C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Autos to be common man’s radio taxi
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Finding autos will be just a call away. The Chandigarh administration has mooted a proposal to introduce 24x7 radio auto service in the city, the first in the country. What is more - the refurbished autos will be equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) connected with GSM/CDMA/landline network and other facilities for the comfort and safety of passengers.

The eco-friendly LPG/CNG-run green colour autos with yellow topping will have an electronic display unit showing “hired” or “vacant”.

Though the fare has not been fixed as yet, sources in the transport department said it would be somewhere near Rs 5 per km. This implies that it will be the cheapest public transport available in Chandigarh after the CTU buses.

Private firms having transport background will operate these autos. The officials said that expression of interest from interested parties would be invited after the Model Code of Conduct is over. The operators will have their own control rooms, which will be in constant touch with the auto drivers.

This service will be available in three convenient ways - on call by dialling the four-digit number, by hiring them from their designated locations or by stopping them on road.

Confirming this, Home Secretary-cum-Secretary Transport Ram Niwas said the proposal would be materialised soon after the elections are over in Chandigarh.

“It will be beneficial and safe for the general public, especially women and children, as the vehicle will be driven by the designated person only. Since plans are there to have a GPS system in the vehicle, this will enable us to know the location of the vehicle. Secondly, it will help in ending the monopoly of the existing auto drivers who ask for undue fares. Thirdly, these vehicles will be available all day and night. Besides, this scheme will help us generate employment and help us switching over to LPG autos soon,” he said.

Vandana Disodia, Secretary, State Transport Authority, said that under the Motor Vehicle Act, 1988, auto-rickshaws come under the category of contract carriage and their registration numbers could be reserved for these vehicles. “An operator interested to be a part of the scheme will have a minimum fleet of 10 brand new LPG/CNG auto-rickshaws. The registration will be done by the STA as per the Chandigarh motor vehicle norms,” she said.

The STA will monitor that the auto-rickshaw should comply with the stipulated conditions like the vehicle must have electronic fare meter on its front panel, besides the first-aid box and fire extinguishers. “It will be the liability of the operating firm to ensure that the drivers have valid driving licence, good behaviour and proper uniform,” she added.



Falling ill due to pollution, sue MC
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Have you ever fallen ill due to poor quality of drinking water or air pollution, then you can move a consumer court against the municipal corporation.

According to a recent judgment of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, access to clean drinking water is fundamental to life and it is the duty of the state under Article 21 to provide the same to its citizens.

Taking up the matter, the Commission observed the unavailability of clean drinking water and polluted air comes under the purview of the Consumer Protection Act.

As per the statement of objects and reasons of the Consumer Protection Councils, contemplated under the Act, a consumer has the right to be informed about the quality, quantity, purity of goods, including water or services rendered by the statutory authorities so that it is not hazardous to life.

The Consumer Education and Research Society, a voluntary consumer association, and the legal heirs of the victims who died of jaundice had jointly filed the case against the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. Jaundice broke out in Ahmedabad in 1993, which resulted in about 100 deaths and affected over 1,200 persons.

Giving several examples, former president of the UT Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Justice K.C. Gupta asserted, “If there is an outbreak of a disease in your city, for example a water-borne disease, the victims can slap a case on the municipal corporation seeking compensation.”

Commenting on the accountability of the state on such issue, advocate Ashvini Kumar Bansal said, “There is a public interest litigation lying pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court wherein the petitioner has sought directions to be issued to the government to ensure control over diseases like malaria, dengue and jaundice. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure good health to its resident by ensuring clean environment.”



Nation’s future under nature’s fury
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
With the temperatures soaring, the scene of around 30 students struggling to learn 3 Rs under a tree at Government High School, Daria, leaves one amazed at the fact that this school is also the responsibility of the administration.

While the administration foresees the city’s future in mega projects, quality education and even basic facility of classroom remain a distant dream for many schools nurturing the nation’s future.

A visit to any school on the periphery brings one face to face with kids sitting in open grounds even as weather gets scorching every other minute. No drinking water or toilets, non-existent libraries and laboratories and even deficient number of teachers are what education means to many students across the city.

If one goes by the claims of education department officials, not less than 60 projects like construction of toilets are waiting the approval of the administration for the past five years.

According to many senior officials, it’s the lack of funds that has hindered the projects. However, they failed to justify purchase of paintings and verified tiles for schools in such a money crunch state.

“We have taken up the matter with the administration and they assured that the education projects will be taken on a priority basis”, stated Samwartak Singh, DPI.



Kishangarh Rape
Police accused of inaction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Residents of Kishangarh village today accused the police of dragging its feet to proceed against two accused involved in the alleged kidnapping and rape of a woman of their village.

