C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


No Stopping It
3 more kids die of cholera
Tribune News Service

Patients being treated at General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula
Patients being treated at General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, on Saturday.

A grieving mother with her child at the hospital
A grieving mother with her child at the hospital. — Tribune photographs

Panchkula, July 19
Three more children died of cholera today, taking the toll to seven. One cholera death was reported from Mauli Complex in Chandigarh.

Despite the claims of the administration regarding preventive steps in affected colonies, hospitals continued to be flooded with diarrhoea and suspected cholera cases.

According to officials at the Sector 6 general hospital, of the 31 fresh cases of diarrhoea reported today, at least 20 were being treated for suspected cholera. “The situation is grim,” admitted an emergency medical officer, adding that since Wednesday, they had treated at least 500 cases of diarrhoea. However, the total number of affected people was likely to be much more as many patients were going to private doctors.

Three-year-old Sunaina from Mauli Complex succumbed to the disease in hospital. She was suffering from diarrhoea since Wednesday. Her father, a daily wage-earner, took her to hospital this evening, but she was declared brought dead.

Dr M.L. Girg, district health officer, said two-year-old Sarbati and 15-year-old Sunita died at Kanauli village, near Barwala. He said health workers informed them about the serious condition of the children and a team of doctors was rushed for their treatment, but the children had died before medical help could reach them.

Though he said they died due to diarrhoea, the emergency medical officer of the General Hospital said diarrhoea could not claim life.

The health authorities woke up from their slumber after the Kanauli deaths and took samples of the tap water today.

A visit to the affected areas of Rajiv Colony, Indira Colony and Kanauli exposed the claims of the administration. Residents blamed the authorities for the outbreak of the disease. “It’s an annual feature. Our children die every year but that doesn’t seem to affect politicians and officers,” Usha of Rajiv Colony said.

“Despite complaints, contaminated water is being supplied and no one has bothered to get pipelines repaired,” another resident said, adding that “things will only improve if the DC gets the same water to drink in his house.”

Despite three deaths, not much has been done to improve the insanitary conditions in Rajiv Colony. A team of health officials had inspected the locality yesterday and directed the cleaning of drains which were choked, but nothing has come of it yet.

“For the whole of Friday, men were working in the area,” councillor Harinder Singh Saini (Indira Colony) said.

Gopal, a resident of the area, said the cleaning programme had been initiated, but a pond where sewage collected had still to be cleaned.

Dr Girg said chlorine tablets and preventive medicines had been distributed, but residents of Rajiv Colony and Indira Colony said they had not received any tablet from the health department.

Senior officials, including the DC, inspected the locality today. The DC said stray animals would be removed from slums and colonies.



Clear encroachments along choe: Punjab chief secy
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 19
The chief secretary, Punjab, has asked the SAS Nagar administration to ensure the removal of encroachments along the Singhnullah choe that passes through Zirakpur before joining the Ghaggar. A large part of the nullah flows through Panchkula before it enters Zirakpur.

In Panchkula, the path of the choe is channelised with a concrete wall lining and is relatively free of encroachments. But in Zirakpur, it narrows down due to obstructions and encroachments by builders. At many points, houses have been built next to the nullah with the sewers opening into it.

It is also being used by residents as a dumping ground. The chief secretary’s orders follow an interim order of the Punjab and Haryana High court summoning the chief administrator of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), the estate officer GMADA, the SDM (Dera Bassi) and the executive officer of the Zirakpur MC to the court on August 18 in a contempt case.

Residents of the area had filed a PIL petition in 2005, praying for the removal of encroachments along the nullah which carried rainwater from the area to the Ghaggar. Encroachments were leading to the flooding of houses during heavy rain, residents had said.

The PIL was disposed of in 2006 after the Haryana and Punjab governments assured the court that a joint committee had been constituted for the purpose and steps would be taken to clear the path of the nullah.

However, in 2007, the residents filed a contempt petition, saying that nothing had been done by the two governments. Taking up the petition, the court asked the chief secretaries of the two states to file a reply.

The government notified the nullah under Section 55 of the Northern India Canal and Drainage Act that authorised the drainage department to remove any encroachment on the choe land.

“The court also appointed a lawyer to file a report on the status of the nullah. In his report, the lawyer pointed out the extent of encroachments and said the flow of water was obstructed at many places by stones, weeds and garbage,” Deepak Kumar, a resident, said.

