C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


HC judges to inspect work on Kalka highway
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 22
A team of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, headed by two judges, is scheduled to visit Pinjore and Kalka to inspect the ongoing work on the national highway. A number of petitions have been filed in this regard in the high court. The team comprises Justice J.S. Khehar, Justice A.K. Mittal and a deputy advocate-general.

This is perhaps for the first time in the region that a team of HC judges will visit a spot to inspect work. Generally, the task is assigned to the court commissioner.

The highway has been in news for all the wrong reasons. For want of repair, using the highway has become a nightmare for commuters as traffic jams are routine. Some patients had died a few months ago as vehicles taking them to hospital had got stuck in the jam.

According to information, the deputy commissioner and the SP will be present during the inspection and explain their point of view on the matter. Officials from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) have also been asked to be present there.



Education Mess
Soaring claims, biting realities
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
While the Chandigarh education department swears by the projected success of most of its projects, city education fraternity dismisses them as thoughtless execution of soaring ambitions. Sampling the following announcements one can easily justify the misfit between the administration’s ambitions and ground realities.

Ban on junk food

A visit around the city schools is enough to highlight the failure. Many school canteens still sport the prohibited stuff and where it’s absent the effort proves futile due to mushrooming kiosks near schools. Even schoolchildren openly admit the unpopularity of the “ideal canteens” saying: “What is the fun of having lassi in canteen? We get our tiffins to serve the purpose.”

School authorities say: Students are in the habit of having all this. If we stop them, they eat outside and ideal canteens run into losses so why have it at all? The need is to catalyse transformation of habits rather than impose restrictions.

No bags for small kids

The project is aimed at westernising the city education with emphasis on practical skills and students being given minimalist or no homework. However, the project has failed to catch the attention of parents who are doubtful of the plight of their ward’s education in lack of their participation and books.

School authorities say: Our teachers and students are used to lapping up three “R’s” through books only. Moreover, has administration given a thought on how students will cope up with the disproportion between the theory and practical at higher classes? Western education training is based all over but we need to change the entire syllabus of all levels to even dream to implement it.

Dress for teachers

The administration had proposed a uniform dress code for teachers across the city but the project faced a strong opposition from teachers and compulsion transformed into an option never taken.

School authorities say: Class IV employees never wear uniforms and they want teachers to? We are Indians and formal dressing like blazers on day-to-day basis is out of question. Instead of providing motivational incentives to teachers they are making clown out of them?

Laptops for principals

In a bid to make our education more tech-savvy, the administration announced providing laptops to all school principals. However, the project also proved to be a dud as it was made an option later.

School authorities say: We are not MNC executives and most of us are not that tech-savvy. Laptops are not required seeing our job profile so why does the administration wastes funds that can be used more productively?

Reacting to this DPI (S) S.K. Setia said: “All these initiatives were taken to revamp the education system but the problem is that our educators are neither positive about them nor are ready to work. If they complain of not being consulted at the time of decision making they are always free to speak at principal’s meet. I do agree it will take time for some projects to be successful but we cannot stop making efforts taking it as a plea.”



Midday Meal Menu
Poori-chana with tiger ants!
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
“Poori-chana” and tiger ants! This is what was served to students of Government High School, Sector 46, on Wednesday under the midday meal scheme.

This correspondent saw some stale “pooris” with ants embedded in them. The headmistress, Sushma Sanghi, has lodged a complaint with the midday meal cluster head.

“The regular practise is that the food sample is brought to me to be tasted. Just as I was about to eat it, I spotted “makoras” in the pooris. By then, the food had already been served to students. This lapse occurred while kneading the dough,” she said.

The incident proves that efforts of the Chandigarh administration to provide hygienic food to schoolchildren under the midday meal scheme have come to naught.

The food is still being prepared and supplied from the same kitchen being run by a Delhi-based unit under the new private public partnership (PPP) scheme.

It was the same kitchen which The Tribune had highlighted in a report titled “Hygiene hardly matters”, dated August 4. It said the food was being prepared under unhygienic conditions. Cooks smoked and chewed pan masala and gutka while preparing meals.

The DPI (S), S.K. Setia said: “We have tried to make the system faultless, but some loopholes remain, which need to be rectified. We are facing difficulty in monitoring the food. The situation will improve once open midday meal cooking sheds are constructed. We are revamping the system.”



Tardy progress on garbage unit bugs mayor
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
The city administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), had inaugurated a garbage processing unit -- country’s pilot project -- in Dadu Majra on a trail basis three months ago with much pomp, but it is yet to be completed.

A surprise visit to the plant by mayor Pradeep Chabbra today revealed that contrary to the perception of the plant being functional, the installation of the machinery is yet not complete.

The plant was inaugurated in May and the trial period ended on August 20. Infuriated, the mayor asked the MC commissioner, Dr Roshan Sunkaria, to issue a notice to the company and impose a penalty for not completing the project.

An MoU was signed between the MC and Jai Prakash Association on July 8, 2005. The plant, spread on 10 acres, was to be set up at a cost of Rs 23 crore. In January this year, the company claimed that the construction, including buildings, sheds and other infrastructure, had been completed.

As per the agreement, the company was to compete the construction within a year of the finalisation of the agreement or taking possession of land, whichever was later. The maximum grace period was four months. However, records reveal that the full-scale operation schedule was postponed thrice.

Despite issuing written notices to the company for undue delays, nothing had been done. When the mayor and some councillors visited the plant today, it was found that even the heating plant had not been installed.

A clause in the agreement states that if the plant stops due to technical, mechanical or electrical reasons, the MC could fix a penalty for 16 to 21 days at a cost of Rs 15,000 per day or for 22 to 30 days at a cost of Rs 25,000 per day. The total penalty may work out to Rs 3.5 lakh.

