C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Not all’s well with CTU fleet
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Even as UT administrator SF Rodrigues has asked senior functionaries to promote the public transport system, the prevalent situation leaves much to be desired.

The Tribune team today randomly checked the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) fleet only to find that out of 20 buses, blinkers and break lights of 16 buses were not working.

Not even a single bus had the mandatory fire extinguishers and first aid kits. Some conductors showed the first aid kits issued by the transport department, which they said were in name only as the rusty boxes had outdated medicines, with some manufactured in 1992. Bandages were worn out and the scissors had rusted. There was also no antiseptic and steel glasses and shoe brushes were lying in suggestion boxes.

The efforts of the police to conduct workshops regularly for CTU drivers and conductors have borne no fruit, considering how often drivers jump lights and seldom use blinkers on a turn.

CTU general manager Surinder Kumar tried to prove that the situation was not so bad, but had to give up after finding that either the blinkers were not working or the drivers had forgotten to use them.

“Blinkers can be replaced, but what can we do when the drivers do not use them?” he stated. Asked about the first aid kits and fire extinguishers, he retorted before disappearing: “This depot is under another general manager, Ravinder Pathak. Ask him.”

“Traffic awareness workshops conducted by the police serve little purpose other than seeking coverage by the media. These must be implemented in practical terms. We are ready to comply with norms, but it is for the department to provide us with well equipped first aid kits and fire extinguishers,” secretary, transport and home, Ram Niwas, said.

“This is a grave issue and needs immediate attention. I would ask the CTU director to conduct inspection of all CTU buses within a week. A certificate of the general manager concerned would also be sought in this regard,” he added.



Promised pay hike eludes teachers
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
It has been almost a month since SSA teachers signed a “banner” thanking Chandigarh administrator SF Rodrigues for the hike in salary, but the file continues to gather dust at the finance department as there is no confirmation on the hike till date.

While the teachers have been waiting for the hike ever since it was announced nearly three months ago, the decision remains pending. Disheartened by the delay, the teachers claimed that no notification has been sent to schools regarding the salary hike though, reportedly, the ministry of human resource and development has given clearance and released the salaries of the SSA staff.

According to sources, while the consolidation amount, which is the sum total of salaries, has already been sent by the ministry, the UT finance department, to which the Education Secretary had reportedly forwarded the proposal, has now asked for the break up of salary per teacher from the ministry.

“We had been instructed to sign the banner at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, about three weeks ago. The enthusiasm should have reflected in the pace of the implementation of the proposal also,” a teacher said on the condition of anonymity.

“Last year when there was a salary cut without prior indication, nobody came to our rescue. But now when the proposal of salary hike has come forward, everybody wants to take credit for it,” another teacher said.

DPI (S) Samwartak Singh said some headway was expected within a few days. A senior official of the department said the proposal had been sent to the finance department, though the Finance Secretary said he had no information about the proposal.

Department officials said once the proposal makes some headway, the arrears would be given from April 1.



50-yr-old woman killed at SBI Colony
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
In a gruesome incident, Santosh (50) was found murdered at her house in SBI Colony, Sector 42, here this afternoon. The killer(s) electrocuted her by putting a wire in her mouth before tying her hands and gagging her.

Though the police is struggling to establish the motive, it suspects that the victim might have been sexually abused and robbed. It believes that the absence of visible signs of any forced entry hinted that the killer(s) were familiar with the victim and had gained easy access into the house.

The murder probably took place between 11 am and 12.30 pm. The police is shortlisting people who might have visited the house during that time. The victim’s husband, Krishan Kumar, a deputy manager at the SBI office in Sector 17, said he left the house at 9 am and returned around 12 noon, but on finding the house locked, he went away.

The victim was found lying bed on the bed in a semi-clad condition. One of her hands was tied tightly with her head and she had been gagged with the same cloth. One end of the electricity wire, which the killer pulled from a desert cooler, was found burnt in her mouth.

