C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Misuse of official vehicle 
Cong councillor under EC scanner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4 
After the Chandigarh Youth Congress president Harmohinder Singh Lucky, Municipal Corporation councillor and Congress leader Devinder Singh Babla is also in for trouble for “misusing” official vehicle for election campaign. 

The Election Commission has asked the Secretary, Chandigarh Marketing Board, to submit a detailed report about the misuse of the official vehicle following a complaint by the RJD. 

Election Commission returning officer Hargurjit Kaur confirmed that the Commission had received a complaint against the councillor. She said the report would be submitted to the Election Commission after inquiring into the matter. 

She said the Commission was also keeping a watch on the reports of burning of political leaders’ effigies by the Congress supporters. This also is violation of the model code of conduct and the Commission will take strict action against the violators, she added. 

Meanwhile, the Election Commission is still waiting for the reports as to how the extension to the Punjab University VC and the PGI Director is not violation of the model code of conduct. 



Inflammatory Speech
Case registered against Imraan Kidwai 
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service 

Chandigarh, April 4 
Cracking the whip, the Election Commission today filed a case against All India Congress Committee minority cell chairman Imraan Kidwai for his reported inflammatory speech during an election meeting in Chandigarh.

The case was filed under Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, following directions of the Chief Election Commission. 

In a communiqué to the Chief Electoral Officer, Chandigarh, the Commission directed that a case should be filed against Kidwai in the court of an appropriate magistrate for unsatisfactory reply on his inflammatory speech. 

On March 15, Kidwai was reported to have said: “I regret that I am not a religious leader. Had I been one, I would have given a decree that those Muslims who vote for the BJP would be committing blasphemy”. 

The Election Commission found the remarks inflammatory and amounting to promoting enmity on religious grounds.

Election Commission returning officer Hargurjit Kaur confirmed that a case had been filed against Kidwai.

In a telephonic conversation with The Tribune, Kidwai said he had not received any communication from the Election Commission in this regard. He said he was not aware on what grounds the Commission had rejected the reply submitted by him. 
Kidwai said he had submitted his reply to the Chief Election Commission on March 29 and after that the Commission had not informed him about it. When he approached the Chief Election Commission about the status of his reply yesterday, they informed him that the file has sent to the Chandigarh election office for action, added Kidwai. 



CITCO discounts at a price now 
To issue loyalty cards after charging fee 
G.S. Paul
Tibune News Service

Candigarh, April 4 
Facing severe criticism for its policy to extend discounts and privileges to babus, corporates and other government officials, CITCO is all set to re-introduce the policy by issuing loyalty cards. 

Under the new policy, senior functionaries of the government and the CITCO board of directors will, however, continue to enjoy 50 per cent discount on food and rooms if they themselves avail the facility. 

There were reports of misuse of the discount policy on various occasions, which raised doubts over its authentication. Around 500 bureaucrats, corporates and persons having political connections have been given privilege cards by CITCO. 

In order to maintain its commercial confidence at its five-star flagship Mountview and Shivalik View, CITCO has devised a novel scheme under which two types of cards - gold and silver - will be issued, but for a price. 

The gold card will cost around Rs 2,500 and will entitle the holder to avail 25 per cent discount, while the silver cardholder will be able to avail 15 to 20 per cent discount in CITCO establishments. Both discounts will be applicable only on room and food (ala carte basis), excluding liquor.

Confirming this, CITCO chairman Ram Niwas said: “It has been decided to adopt a system where apart from the discounts, as applicable according to the type of card, the beneficiaries will be given loyalty points. This would further entitle them to avail bigger discounts as per the points they accumulate. They can utilise this for availing bigger discounts for their family functions or business promotion meetings at Mountview or Shivalik View.” In the first phase, around 300 such loyalty cards will be offered for sale, he added.

