs underground tanks fitted with hand pumps
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
To plug wastage of water in slums, the municipal corporation is constructing underground water tanks fitted with hand pumps.

As part of the project, the corporation has already set up 17 such tanks in various slums across the city.

A senior officer of the corporation said impressed by the idea, the Punjab government was also installing similar tanks in villages to control the misuse and wastage of potable water.

The project is the outcome of an innovative idea to curb wastage of water in slums that have 16-hour water supply on stand posts.

With the absence of water metering in colonies, dwellers seldom bothered to turn off taps when not in use.

“Thousands of gallons of precious drinking water went down the drain. The corporation authorities decided to install hand pumps so that people made effort to draw water, which ultimately helped plug wastage,” said a public health officer of the corporation.

The system known as “Stand post having underground reservoir coupled with hand pumps” costs Rs 50,000 each is said to be an effective means of curbing wastage in slums.

The project involves the construction of a two-metre-deep 3,000-litre RCC water tank having a diameter of 56 inches.

The tank is covered with a concrete slab and a platform is constructed around the tank in which four hand pumps are fitted.

The tank is linked with fresh river water supply round the clock. Hand pumps are easy to handle and even little children can draw water.

Earlier, the biggest concern with the authorities was theft of taps by miscreants, petty thieves and drug addicts, causing unchecked drainage of potable water.

A senior officer of the public health department told TNS that the project was initiated during the previous financial year.

At least 17 tanks had been constructed in various slums, including in Bapu Dham Colony, Colony No. 5, Rajiv Colony, Shahpur Colony, Kuldeep Colony, Adarsh Colony, Lal Bahadur Shashtri Colony and Nehru Colony. The corporation is planning to construct 10 new tanks in the near future.

The system will also help women working as domestic help who often return from work at odd hours when the taps are dry.

With the construction of water tanks, they will now be able to get water any time of the day.



Anti-encroachment drives fail to deter violators
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Anti-encroachment drives of the municipal corporation against habitual offenders notwithstanding, encroachers continue to thrive in the city.

Though the enforcement wing has booked over 50 shopkeepers in the city in the past two days, encroachments continue to flourish in other markets.

According to sources in the corporation, certain officials of the enforcement staff are hand in glove with shopkeepers indulging in violations.

These officials, including those in the field, tip shopkeepers about the anti-encroachment drive to be conducted in their markets.

Terming it a “well-oiled” mechanism between officials and shopkeepers, the sources add that even challans are issued for small offences, ignoring glaring violations.

A shopkeeper in the Sector 19 Sadar Bazaar told TNS that a certain shopkeeper, who greased the palms of enforcement staff, had been putting their counters in the corridor, leaving virtually no space for the visitors to move.

He added that considering space constraints, shopkeepers ought to keep their counters inside their shops and they should be in “L” shape so that customers could come inside the shop to see that wares.

The shopkeepers have encroached upon the open space inside the market and have placed huge heaps of garments on tables there.

They have also covered the open area with tarpaulin, thus violating the fire safety norms, putting theirs as well as the lives of visitors to grave risk.

Area officials of the enforcement wing have apparently turned a blind eye to these violations, as they have not been taking any action to prevent these.

A day after violations were highlighted in these columns, violators removed their goods from the open space and passages, but after getting “green signal” from officials things were back to square one in the market.

MC officials said a special drive could not be carried out today due to the shortage of staff.

On the connivance of enforcement staff with shopkeepers, a senior MC officer clarified that the area officials were not informed about where the drive was to be launched, thus the chances of tipping shopkeepers were little.



Live Wire
City Beautiful’s naked truth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
The city is dotted with virtual death traps in the form of naked power cables coming out of streetlight poles and loose wires hanging from transformers.

Deaths due to electrocution caused by naked wires have caught little attention of the UT electricity department and the municipal corporation.

The death traps are everywhere — be it the posh northern sectors or the crowded southern ones.

The problem is more acute in colonies and villages on the periphery. Incidents of electrocution at Ram Darbar, Bapu Dham Colony and Kishangarh in the past are still fresh in the minds of the city residents.

