C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Babla courts trouble again
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
The police today booked Devinder Singh Babla, MC councillor and former chairman of the Market Committee, and Rakesh Saini, president of the Arhtiya Association of the Sector 26 Grain Market, for allegedly allotting platforms in the grain market to 10 ineligible persons.

According to the police, Suraj Parkash Ahuja, owner of shops no. 9-10 in grain market, lodged a complaint alleging that irregularities were committed during the auctioning and allotting of platforms in the market on July 24.

It was alleged that the accused had manipulated the list of allottees to accommodate their men. As per the original list, a total of 59 platforms were to be allotted during an auction against a licence fee. The accused not only allegedly deleted names of six genuine allottees, but also added more names, thus bringing the number of allottees to 69. The platforms, which were originally distributed among 59 allottees, were ultimately allotted to 69 persons.

An inquiry was entrusted to Additional Deputy Commissioner PS Shergill, who found Babla and Saini guilty. The police has sent the inquiry report to the senior standing council for legal opinion and a case of cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy has been registered at the Sector 26 police station.

A senior police official said they would see whether Babla and the Saini had the authority to delete and add names in the list of allotees. The ineligibility of 10 persons, whose names were allegedly incorporated in the list, would also be verified to establish the fraud, he said.

The official said the police would scrutinise every document, including application forms submitted for the platforms against the licence fee. 



Bed & Breakfast scheme scrapped
Admn to modify guidelines, invite fresh applications
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
Following reports of irregularities, the UT administration today scrapped the ‘Bed and Breakfast’ scheme in its present format. Started with much fanfare, the administration will now start the scheme afresh with special emphasis on monitoring mechanism. Officials said that fresh memorandum of understandings (MoUs) would be signed for the scheme. The administration is also working on the modalities to modify its guidelines to avoid its misuse.

In the absence of checks, this scheme was being run in parallel competition with the hotels in the organised sector, especially the budget hotels in Sectors 24, 22 and 35.

Instead of providing supplementary accommodation with homely comforts to the tourists, it became more of a core business venture. The operators entered into pact with corporate firms, students and even locals. All this was being managed by engaging professional cooks, managers and supporting staff.

The operators were also found offering more than the prescribed limit of rooms and extra beds at additional charges.

Admitting that the scheme has been scrapped in its present form, Director, Tourism, Samwarthak Singh said: “These were lapses which led to such blatant violations. But we would be more vigilant now. Fresh guidelines would be issued and fresh applications would be invited for scheme.”

He said a list of violators had already been submitted to the Home Secretary and the wrongdoers would not be spared, he added.

A scrutinising committee headed by CITCO general manager AK Malhotra had found that at house no. 1560, Sector 18, the operator used to offer his three-storey one-kanal accommodation to students, corporate officials and even local residents. Recently, a group of students stayed in five rooms from August 9 to 12 and the booking was through an address #1653/2, Sector 42-B, Chandigarh.

Ironically, the two addresses, house no 9, Sector 21-A, and house no. 116, Sector 21-A, shared same website www.roaylinn22.com. Against 86 rooms, only 17 bills were issued and overwriting was found in the records to show guests’ entry from house no. 9 to House no 116. At house no. 9, even discounts were being offered as a commercial business transaction and names like “Delhi House Bed and Breakfast” were adopted to attract visitors.

Another operator at house no. 528, Sector 18-D, had engaged a full-fledged manager along with other staff. “Here, rooms were given to company officials and only 56 bills have been issued against more than 200 entries,” said UT officials.

Similarly, at #3052, Sector 20-D, six officials of Erricsson company were allotted rooms on July 19 and 20, who checked out on July 21 and 22.

Interestingly, another operator at his premises #1130 in Sector 21-B used to offer accommodation by providing beds in the open hall and the receipts of Hotel Ashiana, Sector 22, were issued.

2 operators withdraw names

The two operators - Gulshan Lal Bhatia and Gaurav Dhir - registered under the scheme through their residential premises in Sectors 20-D and 18-B, have withdrawn their names from the scheme. The scrutinising committee had found both of them violating norms.

Though a majority of the scheme operators were found to be on the wrong side for misusing their premises and fleecing the visitors, the official website www.chandigarhtourism.gov.in still carries the antecedents of “stained” operators. Obviously, the possibility of cheating the tourists cannot be ruled out. 



Lawyer turns outlaw
Held on charges of impersonation, cheating, forgery
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
The police today arrested a city-based advocate, Jatinder Mohan Bajaj, on the charges of impersonation, cheating and forgery. The police said the advocate stood as a surety to a man impersonating a person who died 30 years back for fraudulently transferring a four-kanal house of the dead man.

The investigating officer said that Bajaj, a resident of Sector 11, was arrested today. He was produced before a local court, which remanded him to judicial custody.

The investigating officer said that Satwant Singh, the owner of house no. 1025 in Sector 8 had died in 1989. He bequeathed a four-kanal house to his grandsons who live in their farmhouse in Naisrpur village near Bhadurgarh in Patiala. They left a caretaker at the house. One Joga Singh, a thug, came to know about the property. He hatched a conspiracy to grab the house and arranged a man who agreed to impersonate Satwant Singh.