The chief secretaries filed a reply following which the court asked the officers concerned to be present in court. Chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh asked the DC, SAS Nagar, to ensure that the encroachments were removed. “I have asked the tehsildar to submit a survey report on the encroachments following which subsequent action would be initiated,” the DC, Rahul Bhandari, said.

Other than the Singhnullah choe, the Sukhna choe, which also passes through Zirakpur, has also been blatantly encroached upon. Unlike the Singhnullah choe, the Sukhna choe is still not notified.



Army does a rethink on airport land
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
The controversy over the Army authorities handing over the possession of five acres for the expansion of Chandigarh Airport is far from over.

A few weeks after the Army agreed to hand over the land in lieu of an alternative piece of land in Hallomajra, it has thrown another spanner in the works, jeopardising the plans of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to start international flights from here.

Sources said the Army headquarters wanted to know the price of the land it had to surrender and also the rate of the alternative land being offered by the Chandigarh administration.

While the Army was not interested in getting land contiguous to the transit camp in Hallomajra, the UT was keen to give away the land.

Officials of the administration have held several meeting with Army officials to sort out the issue. “After we convinced the Army that the transit camps and barracks for the air maintenance battalion would be constructed after the transfer of land, it now wants a chunk of land other than offered by the administration,” an official said.

So far, the AAI has not been able to get possession of 7.15 acres urgently required to construct the bay area of planes operating from the terminal which is being renovated. Of the total land required, 5 acres was in possession of the Army and the remaining with the Air Force.

“Without the AAI getting the possession of the land, it would be pointless to expand the terminal building. Passengers will only suffer,” an AAI official said.

Officials at the airport said until the international airport was not ready in the adjoining Punjab area, the existing building would serve as a domestic and international terminal and this required expansion to accommodate added infrastructural facilities.

Sources in the administration said the Army should allow the AAI to carry out construction in the additional area. The expansion of parking had also been affected as the Air Force had not given the possession of the land adjoining the parking. The road leading to the airport could not be widened until the Army gave the land.



No bars behind bars at Burail
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Compulsive gamblers, drug addicts and smokers are going strong even at Burail Jail here. Those indulging in gambling and cricket betting are carrying on their activities without any problem from the cells.

Canteen coupons issued to inmates are being used as stake. The jail authorities issue coupons worth Rs 10 each to the inmates against the money deposited by their families.

Preetpal (name changed), an undertrial recently released on bail, said drugs were freely available to addicts. Inmates would use low-ranking officials as messengers to pass information after paying a price. He alleged that guards charged Rs 10 for passing information to family members and advocates of the inmates.

As per rules, inmates are allowed to meet their relatives and counsel twice a week, but after “greasing the palms of guards”, they could constantly be in touch with the outside world.

Preetpal further informed that addicts and gamblers started their activities early in the morning and were never disturbed by warders.

A Sector 52 resident, Raju, who was arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau, disclosed that he used to supply about 500 gm of smack and cocaine in the jail every month.

The IGP (prison), Mahabir Singh, said he was not aware of such activities in the jail, but said he would look into the matter. He added that he regularly conducted surprise checks and also got the premises checked by other security agencies to keep a tab on unlawful activities.

About the supply of smack and cocaine by Raju, he stated that the former used to supply the contraband to Patiala jail and not to Burail. He claimed that the addicts in Burail Jail had quit taking intoxicants after a de-addiction treatment.



Acquitted in Beant killing case, Navjot claims damages
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
A local court today issued notices to the Centre and the Chandigarh administration on the plea of Navjot Singh, who was acquitted last year in the Beant Singh assassination case, seeking compensation of Rs 50 crore for spending 12 years in jail due to “mishandling” of the case by investigators.

The suit has been filed against the Centre, Chandigarh administration, Delhi administration and two senior officials of the CBI - New Delhi SP R.S. Dhankar and Mumbai SP S.N. Saxena.

Navjot was arrested on September 17, 1995, from Mohali on charges of conspiracy of assassinating Beant Singh, the then Chief Minister of Punjab. However, during the trial, the CBI failed to prove any of the charges. In fact, Additional District and Sessions Judge Ravi Sondhi, while acquitting Navjot, noted that the investigating “miserably failed” in their job.

In his petition, Navjot has claimed that besides harassment, torture, humiliation and monetary losses, he also failed to get married and lead a normal life.

