C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Thieves target rly cable again
n 500 metres of wire stolen n Jan Shatabdi stranded for over an hour
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 28
Thieves continue to strike at will on the railway property, as they once again made good with around 500 metres of expensive overhead copper cable on the Chandigarh-Morinda railway line here last night.

Apart from affecting the movement of passenger trains on the section, the Jan Shatabdi Express remained stranded near the Chandigarh railway station for over an hour. Passengers on board the express train were upset at the railways authorities as the train was already running behind schedule.

As loose cable hanged precariously close to the track, the train remained stranded on the elevated track till the electrification wing of the railway cleared the track of the cable. The theft has cost the railways an estimated loss of over Rs 2 lakh. The railways has suffered an overall loss of Rs 6 lakh this year on account of cable theft.

Sources in the railways said it was eighth incident in the past four months wherein expensive overhead copper cable has been stolen.

Earlier, thefts were reported on February 14, 16, April 8, 12, May 17, 21 and 25.

ADRM, Ambala division, Northern Railway, RK Saxena said patrolling had been intensified on the track.

He said some persons had been arrested on May 21. “To check recurrence of incidents in the future, the overhead cable was being energised,” he added.

Claiming that the railway authorities were after cable thieves, an official said a thief was arrested while stealing cable near the Mohali railway station on May 21.

Sources added that little was being done to check such thefts as the security of overhead cable from the Chandigarh station to the Morinda station was with an “ill-equipped” private contractor.

On May 25, a single watchman found 12 men cutting the cable but could do little. There was also little cooperation from the local police authorities.



Youth cons Jalandhar trader
Takes away bag containing lakhs from car
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 28
Satish Ahuja, a Jalandhar-based businessman, was duped of a briefcase containing lakhs and other important documents at the Sector 22 market here today. According to Satish Ahuja, he had parked his Innova (PB08-C-5128) near Kiran theatre while he had gone to the market to buy some stuff and asked his driver to stay in the car. 

When he returned, he found that his driver was duped of the briefcase. In his complaint to the police, he said his driver, Surjit Singh, told him that a man, in his early twenties, had thrown some cash and asked him that your money was lying in front of the car and the driver, in greed, got out of the car to pick up the cash.

But, surprisingly, when Surjit looked back after collecting the cash, he found that the door of his back seat was open and the briefcase was missing. The youth also fled the spot and the driver suspected that his accomplice must have taken the briefcase from behind when he was collecting the cash.

Satish said he had got the amount from his friend a day before and he couldn’t doubt his driver, who had been working with him for years now.

A similar incident was reported a few months ago in which the gang duped a car driver of some cash and a case was registered in the Sector 26 police station.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case under Section 379,420 of the IPC at the Sector 17 police station. The police is yet to make a breakthrough in both cases.



All’s not well with Nari Niketan’s working
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 28
While UT Administration officials may claim that “all’s well” at the Nari Niketan, which has been in news recently because of the rape of a mentally challenged teenager, their seriousness towards improving the functioning of the institute can be gauged from the fact that the Advisory and Co-ordination Committees formed by it to oversee its working have not met even once since its reconstitution four years ago.

What more, the advisory committee, which was formed for a three-year term in 2005, has not been reportedly reconstituted till date? UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas, when contacted for comments on the fate of these committees, refused to say anything.

The advisory committee has an impressive list of names on it, including Joint Director of the Government Institute of Mentally Retarded Children Dr B S Chavan, Medical Superintendent, GH 16, Usha Bishnoi, HoD Psychiatry, PGI, Dr Savita Malhotra, and Programme Officer ICDS, UT Administration. 

The committee, formed to aid and advise the Director, Social Welfare, on all matters concerning day-to-day working of Nari Niketan, also has representatives from several NGOs as non-official members.

However, the committee didn’t meet even once in its full three-year term that ended last year. Dr B S Chavan admitted that he hadn’t received notice for even a single meeting in all these years. “I had only received the copy of the notification but nothing after that.