General manager (tourism), CITCO, A.K. Malhotra said: “The scheme will also be open for general public irrespective of their job profile. The price of cards can vary. We are working on the modalities to finalise the scheme. Thereafter, a public notice will be released in the newspapers to offer this card.”

When a city resident, exercising his powers under the Right to Information Act, tried to seek information regarding the discount policy, the number of cards issued, the names and professions of the beneficiaries, CITCO refrained from disclosing the list of their names as it saw “no bonafide public interest” in its disclosure, terming it as a confidential information.

Persons on high posts, including Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Advisor to the Administrator, Principal Secretaries to the Punjab and Haryana CMs, Punjab and Haryana Chief Commissioners (Income Tax and Central Excise), AG, Audit (Punjab and Haryana), AG (A&E) Punjab, Chandigarh Municipal Commissioner, UT Chief Engineer and UT Chief Architect, will continue to enjoy 50 per cent discount on their privilege cards. 



OTIS in trouble again
Tribune News Service 

Panchkula, April 4 
Close on the heels of OTIS Elevator Company being penalised Rs 7 lakh last month, the Panchkula District Consumer Disputes Redressal forum has asked the company to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to a housing society at Panchkula for deficiency in service. 

The residents of Kendriya Vihar-II, Sector 25, filed a complaint before the forum alleging that the company failed to maintain 15 elevators even after charging Rs 5,13,000 for annual maintenance from them. An agreement for maintenance of 15 elevators installed at Kendriya Vihar-II was entered between the complainant and OTIS on September 1, 2007, after full payment to the company. As per the agreement, the company was required to provide planned maintenance service to oversee the functioning of lifts.

The complainant said the company failed to attend the complaints and even a meeting held between the residents and representative of company on June 9, 2008, to sort out the matter proved futile, as the lifts were not repaired to the satisfaction of the residents. Following this, a legal notice was sent to the company asking it to remove all the defects, but to no avail, said the complainant.

Forum president Ashok Kumar Jain and members Sarita Jain and Vijay Gaur observed that no evidence had been placed on record as to what was done in pursuance of the meeting held on June 9, 2008. And it is proved that the opposite party had not provided proper service for maintenance of lifts due to which the complainant society suffered great inconvenience. 



Cong activists leave trail of destruction at Press Club
Tribune News Service

Candigarh, April 4
A press briefing by Capt Amarinder Singh at the Chandigarh Press Club today to present Akali dissidents who had joined the Congress turned out to be an unsavoury experience for journalists, as party supporters turned the event into a public rally. 

The party supporters barged their way into the club, damaging plants and furniture and littering the club premises. As party supporters surrounded the dais, many journalists could not even reach near it. Some of them could be seen jostling with party workers to get close to the dais.

An Akali leader, Rajbeer Singh Padiala, who with a large convoy of vehicles descended on the club to join the party, led the largest brigade.

Apart from haphazard parking of vehicles on the road leading to the club, the party supporters climbed atop swings, tables and boundary wall of the club.

Later, club authorities slapped a fine on the organisers of the event. Against the charges of Rs 16,000, the organisers were made to shell out Rs 28,000 for damage caused to the club property.

The club authorities said an arrangement of just 130 persons had been made. A Congress party official, who had booked the venue, said he was also surprised to see such a large number of people descending on the scene. The club later decided to take an undertaking from those booking the venue in the future.

Enquiries revealed that Padiala had led a convoy of vehicles from Singh Sahidan Gurdwara in Sohana, Mohali, as a show of strength. Residents of the area also complained about the chaos. 


Poll Round-up
Development tops parties’ agenda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Transformation of the city into a world-class destination was on top of agenda of most parties today as they went out to woo voters for the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

While Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal promised Mani Majra residents to give a facelift to the area with a college, hospital, stadium and a banquet hall and raise the standard of living of residents, BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan, addressing a public meeting at Shivalik Enclave, Garden Park, in Mani Majra, assured people of fulfilling their demands and making Chandigarh a world-class city.

