C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Retired cops opt for hospitality
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, June 14
Policing and hospitality are strange bedfellows. But for Punjab’s top cops, hospitality surprisingly seems to come naturally.

The police top brass, otherwise known for their tough and unbending demeanour, seem to have no problem in bending over backwards to woo clients in a bid to make a mark in the fast-growing hotel industry.

To prove, it is the line of resorts and restaurants on Chandigarh’s periphery, owned and run by top former cops.

The pioneer in the business was Surinderpal Singh, SP, vigilance, and former SSP, Ropar, who opened Bristol, a three-star hotel in Zirakpur. His experiment was obviously being watched keenly by his seniors, who wasted no time in buying large chunks of land nearby and starting their own ventures.

Their positions must have “helped” their projects take off without the normal administrative delays. Questions are also regularly raised over the way these cops managed to get permissions to run these ventures in the area locked under the Punjab Capital Periphery Control Act.

Gurbachan Jagat, former DGP, Jammu and Kashmir, started Whispering Willows in Zirakpur. The place was a restaurant, resort and marriage palace rolled into one. His son Abhay Jagat, however, carried the idea forward and diversified it into opening restaurants in Chandigarh. The father-son duo is running Orchid Lounge in Sector 34 and the recently opened coffee shop Backpackers in Sector 9.

Former Punjab DGP S.S. Virk and his brother began a similar venture in Zirakpur. Christened as “Chimney Heights”, the place had a restaurant, two banquet halls and a nightclub. The place was virtually tailor-made for VVIP clientele and the midnight parties at the nightclub, The Warehouse, became the talk of the town.

Chimney Heights was the first to bring the concept of nightclub to Chandigarh’s periphery almost like the nightclubs that flourished on the Delhi-Gurgaon stretch.

Virk’s party time, however, ended following the Punjab vigilance crackdown on the top cop. Chimney Heights is now only a pale shadow of the good times it saw in the days when Virk was the Punjab DGP.

Punjab’s current DGP N.P.S. Aulakh’s brother M.P.S. Aulakh, also a retired cop, own and run “Vaseela” a traditional village theme-based resort on the Zirakpur-Rajpura road.



UT in no hurry to finish projects
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Who is to blame?

The adviser had in January advised the heads of department to constantly review works and take remedial action. The responsibility for the delay would be fixed on the officer dealing directly with the projects, it had been stated.

Chandigarh, June 14
The UT administrator’s concern about the delay in the implementation of engineering projects has not yielded the desired result.

Several important projects are either running behind schedule or are yet to take off due to insufficient funds or lack of accountability on the part of officials concerned.

Some of these projects are in the core areas of health, education and housing. A multi-storied OPD block of the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16, which was supposed to strengthen the healthcare infrastructure, is far from over. The administrator had laid the foundation stone of the project in April 2006.

Similarly, the blocks E and F of the GMCH, Sector 32, is yet to take off due to insufficient funds. Former deputy PM, L.K. Advani, had laid the foundation stone of the project in 2000.

In the case of the IT park, one of the flagship projects of the administration, not enough funds are available for the ongoing project.

Sources say there have been instances in the past where the engineering department had surrendered funds and projects were delayed for months. “Though the shortage of steel did hit the progress of the projects, steel is now being procured by officials at their own level,” an official confided.

As regards Tagore Theatre, the engineering department will find it hard to complete the renovation by August 31. After being closed in September, the administrator had twice extended the deadline.

Though officials claim it would be over in three months, the construction of an underground parking is at a planning stage. “A proposal to create a two-level parking for around 400 cars has been cleared. It seems the theatre would be closed again,” an art lover remarked.

The renovation of government houses is also going slow due to a shortage of funds. The project of augmenting the general pool housing is worth several crores.

The renovation of government school buildings is also moving at a snail’s pace. The other projects at the construction stage are a vocational training and production centre in Sector 46 and a paryavaran bhavan in Sector 19.

Another project that is going slow is the water works in Sector 52. Only one phase of the project is complete and the remaining are pending due to lack of funds.



Estate office notice to Shivalik School
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
The Chandigarh estate office has started issuing notices to schools for violating building bylaws and misusing premises. A notice under the relevant section of the Capital of Punjab (Development and Regulation) Act has been served on some school managements.

The action, reportedly, came following an assessment by the finance department and the education department that some schools were charging exorbitant fee and not adhering to the mandatory 15 per cent reservation quota.

Shivalik Public School, Sector 41-B, has been issued a notice in this regard. The 15-day show-cause notice issued by the assistant estate officer, Ashwani Kumar, asked “why the site together with the building constructed thereon, lease thereof be not cancelled under Chandigarh Estate Rules 2007”.

