C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Green belts or security pickets?
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The Chandigarh administration has finally woken up to the immunity enjoyed by bureaucrats, politicians and police officers who have not only encroached upon government land for their security brigade, but also “stolen power” through illegal connections for their men.

Nevertheless, The Tribune team undertook a random round in some parts of the city and found some VIPs had made illegal power arrangements for their dogs, what to talk of their security men.

A former DGP of Punjab, Sarbjeet Bhullar, has encroached on the land adjacent to his house in Sector 8, which houses his dog in a kennel which has a cooler. His guards have also been provided with coolers and fans. The electricity supply has been extended through his house only, apparently, exceeding the sanctioned load.

Defying the electricity Act, Maninderjeet Singh Bitta, president, Anti-terrorist Front, has facilitated his 50-men army with coolers and fans, but the power is supplied through a kundi connection. Bitta’s security squad, which includes commandos from the CRPF, Punjab police and NSG commandos have encroached on a huge chunk of public land adjacent to his house in Sector 39. Toilets and open urinals at the park have become a source of irritation and embarrassment to residents.

The same arrangement has been made by the security men of the Lok Pal, Punjab, Daljit Singh Dhaliwal, near his house in Sector 8-B. When The Tribune team visited the spot, his security men were mending wires connected to a nearby pole.

The entire so-called VIP enclave of Sector 7, which accommodates the home secretary, Haryana, Punjab and Haryana bureaucrats and police officers is full of such security pickets.

At the security picket of Sharad Kumar, an IPS officer, the kundi wire has been tied with a pole and concealed underground.

Another IAS officer, Rajeev Arora, has encroached on the green belt adjoining his house to make a private garden.

Behind the house of the late Capt Kanwaljeet in Sector 9, a compound with a brick wall accommodates the security men of his son, Jasjit Singh Banni, chairman of cooperative banks. Three toilets have been built on this green belt.

Even a former minister, Santokh Singh Randhawa, has extended power supply to tents pitched for his security men from his house located in Sector 39 to run their fans and coolers. 



Rodrigues goes back on inquiry commission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
After ordering the setting up of a commission of inquiry to probe into the functioning of the municipal corporation, the UT administrator, SF Rodrigues, seems to have backtracked on the proposal as now only a committee would be for the purpose.

On July 6, a press statement was issued by Punjab Raj Bhawan, stating that the UT administrator had ordered the formation of a commission of inquiry at a public hearing session for streamlining the functioning of the municipal corporation in the face of allegations and counter-allegations by councillors regarding violations of rules of business, guidelines and procedures under the Municipal Corporation Act.

The move had sparked off a controversy among councillors regarding their powers as elected representatives of people and the city’s bureaucracy also felt that a commission of inquiry was not really required. and would only create problems.

In what seems to be an afterthought, Raj Bhawan has now opted for a committee to suggest ways to improve the functioning of the corporation and the timely tabling of development agendas in the house.

The committee would be headed by nominated councillor Pallav Mukherjee with Congress councillor Chander Mukhi, a retired chief engineer and an industrialist as members.

A senior official said on the condition of anonymity that better sense seems to have prevailed on officials at the helm since a commission of inquiry was not required for such routine matters.

Home secretary Ram Niwas said the notification for the formation of the committee would be issued tomorrow in which the terms of reference would be mentioned.

BSP councillor Jatinder Bhatia said it was unfortunate that the administration had constituted a committee. Rather than streamlining the functioning of the corporation, it would only mess up things.

He wondered why the administration was not taking action against the mayor, Kamlesh, who had earlier accepted the conditions of a patch-up in front of local government secretary Ram Niwas.

Harjinder Kaur, an SAD councillor, said if the committee was formed, it should be chaired by a person who was above the mayor and the MC commissioner rather than one of the complainants.

She said the administration could monitor the working of the mayor and the commissioner by asking them for a monthly report of the coordination committee meeting.

Pardeep Chabbra, a former mayor, said there was no harm in forming a committee, but it should comprise of a representative of all parties.



DAV student held with pistol
Son of excise commissioner; gets police remand
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The police arrested a student leader of DAV College, Sector 10, while allegedly carrying an illegal .32 bore pistol in Sector 11 last night. The accused is the son of an excise and taxation commissioner.

According to DSP (CID) Satbir Singh, the accused, Shiv Karan Singh, alias Sebi, chairman of INSO at DAV College, was caught following secret information. He is a BA (II) student. His father, Sher Jasjit Singh, is posted at Moga while his mother Satinder Kaur is chairperson of the SAD at Nawanshahr.

SI Amanjot Singh laid a trap to nab the accused, who came in his Ford Endeavor (PB 10 (T) 0450) which was intercepted. The search of his vehicle led to the recovery of a .32 bore 7.65-mm pistol along with five cartridges.

The accused initially told the police that the weapon belonged to his friend Simu of Ferozepur district. The weapon was made by the Indian Ordnance Factory at Kanpur.

The police said they would write to the factory to find out about the original buyer of the weapon as special permission was require to own this weapon. It might be possible that the weapon was stolen.

Investigations have revealed that Simu is a relative of a Congressman from Punjab and is studying law at the PU.

Meanwhile, the accused was produced in court which remanded him in one-day police custody.