As per his designs, Joga transferred the house in the name Swaranjit Singh, manager of the co-operative bank for societies in Sector 30. Bajaj and one Jasbir Singh stood as surety to the impersonator of Satwant Singh.

Sarabjit Singh, the grandson of Satwant Singh, came to know about the fraud and lodged a complaint with the police on September 23, 2008. The police probed the matter and found that the accused had impersonated and forged documents to grab the property.

The investigating officer said that Joga Singh was arrested three months back and Jasbir Singh of Saidpur village was arrested on Tuesday. 



Ma’am, this is not London!
NRI woman accuses CTU staff of harassment
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
Even as the UT administration has dubbed NRIs as ambassadors and their guests, the ground realities are otherwise. For, the recent initiative of the administration to give special treatment to women passengers by launching ‘ladies specials’ buses has gone for a toss with an NRI woman having a harrowing time at the hands of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU) staff.

The incident took place on Tuesday at a bus stop in Sector 22 when a CTU bus driver and a conductor allegedly humiliated an NRI, who works for a UK-based NGO. Upset over the treatment meted out to her, the victim today lodged a complaint with the UT SSP, seeking action against the CTU employees.

Interestingly, the incident occurred three days after the administration announced the launch of an ‘NRI Cell’ on the Independence Day and organising a convention on the theme “NRIs are ambassadors and our guests”.

In her complaint, the NRI said the driver did not stop the bus at the designated place and she had to run to catch the bus.

When she objected to the bus conductor about the behaviour of the driver, they laughed at her, she said.

Not only this, the conductor told her that this was not London and also used derogatory language against her, following which some youngsters travelling in the bus burst into laughter, saying “hello London” to her, alleged the NRI.

The drama went on for about half-an-hour even after she disembarked the bus at the Sector 22 subway.

The youngsters alighted the bus after her and kept on making fun of her, she alleged.

In her complaint to the SSP, the NRI said the incident took place at around 8 am on Tuesday. The bus route no. 22, registration number CH-01-G-5857, did not stop at the designated place, where she was waiting to go to Panjab University. She alleged that it was not for the first time that the bus was not stopped at the designated place, as earlier also the bus driver ignored her on several occasions. Fearing she might get late for work, she was forced to call her husband to drop her at the university, owing to the irresponsible behaviour of the CTU staff.

“I felt so humiliated that I could not concentrate on my work the whole day. It is a good initiative that the CTU has started buses for the ladies, but it will not work if the drivers and the conductors do not learn to respect women, she said.

The NRI told TNS that she had sent her complaint through e-mail and was waiting for action. 



‘Tipsy’ cops misbehave with PU girl student
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
An inmate of Panjab University hostel no. 2, Neha, in her complaint to the varsity officials and ASP Madhur Verma, has accused police officials of the Sector 11 police station of being drunk on duty and misbehaving with her last night while investigating her complaint of a missing laptop.

According to the complainant, her laptop was stolen from the hostel room. “I realised that my laptop was missing at around 10.30. I called the warden who said to wait till morning. Seeing no response, I tried to approach the DSW (W), but to no avail. Failing to find any support, I had to call the police. However, the cops started misbehaving the moment they reached the hostel,” she alleged.

They all were in an inebriated condition, she alleged, adding that it was then that she sought help from her male classmates.

“A police official insisted that he wanted to see the place, but the warden was not ready for it. Moreover, the cops were continuously misbehaving with us. We called up the SSP office at night where we were told that the SHO would contact us. The SHO, called us later and when we started demanding the medical of police officials and threatened to get a lawyer, he claimed he had registered a complaint against the cops,” said Neha’s friend, Abhishek.

However, ASP Madhur Verma denied that the cops were drunk. “Yes the girl spoke to me today about the incident. However, the SHO clarified that none of the cops was drunk. I have marked an inquiry into the incident,” he said.

Meanwhile, members of the NSUI held a protest against the varsity officials on the campus. 


Help from retired judges pays
High Court sees reduction in pendency of cases
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
For the first time in recent past, the number of cases disposed of by the Punjab and Haryana High Court has been more than the filing, signifying a reduction in the pendency of cases. The number of matters disposed of was 2,300, which was more than the filed cases.

The situation has been expected to improve further with Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur making it clear that he was not averse to the idea of recommending names of the Bar members for elevation.

Even in the lower judiciary, the situation has been expected to register an improvement with the high court amending the rules for the appointment of additional District and Sessions judges. The mandatory condition of clearing Hindi examination in Haryana had been relaxed and the percentage had been lowered for the SC/ST candidates.

Already, the high court’s initiative of seeking the assistance of retired judges to dispose of the cases to cut down on pendency had paid. It had been widely appreciated during the conference of the Chief Justices and the Chief Ministers held in New Delhi recently and the other high courts have been expected to follow suit. For the purpose, delegates from the high courts like Allahabad have been expected to visit the high court.

It has been believed that the initiative had helped the high court to deliver speedier and cost effective justice. Chief Justice Thakur reportedly informed that just about Rs 247 per case were being spent, as against Rs 1,500 per case before the regular Benches.

According to information, Chief Justice Thakur would soon set the ball rolling for elevating the Bar members to the Bench. He has been expected to ask the judges to draw a list of suitable candidates. The process, started earlier also, was kept in abeyance till the elevation of the three District and Sessions judges.

