C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Free-for-all at Bansal’s padyatra
BSP, Congress supporters clash
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
A minor altercation between CTYC president HS Lucky and some BSP activists at Mauli Jagran during the padyatra of MP Pawan Kumar Bansal this morning has snowballed into a major controversy with all other political parties joining hands and demanding the former’s arrest.

The incident occurred around 7.30 am when Lucky allegedly thrashed and passed some “castiest” remarks against BSP activist Sada Sawan Lehri, general secretary of the Chandigarh Schedule Caste Welfare Association.

Lehri said he had raised the issue of the unfulfilled promises made by Bansal and this had infuriated Lucky. He alleged that Lucky not only abused him, but also passed castiest remarks.

However, Lucky denied the allegations and dubbed it a “political conspiracy” aimed to defame him and Bansal. A press note issued by the Congress accused the BSP man of manhandling Lucky.

According to eyewitnesses, soon after the incident, Lehri went to the police post along his supporters and raised slogans against the Congress, Lucky and Bansal. At the same time, Bansal, along with Lucky, Devinder Singh Babla and other Congressmen also arrived at spot. While Bansal reportedly left immediately, Lucky and Babla went to the police post where they were mobbed by BSP supporters, primarily women. Residents claimed that Lucky was given a sound thrashing by the women.

To escape their wrath, he locked himself in a room at the police post, a local resident said. The commotion continued for over two hours, during which former Mayor Pardeep Chhabra also reached there. Subsequently, Lucky and his associates were allowed to leave.

This further infuriated BSP activists who were by then also joined by their party candidate Harmohan Dhawan. What followed was total chaos as Dhawan and his supporters kept demanding the arrest of Lucky.

When the police, led by DSP (East) PK Dhavan, refused to initiate action against Lucky without investigating the complaint, Dhawan left, saying that they would continue with the agitation. His supporters decided to block the Madhya Marg near the Housing Board Chowk.

Before they could reach the Madhya Marg, the DSP called for additional force and water canons to prevent them from blocking the road. The protesters fled the scene, leaving behind their leaders. The DSP then ordered the arrest of the leaders.

The SHO of the Manimajra police station, Inspector Kehar Singh, said complaints had been received from both parties and action would be taken after seeking legal opinion. He said 23 persons had been arrested.

Later, Harmohan Dhawan issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the police to arrest the accused or they would launch jail bharo agitation. Other political parties also joined in and said they would launch an agitation if the police failed to arrest Lucky.



Class VIII Results
Girls outdo boys yet again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Girls outshine boys in the UT education department Class VIII results declared today. Securing nine out of top 12 positions, the girls have broken all precedents. Anshu Thakur of Shishu Niketan School, Sector 22, topped city by securing 97.4 per cent. Yamini Jassal of the same school stood second with 97.1 per cent and Harshita Aggarwal stood third with 96.8 per cent.

While the school congratulated the teachers and students for securing this winning trio, Anshu credited her success to hard work. “The syllabus changed this year, so I made sure to work on the sample papers properly,” she said.

According to Yamini, “It is not a one day wonder but I worked hard the whole year.”

Meanwhile, in the non-model category Sahil of Government Model School, Mani Majra bagged first position with 90.5 per cent. Suman of Government Senior Secondary School-38 stood second and Aditi Sharma of Khuda Alisher stood third.



Scooterist knocked down by truck, dies
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 31
Sangeeta Ashri, a statistical assistant with the Haryana women and child welfare department and in her mid-40s, was killed after a truck knocked down her scooter near Hallo Majra Chowk here this afternoon. The truck driver sped away from the spot.

The truck dragged the scooter and the victim was crushed under its tyres. She was killed on the spot and the body kept lying on the road for over an hour with the police failing to complete the formalities, causing a traffic jam. The police shifted the body to hospital at around 2 pm.

The victim was coming from Zirakpur and was on her way to her office in Sector 34 when the accident occurred. She was not wearing a helmet. The truck was coming behind the scooter and the mishap took place when she was negotiating the rotary.

Onlookers informed the police and also called her colleagues after getting the phone number of her office from her identity card. Her colleagues reached the spot and informed her family about the tragedy.

The victim’s colleagues said she had taken half-day leave on account of Navratras. She is survived by her husband, an income tax officer posted at Yamunanagar, a 23-year-old son and a 16-year-old daughter.

