C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Fun turns tragic
Boy dies of burns, five injured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
One child was burnt to death while five others, including three girls, sustained serious burns when one of them set afire a can of thinner, leading to a blast at Mauli Jagran here this afternoon.

The condition of at least two of them, who sustained 90 to 100 per cent burns, was stated to be critical. One of them, Sunny, who sustained 100 per cent burns, died at the PGI after midnight.

The other victims have been identified as Himanshu, Anil, Bharti, Jyoti and Aarti. All are in the age group of four and seven years. Bharti and Jyoti have been admitted to the Sector 16 Government Multi Speciality Hospital with 20 and 40 per cent burns, respectively, while Aarti, Anil and Himanshu have been admitted to the PGI. Aarti sustained over 90 per cent burns and her condition is serious.

The police said the incident took place at around 3.30 pm when Himanshu, whose father Ram Chander is a painter, called the other children to play in his house. He then brought the can of thinner and they took it outside. One of them struck a match and put it on the can, causing a huge blast.

An eyewitness said fire broke out with the blast and the children were engulfed in the flames. People doused the flames, but the children had been seriously burnt by then.

Onlookers rushed them to hospitals in rickshaws. The police was informed about the incident and it met them on the way and shifted the victims to their vehicles to take them to the GMSH.

The in charge of the Mauli Jagran police post, Malkiat Singh, termed the incident as an accident. He said Ram Chander was not at home at the time of the incident. He told the police that he had stored the leftover thinner at his house.



Admn not service provider, rules SC
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 18
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Chandigarh administration is not covered under the Consumer Protection Act in the auction of 74 residential and 71 commercial sites in 1996.

Those who had bought the plots on 99-year lease in the auction had gone to the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh, seeking relief in the form of rescheduling of instalments and penal interest for non-provision of civic amenities in the area and got some respite.

The UT administration challenged it before the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and got the relief reduced. Later, it moved the Supreme Court.

The court upheld the contentions of the administration that the auction was neither sale of goods nor rendering of any service and it was not obligated to provide amenities under the rules of auction.

The 37-page judgment delivered yesterday stated that where there was a public auction without assuring any specific or particular amenities and the prospective purchaser/lessee participated in the auction after having an opportunity of examining the site, the bid in the auction was made keeping in view the existing situation, position and condition of the site.

Once with open eyes, a person participated in an auction, he could not thereafter be heard to say that he would not pay the balance of the price/premium or the stipulated interest on the delayed payment, or the ground rent, on the ground that the site suffered from certain disadvantages or on the ground that amenities were not provided.

It observed that with reference to a public auction of existing sites (as contrasted from sites to be `formed'), the purchaser/lessee was not a consumer, the owner was not a `trader' or `service provider' and the grievance did not relate to any matter in regard which a complaint could be filed.

Therefore, any grievance by the purchaser/lessee would not give rise to a complaint or consumer dispute and the fora under the Act would not have jurisdiction to entertain or decide any complaint by the auction purchaser/lessee against the owner holding the auction of sites.

Neither Sections 6 and 7 or any other provision of the Development Act casts any obligation on the central government to provide amenities to plots sold/leased by auction. Therefore, the assumption that there was a statutory obligation on the part of the central government to provide amenities because the word amenity defined in the Act was erroneous and baseless.

“We, therefore, allow these appeals by the UT Chandigarh and set aside the orders of the National Commission in the matter,” the court ruled.



Day II: Chaos at Kalka
Hemant Kumar

Kalka, March 18
If commuters on the Kalka-Shimla highway hoped for a smooth ride through the main bazaar here, a day after massive demolitions by the NHAI, they were in for a shock as the debris lay scattered on the road. With residents voluntarily removing what was left of their encroachments, there was a traffic jam throughout the day. Though traffic resumed after the NHAI completed the demolition drive last evening, its flow was disrupted due to huge piles of debris on the road.

While the demolition led to a wider road near the Kali Mata Mandir, the situation in other parts of the market remained unchanged as the NHAI mainly stuck to the removal of extended cantilevers.

As many as 35 shops, including 27 kiosks, had been razed. Kiosk owners said: “We have come on the road and our livelihood is at stake. We have urged the state government to compensate us and provide space for our rehabilitation.” In some areas, the road has to be widened up to 10 feet, and in some others, up to 15 feet after the debris is removed.

Shopkeepers and traders whose structures were razed remained busy in removing the debris and demolishing the rest of the structures and constructing pillars up to the yellow mark fixed by the NHAI during the demarcation of the road.

They alleged that during the demolition drive, the NHAI authorities violated the directives of the Supreme Court and demolished parts of buildings beyond the yellow mark, damaging residential property.