The elevation and other moves have been a part of the high court's resolve to cut down the pendency. Until recently, approximately 12 lakh cases had been under process of adjudication in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Another 2.5 lakh cases had been pending before the courts.

The high court had already launched a concerted drive to bring down the number of cases. The number of public interest litigations was 850, when Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur took over in August last year. The number had come down to just over 100, with the high court taking up only significant cases.



Divider unites rival student groups in protest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
A high drama continued at the Panjab University gate no. 3 today when the members of the student groups- SOPU and PUSU continued their protest against the divider on the road in front of UIET.

The protest that was spearheaded by the student organisation PUSU and later joined by SOPU started last night with the members of both the groups sitting on a dharna that later transformed into a hunger strike with a demand to create a gap for U turn.

The traffic police, however, will review the divider and based on its report the administration will decide upon creating a U turn.

While the university authorities kept on insisting that they could not do anything about the issue, as it came under the jurisdiction of administration, the groups refused to get up and several supporters thronged the site keeping police and security staff on heels.

“This divider costs every student petrol worth Rs 10 to reach UIET. The university should support the cause and approach administration in our favour. We have given them several memorandums, but of no use, so had to finally resort to it to make our voices heard,” said Simranjit Dhillon, president, PUSU.

While the SOPU is also staging a similar strike they have made a surprising yet inspiring decision by declaring to abstain from any protest till the elections, as it disrupts the normal work.

“We realise that such protests are an inconvenience to everyone. Prior to this, we have got substantiate success in getting student demands like lifting of dress code at HSJ medical college and voting rights for students of UIAMS in a peaceful manner. Rather than sitting we will reach out to students and authorities acting as a bridge to achieve our motto of a dream campus. Peaceful conduct will be our campaign strategy,” said Brinder Dhillon, president of SOPU, in a statement issued to the media.



Surprise check by DC
Anomalies found in midday meal scheme
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 19
The appointed Deputy Commissioner of Fatehgarh Sahib Yashvir Mahajan today conducted surprise check in various government schools of the district. Besides, he also enquired about various schemes under the MidDay Meal, National Rural Health Mission and NAREGA schemes.

ADC (D) Pradeep Singh Kaleke, Bassi Pathana and SDM Puneet Shergill accompanied the DC. He visited Ghumangar village where he found certain anomalies in the distribution of rice and wheat among children. He found that the quantity of food stored in the school was not up to the mark. He has written to the District Education Officer and demanded an immediate report.

He also visited some dispensaries where he found that some staff members were missing and he instructed the Chief Medical Officer to take action.

He also instructed various pinhead officers in different villages to initiate cleanliness drive in villages.



UB Group to organise wine fairs
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
The Vijay Mallya-owned UB Group has brought in a unique marketing strategy to promote its wines in the domestic market. From organising wine fairs to wine trails and wine tourism to wine tasting sessions, the company is going all out to promote wine consumption in the country.
Sanjay Roy
Sanjay Roy

The company, Four Seasons Wines Limited, a subsidiary of the UB Group, which ventured into wine production two years ago, has outlined almost 50 per cent of its total turnover this year for this unique marketing plan.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Sanjay Roy, senior general manager, sales and marketing (wines), UB Group, said they were tying up with corporates across India to organise special wine trails for their executives. This includes special wine tasting sessions, awareness on wineries and wine production, teaching wine etiquettes and organising wine appreciation sessions.

“We are also tying up with wine clubs, which have sprung up across all major cities in India, and are organising special wine appreciation sessions with them. Besides, wine tourism is also being promoted in a big way at our winery in Baramati,” he said.

A part of the winery in Baramati will house 14 well-equipped rooms, along with recreational facilities and a pantry that could host 700 persons at a time. The company intends to get into wine tourism and expand the wine category by building on all-round lifestyle concept.



Recruitment drive on for BTech students
Tribune News Service

Kharar, August 19
Rayat-Bahra Group of Institutes inaugurated its campus recruitment drive for BTech 2010 with JK Technosoft Ltd, Noida. As many as 80 students from Panjab University, Chandigarh, and Rayat-Bahra, Ropar and Mohali campuses participated.

The drive started with Prince Harjai, manager of JK Technosoft Ltd, Noida, taking question-answer rounds. Ravinder Rawat, manager-software development, held pre-placement talks followed by a 90 minute technical and aptitude test.

Dr Sandeep Kaura, AMD Rayat-Bahra, said Panasonic Corporation and Hamilton Infotech Softwares were in pipeline for BTech 2010 and would participate in the drive in August. He added that global electronics MNC Panasonic Corporation would be conducting campus recruitment for BTech (ECE, CSE and IT) students on August 22.

Similarly, Hamilton Infotech Softwares, would conduct recruitment on August 26.



47 pc less rainfall this year
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
The city has recorded 47 per cent less rainfall during this monsoon as compared to the normal average this year. According to the records, the city received 322.3 mm of rainfall from June 1 to August 19, as against the normal average rainfall of 613.7 mm.

According to met officials, the city will not receive even the normal average rainfall this year, as in June the city only received 11.0 mm rainfall, which was a clear indication of a weak monsoon this season.

