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UT Engg Wing
CVC guidelines overlooked
Several officials from neighbouring states have been holding prime positions pertaining to public dealing for decades
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
It has not only been the medical or education wing where doctors or teachers have been enjoying prime postings on deputation in Chandigarh, but the engineering wing, too, has emerged as a den for deputationists and has allegedly dented the promotional avenues of the UT cadre officials.

Defying the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) guidelines and inter-state promotional deputation rules, several officials from neighbouring states, who are posted in the UT engineering wing, have been holding prime but sensitive positions pertaining to public dealing for decades.

What do the rules say

The CVC guidelines say that an official cannot continuously be put on any sensitive seat for more than three years at a stretch and the inter-state promotion rules speak that the officials working on deputation in UT would have to rejoin their parent state to seek promotion.

A senior official says these officials have also managed to obtain their next promotional avenues without going back to their parent states. “Such officials use connections to hold the lucrative posts and do not allow new faces to work on such posts,” said a UT official.

Secretary, finance-cum engineering, Sanjay Kumar said, “The CVC guidelines are being overlooked in some wings. We are already working on the modalities to streamline it.”

Sources in the administration said following the appointment of Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) official Surinder Pall, SE (operations) as UT chief engineer, there was simmering resentment among the UT segment. Surinder Pall had foregone his promotion as the Chief Engineer, PSEB, to remain here.

“His appointment in itself is violation of the Supreme Court ruling. In a case filed by ex-Chief Engineer VK Bhardwaj and ex-MC Chief Engineer KB Sharma versus state, the verdict implied that no deputationist could be given preference over the eligible UT cadre candidate. This was the basis on which Bhardwaj was given the Chief Engineer’s charge. Now, despite having two eligible UT cadre SEs- SK Jain and GS Rosha- the top notch post of engineering wing was extended to Punjab’s Surinder Pall,” resented UT officials.

Jain is working on deputation at Delhi, while Rosha was recently made as Chief Engineer, Chandigarh Housing Board.

Nevertheless, Punjab cadre officer Yogesh Gupta, Superintending Engineer (SE), roads, Municipal Corporation, has been here for more than 15 years. He joined the UT cadre as Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO), designs. At present he is rolling in the SE cadre on CDC (current duty charge).

The sources said Gupta got promotion as additional SE at Punjab in between.

In construction circle, NP Sharma, XEN CP division No III, joined the UT cadre from Punjab on deputation five years back as SDO. He too was promoted while remaining in UT only and remained posted in maintenance CP-III wing only.

Three junior engineers from Punjab (Band R)- Dharminder Bassi, JK Duggal and Surinder Singh- too have cemented their positions in Chandigarh for long. Dharminder and Duggal have been stationed here for the past 20 years and were promoted to the rank of SDOs in CP II and III, respectively. Surinder Singh is here for one decade and is at present assistant engineer at CP-III. Haryana-cadre Balwaan Singh, XEN, CP division No VI, is serving here for over seven years.

He joined the UT cadre as SDO and got promoted up to XEN level without going back to his parent state and has served most of the time in CP division No VI.

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Cops indifferent on ransom complaint
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
If you are getting calls for ransom, think twice before going to the police. If a case in point is any indication, the police, instead of taking prompt action to trace the callers, will advise you to go home, relax and avoid taking the calls.

Jorawar Singh, a local businessman and a resident of Sector 38-West, alleged that he had witnessed the “height of the lackadaisical” attitude of the police, as not only the officials at the Sector 39 police Station, but also the SHO Janak Rana, did not swing into action even after being showered with choicest of abuses on his phone.

Talking to TNS, Jorawar Singh alleged that he had been receiving calls from unidentified persons on his mobile phone. The callers, who rang up from phone numbers (0999 758 1487 and 976 016 7706), threatened him to deliver Rs 10 lakh on the Uttar Pradesh (UP) border, or they would eliminate him. They had been calling him at internals for a few weeks and had told him that they had every detail about him and his family. They threatened him that in case he failed to meet their demands, they would kidnap him.

“I got worried when they called me up several times since morning asking me to deliver the cash to them immediately. I checked up their details and learnt that the calls were being made from somewhere in western UP. I went to the police station to report the matter, where to my surprise no one, including the SHO, paid any heed to me pleas,” lamented Jorawar Singh, who runs a placement agency.

