C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Gang of robbers busted, 11 held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The police claimed to have busted an interstate gang of robbers, arresting eleven of its members, who were involved in several crimes ranging from murder to robbery and theft and had been earlier convicted in many cases. Three ‘country made’ pistols, nine live cartridges and eight swords have been recovered from them.

According to the police, the gang consisted of about 15 members who were active in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

UT SSP SS Srivastva said a police team comprising the crime branch and the east division received a tipoff that the robberies had assembled near a cremation ground in Darua village carrying deadly weapons and were planning to commit a robbery at Khanna Sanitary store in Phase I of the Industrial Area.

A police team conducted a raid and managed to nab 11 members of the gang while three other members - Rajan, Raju and Laxman - managed to flee taking advantage of the darkness. Those apprehended have identified as Sanjay Kumar, Indal, Rajesh Kumar alias Nathu, Dinesh alias Dinesh Bihar, Ramakant Singh alias Sanjay Thakur, Tajendar Verma alias Happy, Subash alias Subash Kalia, Sujnath, Vikas, Abid Husain and Ram Nath Singh.

Srivastva further said though all the gang members were equally involved in their criminal activities Tajendar, Dinesh and Sanjay were involved in many heinous crimes. The former was booked in 36 cases of murder, robbery, dacoity and theft and had been convicted in 31 cases so far. “He is a lifer in a murder case in Ludhiana and remained in jail since December 22 to June 10 last year after he 
jumped his parole in 2006 on fake documents”, the SSP added.

The suspects, hailing from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, had earlier worked as menial workers in metal factories in the region. They knew the use of various scrap metals and the markets in which to dispose them off.

Crime branch in-charge inspector Charanjit Singh said the suspects were hardcore criminals and were well versed with the security systems in various jails. “They would split a banana in two parts to conceal a cellular SIM card in it before fixing it again deftly. They thus managed to smuggle the SIM cards to their acquaintances lodged in jails. They used code language and were expert in passing information among them without being caught”, added Charanjit.

The police registered a case under sections 399 & 402 of the IPC against the suspects last night. The latter had confessed they had stolen 25 quintals of nickel worth about Rs 25 lakh from the Avon Power steel factory in Phase I of the Industrial Area.

The suspects were produced before a local court that remanded them to police custody till January 25.



Women delayed delivery date due to eclipse
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Even in the 21st century superstitious beliefs continue to have a hold on many people. Even though there is no scientific logic behind the notion that giving birth on the day of a solar eclipse is “inauspicious,” a lot of city residents, including those who are educated, think otherwise. In keeping with this misplaced belief four women who were scheduled for “elective caesareans” at the PGI today postponed their surgeries for the day.

Confirming this Dr Shalini Gainder, consultant gynaecologist at PGI, told The Tribune that, “Surprisingly, none of the four women wanted their caesarean deliveries today. Even at GMCH-32, a woman who was scheduled to get labour induced asked doctors, ostensibly under family pressure, to postpone it.”

Not only this, gynaecologists concede many patients opted to get discharges a day earlier as even going out during the solar eclipse was considered “inauspicious” by them. However, no amount of reasoning with such patients appeared to work.

“Some patients who had normal deliveries and were in a stable condition were discharged yesterday on their request,” said Dr Sapna Mishra, consultant gynaecologist, Fortis Hospital, Mohali.

Superstitions about the solar eclipse having an adverse effect on pregnancy and childbirth appear to be at their peak, as city gynaecologists claimed 75 per cent drop in appointments and almost no planned deliveries.

Traditionally, pregnant women are advised not to expose themselves to the eclipsed sun as its “inauspicious” rays harm the child in the womb. In extreme cases women are not allowed to get out of a room the entire day.

“Our parents were adamant not to plan a delivery on the day of the solar eclipse. So, we opted for Monday as Saturday is too unsuspicious and Sunday is a holiday,” said Avani Rastogi, who is nine months pregnant.

Mishra said she had been trying to educate her patients that a solar eclipse is “only an astronomical event” and would not harm the child in any way. 



Youth gets 4-yr-term for road rage
Had hit a Home Guard jawan with his car in 2008
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Twenty-year-old Gaurav, hailing from Muktsar, was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment under various sections of the IPC by the court of additional district and sessions judge RK Sondhi today.

He was convicted yesterday for hitting a home guard jawan with his car and hurting him in 2008 in a road rage incident. The judge observed that being an educated boy, he was aware of traffic rules and this act could not be pardoned.

After the conviction, Gaurav’s brother and father could not control themselves and broke into tears. Gaurav’s elder brother accidentally threw all money on the floor in court while counting the fine amount.

Not being able to hold back his tears anymore, he said his brother, who was the youngest of four siblings, did not deserve such a harsh punishment.

At the time of the incident, he was driving recklessly while talking on his mobile phone, thereby putting his life as well as of others in danger, it was observed. He did not possess his driving licence at that time.

