C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Seats in 30 colleges increased
Syndicate allows partial cut in fee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Among the major decisions at the Panjab University syndicate meeting held today, the numbers of seats in 30-odd colleges affiliated to the university have been increased following the approval of the recommendation committee.

Out of the 36 colleges that had applied for increase in seats in courses like BBA, BCA and BCom, seats have been increased in only those colleges whose infrastructure had been rated positive by the committee. A maximum of 20 seats for each course would be permitted, sources said.

“Nearly 30 colleges have been found to have optimum infrastructure by the committee and were allotted more seats,” a syndicate member said.

In another crucial decision, fee for the integrated BA, BEd four-year course has been reduced to half in the first year, with a subsequent fee increase of Rs 5,000 each year.

The fee for the integrated course, which was earlier Rs 40,000, has been reduced to Rs 20,000, Rs 25,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 35,000 in the first, second, third and the fourth year, respectively.

Meanwhile, the examination fee for the compartment/re-appear examinations to be held in September for graduation students and December for postgraduate students, has been reduced from Rs 7,500 to Rs 6,000, but the cost per exam (Rs 800) remains the same.

The decision came following protests against the fee structure of the re-appear exams that was termed as a golden chance for students to clear the papers.

The syndicate also authorised the Vice-Chancellor to appoint Dean, Student Welfare, Student Welfare (women), Dean (Foreign Students) and Dean (alumni).



Admn rejects revised plans
TDI mall’s opening delayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Chandigarh administration has once again disapproved of the revised plans for the completion of the TDI mall-cum-multiplex (formerly Jagat Cinema in Sector 17-A) on the grounds of blatant violations, thus further delaying the plans for its opening.

According to officials, the administration has taken a stern view of what they term as “total change of the plan” vis-a-vis the sanctioned one and also claim that the promoters have not complied with the norms of the National Building Code (NBC).

While the administration’s move has not gone down well with the city’s architects who claim that “unnecessary hindrances” are being put, the Secretary, Finance-cum-Engineering, Sanjay Kumar, denied any such intention and said the multiplex had gross violations. “The building plans of the TDI multiplex were sanctioned in April 2006, but certain discrepancies came to light in the revised building plans submitted in November 2008. The matter is still under review and the comments from the town planning wing have been sought.”

Nevertheless, after examining the revised building plans submitted by the estate office, the architect department, on the instance of the finance department, has raised objections over the planning. The chief fire office has observed that a 6-metre clear passage all around the building is missing as per the provision of the NBC.

The architect department has pointed out that no provision for a ramp, leading to parking in the lower basement, has been made by the planners and the excess coverage in the ramp and shop area at the rear left side of the single storey block up to the projection, is against architectural control norms.

Another significant lapse is that the enter/exit for the disabled people is from the lower ground floor to the multiplex and there is no opening in the fire corridor for the exit.

“Four RCC columns are protruding in the fire exit corridors, which has reduced the specified clear width. It has also been noticed that there is little provision for natural light and ventilation in toilets,” officials of the architect wing said.

On the other hand, the Chandigarh Private Architects Association has said the passing of zoning plans has always been a cumbersome exercise. “As far as the fire passage for the TDI mall is concerned, there are ample means of access which comply with the architectural control code. The building has a three-side open passage. Fire engines can approach at the rear of the building through the plaza,” Vinod Joshi, an architect, said.

Kuljeet Singh, vice-president of the association, said not only this project, but all zoning plans of canal houses as well as marla houses in various sectors of the city are caught in official rigmarole.



PU Ragging Case
Accused gives up; another arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The suspended student of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) who was charged of allegedly ragging a first year student, surrendered at the Sector 11 police station here today.

A third year student of the institute, Saurab Nandel was accompanied by his father to the police station though by that time, the Chandigarh police had already dispatched a team to Rohtak, the hometown of the accused, to search for him.

The Panjab University authorities had lodged an FIR against Saurab Nandel yesterday following the complaint of the student who was ragged at the boys’ hostel.

The accused student had been found guilty by the university’s anti-ragging disciplinary committee comprising the Dean, Student Welfare, as well as the hostel warden.

Meanwhile, the police today also arrested another alleged accomplice of the accused, who was involved in the crime. “Rupesh was found guilty and a partner in the crime at the boys’ hostel No. 2 and has been arrested,” the investigating officer said.