Jorawar alleged that he first met Giarsi Lal, who did not take his complaint seriously. While he was sitting with Giarsi Lal, he received a call and handed over the phone to Giarsi Lal. The callers, after learning that he was a Chandigarh Police official showered him with abuses, saying they don’t care about any police. They had already extorted money from people even after they had informed the Delhi Police. “After listening to the phone call, Giarsi Lal silently went to his room without saying anything. I went to the SHO Janak Rana’s room and the same treatment was meted out to me there,” stated Jorawar Singh.

The SHO sent him home with the piece of advice to keep his phone switched off, “as they could not do anything at this stage”. He should avoid taking calls and inform the police if anything happens to him. He was also advised to call police control room (PCR) at one stage, but was told later that even the PCR could do nothing in such matters. When contacted, Janak Rana said he had received the complaint and would look into the matter. He, however, said cases were not registered on such complaints at the drop of the hat.

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PU Syndicate Meeting
SD College gets show-cause notice
Violation in granting admission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
GGDSD College, Sector 32, had to bear the brunt for not complying with the norms of the Panjab University at the university Syndicate meeting today. Taking cognisance of the blatant violation of granting admission to students in a course without prior approval of the university, it was decided to issue a show-cause notice to the principal of GGDSD College, Sector 32, at the meeting.

“They have flouted the PU calendar blatantly. This will not be excused at any cost. This is for the first time that any college principal will receive notice as to why his membership from various academic bodies, like the syndicate and the senate, should not be cancelled,” said a syndicate member.

The PU has also decided to tighten the noose on many other colleges who have not cared to seek prior approval of the university and have started various vocational courses at their whims and fancies.

It may be noted that SD College had allegedly allowed admission to students in BA (psychology) course without prior permission from the university for the same.

Meanwhile, the syndicate has decided to formulate inspection committees to monitor the infrastructure in various colleges, within a week’s period, that have asked for increase in the number of seats. Only those colleges whose infrastructure is found up to the mark will be granted additional seats, said a syndicate member.

Due to shortage of time, others issues on the agenda of the syndicate will be discussed in a subsequent detailed meeting on August 2.

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IET Bhaddal HoD in dock
Serving the institute despite having third division
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 26
After The Tribune highlighted the case of the principal of the Sachdeva Engineering College for Girls Gharuan working on a fake PhD certificate, more such cases of under-educated or incompetent persons working on key positions in technical colleges have started coming to light.

In one such case, the head of the department of communication skills of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Bhaddal is in the dock for working against the All India Council For Technical Education (AICTE) norms.

Hema Sharma, the head of the department, has been working with the institute since 1998. According to sources, she holds degree in third division in both bachelor’s and master’s degree. She has also done her BEd training with second division.

As per the AICTE norms, the head of the department should have secured at least first division at both the graduation and post-graduation level. She joined the institute in 1998.

Hema Sharma has two lecturers working under her, who are pursuing M. Phil course.

Sources say the matter has been brought to the notice of college management as well as the AICTE many a time but no action has been taken.

Vice-chairman of institute Dr SP Singh said the matter was in the notice of the management. “We are working on the issue. The teacher in question was one of the first to join this institution.

We are taking all points into consideration. It is not the American system wherein we can politely ask a person to discontinue his or her services from next day,” he said.

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COMMUNITY

CITY SCOPE
No room for the rod
Raveen Thukral

I felt a sense of déjà vu last week when I was briefed by my colleague about the story of Akshay Singh, a Class III student of St. John's High School, who was repeatedly slapped and humiliated by a class teacher. I just didn't realise why I felt so strongly about this particular incident till I read the detailed news report the next day.

I could feel the humiliation and the pain that this young student would have suffered when the teacher called him a "D Grade boy" and the entire class laughed at him. This one sentence took me back almost 35 years and reminded me of my horrific one year (class V) that I spent in Defence Service Public School, Dhaula Kuan, New Delhi, and my then teacher Mrs Kapoor.