He was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment under Section 308 of the IPC, a two-year term under Section 353 of the IPC and another six months under the motor vehicle Act. He was also slapped a fine of Rs 7,500.

The defence, in its plea, had stated that the boy was merely 20 years old and a BA final-year student. A lenient view should be taken, the defence had appealed.

The boy, in his statement under Section 313, had denied the incident and said he was picked up from home by the police. He had later confessed to his crime. His accomplice Vikas had been acquitted and cleared of all charges earlier.



ASI held for taking bribe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Sarwan Singh, an ASI in the Punjab Police, was nabbed by the CBI today for taking a bribe of Rs 10,000. He had allegedly demanded the money from a person involved in an NDPC case promising to help him out. The CBI had received a complaint yesterday, acting on which the ASI was arrested today.


Fire breaks out at PGI due to short circuit
Fifth incident in one year
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
It appears the PGI, the region’s premier medical institute, is virtually waiting for a major tragedy to occur. Five incidents of electrical short-circuiting (see box), some resulting in minor fires, in the past one year, with the latest being today, have apparently failed to convince the hospital authorities about the urgency to act and change worn out wirings in various buildings.

This is despite the fact that a proposal to do this was cleared under the PGI’s eleventh five-year budget last year. However, the funds have still to be released.

Every time smoke billows out of the transformers at Nehru Hospital, Married Doctors’ Hostel, Research Block ‘B’ and Old Doctors Hostel, it brings back grim memories of the fire at Rajendra Hospital, Patiala on February 1, 2009. That tragedy was the outcome of similar apathy and negligence that led to short-circuiting of wires in which five newborn children were burnt alive.

Notwithstanding such incidents, the PGI hospital authorities are yet to wake up and get their act together.

The latest such incident occurred this morning when a minor fire broke out at around 10:15 am at a transformer following a short circuit in the lecture theatre at Nehru Hospital. Though it was brought under control within 30 minutes, three fire tenders were immediately rushed to the scene after getting a call from the PGI.

Sources again attributed the occurrence of the incident to “damaged and worn out” cables. They pointed out the transformer in which the fire broke out is the oldest at the hospital.

Though wires connecting the transformer and the building have been changed after every such mishap, the entire process of laying down new cables and wires in the buildings has not yet been undertaken. “Har baar kaam chalau jugad kar diya jaata hai” (temporary and makeshift arrangements are made every time), said an employee on condition of anonymity.

The transformer connects power supply to Nehru Hospital which houses sensitive departments like plastic surgery, burns unit and radiology and also has the patients’ ward.

When contacted, a PGI spokesperson, Manju Wadlwalkar, confirmed the proposal for rewiring and modernisation had been cleared under the institute’s eleventh budget but the funds had not yet been sanctioned.



Ruchika Case
CBI records statements of Girhotras, Anand Prakash
Tribune News Service

Anand Prakash (left) and Subhash Girhotra on their way to join the investigation at the CBI base camp in Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Friday
Anand Prakash (left) and Subhash Girhotra on their way to join the investigation at the CBI base camp in Sector 18, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photos: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, January 15
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team probing the three fresh FIRs registered against former Haryana Director-General of Police SPS Rathore recorded the statement of Subhash Girhotra, Ruchika’s father, here today.

The statement of Anand Prakash, father of Ruchika’s friend, who had pursued the case of molestation of Ruchika and got Rathore convicted, was also recorded.

Another CBI team reached the house of the Girhotras in Sector 12-A, Panchkula, and recorded the statement of Ashu, Ruchika’s brother, who had allegedly been implicated in false criminal cases at behest of Rathore in 1992 and 1993.

The 20-member CBI team took over the probe from the special investigation team of the Haryana police on Wednesday and asked Girhotra and Prakash to join investigations and record their statements.

Prakash reached the base camp of the CBI, set up for the case, in Sector 18 at 10:45 am. It took the CBI team seven hours to record his statement.

Prakash informed the CBI about the incidents right from August 12, 1990, when Rathore molested Ruchika, till the day Rathore was convicted by a CBI court in Chandigarh on December 21 last. Prakash was relieved at 6:30 pm.

Girhotra, who joined the investigation around 11 am, recorded his statements till late in the evening. The statements were recorded in the presence of DIG Satish Golcha.

Girhotra and Prakash had not responded to the summons sent to them by the special investigation team set up by the Haryana government to join the investigation, alleging that the state police, which was still under Rathore’s influence, would not be able to conduct the fair investigation.

They also demanded the arrest of Rathore following FIRs for attempt to murder, illegal confinement, forging of documents and abetment to suicide, registered on the complaint of Subhash Girhotra and Ashu Girhotra.

The CBI was expected to record the statements of Sandip Verma, Ashu’s friend, who had been allegedly implicated in false criminal cases along with Ashu at Rathore’s behest.