Navjot’s counsel A.S. Chahal said he had contented before the court that he was falsely implicated in the assassination of the then Chief Minister. It was the liability of the government to compensate him for jeopardising his life and career.

Chahal said Navjot was a brilliant student - a postgraduate in English, held a diploma in material management and a diploma holder in Journalism and Mass Communication. Navjot’s father had retired from the State Bank of India as a senior manager and his mother was a teacher.

The counsel for Navjot stated that after Navjot’s arrest, various representations to different authorities about his false implication did not elicit any response, he contended.

“Navjot was just 27 when he was arrested. I still recall the unfortunate day, September 17, 1995, when a large number of people barged into our house. We thought that terrorists had attacked us. They did not disclose their identity and took us with them. My wife was kept under house arrest,” he said, adding, “Our family has been fighting battle since then.”


Probe into complaint against ADC begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
The Chandigarh police has initiated investigations into a complaint lodged by two city-based traders against UT additional deputy commissioner Inderjit Singh Sandhu.

In a complaint lodged with the Sector 3 police station, local traders, Dinesh Sethi and Naresh Mahajan, have alleged that Sandhu and his friend misbehaved with them at around 11 pm last night at the parking of Central Club, Sector 9.

Giving details, Sethi alleged, “After having our meals, we were standing in the parking of the club when Sandhu along with his friend came out of the club in an inebriated condition and started abusing us without any provocation. He also caught us from collar in the melee”.

As they did not wish the ADC, that’s why he misbehaved with us, alleged the traders. A waiter and a security guard of the club also witnessed the incident and also gave their statements at the police station, claimed Sethi.

Refuting the charges, Sandhu said both were lying and they themselves misbehaved with the club manager in the room, where he (Sandhu) was sitting with an acquaintance.

“When the manager told them about my identity, they retorted with an abuse: We don’t care about anyone. Both were in an inebriated condition,” Sandhu said.

On the other hand, Sandhu said that after coming out of the club, he only exhorted the traders to behave in the club.

“They also felt sorry for their misbehaviour. After that I went from there only to find today that they had complained against me at the police station”, said Sandhu.

ASP Madhur Verma said, “The matter is being looked into. We have to record the statement of the manager. If the complaint is found to be false, action against the traders would be initiated”.

However, alleging that the police has been adopting a dilly-dallying attitude in the case, the traders said they were planning to approach the court on Monday.

Meanwhile, Ashok Kapoor, joint secretary of the club, confirmed that Sethi had not only abused the manager but also thrashed another member of the club last night.

“The member has also lodged a complaint against the trader to the club authorities”, Kapoor said.



Commercial misuse of bhavans rampant
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Allotted land at concessional rates for community activities, a majority of the bhavans in the city continue to rake in moolah through commercial activities, allegedly in violation of the rules and regulations.

With the authorities concerned turning a blind eye to the rampant "misuse" of the bhavans, the residents around these bhavans are an inconvenienced lot with traffic snarls becoming a common affair. The situation takes a turn for the worse during the marriage season when traffic blockades coupled with blaring music, well into the wee hours, make residents' lives miserable.

What is surprising is the fact that two government--controlled bhavans-- the Panchayat Bhavan and the Kisan Bhavan--seem to be leading by example. While the other bhavans are issued resumption notices at regular intervals, the government-controlled bhavans seem to go scot-free, setting a bad example for others to follow, alleges Jagtar Singh, a resident of Sector 27.

A random survey of the bhavan revealed that the violations ranged from running of full-fledged shops to holding of exhibitions-cum-sales to soleminsing of marriages and other functions.

As holding of marriages and exhibitions in the hotels is a costly affair, the bhavans were a preferred choice for the residents as they were conveniently located near almost all sectors. And in the backdrop of a majority of the community centres not being maintained properly, the importance of the bhavans cannot be overemphasised.

Even as the bhavans allegedly violate rules, the people are up in arms against the nuisance created by them. Recently, residents of Sector 33 wrote to the authorities against the nuisance allegedly created through the holding of functions at a bhavan in the sector.

Taking congnisance of residents' complaints, the authorities had last year conducted a survey in which about 24 of the 48 bhavans were found to be violating the terms of allotment. Resumption notices were also reportedly served on them. However, the fate of the action against them is not yet known.