I had shifted to this school after some prolonged illness and had lagged behind in class in Mathematics. Rather than being helpful or understanding, this teacher of mine had a habit to pick on me and once she even slapped me and called me a "failure" in the class. I can still vividly recall the sickening feeling of disgust that I felt when my classmates jeered at me.

I hated everything and everyone - my school, my teacher and my classmates. I just didn't feel like returning to that school and informed my parents about the incident. They took up the matter with the authorities but nothing apparently happened to the teacher but I did shift out and joined Modern School.

Though I do not remember any of my then classmates, the name of 'Mrs Kapoor' is etched on my memory with lots of unpleasantness so I can well imagine what this young boy would be going through right now.

Much has changed in these 35 years but seemingly not for the likes of my Mrs Kapoor and Akshay's Ms. D Reema. Loosing temper in class and scolding students is one thing. But hitting and humiliating a child, even an errant one, by making his friends mock at him is nothing but extreme insensitivity, which teachers especially should not possess or to say the least not exhibit.

I strongly feel that nothing much will change in this regard (studies have shown that 65 percent of school students in India, majority in government run schools, suffer corporal punishment) until and unless there is a quality makeover in the course structure of BEd and JBT. While today we may be getting teachers with good academic qualifications and high marks, they necessarily do not make good teachers as teaching is not all about marks. It's about understanding students, adapting oneself to their needs and then being their guide and philosopher for their over all development.

Teachers essentially need to understand the psychology of a child, they should be able to identify deficiencies that lead to odd behaviour and instincts and also have the capabilities to study and analyse the mental and physical challenges that a student may be suffering from. The teachers hence need to be groomed to be of a different mindset by deploying scientific tools and by not leaving the process to their own moral and behavioural virtues.

Many people will be surprised to know that Punjab, an otherwise progressive state, banned corporal punishment only three years ago. If I recall correctly, the move was initiated in 2006 by the then Education Secretary, Sarvesh Kaushal, who scrapped the archaic provisions of the Punjab Education Code that allowed principals and headmasters to 'thrash' male students.

Article 191 of the code 'legally' allowed principals and headmasters to cane (10 strokes) on the palms of the erring students. The decision to scrap the Article was announced then but I'm not sure whether the same has been implemented or not.

With the Right to Education Bill being passed in the Rajya Sabha last week, corporal punishment is being finally taken up seriously. It categorically states: "17. (1) No child shall be subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment. (2) Whoever contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be liable to disciplinary action under the service rules applicable to such person." However, the action on offenders still doesn't seem a deterrent enough.

Frankly, one reason why corporal punishment is still prevalent is that we Indians as such do not consider physical abuse as a serious offence. While some parents take offence to their wards being slapped by teachers, there are others who feel there's nothing wrong in it, since it is a part and parcel of growing up.

With no deterrent punishments for physical assault we have a high propensity of people indulging in physical abuse. Be it on roads, colleges, schools, et el it just takes a second for people to come to blows and when the matter reaches the cops, even they don't think that slapping someone is a big deal.

Talking about cops, our entire investigation system, despite the denials of those at the helm, hinges on third degree methods. The worst time spent by an arrested person is in police custody and not in jails.

Repeated disclosures of victimised undertrials in courts about how they were tortured in police custody seldom lead to action against erring cops, who with their sadist attitude and in a hurry to show results continue to resort to shortcuts of corporal methods to collect evidence. I think it's high time that an end should be put to even these so called third degree methods of investigations and physical abuse of such kinds stopped for good.

It's an irony that we get jolted seeing pictures of torture in Abu Gharib when such acts are committed daily in our police stations and their dubious investigation cells.

Write to cityeditor@tribunemail.com

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City Scope Letters
Constitute UT service selection board

This is in reference to City Scope, “These service encroachments”, by Raveen Thukral published in Chandigarh Tribune on July 20. I was left aghast after reading the article. The modus operandi to exploit “one’s connections and proximity to those in power” to get a posting at Chandigarh speaks volumes of the operational side of the issue.

The policy surmises that the talent of UT employees is limited to certain sections of the administration and reaching top of the ladder will remain a dismal possibility.

It is the time for introspection by the Union Home Minister and to play a positive role in developing a UT cadre, which should be from within the UT employees. A service selection board for UT is the need of the hour. This would end the unsavory service encroachments and open vistas of promotional avenues for the UT employees.