Tribune Impact
Police nabs tipplers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
After The Tribune highlighted the issue of drinking in open outside liquor vends, the Chandigarh police today got into action and conducted a special drive to nab those drinking in open.

The police also swooped down on traffic violators. The police arrested over a dozen offenders, besides challaning over 50 traffic violators. The drive began at about 6.30 pm and went till late in the night. Nakas were set up in Sectors 8, 9, 10, 11 and 15.

Speaking to The Tribune, Madhur Verma, ASI (central), said it was learnt that several youngsters were drinking outside wine shops in some sectors, following which the raid was conducted there. These were random raids so the offenders did not come to know about the arrival of the police.

He said besides drinking in public places, challans were also issued for wrongly modified bikes, rash driving, black films and violation of other traffic rules. Maximum numbers of challans were issued for black films.

The Tribune had highlighted in these columns that drinking at public places was continuing unabated and one could witness the glaring violations outside liquor vends across the city. Tipplers make a beeline for these places late in the evening and hit the road after getting their drinks.



What do officers say

Stealing power is a criminal offence. We have started patrolling these areas to look for encroachments on green belt and the source of electricity provided to security men. Defaulting officers would have to face penalty as per provisions laid down in the Electricity Act. Even a case could be registered against them.

— Sanjay Kumar, secretary, UT engineering

Establishing tents or pucca accommodation on public land is a violation. I had circulated a notice recently, asking officers to remove their security tents from the green belt. It has to see if the land belongs to the MC or the administration. I can provide force to get the land vacated from any sort of encumbrances.

— RK Rao, DC

We have instructed XENs and SDOs of the area to take note of officers who are on the wrong side of law by stealing power. The violators would be liable to face a notice of disconnection and penalty for extra load that has not been duly sanctioned by the competent authority.

— Surinder Pall, officiating chief engineer

It would be checked if they have taken illegal water connections too. The MC would conduct a survey of the areas and our enforcement staff would be instructed to do the needful soon.

— Roshan Sankaria, MC Commissioner




Act strict against violators 

The administration should act strict against the violators. An FIR should be lodged against officials for stealing power just as it was done with the Sector 22-based Tehal Singh. Under the Civil Servants Control rules, negative remarks should be included in their ACRs.

— Hemant Goswami, social activist

It is more a question of ethics. When a poor man steals electricity, it’s out of need, but these officials are misusing their power. The issue has a broader perspective much beyond the law or the state. It’s about individual conduct, which has to be more responsible, if one sits in a chair of power.

— Rounki Ram, president, PUTA

The administration should check the menace of encroachments and power theft by the so-called power brigade, which has made it more of a prestige issue. Strict action should be initiated in this direction in the interest of people who live in the vicinity of these “powerful” people. — Satish Chandra Sharma, general secretary,

Chandigarh Social Welfare Council



Electricity Act says

The Electricity Act, 2003, says that unauthorised extension of load or using power for a purpose for which it has not been granted permission is an offence. Under Section 135, there is conviction for using load in excess of 10 kilowatt. The fine would be at three times in case of the first conviction and six times in the second conviction.

Kundi Connection

It is sheer theft of power and administrative officials say that it is a criminal offence under Section 135 of the Act and if convicted, it calls for imprisonment for a minimum period of six months or fine or both.

Moral Turpitude?

If such action implies “moral turpitude” for officers if they get convicted under Section 135 for stealing power or extending electricity supply to their security guards without seeking permission or extra load sanctioned from the competent authorities, is yet to be seen. 



MC sets up flood control centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh, has set up a flood control centre in order to solve any problem pertaining to monsoons. The control centre will be operated round-the-clock in three shifts.

While having water logging problem in any area of the city, residents would contact at 5009333 and a complaint would be forwarded to officer concerned of the area.

Teams are constituted to attend the water logging problem in any part of the city.

The SDEs will arrange sewer man from July 1 to September 30 in their respective divisions if any problem arises.

In addition to this, sub-divisional engineers of road wing of the areas concerned will also move in the areas with sufficient labour to get any blockage removed at any point of the road due to depression, including road gullies.

The overall in charge of the work will be executive engineer, MCPH division No 4, Chandigarh.



Paying Guest Accommodations
A pain in the neck for residents
Miscreants smash windowpane of a car in Sec 15
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Paying guest accommodations are increasingly becoming a source of nuisance for the city residents. In a yet another incident of lawlessness, some miscreants smashed a windowpane of a car in Sector 15 after they failed to call the girls residing at a paying guest accommodation in the locality.

Even as the Chandigarh Police claimed to have launched a special drive to curb the menace of hooliganism, this is the second consecutive incident of lawlessness in two days. On Monday night, some miscreants triggered panic in the locality by a specially-modified motorcycle sans silencer, which created a sound resembling to that of a gunshot, prompting a resident to call the police.

JP Sharma of Sector 15, whose car was smashed, told TNS that he saw his damaged car in the morning and called the police. The policemen, after examining the spot, found some pebbles in the front courtyard of the adjacent house and said someone threw stones at the wall of the house. “I told them that girls stay as paying guest in the house and boys known to the girls came here at odd hours. The policemen said it appeared that the miscreants were irked over not getting response from the girls threw a brick on the car, smashing its windowpane.”