Villagers to boycott poll
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 18
People from around 25 villages along the Ropar-Purkhali link road have decided not to vote in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The decision comes due to the unmotorable 7-km stretch of road which is the lifeline of these villages. Villagers had met the SAD candidate from the Anandpur Sahib Lok Sabha constituency, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, and apprised him of their problem.

They have decided to boycott the elections. “What is the use of electing somebody who is immune to our woes,” they said.

The road was last repaired five years ago. Heavy traffic has increased by manifold and there are over 20 brick kilns in the vicinity, whose trucks and other big vehicles laden with bricks ply on the road.

“The road cannot support such heavy traffic. For the past three to four years, not a single patch of bitumen has been left on the road,” former sarpanch of Majri Mewa Singh village said.

Brick kiln owners had filled the potholes with mud, worsening the situation. The villagers blocked traffic from 8.30 am to 1 pm today, following which the owners of brick kilns approached them and asked them to lift the dharna.

The villagers said the brick kiln owners, who suffered losses due to the dharna, had assured them of reaching an amicable solution to the problem.

Meanwhile, the XEN PWD, SS Dhindsa, said the grants and estimates for the road had been passed under the Prime Minister Gram Sarak Yojana and work would begin after the elections.

“Had the code of conduct not come into force, the work would have started,” he claimed, adding that link roads were relaid after six years and extraordinary traffic was responsible for the condition of the road.



In voter card, daughter older than father
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Can a daughter be 22 years older than her father? The answer would be in the negative, but the Election Commission of India (ECI) has performed this “feat”, going by the entries in the voter identity cards of a family at Telehos Society in Sector 50 here.

In a voter identity card, the date of birth of Harpal Kaur, daugther of Harbhajan Singh, has been mentioned as June 16, 1948, even though her mother Paramjeet Kaur was born on that day. Interestingly, the date of birth in the mother’s card is stated as August 28, 1976. The father is shown as born on July 10, 1970.

As if this was not enough, the date of birth of the son, Manjeet Singh, is written wrongly as December 18, 1973.

Meanwhile, the father’s name of another voter, Rejesh Kumar Sharma(correct name Rajesh Kumar Sharma), appears as Mohan Lal Sharma instead of Manohar Lal Sharma.

In another case, there is no ECI hologram on the voter card of Ravinder Kumar, son of Des Raj.



Adviser okays PEC registrar’s sack
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Pradip Mehra, UT Adviser, today cancelled the appointment of SK Suman as the registrar of PEC and forwarded the file to the Administrator for final approval.

The cancellation, according to sources, has been done on the grounds of defiance of the ongoing poll code. The PEC Employees Union had sought the administration’s intervention to stop the “speculated” selection of Suman as the registrar, citing his “tainted” record as reason. Following documentary proof provided by the union, the administration cancelled the selection, but the institute authorities moved on and appointed him, thereby also violating the electoral code for which they were served a notice by the Deputy Commissioner.

The decision has come as a shock to Suman’s supporters, some of whom even referred to him as PEC’s “Gandhi”. But for several others, the cancellation was in order. “Their so-called Gandhi was found guilty of using unfair means during an examination by Panjab University. He was accused of corruption in giving the contract for the removal of dead and dry trees on the campus. He was not appointed illegally by the chairman of the Board of Governors of PEC. Even the eligibility criteria was relaxed for him, without the mandatory permission of the administration,” a union office-bearer stated.



No uranium supply to India: Australia
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 18
Australian High Commissioner to India John McCarthy has said the Indo-US nuclear deal and its subsequent approval by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was not enough for his government to reconsider its decision to supply enriched uranium to India.

“Our government’s policy is clear that it will not deal with nations who have not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT),” he said while talking to mediapersons at the Press Club here today.

McCarthy, however, maintained that Australia viewed India as a “strategic partner” on the energy resources sharing front and by 2013-14, Australia would be in a comfortable position to export Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) fuel to India.

McCarthy, who is in the city for a two-day media seminar starting tomorrow on “Regional Press - Power, Reach and Influence” organised by Chandigarh Press Club in association with the High Commission, said as a strategic ally in future deliberations, India’s rise as an economically stronger nation had reshaped “our” mutual relationship.

He said in the past decade, skilled human resources of India had been utilised for the betterment of “our” economies.

“India is the 4th largest source of immigration for us with 94,000 students studying in our educational institutes. This figure has almost doubled in the past four years. This trained resource can contribute immensely to our growth,” he added, expressing happiness over the fact that more and more students were choosing Australia as an educational destination.

Referring to India as the most sought after destination for trade purposes after it opened up its economy, he shared that huge offshore investment could be anticipated into India from offshore countries.