Satish Chandra Sharma, Chandigarh

Stop undue extensions

The Chandigarh Administration has been affected by the encroachment of services, which has been rightly brought out in the article by Raveen Thukral. The article represents undue favours shown to retain a particular official on unwarranted long period of deputation.

It becomes worst, when the Administrator becomes proactive to peruse the undue extensions of the officials of his choice against all norms and ethics of service and public life.

No one is indispensable to perform the official duties, when special favours are shown to retain them, it clearly indicates that the reasons are personal and to use these officials for certain unofficial and unethical purposes.

The menace must end now. Who so ever big or influential may a person, no one should be allowed on deputation beyond the prescribed time.

The Administrator must learn a lesson not to indulge in such unethical and unwarranted act in future when the Centre has sensibly turned down his move to grant further extension to the Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh.

Favouritism in the governance breads monopolies and monopolies breads bad governance and corruption.

Capt Amar Jeet Kumar, Mohali

Discourage ‘chamchagiri’

The article aptly deals with the problem of encroachments on the government offices by those who have "connections" with powers that be.

Those having strong political connections manage to get extensions after the expiry of their terms.

In the absence of any approved policy for the selection of officials to be sent on deputation to Chandigarh, the politicians exploit the situation and recommend names of their “loyal workers”, commonly known as “chamchaas” for these “VIP” positions.

The governments concerned should give a serious thought to this ugly aspect of “deputationists” and as suggested by the writer, should devise some foolproof formula of sending honest and deserving officials/officers on deputation to Chandigarh.

The practice of “chamchagiri” should be discouraged for smooth and quality governance of the UT.

RK Kapoor

Maintain transparency

Plain speaking by Raveen Thukral in the article is a timely attempt at exploring ways and means to curb the malpractice of overstay of deputation period of officials in UT’s different departments at the cost of many other deserving officials.

This is just an advisory, which can hardly be implemented until the powers to be are really interested to bring reforms in the implementation of the rules already in vogue i.e. to ask the deputationists to leave immediately after the expiry of their stipulated period.

Of course, at the time of empanelment to UT, the transparency in the fixed ratio of 60:40 between Punjab and Haryana, respectively, must be maintained, besides the names for the empanelment, which must be on the basis of seniority and merit-cum-proficiency in the required subject matter.

The convenience of the spouses and other relations of bureaucrats and politicians must be buried under the carpet if this unceremonious intrusion has to be given a final go by.

Gurmit Singh Saini, Mohali

UT cadre

This week, Thukral has touched the encroachment by way of deputation from Punjab and Haryana states. The issue is as old as Chandigarh.

The agreement of 60-40 ratio was agreed upon and till date, both states not only adhered to, but insisted upon the correct share not because they were more careful about Chandigarh or its welfare but because of their selfish interests.

Now, most of the top officials are from Haryana, because Administrator is from Punjab. There is no UT cadre worth the name. Once the officials get plum posts, they bring family by using their strings with power.

Moreover, even if they are sent out of UT, they become similar officer in their state and remain in the city and continue to wild power.

The suggestion of creating UT cadre has been discussed many times, but no one will agree as such it is proposed that power sharing in Chandigarh should 50-30-20 ratio last being share of UT cadre. The writer has though indicated wrongs calling of panel, but he has not suggested any remedy, which should have done in view of a clear-cut favour made in the case of a would-be DC of Chandigarh.

No deputationist of any department, be it college, school or any other department, should be allowed to remain in UT far more than his term of deputation. Another suggestion will be that all officials, who remain in UT for more than three years, should necessarily be given field posts or sent to deputation to the Centre, not allowed to remain in Chandigarh so that this encroachment on posts by way of managed deputation was stopped.

Keshav Aggarwal

Probe need of the hour

Chandigarh, the Capital of Punjab, was hastily carved out as a Union Territory in 1966 as an ad hoc political arrangement in the wake of division of the state into Haryana and Punjab. Nevertheless, it remained Capital of both the states.

Chandigarh bears no parity with other Union Territories like Poducherry, Andaman & Nicobar, Goa etc nor the term ‘deputation’ fits well in its context.

