C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Toll plaza at Dera Bassi to go
Tribune News Service

Dappar (Dera bassi), December 10
In a significant development, the second toll plaza at the Derabassi flyover on the Zirakpur-Ambala National Highway will finally go.

The minister of shipping, road transport and highways Thiru T.R. Baalu today said he would settle the issue of two toll plazas coming up within a distance of eight kilometres on the Zirakpur-Ambala section of the National Highway no.21. The minister was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the new four-lane Ambala-Zirakpur stretch of the highway here.

At present while travelling from Chandigarh to Delhi, a commuter has to pay Rs 104 as toll at four different toll plazas at Derabssi, Dappar, Karnal and Panipat. The toll at Derabassi and Dappar was Rs 14 and Rs 20. The toll has been reduced by Rs 5 for cars against the rate notified earlier.

After being pointed out by Punjab cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh and Punjab PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa that there was no sense in paying Rs 40 at the two toll plazas, the minister immediately directed officials of the NHAI to convene a meeting at Delhi on December 16 and invited the Punjab ministers to attend the meeting.

The toll plaza at Dappar will remain as the NHAI has to recover Rs 298 crore spent to fourlane the 35-kilometre stretch that has ultimately reduced the travelling time by 30 minutes for the road users on the Delhi-Shimla highway, Ambala-Chandigarh highway and Patiala -Ambala highways.

The presence of the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana at the inaugural ceremony indicated the importance attached by the states to the widening of the national highway.

The union minister said the widening of the Zirakpur-Ambala section was part of the project to widen the Shimla-Pinjore-Delhi, and Chandigarh-Ambala-Delhi highways.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the cooperation minister pointed out that the NHAI had not paid land compensation to farmers whose land had been acquired for the road widening. When Capt Kanwaljit said the NHAI had just paid Rs 5.84 crore against the total amount of Rs 28.96 crore, the union minister said he was told that compensation had been paid to landowners of 19 villages out of the total 22 villages. The minister assured them to take up the issue in the December 16 meeting.

The union minister, while replying to queries of union minister of state Kumari Selja, said the process of widening the Pinjore-Kalka bypass would be speeded up as the clearance of the defence ministry had been granted. The repair of the Pinjore-Baddi road was also being taken up at a cost of Rs 9 crore.



Commuters get facilities
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, December 10
To give better facilities to commuters on the Ambala-Zirakpur highway, the NHAI has provided two ambulances, recovery vans, highway patrolling, bus shelters, and washrooms for truck drivers.

It will render the services free of cost. These services have been started with the inauguration of the Dappar toll plaza, said a GMR official.

The GMR official said that the commuters would be given the helpline numbers on the tickets issued at toll plaza and the modern ambulances that would be stationed at the toll plaza. The emergency number 01762-248199 would also put on the boards .



Veiled threat?
A burqa-clad person with handicam scares Sec-10 residents
Akash Ghai & Archit Watts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Panic gripped the residents of Sector 10 staying adjoining Hotel Mountview as they found a burqa-clad person taking pictures of the area, including the hotel for the past few days.

The police was also informed several times about the matter but the residents claimed that the police response was not satisfactory.

The residents said despite informing about the suspicious activities, the police seemed least bothered.

“We are for accidents and not for such cases”, was the first reply when I called up the PCR. After that whenever we called they never turned up on time”, claimed a woman, residing in front of the park.

The residents are also not sure whether the person is a man or a woman. “The stout built and tall height indicates that the person can be a man. We tried to talk to the person but it seems that the person is a foreigner and does not know Hindi or English”, said the residents.

A woman said, “On December 3, I saw a tall burqa-clad person, shooting the vicinity, mainly the hotel, with his handicam. Firstly, I took it casually but I got suspicious when the person appeared again in the afternoon. Then I informed other neighbours as well.”

“In the locality, many VIPs have been putting up. Besides, the hotel is one of the prestigious hotels in the city and, therefore, many VVIPs stay here. This is a serious issue and calls for police investigations”, said another resident.

R.P. Singla confirmed that some residents have noticed the suspicious activities of a person and even apprised him of the situation.

“The police has been informed and we have tightened our security”, said Singla.

ASP Madhur Verma said, “We are serious about the matter and investigations are on. The complaints against the police will also be checked”.



Lior Case
NCB probe officer told to give voice sample
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 9
Ravi Kant Pawar, the investigating officer of the Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB) in the high-profile drug-peddling case involving Israel national Lior, may be in trouble as the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed him to give his voice sample for matching with his purported recording during a sting operation.

The sting operation, conducted by a convict, Ajay Malik, shows Pawar confessing on video tape that the former was arrested from Panipat and not caught “red-handed” from Chandigarh, as shown by the NCB.

If Pawar’s voice sample matches with that in the video, it can have serious repercussions on the case.

