C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Massive turnout for panchayat elections
80 to 90 per cent polling was reported in most blocks and barring a few skirmishes, the elections were largely peaceful
Tribune News Service

Voters protest against Election Commission during voting at Dhamoli village near Rajpura on Monday
Voters protest against Election Commission during voting at Dhamoli village near Rajpura on Monday
Voters queue up for voting at Manoli village in Mohali.
Voters queue up for voting at Manoli village in Mohali. — Tribune photographs

Chandigarh, May 26
In contrast to incidents of violence in the zila parishad elections held recently, the city’s periphery witnessed peaceful panchayat elections even as over 80 per cent of the electorate exercised its franchise today.

Mohali: Enthusiasm marked the elections in the district which witnessed more than 80 per cent polling. The highest polling was witnessed in Majri block at 85 per cent. In the Dera Bassi block, voting was 81 per cent while in Kharar it was 83 per cent.

ADC (development) Pushpinder Singh Garewal, in charge of the Mohali election office, said polling was postponed at Chatt and Mubarakpur villages in the Dera Bassi block after an error was detected in ballot papers.

Voting continued even after 4 pm and voters waited in long queues. Though poll arrangements were in order, ballot papers were received late at several booths.

At Kambala village, 400 votes, out of a total of 609, were polled by noon. Manouli village had three polling booths with 2,470 voters.

The DC-cum-district election officer, Rahul Bhandari, visited Daon, Rurki, Pukhta, Mamupur, Gharuan and Sakrulapur villages to check poll arrangements. He said 85 panchayats, out of a total of 285 in the district, had been elected unopposed.

The SSP, R.S. Khatra, said the polls went off peacefully and no complaint was received by the police in Mohali district.

Ropar: 85 per cent polling was registered in the district and Kharar tehsil. The elections were peaceful except for a few minor incidents of brawl.

At village Chak Kalan in Morinda, the polling was stopped for around 10 minutes as supporters of two rival candidates had an argument.

At Ganguwal village in the Anandpur Sahib block, the counting agent and candidates walked out over an alleged dispute.

In the Balongi area of Kharar tension mounted in the morning when supporters of candidates exchanged heated arguments, but the situation was saved by the police.

Sources said 87 per cent voting was registered in Ropar, 82 per cent in Anandpur Sahib, 85 per cent in Chamkaur Sahib, 80 per cent in Morinda and 81.94 per cent in Nurpur Bedi.

As many as 351 villages had gone to the polls. There were 425 polling booths and an equal number of presiding officers and assistant officers. There were 752 polling officers.

Patiala: The DC-cum-district election officer, D.S. Grewal, maintained that the elections in the district were a quiet affair.

After the heat and din of the controvery-ridden block samiti elections, the district administration had made elaborate arragements for the peaceful conduct of the panchayat polls which witnessed 85 per cent polling.

A total of 976 panchayats had gone to the polls, out of which the elections to 188 panchayats were unanimous while elections to 10 were cancelled.

Fatehgarh Sahib: The district recorded 90 per cent turnout while 85 to 88 per cent turnout was recorded in villages of Rajpura.

Sukhdev Singh of the SAD and a former sarpanch, Hardev Singh (Congress) were booked under the Representation of the Peoples Act. The SSP, Kaustubh Sharma, said polling was peaceful except skirmishes among Congress and Akali workers in some villages like Reona Bhola, Drass and Gadhera.

A woman SC candidate at Dhamolli interrupted the polling process as her name was not on the list of candidates. She said since she was contesting elections from a reserve seat without an opponent, she had won the elections.

(With inputs from Kulwinder Sangha, Megha Mann, Attar Singh and Gurdeep Mann).



Ness Mess
SSP works up Rs 1.88 cr bill
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 26
Even as the Mohali police slapped a bill of Rs 1.88 crore on the PCA for providing security for IPL matches, the association today washed its hands off the ongoing controversy between Kings XI Punjab team owner Ness Wadia and the SSP, R.S. Khatra.

The bill, which the police had not claimed earlier on the ground that it was “their duty” to provide security, was taken to the PCA stadium by the area SHO. The SSP confirmed the development, but no PCA official was willing to comment on it.

