C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Land Acquisition, Sanctioning of Projects
UT following norms, home ministry told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Summoned by the ministry of home affairs on various sensitive issues concerning the city, officials of the Chandigarh Administration today presented the UT’s version before senior officials of the MHA at a meeting held at Delhi.

Officials led by the UT’s finance secretary Sanjay Kumar told the MHA’s additional secretary Vinay Kumar and joint secretary (UT) B. Bhamathi that all amendments to the bylaws and sanctioning of the projects and intended land use had been done under the norms.

Though no senior officials in the MHA was available to confirm the outcome of the meeting, sources in the MHA said it would be too premature to say that the ministry was “satisfied” with the reply of the Administration as the pointed queries had come from UPA president Sonia Gandhi.

Apart from the local MP, non-political persons have been raising the city’s concern with the UPA president and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

Neither Sanjay Kumar nor DC R.K. Rao were available for comments. The sources said both officials of the MHA and the UT looked well-prepared to ask and respond to pointed questions on land acquisition, amendment to the bylaws, role of committees in sanctioning of projects, conversion policy, urban arts commission and conformity of the projects to the city’s master plan.

On July 30, the MHA had asked pointed queries on the issue of low-land compensation to UT land owners, “competency” to amend the bylaws and allowing large-scale conversions of land to Industrial Area and role played by the members of the Advisory Council in sanctioning the projects.



Amendments to Building Bylaws
Another review panel formed
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Yet another committee to review the amendments to the building bylaws has been constituted by the Chandigarh administration.

At the receiving end over a recent move to allow free additional floor area ratio (FAR) for big plots opting for conversion in Industrial Area and for plots in the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP), the administration has constituted a committee of UT officials and experts.

Though the exact term of reference of the committee is not known, sources said a decision of the administration to increase the FAR from 2 to 2.5 for plots above three acres of size in Industrial Area and in the IT park from .75 to 1.5 was the reason for setting up the committee.

The additional FAR had been allowed without any charges but subject to provision of double parking.

The decision to allow more FAR had been objected to by senior UT officials. But it was allowed on the intervention of the UT Administrator. The move was objected to by the small plot holders who have opted for conversion. Demanding fair play, the owners of small plots had demanded that the FAR should be increased equally for the stakeholders.

There were differences among the officials over the issue. Even the UT adviser is learnt to have certain reservations over giving relaxations. A proposal of allowing multiplexes in plots of two acres and above was an offshoot of the parking problem, one of the burning issues.

The committee mainly comprising the finance secretary, chief engineer, estate officer, chief architect, special secretary (Finance), principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture has been constituted to sort out the issues of proper infrastructure to meet the demand generated by increasing the FAR and consequences of giving the relaxations.

By giving free FAR, there will certainly be an increase in the flow of human and vehicular traffic.

The existing level of basic amenities was not capable of handling the pressure.

The havoc created by rains is one of the example.

Though the administration plans to solve the parking problem by asking the plot owners to create double parking, the load on infrastructure was one of the issues that has been assessed and planned in a proper way.

An environmental assessment of the areas where more FAR is being allowed should be done.



Humiliation of Physically Challenged Youth
Principal, teacher in the dock
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
The belated decision of the Chandigarh Administration to initiate action against the principal and a teacher of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 44-B, for the humiliation meted out by them to 19-year-old Ganesh in March this year, may not be enough to wipe away the scars from the physically challenged youth’s psyche. Nevertheless, he is a “satisfied” person today.

The “punishment” to the two educators will not give back the year that Ganesh lost. However, he is happy that it will teach other teachers a lesson on how to behave with “children of a lesser God”.

Excited about the fact that he was able to give his Class X examination despite 100 per cent lower limb disability, Ganesh had gone to write his paper at the Sector 44 school in March this year.

However, the day tuned out to be a nightmare for him as school principal Prem Joshi and examiner Swayambar Dutt, a Sanskirt teacher, allegedly humiliated him.

The Tribune had highlighted Ganesh’s plight in the news item ‘A spirit amputated’ compelling the Administration to take notice of the incident.

The education department today chargesheeted Dutt, while a show-cause notice has been issued to Joshi.

Confirming this, DPI (S) S.K. Setia said, “It was a serious case of misconduct to discourage a handicapped person and denying him his right to education. Principal Joshi has been issued a show-cause notice while Swayamber Dutt, who was supposed to supervise the student during the exam, has been chargesheeted in this case.”

Welcoming the decision, Ganesh told The Tribune, “Let this be a lesson for others, as due to their misconduct, I lost one year of my studies.”

