C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Taxi operators clash at rly station; 8 injured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
The issue of picking passengers from the railway station took an ugly turn when private taxi operators allegedly assaulted operators of AC radio taxis here this morning.

Two injured taxi operators
Two injured taxi operators

In the melee, at least eight taxi operators were injured and had to be taken to the Panchkula General Hospital.

Though the issue had been simmering for the past several days, the railway authorities and the transport authority, Chandigarh, failed to act on time.

The problem began when members of the private taxi operators union blocked the way of AC radio taxis that were picking passengers. In the heat of the moment, both groups exchanged blows. The road leading to the station was also blocked for some time.

The government railway police has registered FIR against both groups.

Both groups have been permitted to ply taxis by the state transport authority. The station superintendent, R.K. Dutta, said the issue had been repeatedly brought to the notice of the state transport authority, but nothing had been done.

He said private taxi operators, who were not paying any fee, were objecting to AC radio taxis. Enquiries reveal that AC taxi operators were paying Rs 400 per month per taxi to the railway authorities under an agreement between the railways and the Chandigarh administration.

Dr Vandana Disodia of the state transport authority said since the taxis were being parked on railway land, there was little the authority could do.

The radio taxi operators had been allowed to park 15 AC taxis at the railway station. But the other group alleged that they were exceeding that number. It was also alleged that the AC taxi operators were picking passengers for outstation trips even though they were allowed to operate only within the tricity.

“In the fight between the taxis operators, it is the passengers who are being harassed,” Kishore Sharma, who could not get a taxi, said.



Fire at chemical factory in P’kula
Narrow escape for two
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 21
Two workers had a narrow escape when fire broke out in a chemical industry here late last night. Eyewitnesses said the two were packing material in drums at Gaurav Industries when sparking took place in the electrical fittings, leading to the fire.

It took more than six hours to control the fire after 11 fire engines were pressed into service. The Panchkula fire station is equipped with only three fire engines. Engines were called in from Chandigarh, Dera Bassi and Ambala.

As the fire broke out, residents of adjoining Harmilap Nagar started assembling in the area, fearing that the exploding drums of chemicals may damage their houses. The fumes of thinner created panic in the area and several people complained trouble in breathing. A fireman identified as Kulwinder Singh was taken to hospital after he inhaled fumes and fell unconscious.

Om Parkash, an employee of the factory, said it was around 3.30 am when sparking erupted near the boiler. The fumes from the thinner probably came in contact with the sparking, resulting in the fire. Fire officer R.P. Dhull said the fire-fighting arrangements at the factory were not up to the mark.



Mediation centre a non-starter
3 cases in three months
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
Three months after the inauguration of the mediation centre at the district courts, the concept, though a novel one, is yet to take off. In the absence of any takers, the centre has barely heard three cases so far and has only two mediators.

Though the concept has reportedly been successful in some states, including Delhi, it seems city litigants are not convinced. A counselling session of the mediation centre was held today, wherein a case was taken up. Out of the three cases, two pertain to matrimony dispute and the third, cheating.

In one of the divorce cases, neither the complainant nor the respondent has appeared for counselling though one session has already been held.

The complainant, working as a combatant technician in the Air Force, and the respondent are not staying in the city at present. The complainant had sought a divorce from his wife after seven years of marriage. The case was filed when he was posted in the city.

The case was sent to the mediation centre after the trial court requested the lawyer concerned to do so. None of the petitioners had requested for counselling at the centre.

The centre has now deviated from the concept of resolving cases at a pre-litigation stage and only pending trials are transferred here.

A mediator, Ashwini Bansal, said during a session at the mediation centre, the case of cheating was taken up and the progress was good. However, he admitted that in both matrimony cases, none of the parties had attended a session.

Elaborating on the concept of such centres, he said: “These centres are successful in the US and the UK where most of the cases are resolved at pre-litigative stage and only 20 per cent of the cases are filed.”

On the fewer number of cases here, he said: “The judges are working hard to get cases to the centre. One case comes to the centre every week,” he said.

