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Snehalaya fails to provide that human touch
13-yr-old inmate escapes from centre; parents withdraw their kids
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
It took a daring escape by Vinod to reveal the sorry state of affairs at Snehalaya, a vocational training centre for street children in Maloya, and one of the most celebrated endeavours of the UT administration.

This 13-year-old boy escaped last night from the third floor dormitory by tying over a dozen of trousers and was tracked by an NGO, Good Beginnings, which had been taking care of him prior to admitting him to the centre.

This “callousness” on part of the institute has not only perturbed them but also many parents who withdrew their kids from the centre today. Those at the helm of affairs claim that if any child elopes, it is not there responsibility. They, however, failed to answer that in such a case, was there a need for this centre? Or on what grounds the NGOs were allegedly being pressured to admit their students there?

“When we caught Vinod today we called up the centre authorities and inquired about him. We were told that he was in the institute,” said an NGO member.

It was on the administration’s appeal that I had admitted the students of our school to this centre. I had informed them that they were street children who had to be tackled in a proper manner. I had given them a proper application with the consent letters of parents and even intimated them about two boys, including Vinod, that they could be a problem to tackle with. However, despite of all this, the children have constantly been claiming of not being happy here, thus I have got the parents to decide for them and many of them are withdrawing their kids,” said Sangeeta Vardan, head, Good Beginnings.

When contacted, the superintendent of Snehalaya said, “We are not responsible if any child runs away from the centre. We have mentioned it in our admission form also. It is the responsibility of the NGO that leaves the children at the centre to counsel them,” he added.

When The Tribune team accompanied eight parents who withdrew their kids today, it was quite evident that the only work the centre was doing was to increase the strength to be in good books of the administration. The inmates include both boys and girls of all age groups.

“Every time I met my boy, he was crying. I had sent my child here to reform and not to weep. He had denied having short hair so the caretakers made him bald,” said a mother of one of the inmates.

Many inmates claimed to have been beaten up and attend to the personal errands of the officials there. Brother Pascal, who is associated with the city based NGO “DON BOSCO” claimed to be the director and misbehaved with the correspondent and the photographer.

Sources, however, revealed that he has been residing there illegally as the working of institute should be taken care by Father Sebastian who is generally absent.

Security lapse

There is no gate or security guards in the centre. The area surrounding the institute is lonely and the security of inmates, especially girls, is at risk. The girls’ hostel does not have a female warden also.

Though the administration inaugurated the institute with a great pomp and show, but it still has miles to go when it comes to performance.

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Court frames charges after 12 years
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Twelve years after registration of an FIR on charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy of whopping Rs 27 crore against Balwan Singh, the then secretary and cashier of the Shivalik Environ Cooperative House Building Society, a local court today framed charges against him and three others.

The court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) Praveen Kumar Lal framed charges against Balwan Singh, Deepak Chaudhary, Narveen Singh and Dr Meena for forging documents, cheating and criminal conspiracy. The court framed charges under Sections 120-B, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC. The police had registered an FIR against the accused on May 1, 1997.

Balwan Singh has been alleged of hatching a criminal conspiracy during the period from the 1985 to 1997 at a house in Sector 8 with the co-accused, Deepak Chaudhary, Narveer Singh and Dr Minna, who were office-bearers of the society. They were accused of cheating the members of the society by taking deposits from the society for the purpose of allotment of the plot in Saketri village in Haryana in the society.

The accused had promised to each member that the amount deposited by them would be paid to the farmers from whom the land for the plot was purchased. On the contrary, the accused withdrew the money from the account of the society. 

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Mohali Murder
Two persons called up victim
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 20
In a new twist to the sensational murder of Sameer Watts (34), the police today said that two separate persons had called up the victim on two different occasions from a mobile phone number of Fortis Hospital.

The senior official with a Mohali-based office of a cellular operator, who was shot at from a close range near Cosmo Hospital, Phase VIII here on March 12, had yesterday succumbed to his injuries.

Though the police is yet not clear about the motive behind the murder, it has confirmed that the first caller called up Sameer on March 10 (at 6.52 pm) and the second caller again called from the same number on March 12 (at 6.37 pm). Apparently, both the calls were made by using the same code to make the brief calls to the victim.

The calls were made around the time when the victim’s wife calls off her duty. “Knowing that the call from the hospital would mislead the police, the caller might have executed his plan in a systematic manner. But the possibility of code being passed on cannot be ruled out,” said sources.