The officials borne on Haryana and Punjab cadres are working in the service of their own capital and to call them encroachers is not justified. Instead of filling vacancies through the Public Service Commissions and Service Selection Boards of both states on 60:40 bases, the Chandigarh administration started direct recruitment from 1966. Hence, the presence imbroglio. An inquiry is required to ascertain ratio wise number of persons directly recruited from both the states and those from other states.

SS Beniwal, Chandigarh

Hry, Punjab must adhere to norms

The panel with three categories i.e. IAS, IPS, PCS or HCS officers is sent to the UT administration for selection for various posts.

The names for IAS and IPS officers are sent to the Home Ministry for selection. The names for other posts like doctors, engineers, lecturers and other categories are sent to the UT administration in 60:40 ratio for Punjab and Haryana.

Most employees leave their postings at the time of retirements. The officers are accommodated in Chandigarh for a particular period of time, but later, the tenure is extended from months to years. The deputation policy of both states is for three to five years but they do not follow it after deputing the officers. Both the governments should ensure that when tenure of an officer ends, he should leave the post.

ML Garg, Chandigarh

Merit must be the sole criterion

The bureaucratic system in Chandigarh needs to be changed. As per the Re-organisation Act, the staff to administer the affairs of UT must be appointed on 60:40 bases from Punjab and Haryana. But, the administration has started recruiting its own staff known as UT cadre staff. But, high-rank officers remained allocated either from the Central Government of the UT cadre or of Punjab and Haryana governments on a fixed tenure.

Most officers get extension when their tenure ends that contradict the instructions issued by the Central Vigilance Commission. Firstly, there is no need to accord extension to any staff member irrespective of his/her rank. The administration should send the staff back when the tenure ends and a requisition should be sent to the quarters concerned about six months before the deputation period ends.

Merit should be the sole criterion to get the staff on deputation. All sanctioned posts should be filled up no additional charges should be given to any one. Since the subordinate staff recruited by the administration remains in Chandigarh permanently, there is no fear of any kind of transfer in their mind and they work in a watertight compartment i.e. within an area of 114 sq km only. Thus, there should be a provision in the rules to transfer the staff to other UTs of India as is in the case of officers of the UT cadre.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Depute officials in specified ratio

Raveen Thukral in his editorial is absolutely right by saying, “jiski laathi uski bhains”. It is quite unfair to learn that Punjab is running short of employees at the cost of UT where strength of staff is abundant.

UT status is continuing for a long time, therefore, it should have its own staff in the phased manner. Till such time, the deputation from Punjab and Haryana may continue strictly in the specified ratio only.

OP Garg, Patiala

No check on bureaucrats

The writer has exposed the fickle-minded attitude of governments of Punjab and Haryana, beside the UT administration, which have their own respective axe to grind.

As far as posting of bureaucrats in UT is concerned, it is the political masters, who predominate and for the lower-rung postings such as teachers, lecturers, nurses, and doctors, it is the bureaucrats, who have the field day. There is nobody to check them and they are a law unto themselves. This fits well in the maxim, “Charity begins at home”.

Not a day passes without a spat between the polarised members of Municipal Corporations, its president, MP or the Administrator over trifling matters or matters of grave concern impacting the financial health of the MC, beside hitting public utilities or conveniences such as sanitary and hygienic conditions, landscaping and transport system.

Every official posted in the UT, about whom this article is focused, sees UT with coveted eyes so as to grab its very essence, one way or the other. This is the worst for the civil servants and political leaders, who are supposed to be paragons of justice, broad mindedness and cultivated manners in the 21st century.

Now, it seems to be a mere shame and pretentious show, wherein is hidden their own vested interests at the cost of deserving ones who can provide better assistance in the governance of the administration or running public utility services.

Let better sense be dawn upon all the concerned in the matter. There should be no snatching the right of one by the other and the transparency should rule.

Kamaldeep Singh Saini, Mohali

Centre should depute officers

The latest incidence of selection of son of a Haryana minister as Deputy Commissioner of Chandigarh is the best example while the City Scope discusses the issue of service encroachment. Knowingly, the names of two juniors were also sent with the name of Birijinder Singh, DC of Faridabad.