The SHO of the Sector 31 police station said a case had been registered against the unidentified driver. Efforts were on to trace the accused on the basis of the registration number of the truck. 



Budget Allocation
Rs 2,149 cr in UT kitty
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The Centre has allocated Rs 300.35 crore under the plan Budget and Rs 1,849 crore for the non-Plan Budget for the city for 2009-10, a spokesperson for the Chandigarh administration said here today.

The Plan budgetary allocations were primarily aiming at three major areas like human resources development, infrastructure and environment.

The allocation under these areas was Rs 268.30 crore, which came to 89.3 per cent of the total Plan allocation. A sum of Rs 89.03 crore (30 per cent) was kept for human resources development, Rs 177.85 crore (59 per cent) for infrastructure and Rs 1.42 crore (0.5 per cent) for environment.

An allocation of Rs 40.73 crore (13.6 per cent) had been kept for the education sector while Rs 43.64 crore (14.5 per cent) was for the medical and public health sectors.

He said the non-Plan Budget had increased mainly for the anticipated revision of pay scale of employees. Out of the total allocation, Rs 767.62 crore were meant for salaries of employees. Out of the non-salary objects, the provision for grant-in-aid to the municipal corporation was Rs 166.12 crore and Panjab University Rs 34 crore. An amount of Rs 440.29 crore had been kept for the power sector.

For education, arts, sports and culture Rs 275.89 crore had been allocated while Rs 95.77 crore was meant for the health sector and Rs 164.46 crore for the police and jails department.

The allocation for the transport sector under non-Plan was Rs 129.16 crore.


PGI exhausts grants
Poor patients forced to fend for themselves
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Central government grants under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi (RAN) scheme meant to provide assistance to chronically ill poor (BPL) patients, have been exhausted at the PGI, forcing many such patients to raise funds on their own or seek help from the hospital’s poor patient welfare fund (PPWF).

According to officials, the hospital was given a grant of Rs 10 lakh in 2007 and the same was exhausted a few months ago.

As per figures available with the PGI, almost 20 per cent poor patients require financial assistance. Dr Yashpal Sharma, head of Cardiology department, while talking to The Tribune said, “We receive 4-5 such patients per week who need financial assistance. As RAN funds have been exhausted, patients are forced to make arrangement on their own.”

Unfortunately, PPW fund, which is purely based on donations, is not enough to meet the requirements of all patients. “We sanction the fund either for emergency and indoor patients or for certain ailments depending upon the patient’s requirement,” said Manju Wadwalkar, convener of PPWF.

“If a poor patient need dialysis or chemotherapy in PGI, they cannot avail fund from PPWF,” added Manju.

The expenses incurred by BPL patients for chemotherapy sessions and the medicines for cancer, angiography and angioplasty, bypass and valves for cardiac problem, dialysis and lithotripsy, renal and bone marrow transplantation, hip replacement, artificial limbs, implantation, immunosuppressive drugs and antibiotics with some investigation procedures like MRI, EEG and EMG, are covered under the RAN fund scheme.

If any BPL patient suffering from chronic illness requires money for such treatment, RAN provides a one-time financial assistance up to Rs 50,000.

Dr AK Gupta, medical superintendent of the PGI and incharge of this fund, said, “We have sent the request to the health and family welfare ministry and asked to release the grant of Rs 10 lakh.” 



Kidwai for better trade ties between India, Kazakhstan
Tribune News Service

Delegates at a seminar on ‘India-Kazakhstan Strategic Partnership’ in Chandigarh on Tuesday.
Delegates at a seminar on ‘India-Kazakhstan Strategic Partnership’ in Chandigarh on Tuesday. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, March 31
Stressing upon the need to restore India’s age-old social, cultural and trade relations with Central Asia, Haryana Governor Dr AR Kidwai today said there was immense scope for cooperation between India and Kazakhstan in the fields of science and technology as well as agriculture.

Delivering the inaugural address at a seminar on “India-Kazakhstan Strategic Partnership”, he said trade activities and economy of South Asia and that of Central Asia should complement each other. The seminar was organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs and the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID).