Sharma said the owner of the paying guesthouse lives in Sector 18. He deputed a caretaker-cum-cook, who runs the accommodation. He alleged that the caretaker pockets Rs 200 from each girl to allow her to go out at odd hours. “Boys and girls sitting in cars and also in the parks indulging in obscene activities is a common sight here after midnight,” said Sharma.

It may be recalled that after failing to get any response form the police to curb such activities in Sector 21, the residents in the past formed their own brigade. They not only intercepted the rash motorcyclists and car drivers, but also shooed away the miscreants indulging in anti-social activities. A resident of the locality in Sector 21 said: “The failure of the police forced us to take the law in our hands and the situation is much better here now,” he said.

Sources said the failure of the police to keep a check on illegally paying guest accommodations indicate towards a nexus of police with the owners. The police rarely book the violators under Section 188 of the IPC for not complying with the rules and getting their tenants verified.

ASP (Central) Madur Verma said the police would set up special “nakas” to catch such miscreants creating panic in residential areas. The police would impound the motorcycles sans silencers and cars with black films playing loud music. 



Rly station stinks of neglect
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The Chandigarh railway station, which looks fresh like dew during VIP visits, is actually a neglected orphan.

Despite being the capital and one of the major railway stations under the Ambala division, cleanliness is a concept heard on rare occasions here.

The smell assails one at the reservation counters itself-thanks to a faulty sewer line that runs under it. The railway line, which seems to be rarely cleaned, wears a colourful look with multihued polythene bags and disposal glasses disposed by commuters all over.

The walls are assiduously marked with stripes by paan chewing employees, commuters and the staircase is poorly maintained. “It takes hours to purchase ticket while standing in the queue and it is suffocating as the nasty smell fails is really irritating. Even the counters you keep hands on are caked with layers of dirt. It seems the whole place has not seen a broom for ages,” says Jasdeep Singh, a regular commuter heading to Mumbai.

The stink at the station is so suffocating that Ina Kashyap never forgets to keep the handkerchief in her purse. Sharing one of her experiences she asserts, “Though the toilets are tolerable sometimes the stink takes a toll. I was heading to Delhi in the Jan Shatabdi and had arrived bit early. The was this pungent smell coming at station was so suffocating that I stood in the parking lot and since then I never reach before time.”

The stink, at such times, becomes too much to take, pointed out Dinesh Thakur, a businessman. And it stays with you wherever you go-unless you take a train that is pulling out of the platform.

How often are the stations cleaned?

The cleanliness of the railway station has been handed over to private company and supposedly the platforms are cleaned everyday. On the condition of anonymity one of the employees at the railway station says, “The cleaners are not responsible for keeping surroundings clean. The public should have some civic sense too,” said one. Sources revealed that there are 20 cleaners who are working to keep the station clean. 


Veterans term govt move as erroneous 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Members of the ex-servicemen fraternity have termed the Finance Minister’s announcement on one rank one pension (OROP) in his Budget speech as a skillfully crafted statement that has created a wholly erroneous impression that it has finally been granted by the government.

A statement issued by the Indian Ex-Services Movement claimed that available information indicated that the issue of OROP has not been even remotely addressed. By bringing pre-1996 pensioners at par with the post-1996 pensioners, the Finance Minister has only rectified a 13-year old anomaly, which should have been done long ago.

Pointing out that revised pensions announced after the Sixth Pay Commission had created three distinct classes of pensioners, the statement added that similarly placed personnel in each class received widely differing pensions. The distinction between pre and post 2006 pensioners remains un-addressed.

The demand of the pensioners was, in fact, only for removal of this distinction, the statement said.

Meanwhile, seeking copies of the recommendations and reports of the committee, the Saviours of Human Rights of Armed Forces, a locally based NGO has, in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, pointed out that the announcement of “considerable improvement” in pension has created a state of confusion that needed to be addressed in order to settle the high degree of discontentment amongst the ex-servicemen.



Another inmate pregnant at Ashreya
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Welfare homes at Chandigarh continue to be “pregnant” with controversies. After the Nari Niketan “rape in protected environs case”, an inmate of Ashreya has been found to be pregnant.

In her mid-30s, the woman was brought to Ashreya on the night intervening June 15 and 16. She was found to be over six weeks pregnant.

Informing the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the developments during the resumed hearing on the Nari Niketan case, senior standing counsel for Chandigarh administration Anupam Gupta said her medical report revealed she had conceived before she was brought to Ashreya.

Gupta said the Chandigarh police found the woman at Kishangarh village on June 15, while pelting stones on dwellers. She was produced before the SDM, who found her mentally challenged and asked the police to get her admitted to Ashreya. After her medical examination was conducted, the police handed her over to the Ashreya authorities.

Soon after that, she was admitted to the psychiatry ward at the GMCH and was discharged on June 26. On July 7, during a medical examination, she was found to be pregnant. A medical board was constituted for her examination, which revealed that she was six weeks pregnant, Gupta informed the Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Augustine George Masih.

He said it was not yet known if it was a case of rape. Being speech impaired, she could not speak properly, but she wrote her name and her husband’s name, though it was yet to be proved if she was married or her husband had abandoned her.

