C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Sukhna landmark goes up in flames
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

The tower at the island on the Sukhna Lake which was engulfed in flames on Wednesday evening.
The tower at the island on the Sukhna Lake which was engulfed in flames on Wednesday evening. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, October 7
It was virtually a “towering inferno” at Sukhna Lake late this evening. One of the city’s best-known “beauty” spots, the elegant glass-structured “watch tower”, on an island in the lake, went up in flames even as the city’s administration watched helplessly.

No one was injured in the mishap, but the structure reportedly suffered immense damage.

Situated in the middle of the lake, the burning watchtower was a literal reminder of the 1974 Hollywood flick, the Towering Inferno, starring Steve Mcqueen and Paul Newmen. Though the difference in the structures of the two fires, the multi-storeyed building in the movie and the watchtower at the Sukhna Lake, was obvious, the helplessness of the administration to deal with the situation was almost similar.

As the burning watchtower went up in smoke, fire officials, who were unable to reach the spot to quell the flames, saw the structure getting charred and damaged. Till the time of the filing of this report at 11 pm, the fire, though described as under control, was being stroked and fanned by the winds gushing in from the hills.

While MC officials were reluctant to say anything and maintained that the cause of the fire would be known only after “investigations”, sources in the department claimed that this could well be the result of short-circuit in wirings of the lighting decorations being done there.

For the late evening walkers at the lake, the fire initially went unnoticed. Suspecting the low flames emanating from the site as part of the “puja” ceremonies associated with ‘karva chauth’, many people who saw it chose to ignore it. However, it was former mayor, Pradeep Chhabra, who saw flames and smoke billowing out of the tower at about 7.15 p.m. and he immediately informed the fire department.

The fire tenders that reached the spot were of no help, as they could not reach the structure. The administration virtually had nothing in its “arsenal” to deal with the situation. “They should have a helicopter,” quipped one of the hundreds of bystanders there but, alas, that wasn’t to be.

“It just happened in seconds,” said Ajit Kumar, a regular walker on the lake. “I was at the 600 m mark, when I heard loud sound of shattering glass. I looked around and was aghast seeing the watch tower up in flames,” he said, adding that it took him time to realise what had happened.

Anita, another walker, said she saw the flames when she was at the regulator end. “It was scary,” she said, adding that by the time she reached the CITCO café, there was a huge chaos with policemen and firemen moving around aimlessly. Fire Officer JK Kang said the fire-fighting operation was still going on and nothing could be said on the extent of the damage or the cause.



MC special house meeting today
Officials face music on pending projects
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Municipal Corporation officials are likely to have a tough time at the special house meeting scheduled for tomorrow, as most of the pending projects, which are mentioned in the action taken report, have been lingering for the past two years after the approval of the house.

Interestingly, the action taken report, which is going to be tabled in the house, carries the agenda relating to public health and roads department, and most of the projects had been tabled in the house twice for the approval of revised estimates, as they were not completed on time.

The action taken report has 76 agenda items of the past two years relating to the widening and re-carpeting of roads in various sectors of the city. Out of these, only 50 per cent agenda items had seen the light of the day and rest is lying in the files of the corporation.

Surprisingly, in the public health department, out of 34 projects, only one has been completed till date and the rest are yet to be started by the department concerned.

The action report mentions that around 25 per cent of the road construction was pending since the tenders had not be floated by the authorities and similar situation is of the public health department. The rest of the agenda is also pending due to some technical problems.

At the last house meeting, the councillors had raised the issue that the officials table the similar agenda a number of times, for the revised estimate approval, as the work is never completed on time. After which Mayor Kamlesh called a special meeting to discuss the action taken report of pending agenda items.

During the last house meeting, Congress councillor, Anu Chatrath, referring to the agenda of paver blocks in her ward, remarked that despite their approval by the house around a year ago the work had not started till date.

Another BJP councillor, Gurcharan Das Kala, also said that the work related to streetlights and the house has approved community centre eight months ago, but nothing has been done.