The issue that the PCA being a private body should pay for security had cropped up earlier also, but no money had been given.

While the SSP seems determined to recover the money, senior PCA officials claim that this could be a “ploy” to pressure Ness through the association. “It’s an ego problem,” they say.

When asked why the bill had been raised against the PCA and not the IPL team owners, Khatra said, “We only know the PCA.”

PCA president I.S. Bindra said they had not received any communique from any side. “Neither Ness, nor the SSP have sent us anything in writing about the allegations. We will not intervene in the matter,” he said.

A PCA official on the condition of anonymity said what Ness had alleged was right. Many T-shirts of the team and liquor bottles were found missing from the place where only team officials and police officials have access.

“The involvement of police officials in getting entry for their relatives and others without valid tickets is also a known fact,” the official added. 



City has a red light area
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The city is set to join the league of metros in flesh trade. If things go unchecked, the area around Mani Majra may soon be what GB Road is to Delhi, Sona Gachi to Kolkata and Falkland Road to Mumbai.

Though prostitution is a reality in the city, it was usually happening in dingy guesthouses and hotels. But it was never as open as it is now. Girls soliciting customers in the open and striking deals without hesitation was unheard of earlier.

Just have juice at a corner shop in the market adjoining the Mani Majra bus stand and you will see it for yourself. It will not be an exaggeration to say that by the time you finish a glass of juice, a dozen deals would have been struck right before your eyes.

“The rate is between Rs 500 and Rs 1,500,” says a local shopkeeper on the condition of anonymity. This correspondent went to one such girl to get a true picture. “It will be Rs 500,” she said, saying that Rs 200 would go to a nearby “hotel” owner who rented out a room by the hour.

The police apparently finds nothing unusual about it. Even shopkeepers are mum. “What can we say? The police is obviously in the know of it and these people do have some sort of protection,” a shopkeeper said, adding that raids had been conducted in the area earlier, but nothing had changed.

While shopkeepers won’t admit it, the truth is with hundreds of people, particularly jawans from Chandimandir, visiting the area, they, too, are getting their pound of flesh of with increased sales of their products.

Most of the girls say that they have been forced into the profession due to reasons like poverty, extra-marital ties and domestic violence.

“I had four kids to feed and my husband was not worried. Fed up with his drinking, I became a prostitute 15 years ago,” said Rani (name changed). Sunita (name changed), in her 30s, entered the world of flesh trade after having an extra-marital affair with a close relative. Then there is Ranju, in her late 20s, who finds it an easy way to earn money.

The city has more than 3,000 sex workers and a majority of them live in places like Bapu Dham Colony No 4, Mani Majra and Daria village.

However, it gets awkward for girls living in the Mani Majra area. Those who visit the juice shop or wait for a bus get embarrassed when they are approached by customers, mistaking them to be a sex worker.



56 DAYS GONE still counting ...
Delay is detrimental

The delay in the appointment of the home secretary is telling on the functioning of the administration. Since the home secretary’s post is a crucial post, the uncertainty is delaying important projects.

As the post is a public dealing post, the grievances of people, including traders and residents, are waiting to be addressed.

The central government and the UT administration should work out a mechanism under which the home secretary’s post does not remain vacant for more than a week.

— Charanjiv Singh, president of Chandigarh Beopar Mandal



Fire in Sec-35 eatery
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
Customers ran for their lives from Gopal sweets shop and restaurant in Sector 35, here, when a fire broke out in the building this afternoon. No one was reportedly injured in the fire.

The fire broke out in an electric oven in the kitchen at the first floor of the building. Within minutes, the entire area was engulfed by thick smoke billowing up from the chimney. The incident took place at around 1.30 pm when the restaurant was jampacked with customers.

The restaurant staff immediately swung into action and rushed to the first floor carrying fire extinguishers and doused the flames before it could spread further. They also rushed to the terrace of the building and put off the flames emitting through the chimney.

Lack of coordination between the police and fire department and haphazardly parked vehicles in the parking lot resulted in the loss of time. Though the police reached the spot before the fire tender could reach there, the cops kept on waiting for the fire tender and did not think it fit to remove the vehicles parked in front of the restaurant to make way for the fire engines.

