C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Jerath gets three-yr RI
CBI court orders to confiscate his property
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The CBI Special Court of Jagdeep Jain has sentenced former chief engineer K.K. Jerath to three-year rigorous imprisonment (RI) for possessing wealth disproportionate to his known source of income.

The court has also directed to confiscate the property of the convict since his assets, including fixed deposits and jewellery, were less than the disproportionate assets that were to the tune of Rs 57 lakh.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on the convict. However, the court granted bail to Jerath after furnishing bail bonds of Rs 50,000.

The jewellery of the convict amounts to Rs 13 lakh and he has fixed deposits worth Rs 12 lakh. The court observed: “Since these assets - fixed deposits, bank accounts and jewellery - are not sufficient, the plot of the convict in Panchkula also stands confiscated and forfeited.”

Jerath said, “I have nothing against the judgement and will appeal in the High Court as there are legal remedies available.” The case was registered against the former chief engineer in January 1998 following a raid conducted by the Income Tax Department on November 20, 1997. The department had recovered Rs 6.29 lakh from the residence of Jerath and Rs 5 lakh from his locker.

Besides, the I-T Department also detected property in the name of his wife and his sons. He had documents showing that his wife took music classes from which his earning had increased.

The investigating officer had given some benefits to the accused wherein he had mentioned that Jerath had received Rs 2.45 lakh from his father-in-law.



Tragedy averted at level crossing
Rly employee leaves gate open, alert train driver applies brakes
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 11
An alert drier of the Pashchim Express averted a major tragedy today when a gateman at the railway crossing on the Pinjore-Baddi road left the gate open when the train was about to pass.

Finding the gate open and traffic moving through the crossing, the driver applied brakes leaving sufficient time for the vehicles to cross over the railway line. According to information, the gateman was in an inebriated condition.

The driver of the train lodged a complaint with the authorities about the incident. However, the gateman, Mangal Singh, said he could not close the gate as he had gone to answer the nature’s call. Divisional Railway Manager H.K. Jaggi said he was not in the know of the incident.

Meanwhile, the Railways authorities have suspended the gateman and ordered an inquiry in to the incident.



PU student, brother nabbed for laptop theft
Admit to stealing 15 laptops from hostels
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh April 11
The special crime investigation cell of the police claims to have solved the case of regular thefts of laptops from PU hostels.

Arvind Kumar, a student of MSc biochemistry of PU and inmate of the hostel number six, along with his brother Robin Kumar, a 24-year-old resident of Sector 15 and student of a Patiala engineering college, was nabbed by the police in Sector 15 market today.

According to a preliminary investigation, both have confessed to stealing 12 to 15 laptops from the PU hostel number 1, 3, 6, 7, in addition to PEC. They also claimed to have stolen three laptops from Delhi.

“Following reports of regular thefts of laptops from the PU hostels, we constituted a special team and nabbed these two boys. While Arvind is a university student, his brother Robin is on training with PTL, Mohali. Both of them belong to a well-off Lucknow-based family. Desire of lavish lifestyle seems to be the reason of these thefts,” said Satbir Singh, DSP, CID.

Meanwhile, some police officials also condemned the university’s security arrangements. One of them said, “15 laptops were stolen and they continued to look into the matter. One of the accused is their hosteller, if we would have bee allowed to check at that time, the case would have been solved much earlier.”


Professional blood donors face jail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Professional blood donors may soon find themselves behind bars. The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has finally prepared the draft of the National Blood Transfusion Services Act 2007, under which those found donating blood in exchange for money will have to face rigorous imprisonment for six months and a hefty fine.

Dr RK Srivastava, Director General Health Service, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, who was in city for the inauguration of a continuous medical education programme (CME) on the effective management of transfusion services at the GMCH-32, said the draft had been prepared, which would look to completely wipe out paid blood donation. It would take another 12 months.

According to Dr Debashish Gupta, Naco’s national programme officer for blood safety, identifying a paid donor is simple. But unfortunately, hardly any blood bank screens volunteers giving blood, which is actually mandatory.

“There are ways to identify paid donors. They will have multiple puncture marks on their arm and low haemoglobin. That’s because professionals donate every week, while due to the timeframe required for iron replacement, donors are supposed to donate once every three months,” he said.

The Act also calls for the setting up of an independent blood transfusion authority (BTA) to monitor the collection, storage, distribution and supply of safe blood in the country, said Dr Srivastava.

Meanwhile, he highlighted the importance of effective management of transfusion services in the CME, organised by the department of transfusion medicine, GMCH-32.

Col Alok Sen from the AFTC Delhi elaborated on harvesting stem cells from different sources, its cryopreservation and clinical applications. Dr R.K.Chaudhary from the SGPGI, Lucknow, and Dr Sabita Basu, GMCH, Chandigarh, highlighted practical problems faced in laboratory transfusion practices.

Dr R.R.Sharma from the PGI and Dr Rupinder Kaur from Ludhiana discussed recent trends in platelet transfusion therapy and its appropriate utilisation. Safety and adequacy of blood are issues of global concern.

Dr RN Makroo elaborated on medico-legal issues in transfusion practice, one of the emerging concerns for the transfusion specialists. More than 100 delegates from the region participated in the CME.



Pind Bachao panel readies demand charter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The heat is turning on in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections with every party trying to cash in on their strength of voters.

As a testimony, members of the Pind Bachao Committee, with Angrez Singh Badheri as its president, held a public meeting in Sector 42 today. Claiming the support of all original inhabitants of 22 villages under the UT, Badheri said the committee had made a charter of demands and was going to give it to all candidates of Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, at the meeting, all sarpanches and members of various farmers associations criticised the officers of the Administration, who are daring to seek legal opinion on the order of the MHA, under whose administrative control the UT functions.

Brig. Kahlon exhorted the Administration to include all farmer associations in the ongoing probes ordered by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) so that the guilty officers were booked.

Col SS Sandhu, vice-president of the Mani Majra Farmers Welfare & Environment Protection Society, described the MHA order as the beginning of an end of the corrupt and exploitative land acquisition policy of the UT.

The charter of demands of the villages, which were consented by all present include the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2007 to be effective to past acquisitions, extend the Lal Dora since there is a sizable increase in population, share in the lease money being charged by the UT, jobs and reservation for original oustees.



Poll Code Violation
BJP to complain against Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The BJP is planning to file a complaint to Chief Election Commission, New Delhi, against Congress Union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal for making announcements in violation of the election code of conduct.

It has been mentioned that Bansal made announcements of making Chandigarh second solar city, allocating Rs 53 crore for water supply and setting up a trauma centre.

As per BJP member Arun Sood, the announcements made by Bansal are violation of the election code under Section 6 A and B. According to this Section, no ruling party minister cannot announce any future plans after the imposition of code of conduct in his or her respective area.

Sood said they were going to file this compliant with the Chief Election Commission directly because so far, the complaints filed by the party had not been taken seriously by the Chandigarh unit of the Election Commission.



Cong has failed on all fronts: Jain
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain and Congress candidate Pawan Bansal organised a series of meetings here today.

During a padyatra in the Sector 23 and Sector 40 market, Jain asked residents of Chandigarh to hold the Congress accountable for its unfulfilled promises in the past five years. He also addressed public meetings in the Mani Majra Motor Market, Sector 29, and at Burail village.

Jain alleged that the Congress had failed on all fronts, including price rise, terrorism and unemployment. Various members of the BJP Sports Cell took out a rally from Mani Majra Modern Housing Complex which passed through different sectors of the city.

Jain reiterated his promise of making flyovers in the city, getting metro for Chandigarh, an additional floor in residential, commercial and industrial buildings to the residents.

Meanwhile, Congress candidate Pawan Bansal was welcomed at a meeting organised by the residents of the Kendriya Vihar Society, Sector 48.

President of the Residents’ Welfare Association, Sector 38, Harbans Lal said unprecedented development had taken place due to Bansal’s efforts.

New Congress Party

President of the New Congress Party Ram Pal Hans will be contesting from the Chandigarh Parliamentary seat.



Brahmin Sabha denies ties with BSP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Following news reports of a Brahman Maha Sammelan being organised by the BSP in Bhagwan Shri Parsuram Bhavan in Sector 37 on April 12, the Shri Brahmin Sabha has denied any inclination to the BSP.

The press conference was called today to clarify that the premises of Parshuram Bhavan were being used for this event, but the Brahman sabha, being a social and non-political organisation, had no concern with the sammelan.

On being asked if they were charging any money for the use of premises, SD Sharma, patron-in-chief of the sabha, replied, “We do not charge anything for any social or religious function, it is the donation amount given by users that helps in the maintenance of the building. We will take care not to give the premises to any party in future.” Sabha members, however, could not satisfactorily reply why they did not cancel the venue permission after they felt that the party was using their name.



Sector 22 Fire Tragedy
Double whammy for traders
Goods in shops were not insured
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
The fire tragedy in the Sector 22 market two days back, apparently due to electric short-circuit, brought with it agony for the traders. For, hardly any trader had got his equipment insured. Consequently, the loss, running in crores, will be solely their.

Questions are also being raised on the power distribution to the thickly occupied SCOs. The UT electricity department officials and the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL) officials also apprehend overloading as the cause of short-circuit.

Anxiety was writ large on the faces of shop owners, who were waiting for a call from the CFSL experts inspecting the shops.

H.S. Kapoor, owner of Shimla Traders, who suffered a loss of over Rs 20 lakh, was cursing himself for not getting his belongings insured in time. “Since the lab adjacent to my shop used to function 24 hours a day, I suspected least chance of any theft in my shop. So, I did not bother to get my articles insured,” rued Kapoor.

“We did not get any chance to remove our equipments. We somehow managed to save our lives”, he added.

Rakesh Sood and his son Sahil of New Sood Laminations, said: “The loss is all ours as the goods inside the shop were not insured.”

Sitting beside them was Narinder Singh, the owner of Sheetal Video Mixing, who also repented for not getting his costly equipments insured.

Though Rajeev Gulati of the 21st Century Greeting and Gifts had got his articles insured, he was worried about the formalities to claim the same. “All the mandatory documents like the sales tax, income tax records since 1994 were destroyed in the fire. I am worried because these documents are must for filing the claim,” said Gulati.

‘Overloading caused short-circuit’

The UT officials claimed that the “multi-line wire unit” on the pole, which supplied electricity to the SCOs, had a capacity of 440 volts. This unit was capable of supplying sufficient power to this wing, but the bifurcation to these units seems to be tempered with.

“As per records, this wing has been sanctioned a load of 80 KW for nine shops, but it is very unlikely that more than 50 air conditioners, six photo processing units and number of other photo developing machines, which consume maximum power, could be run with this load. It is suspected that the shop owners themselves have generated illegal circuits and bifurcated power according to their convenience,” said the officials.



Bylaws don’t matter for shops
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Though the fire incident in Sector-22 indeed turned out to be devastating in terms of four deaths and loss of property and equipments worth lakhs, if one goes deep into the reasons, it’s evident that the tragedy was waiting to happen.

Various markets, particularly those in Sector 22, 35 and in Sector 17, have grossly violated building bylaws. While the Estate Office has been serving notices on these, no action has been taken against the violators so far.

From putting big hoardings, blocking windows on the upper floors to putting cabinets without leaving any space to move around thus cluttering the floors. Even staircases that lead to these floors are dingy and have usually wires hanging posing a threat to users.

Many of these shopkeepers don’t even have the valid permission of consuming as much electricity units and thus don’t even have the provision for adequate wiring.

Sources also reveal that most shopkeepers have not obtained occupational certificate from the Estate Office.

Many of them in Sector 22 have been using the basement for commercial purposes without getting it approved in the building plans. Despite all these violations, there is very little that the authorities have done to keep a check on them.

Ashiwini Kumar, assistant estate officer, maintained that the Estate Office has been serving notices on these violators and in many cases have also been resuming property and sites. That’s another fact that many of these sites had been resumed for years now but are still in use with gross violations.



Firemen fail to get their dues
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
Even as the personnel of the Chandigarh Fire Brigade put their lives at grave risk, they continue to get a raw deal from the Municipal Corporation.

Amarjit Singh Mavi, who was killed during a fire-fighting operation at Sector 22 on October 20, 2008, is a case in point. Even after about six months of the tragedy, the family of the deceased is moving from pillar to post to get his legitimate dues, including a compensation of Rs 5 lakh and a job for the next of the kin.

The family of four, including deceased’s 85-year-old mother and two schoolgoing children, at Dhanas Milk Colony was now on the mercy of relatives after losing the lone breadwinner. “My two sons have just appeared in the Class XII examinations this year and the younger one is preparing for higher studies while the elder one is looking for a job so that the family expenses can be met,” said Manjit Kaur, widow of Mavi.

“As the Municipal Corporation failed to fulfill its promise, now I have no choice except to send one of my son on a petty job,” she said.

This, however, is not the only case, where the Municipal Corporation has failed to look after the interests of its employees in fire service. The family of a driver in the department, Surjit, who died due to illness on August 8 last year, has not even been disbursed the GPF, gratuity or other payments. Out of 12 people retired from the department during last four years, the files pertaining to pension of only two have been cleared till now.

An insurance scheme mooted for the personnel has been stuck in the discussion since last year.

The prevailing circumstances were enough to dampen the spirit of personnel, who never lagged behind in performing their duties, said Avtar Singh, a fireman.

Municipal Commissioner Roshan Sankaria said the matter of ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to family of Mavi was under consideration while the job to the kin of deceased could be provided only on seniority basis. Similarly, the insurance scheme would be finalised very soon, he said.



Emergency ward work at a snail’s pace
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
It’s been three years since work on the construction of emergency ward of Sector 22 Community Health Centre (CHC) commenced but it still remains incomplete.

And what is surprising is that senior officials of the health department are totally ignorant about its projected date of completion since the concerned file has gone missing.

According to sources, the UT health department had sanctioned Rs 11 lakh for the project in 2006 and it was slated to be complete within a year. However, it is still nowhere near the completion and the work carries on at snail’s pace.

When contacted, director health services, MS Bains, claimed that the project would be completed soon.

However, he could not give a time frame as to when the work to finish and when asked as to what was the projected date of the completion of the project at the time of awarding the contract, he expressed ignorance on the plea that the concerned file was not traceable.

As per plans, the emergency ward will have 12 beds and will also deal with medico-legal cases.

Once completed all emergency patient care services will be provided at Sector 22 CHC, including emergency laboratory for diagnostic tests and ECG, said the health officials.



Road linking city-Mohali opens
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 11
As far as the road infrastructure and inter-city connectivity is concerned, the town is no more a poor cousin of Chandigarh. A vital 2.2 km-long road link that provides an alternative link between Sector 48, Chandigarh, and Industrial Area, Phase IX, Mohali, has been opened to traffic.

The road will pass from behind Sectors 67, 68, 69, 70 and 71 before joining the Chandigarh-Kharar road near Desumajra village. The road will serve as an alternative for Punjab and Himachal Pradesh-bound traffic.

The four-lane road had been constructed at a cost of around Rs 7 crore. The widened road runs parallel to the Chandigarh-Morinda rail line.

Sources in GMADA said aimed at providing the world-class infrastructure, Rs 300 crore was reserved for widening and laying of new roads within and peripheral areas of the city.

The Kharar-Banur road has been widened at a cost of Rs 6 crore. Apart from this, work on four-laning of road around the central business district in Sector 62 at a cost of Rs 17 crore has already begun. A six-lane road coming from Sector 40 and will pass between Sectors 74 and 75 before joining the Kharar-Banur road at Landran village.



Revised pension eludes ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
A number of ex-servicemen have complained that their pensions have not been revised following the implementation of the Six Pay Commission and they continue to get pension at the old rates. Some ex-servicemen are still to get their pension arrears.

The Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (PCDA) at Allahbad has issued circulars to defence pension disbursing officers as well as public and private sector banks concerned for disbursement of revised pension in January and February.

The PCDA letter, in February, had stated it had come to its notice that some pension disbursing authorities (PDAs), while consolidating pensions in accordance with Ministry of Defence orders issued in November 2008, were not stepping up the pensions are required.

Such action on the part of PDAs, in particular to banks, was not in accordance to the government orders, which led to complaints from pensioners, the PCDA observed. This had been viewed seriously by the government as it was affecting morale of the ex-servicemen, the letter said.

The PCDA has also sought the progress on consolidation and revision of pensions from PDAs. In the case of banks, the paying branches of the bank would be required to render their progress report through link branch or zonal office. Progress reports are to be sent monthly.

Ex-servicemen have also complained that they do not get any regular statement from the PCDA on the amount of pension they get or the break up of their pension amount in terms of basic pension, dearness allowance and other entitlements.



Old Yadavindrians elect president
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
AYOSA (Aitchison/Yadavindra Old Students Association) unanimously elected Major (Retd) Onkar Narain Singh Phoolka as the President. Major Phulka, who passed out with the first batch of 1949 from YPS Patiala, was, prior to the Partition a student of the Aitchison College at Lahore.

The Yadavindra Public School, Patiala Old Boys Association as the body is popularly known, also elected an executive committee comprising Birinder Singh Batra, Jaspal Singh Sekhon, Wg Cdr ( Retd ) MS Mander, Rajbrinder Singh Chahal, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Pawaninder Singh Dhillon, Mrs Hardeep Dhillon Jain and Mrs Harneet Grewal Kang when they met over lunch at the DSOI in Sector 36, recently.

The senior-most student from the tri-city of Chandigarh shall be the President of the association, said Wg CDR M S Mander.



Water woes

Every year, there is an acute shortage of drinking water in Mohali town, but no sincere efforts are made by the authorities in this regard.

No performance study has ever been undertaken for the operation and maintenance of water system. Funds to the tune of Rs 8 crore are being spent every year by the water supply department on O&M.

Being deposit work, the pay of the staff is drawn from the Punjab Government treasury. Similarly, 14 per cent PWD charges are also levied against the revenue collected. But in turn no funds are deposited back with the state treasury. I would appreciate if these funds, nearly Rs 3.5 crore, are channelised and utilised in a more judicious way. These funds are enough to install 24 new tubewells every year. This will easily solve the problem of water scarcity, with further improvement in performance and control of non-revenue water.

Kulwinder Singh, Mohali

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PU to save reappear students’ one year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 11
According to a decision taken by Panjab University syndicate, students of UILS and UIT will be liable to appear in odd and even subjects, simultaneously, in case of a reappear.

The decision that will affect students of 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th semester of BALLB (hons) course of the UILS and the students of 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th semesters of the UITS has been taken to save a year of the students seeking placements.



Interactive session with parents held
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 11
An interactive session for the parents of the St Soldier’s School students was held on the school premises here.

Headmistress Amrit Kalsi gave tips on “positive parenting”.

The Health Aid Medicare, an NGO, also conducted an interactive session with the parents.

Campus placement

An employment fest and joint campus placement drives for BTech and MBA students was organised by Minfo Solutions and Hughes Communications on Indo-Global College campus in Mohali.



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