Rich admn can’t pay up water dues
Chandigarh, June 26
Topping the list of defaulters is the UT administration which has been unable to clear its water bills running over Rs 4 crore, quoting shortage of funds as reason.
Of 126 bill defaulters, 63 are departments of the administration whose dues are more than Rs 1 lakh each. The MC has to recover more than Rs 8 crore. Out of this, various departments of the administration have dues worth Rs 4 crore.
Records of the MC reveal that dues worth Rs 57 lakh are pending against UT horticulture (division two) while Shanti Kunj owes over Rs 53 lakh.
Most horticulture divisions have not paid up the arrears despite notices. The defaulters include departments of the Punjab government like Punjab Press, Civil Secretariat and Punjab treasury. The erring departments of the corporation include cremation ground and nurseries.
A senior official said after serving notices on the departments, the MC had disconnected water connections of 29 defaulters.
Sources in the MC stated that in a joint meeting held around six months ago, officials of the administration had assured the MC that the bills would be cleared soon. The sources added that it had been decided at a house meeting that if the dues were not paid within the next fortnight, the process of disconnecting water connections would commence.
MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria said they were going to issue a public notice in this regard soon. They were again sending a communique to the administration.
Long arm of law?
Chandigarh, June 26
As per records made available by the police, as many as 1,588 persons involved in various crimes have been declared proclaimed offenders (POs) by the local court till June 15 this year. The police had arrested 57 POs this year against 159 last year.
The perusal of records revealed that Harpal Singh of Sector 15 was booked in a case of attempt to murder and trespass after assault and wrongful restraint on July 26, 1968. He was declared PO on October 25, 1968. He is the oldest PO as per the police records and remains elusive.
The occupants of the house in Sector 15, which is mentioned as the permanent address of Harpal Singh, expressed ignorance about him and said they had no knowledge if any person with the name ever lived in the house.
The list of POs on the police website shows that 67 persons wanted in various crimes are at large for the past over 20 years. The Sector 17 police station has the large number of wanted persons on its records with 387 absconders. Out of these, 43 have been elusive for over two decades.
The SHO of the Sector 17 police station, inspector Ramesh Chander, said it was an old case and it could be possible that Harpal Singh had been living there as a tenant or wrong address had been given to the police. It was difficult to trace a man after 40 years as he could not be easily identified with an old photograph.
Moreover, it was not sure if the police had his photograph in its record. The police had to keep a record of a PO for 50 years and if the wanted person was not arrested during the period, it was destroyed.
A police officer said nabbing absconders required more efforts, patience and a lot of time. One had to keep track of criminals in disguise and conduct raids at their hideouts posing as a postman or an electricity or telephone department employee.
The SSP, SS Srivastva, said they had a separate wing in the crime branch for nabbing proclaimed offenders. Also, the police had special cells for the purpose. A large number of POs were residents of slums and hailed from UP and Bihar, with no permanent address in the city.
There were two categories of absconders --- One declared by the court under Section 299 of the CrPC for jumping bail to avoid trials and those who were never arrested are declared PO under Section 82 of the CrPC.
Pedestrian killed in accident
Chandigarh, June 26 According to the police, the deceased has been identified as Dalip Singh (57) of Moga. He had come to the city for getting himself treated and was on his way to a Sector 34-based office for some official work. He was on his way to Sector 34 when motorcyclist, Subhash Chand of Sector-4, Panchkula, who was on his way to Mohali, probably failed to notice and hit him from behind. Pritam Singh, investigating officer, said Subhash also sustained injuries and was admitted to Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector-16, in Chandigarh. The investigating officer gave two versions on Subhash’s arrest. According to him, Subhash fled away from the hospital where he was being treated. However, Anokh Singh, SHO, Sector-36 police station, said the accused was arrested and released on bail later on. Meanwhile, a case under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered against him.
Chandigarh, June 26
According to the police, the deceased has been identified as Dalip Singh (57) of Moga.
He had come to the city for getting himself treated and was on his way to a Sector 34-based office for some official work.