Ganesh (now 20) had never attended school due to his illness. In spite of his severe handicap, he scored 77 per cent marks in the middle standard examination. To pursue further studies, he decided to appear for the matriculation examination conducted by the Punjab School Education Board.

On March 14, despite his physical condition, he went to the examination centre to appear for his English exam and he wrote the paper lying down on the floor. Despite special permission for an extra hour by the board chairman, his answersheet was allegedly snatched 15 minutes before time. Thanks to this callous attitude, Ganesh did not dare to appear for the remaining exams, costing him a year of his studies.

“Principal Prem Joshi and Sanskrit teacher Swayamber Dutt were supposed to supervise me. They humiliated me and my parents who were allowed to accompany me as I cannot move on my own,” he alleged.

Ganesh’s parents claimed that they were not even allowed to give him medicine. The requests of his father B.D. Sharma, a heart patient, fell on deaf ears. “I had to be around my son to clean his wounds that bleed but they did not allow me to do so even though he was bleeding profusely,” he said, breaking down.

“The teacher pulled me from my arm and asked me to stay away from the examination room saying that my son’s behaviour was ‘made up’,” Ganesh’s mother rued.



Ragging’s worst form rings alarm bells
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Increasing incidents of ragging on the Panjab University campus has rung many alarm bells. This year, the academic session has started barely a month ago and there have been four incidents of ragging reported so far.

Surprisingly, all these cases were reported from boys’ hostels and had a common facet to them, sexual perversion. In all cases, involving mostly engineering students and some students of department of Indian theatre, freshers were subjected to mental and sexual harassment. They were stripped for almost three hours and allegedly sexually exploited by their seniors and some outsiders. In another incident involving engineering students, some seniors stripped their juniors and forced them to touch their private parts.

In fact, ragging has just gone worse from previous years. Till last year, students were subjected to fun activities meant to have a good start between seniors and juniors but all that has been taken over by obscenity and sexual perversion.

Dr B S Chavan, head of the psychiatry department, says, “There can be two reasons for such a trend. First, the social pressures are diminishing, families are now nuclear and, secondly, children are becoming more vocal, they enjoy more privacy and are more exposed to information. Internet is also responsible to some extent for such perversion”. As for the impact, such incidents can leave on the minds of the victims, Dr Chavan said, “A child can go in permanent trauma after such shocking incidents”.

Dr Adarsh Kohli, clinical psychologist and additional professor in the psychiatry department, opines that such cases are not new to the society. “In fact, these incidents have occurred in the past as well. Only now due to increasing awareness, these are reported and are brought to public attention. But in terms of effects, such extremities may leave someone depressed for life. It increases one’s vulnerability to depression and sometimes the victims are not able to gel with others all their lives”.

Malwinder Singh Kang, former student leader and PU fellow, says, “ Here students unions have to play a larger role. Instead of encouraging such students, they should be against the wrong trend and play an active role in curbing the menace”.



17-yr-old boy commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Raju (17), a resident of Sector 25, allegedly ended his life by hanging himself from a tree outside the government school in Sector 25 this morning. The police has, so far, ruled out any foul play behind the death. However, the reason behind the incident is yet to ascertained.

According to sources, the deceased was working as a motor mechanic in Sector 38. He was said to be under depression since the past few days following which he took the extreme step. Students of the government school noticed Raju’s body hanging from the tree and immediately informed the school principal.



Power Shortage
Govt to promote energy efficient devices
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
As the country reels under severe power crisis, the Ministry of Power is now going in for demand side management. Not only will the government grant incentives to those manufacturing energy efficient devices, but is also promoting the use of CFLs and IT enabled services to check power losses.

Talking to TNS on the sidelines of the Power Sector Conclave for North India, that began here today, Anil Razdan, Secretary, Power, said that even as the government was taking proactive steps to increase power generation, reduction in demand without compromising on the output was being given top priority. “We have tied up with the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises, so that they encourage the SMEs to make energy efficient devices,” he said.

He said the government was very keen to ensure that consumers switch over to energy efficient CFLs. As part of a global study, the department had launched a pilot project “Bachat Lamp Yojana” in Haryana and Andhra Pradesh for a complete switchover to CFLs. While Andhra Pradesh would be completely switching over to CFL usage now, Haryana was expected to follow suit by the end of this year, he added.

