C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


IAS officer accused of thrashing maid
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
A maid working at the house of a senior woman Haryana IAS officer has levelled allegations of physical torture against her employer here today.

The victim Janaki, who reached the Sector 16 Government Multi-speciality Hospital to get treatment, has alleged that she was severely thrashed by her employer Shashi Gulati, a resident of House No 717, Sector 7, due to which she was injured.

Gulati, when contacted, however, denied the allegations.

“I have no idea about such a complaint. I left home for office in the morning and there was no such incident at my home. Last week, the maid had wanted to leave the job but I requested her to stay for a few more days as I was going to shift my house. That could be the reason for getting offended and maligning me,” said Gualti.

Janaki, who made it to the hospital with her husband Mewa Lal in the morning, first approached the doctors and then reached the police post at the hospital to lodge the complaint against Gulati. The doctors, however, treated her as an outdoor patient and did not admit her as the “condition of the victim was not serious”.

Strangely, the complaint has mentioned that Janaki did not want any action against the employer. It also does not mention the reason for her thrashing.

The police, however, does not have her address so that she could be contacted later. “The complainant did not want any action in the case so we did not find it fit to ask her about the place where she was staying after the incident,” said the investigating officer, assistant sub inspector Gurcharan Singh.

Again, the police has no answer to the query that why had Janaki lodged a complaint with the police alleging physical torture.



Arrears Recovery
IT dept cracks whip on MLA’s kin
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Income tax officials today began recovery proceedings against a local businessman, Arun Ummat, son-in-law of a prominent Punjab Congress leader, in connection with alleged tax arrears to the tune of Rs 6 crore.

The officials seized Arun’s Ford Fiesta, and his properties, including a glass factory in Panchkula, are likely to be attached tomorrow. The recovery proceedings were initiated following court orders received by the IT department two days ago.

The IT officials swooped on Arun’s Sector 21-A house around 3 pm. When the inmates of the house did not open the door even after repeated knocks, the officials took the car parked in the driveway in their possession and made a gardener and a ‘dhobi’ sign as independent witnesses to the proceedings.

IT officials pasted notices on the walls of the house stating that the recovery proceedings had been initiated as “you” had failed to respond to the show-cause notices and summons issued by the ward concerned and tax recovery officer. The IT officials towed the car away even as the inmates of the house watched the proceedings from behind closed windows.

According to the officials, a raid was conducted on various business and residential premises of Arun way back in 1999. Subsequently, evasions to the tune of lakhs were detected on his company’s accounts. Over the years, the penalty leads to Rs 6 crore and proceedings were launched to recover the huge amount. According to the officials, the company was also a defaulter in certain bank loans running into Rs 11 crore.

The officials said while Arun was the MD of Abzoney Glass Pvt Ltd, his wife Sangeeta, too, had interests in it.

Arun is reportedly married to the daughter of Punjab MLA Brahm Mohindra. Efforts to contact Arun or any of his immediate family members for comments proved futile. They didn’t open the door for this reporter.



Tension as 4 youths hurt in group clash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Tension prevailed in Industrial Area-I, after four Ram Darbar youths received serious multiple injuries in a clash between two groups late this evening.

Some policemen of the PCR also received injuries when they tried to intervene and control the situation. Additional forces, including CRPF personnel, were rushed to the scene to control the situation. The injured youths - Bittu, Sanjeev, Suraj and Sachin - have been admitted to the GMCH, Sector 32.

According to the police, two of the victims - Sanjeev and Bittu - were returning home when they were waylaid by Deepa, Nari, Sandeep, Badshah.

They were reportedly attacked with sharp-edged weapons. All victim and assailants are in their twenties.

According to sources, the assailants also damaged the PCR vehicle of the police. The police was informed by the family members of the victim. Tension prevailed in the area after the incident, as local residents accused the police of doing little to maintain law and order.



Academy dupes students of Rs 12 lakh
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, September 25
An air hostess academy after promising bright future to its students not only cheated them of lakhs of rupees but also wound up its business midway, leaving the students in the lurch.

The local police has registered a case under Sections 420 and 120B of the IPC against the couple, Kapil Chaudhary and Sakshi Chaudhary, who ran the training institute called Travelon Sky Hotel Management and Air Hostess Course Centre in Sector 34, and allegedly cheating students of Rs 12 lakh.

