C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mohali to be future city
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 19
It’s here. The much-awaited blueprint for the development of the greater Mohali area in the next 50 years prepared by Singapore’s Jurong Limited has been submitted to the Punjab government.

The 1500-paged document has been circulated among 40 departments for comment before it is adopted as Greater Mohali Area Development Authority’s (GMADA) masterplan.

Masterplan For GMADA

  • Manufacturing units in Dera Bassi
  • Lalru to home service industry/ business park
  • Mullanpur to be recreational hub
  • Emphasis on water bodies, heritage sites

The plan has been envisaged with SAS Nagar as the urban core. But the suggested development plan proposes to make the growth relatively more equitable by re-orienting urban activities towards Zirakpur and Kharar.

The Lalru-Dera Bassi corridor is conceived as prime employment generator. Manufacturing activities shall be concentrated in the Dera Bassi and FEZ area whereas Lalru would home more sophisticated activities like service industry and business park.

Lalru shall also act as a buffer between hardcore manufacturing activities at Dera Bassi and institutional functions proposed to be centered in Banur. The local planning area of Mullanpur, west of Chandigarh, is envisaged to be developed into a low-density residential and recreational hub with nature-based tourism activities.

The city’s future has been planned along strategic nodes at intersections of major transportation corridors to save infrastructure costs. The recommended road system is a semi-circular ring road connecting the GMADA area to Chandigarh.

Jurong, entrusted with the creation of the GMADA masterplan in 2006, has given a structure plan for 1200 sq km.The aim of the plan is achieve ‘Distinctive Mohali’. For this, core focus areas have been identified to create a distinctive signature for Greater Mohali, designed as a world-class city catering to a population of 4 million to 4.5 million by 2060.

For economic growth, the plan recommends that the region should capitalise on its inherent assets of a rich agricultural base and strong human capital. The target sectors proposed by the plan are agro-processing, food processing and IT and biotechnology.

The proposed road density ranges from 1km to 5 km of roads per sq km and an enhanced public transportation system. The plan suggests a metro system to serve the most urbanised areas of GMADA and the upgrading of the urban and rural bus systems. A public bus fleet of .5 to 1.5 public buses per 1,000 population is recommended for an efficient bus system.

The consultants have also made it clear that the planning for the region would have to respect the unique and ecologically sensitive zones, especially areas under the Forest Act and the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) in the north- western part.

The plan further states that a greater emphasis would also be placed on local water bodies to re-establish their contribution to leisure and Mohali’s green and blue credentials. Special care would be taken to conserve heritage sites and buildings.



Drainage of rain water
Remove blockage, Ansals told
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Chhapar Chidi (Kharar), June 19
Acting on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the district administration today warned the authorities of Ansal API Township to demolish the construction obstructing drainage of rain water of the village.

The authorities had been warned that if they did not comply with the orders, the drainage department would knock down the construction and Ansals would have to bear cost.

Meanwhile, villagers alleged that the construction had not only stopped the drainage of Chhapar Chidi but also of six more villages. "Our village lies at a low level and the rain water of nearby villages gets into it. The obstruction not only meant a problem for us but also for villages of Balongi, Bariali, Desu Majra, Ballo Majra, Chajju Majra, Sante Majra, Chhapar Chiri Kalan and Khurd," said Zora Singh Bhullar, former sarpanch of the village. Other villagers added that the entire 35-km area was affected due to this construction.

Bhullar alleged that two years ago when Ansal API erected its boundary wall, it did not care for the water drainage of the village and blocked the same under 100 feet road. Rain water from these villages was being drained for the last 50 years.

Villagers said they had no option other than approaching the High Court and seeking relief. "The orders have been passed. It is yet to be seen whether Ansal authorities comply with the orders or not. Ours is not the only case. Such natural water drainages have been blocked by almost every other coloniser, especially on the Landran-Banur road,” added Darshan Singh.

Villagers recalled that in 2004, too, Nav Enclave, situated on the Landran-Banur road, had encroached upon land and stopped water of nearby villages. The then administration had acted swiftly and got the encroachments razed, using JCB machines.



DC orders demolition
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 19
Deputy Commissioner, SAS Nagar, Rahul Bhandari today said, “In case the structures are not demolished by tomorrow, the district administration will undertake demolition,” adding that any damage caused to the village due to their structures would be the company’s responsibility. “The company has been told that it would have to duly compensate the villagers in case of any damage,” said the DC.

The DC had visited the site of the company’s project today along with the ADC and SDM.

The DC said a committee of the district town planner, executive engineer PWD and executive engineer drainage had been constituted to identify similar cases where builders had encroached upon the natural flow of choes in the area. The committee had been asked to submit a report to the DC.