Suicide at GMCH
Victim’s father wants two classmates summoned
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Two years after the suicide of Jaspreet Singh, a third-semester MBBS student at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), his father deposed in court today.

During the trial that began yesterday, Jaspreet’s father, Charan Singh, who identified the handwritten suicide note of his son, moved an application in the court of additional district and sessions judge Raj Rahul Garg to issue summons to two classmates of his son, Deepak and Ajay, who had been named in the suicide note.

Jaspreet had named Dr NK Goel, head of the department of community medicine, and the two students in his suicide note. After hearing arguments, the court fixed January 21 as the date for pronouncing orders on the application.

The court framed charges against the doctor on July 24 last under Section 306 of the IPC and Section 3(2)(VII) of the SC/ST Act. The police submitted a challan against him in the case of suicide of Jaspreet on September 11 last.

The challan was based on an inquiry report submitted by a GMCH committee and the Central Forensic Science Laboratory’s report on the suicide note and an examination paper’s re-evaluation.

Dr Goel and the two students were booked on January 28 for abetment to suicide after Jaspreet’s body was found hanging in the toilet of the library on the fifth floor at the GMCH’s B-block.

The suicide note said they used to ridicule him over his caste. The names of the classmates had later been dropped after the inquiry board cleared their names.

Jaspreet’s father had said his son excelled in studies, but had not fared well in his last examination, which depressed him. He had alleged that the college was responsible for his son’s death as he had attempted suicide earlier.



Beautification of Sec 17
Shopkeepers told to affix banners on first floor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Sector 17 shopkeepers will have to implement the guidelines of the Advertisement ControlAct for displaying their banners, besides following the building bylaws to avoid any stringent action within a month.

This was decided after UT Finance Secretary Sanjay Kumar visited the market yesterday.

He told the shopkeepers that the department concerned would issue a set of guidelines of the Advertisement Act to them, on the basis of which they would have to display their banners and boards on the buildings. Members of the association were also directed to remove the banners displayed in the corridors and affix them on the first or the second floor of their buildings.

He instructed the UT chief engineer department to provide the details about the size of the banners or boards to the shopkeepers so that they could display them on their shops.

The Finance Secretary also agreed to enhance the power supply capacity to each building from 100 KW to 125 KW as per the demand put forth by the association.

It was decided that all buildings in the market would be painted gray to enhance the outlook of the market. The shopkeepers also requested him to ensure that the illegal vendors are permanently evicted from the market.

The Finance Secretary directed municipal secretary Kamlesh to do the needful at the earliest. Kamlesh, however, requested the Finance Secretary to depute women constables to deal with illegal encroachers.

The representatives of the shopkeepers’ association asked the Finance Secretary to impress upon the administration, to allot a land for constructing a street food court in the market. 



Evidence closed in rape case
Major loopholes pointed out in inquiry
Smriti Sharma Vasudeva
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Nearly three years after a case was registered against Narinder, director of the Frontier Cycles, for rape and criminal intimidation on the basis of a complaint by a 24-year-old Ropar resident, evidence in the case was closed today.

The court of additional district and sessions judge GC Garg fixed January 20 as the date for final arguments in the case. Major loopholes had recently been pointed out in the case inquiry.

During cross-examination, the investigating officer, sub-inspector Harminderjit Singh, had accepted that he had not found whether Narinder had contacts in the Spice Telecomm, as mentioned by the victim, who alleged that the former could arrange a job for her with the company.

Harminderjit had further agreed that he had not verified the antecedents of the victim and her friend. However, he stated in court that it was wrong to suggest that he had not deliberately verified the antecedents to hide the truth. The investigating officer had also not placed the mobile phone records, which could supposedly establish that the accused had been framed.

The phone records showed frequent exchange of calls between the ‘victim’, her friend (a key ‘eyewitness’), a DSP (posted at Ropar, when the incident took place) and a businessman (a friend of Narinder’s relative). According to the phone records, the four were in constant touch with each other before and after 
the alleged rape.

In another statement, revealing the ambiguity of the investigation, the investigating officer had stated that he had not inquired whether the accused had been residing in Ludhiana or elsewhere.

However, as per a report submitted by the Fatehgarh Sahib SSP dated November 23, 2007, the victim had hatched a conspiracy to malign the image of the accused.



Some respite, but chill to persist
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Although a clear and sunny day brought some respite from the cold till this afternoon, the chill returned towards the evening. The night temperature recorded a low of 5.5 degree Celsius, 0.5 degree Celsius above yesterday’s temperature.

The day temperature dipped to 18.5 degree Celsius. A bright and clear sky greeted city residents and a large number of people basked in the afternoon sun. Though the sun appeared in the morning, the second half of the day witnessed chilly winds.