The Bench directed continuation of investigations in the matter. Continuing with his arguments in the Nari Niketan rape case, Gupta cited books and judgment to stress on the need to terminate the pregnancy of the rape victim. After hearing the arguments, the court adjourned the counter arguments for tomorrow.



Power cuts affect water supply
Sectors 63, 65, 70, 71 at the receiving end
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 8
The failure of the Public Health Department to pay Rs 2 lakh to the Punjab State Electricity Board for a power hotline connection to a water treatment plant is causing a great inconvenience to thousands of consumers.

The functioning of the water treatment plant at Sector 57 here has been hit due to biweekly power cuts and only the timely installation of a 24-hour hotline connection can prevent the present situation.

Every time there is a power cut, the water supply to sectors 63, 65, 70 and 71 is hit apart from other areas of the town.

The Sector 57 water treatment plant was constructed by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (now GMADA) about ten years ago. After it became functional, it was handed over to the Public Health Department.

According to sources, the Public Health Department made a request to the PSEB in 2007 to provide a hotline connection to the water treatment plant so that the power cuts did not affect its functioning.

The PSEB then, prepared an estimate of Rs 1. 99 lakh for the work and asked the Public Health Department to deposit the amount. But no one bothered to deposit the amount.

It is learnt that another request for providing the hot line connection was made by the Public Health Department to the PSEB last month. A fresh estimate was prepared and sent to higher authorities for sanction. The Public Health Department will now have to pay Rs 2.25 lakh for the work.

The water treatment plant, which has a capacity of five mgd, faces four hours of power cut on every Saturday and Sunday and during this period pumping of water to the underground storage reservoir in Phase X cannot be carried out which affects the supply of water.

Officials in the Public Health Department, however, blame GMADA authorities for not providing a hotline connection when the water treatment plant was constructed. GMADA officials, on the other hand, said the treatment plant was built ten years ago when there were no power cuts in Mohali. There was no provision for a hot line connection in the estimate prepared for the treatment plant in 1997. Moreover, the Public Health Department had never raised a demand for a hotline connection, added a GMADA official.

Hotline connection

The Public Health Department made a request to the PSEB in 2007 to provide a hotline connection to the water treatment plant so that the power cuts did not affect its functioning



Tribune Impact
Tent at Bougainvillea Garden to go

Chandigarh, July 8
A day after The Tribune highlighted that a security tent had been set up in the Sector 3 Bougainvillea Garden, the administration today sent an official communication to the DC to take notice of the tent of Haryana Armed Police personnel deputed for the security of the Haryana CM.

The engineering wing, after conducting a survey of the spot, has recommended the DC to take “appropriate action” regarding the removal of the security tent.

UT officiating chief engineer Surinder Pall said: “Since it is a security-related matter, it has been referred to the DC office to take stock of it.”

An encroachment committee meeting comprising the home secretary, finance secretary and the UT chief engineer has been called to discuss the blatant encroachments by big shots. — TNS



Concealed income worth Rs 35 cr surrendered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The search operations conducted by the income tax department at the premises of Bansal Textiles and a related group yesterday, led to the detection of undisclosed income to the tune of Rs 35.5 crore today.

According to a spokesperson for the department, Bansal and the related group surrendered concealed income and gave an undertaking to pay the due tax before the end of the financial year.

IT sleuths had conducted the search operations at 20 business premises, including the house of Vinod Goyal and the Bansals.

The business premises included Bansal Textiles, Sector 17, Chandigarh; Galaxy Mall at Ambala; Goyal Overseas and Ganesh Food at Karnal; Hill View Infrastructure (construction apartment) at Baddi; and some educational institutes at Sonepat and Ambala.

Around 100 IT officers and subordinate staff conducted the surveys, which began at around 10 am yesterday and continued till this afternoon. 



Engineers submit memo to principal secy
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 8
Members of the Punjab Irrigation Engineers’ Class-I Association has urged the government to withdraw orders issued in connection with the holding of a meeting of the departmental promotion committee (DPC) for carrying out promotions failing which the engineers would go on a three-day mass casual leave from July 13.

The members of the association held a meeting here today and also presented a memorandum to the principal secretary, the department of irrigation, Punjab.

In the memorandum they stated that the government had decided to hold the DPC meeting on July 15 for the promotion of superintending engineers and executive engineers on the basis of seniority list issued by implementing 85th Amendment.

They said the seniority list issued under the 85th Amendment had been challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the judgment was kept reserved in this regard.

The government had earlier given an assurance that the DPC would not be held until the matter was decided by the court.

General secretary RS Buttar urged the authorities concerned to reconsider the decision by July 12 otherwise the engineers would go on the three-day mass casual leave in protest against the unilateral decision of the government.

If the authorities concerned remained unmoved, the general category engineers of the department would be compelled to go on the indefinite mass leave, thereafter, added Buttar.



Parking lots neglected in shopping areas
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 8
Parking lots in the shopping areas in different parts of the town are in a state of neglect, which have not been repaired for years.

Most of the parking areas in the markets have ample potholes or other damaged portions and require recarpeting. Rain adds to the woes of thousands of shoppers who use these lots everyday, particularly in the evenings. The lighting arrangements in the parking areas, too, are in a state of neglect.