Pointing out that India had the world’s largest pool of technical and scientific manpower, the Governor said India was also the largest and cheapest manufacturer of generic drugs and was competing with multinational giants. Further, it was also emerging as the largest producer of textiles and auto parts, with Japanese and Korean firms making India as a base for production and export.

Dr Kidwai said given its vast bio-diversity and climatic variance, India was also an ideal centre for producing new varieties of seeds.

In his keynote address, Prof Sabden Orazali from the Institute of Economics in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Kazakhstan, said India, with its huge human resource potential, was a big partner for Kazakhstan, while India could benefit from Kazakhstan’s immense energy resources.

Mining, pharmaceuticals, petroleum products, renewable energy, space and nuclear power were some of the area he listed besides agriculture in which both countries could cooperate. He also proposed exchange of intellectual resources, knowledge bases and ideas.

Experts from India and Kazakhstan discussed issues of mutual interest and furthering bilateral cooperation. Adil Kaukenov, director, Institute for Economic Strategies-Central Asia, Kazakhstan, gave a presentation on regional cooperation for security, while Dr Lessya Karatayeva discussed the nuances of people-to-people contact between the two nations.

An overview on the emergence and development of democratic process in Kazakhstan was given by Prof Kuldip Singh from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, while issues relating to food security were discussed by Dr GS Kalkat, chairman, Punjab Farmers Commission, Mohali and Kairat Akhmetalimov, deputy chief, Kazakh Embassy, Delhi.



Generate Pan-Asiatic solidarity for energy security: Expert
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
While energy security is central to nurturing India-Kazakhstan strategic partnership and India’s geo-political equation with Asian countries, lack of common borders between India and Central Asia, Russia and Iran, hinders the delivery of petroleum and gas from these countries.

Stating this here, Gaukhar Sabdenova from Kazakhstan’s Institute for Analysis and Prognosis, stressed that India should, first of all, initiate a dialogue and make active a mode of exchange with Asian countries, including Pakistan, China, Korea and Japan, to generate “Pan-Asiatic solidarity” and thereby pursue energy security. She was here to deliver a talk at a seminar on India-Kazakhstan security partnership.

Maintenance of uninterrupted import deliveries of energy supplies, was in many ways, stipulated by political diplomacy, ability to avoid political and economic conflicts with neighbours and in areas through which supplies were transported. Energy security for India, therefore, was a part of inter-state relations, she said.

Development of a pipeline network connecting national systems and creation of a new market on principles of mutual trust and cooperation would promote significant integration of energy markets and bring in stability and economic development in the region, Sabdenova said.

India is known to have initiated this concept and China, Japan and South Korea have shown interest in it, while Russia, Iran and Central Asian countries also have strategic interest in the development of such a market, she added.

Kazakhstan has considerable stocks of hydrocarbonsan and is open to the idea of using services of Asian and other international partners for development of oil and gas resources through introduction of modern technology. Exploring new minefields and natural gas reserves and transportation of natural gas within the Asian region through transnational pipelines also suits Kazakhstan.



Bhatti uses satire to expose system
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

On the eve of April 1 (Fool’s Day), Jaspal Bhatti demands reservation for fools in Parliament in Chandigarh, on Tuesday.
On the eve of April 1 (Fool’s Day), Jaspal Bhatti demands reservation for fools in Parliament in Chandigarh, on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, March 31
No one knows who was pulling whose leg, but “Recession Party” president Jaspal Bhatti today tried to make a case for satire, asking the Punjab Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to clarify whether his party could be hauled up for using satire in its election campaign.

Bhatti, who submitted an application in this regard to CEO Kusumjit Sidhu at her office here, said, “We may declare Ludhiana as a city of pollution but what we are really doing is to draw the attention of the people towards this issue.”

He said in such a case the CEO must clarify whether any such declarations would constitute a violation of the model code of conduct or not.

Items on the Recession Party’s manifesto include supply of drugs and alcohol to be be maintained after the election, an assurance that it will align with any party if sufficient money is offered and encouraging more slums around every modern city to increase the vote bank of the party.

Bhatti explained that evidently his party was not going to do any of these things. He said such spoofs were aimed at highlighting prevalent practices. He also disclosed that the party was planning to field “Atro Chatro”, alias Sarup Parinda, from Bathinda and Gurchet Chitrakar from Sangrur. He said both of them were known comedians and social satirists and as such “eligible for contesting”.

