C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Citco’s best-guarded secret — discount cards
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
While the Chandigarh administration may brag about incorporating “measures” to ensure “transparent, responsive and completely accountable Government”, Citco, for reasons best known to it, has everything to hide about its highly controversial discount and privilege card policy.

Moreover, it has “no record” of beneficiaries of the scheme. Details about who all possess the card are innocuous enough, but Citco doesn’t think so as it treats this information as secret or one that could be “misused” by its competitors.

This was the reason stated by the department for its refusal to divulge the details about discount card holders in the city in response to an RTI application.

The department is even shying away from giving information about the criteria of issuing these cards on the plea that the information is “voluminous”. It has also not given information about what business has been generated from issuing the cards.

It’s well known that the discount card policy is flawed and is being misused. For instance, contrary to the recommendations of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), Citco is extending a whopping 50 per cent discount on liquor to its directors.

The department is also not willing to divulge details about how much liquor has been consumed under the discount policy since it presumes this as “business secret”.

An RTI application filed by a local resident, Gurinder Singh, to enquire about the criteria of issuing the discount cards; number of cards issued and names and profession of beneficiaries; quantum (in rupees) of discount availed; and discounts given on liquor, has elicited a vague response.

The Hotel Mountview management has reportedly extended undue discounts at ring ceremony functions on two occasions after showing them as “kitty parties” in the records to evade tax and also manipulated the bills.

Besides, if Citco is so particular about its business implications, it should not be silent over realising a pending amount of over Rs 1.18 crore from various wings of the administration for holding functions in the past.

There are over 500 bureaucrats and former members of the board who possess privilege cards and are entitled to avail discount between 25 to 40 per cent. The present board members are entitled 50 per cent discount.

Officials of food and beverages at one of the joints said there was no cap on discounts offered to bureaucrats.

“Since there is no photograph on the cards, it’s often that their family members avail the privileges,” he said. Rules say the cards are non-transferable and signatures on the back of the card must be verified.

Hotel assn says

Discount is applicable only on accommodation, food (a la carte menu) and beverage and not liquor.

The card is non-transferable and cardholder can get discount for a maximum of 10 visits in a year.



Oustees stall GMADA draw
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 17
Amid dharna and protests by members of the Kisan Hit Bachao Committee, a draw of lots to allot 125 sq yard and 150 sq yard plots in housing scheme of Sectors 76 to 80 was held at PUDA Bhawan here today.

This was the third draw of lot held for the controversial housing scheme in the past over a year.

The agitating landowners, who had applied for plots under the oustees quota, decried the role of PUDA and GMADA in implementing the policy for oustees.

They had heated arguments with GMADA officials and delayed the draw for over
two hours.

When the officials refused their request to cancel the draw, the landowners offered to court arrest.

The police had to be requisitioned to control the situation as allottees of plots also entered into an argument with the protesting farmers.

Devinder Singh, a member of the committee, said though they had brought an interim order from the Punjab and Haryana High Court regarding the inclusion of their names in the draw with them, GMADA officials refused to consider it. This amounted to contempt of court, he added.

The officials later decided not to hold the draw for plots measuring 100 sq yard, 200 sq yard and 500 sq yard for both the general allottees and oustees categories.

“The draw would be held after the matter is clarified from the court,” an official said. Devinder Singh said when they had applied for plots in 2002, PUDA was following the policy of allotting individual plots to all shareholders of the land acquired.

“Now, they sent us letters on February 15 that it would not allot individual plots. It is unfair and we will contest the arbitrary policy which is in contradiction of the Supreme Court orders,” he said.

The chief administrator of GMADA, VP Singh, said going by the demand of the oustees, the number of plots would have to be reworked.

The draw of lots for oustees would be held after the issue was clarified from court. The present policy did not allow individual plots to the oustees.



All’s finished, says Pawandeep’s brother
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
“With my parents dead and my younger brother convicted of the murder, for me everything has finished,” said Jasdeep Singh whose sibling, Pawandeep Singh, was sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday for the brutal crime.

While Pawandeep may have grudges against Jasdeep and has accused him of framing him for the property, the latter has no comments to offer. “I have lost everything and don’t need to justify my stand,” he maintained.