Although the GoAir Airlines resumed its Mumbai-Chandigarh flight after two weeks, the early morning fog affected the schedule of other flights for the 15th consecutive day. Trains were also delayed. The Shatabdi Express was delayed by 20 minutes while the Howrah-Kalka Mail was late by five hours.

Cold conditions were likely to persist in the city in the coming days, with the meteorological department forecasting a maximum temperature of 18 degree Celsius and a minimum of 4 degree Celsius tomorrow.

The meteorological office forecast a clear sky during the next 24 hours, with the likelihood of mist or shallow fog during morning and night. It also forecast partly cloudy days in Punjab and Haryana due to the approaching western disturbances.



GMCH-32 coordinating agency for UT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) has designated the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, as the state coordinating agency for the UT Chandigarh and the state of Punjab.

The main objective of this body would be to consolidate the epidemiological profile epidemic scenario and programme response at the district and sub-district level with respect to HIV /AIDS.

When contacted, Dr Raj Bahadur, Director, Principal of the institute, said the agency would identify districts and focus areas for priority attention in the programme and to understand the epidemic and response gaps in the district and facilitate evidence-based planning at district and the state level, resource and information would collect in a systematic manner.

Besides, the agency would involve in capacity building of district and the state programme managers and M&E personnel in data analyses, triangulation and use of date for planning and the programme review. 



Foundation stone of sanitation office laid
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Municipal Corporation Commissioner, Dr Roshan Sunkaria, recently laid the foundation stone of pilot project of sanitation office-cum-complaint centre in Sector 37-D.

The said building is being constructed at an approximate cost of Rs 3.92 lakh with the provision of office of inspectorate staff, sanitation store and public redress counter.

The construction will be completed within a period of four months.

Official said the authorities were going to construct such complaint centres in every zone of the city to smoothen the sanitation services in the city. This centre will ensure quick accessibility of the inspectorate staff for redressal of grievances as to sanitation complaints.

Besides this, chief engineer SK Bansal, superintending engineer B&R Mukesh Anand and medical official of health, Dr G Dewan, were also present.



Parents file complaint against principal
50 latecomers barred from entering school
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
High drama prevailed outside the GMSSS, Sector 18, today, when some parents raised hue and cry against Principal Nirupma Krishan for barring around 50 latecomers from entering the school.

According to parents, the school was scheduled to commence at 8.30am and some children reached at 8.40am due to delay by CTU buses they had boarded. However, the principal denied them entry.

When these parents reportedly tried to reason things out with her, she turned them away. Enraged, the parents went to the UT Education Department to file an official complaint against her.

“We had no option. These are poor kids, who come from Panchkula and Manimajra on buses that got late.

The principal was in no mood to listen to anything and was quite adamant. The children kept on pleading but all in vain. If she cannot forgive these children for a genuine reason, then she should answer the department for being late herself and allowing some of her favorite teachers to do so,” said one of the parents.

The principal on other hand asserted that these children were regular latecomers and had been doing so for the past six months. She also added that only those students, who were accompanied by their parents, were asked to leave, but others were allowed to enter.

“Till what time can school authorities take all this? The parents are just blowing the matter out of proportion.” said a school official.

Meanwhile, a team of the UT Education Department officials reached the school to look into the matter.



GMADA notice on approved colonies causes confusion
Tribune News Service

Mohali/Zirakpur, January 15
Woken out of its slumber by GMADA’s public notice on approved colonies in Mohali’s periphery, which warned stringent action would taken against promoters of illegal colonies, the Zirakpur MC is now doing a reality check.

Going by its record and recent survey, the MC has started preparing a list of its approved projects. “There’s a catch here -the projects approved by the local government department may not be approved by GMADA. This can lead to heartburn between the two departments”, said a senior MC official.

Delayed action by the civic body apart, the list of approved colonies in Mohali district released by GMADA has only led to confusion and even panic among builders, investors and prospective buyers.

Over the years governments in the state have been sitting on illegal construction in Mohali’s periphery. Time and again the limits of the Kharar, Zirakpur, Dera Bassi civic bodies were extended to regularise constructions under political pressure.

Customers who had recently bought and booked apartments in Zirakpur, Kharar, Dera Bassi and neighbouring areas are calling up promoters to enquire about the status of their projects. However, MC officials justified there are many other approved colonies in Zirakpur which were approved by the Punjab local bodies department. The list of these approved colonies is expected to be released shortly.

GAMDA had released the list of 91 approved colonies in Mohali district through advertisements in newspapers, which mentioned 24 colonies were approved in Zirakpur with the rest of them being unauthorised.

Reacting to the authority’s public notice, Peermuchhla Builders Association president Vijay Arora claimed the housing projects in Peermuchhla were approved by the local bodies department. “After the list of approved colonies was released by GMADA, the genuine and prospective buyers are a confused lot. They’re asking about the status of the projects”, he added.

“The association plans to meet senior officials of the local bodies department tomorrow to release the housing projects approved by the department and also discuss its problems with them”, Arora stated.