He was on his way to Sector 34 when motorcyclist, Subhash Chand of Sector-4, Panchkula, who was on his way to Mohali, probably failed to notice and hit him from behind.
Pritam Singh, investigating officer, said Subhash also sustained injuries and was admitted to Government Multi-Speciality Hospital, Sector-16, in Chandigarh.
The investigating officer gave two versions on Subhash’s arrest.
According to him, Subhash fled away from the hospital where he was being treated.
However, Anokh Singh, SHO, Sector-36 police station, said the accused was arrested and released on bail later on.
Meanwhile, a case under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A of the IPC has been registered against him.
SIT to probe kidnapping of realtor
Panchkula, June 26
Sensing the sensitivity of the matter, the IGP, Ambala, KK Sindhu, assured Samir Saggar, son of the property dealer, today that the case would be probed by a special investigative team.
Samir had urged the IGP that efforts should be stepped up to trace his father who disappeared from the town when he had gone to meet a friend at Maheshpur village on the evening of June 1.
The police had on June 4 registered a case of kidnapping against unidentified persons and later announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh for any information on Saggar. A lie-detector test was also conducted on two of the suspects.
The Panchkula SP confirmed that a team headed by a DSP and two inspectors would be constituted to investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, the family of Saggar received a call from Ludhiana last night, claiming that he was in Hardwar and they could locate him at some dharamshala near Har Ki Pauri. The caller also wanted Rs 1 lakh for finding Saggar.
Though no clue was found about his whereabouts at Hardwar, Samir returned while two of his relatives decided to continue with their search there.
The caller had said Saggar would be found at some dharamshala. When Samir contacted the caller again, he was told that his father would be found there tomorrow at 2.30 am.
School vacation extended
Chandigarh, June 26 A senior official of the department said as the maximum temperature in the city had touched 43 degrees Celsius, the department had decided to extend the summer break. The department might extend the holidays further if the heat wave persists. Even teachers would not be required to come to schools for any official work during the week. He said they had received a request from teachers and parents to extend the vacation. Meanwhile, according to the met department, the city recorded the maximum temperature of 42.4 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 28.2 degrees Celsius today. Met officials have forecast partly cloudy sky tomorrow. They said there was no hope of any change in the weather conditions next week also.
Chandigarh, June 26
A senior official of the department said as the maximum temperature in the city had touched 43 degrees Celsius, the department had decided to extend the summer break.
The department might extend the holidays further if the heat wave persists. Even teachers would not be required to come to schools for any official work during the week. He said they had received a request from teachers and parents to extend the vacation.
Meanwhile, according to the met department, the city recorded the maximum temperature of 42.4 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 28.2 degrees Celsius today. Met officials have forecast partly cloudy sky tomorrow. They said there was no hope of any change in the weather conditions next week also.
Outbreak of water-borne diseases
Chandigarh, June 26
According to a press note issued by the UT Health Department, special teams have been constituted to put those suffering from diarrhoea, acute diarrhoea and gastroenteritis under surveillance.
Anti-Malaria Officer-cum-State Nodal Officer, UT, HC Gera, said instructions had been issued to the field staff to locate such cases and report the same for taking remedial measures. Teams have been given chlorine tablets for distributing them wherever the chlorine contents have been found to be less in the water.
The teams have been directed to visit the low-lying areas and Colony no.4 and 5 besides others like Mauli Jagran and Dadu Majra, he added. “Regular monitoring of the water is being done by the Engineering Wing and the report is being submitted to the State Surveillance Unit-Chandigarh on weekly basis,” Gera added.
Teams of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, Chandigarh, have also been directed to coordinate with the corporation’s sanitation wing for the removal of the garbage and improving the sanitation in the labour colonies.
Meanwhile, an anti-malaria camp was organised at Dadu Majra today. About 15 teams have been deployed to keep a check on water-borne diseases. The teams have also been directed to make residents aware that they should not consume any food items exposed to dust and flies.