Her dentures came off during the struggle and were lying beside the body. A police officer said circumstantial evidence indicated that the victim might have been sexually abused before the murder. A deep wound was found on her thigh, which was probably caused by some sharp-edged object. Some clothes soaked in blood were also recovered.

“The blood on the clothes was much more than the wound on the victim’s body. It suggested that someone else was injured during the struggle and the person wiped off the blood before leaving. The blood on the clothes would help in nailing the suspect,” he said.

The death came to light around 3 pm when neighbours informed Krishan Kumar that there was no response from his house even as the TV was on. They broke a windowpane to enter the house from the balcony and found the body.

Among others, the police is suspecting the role of the man who supplies milk to the family as the time of the murder coincides with his timing. Milk had been boiled in a utensil which was not covered. The police has questioned security guard Kuldeep Kumar, who claimed that he had not seen anyone going in or coming out of the house.

Krishan Kumar said he had come along with a colleague who wanted to see a flat in the colony. He did not get any response and thought Santosh had gone somewhere. His son had gone to Abohar, their native place, for a couple of days. Their four-year-old granddaughter, who stays with them, was away at school.

He said some ornaments worn by his wife were missing and the almirahs had been ransacked.

The SSP reached the spot and said the victim could have been strangled or electrocuted. The police has deployed several teams of special cells to probe the killing. Some fingerprints have been picked up from a tumbler.


Rodrigues for more mini AC buses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
With a view to promoting public transport and reducing traffic congestion on city roads, UT Administrator Gen SF Rodrigues today asked senior officers to step up the implementation of the JNNURM project by procuring more mini AC buses at the earliest and make the journey of commuters more convenient and comfortable.

Listening to the grievances of people, he emphasised the need for making the process a movement for the future along with formulating a comprehensive parking policy as a long-term plan for different markets and other public places. For handicapped and disabled, General Rodrigues asked the officers to put on fast track the scheme of allotment of booth and make the slum rehabilitation plan more broad-based, to accommodate maximum homeless people from economically weaker sections.

Interacting with a delegation of industrialists led by Dinesh Sharma, General Rodrigues asked the Home Secretary and the Finance Secretary to make the proposed industrial policy more growth-oriented, visionary and acceptable to the majority to further encourage industrial activity.

He emphasised the need for institutionalising rural sports in different disciplines and shared his concern over the reported malfunctioning in the MC and market committee.

Interacting with delegations of voluntary service organisations, he exhorted them to be active partners in ‘Partnership Initiative Programme’ launched by the administration in which over 250 NGOs had Registered for voluntary service.



18 challaned at taverns for violations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Continuing with its drive against violations under the Control of Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), the UT administration today conducted raids on various taverns in the city to check the reported incidents of smoking on these premises.

State nodal officer, National Tobacco Control Programme, constituted two teams consisting of a food inspector, an excise inspector and a team of police personnel headed by a sub-inspector to carry out the raids.

The teams inspected the premises at nighttime in two police districts — central and south.

A total of 15 premises were raided and 18 challans were issued. Those who were fined were managers of the violating premises or individuals flouting the law.

Twelve persons who were found smoking and challaned paid the amount at the spot, while one person who could not pay the fine at the spot was issued the challan and summoned to pay the fine in the SDM (central) court.

Five managers were also challaned for violations on their premises. A fine of Rs 4,600 was realised in the drive.

The Chandigarh administration had conducted a similar drive against pubs and discos recently and intended to continue with similar raids and drives in the future so as to keep the status of “Smoke-free city” intact.



Theft bid at house of DC’s in-laws
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 3
Thieves attempted to burgle the house of the in-laws of Panchkula Deputy Commissioner Pankaj Yadav here last night. The thieves broke into the house of Rohtas Yadav, the father-in-law of the Deputy Commissioner, in Sector 26. However, they returned empty handed, as they could not break the doors inside the house.

While talking to TNS, the Deputy Commissioner said his father-in-law, a librarian with the Haryana prosecution department, had gone to Chandigarh and decided to stay with one of his friends there only.

