C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Hazardous Waste
UT gives 3 months to erring units
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC) has decided to crack the whip against industrial units flouting norms on the dumping of hazardous waste in the city.

Getting tough with the industrial units, the CPCC has served a three-month ultimatum on the industrial units to enter into an agreement with treatment, storage and disposal facility (TSDF) at Nimbuan (Dera Bassi) for the disposal of the hazardous waste. The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has recently allowed the local units to dump their industrial waste at the TSDF.

In absence of a common facility for transportation, treatment and disposal of the hazardous waste, the CPCC has allowed the units to dump the hazardous waste on their premises in 2005. However, with the development of the Nimbuan facility to tackle the hazardous waste menace, the CPCC authorised Ramky Enviro Engineers, the operator of the facility, to collect, transport and store the hazardous waste.

About 300 metric tonnes of hazardous waste was generated in Chandigarh annually, the quantity of such waste was to the tune of 36,000 metric tonnes. The Punjab Government, in collaboration with the state industry, had developed the Nimbuan plant to check the dumping of hazardous waste in the state which could pose a serious challenge to the environment.

Official sources said the committee had issued notices to units to comply with the Hazardous Waste (Management & Handling) Rules 1989, within three months and submit the evidence to the CPCC. This would be mandatory for those units not having their own treatment and disposal arrangements.

According to new guidelines, the industrial units would have to sign an agreement with the TSDF promoters, the sources said, adding that strict action would be taken against the defaulters.

Statutory provisions

Under the rules, units generating hazardous waste will take all practical steps to ensure that such waste is properly handled and disposed of without any adverse effect which may result from such waste. The units are also responsible for collection, treatment, storage and disposal of waste either themselves or by an operator.



Couple’s Murder
Suresh had taunted me, says girl’s brother
Gurdeep Singh Mann
Tribune News Service

Suresh’s father Gurdial Ram (left) waits for the body of his son outside the civil hospital mortuary in Rajpura on Sunday.
Suresh’s father Gurdial Ram (left) waits for the body of his son outside the civil hospital mortuary in Rajpura on Sunday. A Tribune photograph Report on page 1

Gajju Khera (Banur), June 15
"A few days ago, Suresh taunted me saying that I would soon be maternal uncle (mama). This infuriated me and I decided to kill both Suresh and Sanvinder," confessed unrepentant Sarabjit before the police.

Suresh and Sanvinder Kaur had married three months ago against the wishes of their parents. Sarabjit brutally murdered Suresh and seriously injured Sanvinder on Saturday in their house while they were sleeping. Sanvinder died at around 8 pm at PGI, Chandigarh, during treatment.

The police arrested Sarabjit today and a case under sections 302, 307 and 452 of the IPC was registered against him at the Banur police station.

The post-mortem of the couple was conducted at the Rajpura civil hospital and their bodies were handed over to Suresh's parents. The couple was cremated together at the village.
The police did not provide security to the couple despite the orders of the High Court. Since we are poor people, nobody bothered about our security.

— Father

The couple refused to take security and it had given it in writing as well.

— The Police

Tension started mounting at the village as soon as the bodies reached there and the police was deployed to avert any untoward incident. The houses of both Suresh and Sanvinder are nearby in the village.

While no one was present at Sanvinder's house. Grief-stricken family members of Suresh's family said innumerable times they had pleaded before the couple to stay away from the village for a few months but Sanvinder never agreed to this.

"My son had recently deposited money with someone to get a shop on rent in the village. He wanted to start cycle repair work from the next month”, said Suresh’s father Gurdial Ram.

“Sarabjit came to my house yesterday when all family members in the house were sleeping. After killing the couple, he then attacked my wife. She escaped as the wooden handle of wood-cutter in his hands broke”, he said.

He alleged that the police did not provide them security despite the orders of the High Court. “Since we are poor people, nobody bothered about our security”, he said.

Father of the girl-Kuldeep Singh- has recently retired from the Army and her brother, Sarabjit, was deployed as a security guard in an engineering college at Rajpura.

Villagers said Sarabjit was a friend of Suresh. A few days ago, they met after a long time.

The villagers said some common friends of Sarabjit and Suresh instigated former after which he had committed the crime.

Meanwhile, police officials at the Banur police station denied charges of not providing security to the couple.

They said that the couple refused to take security and had given it in writing as well.



