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Nari Niketan
HC rap for police
Dismisses pre-arrest bail plea of accused; asks IGP, SSP to personally monitor investigations
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
The Punjab and Haryana High Court believes there are indications that “something is brewing” in the Nari Niketan rape case. Justice Ranjit Singh believes the police has failed to go deep into the matter and has ignored vital points mentioned in the first information report, including the assertion that two staff members took the victim to the alleged rapist for consideration still unknown.

Taking a solemn view of the gloomy state of affairs while dismissing the pre-arrest bail plea of the accused Kamlesh Rani and other, Justice Ranjit Singh has now made the UT Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) personally responsible for the probe. “A direction would go to the IGP, UT, and the SSP, UT, to personally look into the case and monitor the investigations in a best possible manner by getting the same conducted under their supervision,” he said.

The directions follow the fact that the investigating officer had stated before the sessions court that Nari Niketan staff member and Kamlesh Rani was not required to be arrested in the case. In a four-page judgment packed with strictures, Justice Ranjit Singh observed: “The person and the body of a mentally retarded minor child has been violated, leading to her pregnancy… If true, this is nothing but a beastly act of an animal instinct. The lust of accused Bhupinder Singh and apparent connivance of the petitioners have led to this ugly situation.”

“A protector of the girl has either acted with gross culpable negligence, whereby a minor girl under their care was subjected to forcible sexual intercourse or the petitioners were conniving partners in the offence. This is required to be looked into. How in this background the investigating officer could state before the sessions court that the petitioners are not required to be arrested in this case? This statement apparently has not been made innocently by the investigating officer and would give an indication of something, which is brewing in this case. The petitioners have not been arrested. Why would they then approach this court for seeking protection?” he observed.

“It is not for this court to see whether the investigating officer would need to interrogate or investigate the case by taking the petitioners in custody, but it is rare to see the investigating officer coming forward to say that the custody of the person is not needed,” he said.

“It is not the case of the investigating officer that the matter has been investigated and the angle of connivance of the petitioners with accused Bhupinder Singh is ruled out. The assertion in the FIR that the petitioners were the ones who had taken this girl to Bhupinder, God knows for what consideration, has simply been ignored by the police of the union territory,” Justice Ranjit Singh observed.

Bail plea of prime accused rejected

Chandigarh: Rejecting the bail petition of Bhupinder Singh, the prime accused in the rape case of minor mentally challenged girl at Nari Niketan, the court observed that he was a cheap-weird character.

Declining his bail, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Raj Shekhar Attri held: “It is highly shocking that a mentally challenged minor girl fell prey to the villainy and she was federally ravished by more else but her own protectors, which is a loathsome sin, and a blot on mankind keeping in view the facts and circumstances of ease, seriousness of offence role attributes to the petitioner and without expressing any opinion on merits of the case, this court is considered opinion that petitioner is not entitled to regular bail. In the prosecution story, the petitioner is a cheap-weird character and there is ample evidence on record that he’s evil.”

Arguing the case, the Bhupinder Singh’s counsel said: “It is not ascertained that the victim was sexually assaulted in Nari Niketan or the home for mentally challenged. There is no evidence to connect the petitioner with crime. It was contended that the case required vivid investigations with regard to entire circumstances happening in Nari Niketan.”

The accused was arrested on charges of raping a 16-year-old mentally challenged girl of Nari Niketan.

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‘Misuse’ Of Official Car By Mayor
Finance Secy orders probe
Will cost around Rs 50,000 to fix the car
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Taking cognisance of a report published in these columns yesterday “Study tour: Mayor takes family to Gujarat”, highlighting the misuse of official Toyota Corolla car (CH-01-G-0057) by the Mayor, the Finance Secretary today ordered an inquiry to know under what grounds the official car was allowed to be taken for a tour which is about 1,100 kilometres a side.

Confirming this, Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar said: “I have instructed the Finance Department to inquire how come it be justified to take the government vehicle for such a long tour and under what grounds permission could be granted for taking the family along.”

However, when questioned during a press conference, the Mayor said it was her prerogative to use her official car. “It is for me to decide how to use my official car,” she said. She also got the temporary possession of the damaged car to prove her point during a press conference conducted at the MC office today.

Even as she denied any damage to the car that met with an accident in Ahmedabad, its repair would cost the city taxpayers around Rs 50,000.

The Mayor had forgone her air journey to Ahmedabad, opting to travel by her official car, as her family was also accompanying her. Her decision to use the car instead of buying air tickets for her family may have saved her some money, but has proved expensive for the MC.

According to rough estimate, a copy of which is with The Tribune, some major components of the car have been damaged and would have to be replaced with the new ones.

The official estimate (no. A20090000295) says that Rs 48,757 excluding taxes, would be the repairing cost of the vehicle. The grille radiator for Rs 5,779, front fender (right side) for Rs 4,213, hood subassy (bonnet) for Rs 14,167, and cover front bumper for Rs 6,598.

The staff, at Pioneer Toyota, Industrial Area, confirmed that the MC for “some urgent use” called the car back, without rectifying the damaged parts. “All safety features like the crumpled zones on the bonnet and the fender of the car have been totally damaged. It needs urgent attention because it would be fatal in case of further collision,” said a technical expert at Pioneer Toyota.

It was the same official car that was damaged during the Ram Darbar clash recently.