BSP councillor Jatinder Bhatia stated that the purpose of convening this meeting had failed, as they had received the agenda papers just 10 hours before the schedule of the meeting. He said it was not feasible for the councillors to go through such a lengthy agenda and pointed out its faults and discuss it properly in the house.

Akali Dal councillor Harjinder Kaur suggested that rather than calling a single meeting to discuss the pending projects, the Mayor should have clubbed some of the wards and called three or four house meetings to do justice to her endeavour.



UT to seek more financial powers for Administrator
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
At an important meeting of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) later this week in New Delhi, the Chandigarh Administration will seek that the UT Administrator should be given the financial power of clearing a project up to Rs 25 crore. Currently, he cannot clear projects worth more than Rs 10 crore.

Confirming the development, a senior official said, “The project costs, on an average, had multiplied over the past several years. In case of projects for which we need the clearance from the Centre, the work gets delayed by several more months. For instance, we need approximately Rs 18 crore for the new block of the General Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32. There are chances of the work being held up for some time. The project at the General Hospital, Sector 16, also needs a bigger amount than the sanctioned financial powers of the administrator.”

The meeting, scheduled for Friday, will be attended by Mr Ram Niwas, Home Secretary, Sanjay Kumar, Finance Secretary, and Bhupinder Singh, Joint Secretary(Home), besides others. The meeting will take up the review of the latest update on major ongoing projects in the city.

The UT is also seeking a clearance to make the registration of marriages compulsory, like in Haryana. It is also seeking permission to issue Scheduled Caste\Scheduled Tribe certificates in the wake of certain technical loopholes under the current provisions. Candidates seeking gobs in the government segment were the most affected.

The UT is working on the facility of video conferencing in the Burail jail. In case of compensation cases, in wake of poor absorption in services, the UT plans to get approved a one-time payment of Rs 5 lakh instead. The UT is considering the regularisation of services of daily wage workers in different categories.



Underage, helmetless, but not at fault
Cop’s son being shielded, claims car driver
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Rakesh Kumar Sharma of Sector 8 has accused the Chandigarh police of implicating him in a case of reckless driving to shield their colleague’s minor son who was involved in the mishap.

Sharma told the UT DGP today that policemen were forcing him to pay compensation to the erring boy, even as he was not at fault, and blatantly ignored the fact that the other party, Amit Chauhan, was not authorised to drive a vehicle, being underage.

Amit’s father Kamal Chauhan is a head constable with the Chandigarh police. The police said Amit had fractured his leg, which Sharma termed a plain lie.

The mishap occurred on the internal road of Sector 8 on Sunday evening, when Sharma, who was coming from Sector 7 in his Tata Indica car (CH03P 0940), was taking a turn toward Sector 8-B. The car collided with a motor cycle being driven by Amit.

Meanwhile, the police booked Sharma on the charge of causing injuries due to rash and negligent driving on the basis of Amit’s complaint.

On the other hand, Sharma, in his complaint lodged with the DGP, alleged that Amit was driving recklessly, yet the police had favoured him.

The investigating official, sub-inspector Sewak Singh, did not take him for a medical examination, as Amit looked to be under the influence of some intoxicant. Amit was also not wearing a helmet.

In an attempt to put the blame on him, Sewak Singh allegedly guided the photographer to take a picture from a certain angle so that the damage caused to his car remained obscure, claimed Sharma.

Sharma said two women had a narrow escape in the mishap when Amit rammed his motor cycle into them after hitting the car.

At this, some onlookers bashed him up, but he was saved following Sharma’s intervention.

The police ignored these facts and tried to find fault with him, forcing him to pay compensation to Chauhan.

He even said the police came after 30 minutes of his making a call on the telephone number 100.

At least 24 persons had assembled on the spot, including an advocate, and they were were witness to the incident.

“I went to the police station for three days, but the police officials kept on delaying the issue. They did not record the statement of any of the onlookers present there, including the two women”, said Sharma.

Attempts to contact Sewak Singh proved futile as he evaded telephone calls after he was asked about the incident.