Meanwhile, the seminar, which opens tomorrow, will see eminent media personalities like professor Robin Jeffrey of Australian National University, Navin Suri, editor, Milan group, GS Sidhu, editor, Punjabi Tribune, Arun Anand, executive editor, Hindi Service, IANS, among others share their views on separate issues confronting the regional press.

HK Dua, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune, will deliver the keynote address.


Panel to look into candidates’ grievances
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The UT chief electoral officer (CEO) has constituted a committee for hearing complaints of contesting candidates and political parties and redress of grievances regarding advertisements on radio, TV channels and the cable network.

The committee would be chaired by the CEO while the observer of the Election Commission of India (ECI), returning officer, director public relations and a nominee of the Doordarshan or AIR would be its members.

In another order, the CEO has constituted a committee to entertain the applications from the candidates and political parties and for the certification of spots or jingles for advertisement on radio, TV channels and the cable network. The committee would be chaired by the returning officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner while the Additional Deputy Commissioner and the director public relations would be its members.

Meanwhile, the commission has prohibited the pasting of posters, wall writing or display of cutouts, hoardings, banners and flags on government buildings. However, in the case of private buildings, the ECI has prescribed that the written consent of the owner of the building has to be obtained by a political party or person in this regard.

In case of Chandigarh, the permission of the owner is not enough. As for the advertisement control order, any advertisement or posters/wall writing can be displayed only after seeking and getting permission from the chief administrator-cum-Finance Secretary.

The ECI is serious about ensuring that no party or person disturbs the peace of any individual. Organising demonstrations or picketing before the house of any individual is banned.

The use of loudspeakers for electioneering can be done only after the requisite permission has been obtained. The commission has also issued instructions regarding the misuse of SMS for canvassing.

Youth can make a difference

I am exercising my vote for the first time and I am excited about it. Perhaps, this is the only chance we have to bring about a change in the system with the power of our vote. The youth of the nation can make a huge difference by getting politically active and coming to the polling booth would make a lot of difference.

I would like to vote for a person who is honest and is instrumental in making this country corruption free. In my opinion, the foremost job of a representative of the youth of this country is to create a drugs-free and alcohol-free state.

If this requires increasing the age limit, it should be done. Gone are the days when the public could get swayed by false promises and verbose of leaders. Today, every Indian is aware of what is happening in the country and is willing to work to rectify it. I feel that the calibre of the individual who is contesting should be so much that the public votes for him or her without even looking at the party.

I am determined to vote and urge all youngsters to come forward to contribute to the nation’s progress.

— Kunal Kaher



Candidate’s Profile
Grand old man of city politics
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Harmohan Dhawan, BSP candidate from the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency, is a go-getter. Like opening restaurants, party hopping seems to be penchant for the grand old man of the Chandigarh politics, who wants the maximum from his professional and political ventures.

In fact, Dhawan's political career also began the same year --1979 -- he started Mehfil. Interestingly, his latest hospitality venture Shehenshah has coincided with his forays into the BSP.

A socialist by choice, Dhawan was initiated into politics in 1979 by late Young Turk-turned-Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar. He was elected MP for 19 months after elections in the 1989. Dhawan reached his political crescendo when he became Union Mminister of State for Civic Aviation in the Chandra Shekhar government for four months. Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, the third phase of Kajauli water works and the rehabilitation scheme of the poor at Mauli Jagran are the major achievements credited to his ministerial tenure.

However, with the death of his political guru, Chandra Shekhar, his political career took a nosedive and it was the time when he desperately looked for political rehabilitation. The contesting of the 2004 elections on the INLD ticket and the 2009 poll on the BSP ticket seems to be his desperate attempts to find the "right" political party.

In fact, Dhawan, who wants to replicate the success of BSP supremo Mayawati's social engineering formula in Chandigarh, wears many hats -- a nature lover, a hotelier and an ace blood donor. Because of his socialist bent of mind, Dhawan was attracted to the BSP's slogan of "casteless and classless society" and joined the party on February 27,2007.

Born on July14, 1940, at Fatehjung, Caimbalpur district (now in West Pakistan), Dhawan migrated to Ambala in 1947 from where he did his intermediate from SD College.

In 1960, Dhawan joined the Department of Botany at Panjab University, Chandigarh, and did his M.Sc (Honours) in 1965. Dhawan was a research scholar from 1965 to 1970 and did research on “cytological studies of the economic plants of the North West Himalayas”.

His profile also includes his love for nature and gardening as a hobby. And it is no surprise that his palatial house in the upmarket Sector 9 was awarded the best garden in the city for the last five consecutive years during the festival of gardens. Also blood donation also very close to his heart and he himself has donated donated blood 32 times.

Dhawan also has the distinction of being awarded the best Young Entrepreneur Award by the Vice-President of India in 1983.