Razdan said that efforts were also being made to bring down the transmission and distribution losses. “The average T & D losses in the country are over 30 per cent, and we are trying to bring these down to 15 per cent.. While states in south India have managed to bring down their losses substantially, north India still has a long way to go. Better discipline and stricter supervision, by using IT enabled services, will help bring down the power losses,” he added.

The secretary said efforts were also being made to commission the hydro power projects at the earliest. “The implementation of the new hydropower policy, which gives incentives to the local population by giving them free power, will help in timely commissioning of power projects. Under this policy, one per cent power from the state’s share (12 per cent) and one per cent share from the remaining 88 per cent will be given to the local body where the project is being set up. This two per cent power can then be utilised for getting revenue for the local area development. In addition, all project affected families will get 100 units of free power for 10 years,” he said.

He also added that the ultra mega power projects (with capacity of 4000 MW), would also be commissioned before schedule. “Two units each of Mundhra project in Gujarat and the Sasan project in Madhya Pradesh, will be commissioned before schedule and add 2920 MW of power,” he said.


Punjab sends panel for UT post
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
The ‘officer crunch’ in the Chandigarh administration continues unabated even as the Punjab government today sent a panel of four IAS officers for the post of special secretary, finance, to replace present incumbent Raji P. Srivastava.

While the panel has two officers of the 1993 batch, Anurag Verma and R.K. Rangta, Jaspal Singh belongs to the 1992 batch. Another officer Vikas Partap, who was also in the CITCO managing director panel, belongs to the 1994 batch.

Confirming the panel, J.S. Bir, secretary, personnel, of the Punjab Government, claimed that the government had sent the panel immediately so that the UT administration's working did not suffer. Srivastava, who also holds the charge of the DPI (colleges), is reportedly set to take over as Punjab's census director.

Sources said all officers had held crucial field and headquarter postings. Jaspal Singh had been Bathinda and Tarn Taran DC, besides being the labour commissioner and director, employment. Currently, he is special secretary, higher education and languages.

A former Moga DC, Rangta is presently posted as director, technical education, and industrial training. On the other hand, Anurag Verma had had stints as DC of Bathinda, Ludhiana and Jalandar, besides being the managing director of the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC). Currently, he is special secretary, revenue. Verma was in news recently, when his wife Shweta got a case registered against him here for alleged cruelty towards her.

Though Vikas Partap is yet to join as the additional managing director, Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC), he is a former commissioner of the Ludhiana municipal corporation and DC of Fatehgarh Sahib and Ferozepore and managing director of the Milkfed.

The city had been waiting for a final nod from the Union Government for the appointment of D.K. Tiwari as CITCO MD. The delay in the appointment of the home secretary had been legendary with the office remaining vacant for about four months now.



Sharma is MC addl joint commissioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
The Chandigarh administration has posted P.K. Sharma, secretary of the municipal corporation, as the additional joint commissioner. The decision has been taken after the appointment of Samvarthak Singh as MCC secretary.

Sharma has been posted on a vacant post, which had been lying vacant after the repatriation of H.S. Kandhola to his parent cadre of Punjab.

Earlier there were reports that Samvarthak Singh was to be appointed as DPI (Schools) in place of S.K. Setia, who had earlier been repatriated to his parent state of Haryana. However, with the administration retaining Setia, Samvarthak Singh has been appointed as secretary, necessitating Sharma’s transfer to the post of additional joint commissioner.



Aditya Prakash dead
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, August 12
“Bichhra kuchh iss tarah se ke rut hi badl gayi, Ik shakhs saare shehar ko veeran kar gya...” The couplet reflects the feelings of the city’s art lovers, who plunged into grief when they came to know about the sudden demise of Aditya Prakash, an eminent architect, artiste, scholar and, above all, a fine human being.

Old in wisdom but young at heart, even at 85, Prakash was on his way to Mumbai for staging the play “Zindagi kabhi retire nahin hoti”, created by G.S. Channi, in which he played the central character. He died on the way, at Ratlam station, early today.

A former principal of Government College of Art (GCA) and chief architect, Prakash remained a role model for architects, theatre artistes, poets and painters because of his myriad talents.

Born on March 10, 1923, in Muzaffarnagar, Prakash was educated as an architect in London. He earned his ARIBA in 1951. He joined the team of the Chandigarh Capital Project on November 1, 1952, where he worked directly with Le Corbusier on the design of the School of Art in the late 1950s.

Later he adapted the same design for the Chandigarh College of Architecture.

He also worked on the Type VI houses and General Hospital, Sector 16, with Jane Drew. He also designed the District Courts, the Treasury Building, the Indo-Swiss Training Centre, the Cable Factory and frame controls of petrol pumps, Jagat, Neelam and KC cinemas, and several of the city markets.