A survey of the city revealed that at many places junction boxes had been left open as a result of which naked wires dangled out. No effort had been made to tie the wires and secure these in junction boxes.

In Sector 4 — a VIP area — naked wires have been left unattended to near MLA hostel. Similarly, loose wires can be seen along the road dividing Sectors 29 and 30.

Live wires coming out of the streetlight poles pose a grave danger to the lives of pedestrians.

In Sector 4, a junction box was found open with naked wires dangling out of fuses.

At Khuda Ali Sher, children were found playing near a transformer with wires hanging precariously from it.



Senior citizens feel far from safe
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Claims by the Chandigarh police on looking after senior citizens seem to be farfetched, as a majority of senior citizens rue that policemen on beat duty rarely visit them.

The police on the contrary claims that there are clear instructions to policemen on beat duty to visit elderly citizens, especially those who live alone, at least thrice a month.

A senior citizen, Rattan Lal (name changed for security reasons), who lives alone in his Sector-38 house, laments that the claims of the police are confined to papers only.

“None of the policemen has ever come to my house to enquire about my wellbeing. Apparently, other elderly people too get the same treatment. If this is the duty of the police to visit senior citizens, one can well imagine how well they are performing their duty,” he says, while maintaining that he has contacted the IG to apprise him of his problem many a time. “I am still awaiting action,” he adds.

Echoing similar sentiments, Niranjan Singh (name changed) of Sector 35, says: “It is a news to me that policemen on beat duty are supposed to visit the houses of elderly. It is a good step if it is followed religiously. No one from the police has ever come to my house,” he says.

However, another senior citizen, Gurmail Kaur (name changed) belonging to Sector 20, says: “I am a bit lucky in that the police visits me once a month and also enquires about my problems. This is a good gesture as it gives lonely people like me a sense of security.”

Police Inadequacy?

None of the policemen has ever come to my house to enquire about my wellbeing. Apparently, other elderly people too get the same treatment.

If this is the duty of the police to visit senior citizens, one can well imagine how well they are performing their duty.



Bottle Battle
Tricity residents want no more liquor vends
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
The battle against the bottle has finally begun. Concerned at the ill-effects of alcohol, residents of the tricity are up in arms against the mushrooming of liquor vends in residential areas.

In fact, since the beginning of the new financial year, certain liquor vend owners have been at the receiving end of the public.

Irate residents have been opposing the decision of the excise department for its failure to seek public opinion on the sensitive issue of the opening of new vends.

In the backdrop of the liberalised regime for the allotment of liquor vend under the new excise policy, there has been a spurt in liquor vends.

With market forces ruling the roost in liquor trade, several markets have more than two liquor vends and in some cases residential areas near the markets bear the brunt of nuisance caused by tipplers.

Recently, liquor contractors had problems in opening liquor shops at Mauli Jagran, Badheri, Maloya and Sector 15 in Chandigarh.

“While the administration was more concerned about the huge revenue from the allotment of the liquor vend, the social cost seems to be nobody’s concern,” S.K. Sharma, a resident of Sector 15, said.

When a new liquor vend opened in Panchkula in Sector 19, there was a fierce protest. The authorities had to announce that the vend would not function.

In the wake of a strong protest recently, the DC of Panchkula had ordered the closure of liquor vends at Swastik Vihar.

Official sources claimed that public opinion was sought every year and suitable amendments were made to minimise inconvenience to the public.



Return of Liquor Vend
Residents to move court
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 13
Residents of Mansa Devi Complex are disappointed as their efforts to get a liquor vend shifted from here have proved futile.

The vend has started again, even though the local administration had ordered its shifting last week. The residents have decided to approach the court in this regard.

The liquor vend was opened near Mata Mansa Devi Dwar being built by HUDA at a cost of over Rs 75 lakh.

The list of the excise and taxation department shows the location of the vend in Swastik Vihar, but it was opened almost a km away from the designated site near the dwar, hurting the religious sentiments of residents.

The DC had ordered the shifting of the vend, after which it remained closed
for a week.

