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Drugs in City
Second suspect booked under NDPS Act
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
In a damage-control exercise, the Chandigarh Police finally got its act together and booked the other suspect, Dharminder, of Ram Darbar, under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. He along with one Prem Pal of the locality was captured on camera while selling a Schedule-H drug by The Tribune team on Monday.

The police had earlier arrested Prem Pal under a rather innocuous Section 109 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which is more of a preventive nature. The police action drew sharp criticism for “playing down” such a serious crime in the city.

The police had not invoked criminal provisions in the law under the Drug Trafficking Act despite the fact that the crime had taken place. Rather the police took action to prevent the anticipated crime.

UT SSP SS Srivastva, while assuring a fair probe and action against those found involved in the drug trafficking in the city, said the role of the area police and the beat staff was also being looked into. He added that the matter was being inquired into and stern action would be taken against the guilty.

Rectifying its action, the police arrested Dharminder, alias Kala, alias Sobti, and booked him under Section 20 of the NDPS Act. He was arrested from near a park in Phase II, Ram Darbar, and the police claimed to have recovered 20 coxvil injections and 18 buerenorphine injections from him.

He was today produced before a local court, which remanded him to one day police custody.

SHO of the Sector 31 police station inspector Bhupinder Singh said they would question the accused from where he had procured the drugs and trace people who made available these drugs to the people without any records. Police teams would be dispatched to the places from where the accused had procured the drugs.

The SHO also added that the other suspect Prem Pal, earlier booked under preventive measures, would also be booked in this case. Dharminder had told the investigators that they both sold the drugs in the city.

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Discrepancies alleged in ‘Aashreya’ admission
Name game of Governors on foundation stone

Neha Miglani


Parents of mentally ill children look at the board of former Governor Lt Gen JFR Jacob at ‘Aashreya’ in Sector 47, Chandigarh. (Inset) The new board that has been put up after it reopened with Rodrigues’ name .Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, March 27
Adding to the controversies surrounding the newly launched project, ‘Aashreya’, of the UT Administration and Government Medial College and Hospital, Sector-32, it has been found that rules were flouted in giving admission to ‘orphaned mentally-challenged’ persons. Such is the claim of the parents of those who have been denied admission in this permanent home in Sector 47.

The newspaper advertisement published by GMCH-32 in January clearly stated that the admission was open for the ‘orphaned mentally challenged’ persons. However, it has been found that a mentally challenged boy Abhijit is being everyday dropped by his parents at “Aashreya”. A few women have also been shifted from Nari Niketan to this home even though the residents were denied admission earlier. “They are not just flouting the rules laid down by themselves, but are being unjust to mentally-challenged persons, who were part of this home even before it was once again inaugurated, by denying them admission, ” said DR Sood, president of ‘Prayatan’, an NGO comprising parents and guardians of the mentally-challenged persons in the tricity.

Earlier in October 2008, Governor SF Rodrigues had cancelled the inauguration of the Half Way Home at the same site, a project for rehabilitation of mentally challenged persons. The reason cited for the cancellation was that the officers were confused and the Governor was not happy with the concept. The home was once again inaugurated in December 2008 as ‘Aashreya’- a home for orphaned mentally challenged persons.

Responding to the allegations of the parents, Dr Raj Bahadur, Director, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector -32, said: “ If there are any discrepancies, we will rectify the same. But the criteria on basis of which the patients get admission are decided by the administration and not by us. We are just the custodians of “Aashreya”, it’s the administration’s brainchild.”

Meanwhile, parents of the mentally challenged children have expressed shock over the removal of old foundation stone of the Half Way Home with former Governor JRF Jacob’s name and putting up of a new board after again inaugurating the building (as Aashreya) by UT Administrator Lt Gen SF Rodrigues (retd).

“Our children have been denied admission because of the reopening but we are even more shocked at the fact that the old board has been removed,” said OP Asija, a parent and member of ‘Prayatan’.

Woes of parents

A few cases have surfaced in which the mentally- ill patients have been denied admission even though they had been staying in Half Way Home in the past as well. There are about seven institutes and stay homes in the city for mentally-ill persons which include Samarth in Sector 15, Prayas in Sector 38, Asha Kiran in Sector 48, SOREM in Sector 36, Savera and Sadhna in Mani Majra, but not even a single institute for the mentally-challenged persons. The Half Way Home, which was meant for the mentally-ill, was also changed to “Aashreya.”