D.S. Bedi, principal-director of the school and president of the Independent Schools Association, Chandigarh, denied receiving any notice, but agreed to remove the objections, if any, raised by the estate office.

“We have a pragmatic approach. We have served the city for the past many years and have good educational infrastructure to offer. If officials are alleging certain violations in our school, we are ready to remove them,” he said.

The assistant estate officer said after discovering certain building violations, a notice had been served on the school. The estate office had been directed by the finance department to undertake a survey of all schools to ensure that there was no violation.

The estate office team said Shivalik School had made alterations in the building without getting the plan sanctioned. The size of the main gate had been raised and also the height of the boundary wall.

The basement was being utilised as an auditorium, and conference room. The construction had hindered ventilation.

As many as 19 rooms constructed along with LHS boundary wall of size were being used as classrooms, store and offices without getting the plan sanctioned.

Bedi said the school was located near Butela village and the boundary wall had been raised to avoid disturbance in school activities.

Earlier, St Kabir Public School, Sector 26, was issued a notice after it was found that the school had illegally increased the height of the boundary wall and covered more area in a block, besides opening a second gate without permission.

Others on list

Various other schools have been shortlisted. These include Chitkara International School-25, CRB Public School-7, Maharaja Jassa Singh Ramgharia Public School-27, Playway Model School-37, Stepping Stone School-38, Sanawar Montessari School-11, Guru Gobind Singh Public School-35, DC Model School, Manimajra, Guru Nanak Public School-37 B and Tender Heart School-33.



Punjab Board Class X Results
Poor show in Mohali yet again
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 14
The Punjab School Education Board results are proving to be an embarrassment for SAS Nagar. After the poor show by Mohali students in Class VIII, today only one student of the district made it to the Class X merit list.

Patiala students fared much better with seven making it to the merit list. Ropar scored a duck. Three students of Fatehgarh Sahib also excelled with Jandeep Kaur getting the third place in the state. (Interview on P4)

Diksha Gupta of Young Farmers Public High School Bhadson, Patiala, is placed first in the district and 12th in the state with 92.31 per cent.

Mandeep Kaur of Modern Senior Secondary School, Patiala, is second in the district with 91.23 per cent while Surbhi Jindal did well with with 90.62 per cent.

Komal Uppal of SC Public Senior Secondary School, Rajpura, Harkirat Kaur of Modern Senior Secondary School and Jalaj Dahra of CS Public Senior Secondary School also faredwell in the district.

Garima Goyal of GRSD Public School, Mandi Gobindgarh, has come second in Fatehgarh Sahib district with 90.46 per cent. Ankita Jain of the same school is third in the district.

Manpreet Singh of Shastri Model School, SAS Nagar, is first in the district with 90.92 per cent.

Manpreet said he owed it to his parents and teachers.



Water Scarcity
Media must wake up govts: Baba Seechewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
“We need to wake up the governments to the need of the environment before it is too late,” said Sant Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal, who is well-known for restoring the pristine glory of the polluted Kali Bein stream associated with Guru Nanak Dev, while speaking at “Water: Scarcity and value”, a seminar organised by the Indian Media Centre.

“In fact, the Guru gave us five Ks. But if people incorporate two more Ks - Kamera (camera) and Kalam (Pen) - a lot can be done to save the environment,” he added.

Explaining the logic behind this, he said, “Today, the governments and administrations have become fearless and only the media’s intervention can wake them from their slumber, so the two Ks.”

It is pertinent to mention here that Baba Seechewal and his volunteers cleared the 160-km-long Kali Bein stream off garbage, silt and other wastage which had been dumped into the stream.

Also present on the occasion was noted journalist Mrinal Pandey, who recalled her childhood days at Bundelkhand. She said, “In those days, people used to attach sentiments and religious values to the water bodies and rivers and never polluted them but today those feelings are gone.”

Coming to media responsibility, she asserted that media needs to be more sensitive towards environmental stories. “In a given time frame, instead of just treating such startling environment reports as just another report, we need to open our minds as that will help spread the message across to the readers in a better way,” she said.

Ritesh Arya, a hydro geologist who was also present on the occasion, asserted that global warming is not a process that happened overnight. “It has been going on much before the evolution of mankind. The need is not to sit back and sulk over the repercussions. Instead, we need to manage our waste. If we are using plastic, we should also generate methods to dispose it,” he added.

He also made a presentation and showcased how by using geological methods and techniques, he was able to tap ground water in the high mountain areas of Leh and Ladakh.