Jasdeep, who agreed to speak to The Tribune after much persuasion through his counsel, was at pains to share his tragic experience. He was 24-year-old when Pawandeep and his accomplices murdered his parents and aunt.

Three years later, he left the city and is unmarried. He refused to reveal the city he’s staying in now.

Jasdeep maintained his composure, but choked several times as he recalled the cold-blooded murder of his parents.

“These three years have been a struggle for me. I was only very young when my parents were killed. It has been a tough journey for me. I am trying to move on in life. Losing my immediate family has been traumatic,” he said.

On reaching home after he was informed about his parents’ murder on February 7, 2006, he had no clue who might have done it.

“As Pawan didn’t turn up for the cremation, I was worried for him. I was wondering if he was safe. I kept praying for his well-being,” he said.

Complimenting the UT police he said: “I had no clue on who might have killed my parents and aunt. I am thankful to it it could nail those responsible for it,” he added.


Fiza: I will take case to its logical conclusion
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 17
Anuradha Bali (now Fiza), the estranged ladylove and second wife of Chand Mohammed, alias, Chander Mohan, today alleged that the family of the Kalka MLA, including his wife, Seema Bishnoi, was part of a conspiracy hatched against her.

The statement comes a day after she lodged a criminal complaint against the MLA accusing him of cheating her by changing his faith with the intention to rape her.

In the complaint, she had stated, “I have been hurt mentally and physically. My religious faith has also been deeply hurt.”

Talking to mediapersons at her residence in Sector 48, she said she had launched a campaign against the political family and would take case to a logical conclusion.

“I have been receiving threats but I do not care as he has ruined my life,” she said.

“I have come to know that the family of Chand had regularly been in contact with him despite disowning him,” she added.

She said she preferred to file a criminal complaint as there were ample references in Supreme Court cases, which talked of registration of criminal case in such an eventuality. She said no woman would like to go public on such an issue.

“But I was forced to go to the media to highlight the act of the MLA,” she said.

Specifically pointing the murmurs about her blackmailing the MLA, she said he had been after her for the past four years but she kept on evading him.

Referring to her complaint, she claimed that the MLA came in contact with her in 2004 and ever since he had been after her to marry him.

She further alleged that Chander Mohan kept on convincing her and told her that he had been suffering from mental torture at the hands of his wife and children.

“When I kept denying his proposals, he started sending SMSs on my mobile that he would end his life if I did not agree to marry him,” Fiza said.

She sought registration of case under Sections 295-A, 376, 420, 500 and 506, IPC.

She, while addressing a press conference a few days back, had hinted at legally pursuing the matter against her estranged husband.

She had twice given two weeks’ deadline to come and explain his position to her.

When contacted, Deepak Walia, spokesman of Chander Mohan, said after consulting lawyers, he would soon counter each and every allegation levelled by Anuradha Bali.



Police summons Fiza, Chand
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 17
The police today summoned Fiza and Chand Mohammad to appear before the SP (City), investigating officer in the case, on February 20 in connection with a criminal complaint lodged by Fiza against Chand.

In her complaint, she had sought the registration of a criminal case under Sections 376, 295-A, 500 and 506 of the IPC, alleging that Chander Mohan had become Chand Mohammad with the intention to raping and defaming her.

The police has reportedly asked both parties to provide documentary evidence regarding the marriage and other allegations levelled by the complainant.



MC sanitary workers block road
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
Sanitary workers of a municipal corporation’s contractor along with members of the Balmiki samaj blocked the road in front of the Batra Theatre leading to Dhanas Colony for more than two hours today.

The workers were protesting against the alleged deduction of salaries by Raman
Sharma, the contractor.

They alleged that about a month ago at least 700 employees joined as sanitation workers on the contract basis through him.

However, they alleged that they were to receive their first salary worth Rs 3226 each, but the contractor paid only Rs 2,200 per person to them.

They also alleged that when questioned, he misbehaved with them.

Additional Commissioner PK Sharma and Medical Officer of Health, municipal corporation, reached the spot.

They assured the workers that their matter would soon be sorted out. Both also told them that they would have to submit a written complaint in this regard.