According to S.K. Gosain, station fire officer, the fire was caused due to overheating of the oven and was brought under control by the restaurant staff. The fire tenders sprinkled water to completely extinguish the blaze.

A fire officer said they had lost time in removing the wrongly parked vehicles near the restaurant.

Sources in the fire department informed that the department had a recovery van to remove wrongly parked vehicles, but it was not dysfunctional for want of a battery. The fire officials told The Tribune that the vehicle was in working condition and would come on roads in a few days.



Misuse of MC logo
Babla seeks probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla today lodged a complaint with the UT inspector-general of police (IGP) seeking probe into alleged misuse of the official logo of the Chandigarh municipal corporation by Jaypee Group of Companies.

It was alleged that the company had used the logo without seeking consent from the authorities concerned on the invitation cards printed for the inauguration of the municipal solid waste processing plant at Dadu Majra on May 21.

Babla, in his complaint purportedly lodged on behalf of Congress councillors, mentioned that the company’s directors, MC and UT administration were partners in the construction of the plant.

According to Babla, it has been found from enquiries on the floor of the MC house that neither the municipal commissioner nor the medical officer, health, are or were aware of the the fact that the logo was being printed on the cards for the function.

“The use of the logo without permission, therefore, becomes an offence as it is tantamount to fraud and for this act, we would like to lodge a complaint against the directors and officials of the Jaypee Group of Companies. We would like the police to initiate an inquiry into the matter,” said Babla.

Seeking a prompt action, he asked the IGP to bare the truth as to who was responsible for committing the offence and thus lowering the dignity of the mayor.



Encroachments galore on city’s periphery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
Violate law and then get concessions from the administration seems to be the mantra for the city’s politically well-connected encroachers. And godown owners of Daria village are religiously following this single-thumb rule.

Construction activity in Daria village apart, illegal construction activity on the agricultural land is on the rise on the outskirts of Daria, Kaimbwala, Kajheri, Khuda Ali Sher, Raipur Kalan and Raipir Khurd villages. In Kajehri village, construction is being undertaken on the acquired land.

But the district administration seems to have turned a blind eye to it. Though the activity is in violation of the periphery act, the violators have conveniently got electricity connections.

Incidentally, the Chandigarh administration in a fresh set of guidelines sent to different heads of the departments has made different officials responsible to check encroachments. Apart from keeping a constant vigil on encroachers, the officials have been asked to seek police help for immediate removal of such structures, temporary and permanent. At the level of the district magistrate, a task force under the respective sub-divisional magistrates is already in place.

It appears that for the past few months, the administration is desisting from carrying out major anti-encroachment drives. The last drive carried out in Daria village against the godown owners on December 11, 2007, was halted after demolishing around 20 structures. Located near the Chandigarh railway station, the structures have been raised on unacquired land in violation of the Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act, 1952. At least 50 godown owners had been served demolition notices.

Demolition drives were carried in Daria in 2005 and 2006. A visit to the spot revealed that illegal structures had come up outside the lal dora of the village. Similar activity was witnessed in Kaimbwala and other villages. 

Proposal for widening road hangs fire

In 2005, the administration had carried out a demolition drive so that 200 feet of land on both sides of the road from railway station to Mauli Jagran-Makhhan Majra could be freed of encroachments to straighten and widen the road. But since some godowns were coming in the way, the project is hanging fire.



CM to inaugurate hospital
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 26
Panchkula is all set to get its first multi-speciality hospital in the private sector with the launch of Alchemist Hospital on May 29. Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, will formally inaugurate the hospital on May 29.

The hospital will provide services like critical care, emergency, OPD and specialised treatment in many fields.



Revoke JE’s suspension, demand MC employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The Chandigarh Municipal Corporation Employees Union (CMCEU) today staged a protest outside the municipal corporation building demanding to revoke suspension of junior engineer Balraj Singh.

Irked over the undue interference of the councillors into their day-to-day functioning, the representative of the union made it clear that they would not follow orders from anyone except their authorities.