Sources alleged that the Mayor’s husband used this car to reach the site and its windshield was damaged in the brawl.

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More trouble for Saji
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Handwriting samples of Saji Mohan, former zonal director of the Narcotics Control Bureau and his subordinate Balwinder Kumar have matched with the document they had prepared to allegedly embezzle the malkhana amount of over Rs 13.8 lakh.

Besides, the economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Chandigarh Police, which is probing the case, has forwarded an application to the Union Home Ministry (MHA) seeking approval for prosecution of Saji Mohan.

“Sanction of MHA is mandatory for prosecution of an IPS officer for the trial. Since the chargesheet had already been filed in a local court on Wednesday, the sanction for prosecution is necessary for going ahead with the trial,” said a senior police officer.

Police sources said experts of the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory have confirmed that handwriting samples of Saji Mohan and NCB superintendent Balwinder Kumar, which were obtained by the police, matched with the document they had allegedly prepared for embezzling the malkhana amount. A police officer said it was strong scientific evidence to establish the involvement of both the officials in the case.

Saji Mohan had reportedly maintained during his interrogation that he had no idea when Balwinder Kumar got his signatures on the receipt mentioning to transfer the amount from the malkhana to the official account of NCB zonal director.

The sealed box containing the malkhana cash was broken to take out the cash, said the police. The police had earlier recovered Rs 45,000 from a cupboard allotted to Balwinder Kumar.

A police officer said the entries to transfer the amount were made in a single day, which was also not a normal practise going by the procedural formalities.

Meanwhile, the police has also brought Saji Mohan’s Honda Civic car from Kochi, which, the sources say, was purchased using the embezzled amount. The police spent a considerable amount in bringing the car to the city, which was required as a case property.

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Car costs police Rs 30,000

The police drove the Honda Civic car of Saji Mohan from Kochi to Bangalore from where the police took the services of movers and packers to transport the car to Delhi and paid a fee of Rs 24,000. “Bringing the car to the city from Kochi cost the police around Rs 30,000, including fuel charges and the TA/DA of a team led by an inspector,” said a police officer.

Saji Mohan’s Honda Civic car parked at the Sector 3 police station in Chandigarh on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

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Relatives blame MLA for death of youth
Try to stage protest at DGP office
Tribune News Service


Panchkula police pushes father of Pankaj, a youth who committed suicide, when his relatives reached Sector 6 to stage a dharna in front of the police headquarters at Panchkula on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, June 11
High drama was witnessed near the police headquarters here when, holding the Ambala police and Naraingarh MLA responsible for the death of a youth, the family of the deceased tried to stage a protest at the DGP office here today.

The police, which, however, got the clue about the plans of the protesters, picked them up before reaching the DGP office and forced them to go to Naraingarh.

The protesters were demanding the arrest of three people, including the Naraingarh MLA for abetting the suicide, claiming that Pankaj, alias Sunny, the deceased, had held them responsible for his death in a suicide note.

Sunny Khanna, a resident of Naraingarh who had consumed some poisonous substance last night was brought to the PGI, Chandigarh. Sunny, however, died at the hospital.

Relatives, including Yashpal Khanna, father of the deceased, alleged that the police at Naraingarh was under political pressure and was protecting the accused.

They took the body from hositpal and reached Panchkula to stage a dharna in front of the office of Director General of Police.

Sunny, in his suicide note, distributed among the media by his relatives, stated that a police case was registered against him following two residents of Naraingarh, Ajit and Mackey beat him up on Janamashtmi last year. The two were threatening to kill him as well, and the police was not taking any action against them at the instance of the MLA.

Holding the MLA responsible for all, Sunny, in the suicide note, alleged that he was the supporter of the MLA in the past, but the MLA started feeling “jealous” against him when he stopped supporting him to join his own uncle, who was a leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party.

The Panchkula police, however, intercepted the relatives of the deceased, numbering around 50. It caught hold of them and pushed them into vehicles before they were taken to Naraingarh.

Naraingarh MLA, Ramkishan, denying any involvement, said the deceased had an altercation with Ajit and Mackey in a temple on the occasion of Janamashtmi. Following this, a police case was registered against him. On his request, the complainants Ajit and Mackey agreed to withdraw the case but Yashpal Khanna, father of the deceased, refused to complete the “formality of compromise” in writing. He was not involved in the case more than that, added the MLA.

The Director General of Police, Ranjiv Dalal, however, said the inquest proceedings under Section 174 Cr PC had been initiated in the matter and after verifying all allegations, the law will take its own course.

Meanwhile, the Naraingarh police has registered an FIR against the three accused.

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Choked Choe
GMADA fears flooding of houses
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News service

Mohali, June 11
The greater mohali area development authority (GMADA) has expressed fear over the severely blocked leisure valley choe causing serious damage to the structures along its embankment during the impending monsoon.

In a communiqué to Mohali MC, GMADA had suggested its immediate cleaning. But the MC washed off its hands stating that it had no funds to carry out the task.

Last monsoons, the swollen choe water had entered houses in Phase 9 here. An NRI, Santokh Singh Parmar, who owns a house in Phase 9, suffered a loss of Rs 2 lakh when the choe water entered his house. According to sources, a similar tragedy is awaiting to happen again.