Chandigarh, June 26
The doctors who fell ill today were also from the Old Doctor Hostel and were eating in the same mess, claimed a member of the Old Doctor Hostel’s association.
According to a statement issued by PGI authorities, the hospital suspected “ice” being provided in the juice and shakes to be the reason behind the spread of
Meanwhile, official spokesperson of the PGI, Manju Wadwalkar, said: “It’s obvious that hospital doesn’t manufacture ice. Also it may be because of washing raw vegetables used in salads in contaminated water. Affected doctors were eating from the same mess where ice was being provided by the contractor.”
Reacting to this, contractor, who also owns a renowned bakery in Sector 34, said,” First of all when water has been detected safe then how does it get improper for washing veggies? Secondly, I buy branded ice and take every step to insure hygiene. Even if they have doubts they conduct a probe.”
He hinted that the allegations levelled against him could be the fallout of the doctors’ demands to handover the mess to them.
He also claimed that these doctors without conducting any enquiry had put up notices warning people against having food in his mess.
“They are yet to establish the truth but have declared me guilty. This is affecting my business,” he added.
Chandigarh, June 26
The theme for this year is "Do drugs control your life?” Dr KK Talwar, director of the PGI inaugurated the exhibition. He appreciated the imaginative paintings made by children on the deleterious effect of tobacco. He was impressed by a poster made by one of the patients about how he was living his newfound drug-free life.
Free leaflets related to drug abuse were also distributed. People appreciated the informative content. Video shows were also organised depicting the deleterious effects of drug addiction.
Alcoholic? Blame genes for it: Docs
Chandigarh, June 26
Prof SK Mattoo of psychiatry department disclosed this.
Prof P Kulhara, head of psychiatry department of PGI, said, “A person with a family history of substance abuse is likely to turn into an addict. There is a strong evidence that genetic pre-disposition is often a factor in dependency. But the extent of influence is not certain yet.”
According to the study (available on Internet), which was carried out at the universities of Bristol and Oxford, UK, “Understanding genetic influence on behaviour is important if we are to understand why some people are more likely to become addicted than others.”
After analysing the data from almost 1,000 persons, the research focused on a key gene that controls chemical signalling in the brain. Researchers said, “Different versions of this gene may affect the balance and effect of signalling molecules and in turn help to shape individual drinking habits.”
The study has been published in “Pharmacogenomics Journal”.
Meanwhile, a one-day de-addiction camp was organised today by the department of psychiatry, GMCH-32, on the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking at the police dispensary in Sector 26 here.
Almost 48 patients of alcohol and drug abuse were checked. The most common substance of abuse was alcohol and nicotine followed by inhalant abuse, said a doctor.
The patients were given one-week free medicines.
Volunteers from Art of Living also participated in the camp.
Violations galore in housing societies
Chandigarh, June 26
When it comes to keeping a tab on violations, the group housing societies that have come in Sector 48 and Sector-51 in recent years seem to be nobody’s baby.
For neither the UT estate office, nor the Chandigarh Housing Board seems to be willing to shoulder this responsibility.
While the UT estate office has approved the building plans of these societies, it was the Chandigarh Housing Board, which had given the land and issued the allotment letters.
As far as violations are concerned, these are common in most of these societies and range from covering balconies and extending rooms to running commercial activities in the garages provided with the flats to encroaching upon the inner roads by extending front lawns.
However, the jurisdiction over the societies remains debateable. Sources claim that the deputy commissioner had recently sent a letter to the CHB stating that since they have given the land and also issued the original allotment letters, thus they should be served notices for violating the norms.
Ashwini Kumar, Assistant Estate Officer, said the housing board had been conveyed about the same.
The sources in the housing board claim that they did receive the letter but it still was debatable whether the board should take care of the violations as all other facilities were being taken care of by the estate office and the administration.
New Industrial Policy
Chandigarh, June 26
The NBC lays down minimum provision building needs in order to ensure public safety with regard to structural sufficiency, fire hazards and health aspects.