The incident of ragging came to light when the victim told the anti-ragging committee that he was asked to kill mosquitoes as part of ragging, failing which he had to entertain his seniors with a “phantom parade” by wearing his briefs over jeans.

While Saurab claimed that he was in Rohtak at the time of the incident, some youths at the hostel had spotted him having dinner in the hostel mess.



Banur Bypoll: Stakes high for Bunny
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 2
Though it is a fight between the SAD and the Congress, the byelection for Banur is crucial for the legacy of the late Akali stalwart, Capt Kanwaljit Singh. The stakes are high for SAD candidate Jasjit Singh Bunny as a defeat in the byelection may well be an end of his political career. After initial hiccups, Jasjit Singh managed to pull off with only his father’s legacy on his side.

With no agenda or issues to talk about, he has been avoiding queries from the media and even failed to impress voters. But the undercurrent of sympathy could tilt the mandate in his favour. “A win for Jasjit Singh would actually be his father’s victory,” an Akali worker remarked.

It seems unlikely that the SAD would repeat its performance of the 2007 elections, when former cooperation minister Kanwaljit Singh defeated Congress candidate Rakesh Sharma by a huge margin of 42,651 votes.

In the changed political equations over the past few days, a clear neck and neck contest is emerging between Congress candidate Deepinder Singh and Jasjit Singh. Leaders admit that the winning margin could be around 10,000 or even less.

Giving a tough fight to the SAD, Deepinder Singh, being in charge of the Banur assembly segments since the last two elections, has a good rapport with the masses. Political analysts point out that in the backdrop of the BSP not fielding its candidate, the votes could tilt in favour of the Congress as a section of BSP leaders in the Dera Bassi area were giving tacit support to the Congress.

The recent incident of a Dera Sacha Sauda supporter being killed at Mansa could cast a shadow on the results.Reports from Dera Bassi, Lalru and Zirakpur indicate that the contest between the two candidates was more tough in the urban areas. In the rural areas, sympathy vote was prevalent.



When prime duty is not policing
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 2
Even as the Panchkula police is facing manpower crunch in view of the sharp increase in crime in the district, its duties include guarding functions being organised by VVIPs in Chandigarh or at the examination centres of Panchkula. Investigation and other security duties have been relegated to the background.

Today, around 35 per cent of the total police force in the district was busy in conducting the examinations at 17 centres set up by the Haryana State Public Service Commission for assistant engineers. The situation was the same last Sunday when half of the force was standing guard at the examinations centres for the school teaching eligibility test.

It doesn’t end here as the force is often used for security arrangements whenever there is a mega event organised by the state government at Chandigarh. Last week a large number of police personnel from the district, with a majority of top brass, was deployed for two days to guard guests of the new Governor on his oath-taking ceremony.

Besides, at least two companies of the force always remain as a standby for deployment at the ongoing state assembly session.

No wonder that the primary duty of the police to investigate crime and nab criminals has taken a back seat. That was the main reason why Dr Sumit Sofat, whom the police suspects of having attempted to murder his driver and putting the blame on a Ludhiana family, could not be nabbed.

While the recovery of the booty has been pending in most solved cases, accused involved in serious crimes like murder and dacoity have yet to be arrested because of shortage of manpower.

The main accused in the murder case (February) of Vinod Mittal, a financier, could not be arrested despite their identification.

The accused in a dacoity case, where gold worth Rs 32 lakh was stolen from employees of an Amrtisar jeweller in Sector 20, was also at large.

In the case of kidnapping of property dealer Sandip Saggar, the police seems to have lost all hopes to reach some conclusion. The investigation is stuck at the same point when the family of Saggar reported the matter to the police two months ago.

Police officials express their helplessness when it comes to security in the district comprising the four towns of Panchkula, Pinjore, Kalka and Raipur Rani and two national highways passing through it. Also, it shares border with two states and a union territory and needs at least 1,400 policemen, they say.

Moreover, the presence of headquarters of several departments in the district leads to dharnas and agitations, which require the presence of the police.

The police also has to provide security to several VIPs living in the town.

The security personnel always remain under pressure to come up to the expectations as the district only has a meagre strength of 750 police personnel, an official rued.



Vice-chairman of school gets judicial remand
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 2
Rajinder Parsad, vice-chairman of Bharat Model School at Naya Gaon who was arrested for molesting an 11-year-old student of the school, was remanded in judicial custody today.