After meeting the CEO, Bhatti and his associates, including Vinod Sharma, “campaigned” for their party in Sector 17. 



Straw Burning
Punjab, Haryana formulate plans
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Punjab and Haryana are all set to douse the smoldering problem of wheat straw burning. From holding district and village-level awareness programmes to monitoring the quality of air, it’s all chalked out.

As a petition filed in public interest on the issue by Capt Sarabjit Singh came up for hearing before the high court, the two states submitted detailed action plans to fight the menace.

Additional secretary to government of Punjab, department of science, technology and environment, Gurdip Singh, said the agriculture department would be holding 40 district-level, 280 block-level and 1,400 village-level awareness programme each year.

Punjab Energy Development Agency too would promote the setting up of biomass power plants in the state. In fact, it was proposed to set up 29 units of 330 MW capacity by 2011-12.

Besides this, the Punjab Pollution Control Board would “take up the monitoring of the ambient air quality in the districts of Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Sangrur, Mohali, Patiala, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Bathinda during the wheat/paddy straw burning period”. Another affidavit was filed by AK Mehta, joint director, department of environment, Haryana.

Taking up the affidavits, the high court made it clear that it wanted the two states to implement at ground level the action plan.

The Bench of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Hemant Gupta asserted: “All we need to say is the action plan is fairly comprehensive and appears to be well focused to take care of the problem arising out of burning of wheat and paddy straw in the state of Punjab and Haryana.

The committees, set up to look into the matter, are headed by the Chief Secretaries of the two states.

The case will now come up on August 12.



Minor fire in Sec 43
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
A minor fire broke out in the open area of Sector 43 here today. The incident happened when dry leaves caught fire and it quickly spread into the area, having makeshift tents of CRPF security nearby.

CRPF personnel reached the scene to douse the flames. Three fire tenders from Sectors 38, 11 and 32 were called in to control the blaze.

The fire officers were able to extinguish the flames within minutes. No loss of human life or property was reported.



Parking contractors fined

Chandigarh, March 31
MC officials conducted surprise check at three parking lots in Sector 17 today. The check was conducted at Empire Store and Gurudev Studio parking lots besides Sahib Singh parking lot.

On finding certain irregularities, the team also fined contractors. On a tip-off that one of the contractors had been over-charging for helmets, an MC team, including SDO and other staff members, went as decoy customers and deposited their helmets.

When they were asked to pay more than the prescribed amount, they challaned him.

Similarly, other two parking lot contractors were fined for haphazard parking. — TNS



Anandpur Sahib Tragedy
Apathy aggravates victims’ misery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Lack of coordination between the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital-16 and the PGI turned out to be a major source of harassment for accident victims of Anandpur Sahib mishap today. The victims were brought here for treatment.

A victim with serious injuries in the road accident, near Rampur Jajjar village, was taken to the PGI but was referred to the GMSH-16 emergency. However, citing inadequate facilities for head trauma patients, doctors sent him back to the PGI. Finally, the PGI admitted the victim to the emergency, where his condition remains critical due to excessive blood loss.

This, however, could have been different, had doctors at the PGI given him treatment before sending him to the GMSH-16. Or, for that matter, doctors at the GMSH-16 could have stopped the bleeding before referring him back to the PGI.

Almost all victims had a harrowing experience at the PGI, as staff was unavailable at midnight, said sources at the hospital.

Saini, admitted to the emergency ward, said: “Nobody took care of my mother after we reached here at midnight. She is in critical condition and doctors in the morning asked for an immediate CT scan, but staff was not available at the CT scan centre.”

After the mishap, 12 patients were referred to the PGI. Two of them were declared brought dead by PGI doctors while the rest were admitted.

The patients admitted to the PGI’s emergency are Raghuvir, Badri, Kavita, Sarita, Satya, Saini, her two children Sanju and Ajay.

Manju Wadwalkar, spokesperson for the PGI, said: “Two patients are in critical condition.”



Decks cleared for purchase of 100 buses

Chandigarh, March 31
Decks have been cleared for the purchase of 100 new buses, including 40 air-conditioned buses, by the Chandigarh Administration with the Election Commission (EC) okaying the administration’s proposal.