However, if the number of weeks and cases are compared, the figures don’t add up.



Class XII student stabbed
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
In a shocking incident, a Class XII student of a local government school was stabbed with a knife by some outsiders in front of the school gate in broad daylight today.

Jaswinder Singh, a student of Class XII at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, and a resident of Kansal village, was stabbed behind his head at about 12.20 pm by some persons who had reportedly come to the school to attend the second counselling for vacant Class XI seats.

According to the statement of the boy, which he has submitted to the principal, Indira Beniwal, Jaswinder said he had gone to have water downstairs around 10.30 am. Counselling was going on there and he accidentally brushed against a student’s shoulder who had come for the counselling. At this, the other student abused him and he in turn slapped him.

He then went out of the school at 12.20 pm with some fellow students without informing any teacher. As he stepped outside, some boys were already waiting for him and attacked him with a knife from behind.

Science students are allowed to leave the school after 12 noon while arts students can leave the premises only at 1 pm. Jaswinder, however, left with science students today.

The principal said earlier also, he had been rusticated, but was taken back on the insistence of his parents. He was involved in a brawl with some students and had sustained injuries.

Jaswinder said he could identify the attackers and also connected the incident to old rivalry.

The incident brings to fore the failure of the UT education department’s initiative to counsel students. Since he was earlier involved in a brawl, counsellors should have handled him.

On this, the principal said: “His class teacher was handling him and used to motivate him.”

As for disciplinary action, the principal said: “I have called a meeting tomorrow and his teachers will give me a report. We will decide about the matter keeping in mind the previous incident.”



Companies say no to festival discount offers
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
There is bad news for all those who have been waiting for the festival bonus to avail the festival offers and discounts. Hit hard by the rising input costs and low sales, most white goods and electronic companies have decided to do away with the festival discount offers this year.

Most of the companies- Samsung, LG and Philips India, have decided that they will not offer any discounts on their products during this festival season. They have also decided not to offer freebies to woo customers and jack up their sales in the coming festival season. With the input costs having shot up by 15 per cent in the past couple of months (because of hike in steel, aluminum and copper prices), the profit margins for the companies have been squeezed.

This year, most consumer goods and appliance manufacturers have already hiked prices of their products by three to four per cent. In fact, the price hike has been affected in two phases, so as not to impact their sales.

Vivek Sharma, chief marketing officer, Philips India, confirmed that this year the company would not offer any festival discounts. “The input costs have shot up drastically, while the hike in retail price products is not commensurate with the input hike. The festival discounts would put a further strain on the already shrinking profit margins,” he said.

His views were echoed by Ravinder Zutshi, deputy managing director of Samsung India. “This year, there will be no freebies or price cut for festival season,” he said. Zutshi, who is also the chairman of the Consumer Electronics and Appliance Manufacturers Association, said they were even planning to take up the issue in the association and urge members not to offer discounts.

LG Electronics, too, has decided not to offer any festival discounts this year.

A company spokesperson informed TNS that they would be launching new products in the premium category and offer value addition in terms of good services.

With inflation looming around 12 per cent, the buying capacity of consumers has been drastically reduced. With the household budget having shot up because of hike in food and fuel prices, the consumers have been putting on hold their decision to buy new products or upgrade their televisions, refrigerators, washing machines et al. The companies are now hoping that the implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission will bring more money in the market and thus help in increasing their growth in volumes. 



Waterlogging: City divided into 4 zones
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
Despite the efforts being done by the municipal corporation, the downpour today again lashed the city while the problem of waterlogging left people stranded on the roads.

Even as daily meetings are being held by the MC regarding the flooding of roads in the city, the roads were waterlogged today with the rainwater flowing above the pavements and near roundabouts.

In the coordination meeting held today by the MC to review the constant waterlogging on roads, the city has been divided into four zones to deal with the problem.

The top officers in the corporation have been asked to look after these different zones. All southern sectors of Dakshin Marg would be looked after by the additional commissioner, all villages under the MC have been given to the joint commissioner, while the assistant commissioner will look after the area of Manimajra and the secretary has been given the charge of all northern sectors of Dakshin Marg.