If the problem continued for 30 days, the MC could cancel the contract. However, the MC had neither initiated any action against the company nor charged a penny as fine. The mayor was told by a representative of the company that it would take two to three more months to get the plant functional as the entire machinery had not been installed.

The company is supposed to provide necessary environmental equipment to control the adverse affect on water, air and land as per norms prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board. The mayor found that the plant was using a normal chimney instead of a modern one. MC officials had undertaken two foreign jaunts for technical know-how pertaining to the project.



Childhood lost in heaps of vegetables
Himani Chandel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
For Laxmi (11), selling lemon and garlic at vegetable market, Sector 26, is easier than going to school. Laxmi has three sisters, of whom two are married, and two brothers.

She studied for two years in a nearby Bapu Dham School, but had to drop out so that she could lend a helping hand to the family.

Sonu (10) has big dreams and wants to become a doctor, though he does not know what exactly a doctor does. “My father says I will have to work with him as I don’t understand what they teach in school,” he says.

Laxmi and Sonu are not an exception. There are many children like them in the subzi mandi who have lost their childhood in the heaps of vegetables and fruits.

They spend their entire day haggling with customers to earn a livelihood for themselves and their family.

They do not know who Abhnav Bindra is but they certainly know the prices of onions and apples.

And what is saddening is that neither their families nor the hundreds of customers who crisscross them every day treat them like children.

“Oye chottu!” seems to have become a common name for them. They admit that most customers are rude to them, with some even abusing them.

“It’s become a habit for us and we no longer feel insulted,” they say, while adding that it will be nicer if people still treat them like children and not adults.

Gender bias, economic backwardness and lack of awareness are leading these children to future of poverty and illiteracy.

Neither the government nor any non-governmental organisation has ever shown interest in rescuing these children.

According to them, they are helping their family in earning extra money and are not forcibly put to work.

“We cannot do anything about them as they are working with their parents and not being employed by anyone else.

We cannot always keep a track on these children as they are willingly doing this business, said J.S. Mavi, secretary, market committee.

However, according to experts in the labour department of Punjab, even if the abuse of children is being done by family members, it comes under child labour.

“The child is not put to work out of love or affection. It is because the hiring of extra people will cost parents extra money. So they prefer their own children to do their work rather than sending to school,” said a senior officer of the labour department.

“It is hard to control the abuse of children in the unorganised sector like this.”

Selling vegetables, collecting garbage and carrying loads are some of the jobs that are being done by these children in the market.

Tribune photos by Vinay Malik



‘Chargesheeted candidates should stay away from elections’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
“In the forthcoming parliamentary elections, we are trying our best to ensure that chargesheeted candidates do not participate. The Election Commission (EC) has sent a proposal to the parliamentary committee stating that any person who has been chargesheeted by the sessions court, be barred from contesting elections till proved innocent. The proposal is pending with the parliamentary committee for deliberation and we await the response,” said Naveen B. Chawla, election commissioner, in an interactive session organised for the faculty and the students of the Panjab University (PU) today.

The talk was presided over by Pradip Mehra, adviser to the UT administrator.

“In order to check prevalent malpractices like bogus or proxy voting, the EC of India is in the process of compiling photo electoral rolls, for which about 70 per cent compilation for the state of Punjab has already been done,” he said.

The commission, as an experiment, had used these electoral rolls in the elections held in Kerala and plans to use such list across the country during the next general elections, added Chawla.

Talking about the photo electoral rolls he said, “The voter list would now carry the photo of the voter which would also be there on the photo identity card (epic card) which would go a long way to check bogus voting.”

Talking about the possibility of conducting elections simultaneously, Naveen Chawla said, “It requires a lot of manpower and adequate security force to conduct free and fair elections. In the last couple of years, the election process has improved and we are in the course of further making them free from corruption and criminalisation.”

In his talk, he also touched upon various issues relating to the elections in the country and the role played by the Election Commissioner Office in organising the elections meticulously in the country.

Navin gave various instances where the election commissioner ensured objective and impartial participation by the electorates. He talked about the elections from Parliament level to the Panchayati Raj Institutions.

Professor R.C. Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, PU, honoured the chief guest with a memento.



Petitioner flays Haryana govt for ‘helping’ dera chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
Anshul Chhatterpati, who has filed a case against Baba Gurmit Singh, head of Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa, flayed the Haryana government for helping the religious guru indirectly during the trial in CBI court at Ambala.

“The government has been shielding the dera head”, alleged Chhatterpati, son of Ram Chander Chhatterpati, who was allegedly murdered in 2002.

Addressing mediapersons at the Chandigarh Press Club here, Chhatterpati alleged that the Haryana government had filed an application before the registrar general of the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking transfer of the trial of criminal cases pending against the head of the dera and others in the special CBI court at Ambala to Sirsa.

“The grounds on which the government has sought transfer of the cases are just strange. In its application, the government summarised that during the appearance of Gurmit Ram Rahim before the court, a large number of followers not only accompany him but also use to gather alongside the road on the entire route from Sirsa to Ambala, thus, creating a law and order problem. Besides this, the government also seeks exemption from his (Baba’s) presence in the court”, alleged Chhatterpati.

As the headquarters of the dera is situated in Sirsa, the Baba can collect much bigger crowd at Sirsa. Secondly, the move would demoralise the witnesses in the case, alleged Chhatterpati.

Demanding a speedy and fair trial, Chhatterpati said, “If the government wanted to transfer the case from Ambala court then it should be shifted to outside of mainly three states, including Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. In these three states, the dera head has large following”.

Dr Surya Parkash, advocate of the Baba, said, “We are unaware of this thing as no such notice (regarding transfer of the case from Ambala to Sirsa) has been received from any court by my client”.

The case is scheduled to come up for hearing tomorrow.