The residents, along with the victim’s family members, came to meet the UT SSP, but he was not in the city. They lodged their complaint at the public window seeking a prompt action against the accused and the people shielding them.

The victim’s father-in-law alleged that the police had not made any efforts to arrest the remaining two accused, Vinod Kumar and Gurnam Singh, who were also involved in the incident. “I came to know that Gurnam Singh was roaming in the village and I informed the village sarpanch, who further informed the police.

The police, instead of taking action, said they could not arrest the accused as they were applying for anticipatory bail”, rued the disgruntled father-in-law.



Man posing as cop swindles Kharar resident
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
A trickster posing as a policeman in plain clothes decamped with a motorcycle of a Kharar resident from the traffic lights point on the road dividing Sectors 15 and 16 on Thursday afternoon.

The conman told the motorcyclist, Dalwinder Singh, a resident of Kharar, to let him drive his bike, saying the traffic police will not challan their “own man” for not wearing a helmet.

Dalwinder, who takes coaching form a private institute in Sector 8, told the police that he was on his way to the institute on Thursday when the accused asked for a lift from him near the Sector 42 petrol station at around 12.30 pm.

The man claimed that he was a policeman and his name was Palwinder Singh. He asked Dalwinder to let him drive his motorcycle. On the way, he gave a mobile phone number to Dalwinder in an attempt to win his trust. At the lights point, he stopped the motorcycle on some pretext and asked Dalwinder get off the bike. The moment Dalwinder alighted, he sped away with his motorcycle leaving him shocked.

The mobile phone number given by the accused turned out to be fake. The police has registered a case.



City rly station set for ‘designer’ makeover
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
If you thought that aesthetically designed roofs and cover sheds are only patterned in shopping malls, then think again. The city railway station is all set for an improved look with designer cover sheds coming up shortly but security arrangements are still a matter of grave concern.

In order to make the station passenger friendly, the extension of the cover shed on platform no. 2 has already begun with five iron pillars in place.

Much to the relief of passengers, the tea-stalls and benches at the platform will now be covered under the shed.

According to the Railway officials, special alloy sheets are being used for the extension and a proposal to extend platform no. 1 cover shed is also in the pipeline.

HK Jaggi, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Ambala, said: “Platform no. 1 cover shed will be extended upto the Shatabdi coach in open areas in addition to platform no. 2 cover shed extension.”

Similarly, the completion plan to extend platform no. 4 and 5 cover sheds in the next three months was also confirmed by the officer.

“We have already proposed modern design cover sheds for platform no.s 4 and 5,” added the DRM.

Notably, the inspiration of the new designs of cover sheds has been drawn from the shopping malls, which have ultramodern and designer cover sheds.

Though these developments are underway, the security arrangements at the railway station still need to be addressed. The proposal of installation of CCTV’s has been approved, but the effort may not be enough.

The only metal detector at the station is not serving the purpose, as most of the passengers walk through the empty walk space next to it, rather than stepping on it to pass through.

Agreeing to the fact that the city railway station is an important one and needs proper security, DRM Jaggi said: “We will install the CCTV’s shortly and the control room has also been identified.”

Considering the terror attacks in the country, railway station is one important place that calls for a security upgradation.



Battle of Ballot
Allegations, counter-allegations fly
Open debate challenge for Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Coming down heavily on its Congress leaders, Satya Pal Jain, BJP candidate for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha constituency, today challenged them to have an open debate on issues concerning the city.

Jain said he was prepared to have this debate on any neutral platform, as patronised in American presidential elections. He mentioned that the Congress MP and Minister Pawan Bansal had shied away from such programmes earlier this year too.

“Such discussions are a part of healthy democratic culture and avoiding such debates depict the sign of lack of confidence and unhealthy democratic thinking”, said Jain.

Mentioning two unsavoury incidents involving use of bad and abusive language by Davinder Babla, a close supporter of the Congress, Jain said he was hurt. “When Bansal stated later that he and the entire party stand by the acts of Babla, I was hurt. By doing so, he is instigating criminalisation of politics.”

Jain said if a minister, who had sworn in the name of God to owe allegiance to the Constitution, was protecting a criminal like Babla, then he was unbecoming to the office he was holding.

Defying all allegations, Babla, on the other hand, stressed that if going to jail for the public cause and helping the authorities to seize illegal liquor was a crime, than he should be labelled as a criminal.

About the alleged abusive language being used for Jain during a public address at Mouli Jagraon on May 4, Babla clarified that he just commented to counter the BJP’s goons. “To raise the diminishing morale of Congress workers at Mouli Jagraon, I just commented that people would themselves break his spectacles and tear his clothes, if BJP activists continue to browbeat Congress workers. My comments were manipulated”, he said.