According to sources, a total of 15 students were enrolled in the institute, which was opened around one and half years back. “We were charged Rs 85,000 per student for the course with false promises of 100 per cent placement or the return of 50 per cent fee,” lamented Jaswinder Singh, a student.

Interestingly, the promises were made through written statements to win the confidence of the students, added Jaswinder.

“But around five months back, the couple closed the institute without informing anybody or issuing any diploma certificates. They have played with our future and not even returned our money,” said Manpreet and Khushhall, two other students. “We are investigating the case as the company cheated the students of Rs 12 lakh and shut down the centre,” said Janak Rana, investigation officer of the EOW.


Bank strike total, hits transactions worth Rs 500 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Residents had a tough time today as the two-day strike call given by the United Forum of Bank Unions hit banking operations in the region. With all nationalised banks remaining closed, banking transactions worth Rs 500 crore could not be affected during these two days.

On an average, banking transactions worth Rs 250 crore take place in the tricity each day. The two-day of strike meant that transactions worth Rs 500 crore could not be carried out. Unconfirmed reports of ATMs running dry in Sector 22 and in some parts of Mohali were also received.

The strike, which was absolute, was called to oppose the decision of the government to bring about complete privatisation of the banking sector, in a phased manner. The employees are also protesting against the complete ban on new recruitment, merger of public sector banks and are seeking the option of pension for bank employees, said Vijay Magon, general secretary of the State Bank of India Officers Association.

As a result of the two-day strike, cheques that were deposited in banks on Tuesday, will be cleared only on Monday next week. These cheques would be sent to the MICR house for clearance on Saturday and would be affected in the consumers’ accounts only on Monday i.e. September 29. Even the cheques deposited in the private banks will be affected next week, as the MICR house is run by Punjab National Bank.

Though banks had made provisions by loading their ATMs to their maximum capacity on Tuesday evening, there is a cap on the money that can be withdrawn from the ATM on a given day. As a result, a huge rush was witnessed at the ATMs of most banks, especially in the commercial areas of Sector 17, 22 and 35 here yesterday. Scared that the ATMs could run dry, people had started queuing up outside the ATMs since morning.

Meanwhile, a number of bank officials had gathered at the local head office of State Bank of India in Sector 17 today and took out a procession to Bank Square. They raised slogans against the government and deplored the anti-employee policies.



Ram Niwas will have to tread tightrope
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Striking a right balance between the UT administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), and minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal will be the biggest challenge for the new home secretary, Ram Niwas, who assumed charge here yesterday.

With Rodrigues and Bansal not seeing eye to eye on several issues, the 1985 batch IAS officer would need all his administrative acumen to keep the two centres of power in good humour. And it would not be an easy task with the local unit of the Congress making the "anti-people" stance of the bureaucracy an issue even before AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi recently.

Ram Niwas was apparently not the first choice of the UT administrator, who went out of the way to "lobby" for the extension of former home secretary Krishna Mohan in New Delhi. But Krishna Mohan was repatriated on March 31 and the administration backed a woman officer, drawing flak for favouring a particular officer.

Ultimately, fed up with the "lobbying" by different officers in the previous panel, the centre sought another panel, in which Ram Niwas was one of the officers.

Left with no choice, the administration and the ministry of home affairs recommended the name of Ram Niwas, who was placed 11th in the all-India civil services merit list and had reportedly been empanelled as the joint secretary to the Government of India. Sources term him as a no-nonsense and dynamic officer who believes in getting things done quickly.

Being a seat of power for three governments — UT, Punjab and Haryana — Chandigarh would provide the right atmosphere for Ram Niwas to put his long administrative experience to use.

Relief for finance secy

After slogging it out for several months, both in the home and finance departments, finance secretary Sanjay Kumar can now breath easy. With the new home secretary joining, Sanjay Kumar can now concentrate on the finance department



Setia repatriated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The UT administration today repatriated DPI (schools) S.K. Setia to his parent state, Haryana, with immediate effect.

Though the tenure of Setia, who joined as the DPI (schools) in April last year, had ended in May this year, as he managed to get extension for few months. The Haryana government had recently rejected the request of the UT administration for retaining Setia and had sought his repatriation with immediate effect.



Medical aspirants left in lurch as forms run out of stock
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, September 25
Medical aspirants in the region are at their wits’ end as far as the availability of application forms for CBSE and AIIMS are concerned.

According to sources, hapless parents and candidates are running from pillar to post to get the forms, the reason being, the forms are available only at Panjab University’s branch of State bank of India and that too they are out of stock.