“The meeting was held to discuss the coordination between various wings of the MC for improving the services and flooding of the roads,” said MC commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria. The public health officers have been directed to de-silt the drains and ensure that the road gullies are functioning properly during the heavy rain.

The corporation has also announced to set up a toll free helpline for the people where they would be able to lodge any complaint pertaining to the corporation.



Panel meets to finalise building bylaws
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
The empowered committee of building bylaws today dabbled on issues like allowing free additional floor area ratio (FAR) for big plots opting for conversion in the industrial area and for plots in the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park and zoning of plots in the city.

UT finance secretary Sanjay Kumar said as such no decisions have been taken in this regard. The meeting was held to give final shape to the amendments in the bylaws. Various issues had to be sorted out before notifying the rules.

While allowing more FAR, the chief engineer has been asked to give a report on the availability of infrastructure in the industrial area and IT park. Available land for widening of roads would also be disclosed.

Sources said it was felt that more FAR should not be linked with double parking and fee should be charged for more FAR. For Phase II, zoning of all the plots would be done whereas it would not be allowed in Phase I sectors.

Due to the delay in notifying of parking norms, building plans of applicants were held up.



Adviser inaugurates TN crafts exhibition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
The Adviser to the UT Administrator, Pradip Mehra, inaugurated a crafts exhibition organised by the Tamil Nadu Handicrats Development Corporation at Servants of the People Society, Lala Lajpat Rai Bhawan, Sector 15, here today.

On the occasion, Mehra took round of the exhibition and encouraged the organisers for providing a rich cultural treat to the people of the city.

The exhibition showcased exquisite bronzes replicas of Chola, Pallava and Hoysala period image of Ganesh, Natraja, Sivakami, Krishna, Vishnu etc., Thanjavur art plates, intricately carved brass lamps, wood carvings, applique, rosewood, mats, paper pearls, exclusive collection of kancheepuram silk and cotton sarees, mangal giri ladies suit, dress materials, bed covers, cushion covers and more varieties and many more fascinating creations of handlooms and handicrafts.



Guv’s secy as appellate authority
Another plaint against appointment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
Eyebrows are being raised at the appointment of the secretary to the Punjab Governor as appellate authority for the office of the UT Administrator.

Close on the heels of social activist Hemant Goswami filing a complaint with the central information commissioner (CIC), another RTI activist has questioned the decision to appoint the secretary as the appellate authority.

The appointment is invalid as he is a Punjab-cadre officer using stationery and staff of the Punjab government, R.K. Garg, the activist said.

Besides, the secretary does not have access to information on the Union Territory as he has not been appointed by the department of personnel training of the ministry of home affairs. “I have received a few letters from appellate authority in which he had used the Punjab government stationery,” Garg claimed.



BJP proposes, administration disposes
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 21
It was a big disappointment for BJP leaders and members of Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti, who had to shelve their plan of getting them court arrested when the district administration allowed them to march up to the mini secretariat.

The BJP leaders, in order to express their solidarity with the Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti agitation, decided to stage a protest march up to mini secretariat and get them court arrested. More than 500 workers of the party assembled at party office in Sector 2 and moved towards mini secretariat raising slogans against the central government and Jammu and Kashmir administration.

Former MP Ratan Lal Kataria, along with local prominent leaders including S.L. Bansal, Rekha Sharma, S.L. Sachdeva, Nardev Sharma Vishal and Sanjay Ahuja was leading the march.

However, the police did not try to stop them at any point and let them even enter the building of secretariat.

Later, finding no reaction from the police, the BJP leaders reached the office of deputy commissioner Rajinder Kataria, who offered them chairs while they insisted that they should be arrested.

When the deputy commissioner refused to accede their demand of arrest, they decided to sit on dharna in the secretariat. 