According to the officials, the city normally receives 425.1 mm of rainfall from June to August 5, whereas this year the city received just 237 mm of rainfall. The maximum temperature recorded today was 28 °C and minimum temperature 22 °C.

The met officials have forecast cloudy sky with rise in day’s temperature and fall in night’s temperature tomorrow.

The maximum temperature on Thursday is expected to be 31 °C and minimum temperature 22 °C. Director, met department, Chattar Singh said less rainfall during pre-monsoon showers indicated weak monsoon this year.

He said there was a little chance of the city touching the figure of normal average rainfall this year.

He added that the current weather phenomena could be explained by two factors: First, the absence of formation of low pressure over the Bay of Bengal. This time, even the low pressure belts are shifting away from this particular area.

Second, this time their movements are also not northwesterly. Low-pressure systems over the Bay of Bengal are a must to intensify rains. Or else, the situation will remain much the same.

Waterlogging at plaza

Thanks to the faulty construction by the MC engineering department, water accumulated at the newly renovated plaza in Sector 17 after rain today. Workers had to remove water from the paved area with brooms to ensure the safety of pedestrians. Area councillor Pardeep Chhabra said the issue had been taken up with the engineering department but no action had been taken so far.



Edu dept orders transfer of 83 schoolteachers 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
As many as 83 schoolteachers and masters have been transferred according to a fresh order issued by the UT education department today. This includes 14 lecturers, 22 primary teachers (eight JBT and four NTT) and 47 masters/mistresses.

Though the department mentions that the transfers have been made on the request basis, there is disagreement from certain quarters on the issue.

“Strangely, the teachers who were transferred recently have been sent back to the same school now. However, those who are teaching in a school for more than ten years now are still in the same school. This is violation of the existing transfer policy. There must be timely transfers of UT cadre teachers,” said Vinod Sharma, president, Government Teacher’s Union.

Meanwhile, the recent promotion of two-government school principals, Jasbir Kaur and Anita Lekhi (orders for which were issued on August 13), whose names were not cleared in the Department Promotion Committee (DPC) on July 2, has also raised eyebrows on the mechanism of promotions and the annual confidential report, ACR, of the two of them.

“The promotions of these two principals has raised many eyebrows, since their names had been rejected in the DPC earlier. On what basis have they been promoted when their ACRs were not up to the mark?” questioned a government school principal on anonymity.

Meanwhile, senior official of the department justified the promotions and said it was not done in a fair manner.



Objection to removal of security tents
Admn to take legal opinion
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
Sparing a thought for the security aspect of ministers and some judges, the UT administration today decided to put the issue pertaining to security tents pitched on public land adjoining their residences to senior standing counsel for legal opinion before taking any action.

Confirming this, Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar said: “Since the matter related to the security of some bureaucrats and judges, a legal opinion would be sought before reviving action against the encroachers. Senior standing counsel Anupam Gupta would be asked to deliberate the issue with the Chief Justice of India.”

After the issue was highlighted by The Tribune, the municipal corporation had identified 80 such sites where security tents had been pitched on public places, leading to inconvenience to residents living in the vicinity.

The High Court had taken suo motu cognizance of the matter and issued directions to the administration to remove the encroachments.

The municipal corporation conducted a two-day special drive and identified 80 such sites.

Under the drive, around 30 tents were removed. However, during the campaign, certain objections were raised by prominent persons, including security staff of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, All-India Anti-Terrorist Front president Maninderjeet Singh Bitta and the family of former Chief Minister Beant Singh along with some judges, to the removal of security tents from the vicinity of their residences.

Also, UT IG SK Jain wrote to the municipal corporation to review the removal of tents of some of VIPs because of their security issue.

Thereafter, the corporation approached the administration seeking further directions in the matter.



Garbage Plant
Two scientists to probe cause of stench
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
Even as the UT administration has asked two scientists from the Council for Science and Technology to monitor the functioning of the garbage processing plant at Dadu Majra, its promoters Jai Prakash Associates have demanded a probe into the complaints of foul smell emanating from the unit.

After a visit of Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar to the unit this morning, it was decided that two independent scientists would examine the reason behind the emanation of foul smell from the site of the unit and submit a report.

Kumar also issued instructions to the pollution control board, UT, to monitor round-the-clock the functioning of the plant for five days and submit its report to the administration.

Sanjay Kumar said as the problem was affecting the environment of the city, action would be taken under the environment law.

He added that after the receipt of the report from the board, if it was found that the plant was not fully functional, decision would be taken on penalising the company.

However, company spokesperson Brig RS Shotha said his company was not aware of the cause of foul smell around the site. They had made a request to the administration to conduct an investigation into the cause of the smell.

He denied the allegation that the company was burning garbage in the plant due to which foul smell was spreading in the area. He, however, claimed that the plant was functioning properly, so there was no need of burning garbage.

Meanwhile, a special meeting of councillors of municipal corporation was held on the issue of non-functional status of the plant due to which foul smell was emanating from the unit.

The councillors, under the chairmanship of Mayor Kamlesh, met the Finance Secretary seeking action against the company.



Citizen facilitation centre upgraded
More departments brought under its ambit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
The engineering department has upgraded its single window citizen facilitation centre, which was initially started for lodging complaints related to engineering works alone. The facilitation centre remains open 24x7.