DSP (Central) Jagbir Singh said Sharma was at fault even if Amit was a minor and was driving without a driving licence.

He said if found minor, they would book him for driving without a driving licence.

Expressing surprise over the logic given by the DSP, Sharma questioned the use of a driving licence.

Such irresponsible behaviour of the police would encourage underage driving, he claimed.



One stabbed to death
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
A heated argument over pigeons took a violent turn when a man stabbed to death his 25-year-old neighbour in Maloya here late tonight.

According to the in charge of the Maloya police post, the incident took place around 11 pm when one Kikki had an argument with his neighbour. The neighbour and others, who hailed from Mullanpur, attacked Kikki. He was stabbed and severely wounded in the assault.

Kikki reportedly died on the spot. The police said he was rushed to the PGI, where he was declared dead.

A case of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered at the Sector 39 police station. 


PGI doc bags national award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Dr Meenu Singh from the Department of Pediatrics, PGI, received the V Raju Award for research on the immunology of bronchiectatic airways in children, at the 43rd National Conference of the Indian College of Allergy, Asthma and Applied Immunology at GMCH-32.

She, along with research scholar Dr Pooja Soneja, presented their work on hygiene hypothesis for which Dr Pooja was awarded the M Sundramma Award for young researchers.

A poster by Dr Javed Khan from the Department of Biochemistry on the role of TB antigens on asthma pathophysiology received the Best Poster Award at this annual national meet. 



Conference on architecture on Oct 11
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
To discuss the significance of modern architecture in India and in the world and to celebrate World Architecture Day, an International conference on “towards a global architecture” will be held on October 11 at Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10.

The conference will be organised jointly by the Embassy of Mexico in India, the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA), Chandigarh-Punjab chapter and the Saakaar Foundation, a press note said here today.

While Pawan Kumar Bansal, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Water Resources, shall be the chief guest, Surinder Bahga, chairman of Chandigarh-Punjab Chapter of IIA and principal architect of the Saakaar Foundation, will deliver the keynote address.

Architect Eduardo Terrazas, an architect from Mexico, shall be dwelling on his own projects. Prof Gerald Steyn from Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa, shall give his presentation on “the Indian impacts on east-African architecture”. The third presentation shall be by Dr Stefano Boeri, an architect from Milan.

The technical sessions shall be chaired by architect Jit Kumar Gupta, Director, College of Architecture, Bhaddal, Dr SS Bhatti, former Principal Chandigarh College of Architecture, and Renu Saigal, former Chief Architect of Chandigarh.



UT wakes up to rising power demand
To tie up with Central projects for additional 1,000 MW of power
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Chandigarh administration is making arrangements for the supply of another 1,000 MW by 2018.Efforts are underway for long-term tie-ups with some Central power projects to ensure uninterrupted power supply to Chandigarh, a press release said here today.

At present, Chandigarh is getting 265.17 MW of power from 24 power generating stations. But the demand has doubled in the last five years. From 150 MW in 2004, it has gone up to 300 MW per day. The per capita power consumption in Chandigarh has risen to 1,500 units, which is almost 100 per cent more than the neighbouring states.

The power requirement of the city has been increasing rapidly with fast economic growth and increase in trade business, service sector activities and also increasing demand of residents has resulted in rapid growth of demand, whereas the peak power consumption in 2006 was around 200 MW. In 2009, it has crossed the mark of 300 MW. It is expected that 2011-12, the requirement might increase to more than 400 MW.

This was disclosed by UT Finance-cum-Engineering Secretary Sanjay Kumar. Resultantly, the administration has already initiated efforts to tie-up the future requirements and it is already in touch with 15 projects, including thermal plant, Hisar, Dibang Power Project, Arunachal Pradesh and the Mahalaxmi Mega Thermal Power Project, Orissa, for firm allocation of power.

Surinder Pal, chief engineer, Chandigarh, said the 400 MW Koteshwar generating project in Uttaranchal had agreed to supply 20 MW of power to the city. The administration has given its consent, the PPA has been received, vetted and sent back, he said.