Cong betrays farmers, says Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Satya Pal Jain today accused the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre of betraying the interests of farmers and villagers of the city.

Addressing a public meeting at Khuda Alisher village, Jain said while neighbouring Punjab had been paying up to Rs 1.5 crore per acre for farmer’s land acquired for public purpose, Chandigarh villages had been suffering at the hands of government-controlled Chandigarh administration which had been doling out a mere Rs 10 to 18 lakh per acre to landowners.

He also promised that his party on coming to power would extend the lal-dora limits of villages in the UT and would regularise constructions in the areas outside the lal dora limits.

Meanwhile, Kamla Sharma, BJP president, and Shashi Jain, wife of Jain, addressed a women's meeting in Sector 21. They alleged that the women were not safe in Chandigarh due to deteriorating law and order situation.

Tewari's denial

Convener of the Colony Cell of local unit of the BJP Shashi Shankar Tewari, who resigned from the party, today backtracked and termed the reports as "false".

He said he was a committed worker of the BJP and had no "differences" with the BJP leadership.

Bharti JD(U) candidate

Sharad Yadav, president of the Janata Dal (United), has declared Goswami VB Bharti as the candidate from the Chandigarh parliamentary constituency.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Bharati said the party was committed to providing all civic amenities to colonies on a par with the sectors.

The parking problems in the city would also be taken care of, he added.



Youth clubs gearing up for poll too
Neha Miglani

Chandigarh, March 18
Determined to do their bit to motivate youngsters in the city to vote and make the right choice, youth clubs in the city are coming up with events and projects right before the elections.

Youth NGOs like the Youth For Equality and the World Alliance for Youth Empowerment (WAYE) are pulling up their socks to educate youngsters, especially the first time voters. “We are organising a mega event called ‘UTSAV’ in the first week of April.

The event has been specially planned during this time of the year because of the upcoming elections. The purpose is to motivate the youth to vote and also check the progress of each party, go through the election manifestos and then vote intelligently,” says Harmandeep Kaur of the YES!+ Club, Chandigarh.

This four-day event is estimated to cater to 1,000 youngsters, who will be involved in group activities, knowledge sessions and motivated to awaken the political spirit of the youth, claims the club.

Similar efforts are being made by the Youth For Equality group, which though at its nascent stage in the city, is gearing up to match the efforts being done by its Delhi wing. Says Dr. Kaushal Kaul Mishra, a surgeon in AIIMS, who has been associated with the NGO.

“We have invited resumes from people belonging different classes for filing nominations from the New Delhi constituency in the Lok Sabha elections. Those who feel they are capable of representing the youth and the nation will certainly come forward. We will then shortlist four candidates and a popular voting will be done online after which the name will be sent”, he said.

Meanwhile the city wing of the club is delivering talks to create awareness. Adds Manik Bhardwaj, a city volunteer, “We have tied up with certain departments and are making the youth aware of importance of voting. Also informing them about Section 49(O) under which one may not vote for any candidate.”

The club is inviting doctors from AIIMS to the city who are actively involved in making the youth politically aware. These doctors will be conducting seminar on awareness about Section 49 (O) and myths about voting in Panjab University on March 23.

The formulation of “Jago party” in Delhi has excited many a youngsters in the city. A visit to the website of the party makes says it all - “A party of the young generation” goes a slogan.

Quips Richa Gupta, an MSc student and volunteer with W.A.Y.E., “Being in your own shell and complaining will not help. Its time to take action. I am excited to hear about the youth party that has come up in Delhi. We must initiate something on similar lines in Chandigarh.” 



48 polling booths in P’kula hypersensitive
Tribune Reporters

Panchkula, March 18
While the political parties have started campaigning in the Panchkula and Kalka assembly constituencies for the Lok Sabha elections to be held on May 7, the district administration has decided to videograph the activities of all the parties. For the purpose, Panchkula additional deputy commissioner would act as a nodal officer who will be assisted by subdivision magistrates of Panchkula and Kalka.

The nominations for the elections could be filed by April 18 after the notification of elections is issued on April 11. The scrutiny of nomination forms would be carried out on April 20 while the candidates would be allowed to withdraw their name by April 22.

The district administration, however, has declared 29 polling booths in Kalka as hyper sensitive while 52 booths in this area were marked as sensitive.

There were a total of 171 polling booths in this assembly constituency. Similarly, in Panchkula constituency, where 139 polling booths would be set up, 48 and 35 polling booths were declared as hyper sensitive and sensitive, respectively. This year a total of 2,44,853 voters in both the constituencies would be able to franchise their right of casting vote.

Panchkula deputy commissioner Rajender Kataria, while interacting with mediapersons, said that particular places would be demarcated for the political parties so that they could install their hoardings.

