C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Class-III kid faces teacher’s wrath
Slapped repeatedly, humiliated in front of class

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
A student of Class III of St John’s High School, Sector 26, was allegedly subjected to physical and verbal abuse by a teacher.

Though the incident occurred on Saturday, the child reported the matter to his mother yesterday. According to Akshay Singh, a student of Class III at the school, he was slapped seven-eight times by class teacher of KG-D Reema, who was as a substitute in Class III-C on Saturday. His fault was that he was not being able to recite the table of seven properly.

The teacher also called Akshay to her desk and asked the entire class to laugh at him and call him a “D-grade child” since he received a D grade in one of the subjects, alleged the child’s parents.

When Akshay broke down in the class after facing the humiliation, the teacher mocked him saying “only girls and babies cry” and ignored him.

The incident came to the light when Akshay refused to go to school yesterday. When his mother was making him do the homework, the child broke down when he had to recite the table of seven and narrated the entire incident to his mother.

“We were shocked. His classmates confirmed the incident to me over phone. I have myself been advocating for zero tolerance for corporal punishment with the Chandigarh administration and my own child was abused,” rued Punita Singh, Akshay’s mother, who is councillor at Carmel Convent School, Sector 9.

The school has, however, initiated legal action against the teacher and the parents have lodged a complaint with the Sector 26 police station. “Strictest of action must be taken against the teacher so that its serves as a lesson to others who take up this profession without knowing its nobility,” said Akshay’s father Mandeep Singh, who is the Global Voice Support Head of Airtel.

Surprisingly, two other parents, whose sons are studying in the same school, narrated similar incidents to this correspondent. “My son had pills of depression for one-and-a-half-month after he was abused by his teacher and we have been facing the trauma since the past six months. But we were scared to come on record for the sake of our son,” said the mother of a Class VII student.

When The Tribune team interacted with Akshay’s classmates, they confirmed the incident describing how he was abused on Saturday.

However, the principal refused to give her statement, though the parents were intimated about the action against the teacher.

The DPI (S) said: “Strict action will be taken against the teacher if we received a complaint in this regard.”



St John’s School closes back gate
Chaos as parents scramble for kids
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Parents of students of St John’s High School, Sector 26, had a tough time today afternoon while they came to pick their children from the school. For it had closed the back gate without giving any notice and the traffic police did not permit the parents to park vehicles on road.

The problem sprouted when the parents were told by the traffic cops, deputed on the backside, to park their cars elsewhere, as according to norms, the school did not allow cars inside without car-pooling stickers.

The situation left the parents helpless, who got no place to park cars to pick their children. Moreover, announcements were being made not to park the cars even on the main road i.e. in front of the school.

“It is sad that the police is not permitting to park the cars anywhere. How does one stop the car to pick one’s child from the school and if there is a tiff between the administration and the school, why are parents being troubled,” a parent said.

Meanwhile, when contacted, DSP Traffic Vijay Kumar said the open space near Strawberry Fields School was meant for parking and the traffic cops were deputed to direct the parents to park their vehicles in that area. “Now, the police will be on duty on the backside of the school as well to direct the parents.” “This open space is hardly 50 yards away from the school and the parents can park their vehicles easily there,” he added.



GMSSS-47 students ‘abused’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
In another case of physical abuse of students, about 11 Class XII students of GMSSS-47 were allegedly punished and mistreated by the physical education teacher yesterday during the school hours, according to a complaint received by the DPI (S) today.

Taking note of the matter, the Education Secretary has terminated the service of the teacher.

Eleven students of the arts stream were asked by the teacher to open their shoes, carry them in their hands and march till the classroom. While some teachers in the school claim that the students were mistreated by the teacher to the extreme, others claim it be a foul play and a case of personal rivalry between the teachers.

When contacted, KaramJit, the physical education teacher, said: “I am being framed by the Sanskrit teacher, who had been doing such things in past as well.”

Clarifying his stand he said: “The students often misbehaved and fought with other children. They were never in their 
proper uniform.”

The issue came to light when the principal of the school informed the DPI (S) about the incident and an inquiry was marked. The principal could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.



DEO office gets gifts from PTA funds
GMSSS-32 ex-principal accused of embezzlement

Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

PTA fund used to buy gifts for DEO office in GMSSS-32
PTA fund used to buy gifts for DEO office in GMSSS-32.

Chandigarh, July 22
A city-based RTI activist, VB Khanna, in a written complaint to the Home Secretary, has accused Anil Sharma, former principal of the GMSSS, Sector 32, of flouting the RTI Act.

Anil has been recently transferred to GMSSS, Sector 23. According to the complaint, though the information provided by the school authorities disclosed that the funds were spent in an ‘unjustified’ manner for DEO officials amongst other things, not even a single voucher was provided to support the claims in spite of repeated pleas.

As per the documents provided by the school, Rs 4,822 were withdrawn from the PTA fund in September 2007 to buy gifts for the DEO office. Similarly, another entry of April 2008 disclosed that Rs 11,000 were withdrawn from the PTA fund for the DEO office again, although the purpose has not been clarified so far.

A loan of Rs 29, 000 was also raised from the PTA fund to buy an AC and loan of Rs 1,74,146 and Rs 82, 000 from the interest money to make the payments to Baljit Industries and Kishore Traders in March, 2008, although description of these firms is missing from the entry.

Baljit Industries has been paid around Rs 50,000 from the loan taken from the interest money in 2008 and tiles worth around Rs 2.5 lakh were also laid from the same.