Official sources claimed that the administration was seized of the matter and a close watch was being kept on the commercial activities being undertaken by them. In several cases, the bhavans have been penalised by imposing fines on them. Even the eviction proceedings are initiated against the erring bhavans under the Public Premises Act, the sources claimed.

Bhavan office-bearers on the other hand claimed that in the changed scenario, they were rendering social service. Maintaining bhavans was a costly affair and without commercial activities most of the bhavans could not be maintained properly.

Commercial exploitation of bhavans was necessary as the community cannot raise enough resources for their upkeep, an office-bearer of a Sector 24 bhavan asserted.

Official sources said the administration was in the process of granting certain relief to the bhavans under which certain activities could be allowed to them to raise resources for their maintenance.



MC Elections
Notice served on Mohali DC
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 19
N.K. Sharma and the group which had swept the Zirakpur municipal council elections today served a legal notice on the SAS Nagar deputy commissioner for delaying the election of the president and vice-president of the council.

The notice has been served on behalf of 10 members of the N.K. Sharma group. The notice points out that the elections to post of the president and vice-president of the council is to be held on or within a fortnight of the date of notification.

The notification of the results in Zirakpur’s case was done on July 9 and the president and vice-president have to be elected before July 23.

The DC has to appoint a convener who will then call a meeting of the elected member to choose the president. The elected members have to be given at least a 19-hour notice before the meeting is convened.

The notice points out that the DC had not served any notice to the members for the meeting even when it is already July 19.

When contacted, DC Rahul Bhandari said he had appointed ADC Jaspal Mittal as the convener yesterday and it is for the convener to call the meeting for elections.



Sukhna water table rises
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Thanks to the monsoon showers, the water table in the Sukhna lake is regularly rising. On Friday, the water level in the lake touched the 1,158 mark.

On July 11, it was 1,156 and on June 30, it was 1,153. Due to rains in the catchment area of the lake, the water level has been rising during the past one week, confirmed a senior official in the engineering department.

Though the water level near the radial gates has risen by more than five feet, the level is actually monitored near the watchtower of the lake.

Records of the engineering department reveal that for the last two years, not a single inch of water has flown down the stream from the catchment area.

Officials maintaining a record of the water table at the lake reveal that since 2002, the water table has not touched the 1,162 mark. Records reveal that the average flow of water into the lake from 1958 to 1978 was 7,370 acre feet while in 1999 it was 1,870 acre feet, which was 25 per cent of the average of 20 years. In 2006, it was only 736 acre feet, which is 10 per cent. Expecting a good monsoon, the officials believe the water level would rise further.

With the water table rising, CITCO will allow boats beyond the demarcated point.



Parking contractor fleeces motorists
Tribune News Service

A signboard at the paid parking site opposite the tehsil complex in Mohali shows overcharging by the contractor
A signboard at the paid parking site opposite the tehsil complex in Mohali shows overcharging by the contractor. — Tribune photo by Vicky Gharu

Mohali, July 19
The only paid parking area in the town opposite the tehsil complex here is fleecing public with the contractor overcharging visitors to the complex.

The contractor is authorised to charge Rs 5 for a car, Rs 3 for scooter and motor cycle and Rs 2 for a bicycle. However, he charges Rs 5 for Maruti 800 car alone, while for every other car the parking charges are Rs 10. Also, Rs 20 are being charged from commercial vehicles. For a motorcycle/scooter, the contractor charges Rs 5.

The parking slip-cum-receipt issued by contractor’s staff at the parking area also bears bloated charges of Rs 10 for a car and Rs 5 for a two-wheeler.

As a result, the rates of paid parking contractor here are double of what a car driver pays in Chandigarh.

The estate office of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) also seems to be blissfully ignorant of the blatant manner in which the contractor seems to have been overcharging visitors for almost a year now.

An SDO in the estate officer’s branch said the contract was scheduled to end next month, but if the contractor was found overcharging, he would be penalised.

The parking contractor’s signboard displaying the parking rates also seems to change almost everyday. The rates are painted over and over again with most of the text in fine print.

The rate of Rs 5 for a car has been written in bold letters, while a small red line on top clarifies that Rs 5 is valid only for a Maruti 800 car.

For all other cars like Indica, Sumo, Quails, etc. the signboard mentions Rs 10 as parking fee. For a scooter, the rate painted is Rs 3, but the visitor is charged Rs 5.