The police had arrested Rajinder Parsad yesterday after the mother of the victim lodged a complaint with the police in this regard.

After the incident, the terrified victim refused to go back to school.

The 38-year-old accused had claimed that his obscene acts with the student were part of the witchcraft being practised by him. The police had also slapped Sections 342, 354 and 506 of the IPC on him.

The investigating officer said the Sections had been imposed on the basis of the statement given by the victim.


The khaas aadmi
Raveen Thukral

Last week I received an email from US with an interesting subject line- "Can this democratic action take place in India ?" Curious, I opened the mail and this is what it said, "Just imagine for a moment, a Patiala District SSP or DIG getting arrested by the District Police on charges of drunk driving!! That is what exactly happened here last night when The Alexandria, Fairfax County, (a suburb of Washington DC ) Police Chief was arrested on charges of drunk driving by the adjoining Arlington County, Police. Now, will you call this true democracy or what is happening in India ?" The mail was sent by M. Mohindra, Washington DC, who wanted reactions to this incident.

Well, as far as I am concerned, even at the risk of sounding a pessimist, I have my doubts about VIPs getting nailed for good by the law of the land in our great country. And this view is despite the recent arrest of Buta Singh's son by the CBI in an alleged case of bribery. It's only a matter of time that even this case, howsoever one may despise, will get embroiled in the lengthy judicial process and meet the fate of its likes of the Judeo and Ajit Jogi tapes, the chara ghotala, the Satish Sharma corruption case, the Taj corridor et el.

Being a VIP in our country is like a blank cheque, encashable anywhere. It's unfortunate that VIP's, especially those who are supposed to uphold the law end up making a mockery of it by breaking them with impunity.

Surely everyone must have witnessed the rowdiness of the drivers of the 'laal baatiwalas' (that's what I call the occupants of the red beacon light cars) on the roads of Chandigarh so imagining one such big shot being hauled up like the Fairfax County police Chief is rather farfetched. What is sad is that even the gunmen accompanying these VIPs behave as if they are law onto themselves. The manner in which they shout and make threatening gestures at people is humiliating and despite several such incidents being highlighted nothing is done to tame them.

A few weeks ago, The Tribune had carried out an extensive campaign on the blatant encroachments on public land in the name of security and construction violations in government houses by the so-called VIPs of the city- the bureaucrats and police officers, both serving and retired, and politicians. Even the High Court took a suo motu cognizance of the report "Who'll bell the cat?" and has directed the administration to do a survey for checking such encroachments.

One now looks forward to the administration finally cracking a whip on these VIPs and clearing these encroachments. However, one fails to understand how these happened at the first place.

I really cannot think of any logic for allowing a tented accommodation (now removed) to come up in the Bougainvillea Garden even for the sake of security of the Chief Minister of Haryana. While security concerns are understandable encroaching public land is certainly not the answer.

Why can't the VIP 'protectees' have their so-called protectors pitch their tents inside their sprawling bunglows, on the lawns or the terrace? When commoners like us cannot encroach on government land then how can these VIPs do? Are there two sets of laws in this country, one for the VIPs and one for the aam aadmi?

Well presumably not and this was rightly brought out by Justice Ranjit Singh while taking cognizance of The Tribune report. He asserted, "no one is above law, however so high he or she may be placed… The Chandigarh Administration has been very prompt in checking the illegal construction in any private house/building. Silence on checking these irregularities committed by highly placed officials will certainly give an impression that these officials/officers are above law", he had stated.

But alas whatever the law might say, the truth is that VIPs do enjoy a khaas status in our society and moreover they love to flaunt it. "Don't you know who I am…" they say with all the pride and unfortunately we also allow them to get away with it.

Noted lawyer Fali Nariman, in his article, 'VIP Syndrome lets get rid of it', wrote on the genesis of the word "VIP'. He said, "It were the British who coined it. But, initially, it had no snob value. During the Second World War, it was used to describe the movement of plane loads of important persons, to avoid disclosing their identity. Sixty years later, we continue to use the abbreviation as a status symbol, as if to emphasise that although under our Constitution all persons are equal, some are more equal than others".

During my stay in Canada in 2007, I had a chance to attend the launch party of community newspaper which was attended by the Ontario Premier, Dalton McGuinty, and many of his ministerial colleagues, including some Punjabi ministers. While McGuinty apparently came in a chauffeur driven car he did not have any siren blaring escorts with him. His security was there but was inconspicuous.