The 3,000 MW Dibang Power Project in Arunachal Pradesh will allocate 500 MW power to Chandigarh once it is completed in 2017-18 and the Mahalaxmi Mega Thermal Power Project, Orissa, will supply 150 MW to the city.

The administration has also given its consent to the proposals and after completion of formalities, PPAs would be signed with these projects.

The administration has already signed PPAs with 20 new Central generating projects of NTPC and NHPC for firm allocation of 221 MW of power to the UT and the supply will start within three years.

The maximum demand for power in 2005-06 was 208 MW. It has now touched 318 mw (July 2009). In 2005-06, the administration purchased 12,435 lakh units (LUs), 13,925 LUs in 2008-09 and is expected to buy 15,039 LUs in 2009-10.

The expenditure incurred on the purchase of power, which aggregated Rs 285 crore in 2005-06, touched to Rs 410 crore in July 2009. The Chandigarh administration realised revenue (SOP plus ED) of Rs 343 crore in 2005-06, Rs 396.5 crore in 2008-09 and is expected to net Rs 415 crore in 2009-10. 



Display instructions against bribe: CVC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has issued instructions to all the departments for displaying instructions on their notice boards against bribe in a specified format.

The CVC has drafted the information to be displayed on the boards, which reads: “Do not pay bribe. If anybody of this office asks for bribe, or if you have any information on corruption in this office, or if you are a victim of corruption in this office, you can complain to the head of the department, or the Chief Vigilance Officer, the Superintendent of Police, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Secretary, Central Vigilance Commission.”

The complaints to the commission can be made in terms of its “complaint handling policy”, which is available in public domain on the commission’s website www.cvc.gov.in <http://www.cvc.gov.in/>.

The complaints could be submitted to the Home Secretary-cum-Chief Vigilance Officer, UT, and on a special helpline (2743410). Besides, complaints can also be sent to the Superintendent of Police (Vigilance) and also at telephone (2740012).



Admn to ban flexible containers

Chandigarh, October 7
In order to including flexible containers, the Chandigarh administration has invited objections from general public regarding the draft notification by the Department of Environment under "The polythene, plastic carry bag free area" vide notification dated July 30, 2008, along with polythene/plastic carry bags.

The administration plans to include flexible containers in the domain of the already imposed ban on use of polythene/plastic carry bags in the city. The objections could be sent in writing to the Secretary, Environment, within 60 days.

UT Finance-cum-Environment Secretary Sanjay Kumar, in a release issued here yesterday, said the draft amendment would be taken into consideration by the administration after the stipulated period. He said as the administration had already declared the entire city as the polythene/plastic carry bag free, people were using flexible containers in contravention of the ban, therefore it had now become necessary to ban the manufacture and use of flexible containers.

A UT spokesperson said flexible containers were being used as carry bags in the city. These are non-biodegradable, choke drains and sewerages and pollute soil, water and air like polythene/plastic carry bags, he said. He said the Environment Department had completely banned the manufacture, sale, store, import, transportation and use of polythene/plastic bags. With a view to prevent the occurrence of such problems, the administration has proposed to make the following amendment as per which the term polythene/plastic carry bags under the notification dated July 30, 2008, shall be substituted as polythene/plastic carry bags and flexible containers. — TNS



Tribune Impact
Speaker’s escort vehicles challaned
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
After a lapse of almost two weeks, the Chandigarh Traffic Police has issued challans to two escort vehicles of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker’s cavalcade for driving with rear registration number plates.

The violation was highlighted in these columns on September 25. UT SP (Traffic) HS Doon said the escort Gypsies belonged to the cavalcade of the Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha. The Gypsies (PB-12-G-2746) and (PB-65-G-9033) had been booked for playing without registration number plates on September 24, the day The Tribune team noticed the violation.

The traffic police officials said the security staff of the cavalcade had told them that the number plates of both the vehicles had fallen. Though they had put on the number plates on the both the vehicles, but they were booked for violation committed on that day.

The Tribune had raised the issue that the delay on the part of the traffic police to trace the offending vehicles would ultimately allow the security staff to cover up their offence.