Those denied permission:

Case 1) Rashmi Seoni (53), daughter of 73-year-old Nirmala Seoni, who has been denied admission as she is mentally-ill and does not fall under mentally-challenged category although she has been staying in Half Way Home for the past five years now.

Case2) Two sons of OP Asija, aged 33 and 37 years, who are mentally-ill, but were denied admission. He is a heart patient and his wife is suffering from cancer. The home was his only hope.

Case3) Raj Laxmi, another patient and nephew of MP Keshwan was denied admission even though she is mentally ill.

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RBI manager held guilty
Misbehaviour with German national
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Suresh Kumar Sharma, deputy manager, Reserve Bank of India, was today held guilty for misbehaving with a German national after a decade-long trial. Judicial Magistrate First Class Mahesh Kumar today convicted SK Sharma and imposed a fine of Rs 4,000 on him for using words intending to insult the modesty of the woman.

The victim had deposed before getting her statement recorded last year. Delighted with the news of the conviction, the victim said: “I am very happy with the orders. I am glad to know that finally everything is over.”

The counsels of the complainant were Terminder Singh, Ashish Gupta, Barun Jaiswal and Kapil Mittal.

The case had been pending in the court since August 1999. The victim came to Chandigarh in 1999, but barely came for any of the hearings during eight years of the trial.

As per the complaint, she had come to India in 1999. During her stay, she faced some problems at the State Bank of India. Thus, she went to the Reserve Bank of India to get the problems sorted out. Following this, the deputy general manager, RBI, SK Sharma, called her.

She went to the office of the manager with her friend, Herbert. Sharma asked her friend to leave the office. Later, he offered her coffee and allegedly started asking her weird questions about her personal life. He came to her hotel room that evening, where the police arrested him on the victim’s complaint. The deputy manager was convicted under Section 509 of the IPC.

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Sharp rise in juvenile crime
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Rise in the incidence of brawls in the city involving schoolchildren reveals a disturbing trend of pupils opting for violence for settling scores and rivalries.

Nothing more exemplifies the statement better than yesterday’s incident where a group of boys, including a few minors, abducted another student from in front of an examination centre, bashed him and then dumped him near the temple.

Though no case was registered in this regard as both families of the children involved in the incident reached a compromise, the police booked five of them as a preventive step, late last night.

The incident is amongst many that have taken place over the past few months where students have decided to bash another outside the school. A few weeks ago another student of a city school was beaten up and his teeth broken by his rivals. Similarly, students of another school created a ruckus in front of Sector 35 discotheque.

Apart from this, the police had on Thursday arrested three boys on the charges of breaking windowpanes of a car parked outside the residence of their schoolmate on March 16. The police said in this case also the action was fallout of a group rivalry among the schoolchildren. Their parents pleaded with the other party not to lodge a complaint against their wards and were ready to pay the compensation for getting their vehicle repaired.

The kids were, however, arrested on the charges of damaging property and criminal intimidation and later released on bail. Earlier also the police had arrested youngsters involved in the cases of injuring others, thefts, robberies and snatchings.

The police had in January arrested three boys, including two brothers, who were involved in the midnight snatching incidents. The miscreants were prone to lavish lifestyle and made purchases and love to watch movies in multiplexes. Sources in the police said over 130 juveniles were arrested last year for their involvement in different crimes, including theft, snatching and brawls against 118 in 2007. Though exact data of number of juvenile arrested in various crimes this year is not available, the year has seen a sharp increase, as far as involvement of juveniles in crime is concerned.

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Eviction notice against Cong leader upheld
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Upholding the eviction proceedings initiated by a lower court, the Sessions Court has directed president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, B.B. Behl, to vacate the portion of the Hotel President that was on rent within three months of the pronouncement of orders.

The politician had taken the shop-cum-office (SCO) number 21 in Sector 26 on rent in 1981, while the adjoining SCO number 22 that was owned by Behl was not constructed.

SS Patwalia, who is the owner of the SCO 21, fixed the rent of the SCO 21 at Rs 7,500 per month and gave it on a lease for 11 months. However, when Behl got the adjoining SCO number 22 constructed, the two SCOs were combined in violation of the sanctioned site plan. The Estate Office initiated resumption proceedings against Patwalia, who is the owner of the SCO 21. Subsequently, Patwalia filed a case against Behl on grounds of materially impairing the value and utility of building by removing common wall and permanent structure of the building against the sanctioned site plan.

He had filed the case against Behl in 1996, which was decided by the rent comptroller in the favour of the complainant S.S. Patwalia on January 23 in 2007. The politician appealed against the said order in February 2007 in the Sessions Court. During the pendency of the case in the Sessions Court, Patwalia’s counsel advocate Anuj Raura filed an application seeking enhancement of the rent. The court enhanced the rent from Rs 7,500 to Rs 35,000. However, the complainant’s counsel appealed for further enhancement in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The High Court then gave directions to the trial court to pronounce the orders in the case within six weeks.

Reacting to the orders, Behl said, “This is under litigation and we are filing an appeal with the High Court and w will seek justice from the High Court.”

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Vote us to power, own a dream home, say leaders
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Following the BJP’s notion of allowing additional storey in residents, “Dream to have house in Chandigarh," this though unbelievable could find the top place in the political parties programme list for the day.

“Affordable houses in Chandigarh!” That’s what Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal today vowed for the government employee as well as private sector employee but on the other hand, BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan assured that 13th type or other category houses to government employees would be on their priority list before they retire, in addition to the retirement age which would be increased to 60 years. Obviously, in both cases, they urged that the targets would be achieved only, if they are voted to power.

Nevertheless, Bansal while addressing a public meeting, jointly called by the Haryana Government Press Employees Union and the UT Government Press Employees Union at Sector 18 Press Chowk, “revealed” their “affordable” housing plan by which they meant that employees would not have to pay more than 30 to 40 per cent of his monthly salary as instalment. But, it would not to be spread out for more than 10 years.

Bansal faction has planned that the affordable houses, to be allotted to all government as well as private sector employees would be constructed on an area ranging from 300 sq ft to 1200 sq ft.

Echoing the sentiments of the government employees of Chandigarh regarding the implementation the sixth pay commission, Bansal said the delay was due to its non-implementation in Punjab. “The provision for the Budget for this purpose has already been earmarked for the UT employees and it will be released to them as soon as the Punjab implements the same”, he added.

Dhawan criticised the non-implementation of sixth pay commission during the rally of the Punjab and UT Employees Joint Action Committee held at Sector 17 Plaza. He said the employees were the backbone of the government and promised their dues like bonus, jobs for deceased dependents, filling up vacancies and end to contractual system. He also ensured the employees that SC/ST certificates should be issued within three months of his coming into power.

Meanwhile, Dhawan also addressed a public meeting at Sector 24 dobhi ghaat. Chandigarh state BJP President Kamala Sharma, general secretary Sanjay Tandon, former BJP President Dharma Pal Gupta, state vice-president Purshottam Mahajan, termed Bansal as an incompetent, excuse-monger and anti-people leader.

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EC issues guidelines on loudspeakers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 26
The Election Commission of India has issued instructions regarding the use of loudspeakers by the political parties, candidates and their supporters for the electioneering campaigns, UT Administration spokesperson said here today.

The use of loudspeakers as one of the means of election propaganda and imparting information to public, its usage cannot be stopped, thus the Election Commission of India, exercising the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Constitution of India, has issued the following guidelines on the use of loudspeakers in the election campaign.

The guidelines are as under:

All political parties, candidates and other persons intend to use loudspeaker or amplifier will have to obtain a prior permission from the single window set up in the office of returning officer-cum-district magistrate, Chandigarh. A public address system, loudspeaker or any sound amplifier whether fitted on vehicles of any kind whatsoever, or in a static position used for public meetings for electioneering purposes would not be used between 10 pm to 6 am and will not be used around hospitals and educational institutions.

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1 TIMER
Youth should come forward

With the Lok Sabha election round the corner, I seize this opportunity to call upon my young friends to prepare to shoulder the great responsibilities in the time to come. Youth wields unbridled power to change the destiny of a nation - this saying is so apt in the present times.

India today stands robbed of all its riches with our politicians, the so-called vanguards of the country, throwing the age-old glorious traditions of this nation. I call upon each member of my ilk to exercise the franchise and motivate at least two persons to vote. Our system has become dirty with scandals and scams. I stand for those who have a clear vision and can raise their voice against the system. It is high time for us to rise out of deep slumber and stop not till the job of resurrecting the nation of our dreams is accomplished.

Shivani, BA I, GCG-11

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No de-addiction centre in town
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 27
Despite drug addiction rising among the youth in Mohali and surrounding areas, the health department has failed to set up a drug de-addiction centre in the town, thanks to the indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned.