The UT is directly under the control of the Centre and all deputations should be cleared from there. But the service manipulation or encroachment is not only going in Chandigarh but in Central deputations also. Every posting is arranged, keeping in view the pulls and strings one has.

In my view, the Central government should prepare a panel of IAS and state service officials from the respected states in case of Chandigarh from Punjab and Haryana and send the officials and deputation is completed and as a matter of rule, husband and wife should not be allowed to remain in the city for more than two years.

No compassionate posting should be given to wife when she is working in services other than IAS and civil services. And why only talk about deputations. Almost all commissioner-level officials are accommodated once they retire and they continue to have wild powers, sometime, even better placed and continue to encroach the territory meant for others. This rehabilitation should be stopped.

Accommodating any officer for more than five years in Chandigarh should be curtailed if not stopped without any specific permission from the Centre. To start with even rotation of all posts from the Administrator to HCS and PCS level between Haryana, Punjab and Central cadre, will also be a step towards reducing impacts of service encroachments. The Home Ministry should certainly step in.

Kumar Gaurav, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030

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Kargil martyrs remembered
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 26
Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 1999 Kargil conflict, a large number of armed forces veterans and local residents and children paid floral tributes to soldiers killed in the line of duty.

Wreaths were laid at the Major Sandeep Shankla War Memorial this morning and a candle-lighting ceremony was held in the evening as a mark of remembrance of the departed souls.

Notable among the veterans were former Army Commanders Lt Gen PN Hoon and Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, former Director General Medical Services Lt Gen Depinder Singh, Lt Gen Harcharan Singh, Air Marshal GS Punia (retd) and Brig Sant Singh.

Prominent among civilians, who paid tributes, were poet Sardar Anjum, former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests PS Malik and former Ambassador Paramjit Sahai.

Acting president of the local municipal corporation BB Singhal and two other councillors Seema Chaudhary and Mamta Mittal also paid their respects to the martyrs.

As a part of the commemorative events, a charity medical and dental check-up camp was also organised, in which about 350 persons from the weaker sections of the society were examined by a team comprising of ex-Army doctors. A dental van was also deputed for the camp by the National Dental College, Dera Bassi.

On this day, the last of the Pakistani intruders were evicted by Indian forces from the icy heights of the Kargil sector along the Line of Control in Northern Jammu and Kashmir.

About 530 Indian troops, many of them young officers, had lost their lives in the six-week conflict that had generated a wave of patriotic fervour across the country.

Some veterans were also upset over the fact that no representative from the district administration bothered to turn up for paying respects to the martyrs. Brig Kiran Krishan (retd), coordinator of the event, said he had written to the Deputy Commissioner, who replied by saying that he had nominated an officer to represent the administration. Several veterans said no one, however, showed up.

Deputy Commissioner Pankaj Yadav said he was busy in the preparations of swearing-in ceremony of the new Haryana Governor and he directed the City Magistrate Ritu Chaudhary to represent the administration. He would look in the lapse on the part of official tomorrow, he added. Chuadhary, however, did not pick her phone despite repeated efforts.

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Rehabilitation Scheme in Sector 49
Housing societies at the receiving end
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The “dream project” of UT Administrator Gen SF Rodrigues (retd) for rehabilitating slum dwellers on 4-acre land at Sector 49 may be apt for the administration, but has become a curse for residents of group housing societies located in the same pocket.

The advent of monsoons could not bring smiles on the faces of residents of at least six societies in Sector 49, as the natural flow of water on the green belt adjacent to these societies’ boundary wall has been blocked.

A visit to the site revealed that due to the low-lying area near Goodwill Enclave, the rainwater gets accumulated here and remains clogged all the time. The passage of water across the V5 road has been blocked to prevent water towards the other side, where the Chandigarh Housing Board is constructing the slum dwellers’ houses.

Even the small viaduct has been clogged up.

Though the members ran from pillar to post to rectify the faulty planning, none of the officials bothered to interfere in the matter.

“We approached the UT engineering department and the MC as well, but to no avail”, Harbans Singh, a member of Goodwill Society, said. Since the water flow has been blocked, the stagnant water has led to parasites and mosquitoes thereby threatening the lives of members.