Earlier, P.C. Dogra, chairman of the IMC, and other office bearers highlighted the problem of water scarcity and suggested ways to curb the problem.



War heroes consider returning gallantry medals
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
Members of the War Decorated India (WDI), an association of gallantry award winners from the armed forces, are considering returning their awards to the government over what they say a shabby treatment being metted out to them.

At a meeting of the WDI members here today, the association’s president, Brig Sant Singh, said they had approached the nation’s top leaders several times to increase their meagre allowances, but to no avail. “We have decided to make one last attempt to meet the President, who is also the supreme Commander of the armed forces, before we return our medals,” he said.

Capt Reet M.P. Singh (retd) said the three service chiefs had recommended a 10-fold increase in the allowance and honorarium paid to gallantry award winners to the Sixth Pay Commission. The commission, however, returned the proposal with remarks that such allowances should be fixed by the ministry concerned.

The defence ministry had recently doubled the existing allowances for gallantry awards. “This is peanuts and has only degraded the awards,” he said. “These are given for performance and courage above and beyond the call of duty in the face of the enemy and hence have tremendous significance,” he added.

The WDI members said their representatives had forwarded memorandums to the President, the Prime Minister and the defence minister over the issues, but other than repeated assurances, nothing had materialised.

A recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, the nation’s highest gallantry award now gets a revised allowance of Rs 3,000 per month. A recipient of Maha Vir Chakra gets Rs 2,400 per month while a Vir Chakra awardee gets Rs 1,700 per month. There have been just 21 Param Vir Chakra winners so far, of whom only three are living.

Brigadier Sant Singh said that gallantry award winners are feeling that their sacrifices and devotion to duty is not being given due respect and recognition and consequently there is a lot of resentment among them. As compared with them even the lowest category of freedom fighter gets a minimum pension of Rs 10,634 per month.



Of human bonding
Parminderjit Singh and Jashan Gill

Chandigarh, June 14
In this world of treachery and betrayal, there are still a few good men who understand the meaning of true and unconditional relationship.

Chote Lal and Prempal are poor and may not understand the meaning of malls or luxury cars but they understand the meaning of humanity and kindness.

Chote Lal of Kajeri village, Sector 52, has been polio-tricken from birth and has been selling bananas on tricycle for the past 12 years. Today, when so many healthy boys and girls can be seen begging at every nook and cranny of the city, Chote Lal in spite of his handicap chooses to lead a life of dignity.

Similarly, Prempal earns his livelihood by selling “channa bhattura”.

Father of four, he earns around Rs 100 a day. Even though he finds it difficult to bring up his children with this income, he does not hesitate helping out the poor.

Three years ago, the two were strangers but today they have become the epitome of selfless friendship.

Once while going home, Prempal saw what other commuters saw every day - a handicapped man selling bananas on his tricycle. Prempal was moved by the poise of the man and stopped to chat and show his respect toward his will. From that day Prempal stops to meet Chote Lal and give him a plate of 'channa bhattura' every day.

And Chote Lal, keeping intact his dignity, gives him bananas in return. This has become a routine for them.

Talk to them and they will not get tired of praising one another. When asked about Prempal, Chote's eyes filled with gratitude: "I cannot afford to bring food along with me as I have three kids at home to feed. Prempal is like a God to me, as he always brings food for me. My own siblings left me for my disability but this stranger has become my friend as he respects me for who I am."

Chote Lal said: "The biggest satisfaction of my life is that my wife and children are proud of me. They admire the fact that I chose the path of dignity instead of becoming a burden on society."



Zirakpur MC Polls
SAD issues warning to former MC chief
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, June 14
Things are heating up in Zirakpur in the run up to the municipal council elections here. The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) today issued a warning to the former MC chief N.K. Sharma and his supporters for “indulging in anti-party activities.”

Once a staunch supporter of cabinet minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh, Sharma, has now moved away from him and announced that he and his candidates would be contesting the elections as independent candidates.

In a press note issued by secretary and spokesperson SAD Daljit Singh Cheema, Sharma and his supporters Ajaib Singh Dhakoli, Chaudhry Bharat Bhushan, Surinder Singh, Surinder Chinda and Praveen Sharma have been warned that in case they did not stop campaigning against the SAD and BJP candidates in Zirakpur they would be shunted out of the party. Sharma and majority of his supporters are SAD members.

SAD’s coming out opening in support of captain Kanwaljit Singh is an interesting development as it was generally believed that some senior SAD leaders were supporting Sharma against the cabinet minister.

Kiranbir Singh Kang, the youth Akali Dal president had even attended a rally organised by Sharma early this month.