Similarly, places would be demarcated where rallies could be held and the place would be reserved on first come first basis. However, all the permissions to parties contesting candidates would be granted the same day, he said.

Rift in BJP comes to fore

The fissures came to fore among local BJP leaders even before kicking up the poll campaign when the vice-president of party in the district, Rekha Sharma, objected to addressing her as vice-president when she convenes the party meetings in the absence of the district president Sham Lal Sachdeva. Sharma claimed that she worked in the capacity of the president and she should have been addressed as acting president of the party here.

The dispute over the designation of Sharma arose when Gian Chand Gupta, the former vice-president of the state BJP, was welcoming the party leaders who assembled on the arrival of party candidate for Ambala Lok Sabha seat Ratan Lal Kataria to start his campaign in Panchkula assembly constituency.

Party sources, on the issue of absence of Sachdeva, said he was busy in his preparation for going abroad for his treatment.

Sharma said she was acting president of the party at Panchkula as Sachdeva was not present in the meeting and she was authorised to work as the president in his absence, she claimed.

On the other hand, Gupta, who is the convener of the ‘vyapar’ cell of party in four states at present, said there was no such post in the party constitution. Hence, the claim of the district vice-president had no ground, he said.

Gian Chand in charge of BJP panel

The Panchkula BJP has announced its 23-member election management committee of Panchkula Assembly constituency for Ambala Lok Sabha seat. A former party MP from here, Ratan Lal Kataria, has been declared the party candidate.

While Gian Chand Gupta and Vishal Seth have been made incharge of the committee, other senior leaders, including Sham Lal, VK Sood, BB Signhal and CB Goyal have also been included as members in the list.

Cyber café owners told to maintain records

Fatehgarh Sahib: The district magistrate-cum-deputy commissioner of Fatehgarh Sahib has ordered all cyber cafés in the district to maintain records by taking valid identity cards and other identity proofs of their customers.

These orders have been passed to stop use of cyber cafés by unscrupulous elements and hardcore criminals under Section 144 of the CrPC.

The café owners should ensure that the names, address, telephone numbers and other details must be written by them before allowing a person to use the Internet.

If any of the cyber café owners came to know about suspected e-mails sent by the customer, he should immediately inform the nearest police station. The orders will remain in force till May 13.

Officials told to deal strictly with code violators

Patiala: In his bid to ensure optimum implementation of the poll code, the Patiala Divisional Commissioner Jasbir Singh Bir has directed the administration officials to deal with a firm hand in case any candidate was found to be violating the code.

Bir has also clarified that the misuse of government rest houses, buildings and government vehicles would be deemed to be nothing but a straight violation of the poll code. “Polls are the base of the democratic process. So the government officials have to adopt a pro-active approach, particularly, in respect of code violation, if any. You have to act promptly and supply any information sought by the Election Commission without any delay,” Bir told administration officials at a meeting here yesterday.

SSP Arpit Shukla said nobody would be allowed to disrupt peace in the district. “All police officials have been instructed to perform their duty without any bias and dereliction,” said SSP.

Cops take out flag march

Patiala: The local police today staged a flag march in various parts of the city to infuse confidence among the people ahead of the forthcoming general elections.

The flag march commenced from the Civil Lines area. Senior Superintendent of Police Arpit Shukla said the flag march was basically taken out to make people aware of the fact that the police was fighting against anti-social elements and to instil confidence in people.

The flag march was taken out under the direction of the SSP in which SP Jagjit Singh Gill and DSP Hardevinder Singh also took part.

As many as 50 IRB personnel also took part in this flag march, the sources added.



Manouli resident murdered: Police
Body not recovered so far
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 18
The police claims to have solved the case related to the alleged abduction of a Manouli resident nearly three weeks ago by stating that he was murdered. Three persons have been arrested in this regard even though the body of the deceased has not been recovered so far.

Hari Charan Vashisht (55) was allegedly kidnapped on February 28 by unidentified persons when he had left the village in his Honda City car for Chandigarh.

The police said in a press release issued here this evening that on getting secret information a police party raided a house in Balongi and arrested Anuj Kumar, Kaalu and Manish, alias Mani. They had recently taken a house on rent in the village. On questioning they admitted of having committed the crime. The police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC in this regard.

The arrested persons reportedly told the police that on February 28 they, along with Sandeep Khurmi, alias Sunny, his mother Dolly Rani and sister Sunita Rani, had called Hari Charan to their residence in Sector 70. He was threatened and asked to ring up his friend Khush Dayal to give them Rs 35,000.

Later, he was given tea laced with sleeping pills. When Hari Charan became unconscious they removed his gold and diamond ornaments and later put him in his car and took him to Bhagora village where he was allegedly thrown into the Bhakra canal. His car was then sold to Sher Singh, alias Shera of Nabha, the same night.