Nevertheless Bansal assured the residents that his plan was already on the anvil of the Chandigarh administration and work would start soon in pockets ranging from one to 11.

“Two community centres are already operative and open for public,” he stated.

He stressed that beautifying Mani Majra, which has a history of over 200 years and holds a historic importance, is a step towards this direction. Darshini Bagh and Govindpura had already been notified, he added.

“No family will be uprooted in the area,” he assured. Later, Residents crowned him with the title of “Vikaspurush” and assured him of their support.

Lashing out at Opposition parties, Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee president BB Bahl said they were vitiating the political atmosphere through false propaganda.

Those present included Pradeep Arora, Naresh Panna, Suresh Verma, Sunil Chopra, Data Ram Saini, Ashok Kumar and Sanjay Bhajni.

Continuing with the blamegame, Dhawan said the Congress and the BJP had done nothing. Recalling the time when he was the Minister for Civil Aviation, he said his major achievement had been the setting up of medical college and hospital in the city.

The BSP candidate also addressed a coordination committee meeting of government and municipal corporation employees at Lions Club, Sector 18.

Meanwhile, Goswami VB, Janata Dal (United) candidate visited Vikas Nagar and Mauli Jagran colonies.

He undertook a padyatra to get acquainted with the masses and interact with people to know about their problems. He urged the youth and women to take active participation in the development of the country.

Goswami urged the youth to follow the example of Shaheed Bhagat Singh and serve the nation. He also urged women to follow the example of Rani Lakshmibai and be courageous.

Later, Bansal undertook a padyatra at Indra Colony, while BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain did the same in Sector 56.

The BJP claimed that over 500 Congress workers today joined their party at Hallo Majra village.



High-ups deputed on poll duty
HUDA office work comes to a halt
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 4
The visitors at the Haryana Urban Development Authority office at Panchkula are a harassed lot nowadays.

While the high ups, including the estate officer and the administrator, have been deputed on election duties since Monday, the files have started piling up at different levels in the want of signature of top officials in the office.

The visitors can be seen returning helplessly as not even a single no objection certificate could be issued since these officials had left for their duties in other states.

The visitors coming to office for inquiring about the status of their re-allotment and with the requests of sorting out of enhancement issues have been returning after the subordinate staff express their helplessness in the absence of high ups from the office.

On condition of anonymity, an official said while the work was mounting up since early this week, the condition was to take turn for the worst in case the make shift arrangements were not made at these offices as the EO and the administrator were scheduled to return on April 18.

The chief administrator of HUDA, TC Gupta, when contacted refused to comment saying that he was on leave and busy in a family function.



Pending projects to be completed: Selja
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 4
The Congress was all set to form the government in the forthcoming Parilametnary elections, member Parliament and Congress candidate from Ambala Parliamentary constituency Kumari Selja said here today.

Commenting on her prospects in the light of alliance between the BJP and the INLD, Selja termed it as an opportunity that would be exposed before the public soon.

She further said she started few projects like the Kaushalya Dam at Panchkula and Hathni Kund at Yamunanagar here.

She also said the pending works would be completed as there was always a scope for improvement and more development.

The absence of local MLA Chander Mohan would not hamper the party campaining, she said adding that she did not see any candidate in the Opposition as a threat to her victory.

When asked about the delay in declaring the name of the Congress candidates from the state, Selja said the party was considering the social and regional balances while finalising the names of candidates. However, only her name was sent to the party high command by the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee for consideration, she added. Refusing to comment on the demolitions at Kalka, Selja said the case was subjudiced.



Amarinder mobilises party workers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today held a meeting of party activists from various Assembly segments falling in the Anandpur Sahib Lok Sabha constituency at the residence of former Chief Minister Beant Singh here today.

He asked the workers to strive for the success of the party candidate from Anandpur Sahib Lok Sabha constituency Ravneet Singh Bittu, who is also president of the Punjab Youth Congress and a grandson of Beant Singh.

Captain Amarinder cautioned them against laxity on part of party leaders and workers. He warned that any laxity on their part would be viewed seriously by the Congress high command and appropriate action would be taken.



Women shy of joining politics: BJP national secy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
The zest among women to participate in politics is still missing, as no party has been able to find suitable women candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections. This was disclosed by All-India BJP secretary and co-in charge of Chandigarh and Punjab Kiran Ghai at a press conference here today. She was in the city to campaign for BJP candidate Satpal Jain.

When asked how many tickets were given to the women candidates by the party Ghai stated that the BJP has been able to select about 10 per cent of women candidates for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.

She stated that the NDA has formulated special schemes for women to provide 50 per cent reservation for them in Panchayati Raj institutions in Bihar and it would be implemented in all the BJP-ruled states at a later stage.

Ghai alleged that the UPA, which is the embodiment of opportunist parties, was now disintegrating as the allied parties were leaving the sinking ship. She added that the communists had already left the Congress and now the TRS of Andhra Pradesh, the PDP of J&K, the PNK of Tamil Naidu have also left the UPA.

In addition to this, the Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Lok Jana Shakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan and the RJD headed by Lalu Prasad Yadav have also formed a united front and have separated themselves from Congress party, she said.



Citizens launch drive against vote-bank politics
Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Trying to set right the rot in governance, a group of professionals from across India have joined hands to create a citizens’ movement against corruption in the political system and vote-bank based politics of today.

Over a 1,000 senior executives working in MNCs across India have now become a part of The New India Republican Party (TNIRP) to create a new India. Raising the banner of revolt against the realpolitik of today, this social awareness group is working on the principle - “Ab rajneeti nahi, rashtraneeti chahiye” (Now we do not need politics, but have to help build the nation). “We are here to change things, not to sit back and complain,” they say.

Initiated by professionals who met on a social networking site, they say they are unwilling to sit on the fence and complain about the political system. “We are not considering joining active politics, but are trying to become a pressure group so that we can stem the rot in governance. The TNIRP was formed six months ago and we have now launched a full-fledged e-campaign asking people to make the right choice by voting cautiously,” says Rahul Bhartiya, marketing head of a real estate company and brain behind the campaign. The group has started an sms campaign with social messages on making an informed choice during elections. Their motto: “Better representatives means better governance”. They are also sending e-mails to their associates and blogging to create a movement for change - from mere governance to good governance.

According to Rajan Chopra, a top-level executive in a logistics firm at Secunderabad, the group would begin their campaign in Chandigarh and later spread it across the country. “The campaign will begin next week with our volunteers taking out a rally, exhorting people to make informed choice in elections and to vote”. Caption: All-India BJP secretary and co-in charge of Chandigarh and Punjab interacting with media in Chandigarh on Saturday. Tribune Photo: Parvesh Chauhan



Repair to hit water supply

Mohali, April 4
Water will be supplied at a low pressure in most parts of the town on April 6 as maintenance work has to be carried out at Kajauli waterworks.

A press release of the water and sanitation wing of the Department of Public Health stated here today that the Punjab State Electricity Board was going to shut the supply of power to Kajauli waterworks on April 6 to carry out maintenance work from 9 am to 5 pm.

As such water will be supplied at low pressure from Phases I to XI , Sectors 70 and 71 , Phases I to V of the industrial area and Shahimajra and Matour villages during morning and evening supply hours. — OC



Dismissal of ‘psychiatric’ officer raises eyebrows
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
The verdict of a General Court Martial (GCM) to dismiss a Captain of the Army has raised eyebrows both within and outside the defence establishment. The fact that the officer had undergone psychiatric treatment and was not fit to undergo a trial is being cited by critics to question the GCM. 

According to legal experts, the Army orders state that a person facing psychiatric problems cannot be tried by a court martial and has to be referred to a medical board. Further action, the rules prescribe, would depend on the recommendation of the medical board. 