Nevertheless, recalling the times when he won the Chandigarh seat in 1996, Jain said the first task on his agenda was to go to the houses of Bansal and Dhawan to seek their goodwill and support.

Meanwhile, today a poster highlighting some statements of Bansal showing his helplessness in handling officers of the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation for not being able to address the problems of citizens, farmers etc. was also displayed at the press meet.

Members and leaders of the Devalaya Poojak Parishad, a body of temple priests, today assured support to the BJP. They also honoured Jain with a ceremonial turban.

Kamla Sharma, president, Chandigarh state BJP, Sanjay Tandon, general secretary, and Davesh Moudgil, spokesperson, were present.



Rallies forced me to skip debate: Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
While the heat is on for the upcoming elections on May 13, it’s the candidates who are indulging in the war of words through allegations and counter-allegations now.

Pawan Kumar Bansal, who skipped a debate among three candidates organised by a television channel yesterday, said today that it was not a deliberate miss as was being publicised by the rival parties, but he had already a few rallies lined up and he had informed the organisers about his pre-commitments so the question of ducking the debate did not arise.

Later on, he also agreed to a possibility of participating in a healthy and well-informed debate proposed to be organised by the Press Club, Chandigarh.

He was addressing a press conference at his home and questioning the sanctity of the debate, he said, “In fact, I am happy that I did not attend it because I was told that it was not a serious debate. I am willing to participate in any informed debate which raises issues.”

Referring to both BJP and BSP claims on development issues in the city, Bansal said the Congress was in a comfortable position and its sure victory was the reason for the rivals to scuttle the Congress’s campaigning in the city, while referring to disruption of rallies on four different occasions by them.

While challenging, BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain to prove that no development had taken place in Chandigarh during the last five years, he said it’s surprising why Jain was blind to the developmental projects of railway station and the setting up of an international airport in the city. He was accompanied by Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee President BB Bahl.

Bansal enlisted a number of projects that had been taken for the betterment of the city, which included the modernisation of various departments of the PGI. “From a mere Rs 200 crore in the last five year Plan, the funds have been increased to Rs 625 crore, the part of which has already been utilised in the upgradation,” Bansal said and added that a sum of Rs 84 crore had been sanctioned in addition.

Defending Congress leaders Devinder Babla and HS Lucky, he said they did a Yeoman’s service by getting two liquor-loaded trucks meant for distribution among its workers by the BJP seized.

Referring to Mauli Jagran episode, Bansal said the BJP was trying to disrupt Congress rallies and there had been incidents when stone-pelting and using abusive language at the workers had been reported. “Instead of admitting their high-handedness, they twist the facts and place the blame on our workers,” he added.



Dhawan banks on Maya’s formula
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

A vendor offers mangoes to Harmohan Dhawan during a padyatra in Sector 26. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, May 8
For Harmohan Dhawan, the grand old man of the city politics, whose day begins at 7 am and ends in midnight is making a desperate bid to enter Parliament on the BSP ticket this time.

His confidants start thronging the market for planning the day’s campaign and fine-tune the election strategy. Attending phone calls, reading newspapers, detailing the election managers and attending visitors go hand in hand for a couple of hours before a confident former civil aviation minister embarks on his formal rally-cum-padyatra at the grain market, Sector-26.

Hopeful of replicating the success of BSP supremo Mayawati’s social engineering formula in a comparatively educated city, Dhawan expects to win this time around after about two decades.” The 15-year tenure of Pawan Bansal and two-and-a-half year of Satya Pal Jain have been failures. When compared to my 19 months as MP and four months as the minister, the difference is apparent particularly on the mega projects front” he told The Tribune on Wednesday with his signature tune “naare ko na naam ko vote Dhawan ke kam ko”(slogans and name won’t get votes, Dhawan’s performance will) playing in the background.

As his luxurious Toyota Corolla gets past the narrow lanes of the grain market, a motley crowd waits for him. Dhawan instantly strikes a rapport with the audience while doling out populist promises such as the balanced Rent Act, houses for the poor and relaxations in the building bylaws.

After a “successful” padyatra Dhawan heads for home to meet his poll managers and close confidants. In between members of a few other parties join the BSP to give its campaign a boost.

By 4 pm, the former minister is in colonies and villages. In colonies, where the BSP claims its real support base, Dhawan is unsparing in his tirade against Bansal’s unfulfilled promises to the slum dwellers.



BJP activists join Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Many members of the BJP’s SC and ST Morcha, led by Aman Kumar Lohara, Dilip Paswan, Madan Pal, Rishi Pal, along with other workers, joined the Congress today. They took a pledge in front of Manish Bansal to work for the Congress.

Meanwhile, Chandigarh unit president of the Indian Justice Party Harish Chandra Baudh, along with his office-bearers and workers, offered his support to Pawan Kumar Bansal.