While the authorities concerned have not spared even a single fund, they have failed to furnish a bill or voucher for even one of the entries.

“They have flouted the RTI Act as they only sent a list claiming to have taken a loan worth Rs 20 lakh from school funds without providing relevant documents, receipts, bills or vouchers. We appealed to the DEO, who had instructed Anil Sharma to give details, but he denied. He showed the unjustified expenditure as loans to escape audit woes and could not provide even a single paper to prove that he spent that money in appeasing DEO officials or buying AC, etc. An inquiry should be marked against him immediately,” Khanna said.

While Home Secretary Ram Niwas kept disconnecting calls, Samwartak Singh, DPI (S), said he would look into the matter.



Traffic Violations - IV
Killer wheels on road
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 22
Infamous for rash driving, school buses are turning into killer on road with the efforts of the district transport department to curb accidents involving schools buses remaining only on paper.

As innocent lives are snuffed out on city roads, neither the traffic police nor the transport authorities have put in place any mechanism to check the increasing menace of the yellow-coloured killers. Though the police do not have the exact number of causalities involving school buses, traffic cops admit involvement of unregulated school buses in minor and major road accidents during the school opening and closing hours.

A study by the traffic police reflected that majority of accidents take place on unmanned traffic junctions, especially on the roads connecting Chandigarh. Most the accidents have been reported when bus operators, in order to meet their deadline, fail to notice two-wheelers coming from the opposite side.

In two specific incidents in the last one-year, a motorcyclist was crushed to death by a school bus at the junction of Sectors 66 and 67. Since the accident took place in the morning hours, there was no traffic on the section. In a similar incident, a schoolboy was killed when the driver of another school bus failed to notice him coming from the other side near the Municipal Council Bhavan in Sector 68.

During checking of the school buses, the transport department has found that the drivers don’t adhere to the speed limits within the city. Though most of the drivers had driving licences, it was found that conductors did not have the required licence that ensured that they had acquired training in giving first-aid. Most of the violators were drivers of the 32-seater buses.

Despite instructions, the buses are plied on the internal roads. However, the operators blame it on the parents who insist on picking and dropping their wards from near their houses.

Anilesh Kumar, a resident of Phase IX, believes that time has come to enforce strict guidelines for the school buses as lives of hundreds of school kids was at risk due to irresponsible driving.

Need to tame drivers

“We are losing our children in road accidents involving school buses. The authorities should wake up and enforce the law with iron hand. It took fraction of a second and negligent act of the driver of a bus of Manav Mangal School and our family was shattered for life,” said Charanjit Singh, father of Jaskaran Jit Singh, who died after being hit by a school bus on April 15, 2008.

“My son was not at fault. The driver was out on bail after saying that he did no see the boy coming. I have closed my business as I have lost everything,” said an aggrieved father, who believes that things have not changed in the last one year.

Admitting that the life of his son could have been saved had he been wearing a headgear, the father firmly believes that the bus driver was at fault. Jaskaran Jit Singh was the captain of the bhangra team of St Stephen’s School and had appeared for Class X exams. Charanjit was planning to gift a motorcycle to his son, but the accident changed his life.

Ranjivan Singh, a social activist said: “There is an urgent need to regularly train the drivers of school buses so that the rate of road accidents could be curtailed. Certain points for picking and dropping school kids should be fixed, and speed governors should be installed in school buses on the pattern of Chandigarh.”



Haryana recommends three names for DC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Deputy Commissioner of Faridabad Brijendra Singh is among the three IAS officers whose names have been recommended by the Haryana government to the Chandigarh administration for appointment as Deputy Commissioner of the Union Territory.

The other two officers are OP Langyan and Ramesh Krishan.

Krishan has already served the Union Territory when he was an HCS officer. He is currently posted as Additional Deputy Commissioner of Panchkula.

Brijendra Singh is the son of Haryana finance minister and Congress leader Birendra Singh.

The state government has, however, ignored the request of the Chandigarh administration to send the names of only direct recruits to the IAS and not of the officers promoted from the state service to the all-India service.

The promoted officers of the Haryana cadre IAS officers were aghast at the Union Territory’s request as they had taken it as a stigma on them.

Brijendra Singh is the lone direct recruit in the panel, while Langyan and Krishan are promoted officers.

Current incumbent RK Rao is to be repatriated to his parent state Haryana by the end of the month following the refusal of the Centre to extend his stay in the UT post.



Tribune Impact
Admn for resumption of plot
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
A day after The Tribune highlighted encroachment by VIPs under the garb of security in Sector 3, the UT Finance Department has swung into action.

Taking cognisance of the flood-lit “personal tennis court” on vacant plot No. 31 and blocking the passage by erecting a six foot high gate on road to restrict general access to it, the Finance Department has asked the UT Estate Office for resumption of the plot and to get the area vacated from all encumbrances as the land belongs to the UT administration.

Fingers are also being raised over the source of electricity for floodlights. No sanction for supplying electricity can be granted for a plot which is unoccupied. The Estate office records show it as a vacant plot reserved for ministerial house.

UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar said the Estate office has been directed to take over the possession of the land on which this tennis court has been built. “The Estate Officer has been directed to get the area surveyed and submit the report soon. It would be observed whether the gate on the road, which has blocked the road, was necessary for the security point of view or not,” he said.

Having blocked the access for other houses, the VIPs here have gone way beyond the normal barricades and constructed proper metallic shutters at both ends of the approach road, earlier used to link the sector to main road leading to the Chandigarh Club.