“My mother-in-law had gone to Lucknow with my wife,” he said.

“The attempt of theft came to light this evening when my father-in-law returned home,” he added. The locks of the iron gate in the front and the wooden doors in the back were found broken, said Yadav.

The fingerprints experts and dog squad was also put into service.



No action against GMADA
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, August 3
Even though the Adviser (technical) to the Punjab Chief Minister Lt Gen BS Dhaliwal recommended action against technical team of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) about three months ago for poor quality work on two major road projects worth crores of rupees, no action has been taken by the authorities concerned in this regard so far.

GMADA officials have been making claims that they requested the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), which is the parent body, to issue show-cause notices to certain members of the technical team, who had executed work on widening and strengthening the sector dividing road from the UT boundary to the end of Sectors 71 and 72. But according to reports, show-cause notices had not been served so far as the GMADA had failed to send the request through a proper channel and had also not provided the documents required to initiate action against officials of the technical team.

Chief Administrator, PUDA, AK Sinha, told The Tribune here today that a request to initiate action against Divisional Engineer JS Tiwana, SDO Mewa Singh and Junior Engineer Vijay Pal Sharma was received after mid-May, but the documents were returned back as the request had not been made through Chief Administrator, GMADA, and was not supported by some documents. No request for initiating action was received after the documents were sent back.

In one of the inspection reports sent to the Special Principal Secretary to the Punjab Chief Minister, Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, on April 28, General Dhaliwal had stated that the design aspects, while widening and strengthening the 53/54, 59/60 and 71/72 roads have been totally ignored; these actions of the technical officers of the department are totally unexplainable and unacceptable suitable action, as deemed fit, may be initiated against the officers, who have prepared the estimate and the officer who has approved the estimate.

When asked why show-cause notices were being issued only to officials, who executed the work, and not to those who had prepared the estimate and approved it as demanded by General Dhaliwal, Vivek Partap Singh, Chief Administrator, GMADA, said nothing was wrong with the estimates.

He said the GMADA had cancelled the agreement with the consultant hired for the work of widening and strengthening 53/54 ? road and it had also been decided to debar him for two years. As the consultant was listed with Punjab Infrastructure and Development Board, a request would be made to the board authorities to blacklist him for two years. A show-cause notice had also been issued to the contractor concerned and to debar him from work was also under consideration. Moreover, Rs 50 lakh had not been paid to the contractor and any type of repair work needed on this road would be done out of the contractor’s outstanding payment.



30 shortlisted for Entrepreneur Development Centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Entries of 30 budding entrepreneurs were shortlisted at a meeting held recently of the evaluation committee of the Chandigarh IT - TiE Business Plan Competition - EnterPrize.

Eighty-seven entrepreneurs had applied for the three assured incubation spaces at the Entrepreneur Development Centre, Chandigarh IT Park.

These shortlisted entrepreneurs will now give an elevator pitch to the jury August 8. After that, at least 12 plans will move to the finals.

Those shortlisted include Aditi Syal, Amit Arora, Ankur Tripathi, Ashish Bansal, Avi Sidhu, Deepak Syal, Gautam Malhotra, Harpreet Singh, JPS Nagra, Kanwar Inder Singh Rai, Karan Checker, Mahesh Kumar Yadav, Manish Kumar, Manu Bhandari, Manu Bhardwaj, Munish Jindal, Naresh Bharadwaj, Nishant Chandra, Pulkit Jain, Puravansh Maitreya, Rahul Gupta, Rishabh Khurana, Rishi Raj Vashist, Ritesh Ahuja, Sahil Sakhuja, Shivam Goswami, Tarun Kumar, Vinay Johar, Vinish Garg, Yuga Pokale.

The evaluation committee was chaired by Manjit Brar, director, IT, Chandigarh, and comprised Vivek Atray, former director, IT Chandigarh, Ajay Shrivastava, joint director and centre head, STPI, Partap Aggarwal, IDS Infotech, Sameer Goel, Infosys, and Puneet Vatsayan, Mobera Systems.