Talking to a cross-section of the people during doorstep meetings and public rallies in various sectors and villages, including Sectors 53, 36, 18, 22, and Dadumajra colony, Bansal said it was the first city of India to offer genetic testing of newborns at government hospitals and pre-natal scanning of expecting mothers to check disorders before the birth. He said a Unani hospital would be established soon.

He was accompanied by Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee president BB Bahl, city mayor Kamlesh, Vijay Rana, Rajiv Kathuria, DD Jindal, Lalit Joshi, Pawan Sharma, Khalil Ahmed, Mehndi Hasan, Bhajan Kaur, Manjit Singh Chouhan and others.

He said healthcare was a major factor that needed immediate attention, and two new out patients’ departments (OPDs) were being constructed in Sectors 16 and 32. “This will gave ease to the residents of the area to a large extent and plans are underway to set up more OPDs at other sectors too,” he added.

A 500-bedded trauma centre had been planned to be set up in Sector 53, while two dispensaries had already been approved in Southern Sectors, he said.

Dhawan hits out at Bansal

Former Union minister and BSP candidate from Chandigarh Harmohan Dhawan today released a chargesheet against Pawan Kumar Bansal at a press conference here today.

He further said Bansal had been appointed for open debates for three times and every time he skipped the issue by giving lame excuses or sending his representative to the debate. Bansal claimed that he had raised 768 questions in the Parliament during his tenure, which did not help the people’s cause as he had not done anything for the city and its residents. Meanwhile, the Akhil Bhartiya Akali Dal today announced its support to Dhawan.

RJD steps up campaign

“Within three months after winning, I will suspend the Market Committee headed by Davinder Singh Babla. I will stop all false practices and corruption. The body of the Market Committee will be re-elected and a high-level inquiry committee would be established to investigate the false practices happened in the Market Committee”, said RJD candidate Hafiz Anwar-ul-Haq here today.

While addressing a rally at Sector 26 Grain Market, Hafiz met traders, along with party president Ravinder Krishan.

Haq further said the liqour scene of the BJP had been exposed. On the other hand, the controversies arose because of some senior Congress leaders had exposed Bansal’s stand.

He assured people that after winning he would root out all anti-social elements from the city beautiful.

As the D-date is coming near, the electoral campaign of Haq is at its full swing. Haq addressed several rallies and public meetings at colony no. 4, 5, Sectors 26, 32 and 29. Meanwhile, Haq’s wife Jannat Jahaan-ul-Haq has also been actively campaigning. She conducted a door-to-door campaign in Ramdarbar Phase II and Colony No.5.



Black Money
BJP conducts opinion poll
Tribune News Service

City youth take part in the opinion poll conducted by the youth wing of the BJP at Sector 17 in Chandigarh. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

Chandigarh, May 8
The BJP yesterday found a novel way of mobilising public opinion on the issue of black money hoarded illegally by Indians in Swiss bank accounts. The opinion poll was conducted at Sector 17 here yesterday.

A total of 1,034 people expressed their opinion on the issue of ill-gotten money, which lies in Switzerland-based accounts of Indian tax evaders, corrupt individuals, criminals, corrupt politicians and others.

Vineet Joshi, national media incharge of the BJP Youth Wing, said the BJP was committed to bring back Indian wealth from Swiss banks and re-invest the same towards waiving debts of farmers, investing in infrastructure, providing safe drinking water to every Indian and construction of houses for poor and for rural development.

Meanwhile, BJP candidate Satya Pal Jain today assured lowly paid Central government employees for revisiting the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission to ensure them justice.

Jain today started his day with a pad yatra at Sector 37, where he was received with garlands and beats of drums. He addressed public meetings in Sectors 46, 44 and 27.

Meanwhile, the members of the All-India Mazdoor Bhalai Manch, led by Preet Pal Singh, and members of the Student Organisation of India, led by Paramvir Singh Sunny, announced their support to Jain.

On the other hand, the Samajik Nyaya Party also merges with the Bahujan Samaj Party, during a meeting held under the patronage of its chairperson Kanwal Pal Gehlot.

The prominent among who attended the meeting were Anil Kumar, Inder Jit Singh, Advocate AK Sharma, Pankaj Gehlot, Bijender, Ram Kumar Gehlot and Virender.



Prince alleges code violation by MC chief
Tribune News Service

Policemen make final security checks at Dasehra Ground, Mohali, the venue of the Congress rally to be addressed by AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, May 8
A supporter of the SAD and senior vice-president of the Mohali Municipal Council, Harmanpreet Singh Prince, has alleged in a complaint today to the Punjab Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) that MC president Rajinder Singh Rana was misusing the civic body machinery for the Congress rally to be addressed by AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi tomorrow.