CVC’s orders remain on the paper
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Repeated orders of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) on identification of sensitive posts and rotation of officials on such posts are nothing new to the top brass in the Chandigarh Administration.

It is another thing that the administration has failed in implementing orders of the CVC. Sources reveal that the vigilance commission has been regularly writing to the Administration to follow the guidelines. Last month again, the CVC had categorically told the chief vigilance officer, Chandigarh Administration, not to post back official before three years.

Following directives of the UT Administrator to adopt CVC guidelines might be the tough task for UT officials.

Engineers in the city have become so powerful that their postings have become a matter of “pressure” and “sifarish”. On a number of occasions, the orders of the Administration to move the technocrats are either kept in abeyance or cancelled. A few months’ back, at least 12 JEs had managed to pull the strings to remain on their existent postings. In some cases, the JEs have been on the same place for more than 10 years.

It is not only the JEs, the favorite XENs have remained in the same division for long. The sources reveal that several munshis in different divisions, especially division no.3, have remained at one place for long.

Besides, there were several cases in the Estate Office, the Chandigarh Housing Board, the UT engineering department, CITCO and other departments where employees were holding on to sensitive posts for long. In case of UT secretariat, several employees in the ministerial staff were holding on to posts for a long period.

It is not the first time that the UT Administrator has expressed displeasure with the works of the engineering and architect departments. In January this year, UT adviser Pradip Mehra conveyed the Administrator’s annoyance to the officials concerned. Fixing responsibility for the delay in projects was talked about. But over five months have passed and the Administrator had to issue the orders again yesterday.



Morning walker killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Satish Kumar, 65, was killed in a road accident on the road dividing Sectors 44 and 43 early this morning.

Satish, a resident of Sector 44, was on his morning walk when he was knocked down by a vehicle. He was taken to the PGI where the doctors declared him “brought death.”



News channels getting sensational

With media explosion, there is a cutthroat competition among the news channels.

Usually news is sensationalised and trivial issues are blown out of proportions. Many so-called news channels use violence, sex and drama on the name of news.

Any thing as inconsequential as Sanjay Dutt’s wedding or a professor and his mistress getting a thrash from his wife is made a news of national significance. It is sickening when the same piece of news is repeated day in and day out.

The most disgusting are the programmes on crime. The insensitivity with which the anchors comment at a time of tragedy is indeed deplorable.

Rama Kashyap, Chandigarh

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



Citizens’ Grievance

The Tribune has always strived to be the Voice of the People. To provide our readers another opportunity to speak out, the Chandigarh Tribune is starting a weekly column, Citizens’ Grievance.

If you feel you have been wronged or have a grievance of not having been heard by the administration or any other public institution, write to us. We will carry forth your voice to the men/women whose duty it is to serve you- the people.

You can email your letters, with relevant documents as attachments, to citizensgrievance@tribunemail.com or send them to The Tribune Office marked to the City Editor.



17 scooter trips to Ladakh and still counting
73-year-old returns after annual visit
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
A passion to see the pristine beauty of the stark mountains with its amazing wildlife and friendly people, is what drives this 73-year-old man to the Ladakh region on a scooter every year.

This is the remarkable feat of J.P. Bhatnagar, a senior citizen from Ghaziabad, who undertakes this adventurous trip riding on his companion of 20 years - his LML Vespa scooter.

Ladakh is a place where only the brave dare to venture because of the height and the low oxygen level. But this doesn’t keep Bhatnagar away as he has now travelled to the difficult terrain 17 times. No wonder his feat finds a mention in the Limca Book of Records - for being the oldest man to drive through the Khardungla Pass (18,380 feet above sea level).

His love for the place is so immense that he even undertook his trip during the Kargil war in 1999. He, however, refuses to talk about his experiences then, citing that it would be against national interest.

Just back from his trip, the man with a ‘never-say die’ attitude, says that the arduous journey has not tired him, but rather refreshed him. “A visit to this region is therapeutic for the mind and body. I come back recharged, and even before I reach home in Ghaziabad, I am looking forward to my trip next year,” says this retired school teacher, adding that once back, he misses the people there with whom he has now formed a special bond.

“Throughout my life, I adhered to social norms and performed my responsibilities towards my children, as my wife had died young. After I got free from my social responsibilities, I decided to live for myself without any bindings,” he says.