Residents can call 4639999 for complaints relating to some other departments as well.

UT spokesperson said complaint redressal had become faster as the field staff of the complaint centre in respective areas had been provided with mobile phones for receiving and responding to calls of the facilitation centre.

The consumers can register their complaints relating to various departments at a single number where calls are received on six dedicated lines.

Wherever possible, a feedback of the redressal time would be given to the complainant.

Around 10 operators work day and night in three shifts, supervised by a supervisor at the centre.

For grievances relating to the electricity department, residents can lodge complaints of power failure, burning of meter, voltage fluctuation, fire on power poles, malfunctioning of phases, feeder tripping, transformer fire, current leakage, defective switches/sockets, internal wiring, lifts and non-functioning streetlights.

Complaints of the forest department include conservation of forests, deforestation and illegal quarrying of minerals, while complaints of the public health department include pipe/toilet leakage, sewer blockage and faulty water meters.

Complaints pertaining to the municipal corporation include flooding from drains, sewers, streams or ditches, litter, dog nuisance, pest control, road construction/other construction activity and collection waste.

Complaints pertaining to the state transport authority, the Deputy Commissioner’s office and pollution control department will also be received under the initiative.

The complaints of these departments include vehicular pollution, use of polythene bags, discharge of industrial waste water and air emission from stationary sources, disposal of hospital waste, bio-medical, waster from clinics, nursing homes and disposal of industrial hazardous waste.

Also, complaints related to the police department and the local bodies department will be taken up and these include nuisance due to noise, smoke and smell problems.

Complaints of the construction department (I) include caving in of roads, construction of road berms, material stacking along roadside, illegal roadside blocking, potholes in road and traffic hindrance, while those of the construction department (II) include broken glass panes, fixing of door/window/cupboard fittings, flooring or roof leakage and painting and plastering in government buildings.



3-year-old killed as bus hits rehri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 19
A three-year-old child, Govinda, was crushed while his parents identified as Parvati and Lekhraj got injured when a Haryana Roadways bus hit a rehri, which Lekhraj was pulling near Nada Sahib here today. They both were admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 6.

The family was involved in begging to earn livelihood.

According to Parvati, she along with his son Govinda was sitting on the rehri while Lekhraj was pulling the rehri when the bus hit it from the side and all of them fell on the road.

Govinda was crushed under the tyres of the bus leading to his death on the spot, while the parents were shifted to the hospital. The police impounded the bus and driver was arrested.



Parking problem acute in Phase I
Our Correspondent

Cars parked outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Mohali on Wednesday.
Cars parked outside the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Mohali on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, August 19
Even though the problem of parking exists in different parts of the town, it is seen to be more acute near the district administrative complex in Phase I.

The road leading from Franco towards the Phase I barrier is narrow and the parking area outside the market and offices is also very little, compelling residents to park their vehicles on road sides. This leads to traffic congestion, especially when heavy vehicles like buses pass on that road.

Vehicles are also seen parked on the footpath area outside the offices of the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP.

Though a paid parking is made available near the district complex, a number of cars are daily seen parked on the road and the traffic police fails to take any action in this regard due to shortage of space for parking of vehicles.



Free health camp by SBI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
The State Bank of India, personal banking branch, Sector 17-A, organised a free bone mineral density (BMD) test camp for its customers here today.

The camp was organised in association with the Bone & Joint Care Clinic, Chandigarh, under the supervision of Dr Harinderjit Bhatia and Dr Arvinder S Bhatia.

At least 153 customers were examined during the camp. After examination, necessary precautionary measures were advised to them. To create further awareness among them, a PowerPoint presentation was also made.



Raise entry gates to check thefts: Police
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 19
While the police claims to have important leads in its hands regarding the robberies at a liquor vend in Mansa Devi Complex and the petrol pump of Sector 5 last week, the district police chief feels the raise of entry gates in the residential areas would help in bringing down the crime graph as such crimes in housing societies and a part of Sector 6, were found negligible.

“We have got important leads in both the robberies and it was expected that the accused will be in the net of the police very soon,” said Dhillon. The police parties were working upon the strategy to contain thefts in the town, which has seen a sharp increase in the recent times, he said.

The patrolling in the nights has been increased and nakas were being set up at different locations and different times so that criminals found it difficult to move freely, he added.

The things, however, were not so easy to do with limited resources and that also in a town like Panchkula, a de facto capital of the state, which houses headquarters of several departments and residences of VIPs, said Dhillon.

Raising of entry gates in the localities where it was viable could change things for betterment as while perusing a data of thefts, vehicle lifting, and robberies in the residential areas, it was observed that these crimes were rarely reported in Sector 20 where people live in housing societies protected by boundary walls and visitors were noticed by the gatekeepers, said Superintendent of Police Amitabh Dhillon.

Similarly, in a part of Sector 6, where people have raised the entry gates, such crimes have reduced to nil, he added.

Now, it has been observed that thieves have been targeting the locked houses during the day as more than 5,000 houses in the town remain locked at this time when the families move out for their jobs and neighbours remain oblivious to their surroundings as happened in yesterday’s incident when nobody reacted to the calls for help by Jatinder, the victim of burglary in Sector 12-A.