Residents have demanded the local bodies department and municipal council should release the list of approved and legal colonies. “It will be easy for buyers as well as the general public to know the status of various projects” they added.

Zirakpur executive officer SK Sharma stated GMADA had released the list of approved colonies that was only approved by it. “MC officials have begun preparing the list of approved colonies, which will be released shortly”, he added.



A matter of faith for some
For others just a celestial phenomenon
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

A girl watches solar eclipse through a telescope at Panjab University, Chandigarh, on Friday.
A girl watches solar eclipse through a telescope at Panjab University, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, January 15
Although the solar eclipse was partially visible in this part of the region, there were thousands of people who observed fast, took a holy dip, offered food and charity to the poor and performed prayers to avoid its “ill-effects” on them.

While a section of residents remained indoors, many enthusiasts tried to view the eclipse by seeing the solar reflection through mirrors, X-ray films and glasses with solar filters and carbon plates.

Some of the temples, too, remained closed for four hours. However, the temples of Lord Shani in Sector 19 remained open due to a heavy rush of devotees.

Astrologers had varied opinions about how solar eclipse can affect the lives of the people. They maintain that those born under the influence of different rashis (moon signs) would have both good and bad impact.

Kameshwar Sharma, an astrologer, said: “Those born under the influence of certain stars can benefit from the eclipse, so it is not mandatory that everyone should take precautionary steps.”

“Offering food to animals, particularly cows in gaushalas (cow shelters), is very beneficial. The sun has a definite influence on our life and if it gets eclipsed, it can be a cause of concern,” he said.

There are others who really do not care about the “superstitions” attached to the eclipse. Usually, people avoid food during the duration of eclipse. Some even do not take the food that is prepared before the eclipse. But there are others like Hemant Gupta, a chartered accountant, who dismissed the eclipse as a mere astronomical phenomenon.

“Unfortunately, we were not able to witness the spectacle here. There is nothing unusual or inauspicious about it. I had lunch when the eclipse was underway. You can see I am perfectly normal and I am sure I will be perfectly normal,” he said, adding that all myths and superstitions attached to the eclipse need to be broken if India has to progress,” he said.

On the other hand, Jatinder, a businessman, said: “He was denied lunch till 3.30 as his mother believed in superstitions.”

Said businessman Ajay Kumar: “I did not find anything inauspicious about the eclipse. For me, it was just like any other day.”

Meanwhile, most of the city schools, especially government schools, recorded low attendance due to the solar eclipse.

“Parents have strong notions about going out in the eclipse or seeing it, so probably many chose to keep their kids at home. Yes, many of our schools did have low attendance,” revealed a senior UT Education Department official.

“Yes not many kids had come today in classes VII and VIII but for the higher ones we had good attendance. I think it was because of the eclipse.Many parents had called us day before asking for a holiday in lieu of this eclipse but we of course couldn’t do so,” said a city Principal.



Protest by Markfed employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Employees of the Markfed today staged a protest at their head office in Sector 35, here, in support of their demands.The employees took mass leave and staged similar rallies at their sub-offices across Punjab.

They shouted slogans against the state government for not meeting their long -pending demands.

The employees demanded immediate implementation of the 5th Pay Commission Report without any cuts. The normal work suffered throughout the day. 



Institute director gets award

Chandigarh, January 15
Kulwant Singh Gill, director, Educational Institutes, Ratwara Sahib, has been awarded the India International Achiever Award-2009 by the NRI Institute. The award was presented by Dr Lenny Saith, Minister in the Office of Prime Minister, Trinidad and Tobago, during the 20th anniversary celebrations of the institute at New Delhi recently.

Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor was the chief guest, while Sam Pitroda, Adviser to the Prime Minister on public information, infrastructure and innovation, inaugurated the function. Meanwhile, Gill has also been appointed as the president of the Global Punjabi Society, Chandigarh. Joginder Singh, a former director of CBI, is the chairman of the society. — TNS



Use of Punjabi
GMADA violates govt instructions
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 15
Senior officials of the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and rural and panchayat department, Punjab, were found violating the government instructions on the use of Punjabi in their respective offices.

Morinda MLA Ujjagar Singh Wadali, chairman of district-level committee on the use of Punjabi, said during a visit to GMADA office, it was found that most of the work was being done in English and nameplates of the officials were also in English.

GMADA Chief Engineer Rajiv Moudgil and Superintending Engineer HS Sodhi were also found doing their work in English. On being pointed out, the Chief Engineer assured committee members that orders would be implemented with immediate effect. Similarly, the committee found that in the rural development office, many noting on files were still being made in English.



Hearing of case against MC chief on Jan 28
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 15
As the case related to alleged misuse of power by the Municipal Council president has again come up for hearing after more than two years, council chief Rajinder Singh Rana today described the move as politically motivated.