Talk to him about what attracts him to Ladakh and his eyes lit up as he begins talking about his encounters with the wildlife and the topography of the region. “This is the only region (Zanskar Valley) that has all three bears - white, brown and black. The snow leopards are amazing and a large area in Numa region, after crossing the Khardungla Pass, has radium reserves,” he says excitedly.

He says that he is charmed not just by the natural beauty of the region, but also by the solitude the place offers. “The different customs and traditions of the Ladakhis, their rituals and their hospitality floored me the first time I visited the place in 1991.”

“However, I was upset that Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department was not doing enough to promote tourism, so I decided to promote the region as a potential tourist hot-spot, after I had explored the region extensively.”

“So, I wrote my first book on Ladakh “Adventure in Ladakh” in 2003. Now, I am ready with my next book “Sindh Ke Tat Se,” for which I am looking for a sponsor,” he adds.



Partnership key to developing affordable drugs: CSIR chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The empowerment and leadership of young scientists, greater synergy and collaboration with universities and industries is the key to major challenges like drug development, energy conservation and biofuel development.

This was stated by Dr S.K. Brahmchari, director general, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), at a seminar on “Open source drug discovery” (OSDD) at the Institute of Microbial Technology, here today.

Introducing the concept of open source and how it was relevant in the present scenario for affordable drug discovery, Dr Brahmchari said previous projects from reverse engineering to knowledge partnership had led to the identification of various target and lead molecules for psoriasis, tuberculosis, arthritis, diabetes, etc. involving 40 times less the investment made by pharmaceutical companies. This prompted the idea of open source drug discovery, he said.

In fact, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research is to grow into “council of scientific and innovative research” that would be responsible for highest possible science and “corporate social India responsibility” for delivering goods to people, said Dr Brahmchari.

“Open source drug discovery” envisions the participation of scientists and students in growing numbers in the open source mode. It helps to build and coalesce user community, including tapping intelligent minds, for affordable drug development.

Such a huge initiative requires industry partnerships as it is not possible to produce a product with low cost and risk involving only CSIR scientists, contended the director general.

He also highlighted the significance of bioinformatics in value generation through confluence of Information Technology and biotechnology.

He also briefed on the evolution of IGIB from the CBT, citing examples of various achievements, from the largest clinical network in India (1998) to the first highest number of co-authored paper (158 authors - 2005).

The success of these projects further underlines the importance of collaboration and networking in solving challenging issues.

He said the CSIR was committed to remain strategically important for nation as it envisaged creating enough public good by working with NGOs and private sectors involving younger people for innovative solutions to challenging issues like affordable drug discovery.



Sector 63 CHB Scheme
EWS flats elicit poor response
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
One-bedroom and and one-room flats for the economically weaker section (EWS) do not fancy the residents of Chandigarh, the city with highest per capita income in the country.

In fact, residents like to splurge on larger three-bedrooms and two-bedroom sets, as is evident from the response to the general housing scheme of the Chandigarh Housing Board in Sector 63.

While the one-bedroom and one-room dwelling units have evoked poorest response, three-bedroom flats continue to be most popular among residents. Data indicated that the two-bedroom apartments have received 8,007 applications for 836 flats. Proportionate applications for three-bedroom flats were maximum, attracting 5,280 applicants for 304 flats (17 times the number).

However, the CHB has received only 2,372 applications for EWS flats, while the response seems to be better for one-bedroom flats with 3,684 applicants trying their luck for 532 flats.

General prosperity of the local population coupled with residents’ penchant for bigger dwelling units seemed to be the primary reasons for people going in for slightly “bigger” houses.

As part of its ambitious 13,000-flat mega housing project, the CHB had recently come out with the Sector 63 scheme comprising 1976 four-storey flats. The board had priced the three-bedroom flats at Rs 39.57 lakh, while the two-bedroom flats were priced at Rs 29.14 lakh.

The one bedroom and EWS dwelling units were priced at Rs 17.15 lakh and Rs 5.66 lakh, respectively. Since there was still an acute shortage of good accommodation in the city, a large number of end users and speculators applied for the CHB flats for their own use and to earn a quick buck.

And with various banks financing the earnest money for various categories of flats, applying for dwelling units has become an affordable option, Jagtar Singh, an applicant added.