EO refusing conversion applications
Conversion rates cannot be over and above the commercial value of the property in question
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The revised conversion rate of Rs 72,000 per sq yard for those opting to convert their industrial plot into a commercial establishment has opened a Pandora’s box for the Chandigarh administration.

If the yardstick for calculating the conversion fee based on the last three auctions is correct, the new allotments in the IT park, Education City, Medi City and Amusement Park need to be revised. The conversion policy cannot be seen in isolation, said HS Mamik, industrialist.

As per the policy, the designated agency will process the cases of conversion and convey the decision within 15 days of receiving the application. If no decision is conveyed within the stipulated period, permission would deem to have been granted, he added.

MPS Chawla, another industrialist, said the conversion rates had to be realistic and could not be over and above the commercial value of the property in question. The rates needed to be revised in the light of repeated representations of the traders from time to time.

At their wits’ end, the stakeholders in the conversion policy feel they are being cheated by the veil of secrecy being maintained by officials of the Chandigarh administration on various administrative decisions being taken from time to time in connection with the policy. “Had this been communicated at the right time, the applicants could have thought again on applying under the policy”, said another industrialist.

In fact, contradictory statements by the administrative officers had added to the confusion. A letter written by the estate office to the Chandigarh Housing Board regarding new conversion rate of Rs 35,000 per sq yard further added to the confusion. On the basis of the communication, the CHB started applications at the rate of Rs 35,000 per sq yard.

UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar said it was wrong on part of the estate office to communicate the rate of Rs 35,000 per sq yard. On the basis of the clause added in the conversion policy, the rate is Rs 72,000 per sq yard and this has been communicated to the estate office. Some representation regarding the new rates has been received from the estate office, the same are being analysed.

Soon after the auction, the estate office should have revised the conversion rates and communicated the same to the Chandigarh Housing Board, the nodal agency at that time. The delay on part of the estate office was unwarranted.

RK Rao, estate officer, said clarification regarding the new rate of Rs 72,000 per sq yard had been sought.

Further adding to the woes of the stakeholders, the estate office is refusing to accept applications or building plans under the conversion policy. This is despite the fact that the Administration had appointed estate office as the nodal agency in place of the CHB. But due to lack of coordination between the estate office and the CHB, the files relating to conversion policy have again been sent to the CHB from the estate office. “The files are being shunted between the two departments right under the nose of the senior officials in the estate office”, said a stakeholder.

In his endeavour to empower more secretary- level officials to speed up the decision-making mechanism, basic issues like poor coordination between different departments have failed to catch the attention of the UT Administrator.

In case of the conversion policy, closed-door meetings among UT officials have not meant better coordination among the estate office, CHB and finance department.



Flesh trade thrives
3,000 sex workers in city
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The city is emerging as a regional hub of the sex trade industry. In the past few months, the Chandigarh police has arrested over 30 call girls and pimps for running flesh trade racket here.

While some girls are forced into the profession due to financial reasons, others get into the business to meet their aspirations of leading a “good life”.

The money involved in the business is enormous. Girls brought on contract from Delhi, Mumbai and other cities are getting between Rs 20,000 and Rs 60,000 per trip according to their age and looks.

Apart from girls brought to the city from other states, there are around 3,000 sex workers active in the city, with a majority of them living in places like Bapu Dham Colony No. 4, Mani Majra and Daria village.

Chandigarh Tribune had recently highlighted that the city was set to join the league of metros in flesh trade, with the area around Mani Majra emerging as the GB Road of Delhi, Sona Gachi of Kolkata and Falkland Road of Mumbai.

With the busting of a gang allegedly running a call-girl racket recently, the police believes that there is a sharp increase in the activity within the tricity, where inter-state gang are involved.

According to sources, the girls arrested on Tuesday were hired from Assam and West Bengal.

Pangiwada, a village in West Bengal, has hundreds of prostitution dens, where girls are available for anything between Rs 30 and Rs 120. The police has identified two procuresses, Bharati and Rita, involved in binging girls from these dens to the city.

The girls were brought to the city on the pretext of getting them employment here but were later forced to adopt the profession.

Besides providing them with food and accommodation, the girls were not given money and the money was directly sent to their families.

The girls were purchased for a period of a month or two, the payment of which was given in advance to the owner of the den.

Sonia (name changed) of Uttaranchal, who was arrested on Tuesday, said: “My extravagant lifestyle and the things I did to meet the expenses forced my parents to disown me. This forced me into prostitution around nine months ago. I was brought to Chandigarh and paid around 20,000 a month.”

Another girl was brought to the city on the pretext of getting a job. When her father came to meet her here, she was made a receptionist.

“I was afraid of being caught and was not in the position to tell him the truth,” she said.

DSP (operation cell) Vijay Kumar said there would be more arrests in the coming days.

“We are writing to the West Bengal police to take necessary action against the den owners engaged in supply of girls to the city. The interrogation of girls revealed that a large per cent of them were innocent and were forced to become a prostitute. The increasing number of prostitutes is a cause for concern for the police.”