More funds needed for telemedicine: Kaushik
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 19
Public spending on improving technology for the masses should be increased and efforts would be made to convince the Central Government in this regard, director of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Delhi, P.D. Kaushik said here today.

Kaushik, who visited the local civil hospital, said he had come to see the real-time medicinal and diagnostic consultancy through teleconferencing at the hospital. He said telemedicine had reduced the distance between the doctor and patient. Specialised medical services, he said, could now be provided at a distance and the rush of patients at super-speciality hospitals would decrease.

The director said he would try to convince parliamentarians that more funds needed to be spent on facilities like telemedicine which could benefit the masses.

He said the foundation would interact with the parliamentary committee on health in this regard. In April, a programme on the role of the private sector in inclusive healthcare was held in the presence of the parliamentary committee. The aim was to draw the attention of the committee to the increasing public spending on technology to bring about more efficiency in the system.

Dr I.J.S. Bhatia, state nodal officer for the telemedicine project, gave a demonstration of the telemedicine facility at the civil hospital to Kaushik by having a teleconference with Dr Meenu Singh, additional professor, paeadtrics, PGI, Chandigarh. Three cases were discussed by Dr Bhatia with Dr Singh in the presence of Kaushik. Kaushik said these examples would be discussed to convince those sitting in the Parliament. The director had come to attend a seminar on regulatory reforms in Chandigarh.



Now, file IT returns electronically
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 19
The department of excise and taxation here has provided a facility for filing the returns electronically from this quarter onwards.

According to a press note issued by SAS Nagar assistant excise and taxation commissioner Baldeep Kaur, it is mandatory for persons exporting goods out of India as well as refund claimants to file returns electronically for the quarter ending June 30, 2008.

A hard copy of the returns is also required to be filed in the office. The office of the Mohali AETC and Dera Bassi sub-office will remain open on Sunday.

Those who are yet to get themselves registered for e-filing may contact the office of the AETC for issuance of a password. Demonstrations have already been arranged for the industries’ association and bar association. However, in case of any problem regarding e-filing of return, Goldie Sharma, system operator, Mohali, may be contacted on mobile number 9463654558.



Excise dept updates dealers’ database
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
The excise and taxation department today said that the database of the registered functional dealers had been updated with the help of information supplied by the dealers in Form VAT-1. But it had been found that names of some of the dealers were still not available in the database, resulting in inconvenience to the dealers in filing their returns at the e-sampark centres.

A list of the registered and live dealers has also been placed on the website of the administration ‘www.Chandigarh.gov.in’ under the “What’s New” section. At present, all the dealers whose names appear in the list of registered functional dealers can file their return at the sampark centre.

M.S. Brar, director, IT, said the dealers whose name did not figure in the list were being requested to submit their returns along with Form VAT-1, duly filled at the nearest e-sampark centre.

Meanwhile, the local unit of Janata Dal, while acknowledging the effort of the administration to receive the returns at the e-sampark centres, has demanded that the change should have been incorporated from the next quarter as it would have been easier for businessmen/advocate/CAs to file the returns.



Protest against demolition of orphanage
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 19
The Universal Disabled Care Taker Social Welfare Society organised a candlelight march today against the Punjab government’s order to demolish a small orphanage in Podiala, a village in Mohali district, in Sector 17, here.

The orphanage has 90 inmates, most of whom are mentally challenged.

“In December 2003, a building was hired to take care of these helpless people. A kind man donated a piece of land in Padilla village, district Mohali, for setting up a home for homeless children and other people,” said Shamsher, president of the society.

He said the society filed an application for approval of construction of a home for the needy. But the department concerned refused, invoking the Commercial Act.

The society made repeated requests but PUDA/GMADA issued a directive for immediate demolition of the building.



Mandir office-bearers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 20
Election to Shri Sanatan Dharam Sabha, Sector 45, was conducted here today and the following office-bearers were elected unanimously.

President — M. P. Bhardwaj; senior vice-president — Harsh Kumar; vice-presidents — R. C. Bhutani and Vinay Mehra; general secretary — Mr Shiv Kumar Kaushik; joint secretary — O. P. Mehta; organising secretary — S. C. Patial; press secretaries — Rajeshwar Gupta and Mr L. S. Chaturvedi; finance secretary — Mr Girdhari Lal; Auditor — Mr Kailash Rastogi; and store officer — Manohar Lal Sharma.