However, the clearance of the ambitious Rs 42-crore project, sanctioned to the city under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNRUM), has come with a rider. The administration will have to wait for June 2 — the date on which the election code of conduct comes to end — to get the delivery of the vehicles.

Sources said Chandigarh was one of the 80 cities selected for the upgrade of transport system with the addition of additional fleet of buses.

While the Centre will fund the project to the tune 80 per cent under the JNNRUM, the administration was to contribute 20 per cent towards the total cost. It is learnt that Tata Motors had been awarded the contract to provide both AC and non-AC buses.

The additional fleet will help improve bus service in the city, Home-cum-Transport Secretary Ram Niwas said. — TNS



Supply of manpower to MOH office
No extension to firms: MC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The municipal corporation has decided not to give extension to the firms that supply manpower to the medical office of health (MOH), MC, from today.

The decision was taken at the general house meeting of the corporation, which met here yesterday under the chairmanship of Senior Deputy Mayor Harphool Chand Kalyan, due to indisposition of Mayor Kamlesh.

MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria told the house that it had been decided by the authorities to withdraw the services of the firms and go in for fresh tenders for providing manpower to the MOH office.

He added that fresh tenders were called and finalised but these could not be implemented due to imposition of model code of conduct due to elections.

He said the firms had been asked by the authorities to provide their services till June 30.

Congress councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma demanded that a special house meeting should be convened to discuss the report presented by the committee that was constituted to monitor status of the garbage processing unit.

The house also mourned the death of Punjab Cooperation Minister Kanwaljit Singh, who died in a road accident near Kharar on Sunday, and of Gurnam Singh, Akali councillor of the corporation.

The meeting was adjourned after observing a two-minute silence in the memory of the departed leader.



Affordable housing Bansal’s Achilles’ heel
Pradeep Sharma/Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Affordable housing for the city continues to be the Achilles’ heel for sitting MP and minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal, aspiring for a hat-trick from the Chandigarh parliamentary seat.

Even as the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) is charging a hefty Rs 32 lakh for a two bedroom flat, the Congress-led UPA government has failed to formulate a “people-friendly” housing policy for city, directly administrated by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). With no housing policy for the city, thousands of residents are at the mercy of private builders in city’s periphery for roof over their heads.

Bansal being a minister in the central government cannot escape part of the blame associated with a lack of a housing policy for the city. In fact, all major parties, including the Congress and the BJP, wake up during the election time to the need of the housing policy aimed at providing affordable housing to middle and lower middle classes, which form a substantial vote bank in the city.

Congress leaders, including Bansal, had been claiming credit for the construction of over 25,000 tenements for the rehabilitation of slum-dwellers in the city. Interestingly, slum rehabilitation is also considered to be a brainchild of UT administrator SF Rodrigues, with whom Bansal has difference of opinion on several issues, including controversial mega projects.

BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain has gone on record alleging that since both the Administrator and the UT Adviser were appointed by the Centre, the failure to provide affordable housing was to be blamed on the UPA government.

Though Jain may be outright populist by promising extra floor on all commercial and residential buildings, the fact remains that Chandigarh faces an acute shortage of affordable housing for the middle and lower middle classes. And for that Bansal, who has been MP for almost 10 years now, must take the brickbats.

Bansal, when contacted, claimed that the central government was in the process of formulating a “people-friendly” housing policy primarily aimed at the middle and lower middle class. As the policy was almost ready, it would be implementated by the new central government, he added.



Casteist Remark
Parties team up against Lucky
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Several parties have joined hands and threatened to launch agitation if the Chandigarh police fails to arrest CTYC president HS Lucky for allegedly passing casteist remarks against a BSP activist.

The activist of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha organised a dharna outside the Mani Majra police station seeking action against Lucky.

Ravinder Krishan, president of the local unit of the RJD, demanded registration of a case under National Security Act against Lucky.

He said Bansal should seek unconditional apology from the victim and expel Lucky from the party.

Krishan added that they also wanted the police to take action against Lucky’s wife in the infamous case of theft of readymade garments from a showroom in Sector 17.

Krishan said the RJD would launch an agitation if the Chandigarh police failed to take action against Lucky by tomorrow.

Similarly, New Congress in its statement demanded action 
against Lucky for violating the model code conduct.

The party demanded UT Deputy Commissioner RK Rao to register a case under appropriate sections for violating the model code of conduct.