Officials disclosed that apart from causing damage to the structures downstream, the choked choe was one of the reasons for flooding of upstream areas in Chandigarh.

A number of residential and institutional structures are located along the choe as it meanders its way through Sectors 61, 62, 63, 64, and 67. In a recent inter-departmental meeting between GMADA and Mohali MC officials, it was recorded that since the choe was blocked with bushes, dry leaves and other waster material, the choe water could enter houses and damage the property.

Due to negligence on part of the Mohali MC and GMADA, the effective width of the channelised choe has been reduced to half of its carrying capacity.

VP Singh, chief administrator, GMADA, said it was the responsibility of the MC to clean the choe. Previous chief administrator Krishan Kumar and the present incumbent had repeatedly raised the issue. In a recent meeting, the MC was asked to give in writing its inability to clean the choe, said Aman Kumar Goel, executive engineer of the MC. The expenditure to clean the choe was over Rs one crore, said the MC official.

Rajinder Rana, president, MC, said the department lacked sufficient fund. There was no source of income to carry out such maintenance works.

As per rules, GMADA, after carrying out original development works, hands over the same for maintenance to the MC. However, the choe has been no one’s baby.

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IT habitat deal ‘shady’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
In the backdrop of the prime location of the IT Park in the vicinity of Raj Bhavan, Sukhna Lake and Golf Club, the Chandigarh administration has diverted the IT habitat from its stated goal of constructing 2,500 flats for IT professionals to an elite township for the wealthy, a representation to the central government has stated.

A representation to P Chidambaram, Union Home Minister, by MN Sharma, first chief architect of Chandigarh, Justice SS Sodhi, former Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, ML Sarin, former advocate-general, Punjab and Haryana, Nek Chand, creator-director of Rock Garden, and Madhu Sarin, author and urban development planner, stated that the administration used its excuse of “lack of specialisation” to justify awarding the project to Parsvnath Developers.

“Though the administration has a specialised agency -- Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) -- which had constructed over 45,000 units housing over 25 per cent of Chandigarh’s population, the administration is on record saying that it does not have the requisite experience to execute such a specialised project to construct about 2,500 residential flats for people working in the park,” the representation stated. Parsvnath later floated the high-end Prideasia on the land meant for the IT habitat.

It noted that the 123-acre habitat was conceived to provide living spaces for IT professionals. This was presented to Parliament as the raison d'etre of the IT habitat as was clear from a report of the parliamentary standing committee on the demand for grants (2007-08) of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Lisiting various acts of omission and commission of the administration, the representation claimed that in the contractual documents, the administration did not specify that the habitat apartments were being developed and priced in a manner that people working at the IT park would be able to afford them.

“The administration withdrew it to determine the selling price in consultation with the developer by stating during the pre-bid conference on February 7, 2006, that the selling price would be determined by the developer,” it stated.

The representation alleged that while the administration was telling Parliament that this project was for people working at the IT park, it was manipulating project guidelines so that the private developer would be able to maximise his profit by developing an elite housing project for the wealthy.

The pricing -- Rs 51 lakh for a one-bedroom flat, Rs 3.8 crore for a five-bedroom flat and Rs 6 crore for an independent villa -- was so high that the developer was able to sell only a few flats, with a majority of people, who had paid the advance, demanding a refund in the wake of the slow construction at the site, the representation added.

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Spurious milk: City no better
Smriti Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
While it may seem that spurious milk is not being sold in the city but adulteration in milk has become an order of the day here due to absence of any mechanism of checking the quality of milk.

Even public sector milk plants are now under the scanner and sadly no checks have been conducted in the city in the past few years. So what you may be getting from your ‘doodh walah’ may not be any better than what your counterparts in other cities are getting everyday, this is what the records of the UT department of Prevention of Food and Adulteration (PFA) say.

Unlike other cities where it has been known that the milk is adulterated with urea, milk powders and other cheap additives and preservatives, sources claim that since a large amount of milk comes from outside the city, including villages in Punjab and Haryana, there is a very little percentage of milk which is actually produced in the city.

The adulteration in the milk brought from these milk vendors is, thus, termed by officials as “local” and varies from addition of water to extraction of cream to low content of fats and proteins, the last two being verified from lab testing.

Surprisingly, while the records claim that there are nearly 3,500 milk vendors in the city but in the recent years, no samples have been taken from them.

The PFA officials claim that “unionisation” of vendors is a major impediment in carrying out raids. They also claimed that there was a nexus between the milk vendors and the police, which made it difficult to catch them. “They get prior information about the raid and they spill their milk on the road,” he said adding that there was no co-operation from the police.

“Our officers even tried to catch the milk vendors on their vehicles, including their bikes, canters and even mini-vans and asked for the RC’s or driving licenses. But even that didn’t help as in the absence of the traffic police it becomes difficult to prove their identity and thus their profile in the court,” said a health official on condition of anonymity.

A proposal was also sent in this regard to the higher authorities suggesting to conduct joint raids by the health officials, traffic police, the UT police and officials of the department of weights and measurements to ensure results. “Despite sending the proposal several times, nothing worked out and every time we are told that the police force will be sent but it never happened,” said a health official.

However, police officials denied the allegations and blamed the PFA for turning a blind eye to the ongoing adulteration. “Let them show record of how many times they sought assistance,” said an officer of the UT police accusing the PFA of being in league with corrupt vendors.