Punish errant CTU drivers

In recent months, CTU buses have been involved in many accidents in the city. Some CTU drivers skip bus stops, traffic signals and disobey traffic rules to get ahead of other buses on his route. Driving amid heavy traffic, sometimes, the driver speaks on his mobile phone simultaneously posing a threat to his passengers and other vehicles.

Errant drivers should be punished. There should be some teaching mechanism to get the drivers sensitised towards safety.

Also, separate lanes for heavy vehicles must be made to ensure smooth flow of traffic.

Shruti Kapoor

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



CAT stays recovery of salaries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
On the application of 10 JBT teachers, the CAT stayed the recovery of salaries of the applicants.

The teachers were granted upgraded salaries due to their high qualification through a circular in 1957, however, the orders were reversed by the UT administration in 2007 and their pay scale was to be re-fixed with effect from 1986.

The applicants stated that the pay scales of teachers were revised by the Punjab government through a policy circular on July 23, 1957. It was mentioned on the circular that teachers working in the Punjab education department shall be entitled to pay scales in accordance with qualifications possessed by them and in respect to the posts they were holding.

The applicants rued that the letter was not implemented and a writ petition was filed in the high court, which directed that the teachers working in the education department shall be entitled to pay scales in accordance with their qualification.

The state government then issued a circular, stating that all those teachers who had higher qualification prior to February 19, 1979, shall be entitled to a higher pay scale.

After the third pay commission, the state government issued a notification on July 26, 1990, stating that JBT teachers shall be entitled to the revised scale meant for them even if they were already drawing higher pay scale of C&V/JST teachers.

Thereafter, the UT administration issued a memo to re-fix the pay of teachers who had been granted higher pay scale. The memo was issued by the administration on September 28, 2007, and October 3, 2007. It was mentioned on the application that the impugned Act - Punjab Pay Scales of Teachers Act, 2004, and the letters dated September 28, 2007, and October 3, 2007, were unconstitutional and illegal.

The applicants challenged the order of the administration, wherein it was decided to grant the applicants a pay scale of Rs 1,200 to 2,100 with effect from January 1, 1986, and re-fix the pay.



Schools to check drug addiction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Chandigarh education department is gearing up to have a check on the drug addiction among the government school students. In a significant move, the department today conducted an all-principals’ meet headed by director, higher education, Raji P. Srivastava and DPI (S) S.K. Setia. The meet held at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, here today.

Focussing the child protection, Srivastava instructed the city government school principals to conduct the drug de-addiction programmes in their respective schools.

“The principals should keep an eye on the vendors who sell eatables outside the schools. The random checkup of eatable samples through laboratories can also be made,” said Srivastava.

She further directed them that under the child protection programme, the complaint boxes in the schools should be made functional.

To inculcate reading habit among the students, Srivastava advocated for introduction of mobile library service in the schools.

Meanwhile, to mark the Independence Day, it was also decided to hold a special celebration week in the government schools from next week.



Flies found in food at Stu C
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Around 40 students gathered at the Students Centre in Panjab University after a number of houseflies were noticed in a meal being sold at one of the eateries here today.

Amandeep Singh, who had purchased rajmah from a newly-opened shop Pakwan Meals today afternoon, said, “After having a spoon of rajmah, I saw three to four houseflies in the curry. Then my friend pulled one from the bhatura he was biting on. I went to the shop owner to talk about it and then a number of students gathered.”

Narrating the whole incident, he said a university employee was passing by who called the dean, student welfare, Naval Kishore who examined the food. “DSW told us that he would look into the matter,” he said.



Students want more hostels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Today PUSU staged a protest at Students Center to draw the attention of PU authorities towards problem faced by the students for hostel facility.

Students said university had started new courses without making necessary arrangements for accommodation of new students.

Keeping in view the gravity of the problem, PUSU urged the university authorities to make necessary arrangements for hostel accommodation and also start construction of new hostels for girls and boys as soon as possible.

Dean, Student Welfare, assured to look into the matter and to solve the problems regarding hostel accommodation by Monday.



Peace Club formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
Today, as a part of the ongoing campaign for peace in the city, Peace Club was inaugurated at Government Model High School, Sector 36, here.

Rajendra Sen, president, Savera Sansthan, and Shyam Maru, a senior journalist, were the key speakers. Parmod Sharma, co-ordinator, Yuvsatta, presided over the programme.