As for the other ministers, they drove to the venue themselves, parked their cars too and attended the party like another person present there. And even our otherwise flamboyant NRI Punjabis who on their own land may push around to rub shoulders with the likes of the Badals and the Amarinders paid least attention to them. And when I asked a 'Punjabi' minister about the difference he said, "ithe kaun pucche".

So why can't we have something like this. Why do our politicians, even those who do not hold any government positions, and bureaucrats and their families are allowed this VIP status and with it the right to violate the law? Let them be aam too.

Write to cityeditor@tribunemail.com



CityScope Letters
Educate teachers on handling pupils

This is in reference with the article, “No room for the rod”, by Raveen Thukral published in Chandigarh Tribune on July 27. Most of the teachers of the tricity seem to suffer from wrong notions like, “use of rod could mend a child”, which is totally unwarranted and unwise. The school managements should educate the teachers first as how to handle the children before they start teaching them.

There had been incidents in Chandigarh and Mohali schools where the teachers thrashed the children blue and black for small reasons just to massage their egos.

The worst is that the school administration instead of taking strong action against such teachers, try their best to shield them and some of them even try to justify the action of the teachers and find faults with the child in order to save the reputation of the school.

There is no place for corporal punishment.

In spite of the fact that the right to education bill has been passed and no child will be subjected to physical punishment and mental harassment. Whosoever contravenes will be liable for disciplinary action.

This is violence against the children; no teacher with violent attitude should be allowed to teach.

Capt Amar Jeet Kumar, SAS Nagar

Shed commercial approach towards education

Raveen Thukral in the article makes an interesting reading as it seeks to substitute an old saying, “Spare the rod and spoil the child”, with “No room for the rod”. Admittedly, we all have vivid memories of our school days. However, the atmosphere has vitiated from bad to worse.

Whereas the schools have ceased to be the temples of learning, the teachers too seem to have lost the glory attributed to them in the good olden days.

It is time for us to ponder and take stock of the whole situation. The country needs to frame an education policy that imparts learning. The schools, even the convent schools, have to shed the “commercial” approach to education. If this happens to fail, our situation will be akin to “a blind man leading the pack of blinds”.

Satish Chandra Sharma

Understand child’s psychology

I appreciate the concern and anguish expressed by Raveen Thukral on the repeated slapping and humiliation of Akshay Singh, a class III student of St John’s High School, by the teacher in his article.

Time is gone when the teachers believed in the adage, “Spare the rod, spoil the child”. In the olden days, there used to be a sort of bond between the teacher and student. Welfare of the student used to be the only concern of the teacher.

Now the teachers don't have any type of bonding with their pupils. They are least concerned to understand the psychology of a child and identify the deficiencies and analyse the mental and physical challenges that a student may be suffering from. Psychological exploitation can wreck the whole career of a child.

Lajpat Rai Garg, Panchkula

Need to sensitise teachers

It looks callous and anachronistic to see a student getting slaps or thrashings at the hands of a teacher with the precipitated action of disparaging remarks being flung upon, as elaborated by Raveen Thukral in his article.

Whatever be the provocation, there is no justifiable cause to slapping or using sticks or mumbling abuses and humiliating words. Although there exist laws and rules framed, yet, there is no staunch determination to adhere to their spirits.

In a nutshell, flouting the rules with impunity has become the order of the day.

It is indeed a savage, boorish and barbaric act, which must be dealt with in an exemplary way as per the law. The school management should examine the circumstances in entirety and see for initiating appropriate action against the defaulting teacher so that such insensitive situations are not replicated. It is better that the in-service training be reimparted to sensitise the teachers on this vital aspect of educational and social significance.

Gurmit Singh, Mohali

Eliminate corporal punishment

I concur with the writer for comprehensive elimination of corporal punishment in the schools. Children not only carry overload of textbooks and notebooks on their tender backs but also bear the brunt of canes for ridiculous reasons. It needs to be abolished uniformly throughout the country.

I expect “Right to education bill” will have some concrete provisions in this regard. There should neither be any physical nor mental punishment in humiliating methods.

In a number of such cases when the teacher wanted to discipline a habitual reckless pupil, she/he has little options. Mild punishments like asking a child to stand facing the wall or standing on the bench is usually blown out of proportions by the parents and authorities to be. The powerless teacher has to bear the wrath of both, whose only endeavour might be to make the student a virtuous scholar.