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Farmers miffed over UT land acquisition policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
UT farmers are up in arms against the “discriminatory” land compensation for various development projects in the city. The award of Rs 87 lakh per acre for the acquisition of land at Modern Terminal Market in Sector 39 has again stirred the hornet's nest.

While the farmers, whose land had been acquired for the third phase of the Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP) for a meagre Rs 18.75 lakh, are miffed at the "step-motherly" treatment being meted out to them, farmers of other areas are also not too happy with the land acquisition policy.

With the Punjab Government is awarding about Rs 1.75 crore per acre in neighbouring Mohali, the farmers find themselves at the receiving end.

“The wide variations in the land acquisition rates clearly show administration's different yardsticks for farmers even in a small city like Chandigarh. In fact, the whole land acquisition policy needs a re-look to make it suit to farmers’ needs," said Angrej Singh Badheri, president of the Pind Bachao Committee.

The last Lok Sabha passed the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill, 2007, and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2007, the UT farmers bringing smiles on the face of farmers.

However, the bill could not be taken up in the Rajya Sabha and lapsed. The Bills promised farmers’ land compensation on Punjab pattern, beside other rehabilitation benefits.

Officials, on the other hand, said a uniform national land-acquisition policy could only take care of farmers' interests. Currently, the UT awarded compensation on the basis of the previous auctions of the area concerned.

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Ensure re-entry of convicts into society: Experts
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
The sentence awarded to a convict continues even after he has undergone imprisonment; and exit from the prison does not necessarily open the doors of the society, believe experts in prison management.

Their assertion has given rise to consensus of sorts on the need for committees on prison reforms to go deep into the issue of their entry back into the society. Justice Amar Dutt and Justice Jai Singh Sekhon head the two committees.

In fact, deputy director with the Institute of Correctional Administration Dr Upneet Lalli believes there is hope at the end of the jail term. “His release into the ordinary world can be ensured if the reconciliation process starts while the inmate is still incarcerated,” she asserts.

Dr Lalli is not alone. The delegates at a conference on ‘Coming Home: An International Dialogue on the Role of Family in Prisoner Re-entry’ in Italy only recently were unanimous in their opinion that “support of important people in their lives” ought to be taken while the convicts were still serving the sentence. The five-day conference was held by Rockefeller Foundation Centre at Bellagio.

Back in Chandigarh after attending the conference, Dr Lalli says: “If there is acceptance for the prisoner, who has done his time, the transition from prison to society is smooth. Rejection by the family, or the community, only spells disaster.”

Quoting examples of other countries, she says Singapore has “Yellow ribbon project”, under which a number of activities are organised for ex-offenders to formally announce their re-entry.

Dr Lalli says India, however, is still to develop “reconciliation and restorative justice component”.

“The element of moral inclusion into society has either been ignored or forgotten,” she asserts.

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Anti-Corruption Drive
Xen gets clean chit
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Turning the tables on the CBI, a day after the premier agency booked an executive engineer of the UT public health department and others on corruption chargers, the department gave a virtual clean chit to the accused officer.

RK Singla, the superintendent engineer (SE), project public health circle, Chandigarh, shot a letter to the UT chief engineer, clarifying that Ami Chand, executive engineer, PHD, had nothing to do with the case and had no role in the work, in which he was accused of indulging in corrupt practices.

Sources said Ami Chand wrote a letter to the SE clarifying that the work of water v tanks tenders was not executed under his control while he was holding additional charge of division no. 3 from February 4, 2008, to May 5, 2008. He added that the work had already been completed in December 2007, months ago he took the charge. The executive engineer of the division no. 3 had allotted the work to contractor Het Ram of M/s Esquire Construction Company, Chandigarh, on May 15, 2006, for Rs 12 lakh. The first payment was made of Rs 23,48,948 on October 25, 2007, and the last payment of Rs 32.37 lakh was made on December 24, 2007.

The SE, in his letter to the chief engineer, informed that to check the amount of work required to be executed at the site, a committee of two sub-divisional engineers, and two junior engineers was constituted, which submitted a report on January 27, stating that the work amounting to Rs 51,68,246 had been executed whereas work amounting to Rs 20,15,749 was yet to be executed. The report in this matter was awaited.

The letter further stated that all payments were made by Gurdarshan Singh, junior engineer, Harjit Singh, SDE, and Agastya Kumar, executive engineer.

Meanwhile, Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal, DIG of the CBI, Chandigarh, told The Tribune that the probe indicated that involvement of some top officials could not be ruled out.

Sources in the CBI said, the accused had not taken the permission of the secretary of the department for making payments.

The CBI had booked Ami Chand, along with Harjit Singh, sub-divisional officer and Gurdarshan Singh, junior engineer of the public health department of the MC, along with contractor Het Ram in a corruption case on Wednesday. It was alleged that the accused had exceeded the tender amount of Rs 12 lakh to Rs 88 lakh by committing irregularities.

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Late night construction
Sector 18 residents a harried lot
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
With movement of heavy vehicles restricted during the daytime, builders and contractors sneak in the JCB machines late at night for digging basements in under-constructed houses in residential areas of the city. The activity, which starts after 9 pm, continues till the wee hours.

Depending upon the size of the basement, the activity takes between around three to seven days. During the time, the distressed residents have to put up with the deafening din and the vibration the machine creates. The contractors, who issue threats, often meet objections by the helpless neighbours with hostile reactions.