Police firmly believes that both the callers have direct or indirect connection to the murder. In the CCTV grab released by the police, one of the suspects is seen wearing black jacket and a white short and in other grab, the other person is seen wearing a chequered-shirt. In both the grabs, clear pictures of the suspects are not visible. Both are persons are not employees of the hospital.

An analysis of the call details of the deceased and his family members has not yielded much. “One thing is sure that the assailant(s) avoided more contact though mobile and apparently opted for meeting Sameer in person,” said an investigating officer.

DSP, City, Swarandeep Singh said all efforts are being made to solve the case. All angles are being probed.

It is learnt that the cops have tried to reconstruct the sequence of events as told by the complainant, Sandeep, who is the brother-in-law of Sameer. Certain contradictions in the statement given by the complainant regarding the timings and the sequence of events leading to the incident were also baffling the police.

Caller identity vital for case’

Mohali SSP J.S. Aulakh said the identity of the caller could prove vital for cracking the case. The presence of the caller as per the CCTC footage coincides with the time of calls made from the hospital.

“Though I cannot comment on various leads, but we are trying hard to crack the case after exploring all the angles,” he added. Since the injured victim was shifted out of the car, the forensic inspection of the circumstantial evidence did not yield much. No fingerprints were found. The assailants escaped in the car and not on foot. 

Sameer Vats got quick promotions

Police clueless about any animosity at Sameer’s workplace

Forensic examinations of victim’s car reveal little

If not party, close acquaintance of the victim could give a vital clue

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Liquor traders form syndicate
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 20
Even as the Akali and Congress leaders fight it out in the ensuing parliamentary elections, the lucrative liquor trade has brought bonhomie between the politicians of the rival parties.

In a draw of lots for the liquor vends held here today, a consortium of those having close affiliation to two senior politicians of the rival political parties have joined hands to run 24 liquor vends in Mohali. During the excise policy 2008-2009, some of the stakeholders suffered losses due to competition from UT liquor vends and Punjab’s Excise Department could not recover its revenue.

Sources said a Congress MLA had joined hands with a senior Akali leader to pool their resources and control the liquor business in the city. Harpreet Singh Gulati, Kulwant Singh, Amarjit Singh Sidhu and Gurinder Singh managed to get the liquor vends in the city.

“With better enforcement and frisking on the border with UT, the losses can be curtailed,” said an excise official, adding that the city vends would bring revenue of around Rs 10 crore for the department. For the entire district, the revenue form 381 vends (56 groups) has been put at Rs 47 crore, a rise of Rs 5 crore compared to the previous year.

Though the UT Excise Department is yet to start the process of allotment of vends, department sources reveal that a bottle the liquor in Mohali would be Rs 50 dearer than the price at vends in Chandigarh. “The increase in VAT by the UT has not brought down the prices. Due to less excise duties and minimum retail prices of economy, medium, regular and high premium brands, the liquor will continue to be cheaper in Chandigarh,” said Krishan Lal, a liquor contractor.

Different brands of beer will be cheaper by Rs 7 to Rs 10 per bottle in Chandigarh. Thanks to the no quota system in Chandigarh, smuggling of liquor would continue. “The only way to check smuggling of liquor was that Punjab should not fix quota of liquor,” said Satpal, a veteran in liquor trade.

Moreover, the Punjab Excise Department, in its effort to check smuggling, has decided to set up its vend on the border along with the UT vend. An amendment in Section 61-A of the Excise Act has been proposed to make smuggling of liquor a non-bailable offence.

The liquor shops in towns were not area specific and could be set up anywhere as long as the provisions of the excise policy were not violated. However, in villages, areas have to be earmarked for setting up of liquor shops.

Liquor contractors having affiliations to the Congress and the SAD join hands to control city’s liquor trade

A bottle of liquor will still cost around Rs 50 more in Mohali than in Chandigarh

The Punjab Excise Department proposes to make smuggling of liquor a non-bailbale offence

Mohali vends to bring revenue of Rs 10 crore 

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SC restrains PEC from evicting PSEB research unit
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 20
The Supreme Court today restrained Punjab Engineering College (PEC), Chandigarh, from evicting the research unit of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) from the campus.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice V.S. Sirpurkar ordered status quo after Additional Advocate General, Punjab, Jayashree Anand told the Bench that the college had no authority to cancel the allotment of 18 rooms occupied by the research unit as it was the Chandigarh administration which had the ownership of the building.

However, in the course of litigation, the Chandigarh administration had also cancelled the allotment of the rooms to the PSEB. 