Moreover, these areas are far too small keeping in view the increase in the number of vehicles. It becomes difficult to park cars even during daytime and one can imagine the situation when rush of shoppers increases in the evening. Parking problems exist in Phases I, III B 2, VII, X, XI and a pocket of Phase V.

The civic body officials blame the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) for handing over these areas to the council without carrying out the necessary repairs. Council could not set these areas right over the years due to shortage of funds.

The council had cleared a proposal about a year ago of handing over the parking areas to private parties for maintenance who would be allowed to display their advertisements in lieu of the work they did for the civic body. The proposal has so far not been implemented and the condition of parking lots has worsened with the passage of time.

Councillor Phool Raj Singh said here on Monday that parking areas have not been repaired ever since the present elected body took over three years ago. The proposal to hand over parking areas to private parties for maintenance, for which council would not have used any funds, had also not been implemented because of the indifferent attitude of the authorities concerned.

The president of the council, Rajinder Singh Rana, said all these years parking areas could not be repaired due to shortage of funds. The GMADA authorities were asked to help in this regard, but failed as objections could have been raised by audit officials.

Finally, a proposal was worked out to hand over these areas to private parties for maintenance. Tenders were called for the work but suitable parties failed to respond. He said tenders would be floated once again for the maintenance work but this would be possible only after a month or so as code of conduct had once again been enforced by the Election Commission in connection with the Banur assembly election.



Police seek media help
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 8
Finding no clue for over one month in the missing realtor Deepak Rai Saggar’s case, the police is now planning to take media’s help.

“We are planning to take the help of national dailies, as the investigation in the circumstances when Saggar disappeared on June 1 and questioning of suspects did not yield any result so far,” said Amitabh Dhillon, Superintendent of Police.

There were instances in the past when the police was able to crack the case by information provided by people following the media coverage, he added.

Though the police had already spent a huge amount on the advertisements announcing a reward of Rs one lakh for the information regarding Saggar.

Last month, the police spent around Rs 25 lakh perhaps for the first time in the history of the state.

Meanwhile, the police was working on other methods to locate Saggar, and efforts were on to get an early date for conducting the narco test on four suspects in Gujarat, said Dhillon.

An application in the court was also being filed seeking permission for conducting narco test on four suspects, including two property dealers Rajesh Thapar and Brajesh Kapoor from Delhi.

However, the report of lie-detecting test conducted earlier on two suspects did not help the police.



Health officials initiate probe
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 8
The district health officials have started inquiry into the death of Indrajeet Walia at Charavarty Nursing Home, who allegedly died due to the negligence of doctors. Walia died after giving birth to a child at the nursing home on July 3.

A team of the health department officials initiated an audit into the incident. The team was to initiate an audit and ensure that preventive measures were being taken to avoid such incidents in future, said officials.

Relatives of a 32-year-old Indrajeet, staged a protest yesterday outside the hospital, blaming the doctors for her death.



Currency sells in black under RBI nose
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 8
Right under the nose of the Reserve Bank of India, Chandigarh, the illegal sale of Indian coins and currency of low denomination in “black” is flourishing, allegedly in connivance of bank officials.

The black marketing of the Indian currency is on right outside the RBI office in the presence of the UT Police.

While a coin of Rs 10 costs Rs 15, a pack of Rs 1,000 in the denomination of Rs 10 is available at Rs 1,200.

When The Tribune team visited the RBI, it was found that all the queues at every counter were full with these touts.

According to the RBI rules one person is allowed to take not more than two pouches of coins, whereas these touts are issued not only pouches, but sacks of coins. It may be difficult to stomach, but RBI official are allegedly hand-in-glove with touts and supply coins to the brokers. The police and the authorities concerned are paying lip service to the ongoing business, which is a punishable offence.

The Tribune spoke to one of the bank customers, who said: “They have a strong lobby in the bank due to which they easily manage to get coins and notes of small denomination in huge chunks. You cannot reach at the counter as their queue never ends. Consequently, we end up dealing with them because it saves time. I have been waiting for the past two hours and the queue is not ending. I need to get Rs 1,000 in the denomination of Rs 10.”

An RBI official, however, said: “We cannot restrict their entry as they also fall in the category of general public. Every person is allowed to take only two pouches and the transaction is carried till 12:30 pm.”

When asked about the alleged involvement of RBI officials, he said: “I have not come across any official who is indulged in this practice. If this is so, we will take actions against the person.”

However, his claim proved to be contradictory as even after 1:30 pm, the brokers were coming out with coin-stuffed sacks. Ironically, the police was witnessing the entire episode like a mute spectator.

UT SSP SS Srivastva maintained that he was not aware of any such practice. Srivastva said he would consult the RBI officials and if some cognisable offence is made out of the inquiry, he would take action against those found guilty.



Gay couples tie the knot
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 8
Unfettering the chain of conventionalism and springing a surprise for the tricity, Sachin-Sanjana and Harnam-Sapna, the two gay couples from Mani Majara, tied the knot on Wednesday.

Attributing the culmination of their love into marriage to the Delhi High Court ruling, these newly-wed couples expressed their joy and happiness by calling the mediapersons to make their marriage public.