Rana being a supporter of the Congress was actively involved in making arrangements at the venue of the rally.

“Not only the water tanker of the MC, the service of the MC employees was being used for making arrangements at the venue of the rally. This is not the first time he is misusing this machinery. On earlier occasions, too, he had done so. As election code was in progress, he cannot use this machinery for any political rally, which does not help the public in any way,” said the MC senior vice-president in his complaint.

Meanwhile, the entire area around the venue of the Congress rally was today sensitised and temporary encroachment removed.



Police takes out flag march
Tribune News Service

The police conducts a flag march in Sector 25, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, May 8
The Chandigarh police today carried out a flag march at various sensitive Sectors in the city today.

A convoy of 10 vehicles carrying 100 police officials held a flag march to instill the sense of security among masses. The police had deputed an adequate number of patrolling to keep an eye on miscreants in their respective beats.

The flag march passed through Sectors 17, 22, 23, 24, 25 colny, 15, 11, 10, 8, 9 and lake. Meanwhile about 50 persons were detained and were later left after investigation. Nothing was found, said an SHO.



Speaking Out

Stable govt must to check price rise

Come elections and a series of issues floods the voters’ impressionable mind. Some done and some undone tasks build a platform for a political debate. Here are some views of working and non-working women of the city on the issue of price rise.



Water Woes
Industrialists threaten to shift base
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, May 8
Even as the temperature is soaring each passing day, industrial unit owners in Phase VII here are facing ‘dry days’ as the Municipal Council is not supplying water to the area compelling them to make their own arrangements to meet their needs. The council, however, claims that water shortage had erupted due to snags in the supply system.

Adversely affected industrial unit owners are very upset with the authorities concerned as they claimed that not a drop of water was supplied to the area over the past four days. They had to make their own arrangements to meet their day-to-day requirements in order to keep their units running.

Vice-president of the Mohali Industries Association RP Singh said he was getting complaints from industrial unit owners every half an hour over the past four days regarding non-availability of water. Complaints were forwarded to the Municipal Council in this regard but to no avail. He said he had hired water tankers and supplied water to a number of units. Five to six buckets of water was given to each unit, but that does not serve the purpose. Many others had also hired water tankers and each of them had to spend about Rs 700 to make water available in their toilets. Water for drinking purposes had to be arranged separately.

Anup Aggarwal from Royal Print Pack questioned that why was the council burdening them with bills when adequate water was not being supplied to the area. Over the years they hoped the situation would improve with time but had to face the same problem every year. He said if nothing was done to provide even the basic amenities, industrial unit owners would be compelled to leave Mohali and move to other areas.

Similar views were aired by Arundeep Singh of Regal Bathroom Fittings who said though the water position had worsened over the past three months, not a drop was supplied for the past many days.

He said when water was not available even for drinking one could imagine the plight of people who ran units which needed water for production.

An official of the civic body, however, denied the charge that ‘not a drop of water’ was being supplied. He said a supply pipeline had got damaged and soon after it was repaired one of the two tubewells stopped functioning because of some snag in the filter.

He said water was supplied in the area with the help of tankers. He added that estimates for two new tubewells were cleared by the council, but administrative approval had not been given by higher authorities because of the model code of conduct enforced in connection with the Lok Sabha elections.



Trader’s Murder
Family members to be quizzed from today
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The police seems to be all dependant on the inputs of family members of Amarjit Singh, owner of Sham Fashion Mall, to make any headway in his sensational blind murder.

Sources in the police say investigators are puzzled over the motive behind the killing. The initial information indicated that the murder could possibly be the outcome of some financial or the business dispute in the “close circle” of the victim.

A police officer said the police would question the victim’s family and other close relatives from tomorrow to get some vital clues.

“As the family is still under shock, the investigators are finding it difficult to ask questions regarding the deals made by the victim in the recent past. Amarjit Singh was himself handling the business affairs and the dealing, so the family also need time to check all records of his dealing to be in a position to provide leading regarding where the things had gone wrong, which ultimately resulted in the murder”, said a police officer.

Sources said in an attempt to probe this angle of business rivalry of financial disputes, they investigators quizzed Amarjit Singh’s accountant. Even as he had been working with Singh for several years, he could not shed light on his entire business dealings.

The police is yet to trace Raj Kamal, gunman-cum-driver of the victim, who had reportedly taken a leave for a couple of days before the killing. Kamal, a Home Guard volunteer, was expelled from the Chandigarh Police and was living in Burail with his family.

The family told the police that he had gone somewhere without informing them following a dispute at home. They added that it was his usual behaviour and he had earlier also gone without saying anything after disputes.

The police said Kamal’s absence even after the death of his master was raising doubts. After hearing the news of the murder, he should have come to meet the family.