Arrest of six in Teheran
Bahai council stages protest

Tribune News Service

Bahai Regional Council, external affairs, secretary Danesh Roshan interacts with mediapersons in Sector 8, Chandigarh, on Sunday. Bahai Regional Council, external affairs, secretary Danesh Roshan interacts with mediapersons in Sector 8, Chandigarh, on Sunday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, June 15
The Northern Region Bahai Council today staged a peaceful protest here against the arrest of their six leaders in Teheran on May 14 by allegedly implicating them in anti-national activities.

Around 100 Bahais from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh gathered to pray for the safety of their leaders.

They expressed their concern over the recent human rights violations in Iran where members of their community were arrested for believing in democracy and freedom of religion.

Talking to mediapersons, Bahai Regional Council, external affairs, secretary Danesh Roshan said recently six of their leaders were detained without formal charge in Teheran and taken to some unknown place.

He said the arrested members had no access to legal assistance and had not been allowed to meet their family members. He said their only crime was their practice of the faith.

Roshan stated that through peaceful protest around the world the community was trying to build pressure on the Iranian government to secure the release of their leaders.

He said the episode had increased their concern for the safety of human rights of the community.

On whether they had approached the Indian government or the UNO on the issue, he said talks were on with the Indian government in this context as India had highest population — 16 lakh — of Bahais in the world.

He added that the United Nations General Assembly had been supportive of the community’s ideology of peace and belief in the democratic system.

He said their religion believed in humanity as one single race and that the day had come for its unification in one global society.



Badal kicks off campaign
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, June 15
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today kicked off the election campaign for the Municipal Council elections in Zirakpur here this evening. Addressing thousands of SAD-BJP supporters, who had gathered despite the rains, the Chief Minister asked residents of the township to vote for the 15 BJP-SAD candidates in the coming Zirakpur Municipal Council elections on June 30.

Lambasting the Congress government at the Centre, Badal said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should resign as his government had failed to keep a check on rising prices. “They are openly saying that they are helpless in controlling prices. Had it been any other democratic nation, the head of the country would have resigned over the issue,” said the Chief Minister. 

Allaying rumours that Badal and some senior SAD leaders were supporting the Akali breakaway group led by N.K. Sharma, the CM derided Sharma for indulging in anti-party activities. “ I have been told that there is Sharma and company here. It is suffice to say that someone who has been shifting his stand so much never rises in life,” said Badal

The SAD-BJP combine list of candidates was not released during the rally. Though the list of candidates was finalised and ready to be released to the press it was not made public. The list did not have the concurrence of Balramji Dass Tandon and the list was likely to be given out tomorrow

Listing the achievements of his government, Badal said his tenure in Punjab had just begun but he had tried to bring about development along with planning for the future. “There will be blueprints for development of every part of the state. The Congress has never planned for the future. There are countries which plan for the next hundred years also,” he said.

He said he had already given over Rs 110 crore for the development of Zirakpur. “You are wise people. You should realise that whosoever comes to power in the council should be able to work in tandem with the sitting government. How can a car move if the tyres of the car are of different types? You bring all 15 SAD BJP candidates to power and I will keep a blank check ready for you,” he told the gathering.

BJP’s coordinator for district Balramji Dass Tandon said he and Parkash Singh Badal had joined the Punjab Vidhan Sabha together as MLAs 50 years ago and the BJP-Akali bond was forever.

Cabinet minister and MLA Banur Capt Kanwaljit Singh also exhorted the public to vote for the BJP-SAD combine candidates. “It is the only way the process of development that has begun for the township will carry on.”



Muddy roads nightmare for motorists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The recent spell of rain in the city has rendered most of its roads difficult to drive on for motorists, especially two-wheeler riders, as most of these have been covered with thick layers of mud.

Both internal as well as main roads separating sectors have become virtual death traps for motorists. Adding to the problem is unfinished work by the municipal corporation, which has left piles of mud on street corners.

“I had a narrow escape last evening when my two-wheeler slipped after it hit a muddy patch on the internal road of Sector 18. It’s difficult especially for two-wheeler riders to travel on muddy roads,” said Amrinder Singh, a student.

A number of accidents have been reported on this account in the recent past. Also, a number of incidents involving motorists having a narrow escape have gone unreported.

In spite of the matter being highlighted to the municipal corporation authorities, little seems to have been done to tackle the problem.

Even as the municipal corporation sits pretty over the issue, threat to life of motorists looms large especially with monsoon right round the corner.



Panchkula apni mandi flooded
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 15
Visitors as well as vendors had a harrowing time when the area demarcated for apni mandi at Swastik Vihar was inundated with water here today. The town is witnessing heavy downpour since yesterday.