It was not an easy task to guard such a big number of locked houses throughout the town with a little over 750 police personnel in a district with four towns of Panchkula, Pinjore, Kalka and Raipur Rani, along with hundreds of villages and two national highways.

Moreover, it was also noticed that majority of thefts were reported from sectors near the Zirakpur areas like 12, 4, 21, and 16, he said, adding that the miscreants find it easy to sneak into the other territory after committing the crime, added Dhillon.



Sterilisation scheme goes to the dogs
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
The dog sterilisation scheme of the municipal corporation is going to the dogs. Even as the city is virtually being held to ransom by over 8,000 stray dogs, the civic body has been able to sterilise only 2,467 dogs.

This, despite the fact that last year the authorities had hired five organisations, including two NGOs and three private doctors, for sterilising stray dogs.

Private doctors quit the scheme midway, dealing a severe blow to the ambitious programme.

Since the NGO, People For Animal (PFA), was not charging anything from the corporation for the service, it was not accountable to the corporation.

The issue had been raised at several meetings of the sanitation committee, wherein members wanted the PFA to be accountable to the corporation and in return be paid for the sterilisation of dogs.

Practically, another NGO, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), has been the one left to do the job.

Last year, the SPCA sterilised 1,684 dogs, PFA 617 dogs and three private doctors 166 dogs.

On the condition of anonymity, officials said though the authorities hired the organisations, there was no check on their performance.

Even the sterilisation charges to the NGOs were meager, which virtually dissuaded them for providing services.

Sources said the corporation paid Rs 370 per dog to both NGOs and Rs 800 per dog to private doctors.

Under the scheme, the authorities divide the area among the organisation and ask them to submit a monthly report about the sterilisation done.

At a recent meeting of the sanitation committee, the issue was taken up again and it was proposed to call expression of interest from interested parties for dog sterilisation.

The need for hiring more organisations for sterilisation and strict monitoring were also discussed.

Sanitation committee chairman Chander Mukhi Sharma said the corporation was going to hire more organisations for carrying out sterilisation, as the present infrastructure was insufficient.



IT survey on premises of 3 business groups
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
In a major scrutiny drive in the region, the income tax department carried out survey on business premises of various three well-known business groups, including Dev Darshan Overseas, pharmaceutical drug manufacturers and suppliers of prefabricated structures, today.

According to sources, income tax officials swooped down on 11 premises of various groups under the supervision of GS Randhawa, IT Commissioner (CIT I).

The survey was held at all units of these groups in different parts of the region, including Chandigarh.

“Five premises of Dev Darshan at various places in Industrial Area, Phase II, and Hallo Majra, Chandigarh, three premises of SCOTTEDIL Pharmacia Limited (manufacturer of pharmaceutical products) at Solan and Chandigarh and BNAL prefab (suppliers of prefabricated) at Baddi, including Chandigarh, were surveyed,” said the sources.

They added: “The Dev Darshan group had not only concealed property transactions but also tried to hide facts about advance payments made by them to purchase land.”

While the officials refused to divulge details of the outcome of the surveys, sources in the IT department said multi-crore tax evasion had been detected after the examination of records of these group.

Additional Commissioner, range I, Rajeshwar Yadav declined to divulge details as the operations were still on.

“Once the department is able to calculate the extent of concealed income by the proprietor of these groups on the basis of information collected during the surveys and details of high-value transactions, a survey report will be prepared and due tax liability raised against the business group,” Rajeshwar said.



PGI starts testing swine flu samples
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
The department of virology, PGI, has started testing samples for swine flu cases. Officials of the PGI administration are learnt to have successfully cleared the preconditions set by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) to become the first swine flu diagnostic laboratory in Punjab.

According to Dr RK Rathor, head of virology department and in-charge of swine flu laboratory: “We had 10 samples for testing and reports of all tests were found negative today.”

So far, the UT health department, including the PGI, had to send throat swabs of suspected swine flu patients to the NICD, New Delhi, and wait for at least two days to get a final report.

The operation of the diagnostic laboratory at the PGI would save time and airfare for transportation of the samples to New Delhi.

Meanwhile, two new cases of H1N1 influenza were reported at government hospitals today.



24-hr hotline power connection 
Delay costs water supply wing dear
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, August 19
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) is taking an inordinately long time to clear the case for the provision of a 24-hour hotline power connection to the waterworks in Sector 57 putting thousands of water consumers to inconvenience.

However, efforts are now being made by PSEB officials here to avoid imposing seven-hour long power cuts on the waterworks till it is equipped with a hotline connection.

The provision of a hotline, which will improve the supply of water to residents of Phases IX to XI and Sectors 70 and 71, has already been hanging fire for about two years, thanks to the indifferent attitude of the water supply and sanitation wing as well as the PSEB.

Earlier, the water supply wing failed to deposit Rs 1.99 lakh for the hotline connection and now it is the PSEB which is sitting over the case for the past about two months. None of these departments have bothered to realise the urgency of providing a better essential service to the public.

Strangely, even MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu has been unable to convince the government officials concerned for providing the hotline power connection on a priority basis.