The police has so far could not confirm about deal regarding the Sector 22 showroom, which was being finalised with a Delhi-based buyer and other property-related issues.

The police said though angles pertaining to property emerged during the probe, they are yet to get any solid leads in this connection.



Resident alleges trespass by MC enforcement wing
Tribune News Service

A portion of the house in Sector 4, which was demolished by the enforcement staff of the estate office. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, May 8
Alleging the highhandedness of enforcement wing of the UT Estate Office, a local resident today filed a complaint with the SSP.

Munishwar Puri, an advocate, had submitted that the enforcement staff had trespassed into his premises on May 7 to demolish a portion of his house (No. 49, Sector 4), when it was locked. He also alleged that since nobody was at home, the enforcement staff entered into the house forcibly by using wooden stairs from outside.

The estate office team had to return today after Puri showed them the stay orders he obtained from the high court against demolishing this portion of his house.

Narrating the day before demolition was done by estate office team, Puri said, “I was at high court when I came to know that the enforcement staff had come to my house to remove some part of the construction. Unless getting the orders from the competent authority, how could they break open the locks of my house?” he said.

Nevertheless, Puri was served a demolition notice from the assistant estate officer on May 6 for raising a room on the porch and a basement in the premises, without getting the plan sanctioned from the authorities.

Puri, challenging the AEO’s orders, filed a writ petition in the high court the next day. “The high court granted me stay against the demolition orders at about 11 am. Although the grant of stay was communicated to the SDO and the section officer of Building Branch, they trespassed into my premises and started demolishing activity forcefully.”

On the other hand, estate officials argued that on May 7, when they went to carry on the demolition drive, the family members were present and could not produce the stay orders of the court.

“Later, it was revealed that the stay orders were submitted in the estate office at 4.45 pm for which we had no knowledge. Today, when the team went to carry on the demolition, Puri showed us the stay order which we obeyed and went back,” said an official.

“Had they produced these orders on May 7, we would have stepped down then too. Moreover, the construction was illegal and could have weaken the structure of the building,” they told.



Red Cross launches ‘our world, your move’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Recognising the current global challenges in the spheres of health, ecology and other areas, the Red Cross launched a campaign titled “our world, your move” on the occasion of the World Red Cross Day at Tagore Theatre here today.

On the 90th anniversary of the International Federation of Red Cross, Punjab Governor Gen SF Rodrigues (retd), and the president of the Punjab State Red Cross branch presided over the function. He said the current global scenario demands action on part of each individual.

Emphasising on the theme of the day, he said, “There is a great need for continuous efforts to be made to meet the challenges of disasters, disease, food shortage, rising violence, natural catastrophes and climate change.”

The aim of launching the campaign was to encourage people to join the organisation noting that the current scenario demanded action on part of each individual, said officials of the Red Cross.

"With our campaign, we intend to raise the awareness level and convince people to be a part of our mission. We need volunteers irrespective of their educational or social status," said Dr VK Puri.

Dr SPS Sohal, DHS and vice-chairman of the Punjab State Red Cross gave a brief description of the Red Cross activities in Punjab. At the end of the function, the Punjab Governor, presented mementoes to school and college students, social workers and blood donors.



Rural areas more active in voting
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 8
Though the impact of boycott of polling by the Kalka shopkeepers on the prospects of sitting Member Parliament and Congress candidate from the constituency is yet to be seen, the fall in the polling at Kalka was quite visible. Out of 21 booths set up in the town of Kalka, no booth could register more than 54 per cent of votes. The number of votes at one of the booths was as low as 35 per cent only.

The Kalka shopkeepers had announced their decision of abstaining from the polling to protest against the demolition of their shops two months ago. Similar was the case with Pinjore where the shops and houses were demolished by the NHAI to widen the road last year.

While only one booth in the town, where 755 votes were polled, could register 55 per cent of polling, the percentage of votes polled at other five booths remained below 50 per cent.

The situation was no different in Panchkula town where 79 booths were set up. However, only a few booths could surpass the figure of 60 per cent.

However, the number of votes polled in the town had increased by 55 per cent this year against 52 per cent polled last time in 2004. The voters at villages were far ahead in casting their vote this time.

About 90 per cent polling was reported from Jaswantgarh village in the Panchkula area where 275 people cast their votes. The village had a total of 307 votes.

Trailing a little, Nawagaon Alias Khada, Raipur, Sultanpur and Shahjahanpur villages in the district registered 89 per cent polling.

The authorities, however, made arrangements for blind voters to franchise their right to vote at booth No. 57 at Manav Mangal School in Sector 11 for the first time.

The Braille symbols were fixed at the buttons of EVM for the differently-able voters, said SDM, Panchkula, Rajpal.