The vendors who started reaching at the allotted place from morning had no place to set up their vends as the entire area was full of potholes flooded with water. However, a majority of them installed their tents at the site. But it proved to be a nightmare for the visitors when they reached the mandi after the rain had stopped.

Farmers as well as other vendors were full of anguish over the inaction of the market committee which takes lakhs of rupees from them every month.

The market committee takes Rs 50 from everyone who sells his product in the market and around 500 vendors came to the mandi every Sunday, said Surjan, a vegetable vendor. However, the site lacked even the basic facilities, he said.

The visitors, on the other hand, were no less harassed. Jagdish Sawhni, a retired official of the AG office, said the site was full of potholes.

The market committee which collected money from the farmers for selling their produce is supposed to maintain the site. But the apathy on their part has put the vendors in deep trouble and the customers had to go back disappointed as water accumulated in potholes made it impossible for them to enter the mandi.



Chhabeels organised to mark Shaheedi Divas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjan Dev was observed with religious fervor here today. Chhabeels were organised in various parts of the city to mark the occasion.

Members of various market associations and residential welfare associations offered sweetened water to commuters. The battalion of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police organised a chhabeel on its premises. At several places, residents parked their vehicles by the roadside to savour “parsada”. Chhabeels were organised in Sectors 7, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 32 and Mani Majra Governor and UT administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) called upon people to follow the tenets of Sikhism and to renew the resolve to work to create a society of peace and prosperity.



Father’s Day celebrated with senior citizens
Tribune News service

Chandigarh June 15
Fathers’ Day was celebrated by the Sai Tara Ummat Foundation at the Old Age Home, Sector 43, here today by holding a free eye check-up camp in collaboration with the Chandigarh Senior Citizens' Association and Grewal Eye Institute, Sector 9.

As many as 200 patients were examined and free medicines were provided. The medicines were donated by Indswift Pharmaceuticals, Chandigarh. As many as 20 patients were also selected for surgeries at the Eye Institute free of cost.

The camp was inaugurated by the seniormost resident of the Old Age Home, K. K. Mittal. A.K. Ummat, chairman, Sai Tara Ummat Foundation, said the main idea behind the camps was to help the weaker sections of the society. V.S. Sodhi, vice-president, Chandigarh Senior Citizens' Association, thanked the Foundation.



198 challaned for using non-ISI helmets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Chandigarh police today carried out a special challaning drive against those violating traffic rules, Beggar Act and those found smoking at public place.

At least 198 persons were challaned for using non-ISI brand helmets, while 34 were challaned for smoking at public place. However, not even a single person was booked under the Beggar Act.

The police station-19 topped the list of issuing challans by punishing 47 persons for using non-ISI helmets. They also booked 12 persons for smoking at public place.



PU to start guidance cell
Wardens to help students for accommodation
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Given the heavy rush of students owing to the ongoing admission process, Panjab University is soon going to repeat its success story of last year in setting up a guidance cell of its own.

Aimed at providing a platform to students and teachers to interact, the university is setting up a guidance cell cum help desk for facilitating in the admission process to the students.

Every day two teachers will sit on rotation basis from different departments to answer the queries of students regarding different courses. Two wardens will also sit to help students getting hostel accommodation.

Due to heavy rush of students seeking hostel accommodation, this year, the university authorities have decided to give hostel rooms on merit basis. Moreover, students will have to produce ration cards as well as a proof of their identity to get accommodation.

The university had only last year started setting up its own guidance cell. Prior to this, only the student bodies would set up such help desks.

“University’s help desk is a much better option as the teachers are better equipped with the knowledge about courses,” said Rohit, a second-year BCom student.

“Unlike the student bodies, the teachers have no agenda other than helping out the students. Usually student organisations help the students with the motive of membership expansion,” said Sahil, an engineering student.

“For the first time in the history of Panjab University we started our own counselling cell last year. It was a huge success and many students benefited from it. So we have almost finished preparing list of teachers and wardens who will be assigned the duties in a day or two. A separate enquiry counter will be set up for the purpose,” said Prof R.C. Sobti, vice-chancellor, PU.



Central Status for PU
Protesters threaten to come on roads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
“If our peaceful voices are not heard, we will not hesitate to come on the roads,” said Prof V.P. Upadhaya, from department of Sanskrit.