Expressing satisfaction at the response to the competition, Manjit Brar stated: “The objective of the Chandigarh administration to identify deserving candidates for the Entrepreneurship Development Centre has been met by the competition. This was the first time that a competition like this had been organised in the country, using the PPP model and with the government partnering with other influencers of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Puneet Vatsayan, president, TiE, Chandigarh and Punjab, said: “The competition is helping to identify and encourage the creation of export-focussed, and IT and technology-focussed enterprises.”



BRD chief promoted
ribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Air Officer Commanding No. 3 Base Repair Depot, Air Cmde SC Luthra, handed over the reins of the Depot to Gp Capt KK Gupta at a ceremonial parade here today.

He is taking over as Air Officer Engineering Services at Headquarters Maintenance Command, Nagpur, on promotion to the rank of Air Vice-Marshal.

Addressing depot personnel after reviewing the parade, Air Cmde Luthra exhorted them to continue their efforts to maintain high standards of professionalism. He urged them to imbibe the order of military discipline in all walks of life and advised the air warriors to keep abreast with the latest technological developments as the onus of maintaining sophisticated war machines of the IAF rested on their shoulders.

He also released a coffee table book on, 3 BRD, which portrays the enormous tasks undertaken by the depot since its inception.

Air Cmde Luthra had taken over the command of 3 BRD August 31, 2007. Innovations and methodologies introduced in the task of maintenance and overhaul of helicopters and aero-engines during his tenure helped in overcoming the spares crunch and also resulted in saving of foreign exchange of about Rs 90 crore. The depot was also adjudged as “Best Aircraft Maintenance Support BRD” for 2007 and 2008, consecutively.



Green belt inaugurated in Sec 47
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Dr Roshan Sunkaria, MC Commissioner, inaugurated a green belt developed in an area of around one acre in Sector 47 D here today.

Dr Sunkaria appreciated the work done by the horticulture and road-II wings under the supervision of Arun Kumar Kansal, XEN, and Sanjay Arora, XEN.

He said municipal corporation was creating better facilities for public and it was their responsibility to keep the infrastructure in order once handed over to public.

The garden has 350 plants and trees. Various types of plants like neem, hibiscus, gulmohri, cassia have been planted.

Jatinder Bhatia, area councillor, along with members of residential welfare association was present.



Four injured in accident
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 3
Four family members, including two children, were injured seriously when a speeding Swift hit them on the road seperating Sectors 11 and 4 here tonight.

The injured, identified as Sanju (40), his wife Rajni (35) and their children Aditya (4) and Akanksha (5), were admitted at the General Hosptial, Sector 6.

According to eyewitnesses, all four were going towards their home in Sector 11 when a speeding car coming from opposite side hit their motorcycle.

The injured were rushed to the hospital while the driver of teh car was arrested.



Tribune Impact
Misuse of School Funds
Controversial principal repatriated
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
In a bid to crack a whip on the principals misusing school funds, the UT administration today repatriated controversial Anil Sharma, current principal of GMSSS, Sector 23, to his parent state, Haryana, and is all set to file a chargesheet against him for the alleged embezzlement of school funds worth lakhs of rupees.

It may be recalled that The Tribune, through several reports, highlighted the ongoing misuse of school funds like PTA, particularly by Anil Sharma, during his stints as principal in GMSSS, Sector 32, and GMHS, Sector 20.

“I had initially marked an enquiry against him for the alleged embezzlement of funds. Initially ordered a suspension and placement at SIE, however, realising I was not the appointing authority, I repatriated him to the parent state and have also decided to file a chargesheet against him. Similar stern actions will be taken against any more erring principals,” said UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas.

It may be noted that the report of special audit of the “utilisation” of SSA funds in GMHS, Sector 20, during the tenure of Anil Sharma, considered expenditure worth lakhs of rupees to fall under suspected embezzlement and also revealed grave irregularities as there was no valid documentary proof for the expenditure.