Later in the day, president of the union A.K. Dadwal told The Tribune that the municipal commissioner D.R. Roshan Sunkaria had assured them proper and fair probe into the matter and ordered re-examination of the case. The union leaders expressed satisfaction over the talks they had with the commissioner.

Earlier, other than the union leaders, president of the local unit of the BJP Kamla Sharma and former mayor Harjinder Kaur addressed the protesters and extended their support to them. They stated that they would not allow anyone to harass the employees at the behest of the Congress councillors. Thereafter, they met the commissioner and submitted a representation to him seeking a fresh probe into the matter.

Balraj Singh, in his representation to the commissioner, held that it was following the demand of the area councillor that the executive engineer provided the machinery to carry out the work. He threw sand/earth on the road berms till 4.30 pm that day and was not aware of who dumped the garbage/debris thereafter.

Meanwhile, the BSP spokesman stated that the inquiry report submitted in this connection was delayed as the official concerned was under pressure from Congress councillors. BSP convenor Harmohan Dhavan demanded that the Congress councillors involved in the incident should be suspended from the house.

The union leaders further informed that they were seeking legal opinion into the allegation of corruption levelled by the Congress councillors against the enforcement staff and would proceed against them as per the law. 



Experts discuss campus violence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
A panel discussion on curbing campus violence was held in the Academic Staff College, Panjab University, as part of its ongoing orientation course for college and university lecturers.

Panelists included Aruti Nayar, chief sub-editor, The Tribune; Prof Anirudh Joshi, former dean, students’ welfare, Panjab University; and Dr Vipin Sobti, principal, Government College, Dera Bassi.

Dr Joshi outlined lack of personal touch in teaching, peer pressure, lack of role model as reasons for campus violence.

Speaking on the occasion, Aruti Nayar recommended that cooperative than confrontational strategies should be adopted in dealing with these problems. She suggested that there should be more research on these issues.

Dr Vipin Sobti spoke in length about parental responsibility in bringing up a well-balanced child who goes on to become a responsible citizen.



7-day SAANG festival in P’kula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 26
Public Relations and Cultural Affairs Department in collaboration with the North-Center Zone Culture Centre, Allahabad, will organise a seven day SAANG festival from May 29 here at the Inderdhanush Auditorium, Sector 5.

Additional principal secretary to the CM Haryana K.K. Khandelwal will inaugurate the festival.

While SAANG ‘Puran Mal’ directed by Shyamuddin and written by Lakhmin Chand would be presented on the opening day at 7 pm, SAANG ‘Jaimal Fateh’ directed by Shyonath Tyagi and written by Pt Mange Ram would be presented on the second day at 7 pm.

On May 31 SAANG ‘Krishna Devi Phool Bahadur’ directed by Shayam Lal and written by Banwari Lal Thel would be staged. Similarly, SAANG ‘Seth Tara Chand’ directed by Tofa Galoor and written by Pt. Lakhmi Chand, SAANG ‘Satwanti Devi’ directed by Mahavir Singh and written by Baje Bhagat, SAANG ‘Shahi Lakkarhaara’ directed by Sharif Ahmad and written by Pt. Lakhmi Chand would be presented on June 1, 2 and 3, respectively. The festival would conclude with SAANG ‘Nal Damiyanti’ directed by Dharambir and written by Dhanpat Singh on June 4.



Security cover for builder’s family
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 26
The police today provided a security cover to the Harish Gupta, the builder who allegedly got threats from unknown persons on Friday. Gupta got two threatening letters demanding Rs 10 crore.

Gupta who left the town after getting the threats returned yesterday evening and today recorded his statement expressing suspicion over a few of his former employees who left the job recently. Gupta said two of the employees were asked to leave the job and it was possible that they wanted to disturb him mentally.

However, the police has got some vital clues in the case. While the threatening letters were taken out from a computer, the address on one of the envelope was hand written.



Suicide by Lovers
Sanjay’s mother responsible, alleges husband
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The couple, who was found hanging from a tree in Sector 42 jungle area here yesterday, had reportedly took the extreme step after it exhausted the money that the woman, Kulwinder, had borrowed from her husband’s associates.

The deceased’s husband, Paramjit Singh, who is a labourer, said he had tried hard to stop his wife from seeing Sanjay, but he failed in his attempts.