Councillor Gurmeet Singh Walia, living in Phase XI, said pressure of water remained low in the area and those living at the first floor level and above had not been able to get water for the past three months. Water was stored at the ground level and later pumped up with the help of motors.

Inderjit Singh Kang, executive engineer of the water supply and sanitation wing, said a request for the hotline connection was made to the PSEB in June, but so far the authorities concerned had failed to give the required approval in this regard. He said this was brought to the notice of Deputy Commissioner Prabhjot Singh Mand on August 13 in the presence of PSEB officials who asked water supply wing to pursue 
the case.

According to sources, the water supply and sanitation wing made a request to the PSEB in 2007 to provide a hotline connection to the water treatment plant so that power cuts imposed in the town did not affect its functioning.

The PSEB then prepared an estimate of Rs 1.99 lakh for the work and asked the water supply wing to deposit the amount so that work on providing the hotline could be initiated. But unfortunately nobody bothered to deposit the amount with the PSEB.

It is learnt that after the water supply wing made a request for the hotline connection about two months ago, a fresh estimate for the work was prepared which has been sent to the higher authorities for the required sanction. The water supply and sanitation wing would now have to pay Rs 2.25 lakh for the work.

The water treatment plant, which has a capacity of 5 mgd, was constructed by GMADA about 10 years ago. It was not equipped with a hotline connection because there were no power cuts in Mohali at that time.



Death of property dealer
No injury marks on body: Doctors

Chandigarh, August 19
Even as the post-mortem examination of Rajwinder Singh Attwal, a city-based property dealer who died mysteriously a few days ago, failed to establish the cause behind his death, the doctors said the body did not have any external injury marks, the police said yesterday.

The police station-39 SHO Janak Rana said doctors had sent the vicera samples for chemical examination to ascertain the exact cause of the death.

He, however, confirmed that the post-mortem report did not mention any external injury marks on the body. Rajwinder’s family, while expressing doubts over his death, had on Monday claimed that they had seen injury marks on the victim’s neck, arms and chest. His eyes were bulging out and lips were swollen.

They had pointed the finger of suspicion at Rajwinder’s wife and held her responsible for his death. — TNS



Speaking Out
MC should act

Where even after eight years of a hung proposal of a dog pound, stray dogs in the city continue to be a headache for most city residents. With more than 5,000 stray dogs on the city roads, there seems to be no solace for the locals. Here is what most have to say on the stray dog menace in Chandigarh when contacted by Tribune reporter Jyoti Rai.

It’s everyday problem with stray dogs sitting on the stairs in the building. When children or guests arrive, these dogs at times taken by surprise tend to bark and in many cases even tug at the clothes. The scare in such cases is inevitable. In our sector, there are a lot of stray dogs. Everyone around here has to be extra precautious. Elderly avoid early morning or late evening walks; parents do not let small kids go to the market alone. The situation needs to be dealt seriously for the situation is intolerable at times. —Sukhbir Kau
Sometimes it’s tough to drive with these dogs running along with the car on the roads. Most of the times, they sit under the cars when they are parked; some of them climb rooftops and sit royally tearing the car cover and leaving big scratches on the metal body. Another problem faced by the residents is that children tend to run when they spot the stray dogs and the dogs also run behind them. The children are bound to get scared and hurt in such cases. It’s high time the Municipal Corporation does something about the stray dogs because we are sick and tired of trying to deal with the situation. — Rajneesh Mehta
Dog pounds need to be put in place to sort the problem of stray dogs in the city. It’s important that the female dogs are sterilised and proper vaccination routine should be followed with all stray dogs. Random visits across the city won’t sort out the problem. It needs to be addressed altogether at once and in continuity. Efforts are called from the Municipal Corporation as the extent of the problem is much known to everybody. —Dr Dalip Kumar, a teacher 
We cannot even think about walks after dinner in the colony. As soon as we step out of the house, the stray dogs start chasing us. Children have started limiting themselves to play in the parks. Even if the authorities claim 100 per cent vaccination saying the stray dogs won’t spread diseases, their presence is enough to scare people, especially children. We fail to understand what is it that the administration lacks to curb the menace. — Sharanjeet Singh



Sham Bagh owes MC Rs 2.75 crore
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 19
Owners of the Sham Bagh Palace on the posh Bhupidra Road here owe the Municipal Corporation Rs 2.75 crore on account of house tax arrears and other charges pending against them. This was stated by Hardip Singh Bhangu, chairman of the house tax committee of the Municipal Corporation, after a meeting of the committee here yesterday.

Bhangu said the owners of Sham Bagh Palace, the place where Columbia Asia Hospital has come up now, had been defaulting on payment of house tax to the corporation. He said house tax arrears of the palace were pegged at Rs 67 lakh. In addition, a sum of Rs 1.65 crore had been pending on account of conversion charges. The firm had also not paid Rs 40 lakh of current house tax.

Bhangu said if the firm had paid the charges due against it the funds could have been utilised by the cash strapped Municipal Corporation for execution of development works. He lamented that a park, which had been laid out in 1,100 yards of land along the Bhupindra road at the Sham Bagh Palace, had been shifted away from the Bhupindra road.

The park had been shown as a part of the Columbia Asia Hospital in its site plan and appeared that the owners of the Sham Bagh Palace had misled even the management of the Columbia Asia Hospital about the location of the park.