In the process of “mechanical night construction activity”, senior citizens and patients are put to inconvenience of spending sleepless nights and are being exposed to health hazards.

To make the matters worse, the police, too, is reluctant to intervening and stopping the activity.

“The cops are good at stopping people from playing music loud at parties organised in the residential areas, but are hesitant to prevent the din created by these machines,” says a Sector-18 resident.

Interestingly, the Chandigarh police, who launch schemes for the welfare of the elderly, only talk of getting the matter “resolved amicably” by making the builders and the neighbours meet in its presence.

In one such incident, the residents of Sector 18 had to call up the police control room at about 11 pm, following “disturbance in their peaceful existence”. Though the police came and stopped the activity, the builder again embarked on the process at about 1 am, compelling the residents to call up the cops again, who took their own time to arrive.

After few days, the builder again started the process claiming that the UT Senior Superintendent of Police, who denied giving consent, has granted permission for the same but offered to get the matter resolved amicably. 

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Reservation Centre
Rly authorities get possession letter
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
The UT transport department today handed over the possession letter of the ISBT-43 railway reservation centre to the Railway authorities, following which the Railway authorities have fastened the process of opening three counters.

The action followed the news report in The Tribune “Work at ISBT-17 railway centre hangs fire” June 9, had highlighted the delay in the process.

“The transit passengers will be at ease once the centre at Sector 43 ISBT functions. The letter has been handed over to the authorities and the work is likely to start soon,” said ML Sharma, director CTU.

Meanwhile, sources reveal that the process of opening of six new “city booking offices” or railway reservation counters is also likely to start within a fortnight at post offices in the city.

While employees of six post offices have already received training from the Railway authorities in May that was due, even the clearance of the payment to BSNL for a communication channel is also likely to be done soon, sources added.

Earlier, the postal department and the Railways had joined hands for the opening of the CBOs in post offices in the PGI, Sector 47, Sector 22, Sector 17, Sector 55 and Phase VII, Mohali, for the convenience of the public.

Highlighting the need to open such centres within 2-3 km of people’s convenience across the city, HK Jaggi, divisional Railway manager of Ambala division, said: “Opening of all these centres will be a boon to the public. Internet booking is now picking up, the time is not far when all strata of people will book tickets at the comfort of their home.”

Answering the question whether there is need to shift counters in Sector 43, in addition to the six CBO’s that are already coming, he said that it was the UT administration’s initiative to offer space to the Railways at the new ISBT.

While there will be service charges for booking tickets at the CBO’s in post offices, no such extra amount is charged at Sector 17 centre and same will hold true for the Sector 43 ISBT railway centre as well. 

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MHA gives go-ahead to completed projects
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Lack of coordination between the Chandigarh administration and its controlling agency, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), is legendary. A case in point is the recent MHA green signal to four “stalled” projects in the city - three of which had already been commissioned and the fourth is defunct.

In a surprising development, the MHA cleared four projects - the Beant Singh Memorial in Sector 42, the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) residential project in Sector 63, the Cactus Garden and the now-defunct planetarium.

Surprisingly, three of the projects, except the planetarium, which seems to have died a natural death, had already been completed. These projects reportedly figured in the list of about 15 “stalled” projects sent by the administration to the MHA in the backdrop of the Central government’s move to create the Urban Arts Commission to monitor development projects in the city.

Though the projects were in the “stalled” category, the administration went ahead with work on the projects. A major portion of the Beant Singh Memorial was commissioned last year and the draw of lots for the Sector 63 housing scheme had already been held.

Interestingly, the Cactus Garden in Sector 23, which was later christened as Bamboo Valley, was inaugurated by UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues on January 2, 2007. This is all the more surprising as the administration had sent the list of the project to the MHA only last year.

Sources said the go ahead for the projects seemed to be only a sham with neither the administration nor the MHA being “serious” about “stalling” work on these projects. The UT administration had reportedly forwarded the names of certain projects to the MHA that never existed.

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2 more suspected cases of swine flu
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 11
The pleasure trip organised by an electrical fittings manufacturing company for its distributors to Thailand has switched on the button of panic in the health circles of the tricity as three of the visitors were found to be suspected cases of swine flu on their return from sojourn yesterday.

While a distributor from Panchkula, a resident of Sector 12, with symptoms of swine flu, was today admitted to the isolation ward of Government Multi Speciality Hospital, Chandigarh, another resident of Sector 6 told the health officials that she was suffering from cold and had sneezes, though she was not feeling any other health complication.

Nodal officer HC Gera at Chandigarh said he had informed about both the cases to Haryana health officials.

Earlier, a resident of Sector 49 from Chandigarh was admitted to GMSH, Chandigarh, with the symptoms of the flu yesterday following which the health authorities found that he was one among the group of distributors who visited Thailand on a pleasure trip organised by the company.

Today, when the health authorities at Chandigarh were procuring the list of all persons of the region who had arrived from the same flight, the two suspected cases were zeroed in at Panchkula.

Director General, Haryana, (health services) Dr Nardip Singh when contacted said he had got the information in this regard and had issued instructions to Panchkula civil surgeon Kamla Singh to monitor the patient and his family members on daily basis.

Meanwhile, the report of samples of Sector 49 resident, who was admitted to GMSH yesterday, was received this evening and was found to be negative, said Gera.