The Congress-backed civic body president, who was issued a show-cause notice on June 11, 2007, by the then principal secretary, local government, DS Bains, on charges of misuse of power, was again called in connection with the case by present incumbent C Roul yesterday. However, no discussions on the case followed and January 28 has been fixed as the next date in this regard.

Council executive official Amna Kumar Goyal had also gone to the principal secretary’s office in connection with the case yesterday.

The show-cause notice was issued to Rana after the then executive official of civic body JS Thind had sent a report to the higher authorities alleging that the civic body chief had transferred three employees without having the powers to do so.

Thind had also alleged that Rana kept postponing opening of sanitation tenders, which adversely affected the work. He had recommended that an action should be taken against the MC chief in this regard.

Rana, however, had said he had not misused his powers. He had transferred the employees from one seat to another within the council and he had the power to do so. He had postponed the tenders to bring about some change in the terms of the agreement to introduce more competition among contractors.

The council president today said Bains had heard his arguments and those of the executive official in October, 2007, after which the decision was kept reserved and nothing happened later. It was only on January 12 that he again got a letter in connection with the case, the date for which was fixed two days later. He said Bains would have taken the action in connection with the case if it had any ground. Now the case coming up for hearing once again after a gap of more than two-and-a-half year allegedly showed that it had some political intervention.

He said the only aim of the opposition councillors at present was to dislodge him and made a SAD supporter as the chief of the civic body. They were not bothered about the development of the town and when they gained majority they adopted a pick and choose policy while clearing estimates of development works.



Denial of Entry to Inmate
DC seeks explanation from Ashiana
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 15
Taking cognisance of the reports regarding denial of entry to an old inmate by the Ashiana (home for destitute) management, Panchkula, Deputy Commissioner Pankaj Yadav has asked project officer of the Integrated Child Development Programme to issue notice to the management seeking explanation on their conduct.

The management has been asked to explain their position and if they failed to satisfy the administration and the state government, the procedure to stop the grant being extended to them will be initiated, said the Deputy Commissioner. Moreover, the management has been asked to readmit the child, he added.

The 14-year-old orphan was denied entry after she was sent to her relative for counselling last month. In charge of Ashiana Neelam Khullar said the child was not interested in studies and according to rules, they were not supposed to keep children, who were not studying.



Newly born girls given clothes
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 15
Clothes, shoes, caps and toys were given to newly born girls at a Lohri function organised by the House Owners Welfare Association, Phase 5, at Dharana Bhawan in Phase 5, here, last night.

Albel Singh Syan, president of the association, said the families of the girls living in phase 5 were identified and invited to attend the function. The event was an effort by the association to spread the message of gender equality in the society. The function was presided over by Mehtab Matwala. A bonfire was lit and a dinner was organised in the honour of the invitees.



Sections of RTI Act discussed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The department of life long learning and extension in association with the RTI Cell, Panjab University, organised a seminar on “The Right to Information Act (RTI) 2005: A Tool for Empowerment” on the campus here today.

PU Vice-Chancellor Prof RC Sobti inaugurated the seminar and Rupan Deol Bajaj, State Information Commissioner, Punjab, delivered the keynote address.

Dr Ajaib Singh, director, DLLLE, said, “Reach out, enable, involve and empower people is the objective of the RTI Act.”

Prof Sobti said the Government of India, in its endeavour to promote transparency and accountability in the working of every public authority, had promulgated the right to information for its citizens, to allow easy assess to information under the control of public authorities.

He said the responsibilities of a public authority had increased manifold, no doubt, the authority had to maintain all its records duly catalogued and indexed so that speedy assess to information was ensured.

She dwelt on various sections of the act and advised information seekers not to misuse the RTI Act.

She said short, pithy questions should be preferred, as these certainly elicited proper response within the stipulated period of 30 days.

Dr Paramjit Singh Kang proposed the vote of thanks.



No move to constitute advisory committee
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
It seems that the Chandigarh administration is not taking any interest in constituting the Home Minister’s Advisory Committee, the term of which expired in April, 2009. As per records of the administration, the committee was constituted in April, 2007, for a term of two years.

The first meeting of the committee was held in New Delhi in 1985 under the chairmanship of the Home Minister.

The committee was again constituted in 2000, but no meeting was held.

In 2005, one meeting was held under the chairmanship of the Home Minister. It was reconstituted in 2007 and one meeting was held. The committee was headed by the UT Administrator.

The other members of the committee were Pawan Kumar Bansal, the Mayor, four members of the municipal corporation, two members of the zila parishad, representatives of SCs and STs and a woman representative.

Sources said the committee played a crucial role in reviewing and suggesting policy decisions to help the administration define the development policy of the city. The sources said it was important to review the development of the city, particularly in the context of mega-projects.

As per a notification issued in 2000, the administration had to inform the departments concerned to send a list of the representatives for the constitution of the committee. For the four members from the corporation, the Home Secretary had to ask the MC Commissioner to conduct elections in the house and send the list to the administration.