The club will organise activities like peace week, essay, slogan and poetry writing contests on the theme of nonviolence, plays highlighting the life and works of Gandhiji and educational excursions for the student members of the club.

“We have introduced a novel project ‘Spare the Rod,’ where our special focus would be on maintaining cordial and friendly relationship between the teachers and the taught to make learning more attractive,” said Shyam Maru.



Sapling plantation at GNPS-36
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 19
To promote green and clean environment, a tree plantation drive was organised by the NCC cadets of 1 Chandigarh NCC Naval Unit, Chandigarh, at Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, here yesterday. As many as 105 NCC Naval Wing cadets from the school took part in the event and 500 saplings of various medicinal plants were planted during the drive.



HC notice to admn on plastic ban
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
The Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday issued notice of motion to the Chandigarh administration for October 22 on a petition challenging the move to completely ban polythene and plastic carry bags.

In their petition, Jarnail Singh and Karnail Singh challenged the very basis on which a public notice notification in this regard was issued by the Chandigarh administration.

The petitioners, through advocate Anil Pal Singh Shergill, contended the administration, vide notification dated December 6, 2005, had expressed its intention to ban plastic bags. But it later withdrew the same.

Again, a notification was issued on February 11 on the administration’s intention to completely ban polythene. The petitioners said the notification was the repetition and reproduction of the earlier 2005 notification.

The petitioners said the notifications under the Environment (Protection) Act 1986 issued by the Chandigarh administration had been promulgated by the Administrator, acting as the Central Government. Such an action was absolutely illegal and bad in law.

The Administrator, even though acting as the Central Government and representing the Central Government, could not undertake acts requiring legislative action and which fell within the preview of specialised part of the government - the "ministry of environment."

The said action of the Administrator and some executive officers of the Chandigarh administration was illegal.

The petitioners said the "Environment (Protection) Act 1986" provided only for regulation of pollution-causing industry and did not provide for regulating, controlling and closing small shops and outlets or controlling the articles legally in circulation.

Nayagaon NAC

Nayagaon residents have moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court for directions to the State of Punjab to make the notified area committee functional.

The petitioners, Kulbir Singh and about 29 others, contended the nagar panchayat was not functional and it was causing suffering to the general public.

The petitioners said though the notified area committee had been constituted and the enforcement officer had been appointed, the actual functioning had not yet started. Punjab had constituted the nagar panchayat, Nayagaon, in 2006, they added.

The petition, filed in public interest, sought direction to the enforcement officer of the NAC, Nayagaon, to perform duties assigned to him as per the rules and statutory provisions.

They contended that the area lacked basic facilities even though the estimated population was of over 70,000 people. The Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover issued the notice for October 22 to the state government.



Electricity dept told to adjust ‘sundry charges’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 19
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the electricity department, UT, through the superintending engineer (electricity), to make full adjustment of Rs 4,364 charged from the complainant as sundry charges in the future electricity bills, starting with the immediate next bill of the complainant.

The complainant, R. D. Vinayak, a resident of Sector 33 here stated that in his electricity bill dated October 20, 2007, the department had added a sum of Rs 4,364 as sundry charges. He added that there were additional remarks on the margin of the bill, “Average charge on account of meter sticky”. On inquiry from the accountant in the office of the SDO on October 26, 2007, and later from the SDO on October 30, 2007, the complainant was told that such charges had been levied on all consumers whose meters had been replaced with electronic meters. As the matter was obviously going to take time to be sorted out, the bill had been paid inclusive of the ‘sundry charges’.

When the departmental representative visited the consumer for replacing the meter, the complainant told him that since the meter was fully serviceable, there was no need to change it. However, the department representative stated that the department had decided to replace all mechanical meters with electronic meters in a phased manner, depending upon procurement and availability of electronic meters, irrespective of their serviceability status.

After replacing the meter, when the complainant was asked to sign for the replacement of the meter, he noticed that the remarks ‘meter sticky’ were endorsed in the register as the reason for the replacement.

However, to eliminate the possibility of being held liable for the replacement, the complainant endorsed the following remarks on the register before signing: “The old meter that has been changed was fully serviceable. The change was quite unnecessary from the user’s point of view”.

It is absolutely irrational, unscientific and arbitrary to declare the meter ‘sticky’ before conducting any test on it. Had the department declared it ‘sticky’ after replacement and testing, it could have been understandable, although still a notice to the consumer would have been necessary in the interest of fair play and justice.



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