“I have no doubt on the declaration of PU as a central university. The question is who is politically wise enough to take the credit of declaring it first,” said Prof B.G. Banerjee, from department of Anthropology, “whether it is Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, or Sukhbir Singh Badal, President, SAD.” Both are alumni of PU. “The university has given them what it could, now it is their turn,” said R.L. Arora, Librarian, department of correspondence studies.

Today, on the 70th day of the chain fast for the central university status for PU, eight teachers, students and library staff sat on the fast.

Prof V.P. Upadhaya, along with research scholars from Sanskrit department, Subhash Chand, Punit Pandit, and Ram Niwas Nain, sat on the fast. Prof B.G. Banerjee, R.L. Arora, Gurinder Kaur, research scholar, and an MA student Sunny Mehta also joined them.

Despite rain and it being a holiday, student-volunteers mustered signatures of more than 500 hundred visitors. Research scholars have called their meeting tomorrow to chalk out the strategy of intensifying ongoing struggle.



New computer curriculum implemented
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
Chandigarh education department has developed its own curriculum in computer education, which has been implemented in all government schools of the city for the academic session of 2008-09.

Chandigarh administration has spent Rs 200 lakh while the central government has contributed Rs 300 lakh for infusing Information Technology in the syllabi of government schools.

In as many as 16 government schools, computer science has been incorporated as optional subject, on the pattern of CBSE, for students of Class XI from this session, which will be extended to Class XII in the next academic session.

However, for primary classes, depending upon the availability of computer lab and equipment, it has been made mandatory for every student of Class I to V to give exposure to computers and multimedia.

These labs are being set up by the administration in association with DOEACC and SPIC.

DPI (Schools) SK Setia said, “Computer labs have been created in 20 government schools. Apart from this, around 52 schools have been provided with 10 computers and one laser printer each.”



Summer camp for disabled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
A summer camp for the disabled children was organised by the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan Society, Chandigarh. Approximately 120 children participated in the four-day camp.

The camp was organised in four special resource centers at GMSSS-8, GSSS-15, GSSS-45 and GSSS-38 (W). The camp was devised with a vision to inculcate confidence, provide remedial teaching and additional support in academics to these children.



Admn gives powers to tainted officer
Overlooks vigilance panel advisory

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Chandigarh administration follows the advisory of the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) at its own convenience, be it rotating officials posted on sensitive posts or giving additional charge to those against whom penalty has been advised by the commission.

Overruling the advice of the vigilance authorities, there have been instances in the engineering department wherein tainted officials have been handed over important assignments by administration.

In a recent case, the administration has handed down the assignment of executive engineer (public health) to a sub-divisional engineer while ignoring the observations by the CVC.

The official, Trilochan Singh, had been charged with serious irregularities while undertaking construction of government quarters in Sector 33 during the period between 1993 and 1996.

Documents in possession of Chandigarh Tribune reveal that without waiting for the reply of the CVC, the administration gave the SDE additional work after converting the recommendation of major penalty into a censure.

On the basis of a vigilance inquiry, the CVC had recommended major penalty proceedings against the SDE.

Subsequently, the inquiry was handed over to a retired IAS officer, Manmohan Hurria, who absolved the SDE of the charges. However, former adviser Lalit Sharma observed that findings of Hurria had failed to appreciate the evidence produced by the previous inquiry officer.

The findings were set aside on a number of points like allowing payment beyond the agreed amount, allowing payments to the contractor for the items that were available at the construction site and calling quotations for the items that were supplied free of cost to the contractor.

However, Lalit Sharma, in his order on January 17, 2007, observed that it was a procedural flaw and there was no financial loss to the government. Thereafter, the penalty of censure was imposed upon the SDE.

But the CVC disagreed with the action and again recommended major penalty against the official.

Not heeding to the advice of the CVC, the competent authority on January 24, 2008, imposed a minor punishment of censure without getting the advice from the CVC.

While giving relief to the SDE, a judgment of the Supreme Court had been relied upon arguing that advice tendered by the CVC was not binding on the punishing authority.

The central vigilance officer, UT, has observed that the punishment to be imposed depends upon the nature of case and the authorities have to exercise their quasi-judicial discretion and cannot act under the dictate of the CVC.

Interestingly, the competent authority, while acting on the report of Hurria, had imposed half per cent cut on the pension of a junior engineer Kewal Krishan, who has already retired.



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