A senior MC official said they had not received any letter from the administration about elections the advisory committee so far. When contacted, Mayor Anu Chatrath said she would write a letter to the Home Secretary to send a written communication for the committee elections, which would be tabled during the next meeting of the house.



Fire brigade workers meet MC Commissioner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Representatives of the Fire Brigade Workers Welfare Union yesterday met Municipal Corporation Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria and kept their demands before him.

Employees urged the authorities to take up their pending promotion cases at the Departmental Promotion Committee meeting, which had not been convened for a long time.

They appealed to the authorities to execute the insurance policy for the fire department employees, which the Commissioner had announced last year.

They said for the past two years the department did not give them uniforms.

Dr Sunkaria assured the union leaders that the backlog of their pending promotion cases would be cleared soon.



Need to conserve oil, natural gas stressed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The inaugural function of the Oil and Gas Conservation Fortnight (OGCF)-2010 with the theme, “Save oil-save money” was organised at the Bal Bhavan, Sector 23, here today.

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) as the state coordinator on behalf of the oil ministry convened the programme. Municipal Corporation Mayor Anu Chatrath was the chief guest.

In his welcome address, HPCL senior regional manager Amit Mehra to enhance awareness about the oil and gas conservation stressed on the need to conserve oil and natural gas not only in one’s own interest but also in the interest of the nation. These activities are of paramount importance considering its potential for reducing India’s oil import bill, increasing energy security of the nation and keeping pollution under check, he said.

He also gave tips on the oil and gas conservation in various sectors.

Anu Chatrath also stressed upon the practical application of various oil and gas conservation techniques in day-to-day life, which will save foreign exchange and contribute to the national cause as the natural resources of petroleum products are scarce as well as non-renewable.

“It is imperative that these limited resources are put to judicious use in order to preserve them for the future generation,” she added.

Students from various schools attended the function. An oath to conserve petroleum products was also taken.

Later, the chief guest flagged off two vans displaying banners to spread the message of oil and gas conservation in the city.



Rs 38 crore to be spent on development
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
In a major decision taken at the finance board meeting of Panjab University here today, it was decided to spend Rs 38 crore on 36 developmental projects in the university.

The amount was allotted for the ongoing renovation and construction work on boys and girls’ hostels and various other development projects.

In yet another decision, the finance board resolved to implement new UGC pay scales for categories, which were uncovered in the earlier guidelines. Now, as the per the UGC directions, these categories will get salary as per the new scales.

It was also decided to utilise Rs 33 crore, which was lying with the college development council for developmental purposes related to colleges and a discussion was held on how to utilise the same.

Even at the last Senate meeting, a demand to construct a separate guesthouse for the colleges in PU, where students and faculty of the colleges can come and stay, was raised.

The posts for librarian would also be made regular from now, as per the decision taken at the meeting and advertisements have already been released for the same. The assistant librarian’s salary has been raised from Rs 9,000 to Rs 12,000 now.

In addition to this, a separate budget has been allotted to revamp all bhavans in Panjab University.



Admission to special children
CBSE warning on affiliation
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The Central Board of Secondary Education has threatened to take back the affiliation of those schools which fail to “provide attention” to the special children or deny them admissions.

As per the latest circular, the board has received several complaints from across the country regarding many schools denying admission to these kids.

The reasons cited behind the denial by schools are absence of proper infrastructure and trained staff.

“These special children face challenges in learning, as they may not be able to concentrate on their teachers during classroom interactions or their pace of learning may be slower. Schools need to allocate more aid to these children and make an extra effort,” said the chairman, Vineet Joshi.

It may be noted that under the Persons with Disabilities Act, no institution can deny admission to a disabled child due to his physical or psychological disability. However, not many schools across the country seem to be open to admitting such kids. In its circular to all affiliated schools, the CBSE has emphasised that all schools must follow the government’s guidelines for inclusive education of children with disabilities.

These guidelines include allowing parents to pick an aide, who can accompany their kids to schools, including taking examinations.

All schools, according to the government guidelines, must be disabled-friendly by 2020, and must reserve 3 per cent seats for special kids.

Schools are also required to ensure the availability of teachers who can train and teach children with disabilities.



Notice to St John’s principal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
A local court today served notice to the principal of St John’s School, Sector 26, in connection with a suit filed by a local human rights activist.

The court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Anshul Berry, after admitting the suit, issued notice to the principal for allegedly showing pornographic material to students and for allegedly teaching hacking skills, said the petition.

The notice comes in the backdrop of a recent case wherein allegations were levelled against a music teacher of the school for allegedly showing adult material to some students.



MCM college first in face painting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The Psychology Society of MCM DAV College for Women, “INSIGHT”, organised a PSYCHOFEST 2010, an inter-college psychology meet here today.