Paramjit had taken Kulwinder to her parental house in Delhi on May 14. The very next day, Kulwinder got missing and Paramjit lodged a complaint at the Patel Nagar police station on May 18.

While talking to The Tribune, Paramjit alleged that his wife had borrowed a good amount of money from his associates maintaining that her husband was out of town. He further alleged that Sanjay’s mother knew everything and was the reason behind the incident.

On the other hand, Sanjay’s mother claimed that she didn’t knew that her son would take such a step. She told The Tribune that her son left home on Thursday saying that he was going to Delhi for some contract. 



Road woes

Internal roads in almost all sectors of Panchkula are in a deplorable condition and crying for maintenance but nobody seems to be bothered.

This reflects the callous attitude of the administration as well as official apathy. The roads are full of potholes, which, at some places are as deep as two feet or even deeper.

Residents have been repeatedly knocking at the doors of the municipal council but to no avail. Right at the entrance to the city, one experiences a rough ride.

When there is such a pathetic condition of the roads in the month of May, what will be the result during rains?

The administration should be sensitive to the hardships being faced by the residents and take immediate measures to restore the roads as early as possible.

Dr Shruti Kapoor, Panchkula

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



From Schools & Colleges
Mural at GMSSS-47 carries a message
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The efforts of three fine art teachers took shape in the form of a unique mural depicting the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan message at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 47, here. This work of art, having dimension of 45x8 feet, has been created by Vishal Bhatnagar, sculptor and fine arts teacher of GMSSS-47, Rajender Kumar, sculptor and fine arts teacher of GMSSS-10 and Subhash Shorey, painter and fine arts teacher of GMSSS-16. “It took us more than two months to give it a final shape with the help of cement, ceramic tiles, leaf work, painting spray along with other material,” told the teachers. 

Finance-cum-education secretary Sanjay Kumar formally inaugurated this piece of art. Appreciating the artwork, he honoured the creators for their outstanding endeavour. DPI (S) S.K. Setia and assistant director, vocational education, Saroj Mittal were also present. Principal of the school J.S. Basota said it was for the first time that any government school of the city had initiated to create such kind of artwork. Setia said such mural work would be done in other schools also. He said the purpose of this mural was to give the school an attractive look. He also said it was a sort of platform for the teachers to show and develop their talent. The education secretary also inaugurated a beauty culture and health lab on the school campus, which comes under the vocational stream. He inspected the lab where the latest equipments related to beauty culture were installed.

MANAGEMENt PROGRAMME: A two-day management development programme (MDP) organised by Aryans Business School, concluded at Hotel Shivalikview, here. Dr R.K. Ranga, finance commissioner and principal secretary, Haryana, was the chief guest. Management experts Prof J.S. Saini, Prof S.P. Singh, Prof Gitanjali Bhatnagar, Wg Cdr D.P. Sabharwal, Dr Sanjay Kaushik, Prof A.K. Vashisht, S.V. Malhotra and Dr Parveen Kataria interacted with the participants.



Back from Singapore, students share their experiences
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
The 18-member group of students, teachers and NGO representatives who visited Singapore, today shared their experiences.

Educational and cultural exchange programme ‘Internationalisation Programme -2008’ facilitated this trip to broaden the students’ learning and acquire new knowledge in a cultural environment different from their own.

The education system in Singapore, they discovered, was “well equipped, very focused and stress free”.

Priya (GMSSS-40) said, “The frankness and openness with which teachers-students talk and discuss things is really admirable.”

This fact can well be gauged from the fact that in Singapore, the teacher-taught ratio is maintained at one against 20. “Here, barring a handful of good government schools, we have an average ratio of one against 50,” said Rajni Taneja, teacher at GMS-32.

For Sacred Heart student Nipunya, the drama and mystery of the tropical jungle came alive after dusk at the world's premier night safari in Singapore. Jasmine and Karan Bhai of KB DAV-7 were mesmerised by the ‘song of the sea’ at Santosa Islands.

For Pransh of Bhawan Vidyalaya and Ritika of KB DAV-7, the experience of the largest observation wheel, Singapore Flyer, standing at a stunning 165m from the ground is unforgettable.