The health authorities have not even issued single licence to those interested in running drug de-addiction centres privately. A few such centres were running illegally in the town till last year, but these were also closed as the authorities concerned failed to regulate their functioning. Complaints were received from inmates that they were subjected to inhuman treatment after which raids were conducted by health officials, leading to the closure of such centres. A number of inmates undergoing treatment were shifted to Kharar where a de-addiction centre is being run by the Red Cross Society.

The police and health officials have been seizing drugs from time to time and both agreed that the problem of drug addiction was on the rise. In fact, a team of drug inspectors had yesterday raided various shops in and around Mohali and seized habit-forming drugs worth about Rs 45,000, which had been stocked illegally.

SSP Jatinder Singh Aulakh had stated during the camps that problem of drug addiction was very high and the situation was turning grim with each passing day. Under such circumstances, it was very necessary that the town had a modern drug de-addiction centre to help addicts to get out of their addiction.

The building housing one such centre in Phase X was lying vacant while another in the Phase IX, Industrial Area, was now being used for industrial purposes. Another centre in Phase III-B2 was found locked from inside. An insider said the de-addiction centre was closed but counselling of drug addicts was still done.

Dr Avtar Singh, civil surgeon, said a proposal to set up a drug de-addiction centre in Mohali was sent to the higher authorities. However, any person hooked to drugs was helped when he approached the civil hospital.

He said no licences for setting up of drug de-addiction centres privately had been issued so far. This fell within the purview of the social welfare department and it was not clear as to which department should issue such licences and regulate de-addiction centres.

A case in this regard is undergoing in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

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‘Indian spy’ in Pak jail
Expedite deportation after completion of sentence, says court
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today made it clear it wants the Union of India to ensure “no stone is left unturned” to expedite the deportation of an “Indian spy” after completion of 25-year sentence awarded by a Pakistani court.

Kuldeep Singh has been languishing in a Pakistani jail after his arrest in 1992; two years after he was allegedly “hired” as a spy by the Indian Army for undercover work in the enemy country.

Aggrieved by the alleged apathy and lack of concern shown by the Indian Army towards the “spy” after his arrest, Kuldeep Singh’s sister-in-law Rukmani Devi had moved the high court for securing his release.

A former assistant sub-inspector, Rukmani Devi had claimed Kuldeep Singh was “hired” by the Indian Army in 1990, but after his arrest, the Army “denied any concern” with him.

Seeking directions to the Union of India and other respondents for sending the travel documents to the Pakistani government for his release from Kot Lakhpat central jail at Lahore, she had claimed Kuldeep Singh had undergone the sentence awarded to him and was eligible for release. She had placed reliance on documents procured under the Right to Information Act for the purpose.

As the matter came up for hearing before Justice Surya Kant, the respondents said information available with the Ministry of External Affairs suggested Kuldeep Singh was arrested by the Pakistani authorities on December 19, 1992. In July 1996, he was awarded 25 years on the grounds of spying.

Taking up the matter, Justice Surya Kant ruled the stage to send the travel documents to Pakistan for Kuldeep Singh deportation had not arrived, as he was required to undergo the remaining sentence.

But as and when the occasion arose, the court was sanguine that the Government of India, through the Ministry of External Affairs, would leave no stone unturned to ensure that, on completion of sentence, his deportation to India would be expedited.

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AWWA Status
Issues may be raised before HC
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
While the Central Information Commission (CIC) has held that the Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA) is not a public authority and hence does not come under the purview of the Right to Information Act, it source of funds continue to be questioned.

Former major Guneet Chaudhary, who had sought information under the RTI on AWWA funds, said here today that he would now be challenging the CIC order in the high court. Financial transactions worth crores and the reason for co-location of AWWA offices, if it is a private body, with vital military installations are issues that need to be cleared, he added.

The Canteen Stores Department (CSD) of the Army, until recently, was claiming to have contributed Rs 9,500 million from its profits and a part of this amount was given to AWWA. During hearings by the CIC, the army submitted that the information was incorrect and further undertook to amend the book in which the statement was published.

CIC had observed that records pertaining to the case gave the impression that the Army had a direct control over the functioning of AWWA. Coupled with the fact that AWWA premises are located in government premises, the impression that a citizen carries is that AWWA is an integral part of the Army.

While observing that Army officers did not perform a regular function within AWWA but continued to work in their respective positions within the Army and extended only honorary liaison function, the CIC ruled that if the status of AWWA as an NGO not substantially financed by the government had to be maintained outside the purview of the RTI, it would be desirable for the authorities concerned to take steps to remove such an impression.

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Bags, pillion riders replace delivery boxes
Amit Khanna

Chandigarh, March 27
With the UT administration banning the use of two-wheelers for commercial activity, city’s fast food chains are resorting to new methods to keep their delivery business running.

While hoping for an exemption from the administration, they have been forced to incorporate improvised ways to meet the demands of the customers.

“We have removed the food delivery boxes from our two-wheelers after the order was passed. Now, we are using shoulder bags for taking the orders to the doorsteps of our customers. It is not a convenient way but we do not have any other option right now,” said Praveen Singhal, Area Manager Yo China.

With the frequency of orders and the quantity carried the revenues are fast getting affected.

“There has been a dip in sales by almost 20 per cent, as we have not been able to meet the delivery demand of our consumers. We have requested our head office for thermo bags in which multiple orders can be carried,” he adds.

“There is a reduction in sales revenue by almost 50 per cent. We have started using a pillion rider instead of the boxes.

We have also increased the time from 30 minutes to 45 minutes,” said an employee working with Domino’s.

Another fast food giant Pizza Hut has also resorted to the same practice of carrying their orders with the help of pillion riders.

The abrupt halt in home delivery from various joints has also left foodies in the city bemused.

While the food joints are hoping for an exemption on the issue, the administration does not seem to be in a mood to relent.

“We have been permitted by the administration for using the two-wheelers for delivery,”said Praveen of Yo China showing the order, a copy of which is with The Tribune.

However, Vandna Sisodiya secretary STA, said these orders could not be taken as permission letters and moreover after the issuance of letters they were called for verification of the vehicles for which they have never reported.

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New lease of life for 70-yr-old
Anuja Jaiswal

Tribune News Service


Ahmed, who is recuperating in the PGI, is now able to stand on his feet with the help of clutches. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, March 26
Seventy-year-old, Ahmed, a resident of Srinagar, had been living in a hell for the past eight years. His 6’x3’ cot had virtually become his world as he continued to stare the ceiling of his bedroom for years.

Unable to move because of the broken hip, he had lost hope to stand on his feet again. He had consulted everyone from the local “hakim” to the doctors in Srinagar but always returned dejected. Though, he had undergone four surgeries but failed to achieve anything.

“I used to cry and ask Allah, why me,” he told this correspondent in his native Kashmiri dialect at the PGI. His journey from the valley to the orthopedic ward of the institute here has virtually become a voyage from despair to hope, as he is now recovering from a hip replacement. He was finally able to achieve what he couldn’t for the past so many years.

Ahmed was admitted to the hospital about a fortnight ago but he couldn’t be operated upon for a week because of the weakness. While the doctors were in two minds regarding the surgery, his miseries played heavy on their minds while deciding to go ahead with the hip replacement procedure, which was conducted by Dr Aditya Aggarwal recently.

“He had met with an accident and suffered hip fracture about eight years ago, since then he has been bedridden. His wife, Amrit, stated: “I didn’t know what to do when we came to know about his situation.” Doctors told me that he couldn’t stand on his feet even after the surgery. “He had been operated upon four times in a hospital in Srinagar,” said his son.

When I was told that he needed a hip replacement surgery, which cost Rs 70,000. I felt as if the world was crumbling right in front of my eyes. It was impossible for me to raise such a huge amount, added his wife. Anyhow, we arranged the money after many efforts.

“Life was hell for me as I was totally depending on others. Even, I could not move from bed and my wife is cardiac patient so I had to depend on my children.

According to Dr Agrawal, The operation involved replacing his broken hip joint, which took two hours. His post-operative recovery was satisfactory considering his age. He was made to sit and walk and would be discharged in the next few days.”

He said the hip replacement procedure was very satisfying and rewarding for the aged as they were up and about a few days after the operation. “This saves the patient and his family from long suffering normally associated with the non-operative treatment of such fractures. Best of all, the surgery is affordable,” he added.

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Poll Code
Cleaning of underground water tanks stopped
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 27
The work of cleaning underground water storage tanks in Sectors 57 and 64 and providing a chlorinator at the underground tank in Sector 71 has been kept on hold by the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) because of the implementation of the code of conduct in connection with the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The work is significant as it is linked to the supply of water to some sectors of the town and Mohali already faces shortage of water. As the summer has set in and the demand for water has gone up, the water supply and sanitation wing of the department of public health wants to utilise all resources keeping the convenience of the residents in mind.

It is learnt that an executive engineer of the water supply wing has urged the chief engineer of the GMADA through a letter to take permission for the execution of the work from the Election Commission so that it could be done at the earliest.

There are three underground water tanks in Sector 64 and two of these were cleaned when residents had complained that lizards and other insects were contaminating the water stored in these tanks. The third tank here will be cleaned only after it is separated from the other two tanks and if the work is kept on hold till the elections are over, residents will be put to inconvenience. The work at the Sector 57 water storage tank is also of a similar nature.

The chief engineer of the water supply and sanitation wing had sent an estimate for the work (Rs 21.70 lakh) to the GMADA for administrative approval and release of funds.

The GMADA authorities had completed the formalities in this regard but were not releasing the approval letter and the funds for the work because of the code of conduct.

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Misusing premises, get ready to be penalised
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Wielding a stick on those who are on the wrong side of the law by “misusing” their premises, the Chandigarh administration is all set to impose heavy penalty on them.

The administration has cautioned the occupants to do away with the practise of misusing the premises within a period of two months or pay a penalty to be calculated at Rs 500 per sq feet of the misused area every month. The notice period of not less than 15 days, after making amendment in the Chandigarh Estate Rules 2007, would be applicable to commercial, industrial and residential premises only if put to any “commercial” use.

In case the occupier and the lessee are two different parties, charges for misuse would be recoverable from the occupier first and then the lessee. The misuse charges would continue to be charged till the misuse continued or the transferee or occupier held the possession of the site or the building.

For delay in misuse payment, further interest would be charged at rate of one- and-a-half per cent for each month of delay.

It’s to mention that earlier, the misuse charges of residential or institutional premises were Rs 50 per sq yard if less than 25 per cent of site or covered area of building misused and Rs 100 per sq yard if more than 25 per cent of site or covered area of the building is misused. In case of commercial premises, Rs 20 per sq feet was penalised for misuse on the ground floor, Rs 10 per sq feet on the upper floor or on the basement and Rs 40 for misusing the open areas.

Nevertheless, the estate office is in the process of identifying the defaulters. “A survey was conducted recently and it has been found that number of guest houses, provision stores, and even government offices have been carrying on the activities from the residential premises, least bothering to seek sanction. To deal with them sternly, a policy has now been drafted where they would have to bear heavy penalty,” said Assistant Estate Officer Ashwani Kumar.

The assistant estate officer clarified that if it would be determined that the misuse was on the part of the occupier, the aforesaid charges would be recovered from the occupier only.

In case of the non-payment of the charges by the occupier, the same would be recovered as arrears of the land revenue.

The Narcotics Control Bureau and the Sports Authority of India were recently found to be running their offices from the residential areas in Sector 2 and Sector 45, respectively. Even, various social organisation have managed to get land at concessional rates to constructing bhawans on the pretext of organising social activities whereas these bhawans are being rented out on heavy amounts for hosting various functions like marriages and holding of exhibitions.

“Definitely, they are on the wrong side of the law and now fresh notices with revised penalty rates would be served upon them. Under no provision, any commercial or official activity is allowed to run in residential area. The SAI office is since running from a Chandigarh Housing Board colony, so for that matter the board would deal with them as per their provisions”, Ashwani Kumar added.

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60,000 devotees throng Mansa Devi
Tribune News Service


Devotees throng Mata Mansa Devi temple on the first day of Navratras at Panchkula on Friday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Panchkula, March 27
At least 60,000 devotees had visited the Mata Mansa Devi temple on the first day of Navaratra fair that began here today. The fair is to continue till April 3.

Though the turnout of devotees remained low till the afternoon, the number started rising sharply by the evening which surpassed the figure of the last year on same day when 55,000 pilgrims paid their obeisance.

The offerings collected at the temple, in addition to cash of Rs 5,50,000, consisted of a piece of gold and 29 pieces of silver. Last year, Rs 5,25,000 were collected as offerings on the first day of Navratras. The number of devotees is expected to rise during the coming days, said Deputy Commissioner Rajender Kataria.

However, as far as the security was concerned, the district administration had left no stone unturned. There were sufficient security personnel keeping in view the number of devotees and the administration had also made good arrangements of parking. However, lack of coordination between security agencies and the Mansa Devi board led to harassment for many.

The employees of Central Soil and Water Conservation Research Farm had to return home without attending their duties when they were not allowed to take their vehicles to their office. The farm manager, Dr RS Nain, said the staff was provided with passes by the temple management last year. However, this time they were not issued any pass despite repeated requests. On the other hand thousands of people could be seen visiting temple through special gate carrying passes bearing markings of VIP and VVIP.

According to sources, the management has distributed more than 12,000 passes to politicians, bureaucrats and mediapersons to facilitate them and their acquaintances to have ‘easy darshans’.

The pass system, despite an eyesore for many, has continued for several years. It was only a way to oblige the who’s who by the board, said Devinder Mahajan, president of the MDC Sector 4 Association. “In fact we requested the Haryana Chief Minister during his visit here to stop this practice and he promised for the same. However, nothing was done to remove the partiality among the pilgrims in the name of passes,” he said.

Pilgrims stung by bees

Many pilgrims had to go under medication when they were stung by honey bees near the library at the Mansa Devi Temple complex. Fortunately, there was no big rush of pilgrims today or the situation could have caused a stampede.

The doctors at the dispensary set up at the temple confirmed that more than 6 victims were provided with the first aid against the bee sting.

However, the administration seemed to be oblivious of the fact as the bee hive could be seen on the same tree in the evening as well.

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Rise in motor vehicle thefts worries cops
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Even as the crime graph in the city has declined by over 20 percent in the first quarter of the year against the corresponding period in 2008, the reports of motor vehicle thefts continue to give sleepless nights to the police.

Despite the fact that the police is toying with various schemes for curbing motor vehicle thefts, including the sector-sealing scheme, these measures are just not helping in curbing the menace. Giving the details of the crime graph till March 15, SSP SS Srivastva stated that the crime like murder, attempt to murder, culpable homicide and injury had declined.

He added that last year seven cases of attempt to murder were registered in the first quarter of the year while only one case has been registered till March 15. Similarly, no case of culpable homicide was registered last year whereas two such cases have been registered this year. In 2008, 15 cases of injury and 20 of rioting were registered while 10 cases of injury and 14 of rioting have been registered this year.

Admitting that the motor vehicle theft is still worrying the police, the SSP said, “Though 180 cases have been registered this year against 198 in 2008, the marginal decline is far from the target. Efforts were being made, including constitution of special teams, for nabbing the gangster behind the motor vehicle thefts.” However, there is an increase in the murder cases. Similarly, 865 cases were registered under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code in 2008 against 665 this year.

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“Bagaane Bohad di Chhaan” staged
SD Sharma


Artistes perform in the play “Bagaane Bohad di Chhaan” at Punjabi Kala Bhawan Sector-16, Chandigarh, on Thursday. Tribune photo: Vicky
Gharu

Chandigarh, March 27
As a part of the three-day festival to commemorate the World Theatre Day by the Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademy and the Punjab Arts Council, a Punjabi play “Bagaane Bohad Di Chhaan” was staged at the Randhawa auditorium yesterday. Written by Prof Ajmer Aulkah, the play was directed by Pritam Rupal, akademy secretary.

Structured into the pastoral culture of Malvai area of Punjab, the play dealt with the aspirations, challenges, struggles for their rights against the centuries-old unethical establishments in the governance and society. Democratic norms and social dictates are designed to cater the vested interests of politicians, landlords or money lenders. Redolent with suggestive measures, the play shows how they, though divided, join hands to fight the oppressive forces.

Pritam Rupal as a drug addict (Amli) was simply superb as also Jagjit Shergill playing the central role. Darshan Patli, Paramjit Kaur, Sanober and Parminder played major roles. PAC chairperson Harjinder Kaur and Parvesh Sethi honoured the artistes.

Gursharan Singh will preside over the World Theatre Day function tomorrow at 11 am, in which Dr Mahendra, chairperson, department of Indian theatre, PU, will be felicitated. Haryanvi folklorist Dharamvir Sanghi will present a swang at 6.30 pm on March 28.

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Trade union protests against police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
Members of the New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) yesterday staged a protest in Sector 17 against the highhandedness of the city police. The protesters alleged that the police had brutally assaulted their leaders and activists during a peaceful protest on March 24.

The protesting members alleged that the workers of the Hero Honda Factory in Dharuhera, Haryana, came to the city on March 24 to stage a protest in front of the Labour Commissioner, Haryana, in Sector 17. The day-long protest went off peacefully with the workers demanding registration of their union.

At the end of the day, they decided to court arrest as a part of their protest and the NTUI members were present on the occasion, supporting the protest of the workers. The police allegedly canecharged the union leaders and workers without any provocation and manhandled them.

They alleged that many protesters were injured in the police assault. They sustained internal injuries.

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PU Brief
UBS releases provisional list

Chandigarh, March 27
University Business School has released the provisional list of candidates to be called for group discussion and personal interview for admission to MBA programmes for the session 2009-2010. The list can be seen on the notice board of the department and also on the website: <http://ubs.puchd.ac.in/>,according to Dr Dinesh K Gupta, Professor and Chairman, University Business School.

Blood donation camp

The Department of Law along with the Panjab University Campus Students Council and the Panjab University Non-Teaching Employees Federation organised a blood donation camp in memory of Gurjit Singh, alias Kaka, today. He was an active blood donor and always come forward for such cause from time to time. Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union State Finance Minister, inaugurated the camp. Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, presided over the function. About 85 units of blood were donated by staff members and students of various departments of the university, according to Prof PS Jaswal, Chairman, Panjab University. — TNS

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Enforcement staff to get uniform
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The enforcement committee of the local municipal corporation met under the chairmanship of MPS Chawla today. It was decided in the meeting that members of the enforcements staff would wear uniform as was specified in the previous meeting. The orders in this regard were passed today.

It was also decided that the encroachers would also be dealt with heavy hand. One of the members stated that ASP Madhur Verma had assured them that if any encroacher refuses to budge even after being challaned, the police would book him or her, if corporation writes to the police department in this regard.

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Services of teacher terminated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The services of Narinder, a guest teacher at Government Middle School, Indira Colony, have been terminated for allegedly bashing up another contractual teacher Sujit Yadav a few days ago.

Dismissing the rumours about the fight being over their rightful seats in the staff room, both teachers, according to sources, in their written statement, clarified that it was a register that had sparked off the row. While the department officials refused to comment on the issue, one of them revealed that both teachers had blamed each other for it.

Both confessed for not being on good terms with each other for long.They blamed each other for not giving a particular register to the other and initiating the fight. However, taking cognisance of their report, Narinder has been rusticated, while Sujit has been served with a strict warning.

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EDUCATION
 

From Schools & Colleges
PEC to celebrate “Earth Hour”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 27
The PEC will celebrate “Earth Hour”, a global event that urges everyone to turn off lights from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm on March 28. The event began with a signature campaign with Dr ML Gupta, DSW, and TK Jindal, officer incharge of the Envirovision Club and other faculty members flagging off the event. A painting competition with motive of saving the earth from global warming was also organised. In the afternoon, the students organised a silent rally in Sectors 10, 11 and 12, urging young and old to participate in the event.

Annual Day

Dr Ambedkar Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition, Sector 42-D, today celebrated annual day. UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas was the chief guest and President, Hotel and Restaurant Association, Manmohan Singh, was the guest of honour. The chief guest released the college magazine “Gourmets Affair”.

Technique ’09

TECHNIQUE ’09, annual technical festival of Punjab Engineering College, kick-started today. Partap Aggarwal, CEO, IDS Infotech and Chairman, CII, was the chief guest. Partap Aggarwal gave a presentation on the emerging trends and technologies in the market. He interacted with the students and encouraged them to think like an entrepreneur.

Graduation ceremony

Junior school graduation ceremony was held at Banyan Tree School. Students of Class V of the junior wing, wearing black robes and graduation hats, looked every inch “senior scholars”. Director of the school Ravinder Talwar gave away certificates and emphasised on the literal meaning of graduation, which is to move up to something more advanced or important. He advised the students that after the graduation ceremony, they should feel more accountable towards their duties and responsibilities as students of senior wing.

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Admn officials inspect two schools
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, March 27
A team of officials from the Education Department, STA, Fire and the estate office inspected two schools, Mount Carmel and Kundan International, today.

While the officials insisted it to be a routine inspection, however, according to sources it’s for the first time that members from all these departments have inspected together.

This was undertaken to identify violations of any kinds in private schools.

Meanwhile, some more schools shall be inspected in the coming week.

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