While prima facie, all these arrangements appear to be for security cover, a peep inside revealed a lavish synthetic tennis court equipped with floodlights on a vacant plot No. 31 and a kitchen garden on an adjoining eight canal plot No. 28.

About the source of electricity, UT Chief Engineer Surinder Pall said the team would be sent soon to verify it.

May be given to sports dept

Sources in the administration said since over Rs 8 lakh had been spent on the synthetic court with related paraphernalia like iron fencing and another Rs 10 lakh on installing floodlights, the UT administration mulls to hand over the court to the sports department instantly after taking over the possession of the land.



Mohali Roads Scandal - I
Report rips into GMADA road projects
Kulwinder Sangha

Bumpy ride

  • Adviser (Technical) to Punjab CM Lt-Gen BS Dhaliwal inspects two major road projects of GMADA in April
  • Serious shortcomings noticed in the road projects
  • Inspection reports sent to the Principal Secretary to the CM, Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, around three months back recommending action against erring officials and contractor for poor quality work
  • Sandhu sends back inspection reports to GMADA for remedial measures

Mohali, July 22
A multi-crore scandal has reportedly been unveiled following the inspection of major road projects of GMADA in Mohali with the Punjab government failing to take action against the guilty.

Inspection of two prestigious projects by Lt-Gen BS Dhaliwal (retd), Adviser (Technical) to the Punjab Chief Minister, in April has exposed grave shortcomings in the work undertaken by GMADA.

In the case of one of the roads, a Rs 5.07-crore project, Gen Dhaliwal says the “work executed has totally failed” and “most of the work requires to be redone”. Making a strong observation on this project, the Technical Adviser says: “This kind of default/systematic failure has been observed by me for the first time in any of the government agencies working on roads in the state.”

It is surprising that despite indictment by Gen Dhaliwal, no heads have rolled in GMADA even after three months of the Technical Adviser submitting his two inspection reports to Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Sandhu.

Sources say an inspection of the sector-dividing road of Sectors 53-54, 59-60 and 71-72 was conducted by Gen Dhaliwal in the presence of the Executive Engineer and his staff on April 21. The work consisted of widening and strengthening of the road measuring about 3.5 km from the UT boundary to the end of Sector 71-72. The work had begun on December 13, 2007, and was completed on April 2 this year.

Sources said estimates for the work were approved by GMADA Chief Engineer Rajiv Moudgil and checked and prepared by Superintending Engineer HS Sodhi (C-2), Divisional Engineer J.S.Tiwana, Sub-divisional Engineer HS Rana and Assistant Engineer JS Sidhu.

It is believed that Gen Dhaliwal’s report on this project stated that “the designing aspects for this road have been totally ignored and these actions of the technical officers of the department are totally unexplainable and unacceptable… Suitable action, as deemed fit, may be initiated against the officials who have prepared the estimates and the officer who has approved the same”.

The report further pointed out that “the independent quality assurance consultants (IQAC) employed for this road had played no role of any use and the consultation fees paid to the firm is a total wastage of funds”. Gen Dhaliwal also recommended action against the firm. The report stated that at this stage no corrective action was feasible with minor repair work as most of the work required to be redone after proper technical examination of the entire length of the road. Action had been recommended against the erring officials and the contractor for executing extremely poor quality work.

Gen Dhaliwal observed that “work on the important road with very rich specifications was executed without getting it designed and as per the records submitted, there is a complete mismatch between the crust of the existing road and widened portion”. Besides “no job formula was designed/prepared for the materials laid.”

He observed “the work was commenced in a haphazard/ unplanned manner without getting the site cleared of trees and public health services, which was probably done at a later stage. A major portion of the road beyond the PCL crossing is showing signs of distress in the area of the existing road and the road has developed undulations especially along the joint of existing and widened portions. The surface of the road is of very poor quality. A number of patch repairs have already been done by application of tack coat and seal coat in many areas”.

The report said “the condition of the road clearly indicates that the IQAC has totally failed in performing its duties… and seems to have functioned as a silent spectator”. The report further says that “dense bituminous macadam should have been laid with paver finisher having electronic sensor in order to have better riding quality instead of ordinary paver with which it had been done. Besides, while laying pre-cast tiles and making kerbs and channels on the road, the rich specifications adopted added to the project cost”.

When asked what action had been taken against GMADA officials, the Principal Secretary said reports submitted by Gen Dhaliwal were sent to GMADA and the authorities concerned were asked to take remedial measures in this regard.

(To be continued)


Deemed Assessment Scheme
Admn drags feet on framing rules
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Chandigarh administration is allegedly dragging its feet on the framing of rules for the implementation of deemed assessment scheme for the city traders.

The step, which would go a long way in curtailing the inspector raj, would have brought revenue worth crores of rupees to the state exchequer.

Over one and half months after the ministry of home affairs (MHA) approved the amendment to the Punjab Value Added Tax Act, the administration is still struggling to formulate the “local” rules and modalities for the implementation of the scheme.

This amendment would have facilitated the implementation of the deemed assessment scheme in city, which would have helped dealers in getting their pending tax assessment cases cleared through deemed assessment at their own option.

The scheme covers the summary assessment of pending sales assessment cases prior to December 14, 2005, before VAT came into existence.

Chandigarh was to follow the Punjab pattern on the implementation of the deemed assessment scheme. The self-assessment was a long-pending demand of the city traders, as thousands of pre-December 14, 2005, cases had been lying pending for assessment in the excise and taxation department.

The implementation of the scheme would bring crores of rupees to the administration, as fee per lakh of the assessed amount was to be realised from traders.