Similarly, as per the information provided to a city-based RTI activist, VB Khanna. Though Anil Sharma, during his tenure at GMSSS, Sector 32, had used PTA funds for even giving gifts to DEO office, but he failed to provide any valid receipt, bill or voucher for the same.

Similarly, the expenditure done by him at GMHS, Sector 20, had no valid vouchers or bills and the receipts provided by the school had no name or signature of the recipient of the money. He also allegedly utilised the interest money of the funds, which as per law, was to be submitted under the government head. Anil Sharma has been relieved with the immediate effect.



Scholarship for minorities
UT admn invites applications
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The city administration has invited applications from the students belonging to the minority communities notified by the Central government, pursuing education, from Classes I to X, in government, recognised private school, institute for pre-matric scholarship to be awarded by the ministry of minority affairs, Government of India.

The last date for the receipt of application forms is August 15.

The applications in the prescribed format, along with requisite documents, should be submitted to the District Education Officer, Sector 9, Chandigarh, through the head of the school or institute, being attended by the student.

The objective of the scheme is to award scholarship to the meritorious students belonging to economically weaker sections of minority communities to enable them to pursue education from Classes I to X.

The scholarship will be awarded for studies in India only. Students should have not less  than 50 per cent marks in the previous final examination.

In case of students of Class I, the income criteria only would be applicable. The annual income, from all sources of the students’ parents or guardians should not exceed Rs 1 lakh.

A scholarship holder under this scheme will not be able to avail any other scholarship or stipend for pursuing the same course. Scholarship will not be given more than two students in a family.

Around 30 per cent of the scholarships will be earmarked for girl students. In case girl students are not available, then the scholarships earmarked for them will be awarded to eligible boy students.



Ragging at PU
Accused get 14-day judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
A local court today remanded two Panjab University students to judicial custody for ragging a first year student.

The court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMIC) Mahesh Kumar, today remanded the two, Saurabh Nandel and Rupesh, to 14 days of judicial custody.

Saurabh, who was suspended from the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), had surrendered at the Sector 11 police station yesterday.

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

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.



Education Board
Dr Bajwa allowed to continue as vice-chairman
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Dr Ranjeet Singh Bajwa remains the vice-chairman of the Punjab School Education Board.

A Division Bench of Justice JS Khehar and Justice SD Anand today allowed Dr Bajwa’s petition for allowing him to continue as vice-chairman of the board till January 2, 2010, taking up Dr Bajwa’s petition filed through counsel GS Bal, the high court had observed: “The appellant was appointed as the vice-chairman vide notification dated December 29, 2006, upto May 30.

“He filed a writ petition, wherein it was prayed that he be permitted to continue as vice-chairman of the board till January 2, 2010, as he was to complete three years on that date. This prayer of the petitioner was rejected vide the impugned judgment against which he has preferred the patent appeal”.

The Bench also took a note of the submission that the Section 5 (1) of the Punjab School Education Board Act, 1969, says the term of office of the chairman and the vice-chairman shall be of three years from the date of publication of notification.

But in view of a proviso, the appellant was appointed as the vice-chairman upto May 30, as he was to attain the age of 62 on that date.

However, “Vide notification dated May 5, 2008, an amendment has been introduced in the Punjab School Education Board Act, according to which the upper age limit to the office of the chairman and the vice-chairman has been increased to
65 years.

“Thus, according to the counsel, the appellant is entitled to continue at least for a period of three years from the date of his initial appointment, which he will complete on January 2, 2010.

“It is further contended that in view of the amendment, the appellant is entitled to complete three years in the office as the vice-chairman, and the bar of appointment up to the age of 62 does not subsist.”

Taking up a petition by the Board’s legal adviser-cum-law officer Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya, Justice MM Kumar and Justice Jaswnat Singh issued notice of motion for August 10 to the Punjab education secretary and other respondents. In her petition, Saroya claimed amendments had been made in the essential qualifications for the post of the secretary, and the controller of examination contained in the notification of March 9, to her disadvantage.