The press release further stated that Hari Charan had left for Chandigarh on February 28 to get the stereo system of his car in order but had not returned home.

His son Deepak Vashisht had reported to the police on March 1 that his father had gone missing.

Later, on March 4 a case under Sections 364 and 120- B of the IPC was registered against Sandeep Khurmi, Dolly Rani, Sunita Rani, Manish, Kaalu and Amit Kumar.

Sher Singh was arrested during investigations on March 9 and the Honda City of Hari Charan was recovered from him. He told the police that he was sold the car through Gurvinder Singh of Patiala and he made a part of the payment for the vehicle. The car had a fake number plate.

The police said Sandeep and his mother were yet to be arrested.



Runaway Couples
Committee for protection of registered marriages
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Trudging towards the formulation of a mechanism for preventing runaway couples from hiding behind the pillars of law in the corridors of justice, a joint committee has asserted provision for providing protection to marriages registered under the relevant Act will go a long way in sorting out the problem.

The committee was set up by the high court to evolve a compassionate and humanitarian mechanism for redressing the grievances of runaway couples, and their parents. Among others, it comprises senior advocates Rajinder Singh Cheema, ML Sarin and Anupam Gupta. The issue of problems faced by runaway couples was first brought to the fore in these columns.

The committee has asserted: “The state governments have enacted comprehensive legislation with regard to compulsory registration of marriages; and necessary provision for providing protection to the marriages registered under the Act, if made, will also discourage the elements of the society, who consider themselves to be sole moral rights protectors and do not hesitate in provoking the relatives of the married couples”.

In his recommendations, Cheema suggested multi-dimensional response to tackle major challenges, after analysing the legal and the Constitutional position. Cheema also proposed legislative changes to tackle the present situation.

The committee also took into consideration another recommendation suggesting that efforts to protect the runaway couples by the state authorities were required to be coupled with a judicial interdict against registration of cases against the husbands and his close relatives.

The directions for constituting the committee followed high court’s suo-motu cognizance of rising number of cases involving runaway couples. Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia had made it clear the high court wanted the state to evolve a “compassionate” mechanism to redress the grievances of the couples, and the parents, and reduce backlog.

Justice Ahluwalia had even asked the home secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh, to inform the court on the system they intended to develop.

Justice Ahluwalia had also observed: After thoughtful deliberations, as consensus, it has been suggested that this court should appoint a committee, which after discussing various facets and dimensions of the problem, should report the matter to the court for further action.

The Judge had added: Since the proposal has emerged not only as a consensus, but unanimously from the Bar members - about 50 Bar members are before me - I want to make an effort and try this proposal.

Therefore, I accept the joint prayer made by counsel for the parties. Accordingly, a committee including officials and the members as suggested be constituted.



Cloud over councillors trip to Gujarat
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
After criticising the motive of MCC councillors’ trip to Singapore and Bangkok in the past, now Mayor Kamlesh seems to do a somersault by trying to get an approval for the proposed study tour to Gujarat for the councillors.

In view of the Chandigarh municipal corporation’s feat to get two awards recently among top corporations in the country, many councillors are even questioning the motive of a domestic study tour.

According to sources, during the study tour to Singapore and Bangkok, Kamlesh who was a councillor at that time, was the first one to have criticised the tour for not only being poorly organised but also had alleged that the purpose of the tour was defeated, as they were not able to meet most of the officials there. So, she had called up mediapersons after landing back in Delhi and had even sent e-mails in this regard.

Harjinder Kaur, former mayor and SAD councillor, during whose tenure the councillors went on a tour to Singapore and Bangkok, said it was Kamlesh only who went all out and criticised the study tour. Following which the UT administration had decided that no study tours would be approved for the councillors. “ At that time, there was a proposal to visit China and Europe as these countries are facing problems such as increasing number of vehicles, parking problems. Instead of pursuing that, taking a tour to Gujarat seems to be of no use. Also, when in the same amount of budget the tour was taken abroad in the past, why not this time,” she added.

MPS Chawla, one of the nominated councillors said, if we would know the aim of the study tour only then it could be decided who should go. Experts of a particular subject should be taken once the objective of the tour is known to all, he added.

Manjit Singh Chauhan, congress councillor, said this tour was decided long time back. In fact, it was only because of her that the administration had refused to approve any further tours for councillors and now she was taking credit of organising this trip was indeed a shock.

It must be mentioned here that a study tour to Gujarat is proposed in the last week of March or in the first week of April. However, it remains to be seen that with ensuing elections how many councillors would actually be intesested in going.



Scribes’ Dispute
Delegates meet SSP, Home Secretary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
UT home secretary Ram Nivas today directed the SSP to constitute a medical board and get the fresh medical of victims done in the case of a brawl between the reporters of two tv channels that took place here on Monday.