Workshop for drivers kicks off
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
A three-month-long workshop for bus drivers organised by the Chandigarh traffic police began at the Children Traffic Park, Sector 23, here today.

The workshop began under the guidance of DSP (traffic) Jasbir Singh Cheema and park in-charge SI Poonam Dilavri.

DSP J.S. Cheema highlighted the need to value human life, stressing that losing a family member was a big loss to the kin.

At least CTU 30 drivers participated in the workshop, who besides undergoing theoretical training also took a practical test.

A question hour was also organised wherein CTU drivers put forth the problems faced by them.

They observed that auto-rickshaw drivers should also be included in the workshop.

CTU Drivers Association president Ranjit Singh said: “Auto-rickshaws are a pain for bus drivers as most of them cared little about other motorists on the road.”

Besides drivers of the CTU, those from the Punjab Roadways, Haryana Roadways and the Chandigarh administration will also undergo training at the workshop.



Police snores as nighttime lawlessness soars
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
“We care for you ‘only till the sun sets’” seems to be the motto of the Chandigarh police, for the visibility of the police in the city goes drastically down with nightfall.

Security in the city, which houses two governors and two chief ministers, remains high during the day. However as night approaches, some areas are virtually abandoned by the police.

The TNS took a tour of the city late last night and found the police missing from otherwise busy night hangouts.

On the Dakshin Marg, only a trauma van was found parked at the Sector 20-21-33 and 34 rotary.

At the Sector-35 market, which is an otherwise busy place during night, the police was conspicuous by its absence.

At some points where PCR vans were stationed, the policemen on patrol seemed hardly concerned about the goings-on around them.

In the recent past, there have been reports of hooligans indulging in eve-teasing and popping wheelies on empty city roads during night hours.

Drunk motorbike-borne youngsters, mostly without headgear, were seen flouting traffic rules with impunity on city roads. Most of them indulged in overspeeding and reckless driving, thus putting not only their lives on the line but also those of other motorists.

The TNS also found many people consuming liquor in their vehicles near ‘rehris’ selling food.

“Such rowdy youngsters have become a source of nuisance for people, especially women. They don’t feel safe on roads at night. It seems the fear of law is the last thing on the minds of such people,” said Sector-44 resident Sujata.

“It’s becoming unbearable,” said a young girl, who was molested by two youths on a motorbike in Sector 47 on Thursday night.

“With the rise in crime during nighttime, there is a need to intensify police patrolling to discourage unscrupulous elements from venturing out and perpetrating crime. Most cases of vehicle theft take place during night,” said city-based businessman Madhu Sudan Sharma.



BJP protest against rising inflation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
Protesting against high inflation, members of the Bhartiya Janata Party (ward No. 23) burnt an effigy of the Congress government at the centre over rising inflation at Hallo Majra chowk here today.

A procession, led by former member of parliament Satya Pal Jain, went through Ram Darbar before culminating at the chowk.

Jain said the government had no control over rising inflation. “The increasing prices of petrol, diesel and LPG has made it difficult for the common man to make both meet,” said Jain.

Local BJP unit president Kamla Sharma and area councillor Ram Lal were also present in the procession.



Haryana govt, IPS officer fined
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
Judicial magistrate Mahesh Kumar has ordered the Haryana government and IPS officer K.P. Singh to pay Rs 2 lakh as compensation to Ambala-based human rights activist Rajender Verma for harassment at the hands of the district police.

Rajender Verma, president of the All-India Human Rights Group (dist Ambala), had filed for compensation after he successfully fought cases in the High Court and Supreme Court against K.P. Singh, former Ambala SP, whom he had accused of harassment for his anti-police utterances.

The matter pertains to 1992 when Verma claimed he was falsely implicated in several cases by the then SP.



Tribune team leaves for Amarnath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
A jatha, headed by The Tribune employees, today left for pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave in Jammu and Kashmir.

As many as 40 pilgrims left for the cave shrine on six vehicles from Baba Amarnath Mandir, Sector 29 C, here.

Nardeep Partai, organiser, said the jatha would be among the first batch of pilgrims who would leave for the cave shrine from the base camp on June 18.




Install traffic lights

Traffic chaos at many roundabouts, particularly at office rush hours, is appalling. There was a time when the roundabouts were being demolished and traffic signals installed to ameliorate the situation.

Then someone came up with the idea of installing traffic lights while keeping the roundabouts intact. I think it was a great innovative idea that achieved the purpose of regulating traffic while preserving the beauty of the well maintained roundabouts.