Interestingly, the forms were only made available a week back but they went out of stock within a day or two. Since then the parents and their wards, coming from as far as Ferozepur, Pathankot, Jammu and other far flung areas, have been making rounds of the bank, only to be welcomed by the notice pasted on the bank counter that the forms were not available. Also, the forms duly filled have to reach New Delhi by the first week of October.

But given the non-availability of forms, this seems a distant dream.If the bank staff members are to be believed, their situation is no better. According to official sources of the bank, a total of 1,400 forms, including those of AIIMS and CBSE entrance examination, arrived from New Delhi’s branch, which is responsible for sending the forms.

PU’s branch is merely a counter to sell them but the forms are made available from the local head office branch of SBI in New Delhi. Given this situation where demand is exceeding supply, the helpless bank officials are now giving the telephone numbers of New Delhi branch so that the parents can directly speak to the authorities.

“We understand that it concerns the career of so many children but the problem is not at our end, if it had been so, it would have been long rectified”, SBI-14 branch chief manager Sumit roy said.

To top it all, the two-day bank strike added to the students’ woes, who were not able to get forms during the two days and were now fearing if their forms would reach Delhi on time or not.

The sale of forms is not a profitable proposition for the bank. According to sources, for each form, which the bank officials sell, only 1 per cent goes to them, which in this case is Rs 10 per form. As for the other forms of the university, which the bank sells through its extension counter, the bank only gets Rs 3 per form. That’s another matter that the university has on an average increased the cost of reach form by Rs 200-300 but the remuneration for the bank remains as low as Rs 3.



MC follows double yardstick
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
When it comes to dealing with corruption cases, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, it seems, has two sets of rules - one for its employees and the other for the contractors.

While the employees are rightly hauled up for their wrong acts, the same cannot be said for the contractors as they usually go scot free, cocking a snook at the MC’s zero tolerance policy against corruption.

A look at various corruption cases registered against the firms enlisted with the MC by the police, CBI or the vigilance is enough to expose the “double standards” of the corporation. While in most of the corruption cases related to projects, the officials concerned are suspended, no action is initiated against the firms.

The MC authorities reinstate the employees only after getting a clean chit from the concerted authority, but they continue to allot work to the “corrupt” contractors on the plea that charges have not been proved against them so there is no need to debar or blacklist them.

In January this year, the CBI had registered a case of cheating, forgery and conspiracy against a firm, which was given the work of installing streetlight on Dakshin Marg. A case was also registered against three employees of the corporation.

As a punishment, the MC repatriated an executive engineer and a junior engineer of the project to their parent departments, whereas the sub-divisional officer was suspended. However, no action was initiated against the firm. Despite pending inquiry by the CBI, the same firm had recently applied for the work of Rs 90 lakh for installation of streetlights in Sector 17, said sources.

A case was been registered by CBI in which the contractor alleged that officials were asking for bribe for clearing the payment. The MC suspended two officials even though the CBI has not proved anything against the officials. The contractor received payment and despite the case still pending with the CBI.

In another case, a contractor locked the official of the MC in a room and the corporation debarred the firm. However, the proprietor of the firm registered his firm in another name and is continuing the work.

One of the MC officials said that as there was no check while registering these firms, this results into registration of different firms by a single contractor in the administration or the corporation. Official said that the corporation has no strong clauses for the defaulter contractors as the authority only have the power to fine them or blacklisted them.

Former mayor Subhash Chawla said that there were no strict norms against the firms and contractors who violate rules. He said a survey was conducted by the MC in which it was found that there are limited contractors with the MC who quote prices as per their own will.



200 structures razed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
In a joint drive by the enforcement wing of the Chandigarh administration and the municipal corporation, around 200 temporary structures were demolished by a team at Industrial Area, Phase I, today.

MC additional commissioner P.K. Sharma, who is in-charge of the drive, said during the drive 15 trucks were confiscated from the area.



Delay in salaries irks school staff
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The issue of non-payment of salaries of the employees of Government Model School, Sector 29, could snowball into a major controversy with the staff, including teachers, threatening to take to streets to protest against the callous attitude of the school authorities.

While it’s almost time to compute the salaries for the month of September for UT employees, the staff of this school still awaits their August’s pay cheques. They squarely blame the principal, Saroj Bhasin, for this inordinate delay and were planning to stage a dharna outside the school later this week.