Three countries seek DRDO’s Akash missile
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Three countries have expressed an interest in procuring the Akash air defence missile system developed indigenously by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Akash is a radar-guided, medium-range surface to air missile developed under the integrated guided missile development programme.

After a long development and evaluation process, the Indian Air Force has recently decided to induct two squadrons of the Akash missile system.

File photo of the Akash surface-to-air missile.
File photo of the Akash surface-to-air missile.

“We have been approached by three countries this year that are keen in the development and induction of the Akash missile,” Dr Avinash Chander, director of DRDO’s Advanced Systems Laboratory, which is responsible for testing and evaluation of missiles and its systems, told The Tribune. “DRDO is willing to go ahead with the proposals, but these have to be cleared by the Defence Ministry and a decision in this regard has to be taken by the government,” he added. Dr Chander, however, declined to identify the countries that have approached DRDO.

While the IAF has accepted the all-weather, multi-target missile, which has a range of about 30 km, the Army is yet to accept it. “The requirements of the Army are a bit different from those of the IAF. We are working towards meeting those,” Dr Chander said. The Army, according to some DRDO scientists, wants certain modifications in the missiles launcher platforms to enhance mobility.

A series of nine tests were conducted, including a ripple fire in the electronic clutter before the IAF declared the missile ready for induction. Experts say that the IAF has a requirement for at least six Akash squadrons, which would replace older generation missiles like the SA-6.

The serial production of the Akash missile would be undertaken by a consortium of public sector undertakings as well as private enterprises which could include Bharat Electronics Limited, Bharat Dynamics Limited, Electronics Corporation of India, Larsen and Toubro and Tata Group. Also in the development stage is a long-range surface to air missile. This is a joint venture with Israel. Dr Chander said the missile would be totally different from the Akash and would have a range of about 70 km. Meanwhile, the Trishul short-range surface to air missile project has been closed down, with the missile now not expecting to make it beyond the trial stage.



SCOs on V4 road allowed wide-glass facade
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The Chandigarh administration has allowed wide-glass façade on the first and second floors of SCOs/SCFs on V4 roads in all sectors.

This allows the replacement of the traditional brick facade with glass façade subject to no change in architectural control.

The decision follows recommendations of the committee constituted to review the building bylaws. Owners of SCFs and SCOs will be allowed the relaxation subject to submittal of proposal collectively.

They will have to maintain the street picture. The major beneficiaries will be showrooms in markets of Sectors 7, 10, 11, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 27, 26, 28, 29 and 30.

However, it has not been clarified whether the relief has been allowed to showrooms in Sector 17.

Further, all bay shops can now cover the back courtyard on the pattern of SCOs/SCFs on V-4 roads. However, the same will have to be constructed in conformity with building bylaws.

Showrooms in Sectors 7 and 26 have been permitted to cover the entire rear courtyard subject to certain conditions.

In case of plots where rear courtyard size is more, the building line of the row on the rear will be maintained and the remaining courtyard area will be left open to sky.

Basements have been allowed below the entire plot of SCOs/SCFs to be constructed in conformity with building bylaws.

Basements have also been allowed under entire zoned area in zoning controlled buildings except residential buildings for service, parking and storage.

It has, however, been made clear that basements are already allowed under the built-up zone of residential houses.

The recommendations also allow basements below ground floor, including the rear courtyard in all bay shops, SCOs/SCFs in the city.

The ground floor of existing shops can now be depressed by 2 feet subject to structural stability. Provision of mezzanine has also been permitted.

Though compulsory partition between shops and covered rear courtyard has not been made optional, maximum two 6-foot-wide openings have been allowed.

The SCFs are allowed to have staircase from front subject to payment of conversion from SCFs to SCOs and approval from the competent authority.

Cutout in roof slabs on top floor of SCOs in Sector 34 have been made optional on the pattern of SCOs in Sectors 7 and 26.

All above provisions are subject to conformity with building bylaws and other stipulated conditions like composition fee, charges for additional area, ensuring structural stability, feasibility of public health, electrical and fire.

The recommendations will soon be notified so that owners of commercial property can avail of the benefit.



CM approves widening of roads
Township’s greenery to suffer
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 19
Mohali road network is in for a major revamp but at the cost of the township’s greenery. The Punjab chief minister has approved the widening and upgradation of a host of important roads within Mohali’s sectoral grid in the meeting of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority held recently.

GMADA Chief Administrator Vivek Pratap Singh said the road dividing Sectors 54/55, 58/59, 73/72, 90/91 and 93/94 would be constructed and upgraded on priority. “The up-gradation of the road from Chandigarh- Mohali boundary to the junction of Sectors 74/75/90/91 would be taken up this year.