In my view, the government should introduce a legal provision prohibiting any form of corporal punishment.

Suresh Khosla, Panchkula

Ban errant teachers

Raveen Thukral has raised a sensitive issue of corporal punishment in the Indian schools.

It, certainly, is a matter of shame. I agree with Thukral's views that by hitting and humiliating a child, even an errant one by making his friends mock at him is nothing but extreme insensitivity.

The teachers who indulge in such brutal acts should be banned from teaching.

The teachers should be specially trained in the art of “How to behave with a child?"

The suggestion given by the writer for a quality makeover in the course structure of BEd and JBT is timely.

The government should take a serious note of this problem and strictly impose a blanket ban on such brutal punishments to the students by the insensitive teachers.

RK Kapoor, Chandigarh

Parents’ contribution must

Raveen Thukral has advocated forbidding corporal punishment to the students by their teachers and cited the rules for and against with the lamentable instance of Akshay Singh, a class III student at St John’s High School in his mind.

Children, by instinct, are naughty at junior levels. They need proper advice and goading too to inculcate a sense of discipline for which the contribution of the parents and teachers is required.

But some are foolhardy enough not to allow percolation of advice to their hearts and mindlessly go their bizarre way causing embarrassment to the teachers and classmates alike. Under such peculiar circumstances such students with queer behaviour incur wrath of the attending teacher who has to take extreme step like the one of slapping.

Therefore, to keep such children under leash and duly disciplined, harsh steps have to be adopted failing which the old maxim, “Spare the rod, spoil the child”, should prevail.

Sunita Saini

Cops resort to third-degree methods

The write up, “No room for the rod” by Raveen Thukral has touched the behaviour of the police resorting to the third-degree methods to extract information from the accused regarding the crime they have committed.

When the cops, prima facie, know about the hand of the criminals in the crime, it is their bounden duty to elicit truth from them.

Since the hardened criminals do not confess their faults easily, the police has to resort to unspeakable methods, including the third degree, to create evidence both documentary and oral to prove the charges in the court to complete the process of law.

Kamaldeep Singh, Gaziabad

Report matter to principal

I fully endorse my views with Raveen Thukral that rod is not the solution in his editorial. I remember in the sixties when we were in class IX and among the top students, the teacher used to bite “chundi” on arms for minor mistakes.

But in the present times the students have become sensitive and do not tolerate any humiliation. In these circumstances, the teacher should read the psychology of the student and accordingly award punishment and the best way is to report the matter to the principal/headmaster or the one who can issue warnings and in case of no improvement the case may involve the parents of the child.

OP Garg, Patiala

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Taking on hi-tech criminals
Police to get latest gadgetry, equipment
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Keen on not allowing the hi-tech criminals to have an upper hand, the Chandigarh Police has decided to catch up with technology and also equip itself with modern gadgetry and equipment.

While on one hand, a modern state-of-the-art computer lab studded with 14 computers systems, laptop, projector and other peripherals has been set up at the Recruit Training Centre here to impart computer know-how to the ranks, on the other the Chandigarh Police has moved the administration for the purchase of modern equipment and gadgets.

SS Srivastava, SSP, said here today that the force proposed to set up a state-of-the-art automatic finger-print identification mechanism. At present, they have to depend on the Finger Print Bureau at Phillaur in Punjab for obtaining finger-print analysis which delayed police investigation.

The Chandigarh Police has also sent a proposal to the administration for the purchase of new security gadgets. These include two bullet-proof vehicles, 100 bullet-proof jackets and helmets, 50 bullet-proof morchas and 150 bullet-proof vests.

Readying itself for any eventuality, the force proposes to have sniper rifles to ensure high rate of accuracy and results.

The modern gadgets sought along with their numbers are: EOD bomb suit (three), optical fiber scope (one), Glock pistol LW (25), sniffer dogs (five); vehicle-mounted jammer (one), night vision device (one), bomb blanket (one) and bomb trailer (two).

With a view to keeping an eye on every visitor in important buildings, a proposal to purchase 25 multi-zone static and portable DFMDs has also been sent. These are used for multi-zone indication to detect the position of any objectionable material on the body.

Looking back at its performance last year, the Chandigarh Police feels satisfied having improved upon the crime detection and conviction rates.“But the emerging trends indicate that heavily armed criminals are operating in large groups and the 26/11 terrorist attack has made us think and equip ourselves better to meet any eventuality. As soon as we get the nod from the Chandigarh Administration, we shall go ahead with our modernisation plans,” Srivastava added.