While Sachin and Sanjana fell for each other one year back, Harnam and Sapna are together for the past five years. Their decision came close on the heels of Delhi High Court’s nod to consensual gay sex.

“We were just waiting for the opportune time and with the legalising of homosexuality, the situation was ripe for us. We are married and even if society does not accept us, we have no qualms about it. We are happy,” said Harnam who got married to Sapna at Mansa Devi Temple in Panchkula.

Sachin, who tied the knot with Sanjana, says: “Our marriage would have been inconceivable without the Delhi High Court’s decision. We are heading for Shimla to enjoy our honeymoon.”

“It would be a new beginning for us. My family has also accepted Harnam as my partner. My younger brother Kuldeep performed all the rituals which a brother performs in Hinduism,” said Sapna, who was clad in the scarlet bridal gown.

Along with the duo, another three couples, Pramod-Mani from Sector 52, Jeetu-Geetu from Daadu Manjara and Manoj-Ramkumari of Colony No 5, have jumped on the bandwagon of married gay couples.

Ashwini, project manager, Family Planning Association of India, said that around 15-20 gay couples were married to each other.



NGO to file mercy petition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
A city-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) will file a mercy petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan for Sarabjeet Singh, who is on death row in the neighbouring country.

The NGO said it had filed a representation of a mercy petition before the United Nations Organisation jury, President of Pakistan and Chairperson, Amnesty International. The NGO said Sarabjeet was sentenced in the absence of right to defence as his lawyer did not appear in the court.

Sarabjeet’s sister Dalbir Kaur was in the city today and made an appeal through media to the President of Pakistan for mercy. She said it was necessary for building up good relations between both the countries as her brother was innocent and was not given a proper chance to plead his case.

The NGO said the 1,073-page prosecution report had many discrepancies. Out the 1,073 pages, over 500 were not legible. The NGO argued that such discrepancies resulted in the death sentence to Sarabjeet and if his case had been contested properly, he would have been acquitted.

The NGO said that lawyers in Pakistan had taken a wrong stand after the trial of Kasab in India, saying that they would not contest the case of Sarabjeet and others undergoing trials in Pakistan. The NGO said that in India, the human rights organisation was instrumental in the release of 32 such prisoners.

Three members of the NGO had applied for a Pakistan visa to contest mercy petition of Sarabjeet Singh.



Himachal MLA gets bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
A local court yesterday granted bail to an MLA from Himachal Pradesh in a cheque bounce case. The JMIC, Dr Rajneesh, yesterday granted bail to MLA Neeraj Bharti of Kangra in a cheque bounce case registered in 2006.

The case was registered on the complaint of owners of a Delhi-based firm, HS engineers and associates, who alleged that the MLA and a firm, Autoworld Constructions, owed Rs 3.5 lakh to them after a heavy machine was hired by them for carrying out a work on a project.

An amount of Rs 85,000 was paid through a cheque from ICICI Bank, Sector 35, as rent on June 10 last year, which bounced later.

The company then served a legal notice on the MLA and the firm, Autoworld, in whose name the machine was hired on August 8, 2006.

A case was registered under Sections 138 and 420 of the IPC.

Summons were also sent to both the MLA and the representatives of Autoworld to appear before the court.

After failing to appear yesterday, the court has issued non-bailable warrants against two representatives of Autoworld.



Another suspected swine flu case reported
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Another suspected case of swine flu was reported at the PGI here today.

According to the nodal officer, Chandigarh, HC Gera, a resident of Sector 7, Panchkula, who had visited Holland in June-end, had reported symptoms of swine flu on returning Chandigarh.

He has been admitted to the isolation ward of the PGI.

HC Gera said his throat swab sample report, which had been sent to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), New Delhi, for test, was awaited.

Meanwhile, the samples of the 40-year-old man from Mohali, who was admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, yesterday with swine flu-like symptoms, tested negative.

According to the doctor at GMCH, the 40-year-old man had been discharged from the hospital today evening. 



e wild wild web
Browsers’ War

Like any commodity there is a never ending war among various Internet browser softwares in this age of globalisation where competition is a way of life.

It has become more pronounced as every browser is in the race to become a favourite one for browsing Internet. No one benefits by winning this war as all of them are free and similar, until you are a geek. Last week’s launch of latest version of Mozilla firefox 3.5, has further intensified the fight. The first commercial and graphical web browser was developed by the Mosaic programming team and was called Netscape Navigator, later renamed Communicator, then renamed back to just Netscape. The Netscape was on the top, when Microsoft realised the importance of developing its own. Having the distribution power of providing free with the most popular operating software, Windows, Microsoft soon crushed the Netscape with its monopolistic practices. Netscape, not giving up, transformed itself into Mozilla Foundation to produce a competitive browser using the open source software model. But before some real development from it could happen, which happened in 2004, Microsoft enjoyed almost a monopoly in this segment. In 2003 Apple too launched Safari for its operating system, Mac, realising the unquestionable importance of the Internet in coming time. As all monopoly brings complacency, so was for Internet Explorer (IE).