Now that the idea has been tested successfully on many roundabouts, it is high time that it is implemented on all roundabouts in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali. Would the authorities concerned please take an urgent action?

Keshav Sachdev, 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



Class XI
Sale of prospectus from tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
The prospectus for Class XI would be available from June 16 and the last date for submission of forms would be June 26. The education department had made arrangements at five city government schools for the distribution of the same.

This was informed by director, public instruction, schools, S.K. Setia today while formally releasing the prospectus here today.

The prospectus at the cost of Rs 60 (English) and Rs 30 (Punjabi and Hindi) would be available at the counters installed at GMSSS 10, 23, 32, Modern Complex, Mani Majra and GSSS 37. The department has engaged the services of SPIC, who would do the data entry process after collecting the forms from these five schools.

Besides, there is provision for getting online admission through the official website <www.chdedu.gov.in>. The students would have to deposit a cash fee of Rs 40, along with the duly filled in forms downloaded from the site.

The counseling procedure for admission would be carried out at GMSSS 10 from July 2. The department has also made arrangements for the aptitude test in collaboration with the firms for the students who opt for vocational streams at the cost of Rs 50.

The DPI (S) said, “This aptitude test would be optional for the candidates. The firms have agreed to charge Rs 200 per student for aptitude test. However, the education department would pay Rs 150 on behalf of these students.”

On the day of admission, it is mandatory for the students to bring along their certificates and mark sheets in original. They would gain entry to the counselling hall only after showing the acknowledgement slip and the counterfoil. Around 15,000 admission forms are expected for around 11,000 seats this session.

The counselling for the sports quota admissions would be done on July 2.



Chandigarh lawyer gets international fellowship
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
Harpreet Singh Giani, a Chandigarh-based Barrister-at-Law, has become the only Indian to be awarded this year’s fellowship for an advanced course on "The Shari'a and International Criminal Law" at the International Institute for Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences, Siracusa, Italy.

He has returned with the first prize in the moot court held at the conclusion of the course.

Harpreet earlier achieved distinction in his LLM (international criminal law) at the London School of Economics and was then called to the bar at the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn.

A practising lawyer at the bar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Harpreet Giani is an alumnus of the International Court of Justice Hague Academy of International Law and a former intern in the Prosecutor's office in the International Criminal Court at The Hague, Netherlands.

The ISISC at Siracusa is a non-profit organisation and has been at the forefront of contemporary human rights research, training and advocacy and specialises in the design and implementation of a variety of human rights, rule of law, justice and capacity-building projects throughout the world.



23 designers to showcase skills at ‘Lakshay-08’
Tribune News Service

Students of International Institute of Fashion Technology display dresses prepared for the annual fashion show in Mohali
Students of International Institute of Fashion Technology display dresses prepared for the annual fashion show in Mohali on Saturday.
— Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, June 14
International Institute of Fashion Technology, Industrial Area, Phase 7, here is organising its annual fashion show tomorrow. The students after completing one year in fashion designing will showcase their creativity in ‘Lakshya-08’. Giving details of the show Shamir Kaur, principal IIFT, said students were given a choice of themes. As many as 80 dresses would be displayed by lead models like Barkha Kaul, Himani Thapa, Sahiba Singh, Prianka Sharma and Sangeeta. The show will be choreographed and presented by Kaushik Ghosh. He is one of India's leading fashion model, top fashion choreographer and an internationally renowned model trainer.

Designers who will showcase their skills on their chosen themes will be Ritu Kataria, Monika, Amita, Neha, Anju, Geeta, Aspan, Asif, Tarunjot, Tanvir, Narpinder, Mandeep, Sunil, Surbhi, Gaurav, Dilroop, Vinod, Yugal, Pawnpreet, Suman, Kamal, Reetu Gahlot and Satinder.

Kawaljit Singh, the director of IIFT, said the institute had worked hard to provide the best facilities to its students and as a result IIFT Mohali recently won the best academics award in the recent IIFT all-India annual show at New Delhi, among 70 participants.



Summer school for science lecturers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 14
A three-week ‘Summer School in Science’ was inaugurated today by University Grants Commission vice-chairman Prof Mool Chand Sharma for 45 lecturers, from the discipline of sciences, from different institutes all over the region.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof Mool Chand said the higher education was facing great challenges and the teachers were needed to be empowered. The Academic Staff Colleges should become vibrant nodes of academic activities, he added. He further urged the teachers to generate an academic chaos to churn up ideas, debates and arguments for new development in the society.

Vice-chancellor, PU, Prof R.C. Sobti, while interacting with the participants, said former President A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s dream of India being a superpower can be achieved through empowering young teachers of the country.



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 |