They alleged that Lucky hurled abuses on people in front of the local police.



BSP looks to replicate social engg in city
To organise Brahmin sammelan on April 12
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
In a desperate bid to replicate the success of BSP supremo and UP Chief Minister Mayawati’s social engineering formula in Chandigarh, the party has decided to woo upper caste voters in the city in the run-up to May-13 election to the Chandigarh parliamentary seat.

In a departure from its past unpopular slogan of “Tilak, tarazu aur talwar, inko maaro jutte chaar” (denounce the Brahmins, Banias and martial communities), the once Dalit-dominated party has decided to organise a Brahmin sammelan at Parshuram Bhavan in Sector 37 here on April 12, a move seen by many as opening a new chapter in competitive caste politics in the city.

Harmohan Dhawan, BSP’s maverick candidate from Chandigarh, has cleverly roped in Satish Chandra Mishra, a prominent Brahmin leader and adviser to the UP government, who is considered to be the main architect of the upper caste policy of the once Dalit-dominated party, as the main speaker.

“The sammelan is part of BSP’s endeavour to bring non-Congress and non-BJP forces on one platform to create classless and classless society,” Dhawan said.

While the Congress had been seeking votes on caste basis, the BJP had been exploiting religion for petty electoral gains. On the other hand, Mayawati had shown in UP that social engineering could go a long way in creating a “casteless and classless” society bringing harmony among various castes and communities, Dhawan added.

BSP sources said Dhawan’s equation with the upper caste, particularly the Brahmins, would go a long way in moblising these castes for the BSP for the Lok Sabha elections.

Besides, it will instill confidence among forward castes that their future was safe in the hands of the BSP in case the party formed government at the Centre elections, the sources asserted.

Though the BSP local leadership is upbeat about the function, political observers doubt the effectiveness such “caste-based” functions in an educated constituency like Chandigarh. Whether the presence at such functions translates into votes in a cosmopolitan city is anybody’s guess, they added.



Nano on display from today

Chandigarh, March 31
The common man’s car, Tata Nano, will be on display in the city from tomorrow. The car will be dispayed at all dealerships of Tata Motors. The car is available in three variants - a base model and two upper-tier models that will have air-conditioning and power windows, among others.

The booking for the car will commence on April 9 and deliveries are expected by early-July. Tata Motors has tied up with State Bank of India (SBI), which is the sole booking agent for Nano. — TNS



Speed governors in school buses
Admn extends deadline yet again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The failure of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) to install speed governors in its buses on time has forced the Chandigarh administration to forego the “deadline” for the third time to install the equipment in school buses.

The administration had announced March 31 as deadline to install the equipment in school buses but had contended to install these in all 180 CTU-run buses before that.

The speed governor will limit the speed of the vehicle to 50 km per hour.

If officials are to be believed, the equipment could not be installed in CTU buses on time because of the electoral code of conduct as the “mandatory clearance” of some official formalities could not be executed.

Consequently, the administration has decided to extend the deadline for school buses too.

“Because of some official formalities that got delayed due to election code of conduct, the job could not be executed on time. But the equipment has already been fitted in 14 CTU buses and trial run is being conducted. It will be our top priority to install it in all buses as early as possible,” said Ram Niwas, Transport-cum-Home Secretary.

The deadline to install the equipment has already been suspended twice. The initial deadline set by administration was December 1 but was suspended to March 20 when school bus operators opposed the decision to install the equipment. It was pointed out by the School Bus Operators Association that when CTU buses were being run without the equipment, why should they be forced to install it in school buses.

The administration had decided to get the equipment fit in all 180 CTU buses.

After passing through all official formalities, the Automotive Research Association of India (ARI)-certified equipment costing Rs 9,232 was finalised, only to be installed by March 31 in all buses.

While the administration is in the process of installing speed governors in CTU buses, the Chandigarh School Bus Operators’ Association has not yet spared a thought for it.



NCB to shift office from Sector 2
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
In response to the notice served by the UT estate office, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has submitted that it will shift its office from Sector 2 soon.

The national premier agency responsible for tackling crime related narcotics was found on the wrong side of law by operating from a residential premises (house No. 88, Sector 2). The office was being run in the 1,000 sq ft area.

Taking objection to it under the “misuse of premise” Act, the UT estate office had issued a notice to the NCB and owner of the house Col JS Khera.

Nevertheless, the owner of the house will have to pay a penalty of Rs 500 per sq ft per month, recently enhanced, for the misused area.

The estate officials said the penalty amount would be imposed only on the area being used for office purpose.

“Barring the toilet, bathroom and kitchen, the penalty would be applicable to the entire area of the plot”, said estate officials.

Meanwhile, Colonel Khera today appeared before the court of Assistant Estate Officer Ashwani Kumar and put on record the letter of Government of India, Ministry of Home (Narcotics Cell) New Delhi, regarding the issue.

The letter stated that the matter had been taken up with the UT administration but the office would be shifted from its present location.

“The NCB communication stated that they are looking for some suitable place in Sector 18 and the office would be shifted soon and the UT administration has been informed about it,” said the estate officials.

On October 31, The Tribune had highlighted that the zonal office of the bureau had been running its operations against drug traffickers from a residential accommodation for the past several years.

Taking cognizance of it, a notice under Section 8, Rule 14 of Punjab Capital Act, for violating the building norms, which denotes misuse of premises, was served to the NCB in November. The amount of penalty would be calculated since then.

Other than the violations, the dilapidated condition of the house also raised serious question over the requisite security arrangement in the office, which deals with the well-organised crime and hardened criminals.



Firm fined Rs 1 lakh for not depositing PF
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The Consumer Disputes Rederssal Forum has directed Peregrine Security to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to Ravinder Singh and others for not depositing the provident fund of the employees on time.

It directed the managing director to pay Rs 1 lakh to the complainants out of which Rs 75,000 shall be paid by the MD, accountant and regional manager jointly and Rs 25,000 by the regional provident fund commissioner.

The complainant, Ravinder Singh, resident of Mohali, stated that the provident fund subscriptions of low paid employees deducted from their wages are misappropriated by their employers in connivance with the Provident Fund authorities.

In all five complaints of such employees enrolled with the company were made. The complainant was working as a security guard at a monthly salary of Rs 2,470 and the company deducted 12 per cent ie Rs 296.40 every month towards the EPF and Rs 30 was deducted towards ESI.

The employees were further assured by the company that whenever he needed money, he would get from his EPF account. He was working as a security guard for about 9 months in JCT Electronics, Mohali. However, since he was the contractual employee, the persons concerned disbursed the salary to him. It was alleged that whenever he along with others used to ask the persons concerned to provide them the PF details, the opposite party ignored it.

One complainant approached the regional PF commissioner on April 10, 2008, and sought the information under the RTI Act, he received a vague reply in response that was related to another company ie Peregrine Guardian.The company said the complainant was being paid as per the prevailing minimum wages and as declared by the appropriate government so empowered.

The forum has asked the authorities to immediately deposit the money with the commissioner.



Fiza to file fresh complaint
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 31
Fiza, alias Anuradha Bali, second wife of the former Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Chander Mohan, alias Chand Mohammad, today announced that she was filing a fresh complaint to the Director General of Police, Punjab, as the Mohali police had failed to take any action on her earlier compliant.

In her complaint to the DGP against Chand Mohammad, Fiza had demanded action for the commission of offences under Sections 376, 295-A, 420, 500 and 506 of the IPC.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Fiza said that the local police should have registered a case against Chand Mohammad when she had lodged a complaint before initiating an inquiry into the matter. The case could have been cancelled at a later stage if nothing came out after investigations. She feared a threat to her life and had even given several telephone numbers to the police which could have helped in the investigations, but the SP concerned failed to take any action. The police could not act according to its sweet will when the registration of cases involving cognisable offences was concerned, she added.

Fiza, who was accompanied by Kajal Mangal Mukhi, a eunuch, said that she was going to the DGP office with a fresh complaint today and if no action was taken even at this level she would file a case in the court. She had alleged earlier that Chander Mohan had changed his religion with an intention to rape her and defame her. She said that his intentions became clear after he had said “talaq, talaq, talaq” on a phone call to her about two weeks ago. She said as per the Muslim law this was not a proper procedure of giving divorce.

When asked whether she was interested in joining politics, Fiza said she had been made offers by some political parties but she had not decided anything in this regard so far.