City Beautiful’s Ugly face: Sector 50
Civic amenities only in name
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Civic amenities in Sector 50 have gone from bad to worse in the recent past. Defunct streetlights have not been replaced for months, no drive has been launched against stray cattle, green belts are yet to be developed and sanitation services have been dismal for the past many months.

Wild growth all over a green belt in Sector 50; and absence of civic amenities in the nearby Colony No. 5 in Chandigarh. Tribune photos: Parvesh Chauhan

Residents complain that a majority of streetlights in their area have been out of order and venturing out at night is fraught with danger for them.

Thanks to the apathy of the municipal corporation and the Chandigarh administration, drivers and pedestrians virtually grope in the dark, as most streetlights remain out of order for weeks together.

The state of green belts in the sector is no different as so far only a few have taken shape from the drawing boards of the administration.

Also, those that have been developed by the corporation in the sector are crying for maintenance.

Adding to the woe of residents, slum-dwellers have been shifted to colony No. 5, making the life of the residents miserable.

As the administration has shifted them to the colony without making proper civic arrangements, sanitary conditions in the area have become deplorable.

A resident says with most of the colony residents sleeping by the roadside where there are no streetlights, it has become perilous for drivers to venture out in the dark as it is hard to detect a sleeping person.

He says each time the matter is taken up with the administration, it harps on shifting the colony from there soon. He adds that eight years have passed without the implementation of the promise.

The president of resident welfare forum of Sector 50 criticises the lack of civic amenities, especially non-functional streetlights for the past over eight months.

He says they feel like aliens as neither the administration nor the corporation - after the sector was transferred to the latter - has carried out any development activity in the sector.

However, area councillor Ram Sumar Morya contends that they have taken up the issue with the corporation officials and soon development works will start in the sector.



CBI help sought to review assets of CHB staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Members of the RTI Users Association (Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana chapter) have sought the intervention of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to review the personal properties, bank balances and other assets of all employees of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), along with their immediate family members and relatives.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today, members of the association said the CHB had a reputation for its nexus with building mafia.“Chandigarh residents are scared to approach the CHB authorities for any official works and grievances, as they have fears of being fleeced,” the members wrote in the letter.

The CHB came under spotlight in the media recently for its denial to part with information sought by the public seeking details about GPA transfers, issuing of NOCs for sale, the Board’s actions and records with regard to building violations and encroachments, besides detailed information on expenditures by the CHB’s chairman, CEO, Secretary and other senior officials.

“Contrary to the purpose of serving the public, for which it was established, CHB has become a den of corruption,” said Hemant Goswami, a prominent RTI activist, adding that the CHB was hand in glove with building mafia and there was no direction in its functioning.

Also it were the city residents who were made to suffer for its inefficiency and corruption.

The association members have sought a CBI probe into the functioning of the CHB to expose the “underhand dealings” at various levels of the Board.

The members alleged that the CHB’s senior officials were preventing the free flow of information to cover up corruption.

Senior High Court lawyer and convener of the RTI Users Association HC Arora said, “The CHB has proved to be a non-transparent authority.

That’s why the Prime Minister’s intervention has been sought to make the CHB a corruption-free, transparent, efficient and responsible authority, which is sensitive to the public concerns.”



MC Poll for Ward No 10
War of words on code violation hots up
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
With the Day D, August 6, for election to the Ward No 10 of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) drawing close, the war of words between the Congress and the BJP-SAD alliance has intensified.

With charges and counter-charges about the violation of model code of conduct flying thick, the stage is set for an acrimonious election campaign in the past two days of the campaigning.

In fact, the alleged violation of model code of conduct and littering of a park where Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Pawan Bansal addressed a rally in support of Congress candidate Bhupinder Singh Badheri today earned the ire of former mayor of the MCC Harjinder Kaur.

"If the civic sense shown by the Congress in littering the park is any indiction, one can imagine what they would do in the civic body," a press note issued by Harjinder Kaur alleged.

"The hoardings and posters on the poles and government buildings is also a clear violation of the model code of conduct," alleged Harcharan Singh Sawhney, general secretary of SAD.

However, refuting alliance allegations, senior Congress leader and former MCC Mayor Pardeep Chhabra alleged that the it was the BJP-SAD alliance which had started the rat race for the pasting of banners and posters on government and private property. "In fact, we had to follow suit to counter the false propaganda launched by alliance candidate Malkiat Singh.”