Samiti members court arrest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
As many as 235 members of Sri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti and other religious, social and political organisations today courted arrested against the revocation of the allotment of land to Sri Amarnath Shrine Board. The protesters were taken to the police station at Sector 26 and later released.

Addressing the gathering, Col Dharam Vir (retd), president of the local unit of the samiti, said the sangharsh samiti had also given a nationwide call for 
mass arrest.

Rajender Lakhanpal, president of the Hindu Parv Mahasabha, Kamla Sharma, president of the local unit of the BJP, and Satya Pal Jain, BJP leader, also spoke.

They criticised the central government for its failure to deal with the issue in a mature way. They said the agitation would continue until the land was transferred to the board.



Train pet dogs better

Opening of a training centre for pet dogs is a good idea. Such training must include toilet training, which should teach dogs how to use a toilet. Along with this dog-owners should also be trained to ease their dogs in their respective houses rather than spreading filth on the roads and open spaces.

With rising population of pet dogs the roads are plastered with the dogs' faeces; which subsequently is kicked up, on drying, into the air finding its way into the houses. Additionally, nothing so far has been done to reduce the population of stray dogs in the city. Instead, some people, in the name of PFA, are promoting growth of stray dogs, totally unmindful and a nuisance to the society.

All pet dogs must be registered; while taking the dogs for a walk the dog-owner must carry a plastic bag and a spatula to clear the excreta of their pets if it happens to be.

Lt Col Bhagwant Singh, Mohali

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PU Senate Elections
15 nominations rejected in graduate’s constituency
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
Panjab University senate elections are turning out to be a keen contest. In the graduates’ constituency, which has the maximum seats, 15 in number in the senate, it was a day of scrutiny of applications today.

Interestingly, out of the total, 50 nominations that were received earlier, 15 nominations were rejected today.

Out of the 15 rejected nominations papers, 14 were rejected because they were not addressed to the returning officer, who is the registrar, Prof S S Bari.

The rejected names also include two sitting senators of PU, including Rabindernath Sharma, who is contesting and R P Asija, principal of DAV college of education, Abohar.

“When the nomination envelope has been given personally in the office of the registrar-cum-returning officer and has been received by them then there is no point of addressing,” said Rabindernath Sharma, whose candidature has been rejected.

According to the university regulations, a nomination has to be addressed to the returning officer by name and forwarded to the returning officer either by a registered post or handed over personally to the returning officer.

According to sources, most of the candidates whose names were rejected on this ground were of the view that addressing by name is only required where the nominations are send by registered post.

Interestingly, one nomination was cancelled as the candidate instead of writing his own registration number wrote his wife’s registration number by mistake.

With 15 rejections out of total 50, which were received till August 18, the last day of filing nominations, 30 per cent of the contestants are already out. Now there is a tough competition among the 35 candidates vying for 15 seats.

The real picture is due to come on August 29, which is the last day of withdrawals.

According to the university rules, the candidates can appeal to the vice-chancellor within five days and the vice-chancellor can overrule the objection.



Kuldeep’s name cancelled from principal’s constituency
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
He alleged that on July 17 he had asked the university to clarify its stand on thIn a surprise move, Kuldeep Singh’s name was cancelled from the principals’ constituency today, as it was the last day of filling nomination papers from this constituency. According to sources, he is a non-functional principal of SGGS College, Sector 26. With the cancellation of his name, he cannot vote or contest from this constituency.

Talking about the development, Kuldeep Singh has alleged that it is a conspiracy against him and the university has singled him out, whereas in other similar cases, the principals have been given a relief.

e same but till date he has not got any reply from the authorities. According to sources, R P Asija, principal of DAV College of Education, Abohar has been placed under suspension for a year now and Surjeet Singh Randhawa, principal of Mahalpur college’s principalship is also not approved by PU. But despite this, both their names were present in the list.

According to sources, Kuldeep Singh was involved in an embezzlement of funds case and the High Court had termed him non-functional, on the basis of which his name has been cancelled.

The registrar on this issue said we are not working under any pressure, prejudice or any opposition and this stand has been taken after taking a legal advice.