For the balance portion of the road from junction of Sectors 74/75 90/91 to Sectors 112/113 near the railway line land would be acquired,” he said. More than 400 trees would however have to axed for this road.

A decision regarding the up-gradation of peripheral roads of Sector 62 and the construction of a 300 feet wide horizontal road from junction of sector 66/67/80/81 to the junction of Sector 73/74 was also taken during the meeting.

At least a thousand trees would have to be axed for the up-gradation and construction of these roads. “Administrative approval for Rs 20.67 crore has already been taken for the up-gradation of the peripheral roads of Sector 62. Another Rs 37 crore would be spent on the 200 feet wide road,” said Vivek Pratap.

The GMADA would also construct a 200 feet wide road from sector 48 to sectors 65, 66, 67, 68, 70, 72 and 73 and join NH 21 near village Desu Majra. It would link to the Express Highway in Sector 66 and the New Airport Chandigarh Punjab road.



Mall Culture
Parking chaos to rule Industrial Area
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

The coming up of shopping malls-cum-multiplexes along this road in near future will spark off parking chaos in the Industrial Area in Chandigarh.
The coming up of shopping malls-cum-multiplexes along this road in near future will spark off parking chaos in the Industrial Area in Chandigarh. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, June 19
Development will come at a heavy price for the industrial area in Chandigarh. Even as the industrial area gears up to become a happening place in the wake of coming up of shopping malls-cum-multiplexes, parking chaos will reign supreme in the area leaving the visitors, motorists and the passersby high and dry.

In fact, it is a classic example of the lax Chandigarh administration winking at violations of various rules by the multiplex owners, who have allegedly failed to provide enough parking space. It is surprising that the authorities concerned have passed the building plans without apparently checking provision of adequate parking areas in the upcoming shopping malls.

While the authorities and shopping mall owners pass the buck, the residents are justifiably up in arms. "It is nothing but deficiency in service as hundreds of visitors to the shopping malls will be denied the basic right to park their vehicles at earmarked parking lots," complained business executive Vimal Sharma.

The Phase I of the industrial area, which has caught the fancy of the several top relators, will bear the brunt of the "lop-sided" planning both by the administration and the developers. Already, parking vehicles in the area leading to the railway station and around several car dealers was quite a task.This coupled with loading and unloading of the trucks at scores of industrial units will test the patience of the people intending to park their vehicles in the industrial area.

The inadequate development of the parking space will, in effect, set a bad precedent for other multiplex owners. And setting up of the offices of the big corporates and MNCs will put additional pressure on the already scarce parking areas with the result that the roads will be the convenient places for the parking of the vehicles, leading to parking chaos.

Since the shopping malls and commercial establishments were the potential employment generators, more people will mean more vehicles, sparking off scramble for the available parking space.

Meanwhile, official sources conceded that unprecedented development could lead to parking problems in the years to come. Keeping that in mind, the administration could consider the construction of multi-level parking lots in the industrial area, the sources added.



ISBT-43 car park staff fleece motorists
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Tall claims of the Chandigarh administration to make the newly built Inter-State Bus Terminus, Sector 43, a model bus terminal have fallen flat with the rampant fleecing of people by the parking contractor right under its nose.

Flouting the rules, the contractor of the car park at the bus terminal has been overcharging parking lot users with impunity.

A slip issued by the car park contractor shows Rs 5 (circled) in print.The amount in print is missing from the second slip.
A slip issued by the car park contractor shows Rs 5 (circled) in print; and (right) the amount in print is missing from the second slip.

Adopting malpractice to cheat public, the contactor has been charging double the rate being fixed by the authorities for parking vehicles there.

For this, the contractor has printed two types of slips — one with just two types of charges i.e. Rs 10 for six hours and Rs 20 for the entire day; and the other with Rs 5 for two hours in addition to Rs 10 and 20.

Using this modus operandi, the contractor’s staff has been charging a minimum of Rs 10 from all parking lot users, even if they park their vehicles for under two hours, by issuing them the former slip.

The slips, on which all three rates are printed, are issued only when someone demands one.

The staff usually exchanged the earlier issued slip with the new one, bearing all three rates.

The matter came to light when a Sector 46 resident, Anil Bhagat, parked his vehicle in the lot there. He was asked to pay Rs 10 when he returned to pick his vehicle after 10 minutes.

“When I asked for the receipt, the contractor’s employee demanded the earlier slip issued on which only two rates were mentioned and gave me the new one bearing all three rates.”

On inquiry, he said the rate for two-hour parking was not mentioned on the first ticket due to printer’s fault.

“Also, there is no board displaying the rates at the site,” Anil said.

According to rules, it is mandatory for every parking contractor to display fixed rates.

Despite repeated attempts, CTU director P.S. Shergill could not be contacted for comments.