Senior Congress leader Badheri and Malkiat Singh, a political novice, are locked in the contest in the ward election to which had been necessitated due to the demise on alliance councillor Gurnam Singh. While Malkiat Singh, a son of the late councillor, is banking on the sympathy factor, Badheri had made the development done by Bansal and the civic body as the main poll plank. In fact, Bansal has made it a prestige issue and campaigning hard for his protege Badheri.

While Bansal has emerged as the star campaigner for the Congress, Harjinder Kaur was leading the alliance campaign. And to blunt the development campaign of the Congress, the alliance was trying to rope in Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal.



Govt advocates to protest pay disparity
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 2
In a protest against the disparity in the pay scales of the officers of the prosecution department, all government advocates have decided to wear black badges during the working hours. The decision was taken in a meeting of the Haryana Attorneys Association held here today.

Explaining the disparity, Surinder Bairagi, president of association, said the Pay Revision Committee had done discrimination among the professional classes.

While doctors, engineers and architects at initial appointment start with grade pay of Rs 5,400, government advocates have been placed at the initial stage with a grade pay as low as Rs 4,600, he said.

Even cadres-based specific ACP given to all professional classes has been denied to public prosecutors, he rued.

The association has also demanded that district attorneys must be given PB-4 as functional scale being a district head of the prosecution agency as given to other district-level officials, he added. Similarly PB-4 to assistant district attorney was demanded after 15 years of service, said Bairagi.

The approval of the allowances of the prosecution department was also yet to be notified by the Pay Revision Committee, he added.

A memorandum of demands was given to the Pay Anomalies Committee, but the same has not been considered till date whereas the demands of all other categories, including doctors, accounts officers and engineers, have been accepted by the government leaving no option for the legal fraternity other than going on agitation, he said.

While a general body meeting of the association would be held very soon, all Bar Associations will be requested for their participation in this cause date for which will be intimated to all district attorneys of the district head.



Raid conducted to nab rape accused
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 2
The police today conducted raids to arrest the two youths, Harman and Raghav, for their alleged involvement in raping a 17-year-old girl of Sohana. The girl had been allegedly raped by the accused after being abducted from Mohali on July 8. The accused had filmed the girl in an objectionable position and later tried to extort money and jewellery from her.

The girl had lodged a complaint after three weeks. The accused were reportedly demanding Rs 2 lakh from her, threatening to upload her pictures and videos on the Internet.

In her complaint, the girl alleged that on July 8, Harman forcibly took her away from Sohana on a motorcycle to a flat in Jal Vaayu Vihar in Sector 68, Mohali. She was repeatedly raped and walked all the way from Sector 68 to her home in Sohana.

Since the victim was threatened with “dire consequences” by the accused, she stayed quiet. The next day she got a call from one of them, who demanded Rs 2 lakh from her, threatening to upload her video they had filmed while ‘raping’ her, said the investigating officer. The victim reportedly gave them her mother’s two pairs of gold earrings and Rs 15,000, which she stole from her mother’s safe.

On July 24, the accused again demanded Rs 2 lakh. Taking cognisance of the complaint, the police has booked Parminder Singh alias Harman and Sunny alias Raghav, both from Sirhind, under Sections 363, 366-A, 376, 384, and 506 of the IPC.



Now, ‘pain clinic’ at GMCH
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, has decided to start a “pain clinic” for patients suffering from chronic pain in any part of the body.

Confirming the move, Dr Raj Bahadur, director-principal of GMCH-32, said the clinic would come up under the department of anesthesia, where pain management specialist Dr Deepak Thapa would look after patients. The clinic would open every Monday from 9 am to 1 pm.

According to experts, the number of patients with chronic pain was increasing and adding to the burden on various specialties. Therefore, a separate pain management centre with multi-disciplinary team approach was an essential requirement, said Dr Bahadur.

“Chronic pain is a societal problem and includes any pain persisting for more than three months. It affects people of all races, ages, occupations and is quite devastating leading to increased economic burden on the patient and the hospital, low productivity, increased suffering and poor quality of life,” said experts.

The aim of the clinic would be to lessen chronic pain, restore function of body parts affected by pain and finally improve quality of life.

There could be additional psycho-somatic changes, loss of jobs, lack of mobility and social interactions, sleep disorders, anxiety and depression.