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Colony chieftains a headache for Cong, BJP
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

1st Timer
Varun
I am disillusioned with leaders’

In my opinion the whole system of governance has angered the youth of the country. I do no wish to vote for any party. Rather I want to exercise my right not to vote. Until the law regarding abstaining from voting comes into force, I will fill out form 17-A as part of my duty.

on-participation in the electoral process is wrong on part of public. However, we must go to the polling booth even though we do not find any deserving candidate.

The false promises and insensitivity of politicians to issues concerning the common man are two major reasons that have disappointed voters. This is my first chance to vote but the sorry state of the affairs in the country has disappointed me a lot.

With terrorist attacks and corruption ruling the roost, it requires much more than promises on part of candidates to set things right.

Concerted efforts to set the system right can only restore public’s faith in the democratic system.

Varun, BCom student

Chandigarh, March 20
Opportunism and elections go hand in hand. In fact, party hopping is not restricted to big leaders as the election time provides perfect opportunity for second-rung “vote catchers” in rehabilitation colonies to switch sides and make hay.

In the Chandigarh parliamentary the colony leaders, who wield considerable influence over the vote banks of different parties, are giving sleepless nights to at least two mainline political parties - the Congress and the BJP.

While BJP colony cell chief Shashi Shankar Tewari flip-flops on his resignation from the party, Congress colony cell chairman Shambu Banerjee has given a jolt to the party in the run-up to the May-13 elections by resigning from the party.

As opposed to Tewari, who once mulled joining the BSP, Banerjee had chosen to throw his lot with Trinamool Congress of firebrand Mamata Banerjee.

“I can no longer play a second fiddle to the top Congress leadership and want to carve a niche for myself in the local political field. With thousands of Bengalis in the city, the Trinamool Congress provides a perfect platform for me to grow politically in the city,” Banerjee told Chandigarh Tribune here yesterday.

Political observers, however, dub the muscle-flexing by colony chieftains on the eve of the general elections as a tool to “blackmail” the parties. With colony residents forming a majority of the crowd during the big political rallies, the parties are at the mercy of these local leaders during the elections.

A senior leader said on the condition of anonymity that since the city voters shied away from rallies, the parties had to rely on these local chieftains.

“To get their support, we often succumb to their unreasonable demands, including monetary demands,” he added.

Meanwhile, Pardeep Chhabra, media coordinator for Congress candidate Pawan Bansal, claimed that talks were on with Banerjee to sort out “differences”.

As the Trinamool Congress had a seat-sharing arrangement with the Congress at the national level, Banerjee would obviously support the Congress in Chandigarh, Chhabra added.

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Parking Fee
MC orders only on papers
Amit Khanna/Neha Miglani

Chandigarh, March 20
The Municipal Corporation might have informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court about its decision not to charge parking fee from motorists picking up or dropping passengers, the practice, however, is still being followed at almost all the parking lots in the city.

“I objected to the demand for parking fee when I had gone to the Sector 17 parking to drop my father for some work, but to no avail. The employee at the parking lot was not aware about any such orders, said Amolak Joshan, a city resident.

“I had just gone to drop my wife to her office in Sector 9 and was asked for the parking fee. I did not pay the fee and had to drop her at some distance from the office,” said Rajesh Kumar, another city resident.

The situation was same at the parking lots of Sectors 8, 22 and 34. In the parking lot of Sector 35, The Tribune reporter was asked to pay for a never-heard-before “drop-in chit” in clear defiance of the rules. However, on revealing the identity, the reporter was allowed to go without paying anything.

On being asked for the non-compliance of orders, Sanjay, working at the Sector 9 parking lot, said there has to be some system in place by which we can ascertain that the person will not stay inside at the pretext of dropping somebody. They can be issued some kind of tokens, which they can return at the exit point.

MC Joint Commissioner T.P.S. Phoolka said the contractors have been informed about the decision and they have assured us of their support in implementing it in the city.

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Cases pile up despite lok adalats
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
While the judiciary is busy organising lok adalat for March 21, the pendency of cases in district courts continues.

Judicial officers have been holding numerous lok adalats, mega lok adalats and pre-litigative lok adalats, besides working on some Sundays as part of Samadhan-2008 project to bring down pending cases at trial courts, but the backlog continues.

The figures of cases pending in December 2008 were 90,000 and the number has risen to 1,00,283 by March 2009. In all, there are 194 cases pending before two Juvenile Justice Boards. In the sessions courts, 8,013 cases are pending while in the lower courts, the maximum number of cases whose trial is still being conducted are 92,270, out of which a large number of cases are cheque-bounce cases.

Though numerous lok adalats were held last year, to which thousands of litigants responded and collected in the courts complex, but it failed to keep a tab on pendency.