A traffic police official said they had taken the action on the basis of a photograph carried in Chandigarh Tribune on September 25. About delay in reaction time of the traffic police helpline, he said they had checked the record and found that that the operator had flashed the message. He, however, avoided the query about the failure of the traffic police to intercept the offending vehicles, which kept on moving on the city roads for over 10 minutes, after receiving the message.

Interestingly, the violation was spotted minutes after UT DGP SK Jain asked the city residents to use police helplines to inform the police about the crime and other violations for a prompt action during an interaction at Sukhna Lake.



Fire Department
Equipment yes,knowledge no
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Chandigarh municipal corporation’s fire department may be equipped with the most hi-tech equipment, but when it comes to its proper use, fire personnel are surprisingly ignorant about it.

The department had purchased multi-purpose vehicles five years back, specifically to handle fire related to chemicals, oil, grease and electricity.

Each vehicle had a nitrogen gas vessel, which should be kept filled up so that the vehicle could be used immediately in case of a fire.

Strangely, while visiting the fire stations recently, it was found that these nitrogen gas vessels were empty and pressure gas was at the zero mark, which clearly showed that there was no gas in these.

On being asked, one of the fire personnel revealed that there were verbal orders from their head not to fill these vessels till a fire incident occurred in the city.

On being questioned, officials clarified that they kept the vessels empty as there were complaints of gas leakage when these was not in use.

Interestingly, when a similar query was posed to an official of the Delhi fire department, who had been using similar vehicles, he said it was strange that the Chandigarh fire department kept these vessels empty.

If firemen had to fill a vessel at the time of an incident, it would take about eight minutes to fill it to its capacity of 1000 kg.

Even if the firemen filled the vessels with pressure at the spot of the incident, there were chances of bursting of pipes connecting the cylinder with the vessel.

During training, directions had been given to firemen that such vehicles should be kept ready, round-the-clock so that these could be used at the time of emergency.

When asked if there was any chance of leakage if the vessels were kept filled and remained unused, the official said if there were no technical fault in the vehicle, such a leakage was not possible.

When contacted, MC chief fire officer P.K. Sharma said all fire vehicles were fully equipped with all chemicals required so that these could be immediately used at the time of a fire.



Festive spirit pervades
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
As the city rejoices in the spirit of festivals, the Panjab University girls were not devoid of holy colour, as they dressed up in their best attires to celebrate Karva Chauth today.

For those who were engaged, married or gladly fasted, the day started with a special sargi being served to them in the PU girls hostel at 4 am.

Away from home, the girls completed their fast with all rituals, applying mehndi, visiting temples and then finally ending their fast on seeing the moon.

The Sector 15 market near university remained flooded with girls. Most girls preferred visiting the Sector 15 temple to perform the puja with decorated plates in their hands.

“We have been fasting each year and this year it has been exceptionally holy, as the astrologers predicted. The mess persons were kind to serve us the traditional sargi,” said Charu, a student of PU hostel no.1.

“There was a small puja by girls in the hostel and those who could not go home, enjoyed the celebration here,” added another girl.

Every year, the roads close to girls hostel remain a hot spot geri-route for boys, and girls could be spotted chitchatting in balconies.

“It is same every year, girls gather on the hostel ground and even balconies to break their fast and boys can be seen riding their bikes and cars close to the hostel gates,” said Surabhi.

Though most girls got henna applied a day before, henna artists could be spotted in every nook and corner of the market.

Artists from different corners in the city and a few even from Rajasthan could be seen decorating palms with intricate and traditional designs.



Topple bid in MC falls flat
Kulwinder Sangha

Councillors during an MC meeting in Mohali on Wednesday.
Councillors during an MC meeting in Mohali on Wednesday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, October 7
Despite a determined bid by councillors wanting to topple the president to stop the holding of a general house meeting, Congress-backed president Rajinder Singh Rana held the meeting, which was attended by 12 councillors and Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu, here today.