Ex-IPS officer trains Delhi cops in manners
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
The 2010 Commonwealth Games will have a Chandigarh connection. In fact, when over 40,000 cops present their "humane face" before thousands of delegates in the run-up to the sporting extravaganza in the true Indian spirit of "atithi devobhava"(guest is equivalent to God), they will thank a former top IPS officer V.K. Kapoor for bringing behavioural changes in them.

Kapoor, who had a distinguished career spanning over 38 years, had been given the responsibility to turn the rugged and rude police personnel into "humane, compassionate and alert" cops.

"My brief is to train the policemen in inter-personal relations and communication skills with a view to narrow the gap between the cops and senior officers and make the cops public-friendly," Kapoor told The Tribune here today.

"In a feudal society that is male-oriented, the general behaviour of the people is rude and rough.That was more so in the police force which was visible face of the official authority in India," Kapoor, who is also the director of the Chandigarh-based Institute of Stress Management and Research, stated.

Underlining the need for attitudinal change among the cops, the former police officer said political interference and job-related stress led to frustration among the lower-level police officials.

"In fact, there is a crisis of leadership in the police as the lower-level cops are used, misused and abused by the political and police top brass," Kapoor said.

Kapoor claimed that better pay and adequate promotional avenues should go a long way in stemming the rot in the police force and turn the cops into ambassadors of goodwill.

Interestingly, Kapoor had devised a unique strategy to relieve stress which he is putting in to practice in his Delhi police project. The strategy involves having 3Fs (faith, family and friends)i.e. faith in God, having a good family life and a few good friends. Another technique RED (relaxation, exercise and diet) can successfully ward off the job-related stress in the police forces, he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Kapoor said he had roped in experts in communications from top universities and former top cops for this project.



Landowners’ seminar on low land compensation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
To create public opinion on low land compensation being offered by the Chandigarh administration, the UT landowners will now be involving intelligentsia in the awareness exercise.

Two apex bodies of the landowners — Manimajra Farmers Welfare and Environment Protection Society and Sanjha Morcha — will organise a seminar on the unilateral approach of the administration in handling the case of landowners.

Luminaries from the field of politics, judiciary, human rights and environmentalists will be invited to share their view on the issue.

Farmers’ association general secretary Brig K.S. Kahlon said the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP), Phases I and II, were essentially a real estate project where over 70 per cent of the total 400 acres (approx.) had been utilised for non-IT purposes.

Questioning the wisdom of the administration in acquiring the land, the landowners have been demanding the setting up of a land resource regulatory authority. The authority should examine the justification to acquire land and ensure that the landowners get compensation at the market price.

The claim of the administration to acquire land for “public purpose” projects should be examined keeping in view environmental concerns, population growth and architectural control so that the acquisition could be justified.

Sanjay Joshi, another member of the association, said the Punjab chief minister should come in support of the agitating farmers.

“If Punjab considers the city to be capital of Punjab, it should also own the issues of landowners and farmers.”

The society says the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 is being misused by the bureaucracy-laden administration. Without validating the real success of the RGCTP, the UT administration wants to acquire another 272 acres of land. The administration has stated that the national rehabilitation policy is applicable in cases where displacement of 400 or more families takes place.

Brigadier Kahlon alleged that there were reported attempts by the administration to dishonestly understate the number of affected families.

The IT park, Phase III, is an ecological disaster waiting to happen as 50,000 trees are going to be felled in the ecologically fragile area adjacent the Sukhna Lake without any environmental impact assessment and for projects that do not involve public interest and are intended to benefit the greed of private builders and corrupt UT officials.

As regards the Periphery Control Act, the UT administration has highlighted that illegal constructions in violation of this Act have come up. However, for slum dwellers the slum rehabilitation scheme has been made at the cost of farmers.



Modern dhobi ghat a hit
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

A student of Panjab University washes laundry at the modern dhobi ghat in Sector 15, Chandigarh.
A student of Panjab University washes laundry at the modern dhobi ghat in Sector 15, Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, August 22
Having troubles washing your dirty clothes? Pick up your bundle of unwashed clothes and walk to the recently inaugurated modern dhobi ghat in Sector 15 and wash them all just for Rs 20.Yes, it has arrived!

The trend of washing clothes in a public laundry in sophisticated washing machines while you sit besides and sip a hot cuppa coffee is here in our city. And taking benefits of this service is an array of students right from collegiates to university goers, bachelors to paying guests and more.

The modern dhobi ghat, which replaced the age-old system of getting your clothes washed from washer men, was inaugurated in January this year. Within a short span of time the popularity of the dhobi ghat increased, so did the customers. There is always a huge rush of people waiting to wash their clothes by paying 20 bucks to the attendant. However, one may have to wait for half an hour or so for his/her turn.

“I am a regular user of this facility here and it is really helpful for students like me. The only problem is that one has to wait for a long time to get the machines. On holidays, one doesn’t mind waiting, but otherwise it is not possible for me to stand for hours leaving my classes,” says Rahul, a postgraduate student of Panjab University.

Besides two huge machines, which are used by the washer men to wash the clothes in bulk, there is one machine which is unmanned and has to be operated by customer himself. Mostly the big machines are used for washing bed sheets, linen or a large number of clothes from hospitals, hotels and hostels.

Talking about the success of the modern dhobi ghat, mayor Pradeep Chhabra, who inaugurated it, said, “This was our pilot project that has been very successful. In fact, the project started in 2005 when I was a member of the committee as a councillor. Now, we have seven more dhobi ghats in the pipeline. The new ones will have more number of washing machines and separate dryers. The project file is pending with the chief architect. We will start it as soon as it gets cleared.”



Modern Krishan Lila for devotees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
The city is all set to celebrate Janmashtami tomorrow but with a tinge of modernisation.