Ritika, another student was impressed with the infrastructure and education system in the Singapore schools. “There, sitting arrangement is too innovative. Instead of sitting in a row, they sit around a round table in groups of four and change the tables on rotational basis every week.”

Eshita Malik, Sacred Heart student, was impressed with their well-equipped libraries. “Their innovative annual campaigns like ‘read Singapore’ and ‘catching’ even newborns with story telling sessions is beyond one's imagination.”

Their policy ‘teach less learn more’ impressed every one. “Their approach is concept based and very practical. No rote learning,” said Parmod, representative from NGO Yuvsatta.

Teachers Sudha Bhardwaj and Rekha Kiran said, “We are not lagging behind in education but the need of the hour is to implement it in a systematic manner. In Singapore, schools are not like a burden but a playing while learning centers for the kids. Naturally, this tempts them to go to school.”



Studying in Japan was an enriching experience for local lads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
“Aspire big, there is always a way. I could not think in the wildest of my dreams that I would ever get a chance to visit Japan, experience their culture, their lifestyle, their technology, but it was to be that way”, says Abhinav Sharma, who has just returned from Japan after attending a 10-day exchange programme held recently.

Abhinav, a student of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, was the only student from government schools of the city to be selected for this prestigious Japan East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youth 

Abhinav was selected by the Chandigarh Education Department at the state level and finally by a high level selection committee instituted by the ministry of human resource development (HRD), Government of India, and the Japanese government at the national level.

Two other local students Medhavi Gugnani from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Sector 25, and Anish Punj from DAV, Sector 15, were also his batch mates.

Abhinav made a power point presentation on “Self, Family, School and Community” before the Japanese students, teachers and  host family.

Sharing his experience with The Tribune, elated Abhinav said, “It was a unique kind of experience to stay with a Japanese family for two days. Cricket, they say, is a sheer wastage of time to play and watch.

They give attention toward sports like baseball, football and basketball at the  school level.”

During his stay, Abhinav visited Tokyo and Nagano, a Japanese prefecture. “It was good to travel in bullet train - ‘Shinkansen Asama’. I visited Imperial Palace, Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Zenkoji Temple, Edo Tokyo Museum etc”, said Abhinav.

But visit to Nagano Seisen Jogakuin Senior High School and Seisen Jogakuin College provided him firsthand knowledge about the Japanese education system. “The education system over there is concept based. The students over there are very focused and clear about their approach.

Their varied education system has been designed to meet the mindset of different students. Above all, the frank and friendly teacher-taught relationship counts the most, which I find missing in our system.”

About the education policy at the school level, Abhinav said the play way methods, education through dance and music, learning by doing and learning through self experience techniques, adopted by them had made their education system quite practical and conceptual. “One thing we score over Japanese is at mathematics.

They are scared of tedious mathematical calculations and I taught them how to solve them applying simple method,” said Abhinav.

Abhinav, the winner of several state level awards in essay writing, debates was also honoured with runners up during Race for Awareness and Knowledge (RANK) Award 2007. 



PU Notes
OCET admit cards despatched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
Admit cards of the eligible candidates who are to appear in OCET-2008, to be conducted by the Panjab University, Chandigarh, from June 1 to June 3, have been despatched by registered post. Those who do not receive the admit cards by 29.05.2008, should may get the duplicate cards from the university office (CET Cell, Aruna Ranjit Chandra Hall, near post office) on May 30 and 31.

ONLINE PROGRAMME: Ministry of science and technology, department of biotechnology, Government of India, has launched a nationwide online programme to engage young bright students with issues and concerns associated with management of bio-resources. The programme has been launched to enhance the students’ sustainability and potential to contribute to human welfare.

For this purpose, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE), New Delhi, selected as the regional resource agency (RRA), is coordinating a programme (fully supported by DBT) in Delhi and Haryana. In the four-week programme on bio-resources (VPBR), scheduled to be held from May 15 to June 12, at different institutes, two groups of Class XI students (each group comprising 30 participants from 10 identified partner schools, spread across each of the above two states) are participating.