His most significant project in Chandigarh was Tagore Theater that was constructed for the Tagore Centenary. From 1963-67, he was in Ludhiana where he designed the campuses of Ludhiana, Hisar and Palampur universities.

In 1968, he took over as principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, from which he retired in 1982.

After that he maintained an active life in private practice, theatre and art. He also served as the chairman of the Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi.

He is survived by his wife Savitri and his three children Chetna, Vandana and Vikramaditya.

Former colleague S.S. Bhatti, who succeeded Prakash on his retirement from the GCA in 1982, maintained that he imbibed the creative versatility of Le Corbusier, which is perceptible in the marvels he created. Close associate Ravinder Shama recalls his mentor’s belief that the essence of life lies in actions that enable a person to attain the stage of self- forgetfulness.

Thespians Virender Mehndiratta, Kamal Arora, Atulvir Arora, Vijay Kapur, Harish Bhatia and architects S.D. Sharma and P.R. Luthra expressed grief at the sudden demise of Prakash.

The body of the departed soul is likely to reach here tomorrow and the cremation will take place at 2.30 pm.



Cow rescued from collapsed sewer line
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 12
A stray cow was rescued after it fell into a sewer line which collapsed here today.

Schoolchildren who were waiting for their bus this morning were shocked to see the cow disappear into a deep pit which developed all of a sudden near a house on the road dividing Phase VII and Phase 3B1.

Gurpreet Singh, near whose house the sewer line caved in, said he had passed over the spot in his car last night and he was lucky that the incident did not happen at that time.

A crowd gathered at the spot as the fire brigade struggled to extricate the animal from the pit with the help of ropes. Fire brigade personnel said the rescued animal was not injured.

Executive engineer (public health) Inderjit Singh Kang said the manhole collapsed due to heavy rain, a phenomenon which happened sometimes during the monsoon. Workers were on the job to carry out repairs, he added.




Need to promote sports culture

Many congratulations to Abhinav Bindra, who has made the city proud by winning gold in Olympics. But then, it's his personal feat, a stray case of excellence which can't be seen as a product of sports culture.

Local and national governments must know the reality that the only way to encourage a nation of billion-plus people is by paying attention to promote healthy and unbiased sports culture in the country.

While, initiatives taken by the Mittal Champions Trust and the Olympic Gold Quest Foundation to raise funds to help Olympic aspirants are some developments that bode well for the future of Indian sports, its miserable state can be judged by the fact that in four years, we are only able to produce 57 top athletes. Furthermore, it's for the first time in nearly eight decades that the Indian Hockey Team has failed to qualify for the Olympics.

It's time for us to recognize that each one of us need to do our bit to promote sports culture in the country. Also, newspaper coverage of sports other than cricket should be improved with an aim to encourage it.

Rajesh Krishan

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



PU staff go on mass leave
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
More than 600 faculty members of Panjab University today went on mass casual leave to protest against the inordinate delay in the communication of the decision of the Punjab Government to the Centre regarding Central University status for Panjab University.

After taking mass casual leave, nearly 200 teachers assembled at the site of dharna in order to express their determination to get a Central University status for PU.

Addressing the rally, Prof Manjit Singh, PUTA secretary, while appreciating the decision of the Punjab Government to give a nod to the Central University status for PU, regretted the inordinate delay in the official communication of the same to the Union Government.

“It is all the more important when Punjab has already been sanctioned two Central Universities and one IIT by the Centre,” rued Prof Singh.

Meanwhile, JAC has already taken a decision to continue with the dharna in addition to other forms of protest till the issue of Central University is not clinched.



PU fines two hostels for ignoring cleanliness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Panjab University authorities seem to have gone on a cleanliness overdrive after the recent sanitation campaign on the campus. Nevertheless the campus turned out to be an eye-opener for the university authorities.

Perhaps for the first time in the history, the vice-chancellor has imposed fines on two hostels for not maintaining cleanliness. The two hostels, hostel no 1 and hostel no 3, have been fined Rs 1,000 and Rs 3,000, respectively.

While the encroachments dot almost the entire city beautiful, PU is also not left behind. Thankfully, in a bid to nip the evil in bud, the vice-chancellor has imposed a whopping fine of Rs 50,000 on the canteen contractor of UBS for encroachments on the area.