Though officers visited the site few months back, the timely completion of the administrator’s project apparently finds top priority on their agenda, as no action has been taken either by the administration or MC hitherto.

Different officials; different opinions

When contacted, MC chief engineer SK Bansal said: “Nothing can be done. Since it is a low-lying area, the water would naturally accumulate there. No alternative route can be made.”

He added that “if more water gets clogged, then it would be pumped out”.

While MC executive engineer, Public Health, VK Garg said an alternative route could be chalked out, but the area has not been handed over to the MC yet. “But, an alternative route for water needs to be planned out at the earliest”. Whereas UT’s executive engineer said the area had been handed over to the MC and assured to take notice of the site tomorrow. “The water should not get clogged, as we have made temporary provision by puncturing the storm pipes. It will be examined tomorrow.”

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RTI Act
Complaint filed on denial of information
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
City resident Manpreet Singh has filed a complaint against the Central Public Information Officer-Enforcement (CPIO) of the Chandigarh Housing Board for denying him the information he had sought in larger public interest on building violations and encroachments in Chandigarh under the RTI Act.

In his appeal to the First Appellate Authority under RTI Act 2005, Manpreet said he found the CPIO’s reply “unsatisfactory, incomplete and misleading, in fact, completely in violation of the RTI Act.”

Manpreet had sought information on 11 points, of which the CHB supplied information on two points, denied information on six points and left two points unattended.

The board, in its reply, took the plea that since the records were not available, they could not be supplied. Manpreet questioned what would a citizen do if authorities did not maintain records. He argued that he should be supplied detailed information as “Section 4 (1) of the RTI Act 2005 clearly states that every public authority will maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner and the form which facilitates the Right to Information under this Act.”

“Building violations is a serious issue in the city,” said Manpreet. “Among about 50,000 houses under the Chandigarh Housing Board, almost every second house has some kind of building violation, but officials are turning a blind eye towards it.” “It was a very trying experience to get information for public cause from the CHB officials,” alleged Manpreet.

NRI's complaint

An NRI had to face the wrath of the CHB officials when she sought information under the RTI Act. They even refused to take action on her complaint to remove encroachments on her land after she filed an RTI application.

“The CHB officials turned hostile after I filed an RTI application,” complained Geetu Vashishta, an NRI from Hong Kong, who had bought a CHB flat in Sector 47 last year.

Vashishta had bought the flat and after taking possession, she came to know of the encroachment of garage or parking space related to the house. She filed a complaint with the CHB in last July and she has been running from pillar to post to get the encroachments removed.

Since she did not get any response from the CHB to her, a year-long complaint to remove encroachments, she filed an RTI application on June 16, 2009, seeking copies of the detailed lay-out plan of garage/parking space related to her flat and the status of her complaint.

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Civic Amenities - VI
Mohali roads in deplorable condition
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, July 26
With the Municipal Council and the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) failing to give due priority to the re-carpeting and strengthening of roads, this important aspect of the civic amenities in the town cries for attention.

Roads need urgent repair in certain pockets of residential and industrial areas and markets. Even some stretches of main roads are in bad shape.

Residents of a pocket of Phase IX have been facing problems because of bad roads. Suresh Kumar, a resident of the area, said it became very difficult to drive on damaged roads after a rain when water collected in the potholes and even at night.

The condition of internal roads in Sectors 67 and 68 is also poor. Roads in front of shops in Phases X, VII, III B 2 and V and on the backside of the market in Phase XI are also in a state of neglect. The main road going from Phase XI to the cremation ground also needs urgent repairs.

The area near the cremation ground is in a pitiable condition and it is very difficult for road users to drive on that stretch. The sector- dividing road of Phases VII, III B 2 and III B 1 is also in a bad state. Roads in parts of the Industrial Area also cry for repair.

Councillor Sukhminder Singh Barnala said estimates for the repair of a road leading from the police station in Phase XI to the commando complex were prepared, but council officials allegedly strengthened only that part of the road which fell in the wards of municipal councillors owing allegiance to the Congress-backed ruling group.