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Anganwari workers sensitised to AIDS
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Under their civil society mainstreaming programme, State AIDS Control Society (SACS) here sensitised three batches of Anganwari workers at Sector 22 polyclinic auditorium about HIV/AIDS. The programme was inaugurated by senior Deputy Mayor, Municipal Council, Chandigarh, Phool Chand Kalyaan. He said it was a need to sensitise these Anganwari workers about HIV/AIDS, as there were various doubts about this disease and this workshop would help in clearing their doubts.

Dr Kavita Chavan, project director, SACS, said these 370 workers would act as a team and would help in spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS all around the city.

She added that there are around 450 HIV positive persons in the city. Out of these, around 140 have AIDS and are undergoing treatment from the ART Centre, PGIMER. Among the high-risk groups, the prevalence of HIV in the city is the highest amongst the Intravenous Drug Users (8.6 per cent). The MSMs have lower prevalence (3.6 per cent) and female commercial sex workers the lowest (0.4 per cent).

As unsafe sex is the most common reason for the spread of HIV, abstinence and condom use is the only prophylaxis. An open session was conducted where queries of participants were answered by the panel. IEC material, including information booklet on HIV/AIDS, was also distributed to these workers.

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Residents protest building of school in park
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 11
Tension prevailed in Phase 3A here when Punjab education department officials started work of a primary school building under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan in a public park. The issue has attracted a lot of criticism from the Residents’ Welfare Association of Phase 3 A here.

The problem started when the residents started protesting against the officials of the education department.

Mohali SDM Raghubir Singh Mand said the area had already three government schools, thus, no more school was required. The report has been submitted to the Mohali Deputy Commissioner.

Senior vice-president of the Mohali Municipal Corporation Harman Preet Singh Prince said the residents had submitted a memorandum to the education secretary. The matter was in the notice of adviser to the Punjab Chief Minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema.

The officials concerned maintained that the school site had been finalised as per the master plan and the building had to be constructed under the centrally-sponsered scheme for which the utilisation certificate had to be sent to the Centre by March 31.

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Kathak maestros’ daughter charms audience

Chandigarh, June 11
It was a double delight for the acclaimed Kathak maestro couple, Ravi Jain and Nalini Jain, to watch their prodigious daughter performing Kathak at the Pracheen Kala Kendra here today.

Gifted with exceptional talent, she embodied confidence, grace, precision and tremendous stage presence. Richa drew applause, especially while delineating the “Thumri and Ghazal” to perfection.

She began with an invocatory laudation of Lord Ganesha before presenting the technical aspect (Nritta Kathak) of both Jaipur and Lucknow gharanas displaying dance syllables.

She presented a piece on Abhinaya with nimble footwork, body movements and facial gestures to match the tormented anguish of Radha in a Thumri: ‘Aise panghat pe naina lade Shyam se’. The myriad colours of romance and teasing of Radha by prankster Krishna got augmented as she herself sang the Thumri while dancing. But she was at her best while she brought alive the essence of an Urdu ghazal “ya rab gammhe hizran mein itna to kiya hota” - embellished with a finer musical and rhythmical treat.

Tabla maestro Shakeel Ahmed and Santosh Kumar gave vocal support besides accompaniment on Harmonium. — OC

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UT staff to get enhanced pay from June 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
The employees of the Chandigarh Administration will get enhanced pay from June 1, 2009. This follows the administration adopting the Punjab Government notified rules - the Punjab Civil Services (Revised Pay) Rules 2009 - dated May 27, 2009, with immediate effect for employees of the UT Chandigarh and deputationists from Punjab.

Notwithstanding the instructions in Rule 8 of the Punjab Government, the Chandigarh Administration has decided to make the payment of the arrears due for the period from January 1, 2006 to May 31, 2009, to UT employees and deputationists from Punjab in two instalments. While 50 per cent of the arrears will be drawn immediately and the balance 50 per cent would be drawn after the Finance Department issues specific instructions to all departments in this regard.

The abstract of the Finance Department, Chandigarh Administration, letter dated June 11, 2009, and the copy of the Punjab Notification dated May 27, 2009, can be viewed or downloaded from the official website of the UT Administration i.e. www.chandigarh.nic.in under "What’s New" column.

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Decision on pending sales tax cases hailed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
City traders have hailed the decision of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to allow the Chandigarh Administration the introduction of deemed assessment of all sales tax pending cases prior to the introduction of VAT, dated December 14, 2005.

Charanjiv Singh, president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal, appealed to the administration to framing trader-friendly rules/byelaws for the implementation of the decision.

Meanwhile, several traders met in Sector 17 and thanked Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister of Parliaamentary Affairs, for his contribution in the decision. The meeting was attended by JP Singh Kalra, Kamaljit Singh Panchhi, Subhash Sethi, Sat Paul Garg, LC Arora and Baldev Aggarwal.

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MC team inspects sewerage treatment plant

Chandigarh, June 11
A Municipal Corporation team today paid a visit to the sewerage treatment plant, Diggian, to monitor every component of the water treatment plant and the quality of the treated water. The team included Mayor Kamlesh, chief engineer SK Bansal, SE (public health) RK Goyal, XEN (public health) VK Garg, and other officers of public health division.