A random check on the Industrial Area, Phase II, revealed that there were over six liquor shops. While defying the building norms and activities, some of them were in the periphery of the main roads while others had opened doors to main roads on the green belt.
There is a menace of subletting the plots due to which misuse of premises is rampant.
“Since there is no check and balances, this will further give impetus to illegal trade like liquor vends and setting up hazardous, obnoxious material units. Even the old commitments like framing policy for GPA transfers, too, have been hanging fire,” said Chander Verma, an industrialist.
The industrialists, who have paid crores as the “conversion fee”, said since the administration had proposed to allow an increase in the floor area ratio (FAR) from .75 to 1.5, the basic structure strength, parking and fire norms would not look relevant.
They also pointed out that the clause put forth by the administration that the increase would be allowed only for those, who had been into manufacturing articles, but not for those who had rented out plots or sheds.
Nevertheless, there are nearly 2,100 small-scale units, including one large and seven medium units, located in Phase I and Phase II. These units deal in fasteners, pharmaceuticals, tractor parts, steel fabrication and furniture, printing and stationery.
It has an annual turnover of nearly Rs 1,430 crore, whereas, around 20 units are exporting products worth about Rs 151 crore.
The new concept will have energy efficient, hi-tech industries like tourism, which includes hotels and restaurants, electronics, information technology, auto components, paper and paper products and furniture.
“The idea is to attract NRIs and foreign investment by developing world-class infrastructure and to promote export-oriented and import-substitute industries,” said Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar.
About the irregularities prevailing in the Industrial Area, Sanjay assured to look into the matter.
HS Mamik, an industrialist, said the previous concept of the industries had been changed to enterprises, which would be sensitised to evolve an appropriate mechanism to pave way for further economic growth and more employment.
MC House Meeting
Mohali, June 26
Trouble started when councillor Mohan Bir Singh Shergill told the house that the footpath near Housefed houses had been encroached upon by fruit-sellers and that another councillor — Gurnam Bindra Singh — was allegedly telling people of his (Shergill’s) ward that Shergill had been encouraging vendors to encroach upon the footpath.
Bindra lost his cool and started arguing with Shergill, while denying that he had levelled any such allegations.
Councillors said the menace could not be curbed as employees did not listen to them and indulged in a pick-and-choose policy while removing illegal rehris. They alleged that the authorities concerned failed to take any action against erring employees.
The suggestions given by the sub-committee that was formed to tackle the menace were also presented in the house, which were cleared at the meeting.
The committee members had suggested putting employees of the tehbazari wing on rotation and hiking fines in order to check encroachments in the town.
The committee members pointed out that 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 interest did not crop up and a uniform policy was adopted while removing rehris.
They also suggested that the amount of fine imposed in the case of violation be increased from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 and the impounded rehris be released through court in order to check the menace.
Deployment of extra staff after 5 pm was also sought to remove illegal rehris, as the number of such rehris increased manifold in the evening.
Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu suggested that no permission be given to sell fruits on roadsides. Instead, some places be earmarked where vendors could sell their fruit.
The house also cleared the proposal to give the work of running the municipal library on contract to a private party.
The civic body had taken over the charge of running the library in 2007 but failed to run it satisfactorily despite spending a large amount of money, as it did not have experienced staff.
A proposal of charging fee from departments who held meetings in the hall of the civic body was also cleared.
Villagers protest acute water shortage
Zirakpur, June 26 They added that they had been complaining to the authorities concerned for the past few days and the officials had assured them of taking necessary action but there had been no improvement in the water supply. They threatened that if their problem was not sorted out soon, they would be forced to block the national highway. Harbans Singh, a resident of the village, alleged that there had been no water for the past few days and they had been forced to call private water tankers to fulfil their household needs. Public health department Officials said the main water tank could not be filled due to shortage of power in the past few days. He claimed that an underground water tank was constructed in the village, which was a source of supply to domestic tanks.
Zirakpur, June 26
They added that they had been complaining to the authorities concerned for the past few days and the officials had assured them of taking necessary action but there had been no improvement in the water supply.