The way of commemorating the birth of Lord Krishna has witnessed substantial changes through the years. Gone are the days when the theatre artistes enacted different stages of Lord Krishna’s life throughout the night.

This time, the festival will have the effects of stereophonic sound, visuals shot at various splendid locations and glittering costumes.

The Theater Arts, Chandigarh, would organise its first modern Krishan Lila at Moti Ram School, Sector 27, tomorrow evening.

“Krishan Lila is such a wide subject that it cannot be fully performed on the stage. So, we have used certain modern techniques this time, which would be part of our Krishan Lila. Along with the stage performance by artistes, we have introduced visuals of the scenes which are otherwise difficult to be shown over the stage,” said Rajiv Mehta, director, Theatre Arts.

“For example, the scene of Vasudev crossing a river while carrying Krishna over his head to his foster-home is not possible to be staged properly. Therefore, we have made pre-recorded shots of the scenes. They will be broadcast over the screen,” he said.

“Similarly, the romance of Krishna with the ‘gopis’ is again not feasible to be performed as more than one Krishna needs to be shown simultaneously on the stage. So, we shot the visuals on camera which would be played in between,” he added.

However, the other temples in the city would be using the traditional methods by organising the plays based on the life of Lord Krishna.

The celebrations also include various fairs which have already started in the city. Adding to the commercialisation of the festivals, Reliance Mobile World has announced free download of special ringtones, caller tunes, videos and wallpapers.



Kitab ghar — a hope for the deprived
Sumedha Sharma

Tribune photos: Hemant Mahajan

Chandigarh, August 22
“Don’t pick them up with wet hands.” The voice startled me and I turned around to find a young chap in tattered vest smiling at me. Shailender, a Class-X student of GMSS-26, maintains and manages a library christened ‘Kitab Ghar’, a self-funded community effort spearheaded by Yuvsatta that got rolling three months back and spelled hope for the slum colonies like Bapu Dham in Sector 26.

Housed in a small room, the library seems to be just another non-profit initiative until this young man opens the cartons for me to see and I am amazed to find a whopping collection of 1,500 books on all topics ranging from bedtime stories to engineering designs. “This is the latest collection that we received from some UK schools. You can see there are all sorts of books and mostly in English.

I still have to register them and then they will be ready for issue. The work would have been easier with cupboards, but even cartons are fine till we manage them,” he informs speaking in English fluently as my perception of a donated book being old and torn diminishes.

As I browse around, children start pouring in and soon the stacking room transforms into a reading room where a young girl dressed in oversized frock enthusiastically discusses Cindrella’s gown with her friend.

"Till an year back, I was confined to my school books only. Seeing rich kids with these colourful books, I always wished to have them, but couldn’t afford.

I still remember how happy I was when I got my first story book to read "The Jack and the bean stock", says Sahil bagging his copy of Harry Potter. He is among the 200 children who've taken to reading and become the active members of the library.

According to Ramrati, a housemaid, whenever I would see the rich kids reading magazines, I wished the same for my child.

But with my meagre income, I could never provide him books for leisure. Thanks to this initiative, now my 10-year-old can read and recite English rhymes very fluently.”

Pramod Sharma, state coordinator, Yuvsatta, beams with pride as he says: "The project was conceived keeping in mind that many children in marginalised families, especially in slum areas, are not exposed to reading for leisure and interesting reading material.

It’s an effort to develop reading as a skill that should be inculcated from a younger age and nurtured into a habit and culture.”

"The slum kids would spend the entire day idling here and there but with this library, they are not only being exposed to books but their behaviour is also getting moulded," adds Krishan Lal, president, Residents’ Welfare Association of the area.



Ice-cream treat goes sour

Ice-cream vendors at roundabouts in the city are now not just a source of information for the police, but also perpetrators of crime in some cases.

In a recent incident, a young man stopped by to have an ice-cream from a vendor near the Sector 22-17-18 roundabout, who requested him to give lift to a woman till the next roundabout. Once inside the car, the woman threatened to press charges against the man for outraging her modesty if he did not hand over his possessions.

He did as told, but returned to the ice-cream vendor after dropping the woman. It was only when he threatened to hand over the vendor to the police that he confessed that the woman was his wife and they had devised a way to make a quick buck. The vendor returned the booty to him.

Crazy kiya re

If you believe that only women are crazy about “saas-bahu” serials on TV, it’s time for a reality check. Last week, city roads were flooded and Ashok Kumar, a resident of Panchkula, was in a tearing hurry to reach home and was cursing the MC. The reason was that he didn’t want to miss a saas-bahu serial.

“Boss, I don’t want to miss my serial,” he told a photographer who was taking pictures of stranded vehicles. But as luck would have it, his scooter developed a snag and while the traffic moved, he kept kick-starting it even as he sweared.

Sleeping partners

The August 20 strike was not all about inconvenience to commuters. It had lighter moments as well. Even as the CTU staff used lung power to wake up the authorities concerned, some employees went off to sleep.

At least this is what the picture (right) shows. A driver and a conductor were seen napping at the bus stand in Sector 17. If not for commuters, wake up, for your own “long-pending” demands!

Abusive, on air

After Hindi films, perhaps radio FM channels need censorship. A few days ago, while leaving office around 10 pm, this correspondent got to hear some of the choicest abuses in Punjabi on a local FM channel on a “love show”, wherein callers get a solution for their love problems.

A girl, who apparently had a fight with her beau, used the show to hurl abuses at him on air. She later thanked the radio jockey for helping her vent her anger.

For the listeners, however, it was certainly not a pleasant experience.

Vanity fair

It seems that city bureaucrats have realised that the fourth estate can make or break heroes. The latest example is S.K. Setia, DPI (S), Chandigarh, who changed the seating arrangement in his office overnight to ensure good pictures for newspapers. He blamed poor light for his dark pictures. He is now eagerly waiting to welcome photographers to take his pictures with a backdrop of the city’s map.