Prof VV Upamanyu, Panjab University, was the chief guest on the occasion. Upamanyu appreciated the efforts of the college.

A jam session was organised. Various contests like poster making, collage making, face painting and quiz on various themes like spiritual intelligence, family happiness and adolescent problems marked the occasion. Students made power point presentations on “Role of Psychology in Advertising” and presented skits on “Mental Health”. Principal of the college Dr Puneet Bedi appreciated the efforts of the faculty.


Face painting: MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, 1, 2 and DAV College, Sector 10, Chandigarh, 3; collage making: Government College, Sector 11, 1, SD College, Sector 32, 2 and Khalsa College, Sector 26, 3; quiz: MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, 1, GCG, Sector 42, 2 and GCG, Sector 11, 3; poster making: MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36,1, DAV College, Sector 10, 2 and GCG, Sector 11, 3; skit: Government College, Sector 11, 1, MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, 2 and Dev Samaj College, Sector 45, 3; power point presentations: GCG, Sector 11, 1, MCM DAV College for Women, Sector 36, 2 and GCG, Sector 42, 3.


A discussion on “Partition of Punjab, 1947: Inscribing on Women’s Bodies the Inception of India and Pakistan” was held at the department of sociology here today.

Prof Jyoti Grewal, Zayed University, Dubai, was the key speaker.

The professor deliberated upon the subject and highlighted the problems that occurred in the aftermath of the Partition.

‘JOSH GCG’ formed

“JOSH GCG”, the newly formed voluntary group of students of Government College for Girls, Sector 11, has taken the initiative to maintain cleanliness in the college.

The group aims at creating a “Book Bank”, wherein students will be able to donate books and clothes. Achla Dogra, principal of the college, appreciated students and promised them all possible support.

‘New Zealand safe for students’

“New Zealand has emerged one of the most popular and safe study destinations for Indian students,” said Liz Batra, owner of IEGC-International Education Guidance and Care,

Chandigarh, and Paramdip Singh, director, special projects, at Waiariki Institute of Technology, a government institute in Rotorua, New Zealand, at a press meet here yesterday.

Talking about New Zealand’s student visa policy, Liz said, “Be it a work visa or a study visa, the country followed a transparent system.”

Liz said New Zealand had been voted the most peaceful country in the world according to the 2009 Global Peace Index Report.

She added that New Zealand was a safe country for students.

“Education system is competency based and students learn intricacies of subjects. The main focus of institutes like Waiariki is to hone the skills of students,” she said.



Continuous learning among teachers stressed

Mohali, January 15
Faculty members of Ashmah International School attended a workshop in order to meet the upcoming challenges in education.

Brigadier Jagdev, an expert in academics and trends in teaching technology, laid emphasis on continuous learning amongst teachers. The discussion brought out an interesting revelation about children of working mothers having higher stress level than their homemaker counterparts.

The role of a teacher assumed wider dimensions in such a scenario when cut-throat competition had failed to go down well with the students. He deliberated that apart from teaching, the teachers were required to bridge emotional gaps in the child caused due to changing family structures and socio-economic constraints.

The workshop aimed at equipping the teachers with necessary skills to identify strengths and capacities of each student individually and thereby modifying teaching techniques to suit learner’s personality and potential. Introducing this concept of tailor-made-teaching, Brigadier Jagdev also emphasised on the development of the teacher’s personality too and underlined that the teachers themselves needed to have strong leadership qualities and high motivational and commitment levels to be able to transmit the same to their students. — OC



PU girls’ hostel canteen awaits expansion
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The canteen of the girls’ hostel No.1, which needs expansion, has failed to catch the eyes of the Panjab University’s dons, who have lately been discussing women issues.

Even on a chilly winter day, the girls have to sit outside in the lawn to drink a glass of hot milk. Reason being, the canteen of the oldest girls’ hostels (number 1 and 2) have hardly 100-sq feet area.

For the past two years, students have been demanding expansion of the canteen as it can hardly accommodate 10 girls at a time. Canteen workers are also irked by the state of affairs here. They say that they have been repeatedly assured that the process of expansion is in the pipeline.

Students say that PU functionaries have visited their hostel several times in this regard, but all in vain. Orders for the expansion, which were passed several months back, are yet to be implemented.

The issue of extending the girls’ hostel canteen even figured in the agenda of the parties contesting the student council election. But, till date, nothing has been done.

A canteen worker said, “We have no idea what is being done about the canteen’s expansion. PU functionaries have visited the canteen on several occasions, but nothing has been done till date. Our raw material is lying here and the girls do not like sitting in a congested place.

When the hostel warden was questioned on the matter, she said the re-vamp was in progress and the procedure had begun.

“The architect has made the plan and the construction will start after three months, as per our information. Such expansions take some time and gradually improvements are taking place in the hostel. We are re-vamping the pools and many other aspects in the hostels,” said Indu Chhabra, warden of hostel no. 1.



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