Mukhi, who claimed to be a social worker and had come from Bangalore, supported the case of Fiza and said the latter was not the only woman who had faced desertion.

Around mid-March the former Deputy Chief Minister had “officially” divorced his second wife by saying talaq thrice on a phone to Fiza. She, however, had said that legal separation in this manner was not acceptable and he should appear personally for giving her divorce.



Spoof of Hamlet staged
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, March 31
In an endeavour to bring diverse genres of performing and visual arts in the ongoing Art and Heritage Fest, the administration presented an English play “Hamlet - The Clown Prince” at the Tagore theatre here yesterday. Interestingly, theatre buffs were surprised as it turned out to be a spoof of the original play. But the 100- minute drama that was an ideal mix of visual imagination and intellectual depth for the audience.

The acting spells by chosen cast, script and dialogues in English with electrifying stage movements left the audience spellbound.

Directed by noted Bollywood actor and director Rajat Kapoor, the play was a search in the world of Hamlet through the eyes of Clowns.

The play opened with a bunch of clowns putting up a show of Hamlet exploring the text as an experimental play. They chose to use some phrases from the play and mixed it with gibberish. Dressed as clowns they maintained the royal splendour of the kingdom while portraying prince and King Hamlet, Ophelia, Queen Gertrude, Claudius, Polonius and others.

Atul Kumar, Puja Sarup, Suya Saple, Rachle Dsouza, Neil Bhoopalam, Gulshan Deviah enacted main roles while Sumit Kohli, Asmit Pathare provided back stage support.

HK Dua, Editor-in-Chief, The Tribune, and many dignitaries graced the occasion while UT home secretary Ram Niwas honoured the artistes. 



GCG-42 principal retires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Having served the college for 18 months, the principal of Government College for Girls, Sector 42 Chandigarh, Shashi Malik retired on Tuesday.

The principal informed that suggestions of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council team, Bangalore, have been implemented and the college is ready for second phase of re-accreditation.




Chandigarh, March 31
The meeting of the annual general body elected the PUSC executive committee for the next session here yesterday.

Dr SS Randhawa has been elected as the president, SGGS Khalsa College, Mahilpur, principal RK Aulakh has been elected as the senior vice-president, and principal of Government College for Women, Ludhiana, Amarjit Kaur has been elected as the vice-president. — TNS



Charge taken
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
Prof Kalpana K Mahajan today took the charge of the chairperson of the department of statistics, Panjab University. She will be heading the department for the second time. Earlier, in 1991, she created a record by becoming the youngest head of the department in the university.

While describing how her present stint was different, Prof Kalpana said: “I had the experience of my teachers to guide me through my tenure and now I will be driven by my colleagues.”

On her plans for the new innings, she said: “My aim will be to enhance the student-teacher interaction.”



Class VIII Results
Pass percentage up by 10 pc
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 31
The UT education department Class VIII results witnessed a whooping rise of about 10 per cent in the overall pass percentage as compared to last year.

With 9,178 applicants out of the total of 11,901 passing this year, the pass percentage has risen from 67.09 per cent of the last year to 76.59 this year.

The pass percentage of non-Model schools category increased from 56.60 per cent of last year to 64.65 per cent, whereas, Model schools category increased from 80.85 per cent to 90.95 per cent.

“It is encouraging that we have achieved this 10 per cent rise in our result. Its the efforts of our teachers who held extra classes and also designed sample papers for students,” said Samwartak Singh, DPI UT.



139 engg students make it to IAF
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 31
As many as 139 students were selected out of the total 614 of 2009 batch, who appeared for the fast track selection process, conducted by Indian Air Force (IAF) at Chandigarh Engineering College, Landran.

A press note of the college said a team led by Captain Ravi Sharma, Wing Commander Venkatesh and Wing Commander Chargeman conducted the drive that saw students from various colleges of Punjab, Haryana and H.P. as participants.

Captain Ravi Sharma said Chandigarh Engineering College is among the selected recruitment centres that had been established by the IAF as a platform for the engineers of the northern region aspiring to join the Armed forces. The selection process included screening test based on general knowledge and English language testing skills. The candidates who cleared the screening test were administered picture perception and discussion test. Those selected had been issued letters to appear before Air Force Selection Boards.

The selected BTech students will be joining the IAF as Flying officers, while MCA selected will be joining the meteorological branch.



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