Pepper spray

If you thought pepper spray was a weapon only for the fairer sex, think again. The Chandigarh education department is ready to break all barriers with its innovative ideas. All school watchmen have been instructed to carry chilli powder and pepper spray while patrolling.

Contributed by: Ruchika Khanna, Rajiv Bhatia, Pradeep Sharma, Smriti Sharma and Sumedha Sharma



Sector 63 Scheme
Land ownership clouds shadow CHB
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
More trouble seems to be in store for the mega housing project of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) in Sector 63 here.

Close on the heels of the UT’s urban planning department asking the CHB to remove objections to the layout plan of the scheme, confusion over the ownership of a portion of the land for the project, running parallel to Mohali, has surfaced.

The housing board has already conducted the preliminary draw for the housing project and the final draw is expected soon. In a preliminary exercise conducted by the UT’s revenue department, officials found that at least 20 houses and infrastructure like roads had come up on at least two acres of land that is shown under the UT.

The zig-zag stretch of the project land falls in Sector 63 and runs parallel to Phase IX, Mohali. “It is an inter-state boundary issue and needs to be handled properly by the revenue officials,” said a revenue official.

A few months ago, the CHB had written to the estate office for a joint demarcation with Punjab authorities. Though a joint survey with revenue officials had revealed that houses stood on UT land, the “encroachment” on the UT land had not been disputed by Punjab.

A few weeks ago, UT revenue officials had jointly demarcated land with their counterparts in Punjab.

It has been learned that following the joint exercise, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) had advised the UT officials that the CHB housing project should be replaned according to the land availability since structures had already been raised by Punjab.

Sources in the CHB said after layout plan was submitted for approval with the urban planning department along with the findings of the joint demarcation, the urban planning was learnt to have objected that part of the housing project overlapped with the Punjab boundary.



Sector 49 society stumps housing board
Seeks 30 pc interest for delayed possession
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
Paying the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) back in the same coin, the allottees of a Sector 49 self-financing scheme today asked the board to pay interest at the rate of 30 per cent for delaying the possession of dwelling units to them.

The demand was raised by office-bearers of the ARWAS-49, a welfare organisation of allottees, during a meeting with CHB chairman Mohanjeet Singh here.

It may be recalled that the CHB has charged a penal interest at the same rate from allottees who had paid the installments late.

Upset at the pace of work (the expected date of possession was April, 2008), the members alleged that the delay was due to CHB’s apathetic attitude.

“The payment of installment had resulted in pecuniary loss to us, as most of us have taken loans from banks to pay them and have been residing in rented accommodation,” ARWAS president M.K. Handu alleged.

“In fact, we are being charged almost double the cost of these flats in comparison to the flats built by the CHB in the 2001,” alleged another allottee, V.K. Sharma, demanding rationalisation of the pricing structure and payment of compensation for delay in possession.

Allottees alleged that while the board charged on a par with private builders, timely possession seemed to be none of its concern.

In fact, it is beyond the mandate of the CHB to make excessive profit from common man, ARWAS secretary O.P. Lal alleged.

The allottees demanded double sink in kitchen, elevation of common place leading to door of the flats of ground floor, false ceiling in toilets and kitchen and a boundary wall for separating the upcoming one-room tenements from the housing complex.

A representation claimed that the chairman did not commit any deadline for the possession of flats. However, he ruled out any downward revision of the costs, it added.

Double standard

While the CHB charged interests at the rate of 30 per cent from the allottees depositing installments after four months, the board fights shy of paying any compensation for the delayed possession. Besides breach of trust, it amounts to malpractices on part of the board constituted to provide affordable housing to general public, the allottees added.



Verification drive by board
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
After receiving reports that allottees under the rehabilitation policy of the UT administration had either sublet their houses or were trying to sell them under general power of attorney, a team of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) today undertook a verification drive in Sector 56 resettlement colony.

Out of the 202 dwelling units covered under the drive, which started around 6 am to verify the identity of the occupants, five licensees were found to have sublet their flats.

The allotment of these flats will be cancelled under the provisions of the scheme.

Defaulters will not be allotted any dwelling units under the Slum Rehabilitation Project in the future, official sources said.

Similar drives will also be conducted on a regular basis in the remaining flats in Sector 56, Industrial Area, Phase I, and prefab shelters in Sector 52 to check illegal practices.

Under the Chandigarh Small Flats Scheme-2006 for the rehabilitation of slum dwellers, 711 flats in Sector 56 have been allotted on rental basis to slum dwellers of notified colonies.

According to the scheme, “the licensee shall not sell, sublet, assign by way of GPA or otherwise part with the possession of the flat”.



7-yr jail term for dowry death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
District and sessions judge Ravi Kumar Sondhi yesterday sentenced a man, Rampal, to seven-year imprisonment for dowry death.

According to the prosecution, the accused got married to Sunita on May 20, 2005. Thereafter, Rampal came to the city, while his wife stayed back in Uttar Pradesh.

However, Sunita came to the city on April 17, 2006. On the intervening night of April 22 and 23, 2006 Rampal allegedly poisoned his wife to death.


Shiv Shankar, a complainant in a case of termination of pregnancy without permission, turned hostile at a local court here yesterday.

According to the prosecution, a case was registered against Dr Chintamani Kaushal, who runs Anand Nursing Home, on the complaint of Shiv Shankar. The wife of the complainant, Kiran, who was pregnant, suffered from stomach ache and was taken to the clinic. After examining her, Dr Kaushal claimed that the child was dead and carried out the abortion. In the process, certain internal organs of Kiran were damaged.



BSNL to launch IPTV next month
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
The BSNL is all set to launch IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) in the tricity next month. With this, consumers here will get a digital television service using internet protocol over a network infrastructure, which may include delivery by a broadband connection.

Instead of being delivered through traditional broadcast and cable formats, IPTV is received by the viewer through the technologies used for computer networks. For residential users, IPTV is often provided in conjunction with video on demand and may be bundled with Internet services such as web access. As BSNL exchanges in Chandigarh, Panchkula, Mohali and Kharar being installed with broadband equipment now, IPTV can be launched here.

This was disclosed by the general manager, telecom, while chairing the meeting of the telecom advisory committee (TAC) of the Chandigarh Telecom District. He said they were also trying to strengthen their mobile network in this region. “As of now there are 130 mobile towers and we are adding 40 new towers,” he said.



iPhone debuts, but in silent mode
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
The much-hyped iPhone 3 G was launched in the city, minus the expected euphoria. The high cost of the gadget is primarily responsible for the poor response to the handset.

Though iPhone had been available in the grey market for the past seven months, it was officially launched by Vodafone and Airtel today.

Around 60 handsets were available across the stores of the two companies in the city, of which 50 were sold out, it was leaned.

Sources said the price of the 16GB model was Rs 36,100, while that of the 8 GB model was Rs 31,000.

The handset was available in the grey market for Rs 22,000 and Rs 24,000, respectively.

Though it was earlier rumoured that the two companies would sell the gadget at Rs 9,000, it had only led to a complete crash in demand of the handset in the grey market.



Panchkula resident wins Rs 1 cr lottery
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 22
It was a lucky day for Satpal Garg, a resident of Panchkula, who won a prize of Rs one crore of Punjab State Lottery here yesterday. According to sources, Satpal, a businessman by profession has still not decided how to spend the prize money. He had got the news of him winning the lottery through a newspaper.

Satpal said, “I still remember the moment when my friends asked me to check the lottery number with the results published in the newspaper.”



Concessions for the elderly

Almost all government departments like railways, income tax etc give concessions to senior citizens. The Chandigarh administration has also given a number of facilities to the city’s senior residents. But when it comes to seeking information under the RTI, they are treated on a par with others applicants. In my opinion, the administration should waive the processing fee for the RTI applications put up by senior citizens. This will be a befitting salute to the elderly. And with this, we will be a step ahead towards transparency and responsiveness.

R.K. Garg, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



From School and Colleges
Janamashtmi celebrated with fervour
Tribune News Service

Students of Shivalik Public School during Janamashtmi celebrations in Mohali, on Friday.
Students of Shivalik Public School during Janamashtmi celebrations in Mohali, on Friday.

Mohali, August 22
Students of Classes Nursery to VI of Shivalik Public School, Mohali, celebrated Janamashtmi with enthusiasm, devotion and religious fervour. Students of Classes Nursery and K.G. were dressed up in Radha and Krishan costumes. Their class teachers had prepared beautiful golden crowns for all. Principal Satwant Bedi appreciated efforts of students and teachers in putting up this programme to mark the occasion.

GOLDEN BELLS PUBLIC SCHOOL: Janmashtmi was celebrated with great pomp and splendour in the premises of Golden Bells Public School, Sector-77, Mohali. The programme started with the recital of a melodious bhajan in praise of Lord Krishna. The budding artists presented a dance depicting a scene in which Radha is complaining Yashoda maiya that Krishna teases her at the panghat when she goes to fetch water. The pre-primary section of the school had a visit to a nearby temple.

DAV PUBLIC SR SEC SCHOOL: Students dressed as “Bal Krishna” dotted the premises of the DAV Public Senior Secondary School that echoed with their innocent mimicry while they gulped handful of butter amid motherly scolding of Yashoda. Little girls dressed up as Yashoda and Radha ran after the small Krishna as they teased them while enacting a heart rendering performance to mark Janmashtami. Alka Mahajan, who coordinated the show, said this kind of functions enable the students to celebrate all these festivals with a much better understanding.

GIAN JYOTI: The tiny tots at Gian Jyoti enjoyed the serenity, besides having a gala time during the Janamashtmi celebrations at school. The students of pre-nursery, nursery and K.G. were taken to International Sri Krishna Consciousness temple. The teachers performed aarti and puja and worked enthusiastically to clear the concept of Janamashtmi to the schoolchildren. The kids were dressed up in Krishna and Radha costumes. Principal Ranjeet Bedi appreciated the students for their enthusiasm. She also acknowledged the teachers for making the students understand their religion and culture.

ASHMAH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL: Even as the nation gears up for a colourful celebration of Janamashtmi, a remarkable spectacle was witnessed here today at Ashmah International School campus where Janamashtmi was celebrated by the tiny tots with great enthusiasm. Little students put up a wonderful entertainment show to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. The celebration on the eve of Shri Krishna Janamashtmi is organised every year, but this time it was a special one with neatly and colourfully decked students in all hues and colours conjuring up a spellbinding saga, depicting life and times of Lord Krishna.

SMALL WONDER SCHOOL: The celebrations on the eve of Janamashtmi festival at Small Wonder School, Mohali, saw a novel way of commemorating the birth of Lord Krishna as tiny tots of the school were taken out to Phase II temple for paying obeisance even as songs and dances in reverence to the Lord highlighted the day’s celebrations. The visit, which was planned by school for little ones of various classes starting with play class, saw enthusiastic, but orderly darshan at the temple where kids had an ecstatic time rocking the little ‘jhoola’ prepared for Lord Krishna.

TOP HONOURS: Poonam Vinayak, Anamika Mehta and Charanjeet Singh of Indo Global College of Education, clinched the top three positions in the recently declared B.Ed result by Punjabi University, Patiala. The college boasted of 100 per cent result with all students bagging first division. Fifteen students obtained more than 75 per cent marks while 53 have scored between 70-75 per cent marks. Dr Sarita Saini congratulated the staff and the students and remarked that such marvellous result will serve as an inspiration for students in coming years.