P’kula council chief row
Matter sent to local bodies director
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 8
While the hearing on the appeal of Panchkula municipal council president Ravinder Rawal against the decision of Civil Judge (senior division) cum Municipal Council Tribunal Judge Anshu Shukla has been fixed for tomorrow, the district administration has sent the matter to director, local bodies, after receiving the opinion of the district attorney.

District attorney, in its opinion over the status of Ravinder Rawal as municipal president, conveyed to the district administration that Rawal could continue in the office till his appeal was pending with the court.

Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Pankaj Yadav had sought the legal opinion over the demand of local BJP leaders to remove Rawal from the seat of municipal council chief after the Civil Judge (senior division) cum Municipal Council Tribunal Judge, on a petition filed by BJP councillor VK Sood, declared the election of municipal council president Ravinder Rawal as illegal and void on May 4.

The BJP municipal councillor VK Sood had challenged the election of Rawal in the court through a petition on June 2, alleging that the state government had used pressure tactics for the election of the Congress candidate as president of the civic body.

Yadav said the report of the District Attorney had been sent to the director, local bodies, for the next course of action.

We had sent the same to the legal remembrance, the highest legal adviser of the state also, said Yadav.



Shivalikview to get new avatar
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Cashing in on its prime location, CITCO’s Hotel Shivalikview is all set to come up in a new avatar. After setting an example in luxury by redoing its prestigious Mountview, its time for Shivalikview to get more “luxurious”.

According to sources, a plan is being chalked out to revamp the interiors and exteriors of the hotel. The sources claim that a new banquet hall, swimming pool, discotheque are also on the cards.

Also, upgradation of the present rooms is in the pipeline.

Consultant architect is believed to be chalking out different plans depending upon the feasibility and capacity of the hotel to undergo changes.

The sources revealed that the estimated amount for redoing is nearly Rs 6-8 crore. Consequently, board members would approve the budget estimate and plan.

But so far, due to the elections code of conduct in place, the execution of the plan is on the back burner.

An official of CITCO claimed that different plans and possibilities to make the hotel luxurious, comfortable and functional were being worked upon but the process would be initiated only after the final approval of the higher authorities.

Confirming the move, CITCO GM (tourism) AK Malhotra said the corporation was looking into exploring these possibilities.



Food Street Violence
PU fails to act against students’ council chief
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
When it comes to taking a strong action against defaulters, ignorance is bliss when it comes to the Panjab University authorities.

A classic example was exhibited today, as while everybody was awaiting an action against five PU students, including Sahil Nanda, students’ council president, who were arrested and released on bail, following a violent brawl at the food street two days back, the PU authorities pleaded ignorance on the entire issue.

“We have no information about any such incident, so will look into the matter tomorrow,” said, Naval Kishore, Dean Students’ Welfare, PU.

The ignorance gets graver with the fact that as per the Lyngdoh Committee directives, Sahil has now been booked under Sections 107, 51 of the IPC and he has to resign from the post of president of students’ council. As per this directive if an office-bearer is booked under criminal charges, he or she cannot continue at the post.



CME on medical ethics
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
As a part of the platinum jubilee celebration of the Medical Council of India, a continuous medical education (CME) on medical ethics in clinical research was organised at GMCH-32 here today.

The main objective of the CME was to update faculty and postgraduate students on the existing medical ethics while carrying out clinical research, as outlined by Helsinki guidelines (1964, revised 2008) as well as MCI ethical guidelines.

About 46 faculty members and 28 postgraduate students of GMCH-32 participated in the programme.



Honour for PGI nurse

Chandigarh, May 8
Santosh Kumari, a nurse at the PGI, has been selected for the National Florence Nightingale Award. Santosh will receive her award from President Pratibha Patil on May 12 at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.

Earlier, Santosh has got the prestigious Basanti Devi Award for her best thesis for MSc and best nurse award in 1984-85 while functioning as a sister grade II, Dr Santosh did her PhD from the department of community medicine at PGI in 2003-08. — TNS



Duping Case
Sketches of conmen released

Chandigarh, May 8
The police has today released sketches of two conmen, who duped a Sector 35-C jeweller of Rs 6-lakh diamonds.

The conmen had struck at AG Diamond House jeweller in Sector 35-C, here yesterday.

In case of any clue/information, one can convey to the crime stopper cell at 2544444 or Chandigarh Police Control Room at 0172-2749194 or 100 or the Sector-36 police station at 0172-2662995. — TNS



Fee Hike
Education dept fails to deliver
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Education department’s constant failure to regulate fee in various city schools has raised questions on its very intent.

Its latest gesture of seeking fee details of various schools again comes across as a bid to evade a strong action.

The move spearheaded by Sanjay Kumar, the then Home Secretary, aimed at curtailing the fee structures of various schools by reviewing their balance sheets failed midway. Unfortunately, after the exit of former DPI, the department issued notices to schools to provide their balance sheets. While many of them failed to do so, the department, however, never reviewed the ones that were sent.

Repeated media reports about fee hike in various schools produced nothing but a promise to look into the matter. However, the IT department had recently rolled back the rebate given to these schools taking the cognisance of the fee hike.

While DPI Samwartak Singh, promised to deal with the issue once he received the fee details. Many department officials blamed it on the ignorance about the policy, “Most of the decision makers are unclear even though we have a clear policy on the issue,” said one of the officials.

Meanwhile, most of the schools continue to justify the hike, as they claim to plough back the money in the infrastructure provided to students. DS Bedi, president of the Independent Schools Association, has urged the department to review the fee of its aided schools before pointing fingers. “They should see the primary section fee of various government aided schools. They are not a part of governing body and therefore have no right to interfere,” he said.



3H for teachers to groom students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
A two-day peace trainers’ training programme for teachers, organised under the ongoing “Campaign for Peace-city Chandigarh” of the Yuvsatta, the Peace Club of KB DAV-7, the Indian Council of Gandhian Studies and the Education Department, Chandigarh Administration, with support of New India Assurance Co, began here today.

Around 100 Peace Clubs in various schools and colleges of the city were participated in it. Dr SV Prabhat , Chairman, Indian Council of Rural Institutes, Hyderabad, was the chief guest.

Addressing teachers on the issue of “Green Citizens for Sustainable World”, Padma Vibhushan Sunder Lal Bahuguna gave the formula of 3H that is head, heart and hands. He told teachers to groom students using their 3H in order to make this world a better place to live in. He lamented that educational curricula today only worked towards making head work faster and nobody seemed concerned to make hands and hearts of children work.

Students could use their head for creative thinking, heart for compassion and hands for constructive work. He further said “Our daily lives should be such, as using minimum of natural resources of mother earth and our actions should conserve and cultivate the natural resources, especially the land, air and water, three basic things to sustain life.

Dr Prabhat said the saddest part of today’s lifestyle was that the present state of violence, disorder and confusion in the society were affecting the children’s innocent minds. Due to subject-centred and examination-oriented learning at school, the purpose and the beauty of whole education seem to have much lost.

Students are trained to involve in the rat race of society. He was of the view that this model of peace education through the Peace Clubs in schools of Chandigarh should be replicated all over the country.

Prof N Radhakrishnan said a teacher was the one of the important spokes in the wheel of education. While all other spokes could be described to be “contributory and sustaining”, the teacher is the “live-force”.

The teacher alone could not be the torch-bearer of values and morals. Yet, it had to be borne in mind that he was an important player. And school is no more a place of leisure or of peace as the very word “school” means. He said teachers as in charge of the Peace Clubs could inculcate the core human values essential for peaceful and healthy living.

Madhu Bahl , co-coordinator of the programme and principal, KB DAV-7, said Chandigarh was the first city in India with more then 100 such clubs functional in various schools and colleges. She said to strengthen human values among the students, the NCERT was also promoting the concept of peace clubs in schools at national level.



Students pay tributes to mothers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Ryan International School, Chandigarh, celebrated Mothers’ Day with great pomp and show. All mothers came dressed up in their best attires. The main attractions of the day were bubbly games like “Mom and me” and “Jumbled recipe” for the mothers. The function was a tribute to mothers. All mothers participated with full enthusiasm to make the programme a great success.

The British School, Chandigarh, celebrated Mothers’ Day with a lot of zing to show their love for their mothers. Tiny tots sang songs and poems to show their love to mothers. There were games for the mothers such as marble game, backward counting and musical chairs following which prizes and trophies were given to the winners.

Pinjore: St Vivekanand Millennium School, HMT Township, Pinjore, saluted the glory of motherhood by celebrating the Mother’s Day. Students depicted their reverence for mothers by presenting songs.

Principal Usha Bali congratulated teachers and students and said mothers were an embodiment of God. An inter-class card-making competition was held in which the students made beautiful cards to show their love for their mothers.

Mohali: Students of Gian Jyoti Public School, Mohali, grabbed the opportunity to say thanks in their own way to their mothers while celebrating Mothers’ Day. An exhibition was held to display handmade gifts of the students. A declamation contest was also conducted. Principal Ranjeet Bedi gave certificates to the winners.

Doon International School, Mohali, celebrated Mothers’ Day. The entire kindergarten was filled with emotional sentiments of a mother and child relationship. Tiny tots showed their feelings and love to their mother by making heart-shaped cards. They were made to understand the significance of Mothers’ Day and that mothers are God's best creation.



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