Besides, the deemed assessment would reduce paperwork and pending workload of the departments concerned, officials said.

Demanding early implementation of the deemed assessment scheme, JPS Kalra, general secretary of the Sector 17 Market Association, hoped it would benefit both traders and administration.

Official sources said the process for the formulation of rules had been initiated and necessary rules suiting the local business environment would be framed soon.



Outstanding Bills
Deadlock keeps laundry mart out of business
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The first modern laundry mart (dhobi ghat), started as a pilot project by the municipal corporation, has been out of operation for the past four months following a deadlock between the corporation authorities and washermen society of Sector 15 over the non-payment of outstanding electricity and water bills.

The project was inaugurated with much fanfare by the then Mayor, Pardeep Chhabra, on January 18, 2008 on a trial basis for three months.

The authorities had assured the 16 washermen, who were allotted the mart, of not charging any rent or electricity bill for the trial period.

Sources in the corporation said the mart was given on a monthly rent of Rs 8,000 from March 12, 2008.

The controversy arose when the corporation added the electricity bill of the trial period to the mart bill and the washermen refused to pay it.

The dhobi society had already paid Rs 85,000 towards electricity bill to the corporation but the outstanding payment of the mart was over Rs 2 lakh.

Sources said the income generated from coin machine, which could be used by consumers by paying Rs 20 per lot, was adding to the revenue of the corporation but washermen were being made to foot its bill as the electricity meter for whole mart was common.

The washermen had been demanding a separate electricity and water meter for the machine but no decision had been taken on it so far.

Consumers had to pay Rs 20 per lot for washing clothes by using the coin machine, which added to the revenue of the corporation.

As the electricity meter for whole mart was common, the washermen were demanding a separate electricity and water meter for the machine.

With the failure of the corporation to reach any decision, the consumers, especially hostlers and day boarders, were being put through a lot of harassment.

MC chief engineer SK Bansal said they had worked out the pending bill of the mart and soon would convene a meeting with the washermen society to resolve the issue and make it functional.

He said the electricity department had already calculated the usage charges of the coin machine and in future it would be deducted from the main bill.

Sources added that the corporation had incurred a sum of Rs 33.5 lakh on infrastructure and installation of machinery in the mart.

Two automatic washing extractors of 30 kg, two drying tumblers of 30 kg for washermen and a coin operating washing machine of 6 kg were also commissioned for the facility of the consumers.

Dhobi Ghat Association general secretary Ajay said they had given a number of representations to the Mayor and the Commissioner but no decision had been taken by the authorities to end the deadlock.



Stickers for senior citizens
Has police jumped the gun?
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The idiom, “putting the cart before the horse”, is apt for the Chandigarh Police, which is going ahead with its much hyped scheme of providing “stickers for senior citizens” even without knowing what these are supposed to do.

While on the face of it, such an initiative coming from the police is a welcome sign, since the city has a large number of senior citizens, but the problem seems to be that no thought has been given to it.

The mismatch between the proposal and the ground realities for its implementation are evident from the contrary claims of the two most important players in this scheme, SP (Traffic) HS Doon and Municipal Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria. “The scheme aims at assisting the senior citizens. We have written a letter to the Municipal Corporation (MC) apprising them about the scheme and asked them to instruct the parking staff to pay special attention to those having the special stickers,” said Doon.

However, Sunkaria claimed that he had not received any such letter. He furthers added, “We cannot provide any such assistance or have reserved parking for the aged. The parking lots are under private operation and there are no provisions whatsoever in the contract with them,” he said.

While Doon went on to claim that they might even ask the MC to provide free parking to the senior citizens as suggested by some councillors, the stern replies and references to the “terms and conditions” of the contract by Sunkaria were an indicator that he was in no mood to oblige, at least for now.

The SP further claimed that the stickers would help policemen identifying “senior citizens” and they would render help to them on priority, if required.

But it seems that the UT police has again jumped the gun here, as these directions till now have not gone down to the policemen on the street. A random check by The Tribune revealed that the lower rung police personnel had not even been aware of it.

“I do not know what you are talking about,” said a traffic constable in Sector 17. However, when he was told that the scheme would be launched tomorrow, he became defensive and added, “We will let you know by tomorrow.”

Jorawar Singh, operations head of a city-based NGO for elderly, Dadadadi, said in developed countries special parking places were reserved for handicap and senior citizens and the violators were fined heavily. “I do not know whether the administration and the police are making efforts with such seriousness or it is just another publicity seeking stunt,” he said.



Councillors dump Pallav’s letter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The efforts of the controversial Pallav Mukherjee Committee to begin the process of “reviewing” the functioning of the Municipal Corporation have stonewalled again, with majority of the councillors refusing to accept the “chairman’s” letter inviting suggestions for improving civic facilities and the MCs operational system.

Mukherjee had sent a letter to all the councillors with a request to send “tangible suggestions” within a week for incorporating them in the report to be prepared by him. However, the Congress and the BSP councillors have refused to acknowledge it and have noted “refused” on the sign sheets sent with the letters.

When contacted Mayor Kamlesh confirmed that all the Congress councillors have refused to accept the letters of the review committee chairman. She said when all the councillors have decided to boycott the committee, then there’s no idea of entertaining correspondence from its chairman.

Kamlesh revealed that she had called an all-party councillors meeting tomorrow to discuss the proposed amendments in the Municipal Act so that these could be forwarded to the Centre for approval.

BSP councillor Ram Sumer Morya also refused to accept the letter stating that when his party had decided not to support this committee, then what’s the need of accepting the letter. He said his party was not against improvement in functioning and execution and development works in the city, but the way adopted was not acceptable.