In December, 1,148 cases were pending in the district courts. Now, the figure stands at 1,166. The number of cases pending in the court of the additional district and sessions court of Ravi Kumar Sondhi were 2,062 in December. These have marginally decreased to 2,019. The maximum cases of 8,749 are pending in the court of Judicial magistrate First Class PK Lal, followed by JMIC Mahesh Kumar and Dr Rajneesh with a backlog of 8,259 and 8,227 cases.

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Arrears
MC forms more teams for recovery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
To intensify the campaign to recover arrears of water bills from defaulters, the municipal corporation has raised the number of disconnection teams from 14 to 23 in the city.

MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria said the disconnection of connections of defaulters was started by forming 14 disconnection teams under five sub-divisional engineers.

These teams disconnected 1,017 water connections of defaulters and collected Rs 46.49 lakh from public in February. It had so far collected Rs 19.69 lakh in arrears and disconnected 421 water connections this month.

Each team comprises one fitter and two labourers along with security guards headed by a junior engineer.

The SDE concerned is the overall in-charge of all teams in his/her sub-divisions.

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IAF begins checks on MiG-29
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The grounding of MiG-29 fighter planes by Russia following structural defects has prompted the Indian Air Force to carry out extensive checks on its own fleet of such aircraft.

“We have moved special technical teams to IAF bases operating the MiG-29 to carry out various checks, including metal analysis and crack detection, on airframe components and others subsystems,” Air Marshal Gautam Nayyar, air officer commanding-in-chief, Maintenance Command, said.

IAF’s No. 11 base repair depot at Ojhar, near Nasik, which is responsible for maintenance of the MiG-29 fleet, is undertaking this exercise to ascertain the aircraft’s airworthiness. The IAF has three MiG-29 squadrons comprising about 65 fighters, which form a significant part of its air superiority element.

A week ago, Russia had grounded a large part of its MiG-29 fleet, comprising about 300-odd fighters, after defects in the aircraft’s tail-fin assembly, leading to disintegration, were revealed. Some recent crashes in Russia were attributed to this defect.

“Tests are being conducted only for a particular series of aircraft,” Nayyar said. In fact, the IAF had undertaken precautionary testing and defect analysis on these aircraft in 2002 also and this is the second time such measures are being undertaken.

Exactly a year ago, the IAF inked a $950 million contract with Russia for up-gradation and life extension of its MiG-29s. Six aircraft are already in Russia for the purpose, while work on the remaining aircraft would be done at Ojhar. The project is expected to be complete by March 2014, which would result in the aircraft having a new avionics suite, increased combat capability and a service life extended from the present year to 40 years. Life extension involves minute testing of structural integrity of all components.

Air Marshal Nayyar also said that the IAF was expected to induct the new Mi-17-V5 medium lift helicopter in June next. The IAF is procuring 80 such helicopters from Russia, while maintenance and overhaul facilities would be set up in Chandigarh. Russian teams would train IAF personnel here, for which requisite infrastructure would be set up.

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Media seminar concludes with introspection
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, Match 20.
Media personnel from across the country have strongly favoured the need to deliberate on the issue of ethics in media and to introduce some checks by the media itself. Besides, journalists also felt that there was a strong requirement to strengthening training and recruitment. Since future of the media was tied with its creditability, it become imperative that media did not fall into the trap of trivialisation to keep afloat the 24X7 news cycle.

These observations were made to share the consensus that emerged at the concluding day of the two-day media seminar. The seminar was jointly organised by the Australian High Commission and the Chandigarh Press Club and was attended by prominent editors and journalists from across the country.

Professor Robin Jeffrey from the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra, said: “Inadequacy of measuring tools for both print and broadcast has resulted in the failure to know what the readers or viewers actually want; therefore, there is an urgent need to develop these tools.”

Kumar Ketra, editor, Loksatta, talked about social dimensions of terror and posed a question as to when and how the term terrorism originated. Commenting on the Mumbai attacks, Ketkar said no Indian newspaper or journalist has investigated the attacks on Jews at Nariman House but had focussed on Taj, Oberoi and Victoria Terminus station.

“I wont be surprised that 10 years later some investigative journalist writes stating that the attack on Oberoi and Taj was a camouflage to divert attention from the attack on Nariman House”, Ketkar said.

Talking about “War on Terror: Media’s Role” Yusuf Jameel of the Asian Age revealed that he had faced three attacks each from both militants as well as security forces. Ajit Bhuyan editor of the Assomiya Pratidin, while talking of terrorism in the North East, said, “At the time of Indian independence, only Nagaland was facing secessionism, but it has now spread to various parts of North East. Raashid Maqbool, of Sangarmal narrated several incidents where he was caught in a dilemma after he learnt truth about some reports he had already published was otherwise.