“What interest does the excise department have in allowing the vend to be shifted. It only reflects the helplessness of the district administration over the issue,” said Luxmi Devi, a councillor.

The DC, however, said the owners of the vend were allowed to reopen it after they filed an affidavit to the government, seeking a month’s time to shift the vend to a suitable place.



P’kula MC Chief Poll
Cross-voting may decide the winner
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 13
Cross-voting is expected to be the deciding factor during elections to Panchkula municipal council president and vice-president, slated for tomorrow.

While the Congress, which claims to have 16 votes in its kitty, will not be able to get the vote of the local MP, who is on an excursion abroad, the problems of the party can be aggravated in case a consensus is not reached on the name of the president.

Moreover, a truck between the BJP and the INLD, with 17 votes between them, can also nullify any chance of the Congress to clinch the post.

The going may get tough for party, which claims to have the support of four Independents after registering win on nine seats in municipal council elections on March 30, if the other two parties join hands.

The Congress has so far not been able to decide on the name of its candidates even after long discussion among its leaders, including local MP and union minister of state for poverty alleviation Selja and deputy chief minister Chander Mohan.

With nine seats being occupied by women, Jalmegha Dahiya, a councillor from ward No. 11, being an old face in the council has staked her claim to the post of president.

Also, the supporters of councillor from ward No. 14 Ravinder Rawal, a confidant of deputy chief minister, has claimed that he has the first right to the post of president as he has been instrumental in bringing the support of Independents councillors to the party.

On the other hand, the BJP with eight councillors in the civic body has been emboldened by the recent feelers from the INLD assuring support if they agree on the name of V.K. Sood.

“We are all set to elect Sood as council president as a majority of the INLD as well as Congress councillors have assured us of support at the time of election, which will be held through secret ballot,” claimed Sanjay Ahuja, spokesperson for the BJP.

The party, however, cannot bank on the votes of the INLD alone, as it will be difficult for it to ignore former INLD president Seema Chaudhary.



Police seeks time for verification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
The UT police yesterday asked for six-week time from the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to verify the qualifications of Ajay Kumar, who was appointed as wireless technician in the department.

The request came to light after a contempt petition was filed by the applicant, Bal Krishan Sharma.

Sharma had challenged the appointment of Ajay on the plea that under the official guidelines he was not qualified for the post of wireless technician.

The tribunal had passed orders to consider the appointment of Ajay to the post
of constable.

The tribunal had also asked the police department to verify if Ajay possessed the requisite qualification for the post.

Subsequently, a contempt petition was filed by the applicant.

According to the official guidelines, the police personnel appointed in the wireless should have taken chemistry and physics as subjects in classe 12.

The candidate should also have pursued a diploma in radio and television.



Priest’s killing
Cops make little headway
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Fourteen days after the crime, the Chandigarh Police is yet to trace those who set a priest of Kajheri village on fire.

On April 29, a priest was set on fire by eight persons belonging to the village and members of the Mandir Committee.

In his dying declaration to the magistrate, the priest named Tarsem Chand, alias Pinki, a government employee, and seven others. He died three days after the incident.

Eyewitnesses say they saw all eight accused running out of the temple. When contacted, SHO Devinder Sharma said investigations was on.

“Besides recording the statement of eyewitnesses and villagers, we are taking legal opinion of the district attorney.”



Computer Vision Syndrome cases shoot up
Reason: Excessive use of electronic gadgets with tiny screens
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Do you suffer from frequent headaches, dryness in eyes, watering and tiredness at the end of the day?

Do you face difficulty in focusing on your computer screen? If yes, you could be suffering from Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). The number of CVS cases has shot up in the city. Reason: excessive use of electronic gadgets with tiny screens.

According to ophthalmologists, over 75 per cent of those exposed to computers for eight to 10 hours every day suffer from CVS. According to doctors, the tiny screen accelerates the onset of CVS. The average age of those complaining of computer-related eye problems is 23-26 years, said doctors.

Not only in adults, even children are suffering from CVS. Thanks to online computer games, which kids play for endless hours, they lead to dryness in eyes. Cyber addiction also develops CVS due to prolonged computer use.