As part of the above programme, the participants will attend a four-day training module at the department of botany, Panjab University, Chandigarh. Under the above said programme, a four-day training on bio-resource vacation programme was inaugurated by Prof S.K. Kulkarni, dean, iniversity instructions, at the botany department here today. In her welcome address organiser Prof Harvinder Cheema, department of botany, exhorted the students to be an asset for the welfare of the society by being honest, positive, humble and better person. Prof Kulkarni, in his inaugural lecture on ‘Reaching New Heights’, highlighted that the students should achieve now heights in their lives to benefit the society. Vinod Aggarwal, co-coordinator of ATREE, explained the theme of the programme, which is being financed by the department of bio-technology. Dr Promila Pathak proposed the vote of thanks.



Cops go extra mile for Noor’s comfort
Baljinder, Noor get 14-day judicial custody
Swati Sharma/Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Noor Kataria being brought to the court in Chandigarh on Monday.
Noor Kataria being brought to the court in Chandigarh on Monday. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, May 26
The officers of the UT special crime investigation cell seem to have turned chivalrous. The courtesy they are extending to Noor Kataria, the controversial model, is raising eyebrows.

While those in police custody are usually brought or rather “herded” to the court in rickety jail vans or police Gypsies, Noor today arrived for the hearing of her remand proceedings in a white air-conditioned Hyundai Verna. Sitting in the rear with a woman constable and an ASI, she reached the court premises at about 2 pm.

While Baljinder Singh, the main suspect in the Anuradha murder case, was taken to the court, almost around the same time, from the main gate, Noor entered from the side gate where vehicles of lawyers and judges are parked.

Unlike her earlier two appearances when she came with her face covered and surrounded by half a dozen cops, she appeared more relaxed and even “obliged” cameramen to take her photographs. She even ignored an ASI’s offer to cover her face.

When contacted, senior police officials were miffed at this “VVIP” treatment to Noor. Though they refrained from commenting on the future course of action in this regard, they admitted, “This was against norms. As per rules, an arrested person is supposed to travel in a police vehicle rather than a private car,” they said. The car is reportedly being used by one of the officers of the cell.

Though both Noor and Baljinder were produced before the judicial magistrate first class, P.K. Lal, they did not face each other. While Baljinder was made to sit in the courtroom of the ilaka magistrate, she sat in the ahlmad’s room.

All three siblings of Anuradha, including Sandeep who lives abroad, came to the court today. There was a brief argument between Anuradha’s sister and Baljinder’s elder brother, Karamjit Singh, when the latter greeted Sandeep.

While Anuradha’s siblings were present during the arguments for Noor’s remand, they were not there when Baljinder was produced.

Both Baljinder and Noor were today sent to judicial custody for 14 days. Noor has applied for bail which will be taken up by the court tomorrow.

‘Cops using Noor to fix Baljinder’

Minutes after city-based model Noor Kataria was sent to the police custody, her family, which was avoiding the media earlier, broke the silence and accused the cops of using their daughter to fix Baljinder.

While talking to The Tribune, Noor’s mother Kiran Kataria alleged that her daughter was innocent and nowhere involved in the conspiracy. Noor was at home, when Anuradha was murdered, she added.

However, she agreed that the driving licence was fake, which was made after paying Rs 2,000 from Amritsar. However, recovery of the licence from Baljinder’s flat still was a mystery for the family, who maintained that Noor had given the licence to one of her friends. Though the family claims that Noor was present at their residence in Sector 45, the call details and tower of Kataria’s mobile phones revealed that she was in Sectors 17 and 34 and later in Baljinder’s flat in Sector 38. 



Consumer Forum
PNB to pay up Rs 20,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum today directed the chief manager of Punjab National Bank to pay compensation of Rs 20,000 to a resident of Mohali for furnishing wrong information.

The forum also specified that if the amount was not deposited in 30 days then the bank would have to pay the compensation at an interest of 12 per cent per annum from the filing of the complaint, along with Rs 2,200 as cost of litigation. The petitioner, Om Prakash Malhotra, stated that he had a joint saving account in the said bank and had applied for five fixed deposits from his savings that were started on March 5, last year.