According to sources, the canteen covers more area than allowed. Furthermore, the authorities have also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on contractor of the canteen behind Hindi department for promoting aerated drinks too much. Another contractor has been fined of Rs 3,000 for not cleaning the area next to the Law Auditorium after the Punjab Government’s function of Shiromani Awards was held on August 8.

Vice-chancellor Prof R.C. Sobti said, “We are very serious about maintaining cleanliness on campus. If we care for maintaining cleanliness at our homes and personal hygiene, why should the campus be left behind? We will continue with the sanitation and tree plantation drive on campus to make it a world class university.”



Unanimity on all posts except president
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
The last date of withdrawal of the nominations for PUTA elections sprung surprises for all. After the withdrawal of four contestants, Madhukar Arya (Urdu) for president and vice-president, Surbhi Goel (English) for secretary, V.T. Sebastian (philosophy) for executive group I, and Mahesh Sharma (DES) for executive group IV, now there is a direct contest left for the post of president between Prof Manjit Singh, department of sociology, Dr Ronki Ram, department of political science. After the withdrawals today, there is unanimity on all the posts except for the post of president.

Dr Raunki Ram got a shot in the arm when his colleague and the candidate for the post of secretary was elected unopposed as Surbhi Goyal from Manjit group withdrew her nomination.

On the keen contest, Dr Raunki said, “I did not want any dissensions in the executive groups. It is wrong to claim that the executive members, who have been elected unopposed, belong to a particular group. PUTA is like a civil society of university teaching fraternity.”

Ashwini Koul has been elected PUTA secretary unopposed.



Old Dental College staff yet to get revised scales
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Resentment prevails in Dental College, Sector 25, here, against the disparity in the pay scales of old and new teaching staff here.

Even after one-and-a-half year, the revision of pay scale of 31 faculty members is yet to be implemented. For a year, they have been made to understand that "good days" are just round the corner. But that is yet to happen.

According to the faculty members of the college, the pay scales of teachers of the institute, who were working there before the decision to revise salaries, had not been upgraded as yet. On the other hand, those who joined two years after them are getting benefits according to the revised pay scale. How can there be two different pay scales for the same post?

Sources said 31 faculty members, including seven readers and 24 senior lecturers of the institute, were not getting revised pay scales. However, the new pay scales were approved by the board of finance, syndicate and senate in April, 2007.

A legal notice in this regard has already been sent to vice-chancellor RC Sobti, registrar SS Bari and director principal K Gaba, said a senior faculty member. The rued faculty warned that they would quit the job, if they won't get the revised pay scale.

Institute director Krishan Gauba said, "I have repeatedly sent reminders to the establishment branch, accounts branch and the authorities. I think the budget needs to have provisions for the revised pay scales and that is consuming time." He said the resentment of the faculty was genuine. Due to delayed in revision, their annual increment also got affected.

RC Sobti told TNS, "There were some objections raised by the audit branch but hopefully the matter will be solved in the board of finance meeting, which is scheduled to be held on August 16."



PTA elected
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
A general body meeting of the Parent-Teacher Association of Saupin’s School, Sector 32, elected new members of the executive council. They are: president (ex officio) — principal- Amarbir Singh Sidhu; vice-president (parent member) — B.D. Kalra; general secretary (parent member) — Anil Gupta; joint secretary (dean-examinations) — Nabina Dey; and secretary finance — A. Roberts.



Jail-break Case
Challan submitted against S.P. Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
The UT police submitted a challan against businessman S.P. Singh in the sensational jail-break case in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Kanchan Mahi here today. The case was adjourned till September 8.

Convicted in the Beant Singh assassination case by Additional District and Sessions Judge Ravi Kumar Sondhi on July 27 last year, Jagtar Singh Hawara and others had escaped from the jail in 2004 by digging a tunnel.

According to prosecution, Singh had arranged a vehicle for Hawara and his accomplices to go from Ropar to New Delhi and was booked under Sections 212 and 216 of the IPC. Hawara and his “accomplices” had managed to dig a tunnel meticulously “without raising suspicion”. They had also succeeded in disposing of loose earth. Further, they were using mobile phones openly on the jail premises.



Man gets 10-yr RI for selling charas
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 12
Additional district and sessions judge Sanjiv Jindal sentenced a resident of Azad colony for 10 years of rigourous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1 lakh for possessing charas here today.

The guilty, Sonu, was arrested by the local police two years ago.

Sonu was arrested along with another accused when he was trying to sell the contraband at the parking lot of K C cinema here on June 9, 2006.

The police seized 400 grams of charas from him. Shiva, accomplice of Sonu, was also held with 250 grams of charas.



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