According to Dr Asha Sharma, head of department of ophthalmology, GMSH-16, CVS is fast becoming a silent epidemic of the 21st century.

The main reason for CVS is that the blink rate of 15 per minute is reduced to about 5 per minute. This causes evaporation of tears and reduced wetting of the eyes by natural tears. The eyes become strained and tired.

Dr Sharma said blinking, closing eyelids and palming eyes frequently whenever one begins to sense eye discomfort are the best ways of avoiding CVS. “Out of 150 patients, 20-30 patients report for CVS,” she added.

"One must not be seated near an air vent and eliminate the flow of air past your eyes. Low humidity aggravates the dry-eye condition. The size of the text should be three times the size of the smallest text you can read. The computer screen should be four to eight inches below the eyes," said Dr Guneet J Mann, eye specialist in one of the leading private eye institutes in the city.

A short frequent break also helps the eye. "After every 30 minutes, a person should take a 30-second break and focus on another object, which is 20 feet away," Dr Guneet said.

When one stares at a screen, the blinking rate comes down drastically. This causes faster evaporation of tears in the eye, leading to irritation, watering and itching in eyes. So they should use some lubricant.


Make sure that the computer screen (if it is a desktop) is about 1 metre away from your eyes

The screen should be placed below eye level so that one does not have to look upwards when reading the screen.

Brightness should be moderate, not dull. A slight tilt of screen is recommended.

If you are using bi-focal glasses you should be using the upper part of the glasses to see the computer screen and not the lower part which is meant for close reading.

Make a habit to consciously blink frequently while working.

Make sure that there is adequate lighting and ventilation at your workplace.



Short service to be made more lucrative: Minister
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 13
To meet the shortage of officers in the defence forces, the union government is working on making short service commission (SSC) more attractive.

In addition, a proposal to give permanent commission to women is also under consideration, which will help increase their participation to some extent.

This was stated by minister of state for defence Dr M.M. Pallam Raju, who was on a visit to the Haryana Rajya Sainik Board (RSB) here today.

Dr Raju’s visit is part of a series of visits that the minister has been undertaking to various RSBs across the country to review welfare measures being implemented for ex-servicemen by the state sainik boards.

Interacting with mediapersons, the minster said there was a shortage of 12,000 officers in the forces and the government was serious on tackling the issue for which proposals were under consideration to make the short service commission more lucrative and give permanent commission to women in the JAG (Judge Advocate General) — the law branch of the Army and Education Corps.

Clearing the air on forming separate pay commission for defence forces, the minister said no such need was felt and a committee of secretaries from the union government had been formed to redress the grievances in this regard. Representatives of armed forces would also be included in the committee, he said.

During his address, the minister said keeping in view the immense employment opportunities now available to ex-servicemen in the private sector, the course structure of the Directorate General of Resettlement (DGR) would be revamped, making it more relevant to the needs of the corporate sector.

Of the 60,000 ex-servicemen retiring every year, nearly three-fourths were currently being absorbed in the private sector with assistance from DGR, he said.

The ex-servicemen, he said, were a huge resource of disciplined talent, which the government endeavoured to use for the task of nation building.

Their services should be extensively used by the state governments to implement rural development schemes, he added. There are 20 lakh ex-servicemen in the country, he added.

Director General of Resettlement Maj Gen S.G. Chatterji said a massive exercise of automation and computerisation of the DGR setup was under way, which would help the organisation reach the ESM directly and address their grievances and provide appropriate help.

A new website of the DGR would soon be launched which, he said, would be both informative and interactive.



SSP meets chemists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
City SSP S.S. Srivastava yesterday held a meeting with members of the Chemists Association at the conference hall in police headquarters here.

DSP CID Madhur Verma and other division officers also attended the meeting. The aim was to solve the menace of drug abuse.

The SSP laid stress on the need to curb the sale and also the purchase of intoxicants and drugs.



Body found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
The body of an unidentified youth, in his mid-20s, was found near the track near Mansa Devi here this morning.