“Ditto” said Usha Bishnoi, adding that she could not recall having heard anything from the administration in this regard.

Similar was the fate of the Co-ordination Committee, which was formed “for the periodic review of imparting of technical training, maintenance of buildings, upkeep of lawns and providing health care facilities to inmates of those Social Welfare Organisations, which is being run with the government assistance and is housed in Govt buildings. 

Besides the Deputy Commissioner, the committee also had the Director, Health Services, the Director, Technical Education, and the Principal, Govt. Polytechnic for Women, Sector 10, on its board.

While DHS, Dr M S Bains, refused to comment on the issue on the plea that “he doesn’t remember anything off hand”, the Director, Technical Education, Tirthi Chand, said he had joined the department in 2007 and since then he had never received any communication in this regard.

Efforts to contact officials of the social welfare or the home department for comments failed despite repeated attempts. DSW Amandeep Kaur did not respond to the calls or the SMS sent on her mobile.

On the other hand, the otherwise media savvy Home Secretary, who seems to be on the defensive ever since his controversial statement, dubbing the rape of the mentally challenged girl as “part of society”, was published in these columns, said, “I will respond only to written questionnaires sent to me between 1pm and 2pm”.

RTI activist R K Garg said action should be initiated against the officials of the Social Welfare Department. He said an inquiry should also be conducted on the working of the Nari Niketan.



Sec-33 Robbery
Cops examine CCTV footage of toll plaza
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 28
A telephone call to the police control room (PCR) about the spotting of Honda Civic car of Lalit Behl, who was robbed at gunpoint at his Sector-33 residence, at the Dapper toll plaza sent the police in a tizzy today.

Acting on the call this evening, a police party was despatched to the toll plaza to examine the CCTV footage and other record to verify the veracity of the claims that Behl’s car was spotted in Chandigarh’s vicinity.

The footage in possession of the Chandigarh police revealed that the car headed for Chandigarh passed through the toll plaza around 2.30 am and returned around 5.20 am.

The police will also examine the entry and exit of all Innova cars at the toll plaza, as the robber came to Chandigarh in an Innova.

Police sources said a manhunt had been launched to trace the perpetrators and the vehicles used.

Mohali SSP JS Aulakh said: “Soon after the robbery, Chandigarh SSP approached us to carry out a joint search operation to find any missing vehicles. We have got the CCTV footage of the toll plaza. The footage can help identify the car but not the persons sitting in the car.”

Chandigarh SSP SS Srivastva said: “Taking precautionary measures, we have installed CCTV cameras on the national highway towards Zirakpur.”

Meanwhile, preliminary investigation of the police has found a connection between the robbery, which took place yesterday morning at a Sector-33 house and the one in Panchkula recently.

“I have seen three of the robbers and can identify two of them. The SP told me that it could be the handiwork of the same robbers who struck in Panchkula as both incidents have many similarities in them,” said Lalit Behl.


Adulterated Milk
Show-cause notice to dairy
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

For CITCO hotels and its units, we get the raw materials tested from health department that are procured from outside. — DK Tiwari, CITCO MD

Health department only tests those samples, which are handpicked by its officials and are sealed in front of two witnesses. — Dr HS Bains, Director, Health 

Chandigarh, May 28
A day after the Tribune highlighted that CITCO was taking milk products from a local dairy whose products were found adulterated, CITCO today went into a damage control mode and issued a show-cause notice to the dairy asking why it should not be blacklisted for three years in the wake of adulterated samples?

CITCO MD DK Tiwari said they had given a contract to four local brands for milk products. Admitting that the milk products, including butter, cream, khoya and sweets like barfi, ras malai and rasgulla were taken from local suppliers but claimed that CITCO had its parameters to ensure the quality of products, including minimum percentage of fat, hardness etc.

CITCO officials also claimed of getting the products tested for quality every week by the health authorities but when asked to prove, they could not provide any document that the products were sent for analytical testing by the corporation.

On the other hand, as per the Prevention for Food and Adulteration Act, the health authorities only get those samples tested from an analytical laboratory, which are handpicked by the health authorities and are then sealed in the presence of two witnesses who also have to put their signatures.

While the rest of departments and individuals, as per the Act, are known as private purchasers and can, therefore, directly get the food samples tested on their own from the analytical laboratories.

CITCO claimed that they did not take paneer from Baba Dairy whose samples were found adulterated, along with the samples of one Krishna Dairy. CITCO authorities claimed that Baba Dairy is also known to be supplying the milk products to other private hotels in the city.

It’s surprising that for other non-eatable products, contracts are given for these food items on the same criterion as are followed for allotting other tenders instead of quality.



Workshop on declining sex ratio
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 28
The department of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with Regional Resource Centre - Mamta - organised a workshop on “Impact of declining sex ratio in development of Chandigarh” here today.

The objective of the workshop was to understand the nature and impact of the declining sex ratio on the city’s development and the role of government and civil society in addressing this issue.

Experts suggested some ideas to improve the sex ratio, including identification of practical ideas that can be applied at the community and district level through collaborative efforts of the government, NGOs and the community.

About 60-70 participants attended the workshop, which included representatives of districts heath department, members of the IMA, postgraduate students of school of public health, NGOs, research organisations and ultrasound centres in the district.

The workshop was presided over by Dr Kavita Talwar, district family welfare officer, department of health and family welfare, Chandigarh. She stressed the need of effective implementation of the PC PNDT Act and involvement of individuals at every level.

The sex ratio as per census 2001 is 777 per 1000 males and according to SRS data it has been increased to 807 in 2003, dipped to 786 in 2004 and increased to 826 in 2005 and became stable in 2006 and 2007 at 860, she said.



Illegal Rehris
Hike fines to check encroachment: MC panel
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 28
A seven-member sub-committee constituted by the Municipal Council to check the menace created by illegal rehris in Mohali suggested that employees of the tehbazari wing be put on rotation basis and fines hiked in order to check encroachments in the town.

Councillor Kuljit Singh Bedi, who is a member of the sub-committee, said yesterday five members met in the office of council president Rajinder Singh Rana to discuss encroachment menace created by ‘rehriwallas’.

He said it was seen in the past that employees of the tehbazari wing allegedly adopted a pick and choose policy while removing rehris, which was not a solution.

It was then suggested that these employees be rotated after every month so that vested interests did not crop up and a uniform policy was adopted while removing rehris.

Members of the committee also suggested that the amount of fine imposed in the case of violations be increased from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 and the impounded rehris be released through court in order to check the menace.

Bedi said it was also suggested that extra staff be deployed after 5 pm to remove illegal rehris as the number of such rehris increased manifold in 
the evening.

Committee members pointed out that those selling seasonal fruit like watermelon, etc on the roadside proved to 
be a hindrance for the smooth flow of traffic because people parked their vehicles on the road for making purchases.



Kajauli Waterworks
Solve water shortage problem on priority: MC
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 28
The Mohali Municipal Council (MC) has demanded that the Phase V pipeline from Kajauli waterworks should be laid on a priority basis to overcome water shortage in the town even as a proposal regarding comprehensive traffic and transportation plan for various cities of Punjab was kept pending at a meeting of the general house held here today.

Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, who is ex-officio member of the civic body, said water shortage could not be overcome by sinking new tubewells as the water level was going down and discharge from these tubewells decreased with the passage of time.

Residents would get adequate water only if the Phase V pipeline was laid and the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority should take up this project on a priority basis.

Kuljit Singh Bedi said there was water shortage in his ward and tubewells, for which estimates were cleared about two years ago, had still not been sunk by the civic body.

An item relating to the city mobility plans for various towns for which up to 80 per cent financial help could be taken from the Central government was kept pending by the house because the councillors said details about the project were not given by the authorities concerned.

A copy of the letter of the Principal Secretary, local government, Punjab, was sent to the council in which it was stated that the government had decided that expression of interest in this regard would be invited at the level of the head office.

All items on the agenda were cleared by the house.



Conveyance Deeds
Deadline for registration extended
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 28
In a major relief to plot owners, the Punjab government has today extended the last date to get conveyance deed registered for another three months i.e. till September 2. The earlier deadline was June 2.

In March, 2008, the state government had given a special waiver to original allottees to get their conveyance deed registered at the allotment rates. Since a large number of allottees had been left out due to unnecessary delays in processing of the cases, the allottees had been asking for additional time.

In the new orders passed by the financial commissioner, revenue, the rules have been formulated under the Punjab Stamp (dealing of undervalued instruments) Second Amendment Rules, 2009.

There was a huge rush at the tehsil office yesterday.

Allottees had been complaining that they had been visiting the office for the past two days, but their work was not being done.

MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu said he had called up the chief secretary seeking the extension of three months.



Smart cards to replace ration cards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 28
Ration cards in the city will soon be replaced by smart cards to ensure that only genuine persons get subsidised foodgrain. A meeting to review the modalities in this regard was held today under the chairmanship of UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas in which various issues, including preparation of request for proposal (RFP), model of implementation and hardware specifications, were discussed.

It was decided that the system would be made operational by the vendor for first two years. However in the second year, the vendor would start involving manpower of the food and civil supplies department.

During the third and fourth years, operations would be carried out by the work force of the department and supervised by the vendor.

After the fourth year, the entire model of implementation would be handled by the department.

It was also decided to appoint a system administrator for the project, who would associate with the vendor from the beginning of the project. To avoid the misuse of smart cards by outsiders, it was deliberated that in addition to capturing of biometric features, provision of iris capturing will be incorporated in the RFP. The Home Secretary directed the consultant of the project, PwC, to submit the RFP within a week.

The system envisions setting up of POS (point of sale) terminals in all the fair price shops of the city.

The identity of the smart card holder will be established by means of biometric impression of the smart card holder upon insertion of the card in the POS terminal.



Silver City penalised Rs 50,000
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 28
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed Silver City Housing & Infrastructure in Sector 8 to pay compensation of Rs 50,000 to a consumer for falsely stating that construction has started at the site on January 16, 2009.

The forum has directed the construction company to pay Rs 10,000 as costs of proceedings.

The petitioner, Gursharan Singh, resident of Sector 28, stated in the petition that he had booked a flat in “Silver City Themes” and paid Rs 2,08,500 as booking amount. He stated that he was allotted a flat on the first floor.

The total cost of the flat was Rs 19,65,000 to be paid in installments as per payment plan and he paid Rs 18,63,750 under the terms and conditions of the agreement.

According to one of the conditions of the agreement, the company were to complete the construction by July 31, 2007, i.e. at the time of payment of the 5th installment of 5 per cent amounting to Rs 2,21,250 but they failed to do so and even stopped construction of the project for a long time.

After getting no response from the construction company, he sent a legal notice on September 27, 2008, but it came back unclaimed. Singh then filed the complaint alleging deficiency.

In reply, the company admitted that the complainant paid Rs 18,63,750 but it had been denied that the same was paid as per terms and conditions of the agreement. It has been stated that the complainant was a bad payer of installments. It has been submitted that the total cost of flat was Rs 20,85,000 instead of Rs 19,65,000 as stated by the complainant.

Pronouncing the orders the forum held, “Since the construction was to be completed by July 31, 2007, the construction was stopped on April 15, 2007, when there was still three months and 15 days left for completing the construction.

However, the company had not only informed the complainant falsely that they had re-started the construction and also taken a false plea in the written reply and the affidavit in this regard.”



SE Manhandling
Power engineers’ assn stages protest
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 28
Protesting against manhandling of an official by an outsider at the Shakti Bhavan, more than 200 members of Haryana Power Engineers’ Association (HPEA) staged a protest march from the Shakti Bhawan to DGP office here today.

They alleged that the police had failed to take an action against the accused even after the members were protesting against the manhandling of superintending engineer RK Garg of Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam (HVPN) during office hours.

The police arrested Garg on Tuesday allegedly for molesting a 22-year-old girl who went to appear for an interview before him on Monday. Following it brother of the victim reportedly went to the office of Garg and manhandled him.

While on the complaint of the victim, the police arrested Garg but the HPEA demanded the action against the brother of the girl for forcibly entering the office of Garg and manhandled him.



Dept representatives at PU
Student council seeks quota for girls

Chandigarh, May 28
In a bid to enhance the participation of fairer sex in the process of student’s representation, Panjab University Students Council raised a demand for reserving 25 per cent posts of department representatives for girls.

In a memorandum submitted to the Vice-Chancellor the council in collaboration with SOPU raised the demand. In addition to this, they have further demanded 80 per cent reservation for existing students of B. Pharmacy in the newly started courses, including MPharmacy (quality control and quality assurance) and MPharmacy (new drug discovery).

“The first demand aims at increasing girl’s participation in student’s representation and decision making and second is an effort to provide a academic edge to the students,” asserted SOPU president Brinder Singh Dhillon. — TNS



Lecture Shortage
3 docs prove saviours for 200 pupils
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 28
When it comes to being popular, three city doctors seem to have attained unique heights as medical certificates issued by them came to rescue around 200 Panjab University students “ailing” from short attendance.

While so many students seem to be smitten by their treatment, university officials have finally seen through this age old game of “curing” short attendance.

“It happens every year that the students furnish medical certificates at the end to complete the requisite attendance but, surprisingly, this year they seem to have chosen the same doctors. We have got around 200 medical certificates issued by the same doctors,” asserted an official.

Meanwhile, according to sources, the university has let these students go without taking any action against them but has come out with stricter set of rules for the coming year.

According to the latest directives, an absentee will have to furnish an application on the day of absence and the medical certificate on the day of rejoining after the leave.



Education dept to outsource teachers from PU
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 28
Soon the Chandigarh education department will outsource teaching staff from Panjab University to cope with shortage of teachers in the schools. Under a proposal, a request has also been sent to the DOEACC institute to provide staff in the schools to impart computer training to the students.

Sources in the education department revealed that there was shortage of over 500 teachers in the schools. The periphery schools face a major drawback as most of the teachers avoid appointment in these schools.

The sources added that even though contract staff had been appointed by the department but it had not been able to suffice the needs of the education department and the problem remained as such.

The sources stated that each year during the time of declaration of results, the school authorities complained that the performance of their school was not good as there was the shortage of staff.

On the basis of anonymity, a principal of the school stated that no doubt the proposal of outsourcing teaching staff would serve the purpose of the department, but how the department would ensure the responsibility of better results in the schools.

Earlier the department hired the teaching staff on contract basis but there was hardly any improvement in the results of the government schools.

He demanded that the outsourced teaching staff should be appointed in the periphery schools of the city as almost all model schools face shortage of teaching staff there.

He revealed that even though he made many requests to the department for appointing staff in his school, but till date nothing concrete had been done.

When contacted DPI Samwartak Singh stated that the department had already chalked out the modalities of the issue with the PU authorities and DOEACC for recruitment of the teachers.

The department has already received over 500 applications and soon they are going to appoint the staff as per the requirement of the schools.

He also revealed that the Chandigarh Administration has given assurance about improving the infrastructure in the schools on priority basis.



Defer LLM exam, VC urged

Chandigarh, May 28
Several parents and university students have approached the Vice-Chancellor to request him to postpone the LLM entrance exam to be held on June 30.

In a written representation submitted to him, it has been highlighted that the LLM entrance is being held just two days before the LLB final year exam. 

Given the fact that most of the LLB students will appear for the entrance, they will not get ample time to prepare for it. Thus the university is being requested to postpone the entrance exam.

The representation has also made theention of the dates of entrances fixed by other universities. — TNS



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