HR SUMMIT: The three-day HR Summit conducted at Indo Global Colleges, Abhipur, concluded today. The Seminar Hall was filled to packed capacity. The students were addressed by H. Bhandari of ICICI, Col (Retd) Surinder Singh of Industrial Equipment Co., Sanjeev Upadhyay and Anshul Singh of Cellebrum Technologies Ltd. and Prashant Tripathi of Advait Life Education. Principal R.N. Nauhria thanked the speakers. Director general R. Panickar assured the students of many such Industry Interactions in future.

URJA DIVAS: PEDA organised a number of competitions in Mohali at Government Senior Secondary School, Sohana, to celebrate Rajiv Gandhi Akshay Urja Divas - 2008. The competitions were held on the theme ‘Renewable Energy and Global Warming’. Five to eight best entries were selected and submitted to the selection committee for the gradation. Participating in these competitions, Shivalik Public School, Mohali, bagged two first prizes and a second prize. The winners include Vanshdeep, Gagan and Jasmine.

GIAN JYOTI INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY: The management, staff and the students of Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology organised Akshay Urja Divas to commemorate the birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi. Dr Kumkum Kohli, head of the zoology department, Govt College for Girls, Sec-11, Chandigarh, gave the key note address in the function with an excellent presentation. Dr Kohli said, “The technologies have been developed across the world, including India, to successfully utilise renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydropower, biomass and urban and industrial waste to produce power for the electricity grid.”

INDUCTION PROGRAMME: Dr I.T. Group of Institutes today held an induction programme to welcome new students to the institute. Chairman of the institute M.K. Mahajan, in his motivational address to the students, said in order to be successful professionals one must be hard working, disciplined, enthusiastic and dedicated towards his goal. While welcoming the students, Rekha Mahajan, trustee of Dr I.T. Group, said students should treat the institute as their home and should develop an ownership spirit towards the institute.

FRESHERS WELCOMED: Students of Class XII gave a warm welcome to Class XI students. Senior head girl Shivinai Sharma welcomed the students and the programme began with a dance presented by students of Class XII. Introduction for freshers was followed by a catwalk. The judges for the day were Shipra, music teacher, Puja, Supriya after the first round of ‘Fusion’ dance by Class XII. Out of 120 students, six were selected for the final round. Principal Veena Malhotra welcomed the students and gave them a moral lecture. The prize winners include Gagandeep Singh, Gurmehar Kaur, Elegent Jenny, Sharan, Muneet, Jattin Suri, Rupal and Harkarn.

STREET PLAY: The students of Saupin’s School, Mohali, put up a street play in the Phase V market here today. Organised by the Environment Club of the Saupin’s School, students of Classes VI, VII and VIII put forth eye-opening environmental issues through skits and songs. Prabhnoor, Sukhmeet, Tript and Virangana mesmerised the audience with their power packed performance. Cloth bags were distributed to the local people by Saupin’s Community Service Organisation (S.C.S.O).

ACADEMIC ALLIANCE: Swiss School of Management, having management school setup in Italy, London and headquarters at Switzerland, has joined hands with Chandigarh Business School, Landran, to form academic alliance in order to provide world class education in the field of business management. The academic alliance would enable the undergraduate students currently pursuing their BBA degree from CBS to pursue higher education at Swiss School of Management, while those pursuing their post-graduation course of PGDM can opt for dual degree programme.

Dr Massimilioino Bracale, president, Swiss School of Management, discussed the proposal with Satnam Singh Sandhu, chairman and Rashpal Singh Dhaliwal, president, Chandigarh Group of Colleges, during his visit to the campus. Dr Bracale lauded the efforts of the management for providing world class infrastructure to the students of the region.



Cancellation of nomination papers
Candidates up in arms against authorities
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
Notwithstanding cancellation of their nomination papers for the Panjab University’s senate elections, the candidates in the graduates’ constituency were up in the arms against the authorities today.

After the scrutiny of applications for the graduates’ constituency that took place yesterday, 15 out of 50 applications were rejected. Except one nomination, all others were cancelled as they were not addressed to returning officer S.S. Bari. But the decision did not go down well with the candidates whose nominations were cancelled.

According to sources, almost all 15 candidates met the registrar today. Some of the old PU fellows were of the view that in the past so many years, never had any nomination been cancelled on such a frivolous basis. “It seems that this has been done deliberately to keep some contestants away,” said one of the candidates.

Barring two candidates, all names that have been cancelled from the list were of candidates who were contesting for the first time.

“Going by the names, it seems the some quarters in the university don’t want newcomers to join the senate,” alleged another candidate.

Meanwhile, the candidates today met the vice-chancellor to make an appeal for the acceptance of their nominations.

The candidates also alleged that the public notice which was issued earlier and the PU calendar that specified guidelines for nominations vary. They alleged that the public notice nowhere mentioned that those nominations envelopes, which were to be personally delivered to the returning officer, were supposed to be addressed to him by name.

“If the same exists in the calendar, how are we supposed to know that when it was not there in the public notice issued by PU itself ?” asked one of the agitating candidates.

The candidates were also agitated because the list of final names was supposed to be out on August 21. Instead, the list came out today. This infuriated the candidates even more, who questioned “Isn’t this a violation of PU calendar?”

Surprisingly, one of the candidates who’s candidature was cancelled yesterday claimed that his candidature had been accepted by the returning officer. The candidate, Munish Malout, said, “My envelope was put in the rejected basket by mistake. But today, it has been rectified and my candidature is valid.”



Janamashtmi Celebrations
Religious fervour pervades city schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
On the eve of Janamashtmi, the premises of KBDAV School went back to the Dwapar era when the tiny tots stepped into the school attired as Gopis and Krishnas.