The police has ruled out foul play behind the death. The railway police said the incident came to light in the morning. The victim was wearing a red shirt, black jeans and black shoes.



11-yr ordeal to get son’s killer punished
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 13
Sucha Singh has no tears left in his eyes. And now there is not even the stray spark of anger or rancour.

A former secretary to a cabinet minister of Punjab, Sucha Singh Kang lost his young son to an accident around 11 years ago and is still awaiting justice. All he wants to know now is whether he will get justice in his own lifetime or not.

“My son Daslesh was 25 years old and was pursuing engineering. In January, 1997, he was hit by a speeding car coming from Chandigarh on the stadium road. Badly injured, he struggled for life for six months at the PGI and then at the GMCH but lost the battle,” says Kang.

Kang’s elder son went into depression and left his studies. “I managed to settle him abroad but I have not been able to overcome the loss of my son. What hurts me even more is that I have failed to get those punished who were responsible for my son’s death,” said Kang.

For 11 long years, Kang has been running from pillar to post and has met every DGP that has come and gone. The accused, Davinder Singh, who was driving the car that hit Daslesh, was also a resident of Mohali.

He was arrested by the police after the accident but was bailed out by a Kharar court. Since then, the accused has been on the run and has been declared a proclaimed offender.

“But the police is making no efforts to catch him. SSP Mohali asked me to hand the accused over to him if I find him. Is it my duty to find the accused?” says Kang.



Panel to seek quota for cleaners in CHB schemes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
The Sanitation Committee of Municipal Corporation (MC) yesterday decided to take up the issue of reservation of sweepers in Chandigarh Housing Board’s housing schemes.

The meeting held under the chairmanship of Resham Chand Jakhu was attended by members of the committee, including Kamlesh, Dr Neelam, Rita Sharma, H.C. Kalyan, Ram Sumer Morya, Anil Kumar Dubey, Dr G.C. Bansal, medical officer health (MOH), and BK Sharma, officer on special duty, MOH.

The committee recommended Rs 1,000 as fixed local travelling allowance to
sanitary inspectors.

It also recommended filling of regular 2,500 posts of sanitation worker, setting up of pre-fabricated structures at the place of attendance of sanitation workers, besides recognising supervisors as health zoning officers and changing old mobile phones.

The committee decided to take up the issue of providing regular appointment to dependents of deceased employees on compassionate grounds with the Government of India.



VHP condemns Jaipur blasts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
The local unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) condemned the serial blasts at a crowded market in the walled city area in Tripolia Bazar, Jaipur, this evening.

In a joint statement, Dharam Vir, Vijay Singh Bhardwaj and Shakti Prakash Devshali, senior leaders, condemned the cowardly act of anti-national forces who wanted to divide the country on the basis of religion.



Selection must start early

The selection process should start much in advance from the date when the term of an outgoing officer is nearing completion.

It should actually be mandatory to start the process much in advance.

There should no period of suspense. Even if it is a question of seeking extension, the process should start early.

This would help in the smooth functioning of the administrative machinery.

— Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP, Chandigarh



More hostels for students

With the city coming up as an education and IT hub, paying guests have become an integral part of the population here. But, there is lack of regular and cheaper accommodation in the tricity.

In absence of suitable accommodation, these students fell pray to landlords, who provide them accommodation and food at skyrocketing prices without checking their credentials as their only aim is earning profit.

The administration should start hostels for such students. The accommodation in such hostels should be provided at the first-come-first-basis. Even public private participation can be helpful.

R.K. Garg, Chandigarh



Student barred from taking exam
ABVP stages protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 13
Supporters of the ABVP staged a dharna outside the vice chancellor’s office in Panjab University today after Sukhvir Singh, a student of the sociology department, was not allowed to take the final examination.

Visually impaired Sukhvir was barred from appearing in the paper as he was short of lectures. Sukhvir has already taken two exams.

The protesters sat on the dharna raising slogans against the varsity faculty. The president of the ABVP said, "The student was not able to attend classes as he was undergoing treatment from the PGI for the impairment.”

The protest was called off after dean of the social welfare department Prof Naval Kishore intervened and assured that appropriate action would be taken soon.

The dean averred, "The student was running short of 54 lectures so, we had moved his case to the dean of the university instructions, who allowed him to appear for two exams. He had also asked the student to complete the formalities failing which he has been disallowed to appear in the remaining exams."



Relay Fast: Teachers, students hold prayers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Despite busy schedule due to the ongoing examination, a large number of teachers and students today assembled at the site of the relay fast to join prayers by Prof Shankarji Jha of the department of Sanskrit and his colleagues.

Prayers were made to observe Sadbuddhi Diwas on the call of the Joint Action Committee. The purpose was to reach out to all those state functionaries, who are tightlipped on the offer of the ministry of the human resource development to make Panjab University a central university.

“Where reason ends, faith starts, where mind fails, emotion works and thus to penetrate deeper into the souls of heartless politicians, the spiritual realm was evoked by chanting hymns of wisdom,” said Prof Vikram Kumar of the department of Sanskrit, who also sat on the fast today.

Other teachers, who joined the relay fast today, were Gurmeet Singh, department of physical education, Ashok Kumar, department of Hindi.

Meanwhile, two research scholars Kuljeet of Dayanand Chair for Vedic Studies and Amandeep Singh of the Punjabi department also joined them.

Prof Manjit Singh, coordinator, JAC, said the PU community would continue the fast during the summer vacation. A large number of departments have volunteered to join in during the summer vacation.

President of the students’ council Parminder Jaswal said the Punjab Government should not test our patience.

If our hungry stomachs failed to evoke sympathy, we would not hesitate to take other steps, involving even students and teachers from the colleges of Punjab, he added.



Inculcate sense of belonging in students: Guv
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
A meeting of the board of governors of Punjab Public School, Nabha, was held here today. Punjab Governor and UT administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) presided over the meeting.

He voiced his concern over the growing trend of fulfilling personal ambitions and short-term goals by individuals.

There was a need to reverse this trend by developing innovative educational programmes that inculcate a sense of ownership and belongingness among students and serve the national purpose.

Strongly advocating the need for reinventing our approaches and restructuring the syllabi of the higher and secondary education, General Rodrigues said the process had already started.

Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal stated that he would give a grant of Rs 5 lakh to the corporate fund. He also assured more financial support to the school for promotion its academic programmes.

Various issues, including approval of the budget for the year 2008-09, were discussed at the meeting and it was resolved to improve academic and sports standards in the school.



From School and Colleges
Students bid farewell to seniors
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 13
Management, staff and students of Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology bade farewell to final-year students by organising a party.

Sukhmani Group chairman Prof Avtar Singh and director Kanwaljit Kaur were the chief guests.

Mr Sukhmani and Ms Sukhmani titles were bagged by Aashish Batta and Urvashi, respectively. The event was organised by dean, cultural affairs, Prof Gurpreet Kaur.


Golden Bells Public School, Sector 77, organised installation and oath ceremony to make students more responsible and disciplined towards their duties. Nikhil Bansal and Puneeta Gupta of class X were selected head boy and head girl, respectively, of the school.

School director Col C.S. Bawa exhorted students to play constructive role in the development of the nation. Students were also asked to work for the smooth functioning of various activities to be organised in the school through out the session.


A fancy dress competition was organised at BMD School for children of the junior section. Students from pre-nursery to class II participated in the contest.

Children came dressed in colourful attires. Principal Navneet Kaur said such activities instilled confidence in students and helped them learn while playing.

Annual day

Indo Global College of Education Abhipur (Mohali) celebrated its Annual Day “Disha-2008”.

Chief guest Niranjan Singh advised prospective teachers to get prepared for future challenges.

The best student award was given to Poonam Rani. Other winners included Anamika Mehta, Poonam Rani and Puja Vinayak.

IGEF chairman Sukhdev Kumar Singla encouraged students to put their skills and talents to the optimum use.

Mother’s Day

An interactive session with psychologist Rajshree Sharda was organised on Mother’s Day at Small Wonders School here. A seminar on the wellbeing of mother - “A Happy Mom is a Happy Family” - attracted over 200 participants.

Principal Anu Mahajan said the aim of holding the interactive session was to help mothers understand their roles in a better way.

Anee’s School organised a competition to celebrate Mother’s Day. Mothers took part in the contest, while children made cards and gifted flowers to their mothers.

School director of Aneet Goyal elaborated on the importance of the day.

Shivalik Public School celebrated the Mother’s Day by organising competitions. Students expressed their feelings through self-composed poems, calligraphy, sandwich making and card making.

Winners: Puneet, Kanika, Ramandeep, Rajat, Navneet, Jaskaran, Simranjot and Vimal.

Manav Mangal Smart School celebrated Mother’s Day with students from pre-nursery to class VIII making cards for their mothers. Various games were organised for mothers and attractive prizes were given to the winners.

A music corner was created where children requested songs for their mothers and music teachers performed these live.

Mother’s Day celebrations at Ashmah International School were highlighted by a spiritual discourse by Vikas Madan, disciple of Ravi Shankar, founder of ‘Art of Living’ movement.

Vikas Madan delivered a talk on stress-free and healthy living.

Students invent machine

Rajpura: Mechanical engineering students of Shaheed Udham Singh College of Engineering and Technology have made a machine, which could be used as a thresher, tractor, tube-well motor, and combine machine for other uses.

A batch of seven eighth semester students of technical engineering including Balwinder, Kirandeep, Jatinderpal, Vibhu Sharma, Saurav Sharma, Rajvinder Singh and Harvinder Singh, have made the machine. They have made the machine in 45 days at the cost of Rs 45,000.

The students said the machine could separate wheat and fodder simultaneously and used as a tractor as well. Most of the parts of the machine are separable. It could also be connected with a tube well to draw out water, said the students. "We have tested the capability of this machine and it was found that it works properly and harvests wheat and separates hay from one acre land in six or seven hours," said the students.

Since it is a prototype, its bigger version could work more swiftly, which would cost around Rs 10 lakh, they added. They said the wheels of Scooty and engines of Yamaha and Rajdoot motorcycles were used to operate the machine.

Placement drive

Banur: A joint campus placement drive for recruitment in six different companies was held at Shaheed Udham Singh College of Engineering and Technology (SUSCET), Tangori.

The two-day drive was aimed at selecting professionals from various streams of engineering by IT companies like Polaris, Slash Suppport, Covert System, E-Serve, AMT and GO DB Tech. On the opening day, over 2,100 students from several institutes across the region participated.



From Schools & Colleges
Puppet show on personal hygiene
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
St Joseph’s Senior Secondary School, Sector 46, organised a puppet show in the Kindergarten wing of the school here today.

“The lesson of personal hygiene was imparted in a way that would have a lasting impact on the young impressionable minds,” said director Simar Garewal. About 500 children witnessed the show.

UGC CLEARED: As many as 10 students from Government College of Education, Sector 20-D, have cleared the UGC-NET in education held in December last year. The students are Preeti Jindal, Mandeep, Rita Grewal, Mansi Malik, Daisy Kaur, Roohi, Hardeep, Navneet, Jyoti and Barjinder. Preeti Jindal has also cleared the JRF. All these students are currently pursuing MEd degree in the college. This is the second successive year when more than five students have cleared the examination.

MEDIA LAB: Swami Vivekanand Group of Institutes is introducing various courses relating to media with the setting up of a hi-tech laboratory from this session. The laboratory will comprise of film editing studio, broadcasting and sound recording facilities. CEO of the institute Manmohan K. Garg said this was the first-of-its-kind lab to be set up in the northern region of the country. He said the institution was also planning to start evening and weekend classes in specific courses to cater to the demands of the employed.

WORKSHOP ON STORY TELLING: As many as 15 children between five and seven years participated in a story-telling workshop conducted by Shiraz Saini as a part of the specially designed Coveda summer workshop programme on the premises of New Public School, Sector 18.