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Major acquitted of molesting junior officer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Major Sudhir, who was accused of molesting a woman lieutenant of his own unit, has been acquitted of all charges by a general court martial (GCM).

The court, presided by Col Rupinder Singh from Western Command, today morning held Maj Sudhir not guilty of the two charges levelled against him. The court’s verdict is subject to confirmation by the convening authority.

The trial had commenced at Tibri near Gurdaspur in May 2007, subsequent to the trial of the unit’s commanding officer against whom the Lieutenant had also levelled similar charges. A GCM had acquitted the Colonel of the charges, but in its special findings held him guilty of using improper language in the officer’s mess.

The Major’s counsel, Col PN Chaturvedi (retd) told The Tribune that the prosecution had examined seven witnesses in support of its contentions, whereas the defence had examined 21 witnesses. Further, the testimony of the complainant was also not found to be trustworthy.

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PGI receives third cadaver donation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The efforts of the PGI authorities to promote cadaver donations are finally showing a result as the hospital received its third donation this year last week, resulting in a fresh lease of life for two patients, Santosh Devi and Amarjeet Singh, who received the kidneys of deceased Sukhdevi (45).

Though it wasn’t an easy decision for the deceased’s family to opt for the cadaver donation, they did it after being persuaded from the doctors. “I had some basic information about the organ donation but it was a tough decision to take,” admits Sukhdevi’s daughter Umesh Kumari.

Umesh Kumari, however, feels that her mother is still alive. Her kidneys were transplanted to Santosh devi and Amarjeet Singh who were struggling for their lives since months. Both were reportedly in a stable condition and were responding well to the treatment, said Dr Ashish Sharma.

The doctors of transplant surgery department who have been spearheading the campaign to promote awareness regarding brain death and organ donation, said, “Efforts are being made to create awareness in the community about cadaver donation?.”

He said the main reason for people not donating was difficulty in understanding the concept of brain death. “In both conditions, the patient is unresponsive on a ventilator and the heart continues to beat but in patients with brain death, it is a matter of time when their heart is also going to stop,” he said.

The doctors can recognise occurrence of brain death by performing various tests of brain-stem function. Once the heart stops beating, the organs cannot be used anymore.

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Roundup
Plots sought for ’84 riot-hit Sikhs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
A meeting of the 1984 Sikh Migrant Welfare Society was held at Sector 38 here today. Satya Pal Jain, BJP candidate from the Chandigarh Lok Sabha constituency, also attended the meeting.

Society president Harjit Singh told BJP leaders that a majority of around 350 members had not received compensation from the administration. They demanded plots at subsided rates for all riot-affected families.

Jain assured the members that the NDA, if voted to power at the Centre, would consider the demands of the riot-hit sympathetically.

Meeting

President of the Traders’ Cell of the BJP Kailash Chand Jain in a statement here today blamed the Congress for hefty increase in charges for misuse of the commercial buildings in the city.

JD(U) rally

Janata Dal (United) candidate VB Goswami address a corner meeting in Sector 55 and 56 colonies here today. He assured the residents that his party would take step to solve their problems, including unemployment of youth, uplift of women and provision of education for the children.

RJD candidate

The RJD today announced the name of Hafiz Anwar-ul- Haq as its candidate for the Chandigarh parliamentary consistency. The announcement was made by the party high command at New Delhi today, according to sources.

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SJOBA Rally
Speeding vehicles back on track
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The 22nd SJOBA Thunderbolt Sub-Himalayan Rally got off to an exciting start today with the super special stage held at the Sector-17 Circus Ground.

All the 55 gypsies, cars and bikes competing in the rally participated in this leg of the rally and the drivers zipped around the specially created track, negotiating the hairpin bends and leaving behind a cloud of dust, as they exhibited their skills.

From among the 55 competing vehicles one Gypsy (Team 11) negotiated a sharp turn too fast and overturned. The driver and the navigator were extricated from the Gypsy and no one was injured.

In gypsies, the team of Suresh Rana and Ashwin Naik brought in the best time of 1:32:14 minutes. The team of Sunny Sidhu and Honey Narula were a shade behind at 1:32:21 while the team of Sandeep Sharma and Kulbir Dhaliwal clocked 1:35:09 for the third spot.