Bhasin claimed that salaries of 80 per cent of the employees had been cleared and they would be getting their pay cheques within a day or two. However, she failed to justify the delay and also the fact why the rest of the 20 per cent were still denied their salaries. The teachers, however, insisted that she had yet not cleared their salary bill.

The employees claimed that things had gone worse ever since Bhasin had been appointed as the principal. “It has never happened that we haven’t got our salaries for almost a month,” said a teacher.

Speaking to TNS, school clerk Savita accused the principal of harassing her by not allowing her to resume duties after her medical leave.

This is not the first time that this issue had been raised. Earlier this month, an inquiry was conducted on various allegations against her but its fate was still not known. No one from the administration was willing to comment on it.



PU Senate Results
Rabindernath leads with 2,203 votes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The counting of votes for the graduates’ constituency of PU senate entered the third day today. With the results of five seats already been declared yesterday, the contest was now for the remaining 10 seats. However, as the trends were pouring in, the picture on who will be elected was becoming clearer.

As per the trends, Rabindernath Sharma was leading with 2,203 votes, followed by DAV candidate Kailash Nath Kaul with 2,183 votes, Dharinder Tayal with 2,112 votes, Prabhjit Singh with 2,064 votes, R.K. Sharma with 2,057 votes, Anu Chatrath with 1,995 votes, Munish Verma with 1,979 votes, BJP’s Parveen Sharma with 1,906 votes, S.S. Randhawa with 1,895 votes and Malwinder Singh Kang with 1,839 till the filling of this report.

A total of eight candidates were eliminated today leaving only 29 candidates in fray for 10 seats.

The counting would continue till tomorrow night and would come to a close after all the results will be out.

Ballot tampering?

Around 10 ten candidates, including D.P.S. Randhawa, Malwinder Singh Kang, Ranbir Singh Bhullar, Paramjit Singh Pammy, Madanjit Kaur Sahota, Sehdev Singh, Asija, S.S. Hundal, Lajwant Virk, have given a written complaint to the registrar-cum-returning officer Prof S.S. Bari over alleged tampering of ballot papers. According to sources, hundreds of ballot papers, which were allegedly from a particular ballot box, were found to be marked with first preference of a single candidate. It was found that all the ballot papers were allegedly marked with one particular marker. Following this, a written complaint was given to Prof Bari and VC Prof R.C. Sobti was verbally apprised about the matter.

Even after repeated attempts Prof Bari could not be contacted as he was sitting in the overnight counting.



City to host peace fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The city will host 3rd International Students’ Peace Festival to be held from September 28 to October 1. The event will be organised jointly by education department, Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, New Delhi, CYP Asia Centre, KB DAV Senior Secondary Public School, DAV College, Gurukul School and Yuvsatta.

Around 250 students from Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Iran and various states of India will take part. “Such events provide a platform for cross-fertilization of ideas through greater interaction among the students. These are the occasions, when young people come together and celebrate peace. Visiting students will reach city on World Tourism Day,” said Madhu Bahl, co-convener of the programme. 



Workshop by Raghu Rai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi is organising one and a half day photography workshop by ace photographer Raghu Rai on October 4 and 5 at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10.

Interested participants can send five of their photographs and resume to the akademi office or email at chandigarhlkaoffice@gmail.com by September 29. The final selection of the participants will be done by Raghu Rai.

Media photographers can also participate in the exclusive workshop on photo journalism.



Jhota Kut: Bid to evict remaining occupants thwarted
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 25
Occupants of dwelling units in Jhota Kut Colony, Sector 71, thwarted an attempt by GMADA officials to evict them from the illegal colony today.

Last Saturday, GMADA officials had demolished around 130 commercial and residential structures in the colony.

The officials had planned to undertake a second drive for the remaining structures today. However, when they reached the scene, the occupants flashed papers claiming that they had procured stay orders from the court. The officials maintained that the stay had been vacated and they would be evicted.

The officials have now decided to come again with adequate police force.

GMADA has been engaged in a legal battle with the occupants for many years.

The drive was undertaken after petitions of landowners were dismissed by the High Court.

Though the colony has been in existence since 1978, GMADA had gone to court after plots were carved out on a five-acre prime chunk of land.

Though the occupants in the colony complained of forcible eviction, residents of PUDA houses were a happy lot. Due to rearing of milch cattle in the colony, filthy conditions prevailed in the area and the structures had become a traffic bottleneck.



Commendation certificates for banks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The Chandigarh administration has awarded commendation certificates to State Bank of India, State Bank of Patiala, Punjab National Bank, Syndicate Bank, UCO Bank for exceeding target under the Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Yojana. Besides, sarpanches of Saranagpur, Dhanas, Behlana, Makhan Majra, Kishangarh, Mauli Jagran, Raipur Kalan, Khuda Ali Sher, Raipur Khurd, Daria and municipal councillors of Attawa, Badheri anbd Buterla villages were also awarded. Vandana Disodia, director of industries, and other officials of the industries department were also awarded.



Firing: UT police shuts case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Ignoring the missing links into the fracas involving personnel of the Chandigarh Police and the Punjab Police, the top brass of the UT police preferred to close the matter without going into the details of the incident.

Talking to mediapersons, UT SSP S.S. Srivastva today maintained that no shot was fired and nothing objectionable came out during the through inquiry of the incident.

He said a Punjab Police team was doing reconnaissance in the area in connection with some case. However, upon being confronted by the fact that the Punjab Police was denying this, the SSP said his men found nothing wrong against the constables during inquiry.

He went on to say that the occupants of the Innova vehicle had no bad intension, even as the UT police is yet to establish their identities.



Two bodies found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The bodies of a youth, Prince (25), and a rickshaw puller, Sudham alias Pauyaa, were found from different parts of the city this morning. The police ruled out any foul play behind the deaths saying the deceased were alcoholics and the bodies bore no visible injury marks. The police said Prince, a resident of Sector 21, was found dead near the bus stop in the sector at around 7.15am. The family members told the police that he was an alcoholic and used to wander in the area. He was unmarried.

The rickshaw-puller, in his mid 30s, was residing in the city for the past many years and was staying at the rickshaw stand. His body was found from a park in Sector 22-B at 9.30 am. Some fellow rickshaw-pullers told the police that the deceased was a drunkard and used to sleep anywhere under the influence of liquor.



One killed in mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 25
A resident of Panchkula died while a head constable and constable were injured seriously when their vehicle carrying a police party overturned near Phagwara today. The police party had gone to Ludhiana to recover a girl abducted by resident of Mouli Jagran.

According to the information, a boy from Mouli Jagaran had abducted the girl from Rajiv colony a few days ago. The family of girl had lodged the compaint with the police in this regard yesterday only. Today the police came to know about the whereabouts of the couple and a police party along with relatves of boy and girl left for Ludhiana.

However, the vehicle carrying them overturned near Phagwara killing Bindaid, father of the boy, on the spot and caused injuries to head constable Ram Singh and constable Sukhwinder.



Staff crunch hits services

Alarge number of vacant posts in almost every UT department and these have not been filled for the past more than a decade. Consequently, city residents are suffering as the stock reply in every department is that we are unable to do your work as “there is a shortage of staff”.

In certain cases, officers are holding the charge of more than one departments. Ad hoc arrangements are made by employing candidates on a contract basis, compromising on talent. On the one hand, owing to increase in city population, there has been a phenomenal increase in developmental activities and on the other, there is no staff to cope with the situation.

The taxpayers have the every right to ask for various services and in a democracy, the administration is duty-bound to provide the citizens with all kinds of public services. One fails to understand why recruitments are not being done on regular basis to overcome this crisis.

S.K. Khosla, Chandigarh

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Youth Fest
Social issues take centre stage
Himani Chandel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
It was a day of impassioned performances by students of various colleges in and around the city participating in the Panjab University Youth Festival being organised at MCM DAV College.

The girls depicted various social issues by the medium of their plays, skits and mimes. Be it the increasing craze to marry non-resident Indians or apathy of the government and police towards the concerns of the general public, the themes were taken from all walks of life and were enacted in the best of their forms.

“We took the concept of fraud marriages as they are common these days, especially in Punjab. The play shows the way girls are wooed to marry the NRI and then get exploited in the foreign countries,” said the professor of the participating team of Jhar Sahib College. The college bagged third prize in the skit competition.

“The issues directly concerning people are always preferred as they help the audience to relate to them,” said the professor of MCM DAV College, Sector 36, who won the first prize in mime.

Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, chose the topic of family wars being caused because of the increasing demand of cable and satellite television among the people. “It is a very common scenario in almost everyone’s house where the family members argue and event fight to watch their favourite programmes,” said one of the participants of the play.

Mai Bhago, Ludhiana, won the first prize in the skit competition, while MCM DAV College got the first prize for mimicry.



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