This, she added, was to oust from the consideration zone for appointment to both these posts. She also sought quashing of the amendments carried out in utter haste.



CityScope Letters-II
Understanding childs’ psychology must for teachers

This refers to the City Scope “No room for the rod” (July 27) by Raveen Thukral. A schoolteacher of St John High School had slapped and humiliated a student of Class III was shocking. After the incident, an inquiry was conducted by a city SDM. The authorities of the private school have sacked the teacher, who was found guilty.

The teachers generally loose temper and humiliate students in the classroom. It is dangerous when classmates laugh on a student. The writer has rightly stated that the good academic qualification and high marks cannot make good teachers but when a teacher who reads the psychology of a child and analyse the mental and physical challenge of the students can be a good teacher. Teachers can put remarks about the progress of a student in a school diary.

In this case, the teacher had denied all allegations and said she was being falsely implicated.

ML Garg

Parents should be patient

Despite the fact that corporal punishment is banned but occasionally sporadic incidents do take place. The latest one is probably the first time that a schoolteacher’s service has been terminated.

If a slight scolding or a little punishment is imposed, this should not be treated under the economical melt down or geopolitical upheaval. The relationship between a teacher and children is that of “Guru-Chela” and instructively peaceful and abundant in love.

Heavens would not fall, if sometime, teachers have used harsh language or even slapped once in a while, that is certainly not in the interest of teacher, rather in the interest of student. Parents should learn to bear a little, if it is in the interest of their ward, as nothing goes unpaid in this universe.

Everything in teacher-pupil relationship works with perfect harmony and in a continuous cause and effect manner. However, before harping, we should also look into our heart how many of us have not passed through this corporal punishment.

SK Khosla

Time for behavioural approach

I hope after the incident, that teacher is able to settle in life, she might not get a job in any school in the city but I am more worried about the child who has become an over night hero.

In our times when the teacher reprimanded us we could never tell it to our parents for the fear of further reprimanding.

We always had one thing clear in our minds that teachers work in our interest only and that is why we always bowed before our teachers.

But these days when a teacher is terminated from service for slapping a student how can a student have any respect for the teacher?

I don’t think that this student will ever respect teachers. Though I know that we should take care of students in every best manner so that they can flourish but at the same time the respect of teacher is also more important.

Some formal line between the behavioural approach of teacher and students needs to be drawn.

Kumar Guarav

Consider teachers’ problems

In a city where teachers are serving on ad hoc basis from the past more than ten years on a paltry salary (without PF and increment benefits) and during recent strike they were canned/beaten, it is ridiculous that a teacher from private school, having more than ten years experience has been terminated from service forcibly (no show-cause notice was served on her).

As per reports, the teacher is planning to go to high court. DPI Schools is the executive officer for school matters, but in this case he was not asked to conduct a probe and kept at bay. Instead, a senior officer having no connection with the education department was asked to conduct an inquiry.

Education department should take a quick action for solving the problems of teachers.

Otherwise, impression goes that the episode for terminating the service of the teacher was stage managed under pressure, which has left the greater issue of corporal punishment to students far behind and forgotten.


Shun ego

In a thought-provoking article, the issue has been aptly and sensibly touched upon. It has been rightly reminded and remarked “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 extremely insensitive, which teachers should avoid.”

Students have impressionable mind and when anything that gets etched on their mind, it is difficult to erase that impression and thus it hampers their growth, self-confidence and hurts their self-esteem to an irreparable point.

This menace does not stop here in schools rather it has unfortunately spread to all walks of life.

It is unfortunate that these days it is fashion and considered as a privilege to humiliate and hurt someone’s self-esteem be it a teacher-taught relation or a relation of rich-poor, trader-customer etc.

The need of the hour is to teach and practise values and shun egoistic view and consider all human beings as respected citizens.

Harbans Singh Chopra



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