Non-plan Budget hike
Bansal overshadows senior UT officials
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
If the massive increase of Rs 606 crore in the non-plan Budget estimate of the 2009-10 Interim Budget for Chandigarh is any indication, Union Minister of State for Finance Pawan Bansal seems to have played his cards well in placating influential lobby of the government employees in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

In fact, the stamp of the minister and sitting MP, who is seeeking the fourth term from Chandigarh in the next parliamentary elections, is clearly visible in the Budget estimates, as the plan Budget estimate has gone down by over Rs 4 crore.

And though, unwittingly, Bansal seems to have scored some political points over senior functionaries of the Chandigarh Administration by showing that he calls the shots in the Union Finance Ministry.

The reduction in the plan outlay would mean that administration’s major projects could face rough weather if the enhanced Budget does not come by in the regular Budget in July.

Incidentally, Bansal does not see eye to eye with administration functionaries on several mega projects.

Sources said a major chunk of the non-plan Budget was likely to go towards the payment of arrears and enhanced pay and perks to the UT employees following the implementation of the sixth Pay Commission.



Educational institutes: No parking for cars
Neha Miglani

Chandigarh, February 17
The entire stretch, including educational institutes like GMSSS, St. Anne’s Convent School, State Institute of Education, Regional Institute of Education, GGDSD College, SD School and Teacher’s Training Institute in Sector 32, lack adequate parking space.

There are cars lined up on both sides of the road outside the GGDSD College, Sector 32, and the traffic police permits the same.

Those, who have two-wheelers, can park them inside the college but for cars, there’s no space inside the campus.

“I park my car on the road, it is unsafe here but there is no parking space on the campus,” says Palak Jain, an MBE student.

The college readily accommodates the two- wheelers inside the campus while cars are not allowed as per the prospectus.

Another student Ajit Pal said: “The college authorities do not want to take the responsibilty, then what is the solution to it. There should be some provision to ensure safety to the cars as well.”

Meera Prabhakar, vice-principal of the college, said, “The college is not responsible for the car parking of the students.”

The contractor of two-wheeler parking at the GGDSD College, “There is a useless land behind the Teacher’s Training Institute, which is not being put to any use, rather students are compelled to park the cars on road and the same goes for all city colleges.”

The SP Traffic, HS Doon, was out of station and was not available to comment on
the situation.



Houses in colonies to be numbered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
After a long wait, the mayor has in a letter written to the municipal commissioner urged him to get the process of numbering each house in colonies started.

Earlier, she had written to him for numbering the houses in nine villages with the municipal corporation.

Once the process starts, each house will be assigned number, which will be like an identity for each one of it.

The villages in the city, which are with corporation, include Halo Majra, Dadu Majra, Burail and Kajehri, Palsora besides others.

According to sources, the problem of not having assigned numbers to the houses was not only problematic for the residents but also for the corporation for identifying the development purposes as well.

What adds to the confusion is the random numbering of most of the houses in
the villages.

There have been instances when the houses, which were not numbered, have created trouble whenever a survey was conducted in the villages to know the status of basic amenities in the area.

A testimony to this is the recent survey conducted by a private agency in Halo Majra for inspecting the files and site plans in the village.

There are about 2,200 houses in the village and the resident welfare association of the area has alleged there are many discrepancies in a survey conducted by them.



Woman officer’s court martial re-assembles
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The general court martial (GCM) trying a woman officer, Capt Poonam Kaur, for her alleged acts of professional impropriety, re-assembled at Patiala today after one week’s adjournment.

The deposition of the prosecution witnesses commenced today, with Maj Suraj
Bhan, one of the officers against whom she had leveled allegations of harassment,
being examined.

The GCM, presided over by Col Sanjeev Kochhar, commanding officer of an artillery regiment, had commenced earlier this week.

Captain Poonam is being tried on charges, which include disobedience of lawful command, wrongfully getting married accommodation allotted to her, unauthorised contact with the media and improper association with her driver.

Her counsel Sanjeev Sharma said charges against her were false and baseless.

He claimed that she was being vicitimised and instead investigating her complaints, other allegations were brought up against her during the court of inquiry (COI).

During her posting with an Army Service Corps battalion in Kalka in July last year, she had levelled allegations of mental and physical harassment against her commanding officer Col RK Sharma, the unit’s second-in-command, Lt Col Ajay Chawla and adjutant, Major Suraj Bhan.

While the subsequent COI ordered into the matter did not find any substance in her allegations, she was held blameworthy on several counts of professional misconduct.

The GCM will now re-assemble on February 19 for further proceedings.



Teaching farmers online
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
With agriculture proving to be the mainstay of Indian economy in these recession times, CII ,Young Indians, a group of young Indian entrepreneurs, is now launching an online knowledge sharing platform for young progressive farmers.

This online platform will bring together farmers from across the country to share knowledge and increase farmer wealth.

The idea is to bridge all information gaps that paralyse agriculture productivity, by using knowledge as a catalyst for change.

This was stated by Bhairavi Jani, national vice-chairman-designate of CII Young Indians and Shefali Chaturvedi, director and head, Young Indians, here today.

Talking to TNS on the sidelines of an interactive session with young professionals, Jani said the online portal would not just allow farmers to interact and adopt the best practices being followed elsewhere in the country, but also highlight the best case studies for their reference.

“We have already created a national network of farmers, with 5,903 members, which focuses on two-way knowledge dissemination between rural and urban India. We will bring together on a common platform, scientists, research scholars, agriculturists, students, government officials and industry to ensure that information flows freely and without barriers,” she said.

Jani said they were also looking at launching the “next practices initiative” for their student members and young entrepreneurs.

“We will invite these young entrepreneurs to give feedback on next practices so that they can help implement these in various industrial organisations,” she added.

Shefali said they would also be launching advocacy campaigns on this online platform dealing with issues affecting the country.

The mechanism will be to collect feedback on a regular basis, she said.



PU appoints regular security guards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The Panjab University authorities have replaced the private security on the campus by appointing the regular security personnel.

The committee, which was formed to recruit security personnel on the campus, has selected 40 security personnel on a regular basis.

Sources revealed around 60 security personnel, who were hired by the university authorities from a private security contractor, had been issued the termination orders with an immediate effect.

Officials stated that a conflict over hiring of private security personnel or appointing of a regular staff was going on since long.

Recently, a decision was taken by vice-chancellor RC Sobti that regular staff should be appointed in order to ensure security in the university.

The officials revealed in the past one year, a number of cases had come to light in which the students easily violated the security, as the contractor used to appoint less security guards on the campus.

They informed when surprise inspections were conducted by the university officials to check the placement of the security staff, they were never found on duty.

It was found that the contractor, who was hired for the campus, was also giving services to PGI and hence, the same staff was appointed at both places.

The officials further said it was decided to recruit the staff on a regular basis to have a foolproof security in the campus.

When contacted, university chief security officer, Vijaypal Singh, said they had removed the private security personnel from today.

An opportunity was given to the existing security staff to get recruited by
appearing for an interview and a physical test by the committee constituted
by the university, he said.



IAF takes flight safety drive to schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The IAF’s flight safety awareness and publicity campaign is now touching base in schools. As a part of the ongoing campaign, a workshop was conducted by 12 Wing at the Government Senior Secondary School in Behlana, adjoining the local airbase.

The aim of this workshop was to making the students aware of the fact that throwing of garbage and other food items in open attracted a lot of birds, which becomes the main cause for aircraft accidents.

Wg Cdr Pankaj Chopra and his team from 12 Wing explained the importance of flight safety and the role of every citizen towards enhancing flight safety, which would reduce the cases of bird-hit on aircrafts.

A painting competition was also conducted as a part of the campaign. Prizes were given to the top fifty paintings and aircraft posters, pamphlets, caps, copy and pencils carrying flight safety slogans were distributed to the schoolchildren.

A film on career opportunities in the Air Force was also screened for the students.



5 inspectors, 80 SIs, ASIs shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
In a major reshuffle the Chandigarh police yesterday shifted five inspectors and 80 sub-inspectors and assistant sub-inspectors with immediate effects.

Among inspectors Manjit Singh of the Police Control Room (PCR) has swapped places with Kewal Krishan in charge of the judicial lock up in the Police Lines. Inspector, Traffic Police, Satpal Singh, has been shifted to the PCR, inspector Joginder Singh has been transferred from Sector-11 Police Station to the Special Crime Investigation Cell and inspector Balbir Singh from the Special Crime Investigation Cell to the Traffic Police.

Besides this, in charge of the Sector-43 ISBT Police Post Sheeshpal has been shifted to the Darua Police post while the in charge of the Darua Police post Chirinji Lal has been sent to the Sector-11 police station.