They threatened that if their problem was not sorted out soon, they would be forced to block the national highway.
Harbans Singh, a resident of the village, alleged that there had been no water for the past few days and they had been forced to call private water tankers to fulfil their household needs.
Public health department Officials said the main water tank could not be filled due to shortage of power in the past few days.
He claimed that an underground water tank was constructed in the village, which was a source of supply to domestic tanks.
MLA’s ultimatum to PSEB
Mohali, June 26
Talking with The Tribune after attending a municipal council meeting, Sidhu said the town and its surrounding areas were facing around 10 hours of power cut every day, which was unacceptable.
He said if the situation did not improved by Tuesday, he along with members of resident welfare organisations would sit on a dharna outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner.
Dharnas would also be organised at Landran village by farmers of the area, he added.
He said he failed to understand where the power was being utilised, as it was not being given to industrial, agricultural and commercial sectors.
He said power cuts were imposed even during winter when the PSEB authorities kept claiming that power was being given to other states to help buffer power for the state during the summer. However, no such thing was happening in the state now, he rued.
Residents were ready to bear power cuts ranging from two to four hours each day to help farmers during the paddy season but unannounced power cuts for about 10 hours was not acceptable,
The MLA said power cuts adversely affected the supply of water as a result of which residents were facing an acute shortage of water.
Teachers wear black bands
Chandigarh, June 26 Various members of the union asked why the administration assured them regularisation last year when they did not have any provision? They were irked with the department appointing fresh teachers on regular basis rather than considering the regularisation of contractual employees.
Chandigarh, June 26
Various members of the union asked why the administration assured them regularisation last year when they did not have any provision?
They were irked with the department appointing fresh teachers on regular basis rather than considering the regularisation of contractual employees.
Chandigarh, June 26
The boxes, one for students and another for research scholars, will aim to encourage students to voice their concerns or complaint about academics, infrastructure or even faculty without fear of identification.
“Student’s feedback is must in many organisations, but I must say it is through them only that we are apprised of the ground realities and problems.
Though most of the times, we ensure easy accessibility, but some students do not come up with their complaints for several reasons, so I think these are the best ways,” said Sobti.
According to the Vice-Chancellor, the complaints will be dealt with on daily basis if possible, otherwise within every three days.
In addition to this, the registrar’s office will now sport an LCD screen that will display details regarding time, venue and agenda of various committee meetings.
The provision will be made to ensure transparency in the system.
“We want complete transparency in the functioning of the university. So if anybody wishes to follow up a meeting, he can get to know of it this way,” said RC Sobti. — TNS
The police last night dumped two injured persons in Gypsies like foodstuff. The persons were so badly injured that they were crying in pain due to broken limbs.
When people told the police “please pick them with care”, the police replied not to interfere, as it was their routine work.
I don' t know if the police was taking care or was scaring people. Instead of taking them to the PGI, the police left them in a hospital in Sector 16, from where they were shifted to the PGI after eleven hours of agony. This is the attitude of the police that claims of “taking care”, but reality tells otherwise.
Despite the PCR being fully trained and equipped, no stretcher was used for the injured persons, who were lying on the road.
GK Chopra, Chandigarh
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Old question paper given to sociology students
Chandigarh, June 26
It was alleged that the paper was given to the students of sociology department and was allegedly the same paper provided two years ago.
As per the university officials, it was only during the evaluation of the papers that the grave disparity came to light and was immediately reported to the authorities concerned.
Based on a prima facie complaint holding Prof Manjit responsible for this, a committee was reportedly constituted today to look into the matter.
While examination controller AK Bhandari, could not be contacted, Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti, confirmed the incident.
“We got the complaint and have constituted a committee. We will look into the matter and deal with it as per the norms,” he said.
After various complaints against “out of syllabus” question papers, this complaint has raised many eyebrows on the efficiency of the department.
“Vice-Chancellor has left no stone unturned to make the department more efficient by getting OMR sheets and speeding up the results but given to the complaints received this year specially something of this kind call in for more attention when it comes to setting up the papers or co-ordinating with colleges,” added one of the officials.