Funds for the repair of this road were used out of the Rs 3-crore grant given by the Punjab Chief Minister. He said adversely-affected councillors were now planning to make a complaint to the director, local government, stating that no money out of the CM’s grant was used in their wards. He said the condition of the road outside the Mohali Club was very poor and as such little repair was got done at his level against an estimate of some other area.

Manoj Aggarwal, a resident of Sector 68, said the condition of the main roads in the Sector was satisfactory, but internal roads were in a deplorable condition. Requests made to GMADA authorities for the repair of these roads failed to yield any results.

Residents going to the market areas also faced problems as broken roads there get flooded with water after every rain.

Rajinder Singh Rana, president of the council, said repair work had been done in many areas which had got delayed due to code of conduct enforced in connection with the Lok Sabha elections. Work had now been slowed down because of the rains and would be expedited as soon as the monsoon got over.

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Talwar Jewellers
Rs 50 lakh, FDs seized
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The Chandigarh income tax department seized about Rs 50 lakh in cash and fixed deposits and reportedly sealed five lockers for scrutiny during a raid on the premises of Talwar Jewellers, Sector 22,here.

Officials of the income tax department also confirmed the tax evasion to the tune of Rs 16 crore. According to the income tax officials, Talwar Jewellers admitted to have concealed the income of about Rs 16 crore.

The investigation wing of the IT department cracked down on Talwar Jewellers and started search operation at various outlets in Sector 22 and their residential premises in Sectors 8 and 5 on Friday morning, which ended late yesterday night.

“We have found unaccounted income and assets during the search operation,” officials said.

“The exact tax evasion would be known only after scrutinising the documents and the sealed locker,” added officials.

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Residents decry shifting of Sec-38 migrants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
The joint action development committee of Sectors 50, 51 and 52 today protested the shifting of Sector 38 “biometric qualified” inhabitants to colony No. 5. While demanding to get the colony No. 5 shifted, the residents complained that around 600 more families, which had been shifted here, had added to their woes.

Sources of the administration said this was a temporary arrangement in the wake of the administration’s move to release the government land that was encroached illegally by the migrants.

“These families would be shifted to a rented accommodation being planned under the Slum Rehabilitation Scheme,” a UT official said.

But, this decision has not gone down well with the residents of societies falling under the same belt.

They said these migrants had polluted the environment and the incidents of theft, too, had increased these days.

The residents also rued that the migrants had encroached upon road halfway and it had become difficult for them to commute.

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200 saplings planted

Chandigarh, July 26
Members of the Lions Club, Chandigarh, and Burail Residents’ Welfare Society planted 200 saplings in the Chaudhary Bhopal Singh Stadium in a village near here today. The residents of the village along with the members of both organisations planted as many as 200 saplings of various varieties of trees. — TNS

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EDUCATION
 

Class XI starts without teachers
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 26
Almost ten days since the new academic session commenced across the city schools, the students of newly introduced Class XI (arts stream) in Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 26, still await teachers.

Till date, not only has the UT education department failed to provide lecturers to nearly 77 students of this class, reportedly, even the upgradation letter of the school from “model” to “senior secondary” level has not been received by the school.

According to sources, the education department has directed the school to depute other teachers of the same school to take classes for these children in the meantime.

While some argue the reason for inaction of the education department to be a step-motherly treatment to these students, as most of them fall under the compartment category and could not seek admission in any other school, others claim that the delay has been caused since the school was the last, among others, to get upgraded.

“Almost all the cases in this class are the left-over students, who could not get admission elsewhere in the recent centralised counselling for Class XI held at GMSSS, Sector 10. Rather, these students need more attention as compared to others, as they have come with a crushed morale,” said a teacher.

The absence of teachers is also cited as a loss of precious academic time of the students, as the teachers on substitution have their own classes scheduled. “The delay is not just wasting time of the students, it is also sending a poor signal about the school’s reputation to the parents, who have admitted their children here,” said a parent of Class XI student.

Meanwhile, on one hand, the education department officials claim that letter of upgradation of the school has already been issued, the school authorities confirm that they have not received the same yet. Department officials said the work was in progress and the delay could be since the school was last in the list to get upgraded.

Meanwhile, principal of the school Purnima Vats refused to comment on the issue, though on being questioned about the availability of lecturers, she agreed that presently, there were no lecturers for Class XI.

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