In cars, the fastest was the team of Jagbir Singh Nirwan and Shivkaran Singh Mokha with 1:41:97, while the team of Inderbir Libra and Rahul Garg clocked 1:42:52 for the second spot. In third place it was Arun Davesar and Karan Bagla with 1:45:34.

In the bikes category, Pardyuman Singh was the fastest with 1:38:43, Saurabh Handa second with 1:40:54, while Yogesh Lakhani was third with 1:43:03.

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IT team seizes PCA records
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The preliminary investigations by the Income tax department during yesterday’s survey at the Punjab Cricket Association indicates that the association had earned crores of rupees during the last IPL matches. Efforts are now on by the authorities to ascertain whether related tax liabilities were fulfilled by the PCA or not.

The survey, which began last afternoon, ended close to midnight and the IT officials are reported to have seized several documents, including account books that are under scrutiny now.

Refusing to divulge any details, P.K. Chopra, Chief Commissioner Income tax department North-West Region, told The Tribune that though the PCA is registered as a Public Charitable Institution, which is exempted under Section 12 of the Income tax Act, documents were being studied to see if the IPL earnings and the subsequent expenses fell under the same category.

“As per law, 85 per cent of the income earned by such institutions has to be spent on the purpose (charity in this case) for which they have received the exemption,” he said. However, he remained tightlipped about the extent of PCA’s earnings and on the fact that whether any tax evasion had been detected. “We have got the documents and it will take a few days to assess them,” said Chopra.

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Poll code: Officials play safe
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 20
Development in Mohali has come to a halt as officials have adopted a play-safe attitude to avoid getting into trouble with the Election Commission.

While new development works cannot be carried out because of the enforcement of the model code of conduct in connection with the general elections, even those which had got the technical and administrative approval much before the code of conduct had come into force have been put on halt. So much so that even tenders for these works were opened in the first week of January and works orders for many projects were given around mid-February, but now the authorities have sought a clarification from the Election Commission whether the civic body could go ahead with these works.

Officials said they did not want to take any risk as far as development works were concerned because of the model code of conduct and these would be started only after the Municipal Council got the clearance from the authorities concerned.

As such the civic body had written a letter to the Deputy Commissioner yesterday in which it was stated that in accordance with the directions of the Election Commission of India it was brought to his notice that certain work orders were given by the civic body before the model code of conduct came into effect, as many works were related to the strengthening of roads, bitumen had been supplied to contractors concerned who were now finding it difficult to store the material, and it was important that these works be carried out.

The works that have been put on halt related to laying of a premix carpet in a residential pocket in Phase XI, near Matour village, on the road dividing Sectors 64 and 65, on roads opposite PUDA Bhawan and Cosmo Hospital in Sector 62 and on a road starting from Maghu petrol pump to the Chandigarh entry point.

Work relating to the supply and installation of generator sets for tubewells in the industrial area would also not be carried out till the council got a clarification in this regard.

It was still not clear whether the council would be able to sink five new tubewells, which had been approved to meet the shortage of water in the industrial area and Mataour village.

The civic body had cleared estimates for development works worth about Rs 4 crore in the meeting held last month, but none of these would be carried out till the general elections are over.

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Roads closed for recarpeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Chandigarh administration has said that traffic will remain suspended on some roads on account of ongoing recarpeting work on March 21 and 22.

Traffic will remain suspended on road between Sectors 4 and 9, and Sectors 5 and 8; V-3 road between Sectors 14 and 25; V-3 road between Sectors 25 and 38 (Sector 38 side); V-3 road between Sectors 7 and 8; Purv Marg between Sector28 and Industrial Area, Phase I (Sector 28 side); V-3 road between Sectors 38 and 38 (West); the Chandigarh-Kalka road via Kalagram.

Meanwhile, the traffic will be diverted on the link road from Sector 39 to Maloya village.

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Travel co employee killed in accident
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 20
Yuvraj Dhiman, a resident of Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, was killed when he was hit by a motor cycle while crossing the road separating Sectors 9 and 17 here this afternoon.

The motorcyclist, Mukesh Kumar of Khudda Lahora, however, escaped with minor injuries.

The 27-year-old victim was working as a customer care executive at Thomas Cook, a travel company, in Sector 9.

According to eyewitnesses, the accident occurred around 2.15 pm when the victim was crossing the road to go to Sector 9 and was hit by a speeding motor cycle.

The victim suffered severe head injuries after he fell on the median and his head hit against the road beam.

The police was informed and it took the profusely bleeding Yuvraj to the PGI, where he was declared brought dead.

Mukesh was admitted to the Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector 16.

Yuvraj’s colleagues told the TNS that he had married just three months ago and had recently shifted to Khudda Lahora. He had been working with the company for the past four years. He is survived by his wife, a brother and parents. The police has registered a case.

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Shovana casts magical spell
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, March 20
The hypnotising kathak spells that enchanted the singing strings of santoor gave a majestic start to the 39th All-India Bhaskar Rao Nritya and Sangeet Sammelan organised by Pracheen Kala Kendra at Tagore Theatre here today.

Undeniably the foremost virtuoso of Jaipur kathak gharana, Shovana Narayan, took the centrestage only to enthrall the audience swaying them right from her invocatory ‘vandana’ with a rendition of a shloka in laudation of lord Vishnu. Displaying the ‘teyyari ang’ of kathak with youthful freshness, she delineated the pure kathak dance syllables like thaats and parans. She was however at her best while presenting the abhinaya piece ‘vinati’, based on a myth from Mahabharata. She gave soulful enunciation of the poem which seeks to delve into the un-chartered hidden recesses of Kunti’s mind and understand her dilemma and anguish before bringing alive the tormented psyche of Darupadi through an adroit dance spell.

Amidst lofty applause, Shovana danced straight to the hearts of the inquisitive audience while displaying her nimble footwork, facial gestures and electrifying stage movements to geometrical precision. Tabla, Vijay Sharma (sitar), Madho Prasad (vocal) and Nitin Jain provided excellent accompaniment.

Earlier, Kendra secretary, Sajal Koser, and registrar, Shobha Koser, welcomed the chief guest General (Retd.) S.F. Rodrigues, who honoured the artists. Sh H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of the Tribune group of newspapers, Krishan Mohan IAS and S.K. Monga IAS graced the function.

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SOREM completes one year
Neha Miglani

Chandigarh, March 20
The successful completion of a year by SOREM (The Society for Rehabilitation of Mentally Challenged) opened by social activist Promila Chander Mohan, has set an example for NGOs everywhere.

The school in Sector 36, meant for autistic children, has come up with a well-organised structure, a green and red building signifying growth in a happy environment in the past one year. “Perhaps, this is the only building in the Chandigarh that has been built with a concept and so tastefully,” says Promila who has been devoted to the cause for almost 23 years.

The centre, which currently educates and trains 42 children, provides a homely atmosphere to the children and teachers are warm and caring. The school has also sent two of its teachers for a special certificate course in Hyderabad to update their knowledge on ‘Skills’.

The school is doing research work in the field of music therapy also. “Music has a soothing effect on the minds of these children. We are testing what kind of effect ‘Raag’ has on their minds,” Informs Promila. While the vocational training can make them self-reliant, it has been found that the spinning wheel and weaving is emerging as one of the best therapies for these children.

Meanwhile, the students are being trained for special Olympics, to be held next year in different cities, through specialised training modules.

The school is keen to send children for National Special Olympics again and host two events there ie Basketball and Skating. For hosting the same, an excellent 2 in1 rink for the same has been built at the school. But because the institute runs totally on donations, more and more residents need to come forward to fund the institute’s expenses.

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Tribune Impact
Education dept notice to St Kabir School
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Following the news report ‘St. Kabir flouts ICSE norms’ published in Chandigarh Tribune dated March 19, 2009, the UT education department has issued a notice to St. Kabir School, Sector 26, demanding the justification of denial of promotion to a Class IX child overlooking the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations guidelines norms.

It may be noted that St. Kabir School, Sector 26, has allegedly refused to promote a Class IX student for not having secured 50 per cent marks though according to the CSE guidelines the requisite is 45 per cent.

The matter had surfaced when aggrieved parents approached the home secretary alleging that the 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 and not 50 per cent as demanded by the school. It is being done notwithstanding the fact that according to the ICSE Board (to which the school is affiliated to), a child should secure an aggregate of 45 per cent and 35 per cent in 5 individual subjects to get promoted to the next class.

“If the school is found guilty of flouting the norms, the authorities will be dealt with sternly,” commented Samwartak Singh, DPI(S).

Meanwhile, the sources said the department had also received similar complaints against a Sector 45-based school and was probing the matter.

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Building violations
City school served notice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The officials of Sub  divisional Office (SDO), Buildings, had a tough time when they went to inspect BN Model School in Sector 37, for building violations today.

According to SDO KD Batra, when the officials went for the inspection, the school authorities obstructed them from doing their job and ultimately the police had to intervene.

“As the school authorities got violent, the police was called and a notice for not complying to various building norms could be served upon the school authorities,” he said.

The officials said the school management had been served a notice for not procuring the mandatory ‘Occupation Certificate’.