It may be noted that recently around 40 students of SGGS Khalsa College for Women and SD College had complained about being taught some other syllabus and eventually being examined on some other.
Dons unhappy with Sibal’s proposed reforms
Chandigarh, June 26
The educationalists believe that if his ministry truly wants growth in the educational system, then the priority should be given to make improvement in the existing system rather than proposing another policy.
Ironically, the entire policy is focusing on doing away with the existing educational system, but nowhere, it has mentioned about the improvement in the infrastructure and recruitment of qualified staff in the schools and colleges, which is the basic requirement.
Harold Carver, an educationist of the town, appreciates the change in the educational system, but scrapping the Class X board examination, is no solution. He says rather than doing away with the examination, why isn’t the ministry thinking on lines of increasing the number of attempts to be given for clearing the examination.
Carver says the ministry wants to ease the burden on children to score high in the Class X board examinations. He suggests that the stress should be laid on encouraging the weak students and resolving their problems so that they can attain quality education in the present scenario.
HS Mamik, chairman, Independent School Association, found that the proposal of scrapping Class X board examination is not viable. He opines that the ministry has diverted their focus from the main issue of improving the basic education for the poor and disadvantaged classes. He adds that the ministry is considering only about the stress on urban children, but why no attention is being paid to the rural students.
Poor people send their kids to government schools, but it is unfortunate that they are hardly taught. No one dares to take disciplinary action against government schoolteachers as they are protected by powerful trade unions. Crores of rupees spent on education go waste.
Madhu Bahl, national counsellor, CBSE, says making Class X examination optional will not be good for our educational system. She expressed surprise over the fact as how this system would make our children’s future bright. “Self regulation is possible, but as in the case of an individual freedom, it also comes with responsibility and maturity.
If we go by the plight of our state universities, where most of the times, decision-makers are appointed and changed as per the political affiliation, universities cannot be made self-regulatory, but does need a body to keep check on its overall functioning. However, we can work out lesser, yet more comprehensive, regulations, which should adhered in totality,” says AS Julka, ex-professor, Panjab University.
According to the ex-vice-chancellor, PU, KN Pathak, while the Central universities can be made autonomous to some extent, but state universities still need to work hard for seeking the Central varsity status.
PU’s information centre opens
Chandigarh, June 26
The centre has evoked a huge response from the applicants who came in large numbers at the centre. “It’s better than going from one desk to the another. At help desks you are supposed to enquire everything at once and if you have to subsequently ask something else you have to get in queues once again. Here the LCD screen is displaying everything and every piece of information is getting repeated,” said one of the applicants.
“For many, getting information straight from the horse’s mouth, is what makes the centre a good option.
Though the student helpers are quite efficient but still most of the times they are not sure or informed about most of the things and ask us to go to the departments concerned. Here we got to know about the admission formalities from an official only and even the warden was there to guide us on hostel facilities. The university’s help desk is proving to be a great help,” commented another applicant.
Elated at the response, examination controller AK Bhandari, PU, considers it just another example of late yet beneficial step for the students.
“I agree that due to some reasons it took time but now that it is functional and the students are happy. The LCD screen is going to be of immense help, as the students will get all information pertaining to the admissions. The help desk is deluged with queries related to hostel facilities and new courses available in the university.
The hostel wardens and professors are guiding the students about the admission procedure. As per the students’ queries trickling in everyday, we will update the information on the screen.”
Orientation programme for teachers concludes
Chandigarh, June 26
On the closing day, DPI (S) Samwartak Singh made it a point to be with the teachers to know the gains of such training programmes and took suggestions for future improvement.
The community teachers felt highly enthused with his presence and promised to put in their best for reaching out to every unschooled child and shouldering the responsibility of bringing every child to the mainstream of education.
He also emphasised on the role of the community teachers in bringing every out of schoolchild in the fold of education. Thus, enabling Chandigarh to achieve the goal of upper elementary education by 2010.