The staffers of Sahara Samay, Ashutosh and Vishal Monga ,were allegedly attacked with bats and wickets in public in Sector 17 on Monday. The police had registered a case of rioting against the seven persons, including Star News’ Bureau Chief, Jagwinder Patiyal, and cameraman, Rajeev Sharma.

The delegation alleged the laxity of police saying that the police has not slapped appropriate charges against the accused thereby giving them the time to file an anticipatory bail. Later, the delegation also met the SSP and demanded a probe into the matter. The SSP assured them that a proper action would be taken and the accused would not be spared if found guilty and told them that further charges would be slapped on the basis of supplemenrary charges.

The SHO of the Sector 17 police station said all accused were still absconding.

He added that the next hearing on the anticipatory bail about the missing gold chain of one of the victims would take place on March 20.



GCM to rethink Col’s acquittal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
A general court martial (GCM), that had earlier acquitted a colonel of charges of using criminal force on a subordinate officer, will reassemble at Ambala tomorrow to consider its findings and verdict afresh.

The GCM had held Col Suhel Singh, Commandant 11 Armoured Regiment, not guility of hitting a Lieutenant in his unit. The court’s verdict was sent to the convening authority for confirmation, but the GOC-in-C, Western Command, did not agree with the court’s findings and directed it to reconsider its verdict. The GCM, presided over by Brig Prem Gupta, had examined 17 prosecution witnesses.



Road leading to Zirakpur cracked
Rajiv Bhatia

Zirakpur, March 18
Few months after the Chandigarh-Ambala and Panchkula-Zirakpur four-laning project inaugurated by Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways TR Baalu, cracks have started appearing on the road leading to it.

The Panchkula-Zirakpur stretch, which was carpeted few months ago, has now cracked at two places in Zirakpur. The first crack is opposite the Sohi Banquet Hall and the second one is near shops in the Zirakpur main market.

The GMR company official who is executing the project said the road was being repaired, but it would be appropriate to give the exact cause of the fault only after consulting the engineers.

According to the GMR sources, the road was built after the construction of the flyover. “The authorities concerned should recarpet the road. We pay the taxes, so why do not we get the basic amenities,” said Krishan Garg, president Lions Club, Zirakpur.



Play on road safety at ISBT-43
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
A city-based road safety NGO in collaboration with the CTU organised a street play and distributed road safety pamphlets to passengers and bus drivers at the Sector 43 ISBT here today.

“Sadak hamare baap ki”, a street play on the road safety, was staged at the bus stand, which was watched by passengers. Volunteers of the NGO senstised the public about the road safety and distributed literature to them.



Affiliation to Kalpana institute under scanner
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) affiliation to Kalpana Chawla Memorial Educational Society (KCMES) has come under scanner, if the upshot of infighting between its management is any indication.

An FIR has been lodged with the Patiala police against one group of management led by Vipin Kaushal, claiming to be the chairperson of the society.

S.C. Gupta, who lodged the FIR against Kaushal group, also claiming to be the chairperson of the group, alleged that the AICTE approval has been obtained by Kaushals on forged documents. The AICTE has allegedly been misguided by producing the forged documents regarding the registration of the society with the Office of Registrar, Society, Mohali.

“Even the certificates submitted by the Kaushals to AICTE and issued by the Punjab National Bank regarding the status of the society accounts and the letter from the electricity board, Punjab, for permanent electricity connection has been forged. Till date, no permanent connection of electricity has been sanctioned to the institute,” said Gupta.

It has been mentioned in the FIR that the KCMES has been admitting students in a deceitful manner and running classes for different management and engineering courses through their residence No. 2160, 15-C, Chandigarh.

However, the place was found locked. The neighbours, preferring anonymity disclosed that the Kaushals had not been seen since March 7. It is to mention that the FIR was lodged against them on March 6.

The Investigating officer, Patiala police, confirmed that the Kaushals have been absconding. “Non bailable offences have been registered against them,” he said.

It is important to mention that a dispute arose between the management of KCMES, which was in the process of establishing its college Kalpana Chawla Institute of Engineering and Technology on 10-acre land at Banur-Tepla road in Patiala.

S.C. Gupta was the founder chairperson but Vipin claimed that Gupta submitted resignation from the chairmanship by getting back his invested share. On the other hand, Gupta alleged that his tenure as chairperson was valid till March 31, 2010 and Kaushals have been fraudulently using his signatures.

Denying all allegations, Vipin, claimed that he has a forensic report testifying that the signatures of Gupta on his resignation were original.

The Tribune possess the letter issued by Sector 16-D branch of the Punjab National Bank (PNB), dated February 13, 2009, stating that neither the bank has issued any certificate to Vipin, purportedly been submitted to AICTE, nor the contents contained, therein, are correct.