Aero society observes founder’s day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The Chandigarh chapter of the Aeronautical Society of India (AeSI) observed its 17th foundation day here by organising a technical meet of senior scientists and technocrats from various establishments yesterday evening.

Director of Advanced Systems Laboratory, Hyderabad, Dr Avinash Chander delved into the “Agni” missile project being undertaken by the Defence Research and Development Organisation. He also spoke on the ongoing “Agni-V” project. It has a range of around 5,000 km.

Project director of the light combat aircraft (LCA) from Bangalore Harish Chander gave a presentation on the development experiences in regard to the LCA, while A.K. Kapoor discussed the technological challenges and experiences in the development of “Trishul”, a short-range surface-to-air missile.

Around 100 scientists and engineers from research and development organisations, IAF, industry as well as academics were present.

Among them were Dr S.K. Vasudeva, Tessy Thomas, J. Chattopadhaya, all top scientists involved in missile development, Air Officer Commanding 3 Base Repair Depot Air Cmde S.C. Luthra, Central Scientific Instruments Organisation director Dr Pawan Kapur, Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment director Dr R.N. Sarwade, Punjab Engineering College director Prof Manoj Mitta. A number of engineering students were also present.

Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory director Dr Satish Kumar, who is the chairman of the society’s local chapter, felicitated the speakers and visitors.

He also spoke about the society’s focus areas. Branch’s honorary secretary Jimmy Kansal gave an outline the society’s history and ongoing activities.

A quarterly newsletter, Aero Updates, was also released.



Zirakpur Elections
SAD comes up with development plan
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, June 19
Punjab cooperation minister and general secretary of SAD Capt Kanwaljit Singh today said a master plan for development of Zirakpur is ready and it has been prepared by a Singapore-based company.

He was addressing election rallies at Singhpura in ward no.6 and Sunny enclave in ward no.11 canvassing for party candidates Nambardar Santokh Singh and Gurmukh Singh, respectively, in both the wards.

He said SAD-BJP combine government led by S. Parkash Singh Badal had decided to go ahead with master plans for development of various cities in the state and accordingly a plan for Zirakpur had been finalised.

Expressing confidence of winning all the seats in these elections, He said Zirakpur would be made a model city after winning these elections and local body would coordinate with state government in this regard and the government would provide funds. Hitting out at the opposition he said opponents of the development have filed nominations as independent candidates to hinder the development process.



Monsoon bares poor upkeep of roads
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The monsoon has exposed the poor maintenance of roads by the civic authorities, with most of these virtually becoming death traps for residents.

Damaged roads with potholes and choked drains not only make driving hazardous, but also pose a threat to the lives of pedestrians.

Not just internal roads, main roads too have borne the brunt of the inclement weather. The situation is similar in almost every sector of the city.


Roads separating Sectors 48 and 49, and (right) Sector 46 and 47 in Chandigarh are in urgent need of repairs.Roads separating Sectors 48 and 49, and (right) Sector 46 and 47 in Chandigarh are in urgent need of repairs.
Roads separating Sectors 48 and 49, and (right) Sector 46 and 47 in Chandigarh are in urgent need of repairs. Tribune photographs

A part of the road separating Sectors 48 and 48 caved in around two weeks ago, leaving behind a pit measuring around three feet.

The road witnesses a number of accidents every day, but the administration has failed to budge.

Another stretch separating Sectors 46 and 47 is in a no better condition.

The sewerage line has been left wide open, posing a threat to pedestrians. Moreover, a part of the road has been blocked by bricks, making it dangerous for motorists.

UT chief engineer S.K. Jaitley, said there was a possibility of sewerage work going on in the areas. “I will look into the matter and get the repair work done on priority.”



Girl tied to grill at Mansa Devi Temple; probe ordered
Arun Sharma

Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 19
A six-year-old girl was forced to keep standing for hours tied to a grill at Mata Mansa Devi temple here by Haryana policemen.

The child was said to be roaming in the area when she was spotted by Home Guard volunteers deputed at the VVIP gate of the temple.

The volunteers tied her hands with a dupatta, offered to the deity, and made her stand tied to the gate for hours. Head constable Dayanand and constable Surinder Verma are attached with Mata Mansa Devi Trust.

Seeing the child crying, a devotee couple objected and also had to face wrath. “Tumko kya problem hai, inki car ka number note karo”, was the threat issued to the couple when they started taking the pictures of the child on their mobile.

In the meantime, passersby started began to gather at the spot. Finding themselves in trouble, the policemen freed the child.

The jawans said they were merely intimidating the child so that she was not seen there again. The SP, when contacted, said he had ordered an inquiry and the matter would be taken up with the authorities of Mata Mansa Devi Trust.



Medical bill not reimbursed

I retired as principal of Government College of Education, Jalandhar, on January 31, 1988. I underwent treatment from January 4,2008 to March 2, 2008, at Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, for serious chronic disorders.