SI Devinder Singh has been transferred to Sector-43 ISBT from Economic Offence Wing and SI Vishal has been posted as in charge of the Sukhna Lake police post.



Admn passes orders to check theft
A Correspondent

Panchkula, February 17
Some day light robberies and an increase in the crime graph here have waken up the authorities as Deputy Commissioner Rajinder Kataria has passed some preventive orders for two months, with effect from February 13 to April 12.

The orders given by Kataria under Section 144 of the CrPC stated that all residents and commercial establishments would have to submit a duly filled performa with the detailed identification of the owners and the tenants to the nearby police stations within 15 days.

The preventive orders have also been imposed upon all banks, shopping malls, parking places and taxi stands to install CCTV cameras, maintain a register of all the visitors, checking all the cars at all parking lots and to deploy guards at banks.

Anybody found violating the order would be prosecuted under Section 188 of the IPC. Kataria said the directions were necessary according to the present situation and would be promulgated by announcements and by fixing the copies of orders on various notice boards.



GGDSD gets Rs 65-lakh aid for research projects
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
The faculty of GGDSD College, Sector 32, has brought laurels to the institution by bagging various major and minor projects to the tune of Rs 65 lakh, funded by the UGC, New Delhi, and other prestigious academic bodies of the country.

Currently, the faculty is working on various inter, intra, multi-disciplinary and innovative research projects that contribute meaningfully to the research experience of the college as well as the academic field at large.

Principal Dr AC Vaid is working on “Growth and Performance of Cooperative Financing in the Agrarian Economies of Punjab and Haryana: A Comparative Study” project worth Rs 7.32 lakh Dr Ashima Pathak of the department of biotechnology is working on a major research project worth Rs 10.62 lakh, where she is investigating “Molecular Action of Zinc on Glucose Transporter in Liver of Diabetic Rats”.

Another major project of Rs 6.69 lakh was awarded to Dr Indu Mehta for researching “The Potential of Endomycopsis capsularis for Industrial application”.

Dr Akhlash P Singh of the department of biochemistry is working in the area of “Biochemical physiological-based study of early expressed low abundant proteins and antioxidants system during water stress in wheat,” a project worth Rs 6.51 lakh.

Dr Navneet Batra of the department of biotechnology has also been awarded a major research project “Study of microbial diversity of the various springs of HP using 23sRNA approach” worth Rs 6.45 lakh.



From Schools & Colleges
Workshop on HIV at MCM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 17
In an innovative and responsible attempt to sprinkle awareness among the students, the department of sociology of MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, held a workshop on HIV/AIDS, where young volunteers of AIESEC shared their views.

They gave valuable information on the cause, symptoms, effects, and preventive measures related to this disease.


The Regional Institute of English, Sector-32, organised a valedictory function of the 90 students of Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching (PGCT) course, here today. UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas was the chief guest at the function.

The education secretary assured to provide the required assistance to the institute. He also released a book titled ‘Communicating Effectively in English’.

Jungle Safari

Delhi Public School presented ‘Jungle Safari’, a blend of Jungle Moods and Jungle Tales, here today. Nek Chand, creator of the Rock Garden, was the chief guest on the occasion. Over 700 students of the pre-primary wing participated in the show.

The musical show titled ‘Jungle Tales’ illustrated ‘Nitishastra’ through several inter-woven jungle tales from the ever-popular ‘Panchtantra’ stories.

The tiny tots dressed in colourful costumes left the audience spellbound with their captivating performance. ‘Jungle Moods’, an art and craft exhibition, was also organised where children displayed various articles prepared from discarded, used and inexpensive material.

Students honoured

In the memory of former advocate-general of Haryana UD Gour, the Pandit Uma Dutt Gour Memorial and Charitable Trust honoured meritorious students of Bharti Vidya Bhavan, Sector 27, here yesterday.

The students were given mementoes and certificates for excelling in various fields,
including academics.

Around 60 underprivileged students were given school bags under the Unchai programme of the institution.

Karnal MLA and Haryana Mahila Congress president Sumita Singh was the chief guest at the function.

She lauded the role of the trust and called for other organisations to come forward and help youth and the needy. A cultural show was also organised by the students.



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