Punjab Chief Town Planner, Rajinder Sharma, disclosed that the management has also procured forged letters relating to building plan approval.

Though, the officials of Additional Registrar, Societies, Mohali, refrained from commenting but admitted that they had changed the governing council list without verifying their authenticity.



St Kabir violates ICSE norms
Detains a Class IX student for not securing 50 pc
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Giving hoots to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations guidelines, St Kabir School, Sector 26, has allegedly refused to promote a Class IX student for not having secured an aggregate of 50 per cent marks though according to the ICSE guidelines the requisite is 45 per cent and 35 per cent in five individual subjects to get promoted to the next class.

The matter came to light when aggrieved parents approached the Home Secretary alleging that school authorities had asked them to either opt for repeating Class IX or leave the school, as the child had secured 47.9 per cent.

“The school gave us the report card even without mentioning the promotion is granted or not. The principal asked us to decide and tick the option. They even said the transfer certificate shall bear the fact that child was not promoted and even refused to give the migratory registration number which is a must to appear for Class X,” said a resident of Sector 31 in his complaint.

According to him prior to filling the complaint he had also approached DPI (S) UT Samwartak Singh, who promised to sort the matter within a week.

“The session has started and if I wait for another week then who will admit my child?” he questioned.

Meanwhile, when contacted Gurdeep Bakshi, administrative officer of the school justified the school’s decision. “There is nothing wrong in it. On our report cards also we have mentioned that a child will not be promoted if he or she does not secure 50 per cent marks. We never refused the registration certificate,” he said.



Teachers go on mass leave
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
Hundreds of teachers working in seven non-government aided colleges of Chandigarh on the call of the Chandigarh District Council of Punjab and the Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU) proceeded on a mass casual leave and held a massive rally at Sector 17 in front of the office of DPI(C), Punjab.

The teachers criticised principal BC Josan of DAV College, Sector-10, and demanded that suspension of three office-bearers of the teachers’ union of DAV College, namely Prof AK Taneja, Prof Anil Sarwal and Prof Avanindra Chopra, be immediately revoked.

The functioning of DAV College was paralysed as the non-teaching employees also proceeded on the mass casual leave and attended the rally in large numbers.

The teachers of DAV College and MCM DAV College have decided to observe a chain fast from tomorrow at Sector 17, Chandigarh.



No scholars for Chairs in PU
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 18
The setting up of chairs of eminent personalities in the Panjab University is not possible, as no research work is being done on them .

Interestingly, six Chairs have been set up in the university out of which two are vacant for about past two years and two were announced recently, which are yet to see the light of the day and one is chaired by a university professor.

Sources informed that the Guru Ravi Das and Sheikh Baba Farid chair do not have any chairperson nor have proper infrastructure, faculty and literature available for the researchers, which is the basic requirement for any research work.

Similarly, two other chairs of Rabindra Nath Tagore and Shiv Kumar Batalvi are on the papers only, as after the announcements no further progress had been done by the authorities to make them functional.

The sources revealed last year a proposal of Rs 5 crore was mooted up by the authorities for constructing Guru Teg Bahadur Bhawan on the campus to house all Chairs and make a separate library or each chair. There was also a proposal to shift the Punjabi department there and make three auditoriums in the bhawan. But the authorities have not been able to raise funds for this prestigious project.

They also informed that in the last two years, the authorities could collect Rs 34 lakh from various sources. From this year they were planning to charge Rs 10 from each student of the colleges affiliated to the university so that this project could become functional.

The university authorities depend on the donations from the government or students. Surprisingly, they are more concerned to organise events like World Punjabi conference for the promotion of the language on the campus, but such proposals are being neglected.

One of the scholars said rather than burdening the students and faculty, why the authorities were not sending this proposal to the Union government for funds ? Registrar SS Bari said the project was on the agenda of the authorities and the construction work would commence this year.



Degrees awarded
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 18
The Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Technical University (PTU) Dr Rajneesh Arora today urged students to go in for entrepreneurship instead of becoming job seekers in order to earn more money, freedom and respect in the society.

Arora, who was addressing a gathering after conferring degrees on 239 students of the Gian Jyoti Institute of Management and Technology at the seventh convocation, said due to recession jobs were not available at the global level. “It is better to become a job provider than a job seeker and help the society,” he added.

Dr Rajneesh, who was the chief guest on the convocation, said as per the UGC figures only 11 per cent students went for higher education whereas in developed nations the enrollment rate was more than 50 per cent. The total number of seats in professional courses in India was not over eight lakh. Degrees were conferred on 110 students of MBA, 38 of MCA, 27 of BBA and 64 of BCA.



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