As per the rules, I claimed medical re-imbursement from the college and sent several letters to the principal in this regard. The district education officer, Patiala, maintains that principals of government colleges have the authority to re-imburse medical bills of retirees if the amount does not exceed Rs 5,000. In my case, the amount to be reimbursed was Rs. 3,534, yet there was no response from the principal.

I wrote to the director of public instruction, Punjab, for reimbursement of my second bill of Rs 4,782 incurred, once again, on account of medical treatment (from March 3,2008, to May 2,2008.) I have again not received a response.

Kapil Dev, Patiala

Error on service tenure

I served as a science teacher with the Punjab Education Department. and after rendering 28 years of service, retired on September 30, 1997. while submitting my pension case, the DDO concerned i.e. principal of Government Senior Secondary School (Girls), Nabha, has erred in counting my years of service from the date of my regularisation --December 31, 1990 to September 30, 2007 only.

There is a clear order from Punjab wide letter dated May 29, 2006, prohibiting all DDOs from such practice. I made a representation to the AG’s office on November 19, 2007, and requested necessary correction. Till date, nothing has been done.

The matter was brought to the notice of the director, pensions, and principal secretary, vide letters 2703 and 2704 dated April 5, 2008. Another was sent to the DPI via courier service. Two months have gone by, yet I have not received any intimation on the matter

Satwant Kaur, Patiala

Deprived of “discharge book”

I am an ex-serviceman. I beg to draw your attention to the illegal and unlawful withholding of my "original” discharge book, non-payment of EPF subscription, one month’s salary, overtime pay and bonus by my former employer for the last three years in service.

I was appointed commercial assistant on February 25, 2005, by Mohan Fiber Product Lt., Mubarkpur, Dera Bassi and SAS Nagar. I rendered my resignation to the company in September 2005. I was asked to deposit my service "discharge book" on the understanding that it would be returned to me when I left the job. I have repeatedly approached the company on the issue but in vain.

Now I have written to the SSP of SAS Nagar (June 16, 2008) about the issue. I am deprived of subsequent employment due to absence of certificate. I am unable to avail free medical facilities at the military hospital, canteen facilities and fee concession for my children.

Ramsukh Choudhary, Chandigarh

No helpline for senior citizens

Reports in newspapers notwithstanding, the police is yet to start a help- line for senior citizens. Officials claim they are too tied up with work and restricted by manpower shortage. The excuse appears not too convincing, considering they need to merely forward a request to a telecom company asking for a telephone number to start the helpline. The matter was taken up with the SSP last year during Sangat Darshan in June. Since then, nothing has been done.

Defence accounts pensioners, SAS Nagar

Info under RTI not complete

I sought information under the RTI Act vide letter dated December 17, 2005, from the BDO (P)NOZ ,Ambala city, seeking a copy of the girdawari of land in the name of the panchayat of Babyal (Ambala) since 1950. I wanted to know if the land was given on rent to persons through auction or otherwise since 1960; how much panchayati land had been grabbed and whether the cost of the land had been recovered by the panchayat.

I sought a copy of the inventory of the panchayati land. I haven't yet received proper information on the subject. Neither the state information commission in Chandigarh, nor the authority-cum- development panchayat officer have taken action against defaulters for not providing complete information under the RTI Act-2005.

Bhagat Singh Lambardar Ambala



Respect legends

Kapil Dev was born in Chandigarh. He is a living legend of our times and needs no introduction. But despite this, PCA authorities have been outlandishly rude to him.

Indeed, PCA has hit a hat-trick by removing his life-size poster from the main wall of the stadium and by not bothering to inform him, thus hurting him in the process. Lastly, changing statement time and again is like adding insult to injury.

Even Kapil's request to return the memorabilia that he had provided to the association didn't move the authorities enough to issue an apology for their negligent behaviour.

Name building extension work or rain and storm as the cause for removal of the poster, damage that has been done.

It's such a pity that a sportsman of Kapil Dev’s stature has been hurt by the same people who used to affectionately call him 'Punjab da puttar' and worship him like a God.

Such incidents are a blot on the nation and it is high time we put things in place.

Rajesh Krishan, Chandigarh

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Punjab to have open university
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 19
Punjab would have an open university to cater to students who do not have an access to formal education. This was announced by Punjab Minister of Education Dr Upinderjit Kaur during a press conference here today.

Dr Upinderjit said the university would be run on the pattern of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and offer courses in distance education mode. “This would benefit the women students the most who can continue with their education while staying in their houses,” she said.

The board chairman Dr D.S. Dhillon added that the Punjab Open School Learning System was introduced from the academic year 1991-92 on the pattern of Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). Earlier, it was introduced for Matriculation and later on from the academic year 2004-2005 senior secondary courses both in humanities and commerce group were also introduced. Now from the current academic year 2008-2009 the middle standard course has also been included for the benefit of the students who have been failed in board's middle examination for last five years

“This scheme would allow sufficient flexibility to the learners in the selection of subject, chances for passing the examination, medium of examination, and credit carry facilities. The system is not that rigid pertaining to the choice of study centre, examination centre, mode of instructions and entry qualifications.

Special provision has been made for the disadvantageous section of society like girls and socially backward sections of society. It carries the education to the doorsteps of all the students even in the far flung areas of the state,” said the Chairman.



PU to set up guidance cells for rural students
Initiative to kick start today at Badal village

Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Panjab University will now contribute towards higher education for rural students in a noble way. The university is going to set up its guidance cells for rural students in four districts of Punjab, including Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahar and Ferozepur from June 23-28. The initiative will kick start tomorrow at Badal village where the CM himself will be present and vice-chancellor of PU Prof R.C. Sobti will show a power point presentation in Punjabi on the occasion.

This initiative is the brainchild of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who has directed the universities in Punjab, including Punjabi University, Patiala and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

Surprisingly, though PU’s own guidance cell, which was announced more than a week ago, is yet to start, this is no deterrent for teachers of the university from doing their bit for rural children and four teams left for Badal today.

However, only those students who have cleared Class XII exams with first class will be eligible for attending the counselling sessions.

When asked about this disparity, Prof Sobti said, “This is as per the list of students already prepared by different district administrations.”

Around 300 students are expected to participate in this first-ever initiative.

It is pertinent to mention here that the decision to take up this initiative to encourage rural students in taking up further career options was taken at a meeting of all the vice-chancellors, education secretaries and others conducted by the CM recently.

At the behest of the CM, PU will also hold a meting of all the colleges principals of Punjab very soon to further chalk out strategies for guiding rural students.

“This is a very step in the direction of higher education for rural children. In fact, we need to reach out to the grass roots to uplift overall higher education,” said Prof Sobti.



Cops harassing us unnecessarily, say student leaders
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Student leaders of Panjab University have expressed displeasure over unnecessary interference and harassment by the Chandigarh police.

Various student bodies have put up their guidance cells to help newcomers with information related to courses and departments. The police has, a number of times, approached the student leaders questioning their identity and asking for complete addresses details of every single student on the guidance desk.

Moreover, in a recent incident that took place earlier this week, a cop was seen clicking photographs of students, including girls on the help desk.

In a recent all-party meeting held by DSW Naval Kishore, it was decided that only university students would be allowed to sit on the guidance cell desks and they would be issued photo ID cards as well.

According to sources, last year, the Chandigarh police had booked 48 student leaders who were a part of the guidance help desks and were actively involved in the elections.

The police had booked them in the wake of student council elections as a preventive measure. They were, however, let off by the SDM without any surety bonds being furnished.

Tejpal Cheema, president, Panjab University Students’ Organisation, said, “Certainly, we are being harassed by the police. The presence of cops on the campus is creating a negative impact on the minds of the newcomers. Moreover, the recent incident, when a police personnel clicked photographs, had created suspicion among many.”

Uday Bhan, chairman, Students’ Organisation of Panjab University, said, “We are under constant surveillance of the police, which certainly creates pressure on us. The police is just trying to fix the students under one case or the other.”

Nitin Goyal, president, NSUI, pointed out that the police was unnecessarily harassing the students by repeatedly booking them without any cause. “Are the students' organisations terrorist outfits? Why are they treating us like criminals?” he questioned.

Prashant Sharma, campus president, ABVP, said, “We are not criminals. Most of the students have no previous criminal record, neither there is any complaint filed against them, still they are harassed by the police.”

However, ASP Madhur Verma said, “The police is just taking preventive steps. We don’t want to take any chances. Taking photographs is nothing but a preventive measure, which will help in identifying miscreants in case of any untoward incident.”

When contacted, DSW Naval Kishore said, “We have not intimated the police to take any preventive action; we are gathering the details of the students on our own.” 



PUTA, JAC to observe Chitavani Diwas today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA) and JAC (Joint Action Committee) will observe June 20 as Chitavani Diwas. This day also marks the 75th day of the relay fast by teachers, students and research scholars for Central status for PU.

Announcing this at a press conference today, Prof Manjit Singh said a protest rally at the dharna site would also be organised tomorrow with the members of JAC wearing black headbands and badges in protest against the government’s apathy towards the genuine cause.

A students’ brochure was also released during the press conference. The brochure, prepared by JAC for the students, presents a comparison of expenses in PU vis-à-vis other Central Universities. An open letter to the Prime Minister was also released to the press.

Meanwhile, on the 74th day of the chain fast today, Prof V.K. Jindal, department of physics, along with research scholars Isha, Ali, Kiran from the same department, Vinod Kumar and Yogesh Rolta from the department of public administration sat on the fast.



Seminar on gender sensitisation
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 19
The Asian Education Society organised a seminar-cum-workshop on gender sensitisation here today. UT special secretary finance Raji. P. Shrivastava was the chief guest on the occasion.

Addressing the workshop, Shrivastava said gender discrimination was a part of the society as it had been created by the society itself. To eradicate any form of gender discrimination, critical skills should be taught to the children right from their birth, she added.

President of the society Ashwani Luthra said people should come out of inborn and societal limitations. He further said in the corporate world, women had to face various insurmountable problems for survival. Piyu, a resource person, said thought process had been corrupted and there was a need to correct the basics and attitudes.



Decision to recast UT Sahitya Akademi hailed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
Several scholars have welcomed the decision of the Chandigarh administration to reconstitute the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademy, terming it as a step consistent with the regulation to reconstitute the akademi.

In a statement issued here today, Deepak Manmohan Singh, convener, Punjabi Board Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi; Dr Madhukar Arya, chairman, Department of Urdu/Persian, Panjab University, Chandigarh, and Nahar Singh, Professor, Department of Punjabi, PU, among others lamented that the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi had been a one-man show for the past three years with Dr Naresh at the helm of affairs. They appealed to Governor S.F. Rodrigues to remove Dr Naresh from chairmanship of the akademi.



Company let-off despite printing mistake
Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has saved the Areva T&D India Limited from suffering a loss running into crores due to a “printing mistake” in tender document.

The company was awarded contract for ex-works supply of equipment and material for three power projects for Rs 15 crore approximately, while the figure given by the company in the price proposal was Rs 32 crore, approximately.

Allowing the company’s petition, a Division Bench has ruled the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited made “much ado about nothing” by blowing out of proportion printing error in a tender document. In the process, it compelled the company to file a petition.

The Bench, comprising Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Sabina, also directed the corporation to consider the price of 125 MVAR, 420KV, three phase bus reactor, as mentioned by the company in its price proposal.

The corporation has further been directed “to amend the letter of award, dated March 25, by making it in consonance with the offer made by the petitioner company in its price proposal (schedule 1) of the bid form”.

The company enjoys 70 per cent market share in energy management system segment; and commissioned the country’s first 765 KV substation for the NTPC Sipat plant. It has also carried out the modernisation of Bhutan’s electricity network.

It made a bid for supply and erection of reactors in August last. In all, the requirement was of five reactors - two were to be installed at Purnea, two at Siliguri and one at Sonepat substation. The company submitted the total price for a single reactor in schedule 1.

However, the company claimed there was a patent printing error in a column on unit price in Schedule 3 and correct figures were not printed. At the time of evaluation of the bids by the corporation, the company realised in error. In a letter, the company brought the mistake in unit price to the corporation’s notice.

The problem started when the corporation, in its reply, took the stand that the offer given by the company was evaluated in line with the provisions of the bidding documents.

The company, subsequently, received a letter on March 25 from the corporation, awarding it the contract for ex-works supply of equipment and material for all the three projects. It was followed by letter of award, giving the petitioner the contract for Rs 15 crore approximately, while the figure given by the company in schedule 1 was Rs 32 crore, approximately.

In their detailed order, the judges ruled: “This case is an apt illustration of Shakespearean adage much ado about nothing. The non-matching patent printing error in a part of the tender documents has been blown out of proportion, which has resulted in the filing of the petition under Article 226 of the Constitution.



Consumer Courts
Faulty bill costs power dept Rs 40,000
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 19
In a major relief to a consumer, the UT electricity department has been ordered by the Chandigarh State Consumer Redressal Commission to refund Rs 40, 235, which the department had charged wrongly due to a faulty electricity meter.

Kamal Kant Gupta was issued an electricity bill amounting to Rs 45,845 including sundry charges of Rs 35, 434 on account of slow running of the meter of SCO 209, Sector 36, for a period of eight months from February 8, 2006, to October3, 2006.

It was alleged by department officials that the meter was running slow by 27 per cent. However, the officials did not bother to get the meter thoroughly tested in their lab.

The matter was then brought to the notice of UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum. However, the forum dismissed the complaint.

The complainant then moved to the State Commission, after which the chief electrical inspector was asked to test the meter in the lab. It was revealed that the meter was running only about 10 per cent slow instead of 27 per cent.

As per the new percentage, it was calculated that the complainant was to pay only Rs 2,578 as charges for slow running of the meter. The commission then ordered the department to refund the whopping amount to the consumer after deducting the requisite amount at an interest rate of 11 per cent per annum.

But even after that happened, the department instead of complying with the orders wrote to the complainant that the amount to be refunded will instead be adjusted in his next bills. The consumer again approached the district forum, which has the powers to get the orders executed. The forum sent a notice to the department and a cheque of Rs 40,235 was immediately handed over to the consumer.



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