He alleged that the fixed deposit was issued with incorrect maturity values and no nominations were recorded. He brought the problems to the notice of the bank official, but no action was taken. It was only after a few visits to the bank that the complainant could get the nominations written from the official concerned.

Thereafter, Malhotra applied for issuance of certificate of interest earned on the savings and fixed deposits, but it was delayed on one pretext or the other. Finally, he was informed that the interest certificate was not traceable. He was not given the tax deduction at source (TDS) certificate. Malhotra added that though the interest earned was same in each fixed deposit, yet the tax was deducted.

The bank denied supplying any information to the income tax officer with ulterior motive.

The forum headed by Jagroop Singh Mahal stated, “The bank officials acted in most negligent and irresponsible manner without caring for their duties towards its customers. They were grossly deficient in rendering proper service due to which the complainant was harassed and humiliated.” 



Courtroom Brawl
Lawyer blames judge for ‘shouting at him’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
Argument between a lawyer and a Division Bench found its echo outside the courtroom with the advocate blaming the judge for “shouting at him” in a formal complaint submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court bar association.

The association, in turn, took up the matter with Chief Justice Vijender Jain, who reportedly assured the members of resolving the issue within next 24 hours.

Association president Rupinder Khosla said the executive would meet the Chief Justice again on Tuesday. Senior executive member Kapil Kakkar said they were hoping for an early resolution to the problem.

Giving details of a resolution passed by the executive in light of the developments, Khosla said the members had resolved that disrespect should not be shown to them when they appeared before the Judges.

It all started when senior advocate and former judge of the Rajasthan High Court J.C. Verma appeared before the high court division bench of Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain in a case pertaining to the property left in control of a trust by senior advocate Seth Bhagirath Dass before his death. The Bench observed that the property had “plundered”; and asked Verma to name any senior advocate of the high court who could be appointed as a trustee. Verma said as he was appearing in the court for the first time; he needed time. Justice Gill did not agree with his contention and again asked him to name any advocate.

When no name came from the advocate, the judge said they would themselves appoint a trustee, to which Verma objected. Justice Gill said as no name was given they were forced to take suo motu cognizance of the matter and dictated senior advocate M.L. Sarin’s name in the order, which again led to objection by the advocate.

Referring to a case in hand, Verma said retired and sitting judges had been playing havoc. Taking exception to the statement, Justice Gill said he would not listen to anything against any sitting or retired Judge. As the argument turned into heated exchange of words, Justice Gill asked Verma to stop, lest he issued a contempt notice. Verma, however, said he had no objections to that.



GPA Holders
Admn can’t make up its mind on transfer fee
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 26
When it comes to taking people for a ride nobody matches UT bureaucrats. The administration’s reported flip-flop on the transfer fee for the regularisation of the general power of attorney (GPA) holders in group housing societies is a case 
in point.

The functioning of the estate officer and the registrar of cooperative societies (RCS), the charge of which is held by the DC, has come under a scanner with the RCS recommending to the finance department that the transfer fee should be “nominal” on the Haryana pattern.

Surprisingly, it was on the recommendations of the estate office that the finance department had imposed hefty charges up to Rs 5.25 lakh for the regularisation of the GPAs in February.

With the estate office and the finance department failing to act in coordination, hundreds of GPA holders were left confused. It was believed that the fee had been imposed to create panic among GPA holders.

However, the administration’s decision had kicked up a storm with the Chandigarh State Federation of Coop House Building Societies Limited (Chandigarh Housefed) opposing it.

The Chandigarh Housefed had termed the decision illegal as it ran counter to its earlier decision regarding the transfer of plots allotted under the Cooperative Housing Scheme of 1979. Besides there was no provision in the Cooperative Act for the charging of the hefty fee.

Chandigarh Housefed chairman Jai Dev Sharma said the decision was anti-people and against the spirit of the cooperative movement. It was heartening that the administration was reconsidering the decision.

Earlier, the administration had allowed the cooperative societies to levy substitution fee for enrolling members.

Since substitution members were also GPA holders, the same criteria should have been followed for the regularisation of GPA holders in cooperative house building societies, the Chandigarh Housefed had contended.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |