C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Projects caught in poll code
Sumedha Sharma/Aarti Kapur
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, April 20
Model Code of Conduct is playing a spoilsport as even regular works have come to a standstill in various UT departments.

With the Election Commission (EC) yet to decide or allow even the tasks like changing carpets and curtains in CITCO hotels, the election time proves to be an extended holiday for the ‘babu’ brigade.

“It’s not our fault with the EC going overboard with the code. We cannot even carry out our routine work like allotting general tenders etc,” commented a Municipal Corporation official.

It may be noted that the EC has even deferred allotment of permission to MC to allot the works approved and initiated before the commencement of the poll code. Amongst the other projections sharing the same fate include CITCO’s request to procure freezer-cum-chillers and kitchen equipment, auction of sand, silt and cut wood material by the forest department and approval for floating tenders for allotment of food court in ISBT-43.

Similarly, in various cases like floating the tenders for insurance of buses, or making RCC trenches for laying cables in sector seventeen, shifting the additional charge if the post of Superintending Engineer in addition to the annual recruitment of daily waged clerks and helpers to carry out exam duties in PU are still awaiting the EC nod.

“The way work has been stalled is not justified. How can changing of carpets or curtains or digging trenches mould voters? Because of this, we do come to office take meetings but can’t decide anything so we are being forced to vile our time. The entire problem seems to have risen from the misinterpretation of poll code in most of the cases,” said a senior bureaucrat.

Meanwhile, the EC has a go ahead with the cases like recruitment of doctors by health department, permission of finalisation of tenders for wholesale supply of liquor sale and permission to obtain quotations for the purchase of 61 chassis of long route buses. The approval has also raised eyebrows amongst the inmates as according to Panjab University Professor, “Recruitment of daily-waged clerk for exam duty is awaiting decision and doctors are being hired. Tenders cannot be floated for a food court but can be finalised for liquor sale?”

Routine works take backseat
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 20
Routine work of the government offices here has virtually come to a standstill. 

Apparently misinterpreting the election code of conduct, the ‘babus’ in the offices are refusing to entertain applications of the residents pertaining to routine work. As a result, resident are at their wits end to get their time bound work done. 

The instructions of the Election Commission state that “the announcement of new projects or programmes or concessions or financial grants in any form or promises thereof or laying of foundation stones and offer of inducements in any form, which have the effect of influencing the voters in favour of the party in power, was prohibited.”

The worst affected are hundreds of allottees of houses in Sectors 76 to 80. Though the draw of lots had been held, the estate office is not issuing allotment letters due to the code of conduct.

“It is unfair as the process has not link with the code of conduct,” said Sucha Singh, president of the Sectors 76 to 80 Sangharsh Committee.

R.K. Garg, an RTI activist, said the code of conduct had become a code of convenience for the ‘babus’. “Where they want to stop work, they cite code of conduct, where they want to do work, they find a via media,” he added.

At the district administrative complex, ‘babus’ are not entertaining applications of the residents who are coming for issuing of senior citizen card and additions in the ration cards, said Amrik Singh, a resident of Phase II here. “Since the officials are busy in election related work, the works get delayed,” said an official.

For the resident of Jal Vayu Vihar, Sector 67, the code of conduct was delaying the project of channelising of seasonal rivulet that has become a source of nuisance due to stagnant sullage. 



Independent Ajay richest so far
Ram Pal Hans worth Rs 10,000 is the poorest
Aarti Kapur 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20 
With houses in Cyprus, London and New Delhi, an apartment in Moscow, foreign currencies worth almost Rs 35 lakh in various banks in foreign countries, a seafront house belonging to his spouse in Denmark and agriculture land in outskirts of Delhi, independent candidate Ajay Goyal is the richest candidate to have filed nominations so far for the Lok Sabha polls in the City Beautiful.

With an estimated personal networth worth Rs 12.28 crore and her spouse’s assets at Rs 1.75 crore, Goyal is way ahead materially than his present competitors, including two times MP and Congress nominee Pawan Bansal, whose total assets are valued at about Rs 3.52 crore. A “film producer and owner of media houses”, Goyal, a former student of Kurukshetra University (Engineering), reportedly has business interests in Russia and Washington and as per his affidavit, he hasn’t filed any income tax return in India in the last five years.

Goyal was one of the three independent candidates, who filed nominations at the office of the Returning Officer today. The others, who filed their papers, are Ram Pal Hans and Khem Lal Bansal.

If Goyal is the richest candidate in fray, Ram Pal Hans of Nayagaon could be dubbed as the poorest with just Rs 10,000 in cash and deposits and a seven-marla house. Hans, who runs an educational institute in Nayagaon, is also the member of the New Congress Party.

As per his affidavit, Hans owns no vehicle. His educational qualifications have been stated as BA.

Khem Lal Bansal has assets worth Rs 3.35 crore. These include cash worth Rs. 1.15 lakh and deposits worth 2.28 lakh. He owns a Maruti car. His educational qualifications are three-year dimploma in automobile engineering.

In terms of vehicles, Goyal leads the race with an Audi 6 worth Rs 7.4 lakh in London, a Cherokee V6 Jeep worth Rs 10. 9 lakh in the US. His wife, Dr Maria Goyal, owns a Skoda Fabia worth Rs 4.9 lakh in Denmark.

The covering candidates of all three independent candidates also file their nomination papers.



Mehra’s ACR-writing Powers
Rodrigues still in defiant mood
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Punjab Governor and UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues continues to be defiant on the issue of restoration of the annual confidential report (ACR) writing powers of his adviser Pradip Mehra, giving a fresh leash of life to the tug-of-war between the UT's two top functionaries.

Rodrigues' obduracy in not restoring Mehra's powers to write the ACRs of his subordinates seems to have extended for several weeks and apparently runs counter to the repeated directives of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Surprisingly, the MHA is the controlling ministry for the union territory of Chandigarh.

Mehra's ACR-writing powers were withdrawn by Rodrigues following a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) probe over an anonymous complaint him for the alleged misused of CITCO funds amounting to Rs 7 lakh for the renovation of a private residence in New Delhi. The orders were issued so that Mehra could not influence the probe though it was being conducted at New Delhi.

However, even after a clean chit by the CVC to Mehra and the MHA and CVC's directives to restore the power, Rodrigues continued to sit on the decision to restore the powers. The latest directive form the MHA came on March 31.

Earlier, on March 2, the MHA had directed the Administrator to restore Mehra’s powers following a clean chit in fund misuse case.

Taking the MHA directive for a ride, the Administrator ordered a vigilance inquiry against Mehra on March 9 on the basis of the legal opinion submitted by UT’s senior standing counsel Anupam Gupta on certain quasi judicial orders passed by him.

On March 10, Rodrigues wrote to the Union Home Minster expressing his inability to restore Mehra’s power in view of the ongoing vigilance inquiry. However, reacting to Rodrigues letter, a communication sent by Ashwani Kumar, Director (S), MHA, to UT Home Secretary on March 31 clearly stated that the arguments of the Administrator were examined but there was nothing to suggest a departure from the laid down guidelines of the Government of India that provide for communication of ACRs, whether adverse or otherwise, to the officer reported upon.

The letter further stated: “It has, therefore been decided that the prevalent channel of writing ACRs of subordinate officers by the Adviser and the status quo ante may be restored forthwith.” The letter is explicit that “this issues with the approval of the Union Home Minister”.



Rs 5.50 lakh stolen from car
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 20
In a daylight incident of theft, Rs 5.50 lakh was stolen after breaking window panes of a Hyundai Verna car when the owner of the car had gone to meet his relative at the first floor of a house in Phase VI here this evening.

Another packet containing Rs 4 cash, kept in the glove box of the car, was, however, found not stolen.

The victim, Parminder Singh, who is a real estate agent, told TNS that he had withdrawn Rs 9.50 lakh from the IDBI bank in Phase 3B1 and was going to Khanna in connection with a property deal.

He got alerted when the autocop of the car sounded an alert and he rushed down to check whether cash was safe.

A case has been registered at the phase 1 police station.

The police was also verifying the antecedents of the complaint.


Admn wakes up to anomalies
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, April 20
After being in a denial mode for almost a month, Home Secretary Ram Niwas has finally taken a note of the anomalies highlighted by The Tribune in the functioning of the Snehalaya in Maloya and Aashreya in Sector 47.

During his surprise visit to both the institutes, the Home Secretary has directed the authorities to beef up the security arrangements by installing barbed wires and grills.

The Tribune, through its reports “Snehalaya fails to provide human touch” dated March 21 2009 and “13-year-old special girl goes missing from Aashreya” dated April 2, 2009, had highlighted the loopholes in the security arrangements of these institutes. However, the administration failed to take any concrete step at that time.

The directives come as a surprise in case of Snehalaya. When The Tribune, following the dramatic escape by a 13-year-old inmate, highlighted the loopholes in security arrangements, the Home Secretary, after a similar surprise visit, had claimed that all was fine and the institute was ‘successfully’ safeguarding the street children from the abusive and hazardous lifestyles of the street.

Similarly, in the case a mentally-challenged girl having gone missing from Aashreya, he did the needful by constituting a committee almost after 15 days of the incident.

Social activists, however, wonder what has prompted these much-required directives as after both the escapes the administration had chosen to keep mum when confronted with the question that whose responsibility was it if the kids were kidnapped or killed or even sexually harassed.a“This is shocking. When their intervention was required, they chose to hush up the matter and dismiss all reports as attempts to malign their image. When everybody wanted them to owe up to flaws, they kept quiet and now want appreciation for their efforts,” said a local social activist.



CTU, HR staff lock horns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
While the administration on one side endeavours to ease the transportation scenario by countersigning the inter-state reciprocal agreements with the neighbouring states, the conflict between the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking and the State Transport Undertaking plays a spoilsport.

A Haryana Roadways bus that was pressed into service from Panchkula to the PGI today had to bear the wrath of workers of the CTU, who attempted to stop the bus from being operational on this route. Later, the matter was “amicably” deferred for sometime.

Director Transport, CTU ML Sharma said there was some sort of lack of communication that led to this chaos but refrained from commenting upon the validation of any permit for plying on city roads.

“The Haryana Roadways bus was obstructed by the CTU workers but they were persuaded to settle the matter. It has been amicably decided to settle the issue tomorrow”.

On the other hand, the CTU workers, while objecting the plying of the Haryana Roadways bus here, alleged that the bus had been scheduled without any validation. “How can it be justified to all any outside bus to run here when we have our own fleet which is sufficient to cater the passengers on this route?, objected Jagdish, president of the CTU.



Allottees move forum against CHB
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Taking a lesson from the one-room allottees of Sector 49 Self-financing Chandigarh Housing Board Scheme, 2005 and 2006, who got respite after judicial intervention, the two-room allottees too have followed the suit.

About 30 two-room applicants have filed a complaint against the Board with the Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chandigarh.

The members have pointed certain deficiencies in construction and also questioned the Board for delay in granting them possession of the houses.

Mohanjeet Singh, chairman of the Board, denied of having any knowledge about the flaws in construction but told that the finishing part of construction has been expedited and the possession will be handed over to allottees in three months.

Nevertheless, the faulty planning can be well imagined from the fact that the Board realised at a later stage that the provision for rain drainage pipe system got overlooked in the plan. But by the time this fault could catch the fancy of the Board, this “approved plan” had taken the shape of concrete structure.

When the allottees agitated over this lapse, the Board, broke the roofs to take out the drainage pipes only to fix it externally. Now, the impact of breaking the roofs twice has raised questions in the minds of the allottees.

Another peculiar abnormality in the construction of flats was that the bathroom toilet drainage bend pipe was protruding on the lower floor ceiling. It speaks volumes about the negligence on the part of the Board. But this time the allottees were scared to point out.

“Even after a lapse of over a year and more, despite paying the full “damages” within the time frame fixed by the Board, uncertainty looms large,” the allottees resented.

The allottees have demanded that the Board should return the interest on their deposited amount from March 2008 till the time they “actually” get the possession of the flats, at the same rate the Board had charged them as penalty for the delay in payments.



Chandigarh among top five in TB eradication
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Chandigarh has been adjudged among the top five performing states and union territories in the country by TB India-2008 RNTCP (Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme) status report, brought out by the Union Health Ministry. The treatment success rate of tuberculosis for the year in Chandigarh was 86 per cent. The City Beautiful was able to achieve it for the seventh consecutive year. In controlling TB, Chandigarh is now at par with Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Arunachal Pradesh. 

Dr Manjit Singh Bains, director, Health and Family Welfare-cum-Mission Director, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), UT, said the city had been achieving this distinction since January 25, 2002, the day when the tuberculosis control programme was launched here. 

Dr PK Shridhar, nodal officer, National Rural Health Mission, said in 2008, 13,937 patients were examined for sputum diagnosis, out of which 1,793 were found positive and 837 new smear positive patients were put on treatment. 

The other smear positive patients were either referred to other states or were treated under other categories of treatment. The new sputum positive detection rate is 84 per lakh of population in Chandigarh. 

Up to December, 2008, 15,123 patients were put on treatment. In calendar year 2008, the total annual detection rate was 243 per lakh. There were only two per cent death among 2400-odd patients put on treatment in one year, two per cent failure rate and three per cent defaulter rate, the lowest in the country, said Dr Shridhar. 

“The target is to reduce the death rate and the prevalence of TB patients to half by 2015 as a Millennium Development Goal (MDG),” he added. 



GH-16 maternity ward to have 30 more beds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Home Secretary Ram Niwas paid a surprise visit to Government Multi Speciality Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16, and inspected various OPDs and wards. He directed to provide about 30 additional beds at the maternity ward.

The Home Secretary directed the Director Health Services and the Medical Superintendent to make arrangements, whenever, any doctor went out for some official work so that patients did not suffer.

He also directed the Medical Superintendent to provide clean bed sheets to various wards and also the colour of sheets should also be changed to blue or green. Considering the problem of power interruption at the central registration system of the hospital, the Home Secretary instructed that an independent inverter must be installed to save patients from harassment.

The Home Secretary also directed to ensure that the token system of various OPDs function properly. The toilets were inspected and instructions were issued to ensure cleanliness. The Home Secretary also directed the DHS to provide a plasma TV in the waiting hall. He also directed the DHS to ensure that the medical shop at the GMSH did not overcharge the patients.

The Home Secretary also visited the ISBT, Sector 43, and found that cleanliness was not being maintained in the toilets. The contractor has been issued a notice. He also inspected new 15 bays that were under-construction and directed that the construction work should be completed by June 15.



Markets fall in high-risk zone
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The congested, non-ventilated markets of Sector 15, 22 and 19 can prove to be just another death trap in case of a fire-outbreak. These three popular markets of the city qualify as high-risk zones owing to lack of ventilation, illegal encroachments suffocating the pathway, presence of electricity meters next to tandoors at eateries and even lack of parking for fire engines in case of fire.

In Sector 19 Sadar Bazar for instance, electric wires were found hanging loosely from the roof and right above a food joint’s kitchen area. Moreover, this food joint has been illegally extended covering the otherwise open area of the market.

A little more investigation into the case revealed that this market does not even have an NOC (No Objection certificate) which has to be issued by the Fire Department, even as the market has been getting electricity supply for years now.

Probing further, shopkeeper Dharam Pal Jain revealed, “The major issue here is encroachment which leads to all other problems, including fire-safety.”

This market had earlier witnessed a devastating fire in 1982 and yet again in 1992 following which the rehri-market was converted to pucca booths.

In Sector 22, however, on one hand shopkeepers blame the Municipal Corporation for not paying heed to the ‘actual issues’ they confront, the fire department, however, has its own grievances with a long list of safety measures not being followed there.

Says Harjinder Singh Nagpal, a shopkeeper, “We have just one toilet for customers of over 320 booths here. The sewerage system is also not in place, the important issues are not being dealt with, and the officials are harassing us on fire safety even as the market has perfect fire-safety provisions according to us.”

On the other hand, station fire officer SK Gosain points out, “The illuminated exit signboards are on a height that nobody can read them, in case of an emergency, the signboard has to be at the eye level so that it is visible. Moreover, there is insufficient ventilation.”

With the onset of summers, the non-compliance of safety measures in these congested markets can prove extremely dangerous as most of the shops are loaded with synthetic dress material and more electricity is being withdrawn than the sanctioned load of the meter. Concluded



6 hectares of Morni forest goes up in flames
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 20
The claims of the district authorities to chalk out a long-term strategy to check fires in the forest areas have fallen flat with the onset of summer as fire incidents were reported from different parts of the district today.

While more than six hactares of forest was destroyed in two fire incidents at Morni and Kalka, three minor incidents were reported from the town only.

At Morni, the dry grass in the forest caught fire reportedly after the sparking in a transformer. Soon after it spread in the forest damaging flaura and fauna. The Haryana Tourism resort at Morni is merely one kilometer away from the place of incident. According to witnesses, the fire noticed at 11 am could be controlled by 6.30 pm.

After a spate of fire incidents in the forests of the district, then Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Rajinder Kataria, stating that a majority of the forest fires were the result of negligence on the part of locals, said a campaign would be initiated to create awareness among the locals in this regard.

Officials at the fire brigade office in Panchkula said they were asked to send a fire tender at 2.10 pm and which returned in the late evening after the fire was controlled. The monor fire incidents were reproted from the desolated areas near Red Bishop resort at Panchkula, behind Nada Sahib gurdwara and near Azad colony, said fire brigade officials.



Soni plays development card
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Claiming that a sum of Rs 5 crore has been sanctioned by her ministry for promoting tourism and beautification of Sukhna Lake due to efforts of sitting MP and Congress candidate Pawan Bansal, Union Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Ambika Soni has sought another mandate for him to complete the unfinished development works.

Addressing a series of rallies at Sectors 49, 29, 26 and Bapu Dham Colony, Ambka Soni came down heavily on the BJP for its “malicious” campaign against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Before criticising the Congress, the BJP should first put its house in order, Soni said adding that it was during the NDA regime that the high-security Parliament House in Akshardam Temple in Gujarat came under attack.

It was during the BJP rule that a militant was given safe passage to Kandhar, she added.

Jain focuses on youth

BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain today alleged that not a single youth of Chandigarh had secured a job in last five years due to the “faulty” policies of the Congress.

Addressing public meeting in Sectors 45, 55, Burail and Attawa villages, he said during his five-year tenure, the Congress candidate, in spite of having been a minister in the Central government, has not done anything to generate a single job for the youth of Chandigarh.

Jain said on coming to power, the BJP government would focus on employment generation to take care of job needs of the youth.

In order to make India an e-superpower, the BJP government will make sure that each young man and woman has access to computer and Internet, he added.

Dhawan’s promises

BSP candidate Harmohan Dhawan addressed a gathering at the Indira Colony in Manimajra today.

Speaking on the occasion, Dhawan said without a proper transfer policy in place, how could Bansal assure the residents another storey.

Dhawan said all those people who have been living in Chandigarh whether they are self-employed, businessmen and employers, have contributed in Chandigarh’s growth all of them will get two-bedroom flats under "Garib Awas Yojana" on Uttar Pradesh pattern, he promised.

JDU campaign

Candidate of the Janata Dal (U) Goswami V.B. Bharti visited the Sector 49 and met the victims yesterday's fire.

He also visited Hallo Majra and Indra Colony where residents put forth their demands, including water, sanitation and electricity problem. Bharti promised that if elected, he would solve all their problems. 



5 polling stations to go in new buildings
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The Chief Election Commission (CEC), New Delhi, has approved the proposal of the Chandigarh Election Commission for changing the location of five sensitive polling stations in the city. The commission had requested the CEO that as these booths were in the congested areas and adequate security could not be provided there, so these be shifted to some other buildings in the area.

The proposal of changing of the location of the polling stations is two each in Maloya and Dadumajra and one in Sector 56.

As per officials of the commission, the request for shifting two Maloya polling stations which were earlier to be set up in anganwari centre, Maloya colony, will now be set up at Government Primary School, Maloya colony.

The officials stated that two polling stations of Dadumajra, which were earlier to be set up in anganwari near Government Senior Secondary School, Dadumajra colony, shifted to crèche, which has been constructed recently Dadumajra colony.

The officials stated that another booth, which was earlier proposed in a crèche of Sector 56, is now being shifted to Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 56.

The returning officer R K Rao revealed that as all these booths were sensitive so the proposal for shifting them was sent to the commission.

Meanwhile in three days, 23 forms have been sold by the commission for filing the nomination papers for the coming elections. 



Fissures to fore in SAD
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
In a development that may have repercussions on the May 13 elections in Chandigarh, differences have surfaced in the local unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) over the issue of support to BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain.

A day after senior Akali leader Gurpartap Singh Riar shared stage with Jain in the presence of Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, certain senior leaders seem to have developed cold feet on the issue of support to the BJP candidate.

“Anti-BJP” and “Anti-Jain” sentiments ruled supreme at a meeting here attended by Harjinder Kaur, member of the SAD working committee, N.S. Minhas, Harcharan Singh Sahni, Amrinder Singh, G.S. Palia, Ravinder Singh Khalsa, Gurjot Singh Sahni and Charanjit Singh Willy, all office-bearers.

Terming Jain as a "weak" candidate, Sahni claimed that in the backdrop of rampant infighting in the the BJP over Jain's candidature, it was difficult for the SAD cadre to extend support to Jain.

Jain was finding it difficult to take even senior BJP leaders, including former president Jai Ram Joshi, along for the election campaign, Sahni alleged.

Harjinder Kaur, who had earlier been elected Mayor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation with the BJP support, alleged that Jain was trying to let down the SAD by propping up Riar.

The current political situation will be brought before the party high command for a “clear stand” on the issue of the support to the BJP, she added. Minhas rued that Jain had failed to contact him on the issue of SAD support for his candidature.

Gurjot Sahni and Willy alleged that the BJP and the SAD high commands did not take the local cadre into confidence for finalising Jain's name, who had already lost the elections from the Chandigarh parliamentary seat thrice.

It may be recalled that intra-party differences in the SAD over support to the BJP candidate is not a new phenomenon. Riar and the other faction have been at loggerhead over support for several years now. This, in fact, stems from the failure of the SAD high command to resolve the local unit leadership issue. 



Chief Secy assures recruitment of visually impaired
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The National Federation of Blinds today stated that the Punjab’s Chief Secretary had agreed to write to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) to exempt recruitment of visually impaired from the election code of conduct.

A statement issued by Prof Rajesh Mohan, general secretary of the federation, stated that a delegation of the federation today met the Chief Secretary regarding their long-pending demands and he assured them to take up the issue with the CEC.

Representatives of the federation submitted a list of 200 unemployed visually impaired persons. The Chief Secretary told them that he would direct all departments to initiate the process of recruitment without further delay.

It may be recalled that the Delhi High Court had on December 19, last year, given a decision regarding the job reservation of the visually impaired that it would soon be implemented.

The court had also directed to recruit the visually impaired on the basis of total strength of the cadre.



Pay panel suggests merger
Secretariat, personal staff cadres
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The Punjab Fifth Pay Commission has suggested the merger of the secretariat and personal staff cadres in the Punjab Civil Secretariat here.

All future recruitments to be made as "executive assistants" with minimum qualifications of graduation and one-year diploma in computers have also been recommended by the commission. These executive assistants would discharge the functions presently being carried out by Assistants as well as the personal staff.

The commission has recommended five distinct running pay bands with longer spans being recommended-one running band each for all categories in groups D, C and B and 2 running pay bands for Group 'A'. Each post has a distinct Grade Pay attached to it. Grade Pay is linked to its seniority in the hierarchy.

The total number of pay scales remain 32, spread across five distinct running pay bands. A person stagnating at the maximum of any pay band for more than one year continuously is to be placed in the immediate next higher pay band without any change in the grade pay.

The commission has set the minimum basic pay for its employees at Rs 6,200, while it is Rs 6050 for the Central Government employees. The other recommendations include: higher rates of pension for retirees and family pensioners on attaining the age of 80, 85, 90, 95 and 100, while continuing with the existing old-age allowance on attaining 65 and 75 years; In case of government employees dying in riots or terrorist attack or enemy action, family pension is to be paid at enhanced rate for 10 years.

The commission had also recommended devising of an appropriate insurance scheme suggested for meeting the medical needs of existing employees and pensioners. The commission has suggested that citizen's charter be made compulsory for all departments and the use of new information technology recommended for delivery of public services.



Broadband: BSNL offers 20 pc discount

Chandigarh, April 20
In order to make its broadband services more popular, the BSNL has announced a discount of 20 per cent on fixed monthly charges (FMC) for corporate customers and educational institutions.

In a release issued here today, Naresh Sharma, general manager of Chandigarh telecom circle, said the discount on FMC would be applicable for a period of 12 months.

Both the existing as well as new customers will be entitled to the benefit for which applications can be submitted up to July 3, he said. However, the scheme is not applicable for unlimited plans. — TNS



Chandrakant Valvi is election observer
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, April 20
The Election Commission has appointed Chandrakant Valvi as election observer for the Ambala (SC) parliamentary constituency to observe the election work in Kalka, Panchkula and Naraingarh assembly segments.

Giving this information here today, Pankaj Yadav, Panchkula deputy commissioner-cum-district election officer, said Valvi had joined his duties and would be available for all voters for any grievances relating to the Lok Sabha elections. He said that election observer would listen grievances every day from 9 to 11 am, and in the evening from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. up to May 7, at Sinchai Bhawan in Sector 5 of Panchkula.



PU professor to attend Seoul conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
Dr Vijay Rattan, professor of Public Administration, Panjab University (PU), has been invited by the United Nations (UN) to participate in the World Civic Forum to be held in Seoul , South Korea, from May 5-8.

A renowned expert in the field of public governance, development policy and administration, e-governance and information technology, Professor Rattan is the only teacher in the PU until now who has been invited by the UN, and that too for the second time, to participate in a global event as a United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), New York, sponsored delegate. He would be making a power-point presentation at a workshop session on “Citizen Action for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).” 

Earlier, in June 2007, he was invited as a UN-sponsored delegate to the 7th global forum on reinventing government, organised by the United Nations at its headquarters in Vienna, Austria. Over 2,000 participants, including heads of state and government, ministers, parliamentarians, senior officials, civil society representatives and the private sector took part in this world gathering. 



Students all set for elections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The youth brigade of the city seems to be fully in action before elections. Students of Panjab University with its “vote for change” campaign and those of Chitkara School of Mass Communication with their “finger campaign” have resolved to make a difference.
Youths take out a poster to encourage people to vote
Youths take out a poster to encourage people to vote

By making the students of PU hostels aware of the past records of the governments and also promises fulfilled and unfulfilled, this “vote for change” campaign has already become popular among the students.

“A country cannot be attacked by terrorists without its permission, it is lack of political will in my opinion that makes such attacks frequent. It is a matter of concern that the issues like terrorism and corruption have increased many folds. We wish to see a change,” said Harmandeep, a student.

While on the other hand, Chitkara students kept the spirit of the voting season alive by spreading awareness regarding their right and power of vote. The journey of this finger campaign took off from Rajpura campus of Chitkara.

The students staged a performance in front of 300 youngsters and aimed to address 10,000 youth in all colleges and universities in the city and in adjoining areas before the elections.

The campaign includes two ad films conceptualised, produced and directed by the students along with a small presentation.

Suprana S Puri, dean (academics) of the institute said, “The finger campaign is an experiment laden with social responsibility. It aims at highlighting the role and pro-active contribution of the youth of India in redefining a future that holds promise and determination for its countrymen.” 



From Schools
Lecture on adolescent issues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
A lecture on adolescenct issues of girls of classes VII and VIII has been organised at Mount Carmel School, Sector 47 B, here today.

Dr Ruchika, resource person from Proctor & Gamble, delivered a lecture on various issues concerning adolescence and interacted with the girls answering their queries. She spoke to the girls on how to combat various myths and fears regarding diet, growth and menstruation, etc. faced by them during the adolescent years. It was an hour-long workshop organised by Simply Health Plus Pvt Ltd.


Avantika National Conference 2009 was organised in DAV Public School, Sector 8 C, here.

Theme of the conference was “Current challenge of education in India”. It was an opportunity for the administrative and educationist community to exchange ideas and develop a common vision for the future of educational system. The interactive session included topics like educational administrative and counselling challenges.

Annual function

Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sector 47, organised its annual function at Lecma Auditorium at 3 BRD, here. The function was presided over by Air Cmde SRK Nair, chairman VMC, and AOC 12 Wing. Assistant Commissioner UN Khaware, KVS Chandigarh, was the guest of honour.

The exuberant students presented a well-choreographed cultural show, which started with Saraswati vandana and auspicious lighting of lamp amidst chanting of Sanskrit shlokas. Principal CP Chaudhri highlighted the achievements of Vidyalaya in academic and non-academic fields in her power point presentation and annual report.

Vice-principal Kanta Bansal proposed a vote of thanks. 



Heavy rush of students
3 schools to run in double shifts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 20
The Chandigarh education department today announced to run three schools in double shifts, apparently, to meet the growing rush of students.

The two Government Model Senior Secondary Schools in Sectors 46 and 39, and another Government High School in Sector 43 have been shortlisted for the purpose.

Apart from this, a proposal has been mooted to introduce additional classes at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 26, and to start extra coaching classes for under privilege students who are weak in studies.

District Education Officer (DEO) Khushinder Sharma said, “The administration is fully prepared and has carried out a thorough survey to count each and every child who would be affected by this decision and has taken preventive steps that no student is left unattended.”

However, an inspection team headed by the DEO has been formed today to monitor the working modules of the schools. “We would inspect the upkeep of school grounds, sports infrastructure, availability of basic amenities like hygienic water, etc.”

Meanwhile, the education department today bifurcated the government schools’ admission related powers among its officials. DEO Khushinder Sharma would look after the admission procedure from pre-nursery to class IV, deputy DEO Chanchal Singh for classes V, VI and VII, director vocational Saroj Mittal for classes VIII and IX while deputy DEO Saroj Gupta for classes X, XI, XII.



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