Although the opposition group had earlier withdrawn the notice of a no-trust motion after failing to garner support of two-thirds of the councillors to vote out the president, Rana went ahead and called the council meeting to “expose” the fact that the opposition did not have the “magic figure” of 22, which was required to vote him out.

Though opposition coucillors, while withdrawing the requisition for no-confidence motion, asked the president not to fix the meeting, senior vice-president Harmanpreet Singh Prince again made an effort today to stop Rana from holding the meeting.

In a letter to the president, Prince stated that 18 councillors withdrew the requisition notice given for passing the no-confidence motion and a request to this effect was submitted at the civic body office on October 5.

Despite this, the president had called a meeting without consulting the executive officer, which amounted to “ gross abuse of power”.

Prince stated that if the meeting was not cancelled, he would take up the matter with the Secretary or Director, Local Government, for initiating action against the president under Section 22 of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911.

However, Rana and the Kharar MLA said the meeting was called because councillors had asked for it and the requisition was withdrawn after the meeting had been fixed.

They said the no-confidence motion had got defeated and if the opposition group had a majority, they should have come to the civic body office to prove that.

Sidhu alleged that some councillors had been “forcibly taken away” from the town and when they would come back, they would once again be supporting the ruling group.

He said it was unfortunate that councillors were not worried about the development of Mohali, but had been indulging in “low politics” and creating obstacles in the way of progress.

He said development could be done by providing funds and not by removing the civic body president.

A dispute had arisen in connection with the number of councillors required for the quorum of the meeting.

While the executive officer had stated that half the total number of councillors (16) were needed to hold a meeting, the council president claimed that only one-third (11) were required for the meeting.

Twentyone municipal councillors had given a requisition notice for convening a meeting to pass a no-confidence motion against Rana on September 29.



Shalini is outstanding NSS volunteer
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
A seven-day NSS camp concluded at Government College, Sector 46. TR Tekta youth officer, NSS Regional Centre, Government of India, presided over.

The function started with the lighting of a lamp and NSS clap. Achla Dogra, Dean of the College, and Gurjeet Kaur, vice-principal of the college, were also present.

Dr Baljit Singh, programme officer, NSS, conducted the stage and welcomed the guests. Dr Prashant Gaurav, chief coordinator NSS, read the report on the activities undertaken during the seven-day NSS camp.

The students sang NSS song and presented a cultural programme. The students also presented poems on social issues like dowry and female foeticide under the guidance of Dr Surinder Kaur, programme officer.

Shalini Sharma of BA (III) was declared outstanding girl NSS volunteer and Dharmender of BA (III) was declared outstanding male NSS volunteer. The students were given trophies for spreading awareness regarding swine flu by Amrinder Singh, chairman Salaam Zindagi Charitable Trust.



Ex-chief Kulwant administered oath
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 7
Former president of Mohali Municipal Council Kulwant Singh was administered the oath as Municipal Councillor by the SDM in Phase I here today. Kulwant was declared winner by 25 votes on October 1, over three years after he lost the municipal elections to Gurnam Bindra Singh from Ward No 15.

He had lost by a margin of 52 votes. A recounting of votes was done in the court of Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Jaspal Mittal. Kulwant headed the civic body for five years before the council elections were held in 2006, when he lost to Bindra. As he was not satisfied with the election result of his ward he had filed an appeal with the District Tribunal, demanding a recounting of votes.

Recounting of votes was then held in the court of the then Deputy Commissioner HIS Garewal on May 8, 2007. Kharar MLA Balbir Singh Sidhu and his supporters had then held a protest against the recounting as they claimed that it could not be done since the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered a stay in this regard. It is reported that Bindra had recently withdrawn the case going on in the Punjab and Haryana High Court after which it was again shifted to the District Tribunal.

Kharar MLA said it was surprising that the ADC had disposed off three-year-old case in just three days. It was also strange that three different results had come up after each counting of votes, he added. When the recounting of votes was held, former civic body head emerged victorious by 109 votes even though the result was not announced at that time. In the second recounting held on October 1 Kulwant won by 25 votes. 



School board ex-staffers protest
Our Correspondent

Suspended clerks during their protest putside the main gate of Punjab School Education Board in Phase-8, Mohali, on Wednesday
Suspended clerks during their protest putside the main gate of Punjab School Education Board in Phase-8, Mohali, on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Mohali, October 7
A total of 134 persons who had earlier been employed with the Punjab School Education Board held a protest here today, demanding that they be reinstated.

The employees held a rally and raised slogans against the government, demanding that they be given justice.

They gheraoed some members of the education board, who had come to Phase VIII here to attend a meeting.

They were given an assurance that their demands would be considered sympathetically.



Rs 1 crore for worker welfare
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 7
The Punjab Government will spend Rs 1 crore on the welfare of workers employed in factories and members of their families.

This was stated by Tikshan Sood, Forest and Labour Minister, at a function held on the premises of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation here today. He said a special board would be constituted for the welfare of labourers working in the agricultural sector and domestic workers.



No clear leader in poll race yet
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 7
With four days left for campaigning for the Assembly elections to end, none of the candidate seemed to be in a comfortable position to take a lead over others in Panchkula.

While all parties have stepped up their efforts to garner support from different quarters, the list of promises from candidates have started getting longer.

D K Bansal
D K Bansal

While Union Cabinet Ministers Selja and Pawan Kumar Bansal have put their weight behind party candidate D.K. Bansal, the joining of Bahujan Samaj Party city president Deepak Sharma and general secretary Vinod Katyal along with their supporters yesterday proved a shot in his arm.

Prior to this, Bansal was finding it hard to retain the vote bank of the party despite the fact that Panchkula was considered a safe bet for the Congress as Selja, the Congress candidate during the parliamentary elections held on May 7, registered a lead of 3,900 votes over Rattan Lal Kataria, the joint candidate of the INLD and the BJP.

After the denial of ticket, a majority of local Congress leaders were hell bent on “teaching a lesson” to the party high command for fielding an outsider for the last 16 years.

Bansal had initially emphasised on improving the law and order situation and education facilities, but now, he had included the abolition of the Apartment Act, the development work in slum areas and villages and better roads and connectivity to Chandigarh in his list of assurances to the public.

Gian Chand Gupta

On the other hand, his rival Gian Chand Gupta, a senior BJP leader and former Chandigarh Mayor, was banking on Congress infighting even after losing a substantial chunk of votes of the INLD in rural areas his collegue Ratan Lal Kataria had bagged during the Lok Sabha elections from here.

Out of the 29,789 votes Kataria had polled from Panchkula, around 10,000 votes were presumed to be the contribution of the INLD, which had a strong presence in rural areas.

Without this, the target of reaching the Assembly would be a hard one for Gupta, whose difficulties had multiplied by his detractors in the district, who made it a point not to accompany him during the campaign.

The BJP leader was leaving no stone unturned to entice voters.

In addition to harping upon the party manifesto, Gupta, had promised the construction of chaupals, training farmers in modern agriculture techniques and the promotion of organic crops.

Yograj Singh
Yograj Singh

Yograj Singh, the choice of the INLD from the constituency, more than making promises, had been an attraction to his audience for his spontaneous speech, imbued with theatrical dialogues and “shairi”.

Ironically, terming the politics a pond of dirt, Yograj promised his voters to keep his cloth clean.

Besides lauding the the Devi Lal clan, he had been showing the party manifesto, containing tall claims like Scooties for college girls to the waiver of loans.

Ruling out the arrival of his son Yuvraj during the campaign, Yograj did not consider anyone his rival, terming it a match between many players, where only one could win.

The INLD candidate could depend upon the rural vote bank of the party in the area while the infighting in the Congress and the BJP could supplement its urban votes.

He felt stronger after the local Bar Council and the Haryana Vyapar Sangh extending their support here today.

Shashi Sharma
Shashi Sharma 

The Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), which had got merely 4,691 votes in the Panchkula segment during the Lok Sabha elections, could expect a much better show this time following the party decision to field Congress rebel Shashi Sharma.

Sharma had a good influence among Congress workers and was set to increase the prospects of the HJC while making a big dent in the vote bank of the Congress.

Sharma had initially confined himself to slums and sectors, but now, had started wooing voters in villages, promising them better civic conditions and uplift.

The inclusion of local students for quota in educational institutions in Chandigarh was the trump card evolved by the HJC candidate to lure the youth.



No one on panel to decide
Shiksha Abhiyaan project shelved
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
It might still take a few more days for the administration to decide its take on cash-for-job scam, but the controversy has already taken its toll on the much-awaited Rajkiya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan.

The ambitious project meant to benefit the secondary classes and conceived on the lines of on going Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan was supposed to be launched on trial-basis this month.

It may be noted that Rajkiya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan would aim at providing benefits like midday meals, free books, non-scholastic activities and scholarships up to the Class VIII.

Officials in education department had met the Ministry of Human Resource and Development in August and worked out the basic framework, which was to be developed and implemented, however, with the name of DPI (S) Samwartak Singh coming under the scanner, the project virtually stalled at the initials stages only.

“We had the first meeting with MHRD August and it was decided that we would submit a detailed plan and launch it on trial-basis in October. Soon after this, the cash-for-job scam unearthed and the role of Samwartak Singh came under the scanner. Now we have nobody to take decisions on the project, so it will have to wait for some more time,” said one of the senior department officials.

Meanwhile, Home Secretary Ram Niwas said: “The project is going on fine. There are some problems when its comes to giving final approvals but all this will be sorted out soon as we will the get the police report in another two three days,” he added.

SP (city) Madhur Verma also asserted that the CFSL report of the mobiles would be received by tomorrow and it would clarify the allegations of Samwartak being in touch with one of the accused.



PU dons on panel
Regional chapter of Indian Law Institute
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
In a rare distinction, two Panjab University Law department professors, have been nominated on the panel of northern India’s first regional chapter of Indian Law Institute.

The institute is an internationally recognised premier research body of India with the Chief Justice of India as its patron.

Prof Paramjit Singh Jaswal and Prof Shashi Sharma of the department of law, who have received the honour, will now attend the first executive body meeting of the chapter on October 14. The chapter includes Chandigarh, Haryana and Punjab and will be presided over by Justice MM Kumar of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Prof Shashi Sharma will be the secretary. Anmol Rattan Sidhu and Harnam Singh will hold the post of joint secretary and treasurer of the body, respectively. Prof Paramjit Jaswal has been nominated to the executive committee of the chapter.

According to sources, nominations were done by Chief Justice of India, KG Balakrishnan and the recommendations of the names was done by Chief Justice TS Thakur of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Prof Jaswal said students, faculty members, lawyers and judges in the city would be benefited.

“The Indian Law Institute is now a deemed university. The establishment of the institute has been done by an act of law and the opening of local chapter means immense benefit for those related to the field of law,” informed Prof Jaswal.



Monika crowned Miss Fresher

Chandigarh, October 7
A fresher’s contest was held at Government Polytechnic for Women recently. Monika of ECE department was declared Miss Fresher, while Tamana, AA department, and Sandeep, ECE department, were declared first and second runners-up, respectively.

Title of Miss Graceful was given to Priyanka, LIS department, and Jaspreet, ECE department, bagged the title of Miss Smile. In the talent contest, best performance in the group dance category was given to Jasbir and group, while Sonia and her troupe and Ruby and group grabbed the second and third prizes, respectively. — TNS



NSS camp concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
A week-long NSS camp came to an end at MCM DAV College here today.MS Bains, coordinator NSS, Panjab University, was the chief guest.He congratulated the students and faculty members of the MCM NSS Club for their contribution to various sections of the society from the past one-week. 

The principal of the college Dr Puneet Bedi assured the guest about the college’s efforts towards public service.

Amidst colourful traditional and western performances by students, the camp concluded with the prize distribution function.

Continuing with the spirit to serve the NSS, volunteers participated in a cleanliness drive on the campus.



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