The beautifully decorated 'yagyashala' with matkas, flutes, dandiya sticks and marigold flowers presented an exact replica of Mathura and Vrindavan. The little Gopis and Krishnas mesmerised the audience with their dance on religious hymns. Principal Madhu Bahl said such celebrations in schools kept the students close to their rich cultural heritage. The ceremonies concluded with the distribution of sweets, fruits and dry fruits among the students and staff.

Saupin’s School-32: The pre-primary students of the school were told about the importance of the festival through a story-telling session. This was followed by a group dance performed by UKG students which depicted Lord Krishna's mischief and bravery. A solo dance was performed by Sargam of UKG. A fancy-dress show put up by nursery students was the highlight of the show. Later, Prasad was distributed.

Guru Harkrishan Model School-38-D: Students and teachers of Little Hearts, pre-primary wing of Sri Guru Harkrishan Model School, Sector 38-D, celebrated Janamashtmi with enthusiasm and fervour. Students put up an entertaining show to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna. The kids enacted various scenes of Krishna’s childhood. Dance item "Maiyaa Yashoda, Yeh Tera Kanahiya…" by a group of students was applauded by all.

Kundan International School-46: The students had a great time singing and dancing to the tunes of bhajans and religious songs. The various epochs and legends of Lord Krishna were depicted in form of short plays. Right from 'Baal Roop', which brought out the innocent pranks of little Krishna with Yashoda, to the 'Natkhat Roop', which showed Krishna and Sudama's legendary association, were aptly dramatised. ‘Kaalia Naag’ episode, ‘Narain Avtaar Roop’, ‘Ras Leela’ and ‘Kans Wadh’ were superbly depicted. Children of pre-primary and primary sections participated in song, dance and poetry recitation competitions. 'Jhoola' rocking ceremony was enjoyed by kids to the hilt.

Shishu Niketan School-22: Students of the senior section of Shishu Niketan Model Senior Secondary School 22-D celebrated Janamashtmi with religious fervour. They came attired in their best and enacted scenes from Lord Krishna’s life.



From Schools & Colleges
Moti Ram students best in singing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 22
Moti Ram Senior Secondary School-27 clinched the trophy in the inter-school group song competition for girls organised at GMHS-38. GMSSS-37 and GMSSS-16 jointly got the second position whereas GMSSS-32 stood third. GMSSS-20-D got the consolation prize. According to cultural secretary of the education department J.S. Basota, group dance competitions for girls and boys will be held on August 22 and 23, respectively, at the same venue.

Installed: Carmel Convent School-9: Colourful balloons, happy cheerful faces, a sincere pledge to keep the environment clean and lots of joy and excitement. All this marked the ceremony wherein Carmel sunshine girls installed their cabinet and vowed to make this world a better and safer place. All primary class students took an oath that wherever they go, the Carmel sunshine shall always be remembered to make this world a better place for all. The sunshine club is going to take out a newsletter called "Carmel sunshine". The students also performed a tableau named -Mamma Marry. They prayed to Mother Mary to bless their school.

Results: GMSSS-16 students stood first in the Bharat Vikas Parishad, North I, category during the national group song competition 2008. The competition was organised by north branches of the Bharat Vikas Parishad at Government Women Polytechnic College, Sector 10, here, today. GMHS 22-C and GSSS, Sarangpur, stood first in the North II and III categories. GSSS-15, MDAV 22-A and GSSS, Khuda Lahora, stood second in North I, II and III, respectively.

Talent search: Two-day talent search contests were held at GGDSD College-32. The contests included debate, elocution, poem recitation, one-act play, histrionics, skit, creative writing, quiz, music items, fine arts, gidda, bhangra, mimicry, crafts etc. Principal Dr A.C. Vaid said these contests would help in selecting teams for the coming Panjab University Youth Festival.

Results: Debate: Neha (BSc III), Harsimran (BCom II) Poem recitation: Navjot (BBA III) Shubha (MEFB I) Elocution: Neha Thakur (BSc III) Shubha (MEFB I) Histrionics: Navjot (BBA III) Sukant (BBA I) Folk song: Paramveer (BA I) Saurabh (BA I) Percussion: Krishan Chander (BA III) Puneet (BA I) Fine art: Sonu Bhatia (MSc I) Shifa Chaudhary (MSc I) Shakshi Jain (BBA I) Muthita K. (BA III) Aditi Ahuja (BA I)

Blood donation: The Blood Donors Society of Government College (Boys) Sector 11, in association with the State Bank of India and department of transfusion medicine, PGI, organised a blood donation camp in the college auditorium. Around 229 units of blood were donated by the students and staff members. The camp was inaugurated by Mayor Pradeep Chabbra. The senior members of the faculty conducted a pre-motivational session with the students. Several students of the college are regular donors and have donated blood more than five times. The NCC, NSS and hostel students actively took part.

Freshers’ party: A party was organised on the Chitkara campus to welcome freshers. The first-year students walked the ramp, danced with the props and answered the trickiest questions. The seniors showcased their passion for life through different mediums like skits, dance, guitar playing, music and a host of other performances. Sadh Muneer Khan and Supriya were adjudged Mr Fresher and Miss Fresher, respectively. Kunal was given the title of Mr Persona while Miss Priya was selected Miss Elegance. Aanchal Khurana and Gurpinder Singh Sandhu were given the title of ‘Dressed to Kill’.

Exhibition: St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School-44 organised a science and social science exhibition to commemorate their silver jubliee year. The exhibition was inaugurated by chairman Andrew J. Gosain and vice-chairman I. William. The exhibition was full of working and non-working models. Some of the projects on rain water harvesting and non-conventional energy sources received great appreciation. The horror room attracted large crowds.



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