The team inspected the up-gradation of existing STP 15 MGD to 30 MGD on MBBR technology at an approximate cost of Rs 28.98 crore. The construction of main constituents has been completed. The construction of 10 MGD tertiary treatment plant at STP, Diggian, is being executed under the JNNURM.

“Around 50 per cent work has already been completed and the tertiary treatment plant will reduce the BOD from 30 mg/ltr to 5mg/ltr,” said the chief engineer. — TNS

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Singal acting MC president
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, June 11
BJP Councillor and vice-president, Municipal Council, BB Singal took over as acting president of the local Municipal Council here today. The BJP leader apprised Deputy Commissioner Pankaj Yadav about the decision of the court demanding the removal of Ravinder Rawal from the post of president of the civic body.

Yadav instructed the Municipal Council executive officer to implement the orders of the court, which had held the election of MC president Ravinder Rawal as illegal, null and void.

Yadav, while talking to TNS, said he had written a letter to the director, local urban bodies, today to order the fresh elections for the post of president.

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EDUCATION
 

Tribune Impact
VC takes U-turn
Drops controversial item from agenda

Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Following The Tribune exposure that item no. 70 of the Panjab University Senate’s agenda was anti-RTI Act through it report “PU proposal on RTI draws flak” dated June 10, the Vice-Chancellor today took a u-turn by deleting the same.

While everybody awaited a discussion on item no. 70 of the supplementary agenda wherein it had been proposed to get information pertaining to the RTI cases ‘sensitive’ in nature vetted by Gopal Krishan Chatrath, one of the senators, the Vice Chancellor declared the item null and void and withdrew it from the agenda.

It may be noted that the VC’s proposal had educed resentment amongst city-based RTI activists who had threatened to take the university to the court if it proceeded to approve such an act.

“The university is being converted to a port wherein the VC is drawing iron curtains on all information. It’s good that he has dropped the idea, but we will still take note of the mater of him appointing a committee against a professor who sought an information under the RTI Act as it’s obstructing the flow of information,” said V.B. Khanna, an RTI activist.

Meanwhile, though the VC declared it to be one of his powers to withdraw any item on the agenda, some of the senators seemed to disagree.

“It’s strange that when he could have allowed the Senate to be taken on ransom by initiating a discussion on a withdrawn question when his own arbitrary decision was to be previewed, he dropped it without any discussion,” said one of the senators.

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Ruckus at Meeting
Senators come to blows
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
A high drama prevailed at Panjab University Senate meeting today with senators literally coming to blows over a question raised by a Senator Rupinder Tiwari, which eventually was withdrawn by him.

Rupinder questioned the Vice-Chancellor on the fact that generally in every function replica of a particular religious institution was being provided instead of PU emblems like Gandhi Bhavan.

He is believed to have withdrawn the question, the night preceding the meeting, expressing his apprehensions about communal tint being provided to the issue.

However, even though the Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti chose to skip the question on pretext of it being already withdrawn, majority of senators demanded a discussion on it and also sought the VC’s reply.

Following this Rupinder was accused of hurting religious sentiments of a particular section and an apology was demanded on his part while many senators raised slogans of “shame shame”.

Surprisingly, when he came to Senate floor, several senators charged him asserting that he could not be forgiven. “Even if the question is withdrawn, we wish to know that how could he hurt the sentiments of fellow senators like this? The act has tarnished the image of the entire Senate and cannot be forgiven,” said one of the senators.

Besides, several accusations flew high against him for trying to supercede the Vice-Chancellor by demanding RTI and also using media.

Hurt by all this, Rupinder Tiwari declared to resign from the Senate and walked out.

The entire incident shocked many senators who believed it to be beneath the dignity of the house, as one of them commented: “We all gather here to have intellectual and academic discussions, but what happened was truly shameful. We wish the Vice-Chancellor takes action against those involved.”

Though Rupinder refused to speak on the issue, according to sources, some of the professors have convinced him to withdraw his resignation.

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Dhanki Case
Senate acquits accused for lack of proof
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, June 11
Delayed inquiry and destruction of evidence paved the way for the acquittal of all involved in the infamous Dhanki case in the Panjab University’s senate today.

The matter, which had lingered on for more than three years, reached its logical end, with the Senate approving the recommendations of the committee headed by GK Chatrath.

The case dates back to 2006 when Professor J S Dhanki, former chairperson of the history department, was accused of tampering with students’ marks to enable his daughter to top. Following this revelation, PU Vice-Chancellor Professor RC Sobti had issued a chargesheet against senior faculty members and some from the non-teaching staff for allegedly tampering with marks.

An initial inquiry by Dr J C Bansal had stated that marks of an MA (second year) student were cut to declare Dhanki’s daughter Harminder Kaur as the topper. The inquiry report had stated that Harminder had allegedly left certain marks (clues) on the paper for its identification by the examiners.

After the inquiry, the matter had been investigated twice, but to no avail. The issue kept shuttling between the inquiry committees and syndicate meetings without any conclusion.

Elaborating on the report, GK Chatrath, Chairman of the committee, said, “The papers which could have formed prime evidence were destroyed, so nothing could have been proved. Though the papers should have been immediately sealed, but in the absence of it, we lost all evidence. I am sorry to say, but instead of those who destroyed the evidence, It were the accused who suffered for a long time, as not only were they barred from PU but also faced humiliation. Even if charges would have been proved what they have suffered till now would have been the optimum punishment.”