The workshop will be conducted till May 17 from 5 to 6 pm at a fee of Rs 600. On the last day (Saturday), the timings will be from 11 to 12 noon with a party at the end. The workshop aims to develop a child's creativity, spontaneity, oral skills and confidence through fun and games.

Meanwhile, a story creation workshop will be conducted by Shiraz Saini from May 19 to 27 from 11 am to 12.30 pm for children between 9 and 12 years at a fee of Rs 800. Various story prompts and cues will be used to let the children's imagination flow.



Forgery Case
HC rejects pre-arrest bail plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has rejected the anticipatory bail of Hardas Singla, a Sector 38 resident, who allegedly secured a compensation of Rs 3.2 lakh from the Chandigarh State Consumer Redressal Commission for deficiency in service from a Zirakpur-based banquet hall.

In his judgement, Justice R.S. Madan upheld the order of additional session judge Raj Rahul Garg.

Singla was earlier booked under Sections 420, 466, 467, 468, 471, 120-B and 193 of the IPC by the local police.

Earlier this year, Singla got a compensation of Rs 3.2 lakh from Nimantran Banquets on the Zirakpur-Panchkula road from the commission for unfair trade practices.

He had reportedly booked the banquet hall for the evening of May 6, 2007. However, on April 22, he came to know that the hall was already booked for the morning function of May 6 and it was not possible to make arrangements for setting up stalls by the evening.

Eventually, he solemnised the function at Sohi Banquets at Zirakpur. Alleging deficiency in service and unfair trade practices, Singla moved the commission, claiming huge financial loss.

During the course of hearing at the commission, Singla reportedly submitted certain receipts following which the commission awarded a compensation amounting to Rs 3.2 lakh.

However, an FIR lodged against Singla on the directions of a local court claimed that a majority of the receipts submitted to the commission by Singla were forged.

Meanwhile, the application of the Jaswant Singh of Nimantran Banquet Hall has been admitted to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.



Passport-seekers fined for concealing information
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Holding Arvinder Kaur (65) and Jasvinder Kaur (35) guilty of concealing facts from the passport office, the judicial magistrate (first class), Sumit Ghai, has asked them to pay a fine of Rs 2,500.

The accused have been held guilty of concealing the fact that they were applying for a second passport. Arvinder Kaur had misplaced her first passport.

She and her daughter were supposed to fly to the US in 1991 to meet Jagdev Singh, Arvinder’s husband, who was working there.

They applied for passport, but left a column blank regarding the issuance of a passport. The superintendent of the regional passport office, Chandigarh, reported the matter to the SP, Ambala.

The prosecution held that column 12 of application form was purposely left blank.

They were booked for withholding facts in an attempt to attain passport under Section 420 of the IPC, read with Section 12-b of the Passports Act.

Vitul Kumar, regional passport officer, said, “Such cases do come to our notice, but we rarely register a case. Usually, we impose a fine on the applicant as per the guidelines of the government. Only if we sense something fishy, the application is forwarded to the police and a case is registered.”

Though the application form was very clear, people filled it wrongly, he said.



Three get 3-yr jail in shootout case
Tribune New Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Anil Kumar, alias Tota Singh, and two others were today awarded three years’ imprisonment in a shootout case in Sector 4 .

Additional district and sessions judge R.S. Attri convicted Anil Kumar under Section 25 of the Arms Act and Section 411 of the IPC. Naresh and Rupinder were convicted under Section 411. Two more were acquitted.

According to prosecution, the accused fired shots in the Sector 40 market on October 16, 2003, with the intention of committing a robbery.

The police recovered the gun from the spot but was unable to find the cartridge. A case under Section 307 of the IPC was registered.

Meanwhile, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed a courier company to pay a compensation of Rs 100 with an interest of 9 per cent per annum from the date of booking of consignment to builder Sandeep Mittal.

The forum also asked the DTDC Courier Company to pay Rs 2,500 towards
litigation costs.

The petitioner on February 17, 2007, sent two applications for obtaining tender forms to his business partner Vikramjit Mittal.

When the same was not received, he approached the courier company. After several visits to the office, he was able to get the packet back.



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