Users didn’t know what more they could experience until others started bringing new ideas. Microsoft just bought out few minor updates. Others browsers realised that this was the time to take away the market share of IE which had reached the peak of more than 90 per cent. By 2004, Firefox had 8 per cent of market but by 2009, it succeeded in increasing it to more than 20 per cent. Firefox and Opera and Safari immensely improved security and other technical features. Google too entered this war, first by supporting Firefox by technical and monetary resources and then by launching its own browser, Chrome.

Microsoft woke up and tried incorporating features, now the norm, of the industry. But lacking creativity in development its updates merely managed to follow what others had already achieved and didn’t bring out any path-breaking feature.

Firefox has the second biggest share after IE in browser users, followed by Safari. In the last one year, we have seen an intensification of the war. IE has come out of an update, Firefox in last one year has come out of two updates, 3 and 3.5 version. Chrome has been launched. Opera has come out with its latest version, 9, having the cloud computing feature- Operate Unite sever. All this has resulted in IE losing more than 11 per cent share since March. Every browser now has good security features, private-browsing options and better protection from malware, leaving the difference in technical race of mere nose.

How does it affect us? Firstly, breaking of a monopoly is always good for the market. When IE was the only software available, we didn’t see much improvement, destroying much possible progress. Secondly, the chance of numero uno position will force others to come up with new ideas. Thirdly, no one can dictate the market as now developers are no more at the vagaries of one browser maker. Fourthly, with Firefox, an open source software, most possible next winner, the ecology for developers is good.

The best feature about Firefox is add-ons, which are software codes that can be made by developers according to requirement. The growth of mobile as the medium for the surfing Internet has opened another front. It forced Google to launch its open source Android software for mobiles in competition to the smart-phone market capturing iPhone, which uses Safari.

Android in its attempt to be have a fair share is providing it software free to any cellphone maker and various companies has taken that. Microsoft has been beaten here also as its Wndows mobile failed to make a big impression. All that can be said about the browsers is that we are going to see more activity over the next few years and IE will lose its dominant position in the market. The only question is how soon?

Anil Maheshwari is an editor with Instablogs.com and he can be reached at anilm@instablogs.com 



Research scholar accuses guide of harassment
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Priya Anand, a research scholar at department of biophysics, Panjab University, in a written complaint addressed to the Dean University Instructions (DUI) has accused her guide, Professor Fateh Singh Nandel, of causing acute mental harassment.

Priya, who got registered for PhD in the department in 2005, has alleged that Prof Nandel not only stretched her research schedule to four-and-a-half years but is also obstructing the submission of thesis now.

Elaborating on the issue, Priya said, “I started my research under him and soon was awarded a DAAD fellowship (Sandwich Model) in 2007 to complete a part of my project in German labs. Not only did I excel there but also got my work published in many renowned journals. Though I had gone there with due permission of the university, Prof Nandel through his mails to my German supervisor started accusing me of being an unworthy student and also levelled serious charges of plagiarism.”

According to Priya, in due course of her stay at Germany she had regularly submitted her progress report to the university and even her German supervisor had negated the fore mentioned allegations by supplying her progress reports.

“If I was cheating then why was no action taken against me? For four years he refused all fellowships even without consulting me and once even turned down a project that I had brought from CSR,” Priya added.

When contacted, Prof Nandel said, “I took her synopsis and since then she has not worked with me. I am not her guide.”

“If he was not my guide then why is he accepting the position of second author in my work? Every time I try to discuss anything with him he refuses to meet me. Prior to this also I had made many complaints but was forced to compromise” Priya reacted.

“Initially the DUI has asked me to keep mum for the department’s reputation and has asked me to adjust. However, when I demanded change of guide, the DUI after his initial assurances asked me to go to any authority I want. From my experience all I can say is that the success mantra of PhD at PU is not hard work but pleasing your guide,” she asserted.

Meanwhile, Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti claimed to be already looking into the issue and ensured justice.



‘Hot’ welcome for evening shift students
Made to sit in scorching heat for 1 hour
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Nearly 100 students of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, were made to sit in blistering heat on a cemented floor for about an hour after having returned from vacation today despite having six vacant rooms.

The issue came to light when the students of class V and primary classes were sitting in sweltering heat at 12 noon at the venue of the centralised admissions to Class XI in GMSSS, Sector 10.

Noticing the students sitting on the floor and others in corridors, the mediapersons questioned the teachers when one of them said the students were waiting for the next shift that was to begin at 1pm.

According to another teacher, parents of these students had dropped them to the school much before the scheduled shift. Meanwhile, one of the teachers started arguing with the mediapersons, but smelling trouble, the students were asked to go inside.

Clarifying the issue, school principal Indra Beniwal said: “We have to adjust nearly 650 students in the second shift and it becomes a problem when parents drop the children early although we keep rooms reserved for them.”

“The hall, which is being used for the counselling, is also reserved for them. There could have been negligence on the part of evening shift teachers.”

DPI(s) Samwartak Singh, when contacted, said: “It is a serious issue and the children should not have been made to sit in such a hot weather. I will look into the matter.”



Govt Schools
Transfer orders of 10 principals issued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Education secretary Ram Niwas today passed orders for transfer of around 10 principals during the reshuffling of the principals of the government schools, sources of the education department said.