BJP councillor Rajesh Kumar Gupta said his party councillors were yet to receive the letter, but if it concerned with the improvement in the city, then they would give suggestions to the committee.

In his letter, Mukherjee had asked the councillors to suggest ways and means to implement the MC Act effectively and make qualitative improvement in the execution of developmental projects. He had also sought their suggestions on improving the decision-making, financial impact analysis, purchase and acquisition of stores and equipments, feasibility of study tours and inputs on management with feedback studies.



Hundreds witness celestial treat
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The longest solar eclipse, which was second in a row of three eclipses occurring within 30 days, kept its date with the city today. Though it was not completely visible in the city, hundreds of residents shedding inhibitions watched the rare celestial phenomenon with much enthusiasm.

Sky-gazers gathered in large numbers at Sukhna Lake early in the morning to catch a glimpse.

The department of physics, Panjab University, had made a special arrangement to witness the eclipse and fitted hi-tech telescopes to capture the spectacle.

Around 100 students and children and even university fraternity gathered to catch a glimpse.

While most temples in the tricity remained closed in the early hours on account of the eclipse, a large number of residents visited temples in various sectors and offered prayers after 7.30 am.

The sun was not visible till 6 am due to clouds. Around four minutes past six, eclipsed sun became slightly visible. The eclipse was at its peak at 6.28 am. Schools also started an hour late than usual.



Low bid eclipses VVIP no. auction
‘0001’ goes for Rs 4.15 lakh

Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The rare celestial play today seems to have eclipsed the UT administration’s auction of VVIP numbers, as the otherwise much in demand “0001” for the series CH-04-K fetched Rs 4.15 lakh, Rs 71,000 less than the previous bid.

The overall collections were also down from the last time’s Rs 17.63 lakh to Rs 14.8 lakh, a shortfall for around Rs 2.83 lakh.

While UT officials may not think so, numerologists and even astrologers believe that the low bids have all to with the stars. “Numbers are associated with planets. There are nine planets and each number, one to nine, represents them. Number one is associated to sun, which was eclipsed by the moon today,” says Panchkula-based astrologer Dinesh Anand.

He admits that there is nothing wrong in buying “0001” on a day of solar eclipse and no omen is linked to it, but he says that people are superstitious about it. “Perhaps, this is the reason for low bid,” he said. His apprehensions about superstitions are true as during the “shraddhs” in September 2008 Ch-04-F-0001 fetched only Rs 2.11 lakh.

While the single digit numbers did not attract many bidders today, the second highest amount - Rs 1.05 lakh was netted by ‘9999’. As for the single numbers, while in April this year “0005” fetched Rs 3.1 lakh, it went for merely Rs 1 lakh today. The ‘0002’ seemed to be an exception as it fetched Rs 1 lakh as compared to Rs 62,000 in the previous auction.

The number 11, touted to be a lucky number, as the year happens to be 2009, did not attract much as it went for Rs 15,000 only.

Other numbers that got high bids included '0009' and ‘0786, which fetched Rs 1.01 lakh and Rs 1 lakh, respectively. The number 13, otherwise considered unlucky, went for Rs 36,100.

Stating that 36 registration numbers had been auctioned against the previous auction figures of 39, Neharika Rai of the registering and licensing authority said: “The authority managed to auction CH-04-K series numbers well.”



Murder of Youth
Parents sit on hunger strike
Tribune News Service

Parents of Manjit Kundu demonstrate in front of police headquarters in Panchkula
Parents of Manjit Kundu demonstrate in front of police headquarters in Panchkula on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Panchkula, July 22
In yet another case of inaction on the part of the state police, the harassed parents of a deceased youth sit on hunger strike in front of Director Geneal of Police office here today.

Ramdia and Damyanti, residents of Jind, alleged that the police under pressure from a highly placed official, was shielding the accused involved in the murder of their son, Manjit Kundu.

The parents sitting on dharna, along with their other relatives of Manjit, said they would not eat anything while sitting on dharna till the accused of the murder were not brought to justice.

Manjit, a teacher in Sharda High School of Jind, was missing since January 28. He left home at 8 am for school, but did not return since then, said Ramdia.

The school authorities said they had left the school at 9 am only. Later, his bicycle was found parked at railway station next day, he said.

Later, on February 7, they were informed that Narnaund police has found a body from Petwaad minor and when they reached Narnaund, it was told that the body was traced on February 5 in the minor and after nobody identified the deceased, the body was cremated by the police itself, said father of the deceased.

“We just could see the pictures and belongings of Manjit,” he said.

We suspected the hand of family members of the girl to whom Manjit was betrothed but he refused to marry her, he said.

“Despite the fact that we met the DGP twice, no action was taken against the accused, as they were related to a high police official posted in the region,” alleged Damyanti, mother of Manjit.

The DIG (Crime), MS Malik, who reached on the spot to console the family, said he was told to investigate the case recently after the district police failed to get any breakthrough in the incident.

However, the people behind the crime would be identified soon as his team had already started investigations into the case, he added.



Panchkula reels under crime fear
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 22
A sense of insecurity prevails among the residents of this town. The upswing in the incidents of crime, particularly burglaries, thefts and dacoities, coupled with increase in ‘goondagardi’ on the streets has left Panchkuliites distraught and shaky.

“I feel unsafe in my house as well as on the streets,” said a resident of Sector 16, where robbers struck on last weekend and decamped with jewellery and other valuables worth over Rs 20 lakh. “I have installed an alarm in my car but still I take out the front panel cover of my audio system since it is unsafe here,” said a resident of Sector 2, which had witnessed mass stereo thefts some months ago.

No wonder this insecurity has forced the residents to take to the streets. Only recently relatives and friends of a kidnapped businessman had held a protest to highlight their plight and express resentment over the police “inaction”.

Thefts in the town were never checked and the failure of security agencies now has emboldened the robbers to intrude in their houses making them hostages at gunpoint before taking away valuables, says SK Nayyar, a resident of Sector 15, where two robbers attempted to loot a family last Monday.

The insecurity among the residents is also evident from the fact that at least three welfare associations of Sector 4, Mansa Devi Complex and Sector 12 have approached HUDA for allowing them to construct entry gates in their localities. “When they (police) can’t take care of us, we will have to do something on our own,” said Nayyar, who is also the president of the Senior Citizen Welfare Association.

It is not only the residents who are increasingly feeling the heat of this insecurity, shopkeepers are busy hiring guards and gunmen for their safety. This can be attributed to the two sensational bank heists (Sector 15 and Sector 20) and the sensational dacoity at PC Jewellers.

“We have suggested the shopkeepers to make their own arrangements of security as till now their was not even a single instance when the police managed to catch a criminal here while committing a crime,” said BB Kochchar, president of Sector 7 market association.

Crime Graph

  • July 20: Theft of cash and valuables worth Rs 20 lakh at Sector 16.
  • July 18: Doctor Sumit Sofat from Ludhiana alleged robbery of Rs 33 lakh at Morni Hills while his driver was injured.
  • June 4: A servant, along with five other persons, looted jewellery and cash worth Rs 12 lakh making RS Mittal (74), an advocate of Punjab and Haryana High Court, hostage, along with his wife, at his home in Sector 6.
  • February 14: Vinod Mittal, a financier of Sector 16, along with his 4-year-old son, was killed. Main accused Raju and his wife still at large.
  • January 27: Five robbers took away jewellery worth Rs 2 crore from PC Jewellers in Sector 14. Though police claims to have arrested majority of accused, no recovery could be made.
  • January 22: Two workers of Amritsar-based jeweller drugged and robbed jewellery worth Rs 30 lakh. Even after two arrests, main accused was still at large while no recovery could be made.
  • January 7: Four members of a family drugged by servant and looted. Status - Unsolved.
  • January 4: Robbery attempt in Sector 8 post office. Watchman found murdered on next day. Status - Unsolved.
  • January 3: Two snatchers attempted to snatch bag full of cash from a businessman outside his house in Sector 14. His son got injured by a gunshot fired by snatchers. Status - Unsolved.
  • July 27, 2008: Car borne robbers looted Rs 7 lakh from two people near Sector 4 petrol pump. Status - Unsolved.
  • March 7, 2008: Rs 45,000 were snatched from two employees of Vishal Mega Mart by four unidentified turbaned youths in a white Zen. Status - Unsolved.
  • January 18, 2008: Three unidentified men robbed the cashier and driver of the Berkeley Automobiles in the Industrial Area of Rs 5.16 lakh at a gunpoint near the Amartex point. Status - Unsolved.



Admn nod to special lights at intersections
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
To smoothen the traffic flow and increase visibility on roads, the Chandigarh administration today decided to install special lights on intersections and synchronise trafficlights.

The decision was taken at a meeting attended by SSP (traffic), officials of the municipal corporation, the engineering department and the architecture department.

As an experiment, pelican lights have been proposed to be installed on the crossing on the circular road behind Neelam Cinema in Sector 17 on the pattern of European cities.

SSP (traffic) HS Doon said CCTV cameras would soon be installed on all traffic intersections in the city for which necessary action was being taken by the engineering department.

Engineering department officials said trafficlights would be installed on Sector 24-25 intersection, near UIET, T-point between DLF and Infosys and the main road leading to IT Park, intersection of Sector 38 and 25-D, on the dividing road of pocket A and B in Sector 38-West and on crossing Sector 49-A, 50- B and C.

The high-mast tower lights/floodlights would be installed at Cricket Stadium Chowk, Matka Chowk, Kisan Bhawan Chowk, Piccadily Chowk, Batra Chowk and Sector 3-4 and 9-10 roundabouts.

“The work on the installation of high mast tower lights at Sector 52-53 and 42-43 roundabouts is in progress and will be completed by September 15. Similarly, the work on the installation of lights at Mataur Chowk is in progress and will be completed by November 15,” said Secretary Engineering Sanjay Kumar.

The synchronisation of trafficlights from Transport Chowk to Tribune Chowk and Tribune Chowk to Kisan Bhawan, too, has been decided to be expedited on priority.

The slip roads at Garcha turn of Darya Road will be provided with blinker lights within three months.

“Besides, construction work on slow carriageways, cycle tracks on Vikas Marg will be completed within six months. All rotaries and arrow marks will be repainted. The work on median from Shanti Path to Vikas Marg leading towards Mohali side will also be taken up on priority,” said Sanjay Kumar.



Admn plans massive anti-encroachment drive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Chandigarh administration plans to launch a massive anti-encroachment drive in the city. At a meeting held under the chairmanship of Home Secretary Ram Niwas, it has been decided that action regarding removal of security tents and other structures from different places would be intensified and gradually the entire government land being occupied by security personnel and other staff would be freed of encroachment.

“All those who have encroached upon the government land would be dealt with strongly. The municipal corporation has been told to get the public land vacated, which has been illegally occupied by security squad of VIPs,” said Ram Niwas.

The Home Secretary ordered issuance of necessary slips to all those who were part of the biometric survey so that they could be segregated from the rest and ask those outside the survey move out immediately.

It was also decided to launch a systematic anti-encroachment drive at Colony No. 5, Palsora village and other areas occupied by kabaris.

In case of Palsora, land had already been acquired by the government and compensation had been given to owners. However, land worth several hundred crores was still being encroached upon by kabaris and other people.

The unauthorised colony behind the slaughterhouse in Industrial Area would be the next target of the anti-encroachment drive.

All those who were part of the biometric survey would be allotted slips and relocated elsewhere and the rest would be asked to move, failing which action, including registration of criminal cases, would be initiated.



Selection of Reader
CAT notice to GMCH Director, 5 others
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has served notice on Director, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and four others for August 20, after a doctor of the hospital challenged the process of selection of a Reader in the department of general surgery at the hospital.

Dr Ashwani Kumar, in his application before CAT, had held that the process of selection was biased as the outside expert in the panel of selection committee was working in the same department till April, 2009. Further, it had been alleged that the candidate selected was the son of expert’s professional and personal friend.

Dr Ashwani, who has been working as a senior lecturer, had applied for the post of Reader at the GMCH in response to an advertisement issued by the UPSC in February.

Officials of the UPSC held the interview and three candidates were interviewed.

Dr Ashwani stated that Dr JD Wig, who worked as head of the department of surgery at the GMCH till April, 2009, was present as an outside expert in the selection committee.

Dr Ashwani pleaded with the CAT bench to quash the recruitment process and direct the UPSC to hold fresh interviews and include an independent expert.

After hearing the plea, CAT issued notice to the respondents for August 20 and held that appointment, if any, made by the respondent would be subject to final outcome of the application.



5 UT cops reinstated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Chandigarh police today reinstated sub-inspector Harinder Singh Sekhon and four other policemen who were facing a departmental inquiry over Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) report last year claiming that the policemen had links with drug-peddlers.

Confirming this, UT SSP SS Srivastva said Sekhon along with head constables Sukhjinder Singh, alias Bhola, Bachittar Singh, Mohan Singh and Kuldeep Singh was given a clean chit in the departmental inquiry marked against them.

However, a notice of dismissal had been issued to head constable Baljit Singh and he had been asked to clear his stance before action could be initiated against him.

The police had placed the six policemen under suspension after the NCB made startling revelations that local drug-peddlers Harpal Singh, alias Raju, and Suresh Kumar had links with the six Chandigarh police personnel.

UT IGP SK Jain had marked a regular departmental probe against the personnel on October 13.

Besides, the police today promoted SI Udhay Pal Singh, in-charge of the Bapu Dham police post, and SI Jaswinder Singh of community relations unit as inspectors.

The police has also reinstated head constable Mohinder Singh and constable Anil Kumar, who were placed under suspension following allegations made by a shopkeeper in Sector 37.



Judges, lawyers donate blood
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The longest solar eclipse of the century was celebrated in a unique way by Judges, lawyers and employees of the Punjab and Haryana High Court as they organised a blood donation camp here today.

As many as 305 units of blood were donated.

The Bar Association, the Blood Contributors Club and the High Court Employees’ Union organised the camp in association with the Rotary and the Blood Bank Society Resource Centre.

Even litigants and other visitors to the High Court took part in the camp.

Bar association president Sukhjinder S Behl and the executive committee, along with members of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Employees’ Union led by president Hemant Walia and the Clerks’ Association also came forward.

The camp was inaugurated by Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur’s wife Amita Thakur.

Among the first to donate blood were Justice SS Saron, Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justice K Kannan and Justice Augustine George Masih.



Special counter for filing of IT returns

Chandigarh, July 22
In a bid to facilitate smooth filing of returns by taxpayers, the income tax department has planned to set up a special counter for the convenience of taxpayers.

PC Modi, commissioner of income tax-II, said taxpayers of Sector 26 onwards and UT villages falling within the jurisdiction of ranges IV and V could file income tax returns at Rajasthan Bhawan in Sector 33 from July 29 to 31.

“The receipt of tax returns will be done from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm for three days from July 29 to 31 in the basement of Rajasthan Bhawan,” said Modi.

Separate counters are also proposed to be set up for the convenience of those who want assistance to get their return prepared.

Blank income tax returns and challan forms will also be available free of cost, said income tax officials.

To avoid last-minute rush, the taxpayers have been advised to file their return at the earliest at the receipt counters at SCO No. 40-41, Sector 17-A, on all working days from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm till July 28. — TNS



Service jewels bestowed on 7 Masons
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The North Indian chapter of Grand Lodge of India, a part of Freemasonry charitable movement, has presented long-term service jewels to seven members, who have served for up to 40 years.

The 40 years jewels were presented to Kulwant Singh, Surinder Khanna, Charanpal Singh Sahni and Harbans Singh Dhanjal, while 25 years jewels were given to Anil Mehan, Swaran Singh Kanwal and Dr Vinod Ram Pal.

The jewels were presented by S Krishnan, in charge of North India, who came to the city for the first-ever public function of Freemasons, where non-Masons and women were also invited.

A press release issued here today said RL Vohra was the regional grand director of the ceremonies, while Satish John acted as lodge director of the ceremonies.



Class X, XII Exams
Toppers, principals awarded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The education department, Chandigarh, organised prize distribution at Hotel Shivalikview to felicitate all principals, heads and students for their excellent performance in classes X and XII examinations.

The function was chaired by UT Administrator General SF Rodrigues. Home-cum-Education Secretary Ram Niwas and Vineet Dhar, zonal head of ICICI Bank, were also present on the occasion. The department also released a brochure to commemorate the event.

Two toppers, Sahil Arora from commerce and Sunita Devi from vocational stream, were awarded with a laptop each for their excellent performance in class XII examinations.

Nearly 29 students who had scored 90 per cent and above in the model school category and 80 per cent and above in non-model category were awarded with cash prizes and certificates. Principals of GMSSS-16 and GSSS-Behlana, Ram Kumar

Sharma and Ramesh were awarded with a trophy, medal and certificate for achieving the overall highest pass percentage among UT schools in the model and non-model category, respectively.

Apart from these, 14 principals were given a medal and certificate each for outstanding results of their respective schools. These included Indra Dhingra (GMSSS-37), Ravi Raj Kaur (GMSSS-35), Sanjay Walia (GMSSS-19), Indira Beniwal (GMSSS-10), Dr Surendra Singh (GMSSS-33), Indu Bala (GMSSS-MMC), Raj Bala(GMHS-28/D),

Sudesh Raghav (GMSSS-46), Rajni Garg (GMHS-26(P)), Rita Batra (GMHS-36), Anujit Kaur (GGMSSS-18), Surinder Chadha(GMHS-38/D), Parwider Kaur (GMHS-43) and Rajinder Singh (GMHS-43).

Rodrigues had asked the department to enhance the nutritional quotient of the midday meal so that the health needs of the children could be taken care of.



Teachers, principals awarded for promoting peace clubs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
As a part of the on-going ‘Campaign for Peace-City Chandigarh’, Yuvsatta and Peace Club of KB DAV Senior Secondary Public School, Chandigarh, organised an annual presentation on ‘Peace Awards’ here today.

Asha Hooda, chairperson, Indian Council of Social Welfare, Haryana, was the chief guest on the occasion and Rani Sharma, chairperson, Indian Council of Social Welfare, Chandigarh, presided over the same. At present, around 110 peace clubs in Chandigarh and 20 in Panchkula are working to strengthen the virtues of peace and non-violence amongst students in various schools and colleges, Madhu Bahl, principal of KB DAV-7, and an adviser of the campaign said.

Asha Hooda honoured Dr Priti Garg, a lecturer of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, who is working to spreading Gandhian values amongst youngsters with Dr KBS Dhillon Memorial Shantidoot Puraskaar along with a certificate, shawl and cash prize of Rs 5100.

Kailash Bahl Memorial Peace Award along with similar amount, shawl and a memento was bagged by Dr Surendra Singh, principal of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 33, Chandigarh. Three teachers, namely Rajni Thareja, director of The Gurukul, Chandigarh-Panchkula, Sarbjit Kaur, Peace Club in charge of AKSIPS, Sector 41, and Anuradha Jairath, coordinator of KB DAV-7, were also honoured.



From Colleges
Institute inks pact with Central Bank of India
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Gurukul Vidyapeeth has signed an MoU with the Central Bank of India. According to the pact, the Central Bank of India and Gurukul Vidyapeeth have mutually agreed to pool their resources to promote and make higher education accessible to one and all.

The facility of finance along with superior features at competitive interest rates and concessions will be provided to the students as per the pact. This facility will be provided to those students who secure admission in the institutions run by the Gurukul Vidyapeeth.

Admission counselling

Aryans Institute of Management and Technology (AIMT) will organise counselling for admissions to BBA, BCA and BSc (IT) at DAV, Sector 15, in Chandigarh, on July 26.

The chairperson of Aryans Group of Institutes, Anshu Kataria, said the counselling for the admissions would be organised for BBA (40 seats), BCA (40 seats) and BSc (IT) (40 seats) on the basis of merit. Interested students will have to report at DA College, Sector 15, at 10 am and the counselling will be over at 2 pm.

The students are required to bring their original certificates and fee at the time of counselling. Selected students would have to deposit the fee on the spot. Students, interested in participation, need prior registration telephonically on 98762-99888.



Adult literacy programme for PGI employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The welfare department of PGI, in collaboration with the Adult Education Department, UT, has started an adult literacy and skill enhancement training programme from today in order to eradicating illiteracy from group ‘D’ employees of PGI and to enhance their working skills.

According to a press note issued by the PGI authorities, around 800 employees of group ‘D’ would be imparted education during the programme. The classes would be conducted in two batches, comprising 30 employees in each group for one hour daily.

The programme would be extended up to seven months. Niharika Rai (IAS), SDM, extended support and guidance in developing and organising the programme. The Adult Education Department has offered its support by providing two ‘PRERAK’ (Teachers) and stationary required for the learners.

It was attended by the deputy director, Adult Education Department, Rajesh Minhas, administrative officer (Hospital and Welfare), Rajneesh Anand and Suman Sharma, coordinator, adult literacy wing of PGI, and other officer from the hospital administration and sanitation services, PGI.



Paragon kids for global dance fest
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 22
A 25-member bhangra team of Paragon Senior Secondary School, Sector 71, will be leaving for Beijing on July 24 to take part in the International Dance Festival.

The team led by Iqbal Singh Shergill, director, Paragon Educational Society, will then leave for Tianjin to participate in the festival being organised by Tianjin International Children’s Culture and Art Festival.

Teams from 40 countries, including 30 from China, will take part in the festival, thus, displaying various forms of traditional dances.

The team from Paragon Senior Secondary School was selected by the Cultural Counsellor of Chinese Embassy Xie Fei.



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