The report, however, failed to satisfy some councillors, who objected to the fact that the documents, based on which the committee made recommendations were not provided to senators. It was also unanimously demanded to find those responsible for the loss of evidence and punished.

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Processing Fee
Home Science College-10
Honorarium not received
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
When it comes to being benevolent, Government Home Science College seems to leave every one behind. According to the information received under the RTI Act, not even a single person, including the principal, has received honorarium for the interviews held for posts of contractual lecturers on July 7, 2008, and September 15, 2008.

Claiming to have generated a meager processing fee of about Rs 21,000 from the sale of 82 forms, the college has apparently claimed to have managed all expenses by forgoing any lunch or refreshment for applicants.

In reply to the RTI application, the college claims to have provided neither the lunch, nor any refreshment to the applicants in contrary to the entry of around 80 lunches in the bill for July 7.

Besides, if one goes by the honorarium slips the college has not paid any honorarium to the principal or clerks raising doubts about their presence at the interview.

While the college may claim it to be an act of benevolence following fund crunch, the fact that it managed interviews with just three committee members on September 15, leaves one wondering for the need of 17 members on July 7.

Like its other counterparts, the college has failed to open any account or file form 16.

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Students’ council to have say in funds’ allocation
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, June 11
The council president and general secretary shall now be members to all committees constituted to decide upon utilisation of students’ funds and other issues related to them.

The matter was taken up by Senator Dayal Pratap Singh Randhawa in the zero hour following a protest spearheaded by the outgoing students’ council, where in the students covered their mouths with black tapes to signify their lack of say in anything concerning them.

Addressing the Senate, he said: “I have been a students’ representative and the students in all universities hardy have any say in major matters.

This leads to difference in our perception about their needs and wishes.

If the students’ council is given representation in such committees and even the Senate, we shall be able to serve them better and take right decisions.”

Though the Senate has resolved to make them members, their representation in the Senate would be discussed upon.

The resolution has rejoiced the students as acting council president Sahil Nanda said, “This shall help us to play an important role and now, we shall be able to participate in important decisions concerning the funds.”

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SD College, Sector 32
College Admissions-2009
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 11
Known for high cut-offs in its bachelor’s degree (commerce stream) each year and among the preferred colleges of the students, Goswami Ganesh Dutta Sanatan Dharma College was set up in the city in 1973.

This postgraduate co-educational institute accredited by the NAAC, boasts of more than 60 programmes and has introduced a host of add-on courses for the students, including animation graphics, fashion designing, video reporting, event management, portfolio management and security analysis.

Three postgraduate innovative programmes in emerging and interdisciplinary areas like bio-informatics, entrepreneurship and family business and applied chemistry (pharmaceuticals) have been added with the UGC assistance in the college in the past five years.

The college has PG diplomas in marketing management, personnel management and labour welfare, computer applications and tourism and travel management in the university. A total of 13 new academic programmes were introduced in the category of postgraduate degrees and postgraduate diplomas.

Important Dates:

Sale of forms begins - May 25

Admission process - June end till 1st week of July

Classes will begin for new admissions - July 10

COURSES OFFERED AT POSTGRADUATE LEVEL:

Mcom

Master in Business Economics (MBE)

MSc (Bio-Technology)

MSc (Information Technology)

UGC INNOVATIVE PROGRAMMES IN INTERDISCIPLINARY
EMERGING AREAS:

MSc (Bio-Informatics)

Masters in Entrepreneurship and Family Business (MEFB)

MSc Applied Chemistry Pharmaceuticals

POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA COURSES:

PGDCA (Computer Applications)

PGDMC (Mass Communication)

PGDMM (Marketing Management)

PGDPM & LW (Personal Management & Labour Welfare)

PGDTTM (Tourism and Travel Management)

UNDERGRADUATE HONOURS DEGREE COURSES:

Bcom Hons in e-commerce

Economics and Financial Accounting

BA Hons in English Economics and Hindi

UNDERGRADUATE (PROFFESIONAL DEGREE COURSES):

BSc Hons in Bio-Informatics

BSc Hons in Bio-Technology

BCA

BBA

UNDERGRADUATE (GENERAL) DEGREE COURSES:

BA

Bcom

BSc (Non-Medical)

BSc (Medical)

UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE WITH (VOCATIONAL ELECTIVE) SUBJECTS:

BA with Functional English

BA with Advertising Sales Promotion and Sales Management

BA/BSc with Information Technology

BA/BSc with Computer Applications

BSc with Bio-Chemistry

BSc with Bio-Technology

BSc with Industrial Chemistry

BSc with Industrial Micro-Biology

CAREER ORIENTED ADD-ON COURSES:

Biotechnology, Industrial Microbiology, Cosmetology, Electronics and its Equipment Maintenance, Environmental Auditing, Computer Applications, Information Technology, Introduction to Computer Science , Computer Hardware and Maintenance , Business Statistics and Computer, Animation and Graphics, Advertising & Sales Management, Computer Based Accounting, Entrepreneurship Development Programme, Portfolio Management and Security Analysis, Event Management, Functional English, Tourism and Travel, Child Psychology, Fashion Designing, Journalism, Guidance and Councelling, Human Rights and Values in Education, French, Sanskrit, Video Reporting.

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