Hardeep Singh Deepa, chairman of the anti-encroachment committee of the corporation, said a close scrutiny of the file of Sham Bagh Palace, where the hospital had come up now, revealed that it had been manipulated. Bhangu said he had requested Mayor Ajit Pal Singh Kohli that the NOC for the hospital not be given till the time the Sham Bagh Palace owners gave possession of the park measuring 1,100 yards back to the corporation.

He said he would also take up this matter with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the local bodies minister.



PU Hostel Menu
Students submit memo to DSW
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
The girls of hostel number 1 in support of the students group INSO today protested against the poor quality of rice and mundane menu being provided to them in the hostel mess.

In a memorandum submitted to DSW Naval Kishore, the girls have alleged that they are being provided substandard quality of rice and the mess contractor cooks potato almost everyday.

“We were getting good rice earlier and the quality of food has deteriorated and the only vegetable we get to eat in the hostel is potato. We approached the warden many times but an indifferent attitude forced us to take this step,” said one of the party members.

However, when contacted Naval Kishore had a different story to tell, “The girls approached me asking for basmati rice. We get the rice from Markfed, which is an established brand but they said they wanted “tuta” basmati and when I questioned them about the price they smirked saying that the university had recently got loads of funds.”

Meanwhile, at a meeting conducted over this issue, it was decided that everyday menu would be displayed in the mess and the quality of rice should be stepped up for the girls.



Student guides to shield freshers at GSMCH
Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 19
The Gian Sagar Medical College and Hospital (GSMCH) will have student guides to curb the menace of ragging. Dr AS Sekhon, principal, GSMCH, said two students from senior classes would be made in charge of one fresher each.

Dr Sekhon said girl guides would help fresher girl students and senior boys would be made guides of fresher boy students. He said an effort would be made to have guides from the same place or area to which the fresher belonged to ensure that there was better understanding between the freshers and seniors.

Dr Sekhon said the college had taken a series of measures to curb the menace of ragging. It was first institution in the region to install closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs) at strategic places like corridors, common rooms and mess halls in all its hostels.

The seniors were given vacations when the freshers joined the college. An endeavour had been made to ensure that freshers didn’t have to interact with their seniors for a few weeks.

Dr Sekhon said the GSMCH had made arrangements for facilities of stress management. A professional psychologist had been made available to the students to help them fight stress. He said the GSMCH had put notices all over the campuses of the group regarding "zero tolerance" towards ragging.

Notices detailing when and to whom one has to turn for information, help and guidance for various purposes, along with the addresses and telephone numbers, had been given to the freshers at the time of admissions, he added.

He said the college had also constituted a committee consisting of senior faculty members and hostel authorities like wardens to keep a vigil over ragging.



Swine Flu: No assembly in city schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
As per the directions of the UT administration, schools in the city will not hold the morning assembly till further notification. The decision has been made to avoid large gathering of students in wake of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) threat.

“Class monitors will take care of the health of the students and will coordinate with parents in case of suspected cases. The morning assemblies in government and private schools will not be conducted till further notification by the department,” said UT district education officer, Chanchal Singh.

Meanwhile, certain private schools have termed the decision as a “knee-jerk reaction” by the education department.

“When the students are made to sit in a class of 50 students, what is the point in dissolving the assemblies? Instead of providing some solution, this is a knee-jerk reaction of the department,” said the principal of a private school. Earlier, the UT health department had asked the educational institutions to monitor the health status of students and staff members who might had come in contact with a suspected patient of H1N1 to see whether they developed any symptoms.

It was also suggested that schools should discourage excursions of the students to the affected countries.

“We have send circulars to the parents, alerting them about the flu and its symptoms. Most of the private schools are on a vigil and are taking utmost care to check any suspected case, ” said HS Mamik, chairperson, Independent Schools Association.



Smart cards for students soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 19
Announcement of the introduction of smart cards was made at the induction programme organised for students of the first batch by Quest Infosys Institute director general-cum-director, Prof Baljeet S Kapoor.

The first of its kind in Punjab, these smart cards would be helpful for the students, parents and faculty, as they would have all data related to each student’s admission, education, evaluation and work as identity and even the library card.

Speaking on the occasion, Quest Infosys Group chairman DS Sekhon said, “The education opportunities are available to every student these days, which was not the case a decade ago. Yet, a large number of students pass out just with average skills.”

Quoting Infosys chief Narayanmurty, he said only 25 per cent of the students passing out from the educational institutions in India were employable. But he assured that the Quest Group of Institutions aimed at making their students 100 per cent employable.

He further added that Quest Infosys had a motto to be the “Best of the best” in whatever field it worked and was committed to offer best quality education and placements to the students.

Associate director, Dr Manoj Bali, informed the students about the Quest Infosys Group.

He further added that the institution had interactive classrooms, Wi-Fi campus equipped with high speed Internet connectivity, conference halls, e-library, hi-tech computer centre, reading rooms, well equipped laboratories and spacious playgrounds for the students.

The group has trained more than 20,000 students in skill oriented education in the fields of information technology, management, fashion technology, hotel management, paramedical and media and placed them in top notch corporate as well as public sector undertakings.



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