Though the officials concerned are keeping it under wraps at the moment and claim that the proposal is yet to be passed, the sources said the orders had already been passed.

Meanwhile, speculations run high that the principals on deputation from Haryana have been given important positions in the transfer orders.

A principal, who has been transferred, said: “We have been told by the sources of the education department that the principals on deputation from the Haryana cadre are being given important posts even when their results are not better than us. We will not take the issue lightly if this turns out to be true.”

According to information, principals of GMSSS, Sector 37, GMSSS, Sector 35, GMSSS, Mani Majra, GMSSS, Sector 8, GMSSS, Sector 16, GMSSS, Sector 18, GMSSS, Sector 23, GMSSS, Sector 32 , GSSS, Maloya, and GSSS, Sector 38 (west), have been transferred.

Meanwhile, further clarification is awaited from the education department. 



Lack of arrangements mar counselling on Day VI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
Complaints of non-functional air conditioners and LCD screen by parents of students seeking admission in Class XI in various government schools through the centralised process at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, marred the counselling programme on the sixth day.

Adding to the woes of the parents and students was improper drinking water facility.

“Water in the tankers is boiling hot, who would drink this water in such a weather? Also the ACs in the hall and the LCD screen are not functional,” said a parent.

The day witnessed lack of arrangements according to the parents. On enquiring one of teachers on duty said, “Today because of excessive heat, the parents and students are facing trouble. Due to voltage fluctuations, the ACs in the hall are not operational.”

Meanwhile, the sixth day of the counselling at GMSSS-10 saw 834 students getting admissions to Class XI.

The students in the percentage bracket of 56 per cent and above were called for the counselling today. The total admission tally has gone up to 4,906 till date.

Admissions in the science stream were over in all UT schools today and GMSSS-18 also announced closure of the counselling in the science stream at a cut off of 58.4 per cent.

With the closure of admissions in science stream, a lot of students showed interest in the commerce stream leading to the closure of the admissions to commerce stream also.

Three schools, namely GMSSS-8, GMSSS-20 and GSSS-20 (Girls) also announced the closure of the seats at a cut off of 61.8 per cent, 60.2 per cent and 59 per cent, respectively, in the commerce stream.

Continuing with the earlier trend, the humanities and vocational streams fared a disappointing run till now.

Though the vocational course has taken the lead with the seats filling up in all schools, namely GMSSS-22 (cut off 60.6 per cent), GMSSS-37 (cut off 60.2 per cent), GMSSS-23 (cut off 60 per cent), GMSSS-32 (cut off 60 per cent) and GGMSSS-18 (cut off 58.2 per cent). The seats have also been filled up in the hotel management course in GMSSS-10 and also in auxiliary and nursing in GSSS-15. 



Aided-school teachers seek pension
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 8
The Government-Aided School Teachers’ Association today demanded that the teachers working in the government-aided schools should be given pension and other basic facilities like other government employees.

Ravinder Kumar Joshi, president of association, said the association had also demanded that the pay commission’s recommendations should be made applicable upon the aided-school teachers.

The number of posts in these schools is still the same since its inception but the students are increasing every year and teachers have to bear the burden.

He said the teachers were retiring and there was no source of income left for them after retirement. He demanded the government to give pension to the government-aided teachers.



PU Notes
40 attend training programme on women empowerment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 8
The Centre for Adult, Continuing Education and Extension, Panjab University, organised a three-day training programme on leadership development and women empowerment at aanganwadi centre, Khuda Lahora village. Forty women, including ex-sarpanches and panches, attended the programme.

Renu Gandhi, senior project officer from CACEE, spoke at length to encourage women to recognise their innate qualities and capabilities.

Dr Avinish Jolly, a physician, said reproductive health was a state of complete physical, mental and social well being of women. He highlighted the main objective of the reproductive health and reproductive rights, which include safe sex, personal hygiene of women, choice for safe and healthy child, prevention and treatment of STDs, including HIV/AIDS.

He further emphasised that deliveries and abortions by untrained dais should be avoided in the villages.


The Centre for Adult, Continuing Education and Extension, PU, Chandigarh, organised a 30-day workshop on English speaking and personality development. More than 100 students from senior and senior secondary schools participated in the workshop. Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, PU, was the chief guest for the valedictory session.

He said yesterday English speaking skills were of great value to anyone who wished to be successful in the highly competitive world. Besides this, efficient English speaking helps one to carry day-to-day activities in an efficient way by enhancing the communication skills and improving interpersonal relations.

New course introduced

Keeping the heavy demand of microbial bio-technologists by the industry, Panjab University conceived microbial bio-technology as a separate course under Centres for Emerging Areas in Science and Technology (CEAST). The course has 21 seats. The basic eligibility criteria for the course is a graduate degree in science stream with microbiology as a subject in one of the years.

The course aims at making the students proficient in various branches like microbial bio-diversity, industrial biotechnology, medical microbiology, immunology, genetic engineering, bio-analytical techniques, patent law and bioethics and various other related fields.

Vyas Jayanti celebrated

The department of Sanskrit, Panjab University, in collaboration with Haryana Sanskrit Akademi celebrated Vyas Jayanti. Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, being the chief guest inaugurated the function and propounded in detail the life and works of Maharishi Vyasa.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |