C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Property market bucks slump,
prices go through the roof
5-marla plot in Sec 32 fetches Rs 1.4 cr,
4 kanal plot in Sec 19 goes for Rs 4.06 cr
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

A sq yard at Rs 1.06 lakh

While the average rate per square yard worked out to be Rs 74,820 for Wednesday’s auctioned property, the rate per square yard for 5-marla plot was a record Rs 1.06 lakh. The minimum per yard price fetched was Rs 52,025 for a one kanal plot in Sector 19, which was auctioned for Rs 3.81 crore.

Chandigarh, December 16
At a time when real estate prices have taken a knock, the auction of residential property in the city today belied the recession again with the UT estate office (EO) netting Rs 77.75 crore through the auction of 33 sites at Rs 74,820 per square yard. Breaking all records, a 5-marla plot fetched 1.4 crore at a whopping rate of Rs 1.06 lakh per square yard.

In fact, there was a massive increase of Rs 57 lakh in the price of a 5-marla plot as compared to the last auction held on October 23,2008 when a similar plot in Sector 38D was sold for Rs 83 lakh.

Belying the apprehensions of EO officials, the average price per square yard of land went up to Rs 74,820 - a substantial increase from Rs 55,299 reported in the last auction. The EO sold off 33 plots as against 42 put under the hammer.

Smaller plots caught the fancy of investors and buyers with maximum appreciation being reported in these categories while the larger plots (one kanal) plots reporting a marginal increase in the rates. As against the price of Rs 60.60 lakh for a 4-marla plot in the last auction, the maximum price in this category was Rs 89 lakh (Sector 42) with the minimum prices being Rs 85 lakh. The reserve price for 4-marla was just Rs 33.10 lakh.

Moving on to bigger plots, a 10-marla plot in Sector 38 went for Rs 2.8 crore as against the reserve price of Rs 1.07 crore. Rs 1.96 crore was the minimum price at which a 10-marla plot, also in Sector 38, was bought. A 10-marla plot in Sector 40B had fetched a maximum of Rs 1.71 crore in the last auction.

However, the maximum bid was for a one kanal plot (No 1289 Sector 19) at Rs 4.06 crore - slightly higher than the last auction's bid of Rs 4 crore for a similar dimension plot in Sector 36. A one kanal plot in Sector 40 could fetch only Rs 3.02 crore.

The tremendous response to the much-awaited auction clearly fired the imagination of realtors in the Tricity. "Given its world-class infrastructure the next decade (2010-20) belonged to the Tricity in general and Chandigarh in particular as was evident from the tremendous success of today's auction," BK Sanghi, a prominent realtor, told The Tribune.

A number of builders in Chandigarh's periphery had pinned their hopes on the auction of the property in Chandigarh as property prices in the city are considered a benchmark for the rest of the region, particularly the Tricity and adjoining areas.

The change of the estate rules ahead of the auction appears to have acted a catalyst in pushing up the prices. Under the new rules, the property can be sold immediately after the payment of the full amount with the permission of the estate officer.



Cops in mufti wait in vain for Baba Pritpal to turn up
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Stung by the repeated ‘dressing downs’ at the Punjab & Haryana High Court, the local police today deployed personnel in mufti at the district courts after receiving information that ‘Baba’ Pritpal Singh might surrender. However, the police’s action turned out to be an open secret as lawyers, mediapersons and policemen were seen discussing the matter, though in hushed tones.

Meanwhile the police has prepared a detailed list of properties owned by Baba Pritpal Singh, chairman of the Shiromani Sant Khalsa International Foundation, at Gur Sagar Sahib (Jheel Wala) Kaimbwala village, and submitted it in a local court requesting to attach the properties. The court today adjourned the hearing on the application for January 9, 2010.

The cops said a chunk of agricultural land measuring 80 kanals and 16 marlas of land belonging to Pritpal had been found near Sukhna Lake. Out of this, the UT administration had acquired 73 kanals and 12 marlas under the ‘Protection of Environment for Sukhna Lake’ scheme vide award No 562 dated June 2, 2003 and 7 kanals and 4 marlas of land was released following request by Gurdwara Gur Sagar Sahib. However, presently, the entire chunk of land (80 kanals and 16 marlas) is in Pritpal’s possession.

A piece of land measuring 999.405 square yards was allotted in Sector 49 to the president of the Sant Khalsa International Foundation (registered head office Gurdwara Gur Sagar Sahib). The land was allotted on leasehold basis Rs 5,800 per square yards with a total premium amount of Rs 57,96,549. The police also detected seven areas of land in Piplegaon Mahadev village, Ardhapur tehsil, in Nanded district in Maharashtra. It was purchased for Rs 82,12,500 on September 8, 2006.

Besides, two kanals of land in Piplegaon village in Uttarakhand and three kanals (shown as donated by followers) at Ghaziabad road near the Delhi border were found by the police.

A senior police officer said the court of justice Nirmaljit Kaur had directed the police to submit the handwriting report of Kamaljit Kaur, whose land was allegedly grabbed by Pritpal by forging a general power of attorney along with his wife, Charankamal Kaur, for matching to handwriting experts. The experts at CFSL returned the same saying that the specimens were inadequate following, after which another copy of a specimen was arranged.

The police had so far arrested four people including advocate JP Singh, Inderpal Singh, the manager working in the gurdwara, Pritpal’s brother Paramjit Singh, and one of Pritpal’s followers, Pardeep Rai, whose wife is said to be with the ‘baba’ during the latter’s run. Inderpal Singh is still in judicial custody for the past 55 days. UT DGP SK Jain said the police was making all efforts to trace Pritpal and was exerting pressure on him.



Dirty water entering Sukhna creates a stink
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
With residual water from kitchens in the adjoining area flowing into Sukhna Lake, a particular portion of the lake has begun to stink and is drawing hordes of mosquitoes and flies - at least during the daytime.

A closer look reveals the dirty water does not seem to be flowing from a nearby cafeteria run by the Chandigarh Industrial & Tourism Development Corp (CITCO), whose kitchen building is at the other end of the lake. “There appears to be a leakage in an adjoining building on the other end of the road”, said Yashvir, manager of the cafeteria.

Although it is difficult to trace the source of the drainage from the top, it may be mentioned that the nearby Lake Club too has kitchen facilities. It was also pointed out that there appeared to be no direct connectivity with the canteen.

Jarnail Singh, a regular walker at the place for the past decade, said, “I’ve been witnessing the same sight since last Saturday.

I ignored it thinking refuse was entering the lake probably due to some fault. I was away this weekend and was very disturbed when I saw the same sight today morning”.

Yashvir, manager of the Lake Club, said, “I’m shocked to see the nauseating scene. We will contact the department concerned and get the problem rectified immediately”.



Residents threaten stir against
encroachment of civic land

Umesh Dewan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 16
The functioning of the city’s municipal corporation has come under the scanner after residents of New Lal Bagh colony accused Sunil Aggarwal, brother of Nabha Improvement Trust chairman Bhupesh Aggarwal, of encroaching upon municipal land and the greenbelt.

The residents have complained despite bringing the matter to the notice of the civic officials several times, no action has been initiated so far against the encroacher. The residents have now threatened to stage a massive protest in case the civic body fails to take appropriate action in this regard.

Notably, the area residents had submitted many complaints to MC officials in the past but to no avail.

Elaborating on the issue, New Lal Bagh Colony residents Inderdeep Singh, Harbans Singh and Harvinder Kaur stated, “After dismantling his old house Sunil constructed a new one last year. During the course of construction, he illegally took possession of MC land measuring 250 square yards. Besides, Sunil has also encroached upon a substantial part of a greenbelt and has also constructed a garage on MC land”.

They further said that, making a mockery of the civic administration, Sunil had restricted the entry of area residents in the green park by erecting a gate on the road, which connects to the park.

“It’s really shocking that the rich and powerful are encroaching upon civic land with the authorities being mute spectators”, remarked Rameshwar, another area resident.

A delegation of the aggrieved area residents had met the MC officials on numerous occasions but the requisite action has still not been taken by the authorities concerned.

Perturbed with what they called the lackadaisical attitude of civic officials, the area residents demanded information pertaining to the building plan of Sunil’s house under the RTI Act, 2005 from Patiala MC in September this year. “Till date, the municipal corporation has not provided us the desired information”, claimed another area resident, Sarabjit Singh. He alleged Sunil had not taken secured the MC’s mandatory sanction for his building plan. “Action is not being initiated against the violator because of political pressure. If we are left with no options we will be compelled to launch an agitation against the civic body in case the authorities fail to act”, the area residents said.

However, when contacted, Patiala municipal commissioner Manjit Singh Narang said the matter dated back to the time when he was not heading the civic body.

“After the area residents brought the issue to my notice I issued instructions to MC officials to probe the matter and take action as per the law”, he said, adding in cases pertaining to old encroachments the civic authorities have to follow procedures laid down in the MC’s rule book.



Renewable Energy Projects
Punjab, Haryana seek sops from Centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Punjab and Haryana have sought specific incentives and subsidy enhancement from the Centre to boost the renewable energy projects in the two states.

The demands were placed through Haryana Chief minister, Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to the Union minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah, here today.

During the conference on “Renewable Energy - New Approaches for Green Energy and Energy Efficiency”, organised by the CII, the two leaders said incentives were necessary to make these projects economically viable.

Sukhbir said the Centre should contemplate area-specific incentive policies in the renewable energy sector to tap the strength of that region.

He said the coastal belt had a potential to tap wind energy while Punjab had a great potential to tap power from biomass, solar and hydel sectors.

Stating that Punjab has developed a technology to generate power from water flow in rivers, Badal demanded capital subsidy to give boost to such projects.

Besides, the Punjab government has also been demanding the restoration of the level of subsidy from the Centre on setting up of solar energy-based tubewells, he said.

Hooda urged that the central subsidy on solar pumps be increased from Rs 50,000 to Rs two lakh, besides asking him to issue detailed guidelines of National Solar Mission and give sufficient funds to Haryana to make various renewable energy devices affordable to the people living in rural areas. “Being an agrarian state, our farmers meet their irrigation requirements with diesel or electricity pumps. Therefore, there is need to implement a solar scheme,” he said.

According to a report prepared by Ernst & Young, India has a renewable potential of around 85,000 MW, which includes wind potential of 45,000 MW, small hydro of 6,000 MW and 25,000 MW of biomass. Moreover, the country has potential to generate 20 MW per square km using solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy.

Abdullah said the government was keen on exploring the potential of this sector.



Justice Alok Singh set to join high court
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Justice Alok Singh of the Uttarakhand High Court at Nainital is all set to take oath as a Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, pursuant to his transfer from the hill state. His shifting to Chandigarh is expected to be followed by Justice Nirmal Yadav’s transfer to the Uttarakhand High Court.

Available information suggests Justice Alok will be sworn in as a Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court by Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal on December 21 at 10 am. With his transfer, the number of judges in the high court here will go up to 48, against the sanctioned strength of 68.

He is currently not holding the court; and is on leave ever since her name surfaced in the “cash-for-judge scam” in August last year. Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan had appointed a three-judge committee for looking into the matter. A show-cause notice was subsequently issued to Justice Yadav. As of now, the case against her stands closed; and she is expected to resume judicial work at the Nainital high court after her joining.


14 more test positive for swine flu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
With the winter chill now in the air, swine flu cases in the city have recorded a sudden increase in the past one week. Doctors warned that H1N1 infections could see a rise as the virus spreads faster during winter.

According to the UT Health Department, 14 fresh cases were tested positive for swine flu today while in the past one week, six cases have been reported every day. There has been a sharp increase from three and four cases reported in November. With these fresh cases, the total number of positive cases has gone up to 242.

“Three cases were from different sectors of Chandigarh and five cases were reported from various districts of Haryana like Kaithal, Karnal, Fatehabad, Yamunanagar and Sector 12, Panchkula. Other positive cases were from different district of Punjab which includes Jalandhar, Nayagaon, Bathinda, Sangrur, Patiala and Mohali. However, the patient from Patiala died before the report was confirmed for H1N1,” said health officials.

Dr GC Bansal, UT nodal officer for swine flu, said, "The temperature has dipped in the city in the past few days. With the onset of winter, swine flu cases will increase but as of now the infection is mild and the morbidity is not much.”

He says people need to be more vigilant and take precautions during winter.

"People should visit a designated health facility if they notice flu-like symptoms. Those in the target group like the elderly, children, pregnant women, heart and diabetic patients should take extra care during the winter," Bansal said.

According to experts, one should avoid crowded places and take necessary precautions while stepping out. "Cover your face while sneezing and wash hands after regular intervals, these are a must to prevent the spread of the H1N1 infection," said experts.

"The situation is under control and the administration is doing its best to provide treatment to H1N1 patients at the government hospitals. People should visit a doctor at the earliest on noticing symptoms of swine flu," Bansal said.

23-yr-old dies

The H1N1 influenza claimed one more life in the city today, taking the death toll to 28. According to health officials, 23-year-old Rajat Girg from Patiala succumbed to the virus at the PGI on Wednesday morning. The pandemic has so far claimed five lives in the city itself.



Admn withholds decision on teachers’ pay hike
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Barely a day after the UT administration decision to raise the salary of UT contractual schoolteachers by a double, the UT administration in a surprising move has held this enhancement in abeyance till further order.

Though all efforts to contact UT education secretary Ram Niwas and DPI (S) Sunil Bhatia proved futile, a senior official of the education department cited want of budget estimate as the reason for it.

“Yes we had announced it but now we want schools to submit the details about how many teachers do they have and how much money is required? After this we will check the treasury and see what is viable, so it has been held,” he said.

The reason has not only surprised but shocked many, as according to a teacher, “Don’t they have a record so as to how many contractual teachers do they have in the city and is it really a rocket science for finance officials to calculate the estimate. I think it’s the first time that such an announcement was made and subsequently withheld.”

“Strange are the ways of the UT education department. Didn’t they know the condition of their pocket before making such announcement? I am sure they must have taken all requisite approvals from the financial branch and if there is any issue it can be worked out with arrears, why make our current salaries suffer? It was an important decision and we all were thankful to the administration but it had also come under cloud now,” added another teacher.

The UT administration had announced to enhance the scales of the contractual teachers scheduled to be paid with effect from August 2009.

As per the new scales, a postgraduate teacher (PGT), who was earlier being paid around Rs 9,000, would get Rs 19,400. Similarly, the scale of trained graduate teachers (TGTs) has been raised to 17,600 from Rs 8,000, while for the junior basic training (JBT) category, the salary has been enhanced to Rs 14,000 from Rs 7,000.

The decision got a hearty welcome from the teachers concerned whose delegation had formally met and thanked the home secretary for it.



Dismantling of shopping arcade of Hotel Shivalikview
Councillor writes to Home Minister
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Congress councillor Pardeep Chhabra has written a letter to P Chidambaran, Union Home Minister, Government of India, regarding ill-conceived project plan with respect to dismantling of the business-cum-shopping arcade of Hotel Shivalikview at Sector 17 today requesting for review of the decision and for necessary investigation.

In his letter he requested that he is concerned about the decision of the Chandigarh Administration and M/s CITCO to dismantle the well-established existing shopping and business arcade of Hotel Shivalikview. Since he also operated from one of the offices situated in Shivalikview, he was better placed not only to assess the ground-level situation but also to gauge the overall impact of such an ill-conceived project plan.

It has been informed that the Chandigarh Administrator, the administration and some CITCO officials have decided to dismantle the existing shopping and business arcade and construct additional party and banquet hall, discotheque in its place at a cost of over Rs 6 crore.

He said that such a project idea was in contradiction to the basic concept of CITCO as well as Hotel Shivalikview. It may be recalled that in 1988, the then Janta Hotel was transferred to CITCO for its management and to provide a good affordable hotel service and business facilities for common man. He said that the business and shopping arcade has also been neglected by CITCO (which actually is also supposed to work for the benefit of small entrepreneurs and was originally known as Chandigarh Small Industries Development Corporation). CITCO apparently has worked against the interest of small traders and the common people.

He alleged that any independent authority has done no feasibility study of the project. He said the project had been opposed by a large section of the CITCO employees too as they were aware that the project would not only cause loss of revenue but would also be a source of corruption.

He further said that there was no rationale in the new proposed party halls as the hotel already had four large halls.



CITCO keen to dispose of industrial sheds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
The Board of Directors of CITCO today resolved to approach the Chandigarh Administration to allow it to dispose of the five resumed industrial sheds through open auction.

It is worth mentioning that the sheds were resumed approximately 15 years back, however, due to procedural wrangling, the property had not been disposed of.

The 159th meeting of the Board of Directors of CITCO was held today under the chairmanship of UT Home Secretary Ram Niwas. To publicise the hotel properties in the city, it was decided road shows in Mumbai and Delhi would be held. A FAM tour for travel agents in Chandigarh too was to be conducted.

The board decided to introduce “paid loyalty discount cards” for which a committee under the chairmanship of the Managing Director was constituted for finalising the scheme.

As a measure of staff welfare, the board decided to enhance the compensation amount payable at the time of death of an employee in service from the existing limit of Rs2.50 lakh to Rs 3.50 lakh effective from the forthcoming March 1.

To extend better facilities to the entrepreneurs, their employees and labour class in the industrial area, the board approved the proposal of upgrading of MPCC and kitchen services. This outlet would cater to the required need of a good food outlet at reasonable rates in the industrial area.

The “CITCO Industrial Dhaba” will be functional within this month. Special discount will be extended to Industries utilising the conference room and other allied facilities. With a view to meet the long-pending demand of the SSI units of having a modern test and calibration centre in the city, the board approved the up gradaing of the IDFC by equipping it with NABL accreditations to facilitate the SSI units. The project involving outlay of Rs75.00 lakh will be first of its kind in this region.



New chief of UT legal services body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
The Chandigarh administration has appointed Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta, Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, as the Executive Chairman of the State Legal Services Authority of the Union Territory, a press note issued here said today.

He belongs to Sirsa in Haryana and he did his schooling from Mayo College, Ajmer.

He did his graduation in history (hons) from Kirori Mal College, New Delhi, in 1973.

Thereafter, he did his law from the Law Faculty, Delhi University, in 1976. He was enrolled as an advocate in 1977.

He was elevated as the Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on July 2, 2001.

A quarterly Lok Adalat (Samadhan-2009) will be organised in the District Courts, Chandigarh on December 19.

All types of civil cases, including MACT cases, matrimonial cases and the criminal cases, which are compoundable including the traffic challans, will be decided in the said Lok Adalat.



Poll din in MC
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
With the mayoral elections scheduled for January 1, various political parties all set to finalise their candidate.

It may be recalled that in 2007, SAD candidate Harjinder Kaur, won by just one vote against Congress candidate Anu Chatrath.

The parties are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that their candidate get the post.

Precautionary steps are being taken to avoid any cross-voting by the party candidates.

The Congress is working out a strategy, which not only assures votes of nominated councillors for their candidate, but also tries to avoid in-house division in the party.

In 2007, SAD representative Harjinder Kaur got 17 and Anu Chatrath got 16 votes. Kaur got the support of six candidates belonging to BJP, two of SAD, along with eight nominated councillors, whereas BSP candidate decided to quit the elections after getting directions from BSP supremo Mayawati.

In the two by-elections of the corporation, Congress candidates Harphool Chand and Bhupinder Singh Bhadheri won both the seats. Vijay Singh Rana also joined the party. These three councillors have totally changed the whole scenario of the party in the House.

In the present municipal corporation House there are only 11 opposition councillors, who are themselves divided. Councillors of the opposition in the House are SAD candidate Harjinder Kaur, four councillors of the BSP and six of the BJP.

According to insiders, the BSP councillors are waiting for the directions of Mayawati for supporting the party in the coming mayoral elections. As the mayor’s post, this time, is reserved for women, so the party is thinking to project Raj Kumari Mishra for the post and seeking support from the BSP-SAD councillors to support her.

On the other hand, the BJP-SAD alliance is again planning to project Harjinder Kaur as their candidate. But a few councillors have objected to it. Even the nominated councillors, who had voted in favour of Harjinder Kaur in 2007, refused to support her. They alleged that most of the mayoral candidates failed to deliver their promises.

Exemption of Congress councillor Devinder Singh Babla from the House has made it clear that some nominated councillors supported the party’s move.

However, if one goes by the number of councillors in favour of the Congress, it is clear that the majority is with them. But in most of the previous mayoral elections, there has been cross-voting by the Congress councillors for their own candidate.



5 solar battery-run rickshaws delivered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Kamlesh, Mayor, Municipal Corporation, here, today formally delivered 5 solar battery operated rickshaws to the eligible rickshaw pullers, registered with the Municipal Corporation.

Revealing about this scheme, TPS Phoolka, Joint Commissioner, said 10 solar battery operated rickshaws were given to the corporation by the Science and Technology Department, Chandigarh administration, at zero cost for distribution to the eligible rickshaw pullers.

He said that training was given to all these rickshaw pullers for the operation of the solar rickshaw by the manufacturing company personnel in order to avoid any problem in operation. The balance five solar rickshaws pending with the MCC will be delivered in the next lot to the next five eligible rickshaw pullers.

BRRana, Project Officer, Swaran Jayanti Shastri Rozgar Yojna (SJSRY) said the feedback with regard to the operation of the solar battery operated rickshaws would supplied by the allottees. The allotment letters were handed over to Lallu prasar, Ram Sabat, Radhey Shyam shukla, Mangal Parsad, Guru Parsad.



Services hit as banking staff go on strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Banking services in the region were hit today on account of a strike by employees of the public sector banks. The bank employees were protesting against the proposed merger of State Bank of Indore and other associate banks with the State Bank of India.

Employees, under the aegis of All-India Bank Employees Association and All-India Bank Officers Association, took out a protest march at the bank square in the morning. Addressing the rally, Davinder Singh, secretary of the Punjab Bank Employees Federation, rued that the government had backtracked from its earlier commitment that smaller banks would not be merged with larger ones. “The move to merge the State Bank of Indore with the SBI will be a retrograde step,” he said.

Bank officials also criticised the governments move to raise loan from the World Bank in order to capitalise the public sector banks. They said that the government could have mobilised this money by effectively making recoveries of the NPAs of banks.

TK Datta, president of the federation, said if the government were to go ahead with the merger, they would be forced to intensify their struggle.



Missing PU student found
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Mystery over the sudden disappearance of a student of Panjab University was unravelled today when the boy returned to his hostel room, which was in a pandemonium after more than 24 hours.

The anxious parents and PU authorities had been searching the boy since Monday after being informed by his classmates that he did not turn for the exam at 2 pm.

When the boys’ hostel 2 warden and his friends opened his room to search him, they found the room in a complete haphazard and suspicious state. A daily dairy report (DDR) was later registered at the Sector 11 police station on the complaint lodged by the PU authorities.

Despite repeated attempts by the authorities, they could not reach to the boy, as his mobile was switched off.

It was only after tapping the mobile range that the PU authorities managed to find out his location, who was at the Ratwara Sahib Gurdwara that time.

When the boy returned, he was not in a sound state of mind, said PU sources.

An otherwise meritorious student since two years, he told he was no longer interested in studies. The PU authorities subsequently counselled him and tried to probe the reason for his disappearance.

Dean Student Welfare, Prof Naval Kishore, permitted the student to go back home with his parents and asked him to take his time to return to the hostel and university.



PU‘s south campus cries for cleanliness
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Heaps of garbage and domestic waste along the boundary walls of south campus of Panjab University in Sector 25 has become a familiar site with residents of Colony 5 adjoining the wall disposing their entire waste in the university.

Despite construction of a large wall, the perpetual hitch refuses to dissolve. Strangely, neither the PU authorities nor any of the students’ NGOs of the university has opted to create awareness among the colony residents to stop disposing the litter in the campus or even launched an initiative to clean up the area.

While, the university has been steadfast in constructing new buildings for expansion and developing infrastructure for new courses like areas in emerging science and technology, the cleanliness of south campus still cries for attention.

Along the entire stretch of the boundary wall, heaps of garbage could be found. In the same area, a new hostel for girls is also coming up shortly.

Despite the fact that there are several students’ organisation and NGOs formed by the PU students, till date none of them have offered to create awareness among the residents of the colony.

Moreover, the same had failed to catch the attention of the authorities. In addition to this, there are some particular places in the campus like ground outside the AC Joshi Library, which is perennially dirty.

“Even if the wall is constructed higher, the residents of the colony would continue to throw their domestic waste in the campus out of habit.

It is only through awareness that the residents can be educated,” said Anil Thakur, SDO (horticulture), on being questioned about the solution of the situation in Sector 25.



Converts’ inclusion in SC, ST quota decried
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
During a discussion today on the reservation policy for Dalits who have converted to Christianity and Islam, speakers opposed their inclusion in the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (ST) reservation quota.

The discussion was organised by Anusuchit Jati Arakshan Bachao Manch at ICSSR Seminar Hall, Panjab University. Speakers, including retired bureaucrats of Punjab, and former Rajya Sabha MP Ram Nath Kovind opposed the recommendation in the report of National Commission on Religious and Linguistic Minorities headed by Justice Ranganath Mishra, which was submitted to the Centre in May, 2007.

Kovind said: “The government has not tabled the report in Parliament for the last two years. Also, the report is not unanimous.” One of its members, Asha Das, wrote that converts should not be given reservation only because they basically belonged to the SC and ST category.

Kovind said the government and National Commission on Scheduled Castes had rejected the demand for the inclusion of religious minorities in 1935.

“There must have been pressure or lure when these Dalits converted to Islam or Christianity,” said Dilip Singh Pandher. He said issuing statements to the Press would not solve the purpose; a concrete action is required.

Manch convener Vijay Sampla argued that the SCs, who had converted to Christianity or Islam, did so for getting better facilities, especially education for children.

“When Christian missionaries came to India with the aim of spreading Christianity, their first target was the Dalits, who were poverty stricken,” a member of the Manch said.

Ex-secretary SC Tulsi said implementing the Mishra Commission recommendations would take years for implementation that too, after it is passed by Parliament.



Jean Rodrigues visits Senior Citizen Home
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
President of the local chapter of the Indian Council for Child Welfare Jean Rodrigues today visited the Senior Citizen Home, Sector 43-A, to interact with the inmates of the home over a tea party. Rodrigues met all inmates in the home and asked them about their well-being.

While speaking, she said various activities should be conducted once in a month or in a week as per the inmates choice in order to fill the void in their life. Besides, she was of the view that magazines should be provided to them, so that, they could keep themselves busy and spend their time leisurely.



Encroachments on Mohali’s periphery removed
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 16
Several illegal structures that had come up on the periphery area of Mohali were demolished by the enforcement wing of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) even as a junior engineer was manhandled by encroachers near Landran during the drive that was carried out here today.

According to reports, seven huts were demolished near Jagatpura, a store near Kandala, two saw mills and two marriage palaces near Chatt, one shed near Saneta, one structure near Durali and one room that was constructed in a part of the one and half acre encroached area. When the enforcement team, headed by Surinder Singh, SDO, reached Landran to demolish four shops that had come up on an encroached area along the road, the encroachers allegedly tried to attack the enforcement team.

Junior engineer Sukhpal Singh was manhandled by the encroachers and efforts were made to snatch his official files. It is reported that the enforcement team was able to demolish only one structure at Landran as protesters tried to stall the drive. They even blocked traffic on the road for some time.

The demolition team was accompanied by 20 police personnel and a duty magistrate.



GMADA conducts videography of illegally occupied flats
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 16
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority has found several of its MIG flats in phases 1, 9 and 10 and Sectors 66 and 70, which were earmarked for riot victims, have been illegally occupied. According to GMADA officials, people claiming to be riot victims had forcibly moved into the vacant flats.

Interestingly, in some cases the occupants moved into vacant flats that had already been allotted to people who had even got their conveyance deeds registered.

During the past two months at least 27 such flats have been illegally occupied. Officials of the GMADA enforcement staff have now undertaken house to house marking and are conducting videography of such flats.

Claiming to be genuine riot victims having possession of the flats for a long period, the occupants have filed cases in different courts seeking allotment of the same and have also got an interim stay from the Punjab & Haryana High Court. In most of the cases the Punjab Urban Planning & Development Authority (PUDA) has been made a party to the lawsuits instead of GMADA.

“In light of the interim stay the occupants cannot be vacated from the house. GMADA would have to contest the cases in the court”, said a senior official.

GMADA chief administrator VP Singh said he had directed the estate officer to register cases against the illegal occupants, adding GMADA would contest the cases in court.

The authority had earmarked some flats for allotment to riot victims in light of the amended rehabilitation policy for those hit. “While the SAD government is all set to announce allotment of houses and booths to the genuine victims, the forcible occupation has created an embarrassing situation for the authorities”, said a GMADA official.

In light of the new policy, the state government agreed to bear 50 per cent of the cost of the flats with the remaining amount to be charged from the allottee.

Earlier GMADA had decided to auction the flats. However, now they would be allotted after PUDA and GMADA adopted the government policy on allotment of flats to riot victims. The allotment will be made on the basis of claim applications submitted to the deputy commissioner.

However, allotment of a flat will be made on its current allotment price, varying between Rs 18 lakh and Rs 43 lakh depending on the category of the flat. As per the rates worked out in 2007, the price difference to be charged from the allottee for the low income and middle income flats was Rs 33,000 and Rs 88,000, respectively.



Hospital harasses family
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 16
A family from Bihar alleged that a private hospital refused to hand over the body of one of their relatives who had died following a bypass surgery at the hospital. The son of the deceased alleged that the hospital was forcing them to clear an exorbitant pending bill before releasing the body.

The officials at hospital, however, relented when media reached the spot and after a wait of six hours the body was released.

Om Prakash, a farmer from Bihar, said his mother Radha Devi (50) was admitted to the hospital for her bypass surgery on November 27. “We were asked to deposit an amount of Rs 2,80,000 as the hospital fee,” said Om. “When my mother died last night the hospital started claiming a pending bill to the tune of Rs 1.27 lakh even as we had already deposited all the dues,” he claimed.

Though hospital officials could not be contacted despite several efforts, it was learnt that a compromise was reached between the two parties.



2 youths snatch gold chain in Panchkula
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 16
Two motorcycle-borne youths snatched a gold chain from a 60-year-old woman, Tara Devi, when she was standing in her courtyard here today. Kusum, daughter-in-law of the victim, was also injured in the incident when she tried to catch the snatcher.

The snatchers, however, managed to escape pushing Kusum aside which resulted in minor injuries to her.

It was in the morning when Savita, daughter of Tara Devi, handed over around 30 gm of gold chain to her mother while going to Panjab University in Chandigarh.

As soon as Tara Devi put the chain on her neck and went to the courtyard of her house two youths, riding on a black Pulsar, reached the spot and snatched the chain. However, in the scuffle a portion of chain remained in the hands of Tara Devi.

A local resident also noted down the number of the bike. Though the number of the motorcycle was traced to Maheshpur village, the owner of the motorcycle was given a clean chit by the police after questioning.



4 temples razed on MC land
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
The Municipal Corporation(MC), here, has demolished four temples from its land in Palsora, Sector 56, here today in a demolition drive carried out under the supervision of P K Sharma, Additional Commissioner, and assisted by KD Sharma, Enforcement Inspector.

Following the directions of MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria, the MC staff demolished these temples, which comprised three Shiv mandirs and one Hanuman mandir. The demolition operation was conducted in a peaceful manner. The commissioner further warned the encroachers not to encroach the municipal land.



Doctor awarded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Prof SV Rana, in charge of the clinical biochemistry section of super specialty of gastroenterology department, PGI, got the award for best presentation in oral paper session during the 50th Annual Conference of Indian Society of Gastroenterology held at Kolkata. This award was given for her research work of an ICMR project.

In this study, phenotypic and genotypic methods of measuring slow and fast acetylators (in tuberculosis patients on anti-tubercular treatment) have been compared. It has been established that simple and inexpensive phenotypic method to measure slow and fast acetylators can replace the expensive genotypic method.



Mentally challenged girl goes missing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Seema, a 10-year-old mentally challenged girl, and a resident of K block in Colony No 4, Industrial Area Phase I, has been missing since December 10.

Shiv Shankar, father of the girl, informed the Industrial Area Phase I policestation on December 14 that his daughter, who was wearing black and white-colored jersey when she went out of the house to play in the neighborhood. The girl is wearing slippers and has long hair. The girl cannot even tell her name.



PU Notes
PU’s Central status: Representatives to
launch campaign
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Representatives of teachers and students met at the Student Centre, Panjab University, to deliberate upon the issue of PU’s Central status.

Representatives have joined hands under the banner of Students-Teachers Action Committee for achieving a Central status for PU.

As per the decision of previous meeting, the draft on comparative fee-structures of PU and the Central universities was finalised.

Students will be apprised of the benefits of such a status through posters. It was decided unanimously that a rigorous campaign would be launched to mobilise students for a struggle towards this goal. The Students-Teachers Action Committee is of the view that PU be granted the Central status without any compromise in its present structure.

Chairman appointed

Prof JK Chauhan, department of law, Panjab University, has been appointed the new chairman of the Himachal Pradesh Subordinate Services Selection Board. He was appointed member of the board on October 1 last year.

Born in Parnali Uhal village of Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh, Professor Chauhan started his teaching career in 1979 as a lecturer in the law department of Panjab University and was promoted in 1987 and 1998, respectively.

Specialised in “Commercial Law” domain, Chauhan served as the director of Panjab University Regional Centre, Ludhiana and Muktsar, for three years from 2003 to 2008.

Dr Chauhan, who completed his four years term as the member of Panjab University Senate in 2008, also remained the member of Panjab University Syndicate in 2005.

He is the member of various professional and academic bodies like India Law Institute, New Delhi, India Law Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, and All India Law Teachers Congress, New Delhi.

Teacher, student awarded

Dr Urvashi Sharma, senior lecturer, and Aastha Sobti, a student of Dr HSJ Institute of Dental Sciences, Panjab University, were awarded first prizes for their talks in the faculty and student category at the “North Zone Dental Workshop” organised by the Dental Council of India as part of its diamond jubilee celebrations at NIPER, Mohali, on December 13 and 14.

Dr Urvashi spoke on “A change in the undergraduate dental curriculum - a need or a necessity” and Aastha Sobti spoke on “Orthodontics for the poor — does it exist”.

Science congress

The Panjab University will organise the 13th Punjab Science Congress on February 7 and 9 under the aegis of Punjab Academy of Sciences with a focus on “Climate Change: Concerns and Solutions”.

Prof RC Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, PU, said diverse scientific sessions as agriculture, biosciences, biotechnology, environmental sciences, applied chemistry, applied physics, sugar technology, food technology and textile chemistry, chemical, mathematical and physical sciences, engineering sciences, medical and veterinary sciences and socio-economics would be covered during the congress.


The department of music, PU, arranged a lecture-cum-demonstration by eminent vocalist Dr Suhasini Koratkar from Pune. A disciple of Pt TD Janorikar of Bhindi Bazar Gharana, she presented three compositions in raga gunakali and another in raga bairagi. She explained the basic techniques of singing such as meend, kan, gamak, khatka and Kakubheda.

Ustad Afsar Khan Sahib from Kathak Kendra, Delhi, Rajendra Gangani of Jaipur Gharana, mesmerised audience with their renditions.



Aerospace Olympiad from today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Teams from as many as 20 schools across the country would be participating in the National Aerospace Olympiad, which will begin here tomorrow.

Organised by the Aeronautical Society of India, the Olympiad aims to spread awareness about the exciting fields of aviation and space with specific relation to India.

Chairman of the society’s Chandigarh Chapter, Dr Satish Kumar, said a total of 89 schools had competed for the Olympiad, out of which the aforementioned teams were shortlisted for the final.

The finalists would be required to prepare a report and give a presentation on “The propulsion system of the GSLV,” he added.

The teams for the final were selected on the basis of their project report, “Propulsion systems for satellite launch and positioning.”

Besides the report and presentation, a quiz on current affairs, aerospace and Indian personalities, poster making competition and a cultural programme are also on the agenda during the next three days,” said event director, Wg Cdr DP Sabharwal (retd). The winning team would be visiting Sriharikota or the Thumba Space Centre later.



Foundation day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Kendriya Vidyalaya, 3 BRD Air Force Station, celebrated its foundation day as the grandparents’ day here today. To mark the day, the school staff and students led by principal SK Sharma had a lot in store for around 50 grandparents, who were overwhelmed by the special programme organised for them.

Various events like a fancy dress competition, cultural programme and special games were organised for them.

Wg Cdr P Singh was the chief guest and Sgn Ldr Pooja Thakur also attended the programme.

The programme was coordinated by Manjit Kaur while headmistress Updesh Kaur proposed a vote of thanks.



Professor gets award
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Prof PL Sharma, emeritus professor of clinical pharmacology, has been awarded the lifetime achievement award for his meritorious contribution to the field of clinical pharmacology in India.

The award was given to him at the annual conference of the Indian Pharmacological Society in Kolkata.



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