A medical board examined the officer in December, 2007, which placed him in a permanent low category for one year. Significantly, the GCM assembled on December 27, 2008, with pre-trial procedures continuing during the period. On the same day the officer, as required under rules, was examined at Allahabad and the medical certificate states that he needed “psychiatric evaluation”.

This is not the first time, after all, when armed forces have been forced to dismiss people facing psychiatric problems. All such people, generally, are first treated and rehabilitated and it only after nothing works that they are dismissed. But in this case, the haste in which the GCM was constituted and the manner in which he was charged with attempt to commit suicide, causing grievous hurt to his wife, who is also a serving officer of the Army, and of behaviour unbecoming of an officer, have shocked all.



Talk on Punjabi poetry at Kala Bhavan
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 4
“The translation of Punjabi literature in various foreign languages, literary contribution of many NRI writers and the global media projections of cultural activities have introduced the literary heritage of Punjabi to the world,” said Dr Surinder Singh Gill, while interacting with audience during a seminar organised by the First Friday Forum at Punjab Kala Bhavan yesterday.

Gill, a Punjabi poet, delivered a talk on “Me and My Poetry” earlier and recited his selected poems. Gill consolidated his optimistic belief of Punjabi poetry scaling new horizons. Credited with five anthologies of poetry and poetic criticism, he said Punjabi poetry has been invariably influenced with various socio-political movements, be it the Struggle for Independence, Ghadar movement, 1947 Partition or the Naxalite movement.



Environment exam
Chaos at DAV College
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 4
Discrepancy in the total number of first-year students appearing for the environmental studies exam resulted in a chaos at DAV College, Sector 10, here today.

The students of biotech and bio-informatics, who had come to appear for the exam, were taken by a shock to find their names absent from sitting plan. Following a protest, they were asked to appear in the afternoon shift, however, many were still left out. In afternoon shift, the paper was delayed by almost an hour that infuriated the students.

“We came in morning and didn’t find our names in the sitting plan. The college authorities refused to let us in but when we protested, they asked us to come in afternoon. But then also many of us were not accommodated. The paper arrived late,” said one of the students.

While the college authorities passed the buck to PU on the pretext of the names of the protesters being absent from the cut-list, the PU authorities held students responsible for it.

“The students of bioinformatics were scheduled to appear in afternoon shift only, but they came in morning and created a ruckus. Many students had not opted to appear for the environment studies paper during their first year in their exam forms, thus their name was not in the cut-list, but they came to appear. We tried our best to accommodate them and a little delay happened in providing extra question papers in the centres,” said AK Bhandari, controller examinations, PU.

Meanwhile, the paper was also delayed in Dev Samaj College for the same reason.



P’kula lad shines at IIM
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 4
Shaveen Garg, a resident of Sector 4 here, has come with flying colours winning gold medal for the best all-round performance at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

The medal is awarded for outstanding performance across all domains, academics, cultural, sports and organisational. Shaveen was awarded for the honour among his batch of 252 students.

He won the prestigious Aditya Birla Scholarship given only to 10 students across IIMs. He also topped the first term at IIM Bangalore.

An alumnus of DAV school, Patiala, he is all set to join the Boston Consulting Group as senior associate. He represented India in a multi-cultural event during the exchange term at the London Business School. He also bagged gold medals in swimming at inter-IIM sports in 2008.



Suspended DAV teachers reinstated

Chandigarh, April 4
After almost a month of their suspension, the three union office-bearers of DAV College, Sector 10, AK Taneja, Anil Sarwal and Avanindra Chopra, were reinstated today.

The decision of the governing body of the college came as a major relief to the three teachers, who were allegedly victimised and suspended by the principal for their active participation in the union.

It may be noted that last month, Taneja, Sarwal and Chopra, who were serving as president, secretary and staff secretary in the college union, respectively, were suspended by the college management. Meanwhile, when contact, all the three did not give any comment in absence of a written communication so far. — TNS



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