“Patients with chronic pain conditions like spine pain, neck and back pain, joint pains, migraine and other headaches, soft tissue pain and cancer pain, where surgery and routine medical therapies were unable in bringing any relief, will now have a ray of hope,” said Dr Bahadur.



Licensing Authority set to go online
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Licensing Authority set up by the Chandigarh Administration for issuance of licences to food vendors under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act is set to computerise its operations.

Set up in 2003, it went hi-tech a couple of months back and now plans to launch its own website. The authority will be the first in the region to go online. “We did borrow the system from Delhi, but have since improvised things,” said Dr Satbir Singh, in charge, Licensing Authority, Chandigarh.

The initiative to set up the authority makes a win-win situation both for the Chandigarh Administration and the licence holders. While the former now nets many times more revenue, the latter gets the work done within no time, and that too, without any hassles.

Earlier, issuance of licences to food vendors fell under the domain of the Medical Officer, Health, Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh.

Up to June 2009, a total of 587 files had been cleared by the in charge (251 in May and 336 in June). Against these, 316 licences were issued (138 in May and 178 in June). And 169 files are lying pending because of one objection or the other.

Against a measly Rs 9,800 in 2003, the authority netted Rs 3,15,000 in 2007-2008 and Rs 4,78,000 in 2008-2009. Up to June 30, 2009, it had generated a whopping Rs 11,18,000.

An applicant has to come only once to submit the application, which is now available at all e-Sampark centres across Chandigarh. The file then goes to the food inspector concerned for crosschecking of facts.



Walking backwards for 48 hrs
Tribune News Service

Ved Rattan Dev Jangra Chandigarh, August 2
Inspired by an English magazine and determined to get his name in the Guiness Book of World Records, Rattan Dev Jangre (57), covered a distance of 174 km from Gujri Mahal in Hisar to Raj Ghat in Delhi in a record time of 48 hours and 20 minutes, while walking backwards.

A Vaidya Visharad from the Allahabad institute, Jangra disclosed that dry fruits and a few ayurvedic herbal tonics helped him gain stamina for this feat. He visited the Rose Garden in the city today.

Popularly known as “Haryana ka ajooba”, Jangra claimed that there was no one in the country who could match his record.



11 PGI employees honoured on retirement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The PGI director, Prof KK Talwar, honoured 11 officials on their superannuation by presenting mementoes to them. AK Gupta, Deputy Director (Administration), PGI, handed over beneficiary cheques comprising GPF, gratuity and group insurance to them.

Jarnail Singh, Principal Private Secretary, DDA Office, Swarn Kaur Bhinder, DNS, Department of Nursing, Umed Singh (Voluntary), Lab Technician, Department of Biochemistry; Subhash Chander Behl, Office Superintendent, Department of Engineering; Sucharita Rani, (Voluntary), Assistant, Internal Audit, Accounts Branch, Hardit Singh, CSR Assistant, Special Gr I, Department of CSSD, Suresh Kumar, Tech Gr III, Department of Engineering, Kessar Singh, Security Guard, Department of Security, Bimla, Hospital Attendant, Nivedita Nursing Hostel, Karam Chand (Voluntary), Hospital Attendant and Sarup Singh, Lab Attendant, Department of Anatomy, retired from the PGI after 16 to 42 years of service.



Admn officials visit victim’s house
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, August 2
District administration officials yesterday met family members of Kamal Sharma, who was electrocuted on July 29. They expressed profound grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Kamal Sharma.

Mohali District Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand along with SDM Dera Bassi Puneet Goyal visited the deceased’s house and told the family that the administration would help them in every possible way.

They also listened to the residents’ problems and asked the authorities concerned to look into the problems on priority basis.

He also added that the matter would be taken after going through the SDM report.



Rally by protesting teachers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
On the 33rd day of the ongoing chain fast started by the UT Government schools contractual teachers, a rally was held at Sector 17 today. The teachers raised slogans demanding regularisation of their services against the posts on which they were working on contract on fixed salaries for the past 13 years.

Trade union leaders, including Raghbir Singh Sandhu, patron of the UT Subordinate Services Federation, Harbir Singh Anand, convener, Chandigarh schools co-ordination committee, Ranjit Singh Hans, Khushali Ram Sharma, Savinder Singh, Ranbir Singh Dhillon, Kartar Singh Pal and Sat Parkash Sharma addressed the rally.



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