In the footage, Pawar claimed that he had all necessary details of phone records that could establish that he was at Panipat at the time of Lior’s arrest. The conversation was between Pawar and Malik.

In a recent order, the High Court had held that Pawar would be further cross-examined after obtaining the report of the expert.

Earlier, Pawar had refused to give his voice sample during his cross-examination at the trail court. He had, in fact, denied that the voice on the CD was his.

Thereafter, the accused had filed a petition in the High Court following which the court had put a stay on Pawar’s cross-examination.

Pronouncing the orders, Justice Ranjit Singh observed: “The recording on the video cassette apparently is concerning the defence, which the petitioner has taken before the trial court to plead his false implication. Lior should be given proper opportunity and latitude to substantiate his defence and should not be curtailed in his effort to prove his innocence. Denial of opportunity to lead the evidence or to curtail this right may mean denial of fair trial. The conversation as recorded on the videotape cannot be said to be so unconcerned as to not affect the opinion of the court to the credibility of this witness.”

The case was registered in February 9, 2005, when a house located in the Industrial Area was raided by NCB officials, who seized 154.5 kg charas, worth around Rs 150 crore in the international market, from Lior.

The defence had filed two applications during the trial court. First, for summoning of phone records of Pawar with the convict with whom he was seen conversing in the CD and second for permission to conduct a voice sample test of Pawar.

The two applications were, however, dismissed by the trial and the defence moved the High Court.



Adventure costs UIET student his life
Tribune News Service

Ropar, December 10
Ankit Gupta, a resident of Delhi and third year student of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), PU, Chandigarh, died in a road mishap this afternoon.

According to sources, Ankit, along with his friends, was going to Manali after finishing the exams. Ankit was driving a bike while his friend Millind was riding pillon. In a bid to overtake a bus, near Ropar, Ankit fell down and was crushed under a bus coming from behind.

According to sources, around 10 students, all from the UIET and residents of hostel number 7, PU, were on their way to Manali on bikes when the incident took place. Immediately after the accident, other students rang up the authorities in PU. Prof Naval Kishore, dean, students’ welfare, and Ashwini Kaul, secretary, Panjab University Teachers’ Association (PUTA), rushed to the spot and called up the family members of Ankit. He died on the spot and Millind sustained injuries.

Meanwhile, the PU authorities have decided that from now on, nobody from the hostel will be allowed to go out of station without intimation.

A case has been registered against the driver of the bus.



15 kids hurt as school bus overturns
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, December 10
Nearly 15 children were injured and many others received injuries when a school bus they were travelling in overturned this morning at Pabri road.

An injured student (inset) at Civil Hospital in Rajpura; and (right) the school bus that overturned. A Tribune photograph
An injured student (inset) at Civil Hospital in Rajpura; and (right) the school bus that overturned. A Tribune photograph

The school bus was carrying students of Scholar Public School situated on the Rajpura-Patiala bypass road. Many students received fractures on legs and arms. They all were rushed to the local civil hospital from where some of them were further referred to private hospitals in Patiala and Chandigarh.

A large number of people, including the parents of the schoolchildren, thronged the accident spot.

The road, which was not repaired for the past long time developed deep potholes. The school bus was trying to overtake another bus when it overturned.

Nearly 30 students were travelling in the bus when the incident took place. No case has been registered against anyone in the incident.

In another incident, a resident of Ghaggar Sarai village identified as 45-year-old Khem Singh died in an accident this afternoon. He was hit by a roadways bus coming from Ambala near the Rajpura-Patiala bypass.

A student of Class XI in Mahinderganj Government School, Rajpura also received serious injuries when he was on his way from Shamdu to attend the school. He was hit by a speeding SUV. His condition is stated to be serious. A case in this connection has been registered against the unknown vehicle.



Seizure of gelatin sticks
HP contractor nailed for storing explosives
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The Chandigarh Police today arrested Vikul Kumar, a Rohru-based contractor, in connection with the seizure of explosives from six Nepalese labourers yesterday.

The police has reportedly booked Vikul on the grounds that he did not have any permission to store explosives, especially gelatine sticks, which the labourers claimed to have stolen from the site.

According to police officials, the Public Works Department (PWD), Himachal Pradesh, confirmed that the contract was sublet to Vikul Kumar and he was not entitled to use the gelatin sticks during construction work. PWD officials also told the police that the department had provided the gelatin sticks to the contractor for blasting the rocks, but in this case, the contractor had procured the explosives on it own.

ASP (Central) Madur Verma told TNS that a police team had arrested Vikul Kumar from Rohru.

The police said Vikul had procured the gelatin sticks on his own and had been using these without permission. The police would interrogate him about the source from where he procured the gelatin sticks, which were being used without making any records. The police team is expected to reach the city in the wee hours of Thursday.

Meanwhile, though various intelligence agencies from Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh, including Central intelligence agency, have quizzed the arrested Nepalese, investigators said no terror link of the suspects had been established so far.

Sources in the police informed that the investigators had verified the mobile call details of the suspects. The suspects had made about six calls from two mobile phones procured from them by the police. Sim cards were purchased from Rohru about four months ago. The police found that the suspects had made calls to their acquaintances, who were also working as labourers and cooks in Himachal Pradesh.

The suspects, Ganesh, Man Bhadur, Tilak Singh, Man Bhadur and Durga Prashad, had been working for Vipul. They were laying a road at Devlighat near Rohru and a police team had gone there along with Ganesh to verifying the claims of the suspects. A police officer said among the accused, only Ganesh was conversant with Hindi. All five accused were in their early twenties except a 15-year-old boy, who was sent to the juvenile home soon after his arrest.

When asked about the background of the accused, a police officer said the police had written a letter to the UT home secretary, which would be forwarded to the Nepal Embassy in Delhi.

A police officer said the use of explosives to kill fish in large numbers was also a common practice at construction sites in several parts of the country. People used the explosives to save time to kill a large number of fish, which die of heart attack in the explosion.


Justice Punchhi for strong Centre-state relations
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Advocating harmonious Centre-state relations, Justice M.M. Punchhi, chairman of the commission for Centre-state relation, today called for “stronger” states as a strong Centre could exist only when the states were strong.

“The accommodation of regional aspirations within the overarching framework of country’s unity is the very foundation of a successful federal structure,” Justice Punchhi said, while addressing the north-western regional workshop on Centre-state relations in India at Panjab University here today.

He said India needed to respond to the far-reaching changes of fundamental importance having a bearing on the quality of life of its people and good governance was key to managing this transition successfully.

“Harmonious Centre-state relations occupy a significant place in this task,” he asserted.

Justice Punchhi said the commission had been assigned vast mandate, requiring review of a whole range of subjects, including legislative, administrative and financial relations and growing challenge of ensuring good governance in the background of constitutional amendments for greater devolution of powers.

Justice Punchhi also advocated review of the entire scheme of assignment of tax powers to the different levels of government.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda favoured increasing the share of the states in the divisible pool to 50 per cent instead of 30.5 per cent as recommended by the 12th Finance Commission.

Hooda wanted that the centrally-sponsored schemes should be formulated keeping in view the unique set of priorities and problems of each state for optimum utilisation of resources.

Alleging imbalance between the allocation of fiscal resources and responsibilities between the central and state governments in the country, he complained that the Central government was endowed with most of the elastic and buoyant sources of revenue while the state governments had been assigned wide range of functions and responsibilities without enough resources.

“To resolve the problem of fiscal federalism, we need to devise a fiscal devolution mechanism which helps the state governments to balance their resources with expenditure,” he said.

He asserted that consequent to the recommendations of the 12th Finance Commission, 30.5 pr cent of the total taxes, collected by the Centre, were devolved on the states. Terming it as inadequate, he said there was, in fact, a vertical imbalance in the capacity of the states to raise revenue and the expenditure obligations on them.

The states, on an average, raise about 34 per cent of revenue and incur 57 per cent of expenditure. Therefore, it was essential that the share of the states in the divisible pool be increased to 50 per cent, he added.

Hooda also advocated inter-basin transfer of river waters without conflict saying that the ambitious project for inter-linking of all major rivers depended on it. 



Action sought against Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
SAD-BJP councillors today jointly submitted a memorandum to Chandigarh administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues against violation of code of conduct by union minister of state for finance and parliamentary affairs Pawan Kumar Bansal by inaugurating night food street on December 6, after the December-2 notification of mayoral election.

In the memorandum, they have demanded action under relevant laws against Bansal and mayor Pardeep Chhabra for violating election norms.



Mayoral Election
Tug of war within Cong for top post
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Internal bickering among Congress aspirants for the post of mayor has intensified as the party prepares to announce its candidate on December 25. The aspirants for the party’s nomination include Kamlesh, Harphool Kalyan and Manjeet Singh Chauhan with former emerging as a front-runner, as she has held the post earlier too. However, pulls and pressures are working from all around to scuttle her bid to succeed.

Though Kamlesh was a strong contender, party insiders said the vigilance inquiry that was initiated against her in mohalla sudhar committee could come in her way.

She was also alleged to be involved in a case of collecting money from residents of Ram Darbar for mohalla sudhar committee for which a vigilance inquiry had been recommended.

The incident of getting her house renovated from corporation funds, which she later had to repay to the authorities, is being racked up again to corner her.

However, sources said both Kalyan and Chauhan were more or less out of the reckoning, as they were not considered strong “vote pullers” within the community.

Sources in the party believed that Chauhan was the weakest candidate in the fray, as he was apparently not in the good books of Bansal and the party did not find his image suitable for elections.

Kalyan’s claim for the post has created a sort of rift in the Congress and it would be difficult for Bansal to choose among them. The sources claimed that the party was considering Kalyan’s name only on the fact that he belonged to the Valmiki community and would help the party in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The Congress is the single largest party in the house with 13 elected councillors besides the vote of local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal. Two of the nominated councillors will openly support the party, as they have been attending Congress party meetings in the past three months. Even BSP councillor Ram Sumar Morya is also seen in the Congress corridors and is known for his proximity to the party.

On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party is trying hard to forge an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party to ensure victory of its lone mayoral candidate Ram Lal.



Japjit’s Kidnapping
Police honours team
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The Chandigarh police today awarded commendation certificates to the 13-member police team that solved the kidnapping of seven-year-old Japjit Singh within a short span of time.

The spokesperson for the Chandigarh police said the UT inspector-general of police appreciated the team, which included three inspectors, four sub-inspectors, two assistant sub-inspectors, two head constables and two constables.

Inspectors Prem Chand, Janka Rana and Hukam Chand; SIs Amanjot Singh, Rajdeep Singh, Hardit Singh and Ranjit Singh; and ASIs Surinder Singh and Satnam Singh were given a cash reward of Rs 1,000, each, while a cash reward of Rs 750 each was given to HCs Somvir and Jagtar Singh; and constables Durjan Singh and Baljit Singh.



IT raids on two jewellery shops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Teams of the income tax department swooped down on two prominent jewellers and a fashion mall in Sector 37 here today.

According to sources, the department sleuths conducted survey of the showrooms to ascertain if the total income had been reflected in the income tax returns filed by he owners. An inventory of stocks was also prepared and certain documents were taken away by the income tax officials.



PGI bans foreign trips by staff; spares doctors
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The PGI’s governing body has decided to put a ban on foreign assignments of its entire staff, except the faculty members of the institute. The move is a fallout of the PGI work getting adversely affected owing to employees overstaying their foreign trips.

Confirming the move, PGI’s deputy director (administration) A.K. Gupta said employees overstaying in foreign countries were proving to be an obstacle as regards the smooth functioning of the hospital.

“The governing body has taken a serious view of this and reviewed guidelines at a recent meeting held in New Delhi,” he elaborated.

“It has become a trend of sorts. After securing a job at the PGI, nurses, technicians, etc. secure foreign assignments and overstay in foreign countries, while still retaining their posts and housing facilities here,” maintain officials.

According to sources, 15 employees, including nurses and technicians of the institute, had applied for leave for foreign assignments this year. While last year, at least eight employees had gone for foreign assignments.

For the record, there are 1,200 nurses at the PGI, with the number of sanctioned posts being pegged at 150.

For over 5,500 patients who come to the PGI for treatment from different parts of the country every day, there are 1,500 beds at the hospital. It necessitates the presence of nurses and technicians on duty to attend to these patients.

Gupta said: “When nurses and technicians overstay abroad, it creates a serious problem for the faculty as well as the patient-care system. Moreover, housing facilities are blocked, as are avenues for promotion.” Also, there is no advantage to the institute in sending them abroad, he added.



Ten yrs on, soldiers get benefits of fifth pay panel
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
About a decade after certain anomalies resulting from the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission (FPC) were redressed by a committee, a large number of armed forces personnel who had retied would receive their due benefits following a directive by the Supreme Court a few days ago.

After the recommendations of the FPC were announced the government had set up a committee headed by the then defence secretary, Ajit Kumar, for replacement of pay scales on account of rationalisation of trades of personnel below officer rank. This was done keeping in view their educational qualifications in relation to trade, combat and leadership skills.

The committee submitted its report on October 10, 1997. While the recommendations of the FPC were implemented with effect from January 1, 1996, the recommendations of the committee, however, were implemented with effect form October 1997.

This led to a large number of personnel who retired between January 1996 and October 1997 not getting the benefits of the revised pay scales. Consequently, the Ministry of Defence ended up with two rates of pensions for those who were drawing the same pay till the FPC came through.

A large number of affected personnel moved various high courts against the method of implementation of the committee’s recommendation. While allowing some writ petitions, the Punjab and Haryana High Court was of the opinion that the stand of the government that the petitioners were not entitled to the benefits was wholly unjustified.

“It was during the implementation of 5th Pay Commission report that it was found by the respondents that there is anomaly in the pay scales. Once the anomaly in the pay scales is found and sought to be removed then it has to be removed from the implementation of the recommendation of the Pay Commission i.e. 01.01.1996. There is no explanation as to why the said anomaly is sought to be removed from 10.10.1997. In the absence any explanation of removal of anomaly from 10.10.1997, we do not find the action of the respondents fixing such date as justified,” the HC had then ruled.

The HC had ordered that the pension of the petitioners be recalculated on the basis of the revised pay scales with effect from January 1997 and the exercise be completed within three months.

The central government, however, filed a special leave petition (SLP) against the HC order. A Division Bench of the Supreme Court dismissed the first such SLP in November. A few similar cases are reported to be pending for disposal.



Recruitment of security staff
Candidates allege bias, stage protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
A high drama was witnessed at Panjab University today, when candidates who had come for the posts of security personnel on campus staged a protest. Around thirty applicants claimed that only those who were to be taken had been interviewed and rest of them were sent back without even being interviewed.

The applicants who had come from far off places alleged the authorities had already decided about the final selection and that the interview was just an eyewash.

According to sources, around 46 candidates were called for filling up the posts of security personnel. The interview was scheduled for pre-lunch time. However, the candidates claimed that the authorities only interviewed 11 candidates and selected them. They alleged that rest of them were turned back without even being interviewed. Even those who cleared all medical scrutiny tests, they were not declared medically fit.

Meanwhile, despite repeated attempts, the registrar could not be contacted for his comments.



114 donate blood
Chandigarh, December 10

Around 114 persons donated blood at a blood donation camp at the ITI, Sector 28, here today. The camp was organised in collaboration with the Blood Bank Society of PGI. The camp was inaugurated by Prithi Chand, joint secretary, technical education. — TNS



A melodious evening with Shailesh
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, December 10
The regional Indian Council for Cultural Affairs (ICCR), in collaboration with the Punjab Arts Council, presented the acclaimed Mumbai-based vocalist Shailesh Shrivastva in a musical concert at the Randhawa auditorium here today. Known for singing the different music forms like folk, semi-classical and playback singing in film with consummate perfection Shrivastva stood by her reputation and captivated the audience.

Commencing with an invocatory bhajan in raga Bairagi she delineated the light classical form of Dadra in raga Pilu with ‘Kaga kaahe bole’ and the ‘thumri’ in ‘Sautan ghar naa jaa’. She brought alive the romance of ghazal in Qateel Shefai’s ‘Dil waalon ki baat’ and Mirza Ghalib’s ‘Gyi voh baat ke ho guftgoo’ as the elite audience of old Mohinderians craved for more. She enraptured them with melodious blend of some ghazals immortalised by Jagjit Singh.

On request, she presented her filmy numbers like ‘Rang daaro fenko gulaab’ composed by Himesh Reshamia for film ‘Benaras’ and ‘Aaj kaisi ghadi aayi’ from a film by Khyyam. Her rendition of a Punjabi folk number ‘Long gwacha’ with a sentimental gloss won lofty applause. Earlier, chief guest Harjinder Kaur, chairperson of PAC, Jagjit Puri (IAS) and Justice M.R. Agnihotri felicitated Shrivastva.



Medical Tourism
Rayat-Bahra colleges to launch medicity projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
In a development that will give a boost to the medical tourism in the country, Rayat-Bahra group, chain of technical and educational institutes, will launch medicities in Mohali and Hoshiarpur early next year.

Announcing this here today, Gurvinder Singh Bahra, vice-chairman of the group, informed that the composite state-of-the-art medicities would be launched as part of the group's massive expansion plan.

Bahra informed that the medicities would have MBBS, nursing, dental, physiotherapy and other colleges in addition to hospitals. The group, which has a current turnover of Rs 100 crore, will invest Rs 100 crore into these medicitiy projects, he added.

In fact, the group is dreaming it big on the medical education front. Talks with the state governments of Haryana, H.P., J&K and New Delhi are underway for yet another medicity in one of these states in near future, Bahra claimed.

The latest medi campus projects of the group will benefit surrounding population up to 50 Km radius from Mohali and Hoshiarpur regions.



Human Rights Day
Violation of rights on the rise
Priya Chadha/ Pawan Tiwari

Chandigarh, December 10
The protection of human rights on the “Human Rights Day” seems to be a mere lip service, as these rights are violated frequently with impunity.

Though the day has witnessed few seminars and functions promoting the cause, no strong reforms have been implemented to ensure the protection of human rights.

For example, the rights of a minor child working at a dhaba are being violated or that of a girl child who is killed in her mother’s womb, but these acts are still repeated. The most frequent violations of human rights can be seen in the jails, where the living condition is miserable.

As per the latest data released by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC), there has been a steady increase in the custodial deaths in jails in Punjab. From two deaths in 1997 in the jail, the figures of custodial death have multiplied almost thirty times to 62 in 2007.

Various reasons can be attributed to it starting from poor living conditions, unhygienic atmosphere, pitiable medical facilities and debarment of free legal aid to the undertrial.

The crime in jails is not only confined to the cases of death. Going by the Punjab Human Rights data, the sexual harassment and custodial rape cases are also on the rise. People, who ought to be responsible for the protection of the rights of the common man, are deliberately committing offences. Seven months back, three Ludhiana-based cops were suspended for raping a minor in a park in the posh civil lines area.

Suggesting remedial measures, the president of the PSHRC, Justice R.S. Mongia, said, “Jails are in the authorities and police prerogative, so its these people who are responsible for the judicious husbanding of the resources, there should be a strict vigilance on all types of activities in the jails.” 



Patient’s Death
GMCH doctor accused of negligence
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
A 32-year-old patient injured in a road accident died allegedly for want of medical care at the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, here today. The relatives of the deceased claimed that he could not be provided treatment, as ultrasound could not be done on the patient, as was prescribed by doctors in the emergency ward.

The ultrasound room was locked and the doctor on call did not turn up for the job, they alleged.

Sham Lal, a driver by profession, was injured critically when his truck had a head-on collision near Mouli in Panchkula district early morning,

He was shifted to the civil hospital, Ambala city. “There he was not attended to properly by the staff and we shifted him to a private nursing home where we were asked to take him to the GMCH,” said Raj Kumar, brother of the victim.

“Though we reached here around 3 pm, nobody bothered to attend him till 9 pm. Finally, the victim succumbed to his injuries,” said Raj Kumar. The victim suffered multiple injuries in the leg and abdomen, he said.

After reaching the hospital, doctors asked us to get ultrasound done but the ultrasound room was locked and the doctor refused to reach the spot when contacted on the phone, alleged the relatives.

Dr Shubhkaran Kang, doctor on call at ultrasound machine, said the patient was brought to him around 4.15 pm. “The relatives told him that he had very low blood pressure. I suggested them to take the patient to the emergency so that he could stabilised before an ultrasound could be conducted on him. At 5 pm I left the room as I was on call after it. However, the relatives contacted me on phone and I asked them to contact the doctors on duly who were supposed to call me. However, I did not get any call from the hospital,” he said.

Dr Vipin Kaushal, GMCH medical superintendent, however said the patient was provided all proper treatment.

He came with blunt trauma of abdomen, fractured femur and fractured fibula. He had a very feeble pulse with blood pressure of 70. Cut-down was done and fluid, plasma expanders and blood was given to stabilise him, said Dr Kaushal.

Still he could not be saved due to his critical injuries, he added.



Purpose missing in admn’s land acquisition spree
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
Even as the city is on the threshold of having mega projects, the UT administration has been acquiring hundreds of acres of land apparently without specifying the “purpose” for acquisition.
Is there any master plan of Chandigarh? The answer is presumably ‘no’, but a communication, marked as “urgent”, was sent to the then LAO in 2005 by the office of the chief architect about having ‘discussion on the master plan’ of the city, which in principle, does not exist at all. Ironically, the LAO has been told to concentrate on the specific areas of the master plan of city for the purpose of land acquisition. The LAO, wittily, has remarked over it: “Where is the master plan?” 

In fact, letters exchanged between senior officials of the administration and the land acquisition officer (LAO) give credence to the allegations of “purposeless” acquisition of land, which was later allotted to the controversial mega projects in the city.

In a communiqué in 2003, the LAO had been asked by the chief architect, department of urban planning, to acquire the land and prepare ‘award notification’ till March, 2004 for 1,339 acres of land of surrounding villages.

The purpose mentioned in the letter was “ proper and regulated planning and development of Chandigarh”, speaking little about how the area under acquisition had to be developed and utilised.

The LAO marked it “urgent” to acquire 30 acres in Behlana, nine acres in Hallo Majra, 132 acres in Daria and 100 acres in Maloya.

After lapse of three years, an RTI activist asked the LAO office for furnishing the specific purpose of the acquired area.

The communication from the LAO office remarked “the perspective plan of Chandigarh is not finalised, so the specific purpose of particular areas cannot be informed”.

This implies that the administration has blatantly defied the norms of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894, which specifically holds the provision for ensuring use of land for purpose for which it was acquired.

According to an estimate, around 80 per cent of the land is still lying unutilized. Around 350 acres of fertile land was acquired for Phase I and II of the Chandigarh Technology Park. However, not more than 15 per cent of it has been utilised for the purpose in the past four years.

The Act specifies: “The use of the acquired property for any purpose other than the purpose for which it was acquired is, except with the prior approval of the government in the ministry of land (ministry of urban planning, here), forbidden.” Also, the law ensures that land is liable to be surrendered if not utilised for a long period.

“Special economic zones (SEZ) have been approved in Phase 1 and II of the Chandigarh Technology Park and now the administration is on the verge of acquiring land for Phase III, but to date no approval has been sought from the ministry of commerce for setting up SEZ on this land,” said Hemant Goswami, a social activist.

Nevertheless, the administration, in its report stated: “The UT has set up a ‘Technology Habitat’ in partnership with private sector whereby around 2,500 residential flats are coming up for people who will be working in the technology park so that they need not travel much.”

“The ground reality is that only 158 of 2,500 flats have been kept reserved for IT professionals. The rest of the plan has been chalked out keeping in mind the rich and influential people who can afford the multi-crore luxury housing project,” said H.S. Johl, president of Manimajra Farmers Welfare and Environment Protection Society.



Governor’s day out
Takes stock of various projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
As part of the continuing endeavour to give a push to the infrastructure development and bring about improvement in quality of life, UT administrator S.F. Rodrigues today took stock of the availability of space in Hotel Shivalikview, a unit of CITCO.

Accompanied by Jean Rodrigues and other senior officers, including Ram Niwas, home secretary-cum-chairman CITCO, M.P. Singh, secretary to the Governor, Sanjay Kumar, finance secretary and Niharika Rai, managing director of CITCO, Rodrigues went around the area and discussed the framework and roadmap for the creation of
physical and supportive infrastructure and the provision of various services in the hotel for the guests.

Later, Rodrigues also visited the proposed site for the sports complex in one of the southern sectors and asked the officers to prepare a comprehensive plan for ensuring connectivity with the adjoining states of Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh.

He also took stock of the progress of the second phase of the Street Children Project, near Maloya, and asked the engineering department to ensure its completion within the scheduled time.

The administrator also visited the site for construction of multi-religious sites, near Dadu
Majra and directed the officers to make a feasibility study of the area and prepare plans for the religious places.



Review Centre-state relations: Experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
A strong plea to review the Centre-state relations for the overall development of the country was made at a workshop on “re-thinking Centre-state relations in India” at Panjab University, here today.

Advocating the need for strengthening the federal system and preserving the unity of the country, Punjab Governor and UT administrator, S.F. Rodrigues, called for evolving an effective mechanism to resolve disputes through negotiations and to institutionalise the consultation process between the Centre and the states.

Earlier, Justice M.M. Punchhi, chairman of the commission on Centre-state relations, said the commission had adopted a three-pronged strategy comprising circulation of a questionnaire, encompassing the key issues confronting the country among the relevant stakeholders and organisation of workshops.

R.C. Sobti, Panjab University vice-chancellor, assured academic contribution in strengthening the Centre-state relations.

The Haryana Chief Minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, spoke on the need for greater flexibility in allocation of resources to the states.

The chief secretary, Himachal Pradesh, Asha Swaroop, stressed on the need for an effective inter-state mechanism that has greater representation and constitutional status.

The speakers pleaded for more powers for the inter-state council.

The second session, chaired by the founder director, Institute of Social Sciences, Delhi, George Matthew, and Ajay Mehra saw case presentations by the deputy mayor, Shimla Municipal Corporation, Harish Janartha, secretary of the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Himachal Pradesh, Srikant Baldi, commissioner, Shimla Municipal Corporation, Amitabh Awasthi, Mohinder Singh, Kurukshetra University, Mahavir Singh, financial commissioner and principal secretary, Haryana, and vice-chancellor, Kashmir University, Riyaz Punjabi.

Matthew said the need of the hour was perhaps to do an “activity mapping exercise”, particularly, where power allocation to the panchayats was concerned.

Baldi asserted there could not be “one single recipe” for the entire country. 



Project leader of Moon Probe honoured
Tribune news service

Chandigarh, December 10
Madan Lal Sharma, a project leader of Moon Impact Probe (MIP) of Chanadrayaan-1 from 2004-2007 and an alumnus of PEC, was felicitated by his alma mater today at a function attended by the Punjab Governor, General S.F. Rodrigues.

Madan Lal was responsible for managing and executing the design, development and hardware realisation of the probe which had a successful journey to moon recently and placed the tricolour on the surface of the moon.

He said, “It’s new advancement of man’s mission.”

He further said the project had made India the 5 space super power and made us self-sufficient in many respects.

He enthusiastically shared experiences of his association in various flight missions of the ISRO and talked about the technologies involved in the design and implementation of the Moon Impact Probe.

The Moon Impact Probe was dropped on the lunar surface by Chandrayaan.



Pay revision committee

W henever pay revision committee is formed, it reminds me of my association as assistant to the first Punjab Pay Revision Committee (1950). With chief secretary, Mar Nakul Sen, ICS, its chairman, the other members (all ICS officers) were N.N. Kashyap, finance secretary, E.N. Mangat Rai, food secretary and A.L. Fletcher, financial commissioner revenue, the committee deliberated at Shimla summer headquarters.

To look into each case of the employee, the committee prepared a format covering previous scale, when revised first, present scale: demands of the employees and the final decision by the committee. Whole task was entrusted to me. As the whole work involved hard work and as I had to ensure that no mistake or error should arise to invite the anger and insult of any category of employees, I had to work day and night.

I was awarded a cash prize of Rs 500 and a commendation certificate by the Punjab Government for the hard and arduous work done single handedly. That compiled format was duly considered and committee recommended unanimously and was finally approved by the Chief Minister.

Harbans Singh Chopra, Mohali

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PU academy doing little justice to students
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
If students are to be believed, the judicial academy being run in IAS academy at Panjab University is literally duping them by either “skipping” or just “touching upon” the procedural law, an important part of any judicial services qualifying examination.

While the academy, which charges Rs 15,000 for four-month-long preparation module, claims to have produced toppers in all prestigious judicial services examinations, including those of Haryana, Punjab and Delhi, students of different batches have an altogether different story to tell.

“Their success claims are all hollow. When I joined the academy, the resource faculty for teaching procedural law remained by and large absent and finally wrapped up the entire subject in one class. When we approached the director to ask him to direct her to compensate for her leaves, he just sat on the issue,” said Virender Kharta, a student of 2008 (January-May) batch.

“Procedural law is the most important part of any qualifying examination and we brought the matter of teacher skipping it to the notice of the authorities. The then honorary director V.K. Mahajan instead told us bring our own faculty,” said Rinnypal Cheema of 2007 (July-November) batch.

Students of the latest batch, on condition of anonymity, have even accused Mahajan of demanding more money for completing the pending syllabus.

“When we went to him to demand for completion of course, he asked us to collect money to pay to the teachers, as they would not come for free. We have been duped,” alleged a student.

However, Mahajan dismissed all accusations saying: “I was never approached with any such issue and there is nothing like doing injustice to any module. How can I demand money when I have to justify every single penny to the vice-chancellor.”

Meanwhile, director Manju Jaitka could not be contacted for her comments.



VTribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 10
The roll numbers for the forthcoming UGC-NET Examination for Junior Research Fellowship and Eligibility for Lectureship to be held on December 28 have been dispatched. A total of 8,575 candidates will be appearing for the test. A total number of twenty-one centres have been created in Panjab University and various colleges of the city. The candidates who do not receive the admit cards till December 18 should contact the office of the coordinator, UGC-NET (Prof Harsh Nayyar), department of Botany, PU.


The All India Law Teachers Congress has selected Prof D.N. Jauhar, department of Laws, PU, as this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award 2008-09 in legal education and research, along with Prof Satpal Nalwa, in view of his contributions to legal education. Dr Jauhar is the second recipient of this award. Justice Altamas Kabir gave the award during a ceremony held in Delhi recently.


The department of education is conducting a one-day seminar to discuss ‘Alternatives to corporal punishment’ in Arts Block II on December 11. The thematic sessions will be on effects of corporal punishment, cases and alternatives to corporal punishment- its concept and practice.

Human Rights Day

Human Rights and Duties Wing of the centre for emerging areas in social sciences, Panjab University, observed Human Rights Day today to mark the 60th anniversary of the universal declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on December 10, 1948. Human Rights and Duties Wing took out a march on the premises of the university campus.



From Schools
Bhavans bag intellectual marathon
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 10
Over 90 students from 15 schools of the tricity vied for top honours at the first of its kind inter-school intellectual marathon which was organised at the Millennium School here today. The “Millennium Intellectual Marathon Trophy” was won by Bhavans School, Panchkula, and the second position was bagged by the host school.

Komal Singh, principal of Millennium School, said six members from each school team participated in the marathon events which were further divided into sub-categories. Two students from each of the Classes IV, V and VI from all teams participated in a number of events which tested varied abilities, including sports, language, mathematics, sciences, computer ability and general awareness about Chandigarh. While the excitingly dynamic format of the marathon was tailor-made to bring out the best of students’ abilities, a host of events with separate skills saw students and teams vie out for top honours.

The principal said the basic purpose of the intellectual marathon was to offer a unique challenge where even the most knowledge intensive and analytically provoking tasks were to be accomplished with an inherent element of fun and excitement, which came packaged with the format.

‘Pratibimb’ at DAV

‘Pratibimb’, the annual show of latent skills of the students of DAV Public Senior Secondary School, succeeded in presenting their creativity which was highly appreciated. The exhibition showcased students’ creations not only in the fields of arts and science, but also in the subjects of social studies and mathematics.

Justice A.L. Bahri, chairman of the school, while inaugurating the exhibition highlighted the importance of such exhibitions and said these went a long way in developing the career of the students. He also added that when education was imparted through practical means it helped the child understand the daunting concepts in an easier way.

Roller skating

Students of Golden Bells Public School bagged 10 gold, nine silver and seven bronze medals in District Roller Skating Championship. Jasjit Singh, chairman, Punjab State Co-operative Bank, was the chief guest on the occasion.

About 100 students of Mohali district participated in the tournament. Strong determination and zeal led the students to success.



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