Today was also the last day of filling nomination papers in the principals’ constituency, which has a total of eight seats in the Panjab University senate, the elections for which will be held on September 21.

According to sources, prominent among those who are contesting from this constituency are Prof A C Vaid of GGDSD College, Sector 32, Dr B C Josan of DAV College, Sector 10, Puneet Bedi of MCM DAV College, Sector 36, Gurdeep Sharma of S D College, Hariana (district Hoshiarpur), H S Gosal of Narangwal, Varinder Thind of Khala College, Ludhiana, besides Janneet Singh, Narinder Singh Sidhu, R S Jhanji, Satish Sharma and Tejinder Kaur. The last date of withdrawals in this constituency is September 2.



PU campus residents complain of waterlogging
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
People who reside in the PU campus across the Radha Krishna temple continue to face the problems due to the rainwater, which has inundated the area. This is especially a problem from this year when the copse of wood inside the main campus adjacent to the temple and to the Chitkara International School was cut down.

Residents complained by saying that during heavy rains the plight of the residents becomes much more. As the water from the northern parts of the campus begins to reach this area the flood rises even further. The rise continues for a long time even after the rain stopped. To add to the worries, there is an open soak pit, which comes from Radha Krishna temple.

After the rains stopped the water stays for many hours. Even though many complaints have been filed about the menace to the vice-chancellor and to the registrar, no action has been taken by them.



From Schools
Seminar on new assessment methods
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
For the first time the seniors instead of ragging organised a seminar for the benefit of the freshers with the efforts of the student body the PULSE. PULSE organized a seminar on the new method of assessment, which the department introduced recently.

The seminar held by the PULSE was regarding the same issue and the seniors took time to prepare charts and other materials relating as to how to go about making a research project and how to prepare and deliver the same.

FRESHERS PARTY: Students of the Commerce Department of Government College for Girls, Sector-11, organised a Freshers’ Party to welcome Bcom (I) year students. Promila Kaushal, principal of the college was the chief guest on the occasion. Students presented an array of events ranging from songs, dances, medleys, choreography and modeling. The fashion-cum-modeling, showcased by the Freshers enthralled one and all. Komal was declared Miss Confident, Ekta was adjudged Miss Elegant, Anurit was adjudged as Best Dressed. The results of the modelling-cum-fashion show are: Miss Fresher Commerce- Namrata; Ist runners-up Fauzia; 2nd, runners-up Ankita

Akshay Urja Divas: Maharishi Dyanand Public School, Daria, organised a Poster Making Competition on Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Diwas here today in the collaboration with the Department of Science & Technology, Chandigarh. Save energy and renewable energy was the topic of this competition. The competition was divided into junior and senior categories.

In junior category, Priya of Sunrise Public School, Charanjit Kaur student of Maharishi Dayanand Public School and Mohit student of Government High School got first, second and third prizes respectively. In senior category Navdeep student of Government High School, Kusum Lata student of Maharishi Dayanand Public School and Rimjhim student of Government High School stood first, second and third position respectively.

Vanamahotsava: Vanamahotsava was celebrated at Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26 by the NSS unit of the college. Prof. C.L Duggal, NSS program co-ordinator, Panjab University, was the chief guest on the occasion. S. Gurdev Singh Brar, president, and Col. J.S. Bala, secretary, Sikh Educational Society, were among the other eminent guests on the occasion. The event was jointly sponsored by the SBI, Sector 26 and Inner Wheel, Chandigarh Central. The students also commemorated the birth anniversary of the late Shri Rajiv Gandhi by celebrating the Sadbhavna Divas.



BEd exam results
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
Pass Percentage of BEd in Government College of Education, Sector 20 D, Chandigarh remained cent per cent for yet another consecutive year.

All the college students who appeared in the BEd examination held by Panjab University in 2008 scored 1st divisions. College toppers include Manpreet Kaur, who stood first with 883 marks (80.27%), Ranjit Kaur second with 877 marks (79.72%) and Yogita Joshi third with 874 marks (79.45) out of 1100.



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