“The building plans were not found to be approved. We had observed certain zoning violations in the plan”, they said.

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PTU to have online counselling system
Tribune News Service

Banur, March 20
Punjab Technical University (PTU) will introduce an online system of counselling from the coming session, PTU Vice-Chancellor Dr Rajneesh Arora said here today.

He said admissions would be completed in a fortnight and this new system would relieve the students and their parents from unnecessary problems and harassment.

Dr Arora said the results would be declared in a specified period of time and would be put on the university website.

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Computers given to AIE centres
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
The Rotary Club of Chandigarh along with Bharat Prakash Foundation (BPF) and the education department, UT, provided computers and libraries for 25 AIE centres being run for the under-privileged children who are being imparted education through afternoon classes under the Sarv Siksha Abhiyaan.

Samwartak Singh, DPI-cum-state project director, SSA, was the chief guest at the function organised here recently in Government Model High School, Sector 38, Chandigarh.

The education department provided 10 computers while the Rotary Club gave 15 computers, Bharat Prakash Foundation, an NGO established by Neena Singh with the support of Rakesh Kumar Memorial Charitable Trust, has provided 5,425 books and 25 shelves for the libraries in AIE (Alternative Innovation Education) centres being run in the government schools.

Dr SK Duggal, president of the Rotary Club of Chandigarh, said the project would help nearly 1,000 “never gone to school” children in Maloya, Palsora, Khuda Alisher, Khuda Jassu, Khuda Lahora, Dhanas, Burail and Indra colony.

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School Buses
Deadline for speed governors suspended
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
While the administration for the first time is in the process of installing speed governors in all 180 buses being operated by the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), the deadline for installing speed governors in school buses has again been suspended for a week.

The deadline has been deferred earlier too. The initial deadline set by the administration was December 1 but was suspended for March 20 when school bus operators opposed the decision on installing the equipment in buses.

Manjit Singh, president of Chandigarh School Bus Operators Association, said the burden of escalating cost for installing speed governors would ultimately fall on parents.

“Moreover, the trial runs with this equipment were not successful. The device cost around Rs 15,000 and another Rs 1,500 as installation charges. This will compel us to raise bus charges,” he said.

Terming it a mere excuse, Home-cum-Transport Secretary Ram Niwas said: “We have not specified any brand for the equipment. The only condition is that it should conform to the prescribed specifications. We have been installing speed governors in all CTU buses and these cost Rs 9,232 each. It will be installed in all buses within a week. Technical experts have not found any hitch in the equipment so what’s the problem with school bus operators. Moreover, it has nothing to do with their other demands.”

Through a notification, the administration has recommended that equipment should comply with the Automotive Research Association of India (ARI) norms conforming to the Standard AIS:018, as amended from time to time.

The UT administration has directed that the speed governor shall be so set that the vehicle is incapable of exceeding the speed of 50 km per hour.

Nevertheless, the confrontation between the Chandigarh administration and school bus operators seems to have intensified.

The association claims that since the administration has turned a blind eye to their “genuine” demands, they should not be held accountable for not complying with the orders of installing speed governors.

Association’s general secretary Nirmal Singh said the unprecedented hike in permit fee, fixing the time span of school buses up to 15 years and asking to furnish details about excise arrears from period 2004 and 2008 were some of the demands that the administration had promised to consider, but in vain.

“It was mutually agreed at a meeting with administration officials held in November that fresh directives would be passed after working on the modalities of these strictures. Despite conveying repeated reminders on December 15, January 26 and February 5, we did not receive any response from the administration,” he added.

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No backing out after trials: PU
Sandeep Rana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
Directorate of sports, Panjab University, has decided to be tough against the players who show inability to play for the university in the inter-university meets after attending the practice camp or the trials.

A proposal in this regard was approved by the executive body today. Going by the proposal, the points of such players will be deducted which they secure during the inter-college meets that will also affect the college’s performance. The proposal will be implemented after receiving the final nod from the Vice- Chancellor.

“We have a few such players who didn’t represent the university after attending the camp citing some or the other reasons and after identifying these players, the action will be initiated against them,” said Dr C.S. Grewal, director sports.

Many times players held up due to their exams before the championship. Even at present, two teams that have gone to participate in the inter-university championships are scheduled to be back on April 2 just before the exams. “We cannot sacrifice our studies for the championships,” said a player of PU.

Terming it to be a good move, a physical education Head of Department (HoD) of a city college, said, “Some colleges bring players from outstation to represent their college and later they don’t participate in the inter-university meets, due to which the university suffers.”

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